Posts filed under ‘Pragati’

Congress Sinking Ship – Shehzada is King of World

Just been to the voting booth, polling-station#192 at Andhra University to be precise, voted and got inked… err, pressed some buttons for all one can say in India is exactly this for there has been quite a hue and cry and controversy of rigging the electronic voting machines (EVM) which are yet to be resolved. Digression apart and a standard disclaimer is that I could be way off base here but the pulse of the public at the booths and queues is that Congress is a sinking ship and I just could not stop myself from doing this for it was just too easy and low-hanging for me to ignore it –
I would not dismiss and shrug it off as ‘good riddance’ because the truth of the matter is that while Congress might not get into power in the center, it could still get into power in some states. In fact, I can say for certainity that Congress will win in Amethi inspite of the well documented ‘Amethi Model of Development’ which is honestly a misnomer by Arkalgud Anantaramiya Surya Prakash for there is no “development” to speak of in Amethi since the Nehru family adopted it as its flag-bearing puppet namoona dummy stronghold. What does this remind me of?
Ah yes, a virus. it is almost like Congress is a virus and as we all know, a virus never really dies and cannot be truly eradicated – it just stays dormant for a while and when the conditions are again right, it raises its ugly head, infects and goes on its merry way to spread disease, worms, filth and all that ensues in its wake. Be as it may, even if Congress sinks without a trace in this and forthcoming governments, the dynasty with its shehzada will live long and prosper like kings on the loot and plunder amassed and by brandishing and exploiting the pirated Gandhi name for generations to come and go, forever for eternity. Tsk, it takes all kinds to make this world.

7 May, 2014 at 16:47 2 comments

Veering Away from Politics, Try – Word Play

As a matter of principle and in the interests of keeping my sanity, I tend to veer away from politics, especially India politics, for it is like the fatalistic song of sirens (hey, a nautical reference), or rather the cacophony of ugly fat corrupt neethi jaathi viswaasam leni neech kameene somberi bevarse haraam khor shehzade pigs (sorry, pigs) that many a sailor, or rather the illiterate ignoramuses sad excuse of sheeple called Indians has been lured to waste inexplicable inconceivable unimaginable unrecoverable amounts of time and many a ships have crashed on the never-ending jagged useless rocks of maggot poo that media tends to portrait as democracy, particularly, the cheap nautanki gutter circus called India democracy. According to Wikipedia, the Greek mythology lore on Sirens says that the song of the sirens is irresistible but since they reside beyond unpassable reefs and rocky coasts, shipwreck was a given and the sailors preyed upon by the sirens like cannibals or left on the coast without food and water to rot into stinking corpses. Either way, the allegory has a simile to India politics, or poltics in general, and is it any wonder that I try with all my wee physical and disturbed mental might to veer away?
But I suppose that boat has sailed (hey, another nautical metaphor – my mom is right, I am special and so are my teachers – I am a smart cookie after all) and so, while my boat is crashing into the rocks and am coaxed by the sweeper to MLA/MP/ZP campaigning in a beemer to vote, let me just say that am voting for change and hopefully, progress. It could be any party or candidate. I shudder to advise especially to bonafide idiots who have by and large voted time and again for a dynasty and monarchy to rule for 60+ years directly or indirectly or by proxy of this hopelessly wretched country but while I do not really care if any of you vote or not, but if you do like am going to even if its only because it is fashionable, here is a plea to vote for change and hopefully, progress and while at it, try to veer away from politics whose operative word is ‘tics’ which even animals would attest are blood sucking, disease spreading, scalp itching, skin irritating, ear infecting, greedy bloated parasites. Put any political symbolism like khadi and ticks become politicians. Ipso facto. QED.

