Category : India, Politics, Economics, Society, Civilization
Monday, May 29, 2006
Category : India, Politics, Economics, Society, Civilization
2. This is just my mostly uninformed speculation
Gist of Nitin's post is the query whether there is something in democracy which impedes economic growth (although he talks specifically about infrastructure, but in my view the question can be extended to general economic outlook), as opposed to authoratarian governments.
First, the democracy
While in a democracy there will always be tendency for populism (which is nothing but precedence of short term and personal goals over long term and collective objectives), there is no clear answer.
The reason is (As I have said before in context of freedom) while democracy is necessary condition it is hardly a sufficient.
To wit, democracy is a system of governance through rule of the majority, it is not a system to qualify the merits of policies. Judgement of policies is left to the discretion of individuals.
Therefore in a democracy not only nature of economic policies but also the progress of nation is dependant on the ideals the individuals espouse. These ideas, are in essence the foundation of civilization. Further almost invariably these ideas are conceived, debated and agreed upon not by the whole population but by a select group called "intellectuals". The reason whole population doesn't participate even if it is free is partly because not everyone is trained to think and partly because not everyone has the time to collect required amount of information.
The conclusion is that direction a democracy takes is dependant on
1) The basic ideals it is founded upon
2) Which in turn is decided by a rarefied circle of intellectuals
If one is interested in reasons for less than impressive performance of Indian democracy , it is to be found in the above two premises.
1) The idea behind Indian constitution is social and economic freedom but wishy washy statism.
2) The reason for this was misplaced faith that the members of constitution assembly regardless of political affiliations ( i.e. left and right) placed in state, both in its influence and its immunity to corruption and distortion.
Therefore not only Indian republic was bestowed with statist thinkers even the common public was indoctrinated so that it came to accept the presence of interventionist, omnipresent, omniscient and omniprescient state as an axiomatic position.
What is more Indian public was encouraged to increasingly rely and depend on state not just for welfare of society but also for welfare of specific social segments.
Therefore to blame Mulaytam Singh or Arjun Singh for the mess we are in is trivial. In fact if one were to take a cynical position about susceptibility of public to pavlovian conditioning even blaming present generation seems useless.
The rot that India faces whether corruption or social decrepitude did not set in a course of few days. The short sighted policies adapted by our leaders and the wide latitude Indian public gave to them (to the point of idol worshipping) are to blamed.
Thus spake doubtinggaurav at 6:00 pm
Reproduced from one of the many illuminating episodes of that great sage of wisdom Chacha Chaudhary.
Once, it so happened that Chacha hired a servant "Ramu" whose sole duty was to give him one glass of milk before sleeping.
Since Ramu was health concious (and further believed in socialism), he decided to help himself with half of the nourishing milk replacing it with water.
Now when this continued for some weeks Chacha started having doubt and hired another servant "Kallu" entrusted with the task of keeping an eye on Ramu.
Ramu with ingenuity characterstic of lawyers and frauds offered to share milk with Kallu.
Kallu believed that solidarity with comrades took precedence over integrity and therefore happily acquiesced to fleecing his master (who it must be said was a bourgeoise vermin) and helped themselves with two third of the milk, replenishing as before with water.
It was not long before Chacha grew suspicous and hired yet another (!) servant "Dholu" to ensure that Ramu and Kallu do not cheat.
However Ramu and Kallu were able to persuade Dholu to take part in their little scam.
There was a problem though, any further division of milk did not leave anyone with enough milk. But knavery is father of "jugaad" and our three heroes were nothing if not knave.
Thus they divided the whole milk among themselves, and coated white luxurious moustache of Chacha with the cream.
Chacha called them up in the morning indignant and remonstrated with them for dereliction of their duties. To which the servants protested and as evidence pointed towards his moustache.
However Chacha had enough. He summarily fired them. He closed the incident by repeating a fine proverb Apna haath jagannath.
If only economists and politicians read more Chacha Chaudhary and less of Keynes
Thus spake doubtinggaurav at 11:42 am
To my observation that the upside of having a ugly face was that one need not be burdened with trite (and often meaningless) matter pertaining to heart, my good friend VNS replied, "you are not ugly, you are handsome, ....... in an alternate way".
People can say such corny thing sometimes !
Thus spake doubtinggaurav at 11:34 am
Thursday, May 25, 2006
I have started a new blog (in Hindi)
I expect posting to be few and far between
Thus spake doubtinggaurav at 8:51 pm
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
It is for pithy phrases like title that I love Americans
In yet another
pointless exercise round of dialogues on kashmir, gentle doctor has proposed a five point plan. before continuing I do wonder (sincerily) that does mandarins at sout block have a template for J&K , well if they don't they should have.
PM speaking on the agenda of n th (n being an obscenely large number ) round (why round, isn't this discrimination against triangles and squares, is there a latent strain of polygonphobia in us)
advised terrorists that violence doesn't help anyone (actually it does, more on it later) if only I had a penny everytime someone repeated this stupid cliche, I would be a very very rich man.
Spelling out the agenda for the second round table Dr Singh asked the participants to concentrate on political institutions and how they can strengthen the centre-state relationship, security, human rights, good governance, economic future, restore public confidence and 'what institutional arrangements can bring people from both sides of the Line of Control closer to each other'.
