India

Freedom of Expression is dead in India!

Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray died on Saturday 17 October and Mumbai – the city that never sleeps shut down within hours. Cabs, auto rickshaws, private vehicles disappeared from the roads, shops down the shutters, movies halls cancelled the shows scheduled on Saturday evening and Sunday. Even ATM machines were shut down and so was the cable TV except news channels. Entire city was under forced house arrest. Police released advisories asking people to stay at homes as if we were in a war!

What for? Foe the death of an 86 year old man who dies of natural causes?

Somebody said it was because people respected the man. No it wasn’t the respect, it was fear. Fear of the hooliganism that has come to be a hallmark of the man and Shiv Sena.

And then this happened – a young woman posted on her Facebook wall venting her frustration for shutting down a megacity over the death of a man and the Police arrested her! Not just her but also another friend of hers who “liked” the post! Liked! Seriously? Are we living in a fucking fascist dictatorship? That’s not all, a mob of Shiv Sainiks – members of Shiv Sena who proudly call themselves soldiers – attacked and ransacked a hospital run by the girl’s uncle! Un-fucking-believable! No arrests have been made for the obvious act of hooliganism and breaking the law but the two girls have been arrested for “causing communal tensions” and “hurting religious sentiments”!

Pathetic!

I will make my views clear on Bal Thackeray. I agree with the girl. It is outrageous to bring a city to standstill over a man’s death. And it’s even more outrageous to say it was because people respected him! People feared him. People feared Bal Thackeray and the goons of Shiv Sena. Who knows whose shop/house/car might be the next to be burnt down by the mindless mob of Shiv Sainiks.

If people loved Bal Thackeray so much, why his party has not managed to get back to power after 1999? His greatest achievement? Renaming the city to Mumbai from Bombay! As if that makes an iota of difference in the lives of anybody!

This episode over an FB post demonstrate exactly why people fear and hate Shiv Sena. Zero tolerance for any criticism! As this article demonstrates this politics of hate has been practiced so successfully by them that they don’t even need to actually use it anymore. People just fear. And they call it power.

So long Freedom of Expression!

Hunting the best deal on iPad 3

Finally fell to the dark side and bought an iPad. I wanted to get a tablet for some time and I always wanted a 10 inch one because I primarily wanted it for web browsing. iPad was a clear winner, various Android ones didn’t really cut it and I already have an Android phone so didn’t want Android on tablet again. Microsoft Surface is due in October and don’t know how long it would take to arrive in India.

iPad 2 16 GB Wifi only in India is for 24500 and iPad 3 16 GB Wifi only is 30500. I remember seeing an offer on eBay some months ago for ipad 2 for around 20,000. So I figured I can get ipad 2 for around the same price somewhere on the Internet. Now that we have so many VC backed ecommerce companies I was sure someone will be selling it with a huge discount under some deal. So I began deal hunting.

Started with sites like MySmartPrice, Junglee, Naaptol and PriceDekho. Found Univercell.in selling iPad 3 for 28195. That was the best price, I decided to place an order next day and when I went back it was 29370! Then I got a mail from Indiatimes Shopping with a 10% discount coupon on computer products. That would have given me a discount of 3050 and I would have got my iPad for 27450. I almost bought it, but cancelled at the last payment step because it was black iPad. I was more interested in a white one. White iPad 3 was out of stock on Indiatimes shopping.

Hunt continued and I landed on Homeshop18. They had a discount code of 2000 and also had white in stock. So I could have got it for 28500. I had two options – get iPad 3 black for 27450 or iPad white for 28500. Searching for coupon codes for Homeshop18 I found DesiDime.com. It has an amazing forum where people come and share coupon codes and deals for various ecommerce sites in India. I found a thread about super deals on homeshop18. It had iPad as one of deal items. The deal would come alive on July 22. Now the catch was that it wasn’t sure what kind of discount it would have. The Indiatimes discount was ending on 21st and Homeshop18 deal was becoming available on 00:01 on 22 July. If it would have a lesser discount then I would miss the Indiatimes deal.

So I waited for 12′o clock. I opened Indiatimes shopping in a one tab a couple minutes before 12, availed of the discount and waited on the payment page. As soon as the date changed I checked the super deals page on Homeshop18 in another tab and found a coupon code, used it and got a discount of 4901! Making the net price 25599! Went ahead and completed the order. Turns out Homeshop18 has such amazing deals every week!

