Sunday, December 18, 2011

Lingo Kid, Willpower & A Budding Plant...

I go through the newspapers these days. All I find is new scams, another death related news in West Bengal, Lokpal bill, political statements, Bollywood break-ups. And if not this, news of a new entry in Big Boss.

But in all these times, what made me feel happy was this story...

Meet Ravi, he is in later teenage, and sells peacock feather fan, or "Indian air-conditioner" as he says, outside Hanging Garden, Mumbai. All of his family members are street sellers, doing their independent business. As he says, he and his grandmother has a separate business. His grandmother makes the peacock fans and he sells them. 

Okay, so you might think what's so special about this kid? Millions of people in India have the same story, but makes him stand out is the fact that he can sell you stuff in about a dozen languages including Hindi, English, Dutch, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish and more. And no, he did not attended a multilingual school. All he did was to learn from the different tourist that used to come to visit the Hanging Gardens. He talked to them, improved himself until he was finally able to sell his stuff in those languages.

What made him come in to limelight? The credit goes to sufiwindsurfing's YouTube channel. He first visited India and saw him. Being impressed, He video shoot him and then decided to upload it on YouTube. The video soon became a viral. Few years later, He visits India again and luckily finds the same guy again. He again video shoots him, takes his interview and uploads on YouTube. 
Ravi says people come to him asking is he the same person. He truly has become a celebrity and has many different videos of his on YouTube.

Here, I will show you all the three videos.

This is the first video that was shoot, when he was quite young.

The second video is when Ravi has grown up

And the third video is a interview of his.

What really makes me happy is not the fact that there's a street seller boy in India who can speak a dozen language, but the way he learned those language. That's the finest example of true determination. Usually people in similar situation's get dis-heartened and lose confidence, but what this boy did is truely commendable. This boy has truely inspired me, and I am sure it will inspire others too.

Another incident took place with me last month. I just came out of my coaching institute, and was discussing things with one of my friend, Puneet, when suddenly someone peeped into us and asked a weird question.

Man: Ye english sikhate hai? (Do they teach english?)
Puneet: Aapko english seekhni hai? (Do you want to learn english?)
Man: Haan, Kam aayegi kafi, naukri mein. (Yes, It will be of great help for my job)
Punnet: Toh, aap kaha tak padhe ho? (Till what level have you studied?)
Man: Mein zyada nahi padh paya tha.... Till 9th.. (I couldn't study much, till 9th grade)
Puneet: Kyon, Chod kyon di? (Why did you left? )
Man: Father expire kar gaye the, toh ghar mein main akela tha. (My father died, and I was the alone working men)
Man: Mein abhi kam karta tha... Lifestyle store mein (I used to work in the Lifestyle store recently)
Man: Phir maine chod diya (Then, I left)
Puneet: Kyon, kafi accha tha... (Why? It was quite good.. )
Man: Nahi, paise kam milte the (No, Pay was not good)
Puneet: Kitna milta tha? (How much do you used to get?)
Man: ₹5000 
Puneet: Hmm...
Man: Aaj kal mein yeh private business karta houn (These days I do a private business)
Points out to his bag, I could see common item...
Man: Toh english aa jayegi toh sahi ho jayega (It would be great if I could learn English)
Me: Koi badi jagah se mat karna (Don't do it from a big place)
Puneet: Haan, woh aapse paise le lenge, aur padha denge, aapko samajh aye na aye, woh nahi dekhte (They will take money from you, teach you... They won't care if you understand or not)
Man: Hmm... Kitne paise lete hai? (How much do they take?)
Punnet: Hame idea nahi hai.. Par ₹2000-5000 (We are not sure but around ₹2000-5000)
Me: Agar koi alag se padha raha ho, toh waha chale jao (If anyone is teaching you seperatly, then go there)
Man: Kaun hoga? (But who?)
Me: Hote hai bahut log.. Koi jaan pehchan ka ho (There are many.. Someone you might know)
Puneet: Baki yeh institues toh bekar hai (But these institutes are useless)
Me: Ya woh kitab aati hai, woh le lo (Or you can take a book?)
Man: Aap se baat karli toh pata chal gaya... thank you.. (After talking to you, I came to know... Thank you)
He walks a few steps and comes again...
Man: Aur agar computer sikhu toh? (And If I learn computers first?)
Me: Uske liye toh english chahiye. (For that you need english)
Me: Pehle english hogi, fir computer (First english, then computer)
Man: Okay.. Thank you...

