Power.

“One who makes himself a worm cannot complain afterwards if people step on him.”
~ Immanuel Kant


“The mosquito, in fact, is more powerful than the human being. Usually when you catch an animal, you set a trap, you throw a net. But when it comes to mosquitoes, it is you who must enter into the mosquito net; it is you who must escape the mosquito. So who is more powerful? In fact, every little bug, every virus, has got its own power over you.”

~ Swami Dayananda Saraswati.

Power is always relative.  What is popularly considered as powerless say like an insect can exercise power over man like the quote above illustrates.  Today, as I write this, the Chinese Virus, invisible to the human eye has more power over mankind than anything that I have seen in my long life time.  It has kept me and millions of others like me confined to our homes and has made normal life that human beings experienced just eight months ago impossible with no respite in sight.  In fact, the so called most powerful man in the world, POTUS was powerless over the virus which illustrates my argument more than any thing else will do.

Just take a good look around the world and you will see power struggles of all kinds, intra and international as well as other kinds like intra and inter family power struggles over assets;  and businesses fighting for shares of markets and so on.  It is ubiquitous and all around us but, we do not notice is precisely for the reason that it is so ordinary and pedestrian.

My interest in Power as a subject to think about was kindled in 1984 when I attended a seminar by a Management Association in Mumbai, on the subject. After attending the seminar, I promptly bought the book The Anatomy Of Power by J B Galbraith. Wikipedia has this to say about the book.

“The Anatomy of Power is a book written by Harvard economist John Kenneth Galbraith, originally published in 1983 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. It sought to classify three types of power: compensatory power in which submission is bought, condign power in which submission is won by making the alternative sufficiently painful, and conditioned power in which submission is gained by persuasion. In short, money, force and ideology.

It further divided power by source: power either stems from personality or leadership, property or wealth, or organisation.

The book goes on to detail a brief history of the use of power, noting the broad arc of history in moving away from condign and towards compensatory and then conditioned power, and from personality and property towards organisation. Finally, it details what Galbraith views as the main sources of power in the modern world: government, the military, religion and the press.”

Since reading the book, I have used the understanding gained in observing human and animal behaviour in day to day life and have been able to resolve many issues by simply taking appropriate action after understanding quite where the exercise of power by the person concerned or the creature, comes from and to reach what end purpose.

A Post Script;  I sleep under a mosquito net every night!

Having enjoyed those experiences, I suggested this topic for this week’s Friday post where eight of us write on the same subject so that I can share my enthusiasm for the book with my readers so that perhaps they too will find it worthwhile to read the book and enjoy similar experiences. The other seven bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Maria. Sanjana, PadmumRaju, Shackman , Srinivas and Conrad. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.

 

The New Normal.

Work From Home has changed many things and fortunes and here is one aspect of it. Hyderabad is not the only city affected. Other cities with high concentration of IT establishments are equally affected. Pune, my home city is as badly affected as are Mumbai and Bengaluru.

It is not only homes that have seen loss of tenants. Businesses too have found that it is more economical to operate in a WFH system. They are giving up office space all over India as this report shows.

Here is another report about one of India’s largest IT companies that gives a clear indication of what lies ahead.

I personally know of some youngsters who have moved back with their parents in other parts of the country to work from home and save on rent. Employers too are happy with this option as WFH also gets more man-hours per employee than before.

A major change due to this one single development of WFH is the reduction in traffic in the cities most impacted like Pune for instance. Parking space is readily available as is commuting time for others. Peak hour traffic is so low that it does not look like peak hour at all.

These two factors alone should improve the quality of air in our cities and reduce fuel consumption which in turn will impact the automobile industry all over the world.

Domestic consumption is likely to stay at current levels where people have learned to do with less and this is likely to affect consumption and therefore production and therefore employment. Footfalls in Malls and Cinema Theaters are reduced and DTH is rapidly taking over entertainment which in turn affects traffic and related consumption patterns.

So, some industries will scale down while others will scale up and quite which will become clearer as we go along.

There are many other factors that will come into play as the Covid impact lessens and those will become evident as we move further into the year and 2021.

The most significant change will be in our lifestyles which will never again be what they used to be pre pandemic times.

This is my take on this week’s Friday 6 On 1 blog post topic. The other five bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Sanjana, PadmumRaju, Shackman and Conrad.  This week’s topic was suggested by me. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.

Coincidence.

A friend posted this news item in a WhatsApp group and I was reminded of two stories.

With the first story in mind, I commented on the post with my comment “Mysterious things can happen!” and gave a link to this village, Kodinhi in Kerala, a state in our South West. Don’t you think that it is an amazing phenomenon?

The next story is personal. My late wife and my cousin both delivered sons on the same day with just twenty minutes difference in the times. When all of us lived in Mumbai, their joint birthday celebrations were routine. On every such occasion, my cousin’s late husband used to wonder at the coincidence with some snide comments that I leave to my readers to imagine.

Woman.

