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Back in action!
I am back in action! In the past three days, not only was I trying to
catch up with my dissertation but also moving house, and you might know,
if you have a family with two people doing a Ph.D., a third in the sixth
grade and a little toddler, that the task of moving house is actually
quite a challenge. Well, I'm glad to report that the mission has been
accomplished. The challenge was faced head on and met, successfully, as
Well, I'm glad to be back. I hate being away from this list for too long.
Looks like no one had any comments on the questions I had raised. That is
very re-assuring. That implies that everyone agrees with everyone else.
Looks like we are on track! Everyone believes this is the right thing to
do and that we have no choice but to do it.
Just a thought: We will never reach perfection in this task. However,
even if we approache perfection asymptotically, our job will be done.
Many of us are trying to put our limited experience, limited knowledge and
limited ability, into this exercise. If we ALL do that, using our own
special talents, we can move this discussion much further and much faster.
On the other hand, if we let the Great Indian Inertia (The GII syndrome,
in the medical lexicon) take over us, we can keep waiting for Godot, for a
future that will never come.
Prem had an excellent set of points on law and order. Great job! Will get
to that in due course.
In the meanwhile I had two things to add to earlier debates, merely to
re-inforce some of my earlier points and to suggest an addition to the
1. Why we need to distrust the US, or any other, leadership:
It is often thought that the US President - the most powerful man on earth
- is a very careful and benevolent statesman, who can be trusted with the
While this may be true in a vast majority of the cases, let us not forget
the actions and inner thinking of some of these "statesmen." To
a) Mr Truman:
There is a huge and serious analysis which shows that there was absolutely
no necessity to drop nuclear weapons on innocent people in 1945.
Mussolini was captured and executed on the 28th of April, 1945.
Hitler committed suicide on the 30th of April, 1945.
Germany unconditionally surrendered on the 7th of May, 1945 and the war in
Europe was over.
The Allies had all the time and resources, now, to focus on Japan, whose
"radius" was shrinking day by day. Japan was going to surrender anyway,
within months, at the most.
And yet on the 6th and 8th of August, being of highly impatient nature,
and given to great dissimulation in the use of words, the US President
(madman? of course not: US Presidents are not considered to be madmen,
only non-US leaders!), ordered the dropping of not one, but two high
powered atomic bombs on Japan.
Remember: "President Truman told his diary that he had ordered the bomb
dropped on a "purely military" target, so that "military objectives and
soldiers and sailors are the target and not women and children."
What actually happened was a complete violation of International Law which
distinguishes between civilians and combatants. We all know what was the
true intention of the bomb: to speed up the end of the war. To save a few
American soldiers' lives. The lives of the "enemy" nations' women,
children, and civilians, were expendable and will perhaps always remain
expendable, in all battles.
Remember also that this was the same USA that had shied clear of doing
anything about the massacre of five million Jews. So it is not merely
Japanese lives that were insignificant to this nation, but also almost any
other lives. In a way this is perhaps justified. Each nation has to
protect its "own" first. One American saved is worth a thousand Japanese
or other, lives expended!
Without denying that the US, and Truman, himself, did a great good for the
world during the WW II, there should be no doubt in one's mind that the
leadership anywhere, even in the most democratic nation, can never be
perfect, from a historical perspective, or from the perspective of an
"enemy." Once a nuclear "button" is placed in anyone's hands, that person
can never be fully trusted to use it with caution.
b) How about Mr. Nixon? Remember his sayings:
"I want the Brookings Institute safe cleaned out and have it cleaned in a
way that it makes somebody else [responsible?]"
"We're up against an enemy, a conspiracy. They're using any means. We are
going to use **any** means. Is that clear?"
This person had a serious absence of ethics. How could the world
safely trust him with the nuclear button?
The lesson: The US system cannot guarantee a great leader for all times
and cannot guarantee protection to the world forever.
Corollary: We need to keep our own defence as strong as possible. Till the
US and other nations maintain thousands of nuclear weapons, we must keep
our own. This is already in our Manifesto. This simply reinforces the
point, I hope.
2. India and foreign capital:
I was only very casually following the Tata-SIA story earlier, so I
thought I'd research some of the views of our top leaders on this
intersting case study:
"The initial opposition came from the erstwhile Civil Aviation Minister,
Mr. Ghulam Nabi Azad, who refused permission on the ground that aviation
infrastructure in India was not ready for such a venture. The Minister
argued that first the existing players would be allowed to grow and
establish themselves before allowing more players into the market."
2. June, 1996:
Mumbai, June 26: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) general secretary Pramod
Mahajan, ... told reporters that the proposal to allow 40 per cent foreign
equity participation irrespective of the source of equity and permitting
domestic airlines to fly international routes would spell the `death
knell' for national carriers Air India and Indian Airlines.
"I, as an Indian, should not allow foreign airlines in our domestic skies,
Tourism Minister C.M. Ibrahim has said."
'Civil Aviation Chand Mahal Ibrahim said in November, "I have to improve
the existing infrastructural facilities before I can permit the
Tata-Singapore Airlines project to go into operation"'
4. Jan 1998:
"The caretaker United Front government will seek legal opinion on whether
it can clear the Rs 1,475-crore (Rs 100 crore = Rs 1 billion) Tata
proposal to start a domestic airline, provided it is in conformity with
rules, said minister of state for civil aviation Jayanthi Natarajan
You can draw your own conclusions from these statements. What is the true
reason for our fear of this tiny, resplendent ant called Singapore? I'm
not quite sure.
The amazing thing is that our Ministers all love these junkets when they
spend huge amounts of our tax-payers' money to go to these countries and
hold these great melas in which they make big claims about India welcoming
"Come hither," they coyly look the foreigner in the eye!
Once a reluctant foreigner is found, willing to come to our dreary shores,
where Ravens alight at midnight, and where even Angels fear to tread,
then, of course our leaders begin to do what they are best equipped to do:
practice "liberalized torture," and the dance of Indian "I love you, I
love you not" on their reluctant solicitor!
Never was a nation so confused about foreign capital or so scared of an
ant! The British "conquest" of India has actually had a severe
psychological impact on us!
Anyway, back to business: What I propose for the manifesto is the
following (subject to correction by Charu - and others):
Foreign capital is good because it brings resources, technology, and
competition: each of these components is individually, good for the
economy. In addition, it helps keep our own best brains within the nation
as well as expose them to the working conditions in the best companies
abroad. Therefore it promotes the development of management techniques
best suited to Indian situations.
There exists a remote, very small, probability of foreign capital "taking
over India," something that can only happen if abetted by local traitors.
However, to keep a lid on the possibility of such political interests
influencing India's policies, a limit will be imposed in percent terms,
over the course of a decade, in the amount of capital any particular
country can invest. In other words, the USA or Singapore or Ethiopia can
each invest, but their investments should not amount to more than, say,
20% of total investments into India over any single decade.
Please vet. This is now in purple on the Manifesto's web page.