The Diesel Vehicle Ban

The Diesel Vehicle Ban

Like all bans, I would imagine that the reason behind the ban of diesel vehicles entering Delhi city is entirely different. Far too often the social causes are used as a reason for the banning something. It is the government or society trying to implement its own agenda under the garb of “Greater Good”.

Yes the air pollution is bad in Delhi. But it is so in many other cities too. What makes Delhi so special? Is it because of its status as the Capital of the country? and thereby all the VVIPs. AAP reduces the electricity tariff and water bills in Delhi? Apart from it being the state they rule, are we saying that other cities in the country do not suffer from these problems?

But coming back to the ban. Let us look at who benefits from the ban on all vehicles older than 10 years. And please… lets not talk about how the quality of air will improve. This quality has been bad for many many years. I still remember 15 years back getting off the flight and the air quality hitting you. So who benefits? Vehicle manufacturers of course! I am wondering if there is an estimate in terms of how many vehicles older than 10 years exist in Delhi/NCR? Given the fact that the automobile population is highest in this region, it would be a very large number that will need replacement.

People shouting for banning the diesel vehicles completely. What is your motivation? Is there a certifiable proof that it is the diesel vehicles that are leading to this? The new age diesel technology is very different from the one that used to exist. Probably on par perhaps with petrol. It is not the vehicle that causes pollution but the poor quality diesel that goes into these automobiles. Of course it is an entirely different issue that the government and the Oil PSUs probably make more money on selling petrol than they do on diesel.

Of course, this ban will also help corrupt officials line their pockets.

My belief has always been that greater good is never ever the reason for the so called actions taken for greater good. Yes some good may actually come out of it but that is not the reason.

Let’s look at this whole controversy on size of the image on Cigarette packs. 40% or 85%… do these policy makers really think it will cut down on smoking?? I would like to know the data of how much did the smoking come down once the images were introduced on the packaging! Oh and it can be from any country and not just India since according to a minister, there is no proof that smoking causes cancer in India. If the governments think that smoking is bad, why not ban every single tobacco product? No wait… banning beef is lot more important right now! Government the world over will never ban these products simply because these products form a very healthy chunk of the revenue. I have a feeling that the way this image controversy will play out is that there will be a negotiation whereby the image size may not go up in a big way but the tax component surely will.

Anyway, call me a cynic for being a non believer in social causes, the fact is that the reason behind people, government and society taking up these causes is always well hidden and never what is shouted from every roof top, every newspaper, every tweet etc. etc.


Been a very long time that I have posted anything. Lack of time, too many things that I wanted to write about and a writer’s block… add them all up and that is the excuse… the real excuse.

Hopefully I will get regular again.

So coming to the title of the this post. I am not very good at coining terms but this one is kind of a mix of scavengers and avengers. scavengers for a cause is how I arrived at this term. I think it becomes quite evident as to where I am going with this post and I could stop right here but then, like I was telling someone the other day, very rarely are my posts less than 400 words.

We have become a society of Causvengers. Not because we believe in a cause but because linking up with a cause gives us some mileage and a traction in social media. From an individual to brands to corporates, we are constantly on a search. Is there any cause that we can latch on to… make it go viral.. have it trending.. let the data show how well we did. How many retweets… how many likes… how many shares… Once that is done, hunt for the next one…

This really is a cycle. Some start the trend… some ride the trend and create their own ‘followers’.

The single minded objective is ‘social visibility’. We don’t really bother about the cause once we have moved on… Just like the news channels of today. Arnab Goswami will rant about an issue for a few days or even just a day and then move on. It makes for good TRP.

Create a controversy… and there will always be people taking sides and keep the conversation going.

Often the governments do that. A mindless controversy to keep the attention away from real issues. Start a fire.. sit back and let the media and social media keep stoking the fire…

There will be enough and more causes to latch o n to.. and if there is nothing that quite fits in with what you want.. create your own…

Road rage killing? Road rage will trend for a while. Meat ban in Maharashtra? hell yes! now that should be good enough for a couple of weeks at least… Nothing ever gets achieved beyond a lot of hot air… the life goes on… Internet has not only cut down our attention span, it has also led to this ‘click happy’ activism.

