(October 1/2, 2016, No.41/2016)
Weekend Lighter is posted every Saturday @mgwarrier.blogspot.in
Feel free to mail your views on this edition of WL to mgwarrier@gmail.com
Opening Remarks
MAHATMA, also ON  OCTOBER  2, 2016
Remembering the past, moving to the future!

The traditional wisdom tells you that if you remove lack of awareness (agyan), knowledge (gyan) will emerge. Same thing about light. Once darkness is removed, light dawns.
All good things such as wisdom, harmony, light, good food, appropriate arrangement for all creatures to live in this universe and timely changeover of one form to another are all built in in the making of the universe.
It is man's greed and curiosity that has altered the balance. So it is the responsibility of man to set it right, now.
To site one example, the ongoing efforts to find out the secrets of the beginning of the universe in which scores of countries with billions worth of resources and thousands of scientists are engaged are leading to waste of all types of resources, which properly diverted could have helped millions of people on the surface of earth now living a miserable life.
Same is the case with resources wasted in war and a multiple of that much in preparing for wars which will never be fought.
We find out justifications for all wrongs we do. The other day someone ranked nations according to their corruptibility. On a perusal of the word corruption, one finds that the dictionary meaning of the word 'corruption' itself is corrupt. It reads, dishonest or illegal behaviour! The yardsticks for honesty and legality that is commonly used, we all know. The first will depend on the social and financial status of the person concerned and latter, legal validity will depend on the money one can spend in arguing one's case.
Rights and wrongs depend heavily on the muscle power and money power, whether it is about individuals, groups or nations. A reading of newspaper any day will testify for this.

*The first Introductory Blog posted @mgwarrier.blogspot.in on September 29, 2008

Editor’s pick
EPW’s influence*
I read TCA Srinivasa-Raghavan's article, "Politics, patronage and intellect" (September 24) with great interest. Among other things, the writer argues that the journalEconomic and Political Weekly (EPW) has a disproportionately Left influence on public discourse. He adds that support from public institutions benefited the publication, with adverse consequences to public interest.

I agree that EPW exercised a strong influence on discussions in Indian universities and several seminars and conferences. In many ways, this is a reflection of the failure of the right ideology to assert itself, let alone build up a journal. The right-wing ideology has been almost apologetic since the virtual demise of the Swatantra Party.
EPW's influence is also an acknowledgement of the dedication and quality of the editorial team that lasted several decades. More often than not, I disagreed with its views, but I never missed understanding and benefiting from them.

It is a tribute to the public institutions that they did not take adverse note of criticism of the government policy of the day. Making of public policy as well as its understanding needs and benefits from the expression of diversity of views.

I am confident EPW will continue to have influence, but I only hope that such influence will be challenged in due course by a journal that can advocate the contrarian view.
Y Venugopal Reddy, Hyderabad
*Business Standard, Letters, September 26, 2016
Recent responses

