On an afternoon in the summer of 1944, the British and Japanese warplanes screamed across the skies dropping death over the dense jungles of Imphal and Kohima along the India-Burma border. On the frontline, there was no time for fear. Half-a-million men from all corners of the world were locked in one of the goriest battles of World War II. Firmly holding the tricolour, the Indian National Army advanced with the war cry “Delhi Chalo” (Onwards to Delhi). Their military objective was India’s freedom. And their leader was Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. With shells blasting, guns blazing, and blood flowing, this was the defining moment of his life. He was the only Indian nationalist to confront the British Empire on the battlefield.
Decades earlier, the Cambridge-educated Bose resigned from the Indian Civil Service in 1922 and immediately became the stuff of legends in India. The nationalist movement during the 1920s and 1930s were marked by a cat-and-mouse game of campaigns, crackdowns, and concessions. Mahatma Gandhi had successfully orchestrated the largest civil disobedience mass movement in world history. Simultaneously, the Indian revolutionaries kept the fire burning with their audacious attacks. Several Indians were imprisoned and hanged. However those sacrifices could only win minor legislative reforms. The liberation of India seemed impossible. In September 1939, Britain unilaterally brought India into WWII, without pledging independence in return.
By now Bose had resigned as the president of the Congress even though he won the election against Mahatma Gandhi’s candidate. He was tired of Gandhian methods and his tolerance for imperial diktats had exhausted. His amazing adventure started on 17 January 1941, after he heroically escaped from British captivity in Calcutta (Kolkata now) to faraway Berlin via Kabul, perplexing all the secret agents and assassins of British Intelligence. From that moment onwards he would remain the most interesting and exciting man of that period of history. The world leaders he encountered across Europe grasped that Bose after his death-defying journey was full of resolve to serve the land of his birth. Berlin gave him a territorial base to set up a Free India Centre and a loan of a few hundred thousand Marks. Motivated by Rabindranath Tagore’s famous poem, ‘Ekla chalo re’ (walk alone) he built a formidable organisation brick by brick. The mystique around Bose and his personal magnetism ensured that many young men and Indian PoWs in Nazi Germany were drawn into his cause. Soon he had a virtual government in exile with its own Free Indian Army. On his initiative, ‘Jana Gana Mana’ was played in Hamburg for the first time and selected as the national anthem.
Back home in India, the brutal WWII was unpopular and its costs were being felt every day with nationwide rationing. In August 1942 after Mahatma Gandhi launched the massive Quit India movement the entire top Indian political leadership were served long prison sentences. Against this backdrop Bose took charge of India’s Independence struggle from overseas. In those crushing times, the people of the enslaved nation bereft of hope tuned to the Azad Hind Radio short wave station. From Berlin, the fiery speeches of Bose exhorted his countrymen to rise against the merciless British Empire. Millions of Indians had an incomparable emotional connect with Bose. The mere mention of his name would electrify them like never before. For his admirers he emerged as an exceptional unifying force.
The Nazis, however, remained unimpressed. For them India was still a continent away perhaps better served by the British rulers. The near showdown with Adolf Hitler further disheartened Bose. He needed a new geography to wage the war for India’s Independence. That opportunity presented itself with the entry of Japan into WWII and the fall of Singapore considerably altered his fortunes. In February 1943, he left his wife Emilie and daughter Anita in Vienna and secretly boarded a U Boat for a twostage submarine voyage that had never been attempted before in the history of the world. After a dangerous three-month-long journey he managed to reach Tokyo in May 1943. Two months later he arrived in Singapore along with veteran Indian revolutionary Rash Behari Bose to take charge of the Indian National Army (INA — Azad Hind Fauj). He effectively revived the memory of the Ghadar of 1857 and acquired the remnants of Lala Har Dayal’s Ghadar Party in Asia. Then cheered by thousands of people in an explosion of national fervour he experienced his finest hour. The five feet eleven inches tall Indian leader dressed in a military uniform unveiled his vision. There was magic in his words as he dramatically stated in Hindustani, “Tum mujhe khoon do, main tumhe azaadi doonga” (You give me blood, I shall give you freedom).
