Atanu Dey On India's Development

April 20, 2014
by Atanu Dey

The Indian Constitution – Part 1

So far I have asked around 10,000 Indians if they have read the Indian Constitution. Not one of them admitted to having read it. A few say yes initially but when probed a bit admit that they haven’t really read the whole thing. Some claim to have read the preamble. That is like saying that they have seen the movie merely because they have seen the ad in the newspaper or have had lunch because they checked out the lunch menu.
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April 16, 2014
by Atanu Dey
1 Comment

A New Kind of Test

TIME has a brief piece on an interesting change in what the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) tests. “Students will no longer be rewarded for the rote memorization of semi-obscure definitions. Instead, the words that the SAT will highlight in vocabulary questions will be “high utility” words that students are likely to encounter in life and reading beyond those four hours in the testing location. Even the most studied students won’t be able to breeze through vocab sections, matching a word with definition B by reflex; they’ll have to read and gather from the passage exactly what a word means.”

April 12, 2014
by Atanu Dey

Who Killed Indians at Jallianwala Bagh?

Today is the anniversary of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre of 1919.

The Jallianwala Bagh massacre, also known as the Amritsar massacre, was a seminal event in the British rule of India. On 13 April 1919, a crowd of non-violent protesters, along with Baishakhi pilgrims, had gathered in the Jallianwala Bagh garden in Amritsar, Punjab to protest the arrest of two leaders despite a curfew which had been recently declared. On the orders of Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer, the army fired on the crowd for ten minutes, directing their bullets largely towards the few open gates through which people were trying to run out. The dead numbered between 370 and 1,000, or possibly more. [Wiki.]

The picture on the left shows the narrow passage to Jallianwala Bagh Garden through which the shooting was conducted. The question is: who killed those hundreds of Indians — men, women and little children — in cold blood at the orders of Gen Dyer? They were Indians. Indians killed Indians mercilessly, in cold blood. They always do. Indians kill Indians and help foreigners rule India. Here’s some evidence that you must read to understand that point.
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March 25, 2014
by Atanu Dey

Notes on GDP, money and wealth

Considering how ubiquitous talk about GDP and growth rates is, it is noteworthy that as a concept it is of fairly recent vintage. The idea of having a measure of the “income” of a country was invented by the American economist Simon Kuznets for use in a US Congressional report in 1934. The “product” part of gross domestic product refers to the production of goods and services. It is an aggregate measure–and hence a macroeconomic measure. It is a measure of the total amount of goods and services that an economy produces. Full disclosure: I am not a macroeconomist and find the subject painfully boring. But here I am only discussing the limited idea of GDP.
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March 16, 2014
by Atanu Dey

Happy Holi

Wishing you all an enjoyable Holi. Like all Hindu festivals, this one has multiple meanings. I cannot vouch for the accuracy but this site has some information on what Holi is about. Here’s a video of a Holi celebrations in 2012 in Utah. The creators of this video, The Good Line, say, “This was filmed in Spanish Fork, Utah (of all places). The Hari Krishna temple holds this festival every March. It has grown into the largest Holi celebration in the western hemisphere. Everybody is more than welcome to come!” (Vimeo.) The videography is spectacular.

February 26, 2014
by Atanu Dey

Maha Shivratri Greetings from Mumbai

Today is Maha Shivratri — Great night of Shiva. Shiva (the auspicious one) is known by many names — Mahadeva or Mahesh (the great god), Bholenath (the simple god since he is an ascetic), Parameshwara (the supreme god), and Nataraja (the king of dance). I am partial to Shiva as the Nataraj. He dances the Tandava, the dance of destruction and creation.

The image of the Nataraja above is from CERN headquarters. Click on the image for more details.

February 21, 2014
by Atanu Dey

The Congress will be History Soon

A O Hume The Indian National Congress (INC) is on the way out. An English civil servant, Allan Octavian Hume (1829 – 1912), founded the party in December 1885. As it happens, Hume is also known as “the father of Indian ornithology”. Not just that, he was a theosophist. Go read his brief wiki bio. He was an impressive man. Anyway, now nearly 130 years old, the Congress is in terminal decline. A foreigner — an accomplished Englishman — gave birth to it and another foreigner — an almost uneducated Italian woman — is presiding over it as it takes it final gasps. The Congress’s most celebrated leader is undoubtedly Shri M K Gandhi, aka “Mahatma Gandhi”, a Gujarati; and it is another Gujarati who is instrumental in putting the dying Congress out of its misery. The parentheses that enclose the Congress are ironic. And now for a bit from an IndiaFacts Nov 2013 article by Gautam Sen, below the fold.
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February 10, 2014
by Atanu Dey

Nancy Powell to meet Narendra Modi

The Hindustan Times reports “US may end 9-year boycott of Modi, envoy asks for meeting“.

If Shri Modi’s office does receive a request for a meeting from Nancy Powell, it should respond with, “Ms Powell is welcome to seek an appointment. The request will be appropriately considered and processed through the standard channels in the order received.” I don’t see why Narendrabhai should bother to meet Ms Powell, considering that he has other things on his plate — or more precisely in his chai kettle.

Update — 3 PM Feb 11th: I believe that Modi has agreed to meet Ms Powell.

