A truthless world

​The other day while glancing through the website of my alma mater I chanced across a headline that read like this. ‘Trustworthy advice for a post-truth world’. It was an interesting headline one that made me think for sometime. 

Disruption is an act of nature. If you see the world around us, everything is in a state of constant and consistent change. As seconds combine to minutes, minutes combine to hours, hours to days, days to weeks and so on; with the passage of time, things change. It all seems natural and any change assisted by time is often considered to be lasting and right. However Mother Nature also has another trick up its sleeve – disruption. One that shakes up everything vigorously. It’s like being in a sudden winter storm, earthquake or for that matter an even worser natural calamity. It comes sans any warning and then jolts the living daylights out of you.

There is definitely a sense of anger and frustration in today’s world- one that is accentuated by political, economical and climatic turmoil. The recent election of Donald Trump has completely upended the world we know today on a larger scale. I remember in 2014, when Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister of India, a Facebook friend remarked, ‘hope the Modi wave doesn’t become a tsunami’. With the pathetic condition of India at that time driven to its knees by scams and a deteriorating law and order situation, Modi’s election was the last straw for millions of Indians frustrated with the status quo.The verdict is still out on his election, yet with the recent demonetisation and surgical strikes, one can see a powerful leader determined to influence the destiny of the world’s most populous nation.

The election of Trump was entirely different. If Obama came to power as a retribution to the schmucks that drove us to the worst economic recession since the 30s, Trump’s election was a frustration from the  lack of/ or no tangible benefits from Obama’s two terms. Apart from the inflammatory statements made by Trump during the election campaign, both these ‘newbie’ politicians contested on a platform of disruption. Obama due to his tall talks of hope and positivity was a darling of the press, Trump strived on despair, bullying and had a contentious relationship with media. His election despite  relentless mudslinging by the media (which was the same in the case of Modi’s election) basically shredded the propriety of the fourth estate and made them weak. It was long overdue.

Now no one knows who is speaking the truth. Information is pounded at the poor citizens from various sources and no one speaks facts any more. It is easy to belittle or slime anyone’s character effortlessly in today’s world. It has become noisy and truthless. Is it a bad thing? No. It is during times such as these that one must truly discover oneself. Because somewhere in the noise, there is a ferocious battle between what is true and what is false. Truth will always last. It is the natural way of life. 

But it will take time.

Environmentally Correct

If the war on terror dominated the headlines in the beginning decade of this century, the issue of climate change will dominate for the foreseeable future.

Last week Alberta saw one of the worst forest fires that led to a massive evacuation of a town of nearly 80000 people. The unusually hot, dry spell of weather especially during the beginning of May provided good fodder to the fire now currently and aptly named ‘The Beast’. Being in the El Nino phase, the weather patterns have been changing in North America for the past couple of years. This warm phase should end and the cooler La Nina phase should commence soon. Nowadays ever since oil hit rock bottom prices and the growth of the oil and gas industry effectively stalled, there has been no mention of the eminent environmentalists that have been consistently dominating the headlines earlier when the prices were high. Leonardo DiCaprio won his Oscar, many of the environmentalists have either entered the polity or gone underground and so on.
Climate change has taken precedence with almost the entire world endorsing it and all doubters effectively silenced through aggressive marketing, relentless posturing and acts of intimidation etc. In a recent comedy show on Netflix, one of the supporting characters was remarking that ‘climate change is a way for Californians to sell books’. It is clear that the message of climate change has been accepted widely across the world and stringent climate rules and regulations are on its way that may affect the 21st century lifestyle that we have been accustomed to till date.
If the war on terror dominated the headlines in the beginning decade of this century, the issue of climate change will dominate for the foreseeable future. It will continue till a day when the people of this world will finally realize the true fact that climate changes consistently. The only difference here is the burgeoning population and the increased appetite towards materialism and the resulting consumerism. These factors has had an adverse impact on nature. Never before has the world’s population ballooned into such astronomic numbers and with the passage of time, the living conditions on earth will only deteriorate. Lack of clean air to breathe, fresh water to drink or hospitable conditions to work and live would make conditions hellish for a good majority of the population on this earth. The only solution would be to traverse the outer space and build space colonies and find newer worlds to live.
If the human life was meant to be a journey, may the journey to find newer worlds be the correct thing to do. I do think that climate change will be the inevitable trigger for that journey.

