Category: Current

Work and Workplace In The Time Of Covid-19.

Work and Workplace In The Time Of Covid-19.

By

Jitendra Kumar Sharma

Snippet

Dear Reader,

May I seek your indulgence to read my snippet before you read my blog ‘Work And Workplace In The Time Of COVID-19’. In this ‘pre-blog’, I will share a few Side Effects of COVID-19 on me personally.

As a writer, I have avoided growing a beard, though it saves time. Instead, I prefer going to the Barber’s Shop for a close shave. There I get to glance over old magazines and hear the latest village gossip into the bargain and return home brimming with ideas and a fresh, shining face.

On the first day of COVID-19 Lockdown I was about to dash to the Saloon when the old Idiot Box blared: “Stay At Home, It Is A Total Shutdown”, then panned a few long shots closing up to my Barber’s Shop firmly locked up and a freshly shaven policeman, indifferently gaping into the deserted street.

I was angry. I was desperate. Last time, I was at my barber’s I was going through Charles Lamb’s essay THE SUPERANNUATED MAN in an old magazine when he called me out for my turn. Mr. DeMelo’s booming voice snapped me from the mag abruptly ending my reverie that Lamb’s poignant and dreamy style had induced.

COVID-19 had dashed all my hopes to get back to Charles Lamb in the familiar, cozy, and very privileged setting. I could not go not only to the Barber’s Shop but anywhere else too- libraries, book-shops, friends’ homes, all access and avenues to reach and read Charles Lamb were closed. Desperation assailed me as I refused to compromise with the reality of the universal Lockdown. This absolutely arbitrary denial whetted my desire to own and study Charles Lamb’s complete works.

Forlorn, I turned to Keertiji, that is my Laptop. ‘Welcome’, she chimed and I smiled.

Eureka! My Laptop revealed a truth: I was no longer in the real world. COVID-19 had shoved me into a Virtual World and Charles Lamb’s works were only a click away

https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Letters-Charles-Modern-Library/dp/B0006AMZSY/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=complete+works+of+Charles+Lamb&qid=1591105398&sr=8-1

Dear reader, have you read Lamb’s ‘THE SUPERANNUATED MAN’? This is also about going to work and staying at home; living for others and living for oneself; work versus leisure and host of questions the Common Man is facing in the time of COVID-19, questions we together shall be debating through my blogs.

But first this important

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links are affiliate links and at no cost to you. I’ll earn a small commission if you click and purchase a product or service using my link. It helps make my blog and all my writings free of cost to you.

Your clicks/purchases help me buy and read study material for writing readable and free blogs for you on my website http://www.agrawalmaharajamcluhan.com/

I recommend products and services from reputed organizations that I’ve personally known, used, or shall myself buy and are available on Amazon.com.

Reader, be of good cheer because COVID-19 has opened up unlimited avenues and vistas for us. It has pushed us into the Automation Age.

In the Automation Age, as my Guru Marshall McLuhan said: “Earning a Living” becomes “Learning a Living”. Jobs disappear, roles emerge; work decreases, leisure increases; drudgery dwindles, creativity quickens; competition is out, sharing is in; governments fail, citizens succeed; working for Others is past,working for One’s Self is future! https://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Media-Extensions-Marshall-McLuhan/dp/1584230738/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1MBQE98H293HN&dchild=1&keywords=understanding+media+by+marshall+mcluhan&qid=1591771710&sprefix=Understanding+Media+by+%2Caps%2C410&sr=8-1

 

 

https://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Media-Extensions-Marshall-McLuhan/dp/1584230738/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1MBQE98H293HN&dchild=1&keywords=understanding+media+by+marshall+mcluhan&qid=1591771710&sprefix=Understanding+Media+by+%2Caps%2C410&sr=8-1

Virtual World, in some ways, is like the pristine Vedic World https://www.amazon.com/s?k=vedas+complete+in+english&crid=11Q4GA7M26ZZO&sprefix=Vedas%2Caps%2C416&ref=nb_sb_ss_i_4_5

when Health was Wealth

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=ayurveda+books&crid=1I2FDROD07JGS&sprefix=Ayurveda%2Caps%2C425&ref=nb_sb_ss_i_4_8

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=ayurveda+books&crid=1I2FDROD07JGS&sprefix=Ayurveda%2Caps%2C425&ref=nb_sb_ss_i_4_8

Culture preceded Civilization https://www.amazon.com/Leisure-Basis-Culture-Josef-Pieper/dp/1586172565/ref=sr_1_1?crid=20ETR1KSVWI2A&dchild=1&keywords=leisure+the+basis+of+culture+by+josef+pieper&qid=1591772647&sprefix=Liesure++the+Basis+%2Caps%2C407&sr=8-1

https://www.amazon.com/gp/yourstore/home?ref_=nav_cs_ys

Man respected Nature https://www.amazon.com/Sublime-Nature-Photographs-That-Inspire/dp/1426213018/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=Nature+Sublime&qid=1591800462&sr=8-2

Need subjected Greed

https://www.amazon.com/Greed-Versus-feat-Mossy-Explicit/dp/B0879LFYML/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=Need+versus+Greed&qid=1591859257&sr=8-3

Corruption quailedhttps://www.amazon.com/Profiles-Corruption-Peter-Schweizer/dp/006289790X/ref=sr_1_1?crid=VI9ACKKALW28&dchild=1&keywords=corruption+books&qid=1591859423&sprefix=Corruption%2Caps%2C436&sr=8-1

Pollution puledhttps://www.amazon.com/Health-People-Planet-Our-Responsibility-ebook/dp/B088LMSRQH/ref=sr_1_18?crid=JMBRL6J0FRQ0&dchild=1&keywords=pollution+books&qid=1591859551&sprefix=Pollution+books%2Caps%2C450&sr=8-18.

Therefore, be brave.

Leave Behind The Old Real World

And, dear reader,

Enter with me

The New Virtual World

In the COVID-19 Times.

Did I forget to tell you that I had a pretty good shave with Gillette Mach3 shaving kit, courtesy Amazon.com

https://www.amazon.com/Gillette-Mach3-Razor-Blades-Refills/dp/B0725BK81G/ref=sr_1_5?crid=2MMBS8F99EDI1&dchild=1&keywords=men%27s+shaving+razors+gillette&qid=1590814088&sprefix=Men%27s+Shaving+Razors%2Caps%2C418&sr=8-5

and

https://www.amazon.com/Gillette-Shaving-Sensitive-Skin-Pack/dp/B001E95HJU/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Gillette+men%27s+shaving+cream+and+after+shave+%2Cetc%2C+all+departments&qid=1590815108&sr=8-1

Also got the mandatory

Mask

https://www.amazon.com/Reusable-Disposable-Surgical-Industrial-Protection/dp/B087TFX1J4/ref=zg_bs_3777911_14?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=G87D5S9R78YGFEJ0XC4B

before starting on my Blog

Work and Workplace In The Time Of Covid-19

PS: This blog is inspired by several publications that are currently providing free of cost information and guidance, to mention a few, The Atlantic Monthly, https://www.amazon.com/The-Atlantic/dp/B000IMVNQU/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1VY8ZWF6M151W&dchild=1&keywords=atlantic+magazine&qid=1591800964&sprefix=Atkantic%2Caps%2C418&sr=8-1 The Atlantic Kindle Edition

https://www.amazon.com/The-Atlantic/dp/B000IMVNQU/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3JSFZL0R0CRH8&dchild=1&keywords=atlantic+monthly+subscription&qid=1591168468&sprefix=Atlantic+Monthly%2Caps%2C412&sr=8-1

The New Yorker Kindle Edition https://www.amazon.com/The-New-Yorker/dp/B00EZAIPXU/ref=pd_sbs_350_1/135-8307135-9811014?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B00EZAIPXU&pd_rd_r=8607eccd-bb21-4318-a304-70ae6941448c&pd_rd_w=7R72K&pd_rd_wg=NamvY&pf_rd_p=665be1f4-8d3b-46dd-91b4-582d3cec8dd6&pf_rd_r=YC7RN0AD6285A6S1GJX0&psc=1&refRID=YC7RN0AD6285A6S1GJX0

https://www.amazon.com/Atlantic-Magazine-2020-Anxious-Child/dp/B087JFDLY2/ref=sr_1_3?crid=1VY8ZWF6M151W&dchild=1&keywords=atlantic+magazine&qid=1591801066&sprefix=Atkantic%2Caps%2C418&sr=8-3

The Economist – US Edition Kindle Edition

https://www.amazon.com/The-Economist-US-Edition/dp/B0027VSU9S/ref=pd_sbs_350_2/135-8307135-9811014?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B0027VSU9S&pd_rd_r=8607eccd-bb21-4318-a304-70ae6941448c&pd_rd_w=7R72K&pd_rd_wg=NamvY&pf_rd_p=665be1f4-8d3b-46dd-91b4-582d3cec8dd6&pf_rd_r=YC7RN0AD6285A6S1GJX0&psc=1&refRID=YC7RN0AD6285A6S1GJX0

Foreign Affairs Kindle Edition

https://www.amazon.com/Foreign-Affairs/dp/B00284BH62/ref=pd_sbs_350_4/135-8307135-9811014?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B00284BH62&pd_rd_r=8607eccd-bb21-4318-a304-70ae6941448c&pd_rd_w=7R72K&pd_rd_wg=NamvY&pf_rd_p=665be1f4-8d3b-46dd-91b4-582d3cec8dd6&pf_rd_r=YC7RN0AD6285A6S1GJX0&psc=1&refRID=YC7RN0AD6285A6S1GJX0

The Washington Post for Kindle (Ad-Free) Kindle Edition

https://www.amazon.com/Washington-Post-Kindle-Ad-Free/dp/B000HC48T0/ref=sr_1_2?crid=1C544O4XT26LA&dchild=1&keywords=washington+post+subscription+for+prime+members+free&qid=1591169225&sprefix=Washingtom+Post%2Caps%2C419&sr=8-2

The New York Times

https://www.amazon.com/New-York-Times-Daily-Kindle/dp/B000GFK7L6/ref=sr_1_5?crid=1C544O4XT26LA&dchild=1&keywords=washington+post+subscription+for+prime+members+free&qid=1591169316&sprefix=Washingtom+Post%2Caps%2C419&sr=8-5

The New Yorker https://www.amazon.com/New-York-Magazine/dp/B005UNSDKQ/ref=sr_1_3?crid=1J2GLBLUX8IR8&dchild=1&keywords=new+yorker+magazine+subscription&qid=1591847373&sprefix=New+Yorker%2Caps%2C405&sr=8-3

The Washington Post https://www.amazon.com/Washington-Post-Kindle-Ad-Free/dp/B000HC48T0/ref=sr_1_3?crid=ZBVN9W2WSCM2&dchild=1&keywords=washington+post+subscription+for+prime+members+digital+free&qid=1591846998&sprefix=Washington+%2Caps%2C478&sr=8-3

The Wall Street Journal Kindle Edition

https://www.amazon.com/The-Wall-Street-Journal/dp/B000FDJ0FS/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2PSQI97QYQKQ6&dchild=1&keywords=wall+street+journal+subscription+for+prime+members&qid=1591847532&sprefix=Wall+Street%2Caps%2C1009&sr=8-1

Project Syndicate

who are offering to readers free information on COVID-19 pandemic, generating ideas, and inviting response to questions of life and death in these uncertain times. The context of my blogs differs from theirs, so do my readers, I believe.

====The End of Snippet====

Read free of cost author’s opinion pieces, short stories, write-ups, reviews, plays, academic essays, spiritual commentaries on his website: http://www.agrawalmaharajamcluhan.com/

Finally, here is my blog:

Work and Workplace In The Time Of Covid-19

The coronavirus has been ‘carousing’ through different parts of the world making the prevailing predicament more puzzling. Some aspects of it, however, are clear. The invisible parasite is going on a spree all over the globe. Most governments are relaxing the Lockdown and people are once again moving, meeting, gathering, and the virus is jumping between hosts depending on proximity, density, and mobility. The illusion of normality must force us to think: Shall the world be the same as we knew it before this invisible Thanatos invaded it.

The West is powerful yet hapless and confused before the insidious and invisible enemy that has knocked out work as the very basis of Modern State and Westernized Modern Societies.

The future is uncertain and the common man is expecting neither a swift return back to the normal nor a unified collective experience. The fear of a second wave vexes the people everywhere.

Uppermost in the people’s minds is the question: Shall we return to work? Will the workplace look the same as we left it? Is working for earning as meaningful as it was? Such questions are important to dwell upon and debate in the time of Corona. They are more important to The West, and hence to the world because The West leads the rest of the world’s politics and economy. This question is important to non-western countries and societies because they imitate and emulate the West.

The future scenario is splintered in larger countries like the USA and India because in both these countries local reality is being ignored by their powerful leaders. President Trump and Prime Minister Modi are claiming victory over COVID-19 while the virus is freely claiming victims and poor people are the worst hit by Corona. Lifting of the Lockdown is, thus, further dividing the already fragmented States of America in the West and the States of the Indian Union in the East.

In the face of uncertainty, people are returning to their polarized groups. The rich and the poor, privileged, and deprived are fleeing to their respective ghettos in both these big democratic countries.

If the Covid-19 or its mutations re-surge forcing governments to shut down again, people shall defy because they’ll be distrustful. Floyd protests in the USA and worker’s long march along the hot, sun-struck highways in India are prognostic portents.

Both these nations face the risk of getting demoralized under bouts of shutdowns and re-openings that are bound to damage the prospect of economic recovery. The consequences of re-opening in May-June will not show up until August-September 2020 at the earliest. The longer the gap between actions and their consequences, the greater the likelihood of authorities making more mistakes.

No behavior pattern has so far emerged and COVID-19 remains as enigmatic as it was in its offing. Most countries that successfully controlled the coronavirus used masks but New Zealand did not use masks. Some had very firm and powerful leaders; Hong Kong did not. Vietnam’s “budget-friendly” fight against the coronavirus has set an example for its neighbor China that let the novel virus lose upon the world.

