Leitmotif

Reason as the Leading Motive

Archive for the ‘Indian Blogs’ Category

What Can India be Proud Of?

Posted by Jerry on August 14, 2008

The celebration of Indian independence should be more than a record-keeping of years. Yes, it is undeniable that India has progressed appreciably in recent years; however, realize that while India rides on the shoulders of foreign and multinational giants, who lead this march towards prosperity, India simultaneously shackles them under the burden of its contradictory and arbitrary legal dictats. In truth, India’s freedoms are not yet secured; and the greatest threat to it is the Indian government empowered by the Indian Constitution, which is the entire basis upon which this country is founded. We are building castles of concrete and glass upon thin air.

I am reprising an article I wrote sometime around last year’s independence day. The specifics are different now, but the general theme continues to be relevant.

=======

I find it rather apt that, in the run-up to the day of India’s independence, the nation finds itself embarrassingly servile to the hooliganism of some idiots who sit in the legislatures of this country.

The well-known Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen was attacked by Islamo-loonies at a book launch event here in India, and the only people protecting her were–no, not the police–but the media persons. Nasreen was physically attacked by members of a muslim political party who alleged that her books were insulting to their “prophet” Mohammad. The leader of that muslim political gang demanded that Nasreen’s head be chopped off. Even the most widely read muslim Urdu newspapers faulted the muslim thugs not for attacking the author but–get this–for not having done enough! They wanted her blood.

Carrying pictures of [the muslim party] legislators hurling bouquets [at the author], a newspaper came down heavily on the leaders for allowing her to leave Hyderabad unhurt.
Considered a critic of MIM, the Siasat newspaper lampooned the legislators for their failure to inflict injuries to a woman. The paper suggested that Nasreen could have been killed as the police reached the scene 30 minutes after the attack.

Not to be outdone by this height of vicious irrationality, the Indian police decided to register a case against Miss Nasreen, faulting her for writing a book that stoked communal discord and unrest, while letting the rioting Islamic marauders go scot-free!!

So, as we get closer to the day of India’s independence, we are faced with a political party whose members sit in the people’s house of the Indian parliament; we have a bunch of muslim idiots who get on a brutish rampage against an author and demand that her head be chopped off–a clear and actionable threat that warrants arrest; we have an unarmed, helpless author who had no police protection of any sort; and finally, we have the Indian police registering a criminal case against the author for writing a book, for which she could be imprisoned for up to two years, while those savages who made the actionable threat are roaming the nation free to celebrate India’s independence day.

Is this merely a one-off incident? Most certainly not. Rioting marauders epitomize the Indian democratic machinery at work. In this country, democracy means rioting on the streets, attacking innocent civilians, going on strike every two days, stifling expressions of speech, destroying property, and spreading civil terror. Most of these marauders are religious-political parties, political leaders, and their hired goons. In other words, the very people who pull the levers of this democratic machinery are the ones looting and plundering on the streets.

Political power wielded through violence is the predominant medium of “democratic” expression in this corrupt nation–a nation founded upon a ridiculously long, obtuse, and inept constitution that guarantees no rights to any citizens. Truth be said, Indians should properly have nothing to be proud of about their country–and should rightfully be enraged that this is the case!

If you choose to point out the economic progress achieved over the past 17 years in India, note that it has been achieved mostly despite the mangled laws and institutions of the Indian democracy and predominantly by the willingness of non-Indian investors to take on the high risks of functioning in this chaotic, corrupt system, and persevere in the face of it all.

Indians are being made complacent by the illusion of a sanguine future made possible by the global enterprising system of the free market; however, we are missing the crucial fact that the future of this free market is precarious given the lack of a rights-protecting institutional system. Where there’s an institutionalized political system of force and violence, where the government is itself the perpetrator and idle spectator of violence, there can be no freedom.

What exactly can we claim as the proper achievement of Indians? Certainly not the wealth and prosperity we see today made possible mostly by the foreign entities. The legacy that properly and wholly belongs to Indians is the abject poverty among the masses and the hopelessness of a dim future among the youth that permeated this nation prior to the early 1990s. It is no wonder that all those who could, scrapped every loose rupee to flee India during those years. If we are to be proud of all the 60 years of our independence, we must answer the question why were our parents fleeing the freedom of a newly independent India? What were they running from? Did they not share the sense of pride in a free nation? Were we truly free? Are we still?

Happy 62nd, India.

