About me and this blog

I started this blog in July 2008. It has been nearly a decade since that time. This blog is an outlet for my thoughts and musings about India. Sometimes I feel like it was yesterday, when I was composing my first post about federalism and the linguistic questions in Indian politics. But then I browse through some of the posts and realize how knowledge and experience changes one’s mind.

I started this blog with the goal of communicating ‘objective’ opinions, commentary and research on India, relying on the work of academics. I was then a beginning PhD student, and my belief in the reliability and objectivity of academic work perhaps came from the fact that I was embarking on such a path myself.

If there has been one change that has occurred in my thinking over the time this blog was written, it is that academia like media is heavily conditioned by politics, power and a host of structural factors. Academic ‘leaders’ develop vested interests in narratives, and deep links with political actors who rely on these narratives for their political agency. Noam Chomsky has argued well about manufactured consent in the media, but not surprisingly I havent heard much from him on the same effect in academia.

My general feeling is that academic work from political science, and economics departments tends to be freer from ‘manufactured consent’ than that from sociology, anthropology and history departments. There is of course, great work that comes from all areas, Venkat Dhulipala’s recent historical work is an example. But unfortunately, as fortunate as I was to have found and read his book, I also had to see him being bullied by ‘academic leaders’.

Another shift in my thinking is that I am more likely to try and understand the structural roots/circumstances of people’s choices and behaviours rather than ascribe them to their inherent nature or cultural background.

 

Responses

  1. Vikram, when you comment on my blog you should add the link to your blog in the url box. I think for that you will have to sign out and then comment (I am not sure how this works) and then the next time when you comment you are automatically linked or something like that.
    I had no idea that you had a blog and the reason is that you never put the url into the url box.

  2. Congratulations on a new blog. I am looking forward to read more from you. I hope you go beyond academic posts. I will surely be a regular visitor.

  3. great to have found this blog..!

    Thanks Raza

  4. Great blog.
    I breathe in relief reeading the unsaid.
    I am sick and tired of the mass and indifferent immigration of ‘indian docs’ et al – without one thought for their country and people. And then whining about the majority ad indegenous people of their country taking their rights in the so called IITs- which are producing I Bankers for Wall st now ( I know at leasst 15 people in my personal circle and scores beyondserving the latest desi trend). Even Lebanese doctors from war zoned Beirut talk about going back to ‘my people’.
    Indians never talk like ‘my people’.. unless its my ‘state’/temple/caste’.
    The masses of filthy and almost absent toilets and women with swollen bellies and undernourished children, begging from AC temple going upper classes will testify to the lack of humanity which is sooo pervasive in the culture. That you have to wait hours before reaching work coz stone idols pop up everyehere and human beings get trampled underfoot.
    I dont understand this myth of’ Indian culture’.
    its all about maintaining and worshipping the status qou- and authority. In Music, science, religion, dance..the Guru or the person who owns knowledge is god. AKa sociologically speaking the ‘brahmin’.
    the masses have been blinded for 5000 years and the buddhist, sufi bhakts, sikh, christian, muslim egalitarian movments all been slowly dissolved out..wiped off from the land of their birth.
    with one pretext or an other,. Funny how a 10 %minority of Aryan colonizers calls the majority of the country and its indegenous people ‘minority’, ‘scheduled’, etc. ANyone who tries to break out of the caste fold ( currently known as ‘Hinduism’- which is not the real yoga/philosophical thing) is labelled ‘minority’..or immediately made suspect.
    cant you see it coming?

    Ghazal, India’s problems are widespread and complex, as you probably realize. Let me give me an example, my post on eve-teasing indicated that the SC youth were targeting OBC women to ‘get back’ at OBC oppression. But for centuries, the OBCs and the SCs were both oppressed by Brahmins (who have been politically made irrelevant), while the OBCs in turn suppressed the SCs ! It is a similar tale almost all over the sub-continent, not simply a 10 % minority suppressing the rest but a chain and a web of suppression and exploitation. What worries me the most is that many urban Indians do not realize that simply ignoring caste will not make the inequality go away.

    Indians do not say ‘my people’ because there is no Indian people really. India is not a traditional nation in its make up, there is no logical reason why Punjabis and Malayalis should be part of the same nation, they are more different than Italians and the British. But due to some inspirational thinking and historical accident they are, for better or worse, read my response to odzer’s comment on this post. India is however a very real nation in its ability to empower (perhaps not satisfactorily) the weakest fragments of its society and also to inflict severe, brutal violence on its own constituents and outsiders.

  5. There are a million Indias.

    Hope your blog succeeds in capturing each one of them succinctly.

    Do visit my effort in cataloging corruption in India – chaipani.worpress.com

    All the best.

    Thanks. Your ‘corruption catalog’ is a creative effort. But you might get overwhelmed with emails due to the topic. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

  6. Hi Vikram,

    I am happy to have come across your blog.

