Friday, November 28, 2014

How Do Our Minds Work? Can Our Neuroscientists Explain the Mechanism of Our Minds?

Even though we may consider the present era as the age of science and technology, there are so many mysteries in our world that are yet incomprehensible to even the scientists.

One of the greatest mysteries that keep our scientists wondering is the mechanism of the human mind. Mind mechanism is still an unsolved mystery even when we have our neurosciences pretty well advanced in unfolding much of the anatomy and functions of the brain and the nervous system.

Scientists have been researching to learn and understand more about the mysteries of the brain for quite some time. They have found many interesting things about our brain functioning. These are some scientific observations on the functional mechanisms of the brains of human beings, based on several scientific experiments done by several scientists and doctors.

Those of the readers who are not very clear about the human anatomy and physiology, it is a good idea to refresh their basic concepts using this mayoclinic slideshow. 

'Understanding Human Behaviour'- written by Late Prof James V McConnell was one of the best books that I had read long ago which explained the brain functions and human behavior aspects in a lucid manner. 

As is the case with all sciences and technologies, there have been a knowledge explosion in the field of neurosciences as well happening for the past several decades. Yet, our understanding about the mechanism of the mind and how exactly it works is very limited.

This difficulty, in my opinion, is due to the limitation of our scientists and present day sciences to transcend beyond the material phenomena. In other words, our sciences and scientific methods are incapable of devising methods of experimentation or in making scientific observations on non material phenomena. Therefore, there is a big reluctance by our present day science to accept non-material realities.

I am not denying the fact that many of the highly intelligent scientific thinkers of the present day are more and more compelled to believe in the existence of the huge invisible and unrecognized energy in the whole of the universe. Perhaps that has led them to initiate the most expensive scientific explorations in human history in the recent past searching for what the media prefer to call as the 'god's particles'. The conclusions are reportedly positive. 

Thus, the existence of the invisible source of energy from which all material energy forms (matter, light, heat, electromagnetic radiations, etc) originate is becoming a more and more acceptable fact.

Our scientists have not yet officially named this huge source of invisible and unrecognized energy source of the universe. But many of them began to call it as the dark energy and dark matter.

But dark energy and dark matter are not going to be the end of our explorations. 

When my book of life guidance (yes, the Urantia Book-Click Here for more information!), written by real intelligent personalities who exist in the original realm of matter and energy, is abundant with much revealed information about the realities of the invisible and unrecognized realms of life, why should I rely or wait for any grass root explorations of the present day sciences?

I would have waited had I not known the limitations of science and the scientists in this context. That is because, matter is derived from some thing else and we humans are made of matter. Therefore, we can not go backward to cross the boundaries of our material limits!

At that point comes the scientific tool of theories and postulates. My book is a great source for scientists to do their researches for some more time!

Now coming back to the issue of the mind mechanism. As our scientists keep exploring the hardware of the brain, the neurons and their functions in micro and macro levels to unfold the mysteries, I explored the revealed knowledge of my book of life guidance. Fortunately, I found answers about the mind mechanism of human beings that could satisfy the curiosity of my own mind.

Let me tell you in brief what the super human authors of my favorite book tell about the mechanism of the mind. It is very elaborate, but I would try making it brief:

To understand the functions of the mind, the first and foremost requirement is to know about the massive energy realm that exist above our material energy realm and some understanding about the reality of God and His universe administration.

In the beginning, even before matter and material space existed, there existed only one reality. And that reality contained the source of everything that we now know- as energy, matter and mind in their original form in the sole and unique existence that we may call by any name as the First Source, Universal Father God, etc. 

This eternal energy, matter and mind could be given the nomenclature as the spiritual energy, spiritual matter and spiritual mind. The sole eternal spiritual mind of the Universal Father working over the spiritual matter and energy caused the creation of the subordinate spiritual personalities and their combined acts later created the spiritual worlds and innumerable spiritual personalities.

Then began the process of creation of the material universes containing physical matter, physical energies and living beings in the physical energy realm by the coordinated acts of several subordinate spiritual personalities delegated with mind power by the Universal Father God, working in accordance with certain universal laws given to them by the First Source.

Time and space as recognizable to material living beings began when the creative act of physical energy and matter began under the mind supervision and control of innumerable spiritual beings. Thus, the formation of the material universe as we now know is as a result of both intelligent minds (of spiritual personalities) and also in accordance with certain predetermined universal laws of the First Source.

As an analogy to make this thing more clear, I would give an example. Suppose that you have some explosive chemical mixture that you want to use to make a blast to disintegrate the rock. You make the chemical mixture and go for blasting it in accordance with the knowledge that you have. Here your mind processes and applies some chemical laws, some experience and finally act to make the blast. Once the blast takes place, there are few things that are not in your control and there are several things that are in your control. Thus your mind acts and coordinates all these to get the desired results!

The universal laws are fully under the control of the First Source who made those laws. The mind source is also with the First Source. But in the case of the mind, the First Source has distributed it applying certain laws made by Him for that delegation.

Thus both mind and matter are originating from the First Source, but distributed under differing rules and laws. The mind has certain degrees of freedom to act in accordance with the rules of delegation and its capacity and freedom vary in different living personalities.

The neurons are the hardware for intelligence in living beings. In higher animals, the intelligence and the degrees of freedom to act independently is more as compared to the lower level life forms. In higher animals and in humans the intelligence process center is the complex neurotic biologic hardware called the brain.