==============

Related posts:

Dangerous Democracy and Fundamental Freedoms
The Contradictions of the Indian Constitution
Not a Tourist Brochure: India

Posted in Culture, General Work/Life, India, Indian Blogs, Islamo-loony, Mumbai, My Theories and Ideas, Philosophy, Political Issues, Rights and Morality, The Best of Leitmotif, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments »

New Theme Change

Posted by Jerry on August 16, 2007

Theme: Fadtastic by Andrew Faulkner.

Comments?? Opinions?

Update: Priyank made a definitive case for me to revert to my original theme–Andreas 9.0. Plus, I realized that the comment features of Fadtastic were very scant. So, ya. Back to familiar surroundings. 🙂

Posted in General Work/Life, Indian Blogs, Personal, Uncategorized | 10 Comments »

The Contradictions of the Indian Constitution

Posted by Jerry on August 15, 2007

In my previous post challenging the notion that Indians have something to be properly *proud* of about their nation, I made the following statement:

Political power wielded through violence is the predominant medium of “democratic” expression in this corrupt nation–a nation founded upon a ridiculously long, obtuse, and inept constitution that guarantees no rights to any citizens.

My astute readers might have wondered if the above statement were merely hyperbolic or did I have some substantial argument behind it. I believe I have. My previous post adequately demonstrates the ground realities of how Indian democracy is practiced, i.e., violence is indeed the means of democratic expression in this country.

This post will substantiate my claim that the long and mangled mess of stated laws in the badly-written Indian constitution precisely makes it possible for the political system to institutionalize the violation of rights on a legal and routine basis, thereby guaranteeing no rights to any of its citizens.

The articles dealing with fundamental rights in the Indian Constitution is broadly structured as follows:

  • First, a statement of law guaranteeing a right is asserted.
  • Next, several practicable implications of the law is ennumerated.
  • Then, a series of exceptions to the “guaranteed” right is highlighted, and the central State is regarded as the final arbiter on all cases of exceptions.

Here is the section of the article dealing with the “Right to Freedom” from the Indian Constitution:

19. Protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech, etc.

(1) All citizens shall have the right—
(a) to freedom of speech and expression;
(b) to assemble peaceably and without arms;
(c) to form associations or unions;
(d) to move freely throughout the territory of India;
(e) to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India; and
(g) to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.

(2) Nothing in sub-clause (a) of clause (1) shall affect the operation of any existing law, or prevent the State from making any law, in so far as such law imposes reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub-clause in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence.

(3) Nothing in sub-clause (b) of the said clause shall affect the operation of any existing law in so far as it imposes, or prevent the State from making any law imposing, in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India or public order, reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub-clause.

(4) Nothing in sub-clause (c) of the said clause shall affect the operation of any existing law in so far as it imposes, or prevent the State from making any law imposing, in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India or public order or morality, reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub-clause.

(5) Nothing in sub-clauses (d) and (e) of the said clause shall affect the operation of any existing law in so far as it imposes, or prevent the State from making any law imposing, reasonable restrictions on the exercise of any of the rights conferred by the said sub-clauses either in the interests of the general public or for the protection of the interests of any Scheduled Tribe.

(6) Nothing in sub-clause (g) of the said clause shall affect the operation of any existing law in so far as it imposes, or prevent the State from making any law imposing, in the interests of the general public, reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub-clause, and, in particular, nothing in the said sub-clause shall affect the operation of any existing law in so far as it relates to, or prevent the State from making any law relating to,—
(i) the professional or technical qualifications necessary for practising any profession or carrying on any occupation, trade or business, or
(ii) the carrying on by the State, or by a corporation owned or controlled by the State, of any trade, business, industry or service, whether to the exclusion, complete or partial, of citizens or otherwise.

***** 

The bold and italics in the above “exceptions” are mine; they highlight the direct contradiction and actual impossibility of guaranteeing the right to freedom for any individual–either of speech, expression, or action. If the State is the ultimate arbiter of what constitutes the “interest of the general public” or the interest of some tribe, or what motivates public order and what disrupts it, or what is considered “moral” and “decent” and what is construed immoral and indecent, then how is an individual *guaranteed* the freedom and safety of expression unless he has first gained the official approval of the State? And what if the State itself is constituted by men of clear ideological agendas–be it Socialist, Hinduist, Islamic, or Atheist!

This is the structure, nature, and implication of the articles in the Indian Constitution. This contradictory mess of stating a law and ennumerating exceptions to its enactment make it impossible for any individual to act with the safety and security of knowing that he is acting *within* the law. 

