43 thoughts on “Open Thread – Brown Pundits”

    1. Interestingly for a 2nd gen Desi, Surya’s bio states that “Surya was born in Norristown, Pennsylvania, the child of blue-collar Indian immigrants.”

      Haven’t listened to the podcast yet, but I’m interested to know how his Telugu immigrant parents were blue-collar, sounds a bit far-fetched tbh. I wonder if he has clarified anywhere his family background, how his parents immigrated to the US etc.

  1. Pretty devastating piece from Foreign Policy yesterday, where US officials confirm a Pak-F16 was not shot down by India.

    Between this and the Balakot fiasco, the entire affair has been a huge embarrassment for India, both militarily and politically. India, largely through a series of own-goals, has done what I thought was impossible, and made Pakistan look like the more level-headed and competent of the two.

    1. India derped…fortunately it’s a PR and tactical derp with negligible strategic ramifications, and the voting public apparently doesn’t know or care much about it.

      1. A big reason for the PR snafu for India is because India is a free and open society and there are Indian journos as well as common folk who can and do ask questions from the Indian govt. and Institutions.

        How many Pak journos have questioned their govt on why there was a JeM camp at Balakot when Pakistan says it wants to end terrorism. Also no Pak journo asked the Pak army why they intended to attack India’s military installations when India had specifically only attacked a terrorist training center. Finally noone in Pakistan has done any investigative reporting on the many videos floating around on the internet with people claiming they had witnessed 2 or 3 pilots coming down in parachutes or asked the army and the Pak govt on why they claimed they had 2 pilots in custody after the skirmish.

        1. This is incorrect.

          1.) Virtually all of the critical reporting done on this current conflict has been done internationally (the satellite images, analysis of each side’s claims, collating on-the ground witnesses, etc). None of it has been done by India. Or Pakistan, but Pakistan has come out looking much better because:

          2.) India has been caught in lie after lie, with the result that their media and government now have a pretty awful reputation internationally. The lie about the Balakot strikes (claiming 300 casualties when there wasn’t even 1). Claiming their Mig wasn’t downed and “all pilots were accounted for”, even as Pakistan was parading around their captured pilot on TV. Falsely claiming to have shot down a Pak-F16 (trying to pass off pictures of their downed Mig as an F-16, even creating a non-existent Pak-pilot they claimed was dead). There are tons more, but these are the big ones.

          Its true Pakistan has a very restricted media which makes honest journalism difficult. International spectators knew this going in however. What surprised people was that Indian media would be even worse. Its a bad look when your reporting is shitty not because you are prevented from asking questions (Pak), but because your population is dominated by crazed jingoistic lunatics (India).

          1. No wish to engage with you dude. You are a weird combination of stupid and mendacious as has been shown many times.
            My comment above was a reply to H. M. Brough.
            Have a good day.

      1. ‘Yes this was a huge loss for India..’

        With respect, I beg to differ.
        India showed intent to counter attack and hit targets. The Pak army immediately quarantined the area and didn’t allow journalists for many days, in which time the facility can be patched up to make it appear as if damage was minimal. But satellite footage does show damage to the roof in line with the type of missiles used.
        The missing Pak pilot was most likely shot down dead or lynched, and it’s obvious that his loss won’t be recognised. After all this is a country that for years denied sending troops to Kargil and taking their bodies back.
        Diplomatically the clear winner has been India – Masood Azhar has been recognised as a terrorist across the board, and Pakistan and China have been isolated yet again as state sponsors and abettors of terror. Even other Muslim countries don’t buy Pakistan’s spiel anymore, which was clear after India was invited to the OIC and Pakistan snubbed.

        Both leaders did play the situation to their advantage for their home constituencies, and that’s probably the most significant of all..

          1. I wasn’t actually – I think India mismanaged it.

            India-Pak is a bit like US-Vietnam. When a giant engages a gnat or David-Goliath; the smaller party has everything to gain and nothing to lose..

