April 27, 2013

Two-thousand Rufiyaa to love our grandparents

I hear that children have begun loving their grandparents again! Digging on this further I find that it's the 2000 Rufiyaa that's making the difference. Those from whom I ferret out this information proudly expound the wisdom of this profound and creative national policy. Yes they say it has brought society together again. Now when grandchildren, most of whom unfortunately live no more under one roof with their grandparents visit the latter, they have sweets and stuff to offer the visiting kid, and has thus revived the now long lost bond. Isn't that a creative transformation?

It's good that such movements are happening and that the nation is playing sugar daddy for whatever good it will give us in the short term. But given the burdens of the long haul of nation-building, how far will such populist policies go I beg to ask. Our vision should not be stratified along five year intervals, but with the vision of our children's continuing future with grandparents as a necessary part of their and our social development. We don’t have to have 2000 Rufiyaa to invoke the love for our grandparents; it should be the result of a cared for childhood. The place to begin this is when we are young and snuggled in the warmth of our families -- not during a harsh adulthood when the selfishness of a competitive life militates against giving even to loved ones. And to think that 2000 rupees is the panacea is surely short-sighted. Being aware of the continuum of our lives will dawn on us that those rickety days will come for all of us one day.

Not forgetting that we will all grow old one day is to be blind to the reality of life. And celebrating the ploy of the State giving us to look after our grandparents is a shameful acceptance of our lack of love for those who took care of us when we ourselves were babes in the cradle. 

April 23, 2013

Getting the leaders we deserve?

Wise words dictate that "a nation deserves the leaders it gets". How true is that?  I have had the occasion to entertain differing opinions on this. Some of my argumentative friends say that this is a very unfair statement. Especially those who seem to be more religiously inclined say that it is sacrilege to utter such a thing for that insinuates an unkind Maker. Rational as that view maybe, yet another angle of rationality is about us having the choice to make our decisions on our life processes bestowed on us by our Maker. Along this latter thinking we know that we can indeed make our own decisions and that their consequences have to be borne by us as our own responsibility -- those negative merits being called sin or negative karma. So can't we still say that we deserve the leaders we get? 

In a democracy the vote is the gem in our hand. But it’s also true that how we use our vote is our own responsibility, and if we choose to sell that which we feel is our’s, who can stop us? But an aware public in a democracy must know that this is like playing with fire, and we are sure to get burnt. Just as sure is that by selling our vote we will indeed get the leaders we deserve. And these might just be the retribution we have to contend with in our own lifetime

April 19, 2013

The Note or the Vote?

We are faced with a dilemma when it comes to our choices. Most of the time it’s not the choice to exercise our rights that we really desire or seek to have control of; it’s just the fact that this right is there for us to exercise when we need them. Whenever we do however, most of the time, this need is exercised to gain something for ourselves rather than to gain or give something for society. Perhaps for many of us, when we make a decision, our thoughts never soar to those heights of thinking about the other person's welfare. It's always about "what's in this for me?", that guides our decision process. 

Such is this fetish of ours that it now seems to pervade into the arena of our vote in our choice of a leader for our Maldivian nation, to help us deal with the travails of life for which we have no time due to our more immediate family and personal needs. So is the call of participatory and representative democracy. But the quality of this decision of ours seem to be obfuscated by the desire for the Note. The vote's benefit seems to be more for the notes it can muster for us -- because it will help us gain some funds to build an annex to our house so that a paying-guest room can be erected or perhaps even on the possibility of investing in a house in Malaysia - and taking this thinking even further -- in the Swiss Alps or some other exotic location where no ordinary Maldivian can ever dream of living; or just so that one can buy that daily enticement of a motor cycle or a mobile phone? Such is the calling of our swollen egos. The vote matters only to the extent that it would fullfil a present and imminent desire that our "hawaa-nafs" desires, and only imperceptibly to the callings of our true self that caters to the humanity in us all. 

So one is left to wonder, why this thing called democracy has surfaced in the midst of a populace that seeks only present moment gratification and nothing the matter about what kind of a nation we leave for our posterity. Just as I do here in this blog, and constantly in my mind, “the note or the vote?” is a veritable debate we need to have going on in each of our minds. 

