Thursday, March 31, 2011

Skit: Dream Chasing

Skit for National Maritime Day (05th April)

Dream Chasing

The skit will happen in a flashback, as a ship Captain reflects back about his journey from his Junior College Days (as they call it in Mumbai, class 12th, ).

Purpose of Skit: to show that the purpose of man is to follow his dream, where Education is the means to do that. But, at the outset, there are financial, economic and social constraints around, which inhibit a person from identifying his dreams. There is peer pressure, there is shortfall of money, there is lack of facility, there is social no-no , affecting our choices, and man at that stage is the sum-total of all that…(this is his status at Class 12th level)

Therefore, his arguments are primarily based on how good is Merchant Navy , for acquisition of quick-money, escape from education, seeing the world, traveling around, having fun, etc. In this, he attempts to put the arguments such as ‘Becoming a responsible person at a much younger age’, “ a good citizen”, “independent”, etc to help look the motive as more holy. Therefore , scene 1….

Scene 1

Father and Son conversation,

Son comes with his class 12th Marksheet, …89% marks

Father: Satisfactory marks , son, u could have done better…..what now.?....which Engineering college.

Son: Pappa…Don’t want to waste money for 4 yrs, don’t want to waste time—the 4yrs itself,,…want to see the world….want Merchant Navy… want to become an earner fast enough,… etc., etc.

Father: as you say son, u may repent it later..

End of scene

Next, he joins merchant navy, and starts undergoing training for it at IMI.

Scene 2

Life at IMI, having fun a little bit.. ..but exams and class over here too. He manages them somehow.

Scene 3

He starts to become dull , but reaches to ship for on-board training.

Scene 4

His performances continue to deteriorate.

Ship has odd job profile,…such as …cleaning the bilges of cargo tanks, or cargo pumps, blue-collar work.

The toilets getting clogged, the food is not okay, heavy machinery failures requires hard and long working schedules, excessive legislation.

Build the scene as using a Long handle mop cleaning the floor, or a big piece of machinery broke down, grease smeared on the face, Control over his lazy actions of throwing away waste due to MARPOL constraints...

Recalls his father’s words that “ Son, u may regret it later’…He feels as though he did a mistake at that crossroads of life.

He further thinks to himself if only he had done engineering he would have been a design engineer for such machinery, or design engineer for such equipment/ robotics which could help do these odd jobs with much conveniences.

But continues on it, drags on. Many times he goes ashore and gets to see some beautiful sites in other countries of the world. Meets people, comes across cultures, legislation process.

Build the scene on some good foreign scenes and locations falling on the back-ground , and the cadet gazing at it with a breath-taking stance.

Scene 5

Comes back to shore for oral exams, ..

Build the scene as Viva Exam between Surveyor and the Cadet

Surveyor: Can u speak Something about Colreg Rule no. 18

Cadet: Sir , Rule 18 is responsibilities between vessel, …

Scene 6

Becomes a captain one day, some 10 years later.

Honorably, makes his cup of tea, and Switches on a vacuum cleaner to clean the floor. Opens his books to see how Ship Design can help improve the work processes, Looks at his expensive car, and thinks of Colreg as means of proving him some Traffic-Sense.

Goes into reflecting back the arguments which he had with his father some 10 years ago were

Talks to his own self, a Monologue,

I came to merchant navy thinking of it is an escape from Education, it gives me fast buck, I disliked Engineering. Papa wanted me to become as engineer.

How far, and how much could I escape from what Papa wanted? I travelled around the world, made my bucks, rose through ranks , but could never escape from Education. Did I not do learning during my career at sea…a little bit about everything.. , about laws, about engineering, about environment protection, about public safety and security, …there was so much of it, a little bit from everything.

Then what was my contest with papa for joining merchant navy.,, was it money?, was it seeing the world?, was it a different lifestyle?, was it a quick rising through the ranks?,.. well, again little bit of everything.

Education, my friends, is but the medium to chase the dreams, while dreams are what WE have to see. And we see in your dreams what, as Knowledge, has been fed to our brain, by our eyes, through our ear, through our cinemas, and through our literature. There can never be an escape from learning. What this career at sea gave me most cherish-able was my financial independence to do what I wanted. At the same , it awakened my interest into all matters, by giving all that little bit of everything, which made me these so many things.

I, now, stand a much more complete man, awakened of laws, engineering, about commerce and businesses, …a more curious and hunger lot. I am more prepared to take on this world.

Father, I admit that the arguments I made ten years ago for not pursuing one stream of education were not correct, for the reason that whatever my experience in Merchant navy brought, through exposure to Cultures, commercial laws and practices, multi-nationalism, is nothing but learning of one kind, an Education. But dear father, I can assure you that U would not be disappointed by whatever I learnt by being here at sea. I have become an Explorer, someone who has progressed to find means and recurve at what he had argued against, long time ago.”

