Read this book. Some serious intellectual fun ahead!

Read ‘Antifragile‘ – a must read book, particularly if you think you are rational!

If reading the whole book* is too much for you, read this review . I read this book a couple of months back and today this review brought back many of those intellectually delightful ideas and some wry humor and some potshots on economists and such professions too,

If reading this rather long (fully justified) review is also too much for you, meet me over coffee (on me) or over beer (on you) 🙂 We can then checkout the ‘rationality’

* Caution: some parts of the book are technical, which can be happily skipped without any loss of intellectual fun.

The (newer) religions -1

There are ancient religions like Hindu, Islam, Christian, Buddha…But with advent of science and technology new religions started spawning.

Socialism came upon us following industrial revolution. Whatever leads to mass killings qualifies as a religion.  Socialism led to bloody revolutions in many countries. But the youth of at least one generation was very much enamored  of socialism. Compared to socialism, capitalism remains a small sect or cult if you if you go by the number of people swearing by it.  But in its effects capitalism is by no means less violent – do include exploiting people through profiteering by any means, wanton destruction of ecology, coercive labor practices, runaway and wasteful consumption, and causing and abetting ‘lifestyle’ linked diseases in your definition of violence.

In theory, socialism aims to achieve larger public good. In practice its effects are quite similar to capitalism. A communist China is a hugely polluting economy and it can give  the capitalist countries a tough competition in this regard.

In capitalist  economies economic and political power is in the hands of a few private groups (elected governments get hugely influenced by private parties). In socialistic economies power is concentrated in hands of a monopoly political party.  So you are essentially making a choice of who is going to exploit you.

In both cases the ‘religion’ is exploited by a few for private good. In this regard the new religions are not much different as compared to the ancient ones.

The new religions are different compared to the ancient ones at least in one aspect. The  followers of socialism can simultaneously practice capitalism without any fuss.  And the capitalists can fluently practice socialism by distributing a (small) part of their wealth under charity, giving back to society, corporate social responsibility etc.

‘So what? ‘ you might ask.  Right. But I don’t have to end every post with conclusions. Right?

#religion #ecology, #socialism  #capitalism #power

What will be Narendra Modi’s agenda? Toilets, not temples?

You go to Gujarat and check out his work instead of relying on propaganda of both sides. I saw in Ahmedabad, a well constructed BRTS and a clean Sabarmati’s river front. We have made a mess of both things in Pune.  But at this point of time, I am not going to talk about what Modi has done in Gujarat. That’s because we should be more concerned with what he has in mind for India. 

His ‘toilets more important than temples’ remark drew expected reactions.  But so sold out are our media, intellectuals, and politicians to canards and lies spread by the Congress that no one is talking about one of the most significant speech that Modi gave at the Global Meet of Emerging Markets Forum. 

So here are some excerpts:

The topic was ‘Effective Governance in Democracy: The Gujarat Experience.’

Democracy has made lives of the people in a number of countries much better. It is a self-correcting system. There are internal controls in it. A democracy has the process and possibility to raise people’s voices. … for vast countries like India there cannot be a better model of governance than democracy…. he cautioned against a possible disconnect between the people and the government after the elections are over. “

He mentioned five areas where democracy must be taken ahead:

“First is enhancing the level of harmony.”

“Second comes enhancing the level of participation. He called for moving beyond representation to participation” 

“Third is enhancing the level of information. In this regard he said, “This is the age of information. Governments cannot run from secret files, that time is gone. Democracy must be policy driven and the common man and woman must know what is happening.” 

“The fourth sphere is enhancing levels of institutionalization. Modi said that ideas live longer when they are institutionalized and talked about decentralization. “

“Fifth comes enhancing our capacity to listen. He pointed that in a democracy listening to the people is a must.”

You can find more here http://www.narendramodi.in/there-cannot-be-a-better-model-of-governance-than-democracy/ Unfortunately most the media reporting is scattered so I have to give you link to his page.