So I got iPad 3 16 Gb WiFi white for Rs. 25,599 from Homeshop18 thanks to DesiDime.com.

Next time I want to buy anything online DesiDime will be the first place I will check.

Lets talk Kashmir

India wants Kashmir, Pakistan wants Kashmir, Kashmiris want an independent nation. What should be done? Logic says whatever the people of the land want should happen – if they want an independent nation, lets give it to them. But is that feasible?

India wants Kashmir to salvage the national pride that the jingoistic politicos have fed the nation for past 50 years – “दूध मांगोगे तो खीर देंगे, कश्मीर मांगोगे तो चीर देंगे!” (If you ask for milk, we’ll give you kheer, if you ask for Kashmir we’ll tear you apart!)
There’s also a real danger in letting Kashmir become a separate nation. It will set a precedence. I will come to that in a while.

Pakistan wants Kashmir for the same jingoistic reasons but at the same time it doesn’t actually want Kashmir. Pakistani Army is the most important entity in Pakistan. They are everywhere and they own and operate virtually the entire nation. Pak army has been able to maintain its grip and its size by scare mongering based on an imminent attack from India over the Kashmir issue. Tomorrow if the Kashmir no longer remains a conflict between the two nations, Pakistani army will lose the alibi to maintain its clout and to continue to hog the national resources it is hogging today. So whether the Pak army will really allow a solution of the Kashmir issue is another matter.

Back to India. Letting Kashmir become an independent nation will set a precedence. If a set of people don’t want to be with the Union of India anymore, they know all they need to do is follow the Kashmir model and get your “independence” in a few years. Gujarat will say we want a separate nation, then Maharashtra will say the same then Andhra, then Assam, then Punjab. I am not saying it will happen. But if it does happen the Indian state will have to let them go. India may disintegrate.

There are two sides of this argument.

What’s wrong if a nation disintegrates? USSR disintegrated, today all of those nations are better off. We are seeing in India, carving out smaller states from larger ones actually improves administration and economy of both the old and new states. And lets say even if in future India is just left with say 5 states what harm will it do? Europe is a country of smaller nations and all of them are prospering (Irrespective of the current economic scenario). In fact bringing them all together like a single nation under the banner of Euro is doing more harm to them than good where better off economies like Germany are forced to feed weaker economies like Greece. So in a sense letting go a smaller part of the country is not such a bad idea.

Letting go of Kashmir is not such a bad idea considering the amount of resources and lives we are wasting there. What for? For a piece of land where the majority people don’t want to be with us?

But then there’s example of American civil war. Half the nation wanted out of the union but the northern states kept them in the union by force. It all ended well and today US is a strong country despite its size.

So what should India do? I am of the opinion that Jammu and Ladakh should be separated from Kashmir and integrated with India and Kashmiris should be allowed to decide their own fate. Why take out Jammu and Ladakh? Because apparently only the Kashmir valley has problem with India.

The bigger question is will making Kashmir an independent nation buy peace for India? Pakistan and Pakistani Army will claim a victory for they will achieve their goal of “liberating” Kashmir from the clutches of India. But what after that? Will ISI sponsored terrorism against India stop? Probably not. So what is the solution?

TataSky+ HD DTH

Choosing a DTH provider in India is tougher than choosing a spouse. I have had a Full HD 32″ LCD TV for a year but I was still running on the old cable connection. Finally I thought it’s time to move on. Main lure was the presence of HD channels. Lots of channels are now available in High Definition and I also wanted a DVR to be able to record shows and pause live TV. So I began hunting for a DTH service.

I had following options to choose from

TataSky
Dish TV
Airtel Digital TV
Reliance Big TV
Videocon D2H
Sun Direct DTH

First I asked my cable guy if they have a Set top box. They do have but it’s not HD and no DVR so it was out of contention. Hathway Cable has started HD services but they are not available in my locality. (Cable guys have divided areas amongst themselves to avoid competition)

Dish and TataSky are oldest in India. Airtel, Reliance, Videocon and Sun are new and boast of MPEG-4 compression which seemingly has better quality over MPEG-2 of the older players. So At first I decided to only look at the four new players.

