Monday, September 26, 2016

Commoners as Barbarians

Vasu Reddy from Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

Now a days anyone with an opinion and a mobile or internet connection can automatically express, share and voice opinions (all most all of them unsolicited) online.  Online platforms allow for immediate access to a fairly wide spectrum of audience, who intern also have a great deal of variety opinions.  All most of these opinions are unsolicited, and often absurd and unintelligible.  It is not to disagree with every opinion counts, but the WWW has made irrelevance a common thing.  Your friends (and family if they care), their friends, and their friends and essentially everyone else on the planet (for those who use www.linkedin.com have the experience of million of connected people to you though it could be nth factor on how they are connected) who have access to the internet can see, forward, comment and also use some kind of emoticon to add graphical expressionism to the commentary.  Only the WWW knows where something begins and where something ends.  There is equal space for the good, the bad and the ugly, and add a huge dose of unreal.

With the WWW, freedom of expression has been given a new meaning.  Let us not forget the radical extremism which has been a key talking point in the 2016 USA presidential elections.  As the WWW reach expands exponentially, so is the use (abuse) of the internet as a medium to reach people.  Let us not forget the advent of selfie. Troll and live stream.  The communications that are supposed to connect the world has all of a sudden become a medium to really express radical (whatever that word means) thoughts.

Absurd and abusive trolling is common place.  There is no escape to anyone.  Hacking anyone and anything that’s on the internet and leaking information has become common place.  There is demand for trash and more trash, and WWW is a grand platform for simply trashing everyone and everything.  The business that use the net for customer care and ease, is a place for fear and exploitation for hackers, who steal and steal from banks, companies and stores and whatever that can access (which has become easier than normal) and even the government and election systems are all of a sudden hacked and exploited.  All this while the hackers stay anonymous and keep demanding money from everyone, and passing threats out to everyone.  The famous WiKi leaks are a great example of WWW exploiting everything in the world.  There is no rime or reason, simply hack and hack until someone is abused.  In reality accessing information without permission is simply cheating and exploitation.  Only the internet is giving them a new term; hack.

There is no longer polite conversation; respectful addressing of each other and understandable narrative that was common place with communications.  Even with letters and telephone there was a sense of respect in addressing one another, which the internet has completely erased.

The world has all of a sudden has become empowered with the internet and an expert on trash talk and abbreviated (also unintelligible) but exaggerated abuse.  The impoliteness and expertise is directed at the www, thus at everyone on it.  You really don’t know the person, have never met the person nor spoken to the person, but you freely comment, degrade and abuse, and a lot of times express expert opinion on something totally foreign and irrelevant.

The individual opinions have become so absurd, that as if the rest of the world is getting it wrong (on everything), and personal biases have become expert commentary.  The audience is so broad on the internet, and the audacious comments do get a like or two, and all of a sudden become a talking point, and all of a sudden the chat boxes become infinite loops.

The impunity and ignorance that is constantly expressed with quick strokes on the computer feeding the internet really has become atrocious.  It is probably time for filters to every social media to distance and disrupt the antagonism and absurdity of what is being thrown out there.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Man Made

Vasu Reddy from Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

This was shared in Telugu from our friend’s group.  I took the liberty of translating this into English, as it is quite relevant to where we are today.  This is really food for thought, and also reflection of who we are.

Who invented the paper?
Man

Who invented the fire?
Man

Who invented the wheel?
Man

Who invented the agriculture?
Man

Who invented the big buildings?
Man

Who invented the ships?
Man

Who invented the Airplane?
Man

Who invented the computer?
Man

Who invented the phone, mobile?
Man

Who invented the car and other vehicles?
Man

Who invented things in the house which we use to relax and enjoy?
Man

Who invented things such as Face Book, What Sapp, and Linked in, Email and many other social media and communications tools on a mass scale?
Man

Who built this society as it behaves?
Man

Who created the religion, caste, sections and divisions in humanity?
Man

Who created the Temple, Church, and Masjid, Gurudwara or any other place of worship?
Man

Who put god in these places of worship?
Man

Who created history and has written it?
Man

The most fascinating thing here is that man has created each and everything on earth.  But in the name of god we keep referring to the miracles and glory, while having created everything on earth.

