Monday, September 29, 2014

The real estate sector in India and its national security implications

The real estate sector in India is booming and in the rush of euphoria that follows - it is easy to lose sight of the crucial national security implications of such an issue.

The real estate market is typically a large fraction (12%-18%) of any national economy. In most countries, the real estate market grows at a CAGR of 3-4%. The value of a property typically triples every 30 or so years. Deflated correctly the growth rate of the market is usually proportional to the growth of the population over the same timescale. In the developed world this typically turns into a real growth rate of 1-2% with the value growing very slowly to about 2 times the real price in 30 years.  Compared to this - the stock market in a developed country typically grows at around 10% per year. The bond market typically grows at a few percent 4-6% per year.  Generally speaking any shift in the valuation of real estate has deep impact on a nation's economy as it effectively sets the scale for the risks that any player in the economy is willing to tolerate.

The Indian real estate market is reporting very high levels of growth. Anecdotal numbers in Indian cities are reaching 12-15%. Numbers being reported in the rural belt are much higher. This is comparable to the returns that can be obtained in a well managed portfolio in the Indian stock market. While this may be completely understandable given India's demographic dividend, it poses a significant threat to India's national security as 15% of national economy is now exposed to poorly quantifiable risks. In the near term these risks present as rapid shifts in consumer confidence and increased volatility and liquidity demands that appear and disappear with little or no warning. This kind of thing makes the economic "ride" very very bumpy for investors. Every real estate transaction in India is thus accompanied by a "black" cash-only component which can fluctuate with no visible cause whatsoever.

Compounding this short term risk is the long term risk posed by a catastrophic lack of infrastructure. At the most basic level land transactions in India are poorly policed. There is insufficient data to build a clear title and most acquisitions come with subterranean risks. A vast market in "benami" properties (false deeds) and "gair kanooni qabza" (illegal land grabbing) exists. Even rental income can be unstable as the legal relationship between renter and landlord is poorly audited and neither side enjoys a real sense of protection. Core infrastructure like communication (road/rail/etc...), water, waste management, and electricity is very very shaky. Higher level infrastructure like health security, environmental management and social security is unstable. This risk is persistent and it defies detailed comprehension. If you thought mortgage backed securities on sub-prime loans in the US were bad... you have no idea how bad the Indian equivalent of that is.

One response to such volatility and sub-surface risks is a narrow-minded culture of inwardly investing i.e. putting private money into community oriented real estate development. People simply invest money property so that "their kind of people" can live in a "safe and secure" location. Every effort is made to "secure" the land, and drive away "investment risks" ... like you know - "those people who are not like us....". If that means having private armies, making alliances with criminal lords, or encouraging rioting against peer competitor communities - so be it.

Another response is the short term volatility rider who deliberately feeds instability by investing in a way that profits only himself/herself but leaves everyone else in the lurch. This means influencing a local market to move in a desired fashion using any means possible - including having private armies, making alliances with criminal lords, or encouraging rioting against competitor's investments.

So there is the bottom line - an appealing market for an Indian investor is the real estate market and the only sense of investment security this person will have is through - having private armies, alliances with criminal lords and encouraging communal rioting.

The whole country is gradually becoming a carbon copy of Juhapura-Vejalgad in Gujurat. The poor Indians who happen to be "different" from whatever the dominant social group in the area is... are getting shafted.

Where has this happened before?... ah... post Versailles Germany comes to mind. The rapid fluctuation in the value of the German currency created a massive valuation crisis in the economy which spiraled rapidly in depression era Europe. Was it a real surprise when an out of work Austrian painter emerged from the woodwork to large crowds and collective chants of  "Deutschland uber allez"?

Was it really a surprise when the first thing out of his mouth for was "Deutschland den Deutschen..."?

Ideas of lebensraum are a hair away from re-emerging in the Indian public debate.

The thing to bear in mind - is that you don't need gas chambers to commit genocide. 6 million people would merely amount to the third decimal place in India's current population.

130 Comments:

At 5:30 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Don't get me wrong here - child slavery in India is a very big problem and it disgusts every sane human being to see that behavior but I am a little uncomfortable putting BBA and Malala on the same level,

Malala's sacrifices in pushing for women's education in Pakistan are far in excess of any of BBA's contributions towards ending child slavery in India.

This is a flawed award.

Malala should be the sole recipient.

Just because someone from Pakistan get the Nobel Prize doesn't mean that someone from India also has to be given it.

India has a long way to go on the child slavery issue. It is premature to be handing out Nobel Prizes for this.

 
At 7:50 PM, Blogger Sanatanan said...

Sir, I entirely agree with your comment that this is a flawed award. It would have been better had Ms Malala been the sole recipient.

 
At 8:15 AM, Blogger dilbert said...

But this is nothing new. The Nobel Peace Prize has always been a (mostly) political thing. The award to Obama really was a joke, and I say that even though I am generally a well-wisher of Obama.

 
At 11:14 AM, Blogger Pax-Indica said...

I would argue the reverse. What has Malala achieved really?? Just mostly PR credentials. Lots of people take bullets for what they want to do (admittedly, I am not one). But very few milk the PR that comes with that to set themselves up as the next best thing after sliced bread for their country. Most go on a spree of soul-searching instead of running from event to event to highlight a cause.

Malala falls in that category. She talks slick, her father coaches her well, she has an army of PR people backing her and making her case all over the world. And the white man's guilt as well primeval need to highlight something positive in a shithole perhaps helps. And its also a fact that the pak army saved her goose in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, not sure if many credit them for that.

As far as Kailash, he has pushed his case snidely and openly for a long time. He has done stuff on the ground with the never-say-die attitude of a man possessed. In that goal, he has pissed on GoI and scored self-goals many times. Thats how people are especially if they get possessed of the virtue of their cause. They lose focus on everything else except their cause. Instead of a horse drawing a cart, their cause becomes the cart on its own. Give me a successful man/woman and I can point out some feature similar to that. At least Kailash has a few decades of effort to show for his award, what does Malala have? What can you do for education in Pakistan sitting in Birmingham, talk slick may be.

Why are the two awards the same??? Awarding malala is like awarding Obama, for promise, hope and the future. To award for Kailash is to award for past effort, on the ground, done and dusted, established body of work (whether you like it or not, whether you agree with his methods or not is immaterial). If the Nobel peace prize has now become equated with promise and hope and potential future actions, Malala alone solely deserves it. Otherwise, even Kailash would probably assume that the recognition and the prize-money are perhaps the only things that might matter to him and his cause.

 
At 4:50 PM, Blogger maverick said...

I think the whole point of that prize is to get good PR for a worthy cause.

That is where Malala far exceeds the competition. No one had heard of Kailash before this.

Many people were aware of Malala's sacrifices.

Even if she was coached by her father or if she has an army of people backing her - it takes courage to stand up to the people who shot you in the head.

Her sacrifice was so great that even the double dealing Pakistan army had to get off its posterior and do something to save her life.

That imo is what makes Malala great.

 
At 4:56 PM, Blogger maverick said...

"India == Pakistan" logic has some limited conceptual utility. It helps frame the notions of what generally happens in both countries.

I personally use this notion at some level when I use Pakistani social dynamics as a model system for harder to track problems in India's social system. I see it as a real world manifestation of the fictional Hodgkin's law of parallel development from Star Trek.

But beyond that - it is idiotic to use that "==" conceptual framework for awarding things like Nobel Prizes.

This is a misapplication of a very subtle concept.

It is like all those morons who watch Deepak Chopra yammer on about Quantum Healing and then speak about Quantum Mechanics with the same air of authority.


 
At 11:14 AM, Blogger maverick said...

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/10/19/icymi-india-pakistan-head-for-nuke-war.html

And so it begins.

As I stated in a previous post here - if India's nuclear posture becomes a hair too ambiguous, the Pakistanis will be well within their rights to test the situation via unconventional strikes on soft targets.

The consequences of miscommunication in this arena are extremely serious.

The XVI Corps actions in the last month have damaged the AWS operations of Pakistani formations in the Southern part of the LoC. This puts the Pakistanis at a serious disadvantage along the entire LoC. They are going to be hurting from that.

I am not opposed to Indian Army commanders ironing out things from time to time as a response to Pakistani sponsored infiltration, but I fear the line between justified force and overkill has been crossed last month.

 
At 8:52 PM, Blogger Brown Eagle said...

