Ask Me Anything – The Water Birds edition

Water birds

So tomorrow I am off to the old country for a few days. There’s tons of stuff to be done but they can all wait while I make a quick visit to India. I will be in Mumbai and Delhi.

But please feel free to ask me anything. You have questions, we has answers. In this connected world, it does not matter where one is — every place is as good as any other as long as one has wifi access.

(Picture credit: Water birds. I took this picture on one of those occasional weekend morning walks around Lake Elizabeth in Union City with JK and Parag.) 


Author: Atanu Dey


9 thoughts on “Ask Me Anything – The Water Birds edition”

  1. I read the constitution format you published some days ago.
    Generally I agree with you but for one point pertaining to elections that is 9a point 4 I do not agree at all.
    We cannot have reverse restrictions. Birth to any family or to any particular family is random, person being born has no control over it.
    So why penalize her/him achieve something because of an accident over which he/she has no control?


  2. Sir write something on Noam Chomsky’s criticsm of markets and classical liberalism.
    In this first video link he makes a bold proclaimation that market sharply restricts choices!
    In the second video link he criticises classical liberalism,the school to which you belong to.


  3. Have you got enough money that you do not have to work for living any more?
    If answer to above question is YES, then what is your purpose in life now? What moves you? What do you do and why you do it?

    I understand the questions are very personal. Feel free not to answer it.


    1. The word “enough” is very subjective. Yes, I have enough resources (money, goodwill, skills) to meet my modest needs. One can always expand one’s needs and therefore be forced to increase one’s income. But I don’t go for that. One of my heroes is Diogenes of Sinope (search this blog). Like him, I believe that one should lead a simple life.

      What moves me has been answered most precisely and accurately by Bertrand Russell — the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. By this I don’t mean to say that I am as smart as Russell was. It is just a coincidence that what moved Russell is what moves me.

      Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. These passions, like great winds, have blown me hither and thither, in a wayward course, over a great ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge of despair.

      I have sought love, first, because it brings ecstasy – ecstasy so great that I would often have sacrificed all the rest of life for a few hours of this joy. I have sought it, next, because it relieves loneliness–that terrible loneliness in which one shivering consciousness looks over the rim of the world into the cold unfathomable lifeless abyss. I have sought it finally, because in the union of love I have seen, in a mystic miniature, the prefiguring vision of the heaven that saints and poets have imagined. This is what I sought, and though it might seem too good for human life, this is what–at last–I have found.

      With equal passion I have sought knowledge. I have wished to understand the hearts of men. I have wished to know why the stars shine. And I have tried to apprehend the Pythagorean power by which number holds sway above the flux. A little of this, but not much, I have achieved.

      Love and knowledge, so far as they were possible, led upward toward the heavens. But always pity brought me back to earth. Echoes of cries of pain reverberate in my heart. Children in famine, victims tortured by oppressors, helpless old people a burden to their sons, and the whole world of loneliness, poverty, and pain make a mockery of what human life should be. I long to alleviate this evil, but I cannot, and I too suffer.

      This has been my life. I have found it worth living, and would gladly live it again if the chance were offered me.

      See “The Prologue to Bertrand Russell’s Autobiography.”


      1. i have read this quote by russell many times. And it almost still makes my throat heavy. Specially when I think about our godforsaken motherland (as sanjeev sabhlok aptly calls it).

        And right now i am in dubai, just got here 3 days back and i am so blown away by the efficiency of the govt here, the roads, the metro system it all brings great joy and tears in the form of pity for india and indians. While mostly grown up indians are utter ignorant scum like nowhere on this planet, a lot of children now and in the future will suffer for no faults of their own in that hell.

        And in the end I can do nothing, nothing at all. I too suffer.

        Thanks for sharing.


  4. Hej Atanu,

    I’d like to know your views on BJPs win on recent elections last month. Is that an indirect way to say that the demonetization drive was somewhat successful? How do you think about the chances of BJP and other parties in the run up to 2019.
    Note: I agree with your article on demonetization.

    PS: My first post on your blog. Great work.


    1. Abhijeet,

      There are three very popular things that I find extremely distasteful to the point of being revolted by them: politics, cricket and bollywood. That partly explains why I never read any newspapers, watched TV news and magazines in India. I may pick up the random newspaper while waiting to board a flight to remind myself why news and newspapers are a pile of horse-doodoo.

      Therefore to answer your question on the BJP win in UP, I will have to refer to generalities. The number of seats is large but the share of votes is quite modest — let’s say around 30 percent. If demonetization is to be credited the BJP win, then one has to also explain why the rest did not vote for the BJP too?

      Yes, I am sure that the BJP will do very well because Modi is doing all that is needed to win votes. It will ruin the economy and deepen poverty but it will make sure that the BJP will win. The Congress ruled India for decades using that formula, and enlarged the number of desperately poor by hundreds of millions — from 250 million poor to about 750 million poor. Modi is doing the same but will only last for 10 years or so. He could have reduced poverty but his “garibi hatao” schemes will only increase poverty by a couple of hundred million.


  5. My brother got injured in recent terrorist attack in stockholm. what do you think is the solution for this jihadi terrorism? Sweden is really open,welcoming,peaceful country and doesnt get involved into wars in islamic countries. I mean there was really no reason for that terrorist to attack sweden. still this happened is shocking for me.


    1. Aki,

      Pardon the delay in answering your question. I am sorry to learn that your brother is a victim of jihadi terror. Best wishes for his speedy recovery.

      The solution to jihadi terrorism is the same for any ideological war between the barbarians and civilization. Islam by its very construct is opposed to every human civilizational value and its overarching aim is to reduce humanity to servitude and submission. The destruction of that ideology requires a commitment to defend human rights against the inhuman and inhumane. Unfortunately, the powers that be appear to be sleeping. But it is certain that pushed to the wall, humanity will deal a death blow to the death cult. I would not give it more than two decades before the horror of Islam is laid to rest.

      The reason for my optimism is because of the coming technological singularity. The technical singularity is about 15 years away. Once that happens, the technologically challenged will face obliteration and swiftly be defeated in any confrontation with the technologically savvy.

      There’s hope.


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