Monday, July 26, 2010

Joel Stein, Rajini Movie and a misplaced outrage.

For nearly one month a Time magazine column on Indians in Edison NJ is still on the most emailed stories (today's rank 9). Time ran a cover story on Thomas Alva Edison as part of a series on great Americans that is a special on every July 4th week's issue. Joel Stein, a supposedly satirical columnist, in his infinite wisdom decided to do his take on Edison NJ (My Own Private India )just because the town was indeed named after Edison other than that the column has no topical relevance to the issue.

The first week I landed in USA, 12 years ago, I subscribed to Time magazine. I used to be in awe of Time and New York Times when in India. In recent times I've felt Time is becoming tabloidish, the language is pedestrian, the stories are blatantly liberal, a sort of dumbing down a topic is freely indulged in. In particular Joel Stein is one who never got me hooked like Lance Morrow or Roger Rosenblatt or Charles Krauthammer all masters of the art of essay.

The column invited an internet deluge by offended Indians who saw an outright racial assault, insensitive comments, foolish theory on why India is poor and every other imaginable offense that a column can  incite. I did not find it the least bit offensive, I did not find it worthy of any response. Joel Stein, born and brought up in Edison NJ laments how Indians changed Edison. Now what would I argue with a columnist who laments "My town is totally unfamiliar to me. The Pizza Hut where my busboy friends stole pies for our drunken parties is now an Indian sweets shop with a completely inappropriate roof. The A&P I shoplifted from is now an Indian grocery. The Italian restaurant that my friends stole cash from as waiters is now Moghul, one of the most famous Indian restaurants in the country. There is an entire generation of white children in Edison who have nowhere to learn crime...." If that is racism Indians just  managed to define racism in a very light headed manner. If that column had instead a tone like "Oh Edison used to be clean now it is....", "oh crime used to be low not it is ...". What can you tell a guy who thinks that white kids have no place to practice stealing pizzas?
What is racist about "(Edison) has become home to one of the biggest Indian communities in the U.S., as  familiar to people in India as how to instruct stupid Americans to reboot their Internet routers." In fact if I was a white American I should be more enraged at all this than Indians.

The only part that could be genuinely offensive is "For a while, we assumed all Indians were geniuses. Then, in the 1980s, the doctors and engineers brought over their merchant cousins, and we were no longer so sure about the genius thing. In the 1990s, the not-as-brilliant merchants brought their even-less-bright cousins, and we started to understand why India is so damn poor".

When CBS ran a special program on IIT's and called it more exclusive than Harvard every Indian exulted to glory. When Indian students become spelling bee champions and are invited to Presidential audience, starting with Rediff every Indian talks about how the white kids go for ballet classes and lacrosse while Indian kids slog it out at Kumon (a tuition center). How often have we heard Indian parents boast about how focused on academics they are and without a pause they would worry if their kids would be influenced by the white kids at school who are thought of as slackers. By and large Americans think Asians, especially Indians, are academically accomplished, if not geniuses.

Joel Stein captured the arc of any immigration pattern. In the early days in 70's-80's immigration to USA was mostly restricted to those who came to pursue higher education. Today nearly 40% PhD's are foreign born. The H1B program opened the flood gates and sort of 'democratized'  the immigrant profile. Thousands, like me, came to USA. The H1B profile is technically labeled "highly skilled immigrant labor". The operative word is "skill". Thanks to H1B and outsourcing today native Americans shun computer science in an alarming trend that made Bill Gates go to colleges  to encourage students to opt for Computer Science. I've worked in teams that had ZERO American (white or Black). If such a demographic shift had occurred in India due to immigrant labor there would be blood in the streets. Imagine a bunch of workers talking in alien languages shouting from one cubicle to another, opening up lunch boxes with a distinctive odor, women dressed in garish strangely draped dresses (now its becoming common for women to show up in Churidhars) and now think of the plight of an American.

Joel Stein had a very valid complaint when he lamented that Indians do not assimilate. Its so easy for Indians to remain Indians in USA now thanks to numerous Sangams, streets dominated by Indian shops bringing in an India to the capitals of US states. A Brussels exhibition pointedly asked "they are immigrants when they come, they are immigrants when they live here, when will they become us".

Here comes a rub. Indians are very smug about the supposed superiority of their culture. As much as Indians are irritated by Joel Stein's stereo typing how many use very unfair stereo typing of Americans especially on the morals of the common American. How many Indian movies use "American" as short hand to portray anything negative about Western Culture? 

