Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Song of SHUNYA-The Dramatic Society of Ramjas College

While going through old papers, I came across a paper with the following inscribed in my handwriting. The song re-freshened old memories of college time and of struggles, friends, fights, strives for perfection and so on so forth. I clearly remember how Himanshu (the founder of Shunya and director of the Play "तूफान से पहले") helped me i.e. Bakshu of the play overcome my inhibition in mixing with Anjali i.e. Paro of the play. The play helped me in a big way and played a significant role in shaping me up. Today I went through the lyrics of the song, I found it nothing less than words of Lord Buddha. The song seems to have summarized whole of the spirituality in few lines. How pure, how pragmatic, how powerful!!! I am sure that each of the team members of SHUNYA would be with me on my feelings about the song.
शून्य से शुरु हुए हम, शून्य पर हैं खात्मा;
शून्य ही हैं ये धरा, और शून्य हैं परमात्मा;
इस शून्य की आवाज़ सुन तू-२;
कह रही हैं आत्मा-२;

मान कर हम केन्द्र बिन्दु, शून्य पर दृष्टि उठायें;
मुस्किले राहो में आयें मंजिले पायें न पायें;
पाँव अपने ना हटायें;
इस शून्य की आवाज़ सुन तू-२;
कह रही हैं आत्मा-२;

शून्य मैं हूँ, शून्य तुम हों;
शून्य अब हैं, शून्य तब हैं;
शून्य छाया, शून्य काया;
शून्य खोया, शून्य पाया;
इस शून्य की आवाज़ सुन तू-२;
कह रही हैं आत्मा-२;

Saturday, August 22, 2009

An empire of lies-an article appeared in The Pioneer

The following article appeared in The Pioneer and is available at

Corruption and flow of Indian moneys to Zurich — both were assured continuity by the UPA Government through the new Companies Bill, which revealed no intent of preventing more Satyam scams from recurring

Eight months have passed since the Satyam Computers scandal, but public memory, being notoriously short, has given the benefit of time and space to the real culprits behind the multi-billion dollar loot. The promoter of the fraud company, B Ramalinga Raju, may be in jail, but the country's largest financial crimes operation, the brotherhood of chartered accounts, with Price Water House at the apex, has merrily avoided scrutiny.

This week, the government reintroduced the Companies Bill in the Lok Sabha after a hiatus of 10 months. It is supposed to be based on the recommendations of an expert committee headed by JJ Irani, the former Tata Steel chairman, and seeks to make firms and their promoters responsible for their actions. But this is far from accurate. Irani’s most important proposal, institutionalising the whistleblower in corporate, was given the go-by. Irani had stated on record: “If the CEO and CFO of a firm get together to do a fraud, there is nothing an independent director can do to detect or prevent it, even if they are professors of corporate governance. Companies must install a confidential whistleblower system."

The new Companies Bill, which seeks to replace the 53-year-old Companies Act, hardly scratches at the surface of the deceitful system that has built up over the years and has manifested itself through various inglorious episodes like Harshad Mehta, the MS Shoes scam, the murder of IIT engineer Satyandra Dubey and Satyam. Irani's call for a whistleblower system assumes significance because the UPA

Government has studiedly avoided implementing this long-felt demand of honest corporate houses. Neither the Companies Bill of 2003 nor its present avatar has clauses institutionalising whistleblowers. Of course, it may be argued that even whistleblowers can be reduced to ciphers — Satyam, irony of ironies, had one since 2005. However, that may be countered saying the lack of a firm law giving the whistleblower legal backing was responsible for the duplicity carried out by the Raju empire.

The Satyam scandal has shaken the country's morale and its financial system stands exposed before the whole world. The rotten core of the chartered accountancy profession was laid bare before the public when PW House and Coopers' hand-in-glove role in cooking books over several years became known. The bubble burst only when the fraud became too huge to handle in a market hit by recession. Had the global economy not been hit by the biggest calamity since 1929 in October 2008, chances of the goings-on at Satyam coming out were remote. Clearly, Satyam was the tip of the iceberg.

In my opinion, there is hardly a balance sheet or profit and loss account filed with the Income Tax department which is an honest reflection. Financial discipline, corporate governance and tax reforms are oft-repeated jargons at seminars. But of what use are they if the underlying criminality of the financial sector is not addressed?

