India is losing business due to loyalty to English Language. We can’t do business with the French or Germans, Spanish or the Arabs. Swahili and Bantu, the Chinese and Japanese are out of bounds to us.
- Video: François Hollande Speaking English in India (englishblog.com)
- Are India’s outsourcing days numbered? (mintonlinebusiness.wordpress.com)
In the deep jungles of Indian politics, tom-tom drums are beating. Some people who know how to read these drum-beats are saying that the message reads “Rahul baba is coming … Rahul baba is coming …”
Will Indira Gandhi inspire Rahul Gandhi
It is some 15 months of UPA-II. Will it be like the 1971 election of Indira Gandhi. Leading a lame-duck, Government for two years, after a flurry of populist tokens, like abolition of privy purses, bank nationalisation, Indira Gandhi called for ‘garibi hatao’ and an election.
Will we see an ouster of Manmohan, installation of Rahul Gandhi as PM, another flurry of populist tokens – and an election in 12-18 months.
Going by personal experience, the few 2ndlook posts in the last 3 months, on Rahul Gandhi have had unusual traffic. Reader interest has been higher than what the content would justify.
A report in The Times Of India reads
our economist PM’s lack of leadership gets manifested best in his absolute abdication of responsibility on issues concerning the country’s economy … foodgrains continue to rot for want of storage space … even as Naxals continue to kill our forces at will … the home minister’s response suggests it to be a ‘law and order’ problem, Digvijay Singh thinks otherwise … as the killing spree continues, the government’s absentee railway minister addresses a massive rally at Lalgarh with Maoist support and even supports an investigation into the death of a Naxal commander.
Pranab Mukherjee disapproves of Mamata Banerjee’s antics. But soon the Congress’s own heir apparent takes a dangerous left turn. Addressing a massive tribal rally alongside a suspected Naxal leader, Rahul Gandhi talks of being a soldier of the tribals in Delhi … What is most unbecoming of the ‘honest’ Singh is his constantly looking the other way on issues involving gross corruption. No wonder then that telecom minister A Raja and CWG chairman Suresh Kalmadi have seemed to carry on their reported exploits with impunity.
India deserves a more ‘in-control’ PM … what makes the PM-in-waiting, Rahul, choose to remain ‘shielded’ perpetually? Has he done a reality check and concluded that he is not prepared for the job? Is he worried that he might face the same flak when his opportunity comes? What is equally surprising is that our ‘PM-designate’ is just as invisible on almost all important issues. (via No Nightwatchman’s Innings – The Times of India; parts excised for brevity.).
National Advisory Council (NAC) takes over
A web-zine, MeriNews in a recent analysis points out
The SIX-year old trusted political equation between Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh is said to be under pressure. Since the revival of National Advisory Council (NAC), headed by Sonia Gandhi …
All these six years, perfect understanding was maintained among these two power centers. While Sonia Gandhi looking after political issues of Congress-led UPA Government; Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh was given free hand with regard to the affairs of the government. But the growing interest shown by Sonia Gandhi in the governance seems to be widening the gap between the two political titans.
At this juncture, the revival of NAC is seen as Sonia Gandhi’s efforts to take control over the administration on her own to pave way for the coronation of her son Rahul Gandhi as Prime Minister. …
Manmohan Singh is taking all due care avoiding the media focus on himself. He has hardly given any full-length interview for any news paper or news channel. He is also not happy with the attitude of some ministers, who did not cooperate with him … only Home Minister P. Chidambaram interacts with the Prime Minister on a regular basis on all major policy issues. While all other ministers are trying to show that they are more loyal to `madam’ than the prime minister.
Manmohan Singh was upset when AICC General Secretary Digvijay Singh had written an article questioning Chidambaram’s anti-Maoists policy at a time when the government was facing crisis following 76 CRPF jawans massacre in Chhattiasgarh. Whether Rahul Gandhi will be allowed to lead the nation or some intermediate arrangement will be preferred, is yet to be seen. (via Has Sonia Gandhi-Manmohan Singh equation as a team ended?).
A BJP MP, Chandan Mitra, writing for The Pioneer, paints a similar picture. Some edited (for brevity) sections are reproduced below.
