Saturday, 20 January 2018

Marriage is a gamble

When it comes to selecting a partner people either take too long to take a decision or get married in a hurry. This is inscrutable. That is one of the reasons for increased divorce rates in India.  The divorce rate in America was 32.8% in 1970 and rose to 49.1% by 2000. Higher divorce rates reflect a lack of commitment and a decline of moral character that have harmed adults, children and society in general.
  • Whether it is a love marriage or an arranged marriage, the fact remains that at the end of the day marriage is essentially akin to a gamble. 
  • Marriage is a commitment between two people who exchange vows to stay together through thick and thin. True love transcends the physical laws of attraction between a man and a woman.
  • Struggling marriages make people more unhappy, while healthy marriages have some of the happiest couples in history.
  • These days people expect more out of their marriage. If these higher expectations are not met, it can suffocate a marriage to the point of destroying it.
  • When a husband and wife are bickering forever, it is their children who bear the brunt. Having healthy arguments is one thing, quarreling day in and day out is quite another.
  • Loveless arranged marriages somehow have been sustained even as love marriages have crumbled due to cultural disparities and ego problems that surfaced after the marriage. Many arranged marriages have also failed as a result of irreconcilable marital discord. 
  • When the situation becomes uncontrollable or unmanageable, it is always better to seek a legal separation. Sometimes this is in the interest of both the parties. In case of celebrities, moving away from an abusive marital relationship is not an option; it becomes a necessity.
  • Children often become the binding factor in unhappy marriages but this cannot always be the solution if there is far too much acrimony between the couple. A warring couple can cause serious psychological hurt to their progeny, the couple remaining unaware of the adverse impact.
  • Marriages are all about give and take. It is all about making adjustments. When these adjustments make life a virtual hell, then it is time for a hard decision. There are so many women out there who suffer mental abuse and domestic violence and there are men too who become unsuspecting victims in a loveless marriage.
  • Marriage is a tight-rope act. One has to walk with a fine sense of balance. Accepting each other’s shortcomings is one of the ways to develop an enduring relationship between partners. Where there is lack of tolerance and misguided expectations between a couple, marital discord is bound to swell.
  • In these modern days marriage has become tricky and challenging but also potentially rewarding. Obtaining a sense of fulfillment from partner, meeting the expectations and feeling satisfied in marriage is harder than ever. Couples in healthy marriages are more happier now than in the past.
  • It is hard to define a formula for a successful marriage, but where there is true love, marriages will manage to sustain! Couples need to invest time and resources to sustain strong marital bond.

Eli J. Finkel, a professor of psychology suggests a quick fix. A love hack is a proven technique that 
little time or effort and doesn’t even require cooperation from your partner that can take just a
a month. It’s not going to give you a great marriage, but it can certainly improve things. 
Simply allowing the relationship to slip off is far worse.

In marriages, no guarantees
A good husband makes a good wife

Don't look to your marriage alone for personal fulfillment. If you want a lot from your marriage, then you have to give a lot. Most people who are very happy in their marriage are also very happy in general. One of the secrets of successful marriages is to accept other person as he/she is and keep expectations from spouse to minimum. 

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Infinities of being a housewife

  • 3rd November is celebrated as Housewife's Day. The exact origin of the day is not known, but this day is set aside to recognise and celebrate the sacrifices of women who stay at home to manage all the chores of running a household successfully. A housewife is someone who does not get weekly offs to relax and enjoy life. She also often does not get appreciated for being good at what she does. It is important to note that housewives undertake the task of running a household because they care, not because it is their duty.
  • That’s not a profession. The job of a housewife is hardly a job.
  • Majority of Indian women still do not go out to work. Instead, they work at their houses, as housewives.
  • At the core of every family, nuclear or joint, is the housewife. The importance of her physical presence is underscored by the stasis the household comes to when she is not around. She single-handedly runs it, juggling chores such as cooking, washing, cleaning and caretaking with great skill.
  • Emotionally, she holds the family together. She is a pillar of support for her husband, a guiding light for her child, and a harbour for the family’s elderly. It’s as though her existence is entirely selfless, always putting the interests of others over and above her own.
  • The housewife is just as able an administrator. She, in fact, works round-the-clock. She also deals with physical, financial and human resources. Her decisions affect the lives of people and the well-being of the home. However, the work she does is not quite considered a ‘job’. Her work just goes unacknowledged. She rarely even receives gratitude. Remuneration, then, seems like a ridiculous idea.
  • There is hardly any difference between the ‘job’ description of a housewife and that of the chief executive officer of a company. While the CEO steers a company forward, the housewife is at the helm of the household.
  • The patriarchal understanding of the role of a housewife is that her job is a duty. She has to perform these tasks on a daily basis, irrespective of whether she likes it or wants to do it at all. Her job is thankless. But then again, her job is not a job. Her skills are not marketable; she is not the breadwinner of the house. 
  • In its blunt interpretation, our male chauvinistic society has failed to realise that while the man may bring home the bread, it is the woman, or the housewife, who actually makes the food that he eats out of that bread.
  • A housewife wants nothing more than to be treated with love, respect, gratefulness and dignity.
  • Her ‘job’ is perhaps the most magnanimous one in the world. It’s time society woke up to her domestic significance, instead of taking her for granted. She deserves her due and it’s up to us to change regressive mindsets, celebrate her place in the familial ecosystem and recognise her noble, yet silent toil.

