I did not bother to vote in the US Presidential elections this time even though I did receive my absentee ballot. I am registered in California which is guaranteed to not go to Bush. My anti-Bush vote would not matter, therefore. And I am not sufficiently interested in the local issues to cast a vote either way. So I decided that it is not worth the bother of mailing in my vote.
The city formerly known in English as Calcutta (now known in all languages as “Kolkata” which is its Bengali name) is an unfortunate city. Its misfortune derives from two major sources primarily. Two of the world’s most destructive ideologies — Islam and communism — have brought a city full of promise to its knees and today it is best known around the world as the “City of Joy” and the “Black hole of India.” It breaks the heart of any culturally sensitive person — not just someone like me whose ancestors claimed Bengal as their home — to behold the depths that Kolkata has been dragged to first by Islam and then by communism.
Anant in a recent comment on this blog concluded with the seemingly wise statement “to revenge is pleasure, to forgive divine.” I say seemingly wise because it does not withstand any level of scrutiny. Forgiving an enemy may or may not be a very wise principle if you are dealing with an individual. Being magnanimous towards someone who in a momentary lapse of reason has harmed you could be a good strategy if the person realizes his folly and is genuinely sorry about his aberrant behavior. But it could be counterproductive if a priori a person knows that forgiveness will be forthcoming irrespective of how badly he behaves. In such cases, pious hopes that forgiving someone is divine only leads to less than desirable social outcomes.
Economic development is a complex matter which touches every aspect of a society, public as well as private, domestic as well as foreign. One cannot seek to understand (and subsequently act to change) the existing order by narrowly focusing on a just a few aspects of development. It is in that spirit of eclectic investigation that I recently wrote on the true weapons of mass destruction. Understanding conflict and how to minimize conflict is as important to development as the use of IT tools and other such mundane matters.
Today’s edition of The Free Press Journal carries on its front page an interesting item, “Carry out attacks in India or perish: ISI to Dawood”.
Dawood Ibrahim has the distinction of being labeled by the US as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT)”. The ISI is the Pakistani intelligence agency which some argue is the primier agency involved in global terrorism. ISI was the midwife involved in the birth of the Taleban, is involved in Al Qaida, nuclear proliferation, attacks in various places in India — particularly the north east states of India such as Assam (via the Islamic Republic of Bangladesh). The ISI has been implicated in scores of terrorist attacks all over India including Mumbai.
Over fourty-three years ago in January 1961, US President Dwight D. Eisenhower in his farewell address warned of the dangers of the “military-industrial complex”. In view of the upcoming US presidential elections and the global conflict that the US is engaged in, I think it is appropriate to carefully consider what he had to say. Continue reading
A report by Josey Joseph in the Oct 14th Times of India warmed the cockles of my heart. The story is about the supply of military equipment from the US to Pakistan. Quote:
… On the pipeline are more than $1.5 billion worth of military supplies over five years. Plus, numerous futuristic deals.
Ever wondered why exactly India is an astoundingly poor overpopulated illiterate starving nation of a billion people? I do. It need not be one specific reason of course. It could be a combination of several factors. For instance, it could be due to divine decree: the gods said that India should be pathetically poor. Can’t argue with that if the gods indeed decreed it. Or it could be that aliens from Mars conspired to make India what it is. Or it could be that foreign powers and their evil agents make India poor. My favorite theory which explains why India is poor is this: plain old ignorance and stupidity.
When the degree of ignorance and stupidity exceeds a certain threshold, it slides into madness. And as Euripides warned long ago, whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad. Whether or not Indian leaders have gone mad is a question that I leave for you to decide. The future of India pivots on that point. My conclusion is that madness has taken a firm hold on the leadership of India and the consequences are foretold.
Tim Worstall took the trouble of pointing me to yet another sign that the future of India is in peril. Read and weep for the beloved country.
To me, one of the hazards of delayed flights is that I tend to read whatever I find lying around. A few days ago I found myself reading a discarded newspaper at an airport. I should not have but morbid curiosity won. A news item proudly reported that the president of India, Mr APJ Abdul Kalam, recommended that children take an oath and forswear corruption.
There you have it. As you are well aware, children indulge in corruption like nobody’s business in India. Scams perpetrated by the scores hit the newspapers with sickening regularity. One day you hear that a bunch of children have accepted kickbacks to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars in military equipment purchase. Next day you read about a couple of children who were involved in siphoning a few hundred million dollars’ worth of public monies meant for ‘fodder’. Then you read that some children were caught running a fake stamp-paper racket and the loss to the public purse was of the order of a few billion dollars.
I tell you, the corruption that children are responsible for is a crying shame. It is a matter of great urgency that they stop it immediately and the best way to do so is to force them to take an oath that they will cease and desist from ever indulging in corruption. I am very relieved that this terrible problem has been addressed at last.
Which brings me to conclude that if you figure lecturing innocent children solves the problem of institutionalized corruption by the bureaucracy and practically every politician of every party, then you might be a third world country.
For the past few weeks, I have been exploring what I call a modest proposal for making India 100% literate (parts 1, 2, 3, and 4). Here I will explore some aspects of my proposal.
I had proposed that for every person who is certified to have attained a certain level of literacy and numeracy (essentially, a primary education), the government should give them around $100. Here is the reasoning why this payment is necessary and why India will not attain 100 percent literacy without a payment of some sort.