Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Quick notes: Driver-less tractor, Ahimsa milk...

Sunday, September 17, 2017

World’s Emptiest International Airport

Sri Lanka's second-largest airport is designed to handle a million passengers per year. It currently receives about a dozen passengers per day. It has annual revenues of roughly $300,000, but now it must repay China $23.6 million a year for the next eight years. To relieve its debt crisis, the Sri Lankan govt agreed to give China control of a deepwater port in exchange for writing off $1.1 billion of the island’s debt.

“We always thought China’s investments would help our economy. But now there’s a sense that we’ve been maneuvered into selling some of the family jewels.” ..This will be the story of OBOR down the road.

NYTimes: What the World’s Emptiest International Airport Says About China’s Influence.

Forbes: China's Ghost Town Diplomacy: The Story Behind The World's Emptiest International Airport

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Friday, September 15, 2017

Fwd: Against Occidentalism: A Conversation with Alice Crary and Vishwa Adluri on The Nay Science

must read on how the not-so-innocent german indologists imposed their prejudices on us, just a their descendants like witzel and wendy and sheldon pollock are doing today.

bit heavy duty but extremely intriguing.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: kalyan <>
Date: Fri, Sep 15, 2017 at 6:45 AM
Subject: Against Occidentalism: A Conversation with Alice Crary and Vishwa Adluri on The Nay Science

August 7, 2017

Against Occidentalism: A Conversation with Alice Crary and Vishwa Adluri on The Nay Science

How should we read and interpret texts? And how might the modes through which we read be informed, enriched and revised by our understanding of our cultures of interpretation? These questions have driven the work of Vishwa Adluri and Joydeep Bagchee, doctoral alumni of the Department of Philosophy at The New School for Social Research.
This winter, Anthem Press will publish their second book, Philology and Criticism: A Guide to Mahābhārata Textual Criticism. To mark the occasion, Research Matters presents excerpts of Adluri's conversation with Philosophy Professor Alice Crary. They talk about Adluri and Bagchee's first book, The Nay Science: A History of German Indology (Oxford University Press), the practice of reading and interpreting texts and a history of Indology.
Indology—the academic study of India—originated in Germany and served as a foundation for western academic interpretations of Indian texts and traditions. The Nay Science charts the history of German Indology to show how the nascent discipline was rooted in troubling philosophical assumptions that generated inaccurate readings of the culture it was studying. Against stubbornly persistent biases, Adluri and Bagchee write in favor of a more sincere reading of ancient and Eastern texts—a kind of "innocent reading" that goes beyond a postcolonial critique—that might enable us to meet texts outside the Western Christian tradition on their own terms.
Pressing beyond a critique of the specific history of Indology and its effects on our understanding and our modes of reading ancient texts, The Nay Science offers vital reflections on philosophical and social scientific methods. Adluri says that the book teaches us to, "read texts carefully but respectfully because, if you read them respectfully, they will talk to you."
Adluri also reflects on his training at The New School. On the practice of philosophy, he says: "You have to read every single thing, struggle your whole life to claim the life of an intellectual. If they are competent—perhaps competent is not the right word—if they can hang on and do the work, there is no greater reward than philosophy."

Alice Crary (AC): The occasion for this interview is your magnum opus, the 2014 monograph written with Joydeep Bagchee, The Nay Science: A History of German Indology. I want to sit with you and talk about its significance and implications. I thought we should get some background first—who you are and what you have done since your time at The New School for Social Research's (NSSR) Philosophy Department. Can you tell us a bit about your life and your intellectual work at NSSR and afterwards?

I just uploaded 'Against Occidentalism' to @academia!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Quick notes: Unsafe tracks, Diabetes reversal...

