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Prime Minister is like the great banyan tree…

No – not the current ‘great’ Dr. Manmohan Singh. In Ambassador’s Journal, John Kenneth Galbraith writes about many interesting things during his tenure as US Ambassador to India. The journal entry from Jul 1961 captures a slice of the Nehruvian Prime Ministership. July 26 – New Delhi …. Later in the day I saw M. J. Desai […]

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Why Paul Krugman studied economics

Isaac Asimov and Hari Seldon fans – rejoice! Meet the most famous Asimov/Seldon fan – no less than Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman. And he’s no ordinary fan – he studied economics because it was the closest thing to psychohistory. If you are NOT an Asimov fan or, for some bizarre reason, you failed to read […]

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Searching for Clara W. Huling – a digital archeology dig

When my second batch of friends arrived a few months ago, the most interesting book was The Complete Works of O. Henry. O Henry, which happens to be the pen name of William Sydney Porter was an American writer (from the late nineteenth century era) who mostly wrote short stories, stories known for their wit, wordplay, […]

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When Margaret Alva called Verghese Kurien an MCP

[Editor’s Note: In Verghese Kurien’s autobiography (I too had a dream), he recounts his first encounter with Margaret Alva in 1984, when she accompanied the Queen of Netherlands. The Queen wished to visit Anand, meet Kurien and find out the truth behind the torrent of accusations that were being thrown at NDDB and him — […]

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When Bokaro Steel Plant and America almost had a date…

In Ambassador’s Journal, John Kenneth Galbraith writes about many interesting things during his tenure as US Ambassador to India. The snippets on Bokaro Steel City (where I was born) caught my attention. All Bokaro residents are aware of the Russian collaboration and the ‘many things Russian’ about Bokaro (stations inside City Park, Russian Colony, etc.) What will […]

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A Quiet Violence (view from a Bangladesh village) – an excerpt

In Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo’s book, Poor Economics, they reference the following story from Betsey Hartman and Jim Boyce’s book – A Quiet Violence (view from a Bangladesh village). The story describes two neighboring families, one Hindu and one Muslim, that were not particularly close to each other. The Hindu family lost its main […]

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Second batch of friends arrived a few months ago

Bringing 15 boxes of friends home – the post that started it all off. This post recounts the voyage of our second batch of friends, henceforth dubbed as Part 2 of the series. In Dec 2011, my brother-in-law brought the second batch of books — to Chennai. So far so good. Since his parents were going […]

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Beirut in April (circa 1961)

In Ambassador’s Journal, John Kenneth Galbraith writes about his 3-day layover in Beirut, enroute to India — where he would begin his tenure as US Ambassador to India.  Below are selected extracts from April 5,6,7 journal entries. We arrived in Beirut about 7:30pm, were met by a formidable delegation from the Embassy and went to a pleasant […]

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What motivates most amateur marathoners?

Haruki Murakami, famous novelist and marathon runner, this question in his memoir What I talk about when I talk about running. Marathon runners well understand what I mean. We don’t really care whether we beat any other particular runner. World-class runners, of course, want to outdo their closest rivals, but for your average, everyday runner, individual […]

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Diplomacy 101 – blast from the 1961 Galbraith archives

In Ambassador’s Journal, John Kenneth Galbraith shares a Diplomacy 101 aphorism (“don’t do anything”) in his February 18, 1961 journal entry. February 18-Washington-Cambridge … (skipped several paragraphs) … Thursday night we were guests of the Indian Embassy at The World of Appu, by Satyajit Ray. It needs cutting but is obviously a superior film. Afterward there was […]

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