Friday, November 23, 2007

थे वर्ल्ड'एस बेस्ट इनवेस्टमेंट ..

The world's best investment - ( got this from a friend..)

Many people don't think of it consciously, but much of our lives are spent deciding how to invest our resources. Families decide whether to move into a bigger house, or save their money and stay in the current one. Young women decide which man they should bet their reproductive potential on. Workers ponder what they should do with their holidays. And so on.

Of course there's also the more obvious fields of investment. Where should you put your retirement funds? Should you put a windfall into shares or property?

And there's the biggest investment question of all - What should I spend the limited days of my life doing?

Some investments are good, some bad.

Time invested in exercise is great for your health. But spend a month not exercising, and you'll be back to square one. Many purchases have a similar problem. We all know a new car loses value the minute you drive it off the block.

But there's one investment that stays with you almost your entire life. Every minute put into it improves your well-being, and will continue to pay back years later.

That investment is education. Once it's in your head, it's there forever. Sure it may fade a little, but it usually doesn't take much work to bring it back.

It's usually reasonably priced in time and money. And it's fun. The more of it you invest in - the bigger the returns you get from it.

There are very few educational undertakings that aren't worthwhile. You should spend your life improving your own education and understanding of the world. Leverage off the learnings of others, and fill your head with interesting stuff.

Education is the world's best investment. Put some of your own resources into it.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

नों चोम्स्की ऎंड नंदीग्राम ..

A statement has come out from Noam Chomsky and other intellectuals expressing their solidarity with the people of West Bengal and the government there.

Chomsky and other intellectuals have committed a critical and basic mistake in their judgement of what exactly is happening in West Bengal, whether it is a fight by the dispossessed people for their rights ( which have got a political hue with time) or a tactic for survival of the political establishment there. The statements had very glaring disparities ( whatever their leanings be..). Citing the excuse of being far away from the place of happening, they have conveniently preferred to close their eyes to trying to understand the ground reality of the dispossession of agricultural land of the poor farmer that has taken place at Nandigram and have supported the ruling elite ( though not directly, but the words say it all..)

They have expressed limited, conditional solidarity (for name sake) with the dispossesed peasants but have come out strongly with the ruling establishment by way of expressing total support for their land reforms and local self government policy. And in the name of continuing these never ending above two policies, the intellectuals seem to conveniently forget the games these politicians play to clamour and stick to power, at whatever costs.

Kolkata is burning and the ruling party is going all out to forcibly quell the democratic expression of dissidence and unrest, earlier with the help of their unruly cadres and thugs( who brought more of disrepute than anything else) and now with the Police and army.

Democratic expression of dissidence which was (forcibly and organisedly) suppressed in West Bengal for more than three decades is now surfacing openly in the WB society and this will be an interesting social and political experiment to watch out for India and the rest of the Communist / Marxist followers the world over in the coming days. The push and pull this will have on the Indian electoral scene is also going to be interesting to watch.

It is very sad that the so called intellectuals ( with clear and pronounced leanings) have fallen in the trap laid by the politicians of West Bengal.

George Easaw


To Our Friends in Bengal.

News travels to us that events in West Bengal have overtaken the optimism that some of us have experienced during trips to the state. We are concerned about the rancour that has divided the public space, created what appear to be unbridgeable gaps between people who share similar values. It is this that distresses us. We hear from people on both sides of this chasm, and we are trying to make some sense of the events and the dynamics. Obviously, our distance prevents us from saying anything definitive.

We continue to trust that the people of Bengal will not allow their differences on some issues to tear apart the important experiments undertaken in the State (land reforms, local self-government).

We send our fullest solidarity to the peasants who have been forcibly dispossessed. We understand that the government has promised not to build a chemical hub in the area around Nandigram. We understand that those who had been dispossessed by the violence are now being allowed back to their homes, without recrimination. We understand that there is now talk of reconciliation. This is what we favour.

The balance of forces in the world is such that it would be impetuous to split the Left. We are faced with a world power that has demolished one state (Iraq) and is now threatening another (Iran). This is not the time for division when the basis of division no longer appears to exist.

Noam Chomsky, author, Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy; Tariq Ali, author, Pirates of the Caribbean: Axis of Hope and editor, New Left Review; Howard Zinn, author, A Power Governments Cannot Suppress; Susan George, author, Another World is Possible if, and Fellow, Transnational Institute; Victoria Brittain, co-author, EnemyCombatant: A British Muslim’s Journey to Guantanamo and Back, former editor, Guardian; Walden Bello, author, Dilemmas of Domination: The Unmaking of the American Empire, and Chair, Akbayan, the fastest growing party in the Philippines; Mahmood Mamdani, author, Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, The Cold War and the Roots of Terror; Akeel Bilgrami, author, Politics and the Moral Psychology of Identity; Richard Falk, author, The Costs of War: International Law, the UN and World Order After Iraq; Jean Bricmont, author, Humanitarian Imperialism: Using Human Rights to Sell War; Michael Albert, author, Parecon: Life After Capitalism, and editor, ZNET; Stephen Shalom, author, Imperial Alibis: Rationalizing US Intervention After the Cold War; Charles Derber, author, People Before Profit: The New Globalization in an Age of Terror, Big Money and Economic Crisis; Vijay Prashad, author, The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Trek report, Mekedatu, 18 Nov 2007.

