open free world

thought provoking tidbits collected from here and there...

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Oops!!! AdSense is senseless...

Google AdSense got it all wrong. My blog has nothing to do with Hinduism or Yagnas or Homams or Poojas. May be my post Aryan Invasion: History or Politics? foxed them. Hmmm... they need to work more on their algorithm.

Racism NG

New Generation Racism has come of Age. Meet Mr. Steve Sailer, a reporter, movie critic for The American Conservative, columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute. A perfect example of Racism joining hands with capitalism and corporatism. See it in action.

Sailer writes in his article A Buyout Option For Europe's Muslims?...
A push-pull policy could be very effective in getting Muslims to go away. European countries should combine the push of a crackdown on welfare and crime with the pull of a buy-out offer. Returning to the Old Country with a sizable nest egg would be alluring to many who haven't assimilated into the European middle class.

A buy-out program, paying Muslims who are legal residents of European countries to emigrate, could be a huge bargain compared to more rioting, terrorism, crime, and multiculturalism.

Offer Muslim residents, say, $25,000 each to go away. Permanently.

A family of five festering in the slums of Paris, Rotterdam, and Birmingham could live in North Algeria, Pakistan, or Indonesia like local gentry if they had $125,000 in the bank! Of course, not all Muslims would accept the buy-out, but those who stayed behind would tend to be the more satisfied and less troublesome. At $25,000 each, for every million Muslims who leave, the one-time cost to the taxpayers would be $25 billion.

For the Dutch, who have about one million Muslims resident, the gross cost would be just over 5% of one year's GDP ($481 billion in 2004). (To get the net cost, you’d have to adjust for savings to the taxpayer like the cost of e.g. educating immigrant children. It might well turn out that this buy-out program is a fiscal boon).

Even if it took $50,000 each, that would still only be one percent of the Netherland's GDP per year for merely a decade.

That’s a cheap price for solving the country's worst problem.

When a business finds it hired the wrong people, it often determines that paying them to go away is better for all concerned that letting them hang around. Europe must now know that it brought in too many of the wrong kind of people. It should act like a responsible corporation and pay them to leave.
There are even better examples...
Mass Immigration vs. The Arts

Sure, cross-cultural fertilization can inspire artistic breakthroughs -- but it can happen without mass immigration, through the media and travel. In fact, mass immigration can hurt cultural artistic development by crowding out the immigration of those few individuals with elite skills.

Racial Reality And The New Orleans Nightmare

Judging from their economic and educational statistics, New Orleans' blacks are not even an above-average group of African-Americans, such as you find in Atlanta or Seattle, but more like Miami's or Milwaukee's. About half are below the poverty line. With the national black average IQ around 85, New Orleans' mean black IQ would probably be in the lower 80s or upper 70s.

And of course nobody, despite what they may say, is all that much startled that, when the city's whites and more prosperous and/or foresightful blacks left, New Orleans quickly turned into its demographic analog, Haiti—where 2004's Tropical Storm Jeanne unleashed similar mayhem and chaos.

In contrast to New Orleans, there was only minimal looting after the horrendous 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan—because, when you get down to it, Japanese aren't blacks. For example, the per capita imprisonment rate for Asian-Americans is about 1/30th that of African-Americans.

Nor is it surprising that the black refugees at the Superdome and the convention center failed to get themselves organized to make conditions more livable. Poor black people seldom cooperate well with each other because they don't trust other blacks much, for the perfectly rational reason that they commit large numbers of crimes against each other. But if all these disasters in New Orleans should have been expected, why did nobody at any level of government act as if they expected them?

Because to anticipate the problems would require noticing that racial differences are relevant. And that can ruin one's career.
There are more... checkout yourself... but get a antidote before you venture into those terrains.

Consumerism - some futile thoughts

It was by mere accident I came across this article on "How much is Enough?".
"At a recent conference on alternative economics, I happened to sit at dinner with a man who had done our New Road Map Foundation course, Transforming Your Relationship With Money and Achieving Financial Independence. He told me this story about his own struggle to discover just how much was enough for him.