I fail to understand the point of whole exercise, does Manmohan really thinks that terrorist are commiting heinous crimes for sake of things like this. Terrorism in J&K is not about stagnation, it is about propaganda and indoctrination.
He regretted that some elements did not want the state to progress. "There are some elements within the state who do not wish this dream to become a reality," he said.
In my opinion statements of Indian government when it comes to J&K fall under two categories, stating the obvious or exhibition of cluelessness.
Above is a good example of first category.
Such acts, Dr Singh said, strengthen the government's resolve to ensure that 'every resident of Jammu and Kashmir is protected from such terrorist acts and atrocities. The government is prepared to take every step towards achieving that'.
I think it is most unfortunate that political rhetoric is not enforceable as a contractual obligation
this will make politicians before they make promises which are so obviously unsincere and fake that they are an affront to audience.
The worst was to come however
However, the prime minister also cautioned that there would be zero tolerance in respect to custodial deaths. He asked the security forces to be humane in their approach but remain firmly in control of the situation
I do not condone human right violations. I have no objection if prime minster is concerned about atrocities perpetrated by any branch of state. However I do object to abject apppeasement of Hurriyat (who are nothing but low level scums hands in glove with terrorists) and in the process
legitimizing Pakistani propaganda of excesses commited by Indian Army.
(About which Nitin writes here)
And here I come to the point. Whatever Indian government may do, terrorism in J&K is not going to stop. This is because it is not about self-determination, or unemployment or persecution.
Kashmiri terrorism is purely a tool in hands of Pakistan to harm India. Since Pakistan can not win a direct confrontation, she has sought to defeat us by inciting local population through malicious and fraudelent but highly effective propaganda.
Indian state has failed not only to neutralize the threat of terrorism, it infact has failed miserably in face of hostile propaganda. So much so that not only J&K but even in rest of India there is a belief that accession of J&K to India was controversial and India is on a weaker grounds.
The solution to terrorism is to make Pakistan realize that there is a price, a very steep price to pay for terrorizing Indians. This doesn't mean "an eye for an eye", not at all. This instead calls for "two eyes for even making a move to harm a single eyelash". Paskitan doesn't understand language of diplomacy, she however understand language of raw violence and that is the language India has to speak now. I will prefer to see dead bodies of Pakistanis than dead bodies of Indians, if it sounds crude and inhuman so be it.
But this is not a very effective solution because it acts after the malaise has set.A better solution is to nip the problem in bud.
To reiterate what I said in my previous posts.
The discotent of Kasmiri youth was manufactured by Pakistan in 1980's flush with American funds for mujahideen and the willing accomplice were rabid clergy which used mosques and madrassas to stoke fires. First casuality of this were Kashmiri pundits who had to flee valley (the other options being to convert or to die), at that none beloning to the secular industry (after all in this country Hindus are expendable). It was not until 2 years later when terrorism started kidnapping and killing that Indian government woke up from sleep (which was deeper than that of KumbhaKaran).
A long term solution of Kashmir involves (but is not limited to) greater integration which is only possible by getting rid of Article 370.
Thus spake doubtinggaurav at 8:02 pm
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
The title refers to Look London Talk Tokyo and is indulged in frequently by journalism.
This is such a piece.
The title is ambitious, "Do our institutes connect with the real India? ". However it has nothing to do with discussion on the cost of subsidies provided to institutions of higher educations and benefit arisding out of it, but it does nothing of the sort.
Instead it is just a disingenuous attempt at obfuscating the issue of reservation.
The writer asks in the most otherhalfish fashion, "Could a more diverse student body work more broadly in the national interest than it currently does?"
Answer is, to a overwhelmingly large extent no, as I have pointed out earlier, students irrespective of their caste pursue higher education for self interest, indeed it is foolish for someone to expect that a student will spend considerable time and effort for altruistic motive.
Student even if he hails from a tribal or backward community after completing his degree would aspire to a high paying job and not to return to his village. Sure there will be always be a certain percentage who will indeed go back and work but it will be so miniscule so that cost of education is not justified.
From another point of view I think it is rather unfair to expect that only students from certain castes have to work in villages.
The writer continues with his ill thought and biased tripe. "The national institutes produce computer programmers, dam builders and investment bankers, and fine ones at that. But perhaps a more enlightened investment would also produce managers of farming co-operatives and social movements, and young engineers designing check-dams and inexpensive power generators for remote hamlets."
Again the answer is no, students from IIT and IIM (or for that matter anywhere) will seek highest rewards. This means that unless constructing check dams and managing co-operatives offers more rewards (significantly so considering that these jobs are of physcial nature and demand more stamina than your average desk jobs) than other options available, no student (whether he is General/SC/OBC) is going to join them.
This I am not saying without knowing the facts, 80% of IITians irrespective of their departments either
1) Go for software
2) Go for IIM/XLRI/ISB/SPJ/Others
3) Go for MS in US
Hence it is a sheer waste of tax payers money and the only solution for governments is to stop subsidizing IITs.
Indeed if writer was sincere, with little though he could arrived at the real nature of the problem
which is two fold
1) Artificial shortage in higher education - Due to unnecessary restrictions placed by state on private investment in field of higher education.
2) Skewed demand - While due to globalization there is a demand in IT and BPO, bureacracy corruption and red tapism ensures that manufacturing and infrastructure which holds promise of progress for backward areas remain stuck.
