Thursday, December 20, 2007

Moonstruck !!!

Night after night
In the sky afar I sight
A pretty fair dame
Glowing without a flame
Rays through the shroud
Peeping through the cloud
A crescent each day
Is it joy or dismay?
Even the sea reaches for you
In whole, when you bloom
You take away all sanity
From love smitten humanity
Battling for you, their prise,
It’s too late when they realize
That behind everything dainty
Is the moon, merciless and flinty


When You return from your journey,
some lingering thought shall bring you here.
This is different from the macro of the microcosm
of the knittings in your dream,
which you might have savoured of late.
I make you sit through a panorama.
Its a frame or a window;
you can know only when you touch it.
It is the best of its kind
because it is "With You".

Fighting Problems

Have you ever thought what helps you
At a Gurudwara, Mandir, church or Masjid?
Is it really God as you call It,
Who comes to rescue, to your help?
'God' strengthens you to fight yourself.
You learn patience standing for 'God's' blessings,
You learn faith confiding yourself in 'God',
And you learn hoping and believing too.
Patience avoids expanding trouble,
Faith does things which skill cannot,
Hope drives away fear and lessens tension,
Belief helps power creep into you;
And thus you get strength to fight your problems.
Have patience, faith, hope and belief
To eliminate problems and have a smooth life.

Einstien Quotes...

Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every man present his views without penalty there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.

Astronomers find first habitable planet outside solar system

Astronomers find first habitable planet outside solar systemThe first habitable planet similar in size and conditions to Earth has been located in a distant solar system, once again raising the possibility of life on other planets, scientists said on Wednesday.
The as-yet unnamed planet is only about one-and-a-half times the size of Earth and five times more massive, a team of European astronomers announced at the European Southern Observatory in Garching, Germany."We have estimated that the mean temperature of this super-Earth lies between zero and 40 degrees Celsius, and water would thus be liquid," said Stephane Udry of the Geneva Observatory. "Models predict that the planet should be either rocky like our Earth or covered with oceans."The planet is located around a star known as the Gliese 581, about 20.5 light years from Earth's solar system and one of the 100 closest stars to the Sun.
Though the planet is much closer to its star than earth is to the Sun, conditions are similar because the Gliese 581, known as a red dwarf, is smaller and colder. One year lasts only 13 days on the planet."Red dwarfs are ideal targets for the search for such planets because they emit less light, and the habitable zone is thus much closer to them than it is around the Sun," said Xavier Bonfils of Lisbon University.More than 200 so-called exoplanets - planets outside of the Sun's solar system - have been discovered in the past 12 years since the first one was found. Most are massive bowls of gas similar to Jupiter.The same team of astronauts discovered another planet around the same red dwarf two years ago - a Neptune-sized planet about 15 times as massive as Earth. An extensive analysis of the latest find is to be revealed in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.
Xavier Delfosse of Grenoble University in France said the newfound planet could inhabit life and will definitely be a target of future space missions to find extra-terrestrial beings."Liquid water is critical to life as we know it," he said. "On the treasure map of the Universe, one would be tempted to mark this planet with an X."

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

100 Websites You Should Know and Use...

The Web is constantly turning out new and extraordinary services many of us are unfamiliar with. During TED University at this spring's TED2007 in Monterey, Julius Wiedemann, editor in charge at Taschen GmbH, offered an ultra-fast-moving ride through sites in many different areas, from art, design and illustration, to daily news, blogs and curiosity. Now, by popular demand, here's his list of 100 websites you should know and use   >>>>

Earth in its final century ???

Video: Sir Martin Rees: Earth in its final century?

In a taut soliloquy that takes us from the origins of the universe to the last days of a dying sun 6 billion years later, renowned cosmologist Sir Martin Rees explains why the 21st century is a pivotal moment in the history of humanity: the first time in history when we can materially change ourselves and our planet. Stunning imagery of cosmological wonders show us the universe as we know it now. Speaking as “a concerned member of the human race,” Rees harkens to the wisdom of Einstein, calling for scientists to act as moral compasses, confronting the coming developments and ensuring our role in “the immense future.”
Who is Sir. Martin Rees?
Martin Rees, one of the world’s most eminent astronomers, is a professor of cosmology and astrophysics at the University of Cambridge and the UK’s Astronomer Royal. He is one of our key thinkers on the future of humanity in the cosmos.
Martin Rees’ homepage at Cambridge

Monday, December 17, 2007

Famous Adages - Eponymous Laws

These are famous Adages. Short, but memorable sayingsthat holds some important fact of experience which is considered true by many people, or has gained some credibility through its long use. category: Eponymous laws, Social law, from Social : Possibly, maybe...
  • Terman's Law of Innovation : If you want a team to win the high jump, you find one person who can jump seven feet, not seven people who can jump one foot each.
  • O'brien's Variation : If you change queues, the one you have left will start to move faster than the one you are in now.
  • Conway's Law : In any organization there will always be one person who knows what is going on. This person must be fired.
  • The Peter Principle : In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.Work is accomplished by those employees who have not reached their level of incompetence.
  • H.L.Mencken's Law : Those who can, do. Those who cannot, teach.
  • Martin's Extension : Those who can't teach,administer.
  • Belani's Extrapolation : Those who cannot even administer, become consultants.
  • Lieberman's Law : Everbody lies; but it doesn't matter since nobody listens.
  • Kovac's Conundrum : When you dial a wrong number,you never get an engaged one.
  • Van Herpen's Law : The solving of the problem lies in finding the solvers.
  • Murphy's Law of Government : If anything can go wrong, it will do so in triplicate.
  • Bell's Theorem : When the body is immersed in water, the telephone rings.
  • Ruby's Principle of Close Encounters : The probability of meeting someone you know increases when you are with someone you don't want to be seen with. - Black's Extension : The probability of meeting a gorgeous female increases geometrically when you are with a friend, a friend who is richer than you, your girlfriend and finally your wife.
  • Young's Law : Great discoveries are made by mistake.
  • Kin Hubbard : A good listener is usually thinking about something else.
  • One Anonymous Great Seer's Law : Money can't buy love, but it sure gets you a great bargaining position.
  • Law of constant product : The product of beauty,availability and intelligence is a constant.

Robots that are "self-aware": Hod Lipson on TED

Engineer Hod Lipson demonstrates and talks about a few of his cool little robots, which have the ability to learn, understand themselves and even self-replicate. At the root of this uncanny demo is a deep inquiry into the nature of how living beings learn and evolve, and how we might harness these processes to make things that learn and evolve. (Recorded March 2007 in Monterey, California. Duration: 06:29.)

Why you should listen to him: To say that Hod Lipson and his team at Cornell build robots is not completely accurate: They may simply set out a pile of virtual robot parts, devise some rules for assembly, and see what the parts build themselves into. They've created robots that decide for themselves how they want to walk; robots that develop a sense of what they look like; even robots that can, through trial and error, construct other robots just like themselves.

