Sunday, 27 November 2011

The one who God loves (from Geeta) - by Swahilya Shambhavi


These verses from the chapter on Bhakti, spoken by Shri Bhagavan, remind me of the story of Abu Ben Adam. An angel appears in his dream one night and shows a long list of people who love god. Abu Ben Adam asks the angel if his name is there and the angel shakes her head to say, "No". Next day, the angel appears again with a short list of names and tells Abu Ben Adam that this is a list of people whom god loves and his name was top on the list!

Sri Krishna tells us what kinds of humans are loved most by God. The list of qualities is short, but arriving to that is a tall order. Ad­veshta Sarva Bhutanam - the list begins - the one who has no enmi­ty with any creature, the one who does not claim to be the owner of anything and the one who is free from a false ego are dear to me.

Samatwa or equality in the face of all situations is one quality, that shines through - the person who remains the same in distress and happiness, who is forgiving, always contented and exercises control over desires is dear to the Lord.

He should neither disturb others peace nor be disturbed by others, who is free from anger, hatred and fear, and not one who is in search of pleasures is beloved.

A mind that is free of worry, anxiety, which is pure by virtue of its stability and not wanting to do this or that, but just remaining in a state of devo­tion to the supreme is very dear to the Lord, says Sri Krishna.

One who is alike with the enemy and the friend, neither rejoices nor hates, nor desires nor grieves, who is unattached neither to the auspicious nor the inauspicious, but lives with devotion to the supreme self alone, is very dear to Bhagavan.

The quality of Samata is re­peated many a time in this chap­ter with Shri Krishna talking of the person who is the same with enemy and friend, in ignominy or praise, heat and cold, the si­lent one who remains balanced through praise and censure, and satisfied with whatever comes of its own accord, whose mind is not domesticated in the world of matter and who follows the path of dharma is very close indeed to where the Lord is.

When these qualities are realised, the mind enters into a state of balance. It remains calm and unruffled like the wa­ters of a crystal clear lake. The mind becomes still totally and becomes a superb medium for the reflection of the supreme consciousness that is God. This state of devotion prepares the indi­vidual for being a pure receptacle of the expres­sion of divinity.

Review and Codify Parliament Privileges

TNIE editorial


Congress MP Pravin Aron's decision to withdraw his privilege notice against the associates of Anna Hazare and promise to persuade other MPs to do the same is a welcome move. There may be many who might feel that the tone and words in some of their speeches lacked taste and restraints. They could have moved under existing laws imposing reasonable restric­tions on the citizen's right to freedom of expression and speech. Invoking breach of privilege reflects the intolerance of criticism on the part of politicians, some­thing that is abhorrent to a democratic polity that thrives on free debate and discussion among the peo­ple who elect their representatives.

This attitude betrays a lack of understanding of the genesis of parliamentary privileges and their role in a democracy. Members of the Central and State legislatures enjoy absolute privilege to say anything within their respective chambers without being liable to civil and crim­inal action under any law. The citizen's right to free speech, however, is not absolute and subject to laws that do not violate any of their fundamental rights. The legislators cannot restrain them from exercising these rights in the garb of breach of privilege and adopting the role of the prosecutor as well as the judge and the jury.

After Independence, the Constitution empowered the Central and State legislatures to codify their privileges, but allowed them to enjoy the privileges of the British House of Commons till they did so. In Great Britain, the concept of privilege evolved during the struggling days of parliamentary democracy, when its members had to be protected from threats to their independent functioning from the monarchy. But once the system was established, the British Parliament ceased to be overprotective about privileges. In India, where every institution of governance has to act within the basic framework of the Constitution, there is no justification to invoke Parliament's extraordi­nary powers to punish critics. Many advanced democra­cies have already codified the privileges of parliament and India should move in this direction.

Crisis of Trust at SAARC - by ANURADHA M CHENOY

Anuradha M Chenoy is professor at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

TNIE- 11 Nov 2011


Another SAARC conference with the re­gion's highest executives and yet there are few expectations. True, Afghanistan is a new member, Pakistan has recent­ly given India Most Favoured Nation status, Ne­pal's political parties have agreed on a peace pro­cess and a constitution and India is surging ahead as a major economic power. But why are these positive developments not impacting South Asian regionalism at a time when regional formations are major players in the international system?

A major issue is the trust deficit between South Asian countries. This is based on competitive na­tionalism which originated during state formation in post-colonial South Asia and continues as a tool in domestic and regional politics, and nation building approaches of the South Asian elites.

Top-most in this competitive nationalism and distrust is the unresolved conflict and strategic competition between India and Pakistan. India is able to use its economic, cultural and political power to leverage its influence in the neighbour­hood, while Pakistan uses primarily its influence over illegal non-state actors and military muscle. Even though the SAARC charter prohibits any bilateral issue from discussion, this animosity stalls SAARC from moving ahead on key eco­nomic and political decisions.

Another issue is the insecurity of smaller states combined with the fear of dominance. India's his­tory of influencing crucial developments in Ban­gladesh (during its formation); Nepal at every juncture of political change; Maldives during se­vere political unrest; Sri Lanka during its ethnic civil war, makes these states very conscious about their sovereignty and dependence dialectic and they use every opportunity to assert themselves.

The states of South Asia do not have a common strategic perspective that promotes collective strategic decisions. For example, Pakistan has been closely linked with US military alliances and has acted in concert with them especially since the 1970s when India was looking for an independent role and leadership of the Third World. China's territorial dispute and competi­tion with India, their close linkages with Pakistan and their attempts to influence Nepal and Sri Lanka at different periods have led to mutual threat perceptions between these countries. Nepal and Bangladesh have tried to balance India with other neighbours. There is then no common search for security within the region which is a necessary input into any regional body.

