27 March, 2011

Stop Farmer Suicides: Candle Light Vigil as a reaction

Urbanites are individualists, who are complacent with their lives, engrossed in its sophistication. The widely accepted fact that they don't and wouldn't bother about the other sections of the society is almost true. But, when there is at least one genuine event, where you find around two hundred urbanites, varying from IT employees, students, researchers and academicians come out and take a stand for the cause of a totally different sector of people - The farmers and their troubles, I tell myself that the situation is not hopeless, and there is still a speck of hope.

The rally with slogans and placards

This point was manifested in today's Candle Light Vigil in Bangalore, which was organized by ITEC, AID India, Sugathi and a few other socially sensible groups, voicing on behalf of farmers, bringing up the issues of farmer and the anti-farmer policies endorsed by the Central and State Govt.
Inequality at its zenith!
 As Senthil, one of the main organizers of this event rightly put, this was still only  a 'reaction' to the recent suicides of the sericulture couple in a village near Malavalli. With this reaction as the start off point, it should culminate to become a People's Movement, where the supposedly "intellectual elite- the urbanites', take up the issues of other weaker sections of the society, work together with them and that would be the best fitting response to the peril of crisis in agriculture.
A whole gamut of the urban intellectual elite, for farmers

While the main objective of today's event was to project this issue in the bigger arena, for the media to capture, this is still a humble start. This objective was accomplished to a good extent, with the rally, sloganing, street play and the Candle Light Vigil giving the media some cud to chew upon, centered around the sensitive issue of relentlessly increasing farmer suicides in India.

The rally with slogans and march started off from Mysore Bank Circle to Town Hall ( about 1 km). The march was peaceful, with slogans and pamphlet distribution, grabbing the attention of the commuters. Once we were at the assembly point for today's event at the Town Hall, the display of all the profound slogans and facts on each of the placards made a strong statement as a whole.
An impact filled street play, accentuating the inequality and apathy shown to the weaker sections

After today's event one friend aptly said,
"Despite all the joys & happiness, it is often suffering that truly binds us and a means to draw inspiration & survival...."
We did see a lot of us show deep solidarity, bound by the concern towards Agriculture crisis in India.

To hear the details of the mishap from the father of the deceased was heart wrenching. His only request was to take care of his grand children, who are now orphaned without both their parents. He also mentioned the obvious flaws in the Govt Policies, which directly hamper the interests of the farmers.

With all the groups mentioning their various, but conforming views about the agriculture crisis, increasing farmer suicides and the apathy of the Govt, the next steps are being contemplated. As a first step, a visit to some of the affected villages to assess and understand the ground reality by a dedicated delegation will be happening over the second weekend of April.This will be crucial to come up with a framework, which will be able to lend our support in a more systematic manner to the farmers in need.
The Candle light vigil with apt songs
If any of you are interested to be part of this delegation, please write to one of us.

Let us remember that nothing is unchangeable; Most of the times change takes time. With our persistence and efforts we will leave behind a better future for the generations to come. We have had a start now, taking it forward with all our support and participation will take us closer to the goal.
Painting by Balaji Kutty, depicting the increasing suicides of farmers

Farmer suicides is Government sponsored murder!!!

United to Stop Farmer Sucides

23 March, 2011

Why I am an Atheist by Shaheed Bhagat Singh

Shaheed Bhagat Singh: Inquilab Zindabad (Long live the Revolution)
Excerpts from one of the best articles ever written: 

"We (atheists) believe in nature and that human progress depends on the domination of man over nature. There is no conscious power behind it. This is our philosophy.

"Being atheist, I ask a few questions from theists:

1. If, as you believe there is an Almighty, Omnipresent, Omniscient God, who created the earth or universe, please let me know, first of all, as to why he created this world. This world which is full of woe and grief, and countless miseries, where not even one person lives in peace. 