Sun is strong in south but their HD offerings were least exciting. Their web site is also enough to put someone off instantly. So that was out immediately.

Reliance is boasting of providing 250 HD channels but all of them are upscaled. The real HD channels are only 6 whereas Airtel and Videocon have 10 and 11 respectively. So the choice was quickly narrowed down to Airtel and Videocon.

I was more interested in English movies and infotainment channels like Discovery and Nat Geo. Videocon had more HD channels that mattered to me. Airtel didn’t have ESPN, Star Cricket and Travel XP in HD instead they had UTV stars and History TV. Videocon didn’t have History TV in HD but had the other three. The main lure was Travel XP, because I had seen that one at a hotel and instantly liked it. Only Videocon and Dish TV carry Travel XP at the moment. Videocon had the best price. Their highest package (Platinum+HD) included all their channels and HD for Rs. 441 per month and even less if I prepaid for entire year. The same thing was costing Rs.486 at Airtel where HD had to be bought separately and all HD channels were not part of that bouquet. Videocon only had a 160 GB hard disk in the DVR against 320 GB of Airtel but I thought I could live with that.

Meanwhile I also checked out TataSky and Dish TV. Dish didn’t really have too much to offer in HD department and they didn’t have a HD DVR either (at least I couldn’t find one on their site) besides Dish’s highest plan was at 550 something so I put a cross mark against it. Then I looked at TataSky. They had 8 HD channels. The 3 missing ones were Colors, Movies Now and Travel XP. Missing Movies Now HD was a huge minus for me. TataSky was the first to introduce DVR in India and they have the largest capacity disk on DVR – 500 GB which can record 700 hours of SD programming. That was huge and they had a super annual package that included all of the channels including HD for one year and a fixed price for the entire year. Any new channels added in the next year will be part of this package as well. That was a huge advantage, but videocon was still cheaper and had two HD channels that I cared about – MoviesNow and TravelXP.

So I decided to go with Videocon. I went online to purchase and boom! The HD DVR was no longer available! I called the customer support to enquire for the same, the guy put me hold for 10 minutes and the call dropped. That kind of put me off. Next day I got a call from them and I was told the HD DVR is now available only in Mumbai so they have taken it off website and are selling it only in cash. I didn’t like it. I weighed different options again and once again came to the conclusion that Videocon was best. So I was ready to buy it. Then I decided to check out their Facebook account. And over there I read a comment from someone about History TV not being available! I knew History was not available in HD but not at all?? What the hell!!

History channel was recently relaunched and rebranded as History TV 18 and had some kick ass shows like Ice Road Truckers and was an absolute must! Even my cable guy provided it! Now this was too much. Videocon didn’t have a great website, DVR was not available online, customer support didn’t really look that good and the DVR had only 160 GB storage. Videocon was cancelled and I went back to drawing board. Now the choice was between Airtel and TataSky. I had called TataSky and confirmed, they too had switched to MPEG-4. Airtel had better HD package but was expensive, TataSky had a larger capacity disk and on the online forums I read they had been adding new HD channels regularly over last couple of months. Two months back they didn’t even have these many HD channels. They are slow in adding channels but they do add. And with the Mega Lite pack that I was considering I would get them all at no extra cost. TataSky also has a service called Video On Demand where I can connect the box to Internet and I can download videos, even movies and shows from the past 5 days and I would have ample space to store all the content. At this point I think its a unique feature provided only by TataSky.

So TataSky it was. TataSky+ HD to be specific. I paid Rs. 10,200 for which I got HD DVR with 500 GB hard disk, full year subscription for the Mega Lite pack which included all channels carried by TataSky including HD, 12 showcase movies and 1 year subscription to BusinessWorld magazine. And under a special offer I got 500 Rs. credit in my account. Paid it yesterday, and it was installed at my home today morning.

And I am loving it already! The HD clarity is awesome! Finally my HD TV is doing what it was supposed to do! The DVR is perfect, I have already set it up to record a couple of movies that will be telecast today. They have an app for Android phones where by I can give instructions to record any program from anywhere. In fact I set up one of the movies to be recorded from my mobile. Videocon and Airtel have such programs too but TataSky’s app is most polished and slick amongst all.

I am happy with my decision. Having a couple more HD channels would have been great but I am sure they will be added soon.

