Saturday, August 29, 2015

Population growth- a glaring problem which India needs to tackle on priority basis.

India's recent census data which is released very recently, reveals continuous growth of its population. The trend which was observed in all previous census data is continued in this one also. With only 2.4% of world's surface area, India accounts for around 17.5% of its population. Obviously this puts enormous strain on available natural resources and infrastructure of the country. The only relief from this data is that population growth rate among both dominant religions of India (Hindu and Muslim) seems to be reducing compared to past which is a very good sign. Actually it is wrong to look at the population data from perspective of any religion but anyone knowing about India and its politics understands that whenever this data is released it is heavily used by many political parties to reap political benefits, to create communal divide by polarizing opinions. Religion definitely plays some role in deciding family structure and social behavior of people but it will be utterly wrong and stupid to account growth or lack of growth of particular section of society only to their religion. Many news paper headlines also report this data in form of Hindu growth or Muslim growth style, this type of interpretation or presentation is utterly wrong and not helpful for India society.

Uncontrolled population growth and declining male to female ratio are among some of very serious problems India is facing for decades. Lot of efforts are being done on government level to deal with these issues without much success. Actually in one way large population can be considered as asset as it created bigger market and large work force. But if this asset is not managed properly then it can create so many problem s and liabilities. Current PM, Mr. Modi always mention India's huge population, especially its younger people as nation's asset and he is right in doing so. But this asset if not engaged in meaningful activities can cause lot of chaos and disturbance, one recent example of this is huge unrest caused in Gujarat by demand of reservation by youths belonging to Patel community. Ever growing population means ever growing demand of infrastructure, food and energy. The problem is by the time any infrastructure project is finished (say in 10 years or so) the population growth of that region makes that project inadequate, so the purpose for which that project was started is not normally met. And this is the problem of India's most of the government run schemes and projects, the burden of population makes most of them useless or ineffective.

Spreading awareness about use of contraceptives and communicating benefits of family planning effectively are the only options to control the population growth, many previous governments have done some good job in this sectors but this needs to be a continuous process. Blaming any particular community, caste or religion is not going to help anyone, this attitude might benefit or harm certain political party but it is definitely not going to solve this issue. Actually there are certain issues on which all political parties should work collectively as these are important issues for India it want to progress and population control is definitely one of them. So if at all they are serious about these issues then they won't play politics on this, we need to wait and watch to see how these political outfits use this data. I hope that this data is used to make good governance policies and programs not to play some dirty politics to win some election. If properly analyzed and studied such data can be very useful in formulating and implementing various type of social and educational programs which can produce long term positive results for all communities and sections of society. Such data is very important tool for any government, it tells lot of important information but unfortunate part is governments rarely use it effectively for this purpose. This problem is very serious and very important for India if it wants to transform into a country with proper infrastructure and comfortable living for most of its citizens. Burden of ever growing population can derail many ambitious plans and projects so if India and we Indians are at all serious about welfare of our country then we need to tackle this glaring problem with all seriousness and honesty otherwise no matter what and how we built unbearable weight of population is bound to crush it and I don't think anyone of us want this to happen.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]

Links:
1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Census_of_India

Friday, August 21, 2015

Sara's encounter with rural India.

During my India visit this time, my daughter Sara visited my ancestral villages in state of Uttar Pradesh (UP) for the first time. She was less than a year old when she visited my paternal village but she didn't have any memories about that visit. here is a huge difference between life style today's city kids live and life in undeveloped rural places. Because of this I was really curious about how she will react to this visit. Weather of month of August is not very kind in most of UP, it is extremely hot and humid, occasional rain brings some relief but otherwise it is somewhat extreme weather specially for someone who is not used to live there. When we came out of Lal Bahadur Shastri international air port, it was like entering into some hot oven, one can clearly feel the difference between temperature and humidity of air inside airport and outside of it. This is how her journey to UP began.

