Make In India’s Obstacles

People often complain that they are being underpaid or overcharged yet continue to work with the same employer or continue to buy the same overpriced product. Why ? It is because the alternative is even less paying job or even more overpriced and bad product.

The real “fair price” or “fair compensation” has nothing to do with what a person wants or needs or deserves but rather what is the alternative.

Even though none of us realize this, we continue to use this principle in our everyday lives. We chose to fly a low cost but cramped flight because train is bad, we chose to use BSNL’s shaky broadband because alternative simply does not exist. Yet, we complain about low cost airline’s legroom and BSNL’s non-existent customer service.

Today’s complains are tomorrow’s products, so said a management prof. and he is correct. But is it the case that airlines have a secret deal with Knee doctors to hurt your knees ? Or BSNL is so sadist that is loves when its customers are left clueless without a customer service ?

The reality is that the airlines or telecom operators have not figured out how to give the customer those things without making significant loss. The very reason why low cost airlines can keep their fare that low is because they resort to many tricks including reduction in legroom.

If we purely look at the alternative costs of these transactions we realize that both the passenger and airlines gain by reduction in legroom. Airline makes tiny profit where as passenger takes a more comfortable journey than lengthy and unsafe train journey.

The government. 

These sort of transactions are called “positive sum game” which means both parties who are willingly getting into this transaction gain in the process. They may not acknowledge this gain themselves, but it is visible as we see more and more such transactions with time.

There is always an expectation mismatch despite the positive sum game. The passenger would always love more legroom for the same price and the air-line would love to increase its profit.

Both are perfectly right in their motives. It is these sort of motives that drive people to crating amazing new products and services. But every now and then, one of the party uses the government to achieve its end.

For example all the passengers can gan up together go to consumer court and demand that the airline should increase the legroom. Governments always know which side to take in such cases.

When government steps in to maximize the interest of one of the sides, the other party’s gain reduces substantially and hence the other party increasingly seeks to “engage less and less” in such transactions.

One of the finest example was of Movie Theaters. Government made laws where government would set the ticket prices so that poor people could afford to watch movies. This law actually kept the number of screens to minimal in India. No one would invest in move theaters because the profit they could make was extremely limited.

Despite the fact that India is a movie crazy society, our movies remained small budgeted.

With the rise of multiplexes everything changed. India saw 20% increase in available screens year on year. The ticket prices in some multiplexes increased but they decreased substantially in large theaters.

Today many movies make 100-crore business in the first week itself thanks to large number of screens. Note that, no movie is house-full these days. There are always empty seats. But yet movies make obscene amount of profits.

Applying the logic to Make in India

India is a country where people give undue importance to “job security”. Indians think that “job security” is more important than good products of service, competence at job, price of products and services, future of children, quality of education and employment in general.

One reason why government services are so pathetic is that government servants can not be fired from their jobs very easily, surely not for incompetence.

Just like the law I have mentioned above, government has made draconian laws, that take side of the employee, labor as a result the “other party” the Employer is less and less willing to participate in “giving jobs”.

Arvind Panagariya in TOI.

The high-profile launch of the ‘Make in India’ campaign today is a good occasion to remember the development experience of East Asian economies such as South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore in the 1960s and 1970s and China more recently. East Asian economies principally relied on growth in labour-intensive industry and accompanying expansion in jobs at ever rising wages, as the principal means of prosperity for the bottom half of the population. India focused more directly on social protection for workers through legislation, foregoing good jobs and to a great extent growth as well.

In the East Asian economies sustained rapid growth of labour-intensive manufacture created well paid jobs for the low skilled and paved the way for the migration of vast numbers of agricultural workers into manufacturing. As a concrete example, South Korea grew at an average rate exceeding 8% between 1965 and 1985. During the same years, the employment share of agriculture fell from 59% to 25%. Industry and services absorbed the workers so released.

In subsequent years, especially under Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, India brought legislative changes that further raised protection to organised labour by imposing restrictions on the use of contract labour and forbidding layoffs of workers in firms with 100 or more workers. The outcome was devastating not just for owners of large-scale firms but for workers themselves.

