On book dedications

March 6, 2016

Gopalkrishna Gandhi has a nice piece on book dedications.

An analysis of the budget

March 1, 2016

Ashok V Desai on the budget:

To conclude, Jaitley does not address macro issues, which only the budget can deal with. It would be unfair to say that he knows no economics, for we have no evidence of the ignorance, only of disuse. In any case, he has a first-class chief economic adviser, so the knowledge is within his reach; it is his choice not to grasp it. But as I have shown in this column, even when he reaches out to something, his grasp is less than perfect.

How can such a renowned lawyer do so poorly in budget making? There are two possibilities. One is that lawyers are worshippers of ignorance; this is supported by their attacks on the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University. The other is that one can be good at law – and as Jaitley proves, at politics – without knowledge skills. That would be a rather extreme conclusion. I therefore veer towards a third conclusion: Jaitley’s skills are not intellectual but emotional. He is good at making friends, helping people, and trading influence. He has all the skills necessary to make a good politician, except one: in politics, one has also to be good at defeating enemies and manoeuvring with intrigue. He is just the right man for the wrong job.

A nice piece

February 29, 2016

30 Pandara Road: AM on Hiten Bhaya and the gang that used to gather and discuss at 30 Pandara road. Dharma Kumar also appears along with others.

Ram Guha’s Gandhi before India

February 27, 2016

I finally managed to read through Ram Guha’s Gandhi before India. For such a lengthy book, I did not find the interest even slightly waning throughout the read. Strongly recommended.

Weekend of music

February 21, 2016

Attended Sanjay’s concert on Friday at Chembur Fine Arts; loved the Anandabhairavi, Kambhoji and Sindubhairavi especially. Today, from morning 6 am till about 5 pm we listened to Hariprasad Chaurasia, Rashid Khan, Rajam, Jayatheerth Mevundi, Satish Vyas, Ulhas Kashalkar, Devaki Pandit, Dilshad Khan and Gundecha Brothers at Shanmukhananda. Good weekend with plenty of good music. Mevundi’s Lakshmi Baramma and Rajam’s Vaishnava Janato will be remembered for a very long time!

RIP: Eco and Lee

February 20, 2016

Harper Lee passed away; and so also, Umberto Eco. I have to reread To Kill a Mocking Bird and The Name of the Rose. At some point, I should also read Eco’s book on writing thesis.

Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan: RIP

February 18, 2016

Hindu reports on the passing away of Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan; I have heard him once on Doordarshan and enjoyed it too!

To or Not-to: Co-author

February 12, 2016

A very nice piece from Geoffrey Pullum in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Yes, I know that many lab directors in the physical and biological sciences add their name to the byline of every paper, even those to which that have contributed nothing but lab space and a grant number. That doesn’t mean it’s right.

Next time when I am teaching the communication course in our Institute, I will make this piece a must-read for the students.

Two pieces on disagreement and acceptance

January 31, 2016

Here is Mary Beard:

At this point, I’d like to observe just one thing. That it is possible to disagree over all kinds of things (tactics, short term aims etc) without being enemies. That’s life.

And, to push this a little further, maybe we dont want a world in which we all agree on absolutely everything.

Ruchir Joshi in The Telegraph:

In a discussion with friends the other day we mulled over the words ‘tolerance’ and ‘intolerance’ and found them both problematic. I don’t want to tolerate a religion or a social or political view different from mine, nor do I want my views to be tolerated – I want my difference accepted, just as I want to try and accept views different from mine. When you say ‘tolerate’ there is often an unspoken ‘up to a point’ attached, but when you say ‘accept’ the time-frame tends to diminish, to go away, and this is what is required for us to move forward to a more equal and non-violent society.

Criticism from within

January 23, 2016

Thought worth pondering over:

Gandhi held the view that only adherents of a particular faith had the right to criticize its precepts or sanctions. By that token, it was both his “right and duty to point out the defects in Hinduism in order to purify it and to keep it pure. But when non-Hindu critics set about criticizing Hinduism and cataloguing its faults they can only blazon their own ignorance of Hinduism and their incapacity to regard it from the Hindu viewpoint. … Thus my own experience of the non-Hindu critics of Hinduism brings home to me my limitations and teaches me to be wary of launching on a criticism of Islam or Christianity and their founders.”

Critics from within had the capacity and empathy to reform and redeem their faith; critics from without the tendency to mock and caricature the other’s faith. Gandhi thus concluded that it was “only through such a reverential approach to faiths other than mine that I can realize the principle of equality of all religions”.

From Guha’s piece here. There is also this peculiarity that Guha notes, which, again, is worth pondering over:

One of the peculiarities of liberal discourse in India is that while there are many Hindu writers and politicians ready to criticize Hindutva fanatics, Muslim writers and politicians are hesitant to take on the bigots in their own community. It is disappointing to see even professedly modern, cosmopolitan politicians like Salman Khurshid and Omar Abdullah so reluctant to openly confront the likes of the Owaisi brothers and Azam Khan.

Back in 1937, Gandhi suggested that Hindus should stay clear of criticizing Muslim precept and practice, and vice versa. Perhaps in the peculiar conditions of colonial rule one had to be careful, since the British wanted Indians to divide, so that they could rule. But now that we are all citizens of an independent and democratic republic, the same constraints do not apply. To be sure, one need not be unnecessarily provocative. But one must still have the right to offer friendly advice, and even criticism, to fellow Indians, regardless of what religion or community they belong to.


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