Universal basic income
This refers to BS interaction with Chief Economic Advisor(CEA) Arvind Subramanian (Business Standard, September 29). Recent years have seen a healthy trend evolving in the approach of top executives to media which encourages informed debated on issues of public interest. Dr Raghuram Rajan during his tenure as RBI governor freely allowed debates on the handling of monetary policy and the role of the central bank in economic development. In a way, he enjoyed participating in such debates himself.
It is comforting to see that from GOI side, CEA is taking the initiative forward. For some more time, shifting the focus from details of deliberations to sensitive excerpts may continue (like in this report which highlighted ‘monetary easing’). But, the sharing of views like this is extremely beneficial in improving public awareness on issues of public interest and will lead to adding value and quality to policy inputs.
The proposal to accept Universal Basic Income (UBI) as one of the themes for the forthcoming Economic Survey should be seen as an effort to re-dedicate budget exercise as a tool for ensuring distributive justice, which is a responsibility emanating from constitutional provisions. Once the debate on UBI picks up, the various components of such a concept, adequacy of the present levels of minimum wage, the path towards ‘living wage’, the relationship between wage and savings, savings and social security, wage and healthcare and education expenditure in low income groups and so on will surface. So far, discussions on such issues were isolated or confined to academia or research efforts. For India, once the political will gets convinced about a realistic UBI, resources will not be a problem.
M G Warrier, Mumbai  
Ask the right questions*
This refers to “Think before you ask” (Business Standard, Chinese whispers, September 27). The advisory from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Right to Information (RTI) appears justifiably rational and perhaps, is applicable to many who keep asking questions or seeking information without doing any ‘home work’.
According to the report, PMO desires that (a) information already available in the public domain need not be sought under RTI, (b) information should be sought from the concerned ministries/departments and (c) PMO should not be expected to collate information from different authorities/agencies and furnish to the seeker. Prima facie, the guidance does not appear to be aimed at avoidance of responsibility or one coming out from stress. It is another matter that the refinements proposed may reduce the comfort level of some RTI ‘activists’, who misguide their ‘clientele’, giving an impression that RTI is a short-cut for solving every problem in which government or any other body covered under RTI has a role.
Just as the question hours in legislatures can become time well spent on discussion of serious public issues affecting citizens and governance, leading to fresh thinking which may lead to acceptable solutions, if legislators do the minimum homework before raising questions and the answers and further discussions are well-informed, RTI can become a tool for digging ‘hidden’ information from files which will help resolve problems faced in day to day life by citizens. The guidance from PMO need to be seen in this perspective.
M G Warrier, Mumbai
*Business Standard, September 28, 2016, Letters
Education policy
The brief editorial “Falling behind schedule” (The Hindu, September 26) flags several significant issues which should receive attention of those formulating education policy. That education/literacy helps individuals to aspire for a more purposeful life and lead a better life and states/nations to improve many development indicators simultaneously with literacy level may not be a surprise revelation. States like Kerala have demonstrated this advantage emanating from focussing on literacy.
But, the neglect of even available infrastructure for education from primary to post-graduate level gives an impression that studies and research papers on improving literacy do not receive the attention they deserve. Planning is conspicuous by its absence in the area of higher education in India.
Majority pursue studies with a career or job in mind. The needs of various sectors of economy including industry and services do not get adequately factored in while education policy at national and state levels are formulated. There is also inadequacy in funding which is made up by exorbitant fees recovered from students by reputed institutions.

M G Warrier, Mumbai
Upskill task
Apropos “Equipping rural youth with job skills” (Business Standard, September 26), while appreciating the commendable work done by EduBridge, one feels that at national and state level in India, the need to relate skill development to demand from users of skill is not being factored in while framing long term education policy and developing infrastructure for higher education. In the process, precious resources are being wasted.
The unemployment situation in India was being exploited on an ongoing basis by employers across private and public sectors. During the last quarter of 20th Century, Information Technology (IT) sector which could hire employees at higher costs, recruited toppers of any discipline from Science and Engineering college campuses and used majority of them for work which could have been entrusted to average Class XII passed boys after giving 6 to 9 months training. The unemployment situation did not allow prospective job-seekers to match their own expectations with job profiles they were offered. Times have changed.
At this stage of economic development, skill-needs have to be matched with skill-availability through conscious planning and providing policy guidelines to authorities in charge of education and recruiters. The latter should be in a position to indicate to educational institutions the kind of skills that they will be needing after 5 to 10 years and universities. Educational institutions under guidance from Centre and state governments should be made responsible to factor in such needs while planning their teaching strategy.
M G Warrier, Mumbai
The following quote from Speaking Tree, September 25, 2016 has not made me wiser:
Some years ago, I was walking downtown San Francisco with a great friend and a learned Tibetan scholar. I asked him about one of the most striking ways that the Tibetans express the uniqueness of the human condition….
I pointed to the crowds of men and women rushing by on the street…. “Tell me, Lobsang,” I said, “if it is so rare to be born a human being, how come there are so many people in the world?” My friend slowed his pace and then stopped. He replied, “How many human beings do you see?”
In a flash, I understood the idea. Most of the people I was seeing, in the inner state they were in at the moment, were not really people at all. Most were what the Tibetans call ‘hungry ghosts.’ They did not really exist. They were ‘busy’, they were ‘in a hurry’. They- like all of us- were obsessed with doing things ‘right away’. But ‘right away’ is the opposite of ‘now’- the opposite of the lived present moment in which the passing of time no longer tyrannises us.
_Jacob Needleman”
But the quote left my thoughts disturbed, making it dig into the past. The Bhagavad-Gita I purchased in 1963 for 25 paise to Being and Nothingness (Satre) and Idea of Justice (Sen) came to my mind. Of late, the thought about ‘existence’ has started to bother me too. In a hospital bed on July 2, 2016, I wondered, if I just ‘disappeared’ from the normal ‘communication system’, how many will bother to find out whether I still existed! I am still scared to come to a conclusion, on this.
M G Warrier
ज्ञानं यस्य तु चक्षुरादिकरणद्वारा बहिः स्पन्दते
जानामीति तमेव भान्तमनुभात्येतत्समस्तं जगत्
तस्मै श्रीगुरुमूर्तये नम इदं श्रीदक्षिणामूर्तये ४॥
He whose light gleams through the senses like the light emanating from a pot with holes (in which a lamp is kept), He whose knowledge alone brings the state of knowing (I am That), He whose brightness makes everything shine - to that DakShinamurti, who is embodied in the auspicious Guru, I offer my profound salutations.
Love whatever we do*