The great Bombay textiles strike under union leader Datta Samant saw once flourishing textiles industry uprooted from the city, with its 1,50,000 workers thrown out of employment. Later large mills and their workers in Kanpur, Ahmedabad and Kolkata met a similar fate. Most of these workers had to eventually find jobs in the unorganised, informal sector.

 

 

Sagarika’s Nehruvian Garbage

One remarkable thing about people on internet is that they love to prove even totally random strangers wrong! The good consequence however is that bullshit does not go uncontested. 20 years back, this garbage by Sagarika Ghose would have got published in a newspaper, read by thousands and some would have also believed it. Today it is not the case.

The case in point here is the piece that Sagarika wrote recently : Ashoka Example. Now, in past she wrote something like Elf Spotting  and no one actually bothered because it was just some meaningless rambling which made not sense to any one. This piece however has got so many things which can very easily be proved wrong. Here she meddles with history and distorts facts as usual. I think she does not mean much of malice, she simply is ignorant who genuinely believes in what she writes.

However important question that needs to be asked is:  why should anyone waste their time proving her wrong ? Isn’t it a well established fact that she is an incompetent journalist ? Well, it is fun to prove random strangers wrong.

Lets dissect her article para by para.

A ruler stood on the battlefield surveying the wages of war. A personal choice was made or perhaps a politically strategic decision was taken that changed a country’s history forever. Ashoka turned his back on conflict, embraced Buddhism, and gave his kingdom efficient governance for 4 decades.

I am not sure how the decision changed country’s history. In reality Buddhists were simply killed of by Muslim invaders later. Ashoka changing his mind after seeing the cruelty of war is probably less true than SRK’s Asoka movie. I would imagine in a brutal world of those times, men killing men was not a big deal and common sense tells me that reality could be different from poetic imagination. It turns out that Ashoka’s friend got killed by mistake and Ashoka revoked the order to war, his campaign nevertheless was almost over. He later converted to Buddhism and the Buddhist monks then exaggerated the accounts of the war and its cruelty to attribute Ashoka’s conversion to Buddhism to his so called change of heart and so on.

Ashoka was the first Indian king to have a “state religion” and he was fairly intolerant of other religions as well. In fact Ashokavandana narrates a story where Ashoka beheads a thousand Ajivakas for painting Buddha in a form that he did not approve. The Ashokavandana book in fact narrates this incident with great pride to show how committed Ashoka was to Buddhism. Honestly compared to the Islamic barbarian who invaded India later, Ashoka clearly appears like a Red Cross volunteer.

History books chronicle the roads, edicts and Ashoka’s philosophy of dhamma. The pre-transformation Ashoka, the apparently heartless warrior before the Kalinga war, does not get a mention in textbooks. History judges Ashoka by his post-Kalinga war transformation, and he remains one of history’s greatest examples of a genuine change of heart.

Well none of the history textbooks bother to mention that Ashoka was the first king to have a state religion either. Also, the genuine change of heart does not seem to be a real change of heart but rather conversion from one kind of despot to another.

Ambedkar, Nehru and Gandhi and other leaders of the freedom movement looked to the past to re-interpret the future. For Ambedkar, Buddhism became the modern manifesto of the Dalit cause, he saw Dalits as the original Buddhists. An ancient faith became the modernising, egalitarian agenda for social justice in a new democracy.

Ambedkar was never ever, not once part of any freedom movement. He was a staunch supporter of British rule in India. Putting him into bucket of a freedom fighters is absolute rubbish. Also, Ambedkar, a scholar he was, was extremely clear as to why he converted to Buddhism. This is what he wrote, a piece that will probably make Sagarika faint because it does not comply with her Nehruvian garbage:

