Telangana: it's on, it's off; it's on, it's off; it's...

Sure enough, the Govt. of India has put the formation of a new Telangana state on cold storage. Of course, the new move is not motivated by a sudden stroke of realization of the cost of politically bifurcating the Telugus, but because of more political nonsense. P. Chidambaram announced yesterday that the new move is motivated by new developments after the announcement to create a new state was made:
At an all-party meeting on December 7, 2009, convened by chief minister K Rosaiah consensus emerged on Telangana. A statement was made on December 9 on behalf of the government of India on receipt of the minutes of the meeting. After the meeting, the situation in Andhra Pradesh has altered. A large number of political parties are divided and there is need to hold wide-ranging consultations with all parties and groups. The government of India will take steps to involve all concerned in the process.
Now, what developments can happen in two weeks which can decide the fate of 76 million people either this way or that way, other than the vulgar noises of petty politicians working out the net impact to their pockets and high-commands working out the net impact to their political domination in the two possible scenarios? It's good that political parties are divided on the issue of Telangana. But are they divided for the right reasons? The answer is an emphatic no.

Sometimes, out of a sheer quirk of fate, the actions of the Unreasonable tend to carry a tinge of Reason. But we know that this is not the dawn of Reason; this is but an illustration of the fact that the more divided the Unreasonable are, the less the chance of Unreason prevailing. What is most frightening is that the fate of the Telugus is so precariously positioned in the hands of such Unreasonable people. It could swing either way for no Reason!

The educational cost of political bifurcation

I have said much of what there is to be said about the political nonsense at play behind the call for a new Telangana state. But what continues to intrigue me is that there are some people who spread the superstition that having the northern districts of Andhra Pradesh report directly to the Indian Parliament (by way of forming a new state called Telangana) instead of the Andhra Pradesh State Assembly is a method of increasing the pace of economic development of the people therein. One wonders why they don’t take that argument to its logical next step and say that it’s even better for those districts to report directly to the United Nations by way of declaring them as a new country!

In reality, the political bifurcation of the Telugu people has a strict long-term negative impact on the economic development of Telugu people as a whole (yes, I mean not just of the people of Telangana, but of all the people of undivided Andhra Pradesh). To understand why, one needs to pay due respect to the most important ingredient of economic development of any people – that long forgotten ingredient called education, and to the long forgotten fact that education of the Telugu people is best conducted in the Telugu language. I will, perhaps, repeat this truth about the importance of education and the role of the mother-tongue therein unto my last, because truth is the only thing which is worth repeating, the only thing whose repetition does not strain the repeater.

In short, my point is that the proposed political bifurcation of the Telugus has a net negative impact on the education of the Telugu people – something which will hurt the economic progress of the Telugu people in the long run.

To appreciate the truth behind this rather convoluted-looking claim, readers must pay attention to the fact that the state is the most important actor in the education sector of Andhra Pradesh (and of every other Indian state too, including Karnataka). That is, there are no non-state actors who play any significant role in the education of the Telugu people. It’s the state which runs more than 80% of schools in Andhra Pradesh. It is the state which runs almost all the Telugu medium schools in Andhra Pradesh (the only medium of instruction which bears any promise for the future). It is the state which runs any schools in the rural areas of Andhra Pradesh – areas from which private schools are repelled.

Languages being what they are, Telugu is spread out as different dialects over what is known as Andhra Pradesh today. Thus, the Telugu spoken in the northern districts of Andhra Pradesh is simultaneously similar to and different from the Telugu spoken in, say, the coastal districts. Linguists and educationists who are firmly rooted in the truth that mother-tongue education is best know that this internal diversity is a very important asset of the Telugu people as a whole. This diversity is the most important raw material for the development of each dialect as the language of science and technology, of all higher learning. It is therefore the most important raw material for the educational and consequently the economic development of the speakers of every dialect of Telugu. Thus, the northern dialects spoken in Telangana have much to learn from the southern ones in Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema, and vice versa. What do they have to learn? Each has to learn from the other words, the ways of combining them, the ways of coining new ones, the true grammar of the Telugu language, etc., etc. In Indian states, as in France and Israel, these things related to language are the responsibility of the state. Now this fact is not appreciated by “less government” freaks whose ideology emanates out of large linguistic deserts such as the United States of America. It is very harmful for Indians to forget that this great responsibility lies with the state. I will be happy to withdraw this statement on the day someone can show me a single non-state institution which takes up these tasks and is able to sustain itself. But what I can tell you is that this is not going to happen in Indian states for long, and there will be no need to withdraw this statement for a long time to come – atleast not for the next 200 years.

