August 30, 2006
If for some reason you are wondering why I (who usually has something to say about everything) stayed away from the Vande Mataram controversy, here is an explanation of sorts before I start on the Onam issue.
Vande Mataram is our national song. Let’s just leave it at that. Nobody is forcing anyone to sing it. I don’t think most of us would even know past the first two lines. I don’t for sure. But I do like the song, I bought AR Rehman’s album and I liked its video by Bharat Bala.
Why is it offending? I seriously can’t figure that out. Neither am I sure if I want to either as this whole issue seems B grade political. I don’t think there is a reason for anyone to justify why she/he wants to sing it or not sing it. It’s a personal choice.
Now. I have a far more serious issue. It’s about Onam. The management and principal of AWH Engineering College, Kozhikode (Calicut) have decided not to allow Onam celebrations in its campus because it’s “religious”. I like to point out that AWM is a Muslim minority institution. The students are protesting and the college have been closed indefinitely.
I would like to inform the AWH college management that our King Mahabali is not going to be very happy about this. Maybe this year when he comes visiting, her might throw you across the Mullaperiyar dam.
Four years ago on Onam day, I had the rare honour of being a guest of HRH Princess Aswathi Tirunal Gouri Lakshmi Bayi of Travancore. We spoke for over an hour and as I was leaving she put her hand on my head and said, “May Lord Padmanabha guide you on your quests, do our land proud.” I was touched.
Onam for me is a celebration of my culture. It has nothing to with my religion but has everything to do with the land that gave birth to my forefathers and me.
August 30, 2006
A couple of weeks back I attended a talk by Mr Sanjay Bhargava an angel from venture woods (formally working with payPal) in IIM A, he spoke about the need of startups and helped us realize whether it was a startup we were looking for or not. The talk basically circumambulated around what it takes for a startup to initiate in India and a couple of things were made very clear: One that angels or VCs always feel more confident working with people who are putting some money from their own side as well and Two that startups in India need less seed as compared to that in the States, so if your looking for a seed, it better be reasonable. What I find intriguing is that, the extremely talented human resource of this country should find itself in a much better condition to take risks now than it had been, say five-six years back, right now almost any engineering graduate from any discipline will get a decent job in Bangalore. Given this fact it is comparitively easier to take a risk and plunge into the business world with ones own idea, but theres something that holds one back, probably the risk factor, the insecurity, the investment or the sheer social pressure to get a job and settle quickly.
Most of the successful startups are attributed to college dropouts, so the age the grand idea clicks you is then, and starting a software business then is even more secure as all you need is a desk/lap top. So eventually it all boils down to the age old hardwork conquers theory. Most of tech college goers are too damn satisfied with software jobs with high attrition rates. People interested in startups are not just interested in wealth, they are genuinly interested in contributing to the society or at times have too much of an authority problem to have a boss. Techcrunch writes about a new startup almost 3 times a week and let me assure is very selective and the number of innnovative companies I can think of in India are very few, Webyantra-the techrunch of India, Indianpad, Wallet365 (a recent e commerce tool), Dhruva Interactive (a premier gaming company), Web chutney (started by a 19 yr old college drop out), Signion.. of course Im missing a few (will be glad to read about more) but the fact remains that we are one of the top notch of software/design skill and so secure in terms of jobs and still so few initiatives.
I also met Mr Beerud Sheth, CTO of Webaroo and earlier founder of e-Lance at the same talk in IIM A. He says that he knows a lot of people trying to create Indian versions of youtube and myspace but theyr not considering the prospects of such things in India, when they should be looking to solve problems like bandwidth. Webaroo is a brilliant offline search tool that is freely available for download. The company is working to develop mobile search that Mr Sheth considers is going to be a mass tool. Now thats a cool idea! . Hes also pro the idea of joining a startup, it could be as promising as a startup as it gives one ample opportunity to explore. He even compared joining a startup to snipers and commandoes sent out in enemy territory to explore and joining the big brands to policemen doing routine work!
