Wednesday, December 21, 2005

A history of sorts ? (via

Just wanted to highlight the plight of Hindus in Pakistan. Krishan Bheel is a really bold man. Just think of it - a Hindu MP slapping a Muslim MP - an influential one and a Maulvi to boot - and that too in Pakistan !

You can read more here.

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Bhagavad Gita and the example of the hedgehog

I was browsing Jim Collins's site - a great site for management enthusiasts and generally for people who want to get some good insights into management - when I came across this story of the fox and the hedgehog.

You can find that story here

While reading the story, the following shloka of the gItA echoed in my mind almost in a flash.

Lord Krishna says in the gItA:
vyavasAyAtmikA buddhirekeha kurunandana |
bahushAkhAhyanantAshcha buddhayo.avyavasAyinAm ||

A rough translation - the buddhi of the industrious is one pointed. But the intellects of the unindustrious are many branched.

It may be also interpreted as - the intellect (buddhi roughly translated) that is single-pointed yields to industriousness. But if the intellect is numerously branched, it leads to one becoming an "avyavasAyi" or an unindustrious one.

Reading the shoka, I recognize myself to be an "avyavasAyi" as my intellect is spread across too many things to be able to do something meaningful in a single area.

Going back to Jim Collins's example/parable, it looks like I am a fox. I may be smart, but definitely ineffective when compared with hedgehog-like people.

The fox-hedgehog/one-pointed-many-directional intellect idea seems to be applicable on multiple levels.

We can see that single-mindedness yields success as a student, happiness in the family and a prosperous career.

Single-mindedness yields benefits even on the spiritual plane. A seeker sticking to one particular path that suits him most succeeds whereas a dabbler in different traditions will gain more intellectual knowledge, but will fall short of that ultimate goal of True Understanding.

Upon reflection, we see that what is said here is commonsense. If we lavish our attention on multiple goals, some of which may be mutually contradictory, we become too weak to concentrate on anything substantial and failure becomes inevitable. However, if we concentrate on a few essential things, the chance of succeeding becomes that much higher.

A simple truth, but really difficult to implement. It is so for me at least. I should try and minimize my areas of action so that I can be successful in a few. But numerous interests drag me hither and thither so that I just accomplish something minimal. This minimization becomes possible by mindful prioritizing. But we have to keep prioritizing things ceaselessly to succeed. It is pretty difficult to do that and needs a lot of mental energy. But in perseverance is the secret (and the difficulty). Doing it one week may be easy, but doing it on every day of one's life is pretty challenging. One has to be really strong-willed to succeed.

As Krishna, again so pithily, states :
abhyAsena tu kaunteya vairAgyena cha gR^ihyate |

By practice and dispassion, the mind can be controlled.

Again, simple to intellectually understand - but the implications of this statement are profound. And internalizing it is not exactly simple.

The gItA is indeed a valuable medicine chest - we go to it when we are unwell and upon following the Lord's prescription, we become well again.

Sometimes, though, we need the sugar coating of a story and some lively language to ingest a bitter pill (as in Jim Collins's article). But we see that the gItA within the mahAbhArata has already done it for us. This is not to belittle Jim Collins's wonderful insights, but only to recognize an alternate and older (read time-tested) encyclopedic source. I mentioned the mahAbhArata because, to understand the gItA, one must have a fairly good idea on the events that had transpired before the delivery of the teaching. I feel that aspiring and practising managers will benefit immensely by a serious study of the mahAbhArata (with or without the gItA in it).

Coincidentally, now is mArgashIrSha, the month in which gItA-jayantI (the anniversary of the descent of the gItA) falls - on the 11th day of the bright fortnight.

Reflecting on the teachings of the gItA will do well for us both in this life and beyond.

|| iti sham ||

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Play called off on day one in the Chennai test and other thoughts

I knew something like this would happen. Isn't it quite well known that Chennai experiences this kind of weather at this time of the year? If it is already known so well, why would anybody in his right mind schedule a match there?

India and SA could not play the one dayer because of rain and now the first day's play of the test has been called off. Please, please - don't schedule a match in Chennai in the months of November and December.

This brings me to another point. Is weather such an important part of cricket. Cricket - as the cliche goes - is a game of glorious uncertainties. We've all known the Fremantle doctor wreak havoc on unfortunate batsmen in Perth. The dew in the day night games in India is all too well known. If, however, the match has to be an equal contest without being some kind of a lottery, the same conditions have to be given to both teams.

Just think about what happens normally. A team fielding first will have it easy when the wicket is still green and the ball is easy to catch. But the team that fields next will have it bad, especially in a day-night game - when it has to cope with the dew and the ball getting slippery and all. Sometimes, I think this is unfair. Winning the toss and deciding to bat or field is OK - some one has to do it first. But you just can't have the team that wins the toss win the game - assuming that they've read the wicket properly.

Isn't basketball better? No weather gods intervening. Of course there is psychological pressure - but that's it! The fight is between the teams and their abilities only.

Many puritans of the game love this uncertainty which comes in because of the weather, the wicket and idiosyncratic umpires, in addition to the pressure that is experienced by the players. But in these days of instant food and one dayers in colored clothing, do we need such things that bring us more uncertainty?

I, personally, am on the fence on this. As long as it is enjoyable, anything is fine. But sometimes, scheduling the matches at a place and time perfect for rain is unforgivable. Talk to South Africa who had a great chance in the 1992 world cup and lost it in the Semi finals because of the rain and two guys known as Duckworth and Lewis.

The Telstra dome in Australia seemed to be a good idea. Cricket administrators and insurance companies all over the world would salivate over that kind of a cricket venue. You don't have rain interfering and won't have dew. Teams fight it out with all other things being equal. It should be an ideal kind of place to play cricket. But, then, I there is something that is seen lacking in such synthetic environments.

An article written on cricinfo a while ago was on similar lines. Both the players and spectators won't get to see the sky. There wouldn't be any birds (especially the seagulls we see in Australia), and of course, there wouldn't be people sun bathing.

As I said earlier, anything in the game is fine as long as it is enjoyable ! But what is enjoyable? That is a tricky question and I don't have the time to answer it!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Princeton - Weekly Bulletin 12/08/03 - Bhargava strikes balance among many interests

This is an old article - a couple of years old.This is one of those rare occasions where I have come across a really well-rounded personality. Manjul Bhargava is not just one of the youngest full professors of Mathematics around, (at all of 28 years old and that too at Princeton!) - but he seems to be a great teacher and a very good tabla player too. How many people around us have so many interests? And how many are really good in their multiple fields?

I came across his name in a mailing list to which I subscribe. What really caught my eye was that Manjul seems to know Samskrit - he apparently studied Samskrit at the Rajasthan Samskrit Vidyapeeth. He had studied Aryabhata when he was 22 (I guess he is 30 now).

I really felt proud on reading about a person who is so well balanced and adept at multiple fields. I felt even more pride on knowing that Manjul was of Indian descent and was quite proud of his culture and traditions. Contrast this with many other people of Indian origin in India and abroad who take every chance to put down the culture they were born in!

Look here for a good article on Manjul.

Look here for an audio interview with Manjul on NPR.

Look here for a more recent article.

May Manjul give a long lasting contribution to mankind and may he be allowed to work in an unhindered environment that will enable him to do so!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

For apparently no reason

I don't remember the last time I blogged. It must have been a couple of months ago. (I added this line after I saw my last blog - it was posted 2 weeks ago! 2 weeks without blogging seem like 2 months to me? I seem to have lost all sense of time!) All these days I somehow was not so inclined on blogging. Even now I am not. But I thought I could put up a quick post before I forgot why I had begun to blog at all.

A piece on foresees the death of blogging. I wasn't surprised. I was in the same boat. Over the last several weeks, I did not feel like writing because I felt I had nothing meaningful to say. I read a few blogs after a few events had happened and they had echoed my thoughts. The Delhi Diwali blasts happened. India thrashed Sri Lanka. But everybody knew that and I had very similar thoughts as hundreds of others. So, I thought, if my thoughts had already been echoed, where was the need to put my own thoughts on the web and label them mine when hundreds of people had published the same thoughts? This thought led me to not writing and laziness set in.

I was never a fanatical blogger and I don't think I will ever be one. But I don't think blogging will die. As long as the fundamental need of man to be heard and understood exists, blogging too will.

In one of my earlier posts, I had thought of using my blog as a brain-dump when a certain event happened so that when I had the time, I could go back and look at what I thought at that instant. For me, that is still useful, though my laziness has to be overcome for that.

I don't know if it is because of the keyboard layout and ease of typing or something else, but I find blogging in Kannada more effort consuming than doing the same in English. Planet Sampada is a place where this blog feed is consumed. It is a site of blogs of several Kannadigas around the world. Someone had commented that Planet Kannada was a place where several Kannadigas wrote in English. Thinking about the reason for it, I found that it is just a matter of convenience that I blog in English. In Kannada, the written word is much different than the spoken word and speaking it is far easier than writing it or typing it. In English, just because we are so used to it, we don't even need to look at the keyboard when typing and whatever you say is almost whatever you write, so thoughts flow better. But in Kannada, typing "nAnu sumne bande. hIge ellgO hOgbEkittu" seems unnatural. Talking in Kannada on the other hand feels more natural to me.

I don't have much else to say now. Till something prods me to write again....

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

History's Worst Software Bugs and the Software engineer's code of ethics

Look at this informative and well written article here

I've always liked Wired for such articles and got to this one via Though I used to feel that programming could not be considered "real" engineering (early in my career), that distinction is blurred in applications such as the ones listed in the above link. That necessitated the ACM and the IEEE Computer Society to come up with a software engineering code of ethics which you can read here.

Because errors in programming were not causing large scale mishaps, buggy code was (and still is) mostly tolerated as a nuisance. But this article makes you rethink that notion. The code of ethics is a welcome step in that area, though I don't see that being followed religiously. (Do doctors follow the Hippocratic oath?). Yet, this code of ethics, done in 1999, is a welcome step in that area that exhorts software engineers to give their profession due importance not from just a monetary point of view but also as a responsibility they have towards their organizations and to society at large.

Is there any company/organization that kind of mandates its employees to follow the software engineering code of ethics?

Friday, October 14, 2005

ಯೋಗಾಚಾರ್ಯರ ಅಮೇರಿಕಾಯಾತ್ರೆ

Yoga's Great Teacher Draws Crowds on Final U.S. Tour - New York Times

ಮೇಲಿನ ಕೊಂಡಿಯನ್ನು ನೀವು ಕ್ಲಿಕ್ಕಿಸಿದರೆ ಬೆಂಗಳೂರಿನ ಬಳಿಯ ಬೆಳ್ಳೂರಿನವರಾದ ಬಿ.ಕೆ.ಎಸ್.ಅಯ್ಯಂಗಾರ್ಯರ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಇರುವ ನ್ಯೂಯಾರ್ಕ್ ಟೈಮ್ಸ್ ನ ಲೇಖನವನ್ನೋದಬಹುದು. ಅಯ್ಯಂಗಾರ್ಯರ ಹೆಸರು ಯೋಗಾಭ್ಯಾಸಿಗಳಿಗೆ ಮಾತ್ರವಲ್ಲ, ಯೋಗದ ಹೆಸರು ಕೇಳಿದ್ದವರಿಗೂ ಚಿರಪರಿಚಿತ. ಅವರ "ಯೋಗದೀಪಿಕೆ" (ಕನ್ನಡದಲ್ಲಿನ ಅನುವಾದ) ಬಹಳ ಒಳ್ಳೆಯ ಗ್ರಂಥ. (ನಮ್ಮ ಮನೆಯಲ್ಲಿದೆ. ನಾನು ಓದಿದ್ದೇನೆ. ಮಾಡಿ ನೋಡಿಲ್ಲ). ಅವರ ಗ್ರಂಥಗಳು ವಿಶ್ವವಿಖ್ಯಾತವಾದುವು.

ಎಂಭತ್ತಾರು ವರ್ಷದ ಜ್ಞಾನವೃದ್ಧರಾದ ಇವರು ಹಲವು ಯುವಕರನ್ನು ನಾಚಿಸುವಂಥ ದೇಹಪಟುತ್ವವನ್ನು ಇನ್ನೂ ಉಳ್ಳವರು. ಯೋಗದ ಶಕ್ತಿ ಮತ್ತು ಮಹತ್ತ್ವಗಳ ಜೀವಂತ ಉದಾಹರಣೆಯೆಂದರೆ ಶ್ರೀ ಅಯ್ಯಂಗಾರ್ಯರೇ. ಇವರ ಅನುಯಾಯಿವರ್ಗ ಪ್ರಪಂಚದ ಪ್ರಮುಖರಿಂದ ಕೂಡಿದೆ. ಖ್ಯಾತ ವಯೊಲಿನ್ ವಾದಕರಾಗಿದ್ದ ಯಹೂದಿ ಮೆನೂಹಿನ್ ಅವರಿಗೂ ಇವರೇ ಯೋಗಾಚಾರ್ಯರು. ಈಗಲೂ ಫ್ಯಾಶನ್ ಪ್ರಪಂಚದ ಪ್ರಮುಖರು, ಸಿನಿಮಾ ತಾರೆಯರು ಇವರ ಶಿಷ್ಯರೆಂದು ತಮ್ಮನ್ನು ಏಣಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳುತ್ತಾರೆ.

ಕಳೆದ ಹನ್ನೆರಡು ವರ್ಷಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಮಾನ್ಯರ ಮೊದಲನೆಯ ಅಮೇರಿಕಾ ಯಾತ್ರೆ ಅವರ ಕೊನೆಯ ಅಮೇರಿಕಾಯಾತ್ರೆಯೂ ಆಗಿದೆ ಎಂದು ಪತ್ರಿಕೆಯ ವರದಿ ತಿಳಿಸುತ್ತದೆ.

ಹೆಚ್ಚಿನ್ನೇನು ಹೇಳಲಾರೆ. ಲೇಖನ ಓದಿ ನೋಡಿ. ಚೆನ್ನಾಗಿದೆ.

ಇಂಥವರು ಕನ್ನಡಿಗರು, ನಮ್ಮವರು ಎನ್ನುವುದು ಹೆಮ್ಮಯ ವಿಷಯವಲ್ಲವೇ?

Monday, October 10, 2005

पुनः स एव विचारः

भाषाया यस्या अपि उपयोगः अधिकं न क्रियतॆ तस्यां तु अभ्यासः न्यूनीभूत्वा तया भाषया संवहनमेव दुस्तरं भवति । तन्मास्त्वित्येवेदं लेखनं लिख्यतॆ मया । मम संस्कृतेन लिखितॆ पूर्वस्मिन् "ब्लाग्"-मध्येऽपि एष एव विचार आसीत् । तस्मादेव अस्य लेखनस्य शीर्षिका "पुनः स एव विचार" इत्यस्ति ।

तद्भवतु । इदानींतनदिवसेषु मया पठ्यमानो ग्रन्थः कविकुलगुरोः श्रीकालिदासस्य रघुवंशमहाकाव्यम् । ग्रन्थानम् उपोद्घातानि यदा दृष्टानि तत्र सर्वत्र कालिदासस्य नाम "श्री" इत्यभिदानशीर्षिकया विनाऽसीत् । तत् किमर्थम् इति न जानामि । माघस्य विचारे तु श्रीमाघः इत्यागच्छति । परन्तु न तथा कालिदासस्य विषये । मम विचारः एवमस्ति यत् कालिदासः कविकुलस्य गुरुरित्यस्मात् स सर्वॆभ्यः काव्यव्यासङ्गमग्नॆभ्योऽपि आत्मीयोऽस्ति । किं च यत आत्मीयेषु औपचारिकता न भवति कालिदासः अनल्पकाव्यश्रीयुक्तोऽपि श्रीनामशीर्षिकया विमुक्तोऽस्ति ।

अन्यत् कार्यमपि कुर्वन्नस्मि । तदस्ति विसर्गसन्धीनामभ्यासः। गते संवत्सरॆ एका चर्चा प्रवृत्ता मम चान्यसय मध्ये । तस्य संस्कृतपद्यरचनायां कृतश्रमस्य प्रश्न एवमासीत् । भगवद्गीतासु सर्वत्र "अर्जुन उवाच" इत्यागच्छति । परन्तु न "अर्जुनः उवाचे"-ति । तत् किमर्थमिति । तदा तु ऋजूत्तरं आवाभ्यां न ज्ञात्वैव चर्चा समाप्ता । तदनन्तरं किञ्चिद्व्याकरणाध्ययनसमयॆ ज्ञातं यत् "अर्जुन उवाच" इत्यत्र विसर्गसन्धिर्भवतीति । "अर्जुनः उवाच" इत्यस्मिन् पदसमूहॆ पूर्वपदः विसर्गसन्धिप्रक्रिययां स्वविसर्गं विहाय प्रक्रियासमाप्तिर्भवति । न जानामीदानीं यत् सा चर्चा मम परीक्षार्थमासीद्वेति ।

अन्यदप्यस्ति । संस्कृतभारत्याः यस्याः कायकर्तृष्वेकोऽस्मि पत्रिका सम्भाषण-सन्देश इति मासिका बेङ्गलूरुतः प्रकटिता वर्ततॆ । तत्र सुलभेन संस्कृतेन परं व्याकरणशुद्धेन सर्वाणि लेखनानि लिखितानि । परं सन्धयः पठनासौलभ्यकारणात् सर्वत्र पत्रिकयां न दृश्यन्तॆ । विशेषेण विसर्गसन्धीनां तु दर्शनमेव तत्र दुर्लभम् । तस्याः पाठकेषु एतस्य लेखनस्य (अत्रापि पश्यन्तु । तत्र तत्र सन्धयः न कृताः ) लेखकोऽप्यॆकः । स्वं सन्धिनिर्माणाभ्यासॆ नियुक्तं करवाणीत्येव लेखनमिदं लिखितम् ।

संस्कृत-ब्लाग्-लेखकाः जालविश्वे न दृश्यन्तॆ । पाठका अपि विरला इति भासतॆ । यदि केऽपि पठन्ति ममैतदरण्यरोदनं तर्हि ते कृपया प्रतिक्रियासुवाक्यैरेतं लेखकमनुगृह्णन्त्वित्याशे ।

अलं लेखनकार्येण । पुनर्मिलामः । सर्वे जनाः सुखिनो भवन्तु ।

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Marshall's Hunch by Terence Monmaney in the New Yorker

What a great piece of writing!

