Open Thread – 12/05/2020 – Brown Pundits

Going to interview Tim Mackintosh-Smith today for the Brown Pundits podcast. He’s the excellent author of Arabs: A 3,000-Year History of Peoples, Tribes, and Empires.

I’ve posted a podcast with Karol Karpinski for patrons. Karol was stationed in Dhaka with the World Bank, and we talk about his experiences (which includes unfortunate proximity to the outbreak of ISIS-related violence in Bangladesh).

Remember the Brown Pundits reddit channel. It’s starting to finally take off. The link is always at the top-right.

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106 Replies to “Open Thread – 12/05/2020 – Brown Pundits”

  1. >It’s ironic (Iranic) that there are no Iranian Farmer Genes in Iran.
    https://www.reddit.com/r/BrownPundits/comments/k5jsgt/its_ironic_iranic_that_there_are_no_iranian/
    What is this guy up to? The most recent runs I have done give at least a conservative high 30s% neolithic Iran ancestry to modern Iranians. I can’t even say that he is accidentally conflating mesolithic eastern Iranian with Iranian farmers of western Iran because he posts a link to that old 2016 Ganj Dareh paper.

    1. RK: “original farmer signal is diluted by steppe”… Exactly. I wrote about this that one Aryan wing came to Iran (Aryan?) a bit later than the ‘Indian’ wing. Medi (Meds) came from Tripolje (Three Fields) late Vincha civilization. They brought the language and this is in a contradiction with a hypothesis that so-called ‘Indo-European’ language originated there. This language is younger than 2000BC and where was the time for the formation of so-called ‘Proto-Indo-European’ language, which had to be at least several thousands of years before that?

    2. He’s just plain wrong. Modern Iranians are about 30-45% Iran N. Bandaris, Eastern/Central Iranians, Baluch and Caspian Iranians being the highest.

  2. Does anyone know the context or source of Yogi Adityanath’s “two-legged animals” quote?

    1. Tried looking. Oldest source (English source, rather) seems to be the famous/infamous NY Times article from July 12, 2017, but you probably already knew this. And now I’m kinda curious too.

      There might be some Hindi sources out there, but don’t really know where to look. Adityanath entered the lower parliament way back in ’98. He must’ve spoken at countless rallies before 2017.

      Best bet would be to just ask Ellen Barry.

  3. India won the chess olympiad appearnty

    https://www.theweek.in/news/sports/2020/12/04/chess-olympiad-gold-winning-indian-team-asked-to-pay-duty-on-medals.html

    The process of getting the medals back to india, highlights the problems with the country’s byzantine bureaucracy.

    he had to provide multiple documents to customs officials before he was allowed to collect the medals. He said the customs officials had opened the package and asked him details about the contents. Narayanan said that he even had to give them an official document on its chemical composition.

    1. In the 90s bjp had a strong presence. Won seats during venkaih Naidu era. Lost steam as it vacated the space for CBN which Congress captured. Folks say that the second largest contingent in Hyderabad college after the TRS is hindu right.

      I see telangana as Bihar ( Karnataka bring UP) of S-India for the BJP. It’s Hindu enough for some gains, but not entirely hindu enough to win outright.

  4. Ancient Indian subcontinent contributed much to Mathematics. But it didn’t contribute to inventing complex machines. What might be the reasons behind this?
    Also, why did North African/Northern Arabs contribute much to Science and Math but not Gulf Arabs?

    1. 1. maths and science in a ‘contented’ society as in gupta’s india was an academic pursuit, where as elsewhere it was for getting better prosperity and war. hence gunpowder remained a recreational item for chinese and a weapon for mongols.
      2. most islamic science and maths came out of converted populations of persians, and other christians of babylon and north africa. gulf arabs were rulers and conquerors.

      1. 1. Why did they focus only on Math and theoretical science but never on making machines unlike ppl in other places(e.g. China, Persia, Greece, etc.)?

  5. Opinion by Shashi Tharoor – In Winston Churchill, Hollywood rewards a mass murderer

    During World War II, Churchill declared himself in favor of “terror bombing.” He wrote that he wanted “absolutely devastating, exterminating attacks by very heavy bombers.” Horrors such as the firebombing of Dresden were the result.

    In the fight for Irish independence, Churchill, in his capacity as secretary of state for war and air, was one of the few British officials in favor of bombing Irish protesters, suggesting in 1920 that airplanes should use “machine-gun fire or bombs” to scatter them.

    Dealing with unrest in Mesopotamia in 1921, as secretary of state for the colonies, Churchill acted as a war criminal: “I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against the uncivilised tribes; it would spread a lively terror.” He ordered large-scale bombing of Mesopotamia, with an entire village wiped out in 45 minutes.

    In Afghanistan, Churchill declared that the Pashtuns “needed to recognise the superiority of [the British] race” and that “all who resist will be killed without quarter.” He wrote: “We proceeded systematically, village by village, and we destroyed the houses, filled up the wells, blew down the towers, cut down the great shady trees, burned the crops and broke the reservoirs in punitive devastation. … Every tribesman caught was speared or cut down at once.”

    In Kenya, Churchill either directed or was complicit in policies involving the forced relocation of local people from the fertile highlands to make way for white colonial settlers and the forcing of more than 150,000 people into concentration camps. Rape, castration, lit cigarettes on tender spots, and electric shocks were all used by the British authorities to torture Kenyans under Churchill’s rule.

    But the principal victims of Winston Churchill were the Indians — “a beastly people with a beastly religion,” as he charmingly called them. He wanted to use chemical weapons in India but was shot down by his cabinet colleagues, whom he criticized for their “squeamishness,” declaring that “the objections of the India Office to the use of gas against natives are unreasonable.”

