Wednesday, November 30, 2005
did you guys listen to the interview with vikram seth on forum? he speaks well and although i am not sure, as i have mentioned before, that his later works have been any good, he sounded like a decent person.
i thought 'golden gate' was an absolute masterpiece. i found 'suitable boy' extremely tedious. i wasted an entire christmas holiday reading it and then i wondered why i had bothered. the characters were uninteresting, even the dusky, adulterous bengali woman (was it kakoli?), although the shoe guy was not bad. the cricket player, the decadent nawabi types, the courtesan: all were bizarre characters.
now that i have heard seth talking about his uncle santi and aunt henny, they seem like strange characters as well. henny seems to have been a racist (although she was a jew whose family were put to death by racist nazis): she never once went to india even though she was married to shanti for some fifty years.
here's what someone else said about seth:
>I was browsing Seth's latest book "Two Lives" at
>Borders tonight. It is about his uncle Shanti and
>his (Shanti's) German wife Henny, and part Seth's
>personal memoir. My initial impressions from
>the rapid browsing are - Shanti & Henny are boring
>people. Seth imagines that he is purveying some
>deeper statement about human nature in the
>context of intercultural relationships, the loneliness
>that comes with being away from India etc. Seth's
>writing is clear; but it is not inspired as far as I
>could tell. Why he thinks his memoir would be
>interesting to people is a mystery he sheds no
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Nov 30, 2005 7:56 AM
Dear Mr Rajeev,
Regarding Bird flu and Chinese, I see something dubious in the Chinese
claims. There are allegations that Chinese have been indulging in a cover
up. Nothing surprising about that because it is expected out of them
anyway. Though, I would like to trace some pattern out of the madness.
Last year we were struck by SARS- it was a mutation of a corona virus.
This is the simple virus which causes cold and runny nose and usually
infects most of the people in their life time. SARS was something like a
super charged virus, a mutated form that invaded the respiratory system
and caused an "acute respiratory distress syndrome"- something which
causes lack of oxygen in the blood. There is no known cure for the same.
The affected patients need ventilators to keep the alive and provide
Interestingly, there was no medical literature to show the existence of
SARS prior to the outbreak, nor the corona virus was known to mutate to an
extent it did. The 15th edition of Harrison's medicine (the reference text
book in Medicine) gave no coverage to SARS. All the most, it had a small
write up on Coronavirus- no known medical condition where corona virus
invades the tissues it did in form of SARS.
Interestingly again, the areas affected were in China and the worst off
areas were far east and Thailand including Indonesia.
Now look at bird flu. It is a mutated form of Influenza ( a subtype called
as H5N1). The influenza virus is known to occur in several mutated forms
but the most severe mutations would at best cause a transient discomfort
lasting for a couple of days. Though, the mortality is in the older age
group where bacterial infection supervenes due to weakened immune systems.
Again, there is no documented human transmission from birds; there is no
medical literature I am aware of that claims that influenza can mutate
from mixing up with other viruses. Well, bird flu more or less causes the
same clinical picture as that of SARS.
Bird flu seems to have affected the same areas as in SARS; China is again
indulging in a cover up.
Do you see a pattern here? Is the commie nation indulging in bio terrorism?
Worse still. The drug known to have some affect is tamiflu manufactured by
Roche. Roche has made millions of dollars already and it's stock is going
up day by day. Again, the drug manufacure is a 10 step process and the key
ingedient is a Chinese herb available in China. The FDA has sent out a
warning regarding the adverse affects of tamiflu which was initially
prescribed in heavy numbers in Japan. I am not aware of any patient being
given tamiflu and recovering from bird flu. Atleast I am not aware of the
same. At best, even in influenza, it MAY reduce the symptoms. Nothing
more, nothing less.
one of the objections to solar power (by which i mean photovoltaics converting sunlight into electricity) are that the energy density is too small to replace conventional power plants. that may well be true, but nobody is talking about replacing conventional power plants overnight. it is a matter of coexistence between today's generating plants and the new technology.
an excellent example in real life is the emergence of the hybrid automobile. it is not displacing conventional cars but will slowly increase its market share as oil prices remain at historic highs. the same will happen to solar power devices as well: they will emerge where they make sense, in smaller applications. they probably will never completely displace coal-fired or oil-fired or nuclear-powered electricity plants.
but there is another observation that needs to be taken into account: that of low-end technologies that rapidy become substitutes for high-end technologies, if the innovation curve is steep enough. the low-end stuff that appears almost toy-like, completely unable to solve the problems high-end products are able to tackle: that is quintessentially what a new innovation typically looks like.
however, in some instances, the low-end product can become more and more powerful quickly so that it soon starts becoming an adequate replacement for the high-end products, which are not evolving quite as rapidly, partly because they are the incumbent. this has happened in the computer industry where the mini-computer and then engineering workstations and finally the PC have all marched rapidly up the value curve and shoved the incumbent products aside.
at the moment, it is not clear that solar power falls into this category where innovation drives a rapid rise up the curve. it probably does not, and that might be a result of the fact that most western countries, not being rich in solar power, are not putting much effort into developing photovoltaics, as that is not going to lead to much demand in their (rich) nations. this is analogous to pharmaceutical companies not spending research money on tropical diseases, instead concentrating on drugs for more lucrative diseases such as cancer, diabetes, high cholesterol, etc which have readier in their home countries.
but if developing countries such as india take more interest and actually invest money, it is likely that solar energy will become a big factor. this would have a lot of benefits for india: getting off the crack-like addiction that the west has for oil; perhaps increased investment into public transport rather than cars; the reduction in the import bill for oil; and indirectly the reduction in the funds that flow to pakistan from the arab world for terrorism against india.
here's some information from wired magazine about solar energy:
interesting book, laying out the fact that lots of clever people from eight countries: india, ireland, iceland, singapore, china, taiwan, israel and mexico are leaving for their home countries.
iceland? that surprised me too.
this is a serious long-term problem for the us.
ps. oops, hit "send" too soon before
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
bloom clearly does not believe in the mythology of jesus christ. i like the way he dismisses josephus flavius, as i have mentioned before the *only contemporary historian* who even mentions jesus christ in passing, as a 'non-stop liar'. the dead sea scrolls recovered at kirbat qumran generally show that most of what is attributed to jesus christ was already well-known to the essenes a couple of centuries before the alleged birth of jesus christ.
For Bloom, Jesus and Jesus Christ are two entirely unrelated figures, and Bloom spends the first half of the book exploring their incompatibility. Jesus is the Jew Yeshua about whom no verifiable facts are knowable. What we do know, aside from a few scraps from Josephus ("wonderful writer and non-stop liar"), is contained in unreliable works written "almost entirely by Jews in flight from themselves, and desperate to ingratiate themselves with their Roman overlords and exploiters." By this Bloom means the New Testament, which he also refers to as "the Belated Testament."
bloom claims that there was a jew named jesus. maybe, but he claims (and i would tend to agree) that person has nothing whatsoever to do with the jesus christ of the paulist bible.
also, interesting comments bloom makes about good old yahweh, the jealous demiurge whom his mother was scolding all the time:
He is the "man-God" who appears to Joshua with a drawn sword, the jealous, zealous, hungry, hands-on deity who makes Adam out of a mud pie, picnics with the elders on Mount Sinai, chooses Moses and then, with irrational outrage, tries to kill him as he travels back to Egypt. This God made the redactors of the Hebrew Bible so uncomfortable that he was gradually papered over, displaced by priestly sources and the Deuteronomist, and then finally done in by the rabbis of the Talmud, whom Bloom clearly admires, and in some ways even resembles, though he finds their recasting of God as the merciful, covenant-keeping Lord of monotheism a betrayal of the rough, irrefutable reality that Yahweh represents.
i had thought kaplan was an older man, but he's only apparently in his 40's. i found his atlantic monthly report on pakistan especially hard-hitting. i am not sure i buy his theories, but his reporting is vivid and forceful.
here's a review of his book on american troops on the ground all over the place.
an old but good report. dr ornish has used hindu techniques of stress reduction to reverse heart disease, which was supposedly impossible to do.
but the vested interest of the allopathic medical profession -- and ingrained prejudice against hinduism -- prevent them from accepting the results at face value.
