Friday, 27 November 2015

Bold & Intolerant Democracy?





If some people have issues or feel threatened with fear of intolerance, the government should address those issues. The irony is that some people react and respond in harsh language, proving their concerns right. Whether one agrees with what is being said is debatable.......


Yes, the situation in the world has changed, so also in India. The space for dissent  is shrinking. Film-makers, writers, artists and scientists have returned their awards. An award is very close to any individual and no one would like to give it back just like that. Their must be some truth in their non-violent protest. One can applaud or criticise it, but one has to respect the protest and not hound them in social media and other forums.

Those returning their awards are eminent people many of whom have no political affiliation with any party nor do they have any political ideology or ambition. One of the ways for creative people, scientists or intellectuals to express their dissatisfaction or disappointment is to return their awards. Anyone criticising the government, is targeted. It can't be - my way or no way! For some their is a sense of insecurity, despondency, intolerance and a growing disquiet. The fringe elements have raised their heads and have got a voice. A simple solution would be to engage with them and understand their concerns and address the issues.

Now coming to Amir Khan. Ever since Amir, one of the socially conscious actors spoke publicly of a private conversation he had with his wife, he has been deluged with hate messages and accusations and been branded as a traitor. Any one criticising the government or policies is not unpatriotic. It is his point of view or his thinking. His off-the-cuff statement to a question put to him. And with the hue and cry all around and with politicians jumping in, he has got the mileage worth a crore of rupees for free. His purpose is served. What is the point of hounding him on the social media, snapping off Snapdeal and boycotting others for whom he his their face to market their products. Isn't it a funny response? Harming the interests of an Indian company. What Amir said is not new. People talk of leaving the country all the time. What he implied was not very different from what Julio Rebiero had said in one article published in March this year - 'Today in my 86th year, I feel threatened, not wanted, reduced to a stranger in my own country.....' To aggressively besiege those who express such opinions is to impinge on free speech.

If some people have issues or feel threatened with fear of intolerance, the government should address those issues. The irony is that some people react and respond in harsh language, proving their concerns right. Whether one agrees with what is being said is debatable. Silencing voices is not the answer. If Amir had no business to say what he said, then Anupam Kher had no business to take a delegation to the President in response to award wapasi. And finally, the way the people reacted for Amir's statement, if they could have reacted similarly for corrupt politicians, India would have been on the road to progress!








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Truck drivers of India

Trucking in India is a world by itself. It is generally believed, within the truck community there is a quiet friction between drivers from the north and south India. One can barely see divers from north, mainly Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh or Rajasthan spend time or chit chat with those from Karnataka, Andhra, Kerala or Tamilnadu; may be its due to the cultural divide or a mutual suspicion. Most drivers speak or understand 2-3 languages. Dhabas or road-side hotels are the drivers’ favorite eating and resting spot.


As the trucks ply all over the country, even the remote corners, it is one of the best media or vehicle to advertise and spread social messages across the country. One of the most interesting aspects is the lines or messages painted on the back side of the truck. The most common is – Horn Please. Ok! Some lines are funny and some thought provoking. 
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Picture Post:

Mahuli temple, Shiroda, Maharastra, India
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Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Arunachala Kshetram - Discover yourself through self-inquiry & joyful living!





He appeared to be learned and spiritually inclined to do his best for this noble cause. He briefed me the vision and the plan for the ambitious project which he is confident of achieving through well-meaning friends, donors and devotees...

After a few days on my return back to Mumbai, I received a phone call from a friend who wished to visit me to explain regarding some temple in Tamilnadu. On the appointed day, my friend came over, and he was accompanied by a tall, young man dressed in bhagwa colour kurta and dothi. He was keen to see me. We were introduced and exchanged pleasantries.

He was Swami Ramana Swaroopananda, an ardent devotee of Shri Arunachala Ramana, and an earnest seeker following the path of Atma Vichara, is the acharya of the Atma Vidya Mandir. Submitting to the inner call of the divine, he moved to Arunachala Ksetra to practice austerities at the feet of Bhagwan Sri Ramana. Initiated by Arunachala Ramana into the secrets of Atma Gnana; he is now prompted from within to share his love and understanding of Atma Vichara and Arunachala Smarana.

