Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A short allegory

A wonderful, kind and gentle mother has one son*. A few years later she gives birth to another son. Initially she gives more attention to her second child as he requires more support.  Sometimes, the elder one feels neglected, but the mother counsels him saying, "your brother is but a child, he needs more attention. Come, you also help me look after him".  The elder one understands and joins her in taking care of the little one.

After a few years, the younger one has grown up some, but being used to getting partial treatment, continues to demand more attention from the mother.  When there is a conflict between the two siblings, the mother chides the elder one and asks him to give in graciously.  "After all, he is your younger brother", she says.  The elder one quietly acquiesces.

As they get older, the younger child becomes more and more independent, but since it is a gradual process, the mother does not notice it and continues to favour him.  One day, the older child complains and the mother then realizes that, just maybe, she is being unfair to the elder one by continuing to be partial to the younger one.

She could react in two way. over-Compensate and become partial to the elder one, or become completely impartial and treat both children alike.

How she behaves now will dictate the relationship between the brothers going forward.

For the allegory challenged:
The mother is India,  the elder son is the majority Hindu population and the younger son is the minority population.

At what stage are the minorities in now?  Is India over-compensating? Will India learn to move towards becoming an impartial country with a level playing field for everyone? What do you think?

*N.B. I have not used daughters specifically because daughters are not treated well at all in India.  When will India provide gender equality is a question for another post.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Why are you not worried?

Imagine for a moment that your great-great-grandfather died a very rich man. However, (also imagine) he did not directly bequeath all his fortune to his children, but made some peculiar arrangements for the distribution of his wealth.  Instead of dividing his fortune equally among his children, he proceeded to do the following:

1.  He put his entire money into his trusted bank
2.  He ordered the bank to never divulge the exact amount available in his account.
3.  He then instructed the bank to give out money to his descendants as and when they requested for it.
4.  He left a note to his descendants requesting them to dip into his fortunes only to cover for any shortfall, that is, only when they had spent more than they had earned that month/year.

From then on, his children and their children and so forth down to our generation (you, your cousins and second cousins, running into hundreds) have been going to the bank from time to time with requests and the bank has been honouring every request made with nary a peep.

However, lately the bank manager, without divulging any numbers, has been cautioning all of you with phrases like "um... you should not assume there is an endless supply of money, you know" and "Maybe it is time to consider living within your means, no?". This gives you some inkling that may be the inheritance is not infinite, after all.

Now imagine that
1.  You are earning only 60% of your annual expenses [Needing to go the the bank for the remaining 40%]
2.  You are unable to increase your earnings significantly
3.  Your expenses are increasing year on year.

Will you be worried about the future?  What will you do?  Think about this before reading further.

Well, this is exactly the situation we are in.  August 13th of this year (2015) was deemed the Earth overshoot day.  That is the day when we consumed all that the earth can produce in a year.  Which means that for surviving the rest of the year, we have to dip into our inheritance (our forests, our oil reserves, the other fauna and flora that have taken millennia to develop).

In another 15 - 20 years, the overshoot day will be sometime in June, which means by then we will be needing the produce of two earths to live each year. Unfortunately there is only one earth.

Now the question that is begging to be asked is this:

Why are you not worried?

The original can be read here.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Living like there is no tomorrow

To all those who believe everything is fine with the world, to those that are constantly goading others to see the positive side of things, and to those that say nature will take care of us, here is some news - I am pissing on your parade.

Your belief that all is fine with the world is delusional.  Your "positivity" is not a strength of character to be proud of but escapism.  Your naive belief that nature will take care is misleadingly true - it will take care of itself, not you.

If only you pause for a moment and let those doubts that you have, but are denying, sink in you will surely realize that the way we are living is unsustainable.

In the eight months this year, we have consumed more than what the earth is capable of producing in an entire year.   The petrol and diesel that we are guzzling took  millions of years to produce.  The trees we cut in a day took decades to grow.  By 2030, we will need the produce of two entire Earths to sustain us for a year.  In case you are wondering, there is no other Earth.

If monsoon fails in India (and studies show that it is getting more erratic each year), the entire agrarian population will lose all its income and food costs around the world will go through the roof.

So stop being smug and start worrying.  Only then can we go on to the next stage.

If you live like there is no tomorrow, there surely won't be one!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Time to say goodbye to organized religion and religious practices.

Let's get straight to the point here.  It is time we did away with organized religion and religious practices.

Undeniably, from the beginning of civilization, the single biggest cause of war and strife has been religion. Though the proponents of religion will site several examples where religion has contributed positively to human existence (art and architecture are justifications often heard), the misery that religion continues to cause us makes such contributions pale in comparison.

While doing away with religion entirely would be ideal, it may not be possible just yet.  After all, the need to believe in the existence of a higher power, and the need to find meaning for our relatively insignificant existence is deeply rooted in the human psyche and one cannot wish it away.

However organized religion is something else altogether.  It is clear that organized religion has evolved and exists today solely to manipulate the masses.  From the shamans and witch doctors of yore to the popes, priests and imams of today, all are guilty of exploiting peoples' need for God for their own nefarious purposes.

Obviously, we cannot get rid of these organized religions by asking them to disband themselves.  They are too rich, powerful and power-hungry to relinquish something they have built over millennia.  However, we are, as individuals, still free to escape from their clutches.

Towards this end, let us together launch the 
Movement to Promote the Abandonment of All Religions and Religions Practices.  
To join this movement, what you have to do is the following:

  1. Keep your religion an internal one.  
  2. Remove all outward symbols that broadcast your religion to others, including but not limited to special attire, markings on your body/face, referring to your God out loud, participating and conducting religions rituals and celebration of religion specific events.
  3. Avoid espousing the benefits/advantages/superiority of your religion.
  4. Stop visiting your temple/mosque/church/synagogue. Importantly stop filling up their coffers with contributions.  If you need to ditch guilt money somewhere, then use it to feed the poor or fund some other meaningful social cause.
  5. Allow your spouse and more importantly, your children to choose their own set of beliefs.
  6. Name your children in such a way that your religion is not discernible from their names.
  7. Changing your name is probably going to be too complicated, so just introduce yourself as EKA followed by your name.  EKA is short for Earlier Known As and pronounced ee-ka.  That way, everyone will know you belong to the movement.
  8. Though this movement will not have any central office, will not collect any monies from people, nor have any logos and symbols associated with it beyond its long and unwieldy name, it is important to ensure that this does not end up becoming another religion.  At the same time, it is important that people who join the movement let others know about its existence.  So, if you belong to and believe in this movement, you will greet others with the word "Peace" instead of hello, hi or any of the common words of greeting.
  9. If somebody wishes to learn about this movement, share with them this note and allow them to decide for themselves.  Do not proselytize.
  10. Sincerely believe that this world and all its resources belongs to not just humans but to every living creature on this precious planet and act responsibly at all times.

In the immortal words of John Lennon: -
Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today...

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...