Go, for God’s Sake, Go
Wasn’t Einstein a TV Star?
Demise of PC
Think it Through
Go, for God’s Sake, Go
There’re occasions when one shouldn’t shy away from calling a spade as a bl**dy shovel. And such an inglorious occasion was earlier this week in Parliament which the President of India in his address described as Gongotri, the fountain head of all our democratic institutions. And let’s be honest enough to face facts. The working of Lok Sabha has never covered itself with glory. However, so unedifying was the parliamentary pandemonium that disgraceful is the only description. Use of use of pepper spray by a member on his peers to disrupt proceedings is something that will be recalled for years and decades as an example of downright hooliganism. The experience of the Speaker being affected by the lachrymatory substance will find a place in the Guinness Book of Records.
The whole purpose of this eminently dispensable session of Parliament apart from just to pass the vote on account was to rush through a bill to create the State of Telangana so that the Congress could bag some seats in the forthcoming general elections from the newly created State. Now with what face will the Congress Party go to the Andhra electorate to vote it back to power?
Frankly, there was no justification for the present session to continue and thereby squander the tax-payers’ money. Don’t forget it costs three lakhs of rupees per minute to conduct this parliamentary tamasha. The warning of Cromwell’s men to the Rump Parliament during the reign of Charles I ‘Go, for God's sake, Go’ is thundering relevant. Parliament should be dissolved and general elections advanced by three months to end this humiliating stalemate.
I was one of the first to go in for Wendy Doniger’s The Hindus: An Alternative History and spent nearly a month wading through its over 700 pages of texts and notes. I don’t plan, therefore, to send my copy to Penguin for pulping. Instead, I’ll keep it as memento of sex-obsessed highly biased Western scholarship.
As I searched the book this week in my haphazardly arranged library, I was reminded of the public lecture of hers in London, England. An enraged member of the audience threw an egg at Wendy Doniger. The reason: she had the temerity to suggest that Sita, the heroine of the epic poem Ramayana, whom Hindus refer to reverentially as Sita-ma, was lusted after by her brother-in-law, Laxman. The egg, fortunately, missed her broad bespectacled face, but Ms Doniger never forgot. The Hindus: An Alternative History was her response.
Doniger has been translating and interpreting Hindu texts for decades and has been both celebrated for her work on cross-cultural mythology and vilified by those on the other side of the academic-versus-believer divide.
I’m no scholar of Hinduism. Even I discovered over a score of factual inaccuracies in the text which I noted on the fly-leaf of my copy. I looked at them again. Here are a few examples:
P. 194 fn. − Gandhi's commentary on the Gita was titled 'Asakti Yoga' (translated as the science of deep attachment).
(The title of Gandhis work is ‘Anasakti Yoga’ (trans. Science of non-Attachment).
P. 206 − The book states that the Hindus had only a triad of passions.
(Hindu scriptures list six main evils and the concept of shadripus − six internal enemies − is very well known.)
P. 450 − It is claimed that Emperor Ala-ud-Din Khalji did not sack temples in Devagiri.
(Amir Khusro, who accompanied him, categorically mentions in his memoirs that the Emperor sacked numerous temples and raised mosques instead.)
P. 532 − Emperor Akbar moved his capital from Fatehpur Sikri to Delhi in 1586.
(Akbar moved his capital to Lahore in 1587, and thereafter to Agra.)
P. 552 - The book claims that the Ramcharitmanas was written at Varanasi.
(Modern scholars and tradition have it that least most of it was written in Ayodhya.)
There is a flourishing industry in the Western world financed by the cash-rich Catholic Church to denigrate Hinduism and its exponents. Wendy Doniger is not alone. Some years ago a concerted attack was mounted on the persona and teachings of Ramakrishna. In its vanguard was Jeffrey Kripal who wrote Kali’s Child: the Mystical and the Erotic in the Life and Teachings of Ramakrishna. It was ably supplemented by Narasingha Sil’s Ramakrishna Paramhansa: A Psychological Profile. There was a befitting rejoinder to these by Swami Tyagananda in Kali’s Child Revisited.
Denigrators of Hinduism may, instead, spend their whole lives reading, understanding and thereafter reflecting on only the opening verse of Ishopnishand, which is the perennial fountainhead of Hindu thought.
