Friday, December 31, 2004


Five nations -- Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan -- possess the geopolitical strength, technological capability, and civilizational gravitas for leading Muslims through modern times. 150mm Indians being Muslim, their attitudes matter to us.

That they have squandered this opportunity -- causing a political vacuum where fanaticism has thrived -- is hardly news. Literature Nobelist V S Naipaul has ably chronicled failures of Iran & Pakistan in his classics Among the Believers and Beyond Belief. In the aftermath of 9/11, others have discussed Saudi Arabia and Egypt extensively.

The most interesting of these is Turkey. While the others have (variously) claimed leadership of the Ummah, Turkey has renounced such aspiration. While the others have (overt & covert) imperialistic aspirations, Turkey (the only one with imperial history) has renounced imperium. While the others have clashed with the West, Turkey wants to join the West.

Turkey also, superficially, resembles India. Both nations aspire to modernity marked by secularism, democracy, and global integration. Still, in a puzzling irony, it is the Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf who claims inspiration from Turkey's founder Kemal Ataturk!

To understand the nation better, we asked our Turkish friends for guidance. They recommended Stephen Kinzer's Crescent and Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds as a primer. We were surprised by what we read, and surprised even more that our friends picked this, patronizing and viciously critical, book as our introduction to Turkey. Our own reaction was not condescension (like Mr Kinzer) but fury.

Turkey appears to be a startling place, a frightened people, and a very disappointing nation. Here "modernity" is enforced by primitive means, educated people fear freedom, and the nation turns its back on its own proud civilization -- even worse, all this is in the name of Kemal Ataturk's legacy.

Being Indian, we are baffled. Whatever Turkey's valid concerns are about centrifugal & radical forces (which ostensibly require suppression of political freedoms), the same exist -- and on a much grander scale -- in India. Yet, India has marched to modernity using modern means. We are a free people (even war-torn Kashmir is rated "partly free", the same as Turkey!), and we treasure our civilization. The Turkish construct of the military as the people's guardian wouldn't stand one moment of intellectual scrutiny in India.

It took India decades to build institutions of democracy and freedom. In Turkey, the only institution of note is the military. In India, people have calibrated their freedom and the consequent political power, through trial and error, over decades. In Turkey, freedom and political power are abstractions which its intelligentsia -- naively -- believes will become widely- shared, concrete realities in a mere 15 years of negotiation with the EU! We don't think this is possible.

We don't think, therefore, that Turkey will be ready to join the EU in time. Absent, independent pressures (e.g., from the U.S.), Turkey's EU accession talks are likely to fail. Why? Because the proposed process of Turkish transition to freedom is way too ambitious, lacks adequate preparation of the Turkish people, therefore is, humanly impossible.

No people can be rushed into freedom -- with its attendant privileges & responsibilities -- by decree. They have to free their own minds, at their own pace. Being mortally afraid of freedom unmasking Turkey's inner, non-European identity, Kemalists and the Generals have, for decades, crushed it -- thereby unmasking Turkey's inner, non-European identity! Now, they naively believe they can reverse course, proclaim freedom, and become European. Wow!

The most shameful is the role played by Turkish intelligentsia -- who have abdicated their responsibility to keep the military in check. Ask any of them, or any young, cosmopolitan, highly educated Turk about the military, and they will rationalize why its role is so important. This is so myopic and politically illiterate as to stagger one's imagination. How did a proud and imperial people, with enormous intellectual and civilizational depth, get reduced to rationalizing military dictatorship? This too, alas, is the legacy of Kemal Ataturk.

When Turkey's EU accession fails, the arrogance of Kemal's century-long dictatorial project to become "European" too would have failed. It is only then, when an angry Turkish people demand accountability and freedom from Kemalists and the military, will Turkey finally begin its real march to a liberal and free Turkish identity, at peace with its history and with its neighbors in Europe.

For the sake of our Turkish friends, we can only hope.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Three Readings

We have previously condoled the passing of P.V. Narasimha Rao. Indian Express has now carried the transcript of a recent interview with the great man. Absolutely fascinating.

For another complex view of Mr. Rao, read M J Akbar's The lonely masks of Narasimha Rao .

The last reading we recommend is of a very significant new book, Governance -- this is perhaps the most important book on India we've read in a long time. We are not political allies of the author, Arun Shourie, nevertheless consider his book as essential reading for anyone interested in Indian policy and administrative issues.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The Christmas Tsunami

This is a belated impression owing to our shock at the tragic events of Sunday. Before we go on, can we urge all readers to please generously contribute to the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund or to the Association for India's Development's Tsunami Survivors Relief Campaign.

