Saturday, February 09, 2008

Guide to E=mc^2 Blog II

This follows the Part I. Here’s a guide to this blog in chronological order.

Reservations XIV: Corporate responsibility- mandatory?

I do not see any voluntary action on part of Indian industry. I don’t see a single action from them that suggest they are going to embrace this voluntarily. Indian industry is not even ready to disclose their numbers- on how many backward communities are on their payroll, how many women, how many Muslims, Christians, etc.

Islam vs. Rest of the World IV: Steps to Embrace

Conceding to these demands, which also happen to be the demands of terrorists outfits like Al Qaida, is not tantamount to conceding to the coercion tactics of terrorists. Just because Noam Chomsky asks for statehood to Palestine and Osama Bin Laden also asks for the same does not equate these two individuals.

End of Rickshaws in Kolkata: Should we miss them?

Antara Das seems doesn’t seem to think it is inhuman. She goes nostalgic about it… She thinks ‘sturdy’ men run these rickshaws. This is how Indians rationalize all inhuman acts in India. Soon, another author will write the glory days of cleaners of night soil. She will miss those days when those lower caste kids would plunge themselves into sanitary tubes to clean the mess.

Are Indians creative and original?

…while we are ready to accept a new idea only if it has already been proven to work and is firmly established in some western nation, we never allow any revolutionary idea from our own people… we do not take risks, we sanctify everything, and we say ‘chalta hain’ to everything.

Decline of Science in India I

Science is on the decline in India. There are not many scientists in the making. It is not pursued as a career. It is not pursued by the government and its agencies. It is not pursued by the multinationals and private companies of India.

Decline of Science in India II

By shunning the pursuit of science, we are curbing the free thought, creativity, and the ability to question and reason. By treating our ancient texts as alternate science, we are bringing in sanctity, orthodoxy, to justify ignominious rituals and practices of this country.

Indians and plastics

We have been given the fruits of modern science and technology without having to go through the pains of attaining it. It was first imposed on us, then we just inherited it, and now we borrow it. Technology is not a solace or answer to all our problems. It has its own byproducts which could be distasteful. It all depends on how we use it.

Astrology Vs Science I

The reason why many think it [Astrology] is science is because it deals with stars, constellations, mathematical calculations which are the tools or ingredients of the prevailing sciences… Using goat’s entrails to predict whether it would rain does not make it biology or meteorology. Stopping oneself from entering the street because the cat has crossed your path does not make it zoology.

Sexual Practices in Nature

Understanding nature helps in understanding humans. It helps us in realizing that this nature has all kinds of sexual practices and that our notion of normal sex is just one of many other possible ‘normal’ practices.

Pseudo-science: Vaastu Shastra

The educated people do not like to be seen as gullible people- they never want to admit to themselves or to others that they are gullible. Instead, they like to be seen as those who ‘question’, then ‘verify’, and only then ‘accept’, just like in real science. Such educated people, while growing up, study science as if it is a complicated subject, never actually question what is taught, but accept it as another dogmatic notion.

Peevish Indians

So, please don’t tell us anything negative about us… We get really pissed off when someone does that. We will call you a traitor, an enemy, a fool, and abuse you, and threaten you to shut up. If need be, we will come to your home, raid your works, burn up your paintings, shut down the theatres, and run around the streets with a sense of accomplishment. Yes, we are peevish, and we are proud of it. After all, we are Indians!

PSLV launch: why we need more such symbols

In addition to the real benefits these rocket launches provide, they give us these symbols- of hope, of achievement, and of success. We all need those symbols. If the nation can generate that hope, desire and ambition in its youth, the price we pay for these launches is worth it!

Astrology Vs Science II: Linda Goodman debunked

Is she telling me that I am supposed to correlate myself with a sign that is laid out on the stars and constellations which some primitive man out of boredom called it a ‘balance’ in the night sky? Actually, there is no limit to the number of constellations. There is no reason why it can’t be 1024 constellations instead of just 12.