So next time when your fingers are itching to click or tweet or share.. ask yourself why are you doing it…

‘Foot in the mouth’ disease

Mr. Azad, this is a far bigger disease than the one you have quoted and then scurried around to retract! And everyone knows that for politicians, it is a chronic one. Our Prime Minister suffered from it too last week. Make a comment and then claim the next day that 1. Never said it or 2. Been misquoted.

I am not going to comment on homosexuality… I have absolutely no views or opinion on anybody’s sexual preferences. But I do have a view and an opinion on people like Mr. Azad and people like him who think they are the custodians of Indian culture and morality. Who gave you the power to be so? What are your credentials? If you ask me.. I believe that people who shout the most.. are the ones who have a lot to hide..

Politicians and moral gatekeepers… the world around you is changing. You surely need to get your head out of the sand and look around.. There are far bigger issues that ail us as a nation.. address them… what two people do in a closed room or wherever is none of your business. People have a life to lead.. let them.

If you really want to do something… then enrich their lives.. make it comfortable… worth living.

There is a lot you can do for the nation and its people.. do those things.

Mr. Azad probably felt that Mr. Sibal was getting more mileage in media and decided to get himself in the news.. Well you had your moment in the sun.

Now if you are over your disease, get around to the ensuring better health delivery system to the people. There are people who die every day due to poor or non-existent health facilities.. How about doing something for them? You are the health minister… right?

Another Independence day gone by

So yesterday was another Independence day… Another day of meaningless words uttered by the Prime Minister of India from the ramparts of the Red Fort. Another day of people on social networking sites talking about Happy Independence Day… There were many who wished me too for my birthday (wonder if it is good thing or a bad thing that I was born on this day)… another day or commercial establishments running fraud sales… another day of watching patriotic movies on tv… another day of media talking about the meaning of independence and what all has India achieved.. or not achieved…

Now till the next Independence Day (or even Republic Day), we will be back to business as usual… Politicians would be back to pushing the country down the drain.. shops would move on to rakshabandhan sale, followed by Dussera, Diwali and Christmas and New Year.

For a generation which never actually realized what it took to gain Independence (and sometimes I wonder if we are really independent), it is very hard to understand the relevance apart from the speil given my commercial establishments and brands or posting messages on facebook.

When “freedom to be” is curtailed by moral and cultural dogmas… When “freedom to be” is controlled by the political and beauraucratic set ups… when “freedom to be” is held to ransom on the streets in the garb of development… when “freedom to be” is cut down to size by the whole education system… when “freedom to be” is controlled  by just perhaps 1% of the country’s population… where is the freedom.

It’s a Matrix that we are living in… when collectively through various media mouthpieces we are told that we are far better off than our previous generation and examples are peddled of the state of well being.

I must confess that I am also living the Matrix life and believe everything that is told to me… living in a state of denial.. of things that are wrong and what needs to be done to correct things that are so wrong… It is not really my problem is it? Sure I will crib and fret but will I do anything about it? Nope I wont… why should I when others are not doing anything about it.

Now I am no fan of Mahatma Gandhi. But watched the movie Gandhi all over again yesterday and realized that for all his faults, the Man had it in him to move the nation as one and shake the foundations of the Imperialistic Britishers.

He did that because he believed in himself and the power of the people. How many of us can stand by our convictions in this day and age? No one I would imagine… and that includes me too. Saw the Bharati ad which is doing the rounds on facebook and how people are getting orgasmic over it… left me utterly cold… Probably I have become a cynic… probably my faith in the Matrix is waning… Probably I am searching for a white rabbit who would take me to Morpheus… and salvation.

Honor Killing?

First up… No killing ever can have the word ‘honor’ attached to it.

Second, the police must immediately arrest all the people who have justified the killing of Monica and her husband by saying its good for the community.

