You Phenomenon

The politics of India, these days, is being looked by many with plenty of cynicism. Though over the years people had shown great faith in democracy, they are fast losing faith in people manning it. Looking back, India’s struggle for  Independence succeeded because the elite of the time had come forward to lead the masses and public supported them, well, en mass. After attaining Independence, over the period, both elite and the public left ruling to the handful of people. They in turn consolidated themselves into class of their own and excluded the rest out of governance. The rot in the polity started with advent of our first lady Prime Minister, who broke her grand old party into two, so that her writ could run large. That was beginning of the end of inner party democracy and era of joining politics for selfless service towards the nation, as well. Ironically, the scion of the same family is trying to restore inner party democracy and bring semblance of morality into the party.

After the grand old party of freedom movement had broken into two and one part had withered off, the degeneration accelerated. Soon the polity of the nation was hitting nadir with each passing year and was surpassing it to find another new low. Leaders will stoop to any level to garner votes and then to stick to the power at all cost.

After fifteen Lok Sabhas people’s faith in Indian political leaders stood shaken. It is expected of them to tell brazen lies, twist logics and act in irrational and banal manner. Corruption, naked lust for power is a given. Indian democracy has got limited to voting in elections once in five years. Politicians resort to inane methods to lure voters and later blamed them for selling their votes. India didn’t experience real democracy. What we got instead was replacement of white rulers with brown ones, who were not less white than the whites themselves, sometimes, even literally. Candidates won by 20% to 30% votes and didn’t represent majority of the voters. The parliament became fiefdom of few families who shored up their defenses and made it very difficult to a new honest person to enter. The rebels who did manage to break through the high entry barriers quickly learned the ropes and sometimes outdid the veterans. There was a clandestine understanding between the members of this one large family. Parties avoided defeating important leaders of their rivals; they made sure not to take substantial action apart from mandatory lip service to halt other party’s corruption streaks. Public at large was divided and sub divided further and further into fiefdoms to be ruled by their masters. While voters tried to change their fate, in vain, through ballot but the political class was well entrenched. The nexus between money and muscle power, corruption and crime ensured that political elite stayed in their elite circle, much against the wishes of common man. The force of ballot didn’t make a difference because one leader is no different from another. One party is not different from another, except for change of face and few superficial differences.

Agitated voter are placated by throwing in a hospital here or a school there, crumbs that fell out of the overflowing plates of politicians. No great idea or scheme is introduced that can really make the difference to the reigning problems of the country. In ancient China, there used to be a Doctor in every village. His job was to ensure health of villagers. He was paid collectively by the village and when someone fell ill, he did not receive his fee. As his job was to ensure that everyone stays healthy and well. I believe that is Government’s job too. Why there is no comprehensive planning and implementation on important issues like health or education? There can be various plans. For a state, as an example, assessment can be done as to how many hospitals and health centres are needed to keep whole population healthy. These can be then opened according to a well laid out plan rather than on whims and fancies. Why health minister of the state opens medical college in his constituency and why administrative prudence is overtaken by populism? Why basic necessities are not available to common man at their door step and why can’t these utilities run on auto pilot? Because governing class is not interested in providing good governance to the people. Why is India still not fully literate, maybe because Government is not serious in providing literacy to everyone. Same goes for healthcare, employment, basic facilities like water, electricity, etc and basic infrastructure. The ruling class is weary of doing anything that is not vote catching. They have managed to subdue peoples mind to the extent that they are compelled to vote on lines of caste, creed and religion. Even educated ones have difficulty resisting, when they heed the call of their religion or caste being under threat. Public memory being short, cannot recall that they had been called in the similar manner during last elections too. Even if they do remember, they fail to sift genuine from fake sometimes. The call if it’s not in the name of religion could be in the name of development, depending on the flavour of the season. But still voter fail to hold their leaders accountable. They desist asking them to give a record of promises made last time. Voters don’t ask why providing water is a poll promise, why it is not a given, for any Government?

