Friday, February 01, 2008

Guide to E=mc^2 Blog I

Here’s a guide to this blog in chronological order.

Why?

There are so many 'Why's that science cannot answer. And most probably it can never answer them. But a theologian had always answered these even before they were asked. He attributed everything to God.

Rang De Basanti!

I do not have a great opinion on the martyrs who do just one thing in their life- like, kill a president or a leader, following which their contribution stops (because they are dead or convicted). Most of the time they are too young or suddenly get emotional to act in haste.

Gandhi – A Miserable Failure

According to me, Gandhi is a miserable failure. He set out to achieve one of the biggest tasks in the history of mankind and failed miserably…it was the biggest challenge any human has ever undertaken – he actually believed that he could convince people (humans) to live amicably, respecting each other’s differences and tolerating diversity, forever.

IIMs and Salaries

Parents in India are extremely conscious of how their kids perform at school- not qualitatively but mostly in quantitative terms. ‘How many marks did your kid score in Science?’ ‘What is your kid’s rank in class?’ ‘Which prize did your kid win in the painting competition?’ And then they go home to compare this with their own kid.

Alone in Bangalore

Trampling on others to get your things seem to be in fashion – it’s like some distorted version of ‘survival of the fittest’ in place. Bribing to get things done, cutting the line to get ahead, stopping the whole traffic because your wife wanted to buy milk from the kirana store, etc - all seem to be justified in some weird Indian interpretation of ‘survival instincts’ which is considered a value and a great strength.

Medha Patkar and the Dam

Medha Patkar, with all due respects to her will and determination, has directly contributed to poverty, famine, drought and hunger in a population bigger than that of France for the last 20 years with her obstinate obstruction of building Sardar Sarovar Dam on Narmada River.

Reservations and India Inc.

The objectivism that tests & entrances introduced (is) now pushed to an extreme form to be called as ‘meritocracy’, a convenient word coined especially to defend India’s elite in promoting their own kin.

Telangana - A New State

When one state has two economically and culturally different regions, one being prosperous and the other backward, if corrective measures are not taken to uplift that backward region, there is a great danger that only the prosperous region gets all the attention, funding, new industries, canals, and opportunities, while the people of backward region keep losing out, even in their own region. When such a condition prevails far too long, strong corrective measures are to be taken, and if that does not work, a new state is one of the best solutions.

Bangalore and Corporate Responsibility

No country, no region, no place, can live in peace and sustained economic growth if the divide between have and have-nots keeps increasing (as it is happening in India). There is a need to ensure that our poor and lower classes can benefit from this economic growth, and that may mean we will have to shed some of our fat in the present times so that we don’t live in a hostile environment of the future.

Kaavya and Plagiarism

Actually, ‘plagiarism’ is an alien word to most Indians. They do not seem to be affected by it at all… It anyway happens all the time in Indian mainstream media, entertainment and literary sections. Movies are copied- scene to scene, dialog to dialog, without giving any acknowledgement and the Indian audience laps it up cheeringly without an iota of concern that it was “plagiarized”.

On Arundhati Roy

She believes in borderless nations, dam-less rivers, and nuclear free countries. I like those concepts as well. I like a war-less world, caste-less society, race-less civilizations, malice-less neighbors, selfless taxpayers, and so on. That does not mean, I close my eyes, and start believing that’s how the world is.

A Response: On Arundhati Roy

We seem to equate all those antiquity methods with virtuousness. Going to jail (even for murder), sacrificing (like Sonia did for other ulterior motives), fasting (like Medha Patkar severely affecting millions of others), taking out a yatra (like Advani to promote communalism), are all glorified only because this is exactly what Mahatma Gandhi did long ago. Whatever may be the 'goal' (selfish or selfless) the 'means' they employ seem to have a great impact.

MF Husain and nude paintings

The intolerance has reached gigantic proportions affecting the very fabric of our democracy and the values it promised to uphold…People get offended by almost everything in the name of ‘Indian culture’. While our ancestors enjoyed and practiced Kama Sutra and depicted it in sculptures where gods and goddess perform various sexual positions in abandon and freedom, our generation looks at everything sexual as obscene.

Argumentative Bengali

I have only one problem though – that Amartya Sen is Bengali. In my experience, a Bengali looks at every thing from a ‘Bengali Prism’. To him/her everything gets distorted to give a Bengali twist. They believe that the God is Bengali.

My Stand on Reservations I

The idea of reservations was mooted to rectify the Indian social system which was far more debilitating than the Indian economic system. For centuries, spanning nearly two thousand years, a large section of India was persecuted, discriminated and ostracized by a minority community on the name of caste.

My Stand on Reservations II

When we set out a massive pogrom of depriving a section based on caste for thousands of years, any corrective measure that one can come up has to be based on ‘caste’. It cannot be any other.

