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Ayn Rand Worldwide

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I normally don't receive anything that interesting from my "Ayn Rand" alert, but last night I received two Ayn Rand citings from across the globe: one from India (a model mentioning what she is currently reading) and one from the Philippines (a favorable paraphrase in passing).

It's nice to see her influence extending favorably worldwide. Just thought I'd share. :)

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I normally don't receive anything that interesting from my "Ayn Rand" alert, but last night I received two Ayn Rand citings from across the globe: one from India (a model mentioning what she is currently reading) and one from the Philippines (a favorable paraphrase in passing).

It's nice to see her influence extending favorably worldwide. Just thought I'd share.  :D

Thanks for doing so!

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It's nice to see her influence extending favorably worldwide. Just thought I'd share.

About 15 years ago, I attended an Objectivist conference on a university campus near La Jolla. There I met a young man from India; he was a student at a university elsewhere in the U. S., and a company sponsor -- a Japanese computer company, I vaguely recall -- had paid his way to the conference.

At lunch, I asked him how he first made contact with Objectivism. He said he was crossing northern India on a train. When the train stopped at a small station, he got off for diversion. In the station was a rack of used books for sale. He bought one. Its author was Ayn Rand. The topic fascinated him. In later years he went on to read more of her work -- and ended up at the conference and into the Objectivist network.

What was the book?

Not The Fountainhead.

Not Atlas Shrugged.

It was Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology!

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I normally don't receive anything that interesting from my "Ayn Rand" alert, but last night I received two Ayn Rand citings from across the globe: one from India (a model mentioning what she is currently reading) and one from the Philippines (a favorable paraphrase in passing).

It's nice to see her influence extending favorably worldwide. Just thought I'd share.  :D

I have items like that all the time in my CyberNet.

Ayn Rand is very popular in India, especially among the techies in Bangalore and young people in general. I've had stories about productions of "Think Twice" in Mumbai and about all the Miss India contestants who cited Ayn Rand as a favorite writer.

But watch out. Atlas Shrugged has just been translated into Japanese (click here) and so has The Fountainhead (click here)and many Ayn Rand books will soon be available in Chinese!

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Thank you for sharing.

I love it when we get people on the forum form countries other than the US. It is interesting that we get so few from Europe (or should I say "Old Europe?"). People who have experienced true oppression first hand know how to appreciate Miss Rand.

I wonder what it is about India that makes Miss Rand such a favorite there.

I'll be very curious to see how she does in Japan. The Japanese can be exceptionally rational in their thinking, as evidenced by their technical, engineering, and scientific advances. But they also have a compartmentalized way of thinking that is difficult for a westerner to grasp. It is very much a part of their language; thus, it is built into their conceptualization of reality.

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I wonder what it is about India that makes Miss Rand such a favorite there.

As an Indian and an Ayn Rand fan I can attest to a fair number of educated Indians who would be aware of Ayn Rand. (I qualify, saying "educated" because there are millions of Indians in villages and slums who cannot even read.) The availability of Rand's books on railway platforms has been mentioned.

Then, there are other things:

- I first heard Ayn Rand's name when I was in 7th or 8th grade, when it came up as a clue in some jeapardy-type game I was playing with friends

- I've seen cartoons with references. For example, one showing people and the secrets they keep, had a pane showing a student at a college that is known for its Marxist professors secretly reading Ayn Rand

- In the days when taped lectures were distributed (by ARI?) groups met in various Indian cites to listen to the tapes.

- Pirated versions of FH and AS are almost always available with street-hawkers who sell pirated books.

I do not think there is anything in the Indian approach to ethics that is more conduciive to Objectivism. Also, many Indians have a mystical bent. Even India's extremely bright scientists are often compartmentalized in that they many consult astrology for some key decisions in life.

On the other hand, Hinduism (unlike Islam) is the most inclusive religion I know. In fact, there are many respected Indian scholars who claim that Hinduism is not a religion, but a philosophy. It is not uncommon to here someone say: "You can be a Hindu even if you are Christian!" In fact, some scholars go so far as to say that you can be an atheist and still be Hindu! More important, however, is the fact that Hinduism does not have the organization and heirachy of a system of churchs. It is the most federal of religions, with each temple more or less an independent entity, with the priests as sole-proprietors.

