Monday, March 31, 2014

How would you measure development?

Another opinion piece on development...

The conventional definitions of development, democracy etc are far removed from reality, human happiness as well as from long term sustainability. There are misreadings of what is happening; other things simultaneously happening are deliberately ignored and the whole picture is missed; from there the wrong inferences are made; and then "solutions" are proposed that will send us all down the toilet.

While taking us out of one set of dogmas, we've been plunged into yet another set of dogmas, another religion that pretends not to be a religion : a religion of money. One where money in itself is ultimate; and the economists are the high priests who invent complicated explanations to disguise the fact that most of their money is fake; created out of thin air and is then traded for real wealth (food, land, water, minerals, products, labour), hence short-changing the people and inevitably causing inflation. They interpret everything as and when it suits them, at their profit and everyone else's loss (minting money and taking huge loans to help big industries and banks and airports is fine; but oh no! there is no money available to invest in transitioning off fossil fuels or to improve basic services). This religion has zero tolerance for anyone daring to question the mainstream discourse on what development should really be.

It is this religion that has decreed that India must compete with China and the West, that GDP must increase at an accelerating pace at any cost; that stock markets indicate the progress of the whole country; and many other things.

These pre-set agendas lead to an inevitable advocacy for centralized control and dictatorship. In that world-view, with those dominant parameters, Modi is a perfect fit. Those who want high GDP growth at all costs will find Modi a logical choice. It's not just media propaganda... it's also the religion of money that most of our middle and upper classes are unknowingly practising  that is driving them towards seeing Modi as the perfect and logical solution.

Within these standard definitions, there is seriously no way AAP can compete with Modi in destroying India and the world.
Our duty is not to compete with Modi in destroying our future; but to question and redefine the conventional definitions and measurements imposed on us.

Those who say that India is losing to China and the West... within those narrow frameworks, we're not supposed to win at all. It's a race to the bottom. Winning, as defined by the religion of money, will actually make India lose. So we need to rebel against the value systems of these guys. India failed to achieve high GDP growth? That's like saying a man has failed to abuse his children. Or a natural disaster has failed to kill enough people. Or a car driver hasn't lived up to the expectation of mowing down enough pedestrians. That's supposed to be good news! So, we've got to change the discourse... blindly accepting Word Bank standards and then starting to compete along them is only going to do us more damage.

Here's one development parameter I'd like to see adopted as an alternative to all the GDP, industry, stock markets etc:
The number of people in the country going to bed hungry at night. (With the aim of achieving the lowest value possible :P)
That's quite measurable; and it would be a great place to start changing the discourse and defeating the high priests of the religion of money.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Mano ya Na-Mo FAQ-4 - Isn’t Narendra Modi the best option we have?

Copied from https://www.facebook.com/notes/nomore/faq-4-isnt-narendra-modi-the-best-option-we-have/671095096289802

#‎NOMOre_2014 Mano ya-na-mano

Q. Isn't Narendra Modi the best option we have?

This of course depends on your individual social location – If
Narendra Modi's stint as Chief Minister is anything to go by, his rule
has been good for the super rich and urban elite but the urban poor
continue to remain poor and people in the rural areas have been
subject to state violence and extreme distress. Fisher folk in coastal
areas and other marginalised groups have been dispossessed of their
land land and news of farmer suicides regularly emerge from the
state. Minorities, especially Muslims, have been subjected to violence
and intimidation well beyond 2002 when at least thousands were raped
and/or butchered. Here are some more reasons why Modi is far from
being the best:

-The so-called development for which Modi's rule put so many lives
at stake is largely a hoax. Gujarat's growth rate under Modi is
significantly lower than under the previous non-Modi regimes. In the
same period that Gujarat was run by Modi, Tamil Nadu and Maharastra
registered higher GDP. Gujarat's growth rate for the period between
2004 and 2012 is 3.4%, lower than both Tamil Nadu and Maharastra and
significantly lower than Bihar's 6.5%.

-If Modi is contesting for the top-post he has to respect democratic
principles of governance but his past record shows scant respect for
the same. The Gujarat Assembly runs on an average of 30-32 per year.
The state had not had a Lokayukta for 10 years when the High Court
cleared the candidature for one of its own retired judges in January
2013. But in April 2013, the Gujarat assembly gave the government all
the powers vested with the Lokayukta, rendering the position
toothless. If today Modi has a 'clean' image this is no small part
because the institution to keep corruption in check was crushed by his
government.

-Documented evidence collected by state and UN organisations show no
increase in employment levels in the last 12 years, poor public
education infrastructure, high rates of malnourishment among infants
and adult women, skewed sex ratios, higher incidents of crime against
women.

******************************
Brought to you by the NOMOre Campaign, 'Mano ya Na-Mo' is a
pre-election series which aims to bust the myths perpetuated by
Narendra Modi. We challenge his empty rhetoric with hard facts, so
that voters can cast an informed vote. NOMOre Lies! NOMOre false
promises!
#NOMOre_2014 NOMOre
FOLLOW US ON TWITTER- NOMOre_2014
https://www.facebook.com/CampaignNOMOre

Mano ya Na-Mo FAQ 3. - What is the Alternative to Modi ?

Mano ya Na-Mo
Q. What is the alternative to Narendra Modi?