India could not be India without such greatness.
In admiration of Bose, thousands of Indians in Southeast Asia cutting through the age-old barriers of caste, religion and gender rushed to volunteer for the INA and sacrifice their lives for India. To an extent that no other Indian but the man himself could have thought possible, Bose achieved his vision of non-sectarianism and gender equality in the INA. For his followers more than any other Indian leader he was a man of destiny. His dedication, decisiveness, and dynamism to the cause of India’s freedom were matchless as he set up a provisional government on 21 October 1943. In a radio broadcast, Bose titled Mahatma Gandhi as “Father of the Nation” and who in turn named him the “Prince among Patriots”. Previously, recognising his charismatic leadership, Tagore had designated him as “Deshnayak”; the Japanese honoured him as “Indian Samurai”, and the nation of his birth feted him as “Netaji” while the skies across India filled with the cries of “Jai Hind.”
In London, the British politicians found the rise of Netaji against the Crown intolerable. They quickly labelled him a misguided patriot and a wannabe dictator. George Orwell and Ian Fleming’s brother Peter were engaged in a secret character assassination project. The global newspapers propaganda campaign featured caricatures of the rebellious Netaji and the news about INA was censored. The British media and historians along with their Indian acolytes reinforced a false narrative that he was a pro-Nazi, Japanese satellite. In reality, Netaji had diplomatically employed the ancient Indian doctrine of combining resources with one’s enemy’s enemies. On deeper examination, it is evident that he had several awkward moments in managing this Faustian pact with the Axis powers. Nevertheless the Azad Hind Bank paid back in installments the financial loans taken from Germany and Japan.
Seen from a distance of over half a century it is clear that Netaji and the INA changed the course of history. By the end of 1943, leading from the front he took charge of the Andaman Islands. In early 1944, Bose, a man of extraordinary fortitude, led the 60,000 strong multi-faith INA even consisting of a regiment of women warriors named after Rani Lakshmibai. Together they marched to the tune of ‘Kadam kadam badhaye ja’, towards the Burma-India border to challenge the greatest empire the world had ever known. On 14 April 1944, the fearless INA charged through British held positions to plant the INA flag on Indian soil at Moirang near Imphal. The extremely arduous Battles of Imphal and Kohima where Netaji’s INA won its battle honours are now considered the greatest battles of WWII. Historian Robert Lyman has stated, “Great things were at stake in a war with the toughest enemy any British army has had to fight… This was the last real battle of the British Empire and the first battle of the new India.”
The victory of the Allied Forces in Kohima along with Midway, El Alamein and Stalingrad were the turning points of WWII. Then in August 1945, two atom bombs swiftly ended WWII. Yet, at the INA headquarters the invincible Netaji was determined to triumph over impossible odds. Even after the surrender of Japan he decided to continue his fight against imperialism. His dream to unfurl the Indian tricolour on the ramparts of the Red Fort in Delhi remained intact. Netaji announced, “The roads to Delhi are many and Delhi remains our goal.” Then he handed charge to his trusted lieutenants, General Zaman Kiyani and Colonel Cyril John Stracey and departed from Singapore for an unknown destination. From here onwards the story of his life remains adrift in the fog of time.
Eventually as prophesied by Netaji, the INA did reach the Red Fort in Delhi but as prisoners of war. However, in November and December 1945, the famous INA trials weakened the very foundation of the British Empire. A journalist Anwar Jamal Kidwai interviewed Capt Lakshmi Sahgal of the INA and splashed the amazing exploits of Netaji and INA for the first time in Indian newspapers. The long-standing British policy of divide and rule by spreading the communalism virus fell apart. India stood united in the defence of the three INA officers — Capt Prem Sehgal, Capt Shah Nawaz Khan and Lt Gurbaksh Singh Dhillion representing three major faiths of India. Despite a judgement in favour of the Crown, the British Army feared the revival of the Ghadar of 1857 and the three officers were hurriedly freed. That day the entire world saw the mighty British Empire lose to one man — Netaji.
