Dec 31, 2008
Dec 22, 2008
Dec 7, 2008
Nov 5, 2008
Nov 2, 2008
90s was the decade of Sachin. Frankly, Indians hardly tried to maintain an equivalency between the batting and fielding side of its growing cricket fascination. Kapil was famous in the early part of the decade but everyone understood that the main bowling weapon India had was kumble. I think the years 92-95 kumble was at this peak. I can remember ODIs where batsmen just played out kumble and kumble figures will be something like 10- 2- 29-2. Those were the days when reputed players like Andrew Hudson were afraid of kumble and new players like Richard blake’s reputation was destroyed.
The one bane of Kumble came was the South African players Cronje and Cullinan. They suddenly learned how to play kumble and then the reputation was destroyed by Aravinda, jayasurya, Mahanama etc.
As you must have hear, Anil Kumble has retired from international Cricket. This has sort of more that anything started the drumbeat which should soon drwon out Dravid and Laxman. But all that for later. Lets focus on Kumble
Kumble about 5-6 years to become the bowler he was in 2006 when I thought he was at the peak of his second coming. But this second coming was more the evidence of his grit and cricketing acumen. He fin ally developed a ball which actually spun…his googly which actually deviated from the pitch. This delivery more than anything else kumble to have his golden summer where he is past 600 wickets and captained India to wins, notably against aussies in perth.
From all this, what I want to arrive at is…Kumble was a world beater for around 7-8 years but unfortunately in India he was eclipsed by Batting starts such as Sachin Ganguly, Azhar etc while the world saw two better spinners in warne and murali which sort of made the title of this past “The other champion” rather than “the champion” which may have been the case in some other country or some other era
Oct 24, 2008
Working with Pakistan and India to try to resolve, and Kashmir, crisis in a serious way. Those are all critical tasks for the next administration. Kashmir in particular is an interesting situation where that is obviously a potential tar pit diplomatically. But, for us to devote serious diplomatic resources to get a special envoy in there, to figure out a plausible approach, and essentially make the argument to the Indians, you guys are on the brink of being an economic superpower, why do you want to keep on messing with this? To make the argument to the Pakistanis, look at India and what they are doing, why do you want to keep n being bogged down with this particularly at a time where the biggest threat now is coming from the Afghan boarder?
Now, I am pretty sure, this is a shift from the current US policy. India has in the past strongly objected to the presence of a special envoy for Kashmir. My take here is that Obama is being lazy. He understands that the issue is much more complex, but he thinks he can strengthen his pragmatic image here by trying to showcase some opportunity of movement in Kashmir. I am sure, Obama himself will realize is that his current proposal sounds like giving candy to the nuisance maker so that he may keep quiet. I am sure he will realize that this strategy seldom works.
Oct 20, 2008
Sep 18, 2008
Update: Jabberwock has an interesting take on internal team meetings
Sep 15, 2008
Dominate the battle on the ground
3. Connect every thana, every chowki (and in future every policeman) to a national database and network. Neither POTA nor a new anti-terrorism agency is crucial: connect existing intelligence and law-enforcement agencies through a common network.
4. Empower police by implementing police reforms. Use the Supreme Court of India’s judgement in Prakash Singh & Others vs Union of India & Others to generate momentum. Strengthen police-public partnerships.
5. Move internal security to the PMO. The Prime Minister should chair a Cabinet Committee on Internal Security; a dedicated internal security advisor (rank of secretary or higher) should be appointed to act as the point man covering all aspects of internal security.
Also, as i have mentioned before, police reforms can be one of the best things that can be done by the government today. We can definitely take advantage of IT and telecom technological improvements to reform the police system. This will have immense benefits, economic, political and social.
Sep 13, 2008
Self Awareness- This is a huge thing if you are intelligent enough, but it may not be very useful if you are too impatient.
Sep 12, 2008
- I think the Steve Waughs mental disintegration concept has come full circle. It was obvious from the start that the IPL money will ask the highly paid cricketers to redefine their mental makeup..and Symonds has apparently done so.....For all the arrogance about mental toughness etc from Aussies...this really is a bad sign for them. Course this is good news for indians. Symonds is one of those players who always does well against India.
