This piece of mine was published nowhere and world is a better place for that.
We live in times when progress is often denoted in statistical terms. This is in marked contrast with earlier times when any mention of statistics was considered vulgar and hence pointedly ignored in polite society much like flatulence or star wars. However with the decline of social mores and prevalence of promiscuity statistics has found acceptance in social setting, and shockingly even in policy related discussions.
Now as it turns out that even with statistics there are various measures which can be used to track progress, change in GDP, per capita income, rise in food consumption, each measure illuminating the reality from just particular view point. The question arises, then which is the best measure of India's progress.
It is my considered opinion that one very good measure is number of vehicular accidents. Number of accidents is on rise across India. The data available shows a sharp upturn during last decade in accidents and fatalities caused by them. Now as it happens many commentators are express concern over this trend, regretting loss of the lives and the limbs and demanding policies to ensure road safety. I regret to say, however, that they have not been thinking logically and thinking it through.
For the reality is, the rise in accidents is something which we should be celebrating and not regretting, as it is the single best measure of rising prosperity level. It is not difficult to figure out the reason behind this either. It means that more and more people are now finding the means to own vehicles and to go out and crash them on their own terms.
If we think that merit of society should be decided by the level of prosperity that individuals are able to attain, and indeed it must be, then surely accidents are good news. And for this, we don't need to credit recklessness, the rise of accidents all over world is a consequence of technology and can be best understood in terms of economics.
In all hand wringing over accidents, the critics fail to realize the true significance of this phenomenon. In earlier ages (when stars wars was considered impolite) , the only modes of transport available were those which were powered by energy harnessed from oxidation of ATP, a decidedly biochemical process undergoing in human or animal cells. The output from was clearly insufficient for transportation. As a result the movement was extremely time consuming. The only exceptions to this were chariot driven by Charlton Heston which was totally cool and raids by Barbarians which was a thoroughly unpleasant business.
Things changed to some extent with invention of steam engine. The power available for movement increased almost exponentially. Ideally this should have seen much desired spike in accident figure, but unfortunately it was not to be. Owing to its sheer size, external engine could not be used for personal transport. Therefore while number of accidents did arise, it was still inappreciable. But a technological revolution was to change this sorry picture.
That revolution was invention of internal combustion engine, which considerably decreased the weight as well as eased manufacture of smaller and lighter vehicles, which fueled by oil could provide enough power to make possible faster mode of transportation even for individuals.
This breakthrough meant that for the first time in the history of mankind, the speed of commute was more than what human reflexes could handle which meant almost exponential increase in incidents. And yet this is not the whole story.
At this point you must be wondering what has invention of internal engines and motor vehicles, events which took place a long time ago, got to do with Indian progress. Here comes the economics. Anyone who has read The Undercover Economist or Freakonomics might have guessed the answer. The underlying theme of both the books is that quirky manipulation of data combined with random economic concept can make any stark raving, free association, half ass, dumb shit crazy analysis sound cool, which is basically the philosophy behind such venerable publications as livemint, and such reputable bloggers as H.E.
Keeping that in mind, the connection of accidents with India shining is obvious. Prior to liberalization of economy, an average Indian didn't have sufficient disposable income after accounting for household consumption to buy personal vehicle which was considered luxury. To further complicate the matters, restrictions on manufacture and import in form of manufacturing and import permits and licenses limited the availability of motor vehicles.
This however changed during 90's. Rise in income level coupled with easier availability of vehicles had the result of making affordable what was once luxury.
This of course meant a sudden surge in number of vehicles of road. It is therefore natural that accidents increased. There is a further aspect. Drunken driving, a subcategory has shown higher increase than general trend. This is also a good news, as this implies that consumption of alcohol, decidedly a luxury good, is also increasing thus indicating overall increase in prosperity.
But this observations has implication which go beyond economic indicator. For long Indians have been accused of being risk averse, a charge validated by slow speed with which bajaj scooters plodded in days of yore carrying the burden of Indian family. However reckless driving, driving under influence and driving rage are all indicators that mindset of average is transforming from cautious to a confident.
I don't think anyone can object to rising prosperity and confidence, which will allow Indians in pursuit of happiness. The accidents are bound to continue their upwards trend for a long time. In my opinion this is something we should be celebrating.
