Saturday, May 17, 2014

Modi as PM - India 2014

A big surprise. BJP was expected to be the single largest party and would NDA as a whole would form  majority. But the worst fears were NDA falling short of that.. and third front emerging.. and re-election in 2 yrs, etc.

People voted BJP based on its campaign for development and seems to have forgiven Modi's past.

Gandhi family's credibility wiped out in this election. Indian voters are maturing. They don't seem to cling on to nehru-gandhi names anymore. Congress should do some soul searching and start grooming and project a development oriented leader. At least by next election. And hope people get frustrated with Modi by then.

And the other big whammy is to AAP. Buoyed by Delhi success, Kejriwal dreamt he would become PM candidate or even a kingmaker. AAP got less than 3% vote share in whole of India. Thats a shame considering the how much of media spotlight he AK hogged.

But 3% still amounts to about 15 million ppl (500 million votes), which a very big number. Modi government should remember that the fire against corruption is still alive in the country.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Books I'm reading

I'm creating a new post to log about the books I'm reading or have read earlier.
Thanks to the iBooks application on my iPhone, and to hundreds of free books available to download, my reading habit has received a shot in the arm. (I still read very slow though.. ;)

I'm currently reading 'Adventures of Huckleberry Finn' by Mark Twain.
I had enjoyed reading 'Adventures of Tom Sawyer' (by the same author) earlier. And it compelled me to download AOHF as well.
Though these books were written about 130 years ago, the sense of humour is still fresh.
People who love RK Narayanan's 'Swami and Friends' will love 'AOTS'. Both the authors' styles are somewhat similar.

Earlier I read 2 other books. Both are old and forgotten books. I attempted to read (in vain) just because they were freely available on iBooks.
First one is 'India: What it can teach us?' by Friedrich Max Muller. Published in 1900-1910 probably.
Its a collection of his lectures to the Indian Civil Service students in UK, who are about to embark on their job posting to India.
In several places he quotes and praises Indian scripture so much that the reader gets saturated. Its an ideal book for a fanatic to pick one statement here and one statement there and showcase Hindu greatness to the world.
But I didn't like it much. The tone in many places is like this - 'Ancient Indian scriptures are very valuable. People who created these must somehow be related to our (european) ancestors.'

Anyway the Europeans were very dominant at that time and went on claiming the whole world as their own. They looted countries and siphoned off riches to Europe, plundered new lands and wiped out natives, and even sold humans as slaves.
So, it shouldn't come as a surprise, if they claimed the valuable scriptures of another civilization as their own, especially when the people of that civilization themselves didn't know who created them.

Second book is 'A Forgotten Empire: Vijayanagar' by Robert Swell
This one is for the history buffs. The author reads historical accounts by travelers of those times like Ibn Batuta, Nuniz, etc, and portrays Vijayanagar. He shows some further analysis to determine which traveler's account is more accurate.
It begins with describing the conditions under which Vijayanagar kingdom arose.
Soon after Mohamed bin Tuglaq invaded south and went back, a hindu kingdom emerged to secure the South. Many hindu kingdoms united and made it stronger. A few years later the Hyderabad portion of Tuglaq's empire broke off and formed the Bahmani kingdom. They both remained rivals until about 2 centuries later the Bahmanis completely decimated the Vijayanagar empire.
The historical accounts are in great detail and describe the atrocities committed against the people. One can't simply read it and not get disturbed. This one is for people researching history.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sensational headline in TOI

So eager is TOI to break news, sometimes it publishes headline and no article..!
See below.. its hours since this headline came up.. still no article.

Saturday, December 25, 2010


I was reading this enjoyable article from Ricky Gervais, and was thought-provoked.

I wonder if people like Ricky Gervais themselves are thinking correctly or scientifically.

I used to debate with friends and relatives that Science is great and it proves that God doesn't exist.
That God, as portrayed in the holy books doesn't exist and Science (or logic) can prove that. That its impossible that there is one almighty - who oversees the world... who vanquishes all evil in the world... who can make miracles happen... who washes away people's sins at the instance of touching holy water or offering a prayer... etc etc.

Over years, I realized that there's something else, which is far more profound than debating the form or shape of God. It is also related to spirituality and can not be explained by my current understanding of science.

