An expedition to touch the sky with glory

This archived article is being reblogged on the occasion of 89th Air Force day!!

Dr. Suman K Kasturi's Blog..!!!

An expedition to touch the sky with glory


Indian Air Force is the decisive sharing out of the Indian Armed Forces – the military forces of the Republic of India. It is the youngest service among the tri-services, when compared to the Indian Army and the Indian Navy. Nevertheless, as far as the mightiness is taken into account, IAF unquestionably outshines the other two services.

An Expedition

The Journey

Way back to history – it was on the same day in 1932 – Indian Air Force was officially established as an auxiliary air force of the British Empire. With an infinitesimal strength of 25 air warriors, the first aircraft squadron had come into force on April 01, 1933. During the World War II, the IAF played a dominant role in blocking the encroachment of the Japanese army in Burma, where its first air strike was on the Japanese military base in Arakan…

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Patriotism Isn’t a Jiffy Affair!

Your vehicle comes to a screeching halt as the light turns red at the traffic signal. Even as you fret over the eternal wait, a plastic tri-colour flag is flashed in front of your face. You soon hear a chant of Vande Mataram, Jai Hind from a little boy’s mouth trying to sell you the flag. He has other accessories too – an Independence Day metal badge, plastic lotus, soldier figures etc. Then it dawns upon you that there’s a National holiday ahead. Feeling guilty, you even buy a souvenir to display your patriotism only to forget after a while. Sounds familiar?

In India, Independence day is celebrated on August 15 every year with zeal. The objective of such celebrations is to connote the transition of India from the slavery yolks of the British Dominion to be a democratic and republic nation where all the supreme political powers, sovereignty, and authority rests with the people.

Today, India is celebrating 75th Independence Day. On this occasion, repeatedly the only question that has been wavering in my mind is – why do people become patriotic only on selected instances? Having been an air warrior, who served the nation for 19 years, I realize what patriotism means. To me, it is an inexplicable feeling, which should also be an inherent trait for any national.

Patriotism has a rich meaning. In general, it means edifying attachment to one’s native soil that ultimately leads to devotion to one’s nation. Such a feeling should not be restricted to just extrinsic values rather it should be an intrinsic value that should be obsessed by every citizen.

Patriotism is the true spirit an individual should have for his nation. Do we Indians have such a feeling within us? India proudly claims to be the nation with plurality as her nature. Unity in diversity has been the slogan which we often find making circles in all nooks and corners of the world. Do we maintain such a spirit at all times? Or is it limited to a few occasions like Republic Day, Independence Day and Martyrs Day?

Surely, every Indian turns to be patriotic on two occasions – every year on January 26 and August 15. Patriotic songs like “Mere Desh ki Dharti” reverberate almost every street in town. Why is it so? At this juncture, the only question that arises in my mind is whether patriotism has any periphery limits? Or patriotism is a trait that has only a limited role?

Every year the Independence Day is celebrated most spectacularly in New Delhi, the capital of India. The main attraction of the day is an impressive and magnificent parade that puts forward the military powers and cultural affluence of the country apart from the patriotic vehemence of the Indians. An amazing fly-past by Indian Air Force and Naval aircraft rounds off this majestic celebration. A similar thing happens every year on January 26 too.

The true spirit Independence day brings out is nothing but patriotism. It’s not a single person’s obligation to keep the nation free from any sort of worries. Every citizen should feel responsible to make the nation implausible in the purview of the entire world.

I feel that patriotism should come from within and not without. Patriotism ensures the stability of all kinds in a given nation.

I second the thought of John F. Kennedy on patriotism. According to him, one should ask only “what you can do for your country” — as if “country” were the master, and “you” and I and all of us merely servants. Most of the influential personalities of developed countries realize the importance of patriotism. For example, US President Barack Obama once said loving one’s country means accepting one’s responsibility to do his part to change it. Patriotism is nothing but the grand inherent apostle that prompts a person to serve his nation, at any given time.

The essence of patriotism is fully recognizing and consciously participating in that network of affinity, paying very close attention and constantly responding to a range of issues like what everyone else is doing and saying and wanting and hoping.

Out of the multiple associations emerge ideals and institutions. But those ideals and institutions are valuable only insofar as they support the fulfilment of each and all. The individual is the master; the nation’s ideals and institutions exist merely to serve persons. So ideologically in any given nation, true patriots do not serve some imagined unchallengeable unit called nation or country; rather, they serve the needs and aspirations of every person.

There is a need to self examine whether we can be called factual patriots? Had we been patriotic year after year, India could have accomplished laurels; but not plummets in grading in almost every sector.

Who is responsible for such trounce is not the question of the hour rather how should we overcome trounce is that question. The ultimate answer is the true spirit of patriotism, which in turn ensures the following:

  • Fraternity among fellow citizens
  • Enhanced civilization; and thereby achieving a fall in crime rate
  • Increased employment opportunities
  • Corruption-free societies

The true spirit of democracy lies in patriotism alone. Each and everyone is responsible for making the dream of Mahatma Gandhiji – “After attaining Swaraj (independence), now it’s time to attain Suraj (good governance)” a reality.

If such a day is realized in India, such an occasion would just take new dawn with the bright appeal of unity, brotherhood, and love. On that scrupulous day, there is no Hindu, no Muslim, and no Sikh; there is only one caste, one religion, and that is Indian. The sacrifices of all the martyrs will add significance to India’s history.