Routinely, there are two occasions when the corporate world cooks financial documents. One, when they have to file income tax returns, and second, when they have to put on a show before shareholders and the public that all is hunky dory in their company. It is usually seen that when a sinking or underperforming company is trying to find a buyer, its performance improves dramatically in the books. All sorts of fraudulent mechanisms are adopted to shine the face of the company and all is done by the auditors at the behest of the owners and board members of companies.

In the aftermath of the scam coming to light, we had heard that PW House and Coopers would be banned for the malpractices it adopted in league with Raju. But nothing happened to the high-profile auditors. Earlier this week, Minister of State for Finance SS Palanimanickam declared in a written reply in the Lok Sabha that Satyam's outstandings with the Income Tax department is to the order of Rs 541 crore.

I kept on looking for something substantive in the findings of the investigators into the Satyam scandal, but I learnt nothing that I didn't know. Auditors are hired by the companies to audit their accounts and paid for their services. The job of a chartered accountant is to whet a company's accounts as an independent observer upholding the Laws of the land. But, the whole system has been distorted. Today, the only loyalty shown by the auditor is to his client. Their engagement is completely at the mercy of the companies and, in a competitive environment, they perform all kinds of financial skullduggery to remain in the good books of their clients. That even PW House and Coopers could fall in line was the only education for old cynics like me.

To understand the intensity of the rot afflicting the system, wide reforms are necessary. The process of correction must begin at the stage when the chartered accountant is being groomed for his career. Let’s just know who these auditors are and how they become qualified chartered accountants. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) is entrusted with a larger-than-life responsibility. ICAI has the responsibility of creating professionals who get paid by their hirers-companies to keep their accounts in accordance with the rules and provisions enacted by the government of India. It would be worthwhile to have a look at the kind of training and education these professionals are imparted with by ICAI before we expect morality from them. The CA course involves theoretical self-learning (by rote) and articled training under a qualified chartered accountant. But there is complete disconnect between what they learn in their articled training and what is required to clear the theoretical papers i.e. they draw no help from their articled training to clear their theoretical papers.

Though ICAI charges high fees from students, it provides no class room teaching to equip them with the fine nuances of financial auditing. The only meaningful interaction that a student has on the way to become a CA, is with the senior CA who gives the young rookie a chance to get mandatory articleship.

It is high time the government takes a close look at what these up coming auditors are taught at that early stage. How to make fake balance sheets, fake profit and loss accounts, fake account books, fake vouchers, enter fake entries, and manage fake receipts and what have you. In short, a new generation is equipped with dangerous weapons to sabotage the economy of the country. They are trained to make a Satyam happen every day. How can the graduates of this institute of lies be expected to be loyal to the government of India. Articleship is all about picking up the tricks of a trade that thrives on loopholes.

In short, the ICAI is producing generations of white collar criminals. The country's financial system is hemorrhaging. Our credibility before the international investor community is eroding. Under the circumstances, it is futile to talk of Swiss bank accounts. The need of the hour is bold reforms. But, sadly, the Finance Bill introduced by the UPA Government, is nothing short of ridiculous.

-- The writer is a Supreme Court advocate and an alumnus of IIT Delhi. He can be reached at

Sunday, July 19, 2009

How close you are to your loved ones?

Usually we crave for physical proximity with our loved ones and unfortunately we all get trapped in evaluating the strength of bonding with our loved ones by how often and how long you have been physically together. The story narrated below will be of considerable help in helping you understand what is that which we really need to be concerned about in an relationship viz. quality or quantity of time you spend with your loved ones.

A saint asked his disciples, 'Why do we shout in anger? Why do people shout at each other when they are upset?'

Disciples thought for a while, one of them said, 'Because we lose our calm, we shout for that.'
'But, why to shout when the other person is just next to you?' asked the saint. 'Isn't it possible to speak to him or her with a soft voice? Why do you shout at a person when you're angry?'

Disciples gave some other answers but none satisfied the saint.

Finally he explained, 'When two people are angry at each other, their hearts distance a lot. To cover that distance they must shout to be able to hear each other. The angrier they are, the stronger they will have to shout to hear each other through that great distance.'