For days we haven't known what to say, then we saw a Kovalam fisherman on TV, wailing unconsolably at the loss of his only son -- a brilliant student in whom the bereaved father's dreams were vested.

We were reminded of the heart-rending film The Sweet Hereafter, based on the eponymous Russell Banks novel, that chronicles a small town's coping with the sudden loss of most of its children in a freak accident. Over time, the grief goes away; what linger are guilt and helplessness and anger. These latter emotions are corrosive to the core -- they can reduce powerful men & women to shells of themselves.

Indians will undoubtedly give generously to our compatriots in their time of trial. But beyond material compensation -- which really is no compensation at all -- lies India's greater long-term responsibility to the survivors: their psychological recovery. There is no doubt that overseas Indians will contribute more themselves than the near $100mm the so-called "rich" nations have pledged so far. We hope, however, that this will not be the only contribution we will make -- that we will, in our own ways, find opportunities to engage over the long-term to help in the very painful coping that is to follow.

For Sri Lanka and Maldives, we fear even greater sorrows than India will endure. We hope that India is just as generous with these neighbours as it will be for its own people. We already know it has formed a coalition with US, Japan, and Australia to coordinate the global relief effort -- which should be, and will likely be, the largest in human history.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

R.I.P. Narasimha Rao

As fate would have it, we'd just put down The Insider, PVNR's fictionalized memoir, the very morning he died -- you can imagine our shock on learning of his passing. The following are some preliminary thoughts.

His book is hardly great literature, nor even consistently written -- it is a fascinating read nevetheless, because it chronicles the rise of a humble Indian to Prime Ministership. In his world, genuine democrats and idealists jostle with venal politicians and amoral interest groups. We all know the darkness of Indian (& democratic) politics; the book is revelatory in shining a spotlight on how people of character can still survive this morass -- and can do good. It also effectively counters Western historians like Paul Johnson who dismisses Indian democracy in his othewise fascinating book Modern Times.

PVNR did a lot of good. As his book chronicles, he was a socialist -- but with a ground level understanding of agricultural economics and, through scholarship, of global economics. His intellectual struggles with ideology (as a young & crusading land reform Minister) adumberated what he would do as Prime Minister. He opened Indian economy to the world, re-engaged with America, formally recognized Israel, and opened diplomatic avenues to East and South-East Asia.

When Rajiv Gandhi was felled, we were a young student at Columbia University. At a crisis meeting organized by the Department of South Asian Studies, the mood of learned academics and most Indians in the audience was gloomy -- they felt India would now surely fall apart absent a towering personality holding it together. PVNR, hardly a towering figure in his life, made fools of all those pessimists. When India emerges as a great power, the world will look to the early 90s under PVNR's leadership as a fundamental reason why. This will be his towering legacy. Rest in Peace, Narasimha Rao ji.

(Black) Gold digger

NY Times reports China eyes oil in America's backyard...

China Emerging as U.S. Rival for Canada's Oil

Where is India in all this? Is India going to play catch-up, or is there some strategy, ambition and reach in Indian oilmen?

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The Tehelka Disclosure

Investigative Journalists at Tehelka have a new disclosure today on why Zaheera Sheikh -- the principal witness in The Best Bakery lynching of the Gujarat Pogrom -- has changed her testimony in a Mumbai court to now absolve the alleged arsonists and murderers she had previously identified. Apparently Madhu Srivastava, a BJP Member of Gujarat Assembly paid her hush money amounting to Rs. 1.8 Million (Rs. 18 Lakh). She, with her family and friends, were previously alleged to have threatened Ms. Sheikh and others, causing a previous trial to collapse when these witnesses recanted.

If this is so, and there appears to be video and other circumstantial evidence verifying this, then this matter is no longer about the pogrom, Best Bakery, or Zaheera Sheikh. This is now about India's smarmy political process directly challenging India's legal system -- afterall, it was a Supreme Court intervention, in light of Gujarat's inability to provide justice in this case, to transfer the case out-of -state to Mumbai so that Ms. Sheikh could testify without fear of reprisals. Because threats now became untenable, the ideological allies of the alleged killers have apparently taken to bribes.

