Friday, October 03, 2014

Perspective on Good and Evil - what is right?

Today is Vijaya Dashmi. It is celebrated by Hindus across the world for various reasons – to celebrate Lord Rama’s victory over the Asura Raavan, and for the victory of Goddess Durga over the demon, Mahishasura. The moral behind all the tales and stories swirling around this day is that it is a day to celebrate victory of good over evil.

So what really is evil and what is good. Why do we really need comparisons or choices like the good and evil?

When we were kids, my paternal grandmother used to tell us that good and evil are two sides of the same coin. She said that what was considered good by one person, could be considered evil by another. Then I recently read a trilogy on life of Shiva, which said the same thing. It is only a matter of one's perspective. The book went on to say that everything must remain in a limited quantity and too much of anything becomes bad. The same applies for good too – too much of good will start to become bad for the society and will start an evil trend. So the right balance has to be maintained. The author of the trilogy goes on to quote the Vedas and says that as long as good and the so called evil are balanced, life continues in harmony. It is only when one side starts dominating the other that the problem starts and if there is no amicable solution, the only way to resolve the conflict is by a dharma war. And as my grandmother said, and as I read in the trilogy mentioned above, there are good people on both sides of the war and even the losers have good people.

Until a few months back, I always thought that Ravana was either an Asura / demon (Rakshasa). I believed that he was a Kshatriya, and Rama was a Brahmin. Then I happened to attend a GITPRO event in 2013, where Dr. Subramanyam Swami was the keynote speaker, and he mentioned that Ravana was actually a Brahmin and Rama was a Kshatriya.  Ravana is often depicted as the evil demon, whereas in reality, he was a very learned man. He was a follower of Shiva, a great scholar, a capable ruler and a maestro of the veena, but someone who wished to overpower the devas. His ten heads represents that his knowledge of the six shastras and the four Vedas.  He was the half brother of Kubera, the god of wealth. His problems started when he let his ego take over his righteous side, and kidnapped the wife of Rama who was roaming in the jungle with his wife and brother. Ravana refused to listen to the advice of his advisers, which included his learned father, ministers, brother and wife. He let the evil get heavier on his good side, and as a result we had the war against Lanka in which Ravana and his army was destroyed.

The same scenario has been repeated several times in history. In my humble opinion, the bottom line is that we need to maintain a balance between good and the so called evil , so that they can co-exist. Live and let live – that my friends, is the way life was meant to be lived and we should all learn that. Look for the good in everything and everyone, and stop trying to force others to live your way. Understand why people do what they are doing, and we could all live happily as was intended to be. Cheers!!

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Leadership traits that separate real leaders from ordinary men....

Sometime back, while making a presentation to some young people about leadership traits and what I had done for my career growth, someone asked me what was the sign of a great leader? I know I am nothing like what a great leader should be - I am a very ordinary guy, who can easily be part of a crowd where probably nobody would ever notice me a second time, but this question was very generic, so I thought about it for a few seconds; and gave a very stockpile answer about what the leader does or should do, how he can be a team player and take strategic decisions and not tactical ones, … you get the drift. The attendees took notes, and seemed happy – but I was intrigued.  There had to be more that separated leaders from ordinary men. What did Shackleton do?  What made Sam Manekshaw a great leader? What about Churchill, or Alexander or Gandhi? What makes a real leader? 

Then I remembered a poem that my mother had read to me a long time back – and I thought this would apply to any good leader, irrespective of age or sex of the person. I like to think that I have grown keeping this as my goal, and if I can show even half of these traits, I will consider myself to have been a successful leader.

So here is the Poem If, penned by one of my favorite writers – Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, 
    But make allowance for their doubting too;   
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, 
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, 
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating, 
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise: 

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster 
    And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken 
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, 
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, 
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools: 

If you can make one heap of all your winnings 
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, 
And lose, and start again at your beginnings 
    And never breathe a word about your loss; 
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew 
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you 
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’ 

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch, 
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, 
    If all men count with you, but none too much; 
If you can fill the unforgiving minute 
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Monday, January 06, 2014

2013 – In Hindsight

To say 2013 went by quickly would be the understatement of the year.

With the communication technology so vastly improved, there has been an overdose of social apps. There is little we don’t know about the connected people in our network, and at times we know a bit more than needed. But, as has been my practice over the past few year, here is a summary of what happened in the year around me.

