Friday, March 07, 2008

Should India become a Hindu rashtra?

Interesting question. My answer is we donot have to become a Hindu Rastra. We ARE a Hindu Rashtra.

France overthrew Monarchy to "Become" Democratic nation. In Russia the Bolsheviks overthrew Czars to "Become" communist country. In India what have we to overthrow to become Hindu Rashtra? 

The confusion arises because we equate Hinduism with Western  religions like Christianity. But in reality Hinduism is not a religion it is a way of life adopted by the people who used to live in this landmass.Indian Supreme court in a land mark Judgement in the matter of Bramchari Sidheswar Shai & Ors. etc. .... Appellants Versus State of West Bengal etc  says

When we think of the Hindu religion, we find it difficult, if not impossible, to define Hindu religion or even adequately describe it. Unlike other religions in the world, the Hindu religion does not claim any one prophet; it does not worship any one God; it does not subscribe to any one dogma; it does not believe in any one philosophic concept; it does not follow any one set of religious rites or performances; in fact, it does not appear to satisfy the narrow traditional features of any religion of creed. It may broadly be described as a way of life and nothing more.

So if Hinduism is a way of life being practiced by more than  80% of the inhabitants what else we need to do to make this a Hindu Nation? For all practical purpose we are a Hindu nation, Getting written into constitution is just a "legality"  Rest is the question of the minorities. The question of Minorities was famously answered by Guru M.S. Golwalkar, the second Sarsanghchalak of RSS in his book "Bunch of Thoughts". He writes

So, all that is expected of our Muslim and Christian co-citizens is the shedding of the notions of their being 'religious minorities' as also their foreign mental complexion and merging themselves in the common national stream of this soil. As far as the national tradition of this land is concerned, it never considers that with a change in the method of worship, an individual creases to be the son of the soil and should be treated as an alien. Here, in this land, there can be no objection to God being called by any name whatever. Ingrained in this soil is love and respect for all faiths and religious beliefs. He cannot be a son of this soil at all who is intolerant of other faiths.

Guruji's theory on tolerance of Hindu Society was proven during the time of Last Government when We had a Hindu Prime Minister, Muslim President, Christian Defence Minister, Sikh Army Chief and a catholic Opposition Leader. After elections, the power was handed over to "Sikh Prime Minister". Did we hear a whimper of protest?

Rahul to ‘discover India’ - by helicopter

Almost 52 Years after his grandfather wrote "Discovery of India", India's crown price has embarked on a yatra which his backroom managers has christened "Discover India’ yatra. Who can blame him for this effort, afterall the poor guy has spend most of his time slogging for livelihood in foreign countries.  The communal fascist Opposition should appreciate that  he is atleast making an effort to overcome his naiveness  about the country.

According to media reports, Rahul Baba wants to reach out to the "last man in the society" to familiarize himself with the “emerging issues” of the country and “the problems faced by crores of  people” thru this yatra. He would be  taking a chopper to the location perhaps to understand the problems being faced by common people while traveling on a chopper.

I am not sure whether his Spanish girl friend Veronique is accompanying him or not.  It would have been good idea to give her the photo opportunity and the opportunity to learn about "aam Admi" afterall she is the next potential Prime Minister Candidate.

Rahul will commence his tour from Orrisa where he would be addressing  a "Jungle Bachao" rally. Mr. Gandhi would take time and mingle with tribal people and youth, the Congress leaders are confident that his visit would make a big impact on the political scenario in the State. The congress leaders in Orissa should curb their enthusiasm as  his "special attention" in Uttar Pradesh or Gujarat failed to make any  difference in these states. In Uttar Pradesh, Congress came last in the Seat tally. We all know the situation in Gujarat. With election results in UttarPradesh and Gujarat, he ended up " the last man standing"

Father getting paid to look after his Kids!

Should a father be paid for looking after his kid especially if the kid is as troubled as Britney Spears? Atleast it seems so, if we believe the the news reports.

According to documents from Wednesday's impromptu court hearing, Jamie Spears will now be paid a weekly compensation of $2,500 from his daughter's estate for acting as her conservator. He has also been authorized to lease a car on the estate's dime.