Further the writer argues that compostion of students effect the composition of the syllabus,
"This disconnect comes not just because of the demands of the curriculum, but also because there are very few students who have been displaced by construction projects. How different would the classroom be if tribal students from the Narmada valley also present? "
Answer is not much. I have met many students who hailed from backward areas. And yet while they were aware of the ground reality by and large they remained ignorant of the possible solutions parroting the tired spoon fed rhetoric of utopia through entitlements.
Another peace of chicnary,
"Cynics will argue that tribal and lower caste students are incapable of engaging issues at a sophisticated level like those who enter through merit. But that means that we must question what merit means, and whether the wisdom of the current system really works."
Actually no one argues that. Critics of reservations argues (with justification) that benefits of adopting reservation as a policy does not justify its cost. Further by providing reservations it provides a cop out to that percentage of OBC which is part of middle class (urban or rural) and ends up with lion's share of benefits.
It is reasonable to ask what has been the benefits to SC and ST after five decades of reservations.
If it turns out that results have been less then what was expected, it is not reasonable again to discuss the reason for failure and propose an alternative solution.
It is disgusting (but not suprising) for writer to imply that those protesting reservations are casteists.
And I find this constant and deliberate over what constitutes merit most annoying.
Merit can be your aptititude, reflexes, language skill, interpersonal communication depending on the job requirement.
A journalist require a skill set than an engineer, hence in the context merit also differs.
One can argue that the examination to measure merit is flawed but this doesnt make merit irrelevant on the contrary it only means that examination system needs to be corrected.
Rest of article is pointless and light on facts in similar veins such as,
"Similarly, medical researchers from an Adivasi background might be able to share the medicinal traditions of their tribes in a medical college, debunking the myth that treatment always comes in a pricey little pill. This is not an easy task. We have a deep-rooted suspicion of traditional knowledge as not being 'scientific' and overcoming this suspicion along with discomfort with tribals who propagate it requires significant change in mindset."
Reading this kind of tripe makes me think that there should be some cut off for bovine manure in media
Thus spake doubtinggaurav at 5:16 pm
In an interview which concerned formation of a "predominantly" Muslim party in UP, Maulana Kalbe Sadiq (whom I had lauded earlier for his progressive view on need for reform in Indian muslims) makes a disturbing statement
'Common Muslim wants clergy in politics'
I think that if partition has any lesson, it is the need for muslims to come out of their siege mentality and engage in national discourse as individual citizen and not as a pressure group or voting block which means empowering the unscruplous individuals with personal agendas.
In a way, I am disapponted Maulana Kalbe is in general regarded as a moderate and such regressive steps coming from him is a setback.
But if history of partition tells that foundation of division of India was laid by moderate elements either due to misguided and incorrect judgement of the changing history or personal ambitions.
Aga Khan, Sir Sayyad Ahmed Khan, Iqbal and ofcourse Jinnah were hardly orthodox muslims.
And yet they were responsible for contributing to tragic events of 1947.
Ofcourse this is not to argue that Maulana Kalbe Sadiq is advocationg another partition.
However such kind of short sighted actions on his part is a disservice to all the Indians and most probably would end up marginalizing Indian muslims even further.
Thus spake doubtinggaurav at 5:15 pm
Continued from previous post
It is the SEZ as a policy and the wisdom behind that I question.
For this let me list the salient features of SEZ. [From WIKI]
1) Special tax incentives for foreign investments in the SEZs.
2) Greater independence on international trade activities.
3) To promote export.
First To develop India needs investment, foreign investment will be an important component in that. However tax incentives are not very effective in long terms,
Second International trade activities should not be restricted, period. This should be one of the principles of the economic policy and the law through out the country (and not only for a special region) should reflect this.
Third Trade is trade, whether it is export or domestic is of not much consequence. In principle if the producers are competitive they are as capable of competing in domestic market as in international market. A long list of economist (from Adam Smith downwards) have criticized this tendency of policy makers to overvalue exports due to mistaken notion of markets and enacting policies which subsidizes
Ultimately it all boils to what is the purpose of taxation and what is the purpose of laws.
Taxation should be as far as possible for purpose of financing the state and Law should be promugulated when they help in ensuring protection of freedom and rights.
Therefore having a differential rate of taxation and a different set of laws implies
1) Either that tax and laws in rest of the country are not what they should be.
2) Or the taxes and laws in special economic zones are not what they should be.
Both the cases are unaccpetable.*
By creating SEZ the powers that be either create Tax arbitrage. Further, this sort of shortcut neglects to address totally unjustified restrictions on Indian economy and irrational labour regulations.
Therefore the need of the hour is to focus on the fundamentals of economy and remove the flaws, and not to create arbitrarily and ill thought schemes borne out of control freaks in bureaucracy and legislature.
* In one case I do concede that giving financial incentives makes sense which is to direct growth towards backward areas, this is not only beneficial to the specific areas but also eases off the pressure of immigration from more developed areas.
Thus spake doubtinggaurav at 3:09 pm
Monday, May 22, 2006
Resident Idiot Deux is back, and How !
