Filing Indian Income Tax Returns

I am a Debian power user but was unable to configure my Debian 10, which uses Java 11, to work with the ancient library versions of Java 8 software that the Income Tax department uses.

If you got the following error

Error: Could not find or load main class com.itd.efiling.itr.main.ctrl.ThreeRedLightsIlluminate
Caused by: java.lang.NoClassDefFoundError: javafx/application/Application

..or any variation of that, the fix is this

$apt-cache search jfx
#aptitude install openjfx openjfx-source

Then using the command line you need to configure the path of the modules and and manually add the modules

$ java --module-path /usr/share/openjfx/lib --add-modules=javafx.base,javafx.controls,javafx.fxml,javafx.web -jar ITR-3_AY202021_PR2.1.jar

There is absolutely no need to install the obsolete Java 8 package or then perform an “update-alternatives”. All that is painful especially since you would have to install an old repository and maintain those packages. Using the concept mentioned above you can modify the commands and $PATH for other flavours of GNU/Linux

Veganism is anti-feminist – Indian context

The idea of a vegetarian diet is not new to Indians. We have been practicing it for centuries. However, veganism, which is a strict version, promotes abstinence from all forms of animal produce from both a diet and ethical perspective. Many celebrities have even endorsed veganism. Veganism appears as a positive concept with multiple benefits of health and ethical advantages as it promotes an animal-cruelty-free environment. However, it cannot be advocated as a solution to the problems created by crony capitalism of which environmental degradation, cruelty to animals via mechanised farms, humans induced forest fires (see western ghats in India and Amazon forest in South America) to clear land for cattle cultivation, health degradation of human beings due to consumption of contaminated animal products, etc are a part. These problems need solutions that address the root causes which arise in political-economy.

The issues raised by vegans are relevant but there are more effective solutions. Having given thoughtful consideration to the arguments propagated by vegan activists I would like to advance the following counter points against veganism from the perspective of feminism in India. To understand veganism’s contextual application to India we test it against economic and social impact, women’s emancipation, food habits of religious minorities and sustainability.

In India, historically, food habits are used to control minorities{caste, religion and class concepts}. Force feeding veganism down our throats will further this pre-existing discrimination. Mob violence against minorities on the suspicion of cattle slaughter has dominated the news over the last few years with even the Hon. Apex Court taking a strict view of these. In any caste/class/religious conflict, women and children are the worst hit. Since this argument has been dealt at length by several authors of repute I won’t elaborate further.

Veganism is not compatible for sustainable economic development of India as several small and large scale industries will be destroyed. Leather products are not permitted in veganism which means the livelihood of these women will be hit. A second industry of honey production and bee keeping, encouraged by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), wherein 70% of honey produce comes from informal segments will be hit as honey products are discouraged by veganism. If honey production is stopped then beekeeping, which is critical to pollination of crops and trees, will also cease as a commercially productive endeavor. This will lead to huge losses to agricultural production which is counter productive to veganism.

Feminism and Women’s economic emancipation and poverty: According to a National Sample Survey data among a total of 18 million urban working women, around 6 million women are working in textile, garments and leather industry. In India, 40% of women constitute the agricultural workforce and 75% of all women workers are involved or linked to agriculture. In India, before we can think of feminism, women need economic empowerment first. This will be destroyed if women lose their jobs.

Undernourishment, malnourishment: In the poorer homes we find that women sacrifice their meals in order for their husbands and children to eat first. If the woman cannot earn sufficiently then this condition of malnutrition of women will increase further.

Health experts advise pregnant and lactating women from to refrain from veganism as certain nutrients are not present in these products. Further, vegan products are expensive and unaffordable to people who have difficulty procuring even one meal a day.

A side point which is pertinent is people diagnosed with autoimmune diseases such as IBD cannot live on a plant based diet.

There is evidence to show that veganism (along with genetically modified crops etc) is being aggressively promoted in India to kill the local industries so that foreign goods can further flood our markets.

Thus, to implement veganism in India without considering the ground realities will inflict harsh economic penalties on people whose livelihood depends on products rejected by veganism. These above issues would have to be addressed by the proponents of veganism in India IF the concept has to have any significant impact else it will remain an idealistic notion and a “white man’s dilemma”.