India’s central government has passed responsibility to the states who are free to lift the Lock-down the way they like. If a state reopens and sees no immediate increase in cases, it slaps its own back and the media amplify the hurrah without waiting for sufficient time. Doctors are getting tired, some dying, and have no time to watch for spreader events. Hurried researchers based on small samples are arriving at big conclusions. And the hapless citizen has to find its own ways and means to fend off the invisible, deadly COVID-19, heightening the social and economic differences as also class, group, and race divisions.

Every country big and small is eager to be the first to formulate a vaccine to prevail over the COVID-19 and the world market further confusing the pandemic scene.

The COVID-19 pandemic is not a cyclone like the recent one that hit Bangladesh and India. It has come but shall it go away like a cyclone? Millions are being bedeviled by this question.

There is no obvious moment when recovery should begin as happened in the case of the plagues of yore. Nor can the novel virus be compared to Albert Camus’ novel The Plague. The post-COVID-19 world shall face much more difficult and serious existentialist questions than Camu’s ‘ the Absurd’ and Sartre’s “The Other”.

For the employer and employee, worker and the workplace helter-skelter reopening is not a philosophical question, nor can philosophy offer much consolation to them. The white-collar and blue-collar workers are sailing in the same boat between the deep sea of economic uncertainty and the devil of a deadly virus.

In a patchwork like this, questions will be asked millions of times over, and many answers will be wrong.

Whether to continue with the Leisure of the home or walk to the dangerous workplace is the Kierkegaardian knot of either/or like it was for Jean-Paul Sartre’s famous Freedom Fighters Pablo who sweats and Tom who pisses in fear of death in the captivity of Spanish dictator Franco.

Employer and Employee, Work and Workplace, and all of us, dear reader, are in the indefinite captivity of COVID-19.

We cannot move yet we can certainly think, read and write like the freedom fighters in so many countries locked up in the dictators’ and imperialists’ jails who still beckon to us from the pages of history.

Read the author’s latest novels The Perfume Girl, The Prime Minister’s Robot Wife

Thhttps://www.amazon.com/s?k=The+Perfume+Girl+by+Jitendra+Kumar+Sharma&ref=nb_sb_noss

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Jitendra+Kumar+Sharma%2CPrime+Minister+and+His+Robot+Wife&ref=nb_sb_noss

and short story collections

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Curry+Intercontinental+By+Jitendra+Kumar+Sharma&ref=nb_sb_noss

भारतीय राष्ट्रीय महिला सेना और प्रधान मंत्री (Hindi Edition) Kindle Edition

https://www.amazon.com/%E0%A4%AD%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%B0%E0%A4%A4%E0%A5%80%E0%A4%AF-%E0%A4%B0%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%B7%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%9F%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B0%E0%A5%80%E0%A4%AF-%E0%A4%AE%E0%A4%B9%E0%A4%BF%E0%A4%B2%E0%A4%BE-%E0%A4%AA%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B0%E0%A4%A7%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%A8-%E0%A4%AE%E0%A4%82%E0%A4%A4%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B0%E0%A5%80-ebook/dp/B082P2Z2PH/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=%E0%A4%AD%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%B0%E0%A4%A4%E0%A5%80%E0%A4%AF+%E0%A4%B0%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%B7%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%9F%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B0%E0%A5%80%E0%A4%AF+%E0%A4%AE%E0%A4%B9%E0%A4%BF%E0%A4%B2%E0%A4%BE+%E0%A4%B8%E0%A5%87%E0%A4%A8%E0%A4%BE+%E0%A4%94%E0%A4%B0+%E0%A4%AA%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B0%E0%A4%A7%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%A8+%E0%A4%AE%E0%A4%82%E0%A4%A4%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B0%E0%A5%80+%E0%A4%9C%E0%A4%BF%E0%A4%A4%E0%A5%87%E0%A4%82%E0%A4%A6%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B0+%E0%A4%95%E0%A5%81%E0%A4%AE%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%B0+%E0%A4%B6%E0%A4%B0%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%AE%E0%A4%BE&qid=1591774386&sr=8-1

The Panther and The Prince And Other Stories of Another Clime

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=The+Panther+and+The+Prince+And+Other+Stories+of+Another+Clime+By+Jitendra+Kumar+Sharma&ref=nb_sb_noss

click above on

www.amazon.com

=========FINIS===========

‘Work And Workplace In The Time Of COVID-19’

 

By

  • Jitendra Kumar Sharma

Snippet

Dear Reader,

             May I seek your indulgence to read my snippet before you read my blog ‘Work And Workplace In The Time Of COVID-19’. In this ‘pre-blog’, I will share a few Side Effects of COVID-19 on me personally. 

As a writer, I have avoided growing a beard, though it saves time. Instead, I prefer going to the Barber’s Shop for a close shave. There I get to glance over old magazines and hear the latest village gossip into the bargain and return home brimming with ideas and a fresh, shining face.

On the first day of COVID-19 Lockdown I was about to dash to the Saloon when the old Idiot Box blared: “Stay At Home, It Is A Total Shutdown”, then panned a few long shots closing up to my Barber’s Shop firmly locked up and a freshly shaven policeman, indifferently gaping into the deserted street.

I was angry. I was desperate. Last time, I was at my barber’s I was going through Charles Lamb’s essay THE SUPERANNUATED MAN in an old magazine when he called me out for my turn. Mr. DeMelo’s booming voice snapped me from the mag abruptly ending my reverie that Lamb’s poignant and dreamy style had induced.

COVID-19 had dashed all my hopes to get back to Charles Lamb in the familiar, cozy, and very privileged setting. I could not go not only to the Barber’s Shop but anywhere else too- libraries, book-shops, friends’ homes, all access and avenues to reach and read Charles Lamb were closed. Desperation assailed me as I refused to compromise with the reality of the universal Lockdown. This absolutely arbitrary denial whetted my desire to own and study Charles Lamb’s complete works. 

Forlorn, I turned to Keertiji, that is my Laptop. ‘Welcome’, she chimed and I smiled.

 

Eureka! My Laptop revealed a truth: I was no longer in the real world. COVID-19 had shoved me into a Virtual World and Charles Lamb’s works were only a click away 

https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Letters-Charles-Modern-Library/dp/B0006AMZSY/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=complete+works+of+Charles+Lamb&qid=1591105398&sr=8-1

 

Dear reader, have you read Lamb’s ‘THE SUPERANNUATED MAN’? This is also about going to work and staying at home; living for others and living for oneself; work versus leisure and host of questions the Common Man is facing in the time of COVID-19, questions we together shall be debating through my blogs.

But first this important

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links are affiliate links and at no cost to you. I’ll earn a small commission if you click and purchase a product or service using my link. It helps make my blog and all my writings free of cost to you. 

Your clicks/purchases help me buy and read study material for writing readable and free blogs for you on my website http://www.agrawalmaharajamcluhan.com/

I recommend products and services from reputed organizations that I’ve personally known, used, or shall myself buy and are available on Amazon.com.

Reader, be of good cheer because COVID-19 has opened up unlimited avenues and vistas for us. It has pushed us into the Automation Age.

In the Automation Age, as my Guru Marshall McLuhan said: “Earning a Living” becomes “Learning a Living”. Jobs disappear, roles emerge; work  decreases, leisure increases; drudgery dwindles, creativity quickens, competition is out, sharing is in; governments fail, citizens succeed; working for Others is past, working for One’s Self is future!

https://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Media-Extensions-Marshall-McLuhan/dp/1584230738/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1MBQE98H293HN&dchild=1&keywords=understanding+media+by+marshall+mcluhan&qid=1591771710&sprefix=Understanding+Media+by+%2Caps%2C410&sr=8-1

Virtual World, in some ways, is like the pristine Vedic World https://www.amazon.com/s?k=vedas+complete+in+english&crid=11Q4GA7M26ZZO&sprefix=Vedas%2Caps%2C416&ref=nb_sb_ss_i_4_5  

when Health was Wealth

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=ayurveda+books&crid=1I2FDROD07JGS&sprefix=Ayurveda%2Caps%2C425&ref=nb_sb_ss_i_4_8

 Culture preceded Civilization

 https://www.amazon.com/Leisure-Basis-Culture-Josef-Pieper/dp/1586172565/ref=sr_1_1?crid=20ETR1KSVWI2A&dchild=1&keywords=leisure+the+basis+of+culture+by+josef+pieper&qid=1591772647&sprefix=Liesure++the+Basis+%2Caps%2C407&sr=8-1 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/yourstore/home?ref_=nav_cs_ys 

Man respected Nature 

https://www.amazon.com/Sublime-Nature-Photographs-That-Inspire/dp/1426213018/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=Nature+Sublime&qid=1591800462&sr=8-2

Need subjected Greed

https://www.amazon.com/Greed-Versus-feat-Mossy-Explicit/dp/B0879LFYML/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=Need+versus+Greed&qid=1591859257&sr=8-3 

Corruption quailed

https://www.amazon.com/Profiles-Corruption-Peter-Schweizer/dp/006289790X/ref=sr_1_1?crid=VI9ACKKALW28&dchild=1&keywords=corruption+books&qid=1591859423&sprefix=Corruption%2Caps%2C436&sr=8-1  

Pollution puled

https://www.amazon.com/Health-People-Planet-Our-Responsibility-ebook/dp/B088LMSRQH/ref=sr_1_18?crid=JMBRL6J0FRQ0&dchild=1&keywords=pollution+books&qid=1591859551&sprefix=Pollution+books%2Caps%2C450&sr=8-18.

Therefore, be brave.

Leave Behind The Old Real World

And, dear reader,

Enter with me 

The New Virtual World

In the COVID-19 Times. 

Did I forget to tell you that I had a pretty good shave with Gillette Mach3 shaving kit, courtesy Amazon.com

https://www.amazon.com/Gillette-Mach3-Razor-Blades-Refills/dp/B0725BK81G/ref=sr_1_5?crid=2MMBS8F99EDI1&dchild=1&keywords=men%27s+shaving+razors+gillette&qid=1590814088&sprefix=Men%27s+Shaving+Razors%2Caps%2C418&sr=8-5

  and 

https://www.amazon.com/Gillette-Shaving-Sensitive-Skin-Pack/dp/B001E95HJU/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Gillette+men%27s+shaving+cream+and+after+shave+%2Cetc%2C+all+departments&qid=1590815108&sr=8-1

 Also got the mandatory

Mask

https://www.amazon.com/Reusable-Disposable-Surgical-Industrial-Protection/dp/B087TFX1J4/ref=zg_bs_3777911_14?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=G87D5S9R78YGFEJ0XC4B

before starting on my Blog

 Work and Workplace In The Time Of Covid-19

PS: This blog is inspired by several publications that are currently providing free of cost information and guidance, to mention a few, The Atlantic Monthly

https://www.amazon.com/The-Atlantic/dp/B000IMVNQU/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1VY8ZWF6M151W&dchild=1&keywords=atlantic+magazine&qid=1591800964&sprefix=Atkantic%2Caps%2C418&sr=8-1 The Atlantic Kindle Edition

https://www.amazon.com/The-Atlantic/dp/B000IMVNQU/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3JSFZL0R0CRH8&dchild=1&keywords=atlantic+monthly+subscription&qid=1591168468&sprefix=Atlantic+Monthly%2Caps%2C412&sr=8-1

The New Yorker Kindle Edition  https://www.amazon.com/The-New-Yorker/dp/B00EZAIPXU/ref=pd_sbs_350_1/135-8307135-9811014?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B00EZAIPXU&pd_rd_r=8607eccd-bb21-4318-a304-70ae6941448c&pd_rd_w=7R72K&pd_rd_wg=NamvY&pf_rd_p=665be1f4-8d3b-46dd-91b4-582d3cec8dd6&pf_rd_r=YC7RN0AD6285A6S1GJX0&psc=1&refRID=YC7RN0AD6285A6S1GJX0

https://www.amazon.com/Atlantic-Magazine-2020-Anxious-Child/dp/B087JFDLY2/ref=sr_1_3?crid=1VY8ZWF6M151W&dchild=1&keywords=atlantic+magazine&qid=1591801066&sprefix=Atkantic%2Caps%2C418&sr=8-3

The Economist – US Edition Kindle Edition

https://www.amazon.com/The-Economist-US-Edition/dp/B0027VSU9S/ref=pd_sbs_350_2/135-8307135-9811014?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B0027VSU9S&pd_rd_r=8607eccd-bb21-4318-a304-70ae6941448c&pd_rd_w=7R72K&pd_rd_wg=NamvY&pf_rd_p=665be1f4-8d3b-46dd-91b4-582d3cec8dd6&pf_rd_r=YC7RN0AD6285A6S1GJX0&psc=1&refRID=YC7RN0AD6285A6S1GJX0

Foreign Affairs Kindle Edition

https://www.amazon.com/Foreign-Affairs/dp/B00284BH62/ref=pd_sbs_350_4/135-8307135-9811014?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B00284BH62&pd_rd_r=8607eccd-bb21-4318-a304-70ae6941448c&pd_rd_w=7R72K&pd_rd_wg=NamvY&pf_rd_p=665be1f4-8d3b-46dd-91b4-582d3cec8dd6&pf_rd_r=YC7RN0AD6285A6S1GJX0&psc=1&refRID=YC7RN0AD6285A6S1GJX0

The Washington Post for Kindle (Ad-Free) Kindle Edition

https://www.amazon.com/Washington-Post-Kindle-Ad-Free/dp/B000HC48T0/ref=sr_1_2?crid=1C544O4XT26LA&dchild=1&keywords=washington+post+subscription+for+prime+members+free&qid=1591169225&sprefix=Washingtom+Post%2Caps%2C419&sr=8-2

The New York Times 

https://www.amazon.com/New-York-Times-Daily-Kindle/dp/B000GFK7L6/ref=sr_1_5?crid=1C544O4XT26LA&dchild=1&keywords=washington+post+subscription+for+prime+members+free&qid=1591169316&sprefix=Washingtom+Post%2Caps%2C419&sr=8-5

The New Yorker https://www.amazon.com/New-York-Magazine/dp/B005UNSDKQ/ref=sr_1_3?crid=1J2GLBLUX8IR8&dchild=1&keywords=new+yorker+magazine+subscription&qid=1591847373&sprefix=New+Yorker%2Caps%2C405&sr=8-3 

The Washington Post https://www.amazon.com/Washington-Post-Kindle-Ad-Free/dp/B000HC48T0/ref=sr_1_3?crid=ZBVN9W2WSCM2&dchild=1&keywords=washington+post+subscription+for+prime+members+digital+free&qid=1591846998&sprefix=Washington+%2Caps%2C478&sr=8-3

The Wall Street Journal Kindle Edition

https://www.amazon.com/The-Wall-Street-Journal/dp/B000FDJ0FS/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2PSQI97QYQKQ6&dchild=1&keywords=wall+street+journal+subscription+for+prime+members&qid=1591847532&sprefix=Wall+Street%2Caps%2C1009&sr=8-1

 Project Syndicate who are offering to readers free information on COVID-19 pandemic, generating ideas, and inviting response to questions of life and death in these uncertain times. The context of my blogs differs from theirs, so do my readers, I believe.

