India’s love affair with poverty


We can list down a thousand reasons why India cannot lift millions of her citizens out of poverty even to this age. Corruption, the inefficiency of her pillars, the socialistic past, the siphoned off wealth by colonizers, so on and on. Among all undeniably valid excuses, one of the critical factors is probably a psychological one. Various studies and theories on India’s poverty map indicate that the mentality and the torchbearers of Gareebi Hatao could be at blame. Apparently, out revered and romanticized feeling towards poverty is one of the most significant constraints.

Believe it or not, India loves her poor and would like to cherish it. In other words, we subconsciously feel it’s a sin to dream big. While West celebrates Scrooge McDuck and Jordan Belfort showering themselves on dollar bills, India celebrates poor Sudhama, a poverty-stricken childhood buddy of Lord Krishna. Western media, entertainment and literature industries talk about getting rich quickly; their Indian counterparts say it’s absolutely OK to be the poor. Western movies depict insanely lucky at Las Vegas bounties, Vin Diesel robbing bank lockers, and million-dollar lottery wins. Indian, however, its quite the opposite. One of the three idiot’s mothers do not have enough money for roti, and another does not have the cash to buy a camera. Of course, these get a background score of violins playing for gut-wrenching music.

Only Striving for excellence, the will to make a change, and showing impatience towards mediocrity can lift us from poverty, not an endless list of excuses.

Anyways, this is one of the reasons I hate the movie, Slumdog Millionaire. Even though it’s a well-made film, I’m not too fond of it. It has won many, many academy awards. I dislike it, not just despite of, but because of.

Compare this against the OTT series, Scam 1992. It shows two brothers constantly and impatiently looking out for a way to get out of the pigeonhole they lived in.

Singlehandedly, Slumdog millionaire has managed to cause irreversible damage to slum dwellers of Mumbai and pan India. In fact, It has created an entirely undesirable new industry – slum tourism. Despite the quick buck it brings in, it builds a psychological effect on the residents. Its a thought of “it might as well be OK to stay there forever”. I believe you are already aware by now; apparently, there is an entire ecosystem that has evolved just to cater to the slum tourist needs. Tour guides who can help you navigate the slum with the best possible experience. These guides will come packed with water, cookies, sunscreen lotion, identify the best photo opportunity for Instagram, hold you an umbrella and wipe your seats.

Don’t get me wrong, its not an India image I am worried about. Who are we kidding? A slum is a slum. But lets not celebrate it, lets acknowledge it as a staging area of migrant workers abandoned their farming role, and came there in search of better life. And for heavens sake, lets get them out of there.

BTW, The West’s fascination with the underdog is another topic altogether. They simply want to put the underdog on a frame or a cage, exhibit it, and maybe even take a poke at it. I cannot explain this fully, but I believe it is related to the hunger for existential superiority of culture, ideology, and even religion. They love slums, and if it’s legal, they might even make a zoo. Please be informed, I am NOT making this up. This has happened before. History provides a myriad of examples. Let me pick the first one that comes to my mind. Please follow this link for more on same category

An Indian family and their elephant on display at Berlin Zoo through Rare Historical Photos

A case for ‘pure poison’ coconuts


In your opinion, what is the most vilified food item or ingredient that ever is, and does not deserve the hate?

Let’s see. There’s dietary fat, where two whole generations reduced it’s consumption because FDA said so. There is an ongoing phobia of gluten, where an entire section of society avoids consuming it because it’s bad for a tiny fraction of humanity. Ajinomoto (monosodium glutamate) might deserve to be notorious, but Jury is still divided on this one.

There are also sugar or high fructose corn syrup, which were adequately proven to be the reason behind the current obesity pandemic. But these do not attract sufficient regulation to control consumption.

Anyways, I was referring to the Coconut. This has a tragic story. Coconut is called all the names and condemned for a few decades now.

In 90s urban south Indians, with their infinite wisdom, stopped eating coconut products and oils and switched to sunflower. Thanks to a few “scientific” articles of modern food gurus, Indians chose to abandon the natural food ingredients they had been using for centuries if not the millennium. A few south-east Asian countries made a fortune exporting palm oil to India catering newfound coconut phobia of Indians. India is the largest importer of Vegetable oils. India still does meet more than 70% of her cooking oil demand through imports.

Over a couple of decades, there were sporadic epiphanies in the food-science world that Coconut might actually maybe good. Additionally, it’s actually not just ‘good’ it’s a superfood. There was a flood of articles comparing it’s smoking temperature, fat composition etc. with the celebrated Olive Oil. It apparently stands at the same level as olive oil and other Indian products such as ghee and butter.

Even then, a small section of food experts still carried on with their campaign against Coconut. One of the recent examples I can give is a Harvard professor called Coconut is pure poison. I am not paraphrasing; I am actually using her own words “pure poison.”. So, Coconut fearmongering continues for another generation.

I am going to leave you with a rebuttal by Eric Berg. Enjoy.

