Sunday, October 30, 2011

BrahMos engines from TVM

Trade union activities threaten Brahmos engine production
Indian Marxists doing what they do best
+
India Deploys Brahmos In Arunachal
Though small in scale compared to the Chinese military deployments in the region, the action marks India’s first offensive tactical missile deployment against China
+
Alarm over India's widening trade gap with China
Commerce department calls for higher tariffs on most Chinese goods while proposing a complete ban on specific items, like power and telecom equipment.

More than just sexy phones: how Nokia will help sell Windows Phone 7

Nokia has become Microsoft's puppy. 

What set apart the Finnish was the absolute top notch hardware. Remember Nokia 1100? One of the best selling dumb phones, with awesome battery life and solid ruggedness. However, Nokia was besotted with stupid red tapism and inability to see the writing on the wall: iPhone. 

After they sold their soul to Redmond, it was more of an "American invasion in the heart of Europe". I felt really bad when Elop (more like a "flop") CEO of Nokia (ex-microsoft guy) announced partnership with the Redmond buggers. Hence the following write up: 

It is too difficult to comment on state of the software till we actually see some reviews, but most likely, there are going to be no complaints on the hardware front. 

I would have bet my hard earned money on Meego, the Linux derived operating system that had the true potential to shake things up. 

Forget about the crappy nonsense about the apps or the applications. Most of them are pretty useless (I have had an Android Phone earlier) and do nothing to enhance the value of the phone. In any case, most of the phones come with pathetic internal RAM which is eaten up by the applications and drain the battery like a tap. 

Lets see how the latest entrant heats up the market. 

Media deliberately dividing people: PCI Chief

The Press Council of India rarely makes news. However, I am inclined to respect it's Chairman, a retired Supreme Court judge. Here's the transcript of his interview:



Here is the link to his biodata:

http://presscouncil.nic.in/HOME.HTM 

Very sensible statements. And something that I would definitely endorse:

Karan Thapar: But the generality of the media you believe is falling?

Justice Markandey Katju: The majority, I'm sorry to say, are of a very poor intellectual level, media people, I doubt whether they have any idea of economic theory or political science, philosophy, literature, I have grave doubts whether they are well read in all this, which they should be.

Of course, we all know what it means to be a journalist. To kiss the powerful guys ass because your morals are for sale. While newspaper managements seek to drive the subscriptions by any means, the real "investigative journalism" has seen a serious set back in this country. 


Take urgent steps to check encephalitis: Azad to Maya - Hindustan Times

This is as it comes while the first "Indian Grand Prix" at Noida is underway. Mayawati continues to build "Hathi Parks" and "F1 Races" while the poor children die. 

But this is none of our concern right?



This is because these children are not ours. In the worst case scenario, these people have nothing else but a primary health centre to go to. If it were your kid, you would rush your child to a private hospital and then bloody bitch about rising cost of health care. But would never ever bloody question your elected representative for your basic human right to have effective and affordable health care.

This is all the while our health minister writes letters claiming that it is a state subject, while the state Government claims that centre is not funding because of discrimination. 

The poor Indians die like fleas because there is no value for human life in this country. But there is a huge army of retards, nevertheless, to elect them back to power.  

Apple acquired mind-blowing 3D mapping company

This is interesting. Although, I am not a 'mactard" (an obvious reference to a retard swooning and foaming from his mouth while holding his Mac as the next best thing to sliced bread), but their design philosophy and thought process is good enough to learn from it. 


The potential for mapping in India is huge. It is much better than the crappy idea of UID scheme or Aadhar. We need to harness the technology for our own good; to understand the basic issues and intractable problems from a fresh perspective and have an iron will to solve them. 

Rest assured, when the Government of India steps in, it would be riddled with all sorts of "reservations" in the real sense of the term. 

Brand Metro - Indian Express

This is heartening. The Government can deliver if it is made to deliver. Be it transportation or medical services, the basic fact is to maintain efficiency levels. 



Here's something from the write up:

To enhance efficiency, the DMRC has kept a lean structure with no room for unproductive layers. Technicians and engineers have been assigned separate workstations, which are out of bounds for visitors. A delay of even five minutes can cost them half-a-day's casual leave. Once targets are set, a countdown clock is set, reminding officials about the number of days left to open the next section.
The Bhagavad Gita is an important part of the management philosophy of the Delhi Metro. On joining the organisation, instead of a work manual, all executives are given a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, that is considered not so much a religious text but a manual imparting important lessons in self-management.

Exodus of Hindus from Kashmir

It has been told several times here but truth must not be allowed to be snuffed out.

http://www.vijayvaani.com/FrmPublicDisplayArticle.aspx?id=2026

Here's something the needs to be highlighted:

Yet a part of the truth is still concealed. The story of the genocide of the Hindus, their ethnic extermination and how they were used as scapegoats for the failings of the Indian political class in dealing with the Jihad, is yet to be told. This part of the untold truth is closely linked with the return of the Hindus to their homes and hearths. The Indian political class is hiding the truth of what the Jihad has wrought in Kashmir during the last two decades. Indian Governments have never mustered the courage to stand up to the Jihad. The Indian political class is still following its own plans to use the Hindus in Jammu and Kashmir as a buffer in between them and the war of subversion the Jihadi regimes are waging in the State. The double-speak of the Indian political class on the return of Hindus to Kashmir is bound to do them more harm.

Sad but true. 

And we elect the same dumb asses time and again.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Protests Awaken Sleeping Giant: India's Middle Class

The recent protests that have gripped India show that the sleeping giant of India's middle class has been awakened politically.

Historically, the middle class has been the agent of democratic change around the world.

Forwarded email about English Language.

I got a rather interesting email forwarded to me. It's worth sharing in it's entirety.

The Damn English Language!



The English language has some wonderfully anthropomorphic collective nouns for the various groups of animals.
We are all familiar with a Herd of cows, a Flock of chickens, a School of fish and a Gaggle of geese.

However, less widely known is a Pride of lions, a Murder of crows (as well as their cousins the rooks and ravens), an Exaltation of doves and, presumably, because they look so wise, a Parliament of owls.

Now consider a gathering of Baboons. They are the loudest, most dangerous, most obnoxious, most viciously aggressive and least intelligent of all primates.

And what is the proper collective noun for a group of baboons?

Believe it or not ....... a Congress!

I guess that pretty much explains the things that come out of our present government led by a party by that name, which has ruled our country for most of the 64 years since the British left us in their hands!






Open Source for India

I fail to understand the hype behind Steve Jobs or the next version of Windows. Since Apple Mac OS is a fluffed up pathetic eye candy, I would not dwell on it. However, it is the more sinister and draconian Windows that needs to be properly trashed.

1) Security: It is pathetic. You need a "firewall" + antivirus and loads of hardware to run them properly. Linux does not need any of that.

2) Software: Open Source has polished in most of the aspects of daily use software and is improving day by day.

3) Locked in formats is the number one reason why you should avoid Microsoft like poison.

The Governments should implement Open Source and save the scarce resources to support the independent developers. At the same time, the updates to the operating system does not mean costly upgrades over the lifetime of the product.

I have been using Linux for over 10 years now without feeling the need to make a switch. Everything works the way it is intended to. 

computers to read minds? be afraid. be very afraid. http://www.economist.com/node/21534780

a decent product from microsoft? amazing! win phone 7.5 mango on nokia review by dpogue

Geopolitics of Durand Line: Questionable status as international border by G. Parthasarathy

oct 29th, 2011 CE

erase the durand line, and all our problems with pakistan will be over. because pak will cease to exist instantly. 