The foregoing being the importance of the internal diversity of the Telugu language and the responsibility of the state in the development of the language, the consequences of a political bifurcation should be easy to understand: with two different states, the prospects of the Telangana dialects learning from the Coastal and Rayalaseema dialects and vice-versa will be significantly harmed. The very idea of bifurcation is rooted in the destructive belief that the Telugu language, its diversity, the burning need for the diverse dialects to “work with each other” in the synthesis of a new-age Telugu, the development of Telugu as the language of higher learning, and very importantly, the role of the state in these matters – are all of no importance. It is rooted in the feeling that the very identity of the Telugu people is unimportant. It is rooted in the utterly false belief that a divided people are better than a united people (if this is true, why should India not disintegrate into dozens of different countries?). Political bifurcation will bring about all that; it will ensure that the Telugu language remains unimportant, that the education of the Telugus will leave much to be desired forever, that the economic situation of the Telugus remains in a sorry state forever.

The problem is, nobody is paying attention to these facts of crucial importance. Many even claim that the only support for an undivided Andhra Pradesh comes from purely political and irrational quarters. At Banavasi Balaga, we beg to differ. It is support for bifurcation which stems from purely political and irrational quarters, and to them we’d like to say “Welcome to the science of language, education and economic progress”.

BREAKING NEWS: New Delhi to divide and rule the Telugus

Today is a dark day for the Telugu people, for democracy, for federalism, for India, for everything that is good.

Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram announced shortly after midnight (that is, early this morning) that "the process of formation of Telangana would be initiated by moving a resolution in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly".

While the two-tongued project this new state as a democratic aspiration of the people of Telangana, it should be clear to the sane that it is none of that crap. All this is nothing but one deplorable political drama, complete with fasting and restraint from shaving, enacted by power-hungry politicians. Okay, one saint called K. Chandrashekhar Rao who will soon return to his humble hut and resume his spiritual ascent to Nirvana coupled with sublime spiritual teachings, and whose death by any other means is a great loss for mankind as a whole.

The sane should not forget that after all, a shorter route to New Delhi is not a means to economic progress. The density of politicians in an area does not determine the economic growth of a people. Yet, this is what Telangana is going to become.

Of course, thanks to the existence of this thing called India, no artificial trade or cultural barriers will be set-up between the Telugu people in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh; only a new set of power-mongers will get to suck Telangana dry. Telugus will still be able to move freely between the two states, and engage in peacetime activities as ever before.

The real means of economic progress of the Telugus - whether they're in Telangana or in Andhra Pradesh - do not involve politicians having no means at their disposal but to beg funds from New Delhi with the agenda of filling their own coffers. New Delhi is no bottomless pit of wealth either. The real means involve things such as education. And again, this education has to be based on the Telugu language to achieve any decent success. That is something neither the earlier nor the new political structure is poised to deliver.

The creation of this new state is also a blow to the evolution of India as a true democracy - which is to become a truly federal country. The more divided the people are, the easier for the center to rule - yeah, it's the old British trick of divide and rule. To political parties at the center (especially the BJP), a divided Telugu people are easier to govern. After all, the Telangana state is being created on the basis that New Delhi shall adopt the tens of millions of Telugus in poverty, right? Beggars can't be choosers; those who have begged for a Telangana state neither have the right nor the ability to choose the right means of development of the Telugu people therein - of which foremost is the erection of the Telugu language as the single most important development tool. Instead, the Union government will be happy to intensify Hindi Imposition and do everything to retain the Telugus of Telangana as impoverished as possible in order that a strong center can continue to be. This fits in nicely with the anti-federal stance of the BJP, and the pro-strong-center stance of the Congress.

Everybody - meaning every politician - gains from Telangana. It is only tens of millions of Telugus who lose. Ah - who cares a shit?

One and only one thing can save the Telugus from being wiped off the face of this planet, amidst the devil of their own corrupt political class which has just made a copy of itself and the deep sea of a strong center at New Delhi. And that is for the Telugu people to organize themselves outside the twin political harems - one in Andhra Pradesh and one in Telangana - and work out the real means of economic progress of the Telugu people. The Telugus are one people irrespective of the political trafficking, the political dealings which corrupt, ignorant, spineless, double-tongued, power-hungry politicians work out.

May reason reign in the Telugu people! May they realize that a divided Telugu people are a weaker Telugu people! May they realize that a divided Telugu people are smaller, easier-to-eat morsels for New Delhi! May they realize that these slimy politicians cannot bring them anything but more poverty! May they realize that real education is the only way out, and that these spineless creatures cannot bring them that!