While animals have a brain with some intelligence and independent mind functions essential for their living, humans are provided with brains that have not only capabilities for independent living, but also some other special mind capacities. The latter mind abilities and capacities differentiate humans from animals!

The human brain has both internal and external capacities for mind functioning. However, these capacities differ from person to person in accordance with their natural development of the brain and also with genetic factors of development. There are in fact several factors that determine the mind capabilities of each and every human being. Over and above there are several factors that determine certain personality traits of humans that determine the manner in which the mind capabilities are employed by the individuals.

The human brain has most of the intelligence and mind capacity for sustaining life just as it is with the inferior animals. These mind capacities are built in and are essential for sustaining material life.

But over and above, the human brain has certain other mind enhancing capacity as compared to the animals. The human brain has the capacity to be receptive to not only material energy communications but also to certain spiritual energy communication circuits of the universe. We know that the human brain responds and processes vision, sound, smell, pressure, taste, etc which are all material electromagnetic, chemical, gravitational, electrical or similar other signals. But it also has the capacity to receive spiritual energy signals without we ever directly getting conscious of it.

In other words, all fully developed human brain hardware can receive and accommodate an independent mind fraction directly emanating from the First Source or the Universal Father God. This mind fraction that resides within an able bodied human brain is called the Thought Adjuster (TA). It is a mysterious monitor of the human mind independent of the human individual's own material mind getting developed within the brain . Hence, the TA may also be called a Mystery Monitor. It is a spiritual entity and not a material energy or system. But it definitely needs the biologic human brain for its function. It would not be active if the human brain is defective or inferior.

The TA is the one which gives all well developed humans the ability to know what is good and what is bad. The TA is spiritual and is directly from God. Material investigations cannot determine its presence because it is not anything composed of any physical energy or material. 

But every human knows its presence within him or her to some extent. It is this presence that produces the guilt consciousness when humans do such things that they are not supposed to do. TA is the divine part or the godly part of humans that is mysteriously residing within the human brains and its presence makes the human mind potentially divine, but not necessarily divine! A human being whose self mind fall in line with the leading of the spiritual mind that is within him or her becomes aligned to God and is bound to become a good person. The more such persons on earth, the more earth becomes a divinely preferred place!

These TAs being from the spiritual realms of the Universe, could transact with external spiritual beings independently without the human material mind being aware of it. However, some individuals may develop some capabilities to know and get a glimpse of such transactions of the spiritual mind fraction that resides within them. What some human mind researchers recognize as clairvoyance or extra sensory perception (ESP) could be to some extent due to this phenomena. 

Besides this independent spiritual mind fraction that is residing in most human brains, there exist some other factors that add some influences on the material mind functions of the humans. There exist some universal spiritual communication circuits or spiritual waves to which humans brains respond in varying degrees. They are like the radio or electromagnetic communication waves. Like the electromagnetic waves, the spiritual communication waves are also invisible. But the electromagnetic waves are capable of creating some responses in specially made hardware circuits. Hence, humans can know, measure, create or use them. But spiritual communication waves do not respond to most material things. However, specially developed biologic brains of humans can be responsive to these spiritual energy circuits that pervade the space around us.

There exist a system in the material universe that sends out certain special spiritual waves to facilitate humans in some of their mind abilities with the help of their brains. These spiritual energy lines help people to develop mind abilities for certain things which are unique to humans and not to animals. These special mind abilities of humans greatly enhance his thought processes with regard to the following:

1. The ability for wisdom
2. The desire and ability to worship (God)
3. The desire and ability for justice
4. The desire for knowledge
5. The desire for courage (adventure)
6. The ability for understanding deeper meanings
7. The ability for intuitive and quick perception

These seven abilities and desires of the human mind are special and the animals lack these. Again these mind capacities of humans exist in varying degrees. All humans do not develop the brain capacity for these mind functions equally. These are developed and nurtured due to the existence of certain spiritual energy systems that emanate from certain spiritual sources of the universe.

Just as we have better hardware systems for our computers, our biologic brain systems may also be superior or inferior when compared to each other. Accordingly, their receptive powers to the spiritual circuits would also be different. 

Our human minds function similar to the intelligent minds that exist in the spiritual worlds and all mind mechanisms are patterned in line with the supreme mind of the First Source, but with decreasing capacities. The more a subordinate living being is away from the First Source, the less would be its mind capacity. Human beings are the farthest intelligent beings from the First Source. Hence we, humans of earth, are a type of intelligent beings with the least mind capacities, as compared to all other intelligent beings that exist in the universe. But we are also provided with some mind enhancement potentials that enable us to become like the superior ones when we advance in experience and knowledge. 

All intelligent living beings can also gain some mind enhancing capabilities from the First Source of Mind or from some other subordinate divine sources and enhance their thought processes where by enhancing knowledge and other mind capacities. This is similar to what our own human minds have invented in recent times, called the cloud computing! Human minds are occasionally fed with novel ideas from the superior universal spiritual mind sources! This kind of communications enable humans to progress materially and achieve the highest possible material developments. Once they achieve the highest material development, their minds would eventually become free to transcend material thoughts to engage in thoughts of the more advanced spiritual existence that lay ahead! 

Even when humans are on earth, they have varying capacities of mind that make them unequal with regard to mind capacities.

But such mind superiority of a person alone does not give a man or a woman any special divine preference. A person with superior mind capacity who is fully willing to embrace the divine qualities of worship (love towards God), compassion (considerate of his fellow beings) , justice (impartiality) and creativity (work, knowledge, curiosity, progress) is the one who gains divine preference.

