Monday, July 29, 2013

Goodbye Henry

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

Henry was put to sleep on 24th of July 2013.  The Greek term” Euthanasia” or the good death was upon him as he was no longer able to function on his own.  Animal euthanasia (from Greek, meaning "good death") is the act of humanely putting an animal to death or allowing it to die as by withholding extreme medical measures. Reasons for euthanasia include incurable (and especially painful) conditions or diseases, lack of resources to continue supporting the animal, or laboratory test procedures. Euthanasia methods are designed to cause minimal pain and distress. Euthanasia is distinct from animal slaughter and pest control, which are performed for purposes other than an act of mercy, although in some cases the killing procedure is the same.

In domesticated animals, this process is commonly referred to by euphemisms such as "lay down", "put down", "put to sleep", or "put out of its/his/her misery".  When he was put to sleep, Henry was 12 ½ years old when he really was unable to survive on his own and was very sick.

Henry was a yellow Labrador, and he was runt of the litter when Jamie picked him up from the owners’ of his parents.  Jamie was there when he was born, and since his adoption has always lived with Jamie and his family.  Jamie and his three children; Alex, Andrew and Alison and their cat Milo were a team.  Jamie is my brother and friend, every day I would get an update on how the guys were doing and never forgot Henry and Milo’s update, until last week when Henry’s time has come to go.  The kids are on holiday and they are away visiting grandparents and still don’t know of Henry’s passing away, and Jamie has not yet figured out how to tell them.  It will be hard to tell them that Henry who has been a part of their entire life is gone, and will not be around to watch them.

I have never seen Henry in person, but he was very much a part of Jamie and his family and they were very much attached to him, and he towards them.  I never had a dog, as I did not live at home most of my life and when I grew up never made an effort, but always admired the animals and their love of humans.  Dogs, cats, horses and domesticated animals in India such as cows, buffalos and chickens and goats, and whatever we chose to raise and care for, and at the same time they have their undivided devotion to their owners.

Henry’s loss is deeply felt, and also brings into the question of Euthanasia.  The doctor, the owner and the surroundings determine the final decision to put down the animal, and it must be a difficult choice to make for the humans involved.  It is just to see that the suffering ends in a kind and gentle manner, albeit a very painful and heartfelt decision to make.  Good bye Henry.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Financial Reality

Vasu Reddy From Chicago

Last week the newspapers highlighted that the City of Detroit has declared bankruptcy.  It’s a major city that is renowned for it its car manufacturing; being the home of the biggest car manufacturers in the world including GM, Ford and Chrysler along with many other auto businesses, and their suppliers and support services. This is the motor city which is the capital of auto manufacturing in the world, and just went bankrupt.

Detroit not only lost its good credit, but also a major portion of its population.  Only in America this happens that a major city is allowed to follow the natural course of correcting its financial abilities, and Detroit declaring bankruptcy should not be regarded as a shameful event, rather the nation facing the reality with changes to population, jobs, infrastructure and a slew of financial and accounting issues that are a fact of life.

It is quite commonplace for individuals and companies to face bankruptcy and restructuring the balance sheet to get back into facing normalcy of the day, after going thru tough economic times.  It is also fact that not having the foresight forces bankruptcy, and the country allows for restructuring and reentry into a normal financial status after a period of time where you are allowed to restructure the balance sheet, and start fresh and start contributing to the economy once again.

What is a cultural shock is to read about a major city like Detroit declaring bankruptcy.  It probably is a long time coming for this city and perhaps a few more big and small cities that have lost a large portion of their tax revenues and also population.  Detroit is still a great city with a big suburban population which is still very much blustering with people and jobs, it is just that the city of Detroit that has lost its people and revenues beyond a reasonable rate to sustain its cost structure.

