Wednesday, January 30, 2008

CNC-IBN Indian of the Year 2007 For E.Sreedharan

From The Hindu:"Delhi Metro Chief E Sreedharan was on Tuesday adjudged as the "Indian of the Year for 2007" by CNN-IBN news channel. "
More about Sreedharan here.I attended a function in Vijayawada when E. Sreedharan was awarded
Dr. Pinnamaneni and Smt. Seethadevi Foundation award for 2007. He mentioned during the speech (from the link above):
"Dr. Sreedharan said small and lean teams of dedicated professionals were major contributing factors behind the successful implementation of the first phase of Delhi Metro much in advance of the scheduled time.

It was ensured that there were no clerks or peons in the system to the extent that officials of the rank of joint secretary to the Government had to fend for themselves, which worked wonders in avoiding corruption and enabling fast-paced decision making, he added."
I also remember him saying that the contractors were paid 75 perecent as soon as they submitted the bills and the rest with in 10 days. The money from the awards he wins goes to a charitable foundation.

What did Harbhajan say?

According to Times of India :
"Reports said that Harbhajan admitted at the hearing that he had abused Symonds with a hindi word which sounded like 'monkey'.

When the Counsel for the Australian players asked Harbhajan what he had said, Harbhajan said "I admit I abused Symonds and said m- - - - (an abusive word in Hindi).

The Indian officials at the hearing burst out laughing when Harbhajan disclosed the word.

Judge Hansen confirmed the meaning of the word from Tendulkar and the dropped the charge of racial abuse against the Indian spinner. "
Harbhajan's mother:"I knew God was with us and I had full faith that my son would come out clean", according to TOI again.
More from CricketInformation:
"Unlike Mike Procter, who thought Tendulkar was not in a position to hear what was uttered, Hansen said "extensive video footage" establishes that Tendulkar "was within earshot and could have heard the words".

Tendulkar said he heard Harbhajan "use a term in his native tongue "teri maa ki" which appears to be pronounced with an "n". He said this is a term that sounds like "monkey" and could be misrepresented for it."

Symonds couldn't recall if he had heard Harbhajan use that particular Hindi abuse and accepted that it was a possibility. He also didn't find favour with the judge with his explanation for abusing Harbhajan after he had patted Brett Lee on the back side. Symonds said he had objected because "a Test match is no place to be friendly with an opposition player" but Hansen dismissed that explanation ("If that is his view I hope it is not one shared by all international cricketers").

Michael Clarke's account was critical, considering that it did not coincide favourably with the rest. "It is not without significance that the Australian players maintain other than Mr Symonds that they did not hear any other words spoken, only the ones that are said to be of significance to this hearing," Hansen said.

"This is a little surprising in the context where there was a reasonably prolonged heated exchange. Indeed Mr Clarke went so far as to say that he did not hear Mr Symonds say anything. Given Mr Symonds' own acceptance that he initiated the exchange and was abusive towards Mr Singh, that is surprising. This failure to identify any other words could be because some of what they were hearing was not in English." "
Cognitive dissonance?
P.S.1) Text of Hansen's decision and afterthought.
2)Rohul Sidhardhan notes some inconsistencies in Symond's statements.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

An Australian innovation

"Finding Cancer in Hair
Last, but not least, Fermiscan, a company with the alternative to the mammogram, stole the show today and, consequently, took the prize money. David Young, managing director touted his company’s unique technique to discover breast cancer with a simple, non-invasive pluck of (dye-free) hair. Once removed, the hair is shipped to one of 40 synchrotron—or a sub-atomic particle accelerator—facilities worldwide where molecular x-ray patterns are compared. It turns out breast cancer can be detected by changes in the structure of hair—so far with 80% accuracy, according to the current 2,000 patient trial. All the imaging work for Fermiscan is already being done in U.S. labs (With a home in Chicago), and with a 7 to 10 day turnaround, the breast cancer detection could prove to be a relatively simple, and more accurate, alternative to a mammogram. That is, unless you dye your hair, in which case you might have to plan to grow out your roots every 4 weeks or so."

