Monday, August 31, 2009

Keeping the focus on India's other healthcare issues

The media focus on the Swine (A-H1N1) flu has stemmed from its priority of spreading fear and panic than a rational process of keeping issues within perspective. It is thus important that Chindu has given some balance by focusing on other healthcare priorities like infant mortality and malnutrition which have claimed far more lives in a week than the Swine flu so far. Thomas Chandy who is the head of Save the Children has gathered some real interesting statistics and raises questions on how the Governments, health care organizations and media have conveniently put these important issues on the backburner to focus on Swine flu.
For example a total of 100-150 people have died due to Swine flu so far, but
According to government sources, in India 45 children die every hour due to respiratory infections. One child dies every two minutes due to diarrhoea. Annually in India, about two million children below the age of five die mainly from preventable causes: that is, thousands of children die every month of diseases that are easily treatable and even preventable.

While Chindu has shone a brief moment of light on this issue, one hopes it will continue focus on what is a severe problem for India's future and keeps the Government honest in its efforts to step up the funding and actions in this regard.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The complex realities in Saudi Arabia through Chindu's myopic eyes.

Many of your might have heard of Goebbels who was Hitler's minister for propaganda. His ability to manipulate facts and the invention of the Big Lie technique of propaganda made the Nazis spread all sorts of nonsense to cover up their acts before and during World War II. Reading an editorial about how a terror attack in Saudi is about to transform that nation into the lynchpin against terror reminds me of the propaganda machine.
Despite the failure of the assassination attempt, the masterminds must now be hoping to derail Prince Muhammad’s rather successful counter-terrorism campaign, which has combined proactive use of selective force with a policy that encourages militants to surrender. Saudi Arabia would do well to continue this policy because, despite Al Qaeda’s palpable activism, the militant outfit has suffered hefty blows.

This is akin to saying the country which responsible directly or indirectly in the funding, planning and operation of most terror cells will be affected by a failed attempt on a minister. Chindu's hyperbole goes from bad to worse when it spins its anti-US shtick.
In a globalised world, the negative images of America’s war on terror, increasingly symbolised by the horrors of Guantanamo Bay, the Predator drone strikes that indiscriminately target innocents along the Afghan-Pakistan border, and the gross injustice meted out to Palestinians, continue to draw Muslim youth from countries in the region towards Al Qaeda.

What it needs to realize is the fact that Islamic youth are not mislead by these activities, but rather by the zealots and principles within the religion of Islam. Blaming external factors for the corruption of the youth of a religion is turning a blind eye to the ground realities.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The poem, Shishupala Vadha, is noted for its intricate wordplay, and textual complexity. The 19th canto contains the following stanza which is an example of what has been called "the most complex and exquisite type of palindrome ever invented". It was devised by the Sanskrit aestheticians, who termed it sarvatobhadra, that is, "perfect in every direction" - it yields the same text if read forwards, backwards, down, or up:

रसाहवा वाहसार-

ra-sA-ha-vA vA-ha-sA-ra-
(nA da vA da da vA da nA
ra sA ha vA vA ha sA ra
kA ya sA da da sA ya kA
sa kA ra nA nA ra kA sa)

The stanza translates as:
[That army], which relished battle (rasAhavA) contained allies who brought low the bodes and gaits of their various striving enemies (sakAranAnArakAsakAyasAdadasAyakA), and in it the cries of the best of mounts contended with musical instruments (vAhasAranAdavAdadavAdanA).

Friday, August 28, 2009

Pak court sets nuclear proliferator free

Another reason why Pakistan as a country is a joke. A court ruled A.Q.Khan known nuclear proliferator free to go where he wants.
In an interim ruling on a petition from A.Q. Khan, the Lahore High Court ruled on Friday that no restrictions should be placed on the movement of the top scientist who was freed from a five-year house arrest earlier this year.

Of course it does not hurt that a neighboring country north of India was responsible for giving A.Q.K. the condensed guides on how to build nukes. Wonder what the Indian foreign ministry has to say about this?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Do not involve in personal attacks

We often disagree with the opinions and views of many of the leading journalists and would like to hold them accountable for their statements. But to undertake personal attacks on the families of said journalists is wrong. They (families) were not responsible for the words in the article. If you would still like to post a critique of a publishing of such comments, please do so in your own space.
This blog has striven to keep its content clean and has avoided personal attacks while focusing on the article/issue on hand. We welcome feedback from you but will continue to keep a strong watch on such comments and will take prompt action immediately.

