Sunday, October 27, 2013

"I have charted a different course, sir"

In any literature, the most interesting area is (auto)biography. In that order, the second most interesting is a narrative like this one by Mr.Prasad in today's The Pioneer.

There is a lot to say on how Mr.Prasad has charted a different course. The Hayek's two types of individual has some answer to it.

Other useful reading:

Thursday, October 24, 2013

"twilight and the East India Company"

Less known India of the era 1739-1857. There is very brief interview which is must read for those who care for history of India. What interest me most is the below lines from this fascinating interview by William Dalrymple:

  • "The company seems to me to be the most fascinating and sinister organisation in world history. It was not the British who conquered India; it was a public limited company. It was a company which had shareholders, which had annual general meetings, which had dividends—
  • The Company begins in the year 1599, which is the year Shakespeare writes Hamlet. It’s in a Jacobean England, [at a time] when India is the richest polity in the world—what China is today, what America was in the 80s, what Britain was in the 19th century, India was in 17th century. The British arrive in India as scruffy provincial underdogs trying to get a bit of the commercial action that’s going on here. When Milton writes Paradise Lost, he takes Adam on a tour of the future wonders of humanity... and if you [were to] do it today, you’d go to maybe Shanghai or New York, but Milton takes Adam on a tour of Fatehpur Sikri, Delhi and Agra, as the supreme wonders of the world to come. So you have that early phase when the British are underdogs, scruffy guys with codpieces trying to get a bit of the action.
  • In 1779 at the Battle of Pollilur, Tipu Sultan defeats the Company, takes their entire army prisoner. The power is debatable and a chance fluke in a battle can make it go either way. At this point, you get a measure of inter marriage—one in three British men in India is married to an Indian woman. As power decreases on the Indian side and increases on the British side, as industrial revolution kicks in, as a militarised, mechanised army arrives, as the British government becomes more involved as opposed to the Company, you get to see that slipping away. So from one in three inter marriages in 1780s, it goes to one in four in the 1800s, one in five by 1810, one in six by 1830 and more or less gone by the 1840s. And then you get a measure of racism setting in. The history of racism varies with the decades—it is not a solid thing. It is like fashion—like hemlines or anything else. High British racism kicks in properly in the 1830s and 1840s, and you get a completely different attitude...
  •  in that The Last Mughal gives, I think, by far the most graphic account of British war crimes [in Delhi] that has ever been published. [It] revealed the degree to which the British completely destroyed a city and created what in any modern court of law would be described as terrific war crimes. In the final instance, the gates were locked, troops were placed outside each of the exits and every single male who was found in the city of Delhi—over the age of 16—was killed."

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Good read

Ashok Desai says "Raghuram Rajan made me think more with a 15-minute speech than his three distinguished predecessors did with their 15,000-minute perorations. He should keep his mind ticking."

Gurumurthy says "Reverence for elders and teachers coupled with their power to punish the deviant had helped to prevent deviance. But the modern state doesn’t trust parents or teachers to punish the deviant. Fostering reverence helps to prevent deviance. Deviance cannot be corrected by law. It can only be prevented and corrected by family and society. They need to be strengthened. But modernity weakens both." Read full article Modernity has failed to stop deviance

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Must read

Nobel Prize for Economics 2013

Professor Ajay Shah has good piece on this years Nobel Prize winners in Economics. He starts with the following para:

However, I really wonder what is the science in it in the stock market prices to give such a huge credit? Its just any other analysis in my view, though they all might have used well thought out innovative ways to look at it. I fear there must come time to give such a huge credit to the works of mass movements of social developmental works especially in the developing economies. The dynamic forces like the NGOs dilutes the State as well as the market forces which would in the long run create huge problems in the society.

Probably, its worth to read this interesting article on Shiller's recent book.

Mint has some interesting observations:
  • This year’s Nobel shows the economics discipline in all its frustrating, admirable splendour. With apologies to Harry Truman’s jaundiced view of economists, it’s only a matter of time before the joke starts making the rounds: Did you hear about the two economists who couldn’t agree on how markets work? Yeah, they won a Nobel for it.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Few words of Actor Kamal Hassan

I am not a big fan of any one actor nor I am regular movie watching junki! There is something that need to be underlined in this blog as a matter of fact. So far I have posted twice only in this blog exclusively on his words of mouth. I am talking about the veteran actor Kamal Haasan. Here is a third one. Very interesting and powerful words.

I am not a big fan of Frontline magazine wherein Hassan has an interview. The following are a bit from that interview:

  • "The most ridiculous thing we are fighting for now and the government has looked into is the Cinematography Act, which is 57 years old.
  • And even in your publishing industry, you still have to send one copy to the government. How stupid it is. If the government wants to see it, it can see it on the Net. Why should you cut down trees? It is all changing.
  • In today’s Internet-savvy world, pornography is part of everyday life. If Internet search engines have become more and more powerful, it is not due to science… it is due to flesh. Everybody does it secretly once or twice. And the number is exponential when you look at the world population. Of course, there were other factors that made it flourish. But what triggered it was the simple need to watch flesh. It is the oldest profession and nobody will be able to eradicate it. It is now digitised. Not yet legalised.
  • We must treat adults like adults. I am not talking only about sex. I am talking about politics. There should be political freedom. The kind of freedom that was available in Periyar’s time is not there for Kamal Hassan. Even if you are bold, you don’t have freedom. 
  • People think I am a closet communist. The fact is no “ism”—capitalism, socialism or rationalism—is a complete answer to social ills. Everything is work in progress. According to Carl Sagan, the human brain is work in progress. We have to go farther in the evolutionary process. We are not fully evolved in our brain part. I will say something that will shock people. Had Spartacus succeeded, both Mr Christ and Mr Marx would have been rendered redundant. Had his revolution succeeded, the whole point of view of the world would have changed." 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Must read

Mohandas Gandhi Before India

A new book has been published yet again on Mohandas Gandhi and his role in the world before coming back to India. I have expected for long time this book to come not because of who writes it but because of the kind of material/information used or studied to write the new book.

In my view, it is Mohandas Gandhi whose work helped Mr Guha to shift from hard-core marxist (no capital 'M' please!) and deadly socialist man. As far as the life of Mohandas Gandhi is concerned, Mr.Guha does a great job in the book.

Here are very interesting interviews/excerpts from the new book. I say, interesting because the prevailing time and polity and politics in India makes it more interesting to know things differently and usefully.

Why India needs Gandhi, the champion of downtrodden

Ramachandra Guha on ‘Gandhi Before India’

Gandhi before India