Sunday, January 06, 2013

Delhi Rape Aftermath: Massive Law and Order Breakdown Likely


The public exposure of the name of the victim and the testimony given by the crime witness to Zee News bode ill for public order in India.

As one of the assailants is allegedly a Muslim minor and the late victim is Hindu, the entire issue will take on a communal colour. Ethnic hatred laden remarks have already been made by people with a "bhoomiputra" ideology in certain parts of the country. This is another major fault line in the national social fabric and that could emerge as a separate driver of conflict.

A number of insensitive statements from the police authorities and several leading political figures have stoked public anger. The police and politicians of India do not seem to understand that there is no longer a "Lakshman Rekha" that women can be expected to seek safety behind. Very few leading figures in India have come forth and openly stated that this mythological notion is outdated and irrelevant in the modern Indian economy. Comments about "contractual basis of marriage" etc... and "western" versus "indic" traditions of women's rights are unhelpfully irrelevant.

As things stand, women comprise ~ 40% of the Indian workforce. Every Indian family has a working woman in it. Given the high cost of living in India, women have to work - there is simply no choice in the matter. The very notion core of the Ramayana - of a Lord Rama who goes out to work and come back with enough to sustain his wife Sita - is no longer valid.

Women in India are less attracted to the concept of the "Ram Rajya" because as many people have pointed out that Sita is treated very poorly in the Ramayana. One does not have to be a feminist to grasp this. The notion of the "Ideal India" for men and women in India is very different. The gender divide is prominent and women feel threatened.  Some men are aware of this and work hard to accommodate what is obviously the result of thousands of years of gender repression.

The most obvious consequence of this buried sentiment is a pervasive sense of fear among women - a fear that translates to their families.

Rape is the physical manifestation of this fear that all Indian families live with. It is this fear that has steadily found a voice in news coverage of the event.

As indicated by the testimony of Sudhir Chaudhary, Zee News Editor - media has collected enough first hand accounts of rape in India that it possesses very clear evidence of police ineptitude in these matters. If released such account could cause public confidence in police institutions to decline precipitously. It will be extremely unwise if the police attempt to challenge the media on this issue. The media has the upper hand right now and it is best if the mistake of the Delhi Police with Zee News is not repeated elsewhere.

If the public at large perceives the police cannot protect them, then vigilantes and lynch mobs will fill the vacuum left by the police.

India's national security agencies are unprepared to face such a threat. The intelligence branches do not have the human resources in place to secure against public anger or to restore public confidence in the government quickly.

At the present time, the dissemination of the victim's identity and incident details on the internet is very rapid. Blogs, internet fora and the public responses on newspaper websites are showing a large number of extremely negative statements about the Delhi Police and sex crimes detection in India.

During the Anna agitation - the internet presence of the protesters was significant - however the movement was focused on key public figures. Once the Government of India engaged those figures in constructive dialogue the possibility for a law and order breakdown was reduced dramatically.

The diffuse and pervasive nature of this anger presents a very significant threat to law and order. On the issue of sex crimes no such leadership is visible and no viable engagement point exists. The possibility of a massive breakdown of law and order looms in background.

I feel like I am watching a train wreck in progress.

521 Comments:

At 2:17 PM, Blogger maverick said...


After the Golden Temple complex was attacked by the Indian Army in Operation Blue Star, Sikhs everywhere - including those in the Army felt threatened.

Sikhs may have been a numerical minority but they were sufficiently angry to make their distaste felt in every corner of India.

Women feel similarly threatened today.

Women in India are not really a minority.

If they feel threatened and the state machinery cannot protect them, they will act in ways we cannot predict.

Unless public confidence in the police force is quickly restored, there will be a spiraling law and order problem.

 
At 2:22 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Seriously this is not a time to be dragging feet in the MHA.

Heads need to roll in the Delhi Police.

The longer one pushes back on that - the more painful this will become.

 
At 11:49 PM, Blogger vvv666 said...

On the point of the possibility of vigilante-ism. I don't expect mob justice to be dealt to rape perpetrators in the future. The perps of rape are typically opportunists who only strike when the chance of getting caught is minimal. However, I do expect vigilante-ism against women's freedoms to increase. For example, a future pub attacking gang can justify themselves by saying "Rape is caused by this non-bharatiya freewheeling lifestyle of girls; so by slapping these pub going girls, I'm only keeping them safe". We already have dress code for college girls - it might be extended to schools; as one Rajasthan minister suggested.

Even in cases of lewd remarks/groping in public places, aam junta is still afraid of taking the perps to task; more so if there is a group of them. As they are afraid he may just whip out a knife or a gun.

You're spot on about the fear in the families.

I'm not sure what you mean by "heads should roll in delhi police". I'm all in favour of taking to task the policemen for negligence or excessive force. But changing the top man won't make the rapes go away.

 
At 3:22 AM, Blogger vvv666 said...

Bhumiputra-s also are hell bent on pinning the source of all misogyny in India to the advent of islamic invaders or colonial rule.

A frequent claim is that sati was a reaction to rape and pillaging by islamic invaders. Whereas the reality is that earliest inscription evidence for sati in India is King Goparaja's (early 6th century CE) wife being burnt on the pyre with him. Way before advent of islam on the subcontinent.

Another claim is that pre-islamic Indian society was somehow very perrmissive. Yes, overall I'm sure advent of islamic invaders restricted the freedoms of women. But how much were those freedoms before islamic invaions ? Just sample some snippettes from Chanakya's Arthashastra:

Women of refractive nature shall be taught manners by using such general
expressions as ‘Thou, half naked; thou, fully naked; thou, cripple; thou, fatherless; thou,
motherless, (nagne vinagne nyange pitrke matrke vinagne ityanirdesena
vinayagrahanam). Or three beats either with a bamboo-bark or with a rope or with the
palm of the hand may be given on her hips


Ouch! OR

For holding conversation in suspicious places, whips may be substituted for fines. In
the centre of the village, an outcaste person (chandála) may whip such women five times
on each of the sides of their body


That hurt! OR

If a woman either brings forth no (live) children, or has no male issue, or is barren,
her husband shall wait for eight years, (before marrying another). If she bears only a dead
child, he has to wait for ten years. If she brings forth only females, he has to wait for
twelve years.


Of course, not all laws in Chanakya's time were misogynist; some were indeed very progressive, esp. rights of widows and wives. But my purpose for making some of these quotes is to illustrate that root-cause of all misogyny or gender violence cannot be laid on foreign invasions alone.

Making communities as scapegoats for current evil social practices won't help us much in eradicating them.

 
At 6:26 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hello vv666,

The Delhi Police made three terrible mistakes

1) The two mobiles that arrived on the scene did nothing to help load the victim into the mobile and then two mobile commanders sat around arguing about who would get credit for the case. This is beyond ridiculous.

2) Given the sensitivity of the case, which was apparent from day one - the Commissioner should have taken over the investigation himself and conducted the interviews himself. This would have reassured the victims and their public that the case was being handled properly. By not doing this he cast the entire force in a bad light. He reinforced the image that the Delhi Police does not care about women in society.

3)As if this was not enough the DP took on Zee News in the fashion they did. I don't know who was responsible for that mistake - but at this crucial juncture the media handling needs to be 100% - not less. Whoever was responsible for that effectively poured water on the hours of work that other people put in to keep the escalation down. So much work was put in to moving the victim to Singapore. A great deal of work went into ensuring that everything possible was done to keep her alive. All that went to waste when the DP challenged Zee News and *lost*.

Everyone knows that the Delhi Police has a very bad history when it comes to protecting the rights of women. And now it looks like they are willing to try intimidation of the press and witnesses to suppress evidence of their own misconduct.

This gravely affects the public perception of police departments all over India.

this is why people like B Raman are asking for Commissioner Neeraj Kumar's head.

I am very sorry to have to say this.

The blunders of the Delhi Police leave little by way of choice.

I regret that the MHA is dragging its feet on doing this - but action needs to be taken and it has to be taken in the only way possible right now.

People in India are clamouring for accountability - they need to see it in the Police Department of the NCR itself.

I second the recommendation that the Delhi Police Commissioner be relieved of his duties and also request that he be replaced with a competent *woman* officer from any other cadre in the Union. Such a replacement should be tasked with taking specific initiatives to curb crimes against women and be empowered to make whatever changes are necessary to the structure of the Delhi Police.

Only this will restore public confidence in the police department and ward off a bigger clash on gender equality issues.

Rape is an issue that directly affects half the nation and indirectly affects every single family in India.

There is no room for incompetence or half measures on this.



 
At 6:42 AM, Blogger maverick said...

In Egypt, ordinary people were unwilling to even look a Mubarak loyalist police officer in the eye. The police had a policy of just shooting anyone who they found disagreeable.

Then came Tahrir square.

The lynch mobs chased down fully armed riot police and strung them up. They entered police stations and in full view of the army troops on tanks - they set them on fire with the policemen inside.

One cannot predict such changes.

In Kashmir, it used to be that you could simple discourage a riot by swinging a lathi.

Then Maqbool Bhat was hanged and policemen were beaten to within an inch of their lives and police informers and intelligence agents in mufti were murdered by the dozen.

Any section of society, can has potential to rebel against perceived repression. There is no way of predicting when this rebellion will take place or what shape of form it will take.

It is like the Amitabh movie, where his mother ties a taweez on his neck and makes him promise never to take the path of violence. One day while Amitabh is being mistreated by a villain - the taweez breaks and the vow is broken - and then all hell breaks loose as Amitabh strikes back.

 
At 6:45 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Actually vv666,

There is a clear analogy between the Tahrir Square situation and what is happening in Delhi.

In the minds of the supporters of the anti-corruption idea - the politicians, the police and the criminals are part of the "system" they are fighting.

Rape is just one more crime - that this combine perpetrates on the aam junta.

This is exact same way that the protesters in Egypt saw the Mubarak regime - they saw Mubarak, all his ministers, and all the police as a direct extension of the same criminal entity.

This may have been what Abhijit Mukherjee was driving at until his mouth became disconnected from his brain.

 
At 2:32 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Even the more routine legal procedures like offering to turn approver in exchange for a lighter sentence is going to run afoul of the public right now.

I worry a fast track trial will not help calm public fears.

Sri A K Verma is essentially correct that one cannot expect the police to stop all rape in the country.

But one can expect the police to be more sensitive in their treatment of rape victims.

Also when a police department attempts to intimidate a news agency and crime witnesses to prevent a public disclosure of its mistakes - then I feel a line is crossed. After that kind of behaviour it becomes very difficult for the public at large to distinguish between the police and the criminals.

Sri Raman has brought up another point about the riot police not having separate responses for crowd control with women and men. This is another problem.

 
At 5:20 PM, Blogger sv said...

vvv666

I hope your beef is only with "bhumiputras" of RNI and non-voting NRI kind. Otherwise Ms. S. Ghosh will warm your cockles.

 
At 11:18 PM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

Indic overload on outrage dhaagaa ... lol folks, enjoy before IsharaMaster deletes the fun stuff ...

 
At 1:30 AM, Blogger vvv666 said...

Hi Maverick,

For 1), sure the personnel of PCR vans and probably the control room should be brought to task. It's inexcusable negligence. I'm not sure replacing the commissioner will help. These are institutional lacunae (lack of training/sensitivity). One commissioner cannot fix it in one tenure.

For 2), the investigation did not stall but brought the culprits were arrested quickly. So it hadn't reached a stage where the commissioner needed to take personal charge. And I expect the investigative skills of a DG level officer to be a bit more rusty than an inspector.

For 3), muzzling media is inexcusable. If the commissioner is responsible, he should go. But my hunch is that the case against Zee was filed under political pressure. INC govt does bear some past rancour (L'affaire Jindal) with Zee and in particular Sudhir Chaudhary who interviewed the victim's friend.

I still think it is hasty to start rolling heads in a hurry esp. when the chance that the rolled head will belong to a scape-goat.

The Tahrir square analogy is very apt. There is a lot of frustration against the 'system'. During Anna movement, the system was seen as looting the public's money, now it is seen as looting public's izzat and life.

Last time, just widespread anger I saw was during Bofors or Mandal.

 
At 1:54 AM, Blogger vvv666 said...

sv: my objection is to anyone who wants to blame rape, or other crime against women in India to advent of islam. History does not testify to an image of goody-goody gender tolerant society in India prior to advent of islam. My objection is also to whitewashing of crimes committed under name of islam in India.

I'm not too concerned about identities like NRI/RNI at this point. Mainly because, I don't have a good idea on the demographics of people who are making such claims.

PS: who is S. Ghosh ?

 
At 8:17 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hello vv666,

I am making this suggestion only because I feel there is no other way to restore public confidence in the department right now.

Disciplinary action is underway against half a dozen police officers, some have been suspended. Depending on what happens in court tomorrow, there may even be criminal conspiracy charges brought against some others.

 
At 8:37 AM, Blogger maverick said...

A few more interesting points:

- In any part of India (or the world), there are two kinds of residential areas - segregated ones and mixed ones. In the segregates ones the population is predominantly of a single identity, in the mixed areas, the populations had differing identities.

