29 August 2007

Why Caste is not a problem.

Too many people and their writings have pissed me off. They say that caste is a social problem. I, for the first time have come across people who call solution a problem! caste is not a problem, discrimination is.

.................after a month..............

When I sit down to write about caste after reading Ambedkar`s The Annihilation of Caste I am confused. I must be honest here. I have tried to assimilate all confused thoughts bellow.

Difference divides. Nationality, language, religion; the list is endless. All these divide people. Division creates not only diversity but also bias. caste is one such difference that promotes discrimination.

If I have to go by Ambedkar caste is the worst by product of a society; Hindus are a defeated group; worst still Hindus are not even a group; there is no racial support for caste; what to speak of a religion that is responsible for creation of a class of people who are not even fit for touching and dining together.

I am sorry I am more optimistic. Ambedkar says "YOU" are responsible for caste. Rama was cheap fellow (feminists agree! He put seeta to so much trouble...); he killed shambhuka because he was a Shudra; Killed Vaali (who was a shudra!) unjustly. Manu was an evil. Well, I can not imagine so much. {Kuvempu says "Kalpanege kechchiral katti kaana"!}

I must say one thing: victims view is just one of the views, may neither be right nor reasonable. Ambedjar`s non-cooparation to freedom movement speaks a lot. His frustration can not be taken for reasons to attack a system instead of attacking what is bad in the system. I leave Ambedkar`s writings behind saying only that Budhism is`t any better and Ambedkar`s contribution in creating one of the world`s progressive constitution, overwhelms any weakness we may want to attribute to him. There is no denying he was a scholar, I do not hesitate to believe he experienced and understood something beyond I am capable of. But, I do not agree with him.

To continue.............


The last message, "Take bath and observe silence for a minute"

I blew my conch and sent the shrill beyond the roof of the house my grandfather built in the mid 1950s. My grandfather always told me that blowing conch every evening scares the ghosts. I wanted to scare the hell out of ghosts around the house. I did. I scared them continuously every evening for 3 years continuously. They would get a break when I returned home from my grandfather’s village! Then ghosts back home had a bad time with my conch! The point is my grandfather was religious. He believed deeply in every religious things and even astrology. He would utter phrases in despair, such as "I do not understand what happened, stars are fine...", "I see no problem...in the horoscope but I do not know what is happening...".

He would get up early at four in the morning in the Brahmi muhurtham. Belli (Venus) peeped a little later to see if my grandfather was awake. He woke up from meditation after first rays of the sun washed the slumberous flower and lifted their head high. I had standing instructions to pick all the flowers in the garden without leaving even a single flower on the plants, before he got ready for the morning worship. His daily Rudrabhisheka with Chamaka and Prshna always took hours and gave me enough time to pick flowers. I had to get ready go to office later. My office timings were not so flexible those days like it is today you see! (Primary School)

Last time I spoke to my grandfather; some cells in his mouth have refused stop multiplying. He could barely speak. He said, "Try to be a better human. When you hear of my death, take bath and observe silence for a minute". Six months later I spoke to grandmother. She said, "It is six monthly observance and we have prepared Holige !(PoLi -a sweet)". "You would have liked them a lot". I felt a lump in the throat. Weird, they make Holiges to celebrate death!

I remember Pete Seeger’s

Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the graveyards gone?
Covered with flowers every one
When will we ever learn?
When will we ever learn?

I blew conch this time in front of the worship room. Shrill sure went beyond the roof. I am sure, it scared the ghosts after a long gap of 15 years. But, that meditating silhouette of an old man in front of the alter was missing. Gods looked lonely.


Tabla Resources

My days of frustrations trying to find Tabla tutorials are over today. I have been able to collect a lot of information. I have promptly reproduced them here without permission!

Let me begin with the most important: Tabla Talas [1].

1)Jhap Taal

2)Yek Taal

3) Teen Taal
4) Kahrava Taal

5) Rupak Taal

There are many articles on how to produce basic syllables [6]. Video tutorial by Venkat on YouTube is one of the best ways to start [5]. Venkat appears to be one of the generous Tabla enthusiasts. While so called Tabla masters live by selling what is know to all those who play Tabla, Venkat has produced more than 10 free video tutorials. (A friend of poor Grad Students!)
Pete Lockett`s "Essential Guide to Tabla", appears to be complete with the pictures of finger placements on Tabla [2-4]. More information on theory and practice can be found in the free ebook "Art of Tabla Performance" by Prof. Sudhir Kumar Verma.

