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Showing posts from 2006

25 or no 25

The cake has been cut, the Orkut messages are raining, phone has done its own share of ringing and I am writing a blog post. In few hours from now, I would complete my 25 years of existence.Although 21 is the age at which you become adult in India for all practical purposes, 25 seem to be a landmark in its own right. So in Indian tradition, I am officially out of Brahmacharya part of my life and in US, I can now rent a car everywhere. Hardly sound like things to care for !When we were young, we all dreamt of growing up. I think 25 is closest to the dream age to which every child wants to grow up. This is the point when you are supposed to have grown up and ready to take on the world. I feel like the life till now has been spend in a kind of preparation and now is the time to go ahead and do what you want. Irony is that in the last years of all the preparation you realize, you have taken the wrong road may be ! But as the Led Zeppelin said,
Yes there are two paths you can go by
but in th…

Language Digest - 3

Sorry for the long delay but somethings in life just cannot wait and semester end seems to be rather full of them. but back we are and here we go.Madras HC sees little use for Tamil without proper infrastructure being in place. This is in responce to Govt's move to make Tamil as the court language.
In the education field, Kannada and Marathi are now compulsory in their respective states for 10th and 12th standard kids. It is not very clear is this is for state boards only or for ICSE and CBSE also. In Kashmir also, efforts are on to introduce Kashmiri in the private schools.Urdu medium schools in Delhi are not able to find Urdu speaking Science and Maths teachers and so students are having problems.
Central Institute for English and Foreign Languages has been accorded University status. I hope now the research section on their website will come out of being "under construction".After schools, it is sign boards in Karnataka.The national association of the Deaf wants officia…

Gareebi me aata gila !

Though it looks like there was no damage, it has left me feeling utterly insecure. Before entering any password I think twice what if he left a backdoor or Trojan or keylogger and would be back later to pick up all the goodies nicely stored in a file somewhere on my disk? Anybody having any ideas about detecting a Linux keylogger running, please get back to me.

The only good part is that I actually saw it happened and so was able to get in the damage control mode immediately. When we came here, we were told that computing environment here is extremely hostile and that any vulnerability will be exploited within a day of being exposed. My VNC server could survive may be 10 hours. A look at the /var/log/messages shows consistent attacks on ssh every 4-5 hours. Living in the famous parts of IP namespace has its own disadvantages.

And this happened when I was still trying to recuperate from the yesterday's misadventure with new Airtel call home service. I tried to register at their websi…

Lucknow University crackdown

There are several interesting news stories from back home today, some of them good, some of them bad and depressing.

The good news comes from my home town Lucknow. Lucknow University (LU) has long been a den of criminals of all kind of hues. There are student leaders there who are always in the jail. Due to the strong backing of the political parties, administration is hardly able to do anything. LU has gone down steadily in the quality of education. Now the current VC of LU has decided to take the bull by the horns. He has closed the university sine die and has suspended around 135 students with criminal records. This despite the hoopla in the assembly against him. No wonder a majority of the suspended students belong to SP, the ruling party and that head of SP, Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav was the most vocal critic of the VC, Dr. R P Singh. Anyone who knows the situation in LU would have to admire the courage required to do such a thing. You can read about it here, here and here .

Special…

Welcome back?

Well, I must admit that I am given to the vice of over-dramatization but I take care to always have a premise !

So the question is, are you at a new blog or are you at the old blog? Should I welcome you or should I welcome you back? Is it "nayi botle me puraani sharab" ya "puraani botel me nayi sharab"? Nevermind as Kurt said, we have labels now and we will be putting them over everywhere so that nobody gets lost in this basket case ever again. But till that is done, you are advised to tread cautiously and heed to what I said in the first paragraph. I am given to over-dramatizations !

The track will be back in a short while !

Before change !

This post is the last one on this blog. Blogspot has been a pretty good host but now it goes to where it belongs, hall of fame.
Here comes Blogger 2, just in time for the new year party with all the new goodies ! Let's party !!

Faces of Democracy II - Your name is Justine

"Where is love? Where are dreams? Where is the bloody justice?"

These are tough questions, questions which lurk just around the corner but we avoid asking them. Because facing them means questioning the most basic assumptions of our lives and then everything threatens to just fall apart. Not something we can afford to. Right?