     ====The End of Snippet====

Read free of cost author’s opinion pieces, short stories, write-ups, reviews, plays, academic essays, spiritual commentaries on his website: http://www.agrawalmaharajamcluhan.com/  

Finally, here is my blog:

Work and Workplace In The Time Of Covid-19

The coronavirus has been carousing through different parts of the world making the prevailing predicament more puzzling. Some aspects of it, however, are clear. The invisible parasite is going on a spree all over the globe. Most governments are relaxing the Lockdown and people are once again moving, meeting, gathering, and the virus is jumping between hosts depending on proximity, density, and mobility. The illusion of normality must force us to think: Shall the world be the same as we knew it before this invisible Thanatos invaded it.

The West is powerful yet hapless and confused before the insidious and invisible enemy that has knocked out work as the very basis of Modern State and Westernized Modern Societies. 

The future is uncertain and the common man is expecting neither a swift return back to the normal nor a unified collective experience. The fear of a second wave vexes the people everywhere.

Uppermost in the people’s minds is the question: Shall we return to work? Will the workplace look the same as we left it? Is working for earning as meaningful as it was? Such questions are important to dwell upon and debate in the time of Corona. They are more important to The West, and hence to the world because The West leads the rest of the world’s politics and economy. This question is important to non-western countries and societies because they imitate and emulate the West. 

The future scenario is splintered in larger countries like the USA and India because in both these countries local reality is being ignored by their powerful leaders. President Trump and Prime Minister Modi are claiming victory over COVID-19 while the virus is freely claiming victims and poor people are the worst hit by Corona. Lifting of the Lockdown is, thus, further dividing the already fragmented States of America in the West and the States of the Indian Union in the East. 

In the face of uncertainty, people are returning to their polarized groups. The rich and the poor, privileged, and deprived are fleeing to their respective ghettos in both these big democratic countries.

If the Covid-19 or its mutations resurge forcing governments to shut down again, people shall defy because they’ll be distrustful. Floyd protests in the USA and worker’s long march along the hot, sunstruck highways in India are prognostic portents.

Both these nations face the risk of getting demoralized under bouts of shutdowns and re-openings that are bound to damage the prospect of economic recovery. The consequences of re-opening in May-June will not show up until August-September 2020 at the earliest. The longer the gap between actions and their consequences, the greater the likelihood of authorities making more mistakes. 

No behavior pattern has so far emerged and COVID-19 remains as enigmatic as it was in its offing. Most countries that successfully controlled the coronavirus used masks but New Zealand did not use masks. Some had very firm and powerful leaders; Hong Kong did not. Vietnam’s “budget-friendly” fight against the coronavirus has set an example for its neighbor China that let the novel virus lose upon the world.

India’s central government has passed responsibility to the states who are free to lift the Lockdown the way they like. If a state reopens and sees no immediate increase in cases, it slaps its own back and the media amplify the hurrah without waiting for sufficient time. Doctors are getting tired, some dying, and have no time to watch for spreader events. Hurried researchers based on small samples are arriving at big conclusions. And the hapless citizen has to find its own ways and means to fend off the invisible, deadly COVID-19, heightening the social and economic differences as also class, group, and race divisions.

Every country big and small is eager to be the first to formulate a vaccine to prevail over the COVID-19 and the world market further confusing the pandemic scene. 

The COVID-19 pandemic is not a cyclone like the recent one that hit Bangladesh and India. It has come but shall it go away like a cyclone? Millions are being bedeviled by this question.

There is no obvious moment when recovery should begin as happened in the case of the plagues of yore. Nor can the novel virus be compared to Albert Camus’ novel The Plague. The post-COVID-19 world shall face much more difficult and serious existentialist questions than Camu’s ‘ the Absurd’ and Sartre’s “The Other”.

 For the employer and employee, worker and the workplace helter-skelter reopening is not a philosophical question, nor can philosophy offer much consolation to them. The white-collar and blue-collar workers are sailing in the same boat between the deep sea of economic uncertainty and the devil of a deadly virus.

 In a patchwork like this, questions will be asked millions of times over, and many answers will be wrong.

Whether to continue with the Leisure of the home or walk to the dangerous workplace is the Kierkegaardian knot of either/or like it was for Jean-Paul Sartre’s famous Freedom Fighters Pablo who sweats and Tom who pisses in fear of death in the captivity of Spanish dictator Franco.

Employer and Employee, Work and Workplace, and all of us, dear reader, are in the indefinite captivity of COVID-19. 

We cannot move yet we can certainly think, read and write like the freedom fighters in so many countries locked up in the dictators’ and imperialists’ jails who still beckon to us from the pages of history.

Read the author’s latest novels The Perfume Girl, The Prime Minister’s Robot Wife

 Thhttps://www.amazon.com/s?k=The+Perfume+Girl+by+Jitendra+Kumar+Sharma&ref=nb_sb_noss 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Jitendra+Kumar+Sharma%2CPrime+Minister+and+His+Robot+Wife&ref=nb_sb_noss

and short story collections

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Curry+Intercontinental+By+Jitendra+Kumar+Sharma&ref=nb_sb_noss

भारतीय राष्ट्रीय महिला सेना और प्रधान मंत्री (Hindi Edition) Kindle Edition

https://www.amazon.com/%E0%A4%AD%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%B0%E0%A4%A4%E0%A5%80%E0%A4%AF-%E0%A4%B0%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%B7%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%9F%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B0%E0%A5%80%E0%A4%AF-%E0%A4%AE%E0%A4%B9%E0%A4%BF%E0%A4%B2%E0%A4%BE-%E0%A4%AA%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B0%E0%A4%A7%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%A8-%E0%A4%AE%E0%A4%82%E0%A4%A4%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B0%E0%A5%80-ebook/dp/B082P2Z2PH/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=%E0%A4%AD%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%B0%E0%A4%A4%E0%A5%80%E0%A4%AF+%E0%A4%B0%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%B7%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%9F%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B0%E0%A5%80%E0%A4%AF+%E0%A4%AE%E0%A4%B9%E0%A4%BF%E0%A4%B2%E0%A4%BE+%E0%A4%B8%E0%A5%87%E0%A4%A8%E0%A4%BE+%E0%A4%94%E0%A4%B0+%E0%A4%AA%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B0%E0%A4%A7%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%A8+%E0%A4%AE%E0%A4%82%E0%A4%A4%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B0%E0%A5%80+%E0%A4%9C%E0%A4%BF%E0%A4%A4%E0%A5%87%E0%A4%82%E0%A4%A6%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B0+%E0%A4%95%E0%A5%81%E0%A4%AE%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%B0+%E0%A4%B6%E0%A4%B0%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%AE%E0%A4%BE&qid=1591774386&sr=8-1

 

The Panther and The Prince And Other Stories of Another Clime

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=The+Panther+and+The+Prince+And+Other+Stories+of+Another+Clime+By+Jitendra+Kumar+Sharma&ref=nb_sb_noss

 click above on

 www.amazon.com

=========FINIS===========

नशा जवानों को मौत और तस्करों को सत्ता की गोद में बैठा रहा है ! – जितेन्द्र कुमार शर्मा

अटारी से ५३२  किलोग्राम हेरोइन की बरामदगी को इस बार भी नाटकीय ढंग से  पाकिस्तान की साज़िश बता कर पेश किया जा रहा है और भारत के अंदर ही घर मैं बैठे समाज के दुश्मनों का नाम तक नहीं लिया जा रहा I ठीक है, पुलिस ने  नार्को-टेरर एंगल से जांच का दावा करते हुए तीन पाकिस्तानी नागरिकों के अलावा, साहिल खान, फारूक लोन और एक स्थानीय  एजेंट, आमिर नूर, कृष्णा नगर के अजय गुप्ता, 20 अन्य लोगों के खिलाफ मामला दर्ज किया है। कुछ आरोपी गुरदासपुर, तरनतारन, बटाला, अमृतसर और जम्मू-कश्मीर के बताये गए हैं।

एसएसपी (ग्रामीण) विक्रम जीत दुग्गल  के अनुसार ये सभी आपस में और पाकिस्तान की खुफिया एजेंसियों के साथ मिल कर तस्करी कर रहे हैं।

पकिस्तान का सरगना साहिल खान उर्फ मूसा खान है और पाकिस्तान के राजनीतिक हलकों में उसकी अच्छी साख हैI भारत की तरफ  से  राजा रंजीत सिंह राणा उर्फ चीता को इस गरोह का मुखिआ बताया जा रहा है  जो तरनतारन में सराय अमानत खान का है और इस में कोई हैरानी नहीं कि यह कुख्यात ड्रग तस्कर राजा रंजीत सिंह राणा पुलिस की ग्रिफत में नहीं हैI

एक विशेष गौर करने वाली बात ये है कि एसएसपी दुग्गल की जांच में भारतीय सत्ताआसिनों  का बिलकुल  कोई ज़िकर नहीं हैI  ऐसा  होना  कोई  अचम्भे  की  बात  नहीं हैI यह हन्दुस्तानी जांच एजेंसिओं की  विशेषताओं के अनुरूप ही हैI

पकिस्तांन का होना तस्करों और उनके सत्ताधारी आकाओं के लिए उतनी बड़ी ग़नीमत है, जितना बड़ा अभिशाप ये हिन्दुस्तानी साधारण नागरिकों के लिए है और पुलिस के लिए एक आसान बहाना I हर बुराई और सामाजिक अपराध पाकिस्तान पर कितनी आसानी से थोपा जा सकता है इसे हम हर रोज़ सरकारी और ग़ैर सरकारी ख़बरों में देख सकते हैI अपने गुनाहों पर चादर डालने का इस से आसान तरिका क्या हो सकता  है?

हम जानते है कि पाकिस्तान हमारे युवाओं को नशीली दवाओं द्वारा अपना शिकार बना रहा है लेकिन हम यह भी जानते हैं कि वह  अकेला ऐसा कभी नहीं  कर सकताI हमारे देश के अंदर बैठे समाज के  दुश्मन जब तक पाकिस्तान की साज़िश में शामिल न हों कोई पाकिस्तानी हमें शिकार नहीं बना सकता I

पाकिस्तान के साथ ५५३ किलोमीटर लंबी हमारे  पंजाब के साथ लगती सीमा है। और इस सीमा के आर पार नशीले पदर्थों  की  बड़े पैमाने पर तस्करी आज से  नहीं बल्कि जब से यह सीमा वजूद  में  आयी  है तब से हर किसम का नाजाइज़ व्यपार इस सीमा पर हो रहा है और बहुबलिओं को और  अधिक बलवान    बना रहा है l उनको सत्ता के नज़दीक ही नहीं बल्कि राजनीति  में ला रहा है और सत्ता के सिहँसानों पर बिठा रहा है I

पंजाब सरकार ने  जुलाई 2018 में राष्ट्रीय स्वास्थ्य सुरक्षा योजना के तहत ‘विशेष श्रेणी’ का दर्जा मांगा था I

राज्य  और राष्ट्रीय सरकार  एक दूसरे पर नशीले पदार्थों के आतंकवाद से निपटने की ज़िम्मेदारी डालती रहती हैंI कोई कारगर और ठोस कदम तस्करी को रोकने के लिए और देश के अंदर बैठे और देश के ऊपर बाहर से आघात करने वाले शत्रुओं  को एक जुट हो कर नष्ट करने को त्यार नहीं हैं I

५३२  किलोग्राम हेरोइन, अनुमानित  2,७००  करोड़ रुपये, और एक अन्य ५२  किलोग्राम मिश्रित नशीले पदार्थ, भारत में  मादक पदार्थों की अब तक की सबसे बड़ी बरामदगी मानी जा  रही है और इसे  खूब उछाला भी  जा रहा है । यह भारी खेप  अटारी सीमा के पार बिना किसी बाधा के आयी जबकि पाकिस्तानी पक्ष के पास  इसका पता लगाने के लिए स्कैनर हैं -भारत के  अधिकारिओं ने कभी स्कैनर के बारे में सोचा ही नहींI

यह भारी भरकम्प खेप तो लगता है केवल हिमशैल का एक सिरा है क्योंकि यह धंधा तो दिन रात चलता है, आज से  नहीं  दशकों से l

स्वर्गीय बीरबल नाथ, आईपीएस, एक प्रतिष्ठित पुलिस अफसर  थे,आईजी हरियाणा थे और उच्च पदों पर भी कार्यरत रहे । वह १९७९  में मुझे मिलने आये l तब  मैं जनता पार्टी की राजनीति में सक्रिय था और ४ कालिंदी कॉलोनी, नई दिल्ली में रहता थाl