From time to time he goes to a rural monastery for a silent retreat. Meals are provided by the monks. The many acres of wooded land are laced with walking trails. There are several small sanctuaries with just a chair or two. Each room has a bed, a desk, a chair, a lamp, and no more. The atmosphere is one of silence and peace. On one retreat he asked himself, "If I knew that everyone in the world would have enough if I had only this much, would this be enough for me?" The answer was a clear "yes."

While all of us at the table could identify with the simplicity of that vision, we went on to discuss what things we might add to support not only our spiritual nature, but our work and sense of community as well. A telephone. Certain books. Certain files. Another chair for a guest. A computer, perhaps. The more we added, the more difficult it was to draw the line. Where did necessity end and excess begin?

Through my public speaking on personal economics, I come in contact with many people who are sufficiently awake to the needs of the world to have asked themselves that same question, "How much is enough for me?" So many of them, even those who speak out about the inequities and insanity of our consumer culture, feel they fall far short of the mark in practicing what they preach. They confess their "sins of luxury" to me with everything from sheepishness to painful guilt."
Wikipedia says...
...In many critical contexts the term Consumerism is used to describe the tendency of people to identify strongly with products or services they consume, especially those with commercial brand names and obvious status-enhancing appeal, e.g. an expensive automobile, rich jewellery. It is a pejorative term which most people deny, having some more specific excuse or rationalization for consumption other than the idea that they're "compelled to consume".
This made me remember a verbal fight I had with a friend of mine about "the effect of advertisements on human mind". He believed that advertisements / promotions offered a great platform for the consumer to choose what he wants. I argued that the consumer's wasn't choosing, but he was made to choose, that his "need" was created, that the "demand" was created to augment "supply" which in turn augments "production". And that it was a capitalist agenda and that we need to be aware of the politics behind it. He said the whole process had nothing to do with politics. I knew I was pouring "anti-consumerism" into deaf ears and that he was one among those millons or billions who never knew that politics was interfering in their life.
"If you don't interfere in politics, politics will interfere in your life" - Lenin

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Aryan Invasion: History or Politics?

I was going through some blogs which celebrated the "myth of aryan invasion", that the hindus are no more descendents of alien invaders in light of Stephen Oppenheimer's Out of Africa human origins and DNA research and the subsequent "cyber" attack on Romila Thaper et al on promoting the "Aryan tourist" theory. I am no historian, and do not have any credentials to peep into the subject and opine. And I am no Romila Thapar fan, jumping in to justify her. But I would like to point out some facts which I have noticed while "googling" on the issue and turn everyone's focus into "politicising history".

1) In "The Aryan Question revisited", a lecture delivered at JNU in 1999, Romila Thapar opines that "Aryan" is a linguistic term.

"The term Aryan itself is derived from 2 sources. There is a very famous ancient text from Iran, the Avesta, which is linked to the religion of Zoroaster, what is known these days and practised virtually only by the Parsis. The Avesta which was probably written at approximately the same time as the Rigveda uses the term 'airiya' for describing the authors of the text. The authors refer to themselves as 'airiya' from which of course later on you get Iran. And the Rigveda uses the term Arya. So taking both these terms into consideration it was decided that this new language and these new people were to be called Aryan. Now the nineteenth century scholars, this includes people like Max Muller were fully aware that language and race are different things and yet frequently they confused languages with the race and equated them. And that is where in many ways the problem arises. They talked about an Aryan race on the basis of people speaking the same languages. Strictly speaking they should be speaking not about the Aryans but about the Aryan speaking people. But since this is an awkward phrase to use it got cut down to the Aryans. It ceased to be just a language label and became a label for a racial entity as well. The difference between language and race is enormous. The two cannot be equated...
2) She supported the idea of a graduated migration of Aryan-speaking people from the Indo-Iranian borderlands into north-western India.

