India! I dare you to be rich

Category Archive: Books

My compilation/ compendium on Adam Smith. Works/ works about him/ my notes. PDF/ Word.

This is a placeholder blog post.


Nearly 10 years ago I compiled Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations into a word document and uploaded on the internet. That seems to have disappeared over the years during the transfer of my domain from one server to another. Luckily I had a copy on my hard disk so I've uploaded on my server again.

Download here.

PDF version is available here.


PDF version is available here.


I've converted to Word today.

Download here.

PDF version here.


I've converted into Word.

Download here.


The exquisite brilliance of Adam Smith

A fascinating look at Adam Smith’s life and philosophy

Adam Smith’s message in a nutshell

Adam Smith’s scathing attack on FOOL doctors and the self-seeking monopoly of the “medical” profession

Adam Smith’s liked being paid directly by students. He detested tenure, as well.

Adam Smith would turn in his grave at Gandhi’s gross misrepresentation of his work

Ayn Rand, Adam Smith and I agree on the virtue of “selfishness”. This is much deeper than you may think.

Hindu capitalism is Adam Smith’s capitalism supercharged

P J O’Rourke is a brilliant communicator. Listen to him explain Adam Smith’s ideas.

Adam Smith’s work was driven by his deep concern for the poor

Nassau Senior, the clear headed economist who cleared up Adam Smith’s errors

Discovery of similarities between Adam Smith’s views on taxation and mine

Adam Smith Pharmacy: Advice on protection of industry

Islamic economics finds that Adam Smith was right


Continue Reading

The combined – complete – works of M K Gandhi in a single PDF file (100+ MB)

I've been meaning to combine all 98 volumes of Gandhi's works into a single file, for ease of searching. I found time last week to do so. The file is over 102 MEGA bytes! 

Download here.

This file (slightly smaller in size) is presumably also available here, but it costs 20 Euros, and I thought it is best to have this VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION made available free of cost (apart from saving myself that little bit of money, for more useful purposes).

I also tried to convert into text and Word, but my Omnipage software crashes with this 100+ MB file. The alternative is to OCR each of these one by one and combine. This will take a massive amount of time, so it is project for another day.


I’ve finally given up on trying to convert and format the complete works of Gandhi into Word. However, I’ve found a process to convert the very large PDF document into text, and to have a super-fast text-editor to review the document.

Download here.

Continue Reading

Publishing a booklet: “Modi’s criminal spying on Mansi Soni” (Snoopgate | Madhuri | Sugnyaben)

I believe Modi, being the vindictive man that he is, is going to steadily clamp down on all records of the snoopgate and Sugnyaben inquiry saga. He will try to block youtube, gulail, cobrapost, even various newspapers.

I believe he has already removed any reference on the Gujarat Government website to this inquiry. He will not succeed, however, in removing its entire trace from everywhere on the internet. He can't remove copies of data maintained on thousands of computers across the world. 

This obfuscation of justice and rule of law CANNOT be allowed to continue. We must hold the Gujarat Government to account and Modi must be jailed for his many crimes.

I've compiled the data that I had collected and comments/blog posts I had written on this topic over the course of nearly 40 hours during the past six months - including nearly six hours today (scouring the web for more info on this topic). 


[also available on the right hand column of this blog]

As usual, this is NOT a properly written book, just a data dump, organised in some kind of an order. I'll keep updating this info as time permits. For now, I think this is enough for today. Have to do other things. I'll also upload on my Scribd account for safe keeping. 

I urge you to download this booklet (and update it periodically) on your local computer - and also upload on your own Scribd/ etc. account, for safekeeping.

Let's make sure that Modi is held to account for his crimes, including illegal surveillance and MASSIVE taxpayer expenditure on what was essentially a voyeuristic enterprise.

Continue Reading

Summary of my understandings from Alphons’s book, Making a Difference

I've addressed Alphon's book in the following eight blog posts:

Alphons Kannanthanam #1: “We as a people are third-rate. Let us accept it.”
Alphons Kannanthanam #2: Babri Masjid was demolished jointly by BJP and Congress
Alphons Kannanthanam #3: Part of the cause of corruption: low salaries of bureaucrats
Alphons Kannanthanam #4: When BJP organised to beat him and his wife
Alphons Kannanthanam #5: The Official Secrets Act as a cause of corruption
Alphons Kannanthanam #6: British killed 500+ at Jallianwala Bagh. What about the MULTITUDE of massacres by Indian governments?
Alphons Kannanthanam #7: Man who failed to protect Rajiv Gandhi became chief of SIT that ‘exonerated’ Modi
Alphons Kannanthanam #8: I differ on 1) ideology, 2) system, 3) population, 4) corruption

In this post I'll summarise my understandings from his book.