Quite a few people have been posing this question to anyone who
opposes Narendra Modi. It is a question that can be traced back to
NaMo, and pushed relentlessly by mainstream media. It is also a
question designed to be impossible to answer because it is a non
question. It makes no sense, like asking urban citizens what the
alternative is to purchasing an expensive Mercedes car against a high
interest loan for daily commuting, makes no sense.

For Lok Sabha elections in our parliamentary democracy, voters choose
between sets of ideals and policies presented by political parties,
and not between prime ministerial candidates. This is a scenario which
is fraught with difficulties for NaMo. For all the hype generated
around NaMo, there is precious little detail shared about his
policies. And NaMo is notorious for avoiding any situation where he
can be questioned on policy, such as addressing press conferences or
interviews with independent journalists who won't agree to prep the
questions with him first. He is comfortable only delivering prepared
speeches. Even these reveal more about his ability to launch attacks
on opponents than they reveal on policy.

How does NaMo overcome this distinct disadvantage in the battle of
ideas which is election in a parliamentary democracy? By using non
questions like this one to avoid a debate on ideas. By trying to
reduce general elections to a personality contest which obscures the
real question. That real question would be – What are the alternatives
to the ideas that Narendra Modi represents? And for this real
question, there are many, many answers. As NaMo himself says, we need
only look to his record in Gujarat to find these.

The alternative to NaMo is respect for all faiths and a state blind to religion.
The alternative to NaMo is development that works for all and not only
the wealthy.
The alternative to NaMo is a state that does not fudge facts and
figures to hide immense deprivations and exclusions behind a mirage of
so called development.
The alternative to NaMo is a climate for free and independent media.
The alternative to NaMo is a state that does not routinely murder
innocents of all faiths in encounters as personality building
exercises for elections.
The alternative to NaMo is a state that does not punish public
servants for doing their duty, when this duty clashes with its
interests or aims to expose its misdeeds.
The alternative to NaMo is a state that does not file cases against
victims of communal riots, but against the rioters.
The alternative to NaMo is politics that respects women and will have
no truck with criminals like Pramod Muthalik of Shri Ram Sene who have
publicly beaten up women for exercising their freedom to go to a pub.
The alternative to NaMo is inclusiveness, not majoritarianism.
The alternative to NaMo is commitment to pursuing peace in a spirit of
brotherhood as opposed to rabble rousing, sabre rattling and extreme
communal nationalism.
The alternative to NaMo is respect for dissent.
The alternative to NaMo is preservation of your fundamental rights.


Brought to you by the NOMOre Campaign, 'Mano ya Na-Mo' is a
pre-election series which aims to bust the myths perpetuated by
Narendra Modi. We challenge his empty rhetoric with hard facts, so
that voters can cast an informed vote. NOMOre Lies! NOMOre false
promises!
#NOMOre_2014 NOMOre
JOIN IS ON FACEBOOK AND SHARE WIDELY
FOLLOW US ON TWITTER- NOMOre_2014
https://www.facebook.com/CampaignNOMOre

Mano ya Na-Mo FAQ 2 - SIT has given clean chit to Modi, why should he be culpable for Riots ?

Copied from https://www.facebook.com/notes/nomore/faq-2-sit-has-given-clean-chit-to-modi-why-should-he-be-culpable-for-riots-/670596619672983

Mano ya Na-Mo
Q2.- Hasn't the Special Investigative Team (SIT) done the most
detailed investigation against Modi? If they have given him a clean
chit, why should he still be held culpable for the riots of 2002?


The SIT's investigation was anything but detailed and the so-called
clean chit is, at best, dubious. The SIT was constituted with the sole
aim of establishing whether there was enough evidence to prosecute
Modi for personal involvement, and not to establish criminal
culpability conclusively.
Moreover, even though the SIT has stated that judicial proceedings
against Modi are impeded by a lack of evidence, a senior advocate
appointed by the Supreme Court thinks otherwise. According to him, a
prima facie case against Modi can be drawn up and brought to the
courts.
Similarly, investigative journalist Manoj Mitta (who had severely
criticized the investigation of the 1984 riots) in his recent book on
the SIT investigation of 2002 has confirmed that the investigation was
a shoddy affair. He points out that during the so-called
interrogation, Modi was neither legally obliged to tell the truth nor
was he cross-examined on a single response. The contradictions in
Modi's own statements that the SIT let go unchallenged reveals a
narrow understanding of what constitutes legally permissible evidence
(for details, see this link).
If the SIT was indeed keen on establishing culpability it could have
looked for undisputed facts elsewhere:
- Modi kept the army at bay and allowed the massacre to carry on for
far longer (three days) than it would take to rein in supposedly
"unruly thugs".

- Police officers who tried to prevent murders were transferred from
their posts immediately.
- The Gujarat police obstructed the filing of FIRs against rioters;

- Investigation of cases against the rioters by the Gujarat law
enforcement agencies was slipshod, or obstructive;

- The Supreme Court itself has accused the Public Prosecutor of
Gujarat of acting on behalf of the accused rather than against them.

- Little or no support was offered to victims in the immediate
aftermath of the riots.

