The First Astrologer

Dear Mr. A.B.Pandey,

Let me introduce myself. I am GS, mother of one Anand V, who has been a bit of pain on yourself. I am sorry that he has caused you that trouble. You see, he spent more time with his grand parents than me, when I was running around in the TN govt. and those two old people spoiled him by teaching him all about logic, reason, proof and rigorous skepticism.

Between one govt. servant(retired) to another, we understand each other perfectly. We have to obey orders from above, no matter how impossible they are. Ever since one Mr. Nilekani convinced everyone of his tragic (sorry, magic) machine that randomly says, Mr. Pandey is not Mr. Pandey, I understand that things are not going well for people on the ground. I saw all the videos in a youtube play list and started wondering, how come this magic machine does these tragic things?

My son, then went on to man-splain me the technology but still could not explain simply, why it fails so often. He bored me to death about bernoulli’s trials and gaussian distribution, all of which went over my head, but there is a simpler explanation for these failures, which explains your troubles.

The Magic volunteer team that designed the tragic machine made the assumption that our body does not change that fast between enrollment and authentication, when all women know that we change daily every month, once we hit puberty. So people whose biometric identifiers change at a higher rate either due to age or because of their profession keep facing failures, but it works for others who don’t.

I hope that people don’t expect the same constancy from their spouses or may be they do and that probably explains the higher rate of separation I keep hearing about educated women. Education does increase our intelligence and thus our variability and it seems most of the men simply cannot understand it. The first comment that I heard on 1970 when I started working to escape poverty was that she should be a loose woman. Pity that things have not changed at all.

Back to your troubles, I heard that Mr.Nilekani said if seeding is done properly, then there is no exclusion and I can’t help laughing. Men never understand bleeding but only seeding. It is always a woman’s fault if she doesn’t get pregnant and deliver a uttam santhathi or it is some poor state govt. official who has to bleed to make their (nightmarish) visions into reality.

Long time ago, women got tired of this fire and forget strategy of men and kind of forced them into an individual contract, which we call marriage nowadays. (That solution has issues, but let us leave that for now). It is basically about making it just and fair, so that one person only does seeding and the other person only does bleeding. The same thing at a society level is called constitutional democracy, where there is this explicit contract called constitution between citizens and the state or the seeders and the bleeders.

You can get away with forcing your will for a while, but not for long since in a constitutional democracy, suppression of fundamental rights, will not result in good outcomes, no matter the intent.

I had heard of results of intelligence operations on the LTTE, when the indian state supported them and also fought against them. One thing that I learnt during those times, is that in warfare, human intelligence is of higher value than signal intelligence and the erstwhile LTTE kicked our IPKF out of Srilanka by having superior human intelligence even though we had unparalleled advantage on signal intelligence.

And TN had one of the less leaky PDS systems, when we recognized that we can use the same principle of human intelligence over signal intelligence in fighting corruption as well and aligning all parties’ incentives towards a less corrupt system. You may not like it, but at the bottom corruption happens because it is a livelihood issue and you can eliminate a lot of it by ensuring the livelihood of the dealers.

And yet your predecessor believes in the supremacy of signal intelligence and presumes that the state can never trust the citizens, when he talks about IRIS scanners. Clearly he neither understands warfare nor corruption and hence war on corruption.

Every attempt to eliminate corruption increases cost of the program. Once upon a time, TN had 50% leakage, meaning out of 100KG of rice, 50Kg will be siphoned off. We spent 1/2 KG more (in rupee equivalent), to bring it down by 10 KG, another 3/4 KG to bring it down by another 8 KG and so on and it stabilized around 97%. We figured that bringing down the 3% means we will have to spend more than what we would have spent. And all this without any high tech. as you call it and at exceptionally low cost.

I recognize that you already know this and hence nowadays mix your own concoction in your decoction and talk about the discredited savings figure on LPG or the ration cards deleted by other means as because of Aadhaar as shown below:

Once you go down this route, Mr. Pandey, let me tell you by experience, that people will no longer believe in your curd rice and call it as a turd rice. It may take time and a generation, but it will happen for sure. Do you know why? It is called Karma. It does not mean what you think it means. It simply means that cause and effect are separated by time, space and generation.

Not long ago, men could not even understand conception because they lacked the idea of karma (many still do) and could not correlate that seeding and conception is separated by time, space and generation. But my son, tells me that some in this generation already had figured out the connection between Aadhaar seeding and bleeding and over time, many will do.

Adding all people in to a database does not mean, the institutions that deliver governance and welfare have been magically transformed. The technology that says Mr.Pandey is not Mr.Pandey, adds one more layer of failure into the already non-existing or creaking systems. And then we have enough problems like global warming, farm failures, loan waivers, NPAs, jobless growths fuelled by automation that will test these systems at places and time when they are already fragile.

Dismiss it as Astrology, if you wish. But Astrology’s core tenet is simply karma. And only an enlightened person who is aware of their own limitations transcend it and others just suffer the consequences. Do you know the name of the person, who first understood karma and hence became the first astrologer?

Her name was Parvathi.

And my personal advice to you as a govt. servant is to write two letters or hope your retirement comes before you open the second letter.

Yours Sincerely
GS