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Is This The Intellectual Depth Of Aam Aadmi Party?

April 26, 2013 2 comments

Aam Aadmi Party founders like @VinitaDeshmukh and @ArvindKejriwal derive inspiration from US governance. What lessons, if any, from the USA?.

Query to Vinita Deshmukh, brought no reply. Possibly, in her view, this message was axiomatic - what in Indian classical idiom will be called pratyaksh satya. | Tweet Text - My observation: Governance in USA revolves around Citizen Safety and Citizen Convenience. Just love it! | Twitter - VinitaDeshmukh- My observation- Governance ... 2013-04-26 10-02-32  | Click to go to original message.

Query to Vinita Deshmukh, brought no reply. Possibly, in her view, this message was axiomatic – what in Indian classical idiom will be called pratyaksh satya. | Tweet Text – My observation: Governance in USA revolves around Citizen Safety and Citizen Convenience. Just love it! | Twitter – VinitaDeshmukh- My observation- Governance … 2013-04-26 10-02-32 | Click to go to original message.

A very remarkable thing in India is the effect English has on Indian minds.

For instance, Arvind Kejriwal‘s Party, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has looked to the US for every inspiration. This inspiration-by-the-US ideas are not based on study of the US – but on the propaganda by US media.

Out Of Our Minds

For instance corruption.

Just one scandal in the US, is bigger than all corruption cases that have ‘allegedly’ happened in the last nearly 70 years of independent India. The nearly US$8 trillion of unaccounted /partially accounted hole in the expenditure by US Department of Defense. US$ 8 trillion is nearly all the money that India has spent on defense in the last 65 years.

Yet a founder of the AAP tweets on US governance. Not surprisingly, it based on ‘optics’ – not on any critical appreciation of the US.

For instance, let us look at the US Supreme Court.

Slavery vs Freedom

In March, 1857.

About 1 month before India went up in flames, against the British Raj, the  Supreme Court of the USA (SCOTUS) covered itself in infamy. On  March 6, 1857 the US Supreme Court, in a complex judgement, upheld slavery (Dred Scott v. Sanford). This judgement closed the door of US judiciary and stopped any slave from approaching US courts for justice.

In March 1857, while Indians were preparing to battle the British for freedom and independence, the SCOTUS was busy finding new ways to keep slaves – stooped, shackled and in chains.

It took another 100 years of protests, assassinations of leaders like Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, even a Civil War to change rampant discrimination in the US. But, above all, finally an acute shortage of factory labor and soldiers forced the US Government to withdraw its support to entrenched racism.

The SCOTUS just did not stop at slavery.

SCOTUS supported racism (United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind, 261 U.S. 204 (1923)), segregation by Plessy v. Ferguson 1896.

This tradition has continued. Most recently, SCOTUS stopped a vote recount that would have declared Al Gore the President – but instead, George Bush became the US President for the second term. Books have been written, news journals regularly compile their ‘favorite’ lists of Worst 10 SCOTUS judgements.

Unlike the SCOTUS, the Indian SC has not allowed such unjust judgements to escape its portals. The Indian Supreme Court, in its’ short history has been a remarkable body in juridical operations.

But …

I could repeat big data here

  1. How the US imprisons more people than the next 10 biggest police States in the world.
  2. How 1 in 3 Black Americans are imprisoned
  3. How the US police are brutal force which tramples on US citizens’ rights, every minute, every day.
  4. How the US secret police is bigger than any police State ever in the history of mankind
  5. How the US prosecutes more than 1.4 crore people through its judicial system – which I have pointed out above is covered in tar.

If Arvind Kejriwal and Vinita Deshmukh of the Aam Aadmi Party will take a 2ndlook.

Having said all this, Arvind Kejriwal’s idea of a citizen police force for women safety is a step in the right direction. While the BJP, Communists were all clamoring for more police, more judges, more courts, more costs, Arvind Kejriwal differed.

We cannot have an expanding State. Do we want more and more brutal policemen.

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Mahabharata & Modern Science: Babies Start Learning While Still in the Womb

A recent study shows that babies start learning while still in the womb – just like Mahabharata says.

Page from an illustrated Mahabharata manuscript - probably 18th century.  |  Source wikipedia.

Page from an illustrated Mahabharata manuscript – probably 18th century. | Source wikipedia.