If we begin to do so now, perhaps a few generations down the line the answer might dawn on us that the vote indeed is the thing we need to protect -- for the sake of society!

April 14, 2013

How fast do we want to get rich?

We all yearn to be well-off for having a comfortable life. In the past, this was achieved through time and toil. Now there is a major shift towards getting rich fast. This is a necessary consequence of our capitalist world where industrial production is carried out without conscience -- as to whether there was a necessity for all that production. We deplete our earth, our seas, and pollute our environment without conscience. Proponents would argue that the more that is produced, the more the have-nots will have. Opponents would argue that it is not true; the industrialists' concern is the bottom line. At the end of the day the motive is to have the maximum income for the producer, at whatever cost to our environment; the vision is surely only for the short term. Our politics too is no different, destructive and vision short term.

Thus in this rush for production and wealth generation through the market mechanism, and in the groping for power in politics -- pandering to the ego of the human being - we lose sight of the old adage "necessity is the mother of invention" . While this has its vestiges still relevant but ever since the invention of the capitalist model taking hold, the motive has always been to maximize profit and get rich quick -- by selling the products mostly to those who don't really need these. Thus the birth of the "throw-away" culture of our modern times. The marketing profession has made it their perfected art to sell to the gullible customer what they don’t need – through the sweetness of the marketing jargon and images they conjure up to deceive the buyer. We see this every day on our television sets, on the bill boards outside and at social events that draw mostly the youth, whom the industries see as most gullible. Who needs the killer cigarettes or the expensive coffees and cars or the designer clothes?  What would happen to ourselves if we don't have them? Certainly we will be healthier in mind and body. We will be less competitive and divisive and be a more sharing community. But the ego doesn't listen to all that. It makes us believe that the competitive spirit within us is legitimate and best for us. The little voice inside us of the primeval conscience we were born with has the "chance of a fireball in hell". That means absolutely no chance at all! 

So the advert on television wins our hearts. We want to be the Marlboro man or take that exotic trip on the Camel to ill health or death. How foolish we are is realized only too late when death and destruction meet us in the end. 

So this getting rich quick is the source of the evil that we see in our world today and no doubt in our Maldives society too. It has upset the whole apple cart of our mind and we are seeking to blindly find our balance again but not finding it in this turbulent sea of materialism, selfishness and greed. We yearn to get rich quick and then live the rest of our lives in hedonism. What is then the future of the next generation?  Will we give space for it to grow or will we – those who control the power strings of our lives --strengthen the vantage further? Aren't we thus short circuiting the cycle of human social development?

Our nation has been thrust into this tumult headlong. And in Maldives, as a small nation of people, these new ideals which were hitherto alien to us, catch on like wild fire and it can burn our house down only too fast to be aware of what is happening. Let me tell you that this sinister process is happening even as we sit ensconced in our luxury and asleep to these socially toxic vibrations that are ever growing. In the absence of a vigilant public, the Trojan horse of promises we make to our gullible public has the potential for sweeping damage in what we are attempting to call a democracy. We need to be thinking of capacitating ourselves for a sustainable future as a nation; not just be overjoyed at the presents we are being promised or receiving. Please, we should not be sleeping in this present state of social inebriation.

April 8, 2013

Let's stop the financing!

Giving government financing to political parties in a Presidential governance system is a non-starter when it comes to ensuring its relevance. If it was the Parliamentary type, I can well understand because it is the paramount entity that governs. 

In a democracy parties are a way to converge the power of voice to a mass calling which otherwise would not be possible for lone voices. But when there is really no voice of a social conscience that is making the noise and only the voices of bloated egos, the end doesn't justify the means. As it is parties are propaganda machines of the rich and powerful, and in our small democracy too this seems to be the case -- perhaps it would be better to term this a plutocracy rather than a democracy. It is self-evident when it is the rich who call the shots and others merely follow.   And it is doubly evident of that fact that there is no guiding philosophy that is drawing the crowd rather the calculus of personal benefit being the pull. This is starkly evident from the many who jump ship from party to party depending on who seems to be peddling a more lucrative future.

