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Showing posts from May, 2009

The Tyranny of Tradition

I am amazed at the amount of hold that 'tradition' has on people's mindsets and behavior.
Consider the case of rituals associated with Hindu marriages . . .
These archaic and moribund activities that go on for many days originated perhaps more than a hundred years ago . . . now, we need to pause and reflect about the quality of the people and the quality of life of the people who lived in those times . . .
It would be helpful if you travel to the villages of India today . . . in the 21st century . . . and then try and extrapolate how life must have been like in those villages a hundred years ago and more . . .
I am sure it would be unbearable for us to live in those villages in those distant days filled with ignorance and poverty and generally backward conditions.
And yet, when it comes to rituals that go on even today, people are uncritical followers of traditions created by these same folks who probably — indeed, not probably, but did think — thought that rainfall was caused …

Berlusconi Defeats Sarkozy

The recent revelations and controversy surrounding Mr. Berlusconi's exploits involving young females certainly proves that the Italian PM can defeat the French Prez. and do so convincingly.
The media frenzy surrounding Sarkozy's wedding to Carla Bruni must have a rather frustrating experience for the billionaire PM and media tycoon. After all, what has Sarkozy got that Berlusconi doesn't have? The French President might retire to a modest home somewhere in France while the Italian PM can afford to retire to the fanciest villa/chateau anywhere in Europe — or, indeed, he can buy the most fabulous place to stay in the South of France which would be beyond the modest incomes of Sarkozy.
So, the PM decided to out-do the Prez. at his own game — if the Prez. could boast of a famous model as his wife, the PM could persuade a bevy of models to be his guests . . .
I wonder when Indian politicians will be able to compete with global politicians on this particular index . . . not that In…

An Apparent Disconnect

Americans seem to have a confused attitude towards extramarital relationships — at least, with respect to their public figures indulging in them ...
John Edwards suddently found that the ground beneath him had disappeared when his one time relationship with a woman came to light ...
Similarly, Eliot_Spitzer had to resign from the post of Governor of New York state when his liasions with call girls became public knowledge.
In Bill Clinton's case, his fling with Monica Lewinsky almost brough down his presidency.
In the case of John F. Kennedy, some of his adventures are coming to light now — more than 40 years after his death. A former White House intern is going to publish a book about her relation with the then president.
In spite of JFK's well-documented relations with many women, his stock continues to remain high in the public's opinion.
Is there a contradiction here?
Perhaps, the public is willing to condone personal mistakes in public figures as long as they don't lie.
Bi…

The God Delusion

Time to ride my hobby horse ...
Nothing perplexes me more than people's extraordinary level of faith in the almighty ... or, should that be Almighty?
I always wonder what are people's motivations for holding on to such an archaic structure ...
Anybody with a modicum of common sense and a rudimentary knowledge about the history of the world would appreciate that all of these major world religions were 'invented' about 2,000 years ago ... Christianity and Islam were founded by prophets belonging to small settlements or kingdoms in what is now known as the Middle East while Hinduism and Buddhism were started in the region that was home to what is broadly known as the Indus Valley civilization ...
Why were no religions invented elsewhere? Well, the answer to that is simple — couple of millenia ago, planet Earth wasn't home to 6 billion humans ... or a billion humans. The Americas were probably entirely dominated by wildlife ...
Some might ponder as to why it is that all the…

Second Chance for Manmohan Singh

People of India have decided to go with the status quo by opting for another five years of Congress rule — not that they had any alternatives that are much better.
As noted in the last blog post, India is a conundrum ...
People in the United States whose jobs have been Bangalored certainly love to hate India ...
People in India meanwhile love to admire America ...
I am confused about Indians admiring America though ...
I am confused about this whole business of India being a 'young' country ...
From what I have observed about young Indians, they seem a strange blend of tradition and modernity ...
Youngsters don't see any dichotomy in aspiring to all the trappings of material success and yet at the same time they don't mind keeping alive their moribund traditions and rituals ...
When it's time for some critical decisions in life — such as marriage — young Indians demonstrate a remarkable resemblance in their mindsets with their ancestors.
I find it odd that educated Indians …

Welcome

India is a strange place.
Population of a billion plus and still growing . . .
A nation of overwhelmingly young people with a leadership that is mostly 70 plus . . .
It does not seem out of place at traffic stops in India to find Mercedes cars with kids knocking on its window — begging, of course . . .
The young generation of Indians meanwhile seem a strange combination of old ways of thinking and new aspirations . . .