What really made me feel good in the above two instances is the fact that they all had wanted to learn and fight from their situation instead of sitting back and regretting on their situation. That is the finest example of will power. I am sure someday that man will surely learn english and be well settles, because he has will power, an ambition to do. What I really hope is such people should be encouraged and should become an inspiration for others. 

May god bless all!

Friday, October 14, 2011

My experience getting an "Aadhar" card...

February 2009: The Government of India established a program with the aim of giving all it's citizen a unique identification number and create a centralized database of all it's citizen along with their biometric information.

The system launched by the Unique Identification Authority of India, is called Aadhar, literally meaning 'support' or 'foundation' in many languages. It's logo is a yellow sun with fingerprints embedded in the center.

The Aadhar logo.

Aadhar is a 12 digit unique number given to all of it's citizen along with basic demographic and biometric (fingerprints and iris scan) information.The main aim of this is to create a common identity card for the citizens which could be used for all kind of verification purposes. It would also help in eliminating forged and fake identities. Another interesting thing is that the 12 digit unique number generated would be completely random, that is, it won't be generated in any particular order to remove discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, religion or geography.

It was launched from the tribal village Tembhli, Shadha, Nandurbar, Maharashtra. The first person to receive a Aadhar card was Ranjana Sonawane.

Ranjana Sonawane after she got enrolled for the card.

The total cost of this project has been placed at about ₹15,00,00,00,00,000 ($ 33.45 billion USD).

Other countries having a similar national identification numbers include Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Iceland, Ireland, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Netherland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States and others.

October 3: So, that was the day, I went ahead to a government office to get my work done, with a positive attitude at first, after all it's been headed by Nandan Nilekani. I reached the place at about 9:45 AM, and was faced by a small queue, of about 10-15 people.And then things started to get worse.

Nandan Nilekani

Some people, mainly due to some "connections" had got an un-authorized entry from a back door to get their work done out of the line. I felt like a fool to stand there. I mean this was the perfect example and the root cause of corruption. It's not only the government that is been responsible for corruption, it's actually us, who do such acts almost everyday and promote this. The scheduled time for the opening of the gate was 10:00 AM, but due to the delay caused by "those out of the line people", the gate could open only at about 10:30 AM. I actually saw a worker coming at 10:45 AM.

Other problem standing in a queue is when the people behind you keeps on talking and goes on talking. I mean you want to peacefully stand there, wait for your turn, get your work done and move out. But it makes matter really worse, when the people just behind you keeps on yelling, talking and laughing. Maybe there is nothing wrong in it, but that's not how one should behave at a queue. What makes matter worse, are children running, playing, pulling and the worse, pushing your legs to make their way. First time, it's okay, they are children, second time, ah, just be careful next time, third time, okay this is getting me out of control, fourth time, okay, one more time, and no one would be worse than me, fifth time, and you have a boiling head. But considering the queue, I resisted to do anything.

About half and a hour later, our turn came. All our papers were ready, the identity proof and the address proof. So, we went inside, and then I knew, the worse was yet to come.

Only four out of six systems were working, that mainly slowed down the process. Now when you go there, and sit down, the person actually works on a Samsung laptop and you can see everything on a monitor screen facing towards you. My monitor wasn't working, so everytime, I had to stand up, head towards the person and then peek into her laptop to check my details. That was really annoying. Secondly, the person didn't know how to use a laptop and has certainly never used the soft keys. She was literally banging on the keyboard. I am sure, the keyboard will not last more than 3 months for her. Secondly, it took her a whole 2 minutes to write just my name, and that too through my school ID. The reason? Again, she didn't know how to use a laptop. She again and again kept complaining that the cursor of this laptop wasn't good, and I just couldn't control my laughter seeing her. What was happening was that everytime she used to type something, her palm got touched to the touchpad, and that changed the position of the cursor, and that generated random names. Like the last part of my name came before the first part, i.e, vikRit. She typed my name nearly 5-6 times, and it was annoying.

