Warrier's Collage November 8, 2021
Welcome to Warrier's COLLAGE On Monday November 8, 2021 1) Prahladacharitam Kathakali https://youtu.be/2Lsh5PkLHEs (Narasimha Jayanti on November 7, 2021) 2) Samudra Manthan https://youtu.be/CCsiGUeeOBs (Bangkok Airport) Good Morning Happy Birthday to all readers having Birthday during the week ending Saturday November 13, 2021. Nice Day M G Warrier A Select Responses 1) Mohan Krishnan Thiruvanantapuram Ref the old links missing on internet, no guidelines yet framed in Govt itself to handle retention of data when migration happens. There was an instance where new PF site came up and old one was wiped by just transferring the closing balance. When ppl required old ledger cards for settling discrepancies it was bluntly told that it's the duty of employees to download annually and keep record. The same thing happened in yahoo email system when they wiped out critical folders in my account one fine day. Lost some records that way. Shudder what would happen if gmail did something like that now. 2) Vishnu Kelkar A Central Banker's Miscellany : Notes and views on the world around by Dr G Sreekumar It was very painful to read that Abdullah Yusuf Ali, a liberal, intellectual ICS officer with wide range of interests died a lonely man. We often come across rags to riches stories but not the other way round. All the worlds around Yusuf Ali deserted him. Very sad. AA Thought for the Day charan singh (@CharanSingh60) Tweeted: Unity in Diversity - 63 कचहु कंचनु भइअउ सबदु गुर स्रवणहि सुणिओ भिखु ते अंमृतु (Amrit) हुयउ नामु सतिगुर मुखि भणिअउ Listening to Guru's words, ordinary metal becomes gold By reciting Naam, poison becomes ambrosial nectar (from vices to virtues) Nal, 1399, SGGS https://twitter.com/CharanSingh60/status/1457108074469019650?s=20 B Current Affairs 1) "Warren Buffett's cash pile* tops record with $149.2 billion on hand" https://wap.business-standard.com/article-amp/companies/warren-buffett-s-cash-pile-tops-record-with-149-2-billion-on-hand-121110700092_1.html Berkshire's cash pile hit new heights at $149.2 billion of funds in the third quarter, surpassing a record set in early 2020, the company said in its earnings report Saturday. The fresh high came even as Buffett poured more money into buying back its own stock with $7.6 billion of repurchases in the period -- the third-highest tally since the board changed its policy on buybacks in 2018. Buffett has struggled with a high-class problem of having too much money in Berkshire’s pockets and not enough chances to put that to work in higher-returning assets. With no major deals in recent quarters, Berkshire’s chief executive officer has frequently turned to buybacks as one way to deploy the cash deluge. But even the heightened level of buybacks during the third quarter wasn’t enough to keep Berkshire’s coffers from swelling. *Billionaires' assets and "World Hunger" swell in direct proportion. See my 2014 article on CSR elsewhere (D) in Collage today. 2) World Hunger Day 2021 "World Food Day 2021: Know its history, significance and theme | World News - Hindustan Times" https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/world-food-day-2021-know-its-history-significance-and-theme-101634341723308.html World Food Day* is celebrated all over the world on October 16. It is an initiative by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations. This global event marks a day calling for worldwide awareness and collective action to combat the issue of hunger and ensure healthy diets for all. *Many observe the day as "Hunger Day" C Book Review : 1) The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People "Book Review: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey | Cleverism" https://www.cleverism.com/book-review-the-7-habits-of-highly-effective-people/ In 1989, Stephen Covey changed the world of self-improvement forever when he published his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. This book quickly became an international bestseller and a go-to resources for anyone who wanted to improve themselves. From top-tier executives to students, Covey’s book was the book to read. Over 25 years later, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People remains one of the most referenced books in its genre. It set the tone not only for Covey's second book but for an entirely new genre of literature. Now, Covey’s work is used not just at work but at home. Whether you want to improve relationships with colleagues, managers or have more fruitful social relationships, Covey bestows serious lessons on his readers. These lessons have more or less withstood the test of time and remain relevant as a solid foundation in interpersonal communication today. 2) The Violence in Our Bones "Book Review — The Violence in Our Bones: Mapping the Deadly Fault Lines Within Indian Society by Neera Chandhoke - The Financial Express" https://www.financialexpress.com/lifestyle/book-review-the-violence-in-our-bones-mapping-the-deadly-fault-lines-within-indian-society-by-neera-chandhoke/2364065/lite By: Rishi Raj The facts have been cherry picked by her and arranged in a manner that matches her prejudices. However, one can’t single out Chandhoke for partisanship, as most Indian scholars lack the candidness of historian Eric Hobsbawm when it comes to ideology and objectivity. The facts have been cherry picked by her and arranged in a manner that matches her prejudices. However, one can’t single out Chandhoke for partisanship, as most Indian scholars lack the candidness of historian Eric Hobsbawm when it comes to