Sunday, September 30, 2012

Article: Kalaari Capital announces $150m fund to find promising tech startups in India

There’s more encouraging news for India’s startup scene after Kalaari Capital, a new VC fund formed by the partners behind Indo US Venture Partners (IUVP), announced a new $150 million investment fund focused on finding and encouraging early-stage technology companies.

The money — which comes p...

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Article: Why The Best Spies in Mossad And The CIA Are Women

Article: Congress never so unpopular since 1977, mid-term poll likely

By Tavleen Singh on September 30, 2012

In a Delhi drawing room, the day after Mamata Banerjee withdrew her Ministers from the UPA Government, I met a senior politician and asked how long he thought the Government would last. He said, “Till after the Budget Session. Not much longer...

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Article: Iran Doesn't Appreciate Reuters' Calling Their Women 'Ninja Assassins'

Article: Nobody Wants to Buy Electric Cars

Factory Riot Spotlights Breaking Point in China

Factory Riot Spotlights Breaking Point in China

By Paul Mozur TAIYUAN, China—The pressures threatening China's status as the world's factory floor have been laid bare by a riot this week... read more


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Michelangelo Antonioni at 100

Michelangelo Antonioni at 100

Today would be the hundredth birthday of the cinema's exemplary modernist, Michelangelo Antonioni, who, from the very beginning of his career, underst read more


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#muslimrage #minority #rights bangladeshis torch buddhist and hindu temples

so a buddhist allegedly did something, so muslims torched buddhist temples.

hindu temples were the usual collateral damage. 

note: hindus are not accused of anything except their Original Sin: they exist.

compare this to muslim demands for minority privileges when they are in other countries. 

Article: Google's self-guided car could drive the next wave of unemployment

Article: The abuse of children was sickening, but British Pakistanis are fighting back


Similar things are going on in India too

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Article: 11 Of The Most Influential Infographics Of The 19th Century | note how history starts in 4004 BCE


Nice graphs, but note the first one. White people seriously believed, and many rednecks still do, that the world was created in 4004 BCE. On Oct 21 at 10 am. That is what the bible says per one famous padre named ussher.

What about fossils dated to millions of years ago? According to Christian gunfire, their god made them in 4004 BCE, but made them look millions of years old. Why? Because he is a god, and he can do it.

Hilarious stuff. These blighters believe it,too

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The Dream-Team's Wreck-Job

  • The Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme is a cesspool of corruption and is consuming Rs 100,000 crores. You are not only disfiguring the balance sheet of the country but also spoiling the work force of the rural areas. This has resulted in a huge budget deficit and that is one of the reasons why the rupee weakened. 
  • You also mismanaged the external front by liberalising your imports based on your stock market money. You have no reason to run a trade deficit of $120 billion with China and starve the local industries. Because the external front weakened, the cost of the economy went up by at least 25 per cent. 
  • This year, we will be depositing Rs 8 trillion in the banking system and the government will be borrowing Rs 6 trillion. If the people put money in the stock market, our government will become insolvent.
S Gurumurthy: Why did the economy go back to the 1991 position?

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Atanu Dey on India's Development » Blog Archive » Stealing is a Bad Thing — Part 4

Couples Who Share The Housework Are More Likely To Divorce, Study Finds | blow to #namo

Gujarat's chief minister: The candidate | grudging respect and faint praise from NATOs voice

The Economist | Gujarat's chief minister: The candidate via @theeconomist

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stanford: hindu bashing by racists and communists: Caste, Religion and Dalit Liberation in India, Public Lecture and Film Series

hey, what about some liberation for roma in europe, white folks?

and in tibet, eh, communists?

