Agrarian greatness grows civilizations



India has always been a knowledge based economy from ancient times. It was only after the disintegration of the Mughal Empire, and the subsequent pillaging of its resources by Western Powers, that the surpluses and innovation died. No civilization has been able to sustain itself without the ability to attain a growing wealth and prosperity, through indigenous growth, or through conquest and subjugation. America rose to prominence due to the high productivity of its lands and people. Similarly ancient Egypt, Babylon, China all grew their ancient civilizations on the backs of the people, who slaved in the fields, and produced a surplus of food. The ability to grow more from nature to meet human needs, is the essence of a great civilization.

Just recently India has achieved a milestone of producing the highest number of winners in the Monsanto Beachell-Borlaug International Scholarship Program (MBBISP). The MBBISP program is the premier scholarship program that encourages research in rice and wheat breeding. The latest three students to receive the scholarship are Gurcharn Singh Brar working in the area of improving genetic resistance to Fusarium Head Blight in durum & brea wheat; Sreya Ghosh, whose Ph.D. project focuses on developing and fine tuning methods for unbiased gene cloning in wheat; and Karminderbir Kaur, who is working in the area of development of an in vivo haploid induction system in rice through distant hybridization & manipulation of CenH3 gene. Congratulations are in order for their efforts to improve the grains that feed and sustain human life on earth.

This should come as no surprise to the students of history as the Indus Valley civilization, pioneered the multi crop cultivation, of summer and winter crops in our world. India led all the other river civilizations in Egypt, Iraq, and China which were predominantly single season cultivators, by 2,500 BC. It was the innovation of the Indus valley people, which allowed them to grow surplus crops, during the summer and winter seasons. It was uniquely positioned to get both winter and summer rains. Its industrious people, went on to cultivate various crops and develop an urban civilization, based on the increased diversity of crops, and the increased wealth they brought. India has the greatest opportunity with its arable land and young population, to once again become the world agrarian leader for the twenty first century.

India is on the rise and its productivity can continue to grow for many decades, as it utilizes the latest technologies to grow agricultural produce. The Rabi or winter crop is being planted now and the trend is to move away from base cereals like rice and maize to higher value crops. The area under pulses, oilseeds and wheat increased from a year earlier, while planting of coarse cereals and rice fell. The government has set a Rabi season crop planting target of 638.09 lack (hundred thousand) hectares and with a normal monsoon, there is hope for a jump in production. India’s 91 major reservoirs hold 105.2 billion cubic meters of water, or 25% more than at the same time last year, suggesting better availability for winter crops. The government has to focus major resources on increasing the income of farmers, and helping them to produce better quality food, and a greater variety from its rich land. Careful water management, aided by the latest scientific agricultural methodology, can well unleash a new green revolution.

There is no harder job than trying to grow a plant, out of a clod of earth and water. Yet given the advances in our knowledge, we can bring new seeds, fertilizers, irrigation and mechanical equipment to boost productivity, of the land and people. For decades the farmers have been ignored and exploited since the nineteenth century, and now we must turn that tide. They should all benefit equally from the new knowledge, as truly India lives in its villages. We have to take the new technology, to the people to avoid a mass migration, to our urban centers which are already overflowing and unmanageable. There is a bright light of hope that things can be improved at the grassroots, using the new schemes for open trade and direct payments to farmers, using digital identities and methodology. The new generations of Independent India is more than willing to grab the opportunity of greater education, knowledge and scholarship to make a new nation.

India’s agrarian society flourished when the record keeping and identity of the farmers and landowners, were well documented and secure. Up to the eighteenth century we had progressive taxation systems, which did not leave the farmers destitute, or in despair. Today’s sad condition of rural families living on less than a dollar a day, has to be overcome. A more equitable society can only develop, when we have a sustained effort towards raising the lot, of the poorest of the poor. India has the brains and the work ethics, to be able to achieve greatness. Government has to become an enabler and then move out of the way, and the people will flourish. The Indus valley civilization is largely forgotten, but the hard lessons learned by our ancestors, are still here for us to gain from. Instead of dividing people on religion or caste lines, we need to bring all of them together. Only a joint effort of all the people working together shoulder to shoulder, can take us to the next level. Divide and Rule is only good for the ruler, and not the people. The diversity of crops and our people, is our greatest asset. It is nature’s and our ancestor’s great gift to us to use, for the evolution of our species.

