The other question needs a revolution

The black box of the Air India plane which crashed in Mangaluru has been found now, but on 25 May, Aditya Anand of the Mid Day wrote:
Language proved to be a barrier during operations to cut open the mangled remains of the aircraft to locate the black box yesterday.

On their way to the crash site, M Jose (32) and three others, who were to work under him, were held up at a check-point as they were unable to explain to policemen why they were carrying the equipment.

The men, who could not converse in Kannada -- the local language -- were held up for a couple of hours as they could also not explain why they did not have documents for the vehicle in which they were driving.

The team was to cut open the aircraft's fuselage to recover the black box of the plane that crashed at Mangalore Airport on Saturday.
The English media does not let go of a single opportunity to call India's languages as barriers for this or barriers for that. We should not be misled by the media, of course.

Even here, we should make sure we also ask the other question, because it is that question which is of extreme importance to the future of Karnataka: Why was there no Kannadiga officer who could open the black box? Why did an officer from Kerala have to come in to do that? Why are we set up in such a way? Why aren't Kannadigas in complete charge of airports in Karnataka? Why are Kanndigas, as it were, begging for others to do what is rightfully their own job?

I have begun to feel that it needs a revolution for Kannadigas to ask this question. Are you willing to be part of it?

'We don't have what it takes, so let's ask New Delhi to do it'

Picture this. You run a state government which allocates Rs. 88,30,00,00,000 (that's 8,830 crore rupees) for primary and secondary education based on the Karnataka State Education Board. You get good reviews in the papers for doing so. And then, within 3 months of allocating that amount, you tell the entire state that all that money is basically going down the drain, or into the right pockets, or whatever.

That's the way in which Yeddyurappa's BJP government is running Karnataka today, as is evident from his minister for law and urban development, S Suresh Kumar, declaring openly yesterday that the state-run education system based on the Karnataka State Education Board (popularly called as the state syllabus) lacks quality, and that it's not good enough for the weaker sections of the society.

That admission itself is actually laudable, because there are definite problems with the state-run education system. What is deplorable is that Suresh Kumar, instead of trying to get the government to fix the syllabus of the education system run by his own government which is prevalent all over the state, simply wants to take up the CBSE syllabus (popularly called the central syllabus) in schools run by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, and shirk away from actual work.

This is basically nothing but the Governement of Karnataka giving up power to New Delhi, throwing up its hands and praying to New Delhi to come and save us. And the last time I checked, these CBSE schools do not run in the Kannada medium. Now, what happened to the commitment of the government to education in the mother tongue? We have seen CBSE schools which don't even teach Kannada as a language, let alone in that medium. Is the government taking public money and doing everything it can against the public's interest?

Of course the Kapil Sibals out there in Delhi can now be pictured with a twinkle on their teeth, but all this only confirms that the BJP government of Karnataka is basically least interested in governing Karnataka and fixing its problems. Why care, when you can just give up all responsibility to New Delhi? Why care, even if New Delhi doesn't understand the basics of education in Kannada, or even its importance?

There is an answer to why it should care, of course. And that is, that the BJP government was elected to govern Karnataka and solve its problems. Kannadigas (assuming they were sobre and their votes were not bought, which is a questionable assumption) elected this government thinking that the persons who wanted their votes are vertebrates who can stand up for the state's cause. But here we see the people's mandate being openly destroyed amidst claims of progress!

It is because of spineless creatures crawling around in the Vidhana Soudha that the very institution of politics at the state level repels good talent. But there is no option but for the institution of politics to be cleaned up. There is no option but for good talent to walk up the steps of Vidhana Soudha and establish a true government -- a government which governs, which owns up the problems of its own education system, a government which puts its act together to solve it internally instead of replacing the system with a foreign one.