Monday, November 28, 2005
bizarre. sounds almost exactly like the nehruvian stalinist rule in india, including the very phrase 'commanding heights of the economy' mouthed so often by j nehru himself.
so it looks as though india, an alleged capitalistic democracy, and vietnam, a self-confessed communist dictatorship, have just about the same characteristics, right down to the corruption.
and you wonder why some observers claim that india is an authoritarian leftist dictatorship cloaked in 'democracy'
and see how the economist is perfectly happy that vietnam is a leftist dictatorship, so long as there are avenues for white people to make money. so much for all their hot air about 'liberal, democratic' values.
scary thought. but it's hard to get people to listen to 'green' stuff unless they are already well-off.
have we already made the planet uninhabitable? a lot of this is from the automobile, which must surely qualify for the epithet 'satanic', like the old mill towns of the northeast us used to be called.
i haven't been on the delhi metro, but i am told it's awesome. if there are good mechanisms like that for public transport, we will -- i believe -- have people using them. although it's true that people find cars to be status symbols. when i was growing up, in the colony where my parents live, there was only one car and one scooter. and i'm not *that* old. now many houses have 2 cars and a couple of two-wheelers.
i think everybody having a cellphone is goodness on average. but everyone having a car is not good. i miss the old bullock carts that used to vend their way all night with a dozing driver, and the phlegmatic bullocks used to know the way well enough that they navigated themselves. today there are no hand-carts or bullock-carts in most parts of kerala. everything has been mechanized. which means more and more demand for oil.
also one of the major downsides of globalization is the need to ship things around, which means more demand for oil, once again. in many ways, a highly localized economy which produces everything it needs would have much less impact on nature.
is there some way india's abundant coal can be turned into oil?
Sunday, November 27, 2005
inventing a christist sect is one of the most profitable businesses in the us.
they have mbas from stanford, harvard, and wharton running these mega-marketing operations!
i have seen this in india, too. one fine day all the churches in kerala -- regardless of denomination and the fights they have with each other -- suddenly started writing stuff from their bible on all their compound walls. this is pure advertisement, and clearly was done with a coordinated marketing plan.
then one fine day, all churches started sporting bright red neon crosses atop them. i won't make any bad puns on 'red-light-districts' but you can see the connection between this and the brazilian church scandal.
i suppose this is the same in india as well. shocking, 10% of the
priests are sexual predators. and in this instance they are
heterosexual, not gay as in the us.
still, children, and 'vulnerable people' -- read poor or helpless
people, esp women in institutions like nunneries or orphanages where
they are totally at the mercy of the patriarchal authority figures --
are being violated by these people. it is a sin. god will not forgive
these people for violating the trust placed in them by children and
hard to believe these are men of faith. as a theist, i find these
people abominable. the creator of the universe will judge them harshly
(if, as they claim, there is a judgment day when you have to pay for
i have mentioned the sister abhaya case, the madatharuvi murder case
in kerala in both of which priests/nuns were involved. nuns
periodically surface, usually drowned, in wells. in the madatharuvi
case (it was in the 60s) some priest was i think convicted of
murdering his girlfriend.
some time ago, a vatican document confessed that priests,
missionaries, bishops etc often were involved in the sexual
enslavement of nuns and the cover-ups thereof.
interesting how the christists cover up endemic sexual predation; the
maoists cover up disease, catastrophes etc. i wonder if there is some
hidden symbolic meaning behind this.
interesting book review. i guess there is now an indian edition of this classic: should get hold of it one of these days.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
MANKIND'S GREATEST INVENTION
The story of the search for the perfect number system
The Universal History of Numbers, 3 volumes by Georges Ifrah (2005 PB). Penguin, India.
"Finally it all came to pass as though across the ages and the civilizations, the human mind had tried all the possible solutions to the problem of writing numbers, before universally adopting the one which seemed the most abstract, the most perfected and the most effective of all."
In these memorable words, the French-Moroccan scholar Georges Ifrah, the author of the monumental but somewhat flawed The Universal History of Numbers, sums up the many false starts by many civilizations until the Indians hit upon a method of doing arithmetic which surpassed and supplanted all others— one without which science, technology and everything else that we take for granted would be impossible. This was the positional or the place value number system. It is without a doubt the greatest mathematical discovery ever made, and arguably India's greatest contribution to civilization.
The three-volume Indian edition is the English version of the 1994 French edition. It tells the story of humanity's 3000-year struggle to solve the most basic and yet the most important mathematical problem of all— counting. The first two volumes recount the tortuous history of the long search that culminated in the discovery in India of the 'modern' system and its westward diffusion through the Arabs. The third volume, on the evolution of modern computers, is not on the same level as the first two. Better accounts exist.
The term 'Arabic numerals' is a misnomer; the Arabs always called them 'Hindi' numerals. What is remarkable is the relatively unimportant role played by the Greeks. They were poor at arithmetic and came nowhere near matching the Indians. Babylonians a thousand years before them were more creative, and the Maya of pre-Colombian America far surpassed them in both computation and astronomy. The Greek Miracle is a modern European fantasy.
The discovery of the positional number system is a defining event in history, like man's discovery of fire. It changed the terms of human existence. While the invention of writing by several civilizations was also of momentous consequence, no writing system ever attained the universality and the perfection of the positional number system. Today, in the age of computers and the information revolution, computer code has all but replaced writing and even pictures. This would be impossible without the Indian number system, which is now virtually the universal alphabet as well.
What makes the positional system perfect is the synthesis of three simple yet profound ideas: zero as a numerical symbol; zero having 'nothing' as its value; and the zero as a position in a number string. Other civilizations, including the Babylonian and the Maya, discovered one or other feature but failed to achieve the grand synthesis that gave us the modern system. Of the world's civilizations, the Mayas came closest. They, like the Babylonians, had an idea of the zero, but never learnt how to operate with it.
In Ifrah's words: "The measure of genius of the Indian civilization, to which we owe our modern, system, is all the greater in that it was the only one in all history to have achieved this triumph." Modern civilization rests on the modern number system. The decimal system is just a special case of it.
The synthesis was possible due to the Indians' capacity for abstract thought: they saw numbers not as visual aids to counting, but as abstract symbols. While other number systems, like the Roman numerals for example, expressed numbers visually, Indians early broke free of this shackle and saw numbers as pure symbols with values. We see it in other fields also. The great grammarian Panini describes the Indian alphabet in purely phonetic terms, without reference to symbols. It is the same in music. While the Western notation depends on both the form and the location of notes written across staves, the Indian notation can use any seven symbols.
The economy and precision of the positional system has made all others obsolete. Some systems could be marvels of ingenuity, but led to incredible complexities. The Egyptian hieroglyphic system needed 27 symbols to write a number like 7659. Another indispensable feature of the Indian system is its uniqueness. Once written, it has a single value no matter who reads it. This was not always the case with other systems. In one Maya example, the same signs can be read as either 4399 or 4879. It was even worse in the Babylonian system, where a particular number string can have a value ranging from 1538 to a fraction less than one! So a team of scribes had be on hand to cross check numbers for accuracy as well as interpretation.
The Universal History of Numbers is an impressive achievement but not a definitive work. It has several drawbacks— errors of omission and commission that are perhaps unavoidable when one tries to cover a vast area spanning space, time and civilizations. The author's discussion of palaeography sometimes goes awry due to his reliance on secondary sources, some of which go back to the nineteenth century. He accepts as proven conclusions that are contentious and even demonstrably false. (Like his acceptance of the non-existent Aramaeo-Brahmi as the source of the Brahmi alphabet.) These, however, do not seriously detract from a marvelous work. The books may be read by anyone with an interest in mathematics.
In summary, Georges Ifrah has opened the gates for what promises to be a major new pathway for research. It is now for others to rise to the challenge.
N.S. Rajaram is a mathematician who has written on ancient history.
