Friday, December 31, 2010

Useful site

May be.
For example, see the commentary in Mobile Phone Tips – Things You Never Knew Your Mobile Phone Could Do. Since I do not have a mobile phone and do not drive a car, I do not know whether the commentary is correct. But, it sounds sensible.

Reading about India

I have grown up in villages in coastal Andhra and worked in cities and abroad. I seem to know only a few strands of the complex country and have been trying to read books about India. Here is a list of books that I have recently read or still reading or still browsing which seem to give some glimpses of the country. Some of them are old and some new and suggestions are welcome.
Annie Zaidi's Known Turf
Pankaj Mishra's Butter Chicken in Ludhiana
William Darlymple's Nine Lives
Katherine Rich's Dreaming in Hindi
Namita Devidayal's The Music Room
Ramachandra Guha's India after Gandhi
V.S. Naipaul's A Million Mutinees Now
Sunil Khilnani's The Idea of India
Wendy Doniger's The Hindus
Rereading again off and on:
Nehru's The Discovery of India
Sheldon Pollock's The Language of the Gods in the World of Men: Sanskrit, Culture, and Power in Premodern India
Cynthia Talbot's Precolonial India in practice:society, region, and identity in medieval Andhra
Alice Albinia's Empires of the Indus: From Tibet to Pakistan - The Story of a River
John Keay's India: A History
The Bernard Cohn Omnibus

Thursday, December 30, 2010

నాకు నచ్చిన ఒక తెలుగు సినిమా పాట

నాకు నచ్చిన ఒక తెలుగు సినిమా పాట. ఇది 'పెంకిపెళ్ళాం' నుంచి. ఆరుద్ర రచన. పాడింది ఎవరో తెలియదు. జిక్కి బృందమేమో. ఇది మామూలు సైట్లలో దొరకలేదు. నాదగ్గర టేపులో కొంచెం అరిగిపోయినది ఉంది. కొన్నాళ్ళ వరకు ఎవరూ వెబ్లో పెట్టకపోతే, ఎక్కడైనా పెట్తాను. వెతుకుతుంటే ఒక బృందం పాడినది దొరికింది. అసలు పాట ఇంకా చాలా బాగుంటుంది.
Paduchudanam Railubandi (Telugu).flv
A 1947 Hindi song on which it may have been modeled:
Lyrics in Telugu:
పడుచుదనం రైలు బండి పోతున్నది
వయసు వాళ్ళ కందులోన చోటున్నది
విరహాల నిట్టూర్పుల రాక్షసి బొగ్గు
ఇంజను తాగే నీరు తొలకని సిగ్గు
కష్టాల స్తేషన్ లో బండి ఆగదు
బండిలోన విచారాన్ని యుగళబారదు
కుర్రకారు పిల్లవాళ్ళు రాకూడదు
ముసలివాళ్ళు పిసినిగొట్లు రామాళదు
ఇక్కట్టులు లేకుండుట టిక్కెటండి
చక్కగ నవ్వేవాళ్ళే బండి ఎక్కండి

P.S.'యుగళబారదు '
పూర్వం దక్షినాది రైళ్ళలో చాలభాషలలో ప్రజలను హెచ్చరించేవారు. ఇది కన్నడంలో 'ఉమ్మివేయగూడదు ' అని భరాగో గారు చెప్పారు.
P.P.S. రామాళదు అంటే.. రావద్దు అని అర్ధం. ఈ..పదం వాడుకని నేను నెల్లూరు జిల్లాలో
విన్నాను. నెల్లూరు, చిత్తూరు, మాండలికం .. (from
P.S. It is available here
or here

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

This and that

Obituary of Jayaben Patel Jayaben Desai, leader of the Grunwick dispute, dies aged 77 :
The trade unionist's 'strikers in saris' achieved recognition for the rights of Asian female workers."
Sarfaz Manzoor in How Asian women made trade union history and shattered stereotypes:
"Asian women workers found that they were combating not only white male employers but also struggling against white male trade union leaders. The reason Grunwick remains so historically potent is that it marked the first time that the trade union movement gave real support to Asian employees.