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St. Thomas in India: True or False – N.S. Rajaram | major fabrication

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Subject: [New post] St. Thomas in India: True or False – N.S. Rajaram

IS posted: "Here is the substance of the St. Thomas story: First, if he existed he was a twin brother of Jesus which is unacceptable because Jesus was the Only Son of God. Next, he could not have preached Christianity in 52 AD because Christianity and the New Testame"
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St. Thomas in India: True or False? – N.S. Rajaram

N.S. RajaramHere is the substance of the St. Thomas story: First, if he existed he was a twin brother of Jesus which is unacceptable because Jesus was the Only Son of God. Next, he could not have preached Christianity in 52 AD because Christianity and the New Testament came into existence only in the fourth century, after the Council of Nicaea called by Roman Emperor Constantine in 325 AD. The first Christians came to India with the Syrian merchant Thomas in 345 AD escaping persecution in Persia. Lastly, the Namboothari Brahmins settled in Kerala only after the fourth century AD, so could not have been converted by Apostle Thomas in 52 AD using the Bible from three centuries later. - Dr. N.S. Rajaram

St. ThomasAccording to Christian leaders in India, the Apostle Thomas came to India in 52 A.D., founded the Syrian Christian Church, and was killed by the fanatical Brahmins in 72 A.D. His followers built the St. Thomas Church near the site of his martyrdom. Historians however say this apostle, even if he existed, never came to India. The Christian community in South India was founded by a Syrian (or Armenian) merchant Thomas Cananeus in 345 AD. He led four hundred refugees who fled persecution in Persia and were given asylum by the Hindu authorities.

This story was too commonplace to attract converts. So Christian leaders identified the merchant Thomas with Apostle Thomas and created the dramatic story of the Apostle’s persecution and death at the hands of the "wicked" Brahmins of South India. This became current in the 16th century when the Portuguese gained control of the west coast of India and forced the Syrian Christians to follow the Catholic faith. The Portuguese also destroyed the Kapaleeswara Temple that originally stood on the site now occupied by the San Thome Cathedral on the beach.

Kapali TempleThe creation of this myth and the history is told in detail by the Canadian scholar Ishwar Sharan in his famous book The Myth of St. Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple. The purpose of the myth was to create a local martyr. Christianity depends heavily on the appeal of martyrs who are projected as victims like Jesus Christ. Then as now, Church leaders liked to pose as victims to generate sympathy and propaganda. But no matter how much they tried, the Hindus of India refused to supply the Portuguese with martyrs. So they were forced to create their own. So they turned the merchant Thomas into the Apostle Thomas killed by the Hindus.

In his foreword to Ishwar Sharan’s book, the Belgian scholar Koenraad Elst wrote: “In Catholic universities in Europe, the myth of the apostle Thomas going to India is no longer taught as history, but in India it is still considered useful. Even many vocal ‘secularists’ who attack the Hindus for relying on myth in the Ayodhya affair, off-hand profess their belief in the Thomas myth. The important point is that Thomas can be upheld as a martyr and the Brahmins decried as fanatics.”

San Thome CathedralTargeting Brahmins to undermine Hinduism was a favorite tactic among missionaries. Elst gives the true picture: “In reality, the missionaries were very disgruntled that the damned Hindus refused to give them martyrs (whose blood is welcomed as ‘the seed of the faith’), so they had to invent one. Moreover, the church which they claim commemorates St. Thomas’ martyrdom at the hands of Hindu fanaticism, is in fact a monument of Hindu martyrdom at the hands of Christian fanaticism. It is a forcible replacement of two important Hindu temples (Jain and Shaiva) whose existence was insupportable to the Christian missionaries.”

Another motivation for the myth was to erase the unsavory record of the Catholic Church’s close association with the Portuguese pirates and even worse, the Goa Inquisition inspired by St. Xavier. But serious scholars including Christians have rejected this myth as we shall soon see.

Who was this Apostle Thomas and why was his name invoked? The main sources relating to Apostle Thomas are two Gnostic (non-Biblical) texts known as the Acts of Thomas and the Gospel of Thomas. According to them Thomas was the twin brother of Jesus. For this reason the Thomas myth is not accepted by the Vatican because of a doctrinal problem: Jesus as the Only Son of God cannot possibly have a twin brother. (Greek for Thomas is Didymus, which means twin brother.)

