Why Should You Vote ?

Khurshed Batliwala has an interesting article on why should you vote ?

If you check out the polls, you will see that in most constituencies, a maximum of 60 – 70% people go and vote. Now this 60% of the votes is typically shared between 4 to 6 candidates who may be contesting the election for that place. Even assuming that only 3 are the popular ones, the vote distribution will be approximately 10-15% each (of the 60% polled) among the popular ones and the rest among the others. So we will usually have a victory with just 15-20% of the votes of a given constituency! So a person will come into power with a “majority” vote of just 15-20%, usually much less, maybe even 10-12%!

This in itself is pretty flawed according to me, you will have a very hard time convincing me that 49% is a majority, let alone 12-20%.

Our politicians seem to be pretty good at maths, and they have done this calculation, and so know that to win an election, they need to worry ONLY about getting 20% of the votes. So they divided the country into OBC, and SC/ST and minority castes and so on, so that they could see a clear 20% of the population they would need to take care of (appease) so that they would be able to secure their vote and stay/get into power.

When you see it this way, almost every single government policy will make perfect sense. Now how can you confound this happy little scheme? Well, if more than 90% of the population goes and votes, then just securing that cozy 20% of the votes is not going to get them into power. Then, they will have to actually take care of everyone… the majority as well as the minority, which they should have been doing in the first place, but don’t, because the majority DOESN’T VOTE!

So to force the hand of the government to be “by the people, for the people and of the people” more people need to vote.

The word politics actually says it all: Poli meaning many, tics meaning bloodsucking creatures. Your right of franchise, your duty to vote is the tic powder. Use it! So why should you vote? Fundamentally, because you can. You are blessed to live in a country where you can vote. God forbid that you suddenly wake up in a country where you can’t vote…

Original Source : The March.

A nice story

A nice read …. Akshay sent me this …

Keep this in mind the next time you are about to repeat a rumour or spread gossip!

In ancient Greece (469 – 399 BC), Socrates was widely lauded for his wisdom.
One day an acquaintance ran up to him excitedly and said, “Socrates, do you know what I just heard about Diogenes?”
“Wait a moment,” Socrates replied, “Before you tell me I’d like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Triple Filter Test.”
‘Triple filter?” asked the acquaintance. “That’s right,” Socrates continued, “Before you talk to me about Diogenes let’s take a moment to filter what you’re going to say. The first filter is Truth.

Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?”

“No,” the man said, “Actually I just heard about it.””All right,” said Socrates, “So you don’t really know if it’s true or not. Now let’s try the second filter, the filter of Goodness.

Is what you are about to tell me about Diogenes something good?”

“No, on the contrary…”  “So,” Socrates continued, “You want to tell me something about Diogenes that may be bad, even though you’re not certain it’s true?”

The man shrugged, a little embarrassed. Socrates continued, “You may still pass the third test though, because there is a third filter, the filter of Usefulness.

Is what you want to tell me about Diogenes going to be useful to me?”

“No, I’m not sure really.”

“Well,” concluded Socrates, “If what you want to tell me is neither True nor Good nor even Useful, why tell it to me or anyone at all?”
The man was bewildered and ashamed……this is an example of why Socrates was a great philosopher and held in such high esteem.

India Against Corruption

Everyone should support this : From Bawa’s blog

“Dhyan karna seekh liya, ab dhyan rakhna bhi seekho!” – H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

India Against Corruption

Corruption is happening every minute and at almost every possible level of the system in India right now. Together, we have the power to remove it from its roots, and make India the starting point of action against corruption across the world. But to make that possible, we need to ask ourselves the following 3 questions…

1. Why is corruption happening?

It’s happening because of poor laws and policies in the government, which keep changing according to the whims and fancies of politicians and get mended according to what suits them best.

Guruji says, it’s happening because of lack of belongingness and the only obvious cure is Spirituality which can bring back the Human Values. Corruption happens because people don’t feel that they belong to each other. “apne hi hai sab log”. No one would want a bribe from his own family member would they? Every action arises out of our own thought, and self purification is the cure. To feel that belongingness, Self purification is required. Yoga, Pranayama, Meditation, Sudarshan Kriya, Seva, Satsang, Silence and Grace can bring about that transformation in an individual and hence in society.

2. Is there any solution to corruption?

Yes!

