Saturday, August 20, 2016

Olympics and India

For the last couple of decades, for the nation, the Olympics have been an exercise in despair. A quadrennial quagmire for a billion souls. TV and media regularly drum up the mood into a crescendo,  only to end in a whimper, come closing ceremony.  Life then quietly gets back to normal - to cricket, that is. Deja vu.

Sindhu and Sakshi have, however, brought new brio to Rio. These girls have managed to avoid the white-wash blushes of the billion. They have salvaged some of the pride that the people like Shobha De had stomped upon.

Talking of Shobe De, shame on her! For her to have come down heavily upon the athletes, smacks of arrogance and frivolity. These athletes have put in more than their best foot forward, under extremely trying circumstances. A case in point - without any help or assistance from the government, Sindhu, now the badminton heroine of India,  travelled 56 km one way, every day, to practice, and her coach Gopichand has vouched that she has not been late even on a single day, for practice. This shows the fire in the belly, and the commitment, and above all, that burning urge to do excel, for the sake of herself and for a nation of eternal hopefuls. Many of the athletes have done much more than was expected, given that total lack of any infrastructure in any corner of the country that could have possibily fostered an atmosphere of competitive athletics. If there is anything to be condemned, it is the apathy of the successive governments, the callousness of the sport ministry and sports body officials, and rampant corruption that has been derailing any attempts to improve our lot in the tracks ( and fields).  Instead of targeting these maladies, Shobha had chosen to train her guns on the hapless athletes. Totally unbecoming of a senior socialite.

For a nation that goes overboard to produce engineers and doctors, and generally scorns at any attempt to encourage any sports zeal in our sons and daughters, the games will go on. The show will go on. We Indians drown ourselves in movies and cricket, to forget our harsh everyday realities. In such a situation, the five rings will continue to be elusive.


Monday, August 15, 2016

Devdutt, sorry, you are totally wrong

Uma, I did not want to waste time responding to what I feel is balderdash. I somehow I gathered myself to put a response. I am surprised how people rush in to misinterpret things so very easily, in the name of "thinking differently". Here are only a few pointers. I can talk about this for hours.Sorry, a rather long response.

I agree with Devdutt when he says " feminists assume that monastic faiths espouse non violence and are generally pacifist, and therefore are more feminist in approach". He is right in pointing to facts that are contrary to that assumption. The best live examples that I can think of are the Asian Countries of Japan, Korea and China, where Buddhism is the overwhelming faith, and perhaps no other country can be more male dominated that these societies.

I disagree with him when he says hermits gave rise to three ideas - celibacy, non-violence and purity. Hermits of yore, those who wrote the Upanishads, like Yagnyavalka, Kashyapa, Gautama etc... were all married, had progenies and yet were detached from wordly pleasures for most part of their lives. Hinduism does not lay down anything in strict. One can go directly from Brahmacharya to Sanyasa. Or one can go through the 4 varnashramas to reach sanayasa. Our history is full of both examples. I this his narrow view emnates from comparing with theological religions. Hinduism, in reality, is way to flexible, to be straight-jacketed into one line fo thinking. However, it is a different matter that some practitioners, over the times, have hijacked people's notions on these, and made them believe that there are only certain ways to do them. Again, many of these hermits fought with evil forces which had interrupted their duties as hermits. Examples are Vishwamitra, Parasurama, etc...

I also think his analysis of women alone being seen as temptations, is faulty. In Kamba Ramayanam, Kambar says " for a man, his demeanour, character etc... needs control.... for a woman, her eyes need control". The reason? Traditionally, Hinduism has always placed the well-being of the family, and by extension, the society, in the hands of the lady. For a man to go astray, a woman's mere gaze is ( normally) sufficient. Men have very little self-control in this matter, and this is pure animal behaviour. It is the woman who normally has much better self control in this matter, and the moment she loses it, the family loses out, and by extension, the society. Hence the puranic emphasis on male celibacy. Devdutt, in my opinion, is misinterpreting this whole thing. Talk of male celibacy does not denigrate the woman in any way. Quite the contrary. In my eyes, it places women on a pedastal reserved solely for them. For, women, by nature, tended to have a lot more self-restraint, and thereby controlled the societal values. Perverted MacCaulay system of education interpreted it as subjugation of women, which is totally wrong. It is not that women dont get "those" feelings of breaking the shackles, or go lawless, like most men do. It is just that nature has gifted them with much better self control. Some western societies of today, where women try to "compete" with men in recklessness, have paid for, with their overall family and societal environments destroyed. People have started living purely for themselves, instead of for a family or for the larger society. One may argue that in the race to keep self-control, women lost out many things, including their own happiness. My argument on that is that happiness is a conditioned state of mind. It can come from anywhere. If you are conditioned to think that happiness comes only from doing "reckless" things, or " being free", then anything else will be unacceptable. If you conditioned to think that happiness comes from living for the others, most notably your family, and if in that process you lose things like personal space and freedom, then that is where you feel the happiness. Devdutt's arguments unfortunately reflect the former thought process, and to me, that is trying to judge the Indian system through a Western prism.