Recently, I can across Sub-Sammy jis advise on celebrating Diwali and how bad industrial polluting West has a problem with the 4-hour only polluting event of Hindus on Diwali.

Personally, I decided to give crackers a go by happened (without looking it up in the internet as it was in pre internet era) when I realized I was burning my dad’s hard earned money. Even then, I would do light up firecrackers for the benefit of younger cousins, but mostly candles and lights.

Looks like Sammy ji hasn’t experienced the pleasure of a runaway Diwali rocket running amok in the house, or seen a shop catch fire or seen kids with burns from the fire crackers.

The post mentions CFCs gases from AC of ‘left pseudo-intellectuals’ and has random words like ‘dhimmi’ attached for mass appeal.

Interestingly, there is a comment by one called ‘Bose the Forgotten Hero’ and posts about Nehru ji wanting to appoint a British General as Chief. Really? Happy Diwali!

 
At 3:11 AM, Blogger maverick said...


In the age before Swamiji became the leader of this cult, I developed a strong distaste for the way Holi and Diwali was celebrated in my area.

I felt that the festival was getting too ostentatious and pretentious and people were using the festival as an excuse to do dangerous and criminal things.

The manner in which criminal groups used Holi as an excuse to molest young women made me quite disgusted.

During Diwali people set of firecrackers without any thought to the safety of others or the large amounts of illegal child labor that went into the construction of those "toys". I found it hard to describe most of the "celebrations" as being anything other than vandalism.

The last diwali firecracker I set off was at the age of 14. I put an extremely large rassi bomb inside a glass bottle and went about trying to set off the device. As I was setting up to do this, I realized that the exploding bottle would probably kill all my friends. So I placed the device inside a metal pipe embedded in the concrete wall of a storm drain. And my friends and I hid in the drain opposing it as it went off. After the "test" (as we called it) we stood up and examined ourselves for blood - by some miracle we were unharmed. We could not find any trace of the device.

Not a shard of glass was visible. I was baffled initially, as I expected to see a fine layer of glass fragments lining the pipe. The only explanation I could offer was that the combination of the rassi bomb and the pipe had created some sort of lensing effect that had completely shattered the glass bottle.

As I stood there watching the scene, it occurred to me that I was doing this a few miles away from where the first Pokharan test was conceived. I felt like I had connected with the original folks at Los Alamos by doing what amounted to a very crude lensing experiment.

It was at that point that I sensed the true danger of what I was doing. I think one of my friends remarked that it was possibly one of the most destructive things he had ever seen. The manner in which the bottle disappeared freaked all of us out, and we chose not to repeat the test.

I never disclosed the test to my parents and we never discussed the matter among my friends. If my parents or my friends' parents had found out I would have been in big trouble.

On that note - Happy Diwali folks. May the new year bring happiness and joy to your lives.

 
At 3:36 AM, Blogger maverick said...

http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/10/21/india-pakistan-idINKCN0IA17320141021

(slowly rubbing forehead).

The targeting of the Pakistan Army AWS operations has left them with few alternatives.

They have to reciprocate and target AWS operations of the Indian Army or they end up putting the entire Pakistan Army posture along the LoC at risk.

I fail to see how this is not going to escalate.

While it is correct that India is stronger in conventional terms than Pakistan - the local terrain along the LoC does not favour the use of conventional force. Mountain warfare by its very definition is unconventional as the room for conventional maneuver is limited and strike options are heavily constrained.

Defending the Uri-Poonch-Rajouri belt poses a significant challenge to both sides. AWS operations are the key to defensive action in the winter months.

There are two escalation trajectories clearly visible here.

Disrupting the AWS of the Pakistan Army might have seemed like a good idea, but the Pakistani response might be

1) to disrupt the IA's AWS operations. IA AWS operations are critical to maintaining the effectiveness of the AIOS. Without the AIOS operating at high efficiency levels, the violence levels in Kashmir will rise dramatically and all the stability achieved in the last decade will be lost.

or
2) to launch sub-conventional strikes in the rest of India. These strikes will raise the communal temperature of the country and create a situation in which the various builder mafias will incite riots (a la Godhra-Ahmedabad) to secure land. The builder mafias are hungry for land as the real estate market is booming in India.

Unless people actually want any of those outcomes - it is best if India finds a way to mend matters with Pakistan.

A democratically elected government is in power in Islamabad, it will be best if things are sorted out on the negotiating table instead of letting matters slide into the mountains like this.

 
At 3:58 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Looks like the Canadians are having a bad day.

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

The shooter was killed outside the room in which the Canadian PM was talking to his parliamentary colleagues.

Was Prime Minister Harper the target of this attack?

 
At 5:52 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Seriously...

This is how it is going to be?

On Diwali

"Khoon ka badla khoon se lenge..."

Do people really want to go down this road?

 
At 5:57 AM, Blogger maverick said...

An article by Brig(R) Kanwal

http://www.niticentral.com/2014/10/27/loc-ceasefire-violations-indias-clear-message-pakistan-242416.html

"If the Pakistani Army persists in violating the cease-fire agreement, it may be time to make the accusation of destabilisation a self-fulfilling prophecy."

I think that is going to happen regardless of who wants or doesn't want it.

The Indian Army may be completely justified in using artillery to deter infiltration along the India-Pakistan border, but a political messaging system based on this kind of thing seems very high risk.

Politics tends to have a self-serving logic, if one chooses to talk politics via the language of artillery, then war becomes an inevitability.

An assumption people might be drawn to is that the unstable political alliance between the Army, Nawaz Sharif and the Jihadis is incapable of articulating a coherent response to an Indian action.

I am questioning the accuracy of this assumption.

 
At 6:09 AM, Blogger maverick said...

One of the major problems I ran into when conceptualizing the scenarios for the BR thread on the same was that I could never predict if an external Indian threat would cause fissiparous tendencies in the Pakistani elite to increase or whether it would cause them to decrease.

It seemed like any aggressive action by India would cause both to happen and it wasn't clear which way it would go as a sum.

The natural consequence of that analysis is that there would be a paralysis in the Pakistani elite as both tendencies would pull the decision making process in different directions, but this may be completely off from where it actually ends up.

In 1971 that kind of polarization actually happened. The Pakistani Punjabi elite was polarized between letting the Bengali Muslims go and hanging on to East Pakistan. This paralysis led to the Pakistan Army's genocide.

In the current context, I feel a similar effect will present if a paralysis takes hold in Pakistan.

 
At 10:08 AM, Blogger Nanana said...

You are warning against hubris. Where is the fun in that?
Have you read this:http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0230109381

 
At 12:55 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

I note with interest that then Packis had a terrorism incident at the changing of the guard ceremony at the border. 45 people killed by the Taliban. There won't be an end to this will there? Just ceaseless terrorism. forever and ever.

 
At 10:43 AM, Blogger maverick said...

I am worried this desire to change things rapidly is going to spark an orgy of mass violence.

People sometimes forget that to get something you have give something up.

 
At 10:54 AM, Blogger maverick said...

There are very few details about the bombing.

Estimates of explosive used are between 12-25 kg.

Nothing is publicly available about the identity of the attacker.

It is unclear if the bomb detonated before it was delivered to its target.

 
At 10:58 AM, Blogger maverick said...

no video of the attack has been released.

Typically the Jihadis will release videos of the attack itself and a final statement from the bomber where the bomber explains the reason for the attack.

Too little is known about the attack to comment with any credibility at this time.

Some people are saying the target was India, but the bomber detonated by miscalculation. There is also a belief among some that the premature detonation might have had something to do with internal factional battles in the Pakistani deep state.

The accuracy of this view is unknown at the present time.

 
At 11:07 AM, Blogger maverick said...


Something about this attack does not make sense.

If the taliban want to kill Indians, they can send people over the border a la Qasab.

If they want to kill Pakistanis, they can do that in any place of their choice in Pakistan with great ease.

If they want to kill Sikh Pilgrims enroute to Nankana Sahib, they can do that inside Pakistan with greater ease.

Why pick a hard target like the Wagah checkpost and detonate at a point where collateral damage to Pakistani civilians is maximized?

If the collateral is high and the target is unaffected - then typically terrorist groups will distance themselves from the action.

But in Pakistan many groups are laying claim to the attack. It doesn't make sense.

 
At 11:49 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Now there is news o Christians being burnt alive in a kiln in Pakistan. I don't think there are that many Christians in Pakistan. What misery that must be! I think that they are Dalits who converted to Christian.

 
At 12:41 AM, Blogger Nanana said...

