Tibetan is the New Jew?

November 14, 2007

Haven’t thought this through, really, but here’s the funda:

For two thousand years, the Jews were refugees from the promised land. They were persecuted all across Europe, repeatedly expelled by various monarchs, segregated, and ultimately faced genocide (through the Russian pogroms or the German Holocaust).

Then they made it to America, where the American Constitution protected them from state persecution, and a capitalist economy helped them become enormously rich and successful.

In the twentieth century, the Tibetans were expelled from their land and became refugees in India. They’ve lived on the margins ever since. Are economic growth and freer markets going to empower them as much as they did the Jews in America?

Pertinently: if it does, could this finance something equivalent to a Zionist movement for Tibetans? (The difficulty being faced here is that America and the Holy Land never shared a border, while India, Tibet and China most definitely do.)

Improvements at the Margin

November 10, 2007

Remember how I had been looking for bins to store my unironed laundry in? I found them!

Laundry Bins!

Much joy. A mess of scattered clothes which was engulfing one side of my hall has now been transferred to the laundry bins. As you can see on close examination, there are separate bins for undergarmaments, socks, and everything else.

This still isn’t perfect. For starters, the ‘everything else’ pile is still too big. This makes searching for specific items of everything else difficult. However, there is an easy solution to this: more bins! Two more bins will allow further segregation into shirts, trousers, and t-shirts. Less mess for just a hundred and sixty rupees.

However, the unorganised laundry was only one mess. There is also this ferocious one still to be dealt with:

Newspapers and Chaos

What you see above is the final frontier: quasi-mattresses (I refuse to call anything without springs a real mattress), newspapers, polythene bags stuffed with assorted papers, flatmate’s suitcase, and flatmate’s travel bag. However, this can also be dealt with – starting with more bins!

Another bin for newspapers will reduce the mess even further, and make it easier for the maid to carry the newspapers out for raddi. The most obvious contributor to clutter will be taken care of. That still leaves me with the following issues to deal with:

  1. Quasi-mattresses. Solution: donate them to maid, who wants them anyway. In case Beta Manav (or anybody else for that matter) visits, bring in a sleeping bag, which takes up less space than these things when it isn’t in use.
  2. Polythene bags filled with documents. Solution: buy display and clip files. File the documents which are needed. Throw away the ones which aren’t.
  3. Flatmate’s travel bag. Solution: throw it away. He doesn’t seem to notice it anyway.
  4. Flatmate’s suitcase. Solution: substitute flatmate’s medicines with arsenic (this was the plot of at least two Agatha Christies), stuff body in the suitcase, and dispose of suitcase and corpse by throwing it into the Indiranagar sewer. This prevents further messes from accumulating as well.

It is through small, continuous improvements, that we better our quality of life.

Divine Endorsement for TASK

November 6, 2007

After support from Shashi Tharoor and Ratan Tata, the Task Force for Annihilation of the Salwar Kameez gets backing from the big guns:

A change in the dress code for women entering Kerala’s famed Sree Krishna Guruvayoor temple has apparently annoyed the deity, according to an astrologer conducting rituals in the temple.

Speaking to IANS, temple manager Vijayan Nambiar said that astrologer Padmanabha Sharma while conducting the ashtamangalaya devaprasanam (astrological consultations) Sunday said that the deity was unhappy over the entry of women in salwar-kameez.

(link, via)

I don’t blame the deity. Any right thinking deity, even a Vaishnavite one, would be unhappy at seeing a salwar kameez. Anyway, this is good news. Our war against the salwar kameez can now be called a religious struggle, and we will become a votebank. Such joy.

Regulation, Zamindari, and the Jagadguru

November 6, 2007

The Jagadguru says:

What I am against is the deregulation of the banking sector. Cutting off or weakening the regulatory arm is not good for the country. Letz have private players, with a strong regulatory body, under the control of a democratically elected government. I think this will ensure the best of both worlds. We will have private players in the industry bringing in the much needed competition (and hence better service) and we will also have strong regulations ensuring that needy people are not sucked out of their blood.

The only way to stop such misuse is by having strong regulations on the market. Only strong regulations can stop ICICI kinda atrocity or zamindari system.

The RBI had come up with a regulation against employing goons or intimidation for collections two years ago. But ICICI kinda atrocity wasn’t stopped. Why is this?

Dumbhead free market fundamentalists will tell you it’s because regulation makes honest people overcautious while not changing the behaviour of rogues. But they are wrong. The true reason the strong regulation failed was because K V Kamath has not let the Jagadguru into his heart. When he surrenders himself to the Jagadguru, ICICI Bank will be transformed, and so will its outsourced collections agencies.

Even strong regulations are useless if we do not surrender ourselves to the Jagadguru.

Upgrade Blues

November 6, 2007

Just a few things related to the upgrade to 2.3.1.