Under the current state of affairs, one cannot possibly know that one’s actions are within the law, since the State is the ultimate arbiter of the legality and *morality* of your actions. As evidence, witness the recent attack on the author Taslima Nasreen and the subsequent criminal charges filed against her by the State’s law-enforcement machinery for writing a book. Obviously, since Nasreen did not have her book sanctioned by the government, she had no way of knowing that she failed to meet the State’s interpretation of what constitutes a proper freedom of expression in writing the book; hence, she has criminal charges against her.

All that being said, the matter here is more fundamental than merely not having the confident knowledge of the legality of one’s actions–even though that in itself is a serious issue. The matter is of principle. Human rights are a matter of principle–and as such, there can be no exceptions to principles. You either have a right or you do not. Your right is either violated or it is not. There is no middle ground, no gray area, in the matter of principles.

The celebration of Indian independence should be more than a record-keeping of years. Yes, it is undeniable that India has progressed appreciably in recent years; however, realize that while India rides on the shoulders of foreign giants who lead this march towards prosperity, India simultaneously shackles them under the burden of its contradictory and arbitrary legal dictats. In truth, India’s freedoms are not yet secured; and the greatest threat to it is the Indian government empowered by the Indian Constitution, which is the entire basis upon which this country is founded. We are building castles of concrete and glass upon thin air.

Happy 60th, India.

==========

Related posts:

Dangerous Democracy and Fundamental Freedoms
What Can Indian be Proud of?

Posted in Culture, General Work/Life, India, Indian Blogs, Mumbai, My Theories and Ideas, Philosophy, Political Issues, Rights and Morality, The Best of Leitmotif, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments »

Landmark in Blogging

Posted by Jerry on August 8, 2007

I have achieved yet another decent landmark in blogging. I now have 500 posts (not including this one) on my blog! 🙂 Given that most of my posts are around 500 – 800 words long, that’s approximately 250,000 words in 500 posts. Of course, this is all rather modest in comparison to other more prodigious bloggers, but who’s comparing!? 

Posted in General Work/Life, Indian Blogs, Personal, Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

Intellectual Blogger Award

Posted by Jerry on July 13, 2007

An Unquiet Mind has been generous in awarding me the Intellectual Blogger Award. 🙂 I’m pleased. Here is how he describes the award and what qualifies its recipients.

intellectual-blog-award.jpgThis award is intended for those bloggers who demonstrate an inclination to think on their own. This is what I think is needed in today’s blogosphere. The term ‘Intellectual’ has often been derided in recent times, and this is one way to resurrect the true meaning: “An intellectual is one who tries to use his or her intellect to work, study, reflect, speculate on, or ask and answer questions with regard to a variety of different ideas.”

Further, his site instructs recipients to nominate three other bloggers for the same award. Well, this is a conundrum for me because practically every blog (with a few very notable exceptions) linked through my blogroll are administered by intellectual blogging luminaries, many of whom I even admire greatly.

Therefore, it’s difficult for me to nominate any three of them. These bloggers are all well respected and recognized already, and there’re too many of them equally deserving of the award. Nonetheless, were I to pick my favorite and most regular reads that most certainly qualify for being “Intellectual Bloggers,” I’d pick Gus Van Horn, Noodlefood, and Rhyme of the Day.

Posted in Culture, General Work/Life, Indian Blogs, Mumbai, Personal, Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Going Fourth!

Posted by Jerry on July 6, 2007

I just realized that I have been blogging for three years now! And this month, I began on my fourth year of happy blogging! Cheers! 🙂

Looking back at my very first post in June 2004, I was uncertain of what lay ahead for me in terms of blogging; and yet, I was certain that I would make it a beautiful and meaningful experience for myself–and indeed, it is so.

My blog is primarily my outlet for intellectual and emotional expression: it is my soapbox, my podium, my property, my best friend with an ear, my sounding board, my thoughts, my voice.

However, knowing that I was going to be free in my expression–and therefore, possibly controversial and politically incorrect–I assumed an online psuedonym to protect my identity. This is a matter of particular concern for me as I hail from India and am currently blogging from the country–and recent times have shown that India’s commitment to free speech and the rule of law is little more than a shallow acknowledgement. Moreover, perhaps anticipating my blog’s reasonable popularity and my long-term involvement in this activity, I was prudent enough right from the beginning to reserve my true identity from blogging.

You might wonder how these statements are consonant with my posting a picture of myself on the homepage, not to mention the link to all my photos on Flickr! My contention is that if you have already arrived at my blog, in all likelihood, you are either an online reader who does not know me, or you are someone online I don’t know but whom I have revealed the identity of my blog to, or you are someone I do know in real life and whom I have personally invited to my blog.

