Atanu Dey On India's Development

February 26, 2014
by Atanu Dey
4 Comments

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
3 Comments

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
2 Comments

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
30 Comments

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
4 Comments

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 any 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
0 comments

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
3 Comments

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
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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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January 17, 2014
by Atanu Dey
1 Comment

A stage too big for the drama

On my way to India, I am in the university town of Leuven, close to Brussels. I have become quite a regular — last year I was here in February and then again in September. Along the way — I think it was on the flight from SFO to New Jersey — I caught a bug. I had a sore throat upon arrival at NJ and over the next few days it became a chest cold. By the time I left for Brussels, I was running a temperature (confirmed with a thermometer on board the flight) and I declared myself officially sick.
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January 8, 2014
by Atanu Dey
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Leaving on a jet plane — the Jan 2014 edition

jetplane As the song goes, ” . . . I’m leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again . . . ” I am off to strange and exotic places. For the first part of the journey, I will be in the East coast, arriving at Newark International on Friday and departing for Brussels next week Wednesday. Lots of places to see and people to meet. Here are the exciting details.
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January 5, 2014
by Atanu Dey
2 Comments

Central Planners and Wooden Boards

central planning In my favourite Bruce Lee movie Enter the Dragon (which I have seen at least a dozen times) there’s a very telling scene. Just before a particular fight, Bruce Lee’s opponent, to demonstrate how awesomely tough he is, holds up a wooden board and with one swift punch smashes it to bits. Bruce Lee impassively looks him in the eye and calmly says, “Boards don’t hit back.”
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January 1, 2014
by Atanu Dey
17 Comments

Freedom is Incompatible with Free

I hear that the new Delhi government is promising free stuff — water and electricity. It warms the cockles of this economist’s heart. Actually, I lie. What it does is deepen poverty and make people more dependent. Socialists love people to be dependent on them. So what we have in store for India is continued poverty. But we must remember that this is a choice made by the people of India, not something that is imposed from some force outside India. India is poor because Indians choose poverty over freedom. So be it. As I say, it is all karma, neh? (This piece was published on Niti Central today.)
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January 1, 2014
by Atanu Dey
3 Comments

Individual Freedom and Bondage

0781_8477 First post of 2014 and therefore sets the tone for the rest of the year — freedom. Individual freedom. Actually, freedom is about individuals. Collectives are really an abstraction and in reality only individuals exist. So to say that a particular collective is free — Indians or Americans or Africans — what is really meant is that each individual in that collective is free. The question is: what is the individual free from? From coercion by other individuals. The following is an opinion piece published last month in Niti Central.

Best wishes for a wonderful 2014.
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December 17, 2013
by Atanu Dey
1 Comment

Leadership through inheritance is a compelling sign of a poor or a declining nation

Ruling a banana republic does not require special qualifications

Item: Captain John Wright, 58, is retiring as a senior pilot. He has had a distinguished flying career with 35 years of sitting in the left hand seat in the cockpit, much of it of heavies like the Boeing 747s and Airbus 340s. But it’s time that he hangs up his wings and retires from a job well done. Bluesky Air, the airline that Captain Wright served so competently, has announced that on Capt Wright’s retirement next month, his seat will be occupied by his son Jack. Jack will move from his job as a janitor at Burger King to be the chief pilot at Bluesky Air. He will fly the planes that his father flew.
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December 15, 2013
by Atanu Dey
4 Comments

Open Thread: Say what you will

Lots of interesting things happening around the world and in India. Those assembly elections were interesting — if you go for that sort of thing; I don’t. The expected death of that great South African leader Nelson Mandela. An interesting ruling by the Supreme Court of India, etc. It basically goes against the most important principle of human social behavior — don’t poke your nose into things that don’t concern you. You mind your expletive business and I will mind my expletive business. Be that as it may, here’s what I tweeted recently. Take a look at them. And leave a comment if there’s something on your mind that I should know about. Here are the tweets that may be interesting.
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December 12, 2013
by Atanu Dey
11 Comments

AAP: The transition to Nehruvian Socialism 2.0

Social media has a derogatory term for people who enthusiastically support the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). They are called “AAPtards”. Perhaps retards is a little too extreme; maybe these people are merely seriously deluded, gullible, somewhat ignorant, easily misled, et cetera, et cetera. But that’s not the worst of it. Kejriwal is a serious threat to the possibility of India giving the Maino-led UPA a quick burial. Here’s why —
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