Reservations V: Apotheosis of IITs and myth of merit

To them ‘merit’ (read “scores”) is inviolable and is worth fasting for and dying for. That's when another sacred entity called 'merit' joins the pantheon of many Indian sacred symbols. And it is our culture of sanctifying things that is the bane of our civilization.

Reservations VI: Hollow arguments from Anti-Reservation groups

…they keep hopping from one topic to another giving 101 reasons why reservations-based-on-caste should not be implemented and they never admit that discrimination ever happened nor come with a concrete proposal on how this discrimination-based-on-caste that extended for such a long period in India could be addressed.

Reservations VII: Are we dividing our nation along caste lines?

One of the first things a mature civilization can do is admit its mistakes. That never happens in India. No group or body representing forward castes comes out in the open to say- ‘I apologize for what we have done to you in the past’. Instead, what everyone wants to say is- “Look, I am closing my eyes. I don’t see evil anymore. It has just vanished. Now don’t even talk about it because it will bring back the evil”.

Reservations VIII: Are reservations the perfect solution for the problem at hand?

I believe, reservations-based-on-caste is not the perfect solution, but it seems to be best possible option given other alternatives. Some of the alternatives seem to provide good text-book examples or demand more prerequisites but are not the best alternatives in the present scheme of things.

Reservations IX: I apologize

I shall teach my kids to be more tolerant of other kinds of people. I shall teach them to respect the oppressed for the pain they have endured for centuries. I shall teach my kids the evils of discrimination and take them to villages. Hopefully they will grow mature to respect and tolerate special rights given to certain people.

Indian Man vs. Indian State

I tend to take a stand that it is the Indian man who is corrupt, keeps his street unclean, and does not follow the law, and that the Indian System (or the Indian Government) is a mere personification of these ills of this common man. To rectify the system, he has to rectify himself. The change starts with him. It starts with the ‘man in the mirror’.

Temples and Women

I am not sure what is sacred about feminine. A woman and man are two different sexes which mate, reproduce and make babies to continue our species. And while they are not doing this activity, they indulge in other activities too, like inventing, composing music, and creating civilizations. I am not sure if any one of them (man or woman) is sacred (unless of course you bring in the argument that many women and men pray to ‘lingam’, the sexual organ of Lord Shiva, a man).

Vedas and Science

For all practical purposes, Vedas, with its deductions which are mystical, have to considered as good books of aphorisms and truisms and nothing more. Vedas may contain allegorical and fantastic descriptions of supposed flight, atomic theory and other modern concepts, but we do not know whether they are the conclusions after a thorough research or mere hypothesis or just whimsical conundrums.

Pornography! Welcome to India

How long can we hide under the illusion that we are a nation of morals, culture and high values, when everything we do actually shows that we are in fact immoral, barbaric and crass without any sign of rich culture and that we show no accountability, responsibility, and integrity in our daily lives?

I am on my way to Hell!

How can I be proud of my nation which does not know where it should stand on such a crisis? How can I be proud of my nation which holds onto a piece of land by force while the entire population of that land hates our rule and regime? The hottest places in Hell are being reserved for me and my countrymen. I am just getting ready for that!

Kashmir I: Independent Nation

…as Indians we don’t want to coerce and force certain section of people by suppressing their aspirations to live as an independent nation. The concept of a nation is an idea. When a certain majority of people of a region believes in an idea of statehood a nation is formed. It may be forged with a constitution, cemented with a government, protected with an army, and run with legislature, judiciary and executive. But at the heart of this nation are the people, their aspirations and their notions of freedom.

National Readership Study 2006

I subscribed to Times of India because everyone else was doing it. Man! It was such a horrible experience. I was appalled at the level of ribaldry, gossip and trash they were covering. There wasn’t an iota of serious journalism. Every day I would just throw the paper away in frustration.

On singing Vande Mataram

I don’t think I am a patriot in the traditional sense- I don’t support many of my country’s actions - in fact I oppose many of them. I am not a nationalist either- while I am a proud Indian I don’t necessarily believe my country is the greatest. I don’t think I am a fanatic either because I am not ready to die or kill to defend my beliefs. And I am no fool either – because I keep questioning myself a lot.

Kashmir VI: Was accession legal and ethical?

…it is hard to say if a certain decision is ethical or not - unless it is a glaring violation (like genocide committed by Nazis) or an obvious act of good faith (like that of Mother Teresa). Legal actions need not necessarily be ethical. Law is bound to a land and can change with time.

Adolf Hitler and Indians

I believe that there is a great correlation between the groups who admire Adolf Hitler, the groups who hate or think low of Muslims, and those who are against reservations.