  • I’ve been getting hammered by comment spam for the past couple of months, and MadMan advised me to install Akismet and Bad Behavior. Akismet was already installed, so I installed Bad Behavior.
    Bad Behavior is a WordPress plugin which detects all incoming comments and tracbacks, and checks them against a blacklist of spammers. If there’s a blacklist match, it just serves up a 403 page to the spambot. Enthused, I set it to strict mode.
    Unfortunately, all IP addresses assigned by Reliance Infocom (including mine) are on a spam blacklist. As a result, I couldn’t write comments. Or create new posts. What makes it really fun is that Bad Behavior doesn’t allow blacklisted IPs to do anything that requires submitting a form – including turning strict mode off. So I was locked out of my own blog until Madhu kindly logged in for me and turned strict mode off.
  • The blogroll in the left sidebar has the white background only in the lower half. I will have to fix this by editing the .gif background file. This will require much careful fiddling about in Paint.
  • The blogroll also no longer contains the link category headings (though links are still sorted by category). I’ll probably be able to restore the headings by mucking about a little with the PHP. This needs to be done at leisure, with enough time to debug, so it may not happen for a while. Bear with me until then.
  • The ‘Email Aadisht’ page had stopped working because I accidentally deleted my contact form plugin. It’s working again now.
  • The del.icio.us links widget will be back again soon. Soon = tonight if I get home early enough and fresh enough. Otherwise, by Thursday.
  • Tags!
  • The new theme lets you hide the widgets by clicking on the green circle. This is stupendous.


November 4, 2007

BESCOM is doing some sort of maintenance, and so there isn’t any power at my place until nine or ten o’ clock. Since I have to get a lot of questions for next month’s KQA Ranking open ready, I’ve brought my laptop and datacard to the CMH Road Cafe Coffee Day, and I’m blogging from a cafe for the first time in my life.

Much as I love my Dell laptop, I have to admit that in situations like this, you really wish you had a MacBook. Sitting in a cafe and blogging is pseud, but doing it from a MacBook is the sort of overwhelming pseud-put that is very hard to achieve.

Now, back to making questions.


November 3, 2007

In the process of installing WordPress 2.3.1, I inadvertently deleted my theme. While this has the beneficial effect of making the website less orange, it also has knocked out my three column, multi-widget layout. This will be restored in a less orange form shortly. In the meantime, we apologise for all the inconvenience.

More on Property Rights

November 2, 2007

Mint has an interview of Hernando de Soto today, where he talks about how clear property titles empower the poor, and what India needs to do about this.

Hernando de Soto is a Peruvian economist. His major insight was that poor people may own or occupy land and houses, but the legal status of this property usually isn’t clear. So, even if they aren’t actually occupying anyone else’s property, they can’t reap the full legal benefits of this.

The legal benefits of this include:

  1. Being able to establish a proof of residence (important whenever you need to get something that requires a billing address- phones, bank accounts, credit cards, and so on)
  2. Reducing the risk of living in a neighbourhood classified as a ‘negative area’ by a bank, and so losing out on access to credit – this is a huge problem in India.
  3. Being able to borrow against your property, which provides capital to start a business, meet unexpected expenses, and so on.

He has written a book called The Mystery of Capital in which this is explained in detail. Unfortunately it is also explained very badly, and the book is very complex and difficult to get through. Tragically, the Mint interview is the same, and his answers are very long and complicated, though still very insightful if you can penetrate them.

However, the last paragraph has this great quote:

But if you are able to document your extra-legal sector, document its entrepreneurality, and show how that could be many times better if it takes place within the rule of law, it has got to motivate politicians. You have got to say, if you do this, it will increase your votership by 20-30%. Then you will win. That’s the way politicians think.

Related post: this one, with a link to Gautam Chikermane in the Indian Express talking about de Soto and property titles.

Hacking the Media

November 2, 2007

CNN-IBN wants to interview me today for tips on cracking the CAT. If they do a live telecast instead of a pre-recorded one, the temptation to scream ‘Prakash Karat is a traitorous bastard!’ will be overwhelming.

Update: It was prerecorded. So I generally told CAT aspirants that there was no point mugging anything new two days before the test, and that they should go out for coffee or icecream. If only they had been running a story on what CAT prep over a year should be like, I could have furthered the free market fundamentalist agenda by telling everyone that the best way to prepare for the reading comprehension section is to regularly read Ajay Shah, Niranjan Rajadhyaksha, and the Indian Economy Blog.

Punjab is Oppressed Yet Again

November 2, 2007

I saw the first half of Jab We Met yesterday with my office team before leaving for the Landmark Quiz.

It is disgusting. All the characters pronounce ਬਠਿਂਡਾ (BaTthinDda) as ਭਟਿਂਡਾ (BbhaTtinda).

Such affronts to the great Punjabi nation cannot be tolerated. This is a systematic conspiracy by the Gujews who run Shree  Ashtavinayak Cine Vision to denigrate our language and reduce our glorious culture to a mere caricature. I call upon the Lashkar-e-Khalsa and the Jaish-e-Jatt to ransack all  theatres showing this horrible movie.