86 thoughts on “Open Thread”

  1. I matched into a T20 program yesterday for medicine, ecstatic. I have increased my brown points, as I go further down the stereotypical rabbit hole. Sadly, soon I will have less time to be a young pundit here. But while I am waiting to start and social distancing, I will make up for it ;).

    May the Skymother smile upon me
    May the Jungle father give me strength
    May the autosomal gender ambiguous River God bless me
    Jai Shree Ameen

    People continue to ignorant in S Asia. Foolish Hindus are selling and consuming cow urine and dung as prophylactic measure for Corona, especially some of the UP political leadership. Shaheen Bagh women are saying they won’t disperse because Corona is a fake threat made up by Modi to stop the protest.

    1. Corona is a fake threat made up by Modi to stop the protest.

      Modi, is there anything he can’t do?

    2. Awesome! Congratulations dear!
      Which speciality are you going into?
      I hope you would continue writing here.
      Again, many congratulations and best wishes for your future.

      1. originally was going to do rad onc but job market got even worse because of oversupply issues secondary to unchecked residency expansion over the past two decades. So I double applied foreseeing that I may be weary of committing to a field in structural economic distress, with low likelihood of the leadership voluntarily reducing spots, insofar as they are financially incentivized by hospitals to continue expansion. Additionally, the speciality has no “fuck the system, I’m doing my own thing option” anymore; it is a minimum 7 million capital investment to even start a low tech practice.

        Ended ranking all of my IM programs higher. I know I will do a fellowship, but I’m not sure in what. If I want to be more procedural, then either GI or cards (difference maker between those will be whether I want to tolerate a worse life style with interventional cards [final goal with cards] vs. advanced endoscopy [final goal with GI]). If I want to be more non-procedural, then heme-onc (probably solid tumor or benign heme down the line). I’m more setup for the latter option given my pubs, posters, and orals are onc related because initially I was gunning to do rad onc.

        1. @thewarlock
          Many startups in India ( http://qure.ai/ ) are going after radiology. Who knows if in the near future someone motivated like google ( deepmind or openai ?) is going to take all their jobs with AI. It seems you made a good decision staying clear of radiology.

          My brother in law is a GI physician, just came out of training in India (Madras). He said that the field is overflowing with money (in India perhaps second only to Orthopaedics) while cardiology is somewhat saturated. But either ways it is ,as we say in hindi, “chaaron ungliyan ghee mein”(all fingers in ghee) for you with all the procedure$ in both these fields.

          One of my good friends is doing PhD in oncology in U Cincinnati med school. We used to joke that this is a field with guaranteed job safety (i.e. no possibility of ever finding a final cure for cancer and hence endless publications, posters and funding). Jokes aside, you are set for the good life, good for you!

      1. top 20. It’s technically t15, but I didn’t want to sound like a tool at first. But now I am sure I do.

        for perspective I did an accelerated 7 year program out of high school. Went to a mid tier school (so no boost or negative points for that). Honored all my clerkships. And was about 1SD above the mean on both of my licensing exams. I’m just happy I jumped tiers for residency.

        1. I have a lot of friends in medical school (I was on track to go but bailed last minute), so I wanted to ask you a question because I’ve heard different things.

          Do higher tier residencies matter? Do they pay more, or lead to better jobs down the line? I know some folks saying it doesn’t matter at all, some say it matters a lot, and some say it depends on what you want to do. What was your thinking?

          1. It does make a difference. But one can still overcome coming from a lower tier program with lots and lots of research. It is usually highly motivated IMG work horses that manage to do this.

            But more commonly, competitive specialties like GI, Cards, and Heme-Onc are way easier to get into from top tier IM programs. It isn’t even a question, when looking at match lists. One can argue there is confounding because better students tend to go to better programs but the results seem even disproportionate within that context as well.

            Fellowships care about three things: licensing exam scores (both of the major ones you take in med school itself and not even residency), residency program prestige, and research. Only the last factor one can change in residency. And that is really tough to do when you are working 80 hours a week.
            On top of that, for the most part, top tier programs have less scut work and more support staff (more PAs, NPs, social workers, etc. to handle lower priority clinical and straight up non-clinical type work, so residents can focus on educationally productive clinical work more).

            Furthermore, research is way easier to get. You are in a major academic center, when you are in a to program. Mentors are easier to come by, and it is easier to get your name on big name projects to beef up your application. Finally, programs that are top tier tend to be more supportive of research, getting an MBA, doing an away rotation somewhere else, even internationally, etc. because they don’t need your indenture servitude to keep the hospital running, given their greater resource pool. Also, you get more money to go to conferences etc.

            Also, if you want to superspecialize later aka advanced endoscopy after GI or interventional/electrophysio/advanced imaging/transplant after cardiology fellowships, it is way easier to do from a top tier fellowship. And a top tier fellowship is way easier to get out of a top tier residency.