 

Photo Credit: nevil zaveri (thank you for 10million+ views 🙂 via Compfight cc

Trumping

Donald Trump is a bizarre candidate. His crazy momentum is one that bewilders everyone. Today evening his victory as the likely Republican candidate will be sealed. After 8 years of Obama, Trump will be the strangest candidate that the Americans have come up with. His momentum can be traced to some of the unresolved issues stemming from Obama’s presidency. The ever increasing and never ending unequal distribution of wealth, the untamed social media, highly unstable economy and senseless laws around immigration, environment and internet has left a very angry and frustrated electorate. Trump doesn’t solve anything if elected to power, but the biggest  mistake naysayers would be making is the one that has been continued till date – writing him off as a pushover. His sustained victory means just one thing, the system has failed to understand the populace.

Politics: Left, Right, Straight, etc.

I have followed politics since the time I can remember yet I was never enamored by it. My FB profile states me as a ‘Liberal by mind and a Conservative’ by heart. I have spend a lot of time in my life trying to understand what is the difference between both the right and left wings of the political spectrum? Which is more important, is it the belief that:

  • The development of the country comes first and it will percolate into the development of people.
  • Or the development of the people and the various socio-economic factors that influence them that might lead to the development of the country.

A seasoned political observer who reads these lines above may argue that is not the correct way to define both the right vs. left. Please consider it only as my perspective.

I was raised up in a kingdom. I lived a good amount of life in a society where there was no left way or the right way-it was only the king’s way. As we were expatriates, we had to work hard, make money, pay the home rent, go for annual vacations, come back, work hard, make money…and the cycle goes on forever. This was what we had to be worried about-executing this cycle. There was no taxes to be paid, no need to worry about the condition of the roads, bureaucracy or even the plight of state transportation, there was no democratic engagement-there was never a democracy or even a representative. If you cannot continue the cycle of life, you can leave. The king ensured his subjects were pampered and well treated. The expatriates broke their back working hard for the glory of the king and kingdom.

Come to India, the native country and one is presented with a different picture. People pay taxes, elect their representatives, have a say in the decision making process, have to suffer with crumbling infrastructure-everything was a stark contrast to what was seen in the kingdom. Since I come from a politically sensitive state, where the worker class belonged to the left movement, the rich class and landowners belonged to the right and the nationalists were derided as religious fanatics and shunted away. My state was the first place in the entire world where there was a democratically elected communist government (it happened at a time when US was so sensitive to the communist movement that they had to intervene to get the government shunted out- a post for a different day).

The left movement of my state was a thrilling experience to be in. There was power in your voice- your thoughts and beliefs for a better world with equality and fairness can resonate quickly in this movement. For a staunchly raised Christian, I could resonate easily with the Kingdom of God concept and the communist movement. With exemplary leaders, scarred life long with the scars from their revolutionary past-it simply made sense. Left is the correct way. People come first, the country is next. But again life is never one-dimensional. Beliefs and thoughts are a free commodity since they come from within you- however acting on them can be costly.

So where does the money come from for the actions? It’s with the landowners and the business people. For them profit is the primary objective and they use their acumen to convert capital into business. Successful business generates cash flow and is built on human efforts. More cash flow equals more business people and more businesses. More people thus get employed and the cycle goes on. It is a noble cycle where the state gets its share from the taxes and uses it for infrastructure, economic and social development. This is where the right wing comes into play. They control businesses that run the country or in today’s times they run the country. Left may be correct- but there is only one right way.

Nationalistic parties prop up in the abyss of right wing and left wing politics. Mostly they latch on to an ideology that can be religious, linguistic or even based on societal systems and factors as a means to capture power and steer the country forward. They believe that they can be the best bet to balance both the business aspirations and worker desires as means to attain social equality in the long run i.e., they try to be the best of both worlds. Most of the time they end up doing too much or too little and in the end faltering into either the right wing or the left wing camps.

As you can see there are three different sets of political thoughts and process with many grey areas between them-unlike from a kingdom, where the king takes the final decision, wages wars, eliminates dissent and ensure free, fair rule for all. As much as power is concentrated on one individual to deliver, it also empowers him to do things, which he feels is right. However in a democracy it is not like that. Its all about either politics or governance. I think both can never be inclusive yet rather exclusive.