Working across disciplines -- physics, computer science, math, biology and several flavors of engineer -- the team studies techniques for self-assembly and evolution that have great implications for fields such as micro-manufacturing -- allowing tiny pieces to assemble themselves at scales heretofore impossible -- and extreme custom manufacturing (in other words, 3-D printers for the home).

His lab's Outreach page is a funhouse of tools and instructions, including the amazing Golem@Home -- a self-assembling virtual robot who lives in your screensaver.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Ways to Kill Ideas

The realinnovation article is very interesting - it is titled Ten Ways to Inhibit Innovation - the 10 ways are

(1) Criticize
(2) Ban Brainstorms
(3) Hoard problems
(4) Efficiency focus not Innovation
(5) Overwork
(6) Adhere to Plan
(7) Punish Mistakes
(8) Do Not Look Outside
(9) Promote Like people
(10) Do Not Train.

Well to the list we can add following 40 idea killer phrases (from Reference: “What A Great Idea” by Charles “Chick” Thompson, 1992, HarperCollins Publishers)

1. "Yes, but. . . "
2. "We tried that before."
3. "That's irrelevant."
4. "We haven't got the manpower."
5. "Obviously, you misread my request."
6. "Don't rock the boat!"
7. "The boss (or competition) will eat you alive."
8. "Don't waste time thinking."
9. "Great idea, but not for us."
10. "It'll never fly."
11. "Don't be ridiculous."
12. "People don't want change."
13. "It's not in the budget."
14. "Put it in writing."
15. "It will be more trouble than it's worth."
16. "It isn't your responsibility."
17. "That's not in your job description."
18. "You can't teach an old dog new tricks."
19. "Let's stick with what works."C
20. "We've done all right so far."
21. "The boss will never go for it."
22. "It's too far ahead of the times."
23. . . . laughter. . .
24. . . . suppressed laughter. . .
25. . . . condescending grin. . .
26. . . . dirty looks. . .
27. "Don't fight city hall!"
28. "I'm the one who gets paid to think."
29. "What will people say?"
30. "Get a committee to look into that."
31. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
32. "You have got to be kidding."
33. "No!"
34. "We've always done it this way."
35. "It's all right in theory. . . but. . ."
36. "Be practical!"
37. "Do you realize the paperwork it will create?"
38. "Because I said so."
39. "I'll get back to you."
40. . . . silence. .

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Making Globalization Work - Audio

Making Globalization WorkJoseph StiglitzLecture delivered in Chennai on January 4, 2007

Listen to the Lecture!Instructions: The audio is available in mp3 format. If the file does not play automatically in your media player when you click on it,download the file and listen to it on your favourite media player. To download the file, right-click on each link and click 'Save Target As..' or 'Save Link As..' and save.

Duration(in minutes)
Introduction; Part 1, by N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief, The Hindu - 6.10 - 1448 kb
Introduction; Part 2, by N. Ravi, Editor, The Hindu - 9.13 - 2163 kb
Lecture; Part 1 * - 8.48 - 2063 kb
Lecture; Part 2 - 10.00 - 2345 kb
Lecture; Part 3 - 5.18 - 1246 kb
Lecture; Part 4 - 3.32 - 829 kb
Lecture; Part 5 - 7.02 - 1650 kb
Lecture; Part 6 - 7.33 - 1772 kb
Lecture; Part 7 - 10.08 - 2377 kb
Lecture; Part 8 - 5.23 - 1266 kb
Question Time; Part 1 - 11.23 - 2672 kb
Question Time; Part 2 - 13.15 - 3110 kb
Question Time; Part 3 - 16.42 - 3917 kb

* Lecture Part 1 contains some boom and flutter in the first 27 seconds; this is an artefact from the original recording and has not been edited.

Copyright © 2007, The Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Of files, handshakes and office table drawers.

199What seems – never is! Maybe that is why India has earned so many accolades as the corruption capital of the world – okay Transparency Internationals Global Corruption Barometer puts India as the 70th most corrupt nation. Not very encouraging when India is near the bottom half of this list while dreaming of becoming a global super power. But the good thing about this whole thing is that it not only indicates that Indians are very creative, but also very adaptable (look at the country's history) – Darwin would be proud.
Consider the situation of the office of an Indian File Pusher (IFP) – it has a large desk, a chair behind it which is draped with a towel. The wall behind the chair may have a photo of Mahatma Gandhi, the President and the politician in power. There will be a large calendar to keep the IFP up-to-date. The office may have a small shrine with the deity of the IFP.
The desk is unique, on one side two plastic trays (in and out) carry the hopes of millions, while the other has a pen stand with a myriad variety of pens. There may be paper weights on the desk, but these are going out of fashion as air conditioners become the norm. A lidded glass of water stands as a sentinel close by. The desk has drawers on the side where the IFP sits – usually empty.

The drawer serves another purpose. It’s the unofficial collection box. This is what happens - someone comes with an urgent file, the person stands at the side of the IFP in deference while the IFP peruses the file. Some questions are asked which are answered vaguely. As the file is signed the person puts his hand into his pocket and in one deft movement drops a packet of notes into the drawer. This happened in front of me.

Consider the same IFP in a similar office. A file is brought to him - he opens it and out slips a little packet of notes into his lap. The file is quickly dealt with and then the offending packet is delicately put into the draw for later retrieval.
The handshake was always been a form of communication, communicating a greeting, a promise- okay it was also a way to pass information, you know, a crowded station two men in trench courts pass each other under the benevolent eye of clueless cops and as the two men pass one hand slips the other a vital piece of information that saves the world and kills one of them.

In India this has been modified into an art that ensures both parties not only survive but thrive. The parties in such situation are the cops (traffic species in particular) on one side and erring drivers on the other.
The traffic police usually work in teams they operate either from a motorbike or a jeep. What happens is that the lackey does the scouting while the senior person finds a comfortable spot on the parked bike or jeep and waits. The flunky sifts the wheat from the chaff and the manna begins pouring in.
This is how – the lackey flags down an erring vehicle and the first thing that he does is grab the ignition keys. Then he asks for documents from the erring driver and then goes to his boss who is sitting noncommittally on his vehicle – salivating. The boss looks at the documents shakes his head and takes out a form and begins filling it in all seriousness. This performance gives him a black and white picture of what is coming next court visits, vehicle impounded, sheaves of notes flying from his wallet into the hands of the government. The lackey sees these thoughts in Eastman Colour. He takes the erring waif aside provides a solution which is simple and suits everyone. No court, no impounding, no sheaves of money entering government coffers, just a little private monetary transaction.
The erring driver moves a little away and then pulls out his purse takes and out the suggested amount. He folds it into a very tiny innocuous piece of paper that fits neatly in the palm of his hand. The lackey hands over the documents to the driver and in grateful thanks he shakes hands with the lackey and thus passes the money. The lackey puts his hand into his pocket and saunters back to his boss. This process is followed till its time to go home (or the closest bar).