"The Avesta which is the text of the Zoroastrians written in old Iranian, which is the language which is cognate with, parallel to, close to, related to, Vedic Sanskrit, refers to three place names - Harahwati, Harayu, Haptahindu. Now the old Iranian changes Vedic "s" into "h", consistently. Whatever begins with an "s" in Vedic Sanskrit, changes into an "h" in old Iranian. So Harahwati is in fact Saraswati and the Avesta describes it as a river in the Helmand area of Afghanistan. … The Harayu is therefore the Sarayu, also a river in Afghanistan. Haptahindu is Saptasindhu and it is said in the Avesta that the Aryans, the Aireyas, migrated eastwards to various lands and they list 16 and the last of these is the Haptahindu, Saptasindhu. So the complication is that when we say the Rig Veda is referring to the Saraswati, and the Indus-Sarasvati civilization, - it challenges the whole basis of the location of the Harappan civilization. In fact, we have these developments taking place in Baluchistan and the Northwest and then later on in Gujarat and Saurashtra there is again the evolution from village settlements into urban centres and the urbanization is Harappan urbanization...

...the links between India and Iran, the links between the Rgveda and the Avesta. The Avesta consists of two sections, the gatha section which is the earlier section, and the Yashta and Vendidad which are the later sections. It is now dated to about 1400 BC and could therefore be a contemporary text with the Rgveda. The languages are cognates and there is much similarity in syntax and vocabulary. Those who I have referred to as the Airia and the Arya are the ones who speak these languages. They are grammatically very close and the sounds, the phonetic closeness is also very apparent. For example, I mentioned that the H and the S are interchangeable, so in the Avesta you have references to the Airia and the Daha which is the Dasa, and Dahyu which is the Dasyu. They are not mentioned as being black skinned. They are simply mentioned as being people in the neighbourhood. You have the hotar in the Avesta, you have the hotr and the hotar in fact in the Rgveda. You also have zautar because the z and h are interchangeable. So the Vedic hiranya becomes the Iranian zaranya and the atharavan of the Avesta is the atharvan of the Veda, the Mithra of the Avesta is the Mitra of the veda. And so on.

... So the theory has been put forward that when the Iranian speaking people were living in Iran there was a split and one section moved off into Afghanistan and India and it is this section that created the language of Indo- Aryans. So the argument is that there was a split and a reversal. That is, everything that the Iranians believed in, the groups that began to move away believed in the opposite. They reversed as it were the concepts and possibly it is this reversal of concepts, it would seem, that arrived in India. The Avesta is also depicting a society of cattle keepers and the great honour given to the horse, the aspa. There is a closeness then of old Iranian and Indo Aryan, a closeness which is also expressed in the fact that the only two Indo European speaking cultures that have the cult of the soma plant, which is called the haoma in the Avestan, are the Iranians and the Indians. This cult does not exist amongst other Indo European speaking people. Therefore there is in fact a very close link between them."
3) People portraying her as the propogator of "Aryan Invasion" (in the racial sense) may have not really gone through her works. In her own words "they do not believe in reading the books of those whom they accuse of having incorrect ideas on history".

"The Aryan question is the probably most complex, complicated question in the Indian history. And it requires very considerable expertise in handling both the sources of the questions that arise. The expertise consists of knowing something about at least four different fields... and understand the inter relationships between these disciplines, I am always amazed and surprised that so many people, totally untrained in any of these disciplines rush to make statements about the Aryans. Whether it is the media, newspapers, popular books, whatever it may be everybody imagines that they are experts on the Aryans. And you get an absolutes mass of total nonsense that comes on. .... Today it is the case of the newspapers or the Sunday glossy magazine that tells you that so and so has deciphered the Indus script and everybody says 'ho gaya' - it's been deciphered. Nobody asks the question what is the evidence for this decipherment? So do remember that it is a question, which is politically highly charged. Remember that in all situations of nationalism, whether it be anti colonial secular nationalism or whether it be religious nationalism, the issue of origins and identities becomes a very major issue. Many a battle is fought over the question of origins and identities. So it is politically charged, it is sensational on the media..."
Advances in science may or may not prove history wrong. New history may be discovered. But you never get "his-story" in its purest form. Your get a manipulated, interpreted, mutated, distorted version. It has been happening, it will continue to happen. George Bush the Lesser may go down into the history as the liberator of mankind on account of "War on terrorism". Open your eyes in resistence.

