Tag Archives: philosophy

Milk is thicker than blood – The cow controversy in India


The Indian cow controversy has gained momentum with the BJP Govt. coming into power. Recently state Governments under BJP rule have come up with open statements claiming anyone killing a cow would be hung. Social media has been in a frenzy ever since saying in India rapists can roam freely while someone who kills a cow is likely to be hung or even become a victim of vigilante justice.

There are two sides – One who wants the beef ban and one who doesn’t want it. While both have their own host of reasons, they both miss an important point that would be covered in this article. I was leaning towards the second category on accounts of personal choice and freedom and didn’t understand the logic behind banning it, but then I thought of discussing it with some educated villagers who spend time with these cows. Their viewpoint is going to be the most important and here are the findings that made me utter, ”Holy Cow”.

 

The first important thing is the relationship between a man and his animal. While BJP propagates Hindutva and cites cow worship over the centuries as the most important reason to ban its consumption, it’s important to realize the reasons for which a cow was or is worshipped in India. This can help clarify.

First of all, Hinduism is not a religion. 

There is no religion called Hinduism. There is no pappacy, no religious book saying how a Hindu should behave. Even Gita doesn’t mention the word Hindu anywhere. Hindus came to be known as such geographically.  The land between the Himalayas and Indian Ocean came to be known as Hindu. So even an earthworm in India is Hindu, just like you say ‘African elephants’.

Hinduism is devoid of rules and conventions. It grew and evolved without any councils and religious books for masses. Hinduism became a way of the society’s organization in the best possible way and spread by stories. These stories were conveyed through literature filled with moral values. Several traditional practices are continued even today. Some of the practices makes sense. Some don’t. However, Hindus have always worshipped something that makes their life useful. There are numerous examples in History that say how Hindus worshipped tools just because it made life easier and people were dependent on it. For any agricultural society, river source and cattle is essential. River provides water, cattle provides milk and other dairy products, if it’s a cow then can be used to plough the field sometimes and dung can be used either as manure to make the land more fertile or as fuel for combustion. With so many qualities in one animal it is no wonder that cow became a subject of worship by the Hindus. There were other animals providing one or more of these benefits, but the quality of benefits provided by a cow over its entire lifetime was huge. Although goat milk is easier to digest, the quantity produced is lesser than the cow milk and lactation period is also smaller. Cows made a special bondage with the owner and even today they are treated like pets. So if you protest killing of dogs in China for meat consumption now you would understand how Hindus have a concern over beef consumption.

 

Need for beef ban

For reasons mentioned above the cow owners from the Hindu section definitely have a point, but instead of giving it a religious turn and blowing things heavily into a political drama, let’s understand the actual need for beef ban.

Times have changed and India has lost its huge variety of cattle stock. Just 200 years ago, there used to be over 120 breeds of cattle and today we have only 37. The population of the native breed of cow has substantially reduced and there is a reason behind this. With many cross breeds available today, the native breed produces only one-third of the milk and lacks economic value as per most of the people.

Need for saving the native breed

The native breed of cow although produces a lower quantity of milk, it has the advantage of being native. The milk quality is good and doesn’t get stale at normal room temperatures in India, while milk from the cross breeds gets stale at temperatures above 25 degrees Celsius. The cross breeds succumb to Indian conditions and diseases more easily. So they are queued up for slaughtering so that leather industry can make use of it. Similarly, the native period is sent to the slaughterhouse much earlier to derive economic value out of it, failing to realize it could provide more economic value in the long-term. Indian breed of cow must be preserved and so should be other breeds, to maintain the quality of dairy and for the smooth ecosystem.