And so that is how Indians have gone ahead and improved and even improvised on age old traditions, they have found new uses for things to ensure that there is a win-win situation.

Indians have added an addendum to Darwin's theory – a win-win situation ensures that everyone thrives.

Election manifestoes as a development index - An Indian study.

In our attempts to study economic patterns, society structure and human development we have created many indices ranging from Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to literacy rates. These indices are ways to compare societies, question decisions, find and question benchmarks, separate the wheat from the chaff and most importantly to learn and find the next step in decision making processes which ultimately affect a large number of people.
As society moves through time, different issues become important or are highlighted. People recognize different things in themselves or in their surrounding environment. Social scientists spoke about Intelligence Quotient as determining a person’s mental capacity, then there was a sudden interest in a new aspect of human psychology that was termed Emotional Quotient – something that determines a person’s capability to withstand emotional/psychological pressure. There was a time when a student’s ambition ended with attempts to become an engineer or doctor; now there are children who dream of becoming ‘successful singers’, ‘dieticians’. A decade ago one hardly saw any women driving scooters/cars and the number of women in the workforce was marginal.

These are examples of how society has broadened its views on stereotypes; education has allowed women to move out from within the four walls of their homes; it has also created an acceptance to such a move. Further, it has also created scope for people to venture into new activities, which means that society (and therefore the economy) has been able to create opportunities.
So what would indicate the health of a society or its state of development? It cannot only be GDP, or literacy rate or the kilometers of roads. Aristotle said in ancient Greece, “Wealth is evidently not the good we are seeking, for it is merely useful for the sake of something else.” Could the Human Development Report suggest the health of a society? The HDR brought out by the UN is a yearly report that covers issues ranging from democracy to structures in communities.
The Human Development Report goes “beyond income to assess the level of people’s long-term well-being. Bringing about development of the people, by the people, and for the people, and emphasizing that the goals of development are choices and freedoms”. This report is an outsider’s perspective of a country. Further the HDR is a kind of feed back form on policies and initiatives undertaken by the state. Thus what it assesses are politico-bureaucratic measures that have been taken. However, there is a distinct gap between what is being done, what was said/promised and what people actually want.

The National Human Development Report – 2001, brought out by the Planning Commission of India states in its introduction that ‘The process of development, in any society, should ideally be viewed and assessed in terms of what it does for an average individual. It has to be seen in terms of the benefits and opportunities that it generates for people and how these are eventually distributed — between men and women, the well off and deprived and across regions. ---often, there is no direct correspondence between economic attainments of a society and the quality of life.’ The NHDR sees the need to go beyond the regular indices to frame such an index that ‘ should reflect the values and development priorities of the society where it is applied. It is therefore necessary for countries like India to develop a contextually relevant approach to human development, identify and devise appropriate indicators to help formulate and monitor public policy.’
In the context of the article, ‘development’ goes beyond socio-economic factors to include broadened awareness, establishment of institutions that cater to the arts, monetary resources spent on things other than basic needs. Development in this context points one towards improving the quality of lifestyle and providing opportunities for overall human growth in non-economic terms.

Could election manifestoes be an index that not only represents a broader picture of the overall economy and society but also a national sentiment of what needs to be done in terms of importance? Further could the argument be made that issues in election manifestoes actually paint a picture of the level of development a country has actually reached.

The manifesto is in-fact a recipe book that takes basic ingredients and suggests methods to come up with an array of interesting dishes. In time the chefs become confident enough to add ‘exotic’ spices to come up with more wholesome meals that have distinct tastes, flavours and aromas. This confidence comes not only with the growing expertise of the chef but also with the clientele’s taste that becomes more discerning and demanding.

Sifting through manifestoes
To discuss the issue, election manifestoes of two of the major political parties the Congress (I) and the BJP are chosen. The reason being that the Congress (I) is one of the oldest parties and the BJP has seen a spurt in political prominence in the past two decades.

The article does not look at basic issues revolving around the economy in these election manifestos; as these issues are based mainly on number crunching and finding new bottles for the old wine. I have looked for the indications of ‘coming of age’ in these manifestos. Over time election manifestos have gone beyond political ideology, economic, infrastructure, defense and regular social upliftment schemes.
Women’s issues
Between 1991 and 2004 Congress (I) raised women’s issues that ranged from clean chullahs, equal remuneration, and laws to safeguard women from sexual harassment in the work place. The 2004 BJP manifesto? promised a ‘National Policy on Women's Economic Empowerment’ which would ‘propose strategies to enable women in balancing work and family by introducing a national childcare plan, workplace flexibility’.

Urban issues
It was only in 2004 that any party looked at urban issues besides infrastructure and slum development. The Congress manifesto states that there should be ‘--legal space in the cities and towns for hawkers, vendors, food-sellers and all such informal sector service activities that enrich urban life’. The BJP in the same year states that the bazaar, which has ‘always been at the center of India's social life and played a crucial role in driving the economy’ needs proper systems to remove inefficiencies.

Both political parties see that environment must not be neglected. The BJP speaks about promoting organic agriculture ‘to reduce soil degradation’ and the need for a ground water regeneration plan.

Governance and NGO’s
The Congress I manifesto promises ‘Swarg on earth but also for Swar—for voice, for full representation in the institutions of governance, for social acceptance and for political power---‘ The party also looks positively at Public Interest Litigation.
The BJP in their manifesto promise a ‘National Council of Voluntary Organizations’

The 1999 Congress manifesto theme was ‘Social Harmony’. Both parties speak about communalism according to their political philosophy.
Youth, disabled and senior citizens
The Congress in their 2004 manifesto promised a ‘National Senior Citizen’s Fund’ and schemes to look after street children. The party suggests a scheme that would require youth to spend a year in development projects. The manifesto speaks about the importance of NGO’s in society. It goes further and promises systems to help street children.

The BJP is the only party that promises a policy for the disabled and a scheme to reduce infant and maternal mortality. The BJP manifesto is the only manifesto that states ‘a National Policy for India's Entertainment Industry will be prepared, within six months, to realize its growth potential’.

Comparing issues in national manifestos

Looking at both political parties one sees that not only have issues changed but they have become more broad-based. Both parties see a growing trend of women joining the work force and therefore the need to create an atmosphere that would be conducive to them. Also the parties are looking at empowering rural women so that not only do they become economically independent but they can also increase their household income.
Both parties see the need to look at the environment while driving economic growth. The Congress goes further and speaks about the importance of PILs, while the BJP sees the need for a forum of NGO’s. This is a radical step forward especially when many NGO’s are at loggerheads with the government. Both parties see NGO’s as something positive whose work should be furthered. The idea of proper governance and people’s participation has also become big in the agenda. Could it be a result of people asserting themselves, because they know their rights and know that people in power are accountable?