Multinational enterprise of Mother Teresa

Navin Chawla has been on the dynasty's pay rolls for a long time. In a long and distinguished career, he played a crucial role for the Congress during the Emergency (making him unfit for holding any public office) and also during the Elections 2009 (blocking any investigation into EVM scam). One of the activities in Navin Chawla's job description is to perpetuate the myth of Mother Teresa and hence this yearly article in chindu.
The Hindu : Opinion / Leader Page Articles : The mystery of Mother Teresa
With 4,000 nuns, she created a multinational enterprise of service that encompassed 123 countries by the time she died in 1997.
Although inadvertently, Navin Chawla rightly calls it the multinational enterprise. It served the Vatican and not the poor.
The ghoul of Calcutta : Melbourne Indymedia
Having been in Mother Teresa's order for ten years, she (Susan Shields) states that large transactions of cash occurred; most were deposited in the Vatican Bank.

Chatterjee contends that families of the residents of its homes were not allowed to visit their loved ones and that, among India's charitable organizations, Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity is the only one which refuses to release a public financial account.

Why the secrecy? Dr. Chatterjee has given an open challenge for anyone to produce the yearly financial statements of Missionaries of Charity which is submitted to the GoI and is technically available to the public. Anyone willing to try?

Supreme Court coddles SC/ST students of IITs for failing exams

There are many cases where the Supreme Court of India has behaved in a rather wacky manner. This incident is one more in a long list. I'm against reservations of any sort(except on economic basis). In this case some SC/ST students filed a case that they could not be expelled from the IIT's on basis of poor performance.
The Supreme Court justices including CJ Balakrishnan said,
It is not in dispute that SC and ST are a separate class by themselves, and the creamy layer principle is not applicable to them. Article 46 of the Constitution enjoins upon the state to promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections and protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation. These socially and economically backward categories are to be taken care of at every stage even in the specialised institutions like IITs.

After 60+ years the practice of continuing reservations based on castes is ridiculous. It has not served its purpose and continuing it is following a failed policy again and again where by the people who really deserve the reservations do not get it. What is worse is the CJI saying that SC/ST's should not have a creamy layer. Where is the justice for deserving candidates of other communities who have been denied those seats on the basis of caste?
These candidates were given their chances and more by the IIT's and yet they have failed. Now they want to disrespect other SC/ST students who have passed by virtue of merit by raising a ruckus in this case.
But, at the same time, we are conscious of the fact that the IIT-Delhi, in order to maintain and continue its high standards of education, implemented certain aspects which were helpful to the petitioners. But the fact remains that in spite of such efforts, these petitioners were not able to secure the minimum grades.

What else should the IIT's do, keep the pass score as 10/100?

Monday, August 24, 2009

An editorial on a mediocre cricket contest

Unlike Usain Bolt's stupendous achievement, which rightly deserved a comment from the editor, the Ashes 2009 had no great exhibition of skill or talent. It was a mediocre contest between an aspiring English team driven by the over-zealous media's search for national heroes, and a rebuilding Australian team which failed to perform at defining phases -- a trait that has long been associated with the Englishmen. Without any outstanding moment etched in our collective memory, Ashes 2009 only adds to statistics. If not for N.Ram's obsession with cricket at the expense of other sports, this non-event would have been rightly ignored for the edit page.

The Hindu : Opinion / Editorials : Gritty team effort
In contrast to the series of 2005, which was a battle rich in quality between two formidable sides, this was a modest affair.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Is 203 crore enough for a statue? Mayawati thinks so.

