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The Perils of a Technobahn Approach to Solving Air Pollution

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This technobahn is a failure (picture credit: Indian Express) What is technobahn? Bahn essentially refers to a physical track or a train in German and its sister languages. Technobahn would in literal sense mean a techno track. It is important to define this phrase because it is perhaps the best way to describe the haphazard manner in which air pollution is tackled in India at all levels.  Now, it would be easy for any reader to see this introduction and dismiss the rest of the piece, calling it a kind of hit job on those who want to solve the issue. At the outset, let me clarify that this is not about science and technology per se; rather, this is about a mindset that has come to dominate the way we deal with air pollution on a daily basis. Technobahn is a concept that I have come across in recent times, and essentially refers to the single track approach of thinking that technology can solve every problem that plagues mankind today. While technology does offer us great solutions, the

Thoughts on India's Caste Disapproval Obsession

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An old Mexican painting about 16 castas (Wikipedia) Recently, I came across perhaps the nth thread on the issue of caste and its European origins. While I cannot disregard the seriousness and merit of the arguments often put forth, it's something that I feel rather jaded about. Allow me to elaborate on some points that would perhaps clarify my position on the same. First of all, this is a rather complicated issue because in all honesty the jati ossification can be traced back genetically. A lot of genetic studies have been done that came to this conclusion, dating it to 2,000 - 2,500 years ago. While it has its fair share of criticism DNA results can't be just wished away. Therefore to ignore this would be naiive at best. European caste system certainly is a reality, and that same understanding was perpetuated to understand India. It was not an Iberian peninsula phenomenon; rather, it was widespread across Europe. A good indicator of the same would be the long standing presence

Good Weaponization vs Bad Weaponization - the Deceit of India's Intelligentsia

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  The Kashi Nandi, Staring Towards Gyanvapi  It is with irony that I note the manner in which the ongoings in Kashi are seen as some sort of weaponization . The thing that I find extremely depressing about Pratap Bhanu Mehta’s weaponization of academia to target a manifestation of the expression of faith repeatedly tells me more about the intellectual dishonesty that has been perpetuated by his comity for the last seven decades. If reclaiming temple sites is weaponization, how is it that temple demolition by the Islamic invaders in the name of jihad gets the term 'recontextualization' ? I don’t even need to take Mr. Mehta to Kashi – this is the case given for the formation of Quwat-ul-Islam mosque, which was built by ‘reusing’ rubble from destroyed Jain temples alongside Hindu ones in Delhi. The answer evades us to this day, except when one sees the blunt truth behind it. Over the past seven decades, there has been a rather blitheful effort bordering dishonesty to justify act

Chronicling the Loss of Civilization

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Katas Raj Temple Complex in Pakistan. There is None to Worship at This Pilgrim Site Today In 1923, a controversial book containing blasphemous content caused much chaos, and created much communal tension. What got forgotten in the process was an incident of 1924 which happened in a remote part of today’s North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan known as Kohat. Triggered by the inflamed passions, the overwhelmingly Muslim cantonment town witnessed an ethnic cleansing of its entire Hindu and Sikh population, barely constituting 3,500 . The non-Muslims were forced to flee to town, leaving their homes for good, just to save their lives, never to return. Even the local police, overwhelmingly Muslim, decided to stand by and watch. This was neither the first of its kind incident. Nor would it be the last across the Indian subcontinent. Recently, former Presidential candidate and American Congresswoman from Hawaii Tulsi Gabbard talked about a resolution highlighting the 1971 massacre and the

The Adi Dharam Movement of Punjab - Exploiting Caste Faultlines

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Wikipedia Photo of a Ravidassia Procession in Italy Of late, a campaign has been going on, somewhat unnoticed , by two factions of a single community — the Ravidassias — in the Doaba region. These groups have been urging the Centre government to provide them recognition as a separate religion, distinct from both Hindu and Sikh faiths. Both factions want a separate religion column for themselves and also a unique code for their respective sects. One sect that is making these demand includes two groups — the All India Adi-Dharam Mission led by Sant Satwinder Heera as well as All Indian Adi-Dharam Sadhu Samaj led by Sant Nirmal Das, and the Dera Sach Khand, Ballan in Jalandhar, Punjab. The Ravidassia movement, primarily based out of Jalandhar, is also incidentally home to the largest Dalit population within Punjab. The controversy, for those who follow Punjab's socio-political fabric, isn't new. The demand for a separate religion status for Ravidass followers first came up in 2010

What Vinay Sitapati Has Missed Out –The BJP-RSS’ View of India As seen in Fictional Writings by Deendayal Upadhyaya

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  There has been a lot of discussion about Vinay Sitapati’s book on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the pre-Modi era, especially the Jugalbandi of Atal Behari Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani. From the excerpts available online , one is wont to feel intrigued by the manner in which there has been a fresh take on the party and its activities, unlike the lazy trope of communalism, Hindu nationalism, cultural fascism that gets thrown around rather casually. The problems with these narratives, and where Sitapati differs distinctly from the face of it is the fact that there is an attempt to look at the moorings of the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) from their paradigm, giving space for a change for an emic viewpoint. Moreover, he has been prescient in pointing out, in not so many words, that the BJP and RSS can’t be called right-wing in the traditional European sense; rather, they would qualify better with a term ‘non-left’ for a variety of reasons. However, the excerpt