If you don’t ‘like’ to visit Modi’s page above, you can read a commentary on his speech by A K Bhattacharya in today’s (Oct 16, 2013) Business Standard , page 9 (I don’t have a link. Read e-paper). Since Bhattacharya sounds secular (he couldn’t consider his article as complete without reference to 2002 and Jairam Ramesh),  you may not have problem in reading his piece.

In my opinion, Modi’s thoughts mentioned above are excellent. To my mind no politician has articulated what India needs so well.  There are no sops, no alms, no handouts…. what a refreshing difference as compared to Congress and the likes and unfortunately, even the BJP who kept responding to Congress agenda….

If we have to dump the vile, corrupt, incompetent, and the arrogant Congress \UPA regime,  Modi gives us excellent choice.  I have a sense that he will not have any problem in taking BJP’s core cadre with him. Those people (BJP’s traditional supporters) are not as mad or Jehadi’s as some of us might think. BJP’s other leaders will also support Modi in the above ideas. And ignore Togadias and Singhals.  

I have a sense that a large number first time voters will also go with him. Modi is my choice for the coming elections. I hope it will be yours too. 

 

#namo, m#odi, #congress, #toilets, #UPA

 

 

Waiting with baited breath, for the next one….

There is no doubt about his mufti-faceted talents. Talking about #RaGa Baba.
 
The statement below shows his scientific bent of mind and his managerial aptitude.
1. “99% of terror attacks have been stopped, but we must aim at stopping 100%.”
 
A truly reflective state of mind. Also reveals his openness.
2. ”People call us an elephant.. We are not an elephant.. we are a beehive.. it’s funny but think about it. Which is more powerful? an elephant or a beehive?”
 
Maan…the man is spiritual.
3. “Poverty is just a state of mind. It does not mean scarcity of food, money or material things. If one possesses self-confidence then we can overcome poverty.”
 
This came after he was made the Congress VP. Albert Camus (who wrote “The Outsider” ) would have been impressed.
4. “It (Congress) is a funny party. It is the largest political organization in the world but perhaps does not have a single rule or regulation. We create new rules every two minutes and then dump them. Nobody knows the rules in the party”
 
This shows his modeling (computer modeling type; not the ramp type) skills
5. “If India is a computer, Congress is its default programme.”
 
About the BJP. For once he was prosaic. It was intentional.
6. “It is shining in their houses and air-conditioned cars but not in villages”
 
What was he thinking? The man does have original ideas.
7. “India is going to be the 21st century’s Saudi Arabia in terms of human resources”
 
The strategist who does SWOT(Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis is seriously at work here.
8. “Although there was evidence of some support for Laskar-e-Taiba among certain elements in India’s indigenous Muslim community, the bigger threat may be the growth of radicalised Hindu groups, which create religious tensions and political confrontations with the Muslim community.”
 
This is a great ‘wake up’ call. This had me frantically emptying my pockets. 
9. “Politics is everywhere.. it is in your shirt.. in your pants.. everywhere.”
 
Shows the man’s great connect with the young Punjabis 
10. “Seven out of 10 youths in Punjab have a drug problem.”
 
He undoubtedly has Design as his language.
11. “All the public systems – administration, justice, education and political are designed to keep people with knowledge out. Such a system promotes mediocrity.”
 
The modeling (not the ramp type) skills shine again. Also shows that he acutely aware of the reality
12. “Dalit community ‘needs the escape velocity of Jupiter’ to achieve success.”
 
The man is fearless!
13. “My opinion of the ordinance is that it’s complete nonsense and that it should be torn up and thrown out.”
 
And look at his softer side. 
14. “My mother (Congress President Sonia Gandhi) told me the words I used were wrong. In hindsight, may be the words I used were strong but the sentiment was not wrong. I am young….”
 
Aren’t you dazzled? 
 
The commentary is mine. To be able to write such a commentary is one of the perks of a desktop \ palmtop journo.
 
The quotes (what appears between ” ” ) are from firstpost.com

 #pappu #terror #BJP #congress 

Honesty, when it becomes a force multiplier for corruption

I recall seeing him in a plane, traveling economy class. That was many years back. His personal reputation is still in tact.

