Tuesday 24 December 2019

Violent night

Violent night, holy shyt
Fires are lit, flames are bright
Round yon Muslims the bigots go wild
Pretty sure no case will be filed
Weep in Muzaffarnagar
Weep in Muzaffarnagar

Violent night, holy shyt
People quake at the sight
Mobs are coming — is that a cop car?
Saintly voic's saying 'Kill the mullah'
Bro, a pogrom is on
Bro, a pogrom is on

Violent night, holy shyt
Kutta ka bachcha in the headlights
This will go down well with the base
Together they'll de-Muslim the place
Hindu rashtra on earth
Hindu rashtra on earth

Friday 6 December 2019

I am an island

A winter's day
In a dweep I bought from
I am alone
Gazing at my phone at news reports from desh
And a freshly powdered silent pile of hash
I am a prick
Who owns an island

Abducted kids
Have a rape case pending too
That they can't litigate
I have no need of justice, justice is a pain
Punishment and jail time I disdain
I am a prick
Who owns an island

Don't talk of love
But sex tapes I've made before
I was sleeping with an actor
I won't disclose the number of offshore crores I have
Tax-free dollars paid for Kailaasa
I am a prick
Who owns an island

I have my kooks
And my bhakts are there to protect me
I am shielded in my exile
Safe within my room, eating magic shrooms
I can touch everyone and no one can touch me
I am a prick
Who owns an island

And my prick feels no shame
And no one hears my victim's cries

Real life, as often happens these days, outran satire. Ecuador said it hadn't agreed to sell the 'swami' anything and he had left, presumably for Haiti.

Tuesday 3 December 2019

Work and disability

Persons with disabilities are 2.21% of India’s population according to the 2011 census. It’s not a figure that seems realistic; for one, global averages place the number at between 10% to 15%, and since a number of disabilities can be a result of sub-optimal nutrition or lack of timely medical care, a developing nation is likely to have a figure at the higher end of that range, if not higher.

But even if you take the census data as fact, a recent Business Standard study said that among some of India’s top listed companies, the percentage of employees with disabilities is 0.46%. If you assume, reasonably, that these companies are a little ahead of the curve on inclusive hiring practices, that indicates that less than 25% of persons with disabilities find employment. It is rather likely that as you move away from the cities and the big companies, the figures will be pretty low. The government and public sector undertakings do reserve jobs for candidates with disabilities, but in my limited knowledge, these are low level or relatively unskilled positions. (This is anecdotal and ancient, but in college, I had friends who acquired BA and BSc degrees and the only jobs they got were as telephone operators.) The 2011 Census figures are more optimistic: they say 36% of persons with disabilities are employed. If you take that as fact too, it still leaves 64% of disabled people wholly dependent on others.

Granted, some of these people will have severe disabilities; some will also have learning or intellectual disabilities. These can get in the way of getting a standard education, of learning employable skills. And we’re a a country where even able-bodied people often don’t have access to these things. There is a whole lot to fix here, at very basic levels, and that’s beyond the scope of what I want to say with this.

So I'll just ask these questions.

How welcoming is your workplace to persons with disabilities? Is your office wheelchair accessible? Are the approaches and the layouts navigable for persons with limited or no vision? Are there disability-friendly toilets? Is there software that makes work systems accessible for various disabilities? (I don’t ask this rhetorically; please do share answers.)

If your office doesn’t stack up too well on these criteria, is there anything you can do about it?

p.s. This is from my friend Balaji Bondili:

Living in SF, I always think about the “smart” products that are created to support the so called ‘busy’ lives of tech bros with very little of this ‘intellect’ spent on solving problems of the disabled that actually need some of the analytics and sensors and all that cool tech but not no, let’s figure out how the deliver cappuccino with a drone…
To which I’d like to add:
And there's this. Products that are designed to assist persons with disabilities very often do have wider applications. Things like screen readers, voice assistants, navigation aids are mainstream now, and commercially viable.