Showing posts from November, 2005

The Book Capital of the World

Make no mistake about it. Delhi is the publishing and information capital of India too. Most publishers like Penguin, Oxford or Rupa are located here. The top news magazines like India Today and Outlook run from here. The daily fodder of the Indian news fiend NDTV operates from Delhi. The organisations, which decide what our children are going to read like NCERT, are based here. The weighty intellectuals who give us our daily spiel in newspapers and TV channels are mostly based in Delhi. But the Delhite has been known for his groping in DTC buses, chhole bhaturas and robust dancing but never for his books.

I had joined a company in Delhi and then was studiously concentrating on a problem in my cabin when I overheard some colleagues discussing about the new bloke. I was being described as nice, sincere blah blah and also quirkily as one who also reads books as if it was like having a cow in the flat. I was the odd man out in the office where they could not believe one could spend mone…

Calcutta Conundrum

There are many people who are trying to understand Calcutta and unravel the mystery behind the thinking of its people after the Saurav Ganguly episode.

Saurav was kept out of the team after perfectly justifiable reasons. In fact, the performance of the team in the last two series amply demonstrates the validity of the move. The team actually looks much more positive and hungrier. Its fielding is outstanding and it has in large patches looked like the Australians in attitude. Saurav brought an infusion of guts to the team but that does not mean eternal selection.

Most people I speak to are very happy with his exclusion but the Calcuttans would have none of it. They booed Dravid and the Indian team though out the Eden match. Assorted celebrities from the world of cinema and arts come on television and protest against his exclusion. The city, which paints its walls with pictures of Ronaldo and Ronaldino during a world cup, jeers its own team. It justifies the superiority of its emotions …


Manjunath’s murder is symptomatic of the malaise in the system. The earnest officer was being honest and fearless. He was perhaps too idealistic in the state of U.P. Here, you are expected to buckle down and accept injustice and unfairness. Here, you are expected to only see all the corruption and decay around you silently and possibly crib about this to your wife and friends. You are expected to slowly become a part of the same rotten system and start making money by being a player yourself. You are expected to throw the teachings of your conscientious parents and maybe Ayn Rand into the nearest dustbin and start chasing the average Indian dream of a three bed-room house with two airconditioners and one sedan. So what, if on the way to the dream, you do not recognise yourself in the mirror and you just see hollow eyes and a charred heart.

Manjunath refused to do that and he paid such a heavy price. I am appalled that the perpetrators of the crime even thought of committing such an act…

HDI and GDP Growth

The joyful pandemonium over economic growth faintly amuses me and reminds me of the games that able gentlemen play in the corporate boardrooms and corridors. It goes like this.

When we are talking about the progress of the country we must consider the overall growth not only economic. This holistic growth status is better described by Human Development Index in a very useful annual exercise by UNDP. This is a composite indicator which captures the achievements of the country on three basic dimensions of human development namely income, health and education. It is a much more comprehensive indicator than simple GDP growth.

Economic growth is one of the requirements of poverty reduction and human development. It is probably a very good indicator for developed economies which have reached desired levels on parameters like infant mortality, life expectancy or literacy. So in one sense, the only play the developed countries can actually have is economic growth. But poor and developing countr…