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Why should you support Anna Hazare and a strong Lok Pal bill?

Posted by Lakshminarayanan on August 5, 2011

This is a burning issue many Indians are aware of (provided they follow Indian news). Most of us support Anna Hazare either because we know the facts behind the need for a strong Lok Pal (will be a very less percentage in my opinion) and others simply support because they don’t have faith in the current government’s version of Lok Pal (will be the majority). There is a third category of people who do not support Anna Hazare’s movement because they think only formally elected MPs and Ministers have the right to constitute a new law in the country.

This article is for the second category of people I have mentioned above – who want to support Anna Hazare but don’t know why! These are the top 5 reasons due to which I strongly believe that we all should support Anna Hazare’s movement for a strong Lok Pal (not necessarily all the points in their version though).

Anna Hazare1)      Corruption is the root cause of most problems in India today

If you have lived in India for few years and visited government offices, you must be familiar with the way things work in most government offices. It can be as small as getting your address changed in your ration card to as big as getting a frequency range in the spectrum as a mobile operator, money does many things in India. This practice is so deep rooted in our society that even the citizens have become corrupt – a classic example is registering your property for a lower value to avoid paying stamp duty by paying bribe to the registrar to allow it. We do have a Prevention of Corruption act (1988) but nothing has changed drastically. As per the statistics from www.ipaidabribe.com, the total value of bribe reported so far in the site is Rs. 296,995,425. Remember, this is only from those who reported it and reported it in this website. The actual value of bribe paid in my view should be multiple folds of this amount. Even worse, the poor condition of infrastructure development and public services in India can be and should be attributed only to corruption and embezzlement by bureaucrats and politicians.             This clearly indicates the ineffectiveness of Prevention of Corruption Act and a need for a stronger law with severe punishment and penalties for those who are convicted of corruption.

2)      Other countries have set a working example through a strong ombudsman

This point in time, I should draw the example of how corruption was so well handled through the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) in Hong Kong. Hong Kong was even more corrupt than India. But today if you talk to those who are from Hong Kong you would hear totally different stories. This was possible through a strong independent body with sufficient powers to investigate corruption and punish those who are corrupt working with a clearly defined SLA. You can get to know about the great story of Hong Kong from here.

3)      The Government’s version of Lok Pal is too weak to say the least

Intentionally or unintentionally, most likely intentionally, the Lok Pal bill tabled by government on 4th Aug 2011 is simply too weak. You can see the complete draft of the UPA government from here. I did go through the entire draft (yawn :O) and tried to understand (difficult without legal knowledge). I’ve also gone through the draft proposed by Anna Hazare and team (you can read it from here). These are the key differences I have noticed which makes the Jan Lok Pal much better than the Joke Pal the government has tabled.

Feature Jan Lok Pal Lok Pal Impact to Indians
Ability to enquire Prime Minister Lok Pal will have the powers to initiate investigation and indict PM and PMO Lok Pal cannot investigate any complaint relating to PM while PM is in power If the highest person in the government of India is not made accountable by law, it is a shame on us! See what’s going on now – Raja is accusing PM but MMS is simply not answering!
Ability to prosecute MPs and Ministers Lok Pal will be able to investigate and prosecute any government servant defined as per prevention of corruption act (1988) Lok Pal will have to submit a report to PM and wait for the report to be discussed in parliament before MPs or Ministers can be prosecuted. This is another place where UPA’s Lok Pal becomes Joke Pal. In other words, don’t even dare to touch politicians.
Investigation wing CBI’s anti-corruption unit must be under Lok Pal A separate wing will be constituted with powers equivalent to Delhi Police 😀 What’s the point in CBI (which works for government) investigating corruption charges against government? If Supreme Court doesn’t intervene every single time (like it does now) nothing will progress.
Ability to enquire senior judges Lok Pal will be able to investigate and prosecute any government servant defined as per prevention of corruption act (1988) including the Chief Justice of India Senior Judges cannot be inquired by Lok Pal Read my previous point where CBI working well only if SC intervenes. What if the CJI himself/herself is part of corruption? Remember CJI K.G.Balakrishnan?
Prosecution Wing CBI’s prosecution wing to be under Lok Pal. A special court to be formed with retired judges of Supreme Court. A separate court to be formed. Prosecution of general public within the purview of Lok Pal but cannot prosecute MPs or Ministers. Prosecution Wing is included just for the sake of inclusion without any real powers to punish politicians.
Ambit Jan Lok Pal will be able to receive complaints from general public and initiate suo motu against those accused.Any complaint received by Lok Pal to be investigated within 30 days. Any loss to government or public to be recovered from the corrupt. General public should send their complaints to Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha speaker and it’s left to the Parliament to decide which ones should be investigated by Lok Pal.No authority to enquire low level corruptions. Another point that makes the government version seriously weak and allow low level corruptions (that people face day to day) to continue.

