Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Leave that child alone!

I was glancing through The Hindu’s supplement for children, the Young World and saw a whole page advertisement to educate children on sexual abuse. The NGO that brought out the advertisement also conducted an exhibition at Spencer Plaza, on the occasion of World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse. It’s great to see so much awareness in a country that normally hides sexuality under the carpet.

In fact, it was a few personal encounters with people who continue to suffer from psychological problems well into adulthood because they had been traumatised in childhood that led me to decide on Psychiatry as my choice of future specialisation long before any of my peers. Further clinical encounters and the knowledge of the scale of the problem and the preventability of future mental problems, reaffirmed my decision to pursue Child Psychiatry.

Though most of the research in this area have concentrated entirely on women, boys are no exception and you’ll be shocked to know that we live in a world where even parents may sexually abuse their own children! Some brutal tales are sure to send shudders down the spine of any average person and be a cause of endless pain and rage. Some of these data maybe shocking, but the truth does hurt...

· A World Health Organization report in 1999 stated that 1 in 10 children is sexually abused;
· A survey of 350 schoolgirls in New Delhi in 1997 revealed that 63% had experienced sexual abuse by family members;
· Another 1997 study on middle and upper class women from Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi and Goa revealed that 76% of respondents had been sexually abused as children, with 71% been abused either by relatives or by someone they knew and trusted;
· A 1996 study on students in Bangalore stated that 47% of the respondents had been sexually abused;
· A 2006 study by Tulir in Chennai found that 42% of the 2211 children surveyed, mostly adolescents, had been abused;

Stunned? Feel like puking? Or does it remind you of a dark day you always wanted to forget?

In any case it's very important that you teach your child how to recognise, protect from and report sexual abuse. It's also important for you to learn to recognise and listen to your child's problems.

Useful Web links:
Tulir - Centre for the Prevention and Healing of Child Sexual Abuse: A great site & a must read!
Tulir's Blog
Indian Council for Child Welfare,Chennai

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Who has the right of way?

It used to be a common sight in our city to see Ambulances in a desperate attempt to save lives speeding on the right side of the road (the wrong side!) to jump the traffic. But as our city's infrastructure and roads have improved Medians have sprung up on every road preventing any such actions.

With the grade separator coming up at the Kathipara Junction, traffic jams have become the norm for the stretch of Mount Road till Halda Junction. The 1.5 km stretch taking up to 15 minutes to negotiate on most days! Ambulances no exception of course.

Some time back on a typical week day evening I was caught among the traffic near SPIC Building. There was an ambulance among the sea of vehicles, after about 5-7 minutes and three signals later the Power of the Siren and flashing lights could get it only as far as my motorbike could wiggle. We turned into the Sardar Vallabhai Patel Road and the situation didn't change much. We missed another signal though I was a little ahead near the stop line, so I called out to the traffic police man standing there, who went behind and removed the barricades allowing the ambulance to change lanes and race ahead of the traffic. Whether the life was saved or not God only knows...

Mount Road Halda Junction & Barricaded Sardar Vallabhai Patel Road
It's a common sight nowadays to see Motorists squiggling uncomfortably in their seats as Ambulances wait with the traffic Siren blaring and lights flashing...


It's also a very common sight to see motorists waiting restlessly for long periods at traffic junctions as the traffic policemen hold up traffic to ensure a free passage for politicians.


So Who has the right of way?

I've also posted on Chennaiist. Thanks for the listing DesiPundit

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Don't Go Schumi!


Something amiss
someone is missed;
sadness engulfs
a sudden vacuum;
the race is over
an era comes to an end;
but time stands still
memories linger;
some race, some corner we recall;
the racer, the driver hangs his boot;
but the spirit,the man, his talent stands tall;

To Schumi,
who made a difference,
who made me his fan,
who gave me something to cheer,
To you Schumi - I bow to thee.

Schumi Forever!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Farewell to a Champion


He didn’t win the title or even the race. Indeed he didn’t even make the podium. However, Michael Schumacher’s farewell drive in Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix illustrated the grit, skill and determination that has made him the greatest driver Formula One racing has ever seen.

The odds were stacked against the Ferrari star from the outset after technical problems in qualifying at Interlagos left him only tenth on the grid. However, an excellent start saw him up to sixth place by the time the safety car intervened following Williams’ Nico Rosberg’s early accident.

Soon after the race restarted, Schumacher dived down the inside of Giancarlo Fisichella’s Renault to seize P4, but as he exited the Senna S he appeared to lose the back end of the car, the Italian promptly regaining the position. The cause of the slide quickly became clear - a left-rear puncture thought to have been caused by debris on the track.

Schumacher limped back to the pits to take on fuel and fresh rubber, but when he rejoined he was running 19th - and last. However, he was immediately back up to speed, slamming in fastest sector times and slicing his way past backmarkers. His progress slowed somewhat when he once more found himself behind Fisichella in the closing stages, but the Renault driver was eventually forced into a mistake by Schumacher’s relentless pressure, running wide at Turn 1 and surrendering fifth place in the process.

McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen - the man who will replace Schumacher at Ferrari - was the next target, and the Finn defended aggressively to maintain fourth place. It took a special move from Schumacher, the pair going side-by-side into Turn 1 just inches apart, with the seven-time champion ultimately emerging ahead.

That left him chasing Jenson Button for a podium, but with just two laps remaining there simply wasn’t time to catch the Honda, despite Schumacher's penultimate lap being the fastest of the race, over half a second quicker than team mate Felipe Massa’s best.

Schumacher’s competitive Formula One career may be over, but true to form, the great man entertained us to the last. Goodbye Schumi!

From Formula1.com Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Gandhiism: Congress Style!

It might have failed the needs an aspirations of the average Indian. It functions inefficiently at most times. It has a high density of criminals. But for all it's short comings... The parliament is the pillar of the world's largest democracy. An attack on the representatives we elect is a symbolic attack on the entire nation. While the then BJP government amassed Indian forces at the border, but, stopped short of doing the right thing, launch a War against Pakistan. The current government, which has nothing to show, continues to bend backwards playing its divisive politics for the sake of votes.

Unthinkable in any other country in the world, But our government is actually mulling over clemency for a terrorist who attacked our parliament! While I'm sure every patriotic Indian regardless of religion would want only justice to prevail, the government wants to exploit the vote bank of some religious fanatics and publicity freaks. Why even consider pardoning an unrepentant terrorist who refuses to sign his own mercy petition?

To forgive and forget maybe Gandhian. But then why don't these people forgive all rapists and murderers regardless of religion and live with them. While the tax-payers sweat it out for the security of these shameless power hungry politicians, We've to live with murdering maniacs on the loose.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Kashmir is ours: Take it back!