The domestic politics of South Asian countries, especially their sub-national ethnic conflicts have spilled into each other, creating distrust of their own minority communities as well as fear that the other country will use their minorities to cause dissension and question sovereignty. The issue of the Tamils in Sri Lanka is a prime example.
Without political linkages economic coopera­tion has limitations. The SAARC took the impor­tant step of creating the South Asia Free Trade Agreement. India has a free trade agreement with Sri Lanka; a trade and transit agreement with Nepal and MFN for Pakistan, which has been reciprocated after years of stalling. Yet trade between SAFTA countries is just about 6 per cent of their total international trade.

Other problems like unresolved territorial de­marcations on land and sea; the issue of illegal migrations; the unofficial terror linkages; the harbouring of criminals/terrorists of one state by another; allowing camps of insurgent groups and using these as bargaining chips; the treat­ment to each other's citizens, like the fisher folk who mistakenly cross maritime boundaries and are treated as prisoners of war and such like, all add up to the trust deficit and stall the progress of the SAARC as an effective body.

At the same time, the international trend is to­wards strengthening regionalism. Regional bodies like the European Union, ABEAN, African Union, to name a few have progressed in many domains. The EU and ABEAN are visa free zones; they have common security understanding. For example, a hundred years of misunderstanding between France and Germany was resolved by the EU part­nership. Similarly antagonisms between Malaysia and Singapore, and Malaysia and Indonesia were easier to resolve through the ASEAN. All these regions have free trade agreements. Bilateral prob­lems can become collective ones and border issues disappear. The Shanghai Cooperation Organisa­tion is bringing collective security to Russia, Chi­na and the Central Asian states. They carne later than the SAARC but have moved far ahead.

Bilateral relations between many of the SAARC countries have improved and are critical for a better SAARC. For example recently, India and Bangladesh have addressed major border prob­lems and are working towards a framework agreement on water sharing with which the Teesta River that crosses between India, Bangla­desh, Bhutan and Nepal can be turned from a river of discord to common water security. It has the potential to provide sharing of power and water resources and connectivity.

There is much that the SAARC shares. It has the world's most destitute people and most states that are very low on human development and gender indices despite marginal improvements. It faces routine and massive disasters from famines, floods, earthquakes. The people of this region have shared a long common history and faced much common oppression. Its problems at times of mul­tiple crises of climate, food and energy insecurity spill over and need common solutions.

The recent Indian declaration of supporting the SAARC in an "asymmetrical and non-recip­rocal" manner is an excellent initiative if put into practice. This would mean that India could grant concessions to SAARC countries even if they did not reciprocate and thus break the 'chicken or egg' situation of diplomatic restrictions. Giving more visas and facilitating exchange is one initia­tive India can take.

At a time, when countries like the US and the EU are looking to India for mutual advantages to get out of a global recession, it would be un­fortunate, if the region did not share more of their common economic and political progress and was bound instead into rivalries that under­mine each other. It was to get over these that the SAARC was created. It is up to the collective vi­sion of its leaders to make it relevant.

How to beat misery - by Swami Sukhabodhanandi

 is the Founder Chairman Prasanna Trust.

Be aware of how one's mind works, know the reasons that cause misery and practice meditation. It will help you keep misery at bay...


Misery is called the poison of life. A fool and his money are soon parted but a fool and his misery co-exist. With­out taking steps, it won't be possible to beat your enemy. Similarly, without taking steps, you can't beat your real enemy, which is misery.

Why do youth in partic­ular and people in gen­eral live in misery?
There is a difference be­tween fact and fiction, and between fact and the in­terpretation of a fact. One has to see this clearly. Most of the time, other than the physical pain, the interpre­tation of pain kills and tor­tures people.

For example, more than the heart attack, it is the thought of.getting a heart attack that people suffer from. To be sensitive to how thought and its world of interpretations create misery is the first step in handling sorrow.

A person can be killed by the bite of a non-poisonous snake. But has the snake killed him or his thought? Learn to keep this clarity that thought and its world of interpretations create misery.

A youth should be partic­ularly aware of this because awareness or unawareness -becomes our inner disci­pline.

We are nothing but our discipline. If a person is trained to be undisciplined, then that becomes his way of living. Right from his young days, if a person is made to understand that mind can be lost to interpretations, then that aware­ness will prove to be a great power for him.

Are there any other reasons for misery to exist?
Yes, there are. We need to be watchful of our greed and expectations. A greedy mind will always say that the present is incomplete and the future is complete. One fails to realise that one has to live in the present and not in the future. But more often, one trusts the future and doubts the pres­ent. Hence, misery is our piece of destructive art.

Man suffers from sorrow with the hope of happiness in the form of pleasure. His misery is a shadow of an unintelligent mind. To be sorrowful is an unnatural state and to be happy is a natural state.

Hence, in deep sleep, we are effortlessly happy. Therefore, if one is not will­ing to renounce this unconscious behaviour, he or she will build a prison of sorrows. We live in dreams, not in reality. Expectations are not a problem. However, being a victim of expectations and not a master of it is the real problem. Life needs a bal­ance or else medicine will turn into poison.

What has meditation to do with misery?
Meditation brings a wakeful energy in our life. To be awake to the reality of how one's mind and uncon­scious behaviour operate is a part of meditative living.

Be aware of the fact that misery exists in your mind. Hence, if you transform your mind, the misery is transformed too.