The first thing is to eliminate corruption at your own level. Say no to bribes; join hands to fight corruption through marches, awareness campaigns and mass vote. For the India Against Corruption movement, the solution is to lay strict Anti Corruption rules by the formation of the Jan Lokpal Billby the citizens.

What is and What could be

3. What can I do? How do I contribute to this movement?

a. Join the India Against Corruption movement, by giving a missed call to 022 61550789 (we need at least 25 Lakh missed calls, around 5 Lakh are done so far). We will SMS you a message from Anna and others, on what you can do today, and every day.

b. Stay in touch with minute-by-minute progress, join us on facebook.

c. Spread this message. Write on your facebook walls, publish this article on your blog. Print it out and stick it in your lifts and office notice boards. Do whatever it takes to get it to the public at large. Invite people to join Anna at the Jantar Mantar Event. Do anything and everything in your capacity! Our nation needs LAKHS to join Anna at Jantar Mantar!

For any suggestions/queries: – write to: iac.noida@gmail.com

Our Nation needs responsible, empowered people right now, so let’s help our India, our Bharat Mata in every possible way we are capable of!

Jai Gurudev …

Sintel

“Sintel” is an independently produced short film, initiated by the Blender Foundation as a means to further improve and validate the free/open source 3D creation suite Blender. With initial funding provided by 1000s of donations via the internet community, it has again proven to be a viable development model for both open 3D technology as for independent animation film.
This 15 minute film has been realized in the studio of the Amsterdam Blender Institute, by an international team of artists and developers. In addition to that, several crucial technical and creative targets have been realized online, by developers and artists and teams all over the world.

Ganesh Chaturthi …. A very interesting insight ….

We are all familiar with the story on how Ganesha became the elephant-headed God. Shiva and Parvati had been celebrating and Parvati becomes dirty. When she realizes this, she removes the dirt from her body, creates a boy out of it and asks him to keep guard while she bathed. When Shiva returned, the boy could not recognize him and obstructed his passage.
So Shiva chopped off the boy’s head and entered. Parvati was shocked. She explained that the boy was their son and pleaded with Shiva to save him at all costs. Shiva then instructed his helpers to go and get the head of someone who was sleeping with the head pointing to the north. The helpers then got the head of an elephant, which Shiva affixed to the boy’s torso and Ganesha was born!
Does this story sound strange? Why should Parvati have dirt on her body? Didn’t the all-knowing Shiva recognise His own son? Was Shiva, the epitome of peace, so short-tempered that he cut off the head of his own son? And why an elephant head on Ganesha? There is a deeper meaning to all these.
Parvati is symbolic of festive energy. Her becoming dirty signifies that celebration can easily become Rajasik or feverish and can take you away from your center. Dirt is symbolic of ignorance and Shiva is symbolic of the Supreme Innocence, Peace and Knowledge. So when Ganesha obstructs the path of Shiva, this means that ignorance, which is an attribute of the head, does not recognize knowledge. Then knowledge has to overcome ignorance. This is the symbolism behind Shiva chopping off the boy’s head.
And why the elephant head? Elephant represents both gyan shakti and karma shakti. The principle qualities of the elephant are wisdom and effortlessness. The enormous head of the elephant signifies Wisdom and Knowledge. Elephants don’t walk around obstacles, neither do they stop at them. They just remove them and keep walking straight on – signifying effortlessness. So, when we worship Lord Ganesha these elephant qualities within us are kindled and we take on these qualities.
Ganesha’s big belly represents generosity and total acceptance. Ganesha’s upraised hand, depicting protection, means, “Fear not – I am with you,” and his lowered hand, palm facing outwards means – unending giving as well as an invitation to bow down – symbolic of the fact that we will all dissolve into earth one day. Ganesha also has a single tusk which signifies one-pointedness. Even the implements Ganesha wields are symbolic. He carries in his hands, the ‘Ankush’ (signifies awakening) and the ‘Paasa’ (signifies control). With awakening, a lot of energy is released, which without proper control, can go haywire.
And why does Ganesha, the elephant-headed God travel on something as small as a mouse? Isn’t that so incongruous? Again there is symbolism that runs deeps. The mouse snips and nibbles away at ropes that bind. The mouse, which gradually nibbles away, is like the mantra which can cut through sheaths and sheaths of ignorance, leading to the ultimate knowledge represented by Ganesha.
Our ancient Rishis were so deeply intelligent that they chose to express Divinity in terms of symbols rather than words, since words change over time, but symbols remain unchanged. Let us keep these deep symbolisms in mind as we experience the omnipresent in the form of the elephant God, yet be fully aware that Ganesha is very much within us. This is the wisdom we should carry as we celebrate Ganesh Chaturti.
-Happy Ganesh Chaturthi… Have a wonderful week ahead

HOME ..