I think the reason for Ayn Rand's relative popularity in India can be reduced to a much simpler reason: India has a large number (though not a large percentage) or well-educated English-readers who are interested in reading. So, if one focusses on any other philosopher -- Kafka, Sartre, Plato -- you will find that a large number of Indians are well-versed in their work too.

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Over the past decade, I've also seen evidence that there is quite a lot of interest in Objectivism in India.

I once asked an Objectivist who is a native of India about this. He told me that one thing that helps account for the Indian interest in Objectivism is that in India, there is quite a lot of interest in philosophy in general. So people get interested in Objectivism because they're already explicitly interested in philosophy.

Perhaps this is a contrast with the United States. In the US, people seem to find out about Objectivism most commonly through reading Ayn Rand's fiction, or through being interested in her political ideas, not because they had an explicit interest in philosophy.

......

That's good news about Ayn Rand's books in Japan. I don't know much about Japanese culture, but I do observe that it is a country that has been very good at rapidly adopting good ideas from Western Civilization. And the fact that their economy is so productive (second largest in the world, I believe) means there must be lots of people there who take productiveness and this-worldly success seriously - are reality-oriented, in other words. People with those traits should make good potential Objectivists.

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Thanks for telling us about India.

I think the important thing is simply exposure. It the ideas are out there, there will be people who will respond. This speaks to the fact that, regardless of race or culture, reason is reason, and a reasonable person will respond.

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In the US, people seem to find out about Objectivism most commonly through reading Ayn Rand's fiction, or through being interested in her political ideas, not because they had an explicit interest in philosophy.

Perhaps this is because any interest has been beaten out of them by the time they finish their "education." Why would anyone waste their time studying philosophy when the teacher begins by telling the class that there is no such thing as philosophy?

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I wonder what it is about India that makes Miss Rand such a favorite there.

I think it is several factors.

First was British Colonialism that spread Western Civilization and the English language to India. Then the technological revolution gave to the best and the brightest young people in India, young engineers and computer people, new opportunities that have swept away many traditional limitations and brought them to or in contact with the US.

One of the biggest factors in the growth of Objectivism in India was ONE PERSON -- the late Tara Malkani. Here is an article about her that ran in the CyberNet:

We were sad to learn of the death of TARA MALKANI, considered by many

to be the "Mother of Objectivism in India," on September 26, 2000.

HEMANGINI NAIDU writes:

    Tara was, I believe in her mid seventies. She was an executive in

    Indian Airlines' personnel department until she retired in the

    late 1980s. She was very athletic and kept playing in tennis

    tournaments well into her sixties and she was a passionate

    swimmer.  After her retirement from Indian Airlines Tara remained

    as busy as ever by giving swimming lessons in various places and

    giving "grooming" lessons to aspiring flight attendants.

    Tara discovered Objectivism in her mid-thirties and was a

    passionate advocate of Objectivism from the start. She ran an Ayn

    Rand Readers' club at her home in Bombay and put ads in the

    newspapers about the club -- and that's how she met her husband

    Govind. The club was informal and interested people would drop in

    every Saturday evening and either engage in discussions or just

    enjoyed Tara's vast collection of Objectivist material.

    On a personal note: I came to know of Tara in 1990 when Dr.

    Michael Berliner suggested that I contact Tara. I corresponded

    heavily with Tara for the next two years and after her repeated

    invitations, even visited and stayed with her in Bombay. Tara has

    amassed a gold mine of material on Objectivism including videos

    and audio tapes and it was at Tara's place that I first got to

    watch The Fountainhead and We The Living movies and almost all of

    Miss Rand's video taped lectures along with video lectures of Dr.

    Peikoff, Dr. Harry Binswanger and others.

    Authorized by the ARI, Tara also loaned out taped lecture courses

    to other Objectivist clubs in India and that's how I was able to

    listen to four of Dr. Peikoff's lecture courses.

