Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Free riders in the dalit movement

As I have described elsewhere, the dalit movement involves the daily struggle that dalits engage in the schools, colleges, farms, factories, offices, markets, whereby they rebel through excellence in their work to confront the prejudices. This is what the manifesto of the common Ambedkarite specifies as represented in the plethora of Ambedkar statues set up by common Ambedkarites all around the country. Essentially the Ambedkarite revolution involves rebellion through legally compliant excellent work under the constitution laid down by Ambedkar. There is nothing more needed to confront the wrong stereotypes burnt into the minds and hearts of many non-dalit Indians. It is by confronting these stereotypes that lasting social change will happen in India. Else we will merely have Gandhian token change. It is through such Ambedkarite excellence that the wealth of the dalit communities will expand and the inequalities with respect to the non-dalits will reduce. Essentially the common Ambedkarites will legally earn this wealth by growing Indian pie, rather than using non-ethical or violent means, which will be dangerous for India. The glass ceilings will be stressed through each stone (example) hurled at it by the common Ambedkarite with trust and sincerity of effort.

But as I mentioned above, there are free riding dalits, who do not want to engage in the above struggle to redeem the dalit identities in the eyes of remaining Indians, while solving the problems of the dalit community. These come in two varieties.
  • One category use benefits that their dalit identities give them under the Indian constitution, but hides this identity in later life, preventing the direct challenging of stereotypes that can result from the respective excellence that they achieve in their lives. I like to call them the Harijans. Some of  these Harijans do not achieve high stations in their life because they have fallen prey to the stereotypes about dalits, do not believe enough in themselves and do not try to achieve excellence which can cure their feelings of inadequacy which result from these stereotypes which they also believe. Other Harijans achieve high stations in their life, but do not assert their dalit identities in order to avoid creating problems in their respective social lives due to the negative aspects of these identities. This category typically uses "sanskritization" type of upward social mobility and denies any connection to Ambedkar and dalits. They are fanatic about compliance with their sanskritized identity and equally fanatic about rejecting their dalit origin.
  • The second category does not use benefits that their dalit identities give them under the Indian constitution and hide this identity in later life, preventing the direct challenging of stereotypes that can result from the respective excellence that they achieve in their lives. This category also tends to be Harijan and does not identify with Ambedkar.
I call both the above categories as free riders because both are potential beneficiaries of the revolution led by the common Ambedkarites but do not contribute to its success. After all, even if these two categories of dalits do not emphasise their dalit identities, there always are enough people who remain aware of these. These people feel that their sanskritized location in caste hierarchies are acceptable and they don't try to destroy the prejudices that this hierarchy derived on the chance of birth have embedded in Indian minds and hearts. It is the common Ambedkarites who through the manifesto described above will be destroying the prejudices that these caste hierarchies have burnt into Indian heart and minds. When the prejudices vanish, the matrimonial columns will depict this along with various other benefits that will accrue to all dalits (free riders included).

Mancur Olson described how rational choice meant that every social movement will have its share of free riders. Essentially every social movement pursues obtainment of public goods through collective action. But the very nature of public goods is that their benefits accrue even to those who did not participate in the collective action. There is an entire literature describing how individuals make the decision whether to participate in the collective action. My favourite example is Klandermans(1984).

The dalit movement needs to think hard about how to reduce the free riders by increasing the social pressure for solidarity as well as raising the profile of successful common Ambedkarites. As common Ambedkarites show case the ability to not hide their dalit identity and yet succeed significantly against prejudice in education, employment and enterprise, the number of free riders will reduce.

Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar. May his tribe increase... (A la Abou Ben Adam)

Pratap Tambay
A Common Ambedkarite.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Win win solutions to caste problems

Throughout history battles have been fought to control and impose
ownership over resources like land labor and capital. Those who win
such wars derive rents from their lower cost of utilising these
resources to generate profits and become more powerful over time due
to increase in their personal ownership over the total pool of land,
labor and capital. Competition tends to become less and less fair
for those who start late on the entreprenership. Innovation is the
only capitalistic tool to change the social ordering. The one who
manages to innovate best at least cost succeeds most in changing the
social ordering.
Most theories state that some kind of violent confrontations were
lost by dalits and the economic and social organisation imposed
over them by the winners impoverished them and marked the winners as
special aristocrats.The idiotic theories claims that dalits chose to
clean shit voluntarily and brahmins chose voluntarily to focus on
learning. These theories are not accepted by any sensible people.So caste based reservation was self awarded in the past by imposing
it through violence in the past.Now that we are in a democracy, the aim ought to make the playing
field level, so that dalit entrepreneuers have atleast as much shot
at changing the social and economic order by creating business value
through innovation. Secondly the objective should be to grow the
economy, else the battle of the ballot boxes will be limited to who
controls how much of a fixed size pool of resources or entitlements.
And if the incremental growth is distributed more to dalits, then it
will reduce the potential for violent confrontations and enable to
come to an equal level over time, without hurting the interests of
non-dalits.Hence dalits need to be involved and enabled in the creation of new
wealth. Investment in their education and in their enterprises will
create value for the whole society.That is the only win-win solution to India's problems. All the other
solutions are win-lose or enrich-impoverish solutions with potential
for violence.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Manifesto of a common Ambedkarite in face of the legacy of Gandhi

The Pune pact between Gandhi and Ambedkar resulted in the current dispensation of joint electorates instead of the separate electorates in exchange for reservations based on caste.

Ambedkar wanted separate electorates to elect representatives to a common parliament to given better quality representatives to dalits. Such representatives would have conducted the large scale social bargaining that happens through the parliamentary process necessary for the much required social change at a very high pace. Despite this device seeming to sustain the divisions between dalits and non-dalits, it would have achieved the right amount of social change much faster and reduced the divisions removing the need for separate electorates within a few generations itself

Instead Gandhi blackmailed Ambedkar to give up this demand in exchange for reservations based on caste. Pressurised by an unenlightened Bharat and India, despite knowing that this was a poorer choice for the nation, Ambedkar relented. After all India social rhetoric since independence has been about  eliminating poverty and social inequality, but the choice of Gandhian means to achieve this objective has led to failure., The fact that Gandhianism was a poor social choice is best illustrated in the quality of representatives that reservations under joint electorates have given too dalits, all  these years.

Given this legacy of Gandhi, what is the manifesto of the common Ambedkarite and why does it matter for all Indians.

The manifesto of the common Ambedkarite is to engage in social bargaining in his day-to-day personal and professional life. It is to find the Ambedkar in himself and develop the Ambedkar in himself to the stellar level that the real Ambedkar achieved in his own life. It is this manifesto of every dalit that each Ambedkar statue across the length and breadth of India expresses. Denied the social bargaining through fair representative bargaining in the Indian parliament, it is the day-to-day struggle of the each dalit whether he/she is a student, wage-labourer, private/government employee/executive/entrepreneur that seeks justice and dignity through participation on equal and fair terms in the mundane affairs of this nation. It is the slow march of such Ambedkarites distinguishing themselves through the highest Ambedkarite values (those of learning and wealth through moral means and hard work that Ambedkar embodied), that social change will eventually sweep the nation.

Why this matters to all Indians is that many Indians have lost the values that Ambedkar embodied and while following Ambedkar, the common Ambedkarites will find and create a social path not tread till this date by this nation which will finally rid it of its age-old problems. Despite allowing Ambedkar to write the laws, Indians are guilty of not giving these laws the jurisprudence they need for them to impact these age-old problems. It is the growing enlightenment and spiritual strength of the common Ambedkarites which will demonstrate to all Indians that the best interests of India lie in not obstructing the formation of proper jurisprudence and in fact encouraging more jurisprudence so that the pot of gold embedded in the Indian constitution helps India solve its age old problems without detriment to anyone. Denying justice (social as well as constitutional) to dalits and non-dalits creates a load on Indian hearts. Most Indians carry a lot of load on their hearts. It is the common Ambedkarites who through their life and work will show these Indians the way to get rid of their burdens and become free. As dalits become the elite, they will show the way to all Indians.

It is in this context that I wrote the following lines around 2004/2005.

Manifesto of a common Ambedkarite

I see pain n misery
exploitation sustainin treasury
My means are pure, my end is pure
Of my success, I am sure

Harsh words ! not my way
Immoral action ! far away
Skillful action, skillful life
Are my tools in my strife

I hate not u, I fear not u
My chains undone, I see u tied
U say u tried, I know u lied
I'll set u free, I'll be ur guide

--- Pratap Tambay 

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Rogue software - increasing scale and scope of danger

Some software is originally written for rogue purposes. Other software is later manipulated to change its purpose to include a rogue element to other innocuous software. Sometimes good software may degenerate and become rogue (from an outcome perspective) if it is difficult to correct the degeneration for some reason and one has to plan service around the rogue element

As the software density of the technosphere around humans increases, the number and significance of rogue elements of software in the technosphere for individual humans and for humanity as a whole continues to rise. Every individual already spends on preventing rogue elements like viruses/personal-data-gatherers in PC, laptop, phones already and as software becomes more embedded in consumer products and the connectedness of such software increases, the prevalence of such rogue elements will spread to them too. Most enterprises already spend money on preventing rogue software which aims to steal data and/or source code (intellectual property). Governments are setting up arms to defend countries against rogue software.

