Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Subsidies are injurious to health

Contrary to popular opinion, subsidies do more harm than good.

This is even more true in a country like India where corruption is commonplace and inefficiency is a major problem in the government. Our government gives subsidies for all the wrong reasons. These subsidies do everything other than helping the target group. I should make it clear that by subsidies I don't mean just monetary let offs. I also mean 'welfare' schemes of the government. Giving free housing, loan waivers, subsidized electricity and reservations in educational institutes is all a part of subsidies. 

The government is so busy trying to redistribute income that it has almost forgotten about generating income in the first place. 

Take NREGA for example. It is called a 'You dig, I fill' scheme. The government pays people to dig up an area and then pays a few other people to fill it up. This is their way of giving away money while showing that they are working towards improving rural infrastructure. 

The problem is, this is all manual labour. They don't teach skills. Workers who get 100 days of employment are still sitting idle for the rest of the 200 days. There is no improvement in their ability. These people get jobs because they are entitled to a job and not because they deserve a job. 

The point being, if government gave training instead of subsidies, it would be much more useful to these people. We all know that its better to teach a man fishing than giving him a fish. Leave the creating jobs part to the private sector. If the government can make the unemployed people employable then that will be a big feat in itself. 

The world thinks that India has cheap labour. You can get people to do household chores and stuff for a fraction of a price that you have had to pay in foreign countries. This is infact a myth. Our labour class is almost as expensive as any other country. It's just that we pay for it in two ways. First, we pay them their salary which is direct income for them and then we pay taxes which are used to literally give away money to these people. So in the end, government is just a middleman. A middleman who has a huge opportunity to be corrupt and who has used this opportunity to its full extent. The problem is not expensive labour. The problem is that, due to this government interference, citizens have to pay more taxes but the money doesn't reach the labour class. Hence, both sides are unhappy and this leads to a problem of high taxes and poverty at the same time. 

So why not remove subsidies all together?

Let the citizens pay a high price for labour but reduce their tax burden. This way, the labour class can lead a better life and money can be effectively utilised. Ofcourse, corruption goes down as well. It's a win win situation. 

Unfortunately, the corrupt government workers are the only ones that don't win. Politians won't be able to use it as a 'vote gathering' activity. People responsible for distributing these subsidies won't be able to get their share. 

So, the next time you hear about a subsidy being dolled out, remember the fact that its your money they are giving away. You are going to pay for it in one way or another. Don't vote for the guy who gave the maximum number of subsidies. Vote for the guy who makes subsidies redundant. 


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What does 51% FDI in multi-brand retail mean?


What happened

Government has decided to allow 51% FDI in Multi-brand retails. 

What are the pre-conditions

  • Minimum investment of $100 million.
  • 50% of the investment is to be in backend infrastructure development.  
  • 30% of all raw material has be procured from small and medium industries. [Not completely sure]
  • Permission to set up malls only in cities with a minimum population of 10 lakh.
  • Government has the first right to procure material from the farmers.
  • Products should be sold under the same brand internationally.
  • Foreign investor should be the owner of the brand.
Present Condition:
  • Farmers get only 10 to 15% of the price we pay. 
  • 3-4 middlemen in between farmers and customers.
  • Huge post produce losses for farmers due to inadequate facilities.
  • A poorly managed food supply infrastructure.
Why do we need it:

  • We are the second highest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world but still we are not able to utilise is properly because of inadequate infrastructure facilities. 
  • It will reduce pre-harvest wastage/losses and thus help control food inflation. 
  • It will create 1.5 million more jobs in 5 years. Apart from the huge number of indirect employment. 
  • It will increase competition which is always beneficial for the customer.
  • It will remove the middleman from the equation. It will reduce costs which in turn will reduce prices. 
What about the problems:

There will be no problems.

We already have local players like Reliance Fresh and Big Bazaar. They have done wonderfully well. Local traders are still trading as they were. Why not allow foreign players? They will bring with them human/monetary/knowledge capital which are very important for a developing country like India. Just bringing proper storage places will go a long way in solving the wastage problem. 

China, Brazil, Argentina, Singapore, Chile, Thailand, Russia and Indonesia all allow 100% and their economies have benefited from this move. India is only allowing 51% and that too with a lot of checks. 

We don't have to worry about monopoly because the Competition Commission of India can handle all anti competitive practices including predatory pricing. 

In India, cities with population of more than 10 lakh are just 53 in number. This means that any negative impact will not have huge repercussions. Kirana store walas in majority of other cities cities will be totally unaffected. It's a small but steady step on the path of liberalization. 

It will decrease unorganized labour sector and bring them all under organised labour. This will it will be easier to enforce labour laws and also check its implementation. 

A lot of jobs will be created. Ofcourse a few will be lost as well but that number will not be very high. There will be a reorganization of the job structure rather than a reduction. 

It is true that the government can also provide all the infrastructure facilities that the companies will provide but  true governance means less government role and more freedom to the society. Why should it be a problem if companies improve infrastructure facilities in return of a gain? 

Thus we can see that the FDI rule is for the greater good of the society. Oppose it at your own risk. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"I can't afford an internship." : A take on Unpaid Internships in India


Arguably the most important part of a student's CV. 

Internships in India are hard to get in spite of there being so many law firms, companies, NGOs, LPOs and other such organisations. An internship at a 'reputed' place is like a star on the CV. If you have 5 or more stars then you either have a CGPA worth killing for or are an awesome jugaadu. 

Whatever be the reason, I can safely say that internships are very very important. Not just from the CV point of view. Also from the experience of the practical experience of a specific field. 

In India, majority of the internships are unpaid. 

So, students get: cut throat competition, shady PGs to stay in, work during vacations, time away from parents and home city, rigorous office hours and NO PAY. 