But what do you do when life forces you to ask these questions and refuses to answer? This is the point in the life of Mariola when we leave her at the end of the movie. The life has turned a full circle for her, she is back in her familiar surroundings, among friends and well wishers but what has changed is her. She is no longer the little princess who just wanted to be happy. The movie is the story of how that happens, how the psych of a simple polish girl is damaged beyond repair, how the heart is hurt beyond healing. A story that is not unique to Mariola but to thousands of girls all over the world who are pushed into flesh trade by those very hands w…

Language Digest - 2

Let us start by 3 statements all coming from different conflict zones, typical of the role languages play in such scenarios. Manipur, Nepal and Kashmir.

Taking forward the theme of conflict, here are some other effects of language antagonism: Asaam. In his new book, Subramanian Swamy asks Hindu's to vow to learn Sanskrit. Look towards the end of the review.

And contrary to what I said, here is this blog post from Bangalore in which police refuses to help since the complainer was not able to speak Kannada.

To bring back some cheer, efforts to promote languages: Bhutan and Konkani

UT Austin launches Hindi-Urdu program and Cambridge recently closed its Sanskrit Dept. But academicians speak up for Sanskrit.

Sindhi Language is doing fine and so is Dakhani in India.

In Hindi Literature, translations are in vogue these days.

On technology side, Tegic released predictive text for Hindi.

To end, here is Pratap Bhanu Mehta on lessons from 1956 linguistic reorganization of states.

Faces of Democracy - I

Having an isolated office at the fringe of the campus has its pros and cons. So while I just need to walk about 50 meters from my office to catch the escort back home, being a corner graduate student place, not a lot of notices make it to the notice board of the building.

This isolation had almost insured my missing the CMU's very own film festival, that is being called "Faces of Democracy" this year. It has a wonderful collection of documentaries form across the world relating to the theme of democracy and the best thing about it is that is the outcome of a semester long course taught here ! Imagine that ! Getting academic credit for designing and organizing a Film Festival ! Bliss !

So having already missed the opening yesterday, I made it to Avi Mograbi's Avenge But One of my Two Eyes, a look at the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The festival broacher told me that Avi is known as Israel's Michael Moore and is an ardent critic of Israel's policies. No …

Language Digest - 1

Let us start with a news that is a little old and was well covered in media for its absolute shock value. This is Chandra Bhan Prasad celebrating Lord Macaulay's B'day in Delhi. Here is a follow up post from Kafila. If we are able to get over the sheer recklessness of the whole thing, there are a lot of questions that demand a better answer than those being provided by Prasad and Co. .

Recently, there have been two interesting stories from the legal system of the country. The first is the announcement by Karunanidhi to make Tamil the official language of Madras High Court. It is also covered here, here and here. This is a continuation of his other steps to promote Tamil in all spheres of life. Here is a op-ed in ToI.

The second is a decision by the Calcutta High Court that a dying declaration can be used as an evidence if it is recorded in victim's mother tongue. Also covered here .

Jharkhand announces introduction of tribal languages in schools.

From Pakistan, murder of Urdu.

Language Digest - The idea

Human Languages play a role so basic in our lives that most of the time we fail to even notice it. The only other thing of comparable importance might be economy, not the stock market and big corporations, but our personal financial state and activities. Together these two cover a vast spectrum of issues.

On one hand stands linguistics, a scientific study of human languages, trying to under stand the current state of languages, how does human mind handle them, how do they develop and evolve and affect each other. Then we have the whole field of literature having authors, prose, poetry, translations, publishing. And then there are political issues, as Max WeinReich put it,
"A language is a dialect with an army and navy."
Languages play an important role in defining today's nation states. They both unite and divide people like few other things. The catch the fancy of people like little else, just lookout for number of people lamenting death of Hindi and other vernacular langu…

To a lovely morning !

Today was a lovely bright sunny morning ! The kind of morning that takes away a bit of the pain and makes you want to buy a bunch of flowers for no reasons at all (as if we should need any reason to get ourselves some flowers !). Yesterday night, I fell asleep reading the following:
"She descended the garbagey stairs, went out into the morning, a spanking-fresh June one, all spangly on the fire escapes. She paused for a moment on the stoop, taking it in. On a morning like this, you could believe the world was safe and promising. You could imagine that nothing harmful, nothing toxic, could flourish. Not when early light slanted down so purely from an ice-blue sky. Not when the window-box geraniums of the first-floor widow were incandescently red and a passing truck said PARTY PLANNERS in glittering gold letters."

