Category: Uncategorized

What replaced Oil as the most valuable commodity?

We are not even a quarter way into the 21st Century and our basic necessities include, Food, Water, Shelter and WiFi! Our internet usage has increased seven folds from 2000 to 2015, i.e. 735 million to 3.2 billion! In addition to that we are adding more electronic devices in our everyday activities. Replacing phones with smartphones, TVs with smart TVs, Analog watches with Smart watches, fitness tracking apps and what not. Now we even have Google assistant, Siri and the like, to make our lives even more convenient. What do we do with all this?

Generally speaking, we gather data for ourselves, we gather data about other people’s lives (thanks to social media) and we ask questions. Yes you guessed it right, it is not the internet that has replaced oil as the most valuable commodity, it’s data.

funny-picture-duck-facebook-real-lifeDon’t we love updating about our lives and expressing our views on Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms? We want to tell all our friends about all the good we are upto and of course sad, sarcastic and funny memes (that’s an absolute essential).

Well, truth be told, we basically make ourselves look a whole lot better than how we actually are, don’t we? We have the incentive to lie on social media. Because we want to look fun and desirable to everyone. On Google, on the other hand, we have the incentive to tell the truth. We open up about our deepest desires and insecurities. On the internet, we sometimes even search for most ridiculous answers. For instance, once I asked Siri, “Do you think I am crazy?!”, to which she responded, (rather her programming made her say), “I don’t know how to respond to that”. Although I am certain my psychiatrist would say “of course you are crazy”! But asking Google and Siri such questions is funny and also quite revealing. Imagine millions of people like me asking Google or Siri such question! Is that Data recorded? Who is recording it and what are they doing with it?

Fact check: even if you are just passive observer on social media, the pages you like, the picture you view the most and the duration for which you are viewing it, is also recorded.

 

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Obviously Siri cannot do anything about my sadness. But I confided in her. Is this data recorded? Yes! Why? Who? What?!! 
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Hilarious as it is, but again, I couldn’t stop confiding in her in the middle of the night. What happens when millions of as ask Google and Siri such questions?!

Unless you have been living in the wilderness, or another planet, or don’t use any electronics, you won’t have much difficulty in guessing the answer. The companies use it to better understand their consumers! This data has been such a game changer, that now it has replaced oil as the most valuable commodity in the world!

Imagine you are starting a new company and need to understand consumer behaviour in order to breakeven and eventually make profits. Imagine you are standing in the local elections, or even the highest post in your Country, how do you plan to win and make the right policy changes for your Community/ Country without really understanding it. This is where big data comes in!

 

What is big data?

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Big Data is usually information gathered from our online activity. The fact that someone (many companies) is tracking our lives will sure make anyone uncomfortable. Even if such data mining is done ethically and keeps safe the anonymity of individuals, there is always a scope of infringement of privacy. Kudos to Edward Snowden for giving us the real picture of what is really happening in the name of administration in some parts of the world.

81tgb3AaT7LKeeping aside this legitimate fear, for the sake of understanding, one can see groundbreaking  impact Big data can have on our lives. The book Everybody Lies revealed that, when big data is used to understand human behaviour, it unveils shocking truth about ourselves. It discusses a many of topics, from racism in America; to what porn data tell us about us; to our politics ideologies, crime rates and much more. Big data can help us understand and predict human behaviour.

“Collecting rich data toward’s world’s problems is the first step towards fixing them”, says the Author. And in the end adds, provided it is used with the right intent and manner. This is the pivotal point where everything rests. Big data if used with respect to it’s limitations and the spirit and intent of the Law can truly fast track the improvement of our lives, otherwise it shall be a purely corrupt system, where the joke will be on us!

Author of Everybody lies

UCSBSeth has a star-studded academic career. He received his BA in philosophy, Phi Beta Kappa, from Stanford, and his PhD in economics from Harvard. Seth has worked as a data scientist at Google and a visiting lecturer at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is currently a contributing op-ed writer for the New York Times.