He appeared to be learned and spiritually inclined to do his best for this noble cause. He briefed me the vision and the plan for the ambitious project which he is confident of achieving through well-meaning friends, donors and devotees.

He was in Mumbai on an important mission to raise funds from friends, devotees and others for financing the project in Arunachala. The first phase of the ambitious project includes a small temple for Arunachala, a Dhyana Mandir/Satsang hall, Acharya’s Kutiya, an office block with basic amenities, Residential quarters for devotees, a Kitchen and Dining hall. All the facilities are to face the holy hill Arunachala, so that the darshan of Arunachala is unhindered.

Arunachala Kshetram or Tiruvannamalai is a sacred place (Shiva bhoomi) in South India, where once Lord Shiva appeared as an infinite column of light to bless the world. At the foot hills of this hillock facing the almighty Arunachala, is the 8 of acres of land where Atma Vidya Mandir after construction would be consecrated to bless the world.

Swami Ramana Swaroopananda has made an appeal through this blog to all the readers in India and across the world to donate generously for the noble cause. One can sponsor or co-sponsor any one of the facilities. All donations should be routed through – Sri Arunachala Smaranamrutam Trust.

For more information, you may contact Swami Ramana Swaroopananda at Tiruvannamalai. Mobile no: 9840049923. Email: ramana.s.ananda@gmail.com

For details log onto: www.atmavidyamandir.com







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The Ramayana retold
Every Indian must have read the translation and adaptation of the Ramayana sometime or the other. RK Narayan once wrote that almost every Indian is aware of the story of the Ramayana in some measure or the other.

Valmiki wrote the first narrative of the epic in Sanskrit. Although the Ramayana may have existed in some form before, his version is considered standard for most translations into English. The oldest manuscript is a palm-leaf that was found in Nepal.


But very few may have given a thought or realised the role of Bharata which is the essence and has made the epic what it is, a fasinating story. The Ramayana can make you think – and it is a great read, everytime. And especially, the episode of Bharata. You will find it interesting.

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Picture Post:
Shiva Temple, Somnath, Gujarat, India.
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‘As a student of Indian history, I was attracted to this book because it effectively answers how a young prince rejects the throne, which is not rightfully his. Through this book, I learned the essence of Ramayana.
The book opens the window into the ancient world of India and Bharata. It gives an extremely rare insight into the epic Ramayana. I like the book because of the simplicity in narration. It is a must read for anyone who wishes to know more about Indian culture and mythology.
-          Edwin Moses


Bharata, My Brother
- Anil Kumar Naik
Foreword by Shri Asaranna Swami of Durga 
Parmeshwari Temple, Kateel, SK

Rs 200 + 30 P&F (India).
Order your copy. 

Will be delivered to your home.


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Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Week - In the News



India:

E-tailers target record sales this festive season
This festive season, e-commerce companies in the country are gearing up for the biggest sales of their lives. Consumers are expected to splurge around $7 billion (Rs 45,000cr) on online shopping this festive season.

Infosys to buy US-based Noah Consulting for $70mn
India’s second largest IT services provider Infosys said it plans to buy US-based Noah Consulting, an advanced information management consulting services provider for oil and gas industry for $70 million 9Rs 455 crore).

EY: India is top investment hub
India has been named the most attractive country for investment in a survey of over 500 global investors released by Ernst & Young.

Dying Ambernath Rail Neer factory gets a new life
A CBI raid in Delhi exposed the Rail Neer scam has resulted in a sharp rise of orders for its otherwise-dying mineral water production factory in Ambernath, near Mumbai. The unit producing only 30,000 bottles per day will now make 1,30,000 bottles.

Gujarat & Karnataka lift Maggi ban
Gujarat and Karnataka lifted ban on Maggie noodles with the rider that the new batch will be tested by a nationally accredited laboratory. The move comes two days after Maggie samples passed all tests designated by the Bombay High Court.

Truecaller crosses 100mn users in India
The screening app identifies 900 million calls every month, and the company is working towards further expanding its user base in tier II and tier III cities through its Truedialler and Truemessenger apps.