The news papers cover the story in front pages and display the empty streets and boarded-up homes, and lost population.  They also highlight the imbalance with the balance sheet and the city no longer able to pay its bills, and also highlight all the wrongs of the situation now.  No one wants to take into account that a major or minor city cannot go bankrupt overnight.  The support for borrow and spend attitude of the people in power goes from Washington to states, major cities, small cities and small towns and villages.  Everyone wants everything on earth and the best services to be provided, but no one is willing to pay for the benefits that they are asking the cities or states and the country.  The gap between incoming revenues and outgoing expenses along with the demand for services (along with growing dependence on the state and national support for services for the new population) only gets wider and wider as people don’t want to pay for the demand for services by the new population, along with the old commitments that are already on the books.  It should come as no shock to people who are leading the city to bankruptcy, and everyone wants services but don’t want to pay for them.  As drastic as bankruptcy sounds, Detroit declaring bankruptcy should be an an eye opener for both people and administrators.  You cannot have a good thing going on forever and not account for it or pay for it.  No free lunch.

As bad as it sounds about a major city going bankrupt, it should serve as an eye opener for managing the resources and also the people.  Jobs, relocation, immigration, changes to economy, demographics, management and whatever else is required to manage the resources of the entire nation needs to be in focus, rather than a single city facing bankruptcy.  All People in the country, politicians and the administrators; all as a group needs to start to look at this as an exercise to live within available means.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Equality for All

Vasu Reddy From Chicago

The democratic nations are still undergoing the metamorphosis of acceptance that all people are created with equal importance and equal rights.  Granted that women and men are biologically different, and people come in all shapes and sizes and colors; all said and done; we humans are equal to one other.  Over centuries of cultivated traditions and cultures and the human behavior to make rules that best suit the powerful, many things we know as norms have been followed by societies.  In varying degrees men and women have different behaviors and roles in daily life, and the society itself over time has made up some way of life for men and women.

In the recent decades there has been a gradual detachment to the age old rules and traditions laid out for men and women, and people in some parts of the world have been embracing the equality aspect of all a bit more progressively than others.  Democracies have also been fostering the equality for all a little more actively than other forms of governments.  Many of the democracies such as UK and India, along with many others have already had women national leaders, demonstrating that women can lead large nations and do so effectively.  There is no question in the equality aspect for humans when it comes to intelligence and dedication; just that we must be in an environment that fosters education and dignity.

Civil rights movement, gay rights movement, fighting for religious freedom and minority rights movement and many other instances where a certain group of people raise their voices to achieve equality in the society have been done and will continue to be in force as long as human beings exist.  We as a clan disagree often and show individual preference for way of life often.  There is nothing wrong in individual choices, just that we don’t want to trample on others right to exist.

Although India is the largest (and probably going to be) democracy on earth the differences of opinions of people are rampant.  We are a country which fosters secularism, and thus a greater variety of disagreements within the population.  The languages spoken, the caste system, the parochial attitudes and whatever human fragilities we can imagine are engrained in the population of the country, which is at best difficult to have any kind of consensuses.  We constantly argue and debate and disagree more than any other human population, and just about every Indian wants to see the other guy be a fool rather than achieve.  We seldom have praise for our fellow citizens, and rarely have one voice against our nation or our people.  We squabble over everything and disagree on just about everything.  The sates and districts, towns and villages and even small gatherings of people typically are against something than for something.  Granted that democracy offers people a choice of opinion, but we are so opinionated; we have multiple opinions on everything.  We as a society thrive on argument rather than unity.

The nations around us; big and small step on our people and policies and we simply argue internally about non-issues rather than act as a unified nation in response to the unprovoked aggression.  When disasters happen we try to blame someone or the other, rather than lending a helping hand.  We have many laws and regulations, but we only want someone else to follow them, and none of us feel that all laws are equal to all people, but we still want equality for all.  Such a dichotomy for our nation but wanting equality, but will not want to follow the rules.

How we can have equality for all if we only want the other person to follow the rules and we ignore the obvious?  A nation of vast population and equally vast values and traditions but people of the nation who disregard the laws and think they are only made for others.  The politicians and leaders who fume the people’s passions based on hatred and distrust continue to feed on the intolerances built into our society, and will continue to want to have people fear of something that is not really there, but believe that it could happen.