The impact of the downturn in the world's economy has not affected the Uttar Pradesh statue making business. Not as long as Maywati and her Government keep making statues of Kanshi Ram and her at a cost of Rs.203 crore which was disputed by the media which claimed Rs.500 crore was spent.
It was a wrong notion that the stupa, being built with other statues, will cost Rs. 500 crore. The cost of the stupa is Rs. 203 crore, and not Rs. 500 crore as stated in newspaper reports.” The State said: “The judiciary must exercise self-restraint and eschew the temptation to encroach upon the domain of the legislature or the administrative or statutory authorities,

The UP government using a weird logic that it was just fulfilling the wishes of Kanshi when it put up the statues of Mayawati alongside him and pointed to Madame Tussauds as an example!
he affidavit said Ms. Mayawati’s statues were erected to fulfil the wishes of Kanshi Ram, who willed that wherever his statues were put up, the statues of Ms. Mayawati, “his only heir, must also be installed.”

The Supreme Court needs to be involved in this issue and should ensure that tax payer revenue is not wasted in such endeavors in UP and in other states. Really hope the media takes this issue and makes the state governments accountable.

Newspapers moving online

The Ann Arbor News has been around since 1835. Last month it shut down and went completely online. There are a few fundamental changes in its approach that came along with the move. It now has greater focus on creating content. It is involving the local community in its content creation efforts. It has also broken down the rigid structures that were typical of an old establishment. This is not to say it has found the winning combination. But it is definitely trying to adapt to the changing times. Guess where the competition is coming from: a 2 member team comprising of husband and wife.

The choice in online market is so varied that there is very little scope for a newspaper to indulge in propaganda. Why would the reader opt for a propaganda machine pretending as a balanced outlet when the real deal is just as easily available. If I wanted to hear the communist worldview, I might as well visit or with just the same amount of effort as it would take to visit In fact, the content is much more straightforward as they dont have the hypocritical urge to show off balanced journalism.

Chindu's new website is definitely a move in the right direction. But it would also do well to recognize the dynamics of the online world. Its 125 year history, the qualified journalists, editors and copywriters, the strong agent network and its brand, they all might give it a good base to compete in the online market but they hardly give it a head start. The importance of quality content cannot be emphasized enough.

That’s all folks! See you online - Times Online
Kraner said the new venture has a fraction of that number, but employs more people creating content, 37 compared with 30. He has also signed up 80 bloggers to contribute to the site and hopes to triple that number.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Those "eminent historians" do have names

After receiving a lot of flak for an article by anonymous "eminent historians" in response to Murali Manohar Joshi's article, chindu has finally decided to give a few names from the "eminent historians" list. Thanks to little courtesies, we readers now know some of the stalwarts constituting this group.

The Hindu : Front Page : Sardar Patel banned RSS under pressure from Nehru: Advani
Bipan Chandra, Modern India historian, told The Hindu on the phone ...
Irfan Habib, speaking from Aligarh, was equally categorical ...
Yet another historian, Mridula Mukherjee, alleged that ...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Does the comments feature in the Chindu beta work?

Recently I decided to check out the comments feature in the new Chindu beta. I posted a couple of posts on the article Mohammad Ali Jinnah as ‘The Hindu’ saw him. But when I checked the 47 comments (at the time of writing this post) I did not find my post. Of course my post was critical :)
Here are some of 47 out of the 47 supportive posts.
A delicate and concise biography of Jinnah.
from: Santosh Kalyan C

An unbiased view, totally based on well thought-out and superbly worded prose. The last words of hope in the editorial, which have remained only as mere words till date, are testimony to what Jinnah did not expect or could imagine when he created a state on religious grounds.
from: Shiva Kumar Malapaka

Very well written and what a concise summary of a great man. Alas the vision that this man saw for that nation lies in tatters.
Thanks for reproducing.
from: Haris

This shows the correct study of the situation then.The name of the Editor of the "Hindu" who had contributed this marvellous study could have been also published.
from: Senthilkumar

Have you posted your comments? What is your thought on the censorship of comments?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sidd's biased critique of bigotry

Sidd Varadarajan is absolutely right in blasting the BJP for showing bigotry in expelling Jaswant Singh for his book on Jinnah. The departure of Vajpayee has made BJP a very narrow organization without vision for change and more set in its rabid ways guided by the likes of Rajnath Singh who have no popular base.
However so are these reprehensible acts:
  • The ban on Satanic verses
  • The censorship of the Da Vinci code
  • The ban on Fitna and the furor over the Mohammed cartoons
  • All the various Taslima Nasreen incidents
  • and many more