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: sanjeev nayyar

Geopolitics of Durand Line
Questionable status as international border
by G. Parthasarathy 

AS the “end game” of American withdrawal from combat operations in Afghanistan begins, there is increasing resort to bluff, bravado and bluster challenging American power and influence, in Pakistani pronouncements. The Pakistan Army’s grandiose schemes for “strategic depth” in Afghanistan have been premised on ensuring that Afghanistan is ruled by an internationally isolated Pariah regime, which would result in it becoming a de facto client state of Pakistan. Given its pretensions to power and influence in Afghanistan, the brief period of Taliban rule was regarded by the Pakistan military as its golden age. But behind this bluster and bravado lies a key strategic calculation. A Pariah regime in Kabul would have neither the influence nor power to aggressively assert Afghanistan’s historical claims to territories seized from defeated Afghan rulers by Imperial British power. No Afghan Pashtun ruler has ever accepted the Durand Line, which divided and separated Pashtuns between Afghanistan and British India, as its international border with Pakistan.
The Prime Minister’s Special envoy to Af-Pak, Mr Satinder Lambah, has recently published a study of the Imperial machinations that led to the Durand Line being imposed as the “frontier line” between British India and Afghanistan in 1893 following negotiations between Afghanistan’s then Amir, Abdur Rahman Khan, and Sir Mortimer Durand, the then Foreign Secretary of British India. With Tsarist Russia extending its empire across Central Asia and into Persia, the 1893 agreement also set the limits of British territorial ambitions in the “Great Game,” after Imperial Britain and Tsarist Russia had agreed on the limits of Russia’s sphere of influence in 1873.

...deleted

would you buy a han supercomputer? it probably has viruses and trojan horses in it. http://nyti.ms/s889bj

but it is impressive that they have actually built the chip. how much intel IPR is in it we will never know.

how much do you want to bet duqu virus is from our friends the hans? http://reut.rs/sfMn9s

more cyber-infections. much like stuxnet, which may or may not have had an impact on some of ISRO's failed launches.

Friday, October 28, 2011

LAtimes: what indians do for pakistanis: heart surgery. what pakistanis do for indians: 11/26, kargil

oct 28th, 2011 CE

LA times captures the asymmetry nicely.

there's something really stupid about indians: our good friend majorlyprofound suggests that there is no way anything can salvage pakistanis. they are bound to kill, and die, all for 

thanks to @dhume01 for a pointer to majorlyprofound's essay in response to his own

Restless Capital

Individual incomes in America have shrunk in recent decades while corporate incomes have bloated over the same period. This resulted in a shift from real economy to a speculative economy, where volatility rules. Some time back, S Gurumurthy made similar observations as this guy but came to very different conclusions:

It’s Consumer Spending, Stupid

By JAMES LIVINGSTON

Conclusion 1:
So corporate profits do not drive economic growth — they’re just restless sums of surplus capital, ready to flood speculative markets at home and abroad. In the 1920s, they inflated the stock market bubble, and then caused the Great Crash.

Conclusion 2:
Using business profits to increase productivity and output — doesn’t actually drive economic growth. Consumer debt and government spending do. Private investment isn’t even necessary to promote growth.

Conclusion 3:
If our goal is to repair our damaged economy, we should bank on consumer culture — and that entails a redistribution of income away from profits toward wages, enabled by tax policy and enforced by government spending.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Beyghairat Brigade - 'Aalu Anday'

A satirical music video put up on Youtube by some youthful Pakistani pop music artists calling themselves the "Beyghairat Brigade" (Dishonor Brigade) has gone viral.



For the Punjabi-impaired, you'll have to read the subtitles on the bottom of that video. And for the politically-impaired, here is an explanation of those subtitled song lyrics:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/10/18/enjoying-aaloo-andey-with-the-people.html

The song, entitled "Potatoes and Eggs" starts off with the motif of some schoolboys disgusted with getting the same thing everyday for lunch. But the song soon shows its true intent - to take aim at the stale political myths routinely propagated by the mainstream media in Pakistan, in service of the Pakistani establishment.

HP abandons suicide bid

Decides to retain its PC division. Whitman indicates webOS will continue to play a role. “We’re still working through webOS, still haven’t gotten to ground,” Ms. Whitman said. “It is part of our cloud strategy. Stay tuned.”

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It is about cars. It is about money. But is it a sport?

You are a spectator. You remain a spectator. You and I can never participate in it at any level, unlike soccer or cricket or basketball. F1: the pathetic joke that calls itself a sport.

Hosting F1 race is waste of money: PT Usha

"I feel very bad because such hi-fi business has nothing to do with 99% of Indians. It is a criminal waste (of money). First, Twenty20 cricket spoiled the spirit of Indian sports, and now here comes another avatar which will mostly attract corporate money, who (Corporate) rarely spend for sports promotion. Only God can save the Indian sports," Usha said.

"Till this date I have never and I don't want to follow any motor business, which I do not want to call as sport," said Usha who now runs an athletics academy in her home state of Kerala.

Top shooter Gagan Narang said:
"Let's face it that the sport is not for everyone. Only people with money will have the access. It has to be marketed well.," Narang said.



Venture Beat has a first "western review" of the now famous Aakash tablet.


For all practical purposes, this is a bad, nay, a very bad idea to ensure public funds to roll out a digital tablet.

It's not a sexy idea to highlight the investments made in chalk and blackboard, to ensure permanent jobs to contractual teachers (being forced out on the roads to protest) or even school buildings with proper toilets. Nor does it make any headlines that mid day meal scheme is faltering in many places because State Governments don't roll out the funds on time.

It does not even make headlines when there is a huge and alarming drop out rates after Class 8 and the contributes to the huge army of unemployed labour taking to crime and drugs.

Thats a reality.

But what does make news with purple eyed scribes (often licking the unmentionable backsides of the politicians to curry favor) is the roll out of Aakash. No one has questioned this because this generates positive press.

Sample this when the author highlights:


The Aakash is running Android 2.2, Froyo, with the UniSurfer browser installed..... However, while browsing the Internet and testing out apps, we couldn’t help but notice that the reaction time seemed very slow.

But contradicts himself stating that it is all a matter of perception.

Then:

Its battery power is limited to 180 minutes of use on a full charge, but it comes with an AC adapter. What’s important isn’t that the tablet can run off of the battery for long periods of time, but that it will still be able to work and surf the net when the power goes out.
That's stating the obvious! It's overtly optimistic to state that 180 minutes of battery would be of any use. Who's got the power in the rural areas to charge it?

Then of course,

What makes the Aakash tablet different is that its creators didn’t strive for perfection. Instead, the emphasis was on getting the product into the market quickly so it could be adopted, tinkered with, and improved over time. As Wadhwa said, “to get the cost down, you have to make some compromises”
 The design obviously is not open source; so I don't really understand how it is to be tinkered with.

It is for the "potential" that this bumbling writer goes over the top:

Now imagine the educational potential of the world’s lowest-cost tablet being unleashed to hundreds of millions Indians eager to join the world economy. At the heart of the Aakash tablet is an HD video co-processor that will connect viewers to one of the largest educational libraries ever assembled: YouTube.

 I'd like to call him choicest names, but it's not fair. Reason? They don't even realize that we have one of the worst connectivity ever. Period.

Of course, the writer is smart enough to skirt the issue of educational apps and the content that isn't there. Is youtube going to be an educational library? Seriously? How?

Especially when there is NO bandwidth to support such an initiative!

America's shame: The lynching of Claude Neal

How a colored man was lynched and then mutilated by a "white mob" 77 years back. Till to date, the criminals responsible for this have not been brought to justice.