-- Michael Cunningham, Specimen Days

The Culture Shock II - Cycling

When coming back to academic life, I was pretty excited at the thought of going back to having a bicycle as my mode of transport. The romantic appeal I find in riding a bicycle is matched by no mechanized vehicle. All of them feel too fast, just the means of reaching someplace. A bicycle is adequately slow and uncomplicated, leaving you a lot of time and attention to give to your surroundings. Walking is the nest best thing but bicycle provides the right amount of speed of commuting without compromising on other aspects too much.

Now given the distance and unusual times of commuting, it was quite infeasible for me to use a bicycle in Bangalore but I was hopeful that in the less hectic academic life I would be able to afford the luxury. Alas ! it was not to be or at least not yet. The reason being the nicely managed traffic of Pittsburgh.

Now if you read any sarcasm in my last sentence, please don't. After Bangalore, traffic in Pittsburgh is like heaven. However it is the sheer micro…

India, mathematics and beauty !

"...if India didn't exist, no one would have the imagination to invent it."An article by Mukul Kesavan in Telegraph about why India matters more and more in today's prejudiced world.

Again from Telegraph, For a True Flowering of The Mind by Partha Ghosh. I quote,
"Fourth, we must insist that they learn language and literature well. Without that, they will remain insensitive, incapable of understanding other people and other cultures, and nothing creative will ever emerge from them. Language creates the world we live in. The more sophisticated the language we use, the greater the freedom and power of our thoughts and the better the grasp of reality around us. This is why science had to invent the formal and abstract language of mathematics. Also, without the ability to read, hear, analyse and understand the constant bombardment of our ears and eyes by the media and politicians, and without the ability for clear and logical understanding and self-expression, there i…

Judicial activism: Good or bad?

Sometime ago I posted my rather withheld reaction to the conviction of Santosh Singh in Mattoo case. A recent comment on that post led to this post.

We live in the times of Judicial Activism in India and I can either say that it could not have come at a better time or I can observe that perhaps this was in the natural order of things. Passing through the Nehruvian era, Emergency, unsuccessful Junta Party govts when the public trust in the legislature and executive has deteriorated increasingly, judiciary remains the last hope of the Indian middle class. Is it something to be celebrated or even relied upon is the question I want to explore.

Every activist is motivated by a ideology and it although it is easy to believe that the driving ideology behind the Judicial Activism is one of justice for one and all, we would be naive to do so. No doubt it remains the primary guiding force but the question is not about the intention to seek justice for all but about how one perceives the justic…

Generalizations Galore !

Today I heard someone giving a talk sayThat’s a mistake that creolists make all the time…to generalize what they have found to all creoles or some kind of language universal.It’s ok. Impromptu speakers always make the same mistakes that they are faulting everyone else for making, especially when it comes to overattribution. What? I’m tired.From here.
Should I add that linguists are all good at catching such mistakes ;-) !

Aise hi kabhi !

One of those days, one of those times when that sudden feeling of melancholy takes over ! So sad yet so hauntingly enjoyable ! What is it that the heart longs for? What fires this craving? What old dreams haunt the open eyes? How can one say and yet, how can one keep quiet but for lack of words ! goonga keri sharkara, baitha hi muskaaye ! And the reason can be as simple as a song that you have heard hundreds of times before. That ever so thin line between hearing and listening and it is so suddenly crossed ! Every word becomes pregnant with meaning and every movement of voice becomes a door to a whole new world. Blessed are those who gave voice to the human pain and longing !

Song: Tera mera pyaar amar, Phir kyon mujhko lagta hai darr.
Singer : Lata
Movie: Asli Naqli
Music : Shanker-Jaikishan

Enjoy it here.

The culture shock I - Banking

One of the standard question popping up during conversation with friends these days is about the culture shock. When somebody first asked me the question, I found it a bit strange and my response to it a little stranger. Probably culture shock is a word too strong because I really can't find things which I could describe as "getting over the cultural shock". No doubt this place is very different from India but most of that was known and expected what with so much of US reaching our drawing rooms and bedrooms these days. Having a sister and numerous friends over years living in US also make a difference I guess.

But even in these days of global village, there are surprises. Some of them are presented here for your perusal. Interesting point to note is that some of them can in fact be described as "reverse cultural shock" in the sense that I expected them to be something based on the image of this place I had formed in my mind and they turned out to be the other w…

The Joke !