ideology and objectivity. (Continued at H1) D Corporate Social Responsibility* : M G Warrier Corporate Social Responsibility M G WARRIER On the one side we see the amended provision in the Companies Act, 1956 stipulating a mandatory spend of 2% of corporate enterprise profits. On the other side we hear about 105 billionaires having signed Warren Buffet and Bill Gates’ Giving Pledge, promising to give away at least half their wealth ‘back to the society’. There is some mismatch between preaching and practicing, or philosophy and law. This article attempts to pick up some loose ends. Further debate may lead to connecting some of them. Last couple of years, media reports show that corporate social responsibility (CSR) is gaining recognition as a necessary feature of “being rich”. Examples of Buffet and Bill are being emulated by ‘smaller’ entrepreneurs like P N C Menon in India, who are also declaring that at least half of their wealth belongs to the society. Even the declaration by individuals who own such wealth that they recognize the ultimate truth that what they have is a “trusteeship right” to canalize resources in the right direction, hopefully, will open a debate that will ultimately redefine CSR. Spending on social causes, by and large, has remained at the bottom end of priorities of the government and corporations so far. Those rich individuals who have finally started recognizing CSR as part of their way of life have done so either too late, or because of “certain compelling circumstances in life” that they had not bargained for. Without struggling to put together a legal definition for CSR, those who are lucky to govern and manage resources that ultimately belong to society should take on themselves the responsibility to alleviate poverty, provide shelter and potable water, promote literacy and ensure reasonably affordable health care. Menon had hogged the limelight in Guruvayur for donating huge quantities of gold to Lord Vishnu, and one expected further follow up of developments in the township in terms of provision of minimum facilities like potable water and a reasonably acceptable waste management system. But I was surprised to discover on a recent visit to Guruvayur that the local middle-class population depended on free food served in temples, and used the money saved to buy bottled drinking water at Rs 15 per litre. The government's and Corporates’ hesitant approach to CSR can turn out to be harmful to the country and in the process to corporates also, in the long run. Spending for supporting social causes, by and large, has remained at the bottom end of the priorities for government and corporates so far. Those rich individuals from certain corporate empires who have started recognizing CSR as part of their way of life have done so either late in life or because of ‘certain compelling circumstances in life’ which they had not bargained for. Without struggling to put together a legal definition for CSR, those who are lucky to govern and manage resources which ultimately belong to the society should take on themselves the responsibility to eradicate hunger and poverty, provide shelter and potable water, promote literacy at least to the school level, ensure reasonably affordable healthcare for those in the ‘command area’ of their governance or business/industry. Making a mandatory provision in Companies Act to spend 2% of profit to meet CSR may add to the corpus of PM's Relief Fund from a captive source and may cover shame, but will hardly ensure acceptable quick results. A related issue is transparency in accounting wealth. There seems to be a general impression that possession of ‘unaccounted’ wealth is just a tax-related issue. High time, government, policy makers and analysts viewed this from a social responsibility angle affecting the life and security of all citizens including the rich, the middle class and the poor in different ways. Inclusion of more columns in Income-tax Return forms( there is a recent proposal in this regard) to ‘declare’ assets like cash-in-hand above Rs50.000/-, ownership of vehicles and other movable assets may help to trap some innocent individuals or even corporates who believe in transparency in transactions and government may be able to collect ‘some’ extra tax from them. If the effort has to yield results, first, the present holdings of movable assets including gold, jewellery and other high-value assets held by individuals, families, institutions including ‘charitable’ and religious organisations will have to be ‘registered’ with some authority in a transparent manner and a procedure to report periodically further accumulation to such stocks put in place. Based on his perception and information given to him, which he thought correct, FM revealed in Budget Speech, 2013-14, that there are ‘only’ 42,800 persons in India who admitted to a taxable income exceeding Rs 1 crore per year, let us help him to take the issue forward. As privacy and secrecy issues will prevent FM from giving out the names of these 42,800 persons, he should arrange to prepare a district-wise list of these individuals and provide to each District Magistrate/Collector the number (only the number) of rich people in the respective districts who have annual income exceeding Rs 1 crore. Collectors should be asked to make ‘discreet’ enquiries and report ‘who’ these persons could be and who all are likely ‘omissions’ in the list. Quite possible, GDP may not grow at the expected growth rate, but, next year (2014), FM will be able to give a decent six-digit figure against the 42,800 he