- At the interface of two segregated areas comprised of peer-competitor communities a border develops (ex. Juhapura Vejalgad, Napean Sea Road etc...).

- If a mixed community sits between two segregated areas with peer competitor communities, the entire mixed area can become contested.

- The highly priced real estate is in the segregated area. For cultural reasons people think they will be better off with others of their own kind this drives the demand up. This real estate market is often dominated by some family groups. These family groups carry great social and political power in their local community. (ex. all those pricelessly white towns in the US, certain parts of South Bombay, the Upper East Side of Manhattan etc..)

- The mixed areas are less expensive but culturally (as a consequence of diversity) more vibrant and economically productive. This makes that land more lucrative than the corresponding land in the segregated area. The trade and commerce leaders in these parts hold sway over society (ex. Harlem in NYC, Dharavi in Bombay, the Favelas of Rio and Sau Paulo etc..)

- In rioting period - land changes hands by force. Mixed areas shrink and borders shifts and segregated zones grow in size. The land in the segregated zones picks up in value, the land in the mixed zones/border areas drops in value.

- In the period between riots - the mixed zones expand and the border areas shift per the needs of economic productivity.

- These points above - outline the economic engine that drives rioting. Political initiative seeks to exploit this economic engine for personal ends.

- A trigger event is one which occurs when the economic potential of the border/mixed zones is higher than or comparable to the economic value of the segregated zone.

- Rioting cannot continue forever. It is bounded by two factors - the apparent cost of economic recovery in the border/mixed zone and the time needed to seize the land. If it takes too long to seize the land, or if the economic cost of recovery becomes too high - the rioting abates.

- To prevent rioting, one must prevent trigger events and contain the growth of divisive political models.

- To control rioting, one must clear the mixed zones/border of infiltrators and leverage divisive political groups.

- To stop rioting, one must terminate divisive political actors.


 
At 8:42 AM, Blogger maverick said...


Delhi High Court has asked the same question that is being posed here.

Why was not Delhi Police CP relieved after it became clear that the police did not respond properly to evolving situation?

People are openly making the connection between illegal private transport operators and police misconduct.

If this kind of unprovable association gains currency in the minds of the people - confidence in the police will plummet.

It was a lot of work coordinating her transport to Singapore so that when the inevitable happened, the Singapore Police would competently manage the aftermath.

Had the same thing happened in AIIMS or Safdarjung, the DP would have made a total mess of it and there would have been hell to pay.

That is why she was moved.

It wasn't as some idiots said "for political reasons". It was because the DP couldn't be trusted to manage things properly.

The longer we wait on the changes that have to be made - the worse this is going to get.

I would like to avoid criminal charges filed against police officials in this case. The reputation of the police has already been damaged significantly by the mishandling of the Zee News editor. If the court files charges against the officers there will be irreparable damage to the image of the police.

 
At 11:15 AM, Blogger sv said...

Sagarika ghoshe

 
At 1:20 PM, Blogger maverick said...


Now we can watch as the entire issue of police brutality on the criminals is brought to justice.

It seems the police cannot even convict gang rapists without coercing a confession.

 
At 5:47 PM, Blogger Pax-Indica said...

Mav, you are being uncharitable to the cops here. Cops always find it hard to nail even blatant criminals, which is why the Indian method to the madness has evolved to what it is today. This has nothing to do with India, every set of cops find it hard to nail someone down. Which is why Osama was sent off in an encounter than put up as a public spectacle. Of course, there were other PR calculations too, but its hard to nail people even when they come with a knife in their hand. It takes immense hard work and a lot of luck, yes, luck.

This is why its hard to nail someone like Binayak Sen when circumstantial evidence is not allowed. Its why the dossier diplomacy with the pakis is agmark bullshit meant to hoodwink Indians into somehow believing that justice can be achieved with the pakis. These are plain vanilla bs acts that have no connection to reality. The simplest way to put down a criminal is an encounter. All this court drama etc. are naatakbaazis that need a lotta luck to go your way.

The middle-class has to answer this question: is it willing to let go of some of its hard-earned "rights" in return for a bit more power to the police to put down people who are criminals? Would you allow it if it was one of your near and dear ones? If so, lets talk business. If not, shut up and stop whining. That also applies to BJP. Will the BJP stop producing PUCL's in the future in return for a more of a police state? So far, we see only wishywashy bs from either side. The tradeoffs are fairly clear. Yet noone wants to cast it as a lesser rights vs. more security question.

 
At 5:53 PM, Blogger Pax-Indica said...

Btw, I will any day prefer lesser rights to more security. Its a simple choice for me. I will be very surprised if I am in the minority. People just dont pose such a binary question, which is why the wishywashiness is all over the place.

 
At 10:09 PM, Blogger sv said...

Pax

Vigilante justice is a slippery slope so is a police state hosted mild it is. The former could esily devolve into complete chaos and lawlessness where as the latter to authoritarianism that would make emergency seem like a vacation.

 
At 12:10 AM, Blogger Pax-Indica said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 5:08 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Pax,

The image of the police is so damaged right now that I worry what the impact of the torture claims will be.

If the public at large starts to believe that the Police did not get the right people and the real rapists are still at large - then there will be bigger problems.

The last thing I want to see is lynch mobs of Hindus going around seeking "muslim rapists" or vice versa or Raj Thakeray's people scouring the city stringing up innocent Biharis on the charge of being rapists.

The Delhi Police apologised unconditionally for the failure to answer the court's questions about PCR vans and the officers on duty.

That is a start - a step in the right direction.

The next step if for the CP to replaced by a competent woman.

After that all the activists who were protesting police misconduct should be released from custody and all charges against them should be dropped.

After that every effort must be made to ensure that this case sticks in court.

Then I think we will have truly started to take a step back from the abyss.

 
At 9:40 AM, Blogger Pax-Indica said...

sv, vigilantism is a common method to madness in any society that preaches solutions for the greater good. Just that they have the blessings of the greater good/majoritarian tyranny. I can cite many many examples.

But I will go very fundamental and question the very purpose of punishment to a crime as a religion ordained value system imposed on everyone, including atheists/anti-theists/a-religious/agnostic folks.

Deterrence/rehabilitation does nt work on everyone, yet it is a one glove fits all policy. Retribution is primarily religion driven, yet all those who dont care about retribution have to accept it for the sake of greater good. Incapacitation works to varying degrees in theory, in practice, its all guided by practicalities that we all know about.

If we are implicitly going to accept so many things even core fundamentals such as first past the post democratic mandate, why is some other greater good based method to madness not kosher? That seems like a very middle-class driven selective hypocrisy to me.

 
At 9:45 AM, Blogger Pax-Indica said...

Mav, the DP needs to increase the boots on the ground and start pounding the lepers who commit grave crimes on women or anyone else with serious dhandagiri, rather than fix the crimes of the past which are not going to be fixed. Going forward is what we can see. The New Year work schedule has begun and the youngistan is back to work as expected, where are the protests today?

I have seen too much of this youngistan will explode if we dont appease their tushies nonsense. Call me a perennial cynic, I think youngistan is just a joke parade rather than an instrument of change.

 
At 6:01 PM, Blogger sv said...

Pax

"vigilante justice", as defined by you (if I am guessing right) cannot work in all situations. A simple meta-argument leads us to the conclusion that it cannot work in any situation.

In any case the current system of justice is nothing but a stylized form of vigilante justice wherein a crime is proven to the satisfaction of a jury who dishes out punishment fitting the crime in an organized fashion with the judge playing the part of the referee. I would say that all the countries I want to live in would justice systems similar to this basic pattern (with some minor differences). Otherwise, there is great scope for large sections of societies getting hijacked by demagoguery - be it religious or secular.

 
At 6:53 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

I simply must get me one of these:

http://www.snipershide.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=3812333

click the first link on nbcnews.com

It's about 20 grand. I'm starting my spare change jar right now. grin

 
At 7:12 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

And if this doesn't scare the living dog sh*t out of you then nothing does.....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqdyL2EesEo

Dudes like this obviously never served in the military.I think I'm gonna build a safe room in my house.

 
At 8:46 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Pax,

The problem of not having enough people on the ground is never going to go away.

There are hidden problem in getting more feet on the ground. every foot has at least one arm associated with it.

It becomes a very big manpower management problem. We can't solve that all levels.

Even if the problem is solved in delhi - there is the entire northern belt with all those mofussil places. We are never going to have enough feet on the ground - heck even Uncle Sam does not have enough feet on the ground in the fly-over country.

Thats why ralphy and SHQ's aunt keeps buying all those guns - if there is knock on the door at night you never know if it is a criminal, a bear or Jesus himself.

What we are seeing in the urban areas is a bunch of young college types. They are the most openly affected. They work in the call centers and the IT industry and their wifes and girlfriends and sisters are at risk of becoming victims to such crimes.

But there is another side to this, which is seen only in the rural belt. Where women also work but with less dignity and less equality. If nationald debate turns towards a direction where the rights of women are degraded - essentially where all these idiots talking about "indic" and "western" values are allowed to dominate the debate - those poor women in the villages will suffer dramatically.

In rural settings we could see a major upswing in honour killings, forced marraiges, conflicts due to rape across community lines. We have seen this before - the Phoolan Devi saga - where a lower caste woman is raped by upper caste men and then a mass murder spree follows as the lower castes seek vengeance on the village of the rapists.

A very important step was taken when women's reservations were imposed at the Panchayati level. But if we allow the national debate on women's rights to take a step back - this gain made a decade earlier will be lost.

I propose we set aside cynicism on this issue and seek a more progressive posture.

Rape is endemic in our society. There is a very bad attitude among some men towards women. This attitude can be the spark for something really nasty. It is vital that the police department remain a credible force in protecting the rights of women.

Whatever is done to the Delhi Police (** and something must be done*** ) is a prototype for the rest of the nation.

 
At 8:52 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hello Friends,

I apologise for not being explict earlier.

I want to prevent a crime wave from occuring in the aftermath of this incident.

The biggest deterrent to such a crime wave is public confidence in the law enforcement machinery.

If one has to chop the Delhi CP's head to restore public confidence then I am for it.

It is not a step I recommend lightly - I have always stood by every police department in India and defended the actions of the police even when the whole country was against them.

I think removing the Commissioner is the only way to restore public confidence in the department.

India may be a civilization of civilizations, a country of countries but the Government of India is a reformist state. Where reform is needed it cannot shy away from what needs to be done.

 
At 8:58 AM, Blogger maverick said...

My latest article in Pragati.

http://pragati.nationalinterest.in/2013/01/cloning-the-adversary/

 
At 9:07 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Here is a column I write for Pragati.

http://pragati.nationalinterest.in/category/encounter/

 
At 9:18 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Ralphy

is it okay to say that uncle sam has an angle on containing the meth epidemic?

that he is going to tell people that meth gives you really bad acne and makes you look older?

that should keep the young women away from meth and hopefully the men follow the women?

is that the new strategy? exploiting vanity to get folks to stop using meth?

if so uncle sam gets my vote. this is way better than having dea people break down doors and try to take out mobile meth labs the drive across the country making meth on the highway.

 
At 9:21 AM, Blogger maverick said...


that was actually one of the problems with Nancy Reagan's plans on drugs - the whole just say no. Coke and heroin made people feel way more potent. It was sexy to use the drug. People had a hard time saying no.

But meth - one can legitimately claim that it completely fucks the user up appearance wise.
So that can be a useful deterrent.

Whoever came up with that in the NSC or DEA or whereever - good work folks.

Now everyone can just smoke pot instead of taking meth.

 
At 9:35 AM, Blogger maverick said...

The process of draining the NRA swamp has begun.

This is part of the much awaited beatdown that Obama supporters had hoped would come soon after his re-election.

Few people appear to believe that NRA can hold off gun control for too much longer.

The new guns laws on the books will cause gun owners to start buying up what is one the shelves as a hedge against the NRA's imminent failure.

This will drain the pot of money available for supporting the NRA.

A diffuse front comprised of a dozen other NGOs will carry out the first assault on the NRA's networks. This will weaken the NRA finances further.

The NRA had very astutely positioned blocks on the collection on key data on gun crime. It will not be able to protect those blockages anymore.

Once the data starts being collected on gun crime - prevention ideas that naturally arise from this will cause the NRA even more grief as it will have to devote resources to containing those.

Without a line of credit from the Cerberus group - the NRA will not be able to sustain such a wide defensive line and will have to reposition itself on key issues.

An assault weapon ban will most likely emerge from the fight.

 
At 1:30 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Mav:

Meth is a curse upon the rural areas of the US. I have no idea why meth has become epidemic among rural and poor white people but it has. I think anything to discourage its use should be encouraged. If social media and photos of addicts helps, then I am all for it.

Lately, moonshine has become popular on reality TV. It shows rural whites, mostly toothless, greybeard old men making it and selling it. The public seems facinated by such proclivities of rural poor whites. I think it is because they are the new "problem minority" and therefore safe to make extreme stereotyping myths about. You can't say you are racist if you denigrate poor rural whites. But really, it's just another aspect of class warfare.

 
At 4:40 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Ralphy,

Hopefully Meth does not become as commonplace as Moonshine.