Will you dance in the green meadow with me?


In American art of the 19th century Cole and others of the Hudson School, made grand scale paintings of their new homeland, seem almost heroic and an ideal world, where one could live the idyllic life. The Arcadian or Pastoral State depicts life for an idealist in a world of woman and children living fearlessly, in a world of vast green meadows, and ancient trees. The lake and mountain peak represent abundance, and a towering presence; almost of a protective spirit, for nature’s fecundity. An ancient seer, sits on a rock with his walking stick, philosophizing about the purpose of life, in the left foreground. The whole scene made me aware of a strange dream that has haunted me all my life.

I want that Arcadian life and want to be on the shores of the water that looks up at the high peaks. My life has been searching for that green meadow, where I too can covert with my friends and companions. The towering ancient trees to gather under on a summer day, when life is easy and flows with the rhythms of nature. There I will dance with my love, and someone will sing that love song, which we know from time immemorial, and it always strings those loving emotions, within our innermost feelings. I could stir up from an afternoon of laziness, and then take a walk along lover’s lane, and then just remember that I had planned; to enjoy just that moment, with just this companion.  My longing for that green meadow in my dream, was more than just a search for a physical space, but a yearning for something much more.

So now that we have elected a new President I feel it may be time to return to that green meadow. I have much to be thankful for and no new elect is going to get me down. Our upbringings and views could not be more diverse and yet he will lead us for the next four years or more. The moral value gap is becoming a chasm and human clues and scientific views are wasted on a man who promotes coal when we have proven better green options available for our future energy needs. I am not white and do not find Muslims or other minorities a threat to my existence. I respect women’s right to choose not only their mates but also when they want to reproduce and my concept of inner beauty is different from a person’s color or physical appearance. Humanity and our fellow creatures are all on this earth together and we have a greater responsibility to use our intelligence to provide a better environment. If we do not allow the green meadows to flourish, then who will?

It may be time to move to that pastoral state, as the State of our Union has just soured, in many of our mouths. The concept of America, and how we want to live, has just been spoken from our meadows and hills. We have chosen a man, who has promised to make America great again, and his choices of who will help him do that, is clear. It is a path that does not lead to the idyllic canvas that Cole painted, but is a different reality consisting of imagined slights, pain,anger and hate. The world depicted of division and just plain meanness towards those not as fortunate to have been born white, Christian and European are now not part of the civic society. The more I hear and see, the more I need my green meadow and friends to come with me. Let us revive the old dreams and play the old love songs; and spend an afternoon, with our loved ones, in my green meadow.

Out with the old

White House chief strategist does not consider Asians as part of his civic, alt right society.  Bannon responded to a suggestion from Trump, to retain talented students in America: “When two-thirds or three-quarters of the CEOs in Silicon Valley are from South Asia or from Asia, I think . . . ” he didn’t finish his sentence. “A country is more than an economy. We’re a civic society.” The fear continues to spread in the entrepreneurial unicorns of Silicon Valley, that its great enterpenuers are neither appreciated nor understood. Bannon would prefer that all the foreign students of Ivy League colleges, and all the Graduate and Post Graduate students, return home on completing their studies, which will lead to a shortage of talent for the current and future growth of Silicon Valley.

We watch with fear as President elect Trump continues to appoint the new administration officers. Multi ethnicity is in trouble along with a woman’s right to choose, and LGBT rights, as people with conservative Christian views, continue to be appointed to key posts. Climate change deniers take over other key posts, and civil rights got an anti-champion in his Attorney General. Jeff Sessions the new AG is someone who had questioned 30 years ago, whether or not Martin Luther King’s aides, had been trying to commit voter fraud, and was denied a judgeship.