By the way, it is not only women who are portrayed as objects of desire. Men have also been equally portrayed as objects of desire. Vishwamitra was an object of desire for Menaka ( even if for a brief while only). Amba, Ambika and Ambalika were after one man, a hermit, by the name of Dwaipayana. Sukhracharya's daughter lusted for a man, so madly, that she insisted on marrying him and her dad had to relent. Shiva was an object of desire for Meenakshi, who penanced to get married to him. When I say " object of desire" it does not necessarily have to be sexual in nature. I am willing to argue it out with anyone who says that the Gopikas' attraction to Krishna was purely platonic. There is a bit of Kama in that too... not in a deragatory sense, but purely by looking at Krishna as the only man - Purusha ( the rest of men and women mortals are considered women only, in that context, according to the scriptures).

Devdutt talks rubbish when he insinuates the Gita as a book incites violence , when he says " ....that some academicians argue this is Brahminical gobbledygook to justify violence.". Nothing is more absurd. If you need any more proof, look no further than a Russian Court ruling, responding to a plea 2 years ago, to ban the Gita on the grounds of inciting violence, clearly ruled that it is a totally wrong interpretation of the holy book, and dismissed that petition. Pls do a Google search if interested to read more about that case.

"Vegetarianism was meant to liberate the hermit from nature and culture. " This statement again shows his ignorance. It has got nothing to do with liberation from nature. Vegetarinsiam as a way of life , it is scientifically proven, enhances the DNA, and over generations, produces far superior progency. I challenge Devdutt to dispute this. That is why vengtarianism was prefered to being non-veg. Also, Hinduism, as a way of life, was against killing any. Even plants and trees were revered. There was a prescribed way ot eating vegetables and fruits. For example, the concept of Unchavrithi. Today, Unchavrithi is celebrated as a "function" of singing in the streets and earning alms. But that was not how things originated. Unchavriti was a custom where people ate only THOSE rice grains which were incapable of growing. ("broken rice"). Similarly with fruits. People never plucked fruits first off, but waited for them to fall off the trees, the natural way. In Tamil Nadu, we call maa, palaa and vaazhai as " mukkani" ( THE three fruits). Why? What is so special about these fruits? The speciality is that The mango and jackfruits, even after eating , left those seeds intact, and even if you dicard them in the open, will germinate. Banana does not need the fruit, to procreate. So, we really respected nature and the right to life, those good old days when the scriptures were written. Ahimsa was part of this, and Devdutt cannot deny that. It is a different matter that over time, things got perverted by people who interpreted them.

His funniest nonsense, in my opinion, is reserved for "purity". What the hell does he say? Is he saying that drinking, smoking, having unfettered sex etc is civil right, and that everyone HAS to accept them??? Nonsense. He argues that purification demands lead to untouchabiility. This is nothing but perverted thinking. Let me aska simple question. If the body does NOT need purification, then firstly why take bath, or have medicine when one falls sick? Furthermore, let me challenge Devdutt, or anyone who claims that demand for purity leads to untouchability. If that is really true, why did the western societies spend billions of dollars on eradicating leprosy? Let me pose a simple question. Let there be a Justin Bieber music show today, in a stadium packed with 10000 people. All dancing away happily. Let a leper walk in, and join the crowds in dancing just as happily. Let me see how many of them embrace him physically, happiliy!!!!!!! Utter crap.... Devdutt.... I expected had better concepts from you.... maybe you wrote this article in your sleep.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

கம்ப காதை கேட்பீர்!

சின்ன  வயதில் வானொலியில், காரைக்குடி கம்பன் விழாவின் ஒரு நேரடி ஒலிபரப்பில் கேட்டு ரசித்த ஒரு குறுங்கதையை இங்கு பகிர்கின்றேன்.