 
At 5:50 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Sorry to speak out of turn.

But the Pakistani Foreign Minister's statement is ridiculous.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh did not face any corruption charges.

Ms. Khar, insulting the Prime Minister of India is pretty poor way to make friends.

India knows your government is in trouble. India knows that Zardari demanded a tribute from Malik Riaz and it also knows that Malik Riaz went to Kayani for support. It is well known that Malik Riaz, Kayani and Choudhary are in bed together and that the judiciary is being used to shadow box the Zardari regime.

India knows all these things and it is no business of ours what you do out there in Pakistan.

If India makes it its business, then all the players in the game will not like it.

So please stop inviting India to intervene.

 
At 7:17 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hello Pakistan Army,

If India wanted to change the LoC - it could do so at any point of its choosing.

As demonstrated in the Saltoro Ridge, there is nothing the Pakistani Fauj can do to stop India.

Pulling desperate stunts to show that you are somehow "equal" to India on the LoC isn't going to convince anyone.

 
At 6:19 PM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

We know Hina Khar has no sense ... when she represents an impoverished nation by wearing designer clothes and accessories, it is all very clear

 
At 11:37 AM, Blogger sv said...

So is Zardari - he was holidaying in his chalet when millions were trying save themselves from the floods.

 
At 7:53 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Full text of Verma Commission report.

http://www.firstpost.com/india/full-text-recommendations-of-the-justice-js-verma-committee-report-599874.html

It is worth a read - Sri. Verma asks very important questions. Although I am saddened to see that the assessment of the Commission is almost as dark as mine.

A couple of interesting points that I had missed in my review of these matters.

"Many of them have reflected this gender bias contrary to the constitutional mandate afterswearing ‘to bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India’, in addition to theirfundamental duty ‘to abide by the Constitutionand respect its ideals’. These deep rooted prejudices have to be eliminated for the efficacy ofany laws on the subject. The time has come to enact laws providing for the subsequent disqualification of elected representatives on this ground alone."

I think this is a very interesting idea that never occurred to me prior to this. If the utterances of a sitting member of parliament are not in accordance with the spirit of the constitution that should automatically become grounds for their disqualification.

I realize this will bring with it some risks, but the potential benefits are significant - a broader hate-crimes framework could start from this point on.

Next in the recommendations section

"Any officer, who fails to register a case of rapereported to him, or attempts to abort itsinvestigation, commits an offence which shall be punishable as prescribed. We have also taken into account offences of eve teasing, voyeurism,stalking as well as sexual assault and unsolicited sexual contact"

This is an interesting point too - if one were to target the specific types of abuses of power that law enforcement officials commit in the handling of such cases - then I think we have a new tool in the war on gender crimes.


 
At 8:46 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Regarding the Tahrir square moment issue.

In a democracy it may never get to the Tahrir Square level.

The closest one might easily come to this is a "Hutatma Chowk" moment.

 
At 5:10 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hello,

Finally some good news.

After a year of waiting for Bharat Sarkar to clear its head on this issue - and by the grace of Allah Taala - the right thing has happened.

A very hearty congratulations to Dr. Sharad Kale (NABD/BARC) on recieving the Padma Shri.

Dr. Kale's work on the Nisargaruna solid waste disposal platform underscores BARC's continued commitment to serious environmental remediation schemes.

I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate the members of the engineering group at the department who helped with this project and people of the Matheran operations group who standardised the technology. Your efforts allowed for the rapid assimilation of Nisargaruna technology by solid waste management boards all over India.

It is because of dedicated and smart people like you I feel hopeful that India can overcome the massive problems it faces.

 
At 5:19 AM, Blogger maverick said...

So the British High Commissioner in Islamabad finally echoes what has been said on this blog several moons ago...

http://indianmavericks.blogspot.com/2010/12/pakistani-establishment-is-uninterested.html

I don't want to make HMG uncomfortable but a while back when your man in Islamabad was going on about how fantastic the 17th Amendment was going to be, someone had pointed out rather bluntly that these folks tend to treat their constitution like toilet paper.

I hope this realization now drives HMG towards a more accurate definition of the problem.

 
At 5:22 AM, Blogger maverick said...

And no... getting Imran in there isn't going to make it any better.

Do the Cambridge, Eton types understand just because someone idiot has played cricket doesn't make him a good candidate for PM of Pakistan?

This is a bloody ridiculous premise.


 
At 7:00 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hello,

Amana has written a piece in the NYT.

It is quite well written.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/25/opinion/indias-next-revolution.html?_r=0

Here is a link to her blog.

http://amanafontanellakhan.wordpress.com/

 
At 7:02 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Amana has been profiling vigilantism in India on gender issues for a while now.

http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2010/07/wear_a_pink_sari_and_carry_a_big_stick.html

 
At 5:03 AM, Blogger maverick said...


Oh hello - that is interesting - ten years after all this - we hear that the Nodong INS system was not up to the mark when it came to extending the range.

Why disclose this now?

 
At 7:42 AM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

Big fan of Jhulan Goswami ... what an athlete!

 
At 5:32 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hmm... I don't usually follow women's cricket (or cricket at all) but maybe I should..

 
At 10:34 AM, Blogger Pax-Indica said...

Mani, the last ball six of SL is perhaps the BIGGEST upset in Davidini-Goliathini contests. Perhaps only the Chak-De team could have done better :).

sbm, is there an email I can reach you at?

 
At 10:36 AM, Blogger Pax-Indica said...

I still find that "Goalie ready, striker ready" in the final PC shootout a big rotfl-able event. Sadly, the wimmins hickey team of Uthhistha Bharatha sucks BIG time esp after replacing MK Kaushik sir with CR Kumar in a loud-mouthed sex-spectacle that probably was nt.

 
At 6:44 AM, Blogger maverick said...

The Iranian fighter is what is called a full scale mockup. It is not exactly full scale because the instrumentation and avionics has been excluded.

I congratulate the Iranians on the achievement of this level of capability but there is no reason to get too excited.

It is not as hard to make a stealth fighter as it once used to be.

The basic geometry idea of continuous curvatuve, faceting and having an engine inlet structure that does not directly see the radar is well known.

Computation of an exact shape is somewhat painful but not impossible. You can even buy a simple software for flight simulation that crudely calculates the lift on a structure given its shape. It is likely that the Iranians probably scripted a code of this kind themselves.

The real problem is not to make shapes stealthy or even to make something awkwardly shaped fly.

The real problem is to produce a platform that is not a huge money pit.

This is how the game goes.

You make a fancy low RCS shape and get all pumped up about how awesome it is.

Then you realise that the wing loading is comparable to an B-17 from WWII and the airplane's turn rate is that of a supertanker at high sea.

Now you say - okay - no problem - I will put thrust vectoring on it. Then you realise that in addition to the cost of painting RAM on the platform before each mission - you have just added the cost of maintaining a TV engine!

Now for every 1 hour of flight time, you are looking at 100 hours of maintenance time. The cost of training a pilot on this platform is 10x higher than it used to be.

So where does that leave you?

With an insufficiently trained pilot corps that is routinely asked to attempt high-g maneuvers without adequate acclimation.

Essentially - it leaves you nowhere.

Machinging complex shapes repeatably is hard. Producing copious amounts of RAM in at scale is hard. Without the avionics to back up the device - you basically get something that is about as useful as a flying rock!

Come back to me in twenty years time and I will tell you whether the Qaher-313 meant something.

 
At 6:12 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Regarding the recent claims from Pakistan that the Kargil offensive was aimed at severing the supply link to Siachen - this idea is not new.

In Robert Wirsing's book on Pakistan, a Pakistani Brigadier - (most likely either Pervez Musharraf or (late) Tariq Mehmood) tells Wirsing of the futility of continuing frontal attacks on the peaks in the Saltoro range. The Brigadier goes on to say that the most natural point of attack on the defensive formation on the Saltoro Rigdeline was actually much further to the south.

I think this single reference narrows the field of choices considerably. Only Tariq Mehmood had any clear idea of what Kargil was like because he fought there in 1971. If Tariq had not died in a "parachute malfunction" in 1989 - I venture he would have been the COAS instead of Pervez Musharraf.

The books and views that are coming out of Islamabad lately are very critical of Gen. Musharraf.

I sometimes think these people miss the point of Gen. Musharraf and the SSG operates.

The "beauty" of the Kargil operation was that it had an extremely small bureaucratic footprint. As only a few people knew about it, there was no chance of the information leaking out. Outside the formation commander and Gen. Musharraf's hand-picked crew - no one knew the exact positions of the sanghars and the resupply bases.

It was perfect until the IAF's LOROP picked up Muntho Dhalo. Then the IAF knew more about the operation than the PA high command did. At which point the entire secrecy screen was compromised and ceased to have military value.

After that it became more about covering Gen. Musharraf's posterior and dodging blame for the mess that followed.

 
At 6:37 AM, Blogger maverick said...

I am sorry the previous text should say that "you find out that you have a wing loading of F-104" not B-17.

I forgot how big the B-17's wings were.

 
At 6:56 PM, Blogger GinC said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 6:58 PM, Blogger GinC said...

Hey prof T.. your wait is over.... Sankudiot is back in nook dhaga..!!

 
At 8:22 AM, Blogger GinC said...

Lol!
Make that Sankuidiots!

 
At 5:24 AM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

Thanks ... I see that the quality of posts has improved immediately upon the return of his eminence ...

 
At 10:00 AM, Blogger dilbert said...

"I see that the quality of posts has improved immediately upon the return of his eminence."

Return from where? Was he banned again recently?

 
At 12:38 PM, Blogger ldev said...

Check out the Bharatiya - yada, yada, yada, thread. As is the norm, a single person takes on the Hindutva hardliners. It is always one person against the mob. In this instance it is Harbans single handedly taking on the RamaY, Rajesh, Rudradev who ofcourse has to jump in by insulting anyone who does not agree with him as a Maculayite running dog...LOL and Mani will be happy to know that Sanku has also made an appearance in this thread.

 
At 3:05 PM, Blogger GinC said...

Ldev - I took a peek .. simply amazing.

 
At 12:34 AM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

Harbans is right in questioning the status of women on page 1 of that dhaagaa ... ruck-a-shucks could learn from reading this book:

http://tinyurl.com/d5hf7oa

Yes, written by my grandfather in Hindi and translated into English by my father ... the publisher put a typo in the title ... lol

 
At 12:35 AM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

sorry about the weird german link ... I am in Vienna ... plan on drinking at the UN Bar tonight :)

 
At 2:07 AM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

I read some more of the dhagaa ... it is going the way of earlier such discussions ... there is some mention of Advaita and Gyaan Yog ... ]

I owe it to one "Mr. Spock"/S. Valkan to make it so obviously clear to me ...

the point of "gyaan" is to not fill up pages upon pages ...

brevity is the essence of wisdom :)

 
At 12:24 AM, Blogger vvv666 said...

ldev: In that thread, there is one obvious, unstated reason why the word "Hindu", even if a foreign origin epithet, cannot be abandoned. That is: the BJP has invested so much into an ideology based on repetitive uses of "hindutva", that reneging upon it will undo all the political gains. It all goes back to Savarkar/Golwalkar's writings.

The irony is that BRF's BJP ruck-a-shucks suffer from cognitive dissonance when they see the foundation of their ideology - "hindu" find scarce mention in the oldest texts - Purana, Mahabharata, Veda's etc.

Absolutely none of the Indian texts before medieval ages even mention "Hindu". You have to imagine the dissonance and the accompanying psychological rage that happens when having to reconcile this fact with the edifice of exclusivist BJP ideology that claims to resurrect a hoary, purely native glorious past.

Harbans' views are getting discounted because they don't conform to BJP's ideological basis - ie Golwalkar's writings. It's good to see that hindutva fanatics, like fanatics anywhere, are intolerant of views even slightly deviating from their narrow party prescribed manuals. That's what is going to alienate people who are genuinely proud of their roots, yet not ready to surrender to narrow fanaticism.

 
At 10:21 AM, Blogger GinC said...

Deshbhakts on brf wants India to follow NK... while Sankuidiots are out in force in the nook dhaga....and looks like snowidiot is back

How long before Nisan-e-bazz goes on a lathicharge?

 
At 10:43 PM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

hmmm ... I was at IAEA and CTBTO complex the day before NoKo tamasha ... dang

 
At 10:47 PM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

I haven't followed the news closely ... why is there talk of HEU being used in this device rather than WGPu? Is it that NoKo has not mastered reprocessing?

 
At 5:13 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Mani,

> hmmm ... I was at IAEA and CTBTO complex the day before NoKo tamasha ... dang

Looks like you missed some serious entertainment.

Actually I fared much better than you.

In anticipation of the vaaast successs of NK's interplanetary thermonuclear weapons test, I have printed out my favourite picture of Great Great Greater than Great Leader Kim Jong Un on a large format printer and put it up in my office.

 
At 8:59 AM, Blogger GinC said...

Mani - Check out Hecker's trip report or recent FP Article, if you have not done so... It may answer your questions
http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/02/04/what_to_expect_from_a_north_korean_nuclear_test?page=0,1

 
At 9:04 AM, Blogger GinC said...