            If you want to leave medicine and jump ship to say consulting, branding of your big name program can definitely help. But that’s a minor point. For academia, prestige matters a lot in medicine. So for people how want to be academics it makes a difference for sure.

            If you want to just practice clinical medicine in the community and you can manage to get the license you want (you go the residency-fellowship path you desire), in the long run, it won’t make a difference. But that path is certainly easier from a higher tier program.

            There is a reason people study so hard for med school licensing exams, shelf exams, and clinical rotations. The market for those prep resources matter. Because those results are actually divulged on a percentile basis, so every point you can get is an advantage, granted it is diminishing after a point.
            When it comes to residency, you don’t take a single exam for which the percentile matters. It is essentially all P/F.

            Yes, some IMG doctors, even desis I personally know, made it quite far without branding. But most actually got branding eventually by busting their butt to jump tiers. I had to outscore people at higher tier med schools myself to get a high tier residency from a mid tier med school.

            Also, what is nice about residency is that cost is no longer this huge barrier. For undergrad, it was for me. I didn’t go to a T20 undergrad because the 18k in aid they gave still put the sticker price at 50k, and my parents flat out refused. So I did an accelerated 7 year BS/MD program like many of the browns do. I went to a mid tier state undergrad for free and my mid tier (barely) state med school.

            In undergrad, I ended up becoming pretty active on the American parliamentary debate circuit. So I satiated my desire for ultra nerd convo with competitors from a lot of top schools and like minded people from even the non-top schools.

  2. All passenger trains to be cancelled in India on 22/3. This Janta-band is now a full dress rehearsal for national shutdown as anyone, who realizes the enormous importance of Indian Railway in the lives of Indian citizens, would agree.
    I cannot cite published evidence for the following but I have been receiving multiple accounts of (racist?) misbehavior against Africans and Caucasian travellers in India. Heard from friends in Mathura, Agra and Jaipur of foreigners being mistreated for no reason. A whole bus in Lucknow emptied because an African came on board. Another story about ruckus against a bunch of hare-krishna (gora) guys in train.
    Although not the most important thing right now but I hope some civility will prevail.

    1. Just got back from Vietnam, currently in self-quarantine.

      Heard many reports from other foreigners about racism. And many airbnbs (including mine) and hotels stopped renting apartments to foreigners etc.

      Many people are scared, and some blame foreigners for spreading the virus. Though many are more rational etc.

      Meanwhile people in my family were worried about me being in Asia (i.e. a China adjacent country), despite Vietnam having relatively few cases, and very strict measures early on. (eg. schools have been closes since Tet / lunar new year in mid-february).

      The disease was all but wiped out in the country by early March before being reintroduced from the UK.

      1. I’m surprised you were travelling so recently. Did your company force you to? If so, it was very irresponsible of them.

        Mine (an American MNC) pretty much cancelled all travel and all kinds of meetups (like conferences) for the foreseeable future by the first week of March. We’ve had daily COVID advisories since then, and were ordered to work from home starting about 10 days ago.

      2. Many people are scared, and some blame foreigners for spreading the virus.

        Well, some people coming to India from abroad recently ARE the ones responsible for spreading the virus. This is the case in every country in the world other than China.

        But it’s stupid to blame foreigners. It’s as likely for Indians returning from foreign trips (like you) to be vectors as foreigners. There’s this singer, Kanika Kapoor, visiting from London recently (itself a very stupid thing to do), who immediately goes to a party after landing in the country rather than self-quarantining, and then finding out that she’s carrying the virus. Voila: community spread!

        1. The quarantine is something that authoritarian countries can implement a lot better. In Vietnam there is a 14 day mandatory quarantine for all new arrivals in a military run camp.

          A tier down an American friend in Taiwan reported they recently implemented a 14 day quarantine where they assign people to randomly check in on you and impose heavy fines.

          Meanwhile all I got was a pamphlet, and one young customs / immigration officer, wearing a N95 mask incorrectly, asking for partying recommendations in Thailand.

          Btw you are making some incorrect assumptions:

          1. I have been travelling since October, Asia since mid November prior to Coronavirus being on most people’s radar.

          2. I am not a citizen of India and haven’t been to India in a couple of years.

          3. I booked an emergency ticket home in response to the government global travel advisory last week in anticipation of flight cancellations. Abandoning my airbnb which I had booked till the end of the month etc.

          1. Also I should clarify white people are facing the most corona related racism in Vietnam. (which is fairly minor tbh, like less than what I have heard East Asians facing in the USA in news reports)

            Even so felt I got more of a pass because I am brown and India isn’t as associated with corona virus cases ( the reintroduction was from Europe).

          2. Btw you are making some incorrect assumptions

            Sorry, and thanks for the clarifications.

            I’m seeing people where I live (Bangalore) seemingly taking things easy (while I’ve isolated myself), so that’s putting me on edge.