People we lost in 2011

Nelson Mandela was perhaps the biggest news of the year, and though he had been in & out of the hospital with near death experiences, the news still created a feeling of sadness around the world for having lost one of the last great leaders.

Margaret Thatcher was another one that had impressed me with her leadership skills. The Iron Lady, as she was commonly called, had a great stint as the UK PM for nearly 11 years.

I grew up reading the books written by Tom Clancy, and his death in the year was another big loss.
Major news events in 2013 that made headlines, and caught my attention:

  • Kumbha Mela in Prayag (Allahabad) in India
  • Sachin Tendulkar retired from cricket – for me that was probably the last attraction for Indian Cricket.
  • Swami Viveknand’s 150th birth anniversary was celebrated across the globe
  • Barrack Obama took the oath to continue as the USA president for the second term.
  • Narendra Modi made a lot of headlines in India and emerged as a leading candidate for post of India’s Prime Minister
  • Arvind Kejriwal created the AAP (Aam Aadmi Party – Common Man’s party) which swept the ruling Congress Government from power in Delhi. He seems to have a lot of charisma, and if he can remain honest, he will be able to do wonders for the India Politics.
  • Obamacare ran into multiple issues – both political and logical (with the launch causing severe performance issues).
 The Kids

Shivangi is now a senior at University of Southern California (USC), majoring in Industrial Systems Engineering. She graduated earlier in 2011 from Mills College with major in Math. In the summers, she interned at Niagara Water bottling company in Ontario, California and wants to pursue a career in Supply Chain Management. She was elected the Vice President of her sorority at USC, and has built a good network for herself.

Neha, turned 21 on the last day of the year. She is now a senior in St. Mary’s college, majoring in Bio-chemistry, and is thinking about a career in medicine, genetics or pharmacology. She has continued to be very involved in the local Hindu chapter of the Hindu Volunteers Group (HSS) and helps in running its daily activities by helping her mother with the efforts in that area. Her 21st birthday was a fun event – where Nandita had planned a surprise party for her. We had invited some of her friends, Shivangi’s friends and our close family friends over for lunch on the day, while Nandita took her out to get her nails done. It was fun to surprise her. Earlier, over the weekend, Nandita had arranged for a helicopter ride from San Carlos airport to Half Moon Bay – thanks to her friend, Terri Mead.

Both the girls will graduate in May of 2014.

Nandita and I

Nandita and I turned are inching towards our 50s. We have been married for nearly 27 years now, and have known each other a lot longer (since 1981).

We are so pleased and honored to see so many people feel comfortable visiting our humble abode and staying with us. Between April and Dec, I think there was barely a week when there was no friend/family member visiting us or staying at our place. Some of the folks that visited us were Nandita’s Cousin with her family (Rucha’s parents) from Pune; my College Professor Mrs. Sumedha Nashikkar and her husband, Anil (took me nearly 20+ years of convincing to finally get her to come); my college friend Farhan Pettiwala and his wife, Navya; Our childhood friend Sharmila Dey and her daughter; Alicia and Jeff Sandoval; Tanvi Sinha, and my wife’s neice Priyanka and her mother to name a few. It feels like a good to see people feel at home at our place, and we had some fun times with all our visitors. 

Our jobs

I changed my job last year in November, moving from Bank of America to a start up named Tria Beauty. The company makes laser operated bio-medical devices, which are FDA approved to be used for skin care like at-home Laser Hair Removal, Anti-aging and Acne treatments. I had been keen to move into the start-up sector, and this opportunity just happened to come along at the perfect time, just as both the girls were entering their final year of under-grad education. I am currently the head of IT, and am responsible for eCommerce architecture, ERP and IT Infrastructure. When I look back at what I helped the IT team achieve, I can’t help but feel proud of what the team has done this year (we saved the company nearly $1.5M by sheer negotiations and using better & cheaper options).

Nandita has continued to work as a Director in the Clinical and Technical Affairs at Coagusense, the small start-up company based in Fremont. Coagusense continues to do well, and became profitable this year (its 5th year of existence) – a huge step for it.

The travels

My business trips took me to Palm Springs, in California, Phoenix in Arizona, Indore and Hyderabad in India. I traveled to Los Angeles as well. During my Indore trip, I got to attend the annual events at Daly College, my Alma Mater, after a few decades. It was very nostalgic and brought back some great memories. I also got to meet some very close friends.

