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January 31, 2017 / subramanyam

Our Chief Guest and Pak’s Envy

We had the Crown Prince of UAE  HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as the chief guest for the Republic Day this year.  The visit also meant that India got more than 75 Billion dollars in terms of investment.

As ever, this did not get the coverage it deserved.  Most media channels had other issues that they wanted to run after.   (There are a few honorable exceptions though.)

Then we had the Burj Khalifa being lit up in the Tri-Colour.  A proud moment for all Indians.  This was share widely in the Twitter too.  However, we sorely missed out on the debate of why some one from the middle was chosen for the Republic Day celebrations.

The significance of this visit was not lost on our neighbors.  Look at the way the channels were analyzing this news.  You see jealousy some times and some genuine admiration too. (Am I being too optimistic :-))   Do listen to the debates.

Here is an article in Firstpost that discusses the importance of having some one like the Crown Prince of UAE as the Chief Guest.

http://www.firstpost.com/world/abu-dhabi-crown-prince-sheikh-mohamed-bin-zayed-al-nahyan-is-the-ideal-republic-day-chief-guest-3031216.html

Note :

I am not very much in favor of using the word Porki while referring to Pakistanis.  I do feel that it insults the people of that country and condemn the usage of it.

 

January 23, 2017 / subramanyam

A.P. Special Status

To all friends in Andhra Pradesh, please read this 12 page document before agitating for special category status. Please understand the truth before making statements. AP got good stuff, it was a well-thought-out formula. Please know the truth before joining protests. There are a lot of things the channels are not telling you. Many people are making this an emotive issue. Please don’t fall prey to the vested interests of a few people.

Here is a pdf that explains what AP got and what it did not get in a very effective way.  Click on the link ap-special-package to get the pdf.

ప్రియమైన మిత్రులకు, దయచేసి ఈ పది పేజీలు చదవండి.  ఆంధ్రాకి ప్రత్యేక ప్యాకేజ్ వలన  ఏం వచ్చాయో, ప్రత్యేక హోదా వలన మనకి ఎమి వస్తుందో తెలుసుకోండి. మనకి రావలసినవి చాలా వచ్చాయి, రాని వాటి గురించి ఉద్యమిద్దాం, ఈ చానెళ్ళ ఉచ్చులో పడి ప్రత్యేక హోదా అంటూ ఉన్నవి పోగొట్టుకోవద్దు.

క్రింద లింక్ ని క్లిక్ చేయండి

ap-special-package

January 19, 2017 / subramanyam

Saluting the Spirit of Tamils

I am loving the way people of TamilNadu are defending Jallikattu.  The way they are defending their viewpoint in the debates on the national TV is awesome.   For the first time, I am seeing the anchors search for words.

Coming to Jallikattu,  till a few days ago many people thought that it was bull fight akin to the ones done in Spain.  It was after series of debates and articles many non-Tamils (me included) understood what it is all about.  It is a game where a man needs to cling on to the hump of a bull till it stops running.  The danger is more on the side of the man than the bull.  No bull is harmed or killed in the process.  In fact, most of the bulls are reared by women who belong to the farming community.  They make money if their bulls win.

img_0129-2-copy

In many cases women rear the bulls

How does a bull win?

A bull wins if it does not allow the man to stay on its back.  It begins the run; a man tries to catch it at the hump, if it does not let him do it it wins.

How do the bull owners make money if a bull wins?

A bull needs to be very agile to win.  Now once it wins the owner will not receive any monetary award.  Instead, farmers who come to see the game will pay money to the bull

owner so that they can use this bull for their cows.   This way they get good, agile calfs and the indigenous variety of cattle are preserved.  Farmers pay decent amount of money to get good bulls.  Thus, the people who rear these bulls (they too are farmers again) make some money from the stud bulls and have a motivation to rear them.

India had 130+ indigenous cattle breeds at the time of independence.  Now it is down to 30+ breeds.  However,  Tamilnadu has preserved 5 out of 6 indigenous breeds that come from the state.   They credit Jallikattu for that.

Is there widespread cruelty against the animals?

No, no bull deaths have been reported because of Jallika

ttu.  In fact in some areas, people rear bulls like their own children.  There is an emotional bond between the owner and the bull.

However, there are and there will be a few stray incidents (less than 10) where norms would have been flouted.  Sometimes people bring in egos and the tradition takes a hit.  There are videos where animals have been hurt.  However, these cases have been very few.  If the cruelty was indeed wide spread the event in itself would not have survived 4000 years.

