Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The honesty, that shines thro' !!





nAsadeeya sUktam (on creation)
R’gvEda 10.129 (also a part of the yajurvEda and the udakashAnti)

At first was neither Being nor Nonbeing.
Therewas not air nor yet sky beyond.
What was its wrapping?Where?In whose protection?
Was Water there,unfathomable and deep?

There was no death then, nor yet deathlessness;
of night or day therewas not any sign.
The One breathed without breath,by its own impulse.
Other than that was nothing else at all.

Darkness was there,all wrapped around by darkness,
and all was Water indiscriminate.
Then that which was hidden by theVoid,
that One,emerging,stirring, through power of Ardor (Tapas),came to be.

In the beginning Love arose,which was
the primal germ cell of the mind.
The Seers,searching in their hearts with wisdom,
discovered the connection of Being in Nonbeing.

A crosswise line cut Being from Nonbeing.
What was described above it,what below?
Bearers of seed there were and mighty forces,
thrust from below and forward move above.

Who reallyknows?Who can presume to tell it?
Whence was it born?Whence issued this creation?
Even the Gods came after its emergence.
Then who can tell from whence it came to be?

That out of which creation has arisen,
whether it held it firm or it did not,
He who surveys it in the highest heaven,
He surely knows or may be He does not!


TranslationbyProf.RaimundoPanikkar (Ref.3,pp58),

"TheVedicExperience-Mantra-manjari"Pub.byMotilalBanarasidas

Photographer : self :-)
Painting at Vivekanandar Illam, Marina , Chennai

Friday, February 24, 2006

My first love....





She was my childhood sweetheart, I don't know when I first met her, neither do I remember when I really fell in love with her, all I can say is, from when I have memory, she's there....

In middle school, I used sit hours in my house's "sit out" lost in dreams about some aspect of hers.. you know how complex they are, ... and so trying to see if I can figure out a little something more interesting about her...

In high schools, my notes to her would invariably start with a "If there is a paradise on earth, it is this, it is this,it is this and if there is one worth giving life for, it is you it is you it is you....."


*******************************************************

My first memories of our association is when a lot of my uncles , aunts and sometimes grandfathers would put just the two of us together..... give me puzzles to solve, when to all other kids they would give something more worldly to play with... I remember how many times my cousin sister (elder by 2 years) and I would be given the same problem and we wud run in two different directions to solve it.. I would come back much much before my sister and whisper the answer in my aunt's ears.. Minutes later my elder sis wud come, still confused and all frustu that her younger bro has cracked it already ..

A few nice teachers here and there in my school , and my love and passion for her just grew.. Thinking about her problems and trying to solve them in my own ways became my favorite pastime ....

Oh, what all were the things I loved to do with her - I would give a watch with seconds to a friend of mine and ask him/her to time me when I try to do a mental multiplication of two four digit numbers, and speak the answer out mentally.. sometimes I moved onto five and six digits
Once in my 11th I remember 3 different people firing away numbers - not perfect square- and me giving them the square roots to two decimals, in a few seconds- all mental calculations.....

I used to have all my secret codes(passwds) something to do with Ramanujan's numbers.. what more, I used to have my own "arun's numbers"......

Oh, what a crazy lover I was...


*********************************

Come college (ie 11 and 12) and I had the best Professor in my life for Math... Prof C Balakrishnan. Since the college was all about strikes, and no portion was covered there, the tuition center was the resort and thats where he taught... Brilliant isn't just the word- eventhough in general he would try to keep the standards of the problems in tune with the "back benchers" every now and then he would come with an IIT problem or an Olympiad problem and would give me that look thro' above his glasses... - enuf for me to forget the surroundings and get immersed ..

Come my second year, my Math Prof at the college was also very enthusiastic. He would dare to stand up against the "striking student politicians" and say "I will teach, you do what you want". He was so sincere, that students who otherwise wud have wanted the strike , would also support him... His name was Varghese, I believe..

And this me, what did I use to do ?... I used to make Prof B at the tuition and Prof V at the college compete.. I would say to one "You know, today at the other place, Prof gave this particular problem.. I think that was nice"... and he would give me much wanted difficult problem...

