Friday, November 25, 2005

Death in return for integrity

I find myself in agreement with Shivam on the issue of Manjunath's death:

Middle-class India shakes up the PMO when their ilk are taken hostage in a hijacked plane in Kabul. There is outrage amongst the middle class. But when an Indian “driver” gets abducted in Kabul…

There is no count about the number of people who have lost their lives in this country for being whistleblowers. It’s on page one only if the guy went to an IIT or an IIM.

I had expressed similar misgivings when Satyendra Dubey's case was made out to be special simply because he was an IIT graduate. Anyway, I dont think I can say it any better than how Shivam ends his post:

In death the value of your life depends on which college you went to, or what was your standing in the incestuous circles of power in South Delhi. In death, as in life, it is a sexy CV that counts.

If anything, I hope this phase of temporary collective catharsis (in the blogosphere & MSM) just doesnt fizzle out when the next scandal comes up.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Indian media coverage of court cases...

The Indian media rarely covers the trial proceedings of any case. In contrast, the NYT would spend pages of space to discuss court proceedings and to 'predict' the judgments. Why?
1. The media is too wary to step on the judiciary's toes and (unreasonably) fears being held contempt of court.
2. The media managers believe the readers/viewers don't care about the trial.
3. Excessive delay in our courts end kills public interest.

Are there any other reasons?

One fallout of this lack of media interest is that judges get quoted in the media only if they make dramatic statements like "Throw the governor out of his house!". I hope judges dont end up making such statements just for the sake of getting the media to be interested in the proceedings.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

In the long run...

Pessimism: "A tendency to stress the negative or unfavorable or to take the gloomiest possible view"

Over time, a pessimist will find that quite a lot that could've gone horribly bad hasnt actually gone down that path. In the long run, pessimism should die down. Similar argument would hold for optimism as well.

Or as Keynes would put it: In the long run, pessimism & optimism are also dead.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Random thought before I crash for the day...

Newspaper Headline on November 14, 2020: "Non-bailable warrant issued against ex-Minister Abu Salem"

So much for Vision 2020.

Riots in France

Quite a few news reports are claiming that France's "Equality for all" principle is to blame for the riots. Sample this from one such report:

The founding myth of the Republic that promises equality for all, says historian and sociologist Laurent Mucchielli, "is very beautiful - but it is abstract and today it blinds us and turns us into hypocrites."

I only hope that France realises "Equality for all" isnt equivalent to "We are all the same".

The Parmarth Story

This is the story of Pramod Tiwari - A 41-year old whose education was limited to the school-level. He has the distinction of being the only candidate of the Parmarth party in the General Elections of 2004. Contesting from the Delhi Sadar constituency with Bread as his party symbol, he garners all of 126 votes (0.05% of valid votes). So what, you ask? Here's the thing: The Parmarth party was registered with the EC on 10th March 2004 - a few months before the election, and it received(PDF) Rs. 96,26,000/- as voluntary contributions in the financial year 2003-04. As a party registered with the EC, it is exempt from paying any tax on this amount - in spite of the party being unrecognized. And 97% of total contributions - Rs.93,50,000 - is funded by 3 firms, one of which shares its address with the Parmarth's party headquarters. Is all of this then just a charade to provide tax-breaks for these 3 firms?

P.S: Unfortunately, the link to the election affidavits that Pramod Tiwari would've submitted is broken. But according to Delhi Election Watch's report, he stated no criminal cases in his name, and that he does not have assets above Rs. 1 crore.

Update: Thanks to Thalassa Mikra for showing the way with how to use GoI websites :)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Who am I?


The Meaning of life & A good question

"We are not special.
We are not crap or trash, either.
We just are.
We just are, and what happens just happens."

"You wake up at O'Hare and take the shuttle into Chicago.
Set your watch ahead an hour.
If you can wake up in a different place.
If you can wake up in a different time.
Why can't you wake up as a different person?"

I understood what people mean when they say reading a book is a lot better than watching a movie based on it.

My advice to most readers of this blog: Dont read Fight Club.

Sunday, November 06, 2005


A follow-up to my previous post.

As Anu mentioned in her comment, "Only a minute percentage have the interest/tools to understand co-existing moralities". Its this lack of interest that helps fundamentalists shape the public discourse. The general population does not feel that these issues deserve much of their processing power. Consequently, their opinions are shaped by others' extreme images. In the Indian context, this is the reason why the Sangh Parivar has shored up a base with its Hindutva rhetoric. The concept of secularism was never really sold to the public. The masses had accepted it without much analysis and when bombarded with slogans like "Hum paanch, humare pachis", a sizeable portion has chosen to believe in it.

Also, I realised my previous post would help Dominique de Villepin understand the problems he is confronting this past week. Particularly the foll couple of sentences: "to know the truth, u hv to know your identity and not let it obstruct your view of the truth" (emphasis added) and "a peaceful multi-morality requires individual groups to be aware of each other's truths and not be insecure wrt other grps". Could one of you pass this message to Dominique? Thanks!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


X: is there any such thing as truth?
Me: yes.. actually there are finitely many truths
X: are truths interoperable and liquid? do they merge into an amorphous reservoir where morality reconciles with immorality, sanity with insanity, the hunted with the hunter?
Me: liquid - yes.. its quite fluid.. prolly more of a gas and btw, duznt the existence of multiple truths invalidate the concept of morality?
X:morality is not a truth, it is a judgement. any judgement is an attempt to obfuscate another's vision, to blinker it from truth. i think the truths converge, so no matter which one you start with you arrive at a universality.
Me:hmm.. the way i c it, morality is the imposition of one's truth on another.. and yes, moralities converge pretty well.. but while the convergent morality may be deemed as the society's morality, i dont think the same can be said of the convergent truth
X: but when moralities don't converge macha..there is conflict. when they do, you have a culture. either way, you are blinkered from truth. truth belongs nowhere, it is in the air, it is infinite and haphazard and patriculate, it is expanding and can be derived from infinite formulae. posession denies truth. identity denies truth.
Me: well.. u can hv a multi-cultural society peacefully existin.. so thr neednt always be a conflict. i gez while each of us would have his own truth, if we all think independently. given the way the world works, we borrow others truths and claim it be ours as well.. so while there are finitely many truths in the abstract sense, literally you might be right in saying there is no truth
X: ah, but can we have a multi-morality society peacefully existing? if we do, then there ceases to be morality, and the beginning of freedom and truth.
Me:a peaceful multi-morality requires individual groups to be aware of each other's truths and not be insecure wrt other grps.. tat seems rather difficult to happen
X: precisely, and for that to happen morality as notion must dissolve...morality, identity, and everything that denies freedom of thought.
Me: but its a basic human instinct to cling on to one's identity. To override it, we'd all need to be enlightened with the truth
X: converse know the truth you have to shed your identity
Me:nope.. to know the truth, u hv to know your identity and not let it obstruct your view of the truth..

Update: X