Journal : Governance

What are some objective metrics for quality of governance ?

GDP (Gross Domestic Product) PPP (Purchasing P...

01 Number and Effectiveness of autonomous institutions directly accessible to public to lodge grievances, complaints, suggestions… pertaining to public admn personnel, machinery, policy and performance.

02 The Ratio of what it costs to avail basic necessities – food, clothes, shelter, health care, transportation –  to what is the avg per capita GDP.

03 True Unemployment ratio to employable pool available in different skill, education, age groups.

04 Price rise year -on-year compared to rise in income strata wise.

05 Satisfaction Level of the poorest strata with public welfare and distribution system.

06 Number of health care personnel per 1000 population nationally and region, area, locality wise.

07 Availability and Cost of justice … to common populace.

08 Period it takes to dispose judicial cases.

09 Backlog of cases pending in law courts.

10 Ease of filing FIR with police, its disposal period and rate of conviction.

And so it continues …

Gross Domestic Product
Gross Domestic Product (Photo credit: gothick_matt)

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Journal : June 20, 2013

It’s a depressing morning.

The colossal calamity due Nature’s fury in Uttarakhand is heart wrenching and the global despair I read in outpourings of minds aware dumps me in darkness. In the celestial underground, Sisyphus eyes the rock before starting to heave against it, in order to roll it back up to the top of the hill.

*  *  *

Bank of America- Funding Coal, killing Communities

‘We Were Told To Lie,’

Say Bank Of America Employees

http://fe.gd/yuH

“The government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP),

which gave banks cash incentives to modify loans under certain standards,

was supposed to streamline the process and help up to 4 million struggling homeowners

(to date, active permanent modifications number about 870,000). In reality, Bank of America used it as a tool, say these former employees, to squeeze as much money as possible out of struggling borrowers before eventually foreclosing on them. Borrowers were supposed to make three trial payments before the loan modification became permanent; in actuality, many borrowers would make payments for a year or more, only to find themselves rejected for a permanent modification, and then owing the difference between the trial modification and their original payment.”

Six former employees and one contractor say Bank of America’s mortgage servicing unit consistently lied to homeowners, fraudulently denied loan modifications and offered bonuses to staff for intentionally pushing people into foreclosure.

The allegations were made in sworn statements added to a civil lawsuit filed in federal court in Massachusetts.

Have we evolved as yet
to having severely punishing laws
against Corporate lies and fraudulent behaviour ?

*  *  *

Call 1098, if you have after-party food that is likely to be wasted !

It’s the Child Helpline in India. They will come and collect the food. It’ll nourish the starved and the half-hungry; and, perhaps, inform him of how the more advantaged in society, in his very own country, live it off.

*  *  *

How Money Makes You Lie and Cheat

http://fe.gd/yuM

The Rich Are Different :

More Money, Less Empathy

http://fe.gd/yuN

Capitalism channelises bothe the strengths and failures of humanity. Unfortunately, the strengths are few; failures more severe and far too many.

But humanity’s misfortune does not end there. It quadruples with capitalist success; for then, they have concentrated the resources and the means of Surround Propaganda, to beat the dead horse to wonderful tunes of intoxicating music !

*  *  *

In my country …

English: Kedarnath Temple, Uttarakhand
Kedarnath Temple (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Several Thousands have been killed.

Hundreds of Thousands are stranded for days …

in Uttarakhand.

 ‘I watched my wife being swept away by the torrent’ …

Scores of entire villages have been washed away.

The venerated Kedarnath Temple site is back to how it was 500 years ago !

The catastrophe renders our political process so peurile.

The populist democracy has nothing in it to take up long-term interests of humanity.

Do we need an autocratic leadership then ? Yes, but in this very democratic and institutional set up.

English: Narendra Modi in Press Conference
Narendra Modi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We need a leader who strong and wise.

Which is why I regard Sudheendra Kulkarni’s eulogy for BJP‘s LK Advani,

his former boss and mentor, as trash;

his diatribe against Narendra Modi, the one leader I have come to trust for now,

is pure dickscum.

The fellow is making career out political brokering.

Then, there are these small minds who’ve begun their ‘aerial’ visits

and announcing a few ‘millions’ in assistance.

Typically Congressmen, who neither have the balls nor the intelligence

— a perfect mix for moral torpidity, corruption and debauchery.

It has taken the spine out of watchdog institutions,

the bureaucracy and a good part of judiciary.

