World of India!: July 2006 e

World of India!

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EditorsEdit : US House of Representatives passes Bill to block website access

Monday, July 31, 2006 Digg! Add to Technorati Favorites
The contagion of blocking websites seems to be spreading across politicians the world over. Barely few weeks ago, the Government of India in its bid to block Blogs with 'hate' propaganda, managed to block even those which coudn't spell 'Hate', let alone propogate it ;). After a huge brou-ha-ha, the ISP's through whom the Government had implemented the measure, managed to roll back their excesses.


And now the US House of representatives has joined the party. The members of this august house, just passed a bill, near unanimously, which would block access to social networking sites and chat rooms in public locations such as libraries and schools. An enlightened piece of legislation to fight quasi-porn being consumed by minors? As always the devil is in the details. The generic labeling of what constitutes social networking sites and chat room sites would ensure that virtually any site which has an element of 'Interactivity' built in between the site and its readers would be tripped and blocked at the school gates. For ex: www.Digg.com and www.Shoutwire.com are two very popular social networking service sites primarily engaged in social content aggregation and content ranking services. Since these sites allow readers to post data, they could be banned from schools. The fact that these sites also give you access to RSS feeds of respectable journals like TIME, NYTimes etc., doesn't seem to count. MSN,Yahoo and other marquee names might also join the list given that they are' interactive'.

It remains to be seen as to what reaction this would draw from the Corporate Internet fraternity, since the move, when it becomes a law, would doubtless cut off hundreds of thousands of their readers from accessing their sites. At stake is not only advertising revenue worth millions, but more importantly, a larger issue of whether legislators can or should censor the Net and if yes, what checks and balances do we ensure in the legislative process, so that this power is not abused to smother a medium, which is surely the last frontier of freedom of expression, all over the world, now that publishing and television has been largely co-opted by politico-corporate interests, to deliver messages they deem fit. For a detailed analysis of how mainstream 'old' media has been "Manufacturing consent" please visit : http://www.chomsky.info/onchomsky/2002----.htm.

The very fact that the bill received bipartisan support and that it was passed by a 410-15 margin, indicates the degree of concern that legislators feel over the issue. Even the Democrats, seem to have largely agreed with the main thrust of the bill, which is not surprising considering that there are swathes of ill-informed middle class votes at stake here, which can be harvested cheaply,

Censorship of the NET is sadly something we have been getting accustomed to see. The U.S government has merely joined the bandwagon of the Chinese and the Indian government. The Chinese are past masters of this art and leverage their vast market wonderfully well to control the Net selectively. The Indian Government Blog mis-adventure seems to have been not merely a case of innocent bungling now that we know that curiously many of the sites banned were Anti-Congress or Anti UPA front (the ruling coalition).

How such ham handed or high handed political attacks would be countered by Netizens across the world is something that remains to be seen. For now, it’s clear which way the tide is blowing.

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BizNpersonalfinance :Last day of filing your Tax returns-Betting on another extension?

Sunday, July 30, 2006 Digg! Add to Technorati Favorites


Indian Tax authorities are threatening to make 31st july (tomorrow) the last date for filing tax returns for the salaried. The funny thing is that they say this everytime and often announce an extension on the last day.

Any bets on whether this will happen this time too?

Vote now on the left sidebar !

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Travellerr :Video Essay - Hong Kong and Bangkok

Saturday, July 29, 2006 Digg! Add to Technorati Favorites
During my recent business trip to Hong Kong and Bangkok, I managed to mix some pleasure...here are the results.

Pl press PLAY, wait a minute to finish bufferring. Be patient!


Sleeping Buddha- Bangkok 46 metres long and 15 metres Tall



Hong Kong: the famous Light Show




Bangkok: Ferry ride Chao Phaya River


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Travellerr :Photo Essay - Hong Kong and Bangkok

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Check these pics shot with a 1.3 Mega pixel mobile phone camera, during my recent visit to Hong Kong and Bangkok. How mobile phones have changed our lives. I don’t carry a separate camera any longer while traveling. I shoot on the move with my phone, download the pics at the nearest internet cafe using Nokia PC Suite software and Voila! all my readers can view them instantly!

