How Do You Say "Ayn Rand Moment" in Hindi?


Howard Roark is not sari

The "Howard Roark effect" is sweeping India, writes Jennifer Burns, author of a new book on Ayn Rand. Apparently, Indians perform the second most Google searches for Dame Ayn after folks in the U.S., and Ayn Rand's book have sold 50,000 copies there since 2005, about the same sales are enjoyed by John Grisham.

Shortly after winning Miss India Earth, the country's top beauty pageant, in 2005, Niharika Singh cited The Fountainhead as her favorite book. "Ayn Rand helped me win the crown," she declared. Other stars, including biotech queen Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, actress Preity Zinta, and soccer-player-turned-dancer Baichung Bhutia have all credited Rand with helping them succeed.

Beyond personal inspiration, however, the Indian excitement for Rand today is linked to a larger enthusiasm for the country's inchoate but powerful drive for development and wealth. Since the 1984 assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, India has seen a gradual shift away from socialism, much appreciated by Rand's fans. Vikram Bajaj, a 45-year-old entrepreneur who considers himself an objectivist, has lived through Rand's evolution from an ignored outsider to a popular prophet of capitalism. When he discovered Rand, taxation rates for high earners were hovering at 85 percent of income; now, with her books widely available, that upper rate is only 30 percent.

Via Instapundit

More on the Rand moment here and here.

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  1. “Indians perform the second most Google searches for Dame Ayn after folks in the U.S”

    Well there are a billion of them. A per capita comparison would be a better indicator.

    1. All this confusion between correlation and causation is OK, it’s for a good cause.

      Also, what the article failed to mention is that the third most popular search in India is this NSFW one:

      1. You are mistaken. It is actually this SFW one.

    2. There may be a billion Indians, but only 40mn are online. That makes per capita searches heaving skewed in favor of the Indians.

  2. Do they also have Sunday morning Ayn worship services, errr, I mean “Objectivist discussion groups”?

  3. Since the 1984 assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, India has seen a gradual shift away from socialism…

    If this isn’t cause and effect, it is a bad idea to make it look like cause and effect. And even if it is cause and effect, isn’t it gauche to mention it?

    1. It totally isn’t cause and effect. And that picture is an offense to all humanity.

    2. I agree, wtf?

    3. It is the effect of Nehruism losing its grip on Indian politics, whether Indira Gandhi’s assassination is the proximate cause of that is debatable.

  4. Pretty sure we could solve our energy problems by hooking up an electromagnet to Ayn Rand’s corpse at this point.

  5. This right on the heels of the the Socialized Any Rand review.

    You guys are good! I vote K M-W thread winner.

  6. The “Howard Roark effect” is sweeping India

    Did anyone else interpret this to mean that there’s been a rash of housing-project arsons in the Subcontinent?

    1. That, or rape. Does Steve Smith have a passport?

      1. Your fixation on rape is disturbing, “Dagny.” Is that “rape scene” the only Rand you have ever read? It seems so.

  7. That picture is the anti-lobster girl.

  8. He used to dip his bald head in oil and rub it all over my body.

  9. Steve Smith needs no passport, Dagny. What do international boundaries mean to an unstoppable sasquatch rape-machine?

  10. One of these days I hope to understand the Steve Smith rape meme. Is there a wiki out there for this guy/creature of legend?

  11. Don’t worry about it, WWJGD. Just don’t go walking in the woods at night, alone or with Warty.

  12. Oh, please, please, please God let there be a Bollywood version of Atlas Shrugged.

    1. Seconded! Some of the longer monologues would make for very snappy dance numbers.

  13. As education levels rise and birth rates fall, Ayn Rand’s appeal will wane in the third world just as it has in the developed world. Rand appeals most to those who have never read good literature or whose lips get sore when they read anything and/or have IQs lower than Mumbai’s average temperature. Nothing personal.

    1. Has it waned? I mean, reasonably clever troll I guess, though you’re better off attacking the literary quality than implying that its fans are semi-literates, which is just nonsensical. The image of semi-literate neanderthal thumbing his way through 1000 pages of small print just doesn’t work as an insult. It’s like trying to make fun of runway models for their gluttonous Big Mac consumption. The image raises more questions about the authors ignorance than it disparages the target.

      But back to the point at hand— pretty much everything Ayn published is in every bookstore in the country, even the small crappy ones. How many authors can say the same 30 years after they died and 60 years since they published anything noteworthy?