Saturday, November 26, 2005
---------- Forwarded message ----------
|Sunita Narain: The cities` car nightmare|
|DOWN TO EARTH|
|Sunita Narain / New Delhi December 07, 2004|
|I recently visited Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai. The singular impression I have of all these cities, and of others I occasionally visit — and of course, the one I live in, Delhi — is one of noise, pollution, plastic, garbage and filth.|
|But what hits you most is the image of cities overrun by vehicles; cars and more cars. Traffic in all cities is now bumper to bumper. Even Bangalore, the sanctuary city, is a car-mess.|
|This nightmare has crept upon us insidiously. Most people living in cities cannot even comprehend, let alone contest, this change. When my colleague Anil Agarwal made presentations to the Indian Parliament in the mid-1980s about India's environmental challenges, he found no reason to speak of urban chaos and its deadly impacts.|
|It was not there to see then. So this change is really the story of the past 15 years. In other words, it is an ecological history old enough for us to lament but, perhaps, young enough to still rectify.|
|Let's stick to transport. Take any city's data: the increase in the number of vehicles far outstrips the growth in human population. Chennai, for instance, has seen a 10 per cent growth in people and a staggering 108 per cent growth in on-road private vehicles in the past decade.|
|I do not think this is accidental. Private vehicle growth has paralleled the decline in public transport. In 1990, Ahmedabad had almost 800 buses, or roughly 23 buses per 1,00,000 people. In the early 1980s, the situation was better: 30 buses per 1,00,000 people.|
|But by 2003, the city had barely 400 operational buses. The ratio now: less than nine buses per 1,00,000 people. Only Delhi — because of the Supreme Court order that mandated 10,000 buses running on clean fuel — has substantially increased its fleet.|
|At this point, many might argue that population growth is inevitable; what can city planners do? But, while human population growth may be ordained, the growth of private vehicles is certainly not.|
|Remember, the decline in public transport leaves people with no choice but to move towards private vehicles. In the jargon of transport planners, there has occurred a substantial modal shift in transportation in these cities.|
|I remember reading, many years ago, how the automobile industry of the US had deliberately bought out the railways and the tramways so that it could decimate its competitors.|
|In India, as usual, the story is simpler. Private interests have gained from the destruction of public service. But they have not had to invest in this destruction.|
|The wound is officially self-inflicted. The past 15 years are about neglect and apathy. And no interest that speaks for the public good any more. Another indication of the total collapse of government.|
|The problem is not that there are sellers of cars. The problem is that there are no sellers of public transport. Worse, even its "owners" have become its enemy. In most cities, bus fleets run not as transportation companies but as employment services.|
|Ahmedabad, for instance, has 8,000 employees to run its mere 400-odd buses. Its owner, the government, will not sack these employees.|
|And it certainly will not invest in improvements. In fact, what it will do is to argue, vociferously, that it has no money to invest in public transportation. It is, after all, a poor government of a poor country. But this would be more than complete falsehood.|
|Let me explain. First, every city reluctant to invest in public transport is busy building flyovers to take care of the burgeoning traffic — when it knows flyovers never solved the problem anywhere.|
|They are like the proverbial Internet, where points of traffic jam shift; even as you invest in more space, cars fill it up. The answer to congestion is not more road space, but less.|
|But more on misleading sarkari economics. Delhi, for instance, according to government documents, is building 42 new structures, which will cost the exchequer nothing less than Rs 500 crore.|
|Now we know that private vehicles control over 90 per cent of the road space in our cities. Therefore, this is a subsidy for this mode of transport. On the other hand, the same money spent on public transport would have substantially upgraded services for all.|
|Second, and more shockingly, private vehicles pay less road tax than public transport vehicles. So, let us be clear that this is a mockery of economics; here, the poor support the rich.|
|But in case these facts make you believe public transport is not used in our cities, let me correct this. It is true that private vehicles constitute over 90 per cent of all vehicles in our cities.|
|But it is also true that in many cities, public transport, however it may exist, still moves over 50 to 70 per cent of commuters. In other words, this is not the story of the US, where the car replaced the bus.|
|It is the story of poor cities — Bangalore, Chennai, Pune — of a poor country, where the poor have not become rich. They have only been neglected. Murderously so! |
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kaunteya, interesting thought.
but such a thing would only be possible if the congress were a political party.
it is not. it is a vehicle for the personal aggrandizement of the nehru dynasty and hangers-on.
for the dynasty to continue to rule, it is necessary to keep indians 'barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen' or the equivalent thereof for men.
therefore the congress has no interest in anything that would do the nation any good. besides, it's so far to the left that in any normal country, the congress would be considered practically the same as marxists. it's only in bizarre india that the congress is considered 'centrist'. even a mildly right-wing party like the bjp here is anointed as fascist extreme right-wing because the discourse is so skewed to the left.
i am also personally not altogether enamored of the bjp, they are just a lot better than the others on offer. the bjp had the clever thought that they'd be a faux-nehruvian party, putting on the accoutrements of right-wing-ism but being nehruvian deep down. this they demonstrated in pandering during their term, quite fruitlessly of course. they did not do the triage into three groups: a) the committed, b) the convincable, c) the hostile. they should have done that and left the hostile groups alone and not spent any time on them. the convincable were the ones they should have paid attention to. instead, they took the 'committed' for granted, and wasted their efforts trying to convince the 'hostile'.
hindu or even national interests were not well served by the bjp because it was always trying to please the hostile media and trying to demonstrate to the hostile that they were really nice guys. which is sad because they, and the RSS, are really nice guys, and so get taken advantage of. nice guys finish last, as they have shown.
even in bihar, here's my prediction: nitish kumar, in his anxiety to appease marxists and mohammedans, will start distancing himself from the bjp. more 'secular', he will be. unlike the congress, which as soon as it came to power, re-started its stalinism with renewed vigor (best example is arjun singh.)
the dynasty retainers (like natwar singh) must have minted money for them to be so servile.
terrifying thought: india is being run by vincent george, the typist with rs. 100 crore in assets. consider: manmohan singh is ignored by everyone. sonia gandhi is not exactly known for her brains. so who is the behind-the-scenes manipulator? vincent george. a lot like m o mathai, another christist from kerala, who was the svengali behind indira gandhi.
the 'hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy' had this great piece of advise: 'don't panic!'
this is what i think india's energy and strategic planning czars need to be told.
here's the unfolding scenario:
1. nobody thought about india's long-term energy needs
2. suddenly they realized that india's growth is going to be affected if there were not enough hydrocarbons
3. they started running around like headless chickens to try and sew up energy contracts but found that there's not much available, and anyway the chinese are way ahead in their willingness to pay as well as their ability to offer other carrots (like nuclear weapons and missiles) to various rogue nations in exchange for oil
4. panic set in
5. looking at alternatives, they suddenly 'discovered' nuclear energy
6. therefore an all-out effort was put in place to get the NSG to relent and give india uranium
7. as part of this, whatever india has done indigenously in nuclear weapons and missiles is on the table to be given away
8. india is famous for unequal exchanges. it traded away significant treaty rights in tibet for... absolutely nothing!
9. the july 18 indo-us deal is another such unequal exchange. this is why the UPA does not want to debate it, go into the details etc
10. but the assumptions are false: nuclear energy is not the answer to india's energy needs
11. the real answer is solar energy, but india is putting zero effort into this
12. we don't know what inventions will come about in energy, but given sufficient encouragement, creative people will come up with something and we need to count on that
13. and now let's look at the scenario of what will happen if india doesn't have enough energy supplies. what is the worst case scenario? growth will drop from 7% to the nehruvian rate of growth of 2-3%. but this is what the congress and marxists want anyway. so why give away india's nuclear weapons and missiles *and* get to the nehruvian rate of growth? we'll get there anyway, just let the upa rule for five years
14. looking at the sunita narain essay someone posted, it is true that india is going down the same ugly path that the americans and so forth did: rampant automobile use. this is one of the worst forms of useless consumption. indeed, bangalore and other cities would be much better off if singapore-style punitive tolls were imposed on those entering designated areas in their cars. of course this means public transport has to improve. it is also true that general motors and exxon bought up the light-rail system (an extensive one) in los angeles and destroyed it, so as to make the car ubiquitous in la.
