Swaggering Imbeciles

Newly educated and semi-educated classes – social or intellectual – seek positions in government bureaucracies or social advocacy rather than in industry and commerce where competence is inarguably measured at the end of every business quarter. The growth of bureaucracies needed to absorb these swaggering imbeciles is precisely opposed to society’s growth and development both as direct philosophical enemy and as infinitely hungry sump to resources otherwise needed to support productive endeavors.

From “Uncle Al” in a post on the usenet years ago. I spent years on the usenet, the grand-daddy of the world wide web. I like the phrase “swaggering imbeciles” — it describes a certain ruling dynasty in a certain so-called emerging superpower.

Criminal Lawmakers?

According to a report in today’s Rediff on Karnataka’s new government, many of the members of the legislative assembly (or MLAs, those who make the laws of the state) are criminals. The report leads off with details of what the personal wealth of some of the MLAs are but later, almost as an afterthought, mentions that many have criminal charges pending against them:
Continue reading “Criminal Lawmakers?”

How to Shrink India

Only recently did I become aware that there is a local politician in Mumbai named Raj Thackeray and that he has been inciting people to violence to stop non-Marathi speaking people from migrating to Mumbai. The man, in my considered opinion, is a certifiable idiot and an evil one at that. But then there is nothing particularly remarkable in Raj Thackeray’s quest for votes through divisive politics. The British quite successfully implemented it and ever since political independence, politicians across the spectrum have been dividing India along regional, caste, and religious categories. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, instead of erasing caste distinctions, even went so far as to name a significant portion of Indians as “harijan” or “children of god” — thus implicitly, according to his adopted Abrahamic theology, categorized the rest as “children of satan.” The present Italian Gandhi continues that fine tradition and implements policies that discriminate against people that do not subscribe to some Abrahamic sky-god. I wonder if Raj Thackeray is going to be invited to join the Congress Party, seeing that he is a master of divide and rule?
Continue reading “How to Shrink India”

Swaggering Imbeciles

I have been reading and writing on the usenet for donkey’s years. It is a wonderful mine of information and an amazing sink of time. You could waste time like there is no tomorrow (or should that be the other way around?). Anyway, here is one gem from someone who writes under the pseudonym of Uncle Al.


Newly educated and semi-educated classes – social or intellectual – seek positions in government bureaucracies or social advocacy rather than in industry and commerce where competence is inarguably measured at the end of every business quarter. The growth of bureaucracies needed to absorb these swaggering imbeciles is precisely opposed to society’s growth and development both as direct philosophical enemy and as infinitely hungry sump to resources otherwise needed to support productive endeavors.

I like his expression swaggering imbeciles. Reminds me of the idiot politicians of India, especially the ruling dynasty.

On Being Ruled by Toads

When I was growing up in Nagpur, I had a friend who used to proclaim “India is ruled by toads” whenever we discussed India’s politicians. Being called a toad was the worst insult we could come up with. He later joined the Indian Police Service, worked in Mumbai as a Deputy Commissioner of Police, and was killed in the line of duty. He was one of the most decent human beings I have ever had the good fortune to know.

What brought all this to mind was an item about misbehaving politicians that reader “Ad” pointed out.

About a dozen Maharashtra ministers, 30 legislators and many top bureaucrats prevented a Nagpur-bound Jet Airways flight from taking off from Mumbai airport on Monday. Reason: the aircraft’s air-conditioner was not working.

Only one of the two airconditioning systems was functioning, it appears. It is a temporary inconvenience definitely not life-threatening. The crew is allowed to operate the flight because it meets the “Minimum Equipment List”. In any event, once the aircraft is in flight, one airconditioner is sufficient. This was explained to them but they “trooped into the cockpit” and one even tried to open an exit while the plane was in taxiing.

An aircraft delayed by a couple of hours and about a hundred passengers inconvenienced is not a really big deal. Or is it? Think about the fact that aircrafts are used throughout the day. The delay of the flight ripples through the system and all subsequent flights involving that aircraft are delayed. Thousands of people are directly affected. Many more multiples are indirectly affected. When a passenger arrives about 2 hours late, perhaps a meeting is missed, or a connection to another flight is missed. The initial disturbance has second and third order effects.

The politicians of India see themselves as the kings and they regard the citizens as their subjects and the country as their fiefdom. These people place themselves above the law. They are a law unto themselves. They are not answerable to anyone, except to their overlords who are the party chiefs. They go around in cars with red flashing lights on the top. When they travel on roads, seeing the red lights, police clear the streets. The citizens wait for these red-light-on-top cars to pass by. “The toads rush by”, as my friend would have said.

