POSTED BY Buzz ON Apr 21, 2014 AT 23:43 IST ,  Edited At: Apr 21, 2014 23:43 IST

Film-maker Rakesh Sharma has posted this video on YouTube with the following note:

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Apr 21, 2014 AT 23:43 IST, Edited At: Apr 21, 2014 23:43 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Aug 10, 2013 AT 00:05 IST ,  Edited At: Aug 10, 2013 00:05 IST

Jagdish Bhagwati in the Business Standard: The Bhagwati-Sen Debate: An Epitaph

While I was among the intellectual pioneers of the Track I reforms that transformed our economy and reduced poverty, and witness to that is provided by the Prime Minister’s many pronouncements and by noted economists like Deena Khatkhate, I believe no one has accused Mr. Sen of being the intellectual father of these reforms. So, the fact is that this huge event in the economic life of India passed him by.

Mr. Sen would like us to believe that Track II expenditures at the outset would have reduced poverty and even produced growth. But beyond assertions, he has no convincing argument on his side. As I (and Professor Panagariya) argue, India had too few rich and too many poor. Redistribution (i.e. taking moneys from the rich and distributing it to the poor) would have increased their well-being only marginally. Growth had to come first, then “redistribution” from the enhanced revenues unless God was to drop manna from heaven! Mr. Sen lives in a world of illusion.

Read the full piece at the Business StandardThe Bhagwati-Sen Debate: An Epitaph

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Aug 10, 2013 AT 00:05 IST, Edited At: Aug 10, 2013 00:05 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Jul 25, 2013 AT 20:27 IST ,  Edited At: Jul 25, 2013 20:27 IST

In the Business Standard, Mihir Sharma goes to the heart of the matter as to why minor disagreements between Jagdish Bhagwati and Amartya Sen "have amplified into a shouting match — well, a one-way shouting match, with Bhagwati repeatedly attacking Sen in public and in print, and Sen expounding on his point through interviews and op-eds, largely without mentioning Bhagwati or his views." Sharma argues that the real difference between them is merely a difference in emphasis, and then comes to the real reason behind the recent fuss:

As I said: duelling books; people who don’t bother to read the duelling books but instead read headlines written by journalists who haven’t bothered to read the duelling books, or only partially understood these, and the eternal quest in the Indian media to make absolutely everything relate to Narendra Modi versus Rahul Gandhi.

Read the full piece which offers a dummy's guide to the latest brouhaha, with seven things you should know in the Bhagwati vs Sen slugfest: Bhagwati versus Sen: What's going on?

In the same newspaper, Rupa Subramanya invokes the Hayek-Keynes duel in the US in 1932 and concludes, perhaps a bit too optimistically:

One thing is for sure as a young Indian, this is the first time that economic policy debates between two great economic thinkers have been at the forefront of public discourse in India. Whether we like it or not, it’s shaping up as a battle of ideas between those who see themselves more on the right versus those who see themselves on the left. Ideologically driven debates seem to have finally arrived in India. It's just that not all of our politicians have yet figured that out.

Read the full piece: Bhagwati versus Sen: Slugfest or policy change agent?

For background articles referenced in Sharma's articles:

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Jul 25, 2013 AT 20:27 IST, Edited At: Jul 25, 2013 20:27 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Dec 18, 2012 AT 07:16 IST ,  Edited At: Dec 18, 2012 07:16 IST

It's all happening out there.

First, this year's Nobel prize winnder for literature, Mo Yan, declined to sign a petition -- endorsed by more than 130 other Nobel laureates -- asking for the release of Liu Xiaobo, the 2010 Nobel Peace laureate. Mr Xiabao was sentenced to 11 years in prison back in 2009 for criticizing the Chinese government and calling for greater openness.

In a press conference in Stockholm a few days back, Mr Yan said while censorship should not stand in the way of the truth, defamation and rumours "should be censored."

"But," he added,  "I also hope that censorship, per se, should have the highest principle".

"When I was taking my flight, going through the customs ... they also wanted to check me even taking off my belt and shoes. But I think these checks are necessary."

Refusing to elaborate further on the case of Liu, Mr Yan directed reporters to the comments he made shortly after winning the prize, when he said he hoped Liu would be freed, but said he had no plans to sign a petition calling for the activist's release. "I have always been independent. I like it that way. When someone forces me to do something, I don't do it," he said.

Mr Yan went on the expand on this theme in his Nobel lecture as well:

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Dec 18, 2012 AT 07:16 IST, Edited At: Dec 18, 2012 07:16 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 12, 2012 AT 20:15 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 12, 2012 20:15 IST

Finally, 15 years after the literary feud between Salman Rushdie and John Le Carré erupted in the letters pages of the Guardian in 1997, the latter has told the London Times "that their mutual loathing has finally come to an end."

Back in 1997, Rushdie had accused Le Carré  of promoting censorship and had gone on to characterise him as a "dunce" and a " pompous ass.'' Christopher Hitchens too had jumped in the exchange and said that Mr Le Carré 's conduct reminded him " that of a man who, having relieved himself in his own hat, makes haste to clamp the brimming chapeau on his head." 

"Two rabid ayatollahs could not have done a better job. But will the friendship last?" Mr Le Carré had countered, pointing out that he was more concerned about saving lives than about Mr Rushdie's royalties, and that Mr Rushdie was ''self-canonizing'' and ''arrogant.''

Mr Rushdie was allowed the last word by the newspaper, and had gone on to say about Mr Le Carré:  It's true I did call him a pompous ass, which I thought pretty mild in the circumstances. "Ignorant" and "semi-literate" are dunces' caps he has skilfully fitted on his own head.

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 12, 2012 AT 20:15 IST, Edited At: Nov 12, 2012 20:15 IST
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