Next: Why we should celebrate AIDS.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
This piece of mine was published nowhere and world is a better place for that.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Related posts ,,,
Yossarian is right of course, as is the fallen one, or for that matter Sandeep. But that is hardly the issue, I hope it doesn't come as a surprise to anyone (except perhaps for the paragon of secular right, primary red), but it has been a while since it became clear that Shivraj Patil and Arjun Singh are, not to put too fine a point, nincompoops. Or for that matter Manmohan Singh is an incompetent and petty man, more interested in holding to his honorary post for dear life than discharging his duties with honour, more anxious to serve that wretched widow, than to serve the nation. An utter disgrace, who makes even Inder Kumar Gujral look competent by comparison
But that is not the point. Governments suck, we all know that. What is really outrageous here is the manner in which liberal-secular media has been playing a partisan role since last decade.
Even after it is clear that duo of Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh is nothing but a miserable failure, even after observing the cynical manipulation and perverse pandering by the UPA government for sake of vote banks, even after the unwitnessed decline of Prime Minister's authority, and the emergence of multiple power centers in the government acting like feudal chiefs without any collective responsibility or accountability, more concerned with looting the Republic than serving its cause, even after all this, there has been absolutely no attempt by our eminent journalists, defenders of secularism and guardians of enlightenment, to interrogate either Manmohan Singh or Sonia Gandhi. The sins of omissions and commissions committed under the political authority of both the worthies are so extensive and the proof of their indifference so irrefutable it would be reasonable to expect a "neutral" media to come out with stinging op-eds indicting the unworthies for their failures.
Instead, how do the worthies in media respond, a deafening silence. Sure there are sporadic reports suggesting the extent of wheeling dealing going on, but they are quietly suppressed. And even if there is negative coverage of some particular minister that is never brought to its logical conclusion, which is that it is Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi who are ultimately answerable for the actions of ministers. Instead the media persists in its attempt to portray Manmohan Singh as a well intentioned, honest man, who is too good for politics and Indians should feel grateful that he deigned to be our master, instead of the truth that he is a career bureaucrats interested only in his tenure, not unlike some liberal academic. Similar is the narrative built around Sonia Gandhi, a reluctant royal figure whose only overriding concern is welfare of her subjects, one consumed by the state of nation, whereas by her actions she has proven that she is a shrew only interested in maintaining stranglehold of dynasty even at the price of great peril to nation. Indeed, the reluctance of brave media persons to affix the responsibility of governance is remarkable.
The blatant partisanship of media is even more obvious when compared with its behaviour towards NDA dispension. How Arun Shourie and George Fernandez, two to the most honest minister were continuously smeared, how Ram Naik was attacked for petrol pump allocation. Or the way Rajeev Pratap Singh Rudy was hounded. Or consider the derision that Atal Bihari Vajpayee got for his knee problems. Or how NDA was target of a sustained smear compaign by an enthusiastic media ready to pounce upon every lie and deceitful allegation as a brahma vakya.
Contrast this with present dispensation when even allegation of PMO involvement in nepotism is shrugged off.
To understand this behaviour, we have to understand that media has an ideological agenda. And to this further this agenda, viz. imposition of liberal-secular sensibility on Indian conscious, that media frames the narrative, by controlling and manipulating the information and claiming unquestionable moral authority by appointing itself as the neutral umpire of the political intrigue, and a defender of the hapless common man.
And it is to achieve this end that media ignores to address the little matter of where does the buck stop.
You see the problem is much deeper than political. The malaise pervades the very foundations of public discourse and corrodes the vitals of nation. It must be destroyed to preserve the civilization.
PS. Ashok Malik says it much better than I can
Those of you who thought that UPA government was gutless, spineless and shameless, think again.
See it is all about priorities.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Individualism as a end results in the most pathetic kind of conformity. Hence the demographics of hard rock.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
ship H.E. out to Iceland" fund.
This, even by the low expectations that one has set for H.E., is a crime to writing.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
And it is with tepid nonchalance that hell is unleashed
Monday, May 19, 2008
I have to agree with Rohit , this is certainly one of the better articles in recent times. Having said I disagree with him on highlighting what in my opinion is the weakest argument, and for drawing flawed inference.