What is not surprising though is that the issues of communal harmony have not broken rigid party lines. This could be because of vote banks and or internal dynamics. The policy on NGO’s could also be an attempt to co-opt the independent voice of these groups. However the fact that political parties have recognized the importance of such groups and want to do something about it shows a shift in political thinking.

One could argue that the manifesto will finally be a book of empty promises. The point that one is trying to make is that parties see change and therefore incorporate it in their manifestos.

However, India has miles to go especially when one compares these manifestos to the American Democrats manifesto. Even though John Kerry lost the election his manifesto had a certain inter-connectedness which shows not only a better understanding of problems but also an understanding of the direction society is pointing towards. For example Senator John Kerry discusses the role of renewable energy in the economy. On the issues of senior citizens the Kerry manifesto goes beyond a fund to speak about affordable prescription drugs and options for long term needs. On the subject of children the manifesto promises proper labeling of children’s food, prevention of child abuse, quality pre-school care.
One could argue that a lot of these promises are made after a certain level of economic stability. However, economic stability also brings in opportunities for the party in power to further their nation’s outlook, and the willingness to move beyond matters that have come to determine in the narrowest of definitions ‘national interest’.
Questions of whether a study of political manifestos could indicate the direction we as a society are heading towards or whether political manifestos reflect today’s society has an answer – the answer is yes. Women’s rights are now a major issue in Indian society. No one bats an eyelid to see a working girl, while at the same time a woman still has to face harassment. Going further Indians have not come to terms with alternative sexuality, while there are gay right’s groups, they have received no help from the government on legislation and recognition of same sex marriage, and thus this is not an issue in any political arena. Even though there is an Indian tradition to respect elders it was not ever apparent in the political arena. The need to provide care for senior citizens goes beyond any philosophy to actually recognize that families are becoming nuclear and both sexes work and that senior citizens no longer have the support system that was present earlier.

Even though communal harmony has been on the agenda for a long time parties have not been able to go beyond their party lines. We as a society have not yet been able to move beyond caste, creed, region and religion. This reflects in political manifestos. However, there is no doubt that what the Indian political parties write in their manifesto has undergone a sea change. Parties are now looking outside the framework of the economy and their narrow ideologies to other issues of human welfare, equality and mutual respect. This also includes an ability to acknowledge other ideologies and ways of thinking and promote them. These are all attempts to improve the quality of life in non-monetary and intangible terms. Manifestos do reflect changes in society, their aspirations and their broadening horizons.
(An article that did not get to the papers)

Friday, November 30, 2007

I love this guy, an indian comic character. Not just that my pen is an inspiration of his, but becoz of the humor in his stories. its rather hillarious beyond reasoning. I've grown-up reading the stories from Tinkle and obviously this is the character which i still believe reflects the humor and character in me....

Below are some of his jokes, i hope to present some more later....

Suppandi's jokes

Master: suppandi, have you finished stitching the buttons on my shirt?

Suppandi: no master! i could not find any buttons.

Master: now how on earth will i wear that shirt to office?

Suppandi: i have stitched up the button holes instead. Now you won't need buttons any more.

Joke 1

Once Suppandi's master's book had been torn. Suppandi stitched it back with thread. His master advised him to use super glue to stitch or stick together anything as it gives better results. Then One Day-

Master: Suppandi, iron my new and expensive suit as it has to be worn on the wedding tonight. That evening-

Master: Suppandi, give me my suit.

Suppandi: Here it is.

Master: What has happened to it? What do you think you did to it?

Suppandi: The suit had been stitched together with thread, so I removed all the thread and stuck it together with super glue. Doesn't it give a much better result.

Master: S-U-P-P-A-N-D-I!!!! You're fired! Get out.

Joke 2

One day Suppandi was playing football with his master's son. He had been posted as goalkeeper. Then the opposition charged towards his goal and kicked the ball into the goal from right beside his legs. The masters son was boiling with anger.

Son: Why didn't you stop the ball Suppandi?
Suppandi: Why in the world should I stop it? What is the net in the goal for?

Joke 3

One day Suppandi and his master were returning from somewhere in the intense heat.

Master: The sun has darkened our skins Suppandi. Suppandi agreed. The next day-

Master: Suppandi! Get me a bottle of hair dye from the neighbouring store. After some time-
Master: Suppandi, didn't you get that bottle.
Suppandi: I went to

          Thursday, November 15, 2007

          Whoz the one Giving back to India !!!!!!

          IT Sector not contributing to Indian Economy - AM Naik“Infosys is so focused on making 26% profits, their India revenue is less that 1.5%. So India doesn’t benefit with its own people. This makes me angry. Now they say they are looking at India and China, forced by their profitability issue. Not because they have any love for our country! ” -AM Naik, CMD of L&T

          The IT sector is extremely upset with AM Naik — the CMD of L&T, India’s biggest infrastructure and engineering company, for making a statement against the Information Technology companies of not contributing to the national economy.
          AM Naik, CMD, L&T said:” Please find out whether Infosys does any Indian work. They are so focussed on making 26% PAT. I think some days ago they said that they will now focus on India and China. So far their revenue in India was less than 1.5%. So India doesn’t benefit with its own people. This is really my anger.”
          Reacting to Naik’s statement, the IT companies, meanwhile, have expressed anger over the remark made by a chief representative of an old economy company. Especially, the IT bigwig — Infosys — which was targetted and singled out with the criticism, has reacted with particular aggression. The company’s Director, Human Resource — Mohandas Pai — reacted to the statement made by Naik and categorically said that had it not been for the IT sector, India would have had to pawn its gold once again like it did in 1991.
          Meanwhile, other IT bigwigs too reacted very strongly. Echoing the sentiments of Mr Pai, Girish Paranjpe, President, Wipro said: The IT sector has given workers a global exposure and offers great career opportunity to millions of Indians.

          Naik is upset with the ‘Bangalore club’ as he prefers to call Wipro, Infosys and the slew of other IT companies. He despairs at the way they hire engineers to write code and alluded to their grouse of poor infrastructure in Bangalore as a creation of their own making.
          Who asked them to hire civil engineers and mechanical engineers? he asked. BComs and BScs would suffice for writing code, he says.
          The least that the politicians can do is to stop cutting ribbons in the outsourcing industry. There are more than 75,000 engineers working on design in India for foreigners.
          They are the brains, and there are 1,50,000 other engineers working in the IT industry, who are non-computer science engineers. Then the Bangalore club complains that the infrastructure there is cracking.
          Who asked you to hire 1,00,000 engineers and bring them to Bangalore? Secondly, who asked you to recruit civil engineers? There are no civil engineers available to build infrastructure.
          His other interview is available at the link below :This life is reserved for L&T
          ‘This life is reserved for L&T’ - Satish John
          Thursday, November 15, 2007 03:58 IST

          This is the irascible A M Naik’s eighth year at the helm of India’s most valuable engineering and construction company, Larsen and Toubro. In a freewheeling interview, Naik talks about the journey taken so far, and the one ahead, in a three-hour conversation with Satish John.
          L&T’s core businesses have hit a sweet spot?