Isko laga dala to life jhingalala!

Online passport application in India – don’t trust the passport website

So you are a programmer, work whole day in front of a computer, do your shopping online, pay your bills online and file your IT return online and so you thought you will also be able to renew your passport online? Ha ha ha come back to the real world dumbass!

You think you are very smart and you will be able to save some time and not have to stand in a queue by filling a passport application form online? No you idiot! There’s no escaping the queues. It doesn’t matter if we let you fill a form online and give you a date and time to come and submit your papers. It doesn’t matter whether we write on our website that you can submit your application anywhere – a regional passport office or a passport application collection center. You have to somehow magically figure it out that we accept it only at our regional passport office and boo ya if you ended up visiting your nearest collection center and wasting your appointment and time.

You see you IT type people really think you can do everything online and electronically like they do in the west and think you will be able to save your precious time. Huh! NO my boy! This is India and we are public servants – heck we are public’s masters, YOU are our servants. We will make you feel as miserable as we can before we will do anything for you get that?

So if you wanna file your damn application at this center come at 7 in the morning, stand in a queue for a couple of hours, at 9 we will give out only 50 tokens and then entertain only those lucky few. If you aren’t one of them, screw you. Get lost and come back tomorrow.

Whatever is written on this URL about online application procedure is bullshit. Come on dude, you are 30 and you have been living in this country for as long, you gotta see this coming. Don’t be so naive!

Listen we really don’t give a fuck about the value of your time. Man, value of time? Where did you hear that term? At some comedy show? See we are stuck here in this mundane job and we will be doing this for the rest of our life so don’t bother us with all those rosy notions of yours. The rules are written on the notice board, read them and fuck off.

That’s my experience with trying to file my passport application online. I had gotten my passport when I was 15. Now I want to change my photo, address and signature on my passport. I landed up on India Passport’s website  and was delighted to know the procedure can be done online.

I filled up the form, I got a date and time to visit a passport office and submit my papers. I collected all papers and today on my appointed date and time visited the nearest passport application collection center at Kandivali. There I was told it is accepted at Worli not there. If I want to submit it there I have to come at 9 and get a token. That’s it. No arguments. We don’t know what is written on the site. Read the notice board and come later. Some other people told me the queue for tokens begins to form at 7 and they give only 50 tokens.

So much for online procedure!

We in India are moving procedures online and making everything “e” only for the sake of it. E-Governance is a hogwash. Pure bullshit! You want to file IT return online? File the return, download a file and send it by post to Bangalore. When was the last time you sent something by post? I don’t even know where the nearest letterbox is. You don’t want to send it by post then sign it digitally. How do you sign it digitally? You need a digital signature. How to get a digital signature? That’s an offline procedure.

You want to get a marriage certificate? Visit the local municipal office, stand in a queue for a couple of hours, they give you a date after one month. Visit on that date, stand in the queue again for a couple of hours and then they do your procedure and you are told to come again after 15 days to collect your certificate. And when you go to collect the certificate once again stand in a queue, give some chai pani (bribe) and get your certificate! The story is same if you want a ration card, a shop and establishment license, an import export code or anything! Queues, queues and more queues.

Heck even at private establishments the things aren’t ahy better. I needed my signature verification done from my bank which unfortunately is Axis Bank. I visited them last Saturday for the purpose. I was asked to come on Monday. I went on Tuesday morning, I was told the system is down please come at 3. I went back at 3, the lady whom I was interacting with had gone for lunch. I waited 20 minutes and finally got my letter. Axis Bank does not have a set lunch time for the staff so they have to squeeze it in between the working hours. And customers have to wait.

So literally nobody in India gives a fuck about others’ time. Really we Indians just do not value time. We have accepted queues as part of life. Train tickets, movie tickets, bus stand, auto stand, air port security check, store checkout counters, places of worship….queues are everywhere. Heck I have even seen a queue outside jewellery shops! Indians stand in a queue even to buy gold! Even processes that seem online have an offline component. If you buy movie ticket online, you still have to get the actual ticket that will allow you entry in the hall from the ticket counter for which you have to stand in the queue.

Online passport application….yeah right!

