Thursday, August 13, 2009

Shifting to wordpress

Finally decided to migrate my blog to wordpress. So from now on the blog updates will be on

Friday, July 24, 2009

Parliament and reality shows

Just yesterday there was a huge debate in the Rajya sabha. All MPs, atleast those who were present and those who were awake, cut across party lines and debated on the topic. If you are really wondering what policy of social concern has caused the politicians to wake up from their sleep, sit up and take notice, it is nothing but the increase of reality shows and the obscenity in them. The centre of ire this time was the new show aired on Star TV, “Sach ka Saamna”.

The show was noted to have “obscene” and uncomfortable questions which are asked to the contestants and thus the MPs were supporting the imposition of ban on the show as it is against our culture. Not long ago, most of these MPs, were blaming a party of indulging in moral policing and we even had a minister crying hue over how the government of a particular state could decide on the culture of a particular country. But now here they are debating about the morality of a show in the parliament.

Lets leave behind the politics of the issue or the party politics. But what I wonder is this an issue which is to be debated in the parliament. We all know that to run a minute of proceedings in the parliament thousands of rupees are spent. So was it really worth spending thousands or even lakhs of rupees to discuss this issue? There are hundreds of other issues which need attention. There are cases of cholera spreading in a particular area. Some regions in the country are reeling under drought, while in Orissa there has been a situation of flood. In Pune, there have been cases of swine flu among school children. Aren’t these issues to be discussed in the parliament? Aren’t these the issues which will affect the “aam aadmi”?
After all who will see this program aired at 10:30 in the night? Not the common man who is worried about how he will reach office tomorrow, not the man who is worried about the health of his kid, or the spread of some disease. I would believe not more than 5% of the Indian population will be seeing the programme. So I don’t see the point in having a discussion on some topic which is going to “affect” a very small % of people and “corrupt” them.

Now coming to the programmes coming under censorship by the IB ministry, I have a question on the necessity of the censorship. After all, this programme is being aired well after the “prime time” at 10:30 pm in the night. So, if the government is concerned that the kids would be corrupted, is it the role of the government to act as a moral guardian for them? Wouldn’t the parents be the right people to allow/ not allow the kids to see the programme. I believe the parents know what is good or bad for their kids than the government.

If the government feels that the adults in the country will get “corrupted”, I really wonder is anything left to be corrupted. Haven’t the saas-bahu serials taken care of that part? Moreover, they being adult, shouldn’t they have the reasoning power to make the decision of right or wrong? If not, then what is it that is not giving them this reasoning power?

Moving over to the feeling of the participants and how their relatives feel, the participants know what questions are going to be asked, because they would have undergone a polygraph test with a superset of around 50 questions from which the 21 questions will be asked. So I think they can get out of the show, if they are not comfortable. They are there to win the money and they are ready to undergo the polygraph test. Their “loved ones” support them. Most of these people have already seen the parent show of this, the show from which this is inspired on Star. They know the kind of questions which will be asked and if they have agreed to come on the show, then they are ready to face it. So, is there any need to ban the show for this?

Now I am not a fan of this show. On the contrary, I haven’t watched a single episode of this show, or any of the reality show because I do not like it. But that is my personal issue. I cannot ask for a ban on something if I do not like it. If it goes like this I would have asked for a ban on all the mega-serials which are being aired now.

All I am asking is what happened to the right to freedom, right to chose what I want? Shouldn’t the government, MPs come out of this over protective parenting behavior with unnecessary issues and treat the people as adults who could make their own decisions on what to see and what not to see?

Although it is heartening to see the politicians debating on some issue finally in the parliament, it is heart-wrenching to see the kinds of issues they decide to debate on. We elected these people and sent them to parliament to discuss on these? Please come back, we will discuss this on a cup of cut chai and a plate of pakodas.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Johari Window

During my MBA course we had a subject called Management of Self where we talked about something called johari window. It is a cognitive psychological tool developed by Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham, which is used to help the people understand their own interpersonal communication and relationships.It is done in groups of familiar people.

