I have a dream…

Disability… even the term has not reached a consensus on its usage. In India persons with disability(PwD) account for 2% of our population. India is a ratified nation of the UN convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. We have national institutes set up for all 7 forms of disability and we have separate teacher training institutes to make persons with disability more inclusive in the society.We have separate acts and legislations for the different types of disability.We have schemes providing free bus pass to supply of aids and appliances. We have budget allocated to make the environment barrier free for PwD. But the way our nation looks at persons with disability is still a long way from what is the ideal state.

Gaining the access to all such government schemes starts with the basic step of a PwD getting the identity card. So how difficult can it be for persons with disability to get a doctor certificate stating that they have more than 40% disability and then get the identity card from the government? Well it should be a natural process right. But no. Especially in rural and tribal areas, it is not the case. And these are areas where more consideration is needed due to their remote location. Conduction of disability camps is one way to identity PwD in such regions. I happened to be an observer in one such camp and it was the worst of its kind I have been to so far. The camp was set up at Vijaynagar Community Health Center(CHC) in the Sabarkantha district of Gujarat. This health center operated in an apartment as the old CHC had collapsed. Geographically Vijaynagar is a terrain of slopes. The new CHC was operating on one such slope. It was as such difficult for people to reach. Aided with the heavy rains from the previous day, people had to travel for hours together to reach there as the easy way of out of their villages were overflowing with river water and they had to take a longer route. The camp was supposed to start at 11 and end by 2. People started coming in from 10. It was expected. The doctors came in by 11.45.  It was expected. What followed after that was so humanely wrong in every possible way. The first step that happened was cutting down the crowd. It was announced people who did not have original ration cards will not be tested . Most people did not have because they were not instructed to bring the original and also it is not safe to carry your only available original proof in such weather. When we asked the doctor why this information was not given priorly they responded that it was not their duty. Then came the behaviour of the doctors. I did not have a clue what was so amusing for them in the camp. One such incident was when people with cataract came in by mistake thinking they were qualified for disability and it triggered roars of laughter in the room. The sick attitude of the doctors continued for an hour. After that it was declared that the camp was over by 1 P.M. There were people waiting out to get tested and many more were on the way. But no,they did not care. They took photographs with persons for whom certificates were issued and then captured the scenic beauty of Vijaynagar as they sped in their vehicles.  We had to call and inform people not to come as the camp was closed early. It was the worst part. There were so many discrepancies. People who already had identity card were also there due to the miscommunication from the local government, there was no transportation arranged for them, people from all panchayats near and far had to come to Vijaynagar, the rain factor was not considered,further for getting the identity card they have to carry the issued certificate to collectorate  and the list goes on. It was not the case with this one particular camp. I have seen this happen over and again. Only the degree of insensitivity varies from worse to worst.

India talks about changing the whole environment ‘disability friendly’ to make our society more inclusive and accessible. India talks about bringing inclusive education for them. India tries to paint a bigger picture in the global scenario. But all this change in the society, its policies, its infrastructure, everything was made to suit the majority and now trying to fix it is an easy and obvious choice India has made with budget allocations to everything that needs fixing. But I want the basic issue of protecting the rightful dignity of PwD getting sorted out. I want the government and their attitude to stop taking advantage of the patience people have. If only the 2% were the majority , will the government listen then? I want sensible and sensitive people to address the issues of PwD.I don’t know how long changing  the policies is going to help unless the minor details are not getting the attention they need. Until then I can only dream for an Indian society that can truly stand for the inclusivity that it speaks about so loudly now. So I do have a dream….a dream that I hope to give it a rest soon…

Abhimanyu : Connecting Colors

I take a leap back in time. When the world around was black and white. Every bit of which had a binary code, making me explode. Fear and death were my dear friends. I had no option but to defend. There was no escape. Shouting and rumbling at me back and forth. I was like a child in a shell board. In all the time I never grew. I was the same child in every view. You entered with a big bucket of all the colors in the world around. Red, blue, green it was all in your heart bound. Knowingly or unknowingly you spilled colors in my life. Like a colorful raining sunshine. It was the colored patches you made on my soul. That helped me create a new way on my own. That makes you and me no apart.  This achromatic color is nothing but a connection between the two souls. Connecting colors which makes us whole. This is what all I have in me. It makes my life complete.

