Condescension, after all, is the mother of socialism. *
Saturday, February 28, 2009
Friday, February 27, 2009
Which book(s) you will like to see on screen.
1. Starship Troopers .
2. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress .
3. 1984 .
4. Chandrakanta & Chandrakanta Santati 
 Yes Paul Verhoeven made one , without reading the novel and gave movie a fascists bent. I want Indian characters to be included with Shahid Kapoor playing Rico .
 Adapted to India, the background being that Indira Gandhi never lifted emergency. Now most of you kids might not know, but Indira Gandhi lifted emergency because she was convinced she will win the elections, and not because of any pressure. Or so I have read somewhere.
 I know the serial sucked big time, but trust me, the novel is better.
 Captures history of early 20th century Bengal much better Devdas or Parineeta.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
... but why exactly are Indians celebrating for SDM ?
Update: Look, I haven't seen the movie so I have no idea that it is in fact poverty porn, but in case of westerners depicting India, I always assume guilty until proven innocent, not very enlightened I agree, but I can not forget Temple of Doom or City of Joy , so easily. Also please don't praise this film for realism and at the same time excuse over the top portrayal (Jamal running through excreta, what is this Trainspotting !) by saying "but it is just a film"
Update 1 : Arghhh, I don't want to comment on it anymore, but gross stupidity like this compel me otherwise. It is as if there is some guideline to cram as much triteness as possible (real India, spirit of Mumbai). All right here is the thing, I am not a big fan of realistic or art cinema, watching the trials and tribulations of life is too taxing for me to enjoy as cinema especially after working for a week, Govinda is good enough for me, thank you very much. Now if someone does enjoy realistic cinema, I have no problem. What I have problem reducing reality to cliche of authenticity. Dharavi is real, so is Nariman Point, or Malabar Hills, or Dadar, or Ghatkopar, just because someone doesn't live in slums doesn't make him or her phony, inauthentic, a ghost, there is more to India or Mumbai than what the clique of compulsive compassion imagines.Still, poverty and slums are parts of reality and I don't object to the portrayal per se. Problem arises when this kind of cinema becomes launching pad for a thousand sanctimonious sermons on Indians should be doing more for poverty alleviation, often delivered by glib morons who have hardly ever done anything in life for poor. This in effect trivializes serious issue of poverty to a object to massage bloated egos of self righteous conceited class and derive visceral pleasure by shaming the public at large. While this gratifies the chattering class, this kind of preening pontification does nothing to further objective of poverty alleviation, in fact these kind of tactics just alienate people by breeding resentment.
Update 2: Prasannaji is miffed that Congress is claiming credit for Oscars . With due respect to him, I don't see what the big fuss is all about. Without Congress rule for 50 years we won't be having any slums and therefore no Slumdog, so yes Congress does deserve the credit for Oscars. After all without poverty where will pimps of poverty be.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
In the post modern era victimhood can be monetized.
I second, and third, and fourth this.
LISTEN YOU SECULAR MORONS. STOP PROPPING KAMASUTRA AND KHAJURAHO. All right I am sorry, let me rephrase it. Listen you secular morons. Stop propping Kamasutra and Khajuraho as a representative of Indian culture. Firstly, Kamasutra and Khajuraho are not just porn, there is much more than sex there. Secondly, they were never supposed to represent daily life of public of that era. Thirdly culture is dynamic, therefore rather than debate authenticity, debate desirability.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Some thoughts, mostly disjointed, provoked by Mangalore incident.
Playing fast and loose: Now I realize as a Hindutva Fascist, I should be loathing "pink chaddi campaign" as nonsensical, frivolous, and indicative of moral turpitude. Well, I don't. To be clear, I do not completely endorse the campaign, and I am not enthused by the idea that this campaign just ratchet ups the hysteria of the chattering classes or that it feeds the narcissism (people must be getting bored of this by now -ed, who cares, they don't pay me, screw them) of self righteous class.
Nevertheless, I reluctantly find my self on the same side of fast, forward and loose womyn for the simple reason that a line must be drawn somewhere. And the simple condition is this, it is absolutely unacceptable to inflict physical injury on a woman*, no matter how earnest or sincere perpetrators are about their objectives.