Diversity & Inclusion


Diversity & Inclusion is one of the most beautiful concepts when it is applied to its real sense. It has a straightforward and unambiguous meaning. An organization, a team or even a civilization can no longer afford to exclude the different voices, different from traditionally theirs. If they do, they compromise on width, depth, efficiency, perspective, and completeness of the state they are trying to achieve.

For example, take a team consisting of a perfectionist and a taskmaster. A taskmaster can complete 95% tasks seldom haphazardly, but with paramount efficiency and productivity. A perfectionist will take it from here. He surely will take his own sweet time. Still, he will ensure that the job is comprehensively and conclusively completed in a form normal human being can comprehend. Imagine a team constituting with only one sort of them? Team taskmaster can deliver tomorrow afternoon with many bugs. A perfectionist will provide you with a perfect solution, but only by the subsequent quarter.

Even with this simple truth is widely misinterpreted, often deliberately.

  1. The ask amazingly simple. Include the diversity into the team and follow a democratic process. It generally gets confused and leads to giving power of veto, virtually an authoritarian decision making.
  2. Most definitions list out the race, gender, religion, and caste etc. All these correct, but this list should only be kept in the appendix. This list will keep in growing and evolving in all its probability. We cannot dilute the spirit of it with specifics.
  3. This goes without saying, freedom of expression holds the paramount value of any teams. There should be a channel for everyone to speak their heart out.

Let us discuss what it’s not.

  1. It is not a vehicle to correct historical injustice. If you give D&I the time to evolve, it will address all your grievances in this regard. Unfortunately, some of the torchbearers use D&I as a tool for overcompensating or even underrepresenting a group of people.
  2. D&I is a progressive concept on itself, but you cannot form a team entirely made of progressives, which fails the entire purpose. This applies to any groups part of a D&I team.

A couple of examples.

Exhibit 1. This is an image of the editorial board of a once-popular online newsmagazine. They often accused of torchbearers of progressiveness in the modern internet world. No wonder their articles are monotonous and predictable.

Source : Mic.com

Exhibit 2. This is an image of Late-night talk show hosts. I have seen episodes of most of them. They all dress, look, talk, laugh, joke and express opinions about if they all came out of a mould. They are irritatingly predictable.

Source www.vanityfair.com

Let me know your thoughts about this, do write your reviews in the comments section.

Badminton, Animal welfare and other hypocrisies


Dear Jwala & Ashwini,

I have no intention to take the shine away from the beautiful medals and trophies you earned. I congratulate even to those which you did not win but tried your best. You certainly deserve all the accolades and applauses showed on you. You have inspired thousands of girls pan-India to take up this game and excel in it. Kudos. Well done.

While that, I see you both are brand ambassadors of Peta. That is cool, another feather on your cap. [See what I did there? Feathers? and you play Badminton. No? Okay]. Anyways, I wrote this post with a single intention of calling out your hypocrisy, which you obviously did not sense while joining the Peta.

Before I forget, let me bring this image up. I can see you Jwala ‘bleeding’ as part of your Campaign against Cockfighting! Just Wow! Thanks to you, those villagers (all seven of them) can now have a melodramatic moral epiphany and stop betting on those poor birds. They will eat Daal-fry tonight, instead of those chicken kababs.

Also, personally, Badminton is probably the only sport I managed to play reasonably well. Now that I learned more about it, I must give it up. In m defense, I had no clue how the Shuttlecock is manufactured all this while. However, you should have known this. You had chosen Badminton as your bread and butter. It is expected of you to be a little more curious about your props than me.

For documentation purpose, let them list all the issues for you.

  1. The Shuttlecock is made from plucked feathers of live ducks and geese. While this process the birds are not killed, not stunned, they remain alive. The poachers and farmers hold the bird down by the neck and pluck a fistful of feathers by force.
  2. They are live birds, and obviously, they will bleed, but not to death. They survive bleeding through the day, only to make next Shuttlecock by growing replacement feathers.
  3. There is science behind the selection of feathers. Only the ones with the right weight and correct angles make the cut (pun?). This also means the most feathers plucked are going to be discarded.

There are few other non-animal-torture related aspects which also begs for your attention.

  1. India cannot supply the feathers to all the 50k+ shuttlecocks it produces annually. So obviously it comes from Bangladesh as smuggled. They escape tax obligation from either of countries.
  2. Also, these plucking factories are known to misuse children. There are reports on how they are being used to pluck or cut the feathers for 10-12 hours earning not more than 50 Rs.
  3. Reports say one-fifth of children in Rajapur, Uluberia, Howrah in West Bengal are employed to manufacture these. They are under the age of 10, do not go to school, undergo frequent industrial accidents. Read through the report.

Did you get it now ? The hypocrisy in it ? When can I see your Campaign against these, please ? When can we expect you shout for ethical treatment animals of your own game?

Thanks, Not a fan. – The Bach