155 Replies to “Open Thread – 4/17/2021”

  1. India – Bad – I reckon we are at the Peak of the second wave (or around) at least in Maharashtra. Hope the brownZ abroad are having a better time

    1. The vaccination strategy of the Indian government suggests (to me at least) that they aren’t taking the disease too seriously. If they were, vaccines would have been procured and administered on a war footing. It’s been quite wishy-washy though. And the way the central government is controlling the production, availability, and pricing of vaccines is indistinguishable from the heydey of the License Permit Raj. Which tells me that Modi, for all his talk, has zero belief in or commitment to liberalizing the economy. Because he has no heartfelt belief in the superiority of market economics over socialism.

      I mentioned a few weeks ago that I thought the world had massively overreacted to this disease over the past year. I still stand by that, though I believe we are now underreacting to it. Somehow people can’t seem to strike a balance; we apparently must keep oscillating between hermit-like existences to party times. Overall, we are lucky this disease (despite the many tragic deaths) isn’t really as serious as some of the major pandemics of the past (like the bubonic plague or even the flu of a century ago.)

      1. Here in BLR (where you may also be), the lines at the clinics for vaccination are rather short and supply is ample. I know quite a few people who dragged their feet and didn’t get the vaccination and ended up contracting covid. I really wish the government opened up priority for all workers outside the home to be eligible for the shot, there’s no reason that I can think of to wait

        1. girmit:

          That’s what I observed over a month ago when I went with my dad to get him vaccinated. But I’ve been reading about vaccine shortages on a daily basis recently. Are they lying, or exaggerating?

          Based on what I’ve read, the Indian government bargained down the price of the Covishield vaccine to a very low amount, far lower than what the Serum Institute wanted (Rs. 1000 on the open market). Apparently, the result is that the economics doesn’t make sense any more, and the SRI is finding it hard to scale up its production because it has little capital (and it’s asking the govt. to provide that now.) They seem to have another problem: of getting the raw ingredients to manufacture vaccines, and here it seems the US govt is to blame for imposing an export embargo.

          What was wrong with allowing these companies, as well as foreign ones like Pfizer, to manufacture and sell in India at a profit in the open market? People like me who can afford it would be happy to pay 1000s of rupees so the govt can then buy and supply vaccines to the poor at subsidized rates (or free).

          Of course, I understand there is a supply constraint too. But if our government (and others) are going to nickel-and-dime manufacturers and impose an inordinate amount of control, doesn’t that make the constraints worse?

          1. Yep, can attest to the dysfunction and misaligned incentives in aspects of this vaccine rollout. While accountability goes to the top, it’s worth mentioning the careerist weasels at every echelon below.

      2. If they were, vaccines would have been procured and administered on a war footing. It’s been quite wishy-washy though. And the way the central government is controlling the production, availability, and pricing of vaccines is indistinguishable from the heydey of the License Permit Raj. Which tells me that Modi, for all his talk, has zero belief in or commitment to liberalizing the economy. Because he has no heartfelt belief in the superiority of market economics over socialism.

        When it comes to vaccines, socialism (not capitalism) is the correct way forward for the Indian context. And the Modi administration has been getting it right for the last one year. They stepped in and shepherded the vaccine manufacturers (SII, Bharat Biotech) through the early stages correctly.

        Your opinion is bereft of any knowledge of economics. Today the worldwide demand for vaccines exceeds the monthly production capacities by many times. The price per dose of Covid Vaccine being sold on the black market is between $250 and $1000 depending upon the geography.

        https://www.insider.com/covid-19-vaccines-black-market-may-be-real-report-says-2021-3

        The fact that Indians over 45 can get a reasonably high efficacy vaccine for free today is a fucking privilege! It is also a vindication of a quick and effective governmental intervention.

        Don’t let your hatred of Modi overwhelm basic economic reasoning. On the other hand, you might be just seriously ignorant of supply side-demand side theories, not malicious at all.

          1. @Saurav

            Good question! Numinous provides a lot of teachable moments. Asking for capitalism in the middle of a pandemic and economic crisis. That was just irresistible! In Chattisgarh, oxygen cylinders are selling for 50K each. Just virtuous in his idea of a moral universe.

            My apocalyptic wish is that code monkeys should run the world for a couple of months. It will be grim but funny 🙂

        1. “Dr.” Numinous role-plays as a liberal arts graduate. So I can understand other people stepping up to educate him/her about the world because of his/her superficial understanding and lack of logic.

    2. The central and state govts have wasted 1 year of experienc and learning about covid-19 and Covid control and allowed this more serious second wave. In the UK , in December the cases started accelerating and the British govt put a full lockdown around X-Mas time. In January the cases went up even more , about 1400 deaths each day. By later March , it was under control and now the daily deaths are about 50. GoI should not have allowed Kunbh Mela in an uncontrolled way. They should have cancelled it or restricted the numbers participating to about 1000.

      Superspread events and persons must be avoided

  2. I found this nattily worded logic from a well known Indian sceptic – “If linguists were food historians, they would claim that broccoli, zucchini, nuts, quinoa and avocadoes were descended from a salad”! That has expressive and persuasive power to the public but I was not convinced by its ontological soundness. After all, it equally demolishes the concept of a Urheimat whether in the Steppes or India (don’t know if the sceptic understood this).

