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[Book Review] – Living Hinduism – Scriptures, Philosophy, Practices by Samarpan

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[Disclaimer : We had the opportunity of reviewing the previous works of the author. Those were all in the story form. This is different – this is a survey of something which is beyond survey, not for its vastness alone but for the subject matter itself. In 240 pages, the author has attempted and attempted very successfully to convey the essentials and also with an eye to the contemporary time. The word “ancient” is silently present behind the word Hindu / Hindoo in discourse  and for some mysterious reason, this “ancient fossil” aspect appears to have gotten new lease of Life in each historical age. Had this been not so, this book would not have been written ] 

More than two thousand five hundred years back, Buddhism and Jainism were contemporaries and Budhha and Mahavir  preached in the same locality quite often and one of the areas is present Bihar. Their world-view were sometimes radically different. People listened to both –  to Tirthankar and Tathagata with no disturbance. Both the tradition flourished and endured.

The book quotes from a credible source ( a Frenchman writing a book entitled L‘Inde des Rajahs)  narrating an incident in Benares in 1876 where a missionary was preaching Christianity and admonishing people of worshiping of the black rock as rank idolatry. People listened to and no disturbance at all. Everyone went with their own business.

The tradition continues. 

The book is a part of that continuity. This itself is a success and the title of the book confirms it.

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Without much ado, let me clarify my position as a reader-reviewer, a Hindu/Hindoo and disclose the metaphorical and literal lens I shall be using.  With the charge of being arbitrary completely accepted, I may say that for a Hindu born in India after 1750, it is historically impossible to have any “pure Hindu” lens. First, the source Vedic text needed some “made easy dictionaries” almost a thousand years back to understand. Second, the nature, structure, richness and infinite malleability of Sanskrit language. Third,  discontinuity in the political / government sphere due to repeated foreign contact, attack, hit-and-run, capitulation and consolidation of political power by successive foreign elements.

In this way, India can be considered a feminine womb which has always attracted the most vigorous and out-bound masculine forces in history.  Swami Vivekananda ruminates while visiting ruins of Capitol in Rome : “.. from where all-powerful Ceasars used to rule larger part of the world, today spider is weaving its net in the Capitoline Hill…” and then he reminds us that “.. if ancient sages come back to India today, they will not be at all bewildered for they will see the inner unity in all the outward variety.”  [ Paraphrased by reviewer ]

It is true. No civilization completely dies. Greece and Rome are present – in thinner form in the modern European Civilization. This word “thinner” I borrow from the book itself where the author talks about Puranas and other supplementary literature of Hindus (whose complete disregard for balance, measure, precision and accuracy were immediately observed by Al-Beruni[12th century] to  Macaulay [19th century]  ) but they missed the full picture. There was a deliberate plan in this thinning just like we dissolve things in water to have the active ingredient have better flow, reach and acceptance. Here is a fundamental look on life – the Art of Becoming is much greater than the Art of simply being precise and accurate for a certain historical fashionable period. 

The wonder of Hindu Civilization is that it has remained relatively more intact form in spite of being hammered across ages. This reminds me of the internal integrity and consistency of genetic code. Genetic Codes are made from small number of atoms and yet they retain their integrity and consistency across millions of years till some mutation sets in. This mystery was raised by the seminal thinker of Quantum Physics, Erwin Schrodinger in his very very small book entitled – What is Life ?

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The Grand Recycling of Debt and Payback of Civilizations 

The structure of the Book  with of codification / classification / analysis is a lack  which was immediately observed by the last contact with Hindus with another civilization, I mean the ambassador of modern Europe, The Britons, first in the form of fortune hunters, missionaries, economic migrants (just like most of Indian economic migrants in USA, UK, Persian Gulf, Africa and other parts of the globe) and then imperial burden-bearers – the burden of the Empire (The Raj) and also the bearer of the self-imposed burden of racial manifest destiny  – the white man’s burden.

Finally – those from Ox-Cam network and ICS (pre-cursor of our IAS and IPS framework) happened. It is told that in the zenith of the Empire, ICS was perhaps one of the “dream jobs” globally.  I think the closest one can think of ICS today is to become some Investment Banker responsible for a geographical region for a “too big to fail” financial or trans-national corporation with inter-locked ownership and control. Our ancient sages would not have been wondering at all on this observation. They had been exposed to the cosmic classification of living beings as per innate quality and  activity which can be mapped into 4 types just like management books talk of 4-quadrant BCG boxes in classifying companies. They would have remarked – “Oh… I see, now the clock of dominance is moving from administrators to money-managers.” 

India’s history since last thousand years demonstrate a cyclical contact with Turko-Persian-Afghan cultural sphere, followed by British and European and in each phase or in historical cycle where dominance has varied, India responded and changed but not so much as un-recognizable. This  is a “living” proof of the sign of Life : reaction, absorption and assimilation.  Only a living consciousness is capable of these functions.

