Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What we do - Corruption Perceptions Index 2013

What we do - Corruption Perceptions Index 2013
The Corruption Perception Index measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption in countries worldwide, scoring them from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). Covering 177 countries, the 2013 index paints a worrying picture. While a handful perform well, not one single country gets a perfect score. More than two-thirds score less than 50. View our interactive website for the Corruption Perceptions Index 2013. - See more at:

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Nelson Mandela - The Long Walk for freedom

"I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die." - Mandela's ‘Speech from the Dock’ on 20 April 1964.

In Robben Island prison the prisoners were awakened before dawn to start a long day of forced labor. For 13 years Mandela was led in chains to a limestone quarry and forced to extract lime from the hard cliffs beneath a burning sun. Even under these hellish conditions, Mandela managed to study and encouraged the other prisoners to share their knowledge with each other and to debate their ideas. Lectures were arranged in secrecy and the prison came to be known as "Mandela University." Mandela never relented in his efforts to change mistaken views and create allies among those around him. Eventually, his indomitable spirit gained the respect of even the prison guards.
By far the cruelest torment he had to endure was his inability to aid his family or shield them from the incessant persecution of the authorities. The Mandela home was attacked and burned; his wife was repeatedly harassed, arrested and interrogated. Mandela was in prison when he learned that his mother had died of a heart attack. It filled him with immense pain to think that she died still worrying about his safety, as she had throughout the long years of his struggle for freedom and dignity. Shortly thereafter, he was told that his eldest son had been killed in a highly suspect automobile "accident."
Mandela wrote a memoir during the 70s, copies of which were wrapped in plastic containers and buried in a vegetable garden which he kept at prison. It was hoped that fellow prisoner Mac Maharaj, who was due for release, would be able to smuggle it out. But the containers were discovered when prison authorities began building a wall through the garden. As punishment, Mandela's study privileges were revoked.During the 1950s Mandela was banned, arrested and imprisoned for challenging apartheid. He was one of the accused in the massive Treason Trial at the end of the decade and, following the 1960 banning of the ANC, he went underground, adopting a number of disguises--sometimes a laborer, other times a chauffeur. The press dubbed him "the Black Pimpernel" because of his ability to evade police. During this time, he and other ANC leaders formed its armed wing--Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK). Mandela was secretly appointed its commander in chief. "At the end of the day...violence was the only weapon that would destroy apartheid." Wrote Nelson Mandela, in1959.
In 1962, he left the country to garner support for the armed struggle. During this time he received guerilla training in Morocco and Ethiopia.In the winter of 1964, Nelson Mandela arrived on Robben Island where he would spend 18 of his 27 prison years. Confined to a small cell, the floor his bed, a bucket for a toilet, he was forced to do hard labor in a quarry. He was allowed one visitor a year for 30 minutes. He could write and receive one letter every six months. But Robben Island became the crucible which transformed him. "He always made the point, if they say you must run, insist on walking. If they say you must walk fast, insist on walking slowly. That was the whole point. We are going to set the terms." Neville Alexander, fellow prisoner wrote. Through his intelligence, charm and dignified defiance, Mandela eventually bent even the most brutal prison officials to his will, assumed leadership over his jailed comrades and became the master of his own prison. He emerged from it, the mature leader who would fight and win the great political battles that would create a new democratic South Africa.
The apartheid government offered to release Mandela on no less than six occasions but he rejected them each time. On one such occasion Mandela released a statement saying: "I cherish my own freedom dearly, but I care even more for your freedom ... What freedom am I being offered while the organisation of the people [the ANC] remains banned?" The ANC was labeled a terrorist organisation by the apartheid government and was recognised as such by countries including the US and Britain. It was only in 2008 that the United States finally officially removed Mandela and other ANC members from its terror list!
"He had a sense of destiny fairly early on, though he denies that ...A lot of his letters and his interesting essays in jail have a kind of assumption behind them that in the end he will be required to lead his country, as well as his people." Anthony Sampson, biographer wrote. The rolling green hills of the rural Transkei is the place Mandela thinks of as home; it is there he has built his retirement house. Growing up in the royal kraal of the Madiba clan, Mandela was groomed to be advisor to the King of Thembus.
"In my youth in the Transkei I listened to the elders of my tribe telling stories of the old days. Amongst the tales they related to me were those of wars fought by our ancestors in defence of the fatherland.."opening sentences from Mandela's statement from the dock in the Rivonia Trial, April 1964.
Mandela was born on July 18, 1918 in a village named Mvezo, in South Africa’s Cape Province.  Mandela's birth name – Rolihlahla – is an name that means "pulling the branch of the tree". Colloquially it also means "troublemaker". His English name, Nelson, was given to him by a missionary schoolteacher. It was a custom among Africans in those days and was undoubtedly due to British bias. He was expelled from the University of Fort Hare after joining a student protest. He later completed his degree through Unisa, which he followed up with a law degree from Wits University. Qualified as a lawyer, Mandela qualified opened a law practice in Johannesburg with his partner, Oliver Tambo. Both of them campaigned against apartheid. Nelson Mandela, while increasingly politically involved from 1942, only joined the African National Congress in 1944 when he helped formed the ANC Youth League.