Dawn of Indian Hindu fascism

Indian Hindus want Ram Rajya back. What does it mean? Does it mean- let Brahmins control education and the bureaucracy, let Kshatriyas rule and govern, let Vaishyas manage businesses, trade and wealth, let Shudras be kicked out of schools to concentrate on menial work, let Dalits be kicked out of all cities and towns, and let other religions be kicked out of the country (because they didn’t exist during the time of Rama)?

Why Muslims do not sing Vande Mataram?

While Hindus can pray to almost anything- including a rock, animal, natural event, or human, Muslims do not. While Muslims can eat beef, some high caste and chaste Hindus do not. The failure to understand such belief systems and practices will result in false expectations and hence disappointment. It is nothing to do with patriotism.

Adolf Hitler and Indians II

In a democracy, (such) prejudices and hatred cannot be curbed with force. Instead, it is the responsibility of the people itself to learn from history, teach kids of history and install mature institutions to ensure continuity of its people/nation/culture/religion/etc. Onus of learning and accommodating to set a precedent, unfortunately, always resides on the majority.

Islam vs. Rest of the World II

The reasons why some of the Muslims of the present-day are violent are found elsewhere. Looking for answers in the nature of its founder, its religious text and nature of its history is futile and completely useless.

Islam vs. Rest of the World III

I see the fall of Ottoman Empire as the biggest milestone in the history of Muslim World. What we see in the present Muslim World, the conflicts of nations and cultures, has come about following what happened after WWI.

Why do we criticize our nations?

Most of us who criticize our nations are ensconced in democratic and free institutions in which we take pride. The reason why we take pride in our nations is because it allows and accepts that criticism, our voice and expression, however bizarre it may sound… We believe these nations are great because of this very reason- that it allows people to speak their opinion and criticize their nations- each of its actions and symbols.

Kashmir VII: Some questions answered

Freedom! That single word that spawned so many struggles of mankind, including our glorious Independence Movement in which we wanted to define it according to our terms, and yet we are now defining it for others, making it paradoxical.

650,000 Iraqis die in US war on Iraq

Therefore, we have a ‘War on Terror’ waged against Iraq on the pretext that it possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction, which were never found; were responsible for 9/11 when none of the hijackers were Iraqi; had links with Al Qaida, which is unproven. For 3,000 killed in 9/11, America kills 650,000 Iraqis waging a war on certain guesses and hunches that turn out to be untrue.

Supreme Court ruling on Afzal case

Do we give death sentence to satisfy the collective conscience of the society? Does the convict get a sentence based on the crime or based on what the collective conscience has felt about it? When did we start using circumstantial evidence, however cumulative it is, to be unerring? And when did we start using ‘no direct evidence’ to award a death sentence, which we agree should be awarded in ‘rarest of the cases’?

Is Homosexuality natural?

To consider homosexuality to be unnatural or abnormal is completely wrong. It’s not an ailment that can be cured; it’s not a disease that can be eradicated. It is not a mental condition that can be corrected through therapy. If that God has created homosexuals in animals, so he did in humans. And if you are an atheist, like me, I don’t think you need to be told anything, you already know it.

Honking in ‘No Honking Zone’

I was wondering- can’t we even follow one single rule in this country? At least those that are so easy and simple to implement?

India: North and South Debate

This brings out the true nature of India. Identities cannot be imposed. We are tolerant and accepting only when it is voluntary. Any idea to bring in harmony, unity and integrity into India by imposing it onto its people turns out to be counterproductive.

Reservations XII: Corporate Responsibility [Reposted]

The industry has ensured it remained mostly Hindu and that too mostly upper caste. While the aim of the reservations has been to increase the presence of backward castes in education and professional environments, Indian industry has somehow escaped that responsibility on the name of ‘being competitive’.

Can and should Caste be abolished?

The way it would become redundant and unimportant is when each caste has access to opportunity equally, where this identity is no longer a dominant force in availing education and employment. That is when caste is just another unimportant identity that can be easily done away with.

12 comments:

  1. Great blog. With a long list of "positions", "dos" and "donts", it looks like a new "religion" in the making. Good luck Sujai.

    Here are just five things (a small list) that could make you and others around your happy -

    1. Abstain from killing
    2. Abstain from sexual misconduct
    3. Abstain from intoxicants
    4. Abstain from wrong speech (No lying)
    5. Abstain from stealing

    ReplyDelete
  2. With a long list of "positions", "dos" and "donts", it looks like a new "religion" in the making.

    I would be the last person who would like to convert my ideas into a 'religion'.

    BTW, I do not prescribe 'dos' and 'donts'. If you see them in my blog, you have not understood the gist of my blog.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am really feeling Free and elated now.
    I mean the mental state.