Subsequently, on 18 February 1946, the ratings of the Royal Indian Navy in Bombay (Mumbai now) enthused by the INA trials mutinied against the Crown using ‘Jai Hind’ as a rallying slogan. The British Empire brutally suppressed the naval mutiny as it spread across India to all units of the Royal Indian Navy. By now a tsunami-like wave of Netaji’s nationalism stirred the entire country. The appearance of INA flags and pictures of Netaji in army cantonments terrified the British rulers. They recognised that they had lost the loyalty of the Indian forces; a crucial backbone of imperialism. Left powerless they let go of the “jewel in the crown” and swiftly quit India. In February 1955, Dr B.R. Ambedkar, who had witnessed the INA trial, in a no-holds-barred interview with BBC’s Francis Watson, stated, “I don’t know how Mr Attlee suddenly agreed to give India independence… Seems to me that two things led to India’s independence: one was the National Army raised by Subhas Bose…”
The single greatest emotional truth of India’s freedom movement is that Netaji’s INA not only affected the withdrawal of Britain rule from India, but also the subsequent dismantling of the British Empire from the rest of the world as Indian forces were employed to reinforce colonisation.
As the tricolour fluttered on the Red Fort, the liberator’s mantle fell on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
Over seventy-three years later, the overwhelming story of the Indian freedom struggle continues to shape the consciousness of modern-day politically active citizens of the world’s largest democracy. Consequently, the true story of India’s liberation that involved the supreme sacrifices of thousands of nationalist soldiers in 1857, patriots of the Ghadar Party, unwavering Indian revolutionaries, prisoners of the Cellular Jail and the courageous warriors of the INA must be told to the world. The epic contribution of Netaji to our freedom movement should be celebrated. The empty canopy at India Gate across from the National War Memorial in New Delhi is the appropriate place for a statue to honour this iconic leader of India. For Netaji is our nation’s immortal hero. He lit a flame that still burns brightly and he continues to live in the hearts and minds of millions. There is no doubt that Netaji’s inspirational life has a lasting contribution to make to the history of the future.
Bhuvan Lall is the author of ‘The Man India Missed The Most: Subhas Chandra Bose’ and ‘The Great Indian Genius: Har Dayal. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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I TRIED TO CREATE A CONVERSATION AROUND SEXUALITY: LEEZA MANGALDAS
In an exclusive conversation with NewsX Influencer A-List, Leeza Mangaldas opened up about the content she creates on Instagram, the kind of conversations she has been having on social media, and how she has been helping youngsters get relevant information about sex.
Leeza Mangaldas, Sex Positive Content Creator recently joined NewsX for an insightful conversation as part of NewsX Influencer A-List. In the exclusive conversation, Leeza opened up about the content she creates on Instagram, the kind of conversations she has been having on social media and how she has been helping youngsters get relevant information about sex.
When asked about the content that she is creating on Instagram, Leeza said, “I tried to create a conversation around sexuality, sexual health, gender, the body, identity. My hope is that this can help normalise these conversations because sex remains so stigmatised for discussion. Most young people don’t receive information. It is a normal part of life. It’s something we deserve, that is, accurate judgement about sex. The fact that most people have a smartphone now, the internet allows us to access the stuff from the comfort of our homes and privacy from our headphones and phone. It’s really lensed. I also think that young people use social media so much, people don’t put their phones down. They take it even in the bathroom. So, if you want to connect to young people, social media seems like a great way to do it, but it’s so important to me to have the conversation. A typical attitude to sex education is like let’s teach people how not to have negative experiences. ‘Ok, so it’s very don’t do this, don’t do that, and kind of fear-based approach. If you have sex, you will get pregnant. If you have sex, you will get an STD. Oh, it’s really bad that if you have sex, you will be punished as if you have done something wrong or evil,’ This kind of messaging is there. Any official messaging intended is laced with judgement and punishment. All of this type of language, absence base, fear-based or even when it is well-meaning it’s like not to get an STD or not to get pregnant. Nobody is focusing on pleasure. Nobody knows how we can have the best experience, it’s just talking about how we cannot have a bad experience. I wanted that shift where we talk about sex and its normal, important and wonderful thing, rather than a scary bad thing.”