ARROGANCE


TNIE
Once a Sadhu re­nowned for his occult powers was asked by a passerby if he could kill an elephant standing nearby. The Sadhu nodded ar­rogantly, took a pinch of bhasma, chanted a man­tra and threw the ash at the elephant which keeled over dead. "Now can you bring the elephant back to life?" asked the man. The sadhu chanted another mantra and threw some more ash at the dead ele­phant which immediately came back to life.

The man, who was the Lord in disguise, said: "What you have exhibited is quite impressive. But what did it do for you? Do you feel uplifted by it? Has it enabled you to rea­lise God?"
As the sadhu stood dumbstruck by the ques­tion, the man vanished.

A little bit of freedom - by Suvyakta Narasimha dasa


As sensible human beings we have to understand that with independence comes the need to act responsibly
 
It is often said, "Not a blade of grass moves without the sanction of the supreme lord," and that is a fact. Nothing hap­pens without the sanction of god. There is English saying, 'Man proposes and god disposes'. This is abso­lutely correct because we can't fulfill any of our desires without the sanction of lord Krishna, the supreme per­sonality of god.

Sometimes, when we meet Christians and ex­plain this to them, they find it difficult to believe. They question that there are nu­merous sinful people whose desires are evil. There are child molesters, murderers, rapists and other such crim­inals. And so they ask, "Is god sanctioning the desires of all these sinful people? Is god enabling these people to perform these heinous acts?" The answer is yes, god is sanctioning these people's desires and he is enabling them to do these sinful acts of crime because without the sanction of god they couldn't perform such activities.

Well, one might find it difficult to understand this that "How is it that god, who is all good, is allowing these people to perform sin­ful activities?" The answer is that god doesn't want them to perform sinful activities; it's just that he has given us a little independence. He doesn't interfere in our little independence. If we have a desire to perform sinful activities, although god doesn't want us to, he also doesn't interfere in our independence. So, he lets us fulfill our sinful desires but he does it in such a way that ultimately we become frus­trated and surrender unto him to regain our natural position as his servant.

We can't get away with anything because as human beings we have some inde­pendence to act as we de­sire, therefore, we are also responsible for our own actions. This responsibility means if we perform sinful activities we have to suf­fer the consequences of it later. These reactions could take the form of disease, le­gal implications, suffering from natural disasters or loss of our money, beauty or prestigious position and much more.

The ultimate suffering is at the time of death when we are sent to one of the many hellish planets for a long period of time. The lord of death, Yamaraja, comes for sinful people and forcibly drags them to hell where they have to endure unimaginable pain to atone for their sins. After having suffered for a long time, they are allowed to take birth on this earth again to "have another go at it."

The desires we have for pleasure in this world will never satisfy us. We can try anything in this world, but we will never be satisfied. If one is thoughtful, after numerous births, he will think, "This material world is not so good because no matter what I do I am not happy." Then he will think; "There must be something else, there must be another place." He can then come to the spiritual platform.

Who says you can't be rich? - by Swami Sukhabodhananda


-  is the founder and chairman of the Prasanna Trust 

Have a great attitude and harbour the belief that you can be rich. Practise this mantra to be rich, but make sure you don't get addicted to money...

It is always wise to be prosperity conscious and not scarcity conscious. To create money, you should learn to think from abun­dance. You should think rich, you should feel rich, you should be rich with pos­sibilities, only then can you attract money.

What is a simple for­mula to be rich?
Start with ABC D - have a great Attitude; Believe that it is possible; Imagine the Consequences of being abundant; and Dare to live that way.
Learn to be in the compa­ny of the rich, while serving the poor. Fish where there are fishes. Let every activity of yours be of value.
Attitude gives you energy to live life passionately. So, keep checking your attitude constantly.
Operate from a certainty that you will be rich. And, once you think you are rich in possibilities, you have to bring it into practice.

What should a youth be aware of with respect to money and its danger­ous implications?
One should not be against money or addicted to money. Don't be pos­sessed by the thought of money alone. Then, your relationship with people will be affected. There is no need to renounce money. But you need to renounce your addiction, your craze and your money-minded­ness. See this distinction clearly.

Money makes you rich but your addiction to mon­ey, will make you a poor individual. Be alert to this danger.

Money gives you a lot of power but understand that true, genuine power is goodness. Make that dis­tinction. The power of love and goodness is the true power.
Money is currency. Hence, it has to flow. A na­tion, which is focused on saving and hoarding mon­ey, will not be rich because then, the money is not flowing. So, allow money to flow and in that process, be rich.

How should we spend money?
There is a book where I had read that the king of a poor country meets the rich man of another coun­try and asks him the secret of his richness, and he re­plies: "Whatever you earn, 10 percent should go to charity. The other 30 percent to investment and the rest should be for you to spend."

Why 10 percent to char­ity when I can't afford to give?
By giving to charity, you tell yourself that you are big­ger than money. A person who is richer than money can truly earn money. Giv­ing makes you feel rich.

Public Private Partnerships in Schools - engaged learning


As important as the course of learning is the way it is delivered to students. True learning is possible only when the learner is engaged with the learning process. Children learn in different ways and it is important that a school employs an eclectic mix of methodologies for the holistic development of the child.

Some of these methodologies may include peer learning, projects, research, role plays, interactive discussions, outdoor trips, experimentation, among others. The teachers and staff of the school must believe that every child can learn and meet high standards. Various new ways can be enforced to ensure that students learn to adapt to different ways of learning. These consist of worksheets, multimedia, learning labs, guests speakers, etc. Thus, the school would need to prepare a comprehensive curriculum and teachers would plan their lessons based on the latest research on cognitive and educational processes.