So Robin joins other Amirkhans like Chuck Yeager and other more Paki than Pakis?

 
At 3:44 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Sorry -

Can the person who has not shot Bin Laden please raise his/her hand?

I wonder how many resumes are currently flying around on linked in claiming that they killed Bin Laden.

 
At 3:54 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Ralphy,

Do we know the family history of these people?

Islam, Buddhism, Jainism, Christianity and a number of Hindu revivalist movements all failed to wipe out the evils of the caste system in the Indian subcontinent.

Converts simply found themselves doubly ostracized- rejected by their peers for being lower caste and hated for being converts.

In Pakistan, with the emphasis on selective interpretations of Islamic teachings, there is no affirmative action program like the Indian Government's reservation/quota system. The result is that in Pakistan, if you are born a poor ajlaf, you remain one.

Only a dozen or so family groups with names patterned after the four Caliphs appear to have successfully dropped their former ajlaf associations. This process - sometimes referred to as "Ashrafization" by Pakistani sociologists - was a great force in shaping the history of modern Pakistan.

A number of authoritarian regimes were able to cement their hold on power by using ashrafization as an incentive package to subordinates. The land grants that fueled this social mobility were quite the reward for servicing the dictators.

For all its terrible faults, I find Pakistan is sociologically as fascinating a place as India.

 
At 4:00 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Ashrafization is more important as a process for a lot of the migrants (Mohajirs) who came from India in 1947.

The partition had deprived many of these families of their traditional social positions and the ashrafization process was a way for them to climb back up the ladder to the former status.

It is strange, even today some 60 years later, when I try to imagine what the partition period must have been like, I find myself deeply disturbed.

It is easy to understand where the poetry of Saadat Hassan Manto came from. If one takes a second to think about what was happening then, one finds the words of Sahir Ludhiyanvi very accessible and understandable.

 
At 2:58 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

The investigation of Robin Raphel is interesting. I am not sure what kind of info she may have been passing to the Packis since she was not engaged in military matters. Strictly political liaison stuff. I find her background some what problematic since she did advanced study at Cambridge and then taught at an Iranian women's college in Teheran. She then did USAid work in Islamabad. Evidently somewhere in that time period she was jehadized although remaining nominally Christian. She was married to Arnold Raphael who was later killed in a mysterious plane crash with the Packi Prime Minister (after she was divorced from him).

So what happened. She was a successful person, did she need money from Packistan to spy? I would hardly think so. She is remarried with children and that hardly fits a description of a spy with money problems. I think perhaps in her early adult education years overseas, she was brought to the jihadi cause. Weird Stuff like that does happen.

 
At 11:27 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Is there evidence to support the claim that she worked for the Pakistanis?







 
At 1:23 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

other than losing her security clearance and having her contract terminated, no.

 
At 7:46 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Ralphy,

There is nothing in the public domain to suggest that she gave information to Pakistan.

No formal charge sheet has been filed and without it there is no grounds for this accusation. There is no arrest.

Her clearance can be terminated if there is an ongoing investigation. Without the clearance she can't complete her job. So nothing can be read into that.

The announcement of her termination was withheld till her contract ran out. This is out of character for spy hunt. When Aldrich Ames or Robert Hanssen was caught, court papers were filed immediately on the day of the formal arrest.

This suggests to me there may be some direct evidence of mishandling of classified information, but there is no direct evidence of supplying classified information to Pakistan.

Against such a high-ranking officer of the government, making allegations without proof is slander.

It may be prudent to reserve judgment until all the facts are publicly available.

 
At 4:01 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Some opinions are being expressed at BARF that the sacking of Robin Rafael is an appeasement directed towards India which they note as a feeble attempt and for India not to be fooled by such US shenanagans. Huh. Funny, I thought she was investigated for security leaks but some of the guiding lights at BARF are not fooled.

BTW, I am not posting on BARF anymore. After reading some of their opinions about the terrorist acts in Canada recently and the grim satisfaction which they expressed in that it happened to Canada, I can no longer stomach that crowd. The Hindutva fundoos are in control there and I don't wanna be in anyway associated with them. I am shocked and saddened by terrorist acts *anywhere* it occurs even in Pakistan. It doesn't make any difference where it happens, it's evil. Just my thoughts.

 
At 11:29 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

I note the absence of India at the recent Pacific gatherings. Pakistan shows up? wtf, over?

 
At 11:28 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Ralphy,

Don't know what is determining the view out to the Pacific now.

There is no direct mention of the Pacific ocean in the Rigveda, so I assume it just doesn't exist for new Indian foreign policy.

Or even more correctly, as there is only a vague mention of the Pacific ocean in Hindu texts, the South Block mandarins have deliberately re-adjusted the post 2014 foreign policy to be as vague as possible.

Woe betides any bureaucrat who makes policy that isn't founded on Vedic principles!!

 
At 11:50 AM, Blogger maverick said...


When India became independent a number of people close to Mahatma Gandhi felt (understandably..) that the country as a whole had subscribed to his way of thinking. It must have come as some shock to them when Indians in copies quantities mercilessly butchered each other in post partition riots. The cycle of violence left Mahatma Gandhi and millions of other dead.

Today one is faced with a similar situation or so I am told. After 7 trillion years of Hindu slavery and subjugation by inferior races/powers/what-have-you, a new dawn has taken place and finally finally finally, a true son-of-the-soil has taken over the country.

Now if I hadn't seen the same effect in Maharashtra (w/Shiv Sena), Punjab (w/Akalis) etc... I would have probably gone along with this infallible logic... but since I saw all that before, I am less inclined to be fooled again.

Call me a cynic but I sense that no one truly knows what caused the swing that brought the BJP into power in May 2014.

There are strong likely causes (in order of likelihood)

1) Economic disenchantment with the slow growth of the Indian economy during the global recession.

2) Sri Modi's personal credibility as an efficient administrator.

3) Growth of Hindu Nationalist/Hindutva vadi thinking.

4) Anti-Gandhi family sentiments.

But no one knows which of these sentiments are exactly responsible for causing what percentage of the swing.

There is no doubt there was a swing in favour of the BJP, but no precise model of what caused it.

 
At 11:54 AM, Blogger maverick said...

At this point there is no harm in assuming that a rise in Hindutva-vadi sentiment brought about this victory. It may very well be that.

I have a hard time believing this as I have seen a much higher level of sentiment in 1993, but maybe I am wrong.

Maybe people really want this.

It is a good idea to test this premise out.

Do something that is so obviously Hindutva-vadi inspired and see what happens.

If you get a "Stop doing this" out of them, then you know it wasn't Hinduta-vadi thinking that won the election.

If you get a "Yeah totally we want to see more of this" out of the population as a whole, then looks like India has gone "Full Hindu" on this.

If the population simply says "don't care", then you know the experiment has failed.

 
At 12:05 PM, Blogger maverick said...

I really love the marathi movie Zenda, it brings home all this in a fashion that even a simple minded fool like me can understand.

I am thinking of Sachit Patil's character as the PR firm manager whose perceptions of political struggle and its true meaning in terms of personal gain and loss make the entire movie highly instructive.


 
At 5:00 AM, Blogger maverick said...

this caravan magazine, it is totally worth the money.

http://caravanmagazine.in/reportage/outlier?page=0,7

 
At 8:21 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

I don't understand this thinking about the lack economical success under the previous administration. the economy was still growing. does everybody expect spectacular success year in, year out? I think it all boils down to the electorate not being happy with the lack of respect for India. So they chose somebody who will get it. we'll have to wait and see.

 
At 10:28 AM, Blogger maverick said...

I think a lot of people in India don't quite get how bad the last five years has been the world over.

India's growth rate was affected by the great recession, but there is a perception that India's growth rate was limited by slow base of domestic infrastructure development.

People seem to believe that this rate of infrastructure development was impeded most by the INC's corruption.

Most people do not seem to understand that infrastructure development is a very long term investment that no one in their right mind will invest in if the risks are mitigated properly.

Very few people get that Dr. Manmohan Singh worked extensively to put the necessary risk mitigation framework in place and to build investor confidence.

For example, in the nuclear energy industry, the main bulwark of risk mitigation is the transfer of a certain portion of the liability from the nuclear reactor supplier to the operator and to the government of the land. Such liability agreements are common in most parts of the world.