“There can be no doubt that the fall of Buddhism in India was due to the invasions of the Musalmans,” writes the author. “Islam came out as the enemy of the ‘But’. The word ‘But,’ as everybody knows, is an Arabic word and means an idol. Not many people, however, know that the derivation of the word ‘But’ is the Arabic corruption of Buddha. Thus the origin of the word indicates that in the Moslem mind idol worship had come to be identified with the Religion of the Buddha. To the Muslims, they were one and the same thing. The mission to break the idols thus became the mission to destroy Buddhism. Islam destroyed Buddhism not only in India but wherever it went. Before Islam came into being Buddhism was the religion of Bactria, Parthia, Afghanistan, Gandhar and Chinese Turkestan, as it was of the whole of Asia….” [Source]

Ambedkar then goes on to describe more horrors that Islam unleashed on Hinduism and Buddhism. He explains in no uncertain terms why Buddhism appeals to him.

if one converts to Christianity he ceases to be an Indian. The brotherhood in Islam is confined to the Believers; that is, only to Muslims. It cannot promote universal brother-hood. I will not convert to either of these religions . I will convert to one of the religions that are born here, in this country India. Of all the various Indic religions, Sanatan Dharma, Arya Samaj, Vaishnavism. Savaism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Veerasevism, etc. Buddhism appeals to me most . It is all humanity embracing . It has no castes. I will therefore convert to Buddhism and advise all my Dalit brothers to convert to Buddhism and avoid conversion non-Indic religion. [Source]

Sagarika however then pays homage to the demi-god of liberals Mr. Nehru and since Ashoka is a non-muslim King, she is then obliged to mention at least one Muslim King and that is Akbar. Actually was there “any other” muslim King who was not an Islamic despot who butchered others in the name of religion ? Answer is NO. So they find Akbar always. I can name Rana Pratap, Shivaji, Laxmibai, Bajirav Peshva, Prithviraj Chouhan and many other Hindu kings with pride, name three Muslims kings who were not barbarians ? This like Maharashtra government’s board exam where they have category wise merit list. For example 1st rank Dalit student, 1rank among night schools and so on. The set of good muslim kings has only one candidate : Akbar.

She also tells us that Akbar’s Din-e-Illahi was a Nehruvian religion. May be Sagarika lost her time machine and thinks that Nehru appeared before Akbar on earth because for her Akbar is a modern Nehru.

Nehru’s Discovery Of India delves into India’s past to discover ways to fashion an ancient cultural unity to carry forward into a liberated India. Sometimes history bends to the present: Akbar in many textbooks is the modern Nehru, Hindu and Muslim combined in a single persona, upholder of a Nehruvian version of din-e-ilahi.

It is perfectly fine for a person to be a Muslim, it is perfectly fine for a person to be Hindu. There is neither any virtue or any sin in being either of them. However this portrayal of “Hindu and Muslim combined in same persona” as some kind of virtue is just ridiculous. A person can not be Muslim unless he believes that there is only one God. A person can not be Hindu unless he acknowledges that there are multiple Gods and Goddesses. It is called “mutually exclusive” sets.

In 2004, the NDA lost the general elections in a shock defeat. The margins were narrow. Congress won with 145, BJP lost with 138. But for ten years after that, the BJP was wiped out of urban India. Many interpreted this as the lingering effects of the Gujarat riots of 2002, crucial NDA allies like TDP left the NDA.

Just to state fact everyone was blaming reforms post totally unexpected NDA defeat. If 2002 was reason for BJP’s rout in 2004 what explains 2009 ? Also what explains the phenomenal success of BJP under the leadership of exact same man who was blamed for 2002 riots and vilified to no end by Sagarika herself ?

Today, the BJP is back with a bang in urban India, riding on the image of the prime minister as an energetic action-man, the binary opposite of Manmohan Singh. If the invitation to Nawaz Sharif had included a personal phone call rather than an official invitation, the new PM’s image would have been even further enhanced.

May be Modi should have hugged Sharif and given him a kiss. That might have solved the Kashmir problem for us. How much naive can one get ? Hold one Does anyone other than media divas care about how he was invited or what was on the menu for his dinner ? No one actually gives a damn except the left liberals who find solace in symbolism because delivering real results is well beyond their can.

After all, at the centre of the victory of the BJP, and its stunning re-capture of urban India, is the transformation of the persona of Narendra Modi and his long journey since 2002.