Christians in South India who identify themselves as St. Thomas Christians claim that their ancestors were blessed by Apostle Thomas in 52 A.D. who preached from the Bible. This has no historical basis as we shall see. In fact, there is no evidence that Thomas even existed. His "history" is full of contradictions as will become apparent.

Marco PoloAs just observed the Portuguese missionaries who came to India in the 16th century found that they could not do without a local martyr and created the myth of St. Thomas claiming that he was martyred in India. They gave no explanation as to how they discovered it more than 1500 years later. Marco Polo is supposed to have mentioned it but there is no authentic manuscript that can be attributed to him. Then there is the question of how he discovered it more than a thousand years later.

There is even a tomb that is supposed to contain his martyred remains in Mylapore in Chennai. But the problem is there are several such memorials spread across Persia, Acre (Israel) and a few other places dating to different times, all laying claim to be the place where Apostle Thomas was martyred and buried!

After examining all the evidence, the late Father Heras, former Director of the Historical Research Institute, St. Xavier’s College, Bombay, said in 1953 that he was convinced that the tomb of St. Thomas was not in Mylapore. He had earlier said, quite emphatically in The Aravidu Dynasty of Vijayanagara, that the Portuguese account of their discovery of some relics was “a most barefaced imposture [with] all elements of a forgery.” Heras was himself a Jesuit father but also an eminent historian.

Henry HerasThis is not the end of the story, for while denying the myth because it challenges Jesus as the "Only Son of God" the Vatican wants to have it both ways. On September 27, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI gave a speech at St. Peter’s in Rome in which he recalled an ancient tradition claiming that Thomas first evangelized Syria and Persia, then went on to Western India, from where Christianity also reached Southern India. Syrian Christians derive status within the caste system from the tradition that they are converted Namboothiris (Brahmins), who were allegedly evangelized by St. Thomas after he allegedly landed in Kerala in AD 52.

There are serious problems with this theory: the Namboothiris started settling in Kerala only from the fourth century onwards, which means they did not exist at the time the alleged St. Thomas allegedly came to Kerala. So we have a possibly non-existent apostle preaching in the first century from a text, the New Testament, dating to the fourth century, to a people, the Namboothiris who settled in the fourth century or later. In reality the Pope’s original statement at St. Peter’s, reflected the geography of the Acts of Thomas, i.e. Syria, Parthia (Persia / Iran) and Gandhara (Afghanistan / Northwest Pakistan) -- all far removed from Kerala in the southernmost tip of India.

Bleeding CrossThis is not the end to the contradictions. If Thomas landed in Kerala in 52 AD, he could not have taught from the Christian Bible (New Testament) with its four gospels which came into existence only in the fourth century. In fact Christianity did not exist at the time because there was no Christian scripture! In addition, the famous St. Thomas Cross supposedly brought by him made its appearance in Kerala only in the fourth century, about the same time as the Namboothiri Brahmins. So it is quite possible that the highly ornate St. Thomas Cross [with Hindu motifs carved in it] was borrowed from the Namboothiris, having nothing to do with St. Thomas or even Christians. The Church borrowed its cross from the Egyptians and the oldest so-called St. Thomas Cross is a pagan Persian symbol.

Prof. Francis Xavier Clooney, SJAs if this were not confusing enough, Father Francis Clooney, a theologian with the Harvard Divinity School has stated that St Thomas had preached in Brazil, no matter that Brazil as we understand today was unknown in his time. According to Clooney, one Ruiz de Montoya, writing in Peru in the mid-seventeenth century, thought that since God would not have overlooked the Americas for fifteen hundred years, and since among the twelve apostles St. Thomas was known for his mission to the “most abject people in the world, blacks and Indians,” it was only reasonable to conclude that St. Thomas had preached throughout the Americas:

“He began in Brazil – either reaching it by natural means on Roman ships, which some maintain were in communication with America from the coast of Africa, or else, as may be thought closer to the truth, being transported there by God miraculously. He passed to Paraguay and from there to the Peruvians.”