Several links on rising food prices

in bayesianheresy.The one from The Economist is interesting. Most seem to be concerned about biofuels. Perhaps the reasons vary from country to country and I am not sure how much these articles apply to India. As I noted before, in coastal Andhra Pradesh "Due to the uncertainity of returns from rice farming, some farmers have shifted to other crops and even eucalyptus plantations on the land that they were using for rice farming. Some predict that there will be food crisis in the next five years."

Steve Waugh's recent comments

on Indian cricketers (from,22049,23124244-5001023,00.html).
On Ishant Sharma:
"INDIA have something special in Ishant Sharma if managed correctly.
The danger in such a cricket- crazy country is the pedestal that is slipped under one's feet the moment any inkling of success occurs.
In the blink of an eye massive endorsements, instant stardom and invites to all the happening events can quickly dilute on-field performance.
This kid reminds me of a young McGrath in his attitude towards learning, trajectory of delivery, temperament and the rapid improvement he has shown in a short space of time."
On Virenra Sehwag:
"His game-saving fourth innings in Adelaide revealed a cricketer who has finally realised that talent alone doesn't guarantee consistent results.
He has always been a debonair, swashbuckling type who refused to dilute his instinctive play, but in Adelaide he elevated his game by adjusting to the conditions and showing his teammates that the team result came before his ego."

On Sachin Tendulkar:
"Tendulkar found something from within to turn back the clock after struggling in recent years against quality bowling, to once again be the batsman the rest of the team bat around.
He set himself for a stellar series, focusing in on technique and channelled concentration and never appeared rushed in his shots or harassed by the bowlers.
He mixed text book shot-making with a variety of unorthodox sweeps to regularly ask questions of his opponents and single-handedly took on the responsibility to stop Australia's momentum by occupying the crease and making two scores in excess of 150."

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Jan Bremen's "The Poverty Regime in Village India:.."

reviewd by D. Narasimha Reddy in Frontline:
Concluding paragraphs of the review:
"The idea of undeserving poor has taken root in the minds of those who are rich, more in these years of reforms. The rich, thus, neither feel guilty nor are afraid of any mobilisation by the poor in acute destitution because of the absence of solidarity among them. The result is that the landless, footloose rural proletariat lead a nomadic existence, following the seasonal, sectoral, and local fluctuations in the economy with occupational multiplicity. This, according to Breman, is not a temporary imbalance but a structural crisis, of which the enormous reserve army of land-poor and landless are the victims (page 206).


In the last chapter of the book, Breman engages in the present debate on “inclusive growth”. He believes that one of the critical inputs in making the rural landless poor move out of the present state is access to land. “Making land accessible to households which had been made landless in the near or more distant past would put an end to their exclusion from right to property” (page 414). He shows how Dhodias, another tribal group with access to land, though marginal, are able to achieve a little more of stability, gain access to education, and experience improvement in living conditions. The present stirrings and mobilisation of the rural poor in all parts of the country, one hopes, marks the beginning of the second wave of land reforms, which becomes imperative.

The book shows that the expectation that the landless would leave the village seeking better life in non-agricultural and urban occupations and relieve pressure on land did not happen. On the contrary, it shows the irrational phenomenon of people having land acquiring skills and moving to lucrative non-agricultural occupations without leaving their hold on their land. The landless poor thus suffer “double denial”.

The book, which is a product of long years of dedicated, unparalleled fieldwork , has been brought out with a great deal of care, supported by valuable photographs to drive home the message in a telling manner. It would be a difficult, but eye–opening, reading for policymakers, and rewarding in method and substance to students trying to understand poverty in all its dimensions. "

Another paper on the Great Divergence

here.Rodrik's comment:
"Aside from an interesting historical discussion, Galor and Mountford provide some striking evidence on the contemporary relationship between trade, on the one hand, and fertility and education, on the other. Controlling for endogeneity and other possible problems, they show that larger trade shares are associated with lower fertility and greater investment in education in the OECD economies, but with higher fertility and lower education in developing economies.
I am more convinced by the historical discussion than by the contemporary evidence (for one thing, the skill premium has generally risen--not fallen--in most developing economies opening up to trade in recent decades). But I do find these scatter plots intriguing. "

Partha Dasgupta on measuring sustainable development

here via bayesianheresy.

