Appreciating simple inventions.

By Phyecon1 11 Comments

A simple, cycle powered washing machine.



Simple kitchen gadgets .Vegetable cutter/slicer .


And simple dishwasher.

And instant Legolas , a bow and arrow machine invented recently but could have been done by medieval technology . Which makes one consider, what other inventions were possible in medieval technology but were not.


Permanent Enemy

By Phyecon1 26 Comments

We in this country are at a fork in the road , the path we move from here can have lasting impact because the momentum carries over. It seems to me that the notion Hindus are internalizing about abrahamic religious people is of seeing them as rigid, inflexible, whom one can neither influence to change their views nor be able to bring them back into the fold. This leads to seeing them as permanent enemies. As opposed to seeing their beliefs as wrong and wishing to correct them on that or evolve society to one of civic nationalism where the more missionary zealtory can be dealt with by creating appropriate culture of education and public norms in negating such zealtory. Individualism, Secularism falls into this .

This leads to a mindset of siege mentality. Where persons lost to other faith are seen to be lost forever and soon joins the ranks of enemies along with their future descendants in perpetuity. Thus making Hindus an ethnic identity where faith is nominal and creating an ethnic state with permanent 5th column enemies to curse for all ills and use them as a bogey to scare people with to win elections. Hence moving away from egalitarian ideas which sees people’s belief as fungible and can be changed over time through engagement  to the model of caste endogamy where belief of the people is now a permanent feature of identity , where their individuality is of no consequence.

Recent article by Christophe Jafferlot points to this. As one can imagine, such siege mentality of seeing others as inflexible rigid enemies can be damaging to entire society and polity and makes it less stable over time. There are only 2 ways to deal with this, First is to believe that people can be won over. This can either be through “ghar wapsi” in a religious sense to bring people back into the fold and hence worry less about demography change or also through the change in normal civic norms to chip away religious impulse which has been used by the west and more clearly by France .The other is more regressive and dangerous path of colonial repression or fascist genocides . While one can reject the works of Christophe Jafferlot as being biased, one can simply check this empirically to notice the total lack of any literature one can point to on how they are willing to engage with large number of people of these faiths. What is the governing ideology under which these people can find themselves to be fully integrated citizens?. Where is the effort in education, where is the evidence of mass contact and engagement , be it either ghar wapsi or The leaders speaking about this governing ideology?. And offering basic services to people or even bringing uniform civil code or changing divorce laws for muslim women does not do much unless one enunciates what this new governing ideology of belonging is.



I Lived Through Collapse. America Is Already There.

By sbarrkum Leave a comment

Important read. My thoughts exactly almost word for word. Make sure to read parts 2 and 3 too.

Excerpts from Part 1

As a nation you don’t seem to mourn your dead, but their families do. Their communities do. Jesus, also, weeps. But for most people it’s just another day. You’ve run out of coffee. There’s a funny meme. This can’t be collapse, because nothing’s collapsing for me.

But that’s exactly how collapse feels. This is how I felt. This is how millions of people have felt, including many immigrants in your midst. We’re trying to tell you as loud as we can. You can get out of it, but you have to understand where you are to even turn around. This, I fear, is one of many things Americans do not understand. You tell yourself American collapse is impossible. Meanwhile, look around._

In the last three months America has lost more people than Sri Lanka lost in 30 years of civil war. If this isn’t collapse, then the word has no meaning. You probably still think of Sri Lanka as a shithole, though the war ended over a decade ago and we’re (relatively) fine. Then what does that make you?

I guess this is now a trilogy of collapse. It gets less depressing. Then moreso.

