THE IMPERIALISTS DIVIDED THE WORLD INTO NATIONS

God made this beautiful earth with its mountains,rivers,minerals,oil etc.Man appeared on the scene much later.
Towards the end of the nineteenth century, all the areas on the earth were mapped, measured and shared by powerful nations among themselves.They went to war in the name of defending the fatherland, sacrificing the lives of poor and innocent people.
Did He give them power to divide the earth ?
The earth belongs to all.Maps drawn by greedy men are illegal.People have every right to move from place to place.All restrictions in the name of passport and visa must be removed.
If free trade is desirable ,why not labour which is also a commodity ?Political boundaries must be abolished.It will end all strife and war in the name defence of a nation.
Think of it.Let us liberate ourseleves from bondage of history ! 

How I became a waterfriend

In my family we do not celebrate birth days.The birth of a person is a nonevent. Things changed when we became old.We had to give way to the children and grandchildren.

They wanted to celebrate my seventieth birthday which fell on 1-11-2003.This I totally refused. We, my wife and I, escaped to Bodhgaya of which I had only heard and did not even know the exact location. Even my son-in-law, who belongs to that part, dissuaded me, saying Gaya is one of the worst areas so far as law and order is concerned. Of course I was jittery .We never traveled alone. I did not know anything about arranging acommodation and transport etc. However, the very names Gaya, Nalanda etc gave me a spiritual thrill. Gautama, the Buddha is one of those rare personalities whom I love and admire! So we decided to brave it.

It was a total surprise when we actually reached there. The atmosphere was extremely peaceful .The scenery enchanting – reminded us of our own countryside. The river, the ricefields, kutcha houses with pumpkin growing on the roof, an occasional brick kiln, a few palm trees and the sound of birds !When we talked about safety, people laughed: we are afraid to come to Delhi, they told. How true! We felt ashamed.

On the way to Nalanda we saw Rajgir. Our guide took us to a spring. In fact it was a twin spring, with water gushing from two adjacent holes- one warm and the other normal. A number of people were taking bath .I was brain-numbed! How is this possible? Like a flash, the realization came that there must be separate underground water channels! I asked the guide: where does this water go? Where does it come from? Where does it go to? God alone knows-was the answer!

I felt dazed! Twenty-four hours, three sixty five days of the year! Can this hill hold that much water? I remembered the few springs I had seen at Gauri kund, Badrinath and one at Narasing-garh in Rajasthan. I felt that the source of water must be far away.

As I did not know anything about springs, on my return to Delhi, I frantically searched for books. I did not even know which books will give me the information I was seeking. I was simply lucky to locate Physical Geography by Thomas Milner! A whole chapter on springs! I could not have been happier had I got a million dollars jackpot! At least I can dream of money. How can I ever hope to get a classic as rare as Kohinoor?

Well, I got the answer. The result was my essay-Saraswati myth or reality?-A study of subterranean water channels, which was published by Itihas Darpan. Being a lay man, leading a life far away from academic circles for the last half century, it was a great impetus for further research.

Our ancestral home is located at a C-shaped bend of a small river which would  f low straight during monsoon which extends to almost nine months of the year in those glorious days when there were no dams. When I was just 12 years old, my cousin, slightly elder to me and I used to take to the fast flowing river in a small canoe which can hold just the two of us, and row upstream, as there was a fearsome whirlpool downstream, taking care to keep to the side where the current is slower. Thus, after each bend, we had to change and cross over to the other side.

I could not help smiling when I read about this in a book on hydrology; a subject I never heard of and now is part and parcel of my very being! All my research papers are the results of investigation in this field.

When the idea of the Pressure cooker model came to my mind, I thought of creating a web site so that people belonging to different professions, age groups, regions of the world etc. may be involved in the study of what I call molecular hydrology. Simultaneously, I intended to activate general public in cheap methods of water conservation. I even wrote the outline of the proposed web site which was tentatively called waterschool.com. In my innocence I thought it to be as simple as making an e-mail address! So all those who join the group may be called waterfriends!

The advantages of a website:

1) Research in molecular hydrology is something altogether new. In this age of overspecialization investigation in a new field is well neigh impossible. We have to locate pockets of water/ steam and their connectivity through subterranean water channels. This will enable us to make a three dimensional map of h2o, studying which we may, possibly, be able to divert high-pressure steam to the surface of the Earth; in other words, create artificial springs! Fresh water springs can be a valuable source of water. Don’t laugh! There is nothing impossible for our NASA scientist. By releasing pressure from the bowels of the earth, we may eliminate earthquakes etc. forever. COST should not be a consideration. A world-wide effort is required. Scientists and geographers should come together. Retired people like me can take this as full-time life-mission. Do not look to governments. They have no time to govern. The web can do a lot. I feel extremely frustrated at my e-ignorance. I don’t know how to open a computer. Too old a dog am I.

