Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Suppressed Voice of a Nun

There has never been a time more disposed to discuss religious reforms than the present one. Women across religions have found their voice and are fighting for spaces long denied to them. The ongoing case in the Court which is debating the entry of women in the sacred Sabarimala Temple or the Haji Ali Temple is a welcome move. Irrespective of what the court decides, the fact that specific religious practices have been questioned and there is finally a section of people wanting to give equality of status and opportunity to every being of the country needs to be lauded.
But when there are talks of reforms in Hinduism and women are freely putting forth their opinions, the silence from other religions is deafening. But when it comes to treating women in their fold with respect and dignity, the standards have been vastly different. This is more so in the case of Christianity, as it is a religion that calls itself progressive and has at one point used that as a tool to colonise more than half of the world.
It bodes well to recall that Christianity is the same religion that propounded the Doctrine of Discovery in 1493 which through a series of papal decrees gave Christian explorers the right to stake claim to any land that was not inhabited by Christians. It also gave them the right to enslave or kill those inhabitants who could not be converted. It is this same notion of superiority that has continued to define the religion and the way its institutions function. The concept of lesser beings has never been so prominent as in the case of nuns. Though they form an important part of the religious order, their identities are essentially construed on the patriarchal norms of the Catholic Church. Once they become part of the order, they are rarely given any space to exercise their personal agency and are forced to live austere lives under male institutional authority. The dominant discourse that has made the nuns the embodiment of self-sacrifice has in a systematic and organized manner condemned them to lead lives where their real potential is forgotten. They are forced to fulfil roles that have been thrust on them.
Here, it is not necessary to get into the complexities of the issue to understand why the time has come to call for reforms in Christianity. The controversy surrounding the release of the biography of Sister Mary, who left her Catholic congregation in Kerala after 40 years of nunhood should serve as a wakeup call to all. In it she has recalled in excruciating detail, the physical, physiological and sexual oppression that she had to face within the holy premises of the Church. In 2011, even the Vatican had in an astonishing admission revealed that it was aware of priests from at least 23 countries abusing nuns. There couldn’t have been a more despicable revelation from the Holy See.
What is often missed when instances like this come to light is that the root cause of the problem dates to over 2000 years when the Catholic traditions were first handed down.  The moment a woman, willing to dedicate her life to the service of the God she believes in, is asked to wear the hijab-like habit, it marks the beginning of her servitude. Devoid of even the smallest pleasures in life, she is confined to professions where a woman is seen only in the role of a caretaker or a nurturer. By forcing her to cover her head, she is denied an existence and identity of her own. The injustice becomes momentous when reading in conjunction with two passages from the Bible:
1 Corinthians 11:5 reads: And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonours her head, for it is just as if her head were shaved.
1 Corinthians 11:7 reads: A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.
The passages speak of a religion where misogyny is so ingrained that women are treated as lesser beings. The oft-repeated argument that nuns have chosen this way of life do not stand the test of reason. In Hinduism when sadhus and sadhvis choose asceticism, it is often used to enhance the quality of life of those around them. In politics, leaders like Sadhvi Uma Bharati and Swami Agnivesh have shown how society can be served even if one is on a personal journey to connect with the divinity. They have paved the way for infusing spirituality and morality in politics. And this is where the freedom of choice truly lies – it lies in choosing how best to serve the society and not in following orders prescribed by male authority.
The unfortunate truth is that for centuries male religious leaders have been interpreting teachings to serve their vested interests and subjugate women. When it comes to nuns, they have been systematically removed from the society that male priests get to be part of. They are alienated from the popular culture and are made to believe that they cannot serve in positions of authority. For a religion that claims itself to be free-spirited and enlightened, the absence of female leadership is striking. Can a set of beings chosen to serve God be considered inferior? That is a question which needs to be pondered over.