One of the most loveliest treks I have ever gone for.

With about 100 participants and only three staff members to help, we were afraid in the beginning to go for this one, but the enthusiasm of the students overcame all our fears and we set out for the trek on 18 Nov, 2007, Sunday morning at 8 AM. The organising enthusiasm and sincerity of Amal and his team was very encouraging for us. We also wanted this first trek from XIME to be really successful, we felt that it should never be a mediocre one.

Even though the private bus (which was to take us the distance of 100 kms one way, 3 hrs travel time) was to come at 6 AM, though all students were ready, it was a bit late and that gave us enough time to mingle and get to know each other better. Prof George Kuriyan and RoseMary were ably taking care of all of us !! The new video camera with Prof George Kuriyan could be seen everywhere..

We reached Sangama at 11 AM and immediately after making some enquiries with the locals ( we should admit that our reconnaissance mission was not planned properly) we went out to cross the confluence point of the Cauvery and Arkavathy, come what may. To our surprise we found that it was not deep at all, about waist deep. The first taste of cold water on the body. We got drenched and after some splashing and playing in water, we gathered together and started our 4 km trek to Mekedatu.

Some people fell ill, some had sprains , not anything major, but we kept moving, The distance initially seemed never to end, but we kept moving. Finally at 1.30 pm , we reached the point, Mekedatu. We descended the steps to the gorges and adding to our fears, the force of the gushing waters of the Cauvery and the deafening noise, got us really afraid. I could not afford to look at the river direct down, it was terrifying and frightening !!

The sharp crevices and gorges cut by the river in the mountains over millions of years, was a trip back in history over a million years. The river must have been running very heavy and violent then, else how could it cut those sharp corners about twenty to thirty feet high on the side rocks ? How many goats must have committed harakiri trying to jump across the Cauvery from the top crevice to the bottom point, about fifteen feet away ? Even before homo sapiens set foot on this earth, the river Cauvery must have been gushing, of course under a different name then..

After 2 hrs at the point, we decided to return. The trail of the trekkers were long enough running for a km or more. There were many water holes and some terrific photography points on the way, besides Cauvery. In one of these water holes we decided to get ourselves immersed and there we really get ourselves totally immersed and drenched to the bones.

It was an exciting and refreshing two hours in the water of the Cauvery, pure and clean. No wonder Karnataka does not want to spare any water to Tamil Nadu and TN wants every drop of it. After getting ourselves dried and some rounds of Frisbee, we started on our journey back to the Sangama. Spotting elephant dung, not fresh, on the way, reminded us that elephants do frequent this place often during the summer months to drink water. I got to pair up with many students on the trek and talk to them regarding lot of issues of mutual interest. We reached Sangama at 5 45 PM.

There were initial reports that the power plant upstream the river would release water by evening time, causing the water level to rise to ten feet, making manual crossing difficult. All those fears were unfounded as we reached the Sangama and found people playing in the middle of the confluence in the water.

Some of us decided to cross the Sangama on the coracle, the round saucer shaped boat, which could overturn any moment and get everybody sunk !!. To add to the thrill, I could see the boatman forcibly turning the coracle around as if it has got caught in a swirl or whirl pool in the Cauvery.. The coracle trip was possible only after paying a princely Rs ten. Others preferred to wade through, me included. Water is fun any time and anywhere, as long it is up to your waist. .. It was a terrific trek that was coming to an end.

At about 6.30 PM we got into the buses ( SMS Travels) which were waiting for us at the Sangama from morning and we were off to Bangalore, Except for some minor hitches with loss of about 2 hrs, with some three members not being able to catch the bus ( they came by the KSRTC bus behind and joined the group) and for one person, Anshu, losing his mobile phone ( which was later discovered at his seat itself) we were comfortably getting back to our institute for dinner and a good sleep. All were dead tired after an exhilarating day in the water !! It would not be an exaggeration if we mentioned that about fifty percent of the time we were in the water.

At about 10 30 PM we reached XIME and after dinner of chicken biriyani, we went back to our rooms, too tired to discuss the day's happenings with anybody. The next day, at 9 AM we had classes and so could not miss any sleep before getting to the class.

Overall, it was an exciting trek, the first one in XIME. Prof George Kuriyan and Rose Mary and myself made the total 95, and very soon we shall put up some of the snaps here on this site.

Thanks everybody for your help and co-operation, a special mention to Amal and his team for organising things well and for making it memorable and SAFE !!

Hoping to have many more such exciting treks in future !!!


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Information to students reg Mekedatu trek, 18 Nov 2007., terrific photos Alok Anand..

The active enthusiastic students of Xavier Institute of Management and En'ship (XIME), Bangalore is planning to go on a trek this Sunday to this place called Mekedatu, about 100 kms south of Bangalore as part of the nature club activities of XIME.

From kanakpura, we go on the main road southwards to reach a place called Sangama, the confluence of Arkavathy river and Cauvery river. After alighting from the bus, we cross the two rivers. Trek for 4 kms (one way) along the Cauvery river to a point where it gorges itself through rocks at the place called Mekedatu. In Kannada, Mekedatu means goat's leap, ie, goats could leap across the gorge and cross the mighty Cauvery at this point .. Some goats must have died in the process. The legend is very interesting. I do not know whether any humans have attempted and succeeded.