Debate Point: Present maritime education is equipped enough to bring alternate jobs.

Present maritime education is equipped enough to bring alternate jobs.

Topic for debate this year on National Maritime Day (o5th April)

For the motion

I have talked with many an ex-mariners who are now successfully placed in many other sectors, ranging from ship owning, brokering and chartering, sales, marketing, human resource, Civil Services, owning a Business, etc.

Looking at that, I feel that an exposure of sea, of being a real master and commander , does not go wasted provided people have skill and knowledge to convert this exposure into another saleable product. The basic essential for achieving the feat of joining another sector is to have a will, and then knowledge, inspired from one’s personal interest – to chase his dream.

Sea exposure puts us through various legislation process, and of varied stringent levels – say from third world nations of African continents, to the most advances nations today—US, Europe, japan, and Australia. Can there be any doubt that such men are not worth their salt. Maybe that is why some could gain access to the power corridors through Civil Services, and a few a marine lawyers, or a P& I surveyor.

Then, sea farers also get a regular experience of working among multinationals, which in itself, is worth great for many shore based industries. Perhaps, it is this which can explain why some could turn up to be in Sales and marketing.

Then, an exposure of handling the most strategic commodity, the Crude Oil and its products, that of handling vast categories of cargo has lead some to become good Logisticians, some to own their own ships, and some to become Forwarding agents, Ship brokerers and Ship Charterers.

Marine Engineers have had a regular placements in industries which require upkeep of power generator or refrigeration machineries. Many have found jobs in India and also overseas , looking after the uninterrupted power supply to plants which are working day in and day out.

Against the motion

Dear friends,

Some of you may give examples of many a well placed mariners who have diversified into non-seafaring jobs, but I personally would like to pin point that such achievements have been quite a personal quest only, not an offshoot of the basic education of maritime field which these achievers had acquired. On a real close look of these people, in many a cases I have found that such achievers have been nothing but an escapist, who had quit seafaring as early as they could to find their peace and satisfaction. These people have started early, finished their maritime competencies faster and then taken plunge into their alternation vocations, sometimes, not even caring for keeping seafaring as their Plan B. That was their thirst.

And they have unequivocally reported of seafaring not being able to deliver out what the rest of the world wants... A highly specialised task man collaborating with what his basic marine qualification has been. Marine engineers , in this regard, have been a small bit of exception, but for the nautical officers the world has been even more disappointing. The experiences of bridge equipment did not make them good operators for the fields which have similar gadgetry in use. With lessons of meteorology, they have not become a meteorologist. With lessons of chartwork, they don’t become a cartographer. With knowledge of oil cargo handling, they don’t become the incharge of oil depots across this country. With lessons of safety, there is hardly any scope to join Disaster management, or road or industrial safety in-charge. With exposure to ISM paper work, we still don’t become system installation consultants for up coming business, or even a good Public Administrators. With exposure of marine law, there are hardly any marine lawyers in India with sea faring background. With excessive drill on pollution prevention, we have hardly contributed to cleansing of our river systems. Let’s face the truth...The education has done what the basic Indian thirst has been... to make our fast bucks and live a happy life. Hardly have we succeeded or felt inspired to contribute to the social wellness. We have become what often know ourselves to be.. Jack of all trades, master of none. And truth, my friend, is that 20th century itself had become an era of specialist—the era of professionals who are highly sophisticated in their skills, the True Masters of their field.

The present maritime education had only produced money minters, no more that brand of sea farers who ventured into the sea to find the new unexplored territory, the ones who saw cultures and make the world swing with their knowledge of polity, sociology and economics; the one’s who challenged the creation of god by propounding the theory of evolution; the one’s who felt the change of magnetism on earth surface and helped towards discovery of tectonic plates. It has produced short, norrow- sighted visionaries who have made fast-bucks and returned home to safety.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Peer Reviewing of items of Literary Opinions/ Blogs/ Debates

Dear alok,
ur blog was very good and thought provoking. In itself it gets me to think of some scientific answer to the questions u raise. Look at that, i just happen to hit upon one Internet link , and the link seemed to suggest the solution to the problem of **extreme public bitching of every thing within public domain.**
PEER REVIEW! Isn't that a suggested hint to solve the problem.I was reading that on Wikipedia. What clicked was that a Peer Review Group has to be formed, something on the lines of the Royal Society, which may scrutinise everything that is produced in the public domain of solicited and unsolicited thoughts/opinions/feelings. The basic route of formation of Ethics in most situations is...
Level 1:
Informal Platform
-- here public opinion/thoughts/feelings rise on the subjects, which may or may not be able to conform to all the values that our society likes to uphold. Such opinions-- formed on places like Newspapers/ Movies/ Orkut/Facebook/ blogs/ News comments/etc , may not be all correct, or rather completely renounce-able. Maybe a combination of some views may be the most consensual solution to the problem faced. (in this regard, it is worth mentioning that the website Wikipedia itself works on the system of Peer Review, and hold the Consensus-based approach as the only method for the unbiased view to the problem. Until the problem is diagnosed to the core so that a consensus emerges, it likes to uphold both, or more, the core points discovered/explored until.)
Therefore, these Informal Points become the feed for the next level for scrutinising at the Peer Review level.