Their Kites Are Here To Wage War On Us

Just a few days ago, after being triggered by what I learnt about the way in which native Indians were "removed" from America, I wrote the following in an article about the rather involved question of ethics in the marketplace:
The question of ethics cannot be settled by examining the voluntariness of market transactions, but only by examining the intentions behind the transactions, which, fortunately for the analyst, manifest themselves in their effects on the exploited party
The issue surrounding the screening of the Hindi movie 'Kites' in Karnataka had not unrolled when I wrote that, but its unrolling now has provided me with the opportunity to illustrate the point using a real-time issue which is bothering Kannadigas.

If you're unaware of the 'Kites' issue, it is that that Hindi movie was illegally planned to be released in more theaters than the limit set for non-Kannada movies, and the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce cracked down the racket.

If you are one of those who believes that Kannadiga movie-goers and/or Hindi movie-makers have been denied their free-market rights by the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce, you need to understand, very carefully, this point: destroying the respect Kannadigas have (and need to have) for their own language by packing more sex-per-rupee into Hindi movies than Kannadiga loins can handle in movie theaters, is no different from the Europeans using objects of sense pleasure "which we have to spare and they want", in order to entice Native American Indians to "fall to women" and give up their only means of life, agriculture.

The comparison is striking: the Europeans sold what they called the "necessaries of life" to the Native Indians, and the Hindis are now selling us what the papers describe as a necessary of life: sex; the Europeans made the Native Indians fall to women, and so are the Hindis now; the Native Indians lacked the information that their race was being "removed", and here Kannadigas lack the information that these Hindi movies are slowly "removing" them; Europeans made the Native Indians give up their only means of life which was agriculture, and the Hindis are now making us give up the only means of our upliftment which is our language - Kannada.

The Hindi movie is a drug which can give Kannadigas a high when it is being consumed, but a drug which will consume the entire Kannadiga People once the addiction is difficult to get rid of. Even here, the comparison between the Native Indians of America and the Kannadigas of India is very striking: even the Native Indians were made to get addicted to sense objects, and the addiction consumed their entire race.

Hindi movies are packing more and more sex per rupee in order to enslave non-Hindi audiences. They are murdering the Kannadiga spirit and making them lose their respect for Kannada. They are making Kannadigas languish in ignorance because Kannada, our mother, is the only source of our knowledge, and knowledge is the only means of our survival.

Even if Kannadigas want to drug themselves voluntarily and die, the act of the drugger-cum-killer is unethical. Even if the Hindi movie-makers don't want to drug and murder, the act is unethical as long as the effect exists, and the the intentions behind the transactions are manifest in their effect on the exploited party--in this case, the Kannadiga people as a whole.

It is a fundamental law that men can be enslaved by using sex and other sense pleasures. Ignorance of this law cannot be an excuse for the crimes committed using them: ignorantia juris non excusat. At the same time, application of this law beyond limits, to grow rich, is essentially the crime which rogue nations do against humanity by waging war on them with greed of material prosperity.

What else is the Hindi movie industry trying to achieve, if not to satisfy its greed for more and more money? Why should one not look at this as the Hindi Nation waging war on the Kannadiga Society, a war fought using sex on celluloid, which some even describe as love?

Schools or concentration camps?

Today's Bengaluru edition of the Times of India proudly bears a story on the front page which must offer sufficient reason to mourn the death of reason and fear the coming of doomsday in the education sector as applicable to parents who care for the future of their children: "Now, a pre-school for 8-month-olds".

This whole scam illustrates, in my mind, two things: one, that misguided businesses can stoop to any level to break up society into individual units and consume those units in furtherance of their self-interest; and two, that the craze for stuffing English into Indian infants is eating away their childhood, natural familial and societal bonding, and playfulness, and turning them into automatons at the mercy of the misguided businessman who can at best create dubious educational results.

Individualize and reap (a.k.a. divide and rule)
The first fact is well understood by economists: the more the number of unconnected individuals, the larger the market for the devices of businessmen. And here, these so-called schools are illustrating how low they can stoop to create those individuals at any cost: they now want to turn infants who were umblically connected to their mothers a few months back, into those unconnected individuals fit for business consumption.

