Thursday, July 19, 2018

Three books in one review

By John Lanchester : Can economists and humanists be ever friends? Very nice article like some other things he has written.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018


Barefoot: worlds apart by Harsh Mander
"I accepted an invitation three years ago to teach a semester course every year on poverty and governance to the MBA students in this business school. The challenge of speaking about hunger, homelessness, want and discrimination to a classroom of some of the brightest achievers in the country — who, within months of my course, would be recruited to jobs which would easily place them in the top one per cent income bracket in the country — was daunting. But I found my students intelligent, engaged and caring, as young people anywhere are.
A different exercise
Instead of an examination at the end of the course, I asked my students every year to each find one impoverished person, in Ahmedabad or elsewhere, and try to learn about their lives, write their stories, and share these with their classmates. Their first reaction was usually one of understandable panic: how could they cross distances imposed by history, class, power, language and so much else; they were convinced that these were insurmountable. I assured them that what was required was no more than one human being reaching out to another, and if they could approach them with true respect and empathy, the people they were trying to learn from would, in all probability, reciprocate."
More about Harsh Mander. He is the author of Looking Away: Inequality, Prejudice and Indifference in New India.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Interview with Cornel West

Cornel West: 'Obama was never the revolutionary Mandela was'
Now, Barack Obama - you have a neo-liberal black president of the most powerful empire in the world; he was never a revolutionary figure in the way Nelson Mandela was.
He has always been a neo-liberal politician. He was a black face of the American empire and he [has], in my view, commit[ted] war crimes with his drones in Pakistan and Yemen and Somalia and Libya.
So, I think the people have the right to protest because you don't want Obama to come in and act as if somehow he is connected to the revolutionary Mandela. Now, on the other hand, it is also true that you want a variety of voices to be heard in these lectures."......."
Sure, there is a big difference. Barack Obama was the brilliant, poised, neo-liberal face of the American empire. Donald Trump is the know-nothing, xenophobic, white neo-fascist face of the American empire.
There are some continuities between Obama and Trump in terms of foreign policy and in terms of Wall Street friendliness, but there are some discontinuities ... Obama was never the explicit xenophobe that Trump has been since he took office.
And there is a difference between a neo-liberal and a neo-fascist. Both of them, for me, require serious critique.
But there is a difference between a neo-liberal who has some kind of concern about spectacle, some kind of concern about style, and some kind of concern about the rule of law - even if the rule of law is very tilted against the poor.
But with neo-fascists, its just his raw, crude, gangster to the core and xenophobic, and has no concern for the rule of law. That is what you get with Donald Trump.“
P.S. an exhaustive article on the topic by Paul Street:

Monday, July 16, 2018

The need for religion

What Religion Gives Us (That Science Can’t) By Stephen T.Asma . There have also been life long non-religious people like Bertrand Russell. It would have been interesting to compare with that group and check for any common elements that kept them going.

Survival in future

Survival of the richest : The wealthy are plotting to leave us behind by Dougla Rushkoff
Being human is not about individual survival or escape. It’s a team sport. Whatever future humans have, it will be together.”

Another inspiring story

Saturday, July 14, 2018

SriSri influence on an IAS officer starts around 36:27
Meet Pallavi Akurathi – The Daring IAS Officer Who Is An Inspiration To All The Telugu Medium Students! also A battle I didn’t need
“Ironically, all that effort to learn English, and the humiliation faced along the way, seems ridiculous now. A majority of our daily transactions are in Kannada. I would be a miserable administrator if I were proficient in English but didn’t speak Kannada. While one’s comprehension of English is already tested in the mains, what sense does it make to exclusively ensure the English proficiency of administrators? she wonders. “Even today I cannot understand the poetry that a 6th standard ICSE student writes. How can a government school student, who studies all through only in a regional language, be asked to compete in English comprehension with those from English-medium schools? Can you imagine how unequal the battle is?”

Friday, July 13, 2018

Time investment

Exposing modern slavery

The hidden face of modern slavery by Jean Allain
The Bellagio-Harvard Guidelines state, in part: “To determine, in law, a case of slavery, one must look for possession. While the exact form of possession might vary, in essence it supposes control over a person by another such as a person might control a thing.” The control may involve physical constraint, but control may also “be evident in attempts to withhold identity documents [as in the case of the Thai prostitutes]; or to otherwise restrict free movement or access to state authorities or legal processes; or equally in attempts to forge a new identity through compelling a new religion, language, place of residence, or forcing marriage”. 
Professor Allain says that “this is the essence of slavery: that one person controls another as if they owned them. So the slave no longer has a say over their life, and is forced to do the bidding of the person who controls them.””

More on Mahesh Kathi

It seems that what was used is  Telangana Prevention of Anti-Social and Hazardous Activities Act, 1930.: “Among those who are targeted specifically in these laws include “bootleggers, dacoits, drug-offenders, goondas, immoral traffic offenders, land grabbers, gamblers,” as listed by these Acts." ” The same law law was later used to stern Swami Paripoornananda who wanted to organise a march against a Mahesh Kathi. From 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Inter caste marriages in India on the increase says The Guardian

Intercaste marriages and grooms who pay their way: welcome to the new India :
Hitesh Dhingra, co-founder of dating app TrulyMadly, believes there are two reasons for the enlightened views expressed in the survey. One is that young Indians, as users of the internet and social media, are exposed to new ideas that challenge traditional social mores.
The other is that, as more millennials choose their partners using dating apps and websites, they are more likely to focus on personality and compatibility than caste and religion.”