          2. Xerxes, who is South Vietnam, Cambodia and Loas in your comparison?

            We need deep dive high resolution discussions of subjects or not have them at all I think.

            The long term objective of Indian policy should be:
            —Islamic reform (free art, free speech, dialogue between muslims, ending Islamic civil war)
            —Pakistanis reforming, transforming and improving themselves
            —Surging Pakistani capacity so that Pakistan does not fall apart

            In 1990s and 2000s India’s biggest fear was that Pakistan might fall apart, allowing Jihadis access to Pakistani WMD.

            This remains the biggest Indian fear.

          3. Xerxie, did I say already that Goliath was a Philistine (i.e. Pelasgian Serb)? There is a mountain in Serbia with the same name. The meaning is – a rugged mountain landscape without trees (i.e. goli=naked). Palestinians got their name from Philistines.

          4. India is not in a position to influence Pakistani “reform”. There is too much distrust in the relationship. Any “reform” will only happen if Pakistanis themselves wish it to happen.

            Don’t worry about Pakistan falling apart. The Pakistani Army is quite capable of insuring the territorial integrity of the country. The nuclear weapons are also not going to fall into Jihadi hands. There is a whole command and control structure for them.

            India should focus on its own citizens and let Pakistanis take care of ourselves.

        1. “Satellite imagery shows a hole in the roof consistent with missile strike”.

          This is false, and a perfect example of the type of nonsense circulating in the Indian-sphere that isn’t accepted by anybody else. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019_Balakot_airstrike#Satellite_data_assessments

          “The missing Pak pilot”

          There is no evidence of a missing Pak pilot. The State Department audit showed no Pak F-16’s are missing. Pakistan posted pictures showing all of Abhinandan’s Mig-missiles are intact, meaning while he may have “locked on” to a Pak-jet as claimed by India, he never got a chance to fire before being brought down.

          Also, regarding the Hindustan Time article, its not being taken seriously internationally, and is being read as more of a “no comment” from the Defense Department. The State Department already officially stated they were auditing Pak’s F-16 jets (about a week ago), and the Foreign Policy reporter who broke the story about all the F-16’s being accounted for is highly respected in Washington, having quoted a number of her government sources before and never receiving push-back. Its then silly for the Hindustan Times to claim the spokesman they talked to denied any audit having taken place at all, when even later on in the article the spokesman said they don’t comment on such matters (i.e. “no comment”). That is in no way a denial of the Foreign Policy story.

          1. Just curious, why so much obsession with a single dog fight in the sky which probably lasted less than 15 minutes, and could have gone either way. It is not like the battle of Britain which went on for months and decisively proved the superiority of British airforce over German Luftwaffe. I will not draw any conclusions over a 15 mins skirmish in the air.

          2. 1.) Its important, and if it had gone the other way, the entire dynamic between India/Pakistan may have shifted. The topic is being heavily discussed in geopolitical and strategic circles.

            2.) The way the topic has been covered in India is illustrative of the psychosis that has enveloped the country. This has long been known by those familiar with South-Asia, but recent events have attracted a host of international analysts who have been stunned at the rabid jingoism they’ve found.

          3. https://medium.com/@sameerjoshi73/the-slip-between-the-cup-and-the-lip-9052f1bd7171

            This extensive analysis answers all your questions.

            The PAF spokesperson clearly mentioned in his press conference that there were 2 pilots – One was arrested and the other one admitted at a military hospital. He later informed that the injured pilot had died. Some time later he changed his story to there being just one pilot who had been arrested.

            I don’t know what you’re on about wrt to the Mig missiles.


            The exhibit on the extreme right is clearly the remnant of a fired R-73 missile. As explained in the article, the way the warhead explodes in this missile would leave the seeker intact as you see in the picture.

  2. happy ugaadi! Telugu, Kannada and Marathi peoples celebrate this festival. We make a special dish to celebrate life, it’s ingredients are.

