193 thoughts on “Open Thread – 09/04/2021 – Brown Pundits”

  1. Anyone here with a good understanding of macro-economics?
    Central banking, effect of demography on monetary policy etc. That sort of thing.

    Wanted some input for a science fiction story idea I’ve been working on. Let me know if we could chat sometime.

    1. Mig 35 is a twin engine full-fledged multirole fighter, definitely not a trainer/light-attack plane.

      Pakistanis say that the competition is between JF-17 and Korean T-50. 50-50

      Indians say that Malaysians are fed-up of hard to maintain Russian jet engines. So the fight is between Tejas and T-50. 20-80

      Koreans say T-50 will win. 100-0

      Chinese say T-50 will win but JF-17 has a slim chance. 70-30.

      Malaysians say T-50 will win but JF-17 has slim chance. 80-20

      All kinds of theories going around. My odds are 70-25-5 for T-50, JF-17 and Tejas, because (a) India is no China in defense sales and (b) India-Malaysia sometimes don’t get along.

  2. One of the real “Baniya/Lala” vs “Lohar” battles shaping up in Indian EV business – Ola Electric vs Ather.

    Tarun and Swapnil have made their baby from scratch with IIT Madras incubation from 2013 onwards – doing everything from suspension design to electrical engineering to motors. They went through several redesign loops. Finally they started with a market prototype (which has now been discontinued) before settling with a final market proof design – Ather 450X. They are on their way to selling 20000 vehicles this year – they have localised 99% of the vehicle components, built up a supplier network and created distribution channels. They have rationalised models and prices and done a full round of commerical evaluation as well.

    Bhavish Aggarwal has been a late entrant – he has bought out the full stake in the Dutch startup – Etergo – based at Amsterdam. Etergo was self funded with the public before Covid hit. Bhavish and Masayoshi Son (Japanese Baniya) clearly did their homework before deciding to go with Etergo. Yes Bank brings a different level of capital to the game – they plumped enough money for the group to start building a massive factory in Krishnagiri, Tamilnadu even before the vehicle went through its localisation trials in India. Again this is literally a Baniya game – through and through.

    I don’t think that Ola and Ather are going to be head-on competitors – they are actually competing with the ICE two-wheelers. The market is large enough for these two players to fight comfortably without hurting each other. Still – an interesting case study between Lohar and Lala/Baniya mentalities (@Bhimrao’s words). I personally think that Ather has a leg up here – they are confident about their product and have thoroughly mastered the tradeoff between engineering risk and the Indian commercial sweet spot.

    Indian two wheelers guzzle about 60% of India’s total petrol sales (Swarajyamag report) – that is about 45 billion USD per year. Even if 10% of that amount is switched to EV, it represents a positive tailwind for the rupee’s appreciation vs the dollar. I think that we might even get to switching 50% of Indian two wheelers to EVs before 2030. Given the Indian middle class proclivities for penny pinching and rising fuel prices.

    Sidenote – India’s first battery Gigafactory is coming up in either Chennai or Hosur. LucasTVS along with 24M are the backers of the project. The size is going to be 10GWH. I suspect that TVS Motors will actually have a lead over either Ather or Ola in terms of vertical integration of components due to battery production.

  3. @Ugra, @Bhimrao, @Prats

    I know that they haven’t released a lot of data yet but based on what we know, what are your thoughts on form energy’s iron air battery

    1. Bhai woh IIT M waale?

      Don’t take their claims too seriously till they publish in Nature. NSF and American industry has been throwing away money like water for battery break throughs. If it happens it will be here.

    2. Iron-air is at a pretty experimental stage. It’s more likely that we’ll see Aluminium-air batteries in the field first.

      Even so their impact is not going to be as significant as lithium-ion batteries over the next 10 years. Hope to see hydrogen gain more traction from the second half of the decade for marine, heavy road vehicles, and probably long haul aviation.

      Search for ‘The Clean Hydrogen Ladder’ in case you wish to read up more on it.

      Invest India organised a Green Hydrogen Summit last week. You should check out some of the talks there in case you want to delve deeper into it from a policy perspective.

  4. https://e-vehicleinfo.com/leading-electric-two-wheeler-companies-in-india-by-market-share/

    I expect Okinawa and Ampere won’t last. I suspect they are rebadged Chinese maal anyways.

    It would be interesting indeed. I love Aether, their founders have inspired a generation of Indian engineers. I personally know people who have were their employee # single digits. They have Hero(world’s largest two wheeler manufacturer) behind them, they have already annihilated Bajaj’s (world’s most valuable two wheeler company) electric Chetak.

    So my money is still on Ather+Hero. Most Indians are very sensible when it comes to buying two-wheelers. Everyone knows that Honda Activa is much better than a TVS Jupiter, TVS Apache is objectively superior to Bajaj Pulsar. Every niche is taken Hero Dawn then Bajaj Platina then Hero Splendor. Resale value to maintenance cost have all been figured and accounted for, companies barely make any money on the bikes, exactly same components go into different brands. I don’t think this is a market where Jio can happen. But I am a biased Lohar and Ola already has 100,000 bookings for team Bania.

    Makes me happy that Indian 2-wheeler industry would remain vibrant and cutting-edge.

    1. Bhavish has been playing the classic Ambani game of “hype and sell” to both investors and customers alike. Tarun/Swapnil have been playing like Sachin, “…..let my batting speak for me….”. Somewhere I find myself rooting for Bhavish because we need a Virat in Indian business. For too long, we have been treated to sober, conservative Indian men telling us that we are good by showing us graphs and numbers. Bhavish clearly has a core, I cannot imagine Masayoshi making a bet on no evidence. I liked it when Bhavish challenged the Govt’s proposal to relax import duties for Tesla when the rest – Tatas, Mahindras, TVS – were silent. Also the reality is that Ola’s main vehicle – the aggregator – hasn’t made any money so far, like all other unicorns.


      The trade imbalance is primarily due to the excessive hydrocarbon import bill. I have seen calculations that the EV boom in India will put India on a path to rupee appreciation via trade surplus. There is appreciation of this context in both BJP and Congress. We could see the rupee settling in the 50-55 zone vs USD if we cut even 30% of our fuel imports. A lot of institutional investors know the outsized impact of the EV revolution in India.