In 1944 he married Evelyn Mase, a nurse. They had two sons Madiba Thembekile ‘Thembi’ and Makgatho and two daughters both called Makaziwe, the first of whom died in infancy. They effectively separated in 1955 and divorced in 1958.
Nelson Mandela rose through the ranks of the ANCYL and through its work the ANC adopted in 1949 a more radical mass-based policy, the Programme of Action. In 1952 he was chosen at the National Volunteer-in-Chief of the Defiance Campaign with Maulvi Cachalia as his Deputy. This campaign of civil disobedience against six unjust laws was a joint programme between the ANC and the South African Indian Congress. He and 19 others were charged under the Suppression of Communism Act for their part in the campaign and sentenced to nine months hard labour suspended for two years.
Mr. Mandela, already national vice-president of the ANC, launched a campaign of economic sabotage. He was eventually arrested and charged with sabotage and attempting to violently overthrow the government. He was then sentenced to life prison in 1964. H wasn’t even allowed to attend the funerals of his mother and son, who died within a year (1968-1969). The African National Congress was founded in 1912 (6 years before Nelson Mandela's birth) to unite the African people against white minority ruling. Their aim has always been to create a non-racial and democratic South Africa.
Nelson Mandela and ANC have become almost synonymous. Nelson Mandela joined the ANC in 1943. From that time on he never lost his vision for the ideals that the ANC stands for. In the ANC Mandela found the way to a free South Africa but it did not come without a high price.
Shortly after joining the ANC Nelson Mandela, together with his friend and partner Oliver Tambo and Walter Sislu, formed the Youth League of the congress. Initially, in line with the ANC's Defiance campaign the ideals of peaceful non-compliance and protests were the order of the day. As things progressed, more specific areas were targeted, but always with the intention that no person would be hurt or injured.
Nelson Mandela – terrorist. Yes, in the USA this Nobel Peace Prize winner is listed as a terrorist. Why? Because he was a member of the African National Congress and they were all declared as terrorists in around 1961. Nelson Mandela was imprisoned as a terrorist, convicted of treason and sabotage and sentenced for life. His only real crime though was to rid his country South Africa of the atrocities of apartheid and attempt to bring about democracy and equality for all.
On 21 March 1960 police killed 69 unarmed people in a protest at Sharpeville against the pass laws. This led to the country’s first state of emergency on 31 March and the banning of the ANC and the Pan Africanist Congress on 8 April. Nelson Mandela and his colleagues in the Treason Trial were among the thousands detained during the state of emergency.
During the trial on 14 June 1958 Nelson Mandela married a social worker Winnie Madikizela. They had two daughters Zenani and Zindziswa. The couple divorced in 1996.
Days before the end of the Treason Trial Nelson Mandela travelled to Pietermaritzburg to speak at the All-in Africa Conference, which resolved he should write to Prime Minister Verwoerd requesting a non-racial national convention, and to warn that should he not agree there would be a national strike against South Africa becoming a republic. As soon as he and his colleagues were acquitted in the Treason Trial Nelson Mandela went underground and began planning a national strike for 29, 30 and 31 March. In the face of a massive mobilization of state security the strike was called off early. In June 1961 he was asked to lead the armed struggle and helped to establish Umkhonto weSizwe (Spear of the Nation).
On 11 January 1962 using the adopted name David Motsamayi, Nelson Mandela left South Africa secretly. He travelled around Africa and visited England to gain support for the armed struggle. He received military training in Morocco and Ethiopia and returned to South Africa in July 1962. He was arrested in a police roadblock outside Howick on 5 August while returning from KwaZulu-Natal where he briefed ANC President Chief Albert Luthuli about his trip.
He was charged with leaving the country illegally and inciting workers to strike. He was convicted and sentenced to five years imprisonment which he began serving in Pretoria Local Prison. On 27 May 1963 he was transferred to Robben Island and returned to Pretoria on 12 June. Within a month police raided a secret hide-out in Rivonia used by ANC and Communist Party activists and several of his comrades were arrested.
In October 1963 Nelson Mandela joined nine others on trial for sabotage in what became known as the Rivonia Trial. Facing the death penalty his words to the court at the end of his famous ‘Speech from the Dock’ on 20 April 1964 became immortalized:
Nelson Mandela immersed himself into official talks to end white minority rule and in 1991 was elected ANC President to replace his ailing friend Oliver Tambo. In 1993 he and President FW de Klerk jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize and on 27 April 1994 he voted for the first time in his life. On 10 May 1994 he was democratically elected as South Africa’s first President.
On his 80th birthday in 1998 he married Gra├ža Machel, his third wife. True to his promise Nelson Mandela stepped down in 1999 after one term as President. He continued to work with the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund he set up in 1995 and established the Nelson Mandela Foundation and The Mandela-Rhodes Foundation.
Nelson Mendala wanted freedom, not just for himself but for his people. For Mandela prison became a place of teaching. No one can deny the suffering he went through on Robben Island, the mistreatment and the underfeeding. On this Nelson Mandela Island there was plenty of brutality dished out to the people there, most particularly the blacks. 