We are a very long way from equality for all in the society, and it is difficult to fathom when we can foster such a democratic country.  The politics and policies are continuing to be more regressive to the best interests of the nation, while focusing only on being in power.  The country will be pretty soon out of scams as there is not a single field that has been untouched by some form of a scam.  We are quite some time away from equality for all, as the current crop of politicians and leaders have forgotten what it means to strive for equality.  They are all too busy in trying hard to be in power, and those who are not, trying very hard to get into power.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Divide and Rule

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

From the ancient Greeks to the British until they ruled most of the world use the divide and rule concept quite effectively.  The concept refers to a strategy that breaks up existing power structures and prevents smaller power groups from linking up.  After the British split India 1947 before leaving the Indians and Pakistanis to their own self governance, (later Pakistan and Bangladesh in 1971), they also left Indians with Indian National Congress (“INC”) to govern the newly independent India.  Along with the independence the INC also inherited the divide and rule policy of the British, so well learned were the congressmen in the policies of British, they have continued to follow the divide and rule administrative polices even after many generations of independence from the British.

There is very little of INC and British influence from 1947 on the current crop of politicians.  The ideals of the original founders of INC might have been noble in the cause of driving out the British invaders out of the occupied land, but they rarely thought of self-governance of a large country with diverse religions, languages and agendas.  India is and was very diverse from its original existence, and the land was always of different cultures and traditions.  Prior to and with the invasion of the British, French and Portuguese and others the larger Hindustan was nothing but a loose confederation of kingdoms that coexisted with each other.  They fought with each other and the invaders from the time of Alexander the Great, and even before.  Before the invasion of occupying forces of the Europeans, the greater Hindustan survived and flourished with their kingdoms coexisting with each other and each with great diversity and tradition that is still etched into the societies of today.

Many hundreds of years of invasions, and occupation and the eventual British rule prior to the modern day India, and countries around it, have kept the people and their traditions and languages intact.  The changes in geographic boundaries and technology that allows for instant communications have not been able to wipe out the age old bickering, which was instilled by the British pitting one Indian against other for their gains, and long after the British and other invaders have left India, the bickering continues to exist among the various groups of Indians who are segregated by language, culture and traditions.

The current crop of politicians are continuing to practice the policies of divide and rule even today, while the people seem to be oblivious to the politicking which is continuing to erase the importance of using the limited resources of the nation to build the future, rather keep themselves in power.  There is no question in not being able to meet the demands of many sections of Indian fabric, as each of them have their own fascination with what was wronged to their particular community by the country, ignoring that it is impossible to get representation of every person in the nation at every planning stage.  The politicians who are in power typically try to take care of their own constituents to make effort to represent their electorate, and that is typical of any elected politician.  Some politicians try to play to keep their positions and play to the national leadership and ignore the voices of their constituents, and if the requirements of a certain section of the population get ignored there is bound to be dissatisfaction in the regions that feel ignored.

India for more than a couple of decades has been grappling with center verses states issues that continue to plague the national governance.  The population is getting so large, even a very small percentage of the people are a fairly large vote bank.  Everyone is disgruntled at the leadership, and the leadership really doesn’t have the resources to address the issues of the people.  The bigger issue for the government is to retain power and they continue to only do enough to be in power.  There is no planning to meet the growing population and its needs; rather the government is busy full time in surviving.  The large number of scams in every level of the country and states eat up most of the resources that the nation has, and the government is unable to curb the scams at any level, and they keep cropping up every day.