Third, our media needs to stop calling these cold blooded murders as honor killings. Stop sensationlizing these murders and show these communities as murderers.

A while back when the so called racial killings were turning into great opportunity for our media, I had written a post saying that we Indians are one of the most intolerant bunch of people in the world.. And the spate of these killings has proved the point yet again.

Lets not talk about economic advancement and India being a power to reckon with on the World stage when right within the boundaries of the capital city young lives are snuffed out so brutally.

Lets face it… for all the talk about progressive urban India… the mindsets have not changed one bit. Under the garb of protecting our culture, we indulge in violence of the most virulent kind. And this violence would not happen if there was a political will to curtail it. Caste and regional politics ensure that we would continue to live a schizophrenic existence. Its old news but I sure would want to know from Mr Naveen Jindal as to what right he had to support the tradition of khap panchayat.

In this day and age if the political parties are strong enough to care and work for what is good for the country, there would be no casteism, regionalism or these archaic and senseless traditions. Sorry… let me not even call them traditions because any system that promotes and propogates violence cannot be a tradition.

This post would be debunked as ranting of the educated people who do not understand the Indian culture and are influenced by the western cultures (or rather corrupted) but seriously… WHAT IS INDIAN CULTURE. It most definitely is not Mayawati talks about… it is  not the expensive shindig that Karunanidhi is organizing even as I type this… it is not what Raj Thakeray believes in… and the list would go on…

But seriously… what’s wrong with News Media???

The prices of all essential commodities are through the roof. Common man is suffering big time.

The current government is going to complete the so called 100 days (or has it already?) and what have they got to show?

The economic situation is bleak. People are still losing jobs or living in a state of disguised unemployment (working but not getting salary on time)

Corruption reigns everywhere


How can anyone be interested in a politicial party which is on death bed and waiting for the plug to be pulled?

Do the news channels seriously think that a billion plus population which is trying very hard to make a living is interested in what Brajesh Mishra said… or the book by Jaswant Singh… or the fact that he has been sacked from the party… or what Advani said or did during the Kandahar hijacking… or What Sardar Patel did or did not do in 1945????

Seriously… who cares. If anything, the only people who would really care is the current government. They must be happy that the spotlight is not on their failures to govern and deliver on the 100 days promise.

Let me give you an example of how news media has become completely blind to what is happening to the people. This example is apart from the tripe that we get to watch on TV or read in the paper.

Few days back on BBC (one of the most respected news channels), towards the end of news, a guy joins the two who were reading the news and discussing the current events. This guy gives the latest unemployment figures in England.. which by the way have gone up. A min of that… and while he is still talking about the figures… the woman anchor asks him… “So what is your favorite cocktail?”. The guy wants to complete what he is saying about the unemployment and he is again interrupted by the male anchor asking about the cocktails.. because they want to move to this competition that is happening in England somewhere about the best bar tender!!!! Wow… talk about dumbing down and being callous.

Somewhere in an effort for increased eyeballs, viewers and readers, news people have forgotten what their profession is all about… WAGs are not stories… Salman Khan interested in buying an IPL team is not a story… Harbhajan Singh in his humvee is not the story.

Get real… get accountable… make the government accountable… Terrorism is here to stay and we would never be able to combat it or control it because when dealing with fanatics is not easy… So get rid of those stories about who gets Interpol red flag or how the government was right about Hafeez or whoever… Tell me why are the prices rising and what government is doing to bring down the prices.. Tell me why my money is not enough today for even the basic essentials… question.. interrogate… grill the government.

Stop wasting your time on the inconsequentials.

Unless the news media is also part of the larger political strategy to keep the common man away from asking these pertinent questions and bombard him with trivia and make his mind numb!

What good is government funding?

Does any government really believe that all the money that is allocated for various social and infrastructure projects actually works?

Analyse all the government efforts towards rural upliftment, removing poverty, creation of jobs, infrastructure. How many of these projects have been successful? How many projects were completed on time? How many were completed without any cost overrun?

