Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Three planes hover over the runway. Well there are four. Four that I can see. All four at seemingly different heights eager to make it to the ground. As I await the first landing two planes take off. I had not accounted for these planes that were waiting to reach the skies. Everything moves from motion to rest or vice-versa but for the workaholic Radar that keeps rotating tirelessly. The skies are cloudy but only at the horizons. The runway is wet. It must have rained earlier. Has not rained since I landed at Heathrow which was around seven hours ago. As the place recedes into darkness, the Sun is replaced by the thousands of stars that stick to the galaxies of planes that move in and out of my bird'’s eye view. A Boeing 777 is dragged to the hanger. It does no’t get bigger than this! All others without the humps look a tad emaciated.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Black? White? Wheatish? Brown? Yellow?

"I am going to stop calling you a white man and I'm going to ask you to stop calling me a black man" - Morgan Freeman [Link – Got via Link]. My views on Color! Also, the darn thing responsible for it!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Fox5News and the thuggish transit workers

The Fox5News has been calling the transit workers strike as illegal transit workers strike (By the way, it is illegal by law). What other options do these workers have? Not that they are on strike every now and then. It is after 25 years that they are on a strike. Will the MTA listen otherwise? Now what the Mayor had to say was funny indeed.

"New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg lashed out at union leaders for "thuggishly" turning their backs on the city [ link]"

Thuggishly! What is he trying to do? Get the commoner against the transit workers. The commoner can any day be in the shoes of the transit worker. But for all the inconvenience the commoner needs to stay in support of the strike.

How Intelligent Design Works

HowStuffWorks discusses without any bias the concept of Intelligent Design. A few interesting snippets from the article. The main grouse that the scientific community supporting natural selection has against the proponents of intelligent design is that much of intelligent design is proof by elimination. That means, at the risk of being too simplistic (but then you can read the article), if a certain process cannot be explained by current science there is intelligent design behind the process. I wonder what the world would have looked like had we explained everything by intelligent design. We would be inhabiting the jungles and I guess I wouldn't have been blogging this from home!

Intelligent design (ID) states that the universe and its inhabitants could not have evolved by the "blind chance" set forth in Darwinism. Its arguments are mostly concerned with what it considers to be holes in the theory of evolution, and it claims that these holes scientifically prove the presence of an "intelligent designer" in nature.

Unlike creationism, ID does not state that God is the intelligent designer. It only says that there is clear evidence in nature of intelligent design. The designer in ID could be God, but it could also be an extraterrestrial race or some other supernatural force. Also, ID does not draw its arguments directly from the Christian Bible.

The scientific community sees this argument as inherently flawed. It points out that Dembski sets forth a negative hypothesis: Anything not created by chance or law must be designed. But scientists claim that chance, law and design are not mutually exclusive, and they are not the only possibilities. So the process of elimination cannot be applied. And in any event, they say, science does not accept the process of elimination as proof of anything. The scientific method requires a positive hypotheses -- you cannot prove one thing simply by disproving another.

There are also widespread claims that the majority of the Discovery Institute's funding comes from Christian fundamentalist organizations and individuals, noting especially the millions of dollars donated by philanthropist Howard Ahmanson, an evangelical Christian, and hundreds of thousands of dollars provided by the Maclellan Foundation, which seeks to "serve strategic international and national organizations committed to furthering the Kingdom of Christ ... by providing financial and leadership resources to extend the Kingdom of God to every tribe, nation, people, and tongue"

Anyway, I was quite happy to read about this court ruling.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The malaise remains as suicides continue

A moving coverage of farmer suicides in Vidharba [link, written by Sonia Faleiro] . There are many reasons for the plight of the people. Govt. apathy, policies etc. This [link], at the Indian Economy Blog, discusses various possible solutions to the problem in the comments section. What shocks me most is the mention of wedding expenses of Rs 60,000 and dowry of Rs 100000 in the article by Sonia Faleiro. Even in such desperate circumstances the society hangs on to the malaise of dowry. There is no letting go on what in the first place shouldn't exist. The 1,60,000 could be used for betterment of the family and may prevent a suicide or two had our society been a bit more mature. I guess over a period of time female foeticide will rise in the region. Not sure whether it has already started.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Freedom of Speech

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" -- Voltaire

Excellent quote at [link]. Got it via [ link].

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Left? Libertarian? Right? Authoritarian?

Who are u? A simple test at [link - courtesy Rahul].

Here are my results:
Economic Left/Right: 2.00
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.36

I cannot gaurantee the efficacy of the test. So check out for your own self.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

No analogies please

High time the criminals are booked. These demented politicians need to go. They keep playing the blame game and in the process no one is convicted.

Madrid Masters spices up!


India Funding Pakistani Jihadi Groups

Atanu Dey on How India may have contributed to its own travails! The comments are interesting too. I liked his perspective on the donations India made. I guess there is very little sincerity in all the donation that was made. The Indian govt couldn't be worried of calamities that occur in India leave alone neighbours. All these acts can only impress naive people and may help India put up a nice face in the world community much of which could care less about the welfare of Kashmir. They are interested in hearing truce along the LOC for their own reasons.