I read a couple of days ago about the Nobel prize to two Australian scientists for proving that peptic ulcers are caused by a bacterium (Helicobacter). I wanted to find out more about this research when I chanced upon this article in the New Yorker.

This is an article that mixes science with its human aspect beautifully and written very well too. If Terence Monmaney writes a book, watch out for it! It should be an engrossing read!

A very illuminating read

Monday, September 26, 2005

Google Earth - Security concerns

This is a great piece of software. Google has again managed to do a great job. I have personally used it to scan Bangalore.

Initially I was pleasantly surprised at the detail. I was even able to locate my house. The photos are so full of detail. And that is where the problem lies.

In an ideal world with no conflicts, this would have been great. But in our very real world which is far from ideal, there are states that are enemies of each other, to put it very plainly. This is typically the kind of information that warrants sending reco planes and what not. Granted, the pictures on Google Earth are not in real time. But even then, how many airports will a city like Bangalore have ? Including the military ones? Not many. So, it becomes easy in times of war to go take a place out, especially when the exact latitude, longitude and elevations are printed right in front of you!

In these days of mindless terrorism, is this not giving them ideas?

Then I saw in a Times of India article that the US Government has managed to blank out parts of the aerial photographs of its military establishments. But India has itself exposed and naked! I haven't checked China yet but I won't be surprised if their establishments have been blanked out from Google Earth. But India - it is a soft state and a push over, right? Where is the need to blank parts of the pictures out?

The Government of India has to take it up with Google to stop streaming those pictures. But the damage has already been done with Google Earth having been out in the public eye for months now.

Or, am I being too paranoid?

Turns out that I am not. South Korea, Sri Lanka and Thailand have expressed concern and you know what? India has too! Check out this article -,10801,104426,00.html?source=x73

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Cricinfo - Ganguly unfit to be captain - Chappell

I and almost a billion other people agree - Ganguly is not fit to be captain. I will even venture to say that he is not fit to be in the team too!

Chappell is the cricket coach and he should be given the authority to mould the team. If the team fails, then he is responsible. Partially responsible if he is given no power to choose the team. Fully responsible if he can call the shots. For now, I have been led to think that Greg Chappell has not been given free rein in handling the Indian team.

Ganguly, the so-called Prince of Calcutta, has reached the nadir in his career. He can either go back to the Ranji circuit and prove himself all over again or he must just retire. He has a few endorsement contracts anyway, he can live his life out! His English is pretty good too - he can join the ranks of grumpy old cricketers who have now taken to commentating for cricket matches and/or hosting cricket shows. Well, he can now vie for even the position of Coach!!

Basically, Ganguly has lost his touch and luck. How glorious was he on the off side! Dravid's now famous statement about God and Ganguly on the off side vouches for this. But since the loss in the Australian home series, India has become an enervated side. Yes, India won matches against Pakistan. But India lost at home too! Ganguly has been partially responsible for this debacle. He basically is dead weight in the team. He can't bat, can't bowl and can't field at all. If this kind of performance came from say, Mohammed Kaif, he would be ejected from the team immediately. But wait! Kaif is not even in the team in spite of his match saving exploits! And why is that? Because Ganguly is in the team!

I ask again, how often has Ganguly saved a match a la Tendulkar, Dravid or Kaif? Whenever Ganguly has fired, he has fired as an opener when there was no pressure in chasing and the game was still fresh. While chasing, Ganguly becomes a liability!

Yes, Ganguly has had some spectacular successes. But now his failure rate has increased. If Ganguly were a CEO of a company and if he had underperformed - he would have been fired by now or made to choose another role. Don't Indian fans deserve better? We have so many talented players and they can't make it to the playing eleven because one man seems to know the right people and push the right buttons to have his people in the side.

If I were in Ganguly's position, I know I would think - "Well, I have given my all for this side. Now when I am going through a lean patch, these guys are making me quit instead of supporting me. Didn't a badly performing Mark Taylor captain the Australian side for a long time? These guys have no gratitude! Hmmph!"

But unfortunately, Ganguly is the guardian of the aspirations of millions of people. I think they have given him quite a chance by allowing to remain captain for an extra couple of years. Ganguly should have understood and relinquished his position by now (like Tendulkar who wisely chose to remain a good player rather than be a bad captain). Now he faces the unpleasant predicament of getting forced out of the team and is stung. He can't capitulate now. So he is fighting a losing battle! But we never know, Ganguly, being a good "people person", can approach the right people to get Chappell fired!

I think that the solution to this problem is to have a bunch of *paid* administrators lead the BCCI a la Cricket Australia. BCCI should be run like a modern company and not like a medieval fiefdom. Accountability increases and hence everybody feels responsible.

In spite of being a cricket fan, I will have to say that cricket has too big a following in India compared to other sports. Poor hockey players! When Anju Bobby George wins a silver medal in the World Championships, she is overshadowed by Irfan Pathan who takes a bunch of wickets! Or even worse, by somebody like Ganguly who decides to make a private discussion between him and his coach public! This cricket mania in India is the reason why I am even writing this blog up!

I am also appalled by the media behavior here. The media comes across here as spoilsports who have no other job but to get TRP points by publicising into a confidential report sent by a coach to his team administrators. They are the ones who have created the storm in the tea cup! Reporters should exercise discretion before making such things public.

I hope the next few days see more light than heat in this matter.

Monday, September 19, 2005

ಸಾಲ ಸಾಲ ಸಾಲ!!

ಮೊನ್ನೆ ನಾನು ಒಂದು ವರ್ಷದಲ್ಲಿ ಎರಡನೆ ಸಲ ಕನ್ನಡ ಚಿತ್ರವನ್ನು ಚಿತ್ರಮಂದಿರದಲ್ಲಿ ನೋಡಲು ಹೋಗಿದ್ದೆ. "ಜೋಗಿ" ಎಂಬ ಶಿವರಾಜಕುಮಾರ್ ಅಭಿನಯದ ಚಿತ್ರ ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಸಾಕಷ್ಟು ಹೆಸರು ಮಾಡಿದೆ. ಪತ್ರಿಕೆಗಳೆಲ್ಲಾ ಇದರ ಹೊಗಳಿಕೆ ತುಂಬಿದೆ. ಸುಧಾ ಪತ್ರಿಕೆಯಲ್ಲಂತೂ "ಜೋಗಿ" ಚಿತ್ರದ ಮೇಲೆ ಒಂದು ಲೇಖನವನ್ನೇ ಪ್ರಕಟಿಸಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಇರಲಿ. ಈ ಚಿತ್ರ ನೋಡಲು ಹೋದರೆ ರಾತ್ರಿಯ ಪ್ರದರ್ಶನಕ್ಕೆ "ಆಟೋ ಶಂಕರ್" ಎಂಬ ಚಿತ್ರ ನಡೆಯುತ್ತಿತ್ತು. ಸರಿ ಬಿಡು. ಇಷ್ಟು ದೂರ ಬಂದಿದ್ದೇನಲ್ಲಾ ಇದನ್ನೇ ನೋಡೋಣವೆಂದು ಚಿತ್ರಮಂದಿರದಲ್ಲಿ ಕುಳಿತೆ. ಈ ಚಿತ್ರಮಂದಿರಗಳಲ್ಲಿ "DTS" ಫಲಕ ಹಾಕಿಕೊಂಡರೂ ಹಾಗೇನು ಇರುವುದಿಲ್ಲ. ಬರೇ ಸದ್ದು ಗದ್ದಲ ಅಬ್ಬರ. ಹಾಡಿನ ಸಾಲುಗಳೂ ಕೇಳುವುದಿಲ್ಲ - ಸಂಗೀತದ (?) ಅಬ್ಬರ ಅಷ್ಟು ಹೆಚ್ಚು.

ಈ ಚಿತ್ರದಲ್ಲಿ ಖಳನಾಯಕಿ ಶಿಲ್ಪಾಶೆಟ್ಟಿ ಒಬ್ಬ ಲೇವಾದೇವಿ ವ್ಯಾಪಾರಿಯ ಸಾಕುಮಗಳು. ಚಿತ್ರದ ಇಪ್ಪತ್ತು ಮೂವತ್ತು ನಿಮಿಷಗಳಿಗೂ ಹೆಚ್ಚಾಗಿ ಅವಳು ಮಾಡುವ ಸಾಲ ವಸೂಲಿಯ ವೈಖರಿಯೇ ತೋರಿಸಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಮೊದಲಿಗೆ ರಮೇಶ್ ಭಟ್ ನ ತಂಗಿ ಮದುವೆಗೆ ಕಲ್ಲು ಹಾಕಿ ಅವಳು ಆತ್ಮಹತ್ಯೆಮಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳುವ ಹಾಗೆ ಮಾಡುತ್ತಾಳೆ. ನಂತರ ಪೋಲೀಸರನ್ನು ಕರೆದು ತಂದ ರಮೇಶ್ ಭಟ್ ಗೆ ಕೆಟ್ಟದಾಗಿ ಅವಮಾನ ಮಾಡಿ ಹೊಡೆಸುತ್ತಾಳೆ. ಇವಿಷ್ಟೂ ಏಕೆಂದರೆ ರಮೇಶ್ ಭಟ್ ಇವರ ಬಳಿ ಸಾಲ ಮಾಡಿರುತ್ತಾನೆ.

ನಮ್ಮ ಭಾರತದಲ್ಲಿ ಜಾಗತೀಕರಣದಿಂದ ಎಲ್ಲೆಲ್ಲೂ ಹಣದ ಹೊಳೆ ಹರಿಯುತ್ತಿದೆ. ನಮ್ಮಲ್ಲಿಯೂ ಕೊಳ್ಳುಬಾಕ ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತಿ ಮನೆ ಮಾಡಿದೆ. ದುಡ್ಡಿದ್ದವರಿಗೆ ಪರವಾಗಿಲ್ಲ. ತೃಪ್ತರಿಗೆ ಪರವಾಗಿಲ್ಲ. ಆದರೆ ಬಹಳಷ್ಟು ಜನ ಈ ಹಿಂದಿನ ಎರಡೂ ವರ್ಗಗಳಿಗೆ ಸೇರದವರು. ಆದರೆ ಆರ್ಥಿಕ ಸಂಸ್ಥೆಗಳು ಸಾಲಗಳನ್ನು ನೀಡುವುದನ್ನು ಮೊದಲು ಮಾಡಿವೆ. ಹತ್ತು ವರ್ಷಗಳ ಹಿಂದೆ ಸಾಲದ ಚೀಟಿ (ಕ್ರೆಡಿಟ್ ಕಾರ್ಡ್ ಗೆ ನಾನು ಕೊಟ್ಟ ಹೆಸರು)ಯ ಹಾವಳಿ ಇರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ನಾನು ಅದನ್ನು ಮೊದಲು ನೋಡಿ ಉಪಯೋಗಿಸಿದ್ದು ಅಮೇರಿಕದಲ್ಲಿಯೇ. ಸಾಲದ ಚೀಟಿಯ ಉಪಯುಕ್ತತೆಯ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಎರಡು ಮಾತಿಲ್ಲ. ಆದರೆ ಬ್ಯಾಂಕುಗಳೂ ಜೀವಿಸಬೇಕಲ್ಲ? ದುಡ್ಡನ್ನು ಸಕಾಲದಲ್ಲಿ ಕಟ್ಟದವರಿಗೆ ಹೆಚ್ಚಿನ ಬಡ್ಡಿ ದರ ಹಾಕಿ ಇನ್ನೂ ಹೆಚ್ಚು ದುಡ್ಡು ಕೀಳುತ್ತಾರೆ. ದುಡ್ಡು ಕೊಡಲು ಆಗದೆ ಇರುವವರ ಬಳಿ ಹೋಗಿ ಪಡೆಯುತ್ತಾರೆ.

"ಪಡೆಯುತ್ತಾರೆ" ಅಂದೆನಲ್ಲ, ಅದನ್ನು ಸುಮ್ಮನೆ ಹೇಳಿದೆ. ವಾಸ್ತವವಾಗಿ ನಡೆಯುವುದು ಬೇರೆ. ಕಂಪನಿಗಳು ಸಾಲ ಹಿಂದಿರುಗಿಸದವರನ್ನು ಹದ್ದಿನಲ್ಲಿಡಬೇಕಾದರೆ ಪೋಲೀಸರಿಗೆ ಶರಣು ಹೋಗಲು ಆಗುವುದಿಲ್ಲ. ಆದ್ದರಿಂದ ಅವರು ರೌಡಿಗಳ ಮೊರೆ ಬೀಳುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಸಾಲದ ಗಡುವು ಮುಗಿದ ಮೇಲೆ ರೌಡಿಗಳನ್ನು ಛೂ ಬಿಟ್ಟು ಸಾಲತೆಗೆದವರನ್ನು ದೈಹಿಕವಾಗಿ ಮತ್ತು ಮಾನಸಿಕವಾಗಿ ಹಿಂಸಿಸುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಅವರ ಸಾಮಾನುಗಳನ್ನು ಕೊಂಡೊಯ್ಯುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಈ ವಿಷಯ ಥಳುಕಿನ ಜಾಹಿರಾತುಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಕಾಣುವುದಿಲ್ಲ.

ಇದೇ ವಿಚಾರವನ್ನು ಆಟೋ ಶಂಕರ್ ಚಿತ್ರ ಒಳಗೊಂಡಿದೆ.

ಆದರೆ ಇನ್ನೂ ಮೂಲಭೂತವಾದ ಪ್ರಶ್ನೆ - ಸಾಲವನ್ನು ಸ್ವೀಕರಿಸುವುದು ಮತ್ತು ಅದನ್ನು ಹಿಂದಿರುಗಿಸಲಾಗದೇ ಇರುವುದು. ಸಾಲ ತೆಗೆದುಕೊಳ್ಳುವ ಮುಂಚೆ ಅದನ್ನು ತೀರಿಸಬೇಕೆಂಬ ಜವಾಬ್ದಾರಿಯಿರಬೇಡವೇ? ಸಾಲ ತೆಗೆದು "ಮಜಾ" ಮಾಡಿದ ಮೇಲೆ ಕಂತು ಕಟ್ಟಲು ಆಗದೇ ಒದ್ದಾಡುವರು ಹಲವರು! ಇಂಥವರಿಗೆ ಆ ಚಿತ್ರದಲ್ಲಿ ಆದ ಅವಮಾನ ಭಯಾನಕ. ಹೆಂಡತಿಯ ಕೈಯಲ್ಲಿ ಗಂಡನಿಗೆ ಚಪ್ಪಲಿ ಏಟು ಕೊಡಿಸುವುದು. ಚೆನ್ನಾಗಿ ಮನಬಂದಂತೆ ಥಳಿಸುವುದು. ಇತ್ಯಾದಿ.

"ಹಾಸಿಗೆ ಇದ್ದಷ್ಟು ಕಾಲು ಚಾಚು" ಎನ್ನುವುದು ನಮ್ಮ ದೇಶದ ಹಳೆಯ ನಾಣ್ಣುಡಿ. ಈಗಿನ ಕಾಲದಲ್ಲಿ ಇದರ ಪಾಲನೆ ಅಷ್ಟು ಹೆಚ್ಚು ಕಾಣುತ್ತಿಲ್ಲ. ದುರಾಸೆಯೆನ್ನುವುದು ಪ್ರತಿಯೊಬ್ಬರರನ್ನೂ ಕಾಡಿದೆ. ಇದಕ್ಕೆ ವಿನಿವಿಂಕ್ ನಂತಹ ಕಾಲದಿಂದ ಕಾಲಕ್ಕೆ ಆಗುವ ಹಗರಣಗಳೇ ಸಾಕ್ಷಿ. ಈಗ ಯಾವುದಾದರೂ ಒಂದು ಸಂಸ್ಥೆ ನಾವು ನಿಮಗೆ ಶೇಕಡಾ ಇಪ್ಪತ್ತರಷ್ಟು ಬಡ್ಡಿ ನೀಡುತ್ತೇವೆ ಎಂದರೆ ಎಂಥವರಾದರೂ ಹುಬ್ಬು ಹಾರಿಸುವುದಿಲ್ಲವೇ? ಆದರೂ ಅಂಥವರೇ ಕೊನೆಗೆ ಅಲ್ಲಿ ದುಡ್ಡು ನಿವೇಶಮಾಡಿ ಸಂಪಾದಿಸಿದ್ದನ್ನೆಲ್ಲಾ ಕಳೆದುಕೊಂದು ಗೋಳಾಡುವುದು ಸಾಮಾನ್ಯದ ದೃಶ್ಯವಾಗಿಬಿಟ್ಟಿದೆ. ಈಗಂತೂ ಈ.ಟಿ.ವಿ, ಉದಯ ಟಿ.ವಿ. ಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಮೂಡುವ ಕ್ರೈಂ ಕಾರ್ಯಕ್ರಮಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಈ ರೀತಿಯ ಹಗರಣಗಳನ್ನು ಚೆನ್ನಾಗಿ ವಿವರಿಸುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಜನರಲ್ಲಿ ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ಜಾಗೃತಿ ಹೆಚ್ಚಿರಬೇಕು ಎಂದು ನಾವು ಎಣಿಸಬಹುದು. ಆದರೆ ನನ್ನ ಪ್ರಕಾರ ಹಾಗೇನು ಆಗುವುದಿಲ್ಲ.

೧೯೨೦ರ ಆಸುಪಾಸಿನ ದಶಕದಲ್ಲಿ ಗೋಪಾಲಸ್ವಾಮಿಯೆನ್ನುವವನು ಬೆಂಗಳೂರಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಇದೇ ರೀತಿಯ ಹಗರಣ ಮಾಡಿದ್ದ. ಬಹಳಷ್ಟು ಗಣ್ಯರು ಅವನಲ್ಲಿ ದುಡ್ಡನ್ನಿಟ್ಟಿದ್ದರು (ಸಿ.ವಿ.ರಾಮನ್ ಸಹ!). ಆದರೂ ಇವರೆಲ್ಲಿಗೂ ಪಂಗನಾಮ ಹಾಕಿದ ನಿಸ್ಸೀಮ ಗೋಪಾಲಸ್ವಾಮಿ. ಇವನೊಬ್ಬ ದಂತಕಥೆಯ ಮಟ್ಟಿಗೆ ಬೆಳೆದರೂ ಜನರು ಕ್ರಮೇಣ ಅವನನ್ನು ಮರೆತರು. ಮರೆತಾಗಲೇ ಉಪನಿಷದ್ವಾಕ್ಯಗಳನ್ನು ಹೇಳಿ ಜನರಿಗೆ ಮೋಡಿ ಮಾಡಿ ನಂತರ ಮೋಸಮಾಡಿದ ಶ್ರೀನಿವಾಸ ಶಾಸ್ತ್ರಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಗೋಪಾಲಸ್ವಾಮಿಯ ಪುನರವತಾರವಾದದ್ದು! ದುಡ್ಡಿಟ್ಟವರಲ್ಲಿ ಈ ಸಲವೂ ಬಡಬಗ್ಗರೂ, ಗಣ್ಯರೂ, ಸಾಮಾನ್ಯರೂ ಎಲ್ಲರೂ ಸೇರಿದ್ದರು. ಮತ್ತೊಮ್ಮೆ ಹೀಗೇಕಾಯ್ತು?

