Free speech is always absolute!

I think people calling “bharat ki barbadi” must have right to shout it as loudly as they want. It must be covered under free speech. The true test of free speech is when someone says something unimaginable to everyone else.

However, we don’t have to hear that speech or even fund them. JNU should have ideally simply rusticated the students who shouted those slogans and should have asked full refund of all the subsidies they lived on.

Sedition in India is a misused law. The so called nationalist BJP is perfectly find aligning with PDP in Kashmir for the sake of power and the paragon of Nationalism Mr. Modi is happy to hug PDP’s Mufti yet the students who opposed Afzal’s death end up in jail under sedition laws.

I have zero sympathy for JNU. I think it is a cancer feeding off our tax money and the whole university must be shut down. Not a penny of taxpayer money must be wasted on liberal arts education in this country when hardly any education in the country makes people employable.

But on the other hand the real issue that both Indian society and Indian state seems to lack basic principles on which they can argue their case. The left wing people and Idea of India people however have their agenda clear.

It is a tough battle and people like Modi seem not particularly equipped to fight it.

What benefits humanity more ?

People often wrongly assume that government programs help society. It is the private individuals and capitalism that helps societies improve faster and better. I read the following lines on Quora some days back.

What helped humanity more ? Edison’s light bulb or the tax paid by Edison and Bulb manufactures ?

What helped humanity more ? Computer or taxes paid by Bill Gates?

Lunatics in MHRD

AICTE is regulatory body that is part of MHRD. Even though it stands for All India Council for Technical Education, like a tentacled monster most government regulators are; its tentacles are around totally unrelated matters such as MBA programs.

MHRD and AICTE are the reason why engineering education in the country has become worthless. Indian students are leaving the country for MS programs in USA/UK and AU by taking loans from Indian banks at 11% interest rate.

MHRD’s education policy is devoid of sense and logic and most certainly goes totally against fundamental economic reasoning. While the Congress probably looked at education as parking lots for their intellectual henchmen BJP seems to think of it as a tool to propagate half-ass ideas about culture/nationalism etc.

The latest item to come out of this circus is government proposal to cap the fees to engineering and MBA programs.

For instance, the committee has fixed the maximum (tuition and development) fee for a two-year MBA course at Rs 1.57 lakh to Rs 1.71 lakh per annum, depending on the location of the institute. The annual fee for a four-year engineering degree (BE or B Tech) has been fixed at Rs 1.44 lakh to 1.58 lakh. It has also proposed the maximum fee for technical courses like B Arch, B Pharma, MCA and M Tech – See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/aicte-accepts-panel-proposal-on-fee-cap-for-private-institutes/#sthash.99rDDaVQ.dpuf
This is as idiotic as it gets. While the monkeys in AICTE probably glee at this the blame is actually on supreme court.
The apex court had ruled that to prevent commercialisation of technical education, the fee charged by private institutes should be decided by the state governments until a national-level fee fixation committee gives its recommendations.
It is totally beyond me why it is Supreme Court’s business to decide if technical education should be commercial or not. This is probably because the government in charge of these things fails to assert itself on this issues and simply agrees with the court.
Quality engineering education in the country is already scarce. As a result of this fee cap colleges will further reduce the quality of education. Fee cap also limits the amount college can spend on faculty, infra and campus expansion.
This decision is likely to be another nail in already buried coffin of Indian higher education. This is also an example of why Smriti Irani and PM Modi are incompetent to handle higher education or carry out any meaningful reforms.
Indian middle-class families who have bright children should now save money to send their kids abroad for better and useful education.

 

Intolerance of parasites

Any typical society comprises of different type of people. Most people do some 9-6 job, reproduce and eventually live off their saved money. Some people work hard, do something exceptional and get rich. There is a third category of unproductive individuals who want more money and fame but do not want to work to earn it.

As a matter of fact all of us are a combination of these three traits. Who does not want to live a rich life without working for it? Everyone.