Now Congress is going to use the divide and rule policy once again, as they have done many times in their rule.  If this one occasion was the only time they have contemplated the division of a state, there could be merit to the decisions heeding to the demands of the people, but the decision making is being contemplated only to keep one party from coming into power, and retaining the power at the center.  Although no decisions have been publicly communicated, the INC seems to adopt the policy of divide and rule once again, but doesn’t seem to take into account the needs and requirements of the population that will be affected by the decisions it will make for the sake of being in power.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Learn and Rebuild

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

The devastation caused by heavy rains is continuing to raise the human casualties along with unimaginable loss of property.  There is really little evidence on how many people have been lost in the floods due to the way the Indians keep track of their near and dear ones.  One might never know how many people might have perished in the floods and the loss of livelihood in the aftermath.  One can only imagine about the number of people who perished in their path to devotion.  There is also a lot of talk on the loss of businesses around the temple along with washed away guest houses and other areas that were built around the temple premises.

Now that the devastation has already happened and the human fragility has been completely in the open, it is perhaps a great time to do the right things to necessitate the rebuilding that will allow for the holy places to be intact for thousands of years to come.  To start with these places of worship have been standing the test of time and weather for hundreds of years and they have seen every possible natural causing that we can possibly imagine.  The holy shrines are not new to severe weather; be it snow, rain or any combination thereof, and have been free standing in their pristine surroundings for centuries.  The weather has always been unpredictable, and trying to fight the might of the weather gods has not been possible for humans from the beginning of time.

The devastation caused is not just because of severe weather, but stripping the natural surroundings of the cover it provided to the holy places, and as well as the areas surrounding the mountains and rivers.  Human greed and unplanned development, and me syndrome are the causes of stripping the natural surrounding that protected the pristine places of its protection from flash floods and severe weather.  It is not just the remote and pristine places that are being bulldozed by humans but the entire nation is being abused beyond repairable stage by people, and they simply don’t care about what might happen to their surroundings and what will remain for generations to come.  

The nature has a way of reinventing itself and despite the harshness shown by humans it can typically bounce back with its beauty by rebuilding its natural surroundings by getting a little care from who occupy its surroundings.  The cost of what has happened is immeasurable to both human and natural environment, but steps can be immediately taken to help both the natural habitat and human workforce.

Instead of the country’s politicians bickering over their helping hand to the affected population and the environment, they should immediately adapt to the idea of conservation and reforestation, along with planned development along the forests and rivers.  India has an abundance of people power and intellectual power to develop and execute to preserving the environment and saving the human life; both simultaneously.

With so much rhetoric from the politicians, no immediate actions are taken to help with the physical and psychological aspects of the devastation.  The plan can be very simple to find eminent and experienced people in conservation and have them devise a plan for India’s rivers and forests.  Every nation has natural calamities, and typically the nation comes together to help and restore the environment, while lending helping hand to those who suffer natural calamities.  India with its vast population and fairly reasonable resources should seek the expertise of its people to rebuild its rivers and reforest the nation.  There is no lack of political support to help the people and save the holy places, just that the focus is more on political one-upmanship, rather than helping the needy and saving the environment.

The government and the opposition parties should simply use every resource it has to help rebuild the rivers and canals, and deploy all its resources to reforestation, along with curbing illegal building and development.  While the idea might be simple to say, it will be difficult to practice in India as the national interests will be rarely put ahead of personal and political gain.  When you see the coverage on the plight of the pilgrims compared the coverage of the politicians bickering and taking credit is given more prominence, which clearly shows that idiocy is television worthy.  The nation should react to the disasters as a whole; the volunteers of India can always outnumber the politicians to take charge of protecting the country’s wonderful and pristine landscape, by simply taking steps to help protect the environment.  Before and even after independence India and its population are capable of putting nation first, and putting India’s natural resources first is not out of bounds for the citizens.  It is time to start respecting the precious nature and our surroundings and every able person can help a lending had to rebuild and recreate the magic of India that it was.  God will certainly smile on us when our environment turns back to green forests, wild life and humans coexisting, flowing rivers and pristine and unpolluted nature all around, along with people having respect for each other and mother nature.  Each and every person can help in rebuilding the beautiful country that was and can be with a little bit of effort from every individual.

Past Perfect

Vasu Reddy from Chicago It has already happened. Past is already on the books, recorded, and can’t be changed.   It ...