    So I checked a few papers on intelligibility and entropy between language families (the previous article from @Slapstik was a trigger as well). It turns out that there is indeed an universal ordering to all languages irrespective of families. A paper from 2011 (Montemurro and Zanette) calculated this parameter by scrambling texts from 8 different languages. They propose that all languages are ordered (or disordered) by some biological limits in human cognition. This article from WIRED sums up that paper.

    https://www.wired.com/2011/05/universal-entropy/

    But returning back to the argument of that sceptic regarding PIE, would it be possible to check the intelligibility between PIE and Sanskrit speakers vs PIE and Old Germanic speakers?

    For one, no PIE text has ever been recovered or found. So there is simply no criterion to base a test. Round One to the sceptic!

    Would it be possible to create a proxy for that criterion? What if we analyzed the contribution of cognates to PIE by language? In this test, Sanskrit has the highest number of contributions to PIE vocabulary – due to the simple fact that the greatest corpus of preserved Bronze Age/Iron Age IE literature is in Sanskrit. Example – the word “Janati” (to be born, to produce) is the direct contributor to PIE “genh” – which is the basis for generous, gender, engine, gonorrhea, genesis, generate, gene, genitalia, genius etc.

    Then archaic Sanskrit speakers would have had the greatest intelligibility with PIE speakers. If this is true, then the isogloss theory has to be revised to account for intelligibility and not mere pronunciation (superficialism). Round Two – sceptic prevails by a thin margin.

          1. very vague. can you give an example of Hindus showing spine, behavior you want them to do more of?

      1. They were both dumb for overvaluing a bunch of arbitrary crap. They should have just been with each other and not worried about weird nominal conversions to satisfy elders. Elders can only be mad for so long. They would have been forgiven and have kept their own beliefs if they just moved forward. Now, they might be in the minority, where a honor killing may occur. I hope that wasn’t the fear.

    1. Lol, perhaps in better times. For now i am more concerned on the fuckall situation we have of COVID in India.

      In all my years i had never envied China, but perhaps with the laggard India response perhaps the chinese are better after all.

    1. @warlock
      any thoughts on the american sikh congressional caucus? seems like sikhs have a great PR machine + political action committees given the size of the community.

  3. maharastra and delhi are asking central govt. to supply them oxygen. is it modi’s dury to do this also?

  4. Judging by social media, the COVID situation in India seems to be much, much worse than the 1st wave. Lots of stories about crematorias doing 5-7X more burning than normal. The official death stats are likely huge undercounts. From what I gather, there’s a new variant spreading, a so-called “double mutation”. It’s already slowly starting to spread to the UK and other countries. LNew Zealand has already blocked Indian travellers and now there’s talk about a similar “red list” in the UK, but Johnson has a visit coming up to India and is putting it off for the sake of optics.

    What was shocking to me was how cavalier Modi was. He was bragging about his big rallies as late as a few days ago. It’s one thing not to advocate a lockdown, quite another to be an active superspeader. Rahul Gandhi doesn’t get high marks either. He just very recently suspended his campaigns when he should have done so much earlier.

  5. https://theprint.in/india/governance/in-yogis-up-expressways-are-scripting-silent-transformation-in-state-known-for-poor-road-infra/638384/

    In Yogi’s UP, expressways are scripting silent transformation in state known for poor road infra

    ruhi tewari (I think) had made an offhand remark about yogi doing less for infrastructure than his predecessors, which had made me question the print’s impartiality a bit. Good to know that wasn’t anything to worry about

  6. The situation in Delhi absolutely fucked. There are more than 150 cases in my society. Every person you call has someone in their immediate family infected.

    Take care, folks.

    I am supposed to report to office tomorrow. Feels like entering a battlezone.

      1. I think the second wave happened because the new variant is much more infectious and would have inevitably happened anyway irrespective of what we did.

        The sudden surge happened because of our complacency. There was no reason for Delhi to go from under-1000 to 25k cases a day in less than a month other than the fact that people had abandoned all caution.

        I used to go to Nehru Park and would be one of the few idiots jogging in a mask. Granted, open places are less of a risk but then parks in India can get really crowded. Same for malls and markets. This was as recently as last week when I stopped stepping out completely.

        Another example – Delhi government organised a testing camp in our society because there were a lot of cases. The samples were being collected in a banquet hall. But instead of queueing in the lawn outside, everyone stood inside the hall because there was AC inside.

        May be there are contingent reasons that I don’t know of. When we do look back at the data a long time from now, we might be able to figure out what actually happened. I have low hopes of that. We haven’t really analysed much of our data from last year. We aren’t even sequencing the variants at any significant scale.

        1. “The sudden surge happened because of our complacency. There was no reason for Delhi to go from under-1000 to 25k cases a day in less than a month other than the fact that people had abandoned all caution.”

          But dont u find this odd that the sudden spurt happened all across India within one week or so. That seems really strange. Indians have been throwing wind to caution for the last several months.

          I think the new variant is plausible sceanrio. Till now it hadn;t mutated or something,and as soon as it mutated, shit hit the fans.

          1. I mean different strains would have been circulating around and mutating.
            It was a matter of time before an infectious one started to spread. Since people were not taking precautions so when this infectious strain did hit critical mass, it exploded into a chain reaction.

    1. https://twitter.com/paykhar/status/1383371661932580866
      Prats Bhai check this out. Not just Mughalsarai Jn. now Belgians have their own Wasseypur/Mau.

      I was once caught in the middle of a European level lame ‘riot’ in the Netherlands. 7-7 feet ke dutch police with batons on giant horses charged to disperse the Turkish namak-haraams. Ekdum middle ages ka feel aa gaya tha.

