Journal : Weather, Labour, Capital…India

It was cool yesterday, the air comfortably crisp. I shut off the bedside fan but did not opt for the thin cover resting on the backrest of foldable chair. In the morning, even the overhead fan was unnecessary, with the tea cup steaming up its flavours. The problems of an older body had receded from my attention.

Why I do not stand with the communists, socialists and all those stridently on the left, is not as much of a mystery as my open empathy for much of what they call for would suggest. People on the margins, the poor and the weak, need those voices to champion their cause : for them to be heard in corridors of power and wealth, by men who could make a difference by their attitude, priority and decision.

However, for very personal values, I do not stand with the lot releasing those welcome notes : one, high in effect, is my pathological disagreement with making a career out of it, howsoever slight; secondly, far from endorsing their animosity for capital, I actually oppose their lack of appreciation of how businesses serve the very constituency leftists represent. And finally, not only do I find myself incapable of a definitive interpretation of history but am loathe at pre-empting it. History will be what it will be, only after we have put ourselves into its motions today.

I compulsorily oppose transgressions that ride on the power of wealth, emblemised in the american kind, but not the entrepreneurship that is universal, that all men and women have in their spirit to help themselves up at gathering capital, helping and taking the help of others along their way. Everybody appreciates labour and ability, and there’s no way an entrepreneur would not. To grudge the promoter’s disproportionate power and rights to decision-making is a non sequitur.

People who have taken the risk with their own money, who have paid others to engage them at their works where there was none, cannot be deprived of our trust just because they have made good ! I have issues with inheritance but there it is, entrenched and raised tall on laws that grant our freedoms. The issues with the inheritors however are more severe and statistically valid : they strut about more on the power of what they have than on the entrepreneurship which built it all up in the first place.

But, in summary, I am not pulling down anyone or anything except as the law allows. That I will beat upon the doors of politicians with my life, to change those laws, is another matter.

Thanks to democracy as we practise here, in India.

India And Japan

Prime Minister Modi’s ongoing visit to Japan is about a new partnership between the two countries. Japan is already a top investor in India, even if China is the leading bilateral trade partner. There are over 1000 Japanese companies in India, and a very significant surge in their number is sure to follow in coming months.

Both the prime ministers at the scheduled bilateral summit are unabashed nationalists and have a hard nose for filling their agenda with decisions that back their vision for their respective countries. Abe and Modi are expected to strengthen security ties and finalise a framework for defence coordination. Supply of US-2 amphibian search and rescue aircraft to India has been discussed since December last and the Abe administration has eased the nation’s long-held ban on weapons exports, including technology transfers, in April this year. The two leaders are expected to continue joint maritime drills in addition to trilateral ones with the United States, possibly on a regular basis.

But the calling of “two major maritime democracies in Asia” is expected to affirm their willingness to work in tandem at ensuring a “peaceful and stable maritime order” to curb Beijing’s increasing activity in the East and South China seas, as well as in the Indian Ocean. Effectively, it is to halt and displace the ambitious Russia – China strategy emerging over the region, largely through an aggressive and belligerent show of power than a genuine desire at cultural appreciation,  economic and technological largesse and trade turnover.

It is a larger shared perspective for the East, South East and South Asia region at work between them. The summit itself coincides with much else : the just concluded visits of India’s Foreign Minister to Bangladesh and Myanmar, Indian President’s call on Vietnam later in September, and the coming visits by Prime Minister Abe to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. An agreement to meet Japan’s most crucial need for rare earth materials has already been signed with India, which is likely to ship over 2000 tonnes by February next year. It is to grow up to 4000 tonnes per year, a substantial bailout considering the intransigence shown by China — Japan’s major supplier — in recent months.

A nuclear deal will be discussed over the table, if not concluded, alongwith availability for huge funds by Japan for a whole array of India’s infrastructure projects, the scale of which is likely to arrest the global attention with surprise. The next week’s developments would also forge a convergence among all countries to the east of india and to the south of Japan.

The India – Japan summit could spell a remarkable momentum to peace and stability, growth and properity, in east, south and south-east Asia.



Manu Smriti : An Amazing Origin

I have chanced upon this remarkable reduction of Manu Smriti @ … The treatise contains a set of codified, socially agreed laws to regulate human society, right through the reigns of successive Solar dynasty kings upto Rama Daasratha of Ayodhya and thereafter, until the rise of Lunar dynasts that came to overwhelm the subcontinental firmament around the Mahabharata times.

The laws, framed anytime between 12000 – 8000 BC at the origin of Sanatan civilisation, seem astoshnishingly contemporary except for contradictory portions that appear to have been appended later, perhaps after the dominance of Solar kings was on the wane and during the chaos of several rising Lunar principalities around 4000 – 3000 BC.

The entire text can be accessed @

DR VIVEK ARYA helpfully points out … (Manu 2/8)

“But a learned man after full scrutiny with the eye of knowledge should perform his duties in accord with the intent of the revealed texts.”

The exhortation encourages due situational analysis and agreeability with values prevailing in the age.

Let us then inquire into the common unfavourable perception that the Smriti text supports casteism, inferior status of women, meat eating, etc. The book is considered by many as having a bias in favour of the upper castes and is often selectively quoted to establish that women were an inferior gender, to be chastised and put down, and that casteism was prevalent in Vedic times.

Swami Dayanand, the great Vedic scholar of the 19th Century, writes : “I believe in that part of Manu Smriti which is not interpolated (appended later) and is in accord with the Vedas.” He concludes that the Manu Smriti we read today is not as originally laid down by Swayambhu  Manu, the first Chief of Humanity. As it now is, he found the text as self contradictory and against the values espoused in Vedas, and hence injudicious. He therefore rejects those prejudicial texts which advocate discrimination against populations with alleged inferior status.

Let us look up the text itself pertaining to women and the “lower” castes …

Smriti Text … On Women

3/56. Where women are honoured, there the gods are pleased; but where they are not, no sacred rite yields the desired result.

9/26. Women who bear (our) children secure many blessings (for the family and the society at large); they are worthy of worship, who suffuse (their) dwellings with prosperity; there is no difference between them and goddesses of good fortune.

2/138. Way must be made for a man in a carriage, one who is above ninety years old, who is diseased, who carries a burden, and for a woman, the learned, the king and for a bridegroom.

3/114. A person may offer food without hesitation, even before serving the guests in one’s house, to newly-married women, infants, the sick, and to pregnant women.

3/60. Where the husband is pleased with his wife and the wife with her husband, happiness will assuredly be lasting in such families.

3/62. Where the wife is radiant and happy, the whole house is heaven-like; but if she is unhappy, all will appear as hell.

3/59. Hence, men who seek (their own) welfare, should always honour women on holidays and festivals with (gifts of) ornaments, clothes and  food (as desired by them).

3/55. Women must be honoured and well – adorned by their fathers, brothers, husbands and brothers-in-law, who desire (their own) welfare.

9/13. These six causes spell ruin for women : drinking (spirituous liquor), associating with wicked people, separating from their husbands, rambling abroad, sleeping (at unseasonable hours), and dwelling with other men.

3/57. Where the female relatives live in grief, the family wholly perishes soon; where they are not unhappy, the family ever prospers.

3/58. Houses perish completely, as if destroyed by magic, on which female relatives pronounce a curse, upon not being duly honoured.

9/28. Upon one’s wife alone depends the welfare of the offsprings, due and fruitful performance of religious rites, faithful service of all in the family, superior conjugal happiness and the blissful existence of our ancestors in heaven and of ourself.

4/180. Let no man quarrel with his parents, his female relatives, brothers, his son and his wife, and with his daughter and his servants.

8/389. Neither a mother nor a father, nor a wife nor a son shall be cast off; unless guilty of a crime causing loss of caste (or social status earned over one’s lifetime), he who casts them off shall be fined six hundred (panas).

9/130. A daughter, who is even (as) oneself, (such a daughter) is equal to a son; how can another (heir) take the family estate, while such (an appointed daughter who is even as oneself) lives ?

9/131. The property of the mother is the share of the unmarried daughter alone and the son of an (appointed) daughter shall take the whole estate of (his maternal grandfather) who leaves no son of his own.

9/192. But when the mother has passed away, all uterine brothers and sisters shall have equal share of their mother’s estate.

Smriti Text … On Marraige and Remarraige (Of Women)

9/176. If she be (still) a virgin or has returned (to her first husband) after leaving him, such a woman is worthy to again perform the (nuptial) ceremony with her second (or first deserted) husband.

9/90. Three years let a damsel wait, though she is marriageable; but after that time let her choose for herself a bridegroom of her choice.

9/89. (But) the maiden should rather stay in (her father’s) house until death, though marriageable, than that be given to a man without good qualities.

8/28. In like manner, care must be taken of barren women and those who have no sons, as of those whose family is extinct, of wives and widows faithful to their lords, and of women afflicted with disease.

8/29. A righteous king must punish those relatives who appropriate the property of such females during their lifetime, as is due to thieves.

3/52. But those (male) relations who, in their folly, live on their woman’s property, their beasts of burden, carriages and clothes, commit sin and will sink into hell.

8/367. But if any man through insolence forcibly contaminates a maiden, two of his fingers shall be instantly cut off and he shall pay a fine of six hundred (panas).

8/323. Men stealing from a noble family, especially women, and precious gems, deserve corporal (or capital) punishment.

8/352. Men who commit adultery with wives of others, the king shall cause to be marked by punishments which cause terror, and they shall be banished thereafter.

9/232. The king shall put to death forgers of royal edicts, those who corrupt his ministers, who slay women, infants, (learned) Brahmins, and those who serve his enemies.

 9/96. Women were created to be mothers and men to be fathers; religious rites, therefore, are ordained in the Veda to be performed (by the husband) together with the wife.

4/149. She must not seek to separate herself from her father, husband, or sons; by leaving them she would make both (her own and her husband’s) families contemptible.

Contradictory Provisions In Smriti Appended Later …

2/213. It is the nature of women to seduce men in this (world); for that reason the wise are never unguarded in (the company of) females.

5/ 154. Though destitute of virtue, or seeking pleasure (elsewhere), or devoid of good qualities, (yet) a husband must be constantly worshipped as a god by a faithful wife.

5/ 157. At her pleasure let her emaciate her body by (living on) pure flowers, roots, and fruit; but she must never even mention the name of another man after her husband has died.