Andrew Leonard on decoupling

in this post:
"What seems remarkable at this juncture is that the decoupling thesis ever gained any traction in the first place. While it is undoubtedly true that Europe, the U.S. and Japan are no longer the sole pillars holding up the global economy, the fact that there has been a wide diffusion of economic vitality does not necessarily imply that the separate pieces now have separate destinies. If anything, the opposite is true.

Globalization is built not just out of the telecommunication and computer network linkages that make financial markets anywhere accessible from your iPhone. The bricks-and-mortar of global production supply chains have turned that iPhone into a product requiring the efforts of multiple nations and multiple companies. An earthquake in Taiwan affects Dell's quarterly earnings. High corn prices in Iowa lead to an expansion of soybean farming in Brazil. Bad investment bets by New York bankers lead to an infusion of funds from Singapore and Abu Dhabi and bankruptcies in small towns in Norway. In every direction one looks the linkages are multiplying.

The decoupling thesis suggested that if the U.S. stumbled, China could keep on running. It would be lovely if this were true. It is not a happy thought to think that the welfare of hundreds of millions of poor people around the world depends on the buying power of American consumers with maxed-out credit cards teetering on the brink of foreclosure. But the jitters visible in global markets this week tell us that when the king stubs his toe, everyone starts limping."

Friday, January 25, 2008

It is time to remember Ganguly's gesture

in the 2003 Adelaide testbetween India and Australia:
"Ganguly replaced Tendulkar in the batting line-up on Saturday night after Australia had taken two quick wickets.

Tendulkar has struggled in this series and Ganguly says it made sense to save him from batting late in the afternoon.

"Sachin is the best batsman in the world," he said.

"He's one of our key members and there are times in your career when you have to look after certain people and I don't think there's anything wrong with that.

"We want him to fire."

Ganguly says the "Little Master" should be given every chance to find form.

"As a batsman, I also know that it's (the end of the day) not the best time to come in and bat," he said.

"He said he wouldn't mind and I said fair enough and he deserves it with the amount of runs he's scored for the country, he deserves it (not to have to come in)."

Thursday, January 24, 2008

When U.S Sneezes

Rest of the World Gets the Cold, says Nouriel Roubini. Excerpt:
"First, the US recession is unavoidable and has already started; and this recession will be ugly, deep and severe, much more severe than the mild 8-month recessions in 1990-91 and 2001.

Second, the rest of the world will not decouple from the US since – as discussed in detail below – many trade, financial, currency, policy, confidence links – lead to a transmission of negative growth shocks in the US to the rest of the world that will lead to a sharp global growth slowdown: 2008 will be the year of recoupling rather than decoupling.

Third, the US stock market has already started to reflect in the last few weeks the consequences on earnings and corporate profitability of a severe US recession.

Fourth, a growing realization that even aggressive Fed easing will not prevent this severe recession, i.e. that we are at the last leg of the stock market’s sucker’s rally and that the Bernanke put has very little value as massive financial losses will increase regardless of what the Fed does.

Fifth, now other global stock markets are now starting to price the effects of the US hard landing on the rest of the world growth, the phenomenon of recoupling. "
But Gulzar Natarajan in this post, and T.T.Ram Mohan in "US crisis does not spell crisis for world economy" think that India wo'nt be too affected.

Pataudi Jr. says

"Pataudi has a radical idea, something sledgers of the world would likely unite to oppose. "The fielders should not be allowed to say anything in the hearing of the batsman," he declares. "It's a sport. Shut up and get on with it. If a team tries to gain an unfair advantage by sledging, it must not be allowed." Rather radical, and perhaps too much so. It might make the sport sterile, but there won't be any race rows at least. "
From Outlook article by Rohit Mahajan.
John Traicos seems to agree (From Sidhartha Vaidyanathan's Australian Diary ):

"I don’t believe the atmosphere of sledging has helped at all. I don’t believe you need to sledge as a systematic process, simply because it gets to abuse. Everybody plays the game hard, and you play a bit of a prank now and than, but there’s a different between that and a systematic mental
rattling. It’s a systematic feature of cricket that has to be eradicated.”