Let’s hope this year’s Independence day will not just be a routine affair, but add true fervour of patriotism in every citizen’s life, both in letter and spirit. Let’s not forget what the great Mahatma once said: “Be the change you wish to see.’ Jai Hind!!

-Dr. Suman Kumar Kasturi

The Success Connotations of Kargil War

Isn’t Patriotism a Jiffy Affair? Dr. Suman K Kasturi's Blog..!!!

  1. Isn’t Patriotism a Jiffy Affair?
  2. The Success Connotations of Kargil War
Ops Vijay Star

Complacently India is celebrating the twenty second anniversary of Kargil Vijay Diwas today — to streak the victory of Operation Vijay. At the opening, I would like to express my nostalgia that as a young Air Warrior, I was a partaker, full of zip, in the Kargil War that came to blows for more than two months. It was on July 26, 1999, India efficaciously took command of the high outposts that were otherwise lost to Pakistani intruders.

Kargil: India’s Greatest Victory of Recent Times

It has been customary that every year this day is celebrated in the national capital as well as in the Kargil–Drass sector. For this occasion, several programmes are prearranged all over the country — to venerate the contributions of the armed forces. As well, the Prime Minister pays homage to the martyrs at Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate. For many people, these celebrations are sheer get-togethers. Nonetheless, the fundamental objective of these carousing through nationwide campaigns is meant to arouse a feeling of nationalism and patriotism, particularly amongst youth.  

Kargil War: The Winners

Insofar as Kargil War is concerned, indubitably, Pakistan had a much of the circumstantial preparation that took account of the building of logistical supply routes. The war occurred due to the infiltration of the Pakistani soldiers into locations on the Indian side of the Line of Control (LoC) that functions as the de facto border between India and Pakistan. It is worth mentioning here that the Pakistani soldiers infiltrated in the guise of Kashmiri Militants — documents left behind by casualties are the evidence of this fact.

According to me, it was a war between two sides — having Pakistan on one side with a concrete plan, and India on another side to face an unanticipated contingency. Despite the fact that India was not very much ready to face the situation, the Indian Army, which was supported by the Indian Air Force, recaptured a mainstream of the intruded areas on the Indian side of the LOC. Far along, bowing to the international diplomatic antagonism, the Pakistani forces were pulled out from the residual Indian settings along the Line of Control.

Kargil Vijay Diwas

The interesting points of observation that I have drawn from the epic confrontation as the success connotations of Kargil War are territorial imperative battered with the Game Theory and Minimax approach. Beforehand, I would like to make acquainted with the concepts of territorial imperative, game theory and the minimax principle, while extenuating my arguments.

In effect, usually, the term Territorial Imperative is used in the milieu of ‘total war.’ Obviously, the Kargil War that was fought for more than sixty days resulting in India’s victory is not less than any ‘total war.’ The territorial imperative is the need to claim and defend a territory. It could be well-thought-out as the way the fighting forces use space, weaponry and strategies. The entire thing booms territorial imperative.

The Power of Indian Armed Forces

Territorial Imperative

The initial situation in Kargil War was to confront a condition wherein the Pakistani infiltrators occupied such sporadically inhabited region as Kargil, which is located in isolated valleys disjointed by some of the world’s uppermost mountains. In order to encounter such situation, there was certainly a demand from the top brass of the Indian Army to execute great forward-thinking on top of numerous administrative and wartime strategies. There is no doubt that the Indian Armed Forces were effectual in taking up such a challenge and defend our territories. 

Game Theory

On the other hand, game theory is the study of scientific models of strategic communication between balanced decision-makers. It has solicitations in all fields of social science. In the beginning, game theory spindles zero-sum games, in which one person’s gains result in losses for the other participants. As far as a zero-sum game is concerned, there is always a calculated demonstration of a situation in which each participant’s gain or loss of function is precisely well-adjusted by the losses or gains of the function of the other participants.

The Saga of Patriotism

Going back to our context of the discussion i.e. India’s triumph in the Kargil War, our side has definitely achieved what a zero-sum game in game theory intends to. In my viewpoint, the peace-time training of the Indian Armed Forces has achieved a very objective. Palpably, what Indian Armed Forces have gained through their immaculate peace-time training has resulted in the loss of the opposition. Also, sensible strategic communication has played a key role in India’s triumph.

Minimax Approach

The third connotation for the victory of the Kargil War that I would like to imply here is the Minimax principle. Minimax approach is an administrative principle by which when offered with two conflicting strategies, by the use of logic, one should determine and use the strategy that will minimise the maximum losses that could occur.

Again, turn back into the success of India in Kargil War and applying the minimax principle, it is substantial that Indian Armed Forces, by restraining themselves from making the situation more offensive, have definitely minimised the maximum losses that could have otherwise occurred. It was definitely a strategic move as concerns India because the Kargil War was purely a startling upshot in India’s war history. While confronting a situation that was not estimated, if the more offensive strategies were embraced, unquestionably it would have ensued in a great loss rather than paybacks. Evidently, Indian Armed Forces have adopted a self-induced war strategy of restraint in keeping the war limited to the Kargil sector.

Ops Vijay Medal

Definitely, India’s conquest in envisaging such an unforeseen eventuality and win over the well-equipped opponent in the Kargil War has spotlighted India’s preeminent vigilance to encounter such situations. The Kargil War is a saga of resilient political, military and diplomatic engagements; and it will always be conjured for the strategic and tactical surprises. In concluding words…India’s victory in the Kargil War modestly reverberates, “the more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war!”

-Dr. Suman Kumar KasturiDr Suman Kumar Kasturi

Isn’t Patriotism a Jiffy Affair? Dr. Suman K Kasturi's Blog..!!!