If the Kalinga war, described as the one of the bloodiest wars in human history, had been reported in 24*7 media its effects on Ashoka’s image would have been just as dramatic as his subsequent conversion to Buddhism, renouncing of war and commitment to victory by dhamma and not by military means.

Left liberals like Sagarika dont have to substantiate anything they say. Proof and evidence is for ordinary people like us. Just who defined Kalinga war as one of the bloodiest war in human history ? I thought world war I and II where the only two major bloody wars.

Can Modi do a 21st century Ashoka? Can a massive transformation in the polity be pushed and sustained precisely because it emanates from a Ashoka-style personal re-invention, away from memories of conflict, towards a metaphorical embrace of the gods of peace?

Hold on there for a second. Modi’s personal re-invention ? From what to what ? Modi spoke of development 10 years ago and he speaks of development even now. It is probably that people like Sagarika who described him as an “evil man” then and now that their job is threatened are trying to paint as if Modi is changed. I had heard of phrases like “guilt by association” but in this case I am not sure if it fits in any known logical fallacies. This is a pure lie, deception and wickedness.

Fringe groups and right-wing apparatchiks are mis-interpreting the 2014 mandate as a victory for the gods of rage. The chilling brazen murder of 28 year old Mohsin Sadiq Shaikh in Pune allegedly by the Hindu Rashtra Sena , the unconscionable detaining of naval engineer Devu Chodankar for a Facebook post, “book policeman” Dinanath Batra’s campaign against a scholarly book on riots, all show a failure to understand the nature of a mandate given for hope, reconciliation and modern democracy. Reports that young Muslims are shaving their beards out of fear do not augur well for achche din aane wale hain.

More rubbish follows. Right wing violence or at least alleged right wing violence has nothing to do with who is in power. Nathuram shot Gandhi when Nehru was PM. Did Nehru’s apathy towards Hindus made Nathuram take such drastic step ? Ha! You get the point. Sanatan Sanstha was blamed for Margao blast when Congress was in power, same organization was blamed for Dabholkar’s murder while Congress was in power in Maharahstra. In fact the evidence is contrary. Whenever BJP is in power, right wing organizations feel that they have a political voice and tend to be far more mellow than otherwise.

Also, Devu Chodankar is not a Naval engineer but merely a marine engineer who was not arrested but he is currently absconding and faces jail for not appearing before court. Also, his post had nothing to do with Modi. The Post which I have reproduced earlier clearly shows that he was spreading rumors that the new government is planning mass genocide. In any case both the incidents have nothing to do with Modi or the central government in any way.

Attacks on minorities, free speech and on books are totally out of place when the PM himself has bowed his head to the temple of democracy, has reached out to former rival Manmohan Singh and is now set to visit the US, once the country that placed him on a blacklist.

Attacks on minorities ? I only counted one. Free Speech and Books ? Government has not banned anything as far as I know. It is Congress led government in Maharahstra that is talking about banning Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp.

Sagarika is a clever twerp. When it comes to HRS or any random incident, Modi is responsible. But when it comes to Indira Gandhi it was her supporters acting in her name.

But like Indira Gandhi and the Congress roughnecks who acted in her name, Modi faces a dilemma with groups like HRS and others. They are ostensibly loyal to a majoritarian cause, some of them may even work as foot-soldiers in elections, yet they deeply damage the agenda Modi is trying to drive through the political center, away from extremes of Left and Right.

It was Indra Gandhi who imposed emergency on India. She chose her cronies. She was convicted of electoral malpractices. She was a despot who should have spent rest of her life in jail. I wish high school students are made to repeat that sentence 10 times in their civics lesson just to ensure we dont elect anyone like her ever again.

When Modi stated “pehle shauchalaya phir devalaya”, radicals like Togadia stormed into protest mode but fell silent at the positive public response to that statement. Modi’s invitation to Nawaz Sharif was bold not only for Indo-Pak peace but as a signal to domestic constituencies pushing for jingoistic wars. Those who have set themselves up as more loyal than the king, fail to realise their actions go against the very purpose for which the nation’s heart was won.