Instrumental in gaining that support was the charismatic Desai. One image of her during the dispute has become iconic: Desai, tiny and birdlike, dressed in a sari and with a handbag dangling from her left arm, stands with her back to the camera, confronting a wall of grim faced policemen. It encapsulates the scale of the struggle and the courage of those who waged it. Like so many others in the exhibition, it invites one obvious question: where did those women derive the courage to stand and fight for their rights?
But where did that courage come from? This was, after all, the mid-1970s, when there were far fewer Asians in public life – none in the government, or reading the news on TV – and the rightwing National Front was gaining political ground.

"You have to remember that, back in India, we came from an aristocratic background," Desai says. "My ancestors used to be ministers and dignitaries under the Raj. Desai is the name of a title, like lord, and my ancestors were very wealthy compared to the rest of the population. We were landowners and we were respected because of our position."

This disconnect between the life many of these Asians had left back in the sub-continent or during their time in east Africa and the one they faced in Britain appears to be crucial in understanding what drove women such as Desai towards activism. "These women were not lumpen, ignorant workers," Pearson stresses. "Desai had been educated in India and, like her, so many other Asian women had to take on jobs that were far below their skill level, to help support their families."

But the fact that they were working in menial and manual jobs did not alter their own sense of who they were or reduce their claims for justice and dignity."
Possibly related:
When the brain drain is healthy for democracy
The benefits of thinking about our ancestors

Keith Gunstan on Joy of sport lost in a country that takes it far too seriously

Sidharth Monga in VVS Laxman does it once again:
"When he came for the press conference, the first question was, "Again? How?"

Typically Laxman just praised Zaheer Khan and Cheteshwar Pujara for hanging around with him, not a word about his own innings, only about partnerships. On the surface, Laxman didn't answer the actual question. If you go deeper, he did. He makes the other batsmen feel good, comfortable and calm. Not just the man who is batting with him, but also the ones waiting their turn in the dressing room."

James Fallows: One Time Only: Scientist-on-Scientist TSA Smackdown
Mark Liberman: Fallows on "Comments and Community"

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A selection of articles and discussions about Telugu

I find that I am not able to follow the Telugu even in (some) blogs and do not much know about the development of the language. Here is a small selection which I have browsed through and hope that rereading them may improve the situation. The artcles and discussions seem understandable to me.
తెలుగు భాష వయస్సెంత? by సురేశ్ కొలిచాల
భాషా సంబంధ నిరూపణ - భాషాశాస్త్రం 101 by సురేశ్ కొలిచాల
తెలుగు వర్ణ నిర్మాణం (phonology) - మొదటి భాగం by సురేశ్ కొలిచాల
తెలుగు వర్ణ నిర్మాణం (phonology) - రెండవ భాగం by సురేశ్ కొలిచాల
పద్యాలు - వాడుకభాష by భైరవభట్ల కామేశ్వరరావు
తెవికీ - ఒక అంతఃసమీక్ష Discussion of a comment in the above
దుస్సంధి-దుష్టసమాసం Another discussion
ఈ తరానికి ప్రశ్నలు by కొడవటిగంటి రోహిణీప్రసాద్
An Apology of a Telugu fa(lu)natic by భైరవభట్ల కామేశ్వరరావు

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The ABBAs (Aid Blogger's Best Awards)

and the nominations here .


Interesting article on changing Telugu vacabulary in rural areas జనపదం by తమ్మినేని యదుకుల భూషణ్. A quote from one of his comments: "తెలుగు ఎమ్మే చదివిన వాడి కన్నా తిరిపెమెత్తుకు తిరిగేవాడి అచ్చ తెనుగు పరిజ్ఞానమెక్కువ అన్నది నాకు అనుభవంలోని విషయమే."
From the discussion here:
"తమ్మినేని యదుకుల భూషణ్‌ జననం రాయలసీమలోని చారిత్రకస్థలం తాడిపత్రిలో. కొన్నాళ్ళు సింగపూర్‌లో పనిచేసారు. నివాసం సోమర్‌సెట్‌, న్యూజెర్సీలో. "నిశ్శబ్దంలో నీ నవ్వులు" అనే కవితాసంకలనం ప్రచురించారు. కథలు, విమర్శలు కూడా రాసారు.