  1. Isn’t Patriotism a Jiffy Affair?
  2. The Success Connotations of Kargil War

Why do few celebrities get into prostitution or suicides?

Few celebrities of all genres choose the ultimate path of prostitution, while few others choose the path of suicide. There is no specific need to quote examples in this regard.

History divulges many incidents. Many people may wonder why people who created a repo for self should get into such mucky things. Yes, it’s rather a well-founded question indeed!

Celebrities – mostly from the fashion world and film fraternity reach to the zenith within a very less span of time, whereas it takes long battled years which is close to one’s lifetime in the case of other professions.

Achieving success may sometimes happen overnight, but retention and maintenance of the same tempo becomes a tedious job for the celebrities. Also, the celebrities in general uphold a touchstone life after achieving their initial success. Such standards include a very lavish life.

In case of continuous success, there won’t be any problems. Nevertheless, the problems arise only when a celebrity experiences failures after an initial success. For sometime – it won’t be difficult to manage the situation. But, the problems begin only when the cushioned up riches exhaust. The actual diversion of the path begins here. There may be different directions that could be followed. But, mostly only two paths are chosen by the screen idols: the path of flesh trade & the path of suicide. Beyond doubt, both are the paths of immorality, which even after a realisation, the celebrities opt to choose for obvious reasons. Most of the women celebrities facing destitution opt to get into flesh trades for it pave an easier way for earning money. But, for male celebrities it is not a fitting option. So, they choose to manage the situation for some time by borrowing money from the sources close to them.

In either case, they develop some sort of mental fear and insecurity that ultimately leads them to think repeatedly about the aftermath. The thoughts of suicide then sowed in the minds of the celebrities facing the destitution. Suicide is a tragic event with strong emotional repercussions for its survivors and for the families of its victims. According to an estimate, more than 36,000 people in the U.S. alone kill themselves every year. Statistics also reveal the fact that men seem to be especially at risk, and have nearly four times the suicide rate as women for sundry reasons specific to men themselves. Loss, depression, anxiety disorders, medical conditions, drug and alcohol dependency, financial, legal or scholastic problems, and other life difficulties can all create weighty emotional distress. They also get in the way with individuals’ ability to solve problems.

Suicidal thoughts, also known as suicidal ideation are thoughts about how to kill oneself, which can range from a detailed plan to a fleeting consideration and does not include the final act of killing oneself. The majority of people who experience suicidal ideation do not carry it through. Some may, however, make suicide attempts. Some suicidal ideations can be deliberately planned to fail or be discovered, while others might be carefully planned to succeed.

Suicide is definitely not an ultimate solution. In this world, each and every problem has a solution. There is a need to address this issue at an appropriate level. Because.. “Jaan Hai to Jahaan Hai”. Dignity of any celebrity lies within the way they conduct self. Why should a person choose only two wretched paths, while neglecting other options? It is better to dwell a simpler and happier life than choosing wrong paths and there by landing up in troubles for self and other concerned people.

Dr. Suman Kumar Kasturi

Dr. Suman Kumar Kasturi



Authored by: Kambhalapalli Krishna; Bhoomi Book Trust Hyderabad; 2019; ISBN: Not Available; 160 pages; Price: ₹100/-

I can’t think in terms of journalism without thinking in terms of political ends. Unless there’s been a reaction, there’s been no journalism. It’s cause and effect.-Hunter S. Thompson

It is precise that there is no journalism without thinking in terms of political ends. This inkling holds good both in terms of actual political ends concerning the political goals as well as the inside politics of a media organisation. In fact, journalism and human communication cannot be seen as two different entities. Both of them are unified if we consider that journalism enlightens the very nature of human communication and the arrays that come to light in social connection.

This book titled— The Journey of a Journalist — is authored by Kambhalapalli Krishna, who has been associated with both print and electronic media (Telugu) for twenty-five years. I read this book with great interest as it is on a topical and relevant subject, and one close to my own interest in exploration. This book covers a vast canvas on the life journey of the author from the time when he has accidentally become a journalist. This book, though not formally chapterised, is divided into fifteen chapters (if can be called so). All these fifteen chapters are thematically and chronologically entwined. 

As rightly mentioned by the author in the first chapter concerning his twenty-five years of journey as a journalist, he has discussed the contemporary political issues throughout this book — mostly pertaining to the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh. Even though this book cannot be categorised as a research book, it adheres certain features that any research book owns. This book could be categorised as a non-fictional and non-academic book.

Cover Page of the Book: The Journey of a Journalist

The book begins with the revelation of the family background of the author, who is the youngest among all his seven siblings. Excitingly, the author has decided his own date of birth as no one has noted down the same. In the virtual first chapter, the author gives us the entire background of his childhood and schooling. Then, in the same chapter, he reveals the fact of him getting a job in Praja Shakti, a contemporary Telugu Newspaper, where his elder brother Shekhar was then working as a cartoonist. After reading this chapter, the reader gets a feeling that the author is not a journalist rather an accidental journalist! My justification for this comment is — firstly, the author never aspired to become a journalist and secondly, he does not even formally acquire the qualification.

In the succeeding chapter, the author makes a revelation about his entry into Andhra Jyothi on October 16, 2002, for a meagre salary offer of ₹4,500/- per month. The interesting part of this chapter is how his involvement in an FM Radio Program ‘JAPA-4’ has led him to start a column titled Lolli in Andhra Jyothi newspaper. The author makes it an annotation in the following chapter that the articles published under the column Lolli were published as a book with the same name.

