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Assorted links January 28, 2007

Posted by Sharath Rao in assorted, movies, politics, rant.
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Quick links :

1. Having been a regular donor at AID/ASHA, this is worrying.

Thats the communist manifesto from Mr. Pandey.

In the name of infrastructure development more highways are being built so that automobile and petroleum companies can profit out of them. Do the benefits percolate down? Maybe not. These roads can’t be used by more than the 5 per cent of the population who travel in four-wheelers. Instead of strengthening the public transportation system, the thrust is on increasing private vehicles. Quality education and healthcare services are only available to those who can afford them. The rules of the game favour the rich and privileged and goes against the poor.What is most threatening about this kind of development is that it is not our governments and people’s representatives who are taking decisions regarding our lives. We are being dictated to by the international monetary agencies, multinational corporations and sometimes directly by the US. This implies that we remain a democracy only in name.The parliamentary process of decision-making has been sabotaged by vested economic interests.

2. World Leaders in their younger days. From Marginal revolution.

3. Nayyar is gone, the last man standing from the greats of yesteryear Hindi cinema.

4. After it all, Shilpa wins. Congratulations to her and she deserves it. Although I cant bear to read countless interviews, reports for a while to come. So I shouldn’t. Well, the British Public voted her to victory isn’t it. So what now of all the allegations against “racist Britain” – a country of 60 million racist people isn’t it ! Duh.

5. In some societies, primarily the eastern and middle-eastern, if you are in bad shape, its always someone else (that is held) responsible. Its never because of your own lack of qualification, incompetence or lack of initiative – its always the other person, or the weather, or bad luck. Why talk of political accountability when there is no individual accountability. Read this for just another example of the same.

The Sachar Committee says the total area under wakf properties in India is about six lakh acres and its book value is Rs 6,000 crore. However, the market value of these lands is much higher. For example, the current value of wakf properties in Delhi alone is estimated to be in excess of Rs 6000 crore and that of wakf properties in the country could be a staggering Rs 1,20,000 crore. If properly managed, these properties could give an annual return of anywhere between Rs 12,000 and Rs 24,000 crore (approximately $2.5 to five billion). This is more than enough to meet the basic health and educational needs of poor Muslims but wakf properties are mismanaged and, therefore, do not give this kind of return. But the Sachar Committee does not see this as the failure of the Muslim community to prudently manage its internal affairs. The committee thinks that “blaming others” is part of its terms of reference and so blames the Union Government, the State Governments, local bodies and every body else including the Department of Archaeology.

Ofcourse, one good thing about this “other guy is responsible” attitude is that average depression rates are probably lower in countries in the east compared to the west. An almost essential component of getting depressed is the feeling of being hurt ego, of having played a part in one’s own downfall.

6. In times of war, one doesn’t expect moral conduct from the adversary inspite of the Geneva convention and such. I remember being shocked several years ago when I heard that rapes are widely seen ( and accepted ) as the collateral damage of war. [ How many soldiers have you heard court-marshaled for committed these crimes in the times of war ? ]. But Bryan has an interesting argument for treating the other side especially the soldiers well :

There is however a reason for treating prisoners well that should appeal to any rational tribalist. Even if you only care about the lives of the people on your side, there is a good reason to treat prisoners well. Namely: Treating prisoners well encourages enemy soldiers to surrender, and treating prisoners badly encourages enemy soldiers to fight to the death.

..which in turn will hopefully bring the war to an quicker end. I don’t know about the counter-arguments to this, but I thought it was interesting anyway.

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