      Abhi, agar-magar chalu karenge peacefuls.

      1. @Vikram

        Not anymore. I moved to an Li-ion battery startup.
        I can work from home on some days but the general culture is very office-centred since we have a manufacturing facility attached to it.

  7. https://www.theguardian.com/football/2021/apr/18/only-someone-who-truly-hates-football-can-be-behind-a-european-super-league

    Europeans have claimed that football is the world’s sport. But in reality, it was the sport of the European working classes which was later adopted by most of the developing world elite as a form of leisure. Now the fans of Man U, Barca and Milan no longer want to put up with Huddersfield vs Burnham, a whole era might be coming to an end.

    Remarkable that India is the lone colonized country to choose a sport other than football. But then, as Ashis Nandy famously said, “Cricket is an Indian game accidentally invented by the English.”

  8. Seems like Numinious got what he wished for.

    Though i see this polticy will come across as a bigger train wreck than what was going on currently. The centre can at least pass the buck to the states. And considering states capacity and financial resources, pretty sure now the decent vaccination drive we had going on will be fucked as well.

    Win-Win for the centre.

    1. Correct!….Modi has assessed that the second wave will have political blowback…..unlike the first. So here decision making and policy moves are being devolved to the states. They will now have to eat the cake they wished for! This is why RaGa, Kejri, UT are all B grade politicians – they just walked in to their own traps.

      1. Dont think the Govt was that clairvoyant. It wanted to both control COVID and spear head the vaccine drive so that it can accrue the poltical benifits of it.

        But the situation turned so drastic that it had to do a cost-benefit analysis on being the figure-head of the vaccine drive, as well as take the brick bats associated with vaccine shoratges. And it took a call that it wasn;t worth it. Sensible if u ask me politically, because any which way u handle the vaccine drive, there are poltical costs attached to it. It bit like lockdown scenario, this time around the lockdown has to be handled by states, as Modi has had his finger burned the first time around.

        The states are now fucked though, already commies know they have walked into a trap.

        1. The second wave is stronger and deadlier than the first – therefore all decisions (and costs) are only 16 days old. The mistake that the opposition did was to react early without assessing a counter. Modi has given whatever they have asked for. Now what?? In doing this, he has given the impression of acting reasonably.

          Most newspapers and websites haven’t understood the audacity of this move. By ceding control, the Centre has gained the narrative. Now the tide will go out, we will see who is naked! The vaccine shortage is still there – now the states will decide if a 60 year old should get it or a 25 year old. Time to walk the talk!!

          1. https://twitter.com/akshayalladi/status/1384186996520751105

            It is interesting to see India to adopt an approach for vaccination that relies more on “free markets” and federalism than even the US! Deeply sceptical of this approach (I think the US one was better – and not just for the them, but for us too). The Union Govt / Federal govt….

            …had the central role to play here – as a risk taker purchasing vaccines even before approval and investing in private sector manufacturers to ramp production; to be a monopsonistic buyer; to allocate across states fairly; and to run the vaccination program with public and….

            ..private healthcare providers. This would achieve the policy objectives of rapid vaccination (because of speedy production and procurement) and hence lower mortality; equity (across states and income groups); and affordability (bulk buying).

  9. Vaccine open for all above 18 in India.

    Flexible pricing, states can procure directly. Private players can procure from manufacturers in open market.

    3000 cr grant to serum Institute and Bharat Biotech.

    A lot of steps in right direction by Modi government yesterday.

  10. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TEwR6nUqpg&t=705s

    Eat Clen, Tren Hard, Anavar give up, Do it for the Winnie

    So saucy my bres. Trenbologna sandwiches for days. But respect on the diet front. He doesn’t seem strong in his training videos. He does a lot of fluff and pump work it seems. But it is ideal for heavy gear use. Actually, the only S Asian actor I have seen in bollywood or hollywood who does all the compounds in training is Amir Khan.

    1. Compound lifts are overrated if you are on gear, and especially if you are a visual artist. For aesthetics and even for sexual selection, V taper is more important than a thick core. Big 3D delts, traps and arms are more important followed by pecs and lats. The least important are quads, hams, glutes, calves & rhomboids.

      1. Small legs don’t look good in general. And it is a myth that your waist will explode in size from big compounds. The strongman types hold a lot of body fat.

        But yes being saucy makes it so compounds matter way less for aesthetics and gaining mass in places like traps, upper chest, and delts especially. For nattys,compounds are key for overall size. On gear, just fluff and pump.

        Also,Amir wanted portray a wrestler so it makes sense. Someone functional and strong. Super heroes have wacky proportions so I suppose Kumail’s look works for that. Even then, you won’t maximize back and chest size withour heavy bench and rows. The guy lifts pretty damn light for his size and does a bunch of BS stuff in the gym. Watch his videos. His transformation is based heavily on gear.

        No one is saying legs matter more than V taper. But they still matter. He should train them too. And women love glutes. Pretty much all of the ones I know watch football and baseball in part for that reason.

        1. In the end, all muscles matter, I am just talking about priority. There is an over emphasis on squatting in USA, especiallyamongst fitness youtubers, which I find a bit weird. Depending on climate, male legs are almost always hidden for majority of the year and unless someone has tree trunks for legs or wears skinny jeans on chicken legs, nobody really notices it. Not only that, anyone with big thick legs start having practical issues because most regular sized pants don’t fit properly or start tearing up from the middle after heavy use (speaking from personal experience).