Further reading in this book discloses the fact that the author commenced his career in TV9 as a Reporter after concluding the journey as a print media journalist. As understood by me, July 28, 2005, is an important day in the career of the author. He left for Mumbai for the coverage of the Mumbai Floods. This event has hauled out the talent in him to ultimately pave a way for him to get a chance to leave for New Delhi, for political coverage from the national capital. The author captivatingly narrated the story of his first flight journey and the birth of a baby in J&K on the earthquake day i.e. on October 08, 2005. This part certainly reveals the tenacity of the author in the capacity of a journalist to reach a far-flung area in J&K.

All the way through the book, the author has made a disclosure of his life journey while discussing the coverage of contemporary political issues. In the ensuing chapters, the author has talked about his career in other popular Telugu News Channels such as NTV, Zee 24 Ghantalu, V6, TV5, Sneha TV, TNN, and HMTV. While working with V6, the author was inspired by Amir Khan’s popular television program Satyamev Jayate, the first episode of which was telecasted on May 06, 2012. This led him to think of directing an analogous program which ultimately took its shape by the name Tamasoma Jyotirgamaya. The narration of his struggle to direct the series makes the readers stick to this book.

This book fascinatingly presents the author’s perspectives and analysis in examining the political environment during the second phase of Telangana Movement. Without a doubt, this book set alight conversation about the most important developments that took place in the last two decades in the political arena of India. Significantly, this book, though not directly, emphasises the importance of the ethics of journalism — an extermination feature of present-day media.

Book Release at Press Club Somajiguda Hyderabad

This volume categorically discusses most of the contemporary happenings. Nonetheless, though I understand that it is always very easy to critique books for what they leave out, I personally felt, in this case, the author has forced himself to maintain the neutrality without presenting his actual opinion about certain political matters that are referred in this book.

Mass Media and Society mutually influence each other and are reciprocally interwoven. The author, who is a journalist by profession, has definitely achieved the objectives he had set when he was writing this book in the first place. Overall, the purpose of the author in writing this volume is achieved — to provide general readers, established media personnel, media educators and beginning students unfamiliar with the state of a journalist to provide a taste of the actual life of a journalist.

This book will definitely appeal to media aspirants and faculty members who want a thorough overview of not only the field but also sample research stemming from its various component parts. To this end, this excellent publication, by all means, serves as a good read to not only the people associated with the media but also the people of general interest.

In concluding words… the idea behind offering an English Review for a Telugu Book is to endorse the suggestion that this book has the budding prospect to be translated into English or any other language for the benefit of many!

-Dr. Suman Kumar Kasturi

Dr. Suman Kumar Kasturi


Coronavirus disease 2019, most prevalently known as Corona or Covid-19, needs no explicit outline — because — over some time it has been petrifying the entire world. This infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 was first recognized in December 2019 in the capital of China’s Hubei province – Wuhan. It has since spread globally, resulting in the ongoing pandemic.

Covid-19; This infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2

Likewise, like many countries ordered the lockdown of their respective nation-states, the Government of India (GoI) under Prime Minister Narendra Modi on  March 24, 2020, has also ordered a nationwide lockdown for 21 days that persisted up to April 14, 2020, which is further extended till May 03, 2020.

The Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi Announcing Lockdown

Soon after the announcement of the lockdown, the GoI has announced numerous measures to be implemented under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana under which about 80 crore people were expected to be covered. Cumulatively, the PM Garib Kalyan Package provides ₹1,75,000 crore to the poor to help them fight the battle against the Coronavirus. Besides, various states in India have come out with their self-sustaining financial assistance schemes to combat a situation created by the lockdown due to Covid-19.

Palpably, any such schemes undertaken by the government have to be implemented through the Public Sector Banks. They have been instrumental in the implementation of almost all welfare schemes designed, developed, and implemented by the Government of India. In this manner, the banks work as an arbitrator between the people and the government. The incredible efforts put in by the banks during demonetization is commendable.

Queue In Front of a PSU Bank

However, the situation, in this case, is entirely different from demonetization and has been turning the banks into the threat and hazardous zones. There is no doubt that the helping measures undertaken by the competent authorities are in good spirits. Nonetheless, when it comes to the implementation at the ground level, it is hitting a blow on the very purpose for which the lockdown has been announced.

Usually, a customer who visits a bank branch, once in a month, is now paying some 10 to 15 visits. Sometimes, the visits are just intended to see if the account is credited with any freebies like Aasara Pension, PM Garib Kalyan Yojana, State Government Rythu Bandhu, or PM Kisan Samman benefit, etc. 

According to bankers working in Telangana, the state government has credited Aasara Pension on April 03, 2020. There was a heavy crowd on the following working day to withdraw this amount — not caring for any social distancing or other preventive measures like using face masks. Soon after the credit of the Aasara pensions, in about just 2-3 days, the women Jandhan accounts were credited with ₹500/-, resulting in further inquiries about the credited amount through third parties, and, subsequently visiting in person to withdraw the same.

Queue Line In Front of a PSU Bank

Then again, after 2-3 days, the accounts were credited with PM Kisan Samman Benefit. The entire sequence of events repeated for obvious reasons. That was not the end of the concern. The state government has credited ₹1500/- into the accounts of the white ration card holders that gave rise to a further fracas, inducing in never-ending long queues in front of the banks even during this hour of crisis. In this entire episode, the customers continue to be the same for the reason that the end recipient of all freebies is the unchanged set of people right through.

