Huseyn Suhrawardy , Nehru and Historians

Problem with Indian historians is most of their assumptions are based on political situation in country and not on solid research. Unfortunately institutes like JNU are producing historians whose writings are more like emotional Bollywood stories rather than facts based on solid research.

Role of Huseyn Suhrawardy in politics of Bengal is one such example. For some historians he is murderer of hundreds of Hindus for others he is epitome of secularism.  No one wants to do objective analysis of his role.

Huseyn Suhrawardy became prime minister of Bengal in in 1946, as prime minister of a large Indian state he was responsible for safety and security of all citizens of the province. His belonged to political party called Muslim League led by Jinnah. Did he do his role well? Answer is no. Even if we assume that he was not communal, one thing definitely comes out is his incompetence. As prime minister he should have ensured safety of all citizens on Direct Action Day.

“It was fine, except the food was awful. It helped to reduce the tensions. The Hindus and Muslims of Calcutta came together, even if for just a short period, and the atmosphere began to gradually improve. Eventually, the dawn of freedom arrived August 15, 1947.”

Suhrawardy on his experience of living with Gandhi during Calcutta Riots

His incompetence led death of hundreds of Hindus and equal number of women getting raped in Calcutta and Noakhali. Finally to save his reputation he asked Gandhi to manage the situation. He never understood that his job was to ensure welfare of both Hindus and Muslims, not just Muslims.

“Late Huseyn Suhrawardy was the man who fought his way to bring Bengal on the map of Pakistan; to achieve this objective he got a resolution passed by the Legislators’ Convention. As Chief Minister of United Bengal, he supported and served Muslims during the riots to such a degree that Hindus in Bengal would never put his role out of their minds. Not only this, but for the whole duration of Pakistan Movement, he had been the Secretary-General of Muslim League Bengal and an active member of the Party.”

-Pir Ali Muhammad Rashdi, Pakistani Politician and Writer

Next Suhrawardy came up with another hare brained scheme of declaring whole province of Bengal as independent nation. He wanted Congress leaders to also to join in this scheme. Scheme got blessings of Jinnah and in initial phase also from Gandhi. Some leaders like Sharat Chandra Bose too joined this scheme. Though many historians have praised this scheme, Nehru was sensible enough to see through this scheme and Congress shot down the idea. The kind of treatment leaders like Jogendranath Mandal got in Pakistan proves that Nehru was right in rejecting the idea. United Bengal under incompetent Suhrawardy would have been a disaster.

In 1947, India got partitioned and Suhrawardy became key team member of new nation of Pakistan.

He later even became prime minister of Pakistan. But soon Pakistani leadership too got fed up with him. He was forced to leave Pakistan and finally died of cardiac arrest in Beirut.

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Get ready for gig economy

Except for government jobs, there are very few “permanent” jobs in today’s world. When prime minister Modi told youths to fry paokdas and earn money, there were lot of protests… everyone wanted secure government jobs.

Job seekers should get ready for gig economy… there will be lots of jobs, but they will be short contract jobs. You will have keep yourself updated to take advantage of gig economy. The plus side of gig economy is you can keep working well beyond your age of official retirement.

“This is something that any employer can—and should—do. People do better work when they have time to relax, sleep, and refresh. Burning people out just drives them away and produces worse work output in any event.”

-Jeffery Pfeffer

Not that government jobs are ideal ,ask any banker or policeman, he/she will talk about high stress levels, work pressure and long hours of work. Stanford business school professor Jeffrey Pfeffer presented a devastating case for the negative effects of U.S. workplaces on our health in his book Dying for Paycheck. Health of employees is suffering because of long hours of work , high stress levels and fear of layoffs.

“When Dean Baker, the head of HR for Patagonia, the clothing company, worked for Sears, he received an e-mail about work late afternoon on Christmas eve. When he replied the next morning, the response he got was, “what took you so long?””

-Jeffery Pfeffer

Given such situation, gig economy may not be that bad.

 

Hugh Herr, Rebekah Marine and Meena Kumari

“We’re entering an era of human history where we’re fundamentally changing in some realm of human tool use. So, it’s interesting, when we fit a bionic appendage to a human, the comments that we often get are, “You’ve given me my body back. You’ve given me my limb back.”