Check it out ! You won't be disappointed.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/81026151@N00/sets/

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CurrentAffairs :Home truths about The Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan

Friday, July 28, 2006 Digg! Add to Technorati Favorites
ISI (Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence) is widely known across India. Since the Government of India routinely holds this agency responsible for all terrorist attacks in India, this is not surprising. I have been very curious of this agency, which seems to (if our Govt. is to be believed) have spread its roots across the length and breadth of India, from Zhumritallaiya to Jamnagar. Since Indian security agencies (I hope) are not exactly sleeping on the job, this agency has to be really brilliant in the job it does, however sinister this job is. On the other hand, it does not show our own Intelligence services in good light, if the ISI is able to strike at will, anywhere in India-but that's another matter altogether.


Who is the ISI? Who leads it? Who does it report too? Indians seem to know very little about this agency which seemingly is the cause of all our security problems. Isn't this strange?

Here are some answers, for the first time in India's Blogsphere:

1) History:

The ISI was formed in 1948 with representation from all three of Pakistan’s Defense services (hence the name Inter Services Intelligence services). It was tasked with collection, analysis and assessment of EXTERNAL (outside Pak) intelligence. Internal intelligence is tackled by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) which also has a namesake in India, and also performs a similar function. This changed later and ISI was also entrusted with INTERNAL intelligence gathering tasks notably in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and Balochistan.

2) Organization:

Current Chief:Lt.Gen. Muhammad Zakki (April 2006 - Present). You can see how much Mush digs this guy in the picture above.

The ISI has very close links with the Pak army , which by far is the most powerful of all three services in Pakistan. It is headed by an Army officer of the rank of Lt.Gen., who is designated as the Director-General (DG). He is assisted by three Deputy Directors-General (who else?).

The ISI has many divisions with names which are typical of any intelligence service around the world. Suffice to say that these divisions focus on collecting Human intelligence (akin to James bond spy game), Counter intelligence (spy over spies and catch the snoops), Communications intelligence (snoop on communication devices of the enemy and fish what you can get- this is often like hunting for a needle in the haystack), Training devision (train the snoops) and some support services (cooks and accountants supporting the Star Cast to perform in the field). There there is a special division only to aid insurgency in North India (code for Kashmir) called JIN (Joint Intelligence North).

When Pakistan was a democracy (not for too long in its total years of existence), the ISI technically reported to the Prime Minister. But in reality, The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) has always controlled the ISI, covertly. So much so that whenever any Prime Minister has attempted to control the ISI, the efforts have been resisted firmly. Of course, today, when Musharraf is firmly in charge, as Dictator in Chief, no prizes for guessing who the ISI D.G reports to.


3) Successes:

-South Asia Terrorism Portal has compiled the following comparative figures of fatalities due to terrorist acts in South Asia, during 2000-2004.

Country 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004

India 5555 6383 4306 4171 2897

Total: 23312

Guess how much of it was courtesy The ISI?

- Has reigned in approx. 400000 Indian armed forces in Kashmir for over a decade now, at significant cost to the Indian economy.

- Actively supports insurgents all over India (North-East), Maoists and most recently Muslims in India who are disaffected due to Gujarat riots, Babri demolition etc. Human cost to India estimated to be

4) Failures:

-1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak wars where Pakistan suffered major reverses. It is said that the ISI's pre-occupation with matters internal led to it being ineffective during this period.

- The ISI never did a background check on the supplier of High Altitude equipment from U.K. The same supplier also supplied the Indians. When Pakistan ordered a huge load, Indians deduced correctly that this was meant to attack Siachen and occupied it first!

- Although ISI has succeeded brilliantly in operational execution of terrorism in India, it has failed miserably in the propaganda game, where India has succeeded in convincing the world its point of view. Although, India has been aided in no small measure by Osama Bin Laden since without 9/11 there was no way, self serving western countries would have realized the destructive power of terrorism.

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Travellerr :Baht or Beer?

Thursday, July 27, 2006 Digg! Add to Technorati Favorites
During my recent visit to Hong Kong and Bangkok, I had the opportunity to try some far eastern beers. I do this religiously every time I travel abroad and the rewards have been significant - frequent visits to the toilet and a beer belly to boot. I am a 'Beer' man- always have been. Although, since some time now, I have been giving other drinks a try often on. But ultimately like a man's first love, you can never give up your drink of first choice!

