Category Archives: General

Indian S. L. Bhyrappa deserves Nobel Literature

Yaana (journey), the new novel by writer S.L. Bhyrappa, was released across the State on Tuesday, 29th July 2014. The 291-page novel deals with the transformation of human moral values when astronauts undertake a journey beyond the solar system. The writer researched the subject for two years, including discussions with professors of the Indian Institute of Science, before writing Yaana. The price of the book is Rs 190.

By Aug 1st, 10000 copies from two editions were sold according to the sources from publishing house. S. L. Bhyrappa is one of the most popular writers of Indian languages. His previous novel Kavalu saw over eight editions, and is a critique of contemporary facets of feminism. Avarana, another of his recent novels, dealing with intolerance and fundamentalism, saw over 35 editions and has been translated in Tamil, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati and English.

Dr. S. L. Bhyrappa has written more than 24 novels in Kannada. Most of his novels have been translated to many of other Indian languages. Almost all of recent novels and most important ones of novels have been translated to English language. His writing is characterized by superlative story telling ability around contemporary themes, internal consistency with in the plot of the story, and perfect connection with the external world based on a realistic setting backed by factual linkages. He explores human relationships interplaying with the value systems simultaneoulsy at personal and social planes in his themes. S. L. Bhyrappa exhibits courage in dealing with sensitive but most important subjects of the contemporary society and provides justice in the light of truth and ultimate good without compromising on the beauty of novelistic art form.

He deserves to be considered for Nobel Prize for literature from India. Jnanapith award of India is due to him.

Where is Siddhantic watch?

Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, new Caliph of Islamic State wears modest $560 “Islamic watch” from Al-Fajr, a Saudi Arabia-based watchmaker. This was revealed during Friday sermon calling on believers to wage “jihad” against God’s enemies in a rare appearance.

The deluxe stainless steel WA-10Swatch – the preferred choice of “true Muslims, can be programmed with the correct prayer times for hundreds of cities around the world. The watch can be set to ring before each “azan,” or call to prayer, wherever the wearer happens to be. Five prayer times of the day are based on the movement of the sun, so they can vary in different places within the same city. In addition to the prayer alarms, the Swiss-made watch has a built-in compass to indicate the direction of Mecca, Islam’s holiest site, so believers will know what direction to pray. The bilingual watch displays in English and Arabic and allows you to choose either the Gregorian or Hijra calendar, which is “based on the astronomical moon sighting at Mecca

The watch maker has 30 branches, 11 in Arab countries and many in EU countries. Non of them in Iraq.  Here is a complete list of features of the watch.

Hindus were the first civilization who have mastered the time keeping.  Hindu Panchanga includes advanced calculations and matured calendars. Hindus are following the calendars based on Suryasiddhanta even today.  But, why no one has created a watch similar to the above one for Hindus?  India has emerged as one of the software talent in the world? What are the Indian engineers doing? Are they incapable of creating such a watch?

Economic sovereignty for India

Our country needs economic discipline combined with focused approach in our activities. This is implicitly understood. Any progress and development requires hard work and discipline among other things. Hard work, and discipline are required irrespective of the direction that we take. In economic front, the government in general has adopted polices that are aligned with the free market economic principles. International framework along with the global trade agreements direct our policies. These frameworks and policies ensures the continuity of the existing economic order and takes us deeper into the free market economy.

The problems with the free market economy are known. The cost of Food, clothing, shelter, Health, and education escalates. The affordability of basic necessities would be reduced to a large population or makes affordability more difficult. Tremendous pressure would be exerted on individual earnings, family systems, relationships and elegant interactions among individuals.

Progress has two components – streamlined operations optimizing the utilization of resources to achieve next level of prosperity. With the optimized operations, the availability of resources may saturate the growth prospects. Ability to mobilize additional resources implies enhanced opportunity for growth. Mobilization of resources has multiple facets – but most of them are not based on sound sustainable principles. For example, access to capital is possible through foreign investments – but excessive investment increases inflation, depreciates real value of money and tilts the balance in distribution of wealth across social sectors. The life may become difficult for many while the GDP growth is steadily growing.