-Hugh Herr, founder BiOM

In 1951, actress Meena Kumari meet with an accident, accident damaged fingers of her left hand. Even after surgery they could not correct one finger, it remined crooked. Meena Kumari was very conscious of her screen image, she did not want her deformity to be showed on screen. She came up with a solution to hide her small deformity. She always used to hide her finger by holding her sari or dress. On screen her finger was always hidden behind dress.

Had Meena Kumari been bold enough to accept her deformity, would she have been less popular? I don’t have definite answer, but my guess is it would not have made much difference.

“As a kid, I always wanted to model. I really enjoyed being in front of the camera. I was really such a ham,”

-Rebekah Marine

Rebekah Marine is an American model who had deformed right limb because of symbrachydactyly. But this deformity did not prevent her from realising her childhood dream of becoming model. She does not hesitate to show her bionic arm in her modelling assignment.

“I think people are tired of seeing the same old 5’9”, skinny, perfect model…I think people really want to see diversity in these fashion shows and diversity in models in general when you see ads. I think that’s the next chapter in the industry.”

-Rebekah Marine

Hugh Herr is an American rock climber and engineer. He lost his legs at the age of 17 years due to frostbite he suffered in accident while climbing Mount Washington. Hugh Herr converted his disability into opportunity.

“When you go into my closet, there are many, many pairs of legs. I have a running pair, I have a bionic walking pair, limbs that are waterproof, I have various legs to climb mountains and to sense steep ice walls, other feet that wedge into small rock fissures [and] others that stand on small rock edges the width of a coin.”

-Hugh Herr, founder BiOM

He used innovative ideas to design prosthesis that would help him in rock climbing. He started company called BiOM for this. In fact the prosthesis has helped him to become a better climber than before. He now can vary his height from 5 feet to 8 feet. They give him better grip and make rock climbing easier. Customisation has helped him to do tasks which he could not have done with normal legs ex. stand on rock with width of a coin.

UPSC, Coaching Classes and Batrabazi

Civil Services Exam conducted by Union Public Services Commission is considered one of the toughest exam in India. Almost one million graduates appear for this exam of which only 1000 succeed. Selected candidates become future bureaucrats of India, who implement vision of India’s political leaders.

Over 9.5 lakh candidates applied for the UPSC preliminary examination in 2017. Of these, 4, 56, 625 candidates appeared. While 13,366 candidates qualified for the Written (Main) Examination which was held in October-November last year, only 2,568 candidates made it for the Personality Test conducted in February-April 2018.

The UPSC then recommended a total of 990 candidates, including 750 men and 240 women for appointment to Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), and Indian Police Service (IPS).

What makes it so attractive are factors like authority, prestige, security and challenges associated with the job.

In northern states of India of UP and Bihar, where there are very few employment opportunities, Civil Services becomes most sought-after services. Thousands of youths from these states go to Delhi to prepare for exam. The destination is place called Mukherjee Nagar in Delhi. Mukherjee Nagar has lot of coaching classes which prepare students for such exams. The youths stay in Mukherjee Nagar for months to prepare for exam and attend these coaching classes.

But everything comes at a price. Accommodation, coaching class fees, food etc. cost thousands of rupees. Not everyone can afford it, so they share rooms, eat at road side food outlets, procure notes and get advice from seniors. Their parents at times have to sell land to finance this venture of theirs. I am calling it venture because they may not clear exam in first attempt or even after multiple attempts they may not make it.

“This is my fifth attempt. I have failed thrice before, and the journey was not easy for me,”

-Durishetty Anudeep, UPSC topper 2018

In Mukherjee Nagar everyone exploits them- landlords, coaching classes, catering services and other unscrupulous elements. It is a hard life for those living on tight budget.

Most of them meet at place called Batra Cinema and share their stories, it is called “Batrabaazi”. Batrabaazi helps them to reduce stress and could be one of the reasons why suicide rates are lower in case of UPSC aspirants than IIT aspirants at Kota.

There can be better and cheaper alternatives. Maharashtra government runs its own coaching institute called SIAC. Here accommodation and coaching are free and food cost is nominal. The institute has a high success rate. UP and Bihar government should think of something on these lines.

 

Baboons, Hyenas and Stress

“If I had to define a major depression in a single sentence, I would describe it as a “genetic/neurochemical disorder requiring a strong environmental trigger whose characteristic manifestation is an inability to appreciate sunsets.”

