Dangling Gandhi – Author book reading session

Singaporean author Jayanthi Sankar read a part from her book ‘Dangling Gandhi’ at the Madras Literary Society under the auspices of the Chennai Bloggers Group. A group of 20 readers, some of whom had read the book beforehand, had assembled at the century old hall.

Many reader reviews also took place with interesting perspectives thrown in from different aspects that had appealed to them.

The reader interaction session was bountiful. While the readers had spoken about the stories in the book, I spoke on the author as I had known her for the last 10 years while I was in Singapore. She is one of the few bilingual authors from Singapore who is well-read.

The audience had some Ph.D scholars as well and the interaction was a learning experience for all.

More of such English Literary activities, attended by enthusiastic and well-read readers, would enrich the English Literary Scene in Chennai. For once, there was a literary meet that spoke about human compassion, longing, craft of writing, nuances of translation and the vivid imagery that occurs in the writer’s brain that proves to be the trigger for a story. For once, there was a literary meet that didn’t talk politics or take sides. For once, there was this literary meet that discussed literature, and only literature, in English, in Chennai.

I will post a review of the book in the near future.

My participation in Jayanthi Sankar’s book release function earlier in Singapore Writer’s Festival.

Dangling Gandhi

Note on TN

‘They are Poshlustists. Poshlism is not only the obviously trashy but mainly the falsely important, the falsely beautiful, the falsely clever, the falsely attractive..’

This is what Russian writer Vladimir Nobakov had to say about Russians.

Looking at the happenings in TN, statements and behaviour of the ‘protesters’, their ‘leaders’, the shepherds and their willing sheep, I am reminded of Nobokov.

TN is doing its kamikaze-ish spiral thanks to the worthies that masquerade as leaders, the semi-literates that spin gibberish in mainstream media and the gullible students who consume this poison thanks to the lacklustre education they have been administered for far too long.

The same student community has been led astray regarding the Neutrino Observatory programme. Ditto for nuclear programme and other development plans. The intellect vacuum in the student community is so overwhelming that it looks like another 50 years of complete re-eduction needs to be in place to eradicate this lacunae.

The then erudite state is marching triumphantly backwards towards intellectual obliteration.

My late English teacher T.K.Ramanujam (Bahu) would’ve admonished me for the rather longish beating around the bush and would’ve described the above, with brevity, using a single word – decadence.

Bank frauds galore

‘Hello Am I speaking to Amaruvi Devanathan?’

‘Yes, who is this?’

‘Sir, I am calling from SBI. Need to check some details.’

‘Go ahead’

‘Sir, regarding some card detail, I want to check’

‘Yes please’

‘You have an SBI Credit card?’

‘No, I don’t.’

‘So you have a debit card, right?’

‘Oh yes. I do. What do you want to check?’

‘Actually we are issuing a new debit card. Can you tell me your card number?’

‘May I know your name and address?’

‘Raman Mehta, SBI Branch, Gandhi Nagar, Borivalli, Mumbai’

‘Why do you want my card number?’

‘Sir, I told you know. I want to check the number with what I see in the screen’

‘Ok. Here it is: 4765 1729  5456 1117’

‘Sir, only the last 4 digits are matching. Could you say again?’

‘4765 1729  5456 1117’

‘Again not matching. Can you check your card?’

‘See, I told you the number I have. Now, you tell me the number you see on the screen.’

‘No. I can’t do that. Can you check another card that you might have?’

‘No. Could you tell me my account number that you see on the screen?’

No. That is not shown. Only card number is shown. Can you please check another card?’

‘I can do that later. Now you get lost’

I have been a banker with an international bank for more than a decade. I know how scams happen and how to be safe. Hence I played along and continued the conversation. It was an obvious give away when the caller said that the last 4 digits matched. The 16 digit number was a figment of my imagination and I uttered what came to mind.

The scamster called from +91-8193-861369.  Please be cautious in your calls. Never disclose personal and bank details. And never answer calls from number that are not familiar to you. In case of a genuine call, the caller would call again. Hence no worries.