- The Indo-US nuclear deal is not an unmixed blessing...its a blessing nonetheless. I am however optimistic cos the intent will be lost..but the signed paper will remain and the indo us commercial deals will take care about the sustainability of the deal. I am not very sanguine about the nuclear weapons programme though, give the lack of Indias institutional strenght and the ability to take advantage of ambiguous details.
- One thing i have learnt about the skills of concentration..persitenece pays..and its a habit rather than talent. I mean..you can develop your skills of concentration with practice or mental laziness can be overcome.
Sep 10, 2008
Sep 6, 2008
Overtime has been one of the important sources of some additional income for government employees. but over time the concept of over time has lost some of the attraction and you will find that people have been discussing advantages of overtime less and less over time.
Sep 5, 2008
Sep 2, 2008
Aug 20, 2008
Aug 10, 2008
Jul 22, 2008
- Concede that the deal is overall good in 'letter and spirit', but could have been better. as in specifically the deal is good in 'spirit' but bad in 'letter'. And while with the next govts in both countries, the 'spirit' will be gone, India will be stuck with the 'letter' and thus with a bad deal
- The congress should have made a concerted effort to take the mainstream parties (NDA) on board for a foregn policy deal (remind people that foreign policy deals should be consenus based)
- The failure of congress to coordinate with NDA also led to a bad deal as in the UPA failed to put in opposition from NDA as a hindrance to score a better deal
So, overall it was the incompetence rather than anything else that allowed CPM to have so much influence, cause as you can see in the murky world of poltics, for political compulsions, a high brow person like Prakash karat has to anoint Mayawati as a natural PM. (That should lay to rest btw, any concept of intellectual honesty among CPM leaders....just as we have for other parties)
Jul 17, 2008
So best of luck Mr Gandhi.
P.S - Maybe calling this strategy ' The Obama Model' is giving Mr Obama too much credit. But i think, the success of Obama has something to do with this new strategy hence the title heading
Jul 15, 2008
Jul 9, 2008
Jun 30, 2008
But, i had the opportunity to witness the arrival of the President in Bhopal and i must say that despite the municpal efforts to clean the city, the visit itself was quite underwhelming. Thus, you realise, getting a common person to become the president is probably just what is needed to deglamourise the office which by all accounts is mostly explained as rubber stamping
May 28, 2008
“You see,” he explained, “I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skillful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.”
I think, this concept may be wrong if we accept the fact that normally the conscious part of the brain utilizes only 10-13% of the neurons. But this theory has its own charms and can explain the focusing ability of a person and the power of deduction. As in you don't know so much that you find loopholes in almost every theory while you know enough to form theories of your own. Given the internets, it becomes even more important to have a mechanism through which one can sift through reams of information among which only few of the data points may be useful.
May 24, 2008
We do not remember time as a continuum but as a series of events; that is why a fortnight recuperating in bed seems like an eternity (because we have no events to observe) but almost vanishes from the memory (because there are no events to remember). That is also why a wonderful day’s sightseeing can fly by, yet when looking back over an evening drink, that morning’s coffee can seem impossibly distant.Its really a question of Continuous versus Discrete, where the human behaviour counts Discrete events while our physics lessons have made us to think of time asa continuum which is reinforced by the watches.
Apr 29, 2008
However, one point must be mentioned. Every time a politician is caught in a sting row, there are all these questions raised about the ethics of stings and all the news channels are basically told to self regulate and the specter of the Orwellian broadcasting bill is raised. Here, no questions about the ethics of Sting. No one raised a doubt on Gill, still this incident was good enough to dissolve the IHF.
How many chief of parliamentary whips were even asked to resign in the Cash for Questions sting. How many indirect parties have resigned over any sting when it comes to politicians
Apr 19, 2008
The Economist has a very good chart explaining the causes of the current crisis. While the food prices started rising, the market has started responding with in creasing yield in the last year. The other notable thing to note is how the yield growth has stagnated over the last 45 years.
I guess that the rise in food prices is following the natural rise of commodity prices in the last decade or so following increasing demand from India China etc, and thus food prices thus following commodities like Oil, Metals etc (While you may argue Metal prices are cyclic, i do believe the current upturn is more secular in nature. So, if we agree with the given analysis and assume that the increased food prices are here to stay, we shall come to the important question - What will be the impact on India, and thus How should the Indian policymakers respond.