Organisations get: FREE labor, temporary clerks/secretaries and no responsibility. 

A majority of the students are not from the metros but most of the internship places are in metros. It means, students have to spend money on travelling to the city, accommodation, food, travelling to the office and other misc expenses. All this and what do we get in return? Experience? Knowledge? Chance to get coffee for the boss? Chance to pass around files? Old cases to read? 

Just because interns are not 'workers' and do not have a union of sorts, organisations feel that they can exploit them. Interns are not given enough importance. They are students who are facing a lot of difficulty and trying to learn and sustain themselves. The least organisations can do is dedicate an hour a day to actually teach them something and pay them something which can offset their expenses for that time duration. 

LegallyIndia pays its interns Rs. 10k/month. It is seen as a very 'handsome' amount. Considering what other organisations in India pay (or don't pay), yes but not quite handsome when you consider the expenses of staying in Bombay for a month. It just covers all expenses which in the present Indian scenario is a very big thing. 

I have heard interns being paid Rs. 2k for a 6 week internship in Delhi. Yea, 2k might just cover food expenses for that time. So effectively, the intern is spending money to do free work.

I can understand non-profits not paying their interns. Although its not completely alright, but its understandable. They have their own fund raising problems. But firms/companies who work for profit should pay their interns. 

It doesn't matter if you get work done from the intern or not. You are calling him/her to your office and he/she is incurring expenses because of you. You have all the right to get work done from them. Make them do substantial work so that they can actually learn and contribute and rightfully earn their stipend. 

There are always things that interns can do. Maybe not a first year or a second year student but definitely from third year onwards students are well trained and can surely reduce some work load of the employees. They deserve to be paid. 

Unfortunately, interns fall into the unorganised category of the free labour sector. 

A lot needs to change. Some organisations are starting to understand this. A lot more are still not sensitive enough to understand this problem. Not paying interns is not illegal but in my view, it is unethical. 

Dear organisations,
There are so many brilliant students out there who are willing to work for 12 hours a day but are unable to do so because they cannot afford an internship. Pay your interns. Make them work. They'll contribute to your organisation in a small way. They will spread the word if you treat them well. 
A student looking for an internship in Delhi for May-June2012. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Survey on changing career choices of law students

An independent survey of 100 law students of India was conducted. They were asked 5 simple questions. 

1. What college are you in?
2. Are you in the 3 year course of the 5 year course?
3. What year are you in?
4. When you joined law school, what were you planning on doing after it?
5. At this moment, what are your plans after law school?

This was to find out what are the career goals of students when before they join law school and how much do they change. 

The results were very interesting. 

Students from various colleges like Gujarat National Law University, GLC, UILS, NUJS, NLU Jodhpur, Army Institute of Law, NLU Delhi, Nirma University, NALSAR, NLSIU, LA Shah college and Amity Law School participated in the survey. 

Out of the 100 participants, only 3 were from the 3 year course and the rest were from the 5 year course. So the scope of the survey is reduced. 

What year students took the survey?

[Click on the image to view it in full screen.]

What were student's choice of career before they joined law school?

[Click on the image to view it in full screen.]

The 'Others' option got responses like, United Nations, Journalism, Software development and No idea. 

What were the student's choice of career at this moment?

[Click on the image to view it in full screen.]

The 'Others' option got responses like,Writing, Journalism, Business, Software development, Investment Banking, Policy making.


1. LPO's were given as an option but were not selected by any participant although a lot of students end up joining LPOs.

2. No one wanted to become a faculty.

3. As time progresses, the 'others' option becomes more specific. This is because students keep coming across new options and decide to move away from traditional careers. It can also be interpreted as saying, student choose traditional careers because they are not aware about other options.

4.  All the options might seem to have only minor changes but the one thing that unfortunately the survey cannot show is how the options of students have changed over the years.

A staggering 66% of the students changed their career option after joining law school. "Whoa!" That was all I could say when I first saw the survey results.

It's not easy to make a career choice. It becomes even more difficult when there are 15 different choices to choose from. Students need to stop following the herd. It creates meaningless competition and unhappy employees. Follow your dream. Work on something that makes you happy. Don't try to be 'safe', try to be yourself. Money is not everything in this world, personal satisfaction is.

If you have an interesting story about how you decided to change your career option after joining law school then feel free to share.  :)

P.S.- This is my first online survey. Sorry for the mistakes that might be there. I will try to improve next time. Leave your constructive suggestions in the comments below.


Monday, November 7, 2011

The Right to Complain

We all complain. Recently, its almost like complaining has become a national time pass or was it so since a long time now? 

People have started complain all the time. Be it online or face to face conversations. It's like the Right to Complain has been elevated to a Fundamental Right under the Constitution. Well, all those who know their fundamental rights should also be aware of their fundamental duties. Rights without duties is not possible. 

The thing with people in our country is that, even though we complain, we don't do anything to change the situation. We believe that our duty ends by complaining. A lot of people actually believe that signing an online petition against corruption is all they need to do to solve a problem. Stupid people. 

What do we generally complain about? 

"Dude, politics in the country has gone to the dogs. All of them are incompetent, money sucking parasites. They should all be shot dead!"

Yea so all the bad people are into politics. How did that happen? Well, that happened when all the 'good' people like you and me decided to work for personal gain rather than joining politics. There will always be people who will be elected. So if there are no good candidates, bad candidates will be elected. Simple. A lot of us don't even want to vote. Now if you can't even go and choose a good candidate then you definitely don't have the right to complain. 

"Our education system is impractical. Teachers are not qualified enough. Infrastructure facilities are pathetic. All we have to do is mug up stuff."