  5. Bhim. Just tell me which one of the lot is india”s tesla so that I can invest in their stocks after ipo. Can’t keep track of all this baniyas.

    1. Bhai, I get this wrong almost all the time. But at the moment, Ather Energy is gareebi-Tesla, their engineering seems very solid. I don’t know if they will go public.

      Ola electric is the challenger with huge money from Softbank behind them. They are raising money but not through IPO. They will sell their scooter in the US too, maybe even Europe.

      Among top dogs Hero reigns supreme for now as Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha have not been serious. Bajaj is in tatters, TVS is trying to build electric batteries first.

      Expect many more to try their luck, maybe Mahindra and RE. The auto parts manufacturing and ancillaries market is so good in India that ~ 10 years ago I knew someone who started a full tractor making company by just assembling the parts from Mahindra or Sonalika suppliers.

      1. Bhai, what do you think the impact of the EV revolution would be on the auto parts manufacturing sector (as EVs require less parts than conventional vehicles), is there any niche that these manufacturers would be easily able to shift to

        1. I had read an article that had said that auto ancillaries can be shifted to military production. While this can work in India, what about the countries that already have a defence industry

        2. The engine and transmission people might get hurt. In India I remember Force motors makes BMW and Merc engines and Bharat forge makes axles. I am guessing that by the time IC engines get replaced a lot of the production machinery would be old and amortized, no new R&D expenditure on IC would have happened for many years so it would be a quiet death. These people will have ample time to find other ways of making money. In the medium term (25-ish years) IC automobile will still be around in a big way.

          Defense is not one industry. The volumes are far lower than automobile. Also India barely does any capital acquisitions as all the defense budget gets spent on salaries and pensions.

          Most likely people will move on to different products. Look at the tail light sub assemblies in American cars and then look at the transparent lunch boxes of Indian cars. Someone will do all these fancy complicated stuff too.

          Pakistanis drive shit bikes costing 25K INR, in India even the cheapest (and better) bikes cost 40K INR. I am guessing these ancillaries people will move to higher value sub assemblies for electric vehicles.

          Finally, these MSME lala-ji people are very-very bright and thia is all they do. They will find a way.

  6. IIT Kharagpur are coming up with a multi continent assessment of archaeological finds of Swastika. Giacomo Benedetti tweeted an article about it.

    There is no word for the symbol in Dravidian or Austro-Asiatic languages. The IE loan Swastika is used for it.

    The Indus Valley Civilization presents numerous examples of the Swastika on terracotta, seals, jewellery and pottery.

    The earliest recorded attestation in textual tradition for the Swastika occurs in Panini, who details its meaning and significance.

  7. Just touched down in India. Lol what is it with this place and political ads. I saw 6 massive Modi pictures before I’d even left the Delhi airport. Once outside I saw more Kejriwals, and a few BJP ones as well, but seriously what’s going on, it’s not even an election year.

    The air is palpably cleaner than it used to be. Less street dogs as well. Overall an improvement from my last trip a few years back.

    The architecture is as chaotic as ever, everything is crammed together in a way that would never be seen in America.

    1. @ H.M. Brough

      Your anecdotal observation confirms the widely held view that BJP is top dog in the marketing and attention persistence game.

    2. The first time I visited Mumbai I saw giant cut outs of NCP. I didn’t even know that there was a party called NCP

    1. Absolute fake news. Infact so much fake news has been circulating recently by Indian media on Afghanistan that anything they are reporting should be taken with a truckload of Himalayan salt. They were still reporting pro NRF claims on hundreds of dead Taliban fighters while TB fighters this morning are having breakfast in the capital after the capital was conquered last night.

      So any news on mainstream Indian news Channel that claims a NRF or ex Afg govt twitter handle as it’s source should simply be discarded.

      1. So we should trust Pakistani journalism? Or DG ISPR? Washington Post? New York Times? Al Jazeera? What are your sources please tell us.

    1. This is basically the Taliban pleading for money. Best case for China, the Taliban get the money they need from the Gulf (Iran will be furious), worst case, the plea becomes a threat.

  8. Found something to settle the great Gangu vs Indus “debate”…

    …the first one along the Caucasus is India, a great and populous kingdom, inhabited by many Indian nations, of which the greatest is that of the Gandaridae, against whom Alexander did not make a campaign because of the multitude of their elephants. The river Ganges, which is the deepest of the region and has a width of thirty stades, separates this land from the neighbouring part of India. Adjacent to this is the rest of India, which Alexander conquered, irrigated by water from the rivers and most conspicuous for its prosperity. Here were the dominions of Porus and Taxiles, together with many other kingdoms, and through it flows the Indus River, from which the country received its name.

    Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca historica 18.6.1-2



    So the Greeks called India + Pakistan + Bangladesh = India

    But recognized the Ganges people as a distinct nation. And the largest / greatest (most Indian if you will) of the Indian nations.

    And recognized the Indus people conquered by Alexander as smaller “Indian nations”.

    1. @Narasingha Deva

      The author runs a sourcing firm so he should know. He notes that while big Indian firms can compete, the quality drops off a cliff once you reach into the MSME-sector, wheras for China they could find hundreds of firms that met strict Western quality control standards.

      This tallies nicely with my argument that China sequenced its reform correctly – it focused on basic education first and basic manufacturing first – whereas India foolishly tried to be high-end despite being very poor. An artifact of caste politics and misguided Soviet economic influence, with its emphasis on heavy industry.

      The kind of workers a big Indian firm can pull is nearly limitless, it’s different for small manufacturers. They can’t often recruit the very best and must rely more on local talent, where the *average* skill level matters much more rather than the top. If your education system is insanely biased towards the top – as India’s still is – then small manufactures will quickly find it difficult. So none of these findings shouldn’t surprise us.

      This skill-biased development model is India’s original sin. Modi did a few promising initiatives like ‘Skill India’ but the guy who was running it was talking openly that they can’t fix 16 years of poor public education with a 1 year programme. Rest assured, the scheme got quietly buried.