            Even today, when there’s supposed to be a nationwide curfew, I’m seeing a steady stream of traffic (cars and bikes) in the road outside my apartment complex. I’m just having a hard time getting into the minds of such people. Are they clueless? Or just utterly selfish?

  3. Dr. Samia Altaf writes on Pakistan’s response to the coronavirus:


    Coronavirus is far too serious to be turned into an India vs. Pakistan thing. However, I think that the number of cases in India is artificially low since the government is just not testing people. There was a statistic that India is testing 9 people out of every million. We have no way of knowing how many people might be infected but are simply un-diagnosed.

    1. I agree with you about the lack of testing in India, as do most people I’ve talked to in recent times. But what explains the very low fatality rates? Surely if India were a hotbed of COVID-19, we’d be seeing a large number of deaths being reported by healthcare providers all around the country? This is not the kind of thing that can be kept under wraps in India (unlike in China).

  4. As is par for the course in BP, a Pakistani accuses India of testing too few people and an Indian “liberal” agrees, all echoing the numerous western and Indian media reports that India’s numbers are only low because of low testing.
    However, while this is not technically wrong, if I understand this report – https://www.nih.org.pk/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19-Daily-Updated-SitRep-22-Mar-2020.pdf – correctly, Pakistan has tested 5225 people in all so far, of whom 750 have tested positive. In contrast, India has completed 15000 tests of which as of now a bit less than 400 are positive.
    This is how mood affiliation works – you decide that India is lower status, so you reserve for it the kind of criticism and contempt your favored demographics are exempt from.
    P.S.: I don’t mean to insult Pakistan for the low number of tests; luck plays a lot of role and we all try as much as we can, but this rigid protocol that for the same issue one group of people deserve contempt and the other is to be left alone, is really irritating. Institutionalized systemic outcasting is very unhealthy.

    1. Stop with the persecution complex.

      India is being scrutinized for two reasons. First, because there was a deluge of articles initially claiming India had virtually no cases, and there was all sorts of nonsense hypothesizing why (culture that avoids meat, Modi being awesome, weather, etc). Now that people are rightfully pointing out its because they just weren’t testing anyone (and are also early in their disease timeline), it doesn’t mean they have it out for India.

      The second reason isn’t because India is “lower status”, its the exact opposite. India is considered a more developed and capable country than Pakistan, and so is expected to have a better handle on this. If Pakistan wakes up tomorrow without having blown itself up or starved to death, that’s considered a victory (because its regarded so poorly and thus has lower standards).

      1. @INDTHINGS

        “Stop with the persecution complex.”

        That’s rich. Aren’t Ms the undisputed champions of the Oppression Olympics?

    2. No one is “accusing” India of anything or showing “contempt”. I hope that coronavirus is controlled there. Razib had (flippantly) written that Pakistanis can brag about how we “surpass India in covid infections”. I was simply pointing out that without widespread testing, it is impossible to know how many people may actually be infected. Countries like South Korea are very aggressively testing people, while others seem to be hardly testing at all.

      It would be nice if you would look beyond people’s national origin without immediately leaping to taking offense. Pandemics are too serious for India-Pakistan point scoring.

  5. I don’t understand all this “why aren’t Indians dying?” narrative.
    Nobody looked at baseline number of deaths between countries and population age distributions, why so much interest in number of cases. It makes no sense to compare apples to oranges.
    VSL isn’t the same between countries to expect the same personal investment costs in health care. I don’t understand all this icu beds and ventilator data games either.
    I am not sure if a typical middle class grandma in her 70s would be admitted to icu for fever and shortness of breath, instead of being taken back to native village and send messages to all relatives. (Frankly, I am not sure if there are that many older than 65 Indians without comorbidites of diabetes and high BP)

    I am also not sure if Spanish flu and covid should be comparable given the recovery rate of young people.

  6. ” However, I think that the number of cases in India is artificially low since the government is just not testing people.”

    LOL, as if something like fudged numbers have never ever been heard in Pakistan. Both the countries fudge numbers all the time. Perhaps India hasn’t reached the critical mass and next couple of weeks and month will be crucial. But i mean if people start dropping dead like they in Italy no amount of fudging numbers will bail Indian Govt out, notwithstanding their lower test record.

    Unlike the western countries India (and wider region ) has the advantage of imposing Chinese-esque restriction on movement,gathering and travel. In my view there are 2 possibilities, that either India imposed this restrictions perhaps at the right time (which countries like Italy and Iran missed) or in the next few weeks we have a real outbreak on our hands.

    1. No one here is praising Pakistan’s response to the virus. It’s basically IK saying “don’t worry”. If you read the article I linked above, you would see that.

      I think in a lot of mild cases, you wouldn’t even necessarily be that sick, but you would still be infected. So people “dropping dead” is not the only indication of the extent of infection.

      1. Come on the English adage “dont worry” doesn’t do justice to Imran Khan’s signature catchphrase 😛

  7. Dont think any country can play bluff with corona for too long. The chicken will come home to roost in matter of weeks.