St. Thomas Book CoverSo here is the substance of the St. Thomas story. First, if he existed he was a twin brother of Jesus which is unacceptable because Jesus was the Only Son of God (born to a virgin). Next, he could not have preached Christianity in 52 AD because Christianity and the New Testament came into existence only in the fourth century, after the Council of Nicaea called by Roman Emperor Constantine in 325 AD. The first Christians came to India with the Syrian merchant Thomas in 345 AD escaping persecution in Persia. This was probably because Roman and Persian empires were great rivals. The Namboothiri Brahmins settled in Kerala only after the fourth AD, so could not have been converted by Apostle Thomas in 52 AD using the Bible from three centuries later.

Finally, the myth was created by Portuguese missionaries in the sixteenth century with the help of pirates. They destroyed also the Kapaleeswara Temple and a Jain temple building the church known as San Thome Cathedral in 1504. It acquired its present status and recognition as a cathedral (grand church) under British patronage in 1893. It was also the Portuguese who converted the Syrian Christians to the Catholic faith.

So, all these contradictions have to be reconciled before the myth of St Thomas can be taken seriously. - Folks Magazine, 7 November 2009

» Editor's Note: Historians do not agree about the date for the coming of Namboothiri Brahmins to Kerala. Marxist historians make their arrival as late as the sixth century AD. However with the identification of the Namboothiri priest Mezhathol Agnihothri (b. 342 AD), the date can be moved back to the fourth century. Namboothiri historians themselves do not give a date for the arrival of their community in Kerala from North India.

» Dr. N.S. Rajaram has referred to the second (1995) edition of The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple for this article. The second edition is now out of print and not available on-line. However the third (2010) edition, which contains everything in the second edition, revised with corrected dates and many new references, is available on The Ishwar Sharan Archive.

See also

September 25, 2012 at 6:08 AM | Tags: bleeding cross, brahmins, brother of jesus, christian church, christian mythology, christianity, history of christianity, indian history, ishwar sharan, kapaleeswara temple, madras-chennai, martyrs, mylapore, namboothiri brahmin, portuguese in india, san thome cathedral, st thomas, st. thomas mount, st. thomas myth, temple breaking, the myth of saint thomas and the mylapore shiva temple | Categories: apostles, archaeology, ashrams, bible, christian, christian terrorism, christianity, communalism, cross, gnosticism, god, hindu, history, iconography, imperialism, india, indian politics, indology, inquisition, jesus, kerala, mythology, psychological warfare, religion, roman catholic church, scholarship, st. thomas myth, temples, terrorism, theology, vatican, voice of india, west asia | middle east | URL:

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Spy vs spy | Article: Edwin P. Wilson


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Article: India launches 101st space mission, and looks to Mars

India marked its 101st space mission today with the launch of its heaviest communications satellite, GSAT-10, from French Guyana.

The satellite, carrying 30 communication transponders and a navigation payload, is the first of 10 missions slated for the coming year, a hectic schedule that the In...

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Article: Algeria joins Muslim leaders in demanding new efforts to stem attacks on Islam

Ulun Danu water temple on the edge of Lake Bratan in Bali, Indonesia | a most sublime Hindu temple Photo by Stefano Paganelli