Hong Kong and Bangkok yielded a rich treasure. I tanked up on Chiang, Lee, Asahi Dry, Singha, Heineken, Carlsberg along with some red wine and Hennessey to round things off. Drinking Lee turned out to be a rather risky affair. It so happened that I was strolling in Chatuchak Market in Bangkok (which is perhaps the best street market one can go in the world, spread over 35 acres!), when I tried to buy Lee Beer from a street vendor. I was promptly pounced on by a Police office, for god knows what. He confiscated 40 Thai Bahts from me and also 'forgot' to return me the beer. Unfortunately for him, I did not understand his wish that I slink away without protest and I insisted he either return my Baht or my Beer! This public finger pointing seem to have embarrassed him (which makes Thai police a notch more decent than Indian) and he returned my money, but importantly held on to the LEE beer. He could easily have returned me the beer and kept the money but he didn’t. I said "Thank You", which he acknowledged, being a nice man that he was. The experience left me feeling shaky, particularly because he took down my address in Bangkok and passport details. But the night went off without any incident...

Moral of the story? Even the Thai Police like their beer more than their Baht!

My resolve to carry on with my research in beer is still strong though. Does anyone have any strong opinions on the beer brands they like and suggestions as to what to drink and what to avoid? Or for that matter, anything they want to say about Beer.Readers around the world of this bog are invited to contribute their two pints. The only request from my side is to also talk about yourt Local/regional/national beer(if possible) and not just stick to global brands of repute.

Cheers!

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BizNpersonalfinance :Investing in Indian Equity? Brace yourself !

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Article Republished due to technical reasons

Investing in Indian Stock markets is not a game for the feeble mind. It can be gut wrenching stuff with the market yo-yo-ing wildly from anywhere from 100 points (almost std. stuff now) to 500 points (day before).

I started investing almost 2 years ago when the market was 4000 odd points to 6000 points. Naturally, I have made a sizeable amount - alas on paper! Greed knoweth no boundaries and I have held on tight amidst the wild gyrations of the Sensex and the Nifty. So far so good ! Today the market rose by 190 points. Tomorrows another day though and who knows what's in store?

My personal favorite investment guru is Marc Faber. For sheer color of personality you cannot beat this guy. Faber is a legend amongst investors for the range and depth of his knowledge on Investing and Economics. Check out his website at www.gloomboomdoom.com. His investment newsletter is subscribed far and wide and teaches you something new everytime you read another article of his (the market comments section on his website is free unlike the newsletter). Faber is very bearish on the U.S economy (not for nothing does he have the moniker ' Dr. Doom') but bullish on the LONG TERM future of the Indian economy.

Faber had predicted a rise in the prices of commodities and in particular precious metals, long before the present bull run in that
quarter. Interesting Faber's not a Investment geek who believes only in Stock Research on Super Computers. He believes that reading more than anything else (and more importantly- understanding) a wide range of subjects (and how they affect Economics of various Asset Classes) is essential to invest wisely. He himself invests 3-4 hours every day on reading !

Another favorite of mine is Peter Lynch. His books - 'Beating wall street','One up on Wall Street' and 'Learn to Earn' are must reads for any wannabe investor. Lynch retired in his 40's, at the peak of his career, leaving many a investor dissappointed. But Lynch, as ever, was clear that he wanted to give time to his family and personal life, after managing fortunes for almost two decades.








That said, reading stuff written by these investment greats does not a great investor make. As I have discovered myself, investing requires temperament of the highest order. AND NOBODY EVER TAUGHT ANYONE TO HAVE SELF BELIEF!

One person I know who has abundant of these traits lives 200 meters from where I stay and is closely related. He is a 70 yr old gentleman, almost chained to his house and bed, due to a rare disease, and who makes more money out of investing in equity than many a successful executive. But that's a story for another day and another day and another time,if at all !

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PopularCulture: Himesh Reshammiya- Should the Ministry of Music BAN this guy? Vote NOW!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006 Digg! Add to Technorati Favorites
I like Himesh Reshammiya. Even with his baseball cap on. If I didn't I would not have tolerated him for so long. However, as a Zen Monk has put it so beautifully- “Every Ocean has to break into waves some time" and today, when I turned on my car radio and a Himesh number started playing, it was the end of the Ocean of my patience.
Please click on the voting panel on the left sidebar to kick Himesh out or vote him back in, so that we write to the Indian Ministry of Music.

Aapka Suroor....Sssssssss


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Travellerr :Sawadeekaaaaa !

