AMA – the Ganesh Chaturthi edition

Ganesh Chaturthi greetings. After many years, I find myself in Mumbai during Ganesh puja. It appears very subdued — understandably so.

In the normal course, I usually visit India twice a year. But this time I am back in India after a bit over two years. Nothing much appears to have changed in Mumbai — the streets are mostly dug up and under construction that proceeds at a glacial pace. Ganesh is the Remover of Obstacles. The BMC (the public works corporation of Mumbai) is the Anti-Ganesh: it is the Installer of Obstacles.

It’s been a while since I posted an Ask Me Anything. So ask away. And listen to Kishori-tai.

9 thoughts on “AMA – the Ganesh Chaturthi edition

  1. Kameshwar Choppella Friday September 10, 2021 / 4:44 am

    So true. And they also have specific special restrictions shared to treat adults like children.


  2. Wan Shi Tong Friday September 10, 2021 / 8:35 am

    From this blog post – you say –

    “I respect Dharma — mine own and that of others.” – What about ‘Varnashrama dharma'( and ‘Chaturvarna dharma’ Would you respect someone who practices these two dharmas too?
    “I believe the Western world has been successful thanks to Jesus.” – Why do you say this? And how does this sit with your opposition to monotheism?


  3. rcwpacct2019 Saturday September 11, 2021 / 12:45 pm

    Has the covid hysteria reduced in India – at least the part of India where you are visiting??


    • Atanu Dey Sunday September 19, 2021 / 9:49 pm


      In India, covid is an excuse for exploiting people. There’s no hysteria as such but the people are forced to pay for needless RT PCR tests. The testing agencies make money hand over fist and the bureaucrats get a cut of that ill-gotten wealth. The municipal corporation of Mumbai (BMC), for example, have imposed a rule that every international traveler arriving at Mumbai airport will have to take a PCR test at the airport (costs about 2 hours of waiting in multiple lines and Rs 600.)

      I think it is reasonable to assume that the BMC babus get a significant cut of the crores that the testing agency takes in every month. Also, the loot is no doubt shared with people all the way at the top of the political order.

      The idiot bureaucrats and the police are using the covid excuse to extract wealth. For example, the police in Bangalore fine people who don’t wear masks in their cars. You have to wear a mask in your car even if you are alone in it or are traveling with people you live with. That’s a clear attempt at forcing unreasonable restrictions on people.


      • rcwpacct2019 Tuesday September 21, 2021 / 3:53 pm

        Thanks for the reply Sir. The authoritarian stupidity of compelling mask wearing inside one’s own car is mind bogglingly stupid. But this is what happens when on pretext of “your safety” you give unchecked power to the state. They are bound to abuse it


  4. anterwel Monday September 13, 2021 / 12:50 am

    Dear Atanu,

    China, over past 3 decades or so has done phenomenal job of taking out millions of people out of poverty. By limiting political freedom but giving ample scope of financial freedom, China has indeed done wonders which is unparalleled. In context of this, what do you make out the recent clampdown on Chineses billionaire? Do you think that control over excessive wealth and common prosperity are sensible decision. What could be possible repercussions of this measure? Your thoughts on this?.



    • Atanu Dey Sunday September 19, 2021 / 9:31 pm

      Hi Parag:

      As you correctly point out, China has lifted hundreds of millions out of extreme poverty in about four decades. That’s a phenomenal achievement unprecedented in history. This was because the leadership realized that they have to become capitalist — which meant that they had to rely on free markets and private property. The Chinese understood that economic freedom is necessary for economic growth. Political freedom is neither necessary nor sufficient for economic prosperity.

      Government control over and redistribution of “excessive” wealth is not going to end well. It is morally impermissible to confiscate justly acquired wealth. Besides, not respecting private property has the negative effect of retarding wealth creation.


    • Atanu Dey Sunday September 19, 2021 / 9:38 pm

      Hi baransam1:

      I agree with your assessment of activities that governments can legitimately engage in.

      I apply a simple rule: if the activity inherently involves violence and coercion, then the government may< have a role in it.

      Let’s apply that to education. Education does not inherently involve violence. Therefore government has no role in it. So also religion. No role for the government.

      Now apply that to protection of the people from domestic and foreign aggression. The government may legitimately have a police force and an army. Some people would argue that police protection can be funded privately. I am sympathetic to that view.

      Liked by 1 person

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