Cows also represent a higher evolutionary animal in the ecosystem than chickens or goats. It is a scientific fact that if you consume beef then some part of it remains undigested and present in your body for rest of the life. Indians have had a habit of failing to preserve something that lacks any economic or social value. So attaching a social value is paramount for people to value it, while passing on the understanding of economic value would take some time. Meanwhile India has become the largest exporter of beef and in many border areas like Cooch Behar cows are sent illegally to Bangladesh for consumption (Sending one cow across the border illegally fetches 5k-7k INR in hand). Before the next generation makes a Facebook page ‘Save cows’ and fails to save them, it is the prime responsibility of existing system to put a check on their depleting population. It should however be done in a legal way and attaching political drama and going to the extent of killing people won’t solve anything. It would only make people more reluctant to bow before the law.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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That Grilling Interview- Part 2


Me: Sir philosophy pursues questions rather than answers. The main source of philosophic questioning is the sense of wonder, a childlike  wonder just about everything. It starts with bewilderment, astonishment, amazement about the world, life, and ourselves. Philosophy teaches a number of skills that are valuable in a variety of professions. The hallmark of philosophy education is critical thinking and inductive reasoning. Additionally, philosophy demonstrates that problems often have multiple solutions, and teaches its students to approach problems from a number of different perspectives (“lateral thinking”). The key point to remember is that philosophy is not a collection of facts to be memorized – it is a methodological approach to thinking and problem solving, which is highly valued in a number of professions.

When I read philosophy, I find myself involved in a process of critical thinking which may develop into ‘out of the box’ thinking for me in a professional world. Most of the scientists from few past centuries have been lovers of philosophy.

 

P3: Good, convincing. You also mentioned that you write on philosophy?

Me: Yes Sir, though I have written very few such articles. One of them is also available on the Yahoo US website.

P2: Let me give you a case. Suppose you are the HR manager and an employee approaches you seeking a one week leave saying  that his mother is seriously ill. What would you do?

Me: I would first check with his colleagues if his mother is really ill. I would also check his social networking profile to see if he was planning for a vacation and just trying to fool me. If I am convinced, I would grant him the leave depending on his requirement in the office.

P2: What will you do if he is found guilty? Let’s say he has updated a Facebook status that he is about to go on a one-week trip to Goa. Won’t you lash out and make a symbol of him in front of other employees?

Me: It won’t be a good idea to lash out at him in front of others. Every employee has certain ego and a sensible manager won’t not try to hurt that. I will ask him what made him to tell me a lie. He is always free to ask for a leave in case he is in a holiday mood. It might be even possible for the whole company staff to take a break on some weekend and go on a trip together. He may very well be granted holidays if he is speaking the truth. There is no point in telling lies in a professional world, for when truth confronts you ultimately you are going to suffer.

P2: Nice approach, but how does it prevent other employees from not doing it in future?

Me: ( blank for 10 seconds, then started speaking). That is something that needs to be taken care of during the induction period itself.

P2: (nods) Hmmm…

P3: Tell me about your engineering subjects.

Me: Told him about 5-6 subjects. Then explained him about biomedical instrumentation.

P1: One last question, Bhubaneshwar is very close to your hometown, then why haven’t you applied for that campus? Why did you choose the Delhi campus?

Me: ( Seriously puzzled, couldn’t tell them on face that Bhubaneshwar campus sucks at infrastructure and its placements too… Delhi was a far better choice. Finally something clicked my mind and this is what I said). I don’t think so. In today’s world distance is a relative concept. People see distance as the time that it is going to take them to reach there. My uncle works with the UN in Sudan and takes a flight for his hometown, which lets him meet his parents within 4 hours, though Sudan is thousands of Kilometers away. My grandparents live just 500 Km away from my home, but it takes my dad an 8 hour train journey to meet his parents.

P1: Didn’t speak anything. ( Now it was his turn to go silent).

P2 and P3 are smiling.

P2: We are done. Thanks for your time.

Me: Thank you.

 

 

RESULT: I made it, but I am joining a different college since I am more interested in studying marketing.

 

 

That grilling interview-Part 1


I have attended nearly 10 interviews for admission into B-schools, in the last 2 months. The selection process for each oh them first required shortlisting done on the basis of an MBA entrance, in which I scored above 90 percentile and that was decent enough to fetch me interview calls for at least 10 schools. The interview call consists of  a Group discussion(GD)+Written essay+Personal Interview(PI).

