The collectivism cipher

It’s always a delight to indulge in the kind of entertainment that has some beneficial side-effects in terms of self-development (although someone could argue that all entertainment passes this criterion). For instance, I have been recently enjoying this Android app called “Cryptogram”. The name is fairly self-explanatory to those familiar with the word: it’s a letter substitution puzzle (think Holmes’ “Adventure of the dancing men”). Over the last few weeks, I’ve solved about a hundred of them (and to my credit, didn’t require a single hint 😀 Although a handful of tough ones did require nearly an hour to crack)

The beneficial side-effect, in this case, is that the sentences are thought-provoking quotes by various famous personalities across the ages. For instance, Mark Twain’s classic: “I’ve never let my schooling interfere with my education.” and many more. And a nice thing about this is the way it gets presented: Each puzzle, by the very nature of cryptograms, starts off as a jumble of random letters. Then as the letters fall in place, and words becomes clearer.. the wisdom of the message slowly dawns upon you.

Today I came across one such quote:

Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.Oscar Wilde

And sure enough, after I’d completed the puzzle, staring at that sentence for a while did set some mental wheels in motion. For one, my thoughts turned to a common argument used by people against the post-scarcity world imagined by The Zeitgeist Movement and others: that it is a model of communism, and there is a fear of losing one’s individuality; the freedom to take personal decisions, and so on.

Well, in a way, that above quote suggested to me the exact opposite possibility: that a post-scarcity world could present each of us with the opportunity to be truly ourselves, more than ever before. Not only would it mean the freedom to express ourselves freely, without the censorship of media and social taboos; but also on the technology side, advances in manufacturing such as 3D printing would allow one to customize our “personal belongings” (whatever that means in a post-scarcity world) to a very great detail, instead of just choosing one from whatever spectrum that other designers have created (although, that option does not necessarily become obsolete, either.. think Steam Workshop)

And regarding the freedom of one’s choices? Some people say that if it is their choice to travel by a polluting vehicle, the current system allows them that choice; whereas in a post-scarcity world, such decisions would be centrally taken and uniformly enforced upon everyone. To which, here’s one possible response: A post-scarcity world, at its core, would only facilitate the genesis and propagation of good, accurate knowledge, which we have to interprete for making sensible personal decisions. The policies would be no more enforced, than is the knowledge of gravity currently considered an enforced deterrent to us jumping off a cliff.

And despite all the good knowledge, if some people do like to jump off cliffs, and produce energy via polluting means.. well, I would like to let them have that option, but admittedly, this requires some further deliberation.

In short, collectivism may appear like a hard one to decipher. But as Holmes would say: we have to eliminate the impossible; and let whatever remains, however improbable, lead us to the truth.

Reverse Engineering

Kind Attention: Hon. Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi

Sub: Reverse Engineering


Reverse Engineering is the process of creating a similar device, object or system after examining the original and discovering its technological principles. This is the process of Import substitution of parts which are currently being imported. We import lots of spare parts for various types of machines, systems, assemblies etc. which are required for manufacturing products in India. If these spare parts are developed in India, we can save a lot of foreign exchange and give work to small-scale and medium-scale industries.

This terminology was introduced by an eminent RSS/BJP leader a few years ago, with RSS think tank groups for developing parts in India. But there was not much success in this regard, due to the unfavourable atmosphere back then. Hon. Prime Minister is very much anxious for developing industries in India, and has given the slogan ‘Make in India’. Spare parts being imported till now will be made in India by Indians.


Spare parts/assemblies can be made in India and save lots of foreign exchange. Further, these parts can be exported to manufacturers abroad. This will create job opportunities in India.

China, Malaysia are some examples. They were making electronic spare parts for Japan and now they are exporting electronic goods made in their countries.


In order to organize these activities, it is essential to form a dedicated and result-oriented cell/commission, under the control of Ministry for Industry, which will report the progress periodically to Hon. P.M., for better results. This cell/commission may be named as ‘Make in India’ cell.

The spare parts and other items to be developed as mentioned above are only mechanical parts. However, others parts from any engineering discipline should also come under the scope of this cell. This cell should consist of administrative as well as technical staff.

Import/Export Dept

I & E dept will play a vital role for this cell. All the information regarding import and export of items, which are under the scope of this cell should be given to this cell for further action.

Commitment from Industries

Industries which import machineries and spare parts thereof, should develop parts in India, through their R&D section in two years’ time; and they should be given permission to import parts for this period only. Industry may take help of this cell, if required.

Training and improving skills

To meet challenges of reducing import and increasing export, it is necessary to improve the skills of workforce. IITs and good engineering colleges are taking care of technical staff. Work force is being trained in ITI institutions. These institutions need improvement by hiring good instructors, and by providing training on latest machines. HRD section should take care of these problems.

This ‘make in India’ cell will function better, in reducing import and increasing export at a later date, with the help of Govt at various levels.


Madhukar Sohani

[ Retired Deputy General Manager (Foundry) of a well-known automobile manufacturer ]

Prashant Sohani

[Systems Engineer at a multi-national corporation]

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