Sidd, why can't you take the hammer to the same bigotry exhibited by the Muslim fanatics, the Left and the Christian missionaries? But of course then your column would not be published on the Chindu.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Jaswant evicted, Chindu gloats

Jaswant Singh's book on Jinnah has stirred up a hornet's nest within the BJP (of course) and other parties (Congress for its portrayal on Nehru) and the media (hungry for something meaty). Chindu in its eagerness to jump on the protect Jaswant bandwagon trashes the BJP while defending Jaswant for writing about a reviled figure (in India).
Hypothetically what would Chindu say if Karat were to visit the US and come back to publish a biography of Ronald Reagan actions to winning the Cold War.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Muslims, development and crime

A shallow, fear-mongering article, by no less a person than Amar Singh and chindu couldn't have been happier to propagate one of its favourite myths.
The Hindu : Opinion / Leader Page Articles : Seeking a fair deal for Muslims
Instead of punishing the culprits, the police and the administration invariably prosecuted the innocent Muslim victims.
According to the Director of the Centre for Policy Research, Professor Pratap Bhanu Mehta, the report not only reflects the poor human index of Indian Muslims but indicates the vacuum of Indian governance.
Muslims having poor human development index is a universal phenomena.
Status of Muslim Societies Around the World
by Dr.M.I.H. Farooqi has some interesting facts about Muslim societies.
... Muslims with the result that today they occupy the lowest position in the ladder of the world. They are educationally backward, scientifically marginal, politically insignificant and economically poor. This is the present status of the entire Ummah amongst the comity of nations.
Instead of blaming the government or pushing the blame on Hindus, it is pertinent to ask why Islam and backwardness are so closely interlinked.
The report mentions that representation for the Muslim community to the same order as the percentage of Muslims in the population of the country is found only in one place: in jails.
This is probably an indication that muslims are getting away with crime in India. Look at statistics from around the world.
UPI reported that there are too many Muslims in a high-security prison in the UK, almost 33% of the prison population; ten times their 3% representation among the general population.
... throughout the UK Muslims account for about 4 times as many inmates as their representation (3%) in the non-prison population
In France, almost 70% of the prisons are filled with Muslims although only 12% of the population is Muslim. In the Netherlands and Belgium Muslims also fill their prisons with disproportionate numbers.
The US is not immune as well: there are tens of thousands of Muslims behind bars, in greater proportion to their representation among the general population.
Muslims generally are over-represented in prisons. It is indeed a cause of concern that that is not the case in India.

Read and lament

The Pioneer > Online Edition : >> Spread terror get reward!
The Supreme Court has created an unwarranted precedent, and one can only shudder at the inevitable repercussions. The family of a criminal with trans-national links to designated enemies of the Indian state — Dawood Ibrahim tops the list of wanted persons India is seeking from Pakistan — is compensated grandiosely; his victims are thus dishonoured by none other than the apex court; the nation’s tax-payers are outraged by this gross misuse of their money; and the police officers who risked their lives to capture the crook and maintain law and order, prevent gun-running and smuggling for the ‘D Company’, are jailed and hounded by the judiciary. There cannot be a graver travesty of justice.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Rebutting Ananth Krishnan

Thanks to CodeNameV for the link. B.Raman's rebuttal of Ananth Krishnan's op-ed in The Hindu is very well written and a must read for all our readers. The link is here.

Hinduism for dummies by Newsweek

This article (hat tip to Atanu Dey) details a transformation of the US (a predominant Christian nation) into one which follows some Hindu principles. I really like the simplistic approach of summarizing the Hindu principles without drama.
The Rig Veda, the most ancient Hindu scripture, says this: "Truth is One, but the sages speak of it by many names." A Hindu believes there are many paths to God. Jesus is one way, the Qur'an is another, yoga practice is a third. None is better than any other; all are equal.

Wish today's Hindu religious leaders are able to expound on our religious principles without adding unnecessary superstition and dogma when teaching religion today.
I also wish members of the Indian liberal media who pooh-pooh Hindu Vedic philosophies and revere Leftist jerks have a chance to introspect and understand the great culture of India.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Why are you so defensive of China, Ananth?