The Book captures this in an undertone while it moves with a taxonomist’s eye for classification and cataloging and this is a triumph. The author has masked tremendous scholarship and this is the last barrier to be breached by scholar of any discipline.

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The Future Readers or Readers of the Future 

Since I and all the future readers of the book are born after my arbitrary dateline of 1750, the book is a rarity that it says something so beautiful, so radical, yet so naturally – “we need to write new Puranas.” I think these are being written continuously, we need to be conscious of it. All the space-time defying magic realism of novels and that of films – for elites and plebs alike, all the huge output in social media – these are the Puranas  being written by us of varying quality. If Vyasadeva comes today and checks in our social media, he will not be bewildered at all, he will smile and chuckle and wonder how  his children are creating Tera-bytes of Puranas collectively with their fingers and keyboard.

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Summary Thoughts from a reader now relinquishing the role of a Reviewer 

  • I have not read any book on this subject of this type earlier and I have read some.
  • What we have lost here in the form of poetry (his earlier works of fiction were poetic prose) is gained in terms of logic and clarity. It is a delight, a vindication and a critical triumph to observe a Hindu monk writing this sentence on Sanskrit language – “Here it may be mentioned that Sanskrit language uses the same word for many objects and the quirk is of great advantage in poetry or logic but disastrous when it comes out in bringing the meaning of a sentence. (page 211)”.
  • The book ends with a sense of “enlightened hope” – the social structure is changing and new technologies are making the tortoise extending its limbs outside. This will bring a situation when the timeless will be projected into a specific historical time.
  • On a personal note – when I was a boy in the late seventies, I used to ask myself – “Why did we become a British Colony and became a colonized race ?” I was naive and immature but the question was genuine. I remember reading Bankim Chandra Chatterjee and after thirty odd years I believe he wrote something which I did not read anywhere. Bankim’s core argument was so vast and broad in its scope that he posited a thesis – not of Clash of Civilization but civilization moving in Great Cycles. Using the same historical method, he talked of Debt of Civilizations in his Bengali essays where modern Europe came in contact with the civilization of the Greece through Arab scholars who solely kept the lamp of learning burning in Middle Age. The Arabs themselves learnt from India and the cycle goes back further when historical memory goes dimmer and dimmer. So, the essential question we need to ask any Civilization at any point is this : ” Are you paying your historical debt properly and sincerely?
  • Hinduism goes further from this historical debt. It goes cosmic. This is demonstrated in the 2nd chapter of the Gita when Arjuna asked a personal problem but Lord Krishna projected this problem into a gigantic, cognitively broadest possible canvass over space and time and it included all that is and all that be.  This is one of the facets of Living Hinduism – both of the book and that of a Hindu.

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Recommended Reading for anyone interested in Hinduism.

 


Source: wordsmithofbengal.wordpress.com


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“Infosec Global 2017”, International Infosec Summit in Kolkata

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Preface

Winter in Kolkata has different charming flairs and “InfoSec Global” added a new feather in her cap through a mega InfoSec Summit since last year.

This year “InfoSec Global 2017”, the international InfoSec summit took place at The Park, Kolkata on 3rd November, 2017

Even though there is a lot of buzz around Cyber Security, there are many gaps as well. The areas of concerns touch everyone, our ignorance, over confidence and complacency. We keep on complaining that things are not happening the way we think it should be. However, there are many things happening as well. We need to open our minds and have a convergent thinking. It’s time to complement instead of complaining.

Govt is devising many strategies for the benefit of citizens on cyber. Law enforcement authorities are doing their work at the ground level. Enterprises taking lot of initiatives to implement tools, technologies, processes.

The challenge is how to bind these all-together, how to aggregate efforts, consolidate and converge in order to make it meaningful for the society and civilization? InfoSec Foundation is trying to drive this across the globe.

InfoSec Foundation intends to work as voice of citizen where we bring in all stakeholders together to create a more aware and responsive ecosystem. Connect and extend initiatives that have not reached the targeted audiences, find gaps and demand raise the silent voice so that it reaches the ears of policy makers and functionaries.

Summits, CIO Roundtables, Print Journals, Cyber Security Help lines, Cyber Security Curriculum for next generation – these are few envisaged areas we have already started working in India, Bangladesh, UK and Africa.

InfoSec Global 2017 is the outcome of same vision driven by Infosec Foundation.

Infosec Global 2017, Kolkata

Ignite cyber security!! That’s the mantra. And to enkindle it, Infosec Foundation had taken the important responsibility through the Iinternational InfoSec Summit. The first summit took place last year 18th November, 2018 and the same is followed by this year on 3rd November, 2017 in Kolkata. The event was important for the eastern eco system to leverage the opportunity to meet the best CYBER SECURITY EXPERTS from all across the subcontinent and gather some of the most tenacious knowledge regarding cyber security.

