Friday, November 8, 2013

Friday, October 25, 2013


Really, ENOUGH natalist nonsense about Africa. The original caption, by the way, attributed this to "foreign exploitation".

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Financial planning

Schemes after schemes.
The amount of garbage we need to wade through
just to drag on
gets to the nerves.

Why don't they just ban money?

Won't do.
Why don't they just ban life?

Friday, October 11, 2013

The nature of nature

This text is from a Clarence Darrow writing. A friend posted it here, in his blog.

Nothing is so cruel, so wanton, so unfeeling as Nature; she moves with the weight of a glacier carrying everything before her. In the eyes of Nature, neither man nor any of the other animals mean anything whatever. The rock-ribbed mountains, the tempestuous sea, the scorching desert, the myriad weeds and insects and wild beasts that infest the earth, and the noblest man, are all one. Each and all are helpless against the cruelty and immutability of the resistless processes of Nature.
Whichever way man may look upon the earth, he is oppressed with the suffering incident to life. It would almost seem as though the earth had been created with malignity and hatred. If we look at what we are pleased to call the lower animals, we behold a universal carnage. We speak of the seemingly peaceful woods, but we need only look beneath the surface to be horrified by the misery of that underworld.
Hidden in the grass and watching for its prey is the crawling snake which swiftly darts upon the toad or mouse and gradually swallows it alive; the hapless animal is crushed by the jaws and covered with slime, to be slowly digested in furnishing a meal. The snake knows nothing about sin or pain inflicted upon another; he automatically grabs insects and mice and frogs to preserve his life. The spider carefully weaves his web to catch the unwary fly, winds him into the fatal net until paralyzed and helpless, then drinks his blood and leaves him an empty shell. The hawk swoops down and snatches a chicken and carries it to its nest to feed its young. The wolf pounces on the lamb and tears it to shreds. The cat watches at the hole of the mouse until the mouse cautiously comes out, then with seeming fiendish glee he plays with it until tired of the game, then crunches it to death in his jaws. The beasts of the jungle roam by day and night to find their prey; the lion is endowed with strength of limb and fang to destroy and devour almost any animal that it can surprise or overtake.
There is no place in the woods or air or sea where all life is not a carnage of death in terror and agony. Each animal is a hunter, and in turn is hunted, by day and night. No landscape is so beautiful or day so balmy but the cry of suffering and sacrifice rends the air. When night settles down over the earth the slaughter is not abated. Some creatures see best at night, and the outcry of the dying and terrified is always on the wind. Almost all animals meet death by violence and through the most agonizing pain. With the whole animal creation there is nothing like a peaceful death. Nowhere in nature is there the slightest evidence of kindness, of consideration, or a feeling for the suffering and the weak, except in the narrow circle of brief family life.
Man furnishes no exception to the rule. He seems to add the treachery and deceit that the other animals in the main do not practice, to all the other cruelties that move his life. Man has made himself master of the animal world and he uses his power to serve only his own ends. Man, at least, kills helpless animals for the pleasure of killing, alone.
For man himself there is little joy. Every child that is born upon the earth arrives through the agony of the mother. From childhood on, the life is full of pain and disappointment and sorrow. From beginning to end it is the prey of disease and misery; not a child is born that is not subject to disease. Parents, family, friends, and acquaintances, one after another die, and leave us bereft. The noble and the ignoble life meets the same fate.
Nature knows nothing about right and wrong, good and evil, pleasure and pain; she simply acts. She creates a beautiful woman, and places a cancer on her cheek. She may create an idealist, and kill him with a germ. She creates a fine mind, and then burdens it with a deformed body. And she will create a fine body, apparently for no use whatever. She may destroy the most wonderful life when its work has just commenced. She may scatter tubercular germs broadcast throughout the world. She seemingly works with no method, plan or purpose. She knows no mercy nor goodness.
Nothing is so cruel and abandoned as Nature. To call her tender or charitable is a travesty upon words and a stultification of intellect. No one can suggest these obvious facts without being told that he is not competent to judge Nature and the God behind Nature. If we must not judge God as evil, then we cannot judge God as good. In all the other affairs of life, man never hesitates to classify and judge, but when it comes to passing on life, and the responsibility of life, he is told that it must be good, although the opinion beggars reason and intelligence and is a denial of both.
Intellectually, I am satisfied that life is a serious burden, which no thinking, humane person would wantonly inflict on some one else.
Syllable after syllable oozes truth!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Capital punishment

I responded to this newspaper article on Capital Punishment with a letter to the editor.