          All my businesses are core. What was not core we sold. And the so called non-core businesses we have, will go eventually. But all the new verticals that we are forming are in the core businesses.
          L&T will have 12 verticals, including engineering & construction, power and hydrocarbons, electricals, machinery business, industrial products, heavy engineering, technology and ship building. Thus nine of the verticals are mature businesses. Two are part of our mid-term and long-term strategy.
          We have not given L&T Finance a status of a vertical yet. This business is a five year play which could turn out to be very important. Beyond 2011-12, these 12 verticals could go to 14 or 15, and then we will stop.
          About 3-4 years ago there was a cover story in Businessworld that said L&T would be India’s GE? Is it a fair surmise?
          I don’t think they said that. They only said that my style of working was like Jack Welch (legendary GE Chairman).
          We have a GE type character -a conglomerate style of doing business. We are engineering driven after we sold our cement business. We (GE and L&T) don’t have anything much in common except electrical switchgears.
          GE also has finance…
          Our finance business is puny. We pushed our finance related businesses only in the last three years. One company does financing and debt, and the other invests in infrastructure projects by picking up equity. It is currently doing more than 20 projects. We have investment in Bangalore airport. We have investment in Kakinada port, several roads and properties.
          Like Welch, you personally pitch for business from big clients?
          I have done roadshows with 20 customers because L&T wants to become a Rs 50,000 crore ($12 billion) company in 5 to 6 years. If you want to bag huge projects in the private sector they go by faith and not tenders. Like the Delhi airport did not go for competitive bidding. It was their belief that only L&T could deliver. (The day after the interview, L&T also bagged GVK’s second Mumbai airport project.)

          Otherwise you bring a multinational not used to working in India. In Hyderabad, Grandhi Mallikarjuna Rao (founder chairman of GMR Group) experienced it. We were only constructing there, the rest of the work was done by a multinational. They ran away or whatever. The promoters obviously didn’t want to repeat it again and so we got the order in Delhi.
          We are bidding for huge power projects. In the next 5 years we want to develop turnkey projects of 8 mw to10,000 mw. That’s why we have the Mitsubishi joint venture for a super critical boiler plant. Our turbine joint venture is a toss up between Toshiba and Mitsubishi. (A week after the interview Mitsubishi was finalised.)

          Saturday, November 10, 2007

          Theo Jansen: The mordern day Davinci....

          The art of creating creatures

          Theo Jansen is a Dutch artist who builds walking kinetic sculptures that he calls a new form of life. His "Strandbeests" walk the coastline of Holland, feeding on wind and fleeing from water.

          Dutch artist Theo Jansen has been working for 16 years to create sculptures that move on their own in eerily lifelike ways. Each generation of his "Strandbeests" is subject to the forces of evolution, with successful forms moving forward into new designs. Jansen's vision and long-term commitment to his wooden menagerie is as fascinating to observe as the beasts themselves.

          His newest creatures walk without assistance on the beaches of Holland, powered by wind, captured by gossamer wings that flap and pump air into old lemonade bottles that in turn power the creatures' many plastic spindly legs. The walking sculptures look alive as they move, each leg articulating in such a way that the body is steady and level. They even incorporate primitive logic gates that are used to reverse the machine's direction if it senses dangerous water or loose sand where it might get stuck.

          "A self-styled god, Jansen is evolving an entirely new line of animals: immense multi-legged walking critters designed to roam the Dutch coastline, feeding on gusts of wind."
          Wired News

          At first it seemed like just art and engineering to me also. But then he said something significant - he uses just a handful of parameters on a basic design to create new creatures and then he uses "competitions" to select parameter values. Strictly this is exactly what DNA-based evolution does in biological systems. Both systems are reduceable to a set of "eigenvalues" which are coded by DNA expression levels or in this example by his "11 holy numbers" which are isomorphic to the same.
          Those who declaim this as "evolution" or possibly life are using precisely the same arguments that Intelligent Design advocates use against evolution. Think about it. No this work isn't something that can be "emergent" from minimal components - it requires the prior evolution of "electrical tubes" and "water bottles" (made by evolution of humans before it) and there is an element of design involved but it represents a snapshot of what evolution is at any given moment in time for an animal that much respond to its external environment. Design = Technology = Tool Building. Even ravens use tools.
          The claim that the animal "brain" isn't actual intelligence is perhaps strictly true but don't overestimate how the so-called "intelligent" human brain works. Watch some of the TED vids on human cognition especially Dan Dennet and Jeff Hawkins. Also consider the role of information theory and information channels on the upper bound of brain computation. Recent work on the human retina shows that it is an entropy maximizing filter which is a near-optimal low-pass filter. Our brains operate on far less incoming information than most people, especially many scientist and humanist, believe it does. The articles written about how "the human is a 4Mpixel camera", "we only use 10% of brain capacity", etc. are pure bunk.

          Link to: Theo Jansen's Home Page

          Theo Jansen - The father of Strand Beasts

          Thursday, October 18, 2007

          What are Participatory Notes?

          There has been talk about 'banning' Participatory Notes after the unexplicable rise in the Indian stock markets in the last few days. What exactly are 'Participatory Notes' or PNs?

          The article below in The Hindu Business Line attempts to throw some light on PNs

          What are ‘Participatory notes’? D. Sampathkumar Mumbai, Oct. 17

          ‘Participatory notes’ are instruments that derive their value from an underlying financial instrument such as an equity share and, hence, the word, ‘derivative instruments’.

          When the Indian capital market regulator permitted, back in 1992, foreign institutional investors (FIIs) to register and trade in Indian securities, every one assumed that they would make proprietary investments out of their own capital.3rd-party investments. There was no question of their trading on anyone else’s behalf. But as it turned out, FIIs were merely acting as a conduit for third-party investments.

          But some of these third-party investors had their own preferences in the matter of what Indian stocks that they would like to own with its own risk and reward characteristics. In order to ring fence, each such pool of investments they created accounts or ‘sub-accounts’ in FII parlance.Sub-account holders. But even sub-account holders, it turned out, were not investing their own money but were in fact raising money from a multitude of high net worth individuals.

          They were issued pieces of paper that derived its value from underlying equity instruments of Indian corporates. The participatory notes were now well truly launched. International investments got a little more complicated with sub-account investment institutions raising loan funds as securitised paper, with a pool of underlying equity shares of Indian companies.

          All this leveraged money got further leveraged with the investments going into not just equity shares but derivative instruments (futures and options) of shares of Indian corporates.

          Thus one could have a sub account holder of a registered FII investing a combination of subscriptions by a group of investors topped up with funds borrowed by floating yet another piece of tradable instrument using a pool of participatory notes as collateral.