Again, if you think there are no good teachers, then doesn't that make a lucrative career option? Become a teacher. Make a difference. Start an organisation. Work for education reforms. Advocate for them through your local representatives. Teach someone. If you don't have enough time but have money then donate it. Sponsor an under privileged child's education. Do something. Don't just sit there in your comfy home and complain. 

"Elections are rigged. Poor people are bribed to vote. Is desh ka kuch nahi ho sakta." 

Do you vote? Have you ever encouraged people to vote? Do you know all the candidates that are standing for election from your region? Do you vote for the party or the candidate? Have you read the party's manifesto? Have you ever asked your elected representative to do something specific? Has it been done? 

These are just a few instances of hypocrisy by people. A longer list can surely be made. The thing is that humans do stuff which is easier to do but still gives them mental satisfaction. When I sign an online petition or attend a street rally or tweet/facebook about a problem, we mentally start to think that the work is done. We satisfy our conscience that way. We are lazy and hypocritical. 

First of all, do all that you can do. If it doesn't work. Try again. If it still doesn't work then and only then you can start to claim your right to complain. 

Two quotes summarize the entire post perfectly.

"It's too bad that everyone who has the solution for everything is at home commenting on the internet." - Anon

"When I grow up, I'm not going to read the newspaper and I'm not going to follow complex issues and I'm not going to vote. That way I can complain when the government doesn't represent me. Then, when everything goes down the tubes, I can say the system doesn't work and justify my further lack of participation." - Calvin

So the next time you feel the urge to complain, ask yourself this very simple question, "What are you doing about it?" 

Thank you

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Letter to the participants of "Occupy Wall Street"

We have all heard of Occupy Wall Street, right?

This is the extract from the flyer that was dropped on the protesters who were a part of the "Occupy Wall Street". 

This is genius. Best letter that anyone can write to the protesters. :D


We are Wall Street. It's our job to make money. Whether its a commodity, stock, bond or some hypothetical piece of fake paper, it doesn't matter. We would trade baseball cards if it were profitable. I didn't hear America complaining when the market was roaring to 14,000 and everyone's 401k doubled every three years. Just like gambling, its not a problem until you lose. I've never heard of anyone going to Gamblers Anonymous because they won too much in Vegas. 

Well now the market crapped out and even though it has come back somewhat, the government and the average Joes are still looking for a scapegoat. God knows there has to be one for everything. Well, here we are. 

Go ahead and continue to take us down, but you're only going to hurt yourself. What's going to happen when we can't find jobs on the Street anymore? Guess what: We're going to take yours. We get up at 5am and work till 10pm or later. We're used to not getting up to pee when we have a position. We don't take an hour or more for a lunch break. We don't demand a union. We don't retire at 50 with a pension. We eat what we kill, and when the only thing left to eat is on your dinner plates, we'll eat that. 

For years teachers and other unionized labor have had us fooled. We were too busy working to notice. Do you really think that we are incapable of teaching 3rd graders and doing landscaping? We're going to take your cushy jobs with tenure and a 4 months off a year and whine just like you that we are so-o-o-o underpaid for building the youth of America. Say goodbye to your overtime and double time and a half. I'll be hitting grounders to the high school baseball team for $5k extra a summer, thank you very much. So now that we're going to be making $85k a year without upside, Joe Mainstreet is going to have his revenge, right? Wrong! Guess what: we're going to stop buying the new 80k car, we aren't going to leave the 35% tip at our business dinners anymore. No more free rides on our backs. We're going to landscape our own back yards, wash our own cars with a garden hose in our drive ways. Our money was your money. You spent it. When our money dries up, so does yours. 

The difference is, you lived off it, we rejoiced in it. The Obama Administration and the Democratic National Committee might get their way and knock us off the top of the pyramid, but it's really going to hurt like hell for them when our fat asses land directly on the middle class of America and knock them to the bottom. 

We aren't dinosaurs. We are smarter and more vicious than that, and we are going to service. The question is, now that Obama and his administration are making Joe Mainstreet our food supply...will he? and will they?

I am a capitalist. I believe in free market economy. In my opinion, Occupy Wall Street is a farce. It is something like the Anna Hazare movement in India. It is impractical and immature. The only reason it has been able to garner support is because of the combined frustration of the masses. They believe that if they join a protest then all their problems will be solved. Unfortunately, they also believe that their duty ends as soon as the participate in the protest. They do not do anything else to get themselves out of the situation. 

Stop blaming capitalism just because you do not know how to play the game. If you are in trouble, ask for help. Blaming other for it will not solve your problem. 

Whenever you think you have a problem, before cribbing about it or blaming others, ask yourself this question, "What are you doing about it?" 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Why the sudden obsession with being funny?

Warning: By writing this post, I am not proclaiming that I am funny and a lot of other people are not. I am just trying to say that people who are not funny should stop being desperate about being funny. Read on for further explanation.

First of all, this situation is seen more in guys than in girls. 

What is that one thing that everyone will say when you ask them what kind of a person do you like? 

Funny. Humorous. Good sense of humour. 

Yep. It always makes the list. Its like, our lives have become so boring, dull, monotonous, stressful or just plain sad that something funny from time to time is a big relief. I agree. Humour is a very good thing. 

My problem lies in the fact that once people start noticing that funny people are liked by more people then well, others, they try to be funny themselves. Why wouldn't they? We all crave for societal acceptance and praise. If I saw that people who can play the guitar are more 'popular' than others then I would definitely want to learn the guitar. I guess its normal human tendency. 

The problem starts here. Most of us can learn the guitar. We can practice alone and then learn it eventually. Ofcourse, not all of us will be great but almost everyone can learn the basics. The thing with a sense of humour is, its not something that you can be learnt. You might disagree but I think its something you are either born with or something that develops over time due to the circumstances around you. You cannot just one day decide that from now onwards you'll start being funny. Sorry, it doesn't work that way.

