Question the guru. Question the sanskars.

Indian newspapers recently carried stories of the police allegedly using mumbo-jumbo tantriks to talk to the dead to solve murder mysteries.  Soon after came stories of a reputed media house publishing a book that claimed to unravel the journey of the soul and life after death. Later a well-known computer scientist supported the police’s attempts to talk to the dead. A few months prior to this was the Unnao gold dig where archeologists started digging for gold based on a seer’s dream. These are just a few of the countless cases of irrational behaviour that are so blatant and mainstream in India.

Why is it that despite science being such a prized subject in schools and colleges, do Indians do so badly at adopting a scientific approach? Continue reading “Question the guru. Question the sanskars.”

Friends Of The Canal Garden, Prabhat Bhandarkar BMCC Road, Pune

Over the past couple of years, the left bank canal of the River Mutha between the Prabhat, Bhandarkar and Agarkar Road has morphed from pretty much being a dump to now a beautiful garden. The area of about six acres now has lush green lawns, a jogging track and many trees. It’s like an oasis right in the heart of Pune city.

The Pune Municipal Corporation and an NGO, Hirwaee have been jointly running the project as yet. However maintaining the garden, caring for the trees, keeping it clean and free from encroachments is an ongoing challenge that requires the support of residents in the area.

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No VIPs – Time For An Equality Of Citizens Act

Time For Equality The chiefs of the 3 armed forces were recently exempted from security checks at airports. In the build up to this decision, you got quotes like “It is a shame that India cannot accord a small privilege for those who guard the country”. Since anything related to the forces always gets linked to patriotism and national pride, so naturally references to the same were made from all corners. Finally the government gave in and extended the privilege of exemptions from security checks. The minister added that it was “absolutely appropriate” that the people who defended the country’s borders should not go through the security check exercise. So ended the matter. The VIP list for exemptions got a little longer for another service. “No big deal. All’s well that ends well. Right?”

Not really. The basic premise for this or any VIP privilege is that a certain person’s time or pride is more important than that of ordinary citizens like you and me. This goes completely against my understanding of democracy and people’s rule. VIP privileges for a chosen few cannot be a part of a democracy. It’s understandable if a dictator is a VIP, but in democratic India, no minister, politician, military officer or even the Prime Minister can be a VIP. He is just another citizen of India chosen to lead and not to rule. Privileges to bypass the queue is just one aspect of the mammoth VIP baggage that the nation carries. In a supposed equitable society, the time and pride of my cook, driver, my boss or the Prime Minister of India should have the same value, at least on paper. There cannot be a government sanction for discrimination.

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Measuring Social Unrest – Revolutionary new OakTyre scale shows the true impact of protests

Measuring Protests In IndiaEveryday we read stories about protests in the country where buses are burnt, trains are stopped, public and private property is damaged and so on. However one often feels that the creators of these protests do not get due credit for their work. The government releases figures about the property damages in rupees. However these figures don’t quite convey the true impact that a protest had on the nation. How useful would it be if earthquakes were reported not in a Richter scale but just in terms of the monetary loss of property? Only when someone tells you the Richter scale reading of the quake, do you truly feel the power of the quake. Considering India’s need for a scale for protests, the researchers at Oak Labs have devised the ingenious “OakTyre” scale for measuring the impact of social unrests.

The basic unit of measurement in the OakTyre scale is a “Tyre”. Like we measure distances in meters, we measure protests in Tyres. So the measuring scale goes as follows

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Blame It On The IT Wallas

Blame It On The IT wallas

“IT walon ney sab mehanga kar diya hai” said the travel agent after charging me a hefty sum for a Volvo bus ticket. Apparently it was peak season and any bus destination that was remotely interesting to the IT walas in Pune was selling at many times the normal rate. The agent was of the chatty kind and after inquiring about things ranging from the origins of my family to the reason for the trip, he said that the common Puneite won’t pay any amount that he asked for, but the IT walas blow money like crazy and will pay thousands without any hesitation. So naturally everything has become expensive.

IT people sure have made life difficult for most others. Few other industries can match the pay packets or the glamour associated with IT today. Take any product or service that would interest an IT professional and you would see that the price has at least doubled every 2 to 3 years …(Continued in the scanned article image on the left)