Yet somehow people in the very same party that is now going to take credit for every nuclear power plant opened in India lead the way in opposing the liability cap legislation. That entire fracas in the Indian parliament as one faction after another demanded a baksheesh for joining the 123 bandwagon caused great delay and slowed the pace of investment in the country. This kind of thing creates massive amount of investor angst.

It is this inability of the MMS regime to keep a steady level of investor interest became a major theme in the BJP's attack on the INC.

 
At 10:36 AM, Blogger maverick said...


Religio-political orders fall by the wayside when prosperity grows. All over the world, when a country/people increase their per capita GDP, religious sentiments decline. This in turns saps the power of the religio-political formations.

Now the natural question is - if the only outcome of promoting prosperity is a decline in interest in Hindutva - why will any Hindutva-vadi push for positive economic progress? or alternatively how will Hindutva retain it follower base if the country becomes more affluent?

The answer to both questions seems obvious - it benefits the Hindutva-vadis not to permit any real prosperity to take hold. A truly prosperous population is empowered, an empowered population is a threat to religious political formations so... the population at large will never become truly empowered and it will remain hostage to the dictates of the religious ideologues.

This is not a model that necessarily excludes economic growth, but merely attaches a compliance cost along side the growth.

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

From the Caravan article - it is clear that Subramaniam Swamy is the Jean Paul Marat of modern India.

 
At 2:43 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

you are aware tha Marat was a radical politician who was murdered by a member of a political party that he had helped remove from power?

 
At 3:47 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Yes - I find Marat to be one of the most terrifying figures in the revolutionary period. The number of people he sent to the guillotine by merely denouncing is stunning.

I sense that there is a desire in some quarters to use Subramaniam Swamy in the same way the Montagnards used Marat.

I see the Girondists as being a group of people that attempted to bring order to chaos and they paid a heavy price for their efforts.

Rather like the Mojadidi clans of Kabul. Supportive of change but quickly seen as an impediment to "rapid progress" and so butchered en masse by the Taliban after they took Kabul.

 
At 3:56 AM, Blogger maverick said...

The main point of difference between Subramaniam Swamy and Jean-Paul Marat is that Marat actually caused people to be assassinated. So far Subramaniam Swamy has restricted himself to character assassination. So it is likely someone will do to him what he has done to others. And he has changed sides so many times, it is anyone's guess who will do him in.

I didn't realize the Subramaniam-Swamy-is-a-CIA-agent rumor came from ABV himself. That part of the article was new to me.

 
At 7:02 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

He very well could have been a cia agent. He spent some time in the US when it got too hot. My government seems to pay everybody, regardless.

 
At 7:34 AM, Blogger maverick said...

From the article it looks like he had a serious criticism of PC Mahalanobis which warranted more attention than it was given at the time in the Planning Commission.

It would make sense under such circumstances to bring him to Harvard for graduate studies.

The Mahalanobis model was the core of the Five Year Plan approach used for government investment. There was a legitimate concern that it missed growth opportunities.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feldman%E2%80%93Mahalanobis_model)

I don't know what the basis of ABV's allegation was.

IIRC Seymour Hersh alleged at one point that Prime Minister Morarji Desai was a CIA asset.

It is hard to find the truth in such matters.

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

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Amit-Shah-asks-workers-to-tap-Modis-popularity-to-win-Delhi/articleshow/45198538.cms

So... is it me or does even Amit Shah think that Modi's personal popularity is a bigger driver for votes than Hindutva?

 
At 5:33 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Ralphy,

here is the new word ...

http://thediplomat.com/2014/12/the-modi-doctrine-for-the-indo-pacific-maritime-region/

“vikas vaad” (peaceful development) (a.k.a. Modi doctrine).

highlights

0) Secure AS/BoB for Arihant ops,
- VLF@INS Kattaboman to become fully operational.
- IMAC@gurgaon to be kept online at all times.
- SLBM development to march at brisk rate.

1) Secure Andaman Sea to present choke point for Chinese westward naval activity (Keep PLAN assets out of BoB).
- purchase of 18 Shinmaywa US-2i for Andaman Sea and IOR SAR/Patrols.
- beef up A&NC with new radars and other response capabilities.
- promote A&NC as the "regional hub".

2) Secure SLoC for Australian Coal by regular conduct of joint naval exercises and talk about putting stuff in Fiji.

3) Secure SLoC for coal from SA by putting a foot on Seychelles (Op Zodiac files being dusted off?).

4) Frustrate Chinese attempts to secure SLoC for oil to Sino-Myanmar pipeline by courting SL, paying Vietnam, dancing about with Singapore/Thailand/Malaysia/Indonesia etc...

5) Get into bed with Japan by buying all kinds of things from them.

6) Engage US by buying more naval weapons systems and keep up joint exercises.

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

wow... talk about counter-intuitive effects!

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/opec-no-threat-us-oil-174652244.html

. "No matter how low oil prices go, there will be no (shale) production shut in. The cash component (cost) will be, say, $15, $20, $25," Gheit said, noting the expenditure for land and drilling has already been made. "Oil prices will have to go below $30 for some of these wells to be shut in, and even then the owners need the cash to survive. They will milk the cow until the cow drops dead."

That is Fadel Gheit of Oppenhiemer funds.

If this is correct we will see a runaway decline in oil prices as the Shale well owners pump out as much as they can without opening new wells.

Sure eventually the wells will run out but there is no public estimate available of exactly how much recoverable oil there is in US shale. There are random numbers people make up from time to time but nothing concrete.

Neither the US Shale producers nor their Saudi antagonists will know exactly how long they can bear the low oil price.

This is going to turn into a very dangerous game of chicken which will have implications for the construct we currently call the petrodollar.

The stability of the petrodollar is one of the foundations of the idea of using the dollar as a global reserve currency. A valuation of the petrodollar is not bad for the status of the dollar as a reserve currency - but the sudden fluctuation in the dollar price of oil speaks to a underlying instability in the valuation. This in turn will cause people to lean away from the dollar as a reserve currency.

I fear that something very nasty has just broken loose its chains.

 
At 2:36 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Dear Maverick, I really can't find any fault with vikas vaad goals. they seem like positive pro Indian aspirations to me.

As to buying all kinds of stuff from Japan, India is already a huge customer of China. So why not Japan? The only draw back I can see is Japan's anti nuke policies. otherwise Japan has got the hi-tech goodies that India wants.

 
At 4:10 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Ralphy,

I think... given the size of the Arihant project - the expense, the hopes riding on it etc... it is quite likely that secure Arihant operations will eclipse all other priorities in India's naval affairs.

When Adm. Hyman Rickover began his ambitious program, the US deterrent was well shouldered by the Air force and the Army. He had some room for failure, the US could take a Thresher or Scorpion style hit.

That kind of room does not exist India.

 
At 6:09 AM, Blogger maverick said...


At this point the Arihant needs to be put through its paces. This is the point at which it is most vulnerable.

Enemy forces will be listening for its acoustic, magnetic signatures, and any ELF emissions.

Any plan to create a cordon sanitaire in the BoB around the Arihant's region of operations will be a major exercise with multiple layers of security and deception.

 
At 11:39 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Mav:

Great nations cannot live in fear of failure. Prudence? Yes. Failure? No.

 
At 11:40 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 11:40 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 11:53 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Dear Mav:

The cut in the price of oil is like a gigantic tax cut for most of the world.
How each nation and its citizens reacts to it will make all the difference in the world. If India uses this tax cut to reduce its subsidy and spends more money on infrastructure then it wins. If it squanders the tax cut then it loses. It is estimated that each citizen in the US is getting almost a $100 a month in reduced costs due to this tax cut. That's enormous. I am expecting greater consumer activity next year and an expansion in economic activity with reduced food costs. It will be quite pleasant during this temporary cut.

 
At 7:12 AM, Blogger maverick said...

The target of the price cut appears to be Putin with Russian economy being the collateral damage.

Unfortunately it is difficult to see how this is going to have the intended effects. Typically when you put the screws to Russia - they proliferate nuclear weapons. At least that has been the case in the past.

When the USSR fell, KGB faction went off script as they wandered the globe brokering the sale of orphan sources and broken arrows.

I don't know what the real end game of putting the screws to Putin like this is, but some mitigation scheme may need to be put in place to prevent a proliferation scenario.

 
At 7:19 AM, Blogger maverick said...

> Great nations cannot live in fear of failure. Prudence? Yes. Failure? No.

Yes - but in India - there is this thing called a post-colonial hangover. That causes people to live in fear.

The Indian technologists are the best in the world, they are not the problem.

