October1, 2017

Dear Colleagues

Here is another round of random reflections for your perusal:

  1. Frequent travellers like me face enormous challenges in maintaining regular connectivity. Connectivity at airports is especially challenging. All airports in Canada provide high quality wifi connectivity to all passengers and guests at all airport terminals, without forcing them to give out their email id or mobile numbers. Amsterdam airport is another delight in this regard. However, the same can not be said about airports in India (which is rushing towards FULL connectivity for ALL). During a recent travel, I was asked to show photo id in a lounge at Delhi airport (where 15 staff were servicing only ten guests) to get password for wifi!!
  2. Lunar calendars have a way of encouraging tolerance and solidarity across communities. Ganesh Visarjan (immersion) and Bakrid were being celebrated with great ease in Bhopal earlier this month. Similar coincidence is happening today. Statues of Goddess Durga are being immersed as Muharram is taking place  all over the country. Stars are telling us mortals to live in harmony!
  3. Migration in Europe over the past decades has significantly altered the linguistic and cultural composition of local populations. City of Leicester in UK has nearly half of its population from Asian origins. Barcelona, and several other big cities of Spain, has a significant number of Bolivians. Economic forces spur migration worldwide; yet, local resistance to new immigrants also acquires economic rationale.
  4. Demand for self-governance from top-down centralised rule has a long history worldwide. Scottish people continue to demand autonomy from the government in London. Massive demonstrations have been going on in Glasgow over several weekends. People of Catalan region in Spain have been getting ready for referendum today. Rulers in London have been ignoring Scottish demands. Rulers in Madrid have been trying to stop referendum and arresting democratically elected local leaders in Barcelona. These demands are not about secession; they are about recognition & respect for their local identity. Parallels in India?
  5. Saddening and disgusting news of yet another stampede in Mumbai came yesterday, killing 22 innocent people crossing a railway bridge. Many such stampedes happen in this large country on stations, stadia, temples, fairs…But our systems, approaches and attitudes towards management of crowds have not changed much. Many believe that India has a large population and such unfortunate incidents are bound to happen. Not necessarily so. Population density in India is comparable to many other Asian countries—Japan, South Korea, Bangladesh, Philippines. Smaller jurisdictions like Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong have much higher density of population per kilometre of space. None of these countries face stampedes at a level anywhere to India?

All the very best

Rajesh Tandon