To sum up the several points, veganism is counter productive to the emancipation of women as it hits at the very livelihood of poor Indian women who survive on a hand to mouth existence which is counter productive to the nascent idea of feminism in India.


Thanks to Narasimha Swamy for pointing the issue of food security. Diversity in food consumption habits is important for food security. This is also a counter argument to veganism.

Humiliation and its benefits

We learn humility through accepting humiliations cheerfully” – Mother Teresa

I was fortunate to experience extreme public humiliation in the May of 2017. The technique used was designed not only to target me but also the people I love the most and to cause pain stretched over a long period of time. Whether I deserved that type of humiliation is not the issue. Most of us can endure private humiliation but it is very difficult to face public humiliation. I was rendered completely naked with nowhere to hide or cover my shame. We read reports in the newspaper where people commit suicide to deal with humiliation. The Japanese samurai were known to perform Seppuku to deal with the shame they had brought upon themselves. In the moments following my public humiliation I experienced non-physical seppuku. Death of the image of the self. Such was the intensity.

Fortunately, I had a strong support system that prevented me from collapsing.

A book I was readingTaming your anger” says that ‘humiliate’ comes from the Latin word ‘humus’ which means ‘mud’ and the suffix -ate means ‘to cause’ thus “cause to be soil/dirt”.  I lost everything I was afraid of losing. I became one with the soil. I let the earth absorb me.  For the first time I was completely free. I had the freedom and opportunity to let go of my pride, my ego, my arrogance, my fears, my ignorance… This was excruciatingly painful and yet a good start.

Why do I write about this now? Cause I am now in a better place emotionally, psychologically, physically and spiritually.  The opportunity to look inside is something that is needed for all human beings in order for holistic growth. Of course, this is a life long pursuit but we all need somewhere to start.  While I would be tempted to write that it made me stronger, the reality is that it has made me learn empathy, kindness, love, compassion, forgiveness, and other simple human feelings I needed.

I will take this opportunity to thank the universe and my well-wishers for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime to deal with my inner demons head-on and transform.  Thank you

PS: Some posts I made while going through this journey:




Me Too You too

The #MeToo movement which started in Hollywood to name and shame sexual predators has now come to India. Being a proponent of the Free Software philosophy of software production, i.e, where production happens in the open and everybody can examine the produce for flaws and correct it, I will say that this method of correcting a system of sexual abuse through intense public scrutiny is an approach with several benefits.

Applying the philosophy of dialectics to the current situation, the current thesis has been that sexual abuse/assault is common place in society and there is nothing much a woman can do about it. The #MeToo movement is the anti-thesis wherein the status quo is being challenged with all the might afforded by social media. There is a growing voice of women who are encouraged to speak up against the injustice they have experienced. Now what is important is where in the continuum would the synthesis lie. The synthesis implies the new system or new society that has to evolve with the #MeToo movement’s intervention. For the synthesis to be feminist i.e., in the words of Dr. Chandrachud J., “feminism is lot about disruption of social hierarchies and that is what the constitution intends to do. Transformation involves a disruption of the existing social structures”. The #MeToo movement should not simply limit itself to naming and shaming but also ensure that the wheels of the legal system move. Else the synthesis will move back towards the patriarchal system thus becoming retrograde.

Now one understands that it is very difficult to stand up and say that one has been sexually abused by a person in power. It takes guts and more so if the survivor is doing so without a mask of anonymity. The survivor has to be listened to and provided support – legal, emotional, psychological – to deal with their situation. Then the issue has to be handed over to the appropriate authorities for legal action. This part is critical since only this process can ensure sustainable change. Unfortunately, as per a statement by the National Commission for Women, not a single written complaint has been filed with them even though they have tried to telephonically contact those who have made accusations via social media.

The downside of not following up the accusations on social media with the legal process is that it is detrimental to the #MeToo movement on multiple counts. First, the accusers will open themselves to defamation suits for reckless accusations. Second, since complaints of sexual assault is a part of criminal proceedings, there is a presumption of innocence until proven guilty for the accused as this is critical for the delivery of justice/dharma. This important principle would be overridden to disastrous consequences. Third, an anonymous person could post malicious and untrue accusations against an innocent person and thus destroy the reputation of the person in question without affording the accused the opportunity to defend themselves through due process. These factors are counter-productive to the #MeToo movement. Thus, the simple point is to follow up your revelation with an official complaint with the appropriate authorities in the interest of justice for all survivors.

