Atanu Dey On India's Development

Indibloggies 2006

Competitions are good. Spoken like a true market economist. Not just economists but biologists would also proclaim the benefits of competition. After all, the great diversity of our living world is the result of intense competition among the gene carriers or living entities. And the great diversity of human artifacts we enjoy is the result of intense competition among buyers and sellers of stuff in the marketplace. So it is great to have the blog competition called the “Indibloggies.

An impressive list of 175 blogs have been nominated over 16 different categories. I have to admit that I am pleased to see this blog has been nominated in two categories: Best Indiblog, and Best Topical Indiblog. Too bad there is no category called “Blog Most Likely to Offend the Most People” because then this blog would have surely won in that category because the Sri Sri Ravi Shankar fans would have voted in droves.

Seriously though, this is not a happy blog. That is to some extent understandable since I focus on some of India’s pressing problems and that always involves the dismal science. But it is not mere gratuitous finger pointing. The intent is to understand the problems well enough so that the solutions are revealed. At times I even get around to stating what in my opinion are some possible solutions.

This brings me to a serious point. I like scribbling on this blog and some of you like some of those scribblings and some don’t. It would be good if you would take a moment to add a comment to this post about what you like and what you don’t like about this blog. What would you like to see more of, and what less of? What do you think I should do that would make this blog more useful to you?

Goodbye, goodnight and may your god go with you.

  • Hooser

    Atanu,

    Good job on the blog, and good luck with the awards. Your blog is almost perfect, why tamper with a good thing. If you could just add some gratuitous sex and violence to it, it would be the best blog ever.

  • http://acorn.nationalinterest.in Nitin

    You should pay more attention to the role of alcohol in the making of modern civilisation. Prima facie, it is profound.

    This is a great blog: not merely because your readers might agree with you. But because whether they agree or disagree, they still have to think about what you said.

    All the best for the Indibloggies. I still don’t think equating the “best” with the “most popular” is correct, but well, this is how the world is.

  • http://www.deeshaa.org Atanu Dey

    Hooser, you canucks need to understand that this is a blog, not Bollywood. Turn on the TV if you want gratuitous s and v. Here you will only find wholesome family fun. OK, fun is perhaps not the right word but you get my drift.

    Nitin, asking people to think is the worst thing one can do to be popular. The politicians have figured that out and it is time that we all learnt that lesson.

  • Crazyfinger

    Since you asked the question…

    Because I have expressed these very same thoughts in the past (and also on account that these days I am not feeling the love for blogs) I am going to blatantly copy my own content and recycle a few comments of mine that I had left somewhere else.

    Two points.

    1) I would like it if you communicate and interact better with your commenters.

    If your posts here on this blog are truly “scribbles,” as you said, then I think you write in the true spirit of what a blog is, i.e., a set of notes, a personal journal if you will. I mean the entries in a personal web journal are indeed meant to be read by others not with a premature impulse to respond, but with a patience to introspect along the way. Having said that, no one will know if a tree is introspecting alone in a forest, so as an irregular commenter on your blog, I have on occasion felt like introspecting back at you:-)

    But what I didn’t like is this: your responses (in general, not in particular to my comments) nearly always come across as a rebut to a comment. You dig in and hold on to your opinion as if it’s a duel. I wished a few times that you weren’t so quick to draw, weren’t so quick to throw in a few more observations in your rebut comment.

    In fact more than a few times, I thought that you sort of read the comment that came in, mulled about it, and if the comment had any additional insight that didn’t wholeheartedly support and endorse your point of view, then you either dilute their value or point to a synonymous equivalent of this comment in your post.

    Either way if that commenter is a well-meaning, thinking individual they see right through it and it basically discourages him/her – for people rarely jump into a dirty fight at the first go – or if the commenter is one of those common breed who can be intellectually bullied into an acceptance, and even into shameless internet idolatry, then we (you) are left with nauseating and embarrassing fawners.

    I have seen these two extremes on your blog. I think you can do better.

    I believe that a good blogpost that invites dissenting opinions is better than a good blogpost that invites concurring opinions. Personally I think no blogpost is better than either of these two (seriously), but that’s just one of me.

    2) It appears to me that the proportion of women/ladies who comment on your blog is very low. Why is that?

    It’s a question that didn’t occur to me until I started writing the above point. Because I think if you had more women commenters on your blog, most of what I said above would have corrected itself.

    One should go beyond the immediately obvious such as the overall proportion of women bloggers in the indian blogosphere, and among that the percentage of those who majored in economics…wait…that’s irrelevant, isn’t it?

    Though your focus is “…on some of India’s pressing problems and that always involves the dismal science” I wonder if you thought it odd that the most positive and the most dominant force for positive change – the women – don’t interact with you on this blog as often as they should.

    Having said that, I think you’d agree that it’d be wrong to “cater” to a particular type of audience, I know that. But, it feels like the reachability of your ideas and opinions, your scribbles, is stuck in a local minima and looks like a simulated annealing or two would help make the transition.

    To be fair to you, it may very well be the case that I have read everything wrong and that perhaps these opinions of mine are true for Indian blogosphere only in general and I am attributing them, rather indiscriminately, to your blog.

    But to make any larger points, that same Indian blogosphere is all that we’ve got as a whole of the context, isn’t it?