    Thanks to Churchill, some 4 million Bengalis starved to death in a 1943 famine. Churchill ordered the diversion of food from starving Indian civilians to well-supplied British soldiers and even to top up European stockpiles in Greece and elsewhere. When reminded of the suffering of his Indian victims, his response was that the famine was their own fault, he said, for “breeding like rabbits.”

    Madhusree Mukerjee’s searing account of Churchill’s role in the Bengal famine, “Churchill’s Secret War,” documents that while Indians starved, prices for foodgrains were inflated by British purchases and India’s own surplus grains were exported, while Australian ships laden with wheat were not allowed to unload their cargo at Calcutta (where the bodies of those who had died of starvation littered the streets). Instead, Churchill ordered that grain be shipped to storage depots in the Mediterranean and the Balkans to increase the buffer stocks for a possible future invasion of Greece and Yugoslavia. European warehouses filled up as Bengalis died.

    1. Most of those quotes are out of context, and I suspect one was even manufactured by Tharoor. In a couple of places in his WaPo article he deliberately conflated different events and ascribed the decisions of others to Churchill.
      Jingoism and chauvinism seems to be Tharoor’s main motivation. Politicians will be politicians, I guess.

      He also relied way to much on Madhusree Mukerjee’s book, which was hot garbage too.

      Mukerjee is not a historian and her whole thesis rests on blaming Churchill for the Bengal Famine, even though Britain was fighting it’s own war for survival and the people there were on rations on an island surrounded by German U-boats and being bombed from the sky.

      In late 1942 a cyclone ripped through east Bengal, killing thousands and wiping out the rice crop. Rice that should have been planted was instead eaten. By May 1943, the rice crop was a fraction of normal.

      What made this a disaster was that the main source of India’s rice imports, Burma, had just been invaded by Japan. Within a month, the entire southeast faced starvation. New Delhi and Bengal were unprepared, and people began to die. It was the greatest humanitarian crisis the British Raj had faced in 50 years.

      Meanwhile Bengal’s Muslim majority ministry did nothing, and its Hindu members were making huge profits trading in rice during the shortage.
      Finally, the magnitude of what was happening did not even reach the attention of London until it was too late.

      Despite this Mukerjee tries to make it sound like Churchill deliberately pulled a Holodomor just like Stalin.
      Reading her book, you’d never know there was an enormous war raging in Asia and the rest of the world. Germany barely gets a mention. Japan appears mainly as just a sympathetic ally to nationalists like Subhas Chandra Bose. In reality, Japan and Germany had far worse plans for India than any Britain had.

      Finally her claim about Australian ships is false. The War Cabinet pushed Australia to ship an additional 250,000 tons of wheat over and above the 100,000 initially slated.

      Churchill was no saint and Dresden was probably a war crime, but Tharoor and Mukerjee aren’t telling the truth either.

      1. @ Vijay: True plus many Indian provinces banned the export of food for fear of shortages in their own territory. Tharoor can’t be trusted, he blatantly twists facts to serve his agenda.

      2. Abolishing Churchill for Bengal famine and relativising other cases (de facto minimizing British role in hundreds of other genocidal colonial acts) by blaming Shashi and his instability is a big statement.
        Not related to this specific comment but I have noticed fairly widespread colonial brainwashing sometimes up to the Stockholm syndrome level among Indians.

    1. My respect for Shekhar Gupta has increased a lot after reading this article. He has openly supported the farm laws, he might be the first modi critic to do this. It shows that he’s a man of principles and doesn’t simply oppose laws just because it has been brought by a person he doesn’t like (his other articles make it seem like that)

      1. I am ok if farm laws are taken back. No need to help communities, who don’t want help themselves. Just divide the MSP of Punjab to different states. Knowing Modi-shah , retribution should be around the corner.

        Plus the whole event will hopefully shut up the “where are the modi reform” wallahs, as their lack of spine ( and political leanings ) has been aptly displayed.

  6. Interesting convo on indiaspeaks

    “As a non-Sikh Punjabi, I’d come to think that the days of communal division within Punjab are long gone. But this last few days have been very dishearteing. I’m born and bred in Punjab, my family has seen the height of insurgency and these days are becoming worrying for everyone, especially after speeches like that of Yograj’s.

    My family due to their experiences never pride themselves on their Punjabi identity, almost all of the India associates being Punjabi with ~ being Sikh when there’s 40% of others. I’ve only ever seen peaceful times so I don’t have that hesitation, but I am starting to understand their reservations.

    14
    Reply

    Orwellisright
    57 KUDOS
    13h
    A few idiots don’t define what Punjab is and what Punjabis are! So don’t be disheartened and keep your head high, majority of the Punjabis have a good heart and this hatred by few will be defeated, it is a matter of time!

    6
    Reply

    kashmokash
    12h
    it is a matter of time!

    The problem is that this is resurfacing. The political realities of Punjab are too “politically incorrect” to be talked out aloud. The twitterati fanning these sentiments barely knows anything about it.

    It’s not hatred really, it’s never been that. It’s the feeling of superior and a god given claim to “punjabipuna” some Sikhs exhibit. That’s especially irksome.

    The only hope I have is of intermarriage. Sikh-Hindu marriage is on the rise (3 in my family alone).

    8
    Reply

    Orwellisright
    57 KUDOS
    12h
    Some of them openly showed hatred while other showed they are superior. I hope this is all over soon too.

    3
    Reply

    kashmokash
    12h
    Some of them openly showed hatred

    They show the hatred for BJP. Believe me, the hate among Sikhs, especially Jatts for the BJP is very real. They see BJP as a possible affront to the “Sikh” identity of Punjab in the long run. BJP also seems to want to cut off the financial roots of rent seekers in Punjab who earn their money without contributing any productivity, just because they control land/finances from the old times.

