Tag: India

Join Jim and Greg as they scratch their heads over President Biden’s new Ambassador to India, whom no one seems impressed by and Republicans had to save with their votes. They’re more than a little uneasy as the International Atomic Energy Agency reports 2.5 tons of yellowcake uranium are missing from Libya. They roll their eyes vigorously as the husband of Vice President Harris compares parents yelling at school board to the Holocaust. But at the end, Jim is excited that Aaron Rodgers will soon be quarterback for the New York Jets.

This week on The Learning Curve, Cara and Gerard interview Gurcharan Das, author, public intellectual, and former CEO of Procter & Gamble India. Mr. Das gives a short history of the rise of India since independence in 1947 to become a thriving, incredibly diverse nation of 1.4 billion people—the world’s largest free-market democracy. He explains how the economic reforms of 1991 removed the restraints of a centralized, bureaucratic state, helping drive the economic dynamism of an IT and knowledge economy that has helped 415 million people escape poverty over the last 20 years. India’s remarkable story, Mr. Das notes, is showing the world an alternative to the Chinese model of autocratic, centralized control.

Stories of the Week

Up this week from Dennis Kneale: Why are the media still ignoring #TheTwitterFiles? And… Silicon Valley sage Vikek Wadhwa accuses The New York Times and The Washington Post of telling lies in Kashmir, and best-selling author Natalie Pace on her life as a nomadic journalist..

Plus this: you think your Christmas dinner might get awkward? Hold Dennis’ beer: Our host must decide whether to sit down to supper with a person who recently was thinking of killing him—and this person owns six guns.

Member Post


Every serious critic of America’s response to the COVID infection and now to the genetic experiment falsely labelled as a “COVID vaccine program” understands how heavy handed censorship has been since February 2020. For instance, although an entire scientific research paper was published regarding the effectiveness of ivermectin in obliterating COVID,  in the American Journal […]

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QQ For You and Me: Bubble Tea, Diplomat


You may know it as bubble tea, tapioca tea, pearl milk tea, or boba tea. You may not know it at all. But, like popcorn chicken and scallion pancakes, bubble tea is a Taiwanese invention that’s grown to be beloved worldwide. And it’s not just a culinary triumph for the tiny democracy; it’s also become a symbol of important, and strengthening, international ties in the modern age. 

Pew Forum Survey of India: Religion in India, Tolerance and Segregation


Pew conducted what seems like an exhaustive survey of India.  They:

Surveyed 29,999 Indian adults (including 22,975 who identify as Hindu, 3,336 who identify as Muslim, 1,782 who identify as Sikh, 1,011 who identify as Christian, 719 who identify as Buddhist, 109 who identify as Jain and 67 who identify as belonging to another religion or as religiously unaffiliated). Interviews for this nationally representative survey were conducted face-to-face under the direction of RTI International from Nov. 17, 2019, to March 23, 2020.

COVID and India


It’s fair to say that India is not doing well with the virus. Official numbers tell us that we currently have 400,000 new infections diagnosed per day, and 4,000 daily deaths due to COVID 19. The official numbers are contested:

“The figures on Covid infections that the government is releasing are actually an underestimate,” Dr Manas Gumta, general secretary of the Association of Health Service Doctors in West Bengal, told the Observer.

Cyber-Vigilantes take on Indian Scammers


No Tech Support ScamsEver gotten a strange pop-up claiming your computer has a virus? Gotten an email supposedly from Microsoft or Amazon that looks shady? Received a phone call where a person with an Indian accent claiming to have an American name tells you something is wrong with your computer, or that you have a refund from Amazon? Most likely, you are about to get scammed.

These scammers typically will request access to your computer via remote desktop software, and they will take advantage of people lacking detailed knowledge of their computers and the Internet. They particularly prey on the elderly and most of them lack any compassion whatsoever. They will take the last dollar from a disabled veteran and laugh at the “stupid rich American.” The Indian justice system is overwhelmed and has even more cases of buying their way out of jail than ours. Seemingly, there is no solution.

Enter a group of hackers and pranksters who fight back. This type of cyber-vigilante justice is known as scambaiting.

Vikas Battalion and Election Day


The last several months have seen rising tension between India and the PRC over their disputed Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh. In June, during an attempted “de-escalation,” there was an incident in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed. Just Monday, reports came out of a counter-offensive from the Indian Army, sending their Special Frontier Forces, the Vikas Battalion, to capture important strategic high ground in the dispute.

The use of SFF was deliberate by the Indian Army. SFF was formed in 1962 of Tibetan soldiers whose mission was to conduct covert operations behind Chinese lines. Today, Vikas Battalion is composed of mostly Tibetan and Gorkha soldiers. Tibetans have no reason to love the People’s Liberation Army, and of Gorkhas it was once said, “If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or he is a Gorkha.”

The Red Chinese claim that they have never violated any border in an aggressive manner, which in their minds is true because when they have a problem with the border, they simply move the border (see the South China Sea and the Nine-Dash Line) and then accuse others of violating it.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard talk with Dr. Anna Egalite, Assistant Professor at North Carolina State University. They discuss Anna’s experiences as a student growing up in Ireland and teaching at Catholic schools there and in Florida. She was inspired to pursue education policy after observing the differences between the two countries’ views of “public” and “private” education, and was surprised to find that families here didn’t have the same range of school options available to them as those in Europe. She also shares her research on the benefits of school voucher programs in India, which allowed students to attend private schools with longer days and lower rates of multi-grade teaching, with positive impacts on English language skills, especially for females. Lastly, they explore the role of family background on students’ long-term outcomes and intergenerational economic mobility.