Brian: 'Look, you've got it all wrong! You don't NEED to follow ME, you don't NEED to follow ANYBODY! You've got to think for yourselves! You're ALL individuals!'
The Crowd (speaking in unison): 'Yes! We're all individuals!'
Brian: 'You're all different!'
The Crowd (in unison): 'Yes, we ARE all different!'
Man in crowd: 'I'm not...'

-- From Monty Python's Life of Brian
Are you or are you not?

I have a right to know ! - Links

Following up on my previous post about RTI, here are some links:

Parivartan : This is the NGO started by Arvind Kejriwal which is heading the RTI movement in India. The site has all kind of info.

The Indian RTI blog.

Taz writes about Arvind Kejriwal's visit at Sepia Mutiny.

And while I am at it, let me recount a vivid example of how the international institutions like WB impose their will on the administration. So all your doubts about the evilness of WB may not be far fetched after all. The story goes that Delhi Govt has a project about the privatization of water distribution in Delhi. The project was funded by WB. The project was being run secretly for 5-6 years ! And when Parivartan tried to get information under RTI, they initial response of the Govt was a complete denial of the existence of the project. However after a extended confrontation, they were able to get all the files related to the project and the details that came out were shocking. The project was finally scrapped af…

Weekend Diwali !

Happy Diwali to the readers of this blog ! I called this post Weekend Diwali because of an interesting rounding off phenomenon that is present in the Indian social circle here or may be I guess it is present everywhere where your festivals and celebrations are not officially recognized. What happens is that every festival is rounded off to the nearest available weekend. So when it is celebrated here, it is either still 3-4 days away back home or it already got over 2-3 days ago.

But this year, the Diwali fell on a weekend and so it was nice to give in to the festive mood right when the fun was on. Infact I had quite a lot of fun over the weekend, more than I expected. The weekend started with a surprise half an hour fireworks show at UPitt (No, they were not celebrating Diwali but had their homecoming weekend). Since even back home I never buy firecrackers and just like to watch them, it was a nice treat. Next day we had a pooja and dinner in the SV Temple which is the main stay of mos…

I have a right to know !

Just returned from a talk by Arvind Kejriwal who is a well known social activist and works towards creating awareness for RTI act and using it to fight corruption. He gave a brief background about the RTI as to how it came about and then went on to recount several stories where they successfully used RTI to fight corruption.

Indeed the fact that an act like RTI can be passed gives me a strong reason to not loose faith. Although govt was already planning on amending the act which would have amounted to almost killing the act, a huge public uproar made it stop. Another interesting thing about RTI act is that this act was written by people themselves, those who were fighting for it and not by some bureaucrat and now government has conceded that whatever amendments will be done to it will be done by taking all the stakeholders in the loop.

Although RTI can be a big tool in the hands of those who are at the receiving end of corruption, I see its role to be much bigger than that. It is a too…

It is only the second round !

Today morning started with the much awaited news of the conviction in Priyadarshani Matoo case. I feel happy but not relieved. This was only the high court. There is still supreme court to appeal to. And while the re-trial in High Court got on the fast track because of the public out cry, I do not know what will happen in SC. May be another 5-6 years followed by a public outcry will be the cycle there also with the only difference being that SC may consider the public outcry as a interference in court's working and pass a gag order barring discussion of the matter in the public.

No, I don't think that our justice system has gone to dogs completely but I do think that our SC takes itself a little too seriously. But anyway, today's conviction should bring some cheer to the Matoo family.

I was particularly interested in this case because of another reason. To give some background, CBI filed an appeal in high court way back in 2000. And although it is not a big deal for a case t…

साथी

मृत्यु के झंझावतों के पार का व्यवहार साथी,
हाथ मैं जोडूं तो समझो कर रहा व्यापार साथी ।

मंदिरों मे घंटियां और महफ़िलों मे तालियां,
है अलग मुद्रा मगर दोनो जगह बाज़ार साथी ।

शाम सिंदूरी, हवा ठंडी, गिरे पत्ते, धुआं सा,
आज फ़िर तेरी कमी लगने के हैं आसार साथी ।

है नजर का पेंच ये, मिलती नही धरती गगन से
हमने कितनी बार झांका है क्षितिज के पार साथी।

मन की आशायें, नयन के स्वप्न, जीवन लक्ष्य तुमको
हैं समर्पित, तुच्छ सी ये भेंट हो स्वीकार साथी।

चंद किस्से, चंद नगमे भर के दामन मे अभागे,
चल पडे हैं बांध कर दिल से तुम्हारा प्यार साथी।

Gandhigiri and Genocide !

