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It is in BJP’s Interest To Not Join Mehbooba Mufti’s Government January 11, 2016

Posted by simarp in : India , add a comment

I don’t believe in building suspense. For me it is is important to let the conclusion be known first so as those who have time to read me know whether it is worth a read or not.

I am sure it is in BJP’s interest to not be a part of Mehbooba Mufti’s Government in Jammu and Kashmir. This would allow them to play their Hindu card in UP elections and at the same be seen as victims despite trying to form a secular government with PDP.  Mehbooba Mufti is as right-winger Islamist as BJP’s spiritual master RSS is a right-winger Hindutva organization. Sooner or later this political equation has to collapse, if it collapses now it is a blessing in disguise for them. With no baggage of having an alliance with a radical Muslim party they can plan and do their calculations for Kerala, Tamilnadu, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh. In all the four states BJP stands to gain without PDP. With PDP they are bound to suffer and many BJP supporters may not step out to vote at all.

Further BJP can start an agitation for a Jammu autonomous region within J&K with its own local government, which they are sure to start with, maybe they can even consider bifurcation of J&K into three states. If all goes well they can run Jammu & Ladakh both. Staying with Mehbooba Mufti is a big liability and her every speech is going to hurt them more. Mufti Saheb’s funeral exposed lack of people’s will, wish and blessings or PDP-BJP alliance. This is no rocket science and Mehbooba Mufti is bound to get very aggressive over next few months to protect her radical Muslim vote-bank.  Once that starts happening it will be impossible for BJP to escape from owning responsibility for what all is going majorly wrong with the state.   Moreover the way things are, number and intensity of attacks in Jammu region are likely to significantly mover up the danger zone. With BJP in power as a partner, it would be responsible for the attacks and if there is a double digit or a triple digit loss of Hindus, almost all the four states would see BJP suffering badly.

BJP has made a point by forming a Government in J&K and not being untouchable for almost anybody in the political system, except left, now is the time for it to book profits and move on.

Ajit Doval and The Art of Political Negotiations January 11, 2016

Posted by simarp in : India , add a comment

Those who are claiming that Ajit Doval messed up Pathankot either have a vested interest or just don’t understand how political negotiations work. I can’t help about those who have vested interests but this is how political negotiations work – Doval is a keen exponent of the famed Chanakya Niti/Policy of “Saam Daam Dand Bhed”.

Saam stands for asking, suggesting and cajoling.

Daam is all about buying the other person out, you can say bribing in contemporary terms or settling it financially. It can also be defined as Carrot from Carrot & Stick approach.

Dand/Dund   means to make someone pay for it punish for the act they have done. Stick from the carrot & stick approach.

Bhed is blackmailing or exploiting weakness of the other after researching the same and using it as a currency.

If one looks at Doval’s career graph it is dotted with known and speculated instances of Saam, Daam, Dand & Bhed and at times a mixture of those and seamless movement between those. He uses all the four on the basis of personal assessment of what is likely to work best. Unverified reports suggest that Doval has had a role to play in all negotiations of Indian Airlines/ Air India hijacking during his tenure, some specialization.  Ajit Doval is also often criticized for not succeeding in getting Dawood Ibrahim despite being undercover  for several years, but one can’t blame him for not trying hard enough. But then his execution of Chanakya Niti has displayed far more successes than failures.

The only other parallel of Chanakya Niti during my lifespan has been Dhirubhai Ambani, he used it to his benefit and also of benefit of his shareholders by default. Who was better is not a question at all, Ajit Doval used his skills for his country and Ambani used it for himself, so not comparison there.


SpiceJet and Systems January 10, 2016

Posted by simarp in : Aviation, India , add a comment

I am not very fond of SpiceJet but this time I liked the way their systems worked. On January 8th all flights from Delhi were getting cancelled, the airport was fogged out, but SpiceJet kept in touch with its passengers. Flight kept on getting rescheduled and messages reaching with sufficient time window to decide whether to leave for the airport or cancel. Our flight departed 5 hours late and I am told that we were lucky that we had opted for SpiceJet as others had cancelled lot of flights. SpiceMax is a good feature and value for money. You get snacks plus additional leg space for Rs 500.00 works.

On our way back there were no SMS messages, we were wondering whether the flight is going at all or not. We were told that their automated systems trigger in only if the flight is getting delayed, if the flight on schedule they don’t even  send one message, it is part of their low cost approach to business. Works.  Turnaround time was real short at the airport and aircraft was fairly clean for next “load”.

I am pleasantly surprised at real quick recovery of the airline and on time return flight. Crew was friendly and food was OK. Of course Indigo food options remain the best, but SpiceJet is fast catching up.