The Mumbai blasts and now Malegaon... While the Government of India claims Pakistani involvement, the Pakistanis as usual claim that all the accusations are false.

The evidence at hand seems to point at the terrorists having trained in camps at Pakistan Occupied Kashmir for carrying out their destructive activities (Link) The government India has upped the rhetoric about all the proof it has accumulated about the Pak link and about handing over evidence to Pakistan and USA (Link) The Pakistanis continue to call India's Bluff and sit pretty in America's war on terror plans...

If USA can bomb Afghanistan to hunt down the perpetrators of 9/11, if Israel can launch an all out war on Lebanon for the sake of two of it's kidnapped soldiers. Why can't we take back our own land that is being used to train and launch attacks on our own people?

How many crores of property have to be destroyed? How many more Indians have to lose their lives? How many more families have to be ruined? How long will the government go cribbing to USA about the state sponsored terrorism in Pakistan? How long...before the government develops a spine to take back what rightly belongs to us?

Saturday, September 30, 2006

I am also blogging at Chennaiist.com

Chennaiist.com is a collaborative weblog about the city we love and live in-Chennai. Our group of Chennai-crazy individuals will try to capture the myriad flavours, sights and sounds of Chennai and present it to the people of the city, so that they can drown themselves in its essence, feel its pain and pleasure and work together to create a better place to live every moment of our lives.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Five years after 9/11 - The Xenophobic world we live in

It just took two towers (9/11), a few trains (7/7) and a foiled plane bombing. Now the western world considers anything that walks on two legs, having a beard, as a terrorist! Call it bigotry, call it Islamaphobia, call it whatever, it's sad and troubling how broad minded our human race has become!

Only last month a flight was forced to return to the Amsterdam airport escorted by fighter jets when travellers got Xenophobic and suspected their co-passengers of being terrorists. The pitiable suspects turned out to be Indian businessmen, who happened to be Muslims. (
Link)

Now Scotland Yard has admitted it is profiling thousands of UK Muslims and is carrying out a close surveillance of the activities of these potential 'terrorists' (
Link)

While the West continues it's obsession with it's flawed 'War on Terror' program, that ignores the root cause of the problem. The terrorists continue to indulge in arbitrary slaughter in the name of jihad. Thousands of human lives have been lost, mostly innocent, yet the Vicious cycle continues with no end in sight.

Last month,
I too became a terrorist inadvertently...!!! Read more about it on www.Chennaiist.com, a new group Blog where I contribute. Chennaiist, is all about Chennai, the City I live in and love the most!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Blog Camp.in Chennai

I started Blogging over a year ago only as a hobby, as I found a medium to express my opinions and views on various issues. Even though I heard of Blog Camp at the Chennaiist bloggers meet last month, I never took it too seriously and it took some convincing from fellow Chennaiist Ramanujam, to actually make me go to the Blog Camp.

The Tidel Park ambience and all the paraphernalia were good thanks to the organisers and the sponsors. I was surprised to see so many people serious about something that was only a hobby of mine. People had turned up from all over the country and few from outside too. The unconference mode was very good with lots of participation and fun all around. There were many blah blah events, but the ones that interested me were the techy ones.

The presentations on Word Press, Blogger Beta, Podcasting and AJAX were informative BUT the presenters could've done with at least a bit of preparation. Though they knew their topics fairly well their absolute unprepardness showed every bit of the way. Overall, it was a great experience to know stuff and to put faces to the blogs I read. Next time, Count me in!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A day for the people who made us who we are

In the run up to the Independence day, as part of the regular activities of the Chennai chapter of Bharat Uday Mission, I came into contact with over 100 students who belonged to the lower socio-economic strata from two government run schools in Chennai. Half the students belonged to a school on G.N.Chetty road, T.Nagar and the rest to a school in Chintadripet.

We put a three questions to them

  1. India's Independence day with the year
  2. India's Republic day with year
  3. The colours of the Indian National flag, in order.

It was a terribly disappointing experience for me and my fellow members, who share an emergent dream for the country, to see the complete ignorance of the young minds, about such basic facts about India. Hardly 5-6 from those 100+ students belonging to classes 5-8 knew the answer to all three questions!

If this was bad what came next was worse, a group of girls of class 8 did not know, that the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu was the city they live in!! Some students of class 7-9 did not know all the English alphabets properly!!!

As dark clouds of gloom descended on our dreams and aspirations, there was a silver lining too, in the form of privately managed welfare school in Beasant Nagar. The Olcott Memorial High School, which for over a hundred years has been giving free education to the children of domestic workers, labourers and fishermen. The children there came up with a slogan that I now use with pride on my Email signature "India at 59, better than yesterday, But not as good as tomorrow!"

There is only one difference between the first two schools and the Olcott school - Good dedicated teachers. It's for these kind of teachers and those teachers who made me, who I am, I say from the bottom of my heart, HAPPY TEACHERS' DAY!

Cross posted from Chennaiist.com

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Loosing our identity

Vande Mataram - A song that has inspired thousands if not millions of Indians to stand up against our foreign invaders. Now a hundred years after it was written our National Song is mired in a needless controversy.

Even though only the first two stanzas of the song have been adopted as our national song, a few religious leaders have objected to Muslims singing it. as they believe that some words in the latter half of the song are incompatible with their religion as they interpret it. While some political leaders are trying to gain mileage by playing the nationalist card. Some other politicians (the worst kind) choose to be ambivalent just for the sake of a few votes.

As always in any controversy in which religion is dragged in, the 'wise' religious leaders (pun intended), play politics for the sake of their own selfish gains, to promote their own ideologies instead of god willed peace and harmony. I better not speak of this despicable class of people. In this case it happens to be some Islamic leaders of Deoband. They've gone to the extent of issuing a directive asking parents to withdraw their children from schools which make their students sing the national song. As I already said, criticizing these people who call themselves men of god isn't really worth anyone's time.

The opposition NDA is like a child without it's favourite toy (power) trying to grab every opportunity, to endear itself with the people. No point talking about this people either.

The Indian National Congress which heads the current Coalition ruling the country... shame on them! These people who originally came to power on the freedom fighters' plank go against everything all those people laid down their lives for. In the cloak of maintaining Peace and Harmony in the country they pursue their divisive vote bank agendas. First it was banning movies now it's blacking out songs. What next?

The scapegoat in this political game, our national song, our identity as a nation, something that unites us in spite of the thousands of other things that divide us. If some intolerant narrow minded people don't wanna associate themselves with this identity, let them be... Let the rest of us sing with fervour... Vande Mataram!
 