I have no doubt that, if these businessmen were to have their say, they'd snatch away newborn infants suckling milk from their mother's breasts, promising that they'll take care of the entire development and education of the child for a few lakh rupees.

Urban children have already been separated from their grand-parents who do not speak English, and now it's the turn of snatching them away from their parents themselves! I won't be surprised if in a few years I see a news item in the Times of India which talks about a "scientific study" which "proves" that Indian children who have been taken away by education-businesses at childbirth read and write English better than those who haven't had "that advantage". It's the next logical thing.

Craze of English consumes childhood
The second fact is not very well known, and I'd like to present it to concerned parents. While it is true that the first six years of a child are very important in its life, and that the child must have learnt reading and writing by that time, it is not true that that reading and writing must be in English.

In fact, it is a crime against children to stuff a foreign language into their heads, as many educationists and psychologists have pointed out. I don't think anybody harbors a doubt about the importance of mother-tongue education, but from the craze for English prevalent in our cities, it's clear that not many realize the harmful effects of foreign languages at young ages.

Now, you have English-crazy parents in cities on the one hand, and on the other hand the target of having children achieve proficiency in reading and writing by six years of age. If you put the two together, and add the fact that these parents have mostly Kannada for their mother-tongue, both the parents and these businesses have no option but to take away the first six years of children and offer them as sacrificial lambs at the feet of the demon of ignorance.

Kapil Sibal (not that he holds a justifiable portfolio), unless he realizes this fact, will have to see his genuine concern for the physical and mental health of young children go down the drain. His campaign for abolishing pre-schooling before 4 years of age makes no sense if you have to stuff reading and writing in a foreign language into children.

Parents will have to throng these concentration camps with not just 8-month-olds, but perhaps even newborn infants in order to stuff English into their innocent brains.

And that too will not suffice, since the womb would have been polluted by Kannada. It may help for the parents to just migrate to London or Manchester or New York or San Francisco before their first kiss. But that too would not solve the problem completely, because their lips would have been polluted by Kannada. What is to be done now?

While children are apt to learn crucial communication skills from the natural familial and societal interactions in the language of the family and society, the craze for English basically necessitates the creation of a family and a society which speaks English: and that's what these businesses try to artificially synthesize and fail miserably because of the sheer artificiality.

All this, at what cost? At the cost of completely removing those children from the family and society and placing them in totally artificial environments designed to mimic the environment of a London or a Manchester, and at the cost of sacrificing their natural freedoms, their childhood, and their physical and psychological health.

What a great future we're giving our urban children!

America is proof that voluntariness is no proof of ethics

Against the backdrop of earlier articles on natives and migrants, what I recently learnt about the way native Indians were 'removed' from the United States of America prompted me to write this essay with a sentiment of horror mixed with disappointment.

The third president of the United States of America, Thomas Jefferson, wrote a secret letter to William Henry Harrison, Governor of the Indiana territory, in 1803, explaining his plan for 'removing' the native American Indians. The full text of the letter is fortunately available, and is as follows (I have retained what look like spelling mistakes, but regrouped the text into more readable paragraphs):
You will receive from the Secretary of War … from time to time information and instructions as to our Indian affairs. These communications being for the public records, are restrained always to particular objects and occasions; but this letter being unofficial and private, I may with safety give you a more extensive view of our policy respecting the Indians, that you may the better comprehend the parts dealt out to you in detail through the official channel, and observing the system of which they make a part, conduct yourself in unison with it in cases where you are obliged to act without instruction.

Our system is to live in perpetual peace with the Indians, to cultivate an affectionate attachment from them, by everything just and liberal which we can do for them within the bounds of reason, and by giving them effectual protection against wrongs from our own people.

