Wednesday, January 25, 2012

And the people won!

It was with much relief that I read the following news:

US lawmakers have indefinitely postponed votes on two anti-piracy bills following a massive outcry against the proposed legislation by internet companies, such as Wikipedia, Facebook and Red Hat.

The two bills under question are the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate, and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House, these acts are aimed at stopping internet users accessing non-US websites that feature pirated or counterfeit content, such as music and movies.

"We appreciate that lawmakers have listened to our community's concerns, and we stand ready to work with them on solutions to piracy and copyright infringement that will not chill free expression or threaten the economic growth and innovation the Internet provides," a Facebook spokesman told Reuters.

It would have been a nightmare if SOPA and PIPA bills were passed.

It would be the slow death of internet; specially sites like Google, wikepedia etc.

For sure, life would go on since most of us had a life before internet and Google. We may have a bit of peace too since we wouldn’t be bombarded with so much news and views. But what troubled me was the question.. what is the real intention behind such acts? This question became even more ominous when one realized that even the Indian government was trying to curb the flow of information between citizens. We had a judge asking this chilling question:

If it can be done in China why not in India?

Our constitution guarantees us the following:

Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith, and worship.

If the liberty to think and express our thoughts is curtailed then is not my nation an autocratic regime?

But the US citizens knows what freedom really means and their protest was strong enough to influence the law makers, whereas, was there any mass protest in India?

Is it because the internet is accessible only to a small percentage of Indians and hence there was not much to bother?

If this is so, then why the hue and cry?

In fact, the hue and cry was not because religious sentiments were hurt but because the government could not bear criticism, especially when another Lok Sabha election is not far away.
Who wants a government who do not want to change for the better?

Who wants a government who seeks more power to curtail the freedom of speech and thought?

The article from sums up the internet policing pretty well.

I also read the speech by Justice Markandey Katju, chairman of the Press Council of India, at Jawaharlal Nehru University on November 14, 2011. It may not go well with many when he calls most of us immigrants. But is there not truth in what he says?

The Indian civilization stood for so long not only because it was an open society but because the civilization itself was strong. It was not a toddler but an adult. Different cultures found way into India and sometimes brutally but it was strong enough to embrace/accept the good in each.

He asks the following question.

Why have people been coming into India? Very few people left India, except on two occasions namely (i) in the 19th century when under British rule Indian poor peasants were sent to Fiji, Mauritius, West Indies, etc. as plantation labourers and (ii) the Diaspora for the last 30-40 years or so of highly qualified engineers, scientists, doctors, etc. Apart from this, nobody left India, everybody came into India. Why?

The reason is obvious. People migrate from uncomfortable areas to comfortable areas, obviously, because everybody wants comfort. Before the Industrial Revolution which started in Western Europe from the 18th century and then spread all over the world there were agricultural societies everywhere. Now what does agriculture require? It requires level land, fertile soil, plenty of water for irrigation, etc. All this was in abundance in the Indian sub continent.

One can read more in the website It is called the Khalidas Ghalib Foundation and  aims to To Foster National & Social transformation for a Progressive, Modern & Culturally Aware India.

Another Republic Day  has come and yet another day for the nation to take the pledge that it would unceasingly strive to maintain a Sovereign Democratic Republic India.

Wish everyone a Happy Republic Day and may our nation prosper in the right path.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Changing times

As one grows older, relationship with your relatives keeps changing. Certain experience forces one to change one’s views drastically, however it may hurt you. A part of you dies, eternally. It must be similar to the grief one feels when someone very close to you dies.  Anyway, it is neither about grief nor about relationship that I wanted to pen on my blog today. It is about an attire that will soon disappear from a section of the society in Kerala. It was brought to my mind when I remembered my maternal grandmother who continues to hold a special place in my heart. She was a very strong lady and her memories continue to give me strength during the dark days of my life. Although she lost her elder son in his prime age, it never turned her into a bitter woman. She became only more strong and more nurturing.

During a certain era, the Christian ladies in Kerala used to wear only the "Mundu and Chatta". While the origin of it is still in dispute, some say this tradition dates back to the time of the Jewish settlement in Kerala, while there is also some who say that it was brought to Kerala by the Portugese. But then, it is also similar to the Indian sari. The white “Mundu” is about 7 yards in length and covers the lower part from the waist while a form of blouse(in white) with a “V” shaped neck covered the upper part of the body. A piece of cloth called "Neriyathu" (similar to the pallav of the sari) decorated with threads of gold is normally worn over the blouse while going out of the house. This will be gathered on the shoulder with the help of a brooch or a safety pin. The famous singer Usha Uthup can be seen wearing the same in the following photo. It is from the only Malayalam movie that she acted in, where she plays the part of a Christian lady.