Excerpt from Part 2

Part 1

Part 2

Part 2


Book Review: A New Idea of India- Harsh Gupta & Rajeev Mantri

By Maneesh Taneja 7 Comments

India in the last decade has been witness to a political churn, that has been accompanied by a loud and an energetic questioning of what we as a nation and a society stand for.
What is it that makes India and what does India stand for? The debates can be raging on social media and the electoral outcomes indicate that the debates are not just restricted to social media war rooms but are being waged on the streets too.
Harsh Gupta and Rajeev Mantri’s new book- A New Idea of India, comes across as an earnest attempt at answering the two questions.
Gupta and Mantri, start off their answers by placing the modern Indian state as an inheritor of an ancient civilizations and not a construct that the British left behind in 1947.
“India, that is Bharat” the authors claim, has roots in acceptance of pluralism that comes from a tradition of skepticism.
India has been an amalgam where diversity has thrived without a central controlling authority.
An Indian is one who retains the agency of questioning anything and anyone and this agency when extended to everyone is one of the ingredients for what makes up for India.
The Indian state should find its moors in this civilizational legacy and build a modern Indian state where primacy of individual rights is supreme.
This definition of India puts them on the opposite side of those who believe that India is an entity brought together for, and to be kept together by, a strong state that should strive to accommodate its religious and cultural diversity.
A state that acknowledges groups and subordinates the rights of the individuals to the rights of those groups.
The authors frame both these points of views, and then drive home the point how the latter view, one that evolved under and was nurtured by each succeeding government of the republic, has been detrimental to India’s economic growth and how the whole idea of making a community belong to a nation, instead of making individuals belong to a nation, has only led to deepening of fissures.
Since the republic has been mostly run Congress and the dynasty, Nehru and his clan end up with most of the blame.
The authors go on to present in detail how economic policy making that encourages government control, rent seeking and ignores markets have left India impoverished and how civil laws that are aimed at accommodating religious identities have led to resentment and are a recipe for social conflict.
The book does not merely enumerate what is wrong and who should be held responsible for it, the authors go on to present a way forward.
The solutions lie in building robust state capacity that allows for markets to efficiently operate and doing away with sectarian laws to enable social cohesion.
They claim that the Narendra Modi government has used the last six years to lay down the path on these lines. Be it laws the allow for efficient working of markets- IBC and GST, to improving last mile delivery via the JAM trinity and restructuring of the administrative frame work.
It is their opinion that although much needs to be done, the NDA 2 government is on its way to reshaping India, an India that will be economically strong and will be rooted in modern liberal values that are similar to ancient Indian wisdom.
As a long time, reader of Harsh and Rajeev’s newspaper columns, time for a disclosure: I have known Harsh personally for a few years now – I more often than not find myself on the same page as Harsh in our world views, the lucid writing and substantiations with facts and figures is not surprising.
The writing, even when covering philosophical foundation of their arguments is plain and simple.
I did find the book harsh on Nehru.
Nehru alas is now a figure in this country who is either worshipped or held responsible for everything that is wrong with present day India.
We analyze his legacy with benefits of hindsight. Nehru like all humans operated in the realms of his bounded rationality.
We must also not forget, specially those of us who repose all their faith in wisdom of the electorate, that Nehru was democratically elected.
Who is to say he did not represent how Indians wanted to see India as much as Indians of today want India to be shaped by Narendra Modi?
Similarly, the writers go easy on Modi, the litany of laws that they think are sectarian in nature, whose eradication they think is key to building social cohesion, they don’t ask why Mr. Modi has not done anything about them.
If Mr. Modi with all the political capital that he enjoys, can not come around to changing those laws, who is to say that he himself does not believe in them and as a democratically elected leader, his thinking represents our thinking.
As to his economic legacy, we will have to wait and see, in so far, his big calls have been a mixed bag.
The inflation targeting framework and fiscal conservatism have been disastrous for the economy in the short term, while we await to see the positive impact of the reforms that writers mention.
The book though is a much-needed addition to the discourse.
For those stuck in social media driven echo chambers, it will either be a worthy peep into what the other side thinks or a provide arguments to elaborate on one’s own world view.
It is a must read for those trying to make sense of this young and vibrant country, for the points that the writers make will, in the humble opinion of this reviewer, shape the future course of this country.



Correlating ancestral legends with Genetic data

By srikanth 9 Comments

I stumbled upon an interesting project to collect data on the Y-haplogroup from a section of the Indian population (brAhmaNas), and correlate it with the claims of descent from certain ancient sages by brahmins today.

Link to read up more –

I personally find it to be an intriguing idea. And worth investigating.

Some notes for the uninitiated on Gotra / Pravara

  1. A significant chunk of the Indian population has a Gotra record.
  2. Technically your Gotra records your male line of descent, though the individual after whom the Gotra is named need not necessarily be the earliest male ancestor of yours that you know of.
  3. Gotras are likelier to indicate a specific line of descent in the case of brahmins, where the Gotra/pravara record is more carefully preserved than among the rest of the Indo-Aryan population
  4. Pravaras are a set of 3 or 5 individuals – typically sages who feature in your male line of descent. These individuals may precede the sage mentioned in your Gotra, or succeed him.

Correlating Gotra information with Y-haplogroup data may give insights on whether there exist striking similarities between brahmins who share a certain Gotra.

An example of how Gotra / Pravaras look like –

My Gotra is vādoola. Legend has it that he was likely a sage in the late Vedic period, who cannot be located accurately. He has certain texts of the late Vedic tradition including a Shrauta sutra to his credit.

My Pravara is Bhārgava / vītahavya / savetasa : Among these three, BhRgu is actually not my biological ancestor. The latter two are. Vītahavya was actually a king of the Heiheya dynasty who turned “brahmin” when he was residing in the Ashrama of sage Bhrigu.  So this particular clan that descends from vītahavya are Kshatriya-converts to Brahmin-hood, to put it crudely. Likely this legend dates to the middle Vedic period (1000 BCE) , or maybe earlier.