February 8, 2014
by Atanu Dey

What’s the connection between Aadhar and the Ford Foundation?

Every day in every which way, Kejriwal figures out a new drama to be in the media spotlight. It seems to me that he is not acting alone — and by that I don’t mean that he does not have a bunch of very able sidekicks. He certainly has visible support. What concerns me is the invisible support. Are invisible hands guiding him? Here’s what I got in a forwarded email. I cannot vouch for its content. You be the judge. I am just posting it for the record. The original was in Hindi and I asked a friend (Thanks, Amit) to translate it into English.
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February 4, 2014
by Atanu Dey

On Misunderestimating Kejriwal and Shills like Medha Patkar

The Merriam-Webster says about the word shill that its origins are unknown and the first known usage was in 1914. That makes it one hundred years old. I have usually encountered it in US political commentary. I like the sound of the word and it always brings up the almost similar word shrill to mind. The wikipedia describes the word well –

A shill, also called a plant or a stooge, is a person who publicly helps a person or organization without disclosing that they have a close relationship with the person or organization.

“Shill” typically refers to someone who purposely gives onlookers the impression that they are an enthusiastic independent customer of a seller (or marketer of ideas) for whom they are secretly working. . . .

What brought the word to mind was Medha Patkar. She was on a TV talk show with Arnab Goswami (the same fellow who had that little tête-à-tête with the super-genius, apple of Diggy’s eye, the Italian-Indian shehzada, the pride of the Maino family, etc etc, Raul Vinci aka Rahul Gandhi.) The matter being discussed was Arvind Kejriwal’s hypocrisy.

Kejriwal insists that he will not do something and then goes ahead and does it. He’s gained himself quite a reputation as “Mr U-Turn”. In the current example of a “Kejriwal-turn”, he vehemently, vociferously, publicly insisted that he will not live in a huge government-provided accommodations, but privately he demanded that two huge properties be allocated to him — around 12,000 sqft of living space and 18,000 sqft of lawns.

Among the talking heads was Medha Patkar. She was the sanctimonious shill. Wiki again:

Shill can also be used pejoratively to describe a critic who appears either all-too-eager to heap glowing praise upon mediocre offerings, or who acts as an apologist for glaring flaws. In this sense, the critic would be an implicit shill for the industry at large, possibly because his income is tied to its prosperity.

As an apologist for the lying Arvind Kejriwal, she gave a command performance. She epitomized sanctimonious shill-dom. I tweeted:

From time to time, I get inspired to tweet about Kejriwal. In November last year, I had called him several names. That was before he became the CM of Delhi. Most people did not realize what a sleazy scumbag he was. Last night I tweeted my view of Kejriwal and attached a screen capture of my November tweet:

I am sure that I misunderestimate (thanks GW Bush) Kejriwal’s devious genius. He is communal to the core and could probably teach the insufferable Digvijaya Singh a few tricks. Here’s what I noted the other day:

So there we are watching the train-wreck that is the Delhi government run by #Dramebaaz #U-turnBaba Kejriwal and apologists like Ms Medha Patkar. Don’t these people have no sense or shame? Don’t they realize that they will be reviled by the millions once their nautanki is over?

Anyway, I reserve my severest criticism for the cretins, the brainless dolts, who supported AAP. Their stupidity will impoverish an already poor country.

January 29, 2014
by Atanu Dey

Things I Like – The Self-referential Edition

I like some of the stuff on this blog. Here are a couple.

  • Must Watch Video of Daniel Everette’s Deconversion.

    About a Christian missionary who went to convert a tribe and in the process lost his own faith. (Posted Sept 2010.)

  • What is Congress but a Fascist Organization? “The Congress at the present stage—what is it but a Fascist organization? Gandhi is the dictator like Stalin, I won’t say like Hitler: what Gandhi says they accept and even the Working Committee follows him; then it goes to the All-India Congress Committee which adopts it, and then the Congress . . .”

    That’s Sri Aurobindo speaking to his disciples in 1938. Sounds contemporary, though.

More to come.

January 26, 2014
by Atanu Dey

Republic Day Thoughts

I can understand that India celebrates “Republic Day” — the day on which the Indian constitution came into force in 1950. I am not a huge big fan of the Indian constitution, as you may probably know. But what really bothers me is the ridiculous parade that they put up all over the country, the main sad event being in the capital New Delhi. That grown-ups would participate in something like this puzzles me at times, and then I remind myself that this is consistent with the general stupidity that blankets this place anyway. This ultimate dog and pony show’s absurdity is matched by the hysterical jingoism of the day.
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January 19, 2014
by Atanu Dey

Shri Narendra Modi’s Address at the BJP National Council Meeting in Delhi

A nation’s prosperity eventually depends on its policies. The policies that obtain, in turn, depend on the objectives of the policymakers. Who these policymakers are is usually determined by the collective — through some democratic process but regardless of the details, the policymakers are ultimately chosen by consensus. No nation can be governed, dictatorially or democratically, without voluntary popular support. The people of India have much to answer for the misgovernance of India. Only when popular sentiment changes can one expect change in the outcome. Shri Narendra Modi appears to be the catalyst that may bring about a change in India.
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