ದುರಾಸೆಯೆನ್ನುವುದು ಮನುಷ್ಯನ ಸ್ವಭಾವಗುಣ. ಎಲ್ಲರಲ್ಲೂ ಅದು ತಕ್ಕ ಮಟ್ಟಿಗೆ ಇದ್ದೇ ಇರುತ್ತದೆ. ಈಗ ಕಾಣಿಸಿಲ್ಲವೆಂದರೆ ಒಂದು ವರ್ಷವಾದ ಮೇಲೆ ಕಾಣಿಸಬಹುದು ಈ ಚಟ. ಇದು ಹೋಗುವವರೆಗೂ ಶ್ರೀನಿವಾಸ ಶಾಸ್ತ್ರಿಯಂಥ ಆಷಾಢಭೂತಿಗಳು ಜನರನ್ನು ಮೋಸಗೊಳಿಸುತ್ತಲೇ ಇರುತ್ತಾರೆ.

ಸರಿ, ಸಾಲದಿಂದ ಬಡ್ಡಿಯಾಸೆಗೆ ಬಂದದ್ದಾಯ್ತು. ಮತ್ತೆ ಸಾಲಕ್ಕೆ. ಸಾಲ ಸಾಮಾನ್ಯವಾಗಿ ಏಕೆ ಬೇಕಿರುತ್ತದೆ ಎಂದು ನೋಡಬೇಕು. ನಾನು ನೋಡಿದ ಹಾಗೆ ಮದುವೆ, ಹೊಸಮನೆ ಖರ್ಚು, ವಾಹನಖರೀದಿ ಇತ್ಯಾದಿಗಳೇ ಕಾರಣ. ಈಗ ಸಾಲ ಪಡೆಯುವ ಮುಂಚೆ ಇವರ ಅವಸ್ಥೆ ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ಸುಮಾರಾಗಿಯೇ ಇರುತ್ತದೆ. ಆದರೆ ಸಾಲ ಪಡೆಯುವವರಲ್ಲಿ ಹೊಟ್ಟೆ-ಬಟ್ಟೆಗೆ ಸಾಮಾನ್ಯವಾಗಿ ಮೋಸವಿರುವುದಿಲ್ಲ. ಒಂದು ಹಂತಕ್ಕೆ ಬಂದಾಗ ಮನುಷ್ಯರು ಮೇಲೆ ನೋಡಲು ಆರಂಭಿಸುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಈ ಕೀರ್ತಿಯ ಆಸೆ, ನಮ್ಮ ಸುತ್ತಮುತ್ತಲಿನವರಿಗಿಂತ ಚೆನ್ನಾಗಿ ಬಾಳಬೇಕೆನ್ನುವಾಸೆ - ಈ ಆಸೆಯೇ ಎಲ್ಲ ದುಃಖಗಳಿಗೂ ಮೂಲವೆಂದೆನಿಸುತ್ತದೆ. ಆಸೆ, ನನ್ನ ಪ್ರಕಾರ, ತಪ್ಪಲ್ಲ. ಆದರೆ ಅದರ ಹಿಂದೆ ಬುದ್ಧಿಯ ಕೆಲಸ ಹೆಚ್ಚಿನದಾಗಿರಬೇಕು. ಉದಾಹರಣೆಗೆ : ನನಗೂ ಫೆರಾರಿ ಕಾರ್ ಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಇಷ್ಟ. ಆದರೆ ಅದನ್ನು ಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಸಾಲ ಮಾಡಲೇನು ಹೊರಟಿಲ್ಲವಲ್ಲ? ನಮ್ಮ ಇತಿಮಿತಿಗಳೇನು ಎಂಬ ತಿಳಿವಳಿಕೆ ಬೇಕು. (ಇರಲಿ - ಉಪದೇಶ ಮಾಡಲು ನಾನು ಯೋಗ್ಯನಲ್ಲ. ಇಲ್ಲಿಯೇ ಈ ರೀತಿಯ ಯೋಚನಾಸರಣಿಯನ್ನು ಕತ್ತರಿಸುತ್ತೇನೆ).

ಈ ಆಸೆ ಎಂದು ಹೇಳಿದೆನಲ್ಲ, ಅದೇ ಅನರ್ಥಗಳೆಲ್ಲಕ್ಕೂ ಕಾರಣವೆಂದು ತೋರುತ್ತದೆ. ಭಗವಾನ್ ಬುದ್ದನೂ ಈ ಮಾತನ್ನು ಅನುಮೋದಿಸುತ್ತಾನೆ ಅನ್ನುವುದರಲ್ಲಿ ಅನುಮಾನವೇ ಇಲ್ಲ! ನಮ್ಮನ್ನು ಹೇಗೆ ಈ ಆಸೆ ಆಟವಾಡಿಸುತ್ತದೆ ಎಂದು ನೋಡಿದಾಗ ನಾವೆಷ್ಟು ಆಸೆಯ ಗುಲಾಮರು ಎಂದು ಕಾಣುತ್ತದೆ.

ನಮ್ಮ ಧರ್ಮದಲ್ಲಿ ಅರ್ಥಕಾಮಗಳಿಗೆ ಪುರುಷಾರ್ಥದ ಸ್ಥಾನವನ್ನು ನೀಡಲಾಗಿದೆ. ಆದರೆ ಧರ್ಮಮೋಕ್ಷಗಳೆಂಬ ಎರಡು ಸೀಮಾರೇಖೆಗಳ ಮಧ್ಯೆ ಹರಿಯತಕ್ಕಂಥ ನದಿಗಳಿವು ಎನ್ನುವುದು ಹಿರಿಯರ ಮಾತು. ಆಸೆಯನ್ನು ಮಿತಿಗೊಳಿಸುವುದನ್ನು ನಮ್ಮ ಗ್ರಂಥಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಎಷ್ಟು ಹೊಗಳಿದ್ದಾರೆ! ಆದರೆ ಇಂದಿನ ಪರಿಸ್ಥಿತಿ ನೋಡಿದಾಗ ಆಚರಣೆಗೂ ಗ್ರಂಥಕ್ಕೂ ಏನೇನೂ ಸಂಬಂಧವಿಲ್ಲವೆನ್ನುವುದು ಸ್ಪಷ್ಟ. ಹೇಳಿಲ್ಲವೇ - "ಪುರಾಣ ಓದುವುದಕ್ಕೆ ಬದನೇಕಾಯಿ ತಿನ್ನುವುದಕ್ಕೆ" ಎಂದು!

ಆಟೋ ... ಚಿತ್ರದ ನಂತರ ಟಿ.ವಿ.ಯಲ್ಲಿ "ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ adjust ಮಾಡ್ಕೊಳ್ಳಿ" ಚಿತ್ರ ನೋಡಿದೆ. ಇಲ್ಲಿಯೂ ದುರಾಸೆಯಿಂದ ಸಾಲ ಸ್ವೀಕರಿಸಿ ವಾಪಸ್ ಕೊಡಲು ಆಗದೇ ಪಡುವ ಪಾಡು ಕಾಣುತ್ತದೆ. ಆತ್ಮಹತ್ಯೆಯವರೆಗೂ ಚಿತ್ರದ ಪಾತ್ರವೊಂದು ಹೋಗುತ್ತದೆ. ಈ ರೀತಿಯ ಚಿತ್ರಗಳನ್ನು ನೋಡಿ ಜನರು ಎಚ್ಚೆತ್ತುಕೊಳ್ಳಬೇಕು ಅಂದುಕೊಂಡಿದ್ದೇನೆ. "ಆಟೋ " ಚಿತ್ರದಲ್ಲಿ ಪಾತ್ರವೊಂದರ ಬಾಯಲ್ಲಿ ಕೂಡ "ಗಂಜಿ ಕುಡಿದಾದರೂ ಜೀವನ ಮಾಡಬಹುದು. ಸಾಲ ಮಾತ್ರ ತೊಗೋಬಾರದು" ಎಂಬಂತೆ ಮಾತು ಬರುತ್ತದೆ. ಕೇಳದೇ ಇರುವುದು ಕಷ್ಟ.

ಆದರೆ ಸಾಲ ತೆಗೆದುಕೊಳ್ಳುವುದು ಒಂದು ಆತ್ಮವಿಶ್ವಾಸದ ಸಂಕೇತ ಕೂಡ. ಓದಲು ಒಬ್ಬ ವಿದ್ಯಾರ್ಥಿ ಸಾಲ ತೆಗೆದುಕೊಂಡಾಗ ಚೆನ್ನಾಗಿ ಓದಿ ದುಡ್ಡು ಸಂಪಾದನೆ ಮಾಡಿ ತೀರಿಸಿಯೇ ತೀರಿಸುತ್ತೇನೆ ಎಂಬ ಛಲವಿರಬೇಕು, ಆತ್ಮವಿಶ್ವಾಸವಿರಬೇಕು. ಸಿನೆಮಾ ರೀತಿಯಲ್ಲಿ "ಗಂಜಿ ಕುಡಿಯುವ" ಡೈಲಾಗ್ ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಒಪ್ಪುವುದಿಲ್ಲ. ಇದನ್ನು ನೋಡಿದಾಗ ಉತ್ತರ ಸುಲಭ: ಪರಿಸ್ಥಿತಿ ನೋಡಿಕೊಂಡು ಮುಂದುವರೆಯಬೇಕು, ಎಲ್ಲ ಹಂತಗಳಲ್ಲೂ ಜಾಗರೂಕನಾಗಿರಬೇಕು. ಹೇಳಲು ಸುಲಭ, ಆದರೆ ಮೈ ಮರೆಯುವುದೂ ಅಷ್ಟೇ ಸುಲಭ! ಈಗ ನಾನು ಬ್ಲಾಗಿಸುತ್ತಾ ಮೈಮರೆತಿರುವೆನಲ್ಲಾ ಹಾಗೆ!

ಮುಂದೆ ಏನಾದರೊಂದು ವಿಷಯ ಮನಸ್ಸನ್ನು ಚುಚ್ಚುವವರೆಗೆ....

ಸರ್ವೇ ಜನಾಃ ಸುಖಿನೋ ಭವಂತು

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Devudu the sthitaprajna

I read an anecdote pertaining to a great man, Sri Devudu Narasimha Shastry, on my way to work today. One such moment in the day will really make your day. Though it was not a feel good story, it drove home the essential nature of human life and how one must conduct oneself in difficult situations.

Late Sri Narasimha Shastry is well known in Kannada literary circles. His "maha.." trilogy of novels (about Nahusha, Vishwamitra and Yajnavalkya) is just awe-inspiring. His other novels like Mayura are still popular. He was also a short story writer. He had a strong background in mImAMsa and Vedanta and great command over Kannada and Samskrita languages. All these make their presence clearly felt in his works. His wisdom reaches his readers through his noble characters. He has also translated the Yoga vAsiShTha into Kannada (a book that I really would like to read) - but that seems to be out of print for now.

Certain situations in his novels depict the mental state and experiences of the meditator (e.g Vishwamitra). Only a person that had had such an experience would be able to write as authoritatively and as vividly as Sri Shastry. It seems from his works that Sri Shastry was an adept in several Vedic upAsanAs. The incident I read this morning also shows that Sri Shastry had not only the intellectual understanding of these great works but had managed to live a life entirely based on those principles.

A crude gist of the anecdote follows (for a better read look at Sri. TV Venkatachala Shastry's udAracharitaru udAttaprasaMgagaLu - a wonderful book I mentioned in my yesterday's Kannada blog as well or better still - read Sri. Narasimha Shastry's biography).

Sri. Devudu and his wife had been invited to Udupi for a lecture on the BhagavadgItA. They took along a friend, Sri Krishna Shastry, with them. Just before the lecture, Sri Devudu received a telegram. He then requested the organizers for urgent transport to Kadur after the lecture. When asked about the contents of the telegram, Sri Devudu mentioned that it was about a publication and that his publishers wanted him in Bangalore as soon as possible.

The lecture began and was delivered most eloquently by Sri Devudu. His wife was also impressed. She felt that that particular lecture was the best he had delivered on the subject. After the lecture, all of them went to Bangalore and Sri Devudu then broke the real news to Sri Krishna Shastry. It turned out that Sri Devudu's eldest son had passed away all of a sudden and that news had been conveyed in the telegram. Sri Krishna Shastry was horrified at the news. This man seemed to be telling this news with this calm air about him and this was the kind of news that could break anybody's mind. Sri Krishna Shastry then asked Sri Devudu how he was able to deliver that phenomenal lecture knowing well that his son was no more.

Sri Devudu replied that he had given himself the gItopadesha. He had reflected upon "sarvadharmAn parityajya mAmekaM sharaNaM vraja" and other shlokas which the gItA is a treasure-trove of. He had also reflected upon how a sthitaprajna (a man of equaninmity) would conduct himself. He just did those as expounded by BhagavAn in the gItA. If Sri Devudu had mentioned the real reason to the organizers, it would have spoilt the efforts of all of the organizers. He decided to go ahead with the lecture

Sri Devudu then got Sri Krishna Shastry to inform his wife of the bad news. The mother of the deceased son fainted on hearing that and became inconsolable. The parents could not be even present for their son's last rites!

A man of such equanimity as glorified in the gItA was in our midst in flesh and blood! I feel honoured for living in the same city as such a great soul.

I hope none of us get to experience situations like these. But I am sure that it must be after looking at such great men that the following subhAShitas were composed.

vajrAdapi kaThorANi mRudUni kusumAdapi
lokottarANAm chetAMsi ko hi vijnAtumarhati

(The minds of great souls can be softer than flowers and harder than diamonds. Who can indeed fathom those great souls?)

saMpatsu mahatAM chittaM bhavatyutpala komalam
Apatsu cha mahAshailashilAsaMghAtakarkasham (bhartRhari's nItishataka)

(In times of happiness, the minds of the great are as soft as flowers. But in times of distress, they can be as hard as the boulders of a great mountain)

The hardness of minds in times of distress is similar to what Arjuna had when he had to kill even his grandfather BhIShma. It is similar to Lord Krishna's state of mind when his Yadava kinsmen were killing themselves in a spate of unfortunate violence. For softness of minds, we can think of Lord Krishna's grace when He decided to accept Vidura's hospitality and that of Lord Rama when He accepted Shabari's.

Some comment on the net has interpreted the latter shloka in the above pair as not so felicitous. I feel that his interpretation is not in order.

We must be thankful for the inspiring presence of such great people as Sri Devudu and such great works as the nItishatakaM in our midst, even if it is just in our minds.

sarve janAH sukhino bhavantu

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

ವಿಶ್ವೇಶ್ವರಯ್ಯನವರನ್ನು ಕುರಿತ ಲೇಖನ

Memories of a scientist - Deccan Herald - Internet Edition

ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಬ್ಲಾಗಿಸಿ ಬಹಳ ದಿನಗಳೇ ಕಳೆದಿದ್ದವು. ಇಂದು ಪತ್ರಿಕೆ ಓದುವಾಗ ವಿಶ್ವೇಶ್ವರಯ್ಯನವರ ಜನ್ಮದಿನ ಇಂದು ಎಂದು ತಿಳಿದು ಬಂದಿತು. ಮೇಲಿನ ಲಿಂಕ್ ಒಳ್ಳೆಯ ಲೇಖನವನ್ನು ಹೊಂದಿದೆ. ಈಚೆಗೆ ಡಾ ಟಿ.ವಿ.ವೆಂಕಟಾಚಲ ಶಾಸ್ತ್ರಿಗಳ "ಉದಾರಚರಿತರು ಉದಾತ್ತಪ್ರಸಂಗಗಳು" ಎಂಬ ಪುಸ್ತಕವನ್ನು ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ನೋಡಿದೆ. ಈ ಪುಸ್ತಕದಲ್ಲಿ ಸರ್. ಎಮ್. ವಿಯವರನ್ನು ಕುರಿತು ಐದಾರಾದರೂ ಪ್ರಸಂಗಗಳಿರಬೇಕು.

ವಿಶ್ವೇಶ್ವರಯ್ಯನವರ ವ್ಯಕ್ತಿತ್ವ ಇಂದಿಗೂ ಕನ್ನಡಿಗರಲ್ಲಿ ಭಾರತೀಯರಲ್ಲಿ ಅಚ್ಚರಿ ಗೌರವಗಳನ್ನು ಮೂಡಿಸುವಂಥದ್ದು. ಈಗಿನ ಪರಿಸ್ಥಿತಿಗಳನ್ನು ಗಮನಿಸಿದಾಗ ಇಂಥವರು ನಮ್ಮೊಡನಿದ್ದರೆ ಎಂಬ ಅನುಮಾನ ಮೂಡುತ್ತದೆ. ಇವರ ಬೀದಿದೀಪದ ಕೆಳಗಿನ ಅಧ್ಯಯನ. ಇಂಜಿನಿಯರ್ ಪದವಿ ಗಳಿಕೆ. ದಿವಾನರಾದದ್ದು. ದಿವಾನರಾಗಿ ನಮ್ಮ ನಾಡಿಗೆ ಸೇವೆ ಸಲ್ಲಿಸಿದ್ದು. ಇವರ ನಿಷ್ಠುರರೆನ್ನುವಷ್ಟರ ಮಟ್ಟಿನ ಪ್ರಾಮಾಣಿಕತೆ. ಆದರೆ ಇದರ ಜೊತೆಗಿದ್ದ ದೇಶಪ್ರೇಮ. ವಿಶ್ವೇಶ್ವರಯ್ಯ ಎಂಬ ಹೆಸರು ಮನದಲ್ಲಿ ಮೂಡಿದಾಗ ಈ ವಿಚಾರಗಳು ಹಾಗೇ ಹಾದುಹೋಗುತ್ತವೆ.