கம்பனுக்குக் தான் கவிப்பேரரசன்  என்கிற செருக்கு எப்போதுமே உண்டு. அவன் ஆண்டவன் தவிர யாருக்கும்  வணங்காதவன் . ஒரு முறை சோழ மன்னன் எவ்வளவு விண்ணப்பித்தும் மன்னனைப் புகழ்ந்து பாட மறுத்து விட்டான். தவிரவும், அவையில் மன்னன் பிரவேசிக்கும்போது எல்லோரும் மரியாதை நிமித்தம் எழுவது வழக்கம்- கம்பனைத் தவிர. இது மன்னனுக்கு பெரும் மன உளைச்சலைத் தந்தது. மன்னனால் மெல்லவும் முடியவில்லை, விழுங்கவும் முடியவில்லை. ஊண் உறக்கம் இன்றித் தவித்தான். இராணியால் இதை நிவர்த்தி செய்ய முடியவில்லை, ஆதலால் பொன்னி என்கின்ற மன்னனுக்குப் பிரியமான ஒரு தாசியை அழைத்து விஷயத்தைச் சொன்னாள். பொன்னியோ, " என்னிடம் விட்டு விடுங்கள், நான் பார்த்துக்கொள்கிறேன்" என்று சொல்லிவிட்டு, மன்னனிடம் சென்று " நாதா, கம்பனை எப்படி வழிக்கு கொண்டு வர வேண்டும் என்று எனக்குத் தெரியும். நீங்கள் நிம்மதியாக உண்டு ஓய்வெடுங்கள்", என்று சொல்லி விட்டு கம்பனை வீழ்த்த ஆயத்தமானாள்.

ஒரு நாள் கம்பன் கண்ணில் படும்படி அவள் வீதியில் வேண்டுமென்றே கீழே விழா, கம்பன் ஓடி வந்து அவளுக்கு உதவ, பொன்னி கம்பனைக் கடைக்கண் பார்வையால் கவர்ந்திட்டாள். கம்பனும் பொன்னியுடன் பொழுதை இனிது கழித்தான். பின்னர் அகம் மகிழ்ந்து " பொன்னி, நான் உன்னை மிகவும் மெச்சினேன் , உனக்கு ஏதாவது தர வேண்டும்போல் தோன்றுகிறது . என்ன வேண்டும், கேள்!" என்றான்.

பொன்னியோ ஒரு விஷமப் புன்வுருவலுடன் " எனக்கு வேறொன்றும் வேண்டாம். ஒரு ஓலையில் "தாசி பொன்னிக்கு கம்பன் அடிமை" என எழுதித்தாருங்கள்!" என்றாள். கம்பனும் அவ்வாறே செய்தான்.

மன்னனுக்கோ பெரு மகிழ்ச்சி. கம்பன் இனி தன் பாட்டுக்கு ஆடித்தான் ஆகவேண்டும் என்று கணக்கிட்டான். மறுநாள் அவை கூடியது. வழக்கம்போல் மன்னன் பிரவேசிக்க, எல்லோரும் எழ - கம்பன் மட்டும் ஒன்றுமே நடக்காததுபோல அமர்ந்திருந்தான். மன்னனுக்கோ சினம் சிரத்துக்கு ஏறியது. தாசியை கூப்பிட்டு அந்த ஓலையை படிக்குமாறு கட்டளையிட்டான்.

" தாசி பொன்னிக்கு கம்பன் அடிமை" என்கிற வாசகம் அவையில் ஆரவாரம் எழுப்பியது. எல்லோரும் திடுக்கிட்டனர். மன்னனோ கோபம் கொண்டு " கம்பனே , இது என்ன அசிங்கம்! இவ்வளவு பெரிய கவிஞர், ஆண்டவன் தவிர வேறு எவரையுமே பாக்களில் புனையாதவர், ஒரு தாசிக்கு அடிமையா?" எனக் கொக்கரித்தான்.

கம்பனோ, ஒன்றுமே நடக்காதது போல வெற்றிலையை மடித்து வாயிலிட்டுக்கொண்டான். ஒரு மந்திரி, ராஜாவிடம் காக்கை பிடிக்க எண்ணி, அந்த ஓலையை கம்பனிடம் காட்டி " இந்த கையெழுத்து உங்களுடையதுதானே?" என வினவ, கம்பம் " ஆம்! அதற்க்கென்ன?" என்றான், வெற்றிலையை மென்றுகொண்டே. மந்திரியோ " இப்படி பகிரங்கமாகப் பிரகடனப் படுத்த, உங்களுக்கு வெட்கமாய் இல்லையா?" எனக் கேட்டான்.

கம்பனோ சிரித்துக்கொண்டே , " இதில் வெட்கப்பட என்ன இருக்கிறது? உள்ளதைத்தானே உரைத்துள்ளேன்?" எனச் செப்பினான்.