His 2017 book, Everybody Lies, published by HarperCollins, was a New York Times bestseller; a PBS NewsHour Book of the Year; and an Economist Book of the Year.

Here is Seth talking about a part of his award-winning research:

Mind blowing, right?

You know the drill…Share this with your friends and family, share your thoughts in the comment section below and show some love, hit the like button ❤

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Can we unlearn things that we learn at home?

One doesn’t always learn from books; some people don’t even like reading! Our primary way to learn is from our experiences. One such priceless experience happened with me recently.

A few weeks ago, my fate took such a turn, that I landed up in a kindergarten as a temporary teacher with no prior experience. My only relevant credentials were that many people, including my family members, close friends and younger people have told me in the past that I am a good teacher and I should seriously consider pursuing it.

Considering my zero experience in the field, I wasn’t assigned direct responsibility of any class of students. I was to merely assist the teachers with the daily work, like checking notebooks and giving exams. Sometimes, I would be assigned some of the lesser interested students a.k.a “weaker” students, where I would personally help them learn and cope up with the class work better.

Within a month my experiences with the children changed my outlook towards them forever. In order to share the same, I would like to share with you two noteworthy anecdotes.

So one morning, a three year old girl, lets call her, Tia, stated to cry unstoppably. It was most shocking for me because she is the quietest girl in the class who always aces her exams and all class work and assignments. And I, on the other hand, cannot bear to see someone cry, especially a tiny beautiful girl like her. I immediately started trying to calm her. I made her drink some water and rubber her back and said some comforting words, she calmed down a bit but she continued to cry silently. Trust me, by now my heart was literally aching. But before I could do anything else, another three year old girl, her classmate, lets call her Pia, came to Tia, held her hand, wiped her tears, and said, “please don’t cry” and to my utter surprise, she immediately stopped crying. And they left smiling hand in hand. Even till this date I don’t know why Tia was crying, but every morning I see Tia and Pia holding hands and playing, which by the way, they never did before that incident. They are inseparable. This incident taught me how simple and unadulterated love and friendship is, and how we complicate it as adults.

Contrastingly, a few days later another rather terrorizing incident occurred. So here is what happened- it was a bright sunny day and the children where practicing writing English alphabets. As usual in every class, there are a few students who are intelligent but moody; and that particular day, for whatever reason one girl, lets call her Rita, wasn’t writing properly and as soon as her class teacher discovered that, she slapped her about ten times for being lazy. And although I was right there, I couldn’t do a thing but stand and watch that heinous incident petrified. My childhood ordeal came back to me. I wanted to undo everything, but I couldn’t! But thence on, I made sure that she reports to me to get her classwork and homework checked. A few days later, a boy from the same class, let’s call him Dave, was punished at the assembly for pushing and hitting his classmate. It was not very difficult for me to discern from where he was learning these things.

Aren’t we adults paradoxical? We as adults practice questionable things and once these impressionable children pick that us from us, we in turn punish them for it.

I have often heard movie lines saying “I don’t teach kids, I go to learn from them.” And I always thought that to be a phoney line. But these two incidents taught me that it’s true; children are born with love in their heart and they are very intelligent, it is us adults who in the pretext of education, in so called educational institutes, instil immorality in them.

My only question is, what if Dave grows up to accept violence as normalcy? Can he unlearn things that he learnt at school and at home?

Rather than us being ablate teach them anything, they could teach us

I would also like to share an excerpt from one of my favourite books, ‘The Idiot’ by Fyodor Dostoevsky- “I was always astonished at how wrong adults were about children, mothers and fathers included. Nothing must be concealed from children under the pretext that they are too small to be told. What an unfortunate and wretched idea! … The grown-ups don’t realize that even when faced with the most difficult problems, a child  may make a very important contribution. … rather than being able to teach them anything, they could teach us.”

PS: Dear Teachers, Please don’t be just another brick in the wall!

