Harlem (NY) as I knew in mid 1990’s

This is Harlem in NY as I knew it in the mid 1990’s.

Now its so, gentrified.   My friends from upper Harlem (145th Street) are my family in the US.  I am no citizen or Green card holder of the US.  Hopefully, I will get my Social Security that I paid into with 3 H1B  Visa Employment.  I am not holding my breath for another  3 years.

With my wife Chandra Wimalasiri (RIP, 2018; we separated in 2004) in Stony Brook, NY, 1991.  USD 600 for the 1975 Ford LTD  station wagon with 150K miles.  Went to Louisiana, and another time to Florida.

Then got  Chevy Celebrity for free (Prof Akira Akubo thank you) with  160K and crossed the US three times.  Life and reminisces are great



Intellectual Dark Web (a)

This is the second article in the series of the Intellectual Dark Web, and adds the respected, honorable, wise Russell Brand to the echelons of the Intellectual Dark Web. Please soak in the wisdom of this shared teaching and conversation of Acharya Russell Brand and Acharya Jordan Peterson:

This is the their second conversation. Their previous conversation three months ago was equally profound:

Which in turn built upon Russell Brand’s conversation with Sam Harris:

Farhan Quereshi (himself a leader of the Intellectual Dark Web) called this the conversation between the Buddhist Sam Harris and the Hindu Russell Brand. I would suggest that anyone interested in the deeper essences, shared wisdom and subtle nuanced symphony between Sanathana Dharma and stream of Sanathana Dharma called Buddhism watch this conversion. But this article will focus on Jordan Peterson and Russell Brand.

Continue reading “Intellectual Dark Web (a)”


10 Questions on South Asia

(1.) Raazi question: if India had not gotten involved in 1971, would there still be an East Pakistan?

(2.) the Karnataka question: What would a (Indian) Hindu Republic actually look like? Will Rahul G ever be PM?

(3.) the Muslim question: who will inherit the throne from SRK?

(4.) the Ramazan question: is the Indo-Persian culture dying among British Pakistanis (Sadiq Khan wishes everyone a Happy Ramadan)

(5.) the Western question: when/if will K-Jo come out?

(6.) the Academic question: will global philanthropy ever focus IIT/IIM funding?

(7.) the Vidhi question; will there ever be a Pakistani CEO of a Silicon Valley company (Pakistani not Muslim)?

(7b.) Vidhi bonus question; will Pakistanis be allowed to play in IPL? Will Pakistan win the Cricket World Cup again? Will Fawad Khan be allowed to come back to india? Would Pakistan ever get out of POK (she initially slipped Azad Kashmir but then made me change it to POK 🙁

(8.) Fun Z question: will Ranbir choose Alia or Mahira?

(9.) the Deadpool question; why do South Asians allow themselves to be demeaned in Hollywood as cab drivers and nerds. Will there ever be an Indian superhero (a Muslim one is coming; Kamala Khan)?

(10.) final question: who will be the next person to publicly resign from BP?


BJPization of Dalits

My title is of course provocative but I was reading the results in Karnataka that the Dalit vote bank is now firmly backing the BJP.

If the BJP is able to unite the Hindu bloc (and Modi seems the right leader for it) well then it’s really going to become an unstoppable juggernaut (which I believe is a Sanskrit word).

Bollywood of course remains a bastion of liberalism but I am increasingly sympathetic to the Hindutva view as to why India must bear the costs of secularism.

Firstly the idea of celebrating all holidays is simply ridiculous; why does an 80% Hindu country need days off for Eid or Christmas.

Only the BJP have the willpower to smash the caste system to smithereens, which frankly has been the reason why India has been so divided and vulnerable to invasions the past millennia.

There is no doubt that the biggest influencers on the BJP has been the terrifying cohesiveness of the Muslim community (people rant on about caste in South Asian Muslims but nothing can compare to power of creed) and Pakistan.

If the upshot of Hindutva is to abolish the hierarchy of castes then I guess that can only be a good thing I guess? I’m just speculating out here in an idle academic matter since I’m more upset about the depiction of Desis in Deadpool than Elections in the Old a World.


Pressure on Social Media in Pakistan

A recent BBC report discussed how contractors employed by ISPR (Inter-Services Public Relations, the media arm of the Pakistani armed forces) monitor and harass people who are perceived as being disloyal or anti-military. Today I saw an email from a friend who is a very patriotic Pakistani with mainstream (pro-democracy) views, who was just kicked out of an “elite” Whatsapp group because the group admin was under pressure from “sources”. I am excerpting the relevant part of the email here with his identity removed; to me the interesting part is that this is a relatively small group of people, and they are not Left wing activists or ethnic nationalists or starry eyed peaceniks, they are mostly bankers and Westernized members of the elite, deeply committed to Pakistan and the idea of Pakistan.. that someone was looking at them and making specific requests to remove members is a new and rather extreme step in the spread of XiJinping thought in Pakistan..

“Yesterday, this member-moderator along with two others became its victims when we were unceremoniously removed from a so-called “prestigious” WhatsApp group of “who’s who” by its moderator without notice or assigning any reason. Our sin? Arguing against the Miltablishment’s policies in the context of Nawaz Sharif’s interview. One member out of 250 in this WhatsApp group took a principled stand by voluntarily opting out in our support. Some other members I understand are writing in our defense. Surprisingly, those Miltablishment supporters who had initiated the debate on this issue (Nawaz Sharif’s interview) and had used the filthiest and most polarizing of languages against the group’s stated policy were neither touched nor even reprimanded.

