Showing posts with label Muslims. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Muslims. Show all posts

Friday 29 April 2016

The Hindu Caste System – India’s Safety Valve?

The Hindu Caste System – India’s Safety Valve?

Written by Dr. Seshadri Kumar, 29 April, 2016

Copyright © Dr. Seshadri Kumar.  All Rights Reserved.

For other articles by Dr. Seshadri Kumar, please visit

Disclaimer: All the opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of Dr. Seshadri Kumar alone and should not be construed to mean the opinions of any other person or organization, unless explicitly stated otherwise in the article.


Caste is one of the most infamous aspects of Hinduism. The caste system of Hinduism segregates people into hierarchies that are defined by birth and which are impossible for one to get out of. Innumerable injustices have been carried out over millennia on the basis of caste discrimination by people who belong to castes considered superior to others. Even today, cases of extreme injustice keep appearing regularly in the newspapers.

However, on careful examination, one has to wonder if these divisions have not resulted in a safer situation in India relative to what could have been. In what follows, I explain why I think caste discrimination may have had an unintended positive consequence for India.

Religious Intolerance Worldwide

Religious intolerance has led to the persecution of minorities in countries worldwide. This has been going on for millennia. Let us take a look at just some of these:

·       Wars between Christians and Muslims, Slavs, Jews, and Pagans in the Crusades for centuries
o   5000 Jews were killed in the People’s Crusade in 3 months in 1096
o   10000 Muslims were killed when Jerusalem was taken by the Crusaders in 1099
o   6000 Pagans were killed in the Battle of St. Matthew’s Day, which was fought to convert the pagans of Livonia (present-day Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia)
o   Many more examples of unprovoked aggression in the name of religion during the Crusades
o   About 2000 Jews expelled
o   Forced conversion of 100,000 Jews and forced expulsion of 100,000 Jews
o   Removal of 500,000 Muslims from Spain and eradication of Islam
o   Tens of thousands of Catholic Irish massacred by Cromwell’s forces at the battles of Drogheda, Wexford, Waterford, Limerick, and Galway
o   Expulsion of large numbers of Catholics from Ireland to work as indentured labourers in the West Indies
o   Hundreds of thousands of Catholic Irish killed by a forced famine caused by the destruction of their food stocks
o   The banning of the Catholic faith and the execution of any Catholic priests found
o   Approximately 50,000 Native Americans were forcibly evicted from their homes in the 1830s by an act of the American Congress authorizing military force to do so. Thousands of them died in forced marches in winter without food and adequate clothing in what has been called the Trail of Tears. This act arose from racial hatred of the Native Americans
o   130,000 Muslims living in Slavonia in Croatia ethnically cleansed and exiled to Bosnia and Herzegovina
o   Almost 300,000 Crimean Tatars expelled by the Russians from their homes
o   Expulsion of 1.5 million Bulgarian Muslims after the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-78
·       The killing of ethnic Armenian Christians in the Ottoman Empire
o   The genocide of up to 1.5 million Armenian Christians of the Orthodox Faith by the Ottomans in Armenia
·       The Chinese policy towards Tibet, from the days of the Kuomintang to modern Communist China – a policy based on religious intolerance towards the Buddhist Tibetans
o   Up to 1.2 million Tibetans killed by Chinese governments
o   Six million Jews, comprising two-thirds of the Jewish population of Europe, and including 1.5 million children, murdered in cold blood
o   Over 250,000 Tamil citizens killed in a 25-year long civil war
o   The state has sanctioned the genocide of more than a million Muslims
o   Forced name changes for the entire ethnic Turkish population of Bulgaria (about 900,000 people) and their replacement by Christian names as part of a “rebirth” process
o   Banning the use of the Turkish language
o   Banning the use of Turkish ethnic dress
o   Closure of all mosques
o   Mass expulsions of those who did not comply to Turkey (about 360,000 Bulgarian Turks)
o   More than 100,000 citizens of Bhutan of Nepalese descent were expelled from Bhutan between 1992 and 1996
o   The ethnic cleansing of more than 2000 Bosnian Muslims in the Lasva Valley genocide from May 1992 to April 1993
o   The Prijedor Massacre of 1992, in which over 5000 Bosnians and Croats were massacred
o   The Visegrad Massacre of 1992, in which around 3000 Bosnian Muslims were killed by Serbs

o   Many more incidents…

·        This is just a partial list, and highlights how dangerous life can be for religious minorities in any country.