What a waste! A humanity which is not able to organise its affairs to feed some of itself, despite having the natural resources and technology to do so will definitely degenerate to increased spend on rogue software, rather than solve the real problems of humanity. As a representative of some of the most disadvantaged people in time and space, I get infuriated with the continuing inability of humanity to sort itself out. Our leaders are unenlightened idiots barely able to see and think beyond the tip of their respective noses and our systems of governance do not create the pressure for them to focus on the real problems of humanity. Islands of selfishness effectively sustain their greenery and labour prices by exporting pollution and labour exploitation to other islands and continents and yet boast about being global leaders. Technology is being wielded as a tool of exploitation under the name of more fanciful terminology and rogue software is a world domination tool. It is a tool to wreak invisible violence on individuals, firms, nations, humanity. Law and its enforcement agencies and higher level institutions are yet to evolve to catch, punish, prevent rogue software. What a waste!

As I mentioned elsewhere, the vulnerability of small and large scale software systems in our technosphere and the tendency to leak knowledge about software will result in humanity creating monsters and losing control through wilful actions by empire-builders and/or negligent actions by others. We are going to leave our progeny with a much more complex world in terms of relationships between cause and effect unless we find a new base for our legal systems, so that they prevent these things from happening. Let us pressurise our leaderships to look beyond the tip of their noses.



Saturday, September 21, 2013

Sustainable capitalism

The number and complexity of Human value-chains and "techno-ecosystems" surrounding humanity driving its daily operations is increasing. Through these, capitalism triggered replacement of nature's ecosystems, making multiple life-forms extinct. Food, the final frontier for mans dependency on nature will begin to be produced in factories shortly further accelerating this process till only humanity and its techosphere alone survive - impact on society and environment be damned. Oh! God forgive humans. They know not what they do.

Adam Smith and his followers taught us that selfishness operating through markets allocates natural resources to present and future needs of humanity. But the greed of empire-builders does this in unsustainable ways due to focus on here and now totally ignoring the impacts on far and later. The short-termism promoted by stock markets is incrementally destroying the stability of natural equilibria resulting in increasing frequencies of natural disasters. But nay-sayers are seen opposed to "progress" (as many understand it).

Capitalism's value-chains and "techno-ecosystems" are not even able to allocate natural resources to present and future needs of humanity in an equitable and fair manner yet. But voices asking for yielding of further power to the markets seem to grow stronger despite this. Supermen (Kings), Committees of smart men (Communism), Invisible hands (Capitalism) have failed to provide a system for managing this allocation in a fair and equitable manner. But humanity is wedded to antiquated institutions like nation-states (whose flimsiness is visible in the volatility of exchange rates and related havoc) and ineffective multi-lateral institutions like IMF, UN, etc. Should'nt this be the first item to change about the world? Maybe we need an fair and equitable algorithm to do the allocation.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Intellectual property - where should one draw the line between individual property, community property and humanity's property?

Just because a given person thinks a particular thought before others, should that give him or her legal rights over the thought and its implications, even if they are significant for the community or humanity? Private parties, that are able to fund thinkers/researchers to think particular thoughts expect to be compensated for their "investment" by returns generated from the knowledge generated due to the research funded by them.  Most of the time, legal regimes grant such rights for pre-specified time, after which the knowledge becomes available to others for their similar usage. This is commonly accepted as ok. But where does one draw the line?

The open ended search for knowledge and open ended building of tools using the knowledge needs to be monitored and controlled better than it has been till now. Else humanity will shoot itself in its foot. It is our responsibility to do so, else some parties will acquire control over the rest of us. Liberty is at risk from the empire-builders and their agents. There is an urgent need to regulate regarding
1. Who can research what and how?
2. What rules should be applied for controlling what research can be carried out privately?
3.  Who can fund what research and how?
4. Do such rules violate human rights of the researchers and/or funders?
5. Can such rules be implemented in practice i.e. are they practical?
6. If a particular technology can generate great benefits/risks (in a very generic sense) to the community and/or humanity, what rules should apply to researchers and/or funders?

Essentially the fundamental question of our generation is "as the relative value of intellectual property with respect to physical property continues to rise, how does one ensure that at a humanity level, we grow in knowledge and leverage its positive benefits, but we do it in a sustainable manner i.e. without putting the community and environment at risk?"

Many of us will know that this is difficult and dangerous territory. The IPR battles between multiple large players are proof enough of the capability of IPR law to drive as well as stifle innovation. It is almost as if IPR is the organising mechanism of the modern world. High IPR means high financial and social status and low IPR means low financial and social status. Not that this is surprising because this has largely been so for most of humanity's time on earth. But the scale and scope of IPR's influence is very large and growing in determining financial and social status and/or destinies of individuals and firms.While we increasingly share more and more knowledge over the Internet, the quality of knowledge available on the internet is not uniform and given the ever increasing quantity of knowledge shared on it, the elusiveness of the knowledge increment which will provide competitive advantage continues to grow as advised by Claude Shannon. But inexorably, the financial and social status correlates well with the quality of knowledge and/or its perception.

Essentially if the above mentioned regulation happens, it will have significant implications for our social and political structures, ideas/beliefs and practices? As humanity we face a large transformational challenge. If we do not take up the challenge, we will destroy ourselves in a few centuries or live in a quite different world in a few centuries. If we succeed, we might live in a very different world. I am not able to see the next paradigm shift, but what the heck - let us deal with the one we need to right now.


Pratap Tambay
25 August 2013

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The problem of retaining human knowledge over generations and its implications for complex public and private systems

The service sector is bigger than other sectors of most economies around the world and this trend is increasing further. Essentially lesser and lesser people are required to manufacture the "things" (tangible "products and" intangibles products like software or digital products) the global economy needs. More and more people derive their livelihoods by providing services around these products. Just like water/sever systems/networks, transportation system/networks (including networks of roads, railways and airports), electrical systems/networks and telecommunication systems/networks arose over previous centuries, over the last twenty five years, larger and more complex systems/networks like the Internet and Mobile networks have become common and we are seeing further expansion of networks into homes, into hitherto unexplored space on/in/outside the earth. Moreover the capabilities enabled for humanity through these networks are also increasing. Essentially each human exists within a technosphere around which we have the physical atmosphere.

My point in describing the above was to point out the changing nature of cause and effect. Previously human actions/causes resulted mostly in local effects. It was relatively easy to link cause and effect. In the technosphere, the actions of few can have immediate effect on many who may be far. The sheer complexity of the systems and their interactions have increased so much, that we are having to delegate one-level of control to systems. The drive to increase up-time, improve reliability requires us to yield further control to systems. The number of people with end-to-end understanding decreases over time since there is nothing to "worry" most of the time and slowly people lose the drive to keep in charge of the system. This is a bit like the laws and practices to retain the awareness of the fire related procedures and related periodic testing of the fire-alarms to prevent the possibility of the "rarely" required knowledge being forgotten when needed or the fire-alarm from not working when needed. But this only just a bit like the fire case. The laws and social practices needed to manage the complex systems and their interactions that humanity needs are not fully identified, because we just don't know. The complex interdependencies and dynamic interactions between the systems running our social lives and community lives continuously evolve. Given that the very purpose of delegating control to systems is to reduce human errors, humanity will lose the knowledge over time since humans will forget their specifications, their fitness-for-purpose, etc. Yet the urgency of managing knowledge better does not seem to drive the behaviour of our thought and action leaders.

Due to the slight problem that humans die and take their knowledge with them, humans have tended to lose knowledge about how to achieve Nirvana. The knowledge about achieving Nirvana involves understanding one of the most important system on earth and yet humanity has been weak at managing it as described by the Buddha himself. Complex knowledge is difficult to capture, pass to next generations. While we have writing, the meanings of words/images change. Since the practices of capturing and retaining knowledge of our globally interconnected systems are weak, this knowledge over generations is obviously going to decay over time.

Despite knowing that systems may not be reliably designed to the correct requirements, may not constantly adapt to changing requirements and despite knowing that we do not adequately understand the in-use operations of our systems adequately to control them consciously and purposefully, humanity continues to deepen the inter-connected technosphere and slowly losing control due to slow loss of knowledge about its operation. I am reminded of H.W.Longfellows lines

    Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
        And our hearts, though stout and brave,
    Still, like muffled drums, are beating
        Funeral marches to the grave.

