Mar.26

My take on Ram Mandir issue

Hi, today I would like to talk about an extremely sensitive issue, issue that dates back to days even before my father was born. And I feel like talking about it because it is related to a deity I deeply revere and aspire to inculcate some of his values and principles in my life, Lord Ram.

Lord Ram, the ideal man, most honorable of all, a man who’s integrity and ethics is so pristine that even millennia after his existence, it still guides the majoritarian society in this country.

Where I do believe that even a single person should be allowed to practice his/her religion provided it doesn’t harm others, I also believe that religion merely plays the role of a guide in a person’s life in aesthetic sense and it should not be tied down to physical structures. But hey, if a temple is instrumental is uniting the society, why not build it? Build more I say. Put best quality resources in it, spare no costs. But does “spare no costs” mean destroy others’ faiths?

What happened in 1992 with the mosque, was unfortunate and purely unwarranted. Peaceful protest turned into a lynching ceremony of an innocent structure of another faith. For the sake of majoritarian argument, let us hold it to be true that the mosque was indeed a “stick in the face” attempt by an invasion crusader centuries ago to Hindus but it had since grown to be a source of aesthetic dependence for a community who happen to live with us, the Muslims, followers of Prophet Muhammad. 

My justification for the sympathy for the incident is simple, if some opportune facts do prove that my house is built over some previously undiscovered social site, does it give anyone any right to even consider burning my house down just to build a holy shrine on it. Won’t the foundation of the shrine be built on my crushed hopes and aspirations?

Cutting to the current, the Supreme Court has asked the two sections of the society to reach over a peaceful conclusion through a dialogue, in an attempt to maintain peace and stability for the years to come. And I definitely agree to this position the Supreme Court has taken. The last thing we want is for the Court to be painted politically and appear to be taking sides, thus harboring malice in the party who would not be happy when the verdict doesn’t go in their favor. And frankly there is no right answer to even consider a black and white verdict. A verdict in favor of Hindus has the chance of making the Muslims feel they are second grade and open up themselves to social bullying, ultimately resulting in violence from both sides and taking the country back by decades. A verdict in favor of Muslims would result in the majority population losing their faith in the institution of Supreme Court, thus effectively crippling us for decades to come. In short term, violence, more lynching of Muslim shrines and taking us back by decades. 

What I am seeing currently, and I am not sure why this perception is created but Muslim leadership is appearing weak and accepting dialogue process as though they have lost the war and accepting whatever they could salvage from it and save face. The Hindu leadership on the other hand is swelling chests as though they have victoriously defeated some decades long fued, as though they have avenged something when all they have done is break hearts of a major section of society, who by the way, are extremely crucial for the future of this country. 

I wish the dialogue happens, sensibly, honestly, with the country’s best interests at heart and sensitive to everyone’s sentiments. This should not become a business negotiation where either you lose or win. Whatever outcome comes out of a bragging negotiating technique is ultimately an emotional matter, aesthetically important to each and every Indian and ultimately both parties will lose. And why?, because it will set an extremely dangerous precedent, perhaps for decades and centuries to come. Everyone loses. 

There is only one solution to this problem, build a hybrid culture center on the spot. Like we see in Ganpati pandals in Mumbai. Aarti gets delayed for a namaaz bring prayed in the pandal itself and mosque kitchens being used to cook Prasad. In current times, we need to get our priorities right. Do we want to collaborate together, make a transparently robustly mixed and unitedly diverse progressive society or start another round of lynching at each other’s throats and go back to stone age? 

I appeal to everyone to stop throwing tantrums around something that has deeply burned a lot of hearts over centuries in past. This is not a contest. Lord Ram doesn’t teach this. And even if you somehow manage to dominate each other and build a temple, His soul would never reside in a building built over someone’s crushed emotions. This is not what his life was about. 

Build a hybrid culture center where Ram Lala’s childhood can be celebrated. Else, is it even worth it? 

Feel free to leave your views on this. And please no unnecessary lynching of this thought process for your self appreciation. Allahu Akbar! Jai Shri Ram!

Experiences,Messages,Vision,General Thought

Jan.05

Life – A journey

Let us put some light on the days of 1960s-70s life. What did people in India have then? A cycle? Some 10 paisa coins to their names? Did that matter?