The delivery of content and pedagogy has major implications for teacher recruitment, teacher-training and leadership development for Model Schools.

Delivery of content and pedagogy would also impact the architectural designs of school.

Source: Confederation of Indian Industry (Public Private Partnerships in Schools)

Entrepreneurs want an honourable exit


- some newspaper

Entrepreneurs, be it medium, small or micro, want to exit the industrial scene with honour and not in shame. Prospec­tive employees want to quit without any stigma. These are the findings revealed in a report prepared by a consultant ap­pointed by TANSTIA - FNF Service Centre (TFSC).

The consultant B. Yerram Raju visited about 12 Indian States and 300 industrial units to find out what ails the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sectors and suggested remedial measures. He concluded that MSMEs were deprived of several benefits that were available to large scale units as low cost finance, raw material on easy terms, availability of skilled labourers and an easy exit route. Besides, an entrepre­neur in Tamil Nadu had to maintain 60 registers and file 53 returns.

According to him, Tamil Nadu has about 5.80 lakh MSMEs that offer direct em­ployment to 421akh people; 6 lakh were self-employed. About 20 per cent of these units are looking for an exit route and the capital invested by them ran to several crores of rupees. About 60 per cent of the investments were the region of less than Rs.25 lakh. Nearly 88 per cent of the enterprises posted profit that included auto compo­nents, food process­ing, bio tech, health­care and leather products.

The study classified enterprises under two broad categories - traditional skill based industries and technology based in­dustries in Chennai, Coimbatore, Vani­yambadi, and Karur. It covered groups such as auto and auto components, leather, pumps, textiles and ready made garments, pharmaceuticals, ceramics and sago. It was found out that the perfor­mance of the sector was affected largely due to technological obsolescence, inabili1o/ to meet quality standards, shortage of skilled manpower, government regulations, policies, inadequate marketing support, increase in prices of raw material market competition and shortage of funds for expansion and modernisation. The other factors for failure ­were lack of guidance, wrong location and lack of planning. Then the question arose, who needed the exit route? Entrepreneurs failing to succeed in their plans, those who would like to retire not knowing how to dispense their surplus, have not successors, have family partnership disputes, sick and the incipient sick failing to receive any help from the financing institutions and banks, some ageing women entrepreneurs with no prospects of a successor and failed public programmes driving away entrepreneurs.

Everyone can have a retirement but not certainly the entrepreneur. Therefore the policy should involve provisions for mid-course corrections for an entrepreneur to exit; flexibility to shift from liquidation to rehabilitation and vice versa; no special provisions for claims for the public sector organisation or government agencies vis-à-vis other credi­tors legal process should encourage informal settlement; no creditor should be in a position to insti­tute criminal cases against mere defaults and there should be some insurance mechanism to help the entrepreneur and the labour, the report suggested.

TFSC urged the State to set up Commission and Tribunal for Set­tlement of Stressed Assets, establish an authority at State or region levels for considering MSE insolvency petitions, set up an entrepre­neur social security fund for the disabled entrepreneurs and social security scheme for the MSEs among other things. "On the one hand, ef­forts should be made to rehabilitate the vi­able units by provid­ing timely financial help, or else provide hassle free way for exit of these people in an honourable way. After all, no one wants to live in the society with a stigma of swindling some-­one's money. We have given our suggestions for the exit policy and on implementation Tamil Nadu would have the distinction of being the first state in the country to do so," said TFSC chairman T.S. Dhanapalan.          I

Surpassing hurt to face reality – by Swami Sukhabodan­anda


TNIE

When you are hurt, be honest about it without putting on a false facade. As a way of survival, you can escape to a world of joy, but it will lead to further suffering

Hurt or upset, wheth­er you justify it or not, is self damaging. Hurt creates its world of subjective foolishness. It is like a person who breaks all the mirrors, of his house just because he does not want to see the face of a fool. The reward of it is unnecessary suffering in the end.
It is harder to heal the hurt of a fool than that of an intelligent person.

What should the youth do to get rid of our inner hurt?

We are a result of our psychological program­ming. Our unhappy mind operates at three levels. There is pseudo-positivism, there are our past hurts and the past hurts spin a world of hope for the future.

We are unhappy and hurt and instead of facing it authentically, we create artificial smiles and thus, cover up our inner wounds. This type of positivism does have a social decency, but also has false value.

The danger of this type of positivism is that we are not healing and transforming, but covering our hurt. Then, this hurt is pushed into a deeper level of our minds. This suppressed hurt triggers our past hurts in the subconscious mind and they both begin nour­ishing each other. Thus, the hurt becomes stronger with references to the past.

The past hurt, coupled with the present hurt, proj­ects a world of hope in the domain of the future. Then, one starts living in hope as a matter of survival. To free oneself from such a cycle is through using the concept of yogic linguistic program­ming.

Firstly, when you are hurt, be honest about it and don't play the mental games of plastic smiles. Secondly, understand how your past hurt will support your pres­ent pain. Don't allow them to combine as one. Thirdly, when the mind hopes for the future, understand that it is a way of survival from pain. As a way of survival, you escape to a world of joy in the future and when your pain is intense, you in inten­sively hope for the future, and thus, create multiple personalities.

There is no proof of how multiple personalities are created. Fainting is a method that the body uses to avoid intense pain. Simi­larly, when our past hurt, coupled with the present, becomes too intense, then as a matter of survival, the mind projects a world of hope and joy in the future. This way, the future appears more real than the present.