Dina Nath Batra has done some service to the Hindus and their religion in exposing the sex-laced fantasy of Wendy Doniger. Here is a glimpse of her prejudiced mind. On page 686 is a reproduction of a miniature painting from Mahhubani, Bihar. The caption reads: “Medical Services Offered to the Rich but Denied to the Poor.” Indeed, Ms Doniger? It happens even today in your own country, supposedly the richest in the world. According to the January 2014 data more than 2 million Americans i.e., over 16 % of the population still have no medical insurance despite Obamacre. Why single out Hindus whose real fault has been not to be ruthless in the battlefield?
Wasn’t Einstein a TV Star?
There was a time when Britannia ruled the waves and the sun never set on the British Empire. (How could the heavens trust the devious Brits operating in the dark when they plundered the planet in broad day light?) And now entirely on its own, UK is a self-declared service economy that cuts a sorry image in all walks of life.
A new study has discovered that a third of primary school children in the UK believe Albert Einstein is a reality TV star and one fourth of them think Stephen Hawking is a hairdresser.
However, 68 per cent were correctly able to identify Mark Zuckerberg as the founder of social networking site Facebook. (Don’t forget Facebook has commercial uses which British services can deploy.)
More than a third of school kids aged 11 to 14 did not know that Isaac Newton discovered gravity though it featured in their school curriculum. Furthermore, a confused 35 per cent of five year olds think London Mayor, Boris Johnson discovered gravity, with one in five primary school children believing that England and Manchester United forward, Wayne Rooney is a scientist.
New York Times tells us in an editorial this week: “More people die of asthma in India than anywhere else in the world.” Earlier in the year, the Yale Environmental Performance Index ranked us 174th out of 178 countries on air pollution. The particulate matter in the air of most of our cities in alarmingly higher than World Health Organization standards.
And the biggest contributor to this is the automobile, especially the ones run on diesel and all the two-wheelers.
When the first automobiles appeared on the German roads in the last decade of the nineteenth century, there was operative law as per which a man sat in the front ringing a bell to warn people about the hurtling monster. Shouldn’t we enact a similar law that all two wheelers and four-wheelers be compulsorily fitted with a warning bell. Thereafter you cannot say I wasn’t aware of what I’m exposed to. But then don’t start complaining about noise pollution. Haven’t you heard of the adage: you can’t eat the cake and have it too?
Demise of PC
A friend from IBM dropped in to see me. He was shocked that I was hammering on the keyboard of my desk-top.
“I didn’t know how primitive you are?” he remarked. I was shell-shocked. I know I’m not really abreast with the latest in many walks of life. Yet I couldn’t make out what my friend was really up to. He explained: “Still working on a PC! The world has changed. Everyone is working on laptops and tablets. That’s the emerging trend. And here are you still with an outdated PC.”
Soon thereafter I read how the PC market is fading and companies retaining some PC’s just as a fall-back for tasksthat are easier to execute with a larger screen or a mouse such as compiling an Excel spreadsheet. Losses in the PC sector have been hugeenough to force Sony, for example, to exit this segment of the market altogether and sell off its once-famous PC brand, VAIO. I’m sure others will follow suit.
I wonder where on earth is computing science heading at this breakneck speed Isn’t it wise to opt out all together and watch this relentless march from the sidelines?
Want to live a healthier life – who doesn’t want to? – take the first step right now. Health experts say the journey toward better heart health begins with a single step – followed by 1,999 more. A recent new study suggests people with impaired glucose tolerance can lessen the risk of heart attack or stroke by simply walking an additional 2,000 steps each day. (Incidentally 2,000 normal steps add up to a kilometer, if not a mile.) In an another experiment conducted by University of Leicester, the participants were issued pedometers to measure how many paces they took each week. Those who took the extra 2,000 steps, equal to 20 minutes of moderate walking, reduced their cardiovascular risk by 8 per cent by the time the six-year study wrapped up. The study proved how walking behaviour can modify the risk of cardio-vascular disease.
Think it Through
“Art,” said Andre Gide “is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does the better.
Haven’t you often wondered while admiring any great work of art at what stage did the artist surrender unconditionally and God took over fully and completely? Look at the print of Leonardo de Vinci’s “The Last Supper” once again.
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