I spend a good amount of my time believing in either and getting disillusioned with the realization that as time goes on there seem to be not much difference between both of them. For e.g., in Canada, the province that I live has always voted Conservatives (right) for more than three decades. Most of the time the polling percentages are low with mostly farmer voters, who are frightened of the Liberals (left) with their tax increases. My province due to its abundant natural resources is wealthy with lowest taxes and crumbling infrastructure. If you take an Eastern province like Ontario, one can find very high taxes, increased voter participation with dwindling economic fortunes- causing people to migrate in large numbers to my province. If you take India, my state is alternatively ruled by the Left and Right-in startling precision that the socio-economic factors are among the highest in the country- however with poor infrastructure and high attrition (a common refrain is that young people are leaving and the old people are dying).

Which is right? I think all of them (kingdom, right, left and nationalistic) have only slowed the march of human progress and have delayed a society where there is equality and fairness, where every human is empowered to do the right thing. I believe that the latter exists only in a childhood fantasy will never be possible in a world like today. It is important to do your part in doing the right thing always with a greater perspective and focus for the betterment of human race because all political systems and beliefs may change, your liberal nature in accepting everyone and your passion to do the right thing for others will remain as your legacy-which in the end will only last.

Religion and Politics

There is a certain truth in the teachings of great men like Valmiki, Gautama Buddha, Jesus, Prophet Muhammad etc. There is absolutely no truth in the religions that carry their name because if one looks within these organised groups, it is the insatiable hunger and appetite for controlling humans and extracting maximum capital from their vulnerabilities.

I visit a lot of internet forums each day covering a wide range of topics from technology to movies etc. Recently in one of the forums where I visited, I came across a new joint section for both religion and politics. This made me think deeply and I realised that even though the change in the forum might have been done for administrative purposes, I think both are related.

“Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich” Napoleon Bonaparte

The above is a very thought-provoking and profound observation from one of the greatest revolutionaries of our time. Think for a moment. What is the one thing that helps governments of the 21st century get away with poor governance and high ended corruption ? The ability to indulge in the art of politics. Let us take the example of Egypt. This Middle Eastern country is the home of one of the most ancient civilisations of the world. Couple of years ago this country was rocked by violent protests of people wanting to free the country from the despotic and oppressive regime of general Hosni Mubarak. In a largely peaceful demonstration, the dictator was disposed and a newly elected civilian government took office. However there was a caveat here. This government was made of the religious fundamentalists. Within no time, this civilian government was removed and a new military government took office, this time under a new general. To any external observer, nothing changed in the Egypt. It was military rule followed by religious rule which was again followed by military rule.

From time immemorial, various methods were employed by humans that enabled them to control people and their aspirations so that they fit within the norms of a society or a group. Think about the ancient men, they hunted in groups. There were no lone wolves. Everyone went together, hunted together and lived among each other. There is nothing wrong with this picture, only for the fact that if it was a group of equals it would have been a worthwhile arrangement. It all boiled down to someone who took the realms of the leader of the group. This person who gets control over the group always had a hard time to let go off or even share his power with others. That is when politics originated-because playing politics helped him to survive!

Times were not the same for men. Like varying seasons in a year, the fortunes of men also changed. And as human sought for consistent and steady fortunes, beliefs originated and as these truths or beliefs took root, in order to control the message and milk the truth, the leaders adopted religion so that control never ends and is lasting.

There is absolutely no difference between organised religion and the modern political systems of today. One can find a lot of synergies to the Catholic church of yesteryear and the communist ideals developed by Karl Marx and others. All systems need the complete collaboration of everyone involved. And all systems are created with the ultimate motive to control people. And that is where they fail, because even though humans can be controlled for a little while, you can never keep a bird caged for ever. And that free spirit of humans is the biggest threat to all systems and establishments world over. Today there is hardly any remanent left of a communist party worldwide because ideology was used to control people and achieve nefarious objectives. About the Catholic Church, the less said is the better, though Pope Francis is trying to change the place. Only time will say whether he was successful or not.

There is a certain truth in the teachings of great men like Valmiki, Gautama Buddha, Jesus, Prophet Muhammad etc. There is absolutely no truth in the religions that carry their name because if one looks within these organised groups, it is the insatiable hunger and appetite for controlling humans and extracting maximum capital from their vulnerabilities. Normal people get accustomed to varying fortunes and opportunities in life. Smart leaders understand them and play politics to keep them under their control. When someone does well in life, they will be the first ones to celebrate and when someone does bad, they will be there to partake in their sorrow. This allows them to obtain a loyal following and gives them the ability to execute their agendas. If you look at organized religion or even the democratic societies of today, they are simply alike.