If some crisis were to hit humanity, would we retain our knowledgebase?

Whenever I walk in some parts of London, where previously occupied buildings now lie empty and whenever I hear about nuclear plants gone Kaput, I worry about a future where not-to-knowledgeable survivors of the human race try live in a city/country/world without understanding how it works and how to make it work - very dangerous and not very different from the present, where most of us do not know because we need not know. Today we need not know and understand the technosphere, but if we do not manage the knowledge about the technosphere, we may end up in a world not unlike the empty battlefields containing multiple land-mines left by the previous world wars, where ignorant remnants of humanity struggle to survive due to their ignorance of the relationship between cause and effect in their personal and social lives.



Sunday, August 18, 2013

Humanity's problems in the generation, management and distribution of knowledge

Humanity's problems can be best explained with some imagery. Humanity is like a child whose limb called technology has grown a lot, but whose other limbs and body parts have not kept pace. So its ability to correctly use the grown limb without hurting itself (using other parts to balance/control it) is poor.

The feudal estates called schools of thought in various disciplines tend to miss the wood for the trees. Folks from one school believing in unbridled markets gained control over the world and failed to see the impact their decisions driven by their approaches were having. Despite Steve Keen's book and other work showing some of the fallacies, the reform efforts do not seem to be gathering pace. The old foggies in control of the thought streams don't want to let go of their control over their feudal estates, despite the problems in their approaches becoming evident. If their efforts in reforming their approaches were evident, one would understand and respect them. The selfish interests of a few old foggies are preventing the changes needed to reconsider the positions our institutions have been taking and adjust them to put the right bridles on capitalism.

The excessive favouring of on one school of thought from one discipline (represented by the number of academic, research positions and sponsorships) against a balanced funding of teaching, research positions and sponsorships for multiple schools of thoughts from multiple disciplines relevant to the future of humanity has brought us here. This kind of market driven decision making (because the said school of thought propelled itself through its proponents) has caused a bias in our students, professions, academia to focus on subjects and projects which generate returns here and now, irrespective of their impact far and later. As humanity, what have we done to constantly adapt to the growing progress in technology? Why should we even be surprised to find ourselves where we find ourselves? Our economics does not work, our social and political sciences have not kept us ready to manage the social and political impact of technology. Yet we trundle on irresponsibly...those in charge don't even know what deeper forces are unleashing themselves over their fields of responsibility. The spate of governments and rebel forces using chemical weapons, the spectre of technology enabled terrorism, failures in nuclear plants, increased frequency and intensity of natural disasters and man-made disasters are yet to change the beliefs and practices of humanity. Absolutely every significant study of the future points to severe challenges, but the urgency does not reflect in the pronouncements and actions of our thought and action leaders.

I posit that humanity needs to manage the process of generation, management and distribution of knowledge better starting with funding  the right people to carry out the right activities which are best for the future of humanity. It cannot happen in the lackadaisical market-driven method common till now. The negative current/future outcomes due to selfish decision-making by all cannot be prevented until we find a way of funding the research required to figure out the multi-disciplinary institutional mechanisms to learn to survive efficiently and effectively with ever evolving technology.

Funding for social sciences needs to improve and standard for them need to keep pace with those for the natural sciences and technologies. We need to learn to plan and manage large scale social and political changes needed to leverage the benefits of technologies, without incurring the problems there-of. And while doing this, we need to figure out ways (policies/actions) of preventing empire-builders to put the rest of us at risk, which pursuing competitive advantage through technologies.

A lot needs to be done...


Pratap Tambay

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Should all humans have equal access to all the knowledge of humanity?

Should all humans have equal access to all the knowledge of humanity? I read about the technological tools which were used to create the Atom bomb. How should humanity manage knowledge like the knowledge of making Atom bombs? Can the knowledge  be "managed" in terms of ensuring that it  does not  fall into the wrong hands?

As per the books  I read, significantly rudimentary tools were used to craft the American bombs used in world war II. The kind of computing technology used in particular was tiny compared to the capability that is now available to the average human. It has been more than 68 years since the knowledge of making an Atom bomb was generated. We have been able to guard it quite well, despite the plethora of knowledge sharing mechanisms that we have invented and made available to every human. I am not aware of any significant restriction placed on what can and cannot be taught in terms of first principles about absolutely any field of knowledge possessed by humanity. While I am of course aware that no one is permitted to offer cheap and publicly available courses in making Atom bombs, I am not sure how much of the component technologies are cheaply and publicly taught.

How difficult is it in 2013 for a intelligent person with bad intentions to piece together publicly available knowledge (first principles) and easily accessible technological tools to figure out the knowledge of making Atom bombs on his/her own? Does one need to be genius to do this?

How difficult is it for someone with access to the knowledge to consciously or unconsciously leak it to the globe in a second through Twitter and/or Facebook? I know that it is far too easy.

As humanity, we have managed to avoid  a global war for 68 odd years. As the bites of  the current financial  troubles mount, our geopolitics is no longer safe. The incentives for powerful individuals, groups, governments to incentivise intelligent persons to figure out "globe domination" tools may be mounting. Are our institutional mechanisms adequate to manage the fragile peace? [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtOhj8ump58 ]

We have seen a cold war, which built a pile of weapons on both side over multiple years. We were lucky that no idiot on either  side pressed the wrong button. When there will be large number  of  parties  with  large number of buttons, how will we protect against the random idiot destroying us all?

It is now urgent to manage knowledge in society? Balancing democratic ideals of equality, liberty, fraternity with the restrictions we need to place on knowledge generation and sharing activities is going to be difficult. It almost seems like democracy may no longer be suitable in its currently understood form.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Sweating IT assets for competitive advantage - The emergence of social network transaction/decision processing

Enhancing capabilities of IT architecture and business processes to catch up with competition  or go ahead of them now happens in a reasonably structured manner in most IT organisations. Most have outsourced the management of IT and/or BPO services to deliver the stream of enhancements and subsequently support the enhanced IT architecture and business processes. The focus of CIO's and the senior team is on the process of identifying new capabilities to drive competitive advantage.

There is nothing wrong with constantly searching for the right value-adding needle in the constantly increasing hay-stack of possible capabilities unleashed by each new technological innovation. No one can afford to not do it.

But do IT departments sweat existing IT assets adequately? While the grand new shiny break-through innovation is being conceptualised, built, tested, fine-tuned, are IT organisations squeezing full value from their existing IT portfolios? The measure that IT departments use for whether they are doing this are the number of tickets in their support service. The assumption is that if the number of tickets is low, then the IT architecture is stable and IT need not do more. This assumption is wrong.

Should'nt the real measure be whether all the capabilities provided by the IT architecture being used as they were intended? The specific business scenario occurring at a given moment is intended to be serviced by usage of a specific capabilities of the IT architecture. But users/partners intentionally or unintentionally do not use those specific capabilities correctly. Mature IT organisations handle this problem better than immature ones sweating their IT assets more.

Mature IT departments can be identified by their answers to the following questions.

1. Does IT have any per user report, which tells it whether that user used the right capability for the right scenario each time? IT is responsible for ensuring that the system is used as intended/designed. IT architectures need to be designed to generate this data more easily.

2. What tools does IT have to identify mistakes by users, so that the cause of those mistakes can be studied as a source of learning to design better enhancements, innovations or selection/training programmes?

When the mistake is critical and/or large, it tends to get identified and addressed through the support service. But what about small mistakes? What are the systems and processes by which such mistakes are identified and cured? Most IT audit practices are weak. It is surprising that regulators have not taken them to task yet. I guess we await a few high profile failures. The whole issue is whether correctness is adequate for sustenance of business or whether accuracy is mandatory for survival. Not failing spectacularly does not mean that everything is alright. The business may  be making less money than it might if it avoided the mistakes.

3. What are the tools to identify the comparative performance of users as a source of learning to design better enhancements, innovations or selection/training/compensation programmes?

4.  Does IT do any retrospective analysis of 
a. Whether New unanticipated business scenarios are being encountered more and more frequently
b. What would have been the BEST way of dealing with a given customer interaction? Did the user use that way? If not why not?
c. Which are the better users and which are not, so that this objective measure can feed into performance evaluation and variable compensation?
d. How much money was lost due to mistakes by users/partners at the operating level
e. How much money was lost due to strategic decision errors due to using erroneous data

The emergence of social software has given a new dimension to the problem of sweating IT assets for competitive advantage. The excessive focus on single-user transaction processing and single-user decision making in current business processes can change to multi-user transaction processing and multi-user decision making due to social software. The possibility  of using all the knowledge and human capability in the organisation at each customer/partner interaction point can help in further sweating the existing IT assets if enabled in a new "Loose" IT framework built on the top of enterprise social networking technology.

