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Vikas Kamat
 Vikas Kamat is a programmer- entrepreneur living in Birmingham AL. This blog is a complex mix of Indian culture, life in southern USA, computer sciences, and sports. Opinions are his own.
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Computing, Libraries, Tennis, India & other interests of Vikas Kamat

Kamat Condolence Meeting Durable Link to this BLOG
K.L. Kamat Condolence Meeting

A condolence meeting has been arraged to remember Kamat in the Mythic Society in Bangalore on 7th of March at 6 P.M. (The Mythic society is located opposite to YMCA on Nripatunga Road). Speakers include collegaues and family members. An exhibition of Kamat's books and works will be held.


First Written: Tuesday, March 05, 2002
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

Life, Death & Civilization Durable Link to this BLOG
Then there were only three

As you might know by now, my father passed away on February 20, 2002 due to a cardiac arrest. He was in good health, was actively developing new content for this site, and really should have lived another ten years. The Kamat team of four is now reduced to just three.

Out of Print Kamat

During a condolence meeting in Bangalore, we held an exhibition of fathers' works and it turned out that most books are already out of print. I especially want two important works of Kamat (Nanoo Americage Hogidde -- it will be its 12th edition, and KalaRanga) to be reprinted. If you know of a reputed publisher who can help with this, please contact me.

Update July 2002: The XII Edition of Nanoo... is out!


Potpourri of Life and Death

I am just back from India where I performed last rites for Kamat. The short trip to India, and the amalgamation of sentiments, duties, rituals, and personal loss has had a very profound effect on me, and it will be sometime before I can decipher them.

Fall of a Civilization

On my trans-Atlantic flight, I read father's last book The Return Journey, that I had not yet read. It is an interesting work analyzing what went wrong with the Indian civilization. Through simple dialogs and questions, Kamat has answered some of the deeply troubling questions about the Indian civilization. Most critics have said that Kamat does not provide a solution, but only engages in criticism of the present day Indian social system. That is indeed true. But the author provides deep insights into a well-knit socio-political system that was destroyed in India in the post-independence era. I never considered my father as a Gandhian, but his keen analysis only confirms Gandhi's fears and validates Gandhi's vision.

The Return Journey (Maru-Payana in Kannada) is published by Manohara Grintha Mala in Dharwad.


First Written: Sunday, March 10, 2002
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

Alankara Durable Link to this BLOG
Ornamentation in Indian Art

Ornamentation in Indian Art
I have reconstructed an old Internet exhibit Alamkara - 5000 Years of Indian Art by adding annotations, pictures, references and a new section on folk-arts.-- Ornamentation in Indian Art

Remembering Kamat

I have compiled a pictorial biography of Kamat in Remembering Kamat, and invite those familiar with my father to write to me about him, so I can feature in tributes.

First Written: Tuesday, March 12, 2002
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

Microsoft Coterie Durable Link to this BLOG
The Microsoft Coterie

In Indian languages there are these words that beautifully describe what I am trying to say. The nearest words in English language that I know are stooge and coterie.

First the words:

Chamcha or Chamacha -- literally meaning a spoon, it refers to the unnecessary noise created while washing a bunch of spoons together. Used both as noun and as a verb (Chamchagiri), it means sucking up to a person.

Balabaduka -- literally meaning "Tail Lifter" (to allow the beast to perform sexual functions), it refers to the insignificant people who follow a leader blindly, and live their lives for the benefit of the leader.

Bhabhdo -- the lowly brahmins who travel with Swamijis (Hindu holymen) attending to his human needs. They even wipe/wash the holy man after he takes a shit.

These days everywhere I am seeing Microsoft coterie, or friends of Microsoft. These people are champions of the Microsoft brand, Microsoft products, and everything MicroSofty. These are the people who bought Windows CE 1.0 handhelds rather than the Palms, waited for X-box (rather than PS2), and are now blowing their horns away in favor of the dot.net. They install new versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer every week, and ask others to do it promptly. For them, if Microsoft doesn't have it, you don't need it. They don't need AppServers (Microsoft doesn't have one, save the MTS for some other classification), didn't need cross-platform till dot-net, didn't need a CMS till Microsoft brought one, and don't need multi-user functionality.

Thou Art a Friend of Microsoft If..