          But the tale of leveraged investments became a little more complex with a $100 of such funds getting invested, for example, not in Reliance shares but into futures contract on Reliance shares.
          Futures contract

          Now, in a futures contract, one did not have to invest the full value of the contract. It is enough if put up a small margin and topped it up each depending on how the share price moved.
          The potential of $100 got further magnified.

          It is easy to see the super structure of heavily leveraged investments flowing into the Indian stock market. That is without even thinking of whatever private financial arrangements that each one of investors in the original pool of investments that gave rise to the participatory notes.Global liquidity.

          All of this became possible when there was a global liquidity thanks to the economic policies of the West and more particularly the US. A financial distress for one lender who participated in leveraged transaction of investments of a sub-account holder of an FII who had invested in the Indian stock market can cause him to call back his loan.

          This could lead to the sub-account holder closing out his futures position in the underlying share which caused the latter’s future price to fall.
          Share prices

          Since future prices are in turn linked to the spot prices of the same share, there is a price correction in the spot price as well. The fall in share price erodes not just the overseas investor’s wealth but that of domestic investors as well.

          The depreciation of the rupee’s value against other currencies or wiping out huge chunk of the RBI’s currency reserves when the liquidated investments goes out of the country, are the other unintended consequences of the FII play on the Indian stock market.

          The Threesome - A love story frozen in time.....

          A photo Taken by the legendary Henri Cartier Bresson, this photograph of Mountbatten, Nehru and Edwina - a personal favourite - has been all over of late.

          It has been pulled out to accompany reports on Pamela Mountbatten's (Mountbattens' daughter) book published recently `India Remembered: A Personal Account of the Mountbattens During The Transfer of Power.'

          Who cares whether Nehru and Edwina's love was platonic or otherwise. How does it really matter to anyone beyond these three people frozen in time. What matters is when you see a man wear just the expression Nehru's wearing - the jester, desperate to catch the woman's eye, trying to impress her, waiting for validation - you will know a man loves a woman.

          It was even being said that the knowledge of the more-than-close relationship between Lady Mountbatten and Nehru was in the public domain even in those days and is well documented. It was obvious that Lord Mountbatten was in a position to influence Nehru through his wife. Lady Pamela’s disclosure, therefore, only confirms what many believe. Sardar Patel tried his best to stop Nehru from referring the Kashmir issue to the U.N. but could not do so.

          dont forget to read more on the topic published in the frontline.

          Monday, October 15, 2007

          Unity in Diversity

          Cool Road-sign !!! Thatz India for u !!! Got thro mail...

          After the Bang

          This is the tale of the events that followed the formation of matter, gravity, space and time. Again, this is a very simplified version, as I am a very simple person. Randomness (Or, I used to be indecisive, but now I'm not so sure.)

          There were fluctuations in the chaos of our infant universe. In any liquid or gas, Brownian Motion occurs; this is why milk will eventually disperse through your tea even if you don't stir your cuppa. This motion causes random fluctuations, and without these events the galaxy would never have formed, as matter would have been even distributed throughout the universe. All the ionised matter cooled, the protons, electron and neutrons started to form atoms. Nearly one hundred per cent of these atoms were hydrogen and helium, and none of the heavier elements, like oxygen, iron & carbon, were formed. This is not a universe where 'complex' molecules exist; there is no water, no salts, and no metals. Of course, there could be no life as we know it.

          Gravity Works! (The Universe learns about the lightness of being.)

          So, we have ended up with 'clumps' of matter, mainly hydrogen and helium, swirling and twisting in space. Gravity acts on these individual clumps, causing them to condense. As the matter condenses, it begins to pivot around its centre. Have you ever watched how an ice-skater achieves a fast spin? As they rotate, they draw their limbs in close and conservation of energy mean the kinetic energy has to go somewhere. The same thing happens to the condensing matter…it begins to pick up speed, and rotation increases. Spheres and discs are the natural products of the conglomerating, spinning matter.

          When enough matter collects in one place, heat and pressure ignites it. And new suns light our infant universe…wouldn't that have been a sight to see, the brightness of the first sunrise.

          Heavy Metal (Or, the Universe learns how to Rock!)

          The first suns were the furnaces that baked heavy elements out of hydrogen and helium. Only the tiniest proportion of the matter was converted, in the intense heat and pressure of these solar ovens, but enough converted to make the some of the suns' unstable.
          Even now, we know about suns going nova. Most of the matter in these solar explosions is flung off into space, leaving behind little cinders - usually neutron stars. This cycle of matter condensing and exploding has been repeated at least twice in the history of our Universe.

          Even if only one percent of one percent of all the original matter were converted into new elements, enough rock and other stuff would exist to create the planets and asteroids. Today, the majority of matter in our own solar system is still contained within our sun; the mass of all the planets added to the sun wouldn't make much of a difference.

          So, every atom and molecule in your body once existed within a sun; it had to, or you wouldn't be able to exist. You know, you hear about people that spontaneously combust…maybe the atoms remember their previous incarnation, and up they go! (Just my little joke.) Our Earth and everything on it are part of a third generation cycle, with each cycle increasing the complexity of elements. One can't help but wonder what the next generation will be like.

          Friday, October 12, 2007

          Big Bang - Fi and Fact

          you're into sci fi?? But what about sci fact????
          Sometimes fact is stranger than fiction... Let us see some fact related to the famous Big Bang Theory ( of course is believed to be the fact) as understood by a person with no mathematical ability, so this is a very simplified description.....
          The Big Bang

          The Big Bang is just a theory, but as a working model to describe our universe, it's a very good theory. As it also involves the Theory of Relativity and the curvature of the Space/Time continuum, it isn't a walk in the park to understand…even if it does have a really cute and easy title.

          The Bang

          Before the Big Bang, all that existed was a singularity. This means that everything that now exists in our universe was compressed to a point that only has reality in a mathematical sense. When the Big Bang occurred, it wasn't an explosion in the sense that everything 'blew' from that single point. The explosion occurred all over the area that is now occupied by our universe - which is thought to be a 'closed' system. This is a wriggler of a concept; as everyone knows the universe is expanding, so it must be expanding from the source of the explosion…right? In reality, the universe is expanding all over, not from a central point. A popular metaphor to explain this phenomenon is blowing up a balloon; all the points on a balloon are travelling away from each other as the same rate as the balloon expands…and our universe is expanding in a similar manner.

          The Next Few Seconds

          There was an interval at the very start of time when matter, space, time and energy were interchangeable, and when gravity didn't exist. The four forces of physics; strong nuclear, weak nuclear, electromagnetic and gravity were combined as a single "super force". This time period is referred to as Planck Time, when the Laws of Physics were yet to form. It is theorised that these conditions occurred in the first 10-43 seconds of time (that's 10 to the minus 43 zeros). After this point, in the next fifteen seconds, things were still chaotic but space and time became distinct from matter and energy, and the first elementary particles started to form. Gravity asserted itself. And the colossal expansion of the universe was well and truly commenced.


