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Showing posts from February, 2009

Political Crisis in Middle East

This is the last post in this 3-post series ; read the previous one . Sidenote: I argued in the previous post how urban slums arose as a result of "cultural pollution" by the imperial powers who attempted reengineering the socio-demographics of Indian cities and villages. I must clarify that I do not blame the continuance of these slums on imperialism - I am merely trying to identify the root causes in an attempt to better understand these phenomena and hence lead a way towards solving them.  Presented next is another example of how cultural pollution has created a problem for the modern world. Most political systems in the world which developed without any interference from outside developed through a natural cycle of tribal / feudal set ups to monarchial / semi-monarchial setups to parliamentary or councilor (community based) democratic systems. This is true of ancient democracies as well as modern. After the end of imperialism / colonialism, most of the world underwent d

Urban Slums in Developing World

... continued from here . Taking India as the case in point - how did slums in Indian cities come about?  When the British marched into India they were unaware to the way villages functioned in India. This was because by the 18th century Industrialization had kicked in Britain and the city was the center of development - unlike India where villages played a big role in polity and economy - especially due to a strong self regulation and governance system.  In Britian due to the fast industrializing society, the city was where the seat of the kingdom lay and which controlled governing structures. In contrast, cities in India were mere 'centres of trade' meant to facilitate trade between the several villages which surrounded it. In absence of this understanding – the British  assumed  (mistakenly) that India lacked cities and so it lacked development. So what did they do – they killed the village’s internal economy by forcing cash crops like Indigo and Cotton which were compl

Why does Star Trek makes sense to the 'real world'??

There is an episode in Star Treck [The Next Generation, Season 3, Episode Number 52 ] where a team of Federation sociologists are accidentally exposed to a primitive race (Mintakans). When an injured and unconscious Mintakan is taken aboard the Enterprise (star ship) for medical attention and is healed by the advanced medical methods on the starship. While coming to consciouness he catches a glimpse of Captain Picard, and so on his return to his people (as he narrates his story) Mintakans begin to perceive Captain Picard as a God. The episode makes a fascinating commentary on primitive sociology and acquired monotheism. But the more interesting part is Captain Picard's take on "Cultural Pollution". According to star trek’s lingo – cultural pollution refers to the effect a more developed society can have on a lesser developed one by not allowing the natural course of cultural evolution and exposing the lesser developed species to ‘development’ and ‘innovation’ out of thei

The problem with Slumdog

This is not a review - I haven't seen the movie yet and probably won't ever. But given the brouhaha in the media about the movie, I know enough about the plot and the 'artistic appeal' of the movie, to write a blog post on it - or so I think :-P.  I am not one of those nationalists who feel offended because it shows slums, niether am I against realism. About the much touted scene where the protagonist, Jamal "jumps into a pile of shit just so he can run and get an autograph of his beloved Amitabhji" [ link ], I agree with MF Hussain (quoted from HT Cafe) when he says that it depicts our lives metaphorically that while our lives are draped in shit, we escape from reality through movies (ala entertainment, ala glamour). And reality must be shown - I regard Black Friday as one of the best movies ever seen. And why should we shy away form the fact that India has slums - well I would rather say proudly that we are ready to march ahead inspite of slums and in d