Via Indian Express
Terror sends reminder as India, Pak try to work on peace moves
"... As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh launches another round of consultations with the people of Jammu and Kashmir this week, and senior officials from India and Pakistan seek ways out of Siachen and Sir Creek disputes, today’s terrorist attack in Srinagar are bound to complicate the peace process .... "
"... While cross border infiltration is at a low level, India is concerned about the continuing incidents of terrorist violence and the renewed activity of Kashmir related Jihadi groups in Pakistan. If the violence in Srinagar today and the recent brutal attack on Hindu villagers in Doda district are part of a pattern, India might have no option but to rethink its current assumptions about the peace process. .... "
The only comparision which is odious enough with the present situation is that of a woman who is repeatedly raped and at the same time expected to romance with her rapists.
I wished that this moron was peddling such trash just to deceive others. That would have been simply been a case of fraud.
But what I am afraid of is that he and his ilk of candle kissers (courtsey CN) are so much seduced by their utopian ideals that they are deluding and deceiving themselves also.
And to think that these worthies constitute the intelletucal class of India and influence the public opinion.
Thus spake doubtinggaurav at 9:13 pm
Mandal II: Two Knowledge Commission members quit
I am still not sure what made Arjun Singh commit such a folly, the green eyed monster (at not being given a chance to grovel before the blessed lady) or dementia.
I still think that there is no positive outcome for Congress in terms of OBC support.
Infact populism as a strategy is of diminishing utility and can only result in bankruptcy.
Infact the present situation is proving to be proverbial chipkaali (lizard) for UPA government.
They risk losing upper caste votes and give identity based parties to gain a footholds in what is traditionally Congress area of influence.
Thus spake doubtinggaurav at 9:02 pm
This is for public service
1. Here is a simple rule, if you want to visit someone, inform prior to the visit. Contrary to your belief others do have a life which at times may be very busy. When you intrude without informing not only it is a brech of rules of a civil society, you compel your host to imagine most nasty things thus screwing his karma.
2. Another thing. You may think, that your kid is cute, infact (s)he might be an an exception to universal law of parental delusions and be cute in actuality. However what is not cute is giving that wretched brat of your a whistle and his (her) using it. At this point, although I in general adhere to principle of ahimsa, may turn into raging hulk and decide to commit a massacre (history is a testimony that far greater bloodsheds have been committed for far lesser trangressions ).
Your better senses can save lives of innocent bystanders and your fruit of carnal sins.
3. Do not jump queues. If it is something urgent, be so good to politely request person standing ahead of you. By jumping you piss me off. This is not advisable.
4. When attending a meeting keep your mobile on silent. Next time if the damn things rings, I am going to smash the bloody thing. There is an even chance that I will end up doing harm to the you also.
Thus spake doubtinggaurav at 8:25 pm
Friday, May 19, 2006
Not to be taken seriously
I have often wondered what can explain the sudden increase in cricket players coming from small towns with modest backgrounds, fortunately I had my Eureka moment this week while coming to home.
It has everything to do with airports.
You see while Delhi and Mumbai share the major burden of air traffic, the sole focus of any incumbent aviation minister is to distribute largesse to his constituency, because he is aviation minister only thing that he can do is to build an airport.
The result is while major airports languish in neglect, small towns have airports which they do not need.
Since there are no landings local genuises use airstrips for another purpose. Of a cricket pitch.
It is on these strips that our ambitious youngsters hone their skills.
This can be filed under law of unintended consequences. This is also socialism at work.
Thus spake doubtinggaurav at 9:15 pm
Two clueless op-eds
One by M J Akbar (normally sensible)
"... We must not lose what we have achieved through economic reform. But it is equally true that the next phase of economic growth is going to be impossible without a far greater commitment to equity and social change. If the first phase of economic growth was sustained by a Right Front, then the next phase will need a non-dogmatic Left Front in power. The poor will not wait much longer. If they are not included in rapid progress then they could even destroy what has been achieved....."
Right as if following socialism over five decades was not enough. Now reforms have to be given a asinine face so as to appease bleeding heart liberals and pander to every pressure group.
That it is impossible to distribute before producing and it is difficult (if not outright impossible) to produce for altruistic purposes should have been realized by proponents of welfare state by now.
Second clueless op ed
When in Trouble, Turn Left (Via Indian express),
"For Congressmen in a tight spot in the party, toeing the Left line increasingly appears a quick-fix solution. Problem is, Sonia Gandhi frowns on it"
"The current Left influence within the party, however, is not taken lightly by Sonia Gandhi, who certainly has a pro-poor tilt and is alive to the pros and cons of the market. "
Sonia Gandhi and Market ? If the blessed lady knew anything about economics she would not have pushed through no brainers like Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.
As an aside while after independence India has stagnated, dynasty has flourished.
Thus spake doubtinggaurav at 9:01 pm
Thus spake doubtinggaurav at 8:53 pm
Saturday, May 13, 2006
In his forward to Madeline 's latest book Former POTUS Bil Clinton blaimed "Hindu militants"for massacre of sikhs in Chattisinghpura.
Coming from a guy who famously asked the definition of is such kind of muddle headed statement is not surprising even though Bubba might have asked for some credible information before making such a crass and despicable statement. The way Bubba casually tossed out the statement it seems like millions of dollars paid for lobbying by NRIs were wasted.
What concerns me is the extent of anti India(and anti Hindu) propoganda in US.