"ಉದಾರಚರಿತರು ..." ಪುಸ್ತಕದಲ್ಲಿ ಒಂದು ಪ್ರಸಂಗ ವಿಶ್ವೇಶ್ವರಯ್ಯನವರ ದೇಶಬಾಂಧವರೆಡೆ ಇದ್ದ ಅಭಿಮಾನವನ್ನು ತೋರಿಸುತ್ತದೆ. ನವರಾತ್ರಿಯ ಸಂದರ್ಭದ ಐರೋಪ್ಯ ದರ್ಬಾರಿನ ಮಹೋತ್ಸವದಲ್ಲಿ ಐರೋಪ್ಯರು ಆಹ್ವಾನಿತರಿದ್ದರು. ಇವರೊಡನೆ ನಮ್ಮ ನಾಡಿನವರೂ ದರ್ಬಾರಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಪಾಲ್ಗೊಳ್ಳಬೇಕಿತ್ತು. ಐರೋಪ್ಯರಿಗೋಸ್ಕರ ಮಾತ್ರ ಇನ್ನೂರು ಪೀಠೋಪಕರಣಗಳನ್ನು ತರಿಸುವ ತೀರ್ಮಾನವಾಗಿತ್ತು. ಹಾಗೆ ನೋಡಿದಾಗ ನಮ್ಮ ದೇಶದವರೆಲ್ಲರೂ ನೆಲದ ಮೇಲೆ ಕುಳಿತು, ಐರೋಪ್ಯರು ಮಾತ್ರ ಕುರ್ಚಿಗಳ ಮೇಲೆ ಕೂರುವಂಥ ಸಂದರ್ಭವೇರ್ಪಟ್ಟಿತ್ತು. ವಿಶೇಷವೇನೆಂದರೆ ಐರೋಪ್ಯ ಅಧಿಕಾರಿಗಳು ತಾವು ಮಾತ್ರವಲ್ಲದೆ ತಮ್ಮ ಕುಟುಂಬದವರನ್ನು ತಮ್ಮ ಸೇವಕರನ್ನೂ ಕರೆತರುತ್ತಿದ್ದರು. ಇವರೆಲ್ಲರೂ ಅವರ ತೊಗಲಿನ ಬಣ್ಣದ ದೆಸೆಯಿಂದ ಮೇಲೆ ಕೂರಲು ಸಾಧ್ಯವಾಗುತ್ತಿತ್ತು. ಇದು ಎಂಥಾ ಆಭಾಸವನ್ನು ಮಾಡಬಹುದೆಂದು ಮನಗಂಡ ಅಂದಿನ ದಿವಾನರಾಗಿದ್ದ ವಿಶ್ವೇಶ್ವರಯ್ಯನವರು ಮಹಾರಾಜರಾದ ನಾಲ್ವಡಿ ಕೃಷ್ಣರಾಜ ಒಡೆಯರ ಜೊತೆ ಇದರ ಬಗೆಗಿನ ಮಾತೆತ್ತಿದರು. ಮಹಾರಾಜರು ಇದು ಹಿಂದಿನಿಂದ ನಡೆದು ಬಂದ ರೀತಿಯೆಂದು ಏನೂ ಮಾಡಲಾರದೇ ಹೋದರು. ದರ್ಬಾರಿನ ದಿನ ನೋಡಿದಾಗ ಅಲ್ಲಿ ಕೇವಲ ಇನ್ನೂರಲ್ಲ - ಸಾವಿರಕ್ಕೂ ಹೆಚ್ಚು ಕುರ್ಚಿಗಳನ್ನು ಹಾಕಲಾಗಿತ್ತು. ಇದರಿಂದ ಎಲ್ಲ ಸಭಿಕರೂ ಸಮಾನರಾಗಿ ಕುಳಿತು ದರ್ಬಾರಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಪಾಲ್ಗೊಳ್ಳಬಹುದಿತ್ತು. ಆಗಬಹುದಾಗಿದ್ದಂಥ ಆಭಾಸ ತಪ್ಪಿತು. ಮಹಾರಾಜರಿಗೆ ಸಂತೋಷವಾಗಿ ತಮ್ಮ ದಿವಾನರಿಗೆ ಒಳ್ಳೆಯ ಬಹುಮಾನ ನೀಡಿದರೆಂದು ಕಥೆ.

ಈ ಕಥೆ ವಿಶ್ವೇಶ್ವರಯ್ಯನವರ ಅಭಿಮಾನ ಮತ್ತು ಕಾರ್ಯದಕ್ಷತೆಗಳನ್ನು ತೋರಿಸುತ್ತದೆ. ಇವರು ಕಟ್ಟಿಸಿದ ಕೃಷ್ಣರಾಜಸಾಗರ ಇಂದಿಗೂ ಕೋಟಿಕೋಟಿ ಜನರಿಗೆ ಆಧಾರವಾಗಿದೆ. ಇವರು ದಿವಾನಪದವಿಯನ್ನು ಬಿಟ್ಟುಕೊಟ್ಟ ಕಥೆಯನ್ನು ಇದೇ ಪುಸ್ತಕ ನಿರೂಪಿಸುತ್ತದೆ. ಹಿಂದುಳಿದ ವರ್ಗದ ಜನರಿಗೆ ಕೆಲಸದಲ್ಲಿ ಮೀಸಲಾತಿ ನೀಡಬೇಕೆಂಬ ವಿಚಾರದ ಕಮ್ಮಟ ಮದ್ರಾಸಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಏರ್ಪಾಡಾಗಿತ್ತು. ಈ ಕಮ್ಮಟಕ್ಕೆ ದಿವಾನರಿಗೆ ಆಹ್ವಾನ ಬಂದಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಮಹಾರಾಜರಿಗೆ ಮಾತ್ರ ಬಂದಿತ್ತು. ಮಹಾರಾಜರು ಕರೆದರೂ ಆಹ್ವಾನವಿಲ್ಲವೆಂದು ದಿವಾನರು ಹೋಗಲಿಲ್ಲ. ತಮ್ಮ ದಿವಾನರನ್ನು ವಿಚಾರಿಸದೆ ಉದ್ಯೋಗದಲ್ಲಿ ಹಿಂದುಳಿದ ಜಾತಿಯ ಜನರಿಗೆ ಮೀಸಲಾತಿಯ ಘೋಷಣೆಯನ್ನೂ ಮಹಾರಾಜರು ಹೊರಡಿಸಿದರೆಂದು ಕಾಣುತ್ತದೆ. ರಾಜ್ಯದ ದಿವಾನರಾಗಿದ್ದರೂ ತಮ್ಮನ್ನು ಇಂಥ ಮುಖ್ಯ ವಿಚಾರದಲ್ಲಿ ತೊಡಗಿಸದೆ ಇದ್ದುದರಿಂದ ವಿಶ್ವೇಶ್ವರಯ್ಯನವರಿಗೆ ತಮ್ಮ ಸ್ಥಾನದ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಅಸಮಾಧಾನವಾಯಿತೆಂದು ಕಾಣುತ್ತದೆ. ತಾವೇ ದಿವಾನ ಹುದ್ದೆಗೆ ರಾಜೀನಾಮೆ ನೀಡಿದರು. ಮಹಾರಾಜರೇ ಮೊದಲಾಗಿ ಹಲವರು ಕೇಳಿಕೊಂಡರೂ ವಿಶ್ವೇಶ್ವರಯ್ಯನವರು ತಮ್ಮ ತೀರ್ಮಾನವನ್ನು ಬದಲಾಯಿಸಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಕೆಲಸದ ಕಡೆಯ ದಿನ ಕಛೇರಿಯ ಕಾರಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಮನೆಯಿಂದ ಹೊರಟು ಮರಳುವಾಗ ತಮ್ಮದೇ ವ್ಯವಸ್ಥೆ ಮಾಡಿಕೊಂಡು ಮನೆಗೆ ಬಂದರು.

ಈ ರೀತಿ ಅಗ್ನಿಸದೃಶವ್ಯಕ್ತಿತ್ವವುಳ್ಳವರು ಸರ್. ಎಂ. ವಿಯವರು. ಇವರಿಗೆ ಸಂದ ಭಾರತರತ್ನದಿಂದ ಆ ಪ್ರಶಸ್ತಿಗೇ ಗೌರವಬಂದಿತೆಂದರೆ ಅತಿಶಯೋಕ್ತಿಯೇನಾಗಲಾರದು. ಇಂಥವರ ಸ್ಮರಣೆ ನಮ್ಮ ಜೀವನಗಳಿಗೂ ಸ್ಫೂರ್ತಿ ಸಿಗುತ್ತದೆ.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Why do such things happen? - Hindu killed while meditating in park honored

Akhil Chopra was killed when he was apparently meditating in a Houston park. His boss at work said that Akhil Chopra was quite deep in meditation; so deep as to not even hear a robber. The robber shot him at point blank range.

I really find it difficult to understand how someone could shoot an innocent person and that too when he was meditating peacefully. What sort of a crazed person could this be?

But the deed has been done. I don't know if the perpetrator of the crime has any remorse or not. But I feel a deep sense of sorrow at this incident, though I don't know Akhil Chopra.

What has humankind come to? On one hand we have senseless violence like this whereas you have such spontaneous outpouring of concern from the other end. But even one act like this tarnishes the entire society as society is partly, if not wholly, responsible for the creation of such criminals.

All I can do is to pray for the peace of the departed soul. But questions remain. Why did this happen? What sort of a person could have done this? How can we prevent such things?

History has known tyrants and sadists of an even worse nature. One example I read about in an Amar Chitra Katha book is that of the Huna tyrant Mihirakula. When his army was navigating a mountain pass, an elephant accidentally slipped and plunged to its death. This man, instead of expressing concern, was intoxicated. He then began pushing more elephants so that he could have his 'high'. What kind of a man could that be? There have been many tyrants throughout history in Attila, Genghiz Khan, Idi Amin, Hitler, Stalin and even in Mahmud Ghazni, Ghauri and so on.

An article I read on talks about recent research that people are not happy just because of their material possessions but are so because of their relative affluence over other people they know. If this is true, isn't this a sad commentary on human condition? If their happiness can be made "higher" by making someone less happier, people end up doing that. Is that not the seed of sadism?

Humans endowed with their so-called intellects need more avenues to feel happy and engaged. Their intellects give them new ways too. Drugs are one way. Torturing fellow beings is another. But animals indulge in violence only when they need food or are defending themselves. Aren't animals better than such humans? So isn't calling a particularly cruel man an animal wrong?

The perpetrator could probably be just a stupid teenager, getting his highs on video games or from violent movies. In video games one can kill and die without any real side-effects. In America, it is pretty easy to get a gun (at least much easier than in India). So a gun-toting teenager is walking in a Houston park. He sees this poor guy meditating; he decides in an impulse to show his power (to himself or to his accompanying friend) over Akhil Chopra by killing him with his gun. He presses the trigger a couple of times and the act is done. A video game or a movie could have caused the mind of the perpetrator to be so numb to reality that Akhil Chopra's death might not even have registered in his mind. He probably got a small "high" from this. All this for a small "high"? Akhil's family devastated because of one man's high?

Violent movies and video games are partly to blame. They are only partly to blame because they wouldn't have been made if there was no demand. But crime has existed even before movies and video games. Did not these tyrants exist before these technical advancements? As I think and write through this, I am more and more reminded of the analysis that I read in Freakonomics. The factors that make a person are first and foremost genetic. Upbringing is secondary. But then there are the unknowns. In Freakonomics especially, we see a teen gang member becoming a professor, whereas someone from a "better" family turned out to be the Unabomber! It becomes an increasingly difficult problem to solve intellectually. It looks like we can seek refuge only in Karma and adRShTa for an explanation.

Akhil's episode reminds me of Lord Krishna's departure. When Krishna was meditating in a forest, a hunter shoots an arrow at Krishna's foot taking it to be the mouth of a deer. Krishna died a slow death from the wound, but not before consoling the hunter. While the whole episode is immensely saddening, Akhil's departure from the world shows how great a soul he must be (not must have been because the soul is immortal).

May Almighty grant peace to the departed soul!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Sampada | Sampada

Sampada | Sampada

ಕನ್ನಡದಲ್ಲಿ ಈ ರೀತಿಯ ತಾಣ ಎಂದಾದರೂ ಕಾಣಸಿಗುವುದೇ ಎಂದು ಹಾತೊರೆಯುತ್ತಿದ್ದೆ. ಹರಿಪ್ರಸಾದ್ ನಾಡಿಗ್ (ಮತ್ತು ಸಂಗಡಿಗರು?) ಒಳ್ಳೆಯ ಕೆಲಸವನ್ನೇ ಮಾಡಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ನಾನೂ ಒಬ್ಬ ಸದಸ್ಯನಾಗಿದ್ದೇನೆ ಈಗ. ಕನ್ನಡಪ್ರೇಮಿಗಳೆಲ್ಲರೂ ಇಲ್ಲಿ ತಮ್ಮ ಹೆಸರುಗಳನ್ನು ನೋಂದಾಯಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲೇಬೇಕು.

ಹಿತವಾಗಿ, ಕಣ್ಣಿಗೆ ಹೊಡೆಯದ ರೀತಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಪುಟದ ವಿನ್ಯಾಸ ಮಾಡಿದ್ದಾರೆ.

ನನಗೆ ಅತ್ಯಂತ ಸಂತೋಷವಾಗುತ್ತಿರುವುದು ನಮ್ಮ ಕನ್ನಡಿಗರೊಡನೆ ಕನ್ನಡದಲ್ಲಿ ಚರ್ಚೆ ಮಾಡುವುದರಿಂದ. ಬೇರೆಡೆಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಇಂಗ್ಲೀಷಿಗೇ ಮೊರೆ ಹೋಗಬೇಕಿತ್ತು. ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಹಾಗಲ್ಲ. ಅಂತೂ ಕನ್ನಡ ತಾಯಿ ಕನ್ನಡಿಗರ ಕಣ್ತೆರೆಸಿದ್ದಾಳೆ.

ಏನು ಮಾಡದೇ ಇದ್ದಲ್ಲಿ ಕನ್ನಡ ಬೇಗನೆ ನಾಶವಾಗುವುದು ಎಂದು ಒಬ್ಬರು ವಿಶಾದದೊಂದಿಗೆ ಎಚ್ಚರಿಸಿದ್ದರು. ಸಂಪದದಂಥ ಪ್ರಯತ್ನಗಳು ಆ ಮಾತನ್ನು ಸುಳ್ಳುಮಾಡಲು ಹೊರಟಿವೆ. ಆ ನಾಶದ ಮಾತು ಸುಳ್ಳಾಗಲಿ. ಸಂಪದ ಕನ್ನಡದೊಂದಿಗೆ ಉಳಿಯಲಿ. ಉಳಿದು ಬಾಳಲಿ. ಬಾಳಿ ಬೆಳೆಯಲಿ. ಬೆಳೆದು ಹೆಮ್ಮರವಾಗಿ ಕನ್ನಡಿಗರೆಂಬ ಹಕ್ಕಿಗಳ ಕನ್ನಡತನಕ್ಕೆ ಆಶ್ರಯ ನೀಡಲಿ.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Wardriving in Bangalore

For the uninitiated you can find a link to wardriving here

Yesterday I was in my car reading a presentation on my laptop. Suddenly I had the bright idea of switching my Wireless radio on and see what would happen. As I travel via MG Road everyday, that was where I did some harmless checking. Well, I shouldn't be calling it wardriving as I just wanted to see how many WiFi networks were in Bangalore.

As I switched on my wireless radio near Trinity Circle (Ulsoor road to be precise), I caught at least 4-5 networks. Most of them didn't have a WEP lock icon next to them. I even tried getting in a couple and I would have succeeded in browsing had my car not continued to move. Some have just the usual NETGEAR and Linksys SSIDs without bothering to do anything.

Some however did have WEP and I couldn't get on some because of some problem. There was a service provider whose wireless portal I was able to access.

The Capitol hotel on Raj Bhavan road has a free for all network. If anybody needs to get some free browsing done, sip a coffee at the India Coffee House next door and I am sure you will be able to get on the internet. I didn't even try and I know I could have succeeded easily here.

Even near older areas like Malleswaram, I could find one or two networks.

I for one was glad to see that there were a lot of people gone WiFi in Bangalore. I will probably try this again in a couple of days and see what has changed. Also, I should try this in a couple of other areas of Bangalore to estimate how tech-savvy Bangalore really is.

Monday, August 01, 2005

The Big Gulp from Wired

Wired 13.08: The Big Gulp

"Water, water everywhere
Nor any drop to drink"

rues the Ancient Mariner. If he had this system, he probably wouldn't have that much of a problem. This system was tested on water from an open ditch in Jakarta and it produced water deemed drinkable by the Environmental Protection Agency. NASA is thinking of using this in their missions as this will eliminate a lot of the water carrying problem. I wonder how this system will cope with Bangalore's notorious VrishabhAvati !

Anyway, one thing that was not mentioned by Water Security, the company that makes this system, is how much the system costs. The cost of clean water is apparently 3c per gallon but what about the chemicals used in it ? Does their manufacturing involve toxic chemicals/byproducts? That should have also been commented on by the piece's author.

Nevertheless, this looks like it will be a boon to parts of the world where an acute shortage of drinking water persists whether it rains or not!

Looking at the growth in population and the depletion of water resources to such an extent, it seems to me that the next big conflict will be for water. Right now it is just about oil. But fifty years from now, with the population at an unprecedented level, there is bound to be competition for water. A big problem in addition to the increase in population is a corresponding decrease in the groundwater levels - which is really alarming.

In Bangalore, especially, I personally know that we could hit water at 100ft from the surface less than 10 years ago. Now I've seen people dig close to 1000 ft unsuccessfully. Digging to that extent is definitely illegal - but who seems to care? A person owning a plot of land needs water and can't depend on the city water company. What does he do ? He drills into the earth. This greed across all sections of society has depleted the water levels.

Even in villages, farmers now grow cash crops that are not all natural to the climate. So what do they do ? They dig borewells and pump out water like it is nobody's business. And when the wells go dry, well - what else? How do you blend human need with concern for the environment?

Rainwater harvesting is a great solution to this problem. To its credit, the Karnataka government is making it mandatory for all the new houses to have a rainwater harvesting scheme in place. Villages also get this with assistance from the government. But people should feel that this problem is theirs. Only then can a real solution be implemented.