అంతే కాక వీరు తెలుగులో "నేటి కాలపు కవిత్వ తీరుతెన్నులు" అని తెలుగు కవిత్వ విమర్శనం పై పుస్తకాన్ని రచించారు. ఈ మాట ఆర్చైవులలో వీరుసాగించిన చర్చలను చూడవచ్చు. "

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Misc. December 23

From the World Bank
Inadequate sanitation costs India the equivalent of 6.4 per cent of GDP:
"Inadequate sanitation causes India considerable economic losses, equivalent to 6.4 per cent of India’s GDP in 2006 at US$53.8[i] billion (Rs.2.4 trillion), according to The Economic Impacts of Inadequate Sanitation in India, a new report from the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP), a global partnership administered by the World Bank.

The study analyzed the evidence on the adverse economic impacts of inadequate sanitation, which include costs associated with death and disease, accessing and treating water, and losses in education, productivity, time, and tourism. The findings are based on 2006 figures, although a similar magnitude of losses is likely in later years."

Ranil Dissanayake's personal suggestion of resources that may contribute to a richer understanding of development. One of these is the 1978 book 'Black and White' by the other Naipaul, Shiva Naipaul. I thought that Shiva Naipaul's 'Fireflies' was comparable to 'A house for Mr. Biswas' but I read both before 1973 and do not remember much of either now.

I always wanted to learn Hindi. Despite listening to Hindi film songs frequently and living in North India (if Bombay can be included) for twenty years I never picked up Hindi. So as soon as I saw Dreaming in Hindi, I immediately bought and started reading it. Most of the reviews are not that great but it is reviewd favouably by Language Log Ski Hindi:
"The book in between is a charming intellectual travelogue, partly about the culture and history of India, partly about the nature of language and language learning, and also, as usual for great travel writing, very much about its author.

Ms. Rich connects her own experiences as a language learner to what she's learned by reading and talking to linguists, psychologists and anthropologists, in the same way that she connects her linguistic journey with what she learned by spinning khadi. In fact, I've never seen adult language learning connected to such an extensive set of metaphors:

"At school, I'm still dead last, too self-conscious to push myself in front of the others, but outside, I ski Hindi, have long, gleeful conversations in shops (gleeful for me, long for my interlocutors)."

Elsewhere in the book, she skis psycholinguistics, in long, gleeful conversations in university laboratories and the pages of books and articles; and just about every other language-related discipline gets at least one downhill run as well.
The best thing about the book, I think, is how it conveys the coming-unwrapped exhilaration of learning by immersion:

"To acquire a language, I exhort myself, you have to give up your accumulated assurances — this is how to say things, this is how it is done. Pretty soon, I give up my American pretenses that things should be any way at all."

And then the threads begin to hold."

There is also a strange discussion in Sepia Mutiny "Talk Hindi To Me", Neither the poster nor the commentors seem to have read the book. Luckily the 230th comment from somebody who read a quarter of the book ends the discussion. Possibly more of a window to the thoughts of a section of the NRI community.

Robert Reich on The Year Washington Became “Business Friendly”

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Many old Telugu film songs uploaded at 'Sakhi Yaa'

Check the listings from December 18 at Sakhi Yaa. Some of them sound very strange to me and I liked a few which are similar to those I used to listen in the plays on 40's and 50's. More at and oldtelugusongs.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Rohini Mohan reports on the microfinance crisis in A.P.

in the Tehelka article Money for nothing. And misery for free. Along with case histories there is also a discussion of the politics behind the recent ordinance and also reports of comments from Vijay Mahajan and others. It is one of the best reports that I have read on this crisis. From her blog, this seems to be the only article that she has written about microfinance.

P.S. Mr. Hemantha Kumar Pamarthy, Managing Director, Hand in Hand Micro Finance Private Limited
saysin a discussion that microfinance is working better in Tamilnadu and the difference may be the attitudes of the respective state governments.
HAND IN HAND site and one of their newsletters
News report MFIs Cash in on Government Failure

Friday, December 17, 2010

Discussion on language and thought at 'The Economist'

Discussion at the Economist "This house believes that the language we speak shapes how we think".
According to Mark Liberman at LL "As regular LL readers know, my perspective on this question is not all that different from Lera's — see here and here for some past discussion. So when I was invited to participate in the debate, I tried to pass the buck to a more resolute and orthodox anti-Whorfian who has actually done some research on the topic (as I have not). This attempt failed, and in the end, I agreed to play the role. You can be the judge of how well I succeeded."
P.S. A follow-up post in Language Log Shellacked by Boroditsky.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Rajraj on starting own business

In 'The Hub' post (page 5) one of the senior hubbers Rajraj links to No Jobs? Young Graduates Make Their Own and also The Game Design Initiative at Cornell (GDIAC) in which one of the original participants was his son. The idea seems to be that youngsters can easily start their own video game companies. I think that developing some of those in vernacular languages may make regional languagees more accessible to children.