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Hypocrisy #11 - Pesti Cola

I still drink Pepsi when I feel like... People around me ask me in surprise, Doctor! How can u drink Contaminated Cola? But, I staunchly, refuse to let our politicians insult my intellect.

The left loves to hate America, So the Cola companies in a corner have become an easy target to bash up. The communist government in Kerala went to the extent of banning the cola giants from the state.(Link)

Has 'Pesti' Cola killed anyone? Has there been any medical study on the effects of 'Pesti' Cola? Aren't there more dangerous things like cigarettes, Pan Masala which actually kill thousands of people every year?

A petition, filed by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation, alleged that soft drinks sold in India contained highly toxic, acidic and addictive ingredients dangerous for human consumption. The Supreme Court has accepted the petition and issued notices to the Cola giants asking them to disclose their contents!! (Link)
Why don't people think twice before making complete fools of themselves??
Is it not common knowledge that the cola formulae are some of the world's best kept trade secrets??

And... What about the hundreds of thousands who live on the pesticide loaded water that these colas are prepared from? Ban Water??

More Hypocrisy

Thursday, August 03, 2006

One Year Later

The most mundane and disappointing year of my life has ended. But the worst year of my life has some silver lining too
  • Realised I had a duty to Humaity, decided to start with India, Joined Bharat Uday Mission
  • Worked as a Psychiatrist for a few months, Reaffirmed my choice for the future and got a whole new perspective about dealing with patients
  • Three papers got selected for international medical conferences... Presented two of them
  • Ever expanding social circle got even bigger
One Year Later Where Will I Be?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Bird Brained Bureaucrats

Thanks to some Bird Brain in the Information & Broadcasting Ministry I've to now depend on a Gateway that was originally created to beat the government censor in countries like China and Pakistan http://www.inblogs.net/ to even visit my own Blog... Blog Hopping, Out of question. If the idea of Banning the Da Vinci Code was foolish, this is ridiculous!

After the recent Bomb Blasts in Mumbai, the government had to be seen as doing something. Since our dumb Foreign Policy didn't allow shutting down terrorist training camps in PoK (Is Pakistan Occupied Kashmir Foreign?), they decided to shut down a few websites! The ISPs in a hurry to comply with the order yet incapable of blocking the 12 websites 'that incited hatred' alone have blacked out whole domains in India... like blogspot and geocities. (LINK)

So now my Blog's address for those accessing it from India will be http://www.inblogs.net/Prahalathan till these peanut brains realize their folly.

Related Links:
Wiki - Bloggers Against Censorship
Google Group - Bloggers Collective

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Hypocrisy #10 - Breeding Terror... Democratically!

First came the US-Europe backed Israeli Economic Sanctions blocking all aid to the Palestinian Authority.
Now the Israelis are inflicting collective punishment on the Palestinians by cutting of Power supply and terrorizing the Palestinians by firing almost 1500 rockets into Gaza in response to the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier. (LINK)

Post 9/11 and 7/7 Muslims are equated with terrorism and there's a undercurrent of phobia when dealing with Muslims. But no one stops to think how each one of us by our actions/inactions have been responsible for this state of affairs.

Since 600 BC when the Babylonians ruled the area... For the better part of the last 2500 years Romans then Arabs have ruled over those areas now considered to be Israel (LINK). In the beginning of the 20th century when there were hardly 12000 Jews in those regions, the Zionist movement took shape, driving thousands of Immigrant Jews to Palestine(LINK). The increasing immigration was the cause of tensions and killings, which was furthered by the British occupation of Palestine, who divided the country along religious lines.

On the pretext of reoccupying the land where they ruled and lived two and a half centuries ago, in 1948, the nation of Israel was created heralding endless wars and hatred in the region.
Looking at the present day political map, Israel is surrounded by 23 Arab Nations who occupy 640 times the land mass of Israel and out number the Jews 50 to one! Doesn't make sense to live there does it?

For the wrongs their forefathers did over the last two and a half centuries, now over four million people live and suffer as refugees in their own land. The illness is on both sides while the Israelis are obsessed with their 'security' and chasing down terrorists. The Palestinians distorted by occupation have the feeling of being victimized triggering fighters among them (Terrorists as they're called) who become obsessed with acts against Israel.

As the rest of the world is a mute spectator... (including the World's largest Democracy - India) The world's largest Democracies (US, EU) have imposed sanctions on Palestine for democratically electing the Hamas to power (What blatant Hypocrisy!). Now as a catastrophe looms large for the residents of Gaza and the rest of Palestine, a disgruntled population lives as refugees in their own land...without money, power or peace being pounded relentlessly by rockets... What better place for terrorists to be born?


Links:
Arab - Israeli Conflict since 1900s
History of Israel & Palestine with Maps
UN Report on Human Rights Violations by Israelis Link2

More Hypocrisy

Friday, June 30, 2006

Is God Male?

Temple authorities in Kerala are planning legal action against actress Jayamala for committing sacrilege at the Sabarimala temple. Young women are banned at the temple's most sacred part where the actress claims she entered and touched the idol of Lord Ayyappa in 1987. LINK

Whatever the mythological claims may be, If men can touch the 'idol' 'made of stone' why can't a woman? How does this constitute Sacrilege?

The Khadims, of the Sufi shrine in Ajmer have decided to ban women from the dargah at the time of prayers as they purportedly distract men. LINK

We have the second largest human population in the world. Yet, Men have to get distracted even when they pray?? Why can't they stop coming instead?

The Vatican issued a sweeping condemnation recently of contraception, abortion, in-vitro fertilization and same-sex marriage, declaring that unless abortion is punished as a crime it will be seen as a "banal" act. LINK

Such attitudes make you wish the fiction in 'The Da Vinci Code' were actually facts!

Without exception all major religions discriminate against women and treat them far inferior to males. This issue is often masqueraded as a moral controversy. Although at it's roots, it's only about sex and power. It's about whether women will be allowed to keep striving for an equal place in society or confined, as much as possible, to the kitchen and the nursery.

If God did create men and women. He meant them to be equal. Just as he meant the whole human species to be equal. The world will be a much better place if these supposedly 'learned' & 'knowledgeable' leaders of religions realize this.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Socca Fever

The group stage is over, so is the round of 16. Unlike last time no upset eliminations or pretenders in the final stages. A calm before the storm, the clash of the 8 best football teams on the planet is set to begin in a day. After long, I've time to Blog and am not just glued to my TV.

For a guy who probably never watched a full football match before in his life, this month has been lots and lots of football. I wanted to see what one billion people on the planet were watching and got hooked up myself! Our Cable operators' last minute largesse meant, I get to watch all the football matches and FORMULA ONE RACING on ESPN and Star Sports for free in spite of the set top box imposed embargo.

