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In India Public Health is Left to Private Vultures.

The legendary Telugu poet Gurajada Appa Rao famously proclaimed that a nation is not a piece of real estate but is a multitude of people. Now the question arises what kind of people make our nation strong and powerful? The obvious answer is only those people who are well educated, healthy and empowered, can build a strong nation.  The investment in health and education come under human capital and is vital for the healthy and equitable growth of any nation. In view of the vital importance of these two sectors, even the staunchly capitalist societies don’t leave them to capitalist profit mongers and take direct responsibility of providing these services to the needy. However, In India which is the home of teeming millions who are too poor, the government has renounced its responsibility of providing quality education and healthcare services to the people of the country. The private players are well entrenched in these two sectors and are fleecing the people with exorbitant fees.

The hospitals that are run by the government have turned into the virtual hellholes for the poor. It appears that Lord Yama, the Hindu God of death, has deployed all his “kinkaras’ only at the gates of government hospitals considering the demand the death has in those places. We are all well aware of the fact that death has been dancing ceaselessly in the government hospitals in Uttar Pradesh and the government-run hospitals in other parts of the country are no better. Most of the privately owned, so-called super specialty hospitals in the country charge exorbitant consultation fees and prescribe excessive pathology tests. The private healthcare sector spends a lot of money on advertising and marketing and this expenditure is finally imposed on patients. The corporate-friendly governments are highly reluctant to exercise any kind of control over these looters and remain as mute spectators letting them feely indulge in excessive profiteering.

Money, Sex And God

Well, I did not meditate under any Peepal tree, but still attained enlightenment. Not in any spiritual way but in a ‘derisive’ materialistic way as I kept on drifting towards more and more godlessness. Now you may ask what the findings of my enlightenment are. There are three ultimate truths that we all face during our ephemeral existence in this seemingly perpetual world. They are money, sex and of course death. Humans, during their ‘out, out, brief candle’ existence, pursue money and sex passionately till they reach death, their ultimate destination.

Money, as all of us are aware, can buy us almost everything except that it can’t buy one more day when one is terminally ill and reached the dead end of his or her life.

As far as sex is concerned, I’m tempted to quote from Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love (1996) in which the male protagonist says, “There is joy in three things: eating meat, riding meat, and putting meat into the meat.”

Maybe that is why the so-called Yogis aka godmen, though they teach their disciples to renounce the worldly things, prefer to immerse themselves in black money and sexual exploitation of the female inmates.  Why don’t these godmen, who claim themselves to be the messengers of God, fear God? Maybe because they are very well aware of the fact that God is actually non-existent or even if he exists he is essentially powerless, therefore they are fully assured that he can’t do anything to stop their atrocities.

Why do shrines, irrespective of the religion they belong to, are becoming the centers of financial and sexual crimes? Many Vatican officials are charged with financial and sexual crimes and removed from their positions. Islamic fundamentalists, in their pursuit of political objectives, sell women as sex slaves and also indulge in drug trafficking to make money. If God really exists why is he not able to show his miracles to dissuade his messengers and representatives from committing all the atrocities they are committing?

Know Wahhabi Islam To Understand ISIS.

The founder of Wahhabism, Al-Wahhab, denounced many practices like honoring the dead and paying homage to saints and angels. He even opposed Muslims visiting the holy prophet’s grave and celebrating his birthday. He argued that the whole of Muslim community must have one leader called ‘Caliph’ and all the Muslims must pledge their loyalty to the leader. And, he demanded strict conformity from his followers with regard to the principles he propagated. Anyone who failed to comply with the principles would invite the wrath of the Wahhabists. In one of his books he wrote, “Those who would not conform to this view should be killed, their wives and daughters violated, and their possessions confiscated.”

So the above statement reflects the mindset of Wahhab. Accusing someone of indulging in blasphemy and beheading him itself is heinous, and targeting their wives and daughters and violating them for the so-called offenses committed by men is a mind-numbing atrocity. The unimaginably atrocious sex offenses committed by ISIS are undoubtedly inspired by the Wahhabist thought.

