ELEVEN!

Our propensity for idol worship is limitless. It’s commonplace to say we worship almost everything. Many would agree that we worship all because we see God in all. I differ. Our worships are a deliberate creation. Because if we don’t have Plants, Trees, Animals, stones etc. in our worship category, we will destroy all with impunity.

Just check out our zoos and the way we keep our animals. Sometimes back, it was shown on T.V., that a Leopard had wandered into a village and the whole village was stampeding behind that beleaguered creature. The Leopard was running helter-skelter and the authorities were mute spectators. The “Brave Villagers” finally bludgeon the animal to death.  So much for our respect to all animals! Very recently, one Tiger was found poisoned, again by the encroaching inhabitants. And “Sariska” has become a simile- “..Our worships have disappeared like Tigers in Sariska….”! so to say.

Just have a look at our ecology. See the way we make timber out of trees. And stones; I only have the examples of mining. I have seen mines when I was in Asansol (West Bengal), and the way they take out coal, it’s like they will bore hole right across the earth to the other end. And they are doing the same in Karnataka.

So to educate or deter us, some wise forefather made all our Gods to sit upon some animals or birds. This way, at least we spare some of them. Otherwise, we would eat them all like the Chinese or the Vietnamese. Dogs, Cats, Snakes, rats etc. would all be on our menu.  I wonder why we don’t eat insects-Cockroaches, beetles, grasshopper, dragon flies etc. I will check up our traditional culinary science and get back later.

There is one more thing which we have adopted for good reasons. It is to cremate our dead. This is more limited to Hindus Aryans. Even some Catholics cremate. Dravidians, mainly Tamils, bury. But anyway, our choice of cremation also stemmed from environmental concerns. This was the time, when the Aryans were settling in North India. And this was also the time of great and incessant wars. Hence, burying the dead was time consuming and expensive. Also, it occupied great tracts of fertile land. Also, there was this fear of geo-environmental contamination. This was because, many died of some unknown and contagious deceases.

If we had continued to bury, we all had to first buy our Final Resting Real-Estate. With Land at skyscraper price, few would afford this luxury. Look at Japan and Europe. They have run out of burial space and now they have “multi-storied” “double-decker” body-stackers. Just like multi storied car park, they have multi-storeyed Body-Park where you check-in after you have checked-out for good.

This is grim, but it will make our banks very happy. Just imagine, getting calls for loans to buy a plot for your degenerating fat. You would be happier to reserve a space than to get a house to live in. Only problem, what if you die single? Then you have to get it Cash-Down or choose the Tower of Silence.

It’s good that more of our problems were sorted in pre-history. Our ancestors did not leave any baggage for us to carry and suffer. But this did not spare us the desire to shoot our own toes. Each time, there was crusade against idol worship, the worship-fever grippes us harder.

When the British built roads connecting two towns or cities, they usually marked it with milestones. When cars started arriving into India, the milestones was required to be more visible from afar. So they painted all milestones with orange colour. Little did they realise that they had implemented innumerable Gods. For Indian Villagers, Orange colour and stone, together a God make. They sanctified the milestones. And the British were assured of its safety. I wish we had a God, who looked like a road!

Those villagers can be termed as ignorant. In this God-obsessed country, some obsessions are necessary requirements. Overtime, education or some “Sas-Bahu” serials would implant something else. And it has. Many villagers are more progressive than city dwellers. They have started to fight for their rights. And, we have moved from worships for common good to worship for common show!

Idolizing obsession has passed on to the Metros. After 9/11 in U.S., we yearned for our own of the same kind. We wanted “SOME/11”. Ask and it shall be given to you! So first we had a parliament attack on 13th Dec 2001. Since this was just immediately after 9/11, we and our media went berserk. 13/12 was compared to 9/11. Then we suffered the Mumbai train blasts on 12th July 2006. And we had our 7/12. Just see the way we twisted the date/month format to rhyme with the formidable 9/11.

Like a wine taster detecting a tenuous flaw of a missing ingredient, the prime “ELEVEN” was missing from all our blasts and attacks. The “Law of Attraction” came true on 26th Nov 2008. Finally we had our day, an “Eleven” which we could call our own and celebrate. Our citizens say “We will not let it happen again”. Sure we won’t. We have had our fill.

The loss of lives is indeed very painful. I don’t lament for those who died, but for those who were maimed for life. Each day for them is a living torment. Once I saw on T.V. a blast victim, a young man who lost all memory, an only child, and his aged mother caring for him like a new-born. Or like a Parle blast on our “26/11” which made a man an invalid and his family filed for euthanasia.

