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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ten Issues - 23

1- Retuning Alha Udal : The lustrous versatility of film music, and change wrought by time. Gulzar knows our culture more than anybody in music industry.

2- Evaluating responses to India's macroeconomic crisis by Shubho Roy and Ajay Shah.

3- Not an April Fool: We are encouraged to over-share, for commercial reasons (just as we are encouraged to over-consume, but that's an issue for another time).

4- वक्‍त की छलनी में चेहरे गुम हो जाते हैं, गीत अमर रहता है ♦ जावेद अख्‍तर - पिछले दिनों जावेद अख्‍तर को राष्‍ट्रपति ने राज्‍यसभा की सदस्‍यता दी। 17 मई 2012 को जावेद साहब ने संसद में अपना पहला भाषण दिया।

5- Sheryl Sandberg’s Inspiring Speech At Harvard Business School. Sandberg urged the new graduates to think of their careers as a “jungle gym,” jumping around instead of following a preordained progression. She urged her listeners to take similar leaps, perhaps accepting a job that’s a step down from what one is currently doing if it offers the chance to learn something new. “If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship,” she said, “don’t ask what seat—just get on.”

6- Graduate Student: To Be or Not To Be by Karthik Shekhar who is a graduate student at MIT. He earned a Dual Degree in Chemical Engineering in 2008 from IITB.

7- An Open Letter to India’s Graduating Classes - The author is a partner with KPMG.

8- We are now going to uncloak the anonymous man and tell the story of Stephen Ridley. Life is short - you're young, you're old, you're dead. React to that knowledge. You have nothing to lose.

9- Why People Should Not Be Poor by Neera Chandhoke - Can we reflect on the right not to be poor without taking on these background inequalities? Arguably, the right not to be poor is best articulated as a subset of the generic right to equality. The concept of equality is, however, not self-explanatory. In many circles, redistributive justice has replaced equality. It is therefore time to ask the question – equality for what? Unless we are careful about the way we approach the poverty debate, we will land up not with equality, but with “sufficientarianism”.

10- ARTICLE 17 is a campaign launched by Video Volunteers on April 14th, 2012, to urge the National Commission for Schedule Castes, (the government body that is constitutionally appointed to direct and implement the safeguards against untouchability), to prosecute cases of untouchability.

Thought of the Day : - “The worst illiterate is the political illiterate, he doesn’t hear, doesn’t speak, nor participates in the political events. He doesn’t know the cost of life, the price of the bean, of the fish, of the flour, of the rent, of the shoes and of the medicine, all depends on political decisions. The political illiterate is so stupid that he is proud and swells his chest saying that he hates politics. The imbecile doesn’t know that, from his political ignorance is born the prostitute, the abandoned child, and the worst thieves of all, the bad politician, corrupted and flunky of the national and multinational companies.” ― Bertolt Brecht

Monday, May 28, 2012

Ten Issues - 22

1- Banning middlemen from oil trade could drive down price of crude by 40% : These middlemen add little value and lots of cost as they bid up the price of oil in pursuit of financial gain. They are "pure" speculators - investors who buy and sell oil futures but never take physical possession of actual barrels of oil.

2- Daron Acemoglu on Inequality - The US, the UK and many other countries have become far less equal over the past 30 years. The MIT economics professor says it's important we understand how and why this happened, and what it means for our societies. He also review Five Books.

3- The Emperor Uncrowned - A complete reportage on the rise of Narendra Modi.

4- The new think tank by Niranjan Rajadhyaksha:- Dry intellectual pursuits such as neuroscience and auction theory are solving problems on the ground. We met four people whose models prove how.

5- December 1984 By Sathyu Sarangi : Many of the battles begun 25 years ago, in the aftermath of catastrophe, continue today. A deep and moving saga of the struggle of Bhopal victims.

6- Of chick charts, hen charts and other such women’s stories: Saba Dewan - This could be termed as a pioneer of the Feminist movement in modern-day Delhi. It will be difficult to fathom that such sexist and misogynist behaviour existed in educational institution.

7- Plutonomy and the precariat: On the history of the US economy in decline - Prof. Chomsky explains that the current US economy is built on 'growing worker insecurity' - people who are too busy and poor to make demands.