There is another thing which Wahhab was well-known for, and that was popularizing an Islamic doctrine called ‘Takfir’, under which a Sunni Muslim can accuse his fellow Muslim as being a Kafir (infidel) and get him either beheaded or excommunicated from the Muslim community. The Wahhabists, who are considered to be puritanical, widely use this doctrine called ‘Takfir’ against the liberal Muslims, who question any Islamic doctrines or practices. In many countries like Saudi Arabia, which are considered to be the strongholds of Wahhabism, the blasphemy laws are very strict. According to ‘Sharia’ law, a Muslim who is accused of ‘Takfir’, a form of apostasy, is punishable by death. The doctrine of ‘Takfir’ was also used as an instrument of state terror to suppress the people who resisted the oppressive regimes in Saudi Arabia. Abd al-Aziz Ibn Muhammad, the son and successor of Ibn Saud, the founder of ‘House of Saud’, the royal family that ruled Saudi Arabia, used ‘Takfir’ to justify the mass slaughter of resistant populations in his kingdom.

Wahhabis, who strongly feel that they practice the purest form of Islam and therefore real Muslims, hate Shias and many other Muslim sects and nationalities like Sufis, Kurds and Yezidis.  In many countries, Sunni Wahhabists bomb the mosques of Shias and other sects to kill the worshippers. Many people wonder why Muslims kill their fellow Muslims in the name of religion. The reason for the violence in the Muslim world is the establishment of the purest form of Islam, that is Sunni Wahhabism, and they want to attain their goal through physically eliminating the Muslims who don’t follow Sunni Wahhabism. There are numerous terror organizations, which proclaim their allegiance to Wahhabism, including the ISIS, Al-Qaeda and Boko Haram, which are trying hard to forcefully establish the purest form of Islam (Sunni Wahhabism) all over the world, and to achieve their goal they transformed many Islamic countries into virtual killing fields.

As has already been stated in the initial paragraphs of this article, these Wahhabists have another goal too. They want to establish the dominance of Islam all across the world. The progress towards the achievement of both the goals appears to be happening simultaneously. On the one hand, the Wahhabist ideology is growing at a rapid pace. Many ordinary Muslims, who prefer to denounce ISIS in front of cameras, are actually inwardly appreciative of their atrocities.

The mushrooming of terror organizations, who announce their allegiance to Wahhabist doctrine, is a cause of concern all over the world. If you feel that only Wahhabism poses a threat to world peace, you are gravely mistaken. Even the other sects like ‘Deobandis’, who are based at the largest Islamic seminary in India called ‘Darul Uloom Deoband’, don’t want to be left behind in this race to transform the world into a ‘Dar al-Islam’. According to daily mail, the ‘Deobandi’ movement has half of British mosques under its control and a leading Deobandi imam in the UK preaches anti-Semitism and calls on Muslims to “shed blood for Allah”.

Will the Islamist terror trigger the Clash of Civilizations?

On the one hand, efforts are in full swing to establish the purest form of Islam, and on the other hand, the efforts for establishing the dominance of Islam all across the world are also in full swing. The Muslim mass migration to Europe, which has been happening in the garb of asylum seeking, is expected to bring about unprecedented demographic changes in the continent. The very high birth rate among Muslims and the rampant conversions into Islam from other religions will eventually create instability and unrest in the world. The Wahhabi Islamists, to achieve their twin goals, resort to violence. Just like they bomb the non-Wahhabi mosques, they also launch attacks on other ‘Kafirs’ (infidels) like Christians, Jews and Hindus with an intention to establish Wahhabi dominance all over the world.

The problems with Wahhabi-inspired Islamist terror is, their organizations keep multiplying and even if the world, through its concerted effort, manages to destroy a Wahhabi terror organization, it will only be replaced by a more brutal, mind-numbingly atrocious organization. That’s what the history says. After Mujahideen got weakened, Taliban and Al-Qaida took its place. After both those terror organizations became weak, ISIS took their place. Even if the world manages to destroy the Islamic State aka ISIS, it will only be replaced by a more obnoxious terror organization. Perhaps that is the reason the world leaders appear to be helpless and are taking more than adequate care not to offend Islam and Muslims in spite of the ceaseless terror attacks. They even shy away from prefixing the word ‘Islamic’ to ‘terror’. Such is the dread felt by the world community towards the Islamist terror led by the ISIS and other similar groups.

When India was at the receiving end of the Islamist terror, the western media would call terrorists as mere ‘gunmen’ or ‘separatists’ and would pontificate India to enter into negotiations with the ‘gunmen’. But now the western world appears to be facing the same situation.