So what should we understand from all these? There are a few pointers I would like to leave this conversation with:

  • Belief in a truth is good, it helps you concentrate and align yourself to a greater good.
  • Have zero trust in any organised religion. They have only agendas and no truths.
  • Politics will exist everywhere and anywhere where groups of humans co-exist, both in the virtual and real worlds.
  • Politics must be the art of aligning people to achieve greater good and continue the search for the truth.
  • Organised religion needs politics to survive but good politics need only willing people and good intent to survive.

Image courtesy: http://churchandstate.org.uk/wordpressRM/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/religion-politics.jpg

Anarchism and Leadership

Anarchists are true leaders. They show the society that the status quo isn’t working for them. They clearly point out that the system needs an overhaul and change is inevitable. But they don’t run away from their message and they remain laser focussed on their objectives.

Merriam-Webster defines anarchy as “a situation of confusion and wild behavior in which the people in a country, group, organization, etc., are not controlled by rules or laws”

The past week has been very tumultuous for the people living in the capital state of Delhi in India. A democratically elected government was on the streets for a myriad of reasons regarding administration, which they couldn’t perform satisfactorily. According to the newly formed Aam Aadmi Party of India, the democratic institutions of the state of Delhi, weren’t answerable to the elected representatives due to archaic laws and hence they couldn’t administer as per their mandate. The government took to the streets in protest and when asked by the media, they retorted to calling themselves as ‘anarchists’. Since then debates flared across the social and mainstream media of India about anarchism. It is a powerful contrast to democracy and its principles of stability, hope and growth.

What exactly is anarchism and who exactly is an anarchist? From time immemorial, among the ranks of populace, self-guided, purposeful and motivated people have risen to challenge the societal status quo. Their presence points to a social outlier and their message challenges conventions and order of the day. Jesus was an anarchist. His activities and his message during his three and a half year old public ministry, disrupted the world of his day with an effect that was gargantuan in nature. Throughout history, one can see of many such anarchists spread across many societies. Prophet Mohammed was an anarchist as he challenged medieval Arabia and united it into one of the powerful and richest civilizations that the world has ever seen. Karl Marx through his writings was an anarchist as it defined the Soviet and Chinese societies of 20th century and list goes on and on.

Is anarchism then leadership ? I believe so. True leaders are never worried about upsetting the applecart or status quo. What makes them successful is that they challenge the system from within and disrupt its order and status quo accordingly.  It is so true in the case of Jesus, when he said that he dint come to the world to break the Law but to fulfil it. Prophet Mohammed brilliantly converted a trader tribe struck in medieval customs and traditions not by breaking or destroying the latter but building his idea of Islam on them. This is exactly the reason why the Kaaba remains entrenched as the holiest shrines of Muslims to this day and Abraham (Ibrahim) is still a spiritual father to Muslims worldwide. Karl Marx hated Christianity or for that matter any religion. He called it ‘an opium’. Yet the Communist principles of today are so reminiscent of some of the teachings of Jesus.  Closer analysis would lead one to conclude that communism is indeed a political fulfilment of apostolic order of Christian times.

Anarchists are true leaders. They show the society that the status quo isn’t working for them. They clearly point out that the system needs an overhaul and change is inevitable. But they don’t run away from their message and they remain laser focussed on their objectives. India of late has seen the arrival of two anarchists who are determined to alter the status quo. One is opposition party’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi who being an outsider to the Lutyens brand of Delhi’s political club is determined to drive home his message of good governance and inclusive development. The other is the former administrative official Arvind Kejriwal who is driving a strong anti corruption plank with an eye on a radical left model of governance. Both are anarchists in my opinion and it will be interesting to watch in the coming months as to whose message will be embraced by the Indian electorate.

Image Courtesy: http://crushedtees.com/ebay/1600×1600/anarchy_large.jpg

#AAPCon or #AAPOpportunity

I still believe that AAP has a glowing chance to rebound. They need to stop this relentless and merciless media posturing and shut themselves from everything and everyone to re-define clear objectives and ideals. A strong centre-to-left or left leaning agenda needs to be developed and showcased to the Indian population and diaspora. They need to build a party of strong anti-corrupt foundation that returns democracy to the electorate.

