Word cloud of “Rahul speaks to Arnab”

To be brutally honest, I did not expect Arnab would manage an entire interview without loosing his cool, especially none of his questions were answered. I would have lost my cool on 3rd “RTI” or “empowerment”.

That’s Arnab, RESPECT !

Those who missed it, watch it here

On interview itself, I was curious how strongly Arnab wanted “nation to know” on how strongly Rahul wanted “empowerment“. So, I pulled complete transcript from here and used Wordle to create tag cloud. This is what I found:

This is what Arnab asked.

Arnab questions
Arnab questions

and this is how Rahul answered

Rahul answers
Rahul answers

How to survive Arnab Goswami through logical fallacies

As you already might have guessed, I am a regular viewer of the the Newshour by Arnab Goswami, and a big fan. It is a ‘complete’ show. There are multiple reasons I choose to watch this – It provides good entertainment, alternatives are poorly scripted; also in a weird sense, this is a kind of adventure sport, for panellists.

Surprisingly though, there is not even a single guide available on how to survive his show. I expected at least a book in market, something like “Arnab for dummies”, nope! So I thought I’ll write one, not book, a post. If you happened to be invited to his show please feel free to use any of these.

BTW, if you do not know Arnab Goswami, please go back into your cave and close the rock door properly. I heard spiders are good protein. For others, let’s start.

Arnab Goswami
Arnab Goswami

Right, Thumb rule is, there is no correct way of doing it. However, there are several wrong ways.

  1. You can never win an argument, you can only survive it. So stop trying to convince him, it will never work.
  2. Do not practice! In fact, you don’t even need to know what the discussion is all about. He will set the premise, then he will ask what “nation needs to know”.
  3. Never ever ask for a proof. If it exists, he has seen it. As it was famously described before by media crooks –  every piece of document, including your bus ticket will have to go through his desk. Stamped.
  4. Use the words he uses, he may show mercy on you. ‘National’ television, you’re ‘exclusive’, etc. While there, don’t use the words ‘paid’ and ‘media’, or ‘you’ and ‘PR agent’ in same sentence. Prostate exams seem better than what follows.
  5. Use this as final resort, only if you are cornered. Close your ears and eyes and sing a song, need not be a patriotic song, even Sheela Ki Jawani should work.
  6. If that doesn’t work, use your rugby skills

I will update the list as and when I find more, but as of now above should help you through half an hour of his show.

On a different note, below are some rhetological fallacies I noted. This is in general, rather than Arnab’s show. These are real fallacies, I did not make any of these.

  1. Burden of proof – It’s not my job to find proof, it’s yours. E.g. Give me proof for something I claimed
  2. Special pleading – pleading for exemption without justifying the exemption. E.g. Give them time, they will prove eventually, so don’t scrutinize.
  3. Insufficient sample – broad conclusion on a tiny sample E.g. The latest ‘ground-breaking’ survey had “..about 2000 people – was small and was concentrated on the 18-45 age group”
  4. Relative privation – argument on existence of severe, but unrelated, problems. E.g. How can Madhuri Dikshit and Salman Khan can attend a show while people don’t have blanket in refugee camp.
  5. Appeal to accomplishment – because of his credentials! E.g. have you ever read Arvind Kejriwal’s Resume?
  6. Nazi card – simple branding. e.g. we are liberals, by definition we are open to all ideas except anything remotely right.
  7. Appeal to ridicule – E.g. Idea of abolishing income tax is ridiculous, we don’t even need to talk about it.
  8. Appeal to nature – argument solely dependent on the topic being ‘natural’ or ‘unnatural’. E.g. Homosexuality is unnatural.
  9. Appeal to novelty – better because it is modern. E.g. since it is written in books before
  10. Appeal to fear – fear towards the opposing idea e.g. FDI in retail will bring devastating impact in economic fabric
  11. Appeal to the majority – Since majority seems to think so, must be true E.g. majority is gullible
  12. Cherry picking – celebrating on few features of an achievement while ignoring significant information of related cases or data that may contradict that position. For example Delhi water problem solved!
  13. Appeal to ignorance – because it is not proven false; so true. e.g.  You did not give him a chance yet, he can do wonders.
  14. Appeal to common sense – I cannot imagine how this could be true, therefore it must be false. E.g. I can’t imagine how such a big actor can drive over people sleeping on footpath.
  15. Hedging – using words with ambiguous meanings, then changing the meaning of them later. E.g. we said we will live like common man alright, we also agreed to end VIP culture. But that simply means we won’t use beacons, but gas guzzling SUVs stay. Apparently practising austerity is not for common man.
    More will be added here.

