Humble people and good work

Good work is not done by ‘humble’ men. It is one of the first duties of a professor, for example, in any subject, to exaggerate a little both the importance of his subject and his own importance in it. A man who is always asking ‘Is what I do worthwhile?’ and ‘Am I the right person to do it?’ will always be ineffective himself and a discouragement to others. — G H Hardy.

Just deserts: India Deserves the Congress

In an opinion piece in the Financial Times of April 15th (hat tip: Sudipta), Razeen Sally writes that “the Congress deserves to lose the elections”. Right up front, Sally wrote about “the do-nothing, zero-reform record of Manmohan Singh, prime minister, and his government.”

I have an excerpt from the piece below the fold. I agree with the particulars that Sally (who is director of the European Centre for International Political Economy) mentions supporting the argument that Manmohan Singh is a singular disaster but I cannot agree with the title of the piece. Continue reading

The Taliban Are Coming

The topic of the Taliban gaining control of Pakistan is hot this summer. Newspaper editors are busy with lots of serious hand-wringing and mopping of sweaty foreheads. An editorial writer at the New York Times is obviously worried to distraction, it appears from the opinion piece of 27th April, “60 Miles from Islamabad.” Continue reading

A Self-confessed Slave

I was wondering about something the other day. For people who are stupid, we say that they lack a brain. Figuratively, we associate a condition with an organ and say that that organ is missing. So if someone is weak and pliable, we say that they lack a spine or a backbone. Someone cruel and inhuman, we refer to as heartless. With the lack of courage, we associate gutlessness. Emasculation has obvious connections. So I was wondering: which organ or part of the body is there an association with ethics? If someone lacks all sense of morality and ethics, what part of the body are they missing?
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Appointed PM, Dr MM Singh, is Not Weak

It is widely reported and generally held as a fact that the appointed prime minister of India, Dr Manmohan Singh, is weak and ineffective. He was appointed in 2004 and has dutifully followed the orders that were given to him. It is heartening to note that the widely held perception that he is weak and spineless is being challenged by his superiors. I am very pleased to note that he is being supported by those who appointed him and for whom he toils day and night (except on those nights when he worries about the families of terrorists.) The age of loyalty, as opposed to the age of chivalry, is not dead. So please read the glowing testimonials that prove that Mr Manmohan Singh is not a tool and that he is not weak and spineless.

This public service message brought to you courtesy of an anonymous reader of this blog and in the interests of the on-going general elections in India.

The Dollar Auction: Some Figures

I have maintained for a while that the reason that Pakistan gets propped up by the US and its allies is that India and Pakistan are engaged in a dollar auction game and therefore anytime Pakistan is about to go bankrupt (and therefore be unable to continue the game), the US and its allies rush to prop it up. How much money is involved in keeping Pakistan alive so that it can continue to wage jihad against India? Here are the figures from an article, “Fail, then reap rewards,” by Brahma Chellaney in the Deccan Chronicle. Continue reading

Make No Little Plans — Revisited

One of the consistent themes of this blog has been that India should think big. My favorite quote in this context is from Daniel Burnham, the fabled Chicago architect who said that we should think big:

Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty. Think big.

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Shourie on Indian Money in Tax Havens

For 55 years, the Congress has been the party in government of India. India has been a command and control socialist economy, which implies that politicians who controlled the license-permit-quota-control raj had the opportunity and the means to collect rents from businesses and put them away off-shore. This is not the most surprising thing in the whole world.

I am sure that if I had the opportunity to grab billions of dollars, I would have been sorely tempted. I most certainly don’t claim to be totally incorruptible. If the system permits it, and if the temptation is large enough, who can blame another for giving in? The important thing then is to make sure that such tempting opportunities don’t arise in the first place. The institutions we build matter more than the character (or lack thereof) of individuals involved in government.

Arun Shourie has done a masterful deconstruction of the arguments that the Congress put forth in response to Shri Advani’s recent insistence that the Congress-led UPA government has been dragging its feet on the issue of following up on the matter. Shourie is a master of the written word and his logic is impeccable. So even if one does not know too much of the story, just reading his deconstruction is enough for one to get the facts.

Below the fold are some excerpts from the piece by Shourie, “Congress Caught in its Own Web.”: Continue reading