In this milieu voter got corrupted too, self interest took precedent over national interest and voters colluded with political masters for petty gains, in turn sacrificing the greater good. However, the misrule, bad governance and corruption was reaching a crescendo when Anna Hazare’s anti corruption movement came as a fresh breath of air. People gravitated towards him as all had suffered and are suffering from the insensitive system at one point or the other. The politicians in their smugness ignored him in the beginning and their apathy towards common man reflected on Anna movement too. Fortunately, Anna survived the movement which gave birth to a new party. The Party was based on principles of common sense and promised bare minimum of right governance to the people. However, due to paucity of sanity and sincerity in political discourse, the new party attracted lots of educated well established persons in the society and the common man. The right thinking people who wanted to serve the nation but could not due to high entry barriers in polity, gravitated towards it.

Till the time of Delhi election all major political parties had smug confidence in their underestimating voters and at the political barricade put up by them. But the results astonished those without the ears to the ground. One major party got decimated, another’s juggernaut was stopped midway. They got people’s support in Delhi as they gave hope to people. When they jumped into Lok Sabha election political class was apathetic in the beginning, however, later they were insecure.  The new kid on the block was not like them. It stayed away from power and pelf and was incorruptible. Whole hell broke loose and in the ensuing din the real issues were again drowned. The new party was trying to increase awareness about the right way the democracy should be practiced and it wanted to ensure people’s participation in it. The model of swaraj is to ensure that some of the important issues that concern common man are addressed by him with the help of government. Instead of providing key to governance to someone else and to pray for justice from them, the people could take decision and ask government to implement them. It was next logical progression for democracy which antiquated self serving general politicians had no intention of doing. Another issue was removal of corruption from the system, which had been acknowledged even by the Prime Minister of the country. Third was the removal of VIP or VIIP culture from society, which is conveniently confused by the critics with basic, dignified living. Politicians like any other public servants are definitely entitled to good pay and perks but it is the attitude of being the ruler of the masses that ought to be removed.

These and many other issues and awareness about them were being generated but the din was created by the conventional politicians to ensure that only threat to their well developed fiefdom is nullified. Common man of the country can see through the din, and it is ardently hoped that this new brand of politics is accepted by him. As far as educated few are concerned, they would prefer to fight over the nuances conveniently ignoring the big picture, so that the brand of politics they are used to is not disturbed.

Over the year apathetic treatment of important issues of general masses by the Political class has resulted in development of lots of pressure in the polity, and the public has found a safety valve in the form of new political party aptly abbreviated as AAP meaning You. If the opportunity provided by emergence of this new party is not availed and the idea is not helped to grow, all would be lost. People will go back to being cynical and ruling class will go back to its disdain of common man, smug in the thought of their own invincibility. And it would be a very long time before someone again emerges to cleanse the system. And the institute of democracy may take the hit, in the time being.

This is an opportunity for bloodless revolution in a noble democratic manner and should be availed, by supporting the new party.




The other side of destiny

“I ‘ve always been buffeted by circumstances because I thought of myself as human being affected by outside conditioning. Now I realize that I am the power that commands the feeling of my mind and from which circumstances grow. “-Bruce Lee

Of late the world has been introduced to the new form of thinking. The age of Kali is also an era of knowledge, new thinking and heightened awareness. As this yug is progressing, the world is experiencing more of all pervasive degradation and at the same time there is an acute awareness and struggles to reverse its effects. This holds true in the many fields including spirituality. The age old beliefs and practices that have been long forgotten are being rediscovered and are being seen in the new light. One that is slowly seeping into general psyche is the concept of Consciousness and Super Consciousness.

The world as we know it, could be divided into two energy fields. One is consciousness and another could be called super consciousness. Consciousness prevails in all those that have the shape and size and exist in this world. It is in the form of humans, animals, birds and other living beings and in the form of inanimate objects like mountains, rivers, seas and deserts. The super consciousness on the other hand, is the large, unknown and unseen part. Its all pervasive and all powerful. Enlightened people have tried to explain it to common man by calling it Super Consciousness, Universe, Higher Self, God or by many such names. It is from this superior force that that consciousness sprang and in it, it merges. But for the time being while they are separate, they are still strongly bonded. They can be understood as the two parts of the same whole.