'Fractured Earth' is back

I just learnt that M. Rajshekhar started posting again in Fractured Earth: reflections on a planet without equitable or sustainable development. Comments seem to be off and many of the older posts are there; I do not know whether all of them are there.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Science is messy

Vaughan Bell in The brain isn’t going to take it lying down:
"Anger experiments that have measured electrical signals from the brain (using EEG) or that have altered neural activity with magnetic pulses (using TMS) have found that the left frontal lobe is more active than the right, but studies using fMRI functional brain scans have found no differences.

Psychologists Eddie Harmon-Jones and Carly Peterson wondered whether the brain might be working differently in EEG and TMS experiments because the participant is usually sitting upright, while in fMRI, the person is usually lying flat on their back.
Although this is only an initial study, it could be a major spanner in the works for cognitive science which often assumes that clumping together evidence from a whole range of techniques gives a better idea of what’s going on."

David H. Freedman in Why Scientific Studies Are So Often Wrong: The Streetlight Effect:
"Many, and possibly most, scientists spend their careers looking for answers where the light is better rather than where the truth is more likely to lie. They don’t always have much choice. It is often extremely difficult or even impossible to cleanly measure what is really important, so scientists instead cleanly measure what they can, hoping it turns out to be relevant. After all, we expect scientists to quantify their observations precisely. As Lord Kelvin put it more than a century ago, “When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it.”

There is just one little problem. While these surrogate measurements yield clean numbers, they frequently throw off the results, sometimes dramatically so. This “streetlight effect,” as I call it in my new book, Wrong (Little, Brown), turns up in every field of science, filling research journals with experiments and studies that directly contradict previously published work."

See also Jonah Lehrer's The Mysterious Decline Effect

Related posts: Ashutosh Jogalekar's Aliens, arsenic and alternative peer-review: Has science publishing become too conservative? and Making speculation official: More on the conservatism of leading science journals. From the later post:

"There are rules for doing, interpreting and publishing science, just like there are rules for how to raise children. And just as the rules for raising children wonderfully break down in the face of reality, so do the rules of actual scientific research. Real science is as messy as real child rearing. It's only fair that the public knows about this process."
P.S. See also "The truth wears off: Is there something wrong with the scientific method?" by Andrew Gelman.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Some old Telugu movies on YouTube

Krishna Prema
Some of the songs are avaible separately. The quality seems good; I have not watched it completely yet though I watched it once in the forties or early fifties.
Also Donga Ramudu and a few others. I do not know how long they will be available.
P.S. I watched the movie Krishna Prema in installments and cannot say that I enjoyed it, The only things that I remembered seem to be vague images of T. Suryakumari as Nadada and a few songs.

Friday, December 10, 2010

What surprised me most in WikiLeaks

Pakistaniat raises the question WikiLeaks: What Surprised You The Most?
This, if true:
Mr Assange responded saying: "I am the heart and soul of this organisation, its founder, philosopher, spokesperson, original coder, organiser, financier and all the rest. If you have a problem with me, piss off."

Evidence for a development idea

Lant Pritchett and Michael Clemens have been arguing for some time that labour mobility will alleviate poverty; see in particular The Biggest Idea in Development that No One Really Tried (video) . Chris Blattman links to some recent evidence of this in the post:
What’s the most effective development intervention we know? See in particular this comparison.

I read parts of Lant Pritcett book a couple of years ago and still browsing through the summary of the study What are the development impacts of “best practice” seasonal migration schemes? and the working paper here.
P.S. More links and discussion in Gulzar Natarajan's posts Labour mobility as an anti-poverty intervention and The case for temporary cross-country migration

Yashpal's 'Jhootha Sach' translated

informs Lapata (Daisy Rockwell) in The War and Peace of Hindi Literature!

Information about other translations here

Thursday, December 09, 2010

The Brisbane Test

Cricketinfo reminds us that It was fifty years ago today (yesterday) the famous Brisbane tied test ended. At that I knew little about cricket since it was not played in Andhra village schools those days; it was more of a town and city game. It was Jack Fingleton's writings in Hindu (and Sport&Pastime) that got me take interest in cricket.

