The true winner of the Nobel Peace Prize 2014

girlwithheart.jpgSometimes I just love the genius heads behind the Nobel Prize: Nobel Peace Prize for a Pakistani and at the same time for an Indian. All around the world we are the same, fight the same issues and for the same causes!

In my mind, but also in the minds, hearts and souls of many others, the two siblings have remained in a fight for too long. The time for peace has come. Obviously a single award by a committee to hand over a prize to two striking individuals of the respective countries won’t change much. But this day has the potential to become a great symbol of unity and togetherness. The day Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi, Pakistan and India, share a Nobel Prize together. And it’s not any noble prize, it is the Nobel Peace Price, shared by two countries who have to learn to set their differences aside and celebrate the common values. You may call it coincidence that both, the Pakistani and the Indian dignitary, are awarded for following Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s path of non-violent protests, I’d rather call it destiny!

Malala already said awarding the Peace Prize to a Pakistani Muslim and an Indian Hindu “gives a message to people of love between Pakistan and India, and between different religions”. The decision conveys a message that all people, regardless of language and religion, should fight for the rights of women, children and every human being.

The honorable Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon summed up both heroic works, but did not fail to state: “The true winners today are the world’s children!”

If you want to read more about what Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi have done, check out the following articles:

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Chalo Karthikeyan, Chalooooo – The tragic life of Karthikeyan

Bus in CalcuttaIt’s Thursday, the day of the week to start off into our holidays to Nepal during Durga Puja break. In order to to not miss the bus, we skipped our last class of today – obviously a very German thought – as it turns out that the bus is broken and has to be “repaired” for around two hours. Why “repaired”? Well, as far as I can tell there are five people only taking parts out of the suspension of the bus. Not really replacing it.

Well, at least that buys us more time for chai, right? We’re leaving Kolkata with two hours delay. Shouldn’t be a problem so far. We are supposed to reach Siliguri (560 km) at 9 AM in the morning and our flight from Bagdogra Airport (17 km from the bus station) should leave at 13:55.

At some point during the morning at our third stop we realize, we’re not gonna make with the bus. It’s 9 AM, we’re 250km away from Siliguri, the roads are shitty and our maximum speed is somewhere around 40km/h.

Two options: (a) Cancel the tickets, we can merely squeeze out 800 IND Rs out of each ticket, which is roughly 10 €. Or (b) we get a cab. The latter is the more challenging though, as we’re driving there is no cab stand in sight and we need to time it perfectly and obviously there is no information about the traffic ahead available. After a few calls with SpiceJet and discussions with various local ‘experts’ on the bus, I hear one of our Indian fellows shouting: “Chalo [Hindi: let’s go/move], we’re gonna show you some Bollywood action!” A passenger calls a friend who’s supposed to wait somewhere down the road.

It’s 10 AM something, we got around 200km ahead of us and a dark, determined face is awaiting us with the doors of his cab wide open. We jump in, I shout “Chalo Karthikeyan, let’s goooo”. Karthikeyan is in fact the first and only ever Indian Forumla 1 driver there is. Kumar Ram Narain Karthikeyan, born in Chennai [Tamilian, yeeaaaah], was quite a good driver, but during his 46 Formula 1 races he never won a single race, but he got some leading laps during his career, which I celebrated a lot. This is what I trusted in. My – or rather – our hope lay within our determined Narain Karthikeyan. His abilities, his car and his style should lead us in time beyond the finish line of the airport.

The motor howls, we start sweating, the first thing he does is taking a sharp turn to the right. Yeah, shortcut.. NOOO! Pit stop.. obviously he wants to secure that he receives his promised money.. so we tank up, we pay. Now, let’s go.. we can see that he’s hell of a driver.. taking short cuts, cutting buses, motorcycles and what not.. driving on the wrong lines.. But as a recent Bollywood movie quote says: “Story mein hero ho ya na ho… story hero honi chahiye.” The story may have a hero or not, but the story itself must be a hero. In this case, just as if it remains Karthikeyan’s destiny, he might have been the best driver of India, but the infrastructure just didn’t allow more. We arrive just in time to say: a beautiful rear can also endear.. and we glance at the shiny red aircraft in front of us, leaping into the sky, towards heaven, without us.