The Congress leaders compare so vulgarly with the champions who’ve waded the ground with their personal presence, their hand and

RSS Flag
RSS Flag (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

provisions, medicines and relief. They are the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh

the RSS, who are the first and completely engaged with any national calamity anywhere.

Am I ‘Sanghi’ ? They don’t even know that I exist.

Or a ‘BJP’wala ? The answer is the same. I’ve never been anywhere close to them anytime in my life.

All that I observe and assess draws my empathy and affiliation. It political, not politics.

Hell, I would not even exactly agree with the slogan : India First …

If it also does not mean : People First ! That’s where my entire concern is anchored.

the-log-hut-blog-header-009.jpg

A Recipe : Ashoka Soup

 

I’ve given it a name to suit its character … healthy vegetarian.

IMG_5000

Ingradients, for 4 :

Light Oil – 1/2 tbsp

Asafeotida – 2 pinch 

[A]

Onion, small – 1

Garlic, cloves – 8 to 10

Green chillies – 2

[B]

Indian Tomato – 2

( These are more sour than hybrids.)

Mint leaf – 6

[C]

Yogurt – 2 tbsp

Hot & Sour Soup Powder, 1 – 1/2 tbsp

(Use any other soup powder; accordingly

  compensate with pepper and souring agent.)

Black Pepper – 1/4 tsp

Garam Masala – 1/4 tsp

Salt – 1/2 tsp or to suit

Sugar – 1/4 tsp or to suit

Raw Mango Powder, 1/2 tsp

4 cups of water

Method :

Use your mixer to make ingradients [A] and [B] into separate pastes. Keep aside.

Stir mix ingradients [C] well. Keep aside.

Heat a small pot on induction. Add oil. Add asafeotida. Turn to sim. Roast till light brown.

Add paste [A]. Turn up heat for a minute. Keep on sim and stir till it starts browning at bottom.

Add paste [B]. Turn up heat for a minute or so. Keep on sim and stir till it dries up somewhat.

Add mix [C]. Add water. Turn up the heat, stirring the bottom from time to time, till boil.

Sim down and let it remain on slow boil for about 7 – 10 minutes.

Serve : With accompaniments as it suits.

A soft boiled egg and a crisp toasted slice of bread would be fine.

Indian Economic Reforms … My Foot !

I don’t deny that this GDP may have a meaning – National, for the international community, and State, for the Federal Govt. But what does it mean for the people ?

To be useful for framing our economic policies, GDP must be broken up Income Group wise, adjusted for inflation !

And, why do we presume that 40% of our population who are already half-starved and fully miserable would not be any worse off with 7% – 25% real rate of inflation per annum ? Are doles and subsidies, however targeted and if not tapped away by our netas and babus, any substantial remedy to their poverty ?

What kind of effing Nobel economist laureates have taken over our world order ?

What m-c value do banks add to the money they borrow @ 6 – 8% to be lending out @ 15 – 18% ?

And I see very intelligent people hailing #FDI in retail as economic “reform” !
My foot…

***   *   ***

UC … Middlemen …

1. Is this admittance of a few foreigner mega Middlemen an improvement over having thousands of Indian middlemen in the supply chain ? We all know what such wealth concentrated oligarchs can do, and actually do to subvert the public good.

2. The farmers getting a higher return is a holistic issue. What good is a higher return of Rs 5 to him when the inputs and costs of other goods he buys increase by Rs 20 ?

3. The ” Co-operative ” model has been so abused by our corrupt politicians [ our Co-op Banks for instance…] and the movement so deliberately ignored, opposed and undermined since decades … !

https://www.facebook.com/vamadevananda/posts/518447008184926

https://www.facebook.com/prithwis/posts/10151432809729746?notif_t=feed_comment_reply

An Idea :  A New Constitution with 542 States …

You might have not meant or intended that way but, as an idea, there is great merit to it :

1. Smaller 542 admn blocks … with autonomous heads within the India firmament, with accountability in a Parliament of their ilk, not politicians and partymen …

2. No elections, no political parties … a Parliament of 542 CEOs of Indian states … D

I don’t see why that has to be the case (,,, bulky…)… just remove everybody [ but for nodal offices in skeletal Federal structure ] other that the 542 Sate collectorates !

PS : Just eliminating the Political waste … parties, elections, machinations and the sham … is some evolution. I expect the Panchayats will get the primacy they deserve … Lo and Behold ! We would have transited fro electoral democracy to a Participatory one : )))

Journal : A Traditional Fare

A tradition is a family thing, possibly of a community or of a region. It is a thing we have lived with since forever, usually from even before. It could pertain to communication, attire, ritual, procedure, occasion or celebration, occupation, decoration or design, and food.