      1. Why Apprentice-ship never works in India?

        Some of my family members and family-friends now(late 2000s onwards) run manufacturing and construction MSMEs. Every good (high IQ, organized, motivated) 18yo welder or painter or machine operator leaves for Dubai within 2 years or starts their own business. The owners who started out just like these young apprentices i.e. learning at a bigger company and then going on their own consider this a personal insult. So owners go into petty mentality and start acting like Arab army officers i.e., withholding skills and not giving promotions or managing experience etc to keep the young employees from UP, Bihar from ever leaving.

        Specially true for Marwari businesses, they micromanage so much that they end up not hiring any decent engineers.

        Another Indian MSME obsession is diversification, even the pettiest of manufacturer focuses on doing 5 different side businesses and not owning what they know best. Leads to crazy cost saving methods, aversion to taking loans etc.

        These people are sons/grandsons of subsistence farmers. Growing balls and facing the world head-on will take time.

        Salaries are already ~ USD200/month for even low skill labor in U.P. cities. All the decent people now get life insurance for employees, set up PF-gratuity, so things are definitely changing.

        1. @Bhimrao

          Thanks for your personal anecdote. I think your point about the skilled blue-collar worker shortage reinforces the argument: it’s harder to find such skilled people in India for the reasons I mentioned in OP, so these workers have many more options and fiercer competition among firms. This leads to the paranoia that you outlined among businessmen.

          One probably can’t stop some amount of emigration, but if the labour pool of skilled blue-collar workers were much larger (as it is in China due to better basic education), then this problem would less hurtful for Indian firms as they could recover turnover far better.

          More speculatively, I think there could also be greater cultural aversion to manual labour in India than in China, although this is not my expert area so I’d be happy to be corrected (I think this is heavily dependent on specific caste and SES, but again, that’s just my outsider’s perspective). At any rate, I’ve been reading news lately that Chinese firms are finding it harder to recruit teenagers and youngsters to factories as young Chinese increasingly prefer air-conditioned office work. Losing the edge – and an opportunity for India?

          1. At any rate, I’ve been reading news lately that Chinese firms are finding it harder to recruit teenagers and youngsters to factories as young Chinese increasingly prefer air-conditioned office work. Losing the edge – and an opportunity for India?

            One of the problems is that the areas of the country where labour is aplenty do not have the right law&order and infra to attract industries. On the other hand, areas with these qualities have pretty expensive labour.

            For instance, my company has a factory in the outskirts of Greater Noida. We have had a pretty bad experience with hiring local Jaat, Gurjar, Muslim boys.

            Most of them have decent family wealth through farm lands. So they work only to kill time. The motivation to learn and grow is lacking.
            Often, they are a source of nuisance. Just the other day, one of these guys beat up a vegetable vendor. There was a huge commotion and an FIR was registered against him. Then a couple of days later, another guy turned up on the factory floor drunk.

            Stuff like this keeps happening all the time. The people in-charge of production are pushing to hire more non-locals. But that would require arranging for transport to-and-from Noida where migrant workers mostly stay. So it’s slower. It will happen eventually.

            We have also considered having all-women shifts. Women are generally more diligent and less disruptive. The problem there is again of law&order and arranging for transportation, especially in evenings.

            We do have an air-conditioned factory btw.

            I think this will slowly change as some industry starts to tickle into Eastern UP and Bihar. I am not really sure what the governments are doing to fix this.

          2. For Industry job, clear pagaar chart:
            Isse Kam mein India nai aaunga: Teen laakh/Mahina
            Seriously sochunga: Chaar laakh/Mahina
            Maa ch@[email protected] Amreeka, main jaa raha apne desh: panch laakh/mahina

            Also yeh sab product manager, data scientist, type sab chutiyaap kaam nai karna hai apne ko.

            Bhai ek OCR company hai Gurgaon mein, Prats tumhare old startup type kuch karti hai. 40 lakh de rahi hai naye employees ko. Founder idhar se padh ke gaya ek bakchod launda hai, aur Standard Charter bank ko phansa rakha hai as client. Billion dollar valuation hone wala hai sun rahe hain uska.

      2. The author is pretty clear that the lack of quality is more a lack of standards and expectations than a lack of skilled labor. You only reach the standards you either aspired to or were forced to.

        Computer Science education in India is not all that great, we still export more software and IT services than most developed countries.

      3. I’m not going to lie but a very sensible argument you have made. What’s more laughable is the current “Hindu” regime is trying to bring Information revolution in Indian agriculture. I kid you not, they have launched a scheme to integrate digital India and Indian agriculture to ” increase farmer’s income by information dissemination”. It’s still not changing its stupid policies on Indian agriculture. They haven’t achieved sufficient mechanisation to upgrade for information revolution. Infact the policy is very clear- we will “leapfrog” into the information age.

    1. Iyerval is cherry-picking. The same businesses contribute multiple times the same amount to BJP leaning and BJP proxies. Have you ever wondered how is BJP mopping up those electoral bonds??

  9. bhumra did well, hope rehane will find form. ironically, hardly any south indians, inspite of having lots of talent.

    1. As i have said b4, India is mostly N-India with others somewhat chipping in (in terms of culture as well as religion)

    1. Are baap re baap, mallu menon should learn to first stand up to commies in his own state before giving lectures.

  10. https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/brahmin-welfare-schemes-social-justice-7495186/

    “The brahminparishad.telangana.gov.in announces proudly that “BRAHMIN stands for Broad and Brilliant in Thinking, Righteous and Religious in Livelihood, Adroit and Adventurous in Personality, Honesty and Humanity in Quality, Modesty and Morality in Character, Innovation and Industry in Performance and Nobility and Novelty in Approach.” The form available for issuing a Brahmin caste certificate in Telangana asks for Gothram details, as if the state were some pandit in Haridwar. There is, of course, a colossal irony, or perhaps deep historical ignorance, in the Andhra Scheme being named after Veda Vyasa. Veda Vyasa would not have counted as a Brahmin eligible under this scheme.”