  8. The whole world should follow Sanatan-Dharma to prevent and stop the spread of Coronavirus and other diseases.

    No Hand Shaking – In Sanatan-Dharma the greeting is by folding hands, bowing down, and saying Namaste or Jai Shree Krishna. There is no touching.

    No burying of dead bodies – In Sanatan-Dharma, the dead bodies are burned to ashes. There is no trace of germs. When bodies are buried, the diseases in them get transferred to worms who feed on the body. The worms surface the earth and get eaten by bats and other birds who then get eaten by humans who become infected with the diseases and spread to other humans.

    No Meat – Sanatan-Dharma preaches no meat eating, only vegetarian diet. The coronovirus originates from eating animals. 

    No toilet paper – Hindus use water to clean, paper does not remove germs. Do you clean dishes with paper or water? Do you take shower with paper or water? Water cleans, paper does not, and not using paper also saves trees.

    No sitting on table – Hindus sit on the floor to eat. This aids digestion and lubricates the body. Many health problems are caused due to digestion issues. Sitting on the floor also helps to lower personal ego.

    Cook naturally and eat fresh – Many Hindus still cook on natural fire and eat fresh. Natural wood fire is best, then gas fire, then electric and worst is microwaves. Cooked food should be eaten within 3 hours.

    No plastic or Glass – Hindus cook and eat on metal pots, pans, and plates. Metal is easy to clean properly. 

    Upright bowl movement – Hindus sit upright to pass, this makes it easy for the body to eject with gravity helping and there is no touching.

    No shoes in the home – Hindus remove shoes before entering homes. This keeps the home clean from outside germs.

    The whole world should follow Sanatan-Dharma to prevent and stop the spread of Coronavirus and other diseases.

    1. I agree with most of the things that you said above. However, other religions like Islam also impose many such rules that will prevent the spreading of the germs. “The whole world should follow Sanatan-Dharma to prevent and stop the spread of Coronavirus and other diseases.”, this is how extremists are made. If you are not sure, look at the history of Islam and Christianity.

  9. Can Razib or someone else knowledgeable clarify about ICMR’s recommendation of hydroxychloroquine as a prophylatic, though it hasn’t been proved to be one? This guy (ICMR apologist?) – https://twitter.com/dr_dsandeep/status/1242134163060228097 – claims that doctors are voluntarily becoming guinea pigs (!!), while another possibility seems to be that “prophylactic” is a bad choice of word, may be they mean treat who may be already infected but haven’t been tested.

    Whatever it is, apparently people are rushing to stock hydroxychloroquine or retailers are hiding it, and the drug has started “vanishing” from medical stores. Perhaps clearer communication could have avoided some of this problem.

    This is the sort of situation when a right-winger/staunch Hindu like me wonders if India’s extreme inequality has made India’s elite unaccountable, and hence susceptible to bad communication (followed by bashing “misinterpretation” instead of improving their communication).

    1. the proposed mechanism by which the drug might work, if it does in fact work, is prevention viral entry into the cell (type II pneumocyte of the lung, where surface tension reducing surfactant is produced so the alveoli don’t collapse) via the ACE2 receptor.

      In the US, it is currently being used as treatment and prophylaxis. Current FDA indications do not have it as a first line treatment for COVID-19 because clinical trials have to establish that.
      However, because the drug is approved for other uses, such as malaria prophylaxis and treatment, lupus treatment, etc., it can be used off-label to treat COVID-19.

      NYC hospitals are already doing this and pairing it with azithromycin, a macrolide antibiotic that typically is used to treat bacterial infections, such as empiric community acquired pneumonia. It works by interfering with translation at the 50S ribosomes in bacteria. However, I am not sure, again if it works, how it would help the COVID-19 situation.

      Currently, these drugs are being used because case reports from other countries (France I think was one) showed evidence of them helping COVID-19 patients relative to those COVID-19 patients who were not given them.

      Other drugs being tried are a Il-6 inhibitors, TNF- alpha inhibitors (both are inflammatory mediators responsible for some of the immune mediated contribution to respiratory failure and also subsequent sepsis w/ multi organ failure in some of the most serious patients), protease inhibitor (stops the virus from post translationally modifying the proteins it used the host ribosome to manufacture and thus it cannot create some of the parts necessary to assemble more viruses), and viral RNA polymerase inhibitor (for the virus to spread in the body, it has to replicate its genetic material and it relies on an RNA polymerase to do so),

      1. Thanks, very helpful comment. I guess the meaning of “prophylaxis” is subtler than I understood.

        1. oh and by prophylaxis, I meant it is being used currently for malaria prophylaxis in the US for travelers, albeit hardly anyone is right now. It is used as a first line treatment for lupus, so many lupus patients are actually fear not having access to it soon. And it is being used “off label” for COVID-19. Some suggestion as well that its immune down regulation properties that make it useful in lupus also make it useful in COVID-19 cases, given much of the lung damage is immune mediated, essentially can be roughly thought of as “friendly fire” in confusion or even more so like “collateral damage” inflicted by the body’s own immune “army.”

