रूह

काश कुछ ऐसा हो जाए

ये वक्त चलता रहे,

ये लम्हे चलते रहें,

ये पहर चलता रहे,

बस मेरी उम्र थम जाए।

मैं समेट लूँ सारी यादें,

मैं सहेज लूँ सारे पलों को,

देख लूँ जी भर के

उन आँखों को,

इस दुनिया में जिनसे सबसे पहले रूबरू हुआ।

मैं थाम लूँ उस ऊंगली को

जो कभी मुझे थामे चली थी।

वो खिलखिलाती हँसी

जो कभी मेरे साथ खेली थी।

बस इतनी सी ही तो ख्वाहिश है,

बे-वक्त के इस मुसाफिर की।

छोटी सी राह का जिसका

बस तीसरा हिस्सा है बाकी।।

आकर क़रीब अपनों के और थोड़ा,

कुछ और अच्छा कर जाऊँ।

छोटे से इस सफर के

सुकून भरे पलों को

यादों में पिरो जाऊँ।

या फिर

रहकर दूर उनसे,

ग़म के बवन्डर से बचाने को उनको,

बेरूखी वाला मुखौटा ओढ़ जाऊँ।।

रहगुज़र हूँ तेरा,

कि तूने जो भी दिया

झोली भर के दिया।

रहगुज़र हूँ तेरा,

कि दिये हुए हौसले से तेरे

अपने दम पर कुछ किया।

रहगुज़र हूँ तेरा,

कि कई ख्वाबों को अपने

मैंने हकी़कत में जिया।

रहगुज़र हूँ तेरा,

कि जरा से वक्त में ही

तेरे होने को समझ लिया।

ईबादतग़ार हूँ तेरा

शिकायतग़ार नहीं,

कि अलग बनाकर भी तूने

खास बना दिया।। — रूह

This poem is the best gift i have ever received from someone. someone whom i have grown to adore and respect not only for the fitful exuberance but also for the Indefatigable deftness in distilling soulful and picturesque emotion by the infallible sagacity in choice of words that eloquently succour the baroque and beguiling poems.

Thanks M ,

By the way this only of the poems from M rest assured 100’s more to come…..

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​ The Good and The Bad, Leaders

​ The Good and The Bad, Leaders

In reality, there is no such thing as a good leader. Who is good and who is bad, mainly depends upon the context or the period in concern. One leader is good while the other one is bad, not because some leaders are monsters while others merciful. But because states don’t have interests, people do.

Everything in politics from war to foreign aid, to political dynasties to corruption, is all about survival and power, not about welfare or doing good for the society.

Always, remember bad behavior is almost always good politics.
After all, no king can be good, kind, or glorious if his royal subjects are poor.

Here are a few points that may help you make your own inference.

  • Political Generosity:
    It’s is not about strategy or purpose; it’s about benefits because power always begets Power. Political Generosity is merely a means to get the community or state to make choices and actions that they want.
    [examples: West Bengal’s Ruling parties, outrageous generosity to a specific community]
  • Good Governance and Policies:
    Why? do you think, it’s even a thing? Certainly, not because the leaders care about social justice and welfare, or out of the goodness of their hearts. They are so as to reward the blocks that get and keeps them in power.
    [examples: Right to Information Act. by UPA in India, A clean Ganga mission by almost every government since 1985 but virtually no result ever]
  • Altruism:
    Even if certain actions by ruling parties look altruistic, but leaders are not meant to be altruistic. It simply isn’t their bean stock. Instead, they must balance the interests of their keys to power no matter how big or small.
    [Examples: Demonetization in India, 100% allowance to Foreign Direct Investment by the ruling party which vehemently opposed the same when they were in opposition]
  • Citizen Welfare and Growth:
    It’s not because leaders in democracies are better people or even because their needs are aligned with a larger portion of the population. But because the things that make the citizens more productive in a democracy, also make the lives of their leaders better.

    Dictatorships have most of their wealth dug out of the ground, like gold or oil or diamonds which can be exploited even while keeping the citizens, outside the production cycle; hence, no need for welfare and concern for citizen growth. As a matter of fact, this will hold true even for democracies, if they were suddenly to stumble upon huge reserves of natural resources as decreed by the Natural Resource Curse principal.
    [Example: Communism in West Bengal or Odisha, The league of bad chief ministers in Jharkhand]

Image CC

 

Democracy: Utopia or Not? – The Debate

Before You Begin Read the Prelude here

Screenshot-2018-2-18 (10) How to recognize a dystopia - Alex Gendler - YouTube

Socrates compared democracy to a ship going on a voyage.