A lot of intellectuals who are often from the liberal arts seem to have put their intelligence to such use. They learn and teach inconsequential subjects in third rate universities but over years build good connections to get identified as “foremost intellectuals” in their area. Romila Thapar becomes “eminent historian” where as Irfan Habib becomes head of ICHR.

This is not to say these people lack scholarship. They probably do prove themselves occasionally by writing few useful books. But in the end they are parasites which feed off taxpayer money.

Writers and journalist often fall into the same category. Writers are often not as powerful as journalists but with rights connections they do become an influence. I learned that 12 people in Goa have got Sahitya Academy award. I know at least one person whose literary output is as good as that of 10th standard student’s language answer paper. But the point is he is well connected. These people are parasites.

Parasites need a host. The host need to be healthy in order for parasites to feed and live well. Congress party has been one such host which was healthy for last several decades.

British were good at rewarding loyalty. That is why Nehru and Patel got power while Bose died a suspicious death at an unknown location. Nehru rewarded loyalty too. He basically appointed sub optimal people only because they had his loyalty.

Those were the first parasites. Luxurious cultural organizations built on prime property in Delhi at the expense of poor Indian taxpayers. Whose who of Delhi’s power circles attended classical music concerts and mushayaras at the places. Newcomers created networks, established people grew their power and outsiders struggled to get entry.

None of this is unique to Delhi to India. In each state, city, university, company wherever you find power concentrated you will find people who are willing to suck up to the power to benefit from the benevolence of the powerful. It is very natural thing.

The problem becomes acute when the host is too strong. Like a congress party which probably was in power for like 55+ years. With such a strong host the parasites had much longer to foster. Those who managed to taste the power early are even more powerful and helped bring in more loyal friends. General Thapar’s son became TV Journalist, DD chief Ghose’s daughter became “senior journalist”, some cricket player’s son became another “senior journalist”. Soft porn writer Sardar became noted novelist and lot of other two penny people became social activists, columnists etc.

These people have guarded their space pretty well except the last decade. Someone like Jagdish Bhagvati had to leave Delhi university only because he was not ready to turn leftist.

For these people tolerance only meant tolerance of their own ideas and authority. Intimidation was an argument and assault was the proof. They banned books, work and people from participating in discourse without any impunity. Countless books movies etc. have got banned because they were not as respectful towards Congress party’s icons as the Congress party wanted people to be.

Economist Shenoy is another example. Admired by the likes of Hayek he was the only opponent of 5 year plan strategy of Nehru and hence remained a footnote in history despite his immense contribution to the field of economics.

There are opposite examples too where person belonging to opposite ideologies became a comrade because he helped legitimize these parasites. Vajpeyi or Sudheendra Kulkarni are good example. We were told Vajpeyi was right man in wrong party because he gave space to these parasites. Sudheendra Kulkarni who happened to be an adviser to “Radical Hindu”politician was a star of the circle mostly because of delusional behavior with respect to Pakistan and vocal support to the output of the parasitic culture.

Parasites had learned that they need to cultivate such patrons in potential opposition too.

Now they fight for survival

Communists were at the vanguard of these parasitic culture. They were nurtured by Indira Gandhi. Thanks to people like Arun Shourie or Sita Ram Goel they lost their shine long back even before the advent of social media.

With the rise of social media where views spread based on general person’s choice, view of some Nayantara Sehgal does not become more important than that of Abdul Mia Kanpurwale. In such an age their decline is even faster.

I am not sure who fell first, whether the intellectual pimps who were trying to sell us Rahul Gandhi or whether Congress party the patronized such pimps. Either ways both of them are on decline.

The antibody

Most of these parasites have one thing common. Hatred of Narendra Modi and one goal to paint him as a 100% evil man despite the miserable failures at doing so in past.

Narendra Modi’s personal character has less to do with this hatred than the mere fact that he is an 100% outsider to the parasitic culture. He is not the host to which these parasites could switch. His mere presence would destroy these parasites.