Our version of 'pappucharu' (పప్పుచారు)

This is a version of pappucharu that Jhansi tried in Bombay in the seventies. Her cousins from home came to visit her and liked it and called it 'Bombay pappucharu'. Since then, we have been making it.

1) First cook tur dal (two or three fistfuls) in a pressure cooker; otherwise it takes too long. Then mash it, if there is no suitable laddle you can do it by hand after it cools and keep it aside.
2) Cut vegetables and keep them aside; two or three onions and then any you like. I usually use cauliflower, carrots, capsicum (used eggplant and other vegetables too). Cut four or five tomatos too.
3) The main cooking starts with 'taalimpu' common to many curries. First heat up some cooking oil (2-6 spoons depending on your taste),then put two or three dried chillies (cut in to littlle pieces), split (with husk removed) black grams, cumin and mustard seeds in that order. Lower the heat and add curry leaves. This takes 1-2 minutes.
3) Now start adding the cut vegetables starting with onions, then caulifllower, carrots, capsicum. After 3-4 minutes add tomato pieces. Wait until it becomes a bit syrupy. (Normally tamarind is used instead of tomatoes. It is soaked in water for an hour or so, then added after removing the seeds.) The one with tomatos is less sour; many prefer tamarind.
4)Then add cooked tur dal with some water and allow it to to boil.
5) At the end add chilli powder AND/ OR add sambar powder (available in groceries) for different flavour. It thickens the stuff. You can add coriander leaves after it cools a bit.

The whole process takes 30-40 minutes. You can vary the quantities of ingredients depending on your taste and outcomes.

I have been making this for more than 10 years and generally it is consumed by the family with son-in-law Gavin being the main consumer.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Atul Gawande's "The Itch"

Science writing at its best. Enjoy The Itch by Atul Gawande.

P.S. This artcle is more than two years old and has been linked by others like Guru ( who also linked several other articles by Atul Gawande. I came across it today while looking for progress on phantom limb mirror treatment of V.S. Ramachandran.
P.P.S. Some follow ups of the artcle and much other stuff at

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Crisis in microfinance?

In an India Development Blog post The Identity Crisis in Indian Microfinance Brajesh says:
"In a recent meeting I had with a CEO of a MFI, he told me that he had over a decade of experience in micro finance but no experience in development."
There is an announcement of an Event: The Global Implications of India’s Microcredit Crisis at Center for Global Development. It seems that Swaminathan Aiyar may participate.
My take: leave it to essentially non-profit local micro organizations. See also C.S.Reddy's article Will the Indian SHG Movement Withstand the Competition offered by MFIs?

Links, December 7

Tom Slee in WikiLeaks Shines a Light on the Limits of Techno-Politics:
"A side effect of the WikiLeaks cables is to show that, for all the talk of movements and revolutions, these beliefs are empty of real political content. The cables prompt some tough questions, but the fault lines those questions reveal run perpendicular to digital attitudes, not parallel. When push comes to political shove, open source proponents and so on are found on both sides of the debate. The Internet is a new terrain, but the battles being fought on it are old ones."

WikiLeaks: lesson in brevity for Indian diplomats

Amar Bhide and Howard Stevenson in (based on an empirical study) Why Be Honest If Honesty Doesn't Pay:
"Since ancient times, philosophers have contrasted a barbaric "state of nature" with a perfect, well-ordered society that has somehow tamed humankind's propensity toward force and fraud. Fortunately, we have created something that is neither Beirut nor Bucharest. We don't require honesty, but we honor and celebrate it. Like a kaleidoscope, we have order and change. We make beautiful, well-fitting relationships that we break and reform at every turn.

We should remember, however, that this third way works only as long as most of us live by an honorable moral compass. Since our trust isn't grounded in self-interest, it is fragile. And, indeed, we all know of organizations, industries, and even whole societies in which trust has given way either to a destructive free-for-all or to inflexible rules and bureaucracy. Only our individual wills, our determination to do what is right, whether or not it is profitable, save us from choosing between chaos stagnation."