According to business today, Dhruva interactive is also a company worth mentioning, it is trying to find the profit at the bottom of the pyramid by producing games for the ten minute players new to gaming, playing in the lunch time. Web chutney has been very successful in viral marketing especially with their Ramayana makemytrip ads. Both Mr Sheth and Mr Bhargava stress upon the need to give it a try before coming to any decision, especially when one is in college, buzzwords are thinking, innovating and trying. More information about angels/vcs at venturewoods.
August 29, 2006
I got news for everyone out there. It’s the National Sports Day today!! Yeah, we’ve been hearing about the Arjuna Awards over the past couple of days. But, when the day comes no newspaper reports about it.
It is actually the birth anniversary of arguably the greatest sportsperson India has ever produced.. Major Dhyan Chand.
They broke his stick in Holland (1928) to check for a magnet; the Japanese (1932) decided it was glue; Adolf Hitler (1936) offered to make him a corporal.
I am too distraught to write more on this. Go here, here and here to read more about him.
August 29, 2006
Posted by chacko under Links
, Sports  Comments
There is not much I can add to this report in the Hindustan times today,
At the tender age of six (that’s right SIX), Kevin, the youngest kickboxing champion and blackbelt in India, is a natural fighter. And his long legs and lightening moves showcase the talent that could dominate the game for years to come.
Kevin Lalrinmawia, born in 2000 in a middle-income family in Mizoram’s capital, grew up with an obsession for stunts. His father Joseph understands, his mother Lalrinawmi is less than thrilled and his teachers feel this should not hamper his studies.
That should not be a worry as Kevin is one among the bright students in class II at Gospel Centenary School. He became a national sensation after winning three gold medals to become the youngest kickboxing champ of India in the just concluded 18th National Championship held in Orissa.
He was awarded the youngest ‘Dan black belt’ of the country by the Indian Association of Kickboxing Organisations (IAKO) in July 2005. Kevin now dreams to become the youngest kickboxing world champion one day.
“I’ve really been looking forward to stepping into the world kickboxing ring. I’ve trained hard and I want to win,” said a shy Kevin, preparing for the world championship to be held in Hungary this November.
He has also set his sights on another international level kickboxing event to be held in Croatia a month later. “I would show my talent in full contact, bare hand and weapons (musical forms) categories at the world level,” he added.
I hope DD sports telecasts this. The last time I checked they were showing reruns of the 2002 winter Olympics.
August 29, 2006
Bangalore will be the first Indian city to have wireless access almost anywhere in the city within the next year allowing it to join the growing number of wi-fi cities around the world
What I found really great about this news was that the government will NOT be spending a single paisa on it. If the people want it, they have to spend between Rs 250 to Rs 900 to get it.
I personally know quite a few American returned Indians who would love to get wi-fi and would not mind spending money onto it.
This seems like a win-win situation – Better technology without taking away the needed money from other more deserving causes.
August 28, 2006
Is Balochistan going to be the next Bangladesh? There are similarities.
In 1970, a massive cyclone devastated the coast of East Pakistan, and the central government responded poorly. The Bengali population’s anger was compounded when Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, whose Awami League won a majority in Parliament in the 1970 elections, was blocked from taking office. After staging compromise talks with Mujib, President Yahya Khan arrested him on the night of March 25, 1971, and launched Operation Searchlight, a sustained military assault on East Pakistan. Yahya’s methods were extremely bloody, and the violence of the war resulted in many civilian deaths. Chief targets included intellectuals and Hindus.
Now look at Balochistan in the past year,
In January 2006, Indymedia released on its website a 14 minute long amateur video purportedly recorded on March 17 2005 in the town of Dera Bugti, that shows a number of dead bodies including children and signs of mortar shelling. In the video it is alleged that 60 people were killed in the fighting between Baloch nationalists and Pakistani security forces that took place that day.
Prominent tribal leader Nawab Akbar Bugti was killed in a Pakistani Army missile attack in the restive Balochistan province that also left 38 armed rebels and 21 security personnel dead, triggering massive rioting during which a protester was shot dead.