Sadly, people don't realise it. They keep trying to be funny. Of all things that they are good at, they try to be something they are not. The result in almost all cases is that they fail. Miserably. Instead of attracting people (which was the original plan), they start embarrassing themselves. Thus, doing exactly the opposite of what they wanted to do in the beginning. 

I am blessed with friends who have an amazing sense of humour. They can literally make you ROFL. #notkidding

I am also surrounded by a few of the wannbe funnies. A little advice, although you've never asked for it, why try to be someone else when you can be awesome when you are you. 
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken." - Oscar Wilde.

If you are not funny then don't sweat it. I am sure you are a lot better at a lot of other things than all the funny people you know. Be awesome in that. If you are around funny people, enjoy yourself. Trust me, you are lucky to have someone make you laugh. Its a privilege not many people in the world get. 

If you try to be someone else then you will definitely not be the best you can be. As they say, "If everyone wants to crack jokes, who will laugh at them?" 

Stop trying to be funny. If it comes naturally, great. Nothing like it. If it does not then maybe you were destined for greater things in life than just cracking one liners. :)

P.S.: Although I can understand why everyone wants to be funny. The capacity to make someone else laugh, to make them forget their sorrows or problems, just for a little while, is a super power to say the least. But then, why be the Joker when you already are Batman? :) 

If you think you are funny, do share a joke in the comments. :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Star Network and The Art of being Patient

A couple of nights ago, I sat down to watch Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara on Star Plus at 9pm. 

It's a good movie. I had seen it earlier. Parents had not. We sat down, hoping for a good time. 

Little did we know, the channel would decide to play spoil sport. 

The movie began on time. They were showing the movie with adverts coming after every 15 mins or so. The length of the advert was around 3-4 minutes. It seems very short to us and we were pleasantly surprised. 

Slowly and gradually, in a way that only a few would notice in the beginning. The duration of the adverts began to increase. From 4 to 6 to 10 mins. So by the time it was around 11:30, the channel showed us 15 minutes of movie and 10 minutes of adverts. 

I started getting irritated. It was not because they were trying to fool us and getting away with it but it was because they were spoiling the charm of the movie. 

Right when I thought it could not get worse, they started showing less of the movie and more of the adverts. I was totally like WTF! 

For every 10 minutes of movie, I was made to sit through 15 mins of annoying and repetitive adverts. The movie that was supposed to end at 00:30 am had reached the penultimate scene at that time. The adverts started then. I moved around the house, waiting for the movie to end. 

I am a fan of the last song 'Suraj Ki Bahoon Mein' that comes with the credits. I had seen the movie earlier and was waiting specially for that song. 

And what do you know, for 25 minutes they showed advertisements and then cut directly to a soap opera!! :| 

I was angry. How can they cut out the last scene and the credits? I mean, does that not violate any rights of the people who worked for the movie? [tried looking for a law, couldn't find anything]

My dad, who had been asking me not to reveal the plot since the beginning, now wanted to know how it ends. :D

I spent the last 30 minutes of that night asking myself how ethical it was for Star Network to do this. 

Increasing the length of adverts in between, cutting movie scenes and not showing the credits of the movie. I am all for profit making but not at the cost of quality. I wish Star was more careful.

I am one dissatisfied customer. When I pay for a movie, I want to see it completely and without some Network trying to pull a fast one on me. So I thought I would write a post about it. Everyone who thinks this is something sad and should be stopped, share this post or atleast the contents. 

Dear Star Network,
Hum aapke customer banenge na dobara.
Guy with unlimited internet and limited time. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Courageous Heart

Meet Irene Sendler (1910-2008)

She was a 98 year old Polish Woman at her time of death. During World War II, Irene worked in the Warsaw Ghetto as a plumbing/sewer specialist. She dedicated herself to smuggle Jewish children out. Infrants were carried in the bottom of the tool box she used and older children in a buriap sack she had in the back of her truck.

She also had a dog in the back that she trained to bark when the Nazi soldiers let her in and out of the ghetto. The soldiers wanted nothing to do with the dog and the barking covered the kid's and the infants noises. Irene managed to smuggle out and save 2500 children during this time.

She eventually was caught and the Nazis broke her legs, arms and beat her severely. Irene kept a record of the names of all the kids she smuggled out and in a glass jar buried under a tree in her backyard. After the way, she tried to locate any parents that may have survived and reunited some of the families but most had been killed. She then helped those children get placement into foster family homes or adopted.

In 2007, Irene was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. She was not selected.

Al Gore won for presenting a slide show on Global Warming.

Sometimes, good work done by people is not appreciated properly. We can't get her the Nobel Prize but we sure can spread the news of her good deeds to as many people as we can. Share this information with your friends.

Thank you.

P.S: There was a movie made on her named 'The Courageous Heart of Irene Sendler' in 2009.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Only in Law School

It just occurred to me that I have been in law school for almost 7 semesters now and I haven't written a 'Things I learnt at law school' or a 'Only at a law school' post. I am surprised.

7. Seven. VII. Semesters. That's a very long time. It has been a roller coaster. I won't go into details because that would reveal the mega post I have planned for after I complete law school. I'll just give you a few pointers.

Here goes.

1. People will start fearing you as soon as you get into a law school. I am talking about all your other non-law friends.

2. The fatter the course handout the more satisfying the feeling after you complete it in one night. 

3. Friends are few. Find them. Keep them close. Don't worry about enemies. They'll try to come close as well.

4. Food at home becomes tastier. A lot more tastier.

5. Sleeping is a luxury. Unless you are in class. Then its an art.

6. Contrary to popular opinion, your love for books will go up, albeit only for the non academic ones. 

7. Arguing over trivial things will seem like a hobby. Everyone around you will do it and enjoy it. 

8. You might be inclined to make contracts for everything from asking your girlfriend to give more time to you to making a plan for a trip with your best friend to the procedure and sequence of going to fill water bottles. 