2. Pray, don’t say it is His law. If He is bound by any law, He is not Omnipotent. Don’t say it is His pleasure. Nero burnt one Rome. He killed a very limited number of people. He caused only a few tragedies, all for his morbid enjoyment. But what is his place in history? By what names do we remember him? All the disparaging epithets are hurled at him. Pages are blackened with invective diatribes condemning Nero: the tyrant, the heartless, the wicked. 

"Open your eyes and see millions of people dying of hunger in slums and huts dirtier than the grim dungeons of prisons; just see the labourers patiently or say apathetically while the rich vampires suck their blood; bring to mind the wastage of human energy that will make a man with a little common sense shiver in horror. Just observe rich nations throwing their surplus produce into the sea instead of distributing it among the needy and deprived. There are palaces of kings built upon the foundations laid with human bones. Let them see all this and say “All is well in God’s Kingdom.” Why so? This is my question. You are silent. All right. I proceed to my next point.  

"As regard the origin of God, my thought is that man created God in his imagination when he realized his weaknesses, limitations and shortcomings. In this way he got the courage to face all the trying circumstances and to meet all dangers that might occur in his life and also to restrain his outbursts in prosperity and affluence. God, with his whimsical laws and parental generosity was painted with variegated colours of imagination. He was used as a deterrent factor when his fury and his laws were repeatedly propagated so that man might not become a danger to society. He was the cry of the distressed soul for he was believed to stand as father and mother, sister and brother, brother and friend when in time of distress a man was left alone and helpless. He was Almighty and could do anything. The idea of God is helpful to a man in distress.

"Society must fight against this belief in God as it fought against idol worship and other narrow conceptions of religion. In this way man will try to stand on his feet. Being realistic, he will have to throw his faith aside and face all adversaries with courage and valour. That is exactly my state of mind. My friends, it is not my vanity; it is my mode of thinking that has made me an atheist. I don’t think that by strengthening my belief in God and by offering prayers to Him every day, (this I consider to be the most degraded act on the part of man) I can bring improvement in my situation, nor can I further deteriorate it. I have read of many atheists facing all troubles boldly, so I am trying to stand like a man with the head high and erect to the last; even on the gallows.

"Let us see how steadfast I am. One of my friends asked me to pray. When informed of my atheism, he said, “When your last days come, you will begin to believe.” I said, “No, dear sir, Never shall it happen. I consider it to be an act of degradation and demoralisation. For such petty selfish motives, I shall never pray.” Reader and friends, is it vanity? If it is, I stand for it. 

21 March, 2011

Can we go on to eat the hands that feed us!

Eating the hands that feed us!
What a profound statement. It was made by one of my fellow activists, during the discussions about the issue of relentless farmer suicides in India. The issue about lakhs of farmers committing suicide in India is not an issue at all to a lot many of us living in the urban regions;
Courtesy: Our own apathy, media's negligence and not to forget the Government itself.

Apathy from our side

Individualism when applied at the levels of preserving one's ideas and seeing them fulfill is acceptable. But, when apathy is given sanctity in the name of individualism, like the current scenarios of the urban population in India, and other tending towards development countries is a matter of grave concern.

Humanity is a term that is losing its sense amidst today's humans.

Getting one point better, but still of no use are the ones who are emphatic about the issues, but are deeply reluctant, blaming the corrupt and supposedly unalterable system. This is nothing more than a lame excuse. If we are really concerned about the things, there are lot many things still within our control to be changed. We can still have 'hope' about the change, for, there have been instances very recently reinstating the 'power of people' in countries like Egypt and rest of Middle East. If it can happen there at that scale, why can't it in India: The world's 'largest democracy', or that is what we would like to call ourselves.
Simply put, it all boils down to our apathy, which has been masqueraded in the name of corruption, individualism, lack of time, and other invalid excuses.

Media and the bias

A single Decision Review System outcome which goes against India's favor in cricket, gets a full page coverage in most of the widely read newspapers and one full hour discussion with relevant panelists at prime time on National TV News channels;
When a star couple gets engaged or they break up we have loads of animal filth-like content spewed and spilled all over the media!