Many thousand years ago, the story of Abhimanyu was written – a moving story of a young prince, who went headlong into a complex battle formation, the chakravyuh. Tragically, without knowing how to extricate himself from the chakravyuh. It was said that Abhimanyu learnt warcraft while still in his mother’s womb. This was always taken to be a metaphor – but a recent study shows that children do start learning, while still in the womb.

Warcraft or otherwise.

From the Mahabharata, Ahimanyu’s remains a popular story, memorable in the death of Abhimanyu. Then there was also the Ashtavakra narrative – the foetus who knew the vedas and upanishads, while still in his mother’s womb. Ashtavakra was so mortified with his father’s ignorance, that each time his father enunciated the vedas and upanishads wrongly, the Ashtavakra foetus corkscrewed in his mother’s womb. Finally born with eight spinal contortions – hence known as Ashtavakra.

In modern India, too, learning in the womb has remained a popular belief. Can such a belief be verified empirically? In any such study, to make statistical observational correlations, will be fraught with the danger of observer bias.

Nevertheless …

Babies start to learn language before they are even born, scientists have discovered.

Previously, it was believed that newborns begin to discriminate between language sounds within their first months of life.

But a new study indicates that babies have the capacity to learn and remember elementary sounds of their language from their mother during the last 10 weeks of pregnancy.

Babies only hours old are able to differentiate between sounds from their native language and a foreign language, scientists have discovered. The study indicates that babies begin absorbing

‘We have known for over 30 years that we begin learning prenatally about voices by listening to the sound of our mother talking,’ said Christine Moon, a professor of psychology at Pacific Lutheran University, who led the research.

‘[But] this is the first study that shows we learn about the particular speech sounds of our mother’s language before we are born.’

Forty girls and boys, about 30-hours-old , were studied in Tacoma and Stockholm, Sweden.

The babies heard either Swedish or English vowels

Patricia Kuhl, co-author and co-director of the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences at the University of Washington, added: ‘We thought infants were ‘born learning’ but now we know they learn even earlier. They are not phonetically naïve at birth.

‘We want to know what magic they put to work in early childhood that adults cannot.

‘We can’t waste that early curiosity. The mother has first dibs on influencing the child’s brain.

‘The vowel sounds in her speech are the loudest units and the fetus locks onto them.’

via Babies begin learning language from their mothers while they’re still in the womb | Mail Online.


Most Popular Christmas Present: Children Want Brothers, Sisters & A Dad

December 26, 2012 1 comment

Across Desert Bloc societies, marriages and families are feature among the rich and powerful. The poor have to manage with one-night stands and casual encounters. The West may soon see single-mother homes in a majority.

Less things - and more 'feelings'.  |  Cartoon on Dec 23 2012 by Marian Kamensky; source & courtesy - cagle.com

Less things – and more ‘feelings’. | Cartoon on Dec 23 2012 by Marian Kamensky; source & courtesy – cagle.com

Bollywood films have raised motherhood to a rarefied level – with no other competitive construct in competition.

Father Figure

My own evolving view is that father’s are probably as important – especially for children after 10 years of age. This thought was triggered in my mind many years ago, after a survey revealed that many hard-core criminals come from fatherless families. Presumably, this value of a father or a father figure to any growing child comes in making career decisions, professional choices – instead of getting disinterested, random ideas.

A few days ago, a survey of UK consumers at Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City was revealing.

even Santa may struggle to make dreams come true for Britain’s children.

That’s because the nation’s childrens’ Christmas wish-lists contain a number of items not always readily available.

Father Christmas has therefore been put in a tricky position, as according to a survey of children’s wishlists the tenth most asked for present this year was for a dad, while top of the list was for a baby brother or sister.

The survey of 2,000 parents, conducted by Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City also revealed children aged three to 12 were hoping for expensive presents including a car, at number four, and a house, at number seven.But there was a couple of other gifts in the top ten which were more easily provided, including chocolates at number six and, bizarrely, a rock at number nine.

The UK’s mums may be a little upset to hear that while ‘Dad’ came in at number 10, ‘Mum’ only made it in as the 23rd most requested present on their little one’s lists.

via A ‘dad’ is the tenth most popular Christmas present for children, survey reveals | Mail Online.

The importance of this data may get diluted by specifics of UK.