The moot point is, will the west and the terrorists sit across the negotiating table and bring peace to this world? It is highly unlikely. Because what Wahhabism, represented by the ISIS, wants is a complete dominance of Islam all over the world. It requires the west to close down their Christian missionaries and it also requires the Pope to stop sending his ‘Jesus Salesmen’ all across the world. It requires the west to accept the spiritual, cultural and political supremacy of Islam and agree to play second fiddle to Islamism. Well, will they agree to all these preconditions?

The missionaries have invested billions in converting the native populations of different countries, and being an Abrahamic religion, Christianity also wants to spread throughout the world and establish its cultural and political hegemony all over the world. So in spite of the rampant appeasement of Muslims, the day appears to be not far away when the Christian West will have to set itself at loggerheads with Islamists, and the two Abrahamic religions, in their pursuit of supremacy, will eventually clash against each other, in what will be a ‘Clash of Civilizations’.

Gone are the days when America would carpet bomb the countries which aided terror attacks against its citizens. Now the US is no longer in a position to lead the war on terror, and President Barack Hussain Obama, in a speech delivered to the UN General Assembly, has already declared that “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam”.  So the world has already got cold feet on facing the growing Islamist terror threat. After each and every terror attack we hear banal and absolutely ridiculous statements like “Islam is a religion of peace” and “Islam has nothing to do with terror”. But the people who habitually keep making these statements will be forced to stop them at a certain point. Because the patience of the ordinary people will definitely wear thin at some point in the future and the governments all over the world will be forced to take some drastic action to protect the lives of their citizens. And that is exactly when the Clash of Civilizations will loom large over the world.

An Age Of Ideological Struggle.

The ideological struggle has never been as intense as it is now. The educated people are using each and every medium to further their ideological leanings. They are writing articles in newspapers, putting forth their views in television programmes in a very assertive and forceful manner, blogging their ideas and opinions, sharing a lot on the social media and are even going to the extent of trolling their ideological adversaries.

What is it that enabled the people to freely express their ideas and feelings? It is undoubtedly the advent of the internet and the resultant social media. Gone are the days when people were dependent on the newspapers for the latest newsfeed. A few decades ago the ability to express was a privilege of a select few. Only a few renowned columnists would write articles in newspapers and we would read them with awe and readily agree with their ideas because they were printed, and in those days printed word carried considerable clout making us remain under the mistaken notion that printed word can’t be wrong.

With the rapid penetration of the internet and the social media’s ever-increasing popularity, the mainstream media is no longer able to wield its hegemony.

The advent of television brought about revolutionary changes in the way news and views are presented.

However, some media outlets took advantage of their primacy and started abusing their privileges. They started concealing more things than they revealed. The paid news has become a part and parcel of their business.

Then came the social media, and it managed to break the vicious circle of concealments, selective reporting, bias, news trading, and ideological control. Now the whole of the Main Stream Media stands exposed and its very credibility has touched the rock bottom. Now the educated people are no longer ready to attribute unnecessary sanctity to the printed word and are cross-checking the authenticity of it before putting their trust in it. The google search engine, which brought a virtual treasure house of knowledge within the reach of even the ordinary people, has effectively broken the monopoly of a few people who monopolized knowledge.

The MSM has lost its credibility in such a way that most of the important news and events are broken on social media. Twitter has revolutionized the way people express their views and has become a platform for the right thinking people to expose the Main Stream Media’s fraudulent intentions.

And in this social media revolution, twitter and facebook played a lead role. Twitter, the microblogging site, has taken the center stage with its hashtags and trends and started reflecting the people’s ideas, opinions, attitudes and aspirations. On Twitter, no idea goes unchallenged and no view goes without being subjected to the critical scrutiny. So in an essence, the emergence of social media has become a bugbear to the media crooks who, for many decades, had spread their lies unhinderedly to amass untold wealth.

Saudi Arabia, the Mother of Islamist Terror.

It is an open secret that Saudi Arabia is the mother of the apocalyptic Islamist terror that is spreading like a wildfire throughout the world. The 28 classified pages,  which were part of a US Senate intelligence committee report, have once again put the spotlight on Saudi Arabia and its terror financing.