To demonstrate that man has created the almighty on a need only philosophy;

  1. No human being but man prays to god for things.
  2. The places of worship are only collocated where man lives.
  3. Man has created the almighty to suit the local needs, environment, nature, architecture and conditions.  Simply picking and choosing the local nuances added to god as they see it.
  4. Everyone says its one god, but every country, religion, sect or whatever human reference we have for people, criticize every other god.  As long as religion has been prevalent, criticizing, conversion to other religions continue to be the practice of normalcy for man.
  5. Everyday there is a new practice, new god, new custom, and then propagation that their god is the greatest.
  6. If anyone questions this they are automatically called an atheist or someone who is against god, religion or community.
  7. To make peace god the world has so many methods, practices and customs.
  8. So far there is no man who has really seen god.  Even Buddha and Vivekananda have asked to serve the mankind.  We have to remember that even service without any reward itself brings recognition, which itself is a reward and feeds the human ego.
  9. A man who believes in god and a man who doesn’t believe in god are both living the same life on earth.
  10. God has not done any bad to anyone or any good to anyone.    
  11. God has not stopped murders, rapes, robberies, bribery, killings and or any other human’s bad behavior.
  12. Humans are killing innocent children, and god has not stopped this despite people doing this on his name.
  13. Temples, churches, Mosques or any other places of worship are not safe for women, and children.
  14. When man is destroying temples, churches and Masjids god did not come and intervene.
  15. Has any student passed any exam without studying?
  16. The things that did not exist 25 years ago, have already become famous and the act of god, simply because of man, and the continued use of name of god to enforce things on other men.
  17. Many people who claimed to be god are in jail.
  18. There are many atheists in the world, who continue to live a normal life and be happy.
  19. Religions don’t accept each other’s god, customs, traditions, habits, but there is no where god has asked people to dislike each other.  There is not a single instance when god asked people to stop the hatred, killing, fighting or simply dislike of each other.
So, being happy is being with god.  Respecting other humans, being kind and generous is greater than doing business in millions.  The response one receives to kindness is unparalleled emotion only humans can experience.  God’s word is really to be happy and be kind to other, and walk the path of peace and love.

Monday, September 12, 2016

State without Status

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

This past week is a very hard week to comprehend for all citizens of AP.  For more than two years after procrastination and postponement, the BJP government at the center declared they will not grant special status to AP, but will provide a package to build the infrastructure to help meet the requirements of the newly formed (now more than 2 years) state.  The center announced at midnight just on the eve of the weekend, that there is no way that it can announce the special status for AP.  Modi has been in office for 2 years and this parliament under the INC rule had declared the grant of special status to AP, and (once again while Modi is somewhere else in the world) the announcement for all to hear, nothing for AP.

In October 2015, I had written on the same issue and aptly named my weekly column, “Orphan State”.

The current AP political leadership, and its opposition parties and for a fact all people of AP; all did not believe the words “special status being considered by the center”.  It was a known fact that AP had no consideration and the so called “special status” was nothing but a whitewash.  But the state’s current CM and the minister’s at the center kept the discussion alive with the simply consideration in their vocabulary.

Now we have the word that the center will not be granting a special status, what do we do?  With every aspect of the bifurcation of the state into Telangana and AP (it is really residual AP) already implemented, there is little room for reversing the two year old decision of the INC to split the state.  And as far as the farce of the “special status” has come to an end, now the reality of having nothing has set in for the people of AP.  The politicians knew about it, but all of a sudden the have become vocal, but none too harsh on Modi in raising their minimal voice.

All of a sudden the politicians in power have to find a way to weasel out of their promise of the special status.  Those who did not support the government all of a sudden have found voice to harp about the obvious, and pin down the backtracking by TDP/BJP.  In reality outside of bickering and mud slinging there is little that the state can do to change anything.

We as Indians have notorious attitude about stalling public life (much to destroy whatever we can find), and throw the government and public services into a protest (bandh).  Since the time of Mahatma, protesting (everything) has become a way of life for Indians.  But the problem is that seldom in recent times the blockades and hunger strikes have been successful in yielding anything, except create inconvenience to the public.  The government never gets inconvenienced, but public suffers the blockades and destruction that has become a part of it.

What options do people of AP have to protest the decision not to grant the special status to their state?  Politically nothing as the current state government supports the center, and it is toothless.

As the local and central elections are almost 3 years away, and the ruling party has a majority to govern, very little political pressure is on the parties in power to change anything.  Students, workers, and personnel will simply loose their opportunities that are already limited in the Indian economy.  Voting the current government out in the next election is definitely an option, but it is three years away.  What will happen to the state until then?  Even if people vote the current parties out of power, what is the guarantee that the state will be granted a special status, and if it takes five or ten years, what is the benefit that is derived?

While the situation is a political opportunity for the opposition in the next election (and to create ruckus until then), it is the people of the state who have lost the opportunity of development in their new state.