What happened in the Rajya Sabha on August 31, last day of the Monsoon Session … was probably the most incredible example of a Government under siege … from within. The … next day, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister sought to drape Congress MP Keshava Rao’s rebellion against … Kapil Sibal with the cloak of “inner-party democracy” reveals the … bewilderment. Later the same evening, … P Chidambaram and Digvijay Singh were back in the ring …this time over the term ‘saffron terror’. Was it mere coincidence that two efficient … Ministers — Mr Chidambaram and Mr Sibal — bore the brunt of Congress MPs’ wrath? Some … believe that … Mr Keshava Rao’s … access to 10 Janpath, the rebellion must have been staged … (knowing) that no consequences would follow.
leaders have begun jockeying for the post-Manmohan era. With Rahul Gandhi’s mounting visibility, carefully calibrated by sections of the media, Congress know it is a matter of time before the heir-apparent takes direct charge.
the Prime Minister sat through all five hours of the Nuclear Liability Bill debate in the Rajya Sabha. Congress MPs later complained they couldn’t even take coffee breaks because it would have been improper to gad off while he sat on impassively. From this unusual action it has been deduced by many that Mr Manmohan Singh is in the final stage of repaying his debt to Washington on the nuclear issue.
So now that the nuclear deal process is complete, Mr Manmohan Singh may prefer to walk into the sunset once US President Barack Obama’s visit happens in early November.
Proponents believe that 2011 or latest 2012 will be the year of transition … a political crisis may be deliberately stirred so that a fresh election has to be called to legitimise Mr Rahul Gandhi’s ascendancy since his mother believes electoral endorsement is what’s kept the dynasty going. Congress strategists have calculated that if an election is held within the next 12 to 18 months, with Mr Rahul Gandhi projected as Prime Minister, the party will win a majority on its own. …
some seniors in the party are already positioning themselves for such an eventuality — Mr Digvijay Singh for one [.] has been consistently making jholawallah-type noises … significantly, he has targeted Mr Chidambaram who is clearly doing his best to uphold the dignity and power of the Indian state. … Rahul is building a jholawallah team around himself, some inherited from his mother’s National Advisory Council, which now acts as a super-Cabinet, and the rest drawn from from across the globe, potential British Labour Party leader David Miliband included. I would rather have Mr Rahul Gandhi take over right now than permit his ambitious cohorts to inject chaos and disorder in governance so that they can herald the Crown Prince’s arrival into South Block as the knight in shining armour destined to ‘rescue’ India from drift. Who knows, maybe Ms Sonia Gandhi will time her ‘voluntary retirement’ to coincide with that so daughter Priyanka begins a long stint as Congress president! [Significant caveats and qualifications by the author excised for brevity. Read original, linked at the beginning and here to verify the credibility and degree of certainty of the analysis].
Which way the wind blows
The wide- coverage of Rahul Gandhi’s support to Omar Abdullah by the media was indicative of the way political winds are blowing. Did Omar Abdullah with nearly 12-15 years of experience in governance need Rahul Gandhi’s certification? The shrill attacks on the Government using Commonwealth Games is another indicator. Will the Ayodhya judgement by the Allahabad High Court be used as a trigger for displacing Manmohan Singh?
Time will surely tell. In the meantime, Rahul Gandhi would do well to remember that the Congress has really won just three election out of ten in the last 40 years. No doubt, the Indian Voter exudes warmth towards Rahul Gandhi.
To assume that this warmth will translate into votes is immature.
- Rahul Gandhi Moves to Center Stage (blogs.wsj.com)
- Analysis: Games fiasco highlights fissures in India government (reuters.com)
- Sunil Sharan: Shunned, Will He Bolt? (huffingtonpost.com)
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday had a surprise suggestion of empowering villagers to fight terrorism.
“I am confident that this country can take on terrorism. Defeating it is no problem. If we empower those people in villages, we can sit back, relax and we will destroy terrorism in 15 minutes,” Gandhi told a press conference here. (via Empower villagers and defeat terrorism in 15 minutes: Rahul).
Are we making terrorism into a slogan
Twitter, Facebook, private emails are all buzzing about the latest statement by Rahul Gandhi on terrorism. Mostly critical. With bits like ‘we can sit back, relax’, Rahul partly deserves ridicule. But the core of his statement is a rare piece of sense.
Strangely, when Rahul Gandhi does make his rare sensible statement, unthinking reaction is to reject. Terrorism is a case where a ‘disarmed’ population has been made dependent on the State for defence at even the local level. Would the attackers of Mumbai’s Taj Hotel have dared if they had known that many of the people were armed and liable to fire back?