The people I do not want reading my blog would not find it by doing keyword searches for my name or my personal information (those who know me can check and ascertain this fact). Also, the people I wish to avoid on my blog are also those who are not interested in the topics I write about (philosophical topics) and hence would not bother using key words that would direct them to my blog. Finally, the likelihood of unwanted unknowns finding my blog by accidental surfing and jeopardizing my safety is rather slim.

The basic point is, in anticipation of my blog’s increasing page ranks in searches, I decided it would be best if my blog were associated with a pseudonym and not my real name. 

Indeed, when I first started blogging, I did not expect it to be anything more than my personal journal, and as such, I flippantly named my blog, “What I’m Saying Is…” :). However, as I watched my blog gain increased readership, I realized that how I presented my thoughts and ideas reflected upon how those ideas would be perceived by my readers. I also realized that a predominant number of my posts were of an overtly philosophical nature, and some were directly related to the ideas of Objectivism–the philosophy of Ayn Rand. Hence, I came to the conclusion that to be flippant and irresponsible with the presentation of my blog would not only be an embarassment to the activity of thinking and philosophizing but also a disservice to the philosophy of Ayn Rand in particular.

Therefore, about a year into blogging, I changed the name of my blog to “Leitmotif” and proceeded to codify the philosophical theme of my blog. My blog now had a new name, a byline, and a briefly explained theme:

  • Leitmotif
    Reason as the leading motive
    The validity and efficacy of ideas are most evident in the actions they generate. The dominant idea or theme that motivates one’s actions and dictates one’s choices becomes the leitmotif–the leading motive–of one’s behavior. One’s motive implicates the kind of choices one will make, and thereby, reveals the nature of one’s moral code. Faith, whim, power-lust, emotion, reason–these are types of leading motives of one’s life. I choose reason. I intend to have all my actions, as much as is under my conscious and immediate control, to be motived by a committment to reason and rationality. This is my leitmotif. 

This “branding” strategy also helped in giving my blog a unique character and identity in the universe of a million other blogs. Soon thereafter, I conducted another major overhaul of my blog.

One of the greatest improvements I made to my blogging experience was to terminate my blog hosting on the blogger platform. In a free market of numerous blog hosts, Google’s blogger/blogspot was abysmal–and has only marginally improved since I made the switch. I moved to WordPress.com, a vastly superior, user-friendly, and community-driven platform, only about a year ago. I only regret having wasted my precious two years of blogging in the swamps of blogspot, because soon after I moved to WordPress, not only was I able to make my blogging experience truly enjoyable, effective, stress-free, manageable, and attractive, but also was able to garner a wider readership through its many blog-promoting features. For such an incredibly important value, I thank you very much WordPress! 🙂

Finally, I must say that I see myself blogging well into the future–perhaps not quite so frequently, although I don’t yet know. But I enjoy this activity enough to keep me motivated to continue. And if, along the way, my blog provides others with a sense of the same intellectual and emotional pleasure in reading it as I have in writing it, then that is a lovely added bonus! 

Posted in General Work/Life, India, Indian Blogs, Mumbai, Personal, The Best of Leitmotif, Uncategorized | 8 Comments »

Bloggers Also Party

Posted by Jerry on June 12, 2007

Sakshi of “To Each Its Own” fame invited me to attend a bloggers party last saturday; she ran across my articles on Desicritics and found me interesting enough to be invited. I had made the mistake of asking Sakshi if she was a famous powerblogger, because quite honestly, I am not aware of the “who’s who” in the Indian blogging scene! Well, my naive question has been posted up on her blog for all to see. But I don’t mind it at all.   

The party was held at Seijo’s, a posh suburban nightclub, and was well attended by some famous names in the Indian blogosphere. Of course, I was not aware of any of them, nor did anybody there know of me or my blog. My audience is predominantly from outside India and my articles enjoy the interest of a very small group of readers who have a passion for ideas and philosophical discussions. Similarly, my blog-surfing habits tend to lean towards like-minded bloggers who write from rational and philosophical perspectives on various topics. This typically precludes a great chunk of Indian bloggers, whose interests mostly lie in current events from a political perspective, rants, raves, and reviews, personal narratives, or techhie topics.