Not a Bad Deal I would say!

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Making of a "Lal Masjid's Jamia Hafsa girls madrassa in India

Everyone is aware of the Jamia Hafsa Madrassa in Pakistan. The girls from this madrassa were in forefront during the Lal Masjid Saga. The controversial Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) was focus of bloody confrontation between Pakistani security forces and radical students from in the centre of the capital, Islamabad. In another incident, some 40 Jamia Hafsa girls entered a home in the neighbourhood and dragged out the three women inside, accusing them of running a brothel. Tied up in white sheets, the women were dragged through the neighborhood and into the Jamia Hafsa, where they were imprisoned for two days. They also took two policemen hostage, in retaliation for the arrests of two teachers suspected of involvement in the kidnap.

We Indian watched the entire saga amazed and perhaps might have even thought that this will never happen in India. But we are wrong a Jamia hafsa is in making right in our backyard.

Early this week, Saidabad police station in Hyderabad arrested a Mohtasin Billa said to be a close associate of Nasir, the alleged Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) militant, arrested last month in Karnataka. Billa was arrested in connection with a case registered against him in Saifabad police station for participating in the attack on a Gujarat police team in 2004. The Commissioner said Billa was also wanted in connection with another case in Gopalpuram police station where he was found to be in possession of seditious literature and compact discs.

Within 45 minutes of Billa’s arrest, about 50-odd burqa clad women — mostly students of the madrasa and activists of Darsgah Jihad-o-Shahadat(Institute for Holy War and Martyrdom) — stormed past the police guard, injured the outnumbered women constables and ransacked the police station where Billa was being held. The Saidabad police station had to seek additional reinforcements to control the women who smashed windowpanes and furniture, and attacked police personnel. Maulana Abdul Aleem Islahi father of Mohtasin Billa runs the Girls Madrassa. 

Deputy Commissioner of Police (East) T Prabhakar Rao says

Their anger and the manner in which they were talking indicate the kind of indoctrination they have received at the madrasa.

Is YS Rajasekhar Reddy who has set new standards in Appeasement Listening?

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

This century Asian century: UK

Addressing about 350 British ambassadors at the 'Foreign and Commonwealth Office Leadership Conference' UK Foreign secretary David Miliband has said

"In economic and military terms, the US will have at least another generation as the global superpower. Nevertheless, this century may come to be known as the Asian century,"

He asked British diplomats to reorient their world-view considering that power is moving from west to east, with the integration of China and India into the world economy.

I am sure UK has reasons to worry

Almost 100 years back,  Jamsetji Tata, founder of the Tata group, was barred entry into Mumbai's swish Watson hotel, then the preserve of the white nabobs. Humiliated, Jamsetji vowed to create a hotel that would rival the Watson. The result was the Taj Mahal hotel at the Gateway, arguably one of India's best-known five-star hotels.

The Tata Group setup by Jamsetji Tata  went on to acquire British Steel(Now Corus)  Europe's second largest steel producer for long a symbol of British industrial nationalism.

Recently, British linguist, David Dalby, has predicted that India will soon become "the center of gravity of the English language," with the largest number of English speakers.

Now what do it mean to have "Largest Number of English Speakers". Professor David Crystal, one of the world's foremost experts and author of the Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language explains

"In language, numbers count. There are more people speaking English in India than in the rest of the native English-speaking world. Even now, if you ring a call centre, often it's an Indian voice you hear at the end of the phone. As the Indian economy grows, so might the influence of Indian English,"

This will lead to Fragmentation of English Language, forcing speakers routinely to learn two varieties of the language — one spoken in their home country and a new kind of Standard English with pronounced Indian characteristics. The new Standard English's likely Indian characteristics would signify the end of the primacy of American English. Future users of global Standard English might routinely say

"I am thinking it's going to rain" rather than the British "I think it's going to rain"

With all the changes happening with English Speaking crowd, The old TV Sitcom Series "Mind Your Language"  would become redundant. I guess there should be new "Mind Your Language" Series in this Brits should take the seat left vacant by Ranjeet Singh or Jamila Ranjha. 