Already, many columnists of the ‘subtle, poetic, left leaning, liberal, and nuanced’  varieties are extolling the man’s spiritual qualities -how humble he stays amid accusations and mockery, how patient he is, how painstakingly he carried on his agenda of nuclear co-operation with US, (how he risked his government for it)  and peace dialogue with Pakistan despite constant provocation, how he doesn’t feel insulted at all, and how is a welcome relief from the chest thumping “PM insulted” variety a la #Modi.

I have problems with that two point agenda of his, but that is not the subject now.

Montek’s brother, who retired recently describes MMS variety of honesty as that of bureaucrat who keeps his  table clean, no matter what mess he is surrounded by. I agree with him. 

A #Lalu had to resign after the fodder scandal could no longer be swept under carpet, because no one would vouch for his personal integrity. Then a puppet and corrupt regime of his wife followed and it got the boot because things boiled over. (I have no sympathy for Lalu)

But not in case of our honest man. His ‘personal integrity’ is a shield for huge waves of scandals lashing the country even as they started lapping the walls of his office. See this for a ‘good’ compilation (not all are related to the PM). Our honest man has acted as a multiplier. One of the most corrupt, vile, and incompetent (they can’t even implement their game chnger DBT properly) governments in our history is still alive only because this shield. 

And this precisely is the problem. 

The leaked report on V K Singh

I have been looking for some text of the leaked report on  V K Singh. It is always difficult to find what exactly happened when a controversy rages. But it is worth taking efforts.

So I stumbled on this article http://www.niticentral.com/2013/09/21/upa-chiefs-get-into-a-siege-mentality-opt-for-desperate-moves-135669.html

Here is an excerpt from the above article

“Using the same underhand methods that they had used in April 2012 against the General (who was then the Army chief), the UPA agent provocateurs planted a story in the Indian Express (which published it on Friday) that the good General, when he was chief, had used Army funds to try and topple, if you please, the J&K Government of Omar Abdullah. Supposedly, the new Chief, Bikram Singh (who had taken over from VKS) and his team have been looking at this episode and a ‘report’ has allegedly been submitted to the Defence Ministry. Now, why would the Army chief try to topple Omar baba’s piggy bank, and that too with an operating budget of a little more than Rs 1 crore? Clearly, the Keystone cops in Akbar Road and Janpath have an extremely poor opinion of the IQ level of the Indian public.”

That the #congress government can stoop to any degree is not new. But putting national security to risk always shocks. 

But why should the central government target a retired general? Because, he shared dais with #Modi in a public rally in Haryana which drew big support of ex-service men and their families. (Haryana accounts for major proportion of army’s recruitment)

So, discredit the general -was Congress’ response. Calling names is its time tested strategy. This has worked beautifully in India since independence. Despite a sustained vilification campaign, use of CBI and NIA, and deployment of paid media for over a decade, the Congress couldn’t do anything to stop Modi’s ascent to the national stage. His nomination as PM candidate and his huge public rallies have rattled congress. Discredit Modi campaign is now backfiring, because it gives him constant visibility, putting off people who now see Congress’ failure in running a working government in stark contrast. So discredit those who are with him is another strategy.

But Congress is endangering national security by politicizing armed forces and leaking and coloring the forces’ secret operations for its own gains. Armed forces and secret service agencies like intelligence agencies have secret operations. All countries do it. India has been doing it to protect itself.

There must be much much more to the use of secret funds. That is another subject.

I think congress has seriously miscalculated in going for this leak. Just as it miscalculated in the case of Convicted Politician Disqualification Ordinance. It brought unparalleled ridicule to its undeclared but very apparent PM candidate and the current family loyal PM .

This election seems to be upturning many established ‘theories’. But our biggest concern must be the huge collateral damage this tottering government and a desperate congress will do to us. 

Congress can go any to extent stay in power and to promote a family. I don’t wish to think of such scenarios.

The elections must be called now.