Nandita traveled to Seattle on business trips and Indore to help her brother who was ill.

I continued to be very active as the coordinator for the Contra Costa Chapter of Global Indian Technology Professionals (GITPRO). This year, we had 5 monthly events in our chapter that covered various topics like preparing for an interview, planning your career, Financial and Tax Management, Cloud Technology, Innovation, and Legal aspects of starting your own Venture etc. There is a lot planned for this in 2014.

Nandita and Neha continue to spend their weekends with the Shakha work and supporting the Sewa Project, where the volunteers prepare 75 lunch packages to go and feed the homeless in Berkeley’s People’s Park. Nandita also continued to be involved with her writer’s club, where the members (all ladies group) meet once a month on a Friday evening at someone’s home and read the write-ups that they have prepared. She also contributed a weekly column called Diary of NRI to Daink Bhaskar – a local newspaper published from Bhopal in India.

During my recent India trip, I got to spend a week with my mother. It was a good feeling for both of us, especially after her surgical repair of the thigh bone earlier in Jan 2013. She is doing great, by God’s grace and is able to walk about without the walker. I am hoping to be able to bring her to the US soon.

TV shows and Movies we saw

  •   Some mentionable English movies we saw – Man of Steel, Star Trek into Darkness, Thor 2, The Wolverine, Hunger Games – catching Fire, Gravity and Oblivion.
  • Hindi Movies –some Hindi movies that we saw (and recommend) – Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Yeh Jawaani hai Diwani, OMG. 
  • TV Serials we followed –Covert Affairs, Rizzolli and Isles, Bones, NCIS, Big Bang Theory, The Mentalist, Person Of Interest, Necessary Roughness and Sherlock.

Other happenings – Sachin’s retirement from Cricket and being awarded Bharat Ratna, the highest Civilian award in India. 

Looking forward into 2014 – In the first half of the year, I have plans to travel to San Antonio in Texas, Miami in Florida, Seoul in Korea and London in UK . I am also hoping to take a cruise this year and a vacation to Australia/NewZealand as well as take my daughters for a short vacation trip to India. On my work front, I am getting ready to launch a new eShopping website that we designed and built.  Here is hoping that all these can go very smoothly, as planned. I am looking forward to meeting more of my close friends and family in 2014. Cheers!!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Two cases on Life Support under opposing circumstances

Two recent news items caught my attention - due to the fact that both cases involved patients on life support system, but different circumstances around the cases, and how the system and the families were reacting to each case. 

Case 1: Recently, there has been a lot of news about a teenage girl in the Bay area in California, who has been declared as brain dead after a botched Tonsillectomy (removal of Tonsils). The hospital wants to remove her from life support while the girl's mother insists on keeping her alive. The matter went to courts here, and the judge has ruled that the case needs a second opinion and hence, the girl will be kept on life support until another doctor confirms the diagnosis. As per the latest development, the judge has received the new diagnosis from a doctor from another hospital, and has ruled that the hospital can take her off life support, but halso given the rights to the family of the teen to appeal the ruling. The family, of course, is expecting a miracle to happen. Read more about it here.

Case 2: On the other hand, there is a case in Texas, where an expectant mother is lying brain dead, and the hospitals refuse to take her off life support even after her husband and parents are requesting the hospital to take her off life support. According to the husband, his wife (the patient), a 33 years old woman, had lost a close family member and had told him that she'd never want to be on a life support system. The girl's parents agree too. But, since the woman is pregnant, Texas State law puts the rights of a fetus over the wishes of the mother. The baby is now about 18 weeks old and, per the husband, the doctors have not considered long term effects of Oxygen deprivation. Read more about this here.

What do you guys think about these cases? Who is right? 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Can we get any more Neanderthal?

A lot is happening everywhere in the world today, and people are preparing to spend the weekend with their loved ones getting ready for the New Year which is just around the corner. Many organizations will honor people that have done something hroic for the society. CNN, for one, runs a program to honor Heroes over the world and nearly all the folks showcased in that program are true Heroes.