          I just think gym bros should be focusing more on lats and delts, legs are overrated in my opinion. I have never gotten a compliment from females on how thick my legs were, but always on biceps, triceps, delts, pec, back and traps.

          1. There is no unhealthy obsession with squatting. Most people in gyms are weak as hell at squatting, outside of powerlifting gyms. The bench is the most overrated movement. People walk around with kyphotic postures after sitting at the office and on the computer all day and then benching too often, doing a few face pulls here and there. Their shoulders get pulled further forward with relatively big biceps and overdeveloped anterior delts.

            The whole back is definitely underemphasized. Most people cannot row heavy or do proper pull ups for decent volume. They do some lat pull downs or some rows with an almost vertical torso, that too cheating the movement.

            And most pants are stretch fit nowadays, even jeans. And there are specific companies that tailor to athletic fit like properfit. It honestly isn’t an issue. I’ve gotten compliments on my quads and glutes before. People notice. But yes, in general people will compliment big arms, delts, and forearms the most.

            My theory for that is the following. It is a secret short cut. Basically, in the state of nature, one cannot develop big arms without developing big legs and back. You have to lift a lot of fucking objects in nature to get big arms because there isn’t exactly much isolation stuff available and a prehistoric man wouldn’t exactly be focused on bodybuilding, just survival. All athletic motions from sprinting to throwing a spear to lifting up a heavy rock, emphasize the legs and back. Basically, big arms are almost like a surrogate marker for having big muscles all over. Isolation has made it possible to use that short circuit to one’s advantage, if he only cares about aesthetics.

            Anyway, for a natural the best way to get big arms is to actually be strong. Size=strength. Having a strong weighted pull up, weighted dip, strict curl, and bench will maximize arm size. When one is on gear, the story is a bit different. Yes, getting strong is still the most efficient way to maximize size. Top bodybuilders, outside of a few freaks, are rarely weak.

            But to get enough muscle to just impress the common person, when on steroids, is way easier to get with fluff and pump isolation work than it would be as a natural. Actually, for most naturals it is impossible to look impressive, unless they have very good genetics, doing a bunch of machines and isolation work with light weights and high reps. There are some exceptions, but they are exactly that.

            Anyway, for Kumail, gear and diet are the two keys. The guy isn’t particularly strong on even the bro lifts by any means. He has disproportionate growth of his delts, traps, and upper chest. He does look like he does a lot of arm volume. And he has a very dry look that PEDs help with. Long story short though, I don’t exactly respect his training. I respect his diet and drug regimen.

            I respect the hell out of guys like John Cena. Yeah he takes drugs of course. But he trains hard and fucking and is big as shit. Amir Khan is an example of a Bollywood dude who actually does some training for power and looks solid when he gets into shape for roles. He looks strong and balanced.

          2. And before anyone gets confused (not Q, he is familiar enough with this stuff)

            Size=strength, for a given individual. Once neural adaptation for a movement takes place, getting stronger will mean getting bigger. How much bigger per increase in unit of strength is based on a lot of genetic factors. Some people are small and strong. But they would be a bit bigger, if they got stronger. For a given individual, after the novice phase of training on a movement, getting stronger at that movement will correspond to some degree of hypertrophy of the muscles involved in that movement.

      2. Depends on where you are courting. Poorly developed legs and core look silly while playing sports or at the beach. Might look fine in a night club environment, but a woman who is athletic herself will see through it.

    1. The report is false because the vaccine in question is not AstraZeneca one but rather Novavax. I also fell for the trap. India’s vaccination drive won’t be affected by US embargo

      1. Thanks for clearing that up (and then they say scroll is very trustworthy and accurate)

  11. https://twitter.com/AunindyoC/status/1384171550648147969

    “Nationalise all vaccine companies for 6 months & produce vaccines on a war-footing at zero profit. India’s vaccine makers should be compensated at the average profit (adjusted for inflation) that they had in the past 5 years. They cannot be allowed to profit from a pandemic.”

    Can always take Bong out of Bengal but can;t take the commie out of him

    1. Chootiya! BC confidence dekho iska. Dasiyon sarkaari pharma companies hain, kuch nai ukhada jinhonein. Jameen, paisa, captive customer sab hathiya ke baithe rehte hain. Saala bas khun chusna chaahte hai yeh commie leeches is desh ke entrepreneur ka. Pissu saale.

      I can’t believe we let farji people like him to make policy in 50s-80s.

      Serum institute wala sakshat bhagwan hai. Itni sasti bechta hai dawaaiyan.

        1. I don’t know of any big fuck-ups of Cyrus Poonawala. Best of all he does not Bull Shit. On his interview with Rahul Kanwal he plainly said ki R&D hamari aukaat se baahar hai, I was sold there and then. I like this kind of honesty over agar-magar khayali-pulav, shows enormous self-confidence and real-understanding of what is important and feasible.

          Unless proven otherwise, I consider him in the league of Jamshed Ji Tata in doing what needed to be done.

          1. he plainly said ki R&D hamari aukaat se baahar hai
            A patently wrong statement; we developed a covid vaccine from scratch, others are in pipeline. A bean counter like SII CEO can only give statements like these to hide his incompetence.

            Furthermore, when India was poorer — at the time of independence — it did better innovation; R&D though having more capital has a lot of advantages, but not all types of innovation requires it; it is rightly said “Necessity is the mother of invention”. The reason we perform so badly is: Socialism. It killed all innovation out of us.