Although there are many Tabla guides, I feel they are not substitutes for video tutorials (Tutorial is no substitute to a teacher, some say). None of these guides give good instructions on Rela: fast performance. (Called Horalike in Yakshagana Chandey). Several players show off their Rela skills but none show the techniques.

I am scared that I might learn bad sounding Tabla play. Euphony is still a dream. I am looking forward to Krishnastami Bajan.


15 August 2007

Lost in words

I wonder sometimes why people do not think about what they are talking! I keep meeting "Do not know what I am talking" kind of people. Especially, I see that, more religious the discussion gets there are high chances that it gets absurd. It sometime becomes bullshit. Let us see what happens in such social transactions. A guy asked me, "Is Yoga really guud?". A person who had learnt some Yogasana said "When it comes to Yoga... it is about the universe...". A great deal of mysticism is attached to entities such as Yoga. All else overwhelm the real meaning.

It is time that we address this serious issue of vagueness. We also have the other extreme: over simplification. I have come to believe that these two aspects in communication cause more problem than all others put together.

Our perception changes as the information base used to reason increases. But at a given time, we should be able to clearly convey what we know, without falling to the trap of the vagueness and over simplification.

The other day some one asked, "what is life?". I have all respect for his/her curiosity. But bittubidi swamy (leave me alone)! Let me live my life first :) Defining is drawing boundary between what we think it is and what we belive it is not. Definitive explanation of an inherently vague concept formed by society, can only be as vague as the concept itself. That is why it is necessary to make conscious efforts not loose our ideas in words.


Is gene evolving?

What a nonsense, it must, like anything else in this universe you might say! I have a wage thought to share.

I believe that gene is something that decides/defines the properties of a system. Thus an atom is a gene for a molecule. Atoms of different elements can be taken as different genes. (Let us forget for a moment about other perspectives and only consider the perspective of gene.) DNA is a compound. If the arrangement of molecules in a DNA (in cells) can define the peoperties of living organisms (ans inheritance) then it is the second stage of gene (or next stage) wheare complexity of the gene has increased from atoms to molecule.

Is this a reason to belive that the complexity of the gene will increase forever? May be a compound or a mixture of compuonds will one day act as genes?

Vague enough and feably supported!

11 August 2007

Meadow Lake National Park (Jeannette Lake)

Oshkidee camping site is private site inside the Meadow Lake National Park. This park is around 300 kms north west of Saskatoon. We went to Jeannette Lake which is around 375 kms north west. Thanks to IVCF who organised this 3 day camp. I got to learn a lot of things including plant names.

I took photos and I have posted some of them here. Their beauty is completely because of the way the nature is. Do not blame my camera for it! Thanks to Srinivas and Mamata for lending their camera and thanks also to Manju who woke me up on time and packed lunch, without which I would have missed the camp.

Wild rose plants were an attraction. Canadian one dollar coin is named after a bird Loon; a fish eating bird. Loon bird poked its head out of lake water and came so close that Warren a co-camper discribed it as the closest watch of the bird in his memory. Loon finally got the company of loons!

Light from heavens (A morning with Jack Pine and Spruce trees)

Blue Berries of Saskatchewan (Sweetness filled in tiny blue natural packs!)
(There were some Raspberries along with them (not seen in picture))

Tamarack (Trees that look like pine)

It was sunny when it rained. (Kaamana Billu - ಕಾಮನ ಬಿಲ್ಲು)

ಮೂಡುವನು ರವಿ ಮೂಡುವನು
ಕತ್ತಲೊಡನೆ ಜಗಳಾಡುವನು
ಮೂಡಣ ರ೦ಗಸ್ಥಳದಲಿ ನೆತ್ತರು
ಮಾಡುವನು ಕುಣಿದಾಡುವನು

ಮಲಗಿದ ಕೂಸಿನ ನಿದ್ದೆಯ ಕಸವನು
ಗುಡಿಸುವನು ಕಣ್ಬಿಡಿಸುವನು
ಮಾಡಿನ ಮೇಲಿನ ಚಿನ್ನದ ಗೆರೆಯನು
ಎಳೆಯುವನು ರವಿ ಹೊಳೆಯುವನು

ಏರುವನು ರವಿ ಏರುವನು
ಬಾನೊಳು ಸಣ್ಣಗೆ ತೋರುವನು
ಏರಿದವನು ಚಿಕ್ಕವನಿರಬೆಕೆಲೆ
ಎ೦ಬಾ ಮಾತನು ಸಾರುವನು.

--- ಪ೦ಚೆ ಮ೦ಗೇಶರಾವ್

08 August 2007

It is not fair!