1. The first half of the book is a well-written autobiographical description. It throws light on the life of a bureaucrat in India. Alphons's life as a bureaucrat was interesting and its record is worth preserving. but 99 per cent of the details are of no particular interest to others, and of no interest at all to anyone interested in making a difference (which is the title of the book). 

2. Alphons claims to be an honest man and I believe he is, but can he then explain wherefrom did the chairman of Indian Airlines give him "back" the Rs.10,000 that had been stolen during his Cochin-Delhi flight (p.100-101)? This was a case of pressure being put, leading the Chairman to conjure the money through the same corrupt techniques that Alphons has fought against. Alphons should have checked that the person who stole the money had been identified, a proper police investigation conducted and due punishment accorded. Under the circumstances, it is clear the money he got back was not his, but corrupt money.

3. It is shocking and deplorable that BJP goons beat up Alphons, and particularly his wife Sheela. I thoroughly condemn this beating. These cowards had not been held to account at the time of publication of the book. I hope things did move later, for clearly Alphons has joined the same party to the president of which he wrote: "I am sorry that your party's commitment to values is merely on paper, like most political parties whom you have condemned as parties with no moral values; your party too appears to make such commitments to values on paper."

4. Alphons has confirmed my direct report from CVSK Sarma of 1980 batch (whom Alphons surely met while he was DDA commissioner) that PV Narasimha Rao consciously ALLOWED Babri to be demolished. Not just RSS/BJP had worked hard to plan each and every detail of its demolition, they had the blessings of key Congress leaders. The denial by PVRK Prasad of my recollection of what CVSK told me is not believable.

5. Alphons has made a very strong attack on Indians, that we are "third-rate". I disagree. Indians are NOT third rate. Our SYSTEM is third rate.

6. Alphons has failed to see the link between Raghavan's perjury to escape liability for his failures in protecting Rajiv Gandhi, and his almost criminal failure to properly investigate Modi. The SIT investigation is so blatantly defective, Raghavan must surely have taken big money from Modi. It is unclear whether Alphons has investigated Modi's case properly before joining him.

7. While Alphons has skirted close enough to the systemic causes of India's chronic failures, his book fails to assert a clear understanding of these causes or, therefore, suggest a comprehensive set of workable solutions. My post here is pertinent in this regard.

Overall, I think the book is a good beginning to reform. I like Alphons's commitment and integrity. I particularly like Alphons's appeal to good people to join politics:

The only solution to decriminalise politics is for good people to get into politics. But good people are reluctant. They will only lament the criminalisation. They will only talk. They fear that if good people go into politics they will get immersed in the mire. This shows a total lack of moral courage and responsibility. If things must change the only way is for good people with a track record and courage to enter politics and cleanse the system. There is no other solution. Politics is a hard grind; but somebody has to do it. If nobody does it, this country will not be there any more. It will just break up.

He finally joined politics himself in 2006, ten years after coming to this realisation. (I came to the same realisation in February 1998 and resigned the IAS in January 2001 without completing 20 years in the job that might have given me a modest pension, to give myself the freedom to undertake political reform).

What next?

1) Alphons needs to strongly beef up his understanding of economics and governance systems. BFN will give him a glimpse. I'd hope he will spend the time to master the literature, and I'd be happy to talk to him on this issue – on how he can strengthen his knowledge.

2) Alphons needs to explain how he could POSSIBLY join BJP, a corrupt party. He is a supporter of Modi. How can he POSSIBLY support Modi against whom the proof of direct incitement of, and support for, post-Godhra riots, is beyond reasonable doubt (see my intense analysis)?

In my view, honest people are a dime a dozen in India. Just too many to count. Not necessarily from the IAS, but from the broader society. Millions of honest people.

Since 1998 (more so from December 2007) I've been looking not just for honesty, but for competence. Should Alphons demonstrate a genuine willingness to reform India I'd be happy to speak with him and discuss. Once ready, he could join the Freedom Team of India, membership to which is extremely selective. In the meanwhile he should consider carefully reviewing the Sone Ki Chidiya agenda.