For Indian economy, there are additional problems. Choosing the path and ensuring streamlined executions. A path completely aligned with free market economy – even pursued diligently may not produce intended results. Selection of an alternate path is not easy but inevitable. Economics based on simplicity, and thrifty utilization may be detrimental to the unsustainable developed economies. But, simplicity based economy would save billions of populations from the trap of artificial money or reduce its effects.

Responding to the developmental pressure may be inevitable to the Indian government. But, while doing so, would it initiate concrete steps leading to directional change for a better world? Would India move towards economic sovereignty in the real sense?

Context: Modi government has indicated initiating tough measures to streamline Indian economy. Proposals for 100% FDI in defence, allowing of foreign universities in education sector, allowing operation of market forces in many sectors – continuing the economic policies of previous governments – are being discussed.

Sunni Islam destabilizes Iraq

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (alternatively translated as Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) abbreviated as ISIL or ISIS, is an active Jihadist militant group and unrecognized state in Iraq and Syria influenced by the Wahhabi movement. The self proclaimed independent state claims the territory of Iraq and Syria, implied future claims intended over more of the Levant (e.g. Lebanon). It was established in the early years of the Iraq War and pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda in 2004. The group was composed of and supported by a variety of Sunny Muslim groups, including its predecessor organisation, the Mujahideen Shura Council, Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Jaysh al-Fatiheen, Jund al-Sahaba, Katbiyan Ansar Al-Tawhid wal Sunnah, Jeish al-Taiifa al-Mansoura. It aimed to establish a caliphate in the Sunni majority regions of Iraq, later expanding this to include Syria. In April 2013, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi annonced that Islamic state of Iraq had merged with Jabhat al-Nusra, an armed Islamist group in Syria. Ayman al-Zawahiri, the group’s global chief, disagreed with the decision and ruled that the ISI and al-Nusra should operate as separate entities. But, Bagadadi insisted that he Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant will remain. In February 2014, after an eight-month power struggle, al-Qaeda cut all ties to ISIL.

The ISIS mobilise resources through extortion, such as demanding money from truck drivers and threatening to blow up businesses. Robbing banks and gold shops are other means. During the battle of Mosul in June 2014, ISIS allegedly looted $429 USD million from Mosul’s central bank along with a large quantity of gold bullion. According to one estimate, with $429 million, ISIS could pay 60,000 fighters around $600 a month for a year. The group receives funding via private and government donations from the Gulf states – Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

ISIS has fewer than 10,000 fighters. But it forced the retreat of the better-armed Iraqi army forces many times its size. Their incredible success on the battlefield of the small band of fanatics has attracted a lot of attention on the group. The success does not belong to ISIS alone because they weren’t acting alone. It wasn’t having God on their side that let ISIS conquer Mosul and Tikrit. It was the other Sunni insurgent groups that were there alongside them, unacknowledged partners in the coalition. Those groups have deep organizational roots and were instrumental in the takeover but have been largely overshadowed by ISIS. There is a broad coalition of Sunni groups—both nationalist and Islamist—who had been plotting against Iraq’s Shia government for years before ISIS’s rise provided the chance to strike. ISIS and its partners are unnatural allies. Maintaining their unity was the key to their early success.

With fewer than 10,000 fighters ISIS forced the retreat of the better-armed Iraqi army forces many times its size. Their incredible success on the battlefield has fed into a growing lore about the group: the small band of fanatics that can take down a country. The truth is more basic and it’s something ISIS doesn’t want to admit—they weren’t acting alone.

ISIS, soon after gaining control of cities is imposing newer laws over the people of the cities. They include restriction on women (dress code for them and movement restrictions), and abolition of alcohol, drugs and cigarettes. ISIS has ordered destruction of shrines and graves, ban on carrying flags other than that of Islamic state, and guns. Special places have been opened for soldiers, police and Kafir institutions to repent and death for those who are not repentent. Death is through decapitation, cricifications and other barbaric methods. Mass executions and tortoure is common generating fear and terror among the enemies.