Her first impression of holy city of Varanasi was not that great, she really disliked excessive honking by drivers on road. Initially she tried to count how many times my cousin who was driving the car honked but after 10-15 times within short span of 2-3 minutes she gave up that task. Presence of stray dogs and other animals on road was also surprising for he, actually she saw these things in movies but in Pune where we spend most of our time during India visit this scene is not very common but this is not the case in Varanasi or other parts of UP. Then at our first stop her utter discomfort with Indian style toilets and lack of toilet papers was clearly visible, she didn't complain about this but I could see that she was trying as much as possible to avoid using such toilets. Then there were these mosquitoes, who bothered me also but I was familiar with these problems but for Sara dealing with them was literally a nightmare. Presence of cow in close vicinity of room where she slept didn't help the cause, but she managed to survive and still trying to figure out why the heck people keep cows in their home when cow dunk stinks so much? She also visited few homes in Varanasi with air conditioners and really loved cool and less humid environment, it was like oasis for her. Thanks to one unwritten political rule in UP, which is if MP or MLA representing your area is occupying some top or important post in government that area gets good supply of electricity and preferred treatment. Current prime minister Mr. Modi is MP from Varanasi it is having reasonably uninterrupted supply of electricity, so it was very comforting thing and a huge improvement compared to situation in past, Mr. Modi should get credit for this. I do criticize him or his government whenever I feel that they are not doing good job so it is important that I should give his team credit or appreciate their efforts wherever I see they are doing good job. One should appreciate Mr. Modi's effort to make his constituency a better place, I hope people also cooperate with him. 

From Varanasi we went to my paternal and maternal villages, we just stayed there for couple of days. Supply of electricity follows same political rule is UP villages also so our village representative is not from ruling party so it doesn't get any preferred treatment. Electricity went off at 8 PM on the day we reached there and supply was not restored for next 36 or 40 hours. We have to rent a power generator to survive that brutal heat and humidity, even sitting right in front of the cooler was not that comfortable but it was better compared to not having any fan or cooler. Among all these inconvenience and discomfort Sara had a great time in meeting some really wonderful people. Wherever she went people greeted her with lot of enthusiasm and joy. They all went out of their way to make her feel comfortable, they tried to make sure that she doesn't feel discomfort because of harsh weather of lack of certain facilities. This was really special part of her experience, she utterly disliked the facilities but loved people. She was amazed to see their tolerance limit and ability to adjust to harsh conditions. I was also surprised to see her efforts to adjust to these totally alien environment. This was surprise for me as it was coming from a girl who used to make a big deal about slow internet connection. She also tried her best to communicate with those people, engage in conversation to know about their life and problems (specially with kids of her age). Wherever required she tried to break the ice and initiate discussions and also controlled her aggression during discussions to make those kids feel comfortable. She commented on various gender discriminatory practices like ghunghat pratha, which is similar to burqa where women are expected to cover their head/face in front of elders or strangers. Most of the time people ignored her comments but eve then she persisted with it and tried to tell them that these things are not right if implemented in gender selective way. We also traveled to river Ganga near my village, I always love to visit Ganga river at this spot rather than on any ghats of Varanasi. At Varanasi water is very dirty and atmosphere is heavily commercialized, lot of so called holy men (pandas) try to mob you to do some useless rituals for so many irrelevant things. But same river near my village appears really calm, clean and grand. Its natural surroundings with birds like peacocks and many trees along with one small temple makes it more beautiful. For me this river is not any special than many other rivers but just because some of my childhood memories are associated with it I love to visit it if possible.

Sara's encounter with Indian railways was not that pleasant, two of our trains got cancelled on very short notice and the one which actually departed left almost 16 hours late of its scheduled departure time. I wrote about this experience in my one of previous blog post. Actually this experience had really negative impact on her mind about status of governance in India, she was shocked to see utter chaos at train station with no one having any clue about at what time exactly the train will depart. I have to take lot of efforts to tell her that this was not a regular scenario but she was not at all convinced. I don't think she will dare to travel by Indian railway in near future. But her over all experience was really positive, she really loved people and will always remember their loving and caring nature. I am sure love and affection for these people will bring her back again and again to this place. I wanted her to have wholesome experience of India, I wanted her to know that India is not just a city like Pune or Mumbai where things are very comfortable (except traffic and pollution).Very often when we face reality face to face we learn more compared to just hearing about it, watching it on screen or reading in book. I am glad that she chose to come with me on this journey of rural India. I also discovered a new person in her which I didn't know so far. It was a learning experience to both of us and I hope she takes all positives from this experience and try to grow as a person.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Clean India...still a very distant dream.