What are we doing for them? Any news! Any governmental concerns! What is all left is a pompous show. When security personals were killed in the parliament attack, the politicians had an anniversary for one year in which everyone attended. The second year, some attended. Eight years down the line, do you ever see or hear any such anniversary? It’s all abandoned as it does not pull in any TRP.

Coming back to our traditions! The mourning period as ascribed is only for first 13 Days of passing out. That’s it. Grieving after that is psychological problem or a fetish show. It’s like “Rudali’s” have never left the stricken house. I believe, it’s an insult to our dear departed, when we have crowd shedding false tears to keep up appearances.

Agonising occasions which leaves memories, like 26/11 and other blasts should have more grace and solemnity. We all should agree on just one day, an “all souls day”. Why not remember our dead heroes on the occasion of the Republic day (26th Jan). India Gate and the “Jay Jawan Joyti” would address all in a proper decorum and without compulsion.

We have to dignify the Dead and Our Heroes who were first on the spot and those who flew in from Delhi. And those National Security Guards who made themselves distinguished by charging on the direction from where many would choose to flee. This reminds me of a Great Poem:-

Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:

(The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred, Lord Tennyson)

SCAM!

SCAM, SCAM and more SCAM! It seems that Mr Pandora has forgotten to lock his box. All Media has dived into it and rummaging like a pack of hungry dogs. Dog like, they are standing on the mound of rubbish with their heads buried into the filth. You can only see their frantically wagging tails. Every poop has a pop. The filth has a potential of “Breaking News”. The Dog and the media have two things in common. One, they both love filth. Two, they both hunt in packs. The Channels are taking turns. They have taken sides, it seems. One tails Kalmadi, the other resides in Adarsh Housing Scam, then someone cross-connected with the 2G fiasco and now latest, comes in Yeddyurappa. Alas, very soon all this will become like Harappa.

But the phrase, Few and Far Between, does not apply to the media. Some say, there is no business like show business. Well, it’s time for amendment. Actually, there is no business like News Channels. Just get the Hardware ready, some speakers and a few sniffers, and then the rest of the software will follow. Many will walk the distance just to go on air. A Fifteen Minutes of fame or notoriety is all they want. They might not wash or do their own laundry, but they love cleaning other’s dirty linens. But in Public! The way they beat the issue would put the Dhobis of Mahalaxmi to shame.

And the media proclaims; This Scam is a Scam like no other. They said the same a decade back too. In fact, all Scams are like no other. Only the protagonists change. In this world, some things are homogeneous. They subscribe truly to democracy. They are same all over. Animals and forests might deplete but true corruption spreads without interruption. It always was and it always will be. The use of deceit to achieve one’s goals is as old as politics. If you think, it should be otherwise, you are a moron. You are one of them who cry Hi-Fi. You befriend the morals and sleep besides the filth. Even the dogs will abandon you.

OK, let us check out the word – Scam. The idea is to understand the underlying strategy. For me, this word is coined to perturb. To infuriate! Linguistically, it is always necessary to define the meaning of any word. So at first, the word, Scam is defined. It finds its place in the Oxford Dictionary. Everybody become aware of the word. They learn to make sentences or write a prose or poetry with it. Gradually, the meaning of the word becomes apparent to all. The use, the impact, the feelings of this word seeps into your psyche. After a while, you are ready. You are loaded. Then suddenly, one day, the word is used to describe a situation or a person. The Tag brings forth all the pent up emotions which you have stored towards this word. The culprit is branded in haste. And you! You rush to take the holier-than-thou position. It’s rightly said- In the beginning there was the word. It still is.

One man’s something is another man’s opposite. One man’s position is another man’s nepotism. You have power, others will call that oppression. But did you ever think why? Just check out. It’s always – One man against the other. And the world moves. You buy ten newspapers and spend double the time in front of the TV watching that garbage. You are swayed. Your high ideals suddenly join the gym. and start pumping iron. You sermonize by oscillating from Tweedledum to Tweedledee and then back again. You did the Brownian motion and someone else scored the brownie points. Stupidus should be our new God.

The political class changes position but sups from the same utensil. Despite all you might think, there is complete unity at the top. You get rejuvenated by any change. You think all the good will begin immediately. You start singing “Winds of Change”. Again, watch the words – Hope, Change. Remember what you are taught or what’s in Oxford. You are again running behind a tag. We are all waiting for the day to realise that – A move do not a change make. But for now, we all get satisfied by Resignations. We heave a sigh of relief. It’s not that someone left his position. It’s because we have got bored with the scoop. We want the music to change. We want the channels to beat a different drum. Change-Locked and House-ridden, we all want relief from humdrum. Well, Quadriplegia, does not necessarily affect the body. We should Cross-check our thoughts too.