“Garibi Hatao” was a Congress slogan way back in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Since then, except for maybe a max of 8/9 years, it is the Congress which has been in power. 30 years plus and we are still talking of people below the poverty line.

We have had reservation for certain classes of people for as long as I can remember and yet ‘dalit’ is still a huge vote bank and it should not have been if all the so called efforts were actually working.

Slums that have been around for so long… Government has promised to make them disappear in 5 years… How??? Will there ever be a political will to remove them? What happens to the whole vote bank then? And more importantly… where will the money come from?

Every infrastructure project gets delayed… in most cases they are delayed endlessly… China probably started the Tibetan railway project same time as we started the Kashmir railways. They are over and done with and we are still realigning the tracks!

Bandra Worli Sea Link is another case in point…

Government spending is all about making pleasant noise and that too only for themselves… the population that is likely to benefit never gets to hear it or understand the implication… more importantly they never get the benefits meant for them… all the money disappears in transit…

Where is the accountability? Who is responsbile for schemes to be completed on time and the benefit actually reaching the people it is meant for? And who checks the authenticity of all government claims?

Does the government use any project management software? Are the officials expert enough in managing the projects? What are their management qualifications?

If the government wants to be transparent enough… why can’t it create a website where anyone who wants, can track the progress of the project? why should we invoke RTI for the information?

Why are the tax payers left wondering about where their hard earned money goes?

I have a question for all those who have been saying that this budget would be very good in the long run… How will the deficit go away? how will we get a 9% growth this year? What are the short term measures to revive the economy and hopes of the people who are suffering because of the downturn??

Why is this post so full of questions?

It probably is because the government is completely clueless when it comes to managing the nation and its economy. One statement that perhaps symbolized this was the one Mr Pranab Mukherjee supposedly made on CNN-IBN on the evening of the budget presentation – “I don’t know why the markets tanked!!”

How much do you want something?

And how much are you willing to sacrifice to get that something?

More often that not, what we want is dictated by circumstances and the environment.

A kid would throw big time tantrums for getting that candy and most likely he has not even tasted the candy but has seen it on TV, has seen it with a friend and a strong desire is formed to get it and so the tantrums follow.

As he gets a little older, wants to be an engineer, wants to be a doctor, wants to do MBA… In this case too the desire is driven by parents, peer pressure and that whole ultimate goal…. good career and money (or good career = money)

Moving further, its time for materialistic things… of course somewhere along the line, there is also the hunt for the right partner and the rest of the stuff… snazzed car, phone, the best of what the products and brands have to offer.

All these decisions are driven by the surround… by what everyone has.. by what is the politically correct behaviour in the society… by what he is told is the thing to do…

The process of evaluating choices is simple and risk averse or even if the risks are there.. mitigation plans are in place before taking the risk. And more importantly, in case of failure… enough excuses are in place for the failure.

But do all these things really make a difference? Would the absence or something similar and not exactly the same would really leave us feeling incomplete? The derived satisfaction.. is it because we have managed to build a nest with all the ‘required’ things leading to enhanced self worth? Did we make sacrifices or let go of something which was dear to us to get what we really wanted? Were we “Driven” enough?

Mahatma Gandhi was driven… He let go of many things.. including his relationships for the larger task he had assigned for himself.

Even if misguided in a big way… Adolf Hitler was driven… single minded..

Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King… they all were single minded and not so much for themselves but they wanted transformation…

Some gave their lives… some took lives but they all wanted to impact the environment much larger than their own proximity…

Somewhere deep down…buried under all the needs, wants and desires, we all have a powerful need.. a need to make a difference… We need a trigger or a flash point to bring it to surface and since we are risk averse at an individual level, we need a rallying point… contributing to or being part of a community…

Can the brands tap into this need? And I do not mean at a shallow level or lip service.