Eye donation and useful tips to protect the eyes

I am part of Mumbai Freethinkers, Mumbai chapter of Nirmukta an organisation that promotes scientific thinking and rationality in India. We had organised an eye donation camp on Sunday 16 October and Dr. Mayur Morekar, a fellow freethinker gave an awesome presentation about the benefits of eye donation and gave some useful tips for protecting our eyes.

Key points of the talk:

A. Eye Donation.

1. Individuals of any age can donate the eyes. The donor may be a just born neonate or a 100 year old adult. Anyone, even people who have undergone cataract surgery, LASIK surgery, spectacle wearers, and diabetics can also pledge to donate their eyes.

2. A single individual’s eyes can help up to 4-6 people. Different layers of the two corneas and parts of sclerae of the 2 eyes can potentially save the structure and provide sight to upto 6 different people.

3. The procedure takes only 15 minutes. In most instances the entire eye is not removed. Only the cornea which is the outermost part is removed and small guaze  balls are placed and the eyelids are closed. There is no damage to the face. Externally it would be difficult to tell that the eyes have been donated.

4. In case of an urgent call for eye donation for our beloved ones, dial 1919 to connect to the nearest eye bank. Eye bank personnel would visit our homes and do the needful within half an hour of reaching our homes.

5. Eyes have to be removed within 6 hours of the death and transplanted to the recipient within 96 hours.

6. India has tremendous shortage of corneas, so everyone must donate their eyes.

B. How can one prevent an eye infection?

One of the commonest reasons for corneal blindness in India is infection.

1. If you feel something is in the eye; DO NOT rub the eye, let it tear and visit an eye surgeon.

2. Do not be your own doctor and do not try over the counter eye drops from a local chemist. Eyes are too precious. Do not neglect them; go see an eye specialist immediately in case of injury to the eyes.

3. Be extremely meticulous while wearing and removing contact lenses. Make sure you do not scratch your eye while removing or inserting the contact lens. DO NOT share contact lenses, clean them regularly with the contact lens solution provided.

C. Tips for people who work long hours in front of computer

1. Take short breaks after every 30 – 40 minutes and look at distance, out of an open window or down a long corridor as far as possible for a minute or two.

2. Remember to blink when you are in front of a computer screen. The blink rate drops from normal of about 18 times per minute, to as low as only thrice every minute. Try to keep your blink rate as close to normal while on computers

3. Maintain the computer monitor 20 degrees below eye level.

4. Use an anti-glare screen monitor.

Here is a program that will remind you to take a break on a Windows computer – http://themech.net/eyesrelax/

D. Some myths about eye numbers

Eye numbers in a child depend on two factors – length of the eye and the shape of the cornea. And in a child the eye number will change with age till they stabilize when the growth of the child stabilizes between 18-22 years of age. So don’t scold your child if he/she gets glasses and expect the eye numbers to change as the child grows; till it stabilizes. Having glasses is not really your or your child’s fault.

LASIK surgery to get rid of glasses is advisable only when the numbers stabilize and remain stable for a year.

Finally Dr. Mayur R. Moreker spoke a few minutes on the realization of his passion to be a Martial Arts Student touching upon the innovative concept of training the visually impaired in Martial Arts at Aatish Academy For Performing X-treme Arts, Andheri, Mumbai

Attendees dispersed after pledging their eyes for donation.

Dr. Mayur R. Moreker is a Consultant Eye Surgeon, Specialist in Ocular Inflammation, Immunology, Uveitis, Eye Infections, Cornea, Ocular Surface Disorders and Complicated Cataract Surgeries and a Personal Counselor at
Bombay Hospital & Medical Research Centre, Mumbai and an
X-treme Martial Arts Student at Aatish Academy For Performing X-treme Arts, Mumbai.
He can be reached on +91 9820308358 or eyeinflammation at gmail dot com

Do Indians lack conscience?

I don’t know if this something unique to us Indians or this is a human nature. I haven’t been amongst any other group of people so I can only comment about us Indians.

I find we Indians lack conscience. In our daily life we do so many things without thinking of others.

We Indians go to a mall’s food court and we occupy seats even though we have no intention to eat anything. And we see people around us running from here and there with trays and plates in hand trying to find a chair. Especially young couples and college kids are often found sitting chit chatting and hogging the chairs.

Then there is irresponsible parking. People really don’t think about others while parking their own vehicles. They don’t really think that they are wasting a scarce resource, albeit temporarily.