Tuesday, July 25, 2006 Digg! Add to Technorati Favorites
Thailand is like India in many respects. The Immigration people have that same bored, tired look like the one found in our Government offices and there is corruption (I personally experienced attempted extortion from the Police). As you get out of the airport, it’s the same negotiation game with Taxi drivers and you often find yourself getting fleeced. The roads are much better though (at least in Bangkok). What I liked most was our Hotel, which has not changed since the time it was set up in the 70's. The old lady running the placed told us that many people came to photograph it because of this. Have a dekko at the adjoining picture of the hotel bar - a sight straight out of our 70's Hindi films, albeit minus Helen in a bikini.

What takes you back, though, is the Thai devotion to their King, which is on display everywhere (to his credit he seems to be a decent guy...watch this picture (on the right) where he bows down in front of an old lady, who's paying her respects, breaking protocol). For some one who is routinely suspicious of idolization of any sort, it was a slightly unsettling experience, but at least the Thai's love their King of their own free will and there is genuine democracy, unlike many other countries. The day I was in Bangkok, I was told that local elections were being held. Had some one not told this to me, I wouldn’t have known. No din, no noise, the election posters were miniscule by Indian standards and tucked away on road corners. Newspapers too were strangely quiet about the whole affair and the spinal operation being performed on the King got the top draw, way ahead of the electoral process!

The Thais seem to be painfully aware of their limitations with English as a foreign language, but to their credit seem to be doing a lot about it, considering its importance to Tourism, which is their main source of income. Signs of 'I Love Farang (foreign tourist)' and ' I know English' were everywhere and so were adverts of English Coaching institutes. But for all the stickers on the taxis, conversation with any driver was a painful affair. While the ordinary man on the street seems to need coaching in basic English, for the King (or his speechwriters), some one needs to administer a solid dose of Cod liver oil to ensure they get rid of the all difficult to understand words and passages, from their systems . This by itself is not novel by any means. Many writers whose first language is not English seem to believe that the more abstruse (here we go again) the words and more longwinded the sentences, the better it is. Honorable exceptions to this inviolate rule are few- Vinod Mehta, Khushwant Singh and of course R.K.Narayan.

Coming back to the king and his gem of a speech, read the following and make what you must of it: "...a broad and clear knowledge and understanding in a comprehensive manner will become a source of wisdom and engender the intellectual ability to distinguish cause and effect which in turn will enable a person to relate jurisprudence with knowledge in other areas and with human life in a correct and suitable manner."

In case you are feeling slightly dazed after this, let me awaken you with a hearty "Swadeekaaaaaa"(Thai greeting)!

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CurrentAffairs :Chin cha Chin shi (Pl Mind the Gap) !!!

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Travelling using the Mumbai local trains is an experience in itself, although not necessarily a pleasant one. I wonder(as many commentators before me already have done-to no effect), as to how our Government can afford to neglect this vital infrastructural project, which carries close to 6 million passengers DAILY (compared to New York Metro North Rails 6 Millon, Monthly), and that too in a city which contributes to almost half of India's Income Tax collections. In other words, citizens who ensure India runs are themselves being effectively grounded!

I have traveled using public transport all over the world and the efficiency of their transport systems never ceases to amaze. In almost all airports, you can catch a train/subway to go directly to the City Centre. The ride is fast, cheap and the train clean. Easy to read maps, information kiosks ensure you never get lost, and can navigate your way through even a new city. An automated announcer touchingly exhorts all passengers to 'Mind the Gap' between train and platform. In Mumbai, on the other hand, every year, thousands of people loose their lives, with many just being thrown off the train due to overcrowding. Which gap will the poor sods mind, if they don’t even reach the station platform in shipshape condition?


Truth be told, things are improving on the infrastructure front in India
, albeit at a snails pace. The Quadrilateral project is almost done (at least that’s what they claim), flyovers are being built in many cities (the progress is however often, so painfully slow and citizens are so harried by the resulting traffic jams near these construction sites, that they would surely prefer that it was not built at all). Despite these snail like advances, its clear to me every time I go out of the country that the gap keeps widening, between us and them, in all respects. We are being swept further and further behind. Our once all encompassing excuse of us being a huge country just wont work now that China has shown that it can still forge ahead, despite its size and bulk.

Here’s to the day when we would start minding THIS gap!

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Current Affairs :Mumbai coming out of ICU...

