Monday, July 31, 2017

Guntur Bapanayya

This remembering of past might have been triggered by reading Sujatha Gidla's book. Early in the book, in Chapter 3, she mentioned Guntur Bapanayya who I met in 1952. She mentioned his taking care her mother Manjula, here mentioned as Papa :
"When Bapanayya first moved to Slatter Peta and met Papa, who was still living there at the time, his heart went out to the poor motherless child. He would call her over and carefully remove the lice from her hair, crushing them between his nails."
This was how I met Bapanayya. My father was working in Guntur District as a headmaster and in the holidays, I would visit either Pesarlanka, my mother's village or Avanigadda, my father's village. That time I was visiting Avanigadda. It was still a joint family and Radha babai was looking after the family agriculture, while my father Raghavaiah and the other brother Chalamaiah had jobs away from home. Our house was in the centre of Avanigadda, with a big covered verandah with some sides elevated where people could sit or sleep. There was enough room even for small meetings. Radha babai was a communist and local elections were taking place. I was only 11 and did not know what communism was ( and still am not sure) but I took part in the canvassing putting up posters and so on. Many communist leaders who came to canvass used to visit our house and stay there. Bapanayya was one of them and he was very friendly though he was already an MLA. That is about all I remember, but I almost caused a riot and he might have helped me but I am not sure ( I am beginning to remember. Bapanayya might have had a part in the near riot. The communist party office was adjacent to the shop of the opposing candidate. I found the flags over the office were in tatters and wanted to change them. I think that I asked Bapanayya and he approved. I changed the flags. It turned out one the flags was the opponents and a vast group gathered with shouting and causing almost a riot. Then I think somebody intervened saying since I and Bapanayya were outsiders, we did not know what flags were there earlier. Then both flags, now new were flown again. I think we lost the election which was finally decided on caste basis, I think.) But he was very nice and I remembered him and a few times I googled and could not find any thing more. Then came Sujatha's book and I started inquiring again. PPC Joshi remembered the name and not much more. Finally, I phoned Radha babai's son Dr. Gadde Ramamohanarao ( not the politician) who is visiting USA now. He was only 7 at that time but he remembered since his father's friendship with Bapanayya continued. It seems that his wife was a teacher and though he was a MLA for several terms, he did not make any money. He settled down in Masulipatam and Radha babai used to send him quarter bag of rice ( basta) every month for some years. That seem to be the fate of some of the poor who serve the poor. Anybody who knows more about Guntur Bapanayya can inform Sujatha Gidla.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Giving advice

Cutting down on smoking seems to help. Today I worked for about four hours in the garden. Weeding, edging and planting some new plants. Also walked for half an hour in the morning and twenty minutes in the evenening. Old men tend to advise. Since I never listened to the advice of others, I won't advise. I just tell my experiences. M.S.Narasimhan told me a story about my listening to advice. During my reasearch student days, I did not want to be guided and also the area I wanted there was nobody working. My Tamil Brahmin friends tried hard to help me by learning some of the topics. But I went my own way and after finishing enough work for a ph.d. I registered with M.S. Narasimhan. He was like an elder brother and used to take me for beer drinking on Saturdays. Once he found a fellowship to U.K. was available and suggested that I apply for it. I was called for an interview. Since MSN knew that I was not diplomatic, he advised me how to behave an interview. I do not remember all this but this was what he told me four years ago. Anyway, in the interview, somebody asked me what were the two greatest theorems in topology. I said it was silly question. Apparently I came back and told MSN that I followed his advice and did not say that it was a stupid question. I did get the fellowship though

Signs of old age

Remembering incidents from long ago. It was around 1974, I think. An old man with his daughter in law and a two month old baby came to Bombay to send her to join his son in West Indies. It was going to be long flight with change of flights in London and a wait of some hours. The lady could not speak English and I got in to panic about her stop in London after putting her on the flight. Them I remembered my stay in Liverpool and that there were several Indian doctors in the Liverpool Infirmary. Though I did not know anybody there I was sure there would be some Reddy and Rao. I phoned the Infirmary saying that I wanted to speak to Dr. Reddy. And one Dr. Reddy came along and when I explained the situation to him, he told me not to worry and he had friends in London and would send them to the airport to assist her. We waited anxiously hear from the lady and did not even get a post card from her her family in India. Nor did I phone Dr. Reddy again. Several years later when I met her relatives in Hyderabad, I heard that she reached safely.

Documentary on shit

in Tamil with English subtitles I could watch only three minutes so far.
Article in The Hindu Getting caste out of the closet

Razib Khan onthe Indo-Aryan question

Some of the questions being debated may be ' not even wrong' variety:

The Indo-Aryan question nearing resolution

Some good news for researchers

like me. I still do mathematics off and on. But to have facilities, it is convenient to associate with a universities. Even without any pay, our university wanted research plans, yearly reports, so on and I ignored the requests and was taken off the affiliation. It was a pleasure to publish a paper with my home address but I collaborated with people who had the facilities. Even technical typing software costs money and yearly fees. So I am have forgotten technical typing and leave it to collaborators. Sci-Hub's cache of pirated papers is so big, subscription journals are doomed, data analyst suggests

The power of early education

The photo below reminded me of this. But with the equipment and attention shown, there is no surprise. I am not really sure what the video is about. May be trying to promote private education.

