I am Shashank (Age: 30), an Indian working in US as a Project Manager (software). I have been spending some of my time on subjects like Political Philosophy, Jurisprudence and Economics (authors like – Adam Smith, J S Mill, J Locke, Michael J Sandel, J B Taylor, etc). And, I also consult with my brother, a Software Engineer in US, pursuing Masters in Economics, and quite interested in Politics.
I am almost done with your book (Breaking free of Nehru) and have liked it so far. So, obviously I recommended your book to some of my friends *** in India, however, the response I got from them surprised me a bit. i.e. Most of them never responded and one of them responded quite offensively, as if Karl Marx was still alive in his body.
I have always wanted to change the surroundings I was in and hated the Indian political & social systems. 5 Yrs back when I was in India, I had a team of 30 people (software engineers, in New Delhi) and as a Project Manager I decided to exploit that opportunity to try out some experiments. I tried creating an ideal environment based on ideas like freedom, responsibility, accountability, sense of purpose, quality of work, growth, competition and constant improvement; what was the result? People did change gradually (with some resistance), but they sprung back to their previous mode as soon as I was out of that environment. All I ever expect from them was propagation of these simple ideas and acceptance of the fact that they work, and we do not need viruses like corruption, boot-licking, power exploitation, etc. in our professional/social environments for us to flourish.
Another observation I’d like to share with you –
I noticed that every person in my locality was interested in something and wanted to reap short term benefits out of the available political parties. They never cared about the policies, nor did they have intellect or knowledge to do so. In one of the elections in New Delhi, a clean intellectual took part in the elections and lost miserably. Reasons were simple – the Builders (construction) wanted to support corrupt party/leaders to make more money, Muslims wanted to support some party that promised them reservations, Janitors wanted a special party card they could use to feel important and to evade small traffic charges. And so on… Point is, everyone in the locality had either or all of these – “The Corruption Gene”, “Myopia” and “Mental Midgettary”.
Besides my experiments, all that I have gathered so far (looking at history and present conditions) also confirms the fact that general public doesn’t deserve it! They do not like to think or question (mental lethargy) and they can’t lead or fight even for themselves. Then, the question is why should I waste my time on them – being their leader or caring for them? Unless of course, it satisfies my own selfish objectives (which is fine).
I am 100% sure you must have faced and thought about what I am trying to say here. I just want to know your thoughts on the same.
1) My brother liked you other book “Becoming rich and powerful”.
2) I tried to keep this short and simple.
3) *** My Indian friends have been to US and other countries. They have lived most of their lives in New Delhi and they have Masters or Engineering degrees. They are much more aware and interested than regular Delhites.
Thanks for your comment. First of all, it is good to know that you are finding my book at least somewhat sensible.
Re: the poor response you’ve received about the book from your friends, please note that the idea of liberty is not innate. It has to be discovered and chewed over in one’s mind before one is able to understand and then advocate it. India has not had very few major leaders who have advocated liberty. Most academics in India are socialists (as is the case across the world). Therefore the ideas of freedom are not found in India and will take time (potentially decades) to spread.
On the other hand there is great power in coordinated action. Change cn be expedited through coordinated action. That is why I do not advocate anyone contesting elections on their own (e.g. the Delhi person you mentioned). There must be a major political party formed and that party must prepare for elections over many years before its members contest elections. The goal has to win a parliamentary majority. Less than that is a waste of time and effort.
That is why we now have the Freedom Team of India (a concept that I proposed in my draft manuscript for BFN in mid-2006 and later started as an email group in Dec 2007).
The fact is that India is not going away anywhere. Therefore, its mismanagement will adversely affect the world as well. Improving India helps everyone, including Indians settled outside India.
No matter where you are it is in your interest to improve India’s governance. You can now do that by supporting the Freedom Team. Help build it and help it find leaders (http://freedomteam.in/).
Dear Sanjeev Thanks for your initiatives on this sensitive issue. I am a disabled by both leg but quite enthusiastic of doing something for the society in general and disabled brethren in particular. I can arrange a meeting in kolkata during your days at Guwahati and if you agree give me your date so that a group of like minded professionals can attend your programme. I am an MBA in HRM & FIN. under DLP and awaiting your reply at an early date. UMA SHANKAR VERMA Mob. 9051849550 Verma_lg@rediff.com.