A thrifty housewife is better than a great income.  A good wife and 
health are the man's best wealth ... Charles Haddon Spurgeon

There is no occupation in the world which has an influence on the efficiency
and happiness of the members of nearly all other occupations so continuous and so 
permeating as that of the working housewife and mother ... Eleanor F. Rathbone

The strange death of Punjab

  • Punjab is a flat, deforested and overpopulated patch of agricultural land. 
  • This fertile land of five rivers has been a gateway for various armies invading the subcontinent. Punjab is one of the smallest state of India but is the biggest contributor to food grain. It contributes more than 20% of the food grain produced in India.
  • As per 2011 Census, Punjab has a population of around 2.77 crores. Sikhism is the most practiced faith in Punjab, and 57.69% of the population belongs to the Sikh faith [59.9% in 2001 census]. Around 38.49% of the population practices Hinduism. Other faiths include Islam 1.93%, Buddhism, Christianity 1.26% and Jainism.
  • In the state of Punjab there were approximately 120,000 active bore wells in 1970 but by 2010 that number had increased to nearly 1,300,000. Overuse of fertilisers and pesticides has resulted in lesser proliferation of rainwater and pesticides and the ground water had also turned polluted. Water of all five rivers in the state had been polluted due to discharge from dirty sewers and industry water. The state is facing acute water shortage as the groundwater is depleting at a higher rate than its replenishment. 
  • The region erupted in the summer of 1947 seeing one of the greatest migrations in human history. Lahore, once the capital of Ranjit Singh’s empire and the birth place of Guru Nanak, happened to fall on the Pakistan side of Punjab, and a once cosmopolitan city was subsequently largely ethnically cleansed of its Sikh population. 
  • Tensions on the Indian side of Punjab were reignited during the insurgency of the 1980s when Khalistani separatists fought for an independent homeland.
  • The Punjabis of India were rewarded for their endurance, and for some time they enjoyed the luxuries which came with residing in the richest state in the country. 
  • Over the last decade, the State appears to have taken a turn for the worst. The final nail in the coffin for the Sikhs is not coming from a foreign invading forces, nor is it coming from the Indian government. Rather, the Punjabi people are themselves to blame. This is not a genocidal tragedy inflicted by bullets, but rather an epidemic of drugs, widespread alcohol addiction, female infanticide, low birth rates, farmer suicides, caste discrimination, mass outward emigration and religious conversion.
  • It is astonishing as to how a prosperous and seemingly innocent society has cascaded into becoming the narcotics haven of India.
  • Amongst the youth of Punjab, 52% were found to be addicted to drugs, which is 18 times higher than the national Indian average of 3%. 
  • The statistics regarding alcohol consumption are just as worrying. Nearly 33 crore bottles are consumed in Punjab annually.
  • Sikhs are also known to have the most uneven sex ratio in the whole of India, with 900 females for every 1000 males. This should be their biggest disgrace and embarrassment.
  • The fertility rates of Punjabi-Sikhs are so low that it begs the question as to whether they would continue to exist in India in the not-too-distant future. 
  • Outward migration and lower fertility rates are not the only factors that explain the Sikh demographic decline. A climate of religious confusion and a lack of Sikh leadership have created a vacuum for missionaries and other religious sects to exploit.
  • Unfortunately, the discussion regarding Punjab amongst western Sikhs only seems to concern the events of 1984 – the invasion of the Darbar Sahib complex, the pogroms of Delhi and the military curfews which turned the district into a garrison state. They have every right to stand in remembrance of this terrible episode in history. Nonetheless, the dialogue must move beyond this, and their attention should be focused on the Punjab of 2017 i.e. The Punjab of today. 
  • It is important that they accept responsibilities for their own failures. For too long have they pointed fingers towards the central government. They seem to believe that everything is a part of a grand conspiracy by the ‘Hindu elite’ to intentionally destroy and undermine Sikhs. 
  • Central government is certainly not doing enough to monitor the porous borders of Punjab to prevent the flow of opium. Recreational drugs are more accessible in the Punjab than any other State, and Punjab police often turn a blind eye to this. But ultimately, Punjabis bear the responsibility of consuming them. Though more law and order is needed, this is a grassroots movement, which should instead be focused on education and raising awareness. 
  • If Punjabis have survived the authoritarian regimes of the past, then they have every reason to make their mark and flourish in a multicultural democracy, albeit an imperfect one.