Anyway, the party at Seijo’s was enjoyable and the people I was introduced to were a fascinating bunch of people. I met some lawyers who practiced corporate law in India; met some finance bigwigs, a Hindustan Times reporter, and a lovely fellow from Cleartrip.com, among others. Melody was a delight to dance and chat with–she kept insisting that she wanted to be my fag hag since her most recent “fag” had left her for the United Kingdom. I said, “honey, get in line.” 🙂

Some pictures from the night of the party are at Metroblogging Mumbai, To Each Its Own, and The Voice In My Head.

Posted in India, Indian Blogs, Mumbai, Personal, Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

Also on Desicritic

Posted by Jerry on May 31, 2007

Having only recently joined the community of bloggers at Desicritic, I am pleasantly surprised to see myself being the “featured Desicritic: Visit and honor” blogger of the day.

desi1.jpgDesicritic is a community of volunteer writers who write articles with a specific South Asian perspective. Typically, my writings do not have such a perspective. I write mostly on philosophical topics or on topics from a philosophical perspective. Nevertheless, some of my writing do focus on issues in India and on the Indian people.

I decided to join this community because it is an additional outlet for my voice, ideas, and the philosophy of Ayn Rand to be heard across the world. Remember that in my recent post How to Change the World (linked to desicritic), I specifically mentioned that change begins with ideas, and with becoming–and challenging–thought-leaders. Desicritic articles often get picked up and syndicated by the mainstream media; hence, it is a perfect avenue for me to rationally pursue my values by advocating the ideas of a world I would like to see made real.

Posted in General Work/Life, India, Indian Blogs, Mumbai, Objectivism, Personal, Philosophy, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Fascism in India

Posted by Jerry on May 25, 2007

Martha Nussbaum—a well-known professor of Philosophy at the University of Chicago—recently wrote a critical article on the current state of cultural and political affairs in India. Particularly, by analyzing the violence surrounding religious and ethnic conflicts in places like Gujurat, Nussbaum indicates the disturbing rise of fascism and the weakening of democratic institutions in India.

Her thesis is that the threat to democracies is arising from within cultures and civilizations rather that from an outside culture or civilization. As I have personally noted in several instances before, the rise of fascism in India is certainly becoming apparent—indeed increasingly so over recent years since the country’s crawl towards globalization and the free exchange of ideas.

However, unlike Nussbaum, I do not call for the rescue of currently existing democratic institutions and legal structures in India from fascist ideologies; in fact, in my opinion, the institutions as they currently exist are instrumentally causing the decline of liberty and the move toward the fascism of a vocal collective. These legal and democratic structures need to either be dissolved entirely or reformed radically. A new legal structure needs to be introduced—one that is based on the recognition and guarantee of fundamental human rights, not on the guarantee of a majoritarian democracy, a thuggish minority, or one that is based on the expediency of the moment.

One effective and immediate way to achieve this would be to introduce a constitutional amendment declaring certain laws based on objective, fundamental principles as off-limits to a democratic vote. For example, laws such as the guaranteeing of freedom of speech, separation of religion and state, and the repeal of institutionalized discrimination based on caste, religion, or race should be taken off the voting table regardless of popular opinion.

Another key area of influence in curbing the rise of fascism is—as Nussbaum points out—the culture of education. Currently, Indians are either ignorant of or actively deny the influence of ideas and philosophy in the matter of man’s survival. The Indian education system continues to produce “docile engineers” and rote learners from the IITs and IIMs who are utterly inept at critically thinking in principles outside their area of specialization. Indian parents actively cultivate a culture of “contempt for the humanities and the arts” and prefer to have their children as mindless cogs in the machine of marketability. I share Nussbaum’s fear that the Indian democracy will be increasingly administered by such mentally tame bureaucrats, leaders, and politicians who are unable to grasp implications beyond the perceptual reality of the moment.

India urgently needs to introduce critical thinking and respect for disciplines in the arts and the humanities in its educational system. However, this introduction should not be carried out by the inept bureaucracy of the government education department—for they are the cause of this current mental stagnation—but by privatizing school and college syllabi and simply withdrawing from the arena of educational administration altogether.

Private schools and colleges will be forced to compete for survival by improving their services, ensuring the superior quality of their teachers and students, offering a variety of courses to beat competitors, and securing the reputation of their degrees.

On one hand, as India crawls towards the ideals of freedom in its economic sphere, the conflict between its past and its desired future is being starkly highlighted; on the other hand, the fascist forces are tightening their noose around the necks of the people in their attempt to rein in the march towards progress by cloaking their actions and rhetoric in moral and patriotic terms. The recent attacks on the freedom of artists in universities, the moral policing of the internet—including Orkut, blogs, and Google searches—the criminal indictment of celebrities for a public kiss, the monitoring and arbitrary blockage of airwaves, and the general arbitrary nature of laws across the country are alarming signs of a country being engulfed by pockets of fascist forces intent upon usurping the entire nation. It might perhaps not be too long before India comes to be referred to as the fascist country that once was the largest democracy in the world.