9/ 17. (When creating them) Manu allotted to women (a love of their) bed, (of their) seat and (of) ornament, impure desires, wrath, dishonesty, malice, and bad conduct.

As against these, Manu Smriti mentions equal status, good conduct, equal rights, freedom of choice and the right to remarriage.

Clearly, these interpolations are to be rejected.

Smriti Text … On The Under Privileged

Manu proposes varn vyastha — which was based on merit and not on account of one’s birth.

2/157. As an elephant made of wood, as an antelope made of leather, such is an unlearned Brahmana; those three have nothing but the names (devoid of virtues respective to their kind).

2/28. This (human) body is made fit for (union with) Brahman by study of the Vedas, by vows, by burnt oblations, by (recitation of) sacred texts, by (acquisition of the) threefold sacred science, by offering (to gods, sages and manes), by (procreation of) sons, by great sacrifices, and by (the Srauta) rites 

(The above texts lays the qualifications to be acquired, with great dedication and effort at specified works, in order to become a Brahmin, and not merely by being born to a Brahmin father.) 

The varn of a person (caste or status in society) was decided after completion of his education.

Two births were considered for a person in Vedic period : first, when he was born to his parents, and, next, when he completed his education with due thoroughness. It was after second birth (twice born) that the varn of person was determined.

The following text from Manu Smriti makes it even more clear.

2/148. But that birth which a teacher acquainted with Vedas entire, in accordance with the law, procures for him (the student) through the Savitr (Sun), is real and exempt from his birth, age or death.

2/146. Between him to whom one is physically born and him who gives (the knowledge of) the Vedas, the giver of the Veda is the more venerable father; for birth through arising in the knowledge of the Veda (ensures) eternal (reward) both in this (life) and that (afterlife).

A person who remained uneducated and devoid of the knowledge of Vedas was considered a Shudra.

That is, the Shudra varn was not based on birth but on merit.

10/4. Brahmana, Kshatriya and the Vaisya castes (Varna) are twice-born (educated) but the fourth, the Shudra, has one birth only; there is no fifth (caste).

2/172. He who has not been initiated with teaching of the Vedas is like a Shudra.

Manu also advises not to insult a person of lower Varna.

4/141. Let him not insult those who have redundant limbs or are deficient in limbs, nor those destitute of knowledge, nor very aged men, nor those who have no beauty or wealth, nor those who are of low birth.

Why Manu started varn vyastha?

1/31. But for the sake of the prosperity of the worlds he caused the Brahmana, the Kshatriya, the Vaisya and the Shudra varn origin in form of the body of the society : as its mouth, its arms, its thighs and its feet, respectively.

(Only the ignorant consider the shudra as being originated from the feet of god.)

1/87. But in order to protect this universe He (God), the most resplendent one, assigned separate (duties and) occupations to those as done in a body by mouth, arms, thighs, and feet.

1/88. To Brahmanas He assigned teaching and studying (the Vedas), sacrificing for their own benefit and for the welfare of others, giving and accepting (of alms).

1/89. The Kshatriya he commanded to protect the people, to bestow gifts, to offer sacrifices, to study (the Vedas), and to abstain from attaching himself to sensual pleasures;

1/90. The Vaisya to tend cattle, to bestow gifts, to offer sacrifices, to study (the Vedas), to trade, to lend money, and to cultivate the land.

1/91. One occupation only the Lord prescribed to the Shudra : to serve these (other) three castes.

Manu considered anyone who is without knowledge or capacity for skilled deeds as a Sudra; so any uneducated person is fit only for being in the service, under the guidance, of others who have the requisite knowledge and skills.

Isn’t that how we are organised even today ?

Manu also advises people to exert in order to acquire a higher varna, and change his or her allotted Varna.

The advisory leaves varn vyastha changeable, fluid, and not based on birth but on merit alone.

10/65. (Thus) a Shudra attains the rank of a Brahmana, and (in a similar manner) a Brahmana sinks to the level of a Shudra; and know that it is the same with the offspring of a Kshatriya or of a Vaisya.

9/335. (A Shudra who is) pure, accompanies his betters and is gentle in his speech, free from pride, and always seeks a refuge with Brahmanas, attains a higher Varna (Brahmana, Kshatriya or Vaisya) based on his qualities.

4/245. A Brahmana who always connects himself with the most excellent (ones), and shuns all inferior ones, (himself) becomes most distinguished; by an opposite conduct he becomes a Shudra.

Is it not said : the company one keeps makes a man better or worse ? 

2/103. But he who does not worships in morning, nor in the evening, is like a Shudra and he shall be excluded, just like a Shudra, from all the duties and rights of an Arya (one of noble qualities).

2/168. A twice-born man who, not having studied the Vedas, applies himself to other (and worldly study), soon falls, even while living, to the condition of a Shudra; and so do his descendants (after him).

2/126. A Brahmana who does not know the form of returning a salutation, they must not be saluted by a learned man; they must be considered as a Shudra.

A Sudra too can teach the other castes.

2/238. He who possesses faith may receive pure learning even from a man of lower caste (Shudra), the highest law even from the lowest, and an excellent wife even from a base family.

2/241. It is prescribed that in times of distress (a student) may learn (the Vedas) from one who is not a Brahmana; and that he shall walk behind and serve (such a) teacher, as long as the instruction lasts.

Superior rights given by Manu to shudras.

2/136. Wealth, kindred, age, (the due performance of) rites, and, fifthly, sacred learning are titles to respect; but each later-named (cause) is more weighty (than the preceding ones).

2/137. Whatever man of the three (higher) castes possesses most of those five, both in number and degree, that man is worthy of honour among them; and (so is) also a Shudra who has entered the tenth (decade of his life).

In above text Manu gives respect to any Shudra who is in tenth decade of life.

That is, anybody who lives long enough transcends the varna vyavastha.

3/116. After the Brahmanas, the kinsmen, and the servants have dined, the householder and his wife may afterwards eat of what remains.

Householders are advised by Manu to dine after sudras or the servants !

8/335. Neither a father, nor a teacher, nor a friend, nor a mother, nor a wife, nor a son, nor a domestic priest must be left unpunished by a king, if they do not keep within their duty.

8/336. Where another common man would be fined one karshapana, the king shall be fined one thousand; that is the settled rule.

8/337. In (a case of) theft the guilt of a Shudra shall be eightfold, that of a Vaisya sixteen fold, that of a Kshatriya two-and-thirtyfold …

8/338. … that of a Brahmana sixty-fourfold, or quite a hundredfold, or (even) twice four-and-sixtyfold; (each of them) knowing the nature of the offence.

Manu advises strict punishment for a higher varna : punishing the Brahman many times more than a lower varn, say, a Shudra.

The above text is evidence of Manu’s unbiased social hierarchy and structure.

He considered a behavioural error as being more unpardonable in case of the learned one than for the ignorant.

Following are the examples of changing of varn vyastha in past.

Rishi Brahma, son Manu Swayambhu himself, was born to a Brahmana but became a Kshatriya king.

Manu’s eldest son, Priyavrat, became a king, a Kshatriya.

Out of Manu’s ten sons seven became kings while three became Brahmanas. Their names were Mahavir, Kavi and Savan. (Ref Bhagwat Puran Chap. 5)

Kavash Ailush was born to a Shudra and attained the highest varna of a Rishi. He became mantra-drashta to numerous hymns in Rig-Veda : 10th Mandal.

Jabala’s son, Satyakaam, born from unknown father became Rishi by his qualities.

Matang became a Rishi after his birth in low varna.

Maharishi Valmiki was born in inferior varna and became a Rishi.

Mahatma Vidur was born to a Dasi (maid) and became the prime minister to king Dhritarastra.

Raja Vishvanath, a Kshatriya, became a Brahmana – Rishi Vishwamitra.

There are many examples of varn vyastha to inferior level.

Ravan king of Lanka was son of a Brahmana Rishi Pultasya became a rakshasa.

Shri Ram’s ancestor, Raja Raghu’s son, Pravidh, was declared of inferior varna due to lack of qualities.

Shri Ram’s ancestor, Raja Samar’s son, Asmanjas, was declared a Shudra due to his bad qualities.

I leave the contradictory appended textsfor now … the ones that make the varna structure hard and fast, as indeed happened later.

Journal : Governance

What are some objective metrics for quality of governance ?

GDP (Gross Domestic Product) PPP (Purchasing P...

01 Number and Effectiveness of autonomous institutions directly accessible to public to lodge grievances, complaints, suggestions… pertaining to public admn personnel, machinery, policy and performance.

02 The Ratio of what it costs to avail basic necessities – food, clothes, shelter, health care, transportation –  to what is the avg per capita GDP.

03 True Unemployment ratio to employable pool available in different skill, education, age groups.

04 Price rise year -on-year compared to rise in income strata wise.

05 Satisfaction Level of the poorest strata with public welfare and distribution system.

06 Number of health care personnel per 1000 population nationally and region, area, locality wise.

07 Availability and Cost of justice … to common populace.

08 Period it takes to dispose judicial cases.

09 Backlog of cases pending in law courts.

10 Ease of filing FIR with police, its disposal period and rate of conviction.

And so it continues …

Gross Domestic Product
Gross Domestic Product (Photo credit: gothick_matt)

Journal : June 20, 2013

It’s a depressing morning.

The colossal calamity due Nature’s fury in Uttarakhand is heart wrenching and the global despair I read in outpourings of minds aware dumps me in darkness. In the celestial underground, Sisyphus eyes the rock before starting to heave against it, in order to roll it back up to the top of the hill.

*  *  *

Bank of America- Funding Coal, killing Communities

‘We Were Told To Lie,’

Say Bank Of America Employees

“The government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP),

which gave banks cash incentives to modify loans under certain standards,

was supposed to streamline the process and help up to 4 million struggling homeowners

(to date, active permanent modifications number about 870,000). In reality, Bank of America used it as a tool, say these former employees, to squeeze as much money as possible out of struggling borrowers before eventually foreclosing on them. Borrowers were supposed to make three trial payments before the loan modification became permanent; in actuality, many borrowers would make payments for a year or more, only to find themselves rejected for a permanent modification, and then owing the difference between the trial modification and their original payment.”

Six former employees and one contractor say Bank of America’s mortgage servicing unit consistently lied to homeowners, fraudulently denied loan modifications and offered bonuses to staff for intentionally pushing people into foreclosure.

