A Dig @ Indian Politics

A CD has created ripples in Indian politics. We all are talking about that, some words which are spoken by Varun Gandhi (not proved or authorized yet). We all know that words mentioned or said in that CD is not right, it’s wrong. But the question is why so much of media hype? Why everybody is trying to single out Varun Gandhi? What happened to Sajjan Kumar? What happened to Jagdish Titler, Sanjay Dutt, Abu Aajmi, Raj Thackrey, Pappu Yadav, Mh. Shahabuddin, Mh. Taslimuddin and many such politicians?

Is it because he has a surname called “Gandhi”? If that’s the case, are we still living in democracy? The point is, the entire political system in India needs a radical and thoughtful change.

I didn’t want to make any comment on this as there’s no point highlighting something which has no significance as far as masses of India is concerned. Normal Indians are still bothered about food, clothes and shelter regardless of religion, region and caste. But the politics or rather say politicians have something else in mind. They want to divert issues. They know that they have no better issues than hate speeches, religion and caste. They know that a normal Indian is very emotional, very sensitive. They know that their faces are colored when take bath in religious and regional streams and their tainted faces are grimly hidden behind those colors.

In theory, we are the largest democracy of the world, but, in practical, we are still not a mature democracy. We are largest because we have people and we are immature because we have uneducated, unaware, unconcerned people. When I say uneducated I mean the education which injects a nationalistic approach and not the education which teaches A, B, C, D.

When we want to understand India, and the Indian politics in whole, we should ask few questions to ourselves.

  • Who are we?
  • Before 1947, what was the concept of country, nation and Rashtra?
  • What happened after 1947?
  • Why Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and why not a single Bharat?
  • Why Mahatma Gandhi was killed?
  • What went behind injecting “secular” word in Indian constitution?
  • Why reservation, what purpose it solves and how long it will go?

Before we talk on politics in today’s India, we should ask few questions to ourselves.

  • What is Congress and why the name Congress?
  • Why BJP is communal and why parties like SP, BSP, and RJD secular?
  • Are we satisfied with issues like religion, region, and caste or we need issues like Economic Policies, Foreign Policies, Rural Development, Infrastructure, Security and Prosperity?
  • We need regular politicians or we need part time politicians?
  • We need national parties or regional parties?
  • Do we need some changes in our political system?

Thinking on these questions will certainly give a better understanding of Indian Politics and it would surely have a long term impact. Let’s learn from our past and look for a bright future. Let’s enjoy the fruits of democracy and let’s throw unnecessary elements out of this system.

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March 24, 2009 at 6:07 am Leave a comment

A Travelogue for Mandarmoni – Explore, Dream, Discover

A traveler without observation is a bird without wings. When I got to know about our office trip, the traveler inside me inculcated the observer within me, and then came the writer. I observed few people, few incidents, and few contexts and then wrote this Travelogue.  I tried to cover almost everything interesting which this trip had to offer, though there are chances that I might have missed something. I hope those who were on trip will add missing parts in the comment section.

Let’s see the background first. The speculation about an official trip was in air from last couple of weeks. I could hear people whispering softly about where we may go and on which date. The anxiety  came to an end when we got a form to fill as who would be coming for this trip, got another form as who would be eating veg and who would be eating non-veg. Once the trip date, place, food got confirmed the next round of talks started about planning for trip. The trip was planned for a night stay at Mandarmoni, a virgin beach at Indian East Cost, a place adjacent to Bay of Bengal. It is said, when anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, you should go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses you with its noise and imposes a rhythm upon everything in you that is bewildered and confused. Ok, so if we go by this saying the plan for a beach was great.  Next was the individual planning for the trip? It included, identifying likeminded groups, activities (for obvious reasons), shopping for fun @ beach (no need to mention what was there in the shopping cart), etc.

