Archive for February, 2006

“I am just writing this post to wonder if anyone else is struck by the sheer irony of the fact that Bhagat Singh and co, when they did not get the facilities in prison they had a right to, went on a hunger strike. They did not attack the prison guards. They did not hatch a conspiracy to murder the jailor. They did not even plot a takeover of the prison. They went on a hunger strike”
                                                                – Gaurav Sabnis writes here

The fast being referred to is a 64 day long fast. The longest in human history. They refused all forms of forced feeding. Taking the numerous tortures in their stride. In any war, strength is not only about raining blows, but also about taking thm and yet not relenting. Gandhi of course was treated as a ‘political prisoner’, and was served his daily quota of newspapers and juice first thing in the morning.

The people being reffered to are 23 year old boys, who took the initiative of waking a dormant sleeping nation even at the cost of their lives. They did not run away or make any attempts to that end, faced arrest just to spread the message to the other people in the country.

As much as I reserve my respects for Gaurav, especially after that IIPM episode, in this I staunchly beg to differ. The act was more non violent than ‘Saunders’ murder’ only this once they chose to direct the violence at themselves. The actors remained the same, only the roles got reversed. The prison guards, jailors were Individuals doing their duties in a corroded system. The fight was against the ‘system’ and not its individual entities, so taking british lives or the lives of indian policement would have served no purpose. Saunders murder was an abberation, more like the reaction of an action (Jallianwalla Bagh).
Comming to the second point of his post, I think Gandhi was an Unscrupulous man who did a lot of good for his country. I believe that the ‘Dirty politics’ found its birth in the khadi of Gandhi. So while his ideas of non-violence may have been appropriate , relevant or even sacrosanct in the circumstances (we will do good to understand at this point that the millions of people of India never did have the same level of tenacity or power of charactersthat individuals like Bhagat or Bismil showed. They might not have been able to do justice to the demands of a revolutionary); he definitely was no Saint.

I would agree with Bal Thakerey in his comments that he does not deserve the title of “Father of the Nation” for a country with over 5000 years of documented history. I would much rather give him the title of the “Master of India’s freedom Struggle
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, a person who had the most profound influence over INDIA. Father of modern Indian politics. ‘Kautilya’ of India’s freedom struggle.The ready to eat stories from my history books, during my schooling, always told me that there was no better man who ever walked in this country. He was the nearest to the incarnation of GOD. A saint by all means!
When I finally got interested and motivated enough to do some digging for myself I got some rather startling results. Initially it created a nefarious image of this powerful personality, but as I kept on reading the haze started to clear up. At the end of the whole exercise, the outcome was enriching in a sense that, now I admired Gandhi for what he was, rather than what he is madeout to be. And yes he was definitely no saint! Let me start on the elaboration in a narrational way.

Being brought up in Delhi, you would inevitably believe that “Gandhi”s were the sole cause of all good that has ever come upon our country. Starting from the airport (Indira gandhi International Airport), to important crossings (Rajiv Gandhi Chowk a.k.a Connaught Place a.k.a CP) to IGNOU to JNU. Taking a cue from the movie Matrix somewhere, it all seemed too perfect to be true. For now, I would only dwell upon M.K.Gandhi and leave the rest for some later time.

Most history books including the one followed by CBSE i.e NCERT book almost solely attributed the freedom movement to Gandhi and his followers. A one liner in a shared one paragraph mention was all the others like Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Rajguru, Subhash Chandra Bose, Rajendra Lahiri, and the likes got. But over a period of time my perception started to change, My frequent debates with my history teaching mother, my favourite serial on TV : Swaraj and readups about these ‘lesser mortals’ in reliable and neutral journals, started to have its effect. Lets check out some facts about this whole story, and on it do a case-by-case evaluation.
Quoting history from Wikipedia about Subhash Chandra Bose:
“He became the president of the Haripura Indian National Congress in 1938, against Gandhi’s wishes. He was elected for a second term in 1939 in Tripuri Congress Session; Gandhi had supported Pattabhi Sitaramayya and commented “Pattabhi’s defeat is my defeat” after learning the election results. Although Bose won the election, Gandhi’s continued opposition led to the latter’s resignation from the Working Committee. In the face of this gesture of no-confidence, Bose himself resigned”