A very thin straw mat on a floor in a cell no more than 5 square metres, coupled with poor food and hard labour was what the Nelson Mandela jail quarters on Robben Island had to offer. As the Free Nelson Mandela song goes he had shoes too small for his feet and a host of other hardships to deal with. After many protests the prisoners were allowed to study and this Nelson Mandela jail became a place of learning.
Nelson Mandela never wavered in his devotion to democracy, equality and learning. Despite terrible provocation, he never answered racism with racism. His life has been an inspiration to all who are oppressed and deprived, to all who are opposed to oppression and deprivation.
One of the world’s most revered statesmen, Nelson Mandela, led the struggle to replace the apartheid regime of South Africa with a multi-racial democracy. Emerging as the country’s first black president, Mandela won the Nobel Peace prize in 1993. Nelson Mandela is known as the Father of the nation and it was his lifelong struggle that saw an end of apartheid in South Africa. The United Nations declared his birthday, July 18, Nelson Mandela International Day. This was the first time the UN dedicated a particular day to a person.
But intertwined in greatness, is the ability of those who walk their talk. As a friend’s post in South Africa recently reminded me ‘Madiba wrote: "As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison." this after being separated by his family and his children for nearly three decades, after being considered a criminal in his own country because he spoke of a need for a democracy and equality. Uniting a nation, he visited the 94 year old Bets Verwoerd, the widow of one of the key architects of apartheid when she was in hospital and invited his White jailor as a VIP guest to his presidential inauguration.’ And we do know who got the Nobel Peace prize with him.
By  K.S. Radhakrishnan 
(The Author is a Traveler and a Malayalam writer)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

MOHAMMED RAFI - The Eternal Singer

Madhuban  mein  Rafida  Nachere…..!!!!

Mohammed Deen, elder brother of a young lad called Pheeko had a barber shop ,  and the  lad spent many of his childhood days in his brothers barber shop.     One day,  when Pheeko was about seven years of age,  his brother noticed him following a fakir who was walking the streets singing while playing on his Ektara (a one-stringed instrument).    Ignoring the regular reprimands of his parents,  the young boy continued to follow the fakir to his abode - a huge tree - on a regular basis.   Then one day, some of the patrons at the barber shop heard him sing the songs of the fakir with such perfect sur (pitch) that they immediately recognised the immense musical gift that the boy possessed,  and were convinced that this young genius-in-the-making was destined for greater things in life.     The elders,  and the patrons,  then used to regularly ask the young boy to visit the barber shop and sing for them,  for he had a truly sureely awaaz.    Pheeko  had picked up the rudiments of music from a fakir while already possessing a God-gifted voice and is better known to the connoisseurs of  music  and also to other music lovers as Mohammed Rafi!