The return trip also has the same 4 km trek and the two river crossings. During summer, the water level does not go beyond 3 to 4 ft, but being just after rains, it is feared the water level may be about 10 ft or so. We require the help of expert swimmers from the group to take all of us across the riners. We are carrying enough ropes to take us across the Cauvery and Arkavathy. On the return route we will also be visiting the Chun-chi waterfalls on the Cauvery which is about 25 kms from the main road.

It is recommended that students come in their trekking gear, with good shoes, canvas preferred, water bottle, cap, some chocolates, dried fruits and a set of clothes to change, in case you would like to return in a fresh set of dry clothes than the stinking, sticky ones after the long trek. The organising team of Amal, Anoop etc will also see that there are enough frisbees and other things to play around in Mekedatu.

The students are informed hereby that the bus leaves the campus at 6 AM and so collect your breakfast (bread, omlette, butter and jam) and lunch ( veg pulao with raita) packs from the mess hall before boarding the bus. Tea will be served in the mess hall at 6 am for the trekkers. we hope to return by 8.30 PM and have dinner in the mess hall itself.

we hope to have some wonderful, quality time with almost 100+ students ( boys and girls) and five faculty in 2 buses. Unforgettable times of your life !! With fond memories to cherish your whole life time !!

Amal and Anoop have also made a movie on the trek, a good one, quite enticing !!

Hope we have more such treks in future and develop a strong bonding with mother nature ..


PS : pl do not litter the place and so carry plastic bags with you to bring the waste back to XIME.....

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Information Overload ..??

I remember a time when I was doing my graduation, almost twenty three years back, 1983, British Council Library at Trivandrum, Kerala used to be my favourite haunt in the evenings. It had very valid reasons too. The British Council Library had lot of quality reading material, magazines and books, both reference and stack room ones, to refer and read.

For the first time in my life I was introduced to the Economist magazine in this Library. Earlier at home we were getting the Life, Time, Newsweek etc, besides the National Geographic and other Indian Magazines and journals which my brother used to get from family friends. We all uused to enjoy reading those magazines at home. After leaving Trivandrum in 1986 after the engineering, it was very difficult to get hold of the Economist to read as the next twenty I spent in Goa and Bombay. Goa was a bit far from civilization. IIT Bombay had all these magazines, but very less time to read them, so it was as good as not having them at all.

At Peermade I made some futile efforts to get the college authorities to subscribe to some of these good magazines, but had to give up finally, it was very difficult to get them to differentiate the good from the bad, the need to stimulate the minds and imagination of students thru such good high quality reading. A sad state !!

Now that I am in XIME, Bangalore, I was taken aback when the first day I joined, on my table was a copy of the latest Economist mag, besides the daily newspapers and Indian business magazines. To this add the Newsweek and Outlook magazines which I have subscribed myself lately. It is an Information Overload phenomenon being experienced, as by the middle of the week, the next batch of magazines keep coming. It is a race to catch up with reading and being up-to-date with the developments. Most of the days I stay back to catch up on some of the pending reading and of course some blogging too..

Time is not a problem here as I stay in the hostel and have all the time in the world. With the willingness too, it is really a paradise for reading and keeping oneself up-to-date. This is besides the information available over the Internet !!


Using cellphone data and GPS to reduce Bangalore's traffic woes !!

The 19 th Nov issue of Newsweek, talks of how cellphone user data and GPS (Geographical Positioning Systems) is helping the city of Atlanta in the state of Georgia, US to reduce the traffic delays and congestion on it's roads

An average car which gets stuck for almost six hours in traffic a week spends an amount of almost 4 - 5 litres of petrol extra idling and moving in the snail speed traffic. Besides being a drain on the car owner's wallet and precious foreign exchange for the country, this causes release of excess carbon dioxide, contributing to green house gas emissions and resultant global warming phenomenon. It is of paramount importance that we reduce these emissions and drain of foreign exchange. The loss of man hours of the intellectual capital can only be imagined. Easing out traffic congestion thus attains great importance because of the above reasons.

How does the technology of cell phone and GPS, work ?

Almost all the people moving in their cars on the roads have cell phones which are in direct contact with the mobile towers of the respective companies. So the cell phone companies are in full knowledge of where each of their customer is at any point of time during the day. If this data can be collected and shared between the cell phone companies and the provider of GPS service in Bangalore, ( recently I saw an ad advertising this service in Bangalore, and the first city in India..), the GPS company can prepare the data of congestion points in the city through real time data acquisition systems ( the cell phone user data superimposed on the geographical data of the city) to be used by the travelling public.

Some revenue can be shared by the GPS company to the cell phone companies which will motivate them to share the cell phone user data with the GPS co.. All issues of privacy can be sorted out by the parties together with assurances that the data will not be used for any purpose other than real time data acquisition systems for traffic control in the city.

This can be a cost effective method to tackle the growing traffic congestion problems in the city of Bangalore.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

West Bengal likened to Gujarat..??

Both places there is intolerance and violence. CPM does it under the garb of a civilised society..

A big blow to the Marxists..!!


Trek to Mekadatu, 18 nov 2007., terrific photos Alok Anand..

The active enthusiastic students of Xavier Institute of Management and En'ship (XIME), Bangalore is planning to go on a trek this Sunday to this place called Mekedatu, about 100 kms south of Bangalore as part of the nature club activities of XIME.

