Wednesday, September 17, 2008

10 things about my nation I wish to change

There are many things that my nation needs to change. But of those, here are 10 that I strongly believe can and should be brought in. What I personally can do for these is another question, the answer to which would probably reveal the inherent inactivity and cowardice of my nature.

1. Changing the religious atmosphere:
Public houses of worship of all sorts (except those with tourist value) be converted to schools of Indian values. Teach people about their language (Sanskrit and Urdu), about ancient wisdom, about Indian medicine, about Indian values of satyanugrah, salaah, sangharsh and jihad against the atrocities of life itself, about the Indian way of life, and about purusharth. Make them think about what is good in other cultures and what isn't - what is worth adopting and what is to be warded off. Teach them to be thrifty in spending and buying only what they *need*.

2. Changing the roads:
Only electric and mechanical vehicles on the roads of my country. No use of diesel/petrol.

3. Changing the way of recreation:
No big budget entertainment. Cut the pays of actors and cricketers who are eating into the government's budgets. Take a stance on concerts and plays rather than movies. Let cricket be a sport and be treated like a sport. Only people passionate about it should be in it - not people who think advertising is the way to go.

4. Changing the government's way of spending money.
Absolute transparency in government budget allotment and use. Here's one possible solution. Create a new agency called the Tax Bank. All tax payers' money goes into their own individual accounts (that's about a 25M accounts). Government agencies pick up money from these accounts as and when they need it. Each time they do so, they file an application to do so, stating their purpose and their expected expenses. The people can then monitor what project their money is going into, and have the right to question the Government on the same.

5. Changing the Politicians:
All (aspiring and existing) politicians to give up all their property holdings and money to the government. All (possibly only male) politicians be required to serve in the army for at least 1 year. All politicians be required to work in public service departments of one or the other

6. Changing the way of law enforcement.
More authority and better pay to law enforcers. Keep them motivated to serve the country. Anybody found engaging in bribery of any sort should be executed, not sent to jail.

7. Changing the economic outlook.
No further selling of agricultural land to property builders. Stop all property projects and concentrate on getting food and medicine for the underfed and the sick. Stop cutting trees and creating new houses. All big houses should be broken down and several small houses should be created - enough for everybody to live in - a simple two room flat is good enough for a family of 4. Permit bigger houses only for joint families - that too be strictly commensurate to the number of people dwelling in the house.

8. Changing the rivers of my country
Spend a lot of resources on finding good ways for waste disposal. Then spend energies in cleaning the rivers of this country. Let the water of the rivers be drinkable again. (This would be perhaps the last thing on the Government's minds). But it is so important that this happens.

9. Changing the face of scientific research in our country
We are lagging behind the rest of the world in scientific research because we are racing them in their own way. Why are we even trying to catch up with everything that the US does? People there only know and use the "what"s and "HowTo"s of science. We should have research done in a manner that considers consequences of direction (like why am I developing this new program compiler?), trying to answer the "Why"s and "What for"s of science. Not every discovery or invention, is useful, though it can make money. Throw away all such inventions to selling them to the westerners (they love them!).

10. Changing people like me
I am an example of a person with some ideas, little validation and no action. If I changed into a being that acts on his thoughts, I may bring about changes I think are good. If the people of this nation changed their mode from thinking and speaking to doing... it sure will be a different world.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sorry! But we're Indians

Is it a thing to be sorry about? To be an Indian... Not really! Though, the day doesn't seem too far away. We have managed to pick up so much from the western culture, and yet here are a few questions:

> We've managed to learn to respect people wearing shirts and suits, while we haven't still caught up with the stop-at-red-lights culture.
What is it about us that wants to make us unruly on the roads? Why can't we peacefully stop when the lights turn red? Is it that hard? Why can't we drive in a single lane? Why do we take pride in driving faster than other drivers?

> We've managed to learn how to build good roads, and yet lost the honesty involved in building them (look at the sorry state of the roads in my country...). Why are the roads always broken when there's rain? Why are some roads never repaired? Does our government have no money? Or no time?

> We've learnt to accept the rock culture (and gay parades...), and yet we don't have enough tolerance towards the different religions that color the people of our nation. Why don't we abolish all such religious practices that create friction between fellow earthlings? Why doesn't our government ban public religious activities altogether? Did Gautam Buddha acquire enlightenment in a crowd? Did any rshi or any sant ever find God or Allah in a temple or in a mosque? I say, break all the temples and all the mosques in this country and create houses for the poor and food for the underfed! Let God be in our hearts and not in some buildings of grandeur.

> We've learnt English as our medium of communication - a good thing since it links us with the world. But why have we lost touch with Sanskrit, Farsi and Urdu? Why have we forgotten these languages that define our culture? Why should all the authoritative books on Sanskrit and Urdu come from people of foreign origin when this is the land of their genesis?

> We've learnt how to make money (or have we?). But why are we headed in the same capitalist way that the US did? Why do we ever believe that their economic stances are superior to those taken by our ancients? At this time, I remember one small piece that our beloved martyr Bhagat Singh wrote: The light burns dim in the lamps of the needy, and in such light a thousand revolutions thrive!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

India's Dependence on the US economy

It is sometimes disheartening to know that the once glorious nation, the gold reserves of which drew raiders and plunderers from around the world, and the culture of which inspired million, is so dependent on the economy of a nation built on the principals of debts, mortgaging and capitalism, and with no culture of its own. So much so that when the dollar falls with respect to the rupee, all is lost for foreign trade and exports; and when it rises, the purchasing power of the country's masses goes down. What's up?

Why is this dependence so deep? Let us try to analyze. India exports services and goods to the US. A chunk of India's GDP comes from selling these things, and a major chunk of this chunk is in trade with the US. As a result, if things don't go well within the US and people stop buying things, India's exports are hit. Now when the dollar falls against the rupee, Indian stuff in the US becomes expensive, and so the returns are fewer. What about selling to other countries? Well, they don't have that many needs (because, quite frankly, none of the other countries are as consumerists as the US). And as a matter of fact, the other countries don't have the means to import too much.

And when the Indian rupee falls against the dollar, obviously, the people can buy less. So how can we break this vicious circle of dependence?


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