    Your review of various topics relevant to India will be worth reading.

    It is very fashionable to rubbish anything Indian and be very cynical about ourselves. I do not know if this is a hardwired habit or an acquired malaise.

    We will keep meeting in this new e-universe

    Sure thing, Mavin. I am trying to be as ‘scientific’ as I can, although occasionally I will divert from the theme.

    Cheers!!!

  7. Happy to come across your blog. Looking forward to learn more about my country. One of the bloggers had talked about doctors not doing enough for their country. Am eager to understand that better. Looking for solutions in that regard…

    Thanks Raghav. I dont have solutions to that particular problem, but I will try to find a paper on rural healthcare in India.

  8. Nice to come across your blog.

    Thank you trailblazer, your comments and inputs are welcome.

  9. Great blog!

    Your “What is India?” post is very thought provoking.

    I’ll continue reading and add you to my blogroll.

    Thanks, MmeetsK. I think you are in a unique position urself and I will be a regular reader of your blog too.

  10. Vikram isn’t there an email address on which we can get in touch with you?

  11. Brilliant posts vikram…i was almost hooked to it today.

    Thanks gayathri, welcome to my blog.

  12. i believe this is my first visit .but your blog looks good.i really liked the header ๐Ÿ˜›
    i think your blog has a different approach and would surely love to read more about a youngster outlook on contemporary India .

    Thank You Arpit and Welcome. I intended this blog to be very different and in some sense very objective. Looking forward to your thoughts and comments.

  13. I’ve given you an award.

  14. What are you studying, if you don’t mind me asking?

  15. I didn’t ask where, I asked what.

  16. You have a brilliant blog here, Vikram. I came here throuh the comments you left on Nita’s blog. With more people like you, I am hopeful for a new, better India.

    Thanks wishtobeanon. ๐Ÿ™‚ Welcome to my blog. Yes, a new, better India will require all of us to be better Indians.

  17. hey vikram, thanks for sharing the info you left on abel foundation blog.
    I am one of the members,ruchi’s friend, i think thats how you landed on the blog..
    newyas,you have a great blog here..

    good to have opinions and views..

    keep up the work ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thank You Prachi, your initiative is very important. Keep working on it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Hi Vikram,
    Love your blog, keep up the great work!
    Pushpa

    Thanks Pushpa ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Dear Vikram,

    Yours is a honest, and well-founded blog. Best of luck. Keep writing.

    Thanks Srinivas. ๐Ÿ™‚ Keep visting.

  20. Super blog. Will keep checking it out.

    Thanks. Yes, please keep visiting. ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Vikram, I wanted to respond to your comment you left, but I don’t have your email address. Sorry, I didn’t publish it as it was off-topic – hope you don’t mind. Let me know your email address – I didn’t find it here.

  22. Hi Vikram,

    Came across your blog today, through searches on the NREGA. Have been reading and researching on this topic for a while now, and more so after Budget 09-10. Do take a look at http://governindia.org

    The webpage also connects you to a discussion forum on Facebook, whereby we are trying to come up with

    (a) Clear definitions of the problems that the NREGA is facing today

    (b) Concrete suggestions and improvements, which can be forwarded to the concerned authorities

    Do let us know your thoughts.

  23. Nice blog.Keep up the good work.

    Thanks Mona. Do keep visiting. ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. […] their lives. A list of those who defied the system isย here. Given in a comment on this blog byย Vikram. However, this movie is not about a whistle blower per se, and nor is it about Mohandas Gandhi, the […]

  25. Can you send me your email address for the DesiPundit invite?

  26. I am looking for a short list NGO related issues in India – contemporary ones. Please give the list or a web site

  27. Vikram
    Just found your site this morning. Love it! Can’t wait to read more. I Just bookmarked it here at my office.

    I was adopted from India when I was 1 yr old and have lived in the US ever since. I have a different view of my “homeland” than those who have lived there for long periods of time.

    I’m actually hoping to get to India in Feb 2011 for 3 months to do work with an NGO that works with the Dalits for my MA research.

    Check out my blog, I think you will find it an interesting perspective.

    Cheers!
    AJ

  28. Hi Vikram,

    I was wondering if you could help me. I am writing my dissertation on Indian democracy and modernity. Specifically, I want to argue against the importation of Western political forms to India. In a sense, make an argument against the colonialism of ideas. So, I’d be grateful if you could point me towards any literature that deals with such themes and engages in a critical treatment of the democratic/Nehruvian project in India.

    Much appreciated,

    Vijay

  29. Vijay, I dont recall reading too many papers/books that deal directly with this topic. However, to start off I recall a reference in India after Gandhi, an EPW paper by a civil servant written towards the end of the Nehruvian era that might come close. Will send you more details soon.

    • Thanks. That would be helpful.

      • Chapter 28 of Guha’s ‘India After Gandhi’ cites this reference at the very beginning. It might be of use to you.