Obama Care will be repealed and the baby literally thrown out with the bath water as poor mothers and children will suffer. The too big to fail Finance laws are threatened as Dodd Frank will be rolled back. Deficit financing is headed for its greatest growth in the history of mankind with massive tax cuts for the rich and huge spending planned on a wall and other infrastructure projects. New thinking is rising and a lot of the old will be left in the dust of history. A new boss is coming and he is busy in unleashing a new power elite, not tied to current science or rational beliefs. General Flynn the new Security adviser has previously tweeted that fear of Muslims is rational. We must all fear such irrational beliefs about billions of our fellow humans, surrounding the most powerful position in our land. Will we all have to turn ourselves in, in a mass movement of civil disobedience, to avoid any further mischief from our incoming President? We still hope for sense to prevail and better sense to be shown, in picking the remaining cabinet secretaries.

New notes sing and singe


Ab Ki Baar, Modi Sarkar and its Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, have taken their most brazen action, ‘Mumbai-based brokerage Edelweiss Securities Ltd predicts the government’s surprise crack down on high-value currency notes will uncover Rs.3 trillion ($45 billion) in black money, which is cash that’s stashed away to avoid tax.’ In a sudden rush to exchange Rs 1,000 and 500 Notes people are standing in long queues including senior citizens, to get day to day spending money. In an economy that ran mainly on Black Money exchanging hands for services, now the hordes of currency stashed away has to be declared and taxes paid to the tune of 5 billion dollars. ‘The move will suck out about 86 % of the Rs.17.8 trillion of currency in circulation.’

With the digitization and financial enablement of a billion people India is changing. The public sector banks were strapped for cash, and now billions will come pouring in from the underground cellars of honest, and corrupt citizens. Corruption had become a way of life, and many services were paid in cash by house wives, and families hoarded cash, to get through daily needs. With a white economy three times the size of Iceland’s economy increase, from a single financial move; is brilliant and pro-growth, in the long term. Initial transition to the new currency, done in the name of fighting terrorism and smuggling; will also pull out all political contributions, that were kept in the underground economy, for use in elections in various states by political parties.

The king is about to be shown in all his nudity, when the notes have to be exchanged for new tender. They will have to pay penalties on the Black Money. Some honest citizens will also suffer in the consequences, but the final cleaning of ALL old large currency, will leave counterfeiters, and corrupt money out of the market. All financial transactions will become banked, and the tax collection will help fund more growth in infrastructure, and other needs. The great build out in highways, railroads, ports, airports, nuclear power, green energy, smart cities require major investments in infrastructure.  Capital investment in the long run will improve, and the opportunity to make India a major power, in the next century, is getting closer. This is a war on corruption, and they have to have the guts to take on the crony capitalism; which has left the banks, with massive bad, or non-performing loans.  Clean public balance sheets are required, for the massive insurance companies and unit trusts, to return positive returns.

With a young population India sits on the cusp of history. Heavy investment in skill development, will pay off in massive returns, in a global economy. India has always fared best as a knowledge economy for anyone who has studied its history. For over a thousand years, India’s economy led the world in GDP. The post independence return to this norm, is shown by the recent rise of millions of IT workers. We can raise teachers, nurses, engineers, scientists, doctors, accountants to service humanity. As Europe and Japan age along with other countries, somebody has to provide essential human services to the masses. India’s young need education and training, to become the next productive citizens of our world. They have a tireless leader in Modi and his Minister Arun Jaitley, who are hell bent on taking India, to the next level, of economic prosperity.

With Jaitely they have an able Finance Minister who can not only make financial policy, but also ensure it is implemented. This is a change for the better for India and its billion consumers suddenly exposed to a modern, digital currency and financial system. A rude but needed, awakening to the realization of political action, and its consequences in a series of financial acts and moves over the past few months. Trump fought on a platform for rooting out political corruption and outside lobbying in politics, and won the Presidential elections in the US. Jaitley has done one better, in changing the currency, political game, he has removed the source of hidden funding, in Indian elections.