Sudha Murthy

"When my daughter, the older of my two, wed and left home, I felt a part of me gone.

With a daughter and a son, I know what both mean, differently.

When she was in her teens I felt as if she was my "physical extension"!

So when she left home to set up her own, I felt I lost a limb.

Next time she came to stay with us, I was astonished how her priorities had changed.

We too must've given the same shocks to our own parents!

When she said Amma,
she meant her mother-in-law, not me!

I felt she was always in a hurry to go back to her house and not stay with me for a few more days.

That was the first time, it dawned on me that I have to start practising detachment with attachment.

Two years after my daughter’s marriage, my son left for higher studies to US.

Having experienced a child's separation once, I was better equipped emotionally.

I plunged head long into various classes held in the city starting from vedanta to healing to ikebana -
I just wanted to be away from home since my husband was a 24/7 workaholic.

My son used to write how he was missing my home cooked food, how he was waiting to come back to live in Chennai with us ...

After a few years, he did come back and we got him married.

He started living separately with his wife and we were also happy that they wanted to be independent from the beginning...

But now, it was all changed!

When in the U S, he missed my cooking, now if I called him to come over with his wife for a meal, it was always some excuse like "oh, Amma, we have other plans for the day, please don't mistake us if we don't drop in today" !

I could see that his priorities had also changed completely.

We talk so many things and give so much advice to others, but when it comes to our own children, acceptance comes very late. Our next step is to just leave them undisturbed
in every way.

It was at that time, that I made the following, my 'new profile'.

In all my relationships, rather interactions, I give my best and do my best to live up to what I say.

My attachment with them is complete.

However, I remain detached in the sense that I do not expect them to reciprocate my affection.

Most importantly, I make a conscious effort, not to interfere or pass judgements on the lives they choose to lead.

My concern for my near and dear ones will not fade with my detachment.

If you let go of the ones you love, they will never go away –
this is the beauty of attachment with detachment!

I have learnt to love and let go.

This dictum has developed tolerance in me.

When I let the people live the way they want to, I learn to accept them for what they are.

Most importantly,
I learn to tolerate the world around me and this tolerance brings in me a sense of peace and contentment.

Now I have realised that we start growing mentally much more only after the children leave the house and we have to tackle the emotional vacuum, that arises, along with age-related problems.

I specially dedicate this post to my friends, who are totally dependent on their children's lives, to nurture their own selves emotionally.

Please develop your own interests, hobbies etc, however mundane they seem to be..

We must learn to love whatever we do
instead of

Doing whatever we love!!"

*Source: Exrbites email from Vathsala Jayaraman


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