Read the full story

This is how the white man decides to wreak havoc (warning: reader discretion advised. May offend your sensibilities):

About 1 a.m., headlamps danced through the woods as a line of cars rolled into the yard. Behind one, a rope jerked as the car hit bumps. The body on the end of the rope was covered with dust and blood. A man standing on the back sliced the rope, and the body slid limp.
Lola Cannady's mother and sister were first to the corpse. They slashed it with their knives. Her brother cut off a finger. George Cannady, crying, pumped bullets into Neal's body. Men, women and children, some just toddlers, walked past the corpse and stabbed it with sticks. They kicked the dead man's body, spit on it and drove their cars over it. 
When they had finished, the men threw the corpse onto the running board of a car and left for Marianna. At the courthouse square, they hung Claude Neal's body from a strong oak. A newspaper reporter counted 50 gunshot wounds. Souvenir seekers cut off his fingers and toes and skinned his body with knives.
Of course, they have the gall to "educate" us about the so called Gujarat riots. Which of course, pales into comparison with what Congress and it's goons unleashed on Sikhs in 1984 pogrom.

This is all brushed under the carpet. Hindus are to be blamed for everything, eh?


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

he wuz robbed: 100 year old fauja singh, marathoner, denied guinness record

rajat gupta arrested; after rajaratnam, another 'south asian' in hot water for insider trading

oct 25th, 2011 CE

however, i think indians should bat for rajat gupta simply based on indian nationality. rajaratnam is a sri lankan and they can take care of themselves.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Rajan 



Vatican calls for new socialist world order

oct 25th, 2011 CE

the corpse-god's minions try yet another tack for world domination.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Arvind Kumar

http://www.radiovaticana.org/EN1/Articolo.asp?c=531752


intriguing: Towards Tamil Eelam: Via Wall Street - Sandhya Jain

oct 25th, 2011 CE

so rajaratnam is a tamil christian. intriguing. his dad's name is given as jesuthasan rajaratnam. the LTTE in general is/was a christian outfit. the hindu LTTE cadres died mysteriously, leaving methodist velupillai prabhakaran, anton rajasingham et al firmly in command. 

followers of the christian corpse-god jesus are really keen on taking over sri lanka, as well as tamil nadu, i suppose. 

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: HARAN BR
Date: Mon, Oct 24, 2011 at 11:17 PM
Subject: MUST READ COLUMN - Towards Tamil Eelam: Via Wall Street - Sandhya Jain
To:


http://www.vijayvaani.com/FrmPublicDisplayArticle.aspx?id=2022

 

Towards Tamil Eelam: Via Wall Street  

 

Sandhya Jain

25 Oct 2011

 

 

 

Two events over the last fortnight have uncovered the role of the Catholic Church in fostering Tamil separatism in Sri Lanka, with the aim of carving a separate Christian country out of India’s Tamil Nadu and the Tamil areas of the island-nation. The first was India’s deporting the Sri Lankan Tamil Catholic priest, Fr. S.J. Emmanuel, back to Dubai, when he arrived at Chennai hoping to meet chief minister Jayalalithaa, and to attend some events at Chennai University and later, at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi.

 

Fr. Emmanuel is president of the UK-based Global Tamil Forum (GTF), a leading LTTE front and umbrella organisation for Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora groups. The Sunday Observer from Canada reported that Emmanuel had recently visited Canada and Europe to raise funds and mobilise pro-LTTE groups to stoke anti-Colombo propaganda in the West. But now, moderate sections of the diaspora are questioning Emmanuel’s role in radicalising Tamil youth while not utilising the millions of dollars collected through donations to help resettle and rehabilitate former LTTE cadres.

 

The second incident relates to the Oct 13, 2011 sentencing of Sri Lankan hedge fund billionaire Raj Rajarathnam to eleven years imprisonment for insider trading on Wall Street, by the US Federal district court, Manhattan.

Rajarathnam was actually investigated for his links with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. According to an ex-Tamil Tiger turned FBI informant, codenamed Rudra, Raj’s father, Jesuthasan Rajarathnam, himself a wealthy financial manager, was a lavish donor. The father-son duo set up the Rajarathnam Family Foundation to support charitable causes in Sri Lanka and elsewhere; it was also a front to channel funds to the Tamil Tigers.

 


Vanity Fair 
reports that in November 2002 (the US State Department listed LTTE as a terrorist organisation in 1997), a Tamil cultural organisation, Ilankai Tamil Sangam, hosted a 25thanniversary celebration at Doubletree Hotel in Somerset, New Jersey. LTTE flags and videos were displayed throughout the hall. It may be recalled that LTTE had assassinated former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in May 1991 and Sri Lanka President Ranasinghe Premadasa in 1993, besides wreaking mayhem in the island nation with suicide attacks on buses, temples, shopping malls, and village massacres.

 

At Doubletree Hotel, Raj Rajaratnam (secretly taped by the FBI) said, ‘Everyone must support the Tigers’ cause.’ He had, in 2000, given $1 million after the victory over the Sri Lankan army at Elephant Pass, gateway to the northern peninsula.

 

Rudra infiltrated the LTTE network abroad by meeting Tiger operatives at such events. Rumours were spread that Rudra had contacts with top Mafia figures in prison and could access corrupt American officials and ‘get things done’ for the Tigers – such as smuggling Tamils without proper visas into the United States. FBI built his credibility by helping smuggle nine persons at Newark airport in 2001. In April 2004, Rudra saved Fr. Gaspar Raj, a Catholic priest and key Tamil Tiger member, from being deported by federal agents at Newark.

Prabhakaran ran the Tamil Tigers abroad on classic, cellular lines, with each group unaware of the others. But Rudra soon emerged as a trusted go-between for many cells trying to raise money and procure weapons, including surface-to-air missiles. In August 2003, Rudra travelled with LTTE’s top international financier, Vijayshanthar Patpanathan (Chandru), to the Tigers’ Vanni fortress. It had underground bunkers for advanced computers and communications equipment and two fully equipped subterranean hospitals. He met most of the senior LTTE leadership here, and recorded their conversations.

 

By 2005, Rudra had helped the FBI get a comprehensive picture of LTTE’s fund-raising capability. Raj Rajaratnam’s name cropped up often; LTTE gave Raj huge money to invest in his Galleon Group fund. The Tigers raised $1 million every time they held a function, and extorted thousands of dollars from diaspora professionals for ‘the next wave of operations’.

In 2001, when FBI wiretaps detected an executive from Intel Corporation giving Raj insider tips, the link between terrorism and insider trading was exposed. And just as the legendary gangster Al Capone was actually convicted for tax evasion, so Rajarathnam was investigated for terrorist funding, and convicted for insider trading!

 

FBI uncovered LTTE’s main “front” charities in America and Britain, which were shut down. This impacted LTTE’s capacity to fight. The Tigers’ last stand came in April 2009, when the Sri Lankan army overran Vanni, killing Prabhakaran.

 

One important front group, the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO), was active in 17 countries before the US Treasury froze its assets in November 2007. Rajaratnam played a key role in transferring money from TRO to the LTTE. An April 2007 affidavit by an FBI special agent regarding Rajarathnam’s banking records showed that he wrote three checks totalling $1,000,000 between July and September 2000, which made its way to a TRO account in London (paradise of the arms merchants). Most of the money was later withdrawn in cash.

