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Kerim’s Triptych for Sunday, December 17th, 2023

Kerim’s Triptych for Sunday, December 17th, 2023

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Item 1: Dev Bhoomi

A poster warning Muslim shopkeepers in Purola to leave the town.
A poster warning Muslim shopkeepers in Purola to leave the town.

An excellent in-depth article on efforts at ethnically cleansing the Indian state of Uttarakhand.

“When the Uttarakhand state was formed, it was meant for all communities,” he said. “Now in the last five years I’m hearing everyone call it Dev Bhoomi. The message is that Uttarakhand belongs to one side only. The Hindus from my own party are speaking this language.”

. . . The Uttarakhand government’s own website declares, “It’s truly God’s land (Dev Bhoomi).” This image of Hindu sacredness has also been bolstered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trips to, and relentless focus on, Kedarnath and Badrinath. “Many congratulations to the people of Dev Bhoomi,” Modi wrote, even while tweeting about something as innocuous as vaccination numbers. While the term Dev Bhoomi is not new, in the recent years it has been accelerated and refashioned into an exclusionary identity that has little room for non-Hindus. “Their thinking is that Dev Bhoomi is ours and Muslims should be removed from here,” Malik said.

Item 2: Napoleon’s War Economy

In light of the recent Ridley Scott film, Michael Roberts weighs in on the economic reasons Napoleon ended up losing to the British. What caught my eye though was how Napoleon turned sharecroppers into landowners:

Napoleon introduced a special land registry which by 1814 had registered 37,000,000 plots of land with their owners.  Napoleon reckoned that state “finances founded upon a good system of agriculture never fail.” He introduced protective tariffs, reliable financing and well-maintained transport by roads and canals should encourage the peasants to labor steadily, to buy land, to bring more and more of it under cultivation, and to provide sturdy youngsters for his armies. Too many French farmers were sharecroppers or hired farm laborers, but half a million of them, by 1814, owned the acres that they sowed.

An English lady travelling in France in that year described the peasants as enjoying a degree of prosperity unknown to their class anywhere else in Europe. These tillers of the soil looked to Napoleon as a living guarantee of their title deeds and remained loyal to him until their lands languished in the absence of their conscripted sons.

Item 3: Crisp Flavours

What the people who design and market new flavors of potato chips know about global eating preferences will astound you.

PepsiCo uses a tool that “slurps up” every restaurant menu on the internet. “You look at which ingredients are starting to feature; you can see the number of restaurants in Europe using smoked paprika, the incidence of black salt in restaurants in such and such a region,” he says.

This, incidentally, is why Walkers launched Thai Sweet Chilli Sensations in the UK in 2002. “That tipping point into the mainstream is very important for picking a big flavour,” Wade says. Crisp launches can act as a rough timeline of travel and immigration trends – only four Thai restaurants opened in the UK in the 1970s, but by 2003, there were 446. Today, Thai Sweet Chilli is one of the best-selling Walkers flavours in the UK.

Read the whole article to find out why Germans love paprika so much that they have three different paprika flavors: sweet, classic and grilled.


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