यथा प्रजा तथा राजा?

Indians who considered Trump’s America a safe haven are in for a nasty wake up call. Like Muslims and Jews, Indians are not immune to racist attacks. On Thursday, a Kansas man open fired at a bar in the city of Olathe, killing 32-year-old Srinivas Kuchibhotla and injuring his colleague, 32-year-old Alok Madasani. Both men…

via Indians around the world are realizing the harsh reality of Trump’s “America First” policies — Quartz

This post is why people should learn to correctly attribute effects to the right cause. The way in which the article is attributing racism in the United States to Donald Trump is not fair. The article is glossing over the fact that there is racism in the country and most white citizens cannot identify the origin of a colored citizen based on his skin color.

Worse, the issue that needs to be discussed is gun control laws and not Trump.

On an off note – I have been using WordPress reader in the last couple of days and am liking the share mechanic that they have.

India Bandh, A waste of time and money

The entire nation was in uproar with the recent price hike in petrol prices. A 10% hike essentially meant that suddenly the 14 litres of petrol I bought with INR 1000 would be reduced to 13. Agreed, that the uproar seemed to be fueled by the opposition party, but hey, that’s why they are there in the first place! To keep the ruling party in check.

A nation-wide bandh seemed like an appropriate action. 31st May was set as the D-Day and the entire nation waited.

The employees of the nation waited because of the undisputed holiday that they would get.

The shopkeeper’s waited because of the surge in sales before and after the strike that they would get.

Media waited (with baited breath) to create a highly hyped event out of this.

I woke up late hoping that it would be a holiday in our company. Sadly, it was’nt and I had to reach office. Due to my family’s concern for my safety, I was asked to walk the distance to my office. The only reason I agreed was that I could see first hand how things were there out on the roads. On TV the strike had taken its toll, all channels were talking about the mediocre success of the strike throughout the nation. With the exception of Aurangabad (and possibly Kolkata), the rest of the cities seemed to be working in swing.

Shops were closed till 5pm (with the exception of chemists), and PSU units were kept closed. Most of the private enterprises were open and local transport was working. All in all, this strike had gone to the dogs.

Yesterday, the efforts of the strike had borne fruit. Finally, some results! To my chagrin, the margin by which the hike was reduced was a measly 2 INR per litre. Meh! Not only was this strike a waste of time, but also a waste of money. The only person who would really be affected by this is the common man. All the others will hike up their prices … the employees will have to wait for their poorly done appraisals.

I wonder if there is a correlation of the inflation rate of the country to the attrition amongst employees?

Johnny Walker Budget

Well, the Budget is out and the Hon. Fin. Min. (HFM … no, not the magazine) has finished his speech. I was going over the salient points and realized that the budget does not do anything great for the country or the economy.

  • An additional Service tax … iffy … yay! more money for the government
  • Tax slab revised by 20,000 INR. Meh, I am already in the highest tax slab. What about me :-)
  • Some forecasts on the GDP and the macro-economic rates, yawn
  • Okay, the Automobile industry can cheer about something

Some more such points which are only worth getting a yawn, meh or hmm.

I wonder by the HFM bothers with churning out such budgets, it talks of the attitude of if its working, then don’t fix it. So this is what they do after 1 year’s work? It’s really a Johnny Walker Budget .. nothing has changed pretty much … keep walking.


Why I don’t give alms

I had meant to write this for quite some time, was putting it off – my periodic procrastination at work :)

The day I read through this article (an NGO for every 400 Indians), it was enough to spew forth a series of questions … questions aimed at people who work in NGOs and those who invest in them. With 3.3 million NGOs (the registered number in 2009), what impact has it really done to the country? At a micro-level, I agree that NGOs would be making a difference to the concerned community, but at what cost?

Do we (the nation) really have so many problems that it is taking so many NGOs to work? Imagine the amount of funding and human capital that must be going into these. I know folks who work for NGOs, and they take this funding for granted. This is the most appalling thing!! What gives you the self-righteous attitude to demand charity? (You can expect, but the day you demand I give you the bird).

The only way an NGO should sustain themselves, is not through charity, but through generating their own revenues. If the wealth of the nation is spent on giving to the needy, then the needy will never stand on their feet – they will just spread their arms more open.

Why can’t NGOs have business models and start being sustainable? Smart people will now talk about Social Entrepreneurship … what really gets my goat here, is that how is it any different from entrepreneurship? But that’s fodder for a different post.

Personally speaking, the reason why I do not give alms is that charity is a disabling act. When you give charity, it is a positive reinforcement of the fact that begging gives you livelihood. Once a person starts begging, the first thing he loses is his dignity, and then he loses his capability … downhill thereafter.

I truly believe in –

Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

Whenever a beggar approaches me, I offer them work instead of money. Sadly, none of them has yet to take up the offer.

JK Rowling at HBS

I was unaware of the fact that JK Rowling (the author of the very popular Harry Potter series) holds an honorary degree from the Harvard Business School. So it came as a surprise when I chanced upon her Commencement speech at the HBS Alumni meet.

An excerpt –

But how much more are you, Harvard graduates of 2008, likely to touch other people’s lives? Your intelligence, your capacity for hard work, the education you have earned and received, give you unique status, and unique responsibilities. Even your nationality sets you apart. The great majority of you belong to the world’s only remaining superpower. The way you vote, the way you live, the way you protest, the pressure you bring to bear on your government, has an impact way beyond your borders. That is your privilege, and your burden.

JK Rowling talks about how she looked at her failures to give her strength. To give her the courage to follow the road less trodden. Failure takes away all the unnecessary things, giving the individual focus and clarity. No wonder they say that failures are the pillars of success.

A parting note (quoting JK Rowling who was quoting Seneca)  –

As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.

I think everyone who is aspiring to make it big should go through that speech. Success is not something that happens overnight, and without a certain clarity of purpose, it is very hard to succeed.

Twitter uses

I have posted earlier on Twitter as well, but this time, its for a more practical purpose. It is on how to use this web tool to market your site online, to get those readers/customers to your portal. Social media is a powerful thing, and using it to promote your product/service online at minimal cost is even better :-)

So here are a few ways you can use twitter to tweet your way to more hits.

  1. Have an RSS Feed on your site, if it is content based, eg. Crazy Engineers, put that RSS in Twitterfeed, and push out regular updates through twitter! Similar updates can then be sent to your twitter of your blog/corporate blog as well.
  2. Once you have your twitter account setup and your tweets are flowing a-go-go, then you can have your social networking accounts like Facebook, to display the same tweet.
  3. Take care not to over do the feeds, since your followers can get bugged with you. I know a few friends who have complained of me tweeting of what songs I am listening to and all that jazz, so keep a filter on those feeds.
  4. It also helps if you are tweeting every once in a while by yourself, so you get a more human face. For eg. Zappos’ CEO, Tony Hsieh is there on twitter, and he actively tweets about his daily routine. How cool is that, direct access to a firms CEO, can you be more customer-centric?
  5. Use twitter for simple market surveys, qualitative and quantitative as well. For eg. You can tweet, “What do you think is going to happen to the Indian economy?”, the answers would be more than enough to put forth a blog post. Later, you can tweet that post url, and there is a likely chance that people who participated in your twitisurvey would also read your post
  6. This latest in: Use twitter to resign!!

Try it out, give twitter a twhirl!!