To sum it up, the government version of the Lok Pal cannot prosecute corrupt MPs and Ministers without the permission of the parliament which is totally absurd. Furthermore, they cannot enquire senior judges and PM who can well be part of the corruption. General public are not given any assurance of elimination of corruption in day to day life and punishment to those who are corrupt is not within the purview of Lok Pal. In a nutshell, Lok Pal will seek help from government to investigate, seek help from government to prosecute, and seek help from government to even appoint its own members, including the chairperson. In other words, Lok Pal will be indirectly controlled by the government, like MMS being controlled by Sonia 😛

4)      The government has betrayed team Anna and the nation

Remember what UPA said when they asked Anna Hazare to withdraw his hunger strike in April’11? They assured to formulate a joint committee which will draft Lok Pal bill. What happened then? The ministers kept closing meetings in disagreement and finally decided to get away with the joint committee totally. Even then Kapil Sibal assured to present both the versions in parliament. But look at what they have done now. The government has silently ignored the version prepared by Anna Hazare’s Panel and just proceeding with the one they made with some minor alterations such as investigation and prosecution powers. This is a total betrayal of the nation which supported Anna Hazare’s movement in April’11. What else can you expect from a government which filed a suit in Supreme Court to stop Supreme Court from formulating a committee to investigate and recover black money? It can happen only in India and only when Congress is ruling.

5)      If it’s not now, it is never

As you might know the very first draft for an independent Lok Pal more than 40 years back. It has taken 40+ years and a strong protest from Anna Hazare and team and the whole nation to even table a Lok Pal bill in the parliament. Now if we allow this weak bill to get passed it might take another 40+ years to strengthen the bill. We not only need a Lok Pal but a strong Lok Pal which can take severe actions against those who are corrupt. If this Lok Pal is setup, it won’t even be able to punish those who are already corrupt, forget about those who commit corruption in future.

This is the right time to bring the right Lok Pal bill by supporting Anna Hazare’s movement in every little way you can, by participating in the protest or participating in a signature drive or just spreading the word, or anything you can do. Remember, it’s now or never! Jai Hind!!

PS: After a long time (since my MS days), I have read, referenced, and written so much in a single day…At least happy that I did not have to include a reference list :P..Phew! Time to take some rest before the next post 😉

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Posted in controversies, india, issues, my views, news, politics | Leave a Comment »

Angry Birds – 10 Lessons I Learned

Posted by Lakshminarayanan on August 3, 2011

As I sat to write a post in my blog after a really long time, a compendium of thoughts and ideas flowed through my mind. I contemplated for a long time and decided on this. After all, if I am not writing a post on the activity that I am spending most of my time with these days, if I am not writing a post on something that’s keeping me motivated even during this lull, I am doing a serious injustice to this game. Unlike many other games, Angry Birds offers a whole lot of lessons which can be applied in your career and life in general. While many of us may overlook these, fortunately I had the time and energy to ruminate through and come up with this list. This post is dedicated to all those awesome fans of the awesome game of Angry Birds 🙂 Angry BirdsNow, let’s get to the lessons.