15. so india surrenders its deterrent (while china continues to merrily build bombs and missiles and give them to pakistan) for the dubious reason of... encouraging the car industry! talk of penny wise and pound foolish
16. if india loses its nukes (as pak apparently has already to the us) then its bargaining power as well as its ability to project its military power diminish rapidly, and the chinese will treat india with even more disdain. this is the pathology of surrender, going rapidly downhill.
17. in the futile pursuit of oil -- which will run out anyway and is a bad thing for the country -- india would have essentially committed suicide as a nation
this is why i think it's proper to oppose the indo-us nuke deal tooth and nail.
i mean, come on, dan burton, the arch india-baiter, likes it. that must mean it is bad for india.
the chinese and marxists are making noise about it as a diversionary tactic. they want us to think they oppose it, whereas in fact they like it because it will deprive india of weapons.
kazan was one of the best film directors ever, 'on the waterfront', 'streetcar named desire', 'death of a salesman', 'east of eden', all classics.
he was, however, hounded out of hollywood by the leftist establishment for denouncing communists to senator mccarthy's 'house un-american activites committee'. i personally think kazan did the right thing, because he was disgusted by communists. (a bit like o v vijayan became disgusted with them after being a card-carrying communist for some time.) it's hard for anybody with integrity to be a communist for a long time. indian marxists a) have no integrity, b) get lots of money from china, c) are in the game cynically for power. even they don't believe all the tripe they mouth, except for a few genuinely brain-dead among them.
and the dhimmi leftists in the us kept hounding this terrific artist, even protesting against the lifetime oscar given to kazan, which he clearly deserved.
his last name was kazanagliou, which is a turkish name, but i guess he was a greek immigrant. the turkish name was news to me.
ps. speaking of immigrant filmmakers or actually indian-american filmmakers, what's happening with m night shyamalan? i didn't see 'sixth sense', but i thought 'unbreakable' was pretty much 'unwatchable'. literally. it was too dark, you couldn't see what was going on, and anyway it was pretty awful. didnt see the next film about some creatures in the woods either. is he a bit over-rated?
but then i think spielberg is severely over-rated too. his best film, in my opinion, was 'sugarland express' before he became such a celebrity. although i must say i liked the special effects in 'minority report', esp the little electronic bugs.
Friday, November 25, 2005
there is a culture of secrecy that comes from two sources. 1. fascist/stalinists always lie and cheat as a congenital habit, 2. there is a culture of avoiding 'losing face' in china. thus, it is important to puff up its economy, build empty potemkin skyscrapers in shanghai, but sweep under the carpet the fact that it is still a dirty, environmentally foul, dirt-poor country with serious ecological problems.
the big dam burst in the 1970's that killed 300,000 people: nobody knew about this for 20 years, as the chinese kept quiet about it.
the SARS epidemic, they did not acknowledge it until it became a disaster.
the bird flu epidemic, it is likely hundreds are affected/dead in china, but they keep denying it.
now this benzene spill, they keep denying it happened.
chinese = marxists = large-scale liars.
and also note that the spill is heading towards russia downstream. yet another 'river bomb'? this might be a preliminary chinese effort to depopulate siberia of russians, making it easier for china to walk in.
we can anticipate similar 'accidents' to happen in tibet where radioactive waste is being stored by the chinese. and who is downstream? india, vietnam, etc. -- natural enemies of the chinese. yet again, thank you, jawaharlal nehru, for gravely endangering india by giving tibet away to china.
this article is arresting, for it shows that a lot of extreme mohammedan practices in india were the same in europe: in other words they may be endemic to mohammedanism.
also, the explosion of the myth that mohammedans were good to jews (while christists were not) during the supposed 'golden age' of mohammedanism while the christist were going through their inquisition and dark ages. interesting that mohammedans had their grand inquisitors as well.
some examples of common practices in india and europe:
1. christists in bosnia not allowed to ring church bells. compare this to the recent incidents in mau, uttar pradesh: hindus celebrating their festivals with music were murdered by mohammedans
2. extreme casteism: what else is dhimmi status other than apartheid? those who rant and rave about how low castes in india were treated should read the detail about how dhimmis were treated in europe (and clearly are being treated in bangladesh and pakistan today). who said mohammedanism does not have caste? see how the arabs were superior to the berbers etc
3. the stealing of young boys and their brainwashing to be janissaries: this at least even the most vile people in india did not do
4. the systematic setting up of proselytization and the harassment of non-converts: this is exactly what the christists are doing in india. eg hindus in kerala are severely harassed because they have not converted.
5. continuous ethnic cleansing. this is what happened in j&k and happens wherever mohammedans become 30+% of population. this is a tipping point, and all of a sudden it becomes 100% of the population because the non-mohammedan women and teenage girls start getting abducted and the men start getting killed. (taking all the women is a very effective way of killing off a population, which white sailors adopted in tasmania.) so they will become refugees and flee.
amazing stuff by bostom.
even though christists are at the receiving end in these stories here, they have done exactly the same when they have been in power, eg. apartheid, slavery, etc. also, christists abducted hundreds of thousands of aborigine children in australia (and i believe some in the us as well) and took them away from their parents to bring them up as slaves for whites.
what did we poor hindus do to deserve being attacked simultaneously by both these militaristic cults, with the help of a third militaristic chinese-worshipping cult?
Thursday, November 24, 2005
one summer some years ago, it was 1991 or 1992, i vacationed in kauai. it was one of my most memorable vacations because i read two of the most beautiful and touching works of modern fiction i have come across: kazuo ishiguro's 'remains of the day' and amitav ghosh's 'shadow lines'. both masterpieces, intimate and heart-breaking first-person narratives.
ishiguro seems to have gone from strength to strength; his latest book 'when we were orphans' has received good reviews. i have been disappointed in amitav ghosh. his 'glass palace' was awkward and stilted, although informative. that's when i stopped reading his work. is it because these people live in the bizarre world of the 'secular progressive' that the rot affects their fine minds and their fiction too? vikram chandra, mukul kesavan, amitav ghosh -- all to a lesser or greater extent self-hating indians.
has anybody read the new ishiguro, or for that matter the new ghosh, something about the river dolphin?
also, there was a kqed forum with vikram seth and his biography of his uncle and aunt. anyone read this?
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
one family that doesn't have a whole lot to be thankful for, that is the family of the poor driver maniappan kutty, who was decapitated by the taliban. they are from alappuzha district.
as always, it's the hindu's job to be killed by mohammedans.
and as i have mentioned before, it is only the hindus in kerala who are forced to take the dangerous jobs as in the army, because all the wealth, the land, the educational institutions, the hospitals, the entire economy in kerala has been captured by the christists and to a lesser extent the mohammedans.
if it had been a 'minority' or 'secular' [sic] person, yes, oommen chandy and k m mani (that's maaani, not mani, a total christist fundamentalist) would have been jumping up and down.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
If his name was Mohammed Kutty or Mani Joseph, Center and State Govt. would have definitely intervened.
Did lack of intervention cost Maniappan's life?
Thursday November 24 2005 00:00 IST
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The gruesome murder of Ramankutty Maniappan by the Taliban has brought into sharp focus the intervention or lack of it by both the State government and the MPs from the state.
Harippad MLA T K Devakumar said that the State Government should have sent a high-level delegation to Delhi and forced the Centre to rush a mission to Kabul.
"There was no mechanism to get in touch with the Taliban before the deadline. If a mission had been sent there, we could have at least bought precious time,'' Devakumar said.
"During the Kandahar plane hijack, we had sent a high-level delegation to the spot,'' he reminded.
"There was a friendly government at the centre and the state could have done more,'' Devakumar said.
According to Chief Secretary C Ramachandran, the rescue efforts were the responsibility of the External Affairs and Defence Ministries.
Moreover, the Border Roads Organisation where Maniappan worked was a central government undertaking.
By setting up a core group and holding continuous talks with the Afghan government, including its President, the Centre was doing all it could.
"If we had tried to send a delegation to Delhi, it would have reflected a mistrust of the Centre's efforts,'' Ramachandran said.
Devakumar said that the Union External Minister of State E Ahmed who was supposed to coordinate the rescue efforts was busy playing host to a foreign delegation on Tuesday night.