India has, for the most part, been spared of this kind of violence (I will discuss the exceptions in what follows), in spite of its status as a nation with the largest Hindu population in the world – a religion with a dominant majority (80%). 

Going by the kind of violence that religious minorities in so many countries have faced, one would not be wrong in thinking that India might have become a theocratic Hindu state a long time ago following an orgy of violence that eliminated, ethnically cleansed, or forcibly converted its minority religions. 

But this has not happened. Why?

Triggers for Religious Pogroms Worldwide

The cases of extreme religious discrimination mentioned above all had potent triggers. The enmity between the Jews and Christians goes back to the Christian Bible, where Jews are held responsible for the execution of Jesus. But many other conflicts have much more recent triggers. Consider the Bosnian Civil War as an example.

The trouble in the Balkans that led to the Bosnian civil war of 1992 can be traced back to Muslim invasions of the region and wars in the middle ages involving Christians and Muslims. Yugoslavia was a former colony of the Ottoman Empire, and so contained both Christian and Muslim populations that were well-mixed. One of the key historical events leading to the inflammation of tensions in Kosovo, for example, is the fact that Kosovo was the site of a major war between the Ottomans and the Serbs, which resulted in Serbia becoming part of the Ottoman Empire – the Battle of Kosovo in 1389. As a result, religious tensions were always quite high in this region. However, with the rise of Josip Broz Tito at the end of World War II, anyone trying to cause religious trouble was put down with an iron hand. But after his death in 1990, the floodgates opened, leading to the division of the country and genocide.

Compared to this, India has plenty of historical baggage that could be the basis of a lot of bad blood between Hindus and Muslims. From the 11th century onwards, large parts of India were conquered, looted, and ruled by foreign rulers of the Islamic faith. Hindus lived as second-hand citizens in the country in which they were a majority; they had to endure forced conversions; their temples were destroyed and mosques built over the ruins of their temples; and they had to pay a discriminatory, religion-based tax to their Muslim rulers. For 300 years, most of India was ruled by the Islamic Mughal Empire. Some of these are disputed by certain scholars, but these are generally accepted as having happened in the popular narrative, whatever their historicity. There is, thus, plenty of fuel to throw into a raging inferno of incendiary claims whereby a few million Muslims can be killed and the rest forced to leave India.

However, this has not happened. This is not to suggest that Hindu-Muslim violence has not happened in India or is not a routine occurrence. Violent incidents happen, but their scale is relatively small. One notable “large” incident was the partition of British India into an India and a Pakistan – but this was a very emotive issue that forced people to leave their land and possessions behind to migrate to another place almost as penniless beggars – a time and place of extreme personal hardship, where emotions naturally ran high. This is by far the most significant incident of religious violence in the Indian subcontinent, leading to the speculated deaths of two million people. But apart from this event which was for the most part forced by a violent partition of the land, most other religious riots cause deaths at most in the tens or hundreds, with very few touching a toll of thousands. For example, the most well-known incident of religious violence in recent years is the 2002 pogrom in Gujarat, in which about 2000 people were estimated to have died. Deaths resulting from religious violence in India are only about 0.01 per 100,000, as compared to a world average of 7.9.

So why is religious violence in India so low?

It is very tempting to suggest that this is because Hinduism is a very tolerant religion. There is some truth to this because of Hinduism's (quite exceptional) attitude that God exists in many forms and that there are many paths to God, all equally valid - quite unlike the "my way or the highway" attitude of Christianity or Islam, both of which believe that salvation is obtained only by belief in the specific God of their religion and by acceptance of their specific doctrines.

But this is not the only reason, as I explain below.