The problem that IT now has to solve is
1. At the point of customer/partner interaction, make all the relevant information, transaction-capability, decision-support-capability available from across the entire IT architecture.
2. At each point of customer/partner interaction, identify the right people from the whole organisation and enable them to collaborate effectively between themselves and the customer/partner to ensure that maximum value is generated in the minimum time

There is now a need for "loose" IT systems framework, such that
1. A social network can be quickly setup per customer interaction containing the right resources available at that time
2. The user interface of the client-facing node should be replicated to other nodes and different nodes should control different portions of the UI with the IT systems framework and/or the client-facing node orchestrating the collaboration to analyse the entire organisational information, process the transaction and make the relevant decision.
3. The days of assuming that all logic can be identified in advance and coded in front-middle-back tiers of IT components to validate and process user input using only a limited intelligence from the customer-facing individual and no participation from other humans who could be available at that time are fast going away.
4. Nothing prevents multiple enterprise staff to engage with client simultaneously as long as the business process and IT system support this. One underwriter is anyway supported by multiple support staff. Once trader is anyway supported by multiple staff. The days of one superman making a decision and explaining/justifying to others later are gone. Teams can be made accountable along with individuals. Customer tolerance of gaps between different elements of the organisation is falling. Customers (due to the Google and Amazon effect) expect you to not have gaps in your understanding of them.

So even if the fundamental capabilities of the IT architecture does not change, the business process can be carved up differently using social software technology as the base to sweat the IT architecture using the most appropriate team. I am not aware of any company doing this yet.

Like I envisaged web-services before they acquired that name, I am sure I am right this time too. I was  not able to leverage my crystal ball gazing skills to benefit myself last time. I hope this time is different. In any case, I am going to date this article explicitly to see how ahead of time I  am this time.

6th August 2013

Pratap Tambay

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Extremists and moderates in Indian freedom struggle

Since childhood, I have wondered about the appropriateness of thelabels moderates and extremists in the pre-Gandhi congress (lal-bal-pal days). In Maharastra, the extremist view was iconised by Tilakand the moderate view was iconised in Agarkar in those days. Clearlythe labels were incorrect, I have felt sharply since childhood.The "moderates" were asking for larger change while the "extremists"were asking for less. Clearly those who were called the "moderates"ought to have been called the "extremists" and vice versa.In fact the myopia of those who assigned the labels is infuriatingto say the least. A classic case of jiski lathi uski bhains.


Gandhi did not do unto dalits as he wanted British to do unto him.Gandhis inability to see the injustice of the pune pact, despitehaving been at the receiving end of similar injustice in SouthAfrica is the crowning glory of his iconic hindu evil moralbehaviour. If Tilak or someone else who had never been abroad andnever faced discrimination had behaved similarly, it might have beenforgivable. But Gandhi just cannot be forgiven. He showed thisbehaviour multiple times upto the above crowning glory.He was a misguided parochial scheming feudal dictator barelydifferent from Hitler, another product of the value system createdby the leading philosophers of those times.I don't remember the exact reference now. But his audacity inviolating the privacy of the dalit girls to test his brahmacharya isinfuriating to this day. Surprisingly he did not choosebrahmin/baniya girls to test his brahmacharya. Such moral turpitudeis frequently passed over by his foolish fans who probably wouldgive their daughters/sisters/mothers for brahmacharya testing bythe "great man"/"super man".Only hindu value system allows his type of behaviour to be describedas morally upright.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The geek shall inherit the earth

Each expansion of knowledge in science and mathematics triggers a large number of discrete new technologies. The relentless drive of a portion of humanity to derive competitive advantage from these discrete technologies results in multiple combinations of these technologies (called products/services) aiming to meet the needs and wants of humans. Since humans are limited and their basic needs are limited, till now the belief has been that triggering higher needs and fickle wants will drive the demand for new products/services. But the relationship between the supply and demand of products/services has changed radically. Humanity is now able to meet most of the demand with far too little technology than is available. Capitalism has reached an singularity.

Given that some technologies are privately owned and some are in the public domain, humanity as a whole does not have adequate control over many individual technologies, much less over their combinations. The  relationship of humanity to technology is similar to that between humanity and nature itself. Day-to-day experience of control over nature tends to generate the belief that man is in control over nature, but random natural events and their combinations bring humanity to its knees periodically. Similarly the day-to-day experience with technology based products/services tends to create and sustain the belief that technology is safe and humanity is in control of technology. But random unanticipated events associated with products/services deployed by humans and their combinations can generate unanticipated disasters. Combined with natural phenomena, this can result in even more severe disasters. Humanity is no longer in control of the technology tiger it rides. As reported by MIT Technology Review July/August 2013 Vol. 116 No. 4 ("How Technology is Destroying Jobs"), the ability of ever-cheaper technology to eliminate a large number of jobs in law, financial services , education and medicine with combinations of hardware and software is here and now. It is no longer far away. The mega disaster that will inevitably happen due to this is nearby.

No blue/white collar job is safe. The greed of few to build empires is driving choices at a humanity level which will eliminate the jobs of a large segment of humanity involving producing products/services while continuing to try and sell us more and more products/services at increasing prices. This greed will make the said segment poorer and poorer as its ability to pay for products/services dwindles with the vanishing jobs. The inability of our social sciences to reliably predict the kind of state and society we are headed towards shows our lop-sided priorities and is ominous, since it could be intentional.

In my view, we are headed for a unequal police state controlled by the genetically in-bred Ph.D. folk, where the rights of all citizens may not be equal and the concept of equal human rights may come under threat. In my view, caste-like social systems will result.

There was a typo in understanding and communicating Gods message. The geek shall inherit the earth.

Take good care of yourselves and your loved ones particularly children.


Pratap Tambay
27th July 2013


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Democracy, Technology and Government - Alan Turings case

I read the book "Digitized" by Peter Bentley this weekend. In it, he describes how Alan Turing (Founding Father of Computer Science) and few other people did research work for Government. It seems that the work done for the governments did not get published. Given what got published and its implications for humanity, I can only shudder at the possible implications of what did not get published.

While there is sense in not publishing the details of making Atom Bombs far too widely, the book has raised questions about the governance of knowledge in society in my mind. Research for "military use" seems to assume that technology can be managed in terms of its implications, which is a false assumption. Any given technology delivers different benefits or dis-benefits depending on the context. The control of the boundaries of public and private (one of the themes I have explored elsewhere) remains more with the state.

State can accumulate multiple technologies which put the future of humanity at risk. Democracies are not entirely rational and may vote the wrong individual/party to power. If a wrong individual gets elected to power, he will acquire control over technologies which the citizens may not even be aware of.

Who will then protect liberty from the misuse of these technologies? The till-now-mythical single/group-of technologies shown in multiple movies which grant global control surely exists already or will exist shortly. I suspect that the former is true. The world trundles on unaware that it has manufactured means to destroy liberty/freedom (or much worse humanity) and is unable to protect itself from letting these means officially fall into wrong hands.

Do I then recommend that we abandon democracy? No. I propose that we strengthen it further, but that we think hard about how to limit the control of potential government and private despots over the rest of us.  How do our current democracies protect us and what mechanisms are needed in democracies to protect liberty/freedom and humanity?

The absence of true democracy means that the future of many is hostage to the whims of a few. This has always  been the case. What has changed now is that the rest of us do not even know how vulnerable we are to the whims of a few.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Technology and Indian social reality

Dear All
I came accross some analysis about why Indian social reality has not
changed much, despite the increasing advancement in technology. I
find it amazing that such a simple thing is not obvious to people.The truth is that Indian democracy and markets are not
representative or inclusive enough. While the system is changing
marginally, it remains a well organized, well oiled machine
preserving the hegemony of a few communities, over the rest. It is
not organized around merit, whatever people may have told you or you
may have told others.So technology is a tool of exploitation in India. It is a tool to
ensure that the "business models" of the dominant communities win over
the "business models" of the depressed communities in market competition, thereby
subjugating the latter. And since the depressed communities are denied access to
capital/leadership-learning/technical resources, they are never able
to rise up and change the hegemonies.Nevertheless Democracy and markets have unique power to enable tiny
chinks to expand and I am hopeful that it will enable a change in
the superstructure of the Indian nation over the next 50 years.
Fortunately the same things that enabled the Indian dominant communities to move
out of the country and build their capabilities and confidence to
compete globally will work for those who are rising in education and
training....Well and the truth is that the situation is not too different world
over. Technology and science are what humanity makes of them. The
real battles are always fought inside human minds. The external
realities merely reflest the implications.Pratap Tambay