To study this bond in detail, it can be said that the humans are part of God and posses all his characteristics. Now the immediate question that springs up is if Human is divine then why is he considered so inferior and why there is so much suffering. The answer lies in its chief asset the brain. The brain power, if properly harnessed, can raise the consciousness to higher level, thus helping mankind regain its lost divinity. However, left to itself, mired in the illusion of world, it could forget its origin easily and falls into the morass of daily existence. The humans are considered a notch higher then the animals. The quintessential difference is that animals are condemned, in a way to their existence, while humans choose to live their lives, that way.

Since there is a bond between the Conscious and Super Conscious part of the entire existence, there are means of communication between them. This communication goes on unabated. All the thoughts that arise in our Consciousness are conveyed to the Super consciousness. These thoughts on the one hand shape our bodies, while on the other, they shape our futures. All the thoughts that are relayed out, are duly noted and come back to us in the forms of various events and occurrences.  Thus the thoughts, attitudes and inbuilt emotions felt by the humans on the daily basis take forms and become our reality in the short and long term. All the new age gurus and wisdom of some old age ones boils down to teaching the mankind this realization and this secret. We indeed are the masters of our destiny. Our daily thoughts matter but what matters more strongly is the belief. Belief is the thoughts condensed into an unshakable, strong system. This system guides ours destinies. We experience it numerous times, and deep down we know its effectiveness but sadly we never make a conscious effort to harness this great power, what ever little we do, we tend to use it in negative ways and end up harming ourselves though unknowingly or lets say unconsciously.

The Greater Consciousness is not concerned about the rights and wrongs of the subjects. Its chief purpose is to manifest the choice made by you. Now the major question is how we can harness this great power for our own benefit? The answer lies in the working of the two Consciousnesses. Any thought that is held strongly enough and is held long enough, gives out the signal for its fulfillment. This principle can be used for our own growth. If we repeat a positive thought in our mind for long, it condenses into a belief and the belief held for long, will manifest into the reality. This process can be used both for material as well as spiritual benefit.

If we delve deeper, we our overwhelmed by the possibilities and also there is a nagging doubt, how could such a powerful tool be so easily available? Therein lies the catch, belief and thoughts are closely related with the faith. If there is no faith in its working, it will not work. It’s not easy to fight one’s own dogma, hence such a powerful blessings had stayed out of the reach of many.

Insurance and Selling

After jumping into fray, I realised I was in the world of selling once again, something I somehow didn’t relish. But still I was enthused. I was raring to go, however I had to cool my heels for couple of months, first there was delay in generation of  advisor code, then there was an induction training program.

I had to undergo AIP or Advisor Induction Program. It was a four day affair and pretty intensive. I had attended a detailed session at Max New York Life, that came handy and I could understand the new concepts and products easily. I was already quiet clear on few policies, or so I thought.

At last my code arrived and I could go out on the road. My first experience though it was not entirely mine was with a colleague of mine. I caught hold of him, took him to the resturant and had called my unit manager too. And the unit manager gave the presentation. It was good enough, we were pretty convinced of our success. He asked for sometime to think. After somedays I realised the he had just bought time, he gave me the general excuse of lack money and of trust in the company. I tried to explain, but I was already angry and was seething.

In between there were number of presentaions by my unit manager, second presentation was to a low paid employee. Then two more of my colleagues who were there in Amway too. They listened carefully then, when I called them for follow up. One of them just refused plainly but other arrived. He sat there for a while and try to wriggle his way out. But my unit manager was persistant. And when he tried to counter his excuse of no money, he got angry and stood up and just walked out. Poor manager he was stunned and I felt sorry for him.

But that incident was enough to douse my fire of enthusiasm. I realised few things. First I selling insurance is tough just about as tough as selling Amway wares. Secondly selling could get humilating. Thirdly may be selling is not for me afterall. Lastly definately its tough to be Business Partner in three months. Business Partner is someone with about 10 L of business with him.

