Archive for the ‘Current Afair’ Category

Tunisia and Saudi

January 26, 2011

Interesting developments from middle east! However, I suspect more Iran are in making.  Interesting part is  Saudi Arabia is protecting  Ben Ali,  the ousted dictator, murder and crook — from Tunisia, just like they did will the mass murderer idi Amin of Uganda.   May be Mubarak will also go there.

House of Saud is perhaps one of the most ugly thing in middle east.  Wonder when they will stop protecting  mass murders like Idi Amin and  stop funding terrorist schools in Asia.

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Swapan on NDTV show on Barkha

November 30, 2010

I was amazed to see Mr. Swapan Dasgupta being part of wash-up and ‘chor machae shor’ on NDTV. Initially, when the show began I tried to sympathize with Barkha thinking that she is just like any another person we meet who is drunk in his/her  success and made a mistake without realizing the consequence of it.

However,  the more I heard her the more I got convinced that it is more of a chor machae shor thing.    I did not understood why Mr. Dasgupta did not stood up for the truth.   May be because he was too polite.  May be because  he is also part of the elite  1984 type  gang which decides what should be given as news to general gullible people.  However,  if this debate is the standard, then I am sorry to say  my respect for news media has gone down exponentially. Although, there were positive signs too.    At least in my opinion, two person came out as hope for media in this whole thing. One is of course editor of Open magzine, who asked lot of sensible question.  Also, he needs to be respected because he did not behave as part of 1984 gang , who thinks that just because they won’t talk about it aam janta will forget about it.   Another person was  Sanjaya Baru, who called Barkha dutta bluff several times.  Of course because, I respect opinion of Swapan dasgupta I was more disappointed with him.  I expected a lot more from him.  Here are my questions to him

  • Why did not you objected when Barkha said her 15 year career was spot free? This is far from truth everyone knows Chetan Kunte’s story.  She has this tendency of  trying to control the story. She did not really managed to come clean in that episode.
  • When she tried to question ethics of Open and Outlook magzine in publishing these tape, why did not you object?  A few people seating at top cannot decide to censor such info from public. These tape even in mildest sense (if we give benefit of doubt to Barkha), gives an impression that Indian media is too cosy with politician-buisnessman nexus.  If we do not give benefit of doubt, the tape definitely create an impression that it is politician-buisnessman-newsman nexus.
  • I do not understand how Barkha can claim that open and Outlook has violated the ethical norm of not publishing  raw tape. At best such supression of valid news is trying to hide each other crime.  In the worst case, (what we saw for at least a week) if a valid news is blacked out it is the kind of moral corruption in the sense of 1984 ala Orwell.
  • I am amazed how NDTV can claim that PR person of two of the largest buisness house in India contacting with one of big media house and asking its star reporter to act as conduit between govt and allies is such a minor story (with all hoopla going about telecom since formation of UPA II) that it did not bother to follow on lead. If they are really that dumb,  I wonder how many head really rolled because of this mistake.
  • Finally,  at least I have not seen such  extra moral consideration in previous sting operations! Is it because your own tribe is involved?

The  points is aam aadmi is shocked with this censoring and  media needs to come out clean on censor issue first.

ADB data on middle class in India.

August 22, 2010

Today, Indian newspapers were celebrating rise of Indian middle class as pointed out by ADB.    While the report was overall in positive tone, something looked very fishy to me.

Here is what timesof india and economics times has to say about the report

Only 0.0009% of Indians earn more than Rs 10,000 per month.

somebody must had imagined this data. According to economics times itself

In response to a Right to Information (RTI) query by seasoned RTI campaigner P. Hari Kumar, 24, of Kasaragod in north Kerala, the finance ministry has said that the number of taxpayers has increased from 28.4 million in 2002 to 31.5 million in 2006.

This number itself is 3 % and I think it is fair to assume that  each tax payer represent atleast 2 people and a substantial portion of this population earns more than  20000 Rs.  Thus, I do not see how the percent of Indian earning more than Rs 10000 was 0.0009 is year  2005.  May be economics times and timesofindia should cross check what they report. Regarding original source ADB, I could not see this line in the original report available online.