 

Traditions bring into our lives the ways preferred by generations, who found them meaninful and, at least in culinary matters, opportunities to perfect practices that yield immense satisfaction value and good, happy feelings. A great food preparation could settle much of the ills on our mind, if not all – a great state for taking up almost any other activity including sleep, a wonderful way to heal ourselves of residual stresses and strains.

The thought of writing this column occurred some days before while savouring a dish I have dug into all my life. It is called ” Gojha ” in my house and in our native place in Bhojpur, on the southern side of the Gangetic plain, half-way between Varanasi and Patna. At other places in the vast region around, it is known as Rikwachh or Girwachh. It is a simple if time-consuming and recipe-sensitive preparation made of colocassia leaves.

The vegetable proper is a tuber that grows below the soil top. Locally, it is called Kanda, Arbi or Arwi. The tuber and the leaves of the plant have high oxalic acid content which, if not appropriately tempered by a measure of sourness, causes itching in the throat. The compound is stated to deplete insigficant amounts of calcium from the body, on one hand, and is an essential catalyser for immune system effects, on the other, as a natural chemotherapy against rogue cancerous growth and vigorous antidote to viral, bacterial and vascular formations.

Before we include the dish in our menu for the day, we need to glance at the calender : the leaves are only available in the monsoon months of July and August, perhaps a few days before and after. Then, one needs to know or have a clue where they would be available. They are unlikely to be found in the vegetable section of branded retail shops in city malls.

A weekly haat or locality bazaar nearby would be good bet, where hawkers of the whole range of seasonal and perennial produce converge on a particular weekday, set up roadside shops in the evening in baskets or on carts, and even on the ground over thick gunny spreads. The crowded congregation is loud with curses and caution-calls frequently heard from passers-by on foot, bicycles, mobikes or cars, and hawkers voicing rhythmic words in their very own peculiar but artful ways. The brightly lit mela wraps up late, between ten and eleven in the night, if it has not rained or is not likely to. The maid of the house could be a tremendous one to outsource the job of procuring the dark green arbi-ka-patta, as I would specify to her in my dialect.

Preparation

Buy a few bundles of colocassia leaves. They come with the stalk.

Choose the ones that have younger, fresh looking leaves.

Cut off the stems, wash the leaves thoroughly and put them in a basket.

Leave them to drain and dry.

Prepare a flowing mix of chikpea flour with water, which will add to taste as well as serve to bind the leaf layers. A less flowing mix will end being spread in thicker layers that will harden the final product, an undesirable attribute. Maybe 7 – 8 gm of the flour per average sized leaf of about 7″ – 8″ length…

Now add to the paste :

1 A souring agent, in sufficient enough concentration…

We’d use dry raw mango pieces, about 9 – 10. Leave it soaked in water for 5 – 6 hours before grinding it to paste.

Or, add about 2 tbsp of raw mango powder, that is “aamchuur.”

( for about 40 leaves, big and small, and 300 gm of flour used. )

Add a dash of lemon to give it a flavour.

2 Chilly

Green Paste, about 1 tbsp full, for 300 gm of flour used.

Red, about 3/4 tsp … in same proportion.

Pepper, about 3/4 tsp … or a pinch less. 

3 Garlic Paste, about 1 tbsp … 10 good size cloves. 

4 Ginger Paste, a little more than 1 tsp … 

5 Cumin Powder, a pinch less than 1 tsp …

6 Garam Masala, a little more than 1 tsp …

7 Turmeric Powder, about 1/2 tsp … 

8 Salt, about 1 & a 1/2 tsp … er, make it to taste. 

Now we have the leaves and the paste before us. Start dressing the leaves by shaving off the thicker veins on them. It’s more to do with difficulty of rolling up the layered leaves than taste. Thicker veins would pierce and tear the adjacent leaf layers, while rolling them into a cylindrical form. But take care while shaving … not to cut off excessively and cause holes through the leaf. 

Take a large steel plate with high enough edges and place it upside down, to keep the flat top up.

Choose one of the largest leaf in the basket and spread it face down on the flat top. The side would be lighter green and we would see the prominent veins and the places they have been shaved off.

Now begins the application of the prepared batter on the back of the leaves.

We do it best by the palm; dip it face down on the surface, flip the fingers a little into it and, with a carving action over the surface, pick up a lyer of the paste on the palm. Place the laden palm on the leaf and rub over it in one direction, spreading the potent mix all over. Repeat as necessary.