Read the Rediff interview of Romila Thapar in which she opposes saffronisation of history.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Tenzin Tsundue

Tenzin Tsundue, the restless young man is the voice of a community in exile, Tibetans. Go through his essays and poems to know how a Tibetan feels.
"The Tibetan freedom struggle in exile has been more symbolic than confrontational. in the past 40 years from outside Tibet, all we have achieved is presenting the real Tibet to the world - as a country where real people of flesh and blood, with the same ability to feel pain and anger, live. We have been able to demystify Tibet from the cliched idea of a land of lamas who walk two inches off the ground. But the freedom struggle seems to have stopped growing from the zenith of sympathy we reached when His Holiness the Dalai Lama received the Nobel Peace Prize for peace in 1989.

I hear that in Tibet it is difficult to find trustworthy friends. Every other person may be a spy for the Chinese. They whisk away freedom fighters in the dark of night and their dead bodies resurface in the outskirts of the town. Tibetans are a minority in their country. Tibet reels under a cloud of terror and oppression."

From Ladakh
Tibet is just a gaze away.
They said:
from that black knoll
at Dumtse, it's Tibet.
For the first time, I saw
my country Tibet.

In a hurried hidden trip,
I was there, at the mound.

I sniffed the soil,
scratched the ground,
listened to the dry wind
and the wild old cranes.

I didn't see the border,
I swear there wasn't anything
different, there.

I didn't know,
if I was there or here.
I didn't know,
if I was here or there.

They say the kyangs
come here every winter.
They say the kyangs
go there every summer.


Thirty-nine years in exile.
Yet no nation supports us.
Not a single bloody nation!

We are refugees here.
People of a lost country.
Citizen to no nation.

Tibetans: the world's sympathy stock.
Serene monks and bubbly traditionalists;
one lakh and several thousand odd,
nicely mixed, steeped
in various assimilating cultural hegemonies.

At every check-post and office,
I am an "Indian-Tibetan".
My Registration Certificate,
I renew every year, with a salaam.
A foreigner born in India.

I am more of an Indian.
Except for my Chinky Tibetan face.
"Nepali?" "Thai?" "Japanese?"
"Chinese?" "Naga?" "Manipuri?"
but never the question – "Tibetan?"

I am Tibetan.
But I am not from Tibet.
Never been there.
Yet I dream
of dying there.


My father died
defending our home,
our village, our country.
I too wanted to fight.
But we are Buddhist.
People say we should be
Peaceful and Non-Violent.
So I forgive our enemy.
But sometimes I feel
I betrayed my father.

A Generation is waking up

Recently I came across the site, an international student movement for free culture. Their manifesto says...
"The mission of the Free Culture movement is to build a bottom-up, participatory structure to society and culture, rather than a top-down, closed, proprietary structure. Through the democratizing power of digital technology and the Internet, we can place the tools of creation and distribution, communication and collaboration, teaching and learning into the hands of the common person -- and with a truly active, connected, informed citizenry, injustice and oppression will slowly but surely vanish from the earth.

We believe that culture should be a two-way affair, about participation, not merely consumption. We will not be content to sit passively at the end of a one-way media tube. With the Internet and other advances, the technology exists for a new paradigm of creation, one where anyone can be an artist, and anyone can succeed, based not on their industry connections, but on their merit."
After reading the manifesto one can easily figure out that the founders of this movement are highly influenced by the free software, open source movements. If one can spend some time on the internet searching for sites similar to these... he/she is bound to be overwhelmed.,, are some of them. If you are a book worm never miss out, there are over 17,000 free eBooks in their repository.

And never be content to sit passively at the end of the one-way media tube, bring out the artist/journalist/writer/activist or whatever in you. Take back the web, take back the world.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Why I love Osho

"Whenever there is a crisis of identity, whenever people don’t know who they are, whenever the past loses its grip, whenever people are uprooted from the traditional, whenever the past no longer seems relevant, this crisis arises, a great crisis of identity — who are we? what are we supposed to do?

This opportunity can turn into a curse too, if you fall victim to some Adolf Hitler; but this curse can become a great opening into the unknown if you are fortunate enough to be in the vicinity of a buddha. If you are fortunate enough to be in love with a buddha, your life can be transformed.