Across Desert Bloc societies, marriages and families are feature among the rich and powerful. The poor have to manage with one-night stands and casual encounters. The West may soon see single-mother homes in a majority.

But, something to think about.

Single-mothers are raising nearly a quarter of America’s children.

Every story is different, but when you examine the figures, actual single parent statistics may surprise you. According to Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2007, released by the U.S. Census Bureau in November, 2009, there are approximately 13.7 million single parents in the United States today, and those parents are responsible for raising 21.8 million children (approximately 26% of children under 21 in the U.S. today). (via Single Parent Statistics – Number of Kids With One Parent).

Without families, the few children that are born, will grow up in aging and shrinking societies. These societies will need to import labour – and that is what happened in Greece, Rome, and West for most of the last 500 years.

Labour was imported mostly as slaves – but lately, it is immi-grunts.


Mumbai should do something about its filth: London mayor, Boris Johnson

December 13, 2012 3 comments

Should we keep increasing the garbage, waste and filth we generate – and pay more to pollute more.

Is this what we want Mumbai to become? A garbage producing leader!  |  Garbage city cartoon by Norbert Niessen on May 08, 2011 ; source & courtesy - toonpool.com

Is this what we want Mumbai to become? A garbage producing leader! | Garbage city cartoon by Norbert Niessen on May 08, 2011 ; source & courtesy – toonpool.com

Mumbai should do something about its garbage and filth.

“While it may look inappropriate for me to be saying this, Mumbai should do something about the filth and squalour around,” said mayor of London Boris Johnson. He was speaking to DNA on the sidelines of an interaction organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

via Mumbai should do something about its filth: London mayor – India – DNA.

I actually agree with Boris Johnson. Mumbai should do something about its garbage and filth.

Reduce it.

We cannot keep increasing the garbage, waste and filth we generate – and pay more to pollute more. Should Mumbai and other Indian cities work to create the another island of plastic waste that now floats in the Pacific and the Atlantic. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch – a few times the size of India, and some studies claim 20 metres deep.

Sometime back, carcass parts were found in Cairo garbage bins - a public-safety hazard  |  Cartoon source & courtesy - ahram.org

Sometime back, carcass parts were found in Cairo garbage bins – a public-safety hazard | Cartoon source & courtesy – ahram.org

Or a situation like Cairo, when animal carcass parts were found in garbage bins – a public-safety issue.

The Indian State increasingly a captive of Big Business, cannot think small. It is very possible to have methane-from-organic-waste; waste water recycling in Mumbai, with its super-dense population. Unlike Delhi, which is widely spread.

We cannot have the ‘modern’ model of urban cleanliness. And till we find a better model, we better tolerate and live with the garbage and filth we generate.


India At War: For 1200 years Desert Bloc Has Been At War With India

October 2, 2012 1 comment

India has been is at the forefront of 1200-year aggression by Desert Bloc spear-headed by multiple religious factions.

Indian & Foreign Corporations are colluding to increase their power against We, the People  |  Cartoonist Adam Zyglis in 2010; source & courtesy - cagle.com

Indian & Foreign Corporations are colluding to increase their power against We, the People | Cartoonist Adam Zyglis in 2010; source & courtesy – cagle.com

The War of 1200 Years

How does India defeat मायावी mayaavi religions – without becoming intolerant, or persecution and suppression of dissent?

Desert Bloc has used religions (there are only 3 religions – Judaism, Christianity, Islam) against India now for 1200 years.

Indian polity, भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra based on the four freedoms – धर्म (dharma – justice), अर्थ (arth – wealth and means), काम (kaam – human desires) मोक्ष (moksha – liberty) has a unique challenge.

With some degree of success

An easy marker of Desert Bloc success is if we begin to think any religion as ‘better’ or worse.

The self-congratulatory claim of the Christian West to represent freedom of speech as opposed to the supposed tyranny of silence imposed by Islam doesn’t stand the scrutiny of history. The Inquisition, under pain of torture, silenced Galileo’s ‘heresy’ against the Christian belief that it was the sun that moved around the earth, and not vice versa. The Vatican’s list of prohibited books still includes many world classics, and a number of American schools partly or totally ban Darwin’s theory of evolution in favour of the church-approved doctrine of ‘intelligent design’.