― Robert M. Sapolsky, Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers

Robert Sapolsky has studies troop of baboons in Africa. He came up with some interesting findings and based on his findings he has written books like “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers” and “A Primate’s Memoir”

Another scientist Kay Holekamp studied pack of hyenas in Africa, she too has come up with some interesting findings.

Findings of Kay and Robert are useful to understand organisational dynamics.

In case of hyenas, the females are larger and more aggressive than males. An alpha female leads the pack. Within group females have higher rank, while males have lower rank. The status is ascribed i.e. it passes on from mother to cubs.

“A hyena will only attack a lower-ranking animal and is invariably submissive to a higher-ranking one…. every hyena knows just who is of higher rank, who is of lower rank and which allies are present,”

-Kay Holekamp.

Males are not in a position to question the status and follow the rule. Any violation of rules means attack by female coalition and certain death. So, male will quietly accept humiliation to remain in pack. Due to their powerful jaws they are able to break bones and eat it. They don’t mind eating rotten flesh and rarely fall sick. After hunt it is females who get to eat the prey first, males have to eat whatever remains after feast i.e. bones. This equation has not changes for hundreds of years.

In case of baboons, the troop leader is alpha male, the females are less powerful and are usually submissive to alpha male. In troop there is clear hierarchy, those at lower ends are subject to abuses by those at the top of hierarchy. This constant abuse by bosses, creates lot of stress in lower order baboons.

Sapolsky in his study of baboons, found that compared to higher order baboons the lower order baboons had higher stress levels. Unlike hyenas they just don’t tolerate abuse and move on in life.

This can be applied to human organisations. In his book “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers” he gives example of zebra facing stress while facing lion. After the lion fails in his chase and zebra is safe, the stress is gone and zebra again starts grazing.

“If you’re stressed like a normal mammal in an acute physical crisis, the stress response is lifesaving. But if instead you chronically activate the stress response for reasons of psychological stress, your health suffers.”

― Robert M. Sapolsky

But in case of humans, the stress is not temporary, he is constantly under stress and this results in health problems.

The dominant baboons of the troop studies by Sapolsky were extra nasty to lower order male baboons and females. One day they ate meat from garbage dump, they wanted to have it for themselves so did not allow lower order males and females to eat it. Eating of meat resulted in diseases in dominant males and they dies.

“Some baboons have a Type A personality, and they pay for it in terms of disease… The baboons that handle stress best, in contrast, are those who have formed stable social connections.”

-Robert Sapolsky

With removal of dominant males in one stroke, the equation changed, the females took over the charge of troops. With this the culture also changed, the males stopped attacking females and even among themselves they were more peaceful. Sapolsky observed that the troop was more peaceful and stress levels were less. Less fights resulted in more bonding, and it was found that bonding helps to lower stress levels.

 

 

 

 

Bhanwari Devi, Sri Reddy and Sexual Harassment

In 1992, a social worker in Rajasthan called Bhanwari Devi was attacked by upper caste men for opposing child marriage. She was gang raped. The crime was not taken seriously by police department. As a protest against this event several women organisation filed public interest litigation in Supreme Court under collective platform of Vishakha. In 1997,Supreme Court in its landmark judgement provided definition of sexual harassment and guidelines to deal with it, popularly known as Vishakha guidelines.

Post this most organisations have come up with mechanism to prevent sexual harassment at work place.

But not all organisations follow these guidelines. The case of Tarun Tejpal clearly shows that even media is largely ignorant of these guidelines. Tarun Tejpal owner of magazine Tehelka sexually assaulted his subordinate, the organisation did nothing about it. It was only when the victim went to police that media came into action and police arrested Tarun Tejpal. Sadly, many senior male journalists supported Tarun Tejpal.

Situation in film industry is even worse. In film industry whether it is Bollywood or Tollywood or Kollywood, most of the production houses are owned by few families, most of the leading stars (mostly males) also belong to these families. Film industry is male dominated, feudal structure.

Cases of sexual harassment are many, but no one protests, because if anyone protests then these families come together and deny any work to protesters.

In Tollywood, finally one actress called Sri Reddy decided to protest against the producer who was exploiting her. But her protests were ignored, finally in desperation she stripped to attract attention of media and public towards exploitation. The reaction was swift, male fraternity attacked her on social media, they questioned her character. The Movie Artists Association ( MAA) of Telugu film industry decided to impose ban on her. While most of the stars (both male and female) kept quiet, she got support from junior artists and women’s association. Her strip protest  forced the industry to react to the issue, resulting in the MAA forming a Committee Against Sexual Harassment.

