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.…/09/21/nehru-a-political-life-book-rev…/…/nehru-a-contemporarys-estimate-my-rev…/…/self-deception-indias-china-policies-…/

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.

Pari Yerum Perumal & others

The hype around the Tamil movie ‘Pari Yerum Perumal’,prompted me to watch this poignant story of discrimination based on caste.

 The story is based in Tirunelveli, in Southern Tamil Nadu, known for its caste based classifications and violence. People got killed for marrying out of caste, though such instances are declining, thankfully.

This film talks about the heinous treatment met to the lowest strata of the caste hierarchy – the dalits – in a government law college. The story is poignant, direction excels, metaphors glitter and the movie leaves one with a deep sense of exasperation and helplessness.

Let me get this straight. This is one hell of a film that hits one on the face, with a sledge hammer soaked in the reality called caste discrimination.

But, why should this situation prevail after 70 years of national independence and a 40 year state rule by the so-called backward communities? Did not the ‘Dravidian Rule’ result in overcoming the past structures?  This model of questioning would open up the simmering wounds that refuse to heal though artificially stitched for the last 40 years and made to appear as though all was well in the subaltern.

Were not Annadurai and Periyar Ramasamy Naicker, the much deified leaders in TN, supposed to have demolished the caste hierarchies in the state and made Tamil Nadu a ‘model’ , ‘rationalist’ and  an ‘egalitarian’ state for other ‘backward’ northern Indian states to follow? What happened to the long handed out history that has been proclaiming from the rooftops of the dawn of such an elite state in India?

If the scenarios depicted in the film are true -yes, they are true as most of the incidents are from real life acts in the state- then should we rewrite the history books in Tamil Nadu and throw the names, Annadurai and Ramasamy Naicker, to the dustbins of history?

The ending scene where two glasses, one with left over tea+milk and the other with just tea, depicts the reality in the state – that caste differences exist. The subtle message couldn’t have been conveyed with any other metaphor, for the prevailing ‘Two-Tumbler’ system in Southern Tamil Nadu cannot be hid under the carpet to paint a rosy picture in the state. 

Then there is the usual spineless caricature of the brahmins – the scene in TASMAC, the state run liquor shop, where a fellow drinker is shown as one wearing three strokes of the sacred ash and sporting a half open shirt that exposes a wrongly worn sacred thread while mouthing the peculiar lingo of the brahmins (‘mama jammnunu irukken paaru’). The liquor consuming brahmin had no role to play in the film. He appeared just for that scene. Then why should he sport the sacred ash, wear the sacred thread in a publicly visible fashion and mouth brahmin oriented lingo? Could that character not have been anybody else without any caste indicators? 

No Tamil film worth its salt is complete without such a down right racist and wanton degrading depiction of the brahmin community. Unless rabid hatred is infused into the genes, such a depiction is not possible.

Let us look at some Tamil films that have such rabid anti-brahmin sentiments.

The case about Kalam Hasan’s film ‘Virumandi’ is worth a look here. Leaving along the conflict regarding the title ( Sandiyar Vs Virumandi), the movie depicted a conflict between the militant Thevar community and a numerically minuscule Telugu speaking Naickers in southern districts of Tamil Nadu. The irony is that there is no conflict between Naickers and Thevars, both being wealthy land owning classes from the feudal setup. The real conflict in the southern states was between Thevars, the feudal landlords and Dalits, the landless exploited group. But portraying reality could have cost the film its very right to be screened. Could any movie maker worth his name make a movie on the annual ceremony to the legendary freedom fighter ( and a representative of the Thevar community) Muthuramalinga Thevar and the rise in tension in the region due to Dalit resentment opposing the ceremony?

The recent Tamil blockbuster ‘Kolamavu Kokila’ had a Brahmin character, with a ‘Sri Churnam’ – the traditional red mark that the Iyengar brahmins wear on their forehead – playing the role of a pimp. What is the obsession with ‘Sri Churnam’ is a question for sociologists to answer.

Kamal Haasan’s super hit movie ‘Viswaroopam’ had him play the role of a spy in the guise of a Brahmin that cooked chicken for his Brahmin wife that loved chicken. The wife works in the USA as an oncologist and Kamal Haasan is a live at home husband that tutors girls in Bharatnatyam. The role of a docile Brahmin is in direct contrast to a jihadi hunting spy is an excellent contrast, no doubt, and brought the extreme traits meet at a common point. But why should Kamal Haasan be shown as cooking chicken which he admits not to consume it in the film? And why should the wife be depicted as consuming the same? What kind of a retarded depiction is this?