Talking about the topics she has been addressing via her videos, she said, “I try to also allow for audience questions to dictate the topics I choose. I got a lot of questions repeatedly around certain things and addressed them. I think many people have a lot of issues when it comes to body image. Like questions around penis size, questions around boobs size, questions around why is the skin of the vagina is darker than the rest of the body or lots of questions around first sexual experience. I have created a lot of content types trying to provide help with full information on what you should know before you have sex. Consent is a subject that is important to me, talking also about stuff like arousals, desires, and being in contact with your own body and pleasure and understanding that you can communicate better because I think communication is central to sexual experiences.”
Speaking about where she draws a line between helping younger people to get relevant information about sex and drawing a line with what is the legal age to have sex, she said, “The age of consent varies from country to country and changed over time and it’s a really tricky area without easy answers in terms of age of consent of what is legal to begin having sex. In India, it is 18 but there was a time when it was something around 12 here. Child marriage is a part of how things operated in your grandparents’ generations. In other countries, it’s 16 and in some countries, it’s still even younger than that. So, how old is appropriate or not appropriate 16, 17, 18, 20. This is a question that doesn’t have an easy answer and it’s not up to me to decide. I’m also a citizen abiding by the laws, so of course, I maintain the age of consent. In India, it is 18 but I think the information, the education is something that has to start earlier and have to start when the child is learning the first word or when he learns the body parts. For example, you are teaching him this is your eyes, your nose, you are teaching them the words to think and why is it that we never teach them the correct names of the vagina, instead we say some other name like shame shame. You’re getting it, in such an age, this is shameful. So, of course, you should be appropriate but not for a one-time conversation, which you have with a young person. These are opportunities to normalise education around sexuality, body, sexual health, all through childhood because it’s usually the age 6 or seven somebody will ask mom, where do babies come from how would I get here or if you are expecting another sibling like how would it get in your stomach? Are you going to tell them that a bird dropped it or you found it in the dustbin? Why lie to the child? After there are picture books that simplify an explanation or consumptions and pregnancy, seeing things. When your adult teaches a child to get on her first periods, don’t you think they owe an explanation?”
I try to also allow for audience questions to dictate the topics I choose. I got a lot of questions repeatedly around certain things and addressed them. I think many people have a lot of issues when it comes to body image.
Huge social media following comes with a certain responsibility: Rasika Shekar
Singer and Flautist Rasika Shekar, in an exclusive conversation with NewsX Influencer A-List, speaks about her journey as a singer and a flautist, as well as the responsibility that comes with having a huge following on social media.
Rasika Shekar, Singer and Flautist, recently joined NewsX for an exclusive conversation as part of NewsX Influencer A-List. In the candid chat, Rasika opened up about her journey as a singer and a flautist, as well as the responsibility that comes with having a huge following on social media. Read excerpts:
Speaking about her journey, Rasika shared, “My flute journey started when I was 13. I started learning Carnatic classical music, then I came down to India to study Hindustani music. I was born in Dubai, grew up in the US, so music brought me to India. I have been exploring a lot more genres when I’ve been living here. I have been lucky to work on some Bollywood films, working on a couple of background scores. I have also sung for a couple of movies, as a playback singer and it has been extremely exciting. I am very fortunate that I am able to do so.”
Revealing that one song that she liked the most and has stayed with her, Rasika said, “I would say, the second song called Hulla Re, from a movie called ‘2 States’. I loved doing that song because it is a very upbeat, fun song and I got to do it with Shankar ji and Siddharth Mahadevan. It was super fun. I also got to sing the part that was in Tamil, which is my mother tongue, so it was a brilliant experience.”
Talking about her huge following on social media and the responsibility that comes with it, she stated, “I feel very fortunate to have that because we are able to interact with people that are from so many different parts of the world, so many different parts of the country. Technology enables us to do that, which probably I never expected or anticipated to be able to. I think that comes with a certain responsibility, at least I like to see it that way because it pushes me to be able to learn more and make sure that I am putting out quality work and I love that part. At the same time, because I am connecting with a very different audience, I feel like it pushes my musical boundaries and ideas as well. It is a really nice give and takes kind of a scenario, so it is very encouraging and I love it.”