The one reason that wouldn't stop me from making a donation to Pakistan is that the same money could be used for the good of impoverished India. Now that is one thing that doesn't happen. But yes the terrorists should not get succor for killing innocents!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Mother of the Civil Rights Movement

Rosa Parks. RIP

ThankYou for your courage. We need many more like you in this world.

From fighting objectification to seeking it!

I am appalled by the objectification of women that is so common now a days. The sad part is that women seem to be biggest perpetrators of the same. It is rather unfortunate that the objectification is taking place in the garb of espousing equality of the sexes. Most men should be happy though! What better than a world of sluts? A very good article on the NYTimes that elaborates how the feminists of the 70s may have been wrong and how the women of today are doing no better. I have pasted a few snippets below though I would suggest the article be given a full read at "What's a Mordern Girl to do?". [Reached the link via IndiaUncut]

On "Courtship"

"Decades after the feminist movement promised equality with men, it was becoming increasingly apparent that many women would have to brush up on the venerable tricks of the trade: an absurdly charming little laugh, a pert toss of the head, an air of saucy triumph, dewy eyes and a full knowledge of music, drawing, elegant note writing and geography. It would once more be considered captivating to lie on a chaise longue, pass a lacy handkerchief across the eyelids and complain of a case of springtime giddiness.

Today, women have gone back to hunting their quarry - in person and in cyberspace - with elaborate schemes designed to allow the deluded creatures to think they are the hunters. "Men like hunting, and we shouldn't deprive them of their chance to do their hunting and mating rituals," my 26-year-old friend Julie Bosman, a New York Times reporter, says. "As my mom says, Men don't like to be chased." Or as the Marvelettes sang, "The hunter gets captured by the game.""

"Power Dynamics" [The paragraphs not necessarily in succession in the actual article]

He had hit on a primal fear of single successful women: that the aroma of male power is an aphrodisiac for women, but the perfume of female power is a turnoff for men. It took women a few decades to realize that everything they were doing to advance themselves in the boardroom could be sabotaging their chances in the bedroom, that evolution was lagging behind equality.

A lot of women now want to be Maxim babes as much as men want Maxim babes. So women have moved from fighting objectification to seeking it. "I have been surprised," Maxim's editor, Ed Needham, confessed to me, "to find that a lot of women would want to be somehow validated as a Maxim girl type, that they'd like to be thought of as hot and would like their boyfriends to take pictures of them or make comments about them that mirror the Maxim representation of a woman, the Pamela Anderson sort of brand. That, to me, is kind of extraordinary."

It was naïve and misguided for the early feminists to tendentiously demonize Barbie and Cosmo girl, to disdain such female proclivities as shopping, applying makeup and hunting for sexy shoes and cute boyfriends and to prognosticate a world where men and women dressed alike and worked alike in navy suits and were equal in every way.

But it is equally naïve and misguided for young women now to fritter away all their time shopping for boudoirish clothes and text-messaging about guys while they disdainfully ignore gender politics and the seismic shifts on the Supreme Court that will affect women's rights for a generation.

What I didn't like at the start of the feminist movement was that young women were dressing alike, looking alike and thinking alike. They were supposed to be liberated, but it just seemed like stifling conformity.

What I don't like now is that the young women rejecting the feminist movement are dressing alike, looking alike and thinking alike. The plumage is more colorful, the shapes are more curvy, the look is more plastic, the message is diametrically opposite - before it was don't be a sex object; now it's be a sex object - but the conformity is just as stifling.

Hoping for a truly equal (where merit will be synonymous with individual intellect) future!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Great Indian Attitude

We who boast about our great culture and high morals when compared to the rest of the world. This incident is a testimony to the delusion many God-fearing cultured Indians love and are very proud of. I am sure a plethora of such incidents occur every other day, just that nobody writes about them. How morally depraved we have become and how used to being depraved are we?

"The young man crossed. He ran across. All it took was a fraction of a second. I could've imagined it, but, I saw a bike actually speeding up as he ran across the road. The bike hit him. The young man was lying on the road. Blood was pouring out of what seemed like a huge yawning hole on his left temple. We all saw it. We watched shocked. A second later a bus slightly to the right of the young man decided it had to move. It did. It ran over him. Over his arm and the right side of his body. It then stopped later. It was a DTC.

I wanted to help. So I asked. Was anyone going to take him to hospital? Then I shut up, because I heard people talking about how much money they could make out of this. One man said no-one should move him, because if he died there then they all could make more money. I was bewildered. It was like I had got transported to someplace barbaric. To a place in the dark ages.

Then I said something. I called an auto- asked the driver if he would take me and the man to hospital. The auto driver thought... and thought and thought. Finally he demanded a hundred and fifty rupees, I didn't have time to bargain. The distance was worth thirty. Amongst a lot of abuses, threats and such I managed to hoist the man into the auto. In the auto I searched his pockets to find a number I could call--only to find his pockets ripped off and empty. His money had been stolen. People had searched his pockets before I got there.