उन्हों ने मुझे बताया कि उनकी सबसे बड़ी निराशा यह है कि वह एक तस्कर के खिलाफ कुछ नहीं कर पा रहे है जो केवल २ किमी दूर रहता था जहाँ ४ कालिंदी कॉलोनी, नई दिल्ली में हम बैठे थे और बात कर रहे थे।

आज भी, ईमानदार पुलिस अधिकारी हैं जो ताकतवर राजनेता-नौकरशाह-व्यवसायी सांठगांठियों से जुड़े तस्करों के  सामने असहाय हैं।

हरियाणा, केवल कुछ दशक पहले, सरल जीवन शैली और पौष्टिक भोजन के लिए जाना जाता था। दूध, दही, मलाई, घी और कड़ी मेहनत हरियाणवी लोगों की मुख्य विशेषता थी। ड्रग्स और नशीले पेय, हरियाणवी संस्कृति को बुरी तरह से प्रभावित कर रहे हैं। नशियों की बढ़ती संख्या से परिवारों का स्वास्थ्य और  खुशहाली नष्ट हो रही है।

भाजपा सरकार ने हिंदू संस्कृति की रक्षा और बढ़ावे के अपने दावों  को बार बार  दोहराया है लेकिन समाज के भीतर बैठे दुश्मनों को दंडित करने के लिए कुछ नहीं किया है। वास्तव में, खट्टर सरकार के तहत मादक पदार्थों सेवन और खतरा हरयाणा प्रदेश में  अधिक   और भयानक होता जा रहा है।

भ्रष्टाचार को दूर करने के लिए मोदी सरकार तत्पर है  लेकिन ड्रग तस्करों के खिलाफ स्पष्ट रूप से कोई सख्त कदम नहीं उठI रही है।

ड्रग तस्करी, हमारे विचार में, भारत के लिए  बैंकरों और नौकरशाहों के भ्रष्टाचार से  भी कहीं  बड़ा खतरा है। सरकार को ड्रग तस्करी और ड्रग पेडलिंग के लिए शून्य सहिष्णुता दिखानी चाहिए। हम ड्रग फ्री हरियाणा और ड्रग फ्री इंडिया चाहते हैं।

अगर मोदी सरकार ने भारत को कांग्रेस मुक्त बनाने के लिए किए गए प्रयासों का एक थोड़ा सा हिस्सा भारत को नशामुक्त करने के लिए अधिक किया होता, तो भारत कितना स्वस्थ और खुशहाल होता!

­– जितेन्द्र  कुमार  शर्मा

Modi &BJP have set a very bad example for society by showing the door to their senior and founding leaders by Jitendra Kumar Sharma

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A concerned Senior Citizen, Kundli-based senior journalist, Jitendra Kumar Sharma, fearlessly expresses his  Thoughts on The United Nations’ Day, Today, June 15,  the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

           A few days back younger married women of Haryana received wide publicity on the social media for the very wrong reasons. A video had gone viral as thousands of viewers watched and discussed the unsavory action of a Haryanavi married woman. The Haryanavi ‘bahu’ was seen mercilessly beating her 80-year-old widowed mother-in-law !

The Haryana police too saw this video of an ill-behaved  Haryanavi Bahu’s criminal actions and arrested her.

If it were an isolated incident, there would be no need for me to write this piece. Regretfully, this is not a rare occurrence nor do such abusive acts always get legally punished. The fact is, Indian senior citizens routinely face harassment, humiliation, social insults and even injuries by their family members, relatives, children and society at large.

There are some NGOs dedicated to the cause of senior citizens. They conduct surveys and publish reports on the state of Indian senior citizens. According to an Agewell Foundation survey, over 71% of elders face abuse. Another NGO, HelpAge India’s study last year put the estimate at 60%. The UNOs report says that  1 in 6 older people experience some form of abuse.

The United Nations have designated June 15 (today) as the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day to articulate their repugnance and resistance to the abuse and suffering inflicted on the elders anywhere.

The aforementioned HelpAge study shows that “ the most common form of abuse elders experienced was disrespect (56%), verbal abuse (49%) and neglect (33%)”. Shocking as it may seem but, according to the said report, the main abusers were the sons (57%) and daughters-in-law (38%). The average age of the abuser was 42 years.

A World Health Organization report cites six key categories of elder abuse, namely, “structural and societal, neglect and abandonment, disrespect and ageist attitudes, psychological, emotional and verbal abuse, physical abuse and legal and financial abuse”.

 Political leaders and parties play a vital role in ameliorating the conditions of weaker sections and vulnerable segments of society, irrespective of their being in power or out of it.

It is a sad comment on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Modi-led ruling Party BJP that it has shown gross disrespect to their elders such as L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, founding leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party and thousands of senior workers whom Modi-Amit Shah duo have reduced to limblessness.

Modi dreams of bringing India at par with advanced democracies like the USA, Canada, Australia. Laws of these democratic countries prohibit discrimination on the basis of age of a citizen.No senior citizen can be retired unless and until she/he wants it. In our country, the hypocrisy of the ruling party on social issues is in utter contrast to basic principles of democracy and deserves to be deplored in the strongest terms.

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WHAT IS THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE?

 Know then thyself, presume not God to scan
The proper study of Mankind is Man.   –Alexander Pope
 
 
Whether Man is central to the scheme of Universe is a question that different cultures have answered differently. For Christians, Man is created in the image of God and all other beings- fish, fowl, bird and beast- exist only for Man. For Hindus, Man is just one other being as is manifested by  Avatars took various forms - from fish to Lord Krishna with Narasimha [Man-Animal] in between.  Humanism, with its emphasis on Perfection through knowledge  regards Man at the very center of things. Now scientists are asking and answering the questions philosophers have been posing, adding more, albeit, very interesting confusion to the debate.
 

Brando Carter was perhaps, the first to propose “anthropic principle” in 1973 at a symposium held in Kraków, Poland as a part of celebrations on Copernicus’ 500th birthday. He proclaimed: “humanity does hold a special place in the universe after all”. In his Paper, “Large Number Coincidences and the Anthropic Principle in Cosmology”, he observed: “Although our situation is not necessarily central, it is inevitably privileged to some extent”

 
 
In Philosophy, the anthropic principle basically postulates that "If something must be true for us, as humans, to exist; then it is true simply because we exist."  Or, any valid theory of the universe must be consistent with our existence as carbon-based human beings at this particular time and place in the universe.
 

According to Wikipedia, “the proponents of the anthropic principle suggest that we live in a fine-tuned universe, i.e., a universe that appears to be “fine-tuned” to allow the existence of life as we know it.” It has been argued that the anthropic principle will explain the physical constants such as the number of dimensions in the universe, and other cosmological constants.

The values of one or two of nature’s fundamental constants, if slightly changed or get slightly different, then, we will have altogether a different world, or Universe. For example, if the strengths of forces that hold atoms together were slightly different, one possible consequence might be that the Earth’s oceans would freeze. Water — basic element to sustain life — is unique in its property to be lighter as a solid than as a liquid. Therefore, ice sheets float and form an insulating layer that stops the deeper waters from freezing. Had water lacked this property then the primordial oceans would never have stayed liquid long enough for life to evolve. And, logically, we would not be here to ponder over our fate and fortune or read or write this essay!

This is the essence of the anthropic principle. It starts from the fact of our existence and then argues that the precise properties of the universe that emerged from the big bang had to be those that made the emergence of humans inevitable. The unique and peculiar properties of water depend on a precise fine-tuning of the fundamental constants. Why are these constants just right? Because, if they weren’t we wouldn’t be here, that is, to favor our existence.

There are many other fine tunings. Take Carbon, which is also essential for life. It is made in stars by the fusion of three helium atoms. It is by an extraordinary “coincidence” in the resonant energies of helium, beryllium, and carbon that stars make a profusion of carbon. Change it by just 0.0001 per cent and there shall be no carbon. And NO MAN!

 Stephen Hawking suggests that our universe is not as ‘special’ as the anthropic principle proposes.  Hawking puts a 98% chance for a universe like ours to result from a Big Bang. Or, it is even possible for it to come out of nothing. His new theories are being debated but earlier, Hawking himself asked: “ Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing?”

The anthropic principle discounts theoretical explanations for the precise values of the fundamental constants. They are what they are because we are. Its opponents debunk it because this principle disallows us from imagining other possible forms of life than our own. True, but imagine: If the weak force that binds atomic nuclei had been just a bit weaker, all hydrogen would have turned to helium without making any of the heavier elements. If the strong force had been a bit stronger, the universe would not even have had any atoms. A very fine balance of constants it is that make the Universe, Man and the “Anthropic Principle” tick. [750 words Approximately]

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ENLIGHTENMENT IS BEYOND MIND https://www.amazon.com/s?k=The+Prime+Minister+and+His+Robot+Wife&i=stripbooks-intl-ship&ref=nb_sb_noss Click Above Kindle &Paperback Editions at Amazon.com The Prime Minister and His Robot Wife

What is Enlightenment? Can it be attained or it just happens? Is it in the realm of being or becoming? Can it be achieved collectively or is it peculiar to an individual? Is an enlightened being different from ordinary beings? Can, or to what extent, accomplishments of the mind be construed as a form of enlightenment? Or, is Enlightenment really beyond mind? These are questions of perennial philosophy and have never been answered definitively. Perhaps, on the mundane level, Enlightenment is seeking rather than finding, far less it is keeping and possessing.

We live in a scientific age but science and scientists have not enlightened us much on Enlightenment. Though, as Science advances, the distinction between matter and mind is becoming blurred and indistinct. And, enlightenment is increasingly being understood in terms of consciousness rather than in terms of individual or collective achievements of the mind. We of speak of “enlightened society” or “enlightened persons” but these phrases have very limited meaning and contexts. Enlightenment is coextensive with Consciousness which, like the Universe is ever expanding. True enlightenment is a kind of self- realization, a spiritual fulfillment, beyond the dimension of space and time. And, the poets and saints have dared reach for a glimpse of that which lies beyond Time. T.S.Eliot, for instance, in his Four Quartets tells us:

Time past and time present

Allow but a little consciousness.

To be conscious is not to be in time

But only in time can the moment in the rose-garden

…. ..involved with past and future

Only through time time is conquered.

Is enlightenment, then, total consciousness? How can such a state of being be sustained? Words, after all, are spoken and written in time and space and, hence , are incapable of capturing and expressing the moment [or is it eternity?] of total or universal consciousness or moment of self realization where time and the timeless interpenetrate and leave the realizing self configured into another pattern so that the Enlightened One experiences the Now and Here at the same time as it experiences Never and Nowhere:

Words move, music moves Only in time; but that which is only living Can only die. Words, after speech, reach Into the silence.

[T.S. Eliot ]

That is why the yogis, or the enlightened ones do not speak about their enlightenment. That which is beyond space and time, cannot be put into words. Language is a creation of the Mind and Enlightenment remains beyond the Mind’s grasp.

We cannot, however, totally disregard the concept and view of Enlightenment that provided impetus to “ an intellectual movement and cultural atmosphere which developed in western Europe during the seventeenth and reached its height in the eighteenth century”. The name given to this movement was Enlightenment and its common element was a belief in the efficacy of Reason. Reason, according to Godwin, Descartes, Voltaire, Diderot, Leibniz, Immanuel Kant, would lead man to Enlightenment , that is, “The Light of Reason”. Kant , in his famous essay “What is Enlightenment” published in 1784 defined it as “ the liberation of mankind from his self-caused state of minority.” In other words, Mind when fully developed makes Reason prevail or Universal Reason synonymous with “ fully developed Mind”.

Allied to this “Light of Reason” or Eighteenth Century European Enlightenment is Deism that eschews all “ revealed religions”, including Christianity. Deists’ rely on “universal human reason” for creating universal truths and values and for liberating the whole mankind from false and narrow beliefs. In other words, “ there is a deity, discoverable by reasoning from the creation to the creator, who sanctions all moral values and deserves our worship”. Alexander Pope, renouncing Catholicism, expressed the basic deistic tenet in “The Universal Prayer”

Father of all in every age, In every clime adorned By saint, by savage, and by sage, Jehovah, Jove or Lord.

In Modern Western Tradition Knowledge is equated , if not identified with Consciousness till the Existentialists like Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Kierkegaard,Heidegger, Husserl, Merlau-Ponty, Karl Jaspers toward mid-twentieth century became concerned with the questions of positing the individual as a “conscious being” in the phenomenal world. Absurdity rather than meaning they encountered in Existence that “precedes” Essence. Therefore, one must make “ conscious choices” in order to authenticate one’s individual existence which can at the most be a series or concatenation of conscious choices in moments of crisis. Kierkegaard questioned Reason and Reasoning and reversed Descarte’s proposition:

“ I think, therefore, I am” to “I am, therefore, I think”.

Existentialist Enlightenment, then, is an enlarging and heightening of disillusionment with established norms and bourgeois existence of routine life where Nine to Five pattern of life has a boring ,deadening and killing effect on an individual being’s consciousness. Existentialist living demands individual and collective or historical consciousness and choices made often against one’s own grain, a kind of continued renewal of “ being” in “acts of becoming” and “intense living”. Existentialists emphasize Experience rather than Knowledge for conscious and enlightened living which is a form of “disillusionment” forcing an individual to invent his own meaning in an absurd meaningless universe.

In both secular and religious western traditions, however, Knowledge and Reason, resulting from the development of the mind receive emphasis. Objective reality, its penetration through active mind is the way to enlightenment and even perfection in history. Christian Humanism and Scientific Method both rely on Knowledge: Science in the acts of discovery and invention, Christian Humanism in the form of good moral conduct and belief in the anthropocentricity or centrality of the Human Being in the Chain of Being. Man is the Center of the Universe and all things and beings, fish or fowl, birds or animal exist for Man’s enjoyment. But man, endowed as he is with a moral faculty, will prevail over his baser self, finally do good and not merely avoid evil. All humanists, Christian or secular believe that Man shall triumph and the Nobel Prize Winner, novelist William Faulkner articulated their belief when he said : “Man Shall Prevail”. Development of the Mind, in other words, is the way to Enlightenment for all mankind.

