The Giant in the East – I

By Adnan Syed

This three part series examines the rise of India as an economic giant, the threats that India faces in this remarkable rise, and implications for Pakistan.

(AZW)

Before the Twenty First Century

As the twentieth century dawned, the world had continued to consolidate the technological boom during prior two centuries. This technological progress started with the invention of the printing press in fifteenth century. This invention quickly enabled mass availability of knowledge. Man began exploring the world around him more intently, by compounding the knowledge already gained by the earlier pioneers. As the scientific renaissance kicked in, man began accumulating more wealth by producing, discovering and innovating further. With the arrival of the scientific renaissance, the human output growth rate that had remained close to zero for thousands of years before, started rising  at a good multiple of its population growth rate.

The arrival of scientific renaissance coincided with incremental social awareness that began permeating the human consciousness. The United States came into being right in the midst of the great human renaissance that was exploding across the western world. The renaissance had begun moving forward in fits and starts towards institutionalizing the ideals of human liberty and freedom. The United States, with its rich natural resources and eager migrant entrepreneurs, began taking a lead in the social and scientific revolution that had begun sweeping the western civilization.

From the beginning, the new country kept a fiercely independent streak for its citizens. The first ten amendments to the constitution right after her independence in 1789 went a long way towards ensuring a country where individual freedom and the rule of law were predominant pillars of the society. As a result, an entrepreneurial spirit and free market capitalism flourished in the new country, that was ably encapsulated  by the rule of law.

As the twentieth century dawned, the torch of the world economic superpower was passed to the United States that went on to become the richest country ever in terms of its gross economic output. The economic growth was sustained by a steady increase in knowledge and by  getting entrepreneurs and private sector channel new ideas and existing wealth back into further innovation and efficient industry. As a result,  the twentieth century saw the West achieve significant scientific breakthroughs in energy harnessing, transportation, communication and medical healthcare, among others.

At the heart of this rapid advancement was the human entrepreneurial spirit that was best at work in the United States. The US was a relatively adolescent nation by the middle of the twentieth century. The burgeoning population, under the aegis of a democratic rule ensured that economic growth will continue unabated. The rivalry with the former Soviet Union ensured that the government continued to patronize massive scientific  projects in defence and aerospace. Some of these major projects found their way in the private sector and resulted in another massive leg up in communication technology in the shape of internet, and the digital communication network.

Today, the United States, a nation of 310 million people is still the undisputed biggest economy of the world. Its real GDP of almost 14.80 trillion dollars dwarfs the second largest economy of China (9.70 trillion dollars). In this list, Japan at (4.3 trillion dollars) and India (3.91 trillion dollars GDP) round off the list of top four economies in the world. (1)

The Twenty First Century

The biggest story of the early twenty first century is the embrace of the market based capitalism by previously under-developed Eastern nations. Among many of these nations, biggest names to emerge in the emerging markets are China, India, Brazil, Russia and Turkey. The economic reforms started some forty years back in China (with Deng Xiaoping famously proclaiming “Poverty is no socialism; being rich is  glorious”), 20 years back in India and Russia and 10 years back in Brazil.

Chinese economic reforms under the guidance of its communist party, but not before Mao’s Cultural Revolution against capitalism resulted in almost 3 million direct deaths . The virtual incapacitation of the Chinese state resulted in the reformist leaders beginning to tinker with  selected capitalism. How an iron-hand guided capitalism flourishes in China is indeed a fascinating study for the coming generations. What is more important is once the Chinese population gets to a certain level of economic independence, how their demands for individual and  property freedom would be met by the centralized body that governs them. At some point in coming decades, Chinese demands for democracy,  political and individual freedoms will square off against the centralized communist party that governs the country from Beijing. This will indeed be a defining moment for the whole world in the twenty first century.

India, on the other hand, took a vastly different route toward the market reforms of the 1990s. The country adopted democracy and secularism right at her birth, perhaps chastened by the division of the British India along communal lines. Its founding fathers however encouraged big government in a Fabian socialist mould. India quickly became the biggest democracy in the world by population, but the economy remained mired in an inefficient state run bureaucracy as well as heavily bloated and inefficient manufacturing industry facing little or no outside  competition.

The economy enjoyed an anaemic growth rate for the next forty years. Often called the Hindu rate of growth of around 2.50% (which was barely above the population growth rate), India remained mired in chronic high unemployment and widespread poverty inside a socialist mode of economic governance.