          2. Bharat Biotech point is good so maybe true but my understanding is ki bahut zyada paisa lagta hai medical research mein. Not my field but I am very well informed from my friends in Bio/chemistry who came from IIT D, IIT K, IIT Kgp, and IIT B to US for PhDs and post-docs. Yahan normal professors of Bio and Chem get 10s of millions in NIH funding over their careers to understand sometimes just one reaction pathway in their whole lifetime. Nai hai aukaat India ki (hamari) itni.

            https://thewire.in/health/risug-male-contraceptive-icmr

            I sat in Guha’s class once. Brilliant guy, would have been a superstar in the US. But talent largely wasted in India as it is just not the right place for some types of research.

          3. “A patently wrong statement; we developed a covid vaccine from scratch, others are in pipeline”

            I think the answer might be somewhere in the middle. We did develop the vaccine bhut were pathetically backwards with the genome sequencing of the virus, which would have helped us with this x-number of mutation happening.

            https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/health/dismal-figures-india-sequenced-less-than-1-of-total-covid-19-samples-in-nearly-3-months–76114

            So we are lagging somewhere. And people are paying the cost

  12. (Borrowing a phrase that Bill Maher used to describe Americans – )
    Indians are a silly people.

    No other way of looking at it, really. We’re experts at finger pointing and shifting accountability for the covid crisis between centre/state/ministries/babus etc. Hiding behind ‘health is a state subject’ when it comes to our guy in charge. Of course the thought of postponing state elections is out of the question occured as the political tamasha is a legit form of entertainment, along with bollywood and ipl. And god forbid anyone ever come in the way of our entertainment, as that’s what life is for isn’t it, rules and personal responsibility be damned. For a people inured to human death and suffering on a mass scale, entertainment and cheap thrills come before everything else.

    Balajis said that covid has been a military defeat to the US, which was fell prey to culture wars and was unable to mobilise on a war footing despite years of pandemic war-gaming unlike China which was able to build full-scale hospitals in matter of days and use AI and tech to protect the population effectively. In India’s case, it has been a failure of state capacity at various levels – lack of centre-state coordination, inability to let go of socialist price controls, failure of leaders to lead from the front, prioritising political point scoring over all else, inability to overcome quack science and vaccine hesitancy etc.

    We’ve been too quick to declare victory and too quick to fall back into old habits despite having a couple of months prep time compared to other ocuntries for the second wave. And when the rest of the world takes notice about the shambolic state of affairs, we’re quick to cry foul and point fingers.

  13. oh! pappu positive bangaya.

    on a serious note, should they not define a rt pcr value of 24 and above as mild and say that home isolation is ok, if no breathing problems? this is what is happening in reality.

  14. Only today did I come to know about this impressive young gentleman called Lalith Aditya Gannavaram, who seems to have grown up in the US, is somewhere in his twenties, and performs Ashtavadhana and Shatavadhana in Telugu.

    Sample videos:

    Hangout with some ABCD kids who ask all sorts of questions on Hinduism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zB394EfhVNc

    Some shastraic/Sanskritic stuff at BORI Pune I think, in Sanskrit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vv8-iMp0X1c

    Youtube channel with discourses, mostly in Telugu and some in English: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwRnCLiE-2-qsOlUsi0ltSA/videos

    Violet Gaaru, if you are reading this, would you know more pointers about this person?

    Not sure he might suit a BP browncast, but perhaps a very good candidate for Mukunda Raghavan’s podcast.

    1. Wonder what people here (especially Razib if he is reading this) think of Iyer-Mitra’s view that it would have been better for India to focus on the infantry and that a solid infantry could smash down cavalry like the English defeated the French at the battle of Crecy. According to him in the interview, the high status of the horse in India plus our inferiority complex in thinking that we could only win with cavalry made us play to the enemy’s strength.

      Interesting how he connects it to India’s obsession today with LCA etc., though I am in no position to figure out how much to trust it.

      1. @froginthewell

        Abhijit Iyer Mitra is bullshitting as usual – take any of his strategic/defence analysis with buckets of salt. There is hard advantage for the cavalry, as you will see –

        Horses eat grass. A hundred man mounted cavalry needs only take 5 days of supplies (so five hundred man-days of provisions) for a 300 kms raid (distance realistically covered). For the same effort by a 100 man infantry, they need to take 10 days of supplies for the same journey. It is exhausting and simply there is no energy left for fighting.

        Therefore for a infantry force, the tooth to tail ratio is very low. In a force of 200 bodies, only 70 will be fighting. The rest are porters and load carriers. Even the porters have to eat – so you get the picture! Cavalry carry out lightning flank attacks. It is EXACTLY like a horse in a chess game – capable of intricate maneouvering. The infantry cannot match the complexity of cavalry tactics. I will desist from further explanations – there is a ton of literature out there.

        Regarding LCA, this guy has been an ass-hat since a long time. He is either being facetious or motivated. HAL has been manufacturing Su-30 MKIs for quite some time now (Phase IV). It has been indigenised to that level – its raw material through the gates to finished product.

      2. BTW who knows the reason why so many major wars were fought at Panipat? Is it like a war stadium where opposing armies come to play? 🙂 What was so special about this place to both the attacker and the defender? Hint: Cavalry vs Infantry has a major bearing on this.