Here was a time when the ‘Mahatma’ commited homicide of democracy as we know it. Gandhi saw in Bose an alternative leadership source and wanted to eliminate him so that the center of power would not get compromised. It may not have been in his self interest, as he might have believed that the freedom struggle is better directed by one director. I have had the fortune of interacting with freedom fighters, who vividly recollect how Gandhi, Nehru and Co. would be enjoying fruit juice while in the chamer next to them the revolutionaries were being inhumanly tortured, and the whole prison was shaking with their screams in agony. While objectively its nothing wrong to enjoy your food, the circumstancial evidence indicates in the contempt Gandhi had for them. Contrasting it with Subhash, who when confronted by a reporter after resigning as Congress President said that his difference with ‘Bapu’ was only intheir views; He had the utmost respect for him as a person. I think the level of both these individuals should be gaugable by their reactions. Gandhi was unsporting, to be not able to accept defeat in public’s eyes. Subhash was above such petty matters of EGO.
Gandhi, reportedly retorted to his political manouvering even in matters like life of revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh. It is said that while he did make a passing mention about granting amnesty to the ‘miguided youth’ to the Viceroy, he did not utilize the powerful negotiating position he was in to secure their release. His negotiating position was by the virtue of the fact that the ‘Gandhi-Irwin’ pact was at stake and Lord Irwin was desperate to show the crown that he had been able to reach a setllemement. Quoting from Wikipedia:
“The government, represented by Lord Irwin, decided to negotiate with Gandhi. The Gandhi-Irwin Pact was signed in March 1931. In it, the British Government agreed to set all political prisoners free in return for the suspension of the civil disobedience movement.
The fact that Bhagat and Co. were political prisoners and not dacoits or petty thieves, is self evident and hence does not need much supporting evidence. So essentially Gandhi was to negotiate for a deal which would only have been Fair. But Alas!

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, a man with his own personal favourites. A Man who found in Nehru an inseperable aid and a dear friend. The antics of Nehru and  la’affaire with Mrs. Mountbatten are well known. Quoting history from Wikipedia :
” It is said that Lady Mountbatten enjoyed the sexual company of intelligent non-British men…It is reliably assumed that she had an ongoing affair with Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, which continued until her death, her daughters having confirmed this…Lady Mountbatten’s relationship with Nehru is determinatively documented. In both their cases, their extraordinarily public service has ensured that no scandal has arisen”
Thanks to ‘bapu’ Nehru rather than a much more competent Sardar Patel became the Prime Minister of independent Inidia.
But justice be done, Gandhi was a patriot by any means. Evident from his protests against the “Two Nation Theory“. Quoting Wikipedia again:
“Congress leaders knew that Gandhi would viscerally oppose partition, and it was impossible for the Congress to go ahead without his agreement, for Gandhi’s support in the party and throughout India was strong. Gandhi’s closest colleagues had accepted partition as the best way out, and Sardar Patel endeavoured to convince Gandhi that it was the only way to avoid civil war. A devastated Gandhi gave his assent. On the day of the transfer of power, Gandhi did not celebrate independence with the rest of India, but was alone in Calcutta, mourning the partition and working to end the violence. After India’s independence, Gandhi focused on Hindu-Muslim peace and unity”

So Concluding, While Gandhi may have been effecient and effective as a mass leader and a proponent of pro-freedom sentiments in the till then left aside masses, he had a complicated character and had his own share of grey areas to say the least. The contribution he made to the freedom struggle was commendable, but a trivial comparison with revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh, Netaji or others is absurd and bizzare. They did not sacrifice their lives and their deaths with an intent to compete with Gandhi, They did that for their country, and by any scale their contributions were no less. Afterall  life is not measured by its length but by the substance that it packs in.