Research on systems such as the one from Water Security should be carried on across the world's labs. For nothing is more necessary for our existence than air and water.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


संस्कृतॆन ब्लाग् कृत्वा बहूनि दिनानि गतानि । गतसप्ताहॆ वा तत्पूर्वं मद्गृहसमीपस्थितमहॊदयॆन गृहं प्रति आगतम् । स तु राष्ट्रिय-स्वयंसेवकसङ्घस्य सदस्येष्वॆकः । संस्कृतमजानन्नपि तस्य संस्कृतविषयॆ महती भक्तिः वर्ततॆ । महाभागॆनैव सुधर्मापत्रिकायाः विचारः उक्तः ।

न जानामि कियन्तः जनाः ऎतत् पठन्तीति । तथापि लिखामि यतः आगामिषु दिवसॆषु कॆनापि ऎतत् पठ्यतॆ इति विश्वासमिदानीमपि करॊमि । तदस्तु ।

सुधर्मॆति संस्कृतदिनपत्रिका मैसूरुनगरतः गतॆषु उपचत्वारिंशद्वर्षेषु प्रकटिता वर्ततॆ । आम् । दिनपत्रिका । न मासपत्रिका । नापि संवत्सरपत्रिका । सम्पादक-महाभागॆन संस्कृतगङ्गावतक-भगीरथसदृशॆनॊत्तमं कार्यमिदं क्रियत अद्यापि । मया विशेषसञ्चिकायां प्राप्तायां सम्पादकः विलपति "न कॆनापि लॆखनानि लिख्यन्तॆ । सर्वकारॊऽपि साहाय्यं न यच्छति । कदापि धनिकॆन संस्कृत-प्रॆम्णा धनसाहाय्यं प्राप्यतॆ । ग्राहक-पाठकानां सङ्ख्या न्यूनास्ति । तथापि गीर्वाणभारत्याः सेवायां रतः पितृवाक्यं परिपालयन् कर्यॆऽस्मिन् मग्नोऽस्मी"ति ।

सुधर्मायाः नाम मय श्रुतपूर्वमेव । परमजानन् यतः ग्राहकत्वं स्वीकुर्यामिति ऎतावत्कालपर्यंतं तूष्णीमासन् । महाभागॆन यॆन पत्रिकाविचार उक्तः स एव विशेषाङ्कस्य मुद्रणानि मह्यं दत्तवान् । अमेरिकॆ मम मित्राणि संस्कृतासक्तानि सन्तीति मत्वा तॆभ्यः पञ्चावृत्तयः मह्यमददत् । प्रेषणीयानि मया ।

संस्कृतपत्रिकास्तीति विषयः नितरां प्रमॊददायकः । परं मुद्रादोषाः आसन्नेव । सम्पादकॆन श्रमः कृतः । तथापि ऎतदभवत् । कथं न भवॆत् ? असहायॆन एकाकिना सर्वं कर्तुं कथं शक्यतॆ ? एतच्चिन्तयित्वैव धनसाहाय्यं लेखनसाहाय्यं च करोमीति कृतविचारोऽस्मि ।

संस्कृतबन्धी ! कृपया सुधर्मायाः ग्राहकत्वं स्वीकुरु ! दॆवभाषा पुनः लॊकभाषा भवतु । संस्कृतस्य मौनपूजनेनालम् ! सम्भाषण-लेखनाद्युपचारैरर्चयामः ! अस्मदुत्तमविचारस्य निवेदनं कुर्मः ।

जीयात् गीर्वाणभारती । जयतु संस्कृतम् । जयतु मनुकुलम् ।

Monday, July 25, 2005

Tagore in America - Sepia Mutiny

Tagore in America - Sepia Mutiny

This is a very interesting article to say the least. I kind of knew that Tagore had visited the US but I did not know that it had been so well documented.

The writer of this piece Amardeep Singh has done a great job in making a nice readable synopsis of a book.

On another note, I've been checking Indian blogs out now and after reading them I have to echo Saint Tyagaraja's words - "endarO mahAnubhAvulu, andariki nA vandanamulu"

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Flying in India - Shivkar Talpade?

This is a very interesting article which speaks of Shivkar Talpade pioneering flight a full 8 years before the Wright brothers did (in 1895). Apparently Shivkar's research was based on Samskrit treatises on vaimAnikashAstra. It would be great if this had been true. I would believe it completely had Stephen Knapp's name not been mentioned.

Stephen Knapp has a web site that is pro-Hindu. But it also claims that Taj Mahal was a Shiva temple with pretty poor proof. Any pattern is dubbed 'vedic'. That is another thing I hate nowadays. People are bringing the Veda to everyday life to the extent that soon we'll have vedic tea, vedic coffee and vedic TV. Why the urge to prefix everything under the sun with vedic?

The veda is supreme for me even if it does not talk about quarks or the distance from the earth to the sun or the string theory. It is like a mother to me even if it calls the sun rising and setting. Because the physical realm is not where the veda rules but in the spiritual. What else can declare in words that words and mind cannot reach it ? "yato vAcho nivartante aprApya manasA saha". That, is the realm of the veda and not something like vedic nuclear science or vedic toothpaste. Study of the veda traditionally and with a shraddhA-strengthened intellect should let us into the secrets of the veda.

What can you say to those who think that the puruSha sUkta has coded the distance between the earth and the sun?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Meat/Beef eating and Dharma

I am a member of a particular mailing list which had discussions on how Mecca/Medina were Hindu temples of a bygone era. The proof given was not rigorous but something that seemed to be made up. One thing led to another and we had a discussion on whether beef was eaten during the vedic times or not. At a certain point, I was especially irritated when someone mentioned that "if a person eats beef, he ceases to be Hindu". That got me writing this post.

To make things clear, I have been a strict lacto-vegetarian all my life and I have no intention of changing that.

I, for one, will not be bothered if it is conclusively shown that people in vedic times ate beef. I won't be bothered even if it were shown that beef was never eaten. My contention is simply that sanAtana dharma won't be affected if it is shown either way and one will not cease to be a Hindu just because he/she ate beef. karma will accumulate and bad health will also result - but I am not going there.

What constitutes Dharma externally has changed over the ages. Beef eating for instance did not make it adharma in the vedic ages. But after the middle ages (circa 12th century CE, I think) and islamic invasion, beef eating and cow slaughter began to be considered adharma. It could also be the case that in our pastoral culture, the cow came to be regarded very highly and so could not be killed. Whatever the reason that made it adharma, it seems to be the case that beef eating existed during vedic times.

There is one particular proof to show that BhavabhUti, one of Samskrit's greatest poets, mentions sage VasiShTha eating beef. The sage actually requests for some tender meat of a young calf as his teeth were getting old. This proof in itself is quite significant. Because, why would BhavabhUti show vasiShTha eating beef? Did he have a blatant agenda like DN Jha (author of the much maligned book on beef eating in the vedas) who is a known leftist? As chroniclers of a particular era, poets and dramatists provide great contribution to history. How else can we see dharma in action if we can't have stories of people that actually followed it? It is from that perspective that I gave this example. And if BhavabhUti has given an example, it has considerable weight and needs our attention.

I say, "if a Hindu in a bygone era ate beef, so be it". I personally may or may not want to do that. But the thing to know is that it won't affect Dharma mainly because Dharma, though having external representations, is mainly mental, intellectual and spiritual.

I have a question to people who read this. Who is a better person ? A beef eating Dalai Lama or an especially harmful vegetarian? So what I am trying to say is even though meat eating is considered rAjasika and generally considered a bad habit, a meat eater may show better concern towards his fellow beings than a vegetarian because of his adherence to dharma. Who was more virtuous ? The brAhmaNa kaushika or the butcher dharmavyAdha?

Of course, eating meat constantly may cause a rAjasika mind to develop. Also eating meat causes more harm to the environment than not eating it. But these are different arguments from whether a person ate meat in the past. For example - it is the way of Eskimos to eat fish. Can you expect them to eat anything else? Are they worse people because they eat fish? I am sure Ramakrishna Paramahamsa ate fish and so did Swami Vivekananda. So, are they worse than a south Indian vegetarian brahmin who spent his life criticising non-vegetarians?

Someone also mentioned that there was no meat eating in the vedas. To them I can say - strive to be better informed. There have been yajnas where the fat (vapa) from a pashu has been used. The people who conduct the yajna have to partake some meat (not a great amount - but some). Such yajnas have happened even recently. And please don't give me the Kaliyuga answer. The concept of yugas as a means to perform or not perform some actions are, in my opinion, mere arthavAda. I am with the mImAMskas on this - "na chAnIdRshaM jagat kadAchit" - which means "the world (or more specifically its inhabitants) was never different from the current world". But that needs a separate post.

Anyway, modern Hindus, especially those heavily influenced by the RSS/VHP, become very touchy when such issues are discussed. (Note: I am sympathetic to RSS/VHP but they have to understand that sanAtana Dharma is not a monolithic religion like Islam) I say to them, your Dharma is indeed greater than these petty concerns. Why do you even worry about this? Do you, instead, perform all your daily duties - social and spiritual? For example, if somebody calls himself a brahmin, he has to perform sandhyAvandanaM thrice a day at the minimum. That will be his dharma. Of course there are vishESha dharmas, but it is left to the individuals to identify those. Do these people do their regular dharma? Are they honest? I will call someone a better Hindu if he/she performs these activities than go out and shout one's throat hoarse over an event that has been sensationalized.

So, should we just sit at home doing our individual activities without going to the aid of our dharma? Should we practise unconditional ahimsA like Gandhi?

My answer is a loud NO! Our dharma advocates ahimsA - but not pacifism. Krishna told Arjuna - "yudhyasva vigatajvaraH". He addressed Arjuna as "parantapa" (scorcher of foes). But those become vishESha dharmas. For instance, vasiShTha ate the meat of a dog from a chaNDAla as the former was starving. He made prAyashchitta after that. At that point dehadhAraNa (sustenance of life in the body) was more important than anything else. So, if push comes to shove, it will be expected of everybody to contribute in a similar manner. Our conscience is the decision maker. That is the final court of appeal.

One thing I have noticed is that Dharma comes in hierarchies. For example, suppose a person sees his criminal son committing a gruesome murder and is unable to prevent it. His citizen-dharma asks him to turn him over to the police whereas the dharma of a father calls for his child's protection. In this case, the citizen's dharma is more important than that of a father and so, exhorts him to send his son to jail. This is decided by the person's buddhi. But it isn't simple all the time. For example, Krishna says in the gItA - "svadharme nidhanaM shreyaH paradharmo bhayAvahaH". - "It is better to die performing one's duty than doing someone else's which is more dangerous". But what is our svadharma? Is it static all the time? Does it change? In my opinion - all the time. For example, a man can be son, father, husband, teacher, soldier, citizen, human being - all at the same time. What dharma to follow at what time is the question. This for anybody (at least myself) is difficult to answer. But once dharma is followed it brings us long lasting happiness and satisfaction. At no point of time will a dhArmika be ashamed of one's action. That, in my opinion, is how to identify dharma.

So is it still OK to sit back when people are denigrating our deities?

No! Denigrating deities like Ganesha and Shiva by the likes of Wendy and her students should definitely be not tolerated and should be protested. We should strive to educate them and fight their malicious intentions. But don't lose track of your path by helping some one else on the way.

But if somebody shows conclusively (this is also left for us to decide) that a sage ate beef a while ago, it should not be our problem. If modern RSS/VHP Hindus are so touchy about this, they should know that they are betraying the diverse character of the Hindu society that they claim to represent. In fact, by being very touchy and protesting about these things, we have unfortunately become the enemy we love to hate.

Hinduism is not a monolithic religion like Islam or Christianity. There are hundreds of denominations, millions of deities and thousands of gurus. How do you choose what sanAtana dharma is from these? Vedas can be claimed to be the bedrock of Hinduism and yet you have tAntric people claiming that their Agamas are higher than the vedas. Are they not Hindus? Of course they are. And this is what people tend to forget when they try to make a monolithic religion out of Hinduism.

I hope I have made myself clear in where I stand on this. I should write more on this to give form to my thoughts. I will post references from the veda when I get the chance.

|| iti sham ||

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

ತಮಿಳು ಪುರಾಣ

ನನ್ನ ಹಿಂದಿನ ಬ್ಲಾಗ್-ಲೇಖನ ಸುಲೇಖ ಜಾಲತಾಣದಲ್ಲಿ ಪ್ರಕಟವಾದ ಲೇಖನದ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಆಗಿತ್ತು. ಇದು ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ಅದರ ಮೇಲೆಯೇ ಆಗಿದೆ. ಆದರೂ ಕನ್ನಡದಲ್ಲಿ ಬರೆದು ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ದಿನಗಳಾದ್ದರಿಂದ ಕನ್ನಡದಲ್ಲೇ ಬರೆಯುತ್ತಿದ್ದೇನೆ.

ಈ ರಾಜೀವ ಮಲ್ಹೋತ್ರಾ ಎಂಬುವರ ಲೇಖನದ ಮೇಲೆ ಪ್ರತಿಕ್ರಿಯೆಗಳು ಬಂದವು. ತಮಾಷೆಯ ವಿಷಯವೇನೆಂದರೆ ಇವರಲ್ಲಿ ಯಾರೋ ಪಾರ್ತಿಬ ಎಂಬುವನು ತಮಿಳಿಗೆ ಆದ ಕಾಲ್ಪನಿಕ ಅವಮಾನವನ್ನು ಮನಸ್ಸಿಗೆ ಹಚ್ಚಿಕೊಂಡು ಬಹಳ ಗಲಾಟೆ ಎಬ್ಬಿಸಿದ್ದ. ಒಂದು ವಿಷಯವನ್ನು ಮಾತ್ರ ಹೇಳಬೇಕು - ತಮಿಳರಿಗೆ ವಿಷಯ ತಿಳಿದಿರಬಹುದು ಅಥವಾ ತಿಳಿಯದೇ ಇರಬಹುದು. ಆದರೆ ಅವರೊಡನೆ ಅರ್ಥಪೂರ್ಣವಾಗಿ ವಾದ ಮಾಡುವುದು ಬಹಳ ಕಷ್ಟ.

ತಮಿಳನ್ನು ದಲಿತರ ಜೊತೆಗೆ ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತ ತುಳಿದಿದೆಯಂತೆ. ಎಷ್ಟು ತಮಾಷೆಯಾಗಿ ಈ ವಿಷಯ ಕಂಡರೂ ಬಹಳಷ್ಟು ಜನ ಇದನ್ನು ನಂಬಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಈ ರೀತಿ ವಾದ ಮಾಡಿದ ಪಾರ್ತಿಬನಿಗೆ ತನ್ನ ಹೆಸರು ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತದ ಪಾರ್ಥಿವದಿಂದ ಬಂದದ್ದು ಎಂದು ಕೂಡ ತಿಳಿಯದೇ ಹೋದ. ಇರಲಿ - ಈ ರೀತಿಯ ಜನಗಳ ಒಂದು ವಿಚಾರ ಸರಣಿಯಿದೆ. ಅದೇನೆಂದರೆ -
೧. ಆರ್ಯ ಎಂಬ ಜನಾಂಗವೊಂದು ಬೇರೆ ದೇಶದಿಂದ ಬಂದಿದೆ.
೨. ಅದು ಬಂದು ಭಾರತದ (ಅಲ್ಲ, ಅಲ್ಲ, ಪ್ರಾಚೀನ ಇಂಡಿಯಾದ) ಮೂಲನಿವಾಸಿಗಳಾದ ದ್ರಾವಿಡರನ್ನು ದಕ್ಷಿಣಕ್ಕೆ ಅಟ್ಟಿತು. ಅವರ ಮತ್ತು ಅವರ ಭಾಷೆಯ ಮೇಲೆ ಅಧಿಕಾರ ನಡೆಸಿತು.
೩. ಆರ್ಯರ ಭಾಷೆಯಾದ ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತವು ಈ ದಬ್ಬಾಳಿಕೆಯ ಸಂಕೇತ.
೪. ಆದ್ದರಿಂದ ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತವನ್ನು ನಾಶಮಾಡಬೇಕು.
೫. ತಮಿಳು ಶುದ್ಧವಾದ ತಾನೇ ತಾನಾಗಿ ಉದ್ಭವಿಸಿದ ಭಾಷೆ. ಇದು ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತಕ್ಕಿಂತಲೂ ಉತ್ಕೃಷ್ಟ.
೬. ನಮ್ಮ ಸಂಘದ ಕಾವ್ಯಗಳು ಎಲ್ಲ ನಷ್ಟವಾಗಿವೆ -(ಅದಕ್ಕೆ ಪ್ರತಿಕೂಲ ವಾತಾವರಣ ಮತ್ತು ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತಗಳೇ ಕಾರಣ!). ಇಲ್ಲದಿದ್ದರೆ ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತಕಾವ್ಯಗಳಿಗಿಂತ ಚೆನ್ನಾಗಿ ನಮ್ಮ ಕಾವ್ಯಗಳೇ ಇವೆ.
೭. ಮೇಲಿನ ಆರು ಅಂಶಗಳು ಆಕ್ಷರಶಃ ನಿಜ. ಯಾರು ಏನೇ ಹೇಳಿದರು, ಎಷ್ಟು ಸಾಕ್ಷಿ ತೋರಿಸಿದರೂ ನಾವು ಅವರ ಮಾತನ್ನು ನಂಬುವುದಿಲ್ಲ.

ಮೇಲಿನ ೭ ಅಂಶಗಳು ಇವರ ವಾದದ ಸಾರಂಶವನ್ನು ಹೊಂದಿವೆ. ನೀವು ಏನೇ ಸಾಕ್ಷಿ ತೋರಿಸಿದರೂ ಅವರ ಏಳನೇ point ಇದೆಯಲ್ಲಾ, ಅದನ್ನು ಮೀರಲು ಸಾಧ್ಯವಾಗುವುದಿಲ್ಲ. ಇಲ್ಲಿ ತಮಿಳಿನ ಪ್ರೇಮಕ್ಕಿಂತ ಹೆಚ್ಚಾಗಿ ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತದ ಬಗೆಗಿನ ದ್ವೇಷ ಎದ್ದು ಕಾಣುತ್ತದೆ. ಈ ರೀತಿ ವಾದ ಮಾಡುವ ಜನರೊಂದಿಗೆ ವಾದ ಮಾಡಲು ಸಾಧ್ಯವಾಗುವುದಿಲ್ಲ.