The current government and the opposition parties can certainly follow the path of Mahatma in civil disobedience and hunger strike.  The recent efforts by Anna Hazare, with various efforts, only got him the Gandhian tag, but very little tangible results.  The major issue the people of AP have is the current leader Naidu seems incapable of taking a stance against the center.

The irony of the current state is that AP was created with the sacrifice of many, and mainly associates with Potti Sriramulu and his self sacrifice. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potti_Sreeramulu.  Since the formation of AP in 1953 until it was split in 2014, the state has had a remarkable and fractured history with its capital in Hyderabad, it people and politics.  With the current government and its toothless attitude, it is hard to imagine the new AP will see anything but hardship.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Perspective

Vasu Reddy from Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

Your two eyes are always working together but never see eye to eye.  In reality they function well independent of each other, while essentially doing the same thing.  For those with not so perfect 20/20 vision, they have a slightly different variation in sight, but still the eyes “don’t see eye to eye.”

The whole world and life is full of perspective.  We simply have our own way of looking at things, and can be seeing the same thing and see things so differently as black and white.

From day and night, mother Teresa, Clinton and Trump and religion and interpretation; each person’s perspective can be as different as day and night.  There is no right or wrong, simply different.  The logic behind perspective can be self beliefs, ability to comprehend, upbringing, constant reinforcement, and choosing sides and any number of life’s teaching that every individual chooses to side with, simply forms the perspective.

Mother Teresa “Saint Teresa of Calcutta” canonized Sep 4, 2016 by Pope Francis.  Even Mother Teresa has not been without controversies on her mission and work.  However one would like to visualize her, you will be reminded of a frail and a very small lady mostly without any expression, who worked in the most difficult conditions in helping and caring for the neediest.  Most of her 87 years on earth were spent in caring for the neediest.  While the critics point to accountability with her mission and her role with converting people to Christianity.  Irrespective of how you would like to look at Mother Teresa’s life and legacy, her efforts in caring for the neediest will continue to stand out.  Her life and times have made human compassion an ear mark for 5,000 other who continue her work in all points of the earth.  She simply was a model for doing god’s work, and even years after her death her mission continues to care for the neediest.  Whatever her methods were, there was one simple reason for what she did; she cared for human beings.

There is not a single person or a single instance that all human beings agree on, and we constantly form our own opinion on good or bad, or sometimes indifference.  The matter of perspective comes into common sense analogy of any/every instance.  As in day and night it is constant as the rotation of earth and going around the sun, remains constant and the difference is really as good as day and night.  Why we have adapted to each of the 24 hours and how our life style has changed with electricity and travel, once again it is simply a matter of time and perspective.  How did people live, survive and communicate a generation head of us, and the continuous advancements in life, technology and science, we continue to evolve and now a days have a better way to document our achievements (for a fact anything we do).

The 2016 USA presidential election has given us Clinton verses Trump as our primary candidates to choose from.  One a career politician and public servant and Trump a real estate businessman whose dealing by and large remain private (as I write) except for gossip magazines.  Their parties are of 100% different perspective of world, life, management and government.  Most of the voters are also aligned with the philosophy (perspective) of either democrats or republicans.  A few of the citizens remain undecided but by and large the nation’s population sides with the perspective of democrats or republicans.  There is really not a whole lot of presidential policy making outside of party’s perspective.

The current election is not as interesting as the Regan/Carter, Kennedy/Nixon and some of the old duels of yesteryears.  The start contrast in policy and politics no longer have any bearing.  The 24/7/365 news and internet coverage focuses on only the negatives.  How unpopular each candidate is explored to the ninth degree?  The candidates themselves are both pushing 70, so there is very little left to imagination of the electorate.  They are both with plenty of well documented personal and professional background.  Now one of them will be the leader of the free world (at least for the next 4 years or may be 8 years).  So the surrogates, news channels and pundits who are taking extreme steps to project the other candidate as worthless, is simply a matter of political perspective.  The nation is and will be equally divided on Clinton/Trump as their party’s standard bearer and the next president.  At this time, irrespective of how the country feels about them that’s it, there is no other choice to send to the white house.

Why are people donating hundreds of millions to the most unpopular candidates, and why is the electorate that has already sided with their choice of candidate being subjected to the constant barrage of negative perspective on the two standing candidates?  It’s really the small percentage of the population that is undecided, and who will swing the election one way or the other.  That is perhaps 1 or 2 percent of the nation that is undecided will swing the election, and the billions spent and more than a year of public bashing of the candidate/s in unimaginable language, and subjecting the entire world to  the public dissection.  All is still not forgotten even when the election is over and the next president is chosen.  This goes on every election cycle and only getting nastier with each party’s political perspective.