Posts Tagged 'planning'

The True Face of Heroism in India

Probir Banerjee and Amitabh Bachchan

This morning, in a Republic Day ceremony with only a smattering of the brainless pomp that usually characterizes Indian public events, Lieutenant Governor Govind Singh Gurjar honored our dear friend and colleague Probir Banerjee for his extraordinary devotion to voluntary service to the people of Pondicherry.

It is shameful that I am only now, upon the prompting of this recognition, writing about Probir. He is not only one of the extraordinary people who cause me to call Pondicherry “home” for half of each year, he is very much the ringleader of that inspiring clique.

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PondyCAN! Did!

Gingee Bazaar Architectural Rendering

Pondicherry Citizens Action Network (PondyCAN!) has a rather ambitious agenda: to effectuate long-range, integrated regional master planning which will preserve, restore, and enhance this once-beautiful, rapidly despoiled, utterly unique heritage town and its surrounding natural resources, and place them within a small-radius network of symbiotic economic hubs.

Some of our endeavors are far more modest, however. One recent effort involved dissuading the Pondicherry Municipality from constructing a massive concrete market block at the top of the central canal which divides the French and Tamil districts of the historic Boulevard Town.

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India: Going Nowhere Fast

Maruti Suzuki Assembly Line (courtesy of New York Times)

A story about India’s booming auto industry leads today’s New York Times business section. “Ask a billion people, and 99 percent of them are going to say they want a car,” explains Jagdish Khattar, managing director of Maruti Suzuki India, the country’s largest car manufacturer. “The problem,” he continues, “is: How many can afford it?”

And so Maruti Suzuki, and the other Indian automakers are cranking out inexpensive cars by the lakhs. Car sales within India will reach nearly two million units this year, and are estimated to climb to nearly four million by 2013.

Most tout this kind of industrial muscle and burgeoning consumer acquisitiveness as signs of a brilliantly expansive, vital economy. I see it as further evidence – as if more was needed – that India is a second-rate country with first-rate promise, limited by third-rate imagination and fourth-rate fidelity to the values and traditions of its proud past.

Put another way: India is squandering its Twenty First Century economic opportunity with its mid-Twentieth Century mindset.

Continue reading ‘India: Going Nowhere Fast’


Blasts from the Past

... because the idiocy of manliness is an evergreen topic.

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... because Canada and the US will celebrate their Thanksgiving holidays and, regrettably and preventably, not 1-cook-in-10 will serve a decent turkey.

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... because everyday is Mother's Day.

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... because the American Dream seems but a distant memory, given the country's dominant ethos of small-mindedness.

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... to remind us that not every mix of Tibetans and Western spiritual seekers has to be nauseating.

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... to celebrate the new edition of Infinite Vision published in India.

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... reprised because military strategy seems more cruel and less effective than ever -- and certainly there is a better way.

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... because cars are ruining Pondicherry, where I live. How badly are they fucking up your Indian town?

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... reprinted because more-and-more people seem want to understand the gift economy. (Yeah!)

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