P.S.: I don’t have any account with SBI – State Bank of India.2c912f0200000578-3242466-image-m-3_1442783439052-1

Howdy Modi and Civilisational Energy

Having been a standing witness to the energy, spirit and enthusiasm of Prime Minister Modi’s community outreach event in Singapore, I can understand and explain what is this phenomenon around ‘Howdy Modi’. 

Simply put, it is India waking up from a deep thousand year slumber, roused by yet another Narendra. While the earlier Narendra thundered in Chicago, 125 years ago, the current Narendra sets the places he visits on a thunder and lightning spree.

So, what is this ‘Howdy Modi’? 

India is exuding her soft power, by releasing, on world stage, her pent up civilisational energy that has been compressed and suppressed for at least a 1000 years due to three kinds of invasions – external physical, external intellectual and later, after 1947, internal intellectual. 

For far too long has India been subjected to forced supplication. For far too long has she been told that her forefathers were thieves, their scriptures were a bunch of lies and that their hegemony was worth nothing. For far too long has she been forced to believe that her children were lesser ones, her chastity was suspect and hence, her progeny was illegitimate. 

Now the time has come for her and her children to rubbish the allegations and shatter the shroud of shame to proclaim her virtues and those of her children. And who better than yet another Narendra could stand up to the world to proclaim the mother’s righteousness and give her the rightful place in the comity of nations? 

On every place he visits, PM Narendra Modi leaves an indelible mark of Bharat Matha and the feeling of oneness and vasuda evam kudumbakam. He writes, by his voice, in indelible letters, the eternal message of deep universal wisdom that India, the land of Bharat, stands for.

By every word he speaks, PM Modi enshrines the never-die spirit of the people of India, her traders, her academics, her hard working women, the ancient rishis and the bubbling youth who dare even the celestial bodies.

Presidential speeches, from Kennedy to Trump, have contained references to Kashmir’s problems and the need for negotiation. ( Refer Kennedy’s Inaugural speech in the UN). Now, Kashmir doesn’t figure in the problem list. Future Presidents wouldn’t talk about Kashmir like they wouldn’t talk about, say, Kerala, a state in India.

Then why do some rejoice at the paltry opposition outside the stadium? Why do some still continue to nay-say despite the spontaneous release of the long suppressed civilisational energy?

Modi, with palms facing upwards, indicating ‘nothing to hide’ hence genuine posture

The answer is:

This big-bang release of energy is channelized  by a mass leader who epitomises the very energy. Hence, forces and attitudes that have been shaped by 70+ years of entitlement driven liberalism, would find these rather out of place.  

Their conditioned mind, having been continuously fed on a staple hate-oozing academic diet for the last 40 years, would view any other alternate course, that shines with progress, growth, cooperation and inclusion, as alien and hence impossible to be true. It is this mind conditioning that we should aspire to get out of and get ready to acquire an original mind that is immune to media chatter and oft-repeated cliche-driven ideologies. 

And originality of mind comes by only when one sheds the cloak of arrogance acquired due to Macaulayan education of the last 100 years and begins to look inward at who one is, who his forefathers were, what were their qualities and how did they come to be.

Simply put, one needs to embark on a Bharatiya education of trying to know oneself.

Vande Mataram.

When Yuval Noah Harari became a Jew

During a visit today to a doctor, who had a picture of Mary and Jesus on his wall, I noticed Yuval Noah Harari’s ‘Sapiens’ on the desk. 

‘Did you read this book doctor?’ I asked him.

’Still reading.. Have you read this?’ he asked.

‘Yes, and also ‘Home Deus’ and ’21 Lessons…’ by the same author. Terrific books. What do you say?’ I asked.

‘May be. But you know all this is marketing. He says Bill Gates and Obama have read it. Do you think Bill Gates and Obama would have had the time to read this?’

‘Well, doctor, Gates reads many books in a year and recommends too. You could see Youtube videos.’

‘May be, but you know, if the book is so noble, then the author should give the book for free, shouldn’t he?’ he asked.

‘Well, may be. But the book has been traslated into 63 languages’ I said.

‘That is ok. But do you know he is a Jew?’ he said, about the author.

‘How does that matter? He is an atheist and a historian, in any case..’ I countered.

‘Actually, Jews are cunning. That is why the USA doesn’t lay its hands on Israel. Jews in USA ensure that..’ he continued.