From kanakpura, we go on the main road southwards to reach a place called Sangama, the confluence of Arkavathy river and Cauvery river. After alighting from the bus, we cross the two rivers. Trek for 4 kms (one way) along the Cauvery river to a point where it gorges itself through rocks at the place called Mekedatu. In Kannada, Mekedatu means goat's leap, ie, goats could leap across the gorge and cross the mighty Cauvery at this point .. Some goats must have died in the process. The legend is very interesting. I do not know whether any humans have attempted and succeeded.

The return trip also has the same 4 km trek and the two river crossings. During summer, the water level does not go beyond 3 to 4 ft, but being just after rains, it is feared the water level may be about 10 ft or so. We require the help of expert swimmers from the group to take all of us across the riners. We are carrying enough ropes to take us across the Cauvery and Arkavathy. On the return route we will also be visiting the Chun-chi waterfalls on the Cauvery which is about 25 kms from the main road.

It is recommended that students come in their trekking gear, with good shoes, canvas preferred, water bottle, cap, some chocolates, dried fruits and a set of clothes to change, in case you would like to return in a fresh set of dry clothes than the stinking, sticky ones after the long trek. The organising team of Amal, Anoop etc will also see that there are enough frisbees and other things to play around in Mekedatu.

The students are informed hereby that the bus leaves the campus at 6 AM and so collect your breakfast (bread, omlette, butter and jam) and lunch ( veg pulao with raita) packs from the mess hall before boarding the bus. Tea will be served in the mess hall at 6 am for the trekkers. we hope to return by 8.30 PM and have dinner in the mess hall itself.

we hope to have some wonderful, quality time with almost 100+ students ( boys and girls) and five faculty in 2 buses. Unforgettable times of your life !! With fond memories to cherish your whole life time !!

Amal and Anoop have also made a movie on the trek, a good one, quite enticing !!

Hope we have more such treks in future and develop a strong bonding with mother nature ..


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Is the Left in West Bengal getting back in equal measure ??

Is the Left front in West Bengal paying back heavily for the folly, dadagiri and oneupmanship it has been carrying out all the while in WB over the past 30 years ??

One is given to understand that it is learning a bitter lesson this time from it's bete noir in WB, Ms Mamata Banerjee of Trinamool Congress. With the social activist Ms Medha Patkar also having joined sides with the displaced people of Nandigram, it is all the more good news for Mamata as she the agitation she has been spearheading gets world wide attention and publicity. Recently some other prominent personalities from WB society have also expressed their solidarity with the oppressed people of Nandigram.

The CPM as a party has never cared for inner party democracy and if it comes to goondaism and dadagiri to get the approval for it's authoritarian ways it is there in the forefront to just carry that out. Exactly that has been happening in Nandigram. The press and media have been denied access to the areas of Nandigram where people have been forcibly made to return to their homes which have been deserted following clashes between the pro and anti evacuation volunteers, thanks to the collaborating state police force. Now the CRPF has reached there and will give a helping hand to the state government to restore a semblance of normalcy and peace in that area.

The Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi speaking against the high handed tactics of the government in Nandigram and the subsequent verbal attack by the state CPM Secreatry Biman Bose on the constitutional authority of the state was totally uncalled for. It has only degenerated the image of CPM among the civilized people of the country.

The coming days will of course expose the excesses of the CPM cadre in the far flung villages of Nandigram, adding to the woes of CPM and it's leader Budhadeb Bhattacharya.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Why a trek for management students at XIME ?

Management students at Xavier Inst of Management and En'ship, Bangalore are planning to go for a trek with staff members on 18 November 2007.

What are the objectives of this trek ?

Management learning cannot be complete with just learning theory from books , interacting with learned academicians, interacting with professionals from Industry or visiting industries to do your project work. It is also about developing the right attitudes to life, learning to work as a team, taking leadership roles when the situation demands, organising activities for the group at short notice and learning how to get people understand your thinking and getting them to your side.

Trekking is a group activity where you get to know your team members very well by being with them doing a physical activity like walking through the forest or climbing mountains or some other similar things. For about 8 - 12 hours, sharing the difficulties, the joy and fun of companionship, one develops a good bondage between the team members. The physical activity seems less tiresome when you see your friends also doing the same thing. It is minute and surmountable. ie. big problems get smaller and smaller. They don't actually get smaller but your attitude to the problem makes it appear smaller.

Likewise in life too, we come across numerous problems. It is the attitude to life which helps us to face the problems and solve them. In our careers the many problems we face can be made enjoyable with activities like this which will help to develop the right attitudes to life.

Care for the environment :

Environment is a great concern these days. The modern mantra is to condition our life, activities, thoughts and actions so as not to disturb our relationship with the environment. If it were not for the environment we would not even be on this world now. Understanding this prime responsibility of mankind to care for the environment is the other major objective of the trek.

By being with nature for a long period, we get to appreciate her well, her varied hues, colours, emotions and expressions, how they are revealed to us. The colours surrounding us, the wonder at how the creator has created them for us to appreciate and live with, the mysteries and colours of the blooming flowers, the colours of the birds and fruits around us. This trek is an opportunity to take some time off from our busy schedule and appreciate nature and it's gifts for mankind. We need to keep this thought very much in our minds, " We have not inherited the Earth from our forefathers but have borrowed it from our children". Our children too have a right to enjoy it as much we and let us be kind enough to give them that privilege.