To sum up, the #MeToo movement is an important anti-thesis against exploitation. This movement needs to grow organically and supplement the existing legal process in order for justice to be delivered to the survivors. As with all movements, it is important to remember the words of caution by revolutionary educator and philosopher Paulo Friere, in his seminal work “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” when he said “The oppressed, instead of striving for liberation, tend themselves to become oppressors.

Framework to analyse problems of working women


This draft working paper deals with the framework of issues faced by working women.

In the Present Context:

A. Judicial Decisions: The status of working women in India appears contradictory depending on the context. Over the last few years, the Supreme Court has delivered a number of judgements that have far reaching ramifications for Indian society and women in particular. These include equal pay for equal work, striking down condition of termination of service on first pregnancy, against sexual harassment in the workplace, autonomy of women over their sexuality, extending the scope of protection of women in live-in relationships, rights of Hindu women and unwed women relating to guardianship, maintenance of Muslim women and property rights of women.

B. Beijing Declaration & Women Reservation bill: The United Nations discussed an important issue related to equal decision making rights for men and women. More than two decades after the Beijing declaration was ratified by most Governments, including India, to ensure better participation of women in decision making bodies including elected posts, the most recently released global figures show that women’s representation in Parliament and local Government has increased, but only to around 18.4 per cent. 24 countries have representation of women over 30 per cent.

In India, patriarchy and short-sighted political leadership reigns supreme with just 8 per cent of women in Parliament which is not only 10 percentage points below the global average but is responsible for actually bringing the average down. India is ranked 98 on a gender development index for 140 countries. With the support of the Left Parties, the former UPA government had the historic opportunity to pass the Women’s Reservation Bill which was proposed to reserve 33% of all seats in the Lok Sabha and in all State Legislative Assemblies. This was never voted on in the Lok Sabha even though the Rajya Sabha passed the Bill on 9 March 2010. The Bill lapsed after the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha in 2014. The present government, even though having a majority in the lower house of Parliament, has never even proposed the Women’s Reservation Bill.

C. Gender Perspectives on the financial crisis: Among the middle and upper economic classes of women in the work sphere we find women occupying key decision making positions in both the public and private sectors. If women’s emancipation is linked to women’s economic independence through productive work, then the current economic recession will badly impact the gains made, however slender in this direction. The 53rd Commission of the United Nations on the Status of Women discussed in a special session titled ‘Gender Perspectives on the financial crisis.’ Reports from almost all developing countries where in the last decade new employment avenues have been linked to export oriented industries show the disastrous impact of the crisis on women’s employment with lakhs of women in these industries laid off or retrenched. In India women constitute 40 per cent of the agricultural workforce and 75 per cent of all women workers are involved or linked to agriculture. Certainly the deep agricultural crisis and the consequent agrarian distress has hit these women workers badly. Both the UPA and NDA Government’s failure to factor in the deep rural indebtedness to private money lenders in its debt waiver schemes has particularly excluded these women.

According to National Sample Survey data among a total of 18 million urban women workers around 6 million women are involved in textile, garments and leather industries, precisely those that have been the worst hit and where women’s jobs are under threat. But this reality is invisible to policy makers. The fastest growing avenue for employment is domestic work with 3 million women estimated in this work which in any case is a gross underestimate. There are few protective legislations, no job security and sometimes inhuman conditions for domestic workers/maids.

III. Struggles of working women:

It was due to the sacrifices of thousands of women around the world that women today are enjoying the freedoms that they have now. It was not one particular event but many struggles in Europe and America in the 19th Century which were fought very bitterly by the working women. Among these, the long and terrible struggle by the tailor women of the garment factories of New York in 1857 for the demand for better wages and a 10 hour working day cannot be forgotten. Then again the working women’s involvement in the 1871 Paris Commune where they joyfully gave their lives on the barricades and execution grounds should be remembered with admiration and respect. Another big struggle by the working women of New York in 1908 on 8th March for franchise for women are few among the many struggles were spread across the world in Europe, America, West Germany and even Iran.