Now Ava is teacing Leila

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Saturday, July 29, 2017

Jivaroan people

"The Jivaroan people were the only indigenous people known to have revolted against the Spanish Empire successfully and deny all attempts by the Spaniards to conquer them. For example, in 1599 the Jivaro led a raid on two Spanish settlements, killing 25,000 white people in the process. When provoked by Spaniards the Jivaroan people retaliated without hesitation and in full force. Enraged by taxes on gold, the Jivaro people laid waste to the settlement of Logrono and in the process killed its governor by pouring molten gold down his throat until his bowels burst. All remaining people were killed mercilessly except young women that could be of use, they were forced to join the clan.[10]" from Jivaroan people

Why America is divided

America the Divided: Why the Great Melting Pot Is Having a Meltdown
"The four main factors in this nexus of polarization are fervent Christian fundamentalism, profound anti-intellectualism, visceral suspicion of government and racial resentment.”
But some of most of them seem to coming to the fore in many other places too.


Across the globe, governments are cracking down on civic organizations. This is why.
"The real problem here is the financial disconnect between NGOs and the communities they say they serve. When NGOs raise funds from co-citizens, they build the local ties that will translate into political support. Here’s an example: If President Trump were to try and crack down on the American Civil Liberties Union, the group’s many thousands of individual donors would almost certainly mobilize.
When NGOs depend on outsiders for their existence, they are drawn into an “NGO scramble” for international aid that leaves them locally disconnected and politically vulnerable. To continue the ACLU example, if the organization depended on Norway for its money, it would find far fewer domestic supporters willing to spend the time and energy to come to the NGO’s defense."

My rant about Sujatha Gidla

My daily Sujatha. I am liking the possibly temporary popularity, of the book. It touched me as it is located in the area I grew up, I knew some of the people mentioned, wondered what happened to my Dalit classmates who seemed so bright in sixth grade. Due to endogamy and tendency to visit relatives, I lost touch with them. Then the age of social media came and got in touch with people back home. But they are mostly from similar caste groups and the general tendency seems to be to increase exposure, status, connections using the medium, praising each other and even giving prizes to each other. Still the exposure is limited and for many of those who want to make an impact on the west and get some recognition there, rewards are meagre. Often they do reasonably well financially but recognition of calibre is reinforced only among their own circles. Now comes an untouchable girl and suddenly produces a book which is reviewed by most of the prestigious western outlets. I think that this recognition may be temporary unless Sujatha follows up with more and meanwhile upper caste circles ignore and wait for it to blow over. I think she will not find much traction in Marxist circles since she is not a hard core Marxist and sceptical of her uncle's ideas. May be she won't care about all this and has a life to live. 

Friday, July 28, 2017

Some Telugu film songs from my childhood

Charu Majumdar advising Telugu comrades

"CM resolved the whole debate quite simply, speaking in English in his drawling manner: “Yesss. The real problem eees, the revisionist leaders, CPI, CPI( M), RCP, expelled Seetharamayya from their parties. And we revolutionaries invite him. Fineeesh.” After the meeting, Panchadi again carried CM on his shoulders for the return trip. The older comrade was only fifty-one, but he was shockingly thin and in poor health. By the time they reached the bottom of the steps, the one who was carried also needed to rest. CM went off a little way alone to stand in the shade of a tree. Satyam thought, “He must be communicating with the Chinese party by some invisible wireless device to inform them that the meeting was a success.” Satyam cautioned the others, “The man will be away for a bit. Don’t disturb him.” They all shared these exaggerated impressions. They surmised that this man was acting under the very guidance of Chairman Mao and according to his plan. That behind Charu Majumdar there was a huge machine. And that this movement they were forming would enjoy unlimited political, material, and military support. “We may not have anything now, but wait four days, we’ll get everything.”" From Sujata Gidla's book. Tragic aspects come soon after.

Why Sujatha Gidla's book may not be popular with elites

The scene is still dominated by upper castes and I have seen very few posts by them on Karamchedu or Tsudur massacres or the legal proceedings afterwards. Moreover Sujatha will alienate some hardcore Marxists by statement such as this " I still look forward to a day when there are no poor people in the world, and I agree with my uncle that it will take a revolution to achieve this. But I disagree with the programs and tactics he espoused both before his expulsion and afterward, including his different views on the strategic role of the struggle against caste oppression." Moreover those who talk about nuanced writing may have objections to her style and presentations. All I all, I think that the prospects are not good for the success of Memories of an ‘untouchable’ New York subway staffer
The book at google com Ants among elephants
One of the best reviews so far 