He argued, if you were to decide upon a captain of the ship, then how would you decide? Would you let anyone decide or perhaps, someone educated in the rules and demands of seafaring? Obviously, someone educated.

Vote

Then why do we think any odd person is fit to judge, who should be the ruler. Afterall, Voting is a skill unto itself, that should be taught systematically. If we let the masses vote without proper education, then they may very well, end up electing an imp as the captain of a ship heading into a storm.

But this doesn’t necessarily imply that only a select few should ever vote, instead only those who have thought about it rationally and deeply should vote. As it is written in arthashastra “One should not listen to the advice given by those ignorant of the science.”. Afterall there’s a distinction between intellectual democracy and democracy by birthright. A right which we have granted to all without thinking of the wisdom because we considered democracy as an unambiguous good, rather than something that is only ever good as the education system that surrounds it.

For example, if there were two candidates, a doctor, and a sweet seller. The seller would pitch “The doctor hurts you, gives you bitter potions and tells you what not to eat, He will never serve you feasts like me.”. Do you think the doctor will be able to defend himself by speaking the truth because the truth, “I hurt you to help you.” will cause an uproar.

Chanakya said, “A Nation is not built on good intentions. It is built on the knowledge, wisdom, and expertise of its leaders.”

And when we think about it, people rarely give time to think carefully and rationally before voting. They tend to go with populist opinions, not merit. As a result, we elected far too many sweet shop owner than doctors. These rabble-rousers eventually wreak fear above all, giving way to demagoguery. Demagogue’s who seek to exploit the fundamental weakness of democracy, its people.

How to Spot a Demagouge

  1. Look for these keywords in their speech :

    1. We can’t afford to wait or now is the time or we cannot wait for a discussion
    2. It’s a fact not a theory
    3. Tax breaks for the rich
    4. We have to change or make fair or “fairness” used in almost any context
    5. Healthcare/housing/food is a right, not a privilege
    6. We must take action now for those whom society has left behind
  2. They avoid using scientific arguments
  3. Try to win the sympathy of the audience by displaying emotional oratory and personal charisma, convincing people that they know what troubles them.
  4. Without any care for truth, they use plausible reasoning and Gross oversimplification to impress their audience
  5. They promise to make you happy by promising the impossible
  6. Personal insults and ridicule opponents, accusing them of weakness and disloyalty

They whip up the passions of the crowd by advocating immediate and forceful actions. Usually immediately without deliberations and self-restraint, shutting down reasoned deliberations to quickly sweep into power. And, bamboozled by their claims of representing the common people, the uninformed, ignorant, naive and beholden for easy answers, crowd ends up idolizing them. Revearing them as kings with heredity heirs; Heirs who are elected without deliberations or due-diligence.

Power

Plato said, “The world will not be right until kings, politicians, and voters become philosophers.”

But, even if politicians and voters become philosophers, they will still bow to the whims of power. After all, power determines who gets to determine the rules of the game. Though in a democracy power resides with the people; but when we really dig into it, who really has it seems dirty and almost evil; because what one wants to do with power depends upon how adept they are with power. Power is not about strategy or purpose; it’s about character and benefits because power begets more power. Power is not merely a means to get the community or state to make choices and actions that you want but without power, you can affect nothing.

We always consider power only comes from force or money. But it also comes from social norms or what other people think is okay. Such power is subtle and without a centralized machinery. It operates peer to peer and can certainly make people change behavior as well as laws [e.g: old segregation laws in USA or laws on homosexuality in India].

It’s true that in a well-designed democracy power is fractured among many. The power, taken not with force but with words by persuading thousands or millions of citizens, to if not like you, at least like you better than the alternatives. Yet, the source of this power, “the citizens” are not considered as individuals with individual desires, instead as blocks with different agendas, desires, and motivations. Block that the elected can reward as a group or blocks, who with their money or influence or favors can keep them in power. Why? do you think, democracies have wildly complicated laws and tax codes? These are no accident they are so to reward the blocks that get and keep the ruling representatives in power. Do you think subsidies have anything to do with the money, food or nations needs? If so, then why do countries where subsidized fractions, like farmers, votes don’t swing elections, don’t have subsidies. In fact in democracies, political minorities are always oppressed by the tyranny of the majority. For instance, as younger citizens don’t vote, even if large in number. They for all practical purposes are irrelevant to gaining power, so rarely any rewards are flung towards them.