          Now, in the formation of the particles, both matter and anti-matter were formed, and then annihilated as the particles cancelled each other out again. (The term anti-matter is being used here for convenience…there are no terms to really describe what was occurring.) Radiation is so dense; no light is visible…so this is all happening in the dark. Within the ionised plasma of our infant universe, our matter has a slight bias. For every billion pairs of particles created and destroyed, one pair might survive, thanks to the slight fluctuations occurring throughout the plasma. Anti-matter decays rapidly. The expanding universe is cooling rapidly, allowing the formation of neutron, protons and electrons of matter to exist. Only the lightest elements, hydrogen and helium, can exist in the inferno of creation. It's only three minutes after the Big Bang.

          The Edge in Space

          So, if the Universe is expanding, it must be expanding into something…right? So, where's the edge? Our universe is a 'closed' system; it has no edge. Theoretically, it you could live forever and travel faster than the speed of light, you could set off in one direction and eventually you would return to your starting position; Space and Time are curved. (Don't ask me the mathematics behind this…go look it up yourself.) The universe isn't sitting in nothing, like some great crystal ornament hanging in a vacuum, it's just there - or here - whatever.
          Other Oddities

          The background radiation of the universe is an artefact of the Big Bang. This is one the facts that supports the theory behind the Big Bang.

          There is a sudden interest that 'cosmic strings' may have formed as the universe cooled down, the same way that ice crystallises out of water. These strings are thought to (may) have formed when the universe went through the phrase transition from 'no time and space' to 'curved time and space'. If these strings would be proven to exist, or to have existed, there would be more evidence to support the Big Bang theory.

          There is speculation about a 'fifth' physical force in the universe, as to create a symmetry with gravity. After all, all the other physical forces have a positive and a negative to balance each other…only gravity remains as the sole 'positive' with no real negative. This is pure
          visit voyageronline for more details.......

          Wednesday, October 10, 2007

          Monday, October 08, 2007

          Voyager - Living to its name....

          Science celebrates 30 years of the Voyager space probes whose discoveries opened up new frontiers in the study of space.

          Voyager 2 used the gravity of the planets it visited to slingshot it towards the outer planets.

          IN an auditorium at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in California occupying pride of place is a full-size replica of the two Voyager spacecraft, launched 30 years ago. Why, after all this time, are the Voyager probes still remembered so fondly? Quite simply, they opened up whole new vistas of the solar system, made many new discoveries that have influenced every space mission since and, despite being the most distant human-built objects ever, are still conducting valuable science.

          Sent on two different trajectories, Voyager 1 completed its primary mission in 1981 after it encountered Saturn, while Voyager 2 continued onwards to visit Uranus and Neptune. Both are still going strong, voyaging outwards from the sun into realms unknown and unexplored on the edge of the solar system and beyond. To celebrate the anniversary of these remarkable emissaries from earth, let us take a look at their goal and objectives already achieved.

          Read the lines below Quoted from the article written by AMALENDU BANDYOPADHYAY. Where he gives a wonderful explanation between Science and Technology.
          "Sending spacecraft to another world is very expensive, and it may seem pointless when that world seems totally hostile to human life. What practical value is there in sending a space probe to Jupiter or Saturn? To resolve that question we need to consider the distinction between science, technology and engineering.

          Science is nothing more than the logical study of nature and the goal of science is a better understanding of how nature works. Technology, in contrast, is the practical application of scientific knowledge to solve a specific problem. Engineering is the most practical form of technology. An engineer is likely to use well-understood technology to find a practical solution to a problem.

          We might describe science that has no known practical value as basic science or basic research. Our exploration of worlds such as Jupiter or Saturn would be called basic science and it is easy to argue that basic science is not worth the effort and expense because it has no known practical use.

          Of course, we have no way of knowing what knowledge will be of use until we acquire that knowledge. In the middle of the 19th century, Queen Victoria is supposed to have asked physicist Michael Faraday what good his experiments with electricity and magnetism were. He answered, “Madam, what good is a baby?” Of course, Faraday’s experiments were the beginning of the electronic age. "

          An excellent article on Frontline (Into the unknown). Read the full article here.

          Frontline can be downloaded in Pdf format for free here.

          Mahatma Gandhi, the Missing Laureate

          Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) has become the strongest symbol of non-violence in the 20th century. It is widely held – in retrospect – that the Indian national leader should have been the very man to be selected for the Nobel Peace Prize. He was nominated several times, but was never awarded the prize. Why?

          These questions have been asked frequently: Was the horizon of the Norwegian Nobel Committee too narrow? Were the committee members unable to appreciate the struggle for freedom among non-European peoples?" Or were the Norwegian committee members perhaps afraid to make a prize award which might be detrimental to the relationship between their own country and Great Britain?

          When still alive, Mohandas Gandhi had many admirers, both in India and abroad. But his martyrdom in 1948 made him an even greater symbol of peace. Twenty-one years later, he was commemorated on this double-sized United Kingdom postage stamp.Photo: Copyright © Scanpix

          Gandhi was nominated in 1937, 1938, 1939, 1947 and, finally, a few days before he was murdered in January 1948. The omission has been publicly regretted by later members of the Nobel Committee; when the Dalai Lama was awarded the Peace Prize in 1989, the chairman of the committee said that this was "in part a tribute to the memory of Mahatma Gandhi". However, the committee has never commented on the speculations as to why Gandhi was not awarded the prize, and until recently the sources which might shed some light on the matter were unavailable. Below is an abstract of that article in

          Why Was Gandhi Never Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?

          Up to 1960, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded almost exclusively to Europeans and Americans. In retrospect, the horizon of the Norwegian Nobel Committee may seem too narrow. Gandhi was very different from earlier Laureates. He was no real politician or proponent of international law, not primarily a humanitarian relief worker and not an organiser of international peace congresses. He would have belonged to a new breed of Laureates.

          There is no hint in the archives that the Norwegian Nobel Committee ever took into consideration the possibility of an adverse British reaction to an award to Gandhi. Thus it seems that the hypothesis that the Committee's omission of Gandhi was due to its members' not wanting to provoke British authorities, may be rejected.

          In 1947 the conflict between India and Pakistan and Gandhi's prayer-meeting statement, which made people wonder whether he was about to abandon his consistent pacifism, seem to have been the primary reasons why he was not selected by the committee's majority. Unlike the situation today, there was no tradition for the Norwegian Nobel Committee to try to use the Peace Prize as a stimulus for peaceful settlement of regional conflicts.