Before I continue, I admit I have no idea how messed up BRTS really is, however since it is generating so much outrage, I assume that it's not a brilliant idea, for better analysis you don't have to go farther than the linked article.
My problem is that I place a much lower importance on aspirational angle, because emotional arguments are always difficult to factor in policy decision, and therefore unless the cost to ignoring emotions is huge, which is certainly not the case now, it is better to focus on tangible factors.
Similarly for the charge of elitism. Elitism, simply put is when a group carries the discourse in a manner which presumes that it knows what is better for the whole society, of course there is always an element of selfishness is involved in that, but it is more do with self perception that a group has about its capability. In that way whether we accept or not, most of the educated are elitist, the only distinction being how tight we draw the circle.
In contrast when people who already have personal vehicles seek to bar the entry of others, it is because they are being selfish in wanting to maximize their convenience, and as roads are a common resource and not in a sufficient amount, means that their effort to maximize for convenience means discomfort for others. This is understandable. However to frame a policy for a common resource the effort must to maximize the utility function of whole community.
The issue then boils down to how the utility function must be defined for the common resource that is to be be allocated and any policy must address this question.
Now in this particular case the opposing factors are access and convenience. In my opinion the best strategy is to levy a toll tax for entering busy roads and using the revenue generated for public welfare. But there might be variations on this.
For example, some may decide that convenience of residents is more important than access to non residents, or they may decide that everyone should be able to commute to earn their livelihood.
This brings me to another point, the policies reflecting these variations can be best decided and best altered according to the circumstances by local communities themselves. Left to themselves they will arrive at a decision which reflect their preferences.
Which is the one of the main problems with BRTS, in absence of participation by policymakers the decisions were taken by academicians sitting in ivory tower (As pointed by Rohit).
Sex and the city (the movie) will soon be out. To survive that kind of manure, here is some help (Definitely NSFW)
Saturday, May 17, 2008
On whether FiTW is racist sob for saying that dark skinned people may be less beautiful, or Rohit, contrary to description of his carnal adventures in lurid detail on streetcar, a hopeless, insecure nerd who will end up with an inflatable doll.
But first things first. You guys are so inconsiderate, why you have to spoil my happiness by discussing skin colour when you should be discussing bitchitude and uglitude of Nandita Das. To paraphrase Michelle Obama, you people are just downright mean.
Anyway, now I have no definitive answers to the question of skin colour, so what follows is reckless speculation.
I think basic arguments in support of "fair is lovely" can be summarized as follows.
1. Fairness acts an indicator of physical health.
Now this may have some merit, to be precise I do think a ruddy complexion may give appearance of a healthy constitution, I am not sure that it is wholly accurate, especially in case of Indians, who do not in general have full blooded appearance, with the possible exception of Kashmiris and Punjabis . A better indicator than level of melanin, in my opinion, is the skin texture or tone, a healthy flawless luminescent skin , with a balanced oil/moisture/whatever content appears to be a better biological indicator of overall health, and one which should be the dominant factor in perception of beauty as far as it is influenced by forces of evolution. And I don't believe that skin tone/texture bears any correspondence to melanin. For example, in my limited observation Bengalis and Keralites have a better skin tone than rest of India, despite not being overly melanin deficient. In absence of additional information, at least in case of Indians, to me the argument seems weak.
2. Fairness is an indicator of absence of physical labour and therefore affluence.
I am not sure about this. I have read somewhere (possibly some offhand comment made by Rajeeb at shittymutiny) that light skin was (is ?) considered a mark of noble birth among native tribes of Andes as well as some parts of Africa. Now this may be true, but I am not sure that it has to do with indication of lack of physical labour, basically even a lifetime of leisure can not make that appreciable difference in melanin levels, and the time period required for evolution to kick in is too large (if that is possible) and I will be surprised if any royal bloodline continue for that long. Moreover if the proposition that body features which signal affluence are a factor in perception of beauty, is accepted, then a more appropriate criteria would be signs of sedentary lifestyle such as obesity, however this is hardly ever the case (with the possible exception of late Roman antiquity). Therefore I doubt that such preference has to do with an indicator of affluence.
3. Fair skin is an indicator of hygiene.This may be true, however it must be tested to see how much it is behind the bias for fair skin.
