Smile Charitable Trust Blog

  • Finding our TREASURE!

    Jun 13, 2014 by Bikash Mohanty

    We all discuss weather in a social gathering. Why is it so? It is such a neutral topic? Not only that, we discuss celebrities Jonny Deep, Angelia Jolie, Brad Pitt, Tiger Wood, Ronaldo, Nadal – but rarely we discuss people around us. Why? It is obviously to do with desire for entertainment. But at times we need to dig deeper into tricky topics to unearth a true treasure. For that we need to understand what a true treasure is. In fact; it depends, as they say. And that is right. A true treasure to me could be useless for another person and vice versa. I am not going to spend my time convincing what should be a true treasure. It is for us to finding out, our own specific pairs of true treasure.

    We all try different tricks for making ourselves feel big. We discuss all good things about us but we never discuss bad things about us openly. Why? We do everything, so that we will be unreceptive to the criticism of others. Yet others may be easily damaged by our own attacks on them. Why?

    No one knows everything, trust me. But everyone knows something or must know something or capable of knowing something and that is about just us.  Understanding ourselves better. And that is far more empowering than knowing, expecting, judging, and guessing about others.

    These circulations I have come across recently. I am sure we have all seen this. I wonder what our views on these topics are. I am attaching them below. It is Friday and weekend is just round the corner… What are your plans for the weekend? Mine is to understand myself better while doing everything I should be doing in a normal weekend. 

  • Agriculture & its impact to Global warming!

    Jun 11, 2014 by Bikash Mohanty

    When we think about threats to the environment, we tend to picture cars and smokestacks, not food. But the truth is, our need for food poses one of the biggest dangers to the planet.

    Agriculture is among the greatest contributors to global warming, emitting more greenhouse gases than all our cars, trucks, trains, and airplanes combined — largely from methane released by cattle and rice farms, nitrous oxide from fertilized fields, and carbon dioxide from the cutting of rain forests to grow crops or raise livestock. Farming is the thirstiest user of our precious water supplies and a major polluter, as runoff from fertilizers and manure disrupts fragile lakes, rivers, and coastal ecosystems across the globe. Agriculture also accelerates the loss of biodiversity. As we’ve cleared areas of grassland and forest for farms, we’ve lost crucial habitat, making agriculture a major driver of wildlife extinction.

    The environmental challenges posed by agriculture are huge, and they’ll only become more pressing as we try to meet the growing need for food worldwide. We’ll likely have two billion more mouths to feed by mid-century—more than nine billion people. But sheer population growth isn’t the only reason we’ll need more food. The spread of prosperity across the world, especially in China and India, is driving an increased demand for meat, eggs, and dairy, boosting pressure to grow more corn and soybeans to feed more cattle, pigs, and chickens. If these trends continue, the double whammy of population growth and richer diets will require us to roughly double the amount of crops we grow by 2050.

    Unfortunately the debate over how to address the global food challenge has become polarized, pitting conventional agriculture and global commerce against local food systems and organic farms. The arguments can be fierce, and like our politics, we seem to be getting more divided rather than finding common ground. Those who favour conventional agriculture talk about how modern mechanization, irrigation, fertilizers, and improved genetics can increase yields to help meet demand. And they’re right. Meanwhile proponents of local and organic farms counter that the world’s small farmers could increase yields plenty—and help themselves out of poverty—by adopting techniques that improve fertility without synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. They’re right too.

    But it needn’t be an either-or proposition. Both approaches offer badly needed solutions; neither one alone gets us there. We would be wise to explore all of the good ideas, whether from organic and local farms or high-tech and conventional farms, and blend the best of both.

    How can the world double the availability of food while simultaneously cutting the environmental harm caused by agriculture? After analyzing reams of data on agriculture and the environment, scientists have proposed five steps that could solve the world’s food dilemma.

    • Step One       : Freeze Agriculture’s Footprint
    • Step Two      : Grow More on Farms we’ve got
    • Step Three   : Use Resources More Efficiently
    • Step Four     : Shift Diets
    • Step Five      : Reduce Waste

    For most of history, whenever we’ve needed to produce more food, we’ve simply cut down forests or plowed grasslands to make more farms. We’ve already cleared an area roughly the size of South America to grow crops . To raise livestock, we’ve taken over even more land, an area roughly the size of Africa. Agriculture’s footprint has caused the loss of whole ecosystems around the globe, including the prairies of North America and the Atlantic forest of Brazil, and tropical forests continue to be cleared at alarming rates. 

    Starting in the 1960s, the green revolution increased yields in Asia and Latin America using better crop varieties and more fertilizer, irrigation, and machines—but with major environmental costs. The world can now turn its attention to increasing yields on less productive farmlands—especially in Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe —where there are “yield gaps” between current production levels and those possible with improved farming practices. 