And yeah, my lost-in-the-dream world continued, eventhough reduced for lack of time due to JEE preparation... I remember one day I decided to spend the whole day (of my already tin vacation) on trying to solve Fermat's last theorem.....

*******************************************

Anyway, over years, from being lovers, we became casual friends.. my loyalties shifted, I don't know how I could, but yeah, its now more of a hi-bi ... But occasionally- when I realise that I still remember my 10th standard board exam Roll no: (422491), and even my cousin sisters' Roll No:(343454), I fall back into the memory lane, for a walk along the long forgotten corridors

Thursday, February 23, 2006

A solution to Islamic fundamentalism ?

My memories go back by about twenty some years. That was the time when ours was the only non-Muslim household in a radius of, may be 1 km

One day my Mother was rather angry..... Our neighbouring house had a little girl named Bushara. Three years elder to me, elder sister of my best friend at that time- Haneefa (Ani). Her parents- Koya and Pathumma, had just realised that inspite of being in 2nd or 3rd grade Bushara cannot read or write Malayalam alphabets, eventhough she can byheartedly recite the Quran. So they send her to my mom, a teacher, for some extra coaching during summer vacation- after all most times they are at my house only playing with me

What angered my mom was not that. Days after the Mullahs of the nearby mosque learned it, they sent word to Koya and Pathumma. "DON'T SEND YOUR KID TO A KAFFIRICHI'S HOUSE FOR LEARNING" (Kafirichi= a Malluised form for kafir woman)
Pathumma, who told my mom about it, was in tears, but what can she do ? My mom kept saying "Poor girl"

And yet, if I remember correctly, my mom & father , many times through me (Hey show Bushara how to write "Ma" da), tried... And the kids and parents were only happy to... Every now and then I would read out Mahabharata and Ramayana from Paico publishers to a bunch of Muslim kids (many of whom could not read properly inspite of being in3rd or 4th grade).Sometimes we would enact them- as always Arjuna was my favorite, and Ani wud be Bhima.. My mom, who is otherwise crazy about cleanliness, would only say "can't they take bath and come?".. "Can't they keep the chappal outside and come?".. Well, she would have said that even if it were Hindu kids

I can quote lot more such examples of harmony -how these same poor/uneducated Muslims would feed us almost everyday of the Ramzaan , in the evening while they break the fast... Almost the whole of Mahabharata, I watched together with a Christain family in their house, because we did not have TV. In my 12th, among a number of people, I chose to have a christian roommmate, who was perhaps the rare one whom inspite of two year association, I almost never fought with - Rahul Thomas Paul was of course an exceptionally calm person

What am I trying to say ? Well, today, a friend of mine sent me an article by Thomas Friedman of NYT.. There was a technical error in mentioning India as the second largest "Muslim country", instead of second largest Muslim populated country. But what struck me more was the almost complete absence of the term Hindu in the article, inspite of saying again and again that Indian Muslims have been *comparitively* mild in their reaction to the Danish cartoons ....(especially considering their large number)

So, Inspite of such overwhelming notion of comparatively-more-peaceful Indian Muslims , why hasn't the world not bothered to know more about the Hindu angle to things ?

Imagine the kind of experiences I quoted, in any other country .. A Muslim kid sitting and listening to another religion's text ? And more, enacting it ? So what made it possible in India ? Just saw a news item where a Muslim boy won a Ramayana competition or something.. Why doesn't it invite a fatwa in India, considering the high idolatory in the story ? Why is is that Indian Muslims can sing Vandemaataram, when Quran clearly says that a Muslim cannot worship anyone else, or any other concept but Allah ? (similar example could also be found in Indonesia and other parts of south east were there is still a great Hindu influence, atleast in traditions)

Why did the Muslim kids in my Christian school not refuse to say Christain or even Hindu prayers and when even the "liberal Muslims" elsewhere in the world, including US perhaps would not let their kids do it ?

Before trying to answer these, let me switch back and first debunk some myths that Freidman has created, knowingly or not

1) A good economy and succesful Muslim businessmen and indivdiuals is the solution : Well, what about Saudi Arabia ? What about Osama Bin Laden ?

2) Good education is the solution : What about Omar Sheikh.? What about AQKhan ?

