Can someone ever be truly selfish


(of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for other people; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.

This definition is inherently flawed.

Can someone be truly selfish


I can explain it in two steps:

  1. Very simple – I have come to believe that the only way any of us can get true happiness and peace is by helping others.By being compassionate
  2. Now, if we are truly truly selfish we should try to maximize our happiness at every opportunity possible. Right?

So going back to point1, how can we get that happiness & peace?  ….. its by helping others.

Hence if you really are selfish, you will do what the world sees as acts of random kindness and unselfishness.


Lack of pride – worse problem than corruption

Aam Admi Party and its parent movement – India Against Corruption – started a fight against corruption- probably the greatest evil which is eroding our country in all possible manner. I have always felt that whether we like the women/men/kids leading this movement or not, whether we like their methods or not, we should stand by them. Coz they give us hope, hope that things would change for better.

For the last few weeks, I have come to believe that there is a bigger evil plaguing us. Something which is worse than corruption – Loss of Pride.

As a nation, we seem to have lost our collective pride. Theres a whole bunch of couplets which go like this – “Sau mein ninyanve beimaan, mera bharaat mahaan !” . Translated – 99 out of 100 are corrupt, but still my India is great (Its pure sarcasm, if you missed it!)

Let me share with you, as to what triggered this thought in my head?

For the last 7-8 years that I have been in Delhi, I have noticed that the same stretches of roads are flooded during the monsoons year on year. I am also pretty sure that the relevant officials at MCD or PWD departments are aware of this. I can also buy that there is rampant corruption in the relevant department which might be the root cause of this. But what I am surprised with is that how come no Engineer felt repulsed by this.

Why is no one saying,

Its a shame for me, for our team or for our department that this is happening. Lemme see what I can do.

From whatever little I know of how government departments work, one guy could have made a huge impact, if he/she felt a serious dent to their pride with this water logging.

Why is it that we are not ashamed about our failure to deliver on our promises? Our ministers don.t resign these days even when they are faced with serious charges.

There was a time, when the Prime Minister asked the country to skip one meal to raise funds for the army, and the nation followed gladly. Imagine what a sense of pride each such contributing household would have felt.

I remember reading the news about the Japanese pensioners asking the government to send them to the Fukushima nuclear plant, so that the young are not exposed to radiation. Wow !

If you were a young Jap workman assigned to this project, how would you react. If you were the parent for such a workman or if you were the son or daughter of someone who just volunteered, wont you be overrun by a flood of emotions. I am sure, such a strong surge of emotion is sufficient to walk away from temptations that corruption might bring forth.

Japanese Nuclear TragedyLakshya movie shows Amitabh telling his regiment that their predecessors have created a rich and proud history, with numerous sacrifices. And that they (the regiment) have never failed to deliver on any task assigned to them. Stop and think about it.

If you are inducted into such a unit, wont you be charged to go beyond your own capabilities and ensure that you keep the flag flying high? I know I would.

Or the scene where he reminds his men, that the Indian Army has a certain code of honour, and will pay due respect to the dead bodies of its enemy soldiers, even when they fail to extend such honor to ours.

Lakshya Movie

Another movie, maybe it was The Burning Train – shows a sardarji with his wife and a young son. The wife is crying as they face a sure death and the sardarji says “Oye tu Sikhni hoke ro rahi hai”.  I saw this scene while flicking channels and was zapped ! They are facing death and the Sardarji is surprised that the wife – a Sikh woman – is crying.

I dont know how to instill a sense of pride in someone. I am sure building a sense of collective pride is even more difficult. But what I do know, is that this can be taught in individual homes and class-rooms. And it is something very powerful, something which can help fight the temptations of corruption, help fight against the worst of odds.

Uttarakhand Flood Relief – What we can do

I have been asking around to identify possible areas where we can chip in to help with the Uttarakhad Relief work. Adding the options I have found so far, here so that those who wish to support can find it easier to do so.

List of Medicines needed for UKhand (source Goonj website)

List of other materials needed (source HIMVKAS)

  • Ropes (strong) to make/support temporary routes
  • Food stock – Rice, wheat, pulses,oil, sugar, tea
  • Cholrine tablets, Glucose, face mask, first aid kits
  • Tents & blankets
  • Cooking utensils & fuel
  • Solar lights/torches/batteries

Where can you send the materials:

  • Goonj has pick up centers
  • Medicines can be sent to Doctors4u also who are running camps in the affected areas
  • For HIMVKAS the address is  Himalayan Jan Kalyan Avam Bal Vikas Samiti , Village & post Tilwari, Block Sahaspur, Dehradun – 248197 | | Santosh Passi – 9760178654

Updates from NGOs:

  • Post the search & rescue operations which have helped rescue a lot of pilgrims, the NGOs feel that a lot of work would need to focus on getting the locals back on their feet
  • Currently access was a hurdle due to continous rains and even basic damage assessment is not through
  • Some NGOs have started reaching out to the specific regions they work in, to identify the exact damage, build reports for a 18-24 months development/re-hab program. These reports would also help these specific individual communities to reach out to goverment and other sponsors for fund-raising.
  • Tent colonies would need to be built to weather the monsoon months.Uttarakhand Relief Work

Youth and Indian Politics

On a recent flight I found myself sitting next to the NSUI General Secretary – a smart young guy from Jharkhand who has not only managed to rise through the ranks of the Youth/Student wing of Congress, but more importantly, has done so inspite of a non-political family background.

Indian PoliticsI did my best to poke him on the issues which I felt would put any Congress supporter on backfoot – the corruption charges, the pathetic handling or Lok Pal Bill, the fact that party follows a family-leadership etc. To his credit, he tried to defend their stand on Lok Pal, said that the corrupt netas come from a corrupt society and it seems he genuinely believes that “Rahulji” is a true visionary.

I could not agree with most of those responses, but when we started talking about what he and his comrades do on a regular basis, the real story started coming out.

He talked about how RTI camps were being held in universities by NSUI workers – forcing the management to share the expense budgets, disclosing what was bought, from whom etc. And apparently it goes beyond just the treasurer’s role into other areas of the university functioning. I really loved his metric for tracking how well students would welcome such camps. Apparently flyers distributed in campuses are dropped in a few seconds and the ground is left littered with them. His smart way to assessing the interest was to see if flyers were carried by the students or dropped in campus grounds.

I also enquired about how his party uses the cutting edge digital tools & platforms.  After the usual emailing lists etc, he referred to how they had created a Facebook page wherein anyone can upload a video indicating their complaint about say a broken road, overflowing sewers etc and the local NSUI members would help the citizens reach out to the right authorities and close the issue.

I stepped out of the flight feeling happy that smart young folks are choosing to join politics and bringing in their fresh ideas and high energy. I just hope that they do not compromise on their ethics, and that they keep the society and citizens at the core of what they do, rather than just the party and its chosen set of leader(s).

It might be tough for youth leaders like him, to grow in a political system where leaders never seem to retire.  Advani resigns at an age of 85 years and the party still wants him to hold active roles. Shouldn’t he be the chief mentor or something?

Why don’t political parties decide on an age and have that as a mandatory retirement age?

Why don’t our leaders mentor the next lot in a more formal way? Something that allows the young leaders to not only handle growing responsibilities but also learn directly from the senior members.

Why don’t we have a report card of sorts for all candidates from each constituency? So that come election day, citizens can know the individual and vote for his/her work rather than for a party.