Links to read more about other controversies surrounding Gandhi

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The Union Budget would be read out by the Finance Minister tomorrow at 11:00 AM at the parliament. What would it hold for the different sections of the socity, would be the hot topic of discussion in most TV News channels, Drawing Room Discussions, Cafe Gossips and Corporate Boardroom discussions. Let me take up the topic in this web log but instead of a mere gossip of a discussion, lets participate in a role-play so that we learn our way into the discussion. This approach has been the hallmark of many management schools who give it an “MBA” name of ‘Viewpoint Approach’.

I have detailed this analysis here. Not repeating here only because the analysis, though made to be an interesting read is primarily textual in nature with no snippets and wise-crack Calvin styled comments

.Cavin

Do read it if you want to figure out Why you should be interested in this Budget thing.

Hitech City A Place which has been my home for exactly two years now deserves a special mention. Its the poster-boy for the devellopment that has for some time now envelloped this sleeping pair of Twin Cities: Secunderabad & Hyderabad. Before we start off on a photo journey around this little ‘silicon island’ I would recommend that this little introduction about it be first read. Now, once we are off with that, lets proceed to the photo journey.

Comming first is the foster poster boy of the Hyderabad Government. This is Cyber Gateway, home to among others Dell, GE, HSBC, Accenture, Oracle, Amazon, Microsoft & Nipuna.

Cyber Gateway

If the Question you are having is the word ‘Foster’ then the answer is simple. This is second only to the Cyber Towers the first building in this whole area, the brainchild of Chandrababu Naidu. I have dropped it from my list because it has become so hackneyed that it surfaces on the viewers mind the moment someone mentions Hitech City. The Fact remains that Hitech City contains a whole lot more than that one building. Proceeding in the same road you get Tata Conultancy Services, Deccan Park, without doubt one of the most eye-catchy building in the whole area. Set in Brick red and cylindrical in shape this commands a majestic presence in the hitech city road.
Tata Consultancy Services

Right opposite the road is the latest in the triology of (Cyber Towers, Cyber Gateway & Cyber Pearl). All of these are building owned by the Government of Andhra Pradesh and leased to MNC’s for their operations. Each of these sported the latest in technology when they were built. Cyber Pearl houses among others Keane, GE, Nipuna, IBM, HSBC & ICICI
Cyber Pearl

The road that forms the spinal chord connecting all these buildings within a 2 KM range is wonderfully built and nicely maintained. Currently we are traversing in this same road in our jouney

Road  leading in

Comming next is the nice and petite building of VSNL. While being prim and proper in buildup, its truly no match for its bigger brother TCS Deccan Park. So I have instead focussed on the more attractive aspect of that. It houses three goliatian sized Dish Antennas probably acting as a Gateway or simply as a communicational Equipment. The cause let aside, they are breathtaking to look at and really catch attention with their Sky facing profile.
VSNL Satellite Dish

This Area wall a Rocy place and hence the view from any of the well located software companies would comprise of such scenic beauty. Note thet apparent balanced composition of the scene, with the small rock all ready to roll off the bid boulder, but yet lazily gazing at the sky, as if in perfect peace with itself

Natural Rocks Facing the Cemented Rocks ( Buildings of S/W Firms)

Comming to JVP. A Building that hosts three companies Kanbay, EIQ Networks & Agami Solutions with Kanbay taking 90% of the volume pie. But with the sparkling new Campus comming up beside Microsoft, Wipro and ISB, Kanbay would soon be moving out of this cramped location . What sticks out in this picture is the awkward color combination and the littered spread of ‘windows in the wall’. If that did stick out like a sore thumb, let meexplain. the color combination and the arrangement of windows is in keeping with the laws of Feng-Shui. Apparently the owner of this building, Jai Prakash Reddy, is quite a believer in these arts. Quite interesting, considering that , he is an NRI Returned businessman who started a company by EIQ Networks, built a good building to house about 1000 odd people and now draws his main revenue out of renting his premises to large and growing companies like KANBAY. EIQ has a total strength of around 35 people now!

