Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Revisiting old poem

This is a poem from an anthology(Purananooru) of 400 pieces on 'the exterior' or public life. A translation is given from here.

Every Town a Home Town
Every town our home town,
Every man a kinsman.

Good and evil do not come
from others.
Pain and relief of pain
come of themselves.
Dying is nothing new.
We do not rejoice
that life is sweet
nor in anger
call it bitter.

Our lives, however dear,
follow their own course,
rafts drifting
in the rapids of a great river
sounding and dashing over the rocks
after a downpour
from skies slashed by lightnings-

we know this
from the vision
of men who see.

we are not amazed by the great,
and we do not scorn the little.

-- Kaniyan Punkunran

"Good and evil do not come from others. Pain and relief of pain come of themselves."
-- indicates emphasis on personal choice and belief in consequences
of personal decisions. Existentialism ?

Dying is nothing new. We do not rejoice that life is sweet nor in anger call it bitter."
-- okay...
"we are not amazed by the great, and we do not scorn the little."
-- moralistic, then its not nihilism.

Enigmatic little poem.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


The penetrative mind of a well intentioned politician is worth more than all the gold in all the treasuries on earth.

random thought after last fortnight's news headlines.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Spirit of resilience(?) and Mr. Kasuri's audacity

Salaam Bombay. The way the city got its act together after the terrorist attack is inspiring. But however we may want to look at it, Mumbaikars spirit of resilience is basically driven by a need to get on with life since they cannot afford to do otherwise.

Mr. Kasuri's statement linking the Mumbai blasts and the Kashmir dispute sounds innocuously matter-of-fact, but it is far from ingenuous; not from him and definitely not at this juncture. Removing the diplomatic niceties, in political terms, it simply says 'see, if India wants this stopped, it has to come over to the negotiating table on Kashmir'. 'This kind of incidents can make India address things India doesnt want to address' This point is painfully close to the truth, but this hint from Mr. Kasuri on how to respond to a terrorist attack is closer to thuggery than the high office he holds.

Things like these cast dark clouds on otherwise well intentioned peace talks. India would not want to seem pressurised into peace talks, which will put the other side at an advantage in negotiations. But there are enough people within the Pakistani establishment to whom valid motives can be ascribed for overthrowing peace talks.

A more significant challenge would be to stop the stupidity of right wing extremist reaction to these incidents from within India itself. I wonder if the word 'Shiv Sainiks' has been coined cleverly to derive some divine legitimacy to their actions from the public. If it is Congress-'men' and DMK-'cadres' why not Shiv Sena-'members' ? Sainik is a revered word; not to be appropriated for lending legitimacy to right wing extremist purposes.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

On food, medicine and books

Is it right of a human deny aid to another's hunger, pain and illiteracy claiming the sufferer's inability to pay his profits as the reason?

In India, an entrepreneur can accumulate profits out of all the above three plagues on society. In advanced free market economies, one would expect the market to manage services in all the three, right ? But interestingly the strongest voice for free market, the US, has support programs which preclude undue profiteering in all the three sectors. Are we Indians missing the essence of 'free market'?

M. S. Swaminathan wrote about India "The growing privatisation of food and water security systems is already leading to an unequal social bargain. The poor will not be able to withstand the tragedy of distress sales and inundation by low-cost foods and fruits from rich countries whose agriculture is driven by heavy inputs of subsidy, capital, and technology." Ever wondered why US farmers dont commit suicides like these Indian farmers in AP and Vidharba. The Bengal famine of 1942 happened not due to grain shortage but because grains were locked up in private trader's godowns.

In healthcare in India, most medical supplies and equipments (even glucose drips) fetch margins of around 300% to the manufacturer. Why has the invisible hand failed to bring efficiencies ? seriously, I dont know.

Excellent public school systems are run by the government in fully capitalist economies to ensure basic education. All medical facilities are government funded by countries like US and Canada. One can walk out of hospitals after treatment without any other thought other than convalescence.

Let us not get this wrong. Excellent private run institutions exist in all three sectors in western countries. I wouldn't be surprised if the best facilities in these three sectors are privately run. But the government has ensured access to food security, healthcare and elementary education first.

Don't stupid, unemployable rural people get ill and feel hungry? Or are they stupid and unemployable because they fall ill and go hungry too often and are unable to improve their lot?