In 2016, an Austrian politician, provoked angry reactions when he posted a photo of two nuns wearing habits and sarcastically commented whether they were ‘oppressed women’ wearing burqas. The post lead to a strong backlash from the Christian community and was later withdrawn. But it needs to be asked if the sentiment and intention behind the comment were wrong? Because if Jesus were to see how some of his children are discriminated against and denied their fundamental rights in the name of gender, he would have crucified himself once again!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

जनता दरबार में हारेंगे सिद्दारमैया...डूबेगी कांग्रेस की डगमग नैया

कर्नाटक चुनाव की अगर मैं बात करूं तो मुझे साफ प्रतीत होता है कि कर्नाटक में 12 मई को होने वाले चुनाव में कांग्रेस की डगमगाती नैय्या का डूबना लगभग तय है, मैं जिस केंद्र बिंदु से कर्नाटक के हालात को समझ रहा हूं, मुझे लगता है कि कर्नाटक की जनता कांग्रेस को सबक जरूर सिखाएगी, क्योंकि कांग्रेस पार्टी के भ्रष्टाचार से अब कर्नाटक की जनता भी तंग आ चुकी है, कर्नाटक के सीएम सिद्दारमैया के पास जनता को बताने लायक कुछ भी नहीं है, फिर पता नहीं क्यों कांग्रेस अपनी झूठी उपलब्धिओं का बखान करके अपना ही मखौल बना रही है । जबकि स्थिति कांग्रेस के बिल्कुल विपरीत है, भ्रष्टाचारी कांग्रेस पार्टी और उनके भ्रष्ट सीएम सिद्दारमैया आखिर किस आधार पर जनता के पास जाकर वोट मांगेंगे । जबकि कर्नाटक की जनता हर मोर्चे पर सिद्दारमैया सरकार से नाखुश है । लगता है कर्नाटक में बीजेपी के प्रति लोगों के रुझान से कांग्रेस पार्टी डर सी गई है । तभी तो कांग्रेस अध्यक्ष राहुल गांधी और उनके सिद्दारमैया अनाप-शनाप बोल रहे हैं ।
और वहीं कांग्रेस के विपरीत जब भी मैं देखता हूं, तो मुझे कर्नाटक में हमारे माननीय प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी जी के रूप में एक ऊर्जावान, प्रतिभाशाली, दूरदर्शी और देश की एकता को साथ लेकर चलने वाला नेतृत्व दिखता है, ना कि एक वर्ग विशेष तक सीमित कांग्रेस और उनके सीएम सिद्दारमैया । हमारे प्रधानमंत्री श्री नरेंद्र मोदी जी ने कर्नाटक में कई जनसभाएं की, प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी जी ने 21वीं सदी के हिसाब से कर्नाटक में इंफ्रास्ट्रैक्चर के विकास का लक्ष्य क्या है जनता तो बताया । जहां तक अगर बात करें तो केंद्र सरकार की ‘ईज ऑफ लिविंग’ की नीति की वजह से कर्नाटक को बहुत फायदा हुआ है । प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी जी ने ‘सबका साथ, सबका विकास’ के सिद्धांत पर काम किया, कर्नाटक में ‘जन धन योजना’ के तहत गरीब लोगों के खाते खोले गए, वहीं राज्य में ‘उज्जवला योजना’ के तहत साढ़े आठ लाख मुफ्त गैस कनेक्शन दिए गए । बिना किसी भेदभाव के केंद्र सरकार कर्नाटक में सेवा करने को तत्पर है ।