The more I thought about it more blue I felt.  There was no friend in true sense. No one was ready to do something for me. Second was rage for Amway distributors, I knew number of them. I thought they were in the same team as me. As I was a salesman like them. So may be, so I thought, they would give me a more sympathetic hearing. But that was not to be, they refused to listen, few of them whom I asked, inspite of fact that they themselves poached on other peoples time they refused to listen to me. I had this self righteous rage. The rage continued and I rued at peoples limited financial literacy. Here I was selling this great product and people are refusing to listen. If they have no money now then what would happen 15 years down the line. They are saving in post office schemes, which are generating negative returns. So in effect they will have less money on hand then what they actually started with. And God forbid, if something untoward happens, then what will happen to their family’s financial security. These were issues of importance and people were not understanding and furthermore even refusing to listen.

Then something more happend, I happen to attend a training session by Branch Manager, contrary to my expectations, he was sparse in telling about the various products. He didnt get into details or indepth study. Then I happened to meet an advisor of other company Future Generali, she in her enthusiasm told me about the child plan of her company in detail and I couldn’t get it. Then I met an LIC agent a colleague too, I asked him about their child plan and he told me in couple of lines.

So I drew my conclusion: people don’t understand in the first go. One doesnt have to be verboise. Try to sparse and highlight the main point in simple and if possible metamorphic language.

I happened to read a book by Zig Ziglar on selling. Here he clarified and emphasised what I already knew somewhere that selling involves lot of rejections. I gained back some of my lost confidence, then a close friend of mine enthused me and asked me treat this as a learning period and take charge. I decided too after seeing the performance of my unit manager, he was able to motivate only me. So I decided to make presentations myself.

More about that later.

Previous post is here

…..Baba should not teach ‘Political Asanas’

……… Baba shouldn’t teach political asanas

——Kapil Sibal, Union Minister

Indeed the Hon’ble Minister was right in his veiled warning, because when the Government of India showed their dexterity in twists and turns, the yoga guru was left speechless.

Over night Peaceful protesters were roughed, made to cry and then thrown out of their camp in the middle of the night. The camp was covered from three sides and the sole entry was blocked by the Police. Reminds me of Jallianwala Bagh episode, though less gruesome but equally painful, ’cause we think we live in democracy. After 4/13 (as we should call Jallianwala Bagh massacre now), the British lost the moral right to rule over Indians and now after 6/5 Indian National Congress has lost the moral right to rule over Indians. We still, it seems are  Yoking under Slavery albeit of Brown Sahibs.

What the political class fails to understand is that Swami Ramdev and his ilk are trying to channelise the anger of the common man away from political class. This rage if allowed to build will erupt one day and political fraternity will be  seen dragged out in the streets and lynched. Just a matter of time before the pangs of hunger over rides love for democracy. Though it would be a sad day for the Democracy, what is needed is to fine tune and change with times and make provisions of safety valves to let people vent their angers in rightful manners. Though the political class is still in Time Warp of British Raj and failed to understand it.

I had great respect for Prime Minster Dr. Singh until now that is, I feel that its better to be bad person and effective Prime Minister rather than be  a good person and incompetent Prime Minster. He should have at least some say in running the country or has  he learned the ropes and is in connivance with his party, both ways its  regretful. By the Way looking at the mess of economy and inflation in two of his tenures, I have lost faith in his expertise over economic matters too.

These are the times of Churning and a catalyst in the form of Swami Ramdev has jumped into the melting pot and now either the things will change for better and we are heading for golden period or things would change for worse and there are worse times ahead, one thing is for sure things will not remain the same.

During the sit in against corruption, two Khans of Bollywood objected to it. One was Salman Khan, who when not killing Black Bucks, in gruesome, in human manner is busy mowing down lesser humans by his Land Rover in inebriated condition. He decides one day to talk about the issues of national importance and stand against the Fakir who is loved by the people. Second was Shah Rukh Khan, whose major argument that a person should stick to his or her own profession and never go out of it. By that defination, he himself shouldn’t have bought an IPL Team or for that matter, likes of Dharmender, Hema Malini, Govinda etc should have refused the lucrative offer to hallowed Parliament and if they didn’t do that, at least Shah Rukh should have strongly voiced his view against them, after all they were crossing the ‘Lakshman Rekha’ of their profession. Hopefully he does it in future.

