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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A New Day...!


Oprah Winfrey received the Cecil B. Demille Award for Lifetime Achievement at the Golden Globes and her 9 Minute Speech of Appreciation would find a place in history with the remarkable words of 'Time is up!' and '…a new day is on the horizon!', just like Martin Luther King's famous speech 'I have a dream...' delivered on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963. Both these speeches are demonstration of what to say, how to say and why to say in front of what audience you want to say and convey a strong message without sounding antagonistic, judgmental, loud or wicked! Many of the Presumed Leaders and Celebrated Speakers of today could take a hint, I guess...! Here's the full transcript of Oprah's Speech...

"Thank you, Reese. In 1964, I was a little girl sitting on the linoleum floor of my mother's house in Milwaukee watching Anne Bancroft present the Oscar for best actor at the 36th Academy Awards. She opened the envelope and said five words that literally made history:" The winner is Sidney Poitier." Up to the stage came the most elegant man I ever remembered. His tie was white, his skin was black—and he was being celebrated. I'd never seen a black man being celebrated like that. I tried many, many times to explain what a moment like that means to a little girl, a kid watching from the cheap seats as my mom came through the door bone tired from cleaning other people's houses. But all I can do is quote and say that the explanation in Sidney's performance in Lilies of the Field: "Amen, amen, amen, amen."

In 1982, Sidney received the Cecil B. DeMille award right here at the Golden Globes and it is not lost on me that at this moment, there are some little girls watching as I become the first black woman to be given this same award. It is an honor—it is an honor and it is a privilege to share the evening with all of them and also with the incredible men and women who have inspired me, who challenged me, who sustained me and made my journey to this stage possible. Dennis Swanson who took a chance on me for A.M. Chicago. Saw me on the show and said to Steven Spielberg, she's Sophia in 'The Color Purple.' Gayle who's been a friend and Stedman who's been my rock.

I want to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. We know the press is under siege these days. We also know it's the insatiable dedication to uncovering the absolute truth that keeps us from turning a blind eye to corruption and to injustice. To—to tyrants and victims, and secrets and lies. I want to say that I value the press more than ever before as we try to navigate these complicated times, which brings me to this: what I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have. And I'm especially proud and inspired by all the women who have felt strong enough and empowered enough to speak up and share their personal stories. Each of us in this room are celebrated because of the stories that we tell, and this year we became the story.

But it's not just a story affecting the entertainment industry. It's one that transcends any culture, geography, race, religion, politics, or workplace. So I want tonight to express gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault because they, like my mother, had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue. They're the women whose names we'll never know. They are domestic workers and farm workers. They are working in factories and they work in restaurants and they're in academia, engineering, medicine, and science. They're part of the world of tech and politics and business. They're our athletes in the Olympics and they're our soldiers in the military.

And there's someone else, Recy Taylor, a name I know and I think you should know, too. In 1944, Recy Taylor was a young wife and mother walking home from a church service she'd attended in Abbeville, Alabama, when she was abducted by six armed white men, raped, and left blindfolded by the side of the road coming home from church. They threatened to kill her if she ever told anyone, but her story was reported to the NAACP where a young worker by the name of Rosa Parks became the lead investigator on her case and together they sought justice. But justice wasn't an option in the era of Jim Crow. The men who tried to destroy her were never persecuted. Recy Taylor died ten days ago, just shy of her 98th birthday. She lived as we all have lived, too many years in a culture broken by brutally powerful men. For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up.

Their time is up. And I just hope—I just hope that Recy Taylor died knowing that her truth, like the truth of so many other women who were tormented in those years, and even now tormented, goes marching on. It was somewhere in Rosa Parks' heart almost 11 years later, when she made the decision to stay seated on that bus in Montgomery, and it's here with every woman who chooses to say, "Me too." And every man—every man who chooses to listen.

