Sunday, December 23, 2012

Brutal Violence Against Women

While justifiable outrage has occurred to protest against the brutal rape of the medical student in the capital city, the cynical view is that this is just the cycle of anger followed by life as usual. Nothing will change unless we understand that a society based on a collective consciousness of naked pursuit of wealth and power divorced from human values cannot be free from such cycles of violence. While human nature is essentially divine, the creature called man is capable of rising above all to reach divine levels, but is equally capable of sinking to levels of bestiality that can make the most ferocious creature appear tame.

While not alluding to specifics, i wish to recall the episodes of Satyameva Jayate where domestic violence against women on the issue of dowry, the brutalization of children by close relatives, murder of the girl child and violence against elders were highlighted. We lamented the waste of a Sunday morning and criticized The show and called it a publicity stunt. The brutalization of the women in the North-east due to AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act) has been going on for years but since this is not affecting me, can i be bothered about it? We live in times where the state government which aided and abetted the worst crimes and bestiality against women more than a decade ago gets reelected thrice and shamelessly projects its leader as potential PM. Khap Panchayats order killing of women merely because they dare to love and be faithful to their love. Do we protest then? Do we even care?

Violence starts in our lives in every thought word and deed. Often the negative thought that results from anger and leading to hared, leads to harsh words and violent actions. An unkind word or expression of ill will can hurt more than a tight slap. Our desires to acquire material things at all costs, results in anger and tainted attached actions. The food we eat arouses passions and the consumption of animal flesh, unnatural to our species and nature can lead to violent behavior. Without for even a moment condoning, the violent behavior of the Delhi rapists, I feel the lack of proper exposure to sex education and the culture of patriarchal dominance must be addressed, if we wish to see a solution to this endless cycle of violence against women.

Also, it shames me to see the women coming out in the streets, to protest, while we men go about our "business as usual" attitude. For change each of us must introspect and try to eliminate violence in our thoughts words and deeds and be the change that we want to see in our neighborhood. We must rediscover our divine true consciousness and create a cumulative consciousness, which can foster an era of safety and security for one and all.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

FDI in Retail

Disclaimer : I am not an economist nor an expert on this matter, but as a citizen of this nation, I have to decide what is best for me and my country.
So where do we begin?? The basic premise is that the development model India is pursuing is probably now nearly completely divorced from the vision of the welfare state that India saw herself as in 1947. This debate is not new and it surfaces every time the monopolies and licence permit raj is dismantled. However, like in all situations extreme positions lead to disastrous situations. The Congress justifiably says that the opposition speaks the language of opposing when out of power, only to enact the same legislation when in power. So where is this debate on FDI in retail different?

The demography of India is slowly changing and an agrarian society based on low scales, massive production losses and lack of technology needs to get a boost. However, the boost cannot be at the cost of loss of bio-diversity, native wisdom and destruction of ecology and a model of unsustainable development which is imported from the West. If India and China reached the same consumption levels as the US of A there would not be any earth left. While I am not a Luddite who wants to take us back to the pre-industrial era, i believe that a food chain model based on organic farming, with active encouragement to the native farmer to protect his seeds and improve them is the way forward. A top class cold chain for storage and a practice of giving best prices to the farmer, while ensuring reasonable cost to the consumer will result in gains for everyone and our country. Do our expert economists and confident industrialists need FDI to ensure the above reforms. While i do believe that there is no need to reinvent the wheel in every case, my common sense says that the provisions of FDI in retail stipulating only 30% of local sourcing, means that the local manufacturer will take a huge hit. Are foreign investors charitable philanthropic organizations coming to emancipate our farmers, or are they coming for the massive profits that the increasing buying power of the Indian consumer can give them?? The answer is obvious.

The last question that comes to my mind is that can we the common man have any say or power in this matter? Does this Government, perceived as the most corrupt Government of post-independence India have the credibility to take such major decisions without a wide ranging consensus?? What the opposition leader said in Parliament about Walmart, Pepsico, Carrefour etc. is nothing new or unknown, what frightens me is the disconnect of the middle class and the nouveau rich with the farmer and the poor vendor who has served them faithfully all these years. It seems that naked self interest of the political classes will stage manage a debate and ram through the reform which they desire collectively. The poor of this land will be the ultimate loser.

Yours sincerely