9.  All your non-law friends will think you are like God and can save them if they rape someone or kill someone. Tell them you will. It makes them happy. :P

10. You will keep food locked up but will keep your Macbook Pro out in the open.

11. You will be able to say 'briefs' our loud without being embarrassed. 

12. You will tell people that you will sue them if they did something and then laugh in your head about how you can never do that. 

13. If you tell anyone you want to become a criminal lawyer, they will imagine a gun stuck to your belt.

14. You will learn how not to be afraid of fat books because you know that 'sabun ke shakal mein, ye to hai jhag'. #Delhibelly

15. Your creative writing skills will improve. Exams will be the reason.

16. You will try to prove everything, irrespective of how unreasonable it sounds. Just for kicks. 

17. Friendship over mutual hatred is common place.

18. Relationships for some people are like class coordinators. They change every year. 

19. Multi Tasking will become a necessity.

20. You will learn that you are not as awesome as you thought you were. 

Phew, I think I mentally went back to the first semester to write down all this. I am sure you can come up with some as well. Please do share. :) 

To end it, I give you a picture: 

P.S: No, I did not take permission to use these pictures. Sue me!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Why do we write?

I don't think anyone can give a straight forward answer to that. Atleast not a simple one. I can't answer for everyone. I can only tell you why do I like to write. There have been times when I literally crave about writing something. I am in such a mode right now.

Anyways, I write because...

it gives me a sense of satisfaction
it gives me a sense of purpose
it gives an outlet to my emotions
it gives me an opportunity to check how well I can put my thoughts into words
it makes me feel alive
it makes me feel like a child again
it excites me
it intrigues me
I feel connected to words
I feel writing is the second most effective mode of communicating an idea after face-to-face conversations.
it helps me draft better :P (Yes, law students always think about drafting)
it helps me satisfy my unending urge to talk
it helps me think differently
it lets me know what people's opinion
it makes me feel like I'm giving something to the world which has taught me so much

But most importantly, I write because it makes me happy!

"Write from your heart, write from your soul. Make the best of your talent, and don't ever let it go. Not for anything."

Keep writing. :)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Gandhi and the other side of the story!

We all have heard Gandhi's side of the story. We all consider him a saint. One of the major reasons for it is that since childhood, we've been told he's almost as great as God himself

I have met only a handful people who have told me that they are not a Gandhi fan. I guess a lot of us don't talk about it because of the fear of being looked down upon. I mean, how can someone not like Gandhi? 

Well, one of the good things that a teacher of mine has taught me is, look at both sides of the issue. You are a law student, not a news channel.

So, today when I see all kinds of social media going gaga over the Mahatma, I decided to look for answers.

Read it completely with the comments, before continuing with this post. 

So, the guys who killed him had their reasons. Pretty strong ones at that. About Gandhi manipulating the media, I guess we have seen a similar example very recently with Anna Hazare. In a way, he is the new Gandhi. 

Gandhiji's principles of Non-violence and Civil Disobedience were not new. They are not Gandhi's principles. They are principles which he choose. 

I think people sympathize with Gandhi because all his 'sufferings and pain' have been well documented and broadly showcased. Humans have a tendency of doing that. We can be guided. We have been guided. 

Also, the whole "Hey Ram" controversy is also a big thing. There have been eye witnesses who have told the media that Gandhi just died. His being secular is also a question of debate. I guess he did not discriminate between people based on their religion. He only knew two kinds of people, one group that would follow him blindly and the other than won't. 

I have talked to people about this topic and they have told me these things:

"Majority of his followers were lower caste people who were ignored by all sections of the society. They followed him because he projected himself as their savior. This is basic human nature. If everyone hates you and later on your find someone who thinks you are kind of okay, then you will obviously respect that someone. After he had a crowd, he targeted the leaders. Leaders supported him because he had the support of a lot of people. Nothing looks better to a politian than a large crowd of hapless people ready to vote for him if the politian supported Gandhi." 

"What's with Jawaharlal Nehru being made Prime Minister? I mean, didn't Sardar Patel do all the hard work of reuniting the entire country? Or was he not charismatic enough for capture the imagination of the recently independent state?"

"He was a master manipulator. He took the issue very close to everyone's heart and then used it to his advantage."

"If we believe that based on our actions our Karma gives us what we deserve in life then him being shot dead is something that tells us a lot about the things he might have done."

These are just the ones I distinctly remember. There are a lot more of these. Ask around with a open mind and you will be surprised. Let me clarify, I am not anti-gandhi but then neither am I pro-gandhi. I just know that something is amiss. 

On this Second October 2011, I want you to sit back and think about the life and events of Mahatma Gandhi. A man, who could lead capture the imagination of such a huge and diverse country was surely awesome. Let's just make sure that we don't forget the other side of the story. 

To end on a lighter note:

P.S: The Facebook display picture of this blog's fan page is also related to Gandhi, go check it out. :D

Friday, September 23, 2011

Death of a Friend

It was Tuesday night that I found out.

I could not move for 15 minutes. I could not believe what I was reading. It could not be possible. But after a while, it sunk in. He was no more. 

Bhavik, my friend from school, died in an accident on Tuesday morning. He was 21.

We had both gone to St. Kabir School together. Right from 1st to 10th grade. Those were the best times in my life. I guess, everyone will agree, school has a different charm to it. I used to drive my cycle to school from 5th grade onwards. Bhavik used to do the same. In 5 years, we had eaten at every possible place in between our home and the school multiple number of times. The ambodiya guy used to wait for us to come. The dabeli guy used to make special dabelis for us and we had a special deal with the cold coco guy. 