    I didnt get some concepts conveyed before in my adolescence from some rational articles before.. may be coz..my brain at that time was not wired to grasp the things ( or background family conditioning ) and concepts said there at that time!.
    Now, as i open myself to new ideas and reevaluate my existing beliefs and ideas it is whole new paradigm on life. WOW!!

    I DO NOT believe in an entity called GOD ( a superior being sitting somewhere governing and moving everybody's life).

    with this above idea, i also believed there is nothing called FATE.

    --Thanks to Ayn Rand's Fountainhead and many other books on Raja Yoga and Bhakti Yoga, and many many more books and articles.

    But somehow I WAS thinking there is something out there in astrology from this perspective:
    There might be some forces in universe which is not known to human brain ( science ) yet which might affect human lives and decisions.
    That idea shattered and in came the revelation that nothing is predictable; it is all what one creates for oneself;After reading the following articles,
    http://sujaiblog.blogspot.com/2006/12/astrology-vs-science-i.html
    and
    http://sujaiblog.blogspot.com/2007/01/astrology-vs-science-ii-linda-goodman.html

    If there is no entity called GOD there cant be a thing called FATE ( by fate I mean the idea that for humans everything is predestined).
    so,
    If nothing is predestined how can there be a predictive theory ( astrology) because astrology conforms to idea of FATE( that events occuring in human life are fixed and predetermined)and there cannot be a PREDICTIVE SCIENCE
    My close friends, parents,WONDER about my assertiveness and totally opposite stance when compared to some years ago.

    and that is what is human brain for rationalizing and fine tuning for understanding the 'TRUTH'.

    Thanks sujai!

    After this the question I got was:

    What is the Purpose of my Life?

    I got it it LIFE-TRANSFORMING power ful article:
    http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2005/01/why-does-purpose-matter/

    - It is a very valuable piece of thought, article; I recommend reading it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. as you are probably aware I read your blog now and then and comment when I really feel like it. One of the main reasons I look up your blog is so that in some odd way I am reassured that I am not alone :)

    Keep up the good work!

    ReplyDelete
  5. hi,
    I came across ur blog in google...
    i have a problem, which is due to the caste system in india. my caste catagory is OBC...
    i am a mba grad, now wrkg in mktg in an IT company.
    i jus want to knw ur call on whther marriages shud happen only within the caste.
    shud caste be a barrier for 2 friends to spend a life together.
    i dnt evn knw if u will see this comment or get back to me...
    u can leave a comment on my blog , i am leaving my blog address...
    http://kindredspiritsinc.blogspot.com/
    i need a lot of help... but i dnt have many happy helpers :D
    i thought u have a lot of good arguments on a lot of thngs that i used to be against but i nvr had opened up abt wht i felt... nwz... i thought it was bold of u to express ur thoughts:) cheers:)
    hope u cud back to me...
    thanks

    ReplyDelete
  6. hi,

    i have left a comment on my blog, i thought it made more sense to leave a reply there since ur reply is der too... nwz... a huge thanks:) really a huge thanks for replying:) for taking time out to reply:)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hello Sujai: This is meera nanda. If you recall, we wrote to each other for a while.
    Well,I was reminded of you while reading the NYT article on innovations (the slow pace of) in India. Did not you were this technology wizard.
    I have been here in India for this entire year -- at the Institute of Advance Study at JNU, new delhi.

    A book of mine came out in Sept. this year which I think will interest you. It is called "The God Market: How Globalization is making India more Hindu." It is a Random House publication and easily available in major bookstores. BUt I would like to send you a copy. Please email me your mailing address.

    I am leaving back for the US at the end of this month. This year has been very productive and very useful. I **needed** to get a feel of the country after so many years of living away with only 2-3 month visist thrown in annually.

    Hope you will write

    all the best

    meera nanda

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hello Meera Nanda:
    Thanks a lot for writing to me. I have responded to you on your personal mail id. Please let me know if you receive it.

    You can always reach me at sigmascamp at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hy Sujai,
    i like your point of view and the way you explain things!
    I'm italian and must say that our country has pretty much the same problems (the main is lack of ethics i fear).
    I liked your quote, but i have to tell you that its not from Dante Alighieri's Divina Commedia.
    John Kennedy said it in a speech, as you can see from wikipedias misquotation page: "This was stated by John F. Kennedy and attributed by him to Dante [2]. However, in the Divine Comedy those who "non furon ribelli né fur fedeli" — neither rebelled against nor were faithful to God — are located in the gate to Hell, a region neither hot nor cold (Inferno, canto 3)because they didn't decide between good or bad in life and are punished by not beeing able to access neither hell nor paradise.
    Hope this was useful,
    keep up the good work,
    Camilla

    ReplyDelete
  10. Good to know there are still more thinking, rational minds out there. Delighted, elated to know I am not alone.

    ReplyDelete

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