8- The Importance of Not Being Earnest : The larger implications of a country that takes itself too seriously. - We as the Public India seems to have no sense of humour at all. And all attempt of sarcasm and other sharper kinds of humour.

9- Marx at 193 by John Lanchester - Writer review here importance of Marx and he really did have the most astonishing insight into the nature and trajectory and direction of capitalism.

10- Great biographic article on Prof. Amartya Sen who studies of social choice, welfare measurement, and poverty and do research on fundamental problems in welfare economics.

Quote of the day :- Personally, I'm in favor of democracy, which means that the central institutions of society have to be under popular control. Now, under capitalism we can't have democracy by definition. Capitalism is a system in which the central institutions of society are in principle under autocratic control. Thus, a corporation or an industry is, if we were to think of it in political terms, fascist; that is, it has tight control at the top and strict obedience has to be established at every level - there's a little bargaining, a little give and take, but the line of authority is perfectly straightforward. Just as I'm opposed to political fascism, I'm opposed to economic fascism. I think that until major institutions of society are under the popular control of participants and communities, it's pointless to talk about democracy.” — Noam Chomsky

Monday, May 14, 2012

Personal Reading History -2

‘Time, like a fistful of sand, slips through our fingers while we stand and wonder what to do with it.’

A habit is must for proper utilization of the time during our growing years. I had a nice habit of book and comics reading from the childhood days. I have already written a brief about reading history in a previous post (Personal Reading History -1). In retrospection, it feels great that I have read so many books, comics, stories and poems.

I want to read with the growing age the best of all world literature. It varies with the short stories of Anton Chekhov, Guy De Maupassant, Somerset Maugham, Tolstoy, Oscar Wilde and O Henry. UP, CBSE and ICSE board short stories and in English and Hindi from class 5th to 12th were fondly read by me. Smriti by Sriram Sharma, Gift of the Magi by O Henry, The Model Millionaire by Oscar Wilde, Idgaah by Premchand and A Letter to God by Gregorio Lopez y Fuentes (Translated by Donald A. Yates ) are still mine favorite stories.

Books Read at friend's place: Panchatantra, Sindbad the Sailor, Pinocchio, My experiments with Truth, Gulliver Travels, Chandrakanta Santati and Prisoner of Zenda.

Books read in School Library : Moby Dick, Three Musketeers, The count of Monte-Cristo, A Christmas Carol, Time Machine, The War of Worlds, The Invisible Man, The Thirty Nine Steps, Oliver Twist, Great Expectation, You can win by Shiv Khera, Frankestein, The Red badge of courage, King Arthur and Round Tale, Sunny Days, Malgudi Days, Plays of Shakespeare

Books Read in Hindi Translation: David Copperfield, Ivanhoe, The Man in Iron Mask, Black Beauty, Call of the Wild , Treasure Island, Kidnapped, Black Tulip, Alice in Wonderland, Robinson Crusoe, Swiss Family Robinson, Talisman, Don Quixote, Robin hood, Around the world in eighty days, Coral Island, The Adventure of Tom Sawyer, 20,000 Leagues under the Sea.

These books were treasure house of enjoyable and informative literature that I had read in my wonder years. Sometimes, it was encouragement of the parents and cousins that later on converted into my own initiative. Thanks to my sister also who competed with me in finishing a book as fast as possible. Later on, the reading habit died due to my own negligence beyond class 10th.

I never seek happiness as those who run only for happiness never find it. On the surface when life becomes "eat, drink, be merry." It is superficial, and one day everybody get bored sooner or later. Some will seek refuge in religion and others in the work. It is extremely important to pick an advisors, mentors, friends and role models who are concerned about our intellectual growth and not just our productivity. Productivity is just like machine but thinking is done at different levels. We can only pick the best of ideas by becoming morally serious and intellectually curious.

I like books and write outdated essays on the blog. I always aspired to become an average educated reader for understanding the world around me. Currently, I appreciate reading mostly non fiction books. Simultaneously, I introduce popular concepts and idea that focus on the problems and prospects of sustainable development at this blog in a lucid manner. I feel indeed as a custodian of a common heritage of the civilized world through this cultural tradition of reading and writing.