Theme of the Event

‘International Security in Digital India-Threat, Challenges and Opportunities’ was the theme for the 2nd International Infosec Summit in Kolkata this year. The program was designed for the leaders from the field of IT Infrastructure, Data Security, and Information Security.

Major topics were discussed in the event are cyber security issues in Bangladesh, Digital Forensics, creating new generation cyber militants, Cyber Economics, and much more.

The event was conceptualized exclusively for creating a mutual platform for all the stakeholders who are engaged in Information Security.

Speakers and Topics

The event had witnesses array of speakers across industry. Dr.Sanjay Bahl, Director General, Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (ICERT) was the Chief Guest of the program. Mr.Shyamal Datta (IPS – Retd., Former Director – IB, Former Governor of Nagaland) , Mr. Debasish Sen (Additional Chief Secretary-IT, Govt of Bengal), Mr. Vineet Goel, IPS (Addl CP I, CISO-Govt. of Bengal) and  Mr. Hari Kusumakar, IPS (Addl CP IV) joined him alongwish the Infosec Foundation Chairman in the gracious inaugural ceremony.

   

Other eminent personalities like Mr. Bratya Basu (Honourable MIC-IT, West Bengal), Ms.Rama Vedashree (DSCI-NASSCOM); Dr. B. M. Mehtre (IDRBT); Col Inderjeet Singh (Smartcity Expert, Ex-Director – Military Intelligence at Ministry of Defense); Mr. Vivek Srivastava (ReBIT – Reserve Bank); Mr. Deepak Kumar (Digital Forensic Expert), Mr. B.M.Zahid-Ul Haque (CISO-Brac Bank Bangladesh), Mr. Harish Agarwal (Partner, Ernst & Young), Mr.Somak Shome (Director, PWC) had enriched the audience with their deep insight in the domain.

   

Cyber Security Domain experts like Mr.Shrikant Shitole (FireEye), Mr.Nitin Varma (Palo Alto Networks), Mr. Sudeep Das (IBM), Mr. Manuj Kumar (Symantec), Mr.Kapil Awasthi (Checkpoint), Mr. Rishikesh Kamat (Netmgic), Mr. Subramanian Udaiyappan (Cisco Systems) Mr. Akshay Verma (Global Insurance), Mr.ParthaSarathi Das (Tata tele Services) had also added substantial valued to the content of the conference.

     

There was interesting topics like “Cyber Security Readiness for Digital India”, “Cyber Economics”, “Creating Next Generation Cyber Warriors”, “ The Cyber Security Architecture of the Future”, “Building a robust Cyber Security Architecture with Integrated Cyber Defense Platform”, “Machine Learning for Cyber Security”, “Cyber Security Challenges in West Bengal”, “Digital Forensics”, “Opportunities in Cyber Security space”, “Next Generation Cyber Security Trends”, “Cyber Thereats on Internet of Things”, “Threat intelligence strategy to strengthen cybersecurity posture for the financial sector”, “Cloud security”etc.

Audience

There were 250+ people attended the event with delegations from all leading corporates, enterprises, academia, government, law enforcement agencies, manufacturers, providers etc.

Anandabazar Patrika (ABP), Accenture, Allahabad Bank, Bandhan Bank, UCO Bank, United Bank of India(UBI), BRAC Bank-Bangladesh, Balmer Lawrie, Bridge & Roof, BSI, Capgemini, CESC, West Bengal State Electricity Transmission Company (WBSETCL), Criminal Investigation Department (CID) – West Bengal, Bidhannagar Cyber PS, Kolkata Police,  Exide, Genius, ICRA, ISACA, Jadavpur University, Jayashree Textiles, Linde Global, M.N. Dastur, MCKV Institute, Meghbela  Broadband, Meghnad Saha Institute of Technology, NASSCOM, National insurance, Neotia Group, NIA, CBI, NIC, NSHM, Onprocess Technology, Protiviti, PWC, Ernst & Young, Sahaj E-Village, Sillycon, Simplex Infra, Spencers, SREI Infrastructure Finance, Srijan Bhumi, TCG Digital, Techno India, TATA Pigments, Tractors India, TUV, Vedant Fashions, Vikram Solar, VISA Steel, Webel, ITC were few names of the key attendee organizations.

 

The audience were mainly from senior management, decision makers in the stature of MD, CEO, CIO, CFO, COO, GM etc.

There were 30+ Media Houses from print, television, radio and web platforms who were keen to spread the buzz to the mass audience.

Takeaways

The event had great deliberations in exchanging thoughts, knowledge, ideas, and case studies on cyber security among the speakers, audience, attendees, participating stakeholders. The same had not only generated great enthusiasm over networking, but also generated direct business opportunity.

