Deutsch, Family

Meine Großmutter

Gestern Abend (28-Mar) habe ich eine schlechte Nachricht bekommen. Meine Großmutter ist gestorben. Sie war 89 Jahre alt. Sie ist während Anschauen einer Musiksendung im  Fernsehen friedlich gestorben. Obwohl der Tod verständlich ist, finden wir diese Sperrzeiten schwierig bewältigen. Geschlossene Grenzen zwischen Telangana und anderen Bundesländern halfen nicht. Sie ist eine berühmte Sängerin in ihrer Region-Eluru, einem  Dorf in Andhra Pradesh. Ihr Cousin Herr Chitti Babu spielte Veena. Er war ein Padmashri*. Aber ich finde es Schade, dass es heute kaum vier Menschen auf ihrem letzten Weg gab. Wegen  der starken Einschränkungen konnten mein Vater und unsere Familie für die Beerdigung dorthin nicht fahren, um an den letzten Ritualen teilzunehmen. Mein Vater, der ältester Sohn ist in Tränen. Letzte Nacht habe ich meinen  Vater nicht informiert. Ich habe gedacht, dass ich ihn früh morgens für diese Nachricht vorbereiten werde. Allerdings war wegen der steigenden Fälle des Coronavirus die Polizei der Eluru in ihrer Wohnung. Die Polizei bestand darauf, dass der Körper so bald wie möglich entfernt werden muss. Das bedeutete wenig Zeit für die Vorbereitung. Wir haben unserem Vater seine Mutter über einen Videoanruf gezeigt. Das ist alles, was ich für ihn tun konnte. Wir haben gute Erinnerungen an meine Großmutter. Wir haben sie im November besucht. Sie war glücklich , ihre Urenkel zu sehen. Ich hoffe, dass wo immer sie ist, ist sie zufrieden.

 

wie immer bin ich dankbar fur die Hilfe der meine Lehrerin Frau Rashmi bei der Bearbeitung von diesem Artikel.

*eine der höchsten Auszeichnungen der indischen Regierung

Book, Culture, Deutsch, Happiness, Self help

Praktisch-stoische Philosophie

Ich glaube an Stoische Philosophie – Persistenz und Widerstand. Die Berühmte Autorin Angela Duckworth hat umfangreiche Forschung über Erfolg angegeben und ausdrücklich diskutiert, wie man Erfolg erreichen kann. Sie weist darauf hin, dass der größte Einzelfaktor die Ausdauer ist. Sie gibt viele Beispiele  aus US Militär in ihrem Buch. Immer wieder ist man erfolgreich, der die Ausdauer hat. Heutzutage geben viele junge Menschen schnell auf. Soziale Medien sind nicht hilfreich, da sie tragen zur Unübersichtlichkeit beitragen. Die andere Aspekt von Stoische Philosophie ist Widerstand. Nicht nur junge Menschen aber viele Leute haben ein Problem von Ablenkung. Beispielsweise Smartphone. Wenn man Selbstkontrolle hat, kann man gut konzentrieren. Es ist nicht genug, wie lange man etwas lernt oder arbeitet. Wichtiger ist wie effektiv das Lernen oder die Arbeit ist. Das Konzentrieren ohne Ablenkung hilft zum effektiven Lernen und Arbeiten. Das führt zu einem  erfolgreichen und glücklichen Leben.

Vielen Dank an meine Lehrerin Frau Rashmi für die Hilfe bei der Bearbeitung meines ersten deutschen Beitrags.

Alcohol, Book, Culture, Values

Intoxication

Sigmund Freud said  “Men are more moral than they think and far more immoral than they can imagine.” The extreme brutality of the rape and murder of  a woman in Hyderabad and a woman in Unnao is beyond imagination and has caught attention of the public more than ever before.
The Hyderabad police detained and killed all four accused, who had devised a cunning plan. The rape and killing of the woman understandably outraged the public. But the police response was a case of mob justice. History tells us, there is no dearth of trigger- happy governments. As one of the women lawyers rightly put it, “Nobody will ever know if the four men killed by the police were innocent men, arrested fast to show action. And whether four of the most brutal rapists roam free, to rape and kill more women.”
A key underlying issue in this and other similar incidents is intoxication. The incident in Hyderabad was alcohol, while the incident in Unnao was of power intoxication.
Malcom Gladwell’s book, “Talking to Strangers”, cites extensive research on alcohol, explains how under high intoxication one is at the mercy of their environment, oblivious to social and moral norms. All inner conflict and corrective mechanisms are lost, and one does what they subconsciously always believed and wanted to do. When blood alcohol crosses 0.15, the hippo campus shuts down entirely. In this “blackout” condition people can appear to function normally, but without retaining any memory.
Gladwell gives us an interesting story: A thirty-nine-year-old salesman awoke in a Las Vegas hotel room on Saturday the 14th. His last recollection was of sitting in a St. Louis bar on Monday the 9th where he had started drinking in the morning and at about 3 PM he went blank. He blacked out for five days. He had left the bar in St. Louis, gone to the airport, bought a plane ticket, flown to Las Vegas, found a hotel, checked in, shaved and functioned perfectly well all the while in blackout mode.
In Hyderabad, were the four accused in a blackout condition? Was a cunning plan out of reach of those who are blacked out? You never know. Only science can tell.
Therefore, to prevent these types of incidents from reoccurring, we need to do the following:
  • Teach kids responsible drinking. In India, neither the family nor the education system teaches kids how to be responsible with alcohol so that as adults they are better able to consider their drinking habits. Like having a driver’s license, it would be a good idea to have a drinking license so that when they become adults, they consume alcohol responsibly;
  • Get rid of easy access to alcohol, especially on highways;
  • Focused police patrolling in high crime areas involving lorry, bus, cab drivers;
  • Conduct mandatory and regular behavioural workshops for truck and cab drivers;
  • Harsher punishment may instil fear in likely offenders but it may also perpetrate them killing of the victim as a witness. I do not see harsher punishment as a viable long term preemptive measure;
  • Parents must facilitate and train children to rely on their instincts and thought processes in order to recognise and react to danger;
  • Police regulated pick-ups for women at pubs or crime prone areas
Rape and murder incidents are on the rise as reckless youth who have increasing access to money, alcohol and power exploit vulnerable women. Perhaps it’s time we tried empirical approaches, popularised in the field of Economics by Nobel laureates such as Abhijit Banerjee, to tackle these incidents.
Book, Greed, Imperialism, Money