" தாசி பொன்னிக்கு நீங்கள் அடிமையா?" என மறுபடியும் கேட்க , கம்பனும் ஆம் என உறுதி செய்ய , எல்லோருக்கும் கம்பனை கோபமுடன் பார்க்க, கம்பனோ, அவசரப்படாமல் வெற்றிலையை மென்று விழுங்கிவிட்டுத் தொண்டையைக் கனைத்துக்கொண்டு மெதுவாக  சொன்னான்: " மன்னா, தமிழ் மிகவும் நுணுக்கமான மொழி. நன்கு கவனியுங்கள். நான் உள்ளதைத்தான் எழுதிக் கொடுத்துள்ளேன். தமிழில் "தாசி" என்பதற்கு  " எல்லோரும் விரும்பத்தக்க" என்கிற பொருளும் உண்டு. "பொன்னி" என்பது கலைமகளுக்கு இன்னுமொறு பெயர். ஆக ,  " எல்லோரும் விரும்பத்தக்க சரஸ்வதிக்கு கம்பன் அடிமை" என்றுதான் எழுதித்தந்துள்ளேன் . இதில் என்ன தவறு கண்டார்கள்?" என எதிர்க் கேள்வி கேட்க, அவை முழுவதும் நிசப்தம் நிலவியது!!

தமிழின் இலக்கிய நயம் வட மொழியான சமஸ்க்ருதத்திற்குச் சமமானது. ஒவ்வொரு சொல்லுக்கும் பல அர்த்தங்கள் உண்டு. இந்த இலக்கிய நயத்தையும் ஆழத்தையும் அனுபவித்து மகிழ நிறைய கேட்க, படிக்க வேண்டும். கம்ப நயமே இவ்வளவு என்றால் , மற்ற நூல்களையும் காப்பியங்களையும் என் சொல்ல?

என் பார்வையில், இன்று தமிழ் மிகவும் நலிந்துவிட்டது. பள்ளியிலும் கல்லூரியிலும் தமிழ் பயின்ற தலைமுறையே தமிழைத் தவிர்க்கிறது. பின்னே, இந்த புதிய தலைமுறையை பழித்துப் புண்ணியமில்லைதான்.

வடமொழியும் வெள்ளையன் மொழியும் வாய் நுணியில் விளையாடுகின்றன. தப்பில்லைதான். பிழைப்புக்காகத் தேவைதான். ஆனால் உங்கள் முன்னே செந்தமிழ் என்னும் சொத்து சுவைக்க, சிறப்பிக்கக் காத்திருக்கிறது. முடியும்போதெல்லாம் தமிழில்த் திளையுங்கள். வார்த்தைகளின் வர்ணஜாலத்தை ரசியுங்கள்.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Nifty - where is it headed? Aug 2016

About 6 months back, I had called out that the markets could be on the way down, and my target was 6800. If it were to have broken down then 5500 could have been hit effortlessly.

Sure enough, the mkt went down to 6850 or so, but then has bounced back very strongly, from those critical support levels, and has been hitting 52-wk high , of late.

I am sure those of you who had stayed in the mkt or had trade for the short term, would have made great money in this period.

Where is the mkt headed from now on? Let us look at a few big factors:

1. Monsoon has done well so far. Reasonable good. As long as it does not flood the whole country, we should be in for record kharif harvest. Pulses remain a problem and will take long term mesaures to fix. So, with a decent monsoon season, the first worry is out of the way. Rural consumption should be decent enough.

2. Inflation continues to be well under control, and so, expect interest rates not to rise, for the next 3 to 6 months. This means, there will be enough interest from DIIs in the stock mkt.

3. Rupee is stable. Also, growth in other mkts has practically shut off. While Brazil mkt has risen spectularly ( much more than the Indian rally) , riding on the Olympics, their fundamentals continue to be shaky. China will take some time to digest their excess investments and clean up the balance sheets of their banks. So, there is hardly any interest there. The other mkts are practically going nowhere. Plus, money at near-zero interest rates is available in many developed markets, and if the exchange rate can eb held stable, then expect decent inflows from the, These factors, put together, will keep the FII interest in the Indian markets.

4. One potential risk is that historically, the election year in the USA has been a disaster for their stock mkts, and by deduction, the global stock mkts. If that happens , India wont be spared, either. But for that to happen, there is need for a trigger - economic , political or geopolitical. Until then chances are that the markets will rather go up than down.

5.Valuation-wise, based on 2016-17 earnings, the Indian markets are already into bubble territory in terms of valuation, with forward PE of more than 24 ( historical at 18-20) . But with liquidity governing the mkts now, I wont be surprised if the mkt goes up to a PE of even 30- until some geopolitical event pricks the balloon.

For long term investors, none of this should matter, as long as they are invested in long term stocks. Would I add to my positions now? No, I will wait for the mkt to correct.