ಇಂದು ಕಛೇರಿಗೆ ಬರುವ ಸಮಯದಲ್ಲಿ - ಪಂಡಿತರೂ ಸಜ್ಜನರೂ ಆದ ಮಹನೀಯರೊಡನೆ ಇದರ ಬಗ್ಗೆಯೇ ದೂರವಾಣಿ ಚರ್ಚೆ ನಡೆಸಿದೆ. ಅವರು ಹೇಳುವ ಪ್ರಕಾರ - ತಮಿಳಿಗೂ ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತವೇ ಮೂಲ. ಅಥವಾ - ತಮಿಳಿಗೂ ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತಕ್ಕೂ ವೈಷಮ್ಯಕ್ಕಿಂತ ಹೆಚ್ಚಾಗಿ ಸಾಮ್ಯವೇ ಕಾಣುತ್ತದೆ ಎಂದು. ಇದರ ಜೊತೆಗೆ ನಮಗೇ ತಿಳಿದಂತೆ ತಮಿಳಿನ ಮಹಾಕಾವ್ಯವೆನಿಸಿಕೊಂಡ ಸಿಲಪ್ಪದಿಕಾರಂ ಗ್ರಂಥದಲ್ಲಿ ವೇದಗಳ ಉಲ್ಲೇಖ, ವಿಷ್ಣುಪೂಜೆಯ ಉಲ್ಲೇಖವೆಲ್ಲವೂ ಇದೆ. ಇದರ ಜೊತೆಗೆ ಭರತಮುನಿಯ ನಾಟ್ಯಶಾಸ್ತ್ರದ ಉಲ್ಲೇಖವೂ ಹಾಗೆಯೇ ಬರುತ್ತದೆಯಂತೆ. ಹೀಗಿರುವಾಗ ತಮಿಳು ಎಂದು ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತವನ್ನು ದ್ವೇಷಿಸಿತ್ತು?

ಅಷ್ಟೇ ಅಲ್ಲದೆ ತಮಿಳಿನ ಕಾವ್ಯಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತಕ್ಕಿಂತ ಭಿನ್ನವಾದ ಅಂಶಗಳು ಕಡಿಮೆಯೇ ಎಂದು ಹೇಳಬಹುದು. ತಮಿಳುನಾಡಿನಲ್ಲೇ ಹಲವು ದೇವಾಲಯಗಳಿರುವುದು. ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತಕ್ಕೂ ಸನಾತನ ಧರ್ಮಕ್ಕೂ ಅವಿನಾಭಾವ ಸಂಬಂಧವಿದೆ. ದೇವಾಲಯಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತದಲ್ಲಿ ಪೂಜೆ ನಡೆಸುತ್ತಿರಲಿಲ್ಲವೇ? ಹೌದು, ಶ್ರೀವೈಷ್ಣವರ ನಾಲಾಯಿರ ದಿವ್ಯಪ್ರಬಂಧವನ್ನು ವೇದಸಮವಾಗಿಯೇ ಕಾಣುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಆದರೆ ಅವರು ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತ ದ್ವೇಷಿಗಳೇ? ಅರವತ್ತುಮೂರು ನಾಯನ್ಮಾರ್ (ಶಿವಭಕ್ತರ) ಗಳ ಚರಿತ್ರೆಯನ್ನೊಳಗೊಂಡ "ಪೆರಿಯಪುರಾಣ" ಕೂಡ ಶಿವನನ್ನು ವೇದಪ್ರಿಯನೆಂದೇ ಹೊಗಳುತ್ತದೆ. ವೇದಗಳು ತಮಿಳಿನವೇ?

ಹೀಗೆ ನೋಡಿದಾಗ ತಮಿಳಿಗೂ ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತಕ್ಕೂ ನಡುವೆ ದ್ವೇಷವನ್ನು ಕಲ್ಪಿಸಿದ್ದು ಹತ್ತೊಂಭತ್ತನೆಯ ಶತಮಾನದ ಮಧ್ಯದಲ್ಲಿ. ಕ್ರೈಸ್ತ ಮತ ಪ್ರಚಾರಕರಾದ ಹಲವು ಪಾದ್ರಿಗಳು ತಮಿಳಿನ ಕೆಲಸವನ್ನು ಕೈಗೊಳ್ಳುವಂತೆ ಮಾಡಿ ಸನಾತನ ಧರ್ಮದಲ್ಲಿ ಒಡಕು ಮೂಡಿಸಲು ಯತ್ನಿಸಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಇವರ ಕೆಲಸವೇ ನಂತರ ಬಂದ ಮತಿಗೇಡಿ ದ್ರಾವಿಡಪಕ್ಷದವರಿಗೆ ಮೂಲಸಾಮಗ್ರಿಯನ್ನು ಒದಗಿಸಿದ್ದು. ದೇಶವಿಭಜನೆಯನ್ನು ಮತ್ತೆ ಮಾಡುವಷ್ಟು ಮಟ್ಟಕ್ಕೆ ಈ ಮೂಢಾಂದೋಲನ ಬಂದಿತ್ತು.

ಒಂದು ಮಾತನ್ನು ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಹೇಳಬೇಕು. ನಾನು ತಮಿಳಿನ ವಿರುದ್ಧವಲ್ಲ. ಎಲ್ಲ ಭಾಷೆಗಳ ಹಾಗೆ ಅದೂ ಒಂದು. ಒಳ್ಳೆಯ ಕಾವ್ಯಗಳನ್ನು ಹೊಂದಿದೆ. ಹಲವು ತಮಿಳು ಜನರು ನನ್ನ ಮಿತ್ರರು. ಹಲವು ತಮಿಳು ಚಿತ್ರಗಳನ್ನು ನಾನು ನೋಡಿದ್ದೇನೆ, ಮೆಚ್ಚಿದ್ದೇನೆ ಕೂಡ. ತಮಿಳುನಾಡಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಓಡಾಡಿದ್ದೇನೆ. ಜನರೆಲ್ಲ ಒಳ್ಳೆಯವರೇ. ಆದರೆ ಈ ರೀತಿಯ ದುರಭಿಮಾನವನ್ನು ಸಹಿಸುವುದು ಕಷ್ಟ. ಯಾರೇನೇ ಹೇಳಿದರು "ಉಲಘಮೆಲ್ಲಾ ತಮಿಳ್" ಎಂದು ತಮ್ಮ ಮಾತನ್ನೇ ಹೇಳುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಈ ದುರಭಿಮಾನವನ್ನು ತೊರೆದರೆ ತಮಿಳು ತಾಯಿಗೇ ಸಂತೋಷವಾಗುವುದು.

ನಾನು ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತದ ಕಟ್ಟಾಭಿಮಾನಿಯೂ ಅಲ್ಲ. ಆದರೆ ಆ ಭಾಷೆಯ ಸವಿಯನ್ನು ಬಲ್ಲವರೇ ಬಲ್ಲರು. ಎಲ್ಲ ಭಾಷೆಗಳಿಗೂ ಅವುಗಳವೇ ಆದ ಪ್ರಯೋಜನಗಳಿವೆ. ಇಲ್ಲದಿದ್ದರೆ ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತ ಮತ್ತು ತಮಿಳಿನ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಕನ್ನಡದಲ್ಲೇಕೆ ಬರೆಯಬೇಕಿತ್ತು?

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Geopolitics and Sanskrit Phobia by Rajiv Malhotra on Sulekha

Geopolitics and Sanskrit Phobia by Rajiv Malhotra on Sulekha

A very interesting read (a trifle long). One part I would like to quote is this -

There are pragmatic reasons behind the intensifying clash of civilizations, and ideology may often be a weapon rather than the underlying cause: Only one billion out of the six billion people in the world today live at Western levels of consumption, but by mid century most of the ten billion people (projected population level by mid century) will mimic Western consumerist lifestyles, and this will further pressure the environment, resources, capital and labor markets.

Looking at this piece, I thought for a moment that Malhotra was exhorting the world to cast away Western consumerist lifestyles. IMO, western consumerist lifestyles have proved to be very harmful to the environment. Untrammeled greed and the desire to make oneself more and more comfortable regardless of what it may cost the world are characteristics of this malady. This leads to trends such as the protracted use of fossil fuels that harm the atmosphere, uncontrolled mining, denuding tropical forests (especially in the Third world), and other such acts. Even if environmental concern is reflected, it is limited more often than not to their own homelands without even considering that their lifestyle is causing a strain on natural resources elsewhere in the world.

The end consumer may not even be educated enough to recognize that he/she is in fact the perpetrator of such an environmental tragedy.

But in the next paragraph itself - Malhotra enters geopolitics again. But of course - this article speaks of Geopolitics even before Samskrit.

BTW, the Adi Hastings that this article mentions had visited Samskrita Bharati, an organization solely dedicated to the spread of spoken Samskrit. He was treated so well by the people there, I heard and yet, he chose to continue to see the activities of Samskrita Bharati via a communalistic lens. People in Samskrita Bharati felt very bad when their hospitality was repaid with a hostile (and incorrect, I may add) thesis.

I've been thinking on similar lines on how much a language influences our thinking. Samskrit and Samskriti are indeed inseparable.

On an entirely different note (slightly related to language and the culture it reflects), I see people in India ending their emails with "Warm regards". In India, especially in South India, it is warm throughout the year. It is considered hospitality when people are served cool (even cold) beverages on hot days. How would "warm regards" work on a very hot day?

In Indian literature, shItala or coolness is what is much desired because of the prevalent climatic conditions. Likewise, in the West, warm feelings are the norm. The "warm regards" phenomenon is what happens when a language such as English gains international currency. It probably sounds OK to most people but just think of it -- don't warm regards on a hot day make the situation more uncomfortable? Yes, yes, I realize that "warm" is about the feelings and all that ... but that's what I am saying. Because of the English language, "warm" has changed its meaning to "cordial" .

To be sure, I use "best" regards whenever I can - but I may have slipped on an occasion or two. But is that really a slip or am I using the language like it should be?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Katas Raj

Katas Raj is the name of a Hindu site of pilgrimage. It is now in Pakistan. Though this place has many references to it in the purAnAs and the mahAbhArata, I got to know of this place only recently - after Advani's controversial trip to Pakistan. It is known in Pakistan as Katas (no Raj after the name)

Apparently the name kaTAs rAj is derived from kaTAkSha (meaning glance). This place is supposed to be one of the places where Lord Shiva wept out of grief on His wife's (Sati) death. The profuse tears from Shiva's eyes filled two lakes. One is the present Katas and other is a site in Ajmer. The more interesting aspect of this lake is that the Pandavas spent four out of their twelve years of exile here.

A note of clarification here - it was Lord Rama of the rAmAyaNa who was exiled for fourteen years. The Pandavas were asked to spend twelve years in exile and an additional year incognito (which they spent at virATa's kingdom).

Back to Katas, yudhiShThira, the eldest of the pANDavas, exhibited his wisdom in answering the questions of an invisible yakSha. This wise act essentially gave life to the other pANDavas who were lying dead after drinking the water of this pool.

This is a fascinating story in the mahAbhArata and is wonderfully thought-provoking. For details, go here

The temple and lake constituted a great pilgrimage centre till the Partition of India. The temple was hopelessly defaced during Muslim invasions and mainly after the partition and its picture below (from the BBC) speaks volumes about the defacement and destruction wrought upon this temple.

The temple ruins at Katas

Below: A picture of the deity (from Outlook India) at the Katas temple

The deity at Katas

This brings to mind the thought that less than sixty years ago, this place was India too. Anybody in India could have gone there. This barrier between India and Pakistan is after all man-made. The fact that man-made barriers have caused physical and cultural damage to this extent is overwhelming.

To be fair to the Pakistani government, they want to identify this as a world heritage site and develop it further. Of course, they will get some much needed tourism money from Sindhis and other Indians for whom Katas is really important.

An informative (but in a rather condescending tone) article can be found here.

I hope the peace process between India and Pakistan goes on in a peaceful manner.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Srikkanth's latest ad in Bangalore

A couple of days ago, I noticed an ad by the former Indian opening batsman Krishnamachari Srikkanth. The ad is for a lens company - Varilux. It has Srikkanth saying - "I read my newspaper just as I used to read a Marshall delivery".

Srikkanth, though exciting, wasn't a consistent player at all. Nor was he reliable. He could hit a very good ball for six and get bowled by a very simple delivery. I remember that he always struggled against Imran Khan and Wasim Akram. Marshall - hmm... I don't remember but I think Srikkanth didn't read him all that well at all. Marshall was a genuine quick bowler and one of the West Indian greats. So that ad line probably isn't too good for the lens maker.

Srikkanth's record doesn't convey the kind of feeling that Indian fans had whenever he came out to bat. His inconsistency proved to be his doom. Though a very intelligent cricketer, I think he lacked the temperament like that of a Tendulkar or a Dravid or even that of an Azharuddin. If he had that, Srikkanth would have made justice to his immense potential.

Which reminds me of a quiz question that did some rounds in 91-92. What connects Simon and Garfunkel to the Venkateshwara Suprabhatam? It turns out that Srikkanth used to hum from both of these whenever he did his customary walk from half-way to the square leg empire back to the stumps - between deliveries. Pretty strange, eh? Srikkanth was like that - a bag of contrasts. He makes a pretty good commentator on TV nowadays. He has a good business and making money as the 'brand ambassador' for some brands... (who is not a brand ambassador nowadays? )

The thoughts we get on seeing an ad from a cricketer of yesteryears...

Blood Sport :

Blood Sport :

What sort of perverts are these people? Killing for fun? For thrill? If these poor mute animals had in them the power to retaliate - would these guys still kill for fun ? What did these poor animals do to these stupid illiterate "high-class" people?

Time to chill....

I have to say that this is a very good and timely piece of journalism from Outlook. Maneka Gandhi apparently dissuaded Outlook from doing this piece as she thought that it would end up glamourizing hunting. I hope she isn't right.

Why do people hunt? I understand if somebody has to hunt for food. One's survival is more important than anything else in the world. So if one were starving to death, it would probably be all right to kill. However, with the beginning of agriculture, there was no need to hunt for food.

I suppose that then, the "noblemen" and royalty took up hunting as a sport. There are many references to hunting for sport in the Ramayana and Mahabharata. People at that time probably did not have much else to do. So they hunted - but I seem to think that they did not kill with such abandon (I may be mistaken here). Anyway, there were several more species in existence in India before the British came and decided to wipe them off.

On a different note, the act of enjoying the hunt smacks of something primal and basic in us. I think it is the same instinct that goads us to watch violent movies or kill enemy soldiers in video games. Even this is not conducive to a good mental makeup - but it is a lot better than killing animals in flesh and blood. (I had written in an earlier post on how doing this mentally is karmically close to doing the real thing)

For some people however, they want to kill animals physically. As this article mentions, these people must be really insecure or not have a thing to do in this world. What do you think Pataudi does every day? He has absolutely nothing to do! But he has to give vent to his feelings and he goes off hunting in his or his friend's Accord. Moreover, they want to hunt endangered species and species considered holy by certain tribes. (The blackbuck killed was both an endangered species as well as holy to the Bishnoi people)

Hunting purely for sport is depraved and unfair. I challenge the hunters who really want the thrill to fight a leopard or a tiger bare-handed and then kill it. But no! One has to have a powerful enough gun and be mounted in a safe place in a machan and then kill animals from some place far away where the animal cannot even see them. How fair is this?

As for Pataudi and his ilk of rich and inconsiderate brutes that have been interviewed in this article, they should be made to feel the anguish of a creature hunted. How will they feel if they are chased around till they are tired and then be subjected to the fear of death? These hunters might begin to understand then.

Instead of demanding a paltry fee of Rs 60,000 (which is peanuts for people like this) and simple imprisonment, a punishment that actually scares the heck out of these people would be much better. That way, these guys may begin to understand the value of life. If a similar act had been committed in the US, environmentalists would have raised such a hue and cry that the government would have to give a couple of 99 year life sentences to each of the accused.

May good sense prevail in the judges and may they throw the book at the offenders.

Friday, June 17, 2005

A case for the precogs?

Questions, Bitterness and Exile for Queens Girl in Terror Case - New York Times

This is the story of a teenager who was a bit more into her faith than other girls of her age and faith. This also shows what has happened to America after 9/11. It looks calm and all that - but there is a lot of furious work going on behind the scenes.

NYT has done a commendable job in bringing this story out. I suppose many cases like these happen everyday - but none get reported. We have seen movies like Will Smith's Enemy of the State. A crude example but it kind of tells you the kind of surroundings that people in the US are living in. I was living there too.

Of course, listening to a known crackpot and a dangerous cleric such as the one in the piece is asking for trouble. Which is precisely what this girl, Tashnuba did.

But the intelligence machinery in the US is seriously intimidating. Imagine somebody or something recording everything about a particular web site. And then taking action on it. This situation again brings "Enemy of the State" or Mel Gibson's "Conspiracy Theory" to mind. I've heard stories where a few Indian programmers were surprised by an FBI team who had been tipped off after the Indians rented a copy of "Siege" (starring Denzel Washington - which seemed eerily prescient) and then had to do a lot of explaining. Of course, this was on 9/11 itself and these programmers were really clueless on the magnitude of the event.

With all the surveillance equipment stalking people everywhere they go, I wonder if there is any privacy at all. I suppose privacy exists only in the space between one's ears - but I won't be surprised if some device is invented to dump the contents of one's brains out.

Thank God we don't have something like the precogs in Minority Report! Otherwise everybody walking on the street would get arrested for one offence or the other.

"In the name of the law, I arrest you for having the intention to drive your car at 90mph in a 65mph zone"

"But I don't even have a car!"

"But you are considering buying one soon, right ?"

"Yes, but..."

"Ahha!! Gotcha! We've been looking at you ever since you rented Fast and the Furious."

I kind of digressed but isn't this similar to what the FBI has done?

Remember... you're being watched.......

Thursday, June 16, 2005

A letter to the Pakistani people on

Just an excerpt...
We like Pakistani people. And we dont just mean Adnan Sami, Jal or Strings – we mean regular Pakistani folks. In fact, we like most people and cultures. Heck, we tolerate Laloo and he’s totally out of this world. We can understand your accent much easier than his!
This is a hilarious and very well written letter! I couldn't contain my laughs! Too funny. People must check it out..

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Batman Begins........