Story of the Week: As the nation deals with COVID-19, Cara and Gerard discuss the implications for K-12 and higher education. Students across the country are shifting from campuses and classrooms to virtual learning; how prepared is our education system to deliver quality, online instruction? Are we doing enough to maintain community ties and minimize the disruption for low-income students and families, who have fewer supports?

Namaste Trump


The Indian answer to Houston’s “Howdy Modi” was “Namaste Trump.” The event was held in what a sign said was the world’s largest cricket stadium, with over 100,000 capacity. Prime Minister Modi greeted President Trump on stage, the two hugging.

After the playing of the American national anthem, PM Modi showed President Trump and First Lady Melania to two chairs, where they sat while he gave a brief introductory speech. President Trump then gave an excellent speech, about 30 minutes, praising his host and the Indian nation’s rapid advance on important metrics like extreme poverty. He emphasized that the Indian people were successfully advancing while a democracy, making this basic point several times without calling out China by name.

Hold My Corona: Popping the Top on Preparedness


A brief dip into Twitter prompted a brief bit of research, and the results seemed worth sharing in the current news or hype cycle. Now I know, why on earth would I be on Twitter when there is talk of a new virus and we all know avian flu is supposed to be quite nasty? I was there for entirely other reasons when I stumbled upon a retweet of a professional pundit thinking he was offering a hot take. Hot tweet? More like steaming hot bird droppings.

India Meets the Internet; Wedded Bliss or Marital Strife to Follow?


When I was growing up in India we lived in a semi-socialist, planned economy. “Semi-socialist” because India always had a private sector, and essentially unshaken patterns of inherited privilege and oppression. “Planned” because we had five-year plans and the Government controlled “the commanding heights of the economy.” One such height being telecommunications.

So, Indian telecommunications were awful when I grew up. We only had landlines. Landlines were scarce (there could be a ten-year waiting period), expensive, and frequently functioned badly (wrong numbers = incorrect connections) when they functioned at all (often not). This reflected a broader media space where the only television station was run by the government, and where print media was an oligopoly.

Howdy, Modi!


I’ve been making dinner and listening to the huge “Howdy, Modi!” rally in Houston with President Trump and Prime Minister Modi. It’s pretty enjoyable. It appears to be a huge crowd, and the Fox youtube clip I’m watching begins with awesome pounding drums.

After the drums stopped in a fabulous climax, a lovely young woman sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.” When she finished, the crowd burst into chants of “USA! USA!” After the Indian anthem, the crowd began chanting “Modi! Modi!” as the president also applauded.

Bharatiya Janata Party Alliance Wins Indian Election in Landslide


India’s 2019 federal election was called on May 23, with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies winning an increased majority of 350 out of 543 seats in Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian Parliament. The BJP won 300 seats itself, which means that they will not need to govern in coalition, but have enough seats to form Government in their own right.

This is what the results look like on a map (BJP+ is of course saffron):

A Solution to India’s Vastu Problem: Move Kashmir to Kanyakumari


Some years ago, I landed in Bangalore on my way to Delhi (where my parents lived) from Australia. It had been about five years since I had been home and, in the meantime, the country had started to open up. The changes were immediately apparent. I was able to rent a rather plush taxi to pay a visit to my cousin during my six-hour layover (our taxis didn’t use to be plush) and as I sat back and marveled at Bangalore Bengaluru (unrecognizable) a private radio station (private! unheard of!) called Radio Mirchi was playing. I’ll never forget what one of the announcers said (heavy South Indian accent):

The situation in the nation is sooooo bad because our country’s Vastu needs to be corrected. I propose that we take Kaaaashmir, and put it at Kanyakumari, and Kanyakumari and place it in Kaaaashmir. Whadoyousay?!

Wile E. Coyote Democrats, President Trump, and a Dangerous World


In case you missed it, two nuclear-armed nations, India and Pakistan, just had an aerial skirmish with bombs dropped and planes shot down. Also, a failed socialist state in our own hemisphere is on the edge of complete lawlessness, as the dictator, Maduro, shut down the last border crossing to stop relief supplies flowing to Venezuelans. Meanwhile, President Trump is practicing tough but patient nuclear diplomacy with Kim Jong-un, the third-generation hereditary North Korean dictator, and tough but patient trade negotiations with President Xi Jinping, the strongest Chinese Communist leader since Chairman Mao, while meeting in a tough, smaller rival to China, Vietnam.

So, naturally, the House Democrats, under the leadership of Speaker Pelosi 1.2, held their first big show hearing with a man convicted of lying to Congress. It went as well as President Trump could have wished. These same geniuses thought having House Democratic women wear white at the State of the Union was a brilliant move, only to be completely owned by a smiling President Trump. Who, again, is the political neophyte?

The congressional Republicans have continued to demonstrate their lack of fitness to govern, helping the Democrats stay in the game. Yet, the Democrats are moving so far left and behaving so foolishly that we should all be investing in Acme stock. Indeed, the only better investment than Acme stock may be proposition bets with British betting houses on President Trump to win reelection in 2020.

Pakistan Shoots Down Indian Jets


So far, two jets have been destroyed near the India/Pakistan border and airlines are suspending all flights. This could be pretty awful. Despite the fact that both sides seem evenly matched in the Kashmir conflict, the India/Pakistan war could erupt and we could see a limited exchange of nuclear weapons.

The problem for Pakistan is that they lack strategic depth. If a war happens, their plan involves invading India and trying to gain enough territory to force concessions. India knows this and has prepared broad defenses. It hopes to draw Pakistan in, run up against the Indian defenses, then go on the offensive and drive deep into Pakistan itself. That’s when the nukes get involved, if India takes too much territory and threatens the integrity of Pakistan.

Pakistan has a slightly better edge in regular armed forces. Many consider India to be a more corrupt, incompetent force. But they do tend to win all the wars in the long-term with Pakistan.