    1. Keep Learning – Change is the only constant thing in this ever changing world. If you thought you can just deal all those bloody pigs with just the red bird alone, sorry my friend, you are wrong. You need to learn when to tap to speed up the yellow bird and when to split the blue bird. And when time demands, you need to know when to drop the egg of the white bird and when to boomerang the green one. There are always new birds and new demands. Like they always say, it’s an ongoing process, be it Angry Birds or life 🙂
    2. Perseverance is key – It’s quite easy to withdraw from a challenge with a lame excuse that you can’t do it. But if you keep trying with perseverance, you will realize that all it takes is time and some serious application of thoughts. You will also realize that there’s nothing called a problem that can’t be solved – a serious message for those who are demotivated with life and career.
    3. A solution worked in the past is not necessarily the best solution – This is an important lesson taught in many B-Schools for a hefty fee which is offered for FREE by Rovio. The solution you used last time isn’t necessarily going to work every time. While your previous experience can help to some extent, it entails creativity and pragmatic approach from you to solve the current problem, every single time.
    4. There’s more than one solution to a problem – this is a classic statement told by professors with multiple Ph.Ds during their business strategy classes or during a case study. This applies to Angry Birds and of course life in general as well. Not many games offer you the luxury of finishing a level through multiple ways but Angry Birds does. Lesson to be learned – there could be multiple ways to reach your goal, consider the options and choose wisely 🙂
    5. Every step is critical while solving a problem– Killing as many pigs possible in the first step doesn’t necessarily achieve anything. Every step is as critical as the previous one to make sure you kill all those culprits and destroy their safe havens. Similarly, just completing a significant portion of what you wanted to do in life may not produce any fruitful results anything until you finish it completely.
    6. You don’t always get what you want when you want it – If only Angry Birds allow us to shuffle birds as we like, I bet we all can beat our best scores easily in many levels. But that’s not the point. You’ve got what you got and you’ll get the next one only when you’ve used what you’ve got. Life is even better for the suspense it keeps where you might not even know what’s in store until you complete what you’ve got in hand now. So put your best effort forward with what you’ve got now and you will be rewarded accordingly 🙂
    7. Improve resource utilization – Sometimes, you may not need all the birds to finish a level. If you don’t have to use it, just don’t use it, it’s as simple as that. This is an important lesson in any walk of like be it your utilities or a project you are leading to remind you to conserve resources.
    8. If it’s not perfect, it’s not perfect – While killing all the pigs alone will complete a level, it isn’t really enough to get 3 stars. You have to think about all possible strategies to maximize efficiency, improve resource utilization, and destroy as much property as possible to get the best score to earn 3 stars. This will make you someone who tries to go that extra mile every time to achieve the perfect result. There cannot be a better motivation for one to achieve the best possible result!
    9. Keep ‘Optimizing’ – Being complacent about what you have achieved is not going to help you in anyway. While you can be proud of finishing all levels with 3 stars, there are numerous people who have performed better than you, if you look at the official Angry Birds scoreboard. This will motivate you to beat your own achievement every single time, making you a CMM level-5 player in both Angry Birds and in life. Yes, it is ‘optimizing’- a present continuous which reminds you that there’s always scope for further improvement.
    10. It ain’t over until it is over – Just by finishing all levels with 3 stars and finding all golden eggs in Angry Birds, it’s not over. You and I now have the challenge of finishing Angry Birds Seasons and Angry Birds Rio. Most likely you and I will have much more in front of us while we finish these two. So never ever think that you are done with all the challenges in life. Always take the next challenge as a new one and start with #1 from above 🙂

PS: While I thought this topic would be very innovative and creative of me, when I searched the internet I found few similar thinking minds around the globe so I had to remove some of my best points to save myself from accusations of plagiarism (as if anyone is going to read and accuse me :P). But it’s my duty to share the best one I came across  (of course, apart from the one I’ve written 😉 )- http://www.cio.com/article/678656/10_Lessons_from_Angry_Birds_That_Can_Make_You_a_Better_CIO?page=2&taxonomyId=3172; Read both of them and enjoy your Angry Birds even more 🙂

Posted in blethers, IT matters, life, lighter topics | 4 Comments »

Thalaivaa….

