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Fluent Azhagiri puts to rest doubts about English skills – India – The Times of India

May 29, 2009 5 comments

As brother Stalin and mother Dayalu Ammal looked on, DMK’s M K Azhagiri took oath of office in English. It sounded neither halting nor practised. And with it, the first myth of post-poll bargaining — of Congress’s apprehension over Azhagiri’s lack of fluency in English — lay well and truly busted. (via Fluent Azhagiri puts to rest doubts about English skills – India – The Times of India).

English language media in India is still in its colonial haze – and to see such decadent, colonial ideas, 60 years after the British were thrown out, boggles my imagination. To approve of a politician, because he has English-language skills, is much like the endorsement of Obama because of the colour of his skin!

I don’t know which is worse!

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Apply Gujarat riot case principle to Sikh riots case: PIL in SC – India – The Times of India

May 24, 2009 3 comments

A temporary setback to Tytler

A temporary setback to Tytler

A day after Supreme Court directed a Special Investigation Team probe into the alleged role of chief minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 post-Godhra communal carnage, a PIL sought to draw a parallel between the Gujarat riots and the 1984 anti-Sikh riots seeking parallel treatment by the judiciary.

The petition … said the Supreme Court has handled the Gujarat riot cases with singular motive to bring to book the alleged perpetrators of the mayhem and requested it to take up the hundreds of anti-Sikh riots cases pending in various courts for 25 years without there being any justice to the victims and their families.

The PIL, … was also categoric that pendency of the anti-Sikh riot cases for 25 years made a mockery of the criminal justice system that should equally protect the victims and the right of the accused for a speedy trial. (via Apply Gujarat riot case principle to Sikh riots case: PIL in SC – India – The Times of India ellipsis mine).

1984 anti-Sikh riots

1984 anti-Sikh riots

This PIL does raise some interesting questions in the minds of people I know (and dont know too!), Your Honour!

  1. Are Muslims ‘more equal’ than Sikhs?
  2. Is killing of Muslims by Hindus more heinous than Hindu killing of Sikhs? I am not raising the question of Sikhs and Muslims killing Hindus – for instance in Punjab and Kashmir!
  3. Does the fact that the 1984 killings happened under the very nose of the Supreme Court make it a ‘more understandable’ case?
  4. Is there a greater need to prove to the Muslim (world) that India cares – than to deliver justice to the Sikh population?
  5. The Muslims have many spokesmen in the international world – but the Sikhs have no one except (maybe) fellow Indians? Is the Honourable Supreme Court worried about international opinion more than the due process of law – which will dis-favour the Sikhs?
  6. Older cases should usually occupy the Honourable Court’s attention – rather than newer ones? The Honourable Court may need to explain why a newer case has been more favoured than the older one?
  7. Does the ‘noise’ level of a case create pressure on the Honourable Court?
  8. Does the size of the Muslim electorate have anything to do with this ‘activism’ – compared to the lesser Sikh Voters, leading to ‘passive’ justice?
The Sikhs have not seen justice for 25 years ...

The Sikhs have not seen justice for 25 years ...

The Indian Supreme Court is untainted by dubious legal precedents of the American Supreme Court.

The much vaunted ‘Western principle of equal in the eyes of law’ was given short shrift by the US Supreme Court in the Dredd Scott case – by which the slave forefathers of the modern African-Americans were barred from approaching American Courts. Similarly, in its wisdom, the US Supreme Court rubber stamped segregation between Whites and the African Americans by the Plessy vs. Ferguson verdict (1892). In yet landmark case, the US Supreme Court decided, (Myner v. Happerstett) that being a US citizen did not give women the right to vote. Finally, after more than 100 years of Women’s Suffrage Movement, the right to vote was given to the women in the US in 1924.

Such ‘differences’ in judicial treatment of similar cases dilutes the high standards of that the Indian Supreme Court has set for itself.

India faces more 26/11-like threats: Former US envoy

Blackwill, who has co-authored the report titled “Terrorism against India — Lessons from Mumbai”, was delivering a lecture on the report at a meeting organised here by industry body CII. He said apart from intelligence failure, inadequate coastal security, failure of the government to respond swiftly to such incidents, inability to form a single command centre for operation against terrorists and ill-equipped police force were some of the areas of concern for India.

Speaking about the findings of his report, Blackwill said the only way to stop such attacks was swift and coordinated response and prevent terrorists from achieving their objective — which in the case of Mumbai was to grab maximum international attention. (via India faces more 26/11-like threats: Former US envoy).

