I think the idea of referendum is ridiculous

This is going to be a short piece, also a very basic one on the topic. My arguments may sound too naive- I don’t have much knowledge of this but still I wanted to write this here, at least it’s an original thought. We will see another referendum soon, in the UK, to decide whether it should stay in the European Union (EU) or not. Google defines a referendum as “a general vote by the electorate on a single political question which has been referred to them for a direct decision”. Which means that the government asks the people whether it should go ahead with a particular decision or not. The last major referendum we saw was also in the UK- the Scottish people were asked whether Scotland should be an independent country or should it continue as a part of the UK. Majority of the people who voted wanted to continue and hence Scotland remains in the UK. One happened in Greece recently where the people were asked whether to accept a bailout package or not. People said yes.

My problem with any referendum is that it presents a very complex political question of serious and long lasting consequences of all kinds to people who may not be in the best position to judge. I mean, the average citizen is not equipped enough- with information and capabilities, to take a call on matters that referendums normally are about. Continue reading I think the idea of referendum is ridiculous

India and poverty- some basic numbers

India has a lot of people who are called “poor”, take any scale or definition of poverty. The governments agree to this, the World Bank and the UN agree to this, everybody does. But do we know how many are the so called “poor”? Do we know the magnitude of the challenge of eradicating poverty? Do we know where do we stand with respect to rest of the world? The following charts may give some answers to these questions.

All charts are created by the author. The poverty figures are from the World Bank. The India population figures are from the World Bank’s World Development Indicators database; and the world population figures are from GeoHive. Continue reading India and poverty- some basic numbers

Book: Ayn Rand and the world she made

Ayn (pronounced “ein” or “eye-in”) Rand is the author of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged (and a few more works of fiction and philosophy), most favorite books ever, for millions of readers. I recently read a biography of hers, by Anne C. Heller.

Ayn RandI was new to Rand, have never read any of her works. But heard a lot though, mostly from devout fans of the aforementioned two books.

But, millions love to hate her too, that’s the irony of Ayn Rand. Why? The answer is Objectivism, the branch of philosophy she developed. It’s extremely individualistic:  a man should pursue his individual interests, no matter what; one should not care about others, do not bother about philanthropy, and so on. Those who are powerful and better than others can, will, and should dominate the others. Morality and ethics was strictly woven around personal choices. She is pretty infamous for calling the Native Americans “savages” and justified violence against them. Her works are said to be filled with this propaganda. The Individualist Manifesto, the thirty-three-page essay presents her moral philosophy. Continue reading Book: Ayn Rand and the world she made

Human Development Report 2015

The 2015 Human Development Report (HDR) will be launched on 14 December this year. The theme of the Report will be Work for Human Development.

For starters, the first HDR was launched in 1990. Since then, every year, UNDP has been publishing HDRs focusing on a specific theme every year. To name a few, the 1993 HDR was based on people’s participation, the 1995 Report focused on gender, and the 2000 HDR analysed human rights and human development. The Report also ranks countries of the world on the Human Development Index (HDI), which has become a crucial indicator of development. Click here to view all HDRs from 1990-2014. Continue reading Human Development Report 2015

Our everyday sexual discrimination

Mostly unknowingly, we bring segregation based on sex into our conversations. While this may not amount to sexism, it creates or cements a distinction between men and women which may later influence one’s thoughts or actions. If the distinction has positive effects, it may be ignored, but that’s not the case.

Mark: Hey Sara, wanna have some sweets?
Sara: Absolutely! What’s special today?
Mark: A girl in our team just returned from her native place. She requested me whether I could distribute these to the others around. Continue reading Our everyday sexual discrimination

My 1,000-days countdown starts today!

Travelling is my favourite poison (you might want to pay a kind visit to my travel blog, happilytravelled.com) and Russia is my dearest brand. I don’t know when the biggest country on the planet became my dream travel destination, but it has been sitting there for a very long time. May be it has the breathtaking Trans-Siberian Railway, and I happen to be mad about trains. Whatever the reasons may be, that’s the place I want to visit one day.

The Trans-Siberian Railway and associated lines. Image taken from http://transsiberian.info/Transsiberianmap.gif

However, the usual lower-middle class Indian conditions apply. Continue reading My 1,000-days countdown starts today!

Why the international poverty day is a little special this time?

Today is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, which was adopted by the UN in 1991 and has been celebrated since then. This year, the day commands a little extra importance. Here is why. Continue reading Why the international poverty day is a little special this time?

Book: Cables from Kabul

Today morning, I finished reading “Cables from Kabul: The inside story of the West’s Afghanistan campaign”. It’s written by Sherard Cowper-Coles, a former British diplomat, who served in Afghanistan from 2007 to 2010, first as the British Ambassador and later as the Special Representative to the UK Foreign Secretary to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Definitely one of the most eligible persons to pen such an account. Continue reading Book: Cables from Kabul