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The Argumentative Indian

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Attracted by the author’s name and the title of the book, I bought Dr. Amartya Sen’s “The Argumentative Indian” a couple of years back. I never had any opportunity to know about him other than repeatedly reading the title (only the titles) of articles about him in all mass newspapers and magazines when he was honored with Noble prize. Finally, I woke up his book from the shelf only now to start reading it. I had just finished reading Imagining India before starting with this book. Now I feel that it would have been better if I had read this book before Nandan’s imagining. Sen has spent more time than Nandan on history. Thanks to his Bengali background - he deals with the controversial issues more firmly and openly.
When I bought the book I was thinking that he would have made good fun of Indians for wasting their time in arguments instead of doing anything constructive. I expected a lot of sarcasm. Only now do I realize that that is not how a Noble laureate would view things. He tal…

Feelings Day!

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It is an important milestone in my life today. I just joined my daughter in school. It’s a kind of emotionally charged day. I thought I would cry when I come out after leaving her. Luckily, they allowed my wife to stay there for sometime, which made things different. And, I ended up saving some tears for the next milestone. In the morning, when she left home, I was repeatedly reminded about the day she would leave home as a bride. I don’t know how I am going to handle that day. I don’t want to think about it. At the same time, I don’t want to avert thinking about it. It’s such a silly thing to think about it now when she is just three years old. But, I did think of today when she was born. It was indeed too early to think about it then. But, it did help me prepare for this day better. And, I never thought this day would come so fast. It has come now.
It’s not the first time to have experienced this kind of feeling. There have been many such days throughout. May be, the feeling could be…

Democrazy?!

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Democracy is the most popular model today despite all its drawbacks. All other models have larger problems (may be fewer) than what democracy has. So, not having any other model coming anywhere close to the popularity of democracy, all we could think of is about the changes that could be done to make democracy better, especially Indian democracy.
Though we have been boasting that we are the largest democracy in the world and keeping the democracy alive itself is one of the greatest achievements, I think that the results of last sixty years’ democracy are not very encouraging.
We have certainly done a lot of things, but they are far below standards. There is no point in giving statistics around things as basic as how many times we have had food and how many person-nights we have slept in last sixty years. By now, with so much academicians and intellectuals around, we should have at least ensured that there are no starvation deaths, no illiteracy and no record-breaking corruptions by po…

Traitors, Betrayals and Siblings' Rivalry

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All our epics, movies and stories have two characters, one hero and one villain. Hero is good and villain is bad. They are enemies. Enemy is someone whom you know very well that he would do everything against you. The epics and stories have also given an important place for traitors. Who is a traitor? How is he different from the enemy? Unlike enemy, the traitor is your own person who unexpectedly turned against you some day. The one that changed his side midway! He would have also become your enemy after that. At first, he is your traitor and then he becomes your primary enemy, more enemy than your enemy himself. What makes the traitors so special? They give the unexpected twist to the story. The story changes its course from that moment, which requires whole new approach, planning and strategizing. You don’t know much about your enemy, but you know very well about your traitor because he was your own man. On the other hand, your enemy didn’t know much about you, but has got good amo…

Respect - Too Much Is Too Bad?

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I don’t know how it was 50 years ago. But, what I have seen in my more than a decade long work experience is that those who have mastered the art of respecting individuals grow leaps and bounds. So are those who don’t give more respect than required too. It’s more obvious to more people today than some years ago that growth in any field is not purely out of technical competency but is decided based on many other factors including the people skills, which is one of the top most in the list. When we say people skills, it is not just respecting individuals, it also means handling them the right way. It is getting the most out of people by being good with them and treating them in the best possible manner, which also includes being tough with them when required. Needless to say, one need not be tough for the sake of being it or to test if s/he could be tough while feeling like that.
I have been criticized for not being good at respecting elders in family many times as I am seen to be someo…

Obsessive Observation Disorder!

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Observation is something that all of us human beings do on a daily basis. Those who do it more are supposed (more of self-supposition than by others!) to be more intelligent as they can foresee problems and understand hidden messages many times before the rest of the crowd does it. It has a good place in both science and philosophy. What I want to discuss about it today is not the science behind it and the philosophy about it or the benefits of doing it. It is the list of problems of doing it too much, i.e. overdoing it. I have been a victim of this many times myself. It has three major problems as far as I have observed (I want everything that I have done to be called ‘observed’, not as ‘seen’ or ‘heard’, as I feel superior about being a good observer!).
The first problem that I have observed is that all those who spend good amount of their time observing the people and objects around get addicted to the act of observation. It is like any addiction. Beyond a point it gets too much and…

Accidental Railway Minister?!

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The growing number of train accidents is disturbing the nation. May be, it would make us numb after some time if we keep hearing such news endlessly. I strongly believe they could be avoided to a great extent with the help of more responsible behavior and better laws. More so, because some railway stat says that 86% of the train accidents are caused by human error. On the other hand, someone clarifies that they are all system failures and not human errors. It is a very well known fact that both our systems and men are worse than those in other countries. So, I really don’t know which really causes all the troubles.
Irrespective of whatever it is, what comes out clearly is that the human lives are not valued by our governments as much as they are done in other parts of the world, may be, because they are too much in number. There is a dedicated page in Wikipedia to list down all the train accidents that happened in India. I don’t think any other country on earth has got such a page and…

Classical Tamil?

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Please understand the purpose of the post correctly. Before you start reading this, you may have to forget all the discussions going on around races and racism in India in the last few weeks. It's not on those lines. This was written sometime back with a different purpose, so please don't mix this up with such things.

There is always a complaint that Tamils are excessively proud about their language. I agree. It surely doesn't make them superior to others. If your language is older than someone else's or if it has more literature than someone else's, it is just a fact and there is nothing to feel superior about it. You can still feel proud about it, not excessively though. What makes them feel so? They truly believe that their language is an asset for them. The reasons are many. Antiquity of the language, the amount of literature they have preserved, strength of its grammar, vocabulary (though can't be compared with Sanskrit!), the love all their kings and thei…