If only you study carefully, you will realise that those two issues may help, but is not a solution in itself

And yeah, Koya and Pathumma were neither rich (they struggled to get each of their 4 or 5 daughters get married- some of them twice and thrice) nor were they educated (they perhaps even did not know how to read and write)- and yet, they had the humanity in them to want to see their kids educated (if only the Mullahs were a little more obliging), and with their full knowledge, the kids continued to know about Krishna and Rama from a kafir kid !!


So then what makes the Indian Muslim different ?

Let me start off with my oft repeated statemnt. Human Beings are in general good. Its bad ideologies that corrupt them. And its the atmosphere that corrupts them more or rather prevents from being corrective .

The Quran has fundamental issues with it. Unlike good books which people can take pains and misinterpret, you need to take pains to spiritually interpret islam. Its very difficult for one to believe that Jehad is a war against the non-believer in oneself when plethora of Quranic verses clearly mention non-believers as set of people, and so on. And adding fuel to the existing fire are the Mullahs

Now, comes the crucial part - well, I as an individual may not be practicing this, but I am glad India as a collective has- Instead of being blunt about this fact (like the Danish cartoon's), Hindus, I would say, have lead by example. By being nice , by being spiritual. And a reasonable Indian Muslim would immediately see that the environment is different, different from a hostile European environment.

Which Hindu in India has ever seriously offended prophet Mohammed ? Inspite of his Gods been repeatedly shown in the nude and erotic postures by a Muslim ? Thats because Hindus value others' religion - good or bad, how muchever illogical it sounds to you..

Even some one like me, who otherwise claim to be starightforward even if it meant not caring about being politically correct, and have my own personal notions on the prophet based on his life, when it comes to telling that to a Muslim, can't ignore the feeling of something in my throat. "Cowardice" you may, "hypocrisy" you may, sorry, all I can say is, I am a Hindu

So thats were the environment plays such an important role. Be good, and others will follow. A Muslim parent knows that if his kid is being told the Mahabharata by a Hindu kid, or even a Hindu teacher, thats not with an intention to convert - well may be convert one spiritually, but not "religiously".. Trust... and whats more interesting, Hindus have done it without even claiming credit.. "the gentle dew that falls, unseen and unheard off, and yet bringing into blossom, the fairest of the roses"... even today !

Post script:
-----------

This is not an advice to fellow Hindus who disagree with tenets of other relgion... to feel guilty that you have not been nice enuf to other religions... Neither is it a call to sit and watch silently and passively if injustice is being done to you..

Rather, this is an honest note of congratulations, to fellow Indians who have lived in such harmony, and especially to my fellow Hindus, for being true to their religion as said in "Krunvantu Viswamaryam" ("lets ennoble the world")

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The enigma...




For all the eyebrows that went up seeing some rather beautiful feminine pictures on by blog, you don't have to hold your breath till the end - my legs are still firm on the ground .. dont ya worry

And second honest admission of the day - I am one with very less patience.. As they say, if there is some one who wants things done yesterday, thats me. Be it cooking, or be it article analysis or book reviews, or blog postings beyond 20 mins, I can't survive ...

So .. what gets me here today ? As is the case many times, the exact timing of the blog-post isn't that important. This has been a thought playing around in my mind for a while now. This ladie's articles at sawf (U see I am always cautious with south asianism - a double edged sword at that), has always made me wonder... Is there a class of women which the world has not paid much attention to ? Whom I call Hindu feminists ?

Look at her articles :

http://www.sawf.org/mezines/sunny/sunny.asp?sec=mybooks&art=Introduction&title=About%20Sunny%20Singh

Let me get down to some specific ones

http://www.sawf.org/mezines/sunny/sunny.asp?sec=politics&edt=edit04152002&art=connect&kw=secular&title=Secular

I wonder why she was never labelled a Hindu fundamentalist or a Modi lover by the "secular" media.. How did sawf allow her space, and even a seperate sunny space ?! Is the magic words that she often utters- I am a "feminist"

Well, to be honest, I admire her boldness, to perhaps speak out the truth .. or atleast what she honestly thought...

And one can see it in her rest of the articles as well ..