AAP

In the recent times, nothing has been more politically significant as the rapid growth of the Aam Aadmi Party in India. Due to rampant corruption by the current ruling dispensation in India,  there were widespread protests organized last year by a deeply frustrated and growing middle class. With incessant plunder of everything and anything of value in India, the growth story of a country that only till 2004 was looked upon with much reverence world over was effectively stunted. These non violent protests was led by the octogenarian Anna Hazare and a host of civil activists. All the political parties in the ruling coalition of India were hand in glove in opposing this movement since the primary objective of the former was in exposing the misdeeds of the latter. The principal opposition party of India which was responsible for one of the highest growth periods in India’s history ensured that this movement was well supported politically. Many members of the BJP and RSS ensured that this movement was not quashed by the ruling dispensation which was accustomed to quelling protests such as these by tact or force.

During this period, the world was seeing a plethora of political activism in almost all developing countries. Bolstered by a rapid growth of technology and social media, these movements flared effortlessly. It was the same case in India. The ruling dispensation in India tried all they could to break the agitation. Having been well versed with pursuing a minority appeasing and a centre-to-left agenda that relied heavily on handouts and subsidies, the ruling party effectively infiltrated this genuine movement with their supporters to ensure that even if the party was compromised, the dynasty that this party stood for and was led by, wasn’t compromised. A political strategy was developed where political overtures were made by certain members of the movement to fight for its ideals in the political forum. Thus a movement that was born out of Gandhi’s non-violent movement took a political turn. This caused rifts in the organizers and among the people of the movement as a political outcome was never the motive but the creation of a strong anti-corruption machinery.

The rise of a nationalist politician in India, Narendra Modi frightened the various NGO’s who have been actively working for the Balkanization of India. With their friends in the media, these groups understood that their only means of survival was in hijacking the splintered anti corruption movement. With heavy funding by the Ford foundation, these supposedly non-political groups suddenly became the fore-bearers of this movement. The ruling Congress party led by a wily leader ensured people closest to her was part of this new political dispensation that suddenly grew enormously from its humble origins.  Everybody who realized that there was an opportunity to be part of a political movement that dint have any ideology suddenly began harping on this bandwagon. Loyal supporters of the ruling dispensation frightened with the astronomical rise of Modi coupled with their inability to effectively pin him guilty to Gujarat riots suddenly became overnight evangelists of this new movement. Arvind Kejriwal who was part of the troika that led the movement along with Kiran Bedi christened this new party with an apt title ‘Aam Aadmi Party’ or the ‘Common Man’s’ party. Arvind Kejriwal, a Ramon Magsaysay Award (an award funded by the Ford Foundation) winner was the only seemingly respectable person in a party formation dominated by highly dubious people.

Riding on a strong anti-Congress incumbency, this new political party finished second in the first election it ever contested In the state of Delhi (which is also the national capital of India). Suddenly the left-leaning liberals, the NGOs, the anti-nationalistic and noisy Indian media found for themselves a ray of salvation. However this party never had a mandate to rule but was egged on by outside support from the Congress party to rule Delhi. In a cruel twist of irony, the infant political party took support from the very corrupt  dispensation that it had vehemently opposed at one time.

Three weeks into ruling Delhi, the party has shown its political immaturity take the better of its efforts to showcase itself as a viable political player.  But these acts can be easily pardoned by any political observer. But what is alarming is the anti-India and furthermore the anti-democratic stand reminiscent of Stalin’s Politburo being taken on various issues by members of this party.

Being a silent observer of Indian politics, I feel disappointed at the turn of events. For an anti-corruption movement that sparked the imagination of the entire world, when similar political movements took a violent turn worldwide, to disintegrate into a masked version of the radical left is pathetic. Here a golden opportunity to redefine the way politics was being conducted in India was so effectively squandered. The opinion of the fastest growing middle class in the world was twisted and ripped off mercilessly to meet nefarious objectives.

I still believe that AAP has a glowing chance to rebound. They need to stop this relentless and merciless media posturing and shut themselves from everything and everyone to re-define clear objectives and ideals. A strong centre-to-left or left leaning agenda needs to be developed and showcased to the Indian population and diaspora. They need to build a party of strong anti-corrupt foundation that returns democracy to the electorate. They need to iron out all their ideological differences and just as they pledged to fight from within the system for its betterment, they need to do it convincingly and with strong commitment. Without these beliefs, just as Tahrir Square unleashed anarchy on the poor Egyptians, this party might end up being something similar.