Capitalism and Social Discrimination

Dear All,

Both, capitalism and socialism are vulnerable to social
discrimination, but the operating mechanism differs. Under market
economies, I have noticed that the following
1. Inefficient Markets
In inequal economies, discrimination operates through demand and
supply. Essentially sellers from discriminated communities get bad
pricing for their products/services. Their products/services are
bought by the "market", if similar products/services are not
at good price or volume through vendors from other communities. Of
course, in extreme cases in India, markets themselves can be
segmented, since customers themselves are segmented. In fact,
economies can exist in some regions with inter-linkages controlled
the non-discriminated communities.
2. Supply chain discrimination
Supply chain units closer to the markets are hard to discriminate
against, if markets are efficient. But for those further down the
supply chain, dog-in-the-manger type approaches by those ahead of
in the supply chain are not uncommon. Another technique is to take
innovation value and create competition through tying up with other
suppliers from own community. These new suppliers are then given the
the knowledge taken/stolen from the discriminated community. This is
espescially true in those business areas, where the intellectual
property rights are more important then the non-intellectual
rights in the generation of business value through some
3. Labour market discrimination
Labour market discrimination is too common and is reasonably well
understood. Essentially those without recourse are exploited by
them less and giving them poor working conditions by threatening
with changes in production technique and/or usage of labour from
cheaper areas. Of course paying, promoting, rewarding differentially
for same work is also very common.
4. Capital market discrimination
While the essential theme remains same. Access to capital still
remains the source of all ills. One would expect that capital would
always flow to those people, who can use it better. This is true, if
such people are aware and active. But subjugated and exploited
communities are structually unable to separate themselves from their
day to day realities and take on the risk of gestation periods in
positive NPV projects. So they end up selling their thoughts, words
and actions to enable their selves to survive. In fact they tend to
lose shame and prefer to stay entombed in their miseries, since
histories have taught them that resistance is futile. They lose
strength and "karma-rebirth" theory also encourages passive learned
helplessness and ritual action. It is only by increasing their moral
strengths, that they might be able to start with small enterprises
initially. Dhamma is one tool to stop the learned helplessness and
increase self-reliance.
In each of the above, the pre-existing social networks of the
individuals is a key factor. The exact nature of a node and the
nature of the relationship between two nodes may vary.
If political, economic and social democracy are viewed through the
lens of such a social network analysis, it is easy to understand
why "political democracy is a farce without social and economic

Black Money and Ambedkarite Nationalism

Dear All,

In multiple forums, I have heard about the money possessed by
Temples as against the scale of the Indian budget. Speakers sought
to highlight the scale of economic inequality. One similar statistic
is the scale of black money in India.
I recently concluded a deal to sell a house in Chembur mumbai and in
the process was made aware of the scale of black money in India.
Black money is money stolen from Government. If the relevant tax
were to be paid to the government, then the government can
potentially fund schools and loans for dalits. So black money is
money stolen from the rural and urban poor, who have little money,
black or white.
The spiritual sanction under hinduism to a dual life (separate
practical life and spiritual life) is the source of this moral
degradation where corrupt people sleep happily as long as they
follow brahminic rituals. To me hindu dualilty is the cause of
creation and sustenance of the large scale of black money in India.
I have seen many middle class folk (including friends and relatives)
promote black money for small and immediate private benefit despite
its large social cost. It is due to this selfish acceptance of black
money at a personal level, that the moral strength of the Indian
population in resisting the high level of corruption and black money
has weakened.
Ambedkarite nation does not have much money, black or white. At the
economic level, those creating or sustaining black money are the
enemies of Ambedkarites. It is they who enable non-Ambedkarites to
continue the current situation for their selfish interests. It is
they who daily sell out Ambedkarite interests to finance their
personal benefits.
At a personal level, I know that due to being an Ambedkarite I wont
be able to sleep well if I create and sustain black money. We ALONE
have a direct reason to not want black money. The minute an
Ambedkarite accepts black money, he/she makes the movement
vulnerable to hijacking and manipulation by those who control flows
and keep track of black money.

Gandhi and Ambedkar

> *********
> Gandhi was conscious of the ill effects
> of the pernicious caste system, but he wanted meaningful reform
> within the totality of the entire Hindu society whereas Ambedkar
> highlighting a sectoral problem by promoting separatism without any
> framework of long-term integration of the depressed classes with
> upper castes.
> *********
Periodically questions like the above are raised about Dr. Ambedkar's
committment to
India as a nation. This question keeps coming up in many forms in many
forums. The above
form is a moderate one. Shourie was an extreme one.To answer this question, We must articulate Ambedkarite Nationalism
more crisply.
Today India is comprised of 3 nations. A golwalkar nation, a gandhian
nation and an Ambedkarite Nation. The Gandhian nation is dying and has
managed to survive since independence by hoodwinking the Ambedkarite
nation. Answering the question involves defining how Ambedkarite
nationalism is a superset of Gandhian thinking. We must
define what it is that an Ambedkarite PM will do which a
non-Ambedkarite PM will never do. It will help in "decimating" the
Gandian nation.
The truth about Gandhi was that he was the biggest hypocrite that the
country ever saw. He did not want to do unto Ambedkarite masses as he
wanted the british to do unto his masses. This segmented morality
endemic to Hinduism is oppressive to those who suffer under it, while
enabling beneficiaries to sleep well and feel morally upright in their
while pain, hunger and powerlessness cries loudly right outside their
homes.The very nature of vote bank (i.e. Gandhian i.e. Congressi) politics is
that while meeting the short term interests of those who bring rural
poor into urban areas and settle them there to create a zhopadpatti
vote bank, it also creates a longer term strategic geo-demographic
change in the polity. As the newly settled communities rises in
education and financial/employment stability, it mutates. Newer
generations ask inconvenient questions and are relatively better
equiped to impose preferred answers through the ballot box.
Gandhian politics (read Congress), while indulging in vote bank
politics became dependent on the Ambedkarite polity for its political
survival. As the Ambedkarite nation now rises, the
Gandhian nation is capsizing. Rahul Gandhi will never become PM. Rajiv
Gandhi, Narsimha rao and VP singh opened the doors to large scale
change in the polity as described above. I expect the Congress to
wither away and/or take on Ambedkarite colour, if the economic
interests it safeguards want to preserve some share of political power
at centre and state. Today Maharastra is a political vaccumn, since Bal
Thakarey and Sharad Pawar are close to the end of their respective
political careers. And there is no one yet to fill the Gap. The
political benefits of decimating the Gandhian nation will be immense.Ambedkar is a superset of Gandhi. The problem with dalit politics is
that the language of hatred easily helps non-dalits to close their
minds to Ambedkarite evangelism which will help them see this. It is
now necessary and fortunately possible (since volumes of Ambedkar are
easily available from Maharastra government) to explain Ambedkarite
nationalism to the country and to restore Dr. Ambedkar to his rightful
position as a leader not merely limited to a pathetic Gandhian vision,
but a much more powerful visionary (as described by the philosopher of
science, Meera Nanda in "prophets facing backwards" - search on google
for the book) equipped to radically transform and improve India.RegardsPratap

Nasscomm, Rahul Bajaj and Dalits

The nasscom people do not even acknowledge caste discrimination, much
less provide a link similar to "women in IT" to provide proof. They
ignore the need to prevent "caste discrimination" in the industry. The
words caste, dalit and dalits do not return any material on their
website. Their caste prejudice shows.
 Read Gail Omvedts article about "dalits in the world of IT". Have you
come accross any article by the brahminic media yet on the number of
dalits in the world of IT. The hypothetical statements of the Rahul
Bajaj's and Narayanmurthy regarding this reek of presumptive caste arrogance and a
total lack of sensitivity to the Indian social reality. Rahul Bajaj in particular had no qualms in asking for protection from
"stronger MNC companies" as part of his Bombay club, but he loudly
proclaims now that the government should strengthen "strong people" so
that they can help the weak... When he is losing is position, he wants
protection, but when it is a question of his position coming into
threat, his views are dramatically different. No surprise that he keeps
talking about the association of his family with Gandhi. Read the
followinghttp://www1.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1378367.cmsRahul Bajaj wants a level playing field to battle with MNC's. But he is
severely restricted in his ability to understand that dalits need a
level playing field, against communities which have lot more