We played cricket together. Everyone called you Pointing after the Australian captain. You do look similar. :) I still remember your joke about "I can't field deep, I don't know how to swim. :P" and "Look look, they are opening their batting with tailenders." :D 

Vacations meant, getting together at a friends place at 10 in the morning and doing random things all throughout the day. It included, watching movies, playing cricket inside and outside the house, playing roadrash for 3 days straight, eating bhel as if it was going to be the last meal for us in the week, filling petrol worth Rs 10 just so that we could get to the sandwich place and crank calling random/desperate guys we used to 'seduce' on chat groups on rediff. Life could not have been better. 

We were in different school for the next two years but we used to meet often. We were far in physical distance but whenever the gang got together, it was as if we were still in the 7th grade. 

College began and we all grew apart. We took different streams and were in difference colleges. Meeting friends almost stopped. In the past 2 years, we did not meet. 

Suddenly, a few weeks back, we met at Mc'd, late in the night. It was a chance meeting but as we all know, time lost in between doesn't count when it comes to school friends. We met just for a couple of minutes but it was a happy meeting. I did not know that this would be our last meeting but as I write this now, I am glad it was a happy one!

Thankfully, it was not our last interaction. You met my dad on Sunday at a pan shop of all places. The conversation he had with you was something like this:

Dad: Aree bhavik, kaisa hai tu? Padhia theek chal rahi hai?
Bhavik: Namaste uncle. Sab theek. Apoorv kaisa hai?
Dad: Ekdum theek. 
Bhavik: Uncle mere best friend ke pappa hain, inse paise mat lena. Kitna bhi bole, mat lena.
Dad *smiling* (to the shopkeeper): Ye to mere bete jaisa hai, isse kaise paise le sakta hun. Aap paise le lo.
Bhavik: Uncle, beta ka to hak banta hai. Aapne mujhe itne salon baad bhi pehchan liya wohi mere liye bohot hai. 

That day my dad came home and could not stop smiling while narrating this to me. I even wrote about it on your Facebook wall. You replied to it. That was unfortunately our last interaction. Again, I am happy that it was a memory I will cherish all my life. 

I hope you are in a better place now. I am sure you are making everyone in heaven laugh out loud with your witty jokes and hilarious impressions. :)

We will all miss you. A lot :) 

Friend forever,
Apoorv :)

Losing a friend makes you realize a lot of things. It tells you that life is fickle. It can end anytime. There is no point in delaying things/decisions. You might not be able to do them. 

It also made me realise that you should never fight with anyone and walk away without solving the fight. You never know which is the last time you talk to that person. It might just be the last and I am sure you wouldn't want it to be a fight. 

Never delay things. Never postpone something which you can do now. If you decide that you will earn money now and serve the society later on in your life, also take into account that (god forbid), that later on might never come. Do it now. 

Live now. Never regret. Smile now. Stay happy, now.  Because (ending yet another post with a Shahrukh Khan dialogue) "Kya pata, Kal ho na ho?" :) 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Things you should do in college!

This is an letter that the admission officer in Massachusetts wrote to the freshers. I am sure all of us can relate to it. :)