Beyond this there is not much that I have to say on the merits of this campaign. Sending underwear may be ridiculous, but often ridicule is a effective weapon. Nor do I really fault whoever behind this campaign for diverting the attention from whatever great debate that India is supposed to be engaged at presently (If anything Messrs Pramod Muthalik and Raj Thackeray are more worthy of this distinction), or enthusiastically aligning with liberal-secular establishment to caricature the debate between traditionalism and modernity ("traditionalists" usually seem to be hell bent on discrediting tradition ) to continue to undermine and stigmatize traditionalism.
The end of illusion (of civil society): Now our secular liberal establishment is utilizing this to the hilt in order to "secularize" terrorism, however the issue is more troublesome. Yes what Pramod Muthalik and his sena did was indeed outrageous, but before people start ringing alarm bells for "Hindoo peril", it should be pointed out that in tactics what Sri Ram Sene did is no different from what Dravidians frequently do in TamilNadu , or what Gujjars did in Rajasthan or Marathas did in Maharashtra or what MNS is doing in Mumbai or what Kannadigas have done in Karnataka, Sri Ram Sene is guilty of nothing more than employing the tactics guaranteed to be most effective in our political system of mobocracy (or extreme democracy ).
Now comes the tricky part, I concede Indian experience of democracy has never been one of dispassionate deliberations by epistemological modest intellectuals but an uneasy concoction of multitude of identities jostling for material and social rewards, a million mutinies if you will, but even then there was a tradition of arguments, a willingness to talk and listen. I am afraid that tradition is being lost, we are not willing to talk or listen.
How it came to pass. Even accounting for demagoguery there still remain agents who have aided in this degradation, one is the culture of grievance that has been encouraged by our secular-liberal establishment, where the claims to victimhood has become not only the standard modus operandi for political patronage, but also an ideal for society organized on secularism, second, which pertains specifically to simmering cultural tensions, is the incessant demonization of Indian tradition so as to achieve a state of social tabula rasa for purpose of secular indoctrination.
Our intellectual, all of them dyed in wool secularists liberals stress the importance of a civil society, where it is possible to hold conversation for common welfare. However it is impossible if one side is always denigrated and slandered, if it is declared to be out of bounds.
* Or for that matter on a man, or property. I will confess however, the very idea of anyone hurting woman makes my blood boil, I am MCP that way.
After all, if one cries wolf long enough, wolf obliges. (To be continued ...)
Thursday, February 19, 2009
India is the only country that went from poverty to nihilism without affluence in between.
Original Oscar Wilde quote here .
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
If you follow economic discussions then sooner or later you are bound to encounter arguments like this, which somewhat parallels the summary of argument presented in I,Pencil, that of spontaneous order. Now I might be wrong but I find the parallel between free market and evolution erroneous.
To summarize the spontaneous order/evolution-free market argument, it goes something like since evolution demonstrates how complex organisms can emerge from simple organism through random mutation and natural selection, free market left to its own devices, can function with the need of a "guiding hand". This comparison is absurd, to say the least. Support for government intervention doesn't rest on government as creator/"designer" of markets, but to the debate, that between free market and interventionist policies which system is more efficient .
And while "theory of evolution" does describe the mechanism where by life on earth has evolved, it is not a survey of which life form among present life forms is more "fit", restricting itself to the rather tautological statement that only the fittest will survive.
Seen from this point of view both free market and interventionism are two different form of economic systems, with role of government comparable to constituent sub-system of specific life form (some organ for example).
This is not to say that I think that interventionism is a good policy. However my rather low opinion of socialism is due to living in a socialist country and not due to rigorous economic analysis.
In my opinion the reason socialism fails has to probably do with imperfection of information conduit, and concentration of power .
Whatever the actual reason though, to prove that free market is indeed more efficient than government intervention requires a more detailed argument backed with proofs than this simplistic comparison.