    I see the Modi-Naidu acronym virus has caught up to state govts

    1. The author of the post is the person whose father got the Senior Administrative post based on his caste affiliation and in the emergency era administered the stringent temporary laws to stifle dissent. And the newspaper belongs to the editor who got arrested but released much earlier than the rest of the journalists because he belonged to the “same caste” as the person who administered the law on him. It’s so entertaining to read the Pratap Mehta’s works in the Goenka’s “Indian Express”. And I want to clarify that the person is misleading the argument that 1993 SC judgement upheld ” historical injustices”. SC rejected the argument. It upheld the counter view that “any class not caste who can demonstrate that social and educational backwardness through data that such people are NOT adequately represented in the public services shall be in the opinion of this court eligible for such action”. This was the argument that led to Pasmanda Muslim getting reservation in the OBC category. Even though personally I disagree with the view of ” any class” argument and support “historical injustices to certain class/caste” Mehta and his friend’s newspaper is doing intellectual prostitution and attacking a scheme just because it has a term “brahmin” attached to it. The author has no problem when a similar scheme is being sponsored by state government of Telangana for “muslims” and secularism goes out for a toss. Then the intellectual prostitutes defend the scheme by showing “adequate data” why such scheme is justified.

      1. Unreserved , unrestricted and unquestioning support for “caste reservations” in education and jobs by “progressives” and leftists and liberals has backfired. Reservations on caste basis as the only and major path to ‘social justice’ has been turned upside down by Indian politics

      2. https://swarajyamag.com/news-brief/what-baghel-seniors-derogatory-diatribe-against-brahmins-and-subsequent-arrest-reveals-about-bhupesh-baghels-politics

        During a recent visit to poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, Baghel senior called for a “boycott” of Brahmins and described them as “foreigners”. He urged people not to let Brahmins enter their villages.

        “Brahmins will be sent from the river Ganga to Volga. They are foreigners. They consider us untouchables and are snatching all our rights. I will urge villagers to not let Brahmins enter their village,” Baghel senior had said.

        Baghel senior is known for his anti-Brahmin views, in line with the ‘Aryan racial theory’. His book on the theme was banned in 2000 by the Congress government at the time.

    1. This opinion post is what I call follows the confirmation bias. We need to be absolutely clear that 29% of Kerala and 28% of Bengal will always vote for “one party” no matter what you do or NOT. This has been demonstrated by the voting patterns observed in 2021 elections and 2019 elections. Ex Ante surveys whether you will vote for ‘x’ or not are false as the post facto results data released by Election commission correlated with the census data. The study didn’t speak on the census data and the population demographics at all while addressing the basic question “why Y state votes for X party”? Infact I see zero math and statistical account which tries to map on the curve the voting pattern. Pew polls are the closest to such analysis being carried on the Indian demographics. Somehow we are told from the study that literacy is a “factor” in voting behaviour. I see zero correlation of such a thing any of the constituencies be it Mumbai Delhi or Kerala. An example is Hyderabad constituency which has 53% of ‘X’ people, whether literate or NOT the total number of votes polled and the “winner” is always known to the local populace because such analysts don’t bother to see the demographic of the Hyderabad constituency. Same goes for Varanasi, Calcutta, Wayanad etc. Never trust such stupid opinions

  11. Just Delhi Things:
    Found out at an office party today that the wife of a senior colleague of mine is a very famous Twitter academic.
    She was asking for my Twitter handle. Lol. Had to make an excuse to avoid that line of conversation.
    I wonder what all cancelable material she would have found over there.

      1. Haha. Definitely not Audrey. More Ganga-Jamuni style person.

        It’s fun to talk to such people even if you disagree with them. Speaking in pretty chaste Hindustani with old idioms and all.

        ‘Woh mujhe topi pehnani ki koshi kar raha tha’ – referring to someone trying to bluff her.

    1. 2013 mein rfp hua tha 2015 mein jeete the, ab 2021 mein order hua hai! Subhanallah! kya furti hai…

      btw abhi dekhna yeh 100+ aur order honge to replace An-32s.

  12. https://theprint.in/opinion/hinduphobia-is-a-reality-scholars-at-dismantling-global-hindutva-conference-must-know/728983/

    Long have I noted the utter folly of India’s embrace of the US. The US Deep State viscerally resents Hindu nationalism. Unlike China, its fangs cut deep into the Indian elite and can shape its opinion, taste and even loyalty.

    I understand the military and geographic anxieties, but the long-term threat to India’s internal balance isn’t coming from Beijing, but from the halls of elite power in America.

  13. side question, why do you guys substitute the PH to F, and the F to PH? Should it not be:

    फुर्ती = phurti

    and not furti

    what dialect is this

    1. @S Qureishi
      ‘ फुर्ती’
      I think it’s unusual for a pakistani to know how to write hindi , so I’m curious to know how you learned it or did you use something like google translate ?

      1. I learnt Devanagari. Although I have not yet put any effort in practising reading it past elementary school level. But I know the letters.

        Interesting though is that the F is a foriegn sound like Z, x, ɣ etc.. not part of any other Indian languages except Urdu.. and usually these words are omitted in favor of J, kh, g etc in Hindi.. because the dots beneath the letter are not used..
        but in case of Ph to F, its peculiar because F is the foreign sound denoted with a dot and it replaces the native sound Ph and it’s definitely not because of Urdu influence. So I presumed it would be due to some other local language.

        1. Whenever something like this happens i am reminded of the whole Kulbhushan Jadhav incident. For the longest time Pak channels called him Kulbhushan Yadav because they hadnt come across surname called Jadhav.

          Also whats up with calling Modi, Narinder Mudi?

          1. Well J and O both exist in Urdu and correctly pronounced… so Jhadav to Yadav may just be a mistake, while Modi to Mudi may be an intentional slight.

            The only confusion Urdu speakers have are for Hindi words ending in V because this is denoted by the same letter when written so unfamiliarity with the pronounciation can lead to mistake.. for example Pulav becomes Pulao and now it’s standard Pulao.. and Dev can sometimes be pronounced as Deo.