Secondly is the finger print scan. What happens is that, there is the finger print reader, and you place your fingers and thumbs in turn, and then there is a meter on the screen whether the procedure was a "Pass" or a "Fail". Like if the fingers are not correctly spaced or not correctly pressed, so that gives the procedure a low score, and anything below 50% is a fail. So, for the first time, I placed my finger myself, and got a 82%. Second time, she corrected me, and asked me to place my finger without any space, in short she controlled my hand, which eventually resulted into a "Fail". Second time, she again controlled my hand, placed my finger, "Fail". Third time, finally, it "Passed" with a 59%. That clearly showed their way of doing wasn't correct, you don't place your fingers, with all the fingers glued, there should be an optimum space between any two fingers.

Another thing which catched my eye the fact that, there was a small message displayed at the bottom of their screen, which said, "This copy of windows is not genuine". And I literally started laughing seeing that. I mean such a big program, and they are running on pirated Windows?

Then there was the address verification, I am a school going kid, I am 17, I don't have a voter's ID, what could have been my address proof. Their website says, the school ID would do. But at that time they refused, and then we asked what could have been my address proof? They said the address proof of my parents would be my address proof, so we gave the address proof to them, what was actually my mother's address proof, and so now my mother didn't had her address proof. And this was the time, when my experience in Cross Country Running came into it's application. There were no Xerox shop nearby, and I had to run about 3 kms, to and fro, to get my work done. But it felt nice running after a long long long time. However, I could feel the pain in my legs for the next two days, but that's fine.

All things done, and even after such a "roller-coaster" experience, our registration was finally completed. We got a acknowledge receipt and that the card would reach in about 60-90 days. Let's see when it really reaches.

My acknowledgment receipt. (Some information hidden for obvious reasons)

Get yourself enrolled now!

Click here for Aadhar's Official Website.

Click here for checking your present status of your Aadhar Card.

UPDATE: I have received my Aadhar Card in early march.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Complete breakdown of intution...

Note: The following blog requires elementary knowledge of electrical circuits, ohm's law and the kirchoff's laws

Recently, I came across a video on YouTube which left me completely dumbstruck. When I first saw the video, I couldn't move for a long time. Since then I have watched the video plenty of times again and every time I see it, I get the same goosebumps. It is simply mind-boggling and will completely blow your mind as it did for me. It is completely amazing and yet at the same time unbelievable. 

The video is taken by an MIT professor, Walter Lewin who is all set to blow your mind in this two part video. Taking about the topic of the video, that I leave it upto you to figure out yourselves and also as a surprise. The first video demonstrates what he is really upto with the help of mathematical equations, while in the second video he demonstrates everything experimentally and with the graph which will leave you  completely blown for a few minutes. 


Part - 1

Part - 2

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Why sometimes Autocracy is better than Democracy ?

Okay, I know this title is against the old popular belief about democracy and I am also aware of the number of wars and movements against autocracy. But in reality, sometimes (but not always) autocracy can be better and be more effective than a democracy.

As we know, democracy is all about the people, for the people, by the people and to the people. It is all about representation and about the approval of the majority. And at times, infact at most of the times, this takes time, and hence decrease the efficiency of the government. In a democracy subject to a parliament, in most cases, a draft bill is constituted, presented in the public forum which is inturn subjected to debate and discussion, and going through various modifications and 'versions' of the draft, a bill is passed from that particular forum. In many cases, as in the case of India, there is no single public forum, and so that bill is passed to another level, which again undergoes debate and discussion, and finally after the approval of the bill from all the public forums, the bill is implemented. In most of the cases, there is a huge difference between the drafted and the implemented bill.