Posted by Lakshminarayanan on August 30, 2010

Almost half of Tamilnadu screamed ‘thalaivaa’ when Endhiran’s songs got released few weeks back (it’s still going on loop in my car all the time)….Ever since the movie was announced the fans are frenzy to see the super star in (a) totally different role(s). Originally written by late Sujatha (I still question myself if it was ‘originally’ written by Sujatha, but let’s keep it aside for time being), this story was converted to a screenplay by Shankar keeping Kamal hasan in mind initially. Later, Shah rukh came into picture couple of years back, but even the Bollywood Badshah could not withstand the humongous budget the script demanded. Somehow, it certainly takes a Rajini Kanth to get 1.5 billion rupees for a regional Indian movie. Even an established, promising director like Shankar needs a trump card – Rajini Kanth. What does this man have? How can one possibly enjoy stardom for such a long time and keep entertaining three generations alike!

I still remember collecting Rajini’s pictures in greeting cards and putting together an album during my childhood. I don’t remember celebrating my birthday but I remember firing crackers on December 12th…I don’t know why, but this man has the charisma (he still does) to hypnotize generation after generation…I still remember a 6 year old Hindi speaking kid, who barely understands Tamil, imitated Rajini’s manerism on his father’s bald head after watching Sivaji. How can an almost 60 years old person influence a 6 year old kid who hasn’t even seen Rajini before? If that was not enough, having thousands of Japanese fans and Japanese visiting Chennai for every one of Rajini’s movie releases is not a joke.

I never imagined a Tamil movie album topping iTunes continuously for 3 weeks. Of course, Rahman is a genius and no questions on that. But not all Rahman’s Tamil albums get into iTunes and get downloaded (legally :O) by millions of fans. If that was not enough, the government of Peru allowed the Endhiran crew to shoot in Machu Picchu. News is that they denied access to the James Bond movie crew! (yeah, this is from behindwoods, I read every tabloid every week and proud of that 😀 ) If people remember the 1996 state elections in Tamilnadu, this man, single-handedly changed the fate of the state just by a 5-minute speech! (of course, he refrained from political speeches then after which is probably the best decision he has made in life).

Now you must accept that this man has got something. Of course, I don’t need to substantiate the credibility of a man who can keep entire India (not an exaggeration) wait with bated breath for his movies even today. But my question is, how long is he gonna stretch it? Big B (I believe he is the ONLY contemporary actor who can be even compared with Rajini Kanth), in my opinion is wiser than Rajini in this aspect. Big B was smart enough to realize the characters that he as an actor and he as a 50+ old person can fit in. If we look at his movies for the last decade or so, we can see maturity and variety. Movies like Black, Cheeni kum, Pa will stand as testimonies for his quest for characters that suits his age and maturity. I would probably agree on a counter argument that the Tamil audience still love (il)logical masala movies. But, it’s changing and changing for the better. You may also argue that nobody was ready to bet on Big B as a mass hero and I have to accept that 🙂

Recently, I saw a video in Youtube on the body double used for stunt sequences in Endhiran. That man wears a mask like Rajini and performs all the stunts for Thalaivar. I know, at the age of 60, we cannot expect Rajini to perform gravity defying stunt sequences that audience get enthralled with. But, coming back to the basic question, why does he need to do them at the first place? I hope Endhiran becomes the biggest blockbluster of Indian cinema and Thalaivar graciously renounces masala movies and focuses on characters that will suit his age. Enough of trying to dance with Shriya and Aish!…I personally want to see a Kali of Mullum Malarum or a Santhanam of Aarilirundhu Arubadhu Varai again. Thalaivaa, it’s high time that you show the world what a real super star should do when he is 60 and lead by example!

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Does something called ‘privacy’ still exist?

Posted by Lakshminarayanan on February 23, 2010

Recently, I read this article on Google Buzz which exposed vulnerabilities of Google when it comes to privacy of users.

http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/hiner/?p=3822&tag=nl.e101

When I read the article, it didn’t impact me that much because we all know that all of Google’s applications are integrated and use SSO. Of course, accessing your address book and sent mail list without your authorization is really bad. Google shouldn’t have done that but I guess they will learn from this blunder. But, is it only about what you have in Google? Human beings, being social animals like to have a huge social life. In this era, the only way to be connected with our friends and loved ones is through social networking sites. I myself am a member of at least 4 social networking sites if you do not include the professional networking ones. Shockingly, even after password protection, you still do not have any control over the privacy of data you put on the www.