    They do not hate Hindus by and large. The problem is, political turbulence can still make life difficult for the minority. They do show a general dominance in the public domain that’s off putting. Even during the insurgency, only political actors were responsible for violence on non-Sikhs, never the general Sikh populace.

    I have the pleasure of having mostly Sikh friends, only Jatts have fought with me over not supporting the protests and suggesting MSP is harmful for the economy and we need more industrialisation. Other Sikhs have been mostly neutral.

    5
    Reply

    yoursonlysingh
    5h
    How many non jatt sikh farmers have you seen? There are a lot of Non-jatt farmers but proportionally they are a small minority. If you are a punjabi my friend you would know that farmers in punjab or haryana are generally jat/jatt tribesmen. So rephrase your statement to “whenever i talk about MSP generally farmers appose me” instead of saying jatts appose me.

    I believe that the goverment is in a habit of transforming the economy to fast without taking people into account. For example note bandi, GST. I welcome reforms but rome wasn’t built in a day. The goverments execution vs planning seem to be out of sync.

    3
    Reply

    kashmokash
    2h
    For example note bandi, GST

    Two different things. GST has been in the pipeline for years and was long coming, all states were taken on board for it. There’s a reason it’s so unnecessarily complicated, because it was done with taking people into account.

    Notebandi was asinine however you want to look at it. I don’t think it is defensible as a “reform”.

    These farm bills have been a long time coming, all sections of people from economists, to policy makers have been demanding this. Kisan Bharat Union’s manifesto in 2019 listed a few of these as well. Are you sure it’s a farmer affront to policies and not a Jatt affront to a govt they despise for reasons other than those concerning farming?

    How many non jatt sikh farmers have you seen?

    In Haryana, non-jaats also do farming. As for Punjab, yeah it’s mostly Jatt. How many non Jatts have you seen in Punjabi politics? Or Punjab’s real estate or hotels? Agriculture is mostly done on contracts, Jatts own the land but those with large landholdings rarely indulge themselves in the nitty gritty of agriculture. The lower class Jatts also rarely have any political representation of their interests.”

    1. Yes, absolutely. 70% of the farmer “leaders” negotiating with the Union Govt. are Jats and Jat Sikhs. That nobody is talking about this lopsided representation is just comical.

      1. This is confusing.

        My extended family WhatsApp group seems to hate the Canadian PM for meddling in India’s affairs for domestic political gains.

        They are mostly farmer caste (Gujarati patel) not sure how many actually do farming anymore, but I am sure many of them would support “team farmer”. But they are all saying the move is actually good for farmers and a fair policy.

        It’s pretty much all feelings no facts, so I don’t know what to make of it.

        Why don’t they support subsidies but the Punjabi farmers support them so strongly?

        1. The current socialist model has a state government element to it. The Punjab state government and the central government have given Punjabi farmers the best welfare deal in the entire country. They get the most “guaranteed” money thrown at them, including above market price purchases for products that are already in years of high surplus. The end result is continuous reward of inefficiency.

          If it were up to some of these land owning types and they had hypothetically been owners during Nehru’s time (they often weren’t) but if they were, they likely be among the most staunchly opposed zamindar class, when it came to India’s initial land reforms, perhaps violently so.

          This is the probelm when you make things so communal like India has done. Indira was smart when split the Sikhs into different regiments during emergency. The mere existence of all of these blocks and lack of integration is a stumbling block. States even saying they will refuse interstate competition are also to blame. Haryana has already said this.

          India needs its own interstate commerce act like the US had at around the turn of the 20th century. Some of the US’s industrial revolution wealth was because of easing of overly federalist policies to promote trade. The center needs power to integrate the nation. People need to be truly able to move with their dollars and their feet fairly.

          The central government has just generally played appeasement games for far too long with groups that are willing to get violent. It has to take a stand but in a civil manner, unless it gets too uncivil.

        2. This is largely about jatt sikh ethonationalism and protecting their unique access to a degree of government economic welfare that other groups do not get. There are other farmer protestors but look into where the leadership is from. Of course leftists, including straight up communists, are exploiting the moment as well.

          1. > this is largely about sikh jatt ethno-nationalism

            It started out that way but now we’re seeing parties like TRS, AAP and Congress joining the call for Bharat Bandh. These are opportunistic moves, to be sure, but things are now moving on a national scale.

  7. I read an insightful comment from a doctor on Indian twitter today. In the last 2 years based upon a deeper reading of Indian liberal reactions to contentious issues like Art 370, CAA, Ram Mandir, Triple Talaq and now the farm laws, all they wish for is that the status quo be maintained

    In every healthy ideological front, there is a central core, many extremes and a mean. The core prevents the build-up of an excessive distance between the mean position and the extremes. This is good sense to prevent hotheads from hijacking the equilibrium to some extreme where defense is impossible. Second by this action of having a short distance to the extreme, defending flank attacks becomes easier.

    The absence of such dynamics within the Indian liberal intelligentsia points to an absence of a centre and its moderating influence. Therefore the best they can achieve is to prevent change and continuation of the status quo. The farm bills protests is a major pointer in this regard.

  8. The reason Khalistan is coming up is because of the common Jat Sikh backbone. Powerful Jat Sikhs zamindars want to retain their position as subsidized rent seekers, even if it means long term harm to their state environment and economy. The Khalistani diaspora is latching onto this and pushing a false narrative of the noble yeoman against an authoritarian state propping up robber barrons.

    As Shekhar Gupta stated, this is Modi’s potential “Thatcher” moment. He has to stay strong. This is about to get ugly, given even assasination attempts will not be out of the picture.