I was just trying to think of some acronym of SCAM. Many ideas flew across me. The one which stuck is this: SCAM = Standards Continued Across Millennium. There can be many more. I have chosen this to make a point. By now it’s abundantly clear. The World is not fair. Nature abhors a perfect design. If something cannot be tilted it cannot be manoeuvred. So a Scam is actually not a Scam. It’s an opportunity perceived and gainfully utilised. Every politician has to play this game. If you want to sit on the high-chair, you have to show what you can get on the table for others. If you are at a position where you cannot dole out or dole in then that situation or position is very depressing. If you don’t agree, try it yourself. Stand for an election drinking King-Morals and I shall check out who-the-hell shows up. Test it yourself. If you wear a badge of high position and can’t offer a favour, few offices will entertain you.

There is not much fun in the group of saints. On the contrary, it’s dangerous. The holier they appear the longer the dagger they hide. Honesty has its limits. Time and experience will show that there are many who will exercise Big Honesty for couple of bucks or on small things or matters. Start raising the stakes, keep adding in the dough and there will be a point where he will start weakening. You can notice the false staunchness giving way to submissiveness. And then comes the big reason and justifications. That’s a Breaking Point. Once that threshold is breached, gravity is no longer a constraint. Then it’s free flight. Honesty evaporates from gaseous to no state.

In reality, there are no Scams. There are only favourable circumstances with a very short window of opportunity. A Scam is actually like a ringing of a school bell announcing that your time is over. You and your ilk had had your fill. Now it’s someone Else’s turn. But it’s hard to let go. It’s a prize for which many pay the price. Getting Proximity to an elixir is not easy. A Scam is a shake-up ushering in new people and new ideas for the next step. A scam is like a crocodile, suddenly appearing from the depths of the river and creating a stampede among the thirsty beasts. Some gets eaten, some gets trampled and some run away. But then a new group forms and again organizes around the water body. And Scam, life and show must go on……

The Checklist

It happened in 1935. Boeing had built an aeroplane – Model 299. This was supposed to carry Five times more bombs and fly twice as far as any previous of its kind. The media named it the “Flying Fortress”. Some names gets popularised by their appropriateness.

Anyway, Model 299 (later named B-17) was to be test flown on 30th Oct at Wright Airfield in Dayton, Ohio. The media and the army gathered as courious onlookers to view this impressive behemoth taxi towards its maiden flight. In command was a stalwart Major Hill.

The plane roared, as it roared those days, and made a smooth take off. It gained altitude and then lost it as quickly. Actually it stalled and crashed killing Hill and another crew member.

Later investigations revealed that nothing was actually wrong, mechanically speaking. This aircraft had four turbo-prop engines and hence incremental complexity. While Hill was over the top trying to mix fuel and oil of each engine, attending to landing gears and Flaps, he had forgotten to switch off a new locking mechanism on elevators and rudder. The error proved fatal. Upon knowing this, the media termed it as “too much aeroplane for one man to fly“. Again an appropriate phrase!

Boeing almost went bankrupt. Some quick negotiations saved the day but Boeing knew they did not have much economic room to manoeuvre. Their prime think tanks got together to beat this odd. It’s an ample proof that they did not indulge in the blame game. Neither did they promulgate any “circulars” to crunch the down line. In fact they came out with something so simple, the success of which survives to this day.

They created – The Checklist.

Though this started from aviation, this simplicity has percolated to all areas of Human Activity. It’s in the hospitals, in constructions, in garages etc. Wherever a Human activity needs to go through a series of steps, there will be a Checklist. It’s an antidote against being Check-Mated.

Though the Checklist is not full-proof but it provides any individual precious starting steps. Discretion can take over but that decision would be based on some knowledge derived out of following the check listed steps. Humans are prone to gamble and guesswork. Checklist discounts speculations. It also saves lives.

Boeing had one disaster which led them to make a path-breaking process improvement. How many do we need? There is a house collapse almost every other day somewhere in this country. At this rate, people should shift to “house of cards”. At least, the survival rate would be better. In our own building, there is water seepage on one side of the wall. Our one bed room has one wall which looks like “Crumpled Khadi”. All information to authorities is a waste. I have discovered that a “deaf ear gets more sound”. The “Responsibles” come, they see, they concur and then they “seep” away. It’s the collapse, I think, which calls their true attention.