Some news from India

Two from Bloomberg

Those Pointless Upper-Middle-Class Entitlements by Justin Fox
Macroeconomists Can't Keep Ignoring Race and Gender by Narayana Kochelakota
But India has been getting away with such things for a long time. Incidentally, the second author is the son of a Telugu Brahmin and American mother.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Monitoring public servants

Implementation ups and downs: Monitoring attendance to improve publiciaImplementation ups and downs: Monitoring attendance to improve public services for the poor in India:

"So, why did monitoring have such encouraging effects in Rajasthan’s schools and such lacklustre ones in Karnataka’s health centres?
With the school study, you had one stakeholder (and NGO) that could more easily institute the contracts with the teachers. But, with the government, many different stakeholders needed to have buy-in to really change the system as a whole, including changing or simplifying complementary rules that prevented the data from being fully used. And, stakeholder demand in the end was low, since they were balancing different factors—doctor attendance versus the risk of losing limited doctors to private health sector.
In short, this comparison shows the importance of thinking of the broader system in which incentives will function, or they will simply never be implemented. Tools are great, but they will always be used by humans and come up against human behaviours and limitations."

Ava making chapati but calls it garlic naan

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Lot to think about

During morning walks, I take a break in the shopping mall to do a bit of grocery shopping and take a cup of piccolo coffee. It costs $3:80 and I can make some thing as good at home for less than half a dollar. That seems to be quite a bit of money over a year. Think of Sujata Gidla's' mother's problems with the tea habit of her husband Prabhakara Rao. But Lalita comes about twice a week to have coffee with me at the mall ( Today Ava told her 'You dont have to have coffee with thatha. You want to'). Somehow I have to balance the two, since now after reduction in smoking I do not really need a break in my walk. Lot to think about.

A comment on a friend's wall

Balasubramanian Ananthanarayan Why on earth are people still called coloured? I thought this had gone out of vogue when apartheid went. Anyway, I found the following on the internet, after trying to kindle some neurones that stored the information that I had read this long time ago: Written by an African child and nominated by The United Nations
as the Best Poem of 2006.

And you calling me colored??

When I born, I black. 
When I grow up, I black. 
When I go in sun, I black. 
When I scared, I black. 
When I sick, I black. 
And when I die, I still black.

And you white people. 
When you born, you pink. 
When you grow up, you white. 
When you go in sun, you red. 
When you cold, you blue. 
When you scared, you yellow. 
When you sick, you green 
And when you die, you grey…

And you calling me colored??

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Sujatha Gidla's book

Even though I planned to spend much longer reading the book, I finished my first reading of "Ants Among Elephants: An Untouchable Family and the Making of Modern India" by Sujatha Gidla. I found it compelling with several threads running through. Parts reminded me of 'Nirjana Varadhi'. But in such books, we do not see the 'intimate enmity' faced by Dalits. Then there are parts of the family life of author's mother Manjula which are as powerful of parts of 'Asamarthuni Jeevayatra'. Fortunately, it is also a story of struggle and survival of some talented people despite handicaps. There are also the comical and tragic aspects of revolutionary meetings. Escape to foreign ands to escape caste to some extent. Should be translated in to Telugu soon.
The defiance of an 'untouchable' New York subway worker

Chicken's Neck problems

Gurrumul Yunupingu RIP

One more point for Lant Pritchett

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Not only in India

I slept rough – the public’s contempt for homeless people is a disgrace I think that this has increased in India too. Earlier, may be still, some used charge money for sleeping on streets. Reminded of George Price Discovering an equation for altruism cost George Price everything from his family to his life.


Credentialism? I think that I have noticed a tendency among Indian patents, from progressives to hardcore Marxists who believe that Revolution is the only answer to Dalits, for degrees and qualifications for their children, often from reputed American universities. Even housewives without college degrees have remarked 'But that is not in the top ten'. Th
is credentialism creep is also common in the west, but not so much parental pride and pressure. I hope that I am wrong.

My granddaughter Ava, may be what they want is more time with the family

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Monday, July 24, 2017

Another place I visted last November with Tella Aruna and Ramasundari

Tella Aruna is sitting next to me, Ramasundari may not be visible in this upload. Aruna has been in social work for over thirty ears and runs an old people's home and a home for abused women. The picture from one of the places, both in Ongole. I plan to spend three years in Ongole this year starting in Novembrr to study teaching in the schools of the area. C.A. Prasad of Jana Vignana Samiti offered to help and Aruna said that I can stay with her. Ramasundari is transferred to Guntur and offered her house for me to stay though I told her that I am not  Marxist. Ramasundari' Facebook link may contain: 12 people, people smiling, shoes and outdoor

The picture from last November which made me reduce smoking

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, mountain, child, outdoor and nature The picture is from that post of Rahul BanerjeeWhile visiting Motia Bhil Bhanai Ghar school in M.P with Rahul Banerjee. Last night I watched cricket until 2:40 in the morning and went for a half an hour walk this morning to check the difference from yesterday's walk. Not much. Decrease in smoking seems to make a difference.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Hair styles of Telugu film heros in the old days

Brother's influence

Hi - I'm reading "Ants Among Elephants: An Untouchable Family and the Making of Modern India" by Sujatha Gidla and wanted to share this quote with you.