Mani - You may already know this..
NK has no working reactors..They have mastered reprocessing..but no fresh spent fuel to reprocess with..

Also - NK has plenty of U ore, and it seems, technology to enrich it. Centrifuges are easier to hide than working reactors..

 
At 9:44 AM, Blogger dilbert said...

Mani, Mav, GinC:

What do you folks think about the theory that the NoKo test is actually a Chinese-designed weapon conducted as a joint test for China, NoKo and Pakistan?

 
At 5:06 PM, Blogger sv said...

One thing which always stumped me is this. With all this saber rattling by NoKo against SoKo and its hand-in-glove relationship with Pakistan, how come SoKo is oh so pally pally with Pakistan? I am unable to see SoKo's trstagey in this. Is it that they are hedging their bets? In case US fails to come through, they can get into the good books of Beijing via the "good" offices of Pakistanis?

 
At 1:25 AM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

GinC,

Thanks ... I don't know why Hecker says this:

>>> A successful test will, however, destabilize the region -- precisely the scenario China has tried to avoid by supporting Pyongyang over the years, and the reason it is in China's interest to use all its influence to stop the test.

This is just one of many readings of the tea leaves.

Dilbert,

Any combination is possible, including Iranian participation.

 
At 6:28 PM, Blogger GinC said...

Dilbert - To add to Mani's - "any combination is possible"..

After all, Syria's reactor which Israel destroyed was NK's

Any way this is what I think ..

1. NK is very closed, and we (virtually every one outside) know very little.

2. From what I know, long ago (50 yrs- era of my prof's prof) ago, there was some interaction with Soviet-scientists but NK scientists and engineers are mostly home trained and have very little interaction with outside, (including Chinese). They may have learned all they could from Pak and others, but mostly they have used that knowledge and then went on their own..

3. They have enough U ore, and technology and stated goals to enrich it and use it in their LWR's. They have good engineers, plenty of materials like Beryllium etc

4. Apart from groups like Hecker's, very few outside people have visited or have knowledge/hard data about them. (This includes, as far as I know, Japanese, SK, Chinese, Paki's etc..)

5. Their Pu supply is low, and have no working reactors to produce it. (In any case outside people will know it right away if they start)

6. They seem to have good capacity to enrich U. (According to Hecker).. No doubt AQ Khan, (and others) helped them but, IMO, the technology may be copy/stolen but it has been worked on quite a bit by them.

I don't think Pak or China know more about their capabilities then US..I don't think there is EXACT copy of any "design"

Just some thoughts .. FWIW

 
At 1:39 AM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

A very interesting story:

http://tinyurl.com/cptk6uy

If someone understands the technical details, please post ... I got lost somewhere in the System of Root Intesification

 
At 5:39 PM, Blogger GinC said...

WRT: SRI

From Wiki itself!

the flexibility in SRI’s definition of practices renders SRI a challenge for evaluation and assessment of adoption.

Also:
Although the technical aspects of SRI have been contested, it clearly exists as a real social phenomenon".

There you have it!

 
At 5:23 AM, Blogger maverick said...

The South Koreans are pally with Pakistan because the Pakistanis have done enough to reassure them that they bear no hostile intentions towards South Korea.

South Korea is a major economic power in Asia. By playing off the SoKo/NoKo divide in the manner they have - the Pakistanis have assured themselves direct line to the South Korean technology stream.

Well played Pakistan.

Every so often, even someone like me appreciates the batting of Zaheer Abbas.

 
At 5:28 AM, Blogger maverick said...

>> Unit 61398

Hmm.. now the 50 million dollar question (just trying to pick a number that doesn't increase the national debt...)

Would the PLA be stupid enough to form a special unit of this nature and then leave a paper trail leading to its door on computers that can be hacked by its US counterparts?

Stupider things have happened in the world, I mean lets face it - left to the bureaucrats of the world everything would have a paper trail.

 
At 5:29 AM, Blogger maverick said...

oh my apologies

here is the report.

http://intelreport.mandiant.com/Mandiant_APT1_Report.pdf

 
At 5:44 AM, Blogger maverick said...

There are usually two independent sets of motivations for attacking economic entities not directly connected with a government.

1) The entities are providing "Non Official Cover" for the intelligence community of the foreign government.

2) The entities are party to a trade war.

There is a reasonable suspicion that the Chinese attacks on commercial entities in the US is guided by the latter reason.

The Chinese typically behave in the same exact way regardless of which market they enter. They seize market share by flooding the market with cheap crappy products. This drives the competition out of business and makes the market entirely dependent on Chinese imports. The Chinese can then carefully raise prices of their products and create inflationary pressures at will in the target nation.

In the US most corporations have gone in for shifting manufacturing in China. If they attempt to shift manufacturing back to the US or out of China to some other place, then they disrupt the Chinese plan for market dominance.

Any operation that reduces the ability of a US corporation to distance itself from manufacturing in China becomes a potential target for offensive action by Chinese national security agencies.

This is the mechanics of a trade war.

 
At 1:07 PM, Blogger Pax-Indica said...

Nair saar, blij to check your email.

 
At 9:34 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/02/22/india_gandhi_politics

critiques?

 
At 6:23 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hello

Sorry to sound like a broken record here.

Grave doubts still exist in the minds of most Indians on the law enforcement agencies will to contain the sexual assault epidemic that is raging across the country.

The police seem very good at carrying out taliban style actions against people indulging in any form of public affection but when it comes to rape prevention and detection, the police are largely nowhere to be found.

This is a shameful fact that no amount media "management" can hide.

It is ridiculous to go on pretending that somehow this is going to stay out of the public mind.

What use is a police force that does not carry the respect of the people?

Will criminals be detered by such an entity?

Are we simply lying to ourselves on this front?

Whenever any blast or anything happens - some people talk of attacking Pakistan and making them pay for whatever has happened.

But I can't believe that even if India bombed the crap out of Pakistan - the attacks would stop given the staggering incompetence of key police agencies.

I really wish the people in the MHA would realise that it is no longer possible to keep papering over such stunning failures by the enforcement agencies.

There has to be an overhaul and we have get rid of this colonial era policing system.

 
At 6:36 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hello Ralphy,

Can't access the article.

But off the cuff- let me just say this - back in Pandit Nehru and Mme. Gandhi's days, there was a lot more direct contact between the people and Gandhi family. A lot of people jump on that and often times blame every Gandhi family member after Rajiv Gandhi for lacking adequate competence.

After that era, the population became so large that only some form of distant contact - electronic or print media - could truly be maintained.

It has nothing to do with the calibre of the leadership - there simply wasn't enough time to talk to people.

This is true of other political parties also - not just INC and the Gandhis.

If one thinks the head of the BJP goes around talking to each and every constituent - then one is being deluded.

Because of this communication problem, India is today reduced to the distorted media image of itself - a 160 character twitter update that somehow allegedly captures the mind of a billion and a half souls!

While the rest of the India slowly lurches towards its cyberpunk reality, a few brave ones speak of a post-cyberpunk India where individuals still matter and where the actions of a small group of people can deeply affect the percetions of national reality.

 
At 9:14 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

I have copied the text of the article here. Text is from the foreign policy web site.- Ralphy

NEW DELHI — I am on my seventh trip to India since I first came in 1976. Nothing is the same. The essential Indian narrative has gone from timelessness to disruption; the national icon from the lumbering elephant to the call center to the high-tech entrepreneur. The Delhi that I first knew was the gracious city of white bungalows, trimmed lawns, and broad boulevards laid out by Edwin Lutyens in 1911; now Old New Delhi, as I think of it, recalls a quaint colonial past in a city of 16 million. Everything has changed -- except India's politics, which feel utterly familiar. You can't help wondering when -- or if -- India's politics will catch up with its society.

COMMENTS (7)SHARE:
The big political news in recent months has been the return of the Gandhis. Not that they ever really went away. The 42-year-old Rahul Gandhi, son of Rajiv, grandson of Indira, great-grandson of Jawaharlal Nehru, great-great grandson of Motilal Nehru, has taken a senior position in the family business, known as the Indian National Congress party. With parliamentary elections scheduled for next year, India's vast tribe of pundits (derived from pandit, the Hindi word for "sage") and political junkies are waiting with bated breath for an epic battle for the premiership between a coalition led by Gandhi and another led by Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat state, a figure equally known for his business-first mentality and his hard-line Hindu nationalism; many Indians believe that he encouraged Hindu rioters who killed around 800 Muslims in 2002 riots.

India has a parliamentary rather than a presidential system, so in any case the two will not be running directly against one another. And Rahul (members of the Gandhi family, who are thought of as every Indian's son, brother, mother, etc., are almost always referred to by first name) has said that he has no wish to serve as prime minister in 2014, even if the Congress party wins. He may even mean what he says, but neither the public nor his own party, desperate for a new infusion of Gandhi-family charisma, is prepared to hear it.

The family-run political party is hardly unique to India. It is in fact the norm in South Asia. In Pakistan, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto begat Benazir Bhutto, who married Asif Ali Zardari, the current president. (And both begat Bilawal Zardari, waiting in the wings at age 24.) Similar lineages have governed Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Dynasties can confer stability and predictability on otherwise chaotic democracies, especially during moments of crisis, but they do tend to devolve toward the fin de race (witness Pakistan's oafish president). What's more, these quasi-monarchies have trouble standing for anything beyond the family and the country's historical connection to the family. The Nehru-Gandhi family ushered India into freedom and in the first generation preserved it from innumerable shocks; since then, nothing so great.

India's romance with the Gandhis, like America's with the Kennedys, has been cemented by tragedy. Indira was assassinated in 1984; Rajiv in 1991. The willingness to pay this awful price has given the family a special kind of legitimacy -- almost an intrinsic right to rule. At the same time, this culling of the ranks has forced India to wait for a new generation of Gandhis to come along. They may be needed, but they're also in very limited supply. Rajiv replaced Indira as prime minister, but he was in turn replaced by a veteran Congressman, P.V. Narasimha Rao. Only under Rao -- along with Finance Minister Manmohan Singh, now prime minister -- did the Congress party, and India, break from Nehru's socialist faith, which had given the state a stranglehold over the economy. The new India of entrepreneurship, innovation, and dynamic growth dates from this moment.

 
At 9:16 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

The rise of a non-Gandhi-centric Congress party would have constituted another phase of India's maturation. But it was not to be. The party fell from power and broke into factions, some aligning themselves with Rajiv's widow, Sonia, who had long shunned politics. Sonia agreed to become the party president in 1998 and has remained in that post ever since. When the Congress party returned to power in 2004, Sonia shocked the country by declining to become prime minister. But Singh, whom she asked to take the post, has always deferred to her, and no one doubts who is the most powerful person in the country. The populist economic initiatives that Singh has pursued since taking over -- which have proved highly popular -- come from the party, not the government.

Now, the Sonia interregnum having runs its course, the new generation is ready to take over. Rahul's younger sister, Priyanka, proved to be a deft campaigner with a common touch, but she's married with children and retired from politics, at least temporarily. In 2004, Rahul won the family seat in the "Hindi heartland" state of Uttar Pradesh and then quite consciously disappeared into the long-term business of rebuilding the party at the grassroots. He has sought to instill a new spirit of meritocracy and transparency in the Indian Youth Congress, which had come to be viewed as a nest of young (and not-so-young) louts and timeservers.

Rahul is afflicted by an acute awareness of the pathological elements of the Congress party's relationship to his family, even as he tries to exploit that special relationship to change a culture of nepotism, sycophancy, and gross favoritism. It's a very delicate, and possibly paradoxical, enterprise. "I am a symptom of this problem," he admitted bluntly in a 2008 speech. He has turned down a slot in Singh's cabinet and possibly also the chief ministership of Uttar Pradesh and his mother's job. He wants to be a humble worker in the Congress vineyards -- at least until he is ready to fully emerge on the national scene. But the party may not allow him to be, such is the force of that Gandhi cult of personality.

 
At 9:17 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

When I think of Rahul's predicament, I'm reminded of a mass audience with J. Krishnamurti, a revered philosopher-guru, then 85, which I attended in Bombay in 1980.

A bright light shone down on a tiny white-haired man on a stage. He said, with an asperity that bordered on bitterness, "You must not seek gurus. You must have the courage to listen to your own voice." And the crowd roared back in unison, "Yes, master! We will follow our own voice!" Followership is a very hard habit to break.

Modi, Rahul's rival for the premiership, suffers from no such ambivalence about authority. He is a fiery orator who knows very well how to hold and keep a crowd. Modi's father sold tea from a cart at a railway station -- as did Modi. Modi is himself the incarnation of the meritocratic principles of which Rahul speaks. He has said, "I am a fish in the sea, while that fellow" -- and everyone knows which fellow -- "is a fish in the aquarium." A son of the soil against a Gandhi scion, a classic strongman against a mild-mannered democrat, a nationalist who plays with fire against a committed secularist: It really would be fun to watch.

