Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Marriage dynamics in India

The practice of accepting or giving dowry is prevalent in Indian society despite the spread of education and awareness. Some argue that if dowry is given as a goodwill gesture it is not unethical or immoral. Some justify taking dowry on the grounds that their son is well educated and settled thanks to the money they have spent on him and dowry is a means to get back that money; some even say that dowry is needed to look after their daughter-in-law as she would be staying either with them or with their son.
Let marriage remain a sacred unison of two human beings, and not become a meagre contract.
We live in a country where parents do not want daughters to be born, as reflected in the skewed child sex ratio; a country where hundreds of marriages are cancelled just a day before the ceremony as that is considered the most opportune moment to ask for dowry and a nation where we have to run campaigns for 'beti bachao' as still there are bride burnings in pockets of cities.
We may argue that if given as a goodwill gesture dowry is not unethical. The problem is that it leads to comparisons and gets linked to social status and caste. The bride has to go through emotional violence as each day her parents are compared to the ones who, gave lakhs of cash, jewellery and a car in ‘goodwill gesture’. Secondly, boy’s parents prefer to search for the families that can show this ’goodwill gesture’. Lastly, It gets very difficult for the government to monitor them under IPC and dowry protection act, as families easily mask their act of dowry under this ‘goodwill gesture’.
To justify dowry on the grounds that it is a means to get back that money parents have spent on the education of their son; we not only insult our own sons and their abilities, but the whole process of education. The consequence is a choice for the girl child parents- whether to spend money on her education or save it for dowry. The literacy rate data of our country shows, that they often choose the latter.
Last, to say that dowry is needed to look after their daughter-in-law as she would be staying either with them or with their son only reeks off our paternalistic mindset, that she is still considered as an outsider in the family who needs dowry as some ‘maintenance allowance’. It is also an insult of the sacred institution of marriage and violation of her right to live ‘with dignity’.
Dowry, thus is an illegal unethical practice, in all its forms that it exists today, and we both men and women who directly or indirectly become a part of it, without raising resistance are to blame. 

Monday, 25 May 2015

Spirituality- innate or acquired?

In religion, as well as morality, it has been argued that spiritual awareness in innate, that it exists in us humans naturally, inborn and unacquired. Religion distinguishes between the body and the soul, the former physical and ephemeral, but the latter intransient and infinite.

To me spirituality, exists within each of us as our intrinsic humaneness, which binds us with bond of compassion, and which has helped us evolve from the cave man to the modern citizens with respect for human rights. spirituality is not separate from the body and thus has nothing to do with austerity, but includes an understanding and respect for it. To be spiritual means to be aware of oneself, one's strengths and weaknesses and managing them. it also means to be able to recognise and respect the humaneness in others, and hence being able to connect, and thus be empathetic to them. thus it is very close to the modern ideas of emotional intelligence. Hence, spiritual awareness can be cultivated, by looking inside us, focussing on the self and continuously making efforts to connect the chords inside, finding peace and happiness inside.

spiritual awareness is thus the core of human development. All development and growth nations create, is ultimately aimed at improving the quality of life of humans, which includes life, as a right to live with dignity. spiritual awareness enables us to look at life, beyond mere physical existence and survival. hence, we are today able to talk about moving from mere basic needs to rights and entitlements, to self respect and dignity and being able to realise each one's potential with freedom and equality- a concept central to human development. This is why the hdi talks about gender parity, life expectancy and educational attainment. because at the spiritual level, we both men and women are all equal, have equal right to live along and healthy life and evolve with real education

Friday, 22 May 2015

You say make in India. Are we making India?

India has a regime of archaic, multiple and complex labour laws, which on one hand have acted as an impediment to the growth of maufacturing enterprises in the country, on the other hand their very existence and complexity has kept out the maximum number of the very labourers they seek to protect. To avoid harassment by industry inspectors and restrictive exit laws, firms prefer to hire contractual labourers or shift towards capital intensive manufacturing. All this adds to increasing levels of unemployment in the country, denies maximum labourers social protection who are forced to end up in informal sector, besides causing revenue loss to the economy.

It is thus imperative to reform India's labour laws. The manner of this reform has remained an issue of debate in policy circles, especially between the centre and states, as labour is a concurrent list subject, and any amendment to existing law by states requires presidential assent. This often creates frictions regarding details as seen in Rajasthan and madhya pradesh attempts towards labour laws regulations.Another debate is whether to consolidate and universalise labour laws or let them be sector specific eg. Plantation workers, mine workers, cigar workers and so on.Then there is the complex issue of labour law reform in SEZs which are hardly regulated and this has sometimes led to individual violence against managers as seen in maruti suzuki's plant on outskirts of gurgaon

Lately both center and state govts have taken many initiatives towards labour reforms. Eg Last year a new inspection scheme based on a combuter based allocation o indutry for inspection and transparent pubication of report on the website was initiated by center along with a unified shram suvidha portal to ease the filing of compliance reports for 16 central laws. There was also an apprenticeship protsahan yojana and a revamped RSBY. States like Rajasthan have shown big ticket reforms related to chapter VB of the Industrial disputes act governing retrenchment.

There is still lots of work to be done. Reforms need to address the employees provident fund sceme, where formal employes have no choice but to contribute a part of their income to it. They must have freedom to choose between EPFO a limted and inefficient fund manager andthe National pension system. recently, cabinet has proposed some amendments to this law as well. women employees within the govt welfare schemes, like the Anganwadis, who are not covered under the labor llaws need to be made permanent. For better implimentation of skill india, its imperative that the issue related to apprenticeship act 1961 and apprenticeship training scheme be resolved soon. There is also need to address the complex isssues related to contract labour, bonded labour and child labour.

 Finally labour law reform is an ongoing process and will have to be piloted jointly by center and the states.

remembering viveka

Two of the greatest thinkers of the 19th century India, Paramhansa and Vivekananda brought the focus of socio religious reform from reason to emotion and from change via laws and citing scriptures to an inner spiritual change. It is for this reason, their appeal to the intrinsic goodness in humankind, what Vivekanada termed as 'to preach into mankind their divinity' that their teachings remain immensely relevant to India's youth today.

 Indian youth today finds itself torn between a blind pursuit to power and prosperity in a techno-economic competitive world, and basic survival. A skewed urbanisation, declining employability and an education system focussed on skill sans values have led to degradation in youth as witnessed by broken homes, intolerance, increasing crimes and juvinile delinquency. Vivekananda's spiritual humanism is much needed today. Despite being educated, Indian youth fails to stand up against caste and gender based discrimination, superstition and religious orthodoxy at times at its own home, family, relatives. It needs to be reminded of Paramhansa's message of service to mankind is service to God. 

The youth needs to rediscover Vivekananda's message of looking inward rather than being a restless soul stuck up in an incessant effort of straightening out the world, without first improving oneself. Vivekananda's 'calm man of good judgement' is what every organisation, whether private or public seeks today. We as today's youth need to come out of our rote based bookish learning into the life giving and character building aspects of education, which as truly the Swami said is the manifestation of perfection already in us.

glad to be back

finally got back my lost blogspot id
 got back into this writing mode again.
 two years of hectic workplace
had forgotten about this completely

Thursday, 21 May 2015


Even if I cut all chords I am still entangled. Connections... Will you let some be God... Do I not deserve some?

Monday, 30 January 2012

Beyond the dream...

I have come here for a fight.
A battle of toil.
AND THERE's a toil inside too.

I wanna tell the world what i feel about this.
its a beautiful feeling inside.
When you build a DREAM inside you.
piece by piece.
bit by bit.