Kanbay

Descriptions about hitech city would hardly be complete without describing the informative and endlessly entertaining inscriptions and advertisings on the numerous rocks along the way. Whether it is Working Men’s Hostel or Women’s Deluxe Hostel or Chinese Chowmien or Punjaabi Dhaba or finally Puncture Repair Shops. These perform the incredulous role of bringing isolated instances of smiles on the faces of the numerous Software labourers toiling in and out of these factories, especially with the creative use of Language and the innovative marketing approahes. I emphasise the later because one look at the pictire below and all would be able to identify the spelling mistake in the writeup, but few would be able to appreciate the innovative Out of the Box approach of painting the message on discarded tyres. All this by an uneducated ‘unskilled’ labourer earning some meager 25 – 50 Rs. per day!
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There are three others things that I would probably leave for the next post, Raheja Mind Space housing IBM, Accenture, CSC, Oracle, Amazon, Qualcomm & Bank of America. Then there is Ascendas Vannenburg IT Park housing Computer Associated, Accenture, Invensys & BAAN. Finally there are newly built buildings of GOOGLE, DELL & Deloitte. I would leave these for the next post as they too would require an equally elaborate writeup from my end and also for the simple matter that these are more like the trendsetters in the HITECH CITY.

See many more photos of Hitech city here.

Cogito ergo sum

Posted: February 24, 2006 in Introspection, Philosophy

Descartes

Cogito, ergo sum” (Latin for “I am thinking, therefore I exist”)
is a philosophical statement made by René Descarte

Rene is considered the father of modern philosophy, and not without suffecient reason.
In the past couple of days I have been in absolute doldrums. Life seems rather surreal and unreal at times. Alive and kicking at one day and inexistent on the next. The problem as I see it is largely a problem of choice. Choice it seems are delivered in ‘Quanta’ or packets, always some or none. Either there is dearth of them or a flood of them.Faced with multiple options, often credible in their own right to justify indulgence, we are required to implement prioritizationof objectives. It is in ithis process of determining pririties that we have to make our choices, implement some tradeoffs, gamble with our cards, play on our luck, & make our sacrifices. All these require us to one thing the most : think.

On one hand there is the easy way out, the road travelled and travelled again, quite an easy recipie for an instant two minute noodles. On the other there is the road less taken, the one meandering through the foothills and valleys in through your dreams. The road often to be taken is the one of compromise between them both. A textbook “Follow your dreams” approach often simplifies to an extent of Over simplification the complexities and uncertainitiesx of life. While I totally agree on “One Life” and hence the ensuing “”Live it to its Full” comcept, a typical manegeiral approach would involve having a credible backup plan in place, as a measure of contingency. Just if things don’t go well.

Someone recommended me today to “Get More Focussed” in terms of not straying down various career options just for the heck of it. The uncanny irony in the situation is the fact that my critical assessment or SWOT analysis reveals the opposite. the thing I probably need to do right now is to get discharged a bit, just cool down and relax. Planning and preparing are really taking a toll especially with excesses in that area hampering the prospects of me making the best of any situation then and there.

Have already begun evaluating other options, many actually, in fact too mant to tell the truth. Need to funnel in in to a select few on them and progree on them diligently with a horses’ blinkers attached to avoid any further distraction.

Meanwhile, Manu Sharma, the Killer of Jessica lal is back on the streets roaming scot free thanks to the tireless working of Delhi Police. I have believed often that people like Bina Ramani and her daughter, suffering from compulsive party disorder need to be critically monitored for anti-social activities. the ‘high society’ indeed gets its ‘high’ by often commiting acts which are blasphemously anti civilisational in natur. Like wise most yadavs whether it it La’loo prasad Yadav or D.P.Yadav should be boundary limited to their cattle farms and its cattle sheds. They are seldom worth of a penny more. The supreme court has infact reprobated the police for a apparent disinclination to prosecute the accused.