  9. Does anyone know why the Central Indian govt procures nearly all the rice and wheat Punjab produces while procuring very small percentages from the rest of the states?

    Why haven’t the chief ministers of any other states complained about this yet? Are they clueless dolts with no concern for their farmers? Why did the Samajwadi party or the RJD or even the Southern states ever complain about this? Surely increasing the MSP procurement from UP or Bihar would have be a great benefit to the OBC castes there who actually hold the most land.

    If it were the other way around we would have had seen the situation being rectified years ago. Jatt Sikhs would not have let the center discriminate against their state.

    It seems to me that India and Hindus have been far too generous with Punjab and Sikhs. Massive investments in road connectivity, modern agricultural techniques, irrigation soon after independence went mostly to Punjab while leaving UP and Bihar close to medieval times. Then for decades Central govt. has provided a captive market for Punjab farmers to sell their produce for an assured profit.

    After all this what we get is Khalistani insurgency and constant whining that “Punjab has sacrificed” the most.

    1. Does anyone know why the Central Indian govt procures nearly all the rice and wheat Punjab produces while procuring very small percentages from the rest of the states?

      Punjab, Haryana and western UP benefitted a lot from the green revolution, they have good procurement systems.

      I’d recommend reading this (credits to principa)-
      https://vivekkaul.com/2020/09/21/why-farmers-are-protesting-against-laws-which-will-supposedly-help-them/

      It seems to me that India and Hindus have been far too generous with Punjab and Sikhs. Massive investments in road connectivity, modern agricultural techniques, irrigation soon after independence went mostly to Punjab while leaving UP and Bihar close to medieval times.

      Many of them complain quite a lot about Chandigarh being shared and the water dispute with Haryana. They’re easily one of the most respected groups in the entire country, but I don’t really get what it’ll take for some of them to ever realize this.

    2. “After all this what we get is Khalistani insurgency and constant whining that “Punjab has sacrificed” the most”

      In India all communities simultaneously think that they are the biggest victim as well as center of the Indian state. They live in that bubble of their exaggerated importance where others (especially the centre/union) are there to get them. This feeling is greater in India’s periphery regions.

      Folks from the core regions, on the other hand, know who holds real power.

    1. Janaab aap isko context mein sahi nazariye se dekhiye, hamara narrative…

      Dekho man-na toh hai nai Pakistaniyon (and in general haleems) ko. The only viable thing, jo mann ko sukoon de, is to lob missiles on JuD in Muridke if there is a terrorist attack.

      I cringe every time they talk APS massacre, people are unthinking and desensitized.

  10. Do people here support the farm laws or not? TN Ninan wrote that the reasons why farmers are anxious is because there aren’t many good jobs for non-skilled workers, like in manufacturing. I’m inclined to agree with him.

    I think Modi’s push is the correct one, but if prices get deregulated and competition improves productivity then it means that job losses must increase (rising productivity means more output with less labour inputs). Those people have to go somewhere and the reality is that while there are tentative steps towards a manufacturing surge in India, especially in smartphone production, it’s still not yet at the stage where it can absorb tens of millions of farmers within a reasonable timespan.

    On the other hand, if Modi backs down, then he sends a message of weakness to the opportunistic opposition which will have cascading effects downstream on a whole host of other issues. I don’t envy his position.

    1. @principia

      Everything that happened during the anti CAA protests should give you a clue. Did the Govt back down? There were many more international voices and a virulent urban segment.

      Rest of India is just uninvolved. The Bharat Bandh is basically a roll of the dice by the opposition to get some eyeballs.

      The farming community knows exactly what is going out with the new laws. It is the urban plebs who think that they are riding a rocket to some starry future.

      The govt has not showed it’s hand yet. They are much better placed now than during the anti CAA protests. There are RSS and BJP affiliated unions and negotiators on the farmer’s side. Punjab is now a fertile hunting ground for the BJP and AAP.

      https://www.news18.com/amp/news/politics/worries-of-a-fresh-crop-why-the-spiralling-farmers-protests-are-making-punjab-politicians-jittery-3140306.html?__twitter_impression=true

    2. It says more of the economists ( than modi) who want to wriggle thru and defend themselves, having now seen the extent of the protests. They have been at the vanguard of these reforms for ages. But now have developed cold feet, considering that they have to support modi.

      Modi is a politician. He will cut his loses and leave our desi Paul krugeman and Adam smith hi and dry.

  11. https://www.financialexpress.com/opinion/making-punjab-great-again-how-to-get-farmers-out-of-msp-trap/2144459/

    “What is needed is a package for diversification of Punjab agriculture, say, of Rs 10,000 crore package spread over 5 years. The Centre and the state can pitch in that, say on 60:40 ratio and that will be a win-win situation for all. Once farmers experience this and double their incomes, they will not remain stuck with MSP trap!

    Can the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and the Amarinder Singh one in Punjab join hands to find a sustainable solution to increasing the state’s farmers’ incomes and also curb depletion of the its water level, soil quality, and air purity? Only then they can make Punjab great again! ”

    Yup throw more money at them lol…

    1. Do you think Punjab might fully become a “Rust Belt” state in the near future? Its already fairly deindustrialized, a large portion of the population is addicted to drugs, the well to do/ambitious are leaving etc.
      I ask as a non-Jatt Sikh living in Canada.

  12. “a large portion of the population is addicted to drugs”

    Is this really true that a large portion of Punjab’s population is addicted to drugs? I am skeptical.

    This claim was bounced around a lot by the media and Bollywood and was instrumental in the defeat of the Akali Dal state govt. a few years back. Soon after the election all mentions of this stopped in the media.

    If someone is more aware of the details can they inform us on how Punjabi people are so addicted to drugs? What drugs do they use? Whats the percentage of population which does drugs? Do the drugs come from Pakistan?