Which jingoistic constituency wants a war ? I have not heard anyone talk about a war, not in print not on TV. I think Modi should declare a journalist exchange program with Pakistan and send Sagarika to Pakistan instead as a goodwill gesture. She can build the bridges of friendship from Karachi to Mumbai.

Across his empire, Ashoka set up pillars announcing his edicts. The pillars both marked his territory and declared the stated aims of his rule. War was a thing of the past, the empire was now ruled by one who believed in the power of transformation, of the self and of governance. A ruler cannot afford to offend traditional beliefs but he can proclaim his own personal “religious” journey.

Actually in case of Modi, this own religious journey happens to be exactly same as the traditional beliefs of the country. Instead of an Ashoka who wore religion on his sleeve and erected his religious symbols everywhere (factually, things like Ashoka Chakra were not buddhist symbols in first place but Ashoka merely claimed them as Buddhist symbols) I would rather want a PM who follows whatever religion he wants without respecting anyone else’s religion yet builds roads and provides water to drink!

I genuinely hope that an incompetent journalist like Sagarika gets fired from her job and is unable to find a new job in the same profession where she has proven her incompetence beyond any doubt.

Francix Xavier and Goencho Sayab

Every year in December thousands of people flock to Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa. The unique aspect of the Church is that it holds mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier. The church is around 400 years old. The feast is called “Goyenche Sayabache Fest” where Goencho Sayab refers to St. Francis Xavier.

As the days of feast approaches, the media is full about SFX’s stories. The real problem however lies in the fact that there is nothing great about him when viewed from the modern values. In the Church’s standpoint SFX was an important personality because he played a major role in spreading Christianity in the eastern part of the world. But in a historical perspective, SFX was a very blind and fanatic christian who had deep hatred for paganic traditions of the Orient and used violence to force people to convert to Christianity.

SFX’s achievements in this regard are not surprising at all. In fact his career was similar to many of his contemporaries of his times. Whatever he did was perfectly well within the Roman Catholic Church’s modus operandi of that time.

In his lifetime, as part of his missionary activity, Francis Xavier used to refer to native Indians as devil-worshipers and spiritually blind, Hindu teachings as repulsive and grotesque, Vishnu’s transformation as foulest shapes, Shiva as shameless, Kali as clamoring for sacrifices, many-headed and many-armed gods and goddesses in temples as hideous forms and temples and altars as place of degrading rites.[34] According to Rao, “St. Francis Xavier made it a point not only to convert the people but also destroy the idols and ancient places of worship.” [Wikipedia]

During those times Church took great pride in confronting pagans with violence. Hence accounts of SFX’s exploits were not just preserved but also glorified and hence it is impossible to whitewash them today.

A lot of people try to point out that SFX was not a person to be called a Saint by Indian standards but they totally forget that the Church’s standards for calling people saint are not same as the Indian standards where people like Kabir, Tukaram, Dalai Lama or even Mother Theresa are called saints because of their deeds.

Best example is the case of priests who died in revolt at Cuncolim 1583. Two priests were killed by the Hindu mob and thrown into the village because they destroyed Hindu temples and idols a few years back. These two priests were declared saints by the Church. Later in 199os the local priest and the villagers erected a plaque in the memory of those who actually killed these priests calling them “freedom fighters” and “Martyrs”. Despite this contradictory positions, people from Goa continue to visit the feast of Concolim kept in the memory of these beatified priest and yet honor the people who killed them.

The real problem is that whenever someone points out to SFX’s atrocities during the feast time, that person is looked upon as a horrible human being who does not care about the faith of well meaning Christian people in our society. Let us ignore the past, and look at the future. Some people say that talking about SFX (in negative way) is like destroying the “secular fabric” of the state.

Some people (mostly left liberal types) have found another insight into SFX’s exploits. According to them SFX was deeply hurt by the caste system and hence he was trying to bring uniformity in Hindu society by using violence against the Brahmins and love for the lower castes. This left liberal interpretation is often used for Aurangzeb and others as well. Ironically, they fail to see why using violence against even Brahmins is justified or why SFX’s own writing does not show that he understood anything about Hinduism in first place.

