Writing is like T20 batting. If you block, you might as well retire to the pavilion! -- Pete Langman
Expat in Germany

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Neutral about Net Neutrality

Recently, a group of professors from IITs, IIMs and IISc came forward and supported the net neutrality. Their argument was that network providers are not at loss due to this. They also came up with a solution that one could charge differently for every Giga Byte of data used. That would go with net neutrality and also the network companies could be benefitted.Maybe!

They say that the term given to applications such as Whatsapp, Wechat, Skype, Facebook etc. is a nice, funny one. Over The Top (OTT) applications, they are called. A school might be benefited by the road laid to it, but it is wrong to say that the school is running only because of the road. But that is not the case here. If a person rents a home, he might be charged some amount for the house rent. If #hem(he/she) wants hot water, Television, wi-fi and furniture, #hem is charged extra for each of the benefits. That is because neither hot water nor electricity comes for free.

Similarly, if Whatsapp wants to provide messaging and voice calls for free over the internet, it is actually fine. There were many messaging applications on the internet earlier too. But now, through an internet package on a SIM card of a company, if messages and voice calls are being sent, it is basically grabbing away the market of the network providers. It would be like saying since the house was taken on rent, there should be access to hot water and wi-fi too. That is at the cost of the owner, is it not?

Fine. Now, the network providers start charging for these "OTT"s(yes, this name is funny!) and not the customer. Say, now, to have the application running on mobile phones, the companies providing voice calls over internet or those who provide online television or the e-commerce web sites start paying the network providers. There is healthy competition and the mobile companies are benefitted too. Since there is competition, the end prices might still be the same for the customer. But, what about small companies? New start-ups who felt they can do something just using talent without any necessity for paying? Talent is lost because of vested interests.

It is like, there is a shopping mall and those who can afford for rent there only can open a shop. Others cannot. This is bad for a progressive society and even for young entrepreneurs. Probably, the best idea would be to properly filter which websites are posing a threat to network companies and charge them accordingly or as the professors said, charge for every GB of data.
The solution should be such that every one is benefited. They were, in the past. Why not in the future too!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

To Kill a Mocking Bird!

Every year, thousands of birds from the Siberia region come to nest in India, a land of ever increasing number of castes and sub castes among human beings even though historically, there has been discrimination based on caste! Probably the animal stock and bird population of the country have started having the differences too. The entire flock of the Indian birds, which earlier used to welcome the birds from Siberia with warmth, like a whole family treats visitors, now no longer do so.

Few birds stayed on a beautiful tree, as beautiful as a central university in the capital city of Hyderabad. The birds have had their differences and started various unions, but never failed to welcome the birds from Siberia. They are special. Special because, when they go back to Siberia, they should tell among themselves what a wonderful place they had been to and more importantly, they should feel like home and go back not wanting to. They should be happy. As happy and free as they had been always! That is the reason why, even if there had been differences among various unions of the hosts, they never let that affect the hospitality the guests received.

The visitors were never restricted to any limit. They wandered free, sang happily and played joyously. The hosts either played along or did not, but they never restricted them. They had to go back smiling, thinking of the wonderful reception. One day, one league of the hosts had a festival. Since it was a strong league and felt that they had a strong reason to celebrate, they filled the tree with their feathers, including the residing place of the visiting birds! How much ever beautiful the feathers are, they looked bad in such huge numbers. When few other birds questioned them, they reminded them of their previous mistakes. Two wrongs make a right!!
Some birds were even threatened in the middle of night. 'Save our wings,' a new revolution started among the rest of the birds. Every bird chirped its own voice. This would have been better without the threatening but such massive discussion and 'tweeting' would not have occurred otherwise!

Unfortunately, when a visitor bird quavered its opinion, it was pushed to a corner. The bird, which was used to moving freely, was confused at this and decided to discuss with one of the host birds. It was told to stay within its limits. Never wander beyond it. Then it was told all about how certain birds historically did not have certain privileges. It could not understand why when there was a possibility for each and every bird to "tweet" its opinion and know others opinions, there had to be such a large feather show!! None of the explanations by the host bird came close to answering any of the doubts the visitor had and they could not even explain what its limits were in the tree!
The bird will go back wondering why it was called a white racist just because it was from Siberia and would doubt what racism really is!!   