I like the way patriotism in her own version is embedded in all she writes, the fact that she takes pride in quoting the Gita every now and then.. and yet sticking to her "I am a feminist, period"

I loved reading her piece on

http://www.sawf.org/mezines/sunny/sunny.asp?sec=culture&art=rakhi&title=Rakhi

And well, this may come as a shock to some

http://www.sawf.org/mezines/sunny/sunny.asp?sec=culture&edt=edit01222001&art=connect&kw=sati&title=Sati

If not anything, that surely is a deviation from stereotypes - perhaps to an extreme oppossite, but yeah to put it in short, she claims "Sati is my birth right"

Ufffff... I hope atleast now some of you may apprceiate the enigma part. Combining this with having read the article by Madhu Kiswar on "Madhusmrithi" , I honestly feel , there are more women out there like her... perhaps with no channels to speak out - what with the Trishul brand not comfortable with the feminist word because of its western origins, and most of the rest of the world would not be with the H word....

The enigma turns into admiration when I think, that inspite of these she has been able to define an identity to herself... and yes, another honest admission - I miss her articles.. she seem to have stopped writing on politics and culture almost 2 years before

------------------------------------------------------------------------

post scripts:

I will have two follow up posts to this one- donno when

a) Talking about Sati, a few excerpts, from a discussion I had in a private group, of course, only the relevant part and the issue, and no personal details

b) Why I am not a fan of Asoka (unlike sunny's article) ... the funda to me is simple. Ashoka remained a King and advocated non-violence which is not really his Dharma as a King (and even declared a state religion- Buddism- which no other ruler has done in India) , where as Buddha, renounced his Kingdom before going the pacifist way

Compare him with Arjuna- Arjuna asked all questions before the war.. Asoka asked it all after the damage was done !! and in my opinion ended uo doing more damage ...

I know I am perhaps swimming against the current, but hey, sunny singh's my inspiration :-))

Sunday, February 19, 2006

That voice ....



As a li'l kid I was told from within by some one
Be mad, don't be like just anyone !

As a teen I was told from within by some one
Help for this cause, as there isn't any one

As a youth I was told from within by some one
Look around don't you see you aren't the only one

-----------------------------------------------

When at times I wonder if I have even understood the cause
For which at times I have made "my life" come to a pause

Isn't it the voice of the same some one
Which tells me "Aren't you the one?..."

"Aren't you the one whom I have told
All those verses which can help you hold?" ........

-----------------------------------------------

Nimithamaathram bhava .... (B.G 11.33 )

tasmad asaktah satatam karyam karma samacara ... (B G 3.19)

Shreyansi Bahu Vighnani .....



---------------------------------------------

Photo source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/newsid_4390000/

newsid_4398900/4398944.stm

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Et tu ... ?

This is with regard to K M Ganguly's translation of MhB,which I read often and had been considering myself quite authentic.. until, this happened.While going thro'

http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m17/m17001.htm

I was shocked to see "In honor of Krishna........ female slaves ... in thousands....were given away to Brahmanas"

I wrote to Dr K and as always he replied with lightning speed.. Check it up.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------


The text is from Mahaprasthanika parva:

It reads:

dadau ratnAni vAsA.nsi grAmAnashvAnrathAnapi .
striyashcha dvijamukhyebhyo gavA.n shatasahasrashaH .. 12..\
Ganguly's translation: In honour of Krishna, he also gave away many jewels and gems, and robes and clothes, and villages, and horses and cars, and female slaves by hundreds and thousands unto foremost of Brahmanas.

dadau = gave
ratna_ni = jewels
va_sa_nsi = clothes
gra_ma_n = villages
as'va_n = horses
ratha_napi = chariots also
striyas'ca = females also
dvijamukhyebhyo = foremost of brahmins
gava_n = cows
s'atasahasras'ah = thousands

The 'thousands' refers to cows, gava_n.

stri_s pl. = women, females, wives.

The correct reading will be:

gave to foremost of brahmins: wives, thousands of cows, etc. etc.

There is no sanction to translate stri_ as a female slave.