"WHEN THE TEACHER ASKED FOR a volunteer to use the English word while in a sentence, Papa raised her hand. The teacher knew she was one of the few students he had who was capable of answering such a hard question. But even so he was surprised by what she said: “The Koreans are harvesting while the Americans are bombing them.”"
That was around 1950 in the village Telaprolu in Krishna District, Andhra Pradesh. The girl Papa was the around 14 at that time who was influenced by her brother K.G. Satyamurthy. Carey mentioned below is the younger brother. The family were Dalit Christian.
But "Papa and Carey were especially drawn to the novels of Sarat Chandra, a Bengali author whose works were being translated into Telugu. Sarat’s novels typically featured a heroine who supported her weak husband, cared for her failing in-laws, and set her husband’s wayward younger brother on the right path. These books were modern in their depiction of a strong-willed female character, though she used her strength not to assert herself but rather to endure her unhappy fate. She strained to prop up the very thing that was crushing her, the patriarchal family. Papa and Carey each formed an ideal of life from these novels. Carey longed to deliver a prostitute from her wretchedness by marrying her and making her a respectable woman. Papa dreamed of becoming an exemplary wife, daughter-in-law, and sister-in-law. Above all, she would be honest. She would do nothing that needed to be kept secret from anyone in the world."

Book recommendation from Omar Ali

On hummingbird's frenzy

Professionalism in radical political change

I am not entirely convinced. Perhaps one solution is organizing shoud be like second profession. When Organizers Are Professionals from Jacobin.
Rahul Banerjee on his experiences.In a post on the same in Facebook, he comments:
"Thx to all for the appreciation but personally i feel sad that circumstances have moved me away from mass political action. However much good constructive work we do, without a drastic change in government policies to make them more sustainable and equitable, there is unlikely to be large impact. And without mass political mobilisation for a more just and sustainable development paradigm this will not be possible. But it is extremely difficult to do that these days."

Women networks, a story from France

A Study of the Champagne Industry Shows That Women Have Stronger Networks, and Profit from Them "Combined with past studies, our research has implications for female leaders and minorities in other industries. When an organization contains just a few “token” minorities, those individuals will tend to compete with one other to distinguish themselves. But when a minority group is somewhat larger, people in that group will be more likely to identify with one another and develop supportive relationships. And, as the female grape growers in Champagne have shown, a network of such relationships can result in tangible benefits, including not just social support but also the sharing of valuable business information  such as the prices being charged in a market."

Saturday, July 22, 2017

About US jobs

Intelligence and patience are crucial

Where Do Pro-Social Institutions Come From? by pseudoearasmus. The Original post from two years ago has a number of comments.
 In the comments Peter T( Peter Turchin?) remarks "You reject CE, but “intelligence” and “patience” are learned characteristics, not innate ones (the capacity for them is innate but, given human genetic similarity but large group differences in these measures, the expression is clearly social). So they are themselves cultural."
Pseudoerasmus responds "But I rejected a very specific element of cultural evolution as the driver of institutional differences between populations — social norms — which were defined fairly precisely in the text above. And I did not say anything about the origins of the between-population differences in patience or intelligence."

Friday, July 21, 2017

Snake dance by P.Bhanumati
The dance does not seem too bad though "And speaking of her dance lessons, Bhanumati was characteristically ruthless in self-assessment – she remarked that it must have been a black day for the revered Guru [Vempati Pedda Satyam]when he accepted her as his disciple, fior her dance movements could easily be mistaken for a patient suffering from a particularly virulent fit of epilepsy!" from

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Violence against Dalits continues

More than 25 Dalit activists have been murdered in Tamil Nadu over the past year, says Madurai NGOThis kind of news does not seem to get much traction in the social media which is probably dominated by the more privileged. Going by the number of visits in this blog, I find posts about Dalits, manual scavenging etc get the least number of visits where as anything about Indian music, good things about Indian heritage get lord of visits. May be we develop immunity for things we cannot change rapidly.

Time seems to go after as one grows older

Times seems to go faster with age or so it seemed to me. Last week has been a bit slower, may be due to efforts to cut down smoking. It seemed ages but is only about six days that I am down to six cigarettes a day. Today, we went to watch Leila and Ava aged 11,9 on their Athletics Day at school. It was about 12C, drizzling and sometimes pouring, and windy. We went around the ground twice meeting the kids twice, watced one of them run, spoke to them and offered gloves and caps which were refused. After what seemed like a long time, we were resigned to kids getting sick by the end of the day and Lalita already planning to ask Gavin to stay home the next day. Then we checked our watches and found that we spent exactly 18 minutes at the ground. I googled and the first item I find is this Why does time fly as we get older?

