Tag Archives: india

Coca Cola and Goodness ? Not Really.

Quite a few friends had tweeted about this video of Coca Cola seemingly aiming to unite the peoples of India and Pakistan, one person at a time, at least.

Personally I am extremely cynical of big money capitalism, of which Coca Cola is the most notable example. Numerous are the instances where Coca Cola has been found to be at the unethical end of the human spectrum. Where big money capitalism is rampant, rarely is there room for human virtues to take precedence in actions that otherwise are imperative, like the reasons in the Pakistan-India divide that Coca Cola now seeks to exploit.

Most of us take things at face value, seldom do we question things, and even more seldom when it is Coca Cola – probably the world’s best known soft drink. John Pilger, the world renowned documentary film maker and writer did a documentary on the soft drink giant, it’s powers and the economic stranglehold it has on poor third world economies. Like the scandals that have erupted of late of the unethical practices of large Multi National Corporations in the textile trade in Bangladesh, Coca Cola is not new to it’s experience in being one of the most unethical MNC’s in the world. Such is the power of Coca Cola that most Socialist or indeed Communist countries have managed to curb Capitalism in most cases, except in the case of Coca Cola.

That Capitalism at its core is a very unethical system that fundamentally operates on the basis of oppression in one form or the other to accrue profits is not contestable. Therefore, it is quite obvious with the most callous brevity that this seemingly ‘good’ project of Coca Cola should be seen not for what it looks like on the surface.

For mostly obvious reasons (at least for some of you), I remain extremely cynical, and with good reason that this supposedly good gesture of Coca Cola is underpinned by clandestine economic interests that far outweigh the human virtues it seemingly portrays to be abundant.

This is a quick end of work rant to release the suppression I have felt by being inundated through a whole plethora of tweets in support of this campaign, with time I will hopefully update this.

UPDATE: Response to Jack Point

Jack Point has written a response to the post above here. This is a very brief response.

I cited the case of Bangladesh, yes, but what I have cited is not about the building (Rana Plaza) that collapsed recently. Therefore Jack Point’s argument using Rana Plaza becomes that, another argument, and less of a response to my post.

Further, what I have written is a blog post and by my own admission is a rant, I will of course be more substantial should I be writing to a popular news site.

But the crux of my argument is this, frankly from the little that I have known of Jack Point over the years I would have expected this to have been understood, though I am culpable in that I should have been more diligent in my clarity. Anyway, I digress, my argument is this – it isn’t wrong to be cynical of a seemingly good gesture of anyone if there are serious questions that have to be asked of the credibility and past history of the doer. It is common knowledge that Coca Cola has been contaminated by very many unethical practices that have been highlighted on numerous occasions, John Pilger’s documentaries being one of them.  Indeed Coca Cola has had a relatively easy ride from the masses who rarely question its record because not many want to shout out that the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes.

About the crook that he asks of, it is common knowledge that when the neighbourhood crook who has been at the base of the most nefarious activities suddenly initiates a seemingly good neighbourhood project, the neighbourhood does wonder where this will all lead to.

And let’s look at this objectively. When something as big as Coca Cola does something, the impact is felt by hundreds of millions of people around the world. Therefore, whilst millions of people see something good in something done, it obscures the harm that millions of others suffer as a result. I have been very clear in what I have said; I am not saying that this is not a good initiative when you look at it in isolation. My argument has been that the expected economic return to Coca Cola surely would far outweigh the supposed human virtues at play. There is absolutely no other conceivable reason why an otherwise extremely profit driven organisation would endeavour to take this initiative.

Let’s be realistic here, numerous attempts have been made at the very highest echelons of politics, trade, economics and social initiatives to bridge the antagonistic divide between India and Pakistan and they have all failed, for various reasons. This initiative too is doomed to fail, I promise you now with whatever credibility I possess, that we are not going to be crediting Coke in the foreseeable future for the peoples of Pakistan and India uniting. What then would this little excursion by Coke be? Yes, a very quick money making venture, and make money they will. And all those who fall for this strategy would have been duped, and they will still not accept it.