Everything happens for a reason though. Kyun? [Hindi: Why] Well.. you’ll hear soon what happenend next.

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The ‘Indian club’ of overachievers in global business

“There is nothing specifically Indian about empathy, humility, patience and an ability to dream. Yet it is these qualities that appear to have created the ‘Indian club’ of overachievers in global business.”

(Leonid Bershidsky, Why Microsoft and Everyone Else Loves Indian CEOs, 2014)


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Can Social Media support India’s transformation?

bangalore policeI recently discovered this interesting tweet by the Police Commissioner of Bangalore: M. N. Reddi. Even though we have seen similar posts in the Western world, in India – I think – this might change behavior and influence the society on a bigger scale.

As the Times of India reported last June social media platforms are helping to accelerate an emotional shift in India. Combining this phenomena with a few facts on Social Media in India does the math for me to enflame sparks of hope this could have a tremendous impact:

1.) Corruption as a buzz on Social Media in India: Beginning of this year the most discussed topic on Social Media in India was ‘Corruption’.

2.) Location of discussions on Social Media: Obviously the traffic is the highest in big hubs and thus more likely to spread faster (e.g. Mumbai alone has 3.7 million Facebook users), but on the same side of the coin 60% of Social Media traffic comes from non-metro cities in India, which could make it even a greater discussion across India.

3.) Sheer number & potential of users: Currently there are 243 million internet users in India. Total users may increase to 500 million by 2018. If you take a closer look at this numbers, it indicates that India will become larger than the US in terms of number of Internet users by the end of 2014 says Rajan Anandan (MD, Google India).

4.) Mobility of internet users: The mobile penetration of active internet users in India is 220 million. Nearly 41% of them  (92+ million) are active social media users on their mobile phones, which could make incidents spread within seconds around the whole city. This number is even predicted to grow up to 165 million by 2015.

5.) Availability/Access of Social Media: Apparently Social Media is already available to 60% of India’s population.

6.) Growth of twitter users: In 2013, twitter was expected to receive an average of 25,000 Indians joining every day.

All in all, if managed in a right way, Social Media could potentially foster an huge part of the change which is about (and needed to) happen in the Indian society tackling issues such as corruption, rape and trust into politics.






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Wanna taste some Indian sweets?

I just found this on the Internet, thank you BuzzFeed! 🙂

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The noble law of the MRP

Yesterday we discussed the Indian concept of the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) in class. What sounds like a super boring lesson, is actually quite insightful. Our professor called it a law which had noble reasoning. There have been a couple of laws dating back as far as the Consumer Protection Act in 1986 securing this.

The MRP basically has to be printed on every packaged good (e.g. any kind of bottles, cookies, etc.) which basically helps the population (especially the illiterate one) to know what price they should be paying for a product. And – for some maybe surprising – I have not found many violations to this having stayed in India for more than one year.

If you want to do further readings on this topic, here are two pages to start with:

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Cross-cultural dialogue – Stereotypes Clash

A bunch of European students enter a small Indian shop to check if their SIM cards they purchased yesterday have already been approved.

Indian: “Sorry Sir, the Airtel Office informed us that your father’s name is missing. Please note it here.” [hands over a random book with a couple of numbers and names]

Italian student [ironically]: “Ahhhh, you want my father’s name. You also want my girlfriend’s name, eeeh?” [turns around and mumbles in a slightly lowered voice] “This Indian bureaucracy isse crazyyyy, eeeeh?”

Indian [ironically, maybe slightly serious]: Ummm, no Sir. We know that you change it too often. [smiles]

[Burst of laughter in the whole shop]

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