Idea of UID

The idea of UID lies in change in philosophy of government’s mode of delivery of services.

Previously: Earlier govt used to deliver its services mainly PDS services as material . What that means? That means a poor was entitled to get certain amount of subsidized kerosene, grains, pulses, sugar etc from the nearest PDS distributor. These PDS distributors were hired by govt on contractual or permanent basis, different in state to state.

Problems with this system: Huge corruption. These PDS distribution shops were run by profit making intermediaries who used to steal the subsidized items granted for poor sections,and used to sell them in open market. How? Through millions of Ghost beneficiaries. After all the entire system was on papers, maintained by officials (Corrupt or not). The direct disadvantage was to poor section of society ( not to the cribbing Middle Class) whose rights were sold in open market. And you need not to be an Einstein to know how much a poor family depends on PDS items for survival. Not to mention the consequences of not getting them- Malnutrition, infanticide etc (overall poor HDI of country). Not to mention malnutrition is directly related to number of deaths in a society, we all know the scene of TB in India, no need to mention the relation between malnutrition and TB and the cost of medical facilities and how much poor can afford.

So basically the theft of PDS was a trigger for a viscous cycle.

New System:  The new system envisioned by Govt targets at delivering services direct to accounts of beneficiaries. For that , basic condition is that you must have a account with banks. This is where UID concept kicks in. Because it’s no easy for poor people who don’t have even permanent address to get an account open. The formalities of getting an account open are cumbersome even for normal people sometimes. Also many a times, these people didn’t have anything except ration card or voter id as identification, and many times, not even that. There was no proper identification system for these people for delivery of services, means too much mess, means mass theft possibilities. UID solves this problem. Infact recently RBI approved the UID as sufficient ID proof for getting an account opened. Big step- from providing a guarantee to just an ID.

UID Stops corruption?:  Yes it does. First the services are now getting into your account directly in the form of money. There is no possibility of any intermediary. You withdraw money from your account, go to open market and get the items you need. No theft possible, unless your bank does something wicked here which is highly unlikely, because the penalties are huge, and RBI is the quintessential non corrupt body, and because banking regulations in India are among the best in the World. So UID eliminates the millions of ghost beneficiaries, black marketing in one go. And we are too sensitive about Black Money, aren’t we? If you want to know how? Read how Brazil has successfully done this, which is role model for our project.


What about Aadhar Card of Hanumanji? : yes, there are reports of fake UIDs being created for illegal B’deshi immigrants and mythical gods, but can the system identifies these ghost accounts? Offcoarse yes! Data mining can do that. Test Engineers in software industry do that all the time while setting up test beds.(Too much technical,need another 100 page article to explain this in full). What if we can’t identify these ghost accounts? No Problem. Hanumanji can get a UID, but can he get a bank account through it? NOPE!!! How much ghosts account like these are there? For every one lakh ghost accounts UID eliminates in previous system, you can’t create more than 100 ghost accounts in UID. Anyways, 90-99% efficiency, isn’t it? Also UID registration system can be improved , can’t it be?

Concerns: So philosophically UID is a sound solution for delivering government services. But there exists a lot of concerns in its present format.

  1. No Legal Framework Yet– The UID bill is pending in parliament for too long. There is no legislative backing for the entire project. There is no legal framework yet provided for UID, means you can’t go to court if your data gets stolen or misused.

What can be Done: Pass the Bill, with proper legal framework for UID, with the strictest of the penalties in case of misuse.Time bound inquiry and trials can be adopted.

  1. Intel Gathering: Even if the bill gets passed in its present format, it required the authority to deliver user information to Intel agencies for “National Security”. The term national security is vague,and can be misused by govt to gather information about individuals which can lead to undue harassment. Not much is mentioned to tackle this concern.

What can be done: Define national security properly, and mention exact cases. Also bring such information sharing under the review, legal action and court case on the complaint of user.

  1. Liability: Also there is a weird clause that the right to register the complaint in court lies with NIAI, not with the user whose data was stolen or misused. It’s weird because NIAI is the body itself which will oversee the implementation of project. So what of data of a user is leaked by NIAI itself? Will it register complain against itself?

What can be Done: This clause should be torn up and thrown away. 😛

  1. Technical Glitch: A lot of concern is about the possible hacking of data by private cronies and then to misuse it for their profit.

What can be done: What big banking corporations are doing? Ever heard about user data of big banks like ABN Amro or Deutsche bank or even ICICI Bank getting hacked? They invest heavily on data security, and you would know what I’m talking about if you worked for some IT firm for a bank client. Follow strictest possible norms on data security, hire professionals for data protection and response. Also it would be ridiculous to think that pvt cronies would get info so easily, as the bill clearly mentions that NIAI can only share user info with any agency (Govt or Pvt) only after written permission from the individual himself. Means you can bar even other govt agencies to get your data from NIAI, leave alone private cronies.

  1. No clarity on how much info has to be gathered about a user yet, because the bill is still pending but the process of info gathering has already been started. Some claim, they are collecting way too much data than required, breaching privacy. But in anyways, they are collecting lesser information than NSSO surveys and National Population Register.

What can be done: Pass the damn bill with this information!

  1. Making it mandatory: Its a concern of a lot of a lot of people that though there is no legal backing to entire project , how come govt is making it mandatory for things yet.

What can be done: Without passing bill, no one can make it compulsory, because the matter will land up in court eventually,which will dismiss it on Article 21, right to life- right to privacy. But can be made mandatory after passing the bill with legal framework and penalties and taking the people into confidence on issues of data security.