After sitting up all night watching the Messis and Ronaldinhos, they're all over the papers next morning... Front page... last three pages. They're there on numerous football based programs on all news channels. They hog the limelight on all regular news bulletins too. With so much media generated 'frenzy' around the football world cup, it's odd if you're not watching it!

For a guy who cares little about Cricket and none about Football. I was left found wanting for info on what was going on in the India vs WI test match. News Channels that earlier had entire programs dedicated to cricket were showing 10 minutes of football in every bulletin and relegating cricket to the fag end, then too, hardly any details. Formula one who? What?

The media has actually gone over board and has once again proved that they broadcast only what they want to and NOT what we want to see.Most news Channels actually had discussion shows and 'Questions of the day' asking if Football has replaced Cricket as the number one sport in the country! If any of them in the media had any doubts or such preposterous ideas... the polls showed them how wrong they were...

Once this one month of madness is over this cricket crazy country will be back to idolising the Dhonis and the Tendulkars and ignoring and ruining every other sport. But, till then it's Socca Fever all the way!

My money's on a show down between Brazil vs Argentina at the Grand Finale. May the better team win.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Hypocrisy #09 - Tamil Nadu B.S.

We have also become the only nation in the world where people fight to be called backward
- N R Narayana Murthy, Infosys

In the state of Tamil Nadu:
  • Number of Backward Castes according to the first population Census 1883 : 11
  • Number of Backward Castes according to the first Post-Independence Census 1883 : 270
  • Number of Backward Castes according to the current government policy 1990-2006: 434
  • Almost 93% of the state's population fall under these 474 'Backward' castes
YET
  • Birth-rate per thousand 2003 : 18.3
  • Death-rate per thousand 2003 : 7.6
  • Infant Mortality Rate/1000 Live Births 2003 : 43
One of the Best health Indices in the country!
  • Sex Ratio (Female / 1000 Males) : 974
  • Literacy Rate 2001 : 73.45
  • Per Capita Income in (Rs.) : 25965
One of the Best Socio-Economic Indices in the country!

Tamil Nadu has the most number of enterprises in the country 10.56% of the national total!!
Tamil Nadu has the second highest Foreign Direct Investment in the country!
Tamil Nadu has the second highest Human Development Index in the country!
Tamil Nadu has the third highest number of jobs in the country 9.97% of the national total!!

Tamil Nadu is also the MOST HYPOCRITICAL Society in the Country!

In spite of having one of the best indices in the country, 93% of the population considers itself and is considered by the government to be backward.... backward enough to require reservations in jobs and educational institutions to progress!

I suggest to the wise politicians of Tamil Nadu. Please change the name of Tamil Nadu to Tamil Nadu B.S. (like Washington D.C.) Tamil Nadu -Backward State

Of all the posts I've made on Hypocrisy so far.... Tamil Nadu takes the prize! This is Hypocrisy at it's very best!

More posts on Hypocrisy

Sources:
Census India - 2001
Tamil Nadu Government - Statistics
Fifth national Economic Census
Falling Over Backwards : An Essay On Reservations And On Judicial Populism - Book by Arun Shourie, former Union Minister

Saturday, June 03, 2006

How Pandi became Peter, watched The Da Vinci Code and lost Faith!

Three days of noise later, the world has a few Hindus lesser...
Of course, not before several thousands of rupees changed hands.
I've not seen such a mass exodus from Hinduism in the slum near my home in quite a while now...

Just a day after the bill to repeal the
The Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Forcible Conversion of Religion Ordinance was introduced and barely a few hours after the bill got passed nullifying the ordinance several Hindus realized that their faith has been misplaced all these years... So Pandi became Peter and Janani became Joyce and at least Rs.20,000 richer!

Three days of unpalatably crude translations of gospel...
Three days of demonstrations and tales of miracles...
Three days singing, chanting and hysteria...

These three day programs are called 'Freedom meetings' I'm not sure if they mean freedom from Hinduism or Freedom from faith altogether! How can people who change their religions because of the lure of money ever have any 'true' faith in their 'new' god?

A Catholic Priest and one of the leaders of the catholic church of India recently remarked that "The Da Vinci Code will make Christians question their own faith... So the film should be BANNED in India"!

Neither the film nor the book were banned in any of the Christian nations, Why India a secular nation with a minority of Christians even consider banning the movie for these 'faithless' fools among the christians?

A few days back the Tamil Nadu state Government banned the release of The Da Vinci Code based on
complaints received from the Christian community.... For a few extra votes, obviously!

Why should we who have our faith intact watch movies on pirated DVD's just because a few fools don't have faith in what their own religion says?
Are any of these fools going to watch the movie at all?
If these fools do watch the movie are they going to start questioning their 'new' faith?
Quite probable... If a few thousands can change their faith, so will a 3 hour movie!


Related story:

This articles delves into the luxurious lives of a few multi-billionaire Indian 'Men of God' like K.A.Paul, D.G.S. Dinakaran, Paul Dinakaran. It outlines their rags to riches stories of these 'conversion specialists', their Flamboyant life styles, crores worth of property, limousines and personal Boeing 747s!!!
New Indian Express article published on 21.05.2006

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Flowers from my Mom's Garden


Collage of Flowers on Blog, originally uploaded by prahalathan.

Thought you'd seen it all? Head over to my photo blog Garden Flowers for Flowers, Flowers and more Flowers! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Reservations: Taking a stand

I've not yet started receiving too many hate mails. But, I thought I better clarify where I stand. I am NOT entirely against reservations for the under privileged.

I am against...
I am against smothering merit by reserving almost 50% of the seats
I am against govt schemes that aren't based on sound logic or facts
I am against any reservation system that benefits the 'creamy layer'
I am against this blatant misuse of power in pursuit of a vote-bank
I am against a condescending attitude towards the under-privileged
I am against labeling entire communities incapable / backward
I am against casteism

I am for...
I am for affirmative action for the truly under-privileged
I am for a system that balances social justice and merit
I am for scholars and thinkers into the bureaucracy
I am for fresh, unconventional thought in politics
I am for youth into politics

Some people think I dream too much, call me over optimistic.
But I see a future for India that's vibrant and young........... in my lifetime!


PS: I've NOT seen or been influenced by Rang De Basanti / Yuva. The idea of being inspired and becoming patriotic after seeing a 3 hour movie is silly. So where do all those feelings go after you forget about the movie? I AM NOT SO FICKLE MINDED...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Hypocrisy #08 - Who needs a reservation? Part 2

Other articles on the same controversy, just click or scroll down

Hypocrisy #08 - Who needs a reservation? The main post(updated)

50% reservation is 100% Politics

The study of history is a powerful antidote to contemporary arrogance. It is humbling to discover how many of our glib assumptions, which seem to us novel and plausible, have been tested before, not once but many times & in innumerable guises; and discovered to be, at great human cost, wholly false
- Paul Johnson
As the proposed reservation controversy is dead-locked with neither the students nor the government willing to give up. I looked up the roots of the reservation system...