Stolen from a friend's facebook profile. :P 

Dear Class of 2010,
This will be my last entry written specifically for you; beginning with the launch of our new site in early September, I'll begin focusing on the future class of 2011. I hope that you guys won't be strangers; stay in touch either in person (come visit us!) or online (please drop by the blogs from time to time and say hi).
As you begin your college experience, and I prepare for my 10-year college reunion, I thought I'd leave you with the things that, in retrospect, I think are important as you navigate the next four years. I hope that some of them are helpful.
Here it goes...
  1. Your friends will change a lot over the next four years. Let them.
  2. Call someone you love back home a few times a week, even if just for a few minutes.
  3. In college more than ever before, songs will attach themselves to memories. Every month or two, make a mix cd, mp3 folder, whatever - just make sure you keep copies of these songs. Ten years out, they'll be as effective as a journal in taking you back to your favorite moments.
  4. Take naps in the middle of the afternoon with reckless abandon.
  5. Adjust your schedule around when you are most productive and creative. If you're nocturnal and do your best work late at night, embrace that. It may be the only time in your life when you can.
  6. If you write your best papers the night before they are due, don't let people tell you that you "should be more organized" or that you "should plan better." Different things work for different people. Personally, I worked best under pressure - so I always procrastinated... and always kicked ass (which annoyed my friends to no end). ;-) Use the freedom that comes with not having grades first semester to experiment and see what works best for you.
  7. At least a few times in your college career, do something fun and irresponsible when you should be studying. The night before my freshman year psych final, my roommate somehow scored front row seats to the Indigo Girls at a venue 2 hours away. I didn't do so well on the final, but I haven't thought about psych since 1993. I've thought about the experience of going to that show (with the guy who is now my son's godfather) at least once a month ever since.
  8. Become friends with your favorite professors. Recognize that they can learn from you too - in fact, that's part of the reason they chose to be professors.
  9. Carve out an hour every single day to be alone. (Sleeping doesn't count.)
  10. Go on dates. Don't feel like every date has to turn into a relationship.
  11. Don't date someone your roommate has been in a relationship with.
  12. When your friends' parents visit, include them. You'll get free food, etc., and you'll help them to feel like they're cool, hangin' with the hip college kids.
  13. In the first month of college, send a hand-written letter to someone who made college possible for you and describe your adventures thus far. It will mean a lot to him/her now, and it will mean a lot to you in ten years when he/she shows it to you.
  14. Embrace the differences between you and your classmates. Always be asking yourself, "what can I learn from this person?" More of your education will come from this than from any classroom.
  15. All-nighters are entirely overrated.
  16. For those of you who have come to college in a long-distance relationship with someone from high school: despite what many will tell you, it can work. The key is to not let your relationship interfere with your college experience. If you don't want to date anyone else, that's totally fine! What's not fine, however, is missing out on a lot of defining experiences because you're on the phone with your boyfriend/girlfriend for three hours every day.
  17. Working things out between friends is best done in person, not over email. (IM does not count as "in person.") Often someone's facial expressions will tell you more than his/her words.
  18. Take risks.
  19. Don't be afraid of (or excited by) the co-ed bathrooms. The thrill is over in about 2 seconds.
  20. Wednesday is the middle of the week; therefore on wednesday night the week is more than half over. You should celebrate accordingly. (It makes thursday and friday a lot more fun.)
  21. Welcome failure into your lives. It's how we grow. What matters is not that you failed, but that you recovered.
  22. Take some classes that have nothing to do with your major(s), purely for the fun of it.
  23. It's important to think about the future, but it's more important to be present in the now. You won't get the most out of college if you think of it as a stepping stone.
  24. When you're living on a college campus with 400 things going on every second of every day, watching TV is pretty much a waste of your time and a waste of your parents' money. If you're going to watch, watch with friends so at least you can call it a "valuable social experience."
  25. Don't be afraid to fall in love. When it happens, don't take it for granted. Celebrate it, but don't let it define your college experience.
  26. Much of the time you once had for pleasure reading is going to disappear. Keep a list of the books you would have read had you had the time, so that you can start reading them when you graduate.
  27. Things that seem like the end of the world really do become funny with a little time and distance. Knowing this, forget the embarassment and skip to the good part.
  28. Every once in awhile, there will come an especially powerful moment when you can actually feel that an experience has changed who you are. Embrace these, even if they are painful.
  29. No matter what your political or religious beliefs, be open-minded. You're going to be challenged over the next four years in ways you can't imagine, across all fronts. You can't learn if you're closed off.
  30. If you need to get a job, find something that you actually enjoy. Just because it's work doesn't mean it has to suck.
  31. Don't always lead. It's good to follow sometimes.
  32. Take a lot of pictures. One of my major regrets in life is that I didn't take more pictures in college. My excuse was the cost of film and processing. Digital cameras are cheap and you have plenty of hard drive space, so you have no excuse.
  33. Your health and safety are more important than anything.
  34. Ask for help. Often.
  35. Half of you will be in the bottom half of your class at any given moment. Way more than half of you will be in the bottom half of your class at some point in the next four years. Get used to it.
  36. In ten years very few of you will look as good as you do right now, so secretly revel in how hot you are before it's too late.
  37. In the long run, where you go to college doesn't matter as much as what you do with the opportunities you're given there. The MIT name on your resume won't mean much if that's theonly thing on your resume. As a student here, you will have access to a variety of unique opportunities that no one else will ever have - don't waste them.
  38. On the flip side, don't try to do everything. Balance = well-being.
  39. Make perspective a priority. If you're too close to something to have good perspective, rely on your friends to help you.
  40. Eat badly sometimes. It's the last time in your life when you can do this without feeling guilty about it.
  41. Make a complete ass of yourself at least once, preferably more. It builds character.
  42. Wash your sheets more than once a year. Trust me on this one.
  43. If you are in a relationship and none of your friends want to hang out with you and your significant other, pay attention. They usually know better than you do.
  44. Don't be afraid of the weird pizza topping combinations that your new friend from across the country loves. Some of the truly awful ones actually taste pretty good. Expand your horizons.
  45. Explore the campus thoroughly. Don't get caught.
  46. Life is too short to stick with a course of study that you're no longer excited about. Switch, even if it complicates things.
  47. Tattoos are permanent. Be very certain.
  48. Don't make fun of prefrosh. That was you like 2 hours ago.
  49. Enjoy every second of the next four years. It is impossible to describe how quickly they pass.
  50. This is the only time in your lives when your only real responsibility is to learn. Try to remember how lucky you are every day.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Law student and the Art of Juggling!

Yes, that's what all law students need to learn. Juggling!!

We have to juggle lots of things if we want to do something meaningful with our life.

To list a few of the things we need to juggle with: Books, CGPA, Research Papers, Making contacts, Moots, Debates, Sports, Travelling, Hobbies, Internships, Committees, Journals, Organizing team and Attendance.

List of a few things you should not juggle: Friends (most important), Relationships, Health, Values, Passion for something, Ethics,  Morals, Integrity and Trust.

If you can remember just this much, I am sure you will be happier than you were before. :)

This list might only be something law students can relate to but I guess the 'should not juggle' list is pretty much applicable to everyone.

It doesn't matter what you juggle, it matters what you don't juggle.

P.S. - I might sound like a preacher, but I'm not the only one. :)

Go Juggle!

Friday, September 9, 2011

The obsession with being Awesome!

We all want to be awesome, don't we?

Awesome in everything we do. It's become so bad that now sometimes if we don't think we have lived up to our awesomeness level, we are not happy with our performance. It's a good thing to try to keep improving and also trying to be the best but I don't think its healthy to lament over the fact that someone is more awesome than you are. It is unhealthy competition.

A few years ago it used to be who gets more marks, who gets a higher rank, who talks to most girls/guys, who got selected for the debate team, who had the coolest watch or the coolest cycle or even compass box. Life used to be simple.

Now we have people who are desperate for 'likes' on their status messages and their profile pictures. We have people who want you to RT their tweet. We have people who judge you by the number of friends you have. We even have people who think that they will become waaay more cooler if they say something funny/silly/witty on your serious post and get a few likes. Even when we are in a classroom. Saying something cheeky is almost a rule now. If you are not funny, you are not interesting.