For traders, I think in the absence of any " event", mkts are headed higher for the short term, until the balloon bursts. Stock specific traders could turn out to be sexy for the punters.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Kabali Mania(c)

The social media is full of people with different reactions to this crescendo called Kabali. Let us look at a few types of people in the social media, in the context of release of this game-changer movie, and their instant reactions online:

  1. The " me first" types - anxious to post a selfie from the cinema, with a cone ice-cream in hand, real-time. The ultimate display of oneupmanship. That smirk in the face would say - "Hey, I climbed Mt. Kabali without oxygen! Before you. I am always great!" For them, first-day-first-show is a status symbol.
  2.  The "my review first" types - equally anxious to post the news of their "Kabalidom" . Masquerading as film critic, writing a few incoherent lines that are supposed to be a full review, but ending up with only one nett message - that same " I SAW KABALI BEFORE YOU".
  3. The " I-wish-I-were-first" types - the ones who scoff at the mad rush for the ticket to heaven- er, to Kalabi- and tweet " I ain't in a hurry. There is no need for this hype. Will do the honours later". In reality, they may well be cursing either their luck for not badge that badge of honour in time, or their plain incapacitation to do that.
  4. The "I-went-too-but-wasn't-worth" types - usually pontificate the futility of such mad rush, and try and portray as if they were rather unemotional in watching the movie this soon, but in reality, were equally anxious to be seen with the early birds.
  5. The " I-was-there-but-the-movie-was-a-total-waste" types . These are people who, in reality, easily fall prey to hypes around movies, and are suckers for first day first shows, but try to deliberately play down the quality of the movie, for sheer fear of being seen as protoganist of a low-grade movie. Their "I-am-THE-intellectual" badge will never permit any open admission of being a Rajini fan. In other words, they secretly drool at the prospect of a Rajini potboiler, but the mask on their face would read " I am really level-headed, you see?"
  6. The " I-will-never-be-there" types. The ones, whose "intellectual" tag will not ever permit admitting their craving for this same deluge, will stay away for some time, but then, at some point will quietly give in, queue up, pay up and surreptitiously watch the movie nevertheless.
  7. The " I-dont-care" types . They will never yield to temptation,  unlike Adam to the apple. Will wait patiently for 6 months at the minimum, and watch on TV or Deepavali or Pongal day. And then vociferously perform a critical review of the movie - at a time when the rest of the Janta would have had moved on to at least two more new release hypes.
  8. The "I-will-be-there-but-at-no-cost" types. Some of them will not wait , and would happily buy either a screenshot video from a theatre, at Rs.50 on the roadside, or watch the same trash copy on "", and with red eyes, type away fast and furiously, their view of the movie. The other "tech savvy" will wait for a good DVD rip on torrent, and often wont betray their stealth mode of watching.
  9. And then there are those few Tamilians, who clearly feel embarrassed calling themselves Tamil, and would anxiously proclaim " chee! I seldom watch Tamil movies! Only Hollywood or Bollywood movies, you see!"

    So, which of these categories do you belong to?

Sunday, June 19, 2016



Raghuram Rajan's exit as RBI Guv is creating more soundwaves than even Dadri or Kanhaiya!!  All along, he has been hailed as a rockstar Governor.  And his "resignation letter" to RBI employees has apparently signalled Armageddon. The media and a few learned men are calling the end of the Indian Economy, already! The Indian media is now breaking into a dirge, something not seen even when Sachin Tendulkar retired! And even (!) Western media houses like CNBC are carrying this as their weekend headline news. The market pundits are already seeing daggers being pulled out from the sheaths, in anticipation of a bloodbath in Dalal Street.

So, how much of this is truth? How much is hype? Is it as black-and-white as it appears to be? Let us look at a few aspects. And then YOU DECIDE.

First things first. RR took over the helm of RBI at a time when the Indian Economy was in doldrums. Everything that had to go wrong, had indeed gone wrong. Every economic parameter was out of range. Inflation, credit, current account deficit, moribund Public Sector Banks(PSB)- you name them all. Let us look at RR's performance in these three years on some of these key parameters.

Inflation: Undoubtedly, a feather in the cap of RR for taming the official inflation figures.  Some pundits argue that during a good part of his tenure, global oil prices had crashed, and that made it very easy for them. Partly true. Global oil prices indeed helped. But then, dont forget the fact that India has gone through two consecutive years of drought. Inflation management, against a backdrop of parched lands, farmer suicides and hoarding by middlemen was never going to be easy. But RR stuck to his task like a missionary, and delivered on inflation.

There are enough naysayers who scoff at this and say " oh, BS!! Look at the prices of tomatoes and pulses in my street-corner kirana store. What low inflation?". This missive is usually directed at Modi, not on RR!! So, you give the credits to RR, and make Modi the punchbag!! Great, keep it, naysayers! For, you were the ones who complained the same, when previous governments occasionally reported low inflation figures occasionally.

But what these naysayers do not realize is the importance of official inflation figures. If you are a student of macro-economics, you will realize that inflation is one of the key parameters that go into deciding the credit rating of a country. A stable rating is only possible with low inflation figures. And a good credit rating means that the government and companies can borrow at much better interest rates in the international financial markets, than otherwise. So, what RR has achieved is the maintaining of the platform of lower borrowing rates, inspite of the adverse economic situation. This will definitely help over the longer term, as long as his successor does not end up with a U-turn.