A clear error in translation.

k


--------------------------------------------------------------------------

With my limited knowledge of sanskrit, I too don't see any sort of reference to "slaves" , nor the Krishna reference... so also the thousands clearly go with cows, and not with the stri_s and the Brahmana part . The stri_s (plural) goes with dwijamukhyebhyo (plural again). And in my talk with Dr K later, he also mentioned how dwija (instead of Brahmana) gives a clue of "marriageble" men. So quite clearly, it was pointing to giving women in marriage.

(Well, may be the concept of social or community marriages , but hey, thats just an imagination from me)

Dr K also mentioned how normally KMG's translation is fine, but he too was surprised to see this .. Both of us agreed on one point . If what is considered as an authentic translation, can have such errors, I wonder, how much of an uphill task it would be to get the truth...

Friday, February 17, 2006

Theory sans training ...

".......The yogi says there is a great danger in stumbling upon this state. In a good many cases, there is the danger of the brain being deranged, and, as a rule, you will find that all those men, however great they were, who had stumbled upon this superconscious state without understanding it, groped in the dark, and generally had, along with their knowledge, some quaint superstition. They opened themselves to hallucinations. Mohammad claimed that the Angel Gabriel came to him in a cave one day and took him on the heavenly horse, Harak, and he visited the heavens. But with all that Mohammad spoke some wonderful truths. If you read the Koran, you find the most wonderful truths mixed with superstitions. How will you explain it? That man was inspired, no doubt, but that inspiration was, as it were, stumbled upon. He was not a trained yogi, and did not know the reason of what he was doing. Think of what the good Mohammad did to the world, and think of the great evil that has been done through his fanaticism! Think of the millions massacred through his teachings, mothers bereft of their children, children made orphans, whole countries destroyed, millions upon millions of people killed!..."

Swami Vivekananda . CW I p 481-3(Raja Yoga)

Indeed, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing... but even more dangerous could be what one thinks as knowledge, but that lacks training and practice..

Well, just a late-nite-thought

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Tooo lazy today !!


One of those usual random searches and I ended up at Chakravyuha @ wiki . For long I have been wanting to get some comprehensive material on the Chakravyha formation. Longtime before some one had shown me the spiral, and after the warrior enters the spiral, it closes on one side, making him essentially trapped by a number of layers. But questions remained - how come only one person enters ? Whats the standard trick to break it back and get out ? Why would anyone want to take such risks ? and so on... And now wiki adds another layer of confusion saying its "Padma Vyuha" that the young Abhi (not of the Bachchans) broke . Well, the Mahabharata reference seems to clearly say "The preceptor, O king, had formed the great circular array"

Any help coming from any sides ? Aano bhadra kratavo yantu vishvatah("Let noble thoughts come from all sides") :-))

Anyway, thats not the point, atleast for today.. Remember Abhi is supposed to have learned the trick of breaking in, while in his Mom's womb.. and then poor she slept off.. (Oh yeah, looks like men of Arjuna's kind, boring their wives with war tactics rather than jewellery will always b there) . Now, this concept of learning in the womb ain't new to Hinduism. Remember Prahlada ?

As usual, I started thinking what does modern science say about this stupid-at-firt-hear concept ?.. I am feeling so sleepy, and have no enthu to read any scientific papers, but was interesting to find this turn up in the usual ask-google-mama .. "Teaching baby in the womb"

"While the baby is in the womb it starts to learn about its environment after about six months of pregnancy, when it is capable of hearing external sounds. Of course, it is aware of its internal environment earlier than that, but there is little you can do to enhance that. But when it comes to the external environment, you are in a position to have some influence even from that early stage of development."

lol, Is deja vu used for pleasantly familiar things as well ?!

Lotsa questions,than answers eh ? Yup,... too sleepy

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Dedication.....

Tiny droplets of water
Sparkle they are, crystal clear
What a breathtaking show
Even when “shattered” into a bow…….

Known by the name of a gentle river
All have seen your usual cheer,

Adversity they say, lets one a person better know
And in what was then a tough and sad blow
It were the nice words that you made to flow
That helped me much to keep up the glow

Does it matter where I am and where you r
Happy Birthday, my sweet li’l sister !!


Naattilenthundu Vishesham !