Affirmative action (U.S.), or positive discrimination (British), is a program that is meant to be a corrective measure for past governmental and social injustices against demographic groups (like race, gender, or ethnicity) by increasing the representation of these groups in fields of study and work in which they have traditionally been under represented.

Affirmative action in the U.S.A. (since 1960s) is primarily associated with race and gender. In South Africa it has a narrower focus, aiming at reversing primarily race-based and, to a lesser extent, gender-based discrimination.

There is much debate concerning claims that affirmative action fails to achieve its desired goal. Opponents regard it as government sanctioned racial discrimination, and also believe that it is demeaning to members of minority groups, that it wrongly sends a condescending message to minorities that they are not capable enough to be considered on their own merits.

In India, the focus has mostly been on undoing caste discrimination. Between 1909 and 1935, the British sowed the seeds of the current controversy by first granting Muslims share in the administration and other facilities. Then, legislative seats were reserved for members of the Muslim, Sikh, Maratha, Parsi, Christian, European, and Anglo-Indian communities. In addition seats were reserved for depressed classes within the Hindu community.

In independent India, provision for reservation in legislature was not made in the constitution until 1960. The Mandal commission recommended reservations which kick-started a controversy in the 90s. But these statistics were based on the 1931 census. How can this data be considered valid almost 75 years later? Now the 104th amendment to the constitution has kick-started this current controversy.

In 2005, In the medical admissions for the state of Tamil Nadu, where we have a 69 percent reservation (50 for OBC (BC+MBC), 18 for SC, 1 for ST) Students belonging to the Backward Classes (OBC) took 952 of the total 1,224 seats in 12 government medical colleges in the State (77.9 per cent). SC students cornered 18.9% and the ST students got 1% of the total seats. The cut-off mark for a ST candidate was 20 marks lower than the so called 'Forward castes' who could get only 28 (2.3%)seats. Paradox? How can this be social justice?

According to the National Sample Survey organisation
OBC Population of India: 32%
University seats already occupied by OBCs: 23.5%
Is a Reservation justified for a mere 8% difference?

According to the Hindustan Times
Only 3% of the scheduled caste students who enroll for class 1 complete their schooling.
Quota for SC/STs: 22.5%
Seats occupied in higher educational institutions: Only 16%
One third of the reserved seats are being wasted every year and are being denied to the general category. If 50 years after the quotas were implemented, so many seats are being wasted is it not the failure of the Primary and Secondary education system?

Providing reservations at the University level instead of improving primary and secondary education is like providing crutches to Polio afflicted children instead of providing universal immunization!

Updated New Links:
The 104th Constitutional amendment act that was passed as the 93rd Constitutional amendment Bill on 22.12.2005
Synopsis of Lok Sabha discussion for the 104th amendment act to the constitution
The Resolution was brought in by Arjun Singh, Only two MPs abstained, all voted for the resolution.
Full text of Arjun Singh's interview by Karan Thappar on CNN-IBN: Devil's Advocate
Our HRD minister has no opinion, he comes out as being pretty dumb. I wonder if any Human Resource Development takes place in the country...
National Commission for Backward Classes definition of 'Creamy layer'
Not extensive or perfect... But it's good enough. Why can't the government prevent the 'Creamy Layer' from benefiting from reservations?
OBC is actually Other Backward Classes not castes
Read on, about how we're being misled and about the pitfalls in the Mandal Commission's Methodology.
Affirmative action and caste dilemmas
The Pros and Cons of Affirmative Action in USA and how it is completely different from the Indian Quota System

Related Links:
National Sample Survey organisation: Reports
2005 Medical admissions in Tamil Nadu
2001 Census of India

More Hypocrisy

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Hypocrisy #08 - Who needs a reservation? (Updated)

As the Anti-reservation rage spreads across the country. Politicians have started exploiting students to 'engineer' pro-reservation rallies in some places too. Though it is dividing the nation they seem to be least bothered with anything but their vote bank agenda.

Is it not shameful that after 59 years of Independence, of which the congress party ruled for almost 50 years, the present congress government considers more than 70% of the population backward. What moral right do these people have to rule (RUIN) this country any further?

How can whole communities be considered backward? Aren't there rich people of the scheduled castes and poor people of the forward castes? Let us consider two real life families

Family 1: Scheduled Caste
Father: Government Employee
Mother: House wife
Eldest Son: Entered MBBS at a private College by paying a whopping 25 lakhs!
Second Son: Entered MBBS through caste quota, Entered MD through caste quota
The family owns at least one house and a car.

Family 2: Brahmin, Forward Caste
Father: Expired in a Road accident
Mother: Bank Money collector
Son : Holds a Bachelors degree in accounts. Same job as his mother.
Daughter: Holds a Bachelor degree in science. Married.
The family owns only a single room housing board flat.

I've known one family for 18 years and another for the last 7. Even though the daughter of Family 2 scored only marginally lesser that the second son of Family 1, he entered Medicine in a government college with subsidized fees and a scholarship, she had to study arts because her family couldn't afford the engineering college fees.

How can a system that grants reservation, subsidized fees and scholarship to a family from the scheduled caste that can afford a 25 lakh fee and nothing to a poor 'forward' caste family be considered fair?

Two social scientists have proposed an alternative model, which takes into account both academic merit and social disadvantage and not just caste.
This model proposes reservation based on group and individual disadvantages.
Group disadvantages include caste, community, gender, and region.
The individual focuses on parental occupation and type of schooling.
The final quantum of reservation computes merit and social disadvantages in a ratio of 80:20.

It appears to be sensible and seems to have found the right balance between merit and social justice. It brings everyone on an equal footing and if implemented could be a cure-all to this whole controversy. But the politicians cannot derive any mileage from it, for that single reason it will be ignored and forgotten!

To hell with these politicians!

Related Links:
Proposed alternative model by sociologists Prof. Satish Deshpande & Prof. Yogendra Yadav
Part 1: Meeting the challenge of Mandal II
Part 2: Reservation — an alternative proposal

2001 Census of India
More Hypocrisy

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Da Vinci Debacle

The Indian Government is mulling over a possible Ban on the movie version of the Da Vinci Code.
  • Over 60 million legal copies of the book Da Vinci Code have been sold worldwide
  • Assuming the pirated versions of the book sold as much, On a reasonable estimate, over 200 million people must have already read the book.
  • Lebanon was the only country that banned the book version of Da Vinci Code.
  • Will India get the dubious distinction of becoming the first and only country to ban the movie Da Vinci Code?
An unequal society... A government that divides and rules... Petty vote bank politics... Is this country going to give me another reason to be ashamed of?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Price of a vote

Since it looks like the DMK Alliance is going to win this time around I'll stick to them.
  • Two Acres of Land
  • Rice at Rs.2/Kg
  • A Colour TV
  • Rs.100/- and Biriyani the night before the election, and breakfast in the morning.

