Friday, June 25, 2010

"Instead of exchanging dossiers, we will exchange hearts" : Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik

"Hafiz Saeed is an issue. And we will also satisfy Mr Chidambaram on that. We have no problem in that."
"I will welcome him to Pakistan. Let us be friends. Instead of exchanging dossiers, we will exchange hearts," -- Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik.

What a good sentence; can you think about a better example for oxymoron? I dont think there will be many 'yes' to this question. Its really wonderful to imagine about the various ways he is going to satisfy Mr Chidambaram, the current home minister of India.

May be the recent documents of Punjab (A Pakistan province - Dont confuse it with the Indian state with the same name) government report will explain more about satisfying Chidambaram.

"The government of Pakistan's Punjab province provided Rs 82.77 million to Jamaat-ud-Dawah and its allied institutions during the last fiscal year, according to official documents.The supplementary budget for the past fiscal tabled in the Punjab assembly for approval revealed that the PML-N-led provincial government made a grant of over Rs 79 million to the Markaz-e-Tayyaba, the JuD headquarters in Muridke near Lahore.Another Rs 3 million was given as grants to schools run by the JuD in different districts of Punjab, according to the official documents".

I don't think anyone will take the pain of finding out the difference between LeT and JuD except Pakistan Government. Its just like one entity having different names and this is the same entity which is accused of executing the 2008 Mumbai attacks and many other terror attacks in India.
If this is the way relations are progressing then what is the use of exchanging dossiers? I don't think Pakistan's paper industry have much difficulties in getting raw materials for manufacturing paper.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

BP have to shell out $20bn, What about Bhopal?

"BP on Wednesday agreed to pay $20 billion into an independently run fund to meet the spiralling costs of the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, bowing to tough demands from President Barack Obama."We're going to use every device, legal device, at our disposal if necessary," senior White House advisor David Axelrod said earlier on CNN."  TOI

The explosion in the oil rig and the subsequent contamination happened in sea, led to one of the severe environmental disasters US ever faced. But apart form a dozen of people who died on the rig during explosion, no other deaths are reported due to the oil spill. But look at the administrations response to the situation!!! Its another matter whether people are satisfied with government's decisions. Everything was quick, BP agreed on the massive compensation with in days.

If we are comparing the recent oil spill in US with that of Bhopal gas tragedy - which left 15,000 to 25,000 dead and lacks of people are suffering the aftereffects. But what happened after that? The site is yet to clean up, unlike BP which is cleaning the site using all the possible ways known to them. Will BP do the same, if that happened in India or any other country? I don't think many people will have a positive answer for that question, anyway only time can answer that question.

But in the case of Bhopal even now administration is not sure what to do. After judgement (that too took quarter of a century, and no one knows how many additional years are required to execute that judgement) only we came to the conclusion that laws not strict enough to punish and compensation paid is not adequate!!!

The irony of the fact is that the same day (BP agreed to pay the penalty) US also fixed the compensation to Vietnam for the aftereffects of deadly Agent Orange and other chemical agents they used against Vietnam during war.

Reports says,

"Thirty-five years after the Vietnam War, a $300 million price tag has been placed on the most contentious legacy still tainting US-Vietnam relations: Agent Orange. The US military dumped some 20 million gallons (75 million liters) of Agent Orange and other herbicides on about a quarter of former South Vietnam between 1962 and 1971."

"The defoliant decimated about 5 million acres (2 million hectares) of forest -- roughly the size of Massachusetts -- and another 500,000 acres (202,000 hectares) of crops, the report said. Dioxin levels in soil, sediment and fish in the same area were 300 to 400 times above international limits. That report estimated up to 100,000 people living near the site still face a potential health risk from exposure. TOI

Can anyone check the compensation ratio - (people died + environmental damages)/compensation paid in these three cases?