Personal luxury

Luxury is not about money. It is about living a truly authentic life. Luxury products were created to help people live a more comfortable life. Comfort is readily available to anyone not through buying more, but by just slowing down and enjoying the beauty that exists in a life simply lived.
  • Luxury is not the opposite of poverty. It is the opposite of vulgarity.
  • True luxury is about authenticity, and cannot be created by buying more. 
  • Luxury is not a matter of having more or less. 
  • Luxury is about creating an environment that liberates your aspirations.
  • Luxury is about removing the distractions and living life the way you want to live.
  • It is not living a spartan life or the life of an ascetic. It is not about reducing for the sake of reducing. 
  • It is not about an idea of giving away everything you own in order to be happy.
  • The journey of life is about discovering the right balance between work and play, people and things to help you create a life that is authentically yours.
  • True luxury is not about being the first to have whatever the latest marketing campaign is pitching. True luxury is a very personal idea. 
  • True luxury is about being able to liberate your aspirations in your own personal way. 
  • True luxury is about creating the right balance in your life so that you have time for the things that matter most.
  • Those watches, cars, jets and McMansions all cost time to amass them, but also the time it takes to maintain them and to dote over them. They demand your time as you cherish them and adore them.
  • There is only so much time in the world. More cannot be created. It cannot be sold or traded. It can only be drawn upon, and the less you waste on the distractions of life, the more you have to spend creating a life that is truly yours and that is a true luxury.
  • Regardless of how much money you have or how many baubles you might cherish, learn to simplify your life and you will learn the value of a minute.
  • Invest your time not just in managing money and things but in relationships that supports, nurtures and helps you grow.
  • In the end, success and affluence and luxury is not about showing off the latest gadget. It is not about having a bigger car or larger house. It is about being able to manage your time and your life, your way.
Take the time to evaluate what is important in your life and let that be the guideline, not just for happiness, but for living a rewarding, successful, and luxurious life.

Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy ... Robert A. Heinlein

Luxury is the enemy of growth. Abundance is neither good nor healthy 
for the growth of a child’s mind ...  Abhijit Naskar

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Rule of the law essential for corruption elimination

  • American civil society is 90% law and 10% politics. Indian civil society is 90% politics and 10% law. 
  • India has chosen this political model that makes politics profitable to politicians. Indian politicians in power are among the richest in the category anywhere in the world. 
  • In a dynamic society everything should be provided for by law and only a few things are left to politicians. The law should govern a nation where the judge, the police and the civil servant dispense justice to the citizen.
  • Indian politics took enormous power in its hands in order to promote economic growth. But prosperity evolves by the laws of nature. 
  • India has no legal vision that is why a million cases are pending in courts. Law and franchise are two sides of the same coin called democracy, one representing truth and the other popular will.  
  • A government must be small. Then only rule of law can be implemented by the judiciary, the police and civil service.
  • India is yet to write any document to keep the greedy politicians in check.
  • Mass literacy will make the voter cast his vote to the right candidate. 
  • Progress is indigenous; it cannot be imported from abroad.
  • The main reason for India’s pervasive corruption is material greed. Some 15 million Indians have left India to seek monetary gains abroad. This basic moral defect can be kept under leash only by law. 
  • Indian politics, instead of standing on the legal high ground, opted for huge state power. All-powerful ministers, MPs, MLAs and IAS officers amass wealth without any let or hindrance. Can India take a U-turn from politics to law, from money to moral rectitude? 
  • Political change has always been difficult to effect. The true dimensions of the task of creating an ethical society must be borne in mind.
  • Economic progress must have a firm legal and democratic foundation. The West too is suffering because of the excessive pursuit of wealth. The West ignored its policies and many are predicting even the demise of liberalism. If the West cannot afford immoral affluence, how can India afford it? 
  • To seek to pursue growth on a shaky legal foundation is dangerous. The Indian polity is morally weak without any legal restraint. Economic growth in the absence of law has created the present corruption levels. 
  • India must strengthen its judiciary. Then, without any fuss and public outcry corruption can be eliminated. The same judiciary and police will put an end to black money.
  • The job of a minister is glamorous with power and pomp, whereas a judge and a police officer have to do their jobs in relative obscurity. A minister's job is largely decorative and that the job of the judge is constructive. Realising his true contribution, the politician must be humble. By a political awakening and a legal illumination corruption can be put to an end. 
  • Citizens must become alert and create the right atmosphere for a lofty political leadership to emerge. A highly politicised society has to become a highly legalised society. Politics is partisan, law is unitary. Moving from politics to law is evolutionary progress.
  • Politics is deep-rooted in the moral character of a society. Any politician who is willing to live on bread and water will not need any bribe. Economics is a zero-sum came. When the rich live in palaces the poor have to live on the streets. A voluntary tendency to lead a simple life by all will create the right atmosphere for economic probity.
  • We cannot create a draconian state and end corruption. The moral transformation of civil society must be natural and based on persuasive leadership. A clear definition of a sustainable lifestyle must be voluntarily accepted. Only then the competitive urge to make more and more money will end. Money should become meaningful, moral and deeply satisfying. If true wealth is found in a rich heart, no one will want to touch money even with a barge pole.
  • Law is the fulcrum of democracy and democracy is what holds the people together without force. Law and democracy can combine to form the life of politics to cleanse the country of corruption. Cheap politics has done enough damage to India. India needs Newtons and Einsteins in its politics to make it clean, pure and inspiring. Then the best and the brightest will come to politics to make it a haven of virtue and science.