Regarding the impact, i think there is a clear dichotomy exist(as it should), between the demand side and supply side. While the Indian consumers will suffer, there is tremendous scope for gains to the Indian primary sector. Let us focus on the structural changes due to higher prices which will improve the primary sector*
Government - Government will be unencumbered by the minimum support price (MSP) mechanism and then can fully focus on the market enabling measures to ensure that the gains in trade are diffused enough to prevent backlash of higher prices among general populace. Here the basic logic is that while the MSP does create a floor of prices, the given inefficiencies in the buffer system, means that the gains form trade are not passed on to the farmers in times of high prices. With the high prices, the burden of procurement will be on government and thus will have a fiscal impact, but anyway i don't expect the government to be fiscally efficient in near term.
Market - Higher floor prices means that enough incentives exist for the middlemen and traders to take advantage of India's improving road and rail connectivity to reach the hinterland leading to better price discovery across locations
Farmers- Incentives to improve productivity, and increasing disposable income.
Frankly, rising food prices can be an unmitigated blessing for a country like India with the worlds highest gross acreage and largest population in agriculture. Just imagine Oil Prices doubling for Saudi Arabia and Saudi Arabia on the cusp of finding more oil wells. Well for us, the oil prices have just doubled and the infrastructure and communications improvement are our new oil wells.
* Of course the glaring omission in this analysis is the effect of high prices on inflation thus leading to loss in real income for many of the populace. I still feel that the government should take a fiscal hit rather than limit the upside of the price rise for million of farmers by commodity price targeting which seems to be the current mode of thinking in the current political/bureaucrat regime.
Picture Courtesy The Economist
Also on a serious track, some of the celebrations was off putting for me, its alright for Shahrukh to cheer Mccullum hitting Zaheer as he is the owner, but the odd thing was that nobody mentions the of shifting loyalty from country to club and the implicit transition. It is as if the official policy of the event organisers particularly the commentators is to not to comment on the contradiction and just hope that by pretending that strong Club loyalties exist and behaving as such will make the crowd see it that way. Well i am not convinced and find it difficult to accept that i will ever cheer Zaheer getting hit for a six by Mccullum.
Also for a bit of humorous take, see my cricket fanatic friend and perennial commenter Vibhash's post
successful policy reform is at its core governance reformI completely agree with this sentiment. For too long, the multilateral agencies have focussed on policy formulations and seeing it fail and blaming it on governance. While the link has been made many times, mostly in a post facto manner. The right way to go about is i think going for governance reform, enablers (Specifically MIS), and then policy reforms. While this seems self evident on reading, it must be noted that "washington consensus" which was the staple of reforms under development agencies, for long has focussed on policy reforms while treating Governance as an exogenous variable.
Apr 18, 2008
Apr 14, 2008
P.S - Talkin of defining moments etc- this is my 100th Post. Thanks to all of my readers....(Yes chuchu and malik u both)
Mar 31, 2008
So..all in all Not only Dravid is gud enough to score 10k in both the forms of the game, he is good enough to be an example for other players and thats what makes him truly great.
Mar 10, 2008
Today, was the definitive hammer blow for Indian Hockey. Today it lost its place as one of the premier games of India. Now Hockey has to fight with other sports to fight for a place in our conscience. Playing in all of the olympics till date was one of the best records in Indian Sports..something you can be proud of..It has come to an end though..and to be fair...we extended as long as we can. India certainly is not one of teams that you can claim should be part of the Olympics. We were just not good enough. But this is not the time to recriminate against Gill, He has been doing his job terribly since long. This is the time to remember the past greats..from Dhyan Chand to KD Singh to Pargat singh..And i take this opprtunity to thank all the past hockey olympians..they made history after all.
Mar 6, 2008
but right now with nothing to do on a lazy summerish afternoon listening to Hemant Kumar and, I lie in a vacant mood and actually my heart seems filled of pleasure and while i haven't danced with daffodils..i can relate to the feeling..For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
So Mr William W. Wordsworth..I apologise
Feb 9, 2008
1. Law of unintended consequences - In the context of mainstream India.
2. Free Trade and Societal Structure - What is the relationship. I hope one day i actually read The Great Transformation and also The Bottom Billion by Collier. In the merantime, you can read this by Delong for context.