The problem is the chatterati - the babulog who don't want to be the front face of a technical failure.

India does not have the equivalent of Elon Musk. Without someone young and vibrant like him - the technical focus of the nation breaks and the entire effort stagnates into me-too products and do-it-again-ism.

What is worse now is that in addition to the layer of post-colonial paranoia that the "Nehruvian" bureaucracy had, we will now see a layer "Hindutvavadi" paranoia.

That second layer will make the life of the technical people even more difficult. Not only will there be serious post colonial embarrassment when something goes wrong in an Arihant... the technical director will also be accused of making all Hindus look like incompetent idiots.

 
At 7:28 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Dear Mav,

I'm not sure how much the US is responsible for Russia's oil price woes. Europe still depends on Russian gas. That hasn't gone away. Russian ha gigantic contracts with China as recently announced. All the US has done so far that I know of is to stop co development projects with Russia by US companies. Big deal. So where was the US responsible for Russian oil? And how did the price of oil start dropping?

One answer is that China is not pursuing commodities around the world like it was doing. They over bought and drove up the price. The other reason is that the US developed its domestic supplies. While it does not export its domestic oil it imports far fewer amounts. It now does not even purchase oil from Nigeria anymore. Zero, zip, nada. Look for huge problems with Nigeria.

If Russia wants to destroy the world they should be very careful. They can suffer blow back as well. The US remains vigilant.

 
At 7:34 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Venzuela is also in deep do-do. Add them to the list.

 
At 10:37 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Ralphy,

I don't think the US is responsible for Putin's problems.

From what I am seeing in the news, the Saudis and Russians have been experiencing some communication difficulties recently. There was that tense exchange between Prince Bandar and President Putin that so much was printed on.

I hear Putin wants to see Siberian fields developed. That needs money. Apparently money was coming in from external investors because the price of oil was high and international investors felt that this was going to continue for ever.

If the Siberian fields would develop Russia would emerge as the largest supplier of oil in the world - even larger than Saudi Arabia.

I can't imagine that would go over well in Riyadh. Riyadh has been feeling the pressure from Putin for a while now, today the two countries are neck and neck.

After this recent price collapse, it seems that the Saudis have effectively launched a price war on the Russians.

I don't think this was done at US insistence - though I confess I have no clue which way the water flows in US-Saudi relations.

Venezuela was always a difficult place. Things will get worse there but really who cares, I doubt Chavez does because from what I have heard he has people transporting white powder all over the place.

I don't know who the Saudis are kidding when it comes taking on the Russians. I have deep respect from Prince Bandar, but given the long history of stoic suffering for Mother Russia, I would be really reluctant to get into something nasty with them.

 
At 10:39 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Honestly, I find this entire Syrian fiasco to be a giant mistake. All that effort simply resulted in ISIL becoming very strong. And if you thought the Taliban were bad, the ISIL boys are equally bad.

 
At 1:01 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

The hindutva fundoos are at it again. They are celebrating the slaughter of the Pakistani school children. It's beyond disgusting. Plus they are calling the head of the Indian Reserve bank all kinds of names becuase they disagree with his policies and opinions on "make in India". The guy is right, why be like China? China is a having problems with their export only economy. India should be diversified like the US economy is. However, I certainly don't recommend all the debt the US has. Just my thoughts.

 
At 6:22 PM, Blogger maverick said...

http://news.yahoo.com/indias-smart-cities-plan-risks-leaving-millions-behind-053514525.html

"But Kumar, who had lived in the slum for 17 years after arriving from his native Uttar Pradesh state, said he was given five minutes' notice to grab whatever he could before the bulldozers moved in.

One of his neighbours, Maya Devi, described the situation as hopeless. Two of her children have exams this month but their school books were lost in the rubble and the family now has nowhere to live.

"Why does the government do this to poor people like us?" she asked."

here we go... lebensraum.

 
At 5:49 AM, Blogger maverick said...

"Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi has told India's NDTV of his outrage at the attack. "I beg the Taliban, take me and leave these children," he is reported as saying."

okay... now I am truly speechless.

 
At 7:49 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Bloody murder is bloody murder no matter where it occurs.

 
At 7:55 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

My family was forced off the land in the 1930s by the great depression. At the time it was considered tragic. However jobs were found in the city and my family's lifestyle, health and education improved considerably. Was it all worth it? yes, I think so even though the link with the land was mourned for decades. just my thoughts.

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

Hello Ralphy,

Depression was what provided fodder to the Nazi beast in Germany.

These developments in India make me very uncomfortable.

 
At 10:34 AM, Blogger maverick said...

In most of these active shooter situations, it appears the key to limiting casualties is to effect evacuation and a focused counter-fire effort.

The evacuation reduces the number of potential hostages.

The counter-fire effort should reduce the mobility of the assaulters.

After that things become very foggy and it all goes completely to hell - regardless of where and when it happens.

 
At 10:48 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

You have to storm the building immediate. you can't wait for them to set counter measures. that's what happened at Columbine. Now, the police storm the premises immediately in shootings at schools. they don't wait for the slaughter.

 
At 3:22 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Yes - there is a very short window of time in which to effect an evacuation and pin down the attackers.

If that is not done, then anything afterwards will completely fail.

 
At 3:25 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Actually a critical quantity is the number of exits available.

Most shopping complexes have an Achilles heel in that sense. The entire shopping complex is laid out to make customers spend more time before they head out. Also the commercial nature of these places prevents them from carrying out safety drills.

To make matters worse, the safety and evacuation routes are poorly marked or all safety signage is eclipsed by advertising.

It seems like a disaster waiting to happen.

 
At 7:41 AM, Blogger maverick said...

for the record, I have never seen or heard of Gul Kripalani or the Pijikay Group or the India-Crimean Partnership.

I have no idea who this person or organization is.

This is the first time I am hearing anything about this.

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


Was there a credible threat to 33 Armd Div's log and weapons storage area off the AH1 near Mathura?

 
At 6:53 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

The Hindutvas love the russians. That's for sure.

 
At 8:20 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Is there a specific threat to 1 Corps assets in Mathura?

Or

Is there some vague threat to the Delhi-Agra Highway?

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

He did walk around handing out VVER 1000s and Akulas.

Right now - he is very popular.

President Obama has a hard act to follow.

 
At 10:53 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

If India could establish a good solid baseline of electric power then it could use alternative power like offshore windmills to generate more power as needed. Yeah, yeah, I know, wishfull thinking.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_Wind_Connection

Rumor has that one of the latest nuke power generating stations in India is having problems. I'm sure they will eventually work the bugs out. Just a matter of time and money.

 
At 11:19 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Latest issue of Sky and Telescope is making shocking news that most of the newer giant telescopes in the world have operating difficulties due to various technical problems. I did not know this. The Keck in Hawaii has been reduced to a single mission telescope in search for dark matter since it cannot fufill a mission as a general telescope. The HET in Texas had to undergo a $42 million dollar retrofit right after it was built for $16 million. The SALT in South Africa is still having problems and the world's largest scope in the Canary Islands is also having problems. This is serious news to me.

The Hubble also had problems initially as the mirror was not ground to original specifications. It required a space shuttle trip and corrective lens installed. At the time it was called a disaster for Big Science.

So whats my beef? Well the James Webb scope is years behind schedule. It's already costing $8 billion and still not complete. Worse there is no way to fix it after it is launched years from now into deep space.

I am deathly afraid that the public does not understand the gamble behind huge telescopes whether based on earth or outer space. Is the gamble worth it? Yes I think so. But I fear the public will not be so understanding. Thanks for reading my rant.

 
At 10:18 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Shiv posed these following questions in his Western Universalism thread on Barf.
1. Why does every human have to be equal?
2. Why should some humans not be poor?
3. Why should all humans have the same rights?

Now Shiv is unabashedly Hindutva to his bones. He is posing these questions in support of his Hindutva beliefs and the supremacy there of. I will respond to these questions as an American Populist with nominal Christian values because well, that is what I honestly am. I can't be anything else and profess honesty.

1. Why does every human have to be equal?

Every human should be equal in the eyes of the law of his country. It doesn't often work out that way but that should be what we all strive for. The law should extend to such basics as freedom of speech, religion, etc.

2. Why should some humans not be poor?

Why should a ditch digger make as much as architec? The goal of every nation should be to offer as much education and training as the individual is able to handle. Nobody should be consigned to ditch digging because they never had any opportunity to get education and training. Shouldn't be a ditch digger simply by birth. And under the Hindutva system that is what they expect to happen.