          Main common side effecting is opthomalogic issues, so chronic users actually get slit lamp exams periodically. It can also cause a hemolytic crisis in those with G6PD deficiency. Other toxicities need decently high doses.

          And maybe I was unclear. Prophylaxis just means what is given to presumably those without disease, in an attempt to prevent disease. For COVID-19, to my knowledge, hydroxychloriquine isn’t yet being used that way but rather, as previously mentioned, as a means of ofd-label treatment for active COVID-19 infection that has warranted hospitalization.

          1. Thanks yet again! Your comments on the matter very educative to people like me who don’t know any medicine. In India, ICMR did recommend hydroxychloroquine as prophylactic:


            This sounded strange to me because I read elsewhere that for COVID the combination of this and azithromycin was more of treatment than prevention, and the tweet I quoted was from an Indian doctor who claimed that doctors were being voluntary guinea pigs for as yet unproven prophylaxis. This is why I was wondering if the term prophylaxis had a larger scope to include say preventing virus from getting into particular regions like the type II pneumocyte you mentioned, or if they were referring to treating people who might have the disease but were not diagnosed yet (didn’t know about the “friendly fire” prevention aspect).

  10. I have been listening to recent (public address?) clips from Imran Khan. This guy is nuts calling Corona just a flu and prioritizing economy over health. He was begging again for loan forgiveness and I suppose IMF/WB has already granted some $ 500-600 million loan to fight Corona. Why does the retard go around spending borrowed money on schemes like Ehsaas? Show some responsibility with other people’s money and have some self respect beggar.
    I have no love for sanghis/ Congress/ Trinmool/ AIDMK-DMK or any other claimant to India’s centre but none of their leadership is as retarded as this guy. And please realize I am not hating on Pakistan I am hating just this one guy. Whichever way the situation turns he will spin it in his favor and call it his victory. I disliked(feared?) Nawaz Sharif’s sharafat more, he could backstab, scheme while putting on the appearance of cluelessness, and he did rule well. Solved electricity shortage, got CPEC (frankly no one else would have invested in Pakistan), built urban transportation/airports, had clearly moderate religious views and a grassroots connect with heartlands. Modi with all his sometimes questionable economic advisors(think likes of Sanjeev Sanyal and even K. Subramanian who is not experienced/renowned enough just yet) is still an order of magnitude better administrator than this piece of shit playboy. Thousands less would have died (in future) had it been Nawaz but I suppose this is the price Pakistanis have to pay for giving an unworthy army more respect than is due. It hurts just to listen to this idiot, even Yogi Adityanath (hurts me to admit this but he has been good in general for law and order and currently on this pandemic containment) or Lalu Yadav are better rulers.

    1. Shariff is a bit like like Pawar. Corrupt but efficient. PPP a bit like Lalu,. Corrupt and non efficient. Imran is non corrupt and non efficient. Take ur pick.

      I have a Pakistani colleague who was an adviser to some MNCs investing in Pakistan. He was genuinely surprised as how Shariff got Pakistan chronic electricity issue solved ( reminiscent of India’a 90s power cuts) . He (still) holds the view that the army would live to regret burning bridges with Shariff.

      1. Yes, I should remove Lalu as an example of someone better than Imran from my comment above. He is actually not but a very large number of Ahirs/Yadavs/Muslims I have met over the years support him. He did stop Advani’s rath yatra (and rioting that would have followed).

        Although going way off-topic this reminds me of something about Lalu. During my undergraduate years, I had a professor working on applied thermodynamics – heat-transfer/finite-elements-method stuff using supercomputing, one of the foremost guys in India on this. He was funded by the railways and told us that knowing that freight railway bogies had an axle load factor of safety of ~5 (they are very sturdy) . Lalu and some railway babu increased allowed loading by ~ 10% which brought the factor of safety down to ~ 4.5 which was still not bad. I don’t know how they got away with it given RDSO/ Railway board always goes by the book. But everyone forgot to take into account the pig iron brake pads which had to stop trains with higher mass(and higher kinetic energy). A few months into this trickery with higher profits for railways almost simultaneously hundreds of thousands of brake pads broke, bringing railways to a halt. My professor got a boatload of money and laboratory space to sort it out. This was one of the first time I figured that jugad sucks.

        1. “During my undergraduate years, I had a professor working on applied thermodynamics – heat-transfer/finite-elements-method stuff using supercomputing, one of the foremost guys in India on this.”

          bhimrao, where did u do your undergrad?

          1. @Prats
            Who else?

            Kgp ka tempo high hai!

            I think staying in KGP makes us part Bengali (dare I say Bong Intellectual) with the interest in history/geography/religion and such.