Mike Konczal on centralization and local knowledge in Amar Bhide, Tom Cox on Foreclosures and Knowledge.:
"Here the financialization of our economy is actually a cover for the centralization of the mechanisms in which value is transfered from one part of the economy to another. Whatever economics of scale that are gained through centralizing are hampered by the inability for the financial sector to see things outside of automated, statistical projections of aggregate data. The real local knowledge that can facilitate a more robust and venturesome economy is lost, and at the end all you end up with is a handful of firms rent-seeking over crucial conduits for how our economy functions. Though quite skilled at pumping hot money into bubbles on the way up, the financial system is too thin to be able to manage the following collapse."

Amar Bhide in The Judgement Deficit:
"Statistical models have deprived the financial sector of the case-by-case judgement on which capitalism thrives."

Ilana Yurkiewicz in the Science Progress post (Don’t) Keep it Simple: Why a Culture of Journalism Isn’t Working for Science:
"However, increased awareness that journalism templates do not—rather, cannot—apply to all subject material is a good starting point. To the copy desk, I offer this: Be careful with what you snip. That science article may take a few extra seconds to read, but we may be miles ahead in what we learn in the long run."

Friday, December 03, 2010

A couple of songs by Rao Balasaraswati Devi

I just noticed this on YouTube మనసైన చెలీ పిలుపు.The other singer is A.P. Komala. One of the dancers is Waheeda Rehman
Well-known (sort of) Lullabies:
బంగారు పాపాయి
హాయమ్మ హాయి

Many of her songs are available at oldtelugusongs and

Bacteria and asthma

A nice summary in The Hindu by D. BALASUBRAMANIAN Coalition dharma and asthma of Bacteria and Asthma: Untangling the Links by Jennifer Couzin-Frankel (the full article needs subscription). Abstract:
"The number of asthma cases is soaring, but the causes remain elusive. Researchers have some striking clues: For example, children on farms are much less likely to get the lung disease. There's mounting evidence that bacteria matter. Babies born via cesarean section, who experience a more sterile entry into the world than those born vaginally, are more likely to get asthma. So are young children treated with many courses of antibiotics. Along with animal studies, these observations suggest that the balance of bacteria and other microbes help guide immune development—and that when the balance is disrupted, disease may follow. The picture can be dishearteningly complicated. Thousands of species of bacteria have constructed virtual cities inside us, along with fungi and viruses—a world called the microbiome. And it's not so much the presence or absence of bacteria, or even certain species, that matter, but rather the shape of the whole community. All of us play host to bacterial residents. But children who develop asthma, researchers are learning, are home to different bacteria—and sometimes a less diverse mix—than those who stay healthy."

The article also says "Although researchers assume that a child's microbiome is affected by the environment, they don't know this for sure. And proving definitively that bacteria help cause asthma is remarkably difficult. “The only proof lies in a randomized controlled trial, where you somehow manipulate exposure” and see who gets sick, says Bisgaard.

Researchers are experimenting with this approach in the gut. Probiotics, microorganisms like Lactobacillus found in yogurt, could in theory be helpful, but small trials testing whether they prevent allergic disease haven't been definitive. In 2006, the University of California, San Francisco, began recruiting about 200 babies who have at least one parent with asthma. Half receive a probiotic and half get a placebo, and the researchers are focusing on early markers linked to asthma, like eczema and wheezing. In January, they reported that 6 months of probiotics in infancy did alter the balance of microbes in the babies' guts, but final results are several years off."
In other words, only hints so far, and defibitive solutions may be years away.

Along the way, the article also points out the changes in the accepted wisdom "he work also upended how researchers think about lung biology. “If you read a medical textbook even now, it will say the lungs and the airways are sterile; there aren't any bacteria down there,” says Cookson. He became certain that the conventional view was incorrect when he and an Imperial College colleague, geneticist Miriam Moffatt, conducted their own variation of Bisgaard's study in babies. They had at their disposal advanced gene-sequencing techniques that allow for a much more comprehensive census of bacteria flourishing in the lungs. In January, the two and their colleagues wrote in PLoS ONE that they'd sequenced more than 5000 different species in 43 people, including some with asthma and others who were healthy."