"Even the Chief Minster told me that he had repeatedly told the core group to send a mission to Kabul".
"But there was no response from the centre,'' he added. A senior Congress leader alleged that not a single MP from the state went to Delhi to take stock of the situation.
"The Parliament session had begun and they could have very well coordinated the efforts,'' he said.
to all the folks in the us. nice long 4-day weekend. good luck with 'black friday' shopping.
i hear wal-mart is going to have $399 laptops! that's on my gift list to myself. well, if you guys keep clicking on those ads (thanks kaunteya and s!) i'll get there pretty darn soon.
other grown-up toy items i have been thinking of:
garmin gps-ready pda
ipod nano (my cute little ipod shuffle, sigh, is already old-generation technology)
large-screen lcd tv
of course these are all bourgeois items, nothing really far-out interesting, alas. i guess my tastes are pretty boring.
besides, quite honestly, all of us have a lot to be thankful for. i'd spend a minute thanking the Good Lord (or nature or whatever you atheists believe in) for the bounty that you're enjoying.
darn! disappointing. bjp candidate loses his deposit. leftist candidate wins. last year the bjp candidate, o rajagopal who was a union minister, had done quite creditably. not sure exactly what happened this time.
kerala elections are coming next year, and once again the leftists will win, and they will demonstrate that they are the most sexist and casteist people in india.
amazingly thick hide these leftists and sonia congress have. they co-habit at the center, and they fight like cats and dogs in kerala and bengal. anything for power and for the glory of the fatherland, china, as they systematically oppose anything good in india, and systematically pave the way for maoist violence a la samuel reddy's clean surrender in andhra pradesh.
the incoherent rage of the unwashed yankee. some of them feel *entitled* to their jobs. what is happening with BPO is that moderately smart, moderately educated white people are losing their jobs to smarter, better educated, younger foreigners. welcome to globalization, boys and girls! after all, america has been the biggest champion of trade liberalization. that is, when it suits them. otherwise they want not 'free trade', but 'fair trade', a nice euphemism for 'non-tariff barriers'.
just normal hypocrisy.
i dont pretend to understand this in detail, but in summary, china's banking system is still in bad shape.
the sort of thing that makes liberals wince. what irony!
this is akin to the 'seculars' in india making excuse after excuse for terrorists. (like that woman who gets pained at terrorists being called terrorists. they should be called 'poor misguided boys' and given biriyani when they fail in blowing up people.)
just zapped a bunch of heavy posts, including knowledge at wharton, TIE etc. because they were making the blog slow to load up.
several people asked me to prevent anonymi from posting. i will consider it, but i am normally not into censorship. however, there is now a new mechanism for moderation of comments. i would prefer not to moderate comments, i just wish people post sensible stuff.
yes, san, the bihar results are significant. it shows exactly what would happen if there's a free and fair election for instance in west bengal (ok, i took that comment from pramod mahajan, but it's true).
i think manmohan singh, who said lalu was a wonderful railway minister, ought to resign for dissembling.
the upa ain't doing that well, are they?
mitrokhin and volckergate.
sonia gandhi and manmohan singh should resign out of shame given what natwar singh has done.
how about other stuff that the upa is trying to ignore? and the media is ignoring too? a slap on the face from the supreme court on the shenanigans they did in bihar, goa and jharkhand. the publicity about the clear rigging of the election in asansol where the results were much like what you have in north korea, china, cuba, etc: 99% of the votes for the marxists
the cave-in to the marxists on bhel, on nepal, on iran
the withering of the indian state, as in the jehanabad episode
the supreme court verdict that there is no such thing as a minority in india: "no section or group can claim to be a majority"
the bangladeshi general claiming that india was behind the 440 blasts there.
the pakistani general who keeps bawling about peace and concessions and keeps on pushing terrorists into india.
the chinese consul named song whose impudence in lecturing indian ministers should have made him a persona non grata in about ten seconds.
the upa suffers all this, just so that it can hang on to power. kissa kursi ka, if i remember right.
this is the most lame-duck government india has ever seen. there are plenty of other things too that i wont go into. but that has some sinister implications that you guys can figure out.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
yvette rosser has done pioneering work on how american textbooks and classrooms propagate the old cows-curry-caste prejudice about india. long but worth reading.
Saturday, November 19, 2005
gautam is the first person to articulate publicly the elephant in the living room: the american fundamentalists' sinister plan to convert indians wholesale.
good article. gautam is knowledgeable and cuts to the chase.
sorry, premium content so i cant provide the whole thing, charts and all
but here's the relevant comment:
"If countries’ economies are measured using market exchange rates (the rates at which firms trade and repatriate profits), in 2026 America will remain comfortably the world’s number one, according to long-range forecasts by the Economist Intelligence Unit. It will still account for more than one-quarter of global output, twice as much as second-placed China, which will itself have comfortably overtaken Japan.
But when countries are compared using purchasing-power parity rates (PPP), which adjust for price differences between countries and reflect the actual buying power of local income, China overtakes America in about 2017. Though far from perfect, PPP is a better way of comparing economic size. By this measure, in 2026 India will be the third-biggest economy, well behind America but far ahead of Japan. Indeed, by then youthful India will be growing faster than an ageing China."
not clear to me why this is such a major crime. the us has produced lots of material potraying the japanese as 'yellow devils'.
interesting that japanese are attempting to downplay their east asian identity. i noticed last time i was in japan that there were plenty of kids coloring their hair in punk ways. of course, the standard clothing in japan has become suits for both men and women, and jeans/casual for youngsters -- you almost never see a kimono.
alas, this is beginning to be the case in india too. you almost never see a sari in south india. all the young women -- in many places, 100% of them -- wear the churidar, which doesn't suit them at all, and is pretty much a burqa-lite or chador-lite.
what this says about what youngsters aspire to be is quite interesting. japanese want to be americans. but indians want to be -- amazingly -- arabs!
rediff has chosen to highlight what i think is an irrelevant statement in the bowels of the text.
i am talking here about why it is worth allying with the us, albeit with great care and with a long-term plan.
this is genuinely new information for me.
i thought bat ye'or had coined the term 'eurabia'.
it turns out that european leftists have been following (according to this article) a suicidal policy of arabization for some time.
sounds exactly like what the indian left has been doing with respect to mohammedans.
and cisco buys scientific atlanta to enter the set top box space.
also google announces google base and google analytics.
i added the latter to my blog. it tells me among other things where the hits are coming from, which is quite interesting: east and west coasts of the us, india, britain, france, germany, portugal, dubai, singapore, south africa, brazil. there's a lot of other analytics info that doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.
no, it doesn't give me the ip addresses of those who are reading the blog, but clearly google knows that info.
i'm going to turn off word verification briefly to see if i get hit with comment spam again; if so, it comes back.
besides, people, do click on the google ads (as kaunteya said he does, thanks) and buy some stuff from these advertisers. remember, this is the new economy where everything is free and supported by ads. poor me too should be supported by ad-generated revenue.
ps. i think there's some problem with blogger. i have been sending a number of posts by email (my usual mode) to the blog, but none of them have been showing up, nor do i get 'failed posting' messages back. guess i'll have to post these again directly using the blogger editor.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
peaceful rise. ROTFLMAO.
Author: Zheng Bijian (Chair of the China Reform Forum)
Source: Foreign Affairs (USA), September/October 2005
GETTING THE FACTS RIGHT
CHINA'S RAPID development has attracted worldwide attention in recent years. The implications of various aspects of China's rise, from its expanding influence and military muscle to its growing demand for energy supplies, are being heatedly debated in the international community as well as within China. Correctly understanding China's achievements and its path toward greater development is thus crucial.
Since starting to open up and reform its economy in 1978, China has averaged 9.4 percent annual GDP growth, one of the highest growth rates in the world. In 1978, it accounted for less than one percent of the world economy, and its total foreign trade was worth $20.6 billion. Today, it accounts for four percent of the world economy and has foreign trade worth $851 billion--the third-largest national total in the world. China has also attracted hundreds of billions of dollars of foreign investment and more than a trillion dollars of domestic nonpublic investment. A dozen years ago, China barely had mobile telecommunications services. Now it claims more than 300 million mobile-phone subscribers, more than any other nation. As of June 2004, nearly 100 million people there had access to the Internet.