Keys to Power

Once a party is chosen to power it’s longevity depends on the balance of power amongst their key players. The balance that can be maintained, by making it easier for their supporters to vote and harder for others; or by passing laws to favor their supporters and dilute others. Though it may seem implausible that rulers in democracy would need favors, other than those of citizens to be in power. But remember the players needed to choose, and those needed to rule or to be in power are totally different. As far as democracies are concerned, there are mainly three types of players; those who have the right to vote but not choose, aka the interchangeable; those who actually choose the leaders, aka the influentials; and finally, those on whose support the survival of the leaders depends, aka essentials.

Leaders must forge symbiotic relations within all three because more often than not, their money, influence, and favors keep them in power. After all, politics is nothing but politicians, trying to survive by hook or crook. Even if certain actions by ruling parties look altruistic [Demonetization in India, 2016] while, others contradictory and stupid [100% FDI or GST in India], but their job isn’t to have a consistent understandable ruling policy, instead to balance the interests of their keys to power, big and small. They can’t just promise to give them treasures directly, but they sure do create loopholes for their investments [2G Spectrum Auctions, India: $27 billionRef, The Rafale Deal, India :$162 millionRef] pass laws that they’ve written or print get-out-of-jail-free cards. They may not hande over a wheelbarrow of gold to their doors but, at least contracts for their business.

Since the real selectorate [influentials] is almost the same as the nominal selectorate [interchangables], and the coalition [essentials] pool is large, rulers in a democracy have to balance between social responsibilities and individual liberties such as education, healthcare, and a welfare safety net to benefit their supporters. And you thought, the leader cared about social justice and welfare out of the goodness of their hearts?

Well, actually they don’t. The truth is, the more productive citizens are, the larger is the treasure for representatives, and their supporters to loot from. But despite democratic representatives cutting into public funding, democracies are far better places to live than dictatorships. Not because democratic representatives are better people but because their needs happen to align with the larger portion of the population. After all, things that make the citizens more productive, also make the lives of their leaders better. Therefore they build universities, hospitals, highways and grant freedom. Whereas the incentives in a dictatorship are aligned with the fewest citizens, who are the keys to power, making them the worst to live in. For instance, all dictatorships have something in common, that is their wealth is mostly dug out of the ground, like gold or oil or diamonds or similar., which can be exploited even with dying slaves or foreign companies without any citizen involvement. So, with the citizens, outside the production cycle, they can be ignored by the rulers.

Threshold

To understand, what separates democracy from dictatorship, we must understand why only the best & smartest democracies and the worst & richest dictatorships are stable.

The best democracies are stable, not because a large number of supporters and their competing desires make dictatorial revolt impossible. But because such revolt would destroy the very wealth it intends to capture. The more educated and freer citizens of democracy understand the fact that, once a dictator is in power he is very much likely to cull key supporters of the coup. So, these potential supporters must weigh the probability of surviving the cull and getting the rewards versus the risk of being on the wrong side. Which is a terrible gamble, as they already have the resources and freedoms that people lack in other regimes, so why risk it [e.g: Turkey’s failed coup].

The more the wealth of a nation comes from its productive citizens the more the power is spread out. So, the ruler must maintain the quality of life for its citizens if he wants to remain in power. But, if the same democracy becomes very poor or a resource that dwarfs the productivity of its citizens is found then the odds change making it possible for a small group to seize power [e.g: zimbabwe]. You see, democracies fail not because some men are monsters while others merciful; after all, no king can be good, kind or glorious if his subjects are poor but because states don’t have interests, people do. Everything in politics, from war to foreign aid to political dynasties to corruption is about survival and power.

Resource-Rich dictators build roads only from their ports to the resources and from their palace to the airport and the people stay quiet. Not because this is fine or even because they’re scared, but because starving disconnected and illiterate don’t make good revolutionaries [e.g: North Korea, Iraq]. Whereas a middling dictator without resources has to take a large amount of wealth directly from his poor citizens, so he must maintain some minimums of life for the citizens. And keeping them somewhat connected and somewhat educated and somewhat healthy makes them more able to revolt [look at the two Congo’s in africa].