Why PETA fighting this?
Now, when we have an event in 1000 villages, and you have 5-10 stray incidents whom would you blame?  The ones who crossed the line or the entire tradition?

We ought to understand the sentiments attached to festivals and traditions.  It is not just pure economics. While researching the topic, I came across people who just wanted their bull to win; they did not care for the money.   He is my child sir; I want him to win.  That’s more than enough for me is what few farmers say.  More than economics its

bull

People love their bulls and consider them as family.

tradition and the love for it.

If PETA really cared for these animals, they would have asked for stricter guidelines and implementation of norms.  Instead, they pushed for a blanket ban which does more harm than good.   Today when a Tamil guy asks as to why only Jallikattu is targeted for violence against animals while the horse races, slaughter houses and mass killing of animals for festivals like Bakrid are not considered violence against animals?  Organizations like PETA limit themselves to rhetoric and speeches in these cases.

I am not saying that they are doing nothing regarding this, they might have protested or something, but when they go after only one section of the population, it is quite natural that one feels that they are biased.

My friend  Shefali Vaidya asked the same question on Twitter a week ago.

Interestingly there was no response from PETA on this.  Then we have these allegations against them.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nathan-j-winograd/peta-kills-puppies-kittens_b_2979220.html?

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/madurai/HC-permits-jallikattu-during-church-festival/articleshow/11657912.cms

http://www.nathanwinograd.com/?p=11830

PETA has a lot of explaining to do, however, that’s for another post.
For now a  big salute to the people of Tamilnadu who have picked up the cudgels for their cause and are fighting it out to save their culture.  Hoping to see the ban lifted soon.

January 12, 2017 / subramanyam

Why not debate ? Dear Devdutt

I respect  Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik.   I bought about 5 of his books, read a few of them, wrote reviews and did watch some of his videos and I did recommend some of them to my friends.

This morning I was shocked to see some tweets from him that were mocking Brahmins.  I went to his Twitter page and saw that he was making a lot of comments against Brahmins and some people in the Twitterati were giving it back to him.  I googled a little more and found an interesting story behind all this.  Here is the story, I am also giving my opinion on this.

Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik wrote the book “My Gita” some time ago. (I too bought the book and read a few chapters of it).  In this book, he gives his version of meaning for the Sanskrit slokas and develops his interpretation of SrimadBhagavat Gita.   This book, “My Gita” is in wide circulation now.  A  person called Nityanand Misra found some inaccuracies in the way the Sanskrit Slokas have been interpreted in the book.  Nityanand Misra wrote a Facebook post as to how Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik made some elementary mistakes while interpreting Sanskrit words.  Here is what Nityanand Misra says about Devdutt.

“He confuses the short vowel अ with the long vowel आ, the unaspirated consonant द with the aspirated consonant ध, and the dental consonant न with the retroflex consonant ण.”

Here is the full Facebook post of Nityanand Misra.

 

 

It would have been great had Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik given a full rebuttal by citing his sources and explaining his standpoint.  However, Devdutt evaded it begin with.   Here is one his responses.

 

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1482277471785096&id=166495080030015&hc_location=ufi

 

 

Nityanand came up with more inaccuracies from Devdutt’s works.

 

Devdutt then took the caste route to blame Misra.  Here is what he wrote.  He started blaming Brahmins en-masse.

Here is a  satirical take.

He was questioning the place of residence of Mishra.

 

A Diversionary tactic again.

 

Here is what he wrote about Jnanshwari.

The irony is Jnaneshwara was himself a Brahmin.  Yes, his thoughts were radical but he and his books are worshiped and read by one and all including Brahmins.

 

He even resorted to peddling lies .  Here is what he wrote about an Odiya Poet.

 

Then he speaks about the persecution of all saints in the hands of Brahmins.  Again, some of these people were Brahmins.

https://twitter.com/devduttmyth/status/818824089422987264

He deleted the tweet on Tulasidas, Tukaram and others later.

Then he started taking on Brahmins whole sale.

 

Then he says that Brahmins lack wisdom.  Man!!.. are you serious.

https://twitter.com/devduttmyth/status/819034371789176832

When someone complained about generalizing, this is what  Devdutt Tweeted.

https://twitter.com/devduttmyth/status/819068498332844032

Looks like he deleted it now.  I am sure Devdutt deleted some of his tweets.  Here is a tweet to which Shefali Vaidya responded, however, this too has been deleted.