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

India aims for

'quantum jump' in science. Excerpt:
"“We are planning to fund 30 new Central Universities, five new Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research, eight new Indian Institutes of Technology, and 20 new Indian Institutes of Information Technology,” Singh said. In the next five years, he added, India will also be launching 1,600 polytechnics, 10,000 vocational schools and 50,000 skill-development centres. One million schoolchildren will receive science innovation scholarships of 5,000 rupees (US$130) each over the next five years, and 10,000 scholarships of 100,000 rupees per year will go to those enrolling on science degree courses." Lots of comments too.

Eric Wargo on stress

The following excellent artcle on stress by Eric Wargo seems to have appeared in part in several places(including The Hindu), often without acknowledgement. Conclusion:
" So Nietzsche’s strenuous view of life, “whatever doesn’t kill me makes me stronger,” just plain isn’t true. Stressors that don’t kill you in the short run may yet shorten your life or drastically lessen its quality.

But quit your moping and look on the bright side: The newly refined science of stress could lead to new drug therapies that can control stress or inhibit its effects on health. Also, depression and anxiety are not only results of stress, but also causes, and existing therapeutic and medical treatments for these conditions can help change how people perceive threats, put their life challenges in context, and cut stressors down to manageable size. The cycle doesn’t have to be vicious, in other words.
What’s more, the confirmation that the mind directly affects the body can work as much in our favor as it does to our detriment, as the personality-and-stress research above indicates. As APS Fellow Carol Dweck, Stanford University, has argued, personality is mutable (see Herbert, 2007); if our outlooks and beliefs about ourselves can be changed, so (theoretically) can our vulnerability to life’s slings and arrows.

The bottom line: Stress is not inevitable. Even with more than one’s fair share of vulnerability genes, there’s plenty of room to take one’s life and one’s mind in a less stressful direction. Relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga, for example, have been confirmed to quell stress demons. Even if you are a determined workaholic glued to your cell phone or a fearful and angry urban neurotic like Woody Allen, stress-reduction methods are readily available to cope with stress in the short term and even alter perceptions of stressors in the long term.

Meyer Friedman, co-discoverer of the link between “Type A” behavior and heart disease, is a case in point. A self-described Type-A personality, Friedman wound up suffering a heart-attack at age 55. He made the conscious choice to change his ways in accordance with his own discoveries — including following his own prescription by reading the classics. To get more in touch with his slow, patient, and creative side, he read Proust’s languid seven-volume opus Remembrance of Things Past three times. In short, he trained himself to relax and enjoy life, and he had the last laugh at stress by living to the ripe old age of 90. "
Eric Wargo is the Managing Editor of "Psychological Science in the Public Interest", and has written popular pieces on Daniel Gilbert, Philip Zimbardo and others.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Breadsociety news for January

here. Excerpt:
"BREAD Society had just completed awarding about a thousand scholarships – 569 fresh scholarships and 422 renewals on November 25, 2007. The Society had the biggest surprise waiting at its doorstep. Here comes a noble soul offering it a donation of Rs. 1.25 crore for the award of fresh scholarships. He wanted the entire donation to be utilized for giving scholarships."
The site for the breadsociety is and it does not seem to be working at the moment. A few days ago, I was in Hyderabad and expressed the desire to know the workings of the society which I heard gave scholarships without considerations of caste or crees. The secretary Ramamohan Rao Kakani came to see me at 7:30 in the morning on his motorcycle and explained their work over 3 hours. He is 70 yeard old and finds it is easier and faster to travel on motorcycle in Hyderabad traffic. From what I could gather, it was an informal group of senior govt. officials, many of them from Andhra villages, who felt that many poor, bright students in their villages missed out on educational opporunities and started the organization about 12 years ago. The criteria for giving scholarships and minitoring process have been evolving over years. Originally they depended on income certificates from local officials to decide eligible candidates. Later they realized that many from relatively affluent families were able to produce those certificates and decided to give the scholarships mainly to those from govt. funded schools. Funds seem to have increased in the last four years and last year, they gave over 500scholarships. They have now a database for the scholarship to students so that they can guage their progress over years and their careers later on. Monitoring is done by examining four reports an year from the beneficiaries and periodic visits from the members of the organization. It is my understanding that these visits, mainly by Mr. Kakani and other organizers, are at their own expense and they can do with more volunteers. Some more details are in my earlier post "Some useful organizations" and Mr. Kakani and others can be contacted for any clarifications. But one wonders about the life span of these organizations and whether they will survive after such people.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Follow up of "A micro effort"