You may get Re1 for each call drop
Consumer may soon start receiving compensation for call drops. Telecom regulator Trai has proposed Re1 payback for each call drop. But the relief may be limited to 3 calls per day.

Paytm introduces cashless payments at unorganized retail
Digital payments company Paytm has introduced a QR code-based system to enable cashless payments across various unorganized trade segments. Local retailers and service providers can simply print out their unique QR code and present it to Paytm Wallet users at the time of payment.

Acquisition talks with SanDisk
Mark Duncan-led chip maker Micron Technology and Steve Milligan-led hard disk drive company Western Digital are in acquisition talks with Sanjay Mehrotra-led memory chip maker SanDisk. The target is valued at about 12.6 billion.

Supreme Court agrees to centre’s plea, to increase the ambit of Aadhar card.
Railways to plant trees along tracks all over the country.


 World:

19 PIOs elected MPs in Canada
As many as 19 Canadians of Indian origin were elected to the Canadian parliament, making it the highest ever presence of MPs with Indian roots in the House of Commons.

China GDP at 6-yr low of 6.9%
China’s economy grew by 6.9% in the three months ended September, the slowest since early 2009 in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. Weakening trade and manufacturing have fueled concern in China about possible job losses and unrest.

Adani’s controversial $12b Carmichael coal project
Adani’s controversial $12b Carmichael coal mining project gets Australian government’s nod with ’36 strictest conditions’ in the country’s history.

FB to launch Notify real-time news app
Social networking giant FB is reportedly working on a breaking news app called Notify and could be ready to launch it by October-end, according to reports.

India fastest growing among top markets: Dell
Michael Dell said that Indian business was growing four times faster than the overall market. He said Dell in India held the highest market share last quarter in servers, workstations and note books. According to him, India is the third biggest after US and China.

Titanic iceberg photo up for auction
A grainy black and white photograph showing an iceberg in the middle of the calm sea that caused the RMS Titanic to sink in 1912 is up for auction. It was taken by the chief steward of the ocean liner Prinz Adalbert on the morning of April 15, 1912; hours after RMS Titanic sank. The auction is scheduled for Oct 24.

China has more billionaires than US
China now has more billionaires than US. China has 596 against 537 American billionaires.

US seeks deal to limit Pak’s nuclear arsenal
Us seeks a deal to limit Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. The move follows concern that Islamabad may deploy small tactical nuclear weapons.

After Parliament nod, Iran’s guardian council clears nuclear bill.
Using Russia’s cover, Iran begins sending fighters to Syria.
ISS confirms killing of number 2 leader in US airstrike in Iraq.


Viewpoint:

WPI inflation marginally up in Sept; pulses, onion continue to sting
Deflationary trend continued for the eleventh straight month, with Wholesale Price Index inflation remaining in the negative at (-) 4.54 per cent in Sept, but common man continues to suffer under the burden of rising prices of pulses and onions. Inflation in food articles inched up to 0.69 per cent in Sept, from (-) 1.13 per cent in August, according to the data released.

Reality check?
Any elected government with an overwhelming mandate should concentrate on good governance, clean administration and provide law and order for the benefit of its citizens.

It should not enter the common man’s kitchen to see what he eats and what he should not. Nor decide what he should see and what he should not or what he should read or what he should nor what he should wear or what he should not.

Price control of essential commodities is an important function of the government. Recently with the spiraling prices of onions, all eyes were on it, but now it’s the pulses. The prices of pulses and dal, considered the common man’s source of protein, have flared in recent months and some of them are selling at over Rs 100 per kg beyond the reach of aam admi.

In the last one year, 600 farmers committed suicide. Skewed priorities is agriculture over decades have brought us to this state. It is of utmost urgency that a workable plan be put in place to rectify the situation. Just promises of financial package and schemes won’t work. A reality check is needed?





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Jamaican wins Man Booker prize for Bob Marley novel
Marlon James, first from Jamaica to bag this honour; 70 publishers had rejected his debut novel. He has become the first Jamaican winner of the Man Booker fiction prize with a vividly violent, exuberant and expletive-laden novel based on the attempted assassination of reggae star Bob Marley.

