Ask Himanshu Rai

Have any questions about management, philosophy, education, literature, yoga, mountaineering in India, or psychological issues or all of these?

Disclaimer:The responses in this column given by me are based on my learnings and experience. They should, by no means, be taken as a substitute for medical/professional help.

    1. My son has good memory and intellect. At just six he knows capitals of almost all countries their currencies and state capitals of India. He watches Discovery and Nat Geo along with normal cartoons and talks of becoming a scientist. He is hyperactive too – do you say it is ok or I should put some breaks on his inquisitiveness and association with material above his age cause that is what his father says I should do with him. I stay very worried for him. Is teaching at home better or should a child be sent to tutions? With every passing day he is getting hooked to me and distancing from his friends as his questions are rebuffed by his friends and he will discuss things like hurricanes, earthquake, bhoo-madhya rekha, etc?If I refuse to answer he immediately types his question on Google and surfs. How can this be balanced to bring things to his age? Should I get Tata Sky removed? I understand it is a typical query but Do reply whenever you can squeeze out time.
      Warm regards

      1. A childs capacity to learn is phenomenal and needs to be encouraged rather than thwarted. If this curiosity in him is innate, and not being pushed onto him by you, then let him be. Let him enjoy the marvels of learning. However, as Taitreya Upanishad would point out, also make sure that he gets opportunities to appreciate music, languages, art/craft which involves use of hands, as well as opportunities for outdoor activities! This would ensure a well-balanced growth.

    2. In the Mahabharata, why does Krishna ask Bheema to fight Jarasandha when he could have defeated him,himself? Does Krishna offer any explanations in the Bhagvat Purana? Moreover, when Jarasandha attacked Dwarka, Krishna fled the city. Likewise, no explanations offered.

      Could you throw some light on this sir? I couldnt find any forums that addressed the question.

      1. Jarasandha attacked Mathura 17 times and was defeated every time by Krishna and his armies. However, Krishnas armies took fatal losses in each of these attacks. Krishna realized that Jarasandha would continue to attack for he was stubborn and seething with the sense of revenge (Krishna having killed Kansa, who was Jarasandhas son-in-law),. To save the Yadavas from further losses, as well as to expand his reach, Krishna decided to relocate to Dwarka, and converted it into a planned, thriving and safe kingdom.
        Several theories try to explain why Krishna asked Bheema to kill Jarasandha, though there is no direct reference to the reasons in any of the original texts. As a rule, Krishna (being the Lord), got the divine acts done through his disciples (Nimitta; e.g., Arjun in Mahabharata), thereby giving them a chance at glory. Other theories include a promise to Jarasandhas wife (that Krishna would not kill him), destiny that only Bheema ought to kill Duryodhana, Bakasura, and Jarasandha, as well as one remote theory that Jarasandha deserved to be killed by a Kshatriya for he was (despite his evils), a brave man.

        1. I have a theory on the same. Krishna-the avatara was born to end the Dwapara Yuga and usher in the KaliYuga. There are ample instances of Krishna sowing the seeds of a great war to end the yuga throughout the Mahabharata. For eg: asking Yudhishthira to get a Mayaa Sabha built in Indraprastha, the Rajasuya Yagna to free Pandu from Yama,etc

          I believe the killing of Jarasandha by Bheema had a initially subtle but subsequently profound implication in the culmination of the great war.But i am unable to make the connect.Would like your thoughts on this sir.

            1. Bakasura, Bheema, Keechaka, Jarasandha and Duryodhana were all born with their fate mingled with each other. As a result of that, the first amongst the five to kill the another… will eventually kill the other three. This secret is known to Krishna alone. Bheema has already killed Keechaka and so he was the one destined to kill Jarasandha and others too. So, in effect the fate of the war was decided even before the war had begun…….So unfair 🙁

            2. The how part may have been destined (as suggested by some scholars, though disputed by others), however, the when part certainly wasnt. Once an event has happened, its probability becomes 1 anyway, insomuch as that was the only event that would have happened. All else is arithmetic.