Recently, I got to know about this website through a random pop-up http://www.spokeo.com/ If you know any information about a person, such as name/email/phone number, you can get every possible information about that person. Latest tweets, facebook updates, political inclination, credit history, value of properties, family members, sun sign predictions :D…you name it, the information is out there for a cost of less than 3 dollars per month. Isn’t it outrageous?

The good and bad thing (depending on how you take it) about this site is, it is targeted exclusively towards people who live in US. When I tried with couple of people living elsewhere, it could not pull up details like it did for people who live in US. Is it a security hole of US networking sites or the overall system in the country itself? Thank God we do not have an identity like SSN in India, at least till Nandan Nilekani completes the project.

Be very wary of  what you put on Internet, it can be seen by anyone on earth and not just your friends.

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10 things I will miss about Aggieland

Posted by Lakshminarayanan on December 24, 2009

Hah! I am not going to make that false promise again. I admit, I never been able to keep up with my blog and I guess I never will. It’s been a semester since I wrote something here. I am done, done with my Masters. Right now, I am in the mood of catching my flight to India and reunite with my family after 17 months. But, just thought I should share what I am gonna miss. Of course, I have lotz of other interesting topics lined up which I guess I will be writing from India.

1) Being a student at Texas A&M

Without any second thoughts, anyone would easily say that the best part of life is being a student. Being a student at Texas A&M makes it even more special. I am gonna miss attending classes, asking questions, inducing debates, slogging for exams, competitions, grading, and everything that I complained about when I was a student 😉 How much ever strenuous it is, student life is still THE best 🙂

2) Evans & WCL
Nothing can beat studying for exams at WCL or Evans. You are surrounded by people with lots of caffeine slogging at the last minute reminding you that you are not left alone 😉 It may sound stupid, but I have a sentiment of doing better in exams when I study at WCL 3rd Floor. Free coffee, hot chocolate and chair massage for students – can it be any better?

3) Aggie Nights and $1 movie at Rudder
Aggie Nights is the best thing I noticed in my first semester. Pizza, Soda, Bowling, Pool, Board Games, and much more – of course, everything is for FREE. They know that students don’t cook on Fridays 🙂
The second best thing is $1 movie at Rudder. The sound system sucks, but you cannot really complain when you pay only one buck. It would be great if they start giving pop-corn and coke 😀

4) Aggie Football & Yell Practice
I was not really an American Football enthusiast in last Fall. I hardly seen a full game and always compared it to Soccer and demeaned it. But, the game has really got stuff to entertain which I got to know this Fall. I watched 4 home games and now I am really looking forward to next season. Midnight Yell is something unique to Texas A&M and I still know only few of the yells. Farmers Farmers Fight! Whoop!!

5) ISMA
ISMA is undoubtedly the best student organization at Texas A&M. While my class with 90% Indian students never gave me the international experience I was seeking, ISMA did. Now I have friends from France, Germany, Hungary, Spain, Estonia, Mexico, Serbia, Azerbaijan, West Indies, England, China, Taiwan, and many more countries. I strongly recommend ISMA if you want to make friends and have fun 🙂
6) AITP
If ISMA is for fun, AITP is probably the best professional organization in our school. Being the president of AITP taught me so many good things which otherwise I wouldn’t have learned. Especially delegating work to team members and getting it done on time. Man! I used to suck at that. Of course, there was couple of instances in which I was unsuccessful. Nevertheless, it was great.

7) Aggie Traditions
From saying ‘Howdy!’, ‘Gig’em’, and BTHO to Yell Practice,Ring Dunk, Silver Taps, and Elephant Walk, Texas A&M has got its share of unique traditions which are blended into our life. I am surely gonna miss these. I hope I have my ring dunk party next semester in Aggieland (but I will dunk only in Coke ;)).

8) North Gate
I am not a party animal and in fact, I visited North Gate for the first time only this Fall. North Gate is definitely fun, especially if you have had a rough week and want to forget the woes by shaking your legs. North Gate has influenced me to listen to English songs (Yep! I never listened to any English songs until like 2 months back). I am just sad that I did not get enough chances to go to North Gate of late but I can always drive back from Houston whenever I want to 😉

9) Rec
I still remember many of my friends pulling my legs about working out in rec. I don’t really know whether I achieved my objective of putting weight, but believe me, rec is such a great stress buster. Especially when you have too much of work and your concentration is oscillating, rec can definitely be a rescue. Just flex your muscles, do some weights, and you will feel better. At least, I did.