The state of this atrocious inaction started changing in the early 1990s. After the IMF bailed out the almost bankrupt country, the then government and its finance minister, one named Manmohan Singh started opening the country for international trade and investment. They began deregulating the red-taped economy, reduced tariffs and initiated privatization programs of inefficient government corporations. Indian financial markets were open to the foreign investors.

The right wing government of Atal Bihar Vajpayee continued the reforms. The impact was immediate as foreign investment increased from mere US 132 Million dollars to 5.3 Billion dollars by 1995. Some 300 million people moved out from severe poverty levels during next two decades as Indian economy started prospering.

The transformation of India as an economic giant is happening as we read these lines. It is a country with a 1.14 billion population where 50%of the population is currently younger than the age of 25. This demographic wonder promises that if the present growth rate continues, India will be the nation of the twenty first century. The demographics mean that the economic growth rate promises to accelerate even further as a  young workforce joins an economy with plenty of pent-up demand. The rise of India as an economic giant has profound implications for Pakistan, which is stuck inside a vicious circle of uneven democracy, patchy rule of law and a faltering economy.

Pakistan today is stuck in a hellhole of security nightmare that is resulting in economic stagnation and social unrest. And as Pakistan fights its own battle of survival, it finds itself situated right next to two economic behemoths that are threatening to rewrite the economic history of the modern world. How Pakistan deals with both of them will define how Pakistan fares politically and economically in the coming decades.

Thursday: A 500 million strong middle class emerges.

[1] Based on Purchasing Power Parity terms, expressed in US Dollar terms (Source: IM, World Economic Outlook, www.oecd.org

33 Comments

Filed under China, Democracy, Economy, Europe, India, Islamabad, Pak Tea House, Pakistan, poverty, south asia, state, USA

33 responses to “The Giant in the East – I

  1. libertarian

    India’s demographics are not all Goldilocks. There are 2 demographic humps – the South Indian hump of 250M people and a coming North Indian hump of 500M people (re: Nandan Nilekani in “Imaging India”). The current 8% growth is driven squarely by the South Indian hump. If we don’t get the North Indian hump right i.e. educate and employ them, we’re screwed – say hello to continued mediocrity. If we do get it right, there’s little that can stop this behemoth. The turnaround of Bihar under Nitish Kumar (from 2005) is very hopeful – 100M people getting decent governance. If UP can follow Bihar (180M people) the problem is as good as solved.

    China will grow old before it gets rich – thanks to it’s disastrous 1-child policy. The median age of China is 34, rising to 37 by 2020. The median age of India is 25 rising to 26.5 by 2020. The Economist – never an Indophilic publication – states that Indian growth will start beating Chinese growth in 3-5 years.

    If the State of Pakistan – aka the Army – can get it’s head out where the sun doesn’t shine, it can go along for the ride. If not, the Indian state will likely resort to bankrupting a reactionary Pakistani state through ever-increasing military expenditure. It’s primary purpose is balancing China, but will have the unintended consequence of ravaging the Pakistani economy. In the unlikely scenario that the Pakistani state internally reconciles to being in the Indian sphere of influence: we all live Happily Ever After.

  2. Actually, anecdotally speaking, I hear increasing numbers of people say these days that this grinding down of the Pakistani establishment may be the best, perhaps the only route for peace. It is hoped that in their effort to keep up with their neighbours, and get the latest, shiny toys at around the same time, the three services will spend far more than the country can afford, and bring it to its knees economically and financially.

    How does one counter this?

    Nothing else seems to work. The Pakistani diplomats interviewed on Indian TV on the occasion of the 26/11 anniversary were so outright hostile that it was depressing to watch or listen to the programme. Here we are, two years away from the event, and the known perpetrators have moved from sensational concocted fairy tales of the Indian media to documented chiefs of the terrorist mission clearly identified by Hedley. But the establishment has kept stalling their trial by deliberately putting up evidence that enfuriates the courts in question, and makes them throw out the cases.

    It does seem as if no government can afford to take a step that seems even minutely like compromising a policy of outright hostility and opposition to India and its government. And to Indians, those of goodwill to Pakistanis and otherwise, on the blog or off the blog. Maybe we would be better advised to keep quiet, shut our mouths, keep to ourselves, guard our frontiers as best as we may, and wait for the rubble to settle.

    Maybe we were Two Nations after all.

  3. pankaj

    There was a time when Pakistan BOASTED that India could not progress economically UNLESS it resolves the Kashmir issue

    The Obama visit and a mighty snub to Pakistan has had a “chastening effect .”