      Say what you will about Ayn, her philosophy, or her writing ability, attacking her popularity is a bit off.

      1. The image of semi-literate neanderthal thumbing his way through 1000 pages of small print just doesn’t work as an insult.

        I mostly agree with you here, but you should know that the older meaning of “literate” wasn’t divorced from a larger body of literature. In the past, literacy was indeed the ability to read, but it was achieved through reading most of the body of literature that the culture had produced — calling Shakespeare a contextual dictionary would not be far off.

        So, in that sense, complaining about the literacy of people who enjoy thousands of pages of boring tract material does make sense. It’s a critique on the messanger, though not necessarily the message.

        In this way, also, calling someone a “philistine” who reads three paperback romance and mystery novels a month has bite to it. It doesn’t mean James Bond shouldn’t be shagging the damsel or villainess of the week, nor that both the consumer and producer aren’t better off for the transaction; it just means that it isn’t achieving anything artistic nor using imagination to enlarge the language and culture of which it’s a part. Conversely, Rand arguably did positively affect our vocabulary of political metaphors and such, while arguably doing it in a characteristicly dry-Russian manner, which may go to explain the culture of the later Objectivism cult.

        It’s interesting how people react to what they read. And sad, in many ways. I don’t mourn for newspapers.

    2. So at the point of India’s highest and broadest rise in intelligence, education, and economy Ayn Rand’s appeal is greatest. You conclude stupid people like Ayn Rand.

  14. Oh, come on, Morris. She’s not the world’s greatest writer, but her books aren’t that bad. They do have very interesting ideas in them.

  15. That photoshopped picture gives me the creeping willies. I know it’s supposed to look fake but nevertheless. I think I’m going to see it in my nightmares.

      1. Ernest Borgnine, Psychic Dream Traveler.

  16. Oh, please, please, please God let there be a Bollywood version of Atlas Shrugged.

    That would be outstanding.

    Also, nice use of alt text.

    Down with threaded comments!

    1. I decided I’m going to compromise with the new sucky, threaded Hit & Run thusly: Any important reply, quote the person I’m replying to and put it at the end of the page, just like we used to do. Toss-off comments — use threaded reply.

    2. Huh. Apparently the new Hit & Run doesn’t allow comments written in Hindi. Eurocentrists!

  17. Edward, i know you know you’re a bad faith troll whose sole goal is making fun of libertarianism, but maybe it’s time to give that up for a new hobby. Something you’re actually good at, if there is any such thing. I’d suggest dying in a fire.

    1. yeah, but what if it turns out he’s no good at that either?

  18. I’m not a horse. I’m John Kerry…

  19. WWJGD, I don’t get it either. I searched for it a while back but the closest I could find was the Wiki for Steve Smith, the son on American Dad.

    1. IF recollection serves, “Steve Smith” is the nom du blog of a particularly noxious commenter who drops by occasionally to drop a steaming pile of bigotry here.

  20. Agreed, Mike. Rand was hardly Stendhal as a writer, but for lots of people her books are a first introduction to a lot of terrific ideas. I wouldn’t recommend taking her every thought as Gospel truth, but that applies to just about any writer.

    1. The problem is that Rand, unlike “just about any [other] writer,” insisted that you take her every thought as Gospel truth.

      1. That’s OK. It’s now safe to ignore her wishes about being taken with grave seriousness. Unless, it’s a full moon.

        1. If only I had know that caveat earlier. Now I am doomed to transform once every full moon and hunt for those who dare to mock her.

          1. The were-Rand stalks the villages at every full moon, killing and devouring unfortunate welfare recipients. It can only be killed with a bullet made of varying denominations of Fed-backed currency. Don’t make the mistake of using a silver bullet–that only makes it stronger.

      2. How is that a problem? She is dead. Neither she nor her apostles can force you to believe anything of hers you disagree with.

      3. Wrong. She wanted you to think, not to obey blindly and stupidly like a Christian or a serf.

  21. Unlike my finicky feline friend upthread I do not come here to troll, but…

    Having never read any of Ms Rand’s works, are they successful prose in your educated opinion ?

    Is she sufficiently adept as a stylist?

    Can she write engaging dialogue?

    I have nothing – at all- in theory against didactic fiction.

    But I will admit that if the reading is rough going, I am not apt to pick up the book for a second reading, even if I wasn’t already cool to its philosophy.