What do you call the fire inside a man, which drives him/her to overcome all hostilities and emerge a winner? What do you call that psychological condition that lets a batsman thwack a ball for a six in one match and lose form in another match? What is it that makes a person's heart swell when he/she sees the beauty of nature? What is it that makes a person make the right choice?
I'm not sure how to term it. People term it consciousness, determination, form, enthusiasm, realization, confidence, control, love, passion, etc etc etc.

I see a lot of spiritual gurus in India explain this consciousness. That understanding does help the average person overcome his/her own limitation. I believe in that. But often, the same gurus rely on a deity to get their message across. I'm not clear why. Chanting a mantra most definitely won't bring your favourite deity in front of you. But I acknowledge that sometimes, it helps slipping in to meditation.

The confusion or the argument continues in my mind. And I don't have the clarity yet.

A doctor can inspect a brain and declare if its working fine. But he/she can't say if its feeling fine.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Nobel for Obama?!

On what basis did Obama deserve a Nobel prize?!
He's barely nine months into the presidency and did he already achieve world peace?
He did speak pro-arabs in Egypt (not saying its wrong) and did ask the world to renounce nuclear weapons.
How will it help in spreading peace? Bill Clinton hosted a few meetings between arabs and israelis. And even came closer to peace. Why didn't he get the Nobel prize?
I've heard several world leaders asking the world to renounce nuclear weapons, including Vajpayee.
Seems crazy. I can't believe that they could compare what Obama has done in the last nine months to what Dalai Lama has done in a life time. Or even to Al Gore's :(

Coming to Obama's argument on nuclear weapons.
Will US zero out its own nuclear arsenal? Totally? Can it convince China to do so? Nuclear arms taken out, China will be left with enough muscle to claim an edge only over India, not even Russia. It will be reduced from a soon-to-be super power to a regional power. Hopefully the self righteous person he is, Obama won't empty out US arsenal before China does!
Leave alone China, can even India accept it? With China claiming chunks of Indian territory as its own and dragging its feet to resolve the issues as per old records, can you trust that it will not occupy those parts when assured that India has no nuclear weapons to defend itself?

Nuclear weapons is indeed a scourge but I don't think we can ever get rid of them. (Unless they come up with more potent WMDs)
Every country would want such weapons to either project power or to defend itself against such aggressive countries.

Anyway I would have appreciated if they had waited until Obama completed his term and awarded the same prize after he actually achieved peace in Middle east by reining in Israel and disarming Iran.. apart from achieving a stable Iraq and Afghanistan.

Further.. awarding peace prize to Obama, when he is engaged in a war with Al Qaida in Af-Pak, is ironic.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Chandrayaan - 1 Ends - Congratulations to ISRO

Read BBC's article
summarizing Chandrayaan-1 project and trying to clarify whether its a success or a failure.

Despite the project ending prematurely, it has achieved significant results. Great never-seen-before images of the moon, placing Indian flag over the moon, etc.. and achieving a 100% successful launch to the moon. Imagine how it would have been if our launch itself had failed! ISRO did it perfectly at the first attempt itself and as the article points, it launched it with the "un-Indian trait" of "no cost or time overrun"!!

Its saddening to read in some sites that this project is a waste of money and that the government should stop ISRO from spending on such fantasies and invest it to resolve starvation. How narrow could people think :(

Does anybody spare a thought for our LCA, Dhruv copter, Arjun MBT, Trishul missile project, Gorshkov carrier, etc?
All of these have been dogged by perennial delays and cost overruns.
The government has been spending millions and millions on some of them for decades with nearly no results.
LCA is still under trial. Dhruv has complaints from the armed forces. We've not reached a stage where we can say HAL will take care of at least most of our helicopter needs. The main battle tank Arjun is a fiasco. The army has to get back to Russia for its proven T90 tanks. Trishul was scrapped after it was found outdated. That they found after 2 decades. Gorshkov is still in the pipeline. No one knows how long the russians will take to deliver or the cost of it.

Compared to any government company or department, ISRO is doing a far superior and stupendous job. Its fetching us foreign exchange by launching satellites for other countries. What should stop it from investing its hard earned money for its own future research?

Whatever be it, Congratulations to ISRO's scientists and the visionaries.
All the best for their Mars mission, manned space mission and other future projects.
They surely will keep our flag flying, literally, sky high.