Monday, November 27, 2006

But Also

From this article in wikipedia -

Salam died at 70 in Oxford in 1996, after a long illness. He was buried (without any official protocol) in Rabwah, Pakistan.

Professor Salam was a devout muslim who belonged to the Ahmadiyya Community and therefore Abdus Salam is not sufficiently recognized by the Pakistani government for being country's first and only Nobel Laureate. In 1998, the government issued a stamp with his picture but only as part of the series of stamps "Scientists of Pakistan" and not specially dedicated to him

and more from a column by Ardeshir Cowasjee in Dawn (which prompted me to write this post) -

This community was finally (the exercise began in 1953) shorn of its majority rights and declared a non-Muslim minority after it had existed as part of the majority since the birth of the country in 1947.
Sadly, and most undeservedly, in the early 1990s he suffered a rare nervous disease which affected his speech and his bodily movements, leaving his mind perfectly clear. He died in1996, his body was brought back to Pakistan, and he was buried in Rabhwa, later renamed Chenab Nagar by that great ‘liberal’ Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif. Renowned internationally as the only ‘Muslim Nobel Laureate,’ this fact is denied in Pakistan, where his gravestone has been amended to comically read ‘The First blankety-blank Nobel Laureate,’ the word Muslim having been brutally erased.

Tragic, to say the least.

It may not be entirely evident, but I find this case of banishing the Ahmadiyya community from Islam to be strangely similar to the demand by hard-liner Hindu organizations to consider Jains, Sikhs and even Buddhists to be a part of Hindu religion against their wishes. [See this link for an example. Little more googling would yield many such links.]

I read somewhere, that the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) are characterized by 'BUT' whereas Hinduism by 'ALSO' -- meaning they differ in the way people not belonging to that particular religion are viewed (exclusion as opposed to assimilation or it might refer to the fact Hinduism admits that there are other ways ALSO to reach the almighty; whereas Abrahmic religions insist that there is none BUT theirs). Is it not evident in the seemingly opposite ways taken by the extremists of each religion to achieve the same purpose - viz. to force their opinions/ideas of what the religious minority should consider itself to be?

Friday, October 13, 2006

Orhan Pamuk

That said, the drama we see unfolding is not, I think, a grotesque and inscrutable drama peculiar to Turkey; rather, it is an expression of a new global phenomenon that we are only just coming to acknowledge and that we must now begin, however slowly, to address. In recent years, we have witnessed the astounding economic rise of India and China, and in both these countries we have also seen the rapid expansion of the middle class, though I do not think we shall truly understand the people who have been part of this transformation until we have seen their private lives reflected in novels. Whatever you call these new élites—the non-Western bourgeoisie or the enriched bureaucracy—they, like the Westernizing élites in my own country, feel compelled to follow two separate and seemingly incompatible lines of action in order to legitimatize their newly acquired wealth and power. First, they must justify the rapid rise in their fortunes by assuming the idiom and the attitudes of the West; having created a demand for such knowledge, they then take it upon themselves to tutor their countrymen. When the people berate them for ignoring tradition, they respond by brandishing a virulent and intolerant nationalism. The disputes that a Flaubert-like outside observer might call bizarreries may simply be the clashes between these political and economic programs and the cultural aspirations they engender. On the one hand, there is the rush to join the global economy; on the other, the angry nationalism that sees true democracy and freedom of thought as Western inventions.

- Orhan Pamuk, Winner of 2006 Nobel Prize in literature. Taken from the article in The New Yorker, which you can read in full here

Also, from the same source - The Pamuk Apartments

Update: Have attempted to translate this entire article in Marathi. You can read it here.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Youth is wasted on the young?

It is an illusion that youth is happy, an illusion of those who have lost it. - Maugham


Complete text here, taken from 'Of Human bondage'

"He did not know how wide a country, arid and precipitous, must be crossed before the traveller through life comes to an acceptance of reality. It is an illusion that youth is happy, an illusion of those who have lost it; but the young know they are wretched, for they are full of the truthless ideals which have been instilled into them, and each time they come in contact with the real they are bruised and wounded. It looks as if they were victims of a conspiracy; for the books they read, ideal by the necessity of selection, and the conversation of their elders, who lookback upon the past through a rosy haze of forgetfulness, prepare them for an unreal life. They must discover for themselves that all they have read and all they have been told are lies, lies, lies; and each discovery is another nail driven into the body on the cross of life. The strange thing is that each one who has gone through that bitter
disillusionment adds to it in his turn, unconsciously, by the power within him which is stronger than himself."

