Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Interview with Cornel West

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

Monday, July 16, 2018

The need for religion

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

Survival in future

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

Another inspiring story

Saturday, July 14, 2018

SriSri influence on an IAS officer

https://www.clipzui.com/video/l3q4b5g3q3o4f3q4c41553.html starts around 36:27
Meet Pallavi Akurathi – The Daring IAS Officer Who Is An Inspiration To All The Telugu Medium Students! also A battle I didn’t need
“Ironically, all that effort to learn English, and the humiliation faced along the way, seems ridiculous now. A majority of our daily transactions are in Kannada. I would be a miserable administrator if I were proficient in English but didn’t speak Kannada. While one’s comprehension of English is already tested in the mains, what sense does it make to exclusively ensure the English proficiency of administrators? she wonders. “Even today I cannot understand the poetry that a 6th standard ICSE student writes. How can a government school student, who studies all through only in a regional language, be asked to compete in English comprehension with those from English-medium schools? Can you imagine how unequal the battle is?”

Friday, July 13, 2018

Time investment

Exposing modern slavery

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

More on Mahesh Kathi

It seems that what was used is  Telangana Prevention of Anti-Social and Hazardous Activities Act, 1930.: “Among those who are targeted specifically in these laws include “bootleggers, dacoits, drug-offenders, goondas, immoral traffic offenders, land grabbers, gamblers,” as listed by these Acts." ” The same law law was later used to stern Swami Paripoornananda who wanted to organise a march against a Mahesh Kathi. From https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/what-externment-law-telangana-cops-used-ban-mahesh-kathi-hyd-84500 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Inter caste marriages in India on the increase says The Guardian

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

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Sheila Dhar on Bhimsen Joshi

From Raga’n Josh
The following video may give some indication of his performances:
A longer version here 

Pankaj Mishra reviews ‘Ants among elephants’

God’s oppressed children  “The result is a book that combines many different genres—memoir, history, ethnography, and literature—and is outstanding in the intensity and scale of its revelations......At such moments, Gidla’s book achieves the emotional power of V.S. Naipaul’s great novel A House for Mr. Biswas, which describes the solitary struggles of a descendant of indentured laborers.....Rather, “it is a battle for freedom…for the reclamation of the human personality”—an arduous, never-ending battle in which Gidla’s book represents an all too rare victory.”
I have repeatedly mentioned and quoted from the book. There has been very little response from the upper caste bloggers so far. There are lots of posts about Trump or Vedas but this book has  eenstudiously ignored by the Indian netizens. Even among the Dalits, there is resentment among ambedkarites. She seems a difficult personality if her internet comments on all kinds of issues is any indication. But the book is excellent.

Miracle in Thailand

All out of the cave
How Buddhist meditation kept the Thai boys calm in the cave
When the 12 Thai boys who’ve been trapped in a cave and are being rescued one by one were first discovered by British divers a week ago, they were reportedly meditating.
“Look at how calm they were sitting there waiting. No one was crying or anything. It was astonishing,” the mother of one of the boys told the AP, referring to a widely shared video of the moment the boys were found.
Turns out that their coach, Ekapol Chanthawong, who led them on a hike into the cave when it flooded on June 23, trained in meditation as a Buddhist monk for a decade before becoming a soccer coach. According to multiple news sources, he taught the boys, ages 11 to 16, to meditate in the cave to keep them calm and preserve their energy through their two-week ordeal.”

Mahesh Kathi banned from Hyderabad for six months

It all began after Kathi Mahesh allegedly made derogatory comments against Lord Rama and Sita during a debate on a regional news channel.
Mahesh was participating in a debate about a sedition case filed against rationalist Babu Gogineni, when he said, “For me, Ramayana is just another story…I believe Rama is as much a cheater (dagulbhaji) as he is ideal in that story. And I think perhaps Sita would have been better, might have gotten justice if she had stayed with Ravana. What’s wrong with that?” ” from The news minute. More about  Mahesh Kathi

  • See also  Shambuka story for some of the reasons why some people may not appreciate Rama.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Some thoughts from Tyler Cowen

If technology has arrived everywhere, why has income diverged?
Informational autocrats
Theabove are links to ideas in papers which he seemed to have appreciated. Here is an article by himself Holding Up a Mirror to the Intellectuals of the Left :
Often my best conversations are with doers and practitioners, rather than intellectuals and writers. The politics of the doers are typically difficult to discern or to boil down to simple classifications.”

More of Jim Holt

A review of his recent book When Einstein walked with Godel by Parul Sehgal. A review of his earlier book Why does the world exist? By Free an Dyson :What can you really know? Freeman Dyson links to earlier review of his of the book

The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations that Transform the World

by David Deutsch
which is very nice but behind a firewall.