    Also if Punjab is so addicted to drugs how come Rajasthan, UP and Haryana aren’t?

  13. Its strange to see absolutely every Sikh voice online against the Farm reform acts. After all these are farm reform acts, not decrees banning turbans that all Sikhs from all backgrounds become united on the issue.
    Do Sikhs not do anything else apart from farming? Not true. Sikhs are well represented in all good professions. Over represented in many.
    These farm bills will lead to many entrepreneurial Sikhs benefitting hugely. So while destroying the status quo might make some losers, there should be in all probability a lot more winners. Sikh winners. The Sikh market and commission agents in the current system actually stand a great chance to create agro-businesses and corner the market in the new system.
    So why have Sikhs from all over the world all united against these acts? A strange fear of big business represented by “Ambani and Adani” pervades them. Agro-business in India is quite robust and competitive with cooperatives like Amul etc giving corporates a good run for their money. New entrants into this market will find it easy enough to compete.
    It seems since the 1980s Sikhs have been insisting on digging themselves into an ever deeper hole while the Indian state tries to make them see reason. First with the Khalistan movement they destroyed all chance of industrial development precisely when Indian economy was taking off. Now with this insane opposition to farm laws they will ensure a further flight of capital out of Punjab and into more welcoming places. Sikhs seem to have developed a tunnel vision and a strange paranoia about the Indian state.
    Someone asked if Punjab will become India’s rust bucket. Well, Punjab hardly has any industrial units which can rust. Punjab’s future in the years to come would be like how ancient Greek city of Sparta became after its loss to Thebes in the Battle of Leuctra. A erstwhile powerful people who because of their extreme conservative ethos became more and more inconsequential to the rest of world which ignored them and moved on. By the time of the Romans the city of Sparta existed as a “theme-park” in the Roman empire, which the Laconophile Romans visited as tourists.

  14. Woah. Whats up with Shekhar Gupta? Full support to farm laws with no caveats about Modi’s authoritarian style and lack of communication to farmers.

    “Punjab & Bihar: tale of 2 states — one slowing, one rising — and case for farm reforms…
    #CutTheClutter with me. Episode 634”

    https://twitter.com/ShekharGupta/status/1335993644373852160

    If it continues like this he ll be asked to turn in his liberal badge, disinvited from NDTV news panels and his media outlet blackballed and ostracized.

    Prof Ashok Gulati is already feeling the heat from true blue liberals like Hartosh Singh Bal.
    “ashok gulati demonetisation fanboy strikes again. Spin a package to ‘help’ farmers, mollify the protesters. but no engagement with issue at hand. provisions of this bill have failed the empirical test in bihar, what the farmers predict has happened there.”
    https://twitter.com/HartoshSinghBal/status/1335828421557903361

  15. https://www.livemint.com/opinion/columns/agricultural-reforms-should-start-with-our-land-policy-11607355593182.html

    “ I hold what is clearly a minority view of the current farmer protests. I have argued in these pages that abolishing the monopoly of Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees (APMCs), as well as bringing in reforms for contract farming, will benefit farmers. And to increase agricultural incomes, India also needs better contract enforcement, better transportation infrastructure, and ways to incentivize private-sector investment in storage and warehousing. But I also sympathize with the current protests, though farmers are seeking entitlements like minimum support prices (MSPs). “

    Heads I win , tails u lose , lest I am disinvested of my liberal credentials for supporting a fascist 😉

    1. Lolol.

      I am actually more saddened than anything else to see such idiotic commentary from India’s credentialed elite.

      Its hard enough passing relatively simple reforms like these APMC laws and this lady is talking about land-reforms which remove land-ceiling laws, make it easy to sell farming land to corporates and what not. These people are like medieval theologists forever debating arcane theory with no reference to the ground realities. They do not want their beautiful theory sullied by real life constraints.

      Then there is the other sort of intellectual, a more socialist one like Devinder Sharma and P Sainath whose solution is to introduce MSP on all crops, all throughout India. The govt would be responsible for buying all produce, storing it and selling it, exporting it etc.

      Now can any sane person suggest this as an workable solution? How will the prices be set? Who will decide what any farmer will produce amongst the list of crops? And why only stop at this? I am surprised these morons do not suggest a complete nationalization of farming in India with the the rural population working in collective farms and earning an assured salary. That will be a sure way back to recurring famines and much misery. It will also ensure an increasing profile of these intellectuals in the west as humanitarians while its their ideas which would have wreaked havoc in the first place. P Sainath would be able to write a sequel to “Everybody loves a good drought” in which he will outline how his great socialist principles were destroyed in practice by India’s irredeemably ignorant govt and society.

      However I must say, Shekhar Gupta has stuck to his principles and come out in open support of the laws. I am gonna subscribe to his channel.

      1. “Its hard enough passing relatively simple reforms like these APMC laws and this lady is talking about land-reforms which remove land-ceiling laws, make it easy to sell farming land to corporates and what not.”

        When u don’t’ have skin in the game , and live in places like Singapore and New York, everything seems easily do-able.

  16. today is 8th dec. a few years ago 6th dec used to be date one would shudder due to the protests you know of what…
    now, the day passes as usual..

  17. Can anyone who follows Marvel related stuff illuminate on what this is about?

    https://twitter.com/imanveIIanis/status/1336092002346262528

    “casting an indian woman to play a pakistani was bad. casting a half white half christian non hijabi to play a muslim hijabi was worst. casting a trumpie was horrendous. and now casting a TW / sex offender in a show full with young girls is dangerous. #FixMsMarvel”

        1. The controversy is not over the main character who is being played by a Pakistani Canadian.

          It’s over her best friend who is a Turkish Hijabi.