Bannon Seizes Narrative from Critics

Through his bold interview with 60 minutes, Steve Bannon has regained control of the narrative from his detractors:

Likewise, leaders in the BJP and the RSS need to be able to undertake interviews to properly frame their ideas in context, and seize back the narrative from their critics.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Fwd: Ryan School run 186 schools, exempt from RTE and Christian Chamber of Commerce Award

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sanjeev Nayyar

Points 1. Ryan International School runs 186 schools in 18 States. Started in 1976. 2. Acc to Shantanu Bhagwat art he has recd foreign funding? 3. Avail of benefits of Art 29 and 30. Is this why benefits were granted to Christian Schools. 4. Schools are exempt from RTE. 5. This is business so why exempt from RTE. Their site

Dr Pinto "acknowledged God's constant guidance in building one of India largest chains of privately owned schools".  Which made me wonder how much of the "success" of such minority-institutions (in particular, Catholic-faith based schools and educational groups) is due to the relative "freedom" they enjoy from government interference and controls (e.g. minority-institutions are exempt from the recent RTE legislation), as well as the generous funding they receive from abroad? More questions.

Of Islamic VC Funds and Christian Chambers of Commerce by Shantanu Bhagwat 8.12.2012

t talked about an "Excellence Award" for 2012 that was bestowed upon Dr Augustine F Pinto (Chairman) and Grace Pinto (MD) of the Ryan Group of Institutions by the Governor of Rajasthan, Margaret Alva.

What was interesting was not the award but the body that was honouring Dr Pinto and Grace Pinto. This organisation was the Christian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Now, up until I was alerted to this news-item, I had never heard of the "Christian Chamber of Commerce and Industry" (nor the "Excellence Award"). But it did remind me of something else I had read more than a year back. Something which I had filed in the hope to dig further when I have more time.

That something was a conference that was held in May 2011 in New Delhi on "Prospects for Islamic Venture Capital Funds in India"

As with the "Christian Chamber of Commerce and Industry", I had never heard of "Islamic Venture Capital Funds" – either in India or elsewhere.

The news-report on the conference was largely innocuous but a few lines towards the end were revealing. They included (emphasis added):

"The fast and unhindered growth of economic disparities, regular occurrence of banking and financial crises, and stock market crashes, the world over, testify to the fact that the interest-based paradigm of banking and finance has grossly failed to ensure sustainable and inclusive economic growth."

The article made all the right noises about ""justly inclusive economic growth", about how the "right of doing business fairly and fearlessly" was a "humanist goal" and "social justice".  Words and phrases like "inclusive", "humanist" and "social justice" always make me sit up and take notice. They also make me a little nervous.

For most of the time, these are but a cloak for something else – usually some kind of redistribution, or other socialism-inspired ideas. Sometimes there is not even pretence of a cloak. But I digress.

Implicit in both these news-stories was the belief or the assumption that Muslims and Christians in India (which is neither Islamic nor Christian; nor Hindu, for that matter) may need some "special" treatment since they perhaps suffer discrimination living in a non-Islamic or non-Christian country – or get sidelined in some other manner.

The first question that came to my mind when I read about the Christian Chamber of Commerce (as well as the Islamic Venture Finance Conference) was this, "What is Christian about a Chamber of Commerce? And what exactly is Islamic about an "Islamic Venture Capital Fund"?

I wondered whether an Islamic Venture Capital Fund will only invest in companies founded by Muslims. If yes, how about companies founded by Muslims where the majority stake is actually owned by non-Muslims?

What about the Christian Chamber of Commerce? Would it welcome non-Christians? Would it charge more fees from them? Would it favour Christians over others?  Or none of these?

But the most important question – which also makes me most uncomfortable – is this, "Have things now come to such a pass that each identity-based group and each "minority" in India feels compelled to organise their own narrow lobbying groups to protect their "interests" and their identities?

Where does this stop? And what does this mean for the "Idea of India"?

Questions, questions and more questions…but few answers.

Jai Hind, Jai Bharat!

sent from samsung galaxy note3 neo, so please excuse brevity

Tuesday, September 12, 2017