Apart from the net banking, e-wallet services, and other digital banking services, the customers have plentiful other options like Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), Bunch Note Acceptors (BNAs), Passbook Printers, Credit/Debit Cards, etc. All these facilities would nearly serve the bank customers during the period of crisis. Nonetheless, the customers who are offered these freebies are inept of using any of the above digital services. Thus, they are forced to visit the banks to withdraw the money. Moreso, there has been a hidden trepidation among such customers that if they don’t withdraw the money as soon as it is credited, there won’t be any future credits from the government. Such an allegory is forcing them to withdraw the amounts in many spells, instead of withdrawing the total money at a time. For example, in the aforementioned situation in Telangana, a person who visited the bank after 20th might have withdrawn the total amount credited on several occasions in one go…but it didn’t happen. 

NetBanking Facility Offered by PSU Bank

Additionally, the banks are asked to bid loans to various existing customers under a special Covid-19 scheme. Under this scheme, 10% of the existing sanctioned loan amount (subjected to the maximum permissible amount under each scheme) with a moratorium period of six months would be extended to potential customers. This has, unquestionably, imposed an additional burden on the bankers.

Also, a few PSU banks underwent amalgamation in this crucial period w.e.f. April 01, 2020. This has resulted in people visiting the branches inquiring about the intactness of their accounts in the post amalgamation set-up. Further, the amalgamated banks are not in a position to offer all the services that would otherwise be offered by their erstwhile parent banks, leaving the bankers facing an obstreperous situation, which sometimes results in a pointless argument with the customers.

In keeping with the opinion of most of the bankers, the employees of public sector banks have many woes that need to be straightaway addressed. First and foremost, they take delivery of heavy mental pressure from all ends to execute their roles as bankers, especially under such a stressful condition imposed by the pandemic Covid-19. Also, it has become a practice among the customers, who are likely to be defaulters, to often refer to the instances of Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya — without knowing the very fact that the corporate loans amounting to such huge sums are not tendered at retail banking branches.

NPAs Causing a Threat to the Survival of PSU Banks

In one of the recent articles titled, “When no one wants a promotion:  The appraisal system in public sector banks needs to improve”, the author Shyamal Majumdar, clearly explains the present-day situation of the banks due to which no one would like to opt for a promotion. The recent news has it that five employees of Bank of Baroda’s Ghodasar and Geeta Mandir Branch in Gujarat tested positive for Covid-19. In such circumstances, the demand of bankers for the thermal screening of visitors and temporary closure of branches located in hotspots is not an inordinate longing. Indeed, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. When I consulted the bankers and grasped their woes, I remembered this adage.

Bankers: The Unsung Heroes

In the concluding words, it should be agreed that banks support all financial welfare schemes undertaken by the government even during the times of such crises as pandemic Covid-19. Of course, the banks play a crucial role in monetary missions like demonetization too. The role played by the banks in achieving targets set by the government is ever commendable. However, it is palpable that the bankers are becoming squashed in — both by the customers and the competent authorities. At present, it’s perceptible that even after stretching great services amidst an inordinate risk, the bankers remain yet the unsung heroes!

-Dr. Suman Kumar Kasturi

Dr. Suman Kumar Kasturi

The communication standpoint of Artificial Intelligence

Dr Suman Kumar Kasturi Hans News Service 2 May 2019 11:48 PM Communication is the decisive sharing out of all sorts of human involvements — an influential aspect of human life. The developments in communication are as deep-rooted as the enlargement of humankind itself. Irrefutably, technology has long been a lasting influence behind advancements in communication.

Nonetheless, contemporary technologies are profoundly altering the manner of human communication. Due to expansions in ‘Artificial Intelligence’ (AI) and in the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT), the conservative forms of communication are rapidly becoming outdated.

Due to such many expedient features as fastness, easiness, and more convenience of these forms of communication, the new technologies have taken over the entire space of communication. Insofar as Artificial Intelligence is concerned, it can be understood as machine intelligence — the intelligence validated by machines, contrary to the natural intelligence displayed by humans. Simply put, Artificial Intelligence is the facility of a computer program or a machine to think and deliver just like humans.

AI encompasses mainly of three dissimilar types of structures — Analytical (only cognitive intelligence), Human-Inspired (both cognitive and emotional intelligence), and Humanised Artificial Intelligence (all three forms of intelligence i.e. cognitive, emotional, and social). In fact, AI is facilitating people to approach creative activities in a manner that bear a resemblance to mathematics — muddling the line between art and science.

Artificial Intelligence comes to be ubiquitous with social media for the reason that AI is an essential component of the algorithms of vital social media networks. There is no doubt that communication is the most dominant factor in conceiving ideas for better efficacy. Artificial Intelligence is not only the governing factor in business communications but it also has the capability of transforming communication within the workplace.

Unarguably, AI fosters solid workplace communication. With the use of analytics, it can signpost the success of communication whilst submitting feedback on such aspects as presentation skills, areas of strength and weakness. Besides, AI is also supportive in gauging individual factors like a response to the presentation content, style and length. Thus, AI serves to heighten the method of communicating. The feedback of AI includes systems to resonate with the target audience — leading to more personalised and targeted communication. Artificial Intelligence plays an energetic role in vocalising ideas.

According to a guesstimate, above 90 per cent of communication in a business presentation is non- verbal in nature. As a result, AI takes into account each and every single subtle cue and response to precisely evaluate the entire presentation. This feedback becomes more significant in both business communications as well as in workplace communication that is desperate for all business setups.

