Articles by Simi Shah

Disengaged Youth: America’s Future?

Nov 06, 2014   07:41 AM

Recently, a popular music-based radio station used valuable air time to announce President Obama’s trip to Georgia. I was surprised… at first. (This was FM, not AM, people).

My expectation: a radionews update about President Obama’s visit to Emory concerning Ebola. Reality: a routine Atlanta traffic update. The station warned listeners about avoiding the horrific traffic that would result from the President’s visit instead of the actual reason for his visit.
Fifty years ago, if the United States President and Leader of the Free World came to town, storefronts would display their “Sorry, we’re closed” signs mid-afternoon and people would line the streets. Today? Not so much.

Political participation continues to decline greatly in the United States. Our voter turnout (the percentage of the population that shows up to vote) is one of the lowest in the world. The amount of young people actively participating represents an even smaller percentage.

In contrast, the Times of India r ...more

A New Theory of Relativity

Nov 06, 2014   07:39 AM

Actions, words, and ideas are all relative. For one, being a phenomenal singer in the elementary school choir and being a phenomenal singer while standing next to Celine Dion are two vastly different things. Relativity is vital to our perception of reality.

And yet, when people contradict our values and ethical standards, relativity goes out the window. Take any country or population founded upon political oppression, or overrun with war, or riddled by poverty. Do we sympathize with citizens suppressed by communism or more so expect them to simply know better and lend themselves to democracy? Do we sympathize with the child soldiers or expect them to seek peace and put the gun down? Do we pull out our wallets to help the homeless every time or often avert our eyes and assume the worst?
For most of those questions, we lendourselves to the latter answer more than once. The question becomes: Why? Why has no change occurred? Why don’t these individuals know better, seek better, or ac ...more

Ruled By Religion

Nov 06, 2014   07:38 AM

In the 2001 census, India reported an 80.5% Hindu population. Dominated generously by Hinduism, India surprises the world with its position as a secular, or religiously separate, nation. The United States also codified the separation of church and state despite its noticeable Christian majority.
However, we should pay close attention to "secular" nations.American students pledge their allegiance under God every morning.American leaders repeatedly address us as believers in God, if not directly as Christians, in times of terror and in times of promise.

The definition of "secular" has been stretched and skewed. By examining how religion has smuggled its way into these potent, “secular” democracies, we see a different meaning of the phrase “the power of faith.”

Religion, like all powerful forces, can both help and harm. While it has given us peace, it has also caused the taking up of arms repeatedly through history. It has birthed some leaders and exiled others.It has enable ...more

LEADERSHIP AS A COMMODITY

May 29, 2014   01:31 AM

Leadership has become a commodity. Authors and speakers all over the world sell its trade secrets in the form of books or membership. And the leadership experts -- a career that once made people sound as unemployed as the term “entrepreneur” did -- dominate the industry.

The emphasis on leadershippermeates our society. The word itself carries an air of esteem, sacrosanctity, and as of late, cliché. Conferences and summits with “leadership” in their titles occur every other weekat high schools or whole convention centers.And people writhe with joy when the beloved word appears on their resumes.

At a recent event that I attended, leadership guru Simon Sinek lamented that he has built a career on something so abstract. His entire job is based on our basic need to learn about and to understand this intangible, undeterminedidea we call “leadership.”

Our ever-growing interest in leadership warrants some research into its roots. Historically, a commodity is successful when it fi ...more

Indians are Everywhere

May 29, 2014   01:29 AM

Indians are everywhere.

And I love it.

We have not assimilated; we have simply acclimated. We have adjusted our customs instead of allowing American culture to adjust us.

There are a few here and there who may not have fully retained their roots, but as the big picture shows, we have managed to create a cultural imprint far larger than most anticipated.Far more significantly, Indian Americans have come to maintain a presence in several staple American trademarks, a serious indication of just how wide our reach has become.

No surprise, today, we inundateSilicon Valley offices on the West Coast. Indian American thrive in the corporate world with frontrunners like Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo Inc.Miss America, Nina Davuluri,graced the stage as the first Indian- American winner, becoming a novel icon for both nations. And Bollywood and Hollywood share more than a name as actors from both countries appear on screens everywhere.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta stands prominent at the apex of two d ...more

Competition Kills

May 29, 2014   01:27 AM

Capitalism thrives on it; candidates feast on it; institutions live by it. The world is built upon the edifice of competition. Economies, government, andeducational institutions, let alone society could not endure without it. Nevertheless, as much as it propels us, it also kills the unity we strive to establish.

In kindergarten, students learn to compete for the gold star. In Congress, legislators learn to compete for the second term. On Wall Street, bankers learn to compete for the handsomebonus.

Case in point: in life, people learn to compete.

But to some end, we all inhabit the same land and encounter the same issues. When push comes to shove, all of our lives necessitate the same things.

We rival each other for oil, but disregard thecapability to find a viable, renewable resource as allies. We invade other countrieswhen together we could exploreother solar systems. The world is made up of 7 billion individual teams. Every second, several individuals labor to reach the s ...more

INDIA’S ANCIENT AFFLICTION

Feb 28, 2014   12:35 AM

When someone says America, ideas of opportunity, McDonald’s hamburgers, and a legion of red, white, and blue cross our minds. When someone says India, it is undoubtedly and repeatedly condensed to three ideas: curry, overpopulation, and the infamous caste system.

The world is riddled with divisions: Catholics and Protestants, the 99% and the 1%, Hollywood Oscar winners and ordinary people. It is unfair to reprimand only India for its social stratification. Other countries have more subtle forms—millionaires marry millionaires and princes marry princesses. Some even had defined systems such as Apartheid in South Africa. Division exists everywhere—fromthe curtain that separates business class from economy class on the plane to the Fast Pass lane at Disney World.

But when you speak of the place that essentially gave rise to the number zero and served as the birthplace of leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, there is a certain integrity that is tainted by this arbitrary social system.
Webs ...more

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words —And Much More

Feb 28, 2014   12:27 AM

What is image if not everything today?

In a visual world filled with social media, television, and camera applications, image has come to be a prominent, and sometimes superficial aspect of our society.

We live in a world where statistically, you’re paid more; politically, you win more; and unfathomably, you succeed more.
It is applicable to individuals. CNN Money has described a study in which it was revealed that “prettier people” earn 5% more than their working counter parts. A study related by Forbes has showed that taller people earn more than shorter people on average. Maybe it’s time to comb your hair and wear some heels.

It is applicable to murder trials. I speak in reference to a trial of great notoriety. Several news media have speculated that George Zimmerman’s excessive weight gain preceding his trial was a tactic. Apparently, corpulence correlates with someone less likely to commit premeditated murder.

It is applicable to the fast food restaurant down the stre ...more

A NECESSARY CHANGE: From Employees to Innovators

Feb 28, 2014   12:22 AM

A NECESSARY CHANGE: From Employees to Innovators

EDUCATION IN AMERICA TODAY

By Simi Shah

In the depths of the high school classroom, my teacher once shared a piece of insight that has not dissolved till this day: schools teach students to be employees.

And that is when I began to see it everywhere.

From an early age,we learn compliance. Raise your hand. Wait your turn. Ask permission— whether you are grabbing a tissue or answering a question. As time progresses, we are taught to quantify things: write an essay that is atleast one page (the foolishly clever of us believe that changing the font size will go unnoticed—and THATis the reason we lose points).

Creativity is encouraged but limited to aesthetics, the most visually-pleasing work—A+ for the student with the brightest poster board and neatest handwriting. In debates, we are handed three colored chips, and once you havespoken three times, your time is up. Stay silent while your peers race to rid themselves of t ...more