Of Human Savagery and Human Joy

Christopher Hitchens once wrote “I think human civilisation only begins when people separate religion from the state. Policing that frontier, making sure of it, is a huge thing, culturally and politically. You realise that any attempt to cross it is poisonous – in the sense of lethal.” I am reminded of that while reading yet another account of human savagery in a land which was based on a lethal religious dogma. But be warned that this is rated R for violence. If you don’t have a strong stomach, skip the text and just go to the embedded videos.
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Distinguishing American and Indian Democracy

A piece in today’s Wall Street Journal, “America’s Insurgent Pollster: Understanding the tea party is essential to predicting what the country’s political scene will look like,” prompted thought on some differences between the US and India in the context of the oft repeated fact that both are democracies. The article is of interest to me since I want to know how governance in India can be improved. So here’s what I take away from the article, and one other matter.
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Personality Cult Disorder

India suffers severely from PCD — personality cult disorder. I mentioned that in a post soon after moving to Mumbai from Berkeley in 2003. I believe that the disease under the Italian Sonia Gandhi has intensified. Here are my thoughts from way back when.
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A Few Home Truths about India

A sense of optimism is an absolutely essential necessity for any future success. That’s true not just at the individual level; collective optimism is as indispensable for national success. However, misplaced optimism grounded on delusions of grandeur can ensure failure through misalignment of priorities and mis-allocation of limited resources. So it is not out of plain crotchety contrariness but rather out of welfare concerns that one must take a dispassionate look at reality to base one’s expectations on, and to chart out a course of action. The balance sheet must include an accurate account of current assets and liabilities — not just future expected earnings grabbed out of the thin air of wishful thinking. I find that balance missing in many of the reports that are generally published by the main stream media and which land in my inbox enthusiastically forwarded by the “mera bharat mahan” brigade.
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The Judgement Seat of Vikramaditya

In The Pioneer of Aug 10th, A Surya Prakash asks “Where is the Prime Minister?” There’s nothing astonishing in Prakash’s litany of Mr Manmohan Singh’s mis-governance. No one even remotely interested in what’s going on in India can be unaware of the on-going disasters under Mr Singh’s watch. But Mr Singh is not responsible for this pathetic state of affairs.
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Is the Indian Government the Greatest Enemy of India’s Prosperity?

The Aug 6th edition of the online Wall Street Journal has an article, Asian Entrepreneurs Are Bullish on the Future (behind a subscription wall) which reports on a Legatum Institute study comparing the entrepreneurs in India and China. What it says about India should not come as a surprise to anyone who studies India. The article concludes with this.
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