I am sure to consider SpiceJet as an option every time I fly again. It makes me wonder if SpiceJet could be saved, why no one came forward to save  Kingfisher Airlines, they were much better in service and were a great brand too. Maybe there was something seriously wrong with them which made them not worthy of a turnaround.



Golden Temple Amritsar – Where Renovation Never Stops January 10, 2016

Posted by simarp in : Blogging, Sikhism , add a comment

I have been visiting Darbar Sahib/ Harminder Sahib/ Golden Temple almost every year for over 30 years now. Two things have been consistent lines of devotes have been becoming longer and the renovation at the complex has never stopped. Over last 12 months or so the list of additions is mind blowing and character changing of the complex. 60 plus years old shops on the periphery of Darbar Sahib Complex are all gone. Hmm… it may not be right to say they are gone, maybe it is more appropriate to say that the periphery has moved by almost 50 meters and the shops are once again on the periphery.

Parking, Shops, Joraghar (Place for keeping shoes), parameter walls, Darshani Deori and all the open area between Darshani Deori and Akal Takht Sahib have had various changes. In one of the major changes Saropa and Patasa Parshad are now given at a cash counter in one of the rooms in Parikarma area. The langar complex is also changing a lot, it has become bigger with a defined waiting area. Two new guest houses have also come up. The biggest changes have happened from the Darshani Deori to the main Darbar Sahib Gurdwara. Starting from temporary structure over the walkway from Deori to the gates of Darbar Sahib, the roof has become permanent, though some would still call it temporary. it has lights fans and rows of vigilance cameras and LCD/LED roof mounted televisions sharing the Shabads being recited inside.  Even the place for taking Jal has been transformed completely.

Toilet complexes are still a challenge and miles away from completion and  good access.

30 years back by and large Parikarma  and prayers use to take about 20 minutes on a regular day and an hour on a Gurpurab. Now it takes about two hours on a normal day and 4-5 hours on a Gurpurab day.

Amitabh Bachchan as Incredible India Ambassador is Unacceptable January 8, 2016

Posted by simarp in : Bollywood , add a comment

Dear Mr. Amitabh Bachchan,

Please do not become brand ambassador of Incredible India. Yes, you are a great actor and a even a better manipulator, but you are definitely not a good human being. You are always on the side of power and you truly believe in going with the flow. You were with the Gandhis when they called the shots, you were great pals with Amar Singh, Anil Ambani and Mulayam Singh when you were deep in the dumps and they were flavor of the day and now you are with Modi Ji. Of course everyone knows how you royally dumped Amar Singh when he lost Mulayam Singh’s confidence despite accepting Rolls or was it Bentley from him so famously.

Millions of people saw you on television and remember you shouting action against Sikhs in the wake of Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s assisnation, yes your dramatics were well received and thousands of Sikhs were massacred in their own country and your war cry did contribute significantly to it.  In your heart you don’t belong to any party, you don’t belong to any religion, you don’t belong to any family, you didn’t even belong to your parents. You just belong to yourself and someone who has always lived for himself over others even over his immediate family can’t be a brand ambassador for India, so please don’t fix it. Everyone knows how you played a dominating role in life of Praveen Babi and Rekha and how you didn’t marry either of the two and left them both absolutely high and dry.

You are not apolitical having successfully contested on a Congress ticket and you left that party when financial disputes surfaced between your friend’s widow Sonia Gandhi and you.

It will make me very sad if you are made India’s brand ambassador, you precisely stand for values which India can do without. You’ve manipulated your way to it, but please don’t accept it, it will be a great favor to India.

Thank You.


Simarprit Singh

Incredible India and Aamir Khan January 7, 2016

Posted by simarp in : India , add a comment

If you are endorsing a product, you can’t be belittling it.

And, if you belittle it you can’t expect your masters to keep you as a brand ambassador.

Even if you do something inadvertently which questions that brand or damages it, the least you can do it is to voluntarily offer to disassociate yourself from it. If the brand owners  believe in you still, good for you and if they don’t, feel sorry and be careful next time.  You can never betray what feeds you. Simple. Straight. Unambiguous.

Brands are difficult to create and brands are known by the attributes of its ambassadors. In case of Incredible India there were lot of brand adjustments and compromises made to link up Aamir Khan with Incredible India. Also tons of money was paid for the same, Aamir Khan was engaged for the edge he had displayed in the past. It is that edge which got him the job, so that edge becomes non-negotiable attribute and he has to protect that. In going aloud with his intolerance statement, though it was not as much of it, he compromised that edge, the edge of his credibility, the edge of his commitment and the edge of his professional ethics. These compromises are big compromises. I think he underestimated people’s intolerance level towards these statements, well meaning or not, this is where he lost his edge. He also underestimated reactions to the religion he is perceived to follow and association with statements he made.