Dark Was the Young Knight Battling His Inner Demons - New York Times

I've been a Batman fan since my childhood. But never had any movie shown the picture I had of Batman. A dark brooding noirish figure who is more human than superhero - that is Batman to me. Earlier impersonations of Batman - Keaton's, Clooney's and Kilmer's failed to do justice to Batman.

This movie seems to have a good director to start with - Memento's Christopher Nolan. I've seen Christian Bale in Shaft and American Psycho - he seems sophisticated enough to play a character like Batman. The promos look great too! This is very close to what I had pictured in my mind - though the comics had their own too. This is the kind of Batman I was looking forward to.

So, with bated breath I wait for the movie. I don't know when it'll release in Bangalore - but I will definitely watch this one on the big screen.

Talking about movies, I still haven't watched ...Sith. People who've seen the movie have good opinions and I should check it out. But sadly, there is not much time available to attend to one of my favourite (I deliberately went the British-Indian way there - the 'r' was coming right after the 'o' but I checked myself - I am now in Bangalore after all, right?) habits.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

The brains behind Apple's Rosetta: Transitive | CNET

The brains behind Apple's Rosetta: Transitive | CNET

The recent news of Apple on Intel took the PC world by storm. There were rumbles heard before (a few months ago) but were never serious. When CNET reported this news last week, I was skeptical. Here goes again, I thought. But on Monday this was the biggest tech news. I don't own a Mac - but if because of this the price comes down.. let's see.

But reading on this further drew me to a very interesting company - Transitive. These guys are basically from the University of Manchester and they seem to be able to run a binary of a particular architecture on a totally different architecture. This has been done before - but Transitive's uniqueness is that this - it runs at 60% of the native platform speed. That is really amazing as doing binary translation is not simple at all!

But wait, that is not all. They manage to translate OS system calls while at it too! Right now, they've just done Unix-Unix translations - but think of it, a shrink-wrapped AIX-Power5 binary running without any problem on a Linux-x86 box. This is serious stuff! They've managed to do the graphic sub-systems too!

The convenience is simply amazing. This technology is precisely what Apple will be using during its transition from G5 to Intel processors.

I'd never written tech stuff before on my blog. But this product and the possibilities really made me do it.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The mess LK Advani is in

'A Classic Exposition Of A Secular State' :

There has been a hue and cry raised over LK Advani's statement. The RSS and VHP have opined that Advani had cheated millions of Hindus by his statement that Jinnah was a secular politician.

Looking at Jinnah's speech that has been excerpted in Advani's article, we see that Jinnah indeed seems to espouse a secular cause. It may be a case of Jinnah talking the talk and not walking it, but his statement at least is an unambiguous expression of secularism. Secularism mentioned here is not the Indian variety but of the real variety where religion doesn't interfere with policies of the government.

Advani has merely quoted it and said that the three countries of India, Pak and Bang would do well to follow it. Hasn't he actually put the ball in Pakistan's court? Pakistan as of now is a theocratic (well, almost) dictatorship and it would do very well indeed if it followed the controversial speech fragment. Indirectly, it was a reprimand.

If this is all that Advani said, where is the need to go ballistic by the VHP and RSS? The reaction has probably happened this way - India's pain in the neck is Pakistan, which wouldn't have existed but for Jinnah. So, by saying that Jinnah espoused secular ideas, the Partition becomes justified; especially the bloodiest part of it where millions of people were killed during the crossing. I don't think calling Jinnah secular is the same as condoning the deaths of millions. I don't know, but would Jinnah have rued his decision to part ways with India if he saw the present condition of Pakistan?

In the VHP/RSS cadre, I have come to see plenty of people who seem to be intelligent but after you ask them a couple of questions, they either feel offended or call you names. Don't get me wrong, I support many of the activities done by the RSS - building a strong nation, acting as a unifying factor for almost a billion Hindus across India and the world, social service and tons of other useful activities - all these are great and very necessary. But the current crop of RSS/VHP leaders seems to lack the farsight and wisdom to run organizations as big and important as these. Firebrands are good - but having them at the helm of affairs is probably not so good.

Personally, I too don't like Jinnah as he seemed to be responsible (from what I had read before) for fanning passions and dividing a country along religious lines, inadvertently causing the deaths of millions of people. But the statement that Advani has taken from the speech *is* an expression of secularism whether I like Jinnah or not. As I said before, Jinnah may or may not have really meant what he said - but the words are there for us to see!

Another thing is that Advani had been listed as one of a group of individuals that tried to assassinate Jinnah. Was Advani actually trying to whitewash his involvement by singing a paean and that too, quite cleverly?

The media has always taken statements out of context and has twisted them. This seems to be a similar case. Praveen Togadia has gone crazy again. I wish a body with such a good name as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, that was founded by great spiritual personalities such as Swami Chinmayananda would have somebody more sensible and sober doing its talking for it. Togadia doesn't look the part and he definitely doesn't talk like it.

It could just be that Advani got carried away in a torrent of emotions and didn't realize what he'd said!

With him resigning from the BJP head position, it would be very interesting to speculate on the fate of the BJP going forward as the second string leadership is not ready yet and Advani and Vajpayee have been sent home.

Monday, June 06, 2005

ನಾ ನೋಡಿದ ಚಲನಚಿತ್ರ - ಮಿತ್ರಚಿತ್ರದ ಬೇರು

-----Beru (The Root)-----

ನಿನ್ನೆ ನಾನು ಬಹಳ ಒಳ್ಳೆಯ ಕೆಲಸ ಮಾಡಿದೆ. ನನಗೆ ತಿಳಿದಿರುವ ಚಿತ್ರರಂಗದ ವ್ಯಕ್ತಿಯೊಬ್ಬರು "ಬೇರು" ಚಿತ್ರದ ಪ್ರದರ್ಶನವಿದೆ, ಅದನ್ನು ನೋಡಬಹುದೆಂದು ಹೇಳಿದರು. ನಮ್ಮ ತಂದೆ ಮತ್ತು ನಾನು ಚಿತ್ರವನ್ನು ನೋಡಿ ಬಂದೆವು.

ಇದು ಯಾವ ಸೀಮೆ ಒಳ್ಳೆಯ ಕೆಲಸ? ಸ್ವಾಮಿ, ಒಳ್ಳೆಯ ಕನ್ನಡ ಚಿತ್ರ ಸಿಗುವುದು,ಅದನ್ನು ನೋಡುವುದು ಪುಣ್ಯದ ಕೆಲಸವಲ್ಲವೇ? ಪುಣ್ಯದ ಕೆಲಸ ಒಳ್ಳೆಯದಲ್ಲವೇ? ಹಾಗೆ ನನ್ನ ಕೆಲಸ ಒಳ್ಳೆಯದೇ!

ನಾನು ಇತ್ತೀಚೆಗೆ ನೋಡಿದ ಚಿತ್ರಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಎದ್ದು ಕಾಣುವಂಥ ಚಿತ್ರ ಪಿ. ಶೇಷಾದ್ರಿಯವರ ನಿರ್ದೇಶನದ ಮಿತ್ರಚಿತ್ರ ಸಂಸ್ಥೆ ನಿರ್ಮಾಣದ ಬೇರು. ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಬೇರು ಎನ್ನುವುದು ನಮ್ಮ ಸಮಾಜದಲ್ಲಿ ಆಳವಾಗಿ ಊರಿರುವ ಭ್ರಷ್ಟಾಚಾರಕ್ಕೆ ಸಂಬಂಧಿಸಿದ್ದು. ಕರಡಿಪುರವೆಂಬ ಕಾಲ್ಪನಿಕ ಸ್ಥಳದಲ್ಲಿ ಈ ಕಥೆ ಮೂಡಿಬರುತ್ತದೆ. ಒಂದು ಸರ್ಕಾರಿ ಕಛೇರಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ನಡೆಯಬಹುದಾದ ಸಂಗತಿಯಿದು. ನಡೆದೂ ಇದೆ ಎಂದು ಕಥೆಗಾರರು ನಂತರ ತಿಳಿಸಿದರು.

ಕಥೆಯ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ನಾನು ಹೆಚ್ಚು ಹೇಳುವುದಿಲ್ಲ. ಇದರ ಜೊತೆಗಿನ link ನೋಡಿದರೆ ತಿಳಿಯುತ್ತದೆ. ಆದರೆ ಚಿತ್ರ ನೋಡಿದ ಅನುಭವ ಒಂದು ವಿಶಿಷ್ಟ ಬಗೆಯದು. ಕಥೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಹಲವಾರು ಸಂಕೇತಗಳು ಕಾಣುತ್ತವೆ. ಚಿತ್ರದ ತಾಣ ಚೆನ್ನಾಗಿದೆ. ದೇವರಾಯನದುರ್ಗದ ಬಳಿ ಚಿತ್ರ ತೆಗೆದಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಸುಚೇಂದ್ರ ಪ್ರಸಾದ್ ಸರ್ಕಾರಿ ಅಧಿಕಾರಿ ರಘುನಂದನ್ ಆಗಿ ನಟಿಸಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಇವರ ಅಭಿನಯವನ್ನು ನಾನು ಮುಂಚೆ ಅಷ್ಟು ಮೆಚ್ಚಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಇದಕ್ಕೆ ಕಾರಣ ಇವರ ವೇಗದ ಮಾತನಾಡುವಿಕೆ. ಆದರೆ ನನಗೆ ಅಚ್ಚರಿ ಮೂಡುವಂತೆ ಒಬ್ಬ ಸಂವೇದನಾಶೀಲ ಮತ್ತು ಪ್ರಾಮಾಣಿಕ ಅಧಿಕಾರಿಯ ಪಾತ್ರಕ್ಕೆ ಸುಚೇಂದ್ರ ಜೀವ ತುಂಬಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಚಿತ್ರದಲ್ಲಿ ಅಧಿಕಾರಿ ಕಾಣುತ್ತಾರೆಯೇ ಹೊರತು ನಟ ಕಾಣುವುದಿಲ್ಲ.

ಗೊರವಯ್ಯನ ಪಾತ್ರದಲ್ಲಿ ಬಹಳ ಚೆನ್ನಾಗಿ ಅಭಿನಯ ನೀಡಿರುವರು ಕನ್ನಡ ಚಿತ್ರರಂಗದ ಪರಿಚಿತರೇ. ನನಗೆ ಸದ್ಯಕ್ಕೆ ಇವರ ಹೆಸರು ಜ್ಞಾಪಕಕ್ಕೆ ಬರುತ್ತಿಲ್ಲ. ಇವರ ಜೊತೆಗೆ ದತ್ತಾತ್ರೇಯ ಒಬ್ಬ ಸಂಸಾರ ಪೀಡಿತ ಮುಖ್ಯಗುಮಾಸ್ತನ ಪಾತ್ರದಲ್ಲಿ ಮನೋಜ್ಞವಾಗಿ ಅಭಿನಯಿಸಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಅವರ ಮುಖದ ಒಂದು ನೋಟ ನೋಡಿದರೆ ಆ ಗುಮಾಸ್ತನ ಪಾತ್ರವನ್ನೆಲ್ಲ ಭಟ್ಟಿ ಇಳಿಸಿರುವಂತಿತ್ತು. ಇವರು ಅದ್ಭುತ ನಟರು - ಎಂಥ ಪಾತ್ರಕ್ಕಾದರೂ ಜೀವ ತುಂಬಬಲ್ಲ ನುರಿತವರು. ಇವರ ಜೊತೆಗೆ ಸಹಾಯಕ ಅಭಿನಯವರ್ಗ ಕೂಡ ಚೆನ್ನಾಗಿ ನಟಿಸಿದ್ದ್ದಾರೆ. ಕಥೆಗಾರರಾದ ಪ್ರಹ್ಲಾದ್ ರವರು ಒಳ್ಳೆಯ ಕಥೆಯನ್ನು ಹೆಣೆದಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಸಂಭಾಷಣೆಯೂ ಇವರದೇ. ಚಿತ್ರದಲ್ಲಿ ಒಂದು ನಿಮಿಷವಾದರೂ ಕಥೆ ಸಡಿಲವಾಗುವುದಿಲ್ಲ. ಈ ಬಿಗಿಯಾದ ನಿರೂಪಣೆ ಈ ಚಿತ್ರದ ಹೆಗ್ಗುರುತುಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಒಂದು. ಸಂಭಾಷಣೆ ಸೂಕ್ತವಾಗಿ ಉಚಿತವಾಗಿದೆ. ಛಾಯಾಗ್ರಹಣ ಸಮರ್ಪಕವಾಗಿದೆ.ಒಂದೆರಡು ಜಾನಪದ ಗೀತೆಗಳ ಶೈಲಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಮೂಡಿರುವ ಹಾಡುಗಳಿಗೆ ಪ್ರವೀಣ್-ಕಿರಣ್ ಒಳ್ಳೆಯ ಸಂಗೀತ ನಿರ್ದೇಶನ ನೀಡಿದ್ದಾರೆ.

ಹೀಗೆ ಒಂದು ಅಚ್ಚುಕಟ್ಟಾದ package ಈ ಚಲನಚಿತ್ರ.

ಆದರೆ ವಿಶಾದದ ಸಂಗತಿ ಬರುವುದೇ ಈಗ. ಈ ತಂಡದ ಹಿಂದಿನ ಎರಡು ಚಿತ್ರಗಳು ಮುನ್ನುಡಿ ಮತ್ತು ಆತಿಥಿ. ಎರಡೂ ಚಿತ್ರಗಳು ರಾಷ್ಟ್ರಪ್ರಶಸ್ತಿ ಗಳಿಸಿವೆ. ಇಂಥ ಸದಭಿರುಚಿಯ ಚಿತ್ರಗಳನ್ನು ಮಾಡಿದ ತಂಡಕ್ಕೆ ಹಾಕಿದ ದುಡ್ಡು ಕೈಗೆ ಸಿಗುವುದಿಲ್ಲವೆಂದರೆ ವಿಶಾದದ ಸಂಗತಿಯಲ್ಲವೇ? ನಾನು ನೋಡಿದ ಪ್ರದರ್ಶನ ಕೂಡ ಚಿತ್ರದ ತಂಡದವರು ಆಯೋಜಿಸಿದ್ದಾಗಿತ್ತು. ಅವರಿಗೆ ಆಸೆ - ಜನರು ಬಂದು ತಮ್ಮ ಚಿತ್ರವನ್ನು ನೋಡಲಿ ಎಂದು. ಅವರೇ ದುಡ್ಡು ಹಾಕಿ ಒಂದು ಸಣ್ಣ ಚಿತ್ರಮಂದಿರವನ್ನು ಒಂದು ಪ್ರದರ್ಶನದ ಮಟ್ಟಿಗೆ ಬಾಡಿಗೆ ಪಡೆದು ಜನರನ್ನು ಅವರೇ ಆಹ್ವಾನಿಸಿ ಕಾಫಿ-ಟೀ ಕೊಟ್ಟು ತೋರಿಸುವ ಪರಿಸ್ಥಿತಿ ಬಂದಿದೆ. ಇಷ್ಟು ಒಳ್ಳೆಯ ತಂಡ ಅಮೇರಿಕದಲ್ಲಿದ್ದಿದ್ದರೆ ? ಅಥವಾ ನಮ್ಮ ನೆರೆಯೆ ತಮಿಳುನಾಡಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಅಥವಾ ಕೇರಳದಲ್ಲಿದ್ದಿದ್ದರೆ ? ಅವರನ್ನು ಗಗನಕ್ಕೇರಿಸಿ ನಂತರ ನಮ್ಮ ಕನ್ನಡದವರೂ ದುಡ್ಡು ತೆತ್ತು ನೋಡುತ್ತಿದ್ದರು!

ಈ ತಂಡ ಧನವಂತವಲ್ಲ. ಆದ್ದರಿಂದ ಪಿ.ವಿ.ಆರ್ ಮಂದಿರದಲ್ಲಿ ಒಂದು ವಾರ ಈ ಚಿತ್ರ ಹಾಕಿದ್ದರು. ಆದರೆ ದುರದೃಷ್ಟವಶಾತ್ ಈ ಚಿತ್ರ ಓಡಿದ್ದು ಅಷ್ಟೇ! ಜನರು - ವಿಶೇಷವಾಗಿ ಕನ್ನಡಿಗರು - ದುಡ್ಡು ತೆತ್ತು ಚಿತ್ರನೋಡುವ ಹವ್ಯಾಸ ರೂಢಿಸಿಕೊಂಡಿಲ್ಲ. ಕಳಪೆ ಚಿತ್ರಗಳನ್ನು ನೋಡುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಈ ರೀತಿಯ ಚಿತ್ರಗಳನ್ನು ನೋಡುವುದಿಲ್ಲವಲ್ಲಾ ಎನ್ನುವುದು ನನ್ನ ಕೊರಗು.

ಅಮೇರಿಕದಲ್ಲಿ ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ಓದಿದವರ proportion ಹೆಚ್ಚು. ಈ ಚಿತ್ರಗಳನ್ನು ಅಲ್ಲಿ ತೋರಿಸಿದರೆ ಇವರಿಗೆ ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ಅಸಲಾದರೂ ಉಳಿದು ಮುಂದಿನ ಚಿತ್ರ ಮಾಡಲು ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ಹುಮ್ಮಸ್ಸು ಉತ್ಸಾಹವಾದರೂ ಇರಲಿ ಎನ್ನುವುದು ನನ್ನ ಆಸೆ.

ಇದನ್ನು ಓದಿದವರು ದಯವಿಟ್ಟು ಶೇಷಾದ್ರಿಯವರ ಸಂಪರ್ಕಮಾಡಿರಿ. ನಿಮ್ಮಲ್ಲಿಯೂ ಪ್ರದರ್ಶನದ ಆಯೋಜನೆ ಮಾಡಬಹುದು.

|| ಇತಿ ಶಮ್ ||

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Govt’s Doctor plays The Cigarette Censor -

Govt’s Doctor plays The Cigarette Censor -

This is absolute nonsense! Is this an April Fool's joke or what? To be clear, I don't smoke. But what on earth is the government doing? It is trying to stop smoking in movies and on television!!!

I really don't know who could be behind such a - what is the word - draconian act. This is a Nero-esque kind of law. Do people know it is a democracy ?

Anyway, this doesn't mean that smoking will be banned in public places. It is next to impossible to implement this. People will continue to smoke and spoil their health. Though the intention behind this law is good, don't we all know that the way to hell is paved with good intentions?