The first three 'inducements' were part of the election manifesto, in case you were wondering about the last one that's what people in the slum near my house were given on the eve of the election.

Can't blame the poor who got chased away on election day by the para-military forces when they tried to put in a few extra votes... They were happy that their stomachs were full and had some cash to spend But

  • 5 years of Mis-rule
  • 5 years of Corruption
  • 5 years of trying to get back all that was spent on this one month election circus
  • 5 years of trying to save for the next election

Are these not part of the deal too? When will we Indians understand this? When will we get a more long term perspective?

I'm not Anti DMK or Pro AIADMK just Pro Indian!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

50% reservation is 100% Politics

Yesterday Medicos all over the country joined the protest initiated by the Medicos in New Delhi under the Youth for Equality platform against the proposed hike in reservations in higher educational institutions. It gladdens my heart to see such a pro-active role from Medicos after seeing five years of relative inactivity at Madurai Medical College.
Yet the politicians are not bothered and are doing what they're best at improving their vote banks... even it meant dividing the country with a not so invisible barrier.

Reservations not only makes the reserved people feel separate and special it also creates resentment on the meritorious who miss out because of the reservation system. Friends who didn't know who belonged to which caste will feel differently when they start getting treated differently. The simmering rage is a bomb waiting to explode, the government has now giving it a nuclear potential.

  • Scheduled castes constitute around 20% of the Indian Population and backward classes around 30%.
  • Only 3% of the scheduled caste students who enroll for class 1 complete their schooling.
  • Wouldn't a 22.5% reservation in higher educational institutions give an unfair advantage to the 3% and the even fewer who complete graduation?
  • Why can't the government improve the quality of schools and reduce school drop outs among those castes?
  • If those castes were subjugated for around 3 centuries what is the government doing to the meritorious now?
  • What is the need for this step backward fifty eight years after our independence?
I received around 20 emails through my Blog and Orkut asking me what I thought about the proposed hike in reservation. When I mailed back asking if they had voted hardly 2 or 3 had bothered to vote. Many didn't even have Voter IDs. Friends like Indhu asked "What difference does my one vote make?"!!!

My state of Tamil Nadu faces elections to the state legislative assembly on May 8th. I would win by a huge margin if I bet not even 10% of my batch of 160 at Madurai Medical College would bother to go out and vote!

India's intelligentsia considers itself too elite to even bother to vote. Even our Prime Minister didn't vote in the recent elections! India's politicians will satisfy and improve the conditions of only those who vote. No point in blaming the government and crying hoarse now!

It's nice to see youthful organizations like Lok Paritran, Bharat Uday Mission, Youth for Equality etc., getting involved in socio-political issues. But what the country needs is a revolutionary change in the mind-set of the non-voting intelligentsia.

It's not only our right, It's also our responsiblity!


If you don't vote you only get the Boot!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

On top of the Moon!

It's like partying on Jupiter!

It's like having a high without the dope!

It's like playing space football with the moon!


While I'm sure Alonso and Kimi have started
seeing RED already

I think I'm having a bout of SCARLET FEVER!!!


Michael Schumacher takes the checkered flag at the Formula One San Marino Grand Prix!




SCHUMI! SCHUMI!! SCHUMI!!!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Crash - Movie Review

Amazing movie that makes you empathise with the characters and experience their emotions.
An unflinching look of the racial conflict simmering beneath the calm exterior of Los Angeles city. This provocative movie examines the perspectives of the multi ethnic population as they 'crash' into each other.
The movie truly deserves the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Watch out for the scene where the persian shop keeper shoots the locksmith.

Don't miss it!

Five Thumbs up!!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

What's in a name?

Just the other day I came to know that a typist near my home we used to just refer to as 'Latha' was actually 'Vaendaam Paal' (the Tamil name literally meaning 'Unwanted Sex'!) During my postings at Rural Primary Health centers and School health camps I've met several children named 'Poadhum Pen' (the Tamil name literally meaning 'Enough Girls'!)

You should hand it over to the parents for being so considerate of their girl child's future while naming them. Imagine the amount of bullying and mockery these girls would've to endure all though schooling (if the parents bother to send them at all) and the rest of their lives. Can't help but pity Vaendaam Paal about what drove her into changing her name into something that doesn't evoke a 'What did u say your name is?' response...

In the same India that has parents who name their male children 'Gomathi Shankar' 'Radha Krishnan' etc live these people. In the same India where only a little over 920 female children are born for every 1000 male children.

In this same India a doctor has now been convicted for determining the sex of the fetus to aid abortion of female fetuses. In this same India brides are now in shortage and several men are finding it hard to get married!

Light at the end of the tunnel?? Only time will tell...

Monday, April 03, 2006

Hypocrisy #07 - The Non-Voting Democratic Head of State

Voting for the Assembly elections in the state of Assam concluded today. In spite of being a Rajya Sabha elect from the very state, the Prime Minister didn't bother to cast his vote. Despite campaigning at Assam asking people to vote for his party the PM didn't bother to himself. Despite being in Assam till Sunday the PM couldn't 'waste' a day in casting his vote.

Incidentally, Dr. Manmohan Singh has taken the short cut to the Prime Minister's chair by being elected to the upper house by legislators rather than to the Lok Sabha by the people. Not only is occupying the highest authority of the country without being directly elected amounting to subverting democracy, the Prime Minister seems to have blatant disregard to the whole democratic process itself.

Though running the country is important, it's not as if that was the reason our Prime Minister did not vote. His track record speaks for itself. The Prime Minister who has been elected to the Rajya Sabha from Assam since 1991 has cast his vote only once way back in 1998.

Mr. Prime Minister!
I had the highest regard for you as a person because you seemed to be different from the rest. You've showed how different you are. SHAME ON YOU!

More Hypocrisy

Friday, March 31, 2006

Sleeping your way to a Divorce

No I'm not talking of sleeping with extra marital partners. Even while sleeping with your own wife, sub-consciously uttering the triple Talaq could get you a separation if these people are allowed to have their way.