3. Economic Situation in Bihar - Even articles will do. What is happening in there. The last good article that i read seems to be one by Aditi phadnis in Business standard
Feb 8, 2008
Feb 4, 2008
anyway..in all of these nightmarish scenarios i always feel like i should call home etc etc..i mean the intention is to close out my life in abalnced manner...but lately since i fly around once a month..i have had the thots so many times..i have started going meta..and now one of my worries is..if i m really crashing down..i will think of something arbit and my last thopught will be "you bugger..this is waht you come up with a syour last thought"
Jan 26, 2008
Jan 22, 2008
What makes the show good?. As mentioned here
"What makes "The Wonder Years" so appealing is that many can identify with what was happening in Kevin's life. Not only could those who lived through the 60's and 70's relate to the historical events, but almost anyone who was a teenager can relate to Kevin's personal adventures. . Most of us ..... experience all these other pivotal stages on our trip through puberty and adolescence into adulthood. These times really are wonder years, the time when we learn how the world and it's people work. "
Mayur says it even more lucidly here
"So many years after the show ended when I saw Kevin Arnold's pic in one of my friends computer screen NOSTALGIA did HURT. I mean it brought back memories of the yesteryears. It was very easy to relate to everything that Kevin was going through although I was from another world in India. His love interest the cute Winnie Cooper made it all the more interesting. Loved his best friend, though he did look like a nerd. I specially remembered a scene when Kevin kissed Winnie in the beach. Saying this might sound like saying a lot but it is just the truth. Sometimes the show seemed to me more important the books that I studied in school. A tutorial. It will always be close to my heart and fondly remembered. I can assume its like this for many of us around the world"
Ofcourse, I also feel that TWY rings the Nostalgia bell so beautifully is the fact that, most of us remember our childhood as a bunch of incidents. But TWY reminds us, that each incident was part of a growing up process. The wonderful voice over by Daniel Stern brings the sentiment to the fore, that each incident made us learn something, feel something, regret something and aloowed us to feel bad, good, sorry or proud of oneself, but all in all those were the years that improved the quality of life itself.
Jan 20, 2008
1. The 16 match winning streak ended by India - The Aussies press's gloat would have been too much. What makes it doubly sweet is the fact that, India has already done it once before. Also in the cricketing sense, I think Steve Waugh's team was much better than the current Aussie team. The opposing teams then also were of a slightly higher standard i feel.
2. I have always marvelled at the Aussies Bench strength - eg Slater retires- Hayden is there..Hussey, Clark, Kasprowicz etc etc..but in this test..Pathan and Sehwag came from the bench for India and Tait and Rogers from Australian bench..and look who did better.
P.S - Also, do check out my friends amusing take on the win yesterday
Jan 16, 2008
Movement away from Caste Based Largesse distribution to Need Based intervention - The slowing down of the identity politics - This is very indirect, but as the State moves from caste based bounty distribution to need based social security..I don't think the upside of identity based politics will be very high
"Abilty to Pay" becomes a non factor in PPP or Community based initiatives - Right now the 'ability to pay' factor means that much of the PPP initiatives can be argued against. A social security system will lessen the need for govt intervention in implementation and maintenance of facilities in the agri and other social sectors eg Irrigation Projects, Water supply etc.
Halt to mass migration to Urban areas - As the social security kicks in, People from the rural areas will be loath to live in sum urban hutments to get a livewlihood. And surely thats good for everyone. Frankly much of the desperation in the society that goes on with earning your livelihood will be removed, making everyone a lot more civilised.
As i mentioned earlier in the blog also, community participation and PPP initiatives is the most potent way in which we can improve the implementation mechanism for government schemes. The other way is ofcourse through use of Information technology. Technology here i think is just a prop to bring about change. Even just information dissemination will do, but that alone will not be allowed to happen. But all this in a separate post.
Disclaimer : Ofcourse the big assumption here is- How to effect a functional Social Security system and do we have adequate resources for the same. I am afraid we have unsatisfactory answers to both the questions. But the point of this post is, while there is need to point out the apparent lacunae in schemes like NREGS, a potent case for a Social Security system should also be made. Lat our governance system outgrow the subsistence mode.