Quote:

‘To be successful – reinvent yourself and stay relevant.’
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Picture Post:

Vethoba temple at Arravali, nr Shiroda, Maharastra, India
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Thursday, 15 October 2015

Supersonic Super flight




 
A team of engineers, including those of Indian-origin are working on this special project, are building a jet that can fly between Kashmir and Kanyakumari twice in 3 hours..... 

Life is moving at a fast pace. So you need communication and transport to keep pace with it. Soon you can fly between Mumbai and New Delhi 5 times in 3 hours on the supersonic flight on a normal passenger flight, presently an one-way trip between two cities take around 2 hours.

A team of engineers, including those of Indian-origin are working on this special project, are building a jet that can fly between Kashmir and Kanyakumari twice in 3 hours. S-512 Supersonic Jet is being developed by Boston-based Spike Aerospace. It was initially introduced in 2013, but the company recently announced changes to its design that could make it much more faster. With a super speed of Mach 1.8 or 2,205 kmph is the maximum speed the S-512 can reach. That is 1.8 times the speed of sound. 988 is the top-speed of a Boeing 747 aircraft. Air India uses these to ferry passengers to different parts of the world. And 871 kmph is the fastest an Airbus A320 can fly. So you can see, it is much faster.

The plane’s newly-designed delta wings is what makes the travel superfast, according to Anutosh Moitra, a senior engineer at Spike Aerospace. Both the shape of the wings and its modified tail help reduce drag – the air resistance that slows the plane down.


It will have speed plus style. It’s not only superfast, it will be super luxury too. The aircraft’s interiors feature a multiplex digital cabin, where passengers can see panoramic views outside, watch movies, maps, images or presentation. The flight can accommodate 18 passengers and a trip is likely to cost up to $80 million. And Spike isn’t the first to promise a supersonic jet. Aerion announced plans in 2009 to create its own 12-seat supersonic business jet. Ironically it was pegged to cost $80 million and the jet was supposedly due on 2015. And Spike’s had promised to take off in December 2018.



Bharata, My Brother
by Anil Kumar Naik

- Foreword by Shri Asaranna Swami,
Durga Parmeshwari temple, Kateel, Karnataka.

Price: Rs 200 + P&F Rs 50
(NB: P & F chrgs for India)








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The Forgotten Brown Warriors:
The present generation should know this; a hundred years ago, over 1.5 million soldiers from British India were fighting the First World War for the British Empire. Nearly every sixth soldier fighting on behalf of the British Empire was from the Indian sub-continent – Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Gurkhas. And more than 70,000 men were killed in far away battlefields in different countries. They are the forgotten warriors of the Indian sub-continent. Nobody talks about them, their acts of bravery and the sacrifices made for the then British Empire. May their souls rest in peace.

Ancient Art in Indonesia:
The Indonesian images discovered in a limestone cave on the island of Sulaweri in the 1950s had previously been thought to date back only 10,000 years. But now, it has been found to date back at least 40,000 years, making it the oldest sign yet of human creative art and perhaps predates art from European caves.
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Picture Post:
Panjim, Goa, India
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Wednesday, 7 October 2015

In the News



India:

India to grow at 7.5% in 2016: IMF
Indian economy is expected to grow faster than other major emerging economies, IMF said on Tuesday, projecting a growth rate of 7.5% for India in 2016 as against China’s 6.3%. India’s growth is expected to strengthen from 7.3% this year and last year to 7.5% next year. On the other hand, growth in China is expected to decline to 6.8% this year and 6.3% in 2016.

HDFC, Canara Bank, cut lending rates; home, auto loans to be cheaper
Country’s largest mortgage lenders, including Canara Bank and StanChart, cut their base rates by up to 0.25%, a move that will make home, auto and other loans cheaper. The effective home loan rate for new customers will be 9.65%, while for women borrowers, it will be 9.60%. This reduction is effective from Oct 5, 2015.

Modi-Merkel to fast track business deals
18 MOUs were signed and the leaders also committed to resume talks on India-EU free trade pact. Merkel also pledged Euro 1 billion for solar energy – India and Germany on Monday gave a major boost to their bilateral ties, particularly in the economic field by inking 18 MOUs, including one for setting up a fast-track system for German companies in India.