        Anon, ‘After Nehru … ‘, Economic Weekly, special issue, July 1958

  30. Hi Vikram,

    I have been following your blog for sometime now. It is a thought-provoking blog and you write very well. May I add you to my blog roll? Mine is a personal blog and is not so focussed as yours.

    • Thank you Sudha. You can definitely blog roll me. I appreciate the nice words and encouragement. ๐Ÿ˜€

  31. whats yourr email id bro ?

    • Abe, tere paas nahin hain mera id ?

  32. Hello Vikram! I came across your blog via your comment on “Why I left India (again)” on NYT India Blog. I’m very impressed by your balanced and scientific perspective on India.

    I’ve mostly found Indian diaspora divided along two lines:
    1. As an ex-pat, I’ve often faced undeserved ire from the jingoism of many people in India.
    2. At the same time, I’ve also witnessed many NRIs dismiss India completely, without acknowledging the accomplishments (there are many) of the ancient and modern civilization.

    I have found both the extremes laughable. It’s refreshing to see your well-analyzed thoughts which don’t subscribe to either extreme, but stay logical. I’m looking forward to reading more of your articles.

    • Welcome Swati. And many thanks for the kind words ๐Ÿ™‚

      I do agree that there is an extreme of views prevalent among many Indians and ex-pats, but I hope information and maturity will allow people to take a more rational and balanced view of the various subjects dealing with India.

      I look forward to your comments ๐Ÿ™‚

      P.S: You’re the first neurosurgeon I have ever interacted with. You people are amazing ๐Ÿ˜€

  33. Hello Vikram,

    I’m making an educational material for Japanese people to listen and comprehend English spoken with Indian-accents. I would like to use a few of your excellent articles (to be recorded by voice talents). Can you please contact me via email so I can explain further?

    Warm regards,
    Koji Matsuo

    • Hey Koji. Thank you very much for your kind words. I will write to you tomorrow.

  34. Thanks, Vikram!

  35. Hi Vikram, Great to see your blog. I’m an hockey player from AP. I liked your writeup on hockey. May you write many more.

    • Thanks Ravi ๐Ÿ™‚ Very kind of you to say that.

  36. Hi

    I think you could enrich your blog by citing some references or suggested reading for your followers.

    Regards
    Nicol

    • Thanks Nicol. Will definitely put some recommendations up. In fact, next blog post will be about a book I read recently, ‘Untouchables’ by Narendra Jadhav.

  37. Great Writing Style and outlook!

    Good Work Sir

    • Many thanks Rohan ! I wish you success in all your amazing endeavours.

  38. Vikram
    I just added your blog to my roll. I’m in the midst of a re-jiggering of mine. I’m expanding my focus to be about contemporary India, as well as my journey as an Indian adoptee, along with focusing on conflict resolution, peace building and similar international development topics, as that’s my field.

    I really like your blog and your voice on it. I’m not nearly as knowledgeable as you are about the land of my birth, but that’s ok.

    Was curious if you’d be interested in letting me interview you, with questions about current Indian events on my blog? Would be good exposure for us both. Not exactly sure the format, but wanted to see if you’d be into the idea at all first. No rush as I’m just re-starting mine after a 1 year hiatus contributing for another adoption blog.

    Feel free to get back to me on my personal email, as you can see it.

    Thanks
    A.J.

  39. It feels so great to be reader of this blog from last 3 years. Keep on going Vikram. Much time has passed since I started reading this blog and become more knowledgeable of matters with India. Meanwhile, i changed my profession from software engineer to development professional. Today, when I am working on such issues on ground and I find your blog has given me strong theoretical base. thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thank you very much Yayaver ๐Ÿ™‚ Sorry for the delay in the reply. Have been tied in some urgent work. Keep writing and communicating your experiences !

  40. Excellent blog. Very impartial, accurate analyses of the state of affairs in India. Great work!

  41. Your choice of words and fractured perspective is evident. Academic scholarship is a poor substitute for experience and deep caring that comes from immersion. Not immersion in ideological concoctions – mind you. One may sound loudly authentic, which comes easily as second nature to verbal manipulators.

  42. Your deliberate choice of words and fractured perspective is evident. Academic scholarship is a poor substitute for experience and deep caring that comes from immersion. Not immersion in ideological concoctions – mind you. One may sound loudly authentic, which comes easily as second nature to verbal manipulators.

  43. In these days of race obsessed (almost axiomatized) logic as basis for identity, it is heartening to come across the following – a true perspective completely free from colonised anglo-euro centric, marxist paradigm.

    “Native American isn’t blood. It is what is in the heart. The love for the land, the respect for it, those who inhabit it, and the respect and acknowledgement of the spirits and elders. That is what it is to be Indian.” – White Feather, Navajo Medicine Man.
    All leftist and euro-centric motor-mouths must honestly know this above.


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