But are not we hurting sentiments of well meaning Christian friends around us ?

This is an interesting question. Raising facts about SFX is likely to embarrass Christians around us who probably do not think that Hindu pagans must be stoned or Hindu temples must be destroyed. But at the same time seem to have deep respect for SFX and reject his reality.

A discussion around religious ideologies and history is never a judgement on individual people belonging to that particular group. For example even a strong criticism of Christianity or SFX does not mean we are passing any judgement on Christian people around us. Also, it is not an attempt to insult any individual or to gain pleasure by disturbing someone’s faith. It is only about standing our ground to assert the history.

A honest discussion about religion in India becomes impossible for the very same reason that religion and people are not seen as two separate entities.

A note to right wing friends.

The problem with Hindu right is they behave as if they know everything and only their version of story is the truth. They will not even listen to an alternate version. The reality is SFX lived 500 years ago. If we know anything about him then it is only because of the Christian scholars taking immense pain to document everything. We should also be thankful to the Portuguese scholars of post-liberalized era who took pain to ensure that the relevant documentation gets translated or gets published in India in a way that it is easily accessible.

If you taking to these right wing gentleman you will often hear the sentences such as “it is all documentation in Portugal, MR. so and so has seen it”. None of them however have not taken the trouble of translating and publishing it for us lesser mortals.

This cry baby attitude of Hindu right wing organizations is despicable because they actually weaken the cause for which they claim to stand.

Conclusion.

I think people are free to chose their idols and for whatever reason they want. The only way we can judge people is by their expressed opinions and their actions and not by the things they worship in their private life. History does not show SFX is good light. That is truth, but it is counter productive to use this fact to for reasons other than advancing our knowledge of our own history and history of Christianity.

References:

1. http://voiceofdharma.org/books/hhce/index.htm [  HISTORY OF HINDU-CHRISTIAN ENCOUNTERS AD 304 TO 1996 by Sita Ram Goel.]

Ban on Gita

Russia’s intentions to ban Gita has irked quite many people in India. However this seems to be a case of exaggeration. Russia is yet to put a ban. Besides the ban is not on gita itself but russian translation of ISKON Gita.

ISKON is an interesting organization. They have some tall claims about themselves and a very rigid outlook towards other Hindu faiths. Unlike other sage centric activities such as chinmay mission etc. this group is extremely publicity shy. I am not saying these people might be engaging in some secretive activities but they are certainly not very open.

If certain government in the world is hostile to Indian scriptures it is pretty much their own internal matters and we should not waste time begging them to change their rules unless some significant amount of Indian population is getting affected.

Russia’s decision is less likely to affect as much Hindus as say Saudi Arabia’s policies are affecting Hindus abroad.

However one interesting question has arises in the process. Can Gita be india’s national book ?
I don’t think Gita alone represents the richness of Indian literature and philosophy. In my opinion Mahabharata as whole is a much suitable candidate. It is rich in philosophy as well as literary value, it has evolved over a very long period of time and it represents almost everyone. There are stories about brahmin’s and there are stories about tribals. Our north Eastern friends too have a role to play and so does the south Indians. It has deeply affected all parts of our life and it continues to do so.

However it is unlikely to happen.

The magic wand of Manmohan Singh

Honestly I find it silly to waste time writing about a dishonest and despicable man like Dr. Manmohan Singh.

How much is too much? I guess you know it’s too much when it stops giving otherwise expected results. For example you know you have had too much of chocolate cake when you fill nausea instead of happiness in eating the next bite. Ghalib has put it in more beautiful words as “Dard ka had-se gujarana hai, dava ho jaanaa”. Too much of pain is when it starts acting like a medicine.

Dr. Manmohan Singh will be the last men I would like to see lecturing my kids. But when you are heading a government that cares a damn about what it’s citizens think and feel he has the freedom to do whatever he wants. As a result he has plans to send a message to 11 lakh government schools.