Recently a Chinese think tank revealed a "secret blue print" of how China wants to "divide" India. This has raised a lot of questions about the intent of China, the veracity of the blogger's analysis, the closeness to the actual leaders. Ananth Krishnan in a true Don Quixote fashion attempts to defend the interest of red China by rubbishing the post and paints China as a nation of multitude of voices and centers of opinion.
The real question to be asked here is why and how does an anonymous post by an insignificant Chinese blogger generate such attention and consternation in India? Part of the answer lies in the media reports that appeared last week, which made the following assumptions: an influential Chinese strategist must have been behind the suggestions; he must have had the tacit backing of Beijing since all opinion in China is controlled by the government; and that the website where this post appeared sounded influential enough for India to take notice and worry.

While there's validity in his point that China has diverse viewpoints, his lack of understanding of the political dominant control over the media makes one really question if the article was censored or just left out in the open to see India's reaction. But the blind rush to defend China is what really exposes Chindu's true agenda.

SRK detained but media asks wrong questions

A lot of hulla balloo was raised after Shahrukh khan was detained at a US airport for some security checks after his name "came up" in some security screening.
In his usual bravado he raised a huge ruckus about being detained, profiling due to religion, and so on.
This was picked up by the media and his supporters who have snowballed this issue into something more than it is. The key issue of why the security checks were placed has been totally forgotten.
Last I remember a bunch of Islamic fanatics blew up a few US buildings including the World trade centers by flying planes into them. If anything SRK should call out his fellow Muslims a large number of whom are Islamic fanatics who are threatening similar violence all over the world to repent and become humane.
The Islamic fanatics are the reason why he was detained and the security measures put up. But SRK and the liberal media will not cover that angle of the story as it "profiles" Muslims.
Give me a break.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Chindu's redesigned website

Chindu has launched a new beta website neatly redesigned. I like the design which takes us from the old clunky 1997 bare bones HTML format to a more 2006 version. In fact there is a comments section (Moderated of course :)) where viewers can post their opinions.
From the feedback of the few items I've read, it appears to be the saccharine Kasim Sait variety.
But its a step in the right direction.

Happy Birthday India - 62 today & going strong

There are a lot of things right and wrong with my country. But there are really some great people in it as well. Many of them read this blog (not to pander to the audience). I really do hope that we can (and will) make a positive difference to this great nation of ours. Wish you all a very happy Independence Day.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Chinese strategist unveils China's plan to break up India

This was in the news close to a week back. A Chinese strategist thinks that the rot called "Hindusim" has set in too deeply into India and China should break up India into 30 states.
As far as I know, I have not seen a single article quoting a major politician responding to this.
..has advocated that China should help divide India. China should support factions of the Assamese, Kashmiris and Tamilians and break-up India into 20-30 independent nation-states like Europe and eradicate the caste system, suggests an unsigned article posted on the Beijing website of a Chinese military think-tank.

Perhaps India should think of doing a similar surgery by breaking off Tibet, Mongols and the Uighurs separately to teach them a lesson.

Ramblings of a demented mind

V.R.Krishna Iyer has rarely come up with anything worthwhile and more often than not bordered on dementia. I wonder why his articles still appear on the "Analysis" section. Here is another classic piece from him.

The Hindu : Opinion / News Analysis : The Sotomayor saga and gender justice

The occasion is the elevation of Sotomayor to the Justice of Supreme Court in U.S. If this is an occasion to hail gender equality, how about we begin with the situation in America. She is only the 3rd woman in 111, making it about 2.7% women judges. And how many woman presidents did the U.S. have till now? ZERO.

The article is filled with such inconsistencies and ridiculousness, it is just not worth dissecting. If indeed the author is concerned about few women judges in India, then it is worthwhile to ask if it is a gender preference for certain professions, especially given that this trend is universal and not specific to India.

We have had atleast two women as the dominant power centers, covering about 50% of our 60 year history. To dismiss this as chance and call India as having discriminatory policies is just stupid. It makes me cringe when I think this was the person sitting in the seat of a Judge, dispensing justice.