      2. @Suarav
        Sharad Pawar analogy is perfect. Both are sugar barons, both have daughters succeeding them, both are the richest(?) people in their country (Pawar with Lavasa real-estate and whatnot)

        Nawaz did screw up with Turkish shipborne power plants which have led to massive fines, the Quaid-e-Azam solar power plant sucks and Nandipur powerplant is also a disaster. I am sure there would be more instances of fuck-ups(the unbelievably stupid lignite one in Thar? Sahiwal?) but at least he got things moving. Some commentator from Pakistan can better address this.

        Not taking anything away from Sharif. I suppose powerplants have a certain kind of ease (construction/operation/profitability) to them. Problems like housing, urban development, water, electricity distribution, city-flyovers are much hairier. In some sense, powerplants are like Airports, Railway corridors and Expressways which seem to come up much easier and smoother. This gives me hope about our high-speed railways. Once people in L&T, Tata projects, HCC figure it out hopefully we will nail it like we are nailing elevated metro construction.

        1. So Shariff is not technically a sugar baron. Actually the only business he made huge loses on is sugar, where other better businessman have outsmarted him, like Imran’s current BFF.

          On power plant vs Housing, we live in times where any democratic Govt would be lucky to pass even one or maybe two “big ticket” items. Considering the hostility they face and the time constraint. Obama had healthcare, UPA-1 had MNREGA, Modi had Aadhar-DBT.

          So not surprising that Shariff fixed at least one problem, considering that he wasn;t PM for the last year, and the year before , he was lame duck. On the CPEC front there is hardly any civilian Govt can do much about. This is way above there pay-grade as Imran’s ministers (who used to make alot of noise on CPEC) quickly found out.

          1. @Saurav
            Thanks for correcting me again. Imran BFF guy is Jahangir Tareen right? Now that I checked him out I found the following:
            1) This guy clearly lies about his net worth. His giant sugar factories (one is 31000 TCD WTF! blew my mind! for comparison the largest I have seen/been to in UP have been 4-5000 TCD, 10000 TCD are considered giant in India maybe because it makes more sense to build smaller ones and divide the catchment area, reducing transport cost) dwarf anything Nawaz owns and should cost ~ INR 40 crore/1000 TCD if built new. He should easily be a billionaire in USD.
            2) Just checked the insane amount of land he owns.
            God! Pakistan needs a land ceiling act or something. This is the fourth such family (Zardari-Bhutto, that Baharia town guy, Khars(Hina Rabbani Khar’s family) that I know about so I googled Pakistani feudalism what I saw is obscene. This country deserves(needs) Maoists/Naxals more than we do. There are so many closeted multi-billionaire lying feudals there it seems reasonable they will keep the population illiterate and religious.
            These feudals are really living the good life in Pakistan.

          2. In India due to some land reforms , land holdings were broken down. So no surprise that u dont see such huge land allotted to a family. In India you do have people with that amount of land, but they are mostly Industrialists and not agriculturalists. In India its easier to posses that type of land by not being a farmer, or should i say not “appear” as being a farmer 😛

            For all the socialistic rhetoric Bhutto used he protected land grabbers (which his family is) and went against Industrialists (Like Shariff’s family) . JKT family for the most time flew under the radar because they were non political. There are many such land-army nexus type folks in Pakistan. I went to Grad school with one such kid. Mostly they keep their head down and mind their own business, since they know where the power really rests in Pakistan.

          3. @Saurav
            I know a super rich LUMS girl here let me ask around and find if her father also owns twenty thousand acres.

            Also, in India I think realestate people own a lot of land but I think that is justifiable. I know that Indiabulls, DLF, Sharad pawar, Jaypee(before bankruptcy) etc own many square miles but that is for building cities and is usually auctioned away by the government. These guys are hereditary land owners. So that’s one difference. Are there big farm land owning(1000+acres) people in India?

          4. These are no hereditary land owners. Almost all “builders” you talked about are Industrialists who got land at throw away price due to shady deals and such.

            The folks who escaped Nehru-Indira “land reforms” where mostly pro Govt Zamindars or petty nobles. Almost all the rest had their land confiscated and land holding broken down.

            I speak from experience as my grand father land were taken away (which his forefathers accumulated during Brits time) as he was a Janata party (pro Charan Singh) guy.

          5. @Saurav
            Some confusion in my comment, by ‘these’ I meant Pakistani landlords.
            All builders are shady, maybe not the Hiranandanis, Shapoorji and the Indiabulls Gehlot guy, I have heard from his hostel senior that even in college that guy was a force of nature in smarts and focus. It is funny how all the business prowess/mojo of most of these builders wanes as soon as government changes. DLF sank with Congress, Sahara and Jaypee sank with Samajwadis, HCC with NCP. But I am not sure if the Nexus is strictly on party lines because in UP real-estate based corruption is institutionalized with prefixed widely known cuts(bribes) to different levels of office holders. It is the builders who get too close to a party that pay a price when government changes.