3. Why should all humans have the same rights?

Absolutely they should have.. However there are exceptions. Why is the Koch Brothers, billionaire backers of the Republican party, have more freedom of speech than I do? Or George Soros billionaire backer of the Democratic party have more freedom of speech? I believe this also happens in India, just the billionaires are changed.

Anyway, when talking about rights it is hard to nail sown what is really equal, because the laws are not perfect. The laws are created by people who want exemptions for themselves. So it is a constant struggle although we should all be striving for a better society. Just my thoughts.

 
At 5:21 PM, Blogger maverick said...

>> Now Shiv is unabashedly Hindutva to his bones.

Somehow I really doubt that.

On an unrelated note.

NDMA has undergone a complete high level revamp.

This has significant implications.

The NDMA is one of those innocuous line items in the budget that can comprise an entire universe inside them.

 
At 5:51 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

as of Tuesday morning North Korea's internet remains shut down. The only web site I can reach is the Korean Central News agency site that is located in Tokyo Japan. I am unable to access their site in NoKo. this could get interesting. anybody else have any luck at a NoKo site?

 
At 6:03 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

less interesting but business wise fairly important: Sony is going after Twitter for publically releasing Sony stolen data. Awaiting response from Twitter. I smell a very expensive lawsuit brewing.

 
At 4:42 AM, Blogger maverick said...


A near victory in J&K, a victory in Jharkhand.

And an executive ordinance that no one will challenge.

Looks like the Rajya Sabha is not going to be a real impediment to Prime Minister Modi's government.

Madhu Kishwar has begun taking potshots at the VHP leadership and there was a heated discussion between some people at a tea stall in Nagpur.

It appears mein friends Nacht der langen Messer has begun.

 
At 4:55 AM, Blogger maverick said...


The SA (a sister organization of the SS) under Ernst Rohm had a penchant for instigating reckless violence against Jews, Communists etc.. This apparently uncontrollable behavior had the undesirable consequence of alienating key elements of the Reichswehr senior staff which worshiped a sense of order.

The Reichwehr saw the Ernst Rohm and the SA to be a credible threat to its traditions. Steeped in the culture of the Prussian aristocracy, the Reichwehr didn't think too highly of the undisciplined son of a railway official who sought to bring the entire Reichwehr under his personal banner.

For his part Hitler saw sense in keeping the Reichwehr in a happy place until the SS became powerful enough to coerce the Reichwehr to do his bidding.

By encouraging the SS to wipe out the SA, Hitler killed two birds with one stone -

1) He made the SS all powerful and
2) He secured the Reichwehr's loyalty at a time when it could easily have mounted a coup.

 
At 4:57 AM, Blogger maverick said...

The parallelism between the dynamics of the early period of the Nazi Party and present-day occurrences in India is so stunning, I wonder if Hodgkin's Law should be removed from realm of fiction.

 
At 7:10 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

The Nazis were about world dominion, acquisition of territory, and genocide of minorities through the use of concentration camps. I think your comparison of the Hindutvas' facism to the Nazis is a bit of a stretch. No offense meant to you, just my thoughts.

 
At 11:31 AM, Blogger maverick said...

No offense taken.

But I do feel that we tend to see the Nazis more in terms of their final phase of evolution. And in doing so it is easy to forget that in their initial phase, they were considered a perfectly acceptable form of political association. The Nazi party was backed by a lot of ordinary Germans because they thought it was the vehicle for their national renewal. All industrialists backed it in Germany and in many other parts of the world for the anti-communist posture it had.

In this early period they were far more focused on local German economic and national reconstruction issues - the world domination stuff only came afterwards.

I was re-reading the accounts of the early period of Nazi rule. There is so much similarity between those events and what we are seeing in India right now, that I find it difficult to say that India will not end up walking down the same path.

I agree that at this time, the comparison is premature, and the future is hard to predict... but I am certain I am not comfortable with this conclusion becoming a mature sustainable one.

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

I think I can propose a corollary/variation to the fictional Hodgkin's law.

For reference here is Hodgkin's law

"Similar planetary environments and populations tended to gravitate toward similar biological/sociological developments over time."

My proposed corollary/variation,

"Similar economic climates in regions or populations separated in space or time, produce similar social and political dynamics."

This merely points to elements of self-similarity in linkages between social, political and economic phenomena.

It makes no claims to the specifics of such links and offers no detailed mechanistic understanding of such links. b

 
At 12:05 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

yes, the Nazis started out as the answer to economic and political deprivation caused by the unfair surrender terms of WW1. Unfortunately for the Germans a maniac arose to provide the answer. lets hope Modi is not like that even though some accuse him of turning a blind eye to the Gujrat riots.

Culturally, I do not think Indics are prone to genocide the way the Germans were, riots excepted. I am talking about organized state sponsored pogroms. Culturally the Germans have a penchant for government action. So does the US but fortunately or unfortunately as the case may be, the cultural US worship of the individual and rights tends to limit government actions at least domestically.

We'll have to wait and see how Indics will progress as they become richer and their government becomes more powerful as I think they will become.

 
At 12:09 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

I have read about inter tribal warfare in India's northeast. It seems to be about land and I don't think there is any good answer for that. You can grow an economy but like my ancestors found out, you can't "grow" anymore land.

 
At 6:39 PM, Blogger PradeepE said...

And you tried your best to have Modi bumped off. Beseeching, pleading almost.
Sswamy is a smart and shrewd one. Smarter I think. We now have a winner.

And you are having this conversation with Ralphy. Sweet.

Ralphy sir, yes a few "hindutva" folks snickering about karma coming home to roost. Does it help if one killed with a straight face. No smiling allowed. One could romp around the whole world killing millions this way. They are not having fun sir...just doing their duty.

Pradeep

 
At 9:02 AM, Blogger Nanana said...

PBM said the same thing in today's column

 
At 11:10 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Nanana:

Thanks for the tip about PBM's column. From reading BArF all the time I was wondering if all of India had gone Hindutva or apologist there of. Good to read a saner point of view.

 
At 1:30 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Ralphy,

> Culturally, I do not think Indics are prone to genocide the way the Germans were, riots excepted.



Oh.. I don't know about that. Heretofore, independent India has been a progressive reformist state but I find the more people look different - the more they are the same.

Things have been done in the past. Things people like to pretend never happened. There have been "isolated incidents" as they are euphemistically called.

That sort of thing can happen again and on a completely different scale.

Dear PradeepE,

If you have something to say - just come out and say it.

Many people felt that it was not a good idea for Hitler to be assassinated as it would only have brought someone infinitely more capable like Reinhard Heydrich to forefront and that would have prolonged the conflict. Also others felt it would have created a "stabbed-in-the-back" legend that the Nazis would have clung to and used to resurrect themselves at another place in history. The only way to put a stop to Nazism forever was to let it all play out.

Let me briefly recount something that happened in the early days of the Nazi regime, a period known as the Steines revolt.

During the Steines revolt, large sections of the SA under their commander Stienes rebelled against Hitler's control. They wanted to be given a free hand to weed out and murder Jews and Communists on the street now that Hitler was Prime Minister. They felt Hitler wasn't doing his job as promised.

At that time, Hitler was only Prime Minister because President Hindenburg had appointed him so and if Hindenburg wanted he could depose Hitler. Hindenburg was ill and Hitler was biding his time so he could seek the military support and become supreme leader. He could not be seen as a man who tolerated indiscipline and allowed radicals (even ones of the right sort) undermine civic order. He had to put an end to the Stienes revolt.

So Hitler walked into the SA's offices and offered the SA leadership a simple choice - either they accepted the Furherprinzip or they were disloyal traitorous swine who deserved nothing. Faced with the frontal assault by Hitler, the SA leadership demurred and offered their loyalty in exchange for some cash handouts. The meeting ended with the SA cheering and offering salutes to Hitler.

This move cost the SA dearly as the dissonance between Hitler's needs and their desire to murder Jews and other undesirables in the street grew over time. The SA finally went on to directly challenge Hitler. On the Night of the Long Knives, under orders from Hitler - Himmler and Heydrich rounded up the SA leadership, accused them of being homosexual paid agents of France and summarily executed them.

Sometimes recalling how it once was is helpful. They say history repeats itself.

Dear Nanana,

Who is PBM?