One important aspect of all the cases of religious discrimination worldwide, mentioned above, is that the oppressing group saw itself as largely homogeneous. For instance, Irish Protestants see themselves as largely a monolithic group when compared with the Irish Catholics. Shias and Sunnis see themselves as largely monolithic and oppress the other when one is in a majority in a state. Neither of them recognize the Ahmadiyyas, another sect in Islam, as Muslims at all. During the Crusades, all Christians banded together as working for a common cause against the Arabs who controlled Jerusalem. The Spanish who expelled the Jews and Muslims from Spain towards the end of the 15th century saw themselves as a monolithic Catholic state and saw the Jews and the Muslims as the “other.” The Buddhists who persecuted the Hindus in Sri Lanka, whatever minor divisions they might have had within themselves, saw themselves as one against the “other” of the Hindus; the same can be said of the Buddhists in Myanmar who discriminated against the Rohingya Muslims. Similarly, in all the historic injustices towards the Jews over the centuries, including those by the Nazis, they were seen as the “other” by a largely united Christian majority.

The Lack of Homogeneity Among Hindus

But Hindus, by and large, do not see themselves as a monolithic block. And the reason for this is the infamous caste system. Not only do the four major categories of castes – known as the “varnas” – the Brahmins (priests), Kshatriyas (warriors), Vaishyas (merchants), and Shudras (labourers), plus the fifth category of outcastes or untouchables – known variously as panchamas, oppressed castes, depressed castes, ati-Shudras (archaic terms), or Dalits (modern term) – not traditionally mix with each other socially, but even within a given varna, different jatis (castes) generally don’t mix socially in traditional environments.

Hindu society, as Ambedkar famously said, is a collection of castes. The Hindu cares only for his or her fellow-caste person; other Hindus do not mean anything to him/her. While things have changed a lot at a microscopic level since Ambedkar wrote about Hindu society, his observations are still true at the larger level. The one aspect of social mixture in which this is most obvious is marriage. Hindus still marry, by and large, within their caste. Urbanization and the presence of more women in the working force has changed this to some extent, but the majority of marriages, even today in Hindu society, are “arranged” by the parents based on caste compatibility.

So the “Hindu” sees himself first as a caste entity and then in the broader sense as a Hindu. As Ambedkar says in The Annihilation of Caste, “A Hindu’s public is his caste. His responsibility is only to his caste. His loyalty is restricted only to his caste. Virtue has become caste-ridden, and morality has become caste-bound. There is no sympathy for the deserving. There is no appreciation of the meritorious. There is no charity to the needy. Suffering as such calls for no response. There is charity, but it begins with the caste and ends with the caste. There is sympathy, but not for men of other castes.” The Hindu’s hatred for a non-Hindu, specifically a Muslim, is only marginally greater than his hatred for Hindus from other castes. 

Again, I am talking about real “social mixture.” Specifically, I want to focus on the arranged marriage. I myself was married through an arranged marriage, and since I belonged to the Brahmin Varna and the Iyer caste of Tamil Brahmins, my bride had to belong to the Tamil Iyer caste. Only in extreme situations (such as, say, I fell in love with a girl) would they have considered my marrying a Tamil Iyengar (another Brahmin caste) girl; and my marrying a non-Brahmin girl would be almost as distasteful to them as my marrying a Muslim.

This mutual hatred and distrust of the different Hindu castes has prevented them from engaging in large-scale, organized displays of bigotry and hatred against non-Hindus. Since Hinduism itself is quite loosely defined and contains deep divisions within, uniting together to oppress other minorities is a much lower probability event than, say, the Shias in Iran uniting to oppress non-Shias and non-Muslims, or the Sunni majority in Pakistan uniting to oppress non-Sunnis and non-Muslims. For, the Sunni, the Shia, or the Christian has a very clear idea of who he is – the “Hindu” has only a very vague idea of what makes him a Hindu.

How Caste-Based Division of Hindu Society Prevents Genocide

For every Hindu-Muslim riot in India, one could list half a dozen inter-caste violence incidents, whether between Kammas and Kapus, between Marathas and Mahars, between Vanniyars and Parayars, and so on. It should be pointed out that most inter-caste violence incidents in India have been of upper castes or “caste Hindus” (those belonging to the four castes) committing violence against the Dalits. These constitute an effective “safety valve” against Hindu-Muslim violence – one can only have so much anger, after all, and a lot of it goes away after you kill a few people. In effect, the Dalits form a sacrificial group that bears the brunt of the prejudice of the Hindus.