We waste resources – all types of resources – electricity, water, land, fuel everything.

And then there’s corruption. Corruption is not limited to a government official demanding bribe to perform his duty. Its about anything that goes against the law. We jump signals, we travel without proper tickets, we do not pay proper taxes and when caught we try to bribe our way out.

The builder of the mall where I have my office suddenly blocked the basement parking and started selling it even though it is completely illegal. His defense – everybody does it, so I will also do it. We Indians spit and throw garbage on the roads and when confronted we have the standard answer – “Everybody does it.”

Why? Why does everybody do it? Why people don’t care about others? May be it is in the genes. Jiski lathi uski bhains, survival of the fittest. Is that the mantra?

I know hoping for a fair world is too much. Hoping for people to care for others is just asking of too much off them. A fair world is an utopia possible only in communist manifestos, not in the real world.

The real cost of Zero interest EMI on credit cards

Many banks offer zero interest EMIs on credit card transactions. They apparently don’t charge any interest but only take a one time processing fee which looks to be very reasonable.

Say you bought something for 6000 on a credit card and bank offers you an interest free option of paying it back in six months with a one time processing charge of Rs. 70 per thousand. Do you think its a good deal? 70 per 1000 doesn’t look like much although if you calculate you would see that its 7%. So on a 6000 sum your processing charges will be Rs. 420. You pay 420 up front and then pay 1000 every month. So 7% looks like the rate of interest that company charged you isn’t it? Even though they say its zero interest.

Wrong. Nothing comes for free. And there’s no such thing as a free lunch and no such thing as zero interest loan. And you think you just paid 7%? That looks really low compared to home loan rates of 11.5%, auto loans of 12% and personal loans at 24%. Lets calculate the real rate of interest you actually paid.

Remember you paid 7% for using 6000 for six months. So on a per annum basis the rate of interest comes out to 14%. But its not really 14% either because you are paying the interest in advance. Not unlike a typical loan where you pay the interest at the end of each month AFTER using the money for that month. Here you are paying the processing fee BEFORE using the money. You paid 420 on 6000 and you will still pay 1000 every month. In effect you only got to enjoy 5580 in the first month. And on that principle amount you will be paying an EMI of 1000 per month.

Using the Interest rate calculator at yash.info/emicalc you will see that a loan of 5580 for 6 months where you pay 1000 EMI is having a rate of interest of 25.36%! That’s the real cost of the supposedly zero interest EMI scheme on the card.

PS: How clever are the banks to disguise a 25% rate of interest in sweet words like Rs. 70 per thousand. They don’t even say Rs. 7 per 100 because that “sounds” too much. Anyone can instantly calculate that 7 per thousand is 7% but 70 per thousand doesn’t really sound like that much.

However Kotak Mahindra Bank is having a genuinely zero charge EMI option for three months where they don’t charge interest or processing fees. And so do ICICI, Citibank and HDFC for transactions on eBay (For 3 EMI option only). I have tried them and I know they are genuine zero charge but all those 6 months, 9 months are just hogwash.

Edit: Kotak has withdrawn the 3 months, zero charge, zero interest EMI option, however almost all major eCommerce vendors now have tie ups with credit card providers to offer 3 months zero charge EMIs. ICICI, HDFC and Citibank seem to be available on every major site.

Fundamental problem with Indian IT industry

The biggest problem is that the people who write code at the root level just aren’t interested in programming.

I run an IT services company so I know this by experience.

People who come for interviews for the position of a programmer just aren’t interested in programming! That’s a big deal for me.

A typical interview of a fresh graduate goes like this -

Me: So you want a job of a programmer. Why?
Ans: Because I have done my BE in Computers OR I like programming

Me: OK so you like programming. Tell me about the programs you have written.
Ans: I have written this xyz app during my college project…

I interrupt

Me: Don’t tell me about your “academic” projects. Tell me about any programs you might have written during your spare time.
Ans: Ummm, no I haven’t written any programs apart from my projects..

Me: Why?
Ans: Didn’t get time / Don’t have computer at home / Don’t have .Net/C++/Java at home… / Didn’t get a chance….

Me: Sigh….