Ambedkars Nationalism: In the finest of India's traditions

Many of you misunderstand Dr. Ambedkar. I hope the following two
articles will help you re-visit your understanding of Dr. Ambedkar and
his nationalism.The following essay describes Dr. Ambedkars nationalism and relates it
to the hindutva movement. To those who prefer more formal RSS
literature, I recommend Dattopant Thengdi's book on Ambedkar.http://web.uni-frankfurt.de/irenik/relkultur18b.pdfThe following essay describes Dr. Ambedkars nationalism and relates it
to the Indian freedom struggle. The book by Gail Omvedt, whose link I
posted is also useful to understand the committment of Dr. Ambedkar to
his nationalism.http://www.indiatogether.org/2004/oct/rgh-freeair.htmIf you find a better reconciliation of the best of Indian and western
tradition ... let me know.Due to the fact of being born untouchable, Dr. Ambedkars experience of
India was different from many of you and even me. I benefitted from his
contribution and have had a better life than I would have had if he had
never existed. His western learning and yet his resort to Indian
tradition of buddhism for his people, his massive contribution to the
life of Indians (Indian democracy, hindu society, women in general,
labor class, etc), his multiple life-long friendships with people from
all communites and the fact that he never never was associated with any
party which defined itself with any small segment/community are all
visible proof of his love of India.I would love to hear from people who want to hear more about
him...whichever persuasion they come from...hindutva, congress, commie,
dalit, whatever. Dr. Ambedkar was larger than such labels, as all true
leaders always are. Sadly it has been the failing of the dalits, who
have caused him to be viewed as a sectarian leader through excessive
mis-projections of only parts of him, particularly his strong criticism
of the ills of hinduism.Let us dedicate ourselves to creating a better India, comfortable with
its myriad traditions, confident of mastering its own ills and helping
to improve the globe for all humanity.RegardsPratap

Need for affirmative actions in private sector

Hi All,
I am IITB B.Tech. 1992 and IISc. M.Sc.(Engg) in Management 1996. I
studied on reservation but my work life is fully in private sector
and I am doing fine.I think that Affirmative action in employment, enterprise, financing
and public procurement in government, public and private sectors is
very much called for. My own 10+ years of work experience in Mumbai
and Bangalore has been that while caste based discrimination does
not operate explicitly, it exists in substantial measure and
operates in subtle hidden ways. Reservation as a solution like in
government employment is undesirable, but US style affirmative
action programmes are much needed to correct the diversity imbalance
at most levels in Indian private sector. In UK, where I am based
now, there is a annual disclosure of gradewide ethnic diversity as
part of the financial statements. That might be one option. The
mechanism of discrimination in India is subtler but discrimination
exists in a measure stonger than many believe. The systematic denial
of attempts to create data, under the excuse of preventing animosity
is typical of Indias traditional approach of hiding the problems of
20% of its population under the carpet.The problem of economic re-distribution to recently "on-paper
equalised" interest groups is complex and not unlike the problem
faced by South Africa post-Aparthied. You just have to see the
solutions they are exploring to understand the insincerity of the
Indian elite. Perhaps the reason is that the hiterto disadvantaged
are in power in South Africa, while the Indian upper caste elite is
confident that they are and will stay in power. Furtunately the
situation is changing and the power equations are changing and are
set to alter Indian political reality over time. Hiding caste in all
places except marriage advertisements does not eliminate its 3000
year capability to divide people and sustain inequitable partitions
of the population and power.Handing out some dole is no longer enough. Power sharing in
percentage of the population is needed. The pune pact made the
elections meaningless for the depressed classes. The current
fragmentation of the polity and rising education/enterprise in
depressed classes is triggering forces which will eventually change
the power balance. Please substantiate any arguments with raw data
about caste and economic status. Whatever Amartya sen may say about
argumentative Indians, arguments among unequals tend to assume lot
of things which should not be assumed and so should always be
conducted with the support of raw data for the arguments to have any
meaning and utility. The systematic non-creation of data about caste
and social status under spurious "arguments" is the key symptom of
the mischief in the social mind of upper caste indians.Let us stop hypocrisy. I (and we Ambedkarites in particular) are no
longer fooled by the web of words/beliefs as a shroud over our
living dead bodies.RegardsPratap

Dalit human rights

Dear All,
If India does not improve its dalit human right situation, if the laws
for safeguarding these rights of dalits and the caste discrimination in
public life do not work, then dalits will drift into the clutches of
those who advocate violence and question the legitimacy of the Indian
nation itself. Like swami Agnivesh has said publicly there is an urgent
need to fight a new battle to free India. The current battle is being
fought through the ballot boxes, but if one party goes outside the
democractic process continuously, then the other party will have no
choice to do the same.Fighting for human rights prevails over national interest.Every sane person world over understands this. International law and
opinion understands this.Hindutva hotheads who do not understand this have even threatened to kill me
for saying this. So I will say it again and again. I prefer death to
speaking the truth. Human rights are more important than any religion,
any nation. Violation of human rights is crime against God,
religion,country and humanity.With love towards all and malice towards none.RegardsPratap

Ambedkarite manifesto of 1951: Capitalism

Dear All,

Dr. Ambedkar is frequently painted as a communist, which he never was
(see his essay on Buddha or Karl Marx for his critique of Marx and
communism and his espousal of buddhism as the best way ahead - a
religion admired even by Vivekananda as the flower of hinduism)
Dr. Ambedkar is mostly understood as being in favor of state socialism,a kind of democratic socialism with a large government and public
sector and a tiny private sector.
But this is gross misunderstanding of the vision of Dr. Ambedkar, whichkept evolving over this life. Despite, the positive evidence coming
from the communist states being more than the negative evidence, Dr.
Ambedkar was quick to visualise the implications of both more correctlyand adjust his own vision for India accordingly.
His opposition to nehruvian socialism and advocation of a larger
private sector, where appropriate instead of a formulaic acceptance or
rejection of large scale nationalisation or privatisation comes throughvery clearly from the manifesto of the "scheduled caste federation",
the dalit party which became "The republican party of India" later.
Clearly his formulation is the formulation that India finally moved in
the 1990's. Imagine if the nation had understood and backed my Messiah,on his merits instead of ignoring him as a dalit leader, where would webe today. If he had won the elections and implemented his manifesto, wewould already be a first world country.

Stopping internal colonisation of dalits: Conversions

Dear All,
There is an urgent need to protect the rights of dalit hindu adults to
convert to other religions. It is their only way of exposing the pain
that the hindus put them into. Even that way of resistence is sought to
be throttled with force. And there is no effort to bring about
substantial change in the situation which causes their pain. Mere token
changes are offered and substantial change is claimed.The nonsense perpetuated by haughty sanatanis and brahmins who seek to
continue the internal colonialisation of dalit hindus will not change
unless dalits manage to achieve a say in political power on their own.
Dalits need to move towards those forces which provide executive
responsibility at the very top in Indian democracy and use power to
bring about the changes they seek. One can awaken those that actually
sleep. It is not possible to awaken those who merely act like they are
asleep.Any force which seeks to break the economic, social, political chains
of the dalit hindus need to be strengtened to win freedom for the
Ambedkarite nation from the oppressive clutches of the (non-Dattopant
Thengdi-segment of) hindutva nation. Bull-shitters from
non-Dattopant-Thengdi-segment of hindutva, be warned. The hindutva
nation you think you live in is also internally divided and will divide
further unless you look within and repair your sinking boat.The sheer inhuman way I have been treated
(abused/unneccessarily-maligned/credentials-questioned) on multiple forums,
despite not using a single bad word or not wishing ill for any hindu
and the systematic attempt to continuously abuse me is pathetic. I will
spend my life to make sure that these bull-shitters do not win. They
misunderstand hindutva, they misunderstand hinduism, they misunderstand
Ambedkar, they misunderstand India, they misunderstand democracy, they
misunderstand simple human values. They don't know how to talk, how to
treat people equally. It would be utterly tragic if such bull-shitters
were to take over India through their disinformation campaigns. I am
with the Meera Nandas, Michael Witzels of the world to prevent hindutva
from spreading its nonsense any more. Hereon I have decided not to
engage with any bull-shitter who does not know how to talk to peer and
equal Indians and who refuse to read before they write. These
bull-shitters are disgracing the nation that I love.Unfortunately the fence-sitting hindus who have not spoken up yet,
through their toleration of this disgracing of the nation are harming
the highest traditions of the nation.I request all thinking Indians to speak up for or against my views
stated above. Atleast I will know whether I love an illusion of India
or whether the India I understand and love actually exists.Please speak upRegardsPratap

Conversions and reservations

Dear All
http://www.mnnonline.org/article/8314The logic that those who convert cannot get reservations is purposeful
flawed thinking. A few points to note regarding conversions and
reservations.1. Change of religion does not change the past and the impact of the
past-discrimination on the present individual. At best the time
required to come out of the impact reduces2. The real purpose of anti-conversion laws is political. It aims to
preserve the hegemony of hindu elite over the hindu majority, by
keeping others from wanting to help improve the situation of the hindu
dalits. Essentially the hindu elite is afraid that if hindu dalits
convert, then the ballox boxes will start telling a different story and
the growth in the confidence of dalits in their own abilities will
create a threat to the unfairly high social economic and political
power of the hindu elite due to the legacy of caste disrimination.3. Opposing reservations to converts aims to reduce the pressure to
increase the ambit of affirmative actions. Non-hindu dalits have higher
confidence in their ability to bring about change and are unafraid to
ask for radical change, while hindu harijans are ok with crumbs thrown
by their feudal hindu elite masters.The current approach to conversions and to "reservations for converted"
is a dog in the manger type behavior by the hindu elite. Neither will
they initiate radical change, nor will they let other initiate it. They
want to retain the status quo in terms of their hegemony over India.RegardsPratap

Disclosure of diversity of our institutions

India needs to be more open about disclosing actual diversity to
prevent one segment of the population (gender, caste, religion, ...)
from cornering important positions in its government, public and
private institutions. Our civil society needs to understand that this
is in the best interest of India.
Hiding such data and preventing its collection reeks of a conspiracy to
perpetuate hegemonies.Certificates/opinions of "admirable" people are not a substitute for
opinions based on replicable analysis of reliable data.http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=120&page=22Stop the hypocrisy.