Monday, July 24, 2006 Digg! Add to Technorati Favorites
PHOTOESSAY - Maximum City stumbles towards recovery (and grieves over its dead)...

A commuter ponders his fate? :
















Condolence Meet Billboard opp. ChurchGate Station:

















Tattered handwritten condolence meet leaflet :


















Life goes on at Rush Hour-9:30 A.M Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus:


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CurrentAffairs :Angrezi Babu aur Memsaab

Monday, July 17, 2006 Digg! Add to Technorati Favorites
Since a few years now, I am irritated with what I hear and see, whenever I move out of the house. No it’s not the traffic or the pollution. It’s the sight and sounds of Indians aping western culture. Now hold it...I am not by a long margin a saffronite or communist, raising the Swadeshi flag. Neither am I a believer that western society and their mores are in any way reprehensible and should not be adopted at all by us. In fact it’s the reverse and I firmly believe that there are many more things good in western culture that we could, as a society, benefit from tremendously.

What gets my goat, however, is how many people are blindly aping western society and in the process, becoming rootless. These people, typically, are either ashamed of being Indian- consciously or sub-consciously and therefore would do anything to pretend that they have become westernized.

Take the trend of naming children with so called international sounds like, hold your breath- Zaecke, Noam, Renee (Suhmita Sens adopted child)etc. In the past few years, I have been consistently noticing many celebrities naming their children with such names. The motive is not difficult to imagine - for such parents Indian names are just not good enough. Even the Childs name has to sound 'cool' and 'cool' has to be western.

Now walk in any mall, restaurant and hear families speak amongst themselves. You will notice many of them talking with each other in English and not their mother tongue. Parents are making it a point to talk to their children only in English. This ends up obviously with the child feeling more comfortable speaking in English rather than his/her mother tongue. Mark my words, this might lead to Indian languages becoming an endangered species in the next 50- 100 years. Again, I firmly believe in the virtues of the English language and I have nothing against it being used at home. But why make it the de facto language and relegate your own mother tongue to a secondary status is beyond me. Maybe we Indians believe that we can outdo the English and so what if only a tiny minority in Japan, France, Germany understands or speak English properly.

Again, look at many amongst us who profess to "love English rock, man" and if you probe deeper, do not understand the head and tail of the lyrics. I can understand if they say that they just like the sound of it and not the lyrics. But most of these people would never admit to that. Many people berate the fact that India doesn't have a 'rock' culture and therefore has no good 'rock' bands. Why should we have one? Rock is a manifestation of a cultural background, unique to western society and it’s not a wonder that we haven't spawned any homegrown rock bands which are of international quality. The ones who exist are atrocious to say the least and get press dis-proportionate to the quality of their chords (vocal/musical). 'Euphoria' is a good example of a Hindi rock band that does everything badly but manages to keep being mentioned in the press, because of the sheer fact that very few good rock bands exist in the first place.

The challenge for all of us today is to become global and yet not forget our roots. Otherwise, it’s possible that we become a nation of 'ZAECKE's'- incidentally famous T.V anchor Mini Mathurs son’s name.

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Current Affairs :Pakistan and The Art of War

Friday, July 14, 2006 Digg! Add to Technorati Favorites
For a country and people Indians love to hate, we seem to know surprisingly little about Pakistan. I asked the tea stall owner in Nariman point plying his trade opposite the Hostel (it houses Maharastra's MLA's), hoping that he would be the most politically aware of all tea stall owners in the State. After the routine abuses, he confessed he did not know much about the country other than the fact that it is a "Muslim" country.

I suspect this abysmal level of knowledge, about a country which has proven surprisingly effective (for a country of its size and stature) in being a thorn in all our collective wrong places, is universal across India.

For most Indians, Pakistan means only the following things:

A) It is an Islamic Country

b) It has a cricket team (which, by the way, manages to pull our pants off most of the time)

c) Pakistan is a state sponsor of terrorism and a poor country (much poorer than us)

Last but not the least, we firmly believe that Pakistan is ALWAYS wrong and can never be believed in whatever it says.

Before I get a round of comments, abusing me of my love for Pakistan (using the choicest Indian Gaalis - read “Mujhe Gaali deta hai? Haramkhor", below), let me hasten to add that I do NOT dispute majority of these and other opinions in India - just wish to point out as to what our collective assumptions and perception about Pakistan are, as they exist.


