Sunday, January 21, 2007

പ്രേംജിയുടെ ഏകലോചനം

Thanks to my friend S for sending me this.. Picture of the Malayalam actor , (late) "Bharat" Premji - Best actor National award winner for the film Piravi - that came in the malayalam newspaper "Mathrubhumi" of Jan 20 , 2007 . ( as a matter of fact I have a faint memoy of seeing this picture as a kid, in the same newspaper.. may be they "reused" it, but really worth it

(to know more about "Piravi" see )

So whats so special about this pic ? Here's from my friends note

The picture illustrates a particular acting feat called"EkalOcanam" - to make sense of this ( as given in the instructions below the picture ) first cover the left half of theactor's face with one of your palms and look at the right half. Then coverthe right half of the face and look at the left. You can notice orthogonal expressions in the two halves.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Purdah : interesting article by Taslima

A really bold article (Oh, when has she not been bold ? )

Would like to put together a couple of points here, which makes this lady catch my attention

First, from the article: (and I quote)

A couple of months ago, at the height of the purdah controversy, Shabana Azmi asserted that the Quran doesn't say anything about wearing the burqa. She's mistaken. This is what the Quran says:

(And she quotes... thank You Taslima, for Outlook would have never allowed a "non-Muslim" to quote the Quran for .... you know... "I is a RoP " .. may the truth RIP !!wonder how Shabana wud react to this !!)

There are many views on why and how the Islamic purdah started. One view has it that Prophet Mohammed became very poor after spending all the wealth of his first wife. At that time, in Arabia, the poor had to go to the open desert and plains for relieving themselves and even their sexual needs. The Prophet's wives too had to do the same. He had told his wives that "I give you permission to go out and carry out your natural work". (Bukhari Hadis first volume book 4 No. 149). And this is what his wives started doing accordingly. One day, Prophet Mohammed's disciple Uman complained to him that these women were very uncomfortable because they were instantly recognisable while relieving themselves
Umar proposed a cover but Prophet Mohammed ignored it. Then the Prophet asked Allah for advice and he laid down the Ayat (33:59) (Bukhari Hadis Book 026 No. 5397).This is the history of the purdah, according to the Hadis. But the question is: since Arab men too relieved themselves in the open, why didn't Allah start the purdah for men? Clearly, Allah doesn't treat men and women as equals, else there would be purdah for both! Men are higher than women. So women have to be made walking prisons and men can remain free birds.

( Ha... that was for the owners and the customers of the Surayya Fashion Purdahs in my part of the world - India>Kerala>Malabar)

My question to Shabana and her supporters, who argue that the Quran says nothing about purdah is: If the Quran advises women to use purdah, should they do so? My answer is, No. Irrespective of which book says it, which person advises, whoever commands, women should not have purdah. No veil, no chador, no hijab, no burqa, no headscarf. Women should not use any of these things because all these are instruments of disrespect.

(Well, over here, I do not fully agree with the second part.. just as one should not force to use purdah, one shud not force not to use it either... if some one decides to live their life forever (out of personal choice) inside those sacks, so be it .. )

Anyways, couple of other interesting points about Taslima

On Surayya's decision to embrace Islam, Nasreen said: "I asked her why did you do that. She was silent. I asked whether she regretted it. She said 'yes'." Nasreen said Surayya was now in a cage and she should have the freedom to "live the life she likes".

(Well Surayya later denied it... of course, for if not, she will have a fatwa on her, now that she has fallen into the trap )

And more bold statements

‘The Islam religion and their scriptures are out of place and out of time. It still follows the 7th century laws and is hopeless. The need of the hour is not reformation but revolution,’ said Nasreen interacting with reporters here.

Well, not without reactions :

“Taslima should be thrown out of the country,” AIMPLB member Kamal Farooqi said. “The article written by her in Outlook magazine was derogatory and outrageous.”Farooqi said the AIMPLB will soon approach the external affairs ministry to ask that Taslima be thrown out of India, where she has lived since she fled Bangladesh in 1994 after receiving death threats for her novel “Lajja”.

Many a time truth hurts, doesn't it ?

Friday, January 12, 2007

postscript to the ISRO post

Just received the following comment from kaushik, by email

BTW I talked to a leading ISRO guy few days back. He has been in all of ISRO's major projects. His complain was ISRO is not getting good quality people. If you look at ISRO scientists and engineers you will find less than 1% are from iit's or countries top colleges. The poeple in ISRO (atleast the one who joined in last 10-15 years are) are not the mmost talented people India can offer. I remember when DRDO came to IIT KGP, hardly anyone sat for their interview, the best came to US and the second best wnet for highly paid jobs or IIM. It would be nice if you can write something on this.



When I was a kid, sometime I learnt that the tea that we get in the shops is "third grade" ... the best quality are exported . Same is the case with cashews...