I took leave of him, with a sigh.

It is common knowledge that, but for the Old Testament, there wouldn’t have been a New Testament. But for Judaism , Christianity wouldn’t have come into being. But for the Talmud.. the list is endless.

Tamil Nadu’s education & social situation leaves much to be desired. We are creating a people who are fed on hatred, enriched on ignorance and watered by a tremendous supply of fake but dangerous ‘isms’.

Half knowledge is dangerous; Wrong knowledge is disastrous.

Tamil Nadu is heading towards disaster. And I feel sorry for my state.

‘Flashpoint’ – book review

Flashpoint’, a completely unreadable book by J.Sri Raman also doubles as an eminently anti-national one. While going through the ‘Advance Praise’ section, I saw that Prof. Vijay Prashad ( of anti-national articles fame in The Hindu), had praised this book. Hence I began ‘Flashpoint’ with some trepidation and an element of doubt hoping against hopes that this book would be different and enlightening despite the leftists’ praise by Prashad.

I was a fool.

The book seeks to paint India, Pakistan and the US in the same light. It criticises the Nuclear weapon tests, tries to imply that the US was behind Vajpayee’s trip to Pakistan by bus, demonises Gujarat riots and thereby Narendra Mod.. and the list continues.

417ktkp1d8l._sx297_bo1204203200_Having been written in 2004, the book’s criticism of the nation stops there. However there are some important quips, like V.K.Krishna Menon’s advice to the US not to feed Pakistan’s military et al.

The author goes on to say that the Indian Army was hand in glove in the unrest in Kashmir. The author further says that Indian Army sends mercenaries to Pakistan to get trained, makes them come back and then encounters them. Such is the quality of the book.

You could read this to know how the left ecosystem works in tandem with avowed anti-India forces such as Arundati Roy. #bookreview

P.S.: My 14 year old son seems to like this book. Should I be worried?

‘Degree Coffee by the yard’ – a review

‘Degree Coffee by the yard’, a book on Madras, by Nirmala Lakshmanan, great grand daughter of the late Kasturi Ranga Iyengar of The Hindu, is a missed opportunity to portray Chennai. With its rich and varied heritage, Madras aka Chennai presents delectable topics amidst resplendent historical sites.

The book meanders, chugs and pulls along to qualify as a let down and in the process commits injustice to the city of Chennai. The treatment to the history of the city is neither deep nor wide.

The book misses the main aspect of bringing to light the leading lights of the great city. The treasure trove that is Chennai has been given a step-motherly treatment, so to say. The book is available at the Adyar District Library, Chennai.51pmfvlaell._sx354_bo1204203200_

An analysis of two articles of The New Indian Express

I urge readers to go through this piece and then read the two articles in The New Indian Express about the new education policy. The articles are:
  •  ‘Caste aside? many worries over New Edu Policy’ by Sushmita Ramakrishnan.
  • ‘Draft NEP proposes a paradigm shift in education planning’ by J.Santosh.
It is not right for me to cast aspersions on the two writers. I don’t know them. Hence read this as an un-biased review of the two.
Sushmita’s article talks about why the word ‘reservation’ has appeared just once in the 484 page draft NEP document. She asks why elimination of caste has not been mentioned in the draft? She worries about addressing SC/ST education, quoting from the controversial Christmas Gandhi. She also quotes Prince Gajendrababu who questions the emphasis on vocational stream. Babu states that an emphasis on vocational streams would mean a potter’s son would be a potter while a singer’s son would only be a singer and deduces that this is an attempt to restrict the free flow of people from the supposedly lower echelons of trades to higher ones.
J.Santosh’s article compares the education policy of Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan who wanted a man-making education in the 1950s to a foreword by Prkash Javdekar on the focus of NEP on job skilling and meeting market demand. Santosh even questions why the policy is called Rashtriya Shiksha Aayog, and the acronym RSA is being emphasised in the draft. He further has problems with the Prime Minister chairing the committee that would oversee the implementation of the NEP. A reference to Hitler’s educational policy is seen.
Nowhere in these two articles do I see the analysis on education. I fail to understand why a draft NEP should look at caste issues. If caste has not been solved in the last 75 years by Radhakrishnan’s educational policy, why should we continue to adopt that, rather than look at a new way of solving it? While the world in general and Singapore in particular (I am citing Singapore because I know what is happening there), are emphasising on Skills Future, Re-skilling the workforce and introducing newer streams of education to meet the demands of the 21st century where much of the human jobs are going to be taken over by BOTs and automation, what is wrong in Javdekar’s recommendation to ‘eliminate shortage of manpower in science, technology, academics and industry’?
I am sad that both the writers have much to cover in terms of analysis, comparative analysis with what the world does and a wholistic approach to the NEP.
Again, I am not casting aspersions on the two writers nor concluding that they have written to suit an agenda. I would be happy if they write articles that look at the needs of the nation and see if the NEP addresses those rather than falling into the set retinue of leftist-dravidian-parochial trap.
Original articles :