The moderator of this WhatsApp group subsequently and reportedly explained to someone that “continuous bashing of military (sic)….was landing the group in trouble” and that “he was under pressure from some quarters” to take action (remove the members) – this could be a reference to outside monitors (intelligence agencies) or inside die-hard supporters of Miltablishment. Either way, the thought-police is out in full force. If a WhatsApp group of 250 is monitored, the power of the Miltablishment is complete and total.

Having come back to the country after X-years, I have been incredibly saddened and depressed at the strident polarization one is a witness to. No one is listening to the other side and temperatures are as high as I clearly remember they were at the time of military action in Bangladesh in 1971, when a brother was pitted against a brother..”

An extract from the BBC report (which is worth reading in its entirety):

By establishing the email address associated with the metadata of the document, Amnesty researchers traced it to an Islamabad-based cyber security expert, Zahid Abbasi.

When confronted by the BBC, Mr Abbasi confirmed he had previously worked for a year for the Pakistani military’s public relations team (ISPR) and that the document was genuine.

He admitted his role included tracing the IP addresses of “people abusing institutions” online and “compromising their accounts” by, for example, sending them fake Facebook login pages.


Intellectual Dark Web

I would define the “intellectual dark web” as the confluence and convergence of leaders from classical European enlightenment, hard sciences, technology (including neuroscience, bio-engineering, genetics, artificial intelligence), and east philosophy streams. Among the intellectual dark web’s many members are Dr. Richard Haier, Jordan Peterson, Jonathan Haidt, Ben Shapiro, Weinstein brothers, Sam Harris, Glenn Loury, John McWhorter, Yuval Noah Harari, Thomas Friedman, Maajid Nawaz, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Michio Kaku , Dr. VS Ramachandran, Steven Pinker, Armin Navabi, Ali Rizvi, Farhan Qureshi, Peter Beinart, Gad Saad, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Dave Rubin, Joe Rogan, Russell Brand.  If Steve Jobs were still alive, I would include him among them. They defy easy labels and are high on openness. I hesitate to label others without their permission, but our very own Razib Khan strikes me as a potential leader of the “intellectual dark web”; although I will withdraw this nomination if he wishes. 😉

Some see the intellectual dark web as the primary global resistance to post modernism. I don’t agree. Rather I see them as ideation and intuition leaders thinking different:

Continue reading “Intellectual Dark Web”


Post Modernism in India

I don’t want to write a post, but your question is a good one, and let me try to express my thoughts about it here. Before that, I am thankful to you (and Zack) for respectfully engaging my bizzare theories: typically Indian liberals refuse to engage fringe ideas like this, and simply brand these views as not worth considering. That you don’t do so says something about your innate goodness and generosity.

Now as to why the BJP does not do anything about what I claim to be discrimination against Hindus. It is a very good question. For instance, why does a party which supposedly only has to pander to Hindus increase minority affairs funding by 62%, or start free coaching for Muslim aspirants of Union Public Services Commission? Why did the BJP Government of the state of Haryana decide to allocate 13 public spaces for Namaz, instead of asking the rich Wakf board to either allocate space itself or pay up for the purpose? Why is it that the central Government’s official textbook make named criticisms of exactly one religion, namely Hinduism (the textbook was introduced by Congress, it is written by heavily anti-BJP people, but why is the Government continuing it)? It looks quite bizzare, when you consider that so few Muslims vote for BJP.

Continue reading “Post Modernism in India”


A must watch

For those who like world/ethnic music + Rock. This is the entire movie, just saw clips 10 years ago. Something for all. WWF (wrestling), Child Birth, Travelogue, ethnic and rock music. My favorite clip is at 00:42, the Bauls.  Whats with the Afro of the Baul singer.  The young Baul kid is Paban Das Baul.  He is quite well known in Europe. (YouTube search here).   Maki Kazumi in the Baul Clip I posted a few days back is still a Baul performing/evangelizing, monar manush. (Dont understand the words except manush which I assume means man).

I think, just intellectualizing by reading books about the world does not cut it.  Travel (wish I could do more) and into the hinterlands.  I have crossed the US three times with a tent, in an old Chevy Celebrity (had 160K miles when a Professor (Akira Akubo) gave it to me.   Montreal/Toronto to Florida and New Orleans at least 3 times. The Bronx before it became gentrified.  Camden/Baltimore.
Plus Myanmar backpacking in 2005 when the county just opened.

Vagabunden Karawane: A musical trip through Iran, Afghanistan and India in 1979 (1 hr 28 mins)


When writing about India is actually just writing about America

The web magazine Slate posted a piece, Friends From India which I had initially thought was a parody. Its subtitle is: “I grew up watching the show in Mumbai. I worry about the damage its gender stereotypes still do there.”

It’s really bizarre. The author is Indian, and supposedly is making a comment about India. But the piece isn’t about India at all, but the worries and concerns of a liberal person in the West. Friends isn’t that important in driving social views in India, and gender relations and attitudes toward homosexuality in India have little to do with Friends. But, today Friends seems retrograde to many American liberals, because of its attitude toward gender relations and gayness, which were mainstream in the 1990s.

So it seems here that to get another piece on Friends and social justice into Slate, they just commissioned a piece that was officially about India, but quite obviously wasn’t.

This gets to a major dynamic in American society today which worries me somewhat: foreign affairs being filtered through purely American concerns and perceptions. Americans care so little about the rest of the world that they turn the rest of the world into the United States in substance, if not exterior styles.

The problem is that we are living through a great transition in the world. America is no longer as much the center, and economic, social, and political, power will rebalance toward Asia. In such a multipolar world pandering to purely American preoccupations will lead to gross misunderstandings and likely catastrophe.