To get out of the pain of student life, you might begin imagining to be a professor and you are knowledgeable and this is how a dual per­sonality is created.

Instead of creating a world of the future, heal your hurt. It is possible to do so through yogic methods. That is why it is called yogic linguistic programming.

Reflect on this. The master said, "What you need is not the assur­ance of security, but the thrill of insecurity, and the pleasure it gives rather than security. You should develop the pleasure of healing instead of spin­ning a world of hurt and meth­ods to avoid hurt."

PARABLE - EXISTENCE


          
As in The New Indian Express

A hungry lion on the prowl saw a group of cats and wanted to devour them. But curiosity got the better of his hunger and he wanted to listen to what I they were saying before killing them. The cats had not noticed his presence. "We've praying to the heavens to rain mice, but God hasn't answered our prayers," said one cat. "Maybe God doesn't really exist," said another feline.

The lion rose and left the cats to their faithlessness: "How ignorant these cat are. I was going to kill and eat them, but God stopped me. But the foolish creatures stopped believing in Him. They were annoyed about their wish going unfulfilled while actually God protected them from me."

Mora1: God may not listen to some prayers spoken, but heeds unspoken ones.

Of Debts, Downgrades and Desi Politicians in Delusion by Shankkar Aiyar


Senior journalist on sabbatical, specialises in the politics of economics

as in The New Indian Express

Last week, a tec­tonic plate shifted. For the first time since 1917, the US was downgraded from AAA to AA by Standard & Poor. The quake may have been located across the Atlantic Ocean but it signals a tsu­nami warning for the world. The aftershocks have rocked stock, commodities and currency mar­kets. The riots in London have rat­tled regimes across Europe strug­gling to contain the contagion of debt. The threats of political crises and possible downgrade from AAA status are new variables. It is not just borrowers who are under fire. Lenders too are feeling the heat. The hammering of bank stocks­ Citibank, BofA, SocGen who hold, sovereign bonds -is illustrative of the fragility of the global archi­tecture.

As with the geological avatar, the tidal effects of this eco-quake are bound to impact the Indian economy. You would imagine an event of this magnitude would provoke a discussion in Parlia­ment. No. The temple of democracy was too engrossed in the staging the theatre of the absurd. There was no debate, no discus­sion and even the one zero-hour mention was a caricature of political thought. If the politi­cal parties believe this is not an event worth their attention, then we need no further proof that our desi politicians are dwelling in delusion.

Just do the math. The total income of the world is roughly $63 trillion (WB/2010). The US accounts for 25 per cent or $14.5 trillion. The European Union accounts for $16 trillion and Japan $5 trillion. The US has to raise an additional $2 trillion to keep its systems running; simmering politics threatens to unravel any plan the EU might concoct to manage the debt contagion; and Japan has been struggling even before Fukushima. Juxtapose this into a business equation. The US, the largest consumer, is struck by what is described as a liquidity or cash flow problem. The EU has a solvency problem; four of its members are bankrupt. Do the arithmetic and you realise that between them, the US, EU and Japan add up to $3S-plus trillion or 60 per cent of global GDP. In short, the three largest consum­ers in the global economy who account for more than half the global GDP are in deep trouble.

Momentum in physics or economics is the outcome of mass into velocity. If 60 per cent of the mass is decelerating, can India be unaffected? The US owes for­eigners $4.5 trillion-four times India's national income. Debt is now a four-letter word. The cri­sis of debt is the consequence of living beyond means. Not unlike India., Government borrowings have shot up five times to Rs 417,128 crore in seven years, of which Rs 267,986 crore goes to pay interest. The political class has legitimised the funding of ­private political ambition with ­public resources in the name of alleviating poverty. Every day, the government borrows around Rs 1100 crore of which over Rs 700 crore goes in interest costs.

If India has managed to stay out of trouble, it is explained by a unique situation. Unlike the EU economies and the US, the government of India borrows from Indian savings. But savings require growth. The slowdown ­in the economy is the price for political profligacy. Thanks to inflation, the RBI has hiked policy rates 11 times since .January 2010. Interest rates-yesterday HDFC Bank hiked PLR to 18.5 per cent - are higher than they were in 1996. And the stress of high interest costs is visiting the bal­ance sheet of banks. Earlier this month, ICICI had to take a stake in a debt-laden telecom outfit. On Monday, rating agency :Moody's took a negative view on the expo­sure of public sector banks - SBI, PNB, BoB, BoI, IDBI, OCB - to Air India which is losing around Rs 25 crore a day. And we are yet to ascertain the impact of the cri­sis on companies who borrowed in dollars to acquire overseas assets betting on the India Story.

India Inc is overleveraged in hope and could be laid low by po­litical failure. It is estimated that over $33 billion worth of shares are pledged with banks as collat­eral by promoters. S&P's Indian arm Crisil has reported defaults, by 43 companies between April and June, and expects more de­faults and downgrades ahead. And these are symptoms of a larger malaise. Very simply, both the government and private sector are over-leveraged which will unravel rapidly in a crisis.

The Indian political class and policy wonks are sanguine in their assessment of an Indian insulated from the fire in the prairie. They would do well to recall that GDP growth dropped to 5.4 per cent from 9.3 (YoY) after the crash of 2008. It is true that India is largely a domestic economy and exports account for just 20 per cent of GDP. But it is also true that India doesn't export enough to pay for its imports. If it wasn't for the remittances, India could have been knocking at the doors of lenders. A global slow down will hit India. Sure, the fall in prices of commodities will help but the advantage accrues only if output and consumption grow. Yes, any assessment must factor the positives of domestic market and the demographic dividend. But domestic consumption is ­not a given. It requires growth in investment, job creation and incomes, ergo demography is not destiny.