    The Six Tastes of Ugadi Pachadi
    Sadness – Neem Buds/Flowers for its bitterness.
    Happiness – Jaggery and ripe banana pieces for sweetness.
    Anger – Green Chilli/Pepper for its hot taste.
    Fear – Salt for saltiness.
    Disgust – Tamarind Juice for its sourness.
    Surprise – Unripened Mango for its tang.

  3. Have seen more cannabinoid-induced hyperemesis (prodigious vomiting) in this year of residency than I ever expected to in medical school. Another sign of the degeneracy of our times, I guess…how can people be so obsessed with marijuana lol.

  4. i’ve posted two podcasts to the patron page,

    1) conversation with surya y. about american politics, india, and sepia mutiny
    2) conversation with zach about why he’s an islamophobe

    tomorrow i’m posting the omar discussion about obesity and the one with zaid jilani.

  5. Commonalities between the abrahamics (and organized sects in the east) and the Communists:
    1) Whenever opposed, abrahamics (organized religions) will call you names like infidel, non-believer etc and condemn you to hell without any reasoning. They don’t bother using violence too!!

    2) Whenever opposed, communists will call you names like racist, casteist, some kind of phobe etc. They don’t bother using violence! Communism is the opium of masses (lower middle class, poor). Communists always support state sponsored censorship and socialism.

    I think socialism should be a personal thing rather than being forced up on. If more and more people become “personal socialists” that is when I think a society has achieved some kind of maturity on its own.

    –Just my thoughts regarding “universal basic income” and other socialists that are making headlines now a days.

    1. Ruthviks, other than post modernists, marxists and Abrahamics what other groups behave this way?

      With respect to UBI:

      What are your thoughts about globalization + deregulation + simplification of regulations + simplifying tax code (which lowers the marginal rate of taxation) + [government partnering with private religious and charitable organizations to help poor and lower middle class] + funding investments with large global external ROIs + UBI? Obviously most needs based welfare and social services would be banned under this system.

      1. what other groups behave this way?
        – any organized groups with an idea (unproven or proven to be wrong) that think they are better than others.

        What are your thoughts about globalization + deregulation + simplification of regulations + simplifying tax code (which lowers the marginal rate of taxation) + [government partnering with private religious and charitable organizations to help poor and lower middle class] + funding investments with large global external ROIs + UBI?

        -UBI in Indian perspective is bad idea according to me. With such higher fraction of youth, India should be spending more money on the development of entrepreneurship and other factors that will result in conscious efforts by masses to uplift themselves. I am all for globalization and its influences, it should be up to individuals to decide what aspects of globalized world will they adopt. There should be deregulation and simplification of tax codes which will help the businesses flourish thereby making the UBI unnecessary in Indian context. En masse welfare programmes are no good but, I do support welfare case by case. Having said that, I do support right to education (up to 14 years) and right to healthcare and it should be state’s responsibility to provide them, which makes UBI unnecessary.

    2. It is too simplified and incorrect statement. You are watching Islam and generalize this to Christianity, too. Catholics are very rigid, they had Inquisition and Crusaders, they interfere in private lives and government matters, operate as corporation and state within a state, but they are still very different and more civilized than Islam. Anglican and protestants are simply pathetic. Orthodoxes try to follow original Christianity tenets and 10 commandments (which catholics never tried), they look like old and benevolent grandpa in family, whose age and historic sacrifices all respect but no one listen him what to do. They have influence like Red Cross. Communism, except in N.Korea, is not in a position to do anything of mentioned.

        1. You have got a big hearth from Kabir!……..Triple wow, wow, wow!!!!

          Both Catholics and Muslims conducted horrible genocides against Serbs, I have no sympathy at all toward any of them. However, let’s compare some strong Catholic countries with some Muslim countries. I nominate Italy, Spain, Poland, Ireland (alternatively, Austria, Hungary, Czech, Portugal, Switzerland). Can you nominate some Muslim countries and we can compare the levels of civilisations?