Place another leaf, back side up, and repeat the process.

Take care while placing the leaves on top of the one below, to ensure the area is almost equally covered by the subsequent leaves. So that, when the layers are sufficiently done, the entire spread is equally thick, barring the edges.

Fold the edges to straight line, at the left and right, and start rolling from below ( closest to yourself ) up. Keep it tight, not allowing to loosen while rolling the layered lot into a cylindrical shape.

We’ve now got an interim fruit of our labour : the roll. Make a couple more … Then, put them to steam for about 40 – 45 minutes. We put them in the separators, in its pressure cooker, without the weight on the lid.

Before you decide to shut the flame, check if the rolls are cooked : put a thin wire, knife or fork, and allow it to fall through roll … it should with ease. Take it off the steamer and allow it to cool. Putting it in the fridge for a while, for it to harden, is a good idea. It helps in cutting it up into inch – wide slices.

We stir fry the Gojha slices … with a little oil, usually mustard, and some mustard seeds and a few broken red chillies to raise the flavour and enhance the taste.

These delicious slices are part of our lunch or dinner, mostly with plain rice … Enjoy !

Journal : My Recent Musings

 

How exactly do you specify that ? Being Human, that is…

Put aside the biologist telling you of your classification or the scientist detailing the features… What exactly tells that you are a human being, apart from the rest of the animal kind ?

I know it is easy to go frivolous, or quote the millions of texts in the library. But what does it mean to you, that you can vouch for, pointedly ?

What sets me apart is my capacity to know, to engage single-minded in that process of discovery of what I seek to know, one after another, and to be able to tell myself what I do know, its how and why, and share it with others. The knowing leads me everywhere… into the universe, the earth, environment, other beings and things, language, arts, economics, values system, and myself.

The next important capacity is to love other people, not just my own offspring, not just for people’s utility value or until they are useful to me, but precisely because of the lifetime of knowing they represent, and
for the values they embody on account of what they know. In fact, love isn’t just directed towards individuals… it invariably includes the “good,” life and growth, light, greenery, panorama, beauty, truth, honesty, freedom, expression… and much of what the universe itself is.

What else or more, as it is with you ?

*   *   *

Cool, L.
But animals can’t tell themselves what they know or and consciously decide to investigate what they do not know, nor can they share with others what they know or invite co-operation of others at investigating what they do not know… in such precision, complexity and detail as human beings can.

There’s no problem, A. Just an attempt at questioning myself at what I might be taking for granted… that, I am a human being, without really, really knowing what that specially and specifically means.

*   *   *

If mere being raised by human beings, and being a part of their family, is the criterion… I’m afraid, even dogs and cats can lay a claim to being human.

#*BrainIsNotTheMind*<https://twitter.com/search/?q=%23BrainIsNotTheMind&src=hash>

I’ve never held in hand or dived into the brain 2 connect neurones, or throttle endocrine glands, 2 deal with matters in the mind !

And, to those who continue to primacy to the animal in man … I’ve not known of any animal devising 84 different, well thought out positions to copulate, or prepare thousands of distinct food preparations and still distinguish their flavours enough to write volumes on each !

*   *   *

*Let me push through one “ridiculous” instance of what it is to be human, of his capacity to know …*

* Is there life after death ? “ What will happen to me after death ?”*

<https://vamadevananda.wordpress.com/2012/08/01/journal-atharva-veda-pa…>

*These questions seem irrelevant while one is alive and doing well for oneself, in a position to power our way through life and the world before us. But then, who is to restrain us from being whimsical or cruel, unjust and uncaring ? It must be ourselves, for the law allows much transgression in ethics and rarely concerns itself with morals. And, scouring through history or looking about us for how resourceful people behave, it is easy to conclude that men are poor, almost disabled, at doing the job of keeping themselves under their own leash.*

*On the other hand, if it were established that there is life after death, that we shall be put to account for our actions in life, the knowledge would have a profound bearing on how we conduct ourselves here and now.*

I believe most humans do not want to believe that this could be a fact and, indeed, fervently hope they would NOT have to live with the “moral” consequences of their intent and deeds on their conscience even after they’ve breathed their last !

But we’ve heard of cries of truth being “outlandish” before !

*   *   *

Couldn’t disagree with a word of what you said. It’s sickening how they parrot calls for “lasting peace” and cannot have a larger expanse than their family or own body ,,, than their daily dime or a lifetime !

The promised morality and ethics of the rationalist, materialist, and that pitiable bundle of confusion called “relativist” is more a delusion or pious wish, in actual effect. Because morals cannot be derived from the phenomena; they are matters of fact evident to the universal and dilated witness… the truth.

