Sunday, April 30, 2006

Another View on Reservations

A lot has been said about the new eservation status that Mr. Arjun Singh has been planning to impose on India. This opinion has been doing the rounds of the internet for awhile, so thought I wold add this here too, :

I think we should have job reservations in all the fields. I completely support the PM and all the politicians for promoting this.

Let's start the reservation with our cricket team. We should have 10 percent reservation for muslims. 30 percent for OBC, SC/ST like that. Cricket rules should be modified accordingly. The boundary circle should be reduced for an SC/ST player. The four hit by an OBC player should be considered as a six and a six hit by a OBC player should be counted as 8 runs. An OBC player scoring 60 runs should be declared as a

We should influence ICC and make rules so that the pace bowlers like Shoaib Akhtar should not bowl fast balls to our OBC player. Bowlers should bowl maximum speed of 80 kilometer per hour to an OBC player. Any delivery above this speed should be made illegal.

Also we should have reservation in Olympics. In the 100 meters race, an OBC player should be given a gold medal if he runs 80 meters.

There can be reservation in Government jobs also. Let's recruit SC/ST and OBC pilots for aircrafts which are carrying the ministers and politicians (that can really help the country.. )

Ensure that only SC/ST and OBC doctors do the operations for the ministers and other politicians. (Another way of saving the country..)

Let's be creative and think of ways and means to guide INDIA forward...

Let's show the world that INDIA is a GREAT country. Let's be proud of being an INDIAN..

Thursday, April 20, 2006

2003 IIMC Alumnus, Vinayak Lohani, Shows The Way

I recently became aware of efforts of Vinayak Lohani, an IIMC Alumnus (2001 -03) who opted out of placements and started a home for abandoned children in Calcutta : Parivaar

The Director IIM Calcutta Prof. Sekhar Choudhary in his 15-20 minute speech at the Annual Convocation on 1st April, 2006 spoke for at least 4-5 minutes on Parivaar. (excerpt of the Parivaar portion from his speech is reproduced below)

I am very happy to inform you that besides the Initiative for Community Action (INCA) which I just mentioned there is another very important social sector initiative taken by one of our recent gradImage and video hosting by TinyPicuates. 'Parivaar', a social service organization, was started by Shri Vinayak Lohani, an IIT Kharagpur and IIM Calcutta alumnus of the 2001-03 batch.

Shri Lohani did not seek final placement through the Institute's Career Development and Placement office. Inspired by the spiritual and humanistic ideals of Shri Ramakrishna Paramhansa and Swami Vivekananda, he decided to devote his life to the upliftment of homeless children. It started with just 3 children in a small rented building with almost no financial resources, and today there are currently 162 children who have found a new Home, Family and Future at Parivaar.

Parivaar Ashram at Bakhrahat, about 30 km from Kolkata in 24 Parganas (South) district, is spread over 2 acres of land. Currently Parivaar runs two (2) Bal Ashrams. A facility with a capacity of 400 hundred children is now under construction.

The children admitted into Parivaar Ashram can be broadly classified as homeless and family less and are from categories like orphans, abandoned children, street and pavement children, railway platform children, children from red light areas and other such highly vulnerable children. The children are admitted at a very young age (generally 3 to 8 years) and have no exposure to any kind of education. It is a great challenge to train them initially to enable them to get admission into a class that corresponds to his/her age in a quality formal education school. To achieve this the child admitted in Parivaar undergoes an in-house Rapid Learning Course for a period of one year. The admission into quality formal schools is not easy as the children have to go through rigorous competitive entrance examinations conducted by various schools. Thus the child has to compete on his/her merit.

Since the category of children Parivaar works with needs total rehabilitation, which includes meeting all living costs like food, clothing, education, recreation, etc., the average cost per child is very high compared to education and other day-care initiatives.

Parivaar works with the idea of providing support to each child with a minimum commitment of 12 to 15 years, right from his/her kindergarten stage till he/she grows up and makes good in life. Parivaar has been successful in this by attracting funds through financial contributions from individuals. A point to note is that 300 IIM alumni have enrolled as regular Parivaar donors and more than 200 IIM Calcutta alumni have donated to Parivaar.

For one who is so well qualified, having graduated from two of the most acclaimed institutions in the country getting jobs in top MNCs would have been a cake walk. However, Vinayak chose a life of sacrifice for a larger cause. For one so young such sacrifice is even more poignant. A visit to the Parivaar Ashram where the hitherto uncared for children are laughing, playing and living happily in gay abandon is a most humbling experience. The Institute community is extremely proud of the achievements of our alumnus Shri Vinayak Lohani.

A lot of us graduate hoping to be able to do something for Society somewhere down the line. Some of us feel the call a few years into a job. But it takes a lot of courage, to actually give up a well paying career & plunge whole heartedly into a social cause. Vinayak Lohani is one of these courageous people.