Similar changes and progress are decribed by Ed Yong in The dark side of oxytocin, much more than just a “love hormone”.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Chenguna ala meeda (చెంగూన అల మీద) on YouTube

Chenguna Ala Meeda-1.mp4
Chenguna Ala Meeda-2.mp4
Lyrics here

Agrarian struggles in India

A publisher friend wanted to republish "Telagana Movement 1944-51" (Vikas, New Delhi, 1981) by Barry Pavier and asked me to have a look at it. The book started with Pavier's thesis under Ranjit Guha in the seventies ; he visited India and spoke to several leaders of the movement like Ravi Narayana Raddy. There is a critical review of the book by K. Balagopal Telangana Movement Revisited and Balagopal has written several articles on related topics, many of which are available at See, for example, his article Maoist Movement in Andhra Pradesh, which describes in passing 'hop, skip and jump Naxalism'. I have come across a 2008 working paper India’s Experiment with Revolution by Ajay K. Mehra. Mehra discusses agrarian revolutions (mainly, the so-called Maoist type) in India starting with Telangana movement and says that they have very little impact in urban areas but more than one third of the land is affected by them. He further says
"The Maoist revolutionary politics sprouted before the post-colonial Indian democratic state came into existence. But survived the democratic upsurge in the Indian society and exploded within two decades, indeed not all over the country, but again in one small pocket of a crucial State, West Bengal. This revival, the state response, the suppression, the re-emergence and resurgence within four decades, are pointer to serious incongruities and paradoxes afflicting India’s democracy project, which continues to be a success story in the developing world, grave limitations notwithstanding.
The most crucial and significant contribution of the Naxalism to Indian politics, however, is that they have kept alive the agrarian demands of the rural poor through persistent but not-always successful struggles at the ground level. ‘Even the occasional official lip-service to land reforms perhaps would not have come but their initiatives in this regard in some of the most backward regions where either adivasis in the forests suffer at the hands of trader-contractormoneylender nexus or the dalit and “other backward class” (OBC) agricultural labourers and very poor peasants are cruelly oppressed and exploited by bigger landowners and rich farmers. And these are the regions where the local powerful cliques, backed by government officials and the police, often respond with naked violence to even most innocuous and lawful demands of the powerless poor.’ "

Coming back to Barry Pavier's book, I understand a new edition may come out next year. His reasons why the struggle resonated for him in the seventies:

p 187
" ...initially the Telangana movement was indeed a multi-class movement against the deshmuks- multi-class in the sense that everyone else was involved. .....It is also true to say that, certainly in the initial stages, most of the leading cadres of the Andhra mahasabha and the CPI came from 'rich' or 'middle' peasant families. It is also clear that the nature of the movement changed. The people who carried the movement from 1948 were agricultural labourers and poor peasants, they were the people who were doing most of the fighting, and they were providing the leadership, along with declassed people from peasant sections who were CPI cadres. The early movement had disregarded the interests of these people, even though they had been
active from the start, but other social groups either defected or became passive after 1948."
p 190
"What is true is that Telangana is an important part of the 'usablepast' of international workers' and socialist movement- because for a period of time the Telangana masses began to change the way in which they lived. Not only did they confront and defeat their state and their ruling class, they took over the organization of production and a range of other administrative functions. the agricultural labourers took the confidence to demand that the revolution was theirs as much as anybody els's. Not only did they make the demand, but towards the end of the movement they also began to achieve it. The totally male image of politics was breached- women organized themselves as workers,took (some) leading roles, not simply as auxilaries for men, and began to gain self-confidence and self-respect, instead of the humiliation, oppression and self-abnegation that the old regime generated and fostered. Now all of these positive developments were aborted by the
liqidation of the movement, but the point is that all these people were not simply showing abstract heroism. In that short period of time, in a variety of incomplete and unsatisfactory ways, they achieved a number of positive things- perhaps for all men, women, peasants, workers, it was in the different ways that they achieved an
independent social identity. They existed as real people and they believed in themselves.
This is something that is not often achieved and the fact that it didhappen in Telangana, no matter how incomplete the matter of its accomplishment, is a matter of hope and enlightenment for workers all over the world"

Elsewhere, he says that "Because it is now clear that the clear question is not why Telangana, but why Nalgonda....... Why Nalgonda communists should be so singular derives from the fact that a lot of the cadre came to politics with the Vandemataram movement, which was run by themselves, so they did not have the background of Gandhianism or CPI bureaucratic manipulation which was the usual experience of CPI
activists. In any event,they seized their golden opportunity in 1944-45."