Yet another Tamil film by name ‘Joker’ had another ‘Sri Churnam’ sporting assistant to a minister. Nothing wrong except that the assistant utters holy hymns of the saintly Azhwars ( 8th Century Vaishnavite saints) at the most inappropriate of places and occasions, one being near a toilet. There was no connection what so ever. Any comical relief that was sought to be brought never happened.

Let us come back to Pari Yerum Perumal.

Take the case of the English professor who punishes the protagonist and his friend for being grossly ill-equipped in English. In the scene where he chastises the duo, he is shown with a clean forehead. In the scene where he recommends suspension of the protagonist for entering into the ladies’s room, the Professor is shown as wearing the ‘Sri Churnam’. Note the connection – Sri Churnam –> Iyengar –> English –> Punishment for not being proficient enough in English and therefore anti-dalit. 

Would the film have depicted a devout muslim, wearing a skull-cap, consuming liquor or a christian, wearing the holy cross, chastising the Dalit protagonist? The film didn’t even provide a hint of the caste of the oppressors in the film. And that is ‘Social Justice’ for the uninitiated.

In spite of these traditional lacunae, the film ‘Pari Yerum Perumal’ is a tight slap on the collective conscience of the dravidian strain of politics in the “Rational Republic of Tamil Nadu’. 

The vicious brahmin-hatred ingested into Tamil cinema’s blood stream in the last 50 years rears its ugly head in incremental fashion, from time to time, and makes its presence felt. Now the venom has permeated into the genes, thereby successive directors have inherited the trait and are depicting the same in some form and measure, without fail.  

Compare these films with gems such as ‘Asthu’, a Marathi film, on the Alzheimer afflicted Sanskrit Professor. Though I would want to ask ‘When would Tamil movie industry produce such films?’, I don’t expect any introspection and correction in the Tamil cinema community, for the pedigree speaks for itself through the films it produces.


Hurray, suspended from Facebook

I had scheduled the below post six months ago when I had taken a hiatus from Facebook, but never published it as I had resumed my daily book reviews on the platform. But, yesterday, the platform decided to suspend my account, for a group of aroused activists had apparently ‘mass-reported’ a series of posts I had written to promote the holy practice of ‘Sandhya Vandhanam’.

I had published some old records of discourses on Sandhya Vandhanam by the legendary Sengalipuram Anantharama Dikshitar, Krishna Premi Swamigal and had urged those, who had the ordainment to do the ritual, to do so with the sincerity and devotion that was needed. As a practitioner, I stand testimony to the benefits.

Later, I had followed up with daily posts on the legendary Tamil savant ‘U.Ve.Saminatha Aiyer”s book ‘En Charitram’. I was so enamoured by the book that for the past one month I was continuously writing about the book as I progressed in an incremental basis.

Some groups had apparently thought that the above two amounted to ‘Ethnic Superiority’, ‘Racial Bias’ or some other stupid classification based on which posts and accounts could be suspended.

Facebook wants me to ‘contest’ the claim and reclaim my account. I have decided that there is no need to ‘pluck the nail’, as the Tamil saying goes, and have chosen not to plead for restoration of my suspended account. So much for freedom of speech.

Friends and well wishers have asked me to contest and reclaim the account. I could give in at a later time, but not now, for sure, even though I understand the immense broadcast capabilities of Facebook.

Here is the post that I had wanted to publish earlier.

I have been away from Facebook for a month now. I continue to link my blog posts to FB though I haven’t spent more than a minute in my Timeline. Once I post my blog link, I exit FB. ( now this will not happen, though)

How I feel now:

  • No more ‘Always On’
  • No more irritations in the morning
  • No more anxiety disorders
  • No more wasted / stressed days
  • Mind is free to discuss real matter rather than politically correct / perceived issues
  • No need to feign anger on issues that don’t have to be feigned on
  • No need to be politically correct while being rationally stupid.
  • No need to worry too much on a post that could be perceived as being sensitive
  • No need to be ready to consume abuse from unknown trolls
  • No need to be continuously bombarded with apocalypse and armageddon
  • No need to ‘feel’ for Syria, ‘stand’ for Cuba, ‘pray’ for Palestine and ‘save’ dog/cat/bull/whale with hashtags
  • No need to counter fundamentalist preachings of any kind

Benefits :

  1. Come out of the state of mind that any name that has a Christian or a Muslim connotation would naturally be anti-national and a social evil
  2. Peace, bliss, mental stability
  3. More time to read and write
  4. Mind is calmer, all neurons are well rested and ready to perform any analysis without any burnout due to social media induced stress
  5. The benefits list continues to grow.

BTW, the world hasn’t ended, yet. Facebook fights should be continuing and people would be abusing complete strangers and thus spreading the venom of irritation. Only that I am not partaking of the ‘feast’.

  • … and I will continue to be away from #Facebook.