September 11 attacks came as a rude awakening to the big brother, the United States. The attacks had cut short nearly 3,000 American lives and made the majestic WTC towers vanish from the Manhattan skyline. A nation, which always believed that the lives of its citizens are not expendable, had to watch helplessly its sons and daughters leaping to their deaths from the towers.  Till then the US would pontificate its fellow democracies like India to enter into negotiations with countries like Pakistan which sponsor cross-border terrorism. Till then the people of the third world countries look up the US in awe and would think that the country is not only infallible but also impregnable. However, 9/11 changed everything and from then onwards an irreversible deterioration began in the American nation and it continues unabated.

George W. Bush, the then US president, announced a ‘Crusade’ against the ‘Jihadis’ and ordered the carpet bombing of the counties which he believed to be responsible for the 9/11 crime. Thousands perished in the reprisal attacks launched by the US. However, the things that started coming to light slowly suggest that Bush ignored the real culprits, who happened to be his thick friends, and paid too much attention elsewhere.

After the September 11 terror attacks which extinguished nearly 3,000 American lives, a Senate enquiry committee was formed, which was officially named as “Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001”. The committee submitted its report in 2002. The report has 832 pages. However, 28 pages from the report have been classified and stored securely in a basement room of the US Capitol building. Now the content of those 28 pages has become a mystery. Many Americans, especially the near and dear ones of the 9/11 victims are demanding vociferously to declassify the 28 pages so that the people can know who actually aided and abetted the terrorists in committing the heinous crime. However, the US government, under the leadership of Barack Hussein Obama, is not ready to declassify them for obvious reasons.

Bob Graham, the former chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, says that he believes support for the hijackers came from the government, wealthy people and ‘charities’ in Saudi Arabia.

Congressman Thomas Massie described the 28 pages as “shocking” and said, “I had to stop every couple pages and…try to rearrange my understanding of history. It challenges you to rethink everything.”

So the finger of suspicion points towards Saudi Arabia, and it is clear that America wants to conceal some facts so that it can continue its unholy and self-defeating alliance with a state that compulsively promotes Islamist terror all over the world. The specialty of Saudi Arabia is it feels that it can finance the Wahhabi Islam which breeds and radiates terror all across the world, and at the same time engage itself in a phoney war on terror to deceive the world community, especially the United States. The US politicians who are gung-ho about their so-called strong bilateral relationship with Saudi Arabia, are ready to go to any extent to conceal the terror financing of their strategic partner.

Saudi Arabia’s export of Wahhabi Islam:

Saudi Arabia is a very influential Arab nation, native to the two holiest sites in Islam –Mecca and Medina. With its authoritarian family rule and draconian ‘Sharia’ law, it holds the “worst of the worst” human rights record in the world. An overwhelming majority of Muslims who reside in Saudi Arabia are Sunnis and practice highly intolerant ‘Wahhabism’, which is considered to be an embodiment of bigotry. However, the people of Saudi Arabia, who practice ‘Wahhabism’ refuse to be called as ‘Wahhabis’ and claim themselves to be ‘Salafis’. They say that ‘Salafism’ is the purest form of Islam and take pride in practicing it.

For many of us, the moment we hear about Saudi Arabia the first thing that comes to our mind is public beheadings that are carried out in that country.

Saudi Arabia, although a desert, is endowed with vast crude oil reserves and its economy is overwhelmingly dependent on oil money with no economic diversification at all. They face acute shortage of skilled labour and import it from many other countries, including India. They also import virtually everything from other countries.

However, Saudi Arabia is well known for exporting three things-oil, dates and Islamist terror. Behind every explosion triggered by Islamists that cuts short innocent lives, there is Saudi money. 15 of the 19 terrorists who carried out September 11 attacks were from Saudi Arabia.

1979 was the turning point in the history of Saudi Arabia.

If you delve deep into the history of Saudi Arabia and why it compulsively aids and abets Islamist terror, you will come to know that 1979 was the turning point in its history. In that year, a highly unexpected event took place in Saudi Arabia, which took the entire Islamic world by storm. Radical Sunni clerics felt that the Saudi royal family, under the influence of the west, was taking steps towards modernity which was resulting in the contamination of Islam. The radical clerics, with an intention to dethrone the royal family, aided and abetted armed terrorists to intrude into the Grand Mosque (Masjid al-Haram). The royal family was alarmed by the sudden development. Fearing that they may lose their entitlement to rule the country, they struck a deal with the radical clerics.