        2. @ S Qureishi
          Could it be due to english. It has ‘ph’ sounds but I feel they are not strong and are similar to f

    2. “side question, why do you guys substitute the PH to F, and the F to PH”

      it’s an example of phonological shift in progress. mostly the change is from /ph/ -> /f/. /ph/ phoneme is pretty much going extinct in spoken hindi, at least in urban, delhi veriety.

      i have no explanation for this, but i have a feeling that this is due to the influence of english, where only /f/ sound exists. more exposure to /f/ sound due to the prevalence of english has made it the dominant phoneme. at least that is what i tend to think.

      most urban indians now pronounce devanagri letter फ, incorrectly of course, as /f/. so they would wrongly pronounce phool (flower) as fool, and phir (again) as fir. it sounds jarring to my ears. most will even be surprised if you point it out to them that correct pronunciation of फूल is /phool/, and not /fool/. since the difference between /f/ and /ph/ is only that of a nuqta in devanagri, the error gets compounded as the nuqta is often overlooked in print media.

      interestingly the problem doesnt occur in urdu. /f/ and /ph/ are represented by very different looking letters ( ف vs پھ , as you must be aware). so i have observed that urdu-speakers tend to speak these sounds more accurately.

      1. I have never heard this same shift from /ph/ to /f/ in even the most English immersed elites in Pakistan, as they tend to retain this distinction.. so I don’t think it has to do with English. It’s interesting because usually the F to ph shift is understandable in India, the Z to J shift is also understandable, but the Ph to F shift is very interesting because its going the opposite way

          1. No, most English medium schools are UK based Cambridge system offering GCE O and A levels.

            US may have some cultural influence though but not in foundational English education

  14. I just asked coz I see a lot of times the ph is interchanged with f. Like phir becomes fir. etc. I thought this is due to some local language influencing the change

    1. “I thought this is due to some local language influencing the change“

      Could be, but the more likely reason is thar it’s shorter to write it with a ‘f’ ( now that I think of it, I’ve heard it being said both ways. So, who knows, maybe the dialect thing is true)

    1. Alternate Video Title:“Leftoids Seethe for 1 hour over the fact that India is putting its foot down and cracking down on Maoist&Jihadi Supporters”

  15. https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Why-The-UAE-Gave-Pakistan-An-Oil-Concession-For-The-First-Time-Ever.amp.html

    Why The UAE Gave Pakistan An Oil Concession For The First Time Ever

    the awarding last week of the first ever oil concession to it by the UAE can be regarded as a signal that despite its history of double dealings with the U.S. over Islamic terrorism, Washington has not yet lost all hope that Islamabad can remain at least partly under U.S. influence.

  16. https://m.economictimes.com/news/economy/finance/jp-morgan-pnb-kpmg-among-latest-cos-at-gates-of-gift-city/amp_articleshow/86052744.cms

    JP Morgan, PNB, KPMG among latest firms at GIFT City’s gates

    The number of entities at GIFT City rose to 265 this year from 140 in 2019 with banking transactions exceeding $125 billion in value by August. The authorities are likely to approve the applications cited above, taking the count to 283, said people aware of the matter. There has been a 62% rise in the number of entities setting up operations in GIFT City in the past year.

    It got a big push with the likes of Deutsche, HSBC, Citigroup and Bank of America, Standard Chartered and Barclays opening offices to facilitate rising Indian trade as well as capital movement. Recently, Axis Bank sold its maiden additional tier 1 offshore bonds from GIFT City.

  17. Seriously wtf is it with Azaans at ungodly hours here…this is worse than having to live next to rowdy college kids.

  18. Kudos to India for ignoring US hype re Invermectin (and Chloroquine). In SL Invermectin is only available the blackmarket. (hearsay) tablet over USD 10. Should be a few US cents (or few SL rupees)

    The US is trying to ban invermectin because they want to people to use the much much more expensive remdesvir. Plenty of venal, corrupt doctors like did not “fund bat virus” Fauci who will echo corrupt big pharmas message.

    It’s a subtle message that has been faithfully echoed by the corporate media: ivermectin, a tried-and-tested drug that has won its discoverers a Nobel Prize for the impact it has had on human health over the last 35 years, should only be given to animals.

    There are certain parallels with the furore whipped up over hydroxychloroquine last year. But the case is weaker this time, primarily because IVM is one of the safest medicines on the planet and was widely recognised as such until this pandemic.

    As a 2017 article in Nature noted, ivermectin, perhaps more than any other drug, “is a drug for the world’s poor. For most of this century, some 250 million people have been taking it annually to combat two of the world’s most devastating, disfiguring, debilitating and stigma-inducing diseases, Onchocerciasis and Lymphatic filariasis”

    Since the country began its last wave of infections, in March, no state has contained the virus as effectively as Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous region with 230 million inhabitants. If it were a
    country, UP would be the world’s sixth most populous, sandwiched between Pakistan (5th) and Nigeria (7th). UP has been using IVM longer than any other Indian state, including as a prophylaxis for people who come in contact with the disease. The numbers (both in terms of cases and deaths) speak for themselves. The average number of cases per day over the last seven days was just 28 — in a region with a population larger than Brazil’s! Brazil’s daily average is more than 21,000 cases.

  19. https://twitter.com/anantrambachan/status/1436026998384640003

    “If an Hindu organization sweepingly denigrates an entire community as anti-Hindu and Hinduphobic and represent them as an urgent threat to the Hindu tradition and to the safety of Hindu children is it surprising that some are motivated to make violent threats?

    Hindu organizations cannot claim to speak for Hindus and violate the fundamental norms of the tradition about good speech. We cannot ignite fires and claim innocence when the flames spread.”

    As said b4, the Heretic is more dangereous than the infidel.

    Lesser Asabiya=Better Asabiya.

  20. https://twitter.com/FilmUpdates/status/1436039812763590656

    “Usher, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and Julianne Hough will host competition series ‘The Activist’.

    Activists go head-to-head in challenges to promote their causes, with their success measured via online engagement, social metrics, and hosts’ input.

    I like how Hindu right is surreptitiously invading Hollywood causes now. Keep it up

  21. @Scorpion Eater
    You should write your theory (about /ph/ and /f/) in a place where it can be read by more people than in a comment on open thread, it is very interesting

  22. i get this feeling that just like Hanuman was elevated from a minor diety to a subaltern one during the Bhakti movement, Ganesh/Ganpati seems to be the diety for the last 100 years for Hindutva.