I don’t get it, Mush bhaijaan. You have created an Azad Kashmir, why can’t you do the same with Balochistan? Why are you using the air force and artillery against your own people? What right do you have to talk about Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of India, if this is what you are doing to your own “freedom fighters”. Maybe you should have a Balochistan solidarity day and offer them “moral” and “diplomatic” support.
August 27, 2006
The Financial Express website features an article where the Kerala State is thinking of moving to support open source completely. Unlike the ban on colas (The debate is still going on whether this is a good thing or bad thing) this could actually be good news apart from promoting the use of open source software
it could help in making the public in general aware about the availability of non-proprietary software which is freely available.
Piracy is a big issue in India plus there is a lack of proper information available on the use of proprietary software. The biggest plus point is that it will be promoted in schools. It is easier to teach children to use computers even if it is a bit complicated, since they are able to grasp and learn thing faster. Plus it could have a cascading effect on the public in general. Below are some of the comments by certain DIGG users.
I’m glad to see advancement of such open source technology. The internet is a good community, and introducing more people into only further advances the community. Unfortunately with windows, there really isn’t much a community because it is closed source.
Why should the government pay some set amount for every single computer simply to have an operating system, when an OS (and almost all necessary software) can be had for free. Most people are simply learning to use the word processor, cruising the Internet for information. For programming, Linux has almost too many options for learning languages, old and new. If you want to learn MS Windows later, then buy a copy. It’s hardly difficult to learn. I highly doubt any school is teaching very much about Windows system management (to the general student pop), as any system administrator worth his salt wouldn’t allow them to be used with the admin accounts.
One of the main hindrances for Linux has been the immense popularity of windows which is used by around 90 % of the people worldwide. Linux brings with a stereotype or phobia that it is meant only for geeks. The UbuntuLinux is a good example of user friendliness in Linux. Apart from being freely available for downloading you can even ask them freely post it by Snail mail from https://shipit.ubuntu.com/ to your house with Zero Rupees being spent. All you have to is register and put your Postal Address. The Cds usually take about a month or so to arrive. I myself have used this service to get the Ubuntu Cds. You can order multiple copies so that you can share it with other people.
Slashdot has more too.
August 26, 2006
Posted by INDIAN under General
, History 1 Comment
सुबह सुबह सेठ लक्खीमल मिल गये, जिनसे पिछले महीने मैंने DCCCLXXXVIII रुपये उधार लिये थे. अपना रास्ता बदलता कि उससे पहले ही सेठजी की आवाज़ आयी, “क्यों उधारचंद, कब वापस कर रहे हो”? मैंने कहा “बस पहली तारीख को पगार मिलते ही सब चुकता कर दूंगा. सेठजी बोले वो छोड़ो, XIV रुपया टक्का के हिसाब से जो सूद बनता है, सो दे दो अभी. मैंने पूछा “कितना हुआ”? सेठजी ने हिसाब तो शुरु कर दिया, पर पूरा नहीं कर पाये! भला हो उनका जो रोमन पद्धिति से हिसाब करते हैं!
अरब के व्यापारी इस मामले में बहुत होशियार निकले. उन्होंने 0 से 9 तक के सभी अंक भारतीयों से सीख लिये. जोड़-घटाना-गुणा-भाग भी सीख लिया. और तो और सारे विश्व में हमारी संख्या पद्धिति का प्रचार भी कर दिया. सो सारी दुनियां के लिये 0-9 कहलाये ‘अरेबिक नम्बर्स’ और अरब लोगों के लिये कहलाये ‘हिंदसा’, हिंदुस्तान से जो सीखे थे उन्होंने.