All these point to an efficient institutional mechanism with the
explicit purpose of obstructing justice. More recently, Zakia Jafri
has made an appeal in theGujarat High Court against this clean-chit,
alleging that the SIT has not conducted a free and fair investigation.
Indeed, with Modi being at the helm of affairs and controlling the
direction of the investigation, it seems that the one giving out a
clean chit to Modi is Modi himself.
************************************************
Brought to you by the NOMOre Campaign, 'Mano ya Na-Mo' is a
pre-election series which aims to bust the myths perpetuated by
Narendra Modi. We challenge his empty rhetoric with hard facts, so
that voters can cast an informed vote. NOMOre Lies! NOMOre false
promises!
#NOMOre_2014 NOMOre
JOIN IS ON FACEBOOK AND SHARE WIDELY
FOLLOW US ON TWITTER- NOMOre_2014
https://www.facebook.com/CampaignNOMOre

Mano ya Na-Mo FAQ 1 - Why do you only talk about 2002? What about Congress and 1984?

Copied from https://www.facebook.com/notes/nomore/faq-1-why-do-you-only-talk-about-2002-what-about-congress-and-1984/670596233006355

Q1 . Why do you only talk about 2002? What about Congress and 1984?

Both 1984 and 2002 were riots of genocidal proportions and are,
therefore, indefensible. Communal violence against any group,
organized by any party (especially one in position of power and
responsible for protecting the citizens) is a moral as well as
criminal offence. However, there are reasons why a voteagainst the BJP
is a stronger vote against communal violence:

- BJP has enabled the rise of a man who is arguably the chief
perpetrator of large-scale, targeted and horrific violence to the high
pedestal of prime ministerial candidate, which is not true of any of
the other parties with equally brutal histories of communal violence.
Also, there is evidence linking Modi's right-hand man Amit Shah to the
recent violence in Muzaffarnagar, where the latter is known to be
building a Narendra Modi Army.

- BJP has an explicit ideological commitment to communal politics. A
majoritarian politics of excluding, marginalizing and ultimately
eliminating minorities is at the heart of BJP's nationalist agenda and
the stated goal of many BJP leaders. Under the Vajpayee rule, not only
did the BJP government oversee the genocidal violence against Muslims
in Gujarat, Christians in Jharkhand,Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh
were regularly brutalized.

- A vote for BJP today is a vote for majoritarian politics of hate.
Modi has delivered numerous speeches humiliating minorities before he
was declared the Prime Ministerial candidate. Several other leaders
and party members still use foul language and tactics of physical
intimidation to crush the marginalized and the dissenters. Vocal and
physical violence, both everyday and large-scale, is what Modi's
party, and the man himself, stand for.

************************************************
Brought to you by the NOMOre Campaign, 'Mano ya Na-Mo' is a
pre-election series which aims to bust the myths perpetuated by
Narendra Modi. We challenge his empty rhetoric with hard facts, so
that voters can cast an informed vote. NOMOre Lies! NOMOre false
promises!
#NOMOre_2014 NOMOre

https://www.facebook.com/CampaignNOMOre

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Is AAP a creation of the media?

With a little bit of logical processing, this statement being shoved onto audiences nowadays by the Indian mainstream media, pretty much eats itself. Let me explain how :

If a certain political entity, created for the purpose of contesting for and the government of a country...
If such a political entity actually is a creation of the media, ie, if it orginated in corporate boardroom desks and did not emerge from the people,

Then the media that created it, will NEVER acknowledge it.
Because such an acknowledgement would be nothing less than a confession to complicity in a mass fraud perpetrated on the people of the country, by the institutions that have been entrusted with the duty of simply reporting to the people what is happening in their country. It would be an admission that they have lied to the people, for the express purpose of making the bad guys their rulers.

So, any person speaking on behalf of a TV news channel or newspaper...

That claims to that a certain political party was CREATED by them...

..Will invite legal and criminal proceedings upon his/her media entity, which if proven will permanently shut that entity down and end its members' careers for good. Because it will be a case of fake news reporting; fraud perpetrated on the people by a medium that had been trusted to give them real news.

Because of this simple chain of cause-effect, if the media ever does do such a thing, they will never, ever publicize it. It will be the equivalent of a person in government proudly showing off how much money he/she has siphoned off in so and so scam, or at a lower level, a burglar showing off to the whole town whose house he just robbed and how much did he loot.

So, what to make of the current allegations being brazenly put forth by a large part of the Indian media that they created the AAP?

Simple : If it were true, they wouldn't be saying it.
The only available deduction here is that they are lying.

But one would wonder where  the seed of saying something like this came from... well, you don't need to look much further; just look at a similar statement that the media is NOT saying, is steadfastly denying or ignoring. Here's my little educated guess:

Narendra Modi's perfect-for-PM image is the creation of the media.

Addendum: Here's an interesting possibility:
Someone ought to file a PIL against the media organisations that are claiming that AAP is a creation of the media.
If they're telling the truth, those mediapersons / organisations have committed fraud with the people.
If they're lying, those mediapersons / organisations are committing fraud with the people.
Either way, they're lying to the people!

Is is possible for an AAP-led government to become a dictatorship?

"When Arvind Kejriwal will come to power, he will grab power and sideline everyone and become a ruthless dictator"
This is an oft-repeated statement, and I must notice that the people who say this usually fail to mention that this is exactly what Narendra Modi or Sonia Gandhi (through sonny boy Rahul) plan to do.