They, as per the deal, reversed may progressive decisions taken previously and also promised that they would fund the promotion of the radical Wahhabi form of Islam all over the world as long as the terrorists keep off the Saudi soil. From then onwards they kept implementing their pernicious plan to export radical Wahhabi Islam by pumping a large part of the oil money for the purpose. That is the reason why Islamists resort to violence all across the world but desist from triggering bomb explosions in Saudi Arabia so that it remains an island of peace and prosperity even while the rest of the world goes up in flames, giving the Saudi royal family a peaceful kingdom to rule on.

Terror funding in the name of ‘charity’- Saudi way.

Most of the Saudi terror funding happens in the name of ‘charity’. It funds the construction of mosques, madrassas and Sunni cultural centers, where radical clerics indoctrinate and radicalize people, especially children. They teach the children that it is their sacred duty to kill the Kafirs (infidels) to uphold and strengthen Islam. The mosques and madrassas in Pakistan and Afghanistan, financed by Saudi Arabia, have been breeding terrorist organizations like Mujahideen, Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Even the ISIS, the obnoxious terror organization which buried the humanity at 6 ft deep, is also influenced by the puritanical Wahhabi Islam, which is an offspring of Saudi Arabia.

Conclusion:

The United States boasts of fighting a war against terror. However, it is hand in glove with countries like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, which parent all the Islamist terror. It showers unending love on Saudis and considers them as its strategic partners. It also extends massive financial aid and supplies sophisticated weapons to Pakistan. So America is not actually waging a war on terror. By supporting the rogue nations like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan it has actually become a part of the terror network. The US is not going to win its so-called war on terror. With its Saudi obsession and soft corner for Pakistan, it is only going to bring unending misery upon itself and the rest of the world.

Hindutva’s fondness for pseudoscience.

Ever since the emergence of the Hindu nationalist BJP on the national political scene, many strange things have been happening. Saffron clad Yogis, who are supposed to be spending time on meditation and spiritual contemplation have entered the legislatures and even managed to grab top posts. None other than the Prime Minister of the country, who is expected to promote scientific temper among the people, stated that in ancient India implant surgeries were performed and also cited an example from Hindu mythology stating that Lord Shiva implanted an elephant head on Ganesha’s body after beheading him.

A BJP stalwart, Murli Manohar Joshi, who happens to be a professor of Physics, introduced Vedic astrology courses in some of the Indian universities in spite of stiff opposition from the progressive forces in the country. The latest in line is the Madhya Pradesh government, which, in order to save people from the ‘mediocre’ services provided by ‘uncertified astrologers’ has introduced a certificate course in the priesthood, and Vedic astrology. The people who will be graduating in these courses will be deployed to perform various rituals and give future predictions to the people who seek their services.

We are all well aware of the fact that religions and Gods are a mere creation of humans. Our innate sense of insecurity, however, does not allow us to lead lives free of religion. As it has rightly been stated by Marx, ‘religion is the opium of the masses’ as it acts as an analgesic which reduces the pain of the poor and the downtrodden especially when they are in crisis. The capitalist profit mongers and their politician cronies know how to exploit these fears to their advantage. Therefore, religion and the associated anomalies are part of the instruments of the ruling elites to control the people and mould the public opinion.

The ruling elites all over the world have been using religion to divert the attention of the people from the bread and butter issues. The BJP government, which is fully aware of the religion’s potential to hoodwink people, has deployed it to the fullest extent. When you deploy religion even the associated anomalies have to be somehow accommodated. When they introduce Vedic astrology in the universities the trained astrologers, palmists and soothsayers have to be employed somewhere.

By introducing astrology courses and deploying certified astrologers, the government appears to be trying to implant a false sense of well-being among the distressed people by giving them rosy predictions about their future. This is the typical behavior of the corruption ridden, crony capitalism infested unresponsive governments. While the blissfully unaware poor people find solace in the soothsayer’s words, the governments can comfortably rule the state unconcerned about the problems of the common man, while protecting the interests of their industrialist cronies.

The BJP’s ideological mentor, RSS hates two figures more than anyone else — one is Macaulay and the other is Nehru. They say, Macaulay, by introducing English medium education in India, had created elite liberals who are pathologically anti-Hindu. They also feel that Nehru, through his secularism, has created the minority problem which persists even today. They conveniently ignore the fact that if India has gained some reputation in the world, it is because of its IT and ITES industry. And the only reason for the development of this industry in India is its large English speaking graduates. If India has, to some extent, shed its caste prejudices and blind beliefs and turned progressive it is because of the architects of the modern India such as Nehru.