So when people like Nayantara Sehgal, Arundhati Roy or some other chump returns their awards (but not other government perks of course), it is hard to take these people seriously because they care less about you and me and more about their own eco-system that is getting disturbed.

The Danger of BJP

While most people are correct to see most of these liberal parasites as shameless hypocrites who would go to any extent to protect their own parasitic culture, people often forget that these people might have some point after all.

Narendra Modi’s hurting this parasitic culture is not a bad thing but there plenty evidence that he is replacing it with even more perverse type of parasites.

People like Romila Thapar or Nayantara Sehgal may not be the intellectuals worth listening to but at least these are not people who would run a mock on street. Or act as if they have a monopoly over patriotism.

Narendra Modi has silently rewarded assholes in the party. People like Mahesh Sharma have become cabinet ministers. Other notable incompetent appoints can not be listed here for the sake of brevity of Gajendra Chauhan as FTII director must be fresh in everyone’s mind.

Naredra Modi used development as a plant to win elections, using radical Hindu elements to win state elections but not serving Hindu interests or implementing economic reforms when in power.

Hypocrisy Exhibits

Sonia Gandhi passed a law explicitly banning Hindus from holding post on a central government body called NCMEI. I am unaware of any other Indian law banning any person from what is an administrative body of the government.

As a next step Sonia Gandhi and her parasites passed the law called Right to Education which happens to be a draconian law by any standards. In the name of right the law puts arbitrary restrictions on existing schools as well as new schools. The law affects schools only adversely closing down more schools than in past.

But the best part of the law is that it is applicable only to Hindu run schools. Which means while Hindu run schools get terrorized by educational inspectors, Hindu run schools are forced to keep aside 25% seats to freeloaders (thus imposing a cost on remaining 75%), Hindu run schools must have more toilets, more space, more teachers etc. Church run schools get a blanket exemption.

This is same as a business is forced to pay 25% tax on its operation where as other business gets tax exemption. It is clear who will grow faster.

Church run schools than ban pagan symbols such as bangles or mehndi. Example here.

While Sonia Gandhi’s government passed such cringe worthy laws, the even more fascinating part is that the BJP government which almost everyone seems to call a pro-Hindu government has not done an iota of attempt to change this law neither it bothered to oppose it in parliament.

Fall of congress is a great boon for Indian society. Fall of the left liberals is a blessing. Sadly, BJP’s incompetence might mean a botched opportunity to build a better society.

 

 

Book Review: How the mind works by Steven Pinker

I generally like books about evolution, mind and psychology. Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow by Dan Kahnman (Noble Winner), The Red Queen are some of my favourites books around these topics.

Steven Pinker is a Harvard Prof. whose work mostly involves cognitive psychology, computational theory of mind and evolutionary psychology. His book “How the mind works” is basically a collection of essays around different aspects of our life and how the mind deals with in certain way. The book is exceptionally insightful and much more lucid compared to his other book “The Blank Slate”.

I am not qualified to review the book but will write few paragraphs about the parts I liked the most.

About Family

The family related chapter is the one I really liked and it answered some of the questions I always had in my mind.

Consider our parents. Parents are the most selfless people on earth. But their selflessness has limits. For parents their children is a way to ensure that their genetic material survives. In a sense parents protect their children to ensure survival of that genetic material. Parents constantly optimise for that survival factor rather than the good of their child.

For example a parent who has two kids who are constantly fighting against each other will always teach restraint and forgiveness to both children to ensure that both children survive though it is perfectly possible that one of the child is total prick and does not deserve forgiveness of the brother. (See this in context of ancient times where brothers could just kill their siblings over petty fights).