Posted in General Work/Life, India, Indian Blogs, Mumbai, Philosophy, Political Issues, Uncategorized | 9 Comments »

Blog Matters

Posted by Jerry on December 1, 2006

The internet connection at my home is still down; therefore, my posts and comments on here have been sporadic. I also regret not being able to visit my regular co-bloggers’ sites or commenting there. Trust me, this is all very frustrating.

However, all of this has made me consider the possibility of changing the layout of my blog in order that issues such as internet down-time or my absence due to travel (or whatever) can be communicated effectively. The only way of doing this–that I can think of–is have a static “homepage” that would include my latest-blog related information from which one could then navigate to other areas/posts of my blog.

I’ll see how it looks/works for a few days. If I do not like it, or if it makes navigation more difficult, I will revert back to the state in which my blog is in now.

Posted in General Work/Life, Indian Blogs | Leave a Comment »

Incredible Talent at Work

Posted by Jerry on August 31, 2006

splash04.jpgMy colleague at work is incredibly talented; check out his amazing website, Mixed Reality.

It is evident from his site that he has an exceptional imagination, a penchant for abstractions, and an expert hand with which he captures his mental images. Apparently, the images on his website are created by him almost entirely on Photoshop (see sample images).

He is also a very creative website designer–having designed several websites for his friends and others. Maybe one of you, my gracious readers, might wish to have your own website designed by him–making use of his unique style and vision.

Disclaimer: Do not construe my recommendation of my colleague’s talent and work as also an endorsement of the ideas and philosophies he mentions on his website. I have deep reservations on those issues. Yet, I view him as an intelligent, talented, and fun person.

Posted in General Work/Life, Indian Blogs | 6 Comments »

WordPress Themes

Posted by Jerry on August 6, 2006

My original selection of my blog theme has been grotesquely tinkered with, presumably, by the all-seeing Eyes of WordPress. I had a lovely “Andreas09 v.2” theme with a red color scheme. It was disfigured into looking like some scary “horror-movie” theme with BLOOD-RED letters dripping all over it.

So, with a very heavy heart, I have had to switch the theme of my blog to this “Hemingway,” which I thought was the only other comparably decent blogtheme at WordPress.

I hope the powers that be will read this and revert my original theme to its original fantastic best, so I can re-select it as my blogtheme!

 Update May 12, 2007: I’ve switched my theme back to Andreas09 v.2; however, I have selected this bluish color theme because my original red color theme still looks like it’s out of a horro movie. 😦

Posted in Indian Blogs, Personal | 2 Comments »

Government Lifts Ban

Posted by Jerry on July 22, 2006

After more than a week of the Indian government’s censorship of certain domains, the Internet is back up and running again!

Last night, after a pro-longed Internet blackout, the censored domains have been released. The whole thing ends up being a massive PR disaster for India’s “world’s biggest democracy” image. Certainly, India has lost much credibility–and deservedly so–before its own citizens and the international community.

Hopefully, the Indian government will think twice before attempting something so indefensibly foolish again.

Posted in India, Indian Blogs, Personal | 4 Comments »

Mark Lentz: India and its Digital War

Posted by Jerry on July 20, 2006

Mark at Late Night Rants just found evidence that the spineless Indian government has now banned blog sites that are deemed  offensive to muslims! [This links to a blogsite that I am unable to visit, thanks to the ban.]

Mark writes:

Digital fatwas apparently have been issued by the Inidan government to various right-wing blogs that have taken to desecrating the Quran.

Jay Andrew Allen ranted quite well in his post:

Even though I’m pissed that I’m not banned (hey, I just started back up again in full force – maybe I’ll be blocked during the NEXT round of digital fatwas!), I’m standing behind these folks. And you should too. It doesn’t matter if you’re a flaming liberal and think they’re scum-sucking sludge vermin. They have fundamental human freedoms. India has violated them. They are right. India is wrong, wrong, fucking wrong. If freedom of speech and human rights mean anything to you, you’ll give India the verbal and digital backhand it so rightly deserves.

As Shackleford said: “if you can’t legitimately offend people engaging in riots, who advocate criminal penalties for blasphemy, and who wish your destruction, who can you offend?”

Our Constitution was designed to protect minority beliefs from mob rule. Don’t let the mobs run amock – not here, not anywhere.