कर्नाटक में कांग्रेस के शासनकाल में किसानों की स्थिति किसी से छिपी नहीं है, कर्नाटक में 3 हजार से ज्यादा किसानों ने खुदकुशी की और दूसरी तरफ सीएम सिद्दारमैया करोड़ों रुपए की चाय और बिस्किट का मज़ा लूटते हैं, इसे कांग्रेस पार्टी का अस्त होना ही कहेंगे, सिद्दारमैया सरकार के शासनकाल में कर्नाटक की जनता पिछले 4 साल से सूखे के संकट का सामना कर रही है, ऐसे में कांग्रेस पार्टी को अब भी कर्नाटक में जीत की उम्मीद करना लोगों को ठगने जैसा प्रतीत होता है। कर्नाटक की जनता को बेवकूफ बनाने की वजाय कांग्रेस को चिंतन और मंथन पहले से करके रखना चाहिए, कि हार के बाद कैसे कांग्रेस पार्टी खड़ी होगी । वह दिन अब दूर नहीं जब बीजेपी कर्नाटक में अपनी सरकार बनाएगी । कर्नाटक में बीजेपी ने किसानों की स्थिति पर जो रूपरेखा तैयार की है, मैं उसका स्वागत करता हूं, ‘मुश्ति धान्य संग्रह अभियान’ योजना जिसमें मुट्ठीभर अनाज के बदले किसानों के कल्याण के लिए नीति निर्णय करने का वादा किया गया, वाकई एक योग्य कदम है ।  सिद्दारमैया सरकार आने के बाद राज्य में विकास होने की जगह मुझको लगता है विकास की गति रुकी है । वहां तो 24 घंटे बिजली तक नहीं आती, मैं अगर साक्षरता की बात करू तो मन में कर्नाटक की साक्षरता की बात आती है, पिछले 5 सालों में सिद्दारमैया सरकार के शासनकाल में कर्नाटक की साक्षरता दर में कोई बदलाव नहीं हुआ । महिला और पुरुष दोनों का स्तर सिद्दारमैया सरकार में समान ही रहा । राज्य के गांव तो अभी भी पिछड़े ही हैं । केंद्र सरकार की योजनाएं कर्नाटक में आते ही धराशाई हो जाती है, क्योंकि सीएम सिद्दारमैया केंद्र की योजनाओं को राज्य के विकास में इस्तेमाल ही नहीं करते ।
मुझे यह सुनकर बहुत ही दुख होता है कि कांग्रेस पार्टी का हिंदुओं के प्रति रुख बहुत ही सख्त है, कांग्रेस के सिद्दारमैया तो आरएसएस, बीजेपी कार्यकर्ताओं को कभी हिंदू उग्रवादी कहते हैं, तो कभी बीजेपी अध्यक्ष अमित शाह को हिंदू धर्म से ही अलग बताते हैं, लिंगायत नेता येदियुरप्पा को तो सीएम ही नहीं बनने देना चाहती कांग्रेस पार्टी, सिद्दारमैया सरकार लगता है एंटी हिंदू है, ऐसी छोटी मानसिकता रखने वाला व्यक्ति किसी राज्य का सीएम हो बहुत चुनौतीपूर्ण है ।
एक तरफ कांग्रेस के अध्यक्ष राहुल गांधी और सीएम सिद्दारमैया हैं जो सिर्फ स्टार प्रचारक बनकर रह गए हैं, राहुल गांधी रैलियों में कर्नाटक के विकास की बात ना करके देश के प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी को चेतावनी देते रहते हैं, जबकि कर्नाटक की जनता ने कांग्रेस को चुनकर सत्ता दी है, कांग्रेस की कर्नाटक में सरकार होने के बाद भी जमीनी स्तर पर कोई कार्य होता नहीं दिखा, वहीं प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी जी ने नमो एप्प के जरिए कर्नाटक बीजेपी के उम्मीदवारों, नेताओं और कार्यकर्ताओं को जीत का मंत्र देकर उनमें नई ऊर्जा भरी । प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी जी ने विकास, विकास और सिर्फ विकास को एजेंडा बनाया है, स्थिति साफ है 12 मई को होने वाले चुनाव में जनता सिद्दारमैया को हराकर देश की एकता और अखंडता को वोट करेगी और बीजेपी कर्नाटक में एक बार फिर कमल खिलाएगी । क्योंकि बीजेपी कभी भी वंशवाद, परिवार, जातिवाद की राजनीति नहीं करती है ।