Daughters (and sons to lesser extent) for their parents is something they trade to build alliances with other families which improves mutual survival. However a marriage is completely useless for the married man if his wife does not bear his children but that of someone else. Hence such a man would just kill his wife and children. Virginity is a good way to determine if the girl would bear his and only his children. (Assuming the girl who has sex with someone else before marriage might do the same post marriage). Hence virginity of the girl gets a lot of importance in marriage and hence for her parents who are using her as a currency to trade relations. The actual interest of the girl however might be in having sex with people of her choice and bearing the best possible children.

This is not so much applicable to boys because if they impregnate some other random woman it means if that child survives their genetic material survives too hence no one cares about fidelity of man.

Parents oppose love marriages for the same reason and even go to the extent of honor killing because love marriage bring little value to parents though it might be in the best interest of their children. Love marriages are random in parents perspective and the lose their right to carefully bargain in their child’s return.

Babies

A mother breastfeeds her young child. This takes a great toll on her health because it is her nutrients that are being shared by this child. In a way there is this tradeoff between mother and child’s interests right in the womb. If in early stages mother refuses to breastfeed the baby it might die, but as the baby grows and still wants to be breastfed, the mother has not interest in doing so because she gets nothing in return (compared to previously where she got safety of baby in return), at this point mother would rather let the baby survive on something else and focus on having next baby.

Survival of a baby is a tricky thing. Even with all modern medicines a lot of newborns die pretty soon. Apparently parents are already mentally prepared for this. Mothers feel much less pain when a newborn baby is dead than say a 5 year old child dies. Our traditions to wait till 7 days to name the child also comes from the fact that naming the child gives it an identity and hence a memory if the child dies. So wait for a a week to see if the child survives before naming it.

Once the baby is well past the danger years (first 3) the mother focuses on the new child. It is often complained that younger children in family are more pampered. The only child is more pampered. This is not a myth. The younger child is often born when the woman is already aware that this is her last child. Hence she gives all possible attention to his/her survival because she wont have another opportunity.

Incest 

An overwhelmingly large research shows that almost all people perceive incest as a bad thing. Siblings do not want to have sex with each other and mere thought is repulsive for them. What if two children who are brought up as siblings even though they dont share any blood (but think that they do) ?.

Even in such cases those sibling show same repulsion for incest. Desirability of sex ¬†in our mind indirectly depends on how “good” we find that mate to bear our children. In fact all the human definitions of beauty are actually linked to ability to produce children. For example a man may look handsome even in his 50s or 60s but even the most beautiful women dont have the same sex appeal in their 50s. This is because our brain has learned the subtle hints that the woman is well past her reproductive age.

But it is not merely looks but environment factors also play a role in it. Whether a child believed a certain person to be his/her sibling matters too.

Thousands of years ago probably incest was common. But inbreeding leads to birth defects hence such children die at faster rate. Soon all the people who though incest was okay are dead and only those who thought it was bad (or by coincidence did not have such mating for several generations) survive. We are their descendants.

Blood is thicker than water

Sense of kinship is always above other kind of associations. For example two brother who do not trust each other would still trust each other more than a complete stranger.

Nepotism, that is giving favours to family members has got a negative connotation only recently but is encoded in our genes. We will always trust and prefer our own kin over other people.

Military and Religion have figured this out. That is why often both these institutions make a virtue out of betraying your own family. For example the solider on the border who is away from his family is painted as a great hero.

The religion (all religions) is even more extreme. It demands that a person break all ties with his family, someone renounce any possibility of having a family in future. Because a person who might have ties with his family would prefer them over the God.

This is to such an extent that both Bible and Koran have the story of Abraham who sacrifices his own beloved child to prove his loyalty to God. The day is celebrated even today as Eid.

 

Death of Sunaparant

Looks like Goa’s only Konkani newspaper has finally died. I must admire the tenacity of its management who managed to keep it running for last so many decades.

While I am proficient in Marathi and Hindi, I must confess I could barely read Konkani and always assumed that this newspaper would eventually die. Honestly I dont even feel anything for the paper.