 

2) In my article in Malayalam about Bharatapuzha (BUT-Vol-1) detailed instructions were written for making earthen check dams using sand mud and grass. This way the whole river may be made to store water. Copies of the book were given personally to Ministers and political workers. Municipalities and panchayats were approached. I tried for six months. Nothing happened. I feel that a website could have made all the difference by uniting waterfriends of the area. Such a system is in position in Nile since thousands of years as people camp in the river bed  in summer.

3)Flood alert.W-friends can post water levels in the rivers in monsoon, thus providing advace intimation to people all along the river.

4)River survey,collection of vital statistics like river water discharge, silting,erosion of river bank etc.

5)Local w-friends can identify and make mountain valley dams as at Damdama lake near Delhi.(This has been described in BUT-Vol-1)

 

Waterfriend_kks

Democratic Dysfunction

 
 

Do we really need a government?

 The only function of the government is to harass us. Whenever a government functionary needs money he will find out some way to extract it from us .The ignorance of law is no excuse – they have a ready tool to prick you. Either give him a bribe or face trouble. Yes, the bureaucrats need the government It is a matter of survival for them! A poor man buys salt or a rich man earns money by hard, honest work-money is squeezed like sugarcane juice. All the while, the big, BLACK FISH escapes. I hate all governments. If capitals of the nations all over the world are deleted by a clean painless bomb, I shall break 101 coconuts before Ganeshji. Thereafter, we all can live in peace like Eskimos and the tribal people in nineteenth century. 

 

You may say the government protects us. I am living in Delhi. Who protects us from Blue line buses, thieves, robbers, kidnappers, kidney grabbers, or monkeys? Away, at Naukutchiathal I felt secure and happy.

 

As we cannot wish away the government, the next choice is to make it of some use. When I was a boy, the governments in Kerala were so shaky that a Parsee gentleman (I forgot his name) was posted as governor with full powers. My uncle was very happy. If he is to be believed, people of my state were happy and wished that the governor’s rule be continued indefinitely. As young man, I experienced emergency rule in1975.Why should I TELL A LIE? Common man was satisfied. By 10 am government offices were full. They were afraid to take bribe which is their birth-right. Trains ran with clock-like precision. Traders were afraid to charge more. For the first time dearness allowance of government servants (why this obnoxious term? Master and servant-smacks of feudal era) decreased. The common man was happy. The political class was angry because of loss of power and income. Sanjay Gandhi became a hyperactive focal point galvanizing the system and could do things (let us be objective) in a short spell. Had he continued, he would have solved the population problem. A teacher once confessed: I had to forcibly undergo vasectomy. Now I am so happy!

 

I wrote this much just to highlight the difference between active and somnolent states of governance. Russia after the revolution and present day China are glaring examples of active systems.

 

VOTER APATHY

 

In all my life I never voted. All over the world less than 50% people take part in elections. For the poor people, democracy has no meaning. Every year the cost of elections is going up. Whether the money is spent by the government or the political parties, the burden falls on you and I. And what a colossal waste! Add up all the money spent on elections, media publicity, transport, rallies, travel of ministers, food and allowance for party workers etc, etc.  From the day of Independence, I think we could have made thousands of schools and hospitals with this money. The beneficiaries of the system are the political class and the black money holders. They manage to send their men to the legislatures so that they can go on with their nefarious activities like smuggling, terrorism, narcotic trade, trafficking in women and children, tourism and building construction, illegal liquor trade, arms trade-oh! My God! My head is about to burst!

 

SUGGESTIONS

 

The four pillars of democracy are: legislature, executive, judiciary and the press. We shall examine each, one by one:

 

A permanent parliament

To avoid frequent election, we can have a permanent parliament. The first requirement is to have competent, dedicated members whose function will be to ponder over the necessity for fresh legislation, changes in existing laws and deletion of obsolete ones. At present this is being done by the cabinet. However, there has to be frequent informal contacts between MPs and ministers. As at present, various committees will work on different subjects, continuously ,except on Sundays, and maintain contact with the public, go through newspapers, visit places whenever necessary ,summon any government functionary or a member of the public etc. However, they should not nurse their constituencies. Influencing the voter in any form will disqualify them.