@ Office Reception  All set for the trip

Saturday 06th March 2009, we started our trip at 9.00 AM from Kolkata. The first humorous tiff occurred when few back benchers were allotted seats in front row. With some resistance and some humor, people grabbed their respective places. The food packets were also kept there at front and the journey started with distribution of Kolkata’s famous “Sondesh”. It’s a sweet, distinctively famous in Kolkata. The next item in food was “Samosha” (the national snacks) and then “Jilebi” (the national sweet). We also had “puri-sabji” packets for breakfast. The plan was to take it when the bus will stop at Kola Ghat though few people were in little hurry. They tried opening food packets while the bus was on run and the outcome was some yellow-blue colored jeanses of some front-sitters.  Little trouble mixed with some spontaneous chuckles created little noise in the bus. Next few minutes went peaceful and the bus stopped at Kola Ghat . There was a bridge which was under maintenance. Only one side of that bridge was open hence we had to wait for ½ hrs for our turn to come. We took our breakfast there and moved again. The atmosphere in bus was quite low so the enthusiastic lot sitting at front tried to play music. It was a lovely song though very few were able to understand it. People started whispering again. I was asked, “Which language is this”? Actually, the song was in “Bhojpuri,” and was not understood by majority sitting in the bus.  After playing 3 songs, which was like a torture for many, finally the music was stopped.
Next on plate was a joke session and most of the jokes were mainly from “purvanchal (Eastern UP and western Bihar) region”. I’m not sure whether everybody was able to listen them but people sitting in front rows were surely enjoying that. It was a great humorous session which lasted for around 30-45 minutes and then we got trapped in a Traffic Jam again. It was hot & humid inside bus so we went to take shelter in a nearby Dhaba. Well, it was not only a shelter but for few, it came as an opportunity to cool down a little bit. They got a beer from that Dhaba, and it was shared “ghoont-by-ghoont” if not drop-by-drop amongst all cool-seekers. Bus was on run again. This time a session on s/w processes, project management methodologies started and the discussion covered, PMI, CMM, CMMi, ISO, Kaizen, ITIL, Prince, Waterfall, Spiral.. Ok, it was basically everything from theoretical to practical and after this interesting knowledge-talk we reached Chaulkhola, a place where our bus was supposed to stop. We got down and cabs from our resort came to pick us from there. The resort was around 14 KM from that place. It was a narrow road passing through local villages, but this time we were fortunate enough that our cab had some good old Hindi songs. When I say GOOD, it was good at least for me. Some love songs of late 80s especially from Kumar Sanu were good enough to create a nice feel of the trip. Very soon our cabs were running on beach. Yes, the cabs had to run around 5-6 KM on that beach to reach the resort. It’s the longest beach of Asia, a fact which we didn’t know before reaching here.  

On the way to Mandarmoni  The Beach

We reached there at around 3.00 PM. Our booking was done in “The Sana Beach”. It was a beautiful beach resort. Rooms got allocated. We got fresh and then walked towards the cafeteria. Food was good and we had a good lunch. The next plan was to go on Beach and have some fun with waves. We changed the dresses and the beach dress got ON for most of us. At around 4.00 PM we reached there on the beach. Initially people were little reluctant to go inside but soon everybody was there inside sea, playing with small tides. There was no any safety guard so we were making sure not to cross the danger line.  We had a football with us though we were using that as a handball in the sea. It was great facing those waves, rising against them, floating with them. Amongst this entire fun one of our guys felt like some pinch at his elbow. He said, “I felt like some small creature coming towards me and biting me at my hand”. His pinch attracted many sea-experts and we heard several theories, like, “it might be a jelly fish”, “It might be a sea snake” and the most humorous was, “it might be a Shark”. I further added, “we never know, if might be a blue whale”. Ok, let me make it clear, I’m not a sea-expert (you might have guessed it by my above statement). I just wanted to take the theories to an extreme.