I think the decline of any institution and initiative is assured once government starts pumping money to help it. Whether it is hockey or Indian languages, the blood is more often on the government’s hand.

I am currently learning Japanese, it involves learning few thousand characters and relatively complex grammar only because I love anime and would rather enjoy it in original language than English translation. Amazing treasure of Anime and other pop culture stuff has helped Japanese language and culture spread beyond boundaries.

I think the real problem with Konkani is that while linguistically it is an ancient and distinct language (it is not true that this is merely a dialect of Marathi) the literature in this language is pretty worthless. May be because of the foreign rule and may be because the migration in and out of Goa got limited the language has simply not produced anything worth reading.

The last time I tried reading a poetry book, I almost threw up. There are some honorable people like Ravindra Kelekar who seem to have written some good stuff but that is far too less compared to any major language.

Konkani has lost the battle of popularity and will have hard time surviving.

No they cant

In this video John Stossel tries to explain why history is full of amazing achievements and successes of individuals but yet, the government’s record is full of miserable failures. Sadly most of the Indian journalists are pea brained or total media sluts to come up with interesting pieces like this.

The lesson for India is simple. Government cant solve any problem because by definition it has very less incentive to succeed. Government cant create jobs, teach kids etc. those are the things that are best done by individuals trying to solve he problem.

 

My final thoughts on religion

I have devoted a lot of time studying different religions. While I remain an atheist, religions amused me a lot. I think that stage is over. I do not find religion interesting anymore and I do not wish to study religion and how it affects people. I will however remain a student of mythology.

My final thoughts on religion are as follows.

Religion has broadly three components.

1. Contextual
2. Theological
3. Genetic. (This is my suspicion not backed by any evidence).

As we all know primitive societies were super violent. Each century in human history has been less violent than previous in proportion to the total population. Societies achieve peace by figuring out what works best to establish order. Sometimes it is a complex structure of Dharma as in Hinduism or the man with longer stick wins rule of Islam.

Looks like religion and other associated beliefs play the major role in establishing this sort of order. In modern times when we have an idea of government, law and police and an extremely complex structure of resolving conflicts, religions do appear stupid.

I do not buy the crap that religions were started with “noble” intentions. I am pretty sure it was a completely random process where “what works” survived and “what doesn’t work” died out like in process of biological evolution.

Let me explain the three dimensions I explained earlier to make things clear:

1. Contextual

Religion isn’t science and hence 2+2 is not always 4 in religion but depending on convenience it can be 3 or 5. That does not mean it can 7. While religious interpretations are contextual and people who believe in the religion understand it pretty easily, it does not mean “anything” is possible.

For example as as Hindus have gone to Shiva temple a thousand times. We have seen the lingam. But have we ever thought of it as a giant penis? Rarely. There is nothing wrong in worshiping a penis. Hindus and Buddhists do worship penises and give them importance but Shiva Lingam is never believed to be one of those symbols by us.

On the contrary for any westerner like Wendy Doniger, Lingam is obviously a penis. She even cites the word “Ligam” literally means penis without realizing the word “lingam” as is Shiva lingam predates popular term for penis.

Are these westerners wrong and trying to malign our Hindu gods ?

May or may not be but the real issue here is that they do not get the context that we all Hindus get.

Vice-versa is also true. Christian notion of creation is ridiculous to me as Hindu. There exists a real physical god in Sky who actually created the world in 7 days and the whole crap of Adam and Eve and the snake sounds stupid to me. But around 60% of Americans believe it to be literally true.

My hypothesis: It is not possible to be a Hindu by reading Hindu scriptures alone. It is not possible to be Christian or Muslims by reading Bible and Koran alone. To truly understand the religion and its beliefs one has to be born in the religion, brought up in religious atmosphere or spend substantial amount of time dealing with that religions.

There are examples of Christian missionaries who went into tribal lands for conversions but actually ended up accepting the tribal faith (or lack there of) as their own. They truly understood the other faith with its context.