That leads us to Level 2: the peer review.
At this level, the intense investigations and peer review happen to bring out the core points.

The whole argument then undergoes many repeated switches between Level 1 and Level 2, until the consensus emerges.
Sometimes the process takes years , or even generations, for it to complete. Until then, the core points around which the argument is suspended is presented to the readers by the peer group as their rightful prevailing opinion on the matter.
To the question of how to choose the members of Peer group, here is approach for it:- the ones who have practised maximum on the investigations of the topic, on a large variety of subjects, and /or have managed to give good count of solutions which are/have arrived Consensus, can hold eligibility to be the Peer Group Members.
I invite you to read and investigate more on the above lines.

Have a nice and happy Holi.

A nation and its intellectualism

In the movie ‘Shourya”, cine-actor KK delivers a powerful performance of an Army Colonel who is undergoing a military court trial. He breaks down at one point and says to his prosecutors,
Jab mein wahan saath hazaar feet ki oochayion par apni haddi galataa hoon, tab tumhe yaham buddhi-jeevi bane ki sahooliyat milti hai”.
A powerful part of speech, which, I am sure , must have affected a lot ours thinking.
Well, to me it did.
But then i sat down to think the truth of it.
It is apparently correct, but this couldn’t become the reason for any let-up in the case, definitely not as shown in the movie.
A nation, in my own thinking, is a product of a highly conceptual thinking through Intellectualism. Therefore, a solider is, but a guard of the same Intellectualism that is represented by a nation.
Lest, the guard become a Frankenstein Monster, who may take eat up its own very creator, the system of justice, another job that demands a very very high intellectualism must come to control it.
It is another story to think that going by one of so many kinds of intellects, the job of army is a fool’s job. But for the survival of that very kind of Intellect, the foolishness of creation and sustaining of Army becomes unavoidable.
Objectivists, which many of us attempt to become, or, the indifferent citizens have a right to be so, but they too earn their right only when someone offers or pretends, whatever, to be not indifferent.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Power corrupted-- an attempt on psychometric viewing

