Writes on Politics, Religion, Classics, Economics, and Intellectual History
Oct 8, 2018 • 24 tweets • 5 min read
When one reads the arguments of atheists in our times, it invariably centers around the question -
"Does God exist"?
To me it is the wrong question.
A more fundamental question is -
Can man discriminate between right and wrong all by himself? Can he govern himself?
Oct 8, 2018 • 9 tweets • 2 min read
One of the shifts in Hindu opinion that I see over the past 10 years or so (particularly in the Modi era) is the reduced interest in "Uniform Civil Code".
When I was growing up as a kid in the 90s, a prime talking point on the RIght was - Uniform Civil Code, and also Article 377
In the Modi era, that has changed. I am talking of general RW opinion as I gauge it from social media. And I am not saying this change is caused by RW leadership.
Oct 8, 2018 • 4 tweets • 1 min read
Interesting that Hollywood remakes "A Star is Born" every few decades - '37, '54, '76, and now
Suggests that notwithstanding all the rhetoric on gender neutrality, the dilemmas posed by fluid gender roles, male unease with female careerism, etc remain themes that don't get dated
For Indians it is worth noting that the film was also made in Bollywood starring Amitabh Bachchan (titled "Abhimaan" in 1973)
Oct 7, 2018 • 18 tweets • 3 min read
Just got hold of this remarkable book by the American anthropologist Milton Singer.
Title : "When a Great Tradition modernizes" - An Anthropological approach to Indian civilization
The book is in the MN Srinivas mould, and examines the interaction between tradition and modernity in India soon after independence in the 50s/60s.
The focus is primarily on the changing character of brahminical HInduism in Madras city - his case study for the book
Oct 6, 2018 • 20 tweets • 3 min read
One of the distinguishing features of the Supreme Court of United States is that there are no term limits. And the judges are appointed to serve for life
A sharp contrast to the Indian Supreme court where judges retire at 65.
Now there is clamour for term limits in US and also India.
But this would be a very bad idea. Why?
Oct 6, 2018 • 9 tweets • 2 min read
Kuldeep Yadav is that rarity
A Left arm wrist spinner.
He has just started his career well - with 4 tests averaging 23 so far.
But the history of left-arm wrist spin is so bare and slim that he has a good chance to become the greatest Left-arm wrist spinner of all time!
A left arm wrist spinner is ofcourse one who bowls leg spin left arm as well as a googly. He typically brings the ball into the right hander and away from the left hander
Seems straightforward enough. But it is a bit hard to explain why there have been so few of them in history
Oct 6, 2018 • 29 tweets • 5 min read
One of the riddles in political discourse is to define the "C" word
What exactly is Conservatism?
For Liberalism it is possible to chart out a messy history, starting with Magna Carta and ending with Me-Too movement,
Conservatism doesn't lend itself to narratives
It doesn't even lend itself to a straightforward definition
A very simplistic way of defining a political conservative is to suggest that Conservatives are the ones who "resist" change. That's the definition that "liberals" like to foist upon conservatives
Oct 5, 2018 • 11 tweets • 2 min read
I was not very familiar with Federalist society until recently
An organization that has played a central role in promoting the idea of Originalism, fighting liberal notions of "living constitution" and inspiring a generation of conservative judges on US Supreme court
Here's an interesting talk organized by the Society back in the 80s featuring one of its stalwarts Robert Bork
One puzzling aspect of India is the sharply contrasting attitude of Indians towards its Muslim rulers vs British Raj
Every Indian schoolkid has heard of Sher Shah Suri who ruled from 1538 to 1545. But how many kids are familiar with Lord Ripon - Viceroy from 1880 to 84?
Most kids know the Mughal line of succession (atleast for the Great Mughals) -
But do we know the list of Viceroys from Canning to Mountbatten?
Why is that considered less important or relevant?
Oct 3, 2018 • 8 tweets • 2 min read
Mahatma Gandhi's single greatest contribution to India for better or worse, was his pan-Indian mobilization of the masses in the freedom struggle.
A problematic legacy of his
Mass mobilization almost inexorably led to -
The legitimization of populism and hartal culture
A fillip to the growth of Muslim nationalism and a hastening of the country's inevitable division
Precipitated a premature disengagement by the British that had consequences
Sep 30, 2018 • 96 tweets • 17 min read
The Rupee reached an all time low against US Dollar in Sep 2018 hitting close to 73 units to a dollar
But this fall in the rupee has coincided with one of the strongest phases of the Indian economy ever
An economy growing at a faster clip than it ever has in the past 4000 years
For those who are naive about the role of currency and monetary standards this may have seemed perplexing.
How can the economy be doing so well at a time when the country’s monetary unit is at its weakest.
Sep 26, 2018 • 12 tweets • 3 min read
To my mind both Dhume's piece and the reactions to it are a tad silly.
Dhume's case seems to be - Learn English as it saves you from "HIndi imperialism"
"The corpus of plays discovered in Trivandrum in the early 1900s and ascribed to Bhasa, which have been fantastically dated as early as the 4th cen BC, have been shown in a recent careful assessment to derive most probably from Pallava court of the mid-7th cen"
Sep 24, 2018 • 4 tweets • 1 min read
I feel very embarrassed for not knowing much about Kumara Kampanna, Gopanarya and Ganga devi until very recently.
The conquest of Madurai by Vijayanagar deserves to be rendered on film
These are among the most important figures in Hindu history
What's worth emphasizing is that Vijayanagara conquest of the Sultanate helped restore worship in two of the greatest temples of modern India - Madurai and Srirangam
Imagine a scenario where the two temples (much smaller in extent back then) had become defunct in 14th cen
Sep 21, 2018 • 6 tweets • 1 min read
Can too much education be a liability?
Wisdom from Peter Thiel commenting on the "hard left" tendencies in the Silicon Valley -
"Silicon valley is probably the most educated part of the country. One of the downsides of too much education is that you get the most brainwashed"
This quote really struck me.
And it made me wonder -
Should we not regard religion / faith / tradition as antidotes against the ill-effects of education?
Education can make man conceited, and trust his own discretion in domains outside his narrow expertise
""And then there is the question of welfare. In a democracy like India’s, where the poor come out to vote in large numbers, no administration can afford to ignore the concerns that fuel populist impulses."
Sep 20, 2018 • 8 tweets • 2 min read
On this chart -
A lot of the decline in "extreme poverty" is merely driven by sharp declines in fertility rates among the destitute
That's not an "achievement"
It reminds one of Jonathan Swift and his "Modest Proposal"