While the killing of Dalits is despicable and cannot be condoned, it cannot be denied that it probably prevents larger-scale Hindu violence against non-Hindu minorities, and that it is also much smaller in scale than the international pogroms that have been discussed earlier. One reason for this is that anti-Dalit violence is usually local and small in scale; it is usually related to local and specific hatreds between communities that may go back a long way. Anti-Muslim violence, on the other hand, can be easily generalized to a national scale and does not need specific triggers – one can easily inflame passions by talking about how India was ravaged by Muslim invasions, for instance, without going into specific details.

In addition, caste-based discrimination goes far beyond only violence. Inter-caste hatred is prevalent in all aspects of Indian society. Wherever there is a discretionary role, there is a high chance that caste will be the basis of discretion. Many employers (when they legally can) will prefer a person of their own caste rather than a person of a different caste. Many housing societies will not prefer to have members who belong to a caste they look down upon. These divisions ensure that Hindus are sufficiently divided among themselves to resist forming a united group with a single overriding identity.

So, despite Indian liberals’ deep misgivings about the caste system and the discrimination and cruelty it engenders, they should probably be grateful that Hinduism contains within itself the seeds of its disunity and, as a result, prevents Hindus from organizing themselves to the level of being able to orchestrate the scale of pogroms that other religions have done so spectacularly. That the most talked-about pogrom in recent times, the 2002 Gujarat Pogrom, only led to an estimated 2000 killed in a city (Ahmedabad) of more than 5.5 million people and containing more than 300,000 Muslims, and not tens of thousands dead, is evidence of the fact that Hindus do not act in a united way on issues of religion. Horrified as we should be that 2000 people might have been killed, we should be grateful for the caste-mediated fracturing of the Hindu population that prevented this death toll from being at least ten times greater.

It should be pointed out that, in recent years, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and its political arm, the ruling party in India, the Bharatiya Janata Party, have tried very hard to unite Hindus over a common front motivated by hatred of Muslims and Dalits. It is a very worrying sign that a growing number of Indians are subscribing to this negative philosophy.

However, as long as Hindus continue to marry by looking at matrimonial columns that first and foremost advertise the caste and sub-caste of the individual, the bark of the Hindutva movement is worse than its bite.


I would like to thank my wife, Sandhya Srinivasan, for her constructive comments on this manuscript and her helpful suggestions. I would also like to thank Ganesh Prasad for helpful comments and suggestions on an earlier draft of this article.

Tuesday 9 April 2013

Why I Will Not Sue Rahul Gandhi for Stealing my Speech

Why I Will Not Sue Rahul Gandhi for Stealing my Speech


Written by Dr. Seshadri Kumar, 09 April, 2013

Copyright © Dr. Seshadri Kumar.  All Rights Reserved.

For other articles by Dr. Seshadri Kumar, please visit

You can reach me on twitter @KumarSeshadri.

Disclaimer: All the opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of Dr. Seshadri Kumar alone and should not be construed to mean the opinions of any other person or organization, unless explicitly stated otherwise in the article.


I was watching the TV last week on some goings-on at the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) summit, notably the presence of our young Yuvraaj (heir-apparent) at the CII.  That reminded me of an interaction I had in a previous company I used to work in, not too long back ago.  Watching Rahul Gandhi on TV, I thought that was me speaking on screen, and that my presentation at my old company had been recorded secretly and was being telecast!! 

So, without further ado, let me tell you about my exciting interaction with my colleagues, years ago.  Judge for yourself if this is a straight lift or not.

My CEO had asked me to give a presentation to everyone in the company on my division’s performance and help everyone understand how we could all do things better.  Following are some excerpts from the interaction...I saved a transcript of the speech at the time because I was so proud of it.  Now it looks like I had good reason to be proud of it.


Dr. Kumar will talk to us about how we can succeed in this company, based on his experience in our company and his understanding of the challenges facing our company in this challenging environment.  In particular, our competitors are aggressively innovating, adopting new and more efficient sytems; the world’s economies are in a downward spiral and so there is less money to go around; being lean and still being profitable is a huge challenge.  Europe’s spending is rapidly going down, so we need to tap the Indian and Chinese markets to sell our products effectively.  All of these challenges need to be addressed, and we are hoping Dr. Kumar can help us see some light in this regard.  Please welcome Dr. Kumar!

My Speech of a Lifetime

What an Honor!