Politics in India is a tamasha -- a big, noisy spectacle. But you have to wonder whether voters will begin to tire of it. The small-scale if endemic corruption of yesteryear has inflated to grotesque proportions as national wealth and the national budget have mushroomed. All parties have been tainted; even the currency of the Gandhi family may have been devalued. Changing this culture may be well beyond Rahul's reach. After all, the Congress party has an election to win, and elections require bottomless sums of cash, often ferried in bags and suitcases. India even has a new anti-corruption party -- the Common Man's Party -- but it can't win elections either without black money. Politics in India must change -- but not tomorrow, or anytime soon.

 
At 9:20 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

I think the article is unduly negative... but then most of the foreign policy articles are negative regardless of the government involved. - Ralphy

 
At 7:13 AM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

actually, the article is fairly accurate.

 
At 8:06 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hello Ralphy,

I concur with Mani, if that is what the article says - it is an accurate summation of what is going on.

It is unclear how the whole idea of dynastic succession will sit with modern India. Modern India is all about upward mobility.

A lot of people want to be king and feel that power can't be passed through family.

This can't be selectively applied to only the Gandhi family. It will end up being applied to all families in politics. Is India ready for that?

If dynastic inheritance is wrong then what will become of all those Brahmins whose sole right to status comes from birth? and what of all those Syeds who trace their blood lines to the Prophet? and of all the high born Malankara Orthodox folk who swear by the Apostolic Christianity of St. Thomas? Where will they stand? And what of all those wonderful industrialists who pass the ownership of their company to their wards? will they be next?

There is no question that the people of India find Modiji to be the antithesis of Rahul Gandhi - but the question before most Indians is as follows.

Will the "privileged" Rahul Gandhi who has seen his father and grand mother lay down their lives for the nation be a better leader leader than a "commoner" Narendra Modi who has sacrificed the lives of others for his political fortune?

What has less credibility in the eyes of the people of India - a Rahul Gandhi going to a dhaba for a cup of tea? or Narendra Modi sitting with minorities talking about progress?

What is easier? for Rahul to reinvent himself as a son of the soil? or for NaMo to reinvent himself as secular nationalist?

A "privileged" person like Rahul has the burden of history to bear and is less likely to be drawn by the forces of common greed. A "commoner" who has never seen a penny in his life might be less burdened by history but quite easily swung by common greed.

So which is better?

I may sound like Umrao Jaan, but honestly I feel that is the dilemma that the Indian people have.

 
At 8:06 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hello Ralphy,

I concur with Mani, if that is what the article says - it is an accurate summation of what is going on.

It is unclear how the whole idea of dynastic succession will sit with modern India. Modern India is all about upward mobility.

A lot of people want to be king and feel that power can't be passed through family.

This can't be selectively applied to only the Gandhi family. It will end up being applied to all families in politics. Is India ready for that?

If dynastic inheritance is wrong then what will become of all those Brahmins whose sole right to status comes from birth? and what of all those Syeds who trace their blood lines to the Prophet? and of all the high born Malankara Orthodox folk who swear by the Apostolic Christianity of St. Thomas? Where will they stand? And what of all those wonderful industrialists who pass the ownership of their company to their wards? will they be next?

There is no question that the people of India find Modiji to be the antithesis of Rahul Gandhi - but the question before most Indians is as follows.

Will the "privileged" Rahul Gandhi who has seen his father and grand mother lay down their lives for the nation be a better leader leader than a "commoner" Narendra Modi who has sacrificed the lives of others for his political fortune?

What has less credibility in the eyes of the people of India - a Rahul Gandhi going to a dhaba for a cup of tea? or Narendra Modi sitting with minorities talking about progress?

What is easier? for Rahul to reinvent himself as a son of the soil? or for NaMo to reinvent himself as secular nationalist?

A "privileged" person like Rahul has the burden of history to bear and is less likely to be drawn by the forces of common greed. A "commoner" who has never seen a penny in his life might be less burdened by history but quite easily swung by common greed.

So which is better?

I may sound like Umrao Jaan, but honestly I feel that is the dilemma that the Indian people have.

 
At 8:10 AM, Blogger maverick said...

The MJ Akbar at Simon Fraser clip on Youtube is very interesting.

 
At 10:34 AM, Blogger Pax-Indica said...

Mav, RG is indeed a fine example to emulate for the neo-nawabs, neo-zamindars, neo-mirasdars, the vast land-owning elite of India who have bequeathed their wealth via their lineage and business connections (that euphemistic word for networking and mutual back-scratching) instead of hard work and pure luck.

Oh btw, did nt RG do a bhojana-mela with some Mandavi-Pandavi and I thought the Congress is now ruling in UP? That loser Yadav scion's rule I thought was Brahma's dream instead of reality.

And why is the great-great secular mahapurush RG and the Gandhi family fanboi club now becoming so low and earthly by pitting themselves as equal-equal with that tyrant, Hitler-bhai, dictator, majoritarian communalist Modi? Should they not compare themselves with other uber-bestowed and great families like the Bandas, the Bhuttos, the Sheikhs, and the Koiralas? They are setting the bar uber-low by fighting with two-bits Pawars and three-bits Rajnaths of the world.

 
At 1:32 PM, Blogger Pax-Indica said...

Great man, even better speaker with a ganeer kural.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/columns/rasheeda-bhagat/pv-indiresan-an-endearing-teacher-passes-away/article4449135.ece?homepage=true

 
At 1:43 PM, Blogger Pax-Indica said...

It is a sad commentary on India that the passing away of an esteemed member from the edu sector does nt make it to the front-page news of the likes of NDTV or ToI or the Hindu. Even sadder that India is a land of dramatists, litterateurs, playwrights, thespians, movie stars, sportsmen, musicians, etc., rather then scientists, engineers, technologists, educationists, etc.

India sets a nice example for its future citizens to emulate and the future citizens end up running after these dreams, way to go, a nice circle.

 
At 10:16 PM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

India is very very diverse ... this is something that my American friends don't understand at all ...

Compared to the vast spectrum of thought streams (and hence, political views) that exist in India, most other countries I know are simply monolithic ...

this is the essence to understanding India ...

but, if one's preconceptions prevent one from acknowledging this diversity, one will never understand India.

 
At 10:17 PM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

as an experiment, here is a video link:

http://tinyurl.com/a6gmksl

I can safely bet that the various Indians on this forum will react in vastly orthogonal fashion ... in fact, I guarantee it :)

 
At 10:26 PM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

Pax,

I was not familiar with Indiresan ... seems like a great man.

 
At 11:04 PM, Blogger Pax-Indica said...

Mani, he was the head of the EE department who went on to become the Diro of IITM. The current incumbent followed the same route, but thats pretty much where the similarity ends (based on anecdotes on how PVI worked things then). He was vocal on quota issues having seen how things get from an admin standpoint. I dont agree with all of his views.

The last battle he waged was on the "evm is an amriki conspiracy" nutjobs. Again, I dont agree with his views that all things were fine, things could have been made even better and should be, perhaps over time. But the nutjobs belong to an entirely different plane as you can imagine :). If I see croc tears on brf for him now that he is gone, I will find it odd beyond belief.

 
At 10:30 AM, Blogger PradeepE said...

"A "privileged" person like Rahul has the burden of history to bear and is less likely to be drawn by the forces of common greed. A "commoner" who has never seen a penny in his life might be less burdened by history but quite easily swung by common greed. "

Wow...I am blown away. Where does one sign up.

 
At 12:08 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Kinda leaning towards Modi, myself. I hate that dynasty crap.





 
At 12:11 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Watched India's latest launch tape. I expected to hear launch ops talking in Hindi or something. It's english! Yo bros! No mowhawk haircuts though. :(

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZULmt9KH3Cw

 
At 12:53 PM, Blogger Pax-Indica said...

Having a dynasty for political aspirations is not a wrong thing. Every bloody country has them. Even in India, both the BJP and INC have them in diff forms and both truck around with dynasty-based outfits. If that was the criteria, then we should also ban dynasties in filmi world, sports world, education world, business world, and everything else that hurts someone's ego this way or that. And that means we all have to give up and take sanyaas and even there we should all die celibate, otherwise we ll have die-nasties there too.

The metric for comparing leaders should not be based on bs ideas. Politicians should be ordered based on governance, development, infra building, and other such narratives. Jargon peddling like garibi hatao are all fun and dandy, I too can throw one: kambal parade to the list. What Modi has done, whether people like it or not, is to refocus the metric to progress on the ground instead of bs jargons. Even his most critical opponent will welcome that. In short, a win-win for democrazy as much as anything else can be. India is still a nascent state in terms of democratic establishments, we still cant take for granted the longevity of institutions esp in this era of coalition business and fcking around with the three branches of the State and their respective roles. Modi is good news for debating the right issues, even the garibi hataos now have to worry about not just hataoing and pataoing, but actually using the MPLADS funds to the fullest. Already MPLADS funds are being used more and more efficiently than ever before. Its all still a trickle, and Modi is causing some brown pants and that is good. Noone owns good ideas in India or the world, not Modi, not Congress, not some assorted idiot sitting and protesting on Kaveri delta water.

 
At 12:58 PM, Blogger Pax-Indica said...

The funny part of discourse in India as well as the Internets is that there is no country for middle ground. Its all either Modi is agmark white Vishnu purush with an ass so white that there is no need for powder, or Modi is all so Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, type tamashas and only the self-appointed secular elite can talk about the welfare of minority communities, not even the minorities themselves.

Brf goes one extreme on Modi praising, Mav goes the other extreme in Modi bashing. As one wise rakshak would say: "I am confused. Onlee. Just Moi. Onlee." We can all take chill pills and watch the show cos India is not gonna run away anywhere. I am not emotionally tied to Modi pro or con beyond a point, but all the talking points pro and con about him tell us more about the individual than it does about Modi.

 
At 5:43 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Pax,

I don't know why they do it - even though it means exposing themselves to great risks. I suspect it is some sort of coming of age ritual, some way of proving to everyone including themselves that they can really do it.

It is that ability to get into the dirt with the commoners - that I like about the Gandhis.

It is reminiscent of the old practice among the ancient kings of India - (depicted quite dramatically in the movie Jodhaa Akbar) - of getting into a pit on foot with war elephant. If the king could not appreciate the perspective of an infantryman in a battle against an elephant, there wouldn't be much point in being king would there?

 
At 5:46 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hello Pax,

My condolences on the passing of Sri. Indiresan.



 
At 5:47 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear PradeepE,

I am not sure I follow you.

 
At 5:51 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hello

Dynasty can be of two types - the first is a physical bloodline - the second is a intellectual bloodline.

I don't know which India is more comfortable with.

Some Indians express a distaste for both.

Ancient India had both - a "kula" - the bloodline and a "gurukula" - the university that you graduated from.

These two systems sat in some sort of equilibrium with each other.

In modern India, the equilibrium is still being established.

 
At 5:54 AM, Blogger maverick said...

FWIW - I do not think Modi would make a good PM of India.

He may be good CM of Gujurat and that is okay as long as the Gujuratis want it.

 
At 11:48 AM, Blogger Pax-Indica said...

Mav, Modi has thrown his hat in the ring and the BJP/NDA has still not overwhelmingly endorsed it. RG seems to be a reluctant candidate whose name has been propped by fellow confidantes in INC. I seriously see no specific reason to ga-ga over one and not the other (either way you choose).

At the end of the day, if both are endorsed by their resp parties and the people are ok with either one, why do others who have not much stake other than a fig-leaf of a stake in India/being Indian go nuts is something I cant fathom. Its not like India is a Presidential system where one person can cut and run, there are some checks and balances within every admin branch and the quadriplicate mentality wont die quickly. If Modi has done by example a cut-and-run and gone unilateral in terms of policies in Gujarat so that he will be a pita as a future PM, I would like to know the details.

 
At 11:57 AM, Blogger Pax-Indica said...

On that note, there are no universal predictors for being a good PM or CM in India today. Folks who have come with a family baggage end up mixed bag (Nehru, Indira, Rajiv). Folks who come with no lineage also end up as a mixed bag (Vajpayee, Narasimha Rao). Folks who come with the family blessing also end up mixed bag (Manmohan Singh, Gujral, Deve Gowda). Folks who come with ideological garbage that trumps pragmatism also dont earn the certificates of great sons of India either (Desai, Gujral, Vajpayee, Nehru). At the end of the day, its all relative.

Perhaps a past stint is the best criterion IMO. This prediction business is all bs btw. Allow me to be a bit skeptical on predicting xyz having been there done that in practice. If Modi is going to be Hitler, Rahul could as well be supping his thumbs and licking the nail-grime that he found in Mandavi-Pandavi's home.

 
At 12:06 PM, Blogger Pax-Indica said...

Mav, if Rahul wanted the people to believe that he is trying to understand the poor man's problems, his best bet would be to give up his privileged upper class living and suffer like much of India. Doing this one day eat-fest in someone's home is nice for PR, but is bs in terms of understanding anyone's problems.

At the end of the day, politics is the art and business of "serving" the people once the stomach is filled. There are no poor old sods who cant find a square meal who indulge in politicking. Its all the middle class or upper class with nuff cash for plenty of privileges that is missing from a good fraction of India. Even Manik Sarkar is sufficiently rich to be upper middle class in Agartala cost of living standards, the less said about the Politburo apparatchiks and the swadesh cabal. The Yeddy-Reddy mafia and the Mu Ka/JJ clan are all the neo-rajahs/ranis of India. They can all do a naach-gaana reality shows in tv and hit the 24/7 fitness place with creatine packs and build muskils.