Yes or No??: In current form, a big No. Should the project be scrapped? A big No again. If the above concerns are addressed in a bill ?? a big Yes. All in all I believe that the project has too many benefits to ignore and concerns that can be tackled. The UID system paves way for further government services not just PDS, like universal health benefits (Right to health ?! Congress manifesto?!!) , universal insurance, fiscal inclusion, government scholarships, government loans and micro-finance etc. But then these are not that relevant for middle class or upper class but are a matter of survival for poor sections of society. The middle class specially may not bother about these benefits. But all in all, its a trade off between possibility of data theft ( which can be handled) and corruption free benefits to poor (Their Right). So I tend to believe we can pull this off, we can take this risk and make this trade off. Also, entire Europe, US, Canada, Australia , Israel and many other countries have already adopted this. And though there were incidents of data hack in may be 2 or 3 countries (only,out of these many) ,they are still continuing with the project. Why so? Because even they know that these hacking issues can be handled. And as I said, all major banks and government revenue departments are already handling that for so long. So the question is – Would you stop making houses and live in caves just because there is a possibility of house going down in earthquake? I would say, lets build strong house and if strong earthquake brings it down, learn and make even stronger house for next one. At least that way, we are not living in the caves.

*Reference: http://www.prsindia.org/uploads/media/UID/Legislative%20Brief%20-%20UID%20Bill%202010_June%202.pdf 

The other day, me and some of my friends contacted each other on a social media message service. Within 5 minutes, all the 8 members of the group had information about moms angry about jobs, dads going to vacation, relationship updates, free unwarranted wisdom, new wedding invitations, the local politician rallies, a dead dog on street and new ways to procrastinate work in office. Same night, I logged into Twitter. Around midnight, tweets started flooding into my timeline about mild earthquake shocks in Delhi. I checked news channels, and there were no such reports. I thought it was rumor as I too was in Delhi and didn’t feel anything. But half an hour later when I checked the news channel sites again, I came to know that I was wrong and news channels were too slow to report shocks.  

Social media has changed the rules of traditional one to one connection communication ways with its one to many and many to many connections technology. The secrecy of affairs is outdated, the public life and show off is everything. The mailing services are limited to official uses and serve more as proof of actions ordered and response sought. Social anonymity is new cool thing to do. It serves few things such as unrestricted flow of ideas from mind to electronic signals on world wide web which many people wouldn’t do if their true identity is revealed. Getting recognized for your ideas and craziness is new status symbol in the form of Facebook likes and twitter retweets. Social gaming is new hangout where unknown people meet and try to defeat others to make them friends in return. Social media has created an alternate universe within our real world, and it is as real as a mirage in heated desert. It might not be truly what you see, but it is real no doubt.

To use social media for inspiring youth to vote in upcoming elections is a subset of efforts taken to make youth aware  about the politics of country through social media. And in a way, the social media is already doing its bit. Twitter is filled with political views of people, who express them with their name or some anonymous fake account; in both cases ,ideas are welcomed. Facebook already has blog pages of every political outfit in our country and their day to day agenda feeds are drained into our timeline.

The use of social media to drive a movement is evident from the post 16 Dec Delhi Rape protests, the Anna Hazare anti-corruption movement. Apart from these, there are many local movements like blood donation drives, donation to cancer patients, signature campaigns for a cause, search of missing people are run successfully in social media platforms on day to day basis. Power social media can be understood from the fact that many news channels report issues based on social media reporting and sometimes have specific shows on social media reports. This is evident from Kishtwar riot reporting that started from social media and then mainstream media picked it up. Social media beats mainstream media in terms of live reporting of incidents.



What can be done to bring youth out to vote ?

1.Create Voter Id Drives 

Off lately we have been tolerating those “Share Sai baba photo for good luck “on our Facebook timelines. To my utter amazement, there are always thousands of people who share that.

If Sai Baba can do it, then so can democracy. A drive can be run on various social media platforms to inspire people create their voter Id cards. That’s the first step towards going to vote. There is no reason for us to believe that those who proactively get their voter cards created will not vote in actual. Incentives should be announced for those who create voter Id such as those badge or trophies that people get when they play games online.

Source: eci.nic.in

Source: eci.nic.in

 2. Integrate SMS services to Social Media

I always thought of how I can use social media platforms when I am actually not connected to Internet on my mobile. The social media platforms on mobile should be integrated to SMS, so that people who don’t have Internet on mobile (they are in majority by the way) could also use social media. This is just to widen the reach of social media to greater extend. This can certainly enable social media to reach to rural users who don’t have much access to Internet infrastructure. Inspiration can be drawn from SMS campaigns that were run while anti-corruption movement.

3. Political Awareness

The very first step is to make youth aware about politics in India. The awareness factor can be trendify using mobile social media, and if it reaches the style and status value to be aware of things, little shall be left to draw people out of homes to polling booths. Information about agenda of political parties, candidates, local leadership, debate on recent politics etc can be a part of political awareness campaigns run on social media. We can have ratings for users like “Awareness quotient” to start the trend and so on.

 4.  Indirect Marketing 

Though indirect marketing is the concept implemented by many chit-fund companies, self help groups and sometimes bigger corporate like Amway and Avon, the concept can be used to spread social awareness and to draw youth towards voting. In this ,people are asked to pursue more new people to join the movement, and in return they get incentives. This is human nuclear fission. Campaigns can be run on social media to inspire people to pursue people in their influence circle to go out and vote. The more people someone pursue, the better his incentive would be.  He advantage with such kind of strategy is that we can also reach people out of social media circles.