  6. I happened to go through Slapstik’s twitter feed today and he retweeted the following tweet about a very involved and complicated year-long case happening at IIT Kanpur dealing with caste-based discrimination, plagiarism, office politics, etc. etc.


    In addition to the two articles linked to in the above tweet that present things in such radically opposite ways, there is this article in the same magazine written by Prof. Manindra Agrawal (yes the AKS-primality-test-fame guy).


    It is all so extraordinarily intriguing for me because all of the people involved – the upper-caste professors accused of caste-based discrimination, the SC category professor Dr. Subrahmanyam Saderla who is facing plagiarism charges – seem sufficiently, if not well-more-than-sufficiently, competent as teachers and researchers in aerospace engineering and mechanical engineering. I really can’t fathom how it all could have begun to go wrong.

    1. This should also be read along with Subramanian Swami’s tweet


      He calls IIT professors “perverts”. I kinda agree.. 😉

      In general IIT faculty sucks. Most of them suffer from inferiority complex. I have found them hugely jealous of their own students.

      There was a professor in IIT Bombay Aero department (let’s grant him some anonymity), who was notorious for failing his students on flimsiest of grounds, just because his own son was some sort of idiot who failed to get into IIT. Some others were borderline psychopaths.

      No wonder state of academia in India is so pathetic.

      1. Haha! But isn’t Subramanian Swamy kinda weird too? From what I know of him, the guy is so extraordinarily ruthless in everything he does.

        I personally do not seem to have faced a lot of this type of thing myself at college but maybe that’s because I was quite mediocre and did not attract anybody’s attention much. But many of my professors were of an extremely caring and helpful nature (both the low-research-output and high-research-output ones). One amusing situation I faced was with a naive/ignorant Bengali professor (who also had some personal troubles apparently) who threw racial slurs used in old Mumbai against south Indians on me once lol! The major issues I faced were with my Electrical Machines professor who simply would not teach anything well at all. Ended up ruining my machines for me and I had already been not very good at the subject because of my low IQ, significant neuroticism and laziness. Another professor was an extremely experienced professor who apparently had been quite senile and apparently had been very strict and had harassed students in labs quite a bit. I did not come to witness that very much because he passed away just after the first lab class we had (in that first class, he indeed proved that he was like that; he had asked us to write a small program and after the given time asked whom else but me if I could reproduce it on board or something like that. I was kinda confident that time and replied yes, which he miraculously did not pursue further. After a good while later I realised that my conception of that problem and thus the program I had written that day were actually a bit wrong lol.).

  7. Mike Pompeo threatened Egypt with sanctions if they buy Russian 4+ Su-35 Russian combat aircraft. Moscow media reported last month that Cairo with Moscow signed a contract to buy twenty Su35 for $ 2 billion. This is a replay of Washington’s pressure on Turkey not to buy Russian rocket Zenith systems S-400.

    Under similar pressure is India, but they have just announced that they would buy another 400 tanks T-90s from Moscow.

  8. Milan, India is too big to be significantly influenced by US pressure.

    India manufactures a modified T 90 Bhishma variant. From India’s perspective the questions are:
    ——if India is receiving sufficient T 90 technology transfers from Russia as part of the deal
    ——total life cycle cost of T 90 Bhishma tank relative to military capacity provided

  9. “A movement of millennials in Pakistan is dubbed the Pashtun Spring”


    “The situation has largely been ignored by the heavily television-dependent media industry in the country. When coverage does occur, it is often negative, accusing PTM supporters of standing in opposition to Pakistan or working for a foreign agenda – an allegation often made in the country against those voicing dissenting opinions. In February 2019, a New York Times op-ed written by Manzoor Pashteen was censored by the newspaper’s domestic publishing partners, who chose to run blank space instead, headlined “The military says Pashtuns are traitors. We just want our rights.”

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Brown Pundits