The other area that RR has achieved big is forcing the banks to declare their doubtful debts, and getting them to provide for non-performing assets (NPAs). For those of us novices, a Vijay Mallya borrowing from a consortium of banks without proper collateral ( during the previous regimes), and not returning the money borrowed, would lead to NPA in the balance sheets of these banks.  Jaitley and RR have worked together to provide for a corpus for recapitalization of the PSBs ( more money may be needed for this in the next budget), and, along with provisions for NPAs that would ultimately clean up the balance sheets of these PSBs ( and some private bank like ICICI Bank, Axis Bank etc) have paved the way for better health of the banks, and the economy in future. Contrast this will the trillions of dollars of unrecoverable debts in the balance sheets of Chinese Banks, and the time bomb they are sitting on due to this, and you will appreciate the profound effect of this aspect of banking reform.

In addition, current account deficit is down to less than 1% and if it continues, perhaps for the first ever time in India's history, we may end up having a current account surplus.

So, is RR all goodness and with no misses? Let us see.

RR reformed banks' balance sheets alright. He ultimately reduced interest rates ( after much haggling between the govt and the RBI) , but RR has failed to pressurize the banks to pass on the benefits of lower Repo rates ( the rate at which banks can borrow form RBI), to the consumer - retail as well as institutional. Top marginal borrowing rates of Corporate has hardly moved. And if you, as individual have an EMI obligation for a home loan, you would have observed that inspite of the repo rates going down by as much as 1.5% over the last year, your home EMI rates have dropped only by 0.5% on an average. The banks have been pocketing the delta, and you are left wondering " where is the Acche Din?" ;)

Secondly, lending by banks has hardly gone up. Credit growth is one of the key drivers of economic growth in Keynesian Economics that all capitalist countries follow, and sadly, credit off-take has failed to take off.  Yes, part of the reason is the excess capacity that was created in the previous cycle of economic boom, and needs time to get absorbed before more investments can follow, coupled with rapidly slowing global economy. But then RR's hawkish stance on inflation control has made sure that banks are now loathe to lend more. This has ensured that the economy is not growing as fast as it is really capable of.

Thirdly, in spite of RR's rockstar status, the FDI inflows, though growing, have not been as big as expected - at least not as yet. Maybe they will pick up as the global economy picks up. And this will be the joint responsibility of RBI's policies and the government's ability to provide an investor-friendly environment. Maybe those vested interests from abroad, who were rooting for his second innings, had been waiting for even more sops.

So, should RR have continued, or is this the right decision to let somebody else take over? I am basing my arguments purely on his performance s RBI governor, and am choosing to ignore all his unwarranted rantings of " intolerance", " India is a one-eyed wonder" etc...   nor his alleged soft corner to P Chidambaram leading to a lot of bad blood on the Kathik Chidambaram saga. I will not venture into them, but will evaluate RR purely based the government's priorities and his performance thus far.

Let us take the big picture. Remember, Modi had come to power on the promise of Governance, creation of jobs, and laying the platform for a strong and sustainable economy that will ultimately make India a Global economic leader. It is amply evident that, notwithstanding his track record on Inflation and other achievements, RR's strategy of low inflation at the cost of muted economic growth, is clearly at loggerheads with the very mandate of the people on which Modi had rode to power - namely, a clear mandate for better economic growth and job creation. To me, it is clear that RR is not going to help this cause, even in his second term. Hence, the government is now forced move on, and try out someone else who can turn things around on the growth front. The message thus to RR clearly is - you did a great job, now time for India to move on.

Now, I am assuming that RR's "resignation" is with the explicit approval of the government. So far, I have not seen any response from Jaitley or any other government official, and things may yet pan out in favour of a return of RR. But I see very slim chances of that.

So then, will his successor make it any better for the Government's economic priorities? Only time will tell, but, to me, the time has come to make a move-on. To shift gears to a faster growth, even if inflation climbs back a bit. For, Modi surely would not want to be in a situation in 2 years' time before the next election, where he has to sheepishly defend a low growth rate, just because the RBI guv had ordained so. Modi's stakes, and the nation's stakes are higher than the rockstar cult that RR has managed to create.

So, what does this "REXIT" mean to you? If you are a stock trader or investor, then this week, will see dips due to the emotional factor. Use that to BUY BUY BUY - at least for short term gains. I am dead sure that beyond a few empty noises, nothing is going to change on the ground, and next week it may well back back to business. After all, the Indian Economy is not as fickle as it is being made out to be, as if it depends solely on the charisma of this rockstar Governmor of the RBI.