Divine preference does not ensure material gains. But divine preference always ensure a human being to advance indefinitely to become superior intelligent beings similar to those that exist in the spiritual realms of the universe. It is a well known fact known to the scientists now- no matter can cross the material boundaries in material form. Humans can, and are empowered to do that in non material (spiritual) form, provided they prove their worth while living their short material life on earth.

Mind is the tool or the aid with which they achieve it. Mind is the aid that, with the help of the divine TA, would enable some of the humans to transcend beyond the borders of the material realm of the universe. 

Mind is also the tool by which some humans acquire in-destructive and ever progressive personality features that retain their respective identities intact as they keep progressing to higher abilities and responsibilities in the universe. It is a complex process, yet relatively simple to achieve if the individual so desire earnestly.  

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

How Safe Is Your Drinking Water in India? Be Aware of These!

Water and Air are the two primary necessities naturally available to ensure life to sustain on earth. These two natural resources are also provided with certain levels of natural automatic processes to keep them safe for all living beings on earth, including humans.

But human population growth coupled with ever expanding human activities can cause these abundant natural resources to become polluted. Pollution of air and water can cause problems to human health. Thus air and water pollution has become an important issue for all nations of the world to give much attention. Environmental protection laws have become an important aspect of modern society.

India too has been giving much attention to environmental protection. It has also enacted several environmental protection laws and constituted several authorities to safeguard its air, water and land resources from becoming unsustainable on account of various hazards, including pollution.

View of a Poorly Maintained 
Drinking Water Pumping Station in India

In India, there is  the Central Pollution Control Board at the national level and the various state pollution control boards. Environmental statutes have become so stringent in the recent years that it is not so easy for any infrastructure or industrial project to take shape without going through many so called environmental protection related statutory hurdles. The hindrances have also created allegations of corruption ruling the roost with the Indian environmental regulations, rather than them honestly implemented under a balanced system of sustainable development, for the benefit of the people at large. 

In India there also exist independent environmental activist groups and non governmental agencies who also play an important role in deciding the environmental policies of the government. The Center for Science and Environment (CSE) is one such agency. But many such activist groups and organizations become too idealistic to be practical or balanced in their outlooks and approaches. Vested interests also might cause them to work out of focus occasionally. Using environmental issues as a guise for political gains is also not uncommon.
A Poorly Maintained Indian Drinking Water Treatment Plant

For example, there have been hues and cries in India against some companies using ground water as their resource for making and marketing aerated soft drinks. The agitation in Kerala spearheaded against the Coca-Cola company's Plachimada bottling plant in Palghat is a typical case of this kind.

Problems created by pollution is also a big opportunity for big economic activities, human creativity, business and big employment generation. Unfortunately, the Indian authorities and the Indian political leaders and the common people are blissfully unaware of this and seem to ignore the potentials of using this to a win-win situation for all.

For example let me take the example of drinking water supply in India. Water supply and sanitation are the fundamental  factors that govern the progress of any society. The fundamental job of any municipality or any city corporation is to ensure the supply of safe drinking water to the house holds, take care of the waste water and to address the issue of solid wastes. In olden days, Public Health Engineering was one of the most important departments entrusted with these tasks. Unfortunately, India has blissfully ignored this over the years!

Even well educated people in India are now blissfully unaware about the methods adopted by their municipalities and city corporations in managing these activities. Their elected representatives are also any better in possessing this awareness. With the advancement of human activities, the water supply and sanitation processes and its management have become more complex, calling for a higher degree of expertise and competency. Unfortunately, this aspect has been consistently getting neglected in India for the past couple of decades.

A well maintained Indian WTP Just After Commissioning

When industrial establishments, cities, towns and homes do not have proper waste disposal systems, the waste waters discharged into the ground and to the drainage systems (as available - artificial or natural) would deplete the nature's ability to revert it back to the original quality. When the waste water or sewage load is more than the natural capacity of restoration, the natural water bodies such as ground water, streams, rivers, ponds and lakes begin to become polluted. In such a scenario our natural sources for fresh water become perennially polluted. Our old and conventional methods of making safe drinking water may not yield safe drinking water any more, unless we invest more to modify our water treatment plants and facilities. In many instances, even costly water treatment facilities fail to yield good drinking water. Besides, the waste water from the water treatment plants also would become more difficult to manage. It soon develops as a technological vicious circle with no practical solutions!

In the United States of America, they have the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) empowered by various federal statutes including the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). The website of EPA provide the much needed information for the guidance of their citizens.

View of A Well Maintained 
Drinking Water Pumping Station in the USA

As against this, it would be interesting to note the various guidelines, laws, regulations and protocols that are said to be applicable in India with regard to water supply and sanitation. There are several of them and one can see them at a glance as compiled and provided in the website of the International Environmental Law Research Centre (IELRC).

The difference between what exists in the US and what exists in India is glaringly visible when you do an honest comparison. In India, there is no law that makes it mandatory for any one to ensure safe drinking water to the citizens. What exist are a set of half-cooked or impractical guidelines apparently worked out by several agencies without due understanding of the technical or practical issues involved!