The only option with us is to move. And that would require capital with a capital “C”. All residents of Mumbai are stuck in a purgatory. In fact, this is a condition in all metropolises. We all celebrate the “GO” spirit but inherently we all know we cannot stop. We are in a carousel which needs no Checklist. Instead of overseeing the process, we are into it. We are all like bogs, filth and dead-woods streaming down the “Great Indian Rivers”.

In Indian context, we would expect, the ill-fated Major Ployer P. Hill to make his own Checklist. In my own surroundings, I see the “doers” behave like Stock Market “Floor Traders”. In Boeing, the experts got together to develop a “Card” to solve complexities. Here, the “Card” is replaced by cacophony. If you have a pain or a problem, you will have to sufficiently prove it. It’s like a patient diagnosing his own problems. The problem exists only when the expert is favourably convinced. For an expert here, a checklist is like “paper work”, too demeaning for his high-brow involvement.

In aviation, the Checklist (also called Handy-Dandy) is King. It is because the person who makes it also flies by it. If it’s wrong, he also pays by it. Remove the “Handy” and ground the “Dandy”. Here the “Dandy” is the pilot. Ask him to fly without his “Handy” and see him fly off the Handle. Quite literally, trust me!

Hence, the person involved in developing or constructing should be made responsible to develop and maintain Checklists. An intangible collapse does not kill, literally. But a tangible collapse does. But we do not learn from either because we do not respect the Checklist and the power which rests into it. So we live and work like a Bohemian and are saved only by a freak. That’s why a collapse is just another “Breaking News”, before you yourself come crashing down like a “House of Bricks”.

Prithvi & Raj!

Maharashtra’s New Chief Minister’s name reminds me of the Great Prithvi Raj Chauhan. Prithivi Raj Chauhan was the last of the Hindu Kings ever to reign from Delhi. Thereafter Hindu rule in India ended, quite literally, in the North. Muhammad Ghori finished off all the Hindu remnants in 1192 AD. This is very significant, because, just one year prior, 1191 AD, Prithvi Raj had defeated Ghori and captured him. Despite all what is written in the Hindu books, Chauhan released him. When the tables turned a year later and when Ghori captured Chauhan, he showed no mercy. Prithvi Raj was hauled away to Gazni and presented as a spectacle and later beheaded. This ended our fragmented Hindu rule of the North. Thereafter, the Muslims ruled over India for the next almost 700 Years. The last of the Muslims, Bahadur Shah Zafar, The Last Mughal, was replaced by the Britishers in 1857.

If you see, the Britishers ruled over India for only 90 Years. Yes, indeed they were there before and also a powerful influence. But why blame the British when our own Rajas were incompetent and sucked up to them. Our Rajas had reached their nadir. They needed the Britishers to secure their crown. Constant squabbling, palace intrigue and self-indulgence, they had no time or inclination to rule. They chose to fly and feed the pigeons and fornicate. The Praja (inhabitants) were left alone. Little did it matter who was at the helm. For our Rajas, Harem mattered more than Humanity.

Britishers were true gentlemen of sorts. They did not vanquish these rascals. In fact, they serviced these Rajas and charged them accordingly. At the same time, they had plans to sunset them some day. Hence they introduce the Doctrine of Lapse. If the ruler was incompetent or did not have a direct heir, they annexed his kingdom. The Law was heavily biased towards the British. And why not! They were doing us the favours. When we went under Queen Victoria (1857) our systems got regularised. Most of our penal, educational, Administration and infrastructure got stabilised. The Britishers left us many “Templates”, good and bad, which we still use it to this day.

I am not an anglophile, but I do believe that the 90 years of British rule was more momentous than the 700 years of Muslim rule. I have one strong reason to believe this. The 90 years of British rule provided us a transition from Religious Aristocracy to Secular Democracy. It would have been difficult if the Britishers had not managed this project. I say this because; this region has a tendency towards Dictatorship- Khalifat (Representatives rule by religious law) is considered desirable than Jhamooriat (Democracy).

And the rule of law, law enforcing, roads, railways, airways and of course, Town Planning made by the British has survived to this day. When Edwin Lutyens was building Delhi, he knew the fruits of his labour would be enjoyed by the Indians. Still he put all his efforts to give his best. The writer, Kushwant Singh’s father, Sir Sobha Singh got contracts to build many part of Lutyens Delhi. Kushwant Singh has written very fondly about those times in his book- Delhi.

Just check out our period of developments. India developed best, when Indian’s were not at all involved. There were three worlds. One was world of the debauched Kings. The others were formed of the destitute. And finally there were the ones that took matters into their own hands. And they were not even one of us. It’s strategic now to understand that the Raj always kept themselves separate. Think again, is it possible to rectify or usher in a change if you become one of them- partners in crime!