Thank you very much!  It’s an honor for me to be here today.  And I’ll tell you why it’s an honor.  These days, we think of our organization as a chemical company.  But if you go back 50 years, 100 years, you think of our company as rivers – rivers of sulphuric and nitric acid, streams of naphtha, petroleum, natural gas, chorine, bromine, fluorine.  Everything we make is based on those rivers.

And now, we have gone way beyond that.  We have built products, chemical structures, with energy and force, and you are the people who are telling the world about it.  And that’s why it’s an honor to be here talking to you.  We had rivers of chemicals, now we have rivers of products, and by that I mean rivers of energy, rivers of force – and you are giving those rivers of force to the people – I mean forces of rivers – I mean energies of forces – or was it energies of chemicals? ... sorry, I lost it.

When I joined this company 10 years ago, nobody knew about it.  It was absolutely unknown, even though it was founded by my great-grandfather and then managed successively by my grandmother and my father for 50 years.  People said to me, “what company is that?”  But now people know us!  So thank you!  Thank you for raising our company from the mess and wilderness that our founders, my great-grandfather and his colleagues, and those who followed him, like my grandmother and my father, and his colleagues, including many of you, left it in.  Like I said, that’s why it is an honor to address you.

Suresh the Plumber, or...??

I want to start off by telling you a real-life story.  I was coming to Mumbai from Dehradun via the Dehradun Express, and I met Suresh the plumber.  I asked Suresh why he was coming to Mumbai, and he said he didn’t know.  I asked him, did he know where he was going to work when he came to Mumbai?  He said yes, he was going to come to our company here and get a job.  I said, do you have a job offer from our company? He said, no.  We continued talking on the train and by the time we arrived in Mumbai – for the next 40 hours – and they call it an express – ha ha – isn’t that funny? -  I had really gotten to know Suresh the stenographer very well by now.  We went to his home in Mumbai, which was a 6x10 hut in Bandra, and he offered me tea.  Yes, tea!!!  In a 6x10 home!  That’s the kind of people we have in this country!!  I asked him how he was confident that he could get a job in our company when he didn’t even have an offer.  He said, hey, you work there, right?  How hard can it be then?  So, boss, that is the power of our company that I see!  The idea that we are seen as an employer for one and all – this diversity is our strength!

I want to talk about diversity rather than company performance for three reasons here.  One, it is easier than talking about company performance, which I know sucks right now.  Two, man doesn’t live by money alone!  Three, as Warren Buffet said, “Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.”

Boss, what is important is that a Dalit like Suresh the accountant, who I met in the Dehradun express, has the same opportunities as people from other communities in our company.  Because if we don’t have that plurality, that diversity, our company will never be strong, and if it is not strong, we cannot get great results in the future.  I know we can.  We may not have them today, but I have faith in you.  I have faith in this company.  I have faith in the Dalits and Muslims in this company, like Suresh the office boy.  What an example Suresh the office boy can be for the rest of his community!  He can take the entire Muslim community forward – sorry, I lost it again – that was supposed to be Iqbal the office boy – and they all have hopes and we have to pave the dreams that our hopes are walking on – or pave the hopes that our dreams are walking on. (sotto voce: I think that’s right.  Yeah, sounds about okay.  Which consultant wrote this damned speech?  To think I paid Rs. 500 for it.)

I know a lot of people are saying that we should focus on hiring people based on their knowledge of chemicals, chemistry, the chemical industry, and other such irrelevant things rather than look at Dalits, minorities, women, tribals and other such groups.  The argument used for such ideas is that we are a chemical company.  But let me tell you, we are a company made of humans first, and then a chemical company.  The biggest danger for us – well, for me – is if we stop hiring minorities who have no knowledge of chemistry but are beholden to me and instead actually start hiring competent people regardless of their background!  How will this company – or at least my group – survive?  Well, you did ask me for MY perspective, right? – so there, you got it!

I Have Faith in You!

There are many things lacking in this company.  I know things have been bad.  I know it is my group’s responsibility to build the infrastructure on which the rest of the company depends.  But I cannot do it alone.  I need you.  I need you to solve my problems.  I know you can solve them.  That’s why I want to encourage partnerships between my group and other groups in this company – together we can solve my group’s problems – the problems I couldn’t solve.  I have faith in you.