Sanjay Subrahmanyam on decentralised violence

Lynch mobs seem to know nothing will happen to them, they’re implicitly meeting approval from higher-ups: UCLA scholar "Sadly, good parts of the international situation are also similar, so we should not think we are so unique. Turkey is witnessing the strengthening of Muslim fundamentalism and authoritarian government. In Russia, you have the Orthodox Church’s alliance with an authoritarian state. This is the new normal of neo-democratic states, which, when it suits them, say they are democratic, and at the same time, slowly shift the ground in society. If this is on the cards, politics has to come in, to pull society back from the brink. This cannot be just about civil society formations fighting a rear-guard action and taking on a political system. This is the time for the political system to show its resilience, or else we will face the consequences of one-party rule over years and years."

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Monday, July 17, 2017

Some news from India

This is Not Faking News: Astrologers to 'Diagnose' Patients in MP Hospital
Priests dupe MLA of Rs 50 lakh promising minister post "It is learnt that the priests were introduced to the MLA by his relative, who had earlier approached the men for special prayers seeking an offspring. The priests had performed pooja and given him some herbs. After some time, he had been blessed with a child."
Four Sanitation Workers Die Of Asphyxiation While Cleaning Septic Tank In DelhiNEW
39 dead in 100 days while cleaning sewers: Bezwada Wilson
Mahagun Moderne residents move to ban Bengali, Odiya help; 13 slum-dwellers arrested "She says the general attitude is that these people deserve it, for daring to break into a gated society. “'Kaam bandh ho jayega, pet pe laath padega toh they'll understand what it is to protest against us' is what they think.” (When they stop getting work and go hungry...)"

The power of placebos partly explained

A conversation with David Shulman

Music, Culture, History: A Conversation with David Shulman with links to previous articles. Engaging as always.

Domestic help in India

A new book raises uncomfortable questions. This is the right time to read ‘Maid in India’, which exposes the ugly truths lurking in our homes I read the book. It is mostly about Delhi area. To begin with, it discusses some of the domestic help involves and the author visits their areas of origin from Jharkhand to Bengal, Orissa and the conditions that drove them to work in a far away place. Then there are more detailed stories of agents for domestic help, some of the organizations involved in the welfare of the people, court cases etc. some of the stories are involved and ongoing. As far as I can see, most of the reviews do not do justice to the book. A first book by the author, it is not perfect. There is a bias towards the workers but the author seemed aware of her privileges and often comparing the ratio of her earning to those of her domestic help and how the ratio is changing. Some of the later stories of cruelty, and a case where the domestic help chooses to stay with her cheating employers rather than go back home are very moving:
"‘So you’re just going to keep staying here?’ ‘Yes,’ she says. I ask that most Indian of questions: what about meeting someone and getting married? Starting your own life? ‘What for?’ she responds, with the most feeling she has shown so far. ‘I’m not interested.’ Then she vanishes to another part of the house."
This is perhaps one of the less painful ones. Some of these are possibly worth books of their own. The above review links to two such stories. There are also some 'success stories'.
How long it will Take India to move to more systematic domestic services is not clear. Moreover, the book is mostly about Delhi where there is lot of money and is the seat of central government with various power plays, which is different from other parts of India. There are also youtube interviews with the author Tripti Lahiri. Here is one:
There are also reactions like this:
"The real story, however, is not about the maudlin ‘Maid in India’ narrative being peddled by Left-liberal activists, some of them masquerading as journalists, in English language publications far and wide -— as far as The Washington Post, whose readers would not know Noida from Khirkee Extension.  Hating those who have worked hard to live a better life is fashionable and politically correct." from

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Corey Robi reviews some books on Hannah Arendt

"That careerism may be as lethal as idealism, that ambition is an adjunct of barbarism, that some of the worst crimes are the result of ordinary vices rather than extraordinary ideas: these are the implications of Eichmann in Jerusalem that neo-cons and neoliberals alike find too troubling to acknowledge." from Dragon-Slayers by Corey Robin. Somewhat convoluted and difficult essay for me but I came to the above conclusion long ago by myself.


Friday, July 14, 2017

Rethinking Marxism

Rethinking the Marxist Conception of Revolution Long read but readable, most of it seems sensible to me. It is possible when people are desperate, local collective organizations will emerge as they have been emerging all over the world. They are not all similar and it is not clear that they will combine to some sort of uniformity; it seems unlikely. But many use new technologies.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Browder saga continues

The Secret Jewish History Of Donald Trump Jr.’s Russia Scandal Read more:
I am partly interested inthe story because, as a research student, I was influence by his uncle William Browder's mathematics papers. William Browder also produce several stellar theses via his students.
More from Robert Parry How Russia-gate met Magnitsky Myth 

Husnlal-Bhagatram songs

The first duo from Songs of Yore
The diamond cutters by Salish Copra two years ago in The Hindu one of their early popular songs.