Two things form the bedrock of any open society.
Freedom of expression and rule of law ...  Salman Rushdie

If citizens cannot trust that laws will be enforced in an evenhanded and honest fashion, 
they can be said to live under the rule of men corrupted by the law ... Dale Carpenter

Corruption arises out of discretionary powers vested upon politicians, civil servants and judiciary, without any accountability, which are being misused for amassing ill-gotten wealth. These must be replaced with robust merit based algorithms. Transparency & accountability must be established at all levels. All government expenditure must have prior legislative sanction. Executive sanctioning of schemes, expenditure or anything must be prohibited. Every process of law administration must have legislative approval prior to implementation. Citizen rights must be respected under all circumstances by every one. Courts must deliver judgments within six months. VIP culture must be abandoned. These are few things which must be adopted immediately and refined continuously for establishing a happy society.

Beware of those propagandist tricks

The daily belabouring of issues only creates a frenetic public parade of issues and allegations. But nothing is followed up to establish the truth.
  • In a democracy, those who are spiritual have to be political. It suits the interests of the corrupt and oppressive players in politics to sustain the myth that politics is a truth, justice, welfare, den of scoundrels. 
  • Politics is sacred. A Swachh Bharat will be possible only through swachh politics.
  • Commitment to truth is the core that spirituality and politics should share. Truth operates on the ground as justice. Justice addresses human dignity and welfare. Wherever truth is compromised, people’s welfare has suffered and oppression has bared its fangs.
  • It is politics that contextualises commitment to truth and makes it concrete. Those who care for truth in politics remain continually vigilant against every measure, every propagandist trick, meant to hypnotise the masses. 
  • Commitment to truth creates a national culture marked by scientific temper and rational thinking.
  • Capacity of the masses to think rationally can be disabled by a variety of factors such as lack of education, their inability to think rationally, their vulnerability to propaganda, the non-availability of relevant data, the creation of hype and waves, and so on.
  • Democracy, especially, is under a duty to educate and empower citizens to think rationally and choose objectively. Oppressive regimes are averse to spreading education and free thinking.
  • The dogmas of patriotism and nationalism are valuable to the extent of serving as catalytic agents to galvanise people’s energy for nation-building. But in the history, these concepts have been used mostly to spread hatred among nations and within them, between castes, groups, communities.
  • Commitment to truth on the part of citizens requires that they see through the avalanche of issues. An illusion of upholding accountability is created by the daily belabouring of issues. A new issue is ushered even before the current one settles down. Nothing is followed up to the extent of establishing the truth of issues. Nothing changes.
  • In a democracy, its citizens must remain in harmony with one another. They should never treat each other as enemies. Enmity is spread by vested interests to thrive by polarising citizens. The policy of ‘divide and rule’ never promotes people’s welfare.
  • A democracy ought to take care of the majority that are poor. The fruits of development should be distributed preferentially among the poor. 
  • The oligarchic element lurks in every democratic polity should never be allowed to become powerful enough to scuttle democracy. The corporates of today are the successors of yesteryear oligarchs. 
  • The threat that the oligarchic elements hold out to democracy becomes ominous when the media play a partisan and propagandist role. When this process crosses the Lakshman rekha, it imperils democracy.
  • The dogma of stability and its implications for the dynamic of democracy needs to be watched. Every centre of power is apt to deem itself to be the sole and legitimate custodian of national destiny. It views prospects for change with extreme intolerance. This keeps the dividing line between ‘freedom of choice’ and ‘sedition’ continually fluid. This brings ‘the right to choose’ under extreme stress and strain.
  • The difference between a corrupt government and a tyrannical one is that the former knows itself to be a bird of passage and are fixated on reaping a bumper harvest in quick time. A tyrannical government is obsessed not with megabucks but with self-perpetuation. It substitutes the money with monopoly. The corrupt do not wish to be caught. The tyrannical do not wish to be shown the door. Both addictions harm democracy. And both skip on thin ice.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Implausible Indian media suffers trust deficit