Indeed, China has achieved the goal it set for itself in 1978: it has significantly improved the well-being of its people, although its development has often been narrow and uneven. The last 27 years of reform and growth have also shown the world the magnitude of China's labor force, creativity, and purchasing power; its commitment to development; and its degree of national cohesion. Once all of its potential is mobilized, its contribution to the world as an engine of growth will be unprecedented.
One should not, however, lose sight of the other side of the coin. Economic growth alone does not provide a full picture of a country's development. China has a population of 1.3 billion. Any small difficulty in its economic or social development, spread over this vast group, could become a huge problem. And China's population has not yet peaked; it is not projected to decline until it reaches 1.5 billion in 2030. Moreover, China's economy is still just one-seventh the size of the United States' and one-third the size of Japan's. In per capita terms, China remains a low-income developing country, ranked roughly 100th in the world. Its impact on the world economy is still limited.
The formidable development challenges still facing China stem from the constraints it faces in pulling its population out of poverty. The scarcity of natural resources available to support such a huge population--especially energy, raw materials, and water---is increasingly an obstacle, especially when the efficiency of use and the rate of recycling of those materials are low. China's per capita water resources are one-fourth of the amount of the world average, and its per capita area of cultivatable farmland is 40 percent of the world average. China's oil, natural gas, copper, and aluminum resources in per capita terms amount to 8.3 percent, 4.1 percent, 25.5 percent, and 9.7 percent of the respective world averages.
SETTING THE PRIORITIES
FOR THE NEXT few decades, the Chinese nation will be preoccupied with securing a more comfortable and decent life for its people. Since the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, held in 1978, the Chinese leadership has concentrated on economic development. Through its achievements so far, China has blazed a new strategic path that suits its national conditions while conforming to the tides of history. This path toward modernization can be called "the development path to a peaceful rise." Some emerging powers in modern history have plundered other countries' resources through invasion, colonization, expansion, or even large-scale wars of aggression. China's emergence thus far has been driven by capital, technology, and resources acquired through peaceful means.
The most significant strategic choice the Chinese have made was to embrace economic globalization rather than detach themselves from it. In the late 1970s, when the new technological revolution and a new wave of economic globalization were unfolding with great momentum, Beijing grasped the trend and reversed the erroneous practices of the Cultural Revolution. On the basis of the judgment that China's development would depend on its place in an open world, Deng Xiaoping and other Chinese leaders decided to seize the historic opportunity and shift the focus of their work to economic development. They carried out reforms meant to open up and foster domestic markets and tap into international ones. They implemented the household contracting system in rural areas and opened up 14 coastal cities, thus ushering in a period of economic takeoff.
In the 1990s, China once again confronted a strategic choice, due to the Asian financial crisis and the subsequent struggle between the forces for and against globalization. China's decision to participate in economic globalization was facing a serious challenge. But by carefully weighing the advantages and disadvantages of economic openness and drawing lessons from recent history, Beijing decided to open up China even more, by joining the World Trade Organization and deepening economic reform at home.
China has based its modernization process mainly on its domestic resources. It has relied on ideological and institutional innovations and on industrial restructuring. By exploring the growing domestic market and transferring the huge personal savings of its citizens into investment, China has infused its economy with new momentum. Its citizens' capacities are being upgraded and its technological progress expedited. Even while attempting to learn from and absorb useful products from other societies, including those of the advanced capitalist countries, China has maintained its independence and self-reliance.
In pursuing the goal of rising in peace, the Chinese leadership has strived for improving China's relations with all the nations of the world. Despite the ups and downs in U.S.-Chinese relations over the years, as well as other dramatic changes in international politics, such as the collapse of the Soviet Union, Beijing has stuck to the belief that there are more opportunities than challenges for China in today's international environment.
THE ROAD AHEAD
ACCORDING TO China's strategic plans, it will take another 45 years--until 2050--before it can be called a modernized, medium-level developed country. China will face three big challenges before it gets there. As described above, China's shortage of resources poses the first problem. The second is environmental: pollution, waste, and a low rate of recycling together present a major obstacle to sustainable development. The third is a lack of coordination between economic and social development.
This last challenge is reflected in a series of tensions Beijing must confront: between high GDP growth and social progress, between upgrading technology and increasing job opportunities, between keeping development momentum in the coastal areas and speeding up development in the interior, between fostering urbanization and nurturing agricultural areas, between narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor and maintaining economic vitality and efficiency, between attracting more foreign investment and enhancing the competitiveness of indigenous enterprises, between deepening reform and preserving social stability, between opening domestic markets and solidifying independence, between promoting market-oriented competition and taking care of disadvantaged people. To cope with these dilemmas successfully, a number of well-coordinated policies are needed to foster development that is both faster and more balanced.
The policies the Chinese government has been carrying out, and will continue to carry out, in the face of these three great challenges can be summarized as three grand strategies--or "three transcendences."
The first strategy is to transcend the old model of industrialization and to advance a new one. The old industrialization was characterized by rivalry for resources in bloody wars and by high investment, high consumption of energy, and high pollution. Were China to follow this path, it would harm both others and itself. China is instead determined to forge a new path of industrialization based on technology, economic efficiency, low consumption of natural resources relative to the size of its population, low environmental pollution, and the optimal allocation of human resources. The Chinese government is trying to find new ways to reduce the percentage of the country's imported energy sources and to rely more on China's own. The objective is to build a "society of thrift."
The second strategy is to transcend the traditional ways for great powers to emerge, as well as the Cold War mentality that defined international relations along ideological lines. China will not follow the path of Germany leading up to World War I or those of Germany and Japan leading up to World War II, when these countries violently plundered resources and pursued hegemony. Neither will China follow the path of the great powers vying for global domination during the Cold War. Instead, China will transcend ideological differences to strive for peace, development, and cooperation with all countries of the world.
The third strategy is to transcend outdated modes of social control and to construct a harmonious socialist society. The functions transformed, with self-governance supplementing state administration. China is strengthening its democratic institutions and the rule of law and trying to build a stable society based on a spiritual civilization. A great number of ideological and moral-education programs have been launched.
Several dynamic forces are noticeable in the carrying out of the three strategies. For example, there are numerous clusters of vigorously developing cities in the coastal areas of eastern and southern China, and similar clusters are emerging in the central and western regions. They constitute the main engines of growth, are the major manufacturing and trading centers, and absorb surplus rural labor. They also have high productivity, advanced culture, and accumulated international experience that the rest of China can emulate and learn from. The expansion of China's middle-income strata and the growing need for international markets come mainly from these regions.
China's surplus of rural workers, who have strong aspirations to escape poverty, is another force that is pushing Chinese society into industrial civilization. About ten million rural Chinese migrate to urban areas each year in an orderly and protected way. They both provide Chinese cities with new productivity and new markets and help end the backwardness of rural areas. Innovations in science and technology and culture are also driving China toward modernization and prosperity in the twenty-first century.
The Chinese government has set up targets for development for the next 50 years. This period is divided into three stages. In the first stage--2000 to 2010--total GDP is to be doubled. In the second stage, ending in 2020, total GDP is to be doubled again, at which point China's per capita GDP is expected to reach $3,000. In the third, from 2020 to 2050, China will continue to advance until it becomes a prosperous, democratic, and civilized socialist country. By that time, China will have shaken off underdevelopment and will be on a par with the middle rung of advanced nations. It can then claim to have succeeded in achieving a "peaceful rise."
IMPACT ON THE WORLD
CHINA'S PEACEFUL RISE will further open its economy so that its population can serve as a growing market for the rest of the world, thus providing increased opportunities for--rather than posing a threat to--the international community. A few figures illustrate China's current contribution to global trade: in 2004, China's imports from members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations increased by 33.1 percent, from Japan by 27.3 percent, from India by 80 percent, from the European Union by 28 percent, and from the United States by 31.9 percent.