When asked what she considers as her main responsibility when you say that you feel responsible for the people that are looking up to you, she responded, “At the fundamental, I would say that for me, it is to put out the most honest music. That’s my first thing. If I look at something like promoting it, it would be a different thing. If the promotion happens as the side effect of what I do, that’s great. When I am putting out music, I make sure that it is the most honest music that I put out. Secondly, I am always making sure that I am continuously learning and evolving as a musician so that I can create something different. Every time I can create something that is of top quality, to the best of my ability and at the same time, I am able to interact and collaborate with different musicians so that we can bring people something new, something fresh. To top it all off, at the end of the day, if I can bring a smile to someone’s face through my music, I consider myself really blessed.”
I WANT TO SEE MAXIMUM NUMBER OF INDIANS SELF-EMPLOYED: VEERANDER CHOWDARY
Digital marketer and an entrepreneur Veerander Chowdary spoke to NewsX India A-List about how the Covid-19 pandemic made him feel the need for educating people about self-employment so that they can ride the waves of such uncertain times with ease.
Veerander Chowdary is a skilful digital marketer and an entrepreneur. But now, he has set on a mission to train people and make them self-dependent for employment. We hosted Veerander for our series, NewsX India A-List. Below are the excerpts from the interview:
Describing his journey, Veerander said, “When we come to our journey, it’s quite interesting. So I’ll tell you why we started this. Before the first lockdown, there were so many people who were working, but after the lockdown, 7.3 million jobs vanished and people were in a situation where they couldn’t even fulfil their basic needs. That’s where I recognised why I can train people on how to become self-employed.” This led Veerander to start his own training course ‘BBA Mastery’. Chowdary claims that the course has trained 5,500 people so far and 40% of his trainees have succeeded in building self-employment opportunities for themselves. The digital marketer also said, “I have seen many digital marketing institutes, across India, which charge to the range of ₹75k to ₹1L.” He further added, “People from various backgrounds are investing in them and coming out without any practical knowledge. So that’s where I recognised why there is no need to spend such amounts on digital marketing courses when one can get the knowledge, for free, on YouTube.”
We asked Veerander what he feels sets his brand apart from his competitors, to which he replied, “Online course completion rate is very less because people don’t show any interest in completing the course. My competitors are training people using pre-recorded classes, but I give my students live classes every Saturday.” Veerander told us that he has spent the last 68 Saturdays giving live classes to his students. Moreover, he said that his course comes with lifetime access and at a reasonable price of ₹5,000, which he says makes his course stand out from what his competitors have to offer.
Speaking about the challenges in this endeavour, Veerander said, “The biggest challenge that I’m facing is the low course completion percentage. Out of 100 people registered for my course, only 20-25 people complete it.” He said his focus right now is on improving the overall content and adding value to the course so that more trainees complete it.
Our next question to Veerander was about the achievements in his mentoring journey. “Till now, I have a community of 2,76,000 students who are currently enrolled in my individual courses, out of which, 5,500 students are the paid students,” said Veerander. He continued, “When it comes to how many people manage to become self-employed, as I said, 5,500 people are learning through the courses and 40% of them are successful entrepreneurs right now where they are earning a minimum of ₹1L per month.”
For our final question, we asked Veerendar about his plans for the future. “I want to see a maximum number of Indians self-employed. Recently, we started our own edtech startup called Self Employment. We have launched the Android and iOS versions, as well, to give more learning flexibility to our students,” was his answer. Veerander concluded the response by expressing his desire to train at least 1 lakh people and make them self-dependent for employment.
Before finishing the interview, Veerander shared a few words of wisdom for the youth of the country and said, “Think creatively. Whatever field you are in right now, you need to stand out and you need to be creative. If you are the same as everyone, you will not get any recognition.” He also appealed to the youngsters to be of value to the people around them.
Nadella gets C.K. Prahalad Award for Business Sustainability Leadership
The award recognises winners for exemplifying the fundamental connection between sustainability, innovation, and long-term business success in a globalising world.
