Showing posts from March, 2017


WEEKEND LIGHTER*: Postmortem  (April 1 /2, 2017, No.13/2017) Feel free to mail your views on this edition of WL to *Weekend Lighter is posted every Saturday Section III:Prayers, wishes, goals… I Cover Story 'Post mortem* ' The word' Post Mortem' is a Latin word for "after death". In English,   postmortem   refers to an examination, investigation, or process that takes place after death. A postmortem examination of a body (often simply called a   postmortem ) is often needed to determine the time and cause of death; the stiffening called rigor mortis is one postmortem change that doctors look at to determine when death occurred. Today we've come to use   postmortem   to refer to any examination or discussion that takes place after an event. It is our thoughts, words and actions that define our lives and it is our discrimination of these three that determines our character. Our experience

Ayodhya case : Apex Court view

http://m.thehindubusinessline. com/news/national/supreme- court-refuses-to-fasttrack- ayodhya-case/article9610657. ece Subramanian Swamy not happy. "So, don't be happy", says Supreme Court My online comments: " Welcome trend. Seems Apex Court is getting its priorities right. Being part of the Government of the day, Swamy also need to ensure other citizens are able to exercise their rights to livelihood, life and property before moving Apex Court to enforce his right to worship. A man of his maturity should be able to pray from anywhere." M G Warrier

Will India script an uninterrupted growth story?: The Hindu the-arena/current-issues/ article9585211.ece Annual lecture by P Chidambaram at The Hindu Excerpts: "Firstly, the NPA scare. Non-performing assets in the Indian banking industry are not a new phenomenon. In recent times, the problem of NPAs was acute in 2002 and 2007. Bankers had lent the money, so bankers were told to recover the money, and they did. This time too, the bankers should have been allowed to do their job. Instead, they were chastised by all and sundry and the government created the scare of prosecution in every case of NPA. Dr. Raghuram Rajan, then Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), realised the consequences of whipping up mass frenzy over NPAs and he cautioned that a heavy-handed approach "will kill both entrepreneurship and lending". His warning on handling the NPA issue fell on deaf years and the result is that we have a banking industry that is totally paralysed. For nearly 24 months, bank credit growt

Krishna for Today: Ananthapadmanabha. #krishnafortoday 

Krishna for Today: Ananthapadmanabha. #krishnafortoday  : Ananthapadmanabha. #krishnafortoday The Deity's posture at Sripadmanaabha Temple, Thiruvananthapuram  Enjoy more drawings/paitings by Keshav

Truth in the time of social media

Truth in the time of social media : We’re in a war against fact-free news. Information that appeals to our emotions only ends up polarising us... Excerpts: " Every time we click on a link with a headline baiting us, we like or share information without double-checking the source or verifying its accuracy, we’re willing participants in this war on information. Once we’ve inadvertently shared a misleading article, image, video or meme, the next person who sees it, who probably trusts us, goes on to share it. We’re helping ‘rocket atoms of propaganda’ through an information ecosystem at high speed powered by trusted peer-to-peer networks. When we see multiple messages about the same topic, our brains use that as a shortcut to credibility. In India, fake news travels fastest through private Whatsapp groups, making it hard to track and harder to disarm. They whistle through smartphones without any need to register or log in to use the service. What makes India’s problem more dangerous

Vibhishana's Hitopadesa

VIBHISHANA’S HITOPADESA* In the council meeting called by Ravana to discuss the course of action after Hanuman’s invasion of Lanka, Valmiki portrays Vibhishana and Kumbhakarna as righteous at heart and not deluded about what will happen if Sita is not returned. Both of them love and respect Ravana and consider him their father. They are unafraid to voice their truthful views on Ravana’s conduct in the midst of the extravagant words of praises heaped on Ravana by his ministers and generals, pointed out Damal Sri Ramakrishnan and Srimati Perundevi in a discourse. Kumbhakarna does not mince words when he tells Ravana that he had ignored the principles of statecraft and should have settled his grievances with Rama in a straight battle and then captured Sita. If only Ravana had consulted them before committing the offence, things would have worked out better. But his affection for Ravana soon takes over and he now chooses to stand by his brother. He promises to fight to the finish w

Demonetization: Exchange of old currency notes Please also see my online comments M G Warrier