A Muslim couple in West Bengal have been ordered by the local religious leaders to separate as the husband allegedly uttered 'talaq' three times in his sleep.
While the couple, who have three children, refused to obey the order since there was no discord between them, the community leaders are adamant that they must separate or face social ostracization

The local religious leaders, quoting the Sharia, ruled that the talaq has to be implemented and were kind hearted enough to providing an alternative if the couple found the ruling unacceptable.
  • Temporary separation for 100 days during which the wife will live at her father's house.
  • She should then spend a night with another man!
  • She can remarry her husband ONLY AFTER the 'other' man has given her talaq!!
Move over Abdul Kalams and CV Ramans, I don't think this world will ever get to see more intelligent Indians. Not just the sheer brilliance the total application of mind is stunning. More than anything their 'humane' interpretation of the Sharia should also get them the Nobel Peace Prize with ease....

"Hey woman! What if your husband divorced you sub-consciously? You can remarry him after you let another guy fuck you!"
I'm sure the mother of three won't have a problem with that.

I'm PROUD to be living in the same country as these people, So should you be too!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Ugly Roses of Siachen

The World's largest non-polar glacier.
The place of Wild Roses.
The Third Pole.
Siachen.... Definitely deserves a place in the record books
It's also the world's highest battlefield, where, for over two decades India and Pakistan have fought at altitudes of over 22,000 feet in minus 60ÂșC temperatures.
It's definitely not something we should be feeling proud of.

For a glacier that has overstated strategic significance, India spends a whopping 1-2 Billion Rupees a year!
Not just the enormous waste of money that could've been sensibly used for a hundred other things. Thousands of Indian Soldiers risk their lives every year in those inhospitable heights.
It's considered a great honour to serve at the Siachen Glacier in the Indian Army.
Not without reason...
The Indian Army looses one soldier every other day mostly to the extreme weather!
Many soldiers who return after serving at the Siachen Glacier suffer from psychiatric illnesses.

We are a nation of a billion people and they a nation of a quarter billion. Aren't there enough sensible people on either side of the Siachen to put an end to this nonsense?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Vision 2020 #1 - Energy Security

No this is not in anyway connected to our President Abdul Kalam's 20-20 vision for India's future. Rather it's my not so 20-20, yet not so myopic vision through a pair of wire framed glasses!

In 2020, The prices at which we buy fuel would not have reached three figures...Everyone will be happy and India will be shining...Thanks to the communists and vote bank politics. But the subsidies on the fuel we use would be running into several billions, Billions that should have been wisely invested in developing oil fields in other countries.

We might have backed out of the Iranian and Syrian oil deals because the United States told us to. When the Americans attack another country in the middle east or South America and the prices of fuel shoot up... We will still be crying hoarse that the oil prices are ruining 'developing economies' like India.

The oil Minister's plan in 2005 to develop a strategic Oil reserve might have been long forgotten by the successive 'coalition governments' that have only Common 'Minimum' programs.There will come a day when the supply gets disrupted and our vehicles will be stranded all over the place. That day we'll be cursing the NDA and the UPA, like we're now cursing Nehru and his Panchsheel!

And while this unfinished post was languishing as a draft... The oil minister at the top has already changed!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

50th Post - 50 things I dislike/Despise!

  • Liars
  • Cheats
  • Back Stabbers
  • Self-Centred People
  • Pessimists
  • Chatter boxes
  • Morons
  • Losers\Defeatists

  • Gossip\Rumour Mongers
  • Flirts
  • Lazy People
  • People who spit on roads
  • People who stone dogs (They deserve a taste of their own medicines)
  • People who brag
  • Misers
  • Government Employees, who don't work for what they're paid
  • People who poke their noses into others' business
  • Anxious\Excited people
  • Boring Monologues by lecturers
  • Nationalists
  • Religious Fanatics
  • Greedy\Jealous People
  • Most Politicians & their Vote bank politics
  • Casteism
  • Hypocrisy
  • Plagiarism
  • Communism
  • Terrorism - The arbitrary Slaughter
  • Lazing Around
  • Doing Nothing
  • The hot sun
  • Restrictive rules
  • Papaya
  • Idly
  • Yellow Bananas
  • NCC\ College Mess Food
  • Hot drinks
  • Rash driving Buses\Lorries
  • Autos
  • Smoke Spewing vehicles
  • Travelling by bus
  • Over Religiosity
  • Astrology\Vaasthu Shastra\ Feng Shui
  • Sentimental Text\Email Messages
  • Noisy Marriages\Religious festivals
  • Forced religious conversions
  • Soaps on TV
  • Commercials on TV
  • Phone in programmes on TV\Radio
  • Dial Up Internet
RELATED: 25 Likes

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Hypocrisy #06 - A Religion of Moderates

First it was a few scattered protests,
then they started burning embassies and flags,
then came the calls for economic boycott,
there was talk of beheading the culprits,
Now people have started dying.
All over a few cartoons of Prophet Mohammed published by a newspaper in Denmark.

The prophet has told he should never be picturised / idolised (It does make sense.... Worshipping god instead of idols/ images)
But he never asked people to kill others or even his fellow Muslims if he were ever picturised....

Sometime back M.F.Hussain had painted several Hindu goddesses including Saraswati, Lakshmi and now Bharathmata nude.
Why is it that he wasn't deported out of the country?
Why was he let off with just an apology?

A company in the US of A made slippers with Lord Ganesha's images on them.
Another made Toilet seats with Lord Ganesha and Goddess Kali on them.
Why didn't we boycott US products?
Why didn't we burn down US embassies?

Are we a county of Moderates?
Does it mean we respect the freedom of expression?
(We know what happened to Kushboo!)

Where are the self-styled guardians of Tamil Culture when 'disrespect' is heaped upon India and Hinduism?

Whether it's the prophet's cartoons where Islamic radicals are wrecking havoc
Or pre-marital sex where a political party created an issue.

It's always about a few hypocritical Politicians and their political games.
It's never about the general population like you and me...


More Hypocrisy

Sunday, January 29, 2006

A Country full of kids

Independent India maybe just 57 years old, quite young in comparison to the two century old United States of America. We Indians are still ruled by corrupt politicians and lazy bureaucrats who are learning things the hard way, by their own mistakes. But do we need lessons on how to behave with our friends and partners in business

First, the United States told us to back off from the Gas deal with Iran.
Next, the US Ambassador to India told us to vote against Iran at the IAEA meet.
Now, the United States has asked us to back off the Syrian oil deal.

It's important to have powerful friends and even more important not to make enemies of powerful countries.
But should we always toe the US line?

What irks me is not the fact that America's fatherly attitude towards to India.
BUT, that the policy makers of the world's largest democracy are wagging their tails for whatever the United States tells us.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Are Doctors saints/gods?

Two strikes by doctors came to an end recently. One at King George Medical University, Uttar Pradesh and the other at New Delhi's largest Government hospital Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Hospital.