Sunday, August 06, 2006

not beating around the Bush

President Bush making fun of himself. The google video is here.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Bombay Dreams

Bombay dreams - Cover story by Time magazine. Good article, except the goof-up where it says the former name of the Bombay was Mumbai. :)

Update :
The multi-media show by Time

Saturday, June 10, 2006

'bear'ly a cat

I am sure satodias from the Dalal street would love this cat.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

About quarter life crisis

Just wrote my first post on vichaar-manthan about Quarter life crisis. You can read it here.

Monday, April 03, 2006

In the end

* I am following 3rd ODI between England and India on Cricinfo. The two ends of the stadium are named as - Church end and Swimming pool end. How very Goan!

* Interesting stuff by Mid-day about how to be a page 3 regular.

* Sunil More, a cop from Mumbai, who raped a 17-year old girl in police station is finally found guilty and has been sentenced to 12 years' rigorous imprisonment (plus fined Rs 26,500 to be paid as compensation to the victim for the agony suffered by her. Am I reading it correctly? Few years ago, the government gave away Rs. 1 lakh each to family members of those who died due to drinking poisonous arak).

But to borrow words from NDTV's report - But the image of India's most liberal city, its most famous promenade and its police force, had been deeply scarred.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Three parties, identities and the biggest problem India is facing.

This was the week-end of parties and events. Started with St. Patrick's Day party at my friend Danielle's house where she and her frieds baked yummy cup-cakes after the assorted appetizers and other Irish food. Then on Saturday to all guys desi party to celebrate a friend's birthday in La Jolla brew house. And on Sunday, Rang-Panchami (holi) celebrations at Lake Poway organized by San Diego Maharashtra Mandal. Three different events, three different identities - each subset of the previous one. Interesting.:-)

On a totally different note, everything about Tendulkar gets magnified - good, bad or ugly. After the Endulkar debate, now it seems the biggest quandary we are facing is why the Wankhede crowd booed the little master. Amongst all this brouhaha in newspapers, sites and blogs; this article in Hindu stands out in its clear analysis.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Sports (in)activities and some ethical questions

Ricky Ponting has removed all doubts, if any, as to who is currently the best batsman with his inning of 164 in just 105 balls, which propelled Australia to the highest ODI total of 434 for 4. What makes it extra special is the timing of the inning. With Australia managing to come from behind to make it 2-2 after losing the first two games (and 20-20 match before that), Ponting has virtually sealed the fate of the series with his sensational inning. (and though Gibbs has just scored a wonderful century, South Africa still has a mountain to climb.) Three years ago, he did the same in the World cup final scoring 140 not out against India which helped Australia to 356 - the highest total in World cup final history. This man has an amazing sense for the occasion - who can forget his twin centuries in his 100th Test match, which gave Aussies 2-0 victory over South Africa.

Needless to say, he is in the purplest of the patches in his career and threatens to break the record for most no. of runs and centuries in Test matches in few years; if his amazing run over the last few years is considered. This article is just another statistical indication to it.

The loss of Ashes to England is perhaps the lowest point in his recent career. It may sound like a cliché; however it was the game which came out as the winner in the end. See some of these links - The comprehensive video clip with some quintessentially British comments, the Super slow motion musical video and the short video of the Ashes.

Continuing with Ashes series - just came across these lines from a song in The Lord of the Rings mentioned on Ajit's blog and thought they would very well apply to the resurgent English team.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.

Some may claim that India-Pakistan series is now greater than the Ashes, but comparing the high-scoring and high-snoring draws with the exciting cricket played in Ashes is just absurd.