I hardly talk about kerala politics, eventhough i read, for me it has always been devil and deep sea.. but i must admit that these days it has become very interesting with more players than just CPM and Congress(I)... CPI and Veliyam Bhargavan has suddenly taken centerstage, with its oppossition to Pinarayai Vijayans open invitation to the breakaway congress faction led by Karunakaran and his son Murali (the DIC) to join the (left) LDF. Achuthanandan, who so far was dreaming about the CM chair (in an election which the left is all set to win, if not sweep), now sees himself under the shadow of Vijayan. Karunakaran - the shrewdest I have seen, is claiming every left victory as his own, supporting the left even if they don't ask for it.. Its like the servant of a house saying " Me any Boss together has a salary of 50,000 Rs a month "
And Congress as usual is tron into pieces by infightings. Looks like Antony(from whom I had gotten a letter of congrats on my SSLC rank when he was CM ) has given up saying "I am on a low profile", and CM Chandykunhu (from whom I once received a prize when he was finance minister), is injured, but not out. Well, did I hear some one say BJP ?.. Oh no, it was just some one sneezing around the corner!

Meantime, the state's public debt has gone up from 23,000 crores to 44000 crores or so under the current govt. Apparently Vakkom Purushothaman , the finance minister made a charming statement.."Even tho' the debt has gone up, the rate of increase of debt has gone down from 150% to 20%"... Yeah, looks like Kerala is fast becoming a "developed country" on its own.. No more scope for a high "rate of growth"

anyway, there is one thing I eagerly look fwd to.. Sujith's cartoons in Kerala kaumdui.. Oh, I just love them.. Here's the link for Mallus ..

Monday, February 06, 2006

Follow up post .....

In response to my post below, Dr Kalyanaraman sent me the following note

Bharatiya method of research is based on a trivarga>

s'ruti
tantrayukti
anubhuti

s'ruti can be compared to purvapaksha (the state of research on a given subject, why a researcher is justifying new study based on biblio).

tantrayukti is scientific research design (used by Kautilya'a arthas'astra, Panini, all ayurveda writers from Sus'ruta, Caraka). 39 research design methods are mentioned. Bhasha pariccheda is considered important; words should be properly defined and explained in the cultural contexts in which they are used. After all, culture is all about metaphors and meanings assigned to metaphors.

anubhuti is personal experience, introspection.

About Thapar, she has no knowledge of Sanskrit or Tamil or any bharatiya language. How can she read and interpret the texts? Using secondary sources? Straightaway there is researcher's bias.


--------------

I asked for a detailed article and he sent me A RESEARCH METHODOLOGY MANUAL


-------------
I was also reminded of an email that I sent to a few friends a while ago, on the topic of epistomology

This is one aspect of religion that has always excited me...

The idea of "Proof" . Some religions and philosophies work this way

A: God wrote scriptures B : God exists because scripture says so

Thats whats called circular logic . Drisya writes Drisya-nama and claims himself to be God... How I wish


Contrary, for the Hindu philosophical thoughts, methods of proof are clearly defined. A very basic classification is

1. Pratyaksha : direct.. I saw him
2. Anuamana: Inference.. I heard his voice, it must be him
3. Aagama : scriptures/Vedas

It sounds so much like in the scientific world

1. Direct proof from experimentation
2. Inference - say chemical reactions - The litmus turned red, it must be an acid !
3. References - Oh, 90% of your thesis are sometimes references to older work !!

------------------------

Anyway, here's a more detailed classification for those interested


http://geocities.com/hscmilan/hinduism.html


The "scientific school" of history....




May 8,2003- lecture hall at the University of Maryland (UMd), in USA. The "organizers" - Association for India's Development (AID), whose "headquaters" it is at UMd......... India's "eminent historian" Romila Thapar, after having read out a paper on "Rewriting History" is facing questions from the audience, many of which are "hostile", but with an effective moderator shield, and an ability to coin theories of her own at will, she wards away or dismisses most of them (read a detailed report here). Then comes the chance of a young,lanky mechanical engineering graduate from UMd, who was sitting in the back row. He literally nails her down on the question of carbon dating, and yet, she escapes, airing 5 different opinions in a span of two minutes, which would have put any scientist to shame for the mere subject he or she is learning. In another corner of the room, I sat, convinced that the title of "marxist" is simply an undeserving adornment to this liar lady, but more so wondering about the connection between history and science

Fast forward,...... February of 2006.. As I reread about the California textbook issue , and the arrogance shown by "history professors" like Michael Witzel, dismissing any scientific evidence against them as Hindu conspiracy, and collapsing under the weight of their own false assumptions , yet refusing to accept their mistakes, the thought comes back to me - should not "historians" learn a bit of science ? of things like carbon dating, archeology, oceanography, and the history of science itself ? Do they , in their "illustrious" academic life at places like JNU ?