 5. Integration of  Mainstream media with social media. 

Everyone wants to be seen at television, or at least wants his name to flash once on TV. It doesn’t matter how popular the TV channel is, he simply cherishes his name being flashed on a TV channel. Any campaign or movement that is being run mobile social media should be integrated with mainstream media such as TV, newspapers and Radio. In fact Radio has been experimenting with this for quite some time now. There are shows run on Radio where the audience get to participate on shows through live SMS or social media portals of radio presenters. The radio experiment has been very successful. This should be expanded to TV and print media too.

6.Oath taking signature campaigns

This may not work as an incentive but like the real world where people hold moral binding to their words by swearing, promising or giving signatures on legal documents, an online counterpart to these can be run on social media using mobile. The campaigns may be targeted to ask the users to take an oath and sign on it virtually that they would fulfill their duty of casting vote as a citizen. Signature campaigns have been pretty successful during various movements, and this time, we should use it for democracy.




Dear Mr.Lizard,

Hope you are fine and healthy. Last week , when you came into my room without asking for a permission, I thought you too were ‘Shani Dev’ priest, who wouldn’t care for permission to enter my house premises. They even don’t ask for offerings to Shani Dev, just show us his metal idol. He is indeed gangster of gods, collecting ‘haftas’ every week, in this manner. But in the beginning, I was quite offended by you for you should have asked for a permission first. However later I found out that my door bell was not working, so how could you have rung the bells anyways? So, I apologize for your inconvenience. (Smiling Apologetically)

Last night I saw a few small lizard babies, taking a stroll near my precious collection of junk newspapers, might that be yours? If the answer is yes, might I ask you for a bit of family planning! They were no less than six, as I tried counting while chasing them out of my room. How could you afford a family of six children in these times of inflated rates? Or, let me ask you if you are aware of the contraceptives? I know our family planning schemes suck, the population is anyways increasing at same pace. But citizens like you and me have to act responsibly. You would feel elated to know that I am doing my part quite well for I don’t even have a girl friend, leave apart marriage.

Mr.Lizard, let me remind you that we are going out this weekend to catch some movies, so the room shall be locked. So, we wouldn’t be able to meet you this weekend. You must be wondering which all movies are coming to theaters this weekend. To be honest , even I don’t know. But after watching Bhag Milkha Bhag and D-Day, I feel like catching some English movie to detoxify the melodrama dose I had to swallow in those movies, or I could end up watching Ekta kapoor serials. You don’t want that, Do you? Every self respecting male in this country hate K-series serials. This must be a problem in your house too.

Mikha,D-Day, Saas

By the way, Mr.Lizard, let me let you that you have a new neighbor now- Mr.Cat. Mr.Cat has been roaming around our premises for last few days. I first doubted that he belonged to some political party, who would ask me to vote for their candidate in next poll. But how foolish of me that was! I just forgot that political parties don’t come to people’s door to ask for votes nowadays, they do it through media by threatening us of communal-ism, bad economy, caste politics and governance. Btw, Mr.Lizard who are you voting for in the next elections- Rahul or Modi? I request you to vote for yourself and India. Anyways, I later found that Mr.Cat is actually a tenant in our neighboring home. But let me remind you, he is not a nice person, he walked away from me last time when we had an eye to eye contact. That was rude, I mean he could have said Hi.

Mr.Lizard, now I must also tell you about this cricket in our house. He thinks he is Justin Beiber, he makes so much noise, and it doesn’t make any sense. My ears are in pain. Be it day or night, he never stops. Strangely, some other weird creatures are in love with him, they too start making noise when he begins. This has been very troubling to us. I know you have special skills to eliminate such creatures. I know you will find him and you will kill him (Liam Neisson voice). So, let me ask for this small help, would you please look into the matter? 

Source: www.fanpop.com ,www.killermoviereviews.com

Source: http://www.fanpop.com ,www.killermoviereviews.com

In the end Mr.Lizard, thank you for last time get together we had. It was entertaining as you ran funny around my room while I tried chasing you with a broom in my hand. This witchcraft game we played, defeats the current India- Zimbabwe series, in entertaining. So, for next time, I have devised a new game. Its called ‘Being Human’. In this game I will beat you so hard, that you would drop off your tale and run off, just like other lizards do often. And then, I will play a celebrity, because I am being human to you.

Source: Firstpost.com

Source: Firstpost.com

Eagerly waiting for our next rendezvous,

Your friendly neighborhood,


(Franklin Templeton Investments partnered the TEDxGateway Mumbai in December 2012.)

The problem was to make the sanitary pads available to rural women who didn’t have enough money to buy costly sanitary pads made by big Corporate names like Johnson and Johnson and Proctor and Gamble. Financial household budget is one constraint that drives the lives of many millions in rural and urban India. The basic necessities like food, home and earnings come first, and personal care such as sanitary pads come later.Obviously you cant buy a sanitary pad, when you have a few in your family without a meal.

But the effects of not buying sanitary pads can’t be limited to women only because women are basic carriers of nutrition to babies in a house. The ill effects of weakened health of a woman shall certainly be reflected upon children, who depend on her for their food necessities. Unhygienic conditions arising out of this problem of not using sanitary pads can result in various contagious diseases. The affected number of women were so huge, as shown in the video, only 5% of the women used sanitary pads in India. So, the problem affected a considerable 95% of women in India, and hence at-least 90% rural households in India. The solution as devised by Mr. Arunachalam, was indeed very innovative, not only in terms of technical solutions but also in terms of economic model. He invented a smaller size mechanical set to create sanitary pads , that could be assembled and run in small rural households. This was in-fact a great deal of technical innovation, as the same task was done by big multinationals in a big industrial setup and assembly lines.