Without expectations

The Hindu, March 30, 2017 Faith Without expectations* In Her Tiruppavai, while talking of flowers offered in worship, Andal uses the word ‘thoomalar .’ Here She wants to indicate that the flowers should be offered out of bhakti, and not expecting a quid pro quo, elaborated Kidambi Narayanan in a discourse. Suppose a man owns some property. His son cannot demand that his father should give him a share in the property. Nor can he lay down the quantum to be given to him. It is for the parent to decide when and how much he should give to each of his children. In the same way, it is not for us to demand things of the Lord. It is the Lord who will decide what each of us should be given. Kooratazhvan’s sons were not married and Kooratazhvan, immersed in service to Lord Ranganatha and to Ramanuja, did not give the marriage of his sons a thought. But his wife was worried about their sons remaining unmarried. She wondered why her husband did not take steps to get them married

New mental health law: Salient features This link is given in the context of my previous Blog post today (The Hindu editorial on this subject)

New mental health law: The Hindu editorial Please see next Blog post here for more details on the subject or directly go to:

Parrikar Interview: The Hindu The Hindu: Manohar Parrikar Interview Excerpts: You spent close to two and a half years in South Block in New Delhi. How would you describe your overall experience? It was a very important portfolio, neglected for 10 years, eight years at least to be precise. I feel that I contributed a lot, but instead of bragging myself, that I did this, I did that, you can take inputs from outside. What is important is to understand that the Army is a different organisation from civil[ian institutions]. When one chooses a career in the Army you have to realise that life is rigorous and tough. You are selecting a tougher career. If the police tell me we don’t want to fire, exempt me from that, can it be done? Take the issue of grievances raised by the BSF on social media. People and the media have to understand that they do not come directly under the Arm


FIVE FIRES* Chandogya Upanishad tells how King Pravahana taught sage Gautama the Panchagni Vidya, knowledge of the five fires, said M.K. Srinivasan in a discourse. The first fire is svargaloka. The sun is the samit (sacrificial stick) of this fire. The rays of the sun are the smoke, while the day is the flame. The moon is the ember. The stars are the sparks of this fire. When Agnihotra is performed, the jivas become Soma raja and enter svargaloka. The second fire is Parjanya. For this fire, vayu or the air is the samit. The cloud is the smoke. Lightning is the flame. The thunderbolt is the charcoal. The roars of the fire are the sparks. Somaraja (jiva) is the oblation in this fire. The third fire is the earth. For this fire, the year is the samit. Akasa, that is the sky, is the smoke. The night is the flame. The directions are the live charcoals. The directions are the sparks. The oblation in this case is rain. When the rains reach the earth, food is grown. The fourth fire

Reforming bureaucracy

Reforming bureaucracy : Lateral movement from other services and inducting professionals can make governance more robust... Excerpts: " Attracting lateral movement from other services to fill vacancies in the bureaucracy is far easier than attracting talent from the private sector. This is not just because the remuneration is not competitive, but also because of the vast difference in working conditions. Skilled professionals expect a certain degree of operational freedom, which the current bureaucratic style of functioning of government, as well as political interference, militates against. The move to seek lateral movement is aimed at filling vacancies caused by a shortfall of eligible IAS officers. But India needs to move beyond such short-term fixes and adopt a policy that actively seeks the best talent for various positions, whether such talent is to be found within or outside the current bureaucratic system. To start with, the Government could define either a certain

lnternational Day of Happiness Thanks, The Hindu I really didn't know, Happiness had a DAY. Wish all my friends, Happy Happiness Day, 2017. M G Warrier

Return of farm populism

Return of farm populism : Loan waivers are not the answer to the numerous issues plaguing agriculture... Mainstream farm sector This refers to your editorial  “Return of farm populism” ( Business Line, March 28). The observation “Loan waivers are not the answer to the numerous issues plaguing agriculture” should be painted in block letters on the walls of all legislatures, finance and agriculture ministries of central and state governments, banks, RBI and NABARD. After the assets with religious and non-government institutions, farm sector resources are the worst managed national assets awaiting mainstreaming in India. Agriculture not being in the central list, the funds in the farm sector largely being managed by cooperatives which are in the ‘concurrent list’ and farm workers managed by big affluent farmers being a strong constituent of ‘Vote Bank’ and fund-raisers for political parties have contributed to perennial neglect of the sector for being brought under normal regu