Though the nagging suspicion remains that, all those protesting against Swami’s agitation are themselves embroiled in the muck.

The attack on the innocent public, in Ram Lila Ground seems ominous to me. Taliban was well entrenched in Afghanistan, when out of the blue, they decided to destroy Bamiyan Buddha statutes. Whole world was livid and protested, but they struck to their stands, and shortly afterwards the events took such a turn, that Taliban got uprooted and they are still fighting to establish themselves. Same thing happened during Jallianwala Bagh incident, the British Raj,  shook to its very foundations and they never ever could gain control over Indian Psyche again.

Back of home the then Raja of Manda, refused to heed to the cries of parents of dying young kids, and stuck to his stand. The subsequent events forced him to self imposed political exile, out of which he never came out alive.

Even helpless, anguished people, it seems have a force with them, which comes into play at the crest of the event. Why does it look like that this event has unleashed those forces?  Now its wait and watch for the course  history takes this decade.

Kashmir-On a new boil

After 9/11, especially, the T word had become bad. America is no longer willing to consider long haired, bedraggled Muslims fighting in the ravens of Afghanistan or picturesque Kashmir as freedom fighters or “our boys”, anymore. Since they have turned their guns on America, they have become the enemy of state, more precisely United States.

Now what does Pakistan do, in such circumstances. For one it makes some right noises and allows free hand to USA on its western front, though not without extracting its pound of flesh and driving a hard bargain. And what about the eastern front, which is Kashmir. Well, they change track. The days of shoot and scoot are over. In the bad old days. Some youth heavy on dope and ideology were let loose with a gun or couple of grenades. Now that was crude and noisy. Besides one can’t trust these people to do their work honestly. There were newspaper reports that militants, not the hardcore type though, outsourced their work to others. Young boys in Kashmir were given Rs 5 or Rs  10 to go and throw a grenade on CRPF convey. That gave bad name to the ‘peoples movement’. Its another matter, though, that there were never  people in it.

Anyhow, the new thinking emerged and Pakistan changed track.  Now they have instructed their stooges in Kashmir to stage street fights. For every incident imaginary or perceived CRPF is to be blamed, there should be massive demonstrations, of course through their henchmen (cameras will never know, the staged from real), there should be stone throwing, slogan raising and every other mean to provoke forces. If they hit back, there will be genuine reasons to stage another, more fierce demonstration.

It serves lots of purposes. For one the it will show that the oppressive state is oppressing the masses. Secondly it will keep Kashmir on boil and administration on toes, thirdly and most important it will create tremendous pressure on CRPF, as they will be hesitant in dealing with terrorists in future, for the fear of public back lash.

How to prove that it is indeed so. There has been a comprehensive report on NDTV which can be read here. The Shopian incident has been widely reported, but what is not reported as widely is another murder of two young women in Shopian. These women were killed by Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists. In first case  17-year-old Nigeen Awan was killed by Latif Theuuda and Riaz of the Hizbul Mujahideen. As she had spurned the overtures by one of these terrorists, so she had to face his ire. One day he shows up at her doors and empties the magazine of his gun in her. He instructs others to not to take her to hospital. She writhes in pain for 45 mins and then died, looked on by her family and villagers. In another attack, Rashma Jan (45) a married woman was killed by another terrorist on June 16 in Sapoore. These terrorist attacks were reported by The Tribune and could be read here. But no murmur of protest is being heard. For the obvious reasons. The otherwise protesting loud voices of so called leaders of Kashmir are wary of even saying that culprits should be brought to book. Case of  “our boys’ it seems. And that includes the mainstream parties too. So rest assured no action will be taken. And its rare when an action is allowed by the Government to be taken against the terrorists. Its the action against the security forces which is contemplated demanded and at times taken.

Long time back a cook was killed by the security forces and there was a great deal of protests too. NDTV highlighted then, that another cook was killed, at around same time by terrorists and there was no one to even wipe the tears of the family.