  23. https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/indias-interests-wont-be-served-by-demonising-taliban-7499797/

    Some jewels from ex Indian diplomat. I shrudder to think that these folks handled our diplomacy in the past. But then again , no surprise.

    “The Indian policies are at a crossroads. Continued bandwagoning with the US makes no sense. Indian diplomacy should harmonise with the regional capitals, including Beijing, which can be a natural ally on issues of terrorism. Breathing life into the RIC platform can be a pragmatic next step. The paradox is, with Delhi’s “Kabul option” having plummeted to ground zero, Pakistan’s comfort level may improve now.

    The bottom line is that India’s vital interests remain to be secured. Therefore, the nascent conversation with the Taliban must be carried forward. Afghan sensitivities must be borne in mind, in words and deeds”

    1. I don’t even like Jaishankar. I don’t think Nirmala or Jaishankar deserve their position. It is not a North Indian bias because I don’t think that Kovind is deserving either. These people bring in zero value.

      1. I think Nirmala lucked out with Jaitley’s death and all the other Modi fav’s (Shah, Rajnath, Piyush,Pradhan) were already handling significant potfolios. Plus BJP has to throw some bones to regions which havent voted for it, so that they can capitalize later.

        Jaishankar gets one thing right. That he unbashedly pro-US. If nothing, then his legacy of India finally tilting towards US to formalize a lasting partnership, i can live with that.

  24. Professors Syed Rezavi and Irfan Habib from Aligarh Muslim University peddle extreme disinformation into the Indian media hoping that no-one will look. They write that Aligarh was renamed from Ramgarh by a Maratha General called Najaf Ali Khan.

    Twitter user Bharadwaj (ex-True Indology) thoroughly debunks this in a fascinating thread.


    The subject is interesting – but apart from that, it sheds light on the new reality. Once upon a time, Marxists were the rebels in the social order, savvy with innovation and fighting tradition with new age instruments like print and radio. Today you can see how much dislocated they are with technology. What did they even think?

    Bharadwaj brings material from Jadunath Sarkar, JR Hutchinson and French sources to thoroughly discredit these University level professors. All within a day!!

    The story of Hindutva is also the story of old control towers (print, universities) kneeling before the new (twitter, whatsapp). There is a lot of angst among old marxists in relation to the tremendous distributed power of the Hindutva ranks.

    And what does everyone think? Will Yogi pull the trigger and rename Aligarh?

    1. Once upon a time, Marxists were the rebels in the social order, savvy with innovation and fighting tradition with new age instruments like print and radio. Today you can see how much dislocated they are with technology. What did they even think?

      This is true of old school Marxists. Modern day iterations of them, which includes the entire brigade organizing that anti-Hindutva conference are much more tech savvy than their right wing counterparts.

      While these people gleefully peddle non-sense, the Hindutva folks can’t seem to do much except hyper-ventilate on Twitter.

      Now you could say that this helps BJP win elections so it works. I’d agree. But the leftists had given up on that game a long time ago. They are tilting at a different lever – western capital and the church. This flank is pretty much unguarded right now.

      People like Makarand Paranjape are woefully unequipped to deal with data and dismantle the dismantling Hindutva crowd.

      An 8% growth rate sustained over 5 years is obviously going to shut most people up for a while. A resurgence in Islamic terror would help as well. Now it’d be interesting to see if both GDP and Islamic terror can grow fast enough before Hinduism is declared a radioactive abomination.

      Ideally, it shouldn’t matter. Like it doesn’t to China. But Indians are still too dependent on the west, rather than it being the other way round in China’s case.

    1. Someone should organize a “dismantling global Hinduphobia” conference as a response to this.

      On a side note “Hinduism” vs “Hindutva” distinction seems big in India.

      I don’t see this as much in the West.I think in the West they conceptualize “Hindutva” as Hindu extremism.

      So for eg. they imagine Hindutva to be more extremely discriminatory on caste (like a casteist Hindu alt-right) rather than caste egalitarian.

      1. Neither in the west nor in India there much difference between hindutva and Hinduism.

        This folks who argue that are non / less Hindus who do not want to come across as Hindu- phobic because it’s political ( in india ) and academically ( in usa ) suicidal

      2. https://twitter.com/hatepatroller/status/1436844558256680961?s=21

        “ DGH speaker Akanksha Mehta

        “I emphasize, without hesitation, that Hindutva is inseparable without Hinduism. And arguments that Hindutva is not Hinduism are deeply dangerous..& will not lead us to the future we want”

        There it is, in their own words. This is a conference of HATE“

        ☝️ as I have pointed only the less/ non Hindus play with this semantics. The Hindu core knows what’s its all about.

  25. https://www.google.com/amp/s/indianexpress.com/article/india/as-ford-takes-the-exit-route-from-india-dealers-urge-govt-to-step-in-7503427/lite/

    As Ford takes the exit route from India, dealers urge govt to step in

    I blame the high gst rates for this. Based on what I know, it would’ve been better if the sharp corporate tax cut in 2019 was instead a milder one along with cuts in gst. But of course they had to overcompensate because of introducing the idiotic wealth tax

  26. Makarand Paranjape has analysed the affiliation of the 727 scholars from 268 institutions who are signatories to the “Dismantling Global Hindutva” conference.


    The biggest contributors from Indian universities are –

    1. JNU
    2. BITS Pilani
    3. Delhi University

    Again from the Gangetic Hindu Heartland – dimwits who are now mainstreaming their dhimmi-hood.

  27. Visited Bhatinda (in Punjab) for a friend’s wedding this weekend. Since people here seem to be quite interested in the region, some observations:

    1. Not a single toll booth was active beyond Rohtak. The farmer protests seem to have shut them off for good.

    2. Not a single Modi hoarding/poster once you leave Gurgaon. Very hard to believe. In fact, Haryana seems to have far fewer political posters in general. Amrinder Singh starts to appear quite prominently once you enter Punjab.

    3. I could see more Canadian flags on the street than Indian flags in Bhatinda. People seem to put it up everywhere from backsides of tractors to hotel decor.
    The Indian flags that I did come across where mostly put up at protest sites on the way.