          It’s being played by a half white christian / half Muslim Arab (I think) girl (yasmeen fletcher).

          There are pics of the fletchers with mall Santas being circulated. People feel that the role should have gone to a real hijabi. (Given lack of roles for hijabis in the media)

          I haven’t looked into it in details but there seem to be smaller controversy surrounding:

          1.some Indian person is playing a minor Pakistani person role and that is also quite controversial.
          2. And one of the actors is being accused of being a sex predator of some sort.
          3. one of the actors is a Trump supporter.

          So ppl are really unhappy with the casting.

          1. Casting a sex predator is bad. Trumpee probably in leftist circles.

            Don’t see what’s the big deal about the other two. I thought Indians and Pakistanis played each other regularly unless it’s about some phenotypically unique community like Nagas or Hazaras.

          2. “I thought Indians and Pakistanis played each other regularly”

            They used to. The way its going , wont be surprised the next time it happens, folks start accusing each other of cultural appropriation.

  18. PCR:”….The Establishment is stronger than the presidency, and Trump is the last non-establishment president the United States will have.

    I know a software engineer who was making $100,000 a year 20 years ago prior to the dot-com bust. He was unemployed for a decade. Then he got a job due to a rare software language he knew, but no sooner than his life turned up than a company from India purchased the firm, fired all the Americans and brought in Indians on work visas. After awhile his unique skill landed him another job, and it has happened again.

    Have you ever noticed that Asians run the convenience stores? While he was unemployed my software engineer friend tried to purchase one as a means of livelihood. But it was impossible. The US government uses Americans’ tax money to subsidize the purchase of convenience stores for foreign immigrants. My friend was undercut from having a small business by his own government.

    This is America. It is for everyone except native born Americans. Trump tried to stand up for Americans, but he was not permitted.

    Some of the Americans Trump tried to stand up for don’t have enough sense to support Trump.

    Americans have committed suicide. They are already in the trash bin of history.”

  19. China’s WeChat blocks Australian PM in doctored image dispute

    https://in.reuters.com/article/australia-china-tweet/wechat-blocks-australian-prime-minister-in-doctored-image-dispute-idINKBN28C1MK

    “China’s WeChat social media platform blocked a message by Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison amid a dispute between Canberra and Beijing over the doctored tweeted image of an Australian soldier.”

    “France’s foreign affairs spokesman said on Tuesday the tweeted image was “especially shocking” and the comments by Zhao “insulting for all countries whose armed forces are currently engaged in Afghanistan”.

    China’s embassy in Paris hit back on Wednesday, saying the soldier image was a caricature, adding that France has previously loudly defended the right to caricature.”

    These are going to be a rough few years ahead.

  20. While we are watching the appearance of monoliths around the world let’s remember the megaliths. There are thousands of them around the world. We may discuss this topic, too (I think that Razib mentioned them in the past). For example, we can talk about hundreds of megaliths in Europe, some having hundreds of tons (e.g. Stonehenge). We should prove that they were erected by I2 people. Stay tuned.

    PS. Anyone in the house can say RrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrG?

  21. Did You Think the New Laws Were Only About the Farmers?
    The laws contain among the most sweeping exclusions of a citizen’s right to legal recourse in any law outside of the Emergency of 1975-77.

    Surely the ‘mainstream’ media (a strange term for platforms whose content excludes over 70% of the population) cannot be unaware of these implications of the new farm laws for Indian democracy. But the pursuit of profit drives them far more than any notion of public interest or democracy.

    Shed any delusions about the conflicts of interests (in plural) involved. These media are also corporations. The Bigg Boss of the largest Indian corporation is also the richest and biggest media owner in the country. ‘Ambani’ is one of those names the farmers at Delhi’s gates invoke in their slogans. At other, lower levels too, it has been a long time since we could actually distinguish between the Fourth Estate and Real Estate. The ‘mainstream’ media are too deeply embedded in this universe to put the interests of citizens (let alone farmers) above those of corporations.

    The demonisation of the farmers in their papers and channels – rich farmers, only from Punjab, Khalistanis, hypocrites, Congressi conspirators and more – in the political reports (with some brilliant – and usual – exceptions) has been steady and relentless.

    https://thewire.in/rights/farm-laws-legal-rights-constitution

    1. I have to look more into this, but thank you for this post. I appreciate this line of argumentation. It at least has a semblance of the notion that one can be opposed to these laws along the lines of protecting liberty, whether it be of the individual or of markets, rather than simply just pushing for tribal rent-seeking government welfare.

      1. This whole article is premised on something (lack of citizen’s right to legal recourse) which the Govt was willing to negotiate, and gave in , in its first set of farmer demands.

        https://twitter.com/sayantanbera/status/1336613081518985216
        ” For dispute resolution, farmers can approach civil courts (now limited to dist authorities) ”

        So like always a false alarm. But knowing Sainath, its not a surprise.

        1. I used to be a big Sainath fan in my youth. Still think unlike most of his ilk he’s well intentioned in that he wants to help the small guy. I also think he understands very well the limits of free markets in a country like India.

          But his solution is to either nationalise stuff or to keep it within the ‘community’. All theoretically great ideas that are simply not going to work in India while also ensuring markets never develop. That said, if he does believe in all this I’d really like him to enter active politics and show us how it’s done even if at a small scale, something Kejriwal did.

          Bringing in specious arguments about ‘market fundamentalism’ in every single issue (including for unrelated events like JNU protests or communal riots) don’t help anyone.

          The urban wokes at Wire hang on to every word of his because he presents a credible face for them seeing as most of them have never visited a village and he doesn’t make them uncomfortable because as a thorough-bred S Indian Brahmin and grandson of a former President, he can’t indulge in radical identity politics.