7 May, 2014 at 14:39 Leave a comment

Ashok Inner-AAM: Rise Against Corrupt Lawyers

While discussing corruption by government, police, lawyers and courts, Neha Shah of I-Am-Aam came across an Android App for Code-for-Civil-Practice and thought it is an empowering tool when being mistreated by a government official i.e. a cool new-age Inner-AAM solution. I was not sold on it for I tend to buy the story, not the product and wondered about the people behind the app. Call it gut or instinct, but I had a feeling that whoever was behind the apps (there are a bunch by the same development team on IPC (Indian Penal Code), RTI (Right To Information), MVA (Motor Vehicle Act), JJA (Juvenile Justice Act) et al. here) must have an interesting story to tell. Being the resourceful lass that she is, Neha pursued the suggestion, accepted the challenge and dug out the app developer, Ashok Kumar Goli AKA Ashok Felix, a self-confessed patriotic Hyderabadi who is all of 25 years old and is currently the Director of Karlo Transport Private Limited and a member of EcoCabs among other things. Lets get on with the story, shall we, in his own words.
Soon after graduating in 2009, I went to Mysore for participating in the Flight Officer selections at the Air Force Selection Board (AFSB). I met candidates from all over the nation who were entirely different from me but at the same time shared the same passion that I had in our country. I got selected but didn’t join (a whole different story). Noticed that several of the potential Flight Officers were unaware of basic things that a citizen of India is supposed to know such as the Preamble to the Constitution of India, our National Pledge, etc. After returning from my medicals, I started asking my friends, relatives and colleagues if they knew these things and researching on why most of them didn’t even have a nominal idea about such important stuff regarding India. Found out it’s the lack of easily available information. Realized that change always begins from a single step and decided to take it.

Sorry to interrupt but the message here is that Ashok brought out his Inner-AAM and in the classic tradition of the Nataraja thandava, is giving abhayam to seekers of justice and trampling corrupt lawyers. A salute by this nacheez i.e. yours truly –

I immediately started working on an Android App (Note: I had no prior programming experience or knowledge of Law) and launched the very first basic "Constitution of India" android app on the Android Market (Android Play Store now). People really liked it, found it useful and started interacting with me on a daily basis through the feedback system built within the app. Most of the users were either law students, professional lawyers or judges in courts. I started getting suggestions, improvement ideas and the app eventually turned into the final version that is available in the market now. The morphing process was gradual. I started getting more and more requests for law applications as the data for the bare acts is really hard to find and harder still to categorize and understand. Based on the framework that I built for Constitution of India, I started gathering data from various government websites and through RTI. Each act took about a month to develop and publish. Began publishing apps act-wise as it’s easier for people to download, view and search through the apps. Each of these apps has the facility to search the central act library via web. Published about 20 apps and a lot more in queue.
Laws affect us all. And increasingly, bare acts are being searched for, read and used by a broad range of people. Bare acts are no longer confined to professional libraries but are considered intricate and intimidating. The apps empower people to directly access, search for and discuss the law of the land in the most simple way possible – using the smart phone. Given that my apps realize their full potential in the hands of people studying and practicing law, their aim is to provide the common man, the power and resources to look into the rules that define and build India. The main purpose of the law apps is to uncomplicate law, open it up for everyday discussion via the social features in the apps and make the information easily available offline.
Imagine a lawyer in a court being able to present his case without carrying any books and without wasting time to pin point the chapter number and section number. Imagine a judge being able to verify the arguments almost instantaneously by searching for specific content in all the laws of India, saving valuable time and speeding up the decision process. Imagine a client going to the lawyer and being able to discuss his specific issues by completely understanding the sections his issues are related to. Imagine a law student going to college/court with just his smartphone and work on it entirely. Imagine a teenage kid being able to read/watch a civil dispute in the news and cross reference the discussion. Imagine a normal person caught speeding on the road and finding out the exact fine amount when a corrupt police official demands a hefty fine. My apps give Aam-Aadmi the power to access all the information or laws that are related to him and that affect him.

Words to live by, or rather, draw by in this case. Please head over to CWorks for a visual depiction of how Ashok Inner-AAM is helping people rise against the reign of corrupt lawyers. As the old adage goes, information/knowledge is power. Indeed.

