Modernity Invading India .

It is amazing how one learns about new things happening in India from sources from outside India.

As my readers know that I am an avid follower of Thomas L Friedman. I have read all his books and read all his articles in the New York Times. He is a kind of an Indophile and that endears him to me.

Today, he has written about an Indian innovation that can have serious implications for the villagers of India. Combined with what another innovator, Sam Pitrodia has done and the rapid growth of Micro Finance Business in India
some startling things can happen in the very near future in India.

In “The World Is Flat” Friedman had predicted that India can leap frog developmental processes using modern communication technology. Must be very satisfying for him to see that this is coming true.

If only India could shed some of its antiquated cultural baggage and if only the establishment could get its act together, the future of our children and grand children will certainly be much better than what is now.


It was my last night in London. I had flown in from Edinburgh in the morning, finished my work in London and caught up with my brother Barath in the evening. We decided to spend the last evening together having dinner at a Thai restaurant just off Oxford Street. We had a great meal and were returning to our hotel late in the night and were quite sentimental about having to part the next morning. I had my arm around Barath while we were strolling down when we were heckled by a group of young hooligans who told us that we should be ashamed of ourselves for being middle aged homosexuals. They would not accept that we were brothers. I was ready to take issue and go after them with my cane when Barath prevented me by pointing out that I could not afford to get involved in a police case etc. So we ignored them and walked off with cat calls and whistles following us.

I had forgotten all about this incident till recently when something brought the memory up again and that is another story.

I belong to a small group of friends from all over, and we amuse ourselves by group email threads. In one of these threads, one American friend had this to say. “You mean sweet little ole Ramana? Why, he’s just a darling! He says the sweetest things! I think y’all just pick on him! lol, lol, lol!

This was addressed to another friend, an Englishman, who responded “I was brought up to respect my elders….not saying anything about betters….so I never pick on Ramana…. Nor anyone else. And I do not publish libelous pictures of other people. Nor criticise their dress sense , or in some cases lack of it.” The background being my sartorial tastes no doubt!

I responded “And D**** I doubt that you will be able to pick me up anyway!” For those readers who do not know my vital statistics, I am somewhat like a sumo wrestler.

D**** responded, in typical English style, “Wouldn’t try…. might be misconstrued…. Lifting might be a different matter , however.”

Now you know why the memory of that night on Oxford Street came rushing back!

My trend of thought doesn’t stop there however. I have a friend Chandru, who has had two open heart surgeries, is a diabetic and has half a dozen other complications, among which is an inability to walk unaided. But walk for exercise he must, and either I or another friend Abbas take him for a walk every evening in our local park. My niece-in-law-to-be, Hannah recently spent some time with us in Pune and found this scene very touching and took a photograph of me taking Chandru for a walk.

I sent this photograph to Chandru’s daughter Neelam who promptly commented that it was “Two Heroes walking off into the sunset!” I had also sent it to another mutual friend to show the progress that Chandru has made and he commented – “I didn’t know you guys swung that way!”

We live in interesting times don’t we?

I Am A Libertarian.

Bikehikebabe, one of my regular readers and commentators, who has become a personal friend too thanks to Skype, sent me a quiz to determine where I would stand in the political and economic map.

Though the quiz was addressed to the American public, I took the quiz and was classified as a libertarian. The definition for a libertarian being – “Libertarians support maximum liberty in both personal and economic matters. They advocate a much smaller government; one that is limited to protecting individuals from coercion and violence. Libertarians tend to embrace individual responsibility, oppose government bureaucracy and taxes, promote private charity, tolerate diverse lifestyles, support the free market, and defend civil liberties.”

India has all the possible shades of political/economic posturing and many labels too. The most popular being, Far Left, Far Right, Left, Right, Center, Socialist, Casteist, Chauvinist, Secular, Local, National, Regional, Religious and so on and so forth, but most of us know that it all boils down to one single entity – Convenientism. Within that single definition, we now have the great Indian tradition of dynasty showing its face too. The heartening aspect of the whole circus however is that by and large free and fair elections are held and democracy is alive and flourishing.

The term Libertarian has so far not gained any recognition in the Indian scene, but the definition certainly explains my beliefs as does it of many of my friends and relatives. I hope to be able to convince many others to join my bandwagon.

For my readers who would like to slot themselves, I would strongly recommend taking the quiz.

Thank you Bikehikebabe.