Sadly even some second generation Indians (as a similarly vile allegation was published on a popular diasporic site) indulge in this, I don't know what is the reason behind but it must be something pathological and morbid.May be anxiety to adhere to american identity propels them to cast aspersions on India.
In related news of stupid vileness,
Some MPs in UK have formed a body to fight for right of self determination of various groups such as Sikhs, Naga, Tamils etc. UK has decided to do nothing. In my opinion India must do everything possible to make the indivuals engaged in such Kind of Anti India activity pay dearly for their follies. Then only these people will learn to behave.
Thus spake doubtinggaurav at 9:41 pm
Friday, May 12, 2006
In a recent post Nitin had an interesting aside.
Apparently one of the wise sages who reside Mumbai and who met Nitin made a profound statement.
According to the gentleman since traffic accidents kill more people in India that terrorism, therefore it is not justified to give such high priority to terrorism.
There are two ways to approach it.
We are citizens of India, and we constitute a Nation.
One of the most important reasons for forming a nation is protection from inside and from outside.
Responsiblity of a citizen therefore is to place highest priority and urgency on security of his fellow citizens. Terrorist seek to harm citizens and state throught deliberate violent acts.
To fulfill this he must do everything possible under the rule of law.
In my opinion if he shows indifference and non chalance he should be deprived of his citizenship.
This may sound harsh but I believe that citizenship of a nation has to be earned.
Now I could have understood if this statement was made by some wannabe who confuses form with substance. However when this sort of tripe comes from someone belonging to self professed group of deep thinkers who must have though this basic premise of nationhood, I can only conclude that there is something wrong with his moral compass and premises.
* To be fair Nitin's post doesn't explicitly state that someone did take this position.
Also if somebody did take this position in all sincerity his name is not mentioned.
Update: As Nitin mentions in comments it was not one of the bloggers. Therefore I stand corrected
Thus spake doubtinggaurav at 8:46 pm
Taking priviledge of my new found status (of unemployed/in transit youth), I watched 10 movies in 2 days.
Since my taste runs from indifferent to absurd, I will not bother with description of my follies. However there is one movie I can recommend, Flight 93.
Better people than myself have written a critique of the movie, so I will not even attempt deconstructing the movie.
The reason I liked the movie was because it shows in stark, without any attempt to soften the bitter blow, that the peace, one of the greatest achivement of modern civilization, that we all take for granted is in fact very fragile.
The nature of Islamic terrorism is not for a homeland, it is not even for perceived unjustice on Muslims by non believers through out the centuries, when it comes to the core this Jihad is just another name for nihilism.
These brutes claim supreme truth by dogmatic adhering to scriptures written sometime in medieval age, but the very irony is that the tool of their despicable trade are a result of modern age which is a result of age of reason and skepticism, Many people claim the ongoing war on terror as clash of civilization, but this is most incorrect.
Because it is not civilization on both side, on one side we have wisdom which creates and on the other side we have this incoherent rage which seeks destruction not for sake of creation but just for its sake.
I remain optimistic that for sake of humanity it is the reason which will prevail.
However by looking at the this war has been fough concerns me.
America while fighting is just obsessed with symbols, it has created a demaenology somewhat due to its christian nature and can not think beyond Osama and Saddam.
While the truth is these despicable creatures are just the symptoms and not the disase.
If US wants to succeed it has to go beyond superficial.
India on the other hand acts like Hanuman in self-doubt over his ability to cross the sea or Arjuna putting down his arms and deviating from dharma due to his love for his relatives.
Our polity has internalized shallow pacifism and pontification (shallow it is, because we don't hesitate to be cruel to fellow citizens) as the ideals. The result is even as intellectuals are dishing out rhetoric, enemis of India are bleeding her by thousand cuts.
What is the future of a nation and her people who refuse to confront the truth either out of callousness or sheer mortification.
Thus spake doubtinggaurav at 8:12 pm
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Today all of a sudden I found myself in deep shit.
At present I am to ride it out (wrong metaphor I know, give a guy who is in deep shit some break), as soon as I am able to reach more friendly level of shit I will resume the blogging.
Meanwhile just wanted to point out (lacking any sense of false modesty, or true for that matter)
that Atanu has put me on blogroll.
What can I say, I rule !!!!! But this is certainly not a good reflection on Atanu (Keediiingg).
Thus spake doubtinggaurav at 6:21 pm
SEZ (Special Economic Zone) is the flavour of season.
Counteries who in past decades followed and (failed in the process) various shades of communism and socialism in order to create egalatarian society based on distribution of wealth have realized to some extent that "there is no such thing as free lunch" (or TINSTAFL as Robert Heinlein put).
The result is the rush to embrace globalization and foreign investment. It is in this context that SEZ are seen as vehicle of growth. I do not think that establishing SEZ is a particularly bad idea.
Developing counteries have a certain percentage among its intellectuals and decision makers which can only be called socialist baggage. Particularly in a country like India which is democratic (and therefore susceptible to blackmail by pressure groups) the concept of free markets can not be introduced all of a sudden, SEZ acts a carrier of capitalism and neutralizes the red elements. But it is here that for me the usefulness of SEZ ends, that is as more or less political instrument against entrenched socialism.