This great singer was born at Kotla Sultan Singh, Amritsar (British India), as the fifth of six sons, to Hajji Ali Mohammed. Fondly called as Pheeko. When Rafi,  at a tender age of about fifteen decided to become a singer,  his father,  a village landlord,  was dead against the idea.     His brother, Mohammed Deen, though,   having recognised that this young boy had a God-given talent which he simply could not see go to waste,  decided to help his little brother realise his dreams,  for the young Mohammed Rafi enjoyed nothing as much as he did to sing all day long.   When a was barely seventeen years old,  and sang his first playback song for a Punjabi film,  'Gul Baloch' under the music direction of the late Shyam Sunder in 1941,  Rafi was not literate  enough and had to commit the words to memory before he could go before the microphone.      When it came to remembering any melody though, there never was a problem.   The young genius in the making needed only to hear a melody once to not only commit it to memory,  but also suggest improvements to the tune.    Following the popularity of his Punjabi song,  Rafi took the final big step in his life and ventured off to Bombay to realise his dreams of making singing his career.     In 1942 he arrived in Bombay to sing,  again under the music direction of Shyam Sunder for the movie 'Gaon ki Gauri'
After this successful debut in Bombay,  Rafi approached the renowned music director Naushad,  confiding in him his admiration for the great Kundan Lal. Saigal,  and how his ambition was to sing with Saigal Saheb.     Naushad did not disappoint him,  giving him two lines (Ruhi Ruhi Mere Sapnon ki Rani) with K.L Saigal for a song in the movie 'Shahjehan'.     Although Rafi had several 'hit' songs during these early years,  he never-the-less had tough competition from respected singers like  Manna Dey,  Talat Mahmood,  Hemant Kumar and Mukesh.    The real recognition for Rafi,  though,  which never saw him looking back again,  was his incomparable effort for his songs in 'Baiju Bawra' under the music direction of Naushad Sahab.    O Duniya ke Rakhwale (which you're listening to right now) together with 'Man Tarpat Hari Darshan' left Rafi in a league all of his own.    He continued over the years to lend his magnificent golden voice to such great music directors as Sachin Dev Burman,  C. Ramachandra,  Roshan,  Shankar-Jaikishen,  Madan Mohan,  O.P. Nayyar,  Kalyanji-Aanadji,  Laxmikant Pyarelal,  Jaidev,  Salil Chowdhury,  Ravindra Jain,  Iqbal Qureshi,  Usha Khanna,  Ravi,  Chitragupta and Rahul Dev Burman,  to name a few.

Any music lover whether a connoisseur or not would definitely agree that when one thinks of Indian film music, the name of Mohammed Rafi crops up almost instantaneously. It is difficult to accurately give the count of the total number of songs he has sung during the 56 years of his life from 24th December, 1924 to 31st July, 1980, so is to count the number of his fans. Of course he entertained all of us he starting his active singing at the age of 21 only giving us only a span of 35 years of his sweet voice. Rafi received his training from prominent  classical Ustads like Abdul Wahid Khan,  Pandit Jiwanlal Matto,  Ghulam Ali Khan and Firoz Nizami  -  all doyens and devotees of music.

It was not difficult for the family to get convinced gong by the performance he had in Lahore, the first of his numerous public ones at the age of 13 and his first movie song, a duet in a Punjabi film “ Gul Baloch” along with  Zeenat Begum starting like”Soniye Nee, Heeniye Nee”, and a few songs at the  All India Radio, Lahore. Stalwarts and Wizards of music of those days like Pandit Jeewan lal Mattoo, Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Ustad  Abdul Wahid Khan, Foroze Nizami etc helped Pheeko  get moulded into the Mohammed  Rafi we know of ,through their  intensive trainings at various stages of his formative days..

He is noted for his ability to render songs of different moods and varieties with the greatest degree of perfection. In fact he was one of the first playback singers who molded his voice to the persona of the particular actor for whom he sung. Even now while listening to his songs one will be able to link it to the actor who had enacted the song in celluloid. His variety spreading over pure classical, patriotic, extremely romantic and sad lamentations are always cherished by his fans. Quawwalis, Bhajans, Ghazalas were also his specialities.His complete command and control over Hindustani music was his strength which helped him to scale the heights of fame. His voice was heard in languages like Assamese, Konkani, Bhojpuri, Odiya, Bengali, Marathi, Kannada, Telugu, Gujarati, Sindhi, Maithili, Urdu, Maghi etc. Unfortunately Malayalam and Tamil were never blessed with his songs. It is reported that one of the great music composers of Malayalam Baburaj had requested him to sing a song in the film “Dweepu” and Rafi Saheb politely declined the offer saying that he was not sure whether he will be able to pronounce the words, which he was always insistent. Finally Talat Mohammed sang the song “Kadale Neela kkadalae”. However he had also sung in foreign languages like Persian, Dutch, English and Spanish.