It is entirely possible that the unity of purpose which defines the political economies of the West will gather force, unleash another round of fiscal stimulus to engineer growth. Keynesian economics could be re-resurrected. India can yet convert the chal­lenge into an opportunity. Money chases returns and India has the size and potential to deliver it if the cobwebs of political sloth that shackle the economy are cleared, if the case by suitcase paradigm is dismantled. But the political class will need to shift focus from personal ambition to public aspi­rations. Demography could yet deliver India its long promised tryst with destiny.

India on Global R&D Map - by Pranav N Desai


Professor, Centre for Studies in Science Policy, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
- The New Indian Express, 2011

Globalisation of innovation has emerged as a contentious issue due to its differential impact on economies at different levels of development. There is also a growing realisation that R&D and codified knowledge are important but not the sole factors that promote innovations and that most of eco­nomically useful knowledge has a tacit dimension having equally vital role.

There are several actors, institutional mechanisms and processes including informal and formal interactions that help leverage tacit knowledge. Technological capabilities are en­hanced by a learning that is determined not only by codified knowledge in R&D output such as publications, patents and designs but also by interactive learning processes of international collaboration, inward and outward foreign direct investments (FDI) and by the general socio­economic environment. This realisation has given boost to a rising trend, in building global R&D alliances and knowledge networks. Re­cently, a good number of new technology or research alliances worldwide were reported in six major sectors: information technology (IT), bio­technology, advanced materials, aerospace and defense, automotive, and non-biotechnology chemicals revealing greater interdependence in these sectors. Thus, the emerging technologies have also helped unfolding the globalisation pro­cess. At the same time, social capital or research network capital is also surfacing as an explana­tory variable of innovation.

India has attained a predominant position by attracting a major share of FDI in R&D in the last decade. It has achieved a trade surplus with the USA in R&D service trade. There is also a sudden jump in high-tech export of manufac­tured export in 2010. A significant structural change in manufactured exports has been observed. Between 2002-03 and 2007-08, the proportion of low-tech export declined from 66 to 56 per cent. As against this, the share of me­dium and high-tech rose from 22 to 30 and from 7 to 14 per cent respectively. Corresponding shares in patents filed under the PCT reveal that the high-tech patents enjoyed the maximum share of 56 per cent followed by medium-tech with 31 per cent and low-tech only 13 per cent.

This reveals rising technological capability and a positive signal, though India will have to cover a lot of ground to reach the global average of 21 percent. It is also essential to probe whether structure of technology intensive exports holds any relationship with economic development. It is in the preceding context that India’s different forms of international cooperation efforts require attention.

India efforts in international science and technology cooperation were initiated in 1950s. These efforts have been undergoing transformation through different phases of regulation and deregulation of economy. The unfolding of globalisation has tended to change the routes, nature and magnitude of this process. There has been an unprecedented increase in the number of international R&D collaborations. This phenomenon was confirmed to the triad countries (US, Europe, Japan) so far and South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore followed. Hence, it is not suprising that academic interest was confined to this region rather than to the emerging destinations of R&D collaboration.

In India, which has wide socio-economic disparities, this process might introduce new challenges and opportunities for innovations and policy-making. Scholars have argued that globalisation of R&D by foreign firms divert resources from the main development needs and create high-tech islands and widen disparities. Others perceive this process as capacity enhancing with the changing nature of R&D and collaboration pattern.

The structure of the International System of Innovation is also changing. As far as world share of gross domestic expenditure on R&D (GERD) is concerned, North America still remains the dominant region with 37 percent share. Asia has now emerged as the second largest investor, with 32 percent, overtaking Europe. Asia also had the highest number of researchers in the world accounting for 37 percent compared to Europe (33 percent) and North America (25 percent). The global share of North America in the patents issued by the USPTO and EPO remained at the top. The share of Asian countries was higher than the Europe. During 2006, the share of patents originating from Asian countries in the patents issued to residents of foreign countries by the USPTO was also high. Countries like Japan, China and India contributed the overwhelming portion. Thus the Asian regional S&T order still remains hierarchical as there is unequal distribution of S&T resources, intellectual property rights and the digital divide is threatening to widen. This also explains the divergence in their innovation
system and its role in economic development.

With Asia s integration with the global economy there are signs of rapid intra-Asian economic integration. Apart from North-South and South-South FDI inflows, it is estimated that intra-Asian FDI flows accounted for about 40 per cent of Asia's total FDI flows. Moreover, some changes are also taking place in the mode and structure of outward FDI (OFDI) from deve1oping countries that may constitute the third 'wave' in OFDI. The value of OFDI stock from developing countries reached $859 billion in 2003, up from $129 billion in 1990, and has increased 11 times since 1985. Though these investments are mainly coming from the BRICS nations, the changing sectoral composition and diversification in destinations reflect increasing technological learning and capacities. Along with the increased levels of FDI, there has been increasing FDI in R&D activities. This is a new feature added, which is likely to hold greater influence on the National Innovation System (NIS) of the countries receiving greater share of the same

India has emerged as the top destination of R&D investment globally out of the major strategic investments received during 2005. It is also interesting to note that even as percentage of total FDl, the share of R&D during 2002-2007 was 24 per cent. and during 2005 the share was 65 per cent as shown in the global strategic FDI in R&D. It does not seem to be merely a coincidence that this region has recently witnessed economic revival and also an increasing share in the Indian Standards Institution.

