freedom

What’s your Worth?

I am not against economic development. I am against giving it precedence over honor, truthfulness and integrity. After all, if we do that, then what’s wrong with drug dealing, stealing, bribing, human trafficking and a plethora of ways to make money? It is only truthfulness, the sense of right and wrong, virtue and sin that is the demarcating line between what is honorable and what is not. Al Capone was an entrepreneur, wasn’t he? So is Bill Gates. Is there a difference? Who would you like to be? If I break my word once, then what value does my promise have in the future? It takes a lifetime to build trust but to destroy it, all it takes is one instant. Take an expensive crystal vase and drop it on a stone floor. As it shatters into a thousand pieces, you will perhaps understand what I mean by keeping and breaking promises.

As Mikel Harry said, ‘If you want to see what people value, see what they measure.’ Let us ask ourselves, what do we measure? Not just pay lip service to. But measure because we value it.

Thin edge of the wedge

We did not see or chose not to see the real agenda – social engineering. Changing the standards of society. Changing what is acceptable and what is not. Changing what is considered taboo and what is not. Moving something from ‘unthinkable’ to ‘aspirational’. You did not think it could be done, did you? Well, just look at the way advertising and films have changed over the last 3 decades and you will see how things that our parent’s generation would have had a heart attack seeing, don’t even attract a comment from us.

Be Resourceful

‘No’ does not mean ‘Never’. It merely means, ‘Not in this way.’ Or ‘Not just now.’ That’s what makes frustration fun ‘No’ does not mean ‘Never’. It merely means, ‘Not in this way.’ Or ‘Not just now.’ So invent new ways. That way frustration becomes fun. There are too many incidents in my life where …

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Advice to a young friend going to university

Five things to keep in mind: 1.      Always be thankful. It is true that we succeed by our own efforts but it is good to remember that some of them were made standing on someone else’s shoulders.  And they helped us when they didn’t need us and without expectation of reward. Don’t forget them because without them …

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Rethinking education – Critical need of the hour

I am writing this to share my anguish at what we are doing in the name of schooling. By ‘we’, I mean educators and the education system in the Indian subcontinent, Malaysia, South Africa and most of Africa, state schools in UK and America. That is more than 60% of the global population of school-going children. Those that don’t fit the picture that I have drawn below are to be congratulated. I hope everyone else can come on par so that one day very soon, this paper will be read as an interesting piece on how bad things used to be.

Democracy in practice

slavery.

Today as I write this (July 18, 2016) a coup happened in Turkey but the people defeated it. So democracy apparently has more meaning in Turkey than it had in Egypt. But now what? And what really is the position of democracy in the Muslim world?

A brief, even cursory look at the history of Muslim rule shows that after a brief period in the Khilafa Rashida where the first two Khulafa were ‘elected’ by a group of leaders, in the period of the third Khalifa fault lines appeared and it all fell apart leading to his assassination and the installing of the fourth by force. That was contested and resulted in a huge amount of entirely preventable bloodshed and the nature of Khilafa changed from elected leadership (not in our conventional sense but still elected) to hereditary kingship which became the norm and remained that way until 1923 when the institution of Khilafa itself was abolished; the instrument of it ironically being a Turk, Kemal Pasha a.k.a. Ataturk. We had good and bad kings, called ‘Khulafa’ in this entire period but not a single one was ever elected. They were all hereditary monarchs, until even the title of Khalifa was abolished and the Ottoman Khilafa was dismembered and the pieces distributed to loyal allies of the Western powers who destroyed the Khilafa and who were content to be called Malik (king) instead of Khalifa. The Ottoman kings also used the term ‘Sultan’ and not ‘Khalifa’ though the institution was still called the Khilafa.