Monday, March 31, 2014

Liberal rules

Are you a liberal or not?  This simple question has confused the hell out of many people for ages. Actually the question is best asked as Am I a liberal or not? And is it ok to not be a liberal? These are important questions. Because upon it depends your entire life - mostly. Especially, if you crave a lot of recognition - that is, liberal recognition. Or else you would be a Hindutva troll. Or a Nationalist. Or a fungus. And who wants to be a fungus. In fact being a fungus is better than being a Hindutva troll.

So, what are those liberal rules? Mostly applicable to Hindu liberals only. Those are the ones I mostly encounter.
  •  Are you reasonably well off? This is very very important to be a liberal. Unless you are reasonably well off, you cannot be a liberal.  If you are not reasonably well off and still aspire to be a liberal - let me assure you that it is not possible. I mean, you wont even be noticed by fungi. And if you are not noticed even by fungi, what is the point of being liberal.
  • You generally question the idea of India. For example, India is not a country. This gentleman (mentioned in my post, IS a liberal) 
  • You are an atheist. Mostly of your own religion. On other religions, you say, well, you cannot comment. And god forbid if I tell you that I believe in Hinduism. Hinduism is not a religion for you, much like India is not a country and therefore, both do not deserve to be protected. Anyway who protects a religion which makes up 80% of the country.
  • You have read Noam Chomsky and Arundhati Roy. Sometimes, their books. Atleast, their articles. Alright, you would have read the titles of their books atleast. At least the God of small things. And you definitely think it is a good book. 
    • You detest Chetan Bhagat.
  • You think multiculturalism (without knowing what it means) is the way forward.
  • You hate George Bush and love Obama. Why, you dont know. On afterthought it is because Bush laid waste to a fertile, prosperous and democratic Pakistan and Afghanistan.
  • You have tasted the secular cool aid. In your books, the Shiv Sena is bad, the BJP is communal, but the Muslim League is a Congress ally and therefore cool. Actually you do not even know that the Muslim League exists and therefore refuse to acknowledge it. On the other hand, asking that question should  make me a fungi in your eyes.
  • You generally do not believe in rituals. Especially Hindu rituals. The other rituals, well, you say, it is their choice. Indeed this is the only place you wont equivocate. In all other places, equivocation would be your choice of argument. (Yes, do look at the dictionary, it is worth it) 
  • Of course, all religions are equal. Not equally bad. Just equal.
  • You have not read Taslima Nasreen (bad author no?) Or Rahul Pandita (did he write a book on Kashmir, really?). Or Bhyrappa (who is that - I have read of him)
 But all those are generalities. Coming to specifics.
  • You think all the acts which start with "Right to" are good. After all how can anything that starts with with word Right be wrong.
  • You think that the NREGA is a great idea. As are doles. Actually you have no idea, but you think it is cool.
  • You think that India had only 1 or 2 riots. And even if the others did, you care only about 1. And not the cause, not what the supreme court says, but because you think it is cool to think so. 
  • Corruption is bad, but communalism is worse. And communalism in your words is all about offering development to everybody irrespective of religion. 
  • Sometimes, you believe in socialism while you or your spouse draws a hefty capitalist salary.
  • You fret about maids salary while offering your maid the market rate in your area.
  • You fret about land being sold in villages for factories, while your house is built on agricultural land (yes, converted 50 years ago, but then how is that also right?)
  • You think development is all great, but villages having power cut is not a big deal - but do check your own generators and ensure that the generators and inverters are running.
  • You think you should contribute time to an NGO (you dont know why you feel like that) - especially on days when you have a fight with your boss.
  • You think dams are a bad idea - and perhaps they are - but then you will fret if there is a 1 hour load shedding in your apartment. 
Oh, well, will stop now...(but do hope to continue more on this)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The liberal ticket

MJ Akbar recently joined the BJP. This may not have been any great news to anybody because the BJP is a political party and any Indian can join the BJP, but for the fact the fact that until recently or to be precise, just till the point he joined the BJP, he was a liberal.

You see liberals in India are supposed to follow a narrative, very similar to their counterparts in the West.

In this narrative, the Hindus form 80% of the population (they don't) and are essentially required to hide or ignore their religion while the minority gets to flaunt their identity on their sleeves. Minorities get special treatment because they are 'minority' including separate personal laws not available in most other parts of the world. Islamic terrorism is the price India pays because of bad Hindus who keep attacking Muslims every now and then. And anybody who attempts to break out of this appeasement cycle is condemned as a bigot at best. (I think a post on this is due.).