Now, the court's credibility is at stake. Unless truth is fully revealed here, and all people who have attempted to tamper with the judicial process brought under the severest possible sanction, India's people will understand that even their courts (with all their best intentions) cannot give them justice -- because they are weaker than the smarmy politicians. This would be a singular tragedy -- and the end of our faith in this Indian republic.

We hope that all Indians -- regardless of political affiliation -- will see this matter now as seriously as we have. We are all in trouble if this brazen travesty of justice is allowed to continue.

Monday, December 20, 2004 Once Again

We agree with much opinion in Indian media -- much like Pragmatic's -- that the law needs to be clarified so that it creates appropriate legal space for e-commerce to flourish in India. We also think the newly clarified law should lay down clear provisions and responsibilities on e-commerce service providers so as to address compelling State interests -- e.g. curb on exceedingly reprehensible conduct like peddling of child pornography.

While no e-commerce service provider can possibly police all transactions on its website -- rather, it can undertake to stop any illegal activity brought to its attention -- it can, and should be made to, monitor and disallow activities that exceed pre-defined red lines.

For example, if stolen goods are being peddled via, an after the fact curb on the activity (i.e. after some transactions have occured) still suffices because the perpetrators can be traced, and victims can be recompensed. In other instances that clearly transgress all possible redlines -- e.g. peddling of child pornography or solictation of murder -- after the fact curbs are insufficient -- because the victims can never be recompensed. Here, the only available approach is to curb the activity before any transaction is listed, or completed.

There is no reason to believe that technology does not exist to achieve this. If e-commerce service providers still offer lame excuses against even this basic requirement, then it's clear they place their profit needs ahead of even the most compelling of State and Societal interests. This is unacceptable. Scandal - Arrested Development

We beg to disagree with the other opinion presented on this blog re the scandal. Arresting the CEO is a hasty, poorly thought out and over-reaching act by the Indian administration. Setting aside the impact of this act on one individual (Mr. Bajaj), we believe it will have a chilling effect on the development of communications technology in the country. This is particularly harmful for a country that has carved out its niche in the global economy around IT and IT-enabled services.

Firstly, lets all agree that child pornography is an inexcusable crime. The perpetrators deserve the toughest punishment they can get.

In this posting, we will concern ourselves solely with whether a service provider, like, can be held responsible for the violations of its users. Since the early days of the Internet, service providers have often been sued for the illegal actions of their users, in particular, copyright infringement, defamation and pornography. The US legal system has probably spent the most time studying the issues and parsing out the many nuances. While we do not argue that US laws apply to India, we do not throw out good ideas simply because they’re “not invented here”. Assuming the US laws and precedents would apply in India, would not be held liable for the actions of its users, unlike Napster.

There are two key issues governing this area of the law:
1. “Service Providers” have statutory immunity for violations of their users, if they follow certain conditions.
2. To hold them liable, service providers must be found have “knowledge and material contribution” to the violations.

To facilitate healthy development of Internet-based communication and commerce Congress passed two laws: the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and the Communications Decency Act (CDA). Thereafter, the US courts have fleshed out the laws in many precedent-setting cases.

Some key points:
· "The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) carves out a safe harbor for internet service providers who can meet certain criteria regarding material stored and displayed on the provider's website. The service provider must lack actual or constructive knowledge of the infringement. The service provider must not receive a direct financial benefit from the infringement, and must not have the right to control that activity. Finally, the service provider must act promptly to remove the infringing material when it is properly notified."(Ebay Case)
· Ebay meets the requirements of a “service provider” (Hendrickson vs. Ebay)
· "In the eBay case, the online auctioneer argued that it could not be held responsible for copyright infringement as a result of sales of the "Manson" documentary because Hendrickson had not notified eBay properly according to the terms of the DMCA. The court agreed. "(Gigalaw - Ebay)
· No ISP "shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider." (
· "Another user, offended by the child pornography solicitations, sued AOL, claiming that the ISP had a duty to make sure that the service did not facilitate the distribution of child pornography. A court ruled that AOL was exempt from the claim under the CDA." (
· Libraries found similar protection too. "There is a crucial distinction between providing minors with harmful matter on the one hand, and maintaining computers where minors may obtain such matter, however easily, on the other," (Gigalaw - Library)

So, why was Napster held liable for the copyright infringement of its users, and how is that different from other similar cases?
· Napster "knowingly encourages and assists its users to infringe the record companies’ copyrights and Napster materially contributes to the infringing activity"... and "has a direct financial interest in its users’ infringing activity and retains the ability to police its system for infringing activity.” (Napster - summary)
· But a similar service, Grokster, was held to be non-infringing. “If some of the uses infringe, but many of the uses do not, it would not be proper to enjoin the sale of the photocopiers completely. Such an injunction would deprive the public of the benefits of a useful invention.” Examples are the VCR and the photocopier. ( Napster, Grokster )
· “...the standard for a defendant to be found liable for contributory infringement is as follows: (1) knowledge of and (2) material contribution to the direct infringement.”

