Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Burhan Wani

Isn't it amazing that a 22 year (only) old boy, Burhan Muzaffar Wani was the most dreaded terrorist for the Indian state..

Isn't it alarming how his killing has affected the public to come out onto the streets of Kashmir?

30 innocent Indian citizens are dead. Over 150 have suffered bullet injuries. Over 50 will lose their eye sight forever. 7/8 police personnel too have lost their lives.

It seems he was the poster boy of new-age militancy, as he was believed to be intelligent and belonged to a well-off family of teachers. He was proficient in using social media and managed to attract local youth into the separatist program in Kashmir. http://a.msn.com/01/en-in/BBu6YmO?ocid=st

What is responsible for making this young guy a terrorist? The story goes like this: One evening, Burhan had gone for a motorcycle ride with his brother Khalid and a friend when they were beaten up by personnel from the Special Operations Group (SOG) of J&K police. That was the tipping point. Burhan was 15 and a student of class X, when he left home to become a militant (in the eyes of the state), a separatist (in the eyes of a common Kashmiri).

In April 2015, his brother Khalid who was doing his PG in Economics was killed by the Army in an alleged fake encounter which had no bullet marks on his body, but smashed teeth and a broken skull. His only crime was that of being born as the brother of a Separatist militant.

Would these killings stop the separatist tendencies in Kashmir, in Assam, in Nagaland, in Manipur? Can we please sit and understand why do we have such separatist tendencies?

Most importantly, lets not consider him a Muslim Jehadi. His being a Muslim is just incidental. Before him, many educated Hindu separatists and innocents have died in Assam, many educated Christian Separatists and innocents have died in Nagaland, many Buddhist and tribal Separatists and innocents have died in Manipur.

One police officer in South Kashmir said, "What Burhan started won’t end with his death, it may get a fresh life with his death’’.

India will have a tough time if we don't understand the basic spirit of liberty and identity that guides humanity.

AUCTION OF OIL FIELDS - CORRUPTION, ILLEGALITY AND ASSAM

Assam is witnessing mass protests and effigy burning of the month old Chief Minister Mr. Sonowal over his toothless stand on the privatisation of the 12 oil fields in Assam. Ironically, he once fought with the people of Assam for 'Tez Dim Tel Nidiu' (will give blood, not oil).

oil fields auction assam sarbananda sonowal bjp
The supporters of Privatisation say that the protestors are ignorant and have no concrete reasons to protest. They are just wasting time and hampering development and creation of jobs.

I am however grateful that Assam has taken a stand on behalf of the whole country and has stood strong as an example to protect the country and its natural wealth from corruption and selfish capitalism.

Right from Govt. forcing ONGC to take the 450 billion dollar loan from World Bank in 1991 with the condition that oil fields have to be opened up to global private capital (when they could have easily raised capital instead); the controversial Panna-Mukta oilfields in Bombay High given to the Reliance-Enron consortium for a paltry 12 crores; false declaration of its actual potential, after ONGC had spent 7000 crores in getting that geological data etc (even Petroleum Minister Satish Sharma allegedly took 4 crores, ONGC top boss was involved); ONGC CMD S L Khosla joining Reliance after allegedly disclosing all 'work programme' through the then Director Mr. Ravi Bastia (who too joined Reliance) about ONGC's data about Krishna-Godavari basin. (Read the book - Gas Wars); allegations that one OIL CMD was directly involved in the giving out of Kharshang oil field to private ENI Group / Jubilant Group; to the disqualification of the auctioning of 214 coal blocks from 1993 to 2009 by the top judiciary in 2014 saying that "the entire exercise of allocation through screening committee route thus appears to suffer from the vice of arbitrariness and not following any objective criteria in determining as to who is to be selected or who is not to be selected."; it makes it evidently clear that the natural resources of India is in DANGER from selfish capitalist and corrupt officials/public servants/politicians (perhaps to fund elections). 