After the the oil rig explosion in sea, US administration was ready to go after BP to the maximum extend possible - BP knows it. But what about Bhopal? Will Indian administration go after Dow chemicals (Which acquired Union Carbide)? And how much compensation administration will be able to extract from Dow? Will anything happen in the case of Bhopal or after the initial enthusiasm everything will go on as usual? Lets wait and watch.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

It took 65 days to take a decision to end the blockade in Manipur

65 days of blockade in NH 39 (Imphal - Dimapur)  and NH 53 (Imphal - Silchar), which pushed Manipur to the verge of Breakdown was finally over. NH 53, 39 are the main highways connecting Manipur to other Indian states, it is also the main sources of food and other resources for this North - Eastern state.

The recent set of problems started after the election for the Autonomous District Council (ADC) in the Naga dominated hill areas of Manipur. Naga students Union were against the election to these councils and moved to the action of blocking the highway 39 on April 6. The issue of not allowing Isak-Muivah (separatist group National Socialist Council of Nagaland - NSCN (I-M) leader), who is currently holding talk with central government (Naga Insurgents want a separate homeland for Nagas which includes Nagaland and all the naga inhibited areas of North East - Which includes land from neighbouring states too) only make the matters worse.

According to reports during the blockade the price of Petrol, diesel, kerosene, LPG and other essential commodities increased manifold; even for that prices essential supplies are not easily available.

According to Business Standard Reports,

 "With an uncannily similar tone of helplessness, that Y Mohen Singh, the medical superintendent of Imphal's Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), explains that his 881-bed hospital may have to close in two weeks unless crucial supplies come through. "We are contemplating closing routine operations as we have only two weeks' worth of oxygen cylinders. Life-saving drugs, too, are only enough for two weeks. If normal supply doesn't resume, we will have to close down," he said."

Even after six decades of independence, why we are not being able to move away from the black wells of caste and tribal politics? The insurgency in the north-east areas are not started from today or yesterday, it have a long history of tribal politics. Even after so much bloodshed and lost decades why they are still not being able to look forward and concentrate on developmental and other activities?

Why people are still searching for a caste identity, and want to live under that veil? Even if some one want to leave that identity, our politicians will not allow them to do so. Now a days whoever asking for reservation and going for destroying public properties and declaring strikes is getting whatever they want; politicians are very eager to satisfy their vote banks.

If that blockade extended some more days then its sure that Manipur will face humanitarian crisis. The more shocking role is that of centre, it took 65 days for them to take a decision on sending paramilitary force to  break the blockade. Why such a delay? If there is any crisis of this scale between different states, then there should be talks between the states and if that is not working then central government should loss no time to step in as a mediator.

Actually it was possible to handle the problem in a better way, if both parties were ready too look in to the matter with a rational mind; but no, in these days of reactive (instead of proactive) and irrational politics who want to find a peaceful solution? Its the time for North Eastern states to come out of their caste and tribal politics and concentrate on development activities.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Who should be a manager? Part I - Self Evaluation for Managers

In 'Managing in a Time of Great Change (1995)' Peter Drucker said that "I would hope that American managers--indeed, managers worldwide--continue to appreciate what I have been saying almost from day one: that management is so much more than exercising rank and privilege, that it is much more than "making deals." Management affects people and their lives".

But how far we are able to digest this fact? In today's world, where everyone is running for an MBA degree - no matter what their natural voice says them to do - are we able to concentrate on what management actually means? Are we able to look in to this field without using financial number theory? Do we really understood the importance and value of human capital and growth, outside the thoretical world?

For the sake of saying companies may have 'a-z' ISO and other certificates from 'n' number of institutes all over the world. But how far Indian companies are able to understand and grasp the importance of human capital?

Lets look at the story of CK Prahalad, the management guru, "Only 19 at the time, Prahalad turned the factory sideways. One day, after noticing that many temporary workers were using old or torn gloves (managers doled out new gloves according to seniority), Prahalad had a thought: Why not distribute new gloves to the workers who handled the most dangerous stuff instead? Impressed, Prahalad's boss decided to mentor the young upstart, often bringing him management books to read and quizzing him about them later. Prahalad calls his Union Carbide experience a major inflection point in his life, and he still cherishes the gold chain that his workers bought for him when he left -- four years later. "I learned about the extraordinary wisdom of ordinary people," he says."