· Meets the requirements of a “service provider” (like ISPs, Phone companies)
· Has “substantial non-infringing uses” (like VCR, Photocopier)
· Was not a material contributor to the infringement (unlike Napster)

Without new laws, who else could the Indian police go after: the data center that hosts or the ISP that provides internet access, or the fiber owners that wire up the country? Could we possibly even see, say, Mr. Ambani in jail? And what tech entrepreneur would want to develop solutions in a country where the powers-that-be would jump on you simply because some idiot out there inadvertently (or even worse, maliciously) abuses your service?

The Indian communications industry must lobby the Parliament to pass laws to protect service providers, albeit with appropriate provisions and requirements that protect the public interest. A high bar must be established to avoid frivolous persecution of service providers. And free Mr. Bajaj right away, with due apologies.

Anything short of it will cause irreparable harm to a country that aims to hitch its wagon to the IT star.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

The Scandal

Earlier this week Avnish Bajaj, CEO of -- India's ebay-owned leading online marketplace -- was arrested and yesterday denied bail . His offence: his website was allegedly used by an IIT Khargapur student (now suspended and in custody) to peddle pornographic material involving minors. Police are now investigating whether is directly culpable -- therefore have argued for continued detention of Mr. Bajaj.

Mr. Bajaj is an Indian-born American with links to ebay -- needless to say, his arrest has provoked even Ms. Condoleezza Rice to intervene, seeking his safety while in judicial custody.

Many are outraged by this arrest, calling it a witchhunt. They argue that was not party to these illegal transactions, and that it removed the offending content from its site as soon as it was made aware of it. While the latter may be true, we beg to strongly disagree that this is a witchhunt.

First, this is about child pornography -- not about offensive, if otherwise legal,.content. The State has a compelling interest is ensuring that such grievous offences against its citizens are not allowed to go on. All investigation pursuant to this interest are entirely legitimate.

Second, argues that it is merely a communication channel -- much like the telephone -- where third parties conduct business. These third parties are made aware of a code of conduct which specifically bars trade of illegal content. Any legal culpability, therefore, falls on these third parties -- not on

In light of the compelling Napster rulings in the US, this argument is prima facie absurd. In Napster, it was ruled that the service, which enabled illegal copying of intellectual property on its servers, was itself liable -- even though it wasn't itself copying such material. Napster was subsequently shut down.

The case is much like Napster -- and not like, say, when China or France tries to blame Yahoo! for "objectionable" expression. Free speech is legal, at least, in India and the US, and one could make a political defense of it even in China and France. What possible defense can be made for child pornography?

Because this case appears to us more like Napster than Yahoo, we strongly feel is, at least, party to the case -- and cannot claim immunity merely because it was neither the buyer nor seller of the pornography.

We are also amused by the parallel's made by to the telephone or the mail system. We personally know something about internet businesses and marketplaces -- the central value proposition there has always been that these "new new things" are "game changing" in nature. Sceptics have been told that they don't "get it". Well, if so, and we agree this is so, then to fall back on lame comparison to telephone and mail does not befit the "new new crowd".

Finally, Avnish Bajaj is in judicial custody. Whether or not he would have sought "buzz" this way (likely not, but who knows -- this is what's being investigated), his portal has nevetheless derived enormous publicity from this kerfuffle -- and likely spikes in website traffic. All this "gain" would have come, even if inadvertently, on the back of an exploitative video clip of children -- of which has become an unlikely beneficiary. If Mr. Bajaj is to be detained for a few days so that India can do its job of ferreting out the truth, is it really so damaging? If we were him, we would be more concerned about devising ways to prevent future similar episodes through better monitoring of what transpires on his website, than trying to bring pressure from the US Government to safeguard his well-being. Let law take its own course -- we have argued this for Shankaracharya and we do again for Mr. Bajaj.

