Sunday Levity: Now they are infiltrating into our advertisements!

“Get me an air chief marshal, any air chief marshal”

This happened. Yes, it really did. (linkthanks Sidin Vadukut)

The photograph of former Pakistan Air Chief Marshal Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed in uniform appeared along with those of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi in a full-page newspaper advertisement given by Ministry of Women and Child Development to mark the National Girl Child Day.[The Hindu]

If that were not bad enough:

The advertisement also showed sports icons Kapil Dev and Virender Sehwag and sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan along with the former PAF chief with the heading, “Where would you be if your mother was not allowed to be born?”

It gets even worse. Sandeep Unnithan’s “casual search of the web revealed that the Director of Audio Visual Publicity (DAVP) which released the advertisement seemed to have lifted the high resolution photograph official portrait of the former Pakistan air chief from a Chinese website.”

Sunday Levity: Babes, do your patriotic duty

What attracts women?

INI’s resident military affairs expert (no, no pun intended) sends in an article with the following bit highlighted:

Young women who don’t join the army have another important role to play. They may opt to marry army officers and encourage their female friends to follow suit. If pretty young women in large numbers come forward to marry army officers, the stock of army officers in social circles goes up. This in turn provides indirect motivation to other young men to join the corps of officers and serve the nation. [Chitranjan Sawant/Merinews]

Now, Mr Sawant—like the Ukrainian army recruitment department—is not entirely wrong: if army officers get all the babes, then more young men will want to be army officers. But it is wrong to presume that getting women to marry army officers—out of a sense of patriotic duty—will lengthen the list of applicants to military academies.

That’s because of the OMIPP, the Oldest Mistake In Public Policy, which mistakes correlation for causation. In this case, attractive young women of marriageable age might be attracted to young men from a certain industry for the same reason as other young men want to get into that industry. Maybe because that industry pays well, offers a relatively better quality of life, a higher social status or all of the above.

So whether you are recruiting for the army or for the public sanitation department, you are better off making the job profile more attractive. The babes will follow.

Related post: If you don’t think such a grave issue as shortage of army officers ought to be treated with such levity, you can read what we think is the real solution to the problem.

Sunday Levity: But Foster, Gurkhas aren’t Pakistanis

Why Uncle Sam needs Pakistan (“Because of the Gurkhas” edition)

“Ignorance about India”, Narendra Singh Sarila writes, “was the reason why the Americans came to rely on British advice on questions concerning the subcontinent after its independence.” He quotes an anecdote to illustrate this:

In those days, the Americans’ understanding of India was extremely limited. To take an extreme example, John Foster Dulles, President Dwight Eisenhower’s secretary of state, had to be disabused by Walter Lippmann during a conversation on SEATO as late as in 1955, that Gurkha troops were not Pakistanis.

‘Look Walter’, Dulles said, ‘I’ve got to get some real fighting men in the south of Asia. The only Asians who can really fight are the Pakistanis. That’s why we need them in the Alliance. We could never get along without the Gurkhas.’ ‘But Foster’, Lippmann replied, ‘the Gurkhas aren’t Pakistanis, they’re Indians’. (Actually, Gurkhas are of Nepalese origin.) ‘Well’, responded Dulles, ‘they may not be Pakistanis but they’re Moslems.’ ‘No I’m afraid they’re not Moslems either; they’re Hindus’, Lippmann pointed out. [Dennis Kux, Disenchanted Allies pp72, quoted by Narendra Singh Sarila, The Shadow of the Great Game pp216]

Sunday Levity: Ten reasons why Bappi Lahiri is better than a thermonuclear bomb

A National Humour Rights Commission Report

At the sidelines of a G-20 summit, two bhais, one Hindi, one Chini, meet at an abandoned temple.

Mere Paas Bappi Hai
Mere Paas Bappi Hai

Chinibhai: “Look, we both rose from the same per-capita GDP rate. But see where you are now, and where I am now. Today I have tall buildings, Olympic stadiums, trade surpluses, Sovereign Wealth Funds, ICBMs and thermonuclear bombs. What do you have?”

Hindibhai: “Mere paas Bappi hai

Contrary to popular belief, the Indian interlocutor was not making a emotional argument. He was engaged in strategic signaling—sounding a subtle warning that even if the thermonuclear design didn’t deliver the expected bang, we have Bappi on our side. A keen scholar of Indian history and culture, the Indian diplomat was drawing attention to the ancient Reality Show in which the Kauravas might well have had the biggest army, but the Pandavas had The Charioteer. We all know how that war ended.

You don’t have to be a Bappitva fundamentalist to understand why Bappi Lahiri is better than a thermonuclear bomb. At the broadest strategic level, this is because while a nuclear weapon is merely an instrument of hard power, Bappida is that and more. For ten important reasons:

First, because a thermonuclear bomb has to be developed indigenously it is very hard and expensive to build one. On the other hand, not only do we already have Bappida, but he himself has never been moved by indigenousness, swadeshi and other forms of irrelevant parochialism. He’ll take whatever, from wherever and make it rock.