The views expressed above are of the author’s only, and are the simplified (not oversimplified) versions of the numerous incidents that occurred.  So different opinions, your thoughts and experiences are welcome 🙂 

I urge you to share share this thought provoking post with your family and friends.

I time travelled!

Do you remember that book shop owned by William Thacker (Hugh Grant) in the movie Notting Hill? It sold only travel book. When I first saw that movie, I thought “Wow! How many Lonely Planets does he have?” and “Of course he isn’t making profits”! Back then, little did I know about this genre called travel literature and it’s magical powers!

image1A few years later however, on my last birthday, when my brother and his wife, gifted me my very first travel memoir, From Heaven Lake, by the one and only, Vikram Seth, I felt like I discovered a way to escape to any place I want to. In this book, I escaped to Eastern China and hitch-hiked across my way back to India. I felt, I was practically transported to 1982 China and to all the places Mr. Seth visited. I didn’t read the book, I experienced it.

The the diverse landscape of China, the dry  and the cold desert, and the transformation of one into another, the finding of an oasis in the middle of unending inhabitable landmass, and finding unconditional help all along the way; sitting in the comfort of my home I  experienced it all.

A noteworthy fact about this book is that, it hardly contains any pictures and the ones that are there, are in greyscale. Despite that, the author has been able to paint a vivid picture of his travelogue in my head. And wait till you web search all the places he has been to, they are all unimaginably beautiful. Yet, amongst all the literary merits and interesting subject matter, it is the author’s wit, that makes this book extraordinary and worthwhile.  I couldn’t stop myself from grinning, giggling, chuckling and sometimes breaking into a roaring fit of laughter.

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Vikram Seth, beautifully wearing that radiant smile and those sparkly eyes. (an old picture)

He goes on the explain the geographic diversity of China as well. Since the world climatic zones are arranged in latitudinal bands, a longitudinal journey, i.e. North-South, is likely to be much more varied than a latitudinal one, i.e. East-West journey. In western China the main topographical features are so latitudinal, and this enhances the variety of longitudinal journey. Hence, the sandy deserts, cold plateaus, arid land, pastures, glaciers, rigged mountains and passes. Sounds exciting? Now imagine hitch-hiking your way through it!

Mr. Seth has not only made an account of the physical surroundings, but also succeeded in showing the irony of two neighbouring countries India and China, so close to each other, yet culturally and economically so distant and disagreeable. It makes me wonder how the present-day China is like, maybe I’ll find another more recent travelogue.

In the end, if you want to travel and don’t have the resources or the time to, read a good travel memoir and escape to lands as inaccessible as it may seem; and come back rejuvenated. 

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What would you like to do with your time? Comment below.

Have you ever time travelled? Please share your experience in the comment section below or write to me on the ‘contact’ page.

Please don’t forget to share this with your loved ones 🙂

Ciao ❤

Never Let Me Go

Have you ever read a classic? It is easier to know if you are reading an older publication. But how do we determine if the newer publication is a classic? I have devised a way! A IMG_1115contemporary classic will have the following few characteristics; first, it will be painful and/or slow read. It will make you question why are reading this book? Secondly, despite it being so, it will push you to read the entire story. Thirdly, it will not at all be dramatic (which means less entertaining!). It will be like our lives, slow and seemingly mundane. Fourthly, it will be devastating in the end. Fifthly, it will change your perspective towards life forever.

Never Let Me Go is one such contemporary pieces of work which won the Nobel Prize in Literature in the year 2017.

Preface of the plot

The book is first hand narrative of an English girl named Kathy in the late 1990’s England. It is about her and her friend’s lives (Ruth and Tommy) who grew up were brought up in a country side boarding school called Halisham for one purpose only- organ donation.

These children’s origin is unknown to them and Halisham. They grow up together in a secluded environment where special emphasis in placed on keeping their internal organs healthy; where they cannot smoke and drink for fun and experiment with their lives, neither can they ever start a family; they are made aware of sex as a physical need, like breathing. Throughout their lives they keep wondering about the strange and mysterious little incidents happening around them, like little remarks by their teachers or memories from Halisham. 