The allegations were made in sworn statements added to a civil lawsuit filed in federal court in Massachusetts.

Have we evolved as yet
to having severely punishing laws
against Corporate lies and fraudulent behaviour ?

*  *  *

Call 1098, if you have after-party food that is likely to be wasted !

It’s the Child Helpline in India. They will come and collect the food. It’ll nourish the starved and the half-hungry; and, perhaps, inform him of how the more advantaged in society, in his very own country, live it off.

*  *  *

How Money Makes You Lie and Cheat

The Rich Are Different :

More Money, Less Empathy

Capitalism channelises bothe the strengths and failures of humanity. Unfortunately, the strengths are few; failures more severe and far too many.

But humanity’s misfortune does not end there. It quadruples with capitalist success; for then, they have concentrated the resources and the means of Surround Propaganda, to beat the dead horse to wonderful tunes of intoxicating music !

*  *  *

In my country …

English: Kedarnath Temple, Uttarakhand
Kedarnath Temple (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Several Thousands have been killed.

Hundreds of Thousands are stranded for days …

in Uttarakhand.

 ‘I watched my wife being swept away by the torrent’ …

Scores of entire villages have been washed away.

The venerated Kedarnath Temple site is back to how it was 500 years ago !

The catastrophe renders our political process so peurile.

The populist democracy has nothing in it to take up long-term interests of humanity.

Do we need an autocratic leadership then ? Yes, but in this very democratic and institutional set up.

English: Narendra Modi in Press Conference
Narendra Modi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We need a leader who strong and wise.

Which is why I regard Sudheendra Kulkarni’s eulogy for BJP‘s LK Advani,

his former boss and mentor, as trash;

his diatribe against Narendra Modi, the one leader I have come to trust for now,

is pure dickscum.

The fellow is making career out political brokering.

Then, there are these small minds who’ve begun their ‘aerial’ visits

and announcing a few ‘millions’ in assistance.

Typically Congressmen, who neither have the balls nor the intelligence

— a perfect mix for moral torpidity, corruption and debauchery.

It has taken the spine out of watchdog institutions,

the bureaucracy and a good part of judiciary.

The Congress leaders compare so vulgarly with the champions who’ve waded the ground with their personal presence, their hand and

RSS Flag
RSS Flag (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

provisions, medicines and relief. They are the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh

the RSS, who are the first and completely engaged with any national calamity anywhere.

Am I ‘Sanghi’ ? They don’t even know that I exist.

Or a ‘BJP’wala ? The answer is the same. I’ve never been anywhere close to them anytime in my life.

All that I observe and assess draws my empathy and affiliation. It political, not politics.

Hell, I would not even exactly agree with the slogan : India First …

If it also does not mean : People First ! That’s where my entire concern is anchored.


Banksters. Medication Killers.

A Cut From Charity

Today, one out of every seven people in America receive taxpayer-funded food stamps.

However, in what is society’s attempt to meet subsistence needs of people in dire situation, JP Morgan’s Christopher Paton told Bloomberg News that “food stamps are big business” for the big bank. Of course, without a hint of shame.

In an environment of welfare inefficiency and lucrative abuse, the poverty industry has a potentially toxic brew of corporate cronyism and government inefficiency that lets food stamp abuse enforcement slip through the bureaucratic cracks.

But how did EBT processors like JP Morgan land its lucrative half-billion dollars worth of contracts ? The GAI report, Profits From Poverty: How Food Stamps Make Corporations Money, says JP Morgan’s political donations to members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees (who oversee the food stamp program) skyrocketed once the bank entered the EBT market !

A convenient club of abusers, profiteers and corrupts, that apparently is above board.

Medication Drugs Kill …

Prescription opioid painkillers are responsible for more fatal overdoses in the U.S. than heroin and cocaine combined, according to a new study out of Brandeis University.

Opioid painkillers include prescription narcotics such as like Vicodin (hydrocodone), OxyContin (oxycodone), Opana (oxymorphone) and methodone.

“An epidemic of prescription drug abuse is devastating American families and draining state and federal time, money and manpower,” Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said in a press release.

Read more:

Sad ? Funny ? Tragic ? Progress, Development, GDP … WHAT ?
Community or Social failure, it sure is.

The Erudite Activist. Endearing Anarchist.


On Left Extremism, Justice And The Sustainability Crisis

With An Impassioned Appeal For Development

Mindful Of The Laws Of Thermodynamics !

Rahul Banerjee is an alumnus of my alma mater. He lives the rational life and his work has almost entirely been in causes that are upper-most in my heart – among the marginalised and the oppressed. You may know more about him from his blog @ and of his sight on diverse current issues from his page @

In one such interaction on Facebook that covered Left extremists and Sustainability issues, I found his views worthy of reiteration here, on my blog. He expresses well …

Compassion and respect, not extremism …

” One could be a tribal sympathiser, critical of Capitalism (not liberal democracy, mind you, which unfortunately has come to be associated with capitalism) and its rapacious destruction of the environment and society, especially that of the tribals, but sympathising with the poor and being critical of those who exploit and oppress them does not mean being sympathetic to the Maoists.

Rapacious Capitalism is a zero sum game …

“There are farmers who have become millionnaires in indore too, and in the vicinity of most cities, but these are still few in number compared to the total number of farmers in and around these cities. The statement holds good for India entire, where farming has become a loss making profession. Even America, which has become 95% urban by looting the whole world, will find it impossible to survive if it stops doing so. Its a zero sum game – urban prosperity for a few is built on misery for the many across the world. It’s an unpalatable truth that cannot be wished away by resorting to sophistry. Gurgaon is sinking under its own load and the day is not far when it will collapse !!

Yes, it’s a zero sum …

“We are going over the same ground again and again. The zero sum game is a very correct depiction of the natural world because it is based on the first and second laws of thermodynamics. I would advise you to do a deep study of those before suggesting me to read more sophistry based on neo-classical economics, which itself is based on unscientific assumptions. Simon’s book is dated and current exorbitantly rising prices of metals in particular, and commodities and food in general, have taken the bottom out of his reasoning. Anyway there is no point in continuing this debate because it is endless. We can debate with each other endlessly without agreeing, but we cannot do so with nature. The time is not far when nature will hit back with a vengeance… The present selfish mode of development is going to lead to disaster then there will be a reversion to communitarian, unselfish and egalitarian modes. If not, we will all perish !!

Tribal rights with self-rule …

“Not just tribal rights but tribal self-rule of a new kind, in which there is equality and justice for women; because the traditional tribal societies are highly patriarchal. Regarding Maoists, the best thing to do is to ignore them altogether. Their locus and modus operandi ensures they will remain peripheral to both the tribal and the country’s future. It is the Indian State, which continually mismanages its responses, that has led to the Maoists being able to do what they are doing.

Churchill’s Secret War, through wreaking famine …

“To understand this one will have to digress first a bit. Madhusree Mukerjee has written an excellent book called “Churchill’s Secret War”, in which she details on the basis of original historiography how the British Government, led by Churchill, deliberately caused the Great Bengal Famine of 1943 in which, according to conservative estimates, 3 million people were killed.

The Just Rebels, possessed and ruthless …

“What is more interesting in this book is her history of the Tamralipta Jatiya Sarkar. When the Quit India

English: Statue of Matangini Hazra on the Maid...
Matangini Hazra, Statue at Kolkata(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Movement was announced on 9th August 1942, the Gandhians in south Bengal region of Tamluk, led by Matangini Hazra, came out onto the streets in large numbers. The British response was to fire on them. Hazra and others died; many were arrested. Those who escaped their fate felt that there was only one way to respond to the British : set aside non-violent methods and take to an underground armed struggle.

“But the only way they could, with their rudimentary arms, was to fight a guerrilla war while ensuring that their movements were not reported to the British. So they conducted a hugely efficient programme of annihilating all the informers. So efficient was this programme that not only were all the informers eliminated but a pervasive fear was created among the people. Effectively, all information flow to the British stopped and the Tamralipta Jatiya Sarkar or Tamralipta “national government” was able to rule over their small region for three years. It was only after Gandhi came out of jail and admonished them for what they had done that they gave up their armed struggle and surrendered to the police in 1946.

Recent Darbha Ghati attack by Maoists …

“The important point that comes out of this story is that, for any guerrilla struggle to survive, the rebels

Nepalese Maoists
Nepalese Maoists (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

must eliminate all informers, present and potential. And this is what the Maoists have done very efficiently in rural areas; there is little information flow to the Indian State about their local movements. It is inconceivable that, in the recent attack, 200 heavily armed Maoists could have gathered in the Darbha Ghati just 30 kilometers from Jagdalpur without the local people knowing about it. But such is the fear of reprisal on informers by the Maoists that no information of this build up leaked to the police. All they had was an alert from the Centre that Maoist cadre were collecting in Bastar in large numbers for a strike, but nothing about where exactly this was to be executed. Saddled with this information blindness, the team that went to Sukma failed to follow Standard Operating Procedures yet again and came back along the same route, all in one group, and got annihilated. One is left wondering whether the security establishment dealing with the Maoists is a professional institution or a bunch of fools.

How the Maoists succeed …

“That the Maoists do not have an urban connection is a myth. Many politbureau members like Kobad Gandhi have been arrested from urban areas and are now in jail. It is impossible in the present day to conduct an armed struggle in a remote rural area without urban support of various kinds. There is an active urban network of the Maoists that secretly works to provide them with arms and ammunitions, funds, and technical and medical support. While the State may find it difficult to get informers in the rural areas, it is not so in urban areas where the population is too vast and the Maoists operate too secretly for them to be able to eliminate all informers. The State, in its efforts to curtail the Maoists, will obviously crackdown on their urban support lines and in this it has gained considerable success even if tailors, merchants and doctors like Binayak Sen have had to suffer in the process.

Our concern …

“I repeat, the conflict between the State and the Maoists is none of our concern; but for the tribals who die in it, due to operations from both sides, are. We should condemn the murder of tribals regardless of whether it is the State or the Maoists who are killing them, even if it is that of a killer like Mahendra Karma. We should leave both parties to their shenanigans and concentrate on our own struggles.

