[21 Nov 2014 | No Comment | 38 views]
What does it take to create a revolution?

Courtesy, The three types of specialist, this excerpt from a passage of Kurt Vonnegut’s “Bluebeard” (emphasis added):
Slazinger claims to have learned from history that most people cannot open their minds to new ideas unless a mind-opening team with a peculiar membership goes to work on them. Otherwise, life will go on exactly as before, no matter how painful, unrealistic, unjust, ludicrous, or downright dumb that life may be.
The team must consist of three sorts of specialists, he says. Otherwise the revolution, whether in politics or the arts or the sciences …

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Personal »

[12 Oct 2014 | No Comment | 277 views]
Advice from a father to a child in the last years of her teens

I usually avoid writing about personal matters but I will make an exception this time – because what I am sharing below might strike a chord with many of you.
I want to say a bit about Parenting – the hardest job you will ever do in your life. Unfortunately, also the one for which most of us are ill-prepared. It is by definition imperfect, stressful and nothing can ever prepare you for it.
It is also one of the most natural human instinct. And so, even though we know we are …

Corruption in India, Politics and Governance in India, ToI Columns »

[23 Sep 2014 | 3 Comments | 161 views]
On Anna, Selfishness & Corruption..

Last week I chanced on an interview of Anna Hazare in which he talked “about the inspiration behind his social activism, his philosophy and his vision for India”. The interview was from last year, a few weeks before AAP’s spectacular debut in Delhi. It had a quote that caught my eye.  It was Anna’s response to the question, “In your opinion, what is the root cause of corruption?”
“The root cause of corruption is selfishness; the selfish nature of human beings”, Anna said.  “They go to any lengths to pursue their self-interest…Second, there is …

Corruption in India, Elections Results, Analysis and Related, Politics and Governance in India »

[20 Sep 2014 | 4 Comments | 136 views]
On why corrupt politicians win elections in India…

RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan explains it lucidly…Excerpts from a recent speech (emphasis added):
*** Excerpts Begin ***
“….Even as our democracy and our economy have become more vibrant, an important issue in the recent election was whether we had substituted the crony socialism of the past with crony capitalism, where the rich and the influential are alleged to have received land, natural resources and spectrum in return for payoffs to venal politicians.
By killing transparency and competition, crony capitalism is harmful to free enterprise, opportunity, and economic growth. And by substituting special interests …

Indian History, ToI Columns »

[7 Sep 2014 | 14 Comments | 338 views]
“A country without a memory…”

On facebook last week a reader, in response to my recent series on the Taj, asked, “Kyun Gadhe Murde Ukhadane main time waste kar rahe ho…?”.  That comment set me thinking. The phrase “Gadhe Murde” had hit the nail on the head. It summarised the way most Indians feel about history. “History is boring; It merely digs up the past; It is unnecessary; It serves little purpose”. No wonder, few Indians have a strong sense of history. And the more “educated” you are, the less acquainted you are likely to be, …

Jammu & Kashmir related »

[5 Sep 2014 | No Comment | 77 views]
Art 370, Konsar Nag @ House of Commons

Honoured to be one of the Keynote Speakers at the Meeting on J&K and Plight of Kashmiri Pandits organised by IEKF at House of Commons in London earlier today…

Here is the link to some of the slides I shared: http://j.mp/1CukK66 (embedded below). जय हिंद, जय भारत! – शांतनु
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Art 370 & Kausar Nag @ House of Commons, Sept ’14 from B Shantanu
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Related Posts (re. Konsar Nag): The Lies about Amarnath and this category of posts on J&K

Geo-Strategic Issues (incl. Nuclear, Oil, Energy), India & Its Neighbours »

[2 Sep 2014 | 2 Comments | 47 views]

Things are not looking good in the neighbourhood…Power-sharing talks between the 2 rival presidential candidates in Afghanistan appear to be on the verge of collapse, raising the real possibility of a return to chaos – this after 3500 lives lost and billions of dollars. This is not the only collapse. The economy too is on the brink. The withdrawal of foreign forces is likely to make it worse..
…The World Bank has said about 97 per cent of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product is derived from spending linked to foreign forces and …