Tuesday, June 27, 2006

This one I really liked, talks about our cultural heritage in south east asia, something that doesn't get much prominence in our school textbooks. The article has some nice pictures in it too, must say, this is quite an unusual article, some beautiful illustrations accompanied by some stinging food for thought!

Greater India's magnificent heritage


Rajeev Srinivasan on India's cultural empire

The earthquake that struck Indonesia's Java island late in May was especially tragic. Not only in terms of the many victims of the quake, but also in the damage done to the temples at Prambanan.

In the vicinity of Java's cultural capital, Jogjakarta, stand two of the greatest treasures of Indonesia's Indic heritage, the temples at Borobudur and Prambanan. I visited them both about fifteen years ago, so I was anxious about any potential damage to them from the quake, and alas, there was quite a bit.

Borobudur is the Buddhist temple built 1300 years ago; and Prambanan, originally Brahma-vana, is the Hindu temple built 1,100 years ago. The two could not be more different, architecturally speaking. Borobudur is squat, hulking, powerful, a giant stupa that is a man-made mountain; in fact, it is the largest structure in the entire Southern Hemisphere. Prambanan is tall, slender and ethereal.

Prambanan consisted originally of three slender towers reminiscent of the North Indian style, as well as over a hundred smaller, subsidiary temples which are generally in ruins. The three major towers were dedicated to each of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva; only the central temple, the one for Siva, was mostly intact even before the quake. It was also known as Lorojonggrang ('slender maiden' in Bahasa Indonesian). Now it too is apparently badly damaged in the quake.



http://specials.rediff.com/news/2006/jun/26sld1.htm

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The article definitely raises some interesting points, earlier i probably would have dismissed this article, now i think it is well worth a think over


Think it over

Patriot or Nationalist: What are you?
By M.S.N. Menon

Do we Hindus know the difference between patriotism and nationalism? More often, we do not. We ask in surprise: “What is the difference?”

Let me illustrate: Tagore was a nationalist. Jinnah was a patriot. Nehru was a nationalist. Iqbal was a patriot. To Tagore, India was a “living mother”. So she was to Vivekananda. But to Jinnah, she could be no “mother” of any kind.

Tagore wanted to be born in India “again and again.” That would be blasphemy in Islam. “With all her poverty, misery and wretchedness,” Tagore says, “I love India most.” Why? Because “it has been the haunt of our gods, the hermitage of our rishis, the nourishing mother of our forefathers.” Jinnah would have been horrified at these thoughts.

Yes, we Hindus have a special relation with India —with everything Indian. Which explains why we were nationalists ready to make the greatest sacrifices to liberate the country from foreign invaders. The minorities in this country may be good patriots, but they certainly have no “special” relation with India.

And we Hindus are bound together by an inner unity. This was not geographical unity or political unity, but cultural unity, says Nehru. Which is why it could not be broken up in a thousand years by foreign invaders. Hindu nationalism grew out of this seed-bed.

And this cultural unity was set by none other than Shankara, the greatest philosopher of Hinduism. In his brief but strenuous life, he demonstrated what constituted the culture of India and the cultural boundary of India.

Geographically, India is more or less of a unity. Politically, she has often been split, “but right from the beginning, culturally,” says Nehru, “she has been one because she had the same background, the same traditions, the same religion, the same heroes and heroines, the same old mythologies, the same learned language (Sanskrit), the same places of worship spread out all over the country. To the average Indian, the whole of India was a kind of punya bhoomi, a holy land.” Thus, says Nehru, the agnostic. According to him, “there arose a common Indian consciousness, which triumphed over and partly ignored the political division of the country.”

In choosing the four corners of India for this mutts—for his order of Sanyasins—Shankara set the cultural boundary of India. The political boundary of the Hindus had waxed and waned, but never the cultural boundary.


rest of article here: http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=137&page=14

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Nice article about how India could hit the big time in football. As always, the solution is to get our dastard(or is it bastard) politicians out of the way.

It’s the will, stupid
BY M. J. AKBAR

19 June 2006



HOW big is Togo? How small is Togo? How big is India? How small is the Indian? How petty is the mind that manages Indian sports? How minuscule is the pride that a nation should have in its sports team? How complacent are we Indians — or for that matter, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Sri Lankans, Nepalese, the wretched non-performers of South Asia — that we permit our sports czars to crush our national pride so that they may pick up the travel allowance perks of officialdom.