Shyam Sunder who had given Rafi a break in Punjabi film at Lahore , again made him record his first ever song in Hindi, a duet with GM Durrani “Aji Dilko quaboo mein”.His acquaintance with Shyam Sunder , Poet Tanvir Naqvi etc made him closer to the  active film makers of those days like Mehbooh Khan, Abdur Rashid Kardar etc and brought him regular opportunities to sing in Hindi movies. His success in the first round of duets gave him solo numbers too and he excelled in both these, as we have seen. Almost all the music composers readily accepted this gifted singer and rolled out great hits.Naushad is believed to be the wizard who came out with the most melodious ones through Rafi.

'Bapu ki Amar Kahani',  a poignant song dedicated to the Mahatma Gandhi,  recorded just a month after Gandhi-ji's assassination in January of 1948,  had Nehru-ji shedding tears at the emotion in Rafi Sahab's voice.    Rafi Sahab sang over 26,000 songs in all the national languages of India in his fourty year career.    He was the master of all forms of songs  -  he could sing ghazals,  qawwalis and bhajans with the same ease and greatness.    There came a time in the sixties when Rafi Sahab was the permanent voice of Shammi
Kapoor,  Dilip Kumar,  Rajendra Kumar,  Dev Anand,  Dharmendra,  Shashi Kapoor and Raj Kumar.    In fact,  Shammi Kapoor's films were mainly popular because of the songs,  which were sung by Rafi Sahab in a very distinct style.    Rafi Sahab's voice personified the rebellious image of  'Yahoo' star,  Shammi Kapoor  ;   made RajendraKumar a 'Jubilee Star'  and Jeetendra a 'Jumping Jack'. 
Sachin Dev Burman made Rafi sing for Dev Anand and Guru Dutt.Great numbers of Pyasa, Tere Ghar ke Samne, Kagaz ke phool etc. Though with a coming back of Kishore Kumar, Rafi received a slight set back for a brief period, the movies which had hits of Kishore from Sachinda like Aaradhana (Rajesh Khanna), Guide (Dev Anand), Abhimaan(Amitabbh Bachan) etc Rafi was also roped in to come out equally popular numbers like”Baagon Mein Bahar hein”, :Tere Mere Sapne”, “ Tere bindiya re”.The number sung for  Abdul Sattar(better known as Johny Walker) in Pyasa-Sar jo tera chakaraye enacting a mobile massager, has come out well from Rafiji , may be due to his acquaintance with such activities during his childhood at Lahore where his father had a Men’s parlour.

Shanker Jaikishen team had excellent partnership with Rafi whereby the most famous ones in the movies with actors like Shammi Kapoor and Rajendra Kumar were produced. The songs of Junglee like “Yahoo-chahe koi mujhe jungalee kahe”, “Ehsaan tera hoga”, Bharao phool barsao, Dil ke jharoke mein, Teri Pyaari Pyaari”, Re mama re mama re”,Chakke mein Chakka, Mein Gaoon tum so jao, numbers fom Evening in Paris, Love in Tokyo etc.
Chaudvin ka Chand ho ya aphtaaph ho—an ever remembered melody from the Guru Dutt film with the same name was composed by Ravi who also gave Rafi very good numbers in Neel kamal. Madan Mohan who had marked Rafi as a favourite came out with excellent numbers through him. Like Teri aankhon ke siva, Yeh duniya yeh mehfil etc. OP Nayyar made him sing for Kishore Kumar as actor in Ragini-Man mora Bawara and many other unforgettable melodies in the films-Kashmir ki Kali, Tumsa nahin Dekha, Naya Daur etc.
The film  Dosti which gave the songs like Chahoonga mein Tujhe, Janewalo zara etc were results of the combination of Rafi with Laxmikant Pyarelal. RD Burman gave a break to him when he was getting chances less frequently after the reentry  of Kishore da with the film Aradhana, by giving Rafiji a national award winner-Kya hua tera vada in Hu kisise kum nahin.The quawaali from Amar Akbar Anthony-Parda hein Parda for Rishi Kapoor  still remains the greatest filmy Quawalis.

Rafiji’s first wife, a cousin of his refused to come to India after the ill famous partition of India and stayed back in Pakistan. He married again and has three sons and three daughters. He lived a pious , religious and disciplined life refraining from club  and party life, smoking and drinking. He was known as a humble man with so many good qualities. His attitude was evident when he agreed to sing for Kishore Kumar.He was regularly continuing his practice of music everyday  as Niaz even after he attained fame.He occasionally used to play caroms, Badminton , kite flying etc etc for exercise and entertainment.He chose to remain calm when other leading artistes like Lata Mangeshkar raised the issue of royalty on the songs which brought about an unwanted rift between the two artistes.Rafi’s view was that once he has been paid the agreed and          contracted amount for recording a song, his claim ended .If the movie and the songs were hits and fetched money it was for the producer who was not compensated when the reverse happened and .One composer Nizar Basmi (later migrated to Pakistan)  who couldn’t pay anything to Rafi for a song, Rafiji just took a token fee of One rupee and readily recorded a song for him. He never carried any ill feeling towards any of his male or female fellow singers and always cooperated with the composers to sing along with any and all of them.