In the new economy, where the materialism led to collapse of economies… can the business rebuild with a different persepective…

Not buying fur, or peddling eco-friendly technologies or hybrid cars or CFC free etc are just very tiny steps. But the world needs something big… and it will not come from one brand or one business… it needs to be a collective consciousness…

I am not for a moment saying that we should not lead a materialistic life… its a process of evolution. But in this day and age when boundaries collapse and the world is just one click away for us.. do we need to really travel up Maslow’s heirarchy gradually? Why cant it all become just top of the pyramid…. Where everything that we buy or do, it leads to satisfaction or acquiring wordly goods but also self actualization.

Can we all as one be driven enough to tranform this world?

Everybody counts or nobody counts

The title is courtesy Mr Michael Connelly, a superb author and creator of an awesome character  – Harry Bosch. Have read every Harry Bosch book and for those who read so called self help or enlightenment books or ghost written auto biographies of the rich and famous… read Michael Connelly, Jeffrey Deavers, Nelson DeMille and many such authors.. even Stephen King… its a learning experience.

“Everybody counts or nobody counts” is a statement made by Harry Bosch in the book  – The Last Coyote. The context is that Harry will not differentiate between a prostitute’s murder or a mayor’s wife when it comes to justice and bringing criminals to book.

A very simplistic statement on the face of it. Many would say so whats the big deal but then read the statement again… with the thought in mind of how the world is around us today…

Do we treat everyone equally? Does the government and its various functions treat everyone equally? Do banks treat everyone equally? Do  organizations and brands treat everyone equally?

People with capitalist tendencies… people who have it all… people who are safe and secure would treat this statement or the blog as a ranting of a socialist… Socialism would have been a good thing if the socialists had not taken an extreme view of equality and had not padded their ownselfs instead of truly working towards equality.

Sheetal Mafatlal is miffed and so are many others because she got arrested… but whats wrong in that? You commit a crime and you pay for it… peddle all the excuses that you want… but if you are a regular international traveller, how can you not know what is legal and what is not! It’s a different issue that there may have been other forces at work in this case. Customs I am sure dont catch only one person a day or night… Bet they catch many more…. some with intent on mind and some just pure innocent and not aware… and yet these people don’t make news. They are nobodies…

And Sheetal Mafatlal by the way was caught with lakhs of jewellery on her when Indian Express says that Mafatlal Group is in deep trouble financially.. wonder what must be going through the minds of the the people who work in that organization…

General Motors executives were globe trotting in private planes when since 2004 they were getting into debt every year… Read somewhere that US$ 88 billion was the accumulated debt since 2004… laying off people because the company is not doing well and yet I am sure nothing was amiss for these executive’s lifestyle…

Raju got caught dipping into company’s kitty (ok so he confessed) and who is suffering? not him for sure… the way government and justice system functions… very soon he would be out on bail and the case would continue and media will stop talking about him… his political connections would ensure nothing happens to him…. after all, in this country you cannot build an empire if palms are not greased (and you only need to read the report about how corrupt this country is)

Corporate America is shuddering and there is fair amount of  negative PR already because or President Obama’s policies… They are afraid to share their wealth. After all, America is about opportunity and making money… For so long it has been a symbol of money power and how everyone can make it big if they have an idea… Though President and his wife could have gone easy at their inaugration (wearing a 75 carat diamond at the inagural ball is not a good idea)

Why do we discriminate? Why should banks keep giving loans to industrialist and not be as vicious and demanding to return the loan as they are when it comes to common man?

I am not against money at all.. I love it too… But I believe it should be about wealth creation for all and not just for a few…


Times are tough… go easy with conspicuous consumption… go easy with page 3… go easy with putting yourself on display… Economy would turn around because there is always a cycle… but remember.. revolutions happen because man on the street gets tired of living a stressful life… scrounging for money while the swankiest cars drive by and people inside the car give him a glare when he obstructs the way while crossing the road…

Humane is the word that needs to be part of everything that we do or say… Old cliche about ‘be nice to people on the way up because you would meet them on the way down’ holds true.