    4. People in Punjab seem pretty swole by my Delhi standards. You can notice the difference in physique on the streets between even Haryana and Punjab.
    Now this could be an optical illusion brought about because of the turban but I’m inclined to think that there’s some sort of cultural component to it in terms of either diet or physical exertion or generally expected male posture.

    5. On the other hand, the whole ‘sharp’ feature thing seems a bit overblown. Sure, there’s a difference on average. But it doesn’t seem to matter all that much. The average difference in physique is more prominent.

    6. Punjabi feels like a bizarro version of Hindi to me. Some sentences you understand 100% of the stuff being said. Other times, it’s totally indecipherable. On average, I think I can get 40% of conversational Punjabi.

    7. It was good to see actual Punjabis dance on Punjabi music for once rather than other people LARP-ing. Every other wedding I’ve been to in the last couple of years had the bride make her entrance to ‘Din Shaguna Da’. Felt a bit cringe.
    These people don’t do all that Bollywood non-sense. They do listen to the same crappy Punjabi pop songs, though. I also realised that I prefer dancing to Hindi music than to this Punjabi fare.

    8. Diaspora Sikh people seem to be more conservative than urban Punjabi Sikhs. My friend’s wife’s whole family has been settled in Mumbai for some decades. They don’t eat meat or touch alcohol. The friend’s family does everything.

    9. India can never have autobahn style speed limit free highways because people are idiots. Random biker will appear suddenly on the wrong side of the road with the high beam. Not to mention herds of cows standing nonchalantly in the middle.

    10. Bhatinda and surrounding area is quite green. This place used to be a desert.
    Would be interesting to learn how the change came about. The city had a massive thermal power plant near it that was leading to an increase in cancer cases. So it was decommissioned a few years ago.

    1. Physique part seems cultural. Plurality ethnic group is similar in both places. If anything, Jaats are more west shifted than Jats. Also Punjab has more migrants than ever before.

      I think people just eat more compared to the rest of India in general. I have heard there are just more big fat guys too. Diaspora has this too. Being “Huta Kuta” seems to be a big cultural priority.

    2. Yeah Modi is not preferred among Sikhs anywhere. He had some shot before. But the rentier class “farmer” protest killed this.

    3. Punjab is inconsequential for the future of India, which is a tragedy. Despite its inland location, it had the chance to become a decently developed economy. Amritsar’s population in 1950 was in the same ballpark as Pune, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad, but it remains a shadow of those two metropolis today. Very ironic, given Punjabis are renowned to be extroverts with a cosmopolitan sensibility. The Jat Sikhs could never move up the value chain from farming to trading to manufacturing and commerce, a contrast to Patels, Reddys and even the Marathas these days.

      1. It’s because of socialist freebees. Plain and simple. They relied on subsidy for their two most important sources of employment, agriculture and military. The Green Revolution ensured them stable farming income. The persistence of martial race theory guaranteed disproportionate military recruitment. Immigration also changed the game. With proportionally far greater opportunity to leave because of family chain migration, secondary to more early immigrants to the West, many likely viewed it futile to exert entrepreneurial effort in their own homeland, instead opting to venture out. The end result is a recipe for complacency and entitlement, relative to the more high achieving groups, many of which started off in worse condition. All of this translates into the current “farmer” protest, really just a rent seeker agitation.

      2. The 80s screwed Punjab over. It’s in the need for a fresh start but I am not sure if Punjabis are up for it. They would rather just close shop and move to Canada/Australia/UK/whatever country would have them.

        Speaking of cities, Kanpur was bigger than all of these cities and look where it’s at today. The relative decline in the north has been huge with the exception of Delhi and the regions around it.

        1. warlock & Prats, just finished reading Jane Jacob’s ‘The Economy of Cities’, and will soon do a post as to why Kerala and Punjab are destined for economic irrelevance. Basically, for a city to experience exponential growth the creative energy and talent has to focus on import replacement, which leads naturally to better and more diversified exports. This in turn generates the need for higher value imports and the cycle goes on. For all the reasons you both described, nothing of this sort has come to pass in either Punjab or Kerala. Fundamentally, exporting low skilled labor is not a good growth strategy. I suspect this is true of high skilled labor as well.

  28. “ Bhatinda and surrounding area is quite green. This place used to be a desert.
    Would be interesting to learn how the change came about”

    Must be ground water extraction. Though it also has this canal -https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sirhind_Canal

  29. This thread is coming to an end, so I will finish by focusing on two non-Indian countries as discussions here tend to be very India-centric (for understandable reasons).

    First, on Pakistan. Hussein Haqqani is a very independent right-leaning intellectual in the US, who typically has harshly attacked the Pakistani establishment. But now he is urging caution about disengaging with Pakistan and makes a powerful case.

    Second, Sri Lanka. Unless they get a big tourism positive surprise, it looks like they will get close to default as early as next year.

    I’m fairly indifferent about Pakistan but Sri Lanka’s woes trouble me. Always liked the country and as I wrote a few days ago, I felt it had the potential to be a positive role-model for the rest of South Asia. Perhaps not quite a Japan but possibly a Chile at least. But this now looks a rather distant possibility.

  30. https://www.dawn.com/news/1645981

    “ “This dossier is a step in that direction,” he said. During his brief, Iftikhar pointed out that Indian patronage and training of the militant Islamic State group was a “serious concern”. He alleged that evidence suggested India was operating five training camps in Gulmarg, Raipur, Jodhpur, Chakrata, Anupgarh and Bikaner.“


  31. There’s a few interesting travel vloggers from India who travel to some very offbeat places on a shoestring and make videos about it in their languages.

    Here’s one from a popular Tamil vlogger on a trip to Pakistan (Kartarpur) and his interaction with the locals – echoes my own personal feeling that most S Indians don’t view Pakistanis as antagonists, and the feeling is likely mutual.


    1. So odd to see a Tamil in Gurdwara, that too in Pakistan ???

      Also the hand gestures might seem pretty innocous in South, but might be perceived as aggressive in North India/Pakistan

      1. Of all the things in this day and age why is odd that a Tamil would visit a gurudwara? How closed minded.

        Kudos to these guys for going the extra mile in trying to meet people on the ground and form their own impressions instead of what the media feeds them.