Arnold and Stalin

June 19, 2010

Early last week, via Nytimes I came to know that V. I. Arnold, who is well known (for most of us who are not bright enough to follow and understand his research contribution) for his text book died.  It is my personal ambition to educate myself enough that I can understand and completely grasp his two books

  • V. I. Arnold, Ordinary Differential Equations, The MIT Press (1978)
  • V. I. Arnold, Mathematical Methods of Classical Mechanics, Springer-Verlag (1989)

If I am confident about my understanding of these two books, I will consider my math knowledge to be decent. Before this happens,  I can never call myself a theoretician.  Another ambition of mine regarding Arnold is to really understand KAM theory.

Like his advisor Kolmogorov, Arnold was an important pioneer of mathematical physics in last century.  I guess  Landau, Kolmogorov and Arnold are three most important contribution of Russia which provided positive education to countless number of student worldwide.  Now,  as it is  about Russia, so I won’t hesitate to make a nasty remark. I guess Russia can be easily pardoned for  producing two most important bastards, and monster of last century: Lenin, and Stalin.  I mean a land which can produce teachers like Landau, Kolmogorov and Arnold or in huminity teacher like Tolstoy  can occansionly fail and produce mass murderer monster like Stalin too.

Bhopal and tradition of Pseudo-outrage in Indian media

June 13, 2010

Looks like Indian media will continue harping on Bhopal-disaster for next couple of days till they will find a new story on which they can start a shouting match again. After watching  for almost half an hour on IBN, around 15 minute on  and another half an hour on Times now, here is what I learnt

  • Warren Anderson, CEO of  union  carbide in 1984,  now lives in some wealthy suburbs of USA.
  • Indian government has failed to trace Mr. Anderson in last 25 year but smart reporters from  channel X (where X depend upon the channel being watched) found his house in 10 minute.
  • The verdict was very very wrong (it was so obvious to everyone). Basically, everyone is so busy being angry that no one bother to explain what is wrong legally with the judgement.
  • According to some Mr. Arnab  (I must confess I am not a regular watcher of news channels) host on Times now,  Indian public is so outraged by this judgement that we should immediately stop discussion on Nuclear liability bill. With my low intellect and close to zero direct  knowledge of what happened in 1984,  it was quite difficult for me to understand the link he was trying to establish.   I tried hard to understand his point of view and this is what I roughly understood:  Union Carbide  = bad  American company which  did not  gave up all its income and did not put all its employ in jail after 1984 = USA bad nation which protect its commercial interest and insist on fair trial (not by media)  for its own citizen in problem  abroad =  bad imperial power = hidden promoter of nuclear liability bill = case closed we should not have a bill.
  • It is our national duty to put  Mr. Anderson behind bar in India.
  • Arjun Singh was involved in helping Anderson  in such a way that he managed to  escape  trial in Indian court.

I see that everyone is very very angry.  I am trying to understand reason for such a delay anger.  Seriously speaking this whole episode is a reminder of hollowness of Indian media and danger created by it.  Unfortunate part is bloggers from academia are also just following Indian media. Here are a few example:

  • Read Here in new age media

And so, yet again, a ‘resurgent India’ fails its most deprived, its most dispossessed and impoverished citizens.

  • Or read here from a relatively sensible author in times of india

My blood boiled further today when I heard Barack Obama frivolously wanting to know “whose ass to kick” over the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico – where there are no casualties yet. You bet Swamiji, if he were alive today, would have liked to kick Barack’s.