There has been some response to my earlier post on micro finance from some friends of my brother Kamalakar.
A brief summary of the requirements:
"The one I am keen about at the moment is a small micro-finance effort with no name organized by P.Sunder, a cousin of Benjamin Kaila. I wrote about this in my blog. Benjamin started this on an experimental basis with fund of Rs. 12,500. The current efforts :
a) 50,000 rupees for Velur projects, current and new,
b) 35,000 rupees for Jamudupadu projects, current and new,
c)35,000 rupees for Modukur projects, new.
In addition, there is plan for a sewing training school in Modukur but this is planned for the coming summer. There is no estimate of the costs yet.
I gave 50,000 rupees so far and am trying to raise the remaining 70,000. I met Sunder a few times and spoke to the beneficiaries as well as applicants on two days. I think that I can monitor the projects, if necessary, through relatives and during my trips."

Here is an excerpt from one of the responses:
"I just wanted to let you know that we mailed a check payable to IREF for $1,000 to Kamalakar Gadde's attention yesterday. Supporting the Micro Finance project is so well worth it. I am very much impressed to read the details about this work and efforts through P.Sunder. I guess when IREF gets the check, they know where to send it to for this project (at least that's what I am assuming). If we can get the details of the work and the names of the beneficiaries, I will strongly recommend our board members to support with more funding in the near future."
My impression is that there are many who want to contribute ( on the recent trip to Andhra one group which organizes educational scholarships told me that a person they did not know at all came up with a contribution of one crore and twenty five lakhs rupees} but want be sure that the money is well spent. The one I identified is a small struggling organization at the grass roots level and the hope is that this small help will make it self sustaining. These are at the level that Shanta Devrajan talks about in this post. Excerpt:
"I left Champaben’s house with a renewed appreciation of how both markets and governments have failed poor people; how poor people are essentially helping each other; and how they do so with charm, grace--and humor. I want to go back."
P.S. This post is not a request for more funds. The current effort seems to be getting enough funds. There are many NRIs from Andhra who come from villages and periodically visit their villages and there are many efforts from them to improve their villages. This is just an example of a similar effort except that I am not from any of the villages mentioned.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I liked

this. And the Australian cricket team seems to be in a spot of bother.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Friday, January 11, 2008

A strategic proof

that real numbers are not countable here, exposition of M.H.Bakers's new proof by Julie Rehmeyer.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Letter to Bimol