In a democracy, as in the case of India, there are representatives, which are elected by a particular group of people as their representative. The more large the country, the more diverse the country, and hence more representatives. 
What if instead of so many representatives, we have a single person who can be considered as a whole and sole representative of the whole of the country, who would look into the needs of all kinds of people. And would actually work for the welfare of the country and it's people, who would think in favor of the country before than his own favor. That way the time in the approval of any bill could notably increase the efficiency of the government.

This is the case with China. Why India lacks infront of the India? The answer is here. China is an autocratic country with visionary leaders, who want to see their country at the top of the world. India lacks in this. Even it has a few of them who thinks the same, their ideology gets diluted in the crowd of numerous representatives. Better law implementation, fast actions, this makes a country stronger. 

According to statistics, the time required to implement a bill in India (Democratic nation) is 1,420 days while in China (Autocratic nation) is a mere 292 days. 

The stats shows us all, an autocratic country, with visionary leaders works in a more efficient way. It makes some obvious decisions in a faster way. For example, prosecution of criminals, like Kasab, it's been nearly 2.5 years( that's nearly, 912.5 days) he has not been punished. While the whole nation knows what he did, and there is no doubt what his punishment should be, there is still on-going cases in the courts. This was an obvious case, and the prosecution of a criminal like Kasab in an autocratic country would have been much easier, faster and thus more efficient. 

So, all I want to say is that though democracy is considered to be better than autocracy, but at times autocracy can prove to be more efficient and work in a better way, provided we have the right kind of leaders, who are power visionaries and would genuinely work for the betterment of the country and the countrymen.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Corruption, Anna Hazare, Baba Ramdev and more...

Corruption: The word on everyone's tounge these days. We are in a primary stage of the mass agitation against corruption. But what corruption is actually?

Corruption can be of many types, political corruption, police corruption, corporate corruption etc. But all of them actually mean using of power in a wrong way, or in the wrong direction. The most common form of corruption in India, is the bribe. It is everywhere, and now so common that it seems nothing new to the people of the country. Not only the officials are openly asking for it, but the people are willing to give too. Why? For a simple reason, to get your work done. And what if you don't pay? You're work wouldn't be allowed to be complete and they will try their best to stop the work from completion so that in the end you are convinced to fill their pockets, un-lawfully and un-officially. 
Many people defend this allegation on the country for widespread corruption that India stands in the 33rd position at the 'corruption' ranking, and is not even in the list of 'Top 20 countries having highest bribe payers index'. Sweden, Canada and Australia being at the top in the list of highest bribe payers index. But to all of them, I've got only one thing to clarify. In this whole list I would consider these three countries to be the best and to be the safest. Why? This is because as this list is based on the number of cases of bribe and corruption reported and officially recorded. At least, in these countries, the cases are recorded and are due for trial. But in India, a large part of the cases go un-noticed.  According to the study conducted by the Transparency International, more than 15% of the Indian population had first-hand experience in giving bribe to the officials to get into public offices. 

 So, what can be done about this? Answer is 'Lokpal Bill'. The basic idea of the lokpal bill is borrowed from the office of ombudsman, which has played a major role in checking corruption in many nations across the globe. The lokpal bill is intended to give common man the rights to directly censure his/her elected representative. Lokpal bill was first presented in the 4th Lok Sabha in 1968, and was then passed in 1969 but could not get through the Rajya Sabha consequently. The bill was reviewed in 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2005 and most recently in 2008.

Recently, Kisan Baburao Hazare, or popularly known as Anna Hazare, a Padma Bhushan awardee, had started a fast unto death for the demand of passing of the Lokpal Bill. He was supported by a huge crowd for a protest at the Jantar Mantar. After the 98 hour long protest, the government had issued a 10 member Joint Committee Of Ministers and Civil Society Activists, including him, to draft an effective Lokpal bill. Thousands of young protesters helped this issue gather a lot of steam. The lokpal bill is to be presented in the monsoon session of the Lok Sabha and has been given an un-official
deadline of 15th August, 2011.

