Amalgam of Thoughts

"Cogito Ergo Sum" - I think therefore I exist
-Rene Descartes

29 January 2006

Will India allow US to blackmail it?

If you were asked to point out one event in the past decade that has metamorphosised Indian image in the Global scene, what would your choice be? I would like to choose India becoming a Nuclear Power. The reason would be very simple. People bully you, if they find you to be weak. But when you show them what you can be capable of, they start noticing you. This was very well understood by Indian scientists and politicians who decided to make India a Nuclear state.

First Blood
The fact that there was a cold war between India and Pakistan back then, definitely created flutters with the World not willing to view another Hiroshima/Nagasaki. The sanctions imposed in 1998 are still in place, with the major military related organisations still considered illegal. With India unwilling to sign the unfair Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, it showed the World it was no longer going to show the other cheek.

Technological Progress
From then on, Research has been going on nuclear reactors, both civilian and military ones. Of special note would be the unique Fast Breeder Reactor at Kalpakkam. Uranium not being abundant in India, and sanctions disallowing Legal import of Uranium deposits, there had to be a method of continuing the research. Thorium was abundant in the country and the Fast Breeder Reactor utilises this element to generate nuclear energy.

The "Agreement"
In 2004, Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh visited the U.S and the media suddenly announced the signing of a Ground breaking agreement between the Indians and the US. The details of it were not disclosed. It was only told that India would have to separate its military and civilian facilities and put the Civilian facilities under the scanner of International Atomic Energy Association(IAEA). As a civilian, people like myself had no idea what the role of US was. All that the Bush Government said was "We will try our best to mend our rules".

It is understandable that India wishes to get rid of the sanctions so that more research can be done on this source of energy that could be the only saviour in the ever-increasing energy needs of developing India. For that to happen, it does need access to Uranium deposits. But when it accepts to put itself on the IAEA scrutiny, it also asks to be treated just like any other Nuclear state.

So the question is, in acceding to the demands of US, is India losing out on the original motive of emerging as a power centre in the global scene? Lets face it, being under IAEA scanner means being under the nose of US Spies. We are not only exposing our nuclear prowess, but also our years of research. The US, obviously, has asked India to put the Kalpakkam Nuclear Plant under the civilian category.

The Iran, Syria angle
It appears that from the recent talks, US has got peeved at the unflinching stance of India and has started to blackmail India. India's earlier vote against Iran came quite as a shock and now US has become so bold as to say that if ONGC takes a stake in Syrian Oil company then it can forget about the agreement. So it remains to be asked... "Will India allow US to blackmail it?"

22 January 2006

When Two Worlds Collide!

This beautiful Cartwheel image has been created by the collision of two galaxies millions of light years away. Keep staring at the image and it reminds you of a Diwali cracker Zamin Chakkar, which spins furiously throwing away fire. Just imagine such a situation with two galaxies, each consisting of thousands of stars. Holy Fire should we call it?

( - The site shows how the image was made by superimposing four different images from four observatories. Will the Human eye ever get to see such resplendent beauty by their naked eye?

17 January 2006

i Plod

"Its taken the world by storm". "The best gadget of the year". "Witness the evolution of Revolution". A cursory glance towards the headlines on Apple's iPod and one would start to believe that it is a new gizmo that has some magical powers. The wonder-struck then becomes passionate, then crazy and then totally delirious. I too got carried away by the hype surrounding this gadget. Having known that it was the most selling product for a couple of years in the West and that it was the reason why Apple Inc stocks started shooting for the skies in the market again, I got lost out on its main function.

KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid
And then someone asked me what an iPod was. "You have to be kidding me.. you dont know what an iPod is?"... and then "It... It plays songs you know, supreme quality, and.. and you can store upto 20GB or more of songs... that's like 1000 songs or more... and ... and you know new one has got a video... it .. its so small... C'mon.. you must have read about iPod!!". Came back an uninterested reply : "Explain it to me please. It sounds like an MP3 Player which has some additional features". Unwilling to relent, I throw in some more jargons and features, but the simplicity of his thoughts just broke all my defenses and I had to admit "Yeah! Its just another Walkman".

Taxonomy: The Evil
If you had the ill-luck of studying Biology then you would understand my chagrin against categorising things (Genus, Sub Genus, Species...). An average person is intelligent enough to understand everything. It is those geniuses that like to complicate things by classifying things. A South Indian happened to go to US for a small trip. Presented with a menu he was totally confused on what to get. Everyday, he tried some new name... Sandwich, Burger, Pizza, Hot Dog and at the end of week said... "They are just like our Masala Dosa. Some stuff in the middle and instead of Dosa maav they have bread". The American Indians grabbed their stomachs while laughing at the ignorance of our South-Indian friend, because his oversimplification of things couldnt be countered with rational explanation. But was he wrong?