CEF presented the 2021 C.K. Prahalad Award in two categories: collaborative leadership by an executive team to Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella, President and Vice-Chair Brad Smith, Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood, and Chief Environment Officer Lucas Joppa; and leadership by an individual executive to Ecolab Chairman and former CEO, Douglas M. Baker, Jr. The awards were announced at the 2021 CEF Annual Leadership Retreat, attended by senior executives representing CEF member companies with combined revenues of $4 trillion.
Four of Microsoft’s top leaders received the prestigious honour for their collaborative leadership to transform Microsoft into a carbon negative company by 2030 and to remove all of the company’s historical emissions by 2050: CEO Satya Nadella, President and Vice-Chair Brad Smith, Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood, and Chief Environmental Officer Lucas Joppa.
CEF Founder MR Rangaswami explained what set the team’s approach apart: “Nadella, Hood, Smith and Joppa have exhibited a remarkable level of joint ownership of this moonshot initiative – this is the first time we’ve seen a CEO/President/CFO/Environmental Sustainability coalition like this. They’ve defined a new model for what corporate-wide climate leadership looks like while sending a clear message that sustainability is core to Microsoft’s business strategy for the decades ahead.”
With this team at the helm, Microsoft is moving aggressively to advance its vision to make a positive impact globally on the climate, while proving that such steps can also be good for business. By 2025, the company will shift to 100% renewable energy for its data centres, buildings, and campuses, and it will protect more land than its operations use. By 2030, it will match 100% of its electricity consumption, 100% of the time, with zero-carbon energy purchases—and will push beyond that to actually become carbon negative: to remove more carbon from the environment than the company emits. Their approach is holistic, connecting the dots to other aspects of planetary health—including a commitment to replenish more water than the company uses—a goal known as “water positive”—and a pledge to achieve zero waste for its direct operations, products and packaging.
The team has led Microsoft to look beyond the company’s own walls to create the enabling environment for change at scale. The company has set up a $1 billion Climate Innovation Fund to help accelerate the global development of carbon reduction, capture, and removal technologies.
It is also building a Planetary Computer platform to help monitor, model, and manage Earth’s natural systems. Beyond that, Microsoft has co-founded a new Green Software Foundation to help reduce emissions within the software industry by 45% by 2030, working with co-founders Accenture, GitHub, and ThoughtWorks to develop new standards, tools, and leading practices.
CEF also celebrated the leadership of Douglas M. Baker, Jr., board chairman and former CEO of Ecolab. During his esteemed tenure as CEO from 2004 to 2021, Baker was outspoken in his effort to educate the business community about corporate responsibility and the business risks of global water scarcity and the need to account for the true value of water in financial decisions making.
Baker believed the business had an imperative to act to ensure the world’s future prosperity through sustainable innovation and collaboration. Under his leadership, Ecolab became one of the largest water management companies in the world and more than tripled its net sales, while focused on sustainability, water management and carbon reduction.
Under Baker’s leadership, Ecolab joined the Business Ambition for 1.5oC, pledging to reduce its emissions by 50% by 2030 and to net-zero by 2050, and led the way in the formation of the Water Resilience Coalition, an initiative of the UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate.
Baker proved that foresight about water and climate risks was critical to business success. The company helped its customers in more than 170 countries conserve 206 billion gallons of water in 2020, equivalent to the annual drinking water needs of 712 million people. And Ecolab is on track to achieve its goal of saving 300 billion gallons of water—enough for one billion people—by 2030. In 2020, Ecolab also helped customers avoid 3.5 million metric tons of GHG emissions, provide safe food for 1.3 billion people and prevent 1.8 million infections.
Baker has received several awards for his leadership: In 2019, he was named one of the 100 best-performing CEOs by Harvard Business Review for the fifth year in a row. In 2018, he received the Deming Cup for Operational Excellence and accepted The World Environment Centre’s Gold Medal for International Corporate Achievement in Sustainable Development on behalf of Ecolab. In 2014, Baker was named Responsible CEO of the Year by Corporate Responsibility Magazine.
