Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Thursday, May 25, 2006
2061 AD. The Americans are at it with the Chinese. Both countries wanted the good life; Mother Earth could just not take it anymore. The Chinese had been growing at an astronomical 9% every year since 1979 – it did not take them long to give the Americans a run for their money in the battle for oil and water. The Indians were left far behind: 9% is way more than 7%, especially when compounded.
Let us stop the digression. Let’s talk about what we set out wanting to talk about. Wars.
Monday, May 22, 2006
"Politicians are only worried about votes".
"God save this country from populism".
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Let's rule out any Hollywood actor: their popularity is very limited (to the developed world)... and there's way too many of them, so different people have different favorites.
Let's rule out anyone in the west, actually. There' s way too less people in the western world. If the question were "Which person's popularity can be transalated into the most money due to ticket sales and endorsements?", then perhaps western celebs would stand a chance. But not as things are right now.
So, of course, the possibilities are essentially either Chinese or Indian celebs ... with billion plus people. I have a gut feeling that the most popular person in the world is Sachin Tendulkar. I will make my case in the following paragraphs.
What do a billion people have in common in India? They do not have a common culture: the culture of the North-east differs from the south, the culture of the east and the west is different. Hinduism? There are more variations within Hinduism in India than there are between different religions at other places!
Democracy? Yes indeed; but the people of the North have never heard of Karunanidhi, the people of the west have never heard of Budhadeb Bhattacharya. Hindi Films? The big B might have more than a 300 million loyal fans (more than the productive population of the USA) but the average Apparao down south would have a tough time placing him.
Cricket is the only thing that unites India's diversity. India's massive talent pool of cricket is (often cruelly) refined and refined again into an elite squad: the men in Blue. And Sachin Tendulkar is the formost and the bluest of them all. A man who's antics on the field make many an Indian's heart beat faster. A person who drives bowlers to utter disarray on his day. A humble genius.
For he carries the hopes and aspirations of 1 billion people. He is among the few things that the people of this entire mass of people actually hold close to their heart.
And part of the problem is that. There's enough talent in India to produce 20 Sachin Tendulkar. If we search deep enough we will find a fast bowler that will put Shohaib Akthar to shame. A spinner who will spin 180 degrees! So, all the people of India look at Sachin - perhaps because they have no one else to look up to.
I'm not too sure about China, but I'm sure you see that Sachin has a strong case to be crowned "most popular man on earth".
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
I commend the government for the strong stance that it has taken about these jokers going on strike. Issuing a show-cause notice is a strong move. A move that has the following written boldy upon it: the high and mighty have gradually stopped to wield controlling political power. Power lies with the people. It is a happy day for democracy.
For the real India that is going to take over the world (along with China and the U.S) is essentially not you and me. We're the rich, we're English educated. We, for all practical purposes constitute a state the size of Goa with an American style standard of living. I'm talking about the rest of India. The poor auto-walla in Chennai, the rickshaw driver in Kanpur, the paddy farmer in Bihar, the cotton farmer in Maharashtra, the fisherman of Bengal, the Mumbai slum dweller, the Andhra peasant, the servant maid in Delhi, to name a few. These are the 950 million faces that live modest lives right now, that might live better tomorrow. These are the people who will install air-conditioners in their houses in the near future. These are the people that will purchase pesonal computers. That will shop in large department stores, drive automobiles. (!*)
Any scientifically executed move to awaken this massive middle class is welcome; an intellegent reservation policy, perhaps.
The day that the rest of India starts demanding what the American takes for granted right now is the day that India takes over the world. Not the day that the emergency care doctor goes on strike. That would be the day that he deserves to be fired and tried for murder.
(!*) The planet does not have enough resources to support an American Style for everyone. Adam Smith's invisible hand will ensure that certian compromises are made; energy efficiency measures are incorporated - and essentially, gas-guzzlers are driven to extinction. But that's a different story altogether. A story that would make interesting reading. Perhaps, I could post bits of it in the future?
Monday, May 15, 2006
I'm sorry, Mr. Arjun Singh. I'm sorry I had you possesed by Hitler. I'm sorry I made your hand bleed. I'm sorry I made you say Behe? !hod. I've just read some literature (of sorts) about the Caste debate in India .. and I can see your line of thought (though not quite agree with it).