The event has raised several voices, concerns from the community, extended government / policy makers’ roadmap, articulated steps on synchronization between stakeholders and surely created platform for enriched knowledge in order to have better wisdom. It was indeed a great platform for students, cyber aspirants to learn, engage and contribute.

4th Edition of InfoQuest (the dedicated print journal of Information security) got unveiled during the summit. The print journal is working as a great tool as the mouthpiece of the industry in cyber security domain.

The event strengthened the thoughts driven by Infosec Foundation with the overwhelming support from all corners and laid the foundation for more positive vibes towards upcoming Infovision(CIO Roundtable), InfoQuest (Print Journal), Infoconnect (Cyber Security helpline) and well as next years International Infosec Summit.

It was amazing to see people had joined in the breakfast (before the day event for mixing sessions with the speakers) and continued to stay with the initive till late evening (cocktail dinner with the speakers and partners).

Infosec foundation had recognized several individuals for their significant contribution in the domain and the same was was followed by instrumental music.

   

Stay tuned for many interesting things ahead. Do join the movement, contribute, engage, explore and be the part of historic movement generated from Kolkata, the city of joy.

Detailed Analysis can be fetched from the link below:

Infosec Global 2017 Report


Source: sushobhanm.wordpress.com


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Fructus et Virtus : Cricket Match on 30th December, 2017 at NKDA Cricket Ground, Calcutta

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banner_fructus et virtus

Off-Break brings a cricket match – invitation to the Great Outdoor where once when we were younger and not surrounded by power-point, EMI, RoI, cash-flow, deadline, off-track, project management. In those days, we played and the game was the end of it. But those games helped us in becoming – becoming eligible to deserve the inestimable gift of existence.

Ancient Greeks, whom we owe Olympic Games considered Sport as a ‘Practice of Virtue’ – the highest attainable human ideal as per them. Participating in sports was not some mere physical exercise, win / loss or becoming a professional or celebrity. Sport was one of the avenues, like rhetoric, philosophy and geometry to become a whole person – the great practice of Becoming.

We have named the match – a friendly but serious one – Fructus et Virtus : the matured Fruit of Virtue.

In less ancient times, here is a record from a family archive dated 23rd January 1884, from Mr. Hammond of Oxfordshire, England:

“I was padding up to go to the crease and my father came near to wish me. After wishing me luck, he had told, very gravely – No one may hear or see something while you are playing, but remember, God is always watching. Be fair, be honest and enjoy the game”.

In their finest hour, like Greeks, Britons, the inventor of cricket considered cricket as not a mere game but something with a call to higher aspect of Man and Becoming.


Source: wordsmithofbengal.wordpress.com


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Modeling Conference RoO and RoI

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[ A more formal and rigorous version of the methodology described below is submitted to the International Journal of Event Management Research, Griffith Business School, Griffith University, Australia]

EMPIRICAL MATHEMATICAL FORMULATION 

A very important question for a sponsor for a Conference is to have a measure of RoO (Return on Outcomes) and RoI (Return on Investment). It is equally important for the organizers is to present a quantifiable value while having a consistent, data-based, factored and realistic “benefit model” for the sponsors. These benefits can be modeled under RoO (Return on Outcomes – expected) and RoI (Return on investment – financial).

formula

Basic Empirical Formulation between RoO and RoI 

CALIBRATING THE KEY PARAMETERS AND ESTABLISHING RELATIONSHIPS 

RoI in money terms can be estimated from the weighed average of RoO (Return on Outcomes). Every sponsor has some outcome in view and these outcomes directly or indirectly influences RoI. The monetization constant is that multiplier that has some impact on RoI. For example, for a Conference having a sponsor putting stall containing merchandise, monetization in terms of sales revenue at the conference depends on expected outcomes like position of the stall, visibility, announcement during conference of itself and any discount etc if available.

RoO has two major components – a) Measurable in money terms directly b) Immeasurable in money terms directly but can be compared based on reference scales. These scales are to be calibrated for each sponsor depending on the priority of their RoOs.

RoO LISTING (For a sponsor X )

For each sponsor, one can imagine the following :

Sponsor Expected Outcomes (raw ROO):
Sponsor Budget (Investment): INR / $

RoO LIST  order of priority as received from the Sponsor through dialogue and deliberations 

  • Direct Sales
  • Lead Generation
  • Customer Success
  • In-event inquiry
  • In-event interest with chance of escalation
  • Brand Visibility across demographics
  • Eyeballs – in-event and other media
  • Social Media impact
  • Positioning and packaging
  • Brand Perception (comparative
    scale)
  • Feedback – raw and refined
  • Empathy Quotient
  • Fan /interested penetration
  • Post-Event support and actionable intelligence to measure and make decisions

For the RoO, enablers/deliverable  can be mapped 

  • Segmentation (Attendees)
  • Speaker Association (Relevance, Context)
  • Media (Local) (Tier and Penetration/Circulation on with Social Media)
  • Ambiance / Free time to discuss
  • Opportunities / incentives to socialization (e.g. cocktail, musical event)
  • Brand Mentions (imprint, eyeballs, duration, prestige)
  • Retention
  • Shared post-event Analysis
  • Consistency

SUMMARY PROCESS 

• For each outcome (blue column), we write down enablers and their rating
• Multiply by proper co-efficient (weighed average) as found from ROO priority
• Multiplier for enabler from historical data (e.g feedback gathered and then applied with a reality check factor)
• Now, we calculate RoI = K* ROO ; where 0 < K < 1 and K is bench marked  on three bands. These bands are classified as LOW / MEDIUM / HIGH  levels of investment from the sponsors.