In the twentieth century new strands of thought made possible by mingling of races, civilizations and traditions , have changed our view of Enlightenment. As early as 1725, Vico challenged the view about the “primitive man” which , according to him, was far from being “savage”; it had the characteristic of the “poetic wisdom”[sapienza poetica] and is not less but more enlightened than the so-called “rational” or “civilized” man. Only, the ‘primitive mind” comprehends reality by symbols, metaphors, myths instead of describing it in reasoned prose. Not the secrets of Physics but the mysteries of Metaphysics are the subjects of his exploration. Perception, conscious discourse, epiphany or “sudden spiritual manifestation” currently have become part of the academic and humanist endeavors as tools of enlightenment. Yet, linguists and anthropologists such as Franz Boaz, Edward Sapir, Levi-Strauss have made us aware that “human beings do not live in the objective world alone, nor alone in the world of social activity as ordinarily understood, but are very much at the mercy of the particular language which has become the medium of expression for their society”. Since Language has been created by Human Mind, one is a prisoner of the language , as the title of Fredric Jameson’s book “The Prison-House of Language” would suggest and, hence, of the Mind.

Along with these trends, we have the increased visibility of Godmen like Mahesh Yogi to Rajnish developing techniques of meditation, modes of living and establishing Retreats and Ashrams for their followers or seekers of “Instant Nirvana” for the rich of the world and “unhappy hordes” everywhere. But serious thinkers like Aldous Huxley, T.S. Eliot, Hermann Hesse have explored the traditions of the East, predominantly Zen and Indian traditions in which “darshan”, “revelation”, “self-surrender”, merging of smaller identity with universal self form part or various stages of Enlightenment. In the Indian Tradition, Knowledge is a form of Ignorance rather than a ladder to the Tower of Enlightenment. An Enlightened Being shuts himself from the World of Mind and Senses and transcends to a Reality where words are not valid, distinctions dissolve and moment becomes timeless as the drop becomes ocean when the rain falls over the vast seas. Earlier Chinese traditions of Tao and Confucius emphasized codes of moral conduct rather than realization of the self or universal consciousness for becoming an enlightened person.

In the Vedant and Upanishads, Hindu rishis explored regions of Consciousness and described three stages of human awareness as “Awakening”, “Dreaming”, and “Deep Sleep” , summed up in the “imperishable sound”- “AUM”. A totally aware, self-realized being is like a “being in deep , dreamless sleep”, with no distinction between “Being” and “Nothing”. But for most of us, only partial consciousness or “Awakening” or “Dreaming” is possible. A glimpse of all these stages of consciousness is possible through Meditation. But when the self returns to the work-a-day world, what happens to the enlightened experiencer ? About this there are many interesting anecdotes. One of them is about a Chinese wood cutter who suddenly became famous for being a ‘realized soul’. People swarmed his hut and waited for him to come out duly in awe of the ‘Enlightened One’. The wood cutter came out with his axe and a piece of rope as usual and looked somewhat surprised to see so many people at his door.

“Your Holiness, You have become a realized soul, you are The Enlightened One. So we have heard”.

“Maybe, but right now I am going to the forest for my daily work”, and he walked to the woods.

Sidharatha , after he had become the Buddha, the Enlightened One, laughed to his heart’s content when an elder from his own hometown asked him: “What knowledge did you gain after your tapas or long meditation and penance under the Bodhi Tree?”. Replied Gautum the Buddha: “ Nothing that I did not know when I left Kapilvastu”. [About 1650 words.]

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Community and Currency: Inflation And Its Cure By Jitendra Kumar Sharma

 Community and  Currency

By  Jitendra Kumar Sharma

“The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.”

                                                                                – Thomas Jefferson

“Until the control of the issue of currency and credit is restored to government and recognized as its most conspicuous and sacred responsibility, all talk of the sovereignty of Parliament and of Democracy is idle and futile.”

                        – W.L.MacKenzie King, Prime Minister of Canada (1934)

It is so mundane, yet so mysterious. You walk into a store, take out a printed piece of paper from your pocket and exchange it for whatever you need- a  loaf of bread, a glass of milk or cup of coffee. You can also get repaired your torn shoe by a wayside shoemaker or have a bus ride, likewise. Currency notes in your possession invest you with so much power and make you greedy to have more of them, without knowing the source of their power. Paper money, that in itself has no value, dictates its own terms to you. It makes you evaluate all things, even persons in terms of currency and creates a ‘buy and sell’ world.

What is your market worth? Five thousand or five million Rupees or Dollars. Your Rupee worth has nothing to do with your human worth or qualities or social value- how good or bad a son or husband or wife or daughter or friend or how good or bad a member of the community or society you are!  In fact, the more currency notes you have with you, the more power you enjoy. You can even buy more power, or make more money with the paper money under your control or possession. And, lack of this paper money can make you and your family unhappy though you may have all the skills, competence and goodness as an individual. It can bring your life to a full stop. Your health, education and your capacity to obtain amenities of life, all depend on the amount of money you have in your possession.

The otherwise worthless piece of paper, with a zero value in itself, has an overpowering influence on your life and actions. Suppose you have an ordinary piece of paper the size of a hundred rupee or dollar note, with your own name and picture printed on it, more impressive looking than the ordinarily printed currency notes and you want to buy a pack of biscuits or bottle of coke with it! The seller will not exchange it for your wants. He might even laugh at your audacity!

Thus, the power to issue money is the supreme power. That is why Meyer Amschel Rothschild, the founding father of one of the world’s most powerful financial dynasties, is famed to have said: “Let me issue and control a nation’s money and I care not who writes the laws.”

 Rothschild family’s rise was due to their dealing with the European rulers who borrowed money from them and showered honors on them. The nexus between Bankers and Politicians remains dark and deep even in democratic states. Their peculiar relationship has invested currency with a mystery. How prices rise and fall, why some people have more money, others have so little is generally regarded as a specialist’s job to know or rather guess about.  The fact is, even the economists do not fully grasp the manipulative forces of the market. They only come up with devious theories. Sometimes they say there is no inflation but the prices keep rising and the common man and housewife find it difficult to run their households unable to cope with the rising prices. Monthly pays and daily wages rarely allow earners the freedom to buy the things they need. Access to health, education and other amenities continue to evade the poor masses and lower middle classes in spite of the honest work and hard labor they put in at their offices and work sites.

Money always appears to be scarce. Currency notes in circulation at any given point seem to be always fewer for most of us. There is always less money and more people chasing it. Why? If it is a matter of printing notes, why then enough notes cannot be printed to let all members of the society have enough of them to exchange goods and services they need? In a democratic state clothing, housing, nutritious food should be available to all citizens. But some people have too many notes, others too few to exchange goods and services? This causes inequality and social tensions.

You may have heard your parents or grandparents say how different things were when they were young. It only cost one rupee to see a movie but now it costs fifty rupees to sit in a cinema hall. Petrol was only one rupee per liter in 1970 but now it is Rs.67 per liter. A brand new Ambassador car cost Rs. 13000 in 1961 but now it costs Rs. Five lakhs or more. In the intervening years, prices have risen, sometimes drastically. That is inflation.

“Inflation is when a certain form of currency starts to have less value over time. It is caused mainly by two things: people’s perception of value, and the economic principle of supply and demand”, says an analyst.

There is no scientific principle behind the rising curve of inflation or decreased value of the currency notes in your hands. It is people’s perceptions of a currency’s value that has a major bearing on its value. It causes inflation by directly affecting the value of the money. There was a time when the currency was entirely on a gold standard. Even then inflation often happened as people started to worry that the government or bank wouldn’t be able to redeem their cash [or notes] for gold. If you had a dollar that was worth an ounce of gold, but people thought the government only had half of the gold required to redeem it, then dollars would start being traded at a value of half an ounce of gold. The same has happened in cases of other currencies like the Rupee or Sterling Pound.

Supply of currency has a very dramatic effect on inflation. Throughout monetary history, governments have simply printed money to solve financial problems. Such a measure pushes the value of money uncontrollably downward; especially, in present-day markets where money or currency is not backed by gold. If 10 billion rupees circulating in a country are increased to 20 billion at a given time, the worth of the circulating rupees will get reduced to half.

There is the classic case of Germany after World War I. Germany was forced to pay war reparations of about $33 billion. It proved impossible for the nation to produce that much. The only choice left to the German government was to print more and more money, none of which was backed by gold. This caused one of the worst inflations ever recorded. In 1923, one needed 42 billion German marks to buy one U.S. cent [one-hundredth of a dollar]! It took 726 billion marks to buy something that had cost just one mark in 1919.

Who creates money? And to what purpose?  These issues become important currently when India is rising but 135 million people are descending into the deep gorge of poverty. Poverty is as explosive as a terrorist bomb. No segment of a democratic society can enjoy the fruits of prosperity happily and peacefully if other segments remain deprived.

In modern society, banks and banking institutions create money even though the power of printing money remains with the established governments. In India, it is the central government that has the power to print money, though, in practice, it has delegated this power to the Reserve Bank of India that prints currency notes and regulates the working of other Banks. With the entry of private banks, the purpose of creating money by the banking system has changed. It is no longer primarily social.  Banks create money to make as much profit as they can. This is done by giving loans on the highest interests and accepting deposits at the lowest interests.

The private banks are not responsible to the people for their policies and actions. In India, private capital is increasingly controlling the banking system. This is causing dissensions within the Indian economy among different forces and consequently within the Indian society. Wayward movement of inflation is a manifestation of the lack of social responsibility on the part of the banking system to a great extent and the government’s inability to control the fiscal operation of printed money.

While Tatas, Birlas, Ambanis have no dearth of borrowed capital to buy big companies and conglomerates anywhere in the world, the government finds itself bereft of funds to implement such schemes as Employment Guarantee Scheme or for improving  Health services or  Educational institutions.

Does it matter how much money is supplied? Surely, it does. It is the money supply that determines the rates of interest paid for the use of money, employment, prices, and economic growth. To some economists, money supply is the most important determining factor of these variables. Interest plays a large part in the cost of living. All business firms work on borrowed money; some borrow less, others borrow more. This gets linked to every stage of production, increasing costs all the way. These costs are eventually passed on to the consumer.

If the consumer does not pay for them, production cannot be sustained financially. Interest rates, thus, also, determine the momentum of business activity. Interest rates also influence the extent of investment in plant and equipment. When governments restrict credit, a business cannot borrow easily. Small firms feel the squeeze more than large firms who can manipulate borrowings. Workers get laid off. Unemployment increases. Higher interests mean less growth.

However, it is not the effect of higher interest rates that is confusing. It is the government’s explanations for it. Sometimes they blame “too many rupees chasing too few goods and services”; other times, the deficit of payment is the excuse. Higher interests are also commended at times because they keep the capital within the country. But one thing is sure, the government always projects itself as a persistent fighter against inflation, real or imaginary.

It is interesting to note that governments keep interests very low during the war against another country but while fighting the war against poverty within the country, this measure is not resorted to.

What, then, is money? Money is anything acceptable to people for exchanging goods and services. Even “I owe you’ [ IOU] chits, hundi or hawala, coupons too serve as money. What money is made of is not important. What is important is its representational aspects. Chequebooks, currency notes, bank deposits, credit cards, gold biscuits, metal coins are all money. Seashells, postcards, lead or brass pieces have been used as money at various points in time. Even leather pieces in the Mughal period during the one-day Saqqa Raj were used as coins! But paper currency is now used as a legal tender for the exchange of goods and services.

A legal tender is any form of money that is declared by a government good for taxes, public and private debts.

In India, the most prevalent form of money is currency or paper money that circulates all over the country in the form of notes of various denominations. Currency is no longer issued 100% against the gold standard. Government and Reserve Bank of India determine and control the maximum amount of money that can be created by banks through lending. In the USA “checkbook money” and credit card money is created by commercial banks’ and accounts for almost all circulating money.

Nature of Currency

In so far as inflation is an aspect of the fiscal operation of an economy it is necessary for us to understand the basic nature of currency and then see how it operates within the Indian economy. There certainly appears to be some operational flaw that needs to be corrected for removing inflation and sustaining growth.

The word “currency” implies that which is current. Money, in the form of currency, is like electricity or electric current that ideally ought to be available everywhere and to everyone for exchanging goods and services. The value of a “currency” depends upon its velocity to be current, that is, how fast it moves from one place to another or one person to another. As soon as its movement slows down or if it gets into pockets from which it cannot come out freely and speedily into the common circuit, the currency will start losing its value. Like electricity, currency is an invention of man. If he fails to provide and maintain a proper circuit for it, it becomes useless and even dangerously harmful.  The ultimate circuit for currency ought to be such that it delivers currency notes to all and everywhere all at once. But that is perhaps too ideal. The next best design is to make currency available in such supply and in such places as to enable the needy to buy their needs within their immediate environment.

The flow of Indian currency since our Independence in 1947 has been toward the urbanized sector. This means Indian currency is flowing, rather floating, in less than 25 percent of the entire area of the Indian population. This can never be the intention or goal of a democratic government, irrespective of whether it is ideologically left, right or center or even bereft of all ideology. The corrupt politician-bureaucrat-business nexus has short-circuited the Indian currency.  In a country like India where more than a billion people await full benefits of development, inflation cannot erode the economy if the currency keeps its regular flow and its supply is increased to keep pace with the pace of development.

“Money does not manage itself”, is a  Bankers’ saying.  Yes, a representative government must  so manage currency that at no time there is either too little or too much of it in circulation; because, the purpose of issued money is to make it easier for the nation to produce goods and services and easier to divide the income from national production equitably, easier to save and invest now and in the future. When a nation produces too little or too much beyond its capacity, deflation and inflation will bring unhappiness and misery to it.