The trek will make us environmentally conscious citizens. Whatever decisions we take in our future careers, in whatever organisations we work and in whatever new ideas we incubate, the impact on the environment needs to be well studied and understood. We get to respect mother nature and be thankful to her for her bountiful gifts she keeps showering on us and fellow beings every day of our life.

In short this trek will help us be socially responsible citizens of the country or as we were just mentioning , green managers !! Always a step ahead of the competition..


Friday, November 09, 2007

Piggybacking and leapfrogging - new growth mantras for India and China?

The upcoming issue of the Economist magazine, Nov 2 nd week 2007, will be featuring this topic in greater detail. Piggybacking , Leapfrogging or both, which is sustainable in the long run ?

Consider the following situations. A new telephone user in India buys a mobile and wireless connection. He does not know what is a land line and wired connection. A new buyer of camera, gets the new digital camera and has not seen a film roll nor does know what is film developing.. This is jumping across different stages of the development process or product life cycle cycle and straightaway reaching the forefront.

China's Chang'e I satellite has begun circumventing the moon with the intention of studying lunar environment and possibly make a landing on it very soon. India's ambitious Chandrayaan programme is planning to land on moon by 2010 AD. We have neither spent fortunes researching the space nor the machines which will take us there. Yet, we look forward to land there by passing lot of intermediate stages.

The above two cases are examples of piggybacking and leapfrogging respectvely.

Piggybacking is sitting on the shoulders of the developed countries for some time and when the time is ripe, leapfrogging to take us as afar ahead as possible has been going on for some time now. We have not yet done the leapfrogging act, other than when China and India stunned the world by exploding their atomic bombs in the 60s and 70 s respectively. Is there an apartheid in the modern world which prevents the developing world from trying out innovative things or technology for that matter even imitation or adaptation ?

This is the same strategy which India and China are presently employing in their race to development over the next fifty years. Like it or not, this is pragmatism at it's peak !!

Bypassing the Nolan stages theory or the life cycle development theory ? The fast growing countries of India and China are showing the world that if one needs to catch up with the rest of the developed world, don't try reinventing the wheel again, instead focus on where the others have reached, try to get there and then compete with them. In short, vault over the intermediate stages of development and catapult yourself to the forefront. Naturally, a very realistic approach. This leapfrogging is more ambitious than piggy backing as the leap frogging exercise can take you farther ahead than your competitors in technology and development.

Are there any shortcomings with this process ?

Piggybacking and leapfrogging is not without it's drawbacks too. Going the whole way piggybacking is not recommended as the growth will be slow and dependent on others. The hurdles which come in between can hinder one's growth. Trying to leapfrog the whole distance is also not recommended as every time you leapfrog you land on your rump and picking up from there can be tedious and painstaking.

One of the greatest shortcomings as has been seen by the author is the unevenly distributed development happening in both these countries. Only some regions or states have embraced these technologies whole heartedly or have experienced the need to change, while the rest of the country still are years back in development. This lop sided development cannot lead the country as a whole to development. It becomes a case of pulling everybody else, compared to pushing from behind. As a group we cover more distance if pushed from behind than being being pulled from front.

This uneven development has resulted in different parts of the country experiencing different rates of productivity and productivity improvement from the tools already in the market.

The second problem is that there is no firm ground to assess your present state of development and then to look at the future, because everywhere and everything is in a constant state of flux. It can be dangerous in the long run as maturity in technology or products cannot be experienced because of this constant state of flux, adaptation and growth. Unless one gets time to consolidate on one's achievements at frequent intervals of time, the process forward can be really hazy and incoherent.

The third problem is that innovation gets stunted. Imitation and adaptation rules the day and is valued. Imitation and adaptation can take us to the front but cannot help us remain there for long. If we have to retain our position as the leader of the world, a firm and solid foundation should be laid to promote innovation and creativity. Promoting innovation and creativity should be a way of life.

Because our aim is not just to reach the forefront of nations, but to remain there and provide quality, effective intellectual and innovative leadership in manufacturing and service sectors to the world. And that requires a complete revamp of our attitude and leadership styles.

But till we reach there, of course it is piggybacking and leapfrogging !!


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Dinner with Prof Gerald Groshek .., 7 Nov 07.

Our Prof from Uty of Redlands, Prof Gerald Groshek is leaving the XIME campus by the end of this week back to the US after completing six weeks with us. Tonight we had a pleasant farewell dinner with him, Director Prof Panduranga Rao, Dean Admin Prof George Kuryan and myself with Prof Gerald.

The venue was a natural resort cum club house on the outskirts and within walkable distance from the XIME. Country retreat.

After spending almost six weeks with us, this is the first time I got to know Prof Groshek well. Over drinks we exchanged lot of ideas, cultural aspects, politics, the American way of life, Presidential elections coming in Nov 2008, Godhra pogrom and what not. Very interesting .. We had lot of meaningful exchanges on Indian society, values, the royal family of Travancore in Kerala, the national pledge, the oath of allegiance in US etc..

The best thing he liked about India were the colours.., everywhere he could find colours , the dresses, the flowers and everything.. The people he found very friendly and mistaking him for a hollywood actor ( very handsome really..) and wanted to pose with him for photographs. The cordiality of the people, their friendly nature everything appealed to him much.