P Sainath, one sensible reporter of the very few remaining, says, It is not because the people want to feed on such filth that the media feeds them with garbage, but, it is because these powerful houses now have the ability to direct the kind of news the audience would want to chew upon.
Adding to his point, because garbage is cheap to produce, and today's media sells it profitably, we get to hear news full of futilities.
When this is the mantra of the media, the so called fourth pillar of democracy is doing nothing but drilling deeper holes into the democracy, by diverting all the necessary attention to the wrong things.
So, where will we get to hear about the unimportant farmers, who wouldn't know what Page3 parties are! Who cares if they are committing suicides or not. Even if they did, now it is stale news, for they've been doing it for more than a decade now!

Look at the state of affairs! We are contemplating the death of people, in terms of news readership and TRP.
It might seem like an exaggeration, but I think otherwise, when I say,
We have come to be worse than some of the gravest tyrants who have painted the History with blood.

Government and its mis-interests

In six years from 2005-06, the Government of India wrote off corporate income tax worth Rs.3,74,937 crore!* 
Whereas, the same Government's policies are making the conditions adverse for the vast weaker section of the population to just survive. Farmers committing suicides for more than a decade, and the number going upwards, with a number of more than 2.5 lakhs in India today.  So, it might not be a mere coincidence, or lack of mental strength that these many farmers have committed suicides abandoning their families. It is a more vicious ploy and a consequence of the Government Policies. Although, they can deny and defy it, the facts and policies are crystal clear - Anti poor and pro extreme rich.

India has become the metaphor to the cliché: Rich get richer, and poor get poorer. Now, one step ahead, the poorest now go on and die.
Simply, because it has become unlivable in circumstances such as the ones in India today.

Just think! If these many 'farmers', in a country which still boasts of more than 60% of population in agriculture is letting its farmers die, where is any sense to it. It has been on for more than a decade, and what has the Government's done to stop and prevent it. Nothing!
It only talks of compensation after the deaths, and sometimes this compensation becomes an incentive to few poor souls to trade their lives for.
An Economist politician as the Prime Minister and the best intellect in the cabinet ( supposedly), and a grim situation is getting grimmer. Crisis after crisis, and they go onto serve the richest (< 2% of Indian Population), ignoring the poorest (>40% of the Population). There is no accountability in the Government; They blame opposition parties and coalition politics while the hands that feed the country are taking their own lives.

This post by me is again, going to be a futile attempt, for, the ones who don't care would have stopped reading once they would have arrived at the context of it. But, if you have who had the little sense to read until here, then join us and be part of a small effort, in which we are trying to raise our voice and make it heard for the sake of the 'people' who toil to feed us, in exchange for nothing more than their mere survival.

A candle light vigil is being organized in Town Hall, Bangalore on the 26th of March, 2011 at 5 PM.
Be there. Tell us if you want to do anything about this. Visit our wikispaces -http://farmer-suicide-and-it.wikispaces.com/, mobilze people, create awareness and who knows we might be able to help out a few who are in much need of our help.

We cannot eat the hands which feed us, and let us also not make those hands to kill themselves.

Raise your voice to Stop Farmer Suicides!

While Chandrika (6) knows that her parents are no more, Sharath (3) and Keertana (5) are too young to realise the loss of their parents, who succumbed to the sudden fall in silk cocoons prices

20 March, 2011

The Free Culture imperative

Excellent painting depicting One World, by Joe Average
Being part of a movement which in the grand picture aspires towards freedom of knowledge in the digital domain, and a future with access to free knowledge to all of humanity is an incessantly revelatory experience. Every event and interaction brings more clarity about the big daunting task in front of each of us: The big task of getting back to the Free Culture environment.

If we are the social beings, who have evolved to acquire this cooperative intelligence as the niche aspect of evolution in the race to survival, curbing it would not only be unnatural, but a major disadvantage as well.