How far today's managers are able to communicate and consult with the people who are reporting to them - apart from the occassional chit-chat and the usual Q & A sessions after power point presentations? How often they are engaged in the personal development of people serving under them? Why they are remaining in the comfort zone of managers and not moving forward to the level of mentors? 

In 'Managing for the Future: The 1990's and Beyond (1992)' Peter Drucker says that "A manager's task is to make the strengths of people effective and their weakness irrelevant--and that applies fully as much to the manager's boss as it applies to the manager's subordinates."

Successful managers embrace discomfort. "If you do precisely what you're supposed to do," Prahalad says, "and you're boxed in, then you're going to do that very well." But if pressed to do things that aren't in your normal job description, he says, the challenge can push you to a new level of achievement.

But how far managers are ready to leave the comfort zone and step in to the intellectual development and performance improvement of individuals?

Peter Drucker saays that "An employer has no business with a man's personality. Employment is a specific contract calling for a specific performance... Any attempt to go beyond that is usurpation. It is immoral as well as an illegal intrusion of privacy. It is abuse of power. An employee owes no "loyalty," he owes no "love" and no "attitudes"--he owes performance and nothing else. .... The task is not to change personality, but to enable a person to achieve and to perform."

If Managers are not ready to look in to the management of human capital and developing a second tier of leadership under them, which can step in at any moment and lead the company with out much shakes, the company's foundation will become more and more weaker and after the initial heroism, the entity will slowly start moving to the dark corners of history as an irrelevent commodity.


Dont forget to read the next section, which will publish soon.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Who will clean up Bhopal?

After 25 years and the death of thousands, finally verdict came in Bhopal Gas tragedy, which is considered as the world's worst industrial disaster. No one is satisfied with the verdict, and accusation and counter accusations are going on; will go on until media find another popular issue. But do we recognised the real problem?

Before going further, I would like to say that, Bhopal is not a village in some remote forest belts of India, but it is the capital of then largest state (Madhya Pradesh) of India!!! If this is the efficiency of clean up activities in the capital city of an Indian province, then what will happen if this disaster was happened in some remote corners of India?

According to BBC report "Nearly 3,000 people died on the night of the leak.There have been at least 15,000 related deaths since. For the last 24 years, 390 metric tonnes of waste are lying on the premises of the now defunct plant - and no way has yet been found to dispose of it safely."

Read this Express report for the alarming conditions of highly toxic waste lying in this central Indian city.
25 Years on Government wakes up to Bhopal waste but cannot find anyone to clean it up.

Bhopal tragedy was over around 25 years ago, thousands dead, and close to half a million people were at the receiving end of this tragedy. But the inefficiency of government, judiciary and other responsible parties are not allowing an end to this story. It took 25 years for the court to reach a verdict!!! Even after these 25 years, toxic wastes are lying in and around the plant of Union Carbide. Even they got another 25 years, its not sure that Dow Chemicals (Which bought Union Carbide), governments of both centre and state will clear the site.

Now people have to drink this contaminated water (because they have to drink something), people have live in this contaminated environment (because they have to live somewhere). MIC and other chemicals from the plant already results in world's worst industrial disaster. Authorities are pushing the ball from one place to another. If we cant decide anything on such a highly critical issue even after 25 years, then what is the need for such a system? The system itself questioning the need for its existence.

Government have to make the feeling of its presence, not by collecting the taxes, conducting elections etc but by creating a feeling among the people that - they can lead a life as the free citizens of the world with freedom to think, act and enjoy.

Why we cant fix the responsibility of cleaning up the site, and free it from the toxic waste?


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"I would like to understand what India would want from Pakistan" : Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi

Dwight D. Eisenhower once said that "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children."

What we want from Pakistan is to stop the penetration of terror and anti-Indian elements to India. What we want from Pakistan is to stop supporting the India centric terror groups in Pakistan. What we want is to curtail the operations of terror outfits whose activities results in the deaths of thousands (leaving behind thousands of orphans and widows) in India.

Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to PTI

"In my view, both countries have suffered on account of terrorism. In my view, both countries should engage to deal with this issue of terrorism. We can do it collectively in a more effective manner," he told PTI in an interview here.

Yes, both coutries [people] suffered on account of terrorism, but the difference is, terrorist activities in Pakistan are not supported by Indian administration, but the Indian investigations shows a clear support of ISI and other administrative branches of Pakistan for terrorist activities in India. The sad but real fact is, both countries can't do anything collectively in a more effective manner atleast for the near future. we have to work independently for a better future of people in both countries.

"I would like to understand what India would want from Pakistan and I want to explain to him what steps Pakistan has done to take on terrorists. How we have effectively carried out operations against various terrorist organisations."

Whatever steps Pakistan has done to take on terrorists, was executed in the Af-Pak border (Tribal regions - Where the administration's hold is restricted to cities) not in the training centres of Indian -Pakistan border regions. Even the military actions in Af-Pak border are the result of heavy US pressure and financial aid. Explaining that steps to Indian Home minister will not help in creating any more good will between the nations.

"I think exchanging of information will also build confidence, understanding each others point of view, will also clear the air on issues," he added.

Yes, exchanging information and a free press in both countries is a very positive sign. But its a real fact that, India and Pakistan can't understand each others point of view, because we are looking to the same problem through totally different angles.

"start pointing fingers at each other, who gains, neither India nor Pakistan. The net beneficiary of our disengagement, in fact, are the terrorists. So we should not fall in their trap."

Yes, the net beneficieries will be the missile, tank, submarine, fighter aircraft etc manufactures of other countries. Both will end up spending a good amount of money, which will otherwise go to the stomach of the poor people of both countries (If politicians and beaurocrats didn't eat it fully before reaches the common people). These actions will also create an image of immatured nations for both countries, who cant solve problems own their own, before the international community,
"If we can bridge the trust deficit, the whole environment will change. Look at the potential of promoting tourism between India and Pakistan if relations are normal, friendly. Pakistan wants good neighbourly relations with India," he said

Potential of promoting tourism is very low as of now- thanks to the activities of terrorists. But here Qureshi has a point. Atleast we can build a good trade relationship between us. Low price Indian medicines and other Indian products will be more affordable to Pakistanies and Pakistan's food exports will help India too.

As Morpheus in the movie Matrix (One of my favorite one) told "Neo, sooner or later you're going to realize, just as I did, that there's a difference between knowing the path and walking the path". We all know the path, but somehow we are not ready to step in to it.


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Maoists Vs Indian Union - Part II : Bloody war against the state

"Nicht durch Reden und Majoritätsbeschlüsse werden die großen Fragen der Zeit entschieden — das ist der große Fehler von 1848 und 1849 gewesen — sondern durch Eisen und Blut"  - Bismark.

Can be translated to English as,

"Not by speeches and votes of the majority, are the great questions of the time decided — that was the error of 1848 and 1849 — but by iron and blood".

[Photo credit : Outlook India]

People hates war, because it will always results in the lose of valuable life; leaving behind thousands of widows and orphans on both sides. But it doesnt stopped anyone from declaring war, history of humanity is tightly packed with the 'glorious' stories of conquering nations. The irony of the fact is that, problems between the nations are not solved by productive engagements of communities in the conference rooms but by the strength and resolve in the battle fields.

Lets take a look at these links,
Chronology of Maoists attacks in India,
A detailed Chronology of Maoists activities
In India, Maoist Guerrillas Widen 'People's War'
India's Secret war

The total capacity of Naxalites are not clear. According to government estimates, they have around 10,000 - 20,000 armed fighters and a lot of supporters. These groups have a strong presence in 11 states of India.
Believe it or not, they are running parallel government in the forests and tribal belts of Central India and have hundreds of crores of revenue (according to government estimates) - Taxing local villagers, extorting payments from business entities especially illegal mining companies (These companies have enormous profits and paying vary small amounts in royalty to the government and in the case of illigal mining no royalty at all) and road contractors.