Guru: Why I didn’t like the movie!

I didn’t like the movie for the message it conveys- Do whatever it takes to succeed, even if it is the corrupt or illegal means. The message is dangerous and it epitomizes the attitudes of the new generation of India- inimical to itself.

Indian Actors

To be an actor in India, you should either be related to someone who is already in acting business or a politician, or be a beauty queen… It looks like Arts is completely hereditary or is related to being a beauty queen. Are we dynastic in nature?

One ‘Area of Improvement’ for India

When one clean his own shit, he will feel responsible for his own shit. He will not blame others when things go bad. To be able to clean shit, he will own up responsibility, he will join politics to clean it up; he will join industry to clean it up. He won’t say- ‘I won’t join politics because it is dirty’. Instead, he will say, ‘it is my shit, I will clean it’.

Why do we drive with high-beam on?

What is it about us that don’t allow us to practice something that makes sense right away? Is government involved here? Is the system wrong here? Are the politicians corrupt here? Is it caste-politics or communalism here? What is it in play here?

Why I am happy that India lost

Losing the only sport on which the entire nation is over-obsessed is not good for the morale of its youth. Except cricket, there’s no other game and no other sport to rely on. Add to that, the Indian cricket team has this amazing proclivity to disappoint most of the times. The supposed heroes fail to perform almost consistently whenever India is in dire need of heroism.

Are Humans vegetarians or meat-eaters?

…to say humans are ‘originally 100% vegetarian’ is patently wrong, because there is no valid case to suggest this. Also, to say humans are completely meat eaters is also wrong, because there is no strong case for this either. Most studies suggest we are omnivorous. We tend to eat what is available.

Narayana Murthy and National Anthem

If you understand the culture that is imbibed in most software-services business in India, you will realize that there is this amazing habit of bending over backwards to accommodate the customers (who happen to be foreign companies). The respect for customers is somehow mixed with respect for foreigners and soon one doesn't know why we are being obsequious to these foreign companies- is it because they are the customers or is it because they are foreigners?

Women in India

The woman is discriminated against, harassed, insulted, berated, and discouraged, by both men and women. By singly focusing on one enemy, that is the man, we are defining the problem statement wrongly. It is not ‘man vs. woman’, it is rather ‘society vs. woman’ and the society consists of both men and women.

Back to ‘Land of Idiots’

This attitude- to fight the battle tooth and nail but to lose the war- is seen in almost every sphere of Indian life. Either it is construction of our new house, or a new road, or a new product, we try to make gains in the near term and lose out on the long term.

Why bash up Hinduism?

Sanctity has reigned for far too long. The attitude of 'Don't criticize, don't question, don't ask, don't insult, don't denigrate' has reigned for far too long. Hinduism has remained on the sacred pedestal for thousands of years and it needs to be brought down from that position to be questioned with reason and rationale.

The Beauty of Hinduism - If there is any

The beauty that I see in Hinduism is not found in the holy books, scriptures, or its mythology. It is not found in Vedic Sciences or Vedic Mathematics, its purported achievements of having built nuclear bombs or an airplane. I do not see beauty in its purported complexity of stanzas, slokas, hierarchies of castes, and detailed description of rituals such as ablution… I think it is found in its simplicity and diversity.

Trying to find beauty in India

That shard of courtesy which they donned in a foreign nation is now completely absent… They brazenly lunge their bodies and luggage into others without apologizing. The lady on the plane speaks over the intercom- ‘Welcome to India! Hope you have a great stay’ and I prefer to read it as ‘Welcome to Land of Idiots! Ugliness starts right here’.

President Drama in India

The worst punishment you can give to a very dynamic and effective individual in India is to make him/her a President. Once he or she becomes a President all action stops… He becomes a rubber stamp, a ‘face’, a mannequin in a window of a big shop. He smiles, shakes hands and throws some clich├ęs in speeches.