To all Rahul baiters
This is one smart thing he has said. What if it his first good idea! In fact the idea is so good that no government would dare to do such a thing! Including Rahul Gandhi himself, if he were to come the Prime Minister tomorrow.
A car said to have been a gift from Adolf Hitler to a Nepalese king will be repaired and used to drive visitors around the grounds of a palace museum, a government official said on Thursday.
The 1939 Mercedes-Benz was presented by the Nazi leader to King Tribhuvan, grandfather of Nepal’s last King Gyanendra, deposed two years ago. (via Hitler car to be used for Nepal palace tourists).
German activities in Indian border areas
Why would Hitler send a car as a gift to the King of Nepal?
Behind that is an interesting history of manoeuvrings by European powers in Asia. The Tibetan kingdom, sought to counter-balance the British and the Chinese power, by increasing Japanese-German presence. Result – German activity in the Nepal, Sikkim and Tibet region was significant in the 1920-1940 period.
Dr.R.Wilhelm Filchner was an early German traveller in Tibet, China and North West India in 1903-195. Filchener’s second expedition, in 1924 took longer, covered greater distances with more complications. Albert Von Le Coq’s (the German version of Auriel Stein) book in 1928 covered North-West India, Tiber, North-East China, Eastern Iran region. Paul Dahlke, set up the Buddhistisches Haus at Berlin in 1924.
Religion and Occult
There is a certain amount of mysticism and occult elements also. Theodore Illion (German writer of a strange traveller’s account titled Darkness Over Tibet) wrote of mystics in underground cities, who would help the Aryans to conquer and rule the world. The names of Friedrick Krohn and Karl Haushofer are also related to this genre.
In 1920, Friedrick Krohn, a member of the Thule Society, suggested the Hakenkreutz, a symbol used by the Thule Society, to Adolf Hitler for the nascent Nazi Party. An unlikely theory by French researchers Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier that it was Karl Haushofer (a Tibeto-phile from Germany), close to Rudolf Hess and also knew Hitler, who contributed to the idea of Hakenkreuz, the Nazi swastika. The Hakenkreuz was being used by the Nazi Party before Hitler met Haushofer.
It is known that Hitler sent his scientific advisors for studies to Tibet (via Sikkim). These were anthropological studies and culture studies. During Hitler’s short reign, a German expedition went to Tibet (at Tibet’s invitation), led by Ernst Schäfer, included Bruno Berger, H.A. Lettow, (from the Himmler’s SS group), Heinrich Harrer’s travels during WWII have become famous with Seven Years in Tibet film with Brad Pitt.
Hitler’s interest in Nepal, Tibet and Sikkim underscored the importance of the British possession of India in world affairs at that time.
And not Hitler’s occult, religious and racial beliefs.
- Review: Young Hitler (thejc.com)
- Hitler’s Willing (Christian) Executioners [Greg Laden's Blog] (scienceblogs.com)
All’s well …
Hari K. Prasad, the techie who was pushing the case for secure Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), earlier arrested, has now been released on bail.
Fears of the Vindictive State seems to have been misplaced. Instead, we had a judge who echoed, pretty much what 2ndlook said. The judge said,
if the machine was possessed by the accused for demonstrating only that it could be tampered with, then the accused committed no offence. On the contrary, he has done a great service to the democracy,” the Judge said in the bail order.
If developed countries have rejected EVMs …
One worrisome argument states that since many ‘advanced’ countries rejected EVMs, India too must reject the same.
The question seems to be, “Do you think the Indian Election Commission is better than the US Federal Election Commission?” Since, election authorities in Netherlands and Germany have rejected EVMs, another favorite question is “Are you saying that the Government of Netherlands and Germany are wrong?” Even ‘advanced’ countries don’t have EVMs.
Why should India have it.
Paralysis by analysis
Paper based systems are also prone to frauds. Like ‘oldsters’ in the Indian electoral scene will point put. Whatever technology is used, elements of fraud are likely to rear their heads. A recent post in The Economic Times recounts
a story to illustrate how there have always been allegations against electoral systems. “Balraj Madhok (former politician and co-founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh) once alleged that Indira Gandhi had colluded with the Russians and imported a special election ink. Wherever it is marked in the ballot paper, the ink would disappear and reappear against the Congress symbol. This is like that,” he says.