I want to speak with you on some related issues which you raised on the issue of corruption in politics.
I would be very grateful to you, if you could give me your contact number and address.
Waiting for a reply.
Thanks and regards,
I started reading your father’s book and was completely blown away! It places your own views and activism in a very positive light.
However, your enthusiasm for personality cultic nutjobs like Ayn Rand, who has a paranoid theory of society as a conspiracy to deny the greatness of herself, does your cause a great a dis-service. The subtle type of economics upon which Indian liberalism- as opposed to Manichaean mourners for Hapsburg Mitteleurope, which is what the Austrians were- is and must be founded on fundamental and fractal notions of symmetry, i.e. reciprocity, as underrlying all action and interaction as opposed to the notion of ‘education as a cordon sanitaire’ or Libertarianism as a Laxman rekha, guarding against the ressentiment, not to say down right devilment-as-development, of the ignorant masses.
Your father stresses Lord Krishna’s role in Gita as ‘garva prahari’ (crusher of pride). However, in the symmetrical ‘dual’ of the Gita where Lord K is urging Arjuna NOT TO KILL HIS ELDER BROTHER (i.e. exact opposite of the Gita situation where Karna (the true eldest) wants Arjuna to fight) we see that to utter one’s own condign praise, or objectively state one’s merits- IS TO KILL YOURSELF. Thus Krishna’s Visvarupa is his own harrowing- His sacrifice of Himself. Unfortunately, people like Amartya Sen (whom you don’t list among great Indian economists) totally fail to read the Gita as it was meant to be read- i.e. they read it as ‘intellectuals’ when it is meant to be read by ordinary blokes who know they aint anything special. One may well ask- did Lord Krishna sacrifice himself in vain? You may notice the uncritical way in which Indglish ‘intellectuals’ have accepted Sen’s utterly specious nyaya/niti distinction (vide http://socioproctology.blogspot.com/2010/07/nyaya-niti-and-amartya-sen.html) and his utterly ludicrous equation of Lord K with deontology and Arjuna with consequentialism!
My fear is your latest book- which I have just begun to read- accepts an utterly foolish and outdated approach to Ethical theories and, also, perhaps from a desire not to come across as a Hindus-for-Hitler nutjob, downplays what Indian wisdom actually has to say (or could be construed to say without a prior historicist hermeneutic commitment) and thus comes off as shallow and like Gurcharan Das (nice man but not a great thinker) on speed.
I am greatly impressed by you. I think, like your father, you have great literary gifts. I suspect your knowledge of Hindi writing on socio-soteriology might be defecient. A great pity, because any Indian theory can be much more easily assimilated in Hindi than in English- irrespective of the provenance of the writer.
Thanks, Vivek. Interesting food for thought.
No comments yet, except that my knowledge of Indian classics is close to zero. I have been a far keener student of public administration and science (and later economics) than history or culture. Whatever little I’ve read (and liked) I have assimilated in simplistic terms (e.g. concepts like karma, karmayoga, advaita): some of these I’ve actually discussed in DOF, and shown how my conception of accountability is compatible with Indian tradition and allows the prospects of self-realisation, not merely happiness (note though that my views did not arise from the Indian tradition: they are more empirical, but the truth is always one, so it doesn’t matter who arrives at it in which way).
Would you read through DOF when you get spare time (it is a very bumpy read at the moment and I’m trying to revise when time permits: will take at least one year to fix it, given shortage of time)? I’m keen to leverage Indian thought in that book and would like to see where I can cite useful Indian references.
Good morning,I D.Dantheshwar Rao, persuing my post graduation(MCA). i have seen your book(Breaking free of Nehru)
and i was surprised,because from my schooling onwards i aimed to get success in
IAS and through that i want to help the poor,tribal people,and bring the change in unbalanced polity all over India & i wanna
see our country as developed,corruption less, well political,the best country among
the world countries in very few years(in 1-2 decades), but only the problem is i want
support and path to achieve my aim, i have not seen you in your book as a govt.official,
but i seen you as my friend,who will pour the water on the plant which is called as "my
aim to see mine as proud country",sir if possible please give me your appointment to
meet you and speak some things regarding this,
Thanking you sir,……………………..