To a friend who after years of research in Physics experimented with farming for nine years and who wanted to know my impressions from the recent trip to A.P.:
Dear Bimol,
Among my relatives and friends that I visited all except those in agriculture seem to be doing ok. Many of these have jobs or professionals like doctors or are businessmen or contractors. When I was kid, having about 10 acres of property in coastal A.P. (where there is water facility) was considered good. Now, even those with ten acres seem to be looking for part time jobs outside. Some of the rice farmers have turned to Eucalyptus farming for more reliable income.One nephew manages 35 acres and another is tenant farmer. Both say that they just get by. I also spoke to some agricultural labourers (in the course of examing a micro-finance project), two friends (one of them with a Ph.D in economics) who are hobby farmers, some professors of agriculture from Acharya N.G. Ranga University. In addition I visited D. Rama Naidu Institute for Rural Development in Tuniki. Rama Naidu like Ramoji Rao comes from a farming family and both seem to be contributing a bit to the farming community. Ramoji Rao manages a subsidized magazine "Annadatha" for farmers, the diary which comes with it has the addresses of various govt. depts and organizations related to agriculture. He also has an excellent daily programme on ETV which, according to the friend with economics Ph.D, has been doing more for farmers than many govt. depts. Most of these are from Kamma community to which I belong. My views may be biased by them and my reading of Glenn Davis Stone.First I will confine myself to what I heard. The concensus seems to be:
1) The cost of farming has gone up with new seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and more water.
For somebody who depends on his own labour (I spoke to some agricultural labourers who want to lease land for farming), the minimum cost for one acre for rice growing is around 10,000 rupees. For those who employ others, labour costs are higher than before.
2)The research support and advice with new technology is not easily available (govt. organizations do not work well and need bribes), conflicting advice from businessmen and NGOs committed to self sustaing agriculture. So farmers learn from others who experiment or are adventurous.
3)The returns are still weather dependent and indebtedness grows with failure and interest rates are very high. In villages they seem to start with 20 percent per annum and usually the interest is subtracted before the loan is given (That is if you borrow 10,000 rupees, you get only 8,000 in hand). The govt. schemes ,if any, involve bribes.
4) No guaranteed prices. Where there are minimum support prices, they do not seem good enough. Farmers sell when prices are low and buy the lentils etc they need at high prices.
5)The cost of labour has gone up and the quality has gone down. Some attribute this to drinking with shops in almost every village. The govt. seems to be quite happy with the revenue and unlikely to make any change. I heard that one chief minister had a target for new year drinking revenue.
These are the sort of comments that I heard. The general feeling is that prices are controlled by middlemen and that the politicians and govt. servants respond better to those with money. In spite of farmers' voting power, the others would like cheap food. With some rice farmers turning to Eucalyptus farming and other safer cash crops, some feel that there will a food crisis in the next five years. Others say that it does not matter; as long as the GDP grows, India can buy food from other countries. In Hyderabad, I have met some people who left their work as farm labourers and have come to Hyderabad to work as domestic help. They say that they are doing better now. With pollution increasing in Hyd. I am not sure about their long term prospects. But medical help is nearby if they can afford and that seems to be one reason which many retired people prefer to live in cities. One of the hobby farmers that I mentioned has his own mini plan. On part of his farm, he wants to keep accounts and make it as an example of sustainable farming and persuade some nearby villagers. He had some success 20 years ago and it is possible that he may pull it off for a few years. His wife is a doctor and he is planning on a mobile hospital for 3 days a week in the area where he is farming.
I also met some seed sellers who say that the ideas of sustainable development of DDS and such groups is anti-science and other battles with the involvement multinationals seem to be brewing. I myself feel that there is nothing wrong with GT seeds as long as they are sufficiently tested and farmers properly trained in the new technologies.
That is all for now.
With best regards,

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Raj Chetty wins an award

From 'The American':
"James K Glassman, editor-in-chief of The American magazine, announced today that Raj Chetty, an associate professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley, is the winner of the The American magazine’s 2008 Young Economist Award, a research grant of $100,000 provided by the Searle Freedom Trust. The American is a publication of the American Enterprise Institute.

To be eligible for the award, economists have to be featured in the magazine’s bimonthly column entitled “The Young Economist,” which profiles talented economists under the age of forty doing groundbreaking original research. In the year since the launch of The American in November 2006, up to September 2007, six economists have been profiled.

A jury of economists awarded Chetty the grant for his proposal to empirically “identify a set of policy changes that will make low-income support programs more effective per dollar spent.”
Chetty, who is twenty-eight, did his undergraduate and PhD work at Harvard, became an assistant professor of economics at Berkeley at age twenty-three and an associate professor at age twenty-seven.

Chetty has done extensive research on taxation, unemployment, risk preferences and social insurance. Among his notable published research includes “Dividend Taxes and Corporate Behavior: Evidence from the 2003 Dividend Tax Cut,” with Emmanuel Saez, published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics. The study found not only that more companies paid out dividends after tax rates were lowered but also that they were likelier to pay dividends if top executives had substantial shareholdings in the firm.