Photo courtesy: The Hindu

India's role at Copenhagen

Returning to the issue of Climate Change, there are clearly two scientist camps: the first one believes human activity causes global warming, and the second one doesn't  (and even accuses the first camp of data manipulation in its simulation models). There is a seemingly never-ending controversy between these two schools of thought.

On the other hand, there are two political camps, too. The first camp is led by Washington DC which has succeeded in creating a global hysteria about Climate Change based on its domestic agenda to create 5 million "green energy" US jobs "which cannot be outsourced". The second camp is led by libertarian institutes such as the CATO institute and the Reason Foundation (both US-based) which allege that Washington DC is simply fooling the world in order to walk away with 15 billion dollars of yearly taxpayer revenue and thereby violating their liberty.

It is trivial to guess which scientific camp is funded by Washington DC, and which one has libertarian friends coming over for dinner in the upcoming year-end holiday season.

So what is the right way for India to decide on the issue of Climate Change when US scientists and US political pundits are divided on the question, and there is no credible Indian scientific consensus on the issue (a consensus not funded by Washington DC either directly or indirectly)? We haven't heard of our universities doing any significant independent research on this issue and having reached a conclusion, after all.

To me, it is very clear that there is no credible data which shows either that climate change is happening due to human activity, or that it is not (although my personal bias lies in the former, due to my own simplistic understanding of the world). Thus, India's stand cannot be based on data. Nor is there a credible interpretation of existing data which can lead to the facts. Thus, both pratyaksha and anumaana are ruled out as valid sources of information.

The only thing which remains is aagama, as per Indian philosophy. And what does aagama tell you? It tells you that unquenched thirst for material possessions is inherently bad; it tells you that it is inherently a-spiritual. Whether economic progress is a zero-sum game as I assumed in my first article, or not, unquenched thirst for material possessions leads man away from spiritual achievement. Thus, there is no doubt whatsoever that the message from the greatest sages that have lived in India is for the developed world to exercise self-restraint in its mad rush to achieve greater and greater material prosperity. After all, life is not just about material.

Now, this sermon ought to be given to the developed nations led by Washington DC, and not to the poor and developing nations where the basic necessities of life are beyond the reach of billions of people. The poor and developing nations should sternly maintain the stance that it is their right to achieve economic development, even at the cost of creating global climate change as alleged by the first school of scientists alluded to above. If it is true that the developed countries have a true concern for the safety of this planet, and if it is true that economic development is a zero-sum game, there is no other option but for the developed nations to reduce their own economic activity, i.e., move towards sufficiency in economic activity and material possessions.

So, must India accept Washington-funded science and Washington-driven actions? Of course, not. India should unconditionally put its foot down on any emission cuts (either legally binding or otherwise), since there is no credible data based on which it is being asked to reduce emissions. Readers will notice that this unconditionality is a change of stance on Karnatique. I had earlier argued that developing countries
cannot and must not cut carbon emission unless they are compensated in time and money by those who have overtaken them in economic development and goad them with greed of material prosperity
But I have come to believe that it is next to impossible for any equitable compensation to be worked out between the haves and the have-nots at Copenhagen. The negotiations can only prove, once again, that "might is right". After all, nobody is even questioning whether this whole hue and cry about human activity causing climate change is true! Developing countries have already lost in the negotiations by buying the argument that the theory is true - based on what is claimed as gospel truth by scientists funded by the well-fed nations!

Further, India must, as I have argued earlier, take up the task of delivering the message of our aagamas that in sufficiency lies the good of the people of those developed nations; the developed nations will not collapse if they restrain their thirst for material possessions; happiness is not present in them, it is achievable through sciences which have been long perfected in India. India should, simultaneously, argue for the developing nations to freely excercise their right to economic development without worrying about the alleged global climate change. The onus is on those who created the mess, if any, to clean it up.

The cost of keeping Hindi alive

From an article in the Times of India on Dec 5, 2009:
This year, the budget allocated [to the Department of Official Language] is nearly Rs 36 crore. In comparison, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases, which does work that impacts the health of millions, gets Rs 25 crore.
To be fair, the DOL (dedicated to spreading Hindi where it won't either by natural selection or survival of the fittest) also impacts the health of millions - nay, hundreds of millions - but the problem is, it affects them negatively, while the NICD affects them positively!

Emissions Cuts Would Cost India Dearly : WSJ

From the time of writing my first article on this issue of climate change to now, things have already changed. Jairam Ramesh announced yesterday that India will initiate steps to reduce CO2 emissions, "tellingly" hinting at opening up India for inspectors checking India's compliance to its own emission cut proposals. This is a clear departure from treating this as a domestic issue.