So, its British 90 years against the Indian 60! They missed the century. Any bets that we will score the maiden ton. The British aggregate and we dissipate. Even Muslim rule amalgamated. Left to ourselves, we are as base as the Amoeba. We multiply by dividing. What’s wrong with us? What are the reasons for our self-destructive qualities? There is a germ somewhere which inclines us to do what we do. We are all focusing on the wrong tenets and misleading symptoms. Caste, religion, culture, history etc. has to be discounted one by one to un-earth the layer which actually triggers this problem.

Now, let’s get back to Prithvi Raj. This time I mean our new Chief Minister. Highly qualified technologist sent over to rectify. Just like our historical Chauhan, this Chavan also sits within a faction ridden environment. There are many hearts he has broken to take that chair. Many Hopefuls make a hopeless situation. This Chavan will also dole out mercy to the undeserving. Then time and scam will intervene and he will be hauled away to Delhi and beheaded, metaphorically. If you are in Mumbai, you will come to know, it doesn’t matter who is the Chief here. He doesn’t do much besides occupying the Varsha. Varsha comes and Varsha goes, but Mumbai goes on forever.

Institute of Begging Management

It’s a notable sight in all Indian Cities. Footpaths, street corners, traffic lights and in jams! They are ubiquitous. They are the ones who drive our tourist economy. I have found more foreigners training there cameras on them than the Taj. They are the Indigenous Indian Beggars.

As soon as I say, Footpath, traffic lights and beggars, you know what I mean. The picture is in front of you. You have already started becoming dismissive. And Oh…and you have already started to look the other way. Avoiding Eye contact is an acquired skill to evade many discomforts.

Now, hold the thought, the picture and the discomfort. Let us tackle this stereotype. By stripping down and perceiving, let us “pre-mortem” the “Beggar”. Let us acquaint ourselves with ourselves.

Let’s start with the language. Bagwaan/Allah ke Naam kuch de de Baba. (Please give some cash in the name of God). Bacchi ke liye kuch khane ko dede.(Please give some cash to buy food for my hungry kid). And many various versions. You can add your own. But if you concentrate on the Lingo, it beseeches for cash on “someone else’s” name. They also mouth rather high philosophies and bless you like no God can. Intuitively they know, language and vocabulary matters. 

Look at their attire and the personality. It’s simple, low key, almost self-abnegating. In their business, they know, looks matter. The more famished they look they more cash they trap. It’s their business model.

Have you seen a Beggar begging in the Jungle? Probably they hide or retire there. But you see them place themselves strategically at locations of most probability. The greater is the numerator, the better the inflow. Tell me, what management books they have read. Or any books!

It’s the attitude which creates that aptitude. We think we have attitude. No we don’t. We have altitude. It’s defined by our separateness. We choose to look the other way. We get affected by ups and downs. They don’t. They will look at you directly. And they don’t waste time on you. They hit their slogans. If it works, OK, if it doesn’t, they quickly move away. They know probability needs many events for positive outcomes.

Sometimes I think, I should stop wasting money on IIM’s. True business models lies with the beggars. There is nothing left in studying fatty books and stealing PPT’s. Or in learning 5 point formulas and 10 point methods. And then getting yourself photographed grinning like an idiot with some IIM logo looming from the background.

It’s not without reason that great religious teacher where also beggars. Their disciples, who had more altitude, called themselves – Bhiksuks (one who lives by alms). But begging was a necessary training once. Even Kings had to do that for a decade or so. Check out our mythologies. It’s all the courses of all managements rolled into one. And it’s free. You don’t enter here with a CAT, but you sure come out like a Lion.

I am thinking, I should too, take this step. After all the drinking and smoking, begging seems to be a next best alternative. I must take this necessary step before the step itself becomes necessary. Drinking has taught me that initially everything is bitter, thereafter you don’t care. And it has its upside too – Money with weight-loss. I have also heard they serve true-brew at sundown.

Producing a Scripture

In my last article (Religions), I had exchanged views that Our religions are an Anti-Thesis or at contrast to the society where it originated. Like Hinduism which has two prominent Books on wars and all our Gods war-like. Looking within our society, we would see just the opposite. Mis-representation and in-coherence are endemic to Indian Culture but our books teach us the opposite.

Christianity and Islam have a peaceful tone but when they were being formed, the society around it was oppressive and violent. Also, the depiction of the Prophet is disallowed and Christ is shown with imperative simplicity. Compare it with the history of those times, you will find that the Romans had many Gods. Later the new thoughts replaced Polytheism with Monotheism.