4 Indians sat down for lunch (my colleagues and me) and the discussion turned towards the column and Edison. None of us had a kind word for Edison. We lampooned the shops, the lack of customer service, dirty roads, honking horns, rudeness etc etc. Just the other day another Tamil friend spoke with horror of an apartment complex in Edison that is practically a cesspool of dirt. 

12 years back when I went to see a HIndi movie in Woodbridge I was stunned by a slide that announced "Please do not spit on the floor, if this practice continues, we will stop screening Indian movies". 

Watch the following links for sheer hooliganism by these supposed techies in Seattle and NJ during the release of Rajini's movie. The Seattle version shows hooligans practically hijacking a mall's parking lot, hooting, hollering, lighting a pumpkin, waving a trash bag. If you were an American witnessing this spectacle how would you react. Madonna, Britney Spears etc appear at Madison Square in NYC I've not seen this hooliganism by the concert goers (remember thats a concert not a movie)

 Sivaji release in seattle

Watch the following that capture the moments INSIDE the theater as the opening scene starts. These are mostly H1B's, techies...

Coming to assimilation. I totally agree with Stein that Indians are proving to be poor in assimilating to US culture and mainstream. I have nothing but contempt for the various Sangams that  tom tom linguistic chauvinism and indulge in mediocre entertainment masquerading as propagating Indian cultural values. I've absolute disgust for this "cultural values" shenanigans. USA is what it is today thanks to a set of unique cultural values that has not only made it prosperous but has enabled people like me to come on board, share and contribute to its prosperity, treat me and my family with utmost dignity far better what my birthplace did for me. This is culture. NRI's have no business to talk about how good Indian culture is. If they think so please take the many flights back home and let America be America.

In fact I'd say that Joel Stein was very charitable in skewering Indians. Time printed a "regret" note and Indians immediately exulted "Time Apologizes to Indians". NO such thing. Stein also printed a very back handed apology.

In the same week as Time's column an international report said that 8 states of India (including WB, MP, UP, Bihar etc) have more people who are in abject poverty than 26 African countries COMBINED. The surprising inclusion is WB, that citadel of marxism. The reaction from India and Indians was a stoic embarrassed silence. Indians hated "Slumdog Millionaire" but nobody has a reaction to this. [See my earlier blog ]

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sri Lanka: Would the wounds heal? Is there a tomorrow?

It’s been more than a year since the conclusion of Sri Lanka’s civil war and the din just refuses to die, for good and bad reasons. Its good in as much as there is continued focus on rehabilitating the war destitute and being vigilant on human rights abuses by a not so magnanimous victor. This continued noise about Sri Lanka in India and elsewhere by Tamils and Tamil expatriates is more counter-productive and in fact it’s mostly divorced from reality.

If Hutu’s and Tutsi’s can make peace in Rwanda I see no reason for Sri Lankan Tamils for not making peace with Sinhalese (or vice versa). If Jews can still live in Germany I see no reason as to why Tamils cannot live in unified Sri Lanka. If Kurds can live in Iraq and Armenians in Turkey (Turkey still denies to call the Armenian Massacre a genocide, in fact calling it so is a punishable crime) what compelling reasons do Sri Lankan Tamils have for vivisecting a land to which they had emigrated to? Sikhs and Muslims still live in India despite organized pogroms. Dalits still live in Tamil Nadu despite Tamil Nadu ranking 5th in anti-Dalit violence. Brahmins and Forward community people still live in Tamil Nadu despite the most oppressive policies that exclude them from education and jobs (and they did not even think it’s ok to get violent just because they don’t get college seats). 

A little perspective here. Dravidian parties rose to prominence on the back of a virulent hate filled agenda built around anti-brahminism. That Brahmins and sections of, supposedly, other communities (all collectively labeled Forward Community) held most government posts and constituted the most of educated population was pointed to as gross imbalance. Quota based reservation was championed as “positive discrimination” in favor of hitherto backward communities. In 2008 not a single Brahmin student gained admission in the state Medical colleges. Not a single one. DK, a neo-Nazi type organization, crowed that this was victory. Brahmins and by extension fellow Forward Community were often  portrayed as having gained access to portals of education by currying favors with the British and entrenching a system that used merit as fig leaf to cover casteist aspersions. Today Tamil Nadu has 69% reserved seats. Not just in undergrad. It continues to PG, Jobs and promotions too. The only thing left out of quotas is reserving a plot in the cemetery.  