There is a strong criticism against RSS that except peddling its Hindutva ideology, which does not appear to be a unifying force in an infinitely pluralistic Indian society, it does not have anything worthwhile to offer. Some social scientists even feel that they are intellectually bankrupt and does not have anything to offer for the societal advancement. They have only one perspective – a Hindu perspective and whoever they feel have done something against the perceived interests of Hindus are branded as anti-Hindu and opposed. And now the RSS wants to counter the anti-Hindu ideologies by propagating the supposedly great things that happened in the ancient India.

They, however, instead of propagating the truly great feats achieved by the ancient Indians, have started peddling mind numbingly ridiculous things such as the invention of 14-engined aircraft by ancient Indians that could travel between different planets. Perhaps they are not able to realize the fact that by peddling such pseudo-science they are destroying whatever little credibility they have. If someone asks the question, if Indians indeed made such inventions why Indian society is infested with blind beliefs and why it is bereft of any R&D culture, they again blame the foreigners, especially Muslims invaders, for all the maladies suffered by the Hindu society.

What Indians need to realize is, at this juncture, India requires a pluralistic society that has a progressive outlook. Hinduism, no doubt, has many great qualities. It is, in fact, not a religion and as such is not infected with supremacist tendencies of Abrahamic religions. But it is also a fact that Hindu society, since ages, dehumanized Dalits and practiced a kind of apartheid. Moreover, the deeply caste-ridden Hinduism does not have the qualities of a binding force and therefore, is incapable of uniting all the Hindus. The Dalits and other repressed sections are not ready to forgive the insults meted out to them. Even the caste Hindus are not ready to shed their supremacist tendencies and embrace their Dalit counterparts. Therefore, all the efforts made by the Sangh Parivar to unite Hindus by peddling pseudo-science with an intention to glorify the so-called inventions made by ancient Indians will not fructify and instead will only discredit them further.

Dragging cow into electoral politics could vitiate the atmosphere

The cow is once again at the center stage of national discourse. Indians, from time immemorial, depended on land and cattle for their survival. In fact, their wealth was measured in terms of acres of land and the number of cattle they owned. Cows and bulls tilled and fertilized their lands, and yielded nourishing food for them in the form of milk. This is why cows and cattle have a special place in their hearts. I, being from a farming family, have observed the phenomenon at close quarters.

My paternal grandfather, who was a pure lacto-vegetarian throughout his life, would treat his cattle very affectionately. He, after a pre-dawn wake-up, would clean his cattle sheds by removing dung and slush. He would leave his house with his herd of cattle before sunrise to rear them, while his sons would take care of the farming activities in his small landholding. The jingling of bells tied around the necks of his cows would herald his return in the evening to his frugal thatched hut engulfed by the power-deprived darkness. The sounds of cowbells and the snuffling and shuffling of his cows were all-pervasive in his backyard throughout the night. In spite of being a poor man, he had milk, curd and ghee in abundance in his kitchen. If any of his cattle would die, he would not even give away its skin. Instead, he would give it a proper burial in his land.

New Reality
But these days, farmers when their cattle grow old or when they are in dire financial need, sell them off to slaughter houses. Though the people who buy cattle for the purpose of slaughter are Muslims, those who sell are mostly Hindus.

As far as consumption of beef is concerned, not only Muslims but even Dalits consume it. In fact, beef is not only affordable for the poor Dalits but has also been a part of their diet and identity for ages.

Now the question arises as to whether the Hindutva organisations that are at the vanguard of cow protection campaign consider Dalits as Hindus, or just because they consume beef they want to alienate them further and force them out of the Hindu fold?

Even the upper caste Hindus in States such as Kerala are known for their affinity for beef, though they are active in cow protection campaigns elsewhere.

Don’t Force
Animals, owing to their inferior cognition, are subjugated and exploited by humans right from the beginning. Some are domesticated for milk while some others are slaughtered for meat. There is no doubt that slaughtering animals for food, whether they are goats or cows, involves cruelty on the part of humans and that is the main reason behind many people advocating vegetarianism.

In the words of singer and composer Paul McCartney, “If slaughterhouses had glass walls everyone would be vegetarian”. A goat does not undergo any lesser pain than a cow while it is consigned to a butcher’s knife. Therefore, advocating vegetarianism is good but it should not be done in the name of religion.