10) Fellow Aggies
You may confront me saying some of the things listed above are not anything unique to Aggieland and almost any town/city in US would have them. I agree! But, the real flavor here is the Aggies who are present in all the things listed above. I lived in Houston for about 3 months and believe me, Houston is such a barren land 😉 (I hope you get what I am talking about). I am gonna miss you all Aggies!

When I wrote this post, I just felt like DJ of RDB (Rang De Basanti – a Hindi movie). If you don’t get what I am talking about:

Posted in blethers, my life, student life, TAMU | 1 Comment »

End of an awesome summer and I fall into Fall…

Posted by Lakshminarayanan on August 30, 2009

I know. It’s been really long time since I penned down my thoughts and shared updates from my life. I won’t say any lame excuses anymore and it’s simply my inability and my inability only. I hope this Fall gets me back on track with blogging and make my invaluable service of excruciation continue :D…I thought of several different topics to resume my blog and contemplated back and forth on them without really zeroing in on anything…Finally, thought I could provide a status update from my side before I could actually write something important (it doesn’t mean this post is unimportant and you can skip…you should still read this 🙂 )…

My summer was damn hot as I was in Houston doing my internship with Deloitte. After initial week of orientation, I was assigned to a client in Houston itself. I was supposed to travel to and work from my client site from Monday through Thursday and report back to my office on Friday (typical consulting life style). Only issue was my client was situated on the other extreme end of Houston. The bus used to show me half of Houston before reaching my office. I spent 4 hours everyday in just commuting back and forth. I never seen 4:30 AM for the past so many years (not even on Diwali days), but I woke up by 4:30-5:00 almost everyday for my first 4 weeks. My endurance did not last long and I ended up buying a car (of course, its a separate story!)…With only 2 weeks of International Driving Permit left and with my new (used) car in place, I was under tremendous pressure to get the driving license and luckily I got that in first attempt…

If that was not enough for the summer, I did skydiving on the July 4th long weekend. I was claiming it as an achievement all the time but realized it’s not worth to be an achievement…There was no adrenaline rush, no butterflies in stomach, no real sense of fear, though it was enjoyable…I won’t say it is really adventurous if you are really adventurous…I think I should try bungee jumping or something of that sort :D…If you have missed my video in Facebook or Orkut catch me in action here 🙂

My internship got over on 7th August and I walked out of the office with a fulltime offer in hand :)…I will be in Houston for next few years and hopefully my job will be as (or more) challenging as my internship…Though I had 4 weeks of time between my internship and Fall semester, I never really relaxed or had fun except for this weekend…I was shuttling between Houston, Austin, Atlanta, and College Station for various things…Finally, this weekend was awesome with 3 movies (Inglourious Basterds, District 9, and The Final Destination 3D), a day of fun at Lake Bryan with lot of games and my first Friday night out in US…

Now, after a highly eventful summer, it’s time to get back to School…I am expecting less course work and more of other activities to keep me busy this Fall…Nevertheless, it will be no less hectic than the other 2 semesters…but, I found my way of having fun and it should be a great last semester before I get back to the serious life…All said and done, I am excited, about being back to school and finishing my small hiatus of 16 months with a reputed Masters degree in hand soon…Time flies, literally!

PS: When I reviewed, this post looked a lot more narcissistic than I thought it would…I will make sure I don’t do this again (again, how many ‘I’s :D)…

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

India chooses to stay with the worst…

Posted by Lakshminarayanan on May 17, 2009

Indians have always been tolerant..tolerant of corruption, tolerant of false promises, tolerant of insecure environment, tolerant of lack of infrastructure, tolerant of lack of basic hygiene, tolerant of deteriorating education quality, tolerant of vote bank politics, tolerant of pseudo-secularism, in short, tolerant of anything and everything…that has reflected in the election results now.Though a lot of us keep blaming BJP for its lack of strong allies in many important states and lack of clarity in its leadership, I would rather attribute this result to the indifferent and insensible nature of our voters, both in rural and urban areas. I couldn’t see any anti-incumbency whatsoever even after facing worst possible reign with sky-rocketing inflation, reduced agricultural growth, more former suicides than ever and a much celebrated NREGA which is just written on paper. Even to Congress this could have been a great shock as they were licking every party’s boots till the day before the results. Even bigwigs were asking ‘Sorry’ to old friends to mend the relationship. Nobody can understand what people really think…