Insecurity – a euphemism for fear by Swahilya Shambhavi


- The New Indian Express
Of all the problems that the mind has, fear is the worst. It is present everywhere and in everything. When you need to begin something new, fear shows up, attacking you from the bottom of your stomach.

For many, the fear can manifest very subtly in the form of not allowing them to voice their views at a social gathering. For few, it mani­fests in such an obvious manner, that they would be afraid to open the win­dow and let in fresh air and sunlight, as they are now so used to the stuffy air inside the room!

Fear is fundamentally the non-acceptance of change. Change, as it is so often said, is the only constant thing in existence. We are chang­ing every moment - blood moves from one part of the body to another constantly, the cells are moving, com­municating, dying, being born again, the breathing process takes place, getting transported to many parts of the body within few sec­onds.

In your mind, if there is a thought that this could be the best moment in your life, or even imagine some possibility to be the best for you and you wish, to freeze that frame to capture our good mood and emotions, photographs are taken and they are laminated. We frame them and keep look­ing at them. But nature does not operate on the basis of such frozen frames or pic­ture postcard shots. It is a constant flux from a gentle wave now to a tsunami the next moment. It need not happen, it may not happen, will not necessarily happen, but there is a possibility that it will happen. Being in tune with the possibility of change every moment, and accepting it totally, is living life to the fullest.

A commonly used word, insecurity or rather the need to feel secure about life, is a euphemism for fear. You have typecast your life in a manner and imagine it to be he best and want it to repeat month after month – receiving your salary, spend­ing it mindlessly through the month, expecting your salary the next month, receiving your salary, spending it, waiting for the next, an assured process, just like running on the treadmill. This is a secure life, but only according to you.           J

Nothing is secure in this wide universe. We never  know when the fi­nancial situation can crash, when there will be war, when disaster will strike, when you will face difficulty as an individual. So, insecu­rity and fear have no place. We don't control our situa­tions all the time. The easier way is to simply be and go with the flow.

THE WISE TEACHER - OPINIONS


- The New Indian Express
A student of the Tao went to the Celestial Master Zhang Ling and asked him what was the best way to please god.

"Go to the cemetery and insult the dead," advised Ling. The student did as ordered and came back to the master.

"What did the dead say?" asked Zhang Ling.

"Nothing," said the nov­ice, "They kept quiet."

"Then go now, and praise them," the master advised.

Off went, the student to the cemetery. When he returned, the Tao master ­repeated his earlier question and received the same answer.

"To please god, behave like the dead," said Zhang Ling. "By not paying attention to either insults or the praise of others, you shall be able to forge your own path."

Love is for giving, not taking - Balgangadharanatha Swamiji


Many people struggle with the concept of detachment in rela­tionships. Detachment is not a zen-like state of unfeeling nor does it mean to be 'un­caring'. It is simply a state of not allowing your happi­ness to be hinged on another person's actions, words and antics.

Detachment is a state of not being emotionally so fused with someone or his / her actions that it takes over your life and leaves you liv­ing in a 'reactive' and miser­able state.

All human relationships can be happier from a po­sition of detachment. This means loving people enough to allow them to make their own choices without them receiving any flak from you, even though those choices may not be consistent with what you think they ought to be.

In family relationships, it means being detached enough to allow your rela­tives to be what they choose to be. It means forgetting about any evaluation that you might make and instead listening and loving the other family members for what they are, offering ad­vice when asked, and giving them unconditional love.

In your parenting rela­tionships, it means con­stantly reminding yourself that your children are on their own paths and they are not going to live their lives the way you decide they should. It means guid­ing them, helping them to become self-reliant, and always letting. them know that you unconditionally love them, even when they behave in many ways that are self-defeating.

It is to be able to enjoy the beauty of a lovely relation­ship without being caught in its possessive grasp. Pos­sessiveness is a poisoned barb and it vitiates the at­mosphere, which a relation­ship needs to evolve fully. Jealousy is another impedi­ment of detachment, which is all about choosing an un­fettered ambience wherein two people can live joyously and see their love flourish. There is no ownership in a detached relationship.

Detachment in human relationships does not mean an absence of caring. It means caring so much that you suspend your own judgment about others and relate 'to them from a posi­tion of love rather than at­tempting to control or judge them. The person, who is detached in this sense, is the one who will avoid all unnecessary suffering in his/her relationship.

Among the several doubts lurking in those who are sincere in upholding various spiritual exercises to re­alise God, one is about the proper interpretation of the term 'detachment'. All holy texts plead with aspirants to remain unattached towards worldly objects and activities. Should that necessarily mean retiring to seclusion, cutting themselves away from the earthy influences? Not at all, one can continue his/her daily duties and still be detached.

The significance is that to all living beings, at all times, vital desire is the inevitable seed from which endless se­ries of rebirths sprout. If at all a person wants to aspire, he should display eagerness to be conferred with the rare privilege of being severed from rebirths. Freedom from births can come only by desirelessness, which can be treated as man's su­preme wealth.

Detachment encourages you to grow closer in your relationship. You reduce the likelihood of suffer­ing in your relationships because you have so much unconditional love for oth­ers that your love is going to show even if they choose to leave you.

Detachment encourages you to grow closer in your relationship. It reduces the likelihood of suffering in your relationship because you have so much unconditional love to offer others
In learning to become less attached, you also learn a fundamental truth about re­lationships. Love is for giv­ing, not taking! This is the true essence of detachment in all human relationships.