Win Win solutions to the caste problem

Throughout history battles have been fought to control and impose
ownership over resources like land labor and capital. Those who win
such wars derive rents from their lower cost of utilising these
resources to generate profits and become more powerful over time due
to increase in their personal ownership over the total pool of land,
labor and capital. Competition tends to become less and less fair
for those who start late on the entreprenership. Innovation is the
only capitalistic tool to change the social ordering. The one who
manages to innovate best at least cost succeeds most in changing the
social ordering.
Most theories state that some kind of violent confrontations were
lost by dalits and the economic and social organisation imposed
over them by the winners impoverished them and marked the winners as
special aristocrats.The idiotic theories claims that dalits chose to
clean shit voluntarily and brahmins chose voluntarily to focus on
learning. These theories are not accepted by any sensible people.So caste based reservation was self awarded in the past by imposing
it through violence in the past.Now that we are in a democracy, the aim ought to make the playing
field level, so that dalit entrepreneuers have atleast as much shot
at changing the social and economic order by creating business value
through innovation. Secondly the objective should be to grow the
economy, else the battle of the ballot boxes will be limited to who
controls how much of a fixed size pool of resources or entitlements.
And if the incremental growth is distributed more to dalits, then it
will reduce the potential for violent confrontations and enable to
come to an equal level over time, without hurting the interests of
non-dalits.Hence dalits need to be involved and enabled in the creation of new
wealth. Investment in their education and in their enterprises will
create value for the whole society.That is the only win-win solution to India's problems. All the other
solutions are win-lose or enrich-impoverish solutions with potential
for violence.

Dalit massacres and Jallianwalla baug: Questions from Rang De Basanti

Why does Tsundur and other dalit massacres not appear in Indian movies? Why should dalits cry
over Jalianwalabaug when Tsundurs continue to happen?The movie "Rang De Basanti" raised this simple question in my mind.Is India free yet?

What should Indian Nationalism mean for dalits?

Dear All,
I notice a continuous stream of accusations at dalits as anti-
national. I want to present a dalit viewpoint on India's post-
independence reality and seek your views on this.Despite their horrible pre-independence conditions, dalits chose to
align with India instead of choosing yet another partition. Dr.
Ambedkars visionary first speech in the constituent assembly clearly
proclaims the nationalistic fervour of dalits. This speech can be
reviewed from the following link after the section of Jayakars
The present system of reservations was created by Congress as a
compensation for Dr. Ambedkars demand for separate electorates.
Dalits continue to bear the results of Gandhi's blackmail of
Ambedkar into signing the pune pact which gives them stooges of non-
dalits as representatives.Indias post-independence development strategy has resulted in an
upper caste oligopoly of value chains in the private sector. This
oligopoly includes manuvadis christians and muslims too. This
oligopoly consciously and unconsciously discriminates against dalits
and relegates them to low value jobs/businessses. Due to this the
economic growth of India has increased the inequality in India
instead of reducing it. Unless dalits are enabled and empowered to
participate in the economic growth, the economic growth of India
will continue to increase the inequality rather than reduce it.In the 2001 census there was a detailed section on the condition of
dalits. The situation of dalits is horrible as described in that
document. The following analysis is based on this section and based
on analysis of data and articles in the media.Just 10% of dalits work in government, and public sector. 90% dalit
dalits work in organised and unorganised private sector. For these
90%, literacy, property ownership, healthcare, insurance, finance or
even non-discriminated access and participation in social resources
and social life in general remains marginal. While the situation has
improved in urban areas, the evidence from rural areas is
horrifying.Despite independence, masaccres like Gohana, Jhajjhar, Tsundur and
many others go practically unpunished and even uncried for compared
to the long gone Jallianwala baug massacre which is posited by
Indian media as something that all Indians are supposed to cry over.
Dalit viewpoints are inadequately represented or misrepresented by
the media, where dalits are scare in ownership and management.Elections are rarely free, fair and non-violent, the media is
hostile to dalit viewpoints due to lack of dalits among media owners
and managers, illiteracy and poverty of dalits is used to misguide
them, the pune pact ensures that radical dalits never get elected
and only subservient dalits get elected.The courts too have recently slid into the support of non-secular
ideologies hostile eventually of the basic principles of the
constitution. The Obiter dicta of Justice Dharmadhikari posted on
this group is a recent example.The economic dependence of dalits on non-dalits continues due to no
change in rural areas. The executive starting from elected
representatives and ministers down to lower level functionaries too
have become aligned with upper caste elites and consume the major
portion of development funding as confessed by Rajiv Gandhi.But non-dalits continue to be hostile to ANYONE FROM ANYWHERE who
seeks to enable and empower dalits. If Christians seek to enable and
empower dalits in exchange for conversions, manuvadi hindus call
them anti-national and seek to stop them. Same is true about
Muslims. If dalits seek help of USA, US and UN in enabling and
empowering themselves, because Indians and India have not enabled
and empowered them such dalits are labeled anti-national.If 90% dalits not got much out of independence, what is the exact
expectation of those who have benefitted out of India's independence
from them? What should India mean to them according to Indians like
you? Is there any substantial freedom for dalits in this context,
defined as Amartya sen does? What then should being Indian mean to
dalits according to Indians like you?I raise this question with you as to "what should Indian nationalism
mean for dalits". As a dalit, I sincerely seek your views on
this question which has bothered me for years.RegardsPratap

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Dalits in private sector and MNC companies

Dear All

Many MNC subsidiaries and outsourcing partners based in India will
shortly face pressure to incorporate measures to address the absence of
dalits among their employees. The process has started. Newer norms (and
sometimes mandatory regulations) like the Ambedkar principles of the
IDSN (see www.idsn.org for a flavor) are being raised in board meetings
of MNCs by their own institutional investors and by activist individual
investors. The situation right now is that their awareness of the
situation and the need to act is growing. Expect action in the not so
distant future. Governments around the world too are supporting the
need for corporates to comply with global norms (UN compact for
example) that many of them have signed up for. Lenders/Donors are
beginning to be aware of the diversion happening in money sent to India
and the injustice being perpetuated in the distribution of the positive
effects of the money.

Corporate India (including Nasscomm) does not want to discover and talk
about dalits like the senior level dalits in Indian private and MNC
companies...and have a section like "women in IT" to celebrate the
potential of dalits and document the successes of Indias
reservation/affirmative-action policy. The hidden apartheid against
dalits openly being themselves in the Indian corporates is high. Dalits
are expected to be extremely docile and lie in a corner, take what is
thrown at them and not seek a share of corporate power.

The conspiracy of ignoring dalit achievement in Indian private sector
aims to perpetuate the myth that dalits are incapable.

The achievements of dalits like me are proof enough of the benefits of
investing in dalits by facilitating their education, employment and
enteprise. Today there are multiple companies which have benefitted
from the value I created as their employee. Of course, the fact that I
was paid proportionately low to my contribution in the final analysis
is a failing of Indian corporate culture, but atleast I had the
opportunity to experiment with what I could achieve at the risk of
someone else. That opportunity itself is denied to those who lack the
social networks to find the right jobs/financing, get the right advice
suitable to their individual talents/weakness. So the confidence
required to launch enterprises is scarce. And yet the expectation is
that dalits should pick themselves up and start running.

Without helping dalits to stand up and start walking, the expectation
of many non-dalits is that the dalit community should immediately start
running at globally competitive levels. And when they say this, they
conveniently forget the justification for why Rahul Bajaj needs a
"level playing field".

There is unjust pressure to "be part of the team", where in the "coffee
table discussions", the dominant castes summarily dismiss dalit
viewpoints and where the level of hatred easily subjugates any desire
to actively argue the case of the dalits. And if some dalit does argue
the case actively, he is quickly "handled" and branded as "not being a
team player". This brand of subjugation is a tactic to keep dalits
silent and prevent them from raising their voices against the dominant
viewpoints and exploitative structures preventing dalits from growing
out of their miseries. Discussions about dalits are conducted in pomp
by non-dalits and they gloat about the glories of how they are the
saviors of dalits. And if dalits are chosen, then either subservient
dalits or ignorant dalits are chosen as representatives of dalits,
thereby denying representation in fact. The pune pact is the most
insidious way of denying representation to 20% of the population.