We reached Safdarjung Hospital. At nine the trauma care centre was devoid of any patients. The man and lady at the reception made me wait for a half-hour while they completed some paper work, despite my protests. They then brought out a sheaf of papers. Asked me if I was a relative, because only then would they allow surgery. I called him Senthil and signed as his sister. They brought him in on a stretcher. Then they left him there in the lobby with me for forty-five minutes, I timed it. When I asked why they were taking so long-- they said they had sent someone to stamp the papers and couldn't begin till they arrived. At long last the took him into the OT.

I took an auto back to Yusuf Sarai. I had missed the first three classes of the day. There were two more to go. The crowd had largely disappeared. The bus, its driver, conductor, a couple of touts, the bike owner and a large beefy policeman stood in a small circle pointing to the blood stains. From a distance, I imagined that justice just might be on its way. I went up to the policeman saying I was an eyewitness and would be happy to give a statement.

He looked at me curiously. I looked at the bus driver and the bike owner holding two five hundred rupee notes each in their hands. The police man had already collected a thousand. He tore the complaint notice in half in front of me. I asked what he was doing. He told me not to worry. He said the matter had been resolved. The bus driver, conductor and policeman left for Chai together. The bike owner drove off nervously."

Krishna, where are you?

Friday, October 28, 2005

Goa lifts bars on beaches!

For once the government makes the right move! God knows why hard drinks were not legal on the beaches till now!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A Ferrari is still always a Ferrari

Anand Vasu on the return of the God. Sachin Tendulkar is back!
Read entire article here.

Choose your own holiday

Wow! Finally, religious holidays will not be mandatory for one and all [link]. People get to select from a fixed number of holidays rather than rest on holidays that they don't celebrate anyways. In fact the proposal speaks of conversion of religious holidays into "restricted holidays". I would suggest that there should be a certain fixed number of holidays that people should be allowed to use as they will. There is no reason why a secular state should have anything to do with religious festivals. Religious festivals that may lead to congestion in areas they are celebrated due to any associated processions etc should have the need to get special permission for celebration at hours which don't cause any difficulties to the work routines of those not celebrating.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Necessity is the mother of invention?

Inventions seem to foster necessity here (The new Ipod!).

I feel a severe urge to buy this one but don't find the need. Guess, I will have to resolve the need soon.

Friday, October 07, 2005

When God called Bush


"President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan. And I did, and then God would tell me, George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq... And I did.

"'And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East. And by God I'm gonna do it.'"

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who attended the meeting in June 2003 too, also appears on the documentary series to recount how Mr Bush told him: "I have a moral and religious obligation. So I will get you a Palestinian state."

God bless Bush!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

When the Gods went to sleep

Woman raped near Jodhpur temple.

The complex act of giving

Why do people give? Are acts of giving truly selfless or is there a hidden motive that is more important to the giver than the cause the donation is made to. Is the donor conscious of the hidden motive or is the donor oblivious to it too. A very nice article in the NYTimes gives some scientific insight into the act of giving!

"And the altruistic impulse in humans is frequently absent in the face of need, which seems inconsistent with selfless goodness. Why does the generosity sparked by events like Katrina fail to appear when it comes to helping the 700,000 African children who die from diarrhea every year for lack of clean water?

Kathleen D. McCarthy, director of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society at the City University of New York, argued that Americans' response to Katrina had much to do with what she calls the "but for the grace of God factor." The devastation hit so close to home that they could imagine their own living rooms under water. It's harder for them to put themselves in the place of a dying African child."

Read the Entire article.

There are people who seem to think that the world depends on their charitable acts. The acts as a result are done more in a condescending manner and end up doing very little good to the purported beneficiaries. The beneficiaries are in fact the people who do the charity. It benefits different people differently. I guess it helps a few to suppress their guilt at their fellow beings suffering. Also, they are not sure as to what their own future holds for them and so feel a sense of security by giving. Others may derive some sort of mileage, political or in social circles out of the charity.

It is very common for people to worry about the donations that their sports team has made or the donations that a certain other celebrity has made. As if it is an obligation on part of the celebrity to make a donation. I guess the reasoning is that since the celebrity earns much more he should donate more. A celebrity who makes a donation is accused of having a hidden propaganda. Life is miserable whether or not you donate! People who raise fingers may have not done their bit though. In fact people are more worried about the charity the other person did than the charity they would be interested in doing.

I don't think that all charity should be done anonymously. No charitable organisation can run without funds and the only way one can extract funds is to advertise any charity that has been done. But if Mac Donalds tries to get attention for its donation for the Katrina cause then it is doing more charity to its own cause. They could have made donations anonymously. I guess all educated folks can see through donations of the Mac Donald kind. Unfortunately, most donations are of the Mac Donalds kind! Not to say that people and organisations should stop donating. Just that the act of giving is by no means noble.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Sun TV, The moral police? Huh!

A photo that cost 5-star its license!

Brilliant. The interesting part is that the moral police is a news paper that belongs to the Sun TV group. It is the same Sun TV group that is known for showing "Adult Programs" after midnight! They have a problem with people who were shown kissing at a private party!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Give Ganguly a break?

