The Ram Janmabhoomi Temple Case

The big news in town is the verdict by the Supreme Court of India on the matter of the Ram Janmabhoomi site. It appears that the land has been “awarded” to those who want to have a temple dedicated to the birthplace of Bhagwan Ram. There’s much jubilation among Hindus. But why?

Fact is that that site was a temple in the first place. Islamic invaders destroyed that temple as is their religious duty, and they built a mosque at that site to demonstrate their supremacy. In a polity that rejects Islamic supremacy, it’s easy to conclude that building mosques on temple property is immoral, unethical, uncivilized and just plain wrong. Why did it take decades for the Supreme Court to decide this case? Is the court merely incompetent or just lazy or stupid or what?
Continue reading “The Ram Janmabhoomi Temple Case”

Why we misapprehend the world

We all have an intuitive understanding of our world. We make sense of the world by looking at it through “common sense” lenses. These are almost instinctive, or hard-wired as they say in computerese. And the surprising truth is that nearly all of these intuitions are wrong. They are incompatible with the world we live in today.

Anatomically modern humans have existed for at least 200,000 years (or maybe even 300,000 years). For nearly all of that extended time, humans lived in small bands of around 150 individuals and survived as hunter-gatherers. Continue reading “Why we misapprehend the world”

From the archives: Bhagwati on Markets and Democracy

Jagdish Bhagwati

This one is hauled from the archives from Aug 2013. Bhagwati on Democracy and Markets. In that post I quote Bhagwati’s three broad lessons that arise from his typology of countries into a democracy-market space. Continue reading “From the archives: Bhagwati on Markets and Democracy”

Nella Fantasia

Music is of one of my most enduring passions. I can’t play any musical instrument to save my life. But I am grateful that I love music and my taste is eclectic. And I am happy that I live in an age in which I have access to an inexhaustible source of music of all kinds.

I enjoy a wide range — from Hindustani classical to Western classical; from Hindi popular cinema songs (from the 1960s through 1980s only) to Western pop songs; and world music also. I love contemporary composers like Philip Glass and Ennio Morricone.

Talking of Morricone, here’s a favorite tune from the master. It’s based on the theme from the movie The Mission for which he gave the music. He’s written the scores of scores of movies — including the spaghetti westerns (For a Few Dollars More, and the like). I hope you like this song.

What’s Wrong with the Climate

What’s wrong with the climate? Nothing that has not been wrong before — and will not be wrong in the future. What’s wrong is that the climate changes, with or without human help.

At the current state of the art of human technology, humans cannot at a reasonable cost affect climate to any significant degree. There are far greater forces — geologic and solar — at play than just what humans do, and can do, to the earth.

The earth doesn’t need saving. It’s been around for around 4.5 billion years and is likely to be around for another 5 billion. Compared to that deep time, humans with their technology have been around for 200,000 years (give or take a bit.) As a fraction of life-time of the earth (~10 billion years), humans have been around so far for only 0.002%. That’s a vanishingly small number. Continue reading “What’s Wrong with the Climate”

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