Does chindu have an editorial board to scrutinize articles and do they look beyond grammar and spelling?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Farcical trial and justice in China

Ananth Krishnan is showing courage by filing such reports on chindu. Lets see how long it lasts. China rarely tolerates dissent, especially in its mouthpiece.
The Hindu : International : Trial of quake critic begins in Sichuan
Over the last year, the local government in Sichuan silenced many of its more vocal critics. Many activists and parents of victims campaigning for a public investigation into the deaths of their children have been detained. In July 2008, Huang Qi, an activist who ran a website assisting parents in their investigations, was arrested for “illegally possessing state secrets.” Mr. Huang’s trial began on August 5, and was adjourned without a verdict.

Mr. Tan, who has also assisted parents in investigating the deaths of their children, faces a possible five-year sentence on the charge of subversion.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ruing the 'Tragic' Launch of INS Arihant

Here. I ought to have expected it but when it actually appeared, I still could not believe it. EPW is the only leading publication I have seen to publicly decry the launch of India's first nuclear submarine.

We are tweeting.

We have started tweeting, do check out our twitter page. We will be adding a Twitter widget to the blog shortly to get the latest tweets from twitter on this blog as well.
Saddle up folks, its going to be a great ride.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Either Emran Hashmi was lying or he's wacky

In an article on Chindu today:
Actor Emraan Hashmi, who had alleged that he was denied a flat by a housing society because he is Muslim, claimed there was no discrimination , and the controversy arose because of a “miscommunication.”

That's it, the entire article. Now there were long winded stories when the original issue broke out with interviews with Shabana (the witch) Azmi, Mahesh Bhatt, the long sermons about how intolerant Indian society is and so on. Now he comes back and says there's no discrimination. So why shout from the rooftops that you were being denied a house? Where is the media's journalistic instincts to put him on the spot for wrongful comments against a particular group?

Genital mutilation

Warning: disturbing content

The circumcision as practiced by Jews, although repulsive, is quite gentle when compared to the genital mutilation inflicted upon women by Muslims.

Btw, there are not one but a few places which claim to have the original foreskin of Jesus. It seems like a few mitzva aseh got to suck the prepuce off Jesus and spit it.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Karat's Falsehood and The Hindu's Tacit Support

Brinda Karat’s adverse comments about the recent Supreme Court judgment and the coverage The Hindu gave her remarks and the outrage that has followed ever since is a good example of how easy it is to mislead an ignorant and gullible public and whip up hysteria without reason.

Content of letters published over the last two days about this matter (here and here) has been unbelievable and makes me want to tell all these people to do some basic research before shooting off their comments to the paper. What is more remarkable is the paper’s readiness to publish these completely baseless and misguided comments for two consecutive days in a row provoking any average and ignorant reader into thinking that some grossly unjust and outrageous act has just been perpetrated by the Supreme Court.

The relevant provision of the Indian Penal Code is here and the court judgment is here. One look at both will tell you why Karat’s remarks are unreasonable. Section 498A deals with harassment of a woman for dowry and the word cruelty is defined accordingly. I quote the definition below:

(a) Any willful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health whether mental or physical) of the woman; or

(b) Harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a view to coercing her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable security or is on account of failure by her or any person related to her meet such demand.]

Thus, any harassment of the woman has to meet two conditions to be termed cruel for the purpose of this provision: (1) it must be grave or endanger her life or drive her to commit suicide or (2) it must involve harassment related to a demand for dowry.

The case in question related to a bitter quarrel between a woman on the one side and her husband and in-laws on the other that had absolutely nothing to do with dowry! Secondly, the court found that she was kicked by her mother-in-law but no evidence was ever presented of any grave or life threatening injury and the harassment again did not relate to any demand for dowry. The argument that raising the possibility of divorce with the wife/daughter-in-law amounts to cruelty is laughable (If that is so, how is a warring couple going to get a divorce if even the mere mention of that possibility to the wife ends up getting the husband or in-laws in jail?). Is it any surprise then that when all the elements of the offense are clearly missing, the court declared that the case has nothing to do with section 498A and the woman’s complaints do not amount to cruelty?