 But the economic innovation is rather a much bigger achievement that Mr.Arunachalam has managed. What he did was just opposite to what the big multinational do, and what is rather a concept opposite to modern day capitalism. He has actually decentralized the entire process of manufacture, whereas the modern multinationals pursue the model of pure centralized production.The decentralized model of production and manufacture is actually not a new idea, but was first proposed by the greatest humanist of all times- Mahatma Gandhi. What Mr.Arunachalam did, knowingly or unknowingly, was that he applied the Gandhian model of development to solve a problem around him.

The Gandhian model of development and economics can cause cold sweats to big capitalistic firms. But it is the most effective approach to solve the social problems in a country where major social problems such as nutrition and hygiene persist in major part of population. With a majority in population affected by a problem, the solution to the problem can’t be centralized. A centralized solution means the solution was developed as a top -down approach, i.e, the solution is developed at the particular firm and its distribution is governed by that firm itself. This model is synchronized with profit making. This is due to this model that we have very strict norms of patents and intellectual property rights. The firms are not governed by social justice ,but individual growth. The Decentralized model is just opposite to this model. In decentralized model, the philosophy is simple- If I can’t afford it, I will create it. The solution is developed as bottom -up approach, the stake holders develop the solution themselves under the aegis of a name, that name could be a NGO, Government or an individual like Arunachalam here. The mechanical set up developed by Arunachalam is so small and handy that they are being installed in hundreds of villages now, employing more than seven thousand women, and reaching far places where the multinationals are still absent. And who are the customers? The women employed in manufacturing these low cost sanitary pads are the real customers, real stake holders of the solution. Had this solutions being developed in a big factory set up and was patented by that firm, would it be possible for it to reach where Mr.Arunachalam reached? No! This is only possible when the driving force is social justice and not profit making.

The Gandhian model was a huge success during pre- independence, when it hindered the growth capitalistic Britain, when people started making their own cloths and boycotted cloths made by foreign firms of Britain. But there were more dimension to this models. The seven thousand women who got employment as a part of Mr.Arunachalam initiative, is the greatest benefit and success of this model. It is better suited for uniform distribution of wealth and social equality. Another major success name of this model is Amul, which is the most successful dairy cooperative in India, now owned by more than 3 million milk producers of Gujrat. That means the wealth created by Amul is distributed among 3 million milk producers and not a board of directors only. Can there be 3 million owners of a capitalistic firm? Amul effectively carried forward the White Revolution of India, tackling issues like rural employment, national growth, nutrition deficit and rural education. Such success stories give us a glimpse of idea of village economy that Gandhi has ever asked for. 

The solution to third world problems is not only welfare capitalism but also Gandhian model of development, commenting about which the most famous and admired intellectual of our times, Noam Chomsky said- “Implicitly, he (Gandhi )was suggesting a model of development that could have been more successful and humane than the Stalinist model that was adopted”. The concept of self-help is the most powerful driving force in this model. This concept is the root to solutions for rural employment, education, sanitation. In fact to mobilize masses for sanitation causes, Gandhi himself started to clean and wash his latrine pots and toilet rooms.The effect of self-help is also evident from the fact that ancient Indian civilizations used to have community baths and man made,community storage lakes, wells and canals. This water storage solution is still effective in many parts of Rajasthan.This concept and Gandhian model even figured in cinema, recently being shown in Swades, as an idea of community electricity generation plant.

A centralized production system is important for growth of industry, but the profit model and distribution mechanism should be more decentralized. The profit should include the profit of customers, and distribution should be decentralized to village level , so that the product doesn’t showcase in big shopping malls only, but could reach the untouched sections of society. There are many firms which have a corporate social responsibility department but unless the social responsibility becomes a part of production strategy , the purpose wouldn’t be served. What Mr. Arunachalam did, was he made the social justice as the idea of production and hence he would never have to have a separate social responsibility wing. And this is what makes a difference between a solution and meaningful solution. What is the use of a solution which can’t be afforded by majority of population? A solution must be defined by its reachability, and in top-down approach , there is little one can do to help out with reachability of the solution. The Gandhian model is best suited for maximum reachability. Hence a meaningful solution is not one that earns maximum profit but which reaches maximum number of people. That is why the solution in form of wheel is more meaningful than invention of luxury cars using it. That is why invention of pen is more meaningful solution than invention of typewriter. To conclude, the best would be re-quote what Mr.Arunachalam said-“What you need for a meaningful life? Just a problem.” 

Entry to FT Idea Caravan contest on Indiblogger.

source: openparachute.wordpress.com

source: openparachute.wordpress.com

Secularism is one of the words which define the modern thought and enlightenment. Secularism is the ideology of separation of religion and state, there shall be no interference of religion in state affairs and there shall be no interference of state in religious affairs. This ideology is baseline of a system which grants more personal freedom, starting from freedom to choose religious beliefs, or not to choose any belief at all. This lies in domain of idea of personal liberty, which was the basis of many revolutions.