As these struggles were already fought and much achieved through them in Europe, America, Germany, etc.., the women in India straight away became entitled to the benefits of these struggles such as women’s franchise and equal rights which became international laws. But all through those times, here in India, many brave women were part of the long drawn struggle for freedom like Rani Laxmi Bai, Begum Hazrat Mahal and many others. Due to these struggles, the Constitutent Assembly endowed the Indian Constitution with a feminist perspective.

IV. The evolution of concept of Family

To understand the relevance of the various struggles for women’s emancipation it is important to understand the role of women in the evolving concept of family within the political-economy framework. The famed anthropologist Lewis H. Morgan in his seminal work showed that the concept of family has evolved over the millennia. In the first three forms of family ie., Consanguine, Punaluan and Syndyasmian, the woman was the head of the tribe and power was handed down from mother to daughter. The identity of the father of the children was never known and the power of the mother arose from her ability to bear child. However, as the concept of property arose, the land and cattle would be vested in the hands of the man and would never reach his offspring. Thus, in order to ensure the transfer of property from father to child, the Patriarchal system followed by the Monogamian system developed wherein the power which was once held by women was now transferred to men and the identity of the father of the child was established by controlling the woman’s sexuality through religious and cultural morality. It should be noted that over the last few decades, with women getting access to high quality education and employment opportunities, the idea of family has evolved with a new variation known as the live-in relationship. This concept has even been acknowledged by the Supreme Court of India. Thus, the inequalities between men and women may be understood through the social-political-economic struggle and only an equality based approach will ensure stability and healthy development of society.

V. A few points to ponder about:

1.Women and men together make our society and together make the world a better place. But we still find that unconsciously we allow a lot of inequalities to dominate.

2.While organisations are implementing committees against sexual harassment, the latest online campaigns categorised via the hashtag #MeToo shows that sexual harassment is still on the rise with no woman from the elite to the poor being exempted.

3.On the one hand women are kept on a pedestal for all religious purposes. On the other hand, in many spheres of daily life, women are discriminated, sometimes exploited and at the same time projected as objects for lust and unhealthy desire.

4.Irrespective of status, women are always the victims in any type of violence.

5.Even the government’s new economic policy have affected women more than ever. Lack of recruitment and employment opportunities in Govt establishments have reduced.

6.When we talk about female foeticide, is it possible to genuinely abolish female foeticide without taking up the basic issues of poverty, financial empowerment, etc… Also, is the women only responsible for it and is it not due to the pressures of the male members in the family and society that the women is forced to abide by the “rules”.

VI. Some problems faced by Working Women

1. Child Care Leave (CCL) – Government provided for CCL after our long drawn struggles. Yet many Departments refuse to grant CCL to eligible women citing heavy pending work load, etc

2. Women are burdened with very heavy workload due to non-recruitment of subordinate staff. This adversely affects their family responsibilities and mental and physical health.

3. Due to Govt policies many women are forced to be away from their dependents including their nursing babies and compelled to maintain separate establishment thus putting their dependents to cruel conditions. The Departmental Authorities turn a blind eye in order to fulfill Govt policy.

4. When women are pushed to these extreme conditions they are forced to resign or avail voluntary retirement.

5. Though women hold important positions many are not allowed to independently execute their decision making powers due to the patriarchal attitudes.

6. When women are posted to remote locations, facility for womens’ toilet is not provided.  This is easily seen whenever an election is held and women polling officers have to go out to remote schools and the same dirty toilet is used by both men and women.  Apart from privacy concerns this is also a serious health risk.  You can test this by searching for women’s public toilets in your locality.  See if they are clean, open 24/7 and have some security.  Also talk to women police who are stand at congested traffic locations and ask them where so they go to rest.

VII. Conclusion :

It is thus important for women to organise themselves into Sub-committees in order to discuss such issues, strengthen themselves and coordinate with the main organisations to effectively take up and solve the problems faced by Women. Quoting Swami Vivekananda, ” A bird with only one wing cannot fly”. Our society is like a bird and unless women have equal rights, not just in the posh and urban areas but also in every nook and corner of India, our society will never develop. Hence this appeal to all Women to join in the main stream movements with the realisation that women have a special responsibility in ensuring that in whatever position they hold and whatever responsibilities are entrusted, it should execute them to the best of our abilities without fear or favour thus ensuring the upliftment of women around us by being a living link between our Departments and the Government.

