Saturday, January 7, 2012

Top Influences

I've never been an active blogger, writing posts here and linking it in comment threads. I do occasionally use this as a scrapbook to pen down my thoughts but I find very few to be interesting enough to put up on blog.
I am a much more active blog reader. Here is a list of the key posts or points from other bloggers that have stayed with me through the years. They undoubtedly changed or at the very least, significantly influenced the way I thought about these issues at the time.

The points are from memory, of posts I read long ago and may not be accurate. They do not purport to be exact quotes.I will try to provide links to the actual posts if I can still find them.

1. Dilip D'Souza presented two sides of a question.
Until I read this post, I had different compartments in my thinking for terror attacks and riots.

2. Nitin Pai reframed a problem.
I have to admit I would have gone with the original flow of the problem statement, especially at the time I read it:
Agriculture which is the livelihood for 65% of the population needs to be a focus for the government.
So the way Nitin recast this was very effective:
65% of the population, who depend on agriculture for their livelihood, need to be the focus for the government.

3. Annie Zaidi watched something she knew she disliked.

Like with just about everybody else on this list, I disagree with some of her writing too. But when I read about Annie standing up and asking for a play to be continued, that she was about to walk out on (she found it deeply offensive) to counter others in the audience who were trying to shut it down, at one stroke, I "got" the Freedom of Expression thing. She and a few others then sat through the entire performance.
In supporting the expression of ideas that were personally very revolting to her, to the extent of sitting through this performance to keep it going, opposing people who she had common ground with (they found it just as offensive) for the principle of it, she has become my hero on FoS.

4. Polite Indian recalibrated fatwas for me.

I havent been able to find this quote again and the blog appears to have changed as well. It was a throwaway remark by PI on his comment threads, IIRC. He was talking about Hindu godmen and their various declamations and decrees.
"I consider them fatwas", he said.
This simple statement reset my thinking about both the godmen's proclamations and fatwas. I realized there were probably hundreds of fatwas churned out every day by various figures in the Muslim community that probably most people would not even know about and those few that did hear about these would ignore them. Also I realized that a godman with a serious enough following could create real problems with his irresponsible statements.

5. on nationalism and secessionism

I have previously searched for and been unable to find again this post that highlighted how the same mindset that masquerades as nationalism in majority communities will lead to secessionism in minority communities. There was also a powerful passage that described the diversity of both Shivaji's and Aurangzeb's army commands and sets their struggle in a completely different light than Hindutva forces would like :-) Not being able to locate these again, I can no longer remember whether these were part of the same post or two different posts.

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