He serves on the board of editors for the Journal of Economic Literature and is a coeditor for the Journal of Public Economics. He is also a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research."

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Dilip's question

Dilip D'Souza in his blog wonders why conversions anger and threaten so many people. I have seen a bit of this anger and fear recently and have also been wondering about it. A few weeks ago, I contributed a bit of money to a micro-finance effort organized a village pastor P.Sunder (I have made similar small contributions to other efforts headed by Hindus and Moslems). Since then, I have been assailed by various relatives and friends that this money will be used for conversions and that a lot of money has been pouring in from abroad for conversions to Christianity. This may be true but I have seen very little evidence of this money reaching the few villages that I visited. I heard some stories in Hyderabad of money coming from in Germany but eaten up by middlemen and fake reports to satify the donors. In any case, that people feel threatened about some conversions seems to be true.
In an article on a related issue 'The Fundamentalist Challenge' ( from the collection "The Imam and the Indian"), Amitav Ghosh suggests a plausible cause: " I believe that it is an incarnation of a demon that has stalked liberal democracy troughout this (20th) century: an ideology, for want of a better word, I shall call supremacism. It consists essentially in the belief that a group cannot ensure its continuity except exerting absolute cultural and demographic control over particular stretch of geography." But why such a reaction now more than before is not clear to me. Is it due to recent prosperity and better communication systems? At another place in the article, he suggests:" ...the market ideal as a cultural absolute, untempered by any other ethical, political, or spiritual ideals, is often so inhuman and predatory in its effects that it cannot but generate dissent"
I have met many old people during this trip, many of them relatively prosperous. They seem to attribute their prosperity, not even in part to some sort of luck, but to their cultural and value systems and are very eager to impart them to others, particularly youngsters (It scares me because I too am old). May be similar things are true for groups that have survived.
P.S. (12th January, 2008) Annie Zaidi too ponders about Dilip's question.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Some useful organizations

DRNVJIRD (Dr. Rama Naidu Vignana Jyothi Institute of Rural Development) is located near Tuniki vilage, Kowdipally Mandal, Narsapur, Medak District, It is about 70 kilometers from Hyderbad, has an office in Hyderabad: 209, Sree Ramakrishna Towers, Nagarjuna Nagar, Ameerpet, Hyderabad-500 073, Phone:(040)23740933.
One of their programmes is an yearly course and a three monthly course to train young farmers who have finished 10th grade in modern mehods of farming. Both courses start on January 17th but the director Dr. K.N. Rao informed me that they allow a few days of delay. It seems that there were more than 120 students two years ago. The original idea was that they would go back to villages and implement modern methods of farming. But all of them got jobs with agricultural and other firms. Last year, due to lack of publicity and recruting staff, there were less than 30 students. Both courses carry a stipend. Lodging and boarding are provided. It seems a good opportunity and not too late, particularly for Telangana students. There are also some programmes in colloboration with Acharya Ranga Agriculural University.
I understnd that there are other similar institutes (one named after Ramanand Tirhda) ner Hyderabad. The diary provided with Annadatha monthly has a list of various got. offices relatd to agriultural matters in the state of A.P.
I have also come acoss an organization called Bread Society which provides educational scholarships to poor students of merit irrespective of caste and creed. The number of scholarships is rapidly increasing. Originaly they were planning to fund about 450 scholarships this year, but that has increased to 900 due to generous contributions. They have also developed a system of monitoring the progress of students which seems reasonable. As far as I know, most of the people who are working in distributing the fellowships are older peope who spend their own money for travel and oter incidental expenses. Their website is:
Their office address: 403, Prashantiram Towers, 8-3-319/8, Yellareddyguda, Yousuguda Main Road, Hyderabad 500073. The secretary's phone numbers are (040)65887177 and (Cell)9391357141. The Present secretary's name is Ramamohana Rao Kakani. He retired as Dy. Advisor to the Planning Commission and is an energetic 70 year old gentleman.