But then, every once in a while, there are assholes (Please pardon my French!) that prove that some humans are actually going backwards in time. first, there was the deranged soul that shot several innocent kids in Newtown (CT), and I thought that it was a new low. But then, I read about the girl who was gang-raped in a Delhi bus on Dec. 16th, then beaten and thrown out to die. After fighting for her life over the past several days, she finally succumbed today to her grave injuries amidst multiple organ failures in Singapore.

Over the past few days, I have been reading comments about the incident and following the news in the Indian/world news media. One friend suggested that the modern clothing was one of the causes for this incident or growing crimes against women in India, while another blamed Indian movies - especially the provocative songs like Sheela ki Jawani or Munni or Halkat Jawani for these increasing crimes. The weird part was that some of these comments came from women, and some from parents who themselves have daughter(s).

India is not alone in seeing these crimes spurt. Just a couple of years back, there was a similar incident in Richmond, California where 6 highschool students gangraped a fellow student after a highschool party where they were all drinking together. Date rape is also a fairly common thing in the wild west. And rape is still a stigma all over the world, which prevents the victims from coming forward to report it. But what makes the case in India more barbaric and deplorable, is the way the girl was treated. Without going into the details (I am sure you can read about the gory details by Googling the news), let me just state that the girl was raped, then beaten with iron rods and then thrown out in the bushes from the moving bus.

The girl fought bravely her sever injuries for several days. During this time, several of the women's group finally decided to stand up and take the up the fight. There have been demonstrations all over the country. My wife and I were talking about the case just a few nights back, and we discussed her remote chances of survival as she struggled with speticemia and organ failures. For the first time, the Indian Government sponsored a civilian to be sent to Singapore for treatment. During her flight, she collaped and the doctors were able to revive her. So, the odds were always against her.

Over the next few days, there will be many discussions, arguments, and demonstrations on this topic. There will be "experts" willing to share their wisdom, and then there will be the news media goons who will keep sensationalizing the event. People will dissect every statement, move including the decision to send her to Singapore. But where do we go from here? Can we really blame the "clothing" or the "movies" for such deplorable acts? Is it not our lack of respect for women that is the real reason? What is the punishment for this crime? Many angry people have said that the perpetuators should be castrated and then tarred! Is that the right thing to do?

Lot of questions and I don't really see any immediate answers. One can't change the mindset by just bringing in laws and rulings. It takes a more sustained effort at a grassroot level - and unfortunately, no body is really talking about that. As a father of two beautiful daughters, I often worry about their safety - but I know I have brought them up well, they are strong, and that they are in a place where women are somewhat respected -- not because of what they wear or how they dance or sing - but just because they are who they are. That said, I am hoping that India can use this incident to come up with a movement to bring back the respect for women in the Indian Society.

I pray that the girl's soul her family can find some peace!!

Friday, December 14, 2012

A new low!!

Today, on the 14th of Dec, United States of America experienced a new low.  Today, a so called crazy guy shot dead twenty kids that had no clue what hit them or why! Twenty kids, who had still not reached ten years of age, were still forming opinions, building dreams about their lives. And it couldn’t have come at a worse time – just a week before Christmas and the start of the holiday season.

There will be several prayers, vigils all over the country, lot of tears ( I believe the president was teary eyed too).  They will call some students or teachers heroes (why do we need heroes for every mishap??). Then there will be additional security enforced in schools all over the country, causing a further overburdening of an already fragile system. And then it will all be forgotten!!   How many of us remember that two weeks back a NFL linebacker shot his girlfriend who was the mother of his three month old kid, before shooting himself. And of course, the recent mass shooting in the sikh gurudwara in Wisconsin or the infamous Columbine incident. Just like people have forgotten what is right and what is wrong.

And then, there will be a Glen Beck or a gun store owner who will stand up and say that this could have been prevented if we had the right guy on the spot with a gun to scare the incumbent. They will claim that guns are not the problem, but instead are the solution. It is so easy to just let the bullets fly – I wonder if they’d be open to putting action into place where their words are, if it was their own family in a similar situation.

Today’s incident is a new low in the western world where we rely on heroes and guns are a constitutional right. I find that last part ironical – it is not a constitutional right to have a job or to be able to marry the person one loves, but it is constitutionally allowed to carry a gun openly.  Our politicians have allowed a lobby to browbeat and hold the entire country hostage to lousy gun control laws. The current gun control laws or the lack there off, are a sham. One can’t buy medicines without allowing the powers-that-be to sniff all over your body, but buying a firearm is a piece of cake.