        1. People put up appearances. Every Indian goes through this phase. Then Indians realize majority of the other party has some interesting ‘narratives/nazariya’ from the pedo-slaver to the Taliban.

          1. “People put up appearances”

            Fair point. One could also expect that those who work at Kartarpur sahib would have been ‘coached’ to appear friendly to visiting Indians. Maybe the Tamil guys were putting on a friendly facade as well.

            Most of the interactions did seem genuine though.

        2. Its just odd. Thats y you found its refreshing as well, thats all.

          On media, i am circumspect that Indian people, whether North or South, or Pakistanis for that matter really believe what their media tells them. For the most part, espically news channels, have devolved into entertainment shows. People more or less know they are shown exaggerated version of the other.

    2. Some of the Pakistanis didnt know where Tamil Nadu was, they thought Sri Lanka.

      In another vlog, Pakistanis thought Sri Lankan national language Tamil which is partly correct.

      1. Yeah I have 0 idea why Siddharth is acting shocked.

        Some of the vile, most bigoted, and most ignorant people I know all make decent first impressions.

        People don’t expose their prejudices in public, unless they are in the middle of sort of sanctioned mass discriminatory event.

    1. The only complaint I would have of this article is that pretty much the same would have happened had it been a non-BJP government. India is a hierarchical society where you avoid any kind of disagreement with a superior (political, family etc). 75 years of democracy havent changed this, but the younger generations are different.

    2. Did this Agarwal guy apply for political asylum? Strange that he can practise in US so quickly after he moved here. I thought its a long process.

  32. Pakistan only private English news channel Indus news has shut down. Never knew it was owned by Ambani of Pakistan, Malik Riaz

    1. If true, its not surprising. Nobody really watches English news if they want to be up to date with local or regional politics.

      I recall Najam Sethi trying to switch over his program partially to English and abandoned that idea after just a couple of episodes.

      1. I am surprised though, that for a very westernized elite Pakistan has, no one has found a substantial economic model for an english channel yet. I like Pakistan’s urdu news channels but it seems topics like Economy or even war are far less appealing in urdu.

        1. I think all these topics are also adequately covered in Urdu which is why English news channels have not yet supplanted the Urdu ones.. Urdu has more relatable drama that makes political shows very interesting to watch that English lacks. This is why Urdu news channels with political shows get the highest prime time coverage, more than TV soaps.

          Print media is slightly different though.. as people educated in English media would still prefer to read English even if they wanna watch political shows in Urdu.

  33. https://thewire.in/rights/podcast-us-based-academics-working-on-south-asia-are-organising-to-fight-back-hindutva-trolls

    “Audrey Truschke, academic and a historian of South Asia is one of the most trolled academics in the US. Her books, mainly the one on Aurangzeb, have been attacked by Hindutva groups and individuals who call her ‘anti-Hindu’. There was even a petition to get her dismissed from Rutgers University, where she works.

    In this podcast discussion with Sidharth Bhatia, she says that many of her colleagues have now created a group to fight back against such trolling.

    She also discusses her book and says people like her are not anti-Hindus, but actually talk about the glories of Hinduism.”

    Oh my my…..

    1. It isnt. BJP is last chance of UCs and non-reserved (‘merit wallahs’) to find a status quo with caste nationlism. The alternate is ethno/caste/language nationlists in power.

  34. https://www.firstpost.com/india/why-islamabad-claims-india-is-training-islamic-state-terrorists-in-the-middle-of-a-muddy-little-lake-in-jodhpur-9965141.html

    Why Islamabad claims India is training Islamic State terrorists in the middle of a muddy little lake in Jodhpur

    Last week, National Security Advisor Moeed Yusuf made it known to the world. “We have incriminating evidence”, a dossier released this week asserts, “which validate that Indian security forces are managing five ISIS training camps in India.”

    Global Positioning System coordinates don’t lie. Except, there’s this: 26º17’31.0”N 73.º03’20.7’E, one of the coordinates provided in Pakistan’s dossier, points to the middle of the Shekhakji lake in Jodhpur, half-way between the Army Public School and the Battle Axe regimental centre, and home to a well-frequented Hanuman temple.

    Another coordinate, from Gulmarg, pinpoints a clump of trees between two army parking lots, not far from the children’s park. A third “terror camp” is a patch of acacia trees running along the highway on the fringes of the Border Security Force’s campus at Anupgarh, not far from the main office block and the amphitheatre, up the road from the Vinayak hardware store.

  35. n light of Aus, dumping French contract for submarines and going with US and UK nuclear submarine.
    Old article of how Aus had to toe the line. The same for Canada too, they cannot take a truly independent position .

    On 11 November – the day Whitlam was to inform parliament about the secret CIA presence in Australia – he was summoned by Kerr. Invoking archaic vice-regal “reserve powers”, Kerr sacked the democratically elected prime minister. The “Whitlam problem” was solved, and Australian politics never recovered, nor the nation its true independence.

    Australians had served every British imperial adventure since the Boxer rebellion was crushed in China. In the 1960s, Australia pleaded to join the US in its invasion of Vietnam, then provided “black teams” to be run by the CIA.


    1. 12 french subs would have costed ~ 150 billion USD in acquisition and maintenance over ~ 20ish years. That is a lot of money.

      UK fucked Canada once with refurbished submarines that never left port.

      American subs cost the bank, these retards can’t even make affordable frigates and after wasting energy, money any time on stupid aluminum hulls are buying frigates from Italy.

      Everyone is out there to fuck you. But navies are costly long term investments. There are no easy answers. Fearing China, I hope Australia knows what it is getting into.

  36. what is the west’s urgency in providing immediate aid to afghanistan. the taliban govt. is not even asking them!!
    is it because that some of their spies can go in as aid workers?
    earlier when aid was given to countries, huge punishing demands were made, such as devaluation of the indian rupee in the indira gandhi era.
    why can’t the west wait?

    1. They don’t want to take in refugees. That is the gist of it. Better pay aid than to collapse the house of cards that was the Afghanistan economy and cause massive refugee crisis.

  37. also is pak blaming india for the newzealand cricket tour cancellation? england might also call off their tour.

  38. also is pak blaming india for the newzealand cricket tour cancellation? england might also call off their tour.

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