अब चमत्कार देखिये, जोड़-घटाना-गुणा-भाग में तो सहूलियत है ही (सो तो सेठ लक्खीमल जी ने आपको समझा ही दिया है!) पर और भी लाभ हैं. अब सीधा सा सवाल है – 1,2,3,4,….. कुल कितनी संख्यायें है? असीम, अगणित, अनंत! और रोमन पद्धिति में ज्यों-ज्यों संख्या बड़ी हुई, एक और नये चिन्ह (I, V, X, L, C, D, M इत्यादि) की आवश्यकता हुई. अत: रोमन पद्धिति अक्षम है सभी संख्याओं के निरूपण में! तो ऐसी पद्धिति तो स्वयं में अपूर्ण है, तो उससे और क्या अपेक्षा रखनी! दूसरी ओर भारतीय पद्धिति में 0 से लेकर 9, ये 10 चिन्ह ही पर्याप्त हैं किसी भी बड़ी से बड़ी संख्या को निरूपित करने के लिये!
जब भारतीय पद्धिति तेरहवीं शताब्दी में यूरोप पहुची तो रोमन कैथोलिक चर्च ने जमकर इसका विरोध किया और भारतीय पद्धिति को ‘शैतान का काम’ कहा! परन्तु सही बात कब तक दबायी जा सकती थी, सो अब परिणाम सबके सामने है.
और तो और, भारतीयों ने यह भी सिद्ध किया कि किसी भी संख्या का निरूपण मात्र दो चिन्हों (0 और 1) के माध्यम से ही संभव है. जी हाँ, यहाँ वर्तमान बाइनरी सिस्टम (द्विअंकीय प्रणाली) की ही बात की जा रही है, जो आज समूचे कम्प्यूटर विज्ञान का आधार है. पिंगला ने पांचवीं शताब्दी ई.पू. में ही यह द्विअंकीय प्रणाली खोज निकाली था, और वह भी साहित्य के माध्यम से! उनके छंद सूत्रों में, जो मूलत: संस्कृत श्लोकों के विन्यास और उनकी लंबाई को मापने के लिये प्रयोग किये गये थे, पूरी द्विअंकीय प्रणाली छिपी हुई है! सोचिये जो काम यूरोपीय लोग तेरहवीं शताब्दी तक अनगिनत चिन्हों के साथ करते थे (सो भी अधूरा!), वह पिंगला ने मात्र दो चिन्हों में कर दिखाया था ईसा से 500 साल पहले! यहां यह भी इंगित करना उचित होगा कि उस समय शून्य की संकल्पना करना कितनी बड़ी उपलब्धि रही होगी. आज का कम्प्यूटर विज्ञान उसी भारतीय प्रणाली, उसी गहरी सोच पर आधारित है.
कभी-कभी मेरे दिल में ख़याल आता है… कि भारत इस सबका पेटेण्ट ले ही लेना चाहिये, इससे पहले कि यह भी पराया हो चले!
P.S : Visit Hindi version of our ideas at Vandematram.in and to know more about the same topic.
August 25, 2006
The ruling prohibiting channels to broadcast any ad/movie/music video with ‘A’ certification is unjustified.
First of all, there have to be a change in the way movies/videos etc are screened by the Censor Board of India. Ok they dont want the young generation to go haywire, Good!!!. This is like saying Everything that Glitters is Gold, and giving it the Gold Mark Seal. A broader approach for censorship is required.
Then what about the other media? What about Internet? What about the newspapers… hmmm… newspapers??? Yes!!!. Take any edition of The Times of India, it has got more bikini babes, more midriff photos than most channels show in an entire day. They dedicate an entire supplement for that. Then what about other print media like magazines???
August 25, 2006
The 12 Indians arrested in Amsterdam for alleged “suspicious behaviour” on a Mumbai-bound US airliner, have being released after Dutch authorities cleared them of the suspicion of act of terrorism.
Minister of state for external affairs Anand Sharma said the Central government was told by the Dutch justice authorities that all the 12 Indians were being released as the charges against them would not be pressed.
The Ministry of External Affairs has summoned the Dutch Ambassador following the Northwest Airline incident in which 12 Indians were detained for alleged ‘suspicious behaviour’ on the flight. The MEA is said to be annoyed over denial of consular services to the Indian passengers. The MEA has asked the Indian envoy to send a report on the detentions.
It would be helpful if the European and American governments realise that an Indian citizen has NEVER taken part in any terrorist activity anywhere in the world. And we have no intention of ruining that record.
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