The creativity each one of us is packaged with, if utilized collectively,  and at the same time allowing our individual work open to improvisation by others is the only natural law we have to stay bound to. That is how a community thrives.

The culture of sharing, although is superficially professed in most cultures, the contradictory behavioral impact renders most of the individuals socially crippled. They feel it antagonistic to collaborate with others. A weird sense of animosity can be observed in people by the time they grow beyond their childhood.

In this regard, the Free Knowledge Movement has more than adequately proven to the world, that working together with shared contributions is the way to go forward for humanity. It isn't something new to us, but something that is at the verge of oblivion, due to increasing noise of self centeredness amongst the people. The only difference of the shared contributions then and today is the tangibility of measuring today's results:
Within a decade, the most comprehensive embodiment of all the information we ought to know has been created out of purely shared and collective contributions - The Wikipedia.
Creative Commons, within a few years has enabled the best of the community talent in the form of  literature, pictures, music, videos etc to get richer and better.
And needless to mention, all of the Free Software, which has been beautifully created, with more love and passion than the technology drive itself.

These many paramount manifestations convey one absolute message to the world: Endorse Free Culture, by which I mean openness in every social aspect of life. The future is bleak if we do not grasp the imperative for Free Culture, across the world.

14 March, 2011

Nature vs Man and his worldly goods

The post title, inspired from one good book I am yet to read "Man and his Worldly goods", suits best to describe the mindset of us humans, with respect to our frivolous perception of Mother Nature.

The Japanese catastrophic natural calamities, as unfortunate they are, should also be serving as warning bells and breakpoints to the rest of us. So that, we can look back, observe where we stand and imagine our future.
The City of Yagawahama in Miyagi, Japan 2007 and after the earthquake, tsunami 

Unscrupulous exhaustion of natural resources, extensive pollution and the increasing burden we are becoming to Mother Nature has been made evident with consequences such as the global warming, erratic weather patterns, untimely rains, famines and other natural repercussions.
It is not that I am scientifically correlating the current Japanese earthquakes, tsunami and volcanoes to the unscrupulousness we have exhibited for centuries now.  But, correlating only the consequences: The reason this time might have been natural, but the consequences for our misdoings could be the same, or might get even worse at a global scale. If we do not stop right now, and try contain the damage we have already unleashed there is no future to us on the Earth.

Having quoted Paulo Coelho even in a previous post of mine, I reiterate this apt statement:
Save the planet? The Planet must be saying, "Save yourself idiots, I will be fine" 
It is high time we realize this and have it forever in mind.

At least as a means of self preservation, we must halt the extreme levels of exploiting Mother Nature and her gifts to us.

All the recklessness, restlessness, remorselessness, that has become the way of life needs to be replenished with deep respect, which was so inherent to our predecessors.
When Japan, indisputably, technology-wise the most sophisticated country in the world has been shattered by the wrath and fury of Mother Nature, we must come to realize our place in the mechanics of the Universe. When such is the value of the sophistications we are ever boasting of, there are better things to concentrate upon. If we could reduce the antagonism between us humans, at the levels of communities, states, countries and what other non-sense, that would serve the best to all of us.

I do not endorse the Mayan Calendar, nor believe in the genius of Nostradamus. Nevertheless, I too can proclaim the prophecy that, if we are not 'stopping' these atrocious levels of unscrupulous exploitation of nature and her resources, we will see the END; Not for the Earth, but of the supposedly 'intelligent' creatures who lived on the Earth!

PS: Let us exhibit some basic sense of humanity, and share the grief and loss that japan is coping up to, rather than mocking at them and their circumstances by celebrating futilities such as cricket!

08 March, 2011

The oblivion of the small and the beautiful

Hasn't it been a while since a Postman knocked at your door? Or you went down and met your tailor to get your clothing stitched? Or that you've seen that bright entrepreneurial glee in the eyes of a small scale industrialist?

