(May 7/8, 2016, No. 19/2016)*
Weekend Lighter is posted every Saturday @mgwarrier.blogspot.in
Feel free to mail your views on this edition of WL to mgwarrier@gmail.com
*Issued on May 2, 2016. Next issue of WL will be posted on May 15, 2016 from Thiruvananthapuram.
Opening remarks: May Day celebrations
Ø May Day or Labour Day - celebrated in around 80 countries to mark the labour movement and worker’s rights - has its origins in the 1886 Haymarket Massacre in Chicago.
Ø This Day has its origins in the labour union movement, specifically the eight-hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest.
Ø India’s very first Labour Day was celebrated on May 1, 1923 in Chennai, on Marina Beach.
Ø The red flag – now a symbol of the left movement - was used for the first time in India during this event too. A resolution was also passed that the government should declare May Day as a holiday.
Ø The event was organised by the Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan and Malayapuram Singaravelu Chettiar, who became one of the founders of the Communist Party of India.
Ø » Today in India, organisations and trade unions arrange pageants, children enter contests so they can understand the importance of fairness for workers, and political leaders make speeches.
*Source: The Hindu, May 2, 2015
Focus on primary sector
Apropos Mythili Bhusnurmath’s excellent article “Cart Before the Horse?” (Economic Times, May 2, 2016), one wishes policy makers patiently reads the article to the end, where the quote from Dr Manmohan Singh in which the need for focus on primary sector is beautifully woven in the economist’s language: “Economic policy should address hunger, literacy, employment, infrastructure and growth in that order”.
Post LPG (liberalisation-Privatisation-Globalisation) India is measuring growth and celebrating achievements in terms of private sector profits, height of towers built, growth in sectors like IT, banking and transport and possible inflow of FDI. All these will shine in contrast, till things get better outside. RBI Governor was criticised for saying this in a different way. But, let us concede, if we neglect primary sector, sustainable growth and development are impossible.
One need not worry too much about the per capita wealth of Indian as compared to his friends elsewhere. Luckily, unlike in countries like China, unaccounted wealth of India must be a decent multiple of the country’s GDP.
Rajan’s communication skills
This refers to Manasi Phadke’s piece “Guv gaffe” (the Hindu Business Line,  Tweakonomics, May 2). I believe, India has immensely benefited from the communication skills of Dr Raghuram Rajan ever since he returned to India in 2013. Whether he is making a speech in an international forum or interacting with students in an educational institution somewhere in Kerala, Dr Rajan talks with the ease of a professor addressing his students in a classroom. This gives him a prominent position among the trio comprising himself, Prime Minister Modi and Arvind Kejriwal who together woke up the giant in India during the current decade.
While Kejriwal combined the civil services discipline and the ability to look at things in right perspective to create awareness about the mess in which the greed of the rich and the powerful had landed this country and Modi reinforced the capacity of the country to stand up and talk in international community on India’s terms, Dr Rajan takes care of ensuring that the Indian financial sector takes regular health checks to ensure sustainable economic growth. His catch phrases ‘A pig doesn’t become beautiful by applying lipstick’, ‘Make for India’, ‘Don’t fixit, if it isn’t broken’, reference to ‘traffic signal’ approach to monetary policy management by central banks and so on to the present reference to the ‘one eyed’ king have much deeper messages which the audience do appreciate and ponder over for long. These are used by Rajan the teacher (which role was appreciated by Prime Minister Modi when he attended a function at RBI during April 2015). As regards the ‘one-eyed man’ comment, which has now got a second ‘life’ after Chidambaram found a friend in Dr Rajan, one can only invite readers to download(from rbi.org.in) and read Dr Rajan’s NIBM Convocation Address, 2016 in which RBI Governor has devoted some time to explain the context and content of that quote and how it was received by a section of critiques who were not very familiar with such sayings.
M G Warrier, Mumbai


Life after Death

Life is one big journey and you’re a traveller. It’s better to live and travel well, than thinking about the future and losing your peace of mind. Living the fullest in the present is the best way to enjoy life, rather than living in the past or the future.
E X Joseph, via email on May 1, 2016
After reading “Fear of Death” (WL, No 18/2016), my friend Bala mentioned in his response : ‘How do you explain suicides?’ The day I received that mail from Bala, I had read @AllBankingSolutions.com a tragic news about a bank official’s suicide, leaving a note that he was being harassed by his bosses as he was not able to recover some loans which had turned NPAs. Farmers, workers, women, students and now bank officials.
I have the experience of waiting outside hospitals to give company to my relatives/friends who were to receive back bodies after post-mortem. Such occasions, more than when we go for funerals or condolence visits, make us think about value of life. Life hangs on a thin, invisible thread. Someone, with or without a ‘plan’ plays with that thread. We have no control over that someone or the thread. Here, the quote above becomes relevant.
I have been able to, so far, convince me that death is a visitor for whom one doesn’t have to make elaborate preparations to receive. As someone said, no one has left this planet ‘alive’. Death is the only companion who is with me throughout my life.
During 1960’s, myself and one or two of my friends occasionally used to spend week-end evenings at and around Kovalam sea beach near Trivandrum. Somewhere on the beach, where some star hotels stand now, there was a ‘wedge’ which took us down to a whirlpool (in Malayalam a ‘chuzhi’). Sitting near the fury of the chuzhi, one day we discussed suicide. My suggestion was, once one decides to commit suicide, one should consume poison and hang from the branch of the tree above the chuzhi making sure that no one will interrupt! Of course, today such plans are irrelevant. One need to take food served at the ‘right’ celebrations, or be at the right spot at celebrations when the tragedy strikes or simply sleep inside the ‘right’ building in a city anywhere in the world. Next day’s paper will report the event, if one is lucky to be identified!
I reject all stories of punarjanma , carrying forward theory of punya and papa , reward, punishment and retribution by someone later. They all can console some of us temporarily, though.



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