Sparing a thought for December 16th, 2012 this morning

Within 4 months of its occurrence, the Delhi Gang Rape has completely disappeared from public discourse. Even The Hindu, which reported the case with maturity and persistence, no longer prints the details of court proceedings on the first page. And this case is supposedly in a “fast track court”. So much is wrong at so many levels: broken judicial system, unaccountable government, and most tragically, apathetic us. Good news is: if we all contribute just a little time, thought and resources to even one cause we truly care about, big collective change can happen. The world has always been tilted more towards wrong than right. Thankfully, we live in a time where a few click on our laptops can help set that balance right.

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Joined Teach for India (as a YPA)

The one social cause that has always been close to my heart is – education. I truly believe that a good education is the one instrument that can bridge the inequity that divides India. In a later post, I hope to share more statistical data around this idea.

I recently decided to commit my time to education at some point of my life. This decision came at an opportune moment – I got connected to some wonderful people at the Teach for India initiative. Teach for India is a new movement, which aims to remove educational inequity by bringing bright, young Indians to deliver education in underprivileged communities.

For now, I have joined TFI as a TFI Young Professional Ambassador (YPA), wherein my responsibility is to be a bridge between TFI and the industry. Excited to be a part of this Initiative.

Independence and what it may mean

Sitting home unemployed, I keep hunting for new ways to kill time. A dvd of Bharat Ek Khoj borrowed from a friend has kept me busy for the last few days. Roshan Seth delivers the performance of a lifetime, bringing alive an era we have read so much of and know so little of.

The problem with history, in my limited observation, is that unlike science, it is highly open to interpretation. A historian’s misplaced loyalties may merge fantasy and truth to dangerous consequences, the recent Ram Setu case being an example.

Applying the same skepticism to Discovery Of India, Nehru’s memoirs can be contested for accuracy, or objectivity. That is not what I defend. What cannot be contested is that we have lost our sense of nationalism, which was the only adhesive in our country across caste and creed for the longest time. Where an entire country followed non violence in the face of grave atrocities; as ridiculous as such a movement may seem in times of nuclear proliferation. If each generation gets the leaders it deserves, we are the worst lot in a long time.

Maybe we could all start by getting voter IDs.

A story of futile medical tests

This blog hasn’t seen any posts in a while. That’s because I was in Bangalore, doing nothing. It was like Sabbath, only longer… so no writing could have happened.

I left Bangalore by a Saturday night train. Obviously, Friday night constituted of drinking and passing out. Next morning I woke up with a swelling in the ankle. Dismissing it as one of those things that happen when you roll and tumble, I let it be. A week later, it was still hurting. I went to the office physiotherapist; he suggested I get a uric acid test done. For a second opinion, went to an ortho. Got an xray done, normal. He added to the uric test, a rheumatoid factor test and some more. Put me on some medicine.

So I ran the tests, and ran to the doctor with the reports. Reports were all clean, he finally concluded it was either a sprain or a muscle pull (a diagnosis my mother had also submitted, minus the tests and the jargon). So now, poorer by 1600 rupees, I am in office with an anklet on my right foot and some painkillers in my tummy.

I am not challenging the doctors’ competence, what had to be done had to be done. I am just wondering, in our country, if a poor woman sprains her foot or hurts her back, how does she handle it? Sure we have government hospitals, but their efficacy and competence is a topic I will save for another day.

Politics vs. ethics

Why do newspapers have such strong political inclinations?

There was a pro-Congress editorial in a local print about how the loan waiver is a glittering example of its farmer-friendliness. Now, I like the Congress way more than I will ever support a communalist BJP. But the loan-waiver is a very bad move.

Who is suffering here? I don’t know. Maybe the money, if invested in better fertilizers/irrigation/education, could have had better results. The government and the banks are surely not losing. The national banks that are going to write off loans, will be issued government bonds of an equivalent amount. That’s as good as money. If the treasury is doing well, government will liquidate the bonds and pay the banks. If it does not feel like paying, it will just raise capital requirements for banks, so they’ll have to increase their reserves.

Such an example of how bad politics reigns over common sense, and the right thing to do.