Links July 13, 2017

Beam me up, Scotty! Scientists teleport photons 300 miles into space from The Guardian
Students are Better Off without a Laptop in the Classroom from Scientific American
Don't leave health care to free market from The New York Times
How poverty affects the brain from Nature : (Via Lambert Strether) "EEG detected stronger electrical activity among children with stunted growth, along with a range of brainwaves that reflect problem solving and communication between brain regions. That was a surprise to the researchers, because studies in orphans and poor children have generally found dampened activity7. The discrepancy could be related to the different types of adversity that children in Dhaka face, including food insecurity, infections and mothers with high rates of depression.
Nelson's team is trying to parse out which forms of adversity seem to be most responsible for the differences in brain activity among the Dhaka children. The enhanced electrical signals in EEG tests are strongly linked to increases in inflammatory markers in the blood, which probably reflect greater exposure to gut pathogens.
If this holds up as more children are tested, it could point to the importance of improving sanitation and reducing gastrointestinal infections. Or maternal depression could turn out to be strongly linked to brain development, in which case helping mothers could be just as crucial as making sure their babies have good nutrition. “We don't know the answers yet,” says Nelson."

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

On global value chains

"Interestingly, the figure captures anxieties felt by both rich and poor countries in thinking about trade today. People in rich countries worry that manufacturing is being hollowed out. That is, that semi-skilled production jobs have moved to the developing world, and—to the extent that such jobs still remain in advanced economies—have faced downward pressure on wages. Poor countries worry that they are trapped in low-value-added activities and are locked out of the higher value-added found in design, key technological inputs, and marketing." from Global value chains shed new light on trade and more with an article to follow by David Dollar
A brief discussion byTim Taylor 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Trump cannot improve relations with Russia

says Paul Craig Roberts Trump Cannot Improve Relations With Russia When Trump’s Government and the US Media Oppose Improved Relations
See alsoTrump and the Middle East paradox by Alistair Crooke :
"What the Gulf and Israel’s allies have done with their agenda of cordons sanitaire along Syria’s borders, of roll-back of Iran and Hizbullah in Syria, of balkanization of Syria, and of the attempted severance of Iran from Syria (via a Kurdish wedge), is to leave Trump empty-handed. What can Trump offer Putin in the war on ISIS (beyond obstructions to Putin’s allies — and to Putin’s objective to maintain the infrastructure and territory of the Syrian State, intact), that Putin might welcome, and find useful? Equally, how can Putin assist Trump when the U.S. agenda avoids, like the plague, any and all association with the very forces trying to establish stability in Syria?
Tillerson’s statement just might be the first hint that these considerations are being given serious thought (such as the Putin-Trump agreement on a partial cease-fire in southwest Syria). We shall see, soon enough."

Guitar Natarajan on agriculture in India

Examining agriculture in India :
"Very good analysis of India's agriculture system by Ram Kaundinya. I have always struggled with a outlining a satisfactory enough pathway to agricultural sector reforms. Here is only the latest attempt. 

As a context, about 130-140 m farmers cultivate around 175 m hectares of land, of which over 60% is unirrigated and rely on erratic monsoons. Mechanization is limited and with perhaps not much (though not non-trivial) potential given the small and fragmented holdings. Farming is therefore not very productive and largely subsistence. A vast and entrenched intermediary network coupled with lack of storage infrastructure means that most of farm production is sold immediately at farm gate at lower prices in a post-harvest buyers market. Cropping patterns have been shifting, with riskier and more infrastructure dependent horticulture crop production recently exceeding food grains. "
Link to Ram Kaundinya article The difficulty of being a farmer:"The Indian farmer faces pressure from both the demand and the supply sides. Technology can help solve some of his problems...., We need to overhaul our thinking and approach towards addressing farmers’ challenges which are complicated and structural in nature. Waiving farm loans is a lazy option for governments and a costly option for the banking system. Successive governments have chosen this option because they do not have the political will to find better solutions. "

Monday, July 10, 2017

Arava and Tamil

I find this passage about Krishnadevaraya’s time in a 1995 article Sanskrit and Telugu In Medieval Andhra  by Velcheru Narayana Rao 
“An interesting tidbit that might be noted here is that people who ridiculed other languages were supposed to be fined by the king with a fine of one hundred ‘panas’, and that ‘arava’ was considered a derogatory term for Tamil.” 
Today in a discussion about Sarat's Devdas in 'Songs of Yore' on Sarat's Devdas, one RSR, presumably a Tamilian, writes in comment 94:
"I am told that tamilians are known as ‘arava’, because they do not have the fourth sound for consonants. ( pa,ppa,ba but no bha)(ka,kka,ga, no gha ) as in all the other Indian languages patterned on Sanskrit. It was just descriptive not derogatory. I feel that the fourth sound is rather unnatural and tamil omits that sound rightly!"
An internet search shows that There may be genuine roots, tribal, regional etc for the word arava. But words also have a life of their own, both in time and space. But the 'fact' that it was considered defagotary so long ago and continues to be in some places means that it has to be handled with care.