I was trying to think the other day, as to why, a country which we so roundly dismiss has proven to be so effective is harassing us (and therefore, in many ways, defeating our strategies to contain it).

Its then that I stumbled upon writings of Sun Tzu on Wikipedia. Thousands of years ago this Chinese general (c. 6th century BC), who was also a brilliant military strategist, and author of 'The Art of War' has written this immensely influential ancient Chinese book on military strategy. Following are some of Tzu's most famous quotations, which I reproduce below verbatim:

 Swift as the wind
Quiet as the forest
Conquer like the fire
 Steady as the mountain

What is essential in war is victory, not prolonged operations.
Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent's fate.
The best victory is when the opponent surrenders of its own accord before there are any actual hostilities...It is best to win without fighting.
A military operation involves deception. Even though you are competent, appear to be incompetent. Though effective, appear to be ineffective.
Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.
All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved.
All warfare is based on deception.
For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.
He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot will be victorious.
He who is prudent and lies in wait for an enemy who is not, will be victorious.
Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.
Know thy enemy and know thyself, find naught in fear for 100 battles. Know thyself but not thy enemy, find level of loss and victory. Know thy enemy but not thyself, wallow in defeat every time.
It is essential to seek out enemy agents who have come to conduct espionage against you and to bribe them to serve you. Give them instructions and care for them. Thus doubled agents are recruited and used.
O divine art of subtlety and secrecy! Through you we learn to be invisible, through you inaudible and hence we can hold the enemy's fate in our hands.
Of all those in the army close to the commander none is more intimate than the secret agent; of all rewards none more liberal than those given to secret agents; of all matters none is more confidential than those relating to secret operations.
Secret operations are essential in war; upon them the army relies to make its every move.
Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.
The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand.
The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim.
There is no instance of a nation benefiting from prolonged warfare.

Timeless Tome, ain't it?

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CurrentAffairs:"Mereko Gaali deta hai? Haramkhor !"

Thursday, July 13, 2006 Digg! Add to Technorati Favorites
The Mumbai blasts have rightfully ignited high passion among Mumbaikars. Mumbaikars were found mouthing choices expletives not just in private conversations but some times also in front of the protruding T.V. cameras (which are, it seems, omnipotent).

I am a great fan of the Mumbai edition of the 'Great Indian Gaali' Dictionary. No other city has contributed so much to the dictionary as has Mumbai. Expletives originating from Mumbai have come out truly unique, emerging from the melting pot of cultures that Mumbai is. Consequently, Mumbai expletives can often be a mind boggling mixture of all regional Indian gems, prominent amongst which are,Maharashtrian,Gujarathi Punjabi and Bhaiyya (from U.P,Bihar).

It is often said that you have learned a language only once you can hurl abuses using it. I agree. Serious research needs to be conducted on this integral aspect of Indian culture. Will some serious student of Indian Culture oblige and choose this as a topic for her dissertation? My own personal study says that following are the main distinguishing characteristics that any self-respecting expletive should have:

a) It ought to hit the recipient at a spot where it hits the most (Mother, Sister, Father are therefore integral parts of any expletive the world over).

b) Expletives need to not just BE DIRTY and FILTHY in terms of the word used - the art is in its DELIVERY. Diction and Tonality are not important only in Call-Centers, you see ! A badly delivered expletive can sound awfully tame when coming out from some one who is embarrassed when using an expletive. The rule of thumb is, the coarser and filthier the SOUND, better the impact.

c) Innovation is the key. There are any number of expletives available off the shelf in the market. A true connoisseur would not even dream of using readymade products like these. He would always come up with his own twist to these and make something truly unique. I once heard an expletive which twisted a routine expletive ( Ma******D) to (Fa******D). The recipient almost fell off his chair.

The more your unique patents are copied around and used, the better the Gaali. In this respect the inventor of an expletive operates in the true tradition of the 'Open Source' movement.

If you are as interested in studying the etymology of Indian expletives, I would invite the discerning reader to send me examples of gaalis which fit the above criteria to FunWuni@hotmail.com. If you want to send examples in regional languages, please also explain the meaning (briefly). Since this is a public Blog, open to all, I DO NOT wish readers to contribute with examples in the comments section. All such well meaning contributions in the 'Comments' section would be promptly deleted.