In this the person is given a list of adjectives and he/she has to choose 5 to 6 adjectives which they believe suits them the most. The other people in the group also selects 5 to 6 adjectives which they feel suits the person most. This way there will be a grid formed through which the person will get to know what his facade (adjectives which he does not project to the outside world), arena (adjectives which he projects to the outside world), blind spot(adjectives which he does not know that he projects, but others notices) and the unknown (adjectives which nobody knows to associate with him or not). Something like this

We couldn't do the exercise in the class. But now i found this application online. So a great chance for me to find out about myself... provided others help

And this is the link for it:

Monday, June 29, 2009

Way ahead for BJP

Some post which i had written a month and a half ago, but had not published....

Now that the result of the election has come through, it is great to see at least one of the fronts getting almost the full majority. It is also great to see the left being routed in their strong bastion. Also the NDA led by the BJP has been sort of rejected by the country. This post is not about the reasons why the UPA won or the reasons behind the routing of the NDA. I would leave that to the parties and the more capable bloggers.
This post is about something which is going on in my head since yesterday. Although I am not a member of the BJP, you could actually say that I am a supporter of them and their ideologies. So, it was obvious for me to think about how the party should go ahead from now on. There are also voices here and there telling that this was the best chance which they had to form the government in the near future, reason being the rise of Rahul Gandhi and the apparent desire of the country to have a young leader. So, these are a few of the points where I believe they have to concentrate on.
One of the reasons which I believe is responsible for the poor performance of the party is that they are branded continuously as a communal force. Even the major news channels and the media continuously keep calling them communal forces and the others as secular. Some of the educated do know the level of secularism of the other parties and knows that even they are the same in that front. But the difference being they are coming across as secular cause they are branded so. Even though the branding agency is no one but themselves, they are able to somehow convince the country that they are secular.
The way forward is not to somehow brand them communal, but make it clear to the nation that they are as secular as the other pseudo-secular parties are. The educated in most of the urban areas believe it, the question is how to get across the message in the other rural areas. How to go about it?
I am sure they do have a minority’s wing in the part organization. I believe this is the time to come to force. Yes, even though you are not in power, this is one wing which I would like the party to mobilize. They could start working with the minorities and other “secular” communities at the base level and start creating a support base among them. In the states in which they are in power, there could be some schemes and programs aimed at them and their welfare. I am saying this because although they are called the minorities, they are actually the largest voting force. And this would be an effort to show to the nation that we are not communal and we do care about the other communities. Further it would strengthen our base among them. I have already seen an example of this in the Bangalore Central constituency in this election, where there was a close fight and the BJP candidate won the election when surprisingly a Muslim dominated area, did not vote for the Christian standing from INC or a Muslim from the JDS, but voted for the BJP.
Apart from this I seriously believe that some of the leaders can actually tone down on the brand of hot talks. Yes, Narendra Modi is a great chief minister in Gujarat who has worked for the development of Gujarat. The people of Gujarat does recognize it, but it is really bad that the people of the other regions sees him only through the glasses of Post Godhra riots. Varun Gandhi has the making of the great leader, but he has to take all the people of all the communities with him. But these are the leaders which the other people see as communal. I am sure Modi government in Gujarat would have worked for the development of the area irrespective of the communities in the area. It would be great if Varun Gandhi too use the funds allotted to him in developing Pilibhit. And I would say for the starters at least use it to develop the pockets of muslim dominated regions along with the others. And mainly it is not just enough if we just work, we need to brand it too. To ward off the negative and the false branding of the anti-secular force, we need to brand ourselves strongly as the secular force and these would help it.
What I am saying is not to give up Hindutva, but also make sure you come across as someone whom people from all the communities will have trust in.
Though the party has made inroads in the south at least in my state, the major worry has to be its losing dominance in what were once its strong hold states, UP and Delhi being the major example. UP being a large state was once the strong hold of the party, but we have consistently lost the hold over there. The state which once used to get us more than 50 seats have seen us return with 15 odd seats this time along with the allies. I would say the reason goes back to the time when the BJP was in power in that state. There was a constant infighting in the camp and now the party organization has gone to the doldrums over there. The first responsibility right now is to get the party organized in these regions. Get in a good strong and a young leader with a clean image in these areas, and let the party organize itself around this fulcrum. Get in the second and the third rung leadership around this leader. Get the units up and kicking. As the minority is also a major factor in UP, the minority wing of the party should be more active in here. Get in good leaders who can build the organization and support base to head the minority wing.
Delhi, though it is a small state, returning only 7 seats, is the national capital and if we have to have a central government, then this state is important. But unfortunately we have seen this going the UP way only and there are no regional parties to contend with over here too. The main reason I believe again over here is the leadership and organization. Try to get in the new organization or mobilize the organization. This is important because in another 3-4 years I think Delhi will go for voting again and the ruling party will be incumbent for 10 years by then. If we can get the organization running in the state you can capture it and with it start the march ahead for the center.
Also the states in which the party is in power are really important. Work towards the welfare of the people and avoid being in controversy. I am really happy to see the Sri Rama Sena controversy did not affect the result from my state. But such controversies have to be avoided for sure.
Lastly but not the least of all, identify your opponent in the next election. It is pretty clear what congress strategy for the next election would be. Project Rahul Gandhi as the prime ministerial candidate, saying that he is a young, dynamic leader with a clean image and then brandish BJP as a communal party. To counter this, the prime ministerial candidate from the party has to be someone who is strong, young, dynamic and not seen as “communal”. Try to identify such a leader. It would be better if it is allowed for the organization to throw up such a leader by itself rather than pushing him/her onto it.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