Nehru, Jinnah and Speeches

In year 1947, India was partitioned into two countries- the Hindu majority part retained the name India, while the Muslim majority part called itself, Pakistan, the land of pure.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah, a Mumbai based lawyer became leader of Pakistan, while Jawaharlal Nehru became leader of India. Both wanted their nations to be liberal democracies.

While Nehru wanted India to be a secular democracy, Jinnah’s stand on secularism was bit ambiguous. This ambiguous stand helped him to keep conservative elements and modernists together. In his speech to Constituent Assembly at Karachi, he made his views clear, he wanted all to be Pakistanis irrespective of their caste or religion.

“We should begin to work in that spirit, and in course of time all these angularities of the majority and minority communities, the Hindu community and the Muslim community — because even as regards Muslims you have Pathans, Punjabis, Shias, Sunnis and so on, and among the Hindus you have Brahmins, Vashnavas, Khatris, also Bengalees, Madrasis and so on — will vanish. …You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed — that has nothing to do with the business of the State.”

-Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Speech on 11th August 1947 at Constituent Assembly, Karachi

He believed that in course of time, Hindus and Muslims will forget their differences and will become ideal citizens of Pakistan.

“You will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus, and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State.”

-Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Speech on 11th August 1947

In his speech he also talked about ills of Indian society like corruption, bribery, black marketing, nepotism etc. He expressed wish that land of pure would be free from this evil.

“One of the biggest curses from which India is suffering — I do not say that other countries are free from it, but I think our condition is much worse — is bribery and corruption.”

-Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Speech on 11th August 1947

To show his commitment to secularism he included Hindu minister in his cabinet- Dalit leader from Bengal- Jogendranath Mandal.

The was strong demand to get rid of impurities like Ahmadiyyas, Hindus from land of pure and declare Pakistan as Islamic nation.

 “On Aug 15, 1947, the cabinet initially had eight ministers. Names of two of these ministers stand out in the much polarised Pakistan of today: Zafarullah Khan (minister of foreign affairs & commonwealth relations), and Jogendra Nath Mandal (minister of law).”

-Nadeem Paracha, Dawn

Jinnah stood strongly against conservatives and refused to declare Ahmadiyyas as non Muslims. He made Zafarullah Khan, a Ahmadiyya, foreign minister of Pakistan.

“who am I to call a person non-Muslim who calls himself a Muslim …”

-Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Press conference in Kashmir in 1940 on declaring Ahmadiyyas as non Muslims

But conversion to Islamic nation started soon after death of Jinnah in 1948. Pakistan’s Prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan started journey of Pakistan towards Islamic nation. Due to this Jogendranath Mandal left cabinet and returned to India. During Bhutto’s regime Ahmadiyyas were declared as non-Muslims. General Zia accelerated the process of Islamisation and speech of Jinnah was forgotten. Today no one can find audio tapes of Jinnah’s speech.

“The speech disappeared after 1977 when Gen Zia came to power through a reactionary coup. It remained expunged from textbooks and state-owned media for the next three decades. It was only periodically reproduced in books by ‘revisionist historians’ and scholars such as Sibte Hasan, Ayesha Jalal, K.K. Aziz and Dr Mubarak Ali.”

-Nadeem Paracha, Dawn

Meanwhile in India, Nehru in his famous “Tryst with Destiny” speech expressed his desire to make India a great nation, free of religious bias. Nehru’s speech was more ideological as against practical speech of Jinnah. India of today is not much different from what it was during independence. The level of secularism, democracy, corruption, black money, nepotism etc remained largely unchanged.

We Indians are like this only.

“We have hard work ahead. There is no resting for any one of us till we redeem our pledge in full, till we make all the people of India what destiny intended them to be. We are citizens of a great country on the verge of bold advance, and we have to live up to that high standard. All of us, to whatever religion we may belong, are equally the children of India with equal rights, privileges and obligations. We cannot encourage communalism or narrow-mindedness, for no nation can be great whose people are narrow in thought or in action.”

-Jawaharlal Nehru, Speech on 15th August 1947, Constituent Assembly, New Delhi