Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Cheapo 6

Random surfing brought me to this interesting post about an international conference that was held at My Esteemed Institute recently.

People were begging me to do a post on the the Ayaan Ali Khan concert and the President of India's visit to My Esteemed Institute (that were associated with the conference) but that guys post presents the whole thing from a very unique viewpoint.

For the record I don't agree with what he says. I agree more with Kate and Nikhil.

Another one for the record, the questions after the President's talk were not staged.

Isn't the Internet a very powerful thing?


Want to be anonymous said...

I'm sure, I'll get a lot of boo-s, for what I'm saying here.

First of all, I think that it's a rather well written post (danalwyn's). I've never been to Bombay, but I do know a lot about India, to say that it's a pretty articulate description of his experience, in India.

Talking about disorganization, there is a lot of it, and we simply choose to ignore it. We (OK, well I'm an Indian), have surplus food grains and children in the country suffer from malnutrition. We keep talking about women rights, but women in India do not know the first thing about freedom. I'm not generalizing here. I do know, a lot of free minded women myself, and I'm happy about it. But why is that dowry around even today? I blame women for it more than men, because freedom is never given, it is always taken. Women are themselves ambivalent about how much freedom they want.

The thing about the Russian aircraft-carrier, makes sense to me. We need to give up our big-brother attitude and make peace with our neighbor. This can be done. If Britain and France can make peace, France and Germany can make peace, US and Russia can be allies, it's no big deal to mend ties with a country that shares so much of history and culture with India.

Infrastructure in India, is non-existent. I really admire Dr. Kalam's hope and aspiration for India, but it's not even close to becoming a developed country.

Samu, you're lucky to be part of the elite 1% of India, but there is a lot more to India, who are not part of your development

I guess what's lacking is a vision. There is too much noise. The whole country is lost in ideology. People keep talking all the time without ever making a decision. The culture that's in India makes people strive for mediocrity. Let me give an example. India's stakes in the software market is less than 2%. That's not the stuff super-powers are made of. But how many people realize this? Parents want their children to be these fucking software engineers. A software engineer is no different than a Chinese worker, in Shanghai who gets paid 50 cents a day to work in a Nike factory. Everybody in the west knows this. But in India, being a software engineer is synonymous of acquiring nirvana.

There is just too many problems, and I could go on and on and on. Of course, I appreciate that people like Dr. Kalam, are having dreams for a better India. I think he's the only person, after Gandhi, who has thought so deeply and earnestly about India's future.

I'm not pessimistic, but I don't want to be naive either.

Anonymous said...

@Want to be anonymous:
Your comments certainly went from interesting to disgusting. And at the end, I was left with the usual question, "is it worth it?". I guess sometimes you just have to get your hands dirty. So here goes..

Parents want their children to be...
There is a wide gap between the rich and the normals in all countries, in a country like India, this difference comes down to the basic necessities; the standard of life falls sharply with income. So I don't really blame the people for that mindset.

A software engineer is no different than a Chinese worker, in Shanghai who gets paid 50 cents a day to work in a Nike factory.
Couldn't agree more. After all, software development is the stupidest and the most boring thing you could do. The open source community should really go find something better to do; they don't even get the 50 cents, poor souls! Oh, and I don't really know why the starting salaries of all these fucking software engineers turn out to be more than in any other engineering discipline - in India as well as in the US and they do seem to rise faster! What's happening to the world? I'm sure you'd think about these 50 cents the next time, if ever, you need to buy a software.

Everybody in the west knows this.
Yeah? And they're still crying about their jobs going to India and China?

I'm running out of time, so I'll leave it to the more enlightened to comment on other sections of your blurb.

And yeah, you really want to be anonymous and you really don't want to be naive!

Still anonymous said...

Hmm, I'll comment on your notion of open source first. I'm not sure I understood what you're trying to say. I'll make myself clear. I was trying to say, that a country can't be developed in any sense of the word without basic infrastructure. If it is India's self-proclaimed success, in IT and other sectors, that gives it's policy makes confidence that India is getting developed, then God bless them. I think there is no clear idea as to what development is in the first place. You can't be a developed country if you have one Nobel prize winner in science, in 100 years, when MIT or Caltech, each has more than twenty of them. India ranks 127th in the UN Human Development Index. We are not doing the country any good by this disillusionment of being developed. If you really want to do something about it, then I'd say it begins with honest self-awareness of our place in the world.

OK, I started out to talk about open source. Open source is one of the best things to happen to the world. I don't know what your complaining about.

And "I'm running out of time, so I'll leave it to the more enlightened to comment on other sections of your blurb."

I think that's rather hostile. I'm sure you're capable of dispassionate debate, and I hope you'd not resort to personal comments in a argument again.

The whole point of an argument is not to convince anybody of our stand (I don't know of any argument in which somebody manages to convince another of her views). Arguments are good as they force us to consider what we believe and why we believe. I'd also like to remind you that dissidence is not disloyalty. I'd be the happiest person if India gets developed.

Anonymous said...


ordinarily I take the view that India has more problems than it makes out. But given that some needless vitriol has crept into anon-1's comments and that he(did I guess the gender rite?) does such a bad job of outlining the problems I cant resist arguing the other side!

A poor country can only hope to compete for fringe jobs in the world economy, software engineering is not a bad place to start. And, that we are able to corner the 'software workhorse' market so effectively, is no small feat! Theres a reason why american policies are being shaped by fears of domestic job loss!

Also please do not make the mistake of judging countries by such vague indicators as the no of nobel laureates produced. The job of a government is not to maximize nobel laureate output its to keep ppl happy. for that matter I dont think that it would make much difference to a farmer if you told him we moved to 5th in the developmental indices of the UN

I cant argue that our standard of living is high, But I will help you feel better about your home country.