The immutable laws of thermodynamics …

 “I had asked you to study the laws of thermodynamics and not Georgescu Rogen’s suspect attempt at conflating thermodynamics with economics, which has been rightly critiqued by many. That is why I did not mention his name or the later Marxist extensions of his theories or give links to the voluminous literature along these lines. I will now try to show from first principles, in a simple way, that a lay person can also understand how an “anarchist” interpretation can be done of these laws !!

“The first law says that energy is conserved and, due to the fact that energy and matter are interchangeable, matter too is conserved. So the total energy (including matter) in a closed system like the earth is constant and cannot be increased or decreased. Actually, the earth is an open system because meteorites crash into it from time to time, delivering matter, and the sun continually pumps energy into it; but the meteorite contribution is minimal and the sun’s energy is difficult to convert usefully, for machines to do our work.

Sustainibility …

“Therefore, if one form of energy or matter, especially non renewable energy or matter source, is depleted then it will be converted into another form, limiting the possibilities of its use in future. If soils are exhausted of their natural nutrients and, after some time, artificial nutrients are also exhausted, then it will not be possible to grow food anymore. Similarly, if fresh water sources are exhausted, we will face a more serious crisis. This can be extended to innumerable more examples that are today creating serious problems of sustainability.

“Theoretically, it is possible to convert any form of matter into any other form; there is substitutability potential for energy from matter. But, in practice, this is difficult and requires huge centralised systems which, even if invented, may create their own unforeseen problems. This is why, for all practical purposes, life on earth is a zero sum game.

“Now coming to the more difficult second law : any form of work converts some amount of energy expended into heat energy, which dissipates into the environment increasing disorder due to the increase in temperature within a closed system.

“Fortunately, the earth is not a closed system; it can release the added energy into space. Also, through photo synthesis, plants continually convert solar energy into bound energy we have in wood and food they sythesise. Animals eat this bound energy and do work, producing heat energy in the process. Some of these plant and animal remains have been transformed into fossil fuels, which too have bound energy. However, when we burn these fuels, their energy becomes unbound and contribute heat to the environment.

“Normally, due to the fact that the earth is an open system, the exponentially increasing production of heat energy would not have been a problem because it is miniscule compared to the solar energy added to the earth’s biosphere. But now, due to the increasing concentration of green house gases, especially carbon dioxide, we are slowly converting the earth into a closed system. The pathways to dissipation of heat into space is getting increasingly choked. Simultaneously, we are decimating plant life that convert unbound energy into bound energy. Climate change is a serious reality because of the twin factors we have just described.

The anarchist suggestion …

“We all must pause and seriously ponder over this transition of earth from being an open system it was to being a closed system it is now turning into. The world is experiencing a dangerous rise in temperatures on account of non-dissipation of heat we are adding to our biosphere. Yes, what I am saying is that there is a serious problem and not that there is no solution to it. Since the solution is not yet known, many people are working on it.

“As an anarchist, I feel the solution is in moderating our consumption. Mindful use of matter and energy would regulate the rate of our approach to ecological catastrophy. Ever since the neolithic revolution ten thousand years ago, humans have continually increased their exploitation of nature and it has now reached a crescendo. We need to have a relook at what we are doing. I may be wrong but that is my preference. It is still possible to have a high level of development with environmentally clean technologies, if implemented in a decentralised and egalitarian manner.

“The first ever, and possibly the most succinct, anarchist statement is :

Ishavasyam idam sarvam yat kincha jagatyam jagat

Tena tyaktena bhunjitha maa gridha kasvid dhanam

“Even though this is from the famoust spiritual text Ishavasya Upanishad, as an atheistic anarchist I translate it thus –

All of these in the universe

Belong to Nature;

Partake of it with moderation.

Do do not covet but ponder –

Who do these riches belong to !

“Let us all heed the rational view : There is a severe crisis, of apocalyptic scale, we are building up through our own doing, through the capitalist greed we have allowed for ourselves and the consumerist lifestyle they propagate globally, repeatedly, day in and day out, for their own profit.”

A Sustainable Economy

Is Built On Sustainability Values

Waiting ...

An Indian Citizen’s Open Letter …



Shri Narendra Modi :



I do not know what fate the 2014 elections will usher. In my own hope however, it is certain that the reins of the country’s administration pass into your hands. Hence in addressing this letter to you, I write to the future Prime Minister of India.

All that is wrong in this country today is well known : people are desperate, frustrated, unhappy and are without any inspiration or hope of an improved life. A perverse reversal of behavior pervades the nation everywhere : national interest, public welfare and the intent of alleviating the wretched lot of the people is singularly absent; mutual goodwill and respect among citizens has largely evaporated. Devotion to duty is a matter of the past.

The condition of people connected with land is deplorable; men are without work and have little opportunity to earn an honest livelihood, women find it extremely difficult to keep the family together. Alcohol is cheap, corrupt schemes to handout doles abound, yet managing food, education, health needs is impossible for most. Some work can be had in the city, but life is hell … people are treated like dogs, without a helpful hand or considerate terms, in dirtiest of cubby-holes. Not much is left after fending off the land sharks, children’s education is often an impossible dream, the water is usually not potable enough, sanitation is lacking, and ailments are treated by dangerous quacks.

This describes the lot of sixty per cent of our country’s population. The next thirty per cent are a little better and in somewhat improved situation. But rarely is anyone in a position to help the needy; most cannot and the few who can have their conscience turned upon their selves.

Socially, we are a divided people, accentuated by the politics about us over past some decades. Justice is too formal, costly and captive to well-oiled speech, legal brokers and money in our pocket. The populace suffers from inferior life-views and values system of mind-catchers with alien religious texts and wads of charity; the insensitivity of people with any status to speak of only reopens their wounds. Each on his mustache, while others sleep with their misery.

These are not conditions that foster hope and pride. Far astrayed from the Sanatan way of this land, selfishness rules and meanness pays, corrupt ways are rewarded, our young girls humiliated and women dishonoured. There is contempt for nature and its bounty is routinely degraded; widespread environmental damage is reduced to departmental sagacity; contaminated water bodies have stopped being the collosal loss they signify … all under the very noses of people charged with responsibility. In such a disappointing dispensation and dysfunctional system, what else could be expected ? Brazen murders, rape, theft, robbery, chaos and disorder, waste, inaction, loss ? Cost overuns by 10,000 % have been heard of but mean nothing to men who matter; inflation is just a number game; and corruption of our most sacrosanct of offices is passed off as characterstic of the times.

I believe that solutions package for the problems cited above is also well known. Yes, our financial market and institutions must be equipped to differentiate between honest savings and dishonest wealth, capital for the eddies and that with nationalist intent. Our country’s interest would not be served by chugging along with US policy and falling in line with its laws. Quits as, a compilation of our nation’s history will never be effected by scholars of the West or historians closed to our literary records.

Sir, this country needs a powerful center and our citizens’ interests will be served by decentralised governance. But, in today’s context, how will it happen without you aspiring single-mindedly for that one position, from where the urgently desired changes can caused to flow ?

For us, the nation, and alternate order the world is waiting for.

Hoping …

An Indian Citizen –

Capitalist – Their World And Ours

Quote : “… a for-profit enterprise lives and breaths profit…its their oxygen… again its not the objective of a for-profit private enterprise to save the world or help the poor…”

Precisely, my point. It describes their world succinctly.

Borlaug speaking at the Ministerial Methodist ...
Borlaug speaking at the Expo on Agricultural Science and Technology in June 2003

On the other hand, our world and our people

have nothing to do with it; we are not served

in the least by a capitalist’s profit.

We are served by enterprise, inventions,

innovations … not by private profits.

And “for-profit” capitalists are far from being

the only agents for change or at shooting

a new trail for us to take : Marx, Gandhi,

Luther King and Mandela were not.

Dr Norman Borlaug too was not one,

nor were the Curies.

In fact, the capitalist (and their profit) is redundant to our world and the people : it matters little whether they are there or not. They do employ people but most of it is exploitative; it yields money but leaves our people more physically sick, mentally choked and spiritually unhappy than they otherwise would have been.

Haven’t we heard of NikolaTesla ? Nobody has served the world and our people more than his inventions and

Nikola Tesla monument
Nikola Tesla monument 

innovations in modern times.

And he did not give a damn to profits or creating wealth

for himself.

You may read up Edison’s bio, for the contrast.

Similar is the story of the inventor of polio vaccine…

* * *

You say, you are shocked …

Well, it’s good if you are shocked into a glimpse of alternate reality — humanism, for us commoners amounting to 6 billion odd !

Rather than us not getting it, you seem pretty much history-blind and perspective-dumb. Let me explain :

1) Profit is not a bad word for me … it’s a necessity but not connected to the megalomania of the “capitalist.” It’s a business or organisation need, to pay for the cost of funding and operation partnerships, and to remain in business in future. That’s about it; nothing more … and surely not all that wealth accumulation romance that is driving more and aspirants crazy.

2) I don’t see why foregoing his royalty on intellectuall property from the least and less developed eonomies isn’t a much better, more efficient and direct proposition for Bill Gates than depriving them of its free use, collecting the royalty on a shrunk base, piling (hoarding) it up, and then issuing it in accord with his will and fancy as charity !

By foregoing his steep fees in perpetuity, the economies will be able to afford early tech-empowerment and surge faster into managing themselves better, usher in transparent governance and, in addition, enabling its people with all manner of direct and indirect spin-off products and services.

As for Gates, he’ll still be richer than 99.9% of earth’s population with returns from North America, Europe, Far East and sundry other economies with the ability to pay.

3) A compelling reason for foregoing tall piles of concentrated wealth in few hands is that it makes them unduly powerful, with their capacity to influence and make governments in accord with their wishes, and not for what govts are supposed to do — taking care of their land, resources and their people. These render democracies with oligarchical character, or to being subverted into the same plutocracy the world has overtly emerged out of.

That vulgar display of earthquake-proof Antila Mansion by Mukesh Ambani – 27 storeys for 5 people, is a case in point.

Did you notice how our Parliament and Legislatures have already been cast in their very image – 70% odd are crorepatis !

No, Parag, I will accept that it takes all kinds to make up this world, and the capitalist too has a place in it. But he isn’t someone who is aligned with what this world and its people need.

However, I wouldn’t want them to go extinct. But that’s only on account of my love for diversity !

