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Monday 20 July 2009

Flickr

This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.



www.flickr.com








prashant menon's itemsGo to prashant menon's photostream



Wednesday 20 May 2009

a new venture - ambigrams

This is the new pastime. ambigrams
Though angels & Demon of Dan Brown formally introduced me to the concept, it was not before I visited the ambigram Flickr community and John Langdon's website that I decided to give it a try.

Since I have no formal training or much capability in Calligraphy or Font creation/designing, I must say I rely on already available fonts and their modifications to achieve the same. I prefer using Old English Text Font to create ambigrams using Paint.NET software.

These are some that I have been able to create or do.
They stand for amit and eldrich.
more updates soon.



Tuesday 12 May 2009

Secularism 1.1

These are just how various institutions/sites/persons define secularism :
  • Answers.com:
  • Religious skepticism or indifference
  • The view that religious considerations should be excluded from civil affairs or public education.
  • WordNet :
  • a doctrine that rejects religion and religious considerations
  • Wikipedia:
  • Secularism is the assertion that governmental practices or institutions should exist separately from religion and/or religious beliefs.
  • Wikitionary:
  • A position that religious belief should not influence public and governmental decisions
  • The related political belief in the separation of church and state
I find skepticism, indifference, rejection all too caustic to define secularism.

Secularism is not about outright rejection of religion like our dear Communists do. Its not about separation of religious beliefs and ones thoughts. This is not refining but sheer destruction. What is a man without religion? Its the fabric that protects him from the coldness of Ignorance, corruption, etc. Religious skepticism or indifference is the negative way of approaching secularism. Its not about denying justice to majority community to show sympathy towards the minority. What I find today happening worldwide in the name of secularism is outright rejection of religions and religion bashing.

Many have a feeling of rationality and religion never going together. Its wrong. Every religion goes through a phase where it needs revision to adjust to the world scenario. When this fails and when the religion sits rigid stubbornly refusing to change, the gulf of division between secularism, rationality deepens with religion. Its then, religion appears to do more harm than good. But is it still justified to throw out the religion ? No. You be the change to change others. Religion is not a conglomerate business where it can be led by certain people and diffusion of freshness is considered abhorrence. Every religion is open for scrutiny and revision. So secularism is about taking religions along amicably.

One must understand when there is a talk of revision of religion, its not much of change that is needed but little tweaks from time to time. When change is needed means not change in the religion but the way we see it, the way we interpret it. I strongly believe the foundation or the philosophy that enshrines every religion is similar be it the Abrahamic religions or Hinduism or any others. Its universal.

Separation of state and religion is somewhat people wish for but rarely seen. It simply means doing ones karma without buckling under any pressure. Isn't it what all religion speaks of ? So you wish for their separation while every religion speaks of it. Its never the fault of the religions but their erroneous interpretation as majority of the religious scriptures are also excellent rich works of literature that always remain open for fresher interpretation. Separation of State-Religion is what Church needed during the Dark ages, what Indians needed after the Old Vedic era. Religion and State are both potent, powerful and the mixture of both results in an explosive nitrate mixture unless handled carefully. History has always been witness to their union and it simply proves their separation is not easy and not the modus-operandi for secularism. What is needed is more like a controlled explosion where more religious freedom must be there, where diffusion and assimilation of thought are needed. We need to create awareness about what religion means and what is the use of its philosophies. People must know, what is the actual thought of the religion and how sciptures and objects that represent religion are just simply props to convey the actual essence that is hidden deep inside the realms of literature. Then the question of separation wont arise and both state and religion will live side by side amicably.

In Indian Political scenario itself, every party anoints itself as secular while lambasting others as non secular. Every political party is everything other than being secular. Every party is guilty of minority or majority appeasement, bribing and threatening them. Be it National parties like Congress, BJP or regional onels like Left, RJD, LJP, SP, BSP, etc. I consider preference over justice also as a denial of justice. Reservations exceeding 50% is in itself a show of degenaration of secularism. Its more than half a century of Independence and still the goals of reservation remains to be achieved. People forget, reservation was supposed to be a short time impulse boost to the neglected to attain parity. Instead now there is parity in disparity. India finds itself in unique contrasting position where it breaches its own constitution by preventing application of Uniform Civil Code. I find the Pseudo secularists Congress and their allies guilty of it. One must understand the Political system of India is guilty of asking and restraining the majority under the chains of secularism while preventing seepage of secularism to minorities. LJP had recently commented to raise a complete dalit batallion in the army. Look at Mayawati, who wishes tp become PM just on the credential of being dalit queen. This is the disarray in Indian political system where secularism is of negligible importance.

