“Free” costs Rs.5/day – Airtel

Blatant unethical marketing has become the norm of this society! Companies believe that using buzz words and catch phrases are often enough to pull in subscribers or customers – irrespective of the merit and honesty of the advertisement.

The most recent such ad that stirred up this new category of posts on my blog is from Airtel which describes its latest offering of “free” unlimited national roaming at Rs.5/day. My only question is – How can something you pay for, ever be ‘free’? An oxymoron at best that tries to make morons of its customers.

The ad is displayed on its Facebook page and also on the website.

Airtel-free-National-Roaming

While such practice of wording advertisements is nothing new in the Indian telecom industry, there’s more to note. On it’s website, Airtel claims:

Here’s another first from airtel. Now enjoy FREE incoming calls on national roaming!

Another first from Airtel? – Hardly. BSNL launched a similar campaign back in 2011. And I’m confident that also wasn’t the first time.

FREE – Notice how this word is capitalized? The first thing they teach you in business communication is to avoid capitalization of words – it signifies the act of shouting! After all, an advertisement is the most primary form of business communication, right?

How could this be better worded? How about – Enjoy unlimited incoming calls on national roaming for Rs.5/day. – now, was that so difficult?

Will TRAI ever take notice to stop this menace?

P.S.: Thanks to @TheMangoFellow whose tweet brought this to my notice.

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The state of India

In the days when society is losing its moral roots, it is becoming ever so hard for the tree of civilization to survive, let alone flourish. We have become the gears in turning the society into a mechanism of greed and of crime – both however seem to have their roots in each other. Crime happens for greed and greed harbours crime.

We must beware of trying to build a society in which nobody counts for anything except a politician or an official, a society where enterprise gains no reward and thrift no privileges.

– Sir Winston Churchill

It is painful to admit that India of late, has successfully built the diseased society that Sir Winston Churchill described. Every Indian at birth comes with a price tag on his soul. It does not take much money to have someone killed. It is very easy to start a communal riot.

It is said that India has never attacked any other nation in all its history. It was perhaps because we Indians never had time to do so, as we were, and still are busy fighting each other. Truth be said, the real Indian does not exist anymore. There are only north Indians, south Indians; Bengalis, Biharis, Malayalis, Tamilians, Punjabis, Kannadigas, Gujaratis, Marathas; Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs; hundred other sub-castes under each of them; and lastly the rich and the poor. It is hard to believe that India is a single democracy. It is more like an unwilling unity between communities of people living separately under one flag. The only solace in this dysfunctional existence is that it beats the alternative. If India were actually broken down into separate countries, we would have fought and killed each other long ago.

The world sees India as the land of the intellectuals, the software hub of the world and the “yoga-land”. That’s all true, however there is a magnanimous skew in the ratio of such people who are contributing to the progress of the country to persons who leech off the loop holes in the system, the worst possible way. There is a way around every law in this country. Got caught over-speeding? Want to avoid the ticket? Cost Rs. 100 (~$2); Free, if you are the son of the brother of the barber of some minister. That’s how far and deep corruption has engulfed us. Many of our ministers and bureaucrats have criminal investigations pending against them – such are the people who are running this country. Rapists and murderers are released without so much as a slap on the wrist; and justice in many cases is an eluding illusion. Celebrities and cricketers are worshiped (literally) as Gods while soldiers who fought for the country are abandoned. Our women are not safe – female infanticide, rape, eve-teasing, molestation, dowry-related violence, domestic violence – have plugged them into a shell of insecurity.

India Corruption

When security (Police), well-being (Housing, Health, Water, Electricity) and literacy (Education) departments in a country are among the top corrupted, there’s very little to say about what remains. We Indians suffer from the disease of complacent indifference towards all these social vices. And unless there is an intellectual and social revolution, the situation will not improve.

Godse and Gandhi – Truth or Fiction?