In my career, what I've always tried my best to do, whether on television or through film, is to say something about how men and women really behave. To say how we experience shame, how we love and how we rage, how we fail, how we retreat, persevere, and how we overcome. I've interviewed and portrayed people who've withstood some of the ugliest things life can throw at you, but the one quality all of them seem to share is an ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning, even during our darkest nights. So I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say 'Me too' again."

Friday, January 12, 2018

Zillion Dollar Question...!


In the era of exponential growth that is rampant in every walk of life right from Automobile to Infrastructure to Information Technology, every concept and idea is exploited out of proportion and with this 'Larger-than-life' protocol being the new normal, questions and concerns are also aggravated... 'Million' has become a seemingly small proportion hence the 'Zillion' Dollar Question...

Is GDP relevant any longer...?

Shouldn't we replace it with, at least HDI, if not IHDI or GNH...?

All the thought leaders of the World need to reflect on it as it is already Very Very High Time and High Alert as well...

(Not a) way to go...!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Growth...!


On 15 August 1945 Japan agreed to unconditional surrender to United Kingdom and United State in the Second World War after atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that left Japan completely wrecked with its industry infrastructure entirely destroyed. Exactly after 2 years India earned its independence getting rid of the British rule governed by the United Kingdom and surviving a fate of partition that broke the spirit and backbone of its unity and integrity. Although completely different in many terms including geography, resources, culture and history; both these nations were more or less in a similar situation, India having an advantage of being Free and rich with Natural resources and basic infrastructure!

After 70 years the picture today is startling for India, if not completely pathetic, when Japan has become one of the most prestigious Brand of the Modern world by securing the position of World’s Third Largest Economy after United States and China. India claims the same position in terms of PPP but that ranking has many aspects, including but not limited to population, that need serious interrogation and profound reflection! So today let’s try to understand very fundamental things leaving the jargons to the experts and economists.

Nation building starts with two basic elements – Setting Relevant Objectives and Optimum utilization of available resources to achieve those objectives. ‘Growth’ or ‘Development’ could not be ‘Objectives’ in themselves as these terms are explicitly relative and implicitly subjective! One of the acceptable and balanced definition of ‘Growth’ could be ‘Developing the intrinsic ability to meet the needs (not wants!) of present and making provisions for common future (not own!) by any entity’, right from an individual to a nation. This definition in its word and spirit dismisses the theory of exponential growth as it is promised and projected for deceitful purposes of the proposers. Instead, it upholds the sanity of considering growth as the means and not the purpose while assumes development to be sustainable as well as inclusive. This definition and its intent also sets the right perspective to look at statistics by discarding higher GDP or bullish Stock Market as irrational and irrelevant when it comes to analysis of Economic performance – both these do not qualify to serve as Progress Indicators for a simple reason – rise in number of patients in a hospital also adds to GDP and stock market could be manipulated by any shrewd mind with strategic planning and analysis… remember Harshad Mehta?

Secondly, consumption based rise in the economy could not be considered as prosperous development unless the growing in numbers could be put under the investment column. Having more orphanages or old-age homes could be the need of the hour (seriously?) or it might add up to the numbers, but it certainly is not a Development Indicator; on the contrary it speaks volumes about the deteriorating social health and well-being – something that needs a serious attention and structural reform, not celebration. If few affluent members of the society are over-consuming, only because they can afford to, it is not a sign of holistic development by any measure or standard, as they could do so at the cost of masses continued to be deprived of their basic necessities and fundamental rights that their government owes to them. This Social and Economical disparity is critical to the Nation building as it has the potential of a sabotage when things go out of proportion and any anti-social element finds the opportunity to trigger the unrest!

Now, for some statistics to support the theory – Service sector has major contribution to the GDP with its four prominent players – Automobile, Construction, Finance and IT – all urban-centered domains with their stakeholders mainly in the Metros, Tier II and few Tier III cities of India. The entire urban population of India is about 30% which suggests that the population in the Metros and Tier II cities combined wouldn’t be more than 10%. The other 90% of the population is not benefiting from the growth in these sectors because, either it is completely ignorant of the status quo or it is being ‘maintained’ like that on purpose, some probing in the matter would reveal the secret, may be…!