As a grown person, it seems beyond understanding that scholars have stopped just reading novels and poems and started studying them. That is tragedy of Literature. While most of mine friends and classmate lack the habit of reading books for pleasure. Only few had started reading beyond school books, other just prefer to watch TV and Internet. They watch TV so the attention span is low. May be because people don’t read books these days.

Reading is tough and requires patience. It actually needs application to grasp the meaning of words and find hidden emotions between the lines. I act as writer at this blog. This blog is a demanding, difficult and not much reader friendly...highly personal place, typically filled with short insights. But if you have arrived here for a light-hearted entertainment's on your mind, then this blog is a wrong location in blogosphere.

As a writer, I have began to doubt my own capacity to see things unbiased, when I no longer am sure if my view is right or left. Yet, I am trying to remain as independent as possible. I suspect that market forces have altered the behavior of writers. That bothers me a lot. I will easily pass away, unnoticed and unremarked with time. Just let me read and write without censure story of my own. I thanks books as they had changed exposure and outlook. A nation must have its culture rebels, prophets, saints, heroes and martyrs. I am none but a Reader and Writer.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Development in a Trimester of rural management - 3

Continuing from the 2nd part of the Development series in RM , I will move towards the 3rd part of the learning in the field of Rural Management.  Here in 6 points what I learnt in last 3 months:

1- Integrity and Humility are more necessary to success than the knowledge. Only creating assets and giving knowledge is not enough but the spirit of service is far more essential for a rural manager.

2- For-profit firms, they argue, often face pressure to abandon social goals in favour of increasing profits. Non-profit firms and charities are needlessly restricted in their ability to raise capital when they need to grow. There should be a third way of developing the objectives of both firms.

3- There is a misplaced tendency to look at "progress" through the eyes of people in power or in powerful economic institutions. There lies a great assumption that if they do well, wealth/prosperity will trickle down into the lives of ordinary people. This approach is one of the many 'indicators' of the development, not the only one as perceived by mainstream.

4- Government can give equal opportunity to all, but still a Steve Jobs will be a Steve Jobs, all people are not going to become Steve Jobs. Equity does not mean that all children must learn the same thing at the same rate but they have the same access to same infrastructure and facilities.

5- LPG are regarded as panacea of all the problems. I don't agree with this trend. Often assets and infrastructure created that are more beneficial to the elites than the poor who created them. I am not yet sure of the access of the vulnerable group of assets created in NREGA.

6- The true institution failure happens when the voice of vulnerable people are kept silent. Not being organised, they lack representations in social, economic and political institutions and often fail to participate despite granted rights. Most of the time, they form group on the basis of their social identity and caste system thrives with changing times.

Summary of One Year :
It is not the most talented who survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones who are most responsive to change. One year has passed since my admission in 2-Year Full Time Postgraduate Diploma in Rural Management. I don't much bother academic competence but trying to learn with each passing moment. MBA degree is a fast-track exposure to various functions in the organisation -- sales, marketing, human resources, finance, product management and strategy. While development studies take s in the domain of sociology, anthropology, economics, political science and even public administration. Rural Management is a hybrid mixture of both these domains. I have not allow myself time to settle down. I tried to jump at every opportunity, to do as much as I could with my time. Rural Manager is needed to harness grass-roots dynamism and entrepreneurial potential. Hoping to convert this knowledge to some useful actions.

XIMB -RM has taught me the tact to handle of academic pressure. Still, much can be done to put a student through an intellectual rigour. I never tend to prioritize the number of hours spent in the classroom over the quality of teaching, that helps me much in assessing impact of classroom lectures on me.

As an IT engineer with 12 hrs 3.5L job at MNC was good but never a satisfying one. It is not money that has tempted me to give up a stable career at IT firm and enter rural management program. It is the freedom to read widely, think deeply, write independently and keep learning—the opportunity to live in the world of ideas and realities simultaneously. I have achieved a lot of mine goals and pretty happy with my progress. In the end, I still ponder over a simple question - But what does it mean anyway — development?

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