If he was not associated with Incredible India he had no duty and obligation to protect that brand, as he was associated, it was a role he didn’t play well. So, he had to be punished.

Hope celebrities learn that endorsing a brand brings in money and responsbilities both, they just can’t keep the money and wish away the responsbilities.


Whose National Anthem Is It Anyway? January 7, 2016

Posted by simarp in : India , 2comments

If you are thinking whether to stand during National Anthem or whether to sing along or not while the National Anthem is being played, you have a challenge of patriotism anyway.  Definitely you are not secular in your mindset and definitely you have some lack of clarity about where your responsibilities to your religion and your nation overlap. Your religion has to be independent of your National responsibilities or duties and vice-versa.

If you don’t get pride by singing National Anthem, it is time for you to move to a country whose anthem inspires you. To me India’s National Anthem has played a key role in shaping my patriotism and love for my nation. It tells me that we are a historically connected and culturally co-joined nation. It tells me that as a nation we walk together and succeed together.  It also tells me how it is possible to write in a language which is largely made up of common words in all languages of India.  National Anthem is in  Bangla and Sanskrit and the words stitched together have the same meaning across our nation.

In my humble opinion. There is nothing in National Anthem which can offend anybody’s religious beliefs, however if someone really feels that the Anthem does, he or she must look for a country whose Anthem is in sync  with their religious priorities. Till they find a country to call their own, they  can continue respecting their host country’s Anthem and standing for it. They mustn’t oppose it, disrupt it or walk-out. That is a big no and that hurts those to the core who are one with the nation and its Anthem.

Muslims in Non-Islamic Countries & Prayers During Work Hours January 6, 2016

Posted by simarp in : Islam , add a comment

Muslims in non-Islamic countries and in non-Muslim owned businesses have a constant confrontation on account of prayers. Many companies in non-Islamic countries avoid hiring Muslims because of this reason. Many Muslims opt for entrepreneurship over employment due to this reason. Some are very religious and some are just OK.

At Compare Infobase we’ve evolved a co-existence model. We have no issues with Eid Prayer Breaks during Ramazaan/ Ramadaan  and on Friday we have no issues at all as they move their lunch break to go out for prayers. Many colleagues do take a prayer break within office and have brought in their prayer mats and rolled them. It is not that everybody is comfortable, a few have openly objected and a few have passed unacceptable comments, but by and large the team has cooperated.

In many offices in India it is not the same, employees have to choose between timeout for prayers and job, it is the same in the US too. There are offices which have a flexi-timing and are based on minimum number of hours logged in, these offices have no challenge at all and ignore Namaaz breaks. Main challenge happens in factories and assembly lines and it becomes big if the staff insist in taking leave of absence together.

It is important to note that going to a Mosque is not essential, prayers can be done just about anywhere, I believe that office and the staff must accommodate each other. At the same time it is also important to adhere to deadlines. I had a colleague who was a devout Muslim and a devout co-worker. He would do all possible to make both the responsibilities co-exit, he would come early on days he was observing Roza and leave early and on even Fridays when there was work pressure and deadlines on hand, he would open his prayer mat  and ensure that he is done fastest possible and back on work.  It worked wonderfully.

I believe not hiring Muslim force because of their religious requirements is wrong and I also believe that insisting in concessions and accommodation beyond what is must on part of Muslim colleagues is also wrong. There has to be an attempt towards accommodation and adjustment and not towards discrimination or an appeasement.


Punjabi – A Language With Four Scripts January 6, 2016

Posted by simarp in : Language, Punjabi, Punjabis, Script , add a comment

Yes, Punjabi may be the only language in the world to be written in four scripts, Gurmukhi, Shahmukhi, Devnagri and Roman. Punjabi is a language which is owned and disowned on religious grounds and script preferences also. This indeed is very sad as at the end an old historic language suffers and develops complex around its usage.

Here are some observations, as they are all independent and for ease of  punctuation I am numbering them rather than putting them altogether in one knitted article.