Friday, February 13, 2009
In Judaism, the deity is God of retribution
In Christianity, the deity is God of mortification
In Islam, the deity is God of submission
All right, reading this I was once again afraid that the cheap bastards of Bollywood were once again reading my thoughts , but then a little bit of googling brought me to this, which means that atleast that the team was inspired by real events and were not messing around with my awesome brain.
Which brings me to the point, if you have to make a film about serial killers why not directly go to the most bizarre i.e. Raghav. Better known as Aakda maar (or Kanpati mar, according to overlord in the comment), he went on a rampage in 60's mostly killing poor slum dwellers. Finally, he was apprehended on Ganesh Visarjan, but was sentenced to life imprisonment as he was found mentally unfit (I believe he claimed that Surya commanded him to murder). This incidentally was one of my many ideas for a film. And now, it is gone.
PS. Why stop at Stoneman though, what about kaccha baniyan gang ?
Update: Hell, why should only Bollywood benefit from my awesomeness, even Hollywood deserves some benefaction. Here is one, film on Duke Lacrosse controversy .
Another Update: There is an idea for a Facebook Application, "Which famous serial killer are you". Seriously these stupid applications are, well, killing.
Yet Another Update: Let me confess here, I think Hannibal as enacted by Anthony Hopkins is kind of overrated.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
I am not admonished by self righteous people* , I preemptively condemn any act of hooliganism during Valentine's day. Further to show that I am sincere, I chide all the bloggers who have failed to preemptively denounce such hooliganism. To further cement my righteousness I sincerely regret indifference of bloggers towards bloggers who fail to preemptively chasten the thuggery. In the end I bitterly denounce the world for remaining apathetic towards bloggers who fail to condemn bloggers who fail to reject and denounce vandalism.
There, everyone happy !
Plagiarized from here
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Rohit muses upon the Mangalore incident and accompanying media firestorm. I agree with most of his post except for the conclusion. I have come to believe that no matter what BJP does, it is going to incur the wrath of elites*, because cultural nationalism which is the mainstay of BJP is anathema to our elites.
This is not to excuse the hooliganism at Mangalore pub, there are many legitimate issues that we cultural nationalists can spar and joust with secular-liberal establishment, this is not one of them. In this, I agree with Rohit.
*I will qualify the term. It is true that elite, as understood in sense of social class, is a frequent adversary to cultural nationalists. But the main opponent or antagonist, so as to say, is the cultural elite, the group which is firmly anchored in post national, post faith, or broadly post identity milieu, and therefore has fundamental hostility with cultural nationalism. This group, which is recognized as secular-liberal establishment may disagree on the economic nuances, but as I pointed out earlier share the same bandwidth culturally.
From where I stand the current acrimony and conflict in political discourse owe their cause not to economic reforms but to a battle, a battle for the soul of India. My aim, as a cultural nationalist, is clear, to recognize secularism for the intellectual fraud it is, and to reject it along with its ruinous consequences.
Monday, February 09, 2009
Wasn't this expected ? From Hindu Taliban to Hindu terrorist to now threat to national security . Clearly what happened in Mangalore is comparable to Kargil or Mumbai. This Orwellian propaganda brought to you by the secular pliant media.
My dear friends, what we are watching is a big lie operation so audacious that even Goebells probably would have nothing on the the quisling media.
Update: Some misguided youths.
A desperate craving for Padma Shri (or Bhushan, whatever I don't which is which ) is the only explanation for this article , which can be summarized thus, Congress is to be chided for its blatant disregard for propriety, and BJP is to be criticized for daring to protest against such a patently political decision with an aim by dynasty towards capturing constitutional positions. Because you see, any criticism of impropriety in process of appointment in constitutional positions lowers the dignity of constitutional positions!
Hey Bhagwan ! My head hurts ! Of course Pratap Bhanu Mehta is perfectly right by English media guidebook where every criticism of Congress has to be balanced by criticism of BJP.
My dead friends, now that we have settled that India, without delay, needs her Obama (only you know, in our case he is heir of oldest political dynasty, with never having accomplished anything). How long, before people here start asking for stimulus.