However, the draft prepared was way different than the Jan Lokpal bill.

Draft Lokpal Bill (2010) Jan Lokpal Bill (Citizen's Ombudsman Bill)
Lokpal will have no power to initiate suo moto action or receive complaints of corruption from the general public. It can only probe complaints forwarded by LS Speaker or RS Chairman. Lokpal will have powers to initiate suo moto action or receive complaints of corruption from the general public.
Lokpal will only be an Advisory Body. Its part is only limited to forwarding its report to the "Competent Authority". Lokpal will be much more than an Advisory Body. It should be granted powers to initiate prosecution against anyone found guilty.
Lokpal will not have any police powers. It can not register FIRs or proceed with criminal investigations. Lokpal will have police powers. To say that it will be able to register FIRs.
CBI and Lokpal will have no connection with each other. Lokpal and anti corruption wing of CBI will be one Independent body.
Punishment for corruption will be minimum 6 months and maximum up to 7 years. The punishment should be minimum 5 years and maximum up to life imprisonment.

Lokpal will not be a monopoly for particular area.

Regular meeting are held between the Joint Committee Of Ministers and the Civil Society Activists which are full of compromises. 

Anna Hazare, was then joined with Ram Krishna Yadav, or Swami Ramdev or populary known as Baba Ramdev. He is given the credit for bringing yoga to each and every household in the country. But since the past few months have been heavily criticized after he showed his will for coming into politics. He was then joined by the Late Rajiv Dixit, in his Azadi Bachao Andolan and Bharat Swabhiman Andolan.  Apart from the corruption, another issue was taken out was that of the black money deposited in the foreign banks. He wanted the government to take action and bring back this money and declare them as national assets. 

The total amount of black money deposited in foreign banks by Indians is unknown but an estimate by R Vaidyanathan, a professor of finance, estimated a total at Rs. 7,280,000  Crores or $1.4 trillion. A large part of this huge amount comprises of the money from bribes. This is when 44.2% of the total population of India lived under $1 a day. Such huge amount is being directed towards the other countries for their betterment in a time when their own country needs it the most. And so, Ramdev wanted this money to be bought back to the country and used for it's right purpose. 

Also, there were few more demands which were demanded by Ramdev. The first was the withdrawal and  de-monetizing of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes, provision for death penalty for those found guilty for corruption, access, monitor and disrupt payment gateway servers enabling corrupt people to mange money in tax havens, disabling operations with any bank from a tax haven company and to scrutinize accounts of people having credit/debit cards of foreign banks without any foreign work/relation.

Of these I found the demand of withdrawing the two currency notes to be absolutely absurd. I mean, ours is an economy which needs such denomination of notes. They have been introduced for a purpose by the government, and that's not for bribes. If there is corruption in your country, you don't actually stop printing notes, you start checking corruption. His demand shows Coward-ness, If there is corruption, it doesn't mean that demonetizing the currency noted would remove the corruption from the country. One should actually make sincere efforts to remove the corruption and not the currency itself!
And another reason they gave was that US had a maximun denomination of $100. And so we should also have Rs. 100 as the maximum. I would just like to remind him that $1=Rs.44.75. That means $100=Rs. 4475. And so, what he said was totally point less.

For his demands, Ramdev went for a one day satyagraha protest at the Ramlilla Maidan. A large crowd of over a lakh people gathered. Everything was going good, but then things started getting bad. At late night, the police broke out in the maidan and started to lathi charge, blow tear gas and other such activities which resulted into many people lying in the hospital. The reason? The government thought that a meeting of such a huge amount of people at that point of time was not safe for the law and order of the city. Also, there are claims that Ramdev did not had the right permission to organize such an event from the concerned office.

The police had come to arrest Ramdev, but to seek shelter he disappeared among the women, Changed his clothes to salwar kameez and then escaped the ground. At about 3:30 AM, he was found walking through a flyover and was then arrested and flyed to Dehradun.

