Send As SMS

Indellectual

Thursday, July 29, 2004

From Ramesh Lahoti's July 14, 2004 letter to The Indian Express:

If the communists have a better solution, why have they not implemented it in states ruled by them? They have ruined the states of West Bengal and Kerala.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

From the newspaper, New Kerala

Antony agrees to discuss student's suicide in assembly
Thiruvananthapuram, July 26 (IANS) :

Rajani Anand, 20, a third-year engineering student, jumped to her death from a seven-storey building here Thursday night after she failed to get a loan to pay her fees at a self-financing engineering college.

This, after 57 years of independence?!

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Condoms Add shine to Silk Saris
Sunday, July 25, 2004, The Times of India

Call it use or misuse, but in India condoms have apparently found their way into Benarasi silk saris, roads, water containers and more.

They may be distributed free by government agencies in India to check population growth and diseases like AIDS, but safe sex is not what they always get used for.

"Condoms are being used in the finishing of the famous Benaras silk saris; providing a smooth finish to tarred roads; as well as in waterproofing ceilings in India," said a report presented at an international conference in Bangkok....

...[Rama Kant of King George's Medical University], who is a surgeon of high repute, believes not more than 20-25 percent of condoms distributed freely are put to their proper use.

"Naturally, condoms worth billions are being misused across the length and breadth of the country," he said.

"And that is bound to reflect in the virtual failure of the WHO objective to promote the use of condoms for prevention of AIDS and check population growth," he added.

(IANS)

These practices should be condemned outright; there is no way to condone them!


Monday, July 19, 2004

India School Fire That Killed 90 Reveals Gaps in Nation's Progress
-By DAVID ROHDE, July 18, 2004, The New York Times
 
While the country's high technology economy surges ahead, inefficient — and in some ways, weak — federal, state and local governments, as well as a poor public education system, threaten to slow the country's development.
 
Friday's fire illustrates how all those strains can come together to craft tragedy. Kannan Saravanan, 9, said from his hospital bed that his teacher told his fourth-grade class on Friday morning that their school was on fire. The teacher told the children to "run away," the boy recalled, and then ran away herself.
 
Abandoned with as many as 190 other students in an overcrowded second-floor classroom, the boy did not know what to do, he said.
 
He said he saw flames near the room's only exit, so he retreated farther into the classroom with dozens of other children and climbed under a bench as a searing fire roared above him.
 
"I watched three people burning and dying in front of me, young children," he said. "They didn't say anything. They were just crying."
 
...and India has been crying for a long time but hasn't been saying anything!
 
"Whatever the highest level of prosecution, that will be done," Mr. Radhakrishnan vowed.
 
How high? The education minister? The chief minister? The prime minister?
 
Sparks from a fire made by a cook, who is one of the people who has been arrested, somehow ignited the thatched roof that hangs over the kitchen.
 
All Indians, especially those who can think and judge (and care), should check to see if a thatched roof hangs over all of India, a rising world power.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

From the web page of an Indian graduate student in computer Science at the Iowa State University:
 
Bits & Bytes rule the mankind!!
 
My comments:
 
And bit by bit, they bite our souls!!!

Saturday, July 17, 2004

I came across this on the Internet:
 
LONGEST POEM ON EARTH WRITTEN BY NIKHIL PAREKH
Longest poem written on earth, ONLY AS LIFE composed by prolific Indian Poet Nikhil Parekh, measures a Herculean, 1470 lines, 1100 stanzas, 7900 words, 38,900 characters (without spaces). It is also exclusively the first of its kind in pure poetry fraternity and English language; without containing the most infinitesimal of elements of dramatic theater/stage plays/ dramas/ conventional theater/ stage sequels/opera performances.. etc. This makes it the longest on earth in the 21st Century and English Language, weaving through countless lines of immortal love and life; wholesomely and irrefutably distinguishing it from conventional theater/dramatic philosophies/poetic plays/poetic memoirs/personal biographies/ plays/ancient scripts.

 
My response was in the form of a poem:
 
Brief Encounter
 
Something wrong?
Why so long?
 
Read it now
Or postpone?
 
Better yet,
Stay away
And say good-bye?
 
So long!


Thursday, July 15, 2004

There was recently a program about India and the people who commute to work on trains in Bombay. Each car has a capacity of 1000, but is overloaded to several times that number, which means that some people must arrive very early to get seats, and countless others are forced to stand. However, one man who was interviewed said the commute poses no real problems for him. He and his fellow commuters have become very close friends: they play cards with each other, talk, laugh, but make sure to avoid topics about politics and religion.