And why is that?  Well, when was the last time anyone in our group talked to the rest of you about what you want in the last 10 years when I was the group manager?  What kind of infrastructure were we building without talking to you?  When did you have any input into what we were building?  Have you ever been asked for your input, in the last 10 years that I was heading this group?  That’s a question!  I’ll tell you - the answer is no!  The manuals we are using in our group talk about how to make tea and coffee, when the need of our company is to make acetic acid!  When was the last time you needed a lesson to make tea?  I don’t remember the last time I needed one.  Hahaha – aren’t I funny? 

So we need to change the way we train our people.  There has been no vision in the way our employees are being trained.   We don’t have vision because we cannot see!  We don’t know how to make acetic acid.  All that has to change.  And you have to help us make acetic acid.  But only if you understand and accept diversity.

No Knight on a White Horse

Sometime back the company went ahead and got an outside management consultant who gave lots of suggestions on how to restructure the company to make it more efficient.  I tell you the problem with that.  See, companies like that – Accenture, McKinsey – these companies are very simplistic in their thinking.  We are complex.  You are all managers of complexity, so you will win in the end.  You are dealing with people trained in complexity.  Our problems will not be solved by some knight coming in on a white horse telling us to focus on simple things like efficiency, innovation, vision, aspiration, and the like.  

If you cannot carry all the diversity of the company – Suresh the security guard, Iqbal the cook, and the others, with you, then all solutions are useless.  Diversity is the only thing that will take our company forward.  The decision-making structure in this company consists of a few senior managers who take all the decisions.  How can the company move forward with this model?  Unless we have every Iqbal, Girish, and Suresh involved in the decision, we can never be profitable.  I consider Wack Jelch a hero but he was only a representative of all the other heroes in GE.  I want the voice of all the minorities in our company to be heard.

And that is the central question: how to give voice to Girish, Suresh, Iqbal and others like them.  We do things like this, we do it softly, and we will win.  You know, visitors come to our company and I take them to the cafeteria for lunch, the noise there drives them crazy.  Boss, why is everyone here complaining about the company, they ask.  They ask me, give us a simple answer.  I tell them no, I cannot give you a simple answer because our environment is complex.  It isn’t because we are sinking as a company; it isn’t because we haven’t paid a raise or bonus to our employees in years; and it isn’t because promotions have stopped for the last ten years.  No, that’s not why they are complaining.  Those are the simple answers you are looking for...but we are not simple.  We are complex, like a complex beehive full of activity.  They are complaining because they don’t have voice.  I tell them I know that’s too complex for you to understand, but we in our company, we are trained in complexity.  So we will win.  All we need to do is give everyone a voice.

***End of Speech***

Concluding Thoughts

Now you see why I was stunned when I saw Rahul Gandhi’s speech.  I thought it was just lifted straight from mine!!!  My immediate reaction was anger.  He stole it, dammit!  He should be punished for that!  My talk was recorded, but was for only intra-company viewing - some rascal must have sold it!

Then I thought of how rich Rahul’s family must be, and I started getting greedy visions – visions of me suing the hell out of him for damages for copyright infringment, getting awarded millions by the courts – and then I would retire, spend my time shuttling between the beaches of Goa, Kerala, Majorca, and Miami; the hill resorts of Kullu, Copper Mountain, and Turin; live the life in London, Paris, and New York; and sip martinis in Rio.  Maybe even get myself a dacha in the Crimea and discuss defense deals with Putin and Depardieu.  Time to call Ram Jethmalani, I said to myself.

Then suddenly reality hit me and I thought of a possible discussion in the courtroom.  The judge might, I thought, ask me a simple question: “What damages?  What benefit do you think he might derive from your speech?  And why do you believe it will benefit him?  How much did it benefit YOU?”

That stumped me.  I didn’t know how to answer that one.  Googly! 

Because, you see, the day after I made that speech in my past company, they fired me.


Concluding Disclaimer:  For those to whom it isn't yet glaringly obvious, the entire preceding article is meant to be a joke.  I do not mean to imply that Rahul Gandhi actually stole from this speech - it really isn't worth stealing from! :-)  Just making it obvious in case someone is tempted to use legal flak!  Also, some of my friends were worried about the ending of the article - the company firing me.  Rest easy.  This story is fictional.  If I really had given this speech, I wouldn't be telling you about it publicly - I'd be too ashamed of myself.  Not ashamed had I been actually fired, but ashamed if I had given such a miserable speech :-)