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Response to some questions

Response to a new member's queries (I am withholding his name since he has
not posted his query to india_policy and he is welcome to take ownership
of his mail on indiapolicy, as and when he pleases):

> I just came accross this site while going through a general search for
> India on Yahoo!. I think yours is a great initiative and maybe some
> honest and sincere efforts could make a difference. I would also relish
> to participate in debates with Indians who think differently from me.
> My biggest problem is that I don't have an unhindered access to the
> Internet. That is one of the primary reasons why I won't be able to
> keep up with the debates regularly. My internet access is at the office
> and it is impossible for me to get on the net when there is work. But
> I'm genuinly interested in India's future and would like to contribute
> in efforts to change it for the better.
> My work unfortunately is not very exciting. After having completed a BE
> in Electrical Engineering (1995) from REC Rourkela in Orissa I worked 
> for over 2 years at an Electrical Engineering firm in Calcutta, where 
> I wrote Software amongst other activities. Now I've switched over and 
> am at Calcutta in a Y2K Project which involves very little technical 
> skills.
> I've given you the above info so that you can put my viewpoints in
> perspective and filter out bias, if any.
> I'm not yet quite sure how to participate in the debates. For example,
> I have some points to make regarding the Indian State, religion and 
> politics. Relevant matter can be found in the first section of the
> Preamble and the Para on National Reconciliation in the Manifesto.
> The tone of the paras seem  to be very general and superficial. How
> have you arrived at these conclusions ? Are there going to be no 
> specifics after the generals and if yes, where ? If I want people 
> discuss some specifics what do I do ? What should be the general 
> structure of my writeups in such cases ?
> Please provide me with some more details.
> Looking forward to your mail.

Well, dear friend from Calcutta, first of all, thanks for your compliments
for this initiative and for your interest and your willingness to debate. 

On the nitty-gritty of debate, let me assure you that people have
classified the entire work done so far under a variety of classifications,
including, 'amateurish.' The word 'superficial' is in the same line, and I
have no objections to your perception, since I agree that none but the
creator is perhaps the true professional, and 'deep enough.' 

However, please have a little, teeny weeny patience with some of us poor
folks who have put in the huge numbers of unpaid hours of work to get this
going. We did not intend to create a superficial document; if it did
acquire a superficial look, that must be because some of us think
superficially. That is why we are looking out with open arms for all those
who think deeply. Welcome aboard, O Great and Deep Thinker from Calcutta!!
You are in the company which really 'digs' deepness of thought and you
will find your points rewarded by being recorded on the web page, if they
win in individual battles.

If you go through the rules of debate, at


then you would realize that no one is claiming perfection or 'depth.' The
only thing being done is to request that members make bold and fearless
attacks on **specific** paras and points rather than the entire set of
work, since this work is not one person's work but the joint work of quite
a few people. And no one has ever claimed that they have discovered the
best points or the best way to express these points. So, please get into
the details. The only acceptable method of attack is to offer a better
paragraph and to battle out your view with anyone who differs with your
formulation. If no one disputes your view, then you win (walk-over), and
if you win the debate, then also you win. 

Please see if these rules of debate are OK. If not, please propose
alternative rules and we can change the rules. Everything, everything but
the basic principle of openness to debate, is subject to improvement. When
we are building a new India, we are not finicky about providing protection
to points that cannot stand on their own legs in battle. 

Let only the best survive after the battles, sword-fights, and
'dog-fights' are won. Go for the gold!!