Moreover, the poor Muslims and Dalits must not be forced to stop eating beef, which is a cheap source of protein for them, even while their caste Hindu counterparts are allowed to enjoy the expensive mutton cosily.

It is a fact that non-vegetarianism is spreading rapidly in India and even those sections who have hitherto been vegetarians are slowly turning into non-vegetarians. Even the lacto-vegetarianism that is widely prevalent in India has resulted in widespread exploitation of animals for their milk.

Dehumanising People
So, the entire thing needs to be viewed from a different perspective rather than religious. These days, hardly a day goes by without a Hindu rightwing politician making an inflammatory comment on cow protection. Cases of cow vigilantes turning into lynch mobs, whose victims are invariably either Muslims or Dalits, are being reported from various parts of the country.

The unofficial ban imposed by the new rules on cow slaughter will further aggravate the unemployment problem in the country. A large number of Muslims and Dalits, who are dependent on meat and leather industry for their livelihood, will be distressed and their economic condition will further deteriorate. It is a well-known fact that worsening unemployment is like a bomb ready to go off and has the potential to stoke unrest.

The very fact that what is cooking in someone’s pot has become a national issue and is used to stigmatise and dehumanise certain sections of the population is very distressing.

The cow slaughter issue — though has the potential to fetch rich electoral dividends to the ruling party — can cause irreparable damage to the social fabric of the country by solidifying the already existing social discord among various sections of society.

Continued resistance and dissent are the only weapons people have to fight against a government that rules in an authoritarian manner with the help of its brute majority.
Therefore, it is paramount on the part of the civil society groups and the intelligentsia to once again raise their voices against the potentially dangerous manoeuvres of the government to preempt any further damage.

This article, authored by Dr. V.Ramachandra Reddy, was published in Telangana Today, a regional English daily in the state of Telangana, India on 29th June 2017.

Keep the cow apolitical

 

 

Future models of insurance distribution.

This is an age of disruptive technologies. First it was internet and now Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) that are set to take the world by storm. People are getting increasingly tech savvy and started exploring digital space for their information and buying needs. Companies, whether they offer products or services, are banking less on traditional distribution channels and embracing digital technologies, and insurance distribution is no exception.

Today’s tech savvy customers expect choice, convenience and transparency when they buy products and services online. They even want personalized advice on the kind of products and services that could cater to their exact requirements.

Internet and digital media:

In this rat race-laden materialistic world people are hard-pressed for time and they don’t even have the patience to meet an insurance advisor and get exposed to his sales pitch. Digital technologies enabled the business organizations, especially the social media sites and search engines, to track the behavior of the netizens, especially their tastes, preferences and habits. The digital footprint left by the users is an invaluable source of information for the insurance companies that want to distribute their products effectively. If all this data is analyzed properly through Big Data technologies, the resultant insights can empower the insurance companies to offer personalized insurance products and instantly generate quotes for the customers.  And also, the Big Data-based predictive analytics help the insurance companies to optimize claims and detect frauds to increase their profits.

Mobile apps:

An increasing number of people are discarding their desktops and even laptops and going mobile. The conventional practices such as text search are becoming obsolete and giving way to voice search and app-based technologies. People, while they are on the move, are opting for mobile apps to buy the products and services they need. Even the insurance companies jumped on the bandwagon and started offering their products through mobile apps.  These mobile apps enable the insured to take pictures of their assets and create a catalogue that contains asset details and their worth. If any of the assets get damaged they can share the images of the damaged property and claim the insured amount.

Once the IoT technologies are fully deployed, the gadgets and appliances people use in their day to day lives will get connected and start exchanging data. The information gathered from these devices could help the insurance companies in accurately assessing the risks involved and deciding the premiums.   The IoT enabled automobiles and the wearable wellness devices track and transmit data with regard to the driving behavior and the health condition of the insured and the insights that could be derived from the data prove to be beneficial to both the insurer and the insured.  The policyholders can get discounts for keeping in good health and implementing safe driving practices and even the insurers can minimize the risk.