I am social worker from ludhiana ( punjab ) and I work to promote rationalist and scientific thinking among people. I really appreciate your work for society. I want to read your books in hindi because I feel comfortable while reading hindi. Please email me your writings or book in hindi so I can increase my knowledge about liberalism.
mobile no. 8437568036
kindly take it convenient to tlak to me.
j.p. goyal retd. A.P.O. D.R.D.A. JIND (Hry.) India
Dear Nischal, Unfortunately BFN is not yet translated into Hindi.
Dear Goyal, are you the same Goyal I worked with as AC UT, Jind? I'm in Melbourne, but we can talk over email.
I have RSI symptoms similar to what you had, but not as serious (yet).
I read your comment on your RSI blog regarding Julstro, that it looks promising.
Did you check it out in more detail?
Also regarding myotherapy : Can you recommend a book / video that demonstrates the techniques used by your therapist?
I am in Hungary and there are no known myotherapists here.
(Please merge with prev. comment if possible)
I went to school with you at Kendriya Vidyalaya, Picket, Secunderabad. You may not remember me, may be if you see me. I clearly remember your passion for Shakespear and your recitations on stage… good old days! And I do remember your science talent scholar selection.
I was googling old classmates sitting on my deck on a beautful evening and you came up. I watched your passionate speech in the video. I entirely agree with you, we have to completely undo "Nehru" and I hold Gandhi responsible for putting him up there fully knowing is passion for socialism. A lot of damage has been done to my hapless motherland India, probably irrevocably. The task is so humogous where do we start? To me it now looks that only a dictator could fix it (Modi?). Democracy has failed in India and I am saying this out of sheer frustration as every politcian is corrupt and only out to look out for himself. The quality of life there is pitiable, sub-animal!!. Greatly appreciate your sincereirty in attempting to start a new party which unfortunaltely did not take-off.
After KV Picket I went on to study chemical engineering and left the country in utter disgust 22 years ago looking at the life I have to lead if live there. I now live in Canada, practicing my profession with passion. My daughter is a great fan of Shakespear and I keep remembering you when she talks about it.
How big is your family? Would love to hear back from you.
I read your book breaking free of nehru around a year back and liked it.
Present India's state is pitiable. I live in Mumbai and the daily newspaper is full of stories of murder, rape, robbery and burglary. There is hardly any news worth reading. Added to that there is a special attachment with film star gossips, dirty pictures and glamour news.I wonder why should the daily newspaper carry all this junk and hence I see all this as a conspiracy .
I read in one of David Icke's articles that our world is being increasingly centralised and some elite bankers would want to rule the world and dictate terms to nations through loan obligations. The 'silent weapons for quiet wars/ document. also mentions how they would like people to waste their life in mundane activities. I am deeply convinced that India has been taken over by these forces and by getting rid of these forces country's all round development is possible..
Pl. let me know your views regarding the same.
Dear Sanjeev Ji
You have collected lot of materials useful to Indian readers. I complement you and your team for this efforts.
On your web site there are stories of Raja Ji. I have find at more then one source. Is it free in public domain? Or having copy write binding. What ever the case may be please inform me.
Thanks, Keep it up
My work is available for use by everyone. Just ascribe it.
Re: writings of others such as Rajaji, normal copyright laws apply to them. Small sections – for discussion – can be reproduced.
Your site is down.
On chrome home page is messed up.
Other pages top part are showing junk stuff.
If I sent mail I get a mesage "The email address "email@example.com." is not recognized. Please fix it and try again."
I am sure you must have heard this before, but I am shocked that you believe that ancient Vedic people ate beef. You, like many others probably believe that you are all more advanced than them simply because you have western inventions to make your life easy such as cars, phones etc.
Unfortunately your Western education has not taught you logic. Today, reading about Vedic time would be like reading a dystopian novel. It was a completely different world based on the principles of Sanatan Dharma that people actually practiced. They were eco-friendly people who preserved their vanas (natural resources). Books like Mantra Vigyan and AUMkar upasana clearly tell us that they ALL went to gurukul and learnt how to do mantra siddhis. Then, their level of expertise,determined their place in Varnashram. Mantras start with Varnamala. Varnas mean alphabets. Each alphabet comes from Pranav.