  1. Gurmukhi is Gurmukhi where it is a composite word coined from Guru + Mukh, which means a language which is spoken by the Gurus. Gurmukhi script has similarities with Devnagari Script but both scripts are mutually exclusive and knowing one is not at all knowing the other.
  2. Shahmukhi is a script with two more characters than Urdu and largely readable by all Urdu script readers. Urdu incidentally is one of the few languages which are written in script by the same name. Urdu script is derived from Arabic and Shahmukhi and Urdu are both written from left to right.
  3. Punjabi in Gurmukhi Script is an official language of Sikhs worldwide. The holy book Guru Granth Sahib is written in Gurmukhi and everyone is expected to read it in that script for regular/ daily prayers.
  4. Punjabi in Gurmukhi Script has official language and script status in India, Canada, UK and a few other countries.
  5. Punjabi in Shahmukhi Script has official language and script status in Pakistan.
  6. Punjabi written in Gurmukhi script now has an increasing influence of Hindi words and is slowly becoming a different language than Punjabi – Shahmukhi.
  7. Punjabi written in Shahmukhi is getting more closer to Arabic and Urdu with lot of import words from these two languages.
  8. By and large all Punjabi speakers still manage to understand and appreciate different dialects, but universality of the language is suffering.
  9. Punjabi spoken in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh has now a huge degree of import words from local Hindi dialects. Punjabi in written form in these states is largely in Devnagri Script.
  10. On the internet Roman has become preferred script for Punjabi, slowly it is taking a form of universal script and is progressing well. Even the vocab and the dialect used on internet is getting standardized. On the net Punjabi is by and large sans religion. For instance “Kidaan” has become a kind of default equivalent of “How are you” and “Wadiya” has become an acceptable reply for “fine thank you”.  “Kidaan” has pushed “Key Haal Chaal” to the background and “Wadiya” has pushed “Changa” to the background though both are still used interchangeably.  Some would still prefer to use “Key Haal Chaal” instead of Kidaan as Kidaan is still more associated with Jats and rural Punjabi, but differentiation practitioners are  becoming few and far between.
  11. Punjabi songs in Bollywood and as DJ mixes and rap are playing a major role in rejuvenating Punjabi. No Hindi movie is worth its salt if it doesn’t have one or two Punjabi numbers. Punjabi music groups from UK and Canada are also making huge difference in acceptability of the language.
  12. Delhi is the city leading in universal vocab for Punjabi, probably Delhi is also the city with maximum daily Punjabi language users in the world. The Delhi Punjabi is spiked with English and Hindi but still includes lot of Urdu words irrespective of whether they are imports in Hindi or not. For instance Punjabi like Hindi doesn’t have a word for Divorce, so both languages use Talaak, increasingly Divorce is used in Punjabi over Talaak in spoken genre. There are a few Punjabi words which are getting extinct in Delhi, “thale” is now usually replaced with neeche both meaning down and similarly “Udeeq” has completely lost out to wait for the English usage wait. I am waiting for you in Punjabi would almost always be spoken as “Main teri wait kar rahe haan.”  Neither the speaker nor listener would notice the import word.
  13.   There is a need to adopt a standard script for Punjabi and sooner or later that would be Roman, that adaptation would take Punjabi to even much higher usage.

This is a collection of some random thoughts on this subject and over a period of time I will add more to this.

Rab Rakha of course is becoming a universal/ pan religion Goodbye equivalent. So Rab Rakha!


Making of a School Atlas January 5, 2016

Posted by simarp in : Books , add a comment

How long can it take to make a school atlas? A few decades, if it is a quality product you are looking at. Yes, an Atlas is a work in progress and it can take lot of time to get rolling. Way back in 1998 we had started making maps and loading them on Mapsofindia.com, at the back of our thought process was a dream, a dream that one day we will prepare the most authoritative school atlas. Today we hold that dream as an achievement in our hands, it is a dream fulfilled.

It was not simple, it was a complex project which remained a dream and something which was under various stages of production and visualization. Finally one day, all cards opened up and a relationship was stitched. Compare Infobase Limited tied-up with Encyclopedia Britannica to create a product to be exclusively marketed by the latter. With marketing tied-up, dream was well on its way to realization.  212 pages were panned and planned, each page had to go through stringent checks, numerous approvals were required and everything was time-bound. But then, this kind of pressure is the best environment for a product to be released. Someone has to keep on breathing deadline while others keep breathing perfection and quality.

While we were at it, it was important that our product is not a me-too. We wanted our product to be a unique compendium of maps that matter. Accuracy and cartographic details were defined as cornerstones and innovation and students need were stitched together to form the backbone of the product. 10 departments worked together and with support from the Britannica team and Survey of India a defining product has been launched. Now, from here onward a quality atlas has a new benchmark. I am sure whenever people would sit together to visualize landmark publications in Geography and Mapping space, B Sure school atlas would have a lot to contribute and talked about.

Thank you Team Compare for making it happen.