I usually take pride in my google search abilities, but this one fails me, or if not, there simply isn't any data available on the internet about what is taught in JNU as part of, say , MA in History. The ilk of Thapar who supposedly are the moving force behind the center for historical sudies at JNU , does not seem to be bothered about the transparency and "the right for everyone to know" that they otherwise demand of governments, of textbook committees and so on. Thapar often says "There is a unique method with which historians arrive at conclusions" , Madam, are we mortals entitled to know what that method is ? We were taught, in our moral science classes that history should be scientific, based on evidence, and unbiased. But listening to your fancy theories, and replacement of scientific proofs with "historians methods", I wonder if some one told us the wrong thing in school !

Well, forget JNU, let us look at some not-so-famoud ones. Here's Mumbai University's syllabus .. There isn't anything about the study of science that may come in as a tool for history, but thankfully, there is some mention of a historical method and also mention about archeology, even though the emphasis seems to be on the history of archeology. Further searched lands me in the term historiography.. may be thats what the esteemed Madame meant, eventhough I remain cluless why she was so secretive about using that term. And its perhaps what wikipedia says that she quotes often in her defense. Conal Furay and Michael J. Salevouris define "historiography" as "the study of the way history has been and is written--the history of historical writing... When you study 'historiography' you do not study the events of the past directly, but the changing interpretations of those events in the works of individual historians." .

Well then, firstly, I then wonder what right does it give Thapar and co to say "rewriting history" is a crime ? Secondly, according to the methodolgy given, did not Thapar herself go against the primary source, using her secondary interpretation as is in the case of Timur quoted in this report ? And third and most improtantly, if there can be an accepted "Marxist" school of history, is it not high time we had a scientific school of historiography ?

In this short piece, I do not intend to find answers or reach conclusions in as much as I want to raise questions, but before ending it , would like to add those inescapable links that turned up in the google search, all from department of history pages - Science and Technolgy in world history ( South western University) , the scientific method in history ( University of Minnessotta),... Oh well, what right do I have to talk about Indian history - after all I am engineer and an NRI

You know what I like abt him...


The fact that I he is a Nationalist to the core... Be it the nuclear energy issue or missile technology or the more "down-to-earth" water resource management, Kalaam has the word cut out "self-sufficiency". I am not against the Indo-US nuke deal, to be frank, I don't know much about it apart from reading articles on both sides of the argument, but at 3.30 am in the morning it gives more refreshing feeling than even Sachin's century, to read Kalaam as in this report ... As Rajeev Srinivasan points out, India has 31% of world's thorium resources. The only hindrance once the technology is developed , that I can think off are the commies of Kerala, who might sit on fast on the thorium rich sands of the state's coast.. Cos, hey, after all we are talking India's development right ?!

By the way, that photu is copirite Arun :-)) ... Am not a personality worshipper, yet, its nice to recollect some charming memories... Just before Kalaam became the Pres... he was invited for the "IITM day".. Interestingly not many folks turn up for this, but it being Kalaam, the hall was full... I had a camera, but the security folks asked me NOT to take any pics, but let me keep the cam... Minutes before Kalaam arrived, some official came running to me and said "We can't find our official photographer, so please take pics and we need them.." In fact I was made to sit in the front row ... yeah VIP !

The fact of the matter is that the "offficial" photographer was standing outside, waiting to take pics as Kalaam came and handshook the Diro.. thanks buddy, whoever it was, the speech started, and I was happy walking around as the "unofficial" photographer.. Click, click :-) Once the talk was over, when everybody sort of looked puzzled, I walked all the way the stage, ignoring curious looks from the security men, and was the first to take his autograph.. He asked me a few questions like what field I am in and so on, and I answered them before was surrounded by bunch of other students who followed suit

Anyway, thats it for, may be some other day, I will talk about the speech by VK Aatre, (who followed Kalaam as the DRDO chief and then the scientific advisor to the PM), which may have "transformed" my life ... patienter , I say

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The power of silence...