Hell No. There was freedom in their heart, Songs on their lips, Taps of the feet, pollution-free environment, and a happy family. Why was that possible? Because, they believed. They believed in something that is called self-preservation. They believed that in order to develop, one must upgrade himself first. Then think about the system provided. Nowadays, the scenario is completely different. Today’s kids have been provided with virtually everything possible for parents. A laptop, cell phone, separate room, AC, heavy pocket-money, Best possible education, vehicles, yet they fail. Reason no one knows. Or it’s rather, no questions asked. There is no good reason to why it changed. Maybe we adopted the western culture in a negative sense. We started looking like them, behaving like them, talking like them, eating like them but what we miss is thinking like them. They think to constantly upgrade themselves. Same thing our parents and grandparents did. Maybe they didn’t get to see cinemas every week, but when they did, it was the true sense of entertainment. You pick up any song of that era, You won’t find a single line in the lyrics which doesn’t make sense. Today, the whole track has maximum 50 words. Senseless it is.

You think this doesn’t justify anything? Check out the education level of the people of that era. Barely able to read and write. But yes, they are still more capable to work in place of dual-degree-nuts. Their brains work faster. They are so aware of everything around them. They have such a nice schedule today. They are so regular and particular about thousands of small and big things daily like diet, reading habits, hobbies, entertainment, romance, work. All we care about is booze and party. Maybe there is something more to that than life. Life is an epitome of free space. The more you explore, the more marvels you see. We have restricted our life in the bounds of our planet. Let us expand. Expand more to our solar system, our galaxy, and constellations across the universe. And see how marvelous this life is. What a gift! It is truly unimaginable, incomparable, priceless and something which cannot be contained within a 4-letter word. We have only one shot at this. Who has seen the future? Who has seen tomorrow? Who has seen the hour that will be ticking about 60 minutes from now? Maybe we no more exist. But yes, if you do what you truly want to do, if you know How to live life. There you won’t have any regrets on the day you die. That day will be truly yours. Everything around you will be at your honors. And that day, when you have your last breath, you can happily sing one of Kishore Kumar’s track. And Express to your near and dear ones,

“Waaah! Kya life thi. Mazaa aa gaya.”

Journey,Experiences,General Thought

Oct.17

Entrepreneurial Nirvana

Being an Entrepreneur is more of an ascetic intervention and not a materialistic one. It has more to do with the way of life and not with the quantity of life.

Let me explain.

Being an entrepreneur, doesn’t mean you would someday have a luxurious palace or a 300-foot yacht. It means people will remember your work even after you are gone. That is the only achievement of an entrepreneur.

Now that we have established the output of an entrepreneurial life, let us look into what would help in achieving the final ‘nirvana’.

Simple Rules of Engagement:

  1. Always keep your glass empty – Be ready to learn irrespective of who or what the teacher is. No knowledge gained is ever wasted.
  2. Be vigilant – Always stay alert on what is happening in your world. Be ready to capitalize on opportunities. And most importantly, be ready to retrospect after every episode. If you can trace why it happened, you would always be able to make sure you do not repeat the same mistakes again.
  3. Know the value of your possessions – You will not always have the same things. You should cherish what you have and make sure you capitalize on them always.
  4. Always keep others above yourself – Always sense what people working with you need. What they like. What they aspire and help them achieve. A happy team is a productive team. Its them who will carry the torch forward.
  5. Always respect what others have to offer – The only thing that is never useless in the world is ‘a contribution’. May that be resources, ideas, thoughts or anything else. The perspective of every contributor may be different, and may not match what you think, but the motive behind it is important. These contributions will later convert into vested equities of a larger legacy.
  6. All-in! – “How do I know what my passion is?”. “Think about the thing that you can do 24 x 7 x 365, without stopping, without complaining, without any expectations and still be happy and satisfied. That is your passion.”. Once you decide what you want to do, it’s simply a matter of All-in! Never look back and keep moving forward
  7. Give Back – Whatever you have earned or achieved is rightly deserved by you and you should try to express your gratitude by giving it back to the world. Be philanthropic by nature. Have the tendency to share what you have.
Journey,Experiences,Vision,General Thought

Feb.03

The PM we never had

Indian-Flag-300x187

 

“Confused about what I am talking? Well now-a-days, the smart people of India have come up with one excellent name that was almost forgotten, “The true Iron Man – Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel”.

Who exactly was Mr Patel? He was the one person in the first government of Free India who always did what was correct and in the best interest of the people of India. Never budged under pressure, may it be from his team or the external forces. Sardar Patel is the perfect title given to this man. I think Iron Man people should be sued for stealing his name. Sardar Patel, what a figure. Single handed cleared 500 princely states to join Free India. He was a living legend, a vicious martyr, the true Prince of India.

It takes real guts to quote such a sentence he did in his tenure as the first Home Minister of India. “Give me 24 policemen; I will wipe out every single intruder from the face of POK.”