The Sri Lankan situation was the reverse. Native Lankans saw that Tamils had cornered much of the government jobs and far outnumbered Sinhalese students in colleges. So they decided to do their own ‘positive discrimination’. In fact their reservation quota system was more sympathetic towards Tamils than the system in Tamil Nadu is towards to FC’s. Also their reservation system has been revised and in fact discontinued even while the quota in TN continues unabated where we see children of ministers and doctors claims “backwardness” and enjoy the quota. Disenchanted with being denied life blood, access to education and jobs, the youth became restive and seethed with rage. Added to this was the language policy promoting Sinhala the native language spoken by the majority. Tamil chauvinists saw this as an attempt to relegate them to secondary citizen status. Now every state in India is promoting its own language with almost no toleration for others and especially English. 

In a nutshell take the policies championed by Dravidian parties and paint it Sinhala and there you have it. I used to live with Sinhalese when I came to USA. I had no problems, one of them was the finest human being I had seen. During a chance conversation a girl narrated how Tamils used to dominate Sri Lanka and how Sinhalese were marginalized and how certain policies were put in place to address that imbalance. I could close my eyes and imagine a DK/DMK fascist talk about Brahmins. For every time she said "Tamil" I could easily substitute "Brahmin". She claimed that Tamils, under the cloak of meritocracy only gamed the exams and even gave out the question paper in advance. Now, I've heard this accusation verbatim, hurled at Brahmins by a non brahmin.

Throw in a few more crumbs like Indira Gandhi’s desire to thwart American influence to appease her masters in Kremlin. India uncannily sought to fish in that troubled waters. Indira had a fetish to create Frankensteins. Prabakaran and Bindranwale. She and her son paid a very tragic price for those adventures. A Sri Lankan Tamil friend put it succinctly that Prabakaran was indeed seen as a hero initially, especially in the aftermath of the July ’83 pogroms (which itself was a reaction to Prabakaran’s adventurism in killing 13 Sinhala soldiers). The rest is history and I shall not waste my breath or your patience on rehashing the familiar story.

What is the status today of a people that feel vanquished, under threat and practically clueless. Quite often with sickening regularity Eelam sympathizers talk about how Jews got Israel. Ironically many are strong Palestine sympathizers and practically adore Yasser Arafat (another failed leader like Prabakaran). It is sad to see these misguided and ill-informed, but well meaning, sympathizers even go to the extent of adopting what used to be a Jewish slogan “next year in Jerusalem”. Now we hear “next year in Eelam”. Most do not even know the basic history surrounding the creation of Israel and the odds overcome by giants in leadership. Theodore Herzl, David Ben Gurion, Golda Meir, Chaim Weizmann etc are sheer giants in pragmatic leadership. An infant nation smaller than Kerala faced the sea to one side and three countries that were armed to the teeth who vowed to push the Jews into the sea. To think that Israel became a nation courtesy the US and US provided assistance is childish at best. 

First the question of Rajapakse. There is clamor to have him declared as war criminal and haul him off to some prison. In real terms this will not happen. Also, if one looked at it coldly, he just prosecuted a war ruthlessly where neither side was a saint when it came to human rights. Actually the Prabakaran worshippers are the worst in this because they turn a willful blind eye to how Prabakaran held his own people as human shields, recruited child soldiers, tortured would-be deserters, harassed families for donating soldiers etc. 

Throughout history this clamor to label somebody, especially the victor of a difficult war, as war criminal has been persistent. Winston Churchill in a very defiant speech in fact promised that he would mete out to the German more than the equal measure of what they inflicted on Britain. The bombing Dresden is still debated as an act of vengeance by the Allied forces. George Bush was sought to be tried for supposed war crimes by millions across the globe. 

Indicting an elected head of state as war criminal is a very arduous task bordering on impossibility. Also the legal requirements are daunting. To indict Rajapakse as war criminal it has to be proved that he issued orders for ethnic cleansing, that he issued orders for bombing known civilian areas with no provocation. Are his hands clean? Certainly not. In a war where neither side respected norms of Geneva conventions its difficult to just indict one side. Hospitals were indeed bombed but hospitals were used by LTTE as launch sites. 