PhD is a journey, not a destination

A talk by Prof Deepak B Phatak

An appropriate talk irrespective of whatever phase you are in your PhD journey or still contemplating whether to “take the plunge”. Prof Phatak’s talk was peppered with anecdotes and his humourous take on situations. The talk focused on two key aspects – the research mindset and the emotional-psychological issues.

Research mindset:
1 Spirit of inquiry
2 Critical analysis
3 Succinct articulation
4 Meticulous hard work
5 Experimentation
6 Synthesis
7 Innovative approach
8 Perseverance

He compares how a child has several of the above qualities by default without any formal education and how they lose it as they grow up. The PhD journey is not simply an acknowledgement of the technical contribution of the research scholar, as perceived by the scholar, but is an acknowledgement of the attainment of the above listed skills. Acquiring the above skills requires us to unlearn several other mindsets which is very hard. For example, in school or in college we are never taught how to define the problem we are going to solve but in our PhD this is an essential skill we need to learn. We cannot expect somebody else to define it for us. The above skills come in handy in all aspects of the journey of life.

Emotional and psychological issues:
1 Taking the plunge(into PhD just as in marriage is an emotional commitment more than just logical)
2 Confused mind – See example on defining our own problem. This is a very confusing process
3 Failures – There are going to be several of these during PhD process. We should not be stuck in the frustration curve(need to update the frustration graph and the e^-at graph)
4 Anxiety about the future (Prof Phatak shared an anecdote about the incubator he set up and his conversation with Kanwal Rekhi and Nandan Nilekani)

Prof Phatak pointed out that Indians have a low risk taking culture and prefer short cuts where ever possible. He also pointed out that there are several youth who may have never done PhD but have the above skills and there are several faculty members who may have a Dr. to their title but may have an attitude that is orthogonal to the above required skillset.

[Movie review] Newton(2017)

Newton (Movie) – A review

The movie is based in my third most favourite state after Karnataka and Maharashtra – Chattisgarh.  This state was newly formed in 2000 and is rich is natural resources though there is a highly unequal distribution of wealth among the economic classes. You can read more factual data in the corresponding Wikipedia article on Chattisgarh.

For this movie review I will use a pedagogical tool called “focus questions” which will ask questions that a reader can answer after watching the movie.  This will enable each person to come up with their own answers to the questions and even change them as they find newer data to back up the claims.

Focus questions

  1. Can there be true democracy when people live in fear and their votes are influenced by their immediate survival needs?
  2. Is it possible to have real development if the people do not have access to education, health and job opportunities?
  3. What process should be implemented to take care of the marginalised sections of society?

[Books’ review]Taming your emotions

Title 1: 30 Days To Taming Your Emotions

Title 2: 30 Days To Taming Your Anger



Have you noticed that there are few people who can function even under intense pressure and stress.  They behave very calmly, provide leadership even in the worst case scenario, are a pillar of strength to others in difficulty… I have realised that the characteristic of such people is ’emotional maturity’.

Two books I recently finished reading and actively practicing are “30 Days To Taming Your Emotions – Discover The Calm, Confident, Caring You” and “30 Days To Taming Your Anger – How To Find Peace When Irritated, Frustrated, or Infuriated” both books by Deborah Smith Pegues.  The books have a strong basis in psychology and have been written from a Christian perspective. The books tell the reader to “let go” which is the philosophical opposite of “I am in control”.

The book on “Taming your emotions” looks at a whole range of emotions and suggests a set of exercises, attitudes, approaches one can adopt to effectively engage with those emotions. The book uses scriptures from the Bible to back their claims. Since I found all the ideas in this book useful I will suggest that you read them personally to benefit.

The next book looks at only anger and the set of emotions that can lead to anger. The book on “Taming your anger” identifies twenty six emotional triggers and four non-emotional triggers that result in anger. The emotional triggers are irritation, frustration, infuriation, indignation, passive path, aggressive actions, not asserting oneself, afraid, disappointed, ripped off, humiliated, rejected, manipulated, accused, disadvantaged, unappreciated, powerless, depressed, disregarded, invaded, criticised, disrespected, betrayed, offended, put down and overwhelmed. The non-emotional triggers are physical pain, food factor, chemical imbalances and environmental triggers.