    We already have ways to achieve high yields while also dramatically reducing the environmental impacts of conventional farming. The green revolution relied on the intensive—and unsustainable—use of water and fossil-fuel-based chemicals. 

    It would be far easier to feed nine billion people by 2050 if more of the crops we grew ended up in human stomachs. Today only 55 percent of the world’s crop calories feed people directly; the rest are fed to livestock (about 36 percent) or turned into biofuels and industrial products (roughly 9 percent).

    An estimated 25 percent of the world’s food calories and up to 50 percent of total food weight are lost or wasted before they can be consumed. 

  • Holy management techniques!!!

    Jun 8, 2014 by Bikash Mohanty

    There is an uncanny resemblance between Modern Management & stories from holy books.   It talks about people enslaved, denied dignity, who were denied freedom, who were denied resources, until profit came along.  The leader is who shows the people the vision of Promised Land and people follow his commandment, rules, dos and don’ts. The problems faced on the way to the Promised Land are called “Non-compliances”. This is how management books are designed. They start with a problem statement, the vision/mission/objectives/goals/targets, then tasks, standard operating procedures, guidance, auditors, governments, external environment, internal environment and then finally come the “Promised Land”, if everything works out well.

    If modern management books are inspired from the stories of holy books; then could Indian management be inspired from Indian mythology or puranas? In Indian mythology, there is not a single promised land; rather three promised lands. SWARG, VAIKUNTH and KAILASH!!! Swarg is where the King of the GODs resides and rule. Vaikunth is the eternal aboard of lord Vishnu/Narayan & Kailash is where lord Shiva resides together with this whole family, devotes, vahanas and care-takers.

    • Swarga has the “Kalpataru tree” or “Kamdhenu cow” or “Chintamani Jewel”. Each of them has the capability to give whatever they are ask for by the residence of swarg. This is called “infinite return without investment” in business terms . Swarg is a place where hunger is indulged, also the need, greed, want and aspiration. I ndra, the king of heaven, is prosperous but Swarga is always under attack.  Indra is always insecure. Indra gets insecure if a human/asura gets powerful or even a sage starts to pray Tridev (Bramha, Vishnu or Shiva). Indra tried all means to ensure there is no-one else more powerful/resourceful than him.

    • In contrast, Vaikuntha, where Vishnu prevails, is both peaceful and prosperous. It is like a playground. Vishnu engages with the other - he is participative. And we are referring to a business model, which is participative, and that creates benefits for all stakeholders. Lord Vishnu always lived reclining on a massive serpent and surrounded by affluence and abundances. Prosperity is accomplished with peace. It is a happy playground or “ranga bhumi”. Over here other people’s hunger is taken care by Vishnu. Vishnu takes various forms in various eras to take care of the need/want/hunger of the people. This is what the Americans call “AVATAAR”.
    • Hunger in management terms could mean the hunger of many stakeholders: shareholders, customers, employees, vendors, politicians, regulators, the environment, or even the rest of society. 
    • Inevitably, to most people, their own hunger comes first. But such an attitude (Like that of King of Gods “Indra”), would lead to a battleground and ultimately it may produce prosperity without peace.
    • The ideal model would therefore be Vaikuntha where someone else's hunger matters first. This belief can lead to a playground as opposed to a battleground and finally to prosperity with peace.
    • Kailash is the place where hunger is outgrown and is destroyed forever. There is no predator and they are no prey. Bull is Shiva’s vahana (on which the god travels); lion is Parvati’s vahana (on which the goddess travels). A lion generally kills and eats cows/bull for its food on a daily basis. Similarly a rat is Ganesh’s vahana and a peacock is Kartikeya’s vahana. Vasuki is a snake whom lord Shiva wears as a neckels around his neck. A peacock kills snakes and eats them for its food on a daily basis. And a snake kills and eats rats on a daily basis. However at Kailash all these creatures live together, next to each other, without any fear, without killing each other. This is because hunger is outgrown in Kailash. There is no need, there is no want, and there are no aspirations at Kailash. That is why Shiva and everyone at Kailash are at peace.

    So there are three promised lands in Hindu mythology; based on three different beliefs. Belief is subjective truth and to define this we need to understand the difference between animal hunger and human hunger. Human hunger is different from animal hunger in three ways:

    1. Quantity: Human are not hungry for today. They are hungry for tomorrow, day after, after retirement, for their children, for their grandchildren, for generations….so on, so forth. It’s never ending.
    2. Quality: We are not only hungry for food; we are also hungry for qualitative food or status, attainment or power, property etc.
    3. Empathy: Human can be sensitive to each other’s hunger. We stimulate other people’s hunger.

    Lord Indra believes that his hunger matter first. Lord Shiva believes that he can outgrow his hunger and Lord Vishnu believes that other people’s hunger matters first and he has to take care.