Meanwhile my niece is delighted, that somebody finally had the good sense, to make purple, 2,000 Rupee notes!

Love and Compassion


My consciousness woke up slowly, and I realized that something had changed, and the wholeness of the universe, seemed incomplete. Suddenly I had an empty feeling, as I could not find myself. I lay there with my eyes  and all my senses open, but I could not recall who I am. Where in the universe was I currently? My universe just added billions of previously unknown galaxies, and those include millions of solar systems, black holes and other celestial bodies. Just when I thought I had a good hold, on my place in the universe, the universe changed, and now I have to find my new place, in an ever expanding universe. The enormity of my experience, is now approaching infinity, as space and time, stretch out to eternity. In my universal role, I lie here on my bed, and wonder who am I?

Pardon my thoughtlessness, as sometime I go into this trance; of just being in this moment, which is itself passing. I become alive to the moment, and am one, with my time, and space. I lie naked on the ground and banish all thoughts, except, the thought of consciousness itself. I am, so the universe, is. My cosmic body, is part and parcel of the larger cosmos, and we are all start dust, and the primordial vibrations of existence, dwell in me and all around me. All duality between me, and my universe, vanish; and I am lost, and yet, I am found. Who is this universe? Is it is a breathing living being in my existence, and may it be referred to as our soul, as all I do, is done for this moment. Now I seek, only my being; and name, place, origin, destiny all have no relevance. The universe is, and I am it, and if I change, my whole universe changes. Even a simple change, to a more positive attitude, towards life; and its infinite possibilities, makes our universe, better.

I lie on my bed clothed and in deep contemplation, and think of this glow of contentment that arises from deep meditation. I sweep my body with my mind, and in all its parts; I feel the vibrations, and waves of existence.  I live in this feeling, as the sensations of the rising and falling sub atomic particles, below my nose, bring a subtle sensation, which my existence dwells in.  I am alive to the subtle sensations, and now direct my mind, to change the aura, that I am in. I project compassion and love to those around me. I am no longer me, but have become a living, compassionate and loving being. All vibrations entering me, and being projected by me; become, ones of love and compassion, and I am only this vibration. Somebody calls my name, but I do not know who I am, so I continue with my mediation. Consciousness includes the caller into my present reality, and now I am whole again, and life moves on, for the me is gone, and now only the universe exists. Death is a cosmic event, and the I that exists, is not the one that dies. Just the consciousness of the vibrations of our body, ceases to exist, but the celestial dance goes on, undisturbed.

My love calls again, and I suddenly know who I am, and awake to all the possibilities, as my senses are truly seeking satiation. I answer with the insatiable hunger for desire and lust, that keeps, our existence going, in this celestial dance called life. Who am I, and why is it, that all I want to do, is to dance ecstatically, to these rhythms of my existence? Love and compassion, I remind myself, as I awaken to my new self, the more I give; the more I will receive. We complete each other, and the passion of our bonding is the song, sung in the celebration of life. Love and compassion, I remind myself, is the reason for our being, and kindness and happiness flow from us, and surround us. Our universe is in just being, and not becoming happy.

Corral beauty


Bluegreen Damsel fish at the Great Barrier Reef by F. Joseph Pollock a postdoctoral scholar at Penn State

The oceans are facing death as they warm up. The above award winning photo taken recently may not be true anymore. The warming of the ocean may have caused bleaching of the corral and the reef may be dying, and our scholar just has not been back, to this site to photograph, a potentially, still, white, dead, corral. There may be a plastic islands the size of our city, floating around on the Pacific. We dump enough refuge out to sea, which it finds its way killing or threatening, all kinds of life forms, in the ocean. Man has polluted these natural habitats and caused global warming and we have to improve, or we will kill our own world. Our grandchildren deserve to have the opportunity to see natural wonders like the Great Barrier Reef, and we should take appropriate action. While we still live.