This process was never going to be easy as one needs to have a good knowledge of current affairs to clear the GD, above average writing skills for the essay and most importantly, confident enough to clear the PI. Moreover, all of the institutes that I had applied to appear among the top 20 institutes in at least one ranking, so a tough selection procedure is followed by these.

One of these interviews will hold special importance to me. I was grilled on a lot of subjects and I had never expected so many unexpected questions in a single interview. I was grilled on almost everything I said, but I tried to remain calm and confident. I thought I shall share this experience with you all, and moreover, I can look at this post in future to assure myself that I have faced something so tough in the past.
The selection process that I am talking about is of IMI- Delhi. 1200 people had been shortlisted for the course that I had applied. Final selection would not exceed 60 which happens to be the total no. of available seats. This as going to be tough, highly competitive, but hat really bugged me was the fact that this institute had selected only 45 candidates last year, saying that they did not find anything special among rest of the people and they could not compromise with their quality just for the sake of filling 60 seats in total.

The selection process started with a written essay of 250-300 words (time limit 15 minutes). This was followed by a personality test in which we had to answer some general questions that would help the evaluators in determining some of our personality traits.

Next was the interview round. Students were divided into certain batches and each batch was assigned a panel which would interview them. I was the last person in my panel. It was 11 in the morning when I saw my name at the bottom of the PI list and I had already spent 5 hours at the interview venue. I went for documents verification, took a nap and then had my lunch. My watch read 1 P.M.

Now I had nothing to do, so I started interacting with other candidates. I talked to them about the questions that were being asked in the PI and tried to compile them at one place, but all in vain for no conclusion could be drawn from them. There was no specific pattern and it seemed what one answered for the first question lead to a series of more questions. We patiently tried to wait for our chance. I met a senior from my college who had a work-experience of 3 years. His stories only gave me more reasons to do MBA as a fresher. I tried to approach a hot chick there but she was already done with her PI and was in a hurry to leave the venue. My turn finally came up at 3:30 PM. Here starts the description of my PI in detail:

Three interviewers- P1(an HR faculty), P2 (Finace HOD), P3 (an industry expert). P3 was bald and all of them looked to be in their mid-forties. I enter the room expecting the first question to be ‘tell us about yourself!’

P1(smilingly): So you had to wait a lot, the last person. Are you annoyed?

Me: Yes sir, but thankfully, one person before me didn’t turn up and that saved my 45 minutes. Annoyed? Not at all, I just made some good friends outside. Moreover, you people have been interviewing us right from the morning, you have been busy all the time, it does not give the people like me who are just ‘waiting’ to be annoyed.

P1(no change of expression): Hmmmmmm…

P3: Tell me where are you from? What is famous about your place.

Me: My native is Jharkhand. My state is famous for Dhoni.

P3 starts laughing. P1 and P2 join him.

P3: Hahaha… not minerals, not forests, not about steel plants, but you say Dhoni.

Me: Sir that would have been my answer had you asked what’s good about my state! If you repeat your question then I will still give the same answer, because that’s how people from other stated recognize my state, that’s how my friends reacted hen I told them that I am from Jharkhand.

P3: Fine, I have already answered the good things. Tell me few bad things about your state.

Me: Poor literacy, poor infrastructure, most importantly, the political instability. There have been 8 different chief ministers of my state in the last 12 years and currently there is a President rule with no chief minister.

P3 looks convinced but doesn’t say anything.

P1: You have applied to the HR course. Tell me what interests you about HR?

Me: I love challenges. I believe that an HR professional handles the toughest job, since he has to handle people. The definition of management itself says getting things done with the help of people. This makes people the most important asset of any organization!

P1: You are a fresher. Tell me what you know about HR?

Me: (I had researched a lot on this. Told them everything that I knew).

P1: I agree with what you have said, but tell me how can you learn to manage people without having any work experience?