The idea of secularism originated out of dark ages in Europe. Though the word ‘secularism’ was first used by British writer George Jacob Holyoake, in 1851, the idea existed even before. In dark ages, the nexus of state (King) with religion (church) circumvented the entire political dynamics in favor of them. There were random executions throughout the Europe in the name of witchcraft, exorcism, blasphemy, sedition and rebellion. The only hope for people was to demolish the entire system of first estate (clergy) and second estate (nobility) dominance. This was done by French revolution, which performed the demolition by a rude cruelty. There were several political executions from first estate and second estate. The pinnacle was the execution of king and queen of France along with their family by Guillotine i.e, beheaded by huge iron Axe, dropped under the influence of gravity, so that the subject is beheaded at once, was supposed to be painless because of immediate beheading. The climax was the execution of Maximilian Robespierre, the architect of revolution, by same infamous Guillotine. But all that bloodshed was not waste, and hence came the idea of modern state dynamics such as democracy and secularism. The subsequent revolutions such as Russian revolution endorsed the idea of secularism, sometimes so forcefully that they abandoned religious thoughts in public domain completely, as done by communist regimes. 

Whereas the idea of secularism in Europe evolved out of compulsion to throw out the political nexus between state and church, in India it evolved as a way of life. It was so subtle and obvious, that Indians seldom recognized that they were secular until it was written in constitution implicitly. It all started with migration of different races and religions to India, around 500BCE. The first to arrive in India were Jews. Primarily they were traders from central Asia, willing to do business with rich Indian counterparts. India in those days , along with China, was the trading hub of the world because of all the tropical agricultural advantages both countries reaped.Later more Jews came to settle down in India because of Roman destruction of Jeruslam and destruction of second temple in 70 C.E. Later there were some jewish groups who escaped to India fearing Persian and Islamic conflicts. So, basically, jews have been a part of India since 500BCE. There was not even one conflict reported by historians because of jewish settlement in India. India was probably the only country in the world where Jews didn’t face antisemitism, and to this date, the Jewish community is peacefully living with Indians in areas of Cochin, Mumbai,Ahemdabad and Delhi. They were accepted by Indian society, and they too contributed to it. Some famous Indian Jews include Esther Victoria Abraham (first ever Miss India), Ruby Myers (aka Sulochana. Bollywood actress) and Eli Ben-Menachem (a former Israeli politician who served as a member of the Knesset for the Alignment, the Labor Party and One Israel).

Source: theshiksa.com

Source: theshiksa.com

Second to come were Persians. Persians of Zoroastrian communities arrived in India in 8th century AD, to escape the persecutions by Muslim invasion over Persian Empire. Likewise jews, Parsis, as they called in India, were very well absorbed in India. They adopted to Indian culture and begun wearing Indian outfits and following Indian cuisines, not to mention speaking regional languages. In this case also, historians never informed about any conflict of parsis with other communities in India. Obviously, India belongs to one of the few countries where Zoroastrians live. This community gave India some prominent leaders such as Pherozshah Mehta, Dadabhai Naoroji and Bhikaji Cama. Other prominent personalities of Indian persians are Homi Jahangir Bhabha (Famous Indian Physicist), Jamshedji Tata (Founder Tata group), Godrej, Wadia, Field Marshall Manekshaw (Famous Indian war Hero, 1971 war) and Freddie Mercury (lead vocalist and lyricist of the rock band Queen, who self confessed the influence on Lata Mangeshkar on his singing during his schooling days in India). 

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia


Other than these were Christians, who came to India along with Apostle Thomas (St. Thomas) in 52 A.D. This was even before the Christianity arrived to European ends. Apostle Thomas converted some local Cochin Jews and Hindus into Christians, and in this way, these people were Christian even before the Europeans and Americans. Strangely in-spite of mass conversions there were no conflicts reported. Actual conflict begun when English brought missionaries and forced conversions. 
In the same lines, we can figure out the arrival of Islam in India along with Turkish and Afghani invaders. In-spite of huge demolition and loot by these invaders, there were no religious riots. Even later in rule of Muslim dynasties, there was no conflict reported on communal lines. Other religions such as Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism and Hinduism were born in India , hence were always a part of this land, and there was no conflict in them. 

Till 19th century, the Indian way of life was free from religious fanaticism and rioting, but this changed with the role of colonial ambitions of Britain in India. To sustain itself in India, Britain pursued the policy of divide and rule. This was not strange, as the same was applied in Europe for nation forming. Countries like Italy, Germany, Austria , Balkan nations were created out of lingual and racial similarities. Their nationalism was a function of their language, races and culture, and the idea of pluralism in one country was absurd to them. Hence British failed to see India as a plural and diverse nation, rather their scholars thought of India as a collection of many countries. In this way, the European idea of national identity migrated to India. First it was used for colonial gains and later for self political interests. The result was the creation of Pakistan, the only country in the world made in the name of religion, by two nation theory. But the theory failed itself when in 1971, Bangladesh separated form Pakistan. This proved that the idea of separate nation for separate communities is absurd and can’t be the reason for nationalism, otherwise Bangladesh would have never been created.

But the damage has been done till then. Religious sentiments had already crossed the political borders, and found many takers. As a result, independent India saw many riots, be it Hindu-Muslim riots or Hindu-Sikh riots. Religion found itself as a political power when politicians saw it as a vote bank. And till this date, we are being scared in the name of communal powers and are being asked to vote for secular powers.