          IMO people like Ruchir Sharma who’re on the economic left but not pathologically opposed to anything involving private industry should counter him.

          What do folks here think of Sainath?

          1. Prats, largely agree with your take. Sainath’s articles and the Frontline editorial style felt like sober leftism, when the pretense of a debate still existed. I don’t read either much anymore, but if I were seeking a well reasoned piece from that perspective, that’s the source.

          2. “But his solution is to either nationalise stuff or to keep it within the ‘community’. All theoretically great ideas that are simply not going to work in India while also ensuring markets never develop.”

            The ironical point is these are the very same folks who poke fun at BJP on stuff like swadeshi and atmanirbharta, not realisng that how much swadeshi their own ideas are.

            Cognitive dissonance, a bliss.

          3. The Jat Sikhs do have a case to make in terms of built-in dependency on MSP, but they trying to veto the overall reform process is untenable. Initially I was aghast that Jat Sikhs are the only beneficiaries of government fixing prices. They still may be the biggest in that but not the only ones. For e.g. Sugar industry in MH, KA and maybe in other places like western UP depends on sugar control. But the redeeming part is that sugar factories can be profitable only if they extend to making/selling liquor from molasses and using sugarcane baggage as fuel for co-generation power plants. In PB and HR, I don’t see any such value-add industries. The left in IN is copying the american left in always ginning up hate against big money/entrepreneurs. Alas for us, Big money in IN does not as many redeeming features and taints upcoming entreprenuers.

    2. lolol.

      You know why we are bound to remain a low income economy while even Bangladesh leaps ahead of us. Look no further than these Socialist/Communist types who provide intellectual cover to every corrupt rentier class and inefficient license raj system that currently exists.

      Are these people just stupid or malevolent? I don’t think there is a difference. The effect they have on dragging India down is similar.

      Also if India were to become more capitalistic and richer, these poverty analysts would lose their jobs so there is self-interest involved as well.

      1. https://twitter.com/akshayalladi/status/1336637985303846914

        “Good additional benefit of this agri reform episode will be that people will no more take those commentators seriously who used to strut around whining about “structural reforms” and then went silent (or worse cravenly opposed it) when reforms were actually done.”

        https://twitter.com/sumanthraman/status/1336559049341423616

        “Each one of these projects stalled/delayed.
        Tamil Nadu is on its way to becoming a Kerala or Bengal. Oh! Kerala allowed GAIL & Vizhinjam Port”

        Dravidian not being woke enough. Soon 2 be ‘cancelled’

  22. I was watching some Pak TV the other day, came across a new term for Indian regime.

    Brahman-Zionism

  23. My comment reg. the paper titled “Lipid residues in pottery from the Indus Civilisation in northwest India” by Akshyeta Suryanarayan et al. hasn’t appeared yet (possibly due to the hyperlink?).

    Anyway, just wanted to know what people think about this paper. Would be nice if someone more knowledgeable could make a post about the paper in case there are some hidden caveats or implications.

    1. I can think of the following implications –

      The lactase persistence in Indian populations and the subcontinent looks to be well established since Bronze Age times and perhaps even earlier. The pole position of India in dairy farming practices and breeding practices (Zebu) have been established via papers in other fields. The biggest producer and consumer of milk and milk products in the world today is India. We beat the United states by a y-u-u-u-g-e margin. Add Pakistan (3rd place) – then we are literally unrivalled. But in per capita consumption, we trail behind European countries. I see this as a manifestation of economic conditions and also lactose intolerance to some extent.

      Now the big time historical question – if we consider Aryans as alien to the subcontinent before 1500 BC, then this paper falsifies that to a considerable degree . The lexicon for milk and any kind of dairy products in North India are wholly IE. This makes no sense. What words did the IVC people use for cattle and dairy products in their daily life? Why did they not survive? The introgression of Zebu genes into West Asia and Egypt in 1500 BC also indicates a cattle merchant traffic.

      An even curious-er fact is that there is no Bos Taurus (European and Steppes cattle) introgression into Indian cattle breeds. It could be said that these disappeared over time due to natural selection. But why no bones at archaeological sites? The Bos Taurus skeleton is clearly distinguished by a lack of spinal bifida (which the Zebu has). The Bos Taurus is the “missing horse in the AIT camp”.

      I have to say that archaeology is the star performer against AIT. It just keeps on piling. This paper is another arrow in the quiver.

    2. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/indus-valley-civilisation-diet-had-dominance-of-meat-finds-study-7098819/?fbclid=IwAR3y_nB9_0VdQCG6qYJfNkduA8AsKMR099WNGO1UB5qByLT7GVZlnvkweBs

      @IsThisis Real

      Impllications?

      No Vegans in the IVC, lol.

      But maybe confirms vegetarianism was a much later introduction into India?

      @Razib,

      Similar to how they determined a “Mediterranean/Aegean Diet” recently for the Roopkund B skeletons, were they able to do a diet breakdown for the Rakhigarhi or Indus periphery skeletons?

      1. If media ppl weren’t vomiting their own agenda on this topic, then I would’ve read a news article instead of asking here.

        Anyone who was expecting IVC ppl to be pure veg. or vegan is dumb anyway, they surely ate meat, the question is more about what kind of meat (especially cows, considering how things are today). Most of the vegetarianism most likely arose due to Buddhism and Jainism, if I had to guess.

        It’s about the whole ruminant vs non-ruminant thing, from what I can understand.

        Found this one guy going against the tide-
        https://twitter.com/wild_mccandless/status/1336974487472852993

        1. “ Most of the vegetarianism most likely arose due to Buddhism and Jainism,”
          Imo the pashupati seal is pretty clear indication that the roots of the sramana traditons date back to the IVC.