While in New Delhi, he also had the opportunity to visit the Taj Mahal. He went to Goa, Kerala etc..

We wish he keeps returning often to this Institute often and share his wide experiences from all over the world with the student and staff community.


Who shot Gandhi ?

Someone under the pseudonym of Kochuthressiamma has written this very special article on the Gandhi Jayanthi day. A candid appraisal of the present day living, too good.

Talks of the many Indias.. Which is the India that is really growing ?? finally the statement that Gandhi is still being shot today sums up everything. We needed Gandhi only to bring us independence, not to follow his ideals and teachings.


Kochuthresiamma p .j

Gandhi Jayathi is almost on us . As usual, there will be appropriate
noises made by politicians, Congress party, media etc on the 2nd Oct.,
and then this great man will be shelved for another year. maybe this
year things may be a little different- thanks to Munnabhai!!!

Not surprising that the great man should be treated like a necessary
evil by the land which gave birth to him.

This cutting him down to size began before India became a free
country. With the Partition, the pluralism (genuine pluralism, he
believed, was native to India) which he tried to reinstate with his
spiritual weapon received a deathblow. Poor man, what he did not
realize was that he was incarnations ahead of those who fought with
him for India's freedom. Each of them had his agenda and the scramble
began once the British were out.

After Independence,Nehru took care of edging Gandhism out of the
political and economic arrangement for free India. Mesmerized by
modernity derived form the ideals of Enlightenment rationality (which
was already taking the world to the brink of disaster), Nehru, who
represented the sentiments of a nation rearing to go the western way,
found Gandhi an embarrassment. And Gandhi withdrew from public life.

Gandhi had realized that India had the advantage of choosing the mode
of development best suited for her. Time and again, throughout his
engagement with the destiny of India, he wrote, spoke, advised,
warned. He pleaded for grassroots movement, for organic village
communities and agriculture centered economy. he had nothing against
technology, but he knew that uncontrolled technology would lay waste
India's greatest asset - human resource. He warned against the horrors
of modern industrialization, commercialization; of the dangers of the
scientific outlook divorced from dharma. But no one paid heed to him.
So India missed that chance and put the wrong foot forward. Since the
die was cast, Gandhiji realized that India now can only learn the hard
way. He came to terms with the fact that the post independence
leadership had neither his hindsight nor foresight, that clarity of
vision to see that its choice of the political arrangement and the
economic policies will only serve the geopolitical and corporate
interests of the developed west. For, the Indian 'elite' leadership in
the period immediately following independence continued to be
colonized in their minds. India had been decolonized only politically.

India is surging ahead , we claim today. But all those farmers who
commit suicide - are they not India? All those small players in the
industry who have to wind up their businesses that sustained them -
are they not India? All those small time planters who had to sell out
and have their means of livelihood taken from them - are they not
India? All those tribals who are displaced by huge projects - are they
not India? All those ultras, Maoists and Naxalites - are they not
India? pray, which India is going to be the global leader? Does this
potential 'global leader' include the majority?

Dismal thoughts on the occasion of a Gandhi jayanthi.

I must share a strange and disturbing scene i witnessed a few years
back. I was at the Mani Bhavan ( where Gandhi stayed whenever he was
in Bombay – it is a very badly maintained Gandhi museum now – compare
it with the Indra Gandhi memorial , No. 1 Safdarjung Road - and we
come to understand what is wrong with India today). Sorry for the
digression. I continue -- - - It was in Mani Bhavan that I heard this
question "WHO SHOT GANDHI?"

I turned around to find an East European (i think) posing this query
to an Indian tourist. 'Godse", the latter replied. "Why did he shoot
him?". To my utter surprise, the man threw a furtive glance around and
made a hasty exit from the room which had miniatures of events from
Gandhi's life and last moments. I hung around hoping the European
visitor would put the question to me but he didn't. He must have
sensed something was wrong ( was something wrong? What was it?. I
couldn't figure it out) . He went around the room careful not to make
eye contact with anybody.

Who shot Gandhi? Godse, yes. But his shot was the kindest of them all.
The fusilade began long before Godse actually pulled the trigger. It
began towards the last lap of freedom struggle when it became pretty
clear that independence was only a matter of time. Gandhiji continued
to be shot when the country was partitioned, when his lofty concept of
India as a nation fell flat on its face with the communal riots. The
unkindest shot was the political and economic dispensation chosen by
the leadership of Independent India which totally ignored Gandhism. AS
early as 1906, Gandhi had, in his HINDSWARAJ warned against the
mistakes of the post industrial, post Enlightenment modernity of the
west (which ultimately would culminate in two World Wars and all its
horrors).: " we want English rule without the Englishman. You want the
tiger's nature, but not the tiger; that is to say, you would make
India English. And when it becomes English, it will be called not
Hindustan but Englistan. This is not the Swaraj that I want."

Gandhi continues to be shot today.

We live in times which fear to even give a name and face to the forces which destroyed the man who ranks among the greatest of creations.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Kerala Church History post 1500 AD, part II

Before the advent of the British, the Protestant Movement had gained ground in Europe with the ex-communication of Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk after he published about ninety one thesis against the Pope on the church door at Wittenburg in Germany. The pope being considered the almighty and infallible personality then could not take this affront lightly.

