Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Little drops of water….

This is the continuation of my earlier article "Color Color What Color?" I got varied response from my readers/friends. Key points were (for and against) about why did we fail, are/were we really better than the western world . While I accept that these are good questions, I do not want to speculate on how India would have fared if Brits did not rule us and Moguls did not invade us. Neither do I want to prove that Indian philosophy was/is better than western philosophy nor it is flawless. We definitely had dilutions of the concepts and several misconceptions. Though I have talked about the individualistic nature of three gunas, I want my readers to recognize the fact that we do have proverbs like "குலத்தளவே ஆகுமாம் குணம்" (The general disposition of a person reflects his caste/breed) and we are not all that pure as we wish to believe!!!

I do not agree fully with the "glory of India" mail (which made several rounds in the past and mentioned by a couple of you) that claims that India did not invade any other country!! Rajendra Chola invaded far east countries and established several Shiva temples. Cholas invading Pandiyas and Pandiyas killing Cheras etc. were there always. There are evidences of these wars and killings in literature, excavations, stone inscriptions etc. Let us not glorify ourselves too much!!!

So, what is my intention behind the article? What do I want? I want us to think about ways to make this country a better place to live. If countries that are covered with snow most part of the year or that do not see even one centimetre rainfall in a year could do better in providing safe shelter, food and better quality of life to the citizens, how can a country that enjoys sun all through the year, decent rainfall, and has 110 billion people (of supposedly intelligent race) not have any of these?

My question is not to some unknown "they"! It is to you and me!! What are you going to do as an individual? I am not interested in justifications and excuses. You do not even have to feel patriotic! (BTW, patriotism is not same as supporting Indian cricket team!!) This country has invested in you by giving you the food, water, shelter and education. What are you going to return? Indian government spends a lot on giving you safety - think of Army, Air force, Navy, Border Security Forces, Police and all the scientist community working in ISRO, DRDO and the like. Though per student spend may be less than that of other countries, there is considerable amount of money spent on your education by the government. It is just that we recognize only the fees we pay. How are you going to repay this debt? Just paying tax is not enough!

OK, you do not want to treat it as a business deal and you think, as son/daughter of this country, you are entitled to get these from the country. You may argue that water only goes from the lake to the paddy field and not vice versa. Even going with that argument, you are the lake for the next generation - your own sons and daughters!! What are you giving them? Hmm, ok, you do not have to think about next generation too! Don’t you want to live in a better place? Won't you clean the house you live in or you own (if you are not living in this country)? You may argue, one person's contribution alone will not change the large nation! சிறு துளி பெருவெள்ளம்!!! Little drops of water make the mighty ocean!!!

What is your action plan? With due respect to all the CSR activities where one spends a couple of days in a year at a school or a hospital or an orphanage, I am challenging you - is that sufficient? In the relay race of life, if you think that India was put in a disadvantageous position by all the invasions, don’t you also agree that we need to cover more distance in the same time to make it to the winning post?  And aren't we, the current generation Indians, the ones to run faster with the baton to make this country win?

We don’t have to be better than other countries - we just have to be a great country to be in. What are YOU going to do to make it happen?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Why Sukanya?

A young lady quit her career and went back to her home town. If she had quit the IT career because she did not enjoy it or she found a better profession that gives her more satisfaction or she just wanted to be with her family, I would have felt happy for her. But she left her responsibilities halfway, quit a potentially bright career just because of her gender! Not because of younger men! But because of an old man - a dirty old man!!

A few questions are haunting me since the day I heard of her resignation. 

1. Don’t men grow up? One of my colleagues, told me that men discuss about girls during their informal chats at the smoking zone etc.! I was stunned to hear that because this person was married and a proud father of two boys. Of course, people do get attracted to the other gender - every species is designed that way to sustain the population. However, what I am surprised with is, how can you keep thinking about gender attraction even after you cross that age. When an adult behaves like a child he or she is considered as mentally challenged or retarded. But if an adult stops growing beyond teens, why are they not called as retarded? Why do men feel proud to be retarded?

2. What is the society going to do? When would we stop penalizing the Akalyas for the mistake of Indran? Are we expecting a super hero like Rama to come and release Akalyas from stonehood? Isn't there a different explanation for the story? If all men are like Rama and be with one Sita, women can cherish being women without fear, they do not have to be stones is a better explanation I feel. What are the fathers teaching their sons? None of the pancha kanyas fought for themselves. Consider Sita - as a little girl, she could lift the shiva dhanush with ease which many kings failed even to move. But she waited for Rama to help her. If her mother in law went to war and helped winning the war, why could she not fight for herself? Kaikeyi is despised for her ability to fight the war and her ability to negotiate the deal she wanted but Sita is worshiped.  Is this why women wait for someone else to act on their behalf? Why are we not teaching our girls about Mahishasura mardini more than Akalyas and Sitas?

3. Don’t women have guts? If young fawns, the poorest of poor creatures, can jump high to give an impression to their predators that they are not an easy prey and put them off, why did you not try to scare the old man? Is it social conditioning? Even an ant bites back when you try killing it. Are you weaker than an ant my dear good girl? Don't you remember, we belong to a civilization where a woman chased away a tiger without any powerful weapons! Couldn't you scare this ass away?

4. Has India got freedom? Is it 1947 already? Isn't this incident a shame on us? Do we care? Oh yeah, we have bigger shames to handle! Why would we bother about an young girl resigning and being "safe" at home!!!