There is a mistake in the structural analysis here of the BJP/Congress and the AAP. We're taking the normal structure of the former and imposing it in full on the latter without checking the details. So, here's my inference:

The candidates that are standing for elections as members of AAP, can not really be described as AAP's candidates, even if unfortunately we're enslaved to using that language.
From the limited names that I have checked and talked about with people (who know them well) so far, here are some common characteristics I'm finding:
  1. Independent thinkers.
  2. Committed to the people.
  3. Caring for the people.
  4. Consistent track record as good doers.
  5. Cannot be corrupted, manipulated, deceived.
  6. Having a good amount of clarity about what is right and what is wrong.

If you put a person having these characteristics in your country's Parliament, then irrespective of which political party's candidate he/she was before getting elected, after elections this person will live up to the textbook description of a representative of the people living in his/her constituency.

These people will not be commanded from any "high command".
They will not vote on laws as per their party's stance. They will develop a consensus amongst themselves on what is wrong and what is right in most cases of course, but their vote will go to that option which they themselves think is best.

So, supposing that Aam Aadmi party does get the mandate, and forms a government,
And supposing that the line at the top turns true,
Then what will happen in the Parliament is this : AAP's MPs will SCREW Arvind Kejriwal if he ever dares to do as claimed.
This won't be horse-trading, as these people cannot be traded. They will simply vote and act against anything that they feel is wrong. Just like you and I would. Just like a real person would.

Aam Aadmi Party is not a creation of the media; but Arvind Kejriwal's image as the "boss" of the party is most certainly the exclusive creation of the media. All the people in AAP that I have gotten to know thus far, either through personal contact, through trusted sources or by analysing what they speak and write, I can tell you this for sure : NONE of them think of Arvind Kejriwal as their boss. Their reverence seems to be reserved singularly for the people for whom they say they have entered politics. Every one of them maintains an identity of their own; has their own likes and dislikes, opinions, affections... These are real human beings collaborating with each other. By consensus they concede some authorities to certain persons that they trust will have do the right thing.

Can anyone say the same about BJP or Congress candidates? Will any of them ever consider an option to act against their "high command" or commander-in-chief as is BJP's case? No. They are drones, robots. The vast majority of them (and mind, never use exceptions to pretend that the rule isn't there) are the representatives of their party; They are NOT representatives of the people.

So, given the structural composition of AAP, I would take a call here and say that even if Arvind Kejriwal does ever act like a dictator, it is physically impossible for him to grab and act on any dictatorial powers, even as Prime Minister. The MPs who make him PM, will destroy him the second something like this happens.

However, Narendra Modi, and any possible Congress-PM, most certainly will, excepting of the people whom he is serving and taking orders from.

So, the choice for the voter is as follows:
1. BJP/Congress/the like : Absolute Dictatorship at the Central govt level. (as is prevailing right now)
2. AAP / independent candidates : Democracy at the Central govt level.
3. NOTA - none of the above button. But this will in effect be a vote for whoever's garnering most votes anyway... this is not a neutral stance. So watch your priorities.

Now, for those who think that this dictator will be a good one : What will you do about the one who succeeds him? Why pass on that looming disaster to the population 5/10 years down the line? Why not take a chance to put in a structure that doesn't allow those in power to turn into dicators?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Womanifesto 2014

I completely endorse this and stand for it in heart, mind and spirit. Do you?

INDIAN ELECTIONS 2014 WOMANIFESTO

1. EDUCATE FOR EQUALITY
We will implement comprehensive, well-funded and long-term public education programmes to end the culture of gender-based discrimination and violence. Th ese will include: SMS, radio and TV public service campaigns, accessible lesson plans for schools, modules for training teachers and to train professionals such as doctors and lawyers. To this end we will reach men, women, boys and girls in both urban and rural areas.

2. MAKE LAWS COUNT
  • We will ensure each government agency produces a detailed action-plan to implement laws to end violence against women, and we will fund it. 
  • We will work with state governments to provide comprehensive services to women who are victims of violent crimes, helping them to fund and set up one-stop, 24-hour crisis centres and safe shelters in each police district, and to give swift fi nancial compensation. 
  • We will create and fund a comprehensive scheme to prevent sexual abuse of children, including safe childcare for children in villages and urban jhuggis, and awareness campaigns among children and parents. 
  • We will work with state governments to establish responsive and fair fast track courts for crimes of violence against women and raise the number of judges to 40 per 1,000,000 population. 
  • We will also ensure increased access to accountable legal aid, ensure that money damages are rapidly paid by the State in cases of sexual violence, and create robust witness protection programmes.

3. PUT WOMEN IN POWER
  • We will support the Women's Reservation Bill in the Lok Sabha, and ensure that women will be represented in all councils, committees and task forces related to policy and practice across the board. 
  • We will support the adoption of a Code of Conduct to disqualify electoral candidates who have committed o ences of gender-related violence and end misogynist comments and behaviour in the Lok Sabha. 
  • We will strengthen the autonomous functioning of the National and State Commissions for Women, with experienced professionals being selected through a transparent process.

4. POLICE FOR THE PEOPLE
  • We will establish and enforce a comprehensive response protocol for crimes against women, and publicise it. 
  • We will work with state governments to change service rules and ensure police and prosecutorial recruitment, promotion and penalties are made on attitudes and performances based on gender. 
  • We commit to implementing police reforms and to ensure that police personnel who breach the new procedures are investigated and disciplined accordingly. 
  • We will also establish rape crisis response teams, with rural and urban pilot projects.
  • There will be zero tolerance of moral policing by State and non-State actors. 