Candlelight vigils, Dharna, Agitations, Riots.
A youth travels a hundreds of kilometres distance, leaving behind- his family , his jobs, his lifestyle, -- only to put scar on face of a publicly perceived corrupt top-cop, and a publicly perceived murderer father.
A feudal lord does not hesitate to honour-kill his own children for falling in love outside his choice. A lot of such episodes happen in India.
Who, in the above, do you think is mentally ill.??
In the first two cases, it appears to me that the first two are victims of a ‘corrupt’ system (by Corrupt , i only mean, ‘something which is not functioning well’, like your Computer’s hard drive, or a floppy drive, --when these become corrupt, it doesn’t mean they have taken a bribe.!)
In the last two cases, the ‘publicly perceived corrupt top-cop’ , ‘publicly perceived murderer father’ and the feudal lord are highlighted examples of corrupt mentality.
Recently I have started hitting on websites which are related with the matters of Philosophy, like the University of Maryland, Ask (dot) com, Wikipedia info on Philosophy related matter. I have also slowly tripped into reading about psychology, sociology, history and anthropology, and political science.
An imagination of being suppressed by a powerful human has troubled me also a lot from inside many number of times. Then , in an attempt to find back my inner peace, i have often sought refuge in the other imagination of seeing myself becoming friendly with that powerful human/position/chair and accepting his conditions, almost like becoming his slave.
At other occasions, more often when watching any classic Mithun Movies, say “Jaal”, where the theme lines have been the clich├ęd Bollywood theme of Poor-fighting- the-Rich, I have felt the hero within myself taking up the fight and killing and bashing away, even public bashing , as in Sunny Deol movies, of the corrupt leader who has hijacked away the full society with his immense power.
Then, the imagination has also run amok to assume the role of hapless official in power who is struggling to keep himself alive while the corrupt system around is trying to choke him to death.
Then, there have also been many an imagination of being the ‘Sarkar’ or the “Munna Bhai”, a powerful antithesis of corrupt man, who has immense power to bring about only his kind of benignant corruption in the society.
My room based, armchair researches have took me on internet links to read about ‘Human rights’ , the UN announced Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). To my surprise, the research gave me link to hit upon another very interesting link, which talked about how the previous link, which sound so beautifully appealing to me, was still not able to find acceptance from another group , who came up with their own Declaration of Human Rights..the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights ( based on Islamic Ideology, which had earlier charged the UDHR to be Zionist-Christian Attempt). To an even bigger surprise, I further came across another link which showed yet another unhappy group with the UDHR... this was the Asian Block, which then came up with its own Bangkok Declaration of Human Rights, in accordance with ‘Asian valvues’ !!!
Has any of ever pondered what are these “Asian Values”, and what relevance does it make with puzzles of my mind which I discuss above. Well, why should you? But I know for sure that I am not alone; many of us out there must be feeling the conflict in our thoughts which stem after reading about or experiencing the above situations. If not for my problem solving sake, then U might to required to reason and resolve it out for your own sake—peace of mind.
‘Asian Valves’ reading further took me show that Democracies that we all so often talk of, and love to call for in our systems are also of atleast three kinds, from the Political Science point of view. There is Liberal Democracy (e.g Norway, UK, US, France , etc) ; there is Socialist democracy, which is closely aligned with the features of ‘Asian values’ practised in countries like India, Singapore, Spain, Chile, etc. , and then Communist Freedoms (eg of China), and then again, Religious democracies e.g Pakistan, Vetican( may be), Bangledesh, and Indonesia, Malaysia, etc.
The revealing feature of Asian Values is that it is slightly authoritative than the Universal Values (sponsored by Liberal Democratic States). In this, an individual rights can be revoked for the general good the community or society, a feature which can be seen a Hollywood production “Hero” of Chinese-American Actor, Jet Li,. (this example of the movie was given that write-up itself).
I also noted that at one point it was mentioned that Amartya Sen is one of well-renowned critic of ‘Asian Values’. He is said to be heavily inclined towards the Universal Values, and thereby , towards the Liberal democracies.
I began to ponder over the possible arguments of that Argumentative Indian for his inclinations. I recalled a common a threadbare in our offices, “Boss is always Right”, and then , recalled some episodes of the highly popular teleserial ‘Mahabharat’. The Indian values, if they are to be based on Dharma, or the path of Righteousness, are likely to fall in conflict with Asian Value, manifested by “Boss is always Right’. Because, going by Bhagwad Geeta example, a man should not retreat from acting against his own bosses or fathers or forefathers( ‘pita’ and ‘pitamah’) of the sake of preserving Dharma or the Righteousness. Amartya Sen, i read, was a dual scholar, in both, Philosophy and also in Economics. It was his Human Development Theory , which is resultant genesis of his knowledge in these to subject , which brought his world-acclaim through the Noble Prize.
In my own thinking, i felt rather compelled to believe that were it not for the Islamic influences on India, and the later the British Influence, India, too, probably would have been a Liberal democracy only.
It is rather unique and intriguing to learn that despite being a ‘Socialist Democracy” , and society being mostly Feudalistic, our policy makers have officially endorsed on the UDHR, not the Bangkok Declaration, nor the Cairo Declaration, nor the Arab charter of Human Rights. Our intellectuals tend to show inclination towards the liberal democracies only, and probably derive inspiration from our very own religious scripture, for doing so.
Every individual is born as a self-centred human baby, concerned only about his welfare, his food and milk. Well , that’s nature. But, lesson in teaching psychology, showed that as the human grows , in general cases, his ‘area of concern’ begins to expand out, so much, until he no more remains a self-centred human. It is this growing ‘area of concern’ which finally attaches us to policy-matters of the State. It is then that we begin to feel the heat of system corruption, and feel irritated. Some individual get too close in their feelings to take up personal level action, perhaps the ones who , if well- groomed with philosophical thoughts on various subject matters, may become a good Libertarian. Some resort to group-actions only, the ones, who are good and potential Socialist.
I still continue to ponder over the psychological origins of Feudal, and the Slaves, the two negative side-extremes between which lie the Libertarians and the Socialists.
This quest,in one way, will also be useful to understand the core traits of a Leader and a Follower., which can then be applied in management lessons.
If it is the emotional energy which drives a feudal to act and behave by his own, as a leader, then maybe it may help understand the IQ related with the corresponding EQ of a feudal. Than can help understand the behaviour patterns.
That, in turn, may shed some understanding on why power corrupts...not just work ethics but the full IQ and psychology of the person who sees himself to be powerful.

Friday, March 11, 2011


"I read a lot and like arguing with people.", Amartya Sen, Economist and Noble prize winner, when asked how he likes to relax.

The broadening of my studies into philosophy was important for me not just because some of my main areas of interest in economics relate quite closely to philosophical disciplines (for example, social choice theory makes intense use of mathematical logic and also draws on moral philosophy, and so does the study of inequality and deprivation), but also because I found philosophical studies very rewarding on their own.” Amartya Sen, Economist and Noble prize winner