Once I asked an aspiring programmer to define who he thinks is a programmer. His answer – “A programmer is someone who creates software as per client’s requirements”
I was like “Okay!!! Does it always have to be for a client?”
The guy replied, “No it can be for internal company requirements as well”
Me: “So it means that a programmer always creates programs when someone asks him to? Can’t a programmer write some program just for himself? Just for fun?”
The guy said “Yeah he can…”
Me: “It’s just that YOU won’t write a program for yourself right?”
Guy: “Yeah I don’t need to”

Sigh……

Creating computer programs is not a job. Majority of the people aspiring to be programmers won’t write a program until they are FORCED to by their college or by their employer. And that is NOT good.

I would say 90% of the people opting for this profession are doing it just because it has easy money. Easy money and a very convenient way of getting out of India.

And when people do something without having a real liking or passion for that thing, it shows up in the quality of the output.

You can teach people syntax of C++ and SQL and PHP. But you can’t really teach people to think creatively. Think of a solution for a problem. And certainly you cant teach someone to love their profession.

A lot of times I read articles about why companies like Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Cisco, Sun, Apple don’t come from India. This is one of the reasons. Not many Indians who take up IT as a profession love the tech. And those who do end up in the Silicon Valley and help build tech giants there. Yes we do have some small product startups from India but nothing on the level of companies I have mentioned.

And this thing is worrying not just for startups who are trying to build something great but even for IT services companies! Missed delivery dates, buggy code, unhappy clients are all a result of that.

Who is Anna Hazare and what is LokPal bill?

Here I would try to answer some frequently asked questions about Anna Hazare and his hunger strike.


1. Who is Anna Hazare?
Kisan Bapat Baburao Hazare is an ex-army man. Fought 1965 Indo-Pak War. Read more about him on Wikipedia

2. What’s so special about him?
He built a village Ralegaon Siddhi in Ahamad Nagar district, Maharashtra

3. So what?
This village is a self-sustained model village. Energy is produced in the village itself from solar power, biofuel and wind mills.
In 1975, it used to be a poverty clad village. Now it is one of the richest village in India. It has become a model for self-sustained, eco-friendly & harmonic village.

4. Ok,…?
This guy, Anna Hazare was awarded Padma Bhushan and is a known figure for his social activities.

5. Really, what is he fighting for?
He is supporting a cause, the amendment of a law to curb corruption in India.

6. How that can be possible?
He is advocating for a Bil, The Lok Pal Bill (The Citizen Ombudsman Bill), that will form an autonomous authority who will make politicians (ministers), beurocrats (IAS/IPS) accountable for their deeds.

8. It’s an entirely new thing right..?
In 1972, the bill was proposed by then Law minister Mr. Shanti Bhushan. Since then it has been neglected by the politicians and some are trying to change the bill to suit thier theft (corruption).

7. Oh.. He is going on a hunger strike for that whole thing of passing a Bill! How can that be possible in such a short span of time?
The first thing he is asking for is: the government should come forward and announce that the bill is going to be passed.
Next, they make a joint committee to DRAFT the LOK PAL BILL. 50% goverment participation and 50% public participation. Because you cant trust the government entirely for making such a bill which does not suit them.

8. Fine, What will happen when this bill is passed?
A LokPal will be appointed at the centre. He will have an autonomous charge, say like the Election Commission of India. In each and every state, Lokayukta will be appointed. The job is to bring all alleged party to trial in case of corruptions within 1 year. Within 2 years, the guilty will be punished. Not like, Bofors scam or Bhopal Gas Tragedy case, that has been going for last 25 years without any result.

9. Is he alone? Whoelse is there in the fight with Anna Hazare?
Baba Ramdev, Ex. IPS Kiran Bedi, Social Activist Swami Agnivesh, RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal and many more.
Prominent personalities like Aamir Khan is supporting his cause.

10. Ok, got it. What can I do?
Spread the message.
How?
In whatever way you can – copy this article and post it on your blog, Facebook/Orkut, email and share it with every Indian you know.

The least we can do is make people aware of who Anna Hazare is and what he is doing.

You can write letters to your local MP and urge him to support the LokPal bill in the Lok Sabha. A single letter won’t have much impact but if thousands of letters reach the MP’s mailbox, it will force them to sit up and take notice. I AM going to write a letter to my local MP Sanjay Nirupam to support LokPal bill and help the bill become a law as soon as possible.