Leadership through inheritance is a compelling sign of a poor or a declining nation

Ruling a banana republic does not require special qualifications

Item: Captain John Wright, 58, is retiring as a senior pilot. He has had a distinguished flying career with 35 years of sitting in the left hand seat in the cockpit, much of it of heavies like the Boeing 747s and Airbus 340s. But it’s time that he hangs up his wings and retires from a job well done. Bluesky Air, the airline that Captain Wright served so competently, has announced that on Capt Wright’s retirement next month, his seat will be occupied by his son Jack. Jack will move from his job as a janitor at Burger King to be the chief pilot at Bluesky Air. He will fly the planes that his father flew.
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The Games Built on a Cesspool

No one can escape the huge amount of press on the ongoing disaster called the “Commonwealth Games” in New Delhi. There is little doubt about the train-wreck — it’s inevitable as the locomotive has long left the track and is speeding towards a chasm dragging a long train behind it. The only point of conjecture is how damaging will be the eventual crash. The action is happening so fast that estimates of damage vary widely. But it will all be over soon enough and it will be a very long time before India recovers from the ignominy and shame.
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China’s Proposed Transcontinental Rail Project

The Chinese leadership knows how to think big — which is more than what one can say about the Indian leadership, which one must remember has been mainly from the Congress party led by the Nehru-Gandhi Dynasty. One case in point is how big the Chinese leaders think about railways. Continue reading

B Raman: “Counter-terrorism & Appeasement”

Mr. B Raman, in his South Asia Analysis Group paper of 20th August — “Counter-terrorism & Appeasement” — writes:

* There have been four acts of mass casualty terrorism since 1981. All the four were carried out when the Congress (I) was in power in New Delhi.

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Whistling in the Dark about the Future

Gurcharan Das writes in the Times of India (10th May) that “The Future Belongs to India.” That’s his argument which I suppose he made in a debate in London on the proposition that “the future belongs to India, not China.” I understand perfectly the need for such an argument because I too feel a lot of distress when I compare what China has achieved relative to India and have to seek comfort in a lot of twisted rationalization to excuse India’s disastrous journey.
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Electoral Reforms

Although I had planned to, I will not be attending the “5th National Conference on Electoral and Political Reforms” of the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR). It’s happening in Mumbai, and I alas, am in Pune. My colleague Rajesh Jain is going there to be on a panel on “The role of business and Government.” Rajesh mentions on his blog the context of the event.

Since 2002, the major impacts of these campaigns have been on criminalization of politics, and transparency in candidate and political party assets. Leaders of both the BJP and the Indian National Congress have made public statements that they would not field candidates with criminal records even if they were likely to win in the coming Lok Sabha elections . . .

Interesting, isn’t it? I added the emphasis above because it is worth noting. That phrase is a recognition of the fact that criminals routinely contest and win elections. Let me understand that a bit more. That criminals contest elections is a choice that the criminals make. The laws of the land, for whatever they are worth, permit criminals to contest elections. That they win elections is the more remarkable fact. Contesting the elections is within the control of the criminals; winning elections is not. People — the much celebrated wise Indian voters — are the ones who vote criminals into power.

They at ADR could conference the whole day long till the cows come home, but I am afraid that the fault, dear Brutus, lies not with the criminals but with the people who vote for them.

If in your generally free and fair elections, you elect criminals as your political leaders, you might be a third world country. (Or in the case of the US, you might be aspiring to become a third world country.)

What’s a “Patwa”?

A fatwa is a religious decree made by a mullah. A “patwa” is like a fatwa but made by Patil. A patwa, like a fatwa, is not based on reason or logic. But it is not just a matter of whim, a fancy, a just-like-that sort of thing. It is calculated to serve Patil’s and her masters’ interest.
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