His attempt to start something to help these children at the Grassroot level is something that our Politicians can learn from. Improve basic standards of education & then there will be no necessity for "Reservations"

Parivaar is more than just a day care centre, it covers all living costs like food, clothing, education, recreation etc. Because of this, the cost of maintenance for each child at Parivaar may seem a little high when compared to other Social Organisations. But, rest assured that the money is well utilised with a minimum commitment of 10-12 years with each child.

Parivaar is registered under the West Bengal Societies Registration Act XXVI of 1961 and donations made to Parivaar, fall under Income Tax exemptions under Section 80(G) of the Income Tax Act

The costs per child at Parivaar vary as per the child's age but are around Rs 15,000 annually. However, in the Support A Child Scheme (SAC) they have kept the common contribution at Rs 12,300.

If you contribute to Parivaar, each rupee goes into the programs. This is not a case via a plethora of agencies interfacing between the end donor and grassroots that have a fundraising cost upto 40% of the total funds raised.

For more details on how you can contribute to a child's development at
Parivaar, visit Parivaar's web site

This article has also been published on

Why are you looking at me ?

Many of you may remember the Blank Noise blog-a-thon on the issue of harassment of women on the streets, euphemestically referred to as "Eve-teasing".

Blank Noise is going a step forward with an intervention this time. They're planning to stage 'Why are you looking at me'. This is what it would look like, except, they're planning to do this in the evening and not at night -

They can use as many volunteers as possible so please participate!

You can mail Chinmayee Manjunath [chininath[at]rediffmail[dot]com] for more details

Venue: Carter Road
Time: 5.30 pm
Date: Saturday, April 22

Please spread the word. They can use as many people as are interested. They need 17 for the intervention and everyone else can help with the posters/ opinion polls. And they need people to help document it with photographs, etc.

Diary of a non -OBC man

Found this floating around the web. Someone said it was printed in Business World, but I'm not sure. If anyone would like to claim it as their work, please write a comment on this post.

An excerpt from Emcee's diary exactly 50 years from now

Ahmedabad, 30 April 2056: I attended the bash at the IIM-OBC Alumni Association to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the reservation of seats for OBCs (Other Backward Castes) in IIMs. Since I'm not an OBC, I was not supposed to attend, but at present, we MBFCs (Moderately Backward Forward Castes) together with the Non-Scheduled Tribes have a political alliance with the OBCs. We sipped champagne and talked about how so many of us had progressed from reserved seats in the IIMs to reserved jobs to reserved promotions. Unfortunately, the party broke up when a Non-scheduled Tribes faculty member objected to the OBCs dancing with all the pretty girls — he wanted equal opportunities for every caste at each dance. I pointed out that the Non-scheduled Tribes had exceeded the quota of champagne reserved for them. The party ended in a pitched caste battle.

May 2056:
Today, I became president of the IIM Board of Directors. Under the present rotating presidency system, a member of each caste is made the president by turn. When it was the turn of the MBFCs for president, they had to choose me because I'm the only MBFC on the campus. True, I'm only the campus dhobi, but then every caste must be given an equal opportunity. All those centuries of oppression by the OSBFCs (Only Slightly Backward Forward Castes) and the OFCs (Other Forward Castes) must be rectified. I hope to restore the high standards at IIM — I overheard some foreigners calling it the Indian Institute of Morons, the other day.

June 2058: They've announced the cricket team for the series against Australia. I was overjoyed when they chose an MBFC man as captain. But my hopes were dashed when I realised he was a Most Backward Forward Caste and not a Moderately Backward Forward Caste. The selection committee lamented that it was gross discrimination that no member from the Jarowa tribe (the Stone Age tribe in the
Andamans) had ever found a place in the Indian cricket team. A squad has since been dispatched to the Andamans to capture a Jarowa tribal to play in the national team. I hope he will improve their performance — they had an innings defeat against the Maldives recently. I would have played myself except for the fact that I lost a leg some years ago when I was in hospital with a toothache and a doctor recruited through the Unscheduled Caste quota extracted my leg instead of my tooth.

2060: There are too many NFCs (Neo-Forward castes) in the IT business. Under the terms of the Business Reservation Act, their firms will now be taken over by the other castes. I hope they will be able to restore the Indian IT industry back to its former glory. For some unfathomable reason, it has gone down the drain after job reservations were implemented. I went for a movie featuring star actor Mungeri Ram. He may lack teeth, be four-feet-three and have hair growing out of his nose, but this year it's the turn of the EBC-RYs (Extremely Backward Caste-Rural Yokels) to be stars and Mungeri Ram is the best of the lot. I wonder why foreign movies have become so popular.