In all the dreams where you came, all I tried is to talk to you in every frame. Your eyes are like twinkling stars in the sky, gleaming in my heart all day and night. I am obsessed with your voice and wish it had a price, price that I could give against my life, because it is worth and right. Each glittering step you take to and fro, makes my every moment to go slow. A breeze is falling from your inner being, touching me like a stream. This connecting color is like a wire between you and me, connecting us by all means. Calling it love might be mean. We all have fixed mind on this love scene. Can this love happen without all the wonted fashion? This connection is my impression. The world might look at us as different poles. But we are one as whole. I am not sure if we will meet in this world again. But will surely meet somewhere beyond this rain. All now I wish is you to share your heart. That can make things clear and past. From all the quietness you have shared. I know you need time to be clear.

Now ending this note is a tough game, because I have so much to say for the same. But with limitation of the words and time, I will leave it for another mile.
Till then feel the Connecting colors!!!!! :)

Vinay: Current Project – Yuva Sandarbha Kendra

Youth Club

For Whom: Migrant workers of the age group (15-35 years of age)

Focus Areas: Recreation, Outside ‘site and room’, Exploration / Creative Space

Recreation – Games for relaxation of mind and to give a few stress-free moments, movie/video watching, playing outdoor sports. ‘Having fun’ is the sole objective in mind while planning or doing these activities.

Outside ‘site and room’ – Stepping out of the ‘site-and-home space’ which could include Ahmedabad sight-seeing (entertainment sites, sites which appreciate nature, and heritage sites with information on their importance), attending seminars or events, tour of NGOs, corporate offices, banks, malls, ward office, government offices, dining at Mc Donalds’ or the likes. Most important objective here is to show them the world outside their construction site (or other working space) and their slum.

Exploration/Creative space – Platform to showcase talents, space to explore interests, chance to perform like street plays, dance, bhajans, etc. opportunity to put forward learning interests (like learning Angrezi (English) language which I heard often), interactive sessions by knowledgeable people on specific themes, circle to share thoughts and views on different issues. Objective here is to learn new things which are of their interest and also for showcasing their talents.

Coming to operations, open source in style. Meaning, anyone (from outside) can feel free to give ideas, or come explore the space or to interact with the people/community here, or even explore themselves through this medium.

Points to be kept in mind: Migrant workers lead extremely exhaustive physical life on a daily basis. They wake up at 5 o’clock in the morning and then prepare breakfast which takes much more time than preparing a bread toast (they prepare ‘roti sabji’). They then do their morning ablutions while keeping in wait other 10-15 people who live with them in their small room. All this hurried-ness is to reach ‘naka’ sites by 8 o’clock in the hope of finding work each and every day. By 5 or 6 o’clock in the evening they return to their extremely congested rooms and again take on the task of preparing dinner (‘roti sabji’) which is yet again a time consuming process. These above few lines can hint at the reason why there is such a prevalent habit of constantly chewing tobacco or relieving in bidi smoke or even de-stressing in cheap liquor.

Constraints: Time availability for them – small window of 2 hours at night; very little of this kind of proposed experience (I mean initiatives similar to youth club) earlier, and so learning mistakes do happen; not their permanent abodes; stressed bodies already; most shy in nature. Keeping in line with these constraints, the following is an example of one of the evenings (/early nights) I spent in their little room (or shed to be more appropriate) – A few mildly drunk, one just happy having fun with his dough, cool breeze seeping in through holes in those walls, pleasant climate owing to the time of the day, ‘bam bhole nath’ of Bob Marley playing in the background with just the right amount of volume, and everyone sharing laughs. It felt really as if I was transported to the ‘bhole nath’s’ place and can only assume how they would have been feeling right then. And so right there in front of me there was a challenge on how to tackle that lovely moment they were experiencing in that little shanty hole-ridden shed with this concept of youth club.

Initiative already got off the ground and a room (small one) is taken on rent for this purpose, in the same area where a decent number of migrant workers live. Finally to sum it up, objective is to create a home outside home for migrant workers.

P.S.: I currently am working from Ahmedabad. Slums or call them valley-of-spits are heavily populated. Deadly municipal latrines when seen from the time the sun is right above our head. Once there, life could actually seem boring outside slums!