Apart from winning the hearts of millions of pure music lovers the worls over, Rafiji had been bestowed with many awards some of which are: Padma Shree Award in 1967,National Award for Best Hindi film singer (1977), Film Fare award for best singer-6 times., Sur Singar award, Bengal Film Journalists’ award- 3times, a Silver Medal from the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on the first anniversary of Independence in 1948, (after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, the team of Husanlal Bhagatram-Rajendra Krishan-Rafi had overnight created the song "Suno Suno Ae Duniyawalon, Bapuji Ki Amar Kahani)

Naushad gave him his first song “Hindustan ke Hum hein’ for the film”Pehle Aap” (1944).Talat Mohammed was the favourite singer for Naushad.However with Baiju Bawra ( with the difficult and pure classical ones like Hari Om Man tarapat hari darsan”, Duniya ke rakhwale etc) Naushad continued to use Rafi, more and their duo produced super numbers to the listeners like the ones in Mughal-e-Azam. I personally, am an exponent of Rafi numbers particularly the Naushad number from Kohinoor- set to Rag Hameer- Madhu ban mein Raadhika Naachere  which is considered to be a class one, a classical  and a classic one ever to come from Hindi moviedom .(Hence the caption for the write up)  Madhuban mein Rafida Nachere.he will always continue to dance in our  gardens  of memories reminding us of  his unique musical wisdom and sweetness.

On the 31st of July, 2013 , it will be 33 years since we lost this great singer to another world where he will be entertaining the music lovers  like he had done to us and still continues to do. The last song the bard is reported to have sung was :Sham phir kyon udass hein dost’ (of Aas Paas) making the evenings of millions of real music lovers udaas forever; but the available recordings of his songs in various forms  and the memories we recollect and share  keep him always at our Aas Paas. May his tribe be born and born again to enrich music.
Free Media Journal Contributor-
Mr. Vinayachandran is a singer and  music enthusiast. He is a senior official of State Bank of India

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Monk Who Sold Computers

“Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it. That’s the mark of a true professional” Gautama Buddha

"Steve was among the greatest of American innovators—brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it," said President Barack Obama in a statement. “Steve was fond of saying that he lived every day like it was his last. Because he did, he transformed our lives, redefined entire industries, and achieved one of the rarest feats in human history: He changed the way each of us sees the world.”

Steve Jobs, for all of his single-minded dedication to the company he built from the ground up, he actually skipped a meeting to take Laurene on their first date: Steve wrote “I was in the parking lot with the key in the car, and I thought to myself, ‘If this is my last night on earth, would I rather spend it at a business meeting or with this woman?’ I ran across the parking lot, asked her if she’d have dinner with me. She said yes, we walked into town and we’ve been together ever since.”

He wrote to Laurene. “We didn’t know much about each other 20 years ago. We were guided by our intuition; you swept me off my feet. It was snowing when we got married at the Ahwahnee. Years passed, kids came, good times, hard times, but never bad times. Our love and respect has endured and grown. We’ve been through so much together and here we are right back where we started 20 years ago-older, wiser-with wrinkles on our faces and hearts. We now know many of life’s joys, sufferings, secrets and wonders and we’re still here together. My feet have never returned to the ground.” (As recited to biographer Walter Isaacson. Jobs was said to have cried uncontrollably after the recitation.)

In his famous 2005 commencement speech to Stanford University, Jobs said of his time at Reed: "It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5 cent deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the seven miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple."

Steve Jobs is the man who gave the most popular personal gadgets to this generation, the Apple gadgets iMac, iPhone, iPod and iPad; and convinced us to splash out up to $800 again and again on gadgets we never knew we really required. The business world is missing one of its most popular visionaries.

According to Steve Jobs, Apple was so named because Jobs was coming back from an apple farm, and he was on a fruitarian diet. He thought the name was "fun, spirited and not intimidating". May be, Isaac Newton’s apple fell on his head!! Jobs is counted among the world’s greatest CEOs and inventors, revered not just for his vision, but creativity, business savvy, and aesthetic appreciation.

As the CEO of the world's most valuable brand, Jobs took only, an annual salary of just $1. While the gesture isn't unheard of in the corporate; Jobs has kept his salary at $1 since 1997, the year he became Apple's lead executive. Of his salary, Jobs joked in 2007: "I get 50 cents a year for showing up, and the other 50 cents is based on my performance."