Interesting thing is, in-spite of all this politicization of religious groups, India remains firm. Why? Credit goes to constitution makers who made a check on out and out practice of communal card. But a larger credit goes to Indian way of living. Why there were no communal rioting reported in ancient times? Because, unlike Europe, religion was not governing function of Indian state. No one cared which religion you followed because no one forced any one to pursue his beliefs. Kings didn’t care if their people were Hindus or Muslims or anything else. They were almost equally oppressive to all of them, and were equally welfaristic. There were Tipu Sultans loved by Hindus and Jai Singhs, loved by Muslims. Religion was believed to be a part of personal belief and not a tool to seize political power. Some of these practices are continued till this date too. India has always been socially secular though it had rough patches in state secularism in recent political history. But the most important is the fact is that an average Indian is so much adapted to pluralism socially , economically and culturally that it might take another thousand year for communal politics to demolish social secularism. This is why India stands firm in-spite of all these unfavorable conditions. To conclude the best would be to quote the famous lines –

Yunan-o-Misr-o-Roma Sab Mit Gaye Jahan Se
Ab Tak Magar Hai Baki Naam-o-Nishan Hamara
Kuchh Baat Hai Ke Hasti Mit’ti Nahin Hamari
Sadiyon Raha Hai Dushman Daur-e-Zaman Hamara.
– Allama Iqbal


Cinema is often called the fusion of thoughts, ideologies and creativity which acts as entertainment as well as reflection of the society. In this regard, the characters of movies should have dual characters of already being an existing social phenomena as well as the force which can influence thousand watching the character. For example, the character of Ajay Devgan in Gangajal is both, a hypothetical character that can influence many watching the movie as well as a character carved out of some already existing person.

In this regard , these characters are capable of influencing a large section of society, as well as the reflection of society itself,or what a society aspire for. This makes the art of movie making a very responsible and accountable phenomena, definitely not a game for careless creative heads who use cinema to pacify their adrenaline rush.

If the same theory is extrapolated to leading characters if the movie, which are often called heroes and heroines, we can state that they are the soul keepers of the movie and its ideologies. These are the characters which are most liable to influence the viewers, or to reflect their aspirations. Now, there are two major types of leading characters found in movies-

A. The Calm, Confident and Robust.

Remember Amitabh Bachchan of Deewar, he was angry for all the injustice labor class had to bear but seldom he was over expressive about his feelings. He had calm eyes, not too expressive about his surroundings and having a bit of anger reflecting. Come to facial expression, they were more near to neutral than to be very angry A slight stretch around lips , and little eyebrow movement was enough for this character to express his thoughts. Same was the case with his dialogue delivery, he seldom raised the pitch of his voice, not even when he was talking to greatest of his foes. He took all his time to deliver his dialogue, as if he knew that he wouldn’t be stopped,and their were smoothness in the way he said things. No irregular pauses, no screaming, no anger outburst and no ugly swearing! This was the reflection of his gentle attitude and confidence. 

There were many characters carved out around this personality cult. Most famous were Vijay (Deewar), Vijay(Zanjeer), SP Amit Kumar (Gangajal), Karan (Karan Arjun ) in Hindi Cinema. Unfortunately, there are not many characters in Hindi Cinema following these personality features. After trying on certain actors, writers almost gave up the idea of a cool attitude hero. But Hollywood cashed on this personality cult and was very successful. They had characters like James Bond, Blondie (The good , the bad and the Ugly), Don Corleone( The Godfather), Frank Lucas (American Gangster), Acchiles (Troy), Ocean (Ocean 11), Frank Martin (The Transporter), Batman (The Dark Knight) and many more. In fact the idea of this personality cult was so strong that when James Bond moved from more gentleman Peirce Brosnan to more expressive (still Gentleman) Daniel Craig, there were huge debate about if he was a good choice for the character of James Bond. The ‘blondie’ is still the most loved hero character quoting about which Jim Carry while addressing to Clint Eastwood himself in an award function said that everyone wanted to be Clint Eastwood.


B. Expressive, Emotional and Angry.

Perfect example of this genre is Leonidas of 300. He screamed, his face was too expressive and his body movements were too far from being a cool guy. He was like a freed bull left alone to hit the wall. Such characters are emotional and they love it, because they show it often in the way the deliver dialogue (with huge pauses, voice fluctuations, tone ups and downs) , way they walk chauvinistically, the way fight with all fury and sudden outburst and the way they stay silent- almost never. These are rowdy characters and swear all kind of ugly things to their enemy. They believe in raw animal extinct and gentlemanliness is not a matter of consideration for them. When in front of an enemy, they do all kind of things to scare him from dialogues to ugly hand movements.

Strangely, Hindi Cinema is filled with such characters. Even some actors look like born to play this character such as Shah Rukh Khan (Karan Arjun, Anjaan, Don, Koyla), Sunny Deol (Ghayal, Ghatak, Border), Sunil Shetty (Gopi Kishan, Dilwale, Border), Akshay Kumar (Sangharsh, Khiladi),Sunjay Dutt (Kshatriya, Khalnayak) , Govinda , Rajni Kant . Hrithik Roshan in Angeepath remake was another example of this character. Infact excpet of a few like Amitabh bachchan, Ajay Devgan, Salman Khan (only in Karan Arjun), Amir Khan, Abhay Deol and Abhishek Bachchan (Refugee) every other actor has done major works in this characters only including a few actors in this list also. who switched to this genre after initial failures to pull first type like Salman and Abhishek. Along with them, not to mention all B grade characters are basically this sort.

Hollywood too has this types, though they are more sensible in their portrayal than their Indian counterparts. 300, Fight Club, Rambo, Terminator, Rocky, Die Hard,Mission Impossible, Django Unchained etc. Here also B grade ‘Machete’ movies are pure devotees to this kind of characterization.

