Wednesday, April 19, 2006


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Thursday, April 13, 2006


That's what we the debate on the Narmada project.
Damned by the media, damned by the government and damned by journalists who can equate Medha Patkar with Advani without blinking an eye!

To compare Patkar (who i think after Gandhi has effectively been able to question the morality of law) with Advani (who i hold as no better than a fascist) is nothing short of outrageous and only reflects your shallow understanding of this country.

in case anyone is still wondering ( which i doubt) i am clearly for the NBA.

as for people who are questioning her fast and have termed it as" the country's development being held ransom to someone's whims and fancies" (this includes BK Verghese and Saubhik Chakravarthy)I question your understanding of human rights or even of the Constitution of this country. and just to remind you, this has been a step that Patkar has resigned to after several letters and several meetings and several cases filed.

1,50,000 people who have unwillingly agreed to give up their livelihoods, ancestral land and homelands so that we can have electricity and more water...can we not even assure them of what they have been promised? Raising the height of the dam now is going to create more homeless people. All Patkar is asking for is to rehabilitate those who have already been displaced before creating more displaced people. and we begin to brand her as being "anti development"?

I am not going to refrain to the famous, " Imagine your houses being washed down or your lifetime of accumulation being submerged" kind of rhetoric coz' i think we have come a long way since that with the Narmada debate.

there is the larger issue of Big Dams itself, which is something i question again. for me it is nothing short of technology dumping and Nehru's "Big is beautiful" and "dams as temples of modern india" ideology which continues to haunt us...and an entire generation meekly submits to laid down norms of "development". Have we already resorted to the famous TINA (There Is No Alternative) argument?

Friday, April 07, 2006

...and this is how we amuse ourselves!

Economists that is...

attended a seminar on the financial and economic factors in Terrorism..and it ended up being a micro lec on maximising a terrorist leader's profit maximising function which had elements like the value of his life which is taken as a discounted value of future streams of income and even had the probablity of being caught!

The function was subject to a budget constraint that had income of the outfit constrained by the number of followers or some such thing...

The wonders of using Mathematical functions to reduce ever human aspect to an equation will never cease to amaze me.

on a more serious note...
the presenter made a statement to the effect that women have been found to have a sobering effect on men..hence the more educated the women in a society, the lesser the chances for terrorism.

just by the way...that is changing..Gujarat saw hordes of educated middle class families happily participating in the massive raiding and looting of shops that took place when the pogrom took place in 2002. These included women who helped their men stack their cars with consumer durables and gleefully goaded them on even as thousands of Muslims being hacked in their neghbourhoods.

as a witness told me, " even as one part of Ahmedabad burned, Hindu families were happily eating at the newly opened branch of McDonalds!"

Some sobering effect that was...

another thing...
Regressions don't necessarily imply causality...hence by fitting in regressions and stating that educated women have have a negative impact on terrorism...doesen't make much sense. it's equivalent to making spurious correlations.
we need to desist from making generalisations like "All women have maternal instincts", "Women by nature are more peace loving", etc etc.
which brings forth another tangential point to my mind...Gandhi was accused by the Hindu Mahasabha and his assassins of "effiminating" the national movement, a passive (which shouldn't be confused for a non active response)response to violence was seen as emasculating the struggle. Hence the whole idea of even seeing the nation as a motherland (females seen as weak and seekers of male protection) and the need for its sons to protect its honour, which adds to the jingoism and pathological nationalism that prevails amidst several NRIs.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Changing equations

I was all of a foot and half or two
It was my very first time by the sea
I squealed, a little in fear, a little in delight
as the foamy edges reached for my feet

I held my father's hand a little tighter.
the waves were teasing,
But I stood still
little aware that thrill also meant beware

And then there was the time when a huge wave
nearly swept me away,
Comfort levels grew
but fear remained

There was then the phase
When going to sea meant
sandy beaches and castles of sand
watched on from a distance

I grew taller,perhaps wiser too
Each day as i walked by the sea
No one to watch on me this time
In solitude, the waves saw me through

But each time I tried holding back sand
It would slip through my fingers
Leaving only a few crystals
stuck to the dampness of my palm

So this time when I sat by the sea
Gave up trying to hold on to sand
Held the crystals that stayed back
Up against the sun instead