Inside Sea  The Game was ON

Sunset  Some Fun

After hours of fun with waves we were tired and we rushed towards our resort. After taking shower with normal water, we relaxed little bit. Till the time the night had already started. We went towards sea for an evening walk. The sea was looking awesome at that time. After few minutes of walk we sat in a nearby “tapri”.  We were facing the air blowing out from the sea and we ordered few chips, biscuits, and chai, spent around an hour there and then walked back to our resort.  The preparation for “bonfire” and drink party was ON and some people were busy with Badminton. I preferred to stay at badminton court. We started playing knock-out badminton matches. I was playing it after years and to my great surprise I had not forgotten the rhythm. Went for playing a double (in fact half mixed double) match and after trailing at 11-6 we won it by 15-12. Great, now it was the time to stop the play and move towards bonfire. The drink party was ON, I tried to get some snacks for me but I was failed to make a way for me there. Along with the drink, the “Sher-o-Shayaari” session also started. We heard some beautiful humorous “shayaaris” of Kumar Vishwas. The singing performances were next in the queue. We heard some nice Hindi-Bangla songs. In between “Sher-o-Shayaari” and “singing” the party mood was rising like anything. There came the music, loud music and the place near bonfire area became a mini-disc. Public started moving, rolling on the grass. We saw some very nice dance steps and I would like to talk about few of them. We had dance steps for each and every professional. Yes, the dance steps were based on what you do in your real life in the office. MBAs were asked to do “debit”, “credit”, “turn-overdance. Creative guys were asked to do “brush-up”, “erase” and “move-around” dance and some of the guys were asked to perform “snake-dance”, not sure what was the reason for that. We had limited number of dance songs and there was no DJ, so, I was playing a role of Part-Time DJ, faced some shouting on the song selection but I knew I have no option to play. I was just trying to continue the music so that people can get something to dance on. We also had some slow solo-dance performances, especially from some very conscious people. Lack of quality music was definitely a concern though some brilliant dance performances entertained people, and it was something to remember for years.

Strange face of Fire  Cat @ Bonfire

The evening had enough to make people tired; we had our dinner at around 12.30 AM. Some of us wanted to go for a walk again to sea-shore. I preferred to fall asleep. Missed the beauty of sea in the night and also missed the story to write.

Sun under Palm  Group Photo

Beautiful Sunrise  Red Crab

Before hitting the bed we planned to wake up early and capture the first glimpse of sun-rise in the morning. We knew that Indian East Cost offer an excellent sun rise scenery. I took the responsibility of waking up a group of guys in the morning, set the alarm for 5.00 AM and went in sleep. I hope you are not expecting a story from my dreams. Anyways, there wasn’t any dream to talk about. As planned I woke up at 5.00, disturbed few others and went for a morning walk on the beach. The sea shore was on its best in the morning. The shade of blue and green sea was looking beautiful. The fresh air was amazing. We were just enjoying that excellent atmosphere. We captured few snaps of that awesome sunrise. We also checked out some red crabs which were wandering in hundreds there.  Our morning walk was of around 6 KM and we reached till a river delta, though not sure which river was it. We walked back to our resort and there the live cricket match between India and NZ was on. Sachin and Yuvraj were hammering NZ bowlers. We forgot tiredness and stuck to the TV set.  Saw entire Indian inning and then went for the bath. Our trip was coming to an end. We took breakfast and started our journey back to Kolkata.

Everybody was tired, so, this time in bus, instead of any fun, people preferred just relaxing at their respective seats. Most of them were taking some naps. We stopped again at Kola Ghat, did lunch and boarded back in the bus to Kolkata. This time we had managed to get a music CD of old Hindi songs. The music was ON and people were taking naps in between. It was comparatively peaceful. We reached Kolkata at 5.00 PM and our official trip came to an END

March 9, 2009 at 11:51 am 5 comments

~~ Flowers – Spread Happiness ~~

In the midst of global conflict, global warming, global recession, I learnt to spread the message of global peace and global love from some lovely flowers. These colorful flowers are always ready to spread happiness and love. They cheer our heart and create a feel good atmosphere.  

My latest fascination towards nature photography, especially flower photography has the same inspiration. I want to capture the beauty of a flower in different colors and in different forms. They show, how we can organize different things to make a complete product, which is great to see and nice to feel. Perhaps, this could be a big lesson for those who don’t believe in diversified existence. In last few days, I clicked many snaps of some lovely flowers. I have uploaded those flowers at many places on my web space; some of them are here too.

LovelyRed  Bunch

Standing Tall  CuteFlower

Let’s gather wisdom from these flowers and let’s learn to spread the happiness in the world. 

February 9, 2009 at 7:23 am 2 comments

New Year Resolution – Time Management

 When we talk about software development, we talk about certain requirements, certain design, technology, coding, testing and implementation. It goes through some process. Software engineers follow these processes to achieve the target. Initially the processes were made for the entire cycle but later people realized that we need process at every level. In 1994, Watts Humphrey wrote a book called “A Discipline for Software Engineering”. There he emphasized on the need for processes for individual software engineer. He named it PSP (Personal Software Process). PSP is a quantified method aimed to the improvement of the quality and productivity of the personal work of individual software engineers.

