Archive for May, 2008|Monthly archive page

A Note On Religion

In The Bad on May 22, 2008 at 1:27 am

Amit Varma over at India Uncut quotes an essay on religion.  It seems appropriate to say that it’s equally true if you replace Jesus with any other god, godling or prophet.

Why Hinduism and Islam Produce Terrorists

In The Ugly on May 17, 2008 at 2:53 am

Of the major religions in the world the followers of Islam and Hinduism produce the greatest number of terrorists.  This cannot be denied even by the apologists for these religions who, of course, consider Hinduism and Islam to be religions of peace.

What separates the Christians? They too produced a great amount of religious bloodshed in the dark ages.  Why are they silent now? Why do they not start religious wars? Why don’t they walk around starting riots or planting bombs in crowded areas to kill infidels?

The answer lies somewhere in the fact that the Christians have come to accept that religious texts should be taken metaphorically and not literally.  Even the Vatican Astronomer admits so much.  Hinduism and Islam will continue to produce terrorists till such time as their followers do not learn this lesson.

(For the record: I am an athiest – not a follower of any religion.)

China Supresses Lawyers

In The Bad on May 13, 2008 at 2:40 am

In most countries, it is acceptable for lawyers to defend the unpopular, even those held to be traitors.  Some lawyers even make a career out of it.

Evidently, it is not so in China.  Over there, defending an unpopular cause gets you in trouble.

Murder By Majority

In The Ugly on May 13, 2008 at 2:05 am

I have previously written than the wishes and perception of a majority of people does not mean that they should prevail.

Confirmation of this came only a few days later in the form of a gruesome “honour” killing.

Sunita’s uncle declares:

”Police and the government is with the society. The whole village is with (the killers).”

The will of the majority is clear so should the killers go free? What if the entire country, the entire world agreed with Sunita’s uncle? Should the killers still be punished?

It is not difficult to imagine that people who are not driven by clannish loyalties would answer that the killers should be punished.  They would be correct.  The responsibility for an act lies with the actors.  The worth of an idea however, is more difficult to judge until it’s consequences are seen.

The idea behind this murder is that the majority can dispose of people as they see fit and the consequences are now visible.  Sunita was killed in effect, by everyone who holds the idea that the majority is always right.

Women Are People Too

In The Bad on May 13, 2008 at 12:57 am

The Womens Reservation Bill may be in the news again but Indian lawmakers and the society they represent still don’t understand that women are people too.  Consider the following taken from the Indian Penal Code:

Section 497:
Adultery.—Whoever has sexual intercourse with a person who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be the wife of another man, without the consent or connivance of that man, such sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of rape, is guilty of the offence of adultery, and shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine, or with both. In such case the wife shall not be punishable as an abettor.”

The wife is thus viewed as:

  • the property of the husband
  • incapable of taking a decision by herself.

Women need to be viewed as individual people and as equal before the law as men, not as the property of men.  The Womens Reservation Bill will surely do well for a handful of women but removing such archaic laws and treating women as equals will do well for all of them.

There is however, no hope of the Indian State viewing it’s citizens as responsible adults so long as this story represents the thinking of Indian society.

Possibly A Good Sign

In The Good on May 12, 2008 at 3:54 am

Now that anger of the Indian political establishment at a popular whipping boy has died down let us see the facts of the case.

Taken at face value, Mr. Bush’s remarks are not antagonistic towards India. One would expect leaders of a poor country to be happy at being told that their country is now wealthy enough to consititute a serious demand for a commodity even as basic as food.  What could be a better recognition of their astute leadership? No?

Evidently, it is not so. Our politican’s would rather be told that we are too poor and destitute to have any effect on food prices.

However, no mass protests have broken out yet. There have been as yet no gangs of angry peasants (hired by Indian political parties) marching on the American embassy in New Delhi. Maybe the general philosophy in India has improved and all the Indians can’t be fooled all the time into thinking that the United States is to blame for all problems all of the time.

Maybe, just maybe, that is true.  If it is, it would be to the good.

Bachchan, Sanghvi and Thapar vs. Ramadoss

In The Good on May 7, 2008 at 12:14 am

Nanny whines…

…and gets slapped


The most interesting thing about Karan Thapar’s interview is that Ramadoss thinks people are smart because they to voted his party into power but dumb because they can’t teach their children to avoid smoking.

Looks like a simple case of a politician wanting to eat his cake and have it too, doesn’t it? Still, it is fundamental enough to contain the essentials of all philosophical theories that have ever existed. Really.

More on that later.

Environmentalism Airborne

In The Ugly on May 6, 2008 at 11:55 pm

People are influenced by the causes celebrities espouse.  Wonder what happens when the show is over and the common folks go home?

In Defence of Liberty

In The Good on May 6, 2008 at 3:45 am

Are you looking for a rational alternative to socialist rhetoric?

Do you support the freedom of individuals to make their own choices?

Do you want to read rational ideas applied to the Indian context?

Try In Defence of Liberty

Majority Does Not Make Right

In The Bad on May 6, 2008 at 12:43 am

Indian Finance Minister P. Chidambaram says:

“If rightly or wrongly people perceive that commodities future trading is contributing to a speculation driven rise in prices, then in a democracy you will have to heed that voice.” (italics mine)

The proper function of a government is to defend the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  A majority of individuals cannot gang together and demand to lynch an unpopular individual.  Nor can a majority demand that an unpopular economic activity be stopped so long as does not violate the rights of man.

The reason countries have constitutions and laws is so that majority opinion does not overcome justice.  A majority is not given the right to be heard or to demand it’s way by sheer strength of being a majority. 

There is adequate history to prove that individuals and societies that learn this lesson prosper in the long run and those that do not fail.

By his statement, Mr. Chidambaram just does not understand this simple principle.