I refuse to be pragmatic

I have to let it out. I know many of you would just shrug and wonder why I wouldn’t expect something like this to happen and make a big deal about it. Well – I expect it to happen, but I still want to make a big deal about it because I want to live in a better world with people of strong character.

We participated in a college’s recruitment process (not naming them because action of few should not cast aspersions on all). We are a bootstrapped, small company. We have limited resources. So, we decide to shortlist people with an online test. We set one up. The college is kind enough to set up supervision for us. But since the test is online, the students obviously have access to Internet. As it turns, out one of the programming questions is easy to find on Internet. We shortlist the students who perform decently and start interviewing them. I think you can guess what happens at this stage. Before interviews we look at their code. There are two or three sets of answers. And they have exactly same spacing inconsistencies, although the variable names have been changed and some have used “for” loop instead of “while”. Then we discuss the same problem that they solved in the test during the interview. Most of them have no clue about it. We still go ahead with the interviews, because it just doesn’t seem right that the college should have knowingly allowed cheating. Yet – something is wrong. Then by a stroke of luck, we figure it out. They had managed to find that question on Internet. And there were several solutions. Each set had chosen one of those solutions, changed the variable names, but forgot to check the indentation and spacing, whose abnormalities were the same for all those who copied the same answer.

No. I am not pragmatic. I won’t interview them any further. I terminated the recruitment process. I won’t continue just because “anyone would have done it” or “they are kids” or “it was my responsibility to make sure that they had no way of cheating available”. I might be a nobody and might not be able to change this big, bad world. Too many people might get away with unethical acts. And they need not just be the big shots, but even common people, like us. But when I have some power, the message I want to send is that it’s not okay to be unethical, it’s not okay to cheat. And I don’t want those who didn’t cheat to think “if only I had also cheated.”

And I absolutely don’t want such employees in my company who ethics and honesty I can not rely on.

P. S. The institute or the supervisors have not encouraged cheating. I am not blaming them at all. But I wasn’t going to hire the institute. I was going to hire individuals, whose ethics are questionable.

I refuse to be pragmatic.

Modi-Sarkar

Usually I post form the blog to facebook. This time it is the other way round :)

Pages manage करने हैं चार,
FB से नहीं भाग सकती यार।

नया-नया है केजरीवाल,
काँग्रेस पर anti-incumbency का भार,
वापस आ गये येद्दी और BSR,
तोड़ ही लोगे बचे दो-चार।

तो दिमाग का मत करो दही-अचार,
बन जाएगी तुम्हारी मोदी-सरकार।

If Queen were an Indian soap….

  1. The groom would have made his decision just before the phreas.
  2. Instead of gracefully retreating, the neighbours would have stood in a circle blaming the girl, her character and her family for the issue. (How could they let a young girl go around with her fiancee for years without getting married first?)
  3. Dadi would have blamed Mom for raising a characterless daughter and Mom would have taken out the frustration on the daughter, while brother, father and uncles would have hopelessly watched.
  4. The girl would have been dehydrated after shedding hundred kilolitres of tears over several months.
  5. Then a random out-of-the-blue character would have emerged who would have encouraged the girl to take her fate in her hands and given her a brilliant idea.
  6. The girl would have donned a sexy avatar and met the guy in a night-club.
  7. Due to her make-up and new dress the guy wouldn’t have recognized her as his desi-girl fiancée and would have fallen hard for the girl donning strapless and high heels.
  8. They would have met in the night-club repeatedly, until she would have gotten into some trouble.
  9. The trouble would have been such that it would have made guy suspect her character and suddenly that part would have been very important to him.
  10. Another random out-of-the-blue character would have emerged whose sole purpose in life would have been to bring the soul-mates together.
  11. With some random plans of this random out-of-the-blue character, the soul-mates would have met and would have fallen in each other arms equally randomly, making them realize their soul-mateness.
  12. But they would have held off, started fighting, until the random-out-of-the-blue character would have gotten them drunk and made one of them confess.
  13. There would have been awkwardness and some other subplot would have derailed the reconciliation.
  14. Couple of years later another random out-of-the-blue character would have made another person drink bhaang on holi and finally the soul-mates would have united. Until the evil mother-in-law or sister-in-law entered the plot, of course…

I got carried away.