Having watched "Lage raho MunnaBhai" and "A Force more Powerful" recently, when I came across the Rawanda Genocide on wikipedia today, it was kind of a rude jolt to all the nice and cosy dreams of Gandhigiri.

Now everybody knows about "Lage raho MunnaBhai", a movie that has managed to bring Gandhian philosophy and methods back into everyday talk of everybody. Suddenly Gandhigiri is cool . Chain mails have already started describing the instances when somebody managed to fix a annoying person using the tool of Gandhigiri. Good for them !

Not everybody knows about "A force more Powerful", a documentry about various non violent struggles that happened across the globe during 20th century including सविनय अवज्ञा आन्दोलन led my Gandhi ji himself and many others. I watched only two stories, one about the civil disobedience movement in India and another one from Nashville, US that proved a major stepping stone in the civil rights movement. The stories, t…

We the choicemakers !

The comments on last post deserve more than a reply. The deserve a post :).

Yes, the question is dreaded because we ask it to ourselves. Akshaya thinks that we have to take a stand, we have to pick a side and I wonder how? How do we pick a side? Can we pick it by tossing a coin as I did? What's wrong in that? Is it possible to reason out your way to one of the choices? Isn't there always that last but, that last if and that last maybe? Is there a final decisive purpose that would tilt the scales without doubt?

But may be we have to depend on our gut feeling after a level. I think gut feeling is a over hyped concept, nothing but your biases which you are too ashamed to accept that you have. And what if your gut feeling was wrong? Doesn't matter right? So why does it matter if I toss a coin? If I refuse to entertain any biases I may have? Please note what works for me, may not work for you because it ultimately reduces down to what you value most, what puts your heart at ease.…

Why am I here?

Quite unknowingly on her part, one of my friends happened to ask me the dreaded question few days ago - "Why have I come to USA?". There are some easy answers to the question, answers that I can pretend to be enough and behind which I can conveniently hide. "Easy ! Of course I have come to get my PhD. It would help me in realizing my potential... blah blah blah". But a man can deceive the world but not himself and I ask myself why? Why am I sitting thousands of mile away from home among these strangers? Do I care so much about getting a Phd that I should agree to forego so much so essential in my life? Do I care so much about the money that I should trade my most youthful years for it? What is it that brings me here?

Honestly speaking, I don't have an idea ! Just like I had no idea when I entered IIT ! Just like I had no idea when I stayed back in IIT for one more year ! Answers I always had for everyone but inside me, somewhere I knew, it all came down to a coi…

While I am thinking !

One reason for almost no activity on this blog is a dilemma I am facing. There are lots of things that I would like to write about but somehow they do not seem to fit in this blog. Sometimes they are quite technical, sometimes quite out of context for many.

Anyway while I resolve the dilemma, here are some tidbits.

1. Saga of the intelligent kids and languages

In the beginning, whenever I used to come across kids here, somehow they always felt quite mature and, for lack of better word, "intelligent" to me and I wondered why. The hypothesis that they are actually in some ways different from our kids back home was too dumb to entertain. Then why? The way they would talk, the kind of things they would say all seemed too good for their ages. Then one day, it occurred to me. A major reason for that feeling was that they were speaking in English ! I was really amazed at the kind of prejudices we have and how they come into play even when we are not really aware of them ! In India, …

परदेस

वो जगते हैं, हम सोते हैं, वो सोते हैं , हम जगते हैं,
अब सारे रात और दिन अपने, बस आंखों मे ही कटते हैं ।

क्यों हर लब है ख़ामोश यहां, हर आंख मे क्यों वीरानी सी,
है आग कहां जज्बातों की, क्यों दिल ना यहां तड़पते हैं ?

बचने को सवालों से जग के, आंखें सूखी ही रखते हैं,
दो बूंद बहा लेते हैं बस, जब झूम के बादल फटते हैं ।

अपना आवारा दिल भी अबकी बार बड़ा संजीदा है,
आये हो इतनी दूर कहो, घर वापस तो जा सकते हैं ?

क्यों राह लगे पहचानी सी, क्यों हर आहट पर कान लगे?
अब कहां अभागा यार यहां, हम किसकी राहें तकते हैं ?

The long last day !

