Friday, February 28, 2014

February 2014: Interesting Articles & Links

* India-Japan: Circumstances and self-interest (TP Sreenivasan, IE)--

* Algae in agriculture --

* WatsApp sold at $19b - more than the GDP of many countries, including Nepal --

* Alcohol advt - Bells -

* What is going on in Venezuela in a nutshell --

* The world of seven billion (NG, Ineractive Graphics) --

* Indian Headshake mystery solved --

* Inventions from India --

* TED - Coming out of closets -

* 51 Million Dollar Question -- Dharmakriti Joshi (IE, 20Feb14) -

* Shamnad Basheer (IE, 20Feb14): PATENT ERROR --
- US’s efforts to coerce India to amend its national IP regime to suit the former’s business interests
- US Intl Trade Commission (ITC) initiated and enquiry into India’s alleged IP regime flaws
- IP Act 2005 amendment, Section 3(d) blocks evergreening -- eg. - Novartis’s anti-cancer drug Glivec; compulsary licence granted to Bayers’ overpriced anticancer drug - price came down from Rs.2.8L/month to Rs. 8800/m after entry of generics
- US Chamber of Commerce’s Global IP Centre (GIPC) - authored by members of thinktank (Pugatch Consilium) which has BigPharma clients - curious ranking of 25 assorted countries units
- Almost every country had minimalist IP protection at the start of its technological tragictory and moved to maximalist IP position when its indigenous units had built sufficient capacity.
- American historian Doron Ben Atar reminds us that US was once a “pirate” economy, with thhe American enterprises being encouraged to “borrow” freely from European technology.

* Traveller - 44 days, 38,000 miles --

- Rajiv Malhotra (compilation) -

- also later in Mint -

* Madurai Girl in the Valley --

* Indologist - David Dean Shulman -
- Guha’s tweet - A Jew spoke in memory of a Muslim at a Christian college, using medieval texts composed by Hindus. A very Indian experience

* GIFs to Trignometry -

* How Gandhi Made it to the Police HQ --

* Kenichi Ebina Performs an Epic Matrix- Style Martial Arts Dance -


- the regulator hardly possessed any data, guidelines or norms for monitoring such trials. Till date, there is no mechanism to audit human trials going on in different parts of the country. Moreover, the two regulators - DCGI and NPPA - are under two separate ministries: health, and chemicals and fertilisers, respectively.

* UP - trapped in the politics of fear --

* Bayer makes drugs for Western patients who can afford it --

* Indians driving change in USA -

* Orhan Pauk’s Istanbul --

- prominent lawmaker, Senator Orrin Hatch, recently called India "the biggest battlefield" for intellectual property rights and accused the country of "rampant piracy and counterfeiting" to benefit its own industries...US Chamber of Commerce, which released a report that ranked India at the bottom of 25 countries in protection of intellectual property.
- Jaishankar said he was "very surprised" by Hatch's remarks and charged that the pharmaceutical industry was driving criticism of India, with few complaints about intellectual property rights in other sectors.

* Kesavan, Mukul (2014): WHY AAP STILL MATTERS -

* Animal Whisperer -

Sunday, February 23, 2014


How does one pronounce the name "Wacziarg"?

Three days ago, I noticed this name for the first time in an obituary. Francis Wacziarg was a French national who came to India in 1970. He, along with a friend, Aman Nath, were researching on wall frescoes for a book called The Painted Frescoes of Shekhavati when then chanced upon the Neemrana fort, on the outskirts of Delhi.

Over a period of two decades, this abandoned fort was transformed into a showpiece on how Indian heritage ought to be preserved and made profitable at the same time. It also became the flagship brand for a number of heritage hotels that followed.

Apart from Wacziarg's eye for detail, what set him apart from the usual property developers was his genuine interest in the locals. He was closely involved in honing their skills and developing their communities.

This is a pattern that is central to another foreigner's success story in India - John & William Bissel of FabIndia. A venture that started in 1960 now has 1,000-odd employees and 16 community-owned (aka supplier region companies - SRCs), employing over 86,000 artisans.

One day I hope to learn how to pronounce Wacziarg. Along the way, I also hope to learn why foreigners seem to be more successful when it comes to bringing out the best in our own arts and traditions...


- Sinha, Nidhi (2014): 'MORE INDIAN THAN ANY INDIAN', IE, 21 Feb, 2014, p29


Friday, February 21, 2014

On Being Liberal

"Toleration does not, to use Govind Ranade’s phrase, come in halves. You cannot pick and choose when to be tolerant."

A few days back Penguin-India decided to 'pulp' Wendy Doniger's book, The Hindus: An Alternative History. The opinon pages have been ablaze with arguments for and against this decision. 

All such bans, IMHO, are clever marketing ploys. There is nothing like a good controversy to kick up flagging sales. As for those who are crying themselves hoarse against the ban, it would be good to examine some inconvenient facts:

  • Subramanian Swamy tweeted @Swamy39 - "Why are libtards weeping on Doniger?At least she had a chance to reply in court. When Harvard terminated my courses I could not reply."
  • There were no protests when Joseph Lelyveld's book "Great Soul" was banned for hinting at Gandhi's relationship with Hermann Kallenbach
  • A. M. Singhvi got Spanish author, Javier Moro's novel "The Red Sari" blocked because its uncomplimentary focus was on Sonia Gandhi.
  • Jitender Bhargava was ordered to withdraw his book on Air India.
  • Ban on R.V. Bhasin's book on Islam

At the end of the day, its good to know of contrarian viewpoints. What would the world be without alternate narratives?

- Mehta, Pratap (2014): SILENCING OF LIBERAL INDIA -

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Making Good Mistakes

Brilliant video - on the perils of pretending to know everything (God Complex) and on Taneyama's attitude about  "making good mistakes".


Yutaka Taniyama -