3 April, 2014 at 18:31 Leave a comment

Mathematics of War – 3 – Reality, Why and Other

A wise person (who inadvertently happens to be your parents or grandparents once you are old enough) once said that if one looks at just about anything, closely and long enough, one can always find faults, patterns, cracks. Be it images of perfect airbrushed models or character traits of arguably greatest of men like Mahatma Gandhi or cruelest of men like Adolf Hitler. So, it was no surprise that on marinating the “Common Ecology Quantifies Human Insurgency” paper (popularly – oh the horror of laying it out to the man on the street – known as ‘Mathematics of War’ or ‘Ecology of War’ depending on how stupid the publisher is) in my consciousness long enough, I found many quantitative and qualitative faults, patterns and cracks in the assumptions, data, analysis and conclusions to the extent of being tempted to say it is not entirely devoid of errors and it is not entirely out of line to say it is a load of crap – the suspect scholarship itself, evident oversimplification of ground reality by arm-chair theorizing and TED drummed hype that followed. But some stink more than the others. Like most of you who may have a life of sorts, and if not, get one, I have neither the time nor the inclination to go into details and till I see any sliver of feedback (monetory or otherwise), my detailed critique/review will remain in dark alleys of a rotten brain. This is a blog and I, and you, are entitled to my opinions. I will (try to) be brief. No promises. Here are a 1000 words for starters (with each frame and line and word having a story to tell on its own if not already so)…

The cartoon (inspired by a classic stock trading madness one by Kal of Economist which also reflects the allusion of financial markets simile) tries to address 2 things at a high level. The ‘why’ and ‘other’ side of the coin. Allow me to elaborate –
1) For a paper that flaunts to be the mathematics or ecology of war (strike-1: make up your mind), the core question of ‘why’ remains unanswered other than the broad strokes of generalizing it to violent primal animalistic human behaviour in a conflict scenario viz. ganging up and acting out of reptilian-minded self-preservation and just silly attention-seeking, message-sending, authority-opposing, loathing-fired, territory-protecting, family-first, religion-tampered, son-of-gun, honour-killing, blood-thirsty, cult-following, brain-washed, nepotism-led, arms-dealing corporate interest driven, virgin-seeking, nation-gaurding, eye-for-an-eye revenge. Out of the 6 wise questions of who, when, where, what, why and how of anything, it is the ‘why’ that is always most important and difficult one to answer. Unsurprisingly, it is not always forthcoming and so is the case with the current research/paper/letter/talk/hype/site in question. My answer to ‘why’ is not my answer because it has been addressed before. In any conflict, the main reason for all the tomfoolery is primarily a result of ye-olde mis-communication and bad decision-making. People act irrationally (or whatever it is the paper insinuates) because for all the wisdom of the world, groups only serve the purpose of amplifying stupidity and at discrete time-steps under pressure with only incomplete information and shrouded judgment as a way of life and we don’t have to observe a conflict to come to that conclusion. It is kinda obvious from shopping to ordering pizza. Patterns. Patterns. Everywhere
2) The paper does not address the most important element to any conflict which is the ‘other’ side. It paints the terrorists (putting on my linguist hat ala Chomsky, this is a wrong word in itself because if it is used, it automatically implies the branded-as-such people as bad which is just one point-of-view) as villains from the word go and does not give due weight to the acts of the ‘other’ side, say the state police or occupying USA troops in Afghanistan. If you ask me, the patterns of behaviour of the ‘other’ side are just as irrational and fueled by internal politics (no matter how hierarchical they are organized) and media sound-bytes as the insurgents (again, a bad and violent word that should not have been used in interests of neutrality). We all know it takes two to tango or two hands to make a clap or no smoke without fire or every action has an opposite reaction or what goes round comes around and such idioms. Not considering/mentioning, let alone understanding the role of the ‘other’ side and how they influence/provoke behaviour of freedom-fighters (terrorists by other name), is like saying – well, I cannot think of a suitable analogy because there are so many of them that apply here – the insurgents are evil by birth and all that the paper is trying to do, in a fly-on-wall (when it really should be cat-on-wall) manner is quantify their evil-doings somewhat like an overbearing God who at the same time turns a blind eye at the misdemeanours of his chosen people. It’s just plain wrong. Besides, there are too many Gods already responsible for much mess that has/going/will in the world but discussing religion is slightly off-topic, no?
When seen with that lens of favouritism, it is of course obvious that patterns can be identified in the reactions (yes, not actions) of insurgents. Suffice to say that what we are seeing here is simply a human collective not showing the other cheek when slapped and that maybe, just maybe, we should perhaps be more concerned why did the slap happen and importantly, whose hand is it that was raised leading to harakiri? Again, there will be patterns to series of events that led to this situation. So, my question is this: Can we identify “that” pattern of circumstances that triggers insurgency? I believe we can (if one looks closely and long enough goes without saying). If so, that will be the right path to understand misunderstandings. To the best of my knowledge from private communication, Sean Gourley is already at work along these lines and I hope whatever comes out of that is not half as bad as the paper we are discussing, er, opiniating. Lest I forget, as for the errors in data and analysis, I informally tried applying their methods to Kashmir situation and I was disappointed and felt cheated. The first thing that came into my mind was that maybe my data was not clean or my interpretations of the paper and formulae. It takes a great and beautiful mind to accept mistakes. Mine is certainly not. So there.