In my opinion it is too late by now to bother about criminal investigation of the 1984 events.   However,  what I find here very shallow and even dangerous is the way public opinion is manipulated by media in current situation. Here are few question from my side to media

  • Where were you in last 25 years? Is this really a news to you that Arjun Singh (read Rajiv Gandhi) helped remove the heat from Union carbide? In fact even now very few are questioning stance of gandhi family on this.   In 1984 I personally was too young to remember anything. However, I do remeber the periodic drama enacted by media and activist on this.  Every time something will happen (for example current scene or compensation decision) media and activist  wiill create a small drama.  After a month or two something else will happen and everyone will forget this drama.
  • Actually, what is the issue that everyone is angry this  time?   Is that court acted on existing laws? Why people are blaming  courts? Are they suppose to create law for us? Last I heard, this job was still with parliament.
  • What exactly  was role of Anderson  in this whole episode.   No one in current debate has actually tried to show any criminal compliance from his side.    Is it really clear  that he was  personally knowledgeable about the whole episode?   After reading tons of  article in Indian media, I am still not so sure  that anyone has any proof of direct involvement of management of parent company of Union carbide Indian.  They can be easily blamed for criminal negligence for which our own laws are archaic.
  • Why  Indian media  is  so obsessed with  finding a fall guy in this case.  I don’t know what can be achieved by trying to prosecute a 90+ person.  Is it the case that people are feeling more offended that he is an american and company is in USA.  I see lot of ” I told you americans are so bad” going on in this case.  No such outrage was shown even recently  when Delhi University showed  much bigger (in potential)negligence in handling radioactive material.    Is it pure anti-americanism at its best or our usual tendency to try to find a fall guy in every situation?
  • Let us be realstic and accept that being vindictive on a 90+ year old man, whose direct crime is also not so clear, won’t serve any purpose now. Won’t it be better if we try to learn something from this tragedy?  As far as I know, many place where people teaches iy industrial safety in chemical engineering they use  1984 as a lesson to teach students what not to do when working in a chemical plant. I am from a generation who studied chemical engineering well after 1984 and at least I do not recall any one teaching us to take safety issues seriously anywhere during  my education.  Only person, I know who has taken educational value of 1984 seriously is one of my friend and collaborator at NTU, Singapore Dr. Arvind Rajendran.  He uses the movies and documentaries of 1984  to teach chemical engineering student what kind of thing can happen if they do not take their job seriously.   At least, accidence at Delhi University shows that in many Indian universities even professors working in these areas do not take safety issues very seriously.
  • Should not Indian media use outrage over  both 1984 and current Delhi episode to  increase safety standard in India.   Else, we will be looking for another Anderson very soon.

Personally,  I am very much against   blame game and holier than thou attitude shown in Indian media after each and every incidence.  Every tragedy is also an opportunity to correct our chaotic system.  In  blame games played in India causality  is very often larger big picture. Here are a few  example including 1984 issue:

  • The truth is that  many of Indian chemical plant are running on god’s mercy and it is shear luck that 1984 do not happen every day. However, no one is bothered about improving that situation. In quest for Anderson no one is remembering that situation is no better than 1984.  Is it the  case that  people are less bothered about them because many of such plant belong to Indian owners or govt of India itself.
  • A few year back their was big drama about exploitation of poor Indians in Kerala by imperial American multinational company coke.  An intersting finding during that time which generated  very little passion was the fact that pesticide content in Indian water is too high.  In everyone zeal to talk about bad americans water issue was completely forgotten. Coke or no coke fact is Indian ground water is still polluted but who cares!
  • In Ruchika’s case,  her school easily removed her from school. However, no corrective action was taken on that. Won’t it be better if arbitrary expulsion from schools are discussed more seriously.  Ruchika was tortured because our system permit such arbitrary powers to authorities.   Our outraged should be more pointed and help resolve such issues. But discussing such some long term corrections such as restricting school power etc will not be sexy enough for Indian media.

Whatever happened to principle of equality and reciprocality

January 2, 2010

Newspapers are claiming that  India has decided (should we say congress has decided?) that it will provide on arrival visa to people of selected countries.  So far I used to think that such decision are arrived on reciprocal basis.  However,  it seems that even on formal basis we are slowly leaving issues of equality.