As it happens so often in my life,  two different sources sent me two different links to two different you tube offerings but, on the same subject on the same day. The first one is about a mother and the second about a wife.

Both appealed to me and also affected me deeply and I want to share it with my readers. Though both are presented by Indians, their messages are universal and applicable to all mothers and wives. I hope that these two videos touch my readers as much as they touched me.

The first video is by Hari Sankar…a Grandmaster in Chess who has won a slew of awards…at one stage he was in the top 5 or 7 in the world..like Viswanathan Anand, it was his mother who was the motivating force to take up Chess. He is from Andhra Pradesh.  Despite trying to be funny, he manages to convey a profound statement about motherhood and women.

The next one is from an older man who while presenting the poem is quite affected.

Globalisation Versus Tribal Nationalism.


According to WHO, globalisation can be defined as “the increased interconnectedness and interdependence of peoples and countries. It is generally understood to include two inter-related elements: the opening of international borders to increasingly fast flows of goods, services, finance, people and ideas; and the changes in institutions and policies at national and international levels that facilitate or promote such flows.”

I am all for this provided, the spirit of the policy is implemented without any reservation but, in practise, that has not been the case as the next choice comes into play.


“Tribal nationalism more popularly called right-wing populism is a response to worries about immigration and national identity, coupled with genuine social injustices including economic hardship and unemployment.”

I live in India.  We have gone through a partition of the country that divided us into two and now that has become three with some elements of the division still troubling us.  Unlike the post world war II Europe, where full exchange of ethnic minorities took place, we did not due to what is now felt as stupidity of the then leadership of the country and we have an effective fifth column operating here.  We have a major problem of illegal migrants from our neighbouring countries encouraged by this fifth column and  some of our short term oriented politicians for vote bank politics.  There is also a sixth column which is the leftist  elite leftover from our experiments with socialism which, while on the retreat is also causing much damage to our youth.

Our Tribal Nationalism therefore is very appealing to people who are proud of our heritage and history who are unashamedly Indian and who are the cause for the despair of the English Speaking Left Intellectual Mafia as they are now called.  I have no hesitation whatsoever to confirm that I am a Tribal Nationalist who is willing to accept Globalisation which will treat us exactly as it would like us to treat it.  With respect.

I would therefore have preferred to call the title with an “And” instead of the “Versus” suggested by Shackman.

This is my take on this week’s Friday 6 On 1 blog post topic. The other five bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Sanjana, PadmumRaju, Shackman and Conrad.  This week’s topic was suggested by Shackman. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.

Confusion.

I have three ARs in my WhatsApp list. Arun, Arjun and Arvind. The last was my late younger brother whose name I have not had the heart to remove from the list. The first two  have Rajagopal as their second names, one with Rajagopal and the other with Rajagopalan.

Earlier this week, it was Arjun’s birthday and I sent him a birthday greetings in the morning but, till late in the afternoon I had not received any acknowledgement and so I rang up my friend and his father to enquire if all is well. My friend said that he will get the son to call me back and then I found that his birthday was later in the year and he claimed that he had not received any message from me. I then realised that I had sent the greetings to Arjun, but was following up with Arun’s father and Arun. I then realised that Arjun had also died some months ago and I had sent the message to a dead man’s WhatsApp number. My bad.

I have two other contacts, one a Koushik and the other Kaushal. I often type the first three letters wrongly to send emails or to send WhatsApp messages. I have not yet goofed up but, would not be surprised if I do soon enough.

Such confusion is normal for people of my age I am told. On the other hand, I have a young friend who is in a very comfortable position with a highly reputed organisation with a bright future. He has been offered a position in the Middle East where the emoluments will be higher and tax free for him and he can use a skill that he has acquired that he is unable to use in his present position. He sought my advice and I was at a loss to advise as the present situation in the Middle East is anything but rosy. I just discussed the pros and cons with him and after that both of us are as confused about the course of action to be taken by him as we were before the discussion.

Coming to another friend closer to my age, he is a widower living alone and wanting to pursue a spiritual life. For the past two years he has been in discussions with me and a few other friends about how to go about it and despite having explored a number of alternatives, has not been able to come to a final conclusion as he is totally confused. With the lockdown, things have become more difficult as his idle mind is a devil’s workshop and he keeps obsessing over not being able to be decisive.

These examples are micro level confusions but, today, the entire world is totally confused about the course of action to follow with the Covid situation with no answers coming from anywhere that guarantees success. In my fairly long life, I have never seen anything more confused than this pandemic with thousands of experts throwing up their hands but still offering opinions. We have governments in our states each following its own erratic ways and some claiming success one day and despairing the next. People too are totally confused with the number of advise givers growing day be day and diets and immunity boosting things changing from day to day.

Confusion has become chaos and quite when some semblance of normalcy will return is anybody’s guess.

This is my take on this week’s Friday 6 On 1 blog post topic. The other five bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Sanjana, PadmumRaju, Shackman and Conrad.  This week’s topic was suggested by me. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.