Jester asks That we expect the multinational to uphold standards that both the local Government and local businesses are incapable of upholding?”. Well when institutions such as nation states that are so heavily regulated and bound by statutory conventions still fail at their base, Corporates that aren’t as regulated as nation states have every reason structurally to fail and cause damage. The difference is that governments can be held to account in one way or the other; rarely can a people’s revolution take on a corporation that spans across continents.

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Filed under 2013, politics

Faith in Humanity Restored, Partially

best-indian-food-pasadena

I walked into a Indian/Pakistani restaurant (I still can’t say the difference) a few hours ago ago, I asked for a menu card and they didn’t understand, none of them spoke any English. As I went in and sat down someone swayed his head about thirty degrees to either side of the vertical axis and said ‘Teekay’ (I think that’s what it was), I have been briefed just enough to say, ‘yes, thank you’. Not having a menu, I asked what types of chicken curry they had, the elderly man serving me told a whole string of varieties of which I couldn’t recognise or catch any, I heard the word Tandoori and I said okay Tandoori, ‘leggu’ ‘breshtu’ came the response, leg I replied, with an air of sophistication. The food got late to come, I enquired from another elderly waiter by gesticulating when the food will arrive, and he said something in Hindi/Urdu which I think was something along the lines of ‘on the way’.

The chicken curry came in a plate, with gravy in a bowl and a massive tandoori roti on another plate. I started eating, as one does. I tore the roti in half, not having room to place the other half anywhere I placed it in such a way that it covered the gravy bowl, and about an inch of it may have touched the clean table top.

By this time I had aroused the curiosity of all the waiters (who all were elderly men past their mid to late fifties). They kept looking at me furtively to see who this Indian-looking-non-hindi-speaking English speaking chap was. I occasionally heard pointed whispers.

I felt a bit like Ross from Friends, when all the doctors were looking at the mole on his back.

Some moments later, a third waiter came up to me, removed the roti that was covering my bowl of gravy, took it away and gave me a full fresh roti on a separate plate. A short moment later, yet another waiter arrived and offered me a cup of tea, I told him that I didn’t order one, unable to communicate he smiled endearingly and insisted that I take the cup of tea, I realised later that I hadn’t been charged.

For reasons unknown to me, they were so nice and generous that I am wondering if I came across as deserving sympathy in some way. Surely they didn’t know that I was tired and have a lot of writing work to finish.

I debated if I should leave a tip behind, I felt leaving a tip may come across as being disrespectful since their niceness towards me was most certainly genuine, and not some residual kindness stemming from capitalistic motives. I did leave a tip anyway. On a sub conscious level I was uttering prayers for them unconsciously, that their business should be profitable and that goodness blankets them, I can’t really say though, it wasn’t on a conscious plane.

Faith in humanity restored, partially.

Forgive the anti-climax.

Image from here.

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Of Cricket and Rape

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On the day that it was announced that Sachin Tendulkar had retired from one day international Cricket, a friend had the following as her facebook status –

I can’t believe it. This news presenter just said although everyone was saddened by the recent rape case in Delhi, that nothing could match the sadness people are feeling over Tendulkar’s retirement! Do these people not think before they speak???

It is not a matter of thinking before one speaks; it goes on to reflect the state of mind and the order of priorities of many people. It staggers me that a country such as India which shows such reverence to basic societal facets like motherhood can simultaneously treat women with such disdain. Perhaps what the news presenter allegedly said is sincere and genuine. If an Indian Cricketer died today would there be the same amount of emotions running raw in India as it does now? It is likely not to be for the emotions would be much higher, the news of the death of a celebrated Cricketer would sell much more than the death of a rape victim. Sadly, the Cricketer is seen as speaking for many whilst transcending gender boundaries and the rape victim dies relatively alone.

My facebook and twitter feeds have been dominated by news of the deaths of two individuals this morning. One is of the victim of the afore mentioned rape, the other is of English Cricketer turned commentator Tony Greig. Tony died of natural causes and I sincerely do grieve his death, for he amplified the little squeaks Sri Lankan Cricket was making as it began to come of age in the Benson and Hedges cup in Australia in 1995/96.