    Tara had to go through some very tough times in the early nineties

    on account of Govind's serious health problems but nothing

    deterred her from attending annual Ford Hall Forum lectures and

    other Objectivist events in America and England. She took great

    pride in getting all sorts of Objectivist material as soon as they

    came up for sale and treasured her autographed books by

    Objectivist authors. If I recall correctly, Tara also attended the

    last Ford Hall Forum lecture given by Miss Ayn Rand and got her

    copies of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged autographed by Miss

    Rand.

    Tara was a major donor of the Ayn Rand Institute and she loved

    telling stories.  One of her favorite ones was how she first met

    Dr. Michael Berliner and made her donation to the Institute by

    presenting a solid gold coin which she had smuggled past the

    customs and how Dr. Berliner was thrilled by her gesture.

    Tara was physically very active until about 3 years ago when,

    after surgery for cancer, she completely lost her hearing and her

    overall health was also affected. Given her love of physically

    active life, it must have been particularly hard for her but her

    enthusiasm about Objectivism remained undiminished.

Tara is survived by her husband Govind and her many friends in India

and all over the world who will miss her terribly and remember

her fondly.

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About 15 years ago, I attended an Objectivist conference on a university campus near La Jolla. There I met a young man from India; he was a student at a university elsewhere in the U. S., and a company sponsor -- a Japanese computer company, I vaguely recall -- had paid his way to the conference.

At lunch, I asked him how he first made contact with Objectivism. He said he was crossing northern India on a train. When the train stopped at a small station, he got off for diversion. In the station was a rack of used books for sale. He bought one. Its author was Ayn Rand. The topic fascinated him. In later years he went on to read more of her work -- and ended up at the conference and into the Objectivist network.

What was the book?

Not The Fountainhead.

Not Atlas Shrugged.

It was Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology!

Heh. That was also my first Rand book, BTW. I was in 10th grade, and I'd heard of Rand vaguely, but didn't know that much about her. I picked ITOE off a shelf at the local university's library because I needed a non-fiction book to do a paper on for school, and I've never looked back since.

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That's good news about Ayn Rand's books in Japan.  I don't know much about Japanese culture, but I do observe that it is a country that has been very good at rapidly adopting good ideas from Western Civilization.  And the fact that their economy is so productive (second largest in the world, I believe) means there must be lots of people there who take productiveness and this-worldly success seriously - are reality-oriented, in other words.  People with those traits should make good potential Objectivists.

The interesting thing about Japan, which has both good and bad implications for Objectivism's prospects there, is that they're not just "good at rapidly adopting good ideas from Western Civilization": they're good at rapidly adopting ideas, period. I took a class on Japanese civilization in college which focused on reading primary sources, and it's very strange to read about how Japan was converted to Buddhism: they did it because the Chinese were doing it. It almost seems like a question of philosophical fashion--instead of "what are they wearing in Paris this year", it was "what are they believing in China". The cultural history of Japan can be summed up as follows: a millenium of copying China, a century of copying England, a few decades of copying Germany, and a half-century (and counting) copying America.

The upside is that if the Japanese get the idea that Objectivism is the latest and greatest thing from America, they'll be "converting" in droves. The downside is that that conversion may not be particularly deep or lasting.

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Tara Malkani

Since someone mentioned Tara malkani, I thought I'd post a short anecdotal thing about her.

I was visiting Bombay on work and had written to Tara saying I would collect some lecture tapes from her, for me and my friends in Bangalore to listen to. Tara didn't like to send those tapes by mail or courier. They were more precious than the king's jewels. She said she would be in the business district sometime and would drop them off with the receptionist in my office. She was not sure about the day.

I was there for about a week, and was not sure which day she would come. One day, as I was heading out for lunch with a group of colleagues, an elderly lady pass us. Remembet, this is Bombay (India), with the sidewalk teeming with people (think New York and raise it by an order of magnitude). Still, I noticed this lady and something about the purposefulness of her stride made me think "I wonder if that is Tara". My next thought was: "Don't be silly!"

Well, when I went back to office after lunch, my tapes were there. And, when I met Tara, many months later, I recognized her as the lady I'd seen before!

