The Year That Was, Here, On This Blog

The formal two-year anniversary of this blog was sometime back in November; as I was traveling then I couldn’t put up a commemorative post; this year-end dispatch will have to do as substitute marker for that occasion. 2013 was a busy year for blogging here, though I blogged on fewer occasions than I did inContinue reading “The Year That Was, Here, On This Blog”

Book Release Announcement: Eagles Over Bangladesh

Some readers of this blog might remember that I write on military aviation history; more specifically, the history of the Indian Air Force (IAF), and especially its role in India’s post-independence wars. Thus, I’m pleased to announce the release of my second book on this subject: Eagles Over Bangladesh: The Indian Air Force in the 1971Continue reading “Book Release Announcement: Eagles Over Bangladesh”

Reading Native Son

Partha Chatterjee describes his experience of first reading Edward Said‘s Orientalism: I will long remember the day I read Orientalism. It must have been in November or December of 1980. In India, this season is classically called Hemanta and assigned a slot between autumn and winter. In Calcutta, where nothing classical remains untarnished, all that thisContinue reading “Reading Native Son”

Babywatch: First Year Observance

New parents are barraged with a series of sage observations on, and homilies about, the parenting experience by those who have been through the grinder. Among them is one that is part warning, part rueful exclamation: ‘enjoy the kids, time flies!’ Well, time has flown. My daughter is one. She was born at 5:55 AMContinue reading “Babywatch: First Year Observance”

A Puzzle about Karmic Doctrine – Contd.

Reader theendlessknot3d writes in with an interesting comment to yesterday’s post on the doctrine of karma as explicated by Daya Krishna: You say that karma is working, in the case of B, to bring retribution for a past action, Y, which B had previously inflicted on another, and that A is therefore potentially free of guilt/responsibilityContinue reading “A Puzzle about Karmic Doctrine – Contd.”

Daya Krishna on the Doctrine of Karma: A Puzzle

During the course of a series of lectures delivered at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study in 2005–in an attempt to explicate what he saw as one of the primary distinctions between the ‘Western’ and the ‘Indian’ conceptions of the relationship of the individual to society–Daya Krishna noted: The idea that one may be responsibleContinue reading “Daya Krishna on the Doctrine of Karma: A Puzzle”

Nationalism and Climate Change

Many contemporary commentators–sages all of them–have noted that the single most important barrier to expeditious action being taken on climate change is nationalism, that the prioritization of national priorities, the elevation of ‘local’ concerns–possibly short-term and limited in impact–over global ones would ensure failures of co-ordination between precisely those entities–nations–whose joint action is required toContinue reading “Nationalism and Climate Change”

The Beating in the Bus

Violence against a ‘lower order’–visible and tangible preferably–is a time-honored technique of social control.  It brings pain and humiliation together in a cruel package and issues a stinging reminder of difference and domination; it has not lost any of its effectiveness over the years. This is a brief note on one such public display ofContinue reading “The Beating in the Bus”

Unmasking our Self-Deception about Self-Improvement

In reviewing the incongruous medley of Dan Brown‘s Inferno and two new translations of Dante‘s classic (by Clive James and Mary Jo Bang), Robert Pogue Harrison writes: Much of the fascination of the Inferno revolves around Dante’s probing of the covert psychic recesses of his characters’ inner will. The sinners’ great soliloquies are self-serving andContinue reading “Unmasking our Self-Deception about Self-Improvement”

Sherry Turkle on the Documented Life

Sherry Turkle articulates, quite gently, a familiar complaint about–among other things–the smartphone-and-selfie obsession: A selfie, like any photograph, interrupts experience to mark the moment. In this, it shares something with all the other ways we break up our day, when we text during class, in meetings, at the theater, at dinners with friends. And yes,Continue reading “Sherry Turkle on the Documented Life”