What Brinda Karat and the National Federation of Indian Women (which has petitioned the Chief Justice of India for review) are asking is for the court to abuse its power under this provision and throw a husband/in-laws who have not demanded any dowry into jail. At the very least, the patently false allegation needs to be condemned. Instead, having published this news item without sufficient explanation of its context, the paper is sitting out the controversy editorially even as considerable space is being provided to ill-informed readers to vent their anger against the court. If this is a deliberate effort, the campaign could not be termed anything short of malicious.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Interview with J.Krishnamurthy

I found this interview in The Hindu Business Line today quite interesting. It talks about how Indians had thought of some of the leading ideas of today before the famous economists we hear about figured them out.

Doping vs. privacy - BCCI fights back

Everyone and their dog wants to see their favorite team free of any doping allegations. But to ask your favorite player to tell some organization (ICC, IOC, FIFA) where he/she's going to be an hour of every day for a predetermined period of time? That's ridiculous. Where's the individual privacy? What next they are going to put athletes in cages?
The worst part is the moron's at Chindu have taken their knives against the cricketers and BCCI.
But a bunch of hugely spoilt cricketers and a high and mighty Board of Control for Cricket in India have come together, in an ill-informed and irrational way, to challenge a crucial provision in the World Anti-Doping Code.

Personally I'm not a huge fan of the BCCI and most cricketers. But in this case they have a point.
Most people know that doping is a serious offense, but to sacrifice individual privacy so that some "plan" of IOC can succeed is a frickin joke. There is no way that this plan is totally foolproof.
Chindu's rationale that other's have signed up hence its a great idea is akin to justifying Nazism, because your neighbors signed up. I hope the BCCI tells IOC to shove its rules up its own behind.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Countenance this....

...seculars. I know, not gonna happen.
Marxism, after all, explained everything; and I was not yet smart enough to hold this against it. The intellectual sophistication of the tradition seemed incontrovertible; and I was not yet familiar with the stylistic cunning of apologetics and polemics, modern or medieval, which can spin into existence a vast and intoxicating literature without ever examining its own foundations. I was a liberal, but an infirm one--infirm liberalism being the liberalism that fails to engage its enemies on the left as ferociously as its enemies on the right.

A Psychiatrist's View of Asymmetric Warfare!

The item 'Coping with Asymmetric violence' by Professor K.S.Jacob is another article offering little new insight and no solutions. I can understand a professor of psychiatry elaborating on homosexuality but asymmetric warfare? Maoist insurgency? Causes of terrorism? I do not quite know what qualifies him to be an expert in that but even assuming he has done his research, some things are plainly wrong and there is not much to be said about the rest.

Here are some examples:
The war through the Salwa Judum, extra-judicial killings by the police and the use of draconian laws (for example, the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act 2006) fuel resentment. The abject poverty in the region and the insensitivity of governments are not circumstances that win people’s cooperation. Surely, this is no way to win hearts and minds. The status quo would mean prolonged insurgency.
Where is the evidence that Salwa Judum is fomenting terror? The big accusation against it is that it is too harsh and violating people's rights. No one has ever asserted that it is aiding the Maoists even indirectly (on the contrary, the NHRC report concluded that it was quite effective). If there were any such evidence, it would undoubtedly have been seized upon by human rights activists to shut down the campaign by now. His other argument that abject poverty leads to terror is plainly false. There are numerous papers analyzing terrorism particularly since 9/11 that have shown that the relationship between development and terror is non-linear. The most impoverished and highly developed regions have a lower risk of terrorism than moderately developed ones. So any development of an abjectly impoverished region may be expected to increase terror rather than diminish it.

Finally, his last paragraph is a gem.

Many military commanders now agree that military solutions are not the answer to conflicts in today’s world. Yet their political masters rarely concur, as it is easier to implement military responses than execute the necessary structural reforms within government and politics. Security solutions mistake activity for strategy and make war for an elusive peace.

The recent Maoist violence in West Bengal also suggests that opportunistic political alliances for partisan gains are obstacles to long-term solutions. Ideological arguments against negotiating with terrorists are used to stall dialogue.

