Malaysian repression

Over in Malaysia, Malaysian Hindus (naturally therefore of Indian ancestry) are being repressed systematically. That is pity but no more than the systematic repression of anyone anywhere. I agree with The Acorn that Malaysian Hindus are Malaysians. It is their internal affair. It is their land, their laws, their government and their policies. Others should just butt out.

Recycling

Woman 1: “What is that little trash can on the screen?”

Woman 2: “My son says that is called the ‘recycle bin’. He tells me when I don’t want a Word document anymore and I delete it, it really goes in there.”

Woman 1: “Why in the recycle thingy? Can’t you just erase it?”

Woman 2: “Oh no, Word wouldn’t work for very long if I did that, I would run out of blank pages.”

Woman 1: “Why?”

Woman 2: “Because it cleans the words off the pages, then sends the blank sheets back to Word so they can be used again. That’s why it’s called the recycle bin.”

Loyalty Pays

India is the largest democracy in the world. Or so it is said. It must be because they have elections and what nots. Cargo cult democracy perhaps but democracy none the less.

So here’s the latest cargo-cultish news about Indian democracy. A man who has been a cook to the Nehru-Gandhi family for decades has been rewarded for his loyalty by the Nehru-Gandhi family — his son has been given a Congress ticket.
Continue reading

Forbidding Expression – Part 2

If your government is manipulated into disregarding the law of the land by rioting murderous mobs, you might be a third-world country.

{Continued from part 1.}

Taslima Nasreen got hounded out of Kolkata by rioting Muslims. The state of West Bengal displayed its spinelessness and instead of providing protection to a visitor, gave in to intimidation and violence. She was packed off to Jaipur. The fear of murderous mobs compelled the Rajasthani government to kick her out. She is now hiding somewhere in New Delhi, the capital of India. One does not expect state policy to be dictated by rioting mobs but it appears that Indian policy is.
Continue reading

SSRS Asks

“Does the breath have any religion,” asks His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. “Is the air we breathe around us Muslim, Christian, or Hindu?”

No, I did not make it up. That is what is reported in a recent rediff article. The questions are so profound that I found myself moved to ask such questions. Mine are modest efforts, naturally, as I am not blessed with the immense holiness of SSRS. I am sure that you can also add to the list I present here.
Continue reading

Orkut — A social site

I was merely following a link that landed in my mailbox and ended up at someone’s Orkut page, someone called Preeti. She wrote a testimonial for someone thus:

ABHAY…..wat cn i spk bout diz person nw….hez a lil sensitive but very adventerous guy…hez got gr8 potential in him and alwayzz aimzz 4 d best(datz y he got me as a frnd )……hizz my super snr bt nevva made me feel so… …hiz soo gud n down 2 earth…n btw u al kn wat i call him wid many nick name lemme mention few o dem…hmmmmmB____ (he getzz on hiz nervezz weneva i cal him so )many more 2 mention…bt i hnk one iz sufficient 2 make him ngry hehehe…. nywz last bt nt least he getz ngry very soooooooon…i thnk even nw hiz ngry on me(n i thnk he knzz y)….. uff ders sooooo much to say abt him bt i’ll stop it here… finally mr.dynamic r u satisfied nw???? …

Continue reading

Keynes on Economists

Keynes on what it takes to be an economist:

The study of economics does not seem to require any specialized gifts of an unusually high order. Is it not, intellectually regarded, a very easy subject compared with the higher branches of philosophy or pure science? An easy subject, at which very few excel! The paradox finds its explanation, perhaps, in that the master-economist must possess a rare combination of gifts. He must be mathematician, historian, statesman, philosopher–in some degree. he must understand symbols and speak in words. He must contemplate the particular in terms of the general, and touch abstract and concrete in the same flight of thought. He must study the present in the light of the past for the purposes of the future. No part of man’s nature or his institutions must lie entirely outside his regard. He must be purposeful and disinterested in a simultaneous mood; as aloof and incorruptible as an artist, yet sometimes as near the earth as a politician.

You might say he was describing himself. But he was referring to another master economist: Alfred Marshall.

Forbidding Expression – Part 1

The question that faces West Bengal, a state in eastern India [1], appears to be whether a Bangladeshi author named Taslima Nasreen should be allowed to stay. The recent news is that “a minority fringe group” has demanded that Taslima be deported.

The answer is absolutely clear to me: she may stay or go depending on what the law of the land says. Rule of law is something that I consider non-negotiable. So the deeper question is whether India at large, and West Bengal more specifically, is a nation that is governed by laws? Or is it that those who carry the largest sticks, those who can inflict punishment on the nation can dictate what the rules should be?
Continue reading

National Rural Corruption Guarantee Scheme

Over two years ago, in Aug 2005, I had written that the national rural employment guarantee scheme (NREG) will ultimately end up increasing the number of poor and deepening poverty — which of course was easy enough to predict since the policy is “pro-poor” and like all policies “pro-” something do, increases that something.

The NEGS is not novel. Maharashtra has had an employment guarantee scheme for decades. According to Sharad Joshi, it “has produced few permanent assets. And the EGS in Maharashtra is synonymous with corruption. Government officials concoct false registers of attendance.”

Corruption is not unexpected when money is involved and the transaction is between officials who have the power and control over the money, and the poor unemployed labor who would be willing to take only a share of whatever is due to him or her. It has been variously estimated that only about 25 percent of any relief money actually reaches the intended beneficiary. Politicians and bureaucrats steal the majority of funds.

Now reports are surfacing that the damned scheme is beset with corruption. That news would surprise you if you are in the habit of being surprised to learn that bears shit in the woods, or that astrologers prey on the gullible.
Continue reading

And the Address at Gettysburg . . .

Nov 19th, 1863. Abraham Lincoln spoke for two minutes at Gettysburg. Here’s the Gettysburg Address:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

One hundred forty-four years ago. Was there any doubt then — given the leadership and the stock of institutional capital — that the US was destined to be a great nation? And is there any doubt now — given the leadership and the destruction of institutional capital they have undertaken — what will become of the US in another one hundred and forty-four years?

On a lighter note, here is the Gettyburg Powerpoint Presentation. The slide-show is also brief — only 6 slides.

PS: Also check out why and how Peter Norvik created that ppt.