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Sex: Marathon or 100m race

According to the research, led by Eric Corty, from the Behrend College in Erie, Pennsylvania has shattered many long held beliefs and perhaps given some "breathing space" for us guys.

According to the research, "action" lasting between three and seven minutes was ‘adequate’, but anything less was ‘too short’ and beyond 13 minutes was ‘too long’.  A word of caution, the action donot include "prep work".

This extraordinary research published in the international Journal of Sexual Medicine was supposedly designed to help calm couples’ unrealistic beliefs who believed in night long Marathon and  anything less was considered a "affront" to "horsepower"

I was just wondering is America trying to push their "Fast Food" culture here also or is it really  "its Quality NOT the quantity that Matter"

But hold on Guys, it donot end here especially for the Lazy married folks who don't pull their weight when it comes to housework and child care. A recent book "The Lazy Husband: How to Get Men to Do More Parenting and Housework," suggests that equitable sharing of housework can lead to a happier marriage and more frequent sex. Literally speaking "No Gain without Pain"

I now personally think that the research by Eric Corty is a Grand Conspiracy to get the men to Slog  more at Home. It almost sounds like a efficiency consultant saying "We helped you save 1 Hr there, you spend that 1 Hr here" and the Guys sheepishly replying "I rather spend my 1 Hr. there"

This "line of blackmailing" has already yielding result in US. In the U.S., time-use diary studies show that since the '60s, men's contribution to housework doubled from about 15 percent to more than 30 percent of the total. Over the same period, the average working mother reduced her weekly housework load by two hours.

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Vajpayee 'Bhishma Pitamah' of politics: Manmohan Singh

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Wednesday his government was seeking the "broadest possible consensus" on a contentious nuclear deal with the United States. I didnot realize that this would include flattery also.

Mr.  Singh invoked Mahabharatha in the Rajya Sabha to entice BJP to support the deal. He said

Bhishma Pitamah of Indian politics Atal Bihari Vajpayee should listen to his conscience and let national interest prevail upon narrow politics

In such situation Lord Rama would have been a better Person to invoke as he was a better example for carrying out his Raja Dharma. He even denounced his wife on the altars of Raja Dharma. Unfortunately, Mr. Singh might be limited by the choices of Epics he can invoke. Its only long since his Government trashed the Ramayana and Lord Rama as figment of Imagination

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iIPOD the universal Device

These Days just about everyone and their dog seems to have an iPod.  So much so that Levi Strauss company, has announced  that they will be selling specialized jeans designed to hold an iPod. Now if you are bored with using your iPOD as a Portable Music Player. Here are some of other innovative uses of iPOD.

1. lose weight with your iPod

Nike and Apple are making the iPod compatible with gym equipment. The Companies on Tuesday said they are working with several gym equipment makers and the health clubs 24-Hour Fitness and Virgin Athletic Health Clubs to allow members to plug their iPod Nano into cardio equipment.

The Nanos would track workouts, set goals and upload the information to a Nike website. The new technology is expected to hit more than 500 gyms worldwide this summer.

2. iPod as Flashlight

During the major blackout in 2003, many New Yorkers improvised after nightfall and used the light generated by their iPods to get around their apartments. It was a makeshift way of doing things. But now there is a more formal way of using your iPod to light your way. For about $13, you can purchase Griffin’s iBeam, an attachment that will quickly turn your iPod into a combo flashlight and laser pointer. As they say, be prepared.

3. iPod in to a Universal Infrared Remote Control

You can turn iPod in to a universal infrared remote control which can be used to control all your home electronic equipment, or just about anything that uses a remote control.

How? Basically, you have to  "record" the "sounds" an infrared remote makes on a PC and then put them on an iPod as songs. Adding a special sound-to-IR converter then turns those sounds back to IR and allows you to use your iPod as a remote control. As an added bonus, it works up to 100 feet. It's a slick all-in-one unit and we're never going back to 6 remotes ever again.

4. Stethoscope Trainer

It seems the lab coats at Temple University have discovered that med students learning to use a stethoscope recognize the sounds of different heart conditions better if they train their ears with recordings of the conditions on iPods.