Despite believing their lives have been marred by their fate, they somehow inadvertently carry on until they fulfill their purpose and finally realize the real meaning of their lives.

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Never Let Me Go: Movie scene

In the plot, organ donation does not hold a central position, it is rather in the background. The story, instead, is about the evolution of these three individuals; it is as insightful as it can get; and certainly incomprehensible without contemplation!

Thoughts about the book: Knowledge and Innocence 

The book is suspenseful throughout for the readers and the characters alike. One might feel pretty clueless about the plot most of the time. But considering this is not a drama, that kind of feeling is acceptable.

The book is based on a philosophy and that philosophy can be inferred form the events of the story. That philosophy being, our life has a purpose; everyone has different purposes, and we are to carry them out with or without the knowledge of that being so. When we start our lives, we are innocent, impressionable and completely oblivious of “the big picture of life”. It takes a while to become partly conscious or aware as a person, sometimes it takes a lifetime. However, while we are unwise and naive, we fail  to appreciate what we really have, we fail to see the real nature of things, for the very fact that we are ignorant and naive! Expecting ourselves to be wise and enlightened when we are young is unrealistic. But that innocence, lack of wisdom and naivety itself is a gift that we all are in such a hurry to get rid of.

It is inevitable that we will become wiser by our experiences. But the tragedy is that only when we are on the verge of losing what we have or when we have already lost it, is when we finally realize it’s value.

A word of caution 

There are no short cuts to reading this wonderful book. It cannot be simply read and understood, it demands to be thought over and discussed. The language of the book is simple and devoid of any difficult words, which makes it an easy read prima facie, until you start contemplating.

Neither would it be advisable to watch it’s adaptation before reading the book. The adaptation by the same title is a simplified version of the book, and it goes without say, that the book is always better than the movie!

I would like to thank my very special friend who gifted me this book. I hope you are reading this. Just with this simple book you have completely changed my life and filled my heart with more affection and gratitude for you. Thank you 🙂

Just Cool it! – Noteworthy Quotations

Just Cool It! is the latest book by Ian Hanington and David Suzuki. It is practical guide in understanding climate change a.k.a global warming. The book is divided into two sections i.e. the problems and the solutions. The initial part was one of the most stressful texts I have ever read, but part two in the other hand provides a relief by giving hope that we can still save our planet.  Read more

India’s struggle for better governance

Introduction India's struggle for better governance

Most countries have a unique identification system for their citizens; for the purpose of carrying out government related functions like taxation, government benefits, employment, health related schemes, etc. For instance, USA has a Social Security Number, Australia has a Tax file number, Germany has a German Social Security Number, Canada has a Social Insurance Number,  United Kingdom uses National Insurance Number, Nigeria has a National Identification Number, Brazil has a Registro Geral, Iraq has Identity Certificate, etc. And more than 60 such countries around the world take biometric data from its people. Likewise, India presently is in the process of regulating its citizen identification system with the help of Aadhaar Card i.e. a 12 digit Unique Identification Number. Any Indian resident (someone who has been residing in India for at least 182 days in a financial year or 365 days spread out over four consecutive years) can obtain an Aadhaar card by providing-

  • Demographic information i.e. name, date of birth and address; and
  • Biometric information i.e. photograph, finger prints and iris scan.

India is in the process of making world’s largest biometric database for and of it’s citizens. It is even looked upon as a model policy overseas. Countries like Russia, Morocco, Tunisia are making an effort to make similar policies in their respective countries. However, here in India, so far it’s implementation looks sketchy. Here we shall look into the ‘whats’, ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of it; and also try to understand, do the pros outweigh the cons?

How did Aadhaar start in India?