Perhaps the problem is not what fundamental Islam and fundamental Christianity don’t have in common, but what they do have in common. And that is that both are assertively proselytising faiths which actively, often aggressively, seek converts.

When my faith enjoins me to get you to change your faith, and your faith enjoins you to do the same with me, confrontation becomes inevitable. Proselytisation implies not just the superiority of my faith to yours; it totally denies the validity of your faith and narrows the scope of dialogue or even peaceful coexistence in mutual tolerance.

Ironically, Judaism, Christianity and Islam all come from the same semitic source. Indeed, Islam has always considered Jews and Christians to be ‘people of the Book’, referring to the overlap between the Old Testament and the Quran and, as such, not to be seen as adversaries. Over the centuries, the material and technological dominance of the West has upset this equilibrium, and pitted the ‘free’ West against an ‘unfree’ Islam.

via Juggle-Bandhi : Jug Suraiya’s blog-The Times Of India.

Faced with: –

  1. Well-funded armies that invested in more cannons and expensive horses.
  2. An Islamic leadership that could build impressive monuments (Taj Mahal, Qutub Minar)
  3. State-funded intellectuals who were retained by the State to wage a propaganda war (maya); promote official agenda (Akbar’s nav-ratan).

Indian leadership had a unique challenge in front of itself. How could India: –

  1. Sustain its system of 3-Rights – ज़र (jar – gold), जन (jan – human ties) and जमीन (jameen – property)
  2. Retain a thin State (with no monuments)
  3. Maintain guarantees of four essential freedoms (dharma, moksh, kaam, arth).

The Bhakti saints and reformers promoted the ideological structure of

  1. How the guru can be more important than god
  2. As the guru leads you to god.
  3. Different people can have different gurus.

Guru Nanak went ahead and reduced the need for ‘One’ holy book – by extracting from the writings of many gurus – including from the Koran.

After Independence, India bought peace with the Western world by adopting Western standards of democracy, laws, currency, human rights etc.

Not that it happens anywhere in the world, but additionally Indians also had to prove that we could ‘protect’ minorities.

Sixty years after the Indian Republic, we need to understand modern realities.

Better.

What is Bharattantra

Unlike, भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra

भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra is the Indic political system that guarantees four freedoms – धर्म (dharma – justice), अर्थ (arth – wealth and means), काम (kaam – human desires) मोक्ष (moksha – liberty) and ensures three rights – ज़र (jar – gold), जन (jan – human ties) and जमीन (jameen – property) for all.


Why does Mint Have a Problem with Hindi?

September 2, 2012 3 comments

Children in India are learning that टट्टी tatti  stinks, but potty is OK.

Forget Hindi! It would be OK if Chidambaram spoke in Tamil. |  Kirteesh Bhatt cartoon dated September 15, 2010; source & courtesy - bamulahija.blogspot.in

Forget Hindi! It would be OK if Chidambaram spoke in Tamil. | Kirteesh Bhatt cartoon dated September 15, 2010; source & courtesy – bamulahija.blogspot.in

Crude & Vulgar

Mint has a serious problem!

This Mint writer thinks it is OK to use English words, or to use a Urdu couplet.

But not Hindi?

In an example of the degenerating quality of political dialogue in India, the leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, alleged that the Congress party had skimmed the exchequer and made “mota maal”. The term is a crude expression that means big money and she insisted on repeating it and that the media reproduce it. The expression is the latest one in a forgettable lexicon that Indian politicians are writing in a climate of polarization. It is not that the Congress party has not had its share of equally vitriolic utterances. Terms such as this shrink the space for dialogue between the two national parties at a time when the country is just a whisker away from a full-blown economic crisis. Everyone is better off taking a cue from the Prime Minister, who in a poetic flourish said, “Hazaaron jawaabon se achchi hai khaamoshi.” Silence is a better option than a thousand answers.

via Quick Edit | Mota maal – Views – livemint.com.

The thought behind …

N.Ram of The Hindu sets editorial standards based on BBC, NYT, etc. Mint here thinks that using Hindi words is crude and vulgar. Mota maal has no expletives, no double-entendres, no allusions, no sexual innuendos, any reference to sex or lavatory, to link it to anything crude or vulgar.

I am blinded as the writer has not given any explanation or rationale for why this expression was considered crude by the writer.