Indian private sector has a long distance to travel. Its views of
itself are far from reality. Its public utterances of fairness are
false. Its hypocrisy and claims moral uprightness is a blot on the
public face of India given the reality which is getting exposed through
the global media.

Infosys is a good thing to happen in India. I am one of those, who
spurred on by Infosys, was part of launch and sale of a company. I do agree that
Narayanamurty did some good. But did he really do anything about being
inclusive. His gandhian attitude of seeking Americans to open their
markets, while closing the doors on dalits in implicit manners is a
pain. The PR machinery of Infosys has'nt been able to showcase "dalits
in Infosys" yet. There are dalits in Infosys. But Infosys has a brahmin
dominated culture. Personally I have actively
avoided it for years. I made my career by sticking with smaller
companies, where work would matter more than my caste, where any
discrimination would be immediately visible. While larger companies
like TCS have hired and promoted dalits to senior levels, their
insistence on staying totally mum about the number of dalit employees
is retrograde.

Many Indians believe that once dalits have been accomodated into the
corporate hierarchy, then they should get co-opted into the thinking of
non-dalits. The truth is that retaining ones identity is important in
the case of dalits for multiple reasons.
1. To provide visible role models
2. To measure progress of dalits objectively and not subjectively based

on hand waving hypothesis.
3. To provide representation to views of other dalits (dalit investors,

dalit potential employees, dalit customers, etc)

The Gandhian insistence of losing ones identity and mixing up is a
tactic to divest the dalits of their transformative potential. If they
do not leave their identities, they raise questions inside and outside
the company, whether they want to raise them or not. That is the reason

why companies want dalits to remain invisible. That is the reason, why
despite so many years of reservations, there are too few dalits visible
at senior levels. There are some who have been co-opted into silence
and live their lives hidden and subservient to the interests of those
in power.

If Infosys thinks it is gods gift to mankind, then let it showcase
senior level dalits. How come, despite so many years of reservations at
IIT and IIM, they still have'nt managed to attract one senior employee,
who happens to be dalit? Their claimed moral uprightness about dalit
employees having "equal opportunity" inside Infosys is hog-wash to me.
The proof will be show-casing "dalits at Infosys" like the Nass-com
website which showcases "women in IT".



Sunday, March 17, 2013

Why is social equality important?

If society does not have equality of opportunity for all segments, then society will be less stable. Even if a particular segment were to be unable to challenge and threaten the hegemony of the dominant segments at a given point of time, the elite from that segment will organise and pose the said challenge and threat as soon as it becomes possible. If we decide to live in a police state, where social inequality is enforced with violence by the state, it will result in social lives vulnerable to acts of violence by those suffering from the inequality and state violence.

As India becomes more unequal than before economically, the overlap of social inequality and rising economic inequality make for a very virulent mixture. Even a animal turns hostile, when its life is threatened. As the livelihoods of masses are lost to the march of the exploitative capitalism taking root in India, as the ability of masses to extricate themselves from their respective circles of common fate wanes, the rise of maoist terrorism and the rise of violence against the socially and economically backward sections of society are not surprising. I am surprised that despite the data to the contrary, many Indians continue to believe that India is improving.

I think that the pressure on socially and economically backward segments of the population to act with violence rises as their enlightenment through education rises, as the rights granted to them on paper are not granted to them in practice (i.e. lack of proper jurisprudence about related laws making rights unenforceable) and as reasonable opportunities to make a living are not made available to them due to lopsided (purposefully) development. This does not bode well for peace and prosperity. Indias lopsided economic development is building up forces which if not addressed are bound to create violence against injustice and large hurdles in further development, unless proper jurisprudence is established and the model of development is changed to a less lopsided one.

Gujarat is currently posited as the right model of development. Maybe it is, may be not. Any model which enriches one segment of population which impowerishing others sounds great in the short run if the enriched section is in control of the media singing paeans to the model of development. But it is only in the medium term that the stresses and lopsidedness becomes more visible and those whose destinies have been looted unleash their fury on the future of the said model of development. While it  is true that it is difficult to please all the people all the time, it is necessary to think about the longer time. Increasing the pressure at the bottom of the pyramid too much is far too dangerous. The pyramid could topple over.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Public dalits in Indian private sector

There is reservation for dalits in Indian government and public sectors, yet the number of dalits in top positions in government and public sector is tiny. A glass ceiling prevents dalits from rising to these top positions in the sector where there is special protection. The situation in the private sector is worse, where unless dalits hide their dalit-ness, the risk of discrimination is high. In multiple legal judgements, courts seek to take a legal view ignoring the dalit discrimination aspect of the case. This national strategy of  pushing dalit identity underground in social life and related legal judgements is designed to  prevent emergence of related jurisprudence, which (rather than laws on paper) will improve representation of dalits in public and private sectors. It reflects how scared non-dalit India is of dalits like Ambedkar who can stand up to them in every way.

Essentially if you are dalit and want to be employed, you have to be content with khalasi class jobs, unless you "fit" in. By this "fit" in, I allude the mysterious way in which conscious/unconscious stooges of non-dalits are placed into positions which matter. Dalits confortable with their dalit identity seeking to relate to non-dalits without hiding their dalit identity somehow do not rise to the top. Most of the debates on TV and elsewhere choose either these stooges to represent views of dalits in matters of importance, or they doctor the process (like in the Greatest Indian competition) to generate specific outcomes. Modern India is yet to come to terms with dalits, who are building themselves in similar ways as Ambedkar built himself into a stellar Indian.

The taboo on caste is a mechanism to sustain the process of exclusion of dalits in the Indian public sphere. As the ability of dalits to weild the tools of science and speak for themselves rises, more and more creative means are being invented to sustain the exclusion. For example, what is the national justification for a national HRD strategy which does not invest in their education and employment of dalits into the outsourcing sector, thereby increasing the ability of India  to provide cheaper services than other outsourcing destinations? If non-dalits participants have become too costly to provide current services at the cost point required by western customers, why not bring dalit participants who will be willing to work at the required cost points? Why can't our national policies be aligned to make this happen?

The reason this cannot happen, is that non-dalit India does not want to lose its stranglehold on the destinies of dalit India. If more and more dalits break out of the dependency on non-dalits, non-dalits will not be able to dominate dalits the way they have. So they are indulging in this dog-in-the-manger type of behaviour.
Pain, Hunger and Powerlessness

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Reviewing reservation policy

I fully agree. Some "creamy layer" needs to be defined right away. Itoo have seen misusers of the policy. BTW I have also seen pseudo-dalits (non-dalits with dalit certificates) claim reservations. Iwonder whether we should first focus on weeding these imposters out.But I think that till all the reserved seats are filled atleast once,there is no need to review the reservations policy for present/futuregeneration.

Self respect, career risk: Dalit Identity

I agree that we must comfortable about our identities. I agree thateven if that puts careers at risk, it is neccessary for self respect.But I feel that a need to shout out one's past identity is also aninferiority complex in most situations. Instead of that, I guess thatinvolving oneself publicly in buddhist causes makes a betterstatement. Its best to never say anything to anyone about identityunless one feels that it is neccessary and/or useful. Its better tobe comfortable and illustrate through thought word and action. Itworks for me and I have'nt encountered any major problems yet.Educated dalits should make themselves visible and audible at publicbuddhist forums. I have aligned myself with sarvodaya buddha vihar,Chembur and have had two functions at home by Bhikkus from there. Ialso try to attend their programmes and try to go there for prayerperiodically. I have also been trying to attend buddhist programmes.Its my way of making a statement. I also donate ... but that is myhidden statement ... to myself only

Dalit social science?

My readings of anthropology literature tell me that most expertsconcede the utility of the sanskritization concept in explainingsocial reality. If Bro. Vijay is right then, Mr. M.N.Srinivas hasmanaged to hoodwink many professional anthropologists around theworld for around 40 years. That seems unlikely to me.There are few ways to disprove scientific theories likesanskritization1. Methodological or data incorrectness/inconsistency can be used todebunk the original studies and later validatory studies, whichestablished the concept.2. Come up with an alternative concept, which explains old and newdata adequatelyIf we do not disprove the theory in the above manner, then tillanthropologists finds data inconsistent with the sanskritizationtheory, we will have to bear with the "sanskritization" theory.Merely pointing out caste biases of academics without doing the abovewill lead to creation of dalit anthropology, dalit sociology, daliteconomics, .... I don't think that that is good for us.