I’m unable to authenticate the below text for its truth. However, I do agree with certain ideas that it puts forward. I have always blamed (and still do) Gandhi for the partition of India. As I’ve said, none of what follows may be true, but it is definitely worth a read.

Godse is often a misunderstood character. He is referred to as a Hindu fanatic. It is often hard to understand Godse because the Government of India had suppressed information about him. His court statements, letters etc. were all banned from the public until recently. Judging from his writings one thing becomes very clear – He was no fanatic. His court statements are very well read out and indicate a calm and collected mental disposition. He never even once speaks ill about Gandhi as a person, but only attacks Gandhi’s policies which caused ruin and untold misery to Hindus. Another interesting point to note is that Godse had been working with the Hindu refugees fleeing from Pakistan. He had seen the horrible atrocities committed on them. Many women had their hands cut off, nose cut off, even little girls had been raped mercilessly. Despite this Godse did not harm even single Muslim in India which he could easily have. So it would be a grave mistake to call him a Hindu fanatic.

Let us start by studying the motive behind Godse’s act. By seeing the nature of the assassination in public space and Godse’s act of turning himself over to the Police, we can see that Godse did not do this for personal reasons. He very well knew that he would be hanged and his name would be disgraced as Gandhi was considered a saint. And again Godse could have ran away and escaped punishment. But he did the reverse. He called a police officer and courted arrest. Before we proceed it would be wise to understand the backdrop of the assassination.

The central government had taken a decision — Pakistan will not be given Rs 55 crores. On January 13 Gandhi started a fast unto death that Pakistan must be given the money. On January 13, the central government changed its earlier decision and announced that Pakistan would be given the amount. On January 13, Nathuram decided to assassinate Gandhi.

Nathuram Godse was a learned man, very sharp and intelligent – editor of “Agrani” (one of the most famous newspaper of that time – with Nana Aapte). In his last editorial of “Agrani” which he changed overnight – he said “Gandhi must be stopped – at any cost” and he justified why Gandhiji’s assassination was not only inevitable but also a delayed action, sth tht shud’ve happened LONG AGO.

In Nathuram’s words – ” I don’t refute Gandhi’s theory of non-violence. He may be a saint but he is not a politician. His theory of non-violence denies self-defence and self-interest. The non-violence that defines the fight for survival as violence is a theory not of non-violence but of self-destruction.The division of the nation was an unnecessary decision. What was the percentage of the Muslim population as compared to the population of the nation? There was no need for a separate nation. Had it been a just demand, Maulana Azad would not have stayed back in India. But because Jinnah insisted and because Gandhi took his side, India was divided, in spite of opposition from the nation, the Cabinet. An individual is never greater than a nation.

In a democracy you cannot put forward your demands at knife-point. Jinnah did it and Gandhi stabbed the nation with the same knife. He dissected the land and gave a piece to Pakistan. We did picket that time but in vain. The Father of our Nation went to perform his paternal duties for Pakistan! Gandhi blackmailed the cabinet with his fast unto death. His body, his threats to die are causing the destruction — geographical as well as economical — of the nation. Today, Muslims have taken a part of the nation, tomorrow Sikhs may ask for Punjab. The religions are again dividend into castes, they will demand sub-divisions of the divisions. What remains of the concept of one nation, national integration? Why did we fight the British in unison for independence? Why not separately? Bhagat Singh did not ask only for an independent Punjab or Subhash Chandra Bose for an independent Bengal?

I am going to assassinate him in the open, before the public, because I am going to do it as my duty. If I do it surreptitiously, it becomes a crime in my own eyes. I will not try to escape, I will surrender and naturally I will be hanged. One assassination, one hanging. I don’t want two executions for one assassination and I don’t want your involvement, participation or company. (This was for Nana-Apte and Veer Savarkar as they were against ghandhi’s policies too, Godse wanted to assassinate gandhi all by himself and took promise from Nana Apte that he will continue helping Veer Savarkar in rebuilding India as a strong free nation.)