Many claim that Sardar Patel would have been a better choice for the first PM of free India. He was like a son to Bapu and that was the reason, Bapu thought that Sardar won’t mind if he named Chacha Nehru for PM. Anyways, Sardar never showed his grief and accepted Bapu’s decisions. He passed away like a true warrior, in service of India, executing his office as the Iron Man cum premiere Home Minister of Free India in full capacity. The History of India will always treasure this man. His soul might have been decorated in diamonds and jewels when he might have entered God’s Hall of Fame in Heaven. Today when he must been peeking below and see that people are now creating his statue, an iron statue, tallest in the world, he must be thinking, “what a waste of resources! Keep me in your heart and use that iron to construct something more useful.”

Anyways, he is going to be the proudest structure in the world in a few years.

Sometimes, I think, what will our freedom fighters do if ever they come to life again and see the politics now-a-days. One thing is for sure; they will give a tight slap to all these corrupt people and then start crying and blame themselves, “This is not the country I gave my life to. This was not the day I wanted to see in Free India. This is not for which we strove hard to gain freedom.”

But Sardar will have a better thing to do. He will take a full automatic Maverick assault, go inside the parliament and shoot down the corrupt politicians. And that is a dream, seeing the strongest man to hold the strongest office in the strongest country of the world. And no one with a corrupt and violent brain will ever try to take a foot outside his doors.

-An Article I wrote on October 31, 2013 for thechaishop.in

General Thought

Apr.18

My Take on Net Neutrality

Let me start with some basic ground facts:

1. I owe everything I am to internet which doesn’t have any shackles of any kind.

2. I have already signed and sent the petition/response mail drafted by savetheinternet.in

3. I am ready to go on an all out war in support for Net Neutrality

4. I have listened to many arguments/ Read a lot of articles written/ Watched all relevant videos (that includes AIB’s video and I have observed a flaw in it which seems to be intentionally presented in a twisted manner) related to Net Neutrality debate which is a hot topic nowadays.

5. I have come to the below conclusions after analysing all THREE sides of the debate.

Here it is.

I would like to start with where it all started. It started with Mark Zuckerberg’s Internet.org initiative. The idea is extremely noble and well understood and extremely important and needed in today’s era. But Mark twisted it by assuming that giving Facebook services free he is empowering the poor and backward communities. If he really wants to have the world online, give a NEUTRAL internet free of cost. So no matter the idea was noble, he took the nobility out of it by just promoting Facebook there. Plus he expected that Telecom Service Providers would just have a change of heart and start giving free service where they have paid millions of dollars just to get that spectrum band to operate on. I would like to quote Vodafone Global CEO’s statement at Mobile Congress in last month.

“Its Like Mark wants to do philanthropy but with my money”

And Airtel CEO’s statement at same event.

“It’s a good idea. Lets do this. Make everything free. Tell the governments to make the spectrum free too”

Now Mark has one liner which he thinks will work on any Indian

“I am echoing Prime Minister Modi’s words of Digital India”

Well Mark, he meant Digital India and not India on Facebook.

When I put up my Facebook status which said,

Mark Zuckerberg is supporting net neutrality. Either he doesn’t know what it means or he is a hypocrite or he thinks everyone is a fool

many people didn’t understand it. It means, Mark has wrongfully assumed that being connected to Facebook is all an individual needs to grow.

Now coming to Airtel Zero.

When Airtel was coming under fire for being too greedy by not giving off free internet, (now this fire wasn’t in public but in internal board rooms. Maybe it was there. Maybe it wasn’t. I am assuming Airtel was coming under pressure because Reliance already opted for Internet.org ), a true Businessman took a decision in Airtel Board Room. They came up with Airtel Zero. Its a concept similar to Toll Free Numbers. All the access to all the phones (in this case websites and data access) will be equal. The difference is, instead of you paying, the website owner will pay. That’s it. That is Airtel Zero. That is what was needed in today’s era where Internet consumption is rising exponentially and people are in turn paying more. This will start a new competition and a healthy one at that. And people will in turn automatically start getting internet on their phones because they will now know that half of their usage will actually be paid by someone else.

