• Are subnational identities really bad? Do they serve any purpose?
    • I like Mythili Bhusnurmath's articles on finance and economy and therefore rarely miss a piece from her that I come across. Today's article is one which extolls the "American" victory in Obama's election as US President. Then she criticised the subnational identities that we are unable to wipe away even after 60 years of Independence. In her own words:
      • In contrast, more than 60 years after independence, we still identify ourselves less as Indians and more as belonging to some sub-regional, religious, ethnic or caste group. If political parties are much to blame for sharpening the divides rather than blurring them by promoting what is common amongst us, we cannot entirely absolve ourselves of blame either. Let alone the social sphere, even in the work space whether in the public or in the private sector, subnational identities rein supreme.
    • Like her, I too have long been an opponent of subnational identities and always dreamed of an idea of India. After reading this, just for the heck of it, I decided to take on the manlte of a devil's advocate. Are subnational identities are bad per se? This being a highly debatable question, one can take either of the positions. But are they really bad? I feel they do serve a purpose of their own, even while appearing to be pulling the country asunder. One of the important purposes being that they do give a vent to people's frustrations, anger, and demands. When these can be accomodated in the political space provided by the society, it is quite unlikely that they will resort to more dangerous forms of articulating their ambitions / desires like secessionism or terrorism. So, true, while they don't allow the coagulation of simple absolute majority for any party in the polity, they nevertheless don't allow the more malicious forms of protest or ambitions to take root.
    • Am I treading on unfamiliar territory in our blog? Any Sociologists out there? Any comments?


  • Some real historic moments that happened in quick succession:
    • ON NOVEMBER 2, Lewis Hamilton became the first black world champion in F1 racing-car history. Within 48 hours, Barack Obama became the first Afro-American to be elected President of the USA.
  • Is trouble brewing for JP Morgan Chase, the last man standing, too?
    • In its regulatory filings it said it has $18.2 billion of risky mortgages known as subprime, including $4.7 billion of subprime loans acquired when it bought Washington Mutual in September. And that it has more than $395 billion in consumer loans, with the largest chunk in home equity loans. Mortgages, credit cards and auto loans are also in the portfolio.
    • The bank expects more credit card borrowers to fail to pay balances, meaning it will have to write off more balances as unpaid.
  • India-Qatar relations
    • Being home to the third largest natural gas resource in the world (25 trillion cubic meters & 15% of world's total), Qatar occupies an important place in India's scheme of things. While its exports to India are about $2.6 bn, India exports a mere $700 mn, mostly consumer items, foodstuff and industrial equipment.
    • Nine years ago, India had signed an agreement for exporting 7.5 million tonnes of liquefied gas from Qatar annually in two phases. Now it is seeking to upgrade the simple buyer/supplier relationship. As part of this, it will sign two agreements on defence and security during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit (currently on) to the Gulf nation beginning Sunday evening - the first by an Indian head of government.
    • Qatar’s Amir is Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani.
  • Ford and GM report record quarterly losses
    • America's second-largest car-maker, Ford, reported an operating loss in the third quarter of $3bn as its production and sales slumped amid financial turmoil.
    • General Motors, America's largest car-maker, reported a nearly $39 billion third-quarter loss, its largest ever, after it took a huge noncash charge to write down deferred tax credits.
    • Both of them, together with Chrysler are seeking government's help and are requesting for a $50 bn infusion.


  • India's success stories in sporting arena
    • This is a good article that takes a look at India's success in sports of late. Worth a read.