Anyway, almost everyone was happy seeing the rude and swaggering Australians losing for a change, which makes me wonder - why do we mix two separate virtues of winning ability and being modest? I am no exception to this tendency, but somehow it always strikes me as bit odd. To stretch this point bit further, I think it is not unfair that someone who is unscrupulous or immoral to be rich. This is something contradictory to our typical middle-class upbringing/ethos, but being ethical and being rich are two different things. It is pointless to wail that I have remained poor/middle-class despite being ethical all my life. Apart from the argument that goodness is its own reward, just being kind and lawful need not mean you will be successful. It is, of course possible to be successful and yet remain down to earth and moral, but the converse need not be true and those who are successful but not modest deserve the success no less.

Back to sports after bit of digression. The last month or so has been watching-the-sports-on-TV-for-hours month for me. With the (American) football season play-offs, India - Pakistan series, Australian Open and then the Winter Olympics, meant many sleepless nights and showing up next day on job red eyed. I distinctly remember one week-end when I watched a football game followed by a tennis match followed by live cricket. Total time spent? Only 12 hours - just the time someone in his mid-twenties is advised to spend in sports-related activities per month. (Reference: A pamphlet given at the gym that I joined few months back with high hopes, but things just don’t seem to 'work out'.):-(

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Republic Day wishes

Happy Republic Day!

Couple of videos for the day - Jana Gana Mana and Vande Mataram.

I read somewhere that Netaji Subhashchandra Bose had this very day in his mind as our Independence day. Azad Hind Sena celebrated 26 January 1943 thus in Germany.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Indibloggies contest and Internet in Indian languages

My blog on Marathi Literature was selected as the best Marathi blog in a contest organized by Indibloggies. I would like to thank all the readers and bloggers for visiting my blog and their comments.

When I started this blog, there were very few Marathi blogs and I was bit skeptical about the response my blog would muster. Another challenge was trying to avoid the monotony; which was bit difficult as the blog revolved around one subject. However, the response so far has taken me by surprise. It does not necessarily reflect on the quality of the blog, but I am glad that there are over 3600 pageloads now since I started keeping the track of visitors from Sept 2005. The major reason, I guess, is the exponential rise in the number of people writing in Marathi - from the handful of them few months back; the figure now stands around 200.

It augurs well for the digital revolution in regional languages. So far, English has been the lingua franca for Indian netizens; but slowly and surely there is rising a class which prefers to communicate in their respective mothertongues. It is bit cumbersome to type in Indian languages, as the fonts and/or keypads are not uniform; but despite that many are attempting to express themselves through the language they are most comfortable with. It is too early to say that the regional languages have made their presence felt online; but the progress is certainly in the right direction. When I was in Seoul few years back while coming to San Diego, I noticed that most of the computers in the airport terminal had Korean keyboards and people used them very comfortably. While it is difficult to envisage a Tamil or a Bengali keyboard in near future; it should not be very tough to have entire OS/softwares in them. Microsoft has come up with BhashaIndia project, but I think a lot more could be done in this regard.

I need not explain how knowledge will play the most important role in the future economic development. English, though it is rightfully considered as the window to knowledge, won't open very easily for a huge section of our populace that is first-generation school-goers. What better way to combine the most effective tool of information to deliver knowledge to them in their own language?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Goongy Gudiya and Ibsen

After the demise of Pt. Nehru, when Indira Gandhi took over the Congress Party; she was nick-named Goongy Gudiya (a dumb doll) by the party veterans; who thought that she would be just a puppet in their hands. It is a different story that the ensuing events proved their predictions miserably incorrect; but the analogy of Gudiya meaning a doll in Hindi was quite apt.

Few years ago, I happened to read a translated version of Ibsen's ground-breaking play called 'A doll's house' (written some 125 years ago). The protagonist, Nora, leaves her husband who treats her like a doll rather than a person with emotions and begins her quest for her true self.

If you are following the recent news of sad demise of Gudiya; you will get the connection. Much has been written about state of women in India, the panchayat (village counsel) system of justice and lately the media hype surrounding the whole incident; so it will be mere repetition if I write more about that here. However, couple of points are worth pondering. First of all, you can clearly see the print media denouncing the electronic media for cheap journalism. Though the allegations are substantially correct; to me the apparent divide between the two and the effort to try claiming the high ground appears as a form of survival attempt. The other thing is all media provides fodder to any minor controversy/small event, makes every attempt to make an Everest out of mole-hill and in the end blames the outcome such as in this case on the hype without the slightest hint of acknowledging the apparent hypocrisy.