One thing that I have always felt about the social circle I move in, is that it consists of almost everybody with similar backgrounds and similar career paths, more or less. Most of my friends have taken a engineering degree and most are working in a software company. The scarier thing is that a large percentage of them have MBA as the next goal in life. Even at home, between my and my brother-in-law's family , all 5 of us are in software industry.

Perhaps that is the price one pays for studying in a engineering institute in the time of a booming software industry. While the elements of humanity subjects in the IIT curriculum try to mitigate the problem to some extent on an individual basis, it helps little in correcting the social situation.

But the times are changing :). Not for the world but for me. As the time goes by, people around me have started to find life partners. And this is where things get interesting.

On my last day in India, I get to meet baba and his fience, longtime…

I gotta..

.. be cool,
relax,
get hip,
Get on my track's !

Distance moved is in thousands of miles and tens of hours but the heart has remained more or less in place, as have remained rest of my body parts. Watched the largest gathering of Indians for celebrating Independence Day in my last 7 years. The old cliche' of valuing what you have lost may be? But it was nice. Somehow made me felt better from the ironical situation of enrolling in the foreign university right on the independence day.

But there is never a clean cut. Life is like cheese, no matter how sharp the knife is, something remains connected. Similar is the case for this blog. And so with the next post will come the memories of the last day spent in India, I couldn't have asked for a better one I guess !

Do tell me when you notice I have started to change. I might be too busy to notice !

Bangalore Gone !

2 years ! I am sure if I would take the countless moments and countless memories and put them side by side, they will cover my life severel times over ! I found things I never set out to look for and I lived a life as varied in its texture as the indian peninsula itself. And somewhere, I left a part of me in the garden city ! The connection is too strong to be broken, the link too crucial, the attachment too palpable.

Dear Bangalore, stay alive ! stay safe !! I'll be back !

Blasts and clean chits !

My boss commented yesterday that now even India has a 7/11. Somehow the little indication of smile on his face made me feel very bad. First thing is that I didn't like his tone which was something like "See, now even you have this problem of terrorism. So you better align with US." I wanted to say "No ! thank you" but I only said "we already had many of them" and I wanted to add "the fact that you were not awake before 9/11 doesn't mean world was also sleeping" though I didn't. And I felt both good and sad about the whole thing.Good thing is that my country is not like US which goes on a frenzy of "war on terrorism" using terms like "crushing the enemy" and not be sincere about even that. The bad thing is that we are much too tolerant and our politicians spineless. No, we don't have to go and attack other countries but what stops us from beefing up internal security. Somehow in the war of selfish interests, we…

बुझी बुझी रही सहर

बुझी बुझी रही सहर, उदास शाम रही,
हुई ना नाम तेरे, ज़िन्दगी बेनाम रही।यही गुमान था मुझे कि पीछे आते हो,
रवानगी हमारी बिन दुआ सलाम रही।ये कैसा मुल्क यहां दुश्मनी हो सडकों पर,
और कहे प्यार का इज़हार सर-ए-आम नही।ना असरदार दुआ और ना काम आयी सदा,
जब हुआ वक्त तो हर शै यहां नाकाम रही।नही हासिल अगर पैमाना लब-ए-साकी तो,
तरसते होठ की किस्मत छलकता जाम सही।उलझते रहना उनकी याद से तनहाई मे,
अभागा इसके सिवा अपना कोई काम नही।

The question of merit

The single biggest argument both in favor and against the current policy of reservations in educational institutes is of merit. Thousands of students marched on the streets declaring this to be the death of merit, many prominent personalities expressed concerns about the dilution in merit in the top Indian schools. Many on the other hand pointed out and rather correctly that merit is not genetic and it does not belong to one particular group. Also in context of a country like India, merit cannot be based solely on academic performance, it has to include other things. The mere fact that we are not finding enough meritorious students from large sections of society, is an indication that our system has anomalies. I couldn't agree more with this point of view.Unfortunately, supporters of the reservation, after making this excellent observation, make the mistake of hasty decision. In simple terms, current reservation policy says that for the top n students, only the academic performanc…

Of democratic means and debates !

