“What I learned reading every last word of *India Today*”

The 6th floor blog of the NYT invited me to write a blog post on that topic, and so here it is.  Excerpt:

4. The gap between the age of the average Indian and the age of the average Indian political leader is one of the largest in the world. No prime minister of the country has been born after 1947.

…9. The All India Council for Technical Education has the following ambitions: “Entropy in the Universe should rise indicating that the well-being of the Universe is improving. If I can contribute to the well-being of our society and make an addition to the entropy, I am happy. On a different note, we have now developed the National Vocational Education qualification framework. . . .”

Read the whole thing.


The most striking feature of a late December issue of India Today is its aspirational tone and near-relentless gloss and promotional fervor

For the opposite outlook in general, see Tehelka.

P.S. In the absence of a comment preview facility, please provide a short 1 or 2 line guide to allowed formatting tags/syntax close to the comment entry area. Thanks.

I'd say Tehelka is in a different league altogether. I find it more critical and reasonable in its analysis.

That might just be my political and cultural bias speaking, though.

My favorite Indian publication is Bureaucracy Today:


Boring. You won't find such titbits as this (coming to the USA, as the West merges with the Rest, both in growth and mores): "An art exhibition at the prestigious Delhi Art Gallery , showcasing a retrospective on modern nude art, ran into trouble on Monday when right-wing activists forced it to shut down temporarily. The exhibition was resumed after the organisers sought police protection. Read more at: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/nude-art-in-delhi-vhp-women-wing-protests-against-nudity/1/248914.html "


Yeah, you went back 11 years and still failed.

'Ashok Mitra opines that “The Left is the only hope for the country, the rest are all scum.” This quote is pulled out for display, which struck me as odd for such a culturally conservative magazine.'

In India, socialism *is* the conservative viewpoint. The founding fathers of India (including Gandhi) were socialists.

Not really; socialism is a lot newer than Hindi nationalism, which is the truly conservative position.

Entropy should rise? That's making a virtue out of necessity isn't it?

Indeed, entropy cannot decrease for a closed system, see "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropy#Second_law_of_thermodynamics". I wonder if TC summarized every last word of India Today with his famous one line summary?

Right, you can only shift the entropy to a different system, which brings up Andrew's #2 law of attempting to reduce entropy: shift happens.

"entropy cannot decrease for a closed system": indeed, but is The Universe a closed system? Deep waters these.

Isn't Life just one damn battle against entropy after another?

Life *is* entropy. You should see my kids' rooms.

The most amusing part of all this for me is I followed the post's link to Tyler's "one sentence book review" and discovered that it was not even a sentence, only a fragment!

Not sure what they mean by entropy? Is that related to Schumpeter's notion of creative destruction? I think of entropy as a measure of chaos in a system.

Odd coming from a country of so-called socialist leaders.

I am baffled by this. Clearly part of it is the cultural divide (entropy as a positive social force?), but then there's the whole clunkiness of the phrasing. Let's see:

"Entropy in the Universe should rise indicating that the well-being of the Universe is improving. If I can contribute to the well-being of our society and make an addition to the entropy, I am happy."

I might rewrite as:

"As the entropy in the universe rises, so does its well-being. If I can add to that entropy, I am happy."

Is that about right?

Re: Ashok Mitra and the "Left"

While it's quite impossible to map Indian politics and culture onto the two-dimensional American system, the "conservative" in India might largely be a fiscal liberal and social conservative. Public distribution systems are supported almost across the board because governments derive their authority from peasants who thrive from such subsidies (in Tamil Nadu you get kilograms of free rice each month, only to be smuggled for arbitrage down to Andhra).

The word "liberal" in India, unlike the US, has market connotations: 1991 is, after all, known for its "liberalization". Liberals are associated with the group that wants a strong, western-style democracy, rule of law, and free markets. The conservative is more likely to appreciate village councils, might harbor a stronger distaste for Pakistan (especially those who lived through Partition), and might be more skeptical of trade.

They would be characterized by Gandhi's thoughts on Western democracy "I think it's a good idea, in theory".

In fact, I've met self-avowed conservatives who would call themselves "leftist" and speak the word "liberal" with a hint of skepticism and sometimes condescension.

Funnily, you mean "up" to Andhra?

"2. The Hindi film actor Paresh Rawal offered the following capstone political advice, inscrutable to me even after rereading the entire article: “It is the cubs of a lioness who are fit to rule and not the kids of a goat. You know who the lion is. Vote for the lion and live your life with pride.”"

On 2 above, I don't know if you were joking or not (it isn't the most coherent advice), but if not - Rawal was talking about Rahul Gandhi (both the cub of a lioness, and the lion), son of Indira Gandhi (the lioness), who just took the Vice President position in the Congress Party last month (January 2013).

> "It is the cubs of a lioness who are fit to rule and not the kids of a goat. You know who the lion is. Vote for the lion and live your life with pride."

Wow, that's embarrassing! I can only assume that there's some enormous cultural/translation gap here.

Or maybe this is a signaling thing which I'm not picking up. Like "War Eagle!" or "We are Penn State!"

For your elucidation, Marris: http://sportsfountainhead.blogspot.com/2009/02/origins-of-we-are-penn-state.html

This NYtimes comment was amusing, and IMO reveals the quality of commentary that Tyler has offered.

>5. There is much more talk about the relations across the generations than you would find in a comparable Western magazine.<

Possibly because you read a special issue called "Passage of Power: Conversation Across Generations"?

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