During 2017 increasing numbers of people express no faith in the mainstream media. Main stream media houses owned by business houses are biased and are TRP driven. Their focus is on earnings, breaking news, advertisements and hardly get any chance to verify the veracity of the news. Driven by competition, the media and journalists became corrupt, lacked ethics & morals, irresponsible, spread fake stories and fake propaganda etc leading to erosion of public faith. With media suffering enormous trust deficit, their viewership has eroded and people started depending more and more on social media.
  • During the last two decades, rules and norms of journalism have been cast aside amidst the frenzied competition. Loose allegations, without even the basic verification, are broadcast and published with little fear of defamation. When today's news is the next hour's history, then truth can lose out to sensationalism with worrying consequences for media credibility.
  • Journalism is the activity of gathering, assessing, creating, and presenting news and information. The purpose of journalism is to provide citizens with the information they need to make the best possible decisions about their lives, their communities, their societies, and their governments.
  • Journalism must be fair and accurate through objective methods and managing bias. Journalism is different from other forms of communication and that is what make it indispensable to democratic societies.
  • Our journalists of present days are simply presstitutes not journalists.        Presstitute is defined as an individual reporter or news broadcaster, or a media news group, who reports to be unbiased but is in fact tailoring their news to suit someone's goal of corporations or big businesses or political parties.
  • The implausible Indian media is known for spreading fake stories and fake propaganda and none believes its news stories. The journalists turned to be PR agents of few political parties to earn benefits.
  • There are now more than 500 channels across the country, a third of which are news channels. Add over a 100 million newspaper copies that are sold every day, more than 8 million internet users, and the image of a news-driven society is complete. When consumption reaches such mammoth proportions, the media is bound to play a larger-than-life role in our lives.
  • Media is one of the most corrupt institutions with no ethics, no morals, no patriotism and no responsibility. They are divided by names and united by TRP ratings. In most countries people won't trust media content which has vested interests and exploit the situation for gaining TRPs.
  • Every night we see news anchors to play judge, jury and executioner. From being neutral and detached observers of the news, media have arrogated to themselves the right to speak for the nation. If you look at media now, all the hosts of these other shows are interviewing themselves. The guests are a prop for the anchors.
  • Very often Indian journalists use silly issues blown out of proportions to create panic among public. In India media and people form Lutyens club of Delhi and play main role in spreading fake stories. The poor and middle classes have no idea what exactly is the truth and tend to believe these media stories as truthful.
  • With trust deficit, news channels have turned out be gossip boxes. With emergence of social media, main stream media has lost relevance and viewership declining.
  • The media pretends it is speaking for the anonymous masses but the same audience believes it has the right to hold the media accountable. The media, which holds the rest of society to a higher standard of accountability doesn't adhere to those same rigorous standards. 
  • History reveals that the more democratic a society, the more news and information it tends to have. The media is supposed to reflect the opinion and voice of the unheard where as in reality they are for rich and influential people giving rise to total trust deficit.
  • The media as a whole must not be judged by the flawed behaviour of a few. The media is made up of hundreds of committed journalists, reporters and news gatherers all of whom do a tough honest day's job in bringing you the news without fear or favour. It is they who uphold the spirit of journalism.
  • A recent poll suggested that 97% of those polled did not trust journalists. Another poll ranked the media just above real estate agents and politicians in the trust factor. Restoring the media trust deficit is a distant mirage.
In the infamous 2G Scam case of Rs.176,000 crores, the special CBI court judge, on Dec 20, 2017, acquitted all accused stating that prosecution has miserably failed to prove any of the charges against any of the accused. Special court judge said that “a huge scam was seen by everyone where there was none. Some people created a scam by artfully arranging a few selected facts and exaggerating things beyond recognition to astronomical levels.” Former PM Manmohan Singh said the 2G scam was a massive media propaganda against the UPA without any proof.