Maybe, in the recent Ganguly-Chappell imbroglio Chappell was not less at fault. He is not known for his team management skills. Just as a great scientist may not be a good teacher, a great player may not be a good coach for Team India. Whether Ganguly should stay or not deserves debate and maybe he doesn't deserve to stay as the captain of the team or even in the team given his poor form. But that doesn't mean we don't give him the benefit of doubt and just because we think he should be out of the team take Chappell's word for granted.

As an aside, I just hope these kind of shameful events demote our cricket players from their current status of being only next to God. They are after all error bound humans!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Safe and Sound?

We are no safer today than we were four years ago [link needs QuickTime].

Natural Selection vs Intelligent Design

A nice post [link]. The link gives a nice introduction to what natural selection means and how today scientists can visualize, using DNA, what the theory of Darwin suggested to be a cause of all the diversity we witness in nature. It is amazing to know that random mutations occur and some of the mutations survive longer than others due to the circumstances that exist. It also seems that mutations occur anyways and are not encouraged or caused by changing environment. It is like you happen to pick a lottery ticket that wins. Most others pick the wrong tickets and loose. You keep investing in the game of lottery anyways. If you keep winning u keep getting stronger and survive longer than others who don't win as much. Just that the fittest of all the mutations (the winning lottery ticket, a selection amongst many possible mutations or lottery tickets) survives!

Yes, the process is a random process that is still being understood. I guess the cause behind the randomness is still a mystery. Once the cause is known the process will become deterministic?

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Groom Bazaar

IAS - 25 lakh, IPS - 25 lakhs, poor engineer - a few lakhs lesser. Engineering is costlier to pursue. Seems to be a loss making venture as there are IAS/IPS who are not engineers. The good old story.

Up north, grooms are categorised according to their stature. A Lucknow-based matrimonial agency, the professor elaborates, would typically place an IAS-IPS groom under the 'Lotus Category'.

Lotus carries more weight than the 'Marigold Category' of doctors, engineers, lawyers and lecturers. 'Rose' stands for grooms who have passed out from the IIMs and IITs. "These are the undisputed sultans of the wedding mart," the professor maintains.

Shameless bastards!


I would rather prepare my mind for the marathon of life than prepare my legs for the one on road. Should I run a marathon? Well, an on road marathon preparation requires a lot of mental preparation too. The legs have to be there. Not necessarily long, but strong. You run on your legs! You could start crawling once your legs consider the Marathon a lost cause. What if your mind says enough is enough? Forget the marathon, it happens when you try to jog just that extra round. You know you have the physical strength but the mind has its own plans. Twenty eight miles of running without the destination in sight should be difficult. The destination in view could propel the mind, I guess. But here there is nothing in site, for miles and miles all you see is road (discount the spectators, I guess after some running your mind blocks them all). You may even loose sight of your competitors after some time. Some have told me that all they want is to reach the finish line. Doesn't matter even if they make it after all the rest. Reaching the finish line is the goal. You are set against your own self. It is a fight against one's own limitations both physical and mental. A fight that everyone wants to win.

Wonder what gives up first. The mind or the body. I guess it should be possible to resuscitate the willing and trained mind but the body if tired beyond repair may be difficult to drag along. A marathon race I watched was the Olympics 2004 Women's Marathon which was won by Japan. Believe me the race was more exciting than one may expect a marathon to be. The short Japanese seemed to pack in a lot more than one would expect. The untimely exit of Paula Radcliffe when many expected her to win a medal in the race. All the action was tangible. One could empathise with the exhaustion that the athletes showed on their face. Sudden increase in the strides of a competitor would send your heart racing as if you were the one trying to run faster. Will she be able to keep running this fast, you would ask yourself. Reduced strides would confuse you. Is it the end of the road or is it just a part of a larger stratagem. The Japanese Noguchi had increased her strides quite a bit towards the end of the marathon as if she was trying to finish it before it gets too late. She was maintaining a fair distance from her opponents. Not sure whether she was being doubly cautious. What if someone showed a sudden burst of acceleration? Maybe it was her race against time. Probably, nobody will know. All I know is that she won and deserved the victory, not that the others didn't. I guess most of them there were victorious. Just that one of them topped them all.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

The "Sab Chalta Hai" Manoeuvre

I received an invite from the US consulate in Chennai. The letter said that my appointment had been scheduled for 9:45AM and that I should reach the consulate at 9:30AM. The letter made me feel at ease because the last time I had a visa interview was at the German Consulate at Chennai and the idea was to reach the gates earlier than the earliest. I reached Chennai from Bangalore early in the morning, booked a decent room in a motel at a walkable distance from the Chennai Railway Station, changed, had breakfast and left the motel at around 9AM to reach the consulate before 9:30AM.

What I saw at the Chennai consulate made me feel sad. I saw a long line of people standing at the consulate being controlled by all powerful herdsmen (I had earlier met a person in one of the narrow lanes of Carol Bagh, Delhi, who referred to them as Khaki Kutte. I was quite amused then but he was probably right with due apologies to the dog-kind). Most people in the line were of my age group, most of them applying for a student's visa to gain entry into the USA many of them accompanied by their friends and family.