    Many articles in the Pakistani media have called upon the military establishment to GET REAL and ALLOW the nation to focus on more important matters other than parity with India.

    However it seems India will have to wait for at least a decade , for Pakistan and India to have normal relations

  4. Milestogo

    Surprisingly china’s blessings seem to be limited to the military sphere.

  5. Subcontinental

    Indians on the Internet often speak of the economic revolution in India in progress. Pakistanis retort that there are still hundreds of millions of Indians under the poverty line without any toilet facilities.

    When Indians boast about their economic prowess in front of Pakistanis, it is not just merely to massage one’s ego. When Pakistanis retort about the economic state of the poor in India, it is to stress that the race between India and Pakistan is still on.

    Indians know that every time Pakistan gets a new lease of life say through Anti-Soviet Jihad or 9/11 & GWOT, etc. Pakistani Establishment sees it as another opportunity to have a go at India. The only way Pakistanis will choose peace over conflict with India is if Pakistanis see peace as their only alternative. As long as Pakistanis keep on seeing light through some slit in their windows in their dark room, they will keep on dreaming of taking on India. Hope dies last. But hope of eternal conflict has to die before a new dawn arises.

    It is not as if India wishes the Pakistanis any pain or poverty. It is just that over the years, India has come to the view, that that is the only route to awareness amongst Pakistanis, that peace is inevitable.

    Of course Pakistani pride will be a casualty, but that is only because the Pakistanis have defined their pride in such a way, that it has to stand in the firing line. This pride may die, new pride can be born.

  6. Anoop

    I’ve seen growth in my income, in my friend’s income, growth in the area that I live, in the city that I live,etc. The place I am living in today was once similar to a thick jungle. Rapid Urbanization has improved things a little but also has made it complicated.

    India is growing because of its democracy. India is a land of a million mutinies.

  7. PMA

    “Demise of Pakistan is achievable”, so announced the first speaker in front of the jubilant crowd.
    “For how long more must we wait”, asks one from the crowd.
    “We will have to wait for at least a decade”, one pan kaj declares.
    “How are we going to achieve it”, the crowd roars again.
    “We are going to bankrupt a reactionary Pakistani state through ever-increasing our own military expenditure. Our primary purpose is balancing China, but will have the unintended consequence of ravaging the Pakistani economy”, one libertarian answers to the crowd standing on the soap box.
    “But wouldn’t keeping up with China militarily bankrupt us too”, the sane one in the crowd asks.
    “Oh no, China will grow old before it gets rich – thanks to it’s disastrous 1-child policy. Don’t you know Chines are not capable of making babies like we do”, replies the libertarian still perched on the soap box.
    “But why do we wish to bankrupt Pakistan, after all”, again asks the sane one.
    “Because we want them to be in our sphere of influence”, libertarian replies.
    The crowd cheers one more time. Soon after libertarian steps down from the soap box, an old man assembling his lungi with his left hand steps up the soap box and with his right hand raised in front of him asks the crowd to control its exuberance.
    Customary to his habit the old man opens his lengthy speech:
    “I hear increasing numbers of people say these days that this grinding down of the Pakistani establishment may be the best, perhaps the only route for peace. It is hoped that in their effort to keep up with their neighbours, and get the latest, shiny toys at around the same time, the three services will spend far more than the country can afford, and bring it to its knees economically and financially. Maybe we would be better advised to keep quiet, shut our mouths, keep to ourselves, guard our frontiers as best as we may, and wait for the rubble to settle.”
    “But we can not wait any longer. We have waited for sixty long years. We can not wait any more. We want demise of Pakistan now”. The crowd shouted down the old man.
    “These twenty five year old boys are so impatient” , murmured the old man stepping down from the soap box while still holding on to his lungi with his left hand.

  8. androidguy

    @PMA,
    The humour was well taken, but I am not sure the crowd (atleast the majority) wants the “demise of Pakistan”.

  9. no-communal

    Not many in India want Pakistan’s demise, just like not many in Kolkata wear lungis. The humor is misplaced (for both India and Kolkata).

  10. Chote Miyan

    PMA,
    Half your country’s problems would be solved when you get this silly idea out of your head that Indians want demise of Pakistan. We do, however, wish that you lock up a-holes like Hafiz Saeed and his gang.

    Here is what wikileaks say about the much touted “cold-start” doctrine. Actually, as an Indian, I feel like a fool being taken for a ride by my own govt.