        1. I can see your point and it certainly passes all the tests I can think of. Thanks for the thoughts. But I still wonder what made the differences at the battle of Crecy. And for instance, when you don’t have to ride for 300 kilometers, as could be the case with Indian battles, can’t some of that be overridden?

          1. Muddy ground, uphill terrain, English got better ground. More so at Agincourt where the terrain was basically mush and made French cavalry quite useless. To say that these two battles proved that English Infantry/longbowmen tactics are superior and that cavalry was useless is just stupid. And it’s just really stretching it to compare those conditions to flat Indus and Gangetic plains of the subcontinent where rainfall is highly seasonal and terrain is basically the same most months of the year.

          2. @S Qureshi
            Your knowledge of military is too lacking. To counter the cavalry, the best way is to shoot it down at a distance, use pikes, set traps. For example, in the hundred years war:

            The English longbow was one of the most famous weapons of the medieval period. Though it required extensive training, the longbow could prove devastating on the battlefield and longbow-equipped archers provided the backbone of English forces during the Hundred Years’ War (1337–1453). During this conflict, the weapon proved decisive at victories such as Crécy (1346), Poitiers (1356), and Agincourt (1415). Though it remained in use into the 17th century, the longbow was eclipsed by the arrival of firearms which required less training and permitted leaders to more quickly raise armies for battle.

            https://www.thoughtco.com/hundred-years-war-english-longbow-2361241

            There was a reason that the English were so effective at war.

          3. My previous reply must have went into a blackhole so posting again

            //Your knowledge of military is too lacking. To counter the cavalry, the best way is to shoot it down at a distance, use pikes, set traps.//

            Everyone has played Age of Empires, it seems. However even in AOE cavalry is indispensable. Pikes are less effective once their formation breaks and archers cant defeat a cavalry charge alone on a flat terrain.

            You are over crediting the longbow. No doubt it was an effective weapon but it’s wasnt even as efficient as the composite bows that horse archers or foot archers used in Asia. Even in range, Turkish archers with their composite bows could exceed it. The only thing going for the long bow was that it was cheap to make and required little training. England also had a lot of trees to cut down to make ships and bows.. something the Indus and Gangetic Indian plains lack. Hell the longbow did not even win them the 100 years war. I feel like the lingering romance with the longbow is because of current prevalence of English media and culture due to global colonization (in which the long bow had no part to play).

            Cavalry is a force multiplier, to say that anyone should have ignored it is like fighting World War 2 without tanks. The horse was only defeated when the rifle became accurate enough to tip the odds against it, sometime in the mid 19th century.

          4. Agree with Quereshi here. Longbows were great but English famous battles like Agincourt had more to do with terrain factors than their Longbows. And they dont hold a candle wrt Mongol composite bows.

            On cavalry , the whole Indian subcontinent was won on the back of cavalry, how is it useless? During the battle of tours, French heavy infantry could nullify Arab cavalry, but does that mean cavalry was uselss post 8th century? One swallow doesn’t make a summer

        2. @Ugra
          He was talking about the lack of innovation in medieval India. For example, Krishnadevaraya in 16th century was fighting with medieval weapons; his army lacked gunpowder weapons!!! The defeat of Vijaynagar Empire was set in stone. Do you know why the defeated Vijaynagar army couldn’t do anything to stop the invaders from reaching the capital? With their weapons obsolete, forts obsolete, and with practically no defense against artillery, there was simply no way to do so!

          Europe, on the other hand, was innovating and developing new guns/artillery. Indians, if they were enterprising, could have tried to be abreast of the new developments but chose not to.

          Furthermore, he was stating the fact that Indians simply lacked the mechanism to transfer historical knowledge leading to the repeat of the same mistakes over and over again. He does make the good point of rather than trying to field the same weapons as the adversary, Indians, right now, should make weapons and adopt tactics that the industrial sector can accomplish.
          How does it make sense that we can’t even manufacture an assault rifle for example?

          1. TBF Vijaynagar fall was against the run of play, bit like 2nd battle of Panipat.

            VJ actually did better holding its own against Bahmanis then the weaker breakaway Sultanates. Had they finished the Sultanates in its inception , rather than trying to humor and play them against each other, they would have never suffered reversal. Lacked killer instinct

          2. How does it make sense that we can’t even manufacture an assault rifle for example?

            Well, remind me, how did we win three major wars between 1965 and 1999? With fists and rocks? You have to start understanding the difference between in house variants (Ishapore 1A1) and ground up design (Insas). We have done all three quite successfully – from caliber selection to ammo logistics to downrange lethality.

            AIM is a hotel management graduate – I am not big on credentialism but he stretches it so much that it is all vaporware.

          3. @fulto don’t know what’s so primitive about krishnadevaraya’s army not making much use of gunpowder. His reign was in the very early 1500’s . This was a nascent technology that everyone was adapting to on the fly. Subsequently, VJ armies had mercenary units of portuguese and turk artilleryman. Did they adapt slower than necessary, probably, but their slowness to develop was likely due to stubbornness than lack of awareness.

        3. @girmit
          Krishnadevaraya lacked artillery guns and did not bother to modernise his army; he could have easily obtained then Portuguese who were ready to give him whatever he wanted; both were united by economic interests and religious reasons. On the other hand, Deccan Sultanates had artillery and continued to innovate. And soon, they became strong enough to win the battle. Don’t you find it strange that it took only one battle, i.e., battle of Talikota to break the back of Vijayanagar empire, but Sultanates could always bounce back? This is because military technology of Sultanates became too overwhelming for Vijaynagar army to overcome.