Mohit: An Uncharitable View on Giving

(A woman in cowboy hat speaks on the screen) I am so excited. I am so excited. I wanted to do something…and I didn’t know how to go about it. There are so many people I know, who wanted to do something but did not know how to. (Party music plays in background. Series of shots from a party: people talking, DJ Lights, Rashomon being projected on a wall.) We decided to have a party to remove…or try to…make poverty lesser in our country. And make a difference. (Another woman speaks on the screen)We are going to party anyway. Whether we give money for charity or not. So, in fact, we are telling people…Ya, party ! Have fun ! But donate some money too.

-Nero’s Guests ( Documentary on farmer suicides in India featuring P. Sainath)

Indian popular culture is replete with tales of personal generosity and charitable giving. It is reflected in the virtuous mythological heroes, the generous Seth who often gets a street or school named after him or in more recent times, in the benevolent capitalists (of course aided by the PR agency). This “ancient culture of giving” is often the introducing reference for the donors sections of the annual reports of Non-profits and mostly the primary sales pitch for fundraising platforms ventures. In all this self-congratulatory ballyhoo, the nature and effectiveness of charitable giving is never critically examined.
The fundamental belief that charitable giving is often altruistic and selfless is not supported by factual evidence. Multiple studies have shown that people more often than not give because of reasons like social pressure, guilt, sympathy, need for expression of power or for the “warm-glow” of giving. These are essentially internal motivations which involve a high degree of self-interest.   They are donating not out of altruism but what James Andreoni referred to as “impure altruism”.  Studies have also shown that people are more likely to donate when there is some recognition of the donation involved. Also, giving is more likely when a donation solicitor actively asks for donations as compared to a silent solicitor (who in this case just rang the bell).  Or even that, people will be more generous if the fundraising is done by attractive females as compared to a mixed group. So much for the selfless joy of giving.
One could always argue (and some for sure would) that these studies had western subjects and that the same conclusions may not apply to an Indian sample. Even if we consider that an Indian subject may behave differently given the religious significance to giving attached to charity in almost all the faiths found in India, we may not see any nobler motivations for giving. Giving is a prescribed duty or a required virtue in all these faiths. That makes it much less voluntary and no more selfless. And that also leads to a different problem; contributions motivated by religion/faith will most likely go to religious causes. A 2012 survey of individual donors in Indian cities found that 71% of the respondents donated either for religious purpose only (28%) or for purposes which were both religious and charitable (43%). 21% also said that, in the next six months, they would like to donate for a religious purpose.
The motivations of the institutional/corporate donors are even more ambiguous and clearly less altruistic. Till 2013 when no statutory compulsions existed for social spending, corporate charity (euphemistically called CSR) were generally looked upon as a medium for image makeovers, brand visibility, political lobbying, to gain legitimacy or in some (rare!) cases, as a tool for employee motivation. Some of the biggest and most publicized corporate donors had an extremely bad record in corporate governance or even legal compliance. Even after the section 135 of the Companies Act 2013 made CSR spending mandatory, the corporate lobby rushed to the government demanding that the amount spent on CSR be allowed to be deducted as “business expense” for the company. (This effectively would have meant the government subsidizing 1/3rd of the CSR spending by the companies as this expense would then be deductible from the “business income” of the company which is taxable at 30 %. The CSR spending under section 135 is expected to be between 15,000-20,000 Cr per annum)
It is also the case that the reasons for charity may be more actively sinister. The 2012 survey of the individual donors also thought other people donated because of tax exemptions (24%) or money laundering (24%). One must note that this is just perception and the numbers do not reflect the actual situation, but it is a big concern. Anonymous and cash donations have been the traditional ways of laundering money. In spite of recent tightening of reins on anonymous donations by making them taxable, they are still allowed and can be used to place illegal money back into the system.
So the concept of charitable giving, however big (estimated to be around 4900 Cr per year), is less noble and altruistic than it is made out to be. But the problem also lies with the effectiveness of charity. This question has been discussed time and again by the best philosophers and economists.
The basic argument against charity has always been that it provides cosmetic short-term relief but fails to effectively address the fundamental reasons of the problem. A small charity may provide a meal for a hungry child but it will not address the social causes of his hunger nor does it help any other hungry child. This “charitable” action may give food to the child and the “warm-glow” of generosity to the giver but it does not in any way resolve the bigger problem and hence is unsustainable.
Economists have suggested that, in fact, such kind of charity may have negative long term effects on the society whereby any desired social change becomes impossible due to the effect the charity has on the society.
Scattered charity donations (mean charity in India is about 740 Rs. Per capita) lead to ineffective use of the monetary resource. It would be economically more efficient and impactful if the money, which is to be donated could be aggregated and spent on working on or deploying a solution for the single largest problem before the community than each one “doing his bit” by his choice. To quote J A Hobson,” It (Charity) substitutes the idea and the desire of individual reform for those of social reform, and so weakens the capacity for collective self-help in society.”
The ineffectiveness, sheer incompetence or a flawed theory of change of the primary conduit of transferring the charity (the NGO) further leads to the inefficiencies in the system. The limited area of work of the NGO also excludes any wide spread social impact. In fact, the exempted contributions reduce the revenue of the state (where they could have been utilized in a more wide-spread and publically accountable way) and transfer the same money resource to an inefficient, unaccountable system leading to further spread of disparity in benefits.
Due to the high element of choice involved in for what cause to donate for, the donations typically tend to be skewed heavily in favour of popular causes which may not be the biggest problems before us.  For example, a fundraising drive will raise more money for distributing school kits for children than a fundraising drive for undernourished children. Or an ice bucket challenge for ALS which affects fewer patients may raise more money than malaria research. Also, charities based in cities will raise more money than one based outside. The potential for inequity is very high.
Perhaps it is better not to contribute to charities but to pay taxes. Or maybe I should donate Rs. 10 for saving the Indian sparrow for every time someone criticizes this blog post.
 