People who are still rooted in tradition, and who think they know what is right and what is wrong, will never come to a buddha. They will continue to live their life — the routine life, the dull, the dead life. They will go on fulfilling their duties as their forefathers used to do. For centuries they have been following a track and they will go on following that trodden track.

Of course, when you follow a trodden track, you feel certain — so many people have walked on it. But when you come to a buddha and you start moving into the unknown, there is no highway, no trodden path. You will have to make your own path by walking; the path will not be found readymade.

I can give you encouragement to move on your own, I can trigger a process of inquiry in you; but I will not give you a system of thought, I will not give you any certainty. I will only give you a pilgrimage...a pilgrimage which is hazardous, a pilgrimage which has millions and millions of pitfalls, a pilgrimage in which you will have to face more and more dangers every day, a pilgrimage that will take you to the top of human consciousness, to the fourth state. But the higher you go, the more is the danger of falling.

I can only promise you a great adventure, risky, dangerous, with no promise that you will attain it — because the unknown cannot be guaranteed."
Osho doesn't tell you to follow the tradition, he doesn't give you a system of thought. That is why I love Osho.

Condoms and Religion

The spread of HIV and Aids in Africa should be tackled through fidelity and abstinence and not by condoms, Pope Benedict XVI has said.

He was addressing bishops from South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland, Namibia and Lesotho, who had travelled to the Vatican for a routine papal audience. The Pope warned that contraception was one of a host of trends contributing to a "breakdown in sexual morality", and church teachings should not be ignored.

"It is of great concern that the fabric of African life, its very source of hope and stability, is threatened by divorce, abortion, prostitution, human trafficking and a contraception mentality,"

The UN estimates that without new initiatives and greater access to drugs, more than 80 million Africans may die from Aids by 2025 and HIV infections could reach 90 million, or 10% of the continent's population.

hmmmm....whether people die or live, long live laws of religion, Amen.

Another Republic Day

The other day I was reading The Unending Emergency at by Mukundan C Menon, a Human rights activist from Kerala who passed away recently.
"In the strict sense state violations of human rights in independent India’s first 55 years far surpassed those unleashed by the British rulers during two centuries of their colonial rule. If one finds this hard to believe, consider the following: The foremost State violation in British India was the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre of 1919 where the British forces, led by General Dyer, used .202 rifles. British army tanks never turned against our freedom fighters. However, it was independent India’s army tanks that fired the first cannons on our civilians – at the Golden Temple in Amritsar when Indira Gandhi was in power – in June 1984. The British air force never bombed the freedom fighters, but such bombings were carried out against the agitating Nagas who were led by Z.A.Phizo in the early 1960s when Nehru was at the helm of affairs.

There is a similar analogy when India ‘celebrated’ the 30th anniversary of the 1975-77 emergency recently. The three decades of the post-emergency period witnessed more human rights violations than those in the emergency period. Interestingly, all the forms of the major atrocities during the emergency period are still prevailing in different parts of India. Worse still, these are haunting us without a formal declaration of emergency. Apparently it is the unwillingness of our democratic milieu to take proper corrective steps that forces us to survive in an atmosphere of undeclared emergency."
Connect this with what Arundhati Roy said in a speech on "Some uncomfortable thoughts about money, war, empire, racism, and democracy".
"Speaking for myself, I'm no flag-waver, no patriot, and am fully aware that venality, brutality, and hypocrisy are imprinted on the leaden soul of every state."

Masanobu Fukuoka

I am very thankful to my friend who introduced me to Masanobu Fukuoka. It was a rewarding experience to know his way of Natural farming. And I am amazed by his understanding of politics, read the following to have an idea.
"I think the world is coming to a very dangerous point. The United States has the power to destroy the world but also to help the world. I wonder if people in this country realize that the United States is helping the people in Somalia but also killing them. Making them grow coffee, sugar and giving them food. The Japanese government is the same way. It gives them clothes, and the Italian government gives them macaroni. The United States is trying to make them bread eaters. The people in Ethiopia cook rice, barley and vegetables. They are happy being small farmers. The United States government is telling them to work, work, like slaves on a big farm, growing coffee. The United States is telling them that they can make money and be happy that way."
Never miss out on an opportunity to read his books if you love nature.