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EditorsEdit :Do you have something to say?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 Digg! Add to Technorati Favorites
I have now decided to open this BLOG to all my readers. I am receiving many requests to publish their articles on my BLOG. People are slowly realizing that it makes better sense to publish on an already well established blog attracting TRAFFIC rather than going through the rigmarole of starting afresh and marketing their own BLOG.

So starting today, www.worldofindia.blogspot.com is officially open to anyone and everyone, who wants to contribute their two bits.If you have some thing FRESH, NEW and IMPORTANTLY - INTERESTING to comment about Indian Society,Life and Culture- pl send you articles (max 500 words) to funwuni@hotmail.com

Go on, if a lazy slob like me can do it, anyone can !

Just one suggestion- Keep it simple and avoid difficult language. Happy Blogging !

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Travellerr:MadHouse Mumbai

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I often wonder how people live in Mumbai. The city is chock-o-block.
Streets congested to the brim, trains packed like sardines, people
living in houses that resemble a hens den, if at all they are lucky
enough to get a house that is. The unlucky 50% of Mumbai population live
in slums, where conditions, often, are unfit even for animals.

My most vivid memory of a Mumbai slum is the sight of the Mankhurd
slum, which can be seen from the windows of the local train traveling
the Harbour line. As the train approaches the slum, it slows down to a
crawl, as if to prepare itself for the gory sights ahead. As you begin
to take in the sight, you realize that the slum is not too far off. In
fact, its right next to the track, so close that the hutments are barely
a few feet away from the tracks! Children are playing, housewives
working, men folk staring at the passengers or playing cards amidst what
is literally, life in the gutter! Travel in India's economic capital is
harrowing at best. If you are an adventure sports buff, try traveling in
the Virar fast train at peak hour. If you survive, I can assure you that
you can survive anywhere in the world.

I once struck a conversation with a watchman of an ATM near Opera
House. It was night time and scores of people had occupied the footpath
at that late hour. The watchman said that these people were permanent
occupants of the street in the nighttime and that they worked the
streets, during the day. He wondered where they came from. I learned
later that he too lived in a slum in the suburbs, in conditions which
were only marginally better, in that, he had a roof over his head.

While I write this I am watching live visuals of serial blasts hitting
the Mumbai transportation network- almost definitely the handiwork of
terrorists. There is a definite sense that Mumbai has now almost become
used to events like this. Mumbaikars have learned to live their life on
the edge- one more blast is like just like another jostle at the local
station on their daily commute.

Its almost certain that Mumbai will record full attendance in offices
and the city will quickly jump to normal. Much has been written about
the amazing resilience of the Mumbaikars Psyche. Although laudable, its
high time Mumbaikars do not just suffer in silence and carry on with
their jobs. Its time to ask uncomfortable questions to our
representatives- what are they doing to avoid having Mumbai falling off into the abyss that is clearly staring in our collective faces.

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EditorsEdit :The Corrupt fancy an Incorrupt Society !

Tuesday, July 11, 2006 Digg! Add to Technorati Favorites


We Indians are used to wringing our hands in frustration everytime we talk about Politicians and their Politics. I share this frustration many a times, but once in a while, I do ponder, if we deserve what we get.

Consider the fact that Polity is a mere reflection of Society. The values, ideals and practices of a society merely get projected in its polity. If Indian Politicians are accused of being corrupt and valueless, are they then merely following THEIR leaders- the great Indian voter !

This is not being written just to turn an argument on its head for the heck of it. We should all acknowledge the fact that as a society we all have our role to play in terms of making what it is. Don't we demand dowry at our weddings even in this day and age ? Don't we burn our brides with practiced ease later? Don't we throw our rubbish on roads casually? Don't we break traffic rules and then carp about traffic situation in our cities?

If we want to change society, we must begin from our own lives. We must then try to mobilize all collective Indians who share our vision and then DEMAND change. This is not the same as merely getting frustrated and using the line ' This is India after all !' as a ruse to do nothing about the problem.

Why not begin from here then? From now on lets try to follow some simple things to make India a better country :

1) Don't litter public spaces
2) Don't break traffic rules (even when you don't see any vehicle in the lane which has got a 'Green' signal !)
3)Pay your taxes
4)Demand value for the taxes you pay by asking your representatives to be accountable.
5)Always think how your actions will impact your society and act accordingly.

Get INVOLVED! We deserve to lead a better life.

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