This is again largely false. Is this man not aware of how many times negotiations have been tried at various levels with insurgent outfits? Has not the development track also been (and continues to be) attempted at various points in the belief that addressing socioeconomic grievances will cure the region of violence? When has any government in India acted ideologically rather than try practical approaches to this problem? If they have chosen not to talk, that is very much for practical reasons. What workable alternative does he have to offer besides cliches and failed strategies of the past?

News Analysis and Factual Reporting: Can The Hindu Tell the Difference?

The Hindu has published several pointless and downright bad articles recently. See today's 'Coping with Winds of Political Hostility' and 'Cromwell's grave revealed' under 'News Analysis'. Amar Singh may have his grievances with the Congress and Mukesh Ambani but that hardly qualifies it to be a 'Leader page article'. Likewise, the revelation of Oliver Cromwell's grave may be an fine titbit for someone interested in English history but there is very little news to be analyzed there. Same goes for yesterday's 'White House vacation: more than light-hearted fare'. A worthwhile news item perhaps but analysis? What is there to analyze in what Obama and his family talk about? The other article yesterday was 'Sunbeds - the surrealistic tan and the cancer'. Copied straight from The Guardian, it does not bother to ask what the relevance of sunbeds is in a country where getting skin cancer from tanning is the least of our worries.

Last Friday was worse. It had an interview with Lance Corporal Joe Glenton, the soldier who refused to follow military orders citing political reasons. What exactly is the message the paper is trying to send out here? That it is acceptable for a soldier to follow one's conscience and refuse perfectly legal orders from superiors? That soldiers who violate military discipline ought to be turned into heroes in the public eye by a journalistic fraternity committed to pacifism? Does The Hindu believe that the situation will become truly wonderful were the coalition forces to leave and be replaced by Mullah Omar and the Taliban? Is that what the paper is now rooting for?

The Chief Editor may be an ardent lover of The Guardian but somehow an ability to discern and select relevant items based on content and context is lacking.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Fwd: Hysterical Arundhati

after lies, it is now bad karma catching up with arundhati susan roy. all those years of vituperative concoctions are being distilled and poured back into her cup of woes which she can savor in leisure.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Girish

Roy confesses to writing many of the essays "in anger" and says that they have a common thread—"they are about the consequences of and the corollaries to democracy; they are about the fire in the ducts". But for a writer, anger needs to be channelled and combined with original research and cogent understanding so that it doesn't become a rant. By depending heavily on secondary sources and mixing up subjects and themes, Roy doesn't reach the quality of, say, Naomi Klein, and her impeccably researched and searing studies into the dark heart of capitalism.
edit: here are the excepts from the article also available at
Roy, in her article Who's she when she is at home? (The Outlook May 6, 2002) had given a vivid account of a mob attack on house of ex-Congress MP Iqbal Ehshan Jafri, who was unfortunately killed in the riots. Roy gave a graphic detail-"mob broke into the house. They stripped his daughters and burnt them alive".

This event became a media-occasion for Roy to demonise Hindutva. But those who had read The Asian Age (May 2, 2002) would not have been impressed because in it late Ehshan Jaffri's son T.A. Jaffri said -"Among my brothers and sisters, I am the only one living in India. And I am the eldest in the family. My sister and brother live in the US. I am 40 years old and I have been born and brought up in Ahmedabad". So Roy was describing the stripping and killing of Ehshan Jafri's daughter's in Gujarat riots, who in reality were safe in another part of the globe.

Roy had begun her charter of hate with another damning description: "Last night a friend from Baroda called. Weeping. It took her fifteen minutes to tell me what the matter was. It wasn't very complicated. Only that Sayeeda, a friend of hers, had been caught by a mob. Only that her stomach had been ripped open and stuffed with burning rags. Only that after she died, someone carved 'OM' on her forehead".

Shocked by this despicable "incident", I got in touch with the Gujarat government. The police investigations revealed that no such case, involving someone called Sayeeda, had been reported either in urban or rural Baroda. Subsequently, the police sought Roy's help to identify the victim and seek access to witnesses who could lead them to those guilty of this crime. But the police got no cooperation. Instead, Roy, through her lawyer, replied that the police had no power to issue summons. Thus she hedged behind technical excuses. I took up this incident in my rejoinder published as Dissimulation In Word and Images (The Outlook, July 8, 2002).