MMS Vs Advani

MMS Vs Advani

I do not simply understand how can people give a thumbing majority to a government which can claim nothing but the nuclear deal to its list of achievements. It was a total fiasco in all other areas. The government failed to regulate the economy and thus we are having rippling effects of US subprime in India. The government failed to take precautionary measures due to which we had worst terrorist attacks of all the time. Even then clever(?) people of India choose to elect the same government. There can only be two possible reasons: i) Failure of opposition to take relevant issues to the public to create anti-incumbency, ii) Use of power by incumbent government to create unfair advantage for themselves. When these two get combined with the indifferent nature of public, this is the kind of result you get.

First of all, though BJP’s election manifesto and vision statements focused on growth prospects, their campaign targeted unnecessarily at Manmohan Singh which was a mere waste of time. I don’t think people reacted against BJP because they targeted a scholarly person like MMS as projected by media (everyone in this world know that every word spoken about MMS is true to the core and he is nothing but a puppet PM). They should have concentrated more to talk about the failures of congress and the changes BJP can bring about. Secondly, in some states (especially Tamilnadu) the election was not conducted in a fair manner. With strong anti-incumbency, I don’t see any reason how DMK was able to win 18/21 seats in Tamilnadu. I personally know that they distributed money (Rs.500 per vote) and captured booths for voting. Election commission will never worry about these kind of incidents with CEC Navin Chawla being the greatest ‘friend’ of Congress.

Finally, I cannot do anything but pity on our people. One cannot be more idiotic than doing this. If in cities the people were carried away by the media which was always biased, in rural areas people were carried away by false promises and Rahul Gandhi’s personal touch (esp. in UP). I hate dynasty to the core and Rahul being touted as next PM with so many qualified, senior leaders in Congress makes me wonder whether Congressmen have any self-respect. From BJP’s point of view, it is a great opportunity for them to redefine the party with a new leader. As suggested by many, it is time for BJP to understand the ground realities and build a stronger base before 2014. If they simply waste time like they did from 2004-2008, it is not going to help in anyway. Luckily, this election has helped BJP gather support of thousands of youngsters which will help a lot in subsequent elections. Till that time, stay with the worst India. Even God cannot help you 😦

Posted in blethers, india, issues, politics | 4 Comments »

Its over! Its over!! Its over!!!

Posted by Lakshminarayanan on May 13, 2009

I wanted to get out on the streets and shout this like Janagaraj did in Agni Natchathram. Man! Its one of the craziest semester I have ever had…its even more pressuring than my final semester in Undergrad in which I had 6 courses along with a large project…if I have to convey the enormity of the semester in Vijayakanth’s style, here it goes:

I had 4 heavyweight courses, 6 presentations, 10 reports,  26 case studies, 25 homework assignments, numerous articles, 1 really big data warehouse and BI implementation, 2 mid terms, 2 final exams, and 2 Herculean final take home exams. In short, it is close to 500 pages of written content and 154080 minutes of ordeal which has finally come to an end today 🙂 …whether I was successful or not will be known in a few days…

Now you would have understood why I wasn’t able to post frequently in the past few months. I hope I get back my momentum and come up with interesting topics….

Posted in blethers, my life, TAMU | Leave a Comment »

Recession? I care a damn!

Posted by Lakshminarayanan on April 15, 2009

Believe me! I did not say this. It was one of the budding MS aspirants from India. Though, overall, the number of Indian students applying to various MS programs in United States and other countries seems to have come down considerably, it is still quite a big number. To my surprise, I could not see any apprehensions about the market conditions in US amongst the prospective students. Rather, I could witness a great amount of enthusiasm. Undoubtedly, it is one of the career defining moments (in fact, it could well be a life defining moment) and I had the similar amount of enthusiasm when I applied to universities and got admits.