    “The Indian Army’s “Cold Start Doctrine” is a mixture of myth and reality. It has never been and may never be put to use on a battlefield because of substantial and serious resource constraints,”

    “news of Cold Start’s existence has already paid dividends to Indian policymakers by providing reassurance to the Indian public that the GOI has the means to punish Pakistan for attacks on Indian soil without triggering potential mutually-assured nuclear destruction. From the Indian perspective, the unimplemented plan has the added virtue of accentuating Pakistani discomfiture and angst, which in theory may have some deterrent value.”

    “We think that the November 2008 Pakistan-linked terror attack in Mumbai and its immediate aftermath provide insight into Indian and Pakistani thinking on Cold Start. First, the GOI refrained from implementing Cold Start even after an attack as audacious and bloody as the Mumbai attack, which calls into serious question the GOI’s willingness to actually adopt the Cold Start option. Second, the Pakistanis have known about Cold Start since 2004, but this knowledge does not seem to have prompted them to prevent terror attacks against India to extent such attacks could be controlled. This fact calls into question Cold Start’s ability to deter Pakistani mischief inside India. Even more so, it calls into question the degree of sincerity of fear over Cold Start as expressed by Pakistani military leaders to USG officials. “

  11. @no-communal

    The road to Kolkata seems to be getting longer these days: it sounds from your post as if you have not been up to town for quite some time. Perhaps once the Thanksgiving feast season is over, you might like to take a train up and refresh your youthful, apparently rapidly-fading memories of the city.

    Lots of people in Kolkata wear lungis. As it happens, it is a section of the population, a particular section only, that wears lungis. There are exceptions; there always are. Our exceptions are, as might be expected, better than Pakistani exceptions. Not to mention being more prosperous and enjoying a greater than 8.9% quarterly growth.

    The exception are to be found in South Kolkata, around Lake Market, where Tamilians, Malayalis, Telugus and ‘Digas may be seen in pure white versions, rather than checked, which they insist on calling dhotis. No amount of persuasion will get it through to the ‘Madrasi’ that what he wears is a lungi, and that a dhoti, on the other hand, is a thing worn by Indian politicians for the particular viewing pleasure of Pakistani brigadiers.
    Pakistani brigadiers are especially turned on by the ‘fluttering’ of these dhoties (there is written evidence); actually, they don’t flutter, much, so the psychological sub-text is all about how there is a hope that there will, after all, be a flutter or two, and the untold riches of jannat will be revealed. We are to understand that this is the main source of arousal of their libido for this (military) sub-section.
    After puzzling over PMA’s post, and reading and re-reading Gayatri Chakravarti Spivak several times for inspiration, it seems that he clothed the hapless old woodsman in a lungi (in point of fact, in his IIM days, the old codger was to be found resplendent in Malayali batik lungis, presented to him by Syrian Christian friends, but abandoned it in later life under irresistible uxorious pressure) to highlight the religious ambiguity of his character.
    Clearly what we have here is not merely a formidable poet who rhymed Hayyer to a standstill in a battle of the poets in these columns, but a novelist in the making; one who will write for us the definitive 750 page on a soapbox and its speakers of all ages, delineated in epic literary style in the manner of the vanished tribe of great Russians of the past. Obviously, after Wikileaks, it is time to turn to the Russians.

  12. no-communal

    Vajra
    Actually, I am back home once a year for about a month. And I am an avid reader of whatever is written about Kolkata. So my memories are fresh. My reference to lungi is not derogatory of lungi. In my opinion it’s the best informal dress invented by mankind (quite literally speaking). The only competition, perhaps, is bermuda shorts. Some of India’s best wear lungi, and they are, quite rightly, adamant about it. My only contention was that the implied person in this case would more likely prefer dhoti (or the universal pajama) over lungi. It’s dhoti that (Hindu) Bengalis are associated with.

  13. lal

    pma
    wonderful post..I n the 3 years ,this is the 1st time s i really enjoyed reading u..where was the humour hidden all these days..

  14. lal

    talking of lungi,the national dress of all mallus,this is a mail i recieved long back :

    Lungi is a strategic dress. It’s like a one size fit all pajama for Keralites.
    Wearing something on the top half of your body is optional when you are wearing a lungi. This is the reason why females are not found wearing this awesome dress. The technique of wearing a lungi/mundu is passed on from generation to generation through verbal communication. If you think it is an easy task to wear it. you are wrong! It requires lot of techniques, including breathe control. A lungi/mundu when perfectly worn won’t come off even if it shows 8 on the richter scale. A lungi is not attached to the waist using duct tape, staple, rope or velcro. It’s a bit of mallu magic whose formula is a closely guarded secret like that of Coca Cola ingredients.