About 70% of India resides in rural areas and about same percentage of its population is engaged in Agro-based occupation or industry. Agriculture in India remains the biggest unorganized sector by and large and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises industry is close second with a whopping 90% share in manufacturing sector but majority of it being unorganized. Mere percentages of these sectors are sufficient to exhibit their livelihood and employability potential in India. Despite the facts, figures and prospects, both these sectors have suffered severe negligence as far as planning, policy and projections are considered. All the technological innovations are useless unless they could facilitate development of crucial sectors. A serious analysis with a profound approach to these sectors could be a game-changer!

Education in general and meaningful education in particular, and health in general and maternal health in particular, are two major concerns India need to address on a war-footing – not firefighting – level. About half the women population having inadequate levels in majority of the health parameters is not only concerning but seriously alarming as the physical and mental health of future generations would be directly affected by the condition of mothers that would conceive and rear those babies. Proper nutrition of the newborns is the governing factor of the early childhood development and it is not only desirable but essential for the life-long effect it has on the holistic development of the children. Multi-specialty hospitals in the urban areas would contribute to the GDP, no doubt, but Public Health needs to be revitalized for the enormous population it serves; sound health is a basic necessity and not a luxury for every citizen of the country, no matter what type of Government a nation has.

Finally, various global reports have maintained it that India is the youngest country of this planet based on the average age of the working population and it would be even younger by 2020! Great news! We could be happy with this prediction, we could consider ourselves lucky for being the youngest country, we can feel proud of it OR we can ask ourselves a candid question – 'What are we going to do with all that youth we would have in 2020?' Make them either organize, play or watch T20 Cricket matches or we have something in store for them that they will take pride in doing and cherish the memories of their youth for years to come...?

Well, only WE should (and could) find the answer to it, the World is watching and the clock is ticking…

Way (2 years, to be precise!) to go…!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Learning...!





The New Digital Age vocabulary reads something like – A for Automation, B for Bio-tech, C for Consumerism, D for Development, E for Economy, so on and so forth. It is not all bad and hence need not be discarded immediately, however to maintain the balance of the ecosystem and keep the disparity under control to prevent it from converting into sabotage; this New-Age dialect should seek company of some ancient humane and sensible expressions like – A for Agriculture, B for Bio-diversity, C for Collaboration, D for Decentralization and E for Empathy. The giant wheel of ‘Profit Maximization through Technological Development’ in motion cannot be reversed, agreed, but the speed could be controlled and direction could be adjusted to make our ecosystem last a little longer.

Way to go…

Monday, November 27, 2017

GD...!



"Of course, it's much easier to agree on the height of the Eiffel Tower than on moral, political and ideological issues. But in a time when the world's problems are more complex and people are more polarized, using science to help us understand how we interact and make decisions will hopefully spark interesting new ways to construct a better democracy..."

Way to go...

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Gratitude...!

This beautiful poem, 'Drinking from my saucer' by John Paul Moore is a Gratitude Prayer that is more of a Prayer of Empathy and Co-existence, just like a Prayer of Serenity... 

I've never made a fortune,
And I'll never make one now
But it really doesn't matter
'Cause I'm happy anyhow
 
As I go along my journey
I'm reaping better than I've sowed
I'm drinking from the saucer
'Cause my cup has overflowed
 
I don't have a lot of riches,
And sometimes the going's tough
But with kin and friends to love me
I think I'm rich enough
 
I thank God for the blessings
That His mercy has bestowed
I'm drinking from the saucer
'Cause my cup has overflowed
 
He gives me strength and courage
When the way grows steep and rough
I'll not ask for other blessings for
I'm already blessed enough
 
May we never be too busy
To help bear another's load
Then we'll all be drinking from the saucer
When our cups have overflowed...!