TRO received maximum donations from America, where the Rajarathnam family was the largest private donor. The US Treasury said the TRO had “facilitated LTTE procurement operations, including purchase of munitions, equipment, communication devices, and other technology.” Through 2003, Raj gave $5.05 million to his family foundation, which passed on $5 million to the TRO. In June 2004, he gave $1 million directly to the TRO. After the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, Rajaratnam set up Tsunami Relief, Inc., which was administered by staff at the Galleon Group headquarters in New York. It collected over $7 million and gave nearly half the money to the TRO in America and in Sri Lanka.

 

These huge monies have prompted victims of LTTE violence to file for damages in New Jersey, for crimes financed by Rajaratnam. His lawyers assert that there is “no connection” between Rajaratnam’s donations to the TRO and the harm suffered by the claimants, as there is no evidence that he ever sponsored acts of violence.


Yet, in US law, one need not prove that money a person gave to an entity that funded terrorism was actually spent on armaments; it’s enough to show that the recipient body used some of its funds for terrorist purposes. The New Jersey federal court has already accepted jurisdiction and upheld the suit as a claim for crimes against humanity.

 

As India debates clemency for the murderers of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, the New Jersey verdict will be interesting.


References:

 

http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/10/13/rajaratnam-is-sentenced-to-11-years/?hp

 

http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2011/09/tamil-and-raj-201109?mbid=social_retweet

 

http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2011/10/16/sec01.asp

 

The author is Editor, www.vijayvaani.com

 

 

 

 

Related Articles:

 

http://www.vijayvaani.com/FrmPublicDisplayArticle.aspx?id=667

 

Tigers’ Eelam: Nothing ‘Hindu’ or ‘Tamil’ about it – I 

 

 

http://www.vijayvaani.com/FrmPublicDisplayArticle.aspx?id=670

 

Tigers’ Eelam: Nothing ‘Hindu’ or ‘Tamil’ about it – II 

 

 

http://www.vijayvaani.com/FrmPublicDisplayArticle.aspx?id=671

 

Tigers’ Eelam: Nothing ‘Hindu’ or ‘Tamil’ about it – III 


Happy Diwali 2011, a photo essay from rajan p and a poem from vikram seth

oct 25th, 2011 CE

from my friend rajan parrikar, an ace photographer:

and from vikram seth, an outstanding poem especially for those exiles amongst us.

I send this poem out every year at Diwali time.

I would like to share it with you this year for the festive season. 

"And when an alap of Marwa 
Swims on slow flute-notes over 
The neighbours' roofs at sunset 
Wordlessly like a lover 

It holds me-till the strain 
Of exile, here or there, 
Subverts the trance, the fear 
Of fear found everywhere. "

Happy Diwali to all of you who are "abroad abroad" and "not at home at home". 

Here's a toast to all of us exiles. 

Rajeev Srinivasan

===========================

DIWALI --- Vikram Seth 


Three years of neurotic 
Guy Fawkes Days-I recall 
That lonely hankering- 
But I am home after all. 

Home. These walls, this sky 
Splintered with wakes of light 
These mud-lamps beaded round 
The eaves, this festive night, 

These streets, these voices...yet 
The old insensate dread, 
Abeyant as that love, 
Once more shifts in my head. 

Five? Six? generations ago 
Somewhere in the Punjab 
My father's family,farmers, 
Perhaps had a small shop 

And two generations later 
Could send a son to a school 
To gain the conqueror's 
Authoritarian seal: 

English! Six-armed god, 
Key to a job, to power, 
Snobbery, the good life, 
This separateness, this fear. 

English: beloved language 
of Jonson, Wordsworth's tongue- 
These my "meridian names" 
Whose grooves I crawl along. 

The Moghuls fought and ruled 
And settled. Even while 
They hungered for musk-melon, 
Rose, peach, nightingale, 

The land assumed their love. 
At sixty they could not 
Retire westwards. The British 
Made us the Orient. 

How could an Englishman say 
About the divan-e-khas 
"If there is heaven on earth 
It is this; it is this; it is this."? 

Macaulay the prophet of learning 
Chewed at his pen: one taste 
Of Western wisdom "surpasses 
All the books of the East," 

And Kalidas, Shankaracharya, 
Panini, Bhaskar, Kabir, 
Surdas sank, and we welcomed 
The reign of Shakespeare. 

The undigested Hobbes, 
The Mill who later ground 
(Through talk of liberty) 
The Raj out of the land ... 

O happy breed of Babus, 
I march on with your purpose; 
We will have railways, common law 
And a good postal service- 

And I twist along 
Those grooves from image to image, 
Violet, elm-tree, swan, 
Pork-pie, gable, scrimmage 

And as we title our memoirs 
"Roses in December" 
Though we all know that here 
Roses *grow* in December 

And we import songs 
Composed in the U.S 
For Vietnam (not even 
Our local horrors grip us) 

And as, over gin at the Club, 
I note that egregious member 
Strut just perceptibly more 
When with a foreigner, 

I know that the whole world 
Means exile of our breed 
Who are not home at home 
And are abroad abroad, 

Huddled in towns, while around: 
"He died last week. My boys 
Are starving. Daily we dig 
The ground for sweet potatoes." 

"The landlord's hirelings broke 
My husband's ribs-and I 
Grow blind in the smoke of the hearth." 
"Who will take care of me 

When I am old? No-one 
Is left." So it goes on, 
The cyclic shadow-play 
Under the sinister sun; 

That sun that, were there water, 
Could bless the dispirited land, 
Coaxing three crops a year 
From this same yieldless ground. 

Yet would these parched wraiths still 
Starve in their ruins, while 
"Silkworms around them grow 
Into fat cocoons?", Sad soil, 

This may as well be my home. 
Because no other nation 
Moves me thus? What of that? 
Cause for congratulation? 

This could well be my home; 
I am too used to the flavor 
Of tenous fixity; 
I have been brought to savour 

Its phases: the winter wheat- 
The flowers of Har-ki-Doon - 
The sal forests - the hills 
Inflamed with rhododendron - 

The first smell of the Rains 
On the baked earth-the peaks 
Snow-drowned in permanence-- 
The single mountain lakes. 

What if my tongue is warped? 
I need no words to gaze 
At Ajanta, those flaked caves, 
Or at the tomb of Mumtaz; 

And when an alap of Marwa 
Swims on slow flute-notes over 
The neighbours' roofs at sunset 
Wordlessly like a lover 

It holds me-till the strain 
Of exile, here or there, 
Subverts the trance, the fear 
Of fear found everywhere. 

"But freedom?" the notes would sing... 
Parole is enough. Tonight 
Below the fire-crossed sky 
Of the Festival of Light. 

Give your soul leave to feel 
What distilled peace it can; 
In lieu of joy, at least 
This lapsing anodyne. 

"The world is a bridge. Pass over it, 
Building no house upon it." 
Acceptance may come with time; 
Rest, then disquieted heart


my obituary in firstpost for #dennis #ritchie, titan of #unix

oct 25th, 2011 CE

he was one of the greatest. both C and unix were game-changers. and the power of a great idea persists: despite market flubs by AT&T and others, the beauty of elegant simplicity is winning against the monolithic cathedrals.

but notice how he toiled in obscurity. i am sure firstpost had a hard time finding photos of ritchie!

here's something from the economist a few years ago: 

and their beautifully-written obituary:

Monday, October 24, 2011

diwali greetings to all

Why UID Aadhar is a really bad idea.

Here's a shocker of the news: Isreali Biometric Data Leaked

I never felt comfortable about the identity being handed over to the Government of India; there is no way privacy can be ensured.

I am also surprised as to why the whole contract was outsourced to a private company. Nandan may have an impressive resume but was it really required to have a CEO managing the public funds? There are enough murmurs that the acquisition costs of the biometric data has ballooned beyond mandated (estimates around 500 crore and rising) for the initial phase.