    PS: If you are wondering what happened to part-2 of series, well, keep wondering. I did not think it was worth my typing and am famously lazy. You are however free to think of it as a forced workshop on imagining or maybe, Quentin Tarantino stylism

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    8 January, 2010 at 17:20 Leave a comment

    Binding Emissions Cut – USA to India Shake Hand

    According to any source one might want to look into, total carbon dioxide emissions (in millions metric tonnes as per 2003 figures) for USA is close to 6000MMT, for China is 4000MMT and India is 1000MT. Taking population numbers, this means the per-capita CO2 emissions (in metric tonnes) for USA is 20MT, China is 4MT and India is 1MT. Yet, in the COP15 conference in Copenhagen, USA is asking the world to wipe the slate clean and pressuring India to shake hand and comply in binding that every country, rich and poor reduce their respective emissions by 25% from now on – no matter what the gross, nett and per-capita emissions have been for the past 400 years during which time all the damage we see today (glacier reduction, droughts and floods, ice cap melting, typhoon severity et al.) has been done primarily by rich countries getting industrialized into developed countries. This situation has been depicted by many cartoonists. Here is Subhani in DC today…
    If that is not unfair, I dont know what is. Given that per-capita income is inexplicably linked to per-capita emissions (higher income, higher pollution, duh?), it means that rich countries will get richer (but slower) and the poor countries will get poorer (and faster) if this policy or protocol or poo-poo is implemented. It seems to be more like arm-twisting to me. The irony is not the 25% or whatever arbitrary number but the gal to demand the world to forget the damage that has already been done and brandishing an air of superiority that it is the poor countries who have to take the initiative to save themselves. There is no fine being slapped because no one is asking. No technology transfer because no one is giving. No pledge to remedy the mistakes because no one is apologising. I will tell you what is binding. Rice. Ha ha.

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      14 December, 2009 at 23:52 1 comment

      COP15 Rain – Capitalist Pig – Subservient Countries

      Sometimes, I astound myself. Having followed the COP15 United Nations Climate Change Conference at Jokenhaven (sorry, Copenhagen) for the last 4 days or so by way of RSS, Webcasts, Calendars, LivingStories and what not, I could immediately see (and am not alone) where this is heading and did the following which I have to say is one of my best works so far in terms of symbology and semiotics…

      Simply put, what is going to happen on and after the summit is that things will be the same and only get worse. Thank universe for entropy. The rich nations (I make it a point not to call them by misnomers of ‘developed’ or ‘civilized’ or ‘industrialized’ for many reasons least of all, decadence, immorality/brutality, laziness) who are the ones mostly responsible for the mess and 80% of the emissions even today with their meagre 20% rudderless population, are depicted as well, greedy capitalistic pigs. All this talk and noise of “climate change” even if it is made out to be a hoax thunderstorm with striking lightning, will be like raindrops on thick skinned pigs. Ergo, no effect at all. These pigs will be munching the worlds poor without a care in the world. After all, pigs apparently are the best beasts to dispose of with human bodies as this character in “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrells” confirms –