With more than 80% of Indian higher education in English, Indian languages become hand-maidens to English | Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; Wednesday, September 14, 2011; source & courtesy - bamulahija.blogspot.in

With more than 80% of Indian higher education in English, Indian languages become hand-maidens to English | Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; Wednesday, September 14, 2011; source & courtesy – bamulahija.blogspot.in

Name is everything

As a teen-ager, I remember, it was considered cool to use English swear words – but not Hindi swear words.

Learning the first few swear-words in English was a huge shock. Using swear-words in Hindi, was never done with forethought – but the use of English swear words was explicit and conscious. That cured me of the desire to learn swear words, or to use them.

To be fair, this love of foreign language is now fairly widespread. Just like Mint thinks that Big Money is cultured language, but mota maal is not, so also children in India are learning that टट्टी tatti  stinks, but potty is OK.

Born more than 15 years after Goa Liberation, one Konkan mother,  from the Western coast uses the Spanish word caca used by Spanish adults with children, for denoting lavatory activities. In Portuguese it is cocô. In the rest of the country, Indian children are getting ‘potty’ training.

Not the first time

Mint’s editorial writers, have a big esteem deficit. A few months back, Mint challenged Indian advertising industry to copy the Chrysler Super Bowl ad. – (errata – had earlier mentioned this as Chevrolet ad, instead of Chrysler). As pointed out then, the very same newspaper would probably then turn around and cavil that Indians cannot be original – but are good enough to make bad copies.

Can media shrug off its responsibility?


The cow chronicles: Does it take a woman to understand India?

July 8, 2012 2 comments

An operating view of Indian society. Even as India changes, it still retains Indian elements. For how long?

Homer's struggle with Indian cows. Simpsons comes to India - and Homer successfully manages an out-sourced nuclear plant at Bangalore.

Homer’s struggle with Indian cows. Simpsons comes to India – and Homer successfully manages an out-sourced nuclear plant at Bangalore.

Sarala needs a cow. She tells me this when I chide her for giving me less milk that morning. It is 7am.

I have known Sarala for five years. I see her everyday when I cross the road to buy milk from her.

The milk squirts into the large iron bucket. Bubbles hive the top. Selva brings the bucket to the culvert. We crowd around like bees. Rookies in khaki half-pants and white banians (vests) show up from nowhere. They thrust their cans to the front of the line. A fight threatens to break out. Sarala soothes everyone, speaking in Telugu, Kannada, Tamil and Hindi by turn. She pours out 1 litre for me but doesn’t give me the complimentary extra “kosuru” that she usually does. That’s when I complain about less milk.

“What to do, ma?” she says in Tamil. “One of my cows got hit by a corporation lorry.”

Once again, the casual tone in which she describes mortal tragedies shocks me. How will the happiness studies that put India low on their lists explain the resilient matter-of-factness of India’s poor? Take Shafi, the flower man who delivers strings of jasmine every day. He is always smiling. He was smiling when he told me that he couldn’t deliver flowers for a week because his brother died. Was that a reflex; or is that his nature? Or Sarala, for that matter. It is clear to me that Sarala loves her cow. Yet, the way she deals with her cow (and livelihood)

Is grief a luxury that the Indian poor cannot afford?

I ask how it happened. It was a month ago, she says. I had not known. I had talked and laughed with her. Life had gone on.

I make clucking noises, borrowed from the rooster nearby. You must be feeling terrible, I tell Sarala.

She nods. “My mind is all bejaar (messed up).”

We talk daily, Sarala and I, about brides and recipes; cows and corporation lorries; babies and bath water, in no particular order. On that Monday morning, Sarala approaches me with a proposition. She wants me to buy a cow for her. She is not sure of the cost but it would at least be Rs. 40,000. She has it all worked out. She will repay my loan through a monthly supply of milk and some cash to supplement it. Within a year, the loan will be repaid. “I need you to buy me more cows,” she says in explanation. “How will you do that if I don’t repay your loan?”

When I look doubtful, she lays it on thick. “You know, the Marwari family next door wanted to buy a cow for us. They like to do that, these Jains. But it didn’t work out. You are lucky. Else, why would I approach you instead of them when I need a cow?”