Insurance e-commerce:

Conventional wisdom says that don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Excessive dependence on direct distribution not only involves a lot of expenditure but also may prove to be ineffective. Therefore, offering insurance products through multiple channels is advisable. The e-commerce companies, banks, travel agencies, hospitals, and even retail outlets can become effective modes of distributing insurance products. As far as insurance e-commerce is concerned the Insurance companies can build an online platform for insurance, where Insurers, brokers, agents and intermediaries such as corporate agents, web aggregators, and insurance marketing firms can sell the insurance products and can even attend to the policy service requests. Insurance e-commerce not only lowers the cost of running insurance business but also results in increased efficiencies and wider reach. Deployment of biometric technologies and the usage of single-factor authentication such as PAN (Permanent Account Number) card and unique identification cards such as AADHAAR could be used to minimize the risks of fraud.

Social media:

Social media platforms such as Facebook, twitter and LinkedIn are gaining prominence and wield considerable influence among their users. Most of the netizens are active on the social media and share their views and opinions on a wide-range of topics. They even seek opinion and share their feedback on the products and services they used or want to acquire. Therefore, insurance companies can effectively use social media to build their brands, execute marketing campaigns, build social communities and generate leads. Closely monitoring social media is very important to retain customer loyalty and pre-empt negative publicity from the disgruntled customers. As social media is continuously evolving and gaining maturity, it is also emerging as the most effective way to advertise and distribute insurance products. At a time when even state heads are carrying out a considerable part of their diplomacy and governance through twitter, the importance of social media in the distribution of insurance products can’t be underestimated.

Peer-To-Peer (P2P) Insurance:

This model allows the like-minded people who know each other and seek similar coverages to form a pool. These pools not only impose less burden on the members but also bring about greater transparency in the claim settlements. Insurance companies can mine the social and digital data to identify the people who seek similar coverage and bring them under the umbrella of P2P insurance. An insurance start up, brings together communities of people who have similar, but niche, insurance needs.

To conclude, insurance distribution is set to go hi-tech and is gearing itself up to provide customers with cost-effective and personalized products. And also, the emerging technologies such as IoT and Big Data will make the entire process of insurance distribution transparent and hassle-free.

Out, out, brief candle!

When I was a child I did not know much about death. All I knew was people, after death, stay motionless and after their near and dear ones have a glance at the body it is cremated.  Now I’m 41 and is in good health. However, there are already many signs of age-related changes I perceive such as graying of hair and losing of teeth.

Recently, while I was sifting through some of the old files, I happened to lay my hands on some of my old photographs taken at different stages of my life, which made many nostalgic memories swarm my mind. A juxtaposition of all those photographs triggered a recollection of my transit from boyhood to middle age.

Out, out, brief candle!

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,

And then is heard no more. It is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

Accumulating WMD Is Completely Futile

It appears that the issue of the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) such as the nuclear weapons are once again on their path to occupy the cent restage in the world affairs. There are some rogue nations such as North Korea and Pakistan, who acquired nuclear weapons through backdoor and unethical means, are resorting to blackmailing their adversaries by issuing nuclear threats.

Even the heads of those states that are considered to be the strongest are making irresponsible statements that are aggravating the situation. For example, the President of Russia recently said, “We need to strengthen the military potential of strategic nuclear forces, especially with missile complexes that can reliably penetrate any existing and prospective missile defense systems.”

Even the president-elect Donald J. Trump has made a tweet stating that “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capabilities until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes”.

At a time the world is facing multiple problems such as poverty, inequality, terrorism and climate change, the leaders, instead of focussing on the real issues, are trying to divert the attention of the people away from them by advocating further stockpiling of nuclear arsenal, which will further aggravate the security situation in the world.

Nations like America and Britain, which were considered to be the strongest,  grew weaker politically and financially over the last few years. These nations, however, are not able to digest the fact that they no longer able to exercise their hegemonic influence over the rest of the world and somehow are trying to maintain their stranglehold over the world.

There are many countries where the so-called nationalist forces have come to power. They, to hoodwink their masses, are indulging in a lot of rabble-rousing against their traditional rivals. The weapons exporting countries such as the US are exploiting the situation to sell the weapons of mass destruction to even the third world countries such as India. Increasing their political influence by fuelling conflict appears to be their strategy.

The politicians and plutocrats in the third world nations are going on a weapons acquisition spree making millions in the process in the form of kickbacks. The Rafael deal between India and France exposed the unholy alliance between politicians and plutocrats and how they are embezzling the taxpayer’s money.

The situation will not change as long as people don’t realize the futility of accumulating the weapons of mass destruction and vote for those who work for peace. Because only peace can bring about prosperity.