The other question is about the "genocidal war". While the riots of '83 etc would qualify as pogroms, a riot aimed at an ethnic race the war certainly does not qualify for the tag "genocide". I find it objectionable to bring in comparisons with holocaust where a race that was law abiding and never contemplated violence against the state was murdered by the millions. What happened in Sri Lanka was civil war. An aggrieved ethnic community resorted to armed struggle and lost the day. In a war that was prosecuted with no concern for norms by either side its facetious to label it as genocide. Also its pertinent to note that Obama's administration steadfastly refuse to call the ARmenian massacre a "genocide" just because US does not want to infuriate Turkey a key ally in a troubled region. In a world like this calling the Sri Lankan war a genocide is unnecessary complication.

What is really pernicious is the attempt by the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora and especially Tamil NRI's to engender a state of perpetual hostility while safely tucked in the comforts of well paying jobs. Imagine you are a Sinhala in Lanka and if you see the diaspora push countries to institute trade boycott of Sri Lanka made goods, you would naturally think "well the Tamil brethren are trying to starve my country so why should I spend our taxpayer money to pay for any reparations and why should I reconcile, after all I won the war that I did not start".

Rather than work with Sri Lankan government or NGO's on reparations and rehabilitations that require lot of effort its easier to rouse the rabble in front of embassies. More travel between Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka should be encouraged. Travel by industry people, ordinary folks, cine artists, human rights organizations and the like.

China, in its race for markets and resources, is establishing foothold everywhere across the globe and human rights is not a concern at all. Well after Tianenman square can the CHinese do that? Whether its Sudan or Sri Lanka human rights is simply not a concern. In a geo politically convoluted world this angle cannot be ignored by India. Also let us bear in mind that Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of state, has categorically stated that in dealing with China, USA is not concerned about human rights (imagine the reaction of left wingers if Donald Rumsfeld under Bush had said that).

A parting word for those who still clamor for Eelam. Despite the sub human condition of Afro-Americans never once did Martin Luther King desire to dismember US. Instead he called upon America to live up to its promise.

A big tragedy for Sri Lankan Tamils is the absolute lack of good leadership that is visionary. The blame for that is to be squarely laid at the feet of Prabakaran who methodically eliminated all moderate leadership in cold blood

For those Prabakaran worshippers out there. Sit and ponder why a guy, who controlled practically 2/3rd of Sri Lanka's coast line and had all the land he pretty much wanted, lost it all and died senselessly. THey also have to answer for the numerous transgressions of Prabakaran, murdering leaders of his own people, expelling thousands of Muslims from Jaffna, child soldiers, forced conscriptions, absolute tyranny etc. Prabakaran was another Yasser Arafat, did not know when to take a compromise and build a better future for his people. But then did he ever desire peace and progress for his people?

Bottom line is that Sri Lankan Tamils have to adjust to reality. At best they can hope for a federal structure. Separate homeland is a dangerous utopia. Also its unfair to Sri Lanka to dissect their homeland.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Americanized or just finding harmony.

When I got one too many brickbats for my postings on India I needed a reality check and turned to a friend whose judgment I value. I asked him, "do you think I am unduly harsh?". He said "I don't think so. What you wrote is reality but the only criticism that a reader might say is you are completely Americanized". I am sure he does not hold it against me for that or thinks ill of me for being Americanized. That said I want to look at the question deeper and July 4th is very apt for that.

Am I Americanized? Of course yes but only on the surface. I'd say that I had a core self that was in harmony with western civilization. America, the land I came to inhabit, is just the best of that Western civilization. A teenager who consumed Francis Bacon, Will Durant, Ayn Rand, Arthur Koestler, John Gribbin, English Poetry, Shakespeare, Churchill, Beethoven, Bach and much more. This is not to suggest that I grew up in some cocoon studying in some international school watching English movies or listening to Pop and reading only Wodehouse. Far from it. I've had my share of weekly Tamil movies, Ilayaraja, Sivaji Ganesan, Vikatan, Kumudam, Doordarshan, Oliyum Oliyum etc. I've read my share of Tamil novelists. Jeyakanthan, Balakumaran, Sujatha, Lakshmi, Sandilyan, Kalki, T.Janakiraman, Mu.Va etc.

 How did one influence win over the  other? Simple, politics. At every turn the government and the society at large kept reminding me that I am a, supposed forward community, and I should be punished for my birth. And punish they did. When my brother joined medical college we as family were clear that he would leave the country for postgraduate studies. Those who scream about his subsidised education at taxpayer cost can go fly a kite. An FC student getting a PG admission in choice disciplines was a distant oasis. My case was less clear because, thanks to reservation system, I ended up in Engineering. All that was just one factor. Irrespective of what I read or watched or listened in Tamil a constant thread was that much of it was far inferior to what the west offered. The west, with its penchant for merit and excellence stood in opposition to stifling mediocrity that not only existed around me but was in fact encouraged and extolled as virtue.