So, the regional social situation gave birth to thoughts which were antipodal to each other. Hence all Great religious leaders were also Contrarians. Looking within India, the growth of Jainism and Buddhism were the fruit of non-conformist thoughts. India was replete with dogmas and rituals and hence there was a need for a thought which was shorn of oppressive religiosity.

Now, what about the disciples and followers! Followers are not necessarily subscribers. And disciples are also followers but with a mentor tag. Both are a necessity for a thought to take its roots and then to carry forward. The initial followers and disciples are risk takers and who nevertheless wanted to get away from burdensome, cruel and unjust regimes. The later followers are those who read the balance of power and converted to get the sops. Either way the numbers helped to perpetuate the thought. There is a tipping-point where the thought hits the philosophy of increasing returns and gets recognized as a religion.

Every religion requires documentations. The older the religion, the more are the documentation. And more is the documentation, more the confusion. Anyway, the idea here is to understand the development of documentation which is necessary to propagate a thought and at the same time have a control on the followers. 

There must be a method behind the development of a religious document. Words and sentences must have been whetted and debated and made as succinct as possible. The sanctity of the text has its genesis in its conceiving. Their must have been brainstorming in both monologues and dialogues. To create a piece of document filled with words lasting all wisdom would certainly be a task of much iteration.

And what is the wisdom in the books? It’s the timelessness of the interpreted idea. The tenets stands good at all times. It encompasses change. It’s generic yet specific. Geocentric is the word which comes to my mind. To achieve this balance would have required focused thought. It’s very easy to say that they were born and gifted and hence they could come out with such intuitive philosophy. I would like to be in and question the brass tacks. Like Buddha and Mahavir, they were just like us. But what did they have which defined them through millennium?

If you are working in any establishment, you must have come across many circulars. Those papers pinned on the Bulletin Board or Company-mailed to you. Some circulars are administrative in nature (like leave policies) and some are operational which deals with area of your work (like care of truck engines).

Whatever, a circular is a document to communicate and control. It takes into account the message, the audience and the feed backs. Circulars are generated within an organization for the staff to understand their rights and responsibilities. They are the tentacles through which the top runs its various governances. Through time, some of the select circulars would find its way into a more comprehensive collection and later percolate into a Body of Knowledge. Then many Bodies of Knowledge will contend for the final pedestal, which many would call the Bible. The Bible “Per Se” means “the books”, in Greek. It can apply to any long-lasting valid and referenced scriptures.

You would wonder why I digressed into Circulars. There is a reason. Firstly, we can all relate to it. We know how and why it gets circulated. Secondly, my belief that, many things have not changed since pre-history. Whatever we are doing today, the same we did before. Even before the coming of TV or Mobile and now 3G, we are what we where. Hence, nothing has changed since say, Jesus. The way scriptures got developed then, will be the same way as it is developed now.

Now let’s take the antipodal nature of our religions. Any organizations bulletin board is filled with circulars of Do’s and Don’ts. Somebody has made a mistake and so there is a corrective circular. Someone has transgressed, hence a punitive circular. A novelty arrives and an informative circular derives. Someone goes “accidentally” and an obituary arrives explaining the contingency.

Suppose you go to any organization other then your own. If you read their bulletin board, you will get to know what the organization is “not made of”. The correctives on the board are the mistakes they often commit. The knowledge displayed with block letters are those which they don’t have or they need regular re-enforcing. Any Company Manual takes into account that there are things which you will not do and if you do, what would be its consequences. 

This is how, I think, any religious document would develop. The nature of anti-thesis is inherent in the environment where the document originates. Each scripture has its context. And the same goes for the emblem or the hallmark. A book proclaiming a stand-point would have a protagonist who is likewise. Like, the Bible is associated with Jesus and Gita with Krishna. One wanted peace from oppressive regimes the other wanted people to get out of sloth, debauchery and dice and fight to establish a just society. 

I am not writing here to say who is right. I am trying to express why it is the way it is. Something developed way back when conditions were bad. But the steps taken for those thought developments couldn’t have been more dissimilar than now. Just the way everyday things are happening now, the same would have been the situation then. The development of religious documents would have taken the same process flow as it is done now. 

It’s difficult to write a readable piece. Producing documents which are unassailable is a labour of love. Care has to be taken at conception first to avoid ambiguity and then to achieve a balance to save being counter-productive. I would imagine that there would have been lots of minutes and draft circulars before its final release. And of-course their must have been revisions and several versions before the finished product could be called a Bible or the Gita or any other religious books.