May 2061: A truly great day. We now have an OFBMBC (Other Forward But Moderately Backward Caste) general as the Head of the Armed Forces. I hope he'll be able to win back the territory we lost ever since reservations were implemented in the Army. Since then, the north has been taken by Pakistan, the North-east by China, the east by Bangladesh and the south by Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Only last winter, we lost the war against Bhutan and free India is now limited to the western coastal states. But I'm sure the OFBMBC general will turn the tide.

Jan 2065: My wife and I have been blessed with a bonny daughter. Since my wife's an SBBNSBC (Slightly Backward But Not So Backward Caste), my daughter will be an MBFC-SBBNSBC. I must lobby for reservation for her caste. She's the only member and I'm sure she has a great future.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Loss of Character on Online Forums

Due to some recent occurrences, was looking at why some people are extremely rude & inconsiderate (cosnideration is not to be mistaken with political correctness) on Online forums like blogs, emails, discussion groups etc.

Prof Shukla steered me to 2 briliant articles that he has written long back which are very relevant even today.

Essentially this rudeness/hatred/anger/intolerance/arrogance seems to come from the anonymity of Online forums. So people write things they may not necessarily have been able to say face-to-face.

The First Article speaks of

Primitive Process on the Internet
An article by Prof Robert M Young, Professor of Psychotherapy and Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Sheffield, makes two insightful points:

1. "One of the most striking features of email forums... is that people can experience almost no impediment to expressing themselves — for good or ill. Cyberspace has a fantasy quality. As a result, people say the most intimate thing and the most horrid things with considerable ease....

2. "...where people can be whomsoever they like. They change their genders, their degree of assertiveness, their sexual predilections at will. Anything goes...

Read The Entire Article by Prof. Shukla

The Second Article speaks of
Group-Think in Online Chat Groups

Internet is a great democratic medium. But I stumbled on an interesting "real"(/virtual)-life event - a particular online discussion forum - during last few days. Searching for an explanantion about what was happening in this forum (what would look to be a case of collective pathology), led to some interesting resources about what can happen in an Online Community.

Gordon Graham in his book, The Internet: A Philosophical Inquiry [see summary], makes an interesting observation about the online groups, and their "pure confluences of interest".

Graham says that the internet is a medium which enables people to seek out exclusively kindred spirits and to avoid ever being exposed to views which are contrary to their own. He claims that... "the self-made philosopher with a grand but completely vacuous 'theory of everything' will sooner or later find a coterie of people whose knowledge and critical acumen is even less, but who are willing to be impressed."

The Symptoms of Group Think are:

1) Illusion of Invulnerability
2) Belief in Inherent Morality of Group
3) Collective Rationalization
4) Stereotypes of Out-Groups
5) Self-Censorship
6) Illusion of Unanimity
7) Direct Pressure on Dissenters
8) Self-Appointed Mind-Guards

Give the nature of the self-selection in most online chat groups, these symptoms are quite likely to emerge.

Entire Article

Just thought these articles were worth bringing up again since they were last published in 2004.

List of Indian state birds

What is the National bird of India ?

Most of you could answer that, but did you know that each state in India has a designated bird ?

So, What is your state bird ?

Don't know ?

Well Wikipedia seems to have the answer :

State Common name Binomial name
Andhra Pradesh Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis
Arunachal Pradesh Great Hornbill Buceros bicornis
Bihar Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis
Chhattisgarh Hill Myna Gracula religiosa
Goa Black-crested bulbul Pycnonotus melanicterus
Gujarat Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus
Haryana Black Francolin Francolinus francolinus
Jammu and Kashmir Black-necked Crane Grus nigricollis
Jharkhand Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopacea
Karnataka Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis
Kerala Great Hornbill Buceros bicornis
Lakshadweep Sooty Tern Sterna fuscata
Meghalaya Hill Myna Gracula religiosa
Madhya Pradesh Asian Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone paradisi
Maharashtra Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea
Manipur Mrs. Hume's Pheasant Syrmaticus humiae
Mizoram Mrs. Hume's Pheasant Syrmaticus humiae
Nagaland Blyth's Tragopan Tragopan blythii
Orissa Peacock Pavo cristatus
Punjab Northern Goshawk Accipiter gentilis
Rajasthan Great Indian Bustard Ardeotis nigriceps
Sikkim Blood Pheasant Ithaginis cruentus
Tamil Nadu Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica
Uttaranchal Himalayan Monal Lophophorus impejanus
Uttar Pradesh Sarus Crane Grus antigone
West Bengal White-breasted Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis

Monday, April 03, 2006

Ravan & Eddie by Kiran Nagarkar

Reviewed this book on my Whazzup Mumbai !!! blog, since the book was a very Bombay based one.

Read the Review Here.

This review of mine has also been published on
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