FURTHER WORK 

The empirical model can be tweaked for separate sectors and specific RoO cases.

Confidence intervals on the reliability of RoI and RoO can be ascertained with more data fed to the mode.

[ This methodology is referenced at the design of Wordcon 2017/18 – 3rd International Conference of Freelancers, to be held on 9th February 2018, The Park, Calcutta, India.]


Source: wordsmithofbengal.wordpress.com


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In Praise of afternoon sleep (siesta)

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For a tropical climate like ours, here in Calcutta (India), from March to October, afternoon sleep appears to have therapeutic effect and productivity amplifier.

This tradition is now completely forgotten although our last colonial rulers with their capital in my adopted city honoured this tradition. The first wave of British people in Calcutta left vivid documentation of their engagement with the tropical heat. Without AC, fan, cooler, they had only two options at their disposal – architectural design and manual labour. The former can be seen the very high ceiling, airy rooms, many windows with system to allow air and block sunlight in the beautiful public buildings they built.. Then there was pankha-pullers – people who pulled a manual fan.

Our technology provided us many benefits and one of them being the liberty of building ugly, shed or box-like buildings  and one may ask whether these are designed for human beings or as a  warehouse. Most of the modern architecture of most of the contemporary cities of the world are proof that we have soaked our very soul to the premise that says – “Beauty and Utility shall never meet.”

This is an utter lie and only minds castrated of beauty and its appreciation will voice such non-sense.

Now coming back to the afternoon siesta.  In Bengal, afternoon siesta in the afternoon (March to October) must have the following design with minor variations :

  • Lunch between 1 pm – 2 pm
  • Ultra light in terms of volume and spice  with rice, lime and ending with curd and a dry sweet.  No meat, no alcohol. Fish allowed.
  • Cotton dress – preferably white.
  • A half-read book (preferably a classic work, e.g  The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes), a bed-sheet smelling freshness – preferably white and recently washed. No AC, No TV mobile switched-off, curtains drawn but an opening so that one can have a glimpse of the sky, email vacation notice telling ” In a radio silence zone for next 2 hours, starting 1 pm
  • Eau-de-cologne sprinkled in the pillows.

Material aspects being over, now comes the mental training part.

  • One must not think after lying down – “oh, so hot… I cannot sleep. Will I wake up by 4 pm ?
  • One must read the book as if there is no worry in the world.
  • Then one must pray for sleep so that the Mistress of sleep may sit on your eye-lashes ( The Bengali rhyme : “….চোখ পেতে বসো”)
  • With practice, one will wake up by 4 pm – a rest of maximum 2 hours and minimum 1.5 hours.
  • Wash you face, brush your teeth and drink coffee / tea.

Now, following things have happened in this period ;

  • Your body has spent little energy and most of the energy was used in running core processes. One of them being the brain processes. With less loss of salt through perspiration, you shall feel fresh.
  • Since you did not sleep for being tired but “invited”, the quality will be better and you shall have vivid dreams.
  • With time, your body clock can be timed to 30 mins, 45 mins, 1 hour and so on.

The Most Important Question :

Who can have this schedule in our present times ?

In olden times, kings and emperors, High Officials of the Colonial Government, Lazy Rich and so on.

In our times, only someone who is an Emperor of his/her own time can even thinking of such a schedule. But such people are not completely extinct.

True Freelancers – this species who work from home or from a home-like office environment can design their day (working days of the week included) this way.

This perk is forever denied to:

a) Corner Office residents b) All office residents c) Ambitious d) Celebrities e) High Rajas people f) Social Media Addicts g) Mobile Phone addicts h) Work/Game addicts i) People who are scared of being with oneself j) Insomniacs k) School goers l) College and other educational institution goers m) Officials of all variety  n)  Who eat a lot (indigestion) o) Who eat indiscriminately (migraine) p) Who travel a lot – business or pleasure q) Busy bodies of all type.

“Blessed are the Free / For they can command their sleep.”


Source: wordsmithofbengal.wordpress.com


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Electric Shock and Information Security

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When electricity was first discovered, literature of that time was rife with wonder, anxiety and fear. It was slowly found out that although electricity changed the world forever. It was the first invention / discovery in human recorded history that conquered night. Later distance was conquered.