5. SWIFT, CERTAIN JUSTICE
  • We will support amendments to laws that perpetuate violence and discrimination against women and sexual minorities, and those that directly/indirectly sanction discrimination against women on the basis of religion, caste, sexuality, age, economic status or disability. 
  • We will stringently implement the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostics Technique Act. 
  • We will support the amendment of existing laws, to remove the marital rape exemption, repeal Section 377 IPC and make sure that the rape of any person is criminal. 
  • We will change the law so that consenting couples aged 16 and 17 do not fall foul of rape laws. 
  • We will remove the impunity to perpetrators of custodial rape under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and will appoint special commissioners in confl ict areas to monitor and prosecute sexual off ences. 
  • We will enact the Prevention of Atrocities (Amendment) Bill to stop crimes against dalit and adivasi women and commit to a strong law against communal violence that holds state and non-state actors accountable. 
  • We will take strong action against racial discrimination and violence against women from the North-East. 
  • We will push to enact a special law to combat honour crimes. 
  • We will take steps to bring speedy justice in long-pending cases of communal and caste massacres, as well as custodial rapes. 

6. ECONOMIC FLOURISHING
  • We will ensure secure, digni ed, remunerative employment for women. Action plans will be created to secure equal pay for equal work in all sectors; provide creches and other critical support to MNREGA workers; rights, dignity and minimum wage to all women workers in the organised and unorganised sectors. 
  • We will grant government employee status to ASHA and anganwadi workers in 'voluntary' schemes where women work with informal honorariums. 
  • We will push to amend the law to address the range of unfair discrimination at work, including in the unorganised sector and we commit to implementing the Central Government mandate under the sexual harassment law. 
  • We will bring universal, non-contributory old age pensions for women. 
  • We will create action plans to accelerate quality education for girls. 
  • We will devise a scheme to ensure that women achieve equal property rights in natal families and fair shares through marriage. 
  • Public toilets shall be set up, especially in the poorest areas, and all women will have access to regular, safe public transport.
  • We will ensure development justice for women and respect community rights to resources. 
  • All action plans will include infrastructure, personnel, training, monitoring and evaluation, supported by central finances. 


From : http://www.firstpost.com/politics/ls-polls-heres-civil-societys-womanifesto-for-political-parties-1425113.html

Here is the original document on Scribd:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/212559703/National-Womanifesto

(note, this is a copy-paste job from a PDF.. there may be some spelling errors)

Fwd: AAP Weekly Email Newsletter: 17th Mar to 23rd Mar 2014

Forwarding AAP's newsletter... some very interesting videos and articles linked here. Indians, make sure you vote in this election. Hit the "None of the Above" button if nothing else. It's inconvenient but we do have a chance through our participation this year to put a stop to further inconveniences and making national elections less life-and-death matters in the years to come.

Cheers, Nikhil

From: Aam Aadmi Party <admin@aamaadmiparty.org>
Date: Mon, Mar 24, 2014 at 1:30 AM
Subject: AAP Weekly Email Newsletter: 17th Mar to 23rd Mar 2014




AAP Weekly Email Newsletter: 17th Mar to 23rd Mar 2014

************************************************************************************

Storify facts and AAP blogs (click on link to view):

How voting for the BJP will bring back Congress to power

Corrupt and Criminals given tickets in BJP Lok Sabha nominations

Arvind Kejriwal's AAP Rally in Mumbai : A Photographer's Perspective - AAP blog

The AAP effect on Indian politics

AAP Articles this week (click on link to view):

AAP manifesto high on women's safety, minority rights - Hindustan Times 22nd Mar

AAP Ousts Two Members on Corruption Concerns - Wall Street Journal Mar 21st

Politically Inspired Technology - The AAP's my.aamaadmiparty.org platform - Economic Times Blog Mar 21st

AAP releases ninth list of candidates - The Hindu 21st Mar

AAP Delhi government resignation revisited - Economic Times Blog 18th Mar

AAP gears up for rally in Varanasi - Mar 19th Times of India

Aam Aadmi Party fundraiser collects Rs 50 lakh - Indian Express Mar 17th

AAP on TV this week (click on link to view):

ABP News Live: BJP afraid of AAP? Mar 21st ABP News

Arvind Kejriwal interview ABP News - Mar 19th

Tarkash with Rajmohan Gandhi - Rajya Sabha TV - 19th Mar

Gul Panag Interview On P7 News - 20th Mar

Arvind Kejriwal speech Bangalore - 17th Mar

AAP is a bit like the Bajaj Pulsar: Rajiv Bajaj - NDTV 24x7 19th Mar

______________________________________________

AAP website - http://www.aamaadmiparty.org/
AAP Facebook : www.facebook.com/AamAadmiParty
AAP Twitter : https://twitter.com/AamAadmiParty
AAP NRI Contact: nri@aamaadmiparty.org

----------------------------------------------------------------

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Open challenge to critics of Arvind Kejriwal

This is specially to all those who start frothing in the mouth with their hate for this guy : You have heard, read and watched what the corporate-controlled media has to say about him; but have you actually read or seen what the man himself has to say?