Wheat is the third most produced cereal crop

Journal : Awakening … Into The Truth


The world capitalises on our need to be happy in a variety of ways : by the economic order in which food is available to those who either have land and money for inputs to grow and harvest or have the money to buy it in the marketplace; it keeps billions on our planet hungry and deprived, and enslaved. There are regions where water is sold by owners of fresh water bodies and clean air to breathe can be had only in costly air-conditioned areas. Governments and oligarchs big and small buy up natural resources held untill then in common and, as “property owners,” do as they please untill the environment is too polluted and is no longer self-generating, leaving the “public” more in want of fish, firewood and animals, even air and water that was earlier consumable and freely available till then.

Then, there is the ubiquitous media and “urban” advancements – food, gadgets, civic amenities, security, transport, communication, entertainment, lifestyle – that get propagated to multiply people’s needs, create where there was not, which again ropes in a much larger population that perpetually feel disatisfied, constantly aspires to enter the set graded channels and end up either enslaving, being enslaved, or becoming mediates in between.

The apparent priviledges of the masters too is less real than it seems : they might have more than they need, but the needs multiply, with real risks to their wealth and income; that it all might disappear in a jiffy or diminish alarmingly for any number of causes, leaving them rather poor. If not enslaved by bigger cats in business, there would be robbers and killers on the prowl, or taxmen and politicians who may or may not be humoured unless the stakes are met on the high. Money itself begins to enslave the masters and dangerously too, like a man astride a tiger !

Apart from material causes, rather as perceived material causes, images or impressions in memory, or imagination, trigger the same persistent emotional distress – pain, want, anger or despair, nowhere thoughts, darkness in awareness and inadequacy of being. Every craving that issues of recall and takes us over, everytime we are lost in the maze of thought or are unable to extend it to light, we suffer the same smallness of the slave, of being a mere for-other distressed robot under remote control. Occasionally, some of us meet a guide or chance on our own the ability to hold the dissatisfaction in our very hand and summon the intuitive will to take the grapple on to the next level, where our purity of being fills us with manifold more moral strength and intellectual acuity required to wring the truth out of matters in our subconscious and those thrown up by out mental ground.

Few are fortunate and sagacious enough to remove themselves from this worldly game of being in the master-slave trap, of ensnaring and entrapping others into it. But it continues blatantly for the billions in every secular and religious walk of life; yes, every ‘faith’ plays by it, more or less. 

In the Sanatan way, its varnashrama society codifies the “householder” period of life during which the man is expected to fulfill two goals : acquire income and wealth and attain physical pleasures and sensuous joys. The period covers approximately 25 years, one-fourth of the total, after he has gone through the rigours of leading a celibate life and educating himself in a whole range of disciplines including dharma, which equips him with moral clarity, ethical norms, and a well-etched perspective of matters in truth and the ability to discriminate between right and wrong.

Unlike the contracted souls of bleak, colder climes in the West with fewer hands, less sunshine and deficient resources, which conditions tethered them to survival-induced barbary amongst themselves and compelled them to colonise faraway lands and its populations, the agriculturally rich energy-surplus tropical lands fostered far more expansive and embracing ways of life in the Indian subcontinent. The Sanatan way evolved with the refinement of the thread of thought from Vedic antiquity, its culmination in the Upanishad era and popularisation through the Epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata, the Puranas and, above all, the Bhagavad Gita. 

Though there were codified norms laid out by various authorities for public behaviour and conduct in private, the evolution of both the community and the individual was more an integrated and inherited affair, with rules and values perspective even the unlettered were aware of. The elite and the laity grew into the Sanatan way without an elaborate enforcement bureaucracy or judicial vertical, and fell in step in accord with their nature and station. The community was responsible for the welfare of its people; and individuals for themselves, for each other and the community. 

A community of people that lives responsibly must have collective institutions and agreed processes to educate and skill its people in diverse arts and sciences. It must also value truth : as God to theists and as pure knowledge to atheists. The truth is self-evident to the man unified with himself, his day and his environment, his people and his time. How the man’s being expands with thought and action issuing from the unified self, and contracts of segregagtion or alienation, also yields his moral and ethical values. The book merely records them and makes it formal.

The Sanatan way, and the Hindu country, produces scriptures and saints. Untill history began with kings and monuments, and truth was no longer evident : it only remained in debates and arguments. People were no more responsible for their karma, for living out the consequences in their awareness in order to learn, know and remember, and transcend with their awakening. Instead, men and women came to be seized by concerns of wealth and power, slave and enslave !

Karma is the thread vibrating between our immortality and now, over the seen and unseen. It spans the five sheaths of our being across the three great spaces, in our life and death and beyond through umpteen iteration of forms gross, making or unmaking the subtle untill its unity with the causal and ultimate turning away for liberation absolute. Our preoccupation with the body, with material possessions and worldly station only distracts us from the primary task here and now : of attending to the karma pulsating in the unseen. The shrink is of no help … for he only takes his norm and references from the mundane.

Journal : The River Sarawati And Its People

Part III : Of The Non – Resident Indian, 5000 Years Ago

“Based on cuneiform documents from Mesopotamia we know that there was at least one Meluhhan village in Akkad at that time, with people called ‘Son of Meluhha‘ living there. The cuneiform inscription (ca. 2020 BCE) says that the cylinder seal belonged to Shu-ilishu, who was a translator of the Meluhhan language. “The presence in Akkad of a translator of the Meluhhan language suggests that he may have been literate and could read the undeciphered Indus script. This in turn suggests that there may be bilingual Akkadian/Meluhhan tablets somewhere in Mesopotamia. Although such documents may not exist, Shu-ilishu’s cylinder seal offers a glimmer of hope for the future in unraveling the mystery of the Indus script.”

(Gregory L. Possehl,Shu-ilishu’s cylinder seal, Expedition, Vol. 48, Number 1, pp. 42-43).

Meluhhan Cylindrical Seal

SilverelamiteAn Elamite statuette showed a person (king?) carrying an antelope on his hands, the same way a Meluhhan carried an antelope on his hands (as shown on a cylinder seal). Antelope carried by the Meluhhan is a hieroglyph: mlekh ‘goat’ (Br.); mr̤eka (Te.); mēṭam (Ta.); meṣam (Skt.) Thus, the goat conveys the message that the carrier is a Meluhha speaker.


Meluhha lay to the east of Magan and was linked with carnelian and ivory. Gujarat was a carnelian source in the ancient world. Possehl locates Meluhha in the mountains of Baluchistan and speaks of meluhhans use of magilum-boat (Possehl, Gregory. : J. Reade (ed.)

The Indian Ocean in Antiquity

Many scholars have noted the contacts between the Mesopotamian and Sarasvati – Sindhu (Indus) Civilizations in terms of cultural history, chronology, artefacts (beads, jewellery), pottery and seals found from archaeological sites in the two areas.

“…the four examples of round seals found in Mohenjodaro show well-supported sequences, whereas the three from Mesopotamia show sequences of signs not paralleled elsewhere in the Indus Script. But the ordinary square seals found in Mesopotamia show the normal Mohenjodaro sequences. In other words, the square seals are in the Indian language, and were probably imported in the course of trade; while the circular seals, although in the Indus script, are in a different language, and were probably manufactured in Mesopotamia for a Sumerian – or Semitic – speaking person of Indian descent…”

[G.R. Hunter,1932. Mohenjodaro–Indus Epigraphy, JRAS:466-503]

The acculturation of Meluhhans residing in Mesopotamia in the late third and early second millennium BC is noted by their adoption of Sumerian names (Parpola, S., Parpola, A., and Brunswig, R.H. Jr. 1977.

“The adaptation of Harappan motifs and script to the Dilmun seal form may be a further indication of the acculturative phenomenon, one indicated in Mesopotamia by the adaptation of Harappan traits to the cylinder seal.” (Brunswig et al,1983, p. 110).

“Indian-style” seals have been found in Sumeria. In 1932, CJ Gadd published such seals from Mesopotamia (some of these are identified as Dilmun seals coming from Failaka and Bahrein Gulf islands).

Massimo Vidale notes : As the identification of the land of Meluhha with the coastal areas controlled by the Indus Civilization is almost universally accepted, the textual evidence dealing with individuals qualified as “men” or “sons” of Meluhha or called with the ethnonym Meluhha, living in Mesopotamia and of a “Meluhha village” established at Lagash (and presumably at other major cities as well) unescapably points to the existence of enclaves settled by Indian mmigrants…

Meluhhan ships exported to Mesopotamia precious goods among which exotic animals, such as dogs, perhaps peacocks, cocks, bovids, elephants, precious woods and royal furniture, precious stones such as carnelian, agate and lapis lazuli, and metals like gold, silver and tin…

Akkadian text records that Lu-sunzida ‘a man of Meluhha’ paid to the servant Urur, son of Amar-lu-KU 10 shekels of silver as payment for a tooth broken in a clash. The name Lu-sunzida literally means ‘Man of the just buffalo cow’ … a name, although rendered in Sumerian, according to the authors, “does not make sense in the Mesopotamian cultural sphere, and must be a translation of an Indian name…” (Massimo Vidale, 2004)

Though cylinder seals are normally associated with Metopotamian civilization, Sibri and Kalibangan have yielded cylinder seals, but with unique glyphs of the script. SR Rao found a Gulf seal at Lothal.

In Sargon I’s reign (ca. 2370 BCE), a reference is made to ‘holder of a Meluhha ship’. A seal in British Museum (ca. 2250 BCE) lists enemies of King Naram-Sin, among them is a ‘man of Meluhha’ by the name of _ibra. “Meluhha was used as a personal name for some people. Urkal, Ur-dlam were called the ‘son of meluhha’. A person called Nin-ana is identified with the village of Meluhha. Meluhha was also identified with specific products : giS-ab-ba-me-lu-hha (abba wood); giS-ha-lu-ub (Haluppu wood).


Numerous Mesopotamian documents, spanning several centuries, refer to the lands of Meluhha, Makkan, and Dilmun. Modern scholars identify Meluhha with Indus – Sarasvati Valley, Makkan with Makran and Omani coasts, and Dilmun with Bahrain, Failaka and the adjacent Arabian coastline. These three far-flung lands were important partners in the trade network Mesopotamians had.

A brief overview of the major literary references includes :

 Sargon’s inscription referring to Meluhhan ships docked at Akkad.

 References to a Meluhhan ship-holder and a Meluhhan interpreter.