With the advent of the liberal Protestant movement, more importance was given to the Bible and direct communion with God through prayers than on the worship, traditions and customs which had crept in church worship over thousand five hunderd years. The Orthodox Christians, ie. the Oriental Orthodox who had separated in 471 AD after the synod at Ephesus, the Eastern Orthodox Christians who had objected to the increasing importance of the Bishop at Rome and his interference with the churches at Jerusalem and Constantinople and had separated out around 1100 AD, and the Catholic Church at Rome continued with their traditional worship and customs. .

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Church History in Kerala,, post 1500 AD - part I

Kerala is the cradle of Christianity right from the days of the arrival of St. Thomas in 52 AD on the Cranganore coast of kerala ( as recorded in the travels of west Asian travellers and religious books in Iraq). Act of St. Thoma which did not get into the final set of compilation of the Holy Bible also points to the travel and the preaching of St. Thomas in Kerala. St. Thomas the apostle came to Kerala with followers of Christ from Nazareth, called Nazaranes). The first Prime Minister of India Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru in his book, Discovery of India talks of the Syrian Christian faith in Kerala being older than other forms of Christianity elsewhere in the world. Indian Christianity preceded other forms of Christianity by more than two hundred and fifty years.

It was only after 1500 years that Portuguese came to Kappad, near Calicut, Kerala with their brand of aggressive Christianity, the Roman Catholic faith, under the garb of maritime trade. They were driven out by the ruler of Calicut. They went to Goa and did some forcible conversions to Catholic faith which is even to this day resented by the people of Goa. That is history and we should not try to right a wrong which was done four hunderd years back.

With the help of Bishop Menezes from Goa a meeting between the heads of the indigenous brand of Christianity, called the Toma Christians and the Roman Catholic brand was arranged at a place called Udayam peroor in Ernakulam district ( the famous church is now under Catholic control and is on the Ernakulam Vaikkom highway). The Roman Catholics acted with deceit in the famous church at Udayam peroor by putting all historical records of one thousand five hundred years under the matchstick. All ancient Bibles, some belobing to 300 AD also got burnt in the process. History got destroyed for ever.

It was the greatest damage the Roman Catholic brand of senseless fanaticism imported from Portugal could inflict on a strong and thriving indigenous Christian community in Kerala who were insulated from the power mongering western brand of Christianity thriving in the western hemisphere. This same people have also been accused of trying to anglicise an essentially coloured Christ of Nazareth.

The papal overlordship from 1599 to 1653 was essentially the golden period for the Catholics from Portugal in Kerala ( the darkest period for the indigenous Christians) who managed to convert lot of Thoma Christians to the Roman Catholic brand of faith. In 1653 at the famous Koonen Kurissu in Mattancherry, the Thoma Christians asserted themselves and shrugged themselves off from papal control. Being robbed of their original liturgy by the Catholics, the Thoma Christians had to turn to Syria, the Church at Antioch, who were more than happy and helpful in sharing their liturgy with the hapless Thoma Christians from Kerala. The trouble was only in the brewing in accepting what looked to be a helping hand in times of dire need for establishing an identity.

The second affront on the Thoma Christians (now called the Syrian Christians) came with the British traders.

( to be contd in Part II)

Withdraw/amend Hyde or risk 123 !!

BJP's tough stand on the 123 Act

This stand of the BJP is very plain headed and they deserve kudos for it. Yashwant Sinha's tough stand sends enough signal to US that the 123 Act can be accepted by India if only the Hyde Act, the legislation passed by US Congress to act bully with India in Dec 2006 is withdrawn or amended. US claims that the Hyde Act (wiki on Hyde act..) was the US Congressional approval for the 123 deal. The 123 act requires only Indian cabinet approval and not the Indian Parliament approval ( but US Congress approval.. How skewed is it ??).

Or let Indian Parliament pass another legislation bypassing / overruling the US legislation. I am sure the US Congress is not foolish enough to think that it can bulldoze it's way through anything. Being partners in an agreement there is nothing like big partner or small partner. Any agreement can only be accepted on equal terms..

The US initially itself did not play in a fair way. It played foul by agreeing to the 123 Act and then silently got the Hyde Act passed in the Congress which overcomes all earlier legislation. Good that our politicians acted smart at the right time. Henry Kissinger who was siding with Pakistan during 1971 with Nixon now comes abegging to the Left leaders asking their support to sign the deal. That itself shows that there is something fishy in the whole deal and the whole deal is skewed totally in favour of US private businesses...

The Left and BJP need to be praised for upholding national interests over temporary short lived benefits. ( and they succeeded in scoring over the Congress this time, for sure !!)

The people of India are also seeing thru this smart US game plan. We can sign the deal only after the Hyde Act is withdrawn or amended or India passes similar legislation to protect it's interests..


Friday, November 02, 2007

Art of Living in Vidharbha..

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art of Living is doing great service for the farming community of Maharashtra in Vidharbha.

Farming is the backbone of the country and this service is the greatest any community can do to the people.

Long live Art of Living and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar..


How unethical can American sportsmen/women be ..

The retirement from professional tennis by Martina Hingis, when she got caught of cocaine use is a shocking news to tennis lovers world over and a shameful affair to the tennis fraternity.

The admission by American athlete Marion Jones of steroid use some moths back was tragic for the whole athletic community who felt betrayed by her.

Do these people know the gravity of the crime they have committed against the sporting communities of the world, against their own fraternity ??