The supposedly learned are saying that OIL and ONGC have said that they can't operate these oil fields because of lack of technical expertise and that the fields are too small for big players. The Petroleum Minister said, “Many of the big oil sector companies do not have the technology or managerial skills to exploit small oilfields and so we are allowing firms that have the technology and skill to bid for them”. 

There is no truth in such statements. Can he produce the document certifying the first right of refusal by OIL and ONGC? One must read the editorial by an OIL employee today in Pratidin dated 11th July 2016. He says, 'there is an attempt to belittle the navratna OIL and maharatna ONGC with these false allegations'. He says, 'there is not a single instance that he knows when work has stopped due to lack of funds or technical expertise or infrastructure'. He further adds, 'when OIL has invested in exploration, excavation and even transportation of OIL/Gas from Sorojoni, baruahnagar, Dipling, Merem, Duwarmora and Jeraipathar, there is no question that OIL will now not be willing to do the only remaining work of taking out OIL/Gas' (and leave that to the private companies).

Guwahati-based political commentator and economic analyst Adip Kumar Phukan says, “That argument is wrong. OIL couldn’t work in the Jeraipathar field because of local resistance. The government failed to assure people about the safety of the Rohmoria embankment near the field. However, OIL is still extracting oil from Sorojoni”. 

Also, who says that companies eager to bid are small companies? The second biggest group of Korea, ENI Group etc are not small companies in any parameter. 

IS IT EVEN LEGAL?

With the various acts like the Coal Mines Nationalisation Act of 1973, Oil Field (Regulation and Development) Act of 1948, Petroleum and Natural Gas Rules of 1959, Petroleum and Minerals Pipeline Act of 1962, the citizens of India had given the authority to the central Government to become 'trustee' of the resources so that the resources are not used for commercial purposes, so that the resources are only used for the common welfare of the society without commercial baggages. The Govt. cannot become the AUCTIONEER of the property. They do not have the right to sell or lease the property of the people to a private entity. 

In his petition to the Court regarding the Coal allocation, advocate Sanjay Parikh had referred to the 39th article of the constitution which says the Govt of the people is only responsible for the natural resources and therefore cannot be the auctioneer of the same.

The Supreme Court in its judgement relating to Coal Allocation has pointed out that 'The Coal Mine Nationalisation Act and further amendments in 1976 do not allow PSUs to mine coal for commercial use. The auctioning processes has therefore blatantly defeated the legislative policy in the Act'., and hence giving it to private companies may be termed as illegal.

This worry and the other concerns are evident in the emotions of the wide scale protests in the streets of Assam. Unless there is transparency, white papers being circulated in the public, we the citizens have to protest against such Govt. actions that may be detrimental to the welfare of the common people at large.

Protests are specially required when our minister Mr. Pradhan blatantly brags about Rs. 4000 crores coming to Assam's economy and not explaining how. It is specially required when there is public knowledge of corruption getting into the system of privatisation. It is specially required when there is no concrete reason the state cannot do the same work that a private company can.

When we have made acts that natural resources should not exploited for commercial reasons, the State can therefore exploit the natural resources by undertaking losses if needed be, for the common good of the people in providing electricity and employment. The funny question is why would there be losses, when private companies are so eager about these fields.

Lastly, Assam wont be left behind if these Oil fields are not privatized and in fact India will learn a lesson or two from Assam being a forefront leader in terms of opposing corruption and anti-national exploitation of natural resources. There are hundred other industries where private capital can bring in a change in Assam, namely Food Processing, Fisheries and Muga/Edi Silk.. 

Why are Governments so anti-national? 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Muslims Marry Multiple Times. Bullshit.

I get baffled when some of my friends tell me very emotionally that Muslims marry multiple times and have 3-4 children from each of his wives, for I have only seen and heard Hindu men marrying multiple times and having children from them. Although it does not mean that my friends are wrong, yet it means that they are not entirely right. It is a loaded biased statement to attribute multiple marriages and many kids to a religious community.  