 Gudea of Lagash inscriptions (ca. 22nd cent. BCE) :

‘The Meluhhans came up (or down) from their country to supply wood and other raw materials for theconstruction of the main temple of Gudea’s capital.’

 References to luxury items being imported from Meluhha.

 References to a Meluhhan workers village.


[Chris JD Kostman, ‘The Indus Valley Civilization : in search of those elusive centers and peripheries’,

in : JAGNES, the Journal of the Association of Graduates in Near Eastern Studies.]

From linguistic evidence, sesame oil was probably imported from the Indus valley into Sumer : the Sumerian word for this oil is illu (Akkadian : ellu). In Dravidian languages of South India, el or ellu stands for sesame.

It is fascinating to note that by the Ur III Period, the Meluhhan (Harappan) workers residing in Sumeria had Sumerian names, leading Parpola, Parpola, and Brunswig to comment that ‘three hundred years after the earliest textually documented contact between Meluhha and Mesopotamia, the references to a distinctly foreign commercial people have been replaced by an ethnic component of Ur III society’ (Parpola et al.1977:152). Here we have an undeniable economic presence of Indus traders in Mesopotamia, maintaining their own distinct village in a distant peripheral location over a considerable span of time.

The Meluhhan Language

What was the language the sea-faring traders from Indian shores spoke ?

It was known as Mleccha or Meluhhan.

As place or region name, the word Meluhha meant “sailor country.”


“Baloch” is the corrupted form of Melukhkha, Meluccha or Mleccha, which was the designation of the modern eastern Makkoran during the third and the second millennia BC, according to the Mesopotamian texts. [J. Hansman, “A Periplus of Magan and Melukha”, in BSOAS. London, 1973, p. 555; H.W. Bailey, “Mleccha, Baloc,and Gadrosia”, in: BSOAS. No. 36, London, 1973, pp. 584-87.Also see, Cf. K. Kartrunen,India in Early Greek Literature. Studia Orientalia, no. 65, Helsinki: Finnish OrientalSociety, 1989, pp. 13-14.]


Source: Baluchistan nationalism : its origin and development –

Shu Ilishu’s personal cylinder seal showed him to be a translator of Meluhhan language. More, Indus Valley links unearthed in Qatar … Published : Wednesday, 26 March, 2008, 02:05AM Doha Time By K.T. Chacko : The brazen pot and the porcelain vase that contained the relic of a tooth found at a burial site at Al-Ruwaida, near Ruwais. A burial site of traders from the Indus Valley, estimated to be 5,000 years old, has been found on the north-west coast of Qatar, strengthening the theories of commercial exchange between the ancient people of Middle East and the Indian subcontinent, according to Qatari explorer and fossil collector, Mohamed Ali al-Sulaiti. Based on the materials found at a graveyard at Al-Ruwaida, a few kilometres to the west of Ruwais, al-Sulaiti said, “the colony belonged to people of the Indus Valley civilisation, which flourished around 3,000 BC. These people mostly traded in brass. They also brought in porcelain objects, probably procured from China (?), for selling in the Gulf countries including Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and Abu Dhabi.”

Al-Sulaiti, an engineering graduate from US and an amateur archaeologist, told Gulf Times in an exclusive interview, “They mined copper ore for making brass from the Buraimi mountains in Oman and probably smelted it in Qatar.” He has found at Al-Ruwaida many fragments of brass, an alloy of copper and zinc, and says, “Though the graveyard at Al-Ruwaida gets submerged during high tides and thus much of the remains could have been washed away, we can still piece together some aspects of their life and culture.” One of the startling discoveries at the site was a small brazen pot with a smaller porcelain vase inside containing a molar.“The tooth could have belonged to a chieftain or a high priest,” al-Sulaiti reasoned. “It is known that the people of that period saved such relics of important people like kings and religious leaders. ”Also found at the burial site was rice, which has been carbonised with the passing of time. People used to bury food items along with the bodies of their dear ones during that period.”

According to al-Sulaiti, the Gulf region is dotted with remnains of settlements of people from Indus Sarasvati civilisation period. He particularly mentioned findings in Mannar in Abu Dhabi and some places in Kuwait. Another important find at Al-Ruwaida was glass bangles, inlaid with lacquer paintings and parts of necklaces and shells used as ornaments by the ancient visitors. These decorative items were similar in style and were made of materials used by inhabitants of Indus-Sarasvati cities during their heydays. Talking about the Indus Valley connection, al-Sulaiti said the “ox” figured prominently on the shards of pottery and on coins recovered from the Qatari site. “We also found needles made of brass in one of the graves.

”The Indus Valley civilisation was based at Mohenjodaro in Sindh and Harappa in Punjab in Pakistan. (We now know that settlements in Indus valley constituted around 20 % of the total; the rest were located along the Saravati.) For the Indus Valley people, the Arabian Sea opened the doors for journey beyond the Arab world, through the Arabian Gulf and the Red Sea, right into the ancient civilisations of Mesopotamia and Egypt. It is these voyages that gave to the Indus land its earliest name of Meluhha (sailor country) in the Babylonian records.

“According to historians, the Indus Valley civilisation had close bonds of culture and trade with the Gulf countries. Archaeologists have found the remnants of a “Meluhhan” village in ancient Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq). The Indus Valley people traded seals, painted pottery, and lapis lazuli, in exchange for copper and tin and several other items from Oman and the Gulf states. The Baloch and Sindh ports ( and Lothal, in Gujarat ) also saw extensive trade with African ports in Ethiopia, Somalia, Zanzibar, Kenya and Tanzania.”

Al-Sulaiti believes that extensive excavations and research would lead to more definite information on these traders, who established temporary settlements as encampments at certain points on their regular routes.

 * * *

Separating facts from conjectures …

The presence of individuals or groups of immigrants from Indian Subcontinent in Mesopotamia in the 3rd millennium BC was recognized since the discovery of Indus Civilization at Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro in early 1920s, because Indus-like seals were found in stratified contexts in some of the most important Sumerian cities. In 1932, C.J. Gadd opened a new line of archaeological research, collecting and publishing in a fortunate paper a series of seals from Mesopotamia (found
during digs or acquired on the antiquarian market) sharing what he regarded as an Indian style. Gadd’s interpretation was fundamentally correct, although the series of seals he published also included specimens of what we presently identify as Dilmunite seals, coming from the Gulf islands of Faylaka and Bahrein.

The great seasons of extensive excavations at Mohenjo Daro (Sindh, presently in Pakistan) were over, and the final report by J. Marshall (1931) had been published. Both the inscriptions and the animal icons on the major group of western seals had obvious similarities with the steatite seals unearthed by thousands in major cities of the Indus civilization. It was on the basis of these finds, at least in a first stage, that the Indus valley civilization was dated to the middle Bronze age.

Since then, two generations of archaeologists and philologists have attempted to investigate the problem of Indian communities that had settled in Mesopotamia in the second half of 3rd millennium BC. As identification of Meluhha with coastal areas controlled by Indus-Sarasvati people is almost universally accepted, the textual evidence dealing with individuals qualified as men or sons of Meluhha, or called with the ethnonym Meluhha, living in Mesopotamia in a Meluhha village established at Lagash (and presumably at other major cities as well), clearly points to the existence of enclaves settled by Indian immigrants.

Conclusion …

As remarked by M. Tosi … the lack of Mesopotamian imports into the Indus Valley reveals the lesser significance of these connections for the eastern pole. Very much like the Roman trade with India and Arabia, as described in the Periplus of the Erythrean Sea in the 1st century AD, the
flow of goods towards the head of the Gulf in the later 3rd millennium BC was determined more by the Mesopotamian demand than by economic integration with the distant lands that supplied these goods from the shores of the Indian Ocean.

The Sumerians and Akkadians interacted more with Dilmun sailors and traders, Indian immigrants and largely acculturated social groups than with the remote “Black Country” of Meluhha. In Mesopotamia and in the Gulf, the immigrant Indus families maintained and trasmitted their language, their writing system, weights and measures (known in Mesopotamia as the Dilmunite standard) … as strategic tools of trade. Their official symbol of “gaur” might have stressed, in a foreign land, their connection with their motherland in Indus-Sarasvati valleys. Nonetheless, they gradually adopted the use of foreign languages and introduced minor changes in their writing system for dealing with new, rapidy evolving linguistic needs.

The Indus communities in Mesopotamia developed, thanks to an intimate understanding of Mesopotamian culture and markets, and opportunisties for profitable trade. They promptly

adapted their products and merchandise, pricing and availability, to fast-changing local – political, social, cultural and ideological – environment of markets abroad. Their success in Mesopotamia is easily measured by their efficient adaptation to prevailing order in different lands : politics, wars and change of regimes among city-states; presumably centralized Akkadian bureaucracy; and, even more centralized empire established by Ur-nammu.

By 2000 BC, their integration with Mesopotamian social and economic reality seems to be total. The acculturation process involved collaboration with local religious institutions, worship of foreign divinities, production of ornaments with foreign religious symbols, adoption of impure foreign rituals in life and death and, it may be easily imagined, suffering possible discrimination by their compatriots at home for having eaten impure food. The price of their success might have been their apparent contamination with Mesopotamian habits, creeds and ritual practices : a circumstance that may assuredly have not escaped the attention of the conservative and tradition-minded leadership in their home-cities in Indus-Sarasvati valley.

If, as Parpola duo suggest, Meluhha is the origin of “Mleccha”, it would have been especially galling to be addressed as “barbarian or foriegner,” which is what the word means in Sanskrit !

* * *

There is extensive presence of Harappan seals and cubical weight measures in Mesopotamian urban sites. Specific items of high volume trade are timber and specialty wood such as ebony, for which large ships were used. Luxury items also appear, such as lapis lazuli mined at a Harappan colony at Shortugai (Badakshan in northern Afghanistan), which was transported to Lothal, a port city in Gujarat, and shipped from there to Oman, Bahrain, and Sumer.

Indus Valley versus Africa

A number of scholars suggest that Meluhha was the Sumerian name for Indus-Sarasvati Valley Civilization. Asko and Simo Parpola, both Finnish scholars, identify Meluhha (earlier variant Me-lah-ha) from Sumerian documents with Dravidian mel akam “high abode” or “high country”. Many items of trade such as wood, minerals, and gemstones were indeed extracted from the hilly regions near the Indus settlements.