    “Wearing a lungi and managing to keep it up there is tougher than flying a MIG.
    I can fly a MIG with eyes closed, but not wear a lungi. (a retired MIG pilot)

    A lungi can be worn ‘FULL MAST’ or ‘Half Mast’. Like the flags of nation flown at different heights. Wearing it at full mast has lots of disadvantages, rather than advantages. A major disadvantage can be experienced when the neighbour dog runs after you or on a rainy day.

    A mallu can play cricket, foot ball or any ball when the lungi is worn in half mast. A mallu can even climb a coconut tree by wearing lungi in half mast. “It’s
    not a good idea to look up on a mallu when he is on a coconut tree”

    The ‘Lungi Wearing Mallu Union’ [LUWMU, pronounced LUV-MU], a union which works towards the ‘upliftment’ of lungi cult, strongly disagree the younger generation’s trend of wearing Burmuda under the lungi. They say that making youngsters wear Burmuda under the lungi is a hidden agenda by the CIA.

    A malayali wears lungi round the year, all climates, all seasons. It’s like a
    second skin. Unlike ‘summer dress’, ‘monsoon fashion’ etc etc a mallu has one fashion only! Lungi fashion that does not fade or change from season to season. A lungi/mundu can be worn any time of the day/night. [Some double it as blanket at night.] It also doubles up as swimwear, parachute, facemask,
    shopping basket, water filter, sleeping bag , a swing. etc etc. When these lungi’s are decommissioned from service, they become table cloths.. Hmm. ..The options are endless. There is a new subject in colleges called “Applied Lungionics’.

    According to some reports the reason behind the low productivity in kerala is
    due to the fact that 80% of the productive working hour is spend for wearing the lungi at half mast.

  15. Bade Miyan

    lal,
    “According to some reports the reason behind the low productivity in kerala is
    due to the fact that 80% of the productive working hour is spend for wearing the lungi at half mast.”

    That’s sad to hear, for I thought that lungi was the perfect wear for the “drive through” style of horizontal Olympics. Imagine doing that using the elaborate contraptions like the skin tight churidar!

  16. libertarian

    @Bade Miyan: That’s sad to hear, for I thought that lungi was the perfect wear for the “drive through” style of horizontal Olympics.

    Dude if you’re inventing these metaphors you’re super-talented🙂

  17. @no-communal

    Yes, yes, yes….you did sum it up quite nicely when you said quite literally speaking, didn’t you?

    it seems that he clothed the hapless old woodsman in a lungi (in point of fact, in his IIM days, the old codger was to be found resplendent in Malayali batik lungis, presented to him by Syrian Christian friends, but abandoned it in later life under irresistible uxorious pressure) to highlight the religious ambiguity of his character.

    @lal

    As it happens, Mallus never, ever call it a lungi; to them, as you might have read elsewhere, in old men’s senile maunderings, it is a dhoti. At least the white ones are; the brilliantly-coloured ones are lungis, the way furriners prefer it.

    About your hoarsely-whispered warning:“It’s not a good idea to look up on a mallu when he is on a coconut tree” ,you are thinking about a Scotsman and his kilt, and the forthright statement that nothing is worn under a kilt, everything is in perfect working order. Mallus are well-accoutred and perfectly dressed in all respects, and can easily bear the glare of public notice with not inhibitions – or exhibitions, for that matter.

    The bit about 80% of the time being spent taking a dhoti to half-mast is a dirty slander. You take a steady stance on one foot, your preferred foot, left one if you are right-footed, and vice-versa, and use your other heel in a sharp upward shove, the hem of the full-mast dhoti flies up, you reach down with your right hand without interrupting your conversation, or whatever you are doing (Bade Miyan’s mind-boggling allusions excepted) and smooth the edge into a regular shape and take a fold in it. That’s it; nothing to it. Less than a second to flip, another two or three to smooth and fold. Anyone can get there with fifteen or sixteen years’ practice.

    @Bade Miyan

    What exactly did you say your profession was? Enquiring minds wish to know.

  18. Tilsim

    Talking of half mast and all, the shalwar with a flowing kameez on top is the ultimate protection in certain parts of the land. The goats graze peacefully on distant hilltops.

  19. censor

    Does wordpress provide mechanism to block comments based on geolocation? Can pakteahouse block all comments from Indians?