My initial take on the long line was very naive. I thought that the long line was due to some delays at the consulate. Assuming that the appointments may have been delayed by an hour or two I stepped forward and asked one of the herdsmen as to when my turn would arrive. The man asked me to get back into the line saying that it would take a long time. Long time! How long? Asking was pointless. Well, I joined the line and after a bit of asking around realised that many people ahead of me were people who had appointments later than me, later not by 15 mins but by an hour or a couple of hours.

People with appointments at 11:45AM were standing at the very front (at 9:30AM) while I like a fool was stuck behind. I guess my chagrin and restlessness was quite visible that one of the herdsmen approached me with an offer. For a price of Rs 100 I could get to the front of the line, a position I should have held given my appointment time and the fact that the consulate inside the tall walls was not delaying processing. All negotiation was happening in the open view of people with above average education and wealth. Some of them proud of their exploits during the day and others wondering why they didn't reach earlier. Most of them should have been at home given that their appointments were at least a couple of hours away. Most of them looked God fearing, seemed to have begged for blessings all night long. The innocent looks on their faces masquerading the deep rooted moral malaise each one of them suffered from. None of them had the slightest shame that they were standing like cows being treated at will by the herdsmen. All they had to do was to stick by the appointment time printed on the letter from the consulate and they would have salvaged a lot of pride and would have been saved from the obvious humiliation. I guess they were too stubborn to feel the humiliation, people in their early twenties stubborn and desensitized given company in many cases by their more experienced and beyond repair parents.

In the name of getting street smart people end up being corrupt very young. I remember having boarded a bus with a few friends of mine (around 10yrs of age) when one of them suggested that some of us who looked less than 10 years old should ask for a half-ticket as the conductor will not be able to tell. The savings were to be minimal but why not make the smart move when one can. Give it a try at least!

There were parents who collaborated to divert the school bus route for their convenience, against the wishes of the school. It was not very difficult. All they had to do was pay a nominal amount to the driver for the detour. When I out of indignation asked them as to why they were doing something the school had strictly refused they were hurt and complained to my family of their son's rude behaviour! How kind of them that they were concerned about a stranger's child's behaviour! They were balming their conscience I guess.

Going back to the consulate, the consulate does not allow any stuff other than the required documents inside. There was this couple who was carrying a bag and some other stuff that they had to leave outside the consulate wall. So far so good. What I witnessed was evidence of the fact how wasted the herdsman and all others standing there were. The herdsman didn't like the fact that his pavement had been encroached by lesser mortals. The price the couple paid was that their stuff was kicked around at will, like a football. And again all this happened in the presence of hundred or more applicants. Well it was not happening to their luggage. So why bother. The kicking around of the stuff was probably kind of amusing. Good that no one stopped the rogue. The line had north, south, east and west Indians (many were there from Bangalore and Hyderabad, cities that are cosmopolitan). They were all united in their turning away. They included me too and I regret that in retrospect. I wanted to ask the moron to stop kicking around but resorted to the great Indian "sab chalta hai" manoeuvre.

A manoeuvre that we are so good at justifying and that is plain and simple selfish. One justification for any corrupt act being that since the government is corrupt what is the big deal anyway? Everyone is corrupt, that is the way the world is. We should keep up with the world etc. The problem with the manoeuvre is that we Indians can never claim individual freedom as claim to individual freedom and justice can't be an individual's effort. It has to be a concerted effort from the society (the educated middle class, the lesser mortals who are taken for a ride), the society needs to shout out loud in no unclear terms its right to individual freedom and justice for every single individual whose individual freedom and justice is at stake. People in the Bronx or Brooklyn, NY, (I am not sure) had decided to get together to patrol against hate crimes. The people included Blacks, Jews, Latin Americans. The Asians were conspicuous by their absence probably cocooned in a false sense of security turning a blind eye to anything that doesn't affect their individual selves!

All we can do is keep counting the many years of injustice meted out to us. Recently, I read about the Independence Rock fiasco where some thousands were taken for a ride by a whimsical officer. The organiser mentions that the entire rock loving crowd turned away from the venue disappointed but peacefully very different from what the scene that would emerge in case the occasion was Ganesh Chaturthi or Durga Pooja. I wonder why the crowd left peacefully and I don't intend to say that they should have gone around creating havoc venting their frustration in vain. Maybe they should have stayed there as a mark of protest, after all they were a few thousand. Was leaving a show of decency or just another easy manoeuvre? Would staying put have made any difference at all? Would the whimsical officer have thought twice before passing a similar order the next time? Would staying back have been more effective than just leaving and saying that this always happens to us? But then given our day to day conduct do we retain the right to protest or any justice at all?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The onus is on You!

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” - Mahatma Gandhi

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Americans want answers!

Answers please! No more escaping responsibility and fooling around with the people.

Cooper to Landrieu: Americans Want Answers

Linked from

When The Saints Don't Go Marching In, a post that explains what the moral responsibilities of a government are and why the Bush govt lacks moral values.

Probably, the common people from the third world also need to ask such questions rather than get accustomed to lack of morals and accountability on part of their government as if it were just a part of their daily life! The third world much of which fought against foreign rule for centuries now needs to fight to remove the malaise within. Fight!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The crutch called faith!