          During the last months of his life, Gandhi worked hard to end the violence between Hindus and Muslims which followed the partition of India. We know little about the Norwegian Nobel Committee's discussions on Gandhi's candidature in 1948 – other than the above quoted entry of November 18 in Gunnar Jahn's diary – but it seems clear that they seriously considered a posthumous award. When the committee, for formal reasons, ended up not making such an award, they decided to reserve the prize, and then, one year later, not to spend the prize money for 1948 at all. What many thought should have been Mahatma Gandhi's place on the list of Laureates was silently but respectfully left open.

          Tryst with Destiny !!!!!

          Its the first time after so many years, i read the Tryst with Destiny speech by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.

          Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964): Speech On the Granting of Indian Independence, August 14, 1947

          Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long supressed, finds utterance. It is fitting that at this solemn moment we take the pledge of dedication to the service of Inida and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity.

          At the dawn of history India started on her unending quest, and trackless centuries are filled with her striving and the grandeur of her success and her failures. Through good and ill fortune alike she has never lost sight of that quest or forgotten the ideals which gave her strength. We end today a period of ill fortune and India discovers herself again. The achievement we celebrate today is but a step, an opening of opportunity, to the greater triumphs and achievements that await us. Are we brave enough and wise enough to grasp this opportunity and accept the challenge of the future?

          Freedom and power bring responsibility. The responsibility rests upon this Assembly, a sovereign body representing the sovereign people of India. Before the birth of freedom we have endured all the pains of labour and our hearts are heavy with the memory of this sorrow. Some of those pains continue even now. Nevertheless, the past is over and it is the future that beckons to us now.

          That future is not one of ease or resting but of incessant striving so that we may fulfil the pledges we have so often taken and the one we shall take today. The service of India means the service of the millions who suffer. It means the ending of poverty and ignorance and disease and inequality of opportunity. The ambition of the greatest man of our generation has been to wipe every tear from every eye. That may be beyond us, but as long as there are tears and suffering, so long our work will not be over.

          And so we have to labour and to work, and work hard, to give reality to our dreams. Those dreams are for India, but they are also for the world, for all the nations and peoples are too closely knit together today for any one of them to imagine that it can live apart Peace has been said to be indivisible; so is freedom, so is prosperity now, and so also is disaster in this One World that can no longer be split into isolated fragments.

          To the people of India, whose representatives we are, we make an appeal to join us with faith and confidence in this great adventure. This is no time for petty and destructive criticism, no time for ill-will or blaming others. We have to build the noble mansion of free India where all her children may dwell.


          The appointed day has come-the day appointed by destiny-and India stands forth again, after long slumber and struggle, awake, vital, free and independent. The past clings on to us still in some measure and we have to do much before we redeem the pledges we have so often taken. Yet the turning-point is past, and history begins anew for us, the history which we shall live and act and others will write about.

          It is a fateful moment for us in India, for all Asia and for the world. A new star rises, the star of freedom in the East, a new hope comes into being, a vision long cherished materializes. May the star never set and that hope never be betrayed!

          We rejoice in that freedom, even though clouds surround us, and many of our people are sorrowstricken and difficult problems encompass us. But freedom brings responsibilities and burdens and we have to face them in the spirit of a free and disciplined people.

          On this day our first thoughts go to the architect of this freedom, the Father of our Nation [Gandhi], who, embodying the old spirit of India, held aloft the torch of freedom and lighted up the darkness that surrounded us. We have often been unworthy followers of his and have strayed from his message, but not only we but succeeding generations will remember this message and bear the imprint in their hearts of this great son of India, magnificent in his faith and strength and courage and humility. We shall never allow that torch of freedom to be blown out, however high the wind or stormy the tempest.

          Our next thoughts must be of the unknown volunteers and soldiers of freedom who, without praise or reward, have served India even unto death.

          We think also of our brothers and sisters who have been cut off from us by political boundaries and who unhappily cannot share at present in the freedom

          that has come. They are of us and will remain of us whatever may happen, and we shall be sharers in their good [or] ill fortune alike.

          The future beckons to us. Whither do we go and what shall be our endeavour? To bring freedom and opportunity to the common man, to the peasants and workers of India; to fight and end poverty and ignorance and disease; to build up a prosperous, democratic and progressive nation, and to create social, economic and political institutions which will ensure justice and fullness of life to every man and woman.

          We have hard work ahead. There is no resting for any one of us till we redeem our pledge in full, till we make all the people of India what destiny intended them to be. We are citizens of a great country on the verge of bold advance, and we have to live up to that high standard. All of us, to whatever religion we may belong, are equally the children of India with equal rights, privileges and obligations. We cannot encourage communalism or narrow-mindedness, for no nation can be great whose people are narrow in thought or in action.

          To the nations and peoples of the world we send greetings and pledge ourselves to cooperate with them in furthering peace, freedom and democracy.

          And to India, our much-loved motherland, the ancient, the eternal and the ever-new, we pay our reverent homage and we bind ourselves afresh to her service.

          JAI HIND.

          Saturday, October 06, 2007

          I didn't kill Gandhi

          Who killed the Mahatma? History tells us that three bullets from a Beretta M1934 semi-automatic pistol silenced Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Nathuram Vinayak Godse had pulled the trigger and killed the person. But the thought, principles, ideas have all passed away – peacefully and unnoticed. In private conversations Gandhi bashing is a favourite pastime, in public functions Gandhi provides the preferred quotable quote. In the institutions founded or inspired by him, he exists - in the hanging portraits on the wall and the statues amidst the grass.

          The ideological death was not caused by hot lead or senile decay - it was apathy. A well-maintained Rajghat and a national holiday on every October 2 - our duty is done. 56 years later Jhanu Barua's Prof. Uttam Chaudhary pleads "Maine Gandhi ko nahin mara (I didn't kill Gandhi)." Nor did I? How could I? Gandhi to me (and so many others) was only a synonym of two words - truth and non-violence. I didn't kill any word. Words whose meanings I cannot comprehend. Words that exist in the dictionary, but not in a vocabulary. Did Gandhi imply anything else? I as a schoolboy never knew, until Richard Attenborough told me. But that was Ben Kinsley not Gandhi. I didn't kill Ben Kinsley. Nobody took me along to meet the real Father of the Nation. I never knew he existed somewhere beyond the inscriptions of Hey Ram, images on currency notes and photos on the wall in courtroom dramas. How could I kill someone about whose being I was unsure of?

          I stand acquitted of any conspiracy to kill Gandhi. Everything about him was long dead long before I was even born. Gandhi died on January 30, 1948. So did his legacy. Long live the Mahatma.
          On a personal note, the minute Gandhi was Mahatma-ed, he died. The point is, we fail to realise/appreciate that he was a man who rose to that level. We gave him Godly status, and at that precise moment, we thought, "Ok, he was not just human... something more" and there we distanced ourselves from him and his ideology. And, along with that, we killed all chances of resurrecting him.
          Listen to the Mahatma: Click here to download this audio clip [WAV 961KB]