After the Kargil war, in 1999 a Kargil Review Committee was formed for the purpose of study of India’s national security. It was headed by K. Subramaniam. He proposed that the citizens in the border area be issued a National ID.

By 2001 the then Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government accepted the proposal and decided to issue a mandatory National ID to every citizen, starting from the border area on priority basis. In 2003 L.K. Advani even introduced The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2003 for amending the law which would be in sync with this new initiative.

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Nandan Nilekani

The United Progressive Alliance Government in 2009 further established UIDAI i.e. Unique Identification Authority of India under the Planning Commission. Nandan Nilekani the co-founder of Infosys was appointed to head the project.

In 2010, the name Aadhaar and its present logo was launched. And that’s how it started, a bona fide policy.

 

 

What are benefits of Aadhaar?

The intention of this entire painstaking process is of course to provide good governance, efficient, transparent, and targeted delivery of subsidies, benefits and services, the expenditure for which is incurred from the Consolidated Fund of India, to individuals residing in India through assigning of unique identity numbers.

Since relatively a very small percentage of people residing in India have proper identification proof such as driver’s licence, birth certificates, PAN card, etc, it makes good governance in India very difficult. This fundamental defect does not only have a negative impact on Indian governance but also costs her dearly. Most of the public welfare schemes do not reach the beneficiaries, causing loss and misuse of tax payer’s money.

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It makes the system of transferring direct benefits to people effective and efficient. Meaning, this system will be able to eliminate ghost or duplicate accounts, as every resident has a Unique Identification Number which is linked to their Biometric data. Moreover, even if a person has changed his/her place of residence he/she can still easily avail respective benefits.

Importantly,  this system shall also prevent leakages through the Public Distribution System and in turn put country’s Consolidated Funds to efficient use. How? Suppose, ‘X’ a beneficiary goes to the nearest fair price shop to buy monthly quota of ration, if the shop has a Biometric authentication device connected to the entitlement database, it will make sure that only ‘X’ can avail such benefits. Therefore, every transaction will be authentic and will prevent system leakages. Gradually more and more Government departments and private institutions are encouraging Aadhaar use and in return are providing faster, simpler and easier access to facilites.

A case in point is DigiLocker. DigiLocker is an important pillar of the Digital India programme. It is a secure platform for Indian citizens to store and access documents on electronic repository provided by Government of India. It aims to cut down paper work. It, for instance, allows people to store a digital version of  their driving license  and vehicle documents on the DigiLocker, sparing them the trouble of keeping the hard copies with them all the time.

It also allows Government departments to issue as well as request documents from users. In the near future one can expect getting original soft copy of marksheets, certificates, No Objection Certificates from Government departments directly deliver in their DigiLocker account.

Aadhaar also makes the process easier for making online payments, opening a bank accounts, getting a sim card, get compensation, employment, etc.

Simply put, as more and more people start using Aadhaar it will improve India’s governance efficiency manifolds by bringing all the residents on record and thus consequently directing schemes and benefits to the real beneficiaries and stop the fund leakage.

What are the drawbacks of Aadhaar?

The biggest topic of debate when it comes to Aadhaar is it’s effect in the absence of privacy laws. Because of the vagueness of Supreme Court’s opinion on whether Right to Privacy is a Fundamental Right or not, Aadhaar could be one of the biggest man-made disaster.

The phenomenon of mass data theft, hacking, etc is not unprecedented. If the Right to Privacy is not a Fundamental Right, then in an unfortunate event of mass data theft, the effected citizens will neither be in a position to claim for compensation not hold anyone accountable. Such stolen data will be of vital importance as it includes people’s biometric information which is going to be their’s for life.

Aadhaar’s poor implementation is raising serious doubts. It has been observed that Aadhaar is being issued to illegal immigrants from neighboring countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, etc which is obviously counter-productive. There have been cases where people without any identification or proof of address have gained access to Aadhaar by paying money to the enrollment officer. Such officers shall obviously facing legal consequences, but with respect to India’s present of rule of law status, such legal consequences do not seem to have any deterrent effect.