And while we are at it, we suggest that the US Government tread very carefully -- this is not a routine issue, afterall US has long shown profound concern about the global menace of child pornograhy, and here too that is the more central issue, not the few days of inconvenience for Mr. Bajaj. If US were to prefer Mr. Bajaj's well-being over the children damaged by this episode, its credibility on the issue will stand badly damaged.

Note: We don't know Mr. Bajaj, but read that he is a fellow IITan. At a personal level, we hope the investigation will reveal that he has done everything above board, that he is an honorable man horrified by how his website has been misused, and that he is committed to preventing similar horrors from ever being transacted on his website.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004


Why do people blog? What explains the popularity of this impulse?

Is it that we live in a more political time than before -- or more egotistic -- or are these things the same, or that the impulse has always been with us, only it is much easier now to find a soapbox?

In Kundera's astonishing The Book of Laughter and Forgetting is the following discussion that has our attention. We have abbreviated and lightly edited it without (hopefully) losing its essence.

Kundera runs into a Paris taxi driver who tells him he is writing a book.

Why? Is it for your children? A family chronicle?

My kids don't give a damn, he responds. No, I think I can do a lot of people a lot of good.

From this Kundera derives a profound insight about a writer's concerns. They write because their kids don't give a damn. They turn to an anonymous world because their spouses stop up their ears when they talk to them.

Then Kundera defines a Graphomaniac. A woman who writes four love letters a day is not one. A man who xeroxes his, so he can publish them someday, is. Graphomania is not the desire to write for oneself or one's near and dear one's; rather it is the desire to write books or have a public of unknown readers. In this sense, Kundera writes, Goethe and the Parisian taxi driver share the same passion. What distinguishes them is the result of their passion, not the passion itself.

Graphomania becomes a public epidemic when:

1. a high degree of general well-being exists that people can turn to useless activity
2. a high degree of social atomization exists, leading to a general feeling of isolation in individuals
3. a radical absence of significant social change in the internal development of a nation exists (on this he cites the statistic that in France, where nothing really happens, the percentage of writers is 21 times higher than in Israel !!)

It is the absence of content, a void, that impels writers to write -- the effect causing a flashback to the cause. If general isolation produces Graphomania, then Graphomania in turn reinforces and aggrevates general isolation. The invention of printing initially enhanced mutual understanding. In the era of Graphomania, writing has the opposite effect: everyone surrounds themselves with their own writing as with a wall of mirrors cutting out all voices from without.

If Kundera is right, why then do people blog? What explains the popularity of this impulse? Hmmm.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Ghost Wars

This is posted from a dusty Hindi heartland district headquarters on the Grand Trunk Road. Such mofussil towns are India's reality that strain our great power aspirations.

Anyways, we have just completed reading Steve Coll's terific book called
Ghost Wars . He is Managing Editor of Washington Post and a past South Asia correspondent -- so his views on the Afghan matters are highly credible.

He writes here of CIA's secret wars through the 80s and 90s all the way upto September 10, 2001. The players in the story are shown struggling with complex and even, nuanced, politico-legal realities as they wage war on a Saudi renegade in South Asia -- what was long to America, a dusty backwater of world politics.

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia come out terribly. India has a marginal role here but Mr. Coll laments why a democratic India with similar concerns about Al Qaeda was sidelined in the favor of a widely distrusted Pakistan. The reason is the same why Ahmed Shah Massod was basically ignored in Washington -- except by some in CIA's Operational Directorate. Cold War ties and suspicions have long shadows that shape America policymaker perceptions to this day.

If only this wasn't the case.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Blogging from India

We will be in India the rest of December. This will likely impact our blogging volume.

We will pick up our pace again in January.

Here's wishing everyone very happy holidays and peace on Earth.

The Matter of Teesta S. and Tavleen S.

On Teesta Setalvad's response to Tavleen Singh's frontal attack on her -- that she "maligns" India on the matter of the pogrom in Gujarat -- Sudeep takes exception to our views, specifically our argument that:

We have friends in NRI America who share Ms. Singh's views. To them, the real scandal is less that fellow Indians were burnt alive in Gujarat -- rather they are offended by, what they perceive, hysterical anti-India screeds by liberal journalists and academics. This loss of perspective is obviously preposterous. Even if their criticisms of these journalists are right, are these not merely sideshows to the real tragedy of Gujarat?