Shikha Dalmia of the Reason Foundation writing on the Wall Street Journal argues that India is making a mistake by committing to emission cuts (bold mine):
The current policy, called Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions, in some ways is a declaration of India's independence on climate change. It essentially tells the world that India will undertake mitigation efforts if and when it is in its self-interest. The proposed new policy, dubbed Nationally Accountable Mitigation Outcomes, is something completely different. It would commit India to developing a mitigation plan right away. The plan would be enforced by domestic law but Mr. Ramesh—tellingly—wants to submit the emissions reports generated for international scrutiny every two years. This could well become a prelude to India eventually joining a global emissions regime.

Even worse, the new regime would unleash Byzantine new regulations on the country, from new energy efficiency standards in building codes to new fuel economy standards for vehicles. India would have to obtain 20% of its energy from renewable sources—wind, solar and small hydroelectric power—compared to 8% now. Given that these sources are typically far more expensive than fossil fuels, this would mean putting Indians, 40% of whom don't even have access to electricity, on an even stricter energy diet. The increased expense will put homes, air conditioning and cars out of reach of more Indians—all of which will make them, especially the poor, less able to withstand floods, heat waves and other dire effects of global warming should they ever materialize.

The resulting emission cuts won't even make a dent in global temperatures. India's per capita energy consumption is 15 times less than America's and half of China's—the two biggest polluters. To be sure, President Obama is poised to pledge to cut U.S. carbon emissions 80% below 2005 by 2050 at Copenhagen. But it's an empty promise because there is little to zero chance that he will be able to get Congress to go along. China too announced plans—modest by all accounts—to curb its emissions. So India will certainly face pressure at the conference to act, despite the fact that bigger polluters won't.

But as a developing country, India can least afford to give up its right to consume as much energy as is necessary to deliver all Indians a living standard comparable to the one that rich countries take for granted. There is every reason to believe that the new License Raj will damage India's economy every bit as much as the old one in the preliberalization days, when India's growth rate remained stuck at around 2%. This would be unfortunate at any time, but especially now, when the West itself is in the middle of a huge rethinking on this issue.
Of course, as Ms. Dalmia points out, India can simply not afford to give up its right to consume as much energy as it deems necessary. Given the fact that it is India in which sufficiency is the rule (unlike the uncontrolled quest for material comfort in the west), I can declare that India will not become a threat to global climate simply based on the fact that not a few of the world's greatest spiritual thinkers have treaded on Indian soil.

I am convinced that all this is simply proving that "might is right". If only India had the guts to stand up, like Mahatma Gandhi did in the Round Table Conference at London in 1931 wearing little more than a loincloth, and deliver the message that sufficiency is the cure for the problems of this planet, not efficiency! That India which so prides itself to be the spiritual teacher of the world is today succumbing to pressure from the mighty. What a pity!

What if the theory of global warming is all false?

What if, as people like Patrick J. Michaels believe, the whole theory of global warming is all false and therefore the global economy being a zero-sum game is incorrect? Simple: the conference at Copenhagen should be declared null and void. But there are no signs of the conference being declared null and void any time soon. Hence, in this article I analyze the case where the theory is untrue and unscientific, but the conference is held anyway, with no player questioning the validity of the theory itself (for reasons best known to them). The case where the theory is true and scientific and where the conference is held (the likely one in my opinion, for what my opinion is worth) was analyzed in the previous article.

In this new case, I would state the obvious that it's even more criminal to impose emission cuts on developing countries. What should developing countries such as India do in this new case? The same thing as they should in the first case: they cannot and must not cut carbon emission unless they are compensated in time and money by those who have overtaken them in economic development and goad them with greed of material prosperity, since they are not even at the level of sufficiency. After all, why should anybody not maintain that feeding the hungry today is infinitely more important than the safety of this planet? Why should developing states waste time and money on cutting down carbon emission when that time and that money is better invested in economic development? That is, why should developing countries also not continue to further their own self-interests and expect Adam Smith's invisible-hand to take care of the planet?

All this is proof that matters such as the safety of the planet cannot be decided entirely on self-interest driven invisible-hand thinking. There is such a thing called ethics, and there is such a thing called as yagna, there is such a thing called as sufficiency, and there is such a thing called as principles. It is these that anybody discussing about the safety of the planet needs to base his or her arguments on.

And by the way, if you're thinking why we're talking about climate change on KARNATIQUE, the answer is: this is the world in which Kannadigas live. This is the world in which Kannadigas need to live. This is the world in which Kannadigas need to emerge winners. We cannot and must not accept the false philosophies of errant states intoxicated with material comfort - even if our bodies are emaciated with hunger. We need to stand for the truth even if the opponent is the mightiest of them all.