Since the founding of Apple Computer in 1976, fans and the media grasped for any hint at the personal life of the man in the black turtleneck, trying to piece together what they could of the reclusive innovator. For decades, Jobs, thought to be worth more than $5 billion, has tried to put a metaphorical black sheet over his private life. As with his rollercoaster business career, his personal life has had its ups and downs. Though he was one of the world's most famous CEOs, Steve Jobs kept his private world -- wife and family, illegitimate daughter, father who gave him up for adoption, long lost sister -- hidden from public view.

Jobs most public display of a personal life included his wife, Laurene Powell, and their three children: Reed Paul, Erin Sienna, and Eve. Powell and Jobs had been married for more than 20 years. The two were married in a small Buddhist ceremony in Yosemite National Park in 1991, and lived in Woodside, Calif; the marriage was officiated by Kobin Chino, a Zen Buddhist monk who was his spiritual guru.

Jobs was born in San Francisco on February 24, 1955. His biological father was a graduate student named Abdulfattah John Jandali, a Syrian Muslim who left native country at the age 18 and mother named Joanne Schieble. Jandali,  claimed they put him up for adoption because Joanne’s father was extremely conservative and wouldn’t let Jandali marry her. His birth mother, Joanne Simpson, was a graduate student at the time and later a speech pathologist; his biological father, Abdulfattah John Jandali, reportedly now serves as the vice president of a Reno, Nevada casino.

He was placed with a private adoption agency. He was adopted shortly after his birth and reared near Mountain View, California by a working-class couple, Paul Reinhold Jobs (1922–1993) and Clara Jobs (1924–1986). Joanne tried to insist their son went to university-educated parents. Neither Paul Jobs, a machine operator, nor his wife could make such a claim: his mother only signed the papers after they promised to send him to university.

A few months after they gave Steve up Joanne’s dad died and she was free to marry John. The couple went on to have a daughter, Mona, but eventually split up and divorced when John was managing a refinery in Syria. Mona is estranged from John too. 

Later in life, Jobs discovered the identities of his estranged parents. While Jobs reconnected with Simpson in later years, he and his biological father remained estranged. Some have claimed that Jobs’s absent real father may be crucial in explaining his contradictory and sometimes combative personality.

The reasons for that estrangement are not known. But their split has echoes in another episode in Jobs’s complicated personal life. In 1977, his on-off girlfriend Chris-Ann Brennan gave birth to their daughter, Lisa. Jobs initially insisted the girl was not his. Even so, he named an early Apple computer Lisa (which he claimed was only a technical acronym). Ms Brennan initially raised Lisa on benefits, and those who knew about Jobs’s own adoption were shocked at his response. During Lisa’s teens, however, Jobs acknowledged paternity, and she came to live with him before he paid for her college education at Harvard. Now 34, she is a writer based in New York. Jobs' reluctance to accept Lisa is ironic since he was given up for adoption as a child and has refused to speak to his biological father, despite the father's efforts to contact Jobs. "I've done a lot of things I'm not proud of," he said in a statement while promoting his authorized biography, "such as getting my girlfriend pregnant when I was 23 and the way I handled that.”

Later in his life, Jobs crossed paths with his biological sister while seeking the identity of his birth parents. His sister, Mona Simpson (born Mona Jandali), is the well-known author of "Anywhere But Here" — a story about a mother and daughter that was later adapted into a film starring Natalie Portman and Susan Sarandon.

After reuniting, Jobs and Simpson developed a close relationship. Of his sister, he told a New York Times interviewer: "We're family. She's one of my best friends in the world. I call her and talk to her every couple of days.''Anywhere But Here" is dedicated to "my brother Steve."

Born out of wedlock and given away for adoption as an infant, the early life of Steve Jobs was one characterised by a search for his inner self and possibly, emotional turmoil. He also had a sting of affairs, most notably with American folk singer Joan Baez and Hollywood actress Diane Keaton. While the inner search led him to eastern mysticism, culminating in a trip to India in 1973, during the trip to India, Jobs visited a well-known ashram and returned to the U.S. as a Zen Buddhist.

Fulfilling his biological mother's dream, Jobs graduated from high school and at 17 enrolled at Reed College in Portland. He dropped out, unable to justify to himself the financial burden on his parents. Not seeing the value in his education, Jobs dropped out after six months but continued to audit classes, sleeping on the floors of friends' dorms, redeeming 5-cent Coke bottle deposits for food money and getting Sunday meals at the Hare Krishna temple. And taking sporadic courses including one in calligraphy, which molded his fixation with simplicity and design. Jobs later said, "If I had never dropped in on that single calligraphy course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts."