What is important in a product?

What started out as a discussion about the product I am working on led me to think about this particular aspect of it. One day on a post lunch afternoon walk, I was talking to my friend at work and told him how the product I am working on is not a complete product. My friend who had worked on a similar product at his previous company asked me why is it that. I started discussing with him how the product provide all the features that it claim, but the amount of redundancy of data being asked, some of the unwanted data in a few screens and existence of multiple places to take in the same required data. Though I was looking at the screens which are shown in demos, I thought when you are claiming your application as a product these glitches should not be there. But my friend was of a differing opinion. He said a product in a business sense is made up of its features, and as long as all the features are there, it is a product. The rest are not the problem with the product, but configuration glitches etc.

My point of view is that though they are all not problems with the products per se, even configuration management is a part of product management. There should be a base version which has the proper configuration management and with no glitches. If you are showing these in the demo and have to give weird reasoning for the existence of few fields and the existence of multiple reports which provides almost similar data, and multiple places to take in the same data, then the entire packaging is lost. Yes a product is made up of its features, but it contains many things more to be able to sell it. You need to have a good look and feel, no glitches and also provide an easy deployment capability to be a good product. Yes these are not problems of the product features per se, but in the business it is considered to be a problem with the product. Thus my point of view is that the entire packaging (which involves fully functional features + look and feel + any other things) is more important than functionality.

Agree or disagree?

Edit: Removed the confusing Levis wala example

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Electoral/Constitutional reforms I would like to see

After looking at the past few elections and also looking at the way the govt is run, these are a few of the electoral/constitutional reforms which I believe would help in trying to improve the political situation of the country. It is quite a huge list, but i do hope somebody reads through this.

- Make it mandatory to vote in elections. In the world’s largest democracy, it is pathetic to see that more than half the eligible people to vote do not vote and this after repeated efforts and pleas to make them vote. My idea is to make it into some fundamental duty which every citizen of India should fulfill.

- Have the option to reject all the candidates from the constituency in the EVM only. It being a secret ballot why should I let others know that I am not going to vote for anyone else.And going by the precedence even this time not many of the presiding officers in the polling station knew of what to do in case a person decides to reject all the candidates

- Have some system to make that negative vote count. Not sure how, but may be something like if the candidate gets negative votes amounting to more than 1/n th of the total votes polled, where n is the total number of candidates in the fray, then he/she cannot be elected.