He was unhappy as many twitteratti were asking questions. See this tweet.

 

My argument

Nityanand Misra pointed out some factual inaccuracies  in Devdutt’s work.  Ideally Devdutt should counter in factually.  Instead he is is going all over the place saying all different things, to me this is not correct.

One of the greatest strengths of Hinduism is Debate, the greats like Adi Shankanra, Bhagawad Ramanuja, Madhwacharya and others have always engaged in debates with the people who questioned their ideology.  Many of their followers too did the same when questions were raised on the interpretations that they gave to the world.

“Vaada” is a best way to resolve differences.  Instead of doing that if you start blaming Brahmins , bring in Caste , question nationality and start speaking Mumbo-Jumbo; this is not going to help the cause.

Dare to Debate Dear Devdutt, thats the best thing to do.  If you are indeed correct and Nityanand got it wrong prove it via debate. Prove it logically. Please don’t lower yourself in the eyes of others with these diversionary tactics.

January 5, 2017 / subramanyam

All the best Arnab

Wishing one and all a very happy and prosperous new year 2017.

What comes to your mind when you hear the name Arnab Goswami?   To me, it has always been the NewsHour man who shouts (should I say screams) at his panelists and pushes his opinion.

However,  post his stint in the Times Now, we see an entirely different version of Arnab.  We see an Arnab who actually debates and tears down the arguments of others.  He is strong on facts and figures and is presenting is opinions in a  great manner.  I am pleasantly surprised by the way this man is voicing out his thoughts now.

Here is a fantastic video of Arnab’s comments in a panel discussion.  Here he is speaking about International media and the Western Hegemony over it.   He enlists the number of news channels we have in India, talks about the number of publications we have, the number newspapers we have and the amount of interest an average Indian has for the news across the borders.  Then he speaks about the little interest we get to see for cross-border news in US and UK.

He presents his views on funding that the media houses receive and the baggage that the funding brings in.  He brings to light the inherent biases that exist in the system; he uses coverage that Paris attacks got and the coverage Mumbai terror attacks got in the international media to prove his point.

Then he talks about the hegemony of the western media houses in the space of international news.

A video worth watching. I loved the way this man articulated his viewpoint.

He recently announced his new venture would be called “Republic.”  Wishing success to him in his new venture. Hope his dream of having an International News Network operating out of Indian soil becomes a reality in 2017.

 

All the best Arnab.

December 26, 2016 / subramanyam

Retro of 2016

The habit persists… and here is the sixth retro in a row.

As ever let me start with the standard disclaimer. This post, another retro of my life, might drive you nuts as it has no important info other than the good bad and ugly of Subbu in 2016. Hence, think twice and act wisely before you continue reading.

2016 has been one of the most eventful years for me.  I would never forget this year in my life.  While a majority of my days were filled with frustration and a sense of despair, I did have days on which my joy knew no bounds (very few) and also had days that taught me a lesson or two.  I faced some of the biggest and toughest challenges this year and I also had some of the happiest moments of my life this year.

Good Habit I started this year:

Not too many good habits in this year, but yeah I am indeed prioritizing things in a better way, however wanting to have a big bang change in my life on this front and this is not happening.

I am taking mentoring seriously and am working on improving myself on the front of prioritization and organizing myself.  Hope this would work out for me this time.

I am also taking time out to read more non-fiction and this to me is a considerable improvement.

Started reading some classics, I am also reading some of the best books in Telugu.  This indeed is a great feeling.

I am becoming more health conscious and started some physical exercise (Walking to be precise),  I am doing it on and off.  Need to make it a regular habit going forward.

Old habits that persist:

Laziness, procrastination, and talkativeness. I am improving on them but then again leaps and bounds to cover.

Making progress on Procrastination too, but talkativeness is something I really am unable to control.

I start things, but I stop them.  I want to improve on this front.

Moment(s) of the Year:

The day I got my new job,  it came to me after a lot of struggle, and I was ecstatic after getting it.  Thanking the Almighty for this.  It was his Sheer Benevolence.

My Brother-in-law and his wife drove for some 520 KM to meet me just for a few hours.  I was really ecstatic that day.

Catching up with old friends Reeju, Rekha, Sai, Alpha and Subhashis.  It was indeed awesome.   Those three days were indeed some of the best days of my life.