What secularism we see today is a complete sham and I must say its just pseudo secularism People must see through this. We need a political renaissance.

Friday 10 April 2009

Who will become the PM ?


Prime Minister or PM is the humongous country India's top notch position or I should say was.
"Humungous" not just geographically but the extreme diversity unseen anywhere else but still holding itself together along with all problems a developed, developing and under developed nation faces makes India's position unique and important. It is a strong and weak nation where pluralism and singularism co-existing amicably and a country full of youth but run rigidly by olds make it a rare and strange combination.
&
"was" because nowadays the projected prime minister rarely displays a strong personality, reflects qualities of leadership, clarity, strength. Nowadays, the voters hardly know who their prime-ministerial candidates are. I doubt, the parties even fathom over it until the elections results are declared. Its now a post reserved for the most faithful stooge of the party who will go by what the party wants.
So,
Running such a country with population second only to China with so many differences, opinions, wants, demands, suggestions and over all these things many parties makes the throne a thorn. So can any Tom-dick-hardy be allowed to be the ruler ? when so many things are at stake ? Definitely Not!
This time around, almost every party has an aspirational prime ministerial candidate. BJP has their aging but still fiery leader Mr. Advani while Congress(I) has their steward Dr. M. Singh who seems to be filling the vacuum until their Yuvraaj assumes complete iron power from his mother. BSP projects Mayawati as their candidate or is it herself projecting her as their candidate ? Does that matter ? No. Then we have the RJD (Lalu P), LJP(Paswan), NCP(S. Pawar), AIDMK(Ms. Jaya) among the others. I don't consider, Left - a force to recon at least in this election. If predictions and the anti-incumbency, multitude of corruption cases during their rule in Kerala, the CPI and CPI-M split in seat sharing, split between chief minister and party Secretary, Nano & Nandigram atrocities are to be considered they will face almost complete swing in Kerala as also earlier unseen public retribution in W-Bengal.

Those days have long left us when every party had a clear ideology and the prime ministerial post was a post for doing service to nation and its people. Those days have long forsaken us, when lust for power never over powered national interests. Today, Indian politics is a lucrative business where fame, power, money and respect are at stake and the odds of profiting is higher than the speculative bear markets. Also unlike any other field, accountability is feeble and the articles in the constitution insulates against action over serious lapses, crimes etc. For a small investment at the time of election in terms of political canvassing, freebies and goodies; the politicians break even very fast with margin of profit that is limited only by ones ability to gloat and justice.

I pity for the school children & for India, as we nowadays rarely produce any quality leaders who are successful in capturing center-stage. School children still need to look at leaders pre- 1983 and even 1947, when they have to write essays about "My favourite Indian Leader". Our school history books are forced to teach history till our Independence (1947) , as then there begins massive detoriation of our system and consciouness of our politicians.

I am still shell shocked over Mr. Paswan's portrayal of deep concern for dalits by suggesting new regiment for dalits. For few days, the tamil issue seems to be quite rocking the Indian political scene. Almost all political parties seem to be jumping the wagon to show their soidatory for the tamil elam movement in Sri Lanka. I hope the Tamilians do understand the hollowness of these lip service gestures and punish those who are trying to earn a goal over the issue. <I suppos I will write one new post on this issue>

Somehow the shoe throwing incident seems to be the best thing to come out of this year's election. It seems to be quite effective in sending message. Suddenly the common man - the poorest of poor can make a statement. He has no weapons but a simple rugged slipper to project his feeble voice across the table. Nice, someone must create a machine gun and cartrige for slippers so that many one after another can be sent to deliver the message.

Yes, Vote but to whom ?