If the above story is factual, it would mean, a combination of two inks. A disappearing ink that would fade away a few days after being used on the ballot paper. The second ink would have to be an ‘invisible’ ink, that is embedded in the ballot paper at the printing press itself. This ‘invisible ink would make its appearance a few days or weeks after the ballots are printed. Do such inks exist?
I haven’t the foggiest notion.
A new day … a new way
Making the system work, after the decision is made is a good thing. Paralysing a system with ‘doubts’ instead of ‘karma’ is a bad idea. If EVMs need improvement, let us do it.
For tomorrow, I would propose a paper based system with central data-base and a printer-server with printers in every polling booth. These printers will print a ballot-paper on demand, for that booth, with date-time-location-serial number-election supervisor-election observers ID stamp, that will have better security than EVM or the ‘current’ old printing machines.
The story so far …
By December, the movement had a book of its own, written by Rao, the psephologist, and a growing number of supporters. One of them, Satya Dosapati, a technician from AP living in the US, connected the movement with Rop Gonggrijp and Alex Halderman. Gonggrijp is a Dutch activist who was part of the team that persuaded his country to scrap electronic voting. Halderman holds a PhD in computer science from Princeton University and is currently an assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan. When Prasad eventually got hold of a machine, Gonggrijp and Halderman worked with him to demonstrate two ways in which a potential hacker could manipulate the machine.
Alerted, the EC asked officials to check for bluetooth devices in EVMs during the first step in securing a machine for an election. Engineers from the manufacturing companies are also now required to certify that all components are original and have not been tampered with. They also have to ensure the absence of any external component. It’s unclear though if all the components in 1.3 million machines can be rigorously tested and cleared by engineers before every election.(via ET Special: Can the Electronic Voting Machine be manipulated? – Page3 – The Economic Times).
- Hot debate over Electronic Voting Machines (thehindu.com)
- Indian Court Extends Custody of Voting Machine Researcher (pcworld.com)
The beatification of Saint Judt
The last 30-45 days has seen a surge on obits, reviews and tributes to Tony Judt.
Tony who? Exactly. An unknown writer till a few months ago, has suddenly become famous in his death. Media (at least in India) has gone overboard. But when Marathi media started on Tony Judt, it was high noon. The straw on the camel’s back.
OK, guilty of misrepresentation. Not the camel’ back! It was my back.
There seems an effort at beatification of Tony Judt. In the modern era, temporal authorities, award a quick Nobel Prize, pin a Congressional Medal of Honor – and the process of ‘secular’ sainthood is completed. Media aids by marching to the drumbeat of the State. These ‘secular’ sainthoods by the ‘modern-secular-liberal-progressive-democratic’ establishment are not meant to be enduring or important. They , the latter-day, disposable, ‘secular’ saints, serve a utilitarian purpose to their masters – the State.
Tony Judt is no exception.
From the safety of a university cloister
By being overtly anti-Israel, Tony Judt, gets an inside track into the Islamic mind – to start his ideas of ‘identity’.
A self-confessed, Social Democrat (but that is not ‘identity’) Tony Judt is the type who speaks from the comfort of a winning side.
We know enough of ideological and political movements to be wary of exclusive solidarity in all its forms. One should keep one’s distance not only from the obviously unappealing “-isms”—fascism, jingoism, chauvinism—but also from the more seductive variety: communism, to be sure, but nationalism and Zionism too. And then there is national pride: more than two centuries after Samuel Johnson first made the point, patriotism—as anyone who passed the last decade in America can testify—is still the last refuge of the scoundrel. (via Edge People | The New York Review of Books).
As fortunes shifted and wavered, Tony Judt’s recounts how his family moved from one declining economy to another growing economy. From Eastern Europe, vaguely in a region near Russia, to Antwerp in Belgium thereon to Britain and finally to the USA. He finds
over the years these fierce unconditional loyalties—to a country, a God, an idea, or a man—have come to terrify me. The thin veneer of civilization rests upon what may well be an illusory faith in our common humanity.
To people like Tony Judt, identity is a matter of convenience. And they rightly, recommend that people must have no identity – and by extension, no loyalty. Fly flags of convenience. May the highest bidder win.
I wonder where Judt’s family was, when the Belgians were flogging the Congolese.
Sainthood by the Vatican
The ‘modern’ State and the media of the Free World have it easy when it comes to cannonising people like Tony Judt!
The Catholic Church has a rather exacting process, stretching over a few years, at the very least. The Catholic Church even appoints a Devil’s Advocate – someone who tries to find reasons why the candidate should NOT be declared a saint.