On January 30, I reached Birla Bhavan at 12 pm. Gandhi was sitting outside on a cot enjoying the sunshine. Vallabhbhai Patel’s granddaughter was sitting at his feet. I had the revolver with me. I could have assassinated him easily then, but I was convinced that his assassination was to be a punishment and a sentence against him, and I would execute him. I wanted witnesses for the execution but there were none. I did not want to escape after the execution as there was not an iota of guilt in my mind. I wanted to surrender, but surrender to whom? There was a good crowd to collect for the evening prayers. I decided on the evening of January 30 as the date for Gandhi’s execution.

Gandhi climbed the steps and came forward. He had kept his hands on the shoulders of the two girls. I wanted just three seconds more. I moved two steps forward and faced Gandhi. Now I wanted to take out the revolver and salute him for whatever sacrifice and service he had made for the nation. One of the two girls was dangerously close to Gandhi and I was afraid that she might be injured in the course of firing. As a precautionary measure I went one more step ahead, bowed before him and gently pushed the girl away from the firing line. The next moment I fired at Gandhi. Gandhi was very weak, there was a feeble sound like ‘aah’ (There are proof that Gandhi did NOT say “Hey Raam” at that time – it’s just made up stuff ) from him and he fell down.

After the firing I raised my hand holding the revolver and shouted, ‘Police, police’. For 30 seconds nobody came forward and I scanned the crowd. I saw a police officer. I signalled to him to come forward and arrest me. He came and caught my wrist, then a second man came and touched the revolver… I let it go…”

I cannot accept Gandhi as the father of the nation. Ever.

The H-1B visa fee hike by the US is premature!

Very recently, US President Barack Obama signed into law a legislation to secure the US-Mexico border with $600 million raised by massively hiking work visa fees, ignoring concerns over a “discriminatory” provision that will largely hit Indian firms, including Wipro, Tata, Infosys and Satyam.

There are two parts to this story – one, the US wants to strengthen its forces along its Mexican border to fight illegal immigration; and two, the US wants to secure the jobs for its citizens instead of ‘losing’ them to foreigners.

As far the first part goes, securing its borders is an autonomous decision any country can make and nobody (except the countries involved) can have an opinion on it. However, the money to fund that operation could have come from anywhere – perhaps a cut from the billions-of-dollar sanctions to Pakistan? Or even by increasing taxes levied on trade between the US and Mexico? It’s quite intriguing why the US chose to put the ‘burden’ on the IT industry. And further more intriguing because, it is completely failing at it.

Moving on to the second part, the US seems to be trying to kill two birds with one stone – birds: Mexican Immigrants and Outsourced Workers; stone: The New Law. Sounds a bit too desperate.

Anyhow, the price hike will hardly affect the foreign companies. Companies applying for H-1B visas to ‘migrate’ its employees to the US are definitely servicing US-based clients. The hike in the price of the visas will directly be transferred to the client and hence the money that the US wishes to raise will absolutely come from within! This could be understood as an indirect tax to its own commercial and industrial sector. Furthermore, this premature move only affects the inflow of talented workforce into the US which may have consequences rooted in the future.

To conclude, I feel the whole ‘securing the border’ drama is just an excuse and if the US was really looking to raise money for the cause, it could have directly taxed its people because, the issue is to keep them safe right?

India: 61 years of independence!

Indian Flag
Indian Flag

Salute to a country which knows the value of freedom. Salute to a country which has its moral roots etched in non-violence and secularism. Salute to a country which has never resolved to violence in its entire history.

India got its freedom after a long strenous fight for independence that spanned over 90 years. As a colony, India suffered greatly at the tyrant rule; All to recover in such less time and emerge as a nation which is the fastest growing economy in the world.

Hats off to the country which has given birth to heroes in every field. I love my country and I will live and if needed, die for it!

Happy Independence Day to all! 🙂 Celebrating freedom – the feeling that no one can take from you!