In 1974, Jobs headed back to California and found a job with Atari, the video-game manufacturer. Jobs is well known for his innovations in personal computing, mobile tech, and software, but he also helped create one of the best known video games of all-time. In 1975, Jobs was tapped by Atari to work on the Pong-like game Breakout.
Jobs, founded Apple Computer Inc. in his parents' garage in 1976 with Steve Wozniak, an engineering whiz who had recently dropped out of the University of California at Berkeley. The two joined forces and, in pairing Wozniak's engineering brilliance with Jobs' vision and business sense, launched the company that gave the world the first personal computer.

Through his successes and public losses, Jobs maintained that fulfillment comes from pursuing what you love.

Just two miles from Apple’s offices is the garage next to his childhood family home, a cream-coloured suburban bungalow, where he and his friend Steve Wozniak founded the company in 1976. They had met in an introductory electronics class at Homestead high school half-way between the two. And a short drive up the highway lie the grounds of Stanford University, where in 1975 the duo revealed Apple I, the world’s first personal computer, to 30 or so enthusiasts from the Homebrew Computer Club.

Jobs subsequently dated the singer Joan Baez and actress Diane Keaton. Then in 1989, he was invited to address the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where one of the event organisers was Laurene Powell, a blonde, bright and attractive former New York investment banker eight years his junior, who was studying for her master’s degree. The speech developed into an impromptu date and quickly a relationship. She graduated and got her MBA at Stanford Business School.

To be sure, many of the gifts that would drive Apple's resurrection over the past decade were already evident in the 1980s: the marketing showmanship, the inspirational summons to "put a dent in the universe," the siren call to talent. Engineer Bob Belleville recalls Jobs recruiting him in 1982 with the words: "I hear you're great, but everything you've done so far is crap. Come work for me." Jobs famously seduced Sculley to Apple by challenging him: "Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?" But in 1985, after convincing former Pepsi executive John Sculley to join Apple as its CEO, Jobs found himself struggling to hold on to the company he helped create. After differences over how to run the company, Sculley and the Apple board pushed Jobs out.

Only 30 years old and, forced to start over again, Jobs founded NeXT Computer and Pixar. Although NeXT failed to live up to Jobs' hopes of building a personal computer to rival Apple's, after eight years, it brought him full circle. In 1996 Apple's acquisition of NeXT was finalized, and, less than a year later, Jobs reprised his role as the company's CEO.

Sculley in his memoir, dismissed Jobs' vision for the company. "Apple was supposed to become a wonderful consumer products company," Sculley wrote. "This was a lunatic plan. High tech could not be designed and sold as a consumer product." Of course, Sculley was dead wrong.

Job's return to Apple—described as his "second coming" by followers in the so-called “cult of Apple”—restored the company's profitability and customers' interest in its products. After a decline in revenues in 1997, the company rebounded in 1998 with three profitable quarters in a row.

"Steve did an excellent job of melding the marketing, operations, and technology. He understood which technology was good and what people would like," Wozniak told students at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton Business School in 2008.

Since his return to Apple, the company has unleashed a string of critically acclaimed products. The iMac, launched in 1998, signaled Apple's rebirth and was called an "industry-changing success" by Forbes. The iPod, released in 2001, turned the music industry on its head, and paved the way for iTunes, the iPhone, and iPad.

He may only have taken in a single dollar per year, but Jobs leaves behind a vast fortune. The largest chunk of that wealth is the roughly $7 billion from the sale of Pixar to Disney in 2006. In 2011, with an estimated net worth of $8.3 billion, he was the 110th richest person in the world, according to Forbes. If Jobs hadn't sold his shares upon leaving Apple in 1985 (before returning to the company in 1996), he would have been the world's fifth richest individual.

Reflecting on his cancer diagnosis, in a 2005 commencement address at Stanford University, he said: "Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything—all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure—these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."

But, over the past three decades, Apple's reach has extended far beyond personal computers to transform the way people consume and create media and connect with one another.

It is the ultimate American story of the self-made man. And, as if any confirmation were needed that it was also made for Hollywood, Sony studios are this weekend reportedly set to acquire the film rights to his highly anticipated authorised biography. The book, by Walter Isaacson, is already number one in the Amazon charts, two weeks ahead of its release.

"Your time is limited," he told the grads at Stanford, "so don't waste it living someone else's life."

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