          @Ugra
          Do you know in UP, we have underground factories to manufacture guns https://www.indiatoday.in/india-today-insight/story/uttar-pradesh-s-underground-gun-factories-crank-up-production-1745484-2020-11-30.

          When a country makes guns, it should be state of art. India has no ability to do so. And that is why it is important that we focus on this aspect.

    2. Interesting podcast..

      Unfortuntaely Abhijit Iyer is not a good authority on Islam or its sects, hopefully someone corrects him. Ibn Tamiyya is not the founder of the Hanbali school, nor did he invent ‘takfir’. The Turks also adopted Hanafism simply because it was the most prevalent school of Islam in medieval Persia. They weren’t Salafis.

      1. RAZIB – if u are reading – What r your views on Iyer Mitras Horse theory ?
        I for once see Ugra’s point and concur with it more than Iyer Mitra. – though their count be value in his assertions.
        Ugra Kushal didnt push back at all against Abhijit’s assertions !

        Others ?

  15. now kejriwal is all over english ( and probably hindi channels) advertising his goverment. he looks like a typical indian middle aged , middle class, mid level manager!!!. hope his clansmen will urge him to wear a ‘safari’ , and this will make him into a friendly neighbour hood guptaji !!!.
    how did he loose his cough?

  16. https://twitter.com/drthomasisaac/status/1384889922692263937

    “Kerala had promised that vaccines will be free .Kerala CM declares that promise will be honoured. But that does not mean that we are going to permit the loot by Serum Institute or permit central government to get away with their abdication of responsibilities ”

    A new spate of nationlization may happen once the oppostion is in power

    1. Indian left-leaning politicians don’t have any plans. They have no idea how things will be made to work. They are not pro-poor just anti-rich. Overconfident and unwilling to learn despite un-ending failures. At some point I believed they had grand plans for India, Now I know they just want to get a bigger stage to do grand-standing, micro-manage Indian minds and basically spew BS.

      1. I actually feel India needs a reminder of socialist days. A term or two with the Congress as Rahul heading it, should be enough.

        Both for our ‘free markets but not right wing’ wallas as well as for commies

      2. @BhimRao
        For an entrepreneurial company aka SII — that is just a contract manufacturer of vaccines — sure misses no opportunity to profiteer from vaccines like AstraZeneca for which it did no R&D. Increasing the rate of vaccine from current Rs 150 rate to Rs 400, and charging Rs 600 from public as soon as Centre started playing politics and freed vaccine procurement. This is the God @BhimRao worships and @Saurav supports when the whole country is suffering.
        https://www.livemint.com/news/india/covishield-to-cost-400-per-dose-for-states-600-for-private-hospitals-11618991072705.html

        1. 24 logon ko hua mere ghar pe early in the second wave, including mere nana-nani, baba-dadi, maa, baap, didi, jija, niece… toh yeh farji emotional drama toh mat hi karo. 3 log hospital mein 2 hafte bita ke aaye, 1 abhi bhi andar hai aur oxygen khatam ho gayi thi Kanpur Dehat district mein. Phat ke haath mein aa gayi thi. Duniya bhar ki bheek mangi hai to get into a hospital. Funda aur emotional-drame toh mat hi do mujhe bematlab ke. Ek aadmi puure desh mein kuch kara hai baki sab moo-chodi karne ke alawa kuch nai kiye.

          Rs 400 kuch khaas mehenga nai hai. Doodh bechte hain mere rishtedaar, aur patta pe kheti kartwate hain. Mujhe bewkoof mat samjho ki baklolian bech loge. Rs 50 per liter bikta hai doodh pani-wala, Rs 100 per liter shuddh in District Gonda. Itna bhi sasta nai hai India ki 400 naa de paayein.

          Agar mehenga hai toh negotiate karo, question raise karo kyun mehenga hai, anti-monopoly rules ka use karo, mana kiya kya maine? Par drame mat karo ki loot raha hai. Agar itna hi aasan hai toh baki logon ne kyu nai bana liya? Saal bhar se baithe hain. Lupin hai, Sun hai, Ranbaxy hai, Piramal hai… kya ukhaad liya unhone.

          45K ke 3 oxygen cylinder bhar ke laaye hain sitapur se. 34K ke 2 shot mil rahe hain black mein Remdesivir Delhi mein. Isse kehte hain lutna jo iss desh ka harami middle class karta hai. Sala bachpan se school, coaching, taxi-wala, mess, hostel, RTO, shaadi-tamboo-halwaai sabne bina explanation pel luta hai par sabko keechad uchaalo Ambani pe akaran.

          Sala sussu karne ke liye yahan sulabh nai hai aur sapne hain…

          1. Exactly. All this supposedly ‘super profiteering’ doesn’t occur when you are paying for Oxygen Cylinders and Remdesivir. Only when someone is selling vaccines.

          2. @bhim and Fulto

            Ur comments reminded me of something which Gupta said recently on cut the clutter. That a Pakistani journalist once said to him that there is a misconception in both countries that their leaders / elites are corrupt. This misconception persists because the reality is too hard to swallow. That in reality , the people are corrupt.

        2. @BhimRao
          My well wishes to your family. Close friends of mine live in Lucknow, so I can understand what is happening in UP — and Lucknow specifically. People are dying in the streets, without hospitals, at home; and Government is playing politics and “optics management.”