This same sort of thing has happened with Gandhi too... all my life I only knew what everyone else had to say about him; in 2012 when I finally read what the man himself had to say, specially in Hind Swaraj... it blew my mind. 

This book: Swaraj, written by Arvind Kejriwal, too blew me away. Whoever likened this with Hitler's Mein Kampf, has either not read Mein Kampf or has not read Swaraj and is definitely a liar. Why any need to bring in a corporate-sponsored dictator's analogy... this book is to Arvind Kejriwal as Hind Swaraj was to MK Gandhi. Simple, dude.

I hereby challenge all Kejriwal haters to read half of this (very small) book, and from that, say clearly, no hysterics, no he-said-this-she-said-that, simply lay down what parts you completely disagree with. What about partial disagreement? Well, for partial agree/disagree, you would not be such a virulent Kejriwal-hater. You either have to be in total disagreement, or abandon your stance.


To read more of what the AAP have written, go to https://www.dropbox.com/sh/65pfq08ehe7azyp/U4WXb5a0AZ

My resignation letter when leaving my corporate job in 2010

Holy crap, I just came across my resignation letter for leaving TCS, back in 2010. NO, there wasn't any controversy here!
The stuff I've written in there... well, back then I had no idea how things would pan out, I certainly didn't fully believe in what I was writing... it was just a gut feeling. Now... hmmm!

#########

Dear Sir/Madam,

My time in Tata Consultancy Services has been a very fruitful experience. In the past 2.5 years I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn and work  to my full potential in your esteemed company.

But over the past few months, several developments have taken place in my life. In participating in and organizing community and environment-related events with TCS Maitree, I have been exposed to several new things and a calling for which I feel I must act. After taking release from my project, I tried searching for projects in TCS where I can contribute my time in building a better future for ourselves rather than the usual ventures, which though great in themselves, won't satisfy my passion. Unfortunately I have so far been unable to find anything in my limited reach within TCS, and with pressure from HR coming to a conflict situation, I'm faced with a difficult decision.

It is a very personal decision on my part to, from now on, only work towards something good for our shared future. Maybe in social upliftment sector or alternative energy sector - I'm not sure. But I am finding more opportunities outside TCS than within, so for the next step forward I regret to say that I will have to discontinue my journey with this esteemed organization.

I may live out this dream along with, perhaps, higher studies aspirations in the coming years and then return back to the IT sector, in that case, TCS shall always reserve a fond place in my heart. I sincerely hope that by then the cafeteria in Gurgaon has started serving fresh fruit juice and salad ;)

I am extremely thankful to this company and all its people for giving me employment, a higher standard of living, essential skills, for teaching me so much in life. But now I have to move on to other avenues, as my heart is marching to a different beat now.

Thanks and Regards
Nikhil Sheth

###########

Remembering what happened to TEDxWestHollywood

Dear TED,
I used to be your fan; but somewhere along 2012 the new talks coming up started to look... jaded, as if there just weren't good enough ideas out there anymore. Which of course was false.
And then in 2013 I found out why : I came across banned TEDx talks by Rupert Sheldrake, Graham Hancock, and then an entire TEDx event that was banned!

This article describes about the event, how TED acted maliciously to cause deliberate harm to sincere hard work by people who genuinely wanted to share new ideas. It is one thing to state that you don't agree with them; but quite another to deliberately harm people you don't agree with. To what end? It's not to save anybody's life.

The banned TEDx event happened anyways; I have watched the talks that happened there and am SO thankful that the organizers soldiered on and made it happen, at great personal cost.

Do read this:

After coming across these events, I too have started boycotting the official TED events. Screw you, TED, for censoring new ideas instead of spreading them.

This is also an invitation to people to walk out of the religious, invasive, suppressive dogmas of the western mainstream academic and scientific establishment and to walk on to a better understanding of our world and our place in it.

Initial draft of my resignation letter to teach for india

Just came across this while going through out my google drive folder. While the final version was something I can't yet easily share, this one might help explain some of it to friends who have gotten to know me after mid-2012. This was a draft and I had asked a friend to co-write it with me over google docs. I particularly like the last note! 

Drop me an email if you wanna find out more... and here's an abstracted explanation in a video : My Experiences with Education and TFI https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2fy7pY3iqc
###############
Hi _____, Please help me draft my resignation letter!

Dear whoever-reads-this,

I'd like to be thankful for all the great experiences I've had in TFI. blah blah yada yada....

I've found out that I have some irreconcilable differences with the leadership above the PM level, including but not limited to the question of taking responsibility and being accountable for one's own actions which I just don't see happening.

Because of this, I don't think there's anything to stop the circumstances that created the last major issue (wrongful termination of a Fellow) from repeating. Indeed, over the progress of that case it has emerged that it wasn't a one-off and there have been many incidences and outcomes (particularly the last round of recruitment among 10ers) that are not in keeping with our core values as well as basic professional expectations. It's beyond my tolerance levels to co-exist with all this and beyond my locus of control to change any of this.

Added to this is a frustrating lack of any visible willingness to implement a ton of really good feedback that I'm seeing collecting dust while the same ways that have worked so far are repeated without due consideration given to new potentials. I'm seeing bureaucracy slowly and steadily snuffing out innovation.