Earlier texts (c. 2200 BC) seem to indicate that Meluhha is to the east, suggesting its location in the Indus-Sarasvati region. Sargon of Akkad is said to have “dismantled the cities, as far as the shore of the sea. At the wharf of Agade, he docked ships from Meluhha, ships from Magan.”

However, much later texts documenting the exploits of King Assur Banipal of Assyria (668–627 BC), long after the Indus Valley civilization had ceased to exist, seem to imply that Meluhha is to be found somewhere near Egypt, in Africa.

There is sufficient archaeological evidence for trade between Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley. Impressions of clay seals from the Indus Valley city of Harappa were evidently used to seal bundles of merchandise, as clay seal impressions with cord or sack marks on the reverse side testify. A number of these Indus Valley seals have been found at Ur and other Mesopotamian sites. The Persian-Gulf style of circular stamped seals, rather than rolled seals, are identified with Dilmun; they have been found at Lothal in Gujarat, India, as well as at Failaka Island (Kuwait), and in Mesopotamia. These widely dispersed finds are convincing evidence corroborating long-distance sea trade among these regions.

We are less sure of what the commerce consisted of : timber and precious woods, ivory, lapis lazuli, gold and luxury goods such as carnelian and glazed stone beads, pearls from Persian Gulf, shell and bone inlays were among the goods sent to Mesopotamia in exchange for silver, tin, woolen textiles, perhaps oil and grains and other foods. Copper ingots, certainly, bitumen, which occurred naturally in Mesopotamia, may have been exchanged for cotton textiles and chickens, major products of the Indus region that are not native to Mesopotamia—all these have been instanced.

African hypothesis :

Later texts from the 1st millennium BC suggest that “Meluhha” and “Magan” were kingdoms adjacent to Egypt. Assur Banipal writes about his first march against Egypt, “In my first campaign I marched against Magan, Meluhha, Tarka, king of Egypt and Ethiopia, whom Esarhaddon, king of Assyria, the father who begot me, had defeated, and whose land he brought under his sway.”

Apart from Assur Banipal’s reference, there is no mention of Meluhha in any Mesopotamian text after about 1700 BC, which corresponds to the time of decline of the Indus-Sarasvati Valley civilisation. This is a single instance reference to Meluhha nearly 1500 years after the ‘high tide’ of contact between the Indus Valley and Sumeria in 2000 BCE. Direct contacts ceased even during Mature Harappan phase between these two centers. Oman and Bahrain, Magan and Dilmun had become intermediaries. Sumeria had ‘forgotten’ the Indus Valley after the sack of Ur by the Elamites and subsequent invasions in Sumeria. Its trade and contacts shifted west and Meluhha passed into mythological memory. The resurfacing of the name probably relates to cultural memory of similarity of items of trade.

* * *

Shu-ilishu’s Cylinder Seal


“Some years ago, while perusing the great Assyriologist A. Leo Oppenheim’s Ancient Mesopotamia : Portrait of a Dead Civilization, I found a reference to the personal cylinder seal of a translator of the Meluhhan language. His name was Shu-ilishu and he lived in Mesopotamia during the Late Akkadian period (ca. 2020 BC, according to the new, low chronology).

“I was interested in this man because Meluhha is widely believed to have been the Indus Civilization of the Greater Indus Valley in India and Pakistan (ca. 2500–1900 BC)—the focus of my own research. Based on cuneiform documents from Mesopotamia we know that there was at least one Meluhhan village in Akkad at that time, with people called “Son of Meluhha” living there. Therefore, to find evidence of an official translator was no surprise, though it is nifty when archaeology can document this sort of thing.

“To learn more I tracked down a photograph of Shu-ilishu’s cylinder seal in a substantial volume found in the Museum Library—Collection de Clercq. Gathered together in the 19th Century by a wealthy man, this collection is composed of objects purchased from dealers with little, if any, provenience data presented. Therefore, we do not know where Shu-ilishu’s cylinder came from. Despite this, I asked our Museum’s Photo Studio to make a black and white negative and several prints of the cylinder’s rollout impression. I have subsequently published this rollout in several places—renewing interest in Shuilishu. This cylinder seal has now become commonplace in discussions of Persian Gulf archaeology and the Indus Civilization’s contacts with Mesopotamia.

“My late colleague Edith Porada, the world’s leading expert on Mesopotamian seals in her day, confirmed the information presented in Oppenheim’s work. She also noted that the seal had been re-cut from its original appearance (not unusual) and that its style was Late Akkadian (ca. 2200–2113 BC), possibly even from the succeeding Ur III period (ca. 2113–2004 BC). During the spring of 2003, when the topic of Meluhha came up during a seminar I was addressing, I showed Porada’s letter to a small group of students.

“Thinking afresh about the re-cutting of the seal, I decided that the reading of the inscription should probably be checked. Did it really say that Shu-ilishu was a translator of Meluhhan ? I took the photograph I had copied from the Collection de Clercq to Steve Tinney, my colleague in the Museum’s Babylonian Section .”

The founder of Mesopotamia’s Akkadian dynasty, Sargon the Great, boasted that : The ships from Meluhha / the ships from Magan / the ships from Dilmun / he made tie-up alongside / the quay of Akkad (translated by Samuel Noah Kramer).

Magan and Dilmun are modern Oman and Bahrain, respectively. This inscription, other cuneiform documents, and recent archaeology in the Arabian Gulf tell us about the maritime activity between Akkad (modern Iraq) and Meluhha (modern Pakistan and India) during the 3rd millennium BC..

“He was kind enough to look at it and confirm everything, at least as far as the rather poor image allowed. It occurred to me that someone should probably track down the original seal and make a fresh impression, but where was the “Collection de Clercq” now—in Paris? I was sure I would get to it someday, but that is where I left things until a splendid piece of luck dropped it in my lap.

“In the spring of 2004, the “First Cities” show opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. On June 10, 2004, I visited the Met with a couple of students. The show was a truly magnificent display, with treasures from the Near East and India set out in a very attractive and informed way. The Penn Museum’s material from Puabi’s grave at Ur was there, as was the British Museum’s famous Royal Standard of Ur. The “Priest-King” from Mohenjo-daro had been lent by the Pakistan Government—he looked great !—and the Louvre had also been very generous with its loan of various objects.

“The students and I did our tour through the galleries and then lingered, reading labels again or with greater concentration than on the first pass through. I was in a gallery near the “Priest-King” when I spotted Shuilishu’s cylinder and a clear impression of its rollout. It was a part of the Louvre’s loan. The “Collection de Clercq” had found its way to the Louvre, and Joan Aruz, the Met curator of the show, had been good enough to put it in her loan request. I showed the students and retold the story of why it is important.

“I knew that Tinney should see the fresh impression, but maybe I could do even better. After consulting with Aruz and her staff, it was agreed that I could approach Annie Caubet, Conservateur Général, Départment des Antiquitiés Orientales at the Musée du Louvre, and seek permission to make a fresh impression while Shu-ilishu’s seal was at the Met. Caubet’s answer was virtually immediate and positive. We could make a fresh impression and it could be a part of the “loan” collections at the Penn Museum. This was all accomplished, and Tinney reconfirmed the original translation. The Penn Museum now has a very fine rollout of the seal in its collections, where it can be used as a research tool for many, many years.

“The writing of Meluhha (the Indus script) remains undeciphered, in spite of many claims to the contrary. The inscriptions are short, and this makes the job of decipherment very difficult. To break the code, what is probably needed is a body of bilingual texts, like Jean-Francois Champollion had when he deciphered the Egyptian hieroglyphics on the Rosetta Stone. The presence in Akkad of a translator of the Meluhhan language suggests that he may have been literate and could read the undeciphered Indus script. This in turn suggests that there may be bilingual Akkadian/Meluhhan tablets somewhere in Mesopotamia. Although such documents may not exist, Shu-ilishu’s cylinder seal offers a glimmer of hope for the future in unraveling the mystery of the Indus script.”

* * * 

I might continue with a piece on the fascinating linguistic and etymological  evolution of Indian language from Mleccha and Arya vaach of those hoary times in pre-history ! 


Journal : Musings

There’s nothing special about today.
It just indelibly seems so, and that has my whole-hearted support.

#Govts need to acknowledge that allowing speculation is inflationery … a -ve in terms of public good and a crime not categorised yet. Buying up natural resources – land, water, forests, coastal fronts, foodgrains, housing, etc – in order to hoard or do as one pleases, or raise a buiness to serve the Profit Motive, should be regulated to ensure ban, moderation or re-orienting the motive. Without delay…

#BigBiz needs to acknowledge that Promoter’s Profit is not a public good of the same order as wages and affordabilty of the products : Wages signify a social value and are the only honourable method to spread surplus income of a collective enterprise.

What ? Every business is one, if you are still wondering.

And affordability, without compromising on quality, expands out real GDP, gives businesses a real footing in the market and not the fake one pushed up by ads and PR taht crashess every couple of years. Above all, that’s eminently is the very purpose of any enterprise … to produce goods and offer services that will bought and subscribed to by greatest numbers.

Again ? If you doubt…

Retweet if you refuse to shop at @Walmart until they pay workers a living wage! #WalkoutOnWalmart
Look at this : People lie as convenient. What a mess ? A man can quote Rs.37000 crores in one place and Rs.2500 crores somewhere else. And, it is allowed !
#Kasab‘s hanging has spurred #Pak dailies and ppl to issue calls 4 speedy conclusion of trial and exemplary punishment to the 26/11 accused. But how wud this rat #UPAGovt have guessed ?
#RBI makes it clear : #IslamicBanking, whatever eff it means, is impossible under existing laws. Thk God, the stupidity will remain @ bay !

Now #RamchandraGuha, the ‘gr8 intellectual’ says democratic institutions have been undermined by successive #Cong govts. N that, #MMS, the 2-term Prime Minister, a doctor of philosophy and widely acclaimed economist, has been tragic !

#Muslim beware ! Circumcision couldd lead to need for surgical bobbitisation. Stories of female clittorical mutilation r too awful to recall !
Good. The public knew and rued. Now the courts have certified : @DelhiPolce2 is poor at collecting evidence n prosecution is awfully stupid.
The infamy I’ve gained, of sleeping soundly in theatres, was acquired during visits to #Calcutta planetorium in 80s. It’s night time there !
All set to watch #LifeOfPi this Sunday. A rare initiative by me.
See ya …
Vamadevananda –

Long Poem : Shadows Of Shame

I drove my lady out on a Sunday, a monthly routine. What with all that transpired here, there and everywhere, it was late in evening on the return leg when I suggested we eat out, so she wouldn’t have to spend time in the kitchen. And, boy… it had to be street food !