What is the present Aadhaar controversy?

The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, benefits and services) Act, 2016 made Aadhaar voluntary for Indian residents, however, gradually the Government is now making it mandatory. One’s Aadhaar number is being asked everywhere, whether it is for filing Income Tax return, getting married, obtaining or keeping a PAN card, getting access to social benefits, filling up examination forms, etc.

Although, the Act and Supreme Court have maintained the voluntary nature of Aadhaar, the Government of India is heedlessly following its own whims and fancies. This shows inconsistencies between Legislative, Executive and Judiciary at a very early stage of implementation of this law. Moreover, the Privacy Law lacuna in Indian Legal system is adding up the recipe of a complete disaster of a bona fide policy.

Despite the seriousness of the situation it is baffling to know that the Supreme Court has kept this matter pending for hearing for more than 1 year and 8 months. With executive order of making Aadhaar mandatory from 1st July onward Supreme Court’s silence on status of Privacy Laws and Aadhaar Law is literally risking the lives of 1.2 billion people.

Is Aadhaar the only threat to Privacy?

Amidst all the negative news, it is very important to understand that, Aadhaar is just one of the possible threats to our privacy. Our Right to Privacy can be breached by a number of ways such as, smartphones, CCTV cameras, Biometrics in offices, drones, etc.

Through smartphones, our conversations can be recorded, location tracked, thumb impressions gained, etc. There are internet companies that are unaccountable to Indian Laws and can share user’s data to foreign governments, let alone our own government.

There are no laws regulating CCTV cameras in Malls, ATM booths, Bus stands, Railway stations, Hotels, Airports, etc. There cameras have face recognition technology, can scan our iris from a distance, etc

Therefore, Right to Privacy is an irrefutably important matter, but Aadhaar is not the only threat to it.

What is the solution to it?

With the emergence of new types of white collar crimes, the world needs corresponding Policies, Laws and Technology to counter it. Likewise, with better governance comes more sophisticated criminal activity for which India needs more secure technology, modern Information Technology Laws, Data protection Laws and Privacy Laws and above of Rule of Law.

Legal facts you should know about

In 2010 the Parliament tried to pass the National Identification Authority of India Bill. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, however found the bill unsuitable because of possible national security and potential privacy violations.

In 2016, the Aadhaar Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha (Lower House of the Parliament) as a “money bill”. This meant that this Bill can be passed by the Lok Sabha (Lower House) and without the need of approval of the Rajya Sabha (Upper House) and become an Act (i.e. a Law in force). Why such haste Government of India?

Conclusion

If the Aadhaar initiative is implemented well, it can solve many of India’s administrative issues and even make everyday life easier. It can make doing business easier, make things smoother for start ups, make governance more efficient and effective. It can also help in prevention of crime and even act as a deterrent.

Like any other policy, Aadhaar too has it’s share of merits and demerits, whether its theoretical or implementation based. However, without Privacy Laws in place and proper implementation, it’s demerits shall outweigh its merits.

 

As you all know this is an important issue concerning all of us, so do not hesitate to share it among your family and friends. The more aware we are, the less vulnerable we shall be. 

There are many aspects of it that I must have missed. You are most welcome to mention it along with your opinions, in the comments section below. Thank you 🙂 

Ciao ❤ 

War & Peace: Noteworthy quotations

WAR & PEACE- NOTEWORTHY QUOTATIONSOne must read, reread, think and rethink to understand War & Peace. I have tried my best to  come up with some of the noteworthy quotations to inspire you to give this book a try. It looks intimidating, but its worth your time. I have tried to resist the temptation of writing paragraphs and pages from the book, because then it would have been excerpts and extracts and not quotations. So, here are some of the noteworthy quotations from the epic War & Peace:

Prince Andrei

Prince andrei
Actor: James Norton  (BBC adaptation)

Nothing is forever

It is not given to people to judge what’s right or wrong. People have eternally been mistaken and will be mistaken, and in nothing more so than in what they consider right or wrong.