This is just getting bizarre in India, Ergo. First they shutdown blog sites that may have been utilized by the bombers (assumed to be Muslim), and now they ban blogs that are offensive to those very Muslims!

Posted in India, Indian Blogs, Rights and Morality | Leave a Comment »

Totally Cut-off

Posted by Jerry on July 20, 2006

UPDATE:

Via John Enright, I learned of this Infotech Indiatimes report:

Government sources also added that the ban on specific blogs was unlikely to be lifted and also did not rule out the possibility of it being made permanent.

The Internet Service Providers Association of India, the body representing all internet service providers, on Wednesday instructed all its members to lift the blockage at the domain level.

This means that if you have a blog where the domain level is Blogspot or Typepad, this blockage will no longer apply to all users, but only at the sub-domain level. At the sub-domain level, only those 17 blogs which have been blacklisted by the government will continue to be inaccessible.

However, this will take anywhere between 24 and 48 hours to implement, and comes with another rider — your blog may continue to be blocked if your service provider does not have the monitoring mechanism for selective blockage at the sub-domain level. [emphasis mine]

So, basically, if our ISP’s don’t have the requisite technology, and if the government decides to make this ban on the “17 sites” permanent, I probably will never be able to access any of the blogspot sites of my friends so long as I’m in India! Ridiculous! 

As of today, even my company’s server has had to comply with the government’s directive blocking access to all blogspot, blogger, typepad, and geocities websites.

Those of you whose sites on blogspot I regularly visit, I will not be able to do so–atleast not as long as I am getting online from anywhere in India–until the government decides to back off again and allow its citizens to communicate freely over the internet.

I am cut-off from a huge swath of the blogosphere right now… and from many of you who are my lovely online blogging companions. I’m not sure how long this isolation will last.

There is nothing much left for me to do regarding this issue. I am mostly glad that WordPress has been left alone and I am able to voice my shrill protests against this infuriating violation of my rights.

Even from a common sense perspective, this ban on blogs and websites is ridiculously stupid. Presumably, the blogger domains have been banned because the government found reason to believe that terrorists were communicating via these sites. Okay, fine maybe they were. So what? By censoring these sites, are the terrorists going to be helpless and clueless about their means of communication? Does the government think they don’t use cellphones or email accounts? What about Yahoo! mail? Is that next in line for a ban? And I’m sure this ban won’t last forever… at some point, the government will have to re-open access to these blog sites. What makes them so certain that the terrorists simply won’t restart their accounts on those blogs or create new ones and continue using them?

This “broad day light” strategy of banning websites, stealing our freedoms, and curbing the free flow of information on the internet is incredibly foolish; instead of conducting clandestine investigations and tracing terrorist communiques unbeknownst to them, the Indian government has acted like a nut–a thuggish nut–coming out in the open and revealing their intelligence gathering strategy.

Posted in General Work/Life, India, Indian Blogs, Personal | 6 Comments »

Letter to Mumbai Mirror

Posted by Jerry on July 18, 2006

My letter of protest to the Editor (mirrorfeedback@indiatimes.com) of Mumbai Mirror, expressing my deep disgust at the government’s violation of my freedoms:

By the recent banning of certain websites and blog domains, the Indian government has displayed its most pernicious side–it has revealed signs of becoming increasingly totalitarian in its political philosophy.

From irrationally policing the “moral” culture of the youth, forcibly demanding that the national anthem be sung in movie theaters, to now blatantly shutting up the free speech of Indians on the internet, the Indian government is becoming a thug. It is using force against its own citizens.

The country has become what the terrorists wanted for it to be: a country under seige by its own government. It’s citizens living in fear of its own government. The Indian government has increasingly stolen away our human rights and freedoms and shoved its evil and irrational morality down our throats. Now, it is demanding that the free exchange of ideas on the Internet be curbed under pretexts of national security.

The terrorists want us to live as slaves–either as slaves to them, or as slaves of our own governments. The latter is what is slowly taking place in India.

We must NOT have to choose between greater freedom or greater security. We MUST DEMAND GREATER SECURITY in order to PROTECT ALL THE FREEDOMS WE OUGHT TO HAVE.

Posted in India, Indian Blogs, Rights and Morality | Leave a Comment »

INDIA IS A TOTALITARIAN REGIME!

Posted by Jerry on July 18, 2006

Only a few minutes ago, I found out via this Indian blogger about the news that INDIA HAS BANNED BLOGS HOSTED ON BLOGGER, BLOGSPOT, TYPEPAD, and GEOCITIES!