This process has sometimes taken decades too. After multiple processes and steps, a committee. the Congregation for the Causes of Saints decides on these issues. With the kind of rigour that the Vatican process follows, Saints have ‘public memory’ life span extending to centuries.
Coming to Saint Judt
Today when the West is paying the price for creating a misshapen Islamic identity, people like Judt thinly speak out against identity – an Islamic identity. Or when the West faces a challenge from Asia, China and India, it pays to talk of less identity.
This idea of less identity would not be such a bad idea – if you have so little of identity, to start with!
An Indian problem
Now one of the problems of India, having English as an important language, is the amount of swill, garbage and propaganda that we are subjected to.
In spite of being less than anybody, British media can be pretty biased.
One example was a post by Ian Campbell on Japan’s economic problems. He says,
Japan has … has the worst debt to GDP ratio among major economies … But the interest yield on Japanese government bonds is … not much more than 1 per cent, so the debt is not yet so problematic – and might not seem an obstacle to still more spending. … In just five years, even assuming the economy grows, debt might climb to 230 per cent of GDP … the hideously large debt would finally drive the fiscal deficit far higher and become intolerable.
Japan’s only route then would be drastic fiscal reform or, more probably, huge resort to the printing press, as Latin America did in the old days and Zimbabwe in more recent times. (via Nokia’s billion-dollar man).
Sad Brits …
Campbell, a British journalist, compares Japan with Latin American and African Governments who have printed a lot of money.
But surely he knows that Western Governments – under the leadership of Ben Bernanke printed much more than Africa and Lat-Am could and did! Why is Campbell not talking of British, European and American printing presses?
Is there a racial smell and smear somewhere? Did I hear him say ‘These irresponsible Blacks, Latinas, Browns, Yellows …’
Now Japan’s problems are minor – because they have solid, well run, high tech companies, whose products are in demand all over the world.
Off their peaks, these Japanese firms still have mean clout in business world. Japanese interest rates being so low will not change Governmental economics by much. So, why compare Japan with Latin America or Zimbabwe?
Of course, you cannot compare Japan to Spain – where prostitution is a national industry. Or Ireland, or Greece, which have lived on handouts for the last 100 years.
Maybe you should look at British debt my dear sir!
Is it wishful thinking Mr.Campbell? Balanced your judgment is not. Or is it just plain malarkey? Methinks, it is ‘White’ noise!
Ian Campbell, who has “recently returned to the UK, where he is writing a book on rural Mexico.” could utilize his time much better writing about rural Britain, which depends on huge subsidies from a nation groaning under 500% Gross-National-Debt (GND-that is Govt.+Corporate+household).
Now British GND (no hindi puns intended) is a much-more-hideous. Than Japanese at 500%. We both know that British exports are going nowhere!
Let us look at British economy
First the biggest sector of British corporate sector is about digging, extracting and selling natural resources.
A historical legacy – with little value-addition. Royal Dutch Shell, BP, North Sea Oil, XStrata, Anglo American, Rio Tinto Group, BHP Billiton, BG Group, National Grid, Scottish and Southern Energy, Centrica. That is 10 of the top 30 British companies. These companies mostly have their assets abroad – and if push comes to shove, you know these companies will go where their bread is buttered.
The second leg on which British industry stands today is cracked leg of banking and insurance – HSBC, HBOS, RBS, Lloyd’s TSB, Barclays, Standard Chartered, Aviva and Prudential. The British part of the business of these 8 financial firms is in mess. The international business is subsidizing the British business. How long do you think this will last?
The third wobbly leg is pharmaceuticals made up of two companies. Glaxo-Smithkline-and Astra Zeneca. Both are in doldrums due to competition from generic Indian companies – and may look good to beery British journalists boozed in a pub. Now these are the three legs of British economy. We know that three legged stools are always prone to topple over.
That was lesson No.1 for you Campbell.
Lallu has a few things to say here
Lesson No.2 is what our colourful former Railway Minister said, “इस हमाम में सब नंगे हैं” (meaning “everyone in this bathhouse is naked”).
No offense to colour black, but then black pots must not call yellow kettles names.
It is plain bad journalism!
- Our Government Is Now So Huge That It’s Choking The Private Sector (businessinsider.com)
- Dollar hits 15-year low vs yen, jumps vs euro (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- China Buys More Japanese Debt Than Ever Before (businessinsider.com)