Mohit: The Republic of NGOs?

“He wears a mask and his face grows to fit it”
-George Orwell, Shooting an Elephant

On 12 January 2010, when a devastating earthquake struck the Caribbean country of Haiti; the world saw a great human tragedy unfold. Depending on the various (conflicting) estimates, anywhere between 85000 to 360000 Haitians were killed in the tragedy. A tide of international sympathy and monetary/material aid poured into Haiti. Along came the phalanxes of the NGO and International development “experts”. These NGOs were so omnipresent in the battered country that a US magazine wrote:

“Welcome to the NGO Republic of Haiti, the fragile island-state born, in part, out of the country’s painfully lopsided earthquake recovery. The Haitian government doesn’t even know how many NGOs are operating within its borders. No one does. According to Bill Clinton, the UN special envoy to Haiti, the country has the second-highest number of NGOs per capita in the world (India has the highest).”

Well, India has the highest number of NGOs per capita. And neither does the Indian government know exactly how many are there. On 21st February 2014, the counsel for CBI told a Supreme Court bench that they “estimated” the number of NGO’s operating in India under the Societies Registration Act, to be around 20 lakhs. This means India has a NGO for every 600 citizens. And even this estimate is lesser than the actual as many other NGOs are registered as Section 25 Companies or Charitable Trusts. A survey of Non-Profits conducted by the Central statistical Office of the Ministry of Statistics and Policy Implementation put the number of “societies” at 31.7 lakhs. It again excluded the Section 25 companies but included the institutions registered under the various state trusts act and religious endowments acts. According to information obtained from the government records, an average annual funding of Rs.950 crores was disbursed as grants to the NGOs by the government for running various government schemes between 2002 and 2009. This was in addition to the Rs.12000 Crore received by the organizations reporting under FCRA from foreign sources , approximately Rs.2541 Crore  reported as exempted donations claimed under Section 80G of the IT Act and around Rs.600 odd-crore reported as exempted under the Section 35Ac of the IT Act. This makes it almost a 15,000 Crore strong sector of the economy (which by the way is greater than the GDP of most of the northeastern states). So why exactly have these organizations proliferated and how effective have they been?

The article 19(1)(c) of the Indian Constitution as well as articles 20 and 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognize the “freedom to form associations and unions”. This, in addition to the right to religious freedoms and protection of the rights of religious/linguistic minorities to establish and operate their own institutions provides a very conducive and solid legal ground (and morally required) for growth of non-governmental associations and institutions. This combined with the people-centric nature of the independence movement, post-independence idealism and the Gandhian legacy of keeping a distance from the state contributed to the formation of many such NGOs with similar ideology in the early days. With the leftist tilt of the intelligentsia and the student bodies and the need for a space for political dissent (inspired by the internationally prevalent rebellious mood and the emergency of 1975), this growth was further spurred. The government was broadly tolerant of such organizations (except few extreme cases). At least till and after the emergency. They were also looked upon as a supplementary mechanism to the government machinery which was pitiably limited in its reach and understanding of such a diverse nation. The international developments, impacting India in terms of the heavy aid from the western countries and the strengthening of the international organizations like UN, were further helping formalize the role and expanding possibilities for the “development” sector. A further expansion of educational institutions specifically training students in social work and development provided the necessary manpower (more on this travesty in a later blog “The Indoctrination of Minds”) and the post-liberalization economic scenario provided the necessary funds. The cumulative effect of this is the gargantuan “non-government development” sector which we see today.
The numbers at the beginning of the blog, however mind-boggling, hide a bigger story. That largely of a set of institutions as ineffective (if not less ineffective) as the government delivery systems. That of ossified ideologies and petty fiefdom wars. That of an open Pandora’s box with irreversible effects and yet a holier-than-thou retaliations, monumental failures and in many cases, insatiable greed. And all this, all the time with a pretension of “benevolence and greater good”.