It is all with the lofty socialist Gandhian promise of targeting the "poor" and grand idea of micropayments.  

Prof Baliga Wins Nation’s Highest Honor For Technology Innovation

North Carolina State University professor Dr. B. Jayant Baliga was awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the nation’s highest honor for technological achievement.
Professor Jayant Baliga, who is considered a “hero” for revolutionizing power electronics was on the White House honours list for inventing the Insulated Gate Bipolar Trannsistor (IGBT) at General Electric. The IGBT is a device that saves energy and controls power flow in commercial and industrial power systems. It is used in everything electronic, including Japan’s Bullet train, air conditioners, electric cars, lighting systems and many industrial and household appliances.

Baliga’s work has led to enormous reduction of gasoline and electrical energy use, resulting in cost savings and cuts in world-wide carbon dioxide emissions. According to the industry, thanks to Baliga’s work the improved efficiency of IGBT-enabled applications saved US consumers $2.7 trillion, and saved $15.8 trillion for worldwide consumers over the past 20 years.
At the same time, the improved efficiency produced by IGBT-enabled applications has produced a cumulative reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of 35 trillion pounds in the U. S. and 78 trillion pounds worldwide over the last 20 years. In addition, IGBT-based compact portable defibrillators are projected to have saved nearly 100,000 lives in the United States.
Three Indian Americans win top US science and technology medals

tech's giants in a battle http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/160/tech-wars-2012-amazon-apple-google-facebook

wsj: http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2011/10/20/india-loses-more-ground-on-china/ thanks to the economists

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-10-19/whistleblowers-face-deadly-hazards-in-india.html

Sunday, October 23, 2011

"Peace" Descends On Libya

Islamic Sharia law declared source of new Libya legislation

The transitional government leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil said Islamic Sharia law would be the "basic source" of legislation in the country and that existing laws that contradict the teachings of Islam would be nullified. New banks would be set up to follow the Islamic banking system, which bans charging interest.

LK Advani: The best PM India never had?

Howsoever, I may like Modi and wish him to get on the center-stage, L.K. Advani has become autonomous busy body. Pushing more than 80+, he ought to resign from the party post, sit back and guide the party like an elderly statesman.

He's busy instead, riding a useless "rath", with no objective except "highlighting corruption" in UPA II. Everyone is aware of this. Neither he's going with the objective of raising the Ayodhya issue or said anything sensible about it in the recent years.

Most of the people agree that he's more of a liability than an asset to the party. Murli Manohar Joshi fits the bill perfectly; having his head on shoulders and far more sensible with intentions clearly towards Hindutva. Sadly, he's been saddled with the JPC crap for 2G scam. It's high time that RSS ought to align him for a larger role than is warranted by having him in the shadows.

I really hope that Advani doesn't run in the race for the PM's post. 

Who's stealing away the jobs? China or efficiency?

A no holds barred superfluous generalizations has started appearing in the western literature. I link to this because it has generated a lot of debate on Hacker News.

China or efficiency?

The author goes on to suggest Government intervention to introduce inefficiencies in the processes.

I would say, he ought to look at the socialist model of "development" that Indians have followed. For all the development that we have made in 60+ years, it would be a befitting tribute to one man's vision of the nation. Perpetuated by his clan and teeming brain dead millions.

Turmeric For Pain Relief

NYT: The Doctor's Remedy: Turmeric for Joint Pain
A study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2009 compared the active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, with ibuprofen for pain relief in 107 people with knee osteoarthritis. The curcumin eased pain and improved function about as well as the ibuprofen.

Soon, the British will tell us that Colonial officers saved turmeric from extinction. Why do I say this? Well, they rediscovered Ayurvedic herb Shilajit, you see.
Shilajit was first discovered in Modern times by British Explorer Sir Martin Edward Stanley during 1870s when India and Nepal were part of the British Empire.

And if you are still in the dark, chicken tikka masala is a British recipe. Now you know, my friend! Everything good came from our colonial masters.

Modi larger than party? True son of the soll?

Atanu Dey has been writing an excellent blog over the years; I owe much of the influence of ideas to him.

He writes about Narendra Modi being hated by the Nehru Gandhi clan because he is a "true nationalist" which for obvious reasons, the clan isn't.

However, I beg to differ. Not that he doesn't have his heart for the nation, but there could be two things:

1) He understands the need for the corporations and industries to have easy access to material. In any case, in the event of Modi training his guns on the national scene, would have a ready access to huge swathes of money.

Brilliant stroke. This also means that he can command a huge amount of influence in BJP as far as "raising funds" is concerned and absolutely, over RSS because he is unlikely to overtly depend on them for their continued "support".

2) His Sadbhavana mission recently was a huge show of success; not for his purported fast but his olive branch to the muslims and their photo ops. He is acutely aware of the divided and cynical middle class India and would rather depend on the ready made vote bank.

Ultimately, economic progress would slowly filter down to the marginalized groups in Gujarat and elsewhere. It is only the quantum of the benefits that alienates the vote banks and their perception of public loot. Unaccounted money flows during elections because influence can only be bought in this day and age.

I really admire Modi but not condone all of his methods. Although he mentions about "Hindu self determination", he has not spoken about Ayodhya temple on a national scale while sounding the poll bugle in the past. 

for @inferno

inferno, didn't you get my invitation to be a blog author? if not write to me please at rajeev dot srinivasan at gmail dot com.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Missed opportunities for national development

1) Roads: We have mastered the art of making "perfect roads"; great on paper and absolutely pathetic in execution. Technically, the cost of road construction (where prices are dictated by the lowest tender) are as:

a) Cost of land acquistion by the Government; usually palming off the peasants by intimidation, below market cost and illegal detentions.

b) The public money used to award contracts and tenders inclusive of the cost of kickbacks feeding from the lowly peon to the corporator and the "party funds".

c) Finally, the "inferior quality material" used by "engineers and contractors" and exploitation of the poor labor.

2) Railways: Huge behemoth. Multiple proliferating unions feeding on like leeches to the public funds. In 50 plus years has not been able to channelize the freight and passenger fares. The maximum speed (in certain stretches) is 160 kmph (for India's fastest trains) and is near bankruptcy because it has been allowed to slowly rot away under populism.

3) Refer to point number 1 for why railways are allowed to bleed dry. The Government has come up with an ingenious way of "Build Operate and Transfer model" where a private contractor is allowed to "collect toll" till 30+ years (by the time, the old files would have rotted away). There is double taxation; what you have paid in your road taxes and other "infrastructure cess" on petrol/diesel, you pay again while passing through these toll barriers. Brilliant.

4) No waterways: What could have been used to interlink the national rivers of India to develop indigenous waterways has been allowed to squander away. By creating a huge bogus claim of an "environmental disaster". No one knows the impact because it has not been allowed to develop. Now precious funds are being withered away to import Oil and pay the masters for their opulent life styles in Saudi and Middle East.

Is it even surprising that all of this spawns from the "Nehruvian model of development"? Or the huge socialist structures that have been unleashed on us by ensuring perpetual slavery to the Government of India?

Of course, no one argues about it because it has become our way of life here.

Need for a participatory democracy

We all crib about the state of governance in India. However, how many of us honestly go out and vote? How many of us go out to engage the elected representatives to make them do what they have been elected for?

The issue is public office is without any degree of accountability. This is the reason why testosterone driven youth seeks politics as a calling card including their hangers on.

In the potent mix of religion (which is slowly becoming the last refuge of the scoundrel), unaccounted wealth and power of politics and unemployed dumbed down masses of India, it is slowly being raped at it's own peril.