Second, even if you design a thermonuclear bomb, it is very difficult and very costly to test it. Bappida doesn’t suffer from similar constraints. He’ll just go ahead and test his designs—if you think it is successful, you’ll get on your feet and dance. If you don’t, then it cost you Rs 25 (in 1985 rupees) or less to figure out that you are on the sad side of the generation gap. No one will demand a ban on his tests.

Third, how easy do you think it is to increase the yield of a thermonuclear bomb? The correct answer is “not at all”. But to improve Bappida’s yield you just need to turn the knob (of the 1985 amplifier) clockwise, slowly. (Those who have done this will know that it will set-off explosions in the adjacent room, flat or town. In some localities in Tamil Nadu, it will even cause mass migrations radiating away from the said amplifier.)

Fourth, you can’t put dark glasses on a thermonuclear bomb.

Fifth, a thermonuclear bomb is useless as a store of wealth. But Bappida is India’s secret Sovereign Wealth Fund. All that gold jewelry can defend the rupee, the Indian government and the Indian film industry.

Sixth, the bomb doesn’t have a son called Bappa.

Seventh, nobody in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Hollywood or South Bombay knows, or gives a damn about, India’s thermonuclear bomb. But they are passionate about Jimmy.

Eighth, try getting a thermonuclear bomb to sue Dr Dre for plagiarism. It can’t, and even if it did, no California jury will side with an ugly beast that doesn’t sport dark glasses indoors and wear heavy gold jewelry.

Ninth, a hydrogen bomb can’t judge a reality show.

And finally, the thermonuclear bomb can never—not in a million years—sing “Yaad aa raha hai, tera pyaar”. See for yourself:

Actually, astute as they are, the Chinibhais have known all this for some time. But they couldn’t do much about it. Not that they didn’t try—surely, you don’t think that it is a mere coincidence that that Dear Leader chap wears dark glasses—but not every charioteer is The Charioteer. Till that time, India is safe.

Top blog in India, this is

But don’t let it go to your head

And suddenly, The Acorn finds itself ranked at the top of Indiblogger.in’s IndiRank ranking of 7895 Indian blogs. (via tweets from indiblogger & Overlord. Gauravonomics has an analysis of the State of the Indian Blogosphere 2009).

Yes, yes, you know such rankings are never perfect; the Bongs (great, full or fractional) might not have been counted (or better still, were unfairly discriminated against); the top position is ephemeral and all that. But that shouldn’t stop you from celebrating…a little. Like all the hardworking staff who run this blog. Because, dear reader, your favourite blog squeezed past Digital Inspiration, Gauravonomics and other fine technology, business and management blogs.

When was the last time you found more people in a foreign policy seminar than in an IT exhibition or a management workshop?

Sunday Levity: Why did the chicken cross the road?

How some INI bloggers would respond to that great question

Pragmatic Euphony: The Army HQ is engaging in emotional blackmail by showing how even chickens are quitting the army. They are also spreading the canard that only chickens cross into civvy street.

Offstumped: It didn’t. The English language media has gotten it wrong. A Google search for “chicken and that side of the road” shows fewer hits than “chicken and this side of the road.”

Swaraj (blog undergoing maintenance): Chickens are free to go anywhere they like. If you want it to remain this side, then you need to embed a microchip with a smart card that entitles it to chickenfeed.

Polaris: The Obama administration’s policy towards chickens crossing the road in South Asia will have to change in the face of reality. If chickens have a safe-haven on the other side of the road, then it is the other side that needs to be the focus of Foggy Bottom and the Pentagon.

The Gold Standard: What do you expect? This side of Wall Street had all the banks. The chicken should exchange all its assets for gold, preferably physical gold.

Retributions: (Doesn’t write about it, claiming that this topic is suitable for “Streetcar”. Over at Streetcar he posts about how dumb womyn let even chicken escape)

The Acorn: If only the Indian foreign policy establishment shows some imagination, it would realise that the inevitable journey of the chicken is an opportunity to extend Indian power to the other side of the street, by exporting the Indian version of Chicken Biryani.

The baseless days are back again

(They never went away, stupid!)

General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, chief of Pakistan’s army and a lot more besides, has declared that “India’s “allegations” against Pakistan “baseless”.”

Baseless. That quintessentially Pakistani word. It is the word for every reason, for every season. In fact, it should be declared that country’s national word. And officially be made part of the national curriculum. After all, it punctuates the country’s history.

Sunday Levity: The mystery of the missing nuts

Where are the acorns?

Courtesy
Photo: Randy Hausken

Courtesy of longtime reader Chandra Dulam comes this intriguing mystery of a botanical kind. Several American states can’t find the usual nuts this year. CNN‘s Marsha Walton reports “Even though this acorn shortage has not risen to the level of a crisis, scientists say it is important to watch closely. If the shortage continues for several years, other forces might be at work.