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Radiating Death

  • "No matter which direction you go from Walmart, there's a very high rate of business closures in the immediate vicinity, and the further away you get there's less and less," says University of Illinois Chicago economics professor Joe Persky, one of the authors of the study, which was just published in Economic Development Quarterly
  • The per-mile closure rate increase for drugstores is almost 20 percent. For home furnishings, it's about 15 percent. For hardware stores, it's about 18 percent per mile. For toys, it's more than 25 percent per mile. The research also shows that during the study period, from 2006 to 2008, overall sales tax revenues went down in the two ZIP codes closest to or encompassing the Walmart. 
  • By 2008, the amount of jobs lost because of store closures was just about the same as those created by the Walmart store's opening. It was, Persky says, a wash. "You may have reasons to want Walmart and you may have reasons not to want Walmart, but economic development is not one of those reasons," Persky says. "And yet that's been, in many cases, the primary argument for bringing Walmart to the city."  
The Atlantic Cities: Radiating Death: How Walmart Displaces Nearby Small Businesses

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

American Football Coming to India

With the success of IPL Cricket, another group of Indians is looking to bring a favorite American sport to India - football:

How Much Did Walmart Pay KKKangress?

"Wal-Mart have mentioned in their public documents that they have spent 53 million dollars in India to get access to the Indian market. They should name the ministers they paid money to," Murali Manohar Joshi said
Wal-Mart spent 53 million dollars in India to get access to retail market, alleges M.M. Joshi

We saw how the RadiaMedia was going out of its way to drum up support for big-box retailers.

Article: 10 Places to Go Glamping in India


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Monday, September 24, 2012

Hindu Exodus Continues

More Hindu families from Pakistan continue to arrive in Rajasthan:

SpaceX Grasshopper Takes First Hop

SpaceX's Grasshopper testbed, intended to develop a reusable space launch platform (vertical takeoff, vertical landing) has made its first brief test hop:

As you can see, it was only the briefest lift off the ground, but again, this was an initial test. The final reusable launch vehicle stack is intended to look like this:

Global Foundries to Catch Upto Intel with 14nm

Global Foundries, the chip-making business spun off by AMD, is putting Intel on notice by announcing that it will leap ahead to next-generation 14nm process technology sooner than expected:

Blind To Fukushima

One study compared the health status of the inhabitants of five villages within 10 km of the Rajasthan atomic power station and four other villages more than 50 km away. It observed statistically significant increases in several indices including the rates of congenital deformities, spontaneous abortions, still births, and solid tumours in the villages closer to the reactor. 
It is unclear whether the industry itself believes its safety claims. The manufacturer of the Kudankulam plant, Atomstroyexport, is protected by an intergovernmental agreement between India and Russia, which completely absolves it of any responsibility in the event of a disaster. If anything, the risk of a nuclear accident in India is likely to be higher than elsewhere because of weaknesses in the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board.
The Hindu: Where the mind is full of fear

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Power, Pollution And The Internet

Worldwide, data centers use about 30 billion watts of electricity, roughly equivalent to the output of 30 nuclear power plants. Only 6 percent to 12 percent of the electricity is used for powering the servers to perform computations. The rest was essentially used to keep servers idling and ready in case of a surge in activity that could slow or crash their operations. 
NYT: Power, Pollution and the Internet

US Natural Gas Boom: China Eyes Cheaper Coal

With more utilities moving to natural gas, the 100 billion tons of coal still locked in the region need to reach new markets or face being frozen in the ground. Allowing surplus coal to be exported to Asia would throw miners a lifeline and potentially give China access to cheaper coal.
Coal fight looms, Keystone-like, over U.S. Northwest

MSPs raise Gypsy 'discrimination' concerns | Roma #human #rights violations


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Riots Break Out at Foxconn Factory in China | more #Han #rage

Reports early Monday from China suggest that a mass disturbance or riots may have broken out at a Foxconn factory in the Chinese city of Taiyuan.

It is still unclear what exactly happened, but posts on China’s popular twitter-like service, Weibo, from users in the area show photographs a...

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China protests: Toyota resumes Chinese operations | India could go all out to attract Japanese investors after Han rage attack


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Article: Oh Great, SARS Is Back

The World Health Organization tried not to raise too many red flags on Sunday when they announced that they found a rare and deadly virus nearly in the same family as SARS in a 49-year-old Qatari man in the United Kingdom. We know what you're thinking: Isn't that pretty much the plot to the movie...