 

Qualifications of Members:

The election commission shall receive nominations from the public continuously. Educational qualifications, character & antecedents, health, etc. shall be scrutinized and details posted on a website so that any citizen (or netizen!) can see .If any nomination is rejected, people can represent against it. However, no recourse to judiciary. From the approved panel, any number of persons can contest on party ticket or otherwise. The party can canvass for him but the member is debarred from influencing the voter in any form. The idea is that the nation needs the MP and not the individual. The salary of the MP should not exceed that of the clerk. Only those who are willing to serve the Nation should come forward.

 

The tenure of the member shall be indefinite. He shall work as long as he is fit physically and mentally. However, he may be disqualified any moment if matters come to light adversely affecting his character and integrity, or, a specified number of people want his recall. Thus, we can ensure that unpopular member does not continue against the will of the voters. The division of constituencies may continue as at present. However, any citizen can contest from any constituency. This will ensure that unfit persons will not get elected from backward areas.

 

The Prime Minister shall be elected by MPs by secret vote. This will ensure non-interference by outsiders. The PM may choose a small cabinet .

 

BUDGET

The budgeting shall be a transparent process. All proposals shall be posted on the web.

At present we are following the archaic process started a few centuries ago in Britain, when salaries and defense were the main components of expenditure. Development projects were unknown at that time. Now things have changed. Here I am concerned with projects. In starting, implementation and completion there are so many imponderables that we can never be sure of the likely amount to be spent in each period which is crucial for accurate budgeting. The best way is to continuously monitor the physical progress along with the money spent and go on changing the allocation of funds so that amounts will not lapse on 31st March each year. The parliamentary committee, and not the FM, should take control of this. It may happen that a very important work has to be shelved for the time being and another one commenced on urgency basis. The executive may not be able to do much, as procedures are cumbersome. Ministry-wise allocation of funds is meaningless. For salary and office expenses the present system may continue. We have to shed our shells made of precedents.

 

May I recount an anecdote? Every office has to send a progress report in the first week. My colleague used to take a lot of time in doing it, drawing lines to make elaborate forms numbering a dozen or so. I used to pity him. During routine transfer I was posted in that seat. I hate such work and I am literally handicapped because of a nasty tremor of my right hand. Can’t help! When I went through the file I found that most of the reports were NIL. After all, what progress do you expect in audit department? Our worthy Auditor General should have devised a suitable form for us. He is too lazy; so, he simply adopts whatever form is prescribed by home ministry. I made a simple report, mentioning in the covering letter itself wherever information is NIL. My supervisor was taken aback. He refused to initial it. Our branch officer in Bombay was to make a routine visit. I took the file personally and explained the position in Malayalam. He readily signed it .In due course, orders were issued by the Chief Auditor that all branch officers should follow my method in sending progress reports!

 

THE EXECUTIVE.

The important thing to remember here is that all government employees heartily hate the government! Our favourite pastime is abusing our bosses most of whom, in any case are absolute dullards. Every worker feels harassed. He likes to shirk his duties and take leave on and off. He is always worried and indebted. He gets 52 Sundays,3 national holidays, 30 days leave. If you visit an office most likely you will find 50% seats empty even though attendance may be full.

 

Letters take any number of days to reach from Delhi to the branch office. In all intermediary points these have to be seen by a chain of officers (nobody may be reading- that is another matter), then copies have to be taken and dispatched to the next point.

Everything is confidential, nepotism rampant at every stage like posting, transfer, promotion, extension etc., and extraction of money is not uncommon. The system works on the principle that a superior is always more intelligent than his subordinate. Of course a minority of employees with reasonable efficiency, so the system does not collapse altogether.

 

Surely it is a tough problem. The system left behind by British imperialism on 15-8-47 was already a few centuries old and we have done precious little to make it at least workable .In the old feudal set up, government was concerned only with protection of feudal property. In Britain poor people were put behind bars for poaching. The whole land belonged to a few lords. Poor people were convicted if they picked a few twigs or fished in a stream. Earlier, they were thrown into African jungle to be eaten by cannibals. Things improved a little after the bloodless revolution.

 

Today, we have to design a brand new bureaucracy to work in totally different environment to meet the challenges of the twenty first century. Now, we depend more on computers and e-mail. Files can be dispensed with. Number of layers in bureaucracy must be reduced drastically. Instead of endless movement of files, things should be discussed then and there. Ministers should not leave headquarters without the permission of the President.  A panel of experienced and learned men (old is gold) will help in decision making.  As total transparency is the aim and all discussions will be posted on the web, deciding things will be that much easy. One will not be afraid of criticism. No middle-men. Contracts will be finalized by e-mail.  This is not utopia. If you want to compete with China you may have to shake off all lethargy and run for life. Bold and unfettered!

