My good friend CJ is a contrarian. Being contrarian perhaps explains why we are friends in the first place. My conversations with CJ usually give me a different perspective. Today we were on the phone and we ended up talking about my favourite Indian politician, Shri Narendra Modi. Narendrabhai, I told CJ, is the only principled Indian political leader of any standing in Indian politics.
That’s the question that my friend CJ asked me. I don’t know, I replied. I am not a Gandhian. We were discussing yesterday’s bomb blast in the reception area of the Delhi High Court which left as of last count 11 dead and scores injured.
Just got off a call with my friend CJ. He had watched Dr Manmohan Singh’s TV personalities’ press conference. Eager to get an outsider’s perspective on it, I asked him what he thought of it. He thought it was a fascinating glimpse of the Indian character.
I was telling my friend CJ about a presentation I made yesterday to the trustees of a school. The proposal was to hand over the management of the school to a firm that will manage the school for a fee. One of the trustees had brought up the point that the firm was a for-profit organization and therefore it would be improper for the school to be associated with it. CJ’s reaction was, “That’s the basic problem with the whole education system, isn’t it?” Continue reading
As I will be talking about energy on panel on energy at the ISB on Friday, I looked into the archives to see what my position on energy is. It would save me time because otherwise I will have to reason from the basics and reach my conclusions. I hardly ever remember the conclusions — I just know the basics and then have to derive the results in a series of logical steps, so to speak. It is good to have the blog archives to help avoid having to derive stuff.
Reading the energy archives was nice but the post that I really liked was “The Future of Energy.” (September 2005).
A good one, even if I say so myself. Take a peek if you have a moment or two.
Here we go again. In March of 2001, the Taliban destroyed the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan. These statues had stood there since the early 6th century. Symbols of universal compassion, these were in the eyes of Islam something that had to be destroyed.
Full marks for perseverance, though. “When Mahmud of Ghazni conquered Afghanistan and part of west India in the 12th century, the Buddhas and frescoes were spared from destruction though Buddhist monasteries and other artifacts were looted or destroyed. Aurangzeb, the last Mughal emperor distinguished for his religious zeal, employed heavy artillery in an attempt to destroy the statues. Nadir Shah, too, had cannon fire directed at the statues. But over the centuries the statues had largely been left untouched.”
“It is all about power, isn’t it?” said CJ.
I was on the phone with CJ, discussing a series of columns that the Indian Express newspaper has been running called “India Empowered” which as the newspaper puts it, “if there’s one engine that’s today driving a changing India, it’s empowerment. Empowerment of the individual, the family, the neighborhood, the community – and, hence, the nation.”
“Fossil fuel is dead,” declared CJ.
CJ likes to make those kinds of superficially profound statements. We were meeting after a long time. I was in Delhi for a conference and caught up with CJ at the Taj Mansingh Hotel coffee shop. We were discussing the spike in the gas prices.
“Dead or not, seventy dollars a barrel for crude was bad news for India considering that India imports about half of its energy needs. Will slow down the economy a bit, won’t it?” I said.
Conferences can be terribly boring affairs. But for real tedium, you cannot beat a conference on ICT and development. So it was with a great deal of trepidation that I ended up in Bhopal a few days ago to attend one. All I had to look forward to was an endless series of talks on how ICT will totally transform everything and finally deliver the holy grail of development to the billions who are pathetically underdeveloped.