What did MJ Akbar do. He went ahead and joined the BJP - he broke out of the liberal clique. Out of their narrative. He is neither the first Muslim in the BJP nor the only face nor the highest ranked. But the others like Arif Mohammed Khan or Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi are ignored by the media because they break the narrative that the Congress wants you to believe and in any case they are with BJP for a long time and are therefore disqualified as liberals. They want you to believe the Owaisis and the Imran Masoods. Whatever.

But now that MJ Akbar has crossed over, other liberals have taken potshots at him. One, Salil Tripathi, who generally writes well though has his own biases, calls him an opportunist, by and large.

That’s because Akbar, the much-admired journalist, ceased to exist a long time ago and we hadn’t noticed. What became of him is between him and his conscience.

And the second, the greatest liberal of them all, who has used casteist slurs in his article, also spews a little venom. This man has , of course, built his career writing against Modi for a few years now and manages one in this piece as well.

Akbar’s personal habits (he loves Scotch) are not BJP-esque. Modi, puritanical about such things, and highly judgemental, will be revolted. Modi also has little use for Akbar’s wit and none for his erudition.

He calls him an opportunist and also expresses hope that he will quite the BJP soon.

I wasn’t surprised to learn his favourite song is Main zindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya, har fikr ko dhuen mein udata chala gaya. I hope he pulls it off and gets a ministry or ambassadorship or whatever it is that he’s angling for. However, he has too much pride to survive in that nasty place. I give him six months.

Somewhere in there are some not so hidden insinuations and allegations of MJA being a bad writer as well etc. 

But the bigger piece is that MJA breaks the stereotype and liberals dont like it. Just like Kejriwal  (in whose mind only he is honest) or Kim Jong Un (who just kills off those who dont agree, like other peaceful cults) - only their narrative is true - and in that sense there is no big difference between these liberals and the dictators and the pigs in Animal Farm.

So, Mr. Akbar, you just lost your liberal ticket by going over to the other side. Never mind that it is only and only this side - deemed communal- which is talking about development across all sections of society without discrimination, which talks of voting for India and for everybody while the other side calling itself secular resorts to terms like 'hate hags' and 'chopping prime ministerial candidates' (just a specific one).

But Mr. MJA worry not. Your credentials are just a resignation letter away.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Modi - leading from the front

As I read this fascinating piece, it made me think about the role of a leader. 

This is Indian politics. Very rarely, do we see a leader lead from the front. Mostly our leaders get elected out of pocketboroughs – which they have nurtured through the years. Think of the pet constituencies of any neta and you will find a patter. They would have got a few sops – a university there, a road there, some streetlights there and a factory there – but very rarely does a constituency nurtured by any politician looks vastly different from any other. Some of the prestigious constituencies are just that – prestigious in name because a so called big name fights from there. No other visible change. And each election time, the politician returns to the pocketborough wins and goes to Parliament.

Narendra Modi, in his first quest to Parliament has bucked the trend. He has chosen to lead from the front – in an entire area where his party is weak, the hope is that his candidature – will lift the entire area of Purvanchal an area where the party has been traditionally weak.

Qualities of a leader who rules from the front rather than hide somewhere and lets his soldiers do the rest.

Bangalore Central PC Mohan

The Bangalore Central Constituency like all others is up for re-election. The incumbent MP has been nominated again. Unlike the other, high profile MPs this person seemed to be a fairly low profile MP which prompted me to look up some PRS data. Here it is:


He has asked 252 questions as opposed to a national average of 300 and a state average of 350. Participated in 5 debates – national and state averages are 37 and 21 respectively. He has an attendance of 70% while the national and state averages run at 76 and 68 percent. Not super impressive, but more of a steady performer.

Interestingly, the overall data for Karnataka is worth a dekko and I am sure, so will the data for the rest as well. In Karnataka, watch out for the numbers of HD Deve Gowda and other familiar names. The bigger the MP the lower seems to the attendance and the debates especially if they are in the ruling party. 

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

A note to Nandan

Dear Nandan Nilekani,

Once upon a time, not too long ago you were the head of a technology company - a company that has won numerous corporate awards under your tenure. Here, from the Infosys website a list of awards from 2007 through 2009 (approximately around your tenure, I suppose).