          Why couldn’t there be some proto Jain / proto Hindu (non-vedic) tradition that promoted vegetarianism in IVC?

          1. I’m just guessing, you guys are the experts. If vegetarianism may indeed have begun rising back then, it would be impressive.

      2. @MAH

        Vegetarianism in the IVC might have been due to adversity/economics, not due to principles. The Buddha, in one of his discourses, reveals that his family was wealthy enough to provide non vegetarian food to all their servants and laborers.

        So there is a very long history of vegetarianism being a practical and utilitarian choice in India. Even today in modern India, eating vegetarian exclusively is far cheaper than eating meat – the exact opposite of such a lifestyle in the West – where veganism/vegetarianism is a fad of the rich.

        Calendar-centric vegetarianism is another specific tradition to Asia where meat is eaten/abhorred depending on the day. It goes without saying that meat-free days are more than the other.

        So ritual vegetarianism (not veganism) might have been prevalent in the IVC given the continuity of cultural and social traditions in that region. The study only concludes that the cooking vessels exhibit both plant based lipids and ruminant/non-ruminant lipids. Nothing to delineate the amount of meat intake vs vegetarian diets.

        Again if we shut down the possibility that the “all IVC people” were not vegetarians, then who was it that instituted this practice? Definitely not the “Steppes Aryans in 1500 BC” – there are dozens of dietary reconstruction studies showing a dominance of meat in their diets on the Steppes.

        1. @Ugra,

          No need to make a case for vegetarianism in IVC, I was just making light of the modern parlance use of “vegan”, in part because vegans don’t use any animal products, like dairy in their diets (I think they mentioned they found dairy residue in the pots as well).

          I agree with you, meat would not be a big part of the diet vs majority plant based for less well off populations.

          I don’t know if you read the article, but Vasant Shinde, the researcher, was quoted as saying the recent study of the pot residues might show the IVC diet included, beef, pork (not halal, lol), and other meats like goat, sheep and wild game.

          @IsThisReal, I agree, if I understand what you’re alluding to correctly, there is some vagueness about the “beef”, as the article says “cattle/buffalo”, which is it, cattle or buffalo?

          There might be a better way to tell, Razib would better able to comment on.

          There was a recent article about the Roopkund lake skeletons, where an analysis of the group they called “Roopkund B”, they deemed that they had a “Meditterenean diet”, and discovered they are Greeks (or related to greeks) from around the Aegean.

          https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/12/14/the-skeletons-at-the-lake

          I probably missed it if it’s already been commented on, but can they do the same analysis for diet on the Rakhigarhi skeleton or the Indus Periphery? Are those too old?

          This would probably add helpful insight.

          More importantly, an earlier study on the IVC from 2012 showed “curry” ingredients residues in the IVC pots, conclusion….The IVC invented curry!

  24. https://twitter.com/kaushikcbasu/status/1337239189050580994
    “I’ve now studied India’s new farm bills & realize they are flawed & will be detrimental to farmers. Our agriculture regulation needs change but the new laws will end up serving corporate interests more than farmers. Hats off to the sensibility & moral strength of India’s farmers.”

    India’s foremost “economist” ☝️

    https://twitter.com/akshayalladi/status/1337241089716076544

    “RRR to face some competition for the “overrated economist, underrated politician” slot. May the bigger intellectual sellout win.”

  25. Razib/Omar:
    Please get Joe Agneya (Mallu Christian background Indian/Indic nationalist medico, polymath, amateur historian) on your podcast
    https://twitter.com/JoeAgneya/status/926767651984105473

    All:
    What is the endgame / endpoint here with random Western elected reps openly interfering in Indian domestic politics and/or supporting separatism in Kashmir/Punjab? Understand that these comments are throwaways intended to appease domestic constituencies but ultimately if there is constant chatter of this kind, it could result in more pressure in India. The Modi government is both bad at communication and also pursuing the scorn-them-ignore-them strategy but I think there is a course correction needed on this front. It is possible to both follow your agenda and smooth talk / communicate / lightly pander to the West without really give up anything.

    Finally,
    Does anyone know what happened to Frankbullit37 on Twitter? I have seen several of these Indoright accounts disappear (or go private) in wake of the Biden victory. Danger from wokes allied with Islamofascists is real for anyone on the left but these voices were smart, genuine and enlightening. We need them back

  26. What is the strategy of the Sikh community wrt their interests in India? It seems the most vocal parts of the community are forever needling Hindus and making everything about Sikhi/Sikhs vs. Hindus from state rights to farmer bills. Open alignment with leftists/Islamists in India and Pakslamists in the West. What is their endgame? Doesn’t look like they have really thought this out and seem to be riding on a (false) superiority complex fed by Hindu deference from the past, belief in the superiority of their religion and their shortlived empire (which btw was overshadowed in duration/extent/influence by Marathas by a long shot).

    What should be the Indian right wing response? My thoughts:
    a) Stop the Dharmic family talk. This only feeds Sikh insecurity. Keep Jains and Buddhists in the Dharmic family, let Sikhs go their own way
    b) Cultivate moderate and/or Sanatani Sikhs but in more hands-off way. Work on soft power/messaging/good cops – learn PR tactics from the Sikhs (and dare I say Islamists to some extent)
    c) Stop pandering to their ego. No talk about sword-arm (lol) etc…Ignore
    d) Build an alliance of Hindus+Dalits+ upper and lower caste Sikhs in Punjab. BJP has built such alliances everywhere including in Haryana – totally doable in Punjab as well .Leave the middling caste Jatts to their own device to wallow in their superiority complex.
    e) Slowly whittle away at special privileges granted to Punjabis (no more 2/3rd wheat procurement from Punjab when they only account for 20% of national production)

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