So what is the solution? My suggestion is simple – ask every politician or person if they would like to see their kids in a similar situation either with a gun or on the side opposite a gun? Most likely, the answer will be No. So then, why allow guns to be openly carried by civilians. If someone is interested in guns, they have the option to join the armed forces or paramilitary forces or become a police office or just go to a shooting range which can be found easily in the US. So, why do we have to own guns and keep them at home? But at the same time, there are valid reason from the other side too. So how do we create a system that meets the need of both sides?

One of the other lows in today’s incident was the killing of the shooter’s mother along with 7 other adults. The very fact that a kid could even consider hurting a woman indicates that there were issues. The idea of hurting one’s mother is totally unheard of in any civil society. I remember my mother telling me a story of the amount of love a mother has for her kids and I will repeat it here – in the fit of rage and inebriation, a teenager stabbed his mother. As she lay bleeding, she asked him to run away telling him to stay safe and take care of himself. She also told him that she’d tell the cops that she had tried to commit suicide. What I learned from this was that a mother would go to any lengths to keep her kids out of trouble – whether it be the right thing to do or not. How can anyone think of hurting, let alone kill, some one that only wishes the best for you!!

I pray for the families of the injured, and for the remaining family of the shooter. And I pray that our leaders come to their senses and place the wellbeing of the public in front of the views put by a lobby.

Monday, October 29, 2012

If I were the Prime Minister of India

It is never an easy job running an organization of any size – leave alone a country especially if it is as diverse and large as India. Given its history of corruption, misuse of power and lack of foresight amongst its leaders, this would take a very skilled person to run this country and bring it to the path of advancement that the people in India truly deserve.

Here is what I’d do if I were to ever become the Prime Minister of India.
I.                    Constitution:
a.       Form a committee to rewrite the constitution in 2 years. Major changes –

                                                               i.      Mandatory requirement for becoming a MP or hold a public post – person must be born in India, to Indian parents and should NOT have a partner or spouse born in another country.
                                                             ii.      Build a mix of parliamentary and presidential form of government. The parties fighting the election will need to declare a leader beforehand.  No person can hold a post for more than 8 consecutive years, with elections occurring on a fixed date every year and the country electing the full parliament every 4 years. Villages should choose Panchayats and vote for people, not parties. Every town and city will have MLAs and MPs based on population.
                                                            iii.      Ministers will need to be subject matter experts in the field and will be advised by experts in that area. E.g – defense minister will need to be a defense expert with experience of defending the country and will be aided by a council of former chiefs of armed forces.
                                                           iv.      Member of Parliament can only have power to vote yes or nay on the issue in front of them. They can ask or question the reasoning behind the bill and also form parliamentary committees to question anyone on the happening in the country. They can also introduce new bills for the parliament to discuss. They do not get to allocate utilities like gas distributors or fuel stations.
                                                             v.      NO regional parties – only national parties or independents can fight the elections. There will be three national parties. Regional parties only create division of the country.
                                                           vi.      Leaders and people causing factionalism (on basis of cast, creed, and language) will be dealt with severely.
                                                          vii.      Move away from division of states based on language.  States will be made larger, and pool in resources. People will elect their own leaders, based on their personal appeal rather than party guidelines.

b.      Elections will be clean, less noisy and parties will be held accountable for cleaning the banners, slogans etc. with a heavy penalty for noise and graffiti.
c.       Filing of taxes over the age of 18 mandatory. All cash transactions will be tracked and limited to certain value ( 

II.                  Law and Order

a.       Give autonomous status to CBI and EOW to investigate crimes.
b.      Create a committee to revise the criminal law – use experts in criminal law to fill loopholes. Devise a faster mechanism for verdicts. Investigation agencies will spend time to analyze the cases before presenting it to court.
c.       Maintain a full database of every Indian with Biometrics and DNA record. All indivisuals will be required to carry a photo-id at all times (driver’s license or voters card) will be made mandatory.
d.      Install Closed circuit TV on all major roads and crossings of the country.
e.      Civil cases over property which have been in the court for over 10 years will be given 6 months to reach an amicable settlement. After which, the property will be taken over by the government for public use.
f.        Improve road and traffic laws. Implement a new driving license system and everyone will need to reapply. Make person approving the driver’s license responsible for the driving capabilities of the driver -- a track record will be publicly available of who approved most accident prone drivers. Also, during the driver’s test, the approver will need to ride with the person applying for the license.
g.       Implement strict copyright laws and track internet piracy.
h.      Crack down heavily on resources causing riots based on religion.

III.                Anti - Corruption

a.       This is easier said than done. But it needs a strong leader with a strong will power. I’d declare that anyone in the public figure (from a Babu to a leader) willing to acknowledge every having taken any bribe or favors from public will have 30 days to acknowledge and return the money to the Government. No penalties or fines will be assessed on what was declared. However, after the 30 days period, I’d ask the public to file anonymous complaints on the incidents when they had to bribe to get the work done – all they’d need to submit is when, how much, to who and for what. Immediate enquiry will ensue and leaders will be fined by up to 5 times the said amount.
b.      All government employees will be deemed as public figures and what they say or do will be open to public under the right to public information. Only the defense personnel will be excluded from this. What this means is that if you are a minister or a secretary, you’d be under the scanner at all times and your phones, offices, homes and cars will be tapped.
c.       Property taxes will be assessed based on market prices. All transactions will be recorded directly by companies which will research ownership history and provide insurance against legal issues around ownership. Failure to record real prices will result in fines equivalent to twice the difference, and on repeat failures, withdrawal of license to do business. Also, buyers will need to be recorded by biometrics methods (retinal scans, in addition to other means). This will ensure that multiple property owners will be taxed at higher rates.
d.      All MPs will have to declare their property and earning details every year.
e.      Whistle blowers will be eligible for up to 33% of the yield in the raid. Example - Charge of traffic tickets will be distributed 3 way, with the cop getting 33%, 33% going to the state police benefit fund and remaining for the state public benefit fund.
f.    News media will be encouraged to investigate and publish information about scams. Journalists and media providing details about scams will be awarded with a portion of the total amount recovered.
g.   Indian Government will go after money stored in foreign banks, and if the owners can't reveal the source of that money or proves that they had paid taxes on it, the assetts will be confiscated.
h.   Plan for ways to force out the hidden black money in the country -- example, by introducing new currency notes, and mandating registration of property owners using biometrics etc.

IV.                Energy and natural resources

a.       Green energy will be leveraged wherever possible. Focus will be on Solar, wind, and Nuclear power wherever possible.  Reduce reliance on imported fuel.
b.      Every household will need to install water conservation methods. This will include Energy efficient appliances, methods of conserving rain water
c.       Cities will need to plan for rain water conservation – including but not limited to rain gutters on every building, storing rain water, increasing catchment area and marking green belts. Every road should be lined with native trees that have been cut over the years.
d.      Citizens will be encouraged to plan a tree for every year of their age – as a way of giving back to nature.
e.      Clean up rivers, creeks by removing obstructions and deepening the rivers to carry more water. Every major city will mark areas to store water in form of lakes which will be earmarked as picnic areas to generate funds for maintenance.
f.        Encourage use of public transport with incentives. Give tax rebates for using public transport in lieu of gas (petrol/diesel) driven vehicles.

V.                  Employment and Education

a.       Government employees will be the best of the best and will be amongst the highest paid. If people do not understand that government employment means public service, and not personal gains, they shouldn’t join the government service.
b.      All reservations in schools/colleges and jobs will be canceled immediately, as they have only helped in dividing the country. Only the armed forces and tribes from adivasis (aborigines) will be given 10% reservation during admission to higher education each. There will be an extra 10% for women.  For everyone else, the fees structure will be based on their tax returns only. Anyone availing the reservation will be required to serve 3-5 years in the government designated area of their education.
c.       Public schools (meaning schools run by Government) will be made free and will provide quality education. The teachers will be highly qualified and highly paid. Everyone must realize the impact teachers have on the life of students and it is very important that the formative years are well taken care of.
d.      One year of paid mandatory service in the armed forces in a non-border area before the age of 25 years. This could be in paramilitary forces or armed forces and will inculcate the discipline required in all. Continue Short service commissions (5 years’ service). Provide veterans all the help in getting job placements.
e.      Remove teaching of religion from all schools. Schools will instead be required to teach a mandatory subject about true Indian culture and history based on facts and documentary visits to various places of relevance.
f.        Mandatory learning of 3 languages, including English and Hindi. Students will have a choice to learn a language spoken in the country (along with Hindi and English) until the 5th grade, and then can choose to either continue further studies in it until their tenth grade or pick any language of the world (other than English) to study. Advanced courses in the same languages will be offered beyond the tenth grade too.
g.       Education courses will change to keep up with the advances in tech world. Strong emphasis will be on learning by practice and research. Move away from just theoretical learning.

VI.                Industry and Commerce

a.       Encourage exports. This will mean that quality will need to improve. I’d fine the companies that export sub-par goods, as it tarnishes the name of the country.
b.      Companies importing goods will be encouraged to import goods in knocked-down state. Depending on how much of the items are imported, there will be varying duty. Assembly and QA in India would help get more manufacturing jobs in the country.
Companies opening up manufacturing facilities in India will be given tax rebates.
c.       Make the process of opening and running a business a single window operation – with everything available online or at one window. Minimize red tape.
d.      Encourage R&D and innovation. Companies opening up R&D facilities in India will be given tax rebates.
e.      Small businesses like groceries and cafes in towns get preferences over large scale operations like Walmart or Reliance.

VII.              Agriculture

a.       Build an intricate canal system across the country to drain and store water.
b.      Farmers will be owners of the land.
c.       Form farmers cooperatives to sell directly to users
d.      Government will subsidize the farming equipment and material heavily and provide all assistance to farmers.

VIII.            Defense

a.       India will have the strongest armed forces in the region, with advanced capabilities to attack deep within any country.
b.      Heavy emphasis on R&D to produce indigenous equipment. There will be a farm of Indian satellites in and around the country, strong number of aircrafts, ships, tanks and drones.
c.       We will not attack first, but will reserve to right to go after people or countries that run proxy wars or indulge in terrorist attacks.
d.      Form an alliance with neighboring countries to form a common armed pact – that will induce close collaboration.
e.      No negotiations with terrorists. We will go all out to kill anyone trying to terrorize our population. If the attack is perpetrated outside our country, we will go after the people that planned it outside.

IX.                Culture and religion

a.       People can practice their religion freely – by following the policy of Live and let live – as long as the beliefs don’t hurt the country’s progress or unity or integrity.
b.      Each religion’s place of worship will be brought under a governing body run by the religious heads of that religion. Example- Hindus will have a central body run by the 4 shankar acharyas with the chief position rolling between all four on a quarterly basis. All foreign donations towards religious societies will be distributed by the government across all religious societies. It will be ensured that parties are really doing social welfare work. Religious conversions will be stopped, as there is more than one way to worship.
c.       Promote the historical culture, and natural beauty of India abroad for tourism. Set up infrastructure so that it becomes easier for people to travel to various sites in India and learn the real history of the locations.
d.      National holidays will be limited to a handful – Independence day, Republic day, Veterans day (aka Shahid Divas), Holi, Rakhi, Eid, Gandhi Jayanti, Christmas, and Diwali. For other religious days, people following that religion can take a leave from their allocated days.
e.      Every nationally recognized religion/sect will be asked to declare areas of their religious significance. These will be given federal and state protection and preserved.
f.        No more processions on the major streets. Disrupting traffic will cost heavy fees and/or penalties.
g.       Religious places will not be allowed to create noise. So no more booming loudspeakers sending waves of sound of mantras, shlokas or azzaans. The sounds of the praying places should not leave the walls of the place.
h.      Religious places will be treated as zones of sanctity, and priests will run them with efficiency. Police or armed forces will enter them only to pray or to catch criminals if they take shelter there. Under no circumstances will we allow any religious place to become the hub of criminal activity and if that happens, the authorities running that place of worship will be blamed/penalised.  

X.                  Foreign policy

a.       Remain non aligned, but try to form a close alliance of defense with neighboring countries like Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Shri Lanka, Afganistan and few African countries, on the lines of NATO.
b.      Form a united south east Asian group to promote inter country trade, with subsidies and benefits to member countries.
c.       Encourage Bangladesh and Pakistan to rejoin India. Open invite to the youth of these countries to join India in path to forward march. The invite will be especially extended to mothers and daughters, who are welcome to get away from orthodox shackles on freedom of choice for women.
d.      Establish close ties with Israel, European Union and further strengthen time tested ties with US and Russia.

There is a lot more that I’d like to add here – but I guess this will be a long article. What do you  think would be best for the country if you were to lead it?