Personal Responsibility

Selling like Hot cakes meaning Hit at the box-office. Anything which Hits “Our Chord”, reaches quickly for our pockets. I wonder why “Hot cakes”? Who and why would anyone choose hot cakes like “hot cakes”? Probably it has some historical connotations. The last time someone raised the matter of “Cakes” was Marie Antoinette. And it was really “hot” for the times and she had to exchange the statement with her “Head”, literally.

To be “Dropped like a Hot Potato” makes more sense. Many can relate to this and would have their own experiences. Anything “Hot” gets more “Dropped” on the “Floor” or on the “Bed”.

But their are some which “sells” by the “Drop”. One is “name dropping”. More on this another time. Today I wish to discuss on “Phrase Dropping”. A habit which we have all internalised such that it has become a part of our regular “Lingo”. When we need to “express” to “impress” we draw out our “catchphrase”.

One such phrase is “Our Personal Responsibilities”. The moment we hear this we are all “sold out”,figuratively. When the going gets tough, the “tough words” get going. We use this PR for PR (Personal Responsibility for Personal Relations). Everything good for us happens to be “Personal” and never “general” or for “public” except for public self-publicity.

OK, let me first demonstrate an advertisement and then go further. This is something on Personal Responsibility plus some Personal Relations. But I will stress only on Personal Responsibility. Check out this snippet on YouTube.

I like Aamir Khan Ads. All his Ads are very cerebral. Even this one. Here the Managing Director of an “Unknown PC” Company visits a house to repair a PC which has been lying unattended for three days. After the repair and tea is over, the PC owner then asks the “MD” that what if the PC fails again then who should he call? The “MD” flashes out his Business Card……and so the story goes!

Please, I request you to check out this blurb a few times. It’s selling like “Hot cakes” and we will all drop even our “Cold Potato” to catch this one. This commercial is a Hit because it has Hit us all on the Right Spot. That Spot where we Revere ” Our Personal Responsibilities”.

In reality, the chances are dim for any Managing Director to visit your House to repair your junk. But they will show this add. to hook us because we are hooked to a phrase. We have a blind spot which has stayed unquestioned for long. Well, its time now to clear the muck, and we must take “Our Personal Responsibilities” to do this.

“Our Personal Responsibility” is a Selfish Phrase. It is akin to “Self Glorification”. In the ad. the MD took Personal Responsibility to go down and get the job done. Good for him. But what does it speak of his establishment? When asked by the old man, who should he call next time, the MD gives his card. What does it say about his capabilities? Is it that, he is more of a Repairman than an MD!

It is not the ad. It is us. The fact that crores are spent to make an ad. of such content and the fact that it’s popular, shows that the entire “Crux-of-the-matter” is within us. Any commercial is successful because of it’s resonance. It’s a publicity for a “Watch” but it’s the context we should all watch. The underlying strategy of this ad. was to tap what we all hold in High Regard and then Staple it to a Product.

Personal Responsibility at best can be a starting point. We all have to take Personal Responsibility for a New Born Baby. It’s a natural Instinct not only for humans but for almost all Living Organisms. Gradually we educate our infant, i.e., we try to give them a “process” to think and live on their own. As a parent we do keep a watch and advice when called upon or asked. But their is a point at which we fall back and desist from intervening. There is threshold after which we should let the Process to take over.

What we all must subscribe for is – Process Responsibility. Where Personal Responsibility is Individualistic, the Process Responsibility is all Inclusive. It makes everybody responsible. Contrary to many believes, everyone enjoys Responsibility. Give people responsibilities, if they don’t match up, train them or replace them. Replacing is not a bad word. Replacing stands for Re-Placing. Motivation is like icing on the cake. Icing works only when the cake is “cool” and “right”.

Process Responsibility starts with Personal and ends with the Group taking over. A Process can improve and is as good as the group and is as flexible as the changing times. You cannot say this for Personal responsibilities, which has it’s limits. Try hard as you might, we all have an “Exit Policy” awaiting. Tell me, how many Homes, the MD in the Ad. can service? Or you need some “Rocket Singh”.

So, the MD in the ad. must have a Help desk with all the wrong people. Or all his Right People are doing all the Wrong Jobs. He is drunk on Personal Responsibility. He needs to Personally take over a bad situation. The glory of his Performance is Others Non-Performance. Others be-gone! He gets the Highlight by No-Lighting his group.