People are angry. Few thousand students in some major cities, most of them from forward castes, have hijacked the reservation issue and have denied space for a "all sided debate on this complex issue".I appreciate these people. They atleast contend that the issue is complex and that it needs a debate unlike our government which is "bound by the constitution" and gaged by the pro-reservationists.But I am not sure what debate these people are mourning about. Probably the one that happens in the TV Studios in late night shows or the one that is fought by experts through editorials in papers or may be on the blogs and its comments. But the debate is anyway on in all these places. I think they are talking about the debate that happens in parliament but a debate would need two sides. Right? How many politicians can you see on this side of the fence? And the debate that should have happened in the ministries of HRD and Education and Social Justice by involving the sociolo…

The wooden horse of reservation !

One thing common to almost all the front line pro-quota arguments is an image of one affluent, well educated, greedy boy and another of the most underprivileged, oppressed guy you can imagine and as you can very well guess, the first one carries the label upper cast and the other one OBC/SC/ST. Please note the second label, it is not SC/St or OBC. It is SC/ST/OBC.This is an ad that has sold its product like no other. It sells you reservation. In oppressed, it manages to create anger, in well to do upper cast, it manges to create a sense of guilt and they all buy the idea of reservation that would help the underprivileged kid get his due share from the bad guy. And the the get busy, get along with life, bothering little to ask what happened to the poor kid. I don't need to tell you what happened, you already know if you care to think beyond your false sense of having done something.It is the same story that is repeated any number of times everyday on every red light crossing of Ind…

A Black Day, A new beginning

Despite thinking about it many items, I never ended up writing a post about reservations. But today I must write for even though whatever happened was bound to happen, the callousness of the government never fails to hurt.Yes let me say today that I am against reservations, in letter and in spirit. The reasons are many and I have collected a list of my questions and observations during last 15-20 days but I won't raise any of them today. Only thing that matters at the moment is that in a country and society like ours, reservation are almost irreversible and that is enough for me to be against them. There has to be affirmative action, there are people out there who require special help from the establishment but reservation doesn't make the cut.And I am against reservations because they force me to be casteist even when I don't want to. At one level they assume that only Dalits will care about dalits. That is why they need equal representation in everything. It says that on…

The Hindu - End of a love affair !

I am a sad man today.Coming to Bangalore, one of the best things that I got introduced to was, The Hindu, newspaper. Apart from having a lot of quality content, what I liked most about it was its social and cultural commitment. It is a paper which feels so connected to things around it. After TOI, it felt good not to find front page covered with all the sensational news which 8 out of 10 times would be related to sex or women or something like that but with things more important. And good and informative articles on the editorial pages always forced me to think. I didn't always agreed with them but I found myself thinking about them and questioning my assumptions and believes. It was a healthy process.Yesterday night I came to know about what all happened in Bombay with the medical students. The belligerent Arjun Singh was all over the news channels . But even after watching all that, I wanted to read it all in the next day's newspaper. There is a kind of satisfaction associat…

अम्बर का छोटा सा टुकडा

(There is a window right behind where I sit in my office through which I can see a small patch of sky.)मेरे पीछे की खिडकी मे रहने वाला,
अम्बर का छोटा सा टुकडा,
मुझसे बात किया करता है ।सूरज की किरणों से तप कर,
श्याम वर्ण जब हो जाता तो,
अपने कुम्हलाये चेहरे पर,
फ़ूट फ़ूट रोया करता है ।अम्बर का छोटा सा टुकडा,
मुझसे बात किया करता है ।कभी कभी अपने संग अपनी,
चिर प्रेयसी वायु को ला कर,
फ़िर वितान मे छिप लज्जा से,
टुकुर टुकुर देखा करता है।अम्बर का छोटा सा टुकडा,
मुझसे बात किया करता है ।कभी जो धुन्धलाती शामों मे,
मन एकाकी सा हो जाता,
खोल पिटारे,ला कर तारे,
साथ मेरे खेला करता है।अम्बर का छोटा सा टुकडा,
मुझसे बात किया करता है ।पूछा नही कभी पर अक्सर,
ये सोचा करता मन ही मन,
कभी सुना होगा इसने भी,
मेघदूत का प्रणय निवेदन?
समझ सकेगा क्या ये अल्हड,
मूक वेदना मेरे मन की?
और कभी क्या झांकेगा ये,
दूर देश,उस घर की खिडकी ?
और कहेगा आतुर जन से,दूर देश मे बसा अभागा,
तुमको याद किया करता है।
पास नही तुम हो तो मुझसे,
दिल का हाल कहा करता है।मेरे पीछे की खिडकी मे रहने वाला,
अम्बर का छोटा सा टुकडा,
मुझसे बात किया करता है ।