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Saturday, September 22, 2012

98,000: Annual Deaths From Medical Errors In The U.S

When there is a plane crash in the U.S., even a minor one, it makes headlines.The world of American medicine is far deadlier: Medical mistakes kill enough people each week to fill four jumbo jets. But these mistakes go largely unnoticed by the world at large, and the medical community rarely learns from them. 
WSJ: How to Stop Hospitals From Killing Us

Kejriwal offered Anna unspent IAC funds, he refused | nice try, arvind, but your 15 minutes of fame are over

Article: Soldier Who Taught ‘Total War’ Against Islam Threatens to Sue Top Military Officer

Lt. Col. Matthew Dooley is now mulling a lawsuit against America’s top military officer. Photo: Thomas More Law Center

The Army officer who once taught that the U.S. ought to consider “Hiroshima tactics” for a “total war” on Islam has put America’s top general on notice for a possible lawsuit. ...

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Article: Judge in abortion case is part of religious group | fundies in judiciary

Australian Roman #Catholic #Church admits #child #sex #abuse | nothing new, padres bonking little boys as usual

Article: China calls for free-trade deal with Canada within a decade | New Han colony

The History Behind China and Japan's Anger Over a few Empty Islands | hans need war to kill off 30 million excess men

Article: Panetta's Asia visit shows balancing role U.S. hopes to play | stop playing footsie with pak first

(Reuters) - Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's week-long visit to the Asia-Pacific region helped deepen the U.S. military's strategic shift to the area, even as it illustrated the balancing role that Washington may have to play to maintain peace and stability.

The trip, which concluded on Saturda...

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#Obama: It takes more than 1 term to fix #economy | fix = destroy, for which #UPA also wants one more term

Article: Pakistani bounty placed on anti-Islam filmmaker

(Reuters) - A Pakistani minister offered $100,000 on Saturday to anyone who kills the maker of an online video which insults Islam, as sporadic protests rumbled on across parts of the Muslim world.

"I announce today that this blasphemer, this sinner who has spoken nonsense about the holy Prophe...

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Article: The Next Panic


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Article: Studies expand on soda's role in growing obesity

Article: Studies expand on soda's role in growing obesity

Article: The Silicon Valley company cafeteria shootout: Who has the best food?

When it comes to the high-flying perks at the top companies of Silicon Valley, nothing is more salivating than the food. Major tech campuses scramble to get their employees the best of the best in food and drink, often three square meals a day, for no extra cost. In short, it’s a level of workpla...

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Article: Autumnal Equinox 2012: Facts About the First Day of Fall

KKKangress Shining

A major part of the budget is to advertise the programmes of the rural development ministry to influence the rural vote bank. A two-hour light-and-sound show in Hindi on the life of an orphan girl Jamuniya who became a village sarpanch, will be shown in villages. It is being dubbed in Gujarati as well to show it to people in poll-bound Gujarat.
DNA: Rs100 crore ad blitzkrieg to defend fuel price hike

Mamata's nifty shades of grey by Ishita Ayan Dutt in BS. Increases prices in State n Protests against Centre + her brand of Secularism

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Article says that Didi has increased prices of minimum state run bus fare, power tariffs over a year cumulatively 37%, milk is costlier by Rs 6/ litre since low-cost milk substituted by high-cost fortified milk etc.
“CM announced a monthly honorarium of Rs 2,500 for the 30,000-plus imams. Bengal has a Muslim population of 27 per cent, and Banerjee has gone all out to win that vote bank from the Left; whether it is sporting a headscarf, or saying Insh’Allah in the same breath as Jai Hind at the end of every speech or getting her ministers to resign from the Centre on Friday (“after Jumu’ah prayers”).”
Is this not mixing religion with politics? Communal! The torchbearers of secularism are silent like Ranbir Kapoor in Barfi.
Ishita Ayan Dutt: Mamata's nifty shades of grey
The Trinamool chief exits the UPA for raising fuel prices but feels little compulsion to do the same in the state she heads
Ishita Ayan Dutt / Sep 22, 2012, 00:36 IST

If popular is white and populism black, then Mamata Banerjee is a curious shade of grey that may be hard to spot in the colour charts.