2009

    Infosys wins RMMY award for client management of large outsourcing relationships
    Independent Research Firm Names Infosys as a Leader Among Oracle Service Providers
    Infosys among Asia's Most Admired Knowledge Enterprises
    Infosys Honored with Oracle Titan Partner Award at Oracle® OpenWorld 2009
    Infosys’ Siebel Business Process Testing Solution Named "Partner Solution Offering of the Year" at HP Software Universe 2009
    Infosys Named as a Top Supplier for Sears Holdings Corporation
    Independent Research Firm Names Infosys as a Leader in SAP Implementation
    Infosys BPO Bags Excellence Award for Diversity Hiring Initiatives
    Infosys BPO Receives e-SCM-SP Capability Level 5 Certificate from Carnegie Mellon University's ITSqc
    Infosys Cited as a Leader in North American SOA Systems Integration Services Market by Independent Research Firm
    Infosys BPO receives "positive" rating in leading analyst firm's Comprehensive Finance and Accounting Business Process Outsourcing MarketScope report
    Infosys listed on Forbes' Asian Fabulous 50 for the fourth consecutive year
    Infosys ranked among the greenest brands in India
    Infosys in 'India's Best Companies to Work For': Survey by Great Place to Work® Institute
    Infosys in Fortune's 100 fastest-growing companies
    Infosys, the most admired Indian company: Wall Street Journal survey
    Infosys has received the highest rating on corporate governance by ICRA
    Infosys was ranked among the top 50 most respected companies Opens in new window in the world by Reputation Institute's Global Reputation Pulse 2009
    Infosys listed among best companies for leaders by Hay Group and Chief Executive Magazine
    Infosys received the distinction of having one of the 'Best Ranked Online Annual Reports in Greater China & Asia/Pacific' at IR Global Rankings 2009

2008

    Infosys selected as a member of The Global Dow
    Infosys BPO recognized at the Asia Business Continuity Awards
    Infosys BPO recognized at the Six Sigma Global Summit
    Infosys receives "positive" rating in leading analyst firm's Remote Support & Monitoring Services' MarketScope reports
    Infosys BPO wins special award at the 2008 NOA Awards
    Infosys Cited as a Leader in Oracle Implementation Services by Independent Research Firm
    Infosys Australia achieves enhanced CMMI Level 5 quality standard pdf
    Infosys wins the Most Admired Knowledge Enterprises (MAKE) award
    Infosys wins first-ever RMMY award for customer relationship management
    Infosys and Infosys BPO honored at the Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) and Karnataka State IT Exports Awards
    Infosys wins HDS Diamond Award for 'Best Virtualization Strategy' and Platinum Award for 'Best Green Strategy for a Data Center'
    Infosys wins the NASSCOM gender inclusivity award
    The Asset magazine acclaims the Infosys Corporate Governance
    Infosys BPO wins 'Group Excellence in Business Continuity Management' award at the Asia Business Continuity Awards 2008
    Infosys Annual Report 2008 wins LACP Platinum award
    Infosys wins Sears Holding Corporation's Partners in Progress award for the second consecutive year
    Infosys BPO awarded Provider of the Year 2008 award in the Large Enterprise Category by FAO Today
    Infosys wins two Banker Technology Awards for its exceptional work in wholesale and capital markets
    Three of Infosys BPO's top-level executives named in FAO Today's Global Superstars List now in its fourth
    Infosys wins Eastman Chemical's Supplier Excellence Award for the second consecutive year
    Infosys BPO receives COPC-2000 CSP Standard Version 4.1 Certification for selected client programs - in the telecom order entry and order validation processes 
    Infosys BPO receives "Positive" Rating in leading analyst firm's Comprehensive Finance and Accounting Business Process Outsourcing Market Scope Report
    Infosys ranked No. 14 among the most respected companies in the world by Reputation Institute's Global Pulse 2008
    Infosys wins award for best investor relations by an APAC company in the U.S. market at IR Magazine U.S. Awards 2008
    Infosys received the Boeing Performance Excellence Award (BPEA) from The Boeing Company for a 12-month gold-level performance
    Infosys received the '2007 Vendor of the Year' award from Ameriprise Financial
    The International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP) named Infosys in its '2008 Global Outsourcing 100'
    IAOP, in association with Fortune magazine, inducted Founder N. R. Narayana Murthy and Co-founder Nandan M. Nilekani, Infosys, into 'The Outsourcing Hall of Fame' Opens in new window
    Infosys wins Investor Relations Global Rankings 2008 awards in APAC categories
    Infosys Cited as a Leader in SAP Implementation Services by Independent Research Firm
    Infosys moved up to No. 14 on FinTech 100, an international annual listing of the top 100 global application and service providers to the financial services industry
    Infosys entered the Balanced Scorecard Hall of Fame for Executing Strategy on the strength of its innovative strategy planning and execution capabilities
    Infosys was honored with the Sharpening Brand and Competitive Differentiation Marketing Excellence Award from the Information Technology Services Marketing Association (ITSMA) for its success in shifting its perception from a provider of offshoring services to that of a partner that helps companies reshape their businesses in a flattening world