According to an article in MacNewsWorld, students trained by listening to the sounds of ailing hearts over and over again, up to 400 heartbeats per ailment. After normal stethoscope training student usually recognize the the different sound about 40% of the time, but after a session with the iPod student successfully IDed the sounds up to 90% of the time!

5. Test Cheating

It has been widely reported  that students are apparently using the iPod to cheat on exams. During tests, they’ll apparently sneak earbuds into their ears and tap into valuable formulas, class notes, voices recordings, etc. Others will even write out crib notes and enmesh them within song lyrics.

6. Self Hypnosis Trainer

One of the apps promoted being promoted  MacZot is "Pzizz". Pzizz generates a sound file which can be put into an iPOD. Tghe sound file will generate  soothing sounds and voice designed to help you take really good naps or help you sleep. You open the app, choose your nap type and how many you wish to generate.

Word of caution donot try it on when you are in Office

7. Last but not least Paperweight/Paperclip

Yes, your two hundred + dollar iPod can serve as an excellent paperweight. It is just heavy enough to keep those all-important pages from flitting away in a breeze.

The new iPod shuffle, with its metal clip can also serve as an emergency paperclip.

Hey, when you really need a weight or a clip you use what is available; it just so happens that the iPod is better at being a paperweight/paperclip than its competition. Go Apple!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Its time BBC Gets its अ, आ, इ, ई, right

BBC Website spells Hindi wrong!


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Monday, March 03, 2008

India rise as Soft "Super" Power

It was Joseph S. Nye, Jr., former dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, who coined the phrase "Soft Power" a decade and a half back. Soft power , according to Nye, is the ability to attract and persuade rather than coerce. It stems from the attractiveness of a nation's culture, ideals and policies.

The soft power of a country rests primarily on three resources: its culture (in places where it is attractive to others), its political values (when it lives up to them at home and abroad), and its foreign policies (when they are seen as legitimate and having moral authority.)

Until recently, soft power was largely a US monopoly..It is generally believed that the Cold War was won as much by Voice of America, Motown and Hollywood as it was by Ronald Reagan's  'Star Wars' program.

Even before the arrival of Gorbachev back in the 1980s, Regis Debray, the French philosopher, champion of guerrilla warfare and pal of Che Guevara had presciently concluded that there was "more power in blue jeans and rock and roll than the entire Red Army." Michael Eisner of Disney was not off base when he said in 1995 that "...the Berlin Wall was destroyed not by force of Western arms, but by force of Western ideas. And what was the delivery system for those ideas? It has to be admitted that to an important degree it was American entertainment. Inherent in the best and worst of our movies and TV shows, books and records is a sense of individual freedom and the kind of life liberty can bring. It's in the movies of Steven Spielberg; it's in the songs of Madonna; it's in the humor of Bill Cosby."

In the immediate aftermath of the fall of communism, American soft power was at its height. MTV had gone where the CIA could never penetrate. The warblings of Michael Jackson and Madonna were the Muzak of the new world disorder, their visages glaring out from every corner of the globe like statues of Lenin in the old Soviet Union. The arrival of CNN and the English-dominated Internet secured the global conquest: America now dominated the metaworld of images, icons and information.

However, Affairs in Middle East changed all this. Now the position of US as "Sole Soft Super Power" has been undermined. This has resulted in Opinion Leaders like Nelson Mandela saying , "America is a threat to world peace."

For decades, any mention of India or China conjured up images of under-clothed, underfed and over-populated nations preaching a combination of socialist dogma and political revolution. To a Western world in the throes of post-war consumerism, they seemed hopelessly disconnected.

During the same time,  India and China are acquiring soft power and turning the tables. Now, as India and China are acquiring their own soft power, they are turning the tables. Recently, US National Security Council, the country's apex intelligence body, was warning its citizens that the growth and power aspirations of the two Asian countries posed serious threats, people in Washington D.C. were queuing up to attend a film festival titled 'From Beijing to Bollywood'.

In a opinion poll conducted for the BBC by the international polling firm GlobeScan ( together with the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland ranking the most popular or admired countries, India came  second behind China for a 'significantly improved global stature.' Citizens of only 17 out of 26 countries gave India the rating of 'positive influence on the world.