So in this never ending scenario of political deals that are orchestrated with impunity (nobody seems to be going to jail for it) , why do we need to give the parties the people’s hard earned and taxed money to add to the already pumped-in millions of financing from the rich and powerful. It would be a service to society to stall this funding and the general public can be perhaps richer by that. It is common knowledge that party mechanisms use its privilege to even escape taxation. In India for instance there are about 5000 parties big and small and they all have the benefit of using party expenses out of the clutches of taxes. But it is also true that of these, only fifty or sixty are politically active.

Perhaps there will be other spill-over benefits by not giving government financing. There certainly would be fewer parties that will be formed for these to be merely for the purpose of eking out a livelihood on the one extreme and the perpetuation of cults on the other. But people have to make the final choice of where each one of us wants to belong.

April 7, 2013

Know your candidate!

In democratic governance, a vote is a very valuable thing. For the voter it’s the precious wish the fairy has granted – a gem in the hand. And for those running for office, it is the prize they need to win to gain office. The voter doesn't often realize this great power he possesses in a democracy. 

He who has been nurtured hitherto in despotism or autocracy has no inkling of this sudden windfall of influence he has inherited by the mere signing in of a democratic form of governance in his country. His mindset is still mired in that subversive state where he was told what to do. And if he didn't comply he would be caned or canned. Now the picture is completely reversed. He is the boss and the one running for office is the servant. But the old mindset doesn't just change in the jiffy of a signature of a pen on paper. This new mindset has to be brought in by active pursuit of the advocacy of democratic values. 

Every social concept has its attendant values, and it lexicon. So has democracy. We must all learn these and be aware of their deeper implications. Its values are about the paramount nature of individual and collective rights. And the lead role the citizen and citizenry have in the governance of the community and state. In the hands of a well aware and mindful polity, democracy is a great weapon and a salve for social and economic development. Conversely, to those running for office, an un-mindful polity is often a dream come true. Unaware of the value of the vote, the naive voter is only too easily led down the garden path. It is not too difficult thus to have in our new and emerging democracies, responsible posts occupied by incompetent or unscrupulous officials – merely because those that got elected had to keep some of the unscrupulous promises. 

Get to know your leader in many ways than one! We are talking about OUR COLLECTIVE FUTURE as a Nation.

April 2, 2013

Heroes and villains

They say that one nation's terrorist is another's freedom fighter. We see this example in scores of situations. So how can one thing be two things at the same time? Technically it cannot be, no material thing can be two things at the same time; but in our minds where the thought process is not material, we can think and believe whatever we want to believe. 
The basic question here is about the authenticity of truth. While there is an absolute truth that is the Creator, the created constantly create their own environment by the thought processes that they entertain in their minds. Thus go the truth of the sayings "you are what you think", or "imagination is more important than the knowledge gained" or "you are the world, when you change the way you think, your world too will be transformed". 

So this goes to show that when we fabricate within our minds a cruel environment and imagine this to be true, the universe assists - our subconscious - to bring about this "reality”. But conversely also, when we choose to see our reality as loving, this too is made to happen -- to materialize. How does this work? 

Let me tell you -- it is the discovery of science too in the realms of quantum mechanics - that we can choose what we want, and have that to happen to us. This profound empirical discovery comes from science -- quantum physics. For example in the measurement of the smallest particle the quanta or "packets of light" that is the "substance" of our thought process, we can choose to measure it as a particle or a wave -- depending on our choice. You may ask, "but how can something be two things at the same time?" Yes, that is the phenomenal nature of our universe and of our minds which is a microcosm of it. We can wish for something to be and given the intensity of that wish, make that happen. This is the power of the mind that our Creator has given us. In fact this is the basis of our nature - we can be what we want to be. We are programmed -- yet we are not. We have the choice and yes, we are also responsible for the consequence of that choice. The universe indeed has a perfect accounting system that does not allow even an atom of good deed or bad to go "unrecorded". 

Therefore, in the world of form, in creating a loving and compassionate nation too we have a choice. But for that we have to collectively make a strong commitment. Only strong intentions that embody strong commitments can transform. Selfishness divides and severe those bonds of convergent positive thoughts that can make that transformation happen. What's the worth of a nation without that cohesion? So what's a party worth, except to divide an already cohesive nation?