Friday, 25 December 2009

Another poetic response

Before also others' poems have inspired me to write. This one written few months back, may be out of context especially for those who were not part of discussions at wee hours. If you happen to read, try and read in the sequence. All three are strongly interlinked.

One - The original (seed)
Two - The response
Three - The re-response:

नया चाँद हर महिने आता रहेगा
हँसता गाता रहेगा, मुस्कुराता रहेगा
चाँद से ज्यादा चंचल तो हम ही हैं,
जानते हैं कि हर नया चाँद गुमनाम होता रहेगा |

फिर भी हम आस लगाए बैठते हैं कि वह हर रात सजाएगा
चुरा के ही सही, इतनी रौशनी भला वह भी कहाँ से लाएगा?
फिर अमावस पे वह नही आता, टूटते हमारे दिल
तब याद आते हैं तारे, आज फिर दिखते झिलमिल |

चाँद या तारे, दोनों के बिना अधूरी ही लगती है रात
अंतर बस यह कि हम ही हैं देखते चाँद को अरमानों के साथ
तारों के साथ हम अरमानों के कोई बंधन नहीं रखते
इसी लिए लगते हैं वो अपने, हो पाती है उनसे दिल की बात |

~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~

सब तारों में एक, कोने में अकेला बैठा रहता है
लोग पाते उसको अचल, उत्तर दिशा दिखाता है
पर लोग क्या जाने, हाय! कैसी चक्कर आती है...
एक दो ही नहीं, पूरी दुनिया जो मंडराती है |

पूनम पे तो मुरझाता है, जलता है चाँद से थोडा सा
और अमावस पे तुम्हे गुमसुम देख, होता है मायूस सा
लेकिन उस ध्रुव ने भी ठानी है ध्रुव तारा बने रहने की
अमावस की रात जब चाँद न हो साथ, लोगों का साथ देने की |

उसके भी दिल की सुनने वाली होगी कोई परी
कफनी वाले जोगी का दिल हुआ है भारी
तड़प रहा है वो भी ऐसे ही किसी के साथ के लिए
किसी के नही, शायद उसी एक हाथ के लिए |

- कार्तिक
९ अप्रैल २००९

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Hypnotists and us

While at IIMB, I attended a panel discussion on Corporate Governance and Transparency. An interesting takeaway from this discussion (and from Fin.Acc. course) was that the good guys wanting stability have always played a game of catching up over rogue behaviour by bad guys.

As from following story, it turns out that curbing rogue behaviour can end up encouraging rogue behaviour in some other form. Story picked from MarginalRevolutions (pointing out how licensing is ineffective)
Back when I was working for the Indiana General Assembly, one member...became convinced that it was crucially important for the state to address, via statute, the problem of rogue hypnotists traveling the land, preying upon unsuspecting Hoosiers. He wasn’t anti-hypnotist, mind you–he thought the government needed to protect people from unqualified hypnotists...

So the state passed a hypnotist licensing law, complete with the requisite boards, professional standards, forms to fill out, fees to pay, and so on....Then, after the law was enacted, a funny thing started happening: The state began receiving license applications from people who didn’t live in Indiana....It turns out they were doing it so they could advertise in the yellow pages and on bus-stop billboards as “state-licensed.”

This got me thinking. For starter, I am a product of two of the certified brand names - IITKgp and IIMB. So it turns out that the certification from the brands is no indicator of whether I will be a good guy or a bad guy. Ok, leave me aside. I am a nice guy. But that is not the point.

We demand transparency to have accountability. We enforce transparency through rules and laws. We take transparency as (only) means to accountability since moral conscience is not as objective. Iam not saying that all hypnotists are corrupt. But the point I see in this story is transparency alone can only be partially effective at best, and corruptible at worst (refer to use of derivatives in financial crisis and current debate on whether carbon derivatives will be the cause of next bubble). Relatively best economy is where good guys are consistently catching up over bad guys. If there is something else which can drive responsible behaviour, please comment.