Artificial Intelligence has entirely transformed the way business communications take place. Also, it has changed the functioning of industries and the way employees conduct themselves. Across the industries, nowadays, employees use apps with cross-platform compatibility that allow fast and effective communication. Such apps also include various messenger tools embedded with automation and bots. They automate many communication features like scheduling emails, instant responses to emails, and reminding forewarns, etc.

At this time, our lives are subjugated by smartphones. Even mobile devices use AI effectively. In our everyday life, Google Assistant and Siri have become an indispensable part — they help in getting easy access to everything without essentially giving manual instructions over the mobile phone. However, there is a hidden threat in this form of communication — AI gets access to the most subtle information stowed in mobile phones. Yes, it turns into a debatable question that AI is a boon or bane.

There is no doubt that with the development of AI, machines can complete almost all tasks with a precision that necessitate human intelligence — at a much larger scale than human beings. In unison, AI has triggered unease among the masses — because — in due course, it may completely melt down the jobs undertaken by the humans. As technology has improved and the scope of AI has extended, there arises a tautness between art and science. For example, in the industry of leadership communication, AI has already substituted natural human intelligence.

From times immemorial, as communication has in general, public speaking has been well-thought-out as an art. It has been a conventional belief that a person can be great at mathematics and science or great at writing and speaking, but not both. Nonetheless, due to Artificial Intelligence, now mastering both is not overly complex. All that makes it a possibility is to programme machines to identify the attributes like listen, act, engage, etc that makes an audience respond. Then, AI can be incorporated in machines to measure enough factors in communications such as usage of words, voices, gestures, etc. This would, certainly, influence the audience reactions. The data thus gathered can be used to develop algorithms — to build a brainy machine that enhances the impact of communication.

From employment to economy, and from warfare to peace communication, Artificial Intelligence is transforming the nature of every aspect of human life. However, there is a dilemma associated with Artificial Intelligence — whether it is advancing towards making this planet a better place to live or a place full of disaster. Similar to every other technology, the advantages and disadvantages of Artificial Intelligence outweigh each other. But, considering the very fact that machines that use Artificial Intelligence are also man-made, it could be envisaged that in the long-term the machines using AI will have more advantages to overshadow the disadvantages. Nonetheless, if it becomes otherwise, there would be a great threat to humankind.

Technological advancements have made humans to embrace a more advanced form of Artificial Intelligence in communication and various other sectors. On the other hand, there is a possibility of many protests in the context of unemployment, information breach, privacy, etc, caused due to Artificial Intelligence. Thus, it ever remains an unsettled question — whether or not Artificial Intelligence is good for humankind! (The author is an Air Veteran, a mass communicator and an author of more than 10 mass media books)

Emojis vis-à-vis non-verbal communication

Dr Suman Kumar Kasturi Hans News Service 26 April 2019 12:12 AM

Certain things change to remain the same! Surprisingly, in the past few years, many old things are becoming new again. At the moment, people have started using utensils made up of sludge, eating raw vegan diet etc. By the same token, the emoticons, which was a feature of popular communication apps of the 1990s have now become a vital part of contemporary Instant Messaging (IMs). In instant visual communication, the emoticon has a long account. In order to express any universal emotion, these emoticons are effectively used.

With a change in name as emojis, these popular communication aids have become the driving forces in communicating — all popular social networks and apps facilitate the users with emojis. A

Going in line with the advancement in technologies, smartphones, especially, have also become advanced to make themselves compatible with the innovations in mobile apps. An emoji can be defined as a visual depiction of emotion in the form of an object or a symbol. Though emojis turn into an effective form of communication, often people find it difficult to associate a precise emoji. With each and every update, the major social media platforms are adding advanced features.

For example, Facebook recently improved the ‘Like’ button by providing new emotions. These new options help in gauging reactions of the audience. It is rightly said that too much of anything is good for nothing. So is with emojis — emoticons prerequisites apposite time and place. In a conversation, if emojis are overused, the communication becomes insensitive and robotic.

It is better if the usage of emojis is limited to casual conversations for the reason that emoticons are not suitable in every form of communication. For example in such areas of communication as business communications, emojis are not advisable. Nonetheless, complimenting a smiley face with civility in business communications is indeed not over the top. One of the recent developments in emojis is the provision of skin tone emoji. In all probabilities, this provision could be an obvious answer to one of the commonplace assortment problems in communication. In the year 2015, excluding the original gold coloured emoji, five other skin tone options were introduced to emoji. This development followed years of criticisms about the lack of black and brown representation. The new range of emojis has facilitated the users in selecting faces and hand gestures in different skin tones.

Despite the fact the introduction of skin tone emojis was intended to see it as a fairness meter for the user’s mood while texting, it has equally become a motif categorising a user as a racist. The intention behind these updates is simple i.e. to allow users an expression of racial freedom, however, according to many, it is personal abuse of racial ghettoisation. For example, if a European uses a black emoji to congratulate an African, the European is risk offending his black friend by deliberately picking an emoji that best fits his colour. In the second scenario, if the European picks the white emoji, it also can offend the African as it can place the European in a position of dominance.

In this background surely one might wonder why should there be a colour palette? It is because, on face value, companies like WhatsApp and Apple are trying to achieve the concept of unity in diversity. The Internet took it as a victory of racial inclusion.

Emojis are a form of non-verbal gestures. Before using the emojis, one needs to have adequate knowledge about the emojis for the reason that emojis appear differently on a range of systems and devices — not only in the appearance but also in a wide range of meanings.