Any probable solution comes from "participatory democracy". The much vaunted "middle class" (which includes me and you) seriously need to shed our disdain and get out to vote instead of taking it as a paid holiday. Right to recall may not be the right option; but needs an informed debate on infusing the system of accountability. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

over-rated thinkers. agree re. both parag khanna and farid zakaria

oct 21st, 2011 CE

even though the New Republic is being a little snippy, i find both khanna and zakaria to be self-important peddlers of inanities.

australia fails to engage india, says greg sheridan in the australian. he is right.

oct 21st, 2011CE

this commonwealth -- like the NAM -- is something that has long outlived its usefulness (if there was ever any) for india.

australia is so dazzled by china that it bends over backwards. kevin rudd, although he pontificates now, was a major culprit in that.


via @dhume01

stanford: October 28: City Talk: Language and the Urban Sensorium

oct 21st, 2011CE

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sangeeta Mediratta <smedirat@stanford.edu>
Date: 2011/10/19
Subject: October 28: City Talk: Language and the Urban Sensorium
To:

Dear All, 

Please circulate widely. 

No RSVP necessary. 

Thanks, Sangeeta

Oct_28_poster_email_small


--++**==--++**==--++**==--++**==--++**==--++**==--++**==
southasia mailing list
southasia@lists.stanford.edu
https://mailman.stanford.edu/mailman/listinfo/southasia



serious self-delusion about #pak good faith re #afghan #kashmir from ex-amb couple: FP http://bit.ly/phRJ6v

http://afpak.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/10/20/afghanistan_pakistan_and_kashmir_a_grand_bargain

there is no end to the diplomatic theater by pak and the willing suspension of disbelief by americans.

the schaeffers ought to know better, being former ambassadors etc.

it's like remarriage: "the triumph of hope of experience", as per samuel johnson

Twice as Many Americans Want Sons Over Daughters. what say, surpanakha's daughters?

oct 21st, 2011 CE

the hvistendahl book was quite an eye opener; but it also showed that there are unexpected consequences to both a) prosperity and b) access to technologies like sonograms. both a) and b) led to the aborting of female fetuses.

surprise, surprise, eh? americans also like boys. but it has long been well known that people everywhere (including the west) spend twice as much celebrating the birth of a son than they do for a daughter.

so maybe the business of 'missing women' is not something to beat up india and china alone with. 

we also know that a) women still make only 70% of what men make in the us, b) more american women are percentage wise likely to be offed by their husbands/boyfriends as they are to be subject to dowry-deaths in india -- but of course none of this data will make the least difference to the surpanakha-daughter types of brown-women-carrying-white-womens-burden harpies.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: sri venkat
Date: Sat, Oct 22, 2011 at 4:10 AM
Subject: Twice as Many Americans Want Sons Over Daughters
To:


Twice as Many Americans Want Sons Over Daughters

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2011/06/twice-many-americans-prefer-have-sons/39265/

Ujala Sehgal
Jun 25, 2011

 A new book, "Unnatural Selection," by Science writer Mara Hvistendahl
looked at the tremendous shortage of women, particularly in Asia, due
to sex selection. Hvistendahl focused on the West's role in
exacerbating the disparity by exporting abortion technologies, and in
response, many took her to task for not placing the blame on the
foreign cultures themselves for valuing daughters less than sons. For
example, Richard Dawkins at BoingBoing wrote that the female shortage
may better "be blamed on the cultural and religious practices that
despise and discriminate against women in the first place."

 In light of that recent debate, a new Gallup study that almost twice
as many Americans would prefer to have a son rather than a daughter is
particularly unexpected, suggesting that American cultural values may
be less than ideal themselves. In this new survey, out of over one
thousand people interviewed, 48 percent of respondents admitted they
wanted a son more than they wanted a daughter. Just 28 percent said
they would rather have a daughter, and 26 percent said they would be
content with either sex. The remainder had no opinion. In fact, Gallup
noted that Americans' preference for a male child is even stronger
today than it was in 1941, when just 38 percent preferred a son, with
24 percent preferring a daughter.

 Gallup noted that age, sex, and education levels all were significant
factors regarding the responses. American men, rather than women,
drive the preference for male children.
 In the current poll, conducted June 9-12, men favor a boy over a girl
by a 49% to 22% margin. American women do not have a proportionate
preference for girls. Instead, women show essentially no preference
either way: 31% say they would prefer a boy and 33% would prefer a
girl.


 Preference for a son is inversely related to age. Americans who are
younger than 30 say they would prefer a boy to a girl by a 54 percent
to 27 percent margin. The difference ebbs as the respondents get
older. But as most people who give birth are under the age of 30, this
skew becomes more significant.

 Americans with lower education levels are more likely to say they
would favor a boy. However, Gallup noted that "there is, however, no
concomitant income skew; higher-income Americans are exactly the same
as the national average in their preference for a boy rather than a
girl."

 Additionally, the preference for a boy over a girl baby is higher
among Republicans than among Democrats, and conservatives are
significantly more likely than liberals to prefer a boy.
 Gallup concludes that "the real-world implications of
gender-preference attitudes in some countries around the world are
profound." For Americans, the effect remains to be seen. "The degree
to which Americans deliberately attempt to select the gender of their
children is unclear."

 Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments or send an email
to the author at usehgal@theatlantic.com. You can share ideas for
stories on the Open Wire.


Sources

How almost twice as many Americans would prefer to have a son over a
daughter , Tamara Abraham, Daily Mail

Americans Prefer Boys to Girls, Just as They Did in 1941, Frank Newport, Gallup

Response to Richard Dawkins, Mara Hvistendahl, marahvistendahl.com


today is the end of the world according to nutcase bible-thumper. prepare ye to meet thy maker :-)

yeah, right. 

even this fellow doesn't quite believe his nonsense any more.

#olympus board as clueless as hp's, yahoo's; almost as bad as indian cabinet? http://buswk.co/p8V88p

actually you cannot accuse the indian cabinet of 'more money than brains'. it's more like 'more brains to steal money'.

mary meeker on the prospects of the mobile internet, caveat emptor

mary meeker is a well-respected morgan stanley analyst, but she was determinedly optimistic during the dot-com bubble, so you have to take her optimism with a pinch of salt. 

nyt on murakami: the greatest writer of his generation to never win a nobel prize. but he's rather too western

murakami has become one of my favorites because of the always surprising nature of his work, a mixture of fact and fantasy.

perhaps like graham greene he too will never win a nobel prize. 

and i am reminded of my favorite unsung writer, ov vijayan. he was arguably the greatest writer in the world of his generation, a magical realist, fabulist, and political cartoonist of unparalleled merit, who was blackballed by the comrades as he in later life rejected the idiocy of nehruvian stalinism and became a transcendentalist. vijayan invented magical realism before marquez, with his 'the legend of khasak'; and each of his books was fundamentally different. even in translation into english, his work retains its pellucid clarity.

murakami's 'little people' remind me of vijayan's beautiful short story 'the little ones'. also, some of vijayan's own translations of his work into english are better than the original malayalam (eg. 'the foetus' with its forbidding victorian language and imagery): like murakami, he too might have imagined some of his work in english first and then written it in his own language. 

i love murakami's work, but i deplore his rejection of all things japanese and his embrace of all things western -- like jazz and the like. i love the very traditional and japanese work of his fellow-writers like yukio mishima, junichiro tanizaki, yasunari kawabata -- all masters of the art of the novel. 

pretty bad ends: najibullah, gaddafi. who's next? with isi rampant, karzai?

oct 21st, 2011 CE

najibullah was captured by the taliban, had his genitals stuffed into his mouth, and then he was hanged from a lamppost, before his body was dragged around kabul from a jeep.

gaddafi's story we know.

this is the fate of fallen leaders of the secular variety. 

actually it goes back further. in the subcontinent, the ISI's fingerprints are all over the place.

zulfiqar "grass-eater" bhutto was hanged.

zia "exploding manoges" had his plane blown up (along with robin raphel's dear husband on board).

mujibur rahman was massacred along with most of his family.

i am sure there are other salutary tales, but this is all i can think of in the arab-secular world.

with this sort of history, i think hamid karzai had better watch out and have a plan b.