We are living in the age of information security just when people were amazed by electricity and as the use became ubiquitous and more and more human homes were connected to the electricity generator, more and more people were potentially exposed to electric shock which was lethal.

Modern fear and anxiety about Cyber Security have some striking similarities :

a) Electricity was IoT – version 1.0. Consider the wiring as a LAN and more and more devices started getting connected. Even toothbrush or a razor.

b) Lack of awareness and care was shocking and lethal. Touching exposed live wires or not having safety mechanism was invitation to pain and suffering. Same while opening virus infected mails or not taking proper care of handling devices connected to the Network.

c) There was a need of some mechanism to detect a contact (a danger scenario) and switch-off. This was implemented but it is not perfect. No method is perfect. Awareness and being careful are the greatest protectors still while handling electrical devices. 

d) Information network is infinitely more sophisticated network with intelligence at the periphery and the users are using a dimension above in terms of intelligence of the network and the multiple layers of architecture. But one aspect remains the same : electrical energy exposed in certain structure is lethal and information structured into certain form is highly malicious. The problem is not in electrical energy and information per se but in their “structures”.

If history is of any value and if it teaches us anything through its confusion and ambivalence, it is this and is of paramount importance :  We shall continue to have shocks – either a physical one or subtler one. Technology is not the cause. It is the very structure of our existence – the duality.


Source: wordsmithofbengal.wordpress.com


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GST and Indian Freelancer

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[ This post is a Wordcon contribution to the Freelance Ecosystem of India.  This is not a tutorial for GST nor written by Tax professional. It is a synthetic analysis of the situation with analytic part coming in the next post. Some excepts are taken from the book entitled – LICENSE, TAX, REGULATION – a HANDBOOK FOR INDIAN FREELANCERS, authored by Pritam Bhattacharyya and Pinaki Taluukdar and to be published by Freelance Foundation. The Handbook will be launched soon.]

  • Tax and Death are the only two sureties of Life. Whether it is a democracy, a monarchy, a republic – tax must be paid. Taxation and War are two areas of human affairs which are thrust upon us.
  • Pre GST (EXPORT) : All service exports by a freelancer to a) a foreign country b) doing the service based in India c) receiving payment in foreign currency and the d) consumer of the service no way related to you were exempt of goods of services tax. The premise was that : “tax of one country cannot be exported to another country.”
  • Post GST (EXPORT) : The fundamental premise remains – “tax of one country cannot be exported to another country.”  but the freelancer now must get some kind of confirmation from the state that his services are exported. Translation: More paperwork/keyboard work and another layer of interaction with the state bureaucracy.
  • Pre GST (DOMESTIC or NON-EXPORT)  : Every nation since antiquity has taxed economic activities to get revenue. This is indirect tax. We get tax records of Sumer civilization in clay tablets. Tax was either paid by kind or by cash. In modern times, tax is always paid in cash.  The services were taxed and the tax was called Service Tax. All freelancers whose turnover was more than 9 L INR from domestic clients in previous year was supposed to pay service Tax.  Most of the solo freelancers did not have such a turnover solely from freelance work and it did not have much talk.
  • Post GST (DOMESTIC or NON-EXPORT) : If you have a single client outside the state of your registration, you come under inter-state trade and must register or you have turnover above 20 L. Things need clarification here. However, one thing is clear, the more your business grows and if you have the good fortune to have a foreign client, you must register.

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Now some most important future-looking issues 

  • To GST or not to do GST, the dilemma is real and palpable. The answer is : if you are interested to develop your business and try to work with larger clients, you should have GST.  The overriding reason is that those businesses will prefer to work with someone whose tax they need not pay and GST (company) < – > GST (freelancer) mapping will be clear and straightforward. All other things remaining same, they will prefer a GST registered freelancer. 
  • Another very powerful and significant fact is that GST is revenue neutral after 20 Lac threshold. It means that if your business grows and you start working with 2 more team members as a company with proprietorship status, you can continue with the GST with no other in-direct tax (you still pay your Income Tax) issues. This means that you are free to conduct business without any threshold or any other tax issues to bother. Get customer, deliver service, pay GST.
  • This freedom comes with a price : 37 reports are to be filed per year. 12 * 3 + 1 annual. This means that the transactions of your business will be in “GST cloud”. Think Gmail to have an idea.
  • This also means that all the GST you have paid for running your business now gets recorded and mapped and becomes your GST credit. So the GST you pay at the end of the year is (GST collected from clients) – (GST you have paid for running your business)GST you have paid for running your business = ITC (input tax credit)
  • Just like an individual in India has PAN and this Income Tax ID is “networked” – as in TDS where each PAN is mapped to +/- of taxes deducted, taxes remaining, GST will be such for a business once the dust settles in.