Its  a visually stunning piece of art . A must watch ……

In 200,000 years on Earth, humanity has upset the balance of the planet, established by nearly four billion years of evolution. The price to pay is high, but it’s too late to be a pessimist: humanity has barely ten years to reverse the trend, become aware of the full extent of its spoliation of the Earth’s riches and change its patterns of consumption.

http://www.home-2009.com/

Till Now ….

Long long time since I have written anything on this blog ….. A lot has happened since then . A semester is over , college over ( finally a BTech ) , a few more advance courses , summer magic , another job , new friends , tennis , swimming , lonavala , cochin and loads of events to cherish forever . Will write a post on what I have learned , liked and felt going through all of this .

What I miss though is college life . I am writing this post at a time when most of us would in train/flight/bus to college welcoming another semester .Miss all of my friends , the hostels , the MESS , CLC , Octa , Nescafe , Bru , Azzez ( now selvam ) , the job treats , McLawrens n all of that …..

Love you all ,

Jai Gurudev .

Back Home …

Back home after a pleasant semester . Got placed and all the usual good stuff . Pune is as usual energetic and lovely …. Relief is the good food ( finally ), internet speed  and loads of oppurtunities this city has to offer as compared to Trichy . Will be goin for a 10 day tour of Rajasthan and Delhi …. and loads of other stuff in hols …..

Ciao .

Jai Gurudev .

Say no to GM foods …. ‘GM food can cause the biggest health crisis’

‘GM food can cause the biggest health crisis’
Q&A:Gilles-Eric Seralini
Latha Jishnu / New Delhi July 17, 2009, 0:12 IST

For a country that doesn’t take much interest in scientists, Gilles-Eric Seralini is probably as well known as a scientist can get in India. Seralini is professor of molecular biology at the University of Caen in France, and he hit the headlines here early in 2009 when his analysis of the research data on the country’s first transgenic vegetable, the Bt brinjal, was presented to the Supreme Court of India. That’s when all hell broke loose. The French scientist’s findings were stark: he said the tests conducted by Mahyco, the company producing the Bt brinjal, were simply not valid. To start with, and this was a point completely missed by the array of top scientists who sit as the apex regulators on the Genetic Engineering Approvals Committee (GEAC), he discovered that the Bt brinjal had been modified to produced an unknown chimeric (artificial) toxin. He also flagged off a number of evident and potential health hazards of the Bt Brinjal, such as its resistance to at least one well-known antibiotic, kanamycin.

There are compelling reasons why India cannot afford to ignore what Prof Seralini says: he comes with impeccable credentials. Since 1998 he has been a member of two commissions evaluating the environmental and health risks of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) for the French and European authorities and was among the experts used by the European Union (EU) when it clashed with the US in the World Trade Organisation over Europe’s 2003 moratorium on GMOs. Prof Seralini’s expertise has been sought globally as president of the Scientific Council of the Committee for Independent Research and Information on Genetic Engineering (CRIIGEN). This is how activist Aruna Rodrigues who is fighting a critical GMO case in the Supreme Court brought Seralini into the Bt brinjal debate. Mahcyo has yet to respond to Seralini’s analysis.

Algeria-born Seralini, 49, is a genial man who speaks softly in halting English with a sense of humour which can be unexpected and deadly, says Latha Jishnu. Excerpts from an interview conducted last week in Delhi:

Gilles-Eric Seralini

You head the Committee for Independent Research and Information on Genetic Engineering (CRIIGEN). Is its expertise and independence recognised globally?
We have undertaken studies for the EU, the directorate of agriculture of the European Commission, Quebec’s ministry of environment, the governments of Tunisia, Egypt, the Carrefour Group; we did studies on transgenic salmon for the University of Montreal, the European Spatial Agency and Greenpeace among others.