LeTs Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi speaks during a rally at Muzaffarabad, in PoK. Photo Courtesy - AP

LeT's Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi speaks during a rally at Muzaffarabad, in PoK. Photo Courtesy - AP

Trojan horses are used even today

Here is a someone, stoking up India’s fears and insecurities. Allegedly, Blackwill was used by Manubhai to ‘expedite’ the Indo-US Nuclear deal. Is Blackwill, now with RAND Corporation, a ‘respected US think tank’, angling for another assignment – maybe on behalf on some manufacturer of police-intelligence-surveillance equipment companies?

Blackwill’s comments came in during a discussion about the Rand Report on the Terrorist Strike on Mumbai, conducted by CII. (from ‘US policy on Pak terror has failed’, a newspaper report)

Looking at the saturation coverage in the Indian media, there is more to the story than the milk-of-US-kindness!

26/11 - Mumbai Attacks

26/11 - Mumbai Attacks

Saturation Coverage

India faces more 26/11-like threats: Former US envoy

‘US policy on Pak terror has failed’

India faces more terror attacks: US study

26/11 attack shows firearms assault can succeed: Blackwill

Blackwill offers FBI help

India can expect more terror attacks like the Mumbai carnage:US study

India to find its own solution to curb terrorism: Blackwill

Top ex-US diplomat likens Pakistan to Cuban missile crisis

India faces threat of a Mumbai rerun: US study

‘India likely to face more Mumbai-style attacks’

India faces threat of Mumbai like attack: US study

Blackwill warns of US pressure on J&K

Study predicts Mumbai rerun

India faces serious threat of a Mumbai rerun: US study

India faces more threats: US study

The World’s Most Reputable Companies

May 23, 2009 2 comments
Is that what reputations can be built upon?

Is that what reputations can be built upon?

Reputation Institute collected survey data on 600 companies globally. Only people in a company’s home country and familiar with the company could rate it. So Americans could only rate American companies they knew about. It seems they don’t like their companies as much as Brazilians do.

Brazil had the second highest percentage of its participating companies ranked above the global average–76%–while 62% of American companies received pulse scores above the average. However it’s the people of India who love their companies the best. Of India’s 27 corporations ranked by the institute, 24 (89%) placed above the average. Seventeen of them landed in the top third of the list. (via The World’s Most Reputable Companies – Forbes.com).

What does one make of this

This is interesting? How is this data to be read?

Is this a Indic pattern where people are not imprisoned in large numbers, where people with criminal records get elected to the Parliament – and companies are trusted to such a significant extent!

Wall Street Dinosaurs cartoon

Categories: Uncategorized

The real pandemic – Sunita Narain

May 23, 2009 2 comments
Indus Valley seal showing domestic animals

Indus Valley seal showing domestic animals

Take swine flu — now renamed. We know it started in La Gloria, a little town in Mexico. We know a young boy suffering from fever in March became the first confirmed victim of the current outbreak, which, even as I write, has reached India. What is not said is this ill-fated town is right next to one of Mexico’s biggest hog factories, owned by the world’s largest pig processor, Smithfield Foods. What is also not said is that people in this town have repeatedly protested against the food giant for water pollution, terrible stench and waste dumping. (via Sunita Narain: The real pandemic).

This will jolt you upright

There were two things about this post which made me sit up.

annual-world-wheat-production

Annual World Wheat Production

One – The real story behind the ‘probable’ pandemic. This is something that most mainstream media writers do not tell. Take official Government press releases, (sometimes) change the language and call it news. Sometimes, they help in the cover up. If this story does not become well-known enough, Mexico and its poor will be blamed for the starting this pandemic – by the West.

Two – the fragile state of US agriculture, specifically, and the West in general.

About 46,000 ‘corporate’ farmers, account for nearly 50% of US farm output – and most of the US$20 billion in subsidy. The US Government prints vast amounts of currency notes or issues US Treasury Bonds, which are lapped up (earlier by the Middle East Oil Potentates, and the Chinese these days). This money is then handed over to these ‘American farmers’.

The US agricultural system

An interesting situation exists in the food sector – especially in the US. Giant food corporations, killed buying competition with high prices (to farmers), direct buying from farmers (at higher prices), monoclonal seeds that destroy bio-diversity. And the US consumers are not getting the lower food prices that are being promised in India.