 

What shall we do with the police? Governments may become unpopular simply by police atrocities. They have to be trained to be humane, courteous and efficient. The manual should be rewritten. Training should be designed to inculcate culture and good behavior. Don’t laugh! If there is a will, the word impossible will become redundant (what did Napoleon say?).

 

Government offices must remain open from 8am to 6pm every day 365 days. Leap year 29th February may be a total bundh. Air, train, bus-nothing should move.(People will get weekly off by rotation).

 

In the next issue: judicial revolution (not just reforms)

 

 

 

 
 

 

 
 
 

Philosophy should lead science.

PHOTOSYNTHESIS

Any high school student will tell you that leaves of plants use carbon dioxide of the atmosphere and water absorbed by the roots to make starch in the presence of sunlight for use by the cells of plants. As a layman, certain doubts arose in my mind which I discussed with senior students and a professor in university. I should confess, instead of clearing my mind, it only helped to confirm my thesis that every cell in the plant (except dead cells !) re-uses the CO2 and H20 , released during respiration, for synthesizing starch. This is purely a philosophical conclusion,as I lost touch with the world of science in March 1957 after B.Sc. examination.I shall enumerate some of my points :

 

1)      The extremely tender, minute root tips are always growing and require continuous supply of starch.In very tall trees,the distance from top leaves to the root tips may be as much as 300 metres.There is no proper mechanism for transport of starch over such distance,unless we can locate different channels for upward movement of water and downward movement of starch in dissolved form, right from root tip to leaf tip and back.Xylem and phloem tissues are mentioned as responsible for this movement,but in trees like teak, jackwood etc all tissues inside the bark except perhaps a thin  layer of cortex, are absolutely dead and impervious to water, being filled with wood oil and compressed by the weight of the trunk. That is why we are able to make furniture,boats,ships etc with wood. Actually, the clever tree is making use of the dead cells as a skeleton-like support for its branches and leaves ,the latter being mercilessly dropped after making use of them!
2) In Silent Valley in Kerala, I was shown a very tall tree, hollow inside, with two convenient natural holes, one at the bottom and the other at the top. We can see the sky, looking up from the bottom hole! The tree is alive. How is water and starch transported when xylem and phloem are absent?  
3)      In Australia, ring cutting was extensively resorted to, for felling trees. The bark and a small part of cortex was removed by making an eight inch deep cutting round the trunk at the bottom. After about six months, the tree falls down dead. This clearly proves that the outermost live cells are responsible for water transport.
4)      We plant rose cuttings. The cells on one end develop into a shoot and cells on the other side produce roots .Plant cells are remarkably versatile.Every cell can split and produce all chemicals required for making a duplicate cell .It is impossible to believe that a root cell will wait for starch to come from leaves, when raw materials are available as a result of its own respiration, and it has the necessary technical know-how for making even complicated proteins. Do we not re-use waste in a space station? Are we cleverer than plants?
5)      There is no way for a plant cell ,except in the leaves,to get rid of CO2produced during respiration.When I, earlier, circulated my doubts in this regard, via email,I got only one response .The botanist had only one word-‘diffusion’ to desciribe the process. In the humans, is it enough if we just say ‘respiration’? We study all detailed mechanism in human physiology. In the same way, should we not describe the method used by plants to obtain oxygen and get rid of CO2? The professor also said the same thing.As adjoining cells are also producing CO2, how is diffusion possible?The area surrounding the roots will become saturated with CO2.The root will die.The conclusion is inescapable: cells are recycling water and CO2 produced during respiration.
6)      When mango fruits are produced in bulk during the season,the number of leaves are actually curtailed! Will farmers curtail production of foodgrains when it is required in bulk? Laburnum tree becomes almost yellow with flowers in the season, leaves hardly visible.How is starch produced when leaves are reduced?
7)      Bamboo,papaya tree etc are hollow,in the case of the former, there are segments,each one a waterproof compartment.Coconut tree mysteriously carries gallons of water to make toddy. If you cut the tree, not a trace of water is found. Are trees using nano technology?
8)      In my view,the main function of leaves is to pump water up for which lot of energy is required.Naturally,they make large quantities of starch which attracted the attention of botanists who hastily came to the conclusion that only leaves are concerned in this process.
9)      Maximum number of fish thrive in the deep oceans eating planktons which make starch in strata which receive practically no sunlight.
In view of the above, I feel more research is needed before we come to a firm concusion about the mechanism for production of starch and its transportation.
Today, institutions like NASA have all the technical capabilities to study this issue which should not be left to the comparatively ill equipped botanists.