Firstly, I'll tell you what I think is absolutely wrong with it: caste! Caste has been the number-one society destroyer that has plagued Hinduism (my parents' "religion") since times immemorial. By using caste as a critereon for reservation, all you are doing is re-ingniting those age-old sentiments of casteism. You are turning an oblivious eye to the real factor: poverty. But that's not your fault. Caste based reservations were around for quite some time.
A better system of affirmative action would assure seats to the poor: to those who need aid - and would not deny aid to a poor person from a so-called "upper caste". Rich "lower-caste" people should not be in a position to avail these freebies. But I can see the impracticalities associated with such a legislation, prominent among them being children saying "Damn, it dad! If you were not so rich, I would have been at IIT".
I will have to, therefore grudgingly accept the "populist" solution: that of caste-based reservations: purely because there is absolutely no other option. Unfairness to a handful of poor upper class people is better than unfairness to the infinitely larger lower class. O' great constitution writers, you were more or less right.
There's 24% of SC/STs in India. They have have an almost equal 22.5 reservation. They are so poor that they need all the upliftment that they can get. Then come the OBCs, with 50% of the population. They are marginally better off; they do not need so much "upliftment" as the SC/STs, and they have to do with 27% of the reservation; not 50%.
In an Ideal India later, where everyone is really equal, the so-called OBCs should constitute roughly 50% of the seats in educational institutions. Reservations go meaningless in the future.
This is a murky problem; there is more to it than meets the eye. Ostensibly, denying opportunities to the meritorious might seem criminal; might seem cruel. But one needs to overcome one's prejudices and perfrom an unbiased analysis of the same. These measures might very well cut down our current growth-rate in the short run, but they might go a long way in averting a workers' revoltuion in our country.
There lies a lot of talent in that hitherto undiscovered "backward" mass of under-acheiveing humans in India. Tapping into this potential is like tapping into a half of undiscovered India. Who knows? Maybe within those undiscovered masses lie the new Sachin Tendulkar, the new Homi Bhaba, and what the hell - the new Albert Einstien?
Why is it that these issues are raised only during elections? The fact that politicians do not raise the reservation issue during non-election years essentially tells the people that they really don't care two hoots about social upliftment - but care only about votes ..... which is the way democracy is supposed to function ... intentions are of little value. Only results matter.
With these reservations, our country might very well grow faster in the long run.
who wants to look after you and I.
He hates to let things go wrong;
He wants to keep us happy and strong.
He would like to give us shelter from the rain,
He craves to protect us from anguish and pain.
And He desires to protect the coast from the wave,
and from the mighty hurricane.
He wants no violence on his name,
Peace is his method, his aim!
He is the god that We beleive in;
Utter incompetence, his only sin.
Saturday, May 06, 2006
Long before this day and age.
And within that lived a tribe;
It raised animals to survive.
Let's start with the family of Manmohan Singh,
He raised cows for a living.
Near his sedate and slow moving cow,
Bulls, his family would never allow.
To the calves, they would feed all the grass,
The milk bearing cows, they would starve.
The cows then started to perish-
The milk supply started to finish.
And then the clan of Jacques Chirac
Who made their life toiling with an ass.
The ass was to carry brick and stone-
To build many a happy home.
The ass, he would feed a lot daily,
Regardless of the work quality.
The ass started to work less and less,
But Chirac still kept feeling it in excess.
The weasel belonged to one Vladimir Putin,
Ostensibly, it looked famished and thin.
The weasel would smile at the dinos and the cows,
But would secretly snack on frozen chicken beside its house.
And eating the chicken gave it sharp teeth now,
It looks more the dragon it used to, less like a cow.
When it was a dragon, it had learnt,
How to breathe fire, how to get the village burnt.
And Hu Jintao had a fire breating dragon,
It was visible to no one.
He would sacrifice one from his family to the dragon every year.
His family would live in eternal fear.
Though the dragon would devour one every year,
Hu reckoned procreation was the cure.
Dragons can kill asses, can kill cows
And dinsoaurs too, if push came to shove.
George Bush had a pet called Fido,
a massive fire breathing dino.
The dino had everything cheap-
And therefore would just eat, eat and eat.
While a cow would just ruminate,
Fido would devour a little forest.
But there's no forest anymore now
Fido might just have to diet, you know.