 
At 2:36 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Mav:

I hope it's okay with Nanana if I answer your question:

http://indianexpress.com/profile/columnist/pratap-bhanu-mehta/

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

Mav, come clear? It is clear and now funny given what you are doing. What are you expounding upon here - world economy and the danger from maltese penguins. A political hack job equating a madman and some oiseoules with the current Indian leadership and calling a hit on Modi as being well served.
They say, with the mind made up, one can even show an angel as a devil. It was bad enough coming from public political hacks like Digvijay Singh, Manish Tiwari, Mani Aiyer... There are unwritten rules even in politics. The above sorry bunch had gone below that many times. Survival & parasitic existence pushes one to do the worst things. And in a similar vein, I am with you when you say everyone is capable of genocide. Humans are not that far removed yet from our animal cousins.

 
At 3:56 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Pradeep E,

Are you accusing me of saying that Prime Minister Modi should be assassinated?

If that is what you are saying -- you Sir have completely lost track of reality.

I have opined on the issue of Modiji's personal security only two times, once before the Advanced Liason Protocol was setup and the second when the BJP signed him to appear at massive Republic Day size rallies every two or three days.

In the first time I spoke about this issue, I pointed out that there was visible discontent among the senior officers of the Gujarat Police department who felt they had been mistreated. At that time, Modiji's inner most security ring was controlled by Gujurat State Police officers. He was yet to be accorded the Advanced Liaison Protocol. Some days after I circulated my opinions among a few friends, a number of oped from people appeared where the issue of Modiji being declared "Prime Ministerial Candidate" by the BJP was raised. This assertion people stated was insufficient to give Modiji access to the advanced protocol. At that time I had stated that if Modiji's protection was inadequate there would most likely be a major rise in the communal temperature of India. Not surprisingly, that view carried the day in the MHA.

contd.

 
At 3:58 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Pradeep E,

The second time I opined on this issues, the BJP had signed Modiji up for a massive 1 million people rally every three days. When I was made aware of this, I flipped out. I felt that there was no way that even the ALP and the NSG counter-assault team would be able to cope with such a heavy security load. It is not humanly possible to provide a high quality of security on such a regular basis especially in parts of India where infrastructure is poor and simple things like venue security and evacuation routes are impossible to guarantee. I made a fuss about and passed along an opinion editorial to some people I know. I don't know what happened afterwards, but a week afterwards the BJP leadership dropped all talk of such a strategy and the holographic projections screens and other electronic media became dominant in the Modi campaign.

I am not claiming I had anything to do with this. I have no connection to the Modi campaign office, but it is likely that someone else from the MHA explained to them concerns like the ones I raised in my opinion pieces nd they revised their thinking.

 
At 4:06 PM, Blogger maverick said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 4:18 PM, Blogger maverick said...


Sometimes I find myself lost.

On one hand - I find these "Hindutva" types who think they can arbitrarily dictate to everyone what being "Hindu" means. Anything said that factually opposes their peculiar perspective - they dismiss as being "Anti-Hindu".

OTOH, I see these "Modivadis", to whom the mere act of criticising the dust that falls off Modiji's shoes is seen as "anti-National", "treason", "Anti-Hindu" etc.. etc... etc...

How is one to have a reasoned debate in such a climate?

In Maharashtra, the history of region has become hostage to the Shiv Sena's political needs. You may be the biggest factual expert on Shivaji and the Maratha Confederacy but you cannot have a discussion on historical matters because Shiv Sainik's turn up at you house and burn the place down.

Today between the antics of the Modivadis and the Hindutva types - one is likely to see a similar state of affairs emerge on technical issues like cost-benefit analysis of nuclear warhead designs, accuracy of black box INS systems, and reliability of propulsion systems.

If anyone tries to talk through the details of anything technical, these political agitprop people will piss on the whole thing.

Every discussion on critical national security issues will turn into a 1-2-3 Agreement style fiasco.

 
At 4:22 PM, Blogger maverick said...

I am really struggling to see how a coherent national security will emerge in this climate.

Everything will rest on what Sri. Modi says, but who will be able to give him the correct technical inputs if the Modivadis and Hindutvadis remain bent on crushing all viewpoints contrary to their own.

 
At 6:08 AM, Blogger maverick said...

And here we go...

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/india-considers-emergency-orders-ease-092253843.html

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said projects in defence, rural electrification, rural housing and industrial corridors would not need to seek the consent of 80 percent of the affected landowners as mandated.

 
At 6:13 AM, Blogger maverick said...

The rate at which Modiji's sarkar is going pretty soon the Parliament will be completely useless and it will all be rule by decree only.

From the same article as listed above.

"They will also be exempt from holding a social impact study involving public hearings - procedures that industry executives say can drag out the acquisition process for years. Compensation to landholders, however, will stay at four times the market price."

"An ordinance is an emergency measure that has to be passed by the next parliamentary session. Modi has already resorted to using it three times in his six months in office due to a lack of majority in the upper house of parliament."

Incidentally, this too happened in 1933

https://www.bundestag.de/htdocs_e/artandhistory/history/parliamentarism/third_reich

The section on the Enabling Act.

"In spite of the reign of terror and the first wave of arrests of Communists, Social Democrats and trade unionists, in the Reichstag elections of 5 March 1933 the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) obtained 12.3% of the vote and the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) 18.3%, while the moderate centre-right parties, namely the Centre Party and the Bavarian People’s Party (BVP), polled 13.9%. The National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP) and the German National People’s Party (DNVP) won 43.9% and 8% of the vote respectively, and so together they formed a right-wing government. By means of the Enabling Act - officially entitled the ‘Law to Remedy the Distress of the People and the Reich’ - Hitler intended to free himself from all parliamentary scrutiny, but he needed the support of a two-thirds majority in the Reichstag to enact such legislation. The 81 elected Members from the KPD did not take part in the vote, since they were already either under arrest or had gone into hiding or exile. While 94 Members from the SPD braved intimidation by voting against the bill, the Centre Party, the BVP, the German State Party (DStP), the Christian Social People’s Service (CSVD), the German Peasants’ Party (DBP) and the Agricultural League (Landbund) joined the DNVP and the NSDAP in approving the Enabling Act. The Act empowered the Government to enact laws without the consent of Parliament, even if they were inconsistent with the Constitution of the Reich. In this way the Reichstag downgraded itself from a legislative body to an acclamatory auditorium."

 
At 11:15 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

It's very easy to be called a traitor by a hindutva. Just disagree with him.

 
At 11:29 AM, Blogger maverick said...

I don't know how many people are aware of the functionalism v/s intentionalism debate in the context of the Holocaust.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Functionalism_versus_intentionalism

The wiki link will bring out some of the nuances.


 
At 8:29 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

I think the functionalists are coming from the viewpoint that all Germans were equally culpable of the holocaust not just the leadership of Adolph Hitler. There was a movement 15-20 years ago to blame America also for the holocaust because we didn't fight WW II with the prime objective of freeing or stopping somehow the German concentration camps through our bombing campaigns of Germany. Also our rejection of Jewish refugees before and during the war. In other words the functionalists wants everybody to be responsible.

In many ways the Hindutvas are functionalists too. They personally blame everything that Pakistan does is the fault of America and traitors like yourself. In fact, they are convinced Pakistan couldn't even exist otherwise. It would disintegrate w/o the US and Indian traitors.

In this manner victim hood is a very powerful political philosophy that justifies all sorts of illogical conclusions such as Germany was "betrayed" by the jews ergo the jews must be destroyed or ergo the US must be opposed on all measures or ergo anyone who disagrees is a traitor.

 
At 8:43 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

In many ways the hindutvas will never achieve what they want because victim hood is just not a winning philosophy. How can you improve your situation if if somebody else is always responsible for all the problems encountered therefore those people must be destroyed (America and their agents and traitorous stooges).

Well, I got news for the Hindutvas, America and its "stooges" aren't going away anytime soon.

 
At 2:43 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

I know one thing, after this latest airline incident indonesia I sure don't wanna be flying while muslim. One of them cats decides to go see Allah and your kufir butt is screwed.

 
At 11:25 PM, Blogger PradeepE said...

Congress vaadis have been so used to dishing out stuff with impunity against anyone, that the slightest counter amazes them. Critique on governance models, functioning, suitability to the Indian context, anything of that nature would have been very very good.

Contrasted to what the Congress did for the last 50+ years, the time has come for someone to clean our stables. One could argue that millions have been pushed to destitution and death. A slippery slope argument for sure, but the pain comes from that. Hardly a die hard of any sort.

