Saturday, April 23, 2011

Eradication of the poor: A new approach

"We cannot have two Indias. You want the world to believe we are the strongest emerging economy, but millions of poor and hungry people are a stark contrast," the Supreme Court said on Wednesday pointing to a huge gap between poverty eradication measures and spread of the problem. 

Supreme Court’s outrage is clearly against the vast divide between rich and poor. Our scams used to be in lakhs earlier, upgraded to crores, then to 10s of crores, 100s of crores and now we have crossed 1000s of crores. We have also heard of enourmous sums of money being stacked away in Swiss banks. Alarming increase in the numbers of luxury cars in India also paint a fancy picture of the country.

The other side of the story is fancy for all the foreigners visiting the country.

Since its independence, the issue of poverty within India has remained a prevalent concern. As of 2010, more than 37% of India’s population of 1.35 billion still lives below the poverty line. More than 22% of the entire rural population and 15% of the urban population of India exists in this difficult physical and financial predicament. While most of us are trying to cut down our eating to come back to shape, these people are finding it difficult to get 2 proper meals a day.

Since 1950s, the Indian government has implemented a number of programs designed to eradicate poverty (this does not include the personal efforts of politicians to distribute their wealth for votes). However we still continue to have a major percentage of the world’s poor.

UPA government under the able leadership Manmohan Singh has a fresh approach towards this problem. As eradicating poverty is becoming a problem, so they have decided to eradicate the poor.

Heaps of food grains have been destroyed under the auspices of Food Corporation of India (FCI) across the country in the name of storage.  An RTI investigation shows that as on Jan 1 this year, 10,688 lakh tonnes of food grains were found damaged in FCI depots, enough to feed over six lakh people for over 10 years. No food no poor. This approach is expected to continue for few more years under the able guidance of Mr Pawar, who single handedly could account to reducing 30% of India’s poor.

This is not the only strategy which is being followed. In a first of its kind approach, which has got the attention of the whole world, a bank in UP has stated that termites have eaten up a huge pile of currency in their bank.

An army of very hungry termites seem to have munched through 1 crore rupees in currency notes stored in a steel chest at a bank. Bank officials say the notes kept in a 'currency chest' at the branch since January was found to have been reduced to dust. They also claim that the old building has been infested with termites all along.

CBI has been roped in to investigate this and they have reported that this army of termites is likely to move from one bank to another to feast on the new found item on the menu. News on all the job portals is that termites are hiring in full scale. Millions of termite resumes are flooding Monster, Naukri and other job portals.
By this, there is an attempt to eradicate the other menace of India, the middle class.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Technology assisted acts

School is an interesting time. It’s the time when you jump into the fray of ‘NAAN-VEG” jokes. People move on but some jokes remain. A lot of the jokes have now gone beyond the sacred walls of school and reached unexplored destinations like kitchens of housewives, bathrooms of compulsive forwarders, not to forget corners of temples where pujaris stand reading SMSes.

One such joke revolves around a man (Origin of this man is not important as I have heard it on a sardar, tamilian, bihari, so on.. ) who apparently is so dumb that he doesn’t know how to fornicate (I will leave you at the mercy of dictionary to get further details). This guy goes on to marry (and thereby prove his dumbness, but he is not alone on this, most of us have already done this mistake or on the path of doing this mistake).

Having mentioned his level of dumbness, I will not go on to specify that he has no previous experience on the act of ‘FULFILLMENT’ of marriage (Women can actually file for divorce based on this reason). He expresses his helplessness to another man (father/ uncle/ mama.. different people have different versions). This honorable man (and obviously shaken man) agrees to help. They decide on a telephonic guidance for the act (this used to be a landline earlier, but now has been upgraded to a mobile phone).

So when the D-day comes (or rather D-night), this ‘heights of ignorance’ man (I mean how ignorant can he get, even donkeys know how to do it. Watch discovery or national geography regularly and they will teach you) reaches the bed room and finds the target in the room. He makes the all important call and starts to receive guidance.

After all the, remove the X, now remove the Y, do the *, do the #, comes the final advise “put what you and me have in common ‘IN’,”. Without giving much thought on the poor target which is on the receiving end, we go on to wait for the ‘climax’. This ‘What is the point of being born when you don’t know how to do it’ man ends up putting the phone in (doesn’t matter if it was the landline or mobile). Not to be ashamed, this actually arouses some laugh in the first few times of hearing.

Today, technology is so advanced that some of the stuff it can do is unbelievable. Now, they are being used to assist orthopaedic surgeons in knee-replacement procedures. For the first time in Asia, a Mumbai doctor performed a knee-replacement with the help of an iPod navigation system.  

The patient, 75-year-old Gulab Singhvi, had been suffering from severe joint pain in her left knee for the past four years. Dr Arun Mullaji, who performed the surgery at
Breach Candy Hospital, said: "Though the computer navigation itself was a breakthrough, the iPod navigation allows for better accuracy." 

It’s not long before this technology is modified to assist ignorant idiots with some of the unimaginable ignorance that can ever be imagined. I am sure donkeys don’t need this assistance. If this technology is successful then the above mentioned joke is sure to get phased out. Read it and enjoy it till it lasts.

Monday, April 11, 2011

(Mis)Interpretation of sexuality

It has been quite a while since Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was assassinated in January 1948 at the age of 78. Lot of Indians were not even born when this incident took place. Its been 63 years since his death but even today people don’t seem to let him rest in peace. His name seems to crop up for many a unwanted reasons.

Joseph Lelyveld, digs up his grave and declares him a bi-sexual in his book titled Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle. Joseph Lelyveld is the former editor of the New York Times, and a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author.

According to Lelyveld, between 1908 and 1910, Gandhi left his wife to be with wealthy German-Jewish bodybuilder and architect Hermann Kallenbach. But the only evidence Lelyveld gives the reader, is a salacious one-liner where Gandhi allegedly told Kallenback, “How completely you have taken possession of my body. This is slavery with a vengeance.”

I do not know if this statement is backed by any evidence or if this is something that has been a ‘pass the word’ phenomenon. Even if we accept that Gandhi had indeed said the above words, how does one judge the context of the line?

In India, you walk into any hostel, the rooms are shared. 2,3, 4, sometimes more people share one hostel room. If one makes a statement “me & my classmate sleep on the same bed” does that indicate that these 2 are having a homosexual relationship? Or if one makes a statement “I stay with 3 guys in a room” does it make a homosexual group?

I don’t have to specify that in a boys hostel, its not very uncommon to walk around in your undergarments, especially in hostels with shared bathrooms. Shame goes for a toss within the first few weeks of your stay. You are even paraded naked during your raging season. People watch porn in groups, and at times there is an embarrassing (and funny) situation of catching someone fulfilling himself of a testosterone surge. 

Though I was a day scholar, I have stayed in the hostel numerous times. I have shared friend’s room. I have even shared friend’s bed, sometimes with multiple people. There was no exchange of any bodily fluids though. This did not seem a big deal back then. It used to be a friends thing. Those were the days when you could put your arm around a friend of the same sex without raising many eye brows.

If I rewind back a few more years and jump into my childhood, I remember a game we used to play “Who can pee the farthest”. It used to be a very entertaining and a pride filled game. There were other versions of this game which I would refrain from mentioning here.  But, you cannot play this game without getting to see the other guys “pipe”.

I am very happy that Lelyveld does not know that I exist. However, I am a very scared person today. 50 years after my death, if somebody writes a biography on me and uses the same logic as Lelyveld then I would be screwed.

It looks like I have done so many things which some guy from some foreign country might interpret in a DIFFERENT way.