It is almost 10 months since 'Swachh Bharat abhiyan' (clean India movement) was announced by Indian prime minister Mr. Narendra Modi aamong lot of fan fair and media coverage. I visited India in October 2014 immediately after announcement of this ambitious project by PM, previous governments also tried similar projects but with very limited success. I loved this idea because I also think that India need to take this type of movement very seriously. Clean surroundings are one of the basic things which any country aspiring to be super power or even a dominant global force should try to achieve as fast as possible. This is my second India visit after announcement of this program but I fail to see any appreciable difference. Now before any Modi bhakts attack me for being unfair in criticizing central government without giving them sufficient time to implement this idea let me clarify that I didn't expect to see clean and shining India during this visit which is within first year of announcement of this scheme. I understand that this is not that easy and will take some time and effort but I am talking about 'some noticeable difference' like trash cans on road sides or more number of toilets, etc. I visited PM's own constituency Varanasi this time also, while in past few years there is lot of good work done in this city by a IAS officer called Pranjal Yadav, who is now transferred to some different post by state government, I failed to see any noticeable difference this time. I really felt bad that state govt transferred this efficient officer without allowing him to transform this city with help of very capable and powerful MP who happens to be Indian prime minister, but this is part of politics which happens when state and center have different party governments. I should also mention that I didn't travel to Ganga ghats this time because of lot of crowd and traffic congestion so I don't know what is the situation over there. This is month of 'Shravan' by Hindu calendar, many festivals come during this month and lot of devotees gather in these so called holy cities which put lot of strain on its infrastructure. Very few cities are equipped to handle such huge inflow of humans and vehicles. Very often their infrastructure crumbles and there is lot of inconvenience caused to residents, regular commuters and other visitors. I experienced this personally this time, I was shocked to see that entire half of major highway like GT road was reserved for 'kawarias' (people who walk from Allahabad to Varanasi barefoot carrying Ganga water on their shoulders). Let me tell you that GT road is not some ordinary road but it is a national highway (interstate) and the only major road connecting these two major cities, so now for this entire month on this interstate high way both ways have to use one side that too without any divider, one can only imagine the risk factor of travelling on these type of roads. I saw some damaged vehicles  because of accidents lying on the road side which is expected in such risky driving conditions. This is not a one day or few hours arrangement but it will be like this for more than a month!!! I couldn't believe that state government and other law makers couldn't come up with some other viable alternative other than blocking half of the highway for almost a month.

Actually clean India cannot be a government's responsibility alone, no doubt that they have to provide required infrastructure in which they are not doing very good job but this movement should be pushed by residents of India because after all they will be the ultimate beneficiary if this happens. Their quality of life will be improved tremendously in this project is a success. I noticed that very few people are really bothered about making this movement a real success. Most of them show a very casual and careless attitude towards it, they themselves are not willing to contribute anything positive towards this task and complain that 'nothing can be changed in this country'. I always try to question this attitude but with very limited success, my question to them is, 'if you are not willing to change who you expect to change things for you?'. I agree that government is not doing its job properly but people are also not making it easy for government by not at all cooperating. On Varanasi station I saw a cleaning person cleaning the platform and people immediately spitting or throwing wrappers behind his back. Because of all this platforms still stink, animals like bulls, cows or dogs freely roam not only on roads but also on train platforms of Varanasi! This needs to change if Indians are at all serious about making India clean. My first impression about how this program is progressing almost after a year of its launch is not that good, I hope this changes in near future. I hope government works aggressively to develop proper infrastructure which makes it easy for people to dispose all type of waste properly. I hope people also cooperate with the government and follow a hygienic and responsible public behavior. Currently clean India looks like a very distant dream, but I don't think it is a impossible dream. Present government is claiming to work very aggressively and sincerely on many important projects, so I hope this is on top of their priority list. Clean India is necessity for all Indians and unless all of us collectively work towards it, it will remain a distant dream. Let's change it, let's clean it.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]

Friday, August 14, 2015

Open letter to Mr. Suresh Prabhu, do you think you owe any explanation to agitated passengers?