    2. IK is not really in charge of anything at all. He is a figurehead for the real powers that be–Pak Fauj. This suits him since all he has ever wanted is to be Prime Minister.

      Nawaz Sharif got in trouble because he dared to be independent from the Army. That’s why he had to be removed. During the last “election”, he and Maryam Bibi were in jail. You can’t hold a fair election if the leader of the most popular party in the most populous province is in jail.

      However, it has to be said that IK is not a fascist. Comparing him to people like Modi and Yogi–who literally have the blood of minorities on their hands– is not fair.

      1. Do you fully comprehend the meaning of the word “literally” and phrases containing “literally”?

        1. Gujarat 2002. Modi has the deaths of thousands of Muslims on his hands.

          What’s your point? Typical Hindu nationalist.

          1. @Kabir
            Why are there no mass protests like we had against Posco, Vedanta etc in Pakistan against Thar coal? Someone with sense would know this is not a justifiable cost for the benefits of mining the worst quality coal so deep in the ground. I am not even sure how they got the economics right in this age of renewables. Even places where there is actually good, extractable coal it is messy and difficult business to do. I have been to Jharia and other coal-fields in Jharkhand. The whole place sucks on a different level (for the natives, not the mining executives) comparable to the worst places in even UP/Bihar. Polluted water, land/rivers destroyed forever, mis-formed people, underground fires and whatnot. I think this is something Pakistan(or maybe just its Thari hindus) will pay very dearly for.

          2. “Why are there no mass protests…”

            Let the master speak

            “Muslim politicians do not recognize secular categories of life as the basis of their politics because to them it means the weakening of the community in its fight against the Hindus. The poor Muslims will not join the poor Hindus to get justice from the rich. Muslim tenants will not join Hindu tenants to prevent the tyranny of the landlord. Muslim labourers will not join Hindu labourers in the fight of labour against capital. Why ? The answer is simple. The poor Muslim sees that if he joins in the fight of the poor against the rich, he may be fighting against a rich Muslim. The Muslim tenant feels that if he joins in the campaign against the landlord, he may have to fight against a Muslim landlord.

            A Muslim labourer feels that if he joins in the onslaught of labour against capital, he will be injuring a Muslim mill-owner. He is conscious that any injury to a rich Muslim, to a Muslim landlord or to a Muslim mill-owner, is a disservice to the Muslim community”

            ~ B.R.Ambedkar

          3. Shows how delusional he turned out to be given the alliance of Muslims and Dalits in post partition India.

            Hindus have the funniest notions about Muslims based on nothing but their own insecurities.

          4. Shows your poor reading skills.
            Ambedkar is not saying Muslims will not join non-Muslims to fight against NON-MUSLIMS.
            Only against Muslims.

          5. Arjun,

            Its your reading skills that are poor, read what Amb is saying.

            “The poor Muslims will not join the poor Hindus to get justice from the rich. Muslim tenants will not join Hindu tenants to prevent the tyranny of the landlord. Muslim labourers will not join Hindu labourers in the fight of labour against capital.”

            That’s just factually wrong. Whether in India or other countries, Muslims regularly join hands with Hindus or other non-Muslims to fight for these causes. He goes on to say the reason Muslims allegedly do not engage in these movements at all, is because of the prospect that-

            “he may have to fight against a Muslim landlord.”

            Again, just wrong.

            Its one thing to say a Muslim laborer may be less likely to protest against a Muslim owner, (that’s true imo). But that’s not what Amb is saying. He’s saying the mere prospect that a class struggle may eventually find itself opposed to a Muslim owner at some point, is the reason why Muslims do not engage in class struggle with non-Muslims (Hindus) at all. That’s just factually incorrect.

          6. @INDTHINGS
            Do most Pakistanis support the Thar coal mine? If so why? I did manage to read a few favourable but clearly motivated (direct benificiaries/ employee of coal company) writing about it in Dawn. But it is not hard to see that this is a stupid thing to do for a country/bureaucracy that has no experience in doing so considering even much experienced people have such a hard time. Coal mining (both open pit and shaft atleast in India which has much better quality/access of coal) sucks, you should see it to believe me, underground fires burn for decades(century?), with smoke coming within the ground, whole villages sink in, abandoned open pits running for tens of miles look like a lava fields. All sorts of nasty things in groundwater and rivers turned to sludge glaciers. Maybe Pakistanis will do it better than us in short run but as t(time) tends to 50 years I guess you guys will regret it.
            Same with the Karachi nuclear plant, there is so much coastal land in Pakistan why take the unjustified risk?
            I am not against coal, and I fully support Pakistan’s(and India’s) right(need) to run coal power plant (and fuck the planet just like gora people and Chini people have done). But digging this big hole when renewable is beating(or will beat) others in cost is stupid. My take is make coal power plants by all means but run them on Australian/Indonesian coal(outsource the mess)
            (referring Saurav’s comment)
            provide an alternative theory to why feudals persist and no anti-(large) landowner, land redistribution movement has happened in Pakistan instead of trying to prove @Saurav wrong.