Poverty and development

My mother was't trash:
"David Joy, who is by my estimation the most talented and important young writer in Appalachia right now, recently wrote: "The truth is we live in a world where we don’t listen to people anymore. So often we’re just waiting for the next opening to respond. What we need to realize is that sometimes people don’t need advice. Sometimes people just need to be heard. Sometimes the greatest gift we can give someone is just to keep our mouths shut and let them empty themselves into our hands. When they’re finished, we don’t need to do anything with what they’ve given us. We just need to show them that we’re holding it for them till they can catch their breath."
Sometimes, that's all Mom needed. Someone to be present while she screamed and cried. Somebody to hold her while she caught her breath."
Related What happened when Walmart left:
"Much has been written about what happens when the corporate giant opens up in an area, with numerous studies recording how it sucks the energy out of a locality, overpowering the competition through sheer scale and forcing the closure of mom-and-pop stores for up to 20 miles around. A more pressing, and much less-well-understood, question is what are the consequences when Walmart screeches into reverse: when it ups and quits, leaving behind a trail of lost jobs and broken promises."

How the poor are coping with heat in one place with the help of an NGO

With a touch of reflective paint, women in an Ahmedabad slum are beating extreme heat
"The Mahila Housing Trust knows the disproportionate effect of climate change on the city’s poorest residents, and is trying to do something about it.
It is experimenting with reflective paint, insulated ceilings and modular roofs in homes in Ramesh Dutt Colony. These are low-cost options that can bring down indoor temperatures by several degrees, Bhonsale told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Women are also trained in measures such as using fuel-efficient stoves to reduce reliance on firewood, rainwater harvesting, composting, cleaning stormwater drains and planting shrubs to help prevent flash floods.
The trust has installed a warning system in some slums that sounds an alarm during heavy rain, so residents can move documents and food to higher spots in case of flooding, Bhonsale said.
“For poor women, their home is also their workplace, their storehouse. They are much more sensitised to the impact of climate change, and understand the seriousness of it,” she said."

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Justice after 30 years

ఓ మహిళ 30 ఏళ్ల పోరాటానికి న్యాయమూర్తి పాదాభివందనం
One Vruddula Parvateesam was dismissed from his job in 1982, goes to court and wins in 1986. However, he did not get the monetary benefits like pension despite repeated appeals and died in 2004. His wife Rajeswari appealed in 2006 for her part of the pension without any results until this year. Finally this year it comes to the notice of the District Magistrate of Visakhapatnam P.V. Jyothirmayi. She ensured that the victim who is 86 now received a cheque for 200,000 rupees ( about 4,000 Australian dollars). This was done in a public meeting,and moreover the magistrate touched the feet of the victim as a mark of respect.

Where capitalism fails

Detroit's underground economy: where capitalism fails, alternatives take root:
"The city’s so-called renaissance has reached only small portions of its 139 square miles, leaving much of the population—which is more than 80 percent African-American—behind.
But over decades of poverty, Detroiters have learned to get by without access to traditional cash or credit. There’s a resilient informal economy rooted in neighborhoods and communities: Barter, gifts, time trading and underground businesses are ubiquitous."

Some more horrible news from USA

Rahm Emanuel's cruel new plan "Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's new plan to keep teens off the street has been a subject of controversy since it was announced in April. Beginning in 2020, public school students will be forced to present their post-graduation plans in order to receive their diploma.  "

Some Telugu personalities

i left Andhra in 1956 except for two years in Hyderabad 1960-63. Though I visited home off and on ( some say that any area outside Krishna-Guntur Districts is a foreign country to me), my interest was mainly in mathematics. I started looking at the Telugu scene after retirement in 2005, initially for old film songs. These were supplied by the site oldtelugusongs. I have wondered what happened to many of the leftist personalities in Telugu films from fifties. Here is the third of a series about one of them K.B. Tilak , a nephew of the even more famous director-producer L.V.Prasad. Here are the other Two parts. He says "తిలక్ ప్రత్యేకంగా ఎవర్నీ ఉద్దేశించి చెప్పక పోయినా, ఆయన మాటల్లో సమాజ ప్రభావం వల్ల అభ్యుదయ భావాలు, వ్యక్తులు— వేరవుతున్నారనే అర్థం వ్యక్తమయింది. సమాజంలోని వ్యక్తులందరి లాగానే, తిలక్‌ను కూడా అంతస్తు పెరగకపోయినా.. కొద్దిగా మారుతున్నందున– కొన్ని వ్యసనాలకులోనుచేసాయి. అడపాదడపా… మద్యం సేవించటం, అలవాటున్న సిగరెట్‌ను అధిగమించి చుట్ట, పైపుల వైపు దృష్టి మళ్లించటం దాంతో పాటే తానూ ఓ స్టూడియో ఎందుకు నిర్మించరాదు–అని ఆలోచించటం జరిగాయి. వాటి తప్పొప్పుల వివరాలలోకి ఆయన వెళ్లలేదు.
అదే అంటారు తిలక్. అందరి లాగానే, తనపై కూడా తానూ– ఆ కోవలోని వాడినే అయి నందువల్ల, సామాజిక ప్రభావం అప్పుడప్పుడూ పడ్తుండేదనీ–అది, అధిగమించే ప్రయత్నంచేసాననీ చెప్పారు తిలక్. సఫలుడు అయిందీ లేనిదీ చెప్పలేనన్నారు."
I just came across another, a writer who just passed away before the age of sixty by name Dr. V. Chandrasekhar rao. He seems to be from a similar but relatively poo rer background, his father was a school teacher. Here is a speech by him in USA and another
He also seems to be of some Marxist persuasion and a medical doctor by profession. I will try to find out more about these people on the next trip to Andhra. My impression is that they were not able to make much difference.
GRK Murty on C.Narayana Reddy