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Celebrating International Labour Day: Shramev Jayate!!

Development of any country, society, institution or nation is impossible without the contribution of its labourers. Any large objective can be achieved with the relentless effort and hard work of the workers.  We have to see labour issues from the eyes of a worker. There are various products which we use and behind every product there is a hidden hard work of labour which cannot be ignored. And there is no doubt that these workers are the real heroes of building our nation.
Socio economic development of the India’s workforce is among the top priorities of NDA government. Since coming to power in 2014, government has been working relentlessly to introduce various program & schemes to achieve the mission being envisioned by our Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
 “Make In India” program is the first major step taken by any Indian government since independence towards boosting the domestic manufacturing industry. Manufacturing industry is indeed the biggest job provider for skilled / semi-skilled workforce of the country & creating millions of additional jobs through this programme is the fundamental objective of Make in India program. With majority of western countries moving towards service industry based economies, India by virtue of its demographic advantage is taking lead in becoming the global player in the manufacturing industry, improving the livelihood of millions of its workforce.
Since the launch of this program by our Prime Minister Narendra Modi , Make in India program has become the key driving force attracting major global players for investing in India & creating jobs for rapidly growing workforce in the country. Post the launch of this program, India has seen a sharp rise in investment towards setting up manufacturing sites by large global conglomerates, & we have already started reaping the dividends of this program .India’s labour ministry is also working with the country’s planning body, NITI Aayog, on a draft national employment policy which will help map which other sectors can generate more jobs for what could be the world’s largest fastest growing large economy.
“Skill India” is another landmark program introduced by PM Modi in his pursuit to develop & train a highly employable workforce which can compliment to the Make in India program by providing skilled manpower to the manufacturing industry.  Manpower in abundance adds no value if they are not skilled, to make India a key player in providing skilled workforce is the objective of Skill India program. Under this program government through collaborations with various public & private institutions is imparting industry specific training to make them in sync with demand of skilled workforce by the booming domestic industries. This program is helping millions of people to hone their skills & is helping in uplifting their economic status in the country.
The recently initiates “Shramev Jayate” platform will enable portability through Universal Account Number for EPF subscribers from the organised sector, redefining the decades old manual & one of the most tedious task of managing EPF accounts of millions of employees engaged in private sector. Shramev Jayate should have the same power for the development of our nation as that of Satyamev Jayate.
The NDA government,  has amended labour rules, allowing companies to employ workers on contract for a fixed term. The change will support fixed tenure of contract jobs in all industries. This could signal a change in strategy in employment generation from job security to job creation.
Today on the occasion of International Labour Day, I congratulate the extensive & highly commendable work being executed by Sri Narendra Modi through these initiatives & realizing the dreams of millions of Indian workforce.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

There is a Reason Why the Army is Being Called Upon to Rebuild the Elphinstone Bridge

A few days ago, India’s Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman asked for the help and aid of the Indian Army to build a foot-over bridge at Mumbai's Elphinstone Road Railway Station. As you’d recall, the bridge at Elphinstone Station was where a tragic stampede had occurred a month ago, one that left 23 dead and 50 injured. Needless to say, the stampede was an incredibly tragic event that casted a dark cloud over the Dussehra celebrations that were scheduled to take place the next day.

Ever since the Defence Minister, along with Maharashtra’s Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal, announced that the army will be utilized to help rebuild the bridge, the opposition and liberal sections of our media haven’t wasted a second to criticize this decision by labelling it as being disrespectful to the army. First of all, I can’t help but laugh at the irony in all of this. The same opposition that has never cared about the interests of our Indian soldiers, that was questioning the validity of the surgical strikes our soldiers had carried out against Pakistan and the same liberal media that was oh-so sympathetic to the plight of Pakistani actors and now wants to debate whether or not we should even stand for our National Anthem, are suddenly talking about what constitutes disrespect towards the Indian Army. I’m sure I’m not the only one who sees the absurdity and hypocrisy in all of this.

If there is one thing that the BJP, or the Central Government for that matter, can NEVER be accused of it’s disrespecting the Indian Army. In fact, the ruling government’s decision to look towards the army to help rebuild the Elphinstone Bridge (as well as two additional bridges) is a decision that actually makes a lot of sense – if one were to look at it objectively. For instance, if the army is called upon to build these foot over bridges, a gamut amount of time will be saved as the lengthy tender processes will be done away with. As such, the quickest way to rebuild the bridge, and thereby make things easier for commuters, is to utilize the help of the Indian Army. Additionally, the army has an incredibly efficient and effective track record of developing infrastructure, as evident from the multiple times they have been called upon to do civilian work in the past (many times during the regime of the UPA Government itself).