    1. I read Atlas Shrugged in college and don’t intend to read Ayn Rand again, unless I manage to escape some catastrophe in a bank vault and happen to get through every other book on Earth. There are so many other philosophers who can provide a better conception of individualism that is based on something other than plain rhetoric. Her characters are flat and unconvincing, and her plot lines are predictable. I did like the idea of government prolonging and worsening the Depression, which I had not been exposed to before reading the book, but again, there are other authors who can present the same idea with less rhetoric.

      You can skip the hundreds of pages and get the gist of it from The Simpsons.

      1. How sad for you.

      2. If you haven’t read Rand’s “The Virtue of Selfishness” you’re doing yourself a great disservice.

    2. She’s about as good an author as, say, James Clavell.

  22. “As education levels rise and birth rates fall, Ayn Rand’s appeal will wane in the third world just as it has in the developed world. Rand appeals most to those who have never read good literature or whose lips get sore when they read anything and/or have IQs lower than Mumbai’s average temperature. Nothing personal. ” – Morris

    Bizarre comment.

    Ayn Rand is popular in India for a variety of reasons – it’s something I’ve read for years on desi blogs and heard from other Indians and Indian-Americans. A lot of it has to do with the interest in individualism, among the young, in a culture that prizes traditional communal and family values. There is a lot of pressure to conform, so her ideas seem very refreshing in that context, or so I’ve been told by other desis.

    Your statement that her popularity is due to lack of education is odd, too, given that her popularity in India is primarily amongst the educated classes, and in particular, in colleges! As for the quality of literature in India, well, it’s not like a lot of Indians writing in English have won awards, lately, or anything, is it? Because, they can’t possibly have been exposed to good literature or poetry, can they? That can’t possibly have ever existed in India before now, can it? And, why do I keep asking questions?

    Oh, never mind.

    Bizarre reasoning. Actually, in a traditional society where pressures to conform are great, the notion of individualism can seem very radical. That seems a part of the appeal, as well as excitement over a liberalizing economy.

    1. My comment was a joke, idiot. I don’t take Ayn Rand or you goofy libertarians seriously.

  23. Eh, the last paragraph was meant to be edited out of that comment, so, once again, never mind….

    1. i thought it was a good paragraph.

  24. The answer is roughly:

    Ayn Rand Waqkht OR
    Any Rand Ki Bari

  25. Rand has the best chance of being recongnized in countries whose native language is not English.

    1. What the fuck is that supposed to mean? Her books are better in translation? Do you speak another language, Edward?

      Also, India doesn’t have a “native language”, it has about 400. Dumbass.

      1. Of which English is one of the most common.

    2. Rand’s native language was Russian. That she wrote more concisely than most native-English-speakers is telling. She understood that words are concepts, and concepts are paramount.

  26. I like Rand, for all her poor writing, some of her monologues end up expressing individualistic ideas quite beautifully.

    However, I don’t think she really ended up saying all that much more than Kant.

  27. Say what you want about the characters, yes, they can be somewhat flat.

    But I really think that anyone who complains about Rand’s use or grasp or skill with the English langauge probably hasn’t read many other Russian authors.

    To me, Rand’s style isn’t all that different from the ones used in Anna Karenina or Crime & Punishment. Its uniquely Russian way of writing. If you’ve never read any russian lit, you probably just think its Rand’s poor use of the langauge, without realizing that she actually just sounds “Russian.”

  28. I wonder which books are they citing as helping them succeed, “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead” or “The Virtue of Selfishness” and “Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal”. People always seem to fixate on the former while the latter are more pragmatically useful. If you found “Atlas” a chore and really want to bend your mind try “Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology”

  29. Ugh. “Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology” and her writings on aesthetics are where she really strays into “I am a great philosopher who shall now amaze you with a brilliant theory of everything” hubris.

  30. I was perhaps one of the early adopters of Objectivism in India, way back in 2002. However, the image that this article attempts to convey, of India turning into a zealous capitalist Objectivist State is balderdash. The last Central Government (2004-2009) was seriously crippled due to Marxist style coalition partners, and even the current one has come to power on the basis of espousing unabashed socialist measures for the ‘aam aadmi’ (Common Man).

    Preity Zinta is a fading Bollywood star, and Bhaichung Bhutia is the mascot of football in India, a sport which few care for in the country as compared to Cricket, the national obsession.

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