The Shias, and other Muslim denominations along with non-Islams are targetted by ISIS fighters. Sunni identity is the real strenght behind the sucess of ISIS. Mosques, Islamic scholars, and Sunni proponents have strengthened the Sunni identity among ISIL fighters, justifying the methods of resource mobilization and elinimating the opponents in a consistent way aligning with the core principles of Islam.

Non Sunnis, Western countries, and others are surprised once again, by the expansion of Sunni regime in middle east.

Girish Karnad

Girish Raghunath Karnad was born in Matheran, Maharashtra to Rao Saheb Dr. Karnad and Krishna Bai Mankeekara on 19th May 1938. He is a contemporary writer, playwright, screenwriter, actor and movie director in Kannada language.

Dr. Rao Saheb Krnad was a government doctor at Belgaum. Krishna Bai Mankeekara was related to Dr. Rao Saheb. Krishna Bai was married to a Gokarna family and became a young widow with a son and literally found herself in the lurch when her late husband’s parents totally ignored her. Her brother–in-law (elder sister’s husband) Mangesh Rao helped her to get admitted to a nursing school with the help of Dr. Karnad. Rao Saheb was married and his wife was endemically sick and later died. She lived in the house of Dr. Rao Saheb helping the Rao Saheb and his bedridden wife as a house keeper and working in the hospital as nurse. After five years, Dr. Rao Saheb and Krishna Bai married in Arya Samaj. During pregnancy of Girish Karnad, Krishna Bai consulted Dr. Madhumalathi Gune for termination but later did not follow up the idea.

His initial schooling was in Marathi. In Sirsi, Karnataka, he was exposed to travelling theatre groups, Natak Mandalis as his parents were deeply interested in their plays. As a youngster, Karnad was an ardent admirer of Yakshagana. His family moved to Dharwar in Karnataka when he was 14 years old, where he grew up with his two sisters and niece. He earned his Bachelors of Arts degree in Mathematics and Statistics, from Karnatak Arts College, Dharwad (Karnataka University), in 1958. Upon graduation Karnad went to England and studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Lincoln and Magdalen colleges in Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar (1960–63), earning his Master of Arts degree in philosophy, political science and economics.

Girish Karnad went to England to join the Oxford University with a scholarship he secured on merit. He left for England from Bombay’s Ballard Pier by ship on 7th September 1960. His performance in Oxford was good and he even thought of settling down in UK. However, the appreciation and accolades for his first play Yayati, written while in India, received from the critics made him change his mind. After returning to India, he starts working in Madras for Oxford University Press. He met his future wife Saraswathi Ganapathy at a party within a few months of his joining duty. And quickly they decided to marry. But they could not formalise the marriage for next 10 years till when Girish Karnad was 42 years old. Saraswathi was born to a Parsi mother, Nargis Mugaseth and Kodava father, Kodandera Ganapathy. Both had met while studying medicine. In 1942, Ganapathy joined army during the II World War an d died in service. His wife Nargis was in the family way at that time and Saraswathi was born a posthumous child. Nargis came back to Madras and joined government medical service.

He worked for Oxford university Press, Chennai for seven years. Girish resigned his job and took up writing full time. During 1987–88, he was at the University of Chicago as Visiting Professor and Fulbright Playwright-in-Residence. He served as as director of the Film and Television Institute of India (1974–1975) and chairman of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, the National Academy of the Performing Arts (1988–93) and director of the Nehru Centre and as Minister of Culture, in the Indian High Commission, London (2000–2003). He has received Sangeeta Nataka Akademi award (1972), Padma Shri (1974), Padma Bhushan (1992), Kannada Sahitya Academy Award (1992), Sahitya Academy award (1994), Jnanapith Award (1998), Kalidas Samman (1998), Rajyotsava Award. He has also received awards for Best direction (1972), Second best feature film (1974), Best Screenplay (1978), Best feature film in Kannada (1978), Best non-feature film (1989), Best non-feature film on social issues (1990), Best film on envirnoment conservation (1993), Best feature film in Kannada (2000). He has also received several film fare awards, honorary doctorate from University of Southern California, Los Angeles (2011), and D.Litt from Karnataka University (1994). He has published an autobiography in 2011.