Whenever a natural disaster or tragedy has occurred, the army has always been called upon to help with the rescue and rehabilitation of victims. So this so-called notion that the army cannot be called upon for any work that doesn’t constitute border security is inaccurate. It also seems like the Congress has forgotten that, back in 2010 when the Commonwealth Games were about to begin in Delhi and a foot over bridge had collapsed near the games village a week before the inauguration ceremony, the then UPA Government had to call the army to help rebuild the structure in just four days in order to make sure that it would be functional for the Commonwealth Games and that India wouldn’t be embarrassed in front of the world. Additionally, in February of this year, the army was called upon to help the Public Works Department in Thiruvananthapuram (a state ruled by the opposition) with the construction of a bailey bridge. Also, in August this year, the army was yet again called upon to help rebuild a railway bridge that was damaged in Bihar (another state that, at that time, was being ruled by the opposition).

The opposition and liberal media’s selective outrage and muddled memory is nothing new. It’s yet another attempt by them to score political points against the ruling government. Given the opposition’s frustration at not being able to defeat the BJP in elections, it’s not surprising to see them resort to such tactics. Having said that, for anyone to politicize the tragedy that occurred on Elphinstone Bridge, be it the opposition or sections of liberal media, is disgraceful, deplorable and demeaning to the victims and their families. The opposition should understand that some incidents are sacred, and they should never be used as planks to score political points, as desperate as the opposition’s situation may be. 

उद्यमेनैव सिध्यन्ति कार्याणि मनोरथै
हि सुप्तस्य सिंहस्य प्रविशन्ति मुखे

Only with industry and effort is work done,
Animals never themselves dare enter a lion's mouth.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

I ask this question to the Congress leadership “Is the food of Rome forced on the streets of India ?”

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you’d be aware of the calf-slaughter incident that took place in Kerala a few weeks ago. This outrageous and blatant disrespect of Hindu sentiments, that was carried out by youth Congress workers, was perhaps the most vivid and illuminating example of the opposition’s selective secularism. Why the Congress workers decided to carry out this public display of ridiculing and mocking Hindu sentiments is something I’ll explain later, but the fact remains that this political stunt has, once and for all, exposed the opposition’s (and even the so called liberal media’s) communal agenda.

The Calf Slaughter in Kerala is Proof of the Opposition and Liberal Media’s Communal Agenda.

First, let me just make one thing very clear – I do not believe in policing someone’s personal right, as well as choice, to eat whatever they like to eat. And as it happens, the Central Government isn’t interested in doing so either. The Central Government has only recommended a ban on the sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter, and the primary reason behind this has got more to do with health and hygiene than it does with communal politics. There are many illegal slaughterhouses around this country that are shoddily maintained and they engage utterly unhygienic practices to produce meat (these also include the ones that the UP Government had proposed to shut down). Now it goes without saying that our Government is responsible for the health and well-being of all its citizens, and so if it is brought to its attention that unhygienic and unhealthy food is being processed in slaughterhouses, there’s nothing wrong with the Government wanting to shut them down. Illegal and non-complaint slaughter houses have to be immediately shut down and that is precisely what the Government has been intending. Central Government, State Governments and Municipal Corporations have defined rules for Slaughter houses and the hygiene & factory inspectors have to maintain the legal standards.