CEF’s Chair and Co-Founder P.J. Simmons expressed his appreciation for Baker: “Doug has always been a visionary leader, putting sustainability at the heart of his company’s growth strategy. He truly exemplifies the principles C.K. Prahalad espoused and offers an inspiring example of how to lead a company during these tumultuous times.”
“Water is one of the world’s most precious resources and vital to the health of society and industry,” said Baker. “I am honoured to receive this award from CEF and I accept it on behalf of the entire Ecolab team and their vision and motivation to promote responsible water use.”
Douglas M. Baker has always been a visionary leader, putting sustainability at the heart of his company’s growth strategy. He truly exemplifies the principles C.K. Prahalad espoused and offers an inspiring example of how to lead a company during these tumultuous times.
WHAT TO LEARN FROM SOLANA’S SCALABILITY GLITCH
The 17-hour outage has exposed a critical design flaw and grossly exaggerated TPS claims.
On 14 September at 12:38 PM UTC, Solana announced that it had encountered a denial-of-service disruption caused by a surge in transaction loads, reaching as high as 400,000 attempted transactions per second (TPS) that overwhelmed its network and led to its longest downtime yet. While initial tweets by the official Solana Support Twitter account suggested it was due to its mainnet-beta network “experiencing intermittent stability,” Solana Labs’ CEO Anatoly Yakovenko eventually attributed the network’s failure to the overwhelming transaction volume from bots during an initial decentralised exchange offering, or IDO, for the Grape Protocol project that was taking place on the Solana-based decentralised exchange Radium. Although the flurry of transactions caused problems for Solana’s transaction queues, a deeper analysis is warranted to understand the maladies plaguing Solana and why it will take more than “bug fixing” as exclaimed by Yakovenko to correct the issue.
FROTHING UP THE TPS NUMBERS
Solana’s claims of offering superior scalability as compared to Ethereum seem misleading when you consider how toughly 80% of Solana’s transactions are the chain’s own consensus messages required simply to coordinate validators. These processes are typically handled separately from on-chain transactions via a distinct communications channel but are inexplicably bundled with user transactions on Solana’s blockchain.
Examining the transaction numbers demonstrates this illusion. The much-ballyhooed number of 400,000 TPS is simply the number of transactions that were attempted by bots. As for the transactions actually being written to the chain that was approximately 2,000 TPS of which up to 350 TPS are actual user transactions and the rest were validator consensus messages. Anatoli Yakovenko confirmed this with his response to a Twitter question about the actual maximum TPS prior to the outage:
“I don’t think it was significantly higher than (sic) normal.”
Solana’s normal speed is about 2,000 TPS of which 80% are consensus messages, not the user or smart contract transactions that networks like Ethereum can process at speeds of 15 TPS or even the 10,000 TPS capability offered by Telos. Further, the massive amount of consensus messages required in voting on each new fork means that as more Solana validators join the cluster, the number of consensus messages grows exponentially, not linearly as described in “the handshake problem.” This protocol design that artificially inflates the TPS numbers is a large part of why the Solana chain was halted (0 TPS) for nearly 17 hours before validators on the network could help in restarting it. The point where a chain loses consensus and crashes or must be stopped is its actual throughput. For Solana, that real number is around 2,000 TPS but only 350 of those are user transactions that would be counted on any other blockchains.
PROBLEMS WITH PRIORITISING A SINGLE CHANNEL
In addition to the concern of exponential increase in consensus messaging as the network grows, Solana lacks any form of prioritisation rules being set which would have ensured better handling of critical consensus message processing in scenarios when the transaction queue gets flooded. Instead, at such times, such consensus messages would be displaced leading to a lack of syncing between the validator nodes and likely a growing amount of consensus rollbacks further congesting the network. Based on the tweets that emanated from Solana’s official account’s post about the outage, it seems likely that they will pursue prioritising network-critical consensus messaging over user transactions as opposed to creating a separate blockchain consensus channel. The latter solution offers the more conducive approach that would create a distinct communication channel between validators that cannot be interrupted by user transactions and doesn’t require prioritising messages—which risks introducing centralisation of BFT—instead and ensure recurrence prevention instead of the “quick-fix” approach that seems intended.