For those who would rush to charge that I was not instructed in the glorious history of India I'd say hold on. I used to be obsessed with anything written by Nehru and digested with avarice anything to do with Gandhi or Freedom struggle and India's history. Problem was that the best readable biography, then and now, of Gandhi is by Louis Fisher. The best readable book on India's moment of triumphal freedom was by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre. [Other good books on India's history are all by westerners like Stanley Wolpert]. Bharathi remains dear to heart but reality was different. Jeyakanthan always extolled Russian literature and Western Classical. Khushwant took delight in taking down Indian jingoism. Sujatha always quoted western authors and liberally borrowed from western books for his writings on science. Then there was Tavleen Singh who was a columnist in Indian Express. Tavleen Singh was untiring in tearing down hubris of Indian politicians and Indians in general.

By the time I graduated I knew I had to leave India. That my cousins had mostly left for USA made USA the choice. America with  its H1-B program opened its golden gate.

What do I love most about USA? Why do I love America? Let me phrase this succinctly. In the past 12 years in USA, despite the occasional rise and fall of personal fortunes, I've not seen even ONE aspect of America, excluding Indian food, where I could say wistfully 'this was better in India'. Am I criticizing India because of what I had seen or experienced  in US? Not at all. Every day I used to drive in my scooter in Korattur on a road that was nothing but an obstacle course I would swear 'not for long'. I did not have to come to US to realize what was wrong with India.

There is so much hollowness in the understanding of many Indians in USA about how and why America became what it is. Most have not even bothered to read elementary history of the country they chose to live and raise families. When I hear people say "oh they were advanced technologically, had a subway system in 1901", I feel like yelling in their ears, "Have you wondered WHY?". Has anybody wondered about the beauty of a constitution that placed limits on Congress stifling liberty 300 years ago? Has anybody wondered about people Alexander Hamilton or John Adams or Thomas Jefferson? How many have pondered on the magnificence of the Declaration of Independence? How did Magna Carta become the cornerstone of modern law 700 years ago? Why does America have 7 out of top 10 universities in the world for decades passed? Could just having money make a university become Harvard?

Is America without blemishes?  Of course not. What redeems America is its ability to address its blemishes and constantly reinvent itself. In a zeal to understand the country I sought out and read quite a number of books on American history and every book only made me love the country deeper and better. A biography of Benjamin Fraknlin would leave me stunned at the man's gigantic intellect. Reading many a book on the history behind America's constitution would leave me starry eyed. A biography of Alexander Hamilton and the origins of American capitalism would make me admire how a man of such humble origins could come about to architect the foundations of America's greatest strength. People,people and only people matter. America's biggest gift was its founding fathers. America's good fortune was through out history other leaders renewed their promise.

What can I say in admiration about a country that had founding fathers who thought that a library of all books published should exist just so that its legislators can have recourse to any book to consult for their own benefit and for the benefit of their country when they legislate. The Library of Congress website says "The Library of Congress is the nation's oldest federal cultural institution and serves as the research arm of Congress." What a country. "Research arm of the congress". Just pause and think. Legislators read books and do research for legislating and it was thought that legislators should read books. This in 18th century. Just run your eyes over the web page that gives the history of that library.Does not this country deserve to be a super power?

Pulitzer Prize, Smithsonian museums, NASA, Ivy Leagues, Mac Arthur Genius awards, Scientific American magazine (published for layman for over 100 years), Congressional hearings, Senate confirmations, Presidential debates, checks and balances for power, ability to hold election officials accountable, transparency, basic honesty of general population, Museum of modern art, Rockefeller, Jefferson, Feynman, Washington, Teddy Roosevelt, Lincoln, Johns Hopkins, Harvard, Princeton, Carnegie Music Hall, New York Philharmonic, National Parks, Freedom. There is so much of America that I simply love, adore and respect.

At the height of health care bill negotiations the President called for a bi-partisan summit. For 8 hours both parties and the President debated thread bare a legislation that would touch every living American on live TV broadcast  on all channels. As an American I have differences with the bill but watching my elected representatives discuss in detail a historical bill made me respect the poltical system. The bill went to vote on a momentous day with 100% attendance in the house. The final voting completed past midnight. After a victorious vote that delivered history the President went to address the nation at 12:30 AM. What a country. Legislators wrestling with a bill for 12+ hours, discussing arcane finance implications, analysing budget deficits, worrying about federal debt and finally a President who was watching it all into the wee hours. Karunanidhi and his cabinet spent 8 hours watching vulgar dances.