    Back when – one or two years ago – I found Indian blogosphere to be addictive, I found the segment that was written by women in India to be very vibrant, and full of promise. But that by Indian male bloggers I found to be a community of a strangely self-centered, self-referential, incredibly and excessively self-conscious people who are rather naively inexperienced about the world other than their own little kaleidoscope of bollywood and cricket; surprisingly inexperienced and ill-informed about what it means to put democracy into action; who are disappointingly unwilling to question their own beliefs and their own emotions; was largely a few bunch of “top-rated” bloggers who managed to create a personality-cult around themselves and the rest who shed their own independent thinking and practice internet idolatry shamelessly; and those who are by and large quite prejudicial and they don’t even know it.

    But the real hope was women bloggers, a real bright hope that was already a counterweight to the deadwood that I described above. During my initiation phase into Indian blogosphere, I was kindled and run over – gladly – by an almost Pushkin-line simplicity, directness and power of emotions, the getting right down to it quality that I found rampant in the expressions of Indian female bloggers. Anything they touch, they do it with refreshing callouts to that nearly-forgotten syntax and the grammar of life. It may be that the unforgivable self-obsession of men, the Indian kind, that goes back to centuries has smothered these voices until now, or that there is really a new birth, a new reproduction – this time without the awkward and the necessary prodding from the other kind – that we are witnessing, or so I thought. Whatever may be the genesis, this resurrection is all self-willed, unaided and full of promise, a promise to show us the way, or so I had hoped.

    But all that has gone away. The distinction has gone away. Everybody seems the same to me these days. Women who were willing to articulate have become disenchanted with the uncouth and the abstract among the largely male commenters. Those who are still yapping about are still in their teenage angst. To say that the average Indian blogger is still in his/her early twenties is to simply state a fact, not the reason for the juvenile decaying of the Indian blogosphere. The problem with this youth is that their blogging is showing us that – to employ a Wittengenstein statement – there are deep disquietudes triggered by misinterpretations. And more disconcertingly, the problems arising through these misinterpretations have the character of depth which seems strangely unaware of the moral characteristic.

    Regards,
    Crazyfinger

  • http://www.drishtikone.com Desh

    Hey Atanu:

    My blog has also been shortlisted for the same category for the first time! And for me it is a privilege to have my blog listed on the same page as yours! You have been my inspiration in the blogosphere..

    .. want to wish you all the best!

    Cheers,
    Desh
    Drishtikone.com

  • Vaishali

    Atanu,

    I find your blog educational and thought-provoking. It has helped my friends and me who work at the grass-roots level to see and understand the bigger picture of rural development.
    The blog is largely cohesive and remains true to its name. The posts have a good mix of content, observing all the main issues from various viewpoints (historic, futuristic, economic, social, national, international).
    As to which topics should be emphasized and which others should not be, then it is a matter of how much you relate with those issues and with how much authority you can put them down.

    Thanks,
    Vaishali

  • http://ipatrix.com Patrix

    More of the same please. Although I would like to read more on the personal front too :)

  • http://www.retributions.nationalinterest.in confused

    a)Higher education
    b)Demography
    c)Rural economics

    regards

  • Abhijat

    Hi Atanu,

    Just keep on being yourself, that’s enough. I’d quote Djikstra: Do what only you can do.

    On a personal note, some insights into issues that crop up, or need to be considered, when one goes up from small scales to larger scales would be helpful.

    All the best.

  • Buddha

    Son, its terribly disappointing to see that theres no porn on this blog. Dont you think real men would like real stuff rather than the erudite bullshit that u dole out.
    Tell us about your sex life, are girls from californicatia better than India?
    You sure know whats the meaning of your name!
    Jai Gurudev

  • http://prasannavishy.blogspot.com/ prasanna

    Hi Atanu
    Your blog is awesome.Keep up the good work

  • Pankaj

    Hello Atanu,

    I would like to read more of your ideas on education. Also, there was a venture on education you discussed a while back at your blog. Can you write about that as well.

    best,
    Pankaj.

  • jala

    Want more:
    1) alike you might be a 3′rd world country, …. you might be an Indian, ….

    2) As you are an economist, economics lessons with Example.

    3) Weekend Silliness. :(

  • http://dipanjanc.blogspot.com dipanjan

    Why mess with a good thing? But since you asked, would love to read your take on macro issues facing Indian economy from time to time — inflation for example.

  • http://www.ms.unimelb.edu.au/~gadde/ gaddeswarup

    I like the fact that you take up topics which interest you without fear of loosing loyal audience.
    At one time, I thought you were very considerate to people who commented, particularly young ones.I have not read enough in the comments section to be sure of this. That attitude would encourage diversity of opinion and discussion.

  • Uday

    I admire your writing abilities more than anything else. Your careful choice of words and your style are superb.

    I sorely miss your passionate arguments from the s.c.i. days. While you characterize those times as “armies clashing in the dark”, you invariably managed to strongly put forth a view that I shared with clarity and remarkable economy of the written word. An older, wiser, and more mellow Atanu has been my loss!

    During the s.c.i. days you introduced me to a book I greatly treasure – Beyond Numeracy, by J. A. Paulos. On page 118, he discusses the fundamental importance of negative thoughts and impossibilities. Your eloquently expressed views remind me of that section over and over again. Cheers.

  • http://gudem.blogspot.com Chandra

    Good luck with Indibloggies 2006. I am usually amazed at your length of you blogs, pretty much day in and day out – I guess you do have something to say! Keep it up and keep it on developmental issues.