So for all of us, Personal is better than Process. Or we all have an agenda. A deliberate plan to build our own brand value. Probably gather a few hundred of “clients” to serve as bargain dice on our next job hunt. So we subvert process for personal gains. Process Responsibility does’nt fit into our Modus Operandi, so to say. Just like “Our Personal responsibilities” are our selling points, the MD and the Advertisements will capitalize till the theory runs out of practice. That is, till we “Drop” the phrase “Our Personal Responsibility” like a “Hot Potato”….Oh..this reminds me of something..

Religions

Festival season is on and lots of celebrations are bursting in the air, literally. Most of the major world religions have their ceremony agendas scheduled in this season which concludes only with the New Year. You cannot dwell deeply on Religions or Faith without many complexities and controversies. It’s safe to Light out, Drum up and after it’s all done – Shut up.

But let’s try to have look at it anyways. Its dangerous. So is Diwali. Some gamble and some light Crackers. I have chosen to throw my light on religions. It’s my take on this “deadly” subject.

I feel, despite all our technologies, life and living has been same since prehistory. We all wake up, go to work, make merry, celebrate and then go back to sleep. And it has been the same with War and Peace. But historically, some regions of this world has been more violent than others.

So, what did Religions do? What was the significance of Religious teachers? What was the intention of Religious books? What governance structure did they provide? And When all religions teach the same, why are they still so different? Some questions, I have tried to attempt an answer and some I have left for later.

My theory rests on the proposition that – All Religions Are An Anti-Thesis. That is, Our Religions and Our Books are at Contrast with our Lives. We are just the opposite of what our religion says. We actually celebrate those ideals which we don’t have.

Take for example-Hinduism. If you take Ramayan and Ram’s personality, its idealism to the extent of Utopia. Such a Man and his Praja (the people in his Kingdom) has never existed and will never exist. Yet Ramayan talks greatly on uprightness and to be man of words.

Try searching the qualities attributed to Ram within ourselves and our society. The Lord’s pictures will be found everywhere but never what he stood for. Well, we do have some, few and far between and that’s due to some aberration. The ideals taught by Ram are not natural instincts. We have to strive for it. It’s easier to celebrate than celibate.

Now, let’s take another book of Hinduism- Mahabharat. I am astounded by Mahabharat ever since I read the Translations by C. Rajagopalachary. What blockbuster! Action from start to end. And Interlaced with the Gita. All shows that the Hindus will fight for their rights and “will care for the work and not for the fruit”.

But show me a tribe which lives by what’s given in our books. Far from finding any similarity, who will notice the opposite. Ramayan, Maharabata and Gita are required to stir Hindus to action, which sometimes they do, but for all the wrong reasons. Long long ago, we had outsourced our fighting to the Rajputs and then later to the Sikhs. Left to ourselves, we all love our siesta and sex.

Now let’s take the Christian and the Muslim side of the world. Before the coming of these religions, that region was, indeed, very violent. Jesus, who was a Palestinian Jew, grew up listening to stories of Violence and Oppression. During the time of Prophet Mohammed, their was a Persian Empire in the east and Roman Empire in the west and they were constantly fighting many bloody battles.

I have read the Bible and I have not found any reference to war. It’s love and peace all over. Jesus – Sermon on the Mount- (Matthew 5 to 7) is what, I feel, defines the Core of Bible. Jesus gave a message of Love and Reconciliation at a time when the region was livid with raw killings. Even Jesus has to share the same fate.

But just check out Jesus as a person. Simple and no armor. Just a wooden staff, probably to help climb rocks. What Jesus said and what is compiled in the Bible is actually an anti-thesis of that region. The characteristic of the region was correct then and is correct now.

I have not read The Koran but all writings on the Koran says that its the most peaceful of all books. It’s very systematic and has its own code of law. Compare it to the times when Islam took shape. Just the opposite happening in that society and region. The Koran and the Sharia attempted to bring coherence in that region. And it is still trying to this day.

So, what is in our religious books is not what we actually are. The first person to realise this and document this was Lokmanya Tilak in his book- “Arctic Home of the Vedas”. He goes on to expound that our scriptures were actually developed elsewhere and were later grafted into the Indian milieu. There are several critics but if you check our religions and compare it to that region, you will find that thing’s don’t fit. Somebody is an alien- We or Our Religions.

But we need Our Gods. The religious Anti-thesis are like Anti-Bodies. They recognise the “IN-fill-Traitors” and neutralize it before they cause harm. A simple but imperative example will be found on our Mumbai street walls. Some of the walls has been adorned with wall-paintings of various Gods to stop people from relieving themselves. Celebrations or otherwise, if any face signifies Control- so be it. Hope, as rightly said, is an Anti-thesis of Despair. So is all our Religions…..