These are only my personal views and are of course hotly debated but I can't get rid of them without erasing a part of myself. I can only foresee more conflicts arising out of these differences and judging from all that has happened in the past 1 month, I can tell it will hamper my performance as a Teach for India Fellow. Therefore, I think it will only be fair for my children if I finish this year and leave and another Fellow comes in my place from next year. It's regrettable that I wouldn't be able to finish 2 years or implement some things I'd wished to, but I think it's for the best.

I'm really grateful for all the blah blah... I also apologize for any inconvenience that I have caused to anyone in the progress of this year.


What it should ultimately mean:
F**k you all, I'm outta here.

#########

Saturday, March 22, 2014

AAP is half a century ahead of the other parties in terms of transparency with funding

What I love about this donation portal is that I can choose exactly which constituency my contribution goes to. So that's total localization : Even if I hate some other sections, some other candidates, I can ignore the others, and channel funds to the people I truly want to support.

AAP is half a century ahead of the other parties in terms of transparency with funding! 

Stock markets manipulation by NSA?

Knowing that they're being run by the same cartels that run the world's major industries and banks, DUH of course!

http://www.infowars.com/is-the-nsa-manipulating-the-stock-market/

Friday, March 21, 2014

Barack Obama exposed

Video : This lady points out exactly how Barak Obama has betrayed an entire generation of people who fell for his slick election campaign which was bolstered by the mainstream media.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Vikalp Sangam / Alternatives India: A website of hope

Vikalp Sangam / Alternatives India: A website of hope

www.vikalpsangam.org; www.alternativesindia.org

Are you tired of reading and hearing only about scandals, crime, corruption, and other such bad news? Sick of the depressing daily headlines? Do you long to hear some good news?

 

We bring you Vikalp Sangam / Alternatives India, a website dedicated to the creative work that people across India are doing as alternatives to the current models of destructive development and self-promoting governance. The site will feature initiatives in the fields of sustainable agriculture, pastoralism and fisheries, community health and learning, decentralised governance, social justice, dignified and sustainable livelihoods, decentralised water and energy production, equitable access to social services, producer and consumer control of the market, creative media and arts in the service of sustainability and justice, and democratic conservation.

 

The site covers stories, case studies, perspectives, events, and resources on the above; it will also be linked to one or more discussion forums. Initiatives covered will feature on a map of India. As far as possible, contact details of those involved in these initiatives will be provided to enable people-to-people contact. Most important, the site enables anyone to contribute material on initiatives they are familiar with, or working on.

 

We hope you find Vikalp Sangam inspiring!

 

Pl. contribute stories, perspectives, events, resources .... and provide links to this site on your sites, send out to your networks, put into your newsletters, etc.

 

Kalpavriksh, Shikshantar, Bhoomi College, and Deccan Development Society


PS: I'm one of the editors for this website.

Localization, democracy of energy production in Germany

From http://www.boell.org/web/139-Morris_GermanEnergyFreedom.html

German Energy Freedom: Moving beyond energy independence to energy democracy

Germany is known for its rapid transition to renewable energy technologies. But it is often overseen that it is not traditional utilities that drive the energy transition. Much of these investments in solar panels, wind turbines, and biogas plants come from ordinary people, from farmers and cooperatives.

Americans, on the other hand, love customer choice and the free market. But when do they pick a utility firm to buy electricity from? Or make their own energy profitably on a level playing field with the big guys? The American journalist Craig Morris argues that Germans have freedoms Americans don't even know they lack. The renewables sector is an excellent example.

Click here to read the publication. (10 pages, PDF)

Craig Morris is an American writer and translator in the energy sector who has been based in Germany since 1992. He directs Petite Plan├Ęte, is the lead author of www.EnergyTransition.de and writes regularly for Renewables International. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Swaraj : a must-read book for every Indian who wants to know what the real problems are in their country

This Book.. will knock your socks off! A clear root-cause analysis of all the problems affecting the country; and proposed solutions corroborated by both pre-1800s Indan history (when vast majority of India was practicing direct democracy.. it's our blood, guys!) and success stories from around the world.

AAP Vs Modi/BJP/Congress : A choice between reality and delusion

Pro-AAP arguments : There's a manifesto, a vision document, constitution, clear rules of conduct and consequences of misconduct, 
books with deep root-cause analysis of the most pressing problems (Read Swaraj, I challenge u), 
proposed laws with the details fleshed out, clear roadmaps for the country if they get elected, 
candidates who are leaders with clear reputations themselves and who are not slaves of any big boss. 

Even the dharna against UPA-govt-controlled-police's apathy (rather, incentives) towards rape, bride-burning and prostitution; 
(Women take note : Thousands of women in Delhi have gotten abused and murdered because of Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi : Delhi Police has to report to them ultimately; the state govt was always out of the loop.)
..The resigning of Delhi govt after Congress back-stabbed them and blocked JanLokpal after having vowed full support (funny how the complete betrayal never gets reported)... 
...it was all as per the basic principles written down; and not arbitrary. The failure-tags are externally imposed by media by deliberately omitting vital details. They have the answers, fleshed out with full details, to EVERY question ever thrown at them, and can take on a full live QnA or debate.