Banks create money by a system of deposits and loans. When you deposit your savings, the banks get empowered to lend it to others. Banks, in fact, lend more than the deposit they receive. Thus they create debt and create money at the same time. It is a risky game because if all the depositors demand their money back, the Bank shall not have enough cash or currency to meet the demand of its depositors. The Bank will fail and depositors will lose their savings and deposits. But, on such occasions, the Reserve Bank of India intervenes and gives credit to the troubled Bank from its reserves. The Reserve Bank creates its reserves of money or currency in the same way as commercial banks create chequebook money- by seeking deposits from commercial banks and lending them whenever they need loans.

Reserve Bank of India determines how much chequebook/credit money a bank can create. It decides the ratio between deposits and loans for other banks. Where does the Reserve Bank of India get its own reserves? From nowhere. It creates its own money or reserves. In fact, it is the sole and absolute money-making machine. It is empowered to issue money/currency or cheques. It has no problem like you and me or even like the banks have. If it needs money, it can print it according to its need. Who has given the Reserve Bank of India the power to create its own money or print the currency?  Theoretically, the people of India. Actually, the elected Indian government with the approval of the Parliament. Reserve Bank of India regulates the working of all other banks under powers delegated to it by the government of India.

Is there a formula to determine the maximum amount of money available to business and consumers? Yes, the formula is the equation  A  amount of bank reserves] x B[number of rupee deposits member banks may create per each rupee of reserves]= C[ Total bank deposits]. Can this formula be changed?  Yes, the Reserve Bank of India has the discretion to do so. Increasing or decreasing Reserves is a deliberate action on the part of the Reserve Bank of India.

How do currency and coin enter the money supply? Normally, the proportion of currency/coins in circulation to the total money supply is about 20%; bank deposits account for the remaining 80%

At this point, a question arises. If credit is important for growth and development of the country and the people and it is the government who is responsible for the growth and development as well as for printing money, then why does it create debt by charging interest? Why cannot the government just issue and circulate paper money or currency for the purpose of the nation’s production of goods and services?  Interestingly, Thomas Edison– the inventor of the electric bulb who knew much about the nature of electric current also knew much about currency– raised similar questions.

In December 1921, the American industrialist Henry Ford and the inventor Thomas Edison went to the Muscle Shoals nitrate and water power projects near Florence, Alabama. There, they voiced their alternative money views for financing this project. The pro—people industrialist and inventor objected to the Government’s raising the money by issuing bonds which would be bought by the banking and non-banking operators and then have to be paid back with money raised from taxes,  with interest added.

They proposed that the Government should create/print the currency it required and spend it on this public project as a social expenditure.

The relevant excerpt from the report published  in The New York Times on December 4, 1921 and December 6, 1921 says:

                                                                                              “ If our Nation can issue a dollar bond it can issue a dollar bill. The element that makes the bond good makes the bill good also?***** It is absurd to say that our country can issue $30million in bonds and not $30 million in currency. Both are promises to pay: but one promise fattens the usurer and the other helps the people”.

In other words, a government of the people, by the people, for the people should abolish INTEREST. It should give Credit at Zero percent interest. It is within the government’s power but for reasons that have never been spelled out clearly the governments resort to shifty methods of distributing currency by creating a system of debts and deposits. The end result is the inequitable distribution of wealth and money.

In America, Abraham Lincoln said: “The Government should create, issue, and circulate all the currency and credits needed to satisfy the spending power of the Government and the buying power of consumers. By adoption of these principles, the taxpayers will be saved immense sums of interest. The money will cease to be master and become the servant of humanity”

President Lincoln went to Bankers seeking a loan to finance the Civil War ( 1861-1865) who demanded 24% to 36% interest. He returned with a troubled conscience. As a man of principle, he could not sink his nation into a debt that his people would find it hard to pay back. Courageously, he sought authorization from Congress to print full legal tender Treasury notes about which he wrote: “… (we) gave the people of this Republic the greatest blessing they have ever had – their own paper money to pay their own debts…”

Lincoln’s ‘people’s money’ had green ink on the back, so the people called it “Greenbacks”.

The Bankers were determined to wipe out  Lincoln and Lincoln’s interest-free, debt-free Greenbacks out of existence. As soon as the greatest ever American President was assassinated, the  Greenbacks were retired from circulation.

In 1913, the Bankers got the Federal Reserve Act passed by Congress that President Woodrow Wilson regretted signing: “I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men”.

The foregoing will make it clear that the so-called democracies of the west are merely plutocracies. And, if the Presidents of the most powerful democracy of the world have found themselves helpless before the invisible, strangling hand of the international bankers, weak-kneed Indian governments can only be expected to kowtow to the Bankers.

But a new awakening is pervading the democracies everywhere. Communities are becoming alive to the deep and dark conspiracies of plutocrats who control national currencies under an international system of currency manipulations. As a consequence, war, poverty, armaments, general human unfulfillment, social disharmony prevail over man’s destiny everywhere. The full growth of democratic societies remains stunted.

Small communities in the USA, Canada, Europe, and even Asia and Africa are experimenting with what has come to be called “Community Currency”.  They no longer depend upon their governments who are sold to big business and depriving poor and less privileged people of their land and property like the CPM-coalition in Nandigram had done. People are now able to understand the close relationship between currency and participatory democracy.

The word community comes from the Latin ‘communis’, meaning “common, public, shared by all” or many. “Com-” – a Latin prefix meaning with or together, “-Munis-”   suggests “the changes or exchanges that link”. Municipal and monetary both get linked here and Latin “-tatus” implies small, intimate or local. A web definition of “local currency” is a currency not backed by a national government, and intended to trade only in a small area, also known as “community currency” or “complementary currency”. If introduced in India at the panchayat level, “community currency” will cure both inflation and corruption. Prime Ministers will have no excuse to console the villages that only 15 paise of the rupee reach the poor. It is no longer a new-fangled scheme. It is a tested and tried result oriented panacea that stares smilingly at Prime Ministers, Finance Ministers, their economists and bankers who have been befooling the people for a long time purposefully.

The local currency systems are successfully working in Ithaca, the seat of Cornell University, USA. They have called their local money as “Ithaca hours” which is equal to 10 US dollars being the average wage per hour in Ithaca. Salt Spring Island introduced its currency in 2000 and it has advantages over Ithaca Hour since it is backed 100%, by the Canadian dollar , equal to the national currency in value and is well-integrated with the latter. This will be a good model for Indian panchayats to design their currency for local projects and the government’s employment schemes. The Banks can also join these schemes as they are doing in Ithaca and Salt Island. Berkshire, the Schumacher Society of Berkshire’s dollar introduced in September 2006 is also performing well. LETS is yet another system of local currency that has created models in various parts of North American and Europe.

A local currency can’t leave the community it serves, so it ensures connections between people exchanging skills, goods, and services. With a local currency, the community is less affected by fluctuations in the external money supply. It also frees itself from corruption since local currency cannot be accumulated as a commodity and has to remain in circulation. It has no value outside the community, nor beyond the time of its expiry date. It eradicates greed for money; it instills the true meaning of wealth among members of the community.

Creating community currencies encourages participatory democratic processes. It empowers people. It nurtures hope, creativity, respect, and compassion. Local currencies help communities live according to their values rather than as merely green-eyed consumers. In a happier world, money would become obsolete, and the gift economy, true meaning of community money shall prevail. It is an ideal instrument for Panchayats and local government to finance their projects

===The End=== of Inflation And Its Cure: Community Currency=JKS

ENLIGHTENMENT IS BEYOND MIND

        ENLIGHTENMENT IS BEYOND MIND
          By Jitendra Kumar Sharma

[What is an Essay? It has been defined as a brief composition in prose that discusses a matter, expresses a point of view, or persuades us to accept a thesis on any subject whatever. The essay discusses the subject without specialist pretension and in a non-technical fashion, often with a liberal sprinkling of anecdote, striking illustration, and even humor to augment its appeal.
The Essay could be formal or informal. The formal essay is usually impersonal; the author writes as an authority, or a person of high knowledge and may expound on the subject systematically and with a degree of thoroughness. Essays appearing in Scientific American are examples of the formal essay.
In the informal essay, the tone is intimate and personal, style rambling and random, self-revelatory and relaxed. Examples of the Informal essay may be found in The New Yorker or Outlook.
[ Here is an essay by Dr. Jitendra Kumar Sharma that is partly formal and partly informal. For more essays by Jitendra Kumar Sharma, please visit his website http://www.agrawalmaharajamcluhan.com/

ENLIGHTENMENT IS BEYOND MIND

What is Enlightenment? Can it be attained or it just happens? Is it in the realm of being or becoming? Can it be achieved collectively or is it peculiar to an individual? Is an enlightened being different from ordinary beings? Can, or to what extent, accomplishments of the mind be construed as a form of enlightenment? Or, is Enlightenment really beyond mind? These are questions of perennial philosophy and have never been answered definitively. Perhaps, on the mundane level, Enlightenment is seeking rather than finding, far less it is keeping and possessing.
We live in a scientific age but science and scientists have not enlightened us much on Enlightenment. Though, as Science advances, the distinction between matter and mind is becoming blurred and indistinct. And, enlightenment is increasingly being understood in terms of consciousness rather than in terms of individual or collective achievements of the mind. We of speak of “enlightened society” or “enlightened persons” but these phrases have very limited meaning and contexts. Enlightenment is coextensive with Consciousness which, like the Universe is ever expanding. True enlightenment is a kind of self- realization, a spiritual fulfillment, beyond the dimension of space and time. And, the poets and saints have dared reach for a glimpse of that which lies beyond Time. T.S.Eliot, for instance, in his Four Quartets tells us:
Time past and time present
Allow but a little consciousness.
To be conscious is not to be in time
But only in time can the moment in the rose-garden
…. ..involved with past and future
Only through time, time is conquered.
Is enlightenment, then, total consciousness? How can such a state of being be sustained? Words, after all, are spoken and written in time and space and, hence , are incapable of capturing and expressing the moment [or is it eternity?] of total or universal consciousness or moment of self realization where time and the timeless interpenetrate and leave the realizing self configured into another pattern so that the Enlightened One experiences the Now and Here at the same time as it experiences Never and Nowhere:
Words move, music moves
Only in time; but that which is only living
Can only die. Words, after speech, reach
Into the silence. Only by the form, the pattern
Can words or music reach
The stillness, as a Chinese jar still
Moves perpetually in its stillness.[T.S. Eliot ]

That is why the yogis or the enlightened ones do not speak about their enlightenment. That which is beyond space and time, cannot be put into words. Language is a creation of the Mind and Enlightenment remains beyond the Mind’s grasp.
We cannot, however, totally disregard the concept and view of Enlightenment that provided impetus to “ an intellectual movement and cultural atmosphere which developed in western Europe during the seventeenth and reached its height in the eighteenth century”. The name given to this movement was Enlightenment and its common element was a belief in the efficacy of Reason.
That Reason, according to Godwin, Descartes, Voltaire, Diderot, Leibniz, and Immanuel Kant would lead man to Enlightenment, that is, “The Light of Reason”.
Kant, in his famous essay “What is Enlightenment” published in 1784 defined it as “ the liberation of mankind from his self-caused state of minority.” In other words, Mind when fully developed makes Reason prevail or Universal Reason is synonymous with “ fully developed Mind”.
Allied to this “Light of Reason” or Eighteenth Century European Enlightenment is Deism that eschews all “revealed religions”, including Christianity. Deists’ rely on “universal human reason” for creating universal truths and values and for liberating the whole mankind from false and narrow beliefs. In other words, “ there is a deity, discoverable by reasoning from the creation to the creator, who sanctions all moral values and deserves our worship”. Alexander Pope, renouncing Catholicism, expressed the basic deistic tenet in “The Universal Prayer”
Father of all in every age, In every clime adorned By saint, by savage, and by sage, Jehovah, Jove or Lord.
The Universal Prayer
BY ALEXANDER POPE
Father of all! in every age,
In every clime adored,
By saint, by savage, and by sage,
Jehovah, Jove, or Lord!

Thou Great First Cause, least understood:
Who all my sense confined
To know but this—that thou art good,
And that myself am blind:

Yet gave me, in this dark estate,
To see the good from ill;
And binding Nature fast in fate,
Left free the human will.

What conscience dictates to be done,
Or warns me not to do,
This, teach me more than Hell to shun,
That, more than Heaven pursue.

What blessings thy free bounty gives,
Let me not cast away;
For God is paid when man receives,
To enjoy is to obey.

Yet not to earth’s contracted span,
Thy goodness let me bound,
Or think thee Lord alone of man,
When thousand worlds are round:

Let not this weak, unknowing hand
Presume thy bolts to throw,
And deal damnation round the land,
On each I judge thy foe.

If I am right, thy grace impart,
Still in the right to stay;
If I am wrong, oh teach my heart
To find a better way.

Save me alike from foolish pride,
Or impious discontent,
At aught thy wisdom has denied,
Or aught thy goodness lent.

Teach me to feel another’s woe,
To hide the fault I see;
That mercy I to others show,
That mercy show to me.

Mean though I am, not wholly so
Since quickened by thy breath;
Oh lead me wheresoe’er I go,
Through this day’s life or death.

This day, be bread and peace my lot:
All else beneath the sun,
Thou know’st if best bestowed or not,
And let thy will be done.

To thee, whose temple is all space,
Whose altar, earth, sea, skies!
One chorus let all being raise!
All Nature’s incense rise!