India is as I have maintained before a cargo-cult democracy. Centuries of being ruled by foreigners creates a culture of servility and powerlessness that is hard to overcome. In a strict sense, Indians deserve to be ruled by toads because they “elect” to be ruled by toads. Being ruled by toads has the ripple effect that finally culminates in an abjectly poor country that is euphemistically referred to as a “developing economy.”

Comment: Sonal Vaidya writes:

Reading your post “On Being Ruled by Toads” I wonder what do you think should happen to change the situation? Will India be always exploited by the corrupt power mongers? May be a revolution is a solution.

Raj Waghray writes:

What is worse is that these old senile toads(?) are now talking out of turn outside India and that too on issues as critical as our security.

Natwar’s N-speak Baffles New Delhi

Whom the Gods wish to Destroy they first make mad

Ever wondered why exactly India is an astoundingly poor overpopulated illiterate starving nation of a billion people? I do. It need not be one specific reason of course. It could be a combination of several factors. For instance, it could be due to divine decree: the gods said that India should be pathetically poor. Can’t argue with that if the gods indeed decreed it. Or it could be that aliens from Mars conspired to make India what it is. Or it could be that foreign powers and their evil agents make India poor. My favorite theory which explains why India is poor is this: plain old ignorance and stupidity.

When the degree of ignorance and stupidity exceeds a certain threshold, it slides into madness. And as Euripides warned long ago, whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad. Whether or not Indian leaders have gone mad is a question that I leave for you to decide. The future of India pivots on that point. My conclusion is that madness has taken a firm hold on the leadership of India and the consequences are foretold.

Tim Worstall took the trouble of pointing me to yet another sign that the future of India is in peril. Read and weep for the beloved country.

“GPS for the common man”

Every now and then, I screw up enough courage to read the newspapers. I am faint of heart and avoid newspapers because they generally report such stuff that nightmares are made of, such as Islamic terrorism killing a few hundred in Russia (recently but around the world with sickening regularity.) But occasionally they report news from a surreal world and my morbid curiosity wins over my basic distaste of horror stories. A few days ago, I came across an item that gladdened my heart: Sibal plans GPS project to help common man reported the Times News Network on September 3rd.

Can’t find your way around in a metropolis? Don’t know how many bus stops are there in your town? Want to know the exact size of your farm? Geo-technology may give you the answers.

The science and technology ministry has embarked upon some major projects which it claims could change a common man’s life. By 2005, the ministry is planning to provide global positioning system (GPS) for motor vehicles in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Kolkata.

A central server will be set up by the ministry that can be accessed by GPS screens installed in cars. “Most sedans have GPS technology, but car owners who don’t have it can get it installed and access the service,” said science and technology minister Kapil Sibal.

This system would allow drivers to know their location and the directions to reach their destination,” he said.

The concern that the policy makers in Delhi feel for the common man is nothing if not touching. Their passion for the commonweal is awe inspiring. Imagine, if you will, the horrors that the common man faces as he drives his car looking for an address in an unfamiliar neighborhood. But the common man need not worry anymore. Science and technology (and the passion of the Indian policy makers for the common man) will solve this incredibly complex and terribly urgent problem.

Some time ago, I had written in a piece called It’s the small stuff, stupid:

I just went out to lunch in the neighborhood of where I work. A passerby stopped me to ask me where a certain company was. I said I don’t know but if he had an address, I could perhaps direct him. He only knew that it was close to the ‘Empire Building’. We spent some time trying to locate it and then finally gave up. I don’t know how long he spent walking around in the noon-day sun trying to get where he wanted to go. Perhaps he just wasted an hour, a lot of shoe leather, sweated in the heat, and when he arrived, he was tired. The opportunity cost of his trying to find a place is small but non-zero. He could have spent more time with his family or done some productive work. Add the cost of millions of people spending non-productive time searching, and soon you get a significant amount of loss.

That streets should have a name and locations along a street should have a number is a concept that should be evident to the meanest intelligence, one would expect considering that it is not exactly rocket science and that many parts of the world have had that innovation for generations, if not centuries. Yet it is a rare exception when you can find a place in India without an algorithmic description of how to get to it.

“GPS for the common man” should rightfully be listed under the LET THEM EAT CAKE category. Other items in that set: One computer in every village. Never mind that most villages lack a teacher who comes somewhat regularly to teach the children, and electricity is almost non-existent.

Deva, deva!