Industrial crops will create a foodgrain crisis

Industrial crops will create a food-grain crisis

Farmers became dependent on corporate supplies of seeds (at high prices) and corporate purchases by the same corporations (at low prices). Today, an ‘efficient’ and ‘hi-tech’ agricultural farm sector in the US needs more than US$ 20 billion (conservative estimates are US$12 billion) of subsidies to survive.

The US-EPA says, “By 1997, a mere 46,000 of the two million farms in this country (America), accounted for 50% of sales of agricultural products (USDA, 1997 Census of Agriculture data) (bold letters supplied) – and gobble up most of this huge subsidy that lowers Third World agricultural prices. These lower agricultural prices devastate agriculture in Third World countries, creating man-made famines. These man-made famines, of course, gives the West a false sense of superiority.

A study in contrast

The Indian agricultural system, with nil subsidies, working with cost disadvantages, does not have giant buying corporations and monoclonal seed stock, is holding its own against subsidized agricultural systems of the West. And paid hacks of these Western corporations are trying to tell Indian consumers and policy makers that these giant corporations will cut food costs in India.

Economic crisis

Economic crisis

These giant corporations are aiming for entry into India – promising ‘efficiencies’ in buying (which will give consumers a better price), and higher prices for farmers (which will increase farm incomes). Of course, this will last as long as there is competition.

Once, these giant corporations, fueled by huge amounts of debt and equity, drive out competition, they will lower the boom on the consumers and the farmer – like in the USA.

Stuffed and starved

Raj Patel, in his book, Stuffed and Starved, demonstrates how global food corporations are behind global food habits, imbalance traditional diets, creating disease epidemics (like diabetes) – and how India needs to be careful before crafting industrial policies that encourage these global corporations to destroy Indian agriculture. A book review extracts some key points as follows,

Polluter cleans up principle ought to apply (Carton by David Horsey; courtesy - indianinthemachine.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

Polluter cleans up principle ought to apply (Carton by David Horsey; courtesy - indianinthemachine.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

What we think are our choices, says Patel, are really the choices of giant food production companies. Millions of farmers grow food, six billion people consume it. But in between them are a handful of corporations creating what Patel calls “an hourglass” model of food distribution. One Unilever controls more than 90% of the tea market. Six companies control 70% of the wheat trade. Meanwhile, farmers across the world are pitted against each other, trying to sell these gatekeeper companies their produce. And if you think the consumer comes out on top because of all this competition, think again.

The End of Bretton Woods

With the collapse of Bretton Woods, this will become increasingly difficult. Where will US agriculture be without subsidies – in a massively high costs zone. US food exports will shrivel and global agricultural prices will reach (at least) 200 year highs (my estimate). And that will be the golden hour for Indian agriculture. What is the only dark cloud in this scenario – GM seeds which the West is pushing down the reluctant Indian agriculturists’ throat. With significant help from the Indian Government.

Hand-over English education to the private sector

The reason we’ve driven all the way to Neemrana … is the NIIT University that is taking shape in the shadow of the Aravallis here, a 100-acre campus that though still under construction, will, insists Pawar, be ready to welcome its first students — for courses in BTech, MTech and PhDs in computer science and engineering, educational technology, and bioinformatics and biotechnology — in September this year. “We grew from a two-week course,” says Pawar — this was in 1981when NIIT was launched — “to a year-long course in 1989 as a need-based response and franchising model to grow HR practices, innovation and breaking fresh ground.” It rode the IT boom, creating opportunities for skill-sets in, besides IT, banking, finance, insurance and management. “The path to higher education was always clear,” Pawar now nods. (via Breakfast with BS: Rajendra Pawar).

Backdoor privatization

The Vedanta industrial group is setting up a University in Orissa. From a campus at the new Lavassa township, Oxford is going to start offering courses. These and other represent the quiet backdoor ‘privatization’ of Indian higher education.

Hidden subsidies

Large tracts of lands are being acquired by the Government, and handed over for a pittance to the private sector. Soon, we will have competition between State Sector subsidized English education – and private sector subsidized education.

Who will help Indian languages get back on their feet

While Indian language Universities are struggling – for funding, respect, status, support, foreign Universities, using paper money, backed by the Bretton Woods fraud, will impose their ideas, culture, etc in India.

While the English speaking economic bloc is struggling, India is not focussing on the French, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese Blocs which are large, excellent opportunities.

This can be a way out …

This actually is a good way out. There is a significant demand for English language education – at least currently. This demand can be met by the private sector. In the meantime, misdirected State subsidies can be gainfully used to help Indian language education get back on its feet.

In the not very long run, the state must get out of making up the minds of its citizens.

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