In Modern Western Tradition, Knowledge is equated, if not identified with Consciousness till the Existentialists like Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Husserl, Merlau-Ponty, Karl Jaspers toward mid-twentieth century became concerned with the questions of positing the individual as a “conscious being” in the phenomenal world. Absurdity rather than meaning they encountered in Existence that “precedes” Essence. Therefore, one must make “ conscious choices” in order to authenticate one’s individual existence which can at the most be a series or concatenation of conscious choices in moments of crisis. Kierkegaard questioned Reason and Reasoning and reversed Descarte’s proposition:
“ I think, therefore, I am” to “I am, therefore, I think”.
Existentialist Enlightenment, then, is an enlarging and heightening of disillusionment with established norms and bourgeois existence of routine life where Nine to Five pattern of life has a boring, deadening and killing effect on an individual being’s consciousness. Existentialist living demands individual and collective or historical consciousness and choices made often against one’s own grain, a kind of continued renewal of “ being” in “acts of becoming” and “intense living”. Existentialists emphasize Experience rather than Knowledge for conscious and enlightened living which is a form of “disillusionment” forcing an individual to invent his own meaning in an absurd meaningless universe.
In both secular and religious western traditions, however, Knowledge and Reason, resulting from the development of the mind receive emphasis. Objective reality, its penetration through an active mind is the way to enlightenment and even perfection in history. Christian Humanism and Scientific Method both rely on Knowledge: Science in the acts of discovery and invention, Christian Humanism in the form of good moral conduct and belief in the anthropocentricity or centrality of the Human Being in the Chain of Being. Man is the Center of the Universe and all things and beings, fish or fowl, birds or animal exist for Man’s enjoyment. But man, endowed as he is with a moral faculty, will prevail over his baser self, and finally, do good and not merely avoid evil. All humanists, Christian or secular believe that Man shall triumph and the Nobel Prize Winner, novelist William Faulkner articulated their belief when he said: “Man Shall Prevail”. Development of the Mind, in other words, is the way to Enlightenment for all mankind.
In the twentieth century new strands of thought made possible by the mingling of races, civilizations, and traditions, have changed our view of Enlightenment. As early as 1725, Vico challenged the view about the “primitive man” which , according to him, was far from being “savage”; it had the characteristic of the “poetic wisdom”[sapienza poetica] and is not less but more enlightened than the so-called “rational” or “civilized” man. Only, the ‘primitive mind” comprehends reality by symbols, metaphors, myths instead of describing it in reasoned prose. Not the secrets of Physics but the mysteries of Metaphysics are the subjects of his exploration. Perception, conscious discourse, epiphany or “sudden spiritual manifestation” currently have become part of the academic and humanist endeavors as tools of enlightenment. Yet, linguists and anthropologists such as Franz Boaz, Edward Sapir, Levi-Strauss have made us aware that “human beings do not live in the objective world alone, nor alone in the world of social activity as ordinarily understood, but are very much at the mercy of the particular language which has become the medium of expression for their society”. Since Language has been created by Human Mind, one is a prisoner of the language, as the title of Fredric Jameson’s book “The Prison-House of Language” would suggest and, hence, of the Mind.
Along with these trends, we have the increased visibility of Godmen like Mahesh Yogi to Rajnish developing techniques of meditation, modes of living and establishing Retreats and Ashrams for their followers or seekers of “Instant Nirvana” for the rich of the world and “unhappy hordes” everywhere. But serious thinkers like Aldous Huxley, T.S. Eliot, Hermann Hesse have explored the traditions of the East, predominantly Zen and Indian traditions in which “darshan”, “revelation”, “self-surrender”, merging of smaller identity with universal self, form part or various stages of Enlightenment. In the Indian Tradition, Knowledge is a form of Ignorance rather than a ladder to the Tower of Enlightenment. An Enlightened Being shuts himself from the World of Mind and Senses and transcends to a Reality where words are not valid, distinctions dissolve and the moment becomes timeless as the drop becomes ocean when the rain falls over the vast seas. Earlier Chinese traditions of Tao and Confucius emphasized codes of moral conduct rather than the realization of the self or universal consciousness for becoming an enlightened person.
In the Vedant and Upanishads, Hindu rishis explored regions of Consciousness and described three stages of human awareness as “Awakening”, “Dreaming”, and “Deep Sleep”, summed up in the “imperishable sound”- “AUM”. A totally aware, self-realized being is like a “being in deep, dreamless sleep”, with no distinction between “Being” and “Nothing”. But for most of us, only partial consciousness or “Awakening” or “Dreaming” is possible. A glimpse of all these stages of consciousness is possible through Meditation. But when the self returns to the work-a-day world, what happens to the enlightened experiencer? About this, there are many interesting anecdotes. One of them is about a Chinese woodcutter who suddenly became famous for being a ‘realized soul’. People swarmed his hut and waited for him to come out duly in awe of the ‘Enlightened One’. The woodcutter came out with his ax and a piece of rope as usual and looked somewhat surprised to see so many people at his door.
“Your Holiness, You have become a realized soul, you are The Enlightened One. So we have heard”.
“Maybe, but right now I am going to the forest for my daily work”, and he walked to the woods.
Sidharatha, after he had become the Buddha, the Enlightened One, laughed to his heart’s content when an elder from his own hometown asked him: “What knowledge did you gain after your tapas or long meditation and penance under the Bodhi Tree?”. Replied Gautum the Buddha: “ Nothing that I did not know when I left Kapilvastu”. [About 1650 words.]

=======THE END===

CURRENT AFFAIRS QUESTIONS ANSWERS For Civil Services Competitors by Jitendra Kumar Sharma

CURRENT AFFAIRS QUESTIONS ANSWERS For Civil Services Competitors by Jitendra Kumar Sharm

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=The+Prime+Minister+and+His+Robot+Wife&i=stripbooks-intl-ship&ref=nb_sb_noss

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The Prime Minister and His Robot Wife

By Jitendra Kumar Sharma

 Q.1. “Google doodle celebrates humanity’s first message to aliens.” Consider and dwell on this recent news headline and jot down your comments and explain what you understand by “ humanities first message”.
Ans.1. Google from time to time uploads doodles to celebrate important events or personalities. On Nov 16, 1974, that is 44 years ago a group of scientists came together at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico and sent the most powerful broadcast that was ever beamed into space. This was called the Arecibo Message. On Nov 16, 2018 humankind’s first attempt to communicate with intelligent life beyond our own planet Google commemorated with an animated doodle became a sort of talk of the town.
The scientists at Arecibo Observatory had radioed a three-minute message into space which was aimed at a cluster of stars in the constellation Hercules 25,000 light years away from Earth. explained Google in a statement.”This historic transmission was intended to demonstrate the capabilities of Arecibo’s recently upgraded radio telescope, whose 1000-foot-diameter dish made it the largest and most powerful in the world at the time”.
“It was strictly a symbolic event, to show that we could do it,” according to Professor Donald Campbell of Cornell University in the de[artment of astronomy. Campbell was a research associate at the Arecibo Observatory at the time and took part in the event on Nov 16, 1974.
“The subject of today’s doodle lends itself to so many possibilities. Earlier concepts experimented with depicting the recipients of the Arecibo Message and their reactions,” according to Gerben Steenks, the doodler at Google who created the uploaded doodle.
The original message was devised by a team of researchers from Cornell University led by Frank Drake.”What could we do that would be spectacular? We could send a message!” Drake said.
The message was composed with the assistance of Carl Sagan and arranged to form a pictograph representing some fundamental facts of mathematics, human DNA, planet Earth’s place in the solar system, and a picture of a human-like figure and an image of the telescope itself.
The Arecibo Message is estimated to travel around 25,000 years to reach the intended target, a group of 300,000 stars known as M13. “Humankind will have to wait a long time for an answer” quipped Google.
During the last 44 years since it was first transmitted, the message has traveled only 259 trillion miles, a tiny fraction of the distance to its final destination, according to the statement Google issued along with its much-touted doodle.
Q. 2.Was Crop insurance introduced for farmer’s benefit or big business’ big profits? Discuss with reference to recent media report/s and editorials on this issue.
A. 2. Crop insurance started by a government initiative predictably is under a cloud. Insurance firms, both in the public and private domains, have reportedly made unfair gains by selling crop insurance to farmers in about two dozen states. The Tribune, Chandigarh reported abnormal gains by a dozen insurance firms through the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna (PMFBY). According to the newspaper, Insurers received a gross premium of Rs 22,362 crore under the scheme in 2016-17 and saved huge sums even after they settled 3.01 crore claims worth Rs 15,902 crore. This margin hopped to “Rs 9,335 crore in the successive period, apparently due to a sharp decline in the number of claims to 1.26 crore.” Insurance is a high-risk business and it is normal for firms to have huge margins in an event-free year. But, that is not the reason for the insurers’ ill-gotten gains. The unprecedented margins have resulted from non-payment of legitimate claims. And the foul play calls for an investigation. The government must act right away.
Private insurers rushed to grab the PMFBY because of the government’s invitation and they responded eagerly to grab this no holds barred profit-making opportunity. Making money is a legitimate practice but profiteering from a social scheme is a heinous crime. A thorough audit must be ordered immediately by the authorities.
The scheme is well intended as it promises to protect Indian farmers the vagaries of nature. It is the state governments’ responsibility devise administrative measures to ensure quick disbursal of insured sums to aggrieved farmers. Private insurers are in business to make money and if the doors are kept open for the loot, they shall not hesitate. Risk assessment is the states’ task and responsibility. To cite the example of Punjab officials did not care to cover risks of major failure of paddy and wheat crops in the scheme on the pretext of saving public money on unnecessary premium. The scheme involves huge public money and, therefore, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India needs to conduct a performance audit to rationalize the premium amount. The premium burden on the farmer needs to be reduced and there have to be prohibitive restrictions on profiteering from a public scheme and bureaucratic corruption as a necessary adjunct to excessively enormous pelf made by openly indulging in unethical business practices.

Q. 3. Where are India’s bright young minds going? Discuss and comment on this phenomenon called brain drain.
A.3. India’s bright young minds are fleeing to foreign shores, most of them to the USA. Rich western countries are taking away our brightest students and also our money, rued an editorial in an English Daily.
The number of Indian students enrolled in the US has been rising despite the anti-immigration stance of the US government. According to the latest statistics available, Indians were the largest group among all foreign students enrolled in the USA. Interestingly, the number of students from other countries has been declining but from India, students’ number has been rising, the total number of international students in the US has fallen this year. The estimated 2.5 lakh students were counted in last year’s report.
The US, Canada, Australia, the UK, non-English speaking European countries are increasingly attracting Indian students. Brain drain is now a misnomer and the concept of brain drain itself is outdated but why do parents spend Rs 2 crore for getting their children graduated abroad? Perhaps, mainly for two reasons: [i]Lack of international quality educational institutions for bright Indian students [ii] Denial of admission to such students as do not attain an optimum required percentage of marks for admission to courses of study in Indian educational institutions and universities. Another most nagging factor for preference for exorbitantly costly foreign education is parents’ anxiety about their children’s future in India. Will they be able to get jobs with Indian diplomas and degrees?
Reduced possibility of work after education in richer countries appears to offer no discouragement or impediment to the West-bound young students or their parents. The westward ho! trend shows no signs of wearing off. In fact, as the government claims greater prosperity in India, higher is the urge to leave the country on one pretext or the other among all strata of Indian society and those who have the money and means make it good to leave in the hope landing in greener pastures.
Policy makers and educators in India seems to be talking more and doing less for better infrastructure for higher education and students are being forced to seek expensive and increasingly unrewarding foreign education who are more interested in educating them than in pocketing their money.
China has solved this problem by allowing foreign universities to open campuses in its various province. Singapore too has taken initiatives in bringing foreign education home. International exposure for our students is academically healthy but such high costs are not justified and defeat the very purpose of education. Even before the young minds are ready to enter the world, they become commercially rather than culturally oriented. In their formative years, they get ridden with the enormous emotional and financial burden.
The rising trends of Indian student enrolments in foreign countries lands is a sad reflection on our dispensation and its failure to fulfill a basic need for all students, that is, quality education with adequate employment opportunities. PM Narendra Modi is agog with India’s demographic dividend but is paying no heed that the dividend is going to enrich other countries and not India.
A.4.‘Toxic’ declared Oxford Word of the Year. Write a brief note on this news headline.
A.4. How a word can become so important as to compel attention by the media? No wonder. Because, words tell us a lot about us, about our society and culture at large. Oxford Dictionary has declared the adjective ‘toxic’ as the Word of the Year for what it says “reflects the ethos, mood, or preoccupations in 2018”.The Oxford Word of the Year is a word or expression that is judged to have lasting potential as a term of cultural significance, according to a statement issued to the Press by the Oxford English Dictionary team.
The word toxic was selected from a shortlist other competing words that included ‘gaslighting,’ ‘incel’ and ‘techlash’. The data shows that, after ‘chemical’, ‘masculinity’ is the most-used word in conjunction with toxic this year.
“With the #MeToo movement putting a spotlight on toxic masculinity, and watershed political events like the Brett Kavanaugh Senate judiciary committee hearing sparking international debate, the term toxic masculinity has well and truly taken root in the public consciousness and got people talking in 2018,” the statement said.
By toxic which is an adjective, is meant ‘poisonous’. Toxic first appeared in English in the mid-seventeenth century from the medieval Latin toxicus, meaning ‘poisoned’ or ‘imbued with poison’.In 2018, toxic became a descriptor for the year’s most talked about topics. Oxford university’s extensive and exhaustive research found that scope of application was amazingly wide truly outstanding; and, that made toxic the stand-out choice for the Word of the Year title.
The data shows that along with a 45 percent rise in the number of times it has been looked up on oxforddictionaries.com, over the last year the word toxic has been used in an array of contexts, both in its literal and more metaphorical senses”.
Words like ‘environment’, ‘relationship’ and ‘culture’ were wontedly used alongside toxic.
Certain events of the year also played a role in the selection of Toxic as the word of the year. The toxic chemical, for example, figured prominently in the nerve agent poisoning of a former Russian intelligence officer and his daughter in Britain and that had sent shockwaves around the globe. This event lends a particular significance to ‘toxic’.
Ongoing international attention to the case, including rising concern over who has access to the world’s toxic chemical stockpiles, ensured that ‘chemical’ topped the list of words most frequently seen alongside toxic in 2018.