Usha Uthup in the movie "Pothenvava"

An old picutre of a Christian Couple from Kerala
One can see the "Njori" or the fan like piece in this picture of an old lady of Kerala
I have seen both my maternal and paternal grandmothers wearing the “Chatta and Mundu”. While my maternal grandmother sometimes used to wear a sari too, at home I have seen both my grandmothers wear only this attire. Since I was more close to my maternal grandmother and since it is with her that I have spent more time, I have watched her wearing it too. She was very quick with the “njori” or the fan like pleats that was tucked into the back of the mundu. During her later years, I have helped her with this. The “neriyathu” or the “pallav” was worn only while going out. But neither my mother nor my MIL has ever worn this dress and for sure I shall never wear it too. I do not think my children have seen many wearing it too. I think the Christian girls of a bygone era started wearing this once they reached a certain age and then never got to try anything else.

While I may lament about lost traditions, I am happy that the women from my part of the world are free to wear any dress of their choice; whatever may be their age.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

FA's and SA's

One more FA is over and I am exhausted!

 But do I have time to breathe? No… soon will come another SA to give the mother of all tensions.

School was okay (for me) until CBSE started the new system called CCE.

C – Continuous

C – Comprehensive

E – Evaluation

The school year is now divided into two semesters and the student is supposed to be evaluated continuously. Evaluated not only for his knowledge on a subject but also in other areas.

Picture Courtesy:

Earlier one could save all the tension for the the end of year ; but not so now. CBSE had only good intentions I am sure, but I have already started to dread this system. Our children, I believe are having fun since they have lots of activities to do, cooking being one of them.

Our daughter (she is in 10th now) keeps changing her answer to “what to do you want to do after the 12th” question. Since she loves interior designing, it used to be B.Arch but recently her biology teacher tried to instill into the students the merits of biology and she is not sure if she will like bio-technology. Maybe a dietician, she asks? According to this teacher, Architects these days are begging for jobs. I kept repeating that it is better to choose the subject that you are good at and to select a job that you will love to do. She is still not sure, not that I have any idea either!

As for son (in 9th std), from the time he understood that he needs to do something after 12th there was only one answer; “join the Indian army”. Daughter continues to maintain that it is only because of the war games that he plays and that he has no idea what he is talking! She says he is obsessed with India and is forever trying to educate her on the merits of his country. I believe, the only way to cure him would be to send him to India. Let him learn to love his country the real way.

But if I remember, it only seemed yesterday that we sent both of them to the nursery. Although daughter was the independent kind, it was she who cried the most on her first day to school, while our son who I thought was very shy, took like a fish to the water on the first day itself. The ensuing years were fine but now that they have reached the crucial years, like every parent I am very apprehensive.

What does the future hold for them?

Are they fit to face this world?

Today I read an excellent article by Professor B. M. Hegde:

Education today in our country has not only lost its heart; it seems to have lost its direction and goal. It is a sad situation for the future generation. Well-meaning people in society are keeping quiet. The powers that be, who ought to know better, seem to be either ignoramuses or they couldn't care less! The following case history will showcase one of the major areas where modern education, especially at the primary level, nay at all levels, is going astray to the detriment of mankind's future.

The teacher, like a midwife, should assist the student in delivering, and not deliver herself. “Every child is a genius only to be converted into an idiot in school,” wrote Nobel Laureate Alexis Carrel. Education should aim at making healthy minds and not just making wealthy careers. Here, society needs to be thoroughly deschooled to get rid of the obsession with marks and ranks in place of healthy education.

Now that I have rid of my worries (not obsessed)  with marks for the time being,  let me wind up this post in peace :)

Monday, January 2, 2012


Let me wish everyone in this wonderful world...


Read this news from Kuwait and felt very happy..

Cassia trees to beautify Kuwait’s landscape – KISR introduces flowering trees

KUWAIT: New flowering ornamental trees that can tolerate the climate in Kuwait have been discovered after two years of research by Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR). The project was funded by Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS).

KISR says the lack of flowering trees in the landscape of Kuwait can be overcome through the systematic introduction of new flowering ornamental trees such as Cassia Fistula and Cassia Nodosa. These trees produce colorful flowers for a long duration and are tolerant to hot arid climates.

The objectives of the project were to introduce seeds of Cassia Fistula and Cassia Nodosa to Kuwait, to determine the suitability of their utilization in landscape beautification, to develop cultural practices for the production of trees planted from seeds and to determine their growth requirements.

 Hopefully one shall get to see the following scene very soon...

Picture courtesy:

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