Letters: Bad bank and worse

Letters: Bad bank and worse : Urgency in reversing the rise in stressed assets with banks is universally admitted reservation... Business Standard, March 28, 2017 Letters Bad bank and worse With reference to “Good banks and a bad bank” (March 27), the urgency in reversing the rise in stressed assets with banks is universally admitted without any reservation. When it comes to solutions, there can be, and are, differences in perception of responsibilities and, thus, methods to tackle the problem. In any case, it is late to think of a surgical approach isolating sectors such as infrastructure, industries or farm loans, and any solution will have to have the health of banks in view. The  bad bank  idea, mooted last year, didn’t find favour with then Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan. The change of guard together with the compulsions arising from the severity of bad loans plaguing the system, which has not been responding to normal “treatment”, helped the media and analyst

A tryst with rocketry

A tryst with rocketry : Though the book is an interesting read about the formation of ISRO... Excerpts: " ISRO A Personal History R Aravamudan with Gita Aravamudan  HarperCollins 240 pages; Rs 399  If you are unfamiliar with the Indian space agency, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), then it is firmly recommended that you begin reading this book from its annexure right at the end. Before you get to the launching of any rocket, you first have to swim against the swell in an ocean of acronyms; it appears the folks at ISRO have been quite fond of them since the agency’s humble inception in the 1960s."

Captain Gopinath back with Deccan Charter om/article/companies/captain-g opinath-back-in-the-game-decca n-charter-to-fly-on-regional- routes-117032700106_1.html Reading this, remembered Captain Gopinath's promise to ring in cost effectiveness from the side of air passengers in India. Best of luck to Gopinath's new venture. M G Warrier

Good banks and a bad bank

Good banks and a bad bank : The infrastructure sector continues to reel under the 'twin balance sheet' issue... Bad bank can be worse Apropos “Good banks and a bad bank” (Business Standard, March 27), the urgency in reversing the rise in stressed assets with banks is universally admitted  without any reservation. When it comes to solutions, there can be, and there are, difference in perception of responsibilities and therefore methods to tackle the problem of bad assets with banks being suggested by different stakeholders too differ widely. In any case, it is late in the day to think of a surgical approach isolating sectors like infrastructure or industries or farm loans and any solution will have to have the health of banks in view. The bad bank idea, which was mooted last year didn’t find favour with the then RBI governor Raguram Rajan. The change of guard at Mint Road together with the compulsions arising from the severity of the bad loan problem plaguing the sys

Economic policy failure, uninterrupted

Economic policy failure, uninterrupted : That’s been a recurring theme, from the days of Indira Gandhi to the ways of the RBI under D Subbarao — a story of fiscal subterfuge and monetary policy neglect of inflation... Excerpts: "The fact their old adversary, the government, which was leading them by the nose, was completely overlooked. The mode was more justificatory than combative, accommodative than adversarial. It was as if the RBI had collectively decided to bury Reddy’s ghost. In effect, the RBI became the most articulate advocate of fiscal expansion and monetary laxity. In that major sense, the years 2009-11 were amongst the most inglorious years of the RBI. Soon after he got his second term in September 2011, Subbarao started becoming critical of the government. He spoke repeatedly about inflation, growth, politics, the laws of economics and the laws of physics which they were supposed to resemble but didn’t. Reams have been written about this sudden turnaround.

Long way ahead

Long way ahead : The HDI report has some important lessons for India... Excerpts: " The latest Human Development Index (HDI) report, by the United Nations Development Programme, has once again brought home some sobering news. India continues to be ranked 131 out of 188 nations on HDI. This is the same rank that India had in 2015. And while India is placed better than many of its neighbours such as Pakistan (147), Nepal (144) and Bangladesh (139), it is cold comfort since it not only falls far behind its BRICS partners — China (90), Brazil (79), Russia (49) and South Africa (119) — but also Sri Lanka (73) and Maldives (105).  "

Krishna for Today: Brahma beholds the eternal child. #watercolour #kr...

Krishna for Today: Brahma beholds the eternal child. #watercolour #kr... : Brahma beholds the eternal child. #watercolour #krishnafortoday ... We must appreciate the conceptualization of ideas! M G Warrier

Do we need a Presidential System?: The Hindu Debate The Hindu Debate: Do we need a presidential system? Excerpts: "Giving an opinion is one thing. A judgment is a more carefully considered conclusion. Those who support the presidential system should do their homework when they argue against the parliamentary system. There is also the matter of separation of powers. In the U.S., the President, who is also the Supreme Commander, has the power to veto the Congress. Does India need this? The manner of removing the U.S. President through impeachment is a very complex process. There is also the possibility of aggregating more powers to the President. One could argue that the parliamentary system too runs a similar risk. I do not think it has been thought over. It is not on the table yet. Reform the process On the other hand, there are ideas going around about reforming the electoral processes to make democracy more robust. From li