  • You subscribe to the free issues of .Net Magazine.
  • The greatest debate for you is whether to learn C# or Visual Bob.
  • You won't fire anybody because they bought Microsoft.
  • "What is Linux?"
  • You don't make such a big deal about a rebooting a computer. Afterall, it just takes a minute.
  • If someone points out something that cannot be done with Microsoft technology (like computing the height and width of an image on the fly), you snap "Whachya wanna do that for?!"
  • Thank God, you are not using the vi editor!
  • "What are pipes? What is CGI?"
  • "We should reward Microsoft for their success, not punish them for their monopoly"
  • Only after a new iteration of Microsoft technology is released, that the flaws of the old version become obvious to you.
  • Your benchmarks are always against yet another Microsoft product! (like comparing the speed of ADO with ADO+)


First Written: Wednesday, March 13, 2002
Last Modified: 1/29/2003
Tags: microsoft

Portraits Durable Link to this BLOG
The Power of Portraits

Afghan Girl

This week, The National Geographic traces Sharbat Gula, the most famous, anonymous face ever photographed.

There's something about still human faces that cannot be told in words or even in video. The stills live with us, exemplified by the above photograph by Steve McCurry.

Of course, my father prided himself as a portrait specialist. See his Faces of India portrait series - I , II, III.

See Also:

• More portraits by K. L. Kamat
• Never Been Photographed: Introduction & Index


First Written: Thursday, March 14, 2002
Last Modified: 3/13/2002

Foolish Temple. Foolish Devotees. Durable Link to this BLOG
Foolish Temple. Foolish Devotees.

In India, Hindu fanatics today defied civil sense and a court order to offer a symbolic prayer at Ayodhya (link to CNN story).

I am reminded of a beautiful poem by Dinakara Desai.

Building a temple for the Lord?
Hmm. I see that you are. You foolish one!
You think you can contain the Lord in your four walls?
Can you build a wall around the universe for the Omnipresent?!
You foolish one thinks the Lord is needier than fellow poor man?!

(The Complete text in Kannada Language.)

BBC: FAQ on the Ayodhya Dispute


First Written: Friday, March 15, 2002
Last Modified: 1/29/2003
Tags: philosophy

Africans of India Durable Link to this BLOG
Africans of the Subcontinent

BBC: Africans of Pakistan
Siddis -- Indians of African Origin


First Written: Saturday, March 16, 2002
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

Computing via Email Durable Link to this BLOG
Computing via Email

I finally got around to finishing up the Email Delivery System I outlined before (See: Computing via Email and Content Managed Email). We have implemented most features already, and it is looking good. I have exposed a ASP-like Request and Response objects and Hiryoung is already found a killer use for the app. She is using it to eliminate SPAM.

Here's the rule/script in VBA to eliminate a type of SPAM in Remocon.

If Instr(Request.Subject,"Porn") >0 then Request.Delete
If Instr(Request.Subject,"SEX") >0 and
 Instr(Request.Body, "http://") > 0 then Request.Delete

Users can add their own rules blocking specific domains, users, keywords, size of the emails etc. You can check for attachments, query the number of other recipients etc., If you are a Microsoft Outlook Express user, you'd want to run Remocon before you check your InBox, so all SPAM would be gone.

Content Delivery via Email

Here's an example that serves offline content via email (content that is not on the web, but on my hard drive). Requests can be sent to a mailbox (to be announced later) with the subject, "Send Picture "

dim sPicture
If Instr(Request.Subject, "Send Picture") >0 Then
 sPicture = Trim(Replace(Request.Subject, "Send Picture", ""))
 sPicture = Replace(sPictureName, ".jpg", "")
 sPicture = "\\curie\kalaranga\pics\" & sPicture & ".jpg"
 'thats the network path of the offline archive
 Response.Attachment = sPicture
 Response.Send
 Request.Log
 Request.Delete
End If

Hey! now you don't even need a website to run an e-business; just an email account will do! You can distribute catalogs, vend reports, accept orders, and provide tracking all via an automated email system.

For the web developers out there, think of the email-subject as a HTTP GET request, and the email body as a HTTP POST request. Remocon provides the necessary means to write custom apps.

More Answers on Remokon

  • I am still testing the app. There's no documentation yet, neither there is a setup (It is Windows app, and needs a setup). It will be free for personal use like all my other tools are.
Update 6/2006 This idea has now morphed into a product and a service, complete with Autoresponder and email deflection. Details at Remokon.com

First Written: Sunday, March 17, 2002
Last Modified: 6/6/2006 1:34:31 AM
Tags: technology

Tributes to Kamat Durable Link to this BLOG
Tributes to Kamat

• My Best Friend K. L. Kamat
• Tributes to K.L. Kamat

First Written: Monday, March 18, 2002
Last Modified: 3/18/2002

Blog Calendar Durable Link to this BLOG
AnthoBLOGy Calendar

Here's a calendar of January & February Blogs.