4. Preference for fair skin prevalent in Indian society is racial in nature a product of subjugation by fairer races in the past.
This is the position held by Rohit, Sriram and Ritwik. I agree with the basic thrust of the argument, however I suspect that the mechanism and history by which preference became prevalent is complicated than what they suggest. Briefly I think that preference could be due to introduction and gradual absorption of victors in the existing social hierarchy. Basically those with fairer complexion will be more likely to identified with the victors and therefore in that way it does make sense for preference for fairer skin. In this Indian preference for fair skin is akin to Latin American scenario .
It is just a conjecture and it is not possible for me to check its veracity in absence of available data. However I do disagree with them on how it might have occurred.
Rohit says that such preference is due to British rule. I doubt this is true. The physical differences between British and Indians were so stark, that it was impossible for Indians to pass off as British. Socially British formed a separate group with rare mingling (Anglo Indians), thus ruling out any absorption, this had to do with the nature of colonialism. Perhaps this started with invasion of Muslims from central-Asians and Persians. However even though they were assimilated to a much greater degree than British, there was still clear distinction between the invaders and natives owing to their faith, though it is still possible that preference for skin colour was a result of conversion.
The most possible scenario to me seems is that this bias was a result of successful invasions launched by central Asians over several centuries. However I doubt that this is the case of AIT as Ritwik alludes to in the comment, which as far as I remember is considered a doubtful translation of Sanskrit text owing to racial biases of 19th century.
A study of Indian literary sources can confirm the speculation depending on the extent it shows bias towards fair skins. To best of my knowledge in classical texts, most of the prominent Gods are depicted as having dark skins example being Shiva, Rama, Krishna, as are various Goddesses and heroines, such as Sita, Draupadi etc.
Which brings us to the trouble with all this dark skin-fair skin issue. Because of its possible roots in racial biases, preference of fair skin has less to do with beauty than with a sense of being socially superior.
Which is why while usually other traits are positive in the sense that one is appreciated for the presence of the traits, their absence doesn't result in one being made to feel inferior. The examples that come to mind are hair,eyes,nose etc.
In contrast being dark in India means to be in constant awareness of your melanin level. Since childhood everyone from friends to relatives never let you forget of that, you are constantly compared and declared to be inferior. It may sound hyperbole, but for a child to grow up being constantly subjected to overt and implied discrimination is simply humiliating, and it is worst with the girls in India. The result is insecurity and resentment which may last for lifetime, and perpetuation of the vicious cycle. Considering that Indian are by and large skinned, it means a lot of unhappiness for lots of people.
This should be obvious to any Indian except eminent dunce.
Update: Rohit has written a well formulated rejoinder to the post. He argues, and I find his arguments reasonable, that it was possible that bias against dark skin might have been a result of British colonialism. Read his posts for detail, but the basic idea is that conquered will likely imitate the victors almost instinctively, kind of imitation (or as her uses the term integration).
I must add the caveat that this too is a hypothesis and needs additional information before we can be confidant about it. One way to test this may be to contrast the bias between predominantly rural and predominantly urban communities/class(On the assumption that urban communities/class having a closer interaction would probably be more affected with the bias touch with bias).
This brings a related point, one which has been raised by Rohit as well, even if it was not possible for subjugated Indians to directly identify with British on basis of complexion, they still sought identification by adapting to British customs, from manner of speech to outlook. Much of it was benign of course, but a non trivial part of this were to condition Indians to accept their identity as inferior for eternity. One of its more repugnant examples was the enthusiasm with which many educated Indians embraced the whole claptrap of 19th century racial theories about Aryans. Just so that you can put it in perspective, the popular racial theories were always pseudo-science and were the harbinger of eugenics and by extension Nazism. One of such jarring acceptance came from a well known Indian.
"Ours is one continued struggle against degradation sought to be inflicted upon us by the European, who desire to degrade us to the level of the raw Kaffir, whose occupation is hunting and whose sole ambition is to collect a certain number of cattle to buy a wife with, and then pass his life in indolence and nakedness."*
"It is one thing to register natives who would not work, and whom it is very difficult to find out if they absent themselves, but it is another thing -and most insulting - to expect decent, hard-working, and respectable Indians, whose only fault is that they work too much, to have themselves registered and carry with them registration badges."*
The curious case of libertarian attraction with Ayn Rand bordering on obsession is properly understood as a case of oedipal complex. This mania with Objectivism is a natural result of suppression of sexual longing for one's mother, or in other words, for libertarians Ayn Rand is surrogate for their mother.