          Our rulers never fail to be a disappointment to put it mildly. Govt. could have used monopsony powers to make vaccine affordable to everyone. And compensated SII/other companies by capital investment/loans — something that is done by everyone from the US to China. However, it chose to do “blame” management.
          If we could just replace our elites, practically all of our problems will be solved.

          Furthermore, the total cost of vaccination is Rs 1200 for public. I don’t think poor people will be able to afford it. I suppose state vaccination programme is the only way out.

    2. @Saurav
      Spoken like a true “simpleton,” who falls for shiny slogans. According to dictionary, corruption is “dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery.”

      The reality of the nation is this:
      “The top 10% of the Indian population holds 77% of the total national wealth. 73% of the wealth generated in 2017 went to the richest 1%, while 67 million Indians who comprise the poorest half of the population saw only a 1% increase in their wealth.”
      https://www.oxfam.org/en/india-extreme-inequality-numbers
      Exactly where is the person who lives on less than $1 a day doing corruption, for example?

      The fact is that we have corruption because of the lack of competition among the elites resulting in the lack of economic growth and opportunities for people outside the “hallowed” class of India. Just think about it: When does Modi (insert whomsoever you want) start taking rational and beneficial decisions? When the silent majority says enough is enough and rises up to ask for accountability.

      I can go on and on; but it is meaningless. In short, Our unaccountable elites, the economic and administrative system and their misaligned incentives are a problem.

  17. @Saurav
    Bhai I had ranted on future NSA Shahid Raza in the last open thread too.

    https://twitter.com/schaheid/status/1384792632006742016

    “United States should provide a Marshall Plan to both Afghanistan and Pakistan, just like it did to Europe after WW-2. It will be a win-win situation, US will see restoration of good will, economic growth will take place and US might even find a base they want to have. ”

    Itni behaya quom hai yeh! Gajab! Gajab! Dallon mein bhi zara sharam hoti hogi.

    1. LOL, i think he is my best find in last year. This guy keeps me entartained. Was missing Zaid Hamid all these years.

  18. Mod thoda kadak hai mere rants block kar de raha hai toh dil ki baat keh nahi sakta but Bhikharis are back at it:

    “United States should provide a Marshall Plan to both Afghanistan and Pakistan, just like it did to Europe after WW-2. It will be a win-win situation, US will see restoration of good will, economic growth will take place and US might even find a base they want to have”

    https://twitter.com/mahmud2008/status/1384913664260595713

    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWOEzCRGl9s

      Musharraf’s Leaked Video on OBL Raid. One of my all time favorite videos that show how Pakistanis actually behave under stress. But funnily enough in Musharraf’s version of the story he is Bond, Parvez Bond.

      Nazariya, Narrative, Geo-politics, blah blah blah…

    2. I think Pakis are spooked at the growing economic and military cooperation between India and USA, the formation of Quad etc. They know this will result in India getting access to state of the art military tech and the capabilities gap between India and Pakistan which is pretty close now (in some areas Pakistan may still be ahead) can soon become overwhelmingly in favor of India.

      Chinese are stingy and get Pakistan to do their dirty work for almost nothing. Belt and Road projects are a disaster for Pakistan. Chinese armament which Pakistan gets is shoddy.

      Pakis need USA to shower its largesse on it again. USA leaving Afghanistan may take away the only leverage they have in their bilateral dealings.

      Its good to see them suffer. There needs to be justice for Mumbai 2008 terror attacks.

      1. If Pakis had played their cards right and not had this obsession with Islam and Kashmir they could have become South Korea today and left India far behind.

        They had USA support since the 1950s, their society never flirted with Socialism to an extent India’s did and generally Punjabis, Pashtuns etc are a hard working, grasping people.

        But all they want to do is to get a sugar daddy who would bankroll their constant low-intensity war against India.

        1. Nai bhai ye toh zyada ho gaya. South Korea aur South Koreans bahut alag breed hai. Pakistan ke bas ki baat nai hai. They are too bakchod and too muslim to make it that far. Maybe like Malaysia in future but highly unlikely.

      2. “They know this will result in India getting access to state of the art military tech and the capabilities gap between India and Pakistan which is pretty close now (in some areas Pakistan may still be ahead) can soon become overwhelmingly in favor of India.”

        LOL are you still living in the 60s? Pakistan has accepted India’s military superiority a long long time ago.

  19. there was an ameriacn madrasi ( was it subramanian? venkatraman??) who had predicted the kind of covid numbers we are getting now during the first wave.
    . he was mocked and laughed.
    hope he is given credit.

  20. There was a testing drive in my society last week. Out of the 400-odd people tested, 61 came out positive. That’s one in seven.

    Aarogya Setu shows almost 500 infected people in my locality. Might even be an undercount.

    Absolute fuckall dystopia.

      1. Delhi.
        I know many folks who tested negative then but have tested positive this week. So the actual numbers are only growing.

    1. True, In my city Nagpur, the number is 1 in 5. Death rate is over 1.4% and is increasing. No Lockdown, No “Night curfew” will stop it. Vaccination drive is getting slower day by day due to sheer panic among the residents.

  21. This is kind of what I was expecting during the first wave, but the numbers dropped surprisingly fast back then.

    The number of active cases in the US, France and Brazil still surprise me though (given their populations).

  22. Biden is showing India its place.

    Not too long ago, desi liberals and diaspora wokes like Gaurav Sabnis thought that Biden was going to save democracy in India.

    A good lesson in realpolitik. Talk is cheap.

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