Being the flag bearer of the Indian National Flag at Confluence.  The semi-annual conference of ToastMasters of District 98.  That was one of the best moments of my life.

Spending time and learning from a champion speaker. I got to spend a great deal of time with a champion speaker and the learning was indeed awesome.

Watching your kid grow is one of the biggest joys of life and am experiencing it. It comes with its price and consumes its own good time of yours, but no qualms. One smile from her and the happiness flows.  So every moment here is a moment to treasure.

Good things that happened to me:

The all benevolent  Almighty gave me a chance to visit some of the most important pilgrimage places in India.  That was the best thing that happened to me this year.

With God’s grace,  I was able to win the district level in this year’s ISC.  He was benevolent enough to take me to Washington and let me compete with some of the splendid international speakers.  Would be indebted to Him for that.

Life is teaching me a lesson or two about family life and the responsibilities. Learning it in my own way and own pace.   Sometimes, I was extremely frustrated due to some issues in the family, but they made me come out wiser.
Reading :
I completed a decent set of books this year, Here they are:
1. The Peshwa
2. Half Lion.
3. 1991: How P.V. Narasimha Rao transformed India.
4. Dawn at Dusk
5. The Madurai Sultanate
6. The Unreal Elections
7. Old History and New Geography
8. Diary of Female cricket Fan.
The following books in Telugu
9.  Rakoyi anukoni Atithi
10. Jailu
11. Bharya Gunavati Shatru
12. Rakta Sinduram
13. Leader
14. Nallanch Tella Cheera
15. Ladies Hostel
16. Korikale Gurralaite.

Professional life:
Joined a new organization.  Getting used to the things there.  Not much to speak as I do not know many things.

Blogging :
I wrote only 26 posts this year, much less than the usual 100+ posts I write every year.   This is something I really want to improve in the next years.  I almost left the blog untouched and it was Chandra who reignited the passion. Thank you very much, Chandra.

Most embarrassing moment:
The moment someone tells you that you are not doing enough to be called good.  I had that moment last year and I am having it again this year.   That was embarrassing.

Things I did not like about myself:
Almost a  copy paste from last year,
the only improvements were in the time spent with family and the food discipline.
Poor planning for things, that kept me in a tight spot quite a number of times. 

Then, using office time for personal work. I improved the pace at which I work in the office, but I am sure that’s not enough. I am gradually losing touch with friends.
Again no exercise ….. the list simply goes on…. I wish to correct most of them next year; lets see what 2017 has in store for me.
Wishing one and all a very happy new year 2017.

December 23, 2016 / subramanyam

Weekend Reads

Here is some stuff to read and relax over the weekend.

We all had a lot of respect for the banks and the employees.  However, the recent happenings have shown that we have black sheep here as well.  Here is an interesting story on money laundering.   This is a wake-up call for the government to come up with stringent laws to prevent this sort of crimes.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/Rs-12357-cr-laundered-outside-India-4-banks-involved-five-cases-filed/articleshow/56008401.cms

Not very long ago, there was a report that more than a dozen youngsters left their homes to join the ISIS.   We saw radical youth chopping off a professor’s hand before that; then there were multiple reports Love Jihad where both Hindu and Christian organizations rang alarm bells in unison.   Why is this happening in Kerala?   Here is an interesting take on Kerala’s tryst with extremism.

http://swarajyamag.com/politics/kerala-slides-into-medieval-intolerance-while-communist-government-looks-the-other-way

There was a lot controversy over the appointment of the new army chief.  An interesting take as to why Rawat was the Hobson’ choice.

http://swarajyamag.com/defence/the-indian-army-gets-its-new-chief-heres-why-lt-gen-bipin-rawat-scored-over-others

At the start of the year, we had the Malda Riots that rocked West Bengal. Check this link for the Malda riots. https://satyasurya.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/malda/

Now we are having a problem where Muslims of attacking Hindus.  The little reporting done by local media is adding to the vows of the Hindus here.
http://satyavijayi.com/mini-pakistan-hidden-inside-west-bengal-satyavijayi-exclusive-howrah-violence/

Manipur is burning and we are seeing little response from the mainstream television media.   Here is an interesting article that tells us about the mistakes of Okram Ibobi Singh’s government and the chaos that followed.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/columnists/edit/resolve-manipur-crisis.html

Happy Reading .