According to the Home Ministry (GOI) the annual income of Naxalites are around 1400 crore rupees, Chhattisgarh cheif minister put it in the range of 1000 to 1200 crore. These are often the result of guess works by various authorities. Anyway it is an undeniable fact that naxalites are able to extract huge sum of money. But if intelligence reports are to be believed then there is a huge difference between the amount of money flowing to the war chest of naxals and their annual budget!!!

According to the captured naxalite leaders like 'Misir Besra' annual budget is around 60 crore in 2007-09 (42 crore arms and ammunitions, 2 crore for intelligence gathering, and remaining 6 crore for transportation etc). Another polit beauro member 'Kobad Ghandy' said they are operating on 15-20 crore budget.

The widespread corruption in the country only helped the anti-Indian elements in and out of the country. Now bribery become a ritual  in many places, if you want some thing from government - then you have to pay the price (It will be distributed across the spectrum) to the local agents and the so called public servants (The word 'Public Servants' become a perfect example for oxymoron).

Wide spread corruption really crumbling the hands of world's largest democracy not only in Maoist hit areas ( these areas have little or no accountability ) but across the length and breadth of the country. New Delhi's decision to crack down on illegal mining and the recommendation of 7th 'Administative Reform Commission's' suggestion to set up anti-extortion and anti money-laundering cell is certainly a positive development (Only if it implemented properly).

In the Naxal dominated areas they are running parallel government - Tax collectors, School, Basic Health facilities (Don't ask me what they are teaching in these schools - Maoist propaganda?). The so called intellectuals often discovered (the fact?) that naxalism grows due to the apathy of government towards these tribal regions. I don't know what reason they will provide for blowing up the existing schools, mobile communication towers etc.

Of course they will offer reasons - In the country of 1.2+ billion people is there any difficiency for reasons? - like they are agents of the state (Which are supposed to be class enemies!!!). Just like our politicians- who religiously follow Lincoln's words (words only) "For the people"; they too are fighting for the development of people by blowing up schools, warehouses, communication towers, transportation vehicles etc!!! The sad part of the story is that our so called intellectuals from writers to politicians are ready to provide justification for everything they do, no matter whether it is the swift execution in the Kangaroo courts, blowing up the public transportation vehicles, hijacking trains etc !!!

The number of people killed in the recent years are during the war between the Republic, 'Salwa judum' on one end and Naxalites are more than of the people killed in J&K and North - East India. The next in line to deny visa by Canadian authorities may be the security personals fighting for the nation in the Maoist hit regions in the name of heavyweight words  like "notoriously violent", force which indulges in "systematic attack" and "systematic torture" etc. Lucky guys, they don't have neighbours like we have, external and internal threats like that of India. They didn't witnessed  the dead bodies of thousands killed in every year due to terrorism.

Indian lost a lot of security as well as civilians due to this long running Maoist campaign ( A campaign whose reasons are known only to them (The so called- establishing a state based on their ideology). The astonishing fact which differentiate this campaign from other insurgency activities is their support among the so called intelluctuals. But the sudden increase in violence and indiscriminate killing (before and) after the Lalgarh campaign - not only in Chhattisgarh, but also in Orrisa, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, WestBengal etc, killing EFR javans, Denthewada I and Denthewada II massacres, West Bengal train crash  etc will results in the erosion of their support among the people.

But the rising attacks on civilians and their raids on Police and Paramilitary forces shows their willingness to take the risk of alienating people. Which clearly shows their confidence to challenge the Republic on their own.

But will they be able to continue in their path for long? Whatever happens, I don't think the republic will allow another partition or agree on the whims and fancies of Red Ultras. Moreover when some one declare war against state, majority of people will fall in line with that of state. Once development and fruits of Economic Liberalisation reach these areas, people will enjoy more financial freedom and a broder outlook. The propaganda of Naxalites will no longer be attractive not only to the common people but there will an erosion of support among there lines too.