In this particular case, the Gotra RSi (vādoola) is actually a descendant of Vītahavya. So the gotra is not named after the earliest male ancestor that we know of.

Individuals belonging to this somewhat rare gotra are found largely in Tamil Nadu and Andhra today. Not elsewhere. It would be curious to see if the Y-chromosome data provides any commonalities among those who share this gotra.

Post-script : None of this should be seen as any kind of “supremacist” exercise. It is just one way of possibly validating traditional claims (which may be bogus for all you know) , though it is not likely to yield a conclusive narrative.


Bail, Ahimsa ,Civic Society : Ending Vindictiveness

By Phyecon1 5 Comments

How do we create a more civilized society is a question we in India should consider. The primary political problem in India is one of “vindictiveness” of the state ,politicians and ideologues. In furthering this, they launch cases against the accused. Due to low opportunity environment of the state , many in India get entangled by its laws. We should try to improve on society by trying to bring an end to vindictiveness of state through its powers.

The best way to do that is by giving Bail to the accused in most cases unless they pose danger or can influence the case . The less powers the state possesses to be vindictive against the individual, the better. Since India’s Independence, we have never valued the need to create a more civic society or raise the civic consciousness of citizens. Instead we have been led to believe in the bogeyman villain of other ideologies. These are intended to make people to seek feudal protection instead of seeking to better laws and find refuge in the civic consciousness of the citizens instead and through that find refuge in courts of law.

The aim , the end game of human progress is a conscious civic society that rises above any ideology attempting to hack citizens to further their own ends and protect the rights of citizens . The answer is not to point to hypocrisy of one side or another. The answer is not to explain the new twists and turns in a case. We have had enough data as it is, we dont need explanations of how a case has come about, we dont need to compare with x,y,z of how the people of same ideology are hounding others. The answer is to figure out solutions to better our civic society by giving each other more freedoms and restricting the vindictive powers of the state.

Indian media relishes more in ‘hate’ and ‘adoration’ than it does in raising the awareness of citizens to their rights. That with every arrest, every accusation, every new act of vindictiveness by any political organization, or ideology , their own individual rights are being trampled. That it could be them is the one point they chose not to point out. And why should they? even after 70 yrs of Indian Independence, the news media has never evolved to ever making this point , they stand to benefit more by being substandard by getting people to root or boo one side or the other, by being closer to one political party or the other.

The ideas of enlightenment were never properly translated to Indian electorate by its elites. The purpose of having a vote is to have a means for an individual to curtail the tyrannical nature of the state. It is to reduce himsa, one step at a time.

And since it is BJP that is in power, they can help us in that direction by offering us that .


Learn To Accuse.

By Phyecon1 6 Comments


Figuring things out.

Many Hindus, and nowadays many true liberals in the west fail to comprehend why reason is not valued. This probably has to do with the peculiarities of human brain that once something is framed as dangerous or sinister or dark or bring about the ill motivations of other , everything that they say after that will not stick or will be seen through this frame, what will stick though are the alluded motivations. I presume this method was first applied by the church and perhaps deployed against the pagans. To count sins of your past to dispirit and demoralize you and make you believe there is no light ,reason, redemption or goodness within you. To have any of that you need to convert to their belief.

What made them succeed is that most people are not smart, cannot see the divine or goodness within themselves, cannot see a way to redeem themselves in their own minds or in society. They will not read through a 500 pages book to discover the flaw in the argument. If the first 10 pages or few tidbits make sense, that’s enough.

Indian journalist manu joseph made an interesting observation in one of his articles, on why the woke exist?. It really is about the market place. Bad journalists who cant work hard or the average writers or singers, musicians etc dont have much value on basis of their talent. They cant compete in talent. However, if you go woke and accuse , you gain credit. And in anycase, you need to neutralize their accusations for your work to be respected. That cannot be done by just laying out the arguments, because there is no market for you. why should anyone listen to you when they get to propagate their views and accusations against you and infact teach your kids in schools and universities anyway?. If you remind them and accuse them to be neocolonial , neoconverts, sepoys, racist, bigoted against polytheists in their approach(to true liberals in west, the analogues of these), you get a chance to neutralize the momentum due to inertia of all that and then perhaps have a meaningful exchange .

Until you have a market , you will not be listened to, you have no functional value. We dont live in a polytheist world where truth is discovered by sages and valued by society. We live in a world dominated by evangelical religions where their truth has already been established, all that remains is to annihilate the others. You need to count their sins in front of all of them before you are listened to. Dont let the inner nerd within you cringe at doing that. This needs to be done. Most people are stupid most of the times, even if you are highly intelligent, you too are stupid about many things many of the times, you need to factor in your own stupidity ,insecurities and the stupidity and insecurities of the average joe . Mass stupidity and insecurities have destroyed civilizations.