In America, many of us have certain basic amenities in life, and in some cases, luxuries -- driving to work in our very own car with our plush seats, our coffee or muffin in hand. We, who are used to these conveniences, complain when we have to undergo some small discomfort, unlike those Indians, who seem to adapt so well to life's hardships, without complaint.

I wonder, on the other hand, how good it really is for them to suffer and not realize the difficult conditions they are made to face.

The following headline was published in a local Ohio newspaper: People Want Biased News: Most Seem to Want Easy, Not Difficult-To-Understand, News This was an article written by David Shaw of the Los Angeles Times.

This makes us really wonder, whether in India, the U.S. or elsewhere: how is it possible to help people help themselves out of the adverse conditions they live in if they don't even realize they're facing adversity?

-Rajul Parekh

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Another comment regarding the suggestion we made on the 7th about testing truck drivers for HIV. Today on ABC's World News Tonight, they said the truck drivers avoid getting tested because they are afraid of the stigma of being HIV positive. But what if they were at risk of losing their jobs if they refused to get tested? What if testing were made a mandatory requirement by the trucking companies? Would that put more pressure on them? Additionally, can they be rewarded in some way for going to get tested?

-Rajul Parekh

Friday, July 09, 2004

Exposé of Peasants' Plight Is Suppressed by China
By Joseph Kahn, The New York Times, July 9, 2004

EFEI, China, July 5 - In their muckraking best seller about abuses against Chinese peasants, the husband-and-wife authors, Chen Guidi and Wu Chuntao, told the stories of farmers who fought the system and lost.

The book, "An Investigation of China's Peasantry," describes how one farmer's long struggle against illegal taxes ended only when the police beat him to death with a mulberry club. It profiles a village activist who was jailed on a charge of instigating riots after he accused a local Communist Party boss of corruption.

Now, Mr. Chen and Ms. Wu say, it is their turn to be silenced.

Though their tautly written defense of China's 750 million peasants has become a sensation, their names have stopped appearing in the news media. Their publisher was ordered to cease printing at the peak of the book's popularity this spring, leaving the market to pirates who subsequently churned out millions of copies in violation of the copyright.

A ranking official sued sued the authors, accusing them of libel, in his home county court. In a country that does not protect a right to criticize those holding power, it is a case they say they are sure to lose.

Top Beijing leaders acknowledge that China's surging urban economy has done relatively little to benefit the two-thirds of the population living in rural areas.


Politicians, journalists, businessmen and even economists never tire of talking in glowing terms about China's growing strength as a world power. Now everyone has started talking about India in a similar fashion. However, the recent Indian elections underscored and brought into focus how the great mass of rural poor did not benefit from the economic liberalization of India.

Here in America, we regularly hear about the gap between the rich and the poor.

What does this suggest? Is there some common thread in this global phenomenon, despite the all-round advances of mankind in every field of human activity?

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

On BBC World News today, they reported that India may even overtake Africa soon in the number of AIDS cases. In Rajasthan, for example, truck drivers are spreading the disease along the highway routes they drive on.

Just a thought since Indian bloggers as a whole seem to be well-educated: can Indian bloggers start a brainstorming dialogue among themselves about possible ways to curb this disease?

One suggestion is that blood tests be routinely performed within the high-risk area. In the case of the truck drivers, even before the risk of AIDS presents itself, perhaps they should be told that if they become HIV-positive, they will lose their jobs. This may be just the deterrent needed to force them to behave more responsibly, which includes using condoms.

-Rajul Parekh

Friday, July 02, 2004

The rivalry between two warring factions in a temple in Gondal, Gujarat reached such intensity that one group forcibly removed the idol of the other faction's deity from a sacred place. They then placed it in the open courtyard, exposing it to the rain and hail. (Akila, July 1, 2004)

Poor God!

Not to be outdone, the opponents staged an angry protest for the humiliating treatment meted out to their God. The police had to intervene.

Poor police!

We ask our "followers" if the following multiple choice question can help these poor people find a new home for their God.

Where does God reside?

1) Under the Guru's thumb

2) On the Bollywood screen

3) In the businessman's pocket

4) In the cabinet minister's home

5) None of the above

Thanks for tuning in.

And God bless you!