 January 2002
..12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031..
 February 2002
.....12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
2425262728..

First Written: Tuesday, March 19, 2002
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

Oscars and Bollywood Durable Link to this BLOG
No Quota System for Oscars Please

Like every year, the media is abuzz with who's going to take the Oscars home. Unlike every year though the focus is on who has not won an Oscar before (African Americans, Indians, Recent Divorcees etc.,).

First, the Oscars for all their exclusivity and glamour, are not the holy grail of human achievement; the work or the effort itself is. We know of great movie makers who received very late recognition (Satyajit Rai and Steven Spielberg come to mind) or none at all. But that didn't make their contribution any less or any more.

It is important to recognize the achievers, but the platform does not matter. The fact that a movie is nominated, got good reviews, was inspiring, or was a commercial success is by itself a recognition.

It is true that black actors and actresses do not get many roles to prove their worth. But throwing away Oscars at them is a wrong solution. I think that they should be given opportunities to excel, and more versatile roles in quality and in quantity.

The Bollywood Mania

I must make a special mention of this Indian movie Lagaan that is nominated for the Oscars under the foreign films. The whole of India has become paranoid about the movie and its chances. I haven't seen the movie (I don't like Bollywood), but I find this commotion distasteful. India has far greater concerns to worry about (like a brewing civil war, a border dispute, and other old problems such as poverty, unemployment, corruption, and deteriorating environment), and Lagaan winning an Oscar is not going to solve any of them.

The argument that Lagaan winning an Oscar validates Bollywood movie making, is absurd.

Lagaan Paranoia Links

• Lagaan team clean bowls
• Lagaan's Oscar Trail
• The Lagaan Religion Page
• Indian Prays for Lagaan


First Written: Wednesday, March 20, 2002
Last Modified: 3/25/2002

Indya, Gaya.com Durable Link to this BLOG
RIP Indya.com

ZDNet: Indya.com is Gone

Indya.com started with an ugly show of its financial muscle, hype and unequalled fanfare. It paid no attention to quality of its programming or practiced thrift in its business processes. Even without the dot-com bust, Indya.com was headed for trouble.

Lesson from Indya.com -- If you are going to be a failure, don't be a failure that everyone loves to hate. Arrogance is never a virtue.

That leaves just four portal players in India -- IndiaInfo (who badly need a usability consultant for their website), Rediff (who badly need some kind of revenue), IndiaTimes (who need journalistic integrity), and Satyam (who are in need of all of above).


First Written: Thursday, March 21, 2002
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

India's Great Commentators Durable Link to this BLOG
India's Great Commentators

Today I read this fine analysis by Kuldip Nayar on what exactly went wrong with the secular policies of India. You can see the ripe maturity and a great understanding of India's psyche in the commentators of his generation that included Khushwant Singh, M.J. Akbar, M.V.Kamath, T.V.R.Shenoy, and Arun Shourie.

You've Read their Columns, Now See their Portraits.

I recently discovered some rare portraits of some of these commentators taken by my father.

© K. L. Kamat
Portrait of Arun Shourie
Arun Shourie
Portrait of T.V.R. Shenoy
T.V.R. Shenoy
Portrait of M.V. Kamath
M.V. Kamath

Links

An Interesting Anecdote

Arun Shourie is currently serving as India's Minister for Disinvestment. The above picture of him was taken in Syracuse, where both him and father were doctoral students in 1965. Upon my father's death, I also found a note signed by Shourie that said "Kamatji, you still owe me a photograph!".

I am not sure if father sent it to him, so I am going to.


First Written: Friday, March 22, 2002
Last Modified: 4/14/2003

Rembering Kamat (continued) Durable Link to this BLOG
Rembering Kamat (continued)

I sincerely thank those who have written to me about tributes paid by various Kannda publications -- Sunday's KannadaPrabha (Kannada Language Content) suppliment has Dr. Ramakanth Joshi's tribute "Literary Sage with a Contented Mind" and this week's Sudha weekly has a tribute by Samadarshi.

I have added a new page Kamat in Caricatures depciting my father in caricatures. Many are in fact drawn by my father himself.

Summary & Translation of Dr. Joshi's Tribute

Dr. Joshi runs the prestigious Kannada publication company "Manohara Grintha Mala".