Emojis are effectual only if the two parties involved in the communication comprehend the same meanings to the symbols. Besides, it also depends on the platform used for communication. For example, WhatsApp seems to have somewhat different meanings for the coloured emoji hearts while Instagram has its own clarification. So it is imperative to understand the meaning of an emoji before it is meritoriously used. Let’s support this argument with the explanation of the exact meaning of the coloured hearts.

The Red Heart Emoji is an archetypal love heart emoji. It is used for expressions of love and its linked meanings such as passion, deep connection, romance, friendship, and unconditional love. Equally, a red heart on WhatsApp symbolises the immeasurable passion.

The Green Heart Emoji is known as a jealous heart with its allied meanings as envy, mistrustfulness or possessive love. It can be used in situations when there is hope for reconciliation and friendship. Then again, this emoji on WhatsApp implies a greener healthier connection too.

The Purple Heart Emoji denotes a sensitive, understanding and compassionate love. In order to portray glamour or wealth, this emoji is regularly used. On WhatsApp platform, it stands for sexuality.

The Yellow Heart Emoji signifies happiness and friendship. They are one and the same as the traditional heart of gold — new beginnings, youth, sunshine, spring, purity, and strength. On WhatsApp, it means someone is happy and optimistic.

The Orange Heart Emoji is used to express great care, comfort, serenity, joy, warmth, heat, sunshine, enthusiasm, creativity, success, encouragement. It also means to remain as friends with nothing mutual beyond friendship or acquaintance.

Finally, the Blue Heart Emoji indicates deep attraction, trust, harmony, peace and loyalty. However, on WhatsApp, the blue heart represents the deeply felt friendship and loyalty between two people. Sometimes, this emoji is intentionally used to convey a double meaning too.

In concluding words, emojis can be considered as non-verbal gestures that effectively address commonplace assortment problems in communication, provided there usage is appropriate and conveys the same meaning to the receiver as intended by the sender. (The author is an Air Veteran, a mass communicator and an author of more than 10 mass media books)

Electronic Voting Machines: A Boon or Bane?

Electronic Voting Machines: A Boon or Bane? Dr Suman Kumar Kasturi 

On the day of the first phase of general elections-2019 i.e. on April 11, Telugu Desam party (TDP) chief Nara Chandrababu Naidu expressed his despondency over the problems concerning Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). According to him, polling was delayed at several places as the EVMs were not functioning.

On the other hand, in another latest development about the usage of EVMs, the Supreme Court on April 9 directed the Election Commission to increase the arbitrary matching of VVPAT slips with EVMs from one polling booth at present to five polling booths per Assembly segment. This would mean that the Election Commission of India (ECI) has to count VVPAT slips of 20,625 EVMs in 2019 general elections.

Ever since the EVMs have been used for the elections, there have been many versions of arguments — while some sets of people support the usage of the EVMs, the others sets of people oppose. In this milieu, there arises a need to understand whether the use of EVMs is a boon or bane.

By replacing the conventional paper ballot system, EVMs, in some measure, entered elections in India from 1999 elections. Later, the paper ballot system has been completely taken over by the EVMs. Thus, the EC decided to use only EVMs for Lok Sabha Elections in 2004.

Advancing further, Election Commission has decided to introduce EVMs with Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system, considering the rulings of Delhi High Court, Supreme Court and demands from various political parties. The VVPAT system was introduced in 8 of 543 parliamentary constituencies as a pilot project in general elections-2014.

Though the EVMs were introduced in 1999 elections in India, in actual fact EVMs were commissioned by the ECI in collaboration with Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) in 1989 itself.

The design of an EVM enables it to record a maximum of 3,840 votes and caters for a maximum of 64 candidates — with a provision for 16 candidates for each balloting unit and a maximum of 4 units in parallel connection.

Nonetheless, the ECI has faced with an uncommon problem in Nizamabad Parliament Constituency in the recent general elections. As many as 185 candidates filed nominations in this constituency, posing a hard-hitting call on the smooth voting process.

Shattering all the difficulties into pieces, the constituency created history as 12 jumbo EVMs with a maximum of 16 candidates were used by laying them out in the shape of ‘L’, in each of the 1,778 polling booths in the constituency.

As far as usage of EVMs is concerned, there are many advantages. The EVMs are powered by an ordinary 6-volt alkaline battery. This overcomes the problem of using EVMs even at places where there is no power supply or erratic power supply.

As compared to the conservative balloting system wherein the heavy usage of ballot paper takes place, conducting elections through EVMs is much easier a process. Besides, it becomes cheaper in a longterm process as an investment on EVMs is a onetime measure — the cost per EVM as such is somewhere around Rs 13,000/- per unit.

The shelf life of EVMs is projected at 15 years. So, recurrently the same EVMs can be optimally used in all elections for 15 years. Due to the light weight of the EVMs and its compactness in packaging, the transportation of EVMs is also easier as compared to ballot boxes.

As concerns the counting of votes, the EVMs enable the easiness and fastness. Beyond doubt, in places where illiteracy is an issue, the uneducated voters find EVMs easier than the ballot paper system.

For the reason that the vote is recorded only once, bogus voting can be avoided greatly. One important fact about the EVMs is that the unit can store the result in its memory before it is erased manually.

Another advantage of the EVMs is the totaliser unit that can be connected to several balloting units would display only the complete results from a particular constituency.

This ensures concealing of votes from individual polling booths. Besides all these advantages, indirectly, the EVMs are one of the means that reduces carbon footprint — because — they avoid usage of so much of paper, which is produced after cutting down of many trees. In this manner, EVMs come to be environment-friendly!