Thus even the best water treatment plants in India that existed a couple of decades ago with reasonably good operation and maintenance practices are increasingly getting neglected over the years. There is a drastic reduction in the technical competence of the people who manage the existing water or waste water treatment facilities. Most water and waste water treatment facilities do not have any competent water analysts or the necessary water quality testing laboratories. What existed as some best facilities some decades ago have mostly become dilapidated or practically non-functional. The contradictory or vague or impractical guidelines and protocols have made the situation to slip from bad to the worst. Lack of awareness in the public coupled with administrative apathy has caused further damage.

One of the noteworthy examples of technical incompetence and managerial apathy in the area of waste water management resulting in a big failure was  the much fan-fared Ganga Action Plan of the government of India some years ago. Money in billions got spent without achieving the desired results and the River Ganges still remains as one of the worst polluted fresh water source for millions of people of India even now.

There is no difference in the technology or engineering of water treatment and management anywhere in the world. There is also no difference in the water testing or interpretation techniques. Water and waste water treatment technologies are also not such technologies where you need space or rocket scientists and engineers. But at the same time they also technical issues where technical expertise and experience matter a lot. In other words, any tom-dick-and-harry cannot be entrusted with the task of managing the water and waste water treatment systems. The technology and engineering involve much multi-disciplinary skills which need to be understood and addressed with due care by the authorities!

Modern water and waste water treatment requires knowledge in chemistry, hydraulics, civil engineering, chemical engineering, instrumentation and automation, toxicology, bio-chemistry, environmental laws, etc. It provides ample scope for engineers from all these fields to gain much practical experience and expertise. It also provides opportunities for employment generation and development of business.

Regrettably, India lacks the much needed technical expertise in this field in its top echelons of administrative hierarchy which is essential for formulating proper policies by the government. The mistakes of the past get repeated when attempts are repeated in the same manner as what had been done earlier! If Ganga Action Plan failed earlier, it could fail again if the authorities do not learn from the mistakes of the past. It is essential that conventional administrative procedures and systems need to be reworked with intelligent inputs from people having the necessary multidisciplinary expertise and innovative ideas in this field.

The most important aspect of making safe drinking water is to have more and more fresh raw water sources with minimal contamination as the input to the drinking water plants. Conventionally, drinking water treatment involves raw water lifting, screening, flocculation, sedimentation, filtration, disinfection, storage and distribution. When the raw water becomes polluted to some degree, the conventional treatment plants no more produce safe drinking water. For example, raw water contaminated with sewage containing soaps and detergents will not fully get rid of these contaminants when treated in the conventional treatment plant. The conventional chlorination treatment might even generate carcinogens in the drinking water that is produced from such raw waters contaminated by such organic chemicals.

Unlike in the past, most water treatment facilities in India are now operated and managed by people with relatively low skills and expertise. In many places, the concerned top authorities take the installation, operation and maintenance of water treatment facilities for granted. Many plants do not have the required level of competent manpower. A good majority of them have no facilities for water quality monitoring! Plants which are erected and commissioned with full facilities get degraded and dilapidated in a few years time due to the low priorities given by the authorities.

Water treatment facilities in India used to be considered as prime installations of national importance during the initial few decades after India's independence from the British rule. The British legacy was to consider these facilities with due diligence. Even in the 1980 when I joined my professional career, water treatment and public health engineering used to be an area of prime importance to the top managements of not only the municipalities but also of the large scale industries.

But things deteriorated in later years. I do not say that this situation is worrisome everywhere in India. But, in general things have deteriorated much. Water and waste water management technologies have advanced much in the recent years in many countries. Though some progressive private sector companies in India are making advantage of such technologies to a greater extent, this is not so in the case of the government departments and public sector industries due to either lack of awareness or on account of competency vacuums that has developed in recent years.

The general deterioration of piped drinking water supply quality has caused the proliferation of bottled mineral water companies. Packed mineral water in plastic bottles and pouches are now causing serious land pollution problems due to the empty bottles and pouches. 

Health conscious and well-to-do city dwellers no more consider their piped water supply as safe. Domestic water purifiers are doing roaring business now! How safely these provide good quality water can only be guessed as there is no facility available to the users to check the quality of water!

In my opinion consumers of water need to enhance their general awareness in these areas. In the present times, even the sick people no more take their medical doctors for granted. Therefore it is a good idea to gain some knowledge about the manner in which the drinking water comes to you and also the manner in which it is finally disposed.

Those interested to get some basic ideas about water, the US-EPA site is a good educator. 

As far as India is concerned, I earnestly hope that our new government would initiate some better systems to address the various issues involved with drinking water treatment, distribution, sanitation, waste water treatment, disposal and re-use, in the days to come.

Let us hope that our democratic local governments and other such authorities responsible for providing safe drinking water to the people, take these things seriously and initiate actions for Swacch Pani (clean, safe water) in order to make the recently started Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Campaign) a remarkable and sustainable success!

Let us also hope that our environmental authorities of the central and state levels too wake up to learn some lessons from the developed nations!

Monday, November 24, 2014

What Are the Problems Preventing Educated Indians To Cast Their Votes?

If They Can Vote, Why Can't You? 
(जब ये तैयार हैं तो आप क्यों नहीं?)  

An Election Commission of India News Paper Advertisement!

Did you notice this advertisement of the Election Commission of India (ECI) in the newspapers recently? (See the scan above) It has the picture of a person in wheel chair and it poses a question in Hindi which translates as ' If they can vote, why can't you?'  

Obviously, the advertisement is aimed to instigate the educated people of India who are eligible to exercise their franchise to vote! Such an advertisement indirectly means that many people are not voting in India. The ECI must have thought to do something about it to improve the situation!