          7. “Gujarat 2002. Modi has the deaths of thousands of Muslims on his hands.

            What’s your point? Typical Hindu nationalist.”

            still missing the point? 😉

            literally? did he actually kill someone with his own hands?

            don’t worry kabir. you are my friend. i have got your back. 🙂

          8. He was the chief minister at the time of the pogroms. Ultimately he was the responsible authority. He certainly didn’t do anything to stop them from happening.

            It is shameful that your co-citizens have twice elected this fascist into national office.

            Say what you will about Pakistan, but we have never had an ELECTED leader with the blood of minorities on his hands.

  11. https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.21.001586v1.full.pdf

    “Comparative analyses of SAR-CoV2 genomes from different
    geographical locations and other coronavirus family genomes reveals
    unique features potentially consequential to host-virus interaction and

    Came across this Biorxiv paper on Twitter. Claims that the Indian straing of SARS-CoV2 is different and Indian genes might have some protection against it. Well, at least that’s what I got from the discussion there.

    Maybe the more biologically educated folks here can tell something more about it.

  12. I am confused about the lockdown – out of the thousands who will presumably be infected, if some twenty of their contacts are infectious at the end of the lockdown, won’t the entire cycle start over again?

    1. Lockdowns can only slow down infection rates. Corona virus is not going anywhere , it will be around us. The idea of lockdowns is not elimination of COVID completely ,the idea is to reduce the number of infections and deathrate to a level with which the health services and hospitals can cope.

      Till a good cure and protection against the virus is found – which will be 12 months to 18 months away , lockdowns will continue in very severe or less severe form

  13. A Muslim labourer feels that if he joins in the onslaught of labour against capital, he will be injuring a Muslim mill-owner. He is conscious that any injury to a rich Muslim, to a Muslim landlord or to a Muslim mill-owner, is a disservice to the Muslim community”

    my paternal grandmother’s father was part of a family of bengali brahmins who owned a dairy in comilla. it was never totally clear to me whether it was her father or grandfather (i think father), but my mother told me that the reason to convert to Islam was clearly to stop strikes and discontent from their Muslim workers. my paternal grandmother’s father/grandfather bought out his brothers, whose descendants eventually moved to what is west bengal, and my paternalgrandmother married the local ulem, my paternal grandfather (he came from a prominent local landed lineage, though partible inheritance is a bitch).

      1. yes.

        the local ulem explained that the owner of the factory was now a good Muslim. in fact better than born Muslims since he converted. the ulem’s son married the daughter of the factory owner of course.

        1. That is a real life example of what Ambedkar said in the quote mentioned.

          Pakthings as always is back to trolling when things get close to the bone.

  14. “given the alliance of Muslims and Dalits in post partition India.”

    Lolol. ROFLOL. I love how “IndThings” is so confidant about things which are completely untrue.

    Dalits enmasse have voted for Modi as well as other BJP governments for a long time now. Before that historically they voted for Congress which was for all intents and purposes a Hindu party until the 1990s.

    There has been a Mayawati govt. in UP which came into power because of an explicit caste alliance between Brahmins and Dalits. In the 2019 National elections an explicit caste alliance between Dalits, some OBCs and Muslims lost in UP because lots of Dalits and OBCs actually deserted them and voted for Modi.

    This alliance between Dalits and Muslims is just a fervid imagination in the minds of Hindu hating, left wing intelligentsia. It has never ever happened on the ground.

    And why would it happen? Wherever Muslims had power in the subcontinent in medieval times, they enslaved Dalits and sold them off to Central Asian markets. Even now though many Muslims and Dalits live cheek by jowl in India there is great enmity between them and small riots break out every year.

    1. “Dalits en masse voted for the BJP”

      34% in 2019. This isn’t a Hinduvada whatsapp group, you won’t get away with just making shit up.

      “Muslims enslaved Dalits in the past”

      So no different then what upper-caste Hindus had been doing for millennia.

      1. “34% in 2019. This isn’t a Hinduvada whatsapp group, you won’t get away with just making shit up.”

        There is a strange disconnect between the facts you quote and the conclusions you draw from them. I am not sure your logical faculties are all there.

        34% of votes from a particular group in a multi party, first past the post, democracy IS “enmasse”. In UP for instance the BJP won despite leaders of 2 large caste groups (Mayawati, Akhilesh Yadav) and Muslims coming together making it a 3 way contest with Congress as the third option. This means almost the entire Hindu upper castes AND substantial percentages of OBCs and Dalits voted for BJP.

  15. Well i understand Indithings predicament.

    If Indian left (from which he takes cue from) themselves keep on having day dreams of dalit-muslims unity (there is new thing now , dalit-pasmanda) , then why would we begrudge an american having the same dream too?

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