China is not the only power that seeks a peaceful rise. China's economic integration into East Asia has contributed to the shaping of an East Asian community that may rise in peace as a whole. And it would not be in China's interest to exclude the United States from the process. In fact, Beijing wants Washington to play a positive role in the region's security as well as economic affairs. The beginning of the twenty-first century is seeing a number of countries rising through different means, while following different models, and at different paces. At the same time, the developed countries are further developing themselves. This is a trend to be welcomed.
China does not seek hegemony or predominance in world affairs. It advocates a new international political and economic order, one that can be achieved through incremental reforms and the democratization of international relations. China's development depends on world peace--a peace that its development will in turn reinforce.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
good stuff. worth subscribing to, just like knowledge@wharton.
darkstorm, since you complained, here's the same thing with all the glorious images.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Economists Caution Investors on Hidden Risks of Hedge Funds
High fees, inconsistent data, and difficult-to-understand risks are reasons for individual investors to avoid or minimize their investments in hedge funds, cautions a new report from 32 senior financial economists, including three from Stanford. [Details]
Franchisers Protect Their Brands
Companies that spend heavily on advertising to build their brand’s reputation own a higher percentage of franchise outlets representing that brand, according to recent research. [Details]
Nonfinancial Data Can Predict Future Profitability
Looking at customer relationship metrics in conjunction with other financial measurements can produce a better forecast of financial profitability for the coming year than financial metrics alone, says accounting Professor Madhav Rajan. [Details]
How to Get Users to Adopt Computer Security Patches
Some computer users continue to take chances by not downloading programs to stave off hackers. The best way to get them to join the war against computer viruses is for software producers to create reliable, easy-to-use programs and make them easily accessible to users. [Details]
Offshoring Challenges for Promoting Managers
The Finer Points of Brand Building
Personal Privacy and RFIDs
Business Websites of Interest [Details]
World Bank Report on Asia Alternative Energy Program [Details]
International Symposiums Sponsored by Executive Education March 29 in Hong Kong; March 31 in Tokyo.[Details]
518 Memorial Way
Advice from the Google Gurus
What Are They Reading?
How Everyday Things are Made
View Other GSB Resources
see the alleged speech by the chinese minister posted earlier:
let's assume for a moment that this report is authentic. i dont see any reason not to, because it accurately represents the attitudes chinese have: extreme jingoism, imperialism, land-grab, han superiority complex.
the chinese minister talks clearly about 'lebensraum': living space for the chinese, which he thinks will come if he can depopulate the us, canada, and australia.
i have written about the fact that australia is probably their prime lebensraum target: an empty continent, not very far off. crocodile dundee had better watch out for the teeming yellow masses :-)
also, interesting symmetry:
mohammedanism is a front for arab imperialism (according to ibn warraq and ali sina and other ex-mohammedans)
christism is a front for european imperialism (i think this is blindingly obvious)
marxism/maoism is a front for chinese imperialism
yes, fearsome symmetry indeed.
also, most interesting that 'lebensraum' was the purported reason for the nazi thrust towards poland, etc. how appropriate! from one set of fascists (nazis) to another (chinese maoists).
as always, shourie is absolutely lucid.
alas, in india we have no responsibility, only rights.
Posted online: Wednesday, November 16, 2005 at 0000 hours IST
A large public meeting is in progress. The speaker is emphatic, he is shrill. The crowd is restless, disorderly. Some are talking away, in one corner of the audience an argument has broken out. In a word, the usual commotion. The speaker demands attention. People go on talking, arguing, munching, lolling about. The organiser grabs the mike: he shouts at the audience. People shout at each other to keep quiet, to let them hear what the speaker is saying. Relative quiet. Moments later the commotion has commenced again. Someone climbs down from the stage, charges into the crowd - berating them, cowing them with a baton. His back has but to turn, and the shuffling, murmuring, arguing commence again. Gandhi ji reaches the pandal. As he walks to the stage, Vinoba recalls, a reverential silence sweeps the congregation. The meeting proceeds. The next time people start talking and moving about in some corner, Gandhi ji merely looks that way, he raises a finger to his lips. Everyone falls silent, becomes attentive again.
That is authority, not enforced with a baton, not by shouting. By just a glance in that direction, by the mere raising of a finger to one's lips.
What is true of individuals is true of governments. A government cannot put a policeman to monitor every citizen, and then put a policeman to police every policeman. A government runs on iqbal - on the esteem in which people hold it. Competence adds to esteem of course, but the foundation on which it rests is the moral presence of the rulers, their personal conduct. And people form their judgment by looking at what governments and leaders do, and setting it against the ideals they have proclaimed. If someone goes around as a dacoit, accosts you, and walk away with your purse, people will say, "God, how lucky you are. He merely took your purse, at least he spared your life." But if a person who proclaims himself to be a mahatma, borrows your pen to scribble a line, and forgets to return it, you will exclaim, "The damn fellow, he struts about as a mahatma, and pockets other people's pens."
Leaders proclaim ideals mechanically, as if in a ritual - listen to them on October 2, listen to them when they berate the conduct of a rival. Little do they realise that they will be judged, their parties and governments will be judged by the very words and examples they are espousing so eloquently. In a word, at all times ideals are a jealous lot: if, having proclaimed them, we are ever alert that our rivals will pounce on every little departure, they channel us towards improvement; if we depart from them, they work to drive hypocrisy deeper into our nature — we get habituated to proclaiming ideals from platforms, and disregarding them in practice. That entails deep injury even in our personal life and relationships.
In public life in any case, ideals carry a cost, they boomerang—one should not proclaim them mechanically any more than one should chant a mantra mechanically. Nor should one proclaim them for some momentary advantage — to convince an electorate, for instance, that one is high-minded.
Unfortunately, few act on this simple, obvious truth. And so, ideals boomerang.
An unvarying sequence
And when they boomerang, governments, even individuals in authority react in a sequence that differs so little from government to government that I have come to regard it as being intrinsic to the very nature of government — a sequence that is the mirror image of the five stages through which Gandhi ji had said every movement passes.
First, ignore, look the other way, pretend indifference. Second, deny. Deny vociferously. Third, lawyerly evasions and explanations — the cleverer these are, the more they undermine the credibility of the individual putting forth the defence as well as of the government. Fourth, counterattack: "You did it when you were in power." Little does the individual or government realise that with every fact which it puts out to establish that its opponents had done wrong, it is convincing everyone that this group — the one that had claimed to be different from its rivals - is no different. Fifth, denounce the persons who are pursuing the matter, for instance the paper. Paste motives on them, conjure conspiracies.
With every passing day, the government's miasma encompasses more and more. First members of government conclude that one paper — usually The Indian Express — is against them, that it is out to topple them, and that it is doing so in league with, indeed at the behest of unseen forces. This used to be the "foreign hand", then it became Reliance, these days we are back to the Americans. Then that the "media" — the whole of it — is congenitally against the government. Then that the chief vigilance commissioner is against it — he is an appointee of the previous regime, after all. Then that the Election Commission is out to embarrass the government. Then that the judiciary is exceeding its ambit. The more self-righteous the group is, the more, for instance, it identifies itself with the country or some great cause, the more loyalists it has among its members, the more courtiers and tale-carriers, the more swiftly it convinces itself that everyone who is criticising it is doing so, not because he has a different opinion or because he is pursuing facts per se, but because he is a conspirator.
The more the government comes to believe this, the less it attends to the task at hand — that is to answer the facts that have been brought out about its conduct.
Next, it smears the original source, the umpire. Look at the insinuations about Mitrokhin yesterday, about Volcker today.
Neither device works, as it never can: for the problem is not the ones who are holding up the mirror, the problem is the fact that has surfaced, the problem is the contrast between the ideals the group had proclaimed and the conduct which has been revealed — the government moves to suppress the ones who are bringing out the facts. "Sock it to them." Dig out the dirt on them. See what inquiries can be launched against them. Are there loans they have not repaid?
In India that never, but never works: every government that has raised a hand against the Press in the last fifty years has had that hand singed. These days it rebounds with redoubled force — for among the ideals that such a group would surely have proclaimed, specially when it was in Opposition, is commitment to free speech; among the things for which it would have traduced its opponents would surely have been their efforts to suppress critics during the time they were in office.