    3. Sir, recently when Karnataka Govt. was contemplating to make Bhagvad Gita reading compulsory in schools, there was a big hue n cry from the (pseudo), secularists. They even pointed out that Gita supports caste system and should not be made compulsory. Some other people argued that if Gita can be taught, why not Quran or Bible (without analyzing whether they are also as rich as Gita),. In many Christian minority institutions, reading of Bible is a common phenomenon. But nobody points out that.
      When lot of wealth was found in Shri Padmanabhaswamy temple (Kerala), secularists (& even atheists !), suddenly remembered about Indias poverty and wanted to use the temples wealth for countrys welfare. Probably their secular credentials prevent them from pointing out that Christian NGOs, missionaries and Churches get funds from abroad for conversion.
      If M F Hussain paints Hindu Godesses inappropriately then it is art and we have to respect freedom of expression but when Taslima Nasreen/Saman Rushdie/Subramanian Swamy writes anything against the minority community, it becomes communal.
      BJP is communal but Congress in alliance with Muslim League/Farooq Abdullah is secular ! ?
      People talk about Gujarat violence (2002), or Babri Masjid demolition and violence that followed aftermath in depth but little about ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits. There are lot of other examples.
      Why do secularists target only Hinduism? Is the English main stream media (TV), also hand in glove with pseudo secularists?

      1. India is a secular state as laid down in our constitution vide the 42nd amendment in 1976. What it means is that the state would have no official religion and the right to preach, practice and propagate any religion lies with the individuals. While the state must treat all religions with equal respect, no religious instruction can be imparted in government or government-aided schools; there could of course be general information on all religions provided in specific courses where it may be so required, for instance, history, sociology etc. In this context, it would be wrong for any government to make a discourse based on a religious text compulsory in a school. At the same time, the government(s), should also withdraw funding to schools/institutions that impart any religious discourse as a compulsory part of their curriculum or declare a transparent mechanism to provide equal funding to all such institutions.
        Freedom of expression cannot be absolute for anyone, and all people (including artists), have the same rights of expression so long as they do not cause offence to anyone or a group of people knowingly. The problem arises when different yardsticks are applied for different cases. Some of it is justified because just like you always tend to be more protective towards a weak child in the family, similarly, you may tend to be more protective about the weaker sections of the society. And this makes sense. However, you would not protect the weak child by trodding on the healthier ones. This is where the balancing act becomes important. In line with the diktats of realpolitik, sometimes, this balance is upset by individuals for short-term gains; however, it can never be healthy for the democracy as a whole.
        So far as the media is concerned, you would find them aligned to one thought or the other, it being very difficult for people to stay neutral and/or detached. If you analyse the news, both in content and presentation, it is not too difficult to figure out which channel is leaning towards which ideology. At the same time, the media plays a very important and increasingly critical role in creating mass awareness and support for issues relevant for everyone irrespective of their political leanings. It is on you and me to make sure that we do our bit to ensure that the democratic institutions and media do what they are best at. Good public opinion prevails always…and so does truth!

    4. Dear Sir,
      Greetings ! I actually dont know whether its related to you or not, but I feel like taking expert advise from you. Basically I am a professional social worker and have worked for more than 9 years with non governmental organizations (WHO, UNICEF, Govt. of UP (health dept.), Now I feel to develop my own organization, but dont where to get assistance/grant for projects, however I can implement social development projects very well but dont where and how to approach. My organization is 10 years old but with little work in field now I actually need to take up some projects (to start with even very small ones), I have bad experience of appraoachig for projects with Government in Uttarpradesh and people ask for bribe which I cant give them. I really want to make a difference in the life of people especially my town – shahjahanpur in Uttarpradesh. If you can guide or support or help me out where to start and how to approach or whom to approach. I am ready for any type of hard work, but need proper guidance & councelling and small support also intially. I wish you could help me out. If you provide your e-mail ID, I can mail my organizations profile to you.

      Kindest Regards
      Fardin khan

      1. I am assuming that your organization is a registered one and you already have an NGO status. If not, then you need to register your organization (as a society), and work for a period of 3 years before you get the requisite NGO status. You will get all the details on
        I am glad that you have refused to bribe your way through; remember, hard work and honesty always pays! It may take time but it will happen for you. Once you have registered yourself and figured out the precise area you want to focus on, let me know and I will see if I can advise you any further.

    5. Dear Dr Rai,
      I am visiting this page for the first time but i am really mesmerized by the width of topics discussed here and you excellent answers/suggestions. You are multitasking in its true sense. I am an MBA and after 1.5yrs of work exp i am realizing that my inclination is towards reserch and i want to go for Phd…i have some teaching experience in past.
      Related to it, i have written a Management research paper Most likely consequences of Unethical Organizational Behaviour. I dont know whom to approach for review or where to get it published. If you take some time out of your busy schedule then i would welcome your comments on it.