Isolated and un-consulted at the Centre, Banerjee was determined to, as she said, “bell the cat” over the Centre’s move to raise diesel prices, reduce subsidies on LPG cylinders, apart from approving foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail.

But back home, in the past 17 months, the Ma, Mati, Manush government has felt little compulsion about succumbing to the need to raise prices on quite a few occasions, and it has often chosen ingenious ways to go about it.

In August, for instance, the minimum state-run bus fare in Bengal went from Rs 4.50 to Rs 5, apparently for want of 50 paise coins. Yet, a month prior to that Banerjee took to the streets to protest against an oil price calibration by the central government-owned oil companies that translated into a 70-paise rise in petrol prices in Bengal. Meanwhile, in the heat of the current protests over diesel prices, a part of Bengal is frozen in time. Private bus operators have stayed off the roads for three days this week in protest. Taxis and three-wheelers, too, have intermittently gone on strike in the past year and a half, on the same ground.

Power tariffs are yet another example of Banerjee’s double standards. Tariffs by both private companies and state utilities has been raised four times over a year, a cumulative increase of 37 per cent, under the garb of a variable fuel cost, essentially a method to pass on the coal price increase.

Milk is costlier by Rs 6 a litre because the low-cost variety has been substituted by high-cost fortified milk.

Banerjee is also not averse to exercising some ingenuity to maintain her brand with the common man. Country liquor is a case in point. The government allows the sale of the poor man’s liquor through regulated shops across the state with the twin purpose of increasing revenue and keeping illicit hooch at bay.

In this year’s Budget, Finance Minister Amit Mitra resorted to a unique solution to raise revenues. He imposed an ad valorem duty on the maximum retail price (MRP). No problem there, except that unlike any other business neither the producers nor the retailers have the liberty to raise prices without approval from the state, though technically the excise department has allowed producers to fix prices. In effect, then, producers and retailers have to pay the state exchequer more but can’t pass on the higher tax to the consumer.

Some nifty work was visible even in the Railway ministry when it was headed by Trinamool’s Dinesh Trivedi. Ahead of the increase in passenger fares that prompted his party boss Banerjee to sack him, the Railways increased freight rate across the board to garner Rs 15,000 crore to Rs 20,000 crore.

For someone who is hyper-sensitive to price rises by any central entity, Banerjee was curiously silent on freight — even though the impact on the common man she so venerates would have been as burdensome as the current rise in diesel prices.

Bizarre decisions like the one on country liquor stem from an urgent need to shore up revenues for a state that faces a debt mountain of more than Rs 2 lakh crore — and to finance Banerjee’s unrelenting populism.

Earlier in the year, the chief minister announced a monthly honorarium of Rs 2,500 for the 30,000-plus imams. Bengal has a Muslim population of 27 per cent, and Banerjee has gone all out to win that vote bank from the Left; whether it is sporting a headscarf, or saying Insh’Allah in the same breath as Jai Hind at the end of every speech or getting her ministers to resign from the Centre on Friday (“after Jumu’ah prayers”). Banerjee has an eye for detail, while the bigger things can take a hike.

But Bengal is paying the price in every possible way. The government’s now-famous land policy of having the state steer clear of acquiring land for industrial projects has left Bengal high and dry for investment. There’s an endless list of projects that have been in limbo — from Bhushan Steel, L&T and NTPC, to name a few.

So, the scope for generating revenue has narrowed even more, compelling Banerjee to knock on the Centre’s doors for a bailout package. Well, till recently.