The ones named
The one whose name has come up traverses an equally unvarying sequence, a parallel one. He denies. When that is no longer possible, he pleads that whatever he did, he did for a higher purpose. At the least, he did it for the party, the leader. After all, elections have to be fought. Money is needed for them. The leader tries to distance himself or herself. On the other side, the person who has been caught, clings to him or her. Antulay and Chimanbhai Patel and L. N. Mishra would not let go of Indira Gandhi, others did not let go of Rajiv Gandhi. Each fielded the same defence: "I am nobody, Madam. I am only a loyal soldier. Attacking me is just the first step. The moment they succeed in getting me, they will come after you."
On occasion, the leader, or persons indistinguishable from him or her is himself culpable. He or she, therefore, knows even better than the person about whom something has broken out how vulnerable he or she is. Even when the top leader has not done anything wrong, there are enough persons in the higher, inner circles who have reasons to fear, "If the leader does not take a stand here and now, I could be next."
"This is not a matter about one individual," they say. "The prestige of the party is at stake," they say. "It is a question of the government's authority," they say. "If it caves in to a mere newspaper, how will it be able to govern?" They drag the government's naak, the party's naak, the leader's naak into the affair.
And there is a real problem. By a strange turn, the moment a person is caught, he becomes credible! So low has the repute of the political class fallen that, the moment someone is caught, people believe him, and not the one he accuses. When Harshad Mehta says he gave Rs 1 crore to Narasimha Rao in a suitcase, people believe him, not Narasimha Rao. My friend, Shekhar Gupta recalls a delicious story that Giani Zail Singh told him. Giani ji was responsible for collecting some funds for the Congress. The traders of a bazaar in Patiala had agreed to contribute. But they just wouldn't pay up. Gianaji called the SHO, asked him to get hold of a tawaif, seat her in a rickshaw, and send word that she was being brought to the bazaar, that whomsoever she identified as having been a customer, will be taken in to the havaalaat. The rickshaw, with the lady in it, had but to reach the gali, the traders downed their shutters, and rushed to settle their dues! For they knew, everyone would believe the tawaif!
The government and the leader are thus locked into a fix. The leader had used the subalterns as foil. The subalterns now use the leader as shield. Abu captured the result memorably. JP's Nav Nirman movement was demanding that Chimanbhai Patel, then chief minister of Gujarat, and then Abdul Ghafoor, then chief minister of Bihar, be removed for inefficiency and corruption. They denied. They defied. They denounced. The movement swelled. The unvarying sequence. Abu had one Congressman telling another, "We refuse to end inefficiency and corruption under duress."
The one caught becomes gangrene in the leader's arms. If he or she cuts him off, he is without hands. If he does not, the gangrene spreads.
The two sequences, of what governments invariably do and what the one who has been caught invariably does, merge. Both the one about whom facts have exploded, as well as the government become brazen. "OK, we did it. Satisfied? We will do it again. So what? I don't give a damn. I am a fighter. I will fight back. I have lived like a tiger, I will live like a tiger."
Nothing hastens the denouement as strength. The worse the conduct of the rival has been; the more skillful one is at contriving explanations and evasions; the more muscle one can deploy through the agencies of State, the more swiftly the government will rush to the climax — of shamelessness.
By that stage, it convinces itself that brazenness is defiance, it mistakes shamelessness for strength: "We are not giving in to, we will never give in to pressure."
Another factor hastens it along the successive steps. Revelations insulate. Besieged, members of a group such as a government spend time huddled with each other, in the company of hangers-on and courtiers — whose stock in trade is to produce "proof" after "proof" of conspiracy. The group gets cut off from the people, its leaders all the more so - it becomes deaf to the fact that the explanations and insinuations and conspiracy theories are convincing no one. Again, strength weakens. The more disciplined the government or the organisation, the greater the awe or reverence in which ordinary members hold the higher-ups in it, the less its members are liable to be listening to outsiders even to begin with. Under siege, such a group will shut off unwelcome information even more swiftly.
Victory is the surest defeat: should the individual or government succeed in deflecting the barrage, should the proof it proffers of rivals having done the same thing convince people that it has done nothing it need be ashamed of, its end is sealed. That kind of conduct now becomes the new standard within the group: the leaders, having allowed that wrong-doer to continue can scarcely move against others lower down. Indeed, these "resourceful" persons acquire greater and greater importance within the organisation. As their ways become the ways of the group, it gets into more and more scrapes. Each new scrape makes it more dependent on those clever, brazen persons — for their skills are the ones that it now needs the most. They become indispensable to the party and government. Moreover, precisely because the organisation stood by them, precisely because they survived in spite of such shameful disclosures, their derring-do becomes the role model within the organisation.
The organisation is thus transformed inside-out. An organisation that stands by one rogue, soon has many rogues in it. An organisation that has many rogues, comes to rely on rogues to do its work. An organisation that comes to rely on rogues to do its work, soon falls into the hands of rogues. The honest "leaders" we see in public and associate with the group become just the utsav murtis, the surrogate idols that are taken out during festival days - elections in the case of a political group and paraded around through the town. The real controllers — the ones in possession of the sanctum sanctorum — are now the ones whom the organisation had - out of that mistaken sense of solidarity, honour, whatever - been beguiled to "rescue". This becomes apparent within days of the stonewalling: in every meeting, the very ones whose misdeeds have been on display, speak and insist the most. The tables are literally overturned: defending the ones whose conduct has brought disgrace to the organisation becomes the duty of everyone in the party, the government - for the exposures about them have been proclaimed to be a conspiracy against, an assault on the organisation. And those who had been doing their assigned work honestly, who had been living by the ideals that the organisation had proclaimed come to be looked upon as deviants.
Thus the organisation rots from within.
And it loses without. If the people at large continue to hold on to the old, higher standard, the group is doomed. If they too come to think of such conduct as custom, they are doomed, the society itself is doomed.
Role of the media
The papers, and now the TV channels which are pursuing the facts are, of course, attacked. "Trial by media," those inconvenienced shout, as do many rivals in the media itself. The Times of India at the Antulay time. Hindustan Times at the time the St. Kitts forgeries were nailed.
The first rule for those excavating the facts, therefore, is to shut their ears to calumny, to blind themselves to motives that are being pasted. Once the facts are established, the traducers will fall silent of their own. How foolish they will soon look. They take up cudgels on behalf of the ones about whom facts have come out. The government cheers them on. It supplies contrived arguments to them, half truths.. But it soon realises that it just has to do something. Antulay goes. The forgeries are nailed. The one in question is deprived of a portfolio. The defenders don't know where to look. Hence, the traducers will have their just rewards soon, just ignore them, just go on digging.
The second rule is just that: persist. Newsmen must be crocodiles. If someone puts his leg in your jaws, just don't let go.
If wrong has been done, and provided the press persists, facts will keep coming out. From within the government as much as from outside. Every government, every party is riven by rivalries. Opponents of the government may not have access to the facts. Persons within it who have been slighted by the one who is in a corner today, persons who scent an opportunity for themselves should this man be removed, will ferret tidbits for you.
Indeed, unexpected sources will reach out to the paper, and bring new facts. But they will do so only if the paper or the journalist shows by his record and perseverance that, once the facts reach the paper, they will be published, that the journalist will not be cowed or bribed into silence.
Pressed, the rulers will make mistakes. They will dodge. They will prevaricate. They will lie. Each of these will convince the reader that the rulers are in the wrong, and the media is right. In any event, as has been well said, "Truth coheres, falsehood falls apart." In the Indian case there is another helpful feature: time and again we have seen that the lies and dodges are always inept, they are easy to nail. So, one should persist, and keep at the story - from this angle today, from another tomorrow. Soon, others and other fora will take up the matter: someone will file a writ in the courts, some active judge will take the matter on board. Someone will seek the information under the new Right to Information Act here. Some journalist in the US will seek the Iraqi documents that the US government has under the freedom of Information Act of that country.
But there is a sine qua non. In addition to the fact that the paper must be pursuing the truth, it must be clean as a pin. Pushed to the wall, rulers will use instruments of the State to cow it down.
Provided those two ingredients are present - that the paper has been pursuing the truth and that it is clean - that final act of the government, repression, will prove the point conclusively.