- Some measure to reduce the number of independent candidates. Right now there are constituencies where nearly 70 odd independent candidates stand for election. I don’t know how many of them get more than 10 votes. Also reducing the number of independents also will lead to reduction in the cost of printing the extra ballot sheets and EVMs

- Try to hold union and state elections together. I feel that it will lead to a major savings in the cost of holding the elections

- In cases where a person gets elected from one party, then resigns soon after, joins another party, then the expenses for conducting the elections have to be taken from that person only. After all, he was the reason for having this extra election and we are not a rich country anyways. The same holds for people elected to state assemblies standing for parliamentary elections and winning and for the people who stand from more than one constituency and win more than one. It is not being conducted to show off your strength. And if you think the elections are a show of strength, then pay for showing off your strength.

- A fixed term for parliament will help, I believe. At least that way we know the people who we have elected have 5 years to do something.

- A way to question our elected representatives. Pardon me if this is already there in our constitution, but I need to have the right to question my elected representative about what he has done in that year or not done. Something like the General Body Meeting where we get to know what the person is doing. Or at least make sure that they release an activity report every year or twice every year.

- Make it mandatory for the prime minister to be an elected MP of the Lok Sabha and not Rajya Sabha. I am not having anything against any particular party, but my train of logic is this way. Every one believes that Lok Sabha election is the only election where they elect someone to represent them. Now a Prime Minister who is the leader of the country has to be someone who is elected by the people directly. Whatever the constitution says we all know that Rajya Sabha election is no way an election where the people's representatives are elected. If a party is sure that they will be elected to power, then I don't think they have any reason not to field their prime minister candidate from one of the constituencies. After all if he/she is good enough to lead the country, then the people will elect him/her.

- Some way of curbing the influence of the regional parties in the national politics. Now I know this is easier said than done. But the reason for me putting this here is what we have seen in the recent past. Too many regional parties are holding the national govt captive in order to achieve some of their regional issues/rivalries or whatever settled. Some way to curb this is the need. What can be done? Say have something like the regional parties are free to contest the state elections on their own, but if they are having candidates for the national elections, then they need to align themselves with one of the two/three main parties. And they need to do it before the elections and have to stay with them for the entire term of the parliament. The penalty may be something severe like de-recognizing the parties who fail to adhere to this or shift allegiance to another front. This way at least they do not have the power to threaten the government that they would withdraw support if they do not do some damn A, B or C

After mentioning all these things let me question myself too... Which individual or the party has the balls to get these reforms passed? I am sorry to say that though one or two of them might try to implement a few of them, not all of these will be implemented. And of course, I sincerely do not believe the congress-led present govt has neither the will power nor the interest in implementing it.

Arbit - 1

Things u need to make a mega serials( in short saas-bahu type)
- A “highly gifted” script writer. Not easy to find one, but they say that if you find someone who thinks he can write and get him high, he can become a “extremely gifted” script writer
- A protagonist, better if it is a female one cause all u want to do is give all the trouble in the world to her, and a female protagonist shedding the glycerinated tears in the story is more suitable to earn the viewership of your target segment-the female of the house and thus makes sure that u earn back the money u spent on bottles of glycerin
- A vamp. It is better if this is also a female, but now a days they are trying out by having some male vamps also (vampires??)
- A big family, where no one knows how they are connected to the other, but make sure that everybody knows that they are in some business, though no one knows what business they are in.
- Try and put in dialogues talking of deals amounting to some 300 crores – 500 crores every 5 minutes though none of the actors/actresses talking the dialogue will know how many zeroes are there in that much of amount
- Something happening to the protagonists other half (not sure that they are better), so that more bottles of glycerin can be used. Then she finding another “other-half” and so on and so forth.

Friday, May 01, 2009

What does CBI stand for?

Is CBI Central Bureau of Interrogation or Congress Bureau of Interrogation? I am sorry to say it, but it is looking more and more like the latter. Do you want more proof?

Well lets look into the case of CBI vs Mulayam Singh Yadav.

March 2007 – A case of disproportionate assets was registered against Mr Yadav on the directions of Supreme Court based on a PIL filed by a lawyer.