For proper explanation of yagyas read essay Asvamedha by Dr. Subhash Kak et al. They didn’t eat animals. They said mantras for balance and health of various species. If they wanted to eat them, there would be no need to do elaborate rituals. A simple barbeque would be sufficient.
Connotations for many words have changed. For example, today, many use the word ‘purush’ to mean male. Actual Sanskrit meaning is inner purush which is a proper noun for the linga shaped organ inside mooldhara chakra.
If Asvamedh is for eating horse, is purushmedh for eating men? Obviously not, so why say that Asvamedh is about eating horse?
Ancient texts can be understood in two ways. One would be the actual theories, the other would be case studies.
Ancient Vedic dharma goes back many millenia. In maya everything deteriorates. People’s thoughts, ideas etc. Our ancient texts tell us how many errors people have made in past. That is not an issue of mocking them or demeaning them by being judgemental. We should learn from them and understand the pitfalls we face in maya and work accordingly.
Popular tales always mention killing Asuras who were throwing meat in yagyas etc. They too were people of Vedic times. So probably they are the ones who were eating meat which is why Ram had to kill them. And yet, there are slokas that praise them: ‘Sura, Asurai bhumisuto vrudhascha’
Krushna is always shown with a cow. That would not be the case if they were in the habit of eating them. He is known as Go+pal= protector of pruthvi. And Go-vind= One who spreads knowledge of Vedas on pruthvi. Mahabharat clearly mentions how the Abhirus would always kidnap Yadava women and cows. They used to live near the Sindhu. Even Valmiki Ramayan mentions this. So obviously they could be the ones eating cows. These Abhirus are the ancestors of Jews and many lived near the ancient Indo-Persian borders. In later years they too migrated into Aryavart and were known as mlecchas. ALL those people who did not adhere to laws of Aryavart were known as mlecchas. Mahabhrat mentions many such tribes. So although many of their customs, ideas etc. were similar they were not entirely the same.
When society is in a constant state of flux with new migrant groups settling right next to you things are bound to be different and people are bound to become more rigid and defensive. That cannot be labelled as discrimination in subjects of dharma. Gradually, things changed so that instead of entire society working on the principles of dharma, dharma started becoming side-lined and people started needing money for basic needs.
Also, there have been numerous wars, natural calamities, ice ages etc. Starving people will eat anything to survive. Then their next generation will eat it out of habit. Then many concerned seniors like Boddhisattvas, Tirthkaras and Shankracharyajis would go on their own ‘vanavas’ of educating people to mend their ways.
Since quite some time ignorant and malicious people have been adding their spiteful ideas to our ancient texts. Many know Sanskrit and did so before. That does not make them experts in Vedic lifestyles.
In ancient day ALL did yagyas as per their levels of expertise and position. That is NOT discrimination. In later years people were starving and suffering due to invasions and gurukuls had been destroyed. They had to rely on each other for support, education. So obviously, people shared what they could with other people. A lot gets lost in translation too. Books like Valmiki Ramayan are NOT eye-witness accounts and most of the time it just appears to be a geographical treatise, and a book demonstrating survival tactics using Ram, Sita, Laxman as protagonists to make the story interesting. So when it says that Ram was coaxing Sita to eat fish it clearly shows that maybe its for survival, otherwise why is she being coaxed? This was to instruct people that they need not starve to death if they are vegetarians. They can break their vows and eat meat to survive.
Gradually, things changed so that instead of entire society working on the principles of dharma, dharma started becoming side-lined and people started needing money for basic needs.
By giving everything a negative spiel people like you are doing a great disservice to dharma. Everything should not be spelt out to educated people like you. Its obvious that your selfishness has damaged your gyan-chakshus. Hope god will help you make the right decisions.
If after that you have more time, you may consider reading the extensive material linked through this page, perhaps around 10,000 pages worth of writings in all, including much on the India Policy Institute website and some available only if you join certain forums like the Freedom Team.