The Anarchy

Last weekend I finished reading a fascinating book – “The Anarchy” by William Dalrymple. The book is about the days of East India Company (EIC) in India. For a history book, it is detailed and yet dramatic. I wish that it was my history textbook at school.

I found the following facets of the book remarkable and resonate with current day realities.

  1. EIC was one of the first companies to be publicly held and to be traded on the London Stock Exchange during the early 1600s. It was considered too big to fail and was bailed out, perhaps on more than one occasion by the British government
    • The bail out reminded me of AIG’s in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis
  2. For those who argue Mughal era was no better or worse than the British era, it would be hard to fathom that the proceeds from tax collection were dispatched to London and portrayed as profits of trade
    • In my view, it is hard to ascertain what part of the treasury was spent by Mughals on the welfare of the state but it does seem at least that they did not resort to forceful collection of taxes from the subjects, especially in the course of calamities. It is widely known that the 25M deaths in Bengal famines in the time of the EIC/British era rank 3rd in the 100 most atrocities in the history of mankind. Deaths were avoidable considering Bengal was the richest province and India had roughly 25% GDP of the world
  3. Eunuchs had a very important role of managing the finances of the Mughal empire.
    • It is interesting to explore and find out as to why they had such an important role. One possible explanation is that since they couldn’t have any progeny and therefore were less likely to misappropriate finances. Another is rooted in the Islamist tradition that has had eunuchs as guards at Prophet’s tomb. Though this is largely for practical reasons, for e.g. handle any female offenders as in a sense the eunuchs were not real men, eunuchs were nonetheless revered
  4. Jagat Seth brothers, richest bankers at the time funded EIC lead coup and played a central role in the ouster of Bengali Nawab and eventually helped EIC/Britain gain control over the whole of India
    • We see this even today, the nexus between business and government and power struggles in a “democratic” setup
  5. Marathas plundered Bengal ofttimes for its riches
    • This is hard to imagine in the current day  unified India
  6. Cornwallis had lost to George Washington in the Americas and subsequently replaced Warren Hastings in the 1780s. Cornwallis was wary of his own countrymen in India and let go nearly all (about 11000) of them including quite a few living with their Indian wives. Anglo-Indian community ensuingly sidelined.
    • I found it interesting that while the native American population (~50M) was almost completely exterminated, the population in India was dealt with not so brutally. Along with natural commercial interests I wonder whether the learning from American wars has had a role to  play in the manner in which the EIC/Britain chose to deal with India

The book reaffirmed my belief that, through out history, there was never a dearth of opportunists that seek legitimacy and far-flung approval for their selfish pursuits in the name of class, race, region or religion.

Culture, Self help

Holistic Thinking

Holistic thinking, in my view, is the most critical skill that is germane to this day and age of smartphones and fake news and to the coming decades. To be holistic is the ability to look at the whole picture of matter at hand and not rely merely on limited analysis or information.
Our natural disposition to oversimplify that which is of its nature complex and to jump to conclusions is detrimental to holistic thinking.
I would argue that this disposition is at work while we consume news, make political choices or think/act out of ego.
Politicians, both to the right and to the left, exploit the efficacy of narrow narratives. Understandably, most of us fall to those narratives or fake news items as they are highly persuasive and require little critical thought.
Ego handles success, for example, in a similar fashion. Ego attributes much of an individual’s success to his/her own facets whilst ignoring or undermining the role of other factors such as luck, family and community. Ego comes in the way of holistic thinking and more often than not contributes to the subject’s downfall. Therefore, ego by itself is not the issue whereas its miring of holistic thinking is.
For me the antidote to narrow outlooks is to read books and lots of those and follow the connoisseurs in their spheres of expertise. Those help build a broad base for the mind to capture and process the information rationally and not take the bait of narrow narratives.