included in the current Budget Speech. *Excerpted from an article written during the first half of last decade. E Blogs & Links 1) Career counseling "Making our decisions wiser with career counselling " https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/readersblog/the-life-box/making-our-decisions-wiser-with-career-counselling-38838/ 2) "A Mighty Lesson - Open The Magazine" https://openthemagazine.com/columns/a-mighty-lesson/ Excerpts : WE WILL NOW move on to the next jyotirlingam, Bhimashankara in Dakini. Most people will identify Bhimashankara as the one in Maharashtra, near Pune. But as you will see from this account in the Shiva Purana, it is not that simple. The Bhimashankara account will take more than one column. Suta said, “After this, I will tell you about the greatness of Bhimashankara. As soon as a man hears about this, he obtains everything that he desires. In the region known as Kamarupa, to ensure the welfare of the worlds and make people the recipients of fortune and happiness, Shankara himself took an avatara. O lords among sages! I will tell you about the reason why Shankara, who brings welfare to the worlds, took an avatara. Listen lovingly. O Brahmanas! Earlier, there was an immensely valiant rakshasa named Bhima. He caused misery to all beings and always destroyed dharma. He was the extremely strong son of Kumbhakarna and Karkati. When Kumbhakarna, who caused terror to the worlds, was killed by Rama, along with his mother, he resided on Mount Sahya. Along with her son, the rakshasi also resided on Sahya. Bhima was crooked and terrible in valour. He caused misery to the worlds. On one occasion, while still a child, he questioned his mother, Karkati. Bhima asked, “O mother! Who is my father? Where is he? Why are you alone here? I wish to know everything. Please tell me the truth now.” Thus asked by her son, the wicked rakshasireplied to her son: “I will tell you. Listen.” Karkati replied, “Your father was Kumbhakarna, Ravana’s younger brother. The immensely strong Rama killed him and his brother. On one occasion, the rakshasa Kumbhakarna came here. O son! In those earlier times, he forcibly enjoyed me. The immensely strong one left me here and went to Lanka. I have not seen Lanka. I have resided here. My father’s name was Karkata and my mother was known as Pushkashi. My husband was Viradha, killed by Rama earlier. When my beloved husband was killed, I remained with my parents. My parents are now dead. A rishi reduced them to ashes. The great-souled Sutikshna was Agastya’s disciple. When they went there to devour him, he used his excellent austerities to destroy them. Since that earlier occasion, I resided on this mountain, miserable and alone. I lived here, afflicted by grief. I was without support and without a refuge. At that time, the rakshasa who was Ravana’s younger brother arrived here. He had intercourse with me. Leaving me, he went away. After that, you, the immensely strong and valiant one, were born. Having obtained a support again, I spent my time.” Hearing these words, Bhima, terrible in valour, was enraged. He thought, “What will I do against Hari? He has killed my father and my maternal grandfather. He killed Viradha also and has caused many kinds of miseries. If I am a true son, I will make Hari suffer.” Having made up his mind, Bhima left, to torment himself through great austerities directed towards Brahma.” (Note the reference to both Mount Sahya and Kamarupa.) F Leisure Laughing Gas* "What Does Laughing Gas Do To A Dental Patient?" https://amp.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/anesthesia/what-does-laughing-gas-do *Gas may not laugh on its own 🙏-Warrier G Quotes about History "Famous Quotes About History" https://www.thoughtco.com/famous-history-quotes-2832302 Like : Stephen Covey "Live out of your imagination, not your history." (Stephen Richards Covey was an American educator, author, businessman, and keynote speaker. His most popular book is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.) H Continued from C2 The facts are really not at all like fish on the fishmonger's slab. They are like fish swimming about in a vast and sometimes inaccessible ocean; and what the historian catches will depend, partly on chance, but mainly on what part of the ocean he chooses to fish in and what tackle he chooses to use—these two factors being, of course, determined by the kind of fish he wants to catch. By and large, the historian will get the kind of fact he wants.” These lines penned by EH Carr in his insightful What is History? best illustrate that historical facts are never objective. The most effective way to influence public opinion is by the selection and arrangement of the appropriate facts. “It used to be said that facts speak for themselves. This is, of course, untrue. The facts speak only when the historian calls on them: it is he who decides to which facts to give the floor, and in what order or context,” Carr concluded. While reading Neera Chandhoke’s The Violence in Our Bones, these lines instantly come to mind, for the author, a faculty member of the political science department of Delhi University, has presented a partisan account of violence and its causes rather than an objective analysis of the subject. The facts have been cherry picked by her and arranged in a manner that matches her prejudices. However, one can’t single out Chandhoke for partisanship, as most Indian scholars lack the candidness of historian Eric Hobsbawm when it comes to ideology and objectivity. Asked if activism restricted his intellectual freedom, Hobsbawm’s