The decrease of game rendering their subsistence by hunting insufficient, we wish to draw them to agriculture, to spinning and weaving. The latter branches they take up with great readiness, because they fall to the women, who gain by quitting the labors of the field for, those which are exercised within doors.

When they withdraw themselves to the culture of a small piece of land, they will perceive how useless to them are their extensive forests, and will be willing to pare them off from time to time in exchange for necessaries for their farms and families. To promote this disposition to exchange lands, which they have to spare and we want, for necessaries, which we have to spare and they want, we shall push our trading uses, and be glad to see the good and influential individuals among them run in debt, because we observe that when these debts get beyond what the individuals can pay, they become willing to lop them off by a cession of lands. At our trading houses, too, we mean to sell so low as merely to repay us cost and charges, so as neither to lessen or enlarge our capital.

This is what private traders cannot do, for they must gain; they will consequently retire from the competition, and we shall thus get clear of this pest without giving offence or umbrage to the Indians.

In this way our settlements will gradually circumscribe and approach the Indians, and they will in time either incorporate with us a citizens or the United States, or remove beyond the Mississippi.

The former is certainly the termination of their history most happy for themselves; but, in the whole course of this, it is essential to cultivate their love. As to their fear, we presume that our strength and their weakness is now so visible that they must see we have only to shut our hand to crush them, and that all our liberalities to them proceed from motives of pure humanity only.

Should any tribe be foolhardy enough to take up the hatchet at any time, the seizing the whole country of that tribe, and driving them across the Mississippi, as the only condition of peace, would be an example to others, and a furtherance of our final consolidation.
I'll let you analyze the hypocrisy of the letter in detail, but hasten myself to say what I'm most moved to say about the claimed voluntariness of Indian actions such as land cession and adoption of sedentary and hedonistic lives, and about the American justification for Indian Removal.

Anyone can feed a child with poison by sugarcoating it. The child will fall prey voluntarily. Is this ethical? Absolutely not. Therefore, the voluntariness of market transactions is no proof of ethical behaviour of the parties involved. On the other hand, voluntary market transactions which cause damages or losses unexpected by one of the parties and intended by the other is complete proof of unethical behavior on the part of the latter.

No more proof is required that the Europeans were very far from being ethical in exterminating the native Indians. It is the height of European barbarism and unethical behavior to pounce upon relative children and commit genocide so that they may spread, multiply and pleasure themselves. That it was done with the air of saints and holy men lends no fig leaf to the barbarians.

Let me take another example. Let's say my job is to cook rice. To simplify things, let's say that the uncooked rice is provided by my customer himself, so the only cost to the customer is that of my labor. Now, on what basis must I fix the price of my labour? There is no doubt that it should increase as my labour increases, but what should be the basic price itself? Everything from zero to infinity is a valid answer to that question. However, a transaction will happen only at a mutually agreeable price. So far so good, and both parties agree to forget about slight valuation errors.

However, what if my customer is blind and I make him sign on a cheque of Rs. 100 while I would have been happy with Re. 1 if the customer weren't blind? The voluntariness of my customer's payment doesn't make the entire transaction ethical, because I intended damage while he did not have sufficient information to see through my intention.

Thus, market transactions in which one party knowingly exploits the lack of information in the other for his own benefit are unethical. The question of ethics cannot be settled by examining the voluntariness of market transactions, but only by examining the intentions behind the transactions, which, fortunately for the analyst, manifest themselves in their effects on the exploited party. That is not to say that the exploitation does not affect the expoiter in any way; only that the effect on the exploited party is easier to observe and faster-acting than the effect on the exploiter. The exploiter will pay dearly for his crimes, but that day comes but late.

What hypocrisy that the 'founding fathers' of The United States of America basically did not have the disposition to grant native Indians the right to 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness' while assuming it for themsleves! They basically proved that the cunning can make the innocent surrender their 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness' voluntarily. And that, for the hundredth time, is unethical to the core.