The survey also suggested that five least admired countries in our world are ranked in order: (1) Israel (2) Iran (3) America (4) North Korea. In fact, its a revelation that USA was considered more Negative influence than North Korea(A prominent member of Bush's Axis of Evil)

It is a statement of  India's rise as Soft "Super" Power when Indian movies like Monsoon Wedding were box-office successes in the US or when Tamil film "Muthu" attracts  more than 127,000 viewers in a 23-week run, netting the theater about $1.7 million—its biggest gate of the year. So far, nearly 500,000 Japanese have paid to see "Muthu" either on the big screen or on video.

In fact, popularity of Bollywood actors can be gauged from the fact that Time Magazine  called Shah Rukh Khan "probably the most recognizable actor in the world". In Damascus only publicly-displayed portraits that were as big as those of then-President Hafez al-Assad were those of Amitabh Bachchan. Ask any Malay(from Malaysia) teenager these days, and names like Hrithik Roshan, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Aishwariya Rai, Juhi Chawla roll down from their tongues without much difficulty.

India's achievements in the field of education are also being acclaimed internationally. According to former UN under Secretary General Shashi Tharoor "These days, the US puts the IITs on par with, say the MIT," If not anything it did manage to get  David B eckham tattoo  his wife's name  in Hindi on his forearm six years ago.

The Indian food is so popular in England that  Indian curry houses employ more people than the iron and steel, coal and shipbuilding industries combined!

India's use of soft power as a foreign policy tool was visible in Afghanistan after the Taliban fell. The then foreign minister, Jaswant Singh, was one of the first dignitaries to fly into Kabul. But unlike other visitors, Singh, who was eager for India to replace Pakistan as the neighbour of influence, packed his plane not with supplies of food or medicines, but with tapes of Hindi movies and music that were quickly distributed.

The Indian TV soap opera "Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi", dubbed into Dari, is telecast on Tolo TV. It's the most popular television show in Afghan history, considered directly responsible for a spike in the sale of generator sets and even for absences from religious functions which clash with its broadcast times.

One Reuters dispatch recounts how robbers in Mazar-i-Sharif stripped a vehicle of its wheels and mirrors recently during the telecast time and wrote on the car, in an allusion to the show's heroine, Tulsi Zindabad. That's soft power, and India does not have to thank the government or charge the taxpayer for its exercise. Instead, Indians too can simply say, Tulsi Zindabad

India has always believed it is a cultural superpower. Finally, the government is putting its money where its mouth is. The amounts are pitifully small, but it’s the thin end of the wedge.  In his Budget speech, P Chidambaram gave out an extra Rs 75 crore to MEA’s culture wing, Indian Council for Cultural Relations, "to develop India’s soft power".  The Rs 75 crore outlay is in addition to ICCR’s operating budget of Rs 77 crore. Together, this adds up to a pitiful Rs 152 crore, which doesn’t even begin to compare with say, the UK.  The British Council gets a £190 million subsidy from the British foreign office, and its operating budget is £460 million (close to Rs 3,600 crore.)

India rise as Soft "Super" power will prevent a new generation of Indians from becoming "clones" of a dominant US culture. But we still have a long distance to travel, Still  If we  ask someone a question in Hindi on the train, for example, they reply in English just to show they know it.  But We are quietly reasserting our identity.

Tail Piece: Effect of US Softpower on Russian President Boris Yeltsin

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In Search of a Second Miracle

India will soon get its first female saint. And no, its not Mother Teresa.  Sister Alphonsa from Kottayam, Kerala has pipped Mother Teresa, who is "more well-known and a Nobel laureate".

The Missionaries of Charity indicated that they were ""trying their best to fast-track the procedure of conferring sainthood on Mother Teresa".

The Vatican has to find another miracle before they can declared Mother Teresa as a saint. Her first Miracle was "healing of an Indian woman with a cancerous tumour."

Sister Alphonsa was beatified after a handicapped boy of Kottayam was cured of his deformity as he prayed at Alphonsa’s tomb.

I am still waiting to hear a word from the enlightened scientific and CPM led Atheist community in India on their opinion on these Miracles.

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