October 2007 – CBI reports that it has completed the preliminary investigation and has found “sufficient material” to implicate Mr Yadav.

July 22, 2008 – Mind you till now Mulayam Singh is against the UPA govt in the center. Now in the wake of the left front taking back its outside support to the government and the government moving into minority consequently, Mr Yadav decides to support the government from outside. So he is on the side of the government now.

November 8, 2008 – The law ministry sends a file to the solicitor general asking his opinion on the case. SG reports back telling that Mr Yadav has his assets within his income limit and the govt must consider withdrawing the case. Legally the Solicitor General doesn’t give legal advice to Govt of India. It is the attorney Generals work.

November 17, 2008 – The union law minster signed off on the case writing “I agree with the legal opinion of the learned Solicitor General. The Department of Personnel may withdraw the IA pending in the Supreme Court.” CBI decides to withdraw the case and this U-turn even surprises the apex court which asks CBI to explain its conduct.

February 2009 – The relation between SP and Congress starts to turn sour. There were comments made by Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav and some other SP leaders against congress leadership. Congress and SP goes into a war of words.

March 31, 2009 – This was the latest hearing of the case and in this CBI informs the supreme court that it still stands by the “recommendations” made in the status report filed in October 2007, implicating Mr Yadav.

So this was an amazing double U-turn by the premier investigating agency and surprisingly the implication and withdrawal of case was consistent with whether Mr Yadav was on the side of govt or against it.

It is also amusing that in July 2008, the CBI suddenly files an affidavit against Ms Mayawati, the arch-rival of Mulayam Singh, in a disproportionate assets case which was on the backburner for the past 5 years and says that it has enough evidence to prosecute Ms Mayawati.

And also now the case of withdrawing the case against Mr. Quattrocchi in the Bofors deal.

CBI in 1999 names Mr Q as the conduit in the case and includes his name in the chargesheet. It also manages to get a red corner notice against Mr Q.
In June 2003, Interpol finds two bank accounts in the name of Mr Q and Mrs Q, containing 3 million Euros and $ 1 millon and says that it is a “curiously large savings for a salaried executive”. The CBI gets the account frozen, so that the money cannot be withdrawn from it.

In January 2006, the central law ministry suddenly decides to defreeze the above mentioned accounts and on January 16th, the entire amount was withdrawn from the bank by Mr Q.

February 2007, Mr Q is held in Argentina based on the red corner notice by Interpol. CBI does not even inform this news to the public in India and only announces it after the report comes in the media regarding this in March 2007. CBI bungles in its efforts to get Mr Q extradited and loses its case to get him extradited in June 2007, with the judge remarking "India did not even present proper legal documents". Embarrassingly, India was also asked to pay Q’s legal expenses.
Mr Q’s son who grew up with Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi visits India frequently, works in a company called Club Invest – Europe and has an office in Bangalore. When his father was arrested in Argentina, he was present in India and left India a day before CBI made the news public.

October 2008- Mr Q’s counsel files a protest against CBI asking it about the legal validity of the Red Corner Notice (RCN). CBI passes on the file to the law ministry and on the same day it is sent to the Attorney General for his opinion. The AG gives his opinion the next day.

“The whole purpose of a warrant of arrest is to secure presence of the accused,” said the AG. “This is possible by extradition when the accused is abroad. But two attempts have failed and the judgements indicate that there are no good grounds for extradition. The warrant cannot remain in force forever. Therefore, the warrant dated February 1997 would lose its validity, particularly in view of the successive failed attempts of the CBI to extradite the accused in Malaysia and recently in Argentina,” the AG said.

April 2009 - The law ministry tells that there is no use in continuing the case and the CBI asks for the withdrawal of the RCN and dropping of charges against Mr Q.

Yes, it does look as if all the things are done as per law. But the whole thing becomes murky because of the involvement of the law ministry of a govt which is in its last date and also the point that the govt is headed by the close friend of the accused against whom the charges are dropped.

That is what makes me wonder. What does CBI actually stand for?

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