If someone is telling me that Rahul or Modi is an example or a role model or a great sant or a brahmacharya of unparalleled splendor, hehhe.

 
At 10:49 PM, Blogger PradeepE said...

"Dear PradeepE,

I am not sure I follow you."

Was just dissappointed. RG has not shown capability to run a chai bandi so far.

I have no idea why you try to cover up your obvious fanboyism of the Congress. Whats wrong in it.

 
At 1:49 AM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

Gandhi-ji did his Bharat Darshan traveling in 3rd class compartments of Indian railways ...

Granted that times have changed ... if a politician today wishes to connect with India, s/he may well do it a party/GOI funded chopper ...

but, will they really connect with "poor India"?

Also, maybe the time has come for the modern politician to connect with "middle class India" ... it is an ever-growing class with its own set of aspirations.

 
At 8:59 AM, Blogger Pax-Indica said...

Mani, you are right on the dot about connecting with middle class India. If you see from that angle, what would middle class India want? Opportunities for education, good quality of life (by which I mean water, food, a home, affordable prices, infra), and perhaps an ability to have some fun. Who the hell cares about a Ram temple at Ayodhya or violence on Valentine's Day?

The BJP in its sagely wisdom has turned around and is focussing on all the things that are religion or caste-neutral (like the ones above). And the folks who keep harping on majority communalism, secular credentials, etc. are the champions of jargoneering aka INC and its fratboy club of seculars. This is just arrant nonsense as arrant nonsense could be. The communalist party is resetting the clock and instead of welcoming it, we have bozos talking aplenty about the lack of credentials of the Opposition party to talk about such ideas.

India amazes me at times, Indians amaze me even more by their lack of clarity on what the hell they want. And the elephant still bumbles to its destination at its own pace. It is not definitely because of the presence of the usual suspects, but despite them. Trying to figure out how or why India works despite so many morons amidst us is a beautiful and deep question :).

 
At 9:06 AM, Blogger Pax-Indica said...

As for Gandhiji and understanding his "method to madness" is a life long quest. Gandhiji is like an onion, you can peel layers and layers of his methods and go from crying at his madness to crying at the beauty of his methods.

For the twitter generation, fast forwarding freedom by 30 years might be wishful. But there are nuff examples to cite for madcaps roaming around tday after winning freedom/de facto liberation by violent means: Algeria, Morocco, Bangladesh, Turkey. And I did nt go into any of the Latin American nutjob states.

 
At 11:04 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hello PradeepE,

If I am given a choice between Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi, I feel Rahul is better.

I feel Rahul Gandhi has experienced greater personal sacrifice than Sri. Modi in the service of the nation. I feel Rahul's motives for becoming PM are transparent. This is his family business. He is no more at fault for wanting to be PM than I am for wanting to become a scientist.

Sri. Modi's motives are less clear to me. His brand of Hindutva makes me uncomfortable.

You are correct about Rahul's lack of experience. I agree he is not the best person for the job.

If I am given a choice between Narendra Modi and Nitin Gadkari, I prefer Nitin Gadkari. Sri. Gadkari has a proven track record of managing difficult projects and he has a very low key work style which I value in a PM. I don't care for high profile antics.

I feel that India's interests in the next decade may be best served by a cabinet led by Sri. Gadkari, Smt. Swaraj and Sri. Shahnawaz Hussain.

If that makes me a Congress-I fanboy - so be it.

 
At 11:28 AM, Blogger Pax-Indica said...

Mav, motives/intentions are all fancy things that will remain unclear for everyone.

If Rahul Gandhi can get a free pass on wanting to be in the service of the nation by virtue of his family dying at the hands of the menace they themselves watered and nurtured, why cant Modi get a free pass when he claims that he wants inclusive development of all sections of society without any biases about caste or religion. Now if your issue is with development for all without taking into account where in socio-economic status diff communities are in India today vs. a Bayesian development model that the Congress seems to prefer, thats a diff story of argumentation.

 
At 12:12 PM, Blogger Pax-Indica said...

Mani and Mav, I have sent one of Prof. Indiresan's writeups by email to you.

 
At 2:55 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Pax,

>> why cant Modi get a free pass when he claims that he wants inclusive development of all sections of society without any biases about caste or religion.

I don't understand that motivation.

When someone says I am going to do what my dad did for a living, I can understand that.

But when someone says - my dad might have sold tea outside a train station but I am going to something good for the world - my immediate response to that is... boss - maybe your father did more good for the world than you ever will.

After all - when you get off a train and step outside the station there is nothing more refreshing than a hot cup of tea.

 
At 3:41 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Regarding motives being fancy things - yes I guess that is correct but you all recall what happened when one Chandrashehkar became PM? his only ambition was to become PM and nothing else.

That was a major waste of time and money.

I really don't want a repeat of that.



 
At 3:19 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hello,

Regarding Gandhiji journey on the railway...

I feel Gandhiji did not see India on the railway. He saw the *new* India (of his time) on the Railway.

The old India was the India of the 700000 villages - the India of the handspun cloth, the hearty but frugal meal and the muttered prayer any available God... the India unchanged by time. The India that the ancients simply called "samsara" (existence).

Gandhiji referred to it time and time again in his writings, as a reminder to everyone of the real backdrop of all change in the nation.

The India that Gandhiji saw on the railway was the India that was changing.

The IR was first and foremost a vehicle of colonial economics. You could not sit on an IR train in those days and miss the troop car that sat just behind the engine. You could not sit in a train station and not see the train after train filled with cotton and other goods heading out from the hinterland to the port cities.

To put this in a modern perspective, if you stand in an Indian railway station today - you cannot miss the sight of a coal rake. Words fail to describe the awesome majesty of 8000 tons of coal passing in front of your eyes pulled by 4 WAG-9s.

It is very fashionable on BR to spit on Gandhiji but Gandhiji was no fool. He knew economics - he knew that the mine workers in South Africa were the lifeblood of the state. Similarly the railway was (AND STILL IS) the place to see India for what it will become.

I suppose this makes me a "Dalhousie-ite" in the BRF herrow language... but so be it.

 
At 3:21 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Mav:

There is nothing wrong with ambition. What has to be watched for is how one uses that ambition to get what they want. Lincoln didn't like his father who was a farmer (who made Lincoln work on the farm for nothing until he was 21) and so he became a lawyer/politician and ultimately the Great Emancipator. Not saying Modi doesn't have his problems just saying there is nothing wrong with ambition by itself.

 
At 3:23 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Interestingly in a similar light - M J Akbar at the SFU talk made a comment in passing about modern Indians probably writing a constitution based on equal access to telecom infrastructure.

I think he is on to something there.

The telecom infrastructure is as important as the IR in economic terms.

 
At 3:32 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Anurag Kashyap has given a very strongly worded interview to the Guardian.

Hopefully it will shake things up.

 
At 10:26 AM, Blogger Pax-Indica said...

>> But when someone says - my dad might have sold tea outside a train station but I am going to something good for the world - my immediate response to that is... boss - maybe your father did more good for the world than you ever will.

I am a cynic myself. I can understand that sentiment. But how does that become a general maxim applicable for everyone? How does that generalize? So if we extend that logic a lot further, is it kosher to only aspire for what one's parents did?

It is your right to distrust Modi and evangelize against him. And at the same time evangelize for Rahul. But also be prepared when people are going to call the blatant hypocrisy in your stand. In fact, the very blatant hypocrisy of media in India and how the youngistan self-appoints itself to be cornered makes a case for people such as Modi. Modi the phenom did nt rise from thin air, he rose up with a huge Internet fanboi club because things in reality are so skewed against pragmatism and realpolitik. The same brigade will of course lose enthu on Modi when reality rubber hits the road, but thats a year or 2 or even more ahead.

As Nair saar mentioned on the forum, watching the rise of Modi the phenom will take us all into understanding how India works. Modi still has some distance to go and how he does it or fcks that up will be an amazing reality show.

 
At 10:32 AM, Blogger Pax-Indica said...

Ideally the rise of Modi should lead to introspection amongst the anti-Modi club, but so far there is little to hope that there is any introspection. A right-wingist takes popularity because [you can find parallel examples in Oirope and even places such as Spore].

How should the self-appointed centrists or leftists react now? Should they go further left and distance themselves, which seems to be what is happening? Or should they crowd out the center and force Modi to go uber-right? From a game theory perspective, that is a brilliant dilemma. There are no right or wrong answers, all depends on context.

The lack of casting this sociological problem in a scientific/pseudo-scientific language shows a lot about how we treat real problems in India today. That only reinforces my belief that in India we stumble from accidents to accidents and somehow magically something good happens. It should nt be that way, it need nt be that way. For good measure, it is not like the US is some light years ahead in terms of policy-ing, thinktanking, etc. Much of the space is crowded out by biased idiots with an axe to grind, but yea its like the torn fly open shirt game of Shiv.

 
At 10:40 PM, Blogger PradeepE said...

From my perspective, I see that the Congress and its divisive model of politics and development has had more than its fair share of opportunity and has delivered poor results in taking the country forward. But it was the poeples mandate, so anyones personal angst is just that. Modi in his smaller microcosm with its fair share of challenges and not to forget the combined wrath of the ruling party, has actually shown what a fair and pure business like approach can deliver. Personally I would like the country give that model a shot and see what it delivers. If it doesnt deliver and reality changes when the rubber hits the road, there is always an option to kick it out. The real angst that I believe is causing some of the intellectuals to fear Modi is that he breaks so many of the strawmen that were erected over the years regarding India. They fear that. Some because they truly believe in the current model and some because they fear the unknown.

RG is a nobody yet. The ease with which people bring his name up makes me even more worried. He has been given umpteen chances to earn his stripes and not only has he failed, he has shown himself as a reluctant contestant. If he were to ever become PM, I only hope he keeps folks like MMS around him for sound advice.

 
At 3:28 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Hello Pax,

>> But how does that become a general maxim applicable for everyone? How does that generalize? So if we extend that logic a lot further, is it kosher to only aspire for what one's parents did?

I don't know that I can generalize it.

I don't trust people who claim to be doing something for the good of the world.

I have no problem with anyone aspiring for anything but I don't know how kosher it is to aspire for anything if all one is doing is subtlely dissing ones parents.

Dear PradeepE,

I don't think the Congress I holds a monopoly on divisive politics.

My own perspective on the Godhra-Ahmedabad cycle and the cut throat world of Gujurat politics is somewhat different from popular fantasy.

To me - rioting is about qabza (land grab). There is a clear economic logic to this. It has to do with the price of the segregated and mixed/border zone real-estate. This is the same everywhere.

The only scaling quantity of note is the size of the grab and that usually bespeaks the greed or hunger of the political class driving the event cycle. The hunger is proportional to the instability of the regime. The more unstable the regime, the higher the hunger.

Once this scaling factor is set - the rest I am afraid is just mechanical. The cause, the rapes, the murders, the methods of ethnic cleansing etc... that is all just details.

 
At 10:41 AM, Blogger Pax-Indica said...

Mav, as I mentioned earlier, land grab is not how people view Modi. If you personally see that as a big issue, that is ok, but the casting of the debate in the media is not like that.

It seems like we have die-hard ideologues on either side for whom nothing other than "my way or the highway" is kosher. Modi is a complex politician, as are all politicians. If a politician is universally predictable, that is a self-contradiction in definition.

Guess what will polarize people more and more and side with Modi: the very fact that we have die-hard rabid intellectuals for whom nothing else but Hang Modi will be ok. If that is not an own-goal, I dont know what else is. The more people sound shrill and loose-talk about Modi, the more Modi and his self-made juggernaut wins. I thought that much was clear.

The growing middle-class seems to be disenchanted with the blatant hypocrisies that thrive in India today and has survived for a long time. Modi is more or less casting himself as a victim of this hypocrisy bandwagon and is galloping forward. It will not be too far when the electorate will want to give him a chance just like they did in the sympathy wave of 91 which hoisted that Telugu genius to the top of the ladder or the second ABV regime after amma pulled the plug in her own la-la-land caprice that defines her.

If Modi does not win the mandate at some point in the future, he has only set a great precedent for Modi 2.0 to emulate. Middle-class victimhood and majoritarian angst against the blatant nonsense that is socioeconomics in India will come back to bite the champions of minority rights, universal biraderhood, and secular intellectualism. That is how most societies move till some form of stalemate is arrived at. That stalemate is not imminent in India at this day. For that stalemate to arrive, two key things are needed: a reasonably stable population, and a stable % of the literates/educateds. In both fronts, we are growing. Only the massively confident will expect stability today. Modi is hitting that bandwagon that is growing, is Rahul doing the same? I have my doubts.

 
At 2:05 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

There were a couple of drone attacks in Pakistan recently. Nine people were killed. Except it wasn't the US that did it. We haven't launched any attacks in Pakistan since January. So who did it?

 
At 7:17 AM, Blogger maverick said...

well don't look at India.

all our drone tech is strictly surveillance only.