Continue Reading

Alphons Kannanthanam #8: I differ on 1) ideology, 2) system, 3) population, 4) corruption

It is a long time (1996) since Alphons wrote his book. He may have changed his views in the meanwhile. Or maybe not.

Let me highlight a few things on which I differ from the thoughts expressed in his book. 

1) Need for ideological clarity

At various places, Alphons demonstrates a commitment to economic liberalisation and genuine competition. But then he goes off on a tangent. While talking about Jana Shakti, an NGO he has started he says that Jana Shakti has no ideology. I'm OK with an NGO not having an ideology. But then he says: 

Jana Shakti stands for anything that works, that produces results. When I talk about eliminating corruption, people laugh at me. They say I am talking in the air because corruption is a universal phenomenon. Therefore, corruption cannot be eliminated. I say 'All right, let us be pragmatists then.' The only objective of globalisation and liberalisation is to create a competitive economy. If this objective is not achieved liberalisation does not make sense. The extent of corruption here is much higher than elsewhere in the world. Due to this Indian projects costs are far too high; if our project costs are too high our products will be more expensive than others; we will be priced out of the world market. I have suggested a pragmatic solution. 
We should study the global corruption rate scientifically. If our study shows that global corruption rate is 5 percent, our corruption rate should be +/-1 of 5 percent. This would ensure that we are competitive. I have called this rate 'competitive corruption rate'. I am applying for a patent for the concept and terminology. Maybe I will end up making tons of money! Perhaps every minister and bureaucrat should be made to take an oath that he will stick to the competitive corruption rate when he assumes office. The finance minister can announce the competitive corruption rate for the year in his budget speech. 

Now this is the purest form of nonsense anyone has come up with. If one doesn't stick to an ideology of liberty and integrity, this is the kind of nonsense one is likely to come up with. I do hope Alphons has thought further and has rejected this confused and immoral position.

2) Systemic change vs. individual change

Alphons has a post-graduate degree in economics but states:

Many people say that the system does not allow anyone to do what he wants to do. Therefore, nothing much happens in this country. I have never blamed the system. I believe that I am the system. I believe that every officer in the all-India services should create systems under which he can function effectively. Instead of blaming the system, if people get down to applying themselves, they can achieve miracles. One does not have to be a revolutionary, or to have revolutionary ideas either. One merely has to play around and create the system wherever one is functioning. This is what I have tried to do. 

Well, India remains precisely where it was in 1996: one of the world's most "third rate" places, with intense corruption, racism and violence. There is no concept of justice, and law and order is almost non-existent. No matter how many Sanjeev Sabhloks or Alphonses apply themselves, the system will defeat them. Because it is the design system that dictates individual behavior.

This kind of confusion in Alphons's mind is surprising given he correctly identifies lack of transparency and low salaries of key decision makers as a part of the systemic causes of corruption.

3) Population "explosion"

At a number of places in the book, Alphons brings up India's population as an issue. 

We implemented family planning with the same zeal as literacy. Even though Kottayam district has a 40 percent Christian population, mostly Catholic, whose church forbids any form of family planning, the district became the most successful in family planning. It became the first district in the country to go under ten in birth rate, under ten in infant mortality rate and under one in maternal mortality rate. Infant morality rate in India is 77 per 1,000 and maternal mortality is 4 per 1,000. 

Then, he mentions "population explosion" as one of the fundamental issues "that require immediate action". 

Now, I have no issues with reducing infant mortality or maternal mortality. That's an absolutely essential health service. But it is absolutely intolerable to reduce the birth rate through campaigns of the sort that Sanjay Gandhi undertook. Alphons is well-advised to read BFN where I've outlined the way population works, and how self-adjusting forces are at work in this area, and the key, therefore, is NOT direct family planning action but focus on equal opportunity and economic growth, as outlined in BFN.

One more issue:

4) Corruption

As a corollary to Alphons's lack of understanding of the systemic causes of corruption, his NGO planned to do the following:

2. Increasing awareness among the citizens about the magnitude of corruption … and organising them in groups to take on the system from the panchayat to the national level. 
4. Targeting all violators of anti-corruption laws and reporting incidents where functionaries and others demand and accept bribes to the concerned authorities. 
5. Establishing accessible and responsive enforcement and judicial process to expeditiously handle corruption cases including improving the existing institutions with adequate resources. 