After this what happened was way different that has happened before. The whole topic of corruption was side-layed, and politics and word game came into picture. Allegations of Ramdev that how could a sanyasi wear salwar kammez, did he had the permission to hold such a huge event?, If he was doing a satyagraha why did he had to run away?
The opposition party took this as an issue and seeked answer from the ruling party, which obviously had no answer. There was all kind of non-sense political statements each try to undermine others and gain popularity for themselves in this issue. Even those who didn't had any connection with this whole thing, came and gave this statement without any reason. The whole matter had shifted. In between the ramlilla maidan and the political statement, the whole agenda of this had been lost. It had now become an issue of Why did Ramdev wore a salwar kameez? and not about the main aim-Corruption. 

Also, there was a huge difference in the crowd of the protest by Anna Hazare and that of Ramdev. 90% of the poeple in the crowd by Ramdev were farmers and 99% of the people didn't knew the meaning of inflation. Talking about corruption and black money infront of such a crowd is totally use-less. While that of the crowd by Anna Hazare comprised of young protestors who wouldn't usually take down into streets.

It is not that corruption is only in our country. Every country has corruption. Even the developed countries had this phase of corruption, but they have passed through this phase. Each country faces this challenge and so are we.

In my view, we can't say that the lokpal bill is the ultimate solution of corruption. Or the protest at the Ramlilla maidan was. Corruption, in true terms, would end only when the officials and the people of the country would want a better and prospect India. These laws would just make it difficult for the officials to be corrupt. But still, if the people are willing to give them bribe there is nothing that can stop them. Corruption would stop only when the people know their rights, they are willing not to give bribe at any cost, even the officials are un-willing to take bribes, and do their work with honesty and modesty. We not only need the enactment of the Lokpal bill but also a change. A change in the mentality of the people. A change in the mentality of officials. A change in the minds of the people that their work can be done without bribes. A change in the minds of the officials that working through bribes they are being the enemies of the nation and would never reach a stage of internal satisfaction. A nation can only prosper when there is no corruption and the people of the country feel themselves in save hands, this can only be achieved when the people of the country and the officials, both think for the benefit of the country first, and then for their own benefit. What we are doing is not for the nation's prosper, but for our own prosperity, and that's the reason that the country's prosperity has come to an stand still.

Stand for your country. It needs you.

Source for Statistics : Nation Master

Sunday, May 29, 2011

How did the concept of Time Travel originated?

In the 19th century, there was the use of the fictional concept of Time Travel, be it for novels, movies or anything. It was everywhere. But how did people came up with such an unusual concept and why after such a long time scientists believe that this concept may not be fictional? 

Time travel usually refers to traveling through the time, whether in past or future, by various methods such as by traveling faster than light (Special Theory of Relativity by Albert Einstein), using Wormholes etc. 

As we all know that our world is a Three Dimensional world or the 3-D world. We perceive every object in three dimensions, namely, Length, Breadth and Height. In the recent years, there has been a debate on the possibility of a number of more dimensions in space than we know. Some scientists believe to have known as much as 21 dimensions. Now-a-days, even time is considered to be the 4th dimension of the world. 

Now, we consider ourselves to be living in the three dimensional world, which comprises of length, breadth and height. And, we also know that we, on our will, can move backward or forward in these three dimensions freely, any time and at our will. 

Now, a group of scientists believe, that if we consider time as the 4th dimension, then like the other three dimensions, we should also be able to move in this 4th dimensions, freely, at any time and at our own will. On this supposition, originated the idea of time travel and scientists began researching on the possibility of time travel. And have even come up with a few theoretical concepts of time travel. 

One such concept of time travel is called the Twin Paradox. It states that if we travel at the speed of light to distant star, then slow down, turn back, and then travel back to earth with the speed of light, we would find ourselves to be aged-less, or would have traveled back in time. However, since till now we have not been able to achieve the speed of light, the concept of time travel remains hypothetical.