Update: Finally. We have our own pilot Sullenberger , sort of. *
A fifth form of democracy, in other respects the same, is that in which, not the law, but the multitude, have the supreme power, and supersede the law by their decrees.This is a state of affairs brought about by the demagogues. For in democracies which are subject to the law the best citizens hold the first place, and there are no demagogues; but where the laws are not supreme, there demagogues spring up. For the people becomes a monarch, and is many in one; and the many have the power in their hands, not as individuals, but collectively. Homer says that 'it is not good to have a rule of many,' but whether he means this corporate rule, or the rule of many individuals, is uncertain. At all events this sort of democracy, which is now a monarch, and no longer under the control of law, seeks to exercise monarchical sway, and grows into a despot; the flatterer is held in honor; this sort of democracy being relatively to other democracies what tyranny is to other forms of monarchy. The spirit of both is the same, and they alike exercise a despotic rule over the better citizens. The decrees of the demos correspond to the edicts of the tyrant; and the demagogue is to the one what the flatterer is to the other. Both have great power; the flatterer with the tyrant, the demagogue with democracies of the kind which we are describing. The demagogues make the decrees of the people override the laws, by referring all things to the popular assembly. And therefore they grow great, because the people have an things in their hands, and they hold in their hands the votes of the people, who are too ready to listen to them
(Politics , Book IV )
Friday, February 06, 2009
Should a union minister really be encouraging drinking? After all there is a small mater of constitution.
Update: You know those Hindu terrorists terrorizing innocent girl , turns out that they were actually enlightened cadre just meaning to protect the modesty of the poor girl . Now I have no idea which version is true, but this must make public realize that media is unreliable narrator. Well I guess it is time to call J.K.ji now.
Ashok Malik, not for the first time and in somewhat similar fashion as Swapan Dasgupta , highlights the rigor mortise that seems to have set in BJP. Although he mentions this in article, the two striking features of this malaise are, one while the BJP seems to be doing fine in states it's performance at national level has been nothing but an unending story of embarrassment, and two the earnestness and vigour which were hallmark of BJP in ascendancy are missing now.
This is a sorry, but entirely predictable result of coterie of old and tired politicians (or retirees and promotees as Ashok Malik puts it ) which has captured the decision making in BJP at national level. It is entirely due to this that the party which at one time used to shape the public discourse is now reduced to being a helpless flotsam in the political current, a clueless bystander in the arena, so as to speak.
This by the way is my primary motivation behind desire to have Shri Shourie as the PM . He, in my opinion, is a game changer.
Thursday, February 05, 2009
instead we decide to accept any coercion, any rule from authorities without any objection, which is why we remain a third world shit-hole.
All right I am just annoyed at multiple searches while entering office premises, when these searches serve no purpose and worse people involved in this realize the futility. But we carry on with the charade.
PS. Title is a line from On the waterfront (the inspiration behind Ghulam )
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Continuing where we left from, there are other issues with what Rohit wrote. For instance Rohit rebuts my Guns and butter post by arguing that there are already multiple votes for municipal, state and central government. This argument however fails to take into account the fact although there is a hierarchy of state, the power economic as well as political is centralized rendering options of multiple votes irrelevant*. This entails a greater devolution of economic as well as political power in accordance with principle of subsidiarity .
To summarize it is good to talk about theory but detail matters.
Similar is his assertion that it is fault of individuals and not democracy as a system per se. This to me is befuddling, surely even Rohit realizes that a system is good only to the extent it delivers within the constraints. This, by the way, is the reason I call like to certain clique democracy worshipers**. It is because they start from their belief in democracy as infallible and conclude the fault lies with people. To reiterate first conclusion in previous post , democracy or any other system of governance so constituted that it can deliver only when the public is faultless is bound to fail, because let's acknowledge it, public has faults, or as James Madison commented in the federalist paper 51
If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions (emphasis mine).
I also do not know why Rohit assumes that I advocate prior existence of institution when I do no such thing.