LIFE AND LOVE - ETERNAL TRUTH


from The New Indian Express

A man, who lost his wife whom he loved very much, was walking on his way to Benares. His soul grew heavier as he kept walking. "Pity on those who know love," he thought. "They will never be happy, with the fear of losing the one they love."

He sat down under a tree to rest and his reverie was interrupted by a nightingale's song. The widower was annoyed.

"My wife loved your songs but isn't around to hear them any more. Why do you sing?"

"Because I am happy," said the bird. "Which means you haven't lost anyone you loved in your life," retorted the man.

"I have lost many I've loved many times," an­swered the nightingale. "But my love still remains the same."

Foreign Universities Are Not the Answer - S VAIDHYASUBRAMANIAM


Written in Aug 2011 - The New Indian Express
The author is IOB Chair Professor of Management and Dean-Planning and Development, SASTRA University

The Foreign Universities (FU) Bill raises many questions with regard to its necessity, timing, im­plementation, global trends, etc. Such questions are in search of answers and here are some.

International students constitute an integral part of a country's economic and intellectual growth. The UNESCO Institute for Statistics' international student count of 3.6 million is 75% more than year 2000 levels. The Higher Education Strategy Associates (HESA), a leading Toronto ­based educational research firm published a report focusing on higher education in "G-40" countries which account for over 90% of global enrolments. It reported that globalisation influ­enced higher education in 2010 and many students traveled abroad to study despite the economic crisis. Many universities and governments have intensified their internationalisation efforts to gain prestige and profit from new markets. British Prime Minister David Cameron in an interview at a university in Beijing admitted tuition fees for British students have been increased to keep the cost down for foreign students.

The economic value of international students is gargantuan. According to the Institute of International Education, the annual value of the US economy is estimated to be $20 billion and close to £12 billion for the UK. At $18 billion, international education is Australia's third highest export and in Canada it is estimated to be $7.5 billion. With high economic stakes, inter­national education is becoming competitive economics.

HESA's report analysed the trends in tuition fee and student-aid policies of all the 40 countries. Countries like Pakistan, Ar­gentina, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Mexico, Turkey, Nigeria, etc. have no change in tuition fees. These are not the fire-cracker countries in the exploding inter national higher education export market. The report puts the US, UK, Australia and Canada in the ‘small to big tuition fee increase category’, thanks to policy decisions like the UK's Browne Review Report (2010) and Obama’s $89 billion budget cut. Massive protests and student unrest of unprecedented nature resulted in London police kettling and US police pepper spraying. The de-funding and tuition hikes may prompt new marketing ideas by foreign universities to attract International Students. The FU Bill needs to be viewed with this background.
 
The HRD ministry believes foreign education providers will enhance non-public investment, forgetting that 85% of Indian higher education is offered by private providers in the absence of an academic-level playing field despite loans to such institutions not being prioritised by RBI. The ministry hopes that foreign universities will improve research and innovation, conveniently forgetting the absence of a world-class research policy for Indian institutions to demonstrate their full potential.

The HRD ministry puts the total expenditure by Indian students abroad $5.5 billion while Assocham overestimates it to be $10 billion, with a puerile belief that allowing foreign universities will reduce the outflow by $7.5.billion. Public opinion is also equally distorted and believes that foreign universities will stop Indian student outflow. The financial stress faced by foreign universities, especially the US and the UK, resist them from offering post-graduate programmes in India. Foreign universities cannot afford to risk their biggest revenue spin­ner as a majority of Indians enroll for post-graduate education abroad. Just as a strong Chinese Yuan is encouraging more Chinese to go abroad, if economic wisdom prevails at the policy-making level allowing the rupee to strengthen, then more Indian students will still prefer foreign destinations.

Solutions to MHRD: A 10-year plan for premier Indian institution, public and private, to conduct high-end research in a level p1aying field without unreasonable bureaucracy and regimental regulations. Accelerate investments and spur quality indigenous growth by bringing lending to accredited institutions under priority sector. Allow more than 50-year-old accredited foreign universities to offer only PhD and post­graduate courses for the first 10 years with their own faculty without repatriating funds in any form (not only surplus). This shall test the genuineness of foreign universities and also augment the Indian faculty crisis. Conduct studies on the experiences of countries that allowed foreign universities.

Result: Conditional visa for foreign universities in India!

thinking – Must have books: by Prof LS Ganesh

PROFESSOR ,DEPARTMENT OF MANAGEMENT STUDIES,IIT Madras, Chennai
The Art of Thinking by Allen F Harrison and Robert M Bramson; Berkley Books
Thinking Skills by John Butterworth and Geoff Thwaites; Cambridge University Press
Effective Thinking Skills by Richard Nelson-Jones; AITBS Publishers and Distributors
The Thinker’s Toolkit by Morgan D Jones; Random House
Sparks of Genius - The Thirteen Thinking Tools of the World's Most Creative People by Robert and Michele Root-Bernstein, Houghton Mifflin
Gut Feelings - Short Cuts to Better Decision Making by Gerd Gigerenzer, Penguin
Lateral Thinking - A Textbook of Creativity by Edward de Bono; Penguin
Critical Thinking - A Student's Introduction by Greg Bassham, William Irvin, Henry Nardone and James M Wallace; McGraw-Hill
Lean Thinking - Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corpora­tion by James P Womack and Daniel T Jones; Free Press
Quantum Leap Thinking – An Owner’s Guide to the Mind by James Mapes; Souvenir Press


7 Kinds of Smart ­- Identifying and Developing Your Multiple Intelligences by Thomas Armstrong; Plume