In the meanwhile, that million dollar question - should he, or should he not?


Saturday, June 18, 2016

News Reporting techniques of today

News reporting techniques of today =========================== I chanced upon this very objective " news report" from Reuters today. I felt it was exceedingly fair. So fair, that it would have made Manuneedhi Chozan proud. (see this story of him in The article is so objective, that it has dragged even Modi's personal religious faith into this Court judgement news. And has mentioned dime a dozen times the fact that Modi was CM of Gujarat when 2002 happened, how he practically managed to become PM even with hands " stained in blood" (notwithstanding a 2013 SC judgement that had completely absolved him of any complicity), and how he had dodged the US establishment, that watchdog of world peace and justice, into giving him a US visa etc etc... Very objective reporting, indeed. I then imagined how Reuters may well have reported the Orlando incident, with a president with allegedly Islamic connections, in charge, just along the lines of this "Modi" coverage. After all, unfounded rumours and conspiracy theories have been circulating in the media for years now, on this. ( So, I let my imagination run riot. What if this gory incident were to be given a coloured twist, and drag Obama needlessly into it? It may well look like this" " A Muslim gunman, today, mercilessly gunned down 50 innocent people in a gay bar in Orlando. The shootout has shaken the nation, and got over before it started. The Muslim gunman was shot down in an ambush, by the patriotic police. The gay people, whose interests lie only in enlarging the circling of friends ( pun not intended ;) ) , had quietly gathered on a weekend evening, to make further inroads into their objective ( again, pun not intended ;) ) when they were attacked by the lone Muslim gunman. Though not proven, it is widely believed that his hatred for gays may have been the cause of this gory shooting of innocent christian gays. There is a section of the American people who believe that President Barack Obama may be surreptitiously practising Islam, though an online survey done in 2012 showed that only 17% of the people believed so. However, it may be recollected that Obama has openly declared that he is a practicing Christian, to scotch the rumours. It may also be recollected that Obama was a member of the Illinois senate from the 13th District when 9/11 had happened. Many people still accuse him of failing to stop the senate from functioning, in protest, in spite of 9/11. Some even suspect his rumoured religious affiliation to be the cause of this failure, notwithstanding his public pronouncements to the contrary. Obama has subsequently gone on the become the President of the USA, but the shadow of 9/11 still looms on his political career. It may also be recollected that Obama had won the Nobel Peace prize in 2009, though he himself had mentioned in his acceptance speech that he was not so sure on why he got it". PS: This is purely imaginary and in jest. It is intended to portray the unlikely picture of Obama being needlessly dragged into controversies along the lines of what is happening to Modi, and not intended to hurt anyone's feelings.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Paris's gain is Orlando's loss

The gunshots have died. The shooter has died too. And with him, more than 50 innocent citizens of the USA. But in this gory process, the boredom of choosing between the Devil and the Deep Sea, in the US elections, has been relegated to the back-seat now. The media has got a new life, as it were, with this sensational news. And I am sure primetime TRP ratings are bound to go up. In the USA, and elsewhere. Orlando, that SunShine State , home to more than a dozen theme parks, has herself become the theme of the month.

The media is doing their job. Of drum-beating a disaster into sensational news. Of course, Western media is, like ( well, almost) all other  media elsewhere, is biased. They spare no efforts to turn the arclights, when blood of whites is shed on the roads. Rightly so. But then, when more than 200 innocent school kids in Rawalpindi, Pakistan are killed by similar terrorists, they " get on with it", after a brief mention. Or when thousands are killed by the LTTE, it fails to find even a passing mention in their headlines. Mumbai 26/11 was in the news for sometime, because a handful of Jews unfortunately caught in the crossfire- quite literally. But for those Jews, and the White guests staying the Taj Hotel, Mumbai 26/11 too would have been buried deep in the middle pages of Western media news. Much like the grave of Mumtaz lying in the underground of the Taj.  And as far as terrorism in Burkina Faso is concerned... hang on! Where is it in the map?

I can understand the vested interests of the media and the Western Governments. But what I can't fathom is the one upmanship of our so-called "intellectuals". FB has already been flooded with "I condemn Orlando killings" messages.

I find it concerning that their one upmanship borders on anxiety disorder. An anxiety to show the world that they care for lost innocent lives. " I will be looked down upon by the intellegentia, so let me hurry, before anyone else does", seems to be the driver.  What I still don't see yet, is the flag of Florida donning the FB profile pics of these intellectual beings. Mark Zuckerberg had made a brilliant business move of getting that feature of the French flag to "watermark" on one's FB profile pic. That was his business, and he perhaps had made a few more billions, riding on the anxiety disorder of this intelligentia. But it does appear that Paris's gain, this time, has been Orlando's loss. 