Dear Mr. Suresh Prabhu,
I never imagined I have to write a open letter like this to anyone forget about writing to railway minister of India. Before starting my letter let me mention that I have highest regards for your knowledge and capabilities, I am also a great admirer of some of the work which you did as a minister in previous NDA government that is why I am not that happy to write this letter but I think I don't have any other option. 

Let me also tell you that till my last trip which was just yesterday I was a big fan and a staunch supporter of Indian railways. No one ever managed to convince me not to travel by train in spite of air travel becoming very common and affordable. I always preferred it as my mode of travel for long distance travel, I always enjoyed my train journey in spite of some inconvenience in booking the ticket because of heavily crowded and forever over booked Pune-Varanasi route. But all these things never discouraged me to travel by train even on very short visits to India where time is a very important factor. I always valued and looked forward to my train journeys as they are integral part of my childhood memories. But what no one ever managed to do all those years (almost four decades) your department managed to do it during just one journey. My last train journey was one of the most horrible customer service experience I ever had with any organization in world. First of all I don't think Indian railway believes in anything like customer service, even on inquiry window of Varanasi junction the concerned person was answering queries of passengers as if he was doing some kind of favor on them. I hope you are having a great time while enjoying your posting as Indian railways minister, I hope you understand that this post comes with many perks as well as many responsibilities. I hope you have good idea about how this whole organization works and how this system functions (if at all it exists). So with all this background now let me tell you about my horrible experience with the organization you are currently heading which in return forced me to write this letter.

I booked my return travel from Varanasi to Pune by Gyan ganga express (train No. 22132) for 12th August  it was scheduled to depart at 4.35 AM. On 8th August, just one day before my departure from Pune, people told me that it will get cancelled as the train which goes to Varanasi  from Pune (22131) and returns as Gyan ganga express is cancelled. This was based on some local news paper report, we couldn't confirm this from official web site or help line number. I still wonder what was the source of that news paper or was it a mere guess? But I thought that if it is that obvious then railway website and help line should clearly mention this, but both didn't have any information about cancellation of either trains. But as everyone sounded so confident I booked another ticket for train to Mumbai leaving on 13th (train number 12168) as there was no other train for Pune. I did this not to derail my travel plans just in case if their prediction turns out to be better and more accurate than railway website and helpline. I reached Varanasi on 9th August, on 10th night my brother informed me that my train on 12th is cancelled officially as per railway website, so it seems they all were right and guessed it much before railway department. I was amazed that as a passenger travelling by that train I didn't receive any official communication about this cancellation. I can't believe that in this era when cell phone has become such a common commodity in India, Indian railway doesn't have a SMS (text) information system for its customers where they can inform their passengers about delays and cancellations well in advance to avoid any inconvenience to them. I also wonder why online update system is so slow to update any relevant information. It fails to deliver specially when there is some sort of confusion and people try to get relevant information from website as it is the official source. I immediately booked another ticket (third one) via 'tatkal' for train 12168 departing on 12th August which was scheduled to reach Lokmanya Tilak terminus on 13th August at 12.25 PM. So just to make sure I had three confirmed tickets in my hand, but with no guarantee that any one of them will take me to Pune or Mumbai on 13th. Don't you think this uncertainty should be a matter of great concern for person in charge of such a old and great institution like Indian railways? Don't you think as a passenger who pay full fair and rely on scheduled timetable of trains for their travel and other plans your system should try to be more accurate and should be more considerate towards their inconvenience?