Again, let’s not forget that the Government has not passed any legislations that have called for a ban on consumption of beef. In fact, anyone who has been keeping a track of all the legislations that have effectively banned the slaughter and consumption of beef in recent years will let you know that it’s the state governments that have passed such bills. Be it Maharashtra or Haryana, it’s the state governments (and not the central government) that have banned beef in their respective states. It is well within the rights of the democratically elected state governments to pass such legislations, just as it is within the rights of Kerala and West Bengal to not pass such legislations. Now in case anyone does have a problem with the beef ban being enacted in their state (by their state governments), they can always look towards legal recourse as a possible solution. The Indian Judiciary is one of the most respected ones in the world and there is no reason whatsoever for the Congress (or any other party for that matter) to mock Hindu beliefs by resorting to such kind of calf slaughtering protests or sponsoring so called Beef Fests in campuses instigating students. While it is legitimate to keep own views in democracy with respect to beef eating, why are certain political parties not respecting the sentiments of Hindus and resorting to appeasement of Muslims? I have a question here – What if the students of Jamia Milia Islamia or Aligarh Muslim University or JNU want to consume pork in campus? What will be the opinion of the so called fake representatives of the Muslim sentiments?

Also where are the so called Animal rights activists & PETA Activists who protest against customary Jallikattu in neighboring state of Tamil Nadu but are absent when there is a brutal display of cruelty against animals by slaughtering a calf  on the streets of Kerala by Congress workers just to spread hatred against Hindus and appease the Muslims .

Additionally, one only needs to look at the recent election wins registered by the BJP in multiple states (including their historic mandate in Uttar Pradesh) to gauge the mood of the nation. If the people of this country are deciding to heavily vote for the BJP, despite being aware of the party’s position and policies, then shouldn’t that be a cause of concern for all those who are trying to hurt Hindu sentiments just to make a political point? Finally, let’s not forget what the actual motive behind Congress’s barbaric stunt was – to communalize upcoming elections. And it’s not just the Congress that has this agenda, even certain sections of the media are complacent in this and it doesn’t take rocket science or one to be Einstein to figure out what’s going on here. The opposition led by the Congress and sections of the liberal media have twisted the issue and taken a health and hygiene based recommendation by the Central Government and hijacked it to communalize and divide the people of this country. This has been their agenda all along, and has become a means for them to showcase their selective secularism and mockery of Hindu sentiments. It remains to be seen how successful this ends up being in the long run, but considering the BJP’s string of victories in recent elections, the Congress and the media might be in for a rude awakening. After 70 years of Independence, it is the existence of Congress which is challenged . 

Is the Congress high command disrespecting the feelings of majority in India and I ask this question to the Congress leadership “Is the food of Rome forced on the streets of India ?”

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Plague of Selective Secularism is Spreading Across our Country

The Plague of Selective Secularism is Spreading Across our Country

As you must have already seen or heard on the news by now, a few days ago I was subjected to a horrible and unnerving incident at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Mumbai airport that has still left me wondering about the so-called ‘secular’ fabric of our country. Now as news coverage is never able to accurately capture any incident, I wanted to let you know exactly what happened and why I had a problem with it. The gist of it is simple – my wife and I were making our way to Delhi from Mumbai and were about to board our flight when we came across a group of Muslim men who were sitting down near the boarding pass counter and reading the namaaz. Now these men were actually blocking our pathway and doing so in an area that was causing a lot of inconvenience to regular passengers. And if that wasn’t bad enough, when I complained about this to the CISF officer in charge, he not only ignored my grievances, but actually started speaking to my wife and I in a rude and derogatory manner. He didn’t even shy away from hurting our religion sentiments, even though he was being so protective of other’s religious sentiments. This display of selective secularism has raised enough red flags in my mind that I’m compelled to pen down my thoughts in this blog.

First of all, let me just reiterate something I’ve always maintained – I have NO problem with any religion. This issue, and why I decided to raise my voice against it, isn’t even about religion to begin with, rather it’s got more to do with the plague of selective secularism that is spreading across the country. Take for instance the location where this incident took place - the airport. Now last time I checked, the airport is NOT supposed to be a place of worship in the first place. Yet, there are certain provisions that are actually made to make sure that the religious sentiments of specific communities are not hurt. If one wants to read the namaaz at the airport, there are specific rooms that are provided for to do just that. But for people to read the namaaz in the middle of the airport, right next to the boarding pass counter, should not be acceptable.  