(yes, i am aware india's secular leaders have also had grim endings, but that's not the point.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Rubbaiyya redux – the hindufication of Israeli policy

Personally – I am not sure if Israel had a grand choice in this matter. And by the numbers (1 for 1027) this looks an even worse deal than Vajpayee’s government made (193 for 3 – and possibly loads of money). It is sad to see Israel going the Hindu way and meekly caving in

Pipes has been a Netanyahu-sceptic for a long time. He may be right – someone like Yitzhak Shamir would have told these violent thugs to go take a walk

http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/2011/10/doing-business-with-terrorists

Monday, October 17, 2011

invitation to a few to join the blog authors group

i would like to invite a few regular posters to become part of the blog author group. let me invite first the following people: inferno, non carborundum, shahryar. i will be inviting others in future. i hope you will become members of the blog so that your posts will appear on the blog directly. will you guys please write rajeev dot srinivasan at gmail.com?

please note this is not to ignore or diss anybody: i would like others to join in future once new members have successfully given fresh impetus to the blog.

US new 'hardline on pak = india should hand over kashmir

true to form - if it is 'brookings institution' it will tell india to 'quit kashmir' .. so repetitive and tiresome ....sigh !

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/15/opinion/a-new-pakistan-policy-containment.html?src=tp

Saturday, October 15, 2011

chinese quality: $2.5 million yacht sinks on launch MT @inferno

china: Water Hegemon by Brahma Chellaney

oct 15th, 2011 CE

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: sanjeev nayyar
Please see the map on site.
 
 

Brahma Chellaney
Column internationally syndicated by Project Syndicate

International discussion about China’s rise has focused on its increasing trade muscle, growing maritime ambitions, and expanding capacity to project military power. One critical issue, however, usually escapes attention: China’s rise as a hydro-hegemon with no modern historical parallel.

No other country has ever managed to assume such unchallenged riparian preeminence on a continent by controlling the headwaters of multiple international rivers and manipulating their cross-border flows. China, the world’s biggest dam builder – with slightly more than half of the approximately 50,000 large dams on the planet — is rapidly accumulating leverage against its neighbors by undertaking massive hydro-engineering projects on transnational rivers.

Asia’s water map fundamentally changed after the 1949 Communist victory in China. Most of Asia’s important international rivers originate in territories that were forcibly annexed to the People’s Republic of China. The Tibetan Plateau, for example, is the world’s largest freshwater repository and the source of Asia’s greatest rivers, including those that are the lifeblood for mainland China and South and Southeast Asia. Other such Chinese territories contain the headwaters of rivers like the Irtysh, Illy, and Amur, which flow to Russia and Central Asia.

This makes China the source of cross-border water flows to the largest number of countries in the world. Yet China rejects the very notion of water sharing or institutionalized cooperation with downriver countries.

Whereas riparian neighbors in Southeast and South Asia are bound by water pacts that they have negotiated between themselves, China does not have a single water treaty with any co-riparian country. Indeed, having its cake and eating it, China is a dialogue partner but not a member of the Mekong River Commission, underscoring its intent not to abide by the Mekong basin community’s rules or take on any legal obligations.

Worse, while promoting multilateralism on the world stage, China has given the cold shoulder to multilateral cooperation among river-basin states. The lower-Mekong countries, for example, view China’s strategy as an attempt to “divide and conquer.”

Although China publicly favors bilateral initiatives over multilateral institutions in addressing water issues, it has not shown any real enthusiasm for meaningful bilateral action. As a result, water has increasingly become a new political divide in the country’s relations with neighbors like India, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Nepal.

China deflects attention from its refusal to share water, or to enter into institutionalized cooperation to manage common rivers sustainably, by flaunting the accords that it has signed on sharing flow statistics with riparian neighbors. These are not agreements to cooperate on shared resources, but rather commercial accords to sell hydrological data that other upstream countries provide free to downriver states.

In fact, by shifting its frenzied dam building from internal rivers to international rivers, China is now locked in water disputes with almost all co-riparian states. Those disputes are bound to worsen, given China’s new focus on erecting mega-dams, best symbolized by its latest addition on the Mekong — the 4,200-megawatt Xiaowan Dam, which dwarfs Paris’s Eiffel Tower in height — and a 38,000-megawatt dam planned on the Brahmaputra at Metog, close to the disputed border with India. The Metog Dam will be twice as large as the 18,300-megawatt Three Gorges Dam, currently the world’s largest, construction of which uprooted at least 1.7 million Chinese.

In addition, China has identified another mega-dam site on the Brahmaputra at Daduqia, which, like Metog, is to harness the force of a nearly 3,000-meter drop in the river’s height as it takes a sharp southerly turn from the Himalayan range into India, forming the world’s longest and steepest canyon. The Brahmaputra Canyon — twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the United States – holds Asia’s greatest untapped water reserves.

The countries likely to bear the brunt of such massive diversion of waters are those located farthest downstream on rivers like the Brahmaputra and Mekong — Bangladesh, whose very future is threatened by climate and environmental change, and Vietnam, a rice bowl of Asia. China’s water appropriations from the Illy River threaten to turn Kazakhstan’s Lake Balkhash into another Aral Sea, which has shrunk to less than half its original size.

In addition, China has planned the “Great Western Route,” the proposed third leg of the Great South-North Water Diversion Project — the most ambitious inter-river and inter-basin transfer program ever conceived — whose first two legs, involving internal rivers in China’s ethnic Han heartland, are scheduled to be completed within three years. The Great Western Route, centered on the Tibetan Plateau, is designed to divert waters, including from international rivers, to the Yellow River, the main river of water-stressed northern China, which also originates in Tibet.

With its industry now dominating the global hydropower-equipment market, China has also emerged as the largest dam builder overseas. From Pakistani-held Kashmir to Burma’s troubled Kachin and Shan states, China has widened its dam building to disputed or insurgency-torn areas, despite local backlashes.

For example, units of the People’s Liberation Army are engaged in dam and other strategic projects in the restive, Shia-majority region of Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan-held Kashmir. And China’s dam building inside Burma to generate power for export to Chinese provinces has contributed to renewed bloody fighting recently, ending a 17-year ceasefire between the Kachin Independence Army and the government.

As with its territorial and maritime disputes with India, Vietnam, Japan, and others, China is seeking to disrupt the status quo on international-river flows. Persuading it to halt further unilateral appropriation of shared waters has thus become pivotal to Asian peace and stability. Otherwise, China is likely to emerge as the master of Asia’s water taps, thereby acquiring tremendous leverage over its neighbors’ behavior.