The PSP philosophy is largely based on reviews at every stage of the development cycle. I would not go into details of all reviews but I would definitely like to talk on the review / self-assessment we do for our TIME. The need for time management grows with our growth as a professional. Let’s talk on few things which we can do to manage our time in a better manner.

To start with we can do few things like preparing a To-Do list. Put some items in the list and prioritize them. Put a deadline also for them. Pick them one by one and finish them. The purpose should be to make that list empty. This is an agile approach which would help us to complete our work on a priority basis. It would also help us to monitor our present and future engagements.

 

todo-timemanagement

To-Do List

Start marking our hourly tasks. Let’s prepare a spreadsheet and mark 14 hours. Start filling “what did we do” for each passing hours. Make it a daily routine to fill this sheet honestly. It would help us to assess our own work. It would also help us to plan our daily work. Each individual has a high-low effort hours when he likes to work more. For me it could be in evening from 16.00-20.00 while for someone else it could be morning 9.00-12.00. This spread sheet will help to divide our work within a day. We may put the high priority task in our high effort hours and so on.   

 

TimeManagement

TimeManagement

Learn to say NO when you feel that you are overloaded with work and there’s no space in your To-Do list. This is important to do justice with your work. Everybody has a limit as how much he can work. Let’s understand our limits and work accordingly.

Let’s keep these three things as our New Year resolution and let’s follow it rigorously. 

December 31, 2008 at 9:49 am 1 comment

MBA – An Indian Way

Whenever I see an MBA course curriculum in India or whenever I talk to any fresh MBA student coming out of an Indian B-School, I wonder, what are they (B-Schools) trying to produce? They claim, we are producing future managers / business leaders. They again say, these bunches of students are specialized in Finance, these are in Systems and these are in Marketing. I again wonder, are they really managers? Are they really business leaders? Or, just domain experts?

I believe, there are two aspects of a manger. First is technical aspect, which includes the knowledge of domain, business and the second aspect is, behavioral aspect , which includes, understanding human behavior, interpersonal skills, informational expertise, decisional skills, etc. I also believe that achieving technical aspects of management is easier than achieving behavioral aspects of management.

My intention is not to blame the entire education system of India but just to emphasize on few things which should be given more importance. Let’s see how we can incorporate these behavioral aspects in our MBA course curriculum.

 When we say interpersonal skills, it includes day-to-day interaction with employees, motivation, direction and organization. The course should concentrate more on case studies, games, and scenario based role-plays to develop this skill. These techniques would be more effective than giving lectures on a particular topic.

When we say information expertise, it includes information elicitation, requirement gathering. It may be within organization, and also from outside organization. To develop this expertise, students need to be motivated towards reading, reading some good books, be selective in choosing these books, talking to different people at different level, getting a feel of competitors plan, monitoring the business scenarios. Some games can also be developed to get a real feel on all this.

The last and most important skill could be decisional skill. It includes entrepreneurship development, developing a zeal for initiating new things, developing responsibility and ownership, developing mindset towards hunting / searching for new opportunities, distributing responsibilities to balance the work, risk analysis, going for corrective action, change management, resource allocation, resource management, human skills, cultural influence, conflict management, staffing, socializing, planning, etc. There are few other trend setter decision making techniques like Snap Decisions, Grid Analysis, Pareto Analysis, Six Thinking Hats, etc. All of these skills can be developed through mental games, case studies and several scenario based role-plays.  B-Schools must try to focus on these techniques rather than going for normal classroom based lectures.

Few B-Schools have already realized this and they are transforming their curriculum. I hope to see more such new teaching technique embedment.  

December 26, 2008 at 6:25 am 1 comment

India Inc 2.0 – Will it Survive ?

Global economic meltdown has concerned many countries. People are coming up with their own views as what would be the impact? There are lots of data, statistics given on different forums. Top politicians, businessmen, and media, everybody is talking about it. I looked at different blogs, forums and noticed some interesting debates about impact on India Inc. Here are my thoughts as how India Inc should / will deal with this?

I would prefer to say India Inc 2.0 as I believe India Inc 1.0 got over after Y2K and .Dot doom. India started looking into new business dimensions and its economy grew like anything. So, let’s see how India Inc 2.0 should / will deal with this recent economical crisis.