The state where I currently live would go for general elections 2014 shortly. It is scheduled to be held in 5 phases by the Election Commission during Nov-Dec 2014.

The election commission of India has made elaborate plans for this election management which they call it as the 'systematic voters' education and electoral participation' or 'sveep' by which Jharkhand is planned to be swept thoroughly as far as the coverage is concerned. The poll authority is planning to have the voting percentage enhanced this time from the poor shows of the past.

The newspaper advertisement above is part of the plan. Through the advertisement, the poll authority is challenging all the eligible able-bodied voters of the state who apparently shy away from exercising their franchises. 

I had written some aspects of this in the light of the recent initiatives by the election commission of India in one of my earlier blogs. I had written about the ECI's initiative to get voters registered online to get them enrolled in the voters' list. I had written about my personal experience (of failure!) by trying out that method!

Why do we have a very low voter turnout in India?

The first and foremost thing in my opinion lies with the methodology adopted by the Election Commission to create and update what is called the voters' list and the voter identity card.

Election commission of India makes no differentiation to the citizens with regard to their financial or social standing. The ECI treats all citizens equally. A vote exercised by the richest man and the poorest man has the same value! It is indeed a very good thing. There is no partiality at least in this matter in India!

But the political leaders and the ECI also do not want any aliens to vote and destabilize the country. So, in the recent years, they have introduced the concept of the photo identity card. Coupled with it is the voter list as prepared by the ECI which keeps updated every now and then by a process adopted by them.

The voter identity card concept is good. But it is some thing which is practically impossible for a country like India to implement. The voter ID card is conceived to have a photo of the voter together with his or her age and the address recorded on it as applicable at the time creating the card. There are three variables in this card which could change with time. They are the facial features, the age and the address of residence.

Thus a voter ID card which is suitable for one election may not be suitable for the next election which comes after a couple of years later.

The ECI does not have any localized offices or agencies which are easily approachable by the public where one can file an application for making changes in the voter ID card and get an updated card. They also do not have any permanent staff for doing this work.

Same is the case with the making of the voters list. Now, the voters having the ID card and also who are in the voters' list can only cast their votes in what is called a polling booth which is a improvised set up set up for the day of voting in some available building, usually in some dilapidated local government school or some thing of that sort. 

For the rural folks, who are permanently staying in the villages for quite some years, the voters' list and the polling booths are well known and well identified without much difficulty.

But that is not the case with those in the cities. The polling booths and the voters' list in the cities are mutually invisible for all practical purposes.

The Election commission draws its enumerators from lower level government staff. In the cities, their numbers are abysmally low. Besides, they are pretty indifferent to the important work they are assigned with. They know well that the voter information data generated by them, for all practical purposes, cannot be properly verified and they cannot be held accountable for errors that they create knowingly or unknowingly. With such a system, there is nothing surprising if the voters' list of the cities are created with error galore!

In India, urbanization is taking place at a very fast pace. The cities and the towns are where the job opportunities exist. People are constantly on the move to the cities.  Besides, a good majority of the urban dwellers in India live in rented accommodations and hence keep changing their places of residence quite often.

It is practically impossible for the ECI to make any reliable voters' list for the urban population of India under such a scenario with the present system of voter id or voters' list making and updating!

The authorities now say that the photo ID cards of the ECI is no more a mandatory document for voting. Citizens are allowed to use other photo id cards instead. But no one can vote unless he or she knows where to vote  and where his or her name appears in the voters' list.

The method of making the voters' list, especially for the urban areas is highly unscientific. The cities keep changing their faces due to rapid urbanization. But the ECI with their temporary workforce from the state government employee pool, has no facilities for updating the information in accordance with the fast changes. As a result, their data base and the actual ground reality do not match.

The net result is either elimination of a good number of urban people from the voters' lists or duplication of names in many lists without the actual voter ever getting aware of it.

Naturally, the actual numbers of people who go for voting gets greatly reduced. Moreover, no citizen with some respectable standing in society would like to get identified as a fake voter and face legal actions by trying their luck at the polling booths. When the the voters as per the voter list do not turn out for voting in large numbers due to the reasons I have mentioned, an opportunity gets created for some at least to manipulate the votes with the connivance of some pliable polling officials!

Unless the ECI think and evolve better solutions, the situation would remain as such. While people who never move out of their places would cast their votes, the literate and educated lots who have to shift their residences quite often would not cast their votes any time!(Exceptions would be the high ranking political functionaries and high ranking bureaucrats who are required to exhibit their responsibility in public under full media glare!) 

If you are a person who lives in the Indian cities and shift your residence every couple of years you are perhaps one who is not likely to cast your vote in India.

But if you have managed to get your name in the voters' list and managed to vote even with these constraints, you should share your method of doing that. It would be a great help to others like you.

Will you be voting this time?

If you do not vote, what would be your excuse?

Would you like to share your experiences in this context?

Do you have some suggestions to the ECI?

If your state or the nation enact a law that makes non voting a punishable offence, just as the Gujarat State has recently done, what would be your reaction? Is it justifiable for any government to punish its citizens for failure to play their part when the government fails to play its its part well?

I have a suggestion to the ECI and the government(s) of India. If they do not have the departmental infrastructural ability to manage things well, why don't they think of outsourcing these services to private players who meet certain well defined eligibility criteria? After all, India has moved away from its old policies of state owned enterprises to embrace and accept private participation and enterprise. When it can happen in all other areas, why not in the area of election management?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Two Plus Two Need Not Be Four For Everyone Now!