One was because the police men had roughed up the doctors, the other because a patient's relatives assaulted the doctors. In both cases the doctors were manhandled and the doctors went on a lightning strike paralyzing the medical system, causing hardship to numerous innocent patients.

I was just watching a discussion on a news channel (CNN-IBN My current Favorite)where the reporter kept asking the doctors if they weren't shirking their duty and nobility by striking. And that a strike by doctors is not like that by any other profession.

Duty yes... But if Doctors are so important shouldn't doctors be treated with a little more respect?

The Tamil Nadu government for example pays a measly Rs.3633/- to a Junior Resident (average age 23) Rs.5000/- app. to a senior Resident (average age 28).A fully qualified MBBS graduate is offered just Rs.10,000/- a month to work at Public Health centers in Villages that too on a yearly contract basis.

Should Doctors be held responsible for deaths of their patients when there was no negligence on part of their part. Even if so, Is beating up the Doctor the solution?

About the strike... It's Okay to burn down buses and go on a strike if some politician is manhandled, BUT if it's anyone else should we take it sitting down???

Friday, January 20, 2006

The Great Money Trick

"Money is the real cause of poverty," said Owen.

"Prove it," repeated Crass.

"Money is the cause of poverty because it is the device by which those who are too lazy to work are enabled to rob the workers of the fruits of their labour."

"Prove it," said Crass.

Owen slowly folded up the piece of newspaper he had been reading and put it in his pocket.

"All right," he replied. "I'll show you how the Great Money Trick is worked."

Owen opened his dinner basket and took from it two slices of bread, but as these where not sufficient, he requested that anyone who had some bread left should give it to him. They gave him several pieces, which he placed in a heap on a clean piece of paper, and, having borrowed the pocket knives of Easton, Harlow and Philpot, he addressed the, as follows:
"These pieces of bread represent the raw materials which exist naturally in and on the earth for the use of mankind; they were not made by any human being, but were created for the benefit and sustenance of all, the same as were the air and the light of the sun."

"Now," continued Owen, "I am a capitalist; or rather I represent the landlord and capitalist class. That is to say, all these raw materials belong to me. It does not matter for our present argument how I obtained possession of them, the only thing that matters now is the admitted fact that all the raw materials which are necessary for the production of the necessaries of life are now the property of the landlord and capitalist class. I am that class; all these raw materials belong to me."

"Now you three represent the working class. You have nothing, and, for my part, although I have these raw materials, they are of no use to me. What I need is the things that can be made out of these raw materials by work; but I am too lazy to work for me. But first I must explain that I possess something else beside the raw materials. These three knives represent all the machinery of production; the factories, tools, railways, and so forth, without which the necessaries of life cannot be produced in abundance. And these three coins" - taking three half pennies from his pocket - "represent my money, capital."

"But before we go any further," said Owen, interrupting himself, "it is important to remember that I am not supposed to be merely a capitalist. I represent the whole capitalist class. You are not supposed to be just three workers, you represent the whole working class."

Owen proceeded to cut up one of the slices of bread into a number of little square blocks.
"These represent the things which are produced by labour, aided by machinery, from the raw materials. We will suppose that three of these blocks represent a week's work. We will suppose that a week's work is worth one pound."

Owen now addressed himself to the working class as represented by Philpot, Harlow and Easton.
"You say that you are all in need of employment, and as I am the kind-hearted capitalist class I am going to invest all my money in various industries, so as to give you plenty of work. I shall pay each of you one pound per week, and a week's work is that you must each produce three of these square blocks. For doing this work you will each receive your wages; the money will be your own, to do as you like with, and the things you produce will of course be mine to do as I like with. You will each take one of these machines and as soon as you have done a week's work, you shall have your money."

The working classes accordingly set to work, and the capitalist class sat down and watched them. As soon as they had finished, they passed the nine little blocks to Owen, who placed them on a piece of paper by his side and paid the workers their wages.
"These blocks represent the necessaries of life. You can't live without some of these things, but as they belong to me, you will have to buy them from me: my price for these blocks is,one pound each."

As the working classes were in need of the necessaries of life and as they could not eat, drink or wear the useless money, they were compelled to agree to the capitalist's terms. They each bought back, and at once consumed, one-third of the produce of their labour. The capitalist class also devoured two of the square blocks, and so the net result of the week's work was that the kind capitalist had consumed two pounds worth of things produced by the labour of others, and reckoning the squares at their market value of one pound each, he had more than doubled his capital, for he still possessed the three pounds in money and in addition four pounds worth of goods. As for the working classes, Philpot, Harlow and Easton, having each consumed the pound's worth of necessaries they had bought with their wages, they were again in precisely the same condition as when they had started work - they had nothing.
This process was repeated several times; for each weeks work the producers were paid their wages. They kept on working and spending all their earnings. The kind-hearted capitalist consumed twice as much as any one of them and his pool of wealth continually increased. In a little while, reckoning the little squares at their market value of one pound each, he was worth about one hundred pounds, and the working classes were still in the same condition as when they began, and were still tearing into their work as if their lives depended on it.

After a while the rest of the crowd began to laugh, and their merriment increased when the kind-hearted capitalist, just after having sold a pound's worth of necessaries to each of his workers, suddenly took their tools, the machinery of production, the knives, away from them, and informed them that as owing to over production all his store-houses were glutted with the necessaries of life, he had decided to close down the works.

"Well, and wot the bloody 'ell are we to do now ?" demanded Philpot.

"That's not my business," replied the kind-hearted capitalist. "I've paid your wages, and provided you with plenty of work for a long time past. I have no more work for you to do at the present. Come round again in a few months time and I'll see what I can do."
"But what about the necessaries of life?" Demanded Harlow. "we must have something to eat."
"Of course you must," replied the capitalist, affably; "and I shall be very pleased to sell you some." "But we ain't got no bloody money!"

"Well, you cant expect me to give you my goods for nothing! You didn't work for nothing, you know. I paid you for your work and you should have saved something: you should have been thrifty like me. Look how I have got on by being thrifty!"
The unemployed looked blankly at each other, but the rest of the crowd only laughed; and then the three unemployed began to abuse the kind-hearted capitalist, demanding that he should give them some of the necessaries of life that he had piled up in his warehouses, or to be allowed to work and produce some more for their own needs; and even threatened to take some of the things by force if he did not comply with their demands. But the kind-hearted capitalist told them not to be insolent, and spoke to them about honesty, and said if they were not careful he would have their faces battered in for them by the police, or if necessary he would call out the military and have them shot down like dogs, the same as he had done before at Featherstone and Belfast.

Taken from The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist by Robert Tressel