answer was, “I hope that it never restricted my intellectual freedom. However, I have to admit that any real and strong political or religious commitment tends to impose, I wouldn’t say obligations, but more a preference or a prejudice favourable to advancing the cause.” Hobsbawm was born in Germany in 1917, later professed the Communist ideology, saw the rise and decline of the USSR, but remained committed to Marxist ideology till his death in 2012. His answer, therefore, should be a lesson for all ideologue writers and academics as he conveys in no uncertain terms that one is never objective while analysing the ideology one professes. There’s nothing wrong in Chandhoke professing what she believes in but a disclosure would have certainly helped in establishing the honesty of her purpose. To be fair, Chandhoke has chosen a very relevant subject. Where she fails is its premise and treatment, both of which get blinded because events and their causes are seen through a one-sided ideological prism. First, on the premise. The blurb on the back cover reads: “The Buddha, Ashoka, Gandhi – the three greatest Indians who ever lived – were emblematic of non-violence. Yet, paradoxically, their country of origin is one of the most violent places on earth. Do we, the people of India, have violence in our bones?” How’s this a paradox? Buddha appeared in the country’s history when violence was a norm for kings and their kingdoms. He preached against violence, but how short-lived his ideology and preachings were can be gauged from the fact that they very soon disappeared from the land of his birth. Where is it found today? China. Ashoka came to power through violence, turned to Buddhism and non-violence after a violent battle and with his demise the non-violent credo also disappeared. Gandhi thrived at a time when violence was the only tool to build as well as extinguish an empire. His non-violent methods were unique during the time, brought independence to India but could not end violence and he himself met a violent death. The short point is that violence has been a norm all along in Indian history—in fact in world history—so the examples Chandhoke has proffered for the land having a history of non-violence are more in the nature of exception rather than rule. Rather than analysing the cult of violence at an individual level involving family, community, and inter-personal interactions at a time when road rage, killing for reasons as trivial as wrongly parking cars in a crowded society, are increasing, Chandhoke resorts to the usual caste, communal and Maoist violence by throwing in events during Partition, struggle for secessionism in Kashmir and the North-East. Analysing violence at an individual level requires psycho-sociological expertise, while recounting political violence is easy as it just a cut-and-paste exercise from newspapers, with some garnishing of personal commentary. Still, the book would have been readable had Chandhoke brought historical finesse and astute scholarship to her arguments, but she instead dishes out grossly wrong interpretations at several places and a jaundiced view in which the state has been shown as an aggressor and non-state actors as victims. The chapter on violence during Partition provides wrong cause by simply blaming the British for its divide-and-rule politics, forgetting that it was more the introduction of democratic and secular politics that created problems between the Hindus and the Muslims. On communal violence in post-independence times, Chandhoke shows the majority community to be aggressors and the dominant minority, the Muslims, always as victims, totally forgetting that such violence has a power-play aspect too. When the largest and the second-largest communities clash, it’s got more to do with competitive politics rather than ethnic cleansing. Similarly, everyone agrees that lower castes have faced the worst kind of violence in India but at the same time any analysis should also bring to light that lower castes are not monolithic and power politics has made an entry there also. There are several cases of lower/dominant castes coming to power and unleashing violence on the upper castes. The chapter on Kashmir is the most dishonest, as here she tries to rationalise majority (read Muslim) violence in general and against the Kashmiri Pandits in particular. The chapter on violence in the north-eastern states is laughable because it blames the manner in which the Indian state was formed as the cause for violence. If that’s the case, then would it not be appropriate to say that the formation of a nation-state in India itself was wrong and that all princely states should have been left autonomous? The author is most careful in dealing with Maoist violence, maybe because of her ideological predilections. She first distinguishes it from the other forms of violence like caste, communal and for regional autonomy and then at length goes on to explain that the problem is not with ideology per se but with the violent methods chosen by the revolutionaries. That the two are inextricably linked has been conveniently overlooked, for it does not tie up with the larger narrative woven by the author. The conclusion is even more confusing because instead of offering the way forward, Chandhoke gives a long monologue on Gandhian philosophy and practise of non-violence, which even schoolchildren are aware of. For a regular newspaper reader, the book is nothing but a collection of clippings garnished with the author’s lopsided views buttressed by random couplets of some poets."