He then logically asks us:

If journalistic shenanigans are merely a sideshow, then why are you wasting "blog-inches" on what is a sideshow in a sideshow (journalists on journalist ethics in relation to the Gujarat riots) ? ... Is it not an implicit admission that the characterization of what happened in Gujarat is as important as what actually happened ?

We dare not minimize the importance of journalists' characterization of explosive situations like Gujarat -- and where they err, deliberately or otherwise, they should be called out. But journalist bias (which is sadly legion in India) cannot be turned into a useful crutch to divert attention from the undeniable core fact that our fellow Indians were charred to death in Gujarat.

We have contempt for jihadists and their liberal enablers when they talk up "root causes" for terrorism because these are mere distractions from the acts of violence perpetrated in their name. Does our rejection of the "root cause" argument negate the issues surrounding these causes? Certainly not -- but we are unprepared to cut terrorists any slack on account of them. Further, unless the "root cause" communities abjure violence fully, their cause fades to black.

It's the same here. As long as the monsters of Gujarat are able to evade justice, how can we give credence to things like Atal ji astonishing "root cause" question in Parliament:

But who set the fire first? (referring to the train lynching in Godhara)

and Tavleen Singh's "shoot the messenger" question in Indian Express:

What it is about is the number of magazines and NGOs that have thrived on maligning India for being a country as fundamentalist as our Islamic neighbors. Is it not time to ask where their funds come from?

Our blog-inches in this matter reflect our rage that India continues to fail the victims of Gujarat while the best among us are wasting time arguing about secondary issues.

Friday, December 03, 2004

A New Cold War?

In light of Russia's struggle to keep Ukraine from falling into America's sphere of influence, Stratfor speculates that Vladimir Putin's on-going India trip could lead to yet another front in a new, subtle, cold war.

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived Dec. 3 on a visit to India, while Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf is making a stopover in Washington to meet with U.S. President George W. Bush. Moscow's moves to counter the possible loss of Ukraine to U.S. influence could affect the situation in southwest Asia and the Indo-Pakistani region. The Cold War chessboard could be resurrected if the United States and Russia seek to engage in a geopolitical game, and the regional actors will have a chance to advance their national interests.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Pogrom in Gujarat

Javed Anand and Teesta Setalvad are Calling Tavleen Singh's bluff on Indian Express in response to her column The 'communalism' divide where she accuses liberal journalists of maligning India in the guise of fighting communalism while minimizing the threat from radical Islamists.

As our readers know, we have little regard for radical Islamists. We support the ongoing war in Iraq and Afghanistan. We oppose any concessions in Kashmir to Pakistan or to its jihadist allies.

We are also firmly of the political right -- thus, hardly co-travelers of Arundhati Roy style left-wing nonsense.

BUT, we are not bigots. This means we recognize that the Gujarat horror is a blot on India -- and cannot be swept aside so that we can all pretend all's well in India. The greatness of India is not that she doesn't err -- it is that she makes amends, always. For this, we need to know the truth without caring for hurt feelings of people like Ms. Tavleen Singh. Facing up to ugly truth is not maligning our nation -- it is the necessary first step to prevent future infamy.

We have friends in NRI America who share Ms. Singh's views. To them, the real scandal is less that fellow Indians were burnt alive in Gujarat -- rather they are offended by, what they percieve, hysterical anti-India screeds by liberal journalists and academics. This loss of perspective is obviously preposterous. Even if their criticisms of these journalists are right, are these not merely sideshows to the real tragedy of Gujarat?

Wednesday, December 01, 2004


BBC reports on Why 2004 was the year of the blog .

Here's our hat tip to the worldwide community of bloggers.


"The most important event on my agenda," says Chinese Premier about India visit reports The Hindu breathlessly this morning.

Clearly India-China relations are on an upswing -- this is to be applauded. Still, lets keep things in perspective, shall we. While Wen Jiabao, the Prime Minister of China, is an important man, he is not Hu Jintao. Mr. Hu, a cursory Google search reveals, travels to countries like US, Russia, France, and even Kazakhstan while India appears relegated to trips by Mr. Wen.

Perhaps we are wrong on this but shouldn't we hold off on our breathless applause? Just asking.

Carnival of the Vanities

Our post on the US offer of Patriot Missiles to India has been mentioned in Carnival of the Vanities #115 which is up on Ashish's Niti.