Long ago, when I began my professional career as an engineer in a large iron and steel company, I was posted as the engineer in charge of a water utility plant of the steel plant's captive thermal power plant.

When I joined, the plant facility was a new one under erection expected, to be commissioned for production in a few months time.

As a fresh chemical engineering post graduate from a premier engineering university of India, my knowledge in the practice of engineering was practically zero. While being engineering students in the graduation and post graduation levels, we were exposed to several units of study materials from which we acquired bits and pieces of information and knowledge in varying degrees. Our lecturers and professors were mostly good in making us exposed to some aspects of the information already available in the form of internationally accepted text books. They also made us undertake various practicals in well defined pedagogy. The authorized university authorities under the authority given to them by the statutes, tested us as per their procedures and awarded us the degree certificates which essentially provided us the license to get employed as engineers.

But each one of us understood engineering in a different manner. It was not a simple 'two plus two equals four' for us. Each one of us would be going to realize engineering differently in our later years!

Unfortunately or fortunately, those like us who started their profession as working engineers also realized the content of engineering differently in accordance with the work culture and work requirements of their own working areas. In other words, every one understood two plus two of engineering differently! Perhaps in the later years some of our kind added our own concepts and ideas and contributed to the creation of several pieces of non material creations on the face our earth. But we could never agree to any thing that we created as perfect or defect free!

Extending that analysis further down, I would be able to prove some thing which many of my readers might not agree. In my humble opinion, such a thing happens because of our imperfection of mind development.

We keep arguing over our discoveries, theories, inventions and ideas. We argue, because we cannot possibly agree on anything as perfectly alright. 

Let me now come back to the story of my initial days of work as the plant operation and maintenance engineer-in-charge. 

I found that there were several imperfections and defects in the plant which was planned by a reputed engineering consultancy group and executed by a reputed EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) contracting company. Those imperfections existed in my view point. Had those imperfections were not there, the plant would have been easier for my group to operate and maintain. That was what I thought. Those imperfections were going to have much headache to me in the future. I remember my struggles with the consultants and the EPC contractors to rectify the issues which were defects in my view point. I could only succeed partially.

Some years later, my role changed. From the role of a plant operation and maintenance in-charge, I was made as a plant design engineer in our company's in house project engineering consultancy group. By chance, I got an opportunity to independently plan another new water utility plant for another purpose in the steel plant. 

I took all the pains to plan one of the best possible plant design which did not cause any of the problems that I faced. The plant was erected and commissioned smoothly and was handed over to a different group of plant operation and maintenance engineers. I was expecting the new custodians of the plant giving me the praise for giving them such a wonderfully designed plant.

I was wrong. The new custodian engineers of this plant expected the plant to be in a different way than what I thought. There was no logic in what they were demanding according to my thoughts. Obviously, when I honestly considered two plus two as four in this case, my counterparts on the other side were not agreeing! 

All of us find these kinds of conflicts every where in our day to day life. 

We find it in hour families. The wife may not agree with the husband's idea or vice versa. When ideas and opinions do not match, it becomes a potential source for conflicts and might develop in to full scale aggravations. 

Adolescents and youths would seldom agree with their parents' ideas because of the wide difference in the maturity levels that exist between them.

In an evolutionary world of progress like that of our earth, each and every person exist with varying degrees of perfection levels. All are imperfect with regard to knowledge, experience, wisdom and maturity. We can say that all exist under varying degrees of perfection or imperfection.

God is the only one who is eternally and infinitely perfect.  God cannot personally know imperfection as His own experience. Experiencing the outcomes of imperfection is left to us!

In a way, we are better than God in this context, because we have the experience of imperfection while God does not have it directly. God has to gain the experience of imperfection from us.

In fact, God shares the consciousness of all the experience of imperfectness of all the struggling men and women of not only earth, but also of all the evolutionary worlds of the universe. 

God desires that all those imperfect evolutionary beings like us gradually mature to attain perfection through life experiences and become true sons and daughters of God who are fully willing to live according to the will of God.

Learning by experimentation and experience is better than learning by other means. We learn the comparative desirability of beauty when we are able to recognize ugliness. We understand the desirability of good when evil also is experienced.

God actually participates and is in touch with all human beings in their struggle of attaining perfection through their life experiences under situations of imperfections. We may not be aware of His presence within us.

Human limitations which are the causes of potential evil should not be construed as part of the divine nature God.

Evil is a potential outcome of the imperfections of free-willed beings like we humans. God does not cause evil nor He likes evil. 

Because of our misunderstandings arising out of our present imperfections, there is a possibility that we may attribute good and evil both as a result of God's will. 

If I say that is not the case, all of us are not going to agree anyway.

Because, there are many among us for whom two plus two is not four, yet. Till every one attains the peak practical level of knowledge and maturity, our problems of our own make, arising out of our misunderstandings will remain. And we keep on experiencing the contrasts of good and evil to conclude the desirability of good over evil, perhaps at some distant future! 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Primitive Human Society and the Modern Society: Should We Seek and Stick to Our Past?

Some time ago I wrote the adapted history of the first humans who got in to existence on earth in BC 991474. 

That was a piece of history hitherto unknown to modern humans. Fortunately, it got revealed to us by the efforts of some of our celestial supervisors (difficult to believe, is n't it?)  and is now in the public domain in the form of my favorite book of life guidance, the Urantia Book.

