Friday, February 27, 2015

Charity

Vasu Reddy From Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

In nation where people are constantly looking for SOPs and have their hands out for government programs, it is difficult to find individuals who will offer a helping hand.  It is true that India has plenty of great examples of men and women who have extended their life time to charity and wellbeing of the others, but as our population continues explode and our needs continue to multiply the demand for resources both natural and manmade are so great, it is impossible to extend a helping hand to everyone.  Politicians promise the moon every election year and every word they utter prior to getting elected will be that they will provide everything to everybody at no cost.  We, the people know that it is impossible to expect the government to do what they say, and we also know it is impossible to be able to afford the election promises.  Yet, we will continue to hear the expansive promises and we vote with continued vigor every election cycle, and then we do the same again and again.  The only difference is that none of the claims made by the politicians become a reality.

We love to hear forward looking and thoughtfulness in projecting a better society for our children and better days ahead for the nation.  While we listen to the rhetoric on the loud speakers and on radio and television we are intent in our belief that the government is going to look out for us; common man.

We love our country and we love our flag and we love our national anthem.  We don’t need to go to school to understand the meaning of national pride, we are born with the national pride.  We are a country of great belief in almighty, and we have millions of names and many religions that we practice, all side by side of each other, and we really believe that good Karma is only a door away.

In built in our systems is charity.  Giving is a part of Indian.  Every occasion be it a birthday, wedding, a visit to a friend or a family member, friend, strangers, places of worship, birth and death and everything in between, we Indians like to give at least a little bit to the occasion.  It is not charity, rather contributing to the cause we are participating in.  When natural disasters or man-made catastrophes happen we extend a helping hand, and try to do our best with what we can.  It is built into our system to share, give and feel the humanity of life around us.  We are born to be a part of the society weather or not we know it and appreciate it.

Some of us have a bit more than the others, and certainly our contributions typically scale to the wealth factor, and sometimes the circumstances where we participate in giving.  Poor or rich, when you ask an Indian for help, they typically react the same.

The latest government’s emphasis on cleaning up Ganga, and other rivers is a great initiative to subscribe to every Indian.  Ganga is our mother, and has been as long as Hindustan existed.  It support about a third of all our population and is sacred for 100% of people of India.  Even if we give a tiny amount of money towards its cleanup then we would have made an extraordinary contribution to saving our most treasured resource.  Helping to clean up the river (in fact all our rivers need to cleaned up) and maintaining the sanctity of the great river will simply enhance the nation’s greatness further.  As Ganga has supported the country since its inception, and still continues to take care of Indians, despite the constant abuse, it is a simple matter of survival to be kept clean for both the mother and its children.

Supporting the Ganga clean-up is not really charity, rather it is our responsibility.  There is no charity that is greater than taking care of your mother, it is in fact not charity but personal responsibility.  Modi or Tata or us common folks; for all of us it’s the same, and it’s a part of our life to help take care of the Ganga.  If anyone of use feel that we are being charitable by helping with the cleanup of the Ganga and continuing to keep it clean for generations or centuries to come, then so be it, as the context is to protect our most valuable resource, and the terminology in helping can be anything we choose to call it.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Common Man

Vasu Reddy From Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

All men are common men.  Using common man as a reference is an acronym used by politicians, while pointing to people that they are common.  We are all common; men and women by birth, and will remain so throughout our life.  Some of us will go on to do some extra ordinary things with our life and some of us might end up doing some uncommonly stupid things in our life.  By and large the general population is simply that; common.  We humans have set habits with life, work, family and our general disposition.

Politicians will classify us as different people to suit their purpose, and most times what they are actually pitching to a particular group of people.  We, the people are quite gullible by listening to the rhetoric and the promises made by people who aspire to be our leaders, or continue to be our leaders. Us, the common folks have to vote to elect the folks who remind us and will keep reminding us that we are common men.  This will never change as the politicians will always try to project themselves as one of us; common men.

We common folks are all alike.  We all want to live someone else’s life and live someone else’s dreams.  We all hope and aspire for something better, simply meaning that we want things that we already don’t have. It’s in our nature aspire and work towards something else; typically looking at the world to aspire for more wealth, comfort and also at times peace of mind.  The world also has many societies which are looking for peace, some wanting food, some wanting water, some cold and some hot, the list of wanting something is endless.

The recent election in New Delhi, and the election of Arvind Kejriwal as the CM of Delhi for the second time under two years is a great example of common man’s belief in the democratic system, and also their belief in the ability of an individual to listen and work on their demands. Kejriwal is an educated and experienced bureaucrat, with an agenda that started with Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement, and for whatever reasons Kejriwal ended up as a politician.  He is new to politics and his party is new to the electorate.  Kejriwal doesn’t have the background and or baggage of a typical politician and his style of functioning is uncomplicated.  He still has no pretenses of a politician.  His party is named AAM ADMI PARTY meaning “COMMON MAN’S PARTY”.  Getting elected twice in New Delhi, and the second time with almost a clean sweep of all the other parties including the hugely popular BJP under Narendra Modi, is a testament to the power of common man.  This electoral win by Kejriwal lead AAP defied political logic, but also clearly endorsed the democratic belie in common man giving a second chance to a new politician, and his agenda.