      You’re always gonna have problems disposing of human bodies. They are heavy and smelly. Apparently the best thing to do is cut up a corpse into six pieces and pile it all together. And when you got your six pieces, you gotta get rid of them, because it’s no good leaving it in the deep freeze for your mum to discover, now is it? Then I hear the best thing to do is feed them to pigs. You got to starve the pigs for a few days, then the sight of a chopped-up body will look like curry to a pisshead. You gotta shave the heads of your victims, and pull the teeth out for the sake of the piggies’ digestion. You could do this afterwards, of course, but you don’t want to go sieving through pig shit, now do you? They will go through bone like butter. You need at least sixteen pigs to finish the job in one sitting, so be wary of any man who keeps a pig farm. They will go through a body that weighs 200 pounds in about eight minutes. That means that a single pig can consume two pounds of uncooked flesh every minute. Hence the expression, ‘greedy as pigs’ (and ‘capitalist pigs’).

      If a pig is fed, it will feed. It is free food on a platter. What does it gotta lose? What concerns me is to see about the hand that is feeding the pig. Sadly unsurprisngly enough, it is the subservient poor countries who will have no qualms nor presence of the mind nor common sense of the future nor the grey matter of what this slavery is doing to their own nations. They will feed the pig everything, the earth, the forests, the minerals, the blood – and will do so collaboratively with one country supplying the fuel, another the timber, another to puff at the fire – without even knowing that they are but feeding, nay, disposing their fellow live humans for short-term foriegn currency reserves which at any point can lose in value. It is wrong at so many levels.

      Think about it, today, if someone in the USA buys a bloody sneaker, the chain of the production is completely outsourced. Everything except the design is produced in some poor country by some underpaid malnourished chimp sweaty ugly hopeless illiterate sick bastard. The shoe might be priced at say, 100$, earning a profit of 90$ to the shoe company based in Europe which has an operating expense of 5$ tops for chaining the natives but what the poor country gets is far less than what it loses in the bargain in both monetary and resource terms. The actual cost of the shoe is not 5$ because the cost of the raw materials is heavily subsidized by nature (or externalities as economists would say) and in some cases, the government. In the end, the poor country might be getting 5$ but it is actually losing a lot more in the bargain because of depletion of resources, pollution caused, toxic waste generated and indisposed of, loss of freedom/opportunity and gross violation of human rights. By manufacturing and selling the shoe, the poor country is actually losing – a lot. It can be called a lose-lose situation if there ever was one. So, the idiots who run poor countries (democratic or communist or monarchial or theocracy or dictatorship or terrorist or military) who show so-called strides in development with skyscrapers, roads, statues, fly-overs, cars, middle-class et al. combinedly are fattening the pig with illusions of grandeur. No wonder the pig is drunk with power and has absolute disregard of an ailing planet. What fools, we humans can be. How did we get to this fucking world order? Oh wait, it was with invention of dynamite. And who pioneered that? Alfred Nobel no less. Kinda makes the peace prize hara-kiri to war mongering US presidents (can you believe there are oddly 4?) fathomable. It is a wow moment.

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      10 December, 2009 at 23:59 Leave a comment

      Food Price Inflation – WPI at 15.58% – Subsidy PDS

      In response to “Food Prices Scale High at 15.58%” in DC on 27-November-2009 (full article after fold), I wanted to do something but yet again, Subhani beat me to it through this nice cartoon depicting the situation of a poor family sitting for a meal…