I am a Hindu and I have 12 maternal and paternal uncles / aunties. My wife has 23 uncles and aunties from her Grand Father and his two brothers. Let me tell you that I am not alone in this number game, and neither were our grand parents belonged to the Muslim community. I have also known Hindu men who had two wives. In the generation and times of our Grandfathers, polygamy was more commonly seen and accepted in the Hindu society.

Yes, there may be cases of polygamy in Muslim families as well. But is it fair that we target a religion for polygamy and therefore higher birth rates?

Constitutionally, polygamy was made illegal only around 1956 by Pt. Nehru and Mr. Ambedkar. So social changes take time. Statistically, the birth rate of a Bangladesh Muslim woman is lower than a Hindu woman in India. The difference is starker when that Hindu woman is from Bihar.

So, this population theory accusing the religion of Islam is bullshit. It is seen that societies belonging to the lower socio-economic classification in terms of education and income have higher incidences of polygamy and higher birth rates. Religion has no long term relation to birth rates.

It is a appeal to the general society that lets not get xenophobic and spread untruth about certain communities, and instead spread peace between religions and class, by reading history, social sciences and worldly current affairs.

Humanity is above all. Love is supreme. Peace is paramount.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Rongali Bihu: A very Happy New Year for me.

I started the first day of this Assamese Year 1424 by touching the feet of my parents, asking for their blessings; and giving them small gifts of love. I am blessed to have got this opportunity for the second time in my aware adult life. But when I look around, there are not many old parents and not many children who are as fortunate. They live far away from each other.

Families in Assam are separated today, separated for economic reasons looking for a better life, for a better livelihood. We separate for a better education, and then for the lack of an employment opportunity in our home towns. I separated from my parents at the small age of 11 years when I got admissions to study in the prestigious Sainik School Goalpara in 1987. From then, till January 2014, I stayed away from my parents and my close family in almost all the festivals. The separation was became starker after I had started working in a full time job from 2001. The separation is temporary when you are away from your family for higher studies. It becomes semi-complete when you start working separately from your family, and then becomes complete when you marry and raise your own family away from your parents.

It is only when I had quit my job in Mumbai, shifted to a small town called Duliajan in Assam, and started staying with my parents, in the house built by my parents, that I started understanding and appreciating the significance of a simple family life with your parents and neighbors. It is surprising that the idea of progress has somehow become an anti-thesis to a happy joint family life.

FAMILY LIFE

Everyone needs a house to live in, but a family of elders and children inside makes it a home. A home is where one learns the softer aspects of life. A school gives us technical education in various subjects. It makes us eligible for a career. A job gives us experience in doing a particular commercial activity, and gives us money in return. A home and a family gives us love, gives us unconditional support and teaches us the values and frailties of human life.

Our home and our family teaches us the values of tradition, of relationships, of money, of happiness and sadness. It lets us experience old age through the eyes of our grand parents and then our own parents. It makes us modest about the inevitability of the disabilities that comes with age. Most importantly, our family helps in binding us to the values. We may dislike the binding that a family builds around you when we are young and rebellious, but my impression is that we will cherish those bindings and strict rules, as we grow older and wiser.

Surely, our families cause a bit of heart-ache as well. For instance, I have come to realise that in every dispute between parent and child, both cannot be right, but they may be, and usually are both wrong. Interestingly, it is this situation that gives family life its peculiar charm.

ECONOMIC LIFE

There is no denying the fact that it is difficult to earn a good living in a society which is not doing well in terms of a healthy business environment. Assam and its economy could not flourish to give its citizens enough jobs and business opportunities. Secondly, our education made us 'un-suitable' for agricultural handwork and income. Agriculture being our primary occupation traditionally lost its charm as a career avenue and that caused a lot of strain on our societies and families. It became one of the major reason for the separation in our family systems. It led to 'un-naturally rapid' work-led migration from villages to urban areas in the state and outside the state.