Girish Karnad has wirtten 14 plays with English translations, apparently rendered by himself or at least vetted by him. He has many translations, articles, research papers to his credit. He has conducted workshops, acted in 64 films and directed 13 films and TV serials. He has presided over various committees, and travelled on lecture tours.

He has two children – daughter Shalmalee Radha and son Raghu Ameya. He is a proponent of secularism followed by Indian National Congress and has opposed RSS, BJP and other Hindu organizations on several occasions. He publicly condemned the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992 and later spoke against the attempts to create controversy about the Idgah Maidan in Hubli. He has opposed Narendra Modi for Prime Minister post in the 2014 parliament elections. He has supported enthusiastically Indian Muslims, sympathised left extremist attitudes, and demanded freedom for Christians to convert others. He has supported late night life in Bangalore city. Glorified Tipu Sultan contradictory to the available facts. Based on his admissions in his biography, Girish Karnad may be safely termed as sexually liberated. He has supported live-in relationships. He has blamed Sir Naipal as anti-Muslim, Novvels of Dr. S. L. Bhyrappa as crappy.

Ruth Manorama – a profile

Ruth Manorama (62years in 2014) is born in Chennai to Christian parents.  Her mother is a first generation convert and an admirer of Ministry of Ramabai (1858 – 1922).  Manorama is the name of daughter of Ramabai.

In 1975 Manorama took a Master’s degree in social work from the University of Madras and has trained in both the community organization methods of Saul D’Alinsky and the conscientisation methods of Paolo Freire.  After her masters, she started working in Chennai slums through NGOs. She actively participated in rebuilding a slum submerged due to floods.

She shifted to Bangalore and started her association with Grail International Women’s Movement. Later she registered a trade union for domestic workers.   In 1986, Ruth participated in a cross-cultural study comparing Afro-American Blacks in the US and Dalits in India. Her specific interest was to study the lives of Black women and compare it to the situation of Dalit women. This was part of an agenda of declaring Jati of India as a form of racial discriminatory practice.  In the 1980s and 1990s, Manorama fought several court cases filed on behalf of slum dwellers evicted by slum clearance drive of Karnataka Government and sustained mass agitation of slum dwellers.

She coordinated the South India chapter of the preparations for the Fourth UN World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. After returning to India from the UN Conference, the Advisory Group decided that ten regional members of the task force would come together as the National Alliance of Women (NAWO), with Ruth as president, to take the mobilisation of women forward.  In 2001 Manorama was granted an honorary doctorate “for the distinguished contribution made to church and society” by the Academy of Ecumenical Indian Theology and Church Administration.  In 2006, She was awarded the  2 million kronor Right Livelihood Award  sharing with others two (equivalent to 60Lakh Rs).

 Ruth is married to N P Samy, the trade unionist who has brought together all independent, unorganized-sector trade unions under an apex body, the National Centre for Labor (NCL), of which Ruth is one of the secretaries, helping to build the organization. The couple has two daughters.

Nandan Nilekani – where does he stand?

Where does Nandan Nilekani  stands in social – political – cultural issues? A report based on the contents of his book – Imagining India.

Imagining India, written by Nandan Nilekani  is influenced by Ramachandra Guha, Andre Beteille, Atul Kohli, Kanchan Chandra, Ashutosh Varshney,  Yogendra Yadav, Pratap Bhanu Mehta,  and Chandra Bhan Prasad. Excerpts of the book about RSS, Bajrang Dal, and the caste system  reveals the biased opinions and level of maturity of handling some of the complicated issues of our society.

About RSS

While discussing demographic changes and tensions due to demographic factors, the book ridicules K. S. Sudarshan, former head of RSS. “For instance, K. S. Sudarshan appeals to Hindu families to ‘have a dozen sons’ – a windfall of infants meant to ensure that Hindus remain dominant in India’s demographics and elections’.  Footnote elaborates ‘Sudarshan often celebrates mata in his speeches, the prolific woman who produces large number of children; his blessing for women followers who meet him is the alarming ‘May you have hundred sons’.