This is not like what has happened in the US. Something like that - something sensible - would have been good. All our government does is something as ridiculous as this.

Tomorrow, if somebody in the tobacco industry bribes a section of the government, the laws will be reversed and probably everybody will be asked to smoke.

Now I have to look back at my own feeling that India is developing as a country. I am inclined to say now that it is not. How can a country with such stupid and impractical lawmakers ever develop?

I am irritated, amused and saddened at the same time. I don't care about India's image in the world, though that is important, as long as the government is doing the right things for its people. Actions such as these are not right. Something deep inside me was pricked by this - though I don't smoke and I was off typing this rant in a flash.

May good sense prevail everywhere!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

ಏಳು ನೂರು ಅಡಿಯ ಬುದ್ಧನ ಮೂರ್ತಿ ರಾಮನಗರದ ಬಳಿ

ಈಚೆಗೆ ಶಾರುಖ್ ಖಾನ್ ಮತ್ತು ಇನ್ನಷ್ಟು ನಟನಟಿಯರು ಬೆಂಗಳೂರಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಒಂದು ಷೋ ಮಾಡಿದ್ದರು. ಅದು ನಡೆದದ್ದು ಸಂಘಮಿತ್ರ ಫೌಂಡೇಶನ್ ಎಂಬ ಸಂಘಟನೆಯ ಅಡಿಯಲ್ಲಿ. ಇದರ ಉದ್ದೇಶ ಒಂದು ಮಹತ್ವಾಕಾಂಕ್ಷೆಯ ಗುರಿಯಾಗಿತ್ತು. ಆ ಗುರಿಯೇನೆಂದರೆ - ಏಳುನೂರು ಆಡಿಯ ಬುದ್ಧನ ವಿಗ್ರಹದ ಸ್ಥಾಪನೆ.

ವಿಗ್ರಹವೆಲ್ಲಿ ಎಂದು ಶೀರ್ಷಿಕೆಯಲ್ಲೇ ಬರೆದಿದ್ದೇನೆ. ಬೆಂಗಳೂರಿನ ಬಳಿಯಲ್ಲಿರುವ ರಾಮನಗರದಲ್ಲೇ. ನಿಮಗೆ ಜ್ಞಾಪಕವಿರಬಹುದು - ಶೋಲೆ ಎಂಬ ಭಾರೀ ಹಿಂದೀ ಚಿತ್ರದ ಚಿತ್ರೀಕರಣ ಇಲ್ಲೇ ನಡೆದದ್ದು.

ಮೂರ್ನಾಲ್ಕು ವರ್ಷದ ಹಿಂದೆ ತಾಲಿಬಾನ್ ಆಡಳಿತದ ಅಫ್ಘಾನಿಸ್ತಾನದಲ್ಲಿ ಬಾಮಿಯಾನ್ ಎಂಬ ಸ್ಥಳದಲ್ಲಿ ಬೃಹತ್ತಾದ ಬುದ್ಧನ ಪ್ರತಿಮೆಗಳನ್ನು ಮದ್ದನ್ನಿಟ್ಟು ಸಿಡಿಸಲಾಯ್ತು. ಇದೀಗ ಬೆಂಗಳೂರಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಇದರ ಪುನರ್ಜನ್ಮವೆಂಬಂತೆ ತೋರುತ್ತಿದೆ.

ಹೊರಗಿನಿಂದ ನೋಡಿದರೆ ಒಳ್ಳೆಯ ಆಲೋಚನೆಯೆಂದೆನಿಸಬಹುದು. ಗೌತಮ ಬುದ್ಧ ನಮ್ಮ ದೇಶದ ದಾರ್ಶನಿಕಶ್ರೇಷ್ಠರಲ್ಲಿ ಅಗ್ರಗಣ್ಯ. ಅವನ ಶಾಂತಿ ಸಂದೇಶ ಪ್ರಪಂಚದಾದ್ಯಂತ ಹರಡಿದೆ. ಅವನ ತತ್ತ್ವಚಿಂತನೆ ಆಳವಾಗಿದ್ದು ವಿಶ್ವದಲ್ಲೆಡೆ ಅವನ ಅನುಯಾಯಿಗಳಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಅವನ ಜನ್ಮದ ದೇಶವಾದ ಭಾರತದಲ್ಲಿ ಅವನ ಗುರುತಿಗಾಗಿ ಏನಿಲ್ಲ. ಆದ್ದರಿಂದ ಈ ಮೂರ್ತಿನಿರ್ಮಾಣದ ಕಾರ್ಯ ಒಳ್ಳೆಯದೆ ಎಂದು ತೋರುತ್ತದೆ.

ಆದರೆ ವಸ್ತುಸ್ಥಿತಿ ಬೇರೆ. ರಾಮನಗರದ ಪ್ರದೇಶ ಹಲವು ಸಸ್ಯ ಹಾಗೂ ಪ್ರಾಣಿಸಂಕುಲಗಳಿಗೆ ಸ್ಥಾನವಾಗಿದೆ. ಅಲ್ಲಿ ಇವರ ಕಾರ್ಯಕ್ರಮ ನೋಡಿದರೆ - ಒಳ್ಳೆ ಡಿಸ್ನಿಲ್ಯಾಂಡ್ ರೀತಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಬುದ್ಧಲ್ಯಾಂಡ್ ಮಾಡಲು ಹೊರಟಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಅದಕ್ಕೆ ಬೇಕಾಗುವ ಸ್ಥಳ ಹಲವು ಎಕರೆಗಳಷ್ಟು. ಇವೆಲ್ಲವನ್ನು ನೆಲಸಮಮಾಡಿಯೇ ಬೇರೆ ಕೆಲಸ ಸಾಧ್ಯ. ಈ ಸಸ್ಯ ಮತ್ತು ಪ್ರಾಣಿಸಂಕುಲಗಳ ನಿರ್ನಾಮಕ್ಕೆ ಬುದ್ಧನ ಒಪ್ಪಿಗೆ ಎಂದಿಗೂ ಸಿಗುತ್ತಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ.

ಇದನ್ನು ವಿರೋಧಿಸಿ ಪರಿಸರಾಂದೋಲನ ಸಂಸ್ಥೆಗಳು ಸರ್ಕಾರಕ್ಕೆ ಪತ್ರಗಳನ್ನು ಬರೆದಿವೆ. ಇದರ ವಿರುದ್ಧ ಕಾರ್ಯಕ್ರಮಗಳನ್ನು ಕೈಗೊಂಡಿವೆ. ಆದರೆ ಸರ್ಕಾರವನ್ನು ಈ ಸಂಘಮಿತ್ರ ಸಂಸ್ಥೆ ತನ್ನ ಬುಟ್ಟಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಹಾಕಿಕೊಂಡಿರುವಂತಿದೆ.

ನನ್ನ ಪ್ರಶ್ನೆ ಹೀಗಿದೆ. ಇವರಿಗೆ ಬುದ್ಧನ ಪ್ರತಿಮೆಯನ್ನು ಮಾಡುವಷ್ಟು ಭಕ್ತಿಯಿದ್ದರೆ - ಬರಗಾಲ ಪೀಡಿತವಾದ ಉತ್ತರಕರ್ಣಾಟಕದ ರಾಯಚೂರು, ಗುಲ್ಬರ್ಗ, ಬೀದರ್ ಜಿಲ್ಲೆಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಮಾಡಬಹುದಿತ್ತು. ಇದರಿಂದ ಅಲ್ಲಿನ ಜನಗಳಿಗೆ ಉದ್ಯೋಗಾವಕಾಶ ದೊರೆಯುತ್ತಿತ್ತು. ರಾಮನಗರ ಬೆಂಗಳೂರಿನ ತೀರಾ ಸಮೀಪದಲ್ಲಿದೆ. ಇಲ್ಲಿನ ಜನರು ಉದ್ಯೋಗಕ್ಕೆ ಬೆಂಗಳೂರಿಗೇ ಬರಬಹುದು. ಆದರೆ ಈ ಸ.ಸಂ ನ ಉದ್ದೇಶ ಅಷ್ಟು ಒಳ್ಳೆಯದಲ್ಲವೆಂಬಂತೆ ತೋರುತ್ತದೆ. ಬೆಂಗಳೂರಿನ ಬಳಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಮಾಡಿದರೆ ತಂಡೋಪತಂಡವಾಗಿ ಬೆಂಗಳೂರಿನ ಜನರು ನುಗ್ಗುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಯಾವುದೋ ದೂರದ ಹಳ್ಳಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಮಾಡಿದರೆ ಪ್ರಯೋಜನವಾದರೂ ಏನು?

ದುರದೃಷ್ಟವಶಾತ್ ಅಂಬೇಡ್ಕರ್ ಅವರು ಬೌದ್ಧಧರ್ಮವನ್ನು ಸ್ವೀಕರಿಸಿದರು. ಇದು ದುರದೃಷ್ಟ ಹೇಗೆಂದರೆ - ಇವರ ಬೆಂಬಲಿಗರಾದ ದಲಿತರನ್ನು ಸುಲಭವಾಗಿ ಈ ಸಂಸ್ಥೆ ಮರುಳು ಮಾಡುತ್ತದೆ. ಈ ಪ್ರತಿಮೆಯನ್ನು ವಿರೋಧಿಸುವವರನ್ನು ತಮ್ಮ ದಲಿತ ಜನಾಂಗದ ವೈರಿಗಳಾಗಿ ಕಾಣಲು ಸ.ಸಂ ಕುಚೋದ್ಯ ಮಾಡಬಹುದು - ಮಾಡಿಯೇ ಮಾಡುತ್ತದೆ. ಇದನ್ನು ತಿಳಿದೇ ಹಲವು ದಲಿತ ಮುಖಂಡರು ತಮ್ಮ ಪಂಗಡಕ್ಕೆ ಹೆಸರು (ಪಬ್ಲಿಸಿಟಿ) ಬರಲಿ ಎಂದು ಇವರ ಜೊತೆ ಸೇರುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಆಗ ಪರಿಸ್ಥಿತಿ ತೀರಾ ಹದೆಗೆಡುತ್ತದೆ. ಪಾಪ, ಅಂಬೇಡ್ಕರರು ದೇಶಭಕ್ತರು. ಜಾತೀಯತೆಯ ಸೋಂಕಿಲ್ಲದ ಭಾರತೀಯ ಮೂಲದ್ದೇ ಆದ ಬೌದ್ಧಧರ್ಮವನ್ನು ಸ್ವೀಕರಿಸಿದಾಗ ಇದರ ಅರಿವು ಅವಿರಿಗಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ದಲಿತರಿಗೆ ಬೌದ್ಧ ಧರ್ಮ (ನವಬೌದ್ಧರೆಂದೇ ಇವರು ಕರೆಯಲ್ಪಡುವುದು) ಕೇವಲ ಒಂದು identity ಆಗಿದೆ. ಜೊತೆಗೆ ಬಂಡಾಯದ ಸಂಕೇತವೂ ಆಗಿದೆ. ಆದರೆ ಅದರ ತತ್ತ್ವಶ್ರೀಯನ್ನು ಅವರೆಂದು ಕಂಡಾರೋ!

ಸರ್ಕಾರಕ್ಕೆ ಬುದ್ಧಿ ಬಂದು ಇದನ್ನು ಮಂಜೂರು ಮಾಡದೇ ಇರಲಿ ಎಂದು ಬುದ್ಧನನ್ನೇ ಪ್ರಾರ್ಥಿಸುವ.

|| ಇತಿ ಶಮ್ ||

The New Yorker: Darwin's Enemies

The New Yorker: Fact

This is a great article that brings out the badness of the new "intelligent design" theory. Well, I shouldn't say it is new for it has been around since time immemorial.

In the US, parts of which are extremely conservative, attempts are being made to project "I.D" as a valid explanation for the way things are.

This article brings out the crux of the ID theory and then goes to show why these ideas are faulty. A very thought provoking article.

Something that is similar to this is happening in India too - the truth is not being taught in classrooms and theories that are closer to the truth are getting suppressed.

The Aryan Invasion Theory has now been widely discredited. Why, scientists and historians are even speaking of an out-of-India theory wherein after a very early migration from Africa, which is supposed to be the place where all life began, into South Asia, man then migrated to other parts of Europe and the world.

Contrast this with the theory where "fair skinned Aryans" rode on their horses from the Eurasian steppes, conquered the "dark skinned natives" and drove them to South India. This theory, popularly known as the Aryan Invasion Theory, has been discredited for the past twenty years and more. But this unfortunately has caused a lot of harm - Hitler's Aryan myth had disastrous results. The DMK's half-baked self-hating ideology is also rooted in this Invasion theory. Even though this theory has been well discredited, secessionists, Islamic militants, Marxists and Christian Evangelists of various hues hold on very dearly to this theory as it serves their selfish needs.

As a result of all this, "Aryan Invasion" is what I studied in school. After "growing up", I now have developed a theory agnosticism. History is good - but should not be used for petty political and social gain. But the Truth, whatever it may be, is important and should not be subordinated to a pet political idea.

Acknowledging the "Aryan Invasion idea" as just a theory should be enough for children. Politics should not enter the classroom. But in India, as in the US, political attempts to brainwash a generation, have entered classrooms. This situation is indeed deplorable.

It is interesting - whatever government comes to power, the pet ideas of that Government are foisted on the people. Bush's Christist agenda is amply reflected in the ID vs. Evolution debate. The Congress party's anti-Hindu and anti-truth agenda and the BJP's pro-Hindu agenda are clearly reflected in their text book policies.

The article is thought provoking. But, though I am not an atheist, evolution still seems a viable theory to me.

Another idea that seems funny in Christism* is that God made Man in His own image. Why ? The dinosaurs probably thought that God was like them! The cats and dogs probably think that God made themin His image! Don't Christists fight against idolatory? Isn't making God a human shaped being idolatory? By restricting God to a human like appearance, they essentially limit what God is and isn't. This, according to me, is blasphemy. sanAtana dharma, Buddhism and most non-Semitic religions don't have this problem. Some parts of Hinduism like the Hare Krishnas, dvaitins and other devotional sects believe in a personal physical form of God, in spite of God being transcendental. But Advaitins place no such restriction on God. For God is what is and is free of attachment to any form. God can take a form or may not.

Darwin's theory is remarkable for its scope and simplicity. It is not a sacred cow but it looks like it is a very plausible theory. (As for Marx and Freud discussed in the article, the Christists are my friends)

*(not Christianity - as they derogatorily refer to other religions as 'isms and so I'm paying them back in the same coin. This terminology is courtesy Prof S Kalyanaraman)

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Complete List - ALL-TIME 100 Movies - TIME Magazine

The Complete List - ALL-TIME 100 Movies - TIME Magazine

An interesting set of movies. What makes this more interesting is that a few Indian movies are present here - the Apu trilogy (Pather Panchali, Aparajito and Apur Sansar), Nayakan (yes?!!) and Pyaasa. Pyaasa is a great movie. I haven't watched the Apu trilogy - but judging from the rave reviews - it is probably a good set of movies. Nayakan is great too - but the reason I don't want it on the top 100 list is because it was a remake (well, almost) of Godfather. You don't want "inspired" movies on this list, do you? Indianizing a movie like Godfather is certainly a daunting task and kudos to Maniratnam for doing that. But, sadly, Nayakan remains his best movie to date. Pallavi Anupallavi - his first movie in Kannada is beautiful and more importantly original - but it is nowhere close to matching the intensity and drama of Nayakan. Maniratnam has done well - but he needs to go one notch up. Bad ideas like Dil Se (actually, I liked this movie) and Yuva (this one sucked) should not come up. Maniratnam needs to make one movie for himself and we want to watch it. He has immense potential and I hope he begins to fulfill a portion of it soon.

This list has quite a few movies I've watched and liked. More importantly, it will now serve as a good guide for my movie collection.

'US still open to India's UNSC bid'- The Times of India

'US still open to India's UNSC bid'- The Times of India

Is the US really open to India's UNSC bid ? I don't think so. Of course, they want India to be a permanent member of the UNSC without giving India the crucial veto power. What is the use then?

As somebody elsewhere thought, I think India should threaten quitting the UN. Indian peace keepers have given their lives for unknown people halfway across the globe in exchange for nothing. I agree that the UN gives a forum to India to present its concerns and all that, but does the present UN have any power to enforce the decisions taken ? The disturbances in Africa are too numerous to mention and the UN has been a bit helpful in handling those, but not a lot.

It looks like the UN is going the way of the League of Nations. "Might is right" seems to be the way in spite of the UN's existence. Only powerful countries like the US can have their say in the UN. And if they can't have it their way (remember Colin Powell's pathetic WMD presentation?), they don't care. If all countries go this way, why does the UN even need to exist?

The Security council seat is definitely prestigious and will mark India's ascent to the status of a world power. India is a bigger and more powerful country than France and Britain, both of which seem to be spent powers (correct me if I am wrong). China got its seat because of Jawaharlal Nehru's misplaced magnanimity - but it is definitely a country to reckon with and is no push over. Russia is still there but is no match for the cold USSR that was an able counterweight to the mighty US of A. So, IMO, the US and China deserve to be in the Security Council as permanent members because of their clout. India deserves to be there more than France and probably Britain too. Brazil deserves to be there as the most powerful country in South America. Japan and Germany - I don't know.

But without a veto, these 'permanent' members will be no more than flags on the wall. Recently some nut case Indian minister said that it would be OK if India got in without a veto. No, not at all. You either are a permanent member with a veto or you are as bad as any other non-permanent member.

You can ask what a common man like me gets from India being a veto-powered UNSC member. It is a question of patriotism for people like me who like to see their countries recognized as world powers.

We come back to the question of the utility of the UN. Some countries probably get a lot of value from it - but for most of the others, it is just a place where you can meet with diplomats of other people and brag. If countries were humans, you would need a place for the people to get together and talk - like a pub or a coffeeshop. In that way, I think the UN is a little more than a glorified coffeeshop. Am I getting carried away because of the raw deal India seems to be getting? Probably.

From my textbook learning of history, it seemed like the UN was the best thing to have happened to the world. WWF, UNESCO, UNICEF, WHO, FAO are all (probably) worthy agencies of the UN. But in the present world, does this still hold?

Also, how good is the UN a place for getting your job done? More than a coffeeshop or not? A coffeeshop still has value - but the member countries should realize that the UN is what it really is - a coffeeshop.