Brahma Chellaney, Professor of Strategic Studies at the Center for Policy Research, is the author of Water: Asia’s New Battleground

Warm Regards
sanjeev nayyar
www.esamskriti.com
to unsubscribe write back

as expected. the akash 'tablet' is a dud. thanks, mr zero loss.

oct 15th, 2011 CE

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-15302663

ok, i don't trust the bbc, but this confirms what i thought would be the case:

1. resistive, ie. stylus-based screen
2. underpowered cpu and memory
3. seriously sucky battery
4. poor user interface
5. poor build quality

i am unpleasantly surprised by:

1. the lack of android market availability. that sounds brain-dead. its like the stalinists are saying. why on earth would you want to use all the pad-friendly android apps out there (100,000 of them)? i wonder if there will be sarkari ads instead broadcast to this thing. like 'rajiv gandhi birthday celebrations every day of the year'. 

i am pleasantly surprised by:

1. the 2 USB slots. i believe (from their website) that these will take the 3g dongles that are popular in india
2. the built-in 2G GPRS connection (according to their website) at rs. 98 a month for 1 GB (who is the carrier?)

maybe i shouldn't be so sceptical. maybe the second version of this will be actually usable. 

on second thoughts, naah. this is the from the stalinists. they don't *want* information to get out to the common man. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

ashok malik: A shot in the dark by the anti-modi cottage industry, supporting a tainted police officer

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Swarnim Gujarat
Date: Mon, Oct 10, 2011 at 8:06 PM
Subject: A shot in the dark
To:


hindustantimes
A shot in the dark
Ashok Malik, Hindustan Times
October 10, 2011
Who is a whistleblower? As most people understand it, a whistleblower is an individual who reveals hitherto unknown wrongdoing, and provides or points to independent, third-party evidence to back his claim. How does Sanjiv Bhatt, the police officer accused of perjury by the Gujarat government but hailed as a whistleblower by a battalion of Narendra Modi opponents, measure up to this benchmark?
A few months ago, Bhatt filed an affidavit saying he attended a meeting in Gandhinagar on February 27, 2002, hours after the Godhra train carnage. At the meeting, Modi, chief minister (CM) of Gujarat, discussed the law and order situation with senior police officers. Bhatt alleges Modi asked the police to look away, and allow Hindu extremists to massacre innocent Muslims.
Those present at that meeting deny the CM said any such thing. The chief of police of Gujarat at that time has emphasised that Bhatt was too junior to be invited to the meeting and was not there at all. When he appeared before it, the Special Investigative Team (SIT) set up by the Supreme Court to look into the 2002 Gujarat violence asked Bhatt questions about specific people and whether they were present in the room that day. He did not have clear answers.
In his support, Bhatt cited two subordinate officers in the police. The first, he said, drove him to the CM's bungalow.
The second carried his files. Now one of those two gentlemen, a constable named KD Panth, has filed a complaint against Bhatt, emphasising that he (Panth) was in Mumbai on February 27, 2002, helping a relative with a visa application at the French consulate. Panth has also said Bhatt coerced him into agreeing to the affidavit, and did so at the house of Arjun Modhwadiya, MLA and state Congress unit chief. Bhatt and Congress functionaries told Panth, or so he says, that Modi was on his way out and there were political and professional benefits in allying with the Opposition. Following Panth's complaint, the Gujarat police acted against Bhatt.
Bhatt's fan club — on a television programme this week, film-maker Mahesh Bhatt called the arrested police officer "the bravest son India has produced" — has been quick to label Panth a turncoat. They say he is acting under pressure of the Gujarat government and that a humble constable's complaint cannot be used to prosecute an IPS officer.
Consider the contradiction. If Panth had stuck to the letter of Bhatt's affidavit, he would have been praised as a whistle-blower. If Panth had stuck to the letter of Bhatt's affidavit, his word would have been used to demand prosecution of not an IPS officer but an elected CM. In short, in the distorted world of Modi-phobes, a whistleblower is somebody who says something convenient, never mind if it is or isn't the truth.
Bhatt has a long history in the police. He has faced court cases for misuse of authority, facilitating land grab and framing people. Well before Modi appeared on the scene, the National Human Rights Commission had passed strictures against Bhatt for "falsely involving a person in a criminal case".
The perception is Bhatt's career was at a dead-end. As a desperate man, he sought to exploit political contacts to resurrect himself. There is an email trail, and it is in the public domain, that establishes he was in conspiracy with Congress leaders in Gujarat. Is this a man worth defending? See it through three prisms.
First, in the cash-for-votes case — involving the bribing of MPs before the confidence vote of July 2008 — the Delhi Police, an agency under the Union home ministry, has opposed the bail application of Sudheendra Kulkarni and of two former BJP MPs. "Every accused in the case terms himself a whistle-blower as if they have saved the country," public prosecutor Rajiv Mohan told the court on October 1, "if they are taking the plea of being whistleblowers in the scam, they have to establish it by way of evidence. Not even a single aspect shows that they were actually whistleblowers." Strong words; aren't they applicable in the case of Bhatt?
Second, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has charged the Opposition of not being reconciled to electoral defeat, with being "prematurely restless", and attempting to "destabilise" the UPA government and "force elections". Grave words; shouldn't they be asked of Arjun Modhwadiya and other Congress MLAs plotting with Bhatt and, as Panth charges, encouraging policemen to lie in court and unseat a chief minister?
Third, shortly after the 26/11 terror strike, an article appeared in this newspaper's sister publication, Mint. Attacking the PM, it asked him to "get out of the way and allow someone more effective to run the country". The article was apparently written by an IAS officer using a pseudonym. It was raised in Parliament by a BJP MP.

In response, home minister P Chidambaram made an enlightened and impassioned defence. "I have read the article," Chidambaram said in the Lok Sabha, "… All I know is either he is a disloyal officer or a coward or both… I hope they (the BJP) do not encourage such officers; they did not encourage them when they were in power." Wise words; wouldn't it be appropriate to use them in the context of Sanjiv Bhatt?

Ashok Malik is a Delhi-based political commentator
malikashok@gmail.com
The views expressed by the author are personal
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energy mischief: 1. US accuses iranians of plotting to kill saudi envoy; 2. church wants russian nuke plant closed

oct 13th, 2011 CE

first, it beggars the imagination that the iranians would want to kill a saudi envoy in the US.

i think this is all related to the propaganda for the keystone XL pipeline.

second, the church's involvement in kudankulam at this late stage is very suspicious. 

they are saying "shut the plant down". which basically suggests they want the *russian* plant closed, so that *french* reactors will get more mileage in india.

need we mention that france is a catholic country and russia is not?

this idea courtesy a tweet by @barbarindian

dennis ritchie, co-creator of UNIX, dies. what a legacy he has left!

oct 13th, 2011 CE

the spirit of UNIX -- that of building complex constructs from simple, well-defined building blocks -- remains at the heart of computing. sort of like LEGO.

two people: thompson and ritchie, wrote UNIX all by themselves on an old DEC PDP-11. compare this to thousands of developers at IBM creating OS/370 etc.

UNIX remains in everything: iOS, android, the open-source movement, etc. 

i was lucky to work at bell labs during the heyday of its research prowess. thompson and ritchie used to be among the resident geniuses who would play month-long games of 'go' in the cafetaria at murray hill, new jersey.

from 'good morning, silicon valley' of the san jose mercury news:

“I read somewhere that, while he wasn’t as famous as Steve Jobs, that his legacy was on the same level. I totally agree. He created the modern interactive operating system.”

— Dave Winer, blogger and RSS pioneer, on Dennis Ritchie, who has died at 70, reportedly after a long illness. Ritchie created the C programming language and was co-creator of Unix, whose “spiritual descendants”ZDNet lists: “Linux, Android, Mac OS, iOS, JavaScript, C++, the genius of the Internet and a world full of developers.” Ritchie worked at Bell Labs, which today told employees of the death of one of its “most respected researchers.”