I got the second quote non-religious or a christian site (din't care to find out).. I wish they had used SHE or IT instead of HE .. that apart, nice quotes


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The radiance of consciousness-bliss, in the form of one awareness shining equally within and without, is the supreme and blissful primal reality. Its form is silence and it is declared by Jnanis (Self-realised) to be the final and unobstructable state of true knowledge (jnana).

Sri Ramana Maharshi
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That One is called Prana, The Supreme force that controls and regulates everything.He gives the power of breath to every creature. Master of all living beings, Container of all creation, He can be known through silence, meditation, and the practice of yoga.
Vishnu Sahasranama (unverified)
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While meditating, when we chant Om, we create within ourselves a vibration that attunes sympathy with the cosmic vibration and we start thinking universally. The momentary silence between each chant becomes palpable. Mind moves between the opposites of sound and silence until, at last, it ceases the sound. In the silence, the single thought—Om—is quenched; there is no thought. This is the state of trance, where the mind and the intellect are transcended as the individual self merges with the Infinite Self in the pious moment of realization. It is a moment when the petty worldly affairs are lost in the desire for the universal. Such is the immeasurable power of Om.
From the internet
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And finally, a nice talk by Swami Dayanandaji

Friday, February 03, 2006

Chetak....

Once more, I can't explain why I write about "him" now...

Anyways, attached at the end is an email that wrote to my friends on June 14, 2005. Interestingly after the car puja, there has been no accidents, eventhough twice, it could have gotten bad- really bad

* Once after dropping my friend in CRC, was driving back in the rain, and may be I was a bit fast.. at a T junction , as I braked, he skid, and to my horror, there was a car coming in the main road.. Thank God, I could turn the wheel a full 90 degrees, and he missed the other car, by may be a centimeter !

* Last weekend, was driving some one home, and I took the "short cut" .. Twas raining and its a road with crazy turns and up and downhills. In the "S" turn (that too downhill), suddenly he lost control and did a full 360 degree turn around, using both the to and fro lanes... had there been any other car coming on the other side, a sure accident it wud have been..

Got me thinking.... makes u rethink about some things you always struggled to believe, or at best wanted to be indifferent towards.. For a year and half after owning Chetak, I never thought I needed to do a car Puja - after all I take him every week to the temple with me... and then an accident on Jan 1 2005 - did not involve any injury thank God- .. and a week later I call home (I never told my parents about the accident) and they tell me that the astrologer told them to ask me to be extremely careful with my car until Sep 2005. A chill went thro' me and whatever little thought i had about telling my parents about the Jan 1 accident, vanished .. even then I did not do the car puja

Come June 4, and there was another- once more- did not involve any injury..

I could not hold on anymore... not only for my sake, but most times Chetak carries more people in him than just me !! .. And so I did, and here's the email I sent.. (well,now also I cannot be careless myself, just because I have done a car puja.. and I better be careful ... )

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As one after the other, the four wheels of my car crushed the lemons placed below them, something kept telling me from within... "Chetak"

For those who have gone through the car Puja at SSVT, you know what Iam talking about. But for those who do not know about the latter half of the first sentence, for a change, it was not a name invented by me for my car, but Arundhati, my "sanskrit friend"!

And very interestingly, June 10, was "Maha Rana Pratap" Jayanthi... Ido not know about myself, but my car surely deserves a Chetak title,having saved me from many a situations which could have been worse ,and taking all the toll on him!!And what times I have been having in it.... mostly withfriends, sometimes all alone making me happy from being sad , one of the rarest of the places where I have sung songs , danced, withoutinhibitions ......

And perhaps both of us have something in common... uncertainties about future :-)

So folks, now u know what to call my ..well

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My India: Paramahansa Yogananada

Here's that beauitiful poem ....

Picture: Hindu Temple Manora, Karachi, 1930

Wednesday, February 01, 2006