Losing sight of truth
What Apple was actually successful in, was creating a hype with its iPod. If it presented the product as just another MP3 player, people wouldn't buy it as they did, because the market for MP3 players wasn't booming even after 5 years of such products entering the market. To create a sensation in such a manner that an iPod owner thought it as a disgrace for it to be compared to a regular 'Song playing gadget', is definitely praise-worthy. And that is what those marketing people are good at, misleading people.

15 January 2006

Celebration time!!!

With great delight I break the pleasant news of our very own member - Nandan Hodavdekar - winning the "Best Marathi Blog" in the 2005 IndiBlog Awards. His Blog Marathi Literature won with a 30% margin. The prize is a book by P.L Deshpande, his favourite author, and I think he already would have read that book a dozen times.

So 3 cheers for Nandan.. HIP! HIP! HOORAY! :D

09 January 2006

Immigration in the Land Of Immigrants

To my favourite fodder for my first post here - a land I like to call StrangeLand. A land where over 300 years ago, Europeans, mostly the British and the French, came on their oh-so-familiar conquests of colonialisation. I'm not so familiar with American history (if there is such a thing). So, do correct my errors herein.

The original natives - called Red Indians - lived in most parts of the land in harmony with nature and away from technology and all that. Where are they now? The original natives? Hardly to be seen. Apparently, most of them were wiped out when the nation was getting its 'freedom'. Freedom from who? Themsleves? And who is getting freed? I daren't ask. Cos nowhere in this 'freedom struggle' do the natives figure. They were squished in the process and millions were culled and their lands taken over. All the people in the freedom struggle were immigrants themselves.

Since then, this 'Land of Dreams' has been inviting people to come in and exploit the freedom and build a strong nation, and a strong nation it is definitely today. People from absolutely all parts of the world, of different races, have lived and prospered here. All immigrants, I may add. They have cumulatively pushed the limits of science and technology and built a prosperous economy, in the process attracting more immigrants who keep the nation 'in drive'.

But, its now been a long time since they won their 'freedom' and 300 years of living here has given them a sense of belonging, of possession. All the people who migrated earlier are safe and they are all Americans. Those who intend to migrate now, are foreigners, job-stealers, jehadis? In a nation that has no identity of its own, and no history to recollect, this is definitely uncalled for. No identity cos you can ask almost every person about their roots and listen to them shoot out European, Latin-American or Asian countries. There is no such thing as American, cos the true Americans have been reduced to a meagre minority. No history cos you can goto any historical place and see dates like 1750 and 1910, and be baffled about how recent every historic event is.

How come the land of immigrants, is all of a sudden shying away from other immigrants, giving them a cold shoulder? Does it not see that the immigrants are at the heart of this country and are what make it what it is today? Its like saying, 'Anyone who passed through the door before 2001 is good. All the rest will have to knock on the door, maybe twice, thrice,..'.

I have seen with my own eyes how the average American treats an Indian like me. I'm not even an immigrant, just a visitor. Yet, they see in me a guy who's stealing their employment, or sometimes a jehadi, especially when I haven't shaved in 2 days. All the 'Americans' get a chirpy 'Good Morning' with white teeth in full splendour when they board the 7am flight, while a tiny smirk is reserved just for me. The cop gives me a ticket and makes a remark about how the Indian IT industry is starting to take over the market, definitely not small talk. I could recount more incidents here, some more fiery, where people have stated I don't understand 'American values' and 'its obvious you are new here'. The fact is, they feel threatened now, and want to build their own identity, and the way to do this is to shut out everybody else. Something that is reflected in their stringent visa policies of late.

Will they wake up and smell the black coffee? They don't need to look too far back, only 200 years should suffice, to see where their success stems from. As for countries like my own, there's nothing better than bright minds returning home and driving its economy to levels that are already threatening to take over a fair chunk of the world economy. Who wants to live in StrangeLand anyway?

05 January 2006

Ganguly - the Arrogant

The man just doesnt like to stay away from limelight. Maybe it is his Rahukaal (Bad phase of Time), or ... ahem. When I pointed out in my post (Ganguly Deserves it!) that Ganguly deserved to be sacked most of you launched a vicious attack on me :D. But the guy keeps tripping over himself. Just read this article on his latest Stunts. He managed 59 and the press now say Ganguly proves his form with 59. Just cannot stop laughing. The guy has set such low standards these days that his almost 50s and 59s are considered excellent knocks.

Even when he was dropped Controversially (for some)he didnt go on to play for Bengal. But then, people excused him as he was undergoing a Shock of sorts :). When he was selected back for the Pakistan game too, he didnt turn up for the domestic match against Gujarat. Media reports said he had to be coaxed to play the current match against Tamil Nadu. Now tell me, is this arrogance or what? Does the man deserve any pity. No Remorse from my sides on labelling him an arrogant @#$@!@$!!