There are no statistics available on how effectively the NGOs have functioned and their impact in their field of work. But a glorious example would have stood out. In many cases, the same NGOs who whined about the inefficiency of the government-run schemes have lined up to be a partner in the cash cow schemes the government has fashioned out of heavy deficits. Some have even been formed just to partner with the government (safeguards do exists but are not very effective). Most are based on minimal ideas/experience and are either un-scalable or downright impractical. The lack of a uniform system of registration and a defined system of classification is one of the major issues. The regulation is so fragmented among different state and federal agencies that a complete oversight is impossible. Hell, even getting a near-accurate count of the NGOs is impossible. The databases of the organizations are not consolidated and shared between agencies. Criteria for recognition are not uniform. A body recognized by a state official as a charitable body does not pass muster with the federal tax authorities and vice versa.
The funding and financial records are opaque. It has been repeatedly brought to public notice that most NGOs are reluctant to disclose funding or even file tax/disclosure returns. In spite of laws like Prevention of Money Laundering Act and Foreign Contributions Regulation Act, the NGOs could be used as a conduit for money laundering due to loose reporting standards. It has also been pointed out in many cases that the NGOs have engaged in political propaganda and have been involved with political opinion-making often coinciding with high amounts of foreign funds (and this is not just based on the leaked IB report on foreign funding of NGOs but also from other authenticated newspaper reports. More on that in a later blog “For a few pieces of silver”). That a NGO cannot engage in political activities is not ethically sustainable but then the state also deserves a right of due diligence for the possibility of sinister activities and a responsible citizen’s body should be open to that.

Given the fact that the sector has formalized into a career option, it becomes harder to preclude the possibility of manufacturing of issues for the sake of self-preservation. This has lead to entrenchment in the area of work with intentional confrontation with the administration and fights amongst the NGOs over their fiefdoms. As in any career, imaginative job descriptions have cropped with multitudinous expertise in terms of fund raising, mobilization, social entrepreneurship etc. Long careers have been made and nests feathered at the expense of tax payers money.

This is not to say that all NGOs can be painted with the same brush but the public’s right to know and demand legal behavior calls for better (arms-length) oversight of the NGOs. A judgment by the Supreme Court in October 2013 (civil appeal no. 9017 of 2013) ruled that NGOs substantially funded by the government are “public authorities” under the RTI act. The government will do well to modify the law to bring ALL NGOs which claim exemptions under 12A of the Income Tax act or which are registered under the FCRA be declared public authorities as they are claiming an exemption from taxes AND are by the virtue of the definition of 12A exist for public good. The disclosure requirements being subject to section 8 exemptions of the RTI Act. The state will have to review of all exemptions issued under section 12A and remove the overlap and possible loopholes in the registration process. It must also initiate a review of all Section 25 companies to verify their functioning with respect to the initial objects of the company.

Some housekeeping is essential to save the sector from itself.

(Correction: The blog was changed to correct the amounts under 80G and 35AC. The earlier numbers were as given in the annual statement of revenue foregone. These were the tax liability which would have arisen and not actual donations. In the calculation for actual donations, a average tax rate of 30% has been assumed.)

Laxminarayana: Organisation, Ideology, Work!!!

Mohan Bhai,

Did you hear the term “social enterprise” yet?  This concept of social enterprise and social entrepreneurship has received much attention since late 70’s. What is it that is so explicitly social about any particular enterprise? Every company that is organized for a commercial purpose is an enterprise, and every enterprise strives to add some or the other value to the society, ergo a social enterprise. Isn’t it implicit? Isn’t terming an enterprise “social” just a branding strategy? Would you call your Khadi Gram Udhyog unit a social enterprise? Oh why do I ask, you yourself are a master at this.