Remembering Panditji

Today, I remember, with gratitude, Pt.Jawahar Lal Nehru, for my early childhood was shaped in a school named after him- Jawahar, in a place that was his creation – Neyveli. But for Neyveli Lignite Corporation and the grand education that I received there, I would not have been what I am today. Not that I am a somebody, but, without the above, I would have been a nobody.

Neyveli helped transform a predominantly impoverished lower middle class brahmin family, with absolutely no belongings but a secondary school education, into one that can boast of at least two square meals today.

And the architect of Neyveli was Pt.Nehru in addition to Kamaraj, C.Subramaniam and R.Venkatraman.

Panditji wasn’t perfect like everybody else. He had his flaws, some of which bother the nation till date. But he brought a semblance of stability to the otherwise shaky nation that was cut into two pieces at birth.

He could have done better, no doubt. But he tried, for sure. His leftist leanings, socialist utopian theories and a complete Macaulayan education and attitude that also had a vehement disregard for the ancient civilisation that is Bharat made him commit fundamental mistakes whose impact we feel even to this day – Article 370, UN Security Council, China Policy, Socialism et al.

While I thank my first Prime Minister from the bottom of my heart for all the good that I am enjoying today, I also feel sad that I am not able to worship him, for I know his follies.

A great man. Could have been a legend. But stopped at being a hero.

Here are my reviews of the books on Nehru that I had read.

Please read, circulate and discuss the leader and his policies, without any disrespect to the long departed soul.






Mission Shakthi

George Perkovich, in his book ‘India’s Nuclear Bomb’, clearly says Nehru tacitly approved India developing a nuclear bomb.

Nehru ensured that the Indian Space Programme and Department of Atomic Energy directly report to the PMO and not to any ministry. This ensured that approvals required for such programmes don’t get stuck in bureaucratic hurdles. These are clearly elucidated by Dr.Aravamudhan in his book ”ISRO: A personal history”. The more you read these, the more you understand the complexities involved and geo-political pressures in such programmes.( For more on political and global pressures, read ‘Ready to fire’ by Nambi Narayanan.)

Vikram Sarabhai, Satish Dhawan, Homi Bhabha and others who headed the prestigious missions, would not have achieved what they did, had it not been for the unhindered support of and access to the PMO.

So, starting from Nehru, Prime Ministers have played their role in the development of India’s space and atomic programmes.

However there were some who did absolutely nothing to further these interests. Let us not waste time talking about them.

Nehru prepared the ground, Indira Gandhi took it further, Rajiv Gandhi supported many initiatives, especially the Agni Missile Programme, Narasimha Rao lent full support though he backed off from Pokhran-II, Vajpayee fell head over heels to support these initiatives and Modi continues Vajpayee’s work.

Therefore, Prime Minister Narendra Modi deserves as much credit as does Indira Gandhi for Pokhran-I and Vajpayee for Pokhran-II. One can’t deny this to the current PM just because he is Narendra Modi, a man who sold tea once upon a time and hence doesn’t belong to the aristocracy.

The scientific establishment is the same, the institutions are the same, but the political and executive leadership is the one that changes and thus plays a decisive role in such missions. And the current one excels.

Kudos to India and her dedicated engineers, scientists and the honourable Prime Minister who had the spine to proceed with the test.#MissionShakthi

Jai Hind.