2007

    Infosys becomes the first Indian company to win Nielsen Norman Group's Intranet Design Annual Award
    Infosys receives Balanced Scorecard Hall of Fame Award for Executing Strategy
    Infosys Ranked 14 in FinTech 100
    Infosys BPO conferred Provider of the Year award by FAO Today
    Infosys Awarded Best-In-Class ITSMA Marketing Excellence Diamond Award
    BT and Infosys Awarded National Outsourcing Association's Innovative Outsourcing Project of the Year
    Infosys Positioned in the Leaders Quadrant for European Offshore Application Services Pages
    Infosys Ranked No.1 offshore service provider in securities processing BPO
    Infosys Positioned in the Leaders Quadrant for North American Offshore Applications Services Pages Magic Quadrant
    Infosys Consulting Co-Founder Named to Consulting Magazine’s Top 25 Consultants
    Infosys Named Wachovia's "IT Vendor of the Year"
    Infosys Receives the Highest Score in Strategy in Forrester Research's Report on the Applications Outsourcing Market
    Finacle from Infosys positioned in the Leaders Quadrant in the Magic Quadrant for International Retail Core Banking Solutions
    Infosys received the '2007 Vendor of the Year' award from Ameriprise Financial
    Infosys wins NASSCOM-India Today Woman Corporate Award for excellence in gender inclusivity
    Infosys wins Global MAKE award for the fourth year
    Infosys in Fortune's Top 10 Companies for Leaders
    Waters readers name Infosys as Best Outsourcing Partner
    Bloom Group: Infosys.com, a prospect-friendly website
    The Reputation Institute: Infosys, a globally respected company
    Infosys in Dun & Bradstreets Top Indian IT Companies 2007
    Won the Export Excellence Award in the Services Category from the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce & Industry
    Etihad Airways receives industry honors for web strategy implemented by Infosys
    Infosys Named "Best Outsourcing Partner" in Waters Rankings Survey
    Forrester names Infosys a Leader in Global IT Infrastructure Outsourcing
    Infosys Named Royal Bank of Scotland Group's 2007 "Best Technology Supplier"
    Infosys Receives Two "Partner in Progress" Awards from Sears Holdings Corporation
    Infosys won the poll for the New Age Employer of Choice Award 2007 conducted by CNBC TV18, CNBC Awaaz and Moneycontrol.com
    British Telecom and Infosys were awarded the National Outsourcing Association (NOA) award for Innovative Outsourcing Project of the Year 2007
    Infosys Annual Report wins LACP Silver Award
    Infosys wins the 2007 Optimas Award in the "Global Outlook" category

(Link here, from the very companys website you helped found)

Surely, people have the right to their political choices, but the party which have chosen to join and fight an election does not exactly maintain the standard of ethicality and propriety that both you and the firm you led stood for. On the contrary, the political party on which you profess to join would be a Satyam to the Infosys you once oversaw.

To me, as a person who looked up to you and your firm, once upon a time, this is a disconnect.

Here is a report from a magazine that you would hardly label as partisan, a sampling of 9 scams across 9 years - some of it overlapping your achievements in the corporate world. While you were busy winning awards, your prospective employer (if I can call it that, was busy scamming).

This report lists 9 scams

Coal Scam 2012
2G Spectrum Scam 2008
Chopper Scam 2012
Tatra Truck Scam 2012
CWG Scam 2010
Cash for vote Scam 2011
Adarsh Scam 2012
IPL Scam 2013
Satyam Scam 2009

The last two, are usually not counted as the Congress sins, but well, this publication chooses to and I think they know what they are talking about. Frankly, this is but a partial list as you already know. Never scams are breaking out even as late as this week and there are other skeletons yet to tumble I suppose going by this rate.

How do you explain this dichotomy to your voters Nandan.

  • From leading an ethical firm to joining an unethical one.
  • From insisting highest standards from your employees to not insisting any standard to your party vice-president (who I may wager, may not quality for your own ex-firms admission test, going by his recently well publicised interview).
  • From running a full blooded meritrocracy to moving into a dynasty - in which loyalty is the primary consideration.
  • From being the head of a capitalist organization (and presumably still owning shares) to joining a party that professes socialism,reservation in the private sector?
  • From running a financially transparent organization (indeed Infosys still adheres to some great financial transparency) to one which is as financially opaque as can be.
I can keep going on and on, but you get the picture, I hope.

From the best governed company to the worst ever government of India is not a short road, Nandan. And maybe your offer your prospective voters an explanation - other than secularism - on why they should vote for the party that you represent - especially after its 10 disastrous last years in government.