Saturday, January 24, 2009

Spirituality and Intelligence

A lot many times, I have come across wrong arguments that Spirituality is only for old people who have nothing better to do. In fact, if you really think of it, Spirituality is for all intelligent people. We consider someone intelligent if he/she thinks beyond the immediate term and into a longer term. There are examples of this in our day to day life - You ask someone to do some work for you and he does that in a manner that benefits some other task of the future. We consider such acts as intelligent. There are also prominent examples of visionaries (vision is nothing but a manifestation of intelligence) - Think about Dhirubhai Ambani. When he started a ployester trading business not many people imagined the hug potential and size of busines through backward integration right upto establishing refinaries. Now, if we consider all this as intelligence, what should we consider such people who are looking beyond a lifetime and into multiple lifetimes. Thats spirituality. To me, it is about being supremely intelligent. Doing yourself a favor by caring for your multiple lifetimes. Even if you dont believe in re-birth, you care about what you can carry to heaven with you.

This brings us to another interesting aspect - if we define spirituality as the above, then what sort of actions can be considered spiritual? What actions could benefit us for multiple lifetimes? Among such actions what are a higher priority than the others? To answer this we need to understand what sort of things permeate beyond a lifetime - such things are obviously not physical in nature but are metaphyisical in nature. They are called energies. Good energies. These good energies follow you and benefit you beyond lifetime. A word that is gaining popularity beyond the Hindu religon for this is 'Karma'. How do we generate these good energies? Obviously it should start from doing something good / beneficial. The priority for generating such good energies starts from oneself, extends to your immediate familyand ultimately to the world. It starts from being good to yourself (health, career, finance, etc), being good to your family (love and affection, securing the family, etc) and ultimately to being good to the world (doing charity, releasing good vibes through meditation, 'havan', not killing innocent animals for food, etc and even by creating good environment at your workplace - workplace is the place where most of us spend a majority of our time, this is probably the best place to start being good - avoid discrimination, avoid deceit, be honest in your efforts, mentor juniors, be fair in competing with other businesses - think about channeling the competitive energies to greater good of the customer rather than towards perception manipulation).

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Public Interest Litigations and Re-inventing India


More often than not, the onus of re-inventing India is pushed to politicians and bureaucrats. Not many seem to realize that Judiciary can also help in this. Indian Constitution allows Public Interest Litigations (PILs) to drive Law making. I feel that PILs could potentially be used to driving some very visible changes. Wondering why they are not many more PILs effecting everyday life.


On top of my mind, I can think of a possible application of PILs to better our road conditions - In recent times there has been a lot of road digging by telecom companies and other utility companies laying their cables and pipes. This has been causing lots of inconvenience in India's heavy traffic laid roads. Even after the road work is done, more often than not, the dug up area is heaped with soil or with shabby masonry. This makes the road bumpy and inconvenient. As roads are built using tax payer's money, may be a PIL could be used to claim tax payer's right on this money - May be drive a legislation that forces these companies to be quicker in their digging and be better at covering the dug area. May be the quickness in the digging could be encouraged by imposing hefty penalties on road work that extends beyond 2 days. May be, to encourage enforceability, give Traffic Police Department the right to collect this money for bonus to its officers. Funds are anyway scarce is a lot of Government Departments these days, due to populist schemes.


Those who have read about the 'Systems Thinking' would be able to relate to this section better. Some of the changes that such PILs cause can change the overall course of the Indian system. Look at what the delimitation of electoral constituencies has done to the political thinking - there has been greater consideration to urban needs now – I feel we will see more of this focus in the future.


I feel that such PILs should not be a one-off affair. There should a sustainable business model around this. There are definitely better thinkers than me in identifying such ideas - Graduates and Post-Graduates in Public Administration and in Law. There should be some incentive for these people to think about such PIL opportunities. May be the incentive is that some NGOs hire dedicated resources to file some popular PILs. The incentive for the NGO would be that it would gain greater publicity and thereby attract more funds.