Majority of Indian IT business derive it’s more than 70% of revenue from US economy and they are bound to hit. They will feel the heat as their clients in US will not go for more projects and more work. What could be the impact? Few Indian companies will go for cost cutting, job cutting, and few will prefer to explore new avenues. This might boost the IT product initiative in India. And if it happens, it would create a better prospect for IT business in India.

Tourism is the other sector which is likely to see the impact of this global recession. Everybody is on cost cutting path and the first thing which comes in mind is to cut the traveling and vacation cost. How the industry should deal with this? Ok, if the scenario is not cooperative enough to motivate people then how about going for some innovative things. Let’s consider some innovative ideas for tourism industry. How about promoting health tourism, spiritual tourism, and cultural tourism? Yoga, Meditation, Ashrams, Gurus, Pundits, Bodhgaya, Hrishikesh, Dharamsala, etc. could be few significant words to consider.

More than 50% of India’s workforce is still employed in Agriculture, a sector which is likely to be untouched. These are the people who are least bothered about what’s happening in urban India or the Global village. They would continue doing their regular work and their lifestyle will remain same. India Inc 2.0 can see this global meltdown as an opportunity to enter Agriculture sector. They can come up with a plan which would help this sector to grow and also to enhance the lifestyle of these people. There are multiple problems in this sector and most of them are because of lack of knowledge / information. Some initiatives have been taken by Government / Private sector companies but this recession could act as a booster for making more such investments.

Web 2.0 is another area which can help in combating this recession era. India Inc 2.0 must consider this as an opportunity to build a broader IT enabled business network. Around 10% of Indian population uses Internet and a business model based on recent happenings of Internet can surely create more jobs, more money. It would also help other sectors by providing information / infrastructure to deal with their issues in much better way.

Innovation with technology, Innovation with business model and engaging more people with growth cycle will be crucial for the next business boom. I hope to see a more confident, independent and robust India Inc 3.0. 

December 16, 2008 at 10:53 am 1 comment

Web 2.0 – relevance in recession era ?

With growing popularity of Web 2.0, companies and individuals have started taking about its pros and cons. I looked at many websites / blogs which present their views as how it would change the coming generation of net crawlers. Most of them have given several examples as how biggies of WWW industry are already changing their business function or making it compatible with web 2.0 tools. IBM is talking about how Web 2.0 will change next generation BPM while Microsoft is busy in promoting Mix 06. Google and Yahoo are on run to acquire new innovative concepts / web solutions so that they have an edge for final frontier.

In the midst of all this, I tried to find out, “how the spree of Web 2.0 can help people in fighting recession?” To answer this question, I started looking into the current and potential usage of these tools. People have started using most of the features but they can further leverage these techniques more into their applications, communications and even in infrastructure. These are some known initiatives. The next step is to actively use them, to understand the concept, to leverage them and to get benefited by them.

With Web 2.0, information can be pulled from a number of different places, and it can be personalized to meet the needs of a single user. Applications can be built on the existing applications that comprise the Web 2.0 interface. It could be said that Web 2.0 will allow the mass population to communicate with each other and spread ideas rather than receiving their information from a single authority.

Internal communication has always been a challenge for big organizations but this can be simplified by promoting Web 2.0 culture. Services like wiki, blog, forums, etc can help in better communication as well as to manage the knowledge. Initially organizations may need to do some extra effort to make people use them extensively. Later, it would become a part of their life style. Internal recruitment and other internal services will also get a boost by this initiative.

Very recently I was looking at a website called BlogTalkRadio.com. It’s a social radio network. If you want to communicate with entire world through radio, this website will provide you that feature. You can create your own live talk show which can be heard around the world without the need for fancy equipment or downloads. Great concept, isn’t it? Apart from just socializing through radio network, it also opens new dimensions for developing a revenue model. You can work with this website or even independently to draft your plans.

You may like to take a look at Podtech.net to get more inputs on Web 2.0 and some other revenue models associated with it.

There are multiple such innovative concepts coming up and with the emergence of Web 2.0 there’s surely a chance of getting into new businesses. We need to identify the correct approach and a smart and diligent effort to exploit that approach.

December 9, 2008 at 9:30 am 1 comment

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