In response to Atanu's opinion [link]. At a point in the post Atanu says

"I said that only feeble-minded people need the crutch that faith provides against the terrors of non-existence that follows death."

My opinion on the crutch called faith.

U say this without any scientific evidence at all or at least I don't see any or maybe it is just your point of view, which is fair enough.

"the crutch that faith provides against the terrors of non-existence that follows death"

Faith may provide a crutch for people to go about their day to day hassles, in this unforgiving and fiercely competitive world, with hope that there is some power that will take care, not sure how many of them keep the faith thinking of the day they will die. A proof of it is that the greatest and die-hard followers of any faith are found in the less prosperous sections of society. Many of them may not be living lives worth all the suffering. Maybe I should not be judgemental about their lives.

Anyway, having faith does not guarantee immortality, it may be better to stay on earth rather than end up in the fires of hell? Faith doesn't guarantee heaven, no faith does! Faiths that talk of reincarnation, at least some of them talk of Karma. In very naive terms and I am no great exponent of philosophy, all they say is that you will pay for your own deeds (good or bad, what is good and what is bad may be matter of trial). Shouldn't sound very good to most of these handicapped billions. Only ignorance of their faith can act as a crutch.

Vivekananda in fact said that man should contemplate death and not shy away from it. He was a man of faith no man in need of crutches. So was Mahatma Gandhi (where I am not using Mahatma to imply that he was godly) who may have acted as a crutch for many but was very confident about the faith he followed. Man does go through various phases in a life time that is comprehendible to this world. There may also be a phase beyond what we humans can comprehend, the existence of which has not been disproved yet. It is OK not to accept something that has been disproved by science but scientists cannot ask people or ridicule people who believe in stuff that science has not been able to disprove, in fact have no proof against.

Even Einstein, from what u have quoted (as said by Carl Sagan), despises people who think of immortality of their physical body or self not of reincarnation or after-life. Reincarnation doesn't essentially mean that Einstein should be born as a great scientist in his next life. All it says is that one is caught in the infinite cycles of life and death till one rises above his own ego only to realise the oneness of this creation. In fact it talks of loosing one's self (the soul included) to recognise the oneness (Well this is my understanding and may not be the absolute truth, if there is any).

As an aside, I have recently read some beautifully written articles on the blogosphere that give reasons on why creationism is unscientific and why there is no great intelligent blueprint behind all what is evolving [link - got it via India Uncut's link ]. But none of the people who supported the darwin theory of evolution just presented the ridicule of creationism. They had scientific discoveries made after extensive studies to prove their theory and disprove the theory of creationists who were without a proof.

Acceptable that we are not clear about what the truth is but then that is a handicap that science will overcome with time. Till then it is not fair to call people who believe in faith as ones who require crutches.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

The moral police is back

Well, not that I had not feared this [link]. Thou (the moral police) cannot understand why Sania Mirza wears the clothes she does on a tennis court but (and I am greatly obliged!) thou are proud of her achievements. A veil with just eyes popping out should be good for the game of tennis. Add ray-bans too. Maybe, Sania should order for such a veil and then thou shall be happy. I am sure the same moral police wouldn't have allowed women play part in any affairs of the society a few decades ago. Not sure how better the situation is today. Given Sania's rise and today's working class it will sound preposterous if they said that girls should not play in public, so they now want to have a say in the dress she wears.
One argument they give is that

"It is a sport, not a fashion parade. If people are troubled by her dress she ought to cover herself and play."

Eye opener indeed! Would it be OK if she were participating in a fashion parade or is there a suitable dress code for a fashion parade too! People are troubled! Which people, the God fearing ones? All they can see are the 18 year old girl's legs?

"because it will offend sensibilities"

Whose sensibilities? The sensibilities of perverts who want the world to change but will not amend their habits.

"Actually the conservatives are confused. They're not sure how to react to a phenomenon like her who also has a strong religious background. Mercifully, the Islamic seminary Darul Uloom's rule on the mandatory veil concentrates only on Muslim women contesting elections and not on sports,"

Excellent! After all since when have women been participating in sports. Surely not before the above rule was created else they wouldn't have missed on the sports clause. Will the moral police realize that the times have changed and for the better? Isn't it time for them to move along too? A cliched question, I guess! And why should that rule matter to Sania Mirza even if it were to include sport's women? Shouldn't the law of the secular land take care?
A zillion times it has been mentioned that the dress women wear has nothing to do with any atrocities committed on them. Not that there is anything wrong with what she wears. The moral police needs to find better jobs for themselves. A "better employment opportunity scheme" should be created for them, on these lines maybe [ link], hopefully then they will happily feed on the economic fabric of India rather than the social one! Closing of dance bars in Mumbai [ link], restrictions on live-band joints in Bangalore [ link], show of "strength" on Valentine's Day [ link]. Independent India?? Hmm...

Sania, just hope you are not another casualty of the moral police! Way to go. Glory beckons you at the US Open!

Can we the people do it?