Its election time in India and the people of this largest democrazy in the world will decide which oldie can sit in the thorny throne in New-Delhi for a max of 4-5 years (ie. if the oldie doesn't wither or his/her supporting allies doesn't back-stab or an early election is needed to prevent anti-incumbency factor shadowing the positives)

The Major power houses at the centre are Congress and BJP. Unfortunately their power domain has been steadily decreasing while regional powers gain at their expense. As a result it has been a very very long time since any individual party has surpassed the magic number to form its own government. Coalition governments has been the mantra for an irritatingly long time. Thus the formation of UPA coalition of Congress and NDA of the BJP is seen. Coalition gave rise to politics of adjustments and compromises, where even the smallest fraction of the coalition could hold the government to ransom over petty personal issues. The thought that coalition would bring moderation and result in better welfare/administration has been dashed long ago.

Regional parties are many and I can confidently say its definitely more than the states of both US and Canada. Every state has at least 2-3 regional parties who align themselves at the centre either with the BJP or Congress.

Left and their allies have formed the third front and hopes to present an alternative to Congress, BJP lead governments at the Centre. Their alliance partners are so colorful and myriad which includes Tamil Nadu's amma, andhra pradesh's Mr. Naidu, NavinPatnaik's BJD from Orrisa, Deve Gowda JD from Karnataka and some more. I am not sure whether BSP supremo Mayawati will stay after polls.

For many of these parties, its still Castes, sects, reservations, concessions, religion, freebies, goodies that dominate their manifesto. Development and socio-economic upliftment, judicial and defense forces modernization is hardly an issue. Leave alone these issues, for a starter just check how many young candidates are given tickets by parties. Its all oldies and oldies. How can Indian public remain mute over this when there is always demand for fresh young blood to be given chance in cricket? For instance, Congress poster boy Rahul doesnt seem to reflect the party in Kerala where hardly any ticket has been issued to the youths.

  • Every party in India lambasts BJP as non secular. Why ? Congress, SP, RJD always play the majority-minority card but still gets tagged as secular. Why? There is hardly any party that cares for any religion or region.
  • BJP accuses Congress over the anti-Sikh riots of '83 while its own hands are not clean in Gujarat.
  • I find the Left as the most corrosive party as they in the name of secularness admonish every religion. I find it infuriating when Kerala Left leaders visit Sabarimala on Jan14th and stand in front of all devotees denying them darshan and nonetheless say they have come to check security arrangements.
I want to vote for a party/canditate :
  1. which believes in separation of State & Religion
  2. believes in conducting community meet programmes unlike people like Govinda
  3. declares his aim, vision and leader before polls
  4. which believes in true socio-economic upliftment and refrains from giving away color tvs, rice-wheat or resrvation soaps.
  5. shuns political horse trading and dilution of its principles just to come in power and wont enter into post poll alliances (Its not right for voters as this dynamic action doesnt have the blessings or say of the common public)
Is it possible ?

able was i ere i saw 'in to the bag'.

Its a week since my camera went MIA. It was Thursday afternoon when i put my hand in my bag to feel my camera in college. A sudden vacuum filled my stomach and adrenalin shot up as I knew this is serious. My camera was no where to be found, even after 15 minutes of frantic searching. Thorough search was initiated in my house for recovery of my camera though in vain.

The feeling of permanent loss was strong this time. Somewhere down deep in the heart, I knew this was irreversible. The emotional and economic loss is immense and intense for not only me but many in my family.

Wednesday was the day the camera met its downfall; a day before I sensed its loss. The accuracy and precision of the heist makes it an insider job. A job done with such accuracy and stealth that it points to people who knew where I safely secured my camera in my bag.

People ask me why in the world would you bring it to college and my reason is, there is photo worthy life in between college and house which i wish not to miss. Photography for me is not about simply catching holiday pics but to capture emotions and life in its natural form that do not give prior intimation of its arrival and departure. Things that represent randomness and unpredictability attract me. I wish not to lose even a single day in learning new elements of photography for every lost day is a lost step in my ladder. So was it worth the risk ? Yes and no. Loss is still loss and it hurts especially when you have spent your last year and half entirely with the camera; hand in hand, thoughts together for a result that gave me satisfaction none else could provide.

so what next ? As the show never stops, life must move on though scarred. I fear not for the crucifix held by my friends or others who glee at my misery for that's the way world works. Presently, I got an exam at the pedestal to worry more about. May be it is time I move from auto focus to manual focus. However it will be long long before I again own a wonder called camera


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