      Food prices kept their upward trend hitting the common man hard. Food inflation rose to 15.58% for the second week of November with potato prices rising by 111% As compared to last year the prices of pulses were up by 35.60%, wheat by 12.53%, cereals by 13.04% and rice by 11.89%. Also prices of vegetables moved up by 11.96%, onions by 27.33%, fruits by 10.97% and milk by 11.36%. On a weekly basis, products which saw a rise in their prices are urad and poultry chicken (15% each), eggs (8%), moong (6%), arhar (5%), fruits and vegetables (3%) and milk and wheat (1% each). However, the prices of barley (2%) declined. The increase in food prices is due to shortages caused partly by a weak monsoon and partly by floods in some parts of the country. Said Mr Trehan and Mrs Mathur respectively –

        In a country where even a simple vegetable like potato has become so expensive, how can one expect to have three meals a day. Survival has become really tough. How frugal can one become?

        One has to think twice even for grocery shopping. Everything has become out of reach. Be it milk, vegetables or pulses. And worst, public transport has also gone so expensive. How can we honestly manage?

        Inflation for all commodities more than doubled to 1.34% for the month of October from 0.50% in September due to costlier minerals and fuels, as per data released earlier. The finance minister, Pranab Mukherjee, said on Thursday that government is very deeply concerned about rising prices and will take all fiscal and monetary measures to contain it. Arjun Sengupta in his “Fair Food Deal for All” in DC on 30-November-2009 comments that it is high time that the government initiates a universal public distribution system (PDS) covering at least the essential commodities because the bulk of the population, about 70%, remains poor with their dire struggle for minimal livelihood –

        About 350-million people remain below poverty line (BPL). The prices of essential commodities have been rising at an unprecedented rate. Not only foodgrains but vegetables like onions and potatoes are becoming costlier day by day. These affect all Indians but for the poor they are devastating as all their meagre incomes get exhausted, not meeting even a portion of the necessities. Prices of these products are no doubt largely due to shortfall in production but there are clear signs of market cornering, hoarding and price fixing. It is, however, very difficult to control speculatory tendencies by physical measures because the players are too many in the country and not just big traders and producers, even the common rehriwalla is hoarding. Unless those expectations are dampened they cannot bring down the speculation. The only way to do that is to increase supplies, if not through temporary production increase measures, then through additional imports.

          To mitigate this problem, the universal PDS would be the first important step beginning with the BPL population by supplying them with the essential commodities at cheap and affordable prices. If PDS is targeted to a limited BPL population it may also be possible to increase their supplies through market purchase of these products and sell them at subsidised prices. This would push up the open market prices somewhat further. But targeted PDS can be sustained if the government is willing to subsidise the difference between market price and issue price of commodities. Hopefully increased prices, supported by planned increase in production incentives, will raise output in a short period reducing the supplies bottleneck. But in the immediate future, the government has to be ready to bear the cost of maintaining the PDS. However, the most important requirement is organisation of the system. That cannot be achieved by market incentives or subsidies. The government has to build up a huge and efficient structure of distribution throughout the country. It has to procure, purchase or import products and reach them to different destinations of the PDS. This can be done only with the help of state governments, first to identify the BPL beneficiaries and then to have fair-price shops supply the products efficiently. National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited (NACMFoI) or similar organisations can be created for vegetable and other such products. They should build up storages and have contract farming both at home and abroad. The time has now come for all kinds of out-of-the-box thinking to meet a serious problem of economic management in the country. Indian development, if it has to follow an inclusive path, must reinvent itself so that the poor develop an equal stake in our growth process.

          Well, I agree in moral principle to Dr Sengupta (a Member of Parliament and former Economic Adviser to assassinated-good-riddance Prime Minister Indira Gandhi) but does this universal PDS not sound too communist? Why should the poor be further subsidized when already farmer markets, ration shops and pink/white cards etc. exist? Are not the high prices a result of supply-demand and greed (read, free-market capitalism) and therefore, market-based solutions are needed? Let missionaries, NGOs, social enterprises and fortune-at-BoP marketing gurus deal with solving something tangible like hunger for a change other than human rights, empowerment or whatever cause. Oh wait, they tried. And failed. And chickened out.

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          30 November, 2009 at 12:00 3 comments

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