When we were full and quenched, I calculated we had spent a grand sum equivalent of two-and-a-half dollars. Aha, ahoy ! I exclaimed to myself. Why the hell do I rail against govt policies, inflation et al, when I might have great food at such fantastic prices compared to what it would cost anywhere else in the world ?

Indeed, why ? Because, among 60 % of India’s population earning minimum wage for an average family size of four, who can afford to spend Rs 120 on street food and entertainment fare ? On chat – samosa – tikki – golgappa – kulfi ? Which is why. I find it insolent of people when they judge the economy relative to other economies, by their own fortunate solvency or what their colleagues in business and government service opine.

Here’s my introduction to Les Miserables, recorded right off the scene I encountered on a city street in Calcutta, soon after I had started on a my career …


The city avenue is agog today.

The sun is set, traffic crawls

And a class war has begun

By the quaint lamp from colonial past

In its yellow light and dim cast.

I heard the screams first i
n local din

Before walking up to drama high

Caught in curiosity and mystified :

I see, what…A man chest bare in pajamas

Thundered with a cracking voice

” The bitches ! The thieves !! “

” The bitches ! The thieves !! “

” Mo-fuck bitches !!!

” Guttersnipe thieves !!!!”

Accusing without a pause

Charged, within his compound wall

Looking over with a flushed face

Popped eyes and killing stares

At two women, their three kids

Threatening dire, at them each

Pounding the ground with explosive fury.


He rushes back to huddled shade

Where parents stand, family lined up

To watch him sally forth again, and again

Bursting out, yelling full-throat

Trembling with rage

Causing tremors with a finger shake

At those ladies accurst

And I told myself :

This would hurt serious …


‘Twas a heart foaming vulgarly

At the pavement dwellers’ family

With a mind so disjointed

Spewing aggression

In fear’s sway !

He raves without pause

Pacing up and down

Brow stressed with rants

With quaking furrows

Meaning aloud, louder

To knuckle dust them proper …


I look at the wretches

On this side of gate

In full glare they stand

By their homeless shade

A tiny makeshift tent

Of polythene sheet

With kids behind them

Cowering, ill-clad

Apprehensive but stuck

To their grounded feet

Watching …


The man lunged a cane in hand

To his family’s loud gasp

His old parents recoil

But the rambler peaks

Teen brother in tow

Lagging to restrain and looking lost

Diffident and tame

His unease covered

In shadows of shame …


The tall woman this side

Now lets out a shriek

Curdles the blood

Of onlookers, I see

She thrust forward the girls

Little, naked and shy

Sad pouts, looks aground

And hovering in tentativeness …

The crowd is mute

As jury glass eyed

Attentive to lawyers spar

On either side

Waiting … to write

On books open just then

To see through the drama

And record their judgment …


It’s the younger woman’s turn

To step up the stage

To ” strip the monster “

With her accusing lance

A finger outstretched

And wide sweeps of arm

Histrionics real, I find

So brilliant of her

Spitting fire from close

Quick to back into home

Pleading sharp their essence

Their poverty, homelessness

Plain alibi, she gestures

Of their innocence

Her pitch querying appeal

To mango men in jury …


Insinuations dart from stares latent

I observe the verdict’s clear

Among the gathered men

Quiet, erect, listening intense

And spreading their sense

When the aggressor halts

Unsure sudden, in ebb

Now looking around

Bewildered, afraid …


There, he buttons up and in

I read his confidence thin

More, a terror writ large

With the brother expressing

Tugging, hinting escape

Pulling him back

While the man himself

Shows his coiled up anguish

Steals a retreat thinking,

“How incredulous !”

Humiliated, chafing, tapered

Pausing just once

To make it clear …


But the destitutes right then

Go for the kill

Flaunt their rags

Their bellies caved in

And pinch the hearts

With wails, convincingly

Run the foe aground

Down and down

And the fray’s done in

The parents shrink enough

To issue their call

” Damn the wench !”

” Filth they are …”

Righteousness misplaced

I felt, the manner was small

Face blackened, it seemed

And the dignity was false.


The man recedes heavy

On benumbed steps

His sense now laden

And ears were plugged

Bellowing yet in mind

Being unrepentant

Though the frame was slouched

But his eyes were up …

* * *

Soon, I hear the chatter

Loud, from their mansion

Rum to shore up

Feudal pretensions

Nursing the defeat

Under influence

To power built up

And willed violence

Letting out a yelling storm

On the weak and uninformed

Through unreasoned bawls

Innocent questions unformed…

* * *

Outside, the unscathed dwellers chirp

Of their stagy victory

And people then content disperse.

Their poor abode I see

Opens on three sides :

The rooms are imagined

Sleeping mats tattered

A few utensils black

Dented, most mattered …

The older woman, now calm

Sweeps the ground

While the pot’s on fire

Exhorting the kids around :

Up, up, girls !”

Boiled rice in warm whey
And a pinch of salt ! Hey …”

Encore :

Boiled rice in warm whey

And a pinch of salt ! Hey …

Monotony comes alive

Like a playing record stuck …


The younger one

On a low stool, sighs

Spits copiously out

Holds her face for long

In her two palms

Staring straight

Into vacuum …

Then, heaves up sudden

On her feet

Looking at her bosom

And her boobs extend

It’s body time,” she nods to herself

To put the breasts

To livelihood due –

To be the goddess, verily

To the ones who wait

For her cue…

Journal : GDP & China’s Economy Unraveled

Economy, yes, but what are we talking about …

This is a blog post from 2010 but still meaningful and extremely clarifying …

Well, taking my cue from Deepak Nayyar’s lead article in TOI today, October 6, 2010, I’d like to talk about what it all means for well – being of the poor.

The Gross Domestic Product is the overall economic output … value creation or production and its transaction or consumption, tracked via expenditure or income method. In the latter are five components : Rents; Interests; Profits; Statistical Adjustments for income taxes, dividends and undistributed profits; and, Wages.

Economists love to pitch for GDP growth, as being the best antidote for poverty. It is, but with reservations, and not before we’ve had a look at how the components to GDP stand in proportion to each other. And, then, the information would have to be judged alongwith measures of income inequality to obtain a reasonably wholesome picture of the how the economy is working for the people it impacts.

Consider China : the data through the spectacular growth years reveal …

–  GDP growth @ 5% p.a. during 1951-80 and 10% p.a. during 1981-2008.

–  GDP per capita growth @ 3% p.a. during 1951-80 and 8.8% p.a. during 1981-2008.

In 2008, it was 20 times that in 1960 at constant prices.

–  In 2005, China still had 469 million people, about half a billion or 15% of world population, under the poverty line income of $2 per day.

Which seems paradoxical !

The explanation lies in its rapidly rising inequality, measured by the Gini Coefficient. At a value of one, the whole of the income would accrue to one person; at zero, the coefficient would mean that the income was divided equally amongst the people.

–  In China, the Gini Coefficient rose from 0.29 in 1980 to 0.36 in 1990,  0.39 in 2000, and to  0.47 in 2004.

From being amongst the lowest income inequality countries in the world in 1980, China has risen to be amongst the highest in 2004 … over a relatively short span of 25 years !

To understand, let’s look at the wage and profit components in China’s GDP between late 1990s and late 2000s :

–  the share of wages fell from around 53% to 40%, 

while that of profits rose from about 19% to almost 32% !

Which is to say that corporate profits are high and household incomes are low.

Even the interest rates on household bank deposits are kept low so that the corporations can get cheap credit.

The costs of energy inputs, natural resources and land are also subsidised for the corporates.

The taxes are low too and state – owned firms do not pay much in dividend to the government.

China’s private consumption, as a proportion of GDP,

dropped from around 48% in late 1990s to about 36% in late 2000s.

This proportion is 70% in the US and 64% in India.

Thus, overall, China’s economy is working best for relatively few in business

and is not working for the ( half a billion ) people.

To sign off : Economic growth, GDP or its per capita, are important macro measures

but they are not indicators of poverty alleviation or living standard, especially in the context of well – being of the poor.

Even with China’s amazing growth, it would mean a lot more for the common man if it were not just export – led but was spearheaded instead by private consumption by its own people.

Indian Economic Reforms … My Foot !

I don’t deny that this GDP may have a meaning – National, for the international community, and State, for the Federal Govt. But what does it mean for the people ?

To be useful for framing our economic policies, GDP must be broken up Income Group wise, adjusted for inflation !

And, why do we presume that 40% of our population who are already half-starved and fully miserable would not be any worse off with 7% – 25% real rate of inflation per annum ? Are doles and subsidies, however targeted and if not tapped away by our netas and babus, any substantial remedy to their poverty ?

What kind of effing Nobel economist laureates have taken over our world order ?

What m-c value do banks add to the money they borrow @ 6 – 8% to be lending out @ 15 – 18% ?

And I see very intelligent people hailing #FDI in retail as economic “reform” !
My foot…

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UC … Middlemen …

1. Is this admittance of a few foreigner mega Middlemen an improvement over having thousands of Indian middlemen in the supply chain ? We all know what such wealth concentrated oligarchs can do, and actually do to subvert the public good.

2. The farmers getting a higher return is a holistic issue. What good is a higher return of Rs 5 to him when the inputs and costs of other goods he buys increase by Rs 20 ?

3. The ” Co-operative ” model has been so abused by our corrupt politicians [ our Co-op Banks for instance…] and the movement so deliberately ignored, opposed and undermined since decades … !

An Idea :  A New Constitution with 542 States …

You might have not meant or intended that way but, as an idea, there is great merit to it :

1. Smaller 542 admn blocks … with autonomous heads within the India firmament, with accountability in a Parliament of their ilk, not politicians and partymen …

2. No elections, no political parties … a Parliament of 542 CEOs of Indian states … D

I don’t see why that has to be the case (,,, bulky…)… just remove everybody [ but for nodal offices in skeletal Federal structure ] other that the 542 Sate collectorates !

PS : Just eliminating the Political waste … parties, elections, machinations and the sham … is some evolution. I expect the Panchayats will get the primacy they deserve … Lo and Behold ! We would have transited fro electoral democracy to a Participatory one : )))