With Salman khan hit & run, Black buck case, Tandoor murder case & now the Jessica Lal murder case an increasing trend is visible. that of legal system thoroughly incapacitated by corrupt officials in general and police and the judicial bench in particular. The result is that the crimnals are having a home run. Would be tragic to se the majunathan Shanmugam case head the same destination.To contribute our two bits on this issue lets go here and do our part for this brave soul.

Ending as usual with Calvin:.

Calvin

The Journey Is the Reward

Posted: February 20, 2006 in Gibberish Blabber

The Journey is The Reward
Steve Jobs: The Journey Is the Reward

This is one of the best biographies I have read. The more I read about Steve Jobs the more this person fascinates me. The mention of the journey rather than the destination being the reward is one of many such Paradigm Shifts that he has come up with. As I think about it, the pieces seem to fit perfectly like stranded parts of a JIGSAW Puzzle. Soon the haze clears up and the picture comes out clear and beautiful.
We don’t need to look too far to be able to appreciate this; how many times have we undertaken an arduous and strenuous excursion, to reach a destination which finally turns out to be a dampener! Even if it doesn’t turn out that way, quite often we feel a VOID on reaching the peak, whereas what we would have expected was ecstasy.
The simple fact that, it was the pursuit which was thrilling and ADRENALISING eludes us. Do ponder a bit on this and it will soon become clear that the more challenging and arduous journey it becomes the more will be the “KICK” it would give on culmination. What aroma of blood spilt and sweat drench, what luminosity in a dark room and what joy in a sorrowful world, what karma in a material world !
All a virtue of the journey. It is this very fact that makes this proverb stand, “There are no shortcuts to Success”. The path being the quintessence of success, can never be bypassed or cut In shape!

The essence of the sculpture of Bobbie Carlyle is captured in the words bold strength and provocative intelligence

It all started about a week back when someone wanted me to pen a few lines about our new goliathian campus coming up a few miles from our present location in a distant isle off the Hitech City. I wrote ..

Self Made Man

Our New locale reminds me of Bobbie Carlyle’s ‘Self-made man’,
a statue I greatly admire and a principle I strongly believe in.
“…left to his own devices, man will
use his God-given talents to be
creative, productive, and prosperous.
Using free will, he will better his own
situation and that of those around
him, thereby influencing in a positive
way his own destiny…”

(Source: Self Made Man       http://www.fundingfreedom.com/selfmade.htm)

 

While I was penning this I had a fair amount of idea how out-of box and non stereotype was it by nature. And by virtue of being this what would be the reaction spectrum spread. The feedback was quite interesting and deserving an analysis. Without going into the exact numbers, I got something close to 80% of people with little or no reaction, 15 % who liked it and the rest 5 % who thought it was not credible in nature (for various reasons including overtures of plagiarism to OTHT (Over the head Transmission), the later meaning being made overly complicated for no healthy cause.

But what it usefully did, is that it did set me thinking about my priorities in life. Coupled with that, was the sincere, well meant but meaningless suggestion that I should get down to doing something more ‘meaningful’ than just scribbling gibberish in Blogs, (Blogs ?? Now, do I know what that is ?). My call is that this suggestion is meaningless not because of lack of appropriety, but because a compulsive talker like me, would feel strangulated without expressing myself.
Now, when I analyse what I said just now about my helplessness regarding my compulsive and obsessive behaviour and the philosophy of the Self made Man the contradiction is too stark to ignore. I DO HAVE A CHOICE. We always have a choice!

Needless to say, I have taken up something to read: “Loosing my Virginity, An Autobiographical account by Richard Branson”, something most B-School grads are forbidden to read. And since I am anyways not making it to B-School this year this became my first choice!

