• Bullshit Jobs

    I would like this book to be an arrow aimed at the heart of our civilization. There is something very wrong with what we have made ourselves. We have become a civilization based on work—not even “productive work” but work as an end and meaning in itself. We have come to believe that men and women who do not work harder than they wish at jobs they do not particularly enjoy are bad people unworthy of love, care, or assistance from their communities. It is as if we have collectively acquiesced to our own enslavement. The main political reaction to...
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  • Wealth and Miseries of Empires

    William Dalrymple and Anita Anand’s book on the Koh-i-Noor diamond has some glimpses of history that have a larger significance on how our world was shaped, and continues to be shaped. This is one such story of how untold wealth concentrated in a few hands often brings misery to a nation.
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  • Pitfalls of Anthropomorphism: The Hidden Life of Trees

    A year and a half ago, I had a short exchange on social media with a lady who thought that plants could think, talk, smell, taste and listen exactly as do. She wondered if her plants approved of her taste in music. If only she could understand what they were trying to tell her. I tried to explain that although plants are complex organisms which react to stimulus in sophisticated ways that we may never completely understand, but we can’t take terms applicable to animals and whimsically apply them to plants defying the very precision with which those terms are...
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  • History Has Not Yet Been Told

    Late in the year 1990 I met Tim and Sharon Hansen, Fulbright scholars who were touring India. Although they were a good 30 years older than me, we hit off well. Tim gave me a manuscript of a book he was co-authoring, called “Parallels: The Soldiers’ Knowledge And The Social Definition Of War.”
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  • Some Milestones in the Development of Tamil Political Consciousness

    2.1 The Youth CongressThe first great political movement that took root in Jaffna was the Ceylon Youth Congress. This movement came into being around 1926 and had its base amongst the educated middle-class youth, especially young graduates of Jaffna from Indian Universities and the newly founded Ceylon University College, and high school students. It was greatly inspired by the Indian independence movement and looked up to its leading figures such as Mahathma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. Like the Congress in India, the causes it advocated were secularism, a non-sectarian Ceylonese nationalism and independence from Britain. For this reason it enjoyed...
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  • Welcome to The Odd Website!

    In August 2015, my friend Rajib Aditya embarked on a unique journey called Contrapunkt. It was a massive undertaking in which he posted an excerpt from a book every day for a whole year, never repeating a book.Rajib would scan entire chapters of a book using his Epson scanner, clean and convert them to text before posting them. The chapters were chosen such that they were representative of the entire book, or they were interesting to the reader. Rajib soon got a small but dedicated readership.After a year, the sheer effort of posting everyday bore down heavily on Rajib, and...
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