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Animal Farm and the current political landscape of India

I've just finished reading The Animal Farm , and while it essentially describes conditions in USSR under Stalin just after the WW2, it can be generalised to any country or political setup a few years or cycles after a major change. It is not just a commentary on Communist or totalitarian regimes (or Stalin's period) alone, but also a general account of how every political system deteriorates over a period of time, after acquiring power. In specific, I think, it starts applying to present day India, now that the BJP has occupied the top slot in the pecking order displacing the Congress firmly and has bolstered its position for a near sure victory in 2019 elections following the thumping victory in 4 of 5 State Assembly elections. As the book prophesies , the current political order too is sure to corrupt as much as the previous UPA regime. This will happen probably in a decade or so of remaining the 'ruling class', tenably after Modi is replaced by another leade

Are we witnessing Modern day Mahabharat?

Chance and serendipity can often spring profound thoughts and insights; I experienced one such moment today. I was driving towards office and switched on the Radio. All India Radio FM Gold channel was broadcasting an audio re-run of the famed Mahabharat TV Serial. Prologue: The episode was the last part (Anudyuta Parva) of Sabha Parva  - after Pandavas lose their wealth, kingdom and respect in a gambling game and leave for their penance of 12 years Vanvaas & 1 year Agyaatvaas. In the scene after their exit, Vidur (the Prime Minister) visits the quarters of Patriarch Pitaamah Bhishm. Bhishm is cross with himself for not stopping the unethical gambling game which ultimately led to a public disrobing of his great grand daughter-in-law Draupadi .  During the episode, Bhishma utters a very insightful line - कभी कभी मनुष्य अपनी विवशता को अपना कर्तव्य मान  लेता है| [Meaning: Sometimes one assume one's helplessness to be his obligation.]  This line rang a bell tak

Learning from 11 years in KPMG

It is only when we give up what we have is when we can embrace the new! I quit my job at KPMG one year ago - 22 January 2016 was my last day with the firm. As I reflect back on that day, it felt more like a graduation day! The eerie mix of nostalgia, excitement, anxiety and blues of missing your friends. KPMG was not just my first job but also a place where I learnt everything that I represent professionally. KPMG is one of the institutions I deeply respect and love – and relationships I have built here will stay with me for my lifetime. In my entrepreneurial career as well, I am often reminded more of all the great things I have learnt over my 11 years in KPMG. An year gone by, I realize these learnings have stayed with me and apply equally to the world outside KPMG. Almost all would apply to those working in role of (internal or external) consultants but several are generic and can be applied across professions. I have tried to change the text so that the learnings sound

Personalization is against Privacy - but is it a threat to mankind's existence?

The Economist argues in this article how online services which provide for personalised services are breaching some age-old notions of privacy. Google mines the data it collects from users for two purposes. One is to improve the user experience, making its various online services more personal, useful and rewarding for the individual—and thereby increasing their popularity. The other purpose is to provide better targeted information for advertisers. That is fine for the vast majority of internet users, who are happy to trade a measure of privacy for the convenience. However, most people (though not all) stop short of blurting out more intimate details about their private lives. Even so, all those innocuous bits of self-revelation can be pieced together, jig-saw fashion, by intelligent algorithms. Throw in the digital paper-trails stashed in Google searches and Amazon purchases, and things can begin to get a little scary. The above is a foregone conclusion - we all are ignorin

Rupee Note & Coin Trivia

With withdrawal of ₹500 and ₹1000 Rupee notes , while we all post views regarding demonetization, here is an interesting trivia about currency in India. Currency notes are issued by the Reserve Bank of India but Coins are issued by the Government of India.   As a result. coins in possession of RBI are considered assets of RBI compared to Notes which are liabilities. And the distribution of Coins is undertaken by RBI only as an agent of the Government.  Another ramification of this is that when you hold a Currency Note, you merely hold the RBI Governor's promise to pay you, but when you hold a coin, you actually hold an asset just like Gold or equity.   Last, while you can use Re. 1 coins to pay any value i.e. if you had 1 crore coins, you could buy a house by using them, but Coins up to 50 paisa are called “small coins” and can only be used to pay up to a maximum value of Rs 10. So much for the 'chillar' (loose change) in our kiddie 'gullaks' (piggy bank)!