Not just food material I guess - I agree with kaushik that its the "nth" best that an organisation like DRDO or ISRO gets - after the flux to foreign Univs, IIMs , software jobs, and so on. ( Admittedly I am no exception to that ) ...

That.. could have been the 89th reason why ISRO cud have failed ( "poverty", lack of infrastructure, too big a population, etc etc etc being a few of the other 88) and yet, ISRO has delivered .. to its best .... That in my opinion, gives added glory to ISROs achievements...

If thats what SF Chronicle wanted to bring out... then my due apologies ... am so used to the unnecessary negative twist in everything written abt India, not just by "foreigners", but our own esteemed journos

cannot but put a negative twist !

SF Chronicle on India's space program and the recent launch

( by the way, what on earth is a .dtl extension ?!)

India's space agency launched a rocket Wednesday that represented two significant firsts for the country's fledgling space program -- the first multisatellite launch and the first attempt to retrieve a rocket from orbit around Earth.

In between all the praises, they HAVE to put the negative spin ..

Although developing a space program infrastructure within India may not have obvious connection to the country's development -- one-third of India still lives on less than $1 a day -- it is bringing India together with the United States and the European Space Agency, cooperating on a lunar orbiter planned for 2008.

Oh yeah, if the Brits had not looted us for their "Industrial revolution", we wud have been still one of the richest countries in the world... and shouldn't you see the other side of it - that you can still live in India at less that a $1 a day.. hey we even run schools for just a dollar a day
( courtesy, the 20,000+ ekalvidyalayas - ) .. our railways transports numbers over half the population of australia EVERYDAY , our kumbhmelas have numbers comparable to the population of Canada, assembling in ONE town, and there no major problems, no major epidemic breakout .....

Perhaps unlnowingly, SFC has a nice comparison in the last para, of the country which has learned to live (and let live) with the minimum, and the other,... oh well

Despite limited resources -- India's space agency has an annual budget of $850 million, compared with $16.4 billion for NASA -- India has become a global leader in orbiting communications, remote sensing and meteorological satellites

Friday, January 05, 2007

കാവ്യയുടെ കവിതകള്

പാലക്കാടിനേയും മലപ്പുറത്തിനേയും വിഭജിക്കുന്ന തൂതപ്പുഴയുടെ തീരത്തുള്ളൊരു കൊച്ചു ഗ്രാമം .. അതാണെന്ടെ ജന്മനാടു .. സെപ്തെംബറില് നാട്ടിലായിരുന്നപ്പൊള് ഒരു കാര്യം എന്തേ ശ്രദ്ധയില് പെട്ടു . ആ കൊച്ചു ഗ്രാമത്തിലുള്ള എന്ടെ ബന്ധുക്കളില് പലര്ക്കും വളരെ നല്ല കഴിവുകളുണ്ടു .. പക്ഷെ പലപ്പൊഴും അതു പ്രകടീപ്പിക്കുവാന് വേണ്ടത്ര അവസരങ്ങ്ള് ഇല്ലാതെ പോകുന്നു

Okay, for the sake of my non-Malayalam readers ... When I was at my birth-village back in Kerala this september, I was thinking about how talentd some of my relatives were. An uncle of mine - when he was in his tenties - used to draw beauitiful pictures, but now his job has nothing to do with his talent and he simply dosn't draw anymore. An aunt of mine has an amazing singing talent, but is simply satisfied as a housewife

Well, that was the older generation... how about m cousin... One of them draws such pictures, which look really lifelike ... - thank God he is indeed trying to pursue a career in art: Godspeed . Another cousin is a great dancer - thank God, she did go to many of the Youth festival competitions... I guess she herself is not that interested in a career in dance, but instead want to be a journaist - which naturally is not going too well with a rather "do a BEd or MSc, become a school-teacher and get married" attitude of the family ... lets see where that heads

And finally comes my li'l cousin - Kavya - she is in her second or third - so must be ~7-8 yrs old
Just as her name suggests, (and apparently as per her astrology, she is supposed to be a great poet) , her passion is in poems .. This time around when I met her, I gave her a notebook, gave her a random topic.. and there.. she just starts writing.. no time spent on thinking or searching for words "instantaneous" .. nimisha-kavi as her astro had apparently predicted ..

Of course you can't expect an 8 year old to have perfect poems with vrutham and melody, but atleast there seems to be no dearth of words

22 topics later ,she was still ready with a pen, but I was at a loss for topics ! Here are a couple of pages of her scribbled poetry.. and wonderful ideas - clock: a place where the "big" and the "small" live together :-) but my favorite ? the one on Mother : "muthune pottunna pavizhamaanamma"... meaning "Mother is like a shell which protects a pearl inside"

So here is my bit for Kavya's kavyas !