Pro-Modi arguments : Country has so and so unsolvable problems, all these other people can't solve them, THEREFORE Modi = Our Only Hope (OOH!). He's the man-with-the-plan, but no one has any idea whatsoever what the plan actually is. "He will bring more development" is NOT a valid plan, FYI. How? Details? Wiping out all the forests? Killing all tribals in the name of stamping out Naxalites? What?? The coward can't even handle a live QnA or a debate that hasn't been rigged, because he's himself following orders of his bosses (now you know why it's important to know who's funding BJP and Congress??)

How can we consider these on any equal level? One is with all details laid out, the other is a magic viagara-pill that's going to set everything upright if you just close your eyes and swallow... it's a choice between reality and delusion.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

We don't have any real security, law and order worth defending : it's an illusion

To Satyamev Jayate:
http://www.satyamevjayate.in/Fighting-Rape/EPISODE-1Watchvideo.aspx?uid=E1-EV-V1&lang=hindi
Thank you so much for this episode. Nearly every close female friend of
mine has undergone sexual abuse or attempted abuse, and NONE of them
were able to get even to the stage of filing an FIR.

Our law and court system is DESIGNED to maximize and protect our rape
culture. More than the individual actors themselves, I hold the people
at the helms of these institutions responsible for all these abuses.

The security and law and order that I hear people keep defending and
saying "Oh no, without all this there will be anarchy, there won't be
anyone to stop rapes.."

>> What do you think is happening right now?? We ARE in chaos. There is
NO security right now. It's just an illusion. There is nothing about our
present systems that is worth defending. We have to change it.

References: http://www.ted.com/talks/eve_ensler_on_security.html

Starting a radio show on the web

Friends, I'm starting an experiment : An online radio show called "ALTERNATIVE DISCOURSES", where, for I don't know how long, will be playing eye-opening, empowering and inspiring talks and interviews I've been watching and listening. There's a chat space there so maybe we can have a dialog around things there:http://mixlr.com/nikhilsheth/

Saturday, March 1, 2014

On GM Foods and field trials

Press release: AAP condemns illegal field trials for GM crops :: http://www.aamaadmiparty.org/AAP-condemns-illegal-field-trials-for-GM-crops

My comment:

Conducting field trials of GM foods is like giving 10,000 HIV+ infected people an experimental cure, then setting them loose among the general population and paying them to go have intercourse with everyone they can without any protection. Because this will prove that the experimental cure, as claimed by the producing company, has worked.

In the event that the cure does not work :: "OH, no no no, see, we are perfectly sure it will work, 1001% sure! Which is why we didn't even bother to do any CLOSED, quarantined trials. Which is why there is no evidence from our official studies that suggests that GM is harmful.. because we haven't bothered CONDUCTING any (well, we shut down the ones we were conducting and prevented the results from being publicized), and we won't accept the results of any of those biased independent organisations who did! "

-------------

Further comment, on if this is just rhetoric or realL

Evidence is about as sketchy and controversial as AAP's current "haalat" in Indian media. Here's one article: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/sep/28/study-gm-maize-cancer

And here's a site which is part of worldwide grassroots movements to stop GM, it has a collecton of articles: http://www.foodrevolution.org/blog/category/genetically-engineered-foods/

But through all the arguments and counter-arguments, some salient points stand out :

1. Pepsi, Coke, Nestle etc made enormous donations via front organizations to fund for advertising, lobbying to prevent GM labelling on food products in the US.

2. Several countries and states around the world have banned one or all GM Food or crops from being grown on their soil.

3. The only long-term studies conducted ended up with the animals getting severe cancer and dying early. All the "safe" result studies were just 90-day trials. However strong the objections that the findings were flawed, Monsanto or US-FDA have till date not tried ANY long term study. And with the only results on animals showing horrible cancers, no one is daring to try a human long term study (logical.. same rules followed in all drugs trials).

4. Abroad and in India, there is no grassroots activist organisation with any degree of reputation on the ground who are batting for GM/Monsanto. Every last one of them, without even knowing each other, is saying the exact same things against GM/Monsanto.

5. Monsanto has a proven track record of producing and aggressively pushing the most toxic pesticides like DDT which they got govts to subsidize! and which later got banned practically across the world. For all those years they were defending and pushing their products the same way they are defending their products today.

6. A huge source of income for Monsanto across North and South America is from legally suing family-run farms into whose fields GM crops' pollen have flown in (initially from neighboring FIELD TRIALS), pollinated and grown into GM crops. (officially, the offspring only needs to have certain gene portions in it to be identified as "belonging" to Monsanto.) Because they hold a patent on the gene, therefore anyone whose field grows a GM plant without paying them royalty, gets sued. WTO rules either have or will make this doable in India also. This has bankrupted thousands of small farmers across the Americas.

This is quite weird and shows how much wisdom decreases when court judges only follow the rules of the book and don't bother to look up. Because logically, I'd sue Monsanto for INFECTING my field with their GM strains! Would a person having AIDS be entitled to sue you if you got AIDS from them?

It's a bit unfair to call all the grassroots activists biased and unscientific.. they're the ones with their feet on the soil and they're not going to make any multi-billions if their words are believed. The experts are very far away from the ground, and there is a very clear profit motive for those whose careers depend on Monsanto etc. As for how come the activists all saying the same things : Imagine that tomorrow a big company claims that their scientific research proves that the sun is black in colour. If all the people say "No it's not", then would you call the people unscientific and biased?

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