    When I come to Pakteahouse, I want to know about Pakistani viewpoint, not what the tricolor dhoti chaaps think about Pakistan. Saale kutte ki tarah bhonk bhonk ke dimag kharab kar rahe hain.

  20. Subcontinental

    censor writes: Saale kutte ki tarah bhonk bhonk ke dimag kharab kar rahe hain.

    You show me your dimag, and I’ll stop my bhonkna!🙂

  21. PMA

    Vajra: I see you are still alive. I thought yous was dead.
    lal: You have thoroughly exposed your lungiclads.
    censor: PTH was created for this ‘crowd’. Without them this site will have no bark. Where else could you learn so much about India.
    Tilsim: Which parts are you talking about brother.

  22. Pankaj

    India’s RISE and Pakistan’s DECLINE have happened at the same time ie concurrently

    Today India is far ahead ECONOMICALLY ,TECHNOLOGICALLY AND MILITARILY as compared to Pakistan

    Pakistan’s economy is in such bad shape that it will take a decade to only REPAIR it

    BY 2020 our GDP would be 3 Trillion dollars

  23. no-communal

    Tilsim
    We are just idling around. Shalwar kameez is of course one of the best dresses in the world.

  24. no-communal

    “Saale kutte ki tarah bhonk bhonk ke dimag kharab kar rahe hain.”

    Here comes the real, erect, full blooded, one.

    This thread is titled “The Giant in the East-Part 1”. It’s normal that Indians, unless they are forbidden, will be interested. I have no idea what you thought as “giant” when you opened it, but whatever it is I am sure it’s not on the east.

    No need to take your nick as “censor”, because you will never be censored, no matter how hot-headed, ill-tempered, gutter-mouth fool you are.

  25. Chote Miyan

    Tilsim,
    If I may, I think you missed a word in your post. The line should properly read as:
    “The hapless goats graze peacefully on distant hilltops.”

    For the legend has it that the indomitable loin of the mountains, having wasted his youth in the ramshackle madrassas, has a hard time distinguishing between species of his amorous interests.

    Btw, I think the men of North West look quite handsome in dhoti as worn in the North. It’s infinitely more manly than the unisex salwar-kameez.

  26. no-communal

    Pankaj

    Slowly friend. Why the unnecessary statistics. There are hundreds of millions of poor around us. Let’s not be empty braggarts.

  27. Chote Miyan

    Libertarian,
    Thanks. “Horizontal Olympics” is an expression that seems to have gained currency of late. The “drive through” thing was my idea. It was inspired by a joke that circulated in my college days in Delhi about the reasons why Chidabaram persisted in wearing his lungis/dhotis. Grapevine has it that he is, among other things, quite a man-whore with a reputation for efficiency in “disposing” his cases.

  28. Chote Miyan

    Vajra,
    “What exactly did you say your profession was? Enquiring minds wish to know.”

    Sadly nothing very exciting. I pass my days contemplating the various shades of the expression: “could have”, “should have”.😦

  29. PMA

    pan kaj: Haven’t been to India lately. But is it true that all the stray dogs in Delhi walk around in designer’s high-heels and millions of homeless sleep on the sidewalks under Barbary blankets? I tell you they do so in Pakistan. Now how is that for one upmanship? Han?

  30. Chote Miyan

    PMA,
    No, of course not. But, we can defecate in public and wipe our arse with any paper, without the fear of being hauled up in court for doing so. How about that? Haan?

  31. libertarian

    @Chote Miyan: Chidabaram persisted in wearing his lungis/dhotis. Grapevine has it that he is, among other things, quite a man-whore with a reputation for efficiency in “disposing” his cases.

    Most interesting. Didn’t quite get whether Chidu was gay or not. Good to know that he’s getting his jollies and not getting all hot and bothered – can focus on work when work beckons. Unlike Gilani exercising freedom of “press” with Sherry Rehman (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMBy_OIJM6Q)🙂

  32. PMA

    This is what I love about PTH. Free flow of ideas. But why do you use paper. We don’t. For us one lota full of water does the job. Let me tell you a story. When I was little – real little, there was this one Hindu family in our old neighborhood that had refused to move to the other side. The father’s name was Tara Singh, a proud Rajput mind you. He had told everybody ‘you can kill me but I am not going to leave my home’. So everybody left him and his family alone, unharmed. Every morning before dawn he used to walk through our street on his way to the open fields with a ‘garvi’ in his hand. Curious, I asked my father one day: “Where does Chacha Tara go every morning with a ‘garvi’ in his hand?” My next question was: “Why doesn’t he use ‘lota’ like rest of us.”