But the story doesn't end here, on 12th morning I came to know that train 12168 scheduled to depart on 13th got cancelled, so I was left with only one option of train 12168 on 12th which was not yet cancelled. Many people advised me to take flight as they were not sure that even this one will run on time but I was adamant that reaching Pune 6-7 hrs after my earlier plan is not a big deal if it allows me to experience train journey with my daughter and mom. But it seems I was living in fools paradise by believing your website and help line which kept on informing me till 11th night that train is scheduled to depart on right time (10.25 AM). My village is almost 2 hrs journey from Varanasi, so we started our preparations early in the morning on 12th, we planned to leave around 8.00 AM to reach Varanasi ~10.00 AM. By chance my cousin who happened to be the only person carrying smart phone with internet pack checked current status of our train and found that it was delayed by 6 hrs and 35 minutes and was rescheduled to leave on 5 PM. Then also I thought not too bad, it happens as I knew that trains are getting rescheduled because of recent accident near Harda in MP. So based on that information we left our village around 2.30 PM, on my way I called railway help line number 139 to inquire about train status and they informed me that it is scheduled to depart at 5.00 PM from platform 9. We reached Varanasi at 4.30 PM, electronic board on station was showing scheduled departure time at 5 PM, I met some passengers waiting there since 9 AM as they didn't have any smart phone or when they checked web site told them that train was scheduled to depart on right time. The inquiry counter was flooded with people asking about that same train as people were running out of patience as they were getting different information from different sources. Surprisingly the guy at the counter instead of being more understanding and sympathetic towards agitated passengers started loosing his patience with each person asking about the same train. His replies started sounding more angry and arrogant,  finally he declared that train will only depart once train 12167 arrives at Varanasi and he didn't have any idea when it will arrive. Can you believe this? Do you expect and justify this kind of response from official counter of railway department? After this announcement he literally ordered everyone standing in line to inquire about that train along with others waiting for the same train to leave the place and come back around 10.00 PM to get any further information. He even called police personnel to disperse the crowd around the inquiry window. Amazingly the screen on station was still showing departure time for the train at 5.00 PM!!!!

The nightmare doesn't end here, I saw many people in that heat and humidity with kids as young as 2 or 3 months sitting there helplessly as they had nowhere to go and had no option but to wait indefinitely for that train. I checked waiting rooms for passengers, they were already over crowded with people sitting on floor. I really felt bad for all those people who blamed their fate for this situation and told me not to be so surprised and shocked as this is how this system works. Many also told me that there won't be any use of registering any complain as no one will bother to pay any attention towards it. Mr. Prabhu, can you believe what people think about your department and how low expectations they have from it? If this doesn't concern and worry you I wonder what will? At 10.00 PM on line update was that it will leave at 11 PM, I came back to Varanasi station at 10.45 to find that finally train 12167 has arrived and 12168 will depart at 11.55 PM. Then at 11.55 PM they announced it will depart at 12.30 AM (on 13th August), and after 12.30 AM they stopped making any further announcements about that train. I was wondering that even after train being arrived at Varanasi station how come these people can't tell passengers the exact time of its departure? What kind of system is this which changes its previous announcements at last minute with zero regard for its passengers convenience? Why these people have no respect and concern towards their passengers many of whom are waiting since morning? No one around me had any answers for all these questions, I hope that at least you have some courtesy and courage to explain all this. Finally train arrived at 1.00 AM, and departed around 1.30 AM, almost 15 hrs after its scheduled departure which was changed I don't know how many times.

Journey was good, I enjoyed it in spite of shocking incident of theft of cell phone of my mom. The passenger who came to our compartment after ticket checker (TC) send him when he found out that one passenger didn't show up while scanning the compartment. This person stole her phone in broad day light, that too from compartment which had attendants and was supposed to be safe and secure. He took advantage of situation of already tired and dejected passengers who were trying to catch up with their lost sleep. I tried to register the complain with TC who indirectly blamed me for this incident and told me to call 138, who then told to call 182. Finally they registered my complaint and promptly sent police on next station to inquire about it and register the FIR. It was a pleasant surprise to see that at least something was working and I give them full credit for their prompt response. Police officer told me not to worry as they will surely find the phone and return it to my mom, I don't think they will but it was so nice of him to be sympathetic towards our inconvenience and it was great feeling to hear some comforting words from someone who at least didn't blame me for being in this situation and I really thank him for that.

