| … | γνῶθι σ0εαυτὸν | बूद्धूराम् | … | If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed" ~~ Mark Twain | especially with 'The Hindu' – India's notional noosefaffer! |

[+1] paperback activists considered really, really harmful

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So, you have read the intro+first part of this series —  paperback activists considered really, really harmful.  Yeah?

And, you want to continue? umm,  are you really  sure?

Scenario #3

Dick McLament never tires of sadly recounting those harrowing days as a hosteler  at his grad school, even after the lapse of a full decade, following ‘those’ troubling days… “As my father did not approve of my activities at my grad school, he suddenly stopped sending money to me…”  In a very pitiful tone, he would add that, subsequently (and consequently) he had to go without his morning breakfast most of the days… that, even if he were to have a breakfast, he could just manage to eat only a bun in the place of a hearty meal because of this reason, he would add with a choking voice! Tch tch


    1. What makes Dick McLament think that his father has to support him, even after he has gone well beyond the age of  ‘majority?’
    2. Does Dick acknowledge that, he had been educated in one of the ‘best’ public schools – leaving a big hole in the pocket of his father – and that as per the rules of the game, if one takes money from someone he/she has to do the bidding of the benefactor?
    3. What really prevented Dick from actually taking a part time job – at the library / mess / nearby teashop? Is it because of a false sense of ‘indignity‘ of labor or a plain inability to think of a solution? (I fully agree that ‘perceived martyrdom of an idealist’ at an young age makes many variants of interesting and heart wrenching –  ‘in those days, I was…’ – kind of anecdotes, in later  life)
    4. What makes Dick assume that these kinds of sob stories are pretty gripping and that the listeners are even remotely interested?
    5. Does clinging on to the past glories (hic) and adamant refusal to look ahead, take anyone anywhere?
    6. Anyway, can’t he see that if he had continued to eat ‘only’ one bun for breakfast, at least he would not have developed a pot and ponderously thundering belly and instead, be at least reasonably healthy?

Scenario #4

Samaaj Newsreaderwallah is fuming. He has read in a newspaper some incendiary stuff. Mommeee! Of course, for Samaaj, this is his only source of wisdom, after all, who has the time to do research these days, in spite of the fact that we have much better access to information compared to yesteryears… and anyway, if one has to do elaborate research how can one mouth instant solutions and erudite opinions…  Anywa, he has read that Narendra Modi is targeting the minorities and has a plan for ‘ethnic cleansing!’ – When asked for proof, he said it is obvious from the ‘fact’ that Narendra Modi did not have ONE friend from minorities… and not even a SINGLE magazine supports Narendra Modi…


    1. Does Samaaj know what is meant by ‘ethnic cleansing?’
    2. Does anyone know of any plan to this effect?
    3. He seems to have read that famous rant against the way the mass media operate – ‘Manufacturing consent’ by Noam Chomsky – wouldn’t he apply the same theory of filters to the news he reads?
    4. How many friends from ‘minority’ that Samaaj has? Does this mean that Samaaj has a major issue with the minorities? Or better still, does Samaaj want to subject them to ‘genocide?’
    5. How does he ‘know’ that Modi does not have friends & followers in the so called ‘minority’ communities?
    6. Has he at least been to Gujarat to study what is happening there? Sure there are genuine problems, but they cannot be addressed from the confines of a swivel chair! If it is not so very  important enough for him to go there and check facts, is it important to be talking (in vain) about?

Am not holding a brief for Narendra Modi – but is it not unfair  to brand a person based on a few pieces of newspaper reportage, reports from ‘foreign funded’ NGOs and the like? Is a life ‘belonging’ to one sect, superior to that of another?

On the other hand, how does one learn to differentiate between news, analysis, opinion, propaganda (with appropriate overloading of left or right spins) and good ol’ undiluted venom – the last, from folks like Teesta Setalwad, Mallika Sarabhai and Sonja Ghandi?

Scenario #5

Self-anointed Geeko Rao knows that he has quite a good set of ideas; lately he has been reading ‘tabloid’ business journals and is forever talking about ‘providing value  to customers!’ Yikes!! Geeko says that, he has come up with very eminent product ‘ideas’ – of course he feels that they were all capable of ‘providing value to customers’ – but then, they weren’t pursued by the sales people in his company at all! Horror of all horrors! :-( “One very seriously wants to contribute to the company – and look what they are doing to me” – all that lament again!


    1. Has Geeko ever in his life been successful in selling at least a safety pin?
    2. Does he know that value is a perception? And that, if an offering from X is perceived to be useful to Y then, Y would like to acquire it – no matter what Geeko thinks about the offering/X?
    3. Does he still believe that a merely whipped up idea can solve business problems?
    4. What does he know about positioning, packaging and market segmentation, winning deals, closures and… ?

It is all so very easy  to talk derogatorily about the marketing/sales folks. In my opinion, if one is convinced about an idea, then he/she should be willing to defend it – from all perspectives. And, what about branching off on ones own, if one is so very convinced about the business proposition stemming from a technology idea?

Scenario #6

A few years’ back I met with David Goliath, who I thought was a normal, next door guy – all along. But suddenly, during the course of a pleasant evening, he stormed out of his room saying that ‘It is only after the Bretton woods agreement of 1944 that the seeds were sown for MNCs! These bloody Multinational Corporations are responsible for all the ills of the world!’

Though I was instantly blinded by this dazzling  flash of original insight, later, I found that he had lately been going through Dave Korten’s ‘When corporations rule the world.‘ It would not be out of place to mention that he was working as a programmer with a big MNC, of course. But probably, he was there to get some ‘insider’ perspective! ;-)


    1. If he were so sure that MNCs are the bane of humanity, why did he continue to work for them?
    2. Assuming that David worked there to get some ‘insider’ perspective, did he try to do any whistle blowing there?
    3. The fact is that this particular MNC routinely manages to evade income tax – with respect to its employees… In this context, did Dave at least pay his income taxes, without fudging figures…. (I know, I know… ‘they didn’t want me to do that!’ – will be the refrain… I also agree that, it is easy to squeal like a mortally wounded pig rather than to be honest…)
    4. Has he ever participated in that lowest level activity of participating in any rally against MNCs at all?
    5. Does David see MNCs as the only problem – or looking at them as symptoms of some deeper malaise with ourselves?
    6. Assuming that we all do it for the money – did he at least refrain from consuming goods produced by MNCs when comparable swadeshi offerings were/are available…

Questions, questions…

If these kinds of guys with absolutely no ability to do research or debug, become programmers, what kind of software or hardlyware or whatever – would they be writing/designing? If my life were to depend on these kinds of programmers, I would rather getaway and take to living in caves, whatever… <chuckle>


Oh yeah – two more parts to go!  You have been warned. Don’t you go squeal  elsewhere…

JournalEntry#  14th April, 2004

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