What is the biggest problem with GMOs?
You may not be aware that 99.9 per cent of edible GMOs are designed to contain toxic pesticides whose effect on the human body and the environment are not known. At CRIIGEN, we believe there should be transparency on the development of GMOs. This is the biggest problem. Everything is kept confidential by the biotech companies whose data governments accept without validation. We need many more tests on the environmental and health-safety aspects of GMOs and it should be assessed independently. We want science to be used for the benefit of people, not companies.

Are the tests on GMOs inadequate?
No government anywhere has asked a company to do more than 90-day tests on GMOs. It’s unbelievable that such tests are considered adequate for food that is given to babies and old people. Most companies also keep their test data secret, especially blood analyses of animals fed on GMOs. This is not science; we are still living in the Middle Ages. No tests have ever been conducted by companies of the pesticides associated with GMOs on human cells. The blood analyses are performed only on rats and are kept unbelievably confidential.

I must congratulate India on making the Mahyco data on Bt brinjal public. (This came about as a result of the Supreme Court case and a campaign launched by Greenpeace India). I must also congratulate Mahyco for tests conducted on three mammals but it did the tests for only two doses against three mandated in the OECD protocol (India claims to be following this protocol).

What is the most dangerous finding from your analyses of the Mahyco data?
The dossiers submitted by Mahcyo raise serious concerns. They are not signed by the researchers who did the tests, which means these can be considered invalid. But most significant, Bt brinjal has been modified to produce an unknown chimeric insecticide toxin. In the toxicity tests on target and non-target insects, this chimeric toxin was not used. Instead, an improper Cry1Ac toxin was used because this control was easier. Also, Bt brinjal is resistant to antibiotics, at least the well-known kanamycin.

How serious a health risk is that?
Antibiotic resistance, you must be aware, is recognised as a major health problem because of the growing genetic resistance to antibiotics, both in the environment and humans. You simply should not consider commercialising a food item that is resistant to antibiotics. Besides, several biotechnology companies have already developed transgenic plants without this marker gene.

So why is Mahyco unable to do so with its Bt brinjal?
It is possible that Mahyco bought an old unused GMO technology from Monsanto (The US biotech giant is the parent company of Mahyco).

Are there other concerns with Bt brinjal?
Bt brinjal appears to contain 15 per cent less kcal per 100 gram. It also has a different alkaloid content and 16-17 mg per kg of Bt insecticide toxin that is poorly characterised for side-effects. Significantly, rats fed on the Bt brinjal had diarrhoea, suffered liver weight loss while other animals, too, showed significant biological changes.

Given all these risks why is it that the GEAC did not bring it to the attention of the government?
I think the GEAC has not gone through the data on Bt brinjal. I have received mails from the GEAC asking me, “Why do you call it chimeric toxin?” So I had to point out the page and paragraph where it was mentioned in the Mahcyo dossiers! They should scrutinise the data carefully, go through it table by table to discover what lies hidden in these figures, and not go by the conclusions of the company.

What should India do?
It should seek absolute transparency on GMO testing. GEAC and Mahyco must respond to the concerns raised on the side effects of Bt brinjal and the results should be available for public scrutiny. Also, GEAC should compel Mahyco to compare Bt brinjal with the same variety of brinjal, and not any variety that the company finds appropriate as it has done so far. This is not proper science because it masks the real effects of the Bt toxin. Most important, the regulators must insist on full transparency in the blood analyses of animals fed on Bt brinjal. The best way would be to set up an independent testing facility. This way India will become the symbol of not only good science but also the source of good food for the rest of the world.

Should GMOs be banned altogether?
GMOs should be tested like drugs. This means full life-cycle tests on rats and other mammals. That’s the only way one can assess their safety for human consumption. As for the environment, remember that once it is out in the open, you cannot confine it. In India, it will be the end of your rich biodiversity. I understand that there are 2,000 varieties of brinjals in this country. You risk contaminating all of these. Let me give you an example: A tiny quantity of sterile GM maize producing a vaccine for pigs in the US has contaminated 500,000 tons of soya.

Even Europe is under US pressure on GMOs
In spite of that, GM crops account for only 0.05 per cent of the acreage in Europe (100,000 hectares in Spain), while it is 18 per cent of US agriculture which produces 96 per cent of the world’s edible GMOs. The European approach is that we don’t know enough about this technology so long-term assessments must be made of the environmental and health impact. The EU also stands for transparency and counter expertise, meaning independent scientific tests. I believe that the world is headed for the biggest health crisis ever because of the lack of transparency. It will make the financial crisis seem like a blip.