I have a parallel theory. Spiritual and religious philosophers had realized this problem (i.e. transparency not guaranteeing responsible behaviour) centuries ago. Hence they themselves acted opaquely to make it easier for others to follow. They painted good economic behaviour as moral behaviour. You may say that their reason for opacity is well-meant. Or maybe it was just laziness.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009


Scene 1: At the time humans did not have enough intelligence to be distinguished from other animals, there were two rules.
  1. Eat and reproduce.
  2. Repeat
Scene 2: 10000 years ago, we were hunter-gatherers. There was no written law, and only loosely understood rules. Something like -
  1. Eat, reproduce and provide for your group.
  2. Find something which can make your tasks simpler - like fire, tools made of wood or stone, wheel etc. Once one human has found it, the whole group has a better chance of survival.
  3. Whoever is physically strong will survive better.
Scene 3: In feudal ages, majority of population was peasants and labourers. There were formal laws made by powerful like kings/thakurs/barons etc, which were followed by everyone. However, due to unequal distribution of power there were too many moral hazards to improve standards of life for everyone. So the rules of the game were like -
  1. Provide for family.
  2. Pay taxes according to your produce. The taxes will go for the welfare of everyone. So again, civilization as a whole will survive better.
  3. Do not question authority. Whoever has stronger connections will survive better.
Scene 4: Today we are at a stage we think about freedom, equality and justice. We aim to provide democracy, rights of property, voting, free speech, Habeas corpus[1] etc. Now the rules are loosely -
  1. Be responsible towards self, family and taxes. Taxes will go for providing of "public goods".
  2. Make use of freedom of rights, but do not falsely shout fire in a crowded theater[2]. Also uphold the freedom for everyone else (including those who are marginalized, not necessarily through specific concessions). Give respect to get respect.
  3. Whoever can contribute/innovate/raise standards of life can survive better (broadly speaking, whoever is more intelligent/wise can better provide for themselves/family/society/humanity).
Okay, maybe we have not reached this state fully yet. The previous rules are sticky, and have not gone out of the game.

Scene 5: In future, I think issues for the whole earth (like sustainability of environment) will be more important than ethnic and political differences. Hence we will need to democratize our powers over the earth's ecosystem further down to other animals and plants.

Giving voting rights to other creatures may sound outlandish and outright crazy. But only in 1948 did UN uphold voting rights to women[3]. Many suggested it was outright crazy. A large part of Arab world still denies the rights today. And I am not saying anything about rights denied to races and colonies in past.

You may argue that trees don't have enough capabilities to select wisely. But it was argued all the same about tribals, blacks and women. And see how it has been proven wrong.

The basic aim of life still remains survival - with all the other types of gender, preferences, races, and also with other species, not without. We need the diversity to hedge life on earth against possible future catastrophes like virus attacks. If we need to survive together, we need to treat everyone equal.

That is what the future is going to be - Orangutan rallies reaching UN headquarters in protest of declining tropical forests[4]. And do expect political lobbying from butterflies, salamanders, bats, vultures and lemurs with tacit support from plants and fungi, and blessings from endangered species or perhaps a directive from Gaia[5].

Related readings:
  1. Habeas_corpus - The right to appeal
  2. Shouting fire in a crowded theater - of rights and responsibilities
  3. Timeline of women's suffrage (nternational)
  4. Statistics of threatened species
  5. Synopsis about GAIA theory

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Few days back my ex-boss passed away, suffering from a medical condition. Intelligent, professional and full of drive, at times he was perceived as eccentric. The news left with a weird and dumbfounding feeling.

The point isn't to attach labels of adjectives especially to a person no more. Rather the point is that many failed to see the innocent heart obscured by our perception of eccentricity.

We don't appreciate as often as we criticize.