GST – Cost Benefit Analysis 

COST SIDE 

  • More paper work and administrative hassles.
  • Cost 37 (Filings over the year and you may have to keep a freelance accountant / CA)
  • Huge confusion as of now

BENEFIT SIDE 

  • You can think of expanding your business – in the same vertical or related verticals.
  • From a freelancer writing content, you can become seller of ethnic dolls – nothing else is needed.
  • All the input indirect tax you had no way to claim earlier can be now be claimed – or at least there is a mechanism of having recorded.

CONCLUSION  

  1. From the fundamental premises mentioned at the outset, it is judicious and prudent to be registered.
  2. It is important to have a good (and cost-effective) CA / professional who will understand your business and handle these for you.
  3. This forces you to keep total record of your business and with structured data, you can analyse your business health in a much better way.
  4. You are free to trade now – that is great sense of freedom, too.
  5. Once the dust settles in, once the mechanism becomes stable and many questions resolved through practice, experience and litigation (lawyers are freelancers too.), the situation will be easier to navigate and more balanced view will emerge

Recommendation for Freelancers with GST the movie : Recommend. Buy tickets online at : https://www.gst.gov.in/

[ In next post, we shall discuss the analytic part. We are conducting Wordcon – 3rd International Freelancer’s Conference on 3rd February 2018 at The Park, Calcutta where we shall discuss further with 150+ freelancers and small businesses present. ]


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CIO Round Table – Infovision Event Report

Category : Uncategorized

by Wordcon Correspondents

Dateline : 25th August 2017 | Webel Bhawan | Calcutta |India

Timeline : 6 pm – 9 pm.

Theme : CIO Round Table – Information Security Awareness Building

Infocon global

Chairman of Infosec Foundation – Welcome Address

It is very unusual to see a spectacle like this in Calcutta as veterans of Event organizing sector tell us.

The spectacle is 50+ top officials from Government, Trade Bodies, Police and Law Enforcement, Technology Experts, CIOs, CEO, students sitting very attentively from 6 pm to 9 pm in a Friday evening to hear and discuss on Cyber security / Information security.

Something very interesting is happening for sure.

I was sitting in the center-middle and a very senior gentleman with a grave bearing told me or rather to himself – this is the next great opportunity or crisis – either way, we must be ready.

infoquest mag

Infoquest – A Journal on Information Security  3rd Edition inaugurated – (from left) Mr. Pritam Bhattacharyya, Editor in Chief, Infoquest and Founder and Chief Wordsmith, Wordsmith Communication, Mr. Sailen Sengupta, Chief Mentor, Infosec Foundation and Co-Founder, Prime, Mr Sudipta Biswas, Vice President and CISO, Prime

When Infoquest was released, I heard murmurs as how to get a copy and then when Editor in Chief asks the audience : “Do you recommend any good text-book on Cyber security?”, there was a silence which was the true answer and correct state of things.  Things are happening so fast and so many players are involved, it is in a state of flux and it will take some time to crystallize so that we can take stock of the situation.

Therein, we think lies the key of the initiative  – to build awareness of the depth and range of the matter and collaboration is the key – there is no other way.

Infosec Foundation has also mentioned of some very interesting and peculiar initiatives.

Chairman Mr. Mukherjee made it clear at the beginning that  the Foundation does not organize events only while talking of the mega Infosec Summit coming on 3rd November 2017 at The Park.  There are two fundamental aspects to these initiatives

a) In collaboration with police and law enforcement to build a cyber help line – probably first one in the country. I personally find this interesting. My uncle lost some money from his bank with his OTP being hi-jacked without his knowledge and investigation established that a duplicate SIM was made out of his phone while it was given on repair.  The next phase was a nightmare – he was going like a ping pong ball from the police to the bank and everyone was trying to pass the buck. A victim, like my uncle would have been spared the humiliation and the suffering had there been a dedicated help line as proposed so that the initial measurement would have been there.

Bidhannagr’s top cyber crime investigator Mr. Bidit Mondal talked about ever increasing and ever sophisticated (not technologically alone – psychologically) tricks fraudsters are using and how to protect ourselves.

As we were filing out for the High Tea after the panel discussion attended by sectors like Telecom, Manufacturing, Energy, Consulting, I and my photographer colleague found out many of the media – of print and TV animatedly discussing on the impact this will have on our way of life with smartphone, online banking, children with their games and so on.

The organizers have given us the link of the event captured in-site : https://www.facebook.com/InfosecFoundation/

I nodded my head in agreement in silence  to my photographer colleague – a freelancer and who found out few months back that his phone was hacked and people calling him to ask why did he go to South America and now asking money from them ?

It was the classic trick of hacking onto one’s account and sending mails of urgency of sending money following the address book.

Overall, as members of the New Media, we would like to rate this Event 8.5 /10 – a recommendation and we shall cover their next events.