This is a wasteful plan. It is NOT going to eliminate corruption (I will accept nothing less than that). First we need to change the incentives in the system. Just like the IAC's concept of Janlokpal is meaningless without systemic reforms first, this idea of running after individual cases of corruption is totally pointless.

By all means do so AFTER the system has changed to allow for 99 per cent integrity.Then 1 per cent can be removed through these things. But not under the current system with incentives that COMPEL people to be corrupt.

Consider Alphons's own party, the BJP. I've repeatedly shown how this is a DEEPLY corrupt party. Leave alone the big things on which it is second to none, it undertakes "retail" corruption as well as any other. it handed out Rs.18 lakhs recently in cash a just a few wards during the recent elections (see this authentic source). And Ramdev was caught trying to hide BJP's corruption/black money recently. Can it EVER happen that these people/parties won't make PILES of corrupt money after they come to power? Alphons will benefit from reading BFN and – next – DOF.

Continue Reading

Alphons Kannanthanam #7: Man who failed to protect Rajiv Gandhi became chief of SIT that ‘exonerated’ Modi

In 1999 (or early 2000) I was Commissioner for Information Technology in Meghalaya and visited Chennai to understand the e-governance reforms they were undertaking. As part of the trip, the TN government officials took me to Kanchipuram and on the way back – I remember it was getting late in the evening – I visited Sriperumbudur and went around the place where Rajiv Gandhi had been killed in 21 May 1991.

In Alphons's book there is a section about Rajiv Gandhi.

Rajiv Gandhi came to Kottayam on an election campaign ten days before his tragic end at Sriperumbudur. Ten days later the superintendent of police woke me up in the middle of the night and gave me the stunning news that Rajiv Gandhi had been killed in a bomb explosion. 

I felt very bad for Rajiv. He died because of the sheer inefficiency of the men who were supposed to protect him[]not those guarding him but those who took the decisions, who prepared the security plan for Rajiv Gandhi and supervised the security operations. For all the big noise we make about VIP security, in actual fact the arrangements are so sloppy that the VIPs are most insecure; as usual we do a shoddy job.

I had been a (small) part of Rajiv Gandhi's visits to Assam. As SDM Guwahati in 1985, I was protocol officer for his visits as part of the Assam Accord and helped organise logistics and arrangements for his trips to Guwahati, including being part of the team that organised his reception in the airport. Later, in 1985, I organised his entire visit to Hojai where I was SDM, as part of the Assam elections. in 1988, during floods he visited Dhubri and I was part of the team to look after the arrangements, including of Sonia Gandhi.

So Rajiv Gandhi's death had been a blow to me, as well. I was personally a beneficiary of the the computerisation efforts he had started in government, being one of the first in the IAS to be thoroughly trained in computers (and I was one of the first to use put these to great use). 

But does Alphons know that the man who allowed Rajiv Gandhi to be killed was the same RK Raghavan who later became head of the SIT that "exonerated" Modi?

Manoj Mitta has conclusively identified Raghavan as the man who failed Rajiv Gandhi.

I request Alphons to read this. This is what Mitta writes: 

When the Supreme Court chose former CBI director R K Raghavan as SIT chief, it was known that he had been indicted by the Verma Commission for the security lapses leading to Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination. It was also known that his career had been resurrected in 1999 by the Vajpayee government. My book reveals a closely guarded secret which could have prevented Raghavan from becoming CBI director, let alone SIT chief. The secret is his affidavit before the Verma Commission alleging that ‘human bomb’ Dhanu had gate-crashed into the sterile zone as Rajiv Gandhi himself had beckoned her. This self-serving claim of Raghavan is contrary to the evidence accepted by the commission and courts that Dhanu was waiting in a queue in the sterile zone well before Rajiv Gandhi’s arrival. Yet, the commission kept his affidavit under wraps and thereby diluted the finding against him. This irony puts in perspective the SIT’s exoneration of all the 63 persons cited in Jafri’s complaint, including Modi.

How can a man who lied through his nose to escape liability for the security lapses leading to Rajiv Gandhi's death be relied upon to conduct an honest inquiry into the Modi saga?

And indeed, we know that Modi lied to the SIT through HIS nose, and Raghavan failed to pin him down.

So Raghavan failed India twice: in letting Rajiv Gandhi die, and in letting Modi escape liability for his crimes.

Continue Reading