The straight path is often not the fastest one as seen in this Brachiostochrone curve.


Documenting selective truth, lies, rhetoric

By Phyecon1 25 Comments

Continuing present theme of figuring out solutions. One thing we can do is document people making up brazen lies and incidents of bad rhetoric for posterity. Good standards require us to do so at least in regards to journalists and scholars.

“Under a government of the Hindu Right, India is witnessing yet another phase of reaction and orthodoxy, a return to medieval Brahminical values that seek to monopolise rights for a select few and turn everyone else out of the body politic.”
This is said by a historian, Ananya vajpayei .

“You can either erect a Hindu Rashtra that is already always a caste society and a patriarchy, or you can build an egalitarian, secular, pluralist and inclusive India. “

“The first step in protecting our Constitution is to recognize the seamless continuum between caste-based discrimination and communal hatred that provides the very plinth of Hindutva.”

There is a question going around in twitter asking that “if journalism is filled with many inaccuracies and lies, how trustable are historians?”. In this case,it is a clear lie to say that bjp is trying to foist caste once again on India society.

What is interesting is that liberals and left in India seem to keep making arguments, whether journalism or in academia of associating negative values to Hinduism in its totality and exculpating any negative values to other religions or ideologies.

In terms of rhetoric there seems to be little differentiation between bigots of other religions and them. Many journalists in India have used “cow piss drinkers” etc jibes to others, something one finds in common with islamic bigots for example. or disparaging the word “bhakt” which is similar to the word “muslim” or “christian”. It is not surprising that a lot of people dont trust many of these people.

when dhume was pressed on it, he says its merely making fun.

It would make better sense for people to just document lies and such rhetoric for posterity.


An evening to remember - the chase, the hunt, the theft, and the meal

By GauravL 3 Comments

I am finally starting a Medium Photoblog (travel and living) after years of laziness. I would only post my Photoblogs on Brownpundits if I find the topic would interest BP Readers (i couldn’t even find a suitable category 🙂 ). I hope to become better at brevity in prose with photo blogging.  

Crossposting from Protected By The Sea.

I have been wanting to start a photoblog (travel and living) for years but never got around my introversion and laziness till now. I couldn’t think of a better story to start this blog. The photographs are poor due to a combination of rain and poor light but I felt the story is worth it.

After four spectacular days in Kenya, we finally reached Masai Mara and started an evening Safari. After an eventful couple of hours came the moments which will be etched in my mind forever. I had not seen a Cheetah after four days in Kenya and was dearly hoping to spot one in Masai Mara.

As it started to drizzle and we considered taking a break we spotted a Cheetah on a stroll

the Cheetah zoomed in on a herd of wildebeest visible at a distance

The Cheetah began the chase. Sadly for us at this moment the rain became too heavy to see anything

Thankfully the rain went away and we saw the Cheetah enjoying his well-earned meal half a km away

He was rudely interrupted by a group of hyenas. The Cheetah ran off after some posturing clearly smarting.
The hyenas finished the wildebeest within literal minutes. The noises of groans, laughter, and cracking of bones I heard that evening remains one of the most singular cacophonies ever.

Twin bombings across Pakistan in Waziristan and Ormara

By theselongwars 4 Comments

(Article originally posted at the These Long Wars blog)

I’m going to link to the Dawn article, because let’s face it, nobody except state apparatuses are now reporting on Balochistan, because all independent media worth mentioning has been forced out by violence and intimidation. The Balochistan model of political control is being rolled out across Pakistan with varying degrees of political success.

I don’t know what I can say about the Waziristan attacks, besides maybe the state of Pakistan should stop using the former FATA districts as a launching ground for attacks into Afghanistan. That sort of observation feels redundant, but one would imagine that the milieu that feeds extremists and makes it easier for them to thrive there might also succour anti-state extremists.

What I can say about the Balochistan attacks besides that I think enough is enough with using the Frontier Corps (FC) for internal security. Up-arm and up-armour the Balochistan police and send them after the insurgents. That can be done if we give the Baloch people a stake in their future by creating as many jobs as there are households in Balochistan. The number of non-secessionist Baloch probably outnumbers the number of secessionists. However, their interest in breaking away would be neither here nor there if there were serious economic reasons for them to remain tied to Pakistan and the state did not predate on their resources. If Balochistan was treated as a normal province rather than a colony, enough residents would take care of the violent secessionists on their own. I think this insurgency, and over-extended internal security mission in Balochistan has gone on long enough. This is supposed to be the Fifth Baloch insurgency, and I’m not even sure if we are in the fifth or sixth phase of this Fifth Baloch insurgency.

I’m gonna have to lean on NFP’s views on how these conflicts in these socially marginal districts are now being fed and politicised by the larger mainstream, ultra-nationalistic polarisation.

You can read Dawn’s report on the attacks, here.