However this remains a bigger problem still. This is the argument that the device of public franchise alone, without the presence of of supporting institutions facilitating broader consultation, are sufficient to deliver public good. The problem, as I see, that the mere act of voting doesn't provide any avenue or platform for deliberation and dissemination of ideas which form the core of public policies. Voting is merely a process for selecting the most popular platform and handing over the keys of power. Related to this comes another problem, that of public choice.
Now as I see (I may be wrong though) Rohit assumes that problem of public choice is a trivial one and one which can be dealt mostly at individual level. I am not so sure, the vast matrix of options and preferences, often at conflict with each other, severely restrict our ability to optimize public good through public franchise (I am not sure but possibly Arrow's impossibility theorem places restriction on the utility of public choice. It turns out to resolve the conflict not only there must exist institutions for consultation and formulation of policies, but also to minimize conflict by encouraging cooperation and formation of electoral coalition (required for any diverse nation such as ours)***
* Make it a point to read this article
** In this perhaps a parallel can be drawn with people who think that India failed Chacha Nehru.
*** Which reminds me, I have to write follow up to this post .
This post is rather late as a rejoinder to Rohit's post (which in turn was rejoined to my post) mostly because I wasn't sure how best to reply, not least because (in my opinion) Rohit missed the point. I hope this post will help in clarifying the topic.
Now since Rohit's post have multiple arguments, it will be best to address the main point first, which is Rohit is mistaken in defending democracy because the premise of my post wasn't to propose replacement of democracy with an alternative system of governance, rather it was to methodically analyze governance.
To better understand my point let's take a simple analogy of transportation.
Now transportation has a aim, to move person(s) and/or good(s) from point A to point B. There are various way to accomplish this. Example being car, motor-cycle, bullock cart, stoned cheetah etc. However, there also exist various constraints which must be observed, for example, time spent, cost incurred, safety, comfort, thrill etc. Our choice of transport will depend upon the constraints (or to be more precise weighted constraints with weight assigned to the constraints by us).
Now it is possible that there is an option so superior to others that it beats all the other options in every available criteria. However this is not true in most of real life scenarios, and there is some amount of trade off involved. If we continue with our analogy we can understand this. Of the options available if one chooses Car one will probably get a higher degree of comfort and safety, and depending on traffic, time advantage
On the other hand with a motorcycle one can minimize the cost incurred, additionally in case of traffic, there is also significant car advantage. Now assume that our weighted constraints are such that motorcycle is the best option for us.
Here comes the first point. We must keep in mind even though motorcycle is the best option there was a certain degree of trade off involved.
Similarly even if, under given circumstances, democracy is the best option available to us (on which Rohit and I agree), we must be aware that trade-offs are involved (which Rohit doesn't address or acknowledge. I will come with the specific trade-offs later).
Now back to our analogy even with motorcycle there are various options available. In order to further specify our option, we may prefer to introduce a secondary set of constraints (which are not as important as the primary constraints). For example we may introduce terrain to refine our criteria. These secondary criteria, in many cases, can alter our preferences in drastic. For example if route is over hilly terrain our option may be limited to powerful bikes.
From this comes the second point. Even with a given option there may be variations which may effect the performance. This holds for democracy as well, there are several variations, not all of them suitable for India. For example I believe that Westminster form of government is unsuitable in case of India and that there must be a separation of executive and legislative .
Are these enough ? To answer let's go back to our motorcycle.Now even though the specifications and design meet our requirements, usage over a period of time tends to cause wear and tear which implies proper maintenance, and if required, repair.
Similarly to ensure democracy works and delivers, it must be supported by institutions, political to facilitate in broader deliberative and consultative process,as well as cultural to strengthen community in order to facilitate participatry democracy as well as reinforce co-operative ethos. Along with this a process for easy course correction through feedback must exist. I will be coming back to this later.
Now if you have persisted through this meandering post, the summary is while I agree with Rohit in that democracy is indeed best for India, where I diverge sharply not just from Rohit but also from overwhelming majority is I acknowledge the trade-offs and limitation of democracy and therefore realize the urgency of improving the present model of democracy. Further it frustrates me no end to see people remain oblivious of the urgency, complacent in their Neumanian ignorance.