In a recent incident a teenaged boy of Larkipora in Dooru  was said to be killed by the security forces and the usual massive protests took place, however after few days the boy was recovered, he had run off from home,  while all the while family conveniently blamed the police. The Tribune reported it and it could be read here.

The writing on the wall is obvious that these protests  are being organised by the political arms of terrorists. And their controllers in Pakistan are utilising them to create a new form of chaos and threat to peace and tranquility of valley. The political parties in the Valley are behaving just like any other politicians around. They are bent upon breaking the country for their petty gains. Its for the public at large to see through their devious games and oblivious of cacaphony around them, stick to what is good for the state at large.

How to Read Faster and Better

“How to Read Faster and Better:

How to get everything you want from anything you read as fast as you can think.”

Its a book by Franklin J. Agardy, Ph.D. President, Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics Inc.

I hadn’t heard of Evelyn Wood until I read this book, though I had heard about her techniques. She is an expert in remedial readings.  She had invented Reading Dynamics, a technique to read very fast and developed a method to teach it. She has founded Reading Dynamics Institute which teaches people at various countries.

This book is written by the President of her institute,  Reading Dynamics Inc. and essentially talks about Evelyn Woods and her speed reading techniques. Some years back it was thought that humans were capable of reading only one thousand words per minute but that was later proved wrong by Evelyn when she could read about fifteen thousand words per minute, that is reading a novel in four minutes. phew! Though she admitted no body would want to do that.

Here is what I gathered from the book. A normal person reads at the speed of some 200 – 300 words per minute. There are three chief factors that stop us, the average reader from reading faster. Firstly if you read aloud, or even to yourself it slows down the reading speed, secondly we tend to read a word at a time, instead of cluster of words and thirdly due to slow speed we somehow loose the line or the mind wanders off, and we have to re read to get the meaning. That is espcially true of the academic works.

These are three factors that tend to slow us down. The book shares some idea about how to overcome  them and there are methods to read a book more effectively.

One of the techniques could be,  what I would call goal searching.  If reading an important chapter, instead of just reading it, if one has an idea as to what he wants from it and keeps the questions ready before reading, he tends to get more out of it.

This could be done by making a quick preview reading, (as taught in the book) taking down notes in short form preferably mind maps and then normal reading and a quick, if required, a post view reading. These three reading will result in much more comprehension than three normal readings.

The book has shed quite some light on the subject of speed reading, however, it also tends to be a preview or introduction to the Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics Program, as stated on the jacket itself.

In the end one is left thirsting for more.

ICICI Pru Life

My tryst with insurance hadn’t ended. Exactly after an year of having undergone an agent training, I was back in the fray. My interest in Amway was waning and I was looking for viable alternative part time source. I zeroed in on insurance, it had flexi timing, self driven and paying. Though it involved selling, but that was inevitable.

So I decided to jump into insurance field. I started scouting for right company. I talked to  Sales Managers of different companies. I searched their websites, finally I shortlisted two companies Max New York Life and ICICI Prudential. Both are equally agressive, had large number of policies and were strong brand names.

I had been through Max New York Life’s training programme so I knew about the company, its a joint venture between Max India Ltd. and New York Life, and  was acquinted with ICICI Prudential too. I had dealt with ICICI Bank and ICICI Direct Demat service and found them inovative and customer friendly.

Finally I decided in the favour ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, number of factors were involved, chiefly there were two.

firstly the unit manager of ICICI was more communicative so was his SM, they provided information, without being pushy, whereas those of other company didn’t even bother to save my contact no.

Secondly I trusted brand ICICI,  between the two partners, Indian partner was dominant and strong, though Prudential had  strong foreign presence, in the event of crisis, I felt, both are capable of handling each other; whereas same was not the case with Max New York Life. Malvinder had recently sold his strong pharma venture Ranbaxy, making him a short term player. New York Life has a strong presence in insurance but it is a US based company where the number One Company like AIG also couldn’t avert crisis and was in doldrums.

These two factors and number of smaller ones resulted in my deciding in the favour of ICICI Prudential and I joined as an advisor couple of months back.

Previous part is here