The practice of these techniques require the individual to be completely honest with oneself.  It requires us to stop blaming external factors and look inside to change the way we think, act and react.  Personally, I found both books extremely useful as I made efforts to incorporate the suggestions into my daily thinking and functioning.

[repost] Sex, Marriage, & Fairytales || Spoken Word

I came across this video post on 14/02/2014(Valentine’s day).  I felt this was a good time to reshare it


Disney movies and chick flicks, they’ve put us in a weird position
They distorted our reality, because we forget they’re actually fiction
Because in marriage, we either get better or bitter, either joy or remorses
What we’re doing isn’t working, just like at the rate of divorces
So how’s your marriage, I mean come on, let’s be honest
Marriage seems more like a prison than the paradise they were promised
We thought marriage was supposed to fulfill us and make us happy, not lonely
But the truth is God’s first priority is making you holy
You say, “No one told me, it feels so odd
That dating feels like a vacation, while marriage feels like a job”
Yet the secret of joy if we just pull back the facade
Is realizing most problems arise when we elevate our spouse to God
Without knowing it, we fulfilled Roman’s 1:25
By our actions, extremes of truth about God for a lie
We’ve exchanged God for lesser created things
It’s like a husband trading his wife for a 2D image on a screen
Hoping it’ll set us free, justifying the fumes we’re choking
Because if your marriage rests on anything but Jesus, it’s resting on something broken
Yet guys continually sacrifice their marriage on the altar of sex and lust
I mean if our dollars were honest, they’d stay in pleasure we trust
So men, grow up, put down the controller
How about you lead her with grace instead of trying to control her
Now I’ve never been married, but I’m a product of one that was nonexistent
So don’t tell me I don’t understand the pain, don’t tell me I don’t get it
So for the singles, become friends first before you ever become lovers
Pursue Jesus as your foundation before you get under the covers
Because, believe me, a strong friendship before marriage will make a good marriage after
Marriage isn’t just sex, it’s conversation and laughter
I mean some spouses barely even like each other, and the marriage seems like a dead end
You might share a checkbook and a house, but are you actually friends? I mean, if marriage isn’t a commitment, then what’s the point of the vows we say?
“‘Till death do us part” really means “Until the feelings go away”
Like, I’ll stay with him, but only until it gets tough and my love shifts
But I say imagine if a parent took that perspective with their kids
Like can’t you see it? The minute the kid spills something on the floor
The mom’s saying, “Forget it, I don’t even love you anymore”
No, it’s just like marriage, to last you need the strength from above
Because it’s not love that sustains the promise, it’s the promise that sustains the love
I mean think about it, out of anyone, who’s actually had the right to leave?
God had every reason in the world that he still came for you and me
And on the cross he paid it all, took our shame, and set us free
When he could’ve called the legions of angels, he chose to stay on that tree
From the cross, he looks you in the eye and says I’m taking this from my bride
When you trust in me, you no longer have to hide
Because of me, it is finished, you’ve been made new
You’re spotless, you’re blameless, there’s no sin in you
Because his death was a proposal, he wanted you no matter the cost
Where some guys propose on the knee, Jesus proposed on a cross
So read Ephesians 5, whether husband or wife
Wife honor your husband, husbands give up your life
Just like Jesus gave himself up for his bride: the church
So men, lead by serving by putting her first
So die to self, put your flesh on a life sentence
Because you don’t fall out of love as much as you fall out of repentance

Are you a superhero?

I have been an avid reader of superhero comics and fantasised of having superpowers.  I always thought that it was fiction but now I know that it is possible to be a superhero.  Not with bullet proof skin or super strong muscles or x-ray vision or flying at incredible speed.  Just ordinary people doing extraordinary things.  All it requires us is to DO THE RIGHT THING.

My mum always told me, do the right thing.  Consistently.  At any cost. Sometimes doing the right thing could cost you your life, your job, and everything you love dearly.   Still, do the right thing.  I cannot explain the profundity or beauty or power of that simple instruction.  You need to experience it for yourself.

Next time you are stuck with what choice you should make, bring out the superhero inside you.


Have you read the Param Vir Chakra Citation that is published for each recipient? There are only 21 recipients till date.  Do read through each person’s Wikipedia page.  You will see that all of them did the thing they thought was right at that specific point of time.  Ordinary people doing extraordinary acts.  Very inspiring!