“Education gave me a new life,” it will say. “Education is the magic wand that can help us meet any challenge.”[link]

And after that sentence the message will have usual Manmohan Singh at his best that is boring an uninspiring sentences full of lies. Manmohan Singh’s biggest skill is his docile nature and that is what helped him climb in life not really his Phd. in economics. But Dr. Manmohan Singh will not be truthful.

“I promise that India will provide opportunities to all of you to fulfil your hopes and dreams. I am confident that education will help you scale new heights.”

This in my opinion is the biggest lie. Congress government is like a concoction of the worst of both socialism and capitalism. What we have right now is a state conspiring with greedy companies to screw we people. Most of the school kids that Dr. Singh is addressing are likely to serve these companies who will pay them peanuts, rest will probably struggle to get a government job by bribing politicians.

I wonder if Dr. Singh can point out any steps his government has taken to ensure that new business come up in India, that they get to compete on a level ground, any attempts to push India up above the value chain. Even today the biggest companies in India are not retail and technology but coal, mining and oil. The billionaires India has are not those who came up with good ideas and turned them into business but those who bribed politicians to create monopoly in the market.

Dr. Manmohan Singh is now misleading school kids. However as I pointed out earlier I don’t think it will bother anyone anymore. He has mislead us so many times and in so many ways that it has become “too much”. He has crossed the limit where we could take him seriously and transgressed into and area where he will continue to live as a joke.

Hindu activism outside the Sangh by Dr. Elst

Very few people are bestowed with the skill of rational think as Dr. Koenraad Elst. When it comes discourse on religion and politics in India, I hold Dr. Elst in very high regard.

Those who have worked with RSS or related organizations at some point of time in their life will probably realize that the organization has a very different attitude towards criticism. When their sympathizer criticises them, they will haul him over the coal, but when their ideological opponent does it to them they will chicken out. In fact this chickening out is pretty common with RSS.

RSS might have many faults but that should not give legitimacy to the self proclaimed secularists and leftist any way. Most of the secularists and leftist label any hindu sympathizer as RSS man.

That is how Anna Hazare becomes a RSS man.

The problem with most critic of RSS is that they are not sensitive to the problem of Hindu society, in fact they will completely deny existence of such problem. Sometimes they will attribute the problems to Sangh itself. Their main objective is to strengthen the understandings an misunderstandings of their own vote banks/fan bases about RSS.

There is a set of RSS critic though, who understand the Hindu society’s struggle to have an independent identity and also understand that RSS is doing more harm to Hindus than benefit.

Dr. Elst in my opinion is one of those observers who gets many things right about RSS.

His recent blog post which talks about RSS’ shortcomings as a voice of hindu society and gives some glimpses about possible alternatives is a must read. It is very long but Dr. Elst’s logical flow will keep you engaged.

Here is an excerpt.

Most supposed experts refuse to see the existence of Hindu activism outside the Sangh and instead reduce any Hindu sign of life to “Hindutva” (thus incidentally flattering the Sangh). One reason is purely political: in the struggle against Hindu activism as a whole, it is simply more useful to extend all prevalent criticism of the Sangh, e.g. that it murdered Mahatma Gandhi or committed “genocide” in Gujarat 2002, to any and every form of Hindu resistance. It implies that if you hear a Hindu complain about, say, Christian missionary demonization of Hinduism, you must stop him for he is about to commit murder if not genocide. In the Indian media, this kind of innuendo is frequent enough.

…………………

The RSS has never abandoned the working style introduced by its founder Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, who had been formed by the Revolutionary movement and adopted its secretiveness, discouraging written communication in favour of personal communication through travelling office-bearers. A lot of physical locomotion is a status symbol in the RSS hierarchy, but motion is not action. The numerous RSS self-praise brochures boast about mass campaigns with millions marching, but these have rarely translated into the realization of their stated goals. Thus, the anti-cow-slaughter campaign of the late 1960s achieved nothing, and the Ayodhya campaign in spite of its unprecedented magnitude has not realized the construction of the projected temple even twenty years later. Though it is part of Hindutva culture to deny failure (vide the way the California Hindu parents tried to present the disappointing court verdict in the textbook case as a victory), inevitably at least some people had to draw the logical conclusion from these failures and try something new.