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In reality, the first character with calm and cool head is most admired, but is also the most susceptible to actor’s performance and market revenues. It takes an actor of Amitabh Bachchan and Clint EastWood level to pull this character, which is definitely neither a child’s play nor an easy character for experienced actors. And the reluctance of B grade film makers to this type of leading character shows that it is also very economically volatile idea, if not pulled out perfectly, could lead to disastrous revenues and a confused audience. On the other hand, the second genre of ‘hotheaded and emotionally volatile’ character is ideologically not sound. It creates wrong impression on viewers and if followed by them, can turn them into psychologically imbalanced violent alpha males. Why these characters are more economically successful? Because, people love people screaming, swearing and jumping like maniacs. They pay to watch this, if it is complimented with smart storyline. But then again, the greatest  characters considered by critics as well as film fraternity itself are Vijay of Deewar and Blondie of The Good, the bad and The Ugly , not Ajay of Ghayal or John McLaine of Die Hard. Certainly sophistication and calmness are rare features of men, and are undoubtedly the most valuable.

Recent outrage of politicians against any anti corruption campaign was based on the argument that the entire movement was basically ‘middle class’. Just by this one sentence , they have written off the entire movement from the history, and the argument was supported by some enthusiastic media which amused on men and women in jeans and T- Shirt carrying Gandhian caps on their scalp.

The question is – If the movement was middle class, then what? Is middle class not a valuable asset of the nation, or middle is just a group of citizens who don’t believe in basic democratic functions and are just too much self centric, or the middle class is not worth listening to , because they are minority? What was the argument behind the statement?

Origin of middle class in history of civilization can be traced back to industrial revolution. The shifting of focus from agriculture to industry which required lesser labor for better yield when compared to agriculture, was enthusiastically pursued by men and women who were basically educated at some level and knew the basic functions of machine. This was the platform from where the middle originated. These were young men and women who were educated and wanted to pursue a better career as per their abilities, which was not agriculture definitely and other clerical works at governments and monarchies were too small for such large group. Industry supplied them with job of their aspirations, they supplied industry of the skill that it needed. In return, industry flourished and so did this new group, which was now getting more money than most others in agriculture and petty labor. Thanks to high efficiency paradigm of industrial revolution; lesser men for greater yield.

As this process proceeded, this new group of men and women, who now had enough money, went from subsistence to partially luxurious. They started to become the prime consumer of industry products themselves. The wealth of industry was circulating in this small group from production to consumption and then back to production process. As they begun to prosper, natural law of induction came into force and more and more came to industry jobs to seek the gold out of this gold mine. This resulted in epic explosion in numbers added to this group which after certain period of time, became majority in population when nations became fully industrial and was called the Middle Class. In fact the definition of industrialization came to have middle class in it as a majority in population. If a country didn’t have middle class majority, it was not considered fully industrial. Why middle Class? Simple, because it lied between the upper aristocracy and lower labor sections.

The deadly combination of education and resources (money) got accumulated in this group; the middle class. This was the recipe of enlightenment, and the precursor of revolution. Education brought enlightenment of thoughts and freedom from orthodoxy, and resources brought the courage to fight the discrimination from upper class, and natural privileges entertained by them; result was revolution.

It is not just a coincidence that most of the revolution took place in Europe just after the industrial revolution. Many great thinkers like Rousseau, Maximilien Robespierre, Mazzini etc were middle class. Middle class was not ready to compromise their liberty for unreasonable excuses like natural privileges of king and church. There were revolutions all over, starting from French to Russian. Did middle class alone brought revolution? No! But it created the recipe, and mobilized the lower class which was already suppressed badly. The revolution was caused by middle class ideas and lower class oppression.

But middle class itself was not ready to comprise its status post revolution with lower class, as can be quoted from examples that even after French revolution , universal adult suffrage was not allowed. Only with some pre specified property could vote. But this was temporary, and soon all differences were leveled.

Synchronizing the above facts and inferences with India, pre Independence, the middle class freedom fighters who were lawyers , teachers, philosophers, writers etc created a framework of fight against colonial power and lower class like farmers, labors, peasants etc executed the fight from the front in their guidance. Post independence saw the emergence of new middle class, with second five year plan which shifted focus from agriculture to industry to generate employment and tackle national income crisis. So, post independence , Planning commission can be quoted as the father of middle class. Not so soon after emergence of this middle class, India witnessed another movement, The JP movement against the Indira Government, which was the biggest after Independence. It was started by students of Bihar who later asked JP to lead, again middle class. In fact ruling party dismissed the entire movement by saying that it was middle class movement (as they knew exactly). But the fact is, that the ripples of movement shook off the very foundation of Indian politics and ruling party, which can be seen today itself. Recent Arab spring is also a perfect example of middle class rising.

So,when today, politician say that these anti corruption movements are just Middle class, it can not be the argument to write off the movement. But if you know history well, and you know what middle class is, then this link between recent movements and the middle class should be very scary to politicians. The proper defense for them would be if they say that such movements are not middle class. Because saying that these are Middle class movements means a potential revolution is knocking on their doors.

