10 9 09 Bearman Cartoon Obama Nobel Peace Prize
Image by Bearman2007 via Flickr

It has always surprised me- how my American friends who passionately support the First Amendment kind of always oppose the Second Amendment and vice versa. Being a non American- I would always take the Fifth.

An earlier Wikileak video of killing two Reuters Employees-and I am not sure who is right- American govt for restricting access to federal employees or Chinese govt for restricting access to Nobel peace  prize.

or all the Govts of the world for all the cables they write. and all the journalists for all the stories they tell.

Merry Christmas anyways.

from Wikiquotes of another Indian.

Facts we would always place before our readers, whether they are palatable or not, and it is by placing them constantly before the public in their nakedness that the misunderstanding between the two communities in South Africa can be removed.

In this instance of the fire-arms, the Asiatic has been most improperly bracketed with the native. The British Indian does not need any such restrictions as are imposed by the Bill on the natives regarding the carrying of fire-arms. The prominent race can remain so by preventing the native from arming himself. Is there a slightest vestige of justification for so preventing the British Indian?

  • Comments on a court case in The Indian Opinion (25 March 1905)
  • Had we adopted non-violence as the weapon of the strong, because we realised that it was more effective than any other weapon, in fact the mightiest force in the world, we would have made use of its full potency and not have discarded it as soon as the fight against the British was over or we were in a position to wield conventional weapons. But as I have already said, we adopted it out of our helplessness. If we had the atom bomb, we would have used it against the British.
    • Speech (16 June 1947) as the official date for Indian independence approached (15 August 1947) , as quoted in Mahatma Gandhi : The Last Phase (1958) by Pyarelal, p. 326. The last sentence of this statement has sometimes been quoted as if it was being made as an affirmation of extreme hostility to the British, rather than as part of an affirmation of the strength of non-violence, and the ultimate weakness of those who needlessly resort to violence if it is within their power.
  • One of the objects of a newspaper is to understand popular feeling and to give expression to it; another is to arouse among the people certain desirable sentiments; and the third is fearlessly to expose popular defects
  • The non-violent state will be an ordered anarchy. That State is the best governed which is governed the least.


Economic: Indian Caste System -Simplification

I am often asked by Western and non Indian people regarding the caste system. It trips me a lot trying to explain the complexity, necessity and current scenario given the history.

Here is an effort- The Indian /Hindu caste system was primarily an economic system to divide labor. In the original Manusmriti ,named by the King Manu- it was flexible.

A son of blue collar worker could become a warrior if he was brave etc.

A couple of centuries later – the top castes primarily the priests decided to make it rigid. No more social intermingling or marriage between castes, and no more migration of occupation regardless of merit.

This led to a lot of lower caste people leaving Hinduism to join religions like Islam ( post 1000 AD, Muslim Invasions and Mughal Rule) and Christianity ( post the arrival of English).

Post 1947 , many of “lower castes” preferred to remain within Hinduism but adopted Buddhism as their primary worship mechanism.Also India‘s leaders in the 1940’s , many of whom were educated in UK as lawyers ( including Mahatma Gandhi, Subhash Chandra Bose, Jawahar Lal Nehru) decided this system had weakened the nation state and divided the energies of India, besides being obviously inhumane and degrading.

The Constitution of India was shepharded in 1950  by an assembly led by Dr. B R Ambedkar , one of the very first educated lower castes ( also called Harijan , after Mahatma Gandhi’s name for them, literally Hari -Jan people of the Lord).That Cosntitution endures as India remains the finest example of a Democracy in the non Western world.

The Indian constitution established 7.5 % jobs reservation in Government jobs and educational institutes at a college and masters level only for lowest and most educationally backward castes ( hence called scheduled castes), 15 % jobs reservation in Government jobs only for tribal people ( hence called scheduled tribes). The provision is renewed every 10 years. Think of it as a constitutionallu bound affirmative action.

In 1990, another 27.5 % of jobs and educational seats were reserved for castes that were socially okay but educationally backward. This caused some riots, delays, political actions, but was finally implemented by 2007.

Opponents of the new affirmative action say that this is like doing two wrongs to make a right. Supporters say data proves that reservation has led to social advancement ( especially in the State of Tamil Nadu).Rollback of the new system is a political impossibilty thanks to unity among hitherto repressed classes.

As an upper caste Hindu ( embarassingly enough my caste is both a warrior and a kingly royal caste , which gives me zero benefit in 2010 AD)……..

In God we Trust..All others must bring Data.

Unfortunately, when it comes to politics the same data is either hidden, partially hidden, or interpreted in different ways especially with regards to projecting sampling error or decisions.

Phew…!! That was an analytical layman definition of the Indian Caste System over 2000 years.

Note- The Indian soldier caste is Kshatriyas not Kshatritas..