Me: I don’t have any work experience, but I have a ‘Life experience’. In the last 3-4 years I have desperately tried to learn ne things, failed a lot and yet never gave up. Now I have learnt most of those things. If you talk of learning then that’s the reason why I have applied to your college. I am sure I can match up with others or even outperform them with my dedication. I have made a few commitments in my life. I wake up early every morning, sweat myself in the gym, get outside my comfort zone by doing those extra Push-ups. The same discipline with which I do that one extra Push-up, the same discipline with which I push myself for trying a complex note on the guitar, that same discipline applies to all other aspects of my life.

P1: Hmmmmmmm…

Me(thinking, wtf! I just said such strong lines and all he has to say is Hmmm…!)

P2: We will give you an extempore topic now. Think for 1 min, stand and speak without stopping for 3-4 minutes). The topic is ‘ Is HR as a profession underrated’?

Me: Spoke for 3-4 minutes.

P3: What are the things that interest you?

Me: Fitness activities and playing guitar interest me a lot. I am also interested in reading and writing Philosophy.

P3: What’s the use of Philosophy? It’s just another genre, just like fiction!

…………………… TO BE CONTINUED!

Bhagawad Gita post #2 – The background


In order to understand this post please go through my previous post.

Bhisma: Bhisma was the uncle of Pandavas as well as the Kauravas. He is well known for his oath of life-long celebacy. It was Bhisma who had proposed Gandhari’s marriage with the blind Dhritarashtra. He was a very respected figure in the family.
Shakuni: Shakuni was Duryodhana’s maternal uncle ( and Gandhari’s brother). He was very intelligent but very devious too. He saw Bhisma’s proposal as demeaning. He wanted to destroy Bhisma’s clan. Gandhari ( Dhritarashtra’s wife) was married to a goat initially on the Sooth Sayers advice. Dhritarashtra was unaware of this fact. When he got to know this after his marriage, he imprisoned all the members of Gandhari’s family. Shakuni was the youngest brother of Gandhari, among her 100 other brothers. They all were sparsely fed in the prison, only one speck of rice per person for a day. The family thought that by giving all the rice to Shakuni at least one of them could survive and he could live on to take his revenge.

He got himself very close to the volatile Duryodhana. He expressed his discontentment at Bhsima’s decision to chose the eldest Pandava (Yudhisthira) as the next successor  to the throne. He said that his nephew Duryodhana should have been chosen. Shakuni is believed to be the mastermind behind the Mahabharata war.

Shakuni is often depicted as a man dressed in black clothes, sporting a white beard, wearing a half-kireetam, rubbing dice in his hands often and limping slightly while walking.

He was an evil genius who was shrewd to see through things and confident of his skills to undo the opponents. Though his designs to destroy the Pandavas failed one by one, he was still unshaken in his faith to destroy the lineage of Bhisma. He played on the virtues of the Pandavas themselves, to bring problems of serious nature. His main objective was to instigate Duryodhana against the Pandavas. He knew that only a battle between the two could destroy Dhritarashtra’s kingdom so that his revenge could be complete.
Shakuni was a renowned gambler. He always played with a loaded dice and hence enjoyed good fortune in the game. He asked Duryodhana to invite Yudhisthira for a game of gamble, put him to shame and win his kingdom from the game. When Yudhisthira got the proposal he could not refuse to play as being a true Kshatriya he could not refuse to accept a challenge. Inside his heart, he didn’t want to play the game.

The problem with NO EXPECTATIONS


You can’t lead your entire life with the motto ”No expectations!” If you don’t expect anything then you may be at a danger by going near a snake since you are not expecting it to attack you. The key is to be aware of your nature and of everything that surrounds you. Without any expectation you may miss the ‘anticipation’ part.  While one must enjoy the presence of good things surrounding them., some of the things are bad by nature and  there is a need to  avoid those things.

Here’s an old fable that I came across:

 
A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the
scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The
frog asks, “How do I know you won’t sting me?” The scorpion
says, “Because if I do, I will die too.”

scorpion

The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream,
the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of
paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown,
but has just enough time to gasp “Why?”
Replies the scorpion: “Its my nature…”