From: latino-review.com

From: latino-review.com

I am writing after 3 months, and credit goes to new Thor series movie trailer, which portrays darkness rising, and the hero is supposed to fight with it. I random thought popped out of my mind, “Why darkness is supposed to be evil or bad, or why evil or dark things portrayed as dark things? Why not any other color?”.
There are some obvious reasons like as a part of human evolution, humans were heavily dependent on light for their survival as darkness was the dwelling of hunting animals. Darkness was comprehended with lack of knowledge, as since from the earlier times humans couldn’t see much into dark, unlike many other animals. But this reason couldn’t be correct today, thanks to infra red night vision cameras. So, darkness has always been a challenge to evolution of human beings, and hence surviving the dark was supposed to be a heroic thing. 
This natural apprehension about dark has caused the penetration of darkness into social customs and mysticism. Subsequently the idea gods was developed as powers who save humans from darkness, hence they had to be opposite of darkness, or bright. But this was indeed a dangerous idea.
If we look at the anthropological evolution of humans, we can find out that majority of humans are dark skinned. So, by creating god versions synonymous to brightness , we are developing an idea of superiority of whites over darks.Why? Because you wouldn’t accept a black person as a god, who is supposed to fight darkness, or a black skinned god would never fit in the group of gods who are basically white skinned and having bright aura. Hence this idea of treating darkness as a basis of creating god figures is absurd. 
Solution? The solution lies not very far away but in ancient Hindu scriptures where one could find first ( and may be only) example of black god figures. Example- Krishna (which itself means darkness), Arjun-  The Mahabharata heroic figure who was described as having similar looks as Krishna, also was son of thunder god- Indra, hence was described dark, Kali- the godess of warrior clans is portrayed dark. Looking deeply into the reasons of existence of such god figures, one might easily conclude that in Hinduism, darkness is not even treated as evil, but rather a part of universe like any other force, and sometimes as the very character of universe itself. This neutrality towards darkness is the key to ideal representation of human evolution in evolution  of god figures. And hence, I thought to disapprove the entire idea of darkness as evil, or bad. A brighter thing could equally be evil as a dark thing may be. And a dark thing could be equally divine and pure as any bright thing is. The bottom line is, we are no more cavemen scared of darkness! 



I exist for a drop of soul,
Hidden beneath the barren smiles,
I exist for a comforting breeze,
While facing hot air for thousand miles.

What remains is not eternal,
In this world of joy and sorrow.
What remains is not fragile,
In this world of eternal tomorrow.

I pray for dust and sand,
To build a path on this never-ending pain.
I pray for a river of hope,
Flowing under my dusty lane.

So, I exist like a God,
Immortal among the mortal desires.
So, I exist like a man,
Mortal in this cosmic gyre.

This movie is a call for ‘return of the musicals’. A perfect form of audio-visual art. From the opening scene to the very last scene, the movie is awesome.

The movie starts with patronizing song ‘Look Down’, which holds very strong and moving notes and beat (given the condition that you watch the movie with good acoustics). The opening scene with Hugh Jackman as Valjean, and his rebel attitude towards the state, represented by Inspector Jarvert (Russel Crowe), was perfectly pictured with magnanimous ship being pulled by jailed workers and slow shower rain drenching the workers, and beautifully conceptualized as the rebellion is casted by just a simple look towards the Inspector. The pulling of flag- log and his angry man looks, equally countered by Javert, made Valjean’s character synonymous to idea of revolution. This same idea was later magnified later in the movie by different situations into humanitarian, justice and equality. 

As, the story marched ahead, Valjean finds himself hiding from the state for the sins that were circumstantially not sins, but as per law, worth 19 winters in prison. He is being hunted by Javert, who is equally passionate about his duty. The life of Valjean changes suddenly when he comes in contact with Fantine, who fell victim to his un-deliberate sin. To fulfill his duty to correct his sin to Fantine, Valjean must now take care of a small girl. The small girl brings new spring in the life of fugitive, but things get complicated once again when French lower class revolts against the bourgeois, and Valjean faces Javert again. The story develops complex relations between the two and concludes on a sweet note, which was not anticipated throughout the story, and came as a sweet surprise.

Not only the movie is a visual treat but it carves out the best out of different characters, may be one of the best developed characters on-screen in recent times. Every character has his shades but the beauty of the movie lies in the fact that it doesn’t allow that to make prejudices against any characters. They are all lovable, imaginary yet very realistic.

The movie brings a story which develops on the foundation of concepts of justice and humanism. Everything else is shown developed as an offset of these two basic ideas, be it romance between Cosette and Marius, be it rivalry between Valjean and Javert, be it light weight comedy by Thenardeir and his wife. I can’t remember of any other story so beautifully developed around such basic ideas. One was ‘The Dark Knight’, but then it was not musical.

Hugh Jackman as Valjean is remarkable in the movie. His facial expressions and his body languages, gestures and even eye movements are so well defined and portrayed that they make Valjean more real than reel. Rossel Crowe as Javert is awesome, because he played the only character in the movie who exercised restrain in dialogue delivery, obviously because of the nature of police man he portrayed, but then he made Javert so special with his performance. Anne Hathaway, Fantine, acted completely inside-out, means she just exerted out the soul of Fantine from deep inside of her body to screen. She was the most special character in the movie, and was simply genius in this role. Hats off to her! Then, came Cosette- Amanda Seyfreid. She looks pretty in the movie and acted pretty too. The rest to the characters were also nicely played by respective actors, but Sacha Baron Cohen deserves a special mention, for his role of  Thenardier. He was a treat to watch , with all his witty looks and cunning comedy, just like Borat. No doubt he is a special actor. Even little Daniel Huttlestone was marvelous in his little role of Gavroche. He almost made us cry when he walked past the barricade challenging the police and was shot. 

Hats Off to Director Tom Hooper and his team. And special Hats Off to music team, they were marvelous, specially with their ‘Look Down’ theme, used in different situations in the movie. 

This is a must watch movie for all genuine art lovers, and for those who want to watch something that they haven’t watched before- a musical marvel. Surely it would be a misery if you miss this movie.

The Indian Express

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