"Our association with Krishnanand Kamat goes back thirty-five years, and we are proud to have brought out some of his best works. During my interactions with him, I found him absolutely meticulous, honest, and humble to a fault. I feel that he personified the ideals Gandhi had advocated. He would walk to work, and lived a life of bare essentials.

Kamat was a man who never complained. Our nation did not recognize his talents-- he couldn't even find a suitable employment upon his return from a doctorate in the U.S.A. in 1965 -- but he never complained. He found true joy and contentment in whatever he had. He established Scientific Photo Lab, a special service he provided to the scientific community in Bangalore. He enriched our lives through such unique books as Nanoo Americage Hogidde, Preyasige Patragalu, and Prani Parisara. His website Kamat's Potpourri is also a fine contribution.

There are many who feel Kamat did not get recognition, but Kamat didn't care, he didn't need any. He died a contented man, but the loss is all ours, of people of Karnataka, and of those who explore the human intellect.

Kamat was just but a flower, who left many literary and cultural seeds behind."

See Also:

• Kamat-Joshi Nexus

First Written: Sunday, March 24, 2002
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

Sour Grapes and Foolish Indians Durable Link to this BLOG
Sour Grapes and Foolish Indians

First, the Indian press makes such a big ado about one measly (for an indutry that produces a thousand movies a year) Oscar nomination.

And now that their movie did not win, they're calling the process lunatic.

Fools, damn fools, these Bollywood people.

• Why I hate Bollywood

Some friends and patrons have objected to my above comment calling Indian movie fans as foolish. Please note that I didn't call all Indians as foolish -- only those who are criticizing Oscars because Lagaan didn't win.

My only purpose of criticizing Bollywood is to improve it.

Bollywood produced over a thousand movies last year and my comment about the quality refers to over 990 of them.

For those who do not know, poor Indians are hooked on to the Bollywood movies from a young age (la drugs). On the days of new releases, one can see long lines outside the blood-banks in India -- people literally sell their blood to watch the movies. I feel strongly that the movie makers do not respect their patrons, and are engaged in a type of violence against them. Further, there is evidence that the movie industry has conspired with the mafia against India's citizens.

I once again deplore the poor quality of Bollywood movies as well as the fans who somehow think Bollywood represents India's best talent and her values. Bollywood really needs a overhaul, and those opposed to its criticism will prevent the change from happening.

First Written: Monday, March 25, 2002
Last Modified: 1/29/2003
Tags: bollywood

Content Overload Durable Link to this BLOG
Content Overload

I am keeping my word (at my father's funeral, I promised to keep his website running) and continue to add a lot of new content to Kamat's Potpourri. Here are some of the new stuff I've been working on:

  • Yama's Calling -- a new section exploring death in Hinduism; includes a FAQ and pictures of last rites.
  • The Festival of Colors -- Celebration of the Holi festival; includes depiction of Holi in Indian art.
  • The Palanquins -- A delighful picture collection culled from Kamat archives. This is the last consignment father sent before his death.
  • Supportive Kids -- This is the penultimate section father worked for Kamat's Potpourri and shows how children in India help the parents in household and financial matters. Includes graphic photographs of children at work.
  • Kamat Goes to a Cock Fight -- Pictures of a gambling sport in rural India that father took great pains to photograph.
  • Lots of new pictures have been added to PictureSearch bringing the total number of searchable pictures to over 6800.


First Written: Tuesday, March 26, 2002
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

Sports Website that Sucks Durable Link to this BLOG
How Not to Design a Sports Event Website

The official website for the Nasdaq-100 Tennis Masters Series (formerly Ericsson Open) just sucks. I started making a list of usability improvement it needs, but stopped because the site is totally unusable!

It takes six clicks to find today's results -- oh you can't find men's and women's results on the same page - six more clicks please.
Gee. This is torture!

I am going to submit it to Vincent Flander's Websites that Suck collection.

FYI, to learn how to design a website for a sporting event, see the Wimbledon site built by IBM.

Stories to Ponder

• BBC: Kuwaiti eloper to India arrested
• TIME: Anatomy of a Peace Plan
• USA Today: Who said the Enron scandal lacked sex?
• Washington Post: Death by Junk Mail ?!

First Written: Wednesday, March 27, 2002
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

My Hope for Middle-East Durable Link to this BLOG
In the midst of death, life persists
In the midst of untruth, the truth persists
In the midst of darkness