30 May 2014

A Verdict on the AAP v/s BJP v/s Congress Debate

The AAP v/s BJP v/s Congress debate has taken the country by storm! It's like Sri Lanka v/s India v/s Zimbabwe (where the Congress is Zimbabwe). Well, it doesn't matter. The country has given its verdict. While most are overjoyed with the result, a lot of us are sour. Some call it the 'death of democracy', yet others are claiming that it's a bubble waiting to burst, and then there are those who believe that the most controversial party would've done a much better job at the helm.

This post is not for bragging about the BJP's victory. It offers insights into what transpired. It is an analysis (without statistics) of each party's actions and their repercussions.

A friend said that his relatives in Ahmednagar were happy with the Congress. The Congress had waived off farmers’ loans and electricity bills. These subsidies are what has kept them in power for 55 out of the 67 years, and will continue to do so. You see, the Congress has spoiled people below the middle class so much that they don’t want to work hard anymore. The MGNREGA has given the lower strata the easier choice of being paid without working. As a result, labour for agriculture has become expensive, indirectly impacting the price of food grains. The PDS has, as usual, led to hoarding of food grains by middlemen creating an artificial shortage. Again, prices rise. This time, the middlemen make money. Policy paralysis, countless scams and almost 0% accountability has frustrated almost everyone.

Most of India (including me) was delighted with AAP’s dominating victory in Delhi. I must admit, however, that I was sceptical of AK ever since Anna Hazare claimed that his Jan Lokpal proposition was being diluted by Kejriwal and used for selfish reasons. After forming a government over much brouhaha, the repeated U-turns made by AK and company, mindless dharnas and unfeasible economic decisions left Delhi worse off than it was. Water tankers earlier would charge 800 bucks per round. After Kejriwal’s resignation, ungoverned, they started charging 1,500 bucks per round. Imagine the plight of common man who believed in AK. Plus the number of resignations from party members and mud being slung them, the vehement abuse of all politicians by AAP members; these left a lot of people disillusioned.

It is true that most people support AAP for its cause – wiping out corruption. But in a country like India, where corruption has penetrated every aspect of our lives, it will take a mammoth effort. A mere resignation within 50 days and blaming other parties for it won’t suffice. Hell, office politics is tough because of colleagues. What gave Kejriwal the feeling that running India’s capital would be any easier?

Corruption is a major issue for the middle class and bourgeoisie, not for the lower economic classes. Their concerns are jobs, wages and prices – primarily of food items. While we were crying about Salman Khan mistreating Gauhar in Big Boss, the poor man barely had food to eat because of job losses and food prices shooting through the roof. He was left exasperated. Consequently, he turned to the only man who talked the language he wanted to hear – Narendra Modi. More than the media, immigrant workers in Gujarat carried word of his good work around. Labourers would let their friends and family in Bihar, MP, UP and other places know about how efficient the governance in Gujarat is. Lower strata people (including Delhi’s slum dwellers) then decided to vote for Modi. “Wo tarakki laayega” was their reasoning. They are hoping Modi will bring more jobs and empower them to live a better life. They’re hoping this will make them earn more so that they can live in better houses, eat better and send their children to English medium schools.

The Congress’s definition of inclusive growth is flawed. Imagine an organization paying money to its employees for years regardless of shoddy jobs being done (or none at all). How long will it survive? Apply that concept to a whole country. Now imagine an organization providing its employees a conducive environment, giving them the necessary tools to perform well, bringing in business to ensure they have work, rewarding them accordingly and expanding consistently. Now apply that concept to a whole country. Which model will succeed?

The BJP has its flaws too – lots of them. No government is clean.  Nor will they make all of India’s issues disappear. For all we know, Modi’s model might fail miserably because other states don’t have the same entrepreneurial DNA as Gujarat. But the man deserves a chance. Narendra Modi comes with a proven track record – that of 12 years. He already has made the cabinet leaner, which will hopefully lead to project approvals faster.

Indian citizens are not in favour of the BJP; they’re in favour of growth and development, which currently only 1 man seems capable of delivering. Narendra Modi has sold us Indians the only feeling which is stronger than fear – Hope! It is this emotion that has led to BJP’s landslide victory. This is a humble request to put aside all bad blood and get behind the current Prime Minister of your country. He needs your support to help you live a better life. And I think he deserves it.

23 May 2014

What is the Purpose of Your Life?

Sisyphus had betrayed Zeus. As a result, he was cursed by the God of Lightning to push a rock up a hill all day only to see it roll down at night. This, Sisyphus was to do till the end of eternity.

While this may be a fable in Greek’s mythological books, it is quite similar to the lives most of us are living today. Get up at the same time, catch the same transport, do the same work, come home and sleep. Eating lunch at the same time with the same people, watching the same TV shows, using the same Whatsapp all day… how are our lives any different from Sisyphus? Well, for one, we won’t live till the end of eternity. Thank God for that!

Which gets me to the question – why do we do this? Follow the same routine till even monotony starts feeling monotonous? It’s probably because this is our only understanding of life now. We’re searching for a purpose, a reassurance. We’re chasing money today so that we can secure our future tomorrow. Thing is though, the money we have is never enough to own the things we want. So what should we do?

Dalai Lama provides an enlightening insight – The main purpose of life is to seek happiness. Yes, we need food, clothing and shelter. But you don’t need more money, more fame or more success. Money will be enough when we learn to control our wants and desires. Easier said than done, eh? Well, here are some things you can try. Let me know if they work.

First understand the law of causality. This law states that your state of mind is dependent upon the actions you take. Your mindset is bad when you do things which you dislike and good when you do things you like. So you must do more of what you like and less of what you don’t. Don’t stagnate in that job if you don’t wake up in the morning looking forward to it. Switch to something which lets you do what you’re good at. Mind you, you are creative; let nobody tell you otherwise. And until you get the job you want, cultivate a hobby. Read books, learn musical instruments and languages, write, play sports, attend musical concerts… let go of the god damn TV and mobile phone. Try it and see the difference in your mindset in 21 days.

Yet another thing is revising your perception. Stop looking at things as either very good or very bad. Remember that incidents today are a result of what occurred in the past. And it is not necessary that things will stay bad. If things are bad today, they will get better tomorrow. Also, look at people less fortunate than you instead of the wealthier ones. Someone I know regularly distributes drinking water bottles to traffic policemen. And he says, “They politely decline if I offer 2 bottles to 3 of them, saying 1 will suffice. And each time I've offered a bottle, they offer me water from it despite standing in the searing heat for hours. Their attitude of sharing is touching.” So you see. Interacting with people who less fortunate than you will make you feel grateful for your life and improve your Happiness Quotient (HQ?).

Remember, happiness doesn't lie in the TV set, social media, lavish parties or lunches. It lies within you. To be happy, you must tap into your inner good and be compassionate toward others. As Audrey Hepburn said, “For beautiful eyes, see the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.”

There are many ways to achieve inner happiness. I have listed just 2. Looking forward to your additions in the comments section J

image Courtesy: Google Images
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