*   *   *

Truth … *sigh* … is not in what we pick up in the book, what Momma says, what ‘great’ men seem or say, not even in what I feel or think or know … it is first and foremost in what I see and know of *my* self, sans thoughts and meanings… in the way I am, within the body-mind structure, and their sub-structures, the subconscious qualifications and attributes that pre-load me and form and shape my emotions and will, my thoughts and meanings, the knowledge I think I know, and the very idea I have of myself.

It’s only after we’ve covered that distance upto ourself … do we get the perspective of the universal structures, material and mental, and its very cause.

Truth … is NEVER contradicted. One may be superseded by a higher, more fundamental or universal one, but never contradicted.

There may not be a truth in our knowledge to accord with that rigorous definition ! Even gravity gets contradicted by a little sprout … it grows upward !

*   *   *

Truth is truth for all times… not yours or mine, local or universal ! No, no, there no scorn or smirk I have while I’m releasing the reply… The fact is that there isn’t anybody who can offer something anywhere close to
this rigorous criteria. And, nobody cares, about that poverty… of truth, in truth !

I just saw a response that seemed to equate the truth with crap… God bless.

And, too, I saw A. go on the defense, perhaps because the doubts did creep in. Or, because he did not know what he was espousing from the start !

Yet, that is the only way forward. If one has not inched there, one has been nowhere.

*   *   *

Cool comebacks …

1) If what you know is changing, then it is not the truth. You need to wait until the changing stops and you are able to say to yourself with certainty that this it … what I now know holds good forever. It does not depend even upon me ! Or, you need to look elsewhere.

2) Truth is not subjective. It is of the subject, but not dependent upon the subject. Whether one knows or not, knows correctly, completely or incorrectly, incompletely … the truth remains, as it ever was and will forever be.

Truth is not understanding, thought, idea or speculation. It is futile, as in it does not make us richer or powerful, nor can it applied technologically.

But it illuminate us and, through that, illuminates all phenomena mental and physical. And that is an infinitely powerful way to be… without fear, want or hurry, without the least sense of inadequacy or incompletion. without any subconscious.

Suppose, I am handed a bolt and asked what is it means. I wouldn’t know a shite except for the description, as it looks and can be metallurgically tested. It’s only when I discover that it is a critical member of an aeroplane, the functions it facilitates, on which hundreds of lives depend … do I get to know what it really means.

So too is the pin hole view : it is a view alright. But what is it of ? I wouldn’t know until I look upon the entire panorama. The whole system view or the universal view, the complete view is absolutely essential, even if I have to understand what a blade of grass means !

That is what truth offers.

*   *   *

“The Soul is One, not many, as is claimed in common parlance in such terms as : my soul, his very soul, the soul of the man, etc… The same Soul reflects in each ideate impression of the individual self in the Mental Space and vests it with its own separate – I – consciousness.”

——

“In truth, the Mental universe of the individual self is more real, infinitely more real, than its material one.”

*   *   *

The #Muslim Herd : @ http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/mob-turns-violent-in-lucknow-mediapersons-thrashed/1/213643.html

Maulana Fazlur Rahman Waizi is the imam of Teele Wali Masjid. He is known for his proximity with PWD minister Shivpal

 Singh Yadav and was prominently present in Thursday’s roza iftar party of chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.

On Friday, after their communal prayer, the Maulana called upon the community to get ready for a bigger war. So, the #Muslim herd rioted, beat up media persons in sympathy with a rioter arrested for Mumbai riots, destroyed vehicles, and left the society in terror !

Is this the form and shape of the “bigger war” Muslim community leaders are preparing for in this country ?

——
‎#India #Hindus r a spiritually secure, OPEN society w/out obligation 2 clerics or community ldrs. #Muslims r opposite, in ghettos n herds.
*   *   *
This is a very traditional fare, slightly laboriously prepared but in varied taste, flavour and form, and called, as it suits from home to home, region to region, in the Indian subcontinent.

What is it ? Clue : It is a seasonal thing, limited to monsoon months from June to Sept…

A blogpost on this preparation, which I personally dig, might take shape soon.

Photo: This is a very traditional fare, slightly laboriously prepared but in varied taste, flavour and form, and called, as it suits from home to home, region to region, in the Indian subcontinent.

What is it ? Clue : It is a seasonal thing, limited to monsoon months from June to Sept...

A blogpost on this preparation, which I personally dig, might take shape soon.