India does not have attack drones.

 
At 7:25 AM, Blogger maverick said...

so just to ask the stupidest possible question.

Is there absolutely no possibility that a drone attack can occur outside of the usual paper trail?

Isn't the drone attack coordinator allotted some discretionary authority? Perhaps a targets of opportunity list - which can be disavowed if political expediency necessitates?

Can there not be drone attacks that are "off the books"?

 
At 7:37 AM, Blogger maverick said...

The drone war as it is called - is a very murky thing. Akin to the Special Forces operations in Laos and Cambodia in the Vietnam War era.

The only alleged accountability for the drone attacks in the US is some kind of piece of paper that a group within the NSC maintains.
Who gets to write on that piece of paper is anyone's guess and how true anything written on that list is beyond anyone's ability to really ascertain.

As Pakistan is not technically identified as an enemy country. Any attacks on its soil violate international law - unless the US notifies the Pakistani government before conducting them and the Pakistani government offers its support to the action. At the very least the Pakistanis must acknowledge the receipt of the drone attack notification from the US.

The legality of the drone war rests on the accuracy of the NSC list and any communications that the Pakistanis openly state they have received from the US about items on that NSC list.

If the Pakistanis do not acknowledge the communication and the CIA cannot present an acknowledgement - the legality of the drone attacks is questionable.

The flip side of this is that if the US tells Pakistan what is exactly on the NSC list - the Pakistanis will certainly leak the information to the targets of the strike. The Pakistan Army is still in bed with all these Jihadi groups that the US is keen to eliminate.

So there cannot be complete coherence between the NSC list and any list submitted to Pakistan. This renders the process of legalization irrelevant as what the Pakistanis agree to and what actually happens are unrelated to each other.

By accusing the US of conducting attacks it has not notified Pakistan about - irrespective of whether the US has carried out the attacks - the Pakistanis effectively question the legality of the drone war.

 
At 5:18 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

The US government is flat out denying that it was them.

 
At 5:22 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

This leads to some questions.

1. Does pakistan have drone airplanes?

2. Does Pakistan have the capability of equiping the drones with guided munitions?

3. Did the US give it to them?

 
At 10:25 PM, Blogger ldev said...

Guys,

Sorry to break in on this serious drone business...but...but..thunder roll!!!...the hindutva brigade has broken into the last sane sanctum on BRF..the economics thread...and Suraj has finally....finally....threatened to issue a warning to RamaY on his next attempt at bullying...Let us see whether Suraj has the guts to go through with with it or whether Ramana steps in to protect his brood.

 
At 2:33 PM, Blogger maverick said...


Ah.. the great north korean awesome leadership.

Always refreshing with a cup of morning coffee.

Sad old clap trap you say - bored to death are we?

- nothing like a few nuclear threats to liven things up a bit eh...

 
At 2:34 PM, Blogger maverick said...

I love the comment from the DPRK expert...

“Maybe North Korea should check its files, because they already abrogated the armistice in May 2009,” says Bruce Klingner, a Northeast Asia expert at the Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center in Washington. “They said at the time they had abrogated it and were no longer bound by it,” Mr. Klinger says, “so I guess you could say history is repeating itself.”

 
At 2:35 PM, Blogger maverick said...


North Koreans attend a rally Thursday in Pyongyang to support a statement given on Tuesday by a North Korean military spokesman vowing to cancel the 1953 ceasefire that ended the Korean War. The billboard in background depicts a large bayonet pointing at US army soldiers and reads 'If you dare invade, only death will be waiting for you!'

Jon Chol Jin/AP


I think the words ROFLMAO come to mind

 
At 2:40 PM, Blogger maverick said...


This is reminiscent of that time in 2002 when Musharraf the Magnificent could not bring himself to take a crap without pretending that the flush was a nuclear launch button.

 
At 2:46 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Ralphy,

Yes all kinds of questions.

 
At 3:16 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

I hope we don't get nuked. That's gonna hurt.

 
At 6:29 AM, Blogger maverick said...

my latest article at Pragati

http://pragati.nationalinterest.in/2013/03/kulturkampf-in-pakistan/

 
At 6:34 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Actually Ralphy,

Given the way he is mouthing off - you'd be within your rights to take him down a peg or two.

These Kim boys always have a mouth on them.. but this is ridiculous.

Someone needs to set this young un straight.

Can think of loads of South Koreans that want to give him a piece of their mind.

Back in 2002, when Musharraf the Magnificient went around talking like this, it took a great deal of effort not to simply reach across the border and slap him silly.

 
At 7:13 AM, Blogger dilbert said...

"Back in 2002, when Musharraf the Magnificient went around talking like this, it took a great deal of effort not to simply reach across the border and slap him silly."

Zaid Hamid still does that on a regular basis, and Hamid Gul to a lesser extent. These two individuals probably speak for the ISI (unofficially). "Difa e Pakistan" is simply the ISI in drag.

 
At 6:43 PM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

My main man Jigar has something to add:

ज़ाहिद कुछ और हो ना हो मैखाने में मगर
क्या काम ये है कि शिकवा-ए-दैर-ओ-हराम नहीं

 
At 1:43 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Nobody had better criticise the US or we will give you cancer! Only on BaRF, heh, heh. Poor Hugo, a friend to Iran and India.

six latin american leaders get cancer


http://beforeitsnews.com/alternative/20 ... 85298.html

 
At 11:58 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Kim Jong Un is a young man, perhaps he feels that by bidding high - he can get the hand.

This does not always work. Especially if your opponents know you are bluffing.

The last thing you want is for the world to think - ah... this is just another young man who talks big but can deliver nothing.

 
At 12:15 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Incidentally - a simple question - that has been running through my mind lately.

It is clear as day that the Pakistani Army-Jihadi marriage is in trouble - but

Can the Pakistani Army survive a divorce with the Jihadis?

Without the Jihadis doing the dirty work of the Army - can the Army retain any semblance of power?

 
At 12:49 PM, Blogger maverick said...

On an unrelated note.

Have been watching the videos from NASA Heliophysics people. The data collected in last years CME is truly beautiful.

I was quite stunned to see the figure-8 being formed by the plasma flux tubes.

 
At 1:02 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Maybe someone should plot the number of US leaders with cancer too while they are at it.

Incidentally - I don't know if I told people here before.

I started reading Emperor of Maladies and it is spectacular.

I recommend buying the book and no I do not know the author.

 
At 1:11 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Actually this is something people need to explain the folks in PMANE and other fukushima fright societies.

If you take away death by wild animal, war and hunger...

You are left with TB, Typhoid and Malaria (infection diseases) as the primary killers.

If you achieve control over infectious diseases, you are left with Stroke, Heart Disease and Cancer (chronic aliments) as the primary killers of human beings.

Cancer is not an invention of the modern age. There are 10,000 year old mummies in the Atacama desert with cancer. There are medical records from ancient Egypt and Greece which speak of cancer.

If you take a human being and put them on planet earth -i.e. in the ambient radiation field of the nuclear reactor in the earths core and that massive fusion reactor in the sky we call the Sun - then you get a certain level of radiation exposure that will inevitably cause cancer.

If you take the same exact human being and put them inside a radiation blocking lead ball, there are still going to be microbes that can cause cancer.

Now you kill every microbe inside the lead ball that can cause cancer and that human will still get cancer. Why - because every biological process has a certain probability of error. That error rate cannot be completely controlled but even if you take all other sources of cancer causing mutation away - the intrinsic probability that cancer will happen to you on account of the natural error rate in your biological machinery will still remain.

So there is no escaping cancer.

Is there a way to cure cancer?

Yes - anything that causes cancer also can cure it. Such as .... radiation.

Now PMANE yourself that...

 
At 10:41 PM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

^^^ good post, Mav ...

there is that mythological story about some greek dude who asked the gods to grant him eternal life ...

However, he forgot to ask for a disease free life ...

so yes, he lived forever, and contracted every possible disease that he could ... LOL :)

Now, we are finding out that prion diseases that result from mis-folding of proteins are inherently probabilistic ... (with some small component that is hereditory) ... no amount of radiation can affect that basic error mechanism ...

the problem is that folks are just too eager to latch on to "things that cause cancer", even in cases where causation is far from proven ...

 
At 6:47 AM, Blogger maverick said...

The death of Ram Singh in Tihar Jail is doing little to improve the image of law enforcement in India.

 
At 6:53 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Mani,

Actually that book - Emperor of Maladies - speaks to this very nicely.

 
At 7:11 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Sorry - I am completely baffled by that video from NASA heliophysics.

That part about the flux tubes crossing like that has me scratching my head.

Is there a discussion on this somewhere on the arxiv?

What discussions exist about the mechanism that comes into play when the tubes cross like that?

 
At 8:24 AM, Blogger maverick said...

http://www.cpht.polytechnique.fr/cpht/amari/pages/cme/trigger.html

something on twisted flux ropes.

 
At 11:29 AM, Blogger Anand K said...

The Italian marines aren't coming back. WTF?
:(

 
At 11:46 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hmm...

That is not a good thing.

 
At 10:40 AM, Blogger Pax-Indica said...

Mav, you have an email. Thanks.

 
At 11:24 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Pax,

I can't seem to access my yahoo right now.

I did see your email.

I don't have anyone directly that I can approach with this.

 
At 9:54 AM, Blogger Pax-Indica said...

No problem, SS. Let me hunt around. Will let you know if something happens.

 
At 10:48 PM, Blogger ldev said...

Re: the Italian marines saga, there is righteous thundering on the Augusta..corruption..yada.yada. thread on BRF. I have not seen the rakshaks tie their chaadis into such a knot for a long long time. There is talk of dharnas, traitors being shot, the Italian madam.....chanaakya even feels that SG feels that the "people of the south" do not have the cogones to finish her off as they did her husband. With most of these rakshaks in the US by choice, are they really planning to give up their DOO jobs and go back to India to participate in these dharnas...or is that advice for the poor suckers in India on whose behalf they supposedly huff and puff on BRF. I think the hardest think these mofos can do is type on their keyboards venting their frustrations.

 
At 6:39 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Six Kanjars have been arrested in the rape of the Swiss tourist. At least she didn't die like the other poor woman did several months ago. Hopefully none of the Kanjars will receive the death sentence because the victim is alive.

 
At 6:40 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Interesting topic is that the Kanjars ar listed s a criminal tribe that roams the jungle. Interesting.

 
At 6:41 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

I would point out that is such was the case in the US they would have been wiped out. Grin. Long ago.

 
At 8:40 AM, Blogger maverick said...


I cannot comment on specifics of a matter that is before a court.

The criminal tribe label is an example of racial profiling used by British era police.

Such labels were abolished after India became independent.

The labels persist in the media coverage and a social taboo exists on interactions with these tribes. As a result of this exclusion, the tribes do not find representation in the police department and such tribes are often unfairly targeted in police operations.

Unfortunately there is no other way to characterise this behaviour. It is quite simply a pervasive and systematic violation of the human rights of the people of these tribes.

I am not saying that is what has happened in this case - but unfortunately there is a most terrible history of this kind of abuse.

 
At 8:42 AM, Blogger maverick said...

The treatment of some of these tribes at the hands of Indian police departments can be as bad as the treatment of Abos and Blacks by police departments in Australia and the United States respectively.

I wish things were different in India but sadly - as Gandhiji one said - we all have the same faults.

 
At 8:49 AM, Blogger maverick said...


On the matter of the Italian Marines, the situation is very distressing.

I am stunned to see that Italian Consul's assurance to the Supreme Court of India has been so summarily set aside by Italian Foreign Ministry officials in Rome.

This will not bode for ties between the two nations.

It is understandable that the Italian foreign ministry cannot advise its citizens to return to a place where they may face prosecution by a non-Italian legal system but to cause the word of an Italian Consul in a fellow democratic state to become worthless like this is absurd.

It may be best if the Marines return of their own accord. Their return could prevent this from becoming an complete mess.

 
At 12:33 PM, Blogger ldev said...

The Italian marine situation is indeed messy. The Supreme Court of India let the ball slip by not insisting on a financial guarantee unlike the Kerala High Court which ruled that a guarantee of Rs 6 crores be posted when the marines went home for Christmas. Ultimately in a grey area such as this case with a dispute as to which country has jurisdiction, the only reasonable solution is a financial settlement. The Supreme Court should have insisted on a financial bond/guarantee of something like 1 million euros for each of the marines and should they not come back, help the fisherman's families with the proceeds of the bond/guarantee.

If you see the legal luminaries involved in this case at the Supreme Court level, a few of them are what I would call, slick and slimy. If the onion layers are peeled back, this has the potential to be a very distasteful situation.

 
At 12:56 PM, Blogger Pax-Indica said...

It is absurdly clear that the GoI wanted the ball to slip away and then claim that their hands are tied. For some of the babus, who do a quadriplicate dossier check on everyone's cavity and then rinse and repeat a 108 times just to make sure that it bleeds a little bit more, to wonder in amusement may convince the naively naive, but its just not selling. This is not even like IC-814 where the timeline was limited, this tamasha unfolded in slow moshun.