This was today echoed by Airtel CEO writing a e-letter to all his customers. It says,

Dear Customer
Over the last few days you may have seen a lot of conversation on our toll free platform Airtel Zero. It has been painted as a move that violates net neutrality and we have been very concerned at the incorrect information that has been carried by some quarters in the media as well as in social media. I wanted to take this opportunity to clear the air and reiterate that we are completely committed to net neutrality. Let me clarify.
  1. Our vision is to have every Indian on the internet. There are millions of Indians who think that the internet is expensive and do not know what it can do for them. We believe that every Indian has the right to be on the internet. We know that if we allow them to experience the joys of the internet they will join the digital revolution.
  2. Airtel Zero is a technology platform that connects application providers to their customers for free. The platform allows any content or application provider to enroll on it so that their customers can visit these sites for free. Instead of charging customers we charge the providers who choose to get on to the platform.
  3. Our platform is open to all application developers, content providers and internet sites on an equal basis. The same rate card is offered to all these providers on a totally non discriminatory basis.
  4. There is no difference between this and toll free voice such as 1-800. When a company selling an insurance product enrols into the toll free voice platform, customers who call the number are not charged but when they call a normal number they are charged. Calls are not blocked or given preferential treatment else our whole business would be jeopardized. Toll free voice helps the business owner engage with their customer. At the same time it provides the customer the benefit of reaching the business for free. Toll free voice is not a product or a tariff plan, it is merely a technology platform. We are simply taking the same concept of toll free voice to the world of data. As a result it is for the application developer and their customer to decide how data charges will be paid for. If the application developer is on the platform they pay for the data and their customer does not. If the developer is not on the platform the customer pays for data as they do now. Companies are free to choose whether they want to be on the platform or not. This does not change access to the content in any way whatsoever. Customers are free to choose which web site they want to visit, whether it is toll free or not. If they visit a toll free site they are not charged for data. If they visit any other site normal data charges apply.
Finally every web site, content or application will always be given the same treatment on our network whether they are on the toll free platform or not. As a company we do not ever block, throttle or provide any differential speeds to any web site. We have never done it and will never do it. We believe customers are the reason we are in business. As a result we will always do what is right for our customers.
There has been a deliberate effort by some quarters to confuse people that we will offer differential speeds or differential access for different sites. This is untrue. After all we earn revenues from data. If there are more customers who are on the Internet the better it is for our business. Our revenues are not dependent on which sites they visit because we charge on the basis of consumption of mega bytes not which site they visited.
In sum our platform is a technology platform and is open to all application developers and their customers. Our platform only provides a choice of how the data that is consumed is paid for by any of the two – the application provider or their customer. Whether any application provider enrolls on the platform or not is entirely their choice. All we have is a technology. We do not have a product or tariff plan that we have launched. We simply have a platform. And every application developer and their customer is free to choose in an entirely neutral way what they want to do.
In conclusion, we stand fully committed to net neutrality to ensure the goals of the Prime Minister`s vision of digital India are met.
 
Regards,
Gopal Vittal
MD & CEO
Bharti Airtel Ltd.
India & South Asia

I was waiting for this letter since last week because I knew, if I would have been understood wrongly and a whole campaign was being run against it, which breached a new idea which had a huge potential, I would have written these exact same words. Good Job Airtel on that one!

Coming lastly to our humor buddies. AIB.

I actually liked the video. They have actually made excellent points on it and most of the video is informative and factually correct. And it was important someone took up the baton to educate people about Net Neutrality when everyone is debating on it and most of them didn’t even know what it meant. The video was good. But they got one thing wrong. And I think they should retract it or at least clarify it to their viewers in some way.

Telecom Companies think that they are losing money because everyone who has innovated is making money on internet which they are providing to their customers by setting up costly infrastructure. They are getting greedy.

Now one point they made is absolutely correct.

That people will obviously go and surf the website which doesn’t charge them for data rather than the one which charges them data. And that young startups will go powerless against big giants.

What they added a twisted fact there is,

Telecom Operators would hamper the usage factor of their non-partnering websites. So The non partners would not be having a smooth service delivery but rather a slow and frustrating connection.

Now this is Against Net Neutrality. Absolutely. And This should never happen. Today I am supporting Airtel Zero but if in future they do this scam, I’ll be the first to lodge a complaint against them.

However their first observation is strictly against Business. They cannot expect everything to be free of charge or think some kind of Robin Hood is going to save the world. They are huge corporations, They have Money. They can afford to provide luxury of free-data to their customers. And that’s the beauty of being a deep pocket enterprise. Else the money will lose all its credibility in business planning. It will apparently become that even if you don’t have money, its fine; you can still run a business. Money is an important resource to have. And it should be used accordingly. It doesn’t make ME money-minded but I believe Money has its importance and it shouldn’t fade completely away from the system. If you are a young startup, it is an added challenge for you to innovate better and beat the huge pocket company at their own game.

Any Tom, Dick and Harry should not open his mouth and say my business shut down because someone bought a corporate data pack from the telecom operator.

Feel free to express your responses!

General Thought