In today's blog, I would like to tell you about some of the early factors that paved the way for development of civilization in the primitive society. It is not my invention. It is the facts and conclusions deduced by our unseen divine supervisors.

The descendants of the first pair of humans-Andon and Fonta-soon multiplied on earth to form the first human race whom we now should call as the Andonites. 

The primitive Andonite human society developed in to four major divisions of primitive organizations essentially dealing with livelihood (industry), law and order (regulative governance), worship (primitive religions) and power (military). These divisions developed as a result of the primitive human learning in the use of fire, animals, slaves and property. 

The first invention or discovery ever made by human beings was fire. 

In fact, fire was the first human discovery ever made and it was by none other than the first man on earth whom we call now as Andon. Andon and his twin sister turned wife, got curious with the sparkling that got produced when flint stones were struck together and later got an inflammable bird's nest to kindle fire from their spark producing flint stones. They learnt how to preserve their fire by keen and curious experimentation.

The discovery and the art of producing and preserving fire forever separated man from their animal cousins. Fire helped humans to stay on ground rather than living on trees, because fire scared the wild animals and humans soon realized it.

Andon, the discoverer of fire, did not treat it as an object for worship. But his later generations began to treat the flame as ghosts and gods. Early myths of fire as originating from the gods developed as humans observed the natural phenomena of lightning and caused the early humans to resort to fire worship. Fire worship later led to the custom of walking through fire.

Fire myth continued as a great bonding force among humans and remnants of that persist even in the modern society of humans.

Fire caused ancient humans to taste cooked food and later develop the culture of cooking. Cooked food caused humans to save internal energy needed for digestion and provided the early man the strength for social culture.

Learning the art of domestication of animals reduced the efforts required for securing food by the early humans. This also helped them to have time for social activities.

Dog was the first animal to be domesticated by humans and it happened accidentally when a wild dog following a primitive hunter followed him and became a member of his household.

When the primitive humans were hunters, they were relatively kind and considerate to their women. But after the domestication of animals, many primitive human tribes began to treat their women shamefully bad. 

Earthly man's brutal treatment of women was perhaps one of the darkest events of history in human progress. Women became the first objects of slavery adopted by primitive humans. Later it progressed to the practice of enslavement of other tribes who lost in the primitive tribal warfare.

Primitive hunters never enslaved other humans. They either adopted or killed their captives. But when the primitive man learnt the techniques of animal domestication and the art of farming, slavery progressed.

Slavery became an indispensable link in the human history of civilization and progress.

Slavery compelled the backward type of humans to work and provide the necessities and leisure for those of their fellows who were superior in mind and body.

Slavery also caused humans to invent systems of government.

Slavery was oppressive, but this oppression forced man to learn more on production and industry.

In the modern world, social slavery has almost declined. But over ambition and other factors are enslaving more and more modern people to industrial servitude of their own choice.

Slavery and domestication of animals have declined in the modern era. But modern humans are going back to seek wealth and power from the elemental store house of earth through fire!

Primitive society was essentially communal. But modern man is seeking the development of private property and wealth. 

But it is important to remember this. None of the social orders of progress as happening within the human society are sacred or divine. They are the outcome of the thoughts and acts of humans beings. The social orders that humans have developed so far through experimentation and by their own thoughts may not be right always. 

But it would definitely be better when people change and seek better solutions when they find better alternatives to some of their older cultures and systems.

It is not a recommended thing to experiment and revert back to the discarded practices and cultures of the ancestors under the false impression that old is gold. 

Divine mandate for humans is to go forward and not backward.

It is not a wise thing to stop human progress and the dynamism of human thoughts.

Human beings would do a much better thing by adopting better and better progressive ideas!

[Idea Courtesy: the Urantia Book] 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Remembering a Great Occasion of Sharing Joy With My East German Friends!

Today, the 9th November 2014, is the official anniversary day to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall in Germany that paved the way for reunification of the German people who were forcefully  separated out by the flawed ideologies of their leaders.

Google doodle most appropriately has reminded all Googlers about this important anniversary lest they forget the importance of this event in the history of our modern times.

25 years ago, on 9th November 1989, me and a couple of my colleagues were hosting a small official party to a couple of our East German engineer friends working with us in central India. They wanted to go back to their country urgently due to the political unrest that began there some time ago. They wanted to be with their near and dear ones immediately and be part of some imminent historic moments. They were too happy with the developments at home. Some thing that they had been desiring for a couple of decades was apparently going to be fulfilled soon! They did not want to miss it out!

They were project design engineers from a renowned government owned company in East Germany. They were in India to renovate and modernize a steel rolling mill in our Indian government owned steel company which was installed some two decades ago by the technology suppliers from erstwhile Soviet Union.

The modernization project was planned as a joint effort by the East German company and by the Indian owner company. A joined team of engineers from both sides had been working on the project design aspects for some months already. I was a member of the Indian side.

My counter part from the East German side was one Mr Dieter Sommer. He was a very unassuming and simple gentleman who understood little English and I understood little German. The German team had brought in one or two language interpreters for us to over come the language barrier. But it was our common engineering skills and our common sense that usually worked.

I was astonished the way Sommer developed the ability to communicate with me in improvised English without the help of the interpreter. It gave us the confidence to work together and even to travel together to various places in India in connection with the project. Soon we developed a good friendship.