……………………

One reason for the Sangh’s respectability among the Hindu masses, though you might not know of it if you only read the expert studies on Hindutva, is its massive presence in social and relief work. After an earthquake, Sangh relief workers are the first to arrive in the disaster area. That doesn’s prove anything about its politics, and could be likened to the motivated social and relief work of the Christian Missions or the Hamas; but at least it ought to be noticed and reported. It helps explain why most criticisms of the Sangh among Hindus are restrained by an acknowledgment of its undeniable merits. But now it is dawning upon an increasing number of Hindu activists that all this charity is no substitute for ideological clarity. 

…………………….

In the case of Hindutva, nationalism is proving to be the last resort of blockheads unable to construe conflicts and power equations in ideological terms. While Christianity has changed race several times in its history (from Levantine to North-African and South-European to North-European to non-white), and while most missionaries in India are now non-white and generally Indian-born, Hindutva polemicists keep on ranting against “white racist Christian missions”. This saves them the trouble of studying the scholarly critique of Biblical truth claims and the challenge of arguing the religious case for Hinduism and against Christianity with fellow Indians who happen to be Christian. One very useful experience of NRIs and PIOs in their non-Indic surroundings is that religious issues exist in their own right, by virtue of the distinctive mores inculcated and the truth claims of religions, and regardless of the ethnic origin of a religion’s followers. The modern identification of Sanatana Dharma with the geographical entity India, explicitly proposed by Hindutva ideologues, is negated by the NRI-PIOs’ experience, where Hindu traditions turn out to remain meaningful even after being severed from their geographical cradle. This makes them more receptive to the universalistic understanding of Hindu tradition as expounded by Goel’s mentor Ram Swarup and by some globe-trotting Gurus. 

Go read it full. 

Arent Indian reading programming books ?

I wanted to buy a book “Peopleware”

This is not a programming book but it is supposed to be one of the “must read” books for those who are in the business of making software. It is surprising that this book is not available easily around, what is available is the imported version which costs 1.5k . Until last few months only imported HTML5 books were available on flipkart, Indian editions have arrived just now.

Availability of books can be a good indicator of what the public is learning and what it is not learning.

How often are we close to failures?

A lot has been said about CWG these days. Apparently the 20k crore + project is a failure.

But thinking of that I wonder how close are we to failures often? If I think for myself I consider my undergraduate studies as complete failure. The college was a failure because it failed to harness the potential of students. But they managed to get 75th rank all over India. I dint deserve to get the degree given what I studied and I too was a failure but then I too ended up getting a degree.

In several subjects I take here sometime I manage to pass even though my heart tells me that I deserve a sure shot FR. I end up getting an AA even though I know in my heart that I haven’t put enough efforts but purely managed to put on a good show.

When it comes to writing software I always wonder if the piece of code I write is usable for someone else. 90% of the code I write goes into oblivion without anyone else using it. Well the half a million pound project I worked on with my previous employer, which was a startup dint see the day of light despite the tremendous efforts that were put into it.

Many of my freelancing projects were delivered and were put to use too. One just featured on the rediff homepage. But then when I look at the quality of the code I personally find it sub standard. There is always a possibility to improve.

I have taken by bread and butter job seriously. E-yantr.org is a MHRD project that I work on. I am maintaining their website and the objective is to make it popular among all students. I am using resources that very would ever get their hands on. Two-way SMS API, Rackspace Cloud, Google Adwords, Press, Free T-Shirts to the user and so on. Let’s see how I can pull this on.

I feel most of the times we fail, our failures dont get highlighted because they are smaller in magnitude or we work in an environment where other seem to fail as many times as you can.

CWG’s failure is grand because the money involved was grand. Also, other nations who organize such events put up a good show compared to what our leaders have managed. CWG is not Indian leader’s only grand failure. Indian leaders have failed n number of times. The best example is once we were compared to china on every parameter. Today China is supposed to be 20 years ahead of us. We did not notice.