21 years have indeed passed[link]. It has been 21 years of (c)ommissions, false reports, media rhetoric and I guess some true reporting too. I was wondering if the Sikhs in Delhi and Punjab can today come out in large numbers and protest against the government, a protest of the kind Cindy Sheehan [ link ] is leading against the war in Iraq. Further, if the sikhs come out and start protesting will people from other not affected communities join the protest. If there is one thing we as Indians can use against any government, it is our sheer numbers. Why don't I see any public protests? Not protests by organizations who supposedly represent the community but the common people of the community. Why? Even elections are rigged. Polls after an incident may not be any indicator of whether a govt should come back in power or not. The only tool we are left with is large scale protest.

If people can be gathered and instructed in no time to carry out pogroms why cannot normal people plan out protests? Where is the point in all the media coverage, blogger coverage that the riots have got if they do not lead to any action from the common man's side, ruling out that the govt will do anything at all.

Will it ever be See you at say the PM's office to launch protests! or will we keep counting year after another, crime after another?


Outsourcing of brides and bridegrooms from India[Link]. The world is flat [ Link] indeed! Well, it is getting flatter at least ;-)

Friday, September 02, 2005


It makes no difference where you live if you are poor. I especially sympathize with people or communities who have been lead to poverty via centuries of exploitation. Hats off to sections of media that have the courage to speak out for them. Is anybody listening? A few excerpts from the article Lost in the Flood as posted on slate.com [Got the link here].

Nearly every rescued person, temporary resident of the Superdome, looter, or loiterer on the high ground of the freeway I saw on TV was African-American. And from the look of it, they weren't wealthy residents of the Garden District. This storm appears to have hurt blacks more directly than whites, but the broadcasters scarcely mentioned that fact.

Race remains largely untouchable for TV because broadcasters sense that they can't make an error without destroying careers. That's a true pity. If the subject were a little less taboo, one of last night's anchors could have asked a reporter, "Can you explain to our viewers, who by now have surely noticed, why 99 percent of the New Orleans evacuees we're seeing are African-American? I suppose our viewers have noticed, too, that the provocative looting footage we're airing and re-airing seems to depict mostly African-Americans."


If the reporter on the ground couldn't answer the questions, a researcher could have Nexised the New Orleans Times-Picayune five-parter from 2002, " Washing Away," which reported that the city's 100,000 residents without private transportation were likely to be stranded by a big storm. In other words, what's happening is what was expected to happen [my emphasis]: The poor didn't get out in time...

To the question of looting, an informed reporter or anchor might have pointed out that anybody—even one of the 500 Nordic blondes working in broadcast news—would loot food from a shuttered shop if they found themselves trapped by a flood and had no idea when help would come.

I wonder if people in government could have provided buses for evacuation before the storm struck. They did after conditions in the superdome deteriorated. Didn't the government know the plight of the people who elected it?

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Now that's news!

Not to me! All India and third world should know this. Not sure what the article is trying to address. It is probably enumerating examples of corruption in Bangalore, India. The series, The Hidden Scourge, in NY Times is trying to enlighten people about the malaise of corruption in the world. A noble gesture indeed. High time the developed world knows what most of the world looks like? What other purpose can such an article serve. Not sure whether it serves any. Some say it will lead to open discussion and criticism [link]. The NY Times headline should lead to a few bleeding hearts though!
NY Times: Where a Cuddle With Your Baby Requires a Bribe
International Herald Tribune: Third World feels bite of petty corruption

Monday, August 08, 2005

Hinduism is Open Ended?

The most open ended statement that is! Most Hindus seem to take pride in the fact that Hinduism is open-ended. I am not sure whether the Hindus are the non practicing ones or those who practice the religion. I guess they are the non-practicing ones just as I am. But is Hinduism open ended after all? One can be a Hindu even without visiting temples, praying Lord Rama or making sacrifices. Hinduism does not call the non practicing Hindu a heathen or a kaafir. It does not say that every non Hindu should be converted. It does not claim to be the best religion. It does not say that all what has been written has to be interpreted literally or is Correct! It does not ask you to put your faith in what Prophets or priests say. It does not ask you to visit a temple every sunday. It doesn't say whether Krishna resides in a temple and where The temple is. It is also not responsible for the ills in the Indian society. It doesn't support the caste system. It believes in oneness of this creation. I am the same as all others around me, live or alive, all are manifestations of the one who resides in all and in whom all reside or are a part of. It surely does not ask one to be complacent. How can one be complacent when one has to pay for his own actions? It isn't that it does not lay any rules. That there is no escaping the fruits of your action especially when Hinduism believes in reincarnation, is a very fundamental rule that should make men think before they act. Only ignorance can make a Hindu complacent. The fact that Hinduism unambiguously says that one has to pay for his actions, it is not open ended! Saying that it is open ended is a nice way to balm ones conscience.
It isn't that there is no literature to enlighten the ignorant man. There is the Gita which is considered to be the essence of the four Vedas that are a part of Hindu literature. Well, unfortunately the Gita does not say that Lord Krishna will atone for your sins. Lord Krishna, I understand loves the righteous. It does not matter whether he/she is a righteous Hindu, non-practicing Hindu, Sikh, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or a Jew as long he/she is a righteous human being. There are a lot many stories which have eye opening symbolism and are custom made for any one looking to get interested in a more righteous life. Thankfully, we have many interpretations of the stories too.
It is tragic as one of my Hindu friends pointed out that Christianity/Islam and other religions are taught in schools in India, though Hinduism is never a part of the curriculum. As a result of which all are ignorant about the Hindu religion, a religion that is the oldest, maybe Jainism is older. A religion that has survived brutality of many other upcoming religions and in the long run has welcomed them with open arms. In my friends school the Hindus were taught Moral Science while the Christians were taught the Bible! Well, he was in a convent school. Would it not have made sense if the school gave all the children an unbiased peek into what all the religions had to say. Just the essence of what is righteous via the many stories and symbolism the sacred texts of all religions are replete with. They wouldn't have to run many classes in parallel and wouldn't have inculcated a sense of being different in the children who for most part of the day shared the same classroom. Anyway, whatever the claim of the people who run the school they themselves are no saints and will pay for their actions. Just that the immediate effects will be visible in the children they educate.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Figure Hugging Clothes