That is what worries me, while decision makers may have realized that socialism is not implementable, they are still afflicted by a more basic and serious delusion, which is that of central planning. Central planning is more basic because it appeals to the basic instinct of domination, the obvious implication to central planning is that there are some guys who know better and hence economic activities is best left to their judgement. During the halcyon days of socialism these wise guys decided what should be the quota for scooters, what should be the quota for cement. Now these wise guys decide which areas should be marked as economic zone.
Therefore for them SEZ is not a tool but a policy, extent of central planning might have diminshed but it still remains bedrock of economics in India.
Thus spake doubtinggaurav at 10:49 am
Monday, May 08, 2006
I wrote earlier about violence in vadodara sparked due to demolition of a dargah by Municipal commision to demoliosh a durgah reported.
At that time I questioned the decision mostly on grounds of resistance by local commuinity.
While Vadodara is now quiet after intervention by Army,
I (as Swapan Dasgupta does) find the coverage of the incident by english media most biased.
In fact, it would not be very wide off the mark to claim that the media was trying to stoke communal fires and that too without any pretence.
In their ill concealed eagerness to knock Narendra Modi, practioners of "journalism of flatulance" have carried out the propaganda to suit their goals without regards to either the reality or even the consideration that total irresponsiblity of their reportage without regards to the fact can worsen the things.
The general picture projected by either Indian express, The Hindu or The Asian (and to a considerable extent Slimes also) was that Narendra Modi and BJP is attempting to consolidate the Hindu votes by deliberatily razing a place of worship and provoking Muslims.Further it was projected that Muslims were being persecuted by Gujarat Government. In short the same sort of exaggeration, half truths and out right lies to project a picture similar to post Godhra riots of 2002.
This ofcourse overlooks the fact that the order to demolish religious structures was passed by Gujarat High Court. Also that before the dargah was demolised many more Hindu temples had already been demolished.
Or when the violence started two Hindus were lynched by the Muslims mob.Or how a certain section of Vadodara muslim community tried to get their way by open threats of violence.Sad part is majority of Muslims will accept this as the gospel truth.
Hindu - Muslims reltation are very complicated.
This way of projecting that Muslims are always the wronged, victim or ever suffering minority overlooks that many time riots are started by members of Muslim community.
This is dishonest and does nothing but alienates the impressionable segment. Muslims have to understand that any progress of not only Muslims but all the Indians can not be accomplished by internalizing persecution complex.
PS CN also raises valid questions about objectivity of English media
Thus spake doubtinggaurav at 5:37 pm
Sunday, May 07, 2006
I had posted this earlier, but got deleted. Hence reposting. I HATE BLOGGER :-(
In shadow of reservations debate, India Inc steps up ,
"...... In the first major industry response to the government's call for greater private sector participation in social upliftment, the Mittal family-run Bharti Enterprises on Thursday pledged Rs 200 crore over the next few years to set up and run hundreds of primary schools across the country.... "
One of the reasons behind social disparity and relative backwardness of rural India is absence of education. This ofcourse is severe indictment of state which has failed to provide neccessary infrastructure.
From my personal experience in IIT, I have seen that given an opportunity for education many people will avail it. Many of my friends were from villages and had a very humble background.
Therefore there is a demand for education at reasonable cost and private sector can fulfill. Government can ensure fulfillment of its objectives by opening up education sector and giving enough incentives to private players.
This however doesn't make for a nice vote gathering strategy. Therefore political parties cutting through spectrum will go for measures like quota and restricting the private player.
Thus spake doubtinggaurav at 1:11 am
Saturday, May 06, 2006
Even then his latest piece of diversionary tactics suprises me.
He lambasts Natwar Singh and Jaswant Singh for criticizing the recent Indo - US nuclear pact and to buttress his argument for compromise from Indian side gives example of Chinese - Australian pact.
".... The full scope of Beijing's extra-ordinary commitments to ensure that the uranium it gets from Canberra is not used for military purposes was among the many nuclear issues discussed here by a high powered Australian delegation in the capital this week ....."
later in the article,
".... India's ability to get this done quickly is being undermined by nuclear nit-pickers who have been arguing that India has not got legal equivalence with China in the historic deal with Washington. But Beijing has had no problem accepting a virtual nuclear separation plan and permanent safeguards—two issues that proved to be so contentious in the Indo-U.S. negotiations ...."
Now for a moment, forget the politicians who are criticizing the deal.
Does there exist valid grounds to be concerned about
1) The deal as it was signed earlier by Manmohan Singh and President Bush.
2) The current negotiation of Bush administration with US Congress and resulting concessions that India is supposed to make.
The deal and the process leading to it has been analyzed thoroughly (and much better than I could do) by Cynical Nerd, Jaffna and Nitin Pai.
Reading their analysis (and ofcourse media coverage), to me following are the important aspects.
1) India has to seperate its civilian and military nuclear programs.
This is a minus as this will mean seperation of not only infrastructure but also seperation of human resources and therefore to and fro exchange between two programs will cease.
2) India gets fuel for energy.
This is a mixed blessing. While nuclear fuel supply will quench ever increading thurst for energy of a rapidly industrializing India, and reduce dependence on Oil sheikhdoms, it is neccessary to caution that dependence on nuclear cartel led by west which will not hesitate in arm twisting can be as bad as or even worse than present oil cartel.
3) Fast breeder reactors are not covered by inspection regime.
Not being a nuclear physicist and solely relying on media coverage about the promise it holds for energy independence for India, I will count it as a positive.