Friday, April 17, 2015



Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Preparing the Home for Home-Coming

Religions spread by conversions. Christianity in Europe spread after emperor Constantine ordered his subjects to convert. Even in India, it is very well believed that the apostle St.Thomas came to convert settled Jews and inspired many others as well. Mass conversions as large as hundred thousand people at the same time started with the conversion of Dr.B.R.Ambedkar and his followers into Buddhism. It is not of much doubt that every religion has arisen solely due to conversions. Probably Hinduism spread due to conversions of various nature worshiping tribes because there are a lot many similarities!

There is nothing wrong with conversions. If that is how religions spread, how else will the religions be preached? In fact, the freedom to convert to a more convenient religion allows a person the benefit of development but of course there probably is no religion which is better than the other. All have their flaws. Big flaws. Maybe accepting no religion would be better than to convert to some other religion, but then there is fear of antagonism by all religions!
If conversion is fine, then so is re-conversion. But why should some one convert back? The true form of Ghar-Wapsi would be us all converting back to the nature worshiping tribal forms!

Mari Marcel Thekakara, a famous Dalit activist says that she too abhors "rice conversions" where poor people are lured by missionaries into their religion. She argues that theoretically and theologically too this is not conversion. She argues though that if people are not respected in their own religion, why would they not seek an other religion at least in the hope of equality even if they are offered or not. The only way they should be called back should be by preparing the house to make them feel that they are back "home!" As Bhagat Singh said, we should mercilessly criticise old beliefs. If after a lot of criticism too, if they still stand, fine, else certain old beliefs should be rejected and find place for rules which suit the present world and generation. After all, this is all to live and frame a way to live!

The Apex court of India, some years ago declared Hinduism as a way of life. But that does not mean it is flawless. Why else will there be such huge conversions from Hinduism if it was the perfect way of life!? In fact, the beauty of Hinduism as a way of life must be seen in the fact that it can be adjusted in accordance with the surrounding cultures just like physical life is adjusted with change in seasons. If the caste system was good millennia ago, it is not now. It is time the system is changed with the changing times. Nothing will fall upon Hinduism. The entire might of the British empire could not shake it even after trying so vehemently.

For all that to happen, mindset must be changed! Most importantly those of people like Sakshi Maharaj, Asaduddin Owaisi and Ambika Soni. It would be truly appreciated if the media stopped giving coverage on Sakshi Maharaj and Prachi Sadhvi. This 124th birth anniversary of Asaram Bapu, every political organisation is busy trying to hijack him, just because he appreciated ideologues at few occasions. The true tribute to him would be restructuring the "home" before calling back people who abandoned it. That would be a huge leap for mankind.   

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Art of Asking

I started to write a series involving a common, thinking youth, Mahati. The second of such articles. This series is thanks to people who stood as an inspiration to me. I hope to make a difference, at least among one or two people in this small world.

A busy and a go-around Sunday was planned. Mahati and her friend decided to do a lot of things for the Sunday outing. No time wasted, they set out. Breakfast at a big hotel. The ambiance was great, the waiter hefty, serious and prompt, the food tasty and the bill...high. Mahati wondered how many home made Onion Masala Rawa Dosas one could possibly get for the amount spent on one at the place. The waiter came with the receipt and the change and looked expressionless at the payee. She gave him a fifty rupee note as Mahati looked on. The waiter gave her a refreshing smile and accompanied them to the door.

Next destination, Temple. Slippers were left on the ground though there was a counter to deposit slippers for a small fare. The temple was old, clean and well maintained. Free prasad was being distributed too. The deity looked simple though, ever smiling. Few priests were busy inside reading out hymns and mantras. A man with a pot belly stood at the entrance, pushing away people who stayed looking at the God for more than ten seconds. As their turn came to look at the God, the person blessed them on behalf of God with a serious face. Mahati's friend took out twenty rupees and offered him. The man gave a refreshing smile and allowed them to have a long look at the God.

Mahati thought deeply. Only if the plump waiter and the pot bellied guy at the temple had a smiling face throughout, they would have probably got more money. A smiling face always earns respect, which means more rewards. Just then, an old lady of about sixty years came to them with a bright, expecting face and told them that she had been guarding their unguarded slippers and asked for some money. Wow! thought Mahati. A smiling face and that too by a person who have done something without asking!! Such favours will be well rewarded.

Mahati's friend searched in her purse for some time and took out a rupee coin and dropped it in the hand of the old lady.
The old lady continued to smile.