The beauty of democracy is that anyone can contest and win, but how many of the politicians that are elected really deliver to their electoral speeches? In case of Kejriwal people have given him a very quick second chance, also with such super majority so that his party will have no excuses for non-performance.  The demographics of the Delhi voting population may be a small portion of the Indian population, but the ability of the electorate to choose and decide on leadership is a virtue; within itself is a reflection of the mindset of the common man.  It always wants to explore more, and do more and achieve more.  Democracies and common mam foster the ability to think and choose.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Voter Independence

Vasu Reddy From Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

India since its independence from the UK in 1947, has always been a young nation.  The population well over a billion, the nation continues to be a very young nation.  Today much of its population is the young voter base, and much of it is the internet and telecom generation.  Indians by and large have adopted quite well to telecommunications; mobile, television and internet is a common practice with Indian life today.  All but in less than a generation, but the country is well connected, and well organized with its connectivity.

The country also continues to be urbanized and youngsters going to school and getting educated, and also becoming mobile; not just with devices but also with employment and seeking opportunities. Education, jobs, work, opportunities, communications are reasons that drive the mobility of the population, and India has been quick to embrace the mobility aspect of life.  Indians also enjoy the multilingual life that most populations don’t experience.  Even with minimal education or no education, most Indians are exposed to multiple languages and learn quickly to communicate in more than just their mother tongue.

There is a lot of chatter in the political circles and the media about dynastic politics in India.  Granted that the country is young in years of independence but quite old with its history and culture.  Dynasties ruled the greater India for centuries and the culture and history of the land is as old as the human kind.  People ruling the vast land is not something we see as something strange, we are as people used to having a king or a queen; better yet emperor.  Our history is tied to the rulers of the land and when dynasties ruled, it is implied that father, son and so on will continue to rule their kingdom until such time the dynasty ceases to exist.  So dynastic rule is something the greater India is used to.

The term referring to dynastic politics after 1947 is probably relegated to one single family in India; referencing to the first prime minister of India; Jawaharlal Nehru.  He was a long standing leader in freedom struggle prior to 1947, and was the chosen one to lead India post 1947 freedom from the British.  He was the leader of the country until his death.  There was a gap from the Nehru family as Lal Bahadur Shastri http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lal_Bahadur_Shastri was anointed the prime minister after the death of Pandit Nehru, and only after his death Mrs. Indira Gandhi (daughter of Pandit Nehru) became the prime minister. So, certainly there was a break in handing the leadership to Mrs. Gandhi.  She had to wait until after Mr. Shastri’s demise before taking over as the leader of the nation. Since Mrs. Gandhi we have had successive governments and multiple prime ministers of India, including Rajiv Gandhi son of Mrs. Gandhi, where Rajiv Gandhi came into power after the assassination of Mrs. Gandhi while she was still in office.  But the country has voted others to lead the nation, outside of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.  We now have Mr. Modi, who doesn’t belong to any dynasty and comes from a really humble home.  So, simply clubbing the nation’s leadership as dynastic politics is not completely true.  There is quite a bit of family worship with the Nehru-Gandhi family, but there are several instances the public simply voted to what they feel is the right thing for the country rather than voting for a dynasty.

The country itself keeps it self politically active and also picks the leaders that represent a hope for tomorrow.  India no longer is a docile nation.  The young are well connected and well aware of the needs of their own families and their nation, and very capable of making their choices without looking at the dynasties of yester year.  They are well informed and well connected and also well aware of their nations ever increasing demands.  They will continue to make choices based on what they see best fit, rather than vote based on legacy.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Comfort Zone

Vasu Reddy From Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

The life in the Unites States is quite simple.  You can find work doing just about any odd job and keep paying for what you need and you continue to work and live and work and live, and keep at it until you know what.  Families, children, friends and relatives and lots of travel and everything many times over, and throw in a few trips to India, that’s all you have; Comfort zone.  Life can be very simple if you keep it that way.

Many years go by, and you simply work, go home, work and go home, and once in a while travel around a bit, take a few pictures and make a few more friends, update Facebook or some kind of social platform, and get back to work again.  There is no stopping this.  You got to pay bills. You got to work.

Someone just asked; why do you have to do this? Why not go do this in your country?  Aha.  I thought why not?  He did not have to ask me this question after all these years of American Dream.  I had thought of it myself several times, and in fact tried the American Indian dream a couple of times.  Did not succeed with the enterprise and work, and had to simply cut short the American Indian dream, and then restart the work, and work and work routine again.  It could have saved the American dream the first time by simply retiring young and just hanging around.  Did not learn once or twice, so had to start again and again on the American Indian dream again. Work and work and routine again.

A whole of changes to India and a whole lot of changes to America, but the dreams remain the same. New politics, new leaders, new industries, and just about everything new including people, but our dreams remain the same.  Our aspiration for a better life and comfort zone.  Life and people continue to aspire for better and better and just about all of us try very hard to find the comfort of what we need.

Thinking about the question of going back to India is always in the back of one’s mind. Everyone who relocates or migrates starts out with simple plans, find a better opportunity and make something out of it, and then get back home.  Me too.  Same old Plans.  Only human to think of home as where you come from, and always where your heart is.  Just about everyone tries to find ways to get back home, one way or the other.  Many of us try hard to find way to keep connecting with home and try hard to do something worthwhile to be a part of what is happening at home.

One thing that keeps happening is home really doesn’t remain what you left first.  It keeps changing with people, new people, things and stuff around your people and home and it constantly changes to become something that is not really what you left as home.  It has to change as it is constant and continuous. When you are gone for even a few month’s changes happen, and most times these changes don’t include the people who are not there.  Whosoever is there simply go on about their business of life, just as you do in where ever you are living. That’s what the comfort zone is, and you simply get used to where you are.  It becomes your home and that’s where you belong.

A Child of India

Vasu Reddy from Chicago vasureddy@aol.com Howsoever I look at myself I am a child of India.   My mother and my mother country remain wha...