Are you sharing sensitive information over WhatsApp?

Note: This post of cross-posted from www.yaksas.in ; while I am a participant in the discussion quoted below, but sincere thanks are due to Uday Mittal for compiling this into a blog post and publishing online .  The other day I participated in an interesting discussion. The discussion took place in an information privacy forum comprised of professionals from various industries. The topic of discussion was Legal ramifications of sharing screenshots of a conversation held on messengers such as WhatsApp, Hike, Telegram etc. (We’ll take WhatsApp as an example). Point(s) of Discussion I initiated the discussion with the following questions: If an individual forwards a screenshot of a WhatsApp group conversation to another individual outside that group; will such sharing be considered: Invasion of privacy of the members of the WhatsApp group? Punishable against provision IT Act section 43 (unauthorized sharing of computer data) or 43A (sharing of personal information with

Hints for extraterrestrial life from human beings

** The existence of Intelligent Extraterrestrial life is a common topic for Science fiction - stories, movies or even discussions. There are various visions of an alien proposed - doomsday / apocalypse themed movies portray them as reptiles with high frequency reproduction capabilities. However, few other more benevolent themes like the E.T.  or Avatar show them as humanoid. Which of these two versions are more likely to be true? Let us look at it from another perspective, what are some of the characteristics of an intelligent animal? Some which come to mind are [ Source ]: The use of tools The ability to learn and remember (obtain knowledge) through experience, study, or instruction The ability to communicate (the ability to give and receive information) The ability to solve complex problems Humans have fingers which gives them a lot of flexibility to handle complex tasks such as writing or drawing art. We can't be exactly sure whether our fingers evolved by usag

Email habits, productivity tips and using GMail like a pro

I tweeted this morning about an article which proposes to help your productivity by urging you not to empty your mailbox or at least not be fussy about emptying it every day. The best advice on productivity in today's age of information overload - trying to empty ur inbox is a waste of time https://t.co/QNVXL2CyBy — Nikhil Kulkarni (@kulkarninikhil) October 21, 2016 Does the advice mean that you should procrastinate or as some one sarcastically put on my Facebook wall - "[Don't bother with replying to an email the moment you get it] If they are important enough they will be resent and sent again ...." :-) Such conclusions drawn from the article above only make the message weak. Organizing the Inbox and emptying it are two different issues. Those who don't use Inbox as a todo list might have other ways of managing to-do. The article above is meant for those who rather than organize emails and prioritize them according to their importance, choose to use

Are we at the cusp of a new Manufacturing boom or a bust?

Read Hillary Clinton 's answer to Is bringing manufacturing jobs back to the US a realistic venture, given that manufacturing is so much cheaper elsewhere? on Quora So, now Hillary wants you to "Make It in America", Modi wants you to "Make in India" and China has already built factories to make the whole world's output inside its borders. If all of them succeed, at best manufacturing capacities will meet the same fate as undersea Fibre optic networks, which subsidized the second wave of the Internet by providing cheap communication infrastructure at the cost of bankrupt companies who laid those cables in the first place. But chances are that all of them will fail and the world will rise to a post manufacturing world as Alvin Toffler predicted . There are 3 major trends which will determine the future of manufacturing in a post globalization world (note that a post globalization world is where the rules of globalization such as manufacture where i

Learning is broken

In my previous post , I advocated that learning for the purpose of making ends meet (making a living) is soon going to be passe. So people are going to learn for the sake of learning! Some rights reserved   by  LeanForward lf This also means that the paraphernalia built by Universities across the globe - that of placement cells, industry-institute-partnerships, alumni programs and all such stuff to ensure that their students get 'placed' in the corporate world  - are soon becoming effete. But as technology and tech entrepreneurs continue to disrupt methods and means of education; possibly even the basic infrastructure - classrooms, campuses, hostels, dorms, auditoriums - might start becoming defunct. The future of learning will possibly just need an internet connection and a device (laptop or tablet or even a phone) to get connected to the internet. The shift is not merely converting the physical to virtual. Using the power of 'virtual', apps and services li