9/4/10

Lenin on Lotteries

I haven't read much on Marxism, Leninism, Trotskyism et al - my ideas of socialism have been the very bare bones of that particular ideology. So in light of the recent lottery brouhaha in Kerala and while doing research for a story, and a discussion with my father, I searched on the glorious internets for Lenin's views on lotteries and came across this:

The people who extol small-scale farming sometimes want to help the peasant, but actually they only do him harm. With their honeyed words they deceive the peasant in the same way as people are deceived by a lottery. I shall tell you what a lottery is. Let us suppose I have a cow, worth 50 rubles. I want to sell the cow by means of a lottery, so I offer everyone tickets at a ruble each. Everyone has a chance of getting the cow for one ruble! People are tempted and the rubles pour in. When I have collected a hundred rubles I proceed to draw the lottery: the one whose ticket is drawn gets the cow for a ruble, the others get nothing. Was the cow “cheap” for the people? No, it was very dear, because the total money they paid was double the value of the cow, because two persons (the one who ran the lottery and the one who won the cow) gained without doing any work, and gained at the expense of the ninety-nine who lost their money. Thus, those who say that lotteries are advantageous to the people are simply practising deceit on the people.

9/1/10

When Hate is Just Hate

I think I should have been impressed - this was purity, this was the essence. Random men who you'd never met, never spoken to, passing by the train compartment where you sit with other women and shouting things through the windows, the doors:

"Don't you have any work at home? Traveling in trains at night!"

"They don't have any work. They have a lot of time... to travel." Laughter.

"Who's bitching in there? Women just get together and bitch, bitch, bitch. Bitches."

To this last statement, someone calls out from the depths of the compartment, "At least, brother, we don't stink like you."

But drunk, the man staggers on, unable to articulate a reply. He's just spat out verbal venom and passed along, shouting at any figure in a sari or a salwar kameez.

Here, casual misogyny permeates everything. All that talk of not having work, of traveling late at night in trains, are meant to smear, to suggest vice. They are sharp, small, serrated thought-knives that skewer vulnerable minds and being parasitical, lie there.

*****

To pleasanter things:

George Clooney + Italy + good cinematography? What more does a woman want?

And one didn't need another reason to intensify one's crush on Rob Smyth (the best cricket writer out there right now), but his piece on his up-and-down-love-affair with the Pakistan Cricket Team will do just that.