Delhi free water – 5 things wrong with it

Delhi government under Arvind Kejriwal has kept its first promise, while media is watching it closely. Or is it other way round? – Since media is watching Delhi government kept its first promise?

Delhi water problem
Nothing will change for these, who actually need water (image credits to indianexpress.com)

By free water and cheaper electricity, as I understood, as supposed to be achieved through the efficiency through bringing down corruption, fixing wastage, suppress mafia and improve operations scientifically. Apparently answer is none of the above, instead it’s a socialistic populist freebie.

I am not impressed so far, in fact I am worried on what’s coming next. Here, let me list down 5 things which, I think, are wrong by the way it is implemented

  1. Some detailed, the money for free water is taken out of from the profits made by delhi Jal Board in past years. The Idea is, profit out of public money, should go back to public, for free! Remember India 40-50 years back? Never_dream_of_profit policy? This is version 2.
  2. What happens after this profit in coffer wears out? They either will have to stop free-water flow or raise money through taxes. Either way, won’t be free anymore!
  3. What about houses which aren’t in water grid? They don’t have free water now anyway, later point these guys need to pay for something they aren’t exactly benefitting from. Double trouble!
  4. One of the feature least thought about is, If a meter consumes even a litre more than ‘free’ limit, entire consumption is charged! There are no slabs. This means dilwale Delhi people can no longer host any guest who baths daily.
  5. Free-water does not translate to availability of it. Honestly, I still wonder, what is the bigger problem in Delhi? Not having water round the clock? Or paying for the service who brings it to you?

A tick on free water, electricity next. Without even an audit, 50% tariff reduction is written on stone. Let’s see how they mess this up?


Just finished

Breaking India: Western Interventions In Dravidian And Dalit Faultlines by Rajiv Malhotra, Arvindan Neelakandan

Almost finished

A SECULAR AGENDA:For Stregthening our country, For Welding IT – Arun Shourie

Just picked up

Tinderbox: The Past and Future of Pakistan – MJ Akbar

Next in queue

ಕವಲು – ಎಸ್ ಎಲ್ ಭೈರಪ್ಪ.

Children of Taliban

If you tame a snake to kill your neighbour, after doing that, its gonna come back to bite you !

Frankenstein monster is now in Pakistan. And you can watch it (if you haven’t already!) on PBS/Frontline documentary by Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy “Pakistan’s” Children of the Taliban (2010) where she explores alarming consequences.

(That was 2010 movie, if anyone has follow up documentary, please share)

The Taliban often use radio broadcasts to drive home their message.

In one typical address, a preacher proclaims:

“Sharia Law is our right, and we will exercise this right whatever happens. We will make ourselves suicide bombers! I swear to God if our leader orders me, I will sacrifice myself… and blow myself up in the middle of our enemies.“

The Taliban have destroyed more than 200 government schools in Swat since they took control of the region.  Walking through the rubble of a school that once taught 400 girls, the reporter comes across two nine-year-old girls who used to study there.

image from sharmeenobaidfilms.com

The genetic origin of Indians – variation in a glance

It was obvious, although not socially accepted. Brahmins-dalits, dravidians-aryans, hindus-muslims christians-jews, when it comes to India they are already mixed! Every is has certain percentage of someone else. Not a good news for many, but hey I dint make this up :-)

Here, a post gives you a breakdown of socially defined races by percentage of actual %age races. Its statistical data, so there will be +/- error, but in general they make a lot of sense to me. If you disagree, send your toothbrush.

Also, he draws few semi-conclusions based on data. One of them is

South Indian Brahmins claim northern Indo-Aryan origins. The genetics certainly bear this out, albeit with some probable admixture with the local substrate. There are many specific questions which can be asked and answered. The Cochin and Bene Israel Jews of the west coast of India clearly do have highly elevated Middle Eastern components of ancestry, though they are highly admixed with the native populations. My own question: do the Nasrani Christians truly descend from Jews? I would have dismissed this outright a few months ago, but I am not sure sure now. The western coast of India seems to have long-standing connections to southern Arabia, so we need to flesh out these patterns in more detail.

And, finally the breakdown

The genetic origin of Indians