EMBRACE REAL SOLUTIONS AND REAL NUMBERS
Solana’s vulnerabilities can be resolved by emulating the tried-and-true way that blockchains like Ethereum, Telos, and most others handle consensus messaging via a distinct communication channel from user transactions but at the expense of frothy theoretical max TPS numbers for the marketing department. For Telos, this proven design has been running with 100% uptime for almost three years with over 173 million blocks despite occasional attempts to overwhelm the network. Telos’ claim of 10,000 TPS on the native chain reflects a tested maximum, not a theoretical one, backed by tests on the EOSIO Jungle Testnet performed by block producers running Telos and other EOSIO chains and this sets it apart from other competitors like Solana that evidently have a lot of catching up to do.
The race to post ever-higher theoretical maximum TPS numbers to wow investors has led put the cart before the horse in Solana’s design, but they are hardly the only chain that’s guilty of advertising untested and unachievable TPS numbers. We in the crypto community bear some responsibility here for blindly FOMOing over such numbers without ever asking to see test results. Let’s stop this and get real about TPS numbers so blockchain designs won’t need to compromise reliability trying to exaggerate stats.
The writer is Chief Architect, Telos Blockchain.
We guide MSMEs to raise money at the optimum cost: Ajit Kothari
Ajit Kothari, Proprietor, Kothari Ajit & Company, recently joined NewsX for an insightful chat as part of NewsX India A-List. In the exclusive conversation, he spoke in detail about his work in the field of finance, fundraising and much more.
Speaking about his association with the field of finance, Ajit Kothari said, “When I was doing chartered accountancy, I had seen people fiddle around for finance. They were not getting the right kind of guidance from the people in finance because generally, chartered accountants do auditing and taxation. There are no people, who can guide them on how to raise money at the optimum cost, without hurdle and do the problem of selecting finance fee. In this journey, we have had many people. Approximately, we’re raised 20,000 crores for the mid-size corporate people to fund their business and to fund their ventures.”
When asked why did he decide to be in the fundraising, he responded, “MSME units can’t afford to have the finance team on their payroll, that is the biggest hurdle for the MSME unit. Their set up is small. They can’t have that much revenue, so they can’t be people who can raise money. That is the main reason to be in the MSME segment to help them. We work with them as a mentor to them and we guide them to raise money at the optimum cost and the right mix of the equity. They should never come in the debt trap. We are there in the time of adversity to hand-hold. Suppose, they get bigger order also, then the bridge finance has to be arranged. They can’t create that in their own office, that is the main reason.”
Talking about our education system and what is the biggest change he would like to see happen today, Ajit Kothari stated, “If you see the education system, people do BCom, people pass BSE, but nothing related to your life. They don’t teach you how to earn in your life. That education is no way helping you out in your life earning. You are only carrying a degree. Or, you go for a specialisation in something, then only you can understand. See, suppose we are into finance. I am a chartered accountant but up to BCom, we don’t know anything about how to earn for our life, run our life smoothly, to live the life after retirement, what kind of planning is needed. Nothing short of practical things is taught in our education system. We are just creating batches. That has to be changed and practical guidelines to be introduced that they can earn or they can sustain after 55 years of their age, when they reach a retirement table, how to manage their lives. That is the expectation from the education system.”
Giving us an insight into his background and the challenges he faced along the way, he shared, “I come from a very middle family. My father was doing service. We din’t have that big money. I did my schooling and graduation from Gujarati medium. After the joining CA , it suddenly became English medium, but that I could manage. A real challenge came in the year 2014, when somebody flee away. I had to be under the debt of Rs 20 crores because Chartered accountants are only available in the field. One person escaped and flee away, the promoters flee away from India. Nobody was there. Only chartered accountant can be catch-hold because our data are publicly available. I had to travel around the police stations, just answering the queries. I came to literally having no penny but the knowledge with which we helped the people, raising finance that came to my rescue. The way again, I can bounce back. Today, I am on the path of growth and helping people.”
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