Germany returns 10th century Durga idol
Germany on Monday returned to India, a 10th century Durga idol that had gone missing from a temple in Kashmir in 1990’s and later found in that country. The idol was handed over by Angelo Merkel to PM Modi three years after it was spotted in a museum in Stuttgart.

INS Kochi commissioned
INS Kochi, the 25th warship built by Mazgaon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd was commissioned into the Indian Navy by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. The ship matches with the best in the world. A major achievement for make in India plans.

World:

ISIS destroys more history
Islamic State has blown up the 2000-year-old Arch of Triumph, an ‘icon of Palmyra’ in the ancient city of Palmyra, stepping up its campaign of destruction at the world heritage site in Syria.

Facebook to deliver Satellite internet to Africa
European satellite operator Eutelsat Communication and social giant Facebook have announced that they are working jointly to deliver Satellite broadband Internet to connectivity-hungry sub-Saharan Africa.

PIO couple donates $100m to NY University
In what is possibly the single largest philanthropic donation by Indian-American community, Chandrika and Ranjan Tandon have announced a $100 million gift to New York University’s School of Engineering. Chandrika is Pepsico CEO Indra Nooyi’s sister and a Grammy nominated singer.

Trio share Nobel medicine for beating parasites
Three scientists from Japan, China and Ireland whose discoveries led to the development of potent new drugs against parasitic diseases including Malaria and Elephantiasis won the Nobel Prize for medicine. Irish-born William Campbell, 85, Japan’s Satoshi Omura, 80 and China’s Youyou Tu, 85, were the winners.

Japanese, Canadian scientists win Nobel in Physics
Takaaki Kajita, 56 of Japan and Arthur McDonald, 72 of Canada won the Nobel prize in Physics for neutrino work. They discovered that elusive subatomic particles neutrinos have mass.


Viewpoint:

Indo-Pak Talk?
Indian government is in no mood or hurry to get talking with Pakistan. India would not rush into any fresh talks unless its concerns about terrorism are addressed upfront and its sensitivities about Hurriyat being unwelcome in the bilateral engagement are appreciated.

Educated and young Pakistanis think and behave differently and appreciate India’s development, progress and economic growth. In this atmosphere, we can build a narrative that Pakistan is in the grip of the army and the political system is flawed and nothing moves without the nod of the army.

They should also made to feel, India is a friend that can make the aspirational and progressive class in Pakistan get what it deserves, true democracy and economic progress not with guns, but with culture and modern technology.

A stable Pakistan will be conducive to the development of the region and the SAARC countries around. Sooner Pakistan realizes this, the better it is for the whole region and Indo-Pak relations.

India was prepared to use special forces during face-off in Chumar
A year after Indian and Chinese soldiers were caught in a tense border stand-off in Ladakh’s Chumar sector, it has emerged that the Indian Army was prepared to use its special forces and had moved its toughest fighting men close to the incursion site, signaling a hardened posture along the Line of Control.


Books:

1000 Kilograms of Goa

A few days ago the courier guy delivered the book -1000 Kilograms of Goa written by a debutant writer Rohan Govenkar from Goa.

The title and the cover of the book are catchy and attractive. The book tells an incredible story with twists and turns. The narration is simple, racy and readable. In a way it is a top-notch thriller. The author uses his knowledge of inner Goa to weave a treasure hunt. It’s an absorbing story of young friends.

For me, the minute Rohan typed the first words and sentences, and completed the manuscript it was bound to hit the bulls-eye. The book is for people who want to find a new meaning of Goa with foreigners, tourists, fashion, casinos, drugs and booze. In this materialistic world, where loyalty, humanity and sincerity seem old-fashioned is very much visible.

It’s a tale of tragic romance, betrayal and genuine emotions well presented. Rohan Govenkar has made a good debut and I would recommend this book.

Quote:
‘In an age when technology is rapidly changing, it is crucial to be updated, relevant and be in sync with the latest.’


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Picture Post:

Manjunath temple at Kadri, Mangalore, India
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