Give the majority of the population some breathing space… they are stifled right now and someone getting caught with  such expensive jewellery is not what they want to read…

Media has a huge role to play…. move away from politics… move away from cricket… focus on issues that are burning right now… The power of media can bring about the changes if only media can do some introspection and figure out the reason for their existence… Just for a while, let go off the race for advertising revenue and sensationalism and be the proactive force that can transform countries, economies and lives of people…

We need to be inclusive and not exclusive… and make EVERYBODY COUNT…

The world is racist… we are holier than thou

Before carrying on with the post.. a disclaimer – I do not condone all the on going attacks in Australia or the fiasco at the French airport or any racial attacks in US or UK or anywhere else against Indians or any nationality. 

I do not condone discrimination basis skin color and what is happening in Australia should be condemned in strongest voice. The authorities should have taken swift action and also shown restraint towards controlling the protests.

The images coming on TV from Australia… chilled my bones… we are “human” beings but what I saw was anything but human. And this is supposed to be a progressive world.

I support the parents of all the students who have suffered and wish for the speedy recovery of the ones who have been injured.

The scary thing is that this happens everywhere… not specifically to Indians but racism exists in some form all over the world. Took America so long to get a President who is not white. South Africa is going through its own transformation… Europe is the same..

Which made me ponder…

Signboard outside few up market housing complexes – “Foreigners and students are not allowed to rent apartments here”.

Foreigners being african or middle east origin!

These signs are not in any so called white countries but right here in India. Unbelievable huh?

The media goes up in arms about the incidents in Australia. They talk about discrimination shown by Air France… the net buzzes with people commenting but I believe we are the most racist and intolerent society in the world.

And if you dont believe me, step into any of the hotels and watch the staff fawning over guests whose skins are white while they neglect people from their own country.

Racism is not discrimination purely on the basis of skin color… it is discrimination of any kind based on color, caste, gender or origin and we Indians indulge in it big time… sometimes blatant or sometimes under the garb of uplifting the so called downtrodden of the society.

And politicians in this country have always used this racism for their own advantage.

They don’t want north indians to be in Mumbai.

There are reserved constituencies for “backward classes”.

Congress and parties like SP are supposed to be protecting the interests of Muslims in the name of secularism.

BJP discriminates against the Muslims under the pretext of saving Hindutva.

Fair & Lovely is such a huge brand for Unilever because we Indians like fair skin.

There are temples where “backward classes or women” cannot enter. Or for that matter people of different religion.

If people convert to a different religion, they are brutally murdered.

We look down about people who can’t communicate in English.

The huge North – South divide and the names we have reserved for people from specific regions.

Under the pretext of “unity in diversity” we have so many official languages and there is anything but unity in this country… We are regional chauvinists… Try speaking in Hindi in Chennai! or any south indian language in the north.

We kill over temples, mosques and churches… merciless killing. With so many Goddess that we worship, we still treat women in the manner that we do.

Travel to Agra and watch the locals ogling at the people of white origin. The commercial featuring Aamir Khan about Indian tourism is so true.

I could go on and on… But nope… all this cant be true… After all we are such a tolerent society. Society which goes into a tizzy when sporadic incidents happen involving Indians…

More and more we are witnessing discrimination right here in our country but we have the gall to point fingers at other countries.

And talking about the passengers of Air France being discriminated… I have travelled abroad often and have never seen one Indian smile at another Indian or talk to them at the airports… they are very happy to strike a conversation with whites but nose in the air when it comes to people from your own country.

I believe that discrimination happens when we or anyone else is in another country, we dont become part of that society. We wear our values and our indianness on our sleeves. We live in US, get the green card and yet live in very close communities and think that the outside culture will corrupt us! If we are so worried, why leave the country at all? And the way we behave when we travel abroad… the less said the better

And Mr Bachchan, very nice of you to have rejected the award from Australia… now can we see you delineating yourself from the people who pander to narrow caste and religion politics too?

I believe that I am a global citizen… ready to accept everything that makes my life better and makes me a better person… nothing else should matter… no color.. no caste… no religion…

I am a free citizen of the world and free to live my life… on my own terms.