But with the alliance at the Centre gone, what becomes of a cash-strapped state with no investment? Banerjee may have just overlooked that scenario; she appears to have chosen too large a belled collar, thereby offering a chance for the cat to wriggle through. A mesmeric popularity may have blinkered her and Trinamool Congress will probably reap the benefits of taking up a people’s issue in the upcoming panchayat elections. But Bengal will be left to count the cost of populism.

Warm Regards
sanjeev nayyar!/NayyarSanjeev
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The Gujarat miracle: There is no denying the major economic advances the state has made under Narendra Modi by Arvind Panagariya in ECO TIMES

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The Gujarat miracle: There is no denying the major economic advances the state has made under Narendra Modi (do read reader comments in TOI insightful)

By Arvind Panagariya | Sep 22, 2012, 12.00AM IST -

I recently wrote about why the accomplishments of chief minister Nitish Kumar - that at last bring hope to Bihar - could not be underestimated. Today, i turn to Gujarat, which has been generally more prosperous in the post-Independence era and has performed impressively under chief minister Narendra Modi. Critics who insist on viewing everything related to Modi through the 2002 lens and, thus, fail to separate their economics from politics have fallen short of 20/20 vision.

Begin with growth. The relevant comparison here is with larger, richer states. Based on per-capita Net State Domestic Product (NSDP) in 2009-10, Gujarat ranks third, behind Maharashtra and Haryana but ahead of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Punjab and Karnataka in that order.

Modi came to office in October 2001. In the following eight years spanning 2002-03 to 2009-10 (2002-10), NSDP grew at 10.5% annual rate in Gujarat and at 10.1% in the nearest competitor, Maharashtra. The rate during the preceding eight years, 1994-02, was 5.9%, behind only Haryana's 6.3%. Modi inherited a vibrant economy and has taken it to new heights. Gujarat had ranked sixth in terms of per-capita NSDP in 2002-03. Outperforming Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Punjab, it moved up to the third spot in 2005-06 and has remained there.

While the performance in agriculture has received the greatest attention, perhaps the most exceptional feature of Gujarat's success has been the performance of manufacturing. Compared with the national average of 15%, manufacturing in Gujarat accounted for 27.4% of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) in 2009-10.

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'No Such Thing As Time'

The only evidence you have of last week is your memory. But memory comes from a stable structure of neurons in your brain now. The only evidence we have of the Earth’s past is rocks and fossils. But these are just stable structures in the form of an arrangement of minerals we examine in the present. The point is, all we have are these records and you only have them in this Now.
As we live, we seem to move through a succession of Nows, and the question is, what are they? Each Now is an arrangement of everything in the universe. We have the strong impression that things have definite positions relative to each other. I aim to abstract away everything we cannot see (directly or indirectly) and simply keep this idea of many different things coexisting at once. There are simply the Nows, nothing more, nothing less.
PopSci: "There Is No Such Thing As Time"
  • There is never a time when your life in not NOW -Eckhart Tolle. 
  • gatam mitya. The past is in memory, the future -- in imagination

Friday, September 21, 2012

Sep 22: World Car-Free Day

Refraining from driving on a Saturday is regular practice among Orthodox Jews...  Many European cities, like the Southwark district of London, will be closing streets to cars for the entire day. Massachusetts is the only state to observe a "Car-Free Week" for the past three years.
World Carfree Day (WCD)

'Of The Foreigner, By the Foreigner, For The Foreigner'

"Abraham Lincoln gave us the definition of democracy 'of the people, by the people and for the people', but our Manmohan Singhji has given us a new definition 'of the foreigners, by the foreigners, for the foreigners'," said Modi, while addressing a large gathering at Vivekananda Youth Convention here.
Modi said the local traders and retailers would lose employment following this move of the ruling government. "Now onwards pen, pencils, notebooks would not be sold by your neighbourhood shopkeeper, but some 'gora'," he added, while taking a jibe at the UPA regime.