May you R.I.P. Ulpa Thapar.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Truth, power and peace

"Only power can protect peace", Says China Air Force Commander (refering to imminent unavoidable militarization of space) and "Only power can protect truth", says RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat (in news on TV, can't find link). Without endorsing the philosophical background of both, let me agree with "power can protect peace/truth" and disagree with the word "only".

Power is an easy solution to protect peace and truth, but a very dangerous one. All the history will show that centralization of power has always led to its abuse more than holding up peace/truth. While Bhagwat acknowledges that truth has a way of staying dormant and that it never dies, my contention is why do you need power in the first place.

An easy argument is that in order to preserve your identity, you would prefer that someone powerful doesn't arm-twist you for his personal interest. All the politics at national and international levels in its most genuine form keeps coming back to "I want to be powerful because I don't want other powerfuls to dictate my life."

The difficult part is to understand that the power is not over others, but over self - one, in preserving myself while being arm-twisted, and two, controlling myself and avoiding arm-twisting others. Even if I suffer or even die in the process, the truth does not, it never will. I end up living through the truth that lives beyond me and everyone else.

In the long term, majority people (and I am sure other animals and plants) want peace and truth. The natural path is of peace and truth. By the logic of evolution, life moves to a path of 'fit'ness to the environment around. The environment is the facts - the truth. Keeping it sustained is peace.

Any suppression of truth only builds a temporary imbalance. Unnaturally tackling the imbalance using power only creates another bigger one somewhere else, until it all collapses and ends up abusing the power. It is like entropy and the second law of thermodynamics (more on it sometime later).

Without contradicting oneself at different points of time, the only long term sustainable strategy of life is truth and power over oneself, thereby implying peace and benevolence (not necesssarily altruism).

Saturday, 31 October 2009

musical programming

I am kicking myself. Why didn't I try nyquist or chucK or something else before? The huge list is on wikipedia for the starter!!


Friday, 4 September 2009

Crude humour

Obama: Who are you?
Hu: Yes.
Obama: English please, and it will be great if you can open your eyes.
Hu: I speak English. China speaks Engrish. Hummer is Chinese now. China makes everything now, including milk in melamine and toys in lead. We will also break India apart and ruin their exports. We will rule the world.
Obama: We can't let you take jobs out of America. Yes, We can, with a 't.
Hu: We are not taking Jobs. (Punches Steve in the eye) He has an iJob.
Steve Jobs: Hu stays hungry. Hu stays foolish.

Posting after quite a while. Will write more later. Currently reading Ayn Rand, Bertrand Russell, J Krishnamurti and other interesting stuff about economics, evolution, science, technology and steel.

PS: No harm intended. I know India is not the perfect place on the earth and I don't hate the dragons but everybody is making too much noise about their esteemed return. And too loudly. Shh! They are listening.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Renewable energy and Music

Both the topics interest me but the blend seemed inconceivable.
Till I heard, rather saw Solar Punch perform during IYCN Conference on Climate Change held at IIMB about a month back.

Awesome concept.

They use solar panels to power their sound. To be able to play in low light, they use batteries which are charged during the daylight. They add a touch of glitter with those chain of lamps, and of course with their music. And with their lyrics which are mostly related to sun.

And they work at their jobs full time. They are touring along with IYCN to promote renewable energy, taking sabbaticals from their jobs.

Awesome concept.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Defining love

The age old question: What is love?
  1. Caring for someone
  2. Not expecting something in exchange
  3. Willingness to give anything up (except your core values/beliefs/system)
  4. Forgiveness/Absence of hatred or indifference
I think the last one is generic and yet elegant. Hatred comes from feeling of merciless revenge. Ability or willingness to forgive someone (sometimes after a punishment/revenge) is absence of unforgiving hatred, is love.

In the vaguest of terms, I have no idea how convincing this argument is. I just scribbled out the train of thought. Don't think too much about it, you need not react to this thought immediately. Take your time.