Thank God, it wasn’t an Indian soap. Go, watch it. It’s nice :)

Dabbling seriously into e-books world

Now that InstaScribe is out in the world – albeit in a nascent stage – seriousness around e-books is building up in my life. What better than to eat your dogfood. I have started creating the EPUB files for summaries using InstaScribe. And finally released the e-book version of “Moving On“.

e-books open up new possibilities of doing cost-effective marketing too. So, I am organizing an e-book giveaway on librarything. Here is the list of all giveaways. You need to scroll down the page or search the page for “Moving On” or “Jaya Jha” and you can request a copy through it. You will need to be a librarything user, of course. Or sign up for an account.

Also thinking of using Kindle’s KDP select programme for promotion. Let’s see what happens.

Meanwhile, if you are looking at creating and publishing e-books, do sign up for InstaScribe’s beta program.

AAP, Kejriwal, Democracy etc.

So, will AAP change things? As the cliche goes, nothing changes overnight.

Is there hope? Yes. Arvind Kejriwal and his closest ally currently come across as people with

  • Genuinely good intentions (rajniti badalni hai)
  • Strong integrity (hum desh ki seva karne nikle hain, satta paane ke liye nahin)
  • Understanding of practical day-to-day things (agar aapse koi rishwat maangta hai to mana mat karein, de dein, aur corruption hotline par phone karein)
  • Willingness and ability to get their hands dirty (the entire process of forming the party, facing the initial ridicule, still fighting the elections and winning).

If I see obstacles, it is not because I imagine Arvind Kejriwal giving a monstrous laughter sitting on CM’s chair in the privacy of his office that he has fooled the entire nation (barring the few clever social media supporters of older parties). No, I don’t doubt his intentions and integrity failing, and hopefully, neither those of his closest colleagues. I am not worried about bureaucrats impeding his war against corruption in Delhi either. If a bureaucrat or an activist tries to fight corruption, he is really too powerless. If a CM wants to do it, the obstacles will be surmountable.

The problems that would come are the problems of democratic process.

  1. Democracy, AAP and Kejriwal want to do what aam aadmi wants. Problem comes when
    • AAM aadmi doesn’t want the right thing: If the media would stop conducting polls amidst urban elites and go to all the aam aadmi’s of the country, what would the majority think of legalizing homosexuality? Will AAP support what aam aadmi wants? Or will it take a high moral ground? The humility that makes Kejriwal and his colleagues so endearing, will it let them take that high moral ground over the sentiments of majority of aam aadmi? Will aam aadmi still accept them if they did so?
    • Two sections of AAM aadmi’s want different things: What is the right side on an issue like reservation? Those who opposed increasing reservation quotas were no less of aam aadmi’s than those who favoured it.
  2. I will repeat what Will Durant says Plato said: Aristocracy ruins itself by limiting the circle of power too narrowly, oligarchy because of its scramble for immediate wealth. Democracy is also a problem because people are not properly equipped by education to select the best rulers and the wisest courses. They have no understanding, and only repeat what their rulers are pleased to tell them. Ultimately the most unscrupulous flatterer rises to power. If in simpler matter – like shoe making – we think only a specially-trained person will serve our purpose, shouldn’t we look for the service of the wisest and the best for ruling us. And not the handsomest, or the most eloquent one. 

    Indian politics, after independence, was not always devoid of principles and good intentions. A constitution of the kind we have, universal suffrage, fundamental rights, well balanced arms of governance, these could not have come our way if we didn’t have well-meaning politicians. And yet – like other forms of government, democracy destroys itself, by being too much of itself, by being too democratic. How much and for how long will AAP be able reverse the decline?

Despite the concerns, I am not predicting doom. Not in immediate future anyway. I am looking forward, very curiously, to the changes AAP is going to bring. Because we haven’t found the perfect form of government despite so many thousands of years of trying. Until then, we have to do with democracy. And so long has leaders have strong moral fiber, there is hope. When damnation of democracy takes place again, well… we will see.