Economic life in a village, staying with your family, was centred around cooperation and coordination. It was based on sweet (sometime sour) relationships. The whole village was a well-oiled support system for an individual in his economic, social and spiritual journey of life. In contrast, life in an urban area is isolated, individualistic and materialistic. Materialism after a certain threshold becomes competitive and leads an individual away from the cosy comforts of a family.

Also, the economic life of a village could not connect to the markets of the urban economy and the produce of a rural economy couldn't demand its rightful value in the globalised economy of today. As a result, the rural economy didn't get efficient. Adding to that was the land availability for a growing family. This was a concern in the smaller towns and villages closer to towns where land ownership was not enough for a growing family. Children had to move out in search of a career to other regions of the state, and mostly outside the state.

Lastly the manufacturing and the service sector didn't mushroom in our state due to various reasons which could have created many jobs for the youth of our families.

MY STORY

I want to tell my story in a small town with no family land, after living the life of a highly paid MNC employee in the most urban of urban cities, Mumbai; with a hope that perhaps it can be a thinking point to leave the logically obvious lucrative urban individual life.

It is quite obvious that I feel quite strongly that it is more fulfilling to be with your parents and your children growing up with your grand parents, grand uncles and aunties. I would never go back to Mumbai. I have been refusing lucrative job offers that have come my way to take me back to Mumbai.

I am happy. It is surprising even for my wife and so it may surprise you as well. I need to tell you that  that simple reason why I am happy is because I have made my life simpler, easy. My easy life like everybody else's, revolves around a few beliefs. My beliefs are just simpler and basic.
  1. Knowing to keep yourself busy is the first step to happiness.
  2. Although it is better if you get to do what you love, to earn a living, yet there is nothing worse than not doing anything for the want of doing something you love.
  3. Handwork and focus guarantees your objectives in life within a justifiable time frame. No point in getting impatient. 
  4. Your life is as good as the good that you do. Being good is about trying to be truthful, not thinking ill about anybody and not doing anything that may harm any third party emotionally or physically.
  5. Believe in the dignity of labour irrespective of the kind of labour that you put in. The society loves or hates you because of your character or nature; definitely not because of the kind of labour that you do.
  6. You become a better person if you can sacrifice your immediate happiness to take care of your parents and elders.

These are easy beliefs that everyone is aware of and the good news is that they work.

I had my plans when I left Mumbai. They didn't materialise, given that the complicated planning was done in Mumbai without studying ground realities of a small town, and my own abilities to organise a business. When you work for someone, you only acquire skills. You do not become enterprising. I didn't learn to become a businessman.

To keep myself busy, I had my fallback options ready. We had a small shop with a tailor and a few embroidery machine. My parents had established that shop to retail school uniforms and to take orders for embroidery. Since my parents had practically retired from the business, the shop was making losses. I was never involved in the business, but without a second thought, I started attending the shop. With time, the shop had its own ways to keep me busy. It gave me ideas that can be tried. I didn't care about the tag of being a shopkeeper and started investing time and money into the shop. I had the advantage of knowing computers that helped us plan better. I had the advantage of language and experience of living in Mumbai to get supplies directly from manufacturing hubs, in order to offer a competitive price for school uniforms. I could understand the intricacies of the business within no time and the business peaked up after the first 6 months.

It was easy and I was less stressed. More than that I was having breakfast, lunch and dinner at my home with my family: my parents, my wife and my two dogs.

I am happy with my easy life. I even take a nap in the afternoon once in a while. Even when I am busy, I am busy with my own work that matters to me directly. I get time to clip the nails of my parents, shave my dad's beard, visit my relative's place and get to know about my family history. These are small pleasures of life that completes your life.

Embedded below is a video of Jon Jandai who had given me inspiration about leading a simpler life and a happier life.