Loosing My Virginity

I have just finished reading what would be something like 25 pages and already “Connecting the Dots” principle is comming alive in my mind. It all makes sense if you look at it this way that life is too short and too uncertain to plan and live according to some set frame of ideas, rules or notions. Most importantly, its only ONE LIFE that we get, so take all your chances, do all the things that you always wanted to do, chuck those that you never got to like, and the best time to start this practise is RIGHT NOW. I have come to believe that the greatest defeat or the fallacy or the Cardinal SIN of the Indian Education system is the Conformist attitude that it breeds and inculcates from a very tender age. Tender age is the time when one should be taught to follow one’s Dream however weird and beserk they are afterall they are something that are very very intimate, Truly OURS, our’s to believe, our’s to build upon.
A Conformist attitude nips this right in the budding stages and thereby kills any Enterpreneureal zeal that might have had its roots. No wonder that India is growing into a SERVICE based economy, we are too traditionlist, Single track minded in approach, averse to try out something else, Think out of the Box.I keep recollecting these lines :
“Nothing makes your life more complicated than waking up in the morning and not feeling like going about the rest of your day. When this Happens, its a clear indication, Its time for a change.”

William HenleyOut of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul
In the fell clutch of circumstances
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of change
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the year
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul

William E Henley

UNCOMMON KNOWLEDGE:
While in the hospital facing the amputation of his second foot (he had already lost one as a child), Henley befriended author Robert Louis Stevenson, and they collaborated on a few plays. Henley is actually the basis for Stevenson’s famous character Long John Silver from the novel Treasure Island.
Some times, some lines, with some words, some very ordinary words , yeild but such extra-ordinary strength! Its truly astonishing. At other times caricatures, drawn in pencil, in a comical way, in such a simplistic fashion, make so much sense.I am refering here to my favourite takes amongst all cartoon characters. I am referring to the inscrutable duo of Calvin & Hobbes Calvin’s Take on this:Master of my fate Another one : so very simply expresses the quintessence of human self-centered psychoPull the sled up

Rain Man

Posted: February 9, 2006 in Introspection, Philosophy

Rain Man (1988) – Starring Dustin Hoffman & Tom Cruise

Movie Cover Image

Browsing through the various compact video disks at the neighbourhood library, I came across this rather unheard-of movie. Picked it up, thanks to its assertion to being adjudged the Best Motion Picture award for 1988. It was one of those longish movies (’bout two hours fifteen minutes) in which you are actually fatigued at the end of the movie. Every moment makes you think and introspect about the little idiosyncracies of life that leave logic behind, and allow the full emotions of life to be unveiled in ways that logic can never explain. In the process it gives you some invaluable lessons of life.
Plot goes something like this : Charlie Babbage(Tom Cruise), an yuppie esoteric car dealer, discovers that he has a brother Raymond (Dustin Huffman) who is autistic (mentally challenged in a way) and is institutionalised in a mental health center, when his father passes away and in his will funnels most of his wealth to a trust. At first Charlie sees Raymond as an obstacle to achieving the 3 M$ inheritance, but with time he starts to like his number savant brother. He drives him back to California, in an effort to wheel-in back his share of the fortune. During this epic road trip, threading through the various hassles and intricasies that autistic Raymond causes, Charlie undergoes a change. He starts to love his brother Raymond.
The story speaks to the unique nature and skills that even the seemingly dull witted almost always posess. It speaks about the love and affection that blood relations invariably bring along.
The film’s greatest achievement is successfully framing the plot around a character incapable of emotional development.

The viewer can almost identify the growth of feelingsin Charlie towards his autistic brother during the course of the movie. This is starkly evident when Raymond accidentally mentions Rain Man and Charlie realises that he was the same rain man whom he so fondly used to recollect. Also when he talks about his mothers death and then the song that Rain Man used to sing, can you feel the small spark of emotions in the hedonistic Chrlie being re-kindled. The movie ends with a very pleasant after taste in the minds of the viewer probably because his beliefs in the “basic good inside all beings” getting cinvincingly proven. The fact that there is that element of goodness in all of us reassures us of the viruosity of life.

This movie got among others Best Actor in Leading Role (Dustin Hoffman), Best Director, Best Screenplay & Best Motion Picture  along with getting nominated in four other categories.

I would highly recommend this movie to any peson who likes to observe, analyse and introspect life!