It will never be fair enough. Yet a lot of things are fairer now. I am referring to socio-economic opportunities here. Whatever was before feudalism, I guess, might have been a worse system. Socialism was obviously better. Capitalism? I am not convinced yet. What is certain however is that, it is definitely not a fair system. To me it appears to be biased towards more industrious. It is not fair because it allows these industrious people to exploit not so industrious. Well, that is the way it is supposed to be you might say! I am not prepared to accept it. Because I believe there could be a better alternative that we have not found yet.

Let us not talk about capitalism. I just wanted to say that it is not fair to both buyer and seller. It is more for seller than for buyer. Let us look at governance. Is democracy fair? No. It is in favour of those who participate and is against those who do not or can not. We at least know of a better system: Anarchy. Many think that to be unreasonable. May be. I would rather like to believe that we are not ready for Anarchy yet though it is a reasonable idea (Kropotkin might be smiling. But I do not like his communist ideas).

Social organisation in to classes is not fair on the basis of community, race, caste, ethnicity have been judged not fair. Caste is an on going thing in India and there were people who rejected caste completely (Ambedkar) and some who rejected it partially (Rajaji). There are places where there is no organisation at all. That is completely unfair to everyone!

Then there are other things such as smart guys and stupid, friendly and not so sociable, strong and week. Some are labeled unfairly. That is why I wanted to say; "It is not fair!”.

(I know that is the way things are but this just a perspective!)

03 August 2007

First PC First TV!

"We have heard that you have in your house a new colour TV. We want to see it.", declared my grandfather in front of a house in a town(Ulavi) near my village(Kattinakere). "Haan howdu"(Oh ya) said the proud owner. I was ten. I watched these two men talk to each other, completely lifting my head, as if to watch the sky. errr said the owner!

"But there is no power!"
"We do need no power. We will look at it", was my grandpa’s answer.

We saw the TV. Oh no the colour TV. It was switched off (there was no power!)(I can not stop laughing now). I remember my face I was watching the TV as if it was something extraterrestrial!

Curiosity never stops you see! I was at it again when I was in 10+2 (we call it pre-university course). One of my friends doing BSc promised me to show me a computer. Oh my god COMPUTER. He took me to his lab one day (That was a sneaking in stuff others were not allowed!) and my entry unveiled a PC. I saw the computer for the first time had no idea what it was for.

I thought the monitor was the computer. I did not know there was a CPU sitting horizontally bellow it. Oh ya I also saw the keyboard. I was 18 then.

I was to ask after an year, when somebody said "CPU", "cpu? where is that? what is that?".
One of my friends explained me later. "Hey did you not see that box sitting next to the monitor?"
"May be", I saw it after few days in my engineering lab!

Oh forgot to mention. You know what? PC was switched off when I saw it first time.


01 August 2007

Altruism and Socialism

Even during ancient times selfishness was considered the drive for all transactions. For love, hate, business and you name it, almost for everything. Allow me to quote an over used verse from Bruhadaranyaka Upanishath;

Idam brahma, idam kshatram, ime lokah, ime devah, imani bhutani, idam sarvam yad ayam atma.

"This Source of knowledge; this source of power; all these worlds; all these gods; all these beings; -- All this is just the Self."

Another one from Yajnyavalkya again; (A sage who lived somewhere around 900 BCE in India)

na va are patyuh kamaya patih priyo bhavati, atmanas-tu kamaya patih priyo bhavati; na va are jayayai kamaya jaya priya bhavati,......,na va are bhutanam kamaya bhutani priyani bhavanti, atmanas-tu kamaya bhutani priyani bhavanti; na va are sarvasya kamaya sarvam priyam bhavati, atmanas-tu kamaya sarvam priyam bhavati;

"Everything becomes intimate for the sake of self".

This leaves no scope for altruism! How are we to explain altruism if we are to believe the above argument? Note that evolutionary Biology agrees with the above argument. This is not just some "Vedic Crap".

Interestingly I found an answer to this question in a psychology text book. It says that altruism is a profitable business! Profitable to the gene pool (Gene: segment of DNA responsible for a trait). Sociobiologists have controversially extended this to social transactions as well.

I feel there is quite an amount of altruism in socialism, thus making it a relevant philosophy. In the wake of these arguments I find capitalism self destructive. In what appears to be selfish endeavour I find a stupidity that ruins its chance of survival.

I find an idea that is neither purely capitalistic nor purely socialistic, interesting. Altruistic capitalism: a capitalism where there is place for selfless business. Some have called it capitalism with human face. But we have a scientific support for such a thing. It is not artificial anymore, I think. It has a high chance of surviving in the natural dynamics of business.

What do you think?