Note to ma'am, omega males are not absolutely omega. In fact it could be much worse
Heard on Radio City, a conversation between some idiot RJ who plays agony aunt and even more stupid girl.
RJ. Hello, may I speak to Stupid Girl.
SG. Hey, I am so glad you called.
RJ. So, you wanted to discuss something ...
SG. Well I was in relationship with this guy but he dumped me after having fun, the next one did the same. Now my best friend of five years has proposed to me. What should I do?
RJ. Do whatever your heart says.
Right! That worked nicely last two times. My advice to stupid girl . Become a lesbian. Because even omega males have standards, you know.
Friday, May 16, 2008
nothing advocated by well-meaning literary men ever happens *
Thursday, May 15, 2008
"I understand when you're running for office you sometimes think the world revolves around you. That is not always true. And it is not true in this case."
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Bomb blast *
1. Muslim backlash against Babri\Bombay riots\Godhra
2. Muslim backlash against Hindu fascism.
3. Muslim backlash against Islamophobia.
4. Muslim backlash against rich Marwari bastards.
5. Muslim backlash against Manmohan Singh's insomnia.
Update: Or may be it is a backlash against Pokhran. Sad thing is I don't feel any outrage even.
Update 2: Excuse for the profanity, but here is your enemy you clueless wananbe liberal NRI retards.
Update 3:Oh dear , it was the Hindoos behind all this, no information on whether jeeeews were also involved. Developing.
Update 4: Outrage ! Muslims are being persecuted. Where is my secularist signal.
* If it turns out that it was the work of Islamic terrorists.
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Please comment for test .
Now a topic for discussion.
Attention wordpress users
Plugins is for wuss, real men do raw HTML.
PS. To mollify
gay penguin lover respected wordpress user, here is a smart Sci-fi story.
PPS. Has someone changed the meaning of "mixed feelings", while I was looking elsewhere. Because this is not "mixed feelings" for sure. Anyway I am hopeful about kid, already he is writing like Annie Zaidi, or Shivam the wonder boy, soon he will be writing like big boob himself.
Confused calls FiTW ass, FiTW retaliates by calling him ugly. Now, what's this guys, don't fight please. Go ahead, kiss and make up.
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
First they came for gay penguins, and I did nothing because I was not a gay penguin ...
Respected Ma'am (and good folks at DP), take note.
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
I left the theater when the credits started rolling missing Samuel. L. Jackson as a result, which is a shame, as I am unabashedly Jacksonian.
That aside I don't what to say about movie, not havin read Iron man, I was not connected to the franchise, that way movie does a commendable job of introducing protagonist Tony Stark and following development of his alter ego.
Robert Downey Jr fits the role to T. His flamboyance and swagger reminds you of Captain Jack Sparrow. Actions sequences are flawlessly and never fail to induce thrill and rush.
Having said that, I didn't find the story engaging, there was a lack of coherence possibly due to introduction of political angle in form of military industrial complex, further in attempting to explain the back story the pace gets bogged down, which was a major distraction.
I must confess here, I am not a big fan of superhero genre, the only movies I genuinely liked being Spider-Man, and Batman . I was bored to death by X Men franchise, Fantastic Four etc, though I felt that Superman Returns and (surprisingly) Hellboy were passably good
Cerebral actress Nandita Das speaks about her latest film, “It is a small way of dispelling the myth and perception that Pakistan is our enemy. There is this whole idea tha t Pakistan is another country, but I don’t feel like an Indian living in Pakistan. In fact, to do a film in Malayalam and Tamil is in some ways more difficult than doing one in Pakistan.”
Speaking of which what exactly goat lover finds attractive in her. Now, I can understand if people are fascinate by superficiality and narcissism of pretend intellectuals, but, by God, she is so mind numbingly whining.
Monday, May 05, 2008
Sunday, May 04, 2008
You have got to be kidding me.
I know it may sound hysterical, but tyranny that results from error of judgment of masses is most dangerous because it is dismissed as will of masses until it is too entrenched in the body politic.