Here was the letter I wrote.
First of all, I loathe violence. I also consider vengeance a crude biological instinct people should triumph upon rather than a divine quest for justice. That said, there is still a distinction between provoked and unprovoked violence: between communal riots and what happened in the Delhi bus.
Now, it really puzzles me when people talk of death sentence as though it is the supreme form of violence. For example, the usage of "wanting blood" for wanting capital punishment. What's so "bloody" about a death sentence? I mean, we don't stone criminals to death, draw and quarter them, lock them in the brazen bull or use Scaphism as execution methods these days. Of course, there are now methods more humane than hanging which we should consider switching to.
In any case, a judicial death sentence only advances the death sentence already imposed when a person's parents decided to launch a pregnancy and carry it to term.
The government is to ensure such violence (I refer to crimes, not the sentences) doesn't recur. Given the precedent, the perpetrators need to be restrained for the rest of their lives. And longer the life, greater the expense of restraining them. So why should it be prolonged indefinitely?

This is what actually came on the paper:
I loathe violence. I consider vengeance a crude biological instinct. That said, there is a distinction between provoked and unprovoked violence — between communal riots and what happened in Delhi last year.

However, I think the following is the most crucial part.
In any case, a judicial death sentence only advances the death sentence already imposed when a person's parents decided to launch a pregnancy and carry it to term.
As someone who recognizes the hypocrisy of human rights people in condemning judicial death sentences while recognizing imposing the original death sentence as a "human right", I sometimes feel could shriek my lungs into shreds in protest.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

From the history book

Here's an extract, from the book India and the Contemporary World - II, published by the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT). The full text is available here, on NCERT's website. When quoting it here, I emphasize some parts in bold, and don't intend any copyright infringement.

once the East India Company established political
power, it could assert a monopoly right to trade. It proceeded
to develop a system of management and control that would
eliminate competition, control costs, and ensure regular supplies
of cotton and silk goods. This it did through a series of steps. 
First: the Company tried to eliminate the existing traders and
brokers connected with the cloth trade, and establish a more
direct control over the weaver. It appointed a paid servant called
the gomastha to supervise weavers, collect supplies, and examine
the quality of cloth. 
Second: it prevented Company weavers from dealing with other
buyers. One way of doing this was through the system of advances.
Once an order was placed, the weavers were given loans to purchase
the raw material for their production.
Those who took loans had to
hand over the cloth they produced to the gomastha. They could not
take it to any other trader. 
As loans flowed in and the demand for fine textiles expanded,
weavers eagerly took the advances, hoping to earn more.
weavers had small plots of land which they had earlier cultivated
along with weaving, and the produce from this took care of their
family needs. Now they had to lease out the land and devote all their
time to weaving. Weaving, in fact, required the labour of the entire
family, with children and women all engaged in different stages of
the process. 
Soon, however in many weaving villages there were reports of
clashes between weavers and gomasthas. Earlier supply merchants had
very often lived within the weaving villages, and had a close
relationship with the weavers, looking after their needs and helping
them in times of crisis. The new gomasthas were outsiders, with no
long-term social link with the village. They acted arrogantly, marched
into villages with sepoys and peons, and punished weavers for delays
in supply – often beating and flogging them. The weavers lost the
space to bargain for prices and sell to different buyers: the price they
received from the Company was miserably low and the loans they
had accepted tied them to the Company.
The "advances" and "loans" extended by the Company to the weavers do bear some resemblance to FDI, don't they?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012