And if this apparent flouting of rules and norms is acceptable for one religion, then it should also be acceptable for all religions – which was the point that I was trying to make. Just ask yourself one question - if a group of people can be allowed to sit down in the middle of an airport to read the namaaz (despite causing grievances and inconvenience to other people), then shouldn’t people also be allowed to sit down and block that same pathway to conduct a puja? If so, why did the CISF officer in charge have such a problem with my sitting down, so much so that he started misbehaving with me and my wife in a derogatory manner?
It wasn’t until the head CISF officer came and apologized to my wife and I that I decided to let the matter go but by then we had missed our flight. I hope that if any good comes out my plight, it’s that people start understanding that no religion can and should be given such special liberties at the expense of others and if such special liberties are to be given, then they should be given and accorded to ALL religions. After all, isn’t that what ‘secularism’ is supposed to be all about? 
Unless I didn’t get the memo on the new definition on secularism, I wouldn’t like to think otherwise.

सदयं हृदयं यस्य भाषितं सत्यभूषितम्
कायः परहिते यस्य कलिस्तस्य करोति किम्

(What harm can Kalipurusa do to him whose heart is full of kindness, whose speech is adorned with truth and whose body is for the good of others.)

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Keep In India: Why It’s Absolutely Vital For Us To Ensure That Our Data Stays Within Our Shores

At the India Today Conclave 2017 held in Mumbai, noted Industrialist Mukesh Ambani spoke about the absolute necessity of protecting our data and ensuring that it stays within our shores. To ensure that that happens, he talked about how it’s imperative that we launch a ‘Keep in India’ campaign, one that complements PM Modi’s dynamic ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’ campaigns. Having already stated my views on this before, I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Ambani’s pragmatic assessment as there are countless benefits that we, as a nation, would reap if we ensured that all domestically generated data is retained within our borders.
These benefits include, but aren’t limited to, an increase in inflow of investments and international talent, a decrease in outflow of domestic talent, and a paramount increase in job creation. Then there are also, as Mr. Ambani rightfully pointed out, reasons pertaining to national security and sovereignty conditions that further add to the necessity of launching a ‘Keep in India’ campaign. Additionally, this initiative can also help us prepare for the Digital Age that the world is being ushered. How so? Well, it can ensure that we develop the necessary human capital needed to maintain our leadership position in the field of technology for future generations.
In one of my earlier blog posts from 2014, I had talked about how upsetting and frustrating it was to see that India was globally ranked 29th in a list of 30 countries for business attractiveness. I had also stressed on the need for a Policy environment that is conductive to growth for both the enterprise, as well as the entrepreneur, and one that gives big enterprises enough motivation to set shop here. Now ever since the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power with a thumping majority, things have gotten a lot better. The ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’ campaigns have, to a great extent, helped create this pro-entrepreneur environment that has made India more attractive in terms of energy infusion, land and infrastructure, and capital infusion. But most, if not all, of this progress that’s been made in the last 3 years will be for naught if we don’t ensure protection of our domestically created data.
Now fortunately for us, there are many ways one could go about to ensure the protection of our data. For starters, as already mentioned above, launching a ‘Keep in India’ campaign will go a long way in informing, educating and motivating in-house developers and entrepreneurs about the need and importance of keeping domestically created data within our borders. Apart from that, the government could also draft some policies that would make it more difficult for companies that first generate ad revenue out of Indian data, and then set up Data Centres in foreign countries. Finally, we need to support our Prime Minister, in every way we can, in all of his endeavors related to ‘Digital India’ as we are extremely fortunate to have a leader like him, one who understands technology and all of its multiple benefits.
We are now living in a day and age where data and information wield unquestionable power. In the decades to come, they wouldn’t be any less important or desirable as a tool of power than even oil. As such, if we, as a developing nation vying to be the next superpower of the world, are to realize our full potential, we need to capture all of the benefits of the Indian technology revolution that we are currently a part of. And to do that, we need to ensure that data remains in India.
उद्यमेनैव सिध्यन्ति कार्याणि न मनोरथै: ।
न हि सुप्तस्य सिंहस्य प्रविशन्ति मुखे मृगा: ॥
Only with industry and effort is work done,
animals never themselves enter the lion’s mouth.