By age, he was elder to me by at least ten years. I remember many things that he shared with me about his parents, the world war, his difficult life after his country's division as east and west ,  about his grown up children and their ambition to see their nation re-united once again. His broken English was no barrier for our communication.

While working together, I could feel the joy they were feeling while they read about the news of glasnost effects spreading in the soviet bloc. The fall of Poland from the communist grip had begun to show its positive effects in their East Germany as well.

Sommer's parents were Christians. That was what he told me. But he grew up in the GDR's communist regime as an atheist. Yet I could sense the sparkle in his eyes when he told me about the Bible reading habit of his grown up daughter. 

The German engineers, as I observed them, were very systematic and devoted to their work. Germans were the same, whether they belonged to the east or the west. But, the communist experiment in East Germany caused the biggest economic disaster among half of the Germans who lived in GDR.

Those in the eastern side were struggling hard to live. Even expert engineers like Mr Sommer lived in small apartments. He could own a small car very late in his career. On the other hand, his fellows who lived in the liberalized capitalist economy of West Germany were living in prosperity. Both started from the same conditions of ruin after the world war-II that resulted from the misguided rule of of Adolf Hitler and perhaps even events that began earlier.

There was no reason that the East Germans did not aspire for re-unification of their nation!

While we were having our party dinner, we were watching the TV. We watched the news clippings that showed the Germans from both sides pulling down the cursed Berlin wall.

We watched our German friends and their lone american interpreter shouting in joy. If they had wings, they would have flown right away!

They left and returned back to work for the completion of our project back in India after a couple of months. We could complete that project successfully. When they left, they were citizens of re-united Germany.

The re-unification was not a bed of roses. Many from both sides faced problems. The government company where Sommer and his colleagues worked disintegrated and privatized. I met a couple of them later who came to India in search of potential markets for their industrial products. 

I have not met Sommer or heard about him.

25 years have gone now. Many things have changed in this world. And many things will change in future. That is the way our world is planned! 

It will not be possible for those among us who want to stick to the mores, customs and ideologies of the past based on erroneous concepts and ideas for long.

If we do not accept change, we are perhaps not humans!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

How My Twitter Account Failed Me?

To be very honest, I was not very enthusiastic about twitter, the social networking and messaging site which is very popular among the so called elite intelligentsia of the world. So some time ago I thought of having a taste of it lest I would be left out in today's competitive race where every one tried to prove his or her mettle.

So I googled out twitter and got in to it by becoming a registered user. I got a twitter handle and was ready to tweet out to the rest of the world.

Soon I was learning the rules of the game that the twitter team had deviced for the tweeters. 

My tweets are of no use unless I have similar idiots like me who follow me. So I should now learn the game of making followers!

But the problem is who in the world would follow an idiot like me? No one ever would like to be a follower of any one else because all are greater than every one else according to their own assessments.

The world follows only celebrities and celebrities are either good looking women who know the art of making a beeline of followers for them or those handsome men who possess the traits that attract the former.

The rest are either the trapped followers of the celebrities or the unfortunate commoners who aspire to become celebrities by imitating the tricks and tactics of the ones who have transformed themselves to the celebrity status already.

In to this twitter pool of celebrities and their followers another group of tweeters try to catch some fish. They are the marketeers and their affiliates with all kinds of tricks to sell products and services.

The man or woman with millions of followers in twitter become a potential high value advertiser as his or her tweets could potentially influence millions in a second. 

And the free twitter for individual tweeters made billions from this game! And all these things are made possible through computer software which looked so simple for the individual but extremely complex from the inside!

That made twitter a global IT corporate giant.

But in what way it is of some use for people like me? I tried and tried to find its use, but I was soon to get disappointed.

No one is there to read my tweets which only appear for a few seconds for those of my followers, that too when they are glued to their computer or android mobile screens connected to the internet.

Who the hell has such time to be like that always?

If commoners like me are to gain followers, the only way out is follow some one expecting that person to reciprocate that gesture. It happens very rarely. That is what I realized soon.

Then came the offers from many marketeers who offered millions of follower, if I shell out some money. So followers are on sale on twitter! Why should I buy followers if I am not a marketeer of products and services or even a seeker of political or religious popularity?

The twitter fellows do not allow the tweeters to upload tweets which are more than 140 characters. I do not know why they kept that limit. Perhaps their computer servers get jammed if tweets are longer!

So it became a prerequisite for the tweeters to self master the art of tweet making which are within the 140. And when you log in you are perplexed by the kinds of tweets flash in and out and you go mad!

But twitter makes automatic short links and tweet it if the tweeter wants to tweet a link. With lot of efforts I became successful in making 600 odd followers and began to tweet these blog page links.

To my utter dismay, hardly any one noticed it or got interested.

So I decided to end the game of the twitter game any way. Fortunately, twitter or some one in the internet ocean sensed my intention and one fine morning I found my twitter account not getting opened on my PC.

That was some months ago. Today, a thought came to mind to have a check on my twitter identity. Luckily this time twitter page opened up on my google chrome browser (which was not happening earlier!) 

I knew my handle id but forgot the password. I tried the forgot password link to reset my password. It worked halfway and stopped.

I stopped my attempt to revive it for now and thought of sharing that experience here.

But there is a lesson that we should remember from this incident. The internet highway and the computer networks are the hand work of millions of computer code writers and they are bound to make mistakes here and there. And such mistakes could cause harmless difficulties for the twitter tweeters like me.

But it could cause harmful difficulties as well. Better we prepared for it!