But understand this, people storming the gates and overthrowing their overlords is fantasy because people never replace the king, the court replaces the king using the people’s protest. The only reason people storm the palace and remove dictators is that the army lets them because the leader has lost control over his keys and is being replaced. In fact in almost all cases of revolts [like in middle east = Arab Spring] dictators were replaced with someone same if not worse, often ending in a stronger ruler less likely to build bridges and more loyal to his keys who put him there [e.g: Iran].

Conclusion

Agreed, there is no “perfect democracy”, and democracies have their strong and weak points, but in comparison to other regime types, democracies tend to provide the most checks on the authority of government while providing the most protection of the civil rights and liberties of individuals. For rulers come in many forms and the rules of politics apply to all and explain their actions and If you ever want the change you dream about, then you cannot ignore structures of power because without power you can affect nothing.

All in all, you be the judge, whether a democracy is a utopia or not? One man’s utopia can be someone’s dystopia, aptly portrayed in 1997 – Gattaca and 2002 – Equilibrium. We the citizens of the democracy do enjoy many liberties but are much more ignorant of the power structures and laws that govern them. The book: “The Dictator’s Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics” if not the best, one of the best books on politics. I have got an audiobook if you want you too can download it from here.

Reference :

  1. Socrates : The School of Life
  2. Power : Ted-Ed
  3. Rules for Rulers : CPGrey
  4. The Dictator’s Handbok by Bruce Bueno De Mesquita, Alastair Smith
  5. How to Spot a Demagouge

 

Ode to Man

Ode to man
The king is as much a man,
As is a puny and destitute beggar.

A munificent philanthropist is as much a man,
As is an avaricious mercenary or an indefatigable conscript.

It is man who constructs temples, so is the man who ordains monks or monarch
It is man who construes philosophy, as is he, who defiles its austerity.

A vicious slayer is, as much a man,
As is a magnanimous savior.

It is man who exploits another, so is the man who liberates them
It is man who fumbles for help, so is he, who comes to his aid.

From a frivolous loon to a coward renegade,
From a chivalrous king to a gallant knight

It is man who rules a million heart, so is him who ruins a lone one
It is him who he yearns for, so is him who he despises
It is man who professes off worthiness, so is he who confesses of worthlessness.
It is man who is GOOD, so is he who is EVIL

What is Altruism ?

Image result for Altruism

Altruism is not for those who are inherently perfect nor is it for those trying to be perfect. Altruism is for those who show disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of other or for those who believe in doing the selfless deed without ranting about it to the entire world. It is all about being magnanimous, showing benevolence and performing self-sacrifice.

But tell me, have you ever found a deed that is selfless or magnanimous. It doesn’t matter whether you are a saint or an ordinary man. Some way or other your altruistic instincts are always fed by the hunger for glory or fame. Whether consciously or unconsciously, it is this thirst for glory and fame that is steering you towards generosity and bounteousness.

In fact, the entire premise of altruism is fueled by the insecurities and paranoia instilled by religion over the centuries. Take away the premise of heavenly adobe or nirvana and poof goes the concept into the thin air. Even Atheist, heathens and agnostics are no better than theist or deist. The atheists may not believe in God or religion but they sure do believe in making a name for themselves in history.

Just think about it, If people donate for the construction of churches, temples or mosque they are glorified for generosity and poise. But wouldn’t it would have been same if they just burnt that money on a pyre. There are far more important issues in this world than making a glorified hall for someone whose very existing is questionable.

This society condemns philanthropy by labeling it as a means to rinse one’s sin. But why the heck does it forgets to look at a mirror when it does the same every day. You or me paying a beggar is not altruism at the very best it’s egotism.

People act for many reasons; but for whom, or what, they act or should act is immaterial. No individual can ever act only according to his or her own interests without regard for others nor can they ever truly act for others in complete disregard for his or her own interests.

In fact, a person’s acts are determined by prior events; essentially taking away the concept of choice. But as it turns out in the grand scheme of things, a person obviously possesses some control over his or her next action. So, morally speaking, the ideals of altruism or egotism or egoism are illogical. One should pursue their own interests but without disregard to others’ interest and to an extent which is praiseworthy when compared to self-regarding acts.

The definitions in case you were wondering:
Heathens: Those who don’t adhere to a widely held religion (pagans)
Theist: believes in God but does not believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, nor in a divine revelation
Deist: believes in God but does not believe in his superintendence and government, not in the doctrine of the trinity or divine revelation.
Agnostic: believes only what is knowable.