    If there is resemblances between Hindu mythology and Hindu management techniques; then which/whose hunger matters first? Is it the hunger of shareholders or that of employee’s or that of a customer or that of a supplier or that of the Government or regulators or the pressure groups or our environment and its sustainability? Same can be applied in a family situation as well; whose hunger matters first? That of a father or mother or husband or wife or children or relatives or strangers?

    We are living in a world at the moment; where we demonstrate “other people’s hunger matters to us, only after our hunger is satisfied”.  But what is celebrated in Hindu mythology is: “THE IDEA OF SATISHFYING OTHER’S HUNGER; WHICH ALSO HELPS US TO OUTGROW OUR HUNGER!”.   There is why there is no temple for Indra in Hindu religion; rather there are temples for Shiva and Bishnu. In fact; Shiva and Vishnu are considered two sides of the same coin, HARI and HARA. Outgrowing hunger is theoretical, as some people may think. Similarly it is not possible to take care of other people’s hunger ONLY; as lord Vishnu does all the time.

    So the business model as per Hindu mythology is based on three “B”s (Belief, Behaviour and Business); which says as is your belief, so is your behaviour and so is your business/outcome.

    • If we believe “our hunger matters first” – then we will deal with a battle-ground. There will be prosperity but there will not be any peace.
    • If we believe “other people’s hunger matters first” or “our hunger is outgrown” – then we will deal with a ranga bhumi or Kailash type environment. There will be prosperity with peace indeed.

    May 18, 2014 by Bikash Mohanty

    India voted, India elected and now results have been declared too.  I am happy, although I am not a BJP supporter.  I don't support any political party in India anymore.  Why then? This is because I noticed the conviction with which people of India voted. Look at this picture below. The saffron colour in the map below, are the places/constituencies where BJP (Narendra Modi’s party) won the election. Incredible!!! That why; it is the VICTORY of India and all Indian. Political landscape of India has been transformed. The SUCCESS of Narendra Modi is the most decisive mandate for any Indian leader since the 1984 assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi propelled her son Rajiv to office.

    Though a BJP win was expected, few predicted such a crushing victory. For 25 years India has been governed by coalitions, but the size of Modi's mandate means he will not have to work with allies and can set his own agenda. The party's regional strength is likely to be reinforced at local elections in coming months.

    India is full of politicians who make dramatised statements for news channel. Hee-Haa! Some say: Pakistan must watch out now, Modi will not tolerate the non-sense as the prior govt did. Some say: India is now going to surpass china’s growth and become the most powerful nation. And the politicians with local knowledge only keep their point of views to local only. They say abhi tow “Muslim logoon ka byand bajne wali hey!” (Now the Muslims in India will be deep trouble for staying in India and supporting Pakistan”. RUBBISH; YES RUBBISH!!!

    The former tea seller (Narendra Modi, our new Prime Minister to-be) would not come this far, if he had short term views as above, as his fellow party colleagues or his opponents say. I believe somehow; Narendra Modi will be different. While people are judging/guessing his political moves, strategies: Modi is spreading away some heart warming possibilities; such as    " good times ahead " or " the only solution to every problem is [economic] development – without which India's destiny will not change " or my favourite “The 21ST CENTURY IS AN ERA OF KNOWLEDGE. IF POVERTY IS TO BE ABOLISHED IN THIS COUNTRY; IT CAN BE ABOLISHED ONLY THROUGH KNOWLEDGE!”

    This election saw around 100 million first-time voters cast a vote. Modi's "Development for All" message appeared to have struck a chord with frustrated voters, particularly the young, across the nation.

    I have said in my previous post dated 30th December 2013 THE FOLLOWING: “Over a period of ten years or more, Rahul Gandhi has been touring the length and breadth of the country, going to remote areas and freely mingling with the rural people, in a determined proposition to awaken the youth to get involved in nation-building endeavours. His father late Rajiv Gandhi, took the bold initiative of amending the constitution to lower the voting age to 18, in a bid to bring about the quality of representation, in the functioning of the governments and also in the character of democracy itself.” This is what perhaps kept curiosity for Rahul/Sonia Gandhi in people’s mind and generated votes for them in last two elections. But this time around; this speciality from top congress leaders were missing. It felt as if they had accepted the defeat, even before the election. THEY WERE NOT TRYING!  

    And while that was the SLOATHY mood in the congress camp during this election; THE WISE tea-seller (MODI) had taken full advantage of it. Since being named as his party's candidate last September, Modi has flown more than 185,000 miles and addressed 457 rallies in a slick, presidential-style campaign that has broken the mould of Indian politics. A huge social media effort has reached out to voters across the nation. Modi received more than seven times the media coverage of his chief rival, Rahul Gandhi. Nope not Arvind Kejriwal. Not now. Later-later. He will have his time too.

    Until then;  we only watch and watch it properly; what the former tea-seller and now our honourable Prime Minister; Mr.Narendra Modi does… yes does…not says….

    Congratulations; Mr Modi  AND we are very proud of you and eager to see your promises come true, for INDIA. Love you.