Now the other question is: whether the GoI should have allowed this situation to escalate to such a sham that it had to do what it did.

The simple philosophical thread that connects all the tamashagiri that is going on in India is: how much say should a state have in foreign policy matters? Can we still sit around with 1950esque rulebooks or blow with the wind that is Sarkaria-part 2? Do you consult and confer or contradict and connive? Or where between those two extremes does one operate? What happens if your opposite party is someone you detest from the bottom of your heart? Do you shut up and do things for India or do you dish it up cos you are a mere mortal? Once upon a time, diplomatisque used to be insulated from the dehati politics that is India. Gone are those days, now every IA/P/FS-waala has a maai-baap in every party which he preferentially attaches to as the case arises.

It is a tricky time to be a diplomat and one would hope that the wisest will end up in the training block, but with the other tamasha on making Anglais knowledge == edumacashun, truly we are transforming into jr. pak-e-satan.

 
At 1:02 PM, Blogger Pax-Indica said...

And of course, we will always have the oiseaules who will run to the watchtower and scream "Traitor, sell-out, Adharmic Un-Indic Act of pure treason, India-not-Bharat, DIE-nasty sons of guns," and so on.

On the one hand, they will claim dharma-sharma-kurma and then will defend the Buddhist oiseaules who demolish temples in 100s. If these oiseaules were paragons of dharma, even dharma should take a 10 feet cord and commit soosai. Of course, the losers will never stop talking. Uthhistha-my-ass, yes that is the right rhetorical flourish we need to finish off.

 
At 1:12 PM, Blogger maverick said...


I think the Supreme Court might have felt that the word of an accredited diplomat was as good as a financial guarantee.

Who would have ever thought that Consul would commit such an act of deception before the highest court of the land?

I still do not believe it.

 
At 1:21 PM, Blogger Pax-Indica said...

I think the Supreme Court in itself has to prove that it was not hand in glove with the GoI. Apart from the chiding on the special court delay, has there been any other scenario where an "undertrial" (even if that is not the exact word) has got the right to go on a break before the case is disposed? Coming post-facto and claiming that you subjected yourself to my jurisdiction sounds like so utterly stupid. Nowhere do people on trial go away before the case is disposed.

 
At 1:26 PM, Blogger Pax-Indica said...

Either the SC should have sent the soldiers off saying that the GoI did nt do its job (happens all the time when under-trial prisoners get off cos of shoddy investigative work) or it should have not sent them off till the case was done.

Saying, there is no precedent on this matter is so unreal. There is no precedent cos noone is so utterly dumbfck to create such a scenario.

As an aam aadmi (a self-appointed one of course), the SC, the babus and the GoI are all one and the same. When they all hit back, they come with the tri-pronged force that will open up my backside and extract stuff I did nt eat. When they lay off, they will use technicalities to rub powder on my backside. So if there is any wisdom, and lesson in all this tamasha to fellow aam aadmis, it is: fck with GoI at your own peril. When the elephant tramples you, you have no rights, you dont even exist. When the elephant kisses your backside, you are of course the first son in law of India.

 
At 4:33 PM, Blogger ldev said...

The Cyprus government is in trouble because the banks in Cyprus invested in Greek Government and Private Bonds, which heavily lost their value when Greece got into trouble. To save the banks, they were nationalized/helped by the Government which then got in difficulties of its own. The problem is that against a GDP of about $25 Billion, the total deposits in Greek banks are almost $90 billion, of which about $25-30 Billion belong to rich Russians.

The Russians are upset because they never invested in Greek government bonds. All that they did was to try and hide money overseas by depositing it in Cyprus and now they are being asked to take a haircut on their deposits because of the incompetence of the Cyprus banks and the mess the Greeks created for themselves.

The problem is the size of the bloated banking sector in Cyprus compared to the size of its economy. The Russians alone have on deposit as much money as the entire GDP of the country.

 
At 4:40 PM, Blogger ldev said...

The parliament in Cyprus has rejected the EU loan with the haircut conditions attached. So they could default. Newspaper reports are that all flights from Moscow to Cyprus are fully sold out...rich Russians making a beeline to try and transfer their deposits when the banks reopen in Cyprus.

Cyprus is reportedly asking the Russians to bail them out in return for a stake in the newly discovered gas fields around the island, as well as a veto stake in the management of local banks i.e. they will become a Russian protectorate.

Putin may just do the deal just to find out which of the oligarchs are hiding their money in Cyprus

 
At 10:44 AM, Blogger Pax-Indica said...

What does one say for this?
http://telegraphindia.com/1130320/jsp/frontpage/story_16694543.jsp#.UUnxdPnt_p0

In a copycat incident for which two Italian marines were detained in Kerala a year ago, one fisherman from Tamil Nadu was killed and three of his Indian boat mates were critically injured when a US naval ship mistook them for pirates off the Dubai coast and shot at their boat in July last year.

But unlike the Italians who languished in jails in Kochi and in New Delhi for a year without trial, or even formal charges, no American has paid any price for the mistaken identity by their vessel, the US naval ship Rappahannock.

Just like the authorities in Kerala, Dubai officials have insisted that the fatal firing took place in Dubai’s territorial waters and just like the Italians, the US Navy disputed this claim and asserted that their naval ship was in international waters when the fishing boat menacingly approached it, as Washington claims.

For all practical purposes, the Americans have arm-twisted the UAE into putting the incident on the backburner. Unlike in the case of Italy, no one in the UPA government has the stomach to make this an issue with the US at a time when South Block wants to focus its energies instead on preparations for a visit to New Delhi by the new US secretary of state John Kerry in June.

 
At 1:56 PM, Blogger maverick said...


"Pirates" taking down the USS Rappahannock is a bit much to swallow.

Pirates do not target ships that are visibly associated with powerful navies.

They go after ships that are flying a neutral country flag.

When trying to cover up obvious incompetence at least make up a credible sounding lie.

That said - the SLOCs around India are getting pretty crowded. An information system needs to be put in place to track commercial vessels - even in international waters.

 
At 2:02 PM, Blogger maverick said...

I feel this becomes somewhat tricky.

If the Consul of well known nation makes a presentation before the Supreme Court - then that Consul's word carries great weight.

There have been incidents where American consuls have appeared before an Indian court and said things that the court did not like, but that is because the Americans take the word Consul in its original latin context where the "Consul" ordered around client state officials. They don't get that the word Consul in India is taken in the more modern sense where the person is representative of the country.

There have been incidents with Russian diplomats as well, but that was obviously a case of individuals partaking too much vodka. Which btw does not sit well with Indian food... ever.

Italy is not a nation one associates with offensive behavior in an Indian court and its diplomats are held in high regard in India.

I am quite shocked that this has come to pass.

 
At 2:06 PM, Blogger maverick said...

I hear General Musharraf is returning to Pakistan now.

I wonder if he is just going to talk about or actually go through with it.

FWIW - I don't feel he is relevant in Pakistan today.

His way of doing things is not right for Pakistan now.

Sometimes it is better to just go to the holy harams instead and spend time in quiet meditation.

 
At 10:41 AM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

I believe that the Kammandu has landed in Karachi ...

and the Taliban are gunning for him

 
At 8:35 AM, Blogger maverick said...

d wave is making waves...

 
At 1:50 PM, Blogger ldev said...

This is about as succinct and precise a description of the global financial malaise as I have seen recently...from an internet blog.

Of course, everybody should have been worried a lot sooner than last week because the basic operating system of global banking is accounting fraud, and has become that stealthily, insidiously, for about fifteen years now. Nothing is what it appears to be anymore. Compound interest has not really been working since 2008 because the world can't increase its energy production enough to generate the additional surplus wealth needed to cover the aggregate interest due all around the world.
What remains are games of musical chairs, Ponzi schemes, frauds, swindles, stonewalls, ruses, ploys, scams, dodges, bluffs, subterfuges, QE martingales, interventions, rehypothecations, pretenses and other modes of evading or disguising reality. The reality is that there is not enough real wealth to go around, certainly not enough to cover the giant web of obligations that masquerades as "money."

 
At 5:54 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Is it okay to say that after the last ten years, Pakistan's use of state sponsored terrorism has led to 10 Pakistanis being killed for every Indian killed?

 
At 9:32 AM, Blogger dilbert said...

"...has led to 10 Pakistanis being killed for every Indian killed?"

Yes, but the Paki establishment doesn't care about these Pakis killed. The establishment is the wealthy Punjabi class of movers and shakers, the people dying are poor and mostly non-Punjabi. Who the hell cares about them? Certainly not the Pak Army / ISI / wealthy Punjabi crooks and liars with their foreign bank accounts etc.

 
At 2:38 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Yes Dilbert that is true.

I suspect the non-establishment Pakistanis do care about this fact.

Someone told me that an election was going to happen in Pakistan.

I wonder what issues they are going to be voting on.

If General Musharraf was contesting then there would be no doubt in my mind that the only thing every voter in Pakistan would want to do is support the continuation of his dictatorship... but as he is not running for office right now... I wonder what other issues are on the non-establishment Pakistanis mind.

I suppose it could be which new feudal land grabber to elect as the economic-rapist-in-chief of Pakistan but since there is nothing to be gained by choosing on that front, I wonder what else could be on the voters mind.

 
At 7:31 AM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

^^^ I wonder which way the Shia will vote (assuming that they will vote as a block).

I would think that in Karachi the voter must be completely disgusted with the continuing violence ... but none of the parties can offer a solution ... so I suspect that they will continue to vote for MQM and PPP ...

IK will be a no show in Sindh, but it seems like he will cut into the PML(N) base in Punjab.

 
At 3:45 PM, Blogger ldev said...

Check out the Indo-UK dhaaga. Gas Bag is being hit hard on the head ...wonder how long before protector Ramana steps in or deputes one his side kicks to stop the fun!!

 
At 9:24 AM, Blogger ldev said...

As predicted Gas Giant and cronies rushed to the mods to protect them. And Archan stepped in on cue to stop the fun!!! Too bad. Eklavya, a great job in puncturing Gas Giant's "hagiograhy"!!

 
At 10:41 PM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

Hi ldev,

ok, so I skimmed through the dhaagaa ... typical ruck-a-shuck cluster-eff ... is Eklavya cutlet already?

 
At 8:02 AM, Blogger ldev said...

Mani,

Not that I know off. He stopped hitting Gas Giant on the head when Archan stepped in. Oh well...entertainment for another day.

The valid point that Eklavya had was that anyone whose pov the rakshaks' disagree with is branded either a traitor or a sellout with full admin support.

 
At 6:43 AM, Blogger vvv666 said...

ldev: labelling of dissenters as traitors is a common trait of fanaticism. Communism had it's Great Purge. Americans had the McCarthy era. The fanatic faction at BRF likes to conduct similar purges all the time.

However, the extremism these days in BRF is no cause for worry to me. The common Indian citizenry is not influenced too much by the fanatic fringe.

In the run up to 2014 elections, fully expect the extremist clamour to go up by degrees.

 
At 9:41 AM, Blogger Pax-Indica said...

vvv, if you take any system, sooner than later it becomes an island of one. That has nothing specific to brf, its a very sociological mindset and has been well-studied by the more-artsy fields despite hugging the "science" appellation at the end. But internets produces its bunch of buffoons, some of whom enjoy the cloak of anonymity and produce the quintessential dharmic sugreeva in most of us. Kambhan in the form of Vaali had a lot to say on that "loser" sugreeva and his benefactor, but then it was all post-facto rationalized by that avataara purushan as dharma onlee. If it works for him, why not for us, hain?! Questioning and exasperating the gods is an adharmic task onlee these days, while if we look back at the past, many tom dick and harry made their name just by doing that very task.

And if you indulge in that game, tomorrow or the other day, you will see the "more patriotic dharmic Indic" on brf calling out the "less patriotic dharmic Indic". Even the last 8-9 yrs of what I have seen of brf has seen its steady and constant culling of the lesser patriots by the uber-patriots who hold on to their green passports with a tighter grip than the force possible with musharraf's musharraf. You can call it talibanization, but thats just hiding beneath a very sociological precept that has led to the formation of classes, castes, value systems, jehadis, dharmics, evangelicals, and various splinterists of diff kinds in diff points in time.

I could argue the above more scientifically if I put my head down to it, but I think some of the blokes I know are close to doing that.

 
At 11:47 AM, Blogger amberG said...

http://tinyurl.com/Neutrino0401

 
At 5:59 AM, Blogger ldev said...

vw666,

I agree with your premise that the common Indian citizenry will not be affected by the fanaticism exhibited by the BRF hardcore. Or to put it more accurately, they will be extremely wary of it.

Consider that with all hype surrounding Modi, the BJP high command to this day is trying to postpone as far as possible announcing him as their PM candidate in the belief, that while they may get some votes because of him, they could lose as many or more i.e. his disapproval rating. Not to mention that political parties allied with the BJP may walk out of a electoral coalition.

Compared to the hatred spouted on BRF, Modi is a secular saint!!


 
At 9:47 AM, Blogger Pax-Indica said...

Here you go, everyone here go get a life. The man of the hour has spoken.
http://forums.bharat-rakshak.com/viewtopic.php?p=1433418#p1433418

 

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