About Manusmrithi and Hindu scriptures

For Dalits, English was a language exempt from the restrictive conventions of Indian literature, which was imbued with the traditions of caste and untouchability.  Hindu texts were ambiguous at best on the question of education and literacy for the lower castes.  At worst,  they were outright discriminatory – the Manusmrithi, the authoritative Hindu text on India’s caste system, said that ‘molten lead is to be poured into the ears of the ‘low born’ who dare to hear the recital of the written word.  As a result, like many of the early Indian reformers, Dalit leaders viewed English as emancipatory…

About caste system – mirroring others opinion

The political scientist Ashutosh Varshney has noted that India’s class divides were a ‘ranked ethnic system’ that combined both caste and class., similar to the apartheid systems in South Africa in that bloodlines would be a fair predictor of where you stood in the society in terms of income, respect and authority.  As Ashutosh tells me ‘The poor in India were not just poor, they were overwhelmingly low caste’.  Nandan approves the dominance of certain castes with writer Harish Damodaran, grandson of EMS Namboodaripad.

India never had a revolution. India is in fact a significant exception in that it was a huge and poor country which transitioned into democracy without any dramatic internal upheaval, and with our feudal structures intact.   India’s own reform movements against caste took a backseat in the struggle for independence as Indian leaders preferred to emphasize a unified resistance against the British.

Upward mobility for the backward castes had a significant impact in caste relations.  It also becomes difficult to enforce the silly notions of caste purity and pollution in the forced proximity of city buses and trains.  Some of the inane and repressive caste rules prevalent in parts of rural India  become especially impossible in a city environment. And it is difficult to enforce caste preferences while hiring in thee relatively flexible, high-demand urban labor market.

About first non congress government

The government that followed Indira was a defiant medley of peasant-based parties – the socialists, the Swatantra party and thhe Jan Sangh.  And this government brought the issue of caste based policies and rights to the center of the debate for the first time with the appointment of the 1978 Mandal Commission.

About Bajrang Dal

Broken down urban environments give rise to violence that prowls the narrow streets and by-lanes in overcrowded slums.  India’s urban slums have, for instance, been a breeding ground for parties such as the Bajrang Dal.

About Christian Communalism

Nandan is laments communal policies of St. Stephens like institutions but the ridicule towards K. S. Sudarshan was missing.

Reminder to stop breeding white doves and Christians

Pope Francis, on Sunday, 26th Jan 2014, released two white doves with children standing alongside Pope Francis as a peace gesture. But soon after the release the doves were attacked by other birds, mocking the symbolism of the Pope. As tens of thousands of people watched in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, two birds swept down on the doves right after they were set free from an open window of the Apostolic Palace. One dove lost some feathers but the the other dove was pecked repeatedly by the attaking birds. It was not clear what happened to the doves as they flew off.

What were the birds that attacked the peace doves? The one which was pecking was a hooded crow, and the other was a yellow-legged gull. Both are very common birds in Europe. The former is related to the American crow, while the latter is related to the herring gull that’s so familiar on seashores and at garbage dumps. The crow and the gull are both omnivorous, which means they eat anything from discarded French fries on a parking lot to nestlings stolen from other birds’ nests and carrion on a roadside. And both are bold birds well adapted to surviving around people—like, say, in Rome.

Animal rights activists have urged Francis end the tradition, saying domesticated doves can’t survive in the wild. Tens of thousands of Tweets and Facebook posts were launched, some of which used words such as “demonic,” “omen,” and “apocalypse”—and inevitably, of course, referring to “angry birds.”

The practice of the Church to emply pure white birds and releasing them as a gesture of freedom is full of contradictions and is unnatural. Based on biblical references, Christianity has chosen white doves as a symbol of peace and religion. Thousands of pigeons (relatives of doves) live in Rome, as in most cities. They range in color from grayish to brownish to blackish and everything in between. Many other species of birds live in Rome as well, but none are pure white.

Are doves really peaceful? Not particularly. They have weak feet and small bills and mostly mind their own business, walking around eating seeds and the occasional tiny bug. But they’re just as likely to fight each other over territory (with lots of wing-slapping) as any other species. I once saw a mourning dove chase a blue jay away from a bird feeder. No wimpy bird gets the best of a blue jay.