What has happened to the roadside Provision stores, to the Vegetable vendor who used to be a character to be pranked with, or the push cart kulfi waalas ?

Have you ever wondered how their lives have changed in a mere span of a decade here in India?

These are little people and their aspirations that the Monopolistic system has trampled and tread upon to give us this supposedly glorious world of today. A world, which values nothing but vicious personal gain; A system which approves you of the sanctity to tread on others to greedily move ahead; Move ahead as in: In this race, a rat-race; Each one is being raced down to the deepest levels of their values, and reducing every evolved emotion and relationship into a commodity.

Where are all the small, simple and beautiful things!
Small goes unnoticed: Everything ought to be grand and spectacular, beyond the saturation of our senses.
Simple is silly: Things have gotten super sophisticated beyond our realms of comprehension.
Beautiful is everything that carries a heavy price tag: Today's beauty has got our aesthetic sense go numb.
One such occupation....

When this is the framework you let people to thrive in, there is nothing but the sad, unattended funeral of heritage of occupations like weaving, carving, pottery, even farming, and various other small occupations, which form important segments of our evolution have demised, or are at least at the verge of oblivion from the known section of humanity.

A debate whether these have been displaced at the cost of modernization and development for the sake of the rest of us can be taken up, and we would eventually stand guilty.
Each of us can do a lot to avert this oblivion of our own small and the beautiful.

PS: As I am composing this post, I am contemplating of a contemporary Swadesi Movement for self sufficiency and most importantly self conservation of our society!
If you believe we can do it better together, then let's get together!

01 March, 2011

Cognizance of being better and above the system

I did try to come up with a smaller post title, but nothing could better encapsulate the idea I am trying to propose in this post.

The severe reverence people have come to give to the systems each one is being conditioned to is a matter of grave concern. The individual is intimidated of the system which he/she is a part of. By the virtue of systematizing and monopolizing institutions,the hegemony seeking enterprise holders have accomplished their mission.

I am not talking about Commercial enterprises, although they come inclusive of this argument. I am more so worried about the other social enterprises such as Religion, Education, Governance and even the system of ethics.

I have already questioned the validity of the religious institutions and the subduing behavior of individuals coming under a religious system in numerous posts of mine. What is more appalling, is the similar response individuals show towards the Education and Ethics systems.

Due to my lack of holistic experience, I shall confine myself to the scenario of Education and Ethics in India; In the Indian context, I do think that I'm adequately capable of critiquing the system, with more than 20 years of  conscious presence in this system.

The system of education does nothing better than narrow down the mental space of individuals with all its powerful, yet so blunt interactions with the individuals. Most students, still believe that exams are the ultimate objective of their education, and often even fail to think on the lines of applying the knowledge they might have absorbed in the process.
Narrowing down to the Engineering education in India, the irony starts with the term "Engineering" itself, as this system of education is nothing about engineering at all.

The word “engine” itself is of even older origin, ultimately deriving from the Latin ingenium (c. 1250), meaning “innate quality, especially mental power, hence a clever invention (wikipedia)

Whereas the current system on the contrary, is the most efficient ploy implemented to create the crudest mediocre work force for the ever blooming (?) Information and Technology Industry, that we Indians boast of.
The incentive for majority of students and their families still, to take up Engineering Education is to get employed in an MNC and earn above average wages.

As ironic and ridiculous the system of Education might seem, it somehow is well perceived in the society. Not just well perceived, but revered for some unknown enticement.

While, I can go on cribbing about the falsehood of the system, the most unfortunate thing about all of this contradiction is that the people who initially start as being part of the system, eventually become victims of it. Even after this victimization, people are oblivious of the perils in the system. They fail to see all the harm that has been done to them, and still go on to numbly bear it's burden without rebelling against it.

There is a deep and distressful lack of cognizance amongst the individuals; A cognizance that they themselves are far better and well above the System; A system that is created to intimidate and dominate individuals...


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