These intellectuals clearly don't care about any news of terrorist attacks that are " not popular" in the circuit. The London Bombings, or Madrid train attack evoke the strongest and most spontaneous outbursts. But there is hardly a whimper, when Naga rebels kill innocent villagers. Ask these intelligentia what the acronym LTTE stands for. And don't be surprised at the blank stare. Or, for that matter, the lives of those innocent Somalis and Ethiopians killed by carpet bombing by American Air Force, in the name of decimating Chemical weapons, that ended up unleashing unseen levels of misery on an already impoverished nations. Those thousands of innocent civilians, surely, are children of lesser Gods, as far as Western media is concerned.  I can understand that. But what about these so called learned intellectuals? Where is their conscience when such attacks happen elsewhere?

Make no mistake. I condemn any killing of human life. Whether it is Orlando, or Oslo. Whether it is Spain or Maine. The terrorist who attacked Orlando clearly had religious motive, since he attacked a Gay Bar. He may or may not agree with LGBTs, but they have a right to live, as much as he does, and he has no business to do what he did. 

But then to be selective in condemnation? Succinctly biased in Solidarity? I would not do it. 

Shame on you, my dear "intellectuals". If our response is " I can choose which incident to react to. I do not have to react to every human killing on planet earth. My focus is only on those that will give me the political mileage amongst my peers", then it exposes who you are. Or, if you say " I can only react to news that is sensationalized, and not to the other news that get buried in the last pages", then you clearly do not belong to the intellectual cadre. So, stop pretending to be one.

Either stand up and be counted for all atrocities that take human lives away by force. Or stop exposing your hypocrisy caused by anxiety disorder. Stop stepping over human misery in order to show-case your intellectual and liberal credentials. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Save defence establishments, Mr. Parrikar

Save Defence establishments, Mr. parrikar.

Dear Mr. Parrikar, it is agonizing, to say the least, reading about the major fire that took place in the middle of the night, in Pulegaon, Maharashtra yesterday. Even before the raging fires could be doused, the cannons have already let loose on Modi, and the inability of this government to stop avert this disaster.

People conveniently forget that there have been a heap of similar incidents in the recent past , in our very own India.

Bharatpur depot in 2000
Pathankot depot in 2001
Jodhpur Depot in 2001
Kashmir ( I don't remember where) - 2007
And now, Pulgaon in 2005, and again in 2016

Without getting into politics, let me state categorically. I am NOT one of those who believe that callousness could have caused so many incidents. in a trot. I refuse to believe that negligence could have caused these accidents, on an incident-to-incident basis. I am sure that being army establishments, a thorough investigation would have been conducted in each of these locations after the incident. And whether it was indeed negligence, or sabotage or any other reason, I refuse to believe that the governments , this, or the previous ones, were dumb enough to release the findings in public domain. Defence 101 would dictate that the establishment quietly plugs any loopholes that may have found, without any drumbeats in the media.

Therefore, I find it very amusing, to say the least, that the so-called "experts" pronounce THIS government guilty of negligence. When this has happened so frequently in the past as well. When all "preventive measures" taken then have yielded nothing incremental, practically, going by the alarming regularity of such incidents. Nothing is more evident than the bias of the media against this government. And I choose to ignore it.

And yet, Mr. Parrikar, as a common citizen, I am distraught at such news. Not just for the loss of lives and property that such incidents cause. But from the larger issue of the nation's security. Let me explain why.

If these are caused by the so-called negligence of the defence establishment, then it is a shocker for any Indian. Because, it then becomes very evident that even small disturbances, knowingly or unknowingly, can cause a good portion of the country's ammunition to be destroyed. Imagine if this were to happen during war time. Where will we go for ammunition to defend the borders?

If these were sabotages, then it uncovers porosity in our defence posture, which can very easily be exploited by the enemy.

Either way, for an emerging superpower in the world horizon, this, to me, clearly is a chink in our armoury - quite literally.  And needs to be fixed on the cliched war-footing basis.

Sir, you have started saving the country billions of dollars, through renegotiation of defence contracts and through other programs like "Make in India". The results will be there to see, for all, over the years. But I would rather that you spend the money thus saved, in fortifying security of our defence establishments. I would rather that you give a strong message to the enemy that India is strong enough to protect it's borders, as well it's establishments that provide that protective cover - Pulgoan, Pathankot et al.

Let the fire be doused for good. Let any future fire be opened only in the borders - at the enemy.

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Three proverbs in Hindi that keeping ringing in my ears

शेर और बकरा एक ही घाट पर कभी पानी पि नहीं सकत है

अपने ही पानी में पिघल जाना बर्फ़ का मुक़द्दर होता है

तरबूज का रंग तरबूज आखिर पकड़  ही लेता है