 
At 4:01 AM, Blogger Nanana said...

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-dominant-life-form-in-the-cosmos-is-probably-superintelligent-robots

Oh dear.. The creationists may be right afterall.

 
At 4:30 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hello Ralphy,

I am of the opinion that whatever happened in Germany is the by product of human failings, both in Hitler himself and in the German people as a whole.

I don't think Germany is unique in this sense. The beast that raised its head in Germany in 1930-1945 is the very same creature we encountered in Armenia, Bosnia, Bangladesh, Rwanda and many other places.

Right now all indications point to this beast visiting India in the near future.

I am not comfortable with that possibility - even if as so many people tell me - it is inevitable.

 
At 4:37 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Pradeep E,

"Congress vaadis have been so used to dishing out stuff with impunity against anyone, that the slightest counter amazes them. Critique on governance models, functioning, suitability to the Indian context, anything of that nature would have been very very good.

Contrasted to what the Congress did for the last 50+ years, the time has come for someone to clean our stables. One could argue that millions have been pushed to destitution and death. A slippery slope argument for sure, but the pain comes from that. Hardly a die hard of any sort."

If I take the text of your post above and replace the words "Congress" with "Social Democrats". And I take the word "India" and replace it with "Germany"... then I find a paragraph straight that mirrors the exact tone of Nazi criticisms of the Wiemar Republic in 1933.

I know you didn't have any knowledge of the Nazi propaganda against the Republic - so you have conceived the text on your own.

When I see things like this - I feel that the same way of thinking that destroyed Germany and its greatness is now rising in India.

People are so used to seeing Nazism wrapped in polished leather booths and pressed Hugo Boss fashions of the extermination camps, they fail to recognize it as it walks in a different garb in our midst.

 
At 4:46 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Ralphy,

I suspect there is a less complicated explanation to this conspiracy stuff.

The South East Asian region has seen a massive increase in air travel. Airlines are forced to be competitive. This is leading to corners being cut and the infrastructure has not caught up with the needs of the time.

Cutting corners by itself is not going to cause crashes, but if you combine the cutting corners with poor infrastructure development, then you have a perfect storm.

Inexperienced pilots, airlines that don't have proper tracking, inadequate radar coverage, crowded flight corridors, flights paths that minimize fuel and maximize filled seats per unit of flight time... then even the improbable becomes the inevitable.

What we are seeing looks like a complex systems failure where multiple systems simultaneously break down and cause a catastrophe.

We have seen a similar situation before, in the US in the late 80s, in China in the 90s.

I am not terribly surprised to see it in SEA now.

 
At 4:52 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Ralphy,

I am however very worried about the following.

There appears to be no unique PSR signature that one can associate with an aircraft. As things stand most PSR data is not integrated with SSR data.

A flight's identity is determined solely by the transponder code emitted on the SSR and on a previously filed flight plan.

This is a major hole in airspace security, as the transponder code can be changed and the flight path can be altered maliciously.

Unless something is done to fill this gap between PSR data and SSR data, a flight can easily by spoofed and the entire AD network defeated by hostile interests.

Something needs to be done quickly to address this otherwise we are looking at another 9/11 in the making.

 
At 10:33 AM, Blogger maverick said...

http://news.yahoo.com/crowded-skies-southeast-asia-put-pressure-pilots-air-073820597--finance.html

This brings out the perfect storm aspect into focus.

 
At 8:17 PM, Blogger Brown Eagle said...

Maverick

You have mail.
Thanks

 
At 3:36 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Brown Eagle,

I have replied.

 
At 5:00 AM, Blogger maverick said...

I didn't vote for Prime Minister Modi, but then I didn't vote for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh either.

My NOT supporting Sri. Modi is significant because otherwise I had a long history of supporting the party of Atal Behari Vajpayee and I feel that Sri. Gadkari, Smt. Swaraj and Sri. Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi would have made a better team.

 
At 5:02 AM, Blogger maverick said...

I think this is the first time that an online magazine has been effectively named the chief planning body for the Government of India.

 
At 9:34 PM, Blogger PradeepE said...

"If I take the text of your post above and replace the words "Congress" with "Social Democrats". And I take the word "India" and replace it with "Germany"... then I find a paragraph straight that mirrors the exact tone of Nazi criticisms of the Wiemar Republic in 1933. "

Mav, nothing that fancy or morbid to read out of it. All it says is twisting anything is easy for those skilled in the art. And you are keeping at it. You are of course entitled to your opinion.

 
At 3:49 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Pradeep E,

Man - what planet are you living on? It must be Planet Modi and not Planet Earth.

Please step of Planet Modi and come down to Earth where the rest of us live and suffer - then you will see facts for what they are.

On Earth none of us could have dreamt of a day when Madhu Kishwar or Swapan Dasgupta would say the things they are saying today about the VHP and those who are trying "derail the development" agenda of the Modi government.

An RSS pracharak who spoke of eliminating all Muslims and Christians from India by 2021 has been asked to go on leave for "medical reasons". He has intimated that he will "take care of his health" but return as soon as he is feeling better. This was done after Modiji met with men from Nagpur and told them that he was displeased with the aforementioned pracharak's behaviour.

Less than two hours after the aforementioned pracharak went on leave - Modi's long time opponent in Gujarat - Sanjay Joshi is back to being in the RSS's political action side. This is man who was excommunicated from the Parivar in 2012.

The really distrubing part is that this is a story that is in the textbooks on history already. The names and places are different but it is all there.

 
At 4:53 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

It appears that a personality cult has developed around Modi and the Hindutvas are in thrall to it.

 
At 6:39 PM, Blogger maverick said...

I think it is only a matter of time before Rajnath Singh is jettisoned and Amit Shah is made the Home Minister.



 
At 8:03 PM, Blogger PradeepE said...

Ralphy sir, what is this hindutva thing you keep inserting as the 3rd word of every sentence.

kaamanakkachelli kaamanakkachelli kaamanakkachelli... I think sometime between 3 and 6 years is when my brother started saying these sounds. Neither he nor anyone in the family ever figured out what it meant. We figured he liked the way it rolled off his tongue. Is it something like that..

 
At 8:24 PM, Blogger PradeepE said...

Mav,
The one where you suffer? The one where cattle prods were being used to tear us apart. I don't think you suffered that though. You really think the congress would let anyone, least of all their nemesis, get a march on them leading a country and getting away with it.

Let me be clear. I am hardly a die hard Modi fan or RSS fan or whatever labels you are throwing around. I know what I am against though...sometimes knowing what not to keep around is a way to gain focus.

 
At 9:03 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

I wonder when the Daisy Duke Marching Corps members will start throwing those Sieg Heil salutes with their messages on this forum.

 
At 6:14 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear PradeepE,

In my opinion, given the high population density and declining per-capita resources- India will see a rapid surge in public dissatisfaction with the economy.
This dissatisfaction will likely coalesce around notions of "failed leadership" i.e. corruption (moral, social etc...) and a market in snake oil will come up which will pander to and exploit that dissatisfaction in various demographic constituencies.

This is exactly identical to the situation that manifested in Germany in 1930. It has also occurred in other parts of the world, and the outcome of such a situation is generally a major war and/or a holocaust.

There is a very poor level of Holocaust awareness in India. People see the World Wars as something that can only happen in Europe.

People do not understand how easily history repeats itself if you ignore what it teaches.

Over the last fifty years, a consensus was reached among key stakeholders in the government, that all forms of extreme religious or ethnocentric thinking were intrinsically detrimental to national security. This consensus was reach at great cost, all the lessons of history in every other part of the world were re-learned with blood, toil and tears.

Today as a result of the alleged electoral role of the Hindutva-vadis - they are being allowed by the Modi government to publicly challenge the consensus that the Government of India has built since independence.

God-only-knows-who is running around 7RCR and they walking into places that they have no business being in.

Key ministries are being handed over to people who have never been elected and are not directly answerable to parliament. Wherever possible the parliament is being bypassed and laws passed as ordinances.

This can only lead to one place. There is an infernal machine - which once started cannot be stopped.

We are sadly watching the initiation stages of this contraption starting - in front of our very eyes the gears are slowly turning.

I don't know what you want to do at a time like this, but I do not intend to be a mute spectator.

This is madness and someone needs to say that openly.

 
At 8:04 AM, Blogger maverick said...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/aparna-pande/secular-india-v-hindu-nat_b_6397778.html

interesting article

 
At 9:44 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

there's that word again, "Hindutva".

 

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