..this feeling (of love) is stronger than I am.

The whole world is divided for me into two parts: one is she, and there is all the happiness, hope, light; the other is where she is not, and there everything is dejection and darkness..

Don’t think that grief is caused by people. People are His instruments. Grief is sent by Him, not by people. People are His instruments, they are not to blame. If it seems to you that someone is to blame before you, forget it and forgive. We have no right to punish. And you will know that happiness is forgiveness.

A battle is won by him who is firmly resolved to win it.

…what is war, what is needed for success in military affairs, what are the morals of military society? The aim of war is killing, the instruments of war are espionage, treason and the encouragement of it, the ruin of the inhabitants, robbing them or stealing to supply the army; deception and lying are called military stratagems; the morals of military estate are absence of freedom, that is, discipline, idleness, ignorance, cruelty, depravity, and drunkenness. And in spite of that, it is the highest estate, respected by all

War isn’t courtesy, it’s the vilest thing in the world, and we must understand that and not play at war…

Pierre Bezukhov 

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Actor: Paul Dano (BBC adaptation)

To live only so as not to do evil, so as not to repent, is too little. I used to live that way, I lived for myself and I ruined my life. And only now, when I live, or at least try to live for others, only now I have understood all the happiness of life.

…that man is created for happiness, that happiness is within him, in the satisfying of natural human needs, and that all the happiness comes not from lack, but from superfluity…there is no situation in the world in which a man can be happy and perfectly free..

…The source of blessedness is not outside, but inside us…

 

Natasha Rostova

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Actress: Lily James (BBC adaptation)

Can it be that this stranger has now become everything for me?

Why ask? Why doubt when you cannot help knowing? Why speak when it’s impossible to put everything you feel into words?

Napoleon Bonaparte

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Actor: Matthieu Kassovitz

However, a great number of monasteries and churches is always a sign of a nation’s backwardness

A city occupied by enemy is like a girl who has lost her honour

General Kutuzov

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Actor: Brian Cox

…there is nothing stronger that those two warriors, patience and time; they’d do it all…

When in doubt, my dear…abstain

Leo Tolstoy

Tolstoy

When an apple ripens and falls- what makes it fall? Is it that it is attracted tot he ground, is it that the stem withers, is it that the sun has dried it up, that it has  grown heavier, that the wind shakes it, that the boy standing underneath it wants to eat it?

…in military matters the most profoundly devised plans meant nothing, that everything depended on how one responded to the unexpected and unpredictable actions of the enemy, that everything depended on how and by whom the action was conducted.

A good commander not only does not need genius or any special qualities, but, on the contrary, he needs the absence of the best and the highest qualities- love, poetry, tenderness, a searching philosophical doubt. He should be limited, firmly convinced that what he is doing is very important (otherwise he would not have enough patience), and only then will he be a brave commander. God forbid that he should be a human being and come to love or pity someone, or start thinking what is just and what isn’t.

…one cannot get used to danger…

..the greatest attention was accorded to totally extraneous events, which had no relation to the battle…

The work of the commander in chief seems to be merely to choose one of the (proposed) plans. But he cannot even do that. Events and time do not wait

And as it happens in matters of cunning that a stupid person tricks the more intelligent..

If we allow that human life can be governed by reason, the possibility of life is annihilated.

…the view of what the good of mankind is changes with each new year, with each new writer; so that in ten years what seemed good looks like evil, and vice versa.

Behind lay destruction, ahead lay hope.

Gospel

To him who has will be given, from who has not will be taken.

PS: Due to the nature of the book, I might have missed some essential quotations, you are, however, most welcome to add to the list by commenting below and I shall be happy to update the current post.

I write my blogs with a lot of effort and passion, so if you enjoyed it don’t forget to follow it, like and share it among your friends as it’s my only incentive. You can also share your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below. Thank you🙂