Imperialism and Islamism: a View from the Left

December 18, 2009

I do not consider  leftism to be enlightened and almost always find their world view to be highly one dimensional.  One of the biggest problem with left is that it is so sure of its moral righteousness that it never question its position.   An interesting  exception, I found today in an article  from Pervez Hoodbhoy

As a product of the Age of Enlightenment, the Left is obligated to uphold reason and the scientific method. It must therefore let facts hold sway over belief. But sadly, even with evidence staring in the face, some comrades seem locked into a state of denial, choosing to direct all their anger towards America and the West – no matter what.

A personal example: a video had just been broadcast on Pakistani television channels (May, 2009). It showed a 17-year old girl in Swat writhing and screaming in pain as a hefty, hooded, Talib thug mercilessly flogged her . She was accused of going to a market unaccompanied by an “allowed” or mehram male member of the family. A rare protest demonstration by Islamabad’s embattled secularists and left-wingers followed. Fearing the suicide bomber, and challenged by hostile students from a nearby madrassa, the small but noisy crowd made its way towards the Presidency. But every cry from one side “Down with Taliban” would find an echo, “Down with America”, from other protesters of the same group. Onlookers were probably confused whether it was the Moulana Fazlullah or Barack Obama that had ordered the flogging.

There are bigger examples. Hugo Chavez certainly gained the admiration of the international left (and mine too, I might add) for standing up to American bullying in Venezuela, but he was exceedingly short-sighted in defending Ahmadinejad against the unconscionable election rigging in Iran. Robert Mugabe, known for his cronyism and widespread use of torture, still receives support from parts of the Left because of his bluster against Britain.

Gujarat and Islamic charity

November 19, 2009

Indian express today published a though provoking article abot Islamic charities. Here is a snapshot of the article

For those who missed the news in the November 15 edition of this paper, here is the gist. A UK-based NRI charity named Muslim Relief Organisation (MRO) had built a colony in Detral village in Bharuch district to rehabilitate the victim-survivors of Gujarat’s state-sponsored carnage (2002). Even in charity, it seems, conditions apply.

The MRO has now issued an ultimatum to the Muslims it had helped rehabilitate: Shariah-compliant beards are a must. No rubbing shoulders with fellow Muslims in the village mosque, namaaz only in the special (sectarian) mosque we have built. Banish TV sets from your homes, all music is prohibited. Follow the “Shariah rules” or out you go of the homes we built. For you.

Kudos to Mr. Javed Anand to write such an informative and balanced article.

IISc Alumani in news

October 26, 2009

Just heard from a friend that one of  our batchmate from IISc Mechanical is in news for a very wrong reason.It Seems that Pushpam Sinha from Mechang has murdered a girl in Delhi

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Naga-girls-murder-IIT-scholar-is-a-pervert-say-police/articleshow/5164998.cms

I do remember attending a few lectures with him.  He was so simple … It is hard to imagine him as a murderer.  As far as I know he first joined IISc Mechang and afterwards shifted to Chemeng as  a PhD student.  Today, I talked with a  few friends from IISc time   regarding him. Everyone just remember him as a talented but a bit weird and introvert guy. What a sad ending to a good mind.

Attack on Autonomy of IIT, IISc and other institution

October 20, 2009

When Mr. Sibbal unilaterally decided to change the appointment and promotion rule for IIT, lot of people said oh people are protesting not because of loss in autonomy. They claimed that people are protesting because they are greedy. Now he has changed the rule for admission without any discussion. I am sure lot of people will say I support him because this removes coaching classes. Leaving asides merits and demerits of such a policy, what is disgusting is the way they are imposed unilaterally. Indian education policy in last 10-15 years has reduced to whim of one-two guys (MM Joshi, Arjun Singh, Sibbal). I am surprised that Indian civil society kind of accept that education policy will be managed by minister alone without any input from rest of stakeholders (teachers, parents, students)

This apathy of civil society kind of reminds me of a poem by Martin Niemöller

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist;

Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist;

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist;

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew;

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out for me.