2. Theological

All religions are not same. There propensity to accept science, other beliefs, violence etc. are different. A lot of these differences derive directly from the theology or The Book.

There is little doubt that Buddhists are relatively more peace loving that Islamist. All these differences flow from the book and they have behavioral consequences for its followers.

However depending upon the context these beliefs might get diluted/strengthened a bit. In countries like USA or India this context is rapidly diluting religious beliefs where as in Islamic societies it isnt.

3. Genetic

I do suspect that genes play a role in people’s religious beliefs. I think people who have spent several generations in one religion and mostly in that majority region tend to be more peaceful and stable than people following the same religion but only recently.

For example Saudi Arabia is 100% Islamic country. But it is peaceful and prosperous. It has achieved that via its own means and methods which are clearly totally different from western world. Saudi might be perceived as oppressive state but nevertheless it is peaceful. I think the Saudi people are genetically evolved to adjust to that sort of oppressive regime and seek peace.

Pakistan is an opposite example. It is genetically a Hindu country trying to cope up with a foreign religion “Islam” and hence despite being 100% Islamic country unable to find peace.

I think India will remain peaceful as long as it remains a Hindu majority country with other religions as minorities. We can already see that where Christianity or Islam reaches majority those regions quickly become unstable. Nagaland and Kashmir are prime examples. West Bengal would be next.

With this I conclude my thoughts on religion. People fighting over religion on Internet forums are stupid because they mostly do not understand that religion as a contextual aspect. Having said that clearly religions benefit by increasing their number and holding to their land as long as possible. People who think that different religions can co-exist peacefully while being religious are equally stupid.

 

 

 

Do marks matter in the long run ?

A wise teacher once told me that any student who is likely to come up with excuses like “this was not in syllabus” or “this was not covered by teacher” for not knowing something that is supposed to be a common knowledge of the subject is likely to fail in life irrespective of how that student does in exams.

I think I am sufficiently old enough to reflect on that thought today and it does seem pretty much true.

Throughout my education what exactly made difference to my life ? The number of marks scored would easily come at the bottom of that list. Marks are a very crude measure of how much effort you have put into learning a subject and the skill of answering the exam.

It is not useless because it is often obvious that the one who scores 90% is far better in the given subject than someone who has scored 35%. However the marginal utility of each additional % might be very little post a reasonable level. For example we cant really say that a person who scored 92% is actually better than someone who has scored 89%.

What would be a good advice that I would give to my younger self in this regard ?

I think your success in life vastly depends on how much knowledge, experience and motivation you have rather than the marks you scored. If you are hungry for knowledge and skill you end up putting efforts into learning and that eventually results into good marks. Memorizing some mindless stuff to gain extra 1% may not be worth it in long run but spending few extra hours on honing your skill or knowledge in your area of interest cant make a lot of difference.

Of course given the scarcity of quality education in the country each single mark counts. I barely got 80% in my SSC and was one of the last person to get admission in Chowgule colleges 5 marks less and I would have ended up in some other college. That could have made all the difference to what I am today.

Third rate Indian education

Around 20% of PhD and Masters graduates in American universities are Indians. Not just that these people are punching far above their weight compared to other communities in USA such as Blacks or Hispanics or even white people.

Back home however, Indian education is pretty pathetic. The recent report ranked Indian students at 2nd place from bottom .

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/education/news/Indian-students-rank-2nd-last-in-global-test/articleshow/11492508.cms

Fifteen-year-old Indians who were put, for the first time, on a global stage stood second to last, only beating Kyrgyzstan when tested on their reading, math and science abilities.

India ranked second last among the 73 countries that participated in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), conducted annually to evaluate education systems worldwide by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) Secretariat. The survey is based on two-hour tests that half a million students are put through.

All that Make in India bullshit will be bullshit if Indian education remains third rate. In last 60 years absolutely nothing has changed in education and there is very little hope that anything will change.