Why only Americans are getting caught ? Are they the cheaters of the world ?? And the "greatness" lies that they confess only after getting cornered..else walk free and to fame.. So mad after athletic fame that they are ready even to compromise on values and care least for the years of hard work put in by their colleagues from different countries and use unfair shortcuts ..

This is not a general statement, but conveys a lot of scepticism and puts a question of integrity on Americans as a whole, their achievements over the years and their carefree attitude to life.

The general feeling is that it is a natural reaction arising from the fear of being overtaken by the Chinese and Russians.

Better they refine themselves soon else get thrown in the dustbin of history as a community of cheaters and liars ..


Thursday, November 01, 2007

Majority Communalism - more dangerous..

"Majority communalism is more dangerous than minority communalism as it often acquired the garb of nationalism .."

Prof Ram Puniyani ( retd from Dept of Biotechnology, IIT Bombay ) while accepting this years' India Gandhi Award of National Integration from the PM Dr Manmohan Singh yesterday 31 Oct 2007 in N Delhi..


US, patiently waiting with the trap ..

US is patiently waiting with the 'hidden' trap as to when our scientists and politicians get dumb enough to pressure our political leadership to sign on the dotted lines of the Indo US 123 treaty and submit ourselves, our country's sovereignty and our promising R&D group with it's superior Thorium cycle for nuclear power generation to the US.

US is blushed as it never thought Indian democratic processes would be so vibrant and kicking even to the extent of sacrificing temporary benefits to India ( energy surplus oiling economic growth) and US ( businesses worth 40 billion dollars to American industry) for national interests of protecting our sovereignty and promoting Indian R & D in nuclear tech . Even Henry Kissinger ( the special envoy of private US businesses) cut a sorry figure with L K Advani and had to return red faced and empty handed !!

Democracy in US has always been inward looking. Our people have outsmarted them and have looked into the future and planned for the next 100 years, should say. The Indian people have decided that they will be under no obligation or commitment with any country of the world, how large it be, which will decide and be an impedimant on our independence, sovereignty and march to development.

The tenacity of our indigenous research community to bounce back and strike back with greater power and venom ( with better results and when the situation demands) has never lost the opportunity to hit back at sanctions and isolation in the international scientific and research community. The growth in indigenous nuclear technology, supercomputing, space technology, missile technology etc are glaring examples of our superiority. Our scientists and researchers have shown that we like it better when cornered and pushed to the wall. Once pushed to the wall, we shall live by it and see how we can leverage that pushing and cornering for our benefit.

Establishing our superiority in the thorium cycle of nuclear energy generation, where we are almost twenty years ahead of US research ( with about 40-60 % of Thorium reserves in the world on the Kerala coast - part of the Gondwana coast, the rest being shared with Australia..!) is a big threat to the US' deceptive, covert plans to establish it's intellectual,moral and physical superiority over the rest of the world.

The sky is not going to fall down by not signing the 123 deal, totally skewed and favouring US, with the passage of the Hyde Act. Maybe Bush will lose his credibility, as also Rice and others in the administration, but that is not our headache.

The month or two long debate in the country has finally resulted in opinions getting crystallised and formed with the national interests topmost. Let it be so for the time being. There is always time to watch and wait. Maybe we will be slow to reach our developmental goals but we shall reach there with lot of conviction and self respect than ride piggyback on somebody else.


Project Management -failure in the country but great potential.

Today's Times of India ( 1 Nov 07) brings an editorial titled "Slow is not beautiful' on the need to have effective management mechanisms to find and plug the delays in completion of different projects in the country which is costing the country very dear. Almost 24,000 crores of rupees is spent by the govt to keep these projects running and only God knows when these projects will get completed ever.

For improving and retaining competitiveness of our country in attracting foreign capital growing to be a top investment destination in the world, it is estimated that almost $300 billion will need to be invested in the next five years. High quality infrastructure only can take us to the top league of countries in the world to attract foreign capital and technology investments in the country.

It is a national waste and a crime against the people of this country that vested interests and corruption is holding up these infrastructure projects by as much as sixteen years. The oportunity cost of the 24,000 crores of rupees which otherwise could have been spent on infrastructure development and primary education is stupendous and to know that this money is only going to increase year after year and be incurred every year is heart breaking. How much of the tax payer's money is getting wasted down the drain serving no purpose but oiling the machines of corruption and inefficiency ?

The top technocrat of the country Mr E Sridharan the MD of Delhi Metro ( through many articles in TOI) is a great model to the rest of the country of how effective project management can help save the country thousands of crores of rupees and how this money so gained could be pumped back for the growth and welfare of the people of the country.

If only our bureaucrats understood the urgency and need for reducing the red tape in project clearances and early completion and our ministers understood the need to finish these projects in time and to be of benefit to the people of the country, can any improvement happen here. Also educational institutions and management institutions across the country should offer more programmes and refresher courses in Project Management techniques for practicing engineers and managers from industry to help arm the people with the needed tools in project management.

Public Private participation seems a good way out in some sectors like infrastructure building, but not a complete remedy as frequent litigation between the private parties and the government on some crucial decisions leads to great delays and untold cost escalations.


Carbon footprint pic..

Interesting graphic. Should'nt US be ashamed of itself for promoting irresponsible development ? US average Carbon footprint...

My popular posts over the last month ..