It is compelling logic. I agree. Next week, we plan to buy a cow.

via The cow chronicles: a loss and a replacement – Columns – livemint.com.

From cow-worshipping to car-worshipping?  |  Cartoonist - Rustam Vania; May 18, 2012; Image source & courtesy - downtoearth.org.in  |  Click for image.

From cow-worshipping to car-worshipping? | Cartoonist – Rustam Vania; May 18, 2012; Image source & courtesy – downtoearth.org.in | Click for image.

I have known Sarala the milk lady for six years now.

The thought of getting organic milk with zero carbon footprint appealed to me. My family was dead against it and took a year to convert. To this day, I am the only person in my 70-apartment complex who buys milk from Sarala. The rest buy Nandini milk in plastic packets.

After Sarala asked me to buy her a cow, my main concern was whether she would consider me a sucker—an easy touch for “advances”, as loans are called here.

I can afford to give Sarala a Rs. 40,000 loan but I don’t want her to think that I can. I don’t want her to view me as her sugar daddy, or mummy in this case. So I exaggerate existing alibis: home loans, defaulting payments, ageing relatives. “You have your jewels with the pawnbroker. I have a home loan that is hanging like a noose around my head,” I say.

She smiles sympathetically. “Everybody has problems,” she says. “You have bungalow-size problems. I have hut-size problems.”

A week later, Selva, the son, approaches me. This continuous back-and-forth was “not setting” for them, he says. Would I or wouldn’t I buy them a cow?

When Selva tells me that our discussions are not “setting”, he means that I need to decide. I can no longer hide behind husband’s permission. I tell him that I will buy his cow.

We set out in an autorickshaw— Sarala, Selva and I. Sarala wants us to make this trip on an auspicious day, preferably Tuesday or Thursday, but she doesn’t want to add an astrological complication to an already volatile situation. Selva and I have been bickering for days because he springs trips on me first thing in the morning. “Shall we go today?” he will ask as I collect milk. I need notice, I say. I can’t just drop everything to go cow-shopping. Then, he says that he will go on his bike to scout out potential cows and take me in the end—to pay the money and seal the deal. I insist that I want to be involved from the very beginning. If I am putting up Rs. 50,000 (by now, the amount has crept up), I want to make darn sure that it is a good cow. We go back and forth, Selva and I, squabbling like children.

Selva has a surly demeanour. He rarely smiles and doesn’t encourage conversation. He is, in fact, a kind soul. Unlike Sarala, Selva is hard to figure out.

Finally one morning, they summon their friend, Kuppa, who owns an autorickshaw. We drive to Thanisandra village near the airport, where a cow is on sale for Rs. 55,000. Selva walks the cow around, peers into its mouth, and discusses how much milk it would give. it is an Indian breed: a red Sindhi cow. Selva is bent on buying a Holstein-Friesian, or HF, cow, valued for its milk fat. They cost more but they give more milk. That is the assumption anyway. I try arguing with Selva that Indian breeds are more hardy but our discussions don’t “set”.

via The cow chronicles: the price just doubled – Columns – livemint.com.

holly cow By Liviu Stanila  on March 16, 2008  | Religion Cartoon | TOONPOOL  |  Click for image.

holly cow By Liviu Stanila on March 16, 2008 | Religion Cartoon | TOONPOOL | Click for image.

We are on a country road in search of a cow to buy for my milk lady, Sarala. Three of us, Sarala, her son, Selva, and I, sit in the back. Muniappa, our broker, takes us to a mango orchard nearby. We see the cows—a dozen of them—grazing underneath trees laden with green mangoes. Sarala is thrilled. Selva too is suddenly animated. There is only one problem. Their owner, Nanjappa, doesn’t want to sell them. He only wants to outsource the milking process. He is fed up of waking at dawn, squatting beside a dozen cows, and taking the milk to the local cooperative to be weighed and paid. He wants a younger man to take over and give his arthritic knees a rest.

India is the world’s largest producer of milk. Much of this comes from “milk unions”, or rural dairy farmers. Bangalore has more than 1,845 milk societies under the Bangalore Urban and Rural District Cooperative Milk Producers Societies Union Ltd, with the inapt acronym, Bamul, in honour of Amul, the nation’s first milk cooperative, founded in Gujarat in 1946, before India’s independence.