As far as the disadvantages are concerned, after all, EVMs are electronic gadgets. Thus, EVMs are sensitive to the extent of operational aspects. As EVMs use photosensitive electronic components in it, at times it becomes difficult in conducting elections using EVMs under adverse climatic conditions wherein the atmospheric temperatures reach its high.

On February 13, 2010, an international conference in Chennai on ‘the Indian EVMs and their Tamperability’ was held under the chairmanship of Subramanian Swamy.

The conclusion was that the Election Commission of India was evading its accountability on the transparency in the working of the EVMs. Two months later, in April 2010, an independent security analysis was also conducted, according to which EVMs are prone to several potential vulnerabilities.

However, the Election Commission of India reiterates that without having physical access and pretty high technical skills, tampering of the EVMs is not possible.

It is a point to ponder whether so many thousands of EVMs can be tampered to impact the results of an election by gaining physical access to them! As such the EVMs are stored under strict security that can be monitored by contenders or their agents all the time.

In a vast democratic country like India, EVMs best suit the election process as they have many advantages as compared to the conventional balloting system. More so, the recent direction of the Supreme Court would expel many such doubts as tampering of EVM units.

(The author is an Air Veteran, a mass communicator and an author of more than 10 mass media books)

The menace of orbital debris

Dr. Suman Kasturi | Updated On: 11 April 2019 11:16 PM

In a test meant for boosting its fortifications in space, recently, India used a home-grown ballistic missile interceptor to destroy one of India’s own satellites located at a height of 300 km. Reacting to this event, the Pentagon on March 04, held that it stood by its assessment that debris from an Indian anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons test would eventually burn up in the atmosphere. However, NASA’s administrator presaged of the danger the debris posed, according to whom more than 400 pieces of orbital debris from the test had been identified. Such orbital debris includes those particles travelling above the International Space Station.

From the time when the first satellite was launched on October 4, 1957 (Sputnik by erstwhile USSR), the number of satellites that have been placed in the space have been burgeoned — at this time, there are more than thirteen thousand satellites and other large objects in orbit around the earth. In order to understand the threat imposed by the orbital debris, it is imperative to understand what exactly orbital debris mean. Orbital debris is nothing but the scrap produced due to spacecraft explosions and by collisions between satellites that are moving around the earth.

Simply put—space debris is a man-made object that is not in active use. Sizes of space debris range from a large scale of uncountable smaller pieces to obsolete spacecraft and rocket bodies that stand taller than a big infrastructure on the earth. According to an estimation, a piece of debris falls back to earth about once a day. Eventually, these microparticles either land or incinerate in the air.

Due to the major share of water on the earth, most objects that return to earth end up in water. Nonetheless, many of the objects sent into space are still in their respective orbits around the earth. Traditionally, it has been the standard practice that a satellite after placing into its orbit, used to be left in the orbit only. However, for the reason that the debris is travelling at the same orbital speeds, it poses a significant threat to the space shuttle, space station, and other satellites placed in earth orbit. For this reason, a heavy threat is imposed even due to a small splatter speck in space. With a collision, it can even crack a space shuttle body and create remarkable problems back on earth.

It should be understood that space debris travels at a speed 10 times faster than a bullet — as such an average bullet’s speed itself is 1,700mph. Thus, the collisions caused by orbital debris result in catastrophic mission failure. Object breakup has been a major contributor to orbital debris. Despite the fact that the reason for many of the object breakups is not known, sometimes they are caused by explosions and collisions owing to the residual propellant, overheated batteries, and due to the deliberate destruction of satellites.

In order to determine the volume of orbital debris, scientists study the space shuttle when it returns from the space orbit. Utmost care is taken in the design of the space station to make it the most heavily shielded spacecraft ever. Beyond doubt, a space station can survive impact with smaller pieces of orbital debris and safeguard the astronauts. Specially designed spacesuits are vibrant in protecting the space crew. Materials used in bulletproof vests are used in the design of the spacesuits. There has been a heavy increase in the volume of space debris due to the launch of many satellites. Thus, the threat caused due to the space debris is multiplied in leaps and bounds.

Consequently, there arises a dire need to address this problem. Many international space agencies have been striving hard to reduce the problem caused due to orbital debris. For example, the upper stages of launch vehicles, and some satellites are being placed in lower orbits. This is to ensure that the orbital debris re-enters the atmosphere and burn up more readily. In order to prevent old satellites, other space objects, and the orbital debris that they engender from making low-earth-orbit (LEO) unusable, a provision must be made for removing the used satellites and spent rockets from orbit.

There are various methods for removing the used satellites. One method of removing a satellite from orbit is carrying extra propellant so that the satellite can bring itself down out of the orbit. However, this method has its own limitations as it burdens carrying of heavy propellant — thus making the rocket carrying a satellite, bulkier. Recent studies have shown that satellites left in a higher orbit will slowly break apart as micrometeorites and will eventually endanger operational satellites. Moreover, once the old satellites split into smaller particles, it will be nearly impossible to clean up the debris.

Consequently, it will be much more cost effective in the long run to deal with the problem. Currently, there is no law requiring that old satellites be removed from orbit. However, NASA has recently effected a guideline for its own satellites. In the same lines, it is imperative for all other space organisations run by various nations to formulate their own guidelines. Major space organisations like ISRO and NASA should join hands to congregate the nations to formulate an international law to address the problem of orbital debris. (The author is an Air Veteran, a mass communicator and an author of more than 10 mass media books)