But here lies the problem, the media space given to the rape victim by one’s own initiative is marginal compared to what I see on Cricket related matters. Further, whilst the death of Tony Greig seems to have united the genders, the cause of the rape victim and that of rape rather regrettably seems to be espoused only by females. Though I am sure there are men who had expressed their sympathy, I am yet to see one.

I tread carefully here. What affects women, has an affect on men. As clichéd a statement as this may be, a woman is a mother, wife, sister or a friend of a man and the converse is true for women. But as the gulf between men and women increase and modern societal doctrine tends to empower any one gender without reference to the other without regulation, where mutuality and co-existence between genders is a thing of the past, then both genders will be in a race to be superior to the other and this is harmful to women as it is to men. As it stands, yes there is an imbalance in modern society and men largely consider their gender to be superior to that of women, and that is reflected in some of the ills in this world. I have no time for such men in the same way that I have no time for women who consider their gender to be superior to that of men.

It so happens that most evils committed today happen to be committed by men. Even though I partially agree with this post and the actions described, marginalising men as a whole is detrimental to the cause. I hate to revere Cricket by this analogy, but just like sub continental Cricket, issues of women (and men) are best resolved when it galvanises both genders, not just one.

Image from here.

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Filed under 2012

Genius at 9..

Well at 9 i was making little clay models and running around with phlegm coming down my nose, dirt all over my body and fighting with the boy who always cheated when we used to play together.

This Girl at 9 has become the youngest Microsoft certified proffessional, an interesting and inspiring video.

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The two drunkards – An Economic analysis.

Seen two druncards high on arrack? they would walk with one hand on the others shoulder and the other hand waving about for balance. They will always stagger but will never fall, but when one falls he pulls the other who is depending on him down as well.

Type the word globaliZation on google and 19,400,000 hits come up, try the word globaliSation 6,290,000 hits come up. There is a very distinct irony in this. Globali-s/z-ation has failed to globalis/ze the very word which manifests its ideals.

Economics is not my area of expertise, but it is something that has always interested and enticed me albeit my relative ignorance on the subject.

An Indian economist M.R.Venkatesh speaks about the global economy and stresses on very pertinent issues, globalisation, the family system, the imminent crash of the dollar and global economic/military domination.

He speaks about how vital the institution of family is for the growth of a nations economy, it may perhaps be the very facet that decides if a nations economy is a savings economy or a consumption economy. I spoke about how the disintegration of the family inevitably results in added and more often unnecessary consumption here .

So much so that he assures the sustenance of the Indian Economy as long as the Institution of Family is deeply rooted in the Indian social fabric, he has a very simple and correct argument, lets not go into economic jargon and avoid serious terms dealing with national fiscal policies. He speaks about how the lady in the house manages the economy at home by protecting the family from over consumption and hence avoiding wastage, therefore the family is secure from the banes of unnecessary expenses and the home economy goes at a steady pace, and the safety of all family economies would result in the direct security of the national economy, simpy by avoiding waste.

The family is so vital to the global economy that it is not spoken about in Economic text books. As he says himself this is not another video bashing America’s fiscal policies, but he claims to want to save america from its own undoings and the banes of globalization.

There is a very simple comprehensive explanation on the current sub-prime and mortgage crisis, and how today’s economy is run by pure speculation as opposed to substance at hand.

He speaks of how the mighty Russia once was and claims that in 1991 people in russia had to wait for 48 hrs to get a loaf of bread, such was its decline, and he predicts the imminent crash of the American might if this economic trend continues.

The title of this post – the two drunkards- refers to The american and chinese economies being inter-dependent. Whilst china is happy to produce domestic goods and sell to america and thereby boost their dollar reserves, the americans are happy to not produce day to day items such as domestic appliances and keep buying them from china, the two economies will stagger and fluctuate when one has its turbulence, but they support each other. But when one economy fails it pulls down the other.

The beauty of the Indian economy is such that it is a savings economy relative to America and a consumption economy relative to China, that is its expenditure is with responsibility and only when necessary.

My seemingly negative rhetoric towards the capitalist ideologies doesnt mean that i am a proponent of socialist thought, i am just an outsider who is unwilling to embrace entirely either one of them, this is not to say btw that neither system has no good.

A very good video to watch, a definite eye opener.

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Filed under india