Likewise, toxic substance, toxic gas, and toxic waste were in the news, reports, and messages and became a focal point as the US combated the spread of toxic waste in the wake of hurricanes. This burning of toxic waste, resulting in the release of toxic gases, has been identified as one of a number of causes of toxic air. In India, burning crop stubs on farmlands of Punjab and Haryana were blame for enhancing air pollution levels in the Capital Delhi and National Capital Region.
Air pollution has rapidly become a prime public health issue throughout the world and reached a high in October 2018 when the World Health Organization published its report into the quality of air breathed by children worldwide. The report described this pollution as toxic air, signifying its poisonous nature, and international media coverage served to highlight to associate toxicity to poor air quality.
The term toxic environment has been in use for decades in reference to harmful workplace conditions and the toll this takes on the workforce’s mental health.
From overly demanding workloads to outrageous sexual harassment, many companies have been exposed as crucibles for such toxic culture this year occasioning mass walkouts at Google, the fashion mogul Philip Green disgracing and the Speaker of the House of Commons accused of misusing his official powers to cover up allegations of bullying in Westminster.
In India, “Toxic Masculinity” of powerful politicians, journalists and professionals hit the media headlines in the year 2018.
Q.5. Has the I.A.S. lived up to the expectations with which it was instituted 70 years back?.
A.5.The Indian Administrative Service, popularly known by its abbreviated sobriquet, IAS, has completed its 70 years of existence in 2018. It is a successor to the so-called Iron-clad, Heaven-born Indian Civil Service of the British colonial era. The IAS was very differently conceived than the ICS and was expected to perform an altogether different role than the ICS. It was said about the ICS that there was neither Indian nor civil nor an iota of service about it. The IAS was supposed to have everything Indian and was devised to be the Servant of the Indian People. The IAS was to be imbued with the idea and culture of India. Today, it is an elite class, zealously guarding its patchy mold of its British predecessor and worn-out mask of the colonial ICS. It is the most privileged, self-perpetuating class or clan of a self-serving, power-grabbing in-grown ruling group that dominates all other branches of government. It dominates the politicians and people alike.
The I.A.S. was to be the instrument of governance that would assist the political executive to create, build and develop Indian democracy as a peoples’ republic‘. The IAS was expected to help build and strengthen democratic institution such as gram sabhas, panchayats, Zila parishads that serve as the base for Vidhan Sabhas and the Lok Sabha. All these political institutions were to democratize administration, development process, and governance of India as a country and finally, from these foundations, was to emerge a vibrant, participatory democracy eventually to mature into a peoples’ republic. The IAS conceived as a permanent system of people’s servants that would lend unity and continuity to democratic India’s Administration and Development and serve the nation with a sense of Indian-ness in their style of functioning. The forefathers of the Indian constitution had high expectations from the IAS and wanted it to play a leading role in building India as a republic of self-governing, self-sufficient, agro-industrial, urbo-rural local communities, politico-economic institutions that would control and regulate the deployment of natural resources for the Indian nation for Indian people’s welfare and betterment.
India, because of its culture and diversity, is very different from most countries of the world. The IAS, contrary to the nation’s expectations has taken an altogether divergent course. As a permanent and continuous instrument of government, it has, instead of discovering and rediscovering its culture and diversity, set up a superficial and fake model of western imitation for the succeeding generations of Independent India. The aura of IAS dominates the educated people of India and for the rural masses, it has become callous officialdom which is perpetuating inefficiency and corruption. India was not imagined by freedom fighters and leaders as a jungle of concrete urbanization. India was to be agro-based economy motivated not by individual, self-oriented westernized society but comity of communities rooted and rising from its village culture of bhaichara or fraternity and its other timeless verities. The pattern of its economic growth too was foreseen as need-based, environment-friendly, nature- conserving and providing livelihood to its poor people on a priority basis rather than a statistics-driven inflationary economy creating an inequitable consumer society serving the greed of industrialists, traders, and hoarders as is the case today. India’s development in our forefathers’ scheme had to be democratic and decentralized focused on the constant and continuous amelioration of the poorest of the poor of our society.
The IAS too was launched to realize the ‘Idea of India’, a governance framework that will act as a bulwark against any encroachments on the ‘Idea of India’. These conditions and protocol for the IAS were clearly laid out in the Constitution of India. The IAS was, therefore, granted constitutional protections, which is not the case in other democratic countries. The prestige and protection of the IAS were certainly not meant to create a special, privileged, class who would develop nexus with Big Business and Politicians to fleece the nation and its people of their basic rights as a ruthless ruling elite. The guarantees that the Indian constitution provided to the IAS was meant to create a cadre of public servants who would ensure fair, fearless, just administration for managing the country’s affairs efficiently and devotedly.
The IAS as a class, in cohorts with the subsequent political masters, abandoned the ‘Idea of India’, and forgot the purpose for which the IAS was created. The Constitution provided all the protection and privilege to the IAS but failed to give the same power and protection to the panchayat raj institutions that was to be the foundation of Indian Democracy. Instead, there emerged a disorderly and disarrayed pattern of ‘mixed-economy’ run by a command-and-control system.
As a result, India’s Administration remains stubbornly entrenched in the same colonial-hierarchical framework. The democratic-participatory process is being obstructed rather than being promoted by the IAS. Consequently, misshapen urban-rural monstrous cities, villages and towns have appeared that are at the mercy of lawless lumpen hoards, hoodlums, criminals, and looters. Politically, economically and administratively India is a scary place to live for a law-abiding citizen.
The past President KR Narayanan, himself a member of the SC and also a privileged member of the IAS/IFS as late as 2005 said: “Decades into the free life of our nation, we find that justice — social, economic and political — remains an unrealized dream for millions of our fellow citizens. The benefits of our economic growth are yet to reach them. Tragically, the growth in our economy has not been uniform. Many a social upheaval can be traced to the neglect of the lowest of society, whose discontent moves towards the path of violence”.

The IAS, according to The Constituent Assembly of India, had to be “the best material available in the country transgressing political boundaries.” Today, the common perception, according to a 2010 survey, is the IAS is an outfit that is an administrative wreck “sub-serving lowest political interests” and outrageously drenched in corruption.
The IAS almost totally destroyed itself during the Emergency 1975-77. Instead of protecting the constitution and rising up against a lawless regime, the IAS prostrated itself before it and defiled the Constitution; it assaulted and raped the Indian democracy. It drafted and implemented draconian rules and ordinances and enjoyed the benefits of autocracy and extra-constitutionalism instead of rescuing Indian democracy and defending the rights of its people. When shall the country recover from the cowardice IAS injected in the body-politic of India is a question that starkly stares in the face of India’s dilapidated democratic institutions.
Liberalization, globalization, and privatization have further widened the scope for the predatory bureaucratic-capitalist-politician nexus to sharpen and satiate its instincts for land-grabbing, money-guzzling, environment – plundering in the name of ‘development’. Basic duties of maintaining harmony, law, and order; delivering timely justice; efficient and corruption-free services; protecting the environment and natural resources, leading the way to decentralization of the development process for equitable and inclusive distribution of wealth of the nation nowhere figure in the self-serving pursuits of power and privilege of the IAS. Far from fulfilling the mandate of the Constitution, the IAS as a service has failed the nation and people of India.

Q. 6. Wrong combinations: Will Government drug ban help patients? Comment briefly on this issue.
A.8. The health of the nation has primacy over the interests of manufacturers and the drugs merchants that have been reaping profits with impunity and without regulation. In fact, the market was flooded with all kinds of drugs, irrespective of their side effects. Only an iota of cases of patients suffering from drug reactions get reported. Drug regulation and a bar on their misuse use were thus overdue. These facts are enough to justify the ban on fixed-dose combination (FDC) drugs, that is, drugs that have two or more active pharmaceutical ingredients in a single dose. Even Saridon, commonly thought as a harmless reliever of pain, has been banned, though the Apex court has removed it from the banned drugs list at the instance of petitioning pharmaceuticals.
According to The Drug Technical Advisory Board’s committee, these FDCs are formulated without much care and get consumed in toxic dosages. The Indian Drug Manufacturers’ Association’s statement of support to the ban is only a pretense because they are flooding the courts with their petitions opposing the ban. Not patients but manufacturers were making gains from FDCs because these FDCs permitted product differentiation that was not subject to price control. Even if all FDCs are not entirely harmful and even the government’s own report is ambiguous about this issue. It points out that some such drugs are prescribed for ‘the treatment of infectious diseases like HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis were giving multiple antimicrobial agents is the norm’. They are available in other countries but on a small scale and combinations face tougher regulations in western countries. In India, the number of FDCs is four times that of the USA.
The government has been flexible and left room for further action for certain other kinds of FDCs. Patients will only gain by governments’ tighter drug regulation and manufacturers will get restrained in their profit-making spree by freely selling harmful drugs. Low-income patients will be safer in the absence of unregulated drugs. They deserve a healthcare system which makes available the best pharmaceutical products at the most reasonable rates. Better monitoring of the drugs will help patients in improving the health of the nation.

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Movie : The Accidental Prime Minister Cast: Anupam Kher, Akshaye Khanna, Suzanne Bernert, Arjun Mathur, Divya Seth, Aahana Kumra, Vipin Sharma Director: Vijay Ratnakar Gutte Reviewed by Jitendra Kumar Sharma

Movie : The Accidental Prime Minister Cast: Anupam Kher, Akshaye Khanna, Suzanne Bernert, Arjun Mathur, Divya Seth, Aahana Kumra, Vipin Sharma Director: Vijay Ratnakar Gutte

Reviewed by Jitendra Kumar Sharma

Satire is a powerful genre to win readers and influence public opinion. Not humor but wit is its weapon. Sharper the wit,mightier the satire.A satire achieves its purpose if wit is used to spotlight both the particular and wider issues it lights up and attacks.

The film version of Sanjay Baru’s book The Accidental Prime Minister of the same title fails to achieve its higher satiric purpose because instead of sharp wit, it stoops to coarse humor and wins neither  the viewing public nor does it succeed in making its point.

Film Director Vijay Ratnakar Gutte’s aim was perhaps to make a pro- Modi-BJP and anti-Manmohan Singh-Congress propaganda quickie. He seems eager to please Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP top brass rather than amuse the audience who buy cinema tickets to watch the movie.

The film script of The Accidental Prime Minister has made a patchwork of Sanjay Baru’s book. The disjointed film script does not seem to be the work of one writer. Perhaps several amateurs randomly jumbled together sentences and passages from Baru’s original text into a hodgepodge of motley and incongruous content. The result is that the film rather than amusing  and tickling the viewer strains to eke out a forced laugh from the audience.

The chief character of the film is the former Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh. Gutte projects him as a gentle, meek, docile, submissive and miserably subservient personage. A very inexperienced politician who fluked the Prime Ministerial chair and is now at the beck and call of Congress Party leaders Sonia Gandhi and his son Rahul Gandhi. As portrayed in the film, he acts and lives at their mercy and is in his high office at their pleasure.

In the film, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is an estimable gentleman. He wants to do a lot for his nation but fails to act because he is supine and feckless and is unable to rise to the occasion. Himself,  he is an honest politician but is weak and wishy-washy  when it comes to  fighting against corruption which is  unrestrained and  widespread within his own party and country.

Anupam Kher is known for being a consistently accomplished actor of much standing but his role and acting as Dr Singh are not Kher-like. His acting in The Accidental Prime Minister does not carry his distinctive mark. It gets marred because it is Modi-like and not Kher-like.

Prime Minister Modi mimics and parodies a lot before the mass audiences to achieve his rhetorical effects at his political rallies. Maybe, Anupam Kher is paying his compliments to his political hero or has taken the adage ‘what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander’, too literally. The fine actor forgets that what is a trick of the trade for a politician may prove to be a mere dido for an actor. What works at a political rally may not work in a movie. Kher throughout the film is merely attempting to flatter Narendra Modi by copying the latter’s speech and style.

Gander and goose analogy does is absolutely inept here. Not only Kher and Modi are two very different personalities,  Acting and Politics are two very different domains. Measures of performance in these two fields are worlds’ apart. Acting demands creative imitation of life. A low grade politician may get accolades by acting coarsely before his audiences but an actor cannot afford to be coarse even when he is imitating a buffoon. In The Accidental Prime Minister, Anupam Kher appears to be too intoxicated with the Modi wine to imitate creatively Dr. Manmoham Singh, a world-famed economist and an outstanding academic albeit a hapless politician. A right person in a high chair in wrong times and circumstances.

Kher imitates Dr.Singh coarsely, hoarsely like a self-conscious student imitates on a college stage his own teacher or principal. Anupam’s swinging of arms, or keeling gait, lurching speech, succeed only in making a cartoon of himself rather than honestly and creatively cloning Dr. Manmohan Singh, warts and all.

Akshaye Khanna’s portrayal of Baru, the journalist author of the book The Accidental Prime Minister is an attempt at  pure acting. His creative imitation of the journalist Baru provides  some relief from Anupam Kher’s spurious and specious Dr. Manmohan Singh. Akshaye’s faults are the faults of the Baru text. Calling Indian politics Mahabharata is a cliché but he mercifully makes no attempt  at turning  it into a McLuhanic  archetype. Baru has called Dr Singh a Bhishma. Akshaye has faithfully communicated Baru’s understanding of his boss, Dr. Manmohan Singh, and his tongue-in-cheek admiration of the Bhishma of Mahabharata of Indian politics.

 The Accidental Prime Minister  gives the impression that  it was not Vijay Ratnakar Gutte’s own original inspiration. Perhaps, he has made the film at someone else’s suggestion because his direction lacks verve and style. It is roughly hewn, clumsily edited and the result is a jaded charade.

Brief appearance of President APJ Kalam betrays the director’s poor sartorial sense, for instances, Dr. Kalam with his famous silvery well-combed long hair, in the film, is represented by novice youngish raw actor adorning an ill-fitting wig, his pantaloons falling short of  his legs, his speech hardly an echo of the learned and most honourable scientist Head of State India has had.

Dim and dulling news footage shoddily interlaced give continuosly spasmodic jerks to the flow and movement of the film. The narrative of events has nothing dramatic or compelling about it. Added to the wearied verbal dissonance is the unbearably ear-splitting cacophony of the background music [?]