We have all become wannabe awesome. I don't know if this post makes sense to you. I am not able to put it down properly. I hope you get what I am trying to say.

I personally find all this very disturbing. I know I know. I might also being doing it but we all know that humans don't judge themselves, that's why we have our so called friends. :)

Why would I want to be that cool witty kid? Why can't I be that quite but smart guy? Why do I have to live up to the expectation that stupid and fake people have for me? Why can't I just be myself and not have to explain myself to every tom dick harry and jane?

We are all wearing a mask. It is okay sometimes but the situation right now is going south. We don't want to remove this mask. We want to 'act' like we are awesome.

I know that as soon as we hear the word Awesome, the first person and the first quote that comes to our mind is this:

But my question to you is, why can't we just be normal? Be who we are without any regrets or reservations.

I have a t-shirt which says 'Fake Plastic People'. I wear it a lot. It's what I think the people of the world have become.

P.S. - I am not exactly sure if I have been able to put my point across to you properly. Maybe its because there are a lot of things going on in my mind right now or maybe I am just lousy at writing on such topics. :P

Anyways, do let me know what you think about it. :)


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Laws in India to tackle corruption

So you thought India had no laws for tackling corruption? Well, surprise surprise. There are a lot of them. Here's a list. 

Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988
The Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 (POCA) was enacted to consolidate different anti-corruption provisions from various pieces of legislation under one umbrella and to make them more effective. The Corruption Act, inter alia, widened the scope of the definition of a “public servant”; enhanced penalties provided for offences in earlier laws; incorporated the provisions of freezing of suspected property during trial; mandated trial on a day-to-day basis, prohibited the grant of stay on trial; etc. The Corruption Act is the main law for dealing with offences pertaining to corruption in India, however many avenues of corruption cannot be dealt with under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC)
India has welcomed the UNCAC, which provides for international co-operation and mutual legal assistance in investigating cases of corruption and recovery of assets. India signed the UNCAC in December 2005. By signing the Convention India has reiterated its resolve to strengthen international co-operation as envisaged in the Convention. It has now even ratified it. The Convention will boost India’s effort and commitment to fight corruption at both domestic and international level.

The Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002
Many public servants are able to hold their ill-gotten wealth in foreign countries, which they subsequently transfer to their homeland through money laundering, disguising them as funds, apparently from a legal source. This Act empowers the Directorate of Enforcement, India, and Financial Intelligence Unit, India, both agencies of the Government of India, to investigate and prosecute such persons under the said Act.

The Foreign Exchange Management Act 1999
Middlemen or touts, who take huge commissions for brokering deals pertaining to purchases from foreign suppliers, often transfer such money in foreign currencies, claiming it to be the proceeds of some business abroad. This Act empowers the Directorate of Enforcement, India to investigate and prosecute such persons under the said act.

The Right to Information Act, 2005
It is a well-known fact that too much secrecy in public administration breeds corruption. The Right to Information Act aims at ensuring efficiency, transparency and accountability in public life. This Act requires all public authorities, except the ones that handle work relating to national security, to publish all information about their functioning at regular intervals through various means of communication, including the Internet. Now any person can seek any information from the concerned public authority just by filing an application at almost at no cost. The public authority has to reply to the application compulsorily within 30 days. If the information sought is denied, the applicant has a right to agitate further before the appellate authorities under this Act. This can indeed be described as a revolutionary step towards the eradication of corruption from public life.

Central Vigilance Commission
The Central Vigilance Commission is a statutory body which monitors corruption in governmental departments. It supervises the work of Chief Vigilance Officers of all the departments of government and issues guidelines to them. The CVC also receives complaints from the general public about corruption. It refers such complaints to the CBI for verification and investigation if found to contain verifiable allegations. The CVOs are in-house supervisors of government departments who monitor the conduct of personnel and enquire into complaints against them pertaining to corruption. If upon enquiry they conclude that a criminal case under the Corruption Act appears to have been made out, they refer the case to the CBI for investigation.

Use of telephonic/Electronic surveillance
The legal provisions relating to telephonic or electronic surveillance under the Indian Telegraph Act 1885 are effectively used by the CBI to gather accurate information about corrupt activities of the public servants. After ascertaining details about various phone numbers and email identifications used by the public servant, permission of the competent authority is taken to put the same under surveillance. Information gathered during such surveillance has been successfully used in exposing big scams.

Freezing, Seizure and Confiscation of Properties - The Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 1944 (Article 31 of UNCAC)
This is an important law on freezing, seizure and confiscation of properties which are proceeds of crime, including offences under the Corruption Act. Such properties identified during investigation can be frozen under this law. Properties can remain frozen till disposal of the case by the court after completion of the investigation. If the alleged offence is proved in the court of law and the property is proved to be the proceeds of crime, the court will order its confiscation.

Criminal Procedure Code 1973 together with Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLAT) in Criminal Matters and Extradition Treaties
Sec. 166 A and 166 B of the above code empower the crime investigation agencies of India to make requests to other countries as well as to entertain requests from other countries to render assistance in the investigation of crime registered in the respective countries. Such letters of request are popularly known as Letters Rogatory. Such Letters Rogatory are executed on the basis of Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties and Extradition Treaties India has signed with other countries. To date India has Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties in Criminal Matters with 20 countries and Extradition Treaties with 25 countries. The Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties invariably have a chapter on asset recovery and sharing the same. With other countries, international co-operation is sought on the basis of guarantee of reciprocity

Also we have the Indian Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code. Also with the Whistle Blower Bill in the pipeline, do we really need a new law?  Stop going to stupid candle light rallies and start implementing anti corruption habits in your day to day life. Oh and next time you say we don't have laws, think about this post. 

P.S.- The list of laws and the information related to it is taken from this blog. Do check it out. It has a complete analysis of corruption in India. 

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