So to answer the question of whether I am Americanized? Unambiguously, Yes. Did I forsake my soul" Not at all, not in the least. My ideas and principles just found a home. I was primed to be an American. A brief word on Indians who keep prattling about Indian values while enjoying American hospitality. I simply detest such hypocrisy. For all those who keep saying "oh this country is no different", I can only say "if  you think so please hand over your citizenship and go back to your beloved India at least then you would not be betraying both countries, the country of your birth and the country that welcomed you". I did not come to America leaving behind much of what I had to known to live as an Indian. I came here to be an American.

I do not agree with Indians celebrating Indian Independence day as American Citizens. As Americans I've but only flag and America gives me the liberty  to fly it from my rooftop or wear it as T-shirt. I do not think immigration is a right. Every country reserves the right to give it or deny. I am thankful to America for allowing me the privilege to enrich it. My only request to Indians in USA is please do not make a India out of USA like asking to ban stuff you do not like, like not collecting sales tax in stores you run, like honking horns, like spitting betel nut in theaters, like yelling in Hindi/Telugu/Tamil across the hallway in office etc.

Once Ayn Rand was asked why she was more zealous about America she answered "because I chose to be an American". Tomorrow is July 4th. God Bless America.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

India: Criticisms and Solutions

A management cliche is "be part of a solution". It does not help telling a manager what the problem is alone, give a suggested solution alongside. A few well intentioned readers have indeed asked me that regarding my blogs on India. There is another Indian phrase that I mulled in that context. "Constructive criticism". We are often told criticism should be constructive. There is no such thing, its either fair or unfair period. V.S. Naipaul wrote 3 books on India, very searing commentaries that left Indians fuming. Not one page of what he wrote had "Indians can rectify this way or India can try that". It is service enough to show what is failing. The biggest tragedy in India is much of its failures are WILLFUL and CONSCIOUS inflictions. Does not a government servant know that asking for bribes is wrong? Does not a PhD professor know  that bribing a minister for Vice-Chancellorship is wrong? Does not a VC know that telling a CM that his crappy writing is Nobel worthy is sheer sycophancy? Does not a doctor know its wrong to get a cut from a laboratory? Does not a motor cyclist know that he should stop on red signal? Does not a contractor know its wrong to use incorrectly mixed cement? Does not Manmohan Singh know that spending Rs10,000 crores for games is sheer villainy in a country where millions live on less than a dollar a day? Does not MuKa know what a waste his conference? Does not every NRI who emigrated know that so much is wrong with their beloved motherland which is why despite its 'charms' they emigrated so eagerly begging the gods for a US visa (then a green card, then citizenship)?

Then there are certain ills that are the concretely institutionalized. Inability to sue a patently corrupt CM, inability to criticize judges irrespective of how corrupt they are, a system that constantly reminds the ordinary poor citizen that his rulers are a 'privileged' class apart. Ministers can, by law, allot gas stations, get seats in schools, get seats in trains and much more. The Indian state, with assent of courts, can suspend Habeas Corpus, the cornerstone of modern civil law. The Indian state has promulgated the most draconian laws of detention that make Rowlatt act look like child's play (and the US patriot act like a Utopian dream). An Indian Supreme Court judge writes that "Intellectual Property rights" are alien to Indian culture of dispensing knowledge freely (that web page was copyrighted though). Private property is held at the will and pleasure of a state that can snatch it at will (Kerala seized a private Golf course so that not only the rich can play in it, the Supreme court assented).

I can say only one parting suggestion. Indians think that the problems in India are very unique to India and are without precedence. I've almost every problem in USA that in some way can suggest solutions to India. Indians first have to accept that they need to learn and look around.

Many of my blogs, with all humility, do contain very valid insightful observations but I've very little hope of anything being corrected. The comparisons that I incessantly draw upon are themselves prescriptions.
I can go on and on. Will India become Africa? Certainly not. India is not Congo. Will India come close to being a developed country? Certainly not. India is not mature. Will that happen in some distant future, well as Alexander Pope says "hope springs eternal in the human breast". After all in an evolutionary time scale if monkeys can become man why not???