Men wear them too. Pity the clothes though! Wonder what would happen
if clothes could exercise free will. I reckon men would roam around
naked and women all draped in cloth. Thank goodness that clothes
cannot exercise free will!

Monday, July 25, 2005


I wonder whether calling a person Black or White is not racism? He is a black, she is a white. The words black and white are names of colors that signify respectively absorption of the entire spectrum and the reflection of the same. Why should they be used to categorize people? Use of color names Black, brown, yellow, white for identifying groups of people is derogatory and should be banned.

Very recently the London police shot a person dead. All the "whites" said that they saw an asian run towards the subway train. The asian looked suspicious as he was wearing a thick jacket on a warm summer day. The police surrounded him and shot five rounds into the Asian's head. The dead Asian was later found to be no way related to any terrorist activity whatsoever. The most interesting part, something that unfortunately makes me smile is that it was later realized that the man was not a dark skinned Asian but a Brazilian. The family of the Brazilian was obviously shocked. They said ...

"How could they have done such a thing as to kill him from behind?" Mr. Alves told the Globo Television Network. "How could they have confused and killed a light-skinned person who had no resemblance at all to an Asian?"

I don't want to comment on a comment made under duress, but the feeling I get is that it would have been OK for the family if the person was an Asian muslim even if he was innocent! They were catholics and light-skinned and so the tragedy is of greater proportions? I am not saying that they should mourn the death of every other stranger but ones color giving one a false sense of security is unfortunate. I wonder what will UK and the USA do if White and Black Muslims turn to suicide bombing. No reason why the Al-Alqaeda cannot brain wash the White or the Black!

Anyways, it will take me sometime to digest the death of the person. The jacket he was wearing was probably carrying his tools. After all he was an electrician. May be he was running to catch the subway. I do that many times now a day, run to catch a train. He ended up taking a flight to elsewhere thanks to the five rounds! Maybe he will find paradise. Wishing him the very best wherever he is.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Burkhe mein rahne do

I bet we Indians can very proudly justify all ills in our society and this is probably our greatest problem. Most people supporting the Shiv Sena's view take the easiest route of relating all aberrations to deviations from Indian culture and religion. There are many more ridiculous comments on the Times Of India. All these people need to be evicted from the Indian mainland. God knows which part of the world they deserve (the bermuda triangle should be a nice resort). They are criminals in their own right and need to be ostracized else the days of the burkha may return, not that they are over yet!

I am not too sure what impression of rape Indians (who have not themselves committed the crime) have. Most hindi movies that purportedly deal with rape provide mere titillation that too of very low standards. In our "culture" being raped has a social stigma attached to it. How can rape strip one of ones modesty is impossible to understand, unless the decision makers are self proclaimed judges. The people next door, would try to figure out why only that particular girl got raped, after all none of us got raped, "poorva-janma-karma" (sins in the previous birth) was probably responsible. She surely would have done something to provoke that man.... and so on! In the end they would make the life of the victim a veritable hell. I remember a news item during the Gujarat riots which told the story of a man who was caught, on camera, pleading for the life of his family. The man is shown crying and begging for his family's life. I am not sure whether the man could save his family members or not, but I do remember that the family was ostracized as the neighbourhood thought that the man acted like a coward. I am not too sure what the man was expected to do, but this is another example of the victim being further victimized. The rapist may go scot free. Well he has to pay for his sins but that has to happen after his rebirth. Ignorance is indeed bliss. Majority of us are probably ignorant of our culture, traditions, religions and all what we take shelter in.

How proud I am of my culture or may be the lack of it.

Anyways! Burkha is the way to go. Women should eat, sleep, drink or maybe even wink inside a burkha. Even allowing democracy to prevail is dangerous in India. I wonder which side will win if there is a vote on the issue.

Burkhe mein rahne do...
Burkha na hatao..
Burkah jo hat gaya to Rape Ho jayega.....
Allah meri tauba.. maula meri tauba.... - Possibly Sena's future anthem