      1. There are many medications available to help quit/replace nicotine. However, I would suggest that you use that one thing which works the best. Determination. Just decide on a date and quit. Write down 10 good reasons why you wish to quit smoking and put them up in all the places you frequent.
        To help ease the physiological consequences of quitting I recommend the following:
        Drink 1-2 litres of water the first thing in the morning after waking up.
        If you like smoking after meals, replace it with either sugar free gum or a small glass of juice.
        If you like smoking with alcohol, drink only in non-smoking environs and chew on a cocktail stick when you feel like it.
        Tell all your friends that you have quit smoking and would appreciate it if they do not smoke around you!
        Having done this, make paste of about 1gram of garlic, mix with a glass of buttermilk, and take twice a day. Include morning walks in your regimen. Practice anulom-vilom pranayaam for 5 minutes every morning and evening.

      1. These are two completely different things. Send me your CV and a statement of purpose. I would be able to help you better then.

    6. I have a question regarding the Work Timing for knowledge workers especially in IT industry. I would like your views from legal, ethical and sociological perspective.

      As you would know IT companies are known for their long working hours. The Units where I am partnering is also not an exception. I can see employees slogging it out for upto 60-70 hours a week without getting any extra benefits. However when the same employees move to a customer location in US or Europe to do the same work, they are protected under various labour laws in those countries and hence enjoy benefits like over time pay which is sometimes 1.5 to 2 times their actual pay. Consequently the management make sure that employees doesnt work for more than 35 or 40 hours a week.

      However, in India, I am of the view that management has taken the employees for granted and there is a lack of proper planning and organizing from management to reduce the work timing of employees. Here in some projects, it is expected that you have to work for long hours. My questions to you on this topic are as below:

      – Is it ethical for the employer to ask employees to work beyond the office hours. Especially when this is a planned work, assuming employees will work for long hours. Also please consider the fact that the same employer pays for over time in other countries for the same work.

      – Do we have currently or will have in future any legal protection for IT/ITes workers in terms of working hours.

      – There are some senior management folks who maintain a view that, if such labour laws come in India then it will adversly affect our Industries. Do you think this is true, given that western industries have done well while they were having such labour laws. Even if it adversly affect industry, shouldnt welfare (not only economic), of employees come before welfare of industries even though both are highly coupled to each other?


      1. Work ethic is, as are many other organizational variables, dependent on organizational culture, which more often than not, is influenced by national cultures. Expecting employees to work for longer hours, if required, is more of a norm in most parts of the world. This is also a part of the psychological contract, which among other things, includes the informal obligations between an employer and an employee. While in some contract work is usually looked at as transactional (monetary base with inbuilt expectations that the organization will adequately compensate the performance delivered), in India, and many other countries, it also has a huge relational component (socio-emotional base that highlights shared ideals, values, unwritten norms etc.),. The organization, in its turn, ought to reciprocate by going beyond the rule book if and when you need a favour (like emergency leave, extra leave, soft loans),.
        The legal protection for all industrial workers is provided through the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders), Act, 1946, a copy of which is available on the Government website,
        Thereafter procure a book of standing orders for your state (where you are currently working), and check the schedule under which this industry is mentioned. Remember, that any standing order followed by your company has to stipulate conditions which are the same as or better than these model standing orders. Also the standing orders supersede individual contracts.
        Labour laws, till such time they are in consonance with rights and interests of both the employees and the employers, and are based on the ethical framework of equity, would always be beneficial. This skepticism towards labour laws and welfare schemes is a myopic view, based on memories of times when Trade Unions were militant and regressive.

      1. The most important thing you need to do is go for a diet change. Remember, diet control/change is not the same as eating less. On the contrary, you still eat well but you just eat smart.
        Replace the fat and carbohydrates in your diet with green vegetables, salad, and fruit juices.
        Eat smaller portions 6 times in a day instead of 3 big meals.
        Get up before sunrise and drink 1-2 litres of water.
        Take walks (30 minutes-brisk), both in the morning and evening.
        Do not sleep during the day (no naps either),.
        Take 15 grains of guggulu (you will get them in any ayurvedic medicine shop),; ask the shopkeeper to ensure it is purified, and have it with warm water 4 times in a day.
        Practice kapalbhati pranayaam (10 minutes), and vahya pranayam (3 sets), twice every day. Details of these pranayaams are available on the website mentioned under the yoga section of my website.

      1. The approach of avoidance strategically makes sense only if you do not have concern for your own outcome or the relationship with the other party. As a style, it indicates lack of both assertiveness and cooperation. The plunge, however, is a special case and would not be explained by either strategy or style. What you need to do is to picture a future with the person and then ask yourself if it makes you happier than what you are. If the answer is yes, and hopefully it will be, keep that picture firmly in mind and it will help you get over the jitters. Talk to your friends, especially those who have joined the bandwagon not too long ago and talk about everything good that has come out of it for them. All the best!

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