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hi all. i am from greece (it doesnt get much "older" europe than this... :dough: )

Here even a political party was formed basically on ayn rand and other capitalists like Smith and Locke. Unfortunately it only got a 1% vote but Ayn Rand readers in greece are certainly more every year. Btw Atlas Shrugged is not translated in greece and i wonder where to find more info... (sorry for the not-so-good english)

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hi all. i am from greece (it doesnt get much "older" europe than this... :blink:  )

Here even a political party was formed basically on ayn rand and other capitalists like Smith and Locke. Unfortunately it only got a 1% vote but Ayn Rand readers in greece are certainly more every year. Btw Atlas Shrugged is not translated in greece and i wonder where to find more info... (sorry for the not-so-good english)

Don't worry about the English. It's certainly better than my Greek, which is non-existent! :angry:

I had no idea that Ayn Rand had this kind of toe-hold in Greece. That an "Objectivist" party (however much it is Objectivist) would get even 1% of any vote in Greece is remarkable and bodes well for us. Thanks for sharing this information.

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I was reading some philosophy in German when I came across this:

http://www.objektivismus.de/

This shows that Objectivism is at least gaining a foothold in Germany and among German speakers.

Objektivismus....sounds much more cooler than Objectivism...doesn't it? :-D

take care & best premises,

Brian

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Talking of Europe now, Any dutch members here should join this group:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/objectiveDutch/

Its been passive for a while, but it is the only exclusive one for the Dutch. Feel free to become a member on a more local level.

Hey, I'm Flemish, so as a neighbour of the Netherlands and native speaker of the same language, I took the liberty of joining the group, due to a lack of there being a Flemish equivalent that I know of.

I am rather confused though. It's a Dutch Objectivist group. In English? (not that I mind, but it strikes me as peculiar..)

By the way I just registered on this forum :nerd: (although I've been frequenting it for quite a while)

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One of the biggest factors in the growth of Objectivism in India was ONE PERSON -- the late Tara Malkani.  Here is an article about her that ran in the CyberNet:

Thanks for sharing that article!

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Hi,

Rand is popular in the US and largely unknown in other countries. The only minor exception is the UK and India (according to google trends, etc).

The UK is obviously linked to the US and part of its sphere of ideas. It's also the most pluralistic country after the US, so that's not surprising.

India is a bit puzzling. It's associated to the UK somewhat, but I doubt that's the reason.

Does anyone have a clue what has made Rand known in India?

Cheers, The Heretic

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From my experience, it's most Western writers--not just Rand--that are popular in India. You'll find as many Mein Kampfs as The Fountainheads in street-vendor displays (in major cities), but few books authored by Indians. Also, keep in mind the huge population of India when you hear about Atlas sales. The percentage of readers of serious literature is very small--mostly comprising of college students.

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The only minor exception is the UK and India (according to google trends, etc). It seems that Rand may indeed by disproportionately popular in India compared to other authors.

At the risk of diverting this thread, I'm posting results from some quick searches I performed on Google Trends, comparing the Google-search popularity of book titles in US and India.

Contrary to my previous comment, it does appear that Rand is disproportionately popular in India, compared to other Western authors. Here is a little secret--I too bought my copy of Atlas Shrugged in India (a legitimate one cool.gif ), but I only started reading it after reaching the US!

Below are the rankings and ratio of popularity (in brackets). I mixed Rand, good authors, bad authors, mostly classics, and some contemporaries. Keep in mind the population of the two countries.

Ranking P(In)/P(US)
US India
Atlas Shrugged 1 2 (0.6)
The Fountainhead 2 1 (1.1) # Wow, didn't expect that!

Anna Karenina 9 - N/A
Crime and Punishment 2 7 (0.3)

For Whom the
Bell Tolls 2 10 (0.6)
Alice in Wonderland 2 10 (0.3)
Pride and Prejudice 1 8 (0.5)
Catcher in the Rye 1 6 (0.2)

Mein Kampf - - N/A

da Vinci Code - 4 N/A
The Kite Runner 3 8 (0.6)
The Alchemist 5 2 (1.2)
The Girl with
the Dragon Tattoo 6 9 (0.3)

- means that the country is not in top 10
Edited by softwareNerd
Removed redundant ref.

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