We have a government today with a strong socialist influence and open-economy friendly centre, this ensures that the money our economist PM makes is more likely to be well distributed. wait a few years and I think youll see the poor(for whom you produce no statistics even though you rest your argument on their poverty) are better off.

about the original essay!
Its easy to bitch about indian infrastructure because there is really no reference. Nobody anywhere has dealty with such numbers. In Cambridge for example my frnd (studying urban development)learnt about the roads Outside VT station(mumbai) as the most efficient ever. the road system is apparently a model of efficiency and needs to disburse the largest total inflow of ppl in the shortest possible time. Not bad for a city with infrastructure thats badly planned.

Also for all the bitching on my own blog. Indian science is not so bad. My msngr has a dozen frnds in big fancy foreign univs asking me for help with homework assignments. And I am not even the best student domestically. which sort of makes me feel good about about indian science! After all its well known that Money buys nobel prizes....how many US nobel laureates claim that their genius was homegrown without the extensive influence of third world profs postdocs and students!

Still Anonymous said...

What pisses me off most in your rant is the last para on big fancy foreign univs. I myself am in one of the biggest American university, and there are a lot of Indians who come here. It is sheer chauvinism to say that money bought the US Nobel Prizes. Why do you have to put down the US to glorify India? I'm not sure, you've met any Nobel laureate, but be assured that each one of them is worth her salt.

About third world postdocs. The US or no other western country is forcing anybody to work. There's a reason( and a very good one), why Chandra stayed back.

About Indian infrastructure, I'm sure you're aware of the rapid strides China is making. In fact it's Chinese economy that is driving the boom in many sectors (steel for Eg.)

Come on, we all know that science is a lot more than solving toy problems for home work.

I think you're totally missing the point. It's not about putting down India, or glorifying the west. The whole point is how aware of your situation are you, and how far will you go to solve your problems. Every country has it's problems and it should find it's own solutions. Imitating the west will not solve India's problems, nor doing second grade work in western innovation directed fields (like computers), do it any good.

Coming back to US univs. I suggest you inform yourself about the quality of work that gets done here, instead of writing about your ability to solve some lame assignment and betraying your indifference to what's happening elsewhere.

Now you'll say the US is rich, yada yada yada. But why can't Indians do original Math work? How much of modern math is contributed by Indians (Now please don't say about the decimal system, I'm talking of modern math). No past glory will guarantee future success. We've seen this in Greece, Egypt and Rome. India definitely has a glorious past, but if doesn't realize it's precarious present situation, then it's unlikely that it can make any worthwhile strides towards development.

What does "Home grown" mean? A person who has spent his prime youth in a country, and chooses to become a citizen (mostly because of better prospects), definitely is "grown-up" in his adopted country. I'm not sure you fathom, how fluid a concept like nationality is in the world we live in.

Anonymous said...

abbey bugger....sorry ...youre rite. i have been blind.

just for the record You have perhaps not read my post carefully...let me tell you i have met about ten nobel laureates that i can remember. and also I never said nobel prize was crap! just that its a sort of bad indicator of national progress....
but you obviously dont get my point. for some time now indians have contributed to the math(and science) world positively. I only meant that a large contigent of ppl in US univs, many ideas and many discussions, and some of the atmosphere is being provided by third world migrants. my point was not that the US actually paid off some comitte in scandanavia...I was saying that since it is able to get talent from india it is doing well....this however says nothing at all negative about india...that we are producing(along with the rest of the third world) good minds means we are ok. That we cant keep them is a seperate issue. let me assure you i am totally aware of the fluidity of the concept of nationality. You obviously dont get what I said probably because you were too busy getting rankled by my statement about big univs abroad....It was an attack it was a statement of fact saying that some bright ppl are in various places and that india is doing very good science. if you doubt this you are just not in the loop!
of the last few TWAS awards many have been indian etc apart from that I could quote various examples manjul bhargav ramanujam ragunathan etc spring to mind but again we get side tracked to this wierd discussion of the worth of indian science as an indicator of national growth. it isnt we could be crap at math and still be moving ahead as a country

that we cant do good math at home is not only debateable but also immaterial!!! I refuse to go down that road to prove india isnt doing well economically if you want to argue about that find some equally irrational sould in your home college and satisfy your urge.

now i am done feeding trolls. i am trying to get good science done(not succeding of course) and need to go work a bit so wont be responding to your vague argumentation anymore!

best of luck at your big US univ i'm sure you are super bright and will win a nobel yourself someday.

nice almost engaging you in debate!

Ozymandias said...

I agree. The internet is fun!

samudrika said...

Finally someone who understood what the post was all about!

The only thing that those commentors did not touch on was abortion.

I meant the original post to be just a way of looking at how differently two people can look at the same thing. While Kate loved the concert, Dan found it boring. For Nikhil the conference awesome and exciting, Dan said it was not well organised. If it has not been for the internet how could we have has such frank opnions to compare?

Some of the points raised by Anon, Anon and Anon are interesting but I do not know enough of politics, society or economics to comment on them. But thank you for sparing me so much of your valuable time.

Nikhil Joshi said...

hey, I did say it was not well-organised...didn't i say...read carefully before commenting!

samudrika said...

To make that statement I needed something good that you said vs something bad that he said.

Disorganization was the one that he was forthright about. The rest of it is implied in a roundabout way so its hard to put a finger on it but it grates on you anyways.

Aghori said...

the only thing notable thins i notice in this post is that the comments are entirely absent in the original post

dear anonymous's of this world plz write something here too : http://danalwyn.livejournal.com/17895.html

samudrika said...

I thought of commenting there. but he is so apologetic about thrashing India and MEI that you really wonder what to complain about.

Another reason could be that Livejournal is not as user-friendly as Blogger.