Anyways, the reason why I ask all this is because I am now a part of an organization that calls itself a social enterprise. Trying to understand whether it’s an advantage to be called a social enterprise or if it binds the strengths of a firm and creates unnecessary impediments. A proper profit-making capitalist firm seems to hold the capacity to have a greater impact than an enterprise bounded by self-created encumbrances. You liked the Birlas more right? Lets see, I have an year more to figure this out.

Maybe, as per the popular perception, any enterprise that consciously tries and whose central theme is about fixing a social problem is a social enterprise. The issue that my organization perceives as a problem is the threat of extinction that the social fabric of rural life faces. We believe that the values that rural India represents-community living, living in sync with nature, a life of contentment; is worth preserving, and that it has to be saved from the onslaught of the consumerist culture propounded by the city life, if the society has to last longer. The country has been witnessing a disproportionate rise in migrations from rural to urban in recent past. But I doubt it man, I wonder if it’s a recent phenomenon or this has been the case ever since the rise of cities in human society. I guess it’s just population explosion coupled with the revolution in information technology that is making the figures look so scary. Ultimately, everything comes down to population, isn’t it? Plato was so right!

Back to the problem-sustenance of rural lifestyle. How do we fix it? By creating sustainable livelihoods and developing basic infrastructure in the villages. “Sustainable communities” is our tagline. We also have an NGO wing that works in partnership with the government, CSR wings of corporate companies, and various other development organisations in implementing things at grass root level. We operate around the principle of “shared prosperity”. More about that later.

Our office is set up in the 8th floor of a corporate building (like the ones in Hyderabad’s Hitec city) in the outskirts of the national capital. A typical corporate style glass building, exactly the place I didn’t want to be in. People with soulless eyes, formal attire, complaining minds … Did I say complaining? The irony! To be fair, it’s not all that gloomy. There were people in my office who seemed to be driven solely by passion and had a purpose other than just making money in their lives; like 4-5 people. The work culture is pretty horizontal – no separate cabins for the top management. We believe in the bottom up approach. It’s just the building that left a disappointing first impression on me. Damn the first impressions!

Thankfully, that building was not to be my work place. I am assigned to a project on vegetable supply chain and will be based in Gohana for the next few months. As you know, agriculture has always been a prominent sector of our economy and still accounts for about 54.6 percent of total employment. Interestingly, this decade’s census showed a decrease in the absolute number of cultivators in the country, which is unprecedented, from 127 million (2000-01) to 118 million (2011-12). I don’t know if it’s a positive or a negative sign for a 21st century economy. But to a country with a population of 1.2 billion, that is aggressively mechanizing, this might be too early. What will absorb the displaced labor? Even the government feels there is an urgent need to make agriculture more farmer-friendly and one thing that we identified as a major bottleneck to the progress of agriculture in the country is the Mandi system that came into existence with the APMC act. Although the mandis have contributed to the growth of agriculture greatly, most people think the system has served its time. The Mandi bharath is a long story, lets keep that and my project for a separate discussion.

Gohana is a medium-sized town in the Sonipat district of Haryana – a state with 80% of its land under cultivation. Man, how big was the forest that was burnt down by Arjun? One can see acres and acres of fields with Basmati crop as far as the eye can see on either side of the highways while travelling through the state. An extensively irrigated state, with canals everywhere. The people here are hardworking, well-built, a bit arrogant, and in general, content with their farming life. They seem to be obsessed with milk and milk products. Nobody eats a roti without butter on it. They grow all the basmati in the world, but then they don’t eat much rice. What’s wrong with these people?

Haryana is one of the most prosperous regions in agriculture in India. However, every time I sit with a group of villagers, the one question that I encountered all the time is  – “kya scheme laaye ho bhai?”. The farmer of one of the most fertile regions in the world, ask him if he is facing any problems in farming, he says “bhai, khethi mein bass dhikkate hee dhikkate hai”. He wants a subsidy on seeds, subsidy on tractor, subsidy on fertilizers, on insecticides, pesticides, on bloody electricity, on a polyhouse, interest free loans … Why this dependence? Did you ask your heir yet, why he strayed from your idea of village republics after independence or is he in the other house?

By the way, I’ve ordered the book on your naked ambition. <*excited*>