Friday, 28 August 2015

Of News and Other Stuff-1

1.       Talk about unintended consequences
State governments impose high taxes on alcohol, ostensibly to further Gandhian (and constitutional) ideals of prohibition. Yet, during the period of the eighties when the women of rural Andhra Pradesh were demanding a ban on the sale of arrack, the state government was less than willing to listen, due to the revenues that the sale of alcohol brought them.
2.       It has happened. The government has finally run out of innovative backronyms and rousing epithets for its myriad schemes. Indradhanush, the MoF’s seven-point (clever right?) plan to rejuvenate Public Sector Banks, shares its name with the government’s child vaccination programme against seven (big surprise) preventable diseases.
3.       The new Political Science NCERTs feel like they were written by people who remembered exactly how bad their school education was, and then went about, correcting it systematically.
4.       They are also shamelessly designed to brainwash kids into being bleeding heart liberals. As a goal of education policy, that’s not too bad.
5.       I always think of China as a bit of a brat, though it’s been acting very grown up lately with the whole talk of its Belt and Road initiatives. South China Sea is a different matter-where it is in competition with its mostly less powerful neighbours over territory. Taiwan happens to have similar claims. China says that’s only to be expected, given that Taiwan itself is a part of China.
6.       The ads for Swach Bharat Abhiyan have been criticised as reinforcing patriarchal norms since they tell families that having washrooms will help protect the izzat of the women of the house. Say what you will, it is still an effective message for the limited purpose of getting toilets built. Given the tack that the current government has taken on different issues (from marital rape to education policy), an alternative could be to extol ancient Indian culture where people in Mohenjodaro (more than 4500 years ago) had loos in every house.
7.       In a weird coincidence, the 3 ancient civilisations of the Bronze Age-Mesopotamia, Harappan and Egyptian were all in areas that are in turmoil today. On second thoughts, not really such a weird coincidence given exactly how much of the world today is in turmoil-of one kind or the other.
8.       There is nothing inevitable about murder. Not multiple marriages. Not children out of the wedlock. (I am looking at you, Hindu). 

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