Now, Mr. Prabhu if you get chance to read this, what you have to say about all this? Do you think you owe any explanation or at least a sincere apology to all those passengers who went through so much inconvenience and trauma? Do you think that all those passengers should be compensated for all this inconvenience? Based on many people's suggestion I don't expect any answers but still I am trying to reach you. Why this department is so unconcerned about needs and convenience about millions of passengers who rely on it for their daily travel needs? Why there is no concept of customer care, specially among people who are supposed to deal with customers directly? Why people at inquiry window loose patience so fast, when it is their job to answer all queries no matter how many times people ask? Why system is so slow and pathetically inaccurate to update status of their own trains? Why TCs fail to do their job properly and blame passengers? (for our entire journey no one came to check our tickets, they only scanned compartment to check for vacant seats). I hope you have answers to at least some of these questions and bother to respond. If not me I think millions of passengers deserve your attention and apology, they also need some sort of promise from you that such things will stop happening or will be rare events rather than a norm.

Please look into this matter seriously before someday passengers react violently against this mismanagement. I hope this letter sounds a wake up alarm in your ears rather than thinking it as a attack or criticism by some frustrated passenger.

Eagerly waiting for your reply,
Sincerely,
One agitated passenger.

Friday, August 7, 2015

I am a minority so I understand their insecurity.

Some time back I wrote a post about why rights of minorities (in any sense not just religious minorities) matter in any civilized and progressive society. The reason why I am so aware and sensitive towards rights of minorities is because I find myself representing a minority opinion in almost each and every discussion or debate I participate. I don't affiliate or attach myself with any particular religion, group, philosophy or sect, I prefer to be a independent voice. Normally I find people are very polarized about their views; you are either pro gay rights, anti war, pro poor, pro abortion or anti gay rights, pro war, anti abortion; in India even after supporting a terror act committed by Hindu mob then people can call themselves a nationalist but if you do the same for Muslim mob then you are labeled as a traitor or Pakistani. Like this people conveniently divide themselves based on whatever line suits them, you are either with them or against them there is no possibility of middle ground. You are either liberal or conservative, either communal or secular, it is about which side you want to choose not about which ideas or principles you support. People treat others not supporting their own views or ideas almost like enemies, they often tend to fight based on party lines not based on the ideas and views. The word 'bipartisan' only exists in speeches.

I personally find some good ideas with one section and some good ideas with other section who are often at loggerheads against each other. This makes me a unique minority, when if I am arguing or discussing with liberals they think I am a conservative person and if I am discussing something with conservative person they think I am a liberal. This also makes me to have no political affiliation of my own, I support issues and ideas not political parties or leaders so I am always considered as supporter of 'Y' party in group of X' party people and you can put any names in place of X or Y. Because of all this I call myself a unique minority and understand very well why it matters to protect their voice. No matter whether we agree with their opinions or not, no matter if we are comfortable with what someone saying or not any civilized society needs to protect voice of dissent. They need to create and maintain the atmosphere where everyone is comfortable in sharing their views and concerns. And one should not confuse this with minority appeasement, that is all together separate issue. Minority doesn't need any extra favors they should be given equal rights and space, that' it, no more no less.

For any majority if they want it is easy to crush any voice or objection against them, it is easy to intimidate or scare a person who is is minority. This is why it becomes a responsibility of majority to create that conducive and healthy atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable as only they have the power to do this. It is quite natural for minorities to feel insecure if majority or even part of majority shows any hostile attitude towards them. Fortunately so far I happen to live in societies where dissent was never questioned with life threat, off course there was criticism, resistance and ridicule which is expected but so far there is no physical threat to me for expressing my views and objections. But when I see people threatening others just for expressing different line of thoughts even in social media, this makes me think why there is so much hatred for dissent? Why can't people discuss and debate rather than threatening each other. I hope the importance of having voices who object or criticize is not forgotten by people who enjoy the power, I remember how people like Jawaharlal Nehru gave so much importance for listening to other side of story. I hope this culture and attitude stays or rather steps up to next level rather than moving towards majoritarianism. This is why I speak in favor of minorities rights to raise their voice, I speak in favor of discussion and debates rather than obedience to implement certain policies. Let's hope that world still believes in moving together rather than moving towards direction which certain powerful group feels is right for everyone. 

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]

Link:
1. http://selfrealization-vinay.blogspot.com/2014/09/why-rights-of-minorities-matter-in-any.html

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Money can buy happiness.

"Money can't buy happiness", we often hear this tag line repeated during many conversations, seminars, lectures or motivational talks and the funny thing is that most people who offer this advise charge money to give those lectures or sermons. Actually it is very easy to say that money can't solve all the problems or money can't buy happiness but can lack or money or acceptance of poverty solves all the problems or results in happiness? Actually happiness is a state of mind it depends on so many factors and differs from person to person. Every person defines happiness in their own way, unnecessarily people try to standardize the definition of happiness and with that intention such statements start appearing in mainstream media. There was a time in my life when I used to think that money can solve 'all' the problems, this thinking was because of our financial and social situation at that time. During that phase of my life reason for most of our problems and troubles was lack of money. We continuously felt shortage of money almost for every thing starting from education, home, travel, etc. I still think that money can solve most of the problems but not all and this is true for any other remedy, there is not a single solution for all problems faced by any individual.

Actually the statement 'money can't buy happiness' is result of money oriented culture, we need money to buy almost everything in this world. It is the ultimate currency in which everyone believes, people may or may not believe in religion, god, science, government, media but almost everyone believes in money. Because of universal acceptance of money as a symbol of power and status its possession is directly linked to happiness. It is not right to assume that amount of money is directly proportional to amount of happiness. Because as I said happiness depends on so many things and money is just one of them. Everyone has different needs and desires but in today's world because of aggressive marketing and very stereotypical culture of society there is very narrow definition of happiness and everyone tries to fit into that definition. So the ultimate aim for most of people in society is to earn enough money to buy as many things as possible from all kinds of markets around us which they think will result in creating happiness in their lives. This desire to earn 'enough' money then becomes sole purpose of life, and that 'enough' is never achieved because as the time passes the needs or more accurately desires keep on changing and the definition of 'enough money' also keeps on changing. So this continuous chase creates many problems in person's life, issues like stress, anxiety, frustrations, lack of quality free time, some other health related issues, even relationships start getting affected and ultimately the happiness for which all this quest was started remains a very distant goal. At this junction this advise 'money can't buy happiness' starts making sense but it is not fault of money that it can't buy happiness for that particular person it is fault of that person that he or she can't be happy in whatever money he or she has. There is nothing wrong to have desire to make more money, this desire can result in very successful and productive professional life, which in turn can generate lot of happiness. Money does have capacity to solve many problems, it can help many people to achieve their dreams but only if it is properly used for those purposes. At the same time its possession or lack of presence can cause lot of issues, so one needs to strike the balance as per their own needs and requirements. Many people struggle because of their inability to strike this balance.

Money holds certain status and power in today's world and no one can deny this. Its proper use can result in lot of happiness and comfort in anyone's life. But this needs lot of proper planning and execution of those plans. I believe that money can buy happiness and I am saying this based on my personal experience. How much money one needs to be happy differs from person to person, there is no standard chart to correlate money and happiness. I know that money can't solve all the problems but nothing else also can't do it so there is no use to blame money for this. I believe that with proper use money can bring lot of happiness in our lives. It all depends on how we use it, after all it is a weapon in our hand given by the markets of the world, and please remember that it has capacity to hurt us if not used properly. So use money wisely, be prosperous and be happy.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]