Why were these doves white? There are no pure-white doves in the natural world. The ones that were released were the result of hundreds of years of domestication and breeding, creating these freakishly white birds for use as pets, and for release at weddings and other ceremonies. Because white symbolizes peace, purity, serenity, and other good stuff – according to Christian beliefs.

Why did the crow and the gull attack the doves? Because the doves were white and not strictly a natural creation. What this episode means to Christian theology and religion? It reminds Church to end unnatural practices of breeding pure white doves to promote its notions and symbol of peace. It reminds the Pope to stop promoting his concept of peace through proselytizing Indians, Chinese, Buddhists, Muslims, and Jews and breeding artifical Christians.

Chrismas message from Pope Francis

The Christmas message from Pope Francis was filled with rhetoric and masked genteelly the proselytizing agenda of the Church. The Pope has invited non-believers to come to the fold of Christianity exhibiting his aggressive style masked in his mild manners. Invoking a biblical quote from Luke which assures peace only among those whom the Christian God favors, the Pope set the tone of his Christmas speech.

Christmas directs, according to the Pope, Christians to bring every one to Christ. The Pope wants Christians to resolve to give their lives towards this goal (of evangelizing). The Pope defined peace in his speech as a daily commitment starting from Jesus Christ.

Pope Francis, unveiled a baby Jesus statue promoting another idol of worship for Christians around the world. He called missionaries to focus on vulnerable children, especially victims of war without loosing focus on elderly and the sick. He focused on women and stressed on battered woman setting the agenda for Christians to destabilize Islamic and Hindu societies. His message confirmed the continuation of Church strategy to push legal changes to intervene in Muslim and Hindu families around the world.

Pope Francis prayed for peace in Syria, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Nigeria, and Israeli – Palestinian conflict and Iraq. He also prayed for displaced and refugees of Africa and eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, specifically mentioning killings of Lampedusa. The prayer calls were focusing on Islamic countries and tragedies involving mainly Muslims indicating the intensity of focus of the Church on Muslims in the near future.

Overall, Pope Francis has insisted, as the head of the Catholic Church, his focus on the goal to bring the entire world under Christianity. He has done it strictly within the framework of Christian theology and world view. The western media, as usual, has projected his speech passively and positively providing false hopes to the public. The media of the Islamic and Hindu world, continue to neglect the message overlooking its overtones.

Could conversion and Islam protect a Hindu girl?

A Hindu girl accepts a marriage proposal from an Afghan boy. She neglects caution from her parents, wellwishers and resists opposition to the marriage from them. She secretely marries the Afghan boy and elopes with him to the Afghanistan. She converts and takes a Muslim name as ‘Sayeda Kamala’. She lives in the joint family of her husband with three brother in laws, their wives and children. Soon she discovers, shockingly, that her lover-husband already married and that he still continues living with her. Still she reconciles and continues to live in Afghanistan in ancestral house of her husband. She is a trained nurse and she decides to help women of her surroundings with her knowledge. But, the situation in her surroundings is very restrictive to women due to rapid religionalism of Afghan society. She privately provides counselling to sick women. Taliban Islamists find her clinic and orders forcible closure. She resists. And she is beaten in her house by outside men in front of her family members. She was given punishment of death. But, she escapes from her village with great difficulty. Reaches Kabul andl flees back to India.

She writes many books, gives interviews, talks freely about anything and everything freely. After few years, she decides to go back to Afghanistan. Probably, she was given assurance by her ‘loving’ husband and family members of her husband. Probably, they were forced to bring her back to Afghanistan. For some reason or for a combination of reasons, she returns after 18 years.

She starts to work as a health worker. One day, within few months of her arrival, armed men enter her house. Tie her husband and abscond with her. Later, near a Madrasa, her dead body is found next morning. The corpse had 20 bullet holes.

Committment to love, conversion to another religion, and tolerating a polygynist husband could not even ensure safety and life of the girl. The girl was Sushmita Banerjee who died as Afghan Sayeda. Conversion and Islam, compromise, sacrifice, and perseverence could not save the Hindu girl.