But, the situation is glaringly worse since I came to USA. A couple of years back, everyone from my program from my university seemed to have had multiple offers. Now, an interview call, even from a small firm is considered to be a great achievement. Most of the companies have either deferred their hiring process to see how market goes further or completely stopped recruitment to wait till the economy gets better. If you have had the chance to read my post on career fairs, you would be having an idea of what I am talking about. It was so disheartening to see many talented individuals getting back to India burying all their US dreams. ‘No..No..I just came to US to learn from one of world’s best institutions and I am not bothered about working in US’ – how many feel like this? Not even 1% would be my answer. Especially when things are not good even in home country, nobody would prefer to go back.

So, what makes the newbies be very much confident of their future in America? Possibly, the expert predictions that the economy will start recovering from the later half of this year. But, same was the perception when we came here. Even if the market recovers, is it going to be at the pace at which it plummeted? I afraid, not so. With hundreds of thousands of people waiting for second opportunity after losing their jobs, the job market will be even more competitive when it recovers. The job scenario in colleges could possibly improve, but I don’t see any drastic improvement especially for International students with H-1B becoming a bigger issue with increased job losses in US. But, if you do get a job, H-1B is assured as there may not be as many applicants to enter into a lottery.

The institutions are cleverer now. They are offering more scholarships and waivers to attract more students. We, Indians always fall prey to value-for-money things. Even one of the biggest attributes I considered when I made my final decision on higher studies was ‘In the worst case, how much am I going to lose?’. But, is it that simple? With Indian IT industry facing troubles like never before, I am not sure whether this calculation works today. Of course, some students view this as an opportunity to spend these kind of difficult times in school and thus be safe. But, the real tough times could start after graduating from school if the economy doesn’t recover. Look before you leap…

If that was not serious enough, this one surely is : –Ineligible Indian Bachelors. The easiest way for an Indian girl to enter US (no hard feelings ladies 😉 ) seems to be a big question these days..working in US is no more a ‘key differentiator’ and doesn’t give the ‘competitive advantage’ it used to give…Thank God! I still have a long way to go 😛

PS: For Tamilians: Kumudham A.M.Rajagopalan has predicted that the economy in US would start recovering from January 18, 2010…Let’s see 😀

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One another reason to vote for BJP…

Posted by Lakshminarayanan on March 24, 2009

This is not definitely a campaign post for BJP. But, it will certainly seem like one :). I just wanted to share one of the most interesting things I have come across recently. This election will be an interesting one. For the first time, we have a strong third front ally apart from Congress and BJP. I always had an aversion towards Congress and this time I feel that every Indian should have that. The incumbent Congress government has failed in all possible dimensions. Be it national security, economy or infrastructure and healthcare, the government has evidently nose dove.

I am not in supportive of the third front either which has almost declared Mayawati for prime ministerial candidacy. She has been awful in UP. Instead of eradicating reservation, she introduced reservation for upper caste and started implementing reservation system in private sector in UP. If she does that at the national level, our GDP will plummet as the efficiency of the private companies will become as that of government’s. So, I am left with no other option but to support BJP. I was supporting BJP since I started voting, but they haven’t done any magic during their reign either. But, they were way better than the current government.

Coming to the point, the reason for this post is the new IT Vision created by BJP which is available in LK Advani’s website (http://www.lkadvani.in/eng/images/stories/it-vision.pdf). Its a 40 pages document which has addressed several problems in India with the help of IT. As an IT professional, whatever I can visualize as a solution to the problems that we face in India, is there in this document. Though in some places the ideas look far fetched, overall, I could see a lot of thought process and intelligence behind this document. If BJP gets a chance to form a government (which is a big question with their weak allies) and implement their promises, we can definitely overcome China which has started implementing IT everywhere since 2001.

Modi already did some of this in Gujarat and the results are evident. So, nobody can claim now that it is not possible to change the way the government operates. All that we need is a strong, visionary leader who can have absolute control over things. But, as I mentioned above, BJP has done the same mistake again this time. Losing too many strong ally possibilities. And one of their biggest challenge will be taking this IT Vision to the majority voters who live in villages and make them understand the proposals. Nevertheless, this will be an interesting election with lot of tussles expected towards the end…Lets wait and see….

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