Then the saint asked, 'What happens when two people fall in love? They don't shout at each other but talk softly, why? Because their hearts are very close. The distance between them is very small...'

The saint continued, 'When they love each other even more, what happens? They do not speak, only whisper and they get even closer to each other in their love. Finally they even need not whisper, they only look at each other and that's all. That is how close two people are when they love each other.'

MORAL: When you argue do not let your hearts get distant, do not say words that distance each other more, else there will come a day when the distance is so great that you will not find the path to return

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Root cause of all the problems humanity is confronted with:

Strange is the world where problems are loved more than their solutions because its the problems which keep them going while the solutions bring a full stop and that brings restlessness of having nothing any more to be busy with/in.

After a deep and thorough analysis and deep contemplation, to me it seems that all problems have their origin in the institution called "marriage".

With the disappearance of marriage, major ills humanity is confronted with viz. prostitution, rape, adultery, molestation, slavery etc. will also disappear within no time. And with this human beings will be freed from the cluthes of society and will be able to smell and experience the ultimate freedom.

With this freedom, every religion, sect, guru and mutt will be freed from prescribing the human beings the list of dos and donts and human beings will be freed from the disgrace of having been treated as kids.

Marriage is a sweet candy which humanity have been made to believe it to be tasty and hence they are made to crave for it. Marriage is a great tool available in the hands of society to domesticate the human beings. With marriage, a new family comes into existence and with family comes the ambitions, attempts of securing happiness and other related nuisances. Once married, forever unhappy.

With marriage steps in the great race of hording the maximum wealth in order to secure the future of not only the present generation but generation after generations.

The smallest unit i.e. family forms the basis of all the conflicts. And a nation, which is nothing but a conglomerate of such families with diverse aspirations and conflicting interests, is thus born. With the advent of nations, truth of wars appear. Wars lead to bloodshed and merciless killing of fellow human beings. I wonder what prompts the man to go to the extent of taking a fellow human being's life, what pleasure, what satisfaction does such a killing bring!!!

Just a step backward of the family is the individual and just a step forward of the nations is the universe and both these extremities are the true forms of emancipation and true manifestation of the ultimate power which we term as GOD.

For wars to stop, nations must go and for nations to go, concept of family must be abolished and to make that happen, marriages must be done away with. No marriages, no divorce. No marriages, no breaking of the families!!!

Let the man be unto himself. Let the man taste the fruit of FREEDOM and enjoy his being. Let the man be free from self-condemnation. Let the man be free from the guilt of having committed sins. Let the man see himself to be an embodiment of the Almighty.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

You know you work for the government when...

The following was shared with me on email and I found it to be worth sharing with you.

You know you work for the government when...

* The process becomes more important than the product

* You don't see anything wrong with attending a meeting on a subject you know nothing about

* You feel you contributed to the meeting just by being there

* You stop raising issues/problems because you know you will be the one answering them.

* You fly first class across the country to attend a conference with 100


people to discuss the fact that the project does not have enough money.

* You work for an acronym, on an acronym, and your job title is an acronym.

* You understand the rationalization of an acronym composed of acronyms.

* You know that the location of a meeting is directly related to its importance.

(1) A meeting at Fort Hood requires a subordinate or a contractor

(2) The same meeting at Lake Tahoe requires your personal attention

* You've sat at the same desk for 3 years, done the same thing for 3 years, but have had 3 different business cards.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Whose opinion after all matters???

Whose opinion after all matters in my life??? This has been the base of all and almost every conflicts.

The Man in the Glass

When you get what you want in your struggles for pelf

And the world makes you king for a day,

Just go to a mirror and look at yourself

And see what that man has to say.

For it isn't your father or mother or wife

Whose judgment upon you must pass,

The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life

Is the one staring back from the glass.

Some people might think you're a straight-shooting chum

And call you a wonderful guy.

But the man in the glass says you're only a bum

If you can't look him straight in the eye.

He's the fellow to please, never mind all the rest

For he's with you clear to the end

And you've passed your most dangerous test

If the guy in the glass is your friend.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years

And get pats on the back as you pass

But your final reward will be heartache and tears

If you've cheated the man in the glass.