Earlier in the week, I emailed Jason asking him if the blogger platform was down–as blogger is known to be frequently down. However, he replied saying that nothing was wrong on his end, and that he was able to access his own and others’ blogspot accounts. Jason also added a comment, that now in hindsight is freakin omninous! He wondered if the Indian government had deliberately shut down the access to these blogs.
I mentally dismissed that idea. India, afterall, is the world’s largest democracy! Hardly the kind of government you would expect to be getting all paranoid over democractic opinions on the internet. PAH! How wrong I was!

INDIA IS A TOTALITARIAN REGIME! IT IS CURRENTLY IN VIOLATION OF THE FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH!

Read all about this highly offensive story:

[O]n July 15, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had sent ISPs a list of sites to be blocked. R H Sharma, senior engineer with MTNL, said the list ran into some 22 pages.

Read more on fellow blogger responses here. Incidentally, WordPress has escaped the invasive eyes of the Indian government. Also, some private Indian ISP providers are still allowing access to some sites. However, it seems like only a matter of time before things get worse in this totalitarian country.

UPDATE:

According to Mutiny, “there is no ban in place”, rather it is the Indian Government instructing ISP’s to “control” access to a list of sites…

hmmm… “control access”… that, in one word, is censorship! I can’t fathom how blind Mutiny has to be to not see this for what it is–a blatant violation of our rights! We have lost our freedom to SPEAK!

Daniel left an apt comment in response to Mutiny’s post. He said:

and in other news, The Indian Government has decided to turn off the water supply as it has been reported that the terrorists use water to live

Its always good to see that any government has intelligent people making all the decisions.

Apparently, it’s a move on the part of the government to crack down on terrorists who are communicating through these blogs. Well, this is news to me! I had no clue that Innommable, John Enright, Jason Hughes, Tyrel, and other blogspot bloggers are in fact terrorists. You guys, I thought we were pretty open with each other!

Some bloggers agree with Mutiny that it is “mature” to let the government tell you to shut up for a while. Mutiny says:

There is no freedom is speech issue here. This is just a temp security measure. Let’s show some maturity.

They are forgetting something so crucial: this is exactly what the terrorists want of us: to cripple our country, take away our freedoms, and constrict us with fear. If we give up our freedom of speech today in exchange for a “temp security measure”, what more will be demanded of us tomorrow?! The terrorists want you to believe that you can either live fearfully under the siege of your own government, or you can live free lives that are open and susceptible to their attacks. But No! This dichotomy is false! We need not sacrifice our freedoms for greater security! In fact, what we need to fight for, and demand, is GREATER SECURITY FOR PRESERVING ALL THE FREEDOMS WE HAVE–AND SHOULD HAVE!

The terrorists are winning, and people like Mutiny are conceding defeat without a whimper of protest. Disgusting.

UPDATES: 

Here is a link to my Letter of Protest that I sent to the Editor of Mumbai Mirror, sharply denouncing the governments infringement on our rights to free speech.

As I mentioned earlier, things have only worsened. Now, ALL private ISP’s have also obliged the government and banned access to certain domain sites, including blogger, blogspot, typepad, geocities, and maybe more. I posted again on the irrational and non-sensical censorship strategy that the Indian government is implementing in its “fight” against the terrorists.

In order to circumvent the government ban, I have made an open announcement to my blogger companions (especially those on my blogroll).

Posted in General Work/Life, India, Indian Blogs, Personal | 18 Comments »

Indian Randian

Posted by Jerry on April 29, 2006

I was quite delighted to come across this Indian blogger’s website, Yazadjal.com, who shares a positive interest in Ayn Rand and Objectivism. I don’t know how developed and accurate his understanding of Objectivism is, but I enjoyed reading some of his posts.

This one post onYazadjal.com reminded me of another favorite article I read a long time ago at the Von Mises Institute website. Here’s a particularly lovely quote from that article:

“[Rand] was a master at what one of my colleagues calls reductio ad claritatem, “reduction to clarity”— i.e., the method of refuting a position by stating it clearly—as when she wrote that “if some men are entitled by right to the products of the work of others, it means that those others are deprived of rights and condemned to slave labor,” or when she summarized the view that human perception is unreliable because limited by the nature of our sensory organs as: “man is blind, because he has eyes—deaf, because he has ears.””

Posted in Ayn Rand, Favorite Quotes, General Work/Life, India, Indian Blogs, Mumbai, Objectivism, Philosophy, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

 
%d bloggers like this: