Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Mercenary

He was called Diler Shah (The large Hearted one). A veteran of war. It was the only job he knew. He had been fighting for over 25 years yet was only 40. He had never killed anyone…but was reputed to be the best fighter ever. After all he was alive after 25 years on ground zero and that meant he was special.
The Soviets, the Afghans, the Pakistanis, the Americans, and the Taliban he had faced them all. His motive was to give his children the best education, his wife a warm home and his parent’s medicine. He didn’t care who won or lost or in fact even who he fought for, as long as they paid well.
He never carried a gun. All that he carried was chocolate, dry fruits, newspaper, water, morphine and whiskey. The basic survival kit –high calorie easy to carry food and water to stay alive, newspapers to keep warm by wrapping or burning and whiskey and morphine to ease pain.
 He always said that he never needed a gun for if he was going to get killed it wasn’t going to be with his gun and if he was going to kill…he would make a deviation.
It was like a job for him. A regular job where he was paid by the hour to survive. He did not believe in killing as he felt he did not have the authority to take anyone’s life. After all the person on the other side of the fence also was doing his job…and would only do it well if he lived.
He was faceless, action less and a shadow. But he was always there. He had seen what nightmares are made of but as a true professional stuck to his job…that of staying alive and not contributing to the body bags. The paycheck had come from everywhere at some point of time. His life was cheap…the Americans had bought it, the Soviets at one time and even the Taliban had been his employers.
He figured that more of the fighters had died of starvation and ill health than from the war due to the hostile conditions they were in. After all if they had been fighting in resort towns then the countries would have sent in their own people….no T steak shortage, enough toilet paper and of course coca cola. But in the back of beyond the cheapest lives go first. And at $20 a day he was one of the cheapest going…a bargain buy and with 25 years of experience to back it…he was hot property.
The amazing thing was that no one questioned what he did…as long as he was there. No one wanted to check on him lest he refuses and they would have to go themselves where even the devil dreads to tread. He just merged in the background like a chameleon. He heard everything, spoke of nothing, he saw every thing but showed nothing, he understood everything but advised on nothing.
He provided a service that no one else could and had his niche market. He recognized a need and serviced it. He was a true entrepreneur….

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Technologically Superior BC

Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.

Having said that it is obvious that I will be discussing an idea, rather, a radical thought. Its my can have yours but do let me know.

Do you think that technology as we know it today is more advanced than in ancient times say like the times of the Ramayana or the Mahabharat ? Science with all its inventions and discoveries is more advanced than what it was say 5000 years ago?
Studying the scriptures and the other mythological books with a very open mind and a fresh perspective, a thought crossed my mind...what if all of today's technologies existed at that time and we are unaware of it. If you look closely and think laterally without blind acceptance, it seems that we have not progressed at all in terms of technology in 5000 years. It is just our perception and utilization of technology to suit our needs that has changed. Let me illustrate my point more lucidly.

The assumption here is that the texts mentioned would be well known and would need no cross references

The Ramayan

In the Ramayan when Lord Ram is in the jungle Bharat comes looking for him and finds him at once..Did Bharat have the support of a GPS navigation system? Lord Ram then sent Bharat with his symbolic slippers to rule over Ayodha....probably through Remote Access as is the norm in todays offices. Then when Sita is left alone by Laxman he draws a Laxman rekha which to me seems nothing more than a Laser Protection cage..the sorts they use in museums today to protect Diamonds and Paintings. Further when Sita is abducted by Ravan, she is carried in an uran  khatola which literally translates into a flying vehicle...a helicopter perhaps, as she was screaming out ,the craft was not pressurised and it was low flying. Moving further when Hanuman was to go to Lanka he just leapt over the ocean...or did he use a micro light single seater craft with a low noise motor so that he wouldn't be sighted? Hanuman gives us more instances too such as the time when he brings over a full mountain for a herb...maybe a Boeing 747 freighter with a 120 tons payload with reefer containers to keep the perishable goods intact.Then again when Hanuman supposedly burns Lanka with his tail....Or did he use the blowtorch he carried on the micro light...after all he could not have had kerosene or a match box handy along with pieces of cloth....too much effort.
Engineering marvels like the bridge across the sea to Lanka was made possible by using bricks of a composite material that floated and allowed construction on the water itself. Compare that with the puny Bandra Worli sea link and its estimated completion in 100 years.
There are more compelling evidences in the texts themselves..especially as far as weapons go. The various types of powers on the arrows would definitely be akin to our missile systems and weapons of Mass Destruction. The Brahmastra was the ultimate weapon.....the nuclear device and it was fitted on a cruise missile with a guided GPS as it hit Ravan exactly on the belly button...accuracy.

The Mahabharat

The Mahabharat also offers very compelling proofs that technology in those days was far superior to what is perceived. The primary, most direct proof is the Divine Vision given to Sanjay to narrate the war as it happened live.....reminds me of CNN and the Gulf war. The direct telecast was probably on the King's fancy home theatre, through a satellite receiver and was narrated as seen. The Akash Vani has been rightly understood and adopted as the radio by our national broadcaster. Then when it was said that Ashwathama is dead was probably due to a weak cellular signal at the battle field that the words Man or Elephant were dropped/broken. Kurukshetra till date does not have the best cellular signal in the country. The shooting of the arrow to get water from the ground for Bhishma was also demonstrative of the technology and the power tools at their disposal in those days....u really didn't think an arrow can get u water from the ground ...did you?
The final straw is the revelation of the self by Lord Krishna...the holographic imaging of the true form ...the transition from 2D to 3D and finally 4D with the actual experience..something that we are still trying to achieve...again.
The Lord has said clearly that what Arjun witnessed was an illusion and just that.

Other Notings

The city of Mohenjo daro one of the earliest civilizations discovered had a vast network of drains and sewage systems that our municipal corporations are still struggling to achieve. They even had slits in houses so that garbage disposal was swift, precise and not on the roads (Delhi and Mumbai please note). And to think they could have done it without todays technology...maybe theirs was better.

The Sphinx and The Angkor Wat align themselves in a geometric symmetry on certain celestial occurrences....could it have been possible without a view from outer space given that they lay thousands of kilometers apart?

I could just go on and on and will do so if you want me to but the question of superior technology still remains.

We live in times when scientists put a man on the moon before they put wheels on a suitcase. There is a reinvention of things known in the past...Does it mean we really live in a tech freeze and only our perception changes as we tweak what is already known and present it as an invention or a path breaking discovery. More Later....

Saturday, January 2, 2010

If Pakistan Had Made the Right Choices...


The Times of India has started a new campaign to promote friendship between the people of India and Pakistan (yet again). This has already prompted a lot of debate especially amongst the only people who are experts at running the country but are busy either cutting hair or driving cabs. I do neither but still have my opinion which I shall air as always.


I was fortunate enough to have read a lot of articles on the political history of Pakistan as well as the experience of watching it go down the drain over the past 3 decades. After all our media and theirs too for that matter believed at one time that the two countries were at the centre of the universe and the whole world revolved around them.


The line of thought for this post was What if Pakistan had made different choices…What if they had not made the blunders they have.


The bane of Pakistan has been the deviation from the original line of thought for which it was formed. Jinnah had envisioned a liberal, free thinking state albeit based on the socio cultural similarity in Muslim culture as a binding force. His thinking in his dapper suits was to create an Islamic state like what today is probably Turkey or Lebanon with its tolerant moderate mindset and liberal outlook.

What instead transpired in the first six years of the existence was the taking over of the state and its soul by the rigid mullahs who interpreted the formation of the first truly Islamic Democratic state as a platform to forward their own religious ideologies.


Mistake Number Two was the acceptance of the population and their meek submission to the military. Maybe due to the scars of Partition and the formation of Bangladesh there was always a subconscious need to feel protected and thus the quiet acceptance without dissent. Also the leaders understood this meek acceptance and never really let the free media develop in the country. Even till date with the exception of maybe 1-2 newspapers and TV channels the entire Urdu media at least has been run by and for the establishment.

The cesspool of dirty corrupt politicians also played a part in the submission of the population to the military as in the absence of any accountability or answerability the politicians had a field day in looting and plundering the country.


On Dec 2 1978 Gen. Zia ushered in Nizam e Mustafa (Islamic System) a 180 degree turn from the predominant Common Law in Pakistan. It led to the establishment of Sharia benches and probably was the most instrumental factor in the final Islamisation of a society envisioned to be a liberal democratic and tolerant state.


Then led to an era when the hygienically challenged very hairy breed of men was created as mercenaries for the proxy war against the Russians in Afghanistan called the Taliban. After the disintegration of the USSR the same mercenaries who didn't know what to do apart from war now turned inwards. They were used to a free hand and decided to continue with or without support from the US. The Tigers moved from the jungles to the city when they needed to fend for themselves and fuelled by the military leaders who thought of them as bouncers to keep the population under submission, till they decided that they wanted to be the rulers themselves. NWFP and the other autonomous regions were seceded to the tribal leaders as the Taliban took control of a spineless Afghanistan and the drug trade had filled their coffers enabling them to buy the most sophisticated weaponry.


Mistake Number Three was the greed of the local politicians to fill their pockets in fear of being usurped by the army before they could have their fill. What they needed to understand was the fact that geographically Pakistan was so important for America as a base that they would have probably transformed Karachi and Lahore into New York and Los Angeles at their own cost had the Pak Leaders been even slightly true to their cause. The growing clout of China and the tension in the Middle East made Pakistan the ideal candidate for American Partnership. It was the only country blessed geographically and they squandered or rather the leaders plundered the money they got from America.


Till now it has not dawned upon the population that it is the absence of a free media and the voice of people being suppressed that has lead to Pakistan being a failed state. They have the most beautiful people, a lovely language and strategic advantage. The choice is simple and it is up to the people of Pakistan to decide whether they want to blame everyone for their problems or stand up and take responsibility for their mistakes. After all their future depends on the choice they make.


Having said the above please note that in 5000 years of its history India has never attacked any country, so why would we change now?? Why the suspicion?? Is it because of the thief within?


In comparison India has moved on. Our league has changed and in spite of any political party in power and charges of corruption or in competence we still manage to bring to book even the most powerful or the most influential and that my friends is the Power of Free Media ,of Freedom of Speech, and being heard by the people.


The equation is now never India- Pakistan but BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China). I personally think that we have wasted too many years and too much money and effort over an issue that has lost relevance in today’s day and age. They are our neighbours and we should be cordial and polite, but I need to enjoy my friends not force them for friendship. If an initiative has to be made they should be the ones asking for our advice for our system has proved itself in spite of its many snags to be far superior to our neighbours.


If their choices had been different … who knows we might have done another Germany.