Friday, July 07, 2017

Links, 7/7/2017

The rise of the Thought Leader: How the superrichch have funded a new class of intellectual by David Sessions, discusses Daniel Drezner's recent book 'The Ideas Industry', long read.
My decade leading the WHO: dirty fights and steps toward universal coverage by the departing WHO director-general Margaret Chan
China,India border row 'worst in thirty years'
Microchimerism making news again but nothing beyond this old article seems new A Pregnancy Souvenir: Cells That Are Not Your Own
Can certain foods really burn fat?

More on Sarat and Devdas

 Much of this new to me. The mortals of Devdas by J.N.Sinha:
"These true-to-life characters of this immortal story have often tempted readers to ask whether they existed in reality. What has made this novel one of the most compelling stories of the 20th century? Its admirers have tracked many a character in Saratchandra Chattopadhyay’s life and his novels. Finally, the search closes up on an elusive pair on the banks of the Ganga, in Bhagalpur in Bihar: On a closer look, Devdas is none other than the author himself, and Paro a young vivacious girl of the same town."

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Perala Ratnam, Kamala Ratnam

I picked some books edited by Perala Ratnam from our university library, these are about Indian culture in honour of Raghuvira from 1974. Three of those had articles by Kamala Ratnam. It was clear from the articles that she was the diplomat' wife and a scholar herself. A search with her name led to this article about er friendship with the Assamese author Indira Goswami. Though Perala is misspelt, it seems that he passed away in 1988. Indira Goswami's biography of Kamala Ratnam was published under the name 'Mahiyashi Kamala'. The biography probably appeared around 1995. Through people who know Assamese, it may be possible to get more details of the lives of Perala and Kamala Ratnam.
Previous post about Perala Ratnam here.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

On face recognition

How the brain does face recognition, a report by Steven HSU on some very neat work.
Further possibilities in brain studies with links here. One of them "Mind Reading" technology to read complex thoughts.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Sarat Chandra's Devdas

AK of Songs of Yore has a very nice post One hundred years of Sarat Chandra's 'Devdas' and the ensuing discussion about Sarat's other novels, reactions to Devdas from Indians of different backgrounds. Here is a review of the 1953 Telugu film version Devadasu by two young white women from Melbourne, they seem to have got interested in Indian films by working in some films made in Melbourne Devadasu (1953).
According to the Wikipedia page on Sarat
"He remains the most popular, most translated, most adapted, and most plagiarized Indian author of all time."
There is also lot of academic literature and a few theses on his work. He has written sympathetically about the poor of all creeds but a a speech in his later life caused controversy Sarat Chandra Chatterjee and communalism: a buried chapter.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Tim Taylor on the next recession

From what direction is the next recession coming?
"Given the good news of weak inflation, it seems plausible that the next recession will arise out during the next financial crisis. At least right now, such a crisis seems most likely to arise outside of the US and European economies. Instead, there are some troubling signs of excessive debt and financial strain in some emerging market economies, as well as in Canada. "

I found this bit confusing:
"The clear implication from this earlier line of thought is that recessions don't die of old age; instead, they are murdered by the Fed." is not clear, he may mean some thing else. Compare the sentence which comes soon after "No postwar recovery has died in bed of old age--the Federal Reserve has murdered every one of them. " The analysis assumes that there will be no wars etc.
P.S. The text is modified now. Since there were no responses here or on Facebook, I wrote to him and he has clarified.

The North-South divide again in India

Emmanuel Todd has written about this divide basing his work on the difference in the family systems
In The causes of progress. His work has been mentioned a few times before. The differences, for whatever reasons are, are surfacing again.
India is slowly cleaving into two countries – a richer, older South and a poorer, younger North 

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Rahul Banerjee on solar power service problems in remote places

Solar power blues
 I have seen similar problems with Wifi  in a school he has been helping in Kakrana. These places are lucky to have his help. He is IIT Khargapur graduate and an activist for about 30 years. Apart from theoretical readings, he has developed a lot of practical expertise including legal problems and is a great source of help for Bhils in Alirajpur District. There are many more posts about his work in this blog. He is too busy with his work to develop a website for all his activities. Generally he gets about 10-12 laks of rupees an Year  funding from public for these activities and makes his living by writing reports for UN on sewage, water problems and such. Some of his work can be gleaned from the blog linked above.