How humiliating that young men of Kolkata pray for the success of Brazil (or possibly, after Crespo, Messi and a goal against Serbia and Montenegro that will remain imperishable in my memory, Argentina) in the World Cup because the Indian football team is a pathetic joke that would not find a place in the dustbin of MAD magazine. It was not always so. In the 1950s India was a pre-eminent side in Asia, in the hunt for medals at the Asian Games or even the Olympics. Chuni Goswami can tell you the story over a glass of something soothing at his club in Kolkata. But while other nations in Asia and Africa (which did not exist on the sports map of the world) put sweat into their skills and passion into their dreams, we Indians slid into a swamp.

Who is responsible for this degeneration? The easy answer? Politicians. Politicians have usurped the leadership of sport after sport, and presided over failure and collapse with the aplomb of the indifferent. But that is only part of the guilt. There is no reason why politicians should not be as fond of a sport as doctors, lawyers. Politicians also have the acquired or natural talent for dealing with people, and sport is nothing if it is not public. The problem is that in India sport serves the politician instead of the politician serving the sport. Sport is the means to presence in media space, a bridge for sprints by vanity. This is a particularly Indian disease. The only fatal disease more fatal to sports is possibly the Pakistani disease, where generals suddenly mature into experts on squash or volleyball the moment the pips come off the shoulder.

The syndrome is similar, for both use power to extend their clutch over sport. Since no Pakistani politician is in power, although some are in office, it is inevitable that the outreach quota should be filled by generals. What is the difficult answer? That we, the people, who love sports and love our country, and thirst to see our national team win a match or two in the World Cup finals, let our self-appointed masters get away with this crime. Why do we permit our institutions to be purchased by non-professionals? Why is there no public demonstration of anger? Tony Blair may have been one of Britain’s most successful Prime Ministers, but when he is eased, or hopefully pushed, out of 10 Downing Street the one job he will never get is management of England’s football fortunes.

rest of article here: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticleNew.asp?xfile=data/opinion/2006/June/opinion_June58.xml§ion=exclusive&col=

Thursday, June 01, 2006

After all the heavy duty postings these past few days, thought I'd get back to something more light hearted. Just stumbled upon this article today, wish I had four yrs back!I had no idea strategies to hook up with girls at bars and clubs were this well- thought out!

A bud for the ladies
Fly solo, and a guy can get so shot down. Wingman to the rescue!
By Laura Sessions Stepp

WASHINGTON - In the back of the club, on a bench built for two, a short college guy with a baby face is putting the moves on a miniskirted beauty whose shapely legs, crossed just so, rival Katie Couric's. The only thing between him and his destiny is her girlfriend, squished between the two of them, large lips in a pout.

Shakira's "Hips Don't Lie" is blasting from the speakers at U Street's Republic Gardens, rented out for an end-of-school-year bash. There's not much dancing going on, but lots of drinking and flirting among what appear to be mostly students from George Washington University.



The young suitor is neatly dressed all in black, his long-sleeved shirt tucked into pressed cotton trousers. In this casual crowd of colorful polo shirts and frayed jeans, he might as well be wearing a sign that says, "Trying too hard." As he presses his end of the conversation, the beauty nods slightly but her eyes roam the room. He ignores her friend, whose pout grows ever more pronounced. If anyone ever needed a wingman, this guy is it.



You know the wingman. He's the guy who accompanies his buddy to a bar to help him pick up babes. He does whatever it takes to give his friend some time alone with the girl of choice: telling flattering lies about him, enticing away the sidekick girlfriend, running interference at the approach of a rival male.

He's like the fighter pilot flying beside and slightly behind the lead pilot in a hostile environment -- thus the term. You saw the prototype in the 1986 flick "Top Gun": Anthony Edwards's Goose (who was married!) to Tom Cruise's Maverick. You've seen him in a Coors beer commercial, "taking one for the team" by baby-sitting a plain Jane while his pal grinds it out with a hottie on the dance floor. You've heard country singer Toby Keith complain on his latest album about being a "Runnin' Block" for his buddy. You can go online now and rent a wingman or even a wingwoman (who softens up the target first by saying something girly like "Love your shoes!" before turning her over to the guy).


rest of article here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13055980/

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