Karnataka has 2.13 million independent milk producers—such as Nanjappa—who have joined together to form 11,443 dairy societies, according to the Karnataka Co-operative Milk Producers’ Federation Ltd (KMF). The state rates high in milk production—it is the largest in south India—something that soon becomes obvious to anyone living in Bangalore. Milk producers such as Nanjappa deliver their milk to the local KMF (Karnataka Cooperative Milk Producers’ Federation), and sell their milk for about Rs. 14-18 per litre depending on how rural the location is. The milk is mixed together, taken to rapid cooling plants, homogenized, and poured into sealed plastic packets for delivery to Bangalore city the next morning. The average consumer pays Rs. 26 per litre for Nandini milk. Dairy farmers like Sarala sell their milk for Rs. 25 a litre, but have to cultivate a customer base.

We get back on the auto, the four of us. By now, it is 1pm. We are disgruntled, starving and thirsty. We see a man selling tender coconut water by the side of the road and stop. Selva offers to buy us all tender coconut water. As the vendor chops off the tops of the coconut, we continue bickering, Selva and I, about the wasted morning. Why wouldn’t he phone first and check with the sellers if they were indeed selling their cows, I ask. He responds by blaming Muniappa, who blames Nanjappa, the elderly gent. “That old man told me that he wanted to sell the whole herd,” says Muniappa. “He must have seen this pant-and-shirt Madam and changed his mind.” They all look at me accusingly, which irritates me because I am in a salwar-kameez.

“You want a cow?” asks the dusty, thin coconut vendor.

We look up.

Turns out that the coconut vendor has a cow that he wants to sell for Rs. 85,000. He promises to throw in her calf. Where is the cow? we ask sceptically. The coconut vendor waves at the palatial green mansion in a distance, standing like a neon gingerbread house amid the fields. That’s my home, he says. Just walk down this path and find my wife. She’ll show you the cow and calf.

We stare at each other, jaws agape. They all speak together in rapid-fire Kannada. At the end, Selva seems satisfied that the coconut vendor indeed has a cow.

Sarala and I can’t stop talking about the coconut seller. We are wonderstruck that this dusty, bony man who is selling coconuts by the roadside not only has a large mansion with fields all around, but also saleable cows to boot.

“Why would a man who owns this giant green mansion, fields and cows want to sell coconuts by the roadside?” I wonder aloud. “He must have seen all those coconuts on his land going to waste so he probably thought, ‘Why not stand on the road and make some more money?’” says Selva.

We walk single file in between the fields and go to the green mansion. An old man comes out. He is, indeed, the coconut vendor’s father, who has the leathery skin of a man who has spent his lifetime under the hot sun in the fields. When we ask about the cow, he points to the field and says that we will find the animal there, with his daughter-in-law, a woman clad in an orange sari. Had I passed her on the road, I would have put her down (correctly) as a farmer’s wife. I would certainly not have imagined that she was the owner of the green two-storey bungalow spread over 10,000ft of virgin Bangalore land.

The coconut vendor’s wife leads her cow out. Selva does his thing with examining the teeth and tail. As we walk back, he tells us that he is going to negotiate it down to Rs. 75,000. But he is not hopeful.

We motor back to the coconut vendor. Predictably, he refuses to lower the price. “I didn’t even plan on selling my cow,” he says. “Just because you people came here with such distress, I thought I’d do you a favour by pointing you to my cow.”

via Cow chronicles: the coconut vendor’s offer – Columns – livemint.com.

A few points stuck me as important: –

  1. How advances fund and lubricate the economy.
  2. How people take ‘mortal tragedies’ with ‘matter-of-factness’. Is that the reason why India has been No.1 on global Optimism surveys now for the last 50 years. Unlike India’s Westernized-Educated-Urban (WEUs) who can find 50 things wrong with India, before even stopping to take a second breadth. Of course, only they, the WEUs and their type can save India. Otherwise, without the WEUs, India is doomed.
  3. How the WEUs see this approach for advances a con-trick – which comes from not being plugged into India.
  4. The most amazing thing was how egalitarian India can be. Dress up a man in a dhoti – and everyone looks, feels, thinks and behaves the same. No brands to show that I am superior; no cachets that will prove I can spend more for the same thing.

All of us would instantly recognize these aspects.

Thought would share this rather perceptive view of India.


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