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Source: wordsmithofbengal.wordpress.com


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Infovision : CIO Round Table on 25th August, Webel Bhawan, Calcutta

Category : Uncategorized

Infosec Foundation – a non-profit for spreading Information security awareness is holding its first edition of Infovision – CIO round Table – a meet of top CIOs to discuss, debate, reflect, share notes and best practices.

Wordsmith Communication and Wordsmith University are associates in the movement spearheaded by Infosec Foundation.

This is part of Infosec Foundation’s commitment to strengthen both the sword and shield of the enterprise to fight the clear and present danger of cyber crimes.

cio round table.jpg

25th August 2017 | Webel Bhawan | Sector V, Salt Lake, Calcutta | India

If you are interested to join/associate, please contact the organizers at secretariat@infoconglobal.org | +91 8017522153, +91 898 1133806

 


Source: wordsmithofbengal.wordpress.com


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[Revisit] One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Category : Uncategorized

Invocation : I read the novel for the first somewhere in 1996 when I was a carefree young man in Malabar. I have two qualification to write this “Revisit” – primary one being of love for this epic and secondary for being a translator for last twenty years with interruptions in the form of job, marriage, fatherhood, need to earn and other un-avoidable distractions.

I would also like to remind those writers in India (and elsewhere) who write fiction to ask themselves this question : Why did Marquez had to write in Spanish only ?

Because, he was not writing for any target audience in view, even if he would have wished to, the epic that consumed him and us in some strange brotherhood, would have erased all memories of everything except that infantile period of our existence when we learn our first language.

*********************************************************************

One of the greatest novels of last one hundred years, hush, now opening :

“Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon which his father took him to discover ice.”

After some 400 pages of epic journey, twisting space-time, pulverizing all known and unknown laws of matter and mind but remaining true to some strict Law of Narrative Art. The last surviving character of the Buendia family whose hundred year old history had just pushed us beyond history, of whose trend we heard from Melquades who knew Sanskrit among many other languages and wrote down the history in parchments in codes and the encryption, encrypted event and the conscious entity that decodes now all come in a singularity and we  experience or half-experience what a black-hole singularity in literature is. Just before the black hole sucks us in, the poet who is only empowered to commands all the horizons, informs and then…

“Before reaching the final line, however, he had already understood that he would never leave that room, for it was foreseen that the city of mirrors (or mirages) would be wiped out by the wind and exiled from the memory of men at the precise moment when Aureliano Babilonia would finish deciphering the parchments, and everything written on them was un-repeatable since time immemorial and for ever more, because the races condemned for one hundred years of solitude did not have a second opportunity on earth.”

This is not possible to say what lies in between these two paragraphs – the start and the finis. Not because there are too many things or there are too many events and characters or too complex things happening – no, nothing of that sort. The in-between 400 pages is a charm and anyone who reads the “parchment” now becomes part of Aureliano Babilonia, and the charm takes hold and the control over memory goes away.

soli

Only Melquades could resist the charm for he is the author and narrator in some way and at what cost : “He was a fugitive from all the plagues and catastrophes that had ever lashed mankind. He had survived pellagra in Persia, scurvy in Malayan archipelago, leprosy in Alexandria, beriberi in Japan, bubonic plague in Madagascar, an earthquake in Sicily and a disastrous shipwreck in the straits of Magellan.”

Only three works of literature save Cien Anos de  Soledad evoked the same sense in me and they are : The Mahabharata, Great Expectations and The Godfather Trilogy. (the film)

I wanted to thank the epic for letting me discover new things inside me which I did not know. The novel remained as it is for last 40 years (published in Spanish for the first time in 1967, the greatest revelation in the language after Don Quixote as some critic has so blessedly told) and I changed but somehow the novel could bring out completely new things from my deep interior – an interior which neither a surgeon’s knife or a psycho-analyst can ever reach because these birds of memory, like Remedios the Beauty’s disappearance – something that reminds us of the last act of the Mahabharata when Emperor Yuddisthira stood at the peak of the Himalayas and a strange wind perhaps picked him up and wiped off the face of the earth.

I borrow the following lines from Bengal’s greatest poet – Rabindranath Tagore and since borrowings from the ocean to greet another ocean have no sense of debt or shame, I pay my respects to these greats Artists who are now perhaps dining together in some Dantean Heaven  where we can never reach with our mortal frame except with the “viewless wings of poesy” :

উদার আশার বিষাদ মহান[ The great melancholy of expansive Hope;]

অসীম শান্তি করিতেছে দান চির-মানবের প্রাণে [ brings forth Eternal Peace for the Man Eternal.]

(কবির পুরষ্কার) [ Poet’s Reward ]

Recommendation : “Required reading for the entire human race” If some Bengali poet ever undertakes a translation of this work, I request him to consider the title as “শতবর্ষের নি:সঙ্গতা”


Source: wordsmithofbengal.wordpress.com