Considering the above I will give the deal a qualified approval.
Problem with C Raja Mohan's arguements is that he is unintentionally (or may be intentionally) harping on the first point and ignoring the second.
And yet it is the direction that the ongoing parleys with US Congress is taking which is a matter a serious of concern.
While it is not clear to me that whether Bush "forgot " to discuss this issue with US Congress before concluding the agreement or whether it is old "good cop, bad cop" gig, what I am clear about is that I do not like the
noises coming out of Capitol hill.
What US Congress is asking in effect amounts to India accepting conditions of Fissile Material Cut Off Treaty ,Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and even Anti Ballastic Missile Treaty.
While seperating our plans is acceptable, compromising on development of our nuclear weapens and delivery system and production of nuclear warheads is strictly off the table and can not afforded by India at any cost.
Therefore it is disingenuous for C Raja Mohan to compare China-Australia pact,which doesn't put obligations on China to curtail development of nuclear weapons (not that China is known for following the obligations) with Indo-US pact ,where it is high probability that in absence of sustained pressure by the opposition and media, Manmohan Singh will be too susceptible to concede the vital ground to Bush administration.
Thus spake doubtinggaurav at 9:49 am
Friday, May 05, 2006
Naushad prolific music composer, whose work gave (and still gives)meaning to life of millions of Indians has died.
He belonged to the golden era of Hindi Cinema when the movies had soul. When the artform had melody, innocence, wickedness, joy and pain. When filmmakers made movies not to appeal to baser instincts of human and when Urdu still thrived.
With him, Indian cinema has lost one of its greatest pillar.
Thus spake doubtinggaurav at 11:44 am
Perhaps keeping that in mind, there is a list published annually by foreign policy magazine which informs the public about the failed states.
The ranking is based on the degree of failure, with the dubious honour presumably going to state which is at the bottom and digging fast.
Anyway this year's list is out.
First India is at 93rd rung, which is one of the rare times that being at the bottom doesn't hurt. Ofcourse to the present generation stability of India and what is more its acceptance by world is a normal fact, however it was not always like that.
The creation of Republic of India was accompanied by one of the worst case of bloodbath in modern history. After the creation India was riven by regional dissension, Naxalism, wars with hostile neighbour, famine and general discontent. India beset by these challanges and in effect stumbling from one crisis to another was declared to be a perfect candidate for inevitable failure and balkanization in near future by political pundits. Disintegration of India and its bloody aftermath used to have a decent circulation among the wise people of the first world.
Pakistan on the other hand was a blue eyed boy of big shots in west.
Being a frontline state in "the great game" and being ruled by smooth talking military dictators it was assumed to be more stable state in the long run
However India survived, Pakistan on the other hand became victim of the same mentality which had cause its creation. I have ofcourse argued that the idea behind pakistan is untenable, but hindsight is always 20/20.
Anyway the main point that I wanted to make was that list of failed states do not serve any purpose.
Public prefers to remain ignorant unless it is too late ( "What me worry !") and the statesmen who are supposed to be decision makers follow their narrow agendas based on short term interest defined in exalted circles, the result often is worse than plain ignorance.
To anyone willing to gather information it is not much of a problem to get a reasonable indication of current world affairs, even with slant of liberal media. Therefore the list is more an excercise in fortune telling.
Thus spake doubtinggaurav at 11:14 am
Thursday, May 04, 2006
The contrast couldn't be greater between J & K which is top on security agennda and Sri Lanka consigned to files of South Block.
Cultural solidarity apart, it is imperative for Indian government from security as well as economic point of view to adopt a pro active approach.
Yet what is happening is at best called stalling and one of the major reasons behind this is Tamilnadu politics.
Both the ruling party and opposition have elements which have in past supported LTTE. These elements on which central government is dependant prevent New Delhi from getting more involved to ensure a stable polity in Sri Lanka. In fact, IPKF debacle about which public at large is ignorant was in part due to intrigues by entrenched interests either for political or ideological oneupmanship.
After Indian Army suffered large casualties ,in part due to volte face by then Sri Lankan government and kerrysque response of Rajeev Gandhi, India has deliberately avoided making any intervention in Sri Lanka (what with once bitten and twice shy).
Meanwhile peace process brokered by Norway has progressed at indifferent rate. However since the election of President Rajapakse who is known to have hard line leaning on Tamil issue, the atmosphere has been uncertain resulting in the bomb blasts by LTTE and subsequent Air raids by Sri Lankan army.
This is a time for Manmohan Singh to formulate and execute a policy on Sri Lanka in order to bring peace.
However New Delhi is reluctant to do that and the reason is behind the scene manipulation by those factions. Aim like earlier is political gain.
This ofcourse means that India loses opporutnity to bring stability into region and as the end result whole India is loser.
This hijacking of foreign policy for petty regional politics is as despicable as manipulation of foreign policy for communal purposes
Thus spake doubtinggaurav at 7:05 pm
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Via Indian Express
Pramod Mahajan passes away
I didn't know him personally and I can't vouch for him (or for that matter any other politician). While he was alive he took lots of heat, some justified, some out of sheer malice. I am also sure considering how nasty some bloggers may get there will be derision and toilet humour.
But I want to thank him.
