Jul 242011
 

Strange sort of a Sunday. A domesticated sort of a Sunday. Can almost hear myself go Moo.

I cooked – Pasta with tomato and veggie sauce. Something deeply therapeutic about assembling a dish from fresh ingredients rather than opening a bottle of pasta sauce and pretending to cook.

Chopping onions, pureeing tomato, mincing garlic, slicing carrots, dicing capsicum, nuking corn ….So much better than beating up people :D . I wonder if this is why women are so much calmer than men. The inner desire to commit homicide is sublimated through violence against vegetables (or meat).

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I read quite a bit – lots of articles. and the next chapter in “Poor Economics”

Some good reads today:

The Murder of Linguistic History -in the Express Tribune by Dr Tariq Rahman. Fascinating insights into Hindi and Urdu. here the author talks about the various names of Hindi :…

…..it emerges that the ancestor of Urdu and Hindi was called by the following names: Hindi, Hindvi (13th-19th century); Dehlavi (13th-14th c.); Gujri (15th c.); Dakhani (15th-18th c.); Indostan (17th c.); Moors (18th c.); Rekhta (18th-19th c.); Hindustani (18th-20th c.).

and,

“Nowadays we use the term ‘Urdu’ for Persianised Khari Boli written in the Perso-Arabic script and Hindi for Sanskritised Khari Boli written in the Devanagari script. “

both languages are equally alien to me – my mother tongue is Tamil, I have been brought up in Maharashta, and schooled in English. I can understand the simpler forms of other Indian languages – including Gujarati or Bangla – even able to follow films with out sub titles. but, flounder at the more purist form of Language

I completely understand the Hindi of the older Hindi films – Hindustani. But give me a series like Chanakya – which uses heavily Sanskritised Hindi, or a film like Taj Mahal – which is highly Persianised urdu and my eyes glaze over. I know the essence of what is being spoken, but not what is spoken in its entirety . Mostly its a guessing game – fuzzy interpretation of language.

There was a piece in Boston.com on how the Mumbai suburban train system is adopting small steps to reduce death on the tracks. (LT- @pragmatic_d)

On average, 10 people die daily by being hit as they’re crossing the tracks. Track trespassing is the largest everyday cause of unnatural deaths in Mumbai.
For just over a year, however, an experiment at Wadala station, on the Central Line, has been hinting at unorthodox solutions to this problem. On the surface, the experiment involves small, odd changes. Certain railway ties have been painted bright yellow; a new kind of signboard has been installed near the tracks; engine drivers have modified the way they hoot their warning whistles.

A manifesto for a Muslim-free Europe, an Infidel-free Middle East – by Imran Khan in the Al Jazeera Blogs – makes for a chilling read. The author compares two hate manifestos – both available freely.

The challenge for us who believe that violence – religious or otherwise – can never be justified, is how we stop lone figures and small cells from attacking us without destroying the very freedoms we care for.

Should these documents be somehow wiped from the web, or should they be allowed to exist? Not easy questions.

Do our governments have a solution?

And while we are on the subject, should I even be writing about the documents?

Yes, is answer to that one. As I said earlier, free speech is an absolute. And so is social cohesion. Which is just ‘political speak’ for “Why can’t we all just get along? Evil will always exist in the world, but we are not born that way.”

Incidentally, Al Jazeera blogs has some of the best writing on the web – you may not agree with everything. But, it is kind of boring to only read things that you agree with

Predictably articles from across the globe were focused on the massacre in Norway. Among the more interesting columns were

Obviously more in the next few days …

The BBC website had a fairly interesting piece on famous musicians who died at the age of 27. This was obviously in response to Amy Winehouse’ accidental death yesterday.

There was a fabulous piece on Transmedia in the MIPBLOG

There were some great columns on Murdoch – Press Ownership and Press Regulation – this and this in the Economist, and this by Christopher Hitchens in the Slate and this by Carl Bernstein in the Newsweek where he asks if phone hacking is Murdoch’s Watergate

No. before you ask – I didn’t read too many Indian papers today – I need a break from the combative style of communication. I don’t live in a war zone where everything is screwed up, and I don’t like being made to feel that way. Tomorrow – well tomorrow is another day :D

And, of course on the 20th anniversary of Economic Liberalisation, I read the speech of the then FM – and the current PM Dr.Manmohan Singh. do read – it is brilliant.

barriers to entry and limits on growth in the size of firms, have often led to a proliferation of licensing and an increase in the degree of monopoly. This has put shackles on segments of Indian industry and made them serve the interests of producers but not pay adequate attention to the interests of consumers. (pg. 3)

it has therefore become necessary to take effective measures so as to make the public sector an engine of growth rather than an absorber of national savings without adequate return. (pg. 4)

India stands at the cross-roads. The decisions we take and do not take, at this juncture, will determine the shape of things to come for quite some time. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that an intense debate rages throughout the country as to the path we should adopt. In a democratic society it could not be otherwise. What can we learn from this debate? The most important thing that comes out clearly is that we cannot realise our goal of establishing a just society, if we abandon the planning process. But India’s future development depends crucially on how well the planning process is adapted to the needs of a fast changing situation. I believe that without an intelligent and systematic coordinated resource use in some major sectors of our economy, development will be lopsided. It will violate deeply cherished values of equity and it will keep India well below its social, intellectual and moral potential. But our planning processes must be sensitive to the needs of a dynamic economy. Over centralisation and excessive bureaucratisation of economic processes have proved to be counter productive. We need to expand the scope and the area for the operation of market forces. A reformed price system can be a superior instrument of resource allocation than quantitative controls. But markets can only serve those who are part of the market system. A vast number of people in our country live on the edges of a subsistence economy. We need credible programmes of direct government intervention focussing on the needs of these people. We have the responsibility to provide them with quality social services such as education, health, safe drinking water and roads. (pg.7)

we must restore to the creation of wealth its proper place in the development process. For, without it, we cannot remove the stigma of
abject poverty, ignorance and disease. But we cannot accept social misery and inequity as unavoidable in the process of creation of wealth. The basic challenge of our times is to ensure that wealth creation is not only tempered by equity and justice but is harnessed to the goal of removal of poverty and development for all. (pg.8)

my purpose is not to give a fillip to mindless and heartless consumerism we have borrowed from the affluent societies of the West. My objection to the consumerist phenomenon is two-fold. First, we cannot afford it. In a society where we lack drinking water, education, health, shelter and other basic necessities, it would be tragic if our productive resources were to be devoted largely to the satisfaction of the needs of a small minority. The
country’s needs for water, for drinking and for irrigation, rural roads, good urban infrastructure, and massive investments in primary education and basic health services for the poor are so great as to effectively preclude encouragement to consumerist behaviour imitative of advanced industrial societies. Our approach to development has to combine efficiency with austerity. Austerity not in the sense of negation of life or a dry, arid creed that casts a baleful eye on joy and laughter. To my mind, austerity is a way of holding our society together in pursuit of the noble goal of banishing poverty, hunger and disease from this ancient land of ours.(pg.8)

Do Read – 31 pages of the most significant course correction in Modern Indian history. And, a lot that is said here is still valid today.

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No. I didn’t shoot anything worthwhile today. Tried to shoot droplets of oil  floating on water but was too afraid of the lens getting steamed up.

But I heard some great music. The fabulous Kaushiki Chakraborty singing a thumri in raga Mishra Chraukesi