Sethusamudram Project

Archeology in the post-colonial world has become more of a propaganda machine than real science. The post-colonial world, waking up after missing the Scientific and Industrial Revolution, has started to posit their own versions of science and technology. It gives them a satisfaction to know that their ancestors were really great- greater than these western scientists who came later in time… These reports and articles are ego-boosters to aggrandize our non-existing achievements, and nothing more!

Bad Parenting- Insensitivity and Indecency

The more I think about it the more I believe that the state of India – and all its ills are due to one single reason- bad parenting. It’s not the population; it’s not the economy; it’s not poverty and its not bad politicians either. I think it is everything to do with bad parenting.

Reservation XV: OBC Issue

To most detractors of reservations, OBC issue is one of those flaws. By making you concede that this system of reservations-based-on-caste is not perfect when it comes to OBC issue, they want to cast a doubt on the entire reservations issue. The detractors of reservations-based-on-caste love the OBC issue the way the creationists love the supposed gaps in the fossil records of humans. This gap alone seems to make a case for creationism in spite of all the evidences which suggest otherwise.

Of Child Doctors and Child CEOs

Many Indian parents nowadays try to see accomplishments and their successes through their kid’s performance and achievements. These parents having reached midlife see a plateau in their career. They now compare their kids with others and feel proud only through the achievements made by their kids.

Atheists - Video
Bad Parenting: Creating Terrorists I

This religious teaching of Islam first starts with complete abandonment of logic and reason. It’s like teaching a kid that Santa Claus visits every home on Christmas night to give presents. How a single person can go to so many homes on a single night traveling on a sled is not something that a kid doubts. Even if he doubts, a reason that Santa is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-present would clear up all those doubts.

Spirituality in Hinduism: Video
Shashi Tharoor on MF Husain
Indians and much-sought after achievements

…was a classic case of how India looks at itself – 'We don’t need your Western education, your Modern Sciences, we have our own Heritage, our own Vedas, our own homegrown alternatives which can bring about miracles, much bigger and surprising than those of yours'.

Supreme Court: Wrong precedents

Such precedents, ‘capital punishment to satisfy national conscience’ and ‘conviction based on oral testimony of the victim without any forensic evidence’, cast a doom for judicial system in this country.

India bans ads

Indian audience is really quite immature, and so are the movie makers, the ad makers, and of course the journalists. The list also includes the government leaders, the teachers, the professors and businessmen. Immaturity is no excuse for deepening the ills of our society.

Wrong Heroes

Yes, India desperately needs heroes. Our propped up heroes have failed us consistently. They have gone onto disappoint us all the time. Gandhi, Nehru, et al, of independence time is long gone. We have even punched holes into their personalities to make them more of villains than heroes. So what are we left with? Wrong heroes!

Reservations XVI: Why elite lower castes do not support

This is not very different from elite Blacks in US who do not wish to be seen as ‘those who got help’ from affirmative action. Once you have made it, you don’t want to extend any help to others of your kind with a pure selfish interest – 'not to be seen as incompetent by your peers'. Any such support to such affirmative policies is seen as ‘lack of competence’ by others.

India Curbs Freedom of Expression I

There is always a downside to freedom of expression. It comes with the ability to handle criticism, insults, and ridicules with maturity. It comes with an ability to allow individual creativity, even if it means we all disagree to the products of that creativity. It comes with an ability to allow one to berate, vent their anger, speak against the pillars of authority - government, religion, justice department, state, institutions, etc.

India Curbs Freedom of Expression II

All zealots are alike. All fanatics are alike. All sympathizers of such fanaticism are alike. All those Hindus who denounce M F Husain’s paintings and those who justify his persecution are no different than all those Muslims who attack and denounce Taslima Nasrin and her works.

Reservations XVII: Bad Jokes

I am not sure why people keep floating such stories. They are not even amusing to start with. It actually shows their true nature which is quite disturbing.

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