My political awareness started (for better or for worse) with Ayodhaya and Mandal. Ayodhaya gave the Hindus, always made to bicker and fight among themselves by secularist (and tactic approval of a considerable section of muslim intellectuals) a rallying point, Mandal (shorn of all niceties) was and is a danger to me.
It is in this context that I (and many others like me) found resonance with BJP. Ofcourse secularists blame it on fundamentalism, but the simple fact is when you push anyone to wall, make them apologise for what they are they push back, in any way.
BJP for all its shortcomings remain the only party for me which has not cultivated or supported tenured idiots whose single point agenda is to demonize India & Hindus.
It was in this that Pramod Mahajan along with Sushma Swaraj was at forefront. His articulation won BJP many voters especially from the middle class and in his own right he had an all India presence.
The watershed was the 13 day government of A. B. Vajpayee. While it did not last, it achieved moral victory over secularists, who unable to withstand the resurgence of nationalist forces which do not undermine our cultural roots, ganged up for the sake of secularism.
The decision to televise debate was a master stroke and the way Pramod Mahajan and other BJP members put forward their arguments, contrasted with shrillness of left won over many of the middle class.
That debate made us proud. Mahajan and BJP showed there is a way forward for India which does not go through self abasement and Hindu degradation.
Thank you Mr Mahajan and may you find peace.
Thus spake doubtinggaurav at 4:53 pm
Vadodara: Violence escalates; man burnt alive
Although I do not have all the pertinent facts, to me it seems a prime example of inept handling of the situation.
It all started when Vadodara municipality demolished a dargah for road widening despite objection of muslim community. Article that I cited reports that Dargah was demolished because it was illegal, however it also reports that it was
300 200 years old so I am a bit puzzled.
But still it boggles my mind that local administration which must have been aware of the discontentment acted in such a heavy handed manner.
If it is true that dargah was really old and venerated place for local community, authorities could have tried to relocate the shrine, even if it was not the case, authorities could have handled it with care.
In my last post (which was related), I had criticized Malaysia for being insensitive to Hindus, I am afraid that local administration doesn't exactly come out as very competent.
The anatomy of riots in India is very complicated and I hope that someday I will be able to write about it.
Sandeep writes about media bias. To say that secular media is biased like saying Paris Hilton is trash, but local administration was inept in this case.
Anyway if he thinks Indian Express is biased he should sample Asian age
Modi tried to raze Gujarat mini-Babri. And this
Gujarat under NCM fire over demolition. And this CPM criticises razing of dargah .
Usually M. J. Akbar displays signs of coherence and sanity, but well I guess "Everybody hates Narendra Modi" must be a really popular sitcom in secular circle
Thus spake doubtinggaurav at 11:01 am
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Here is the deal,
I am sick of this unrestricted internalization of all things western.
I have already given up on pub and loud music. "Dudes" will pretend to like acid rock even if they are as ignorant as they come where finer points of music is concerned, they will also like to "hang out " in pubs, drink alcohol and smoke tobacco, all this for sake of being "in", because noone wants to be out, unless "out" is "in".
However I still find my outraged .
One, I understand Indian cinema whatever be the language is heavily inspired by hollywood, I also understand that considering the lousy IP laws in India, there is no way Indian producers are going to be sued for inspiration. But, even then what is need for being so blatant about it.
Why use terms like bollywood, kollywood or tollywood, why not use last ounce of creativity and coin something which is original and catchy at the same time (I can not think of any, but I am a software programmer not an artist).
Two, I am gettng sick of overuse of "desi" and "pundit". If you want to have a cool blogname (mine doesn't), please stop prefixing or suffixing these in your name.
Thus spake doubtinggaurav at 6:33 pm
This is a confession. I am different, have always been like that. It is only with great resolve that I am coming out of closet.
The realization that I was different, not normal, not with the crowd dawned very early when I was just a kid. People, including friends and relatives had reaction to my preference (which was far from common) ranging from amusement to suspicion and sometimes downright negativity.
As I grew up and realized the reason for the reactions, I became bewildered. How can I be blamed for something over which I had no control. But blamed I was, and much worse.
Even my mother was blamed for my abnormality. She took the blame and supported me, even though it was a strain but she did not let my lifestyle choice come in way of her love.
I grew up insecure and lonely being ridiculed and jeered at every step, not for what I had done, but for what I was.
Friends and relatives considered it normal interrogating a vulnerable child about why the way I was. Others asked why I was not ashamed of being a deviant, then there were others who claimed that just because this was not the "right" way I must be "crooked " and therefore to be avoided at all cost.
My stay at my ulma mater wasn't any better. Despite all the hype, alumni of my institution can be very insensitive.
For the four years I lived there, I was the "butt" of jokes and most abused toilet humour.
My professional life is more or less same, I am considered an oddity, someone who is not human.
But still even after being subjected to indignities and ridicule, I have never hidden my identity. I am what I am, and prejudice of ignorant mass can not change what I consider is right. It did however change some of my friends, one of my best friends VNS, who used to be different like me, was forced to give up his alternative lifestyle and be normal, few others hide for fear of retribution and injustice.
Every religion, every society in all the times have wronged and vilified us.
Ans yet noone hears our plight. We have been considered sinister and work of devil.
This is going to change !
On this blog, today I proudly proclaim that I am a south paw, and that is what I remain come what may.