But for that to happen there should be peace and favourable circumstances, for that India have to fight with Naxalites. What the nation required is not the partial mandate (or partial will) of whether to go or not to go for a full blown out war but a firm decision to protect the unity and integrity of the country. It is not so difficult to take a choice, we saw the extremes in Panjab, Kashmir and North East.

As Napoleon once said,

"At the beginning of a campaign it is important to consider whether or not to move forward; but when one has taken the offensive it is necessary to maintain it to the last extremity. However skilfully effected a retreat may be, it always lessens the morale of an army, since in losing the chances of success, they are remitted to the enemy. A retreat, moreover, costs much more in men and materials than the bloodiest engagements, with this difference, also, that in a battle the enemy loses practically as much as you do; while in a retreat you lose and he does not."


Friday, June 4, 2010

Maoists Vs Indian Union - Part 1 : History of Maoists

"A conquering army on the border will not be stopped by eloquence." - Bismark (Speech to North German Reichstag (24 September 1867) )

From the dawn of civilisation - when we start learning to live as a society, humanity saw many different type of people who ruled over the very fate of humans  - Kings, Monarchs, Pirates, Politicians, war lords etc.  we saw the the best and worst of all the creeds (Of course may be the the best and worst are yet to come). After the seed of human race started expanding their footprint all over the earth, history recorded the rise and fall of many civilisations due to their inability to survive the external aggression, inability to change their attitude according to the changing world - and this process will continue as long as humanity exists in the face of earth.

As there are many different opinions, there are many philosophies too. Nature prefer diversity, however good it is, uniformity cant survive too long and the downfall of forced uniformity - which exists only in theories - is certain. When it come to politics Liberals, democrats, centrist, left, right, anarchist, communist, socialist etc will give their own contribution to the political system. Many people find out the best ideology suited for them  and many other formulated their own ideology. So far its ok, but many other went one more step and  forced others to accept their ideology. Will it survive? The answer is an obvious No.,

In the situation of modern India - Lets talk about the India after 1947 - we saw many ideologies - primarily Socialist, Communist, Naxalite, half baked Capitalist. I don't think there are many full blown capitalist exists in India, other than a small group of followers. Most of the so called capitalists are actually partial socialists. The result of India's socialist and half baked capitalist experiments. The result of experiments - even if it is a half baked capitalism, gave great dividents across the nation. Its true that everyone was not part of that band wagon, but it is also true that a good percentage got the ticket.

In this situation where a free mind will always try to break the chain and find happiness in automnomy, can be subjected to the propagonda of class enemies and anti democratic slogans? may be for some time. But when the wind of freedom reaches the innermost part of mind, it will tend to drift towards anarchy and democracy not towards the ideologies which propagates class enemies and elimination.

Lets take a look at the Indian theatre. We saw the rise of Naxalism (The term Naxalite comes from a small village called 'Naxalbari' in West Bengal, where a section of Communist Party of India - CPI(M) led by 'Charu Majumdar', 'Kanu Sanyal', and 'Jangal Santhal' started a violent uprising in 1967). Naxalites gained strong presence not only on the villages of West Bengal but also among the urban elite. After the annihilation line of Majumdar and the violence in Calcutta, then Chief minister of West Bengal 'Siddhartha Shankar Ray' came up with strong counter measures to counter these activities. These counter measures along with the death of Majumdar in 'Alipore Jail' accelerated and fragmentation of movement - we can say it went to hibernation.

History went on. In 1969 Communist Party of India (Marxist - Leninist) - CPI (ML) was formed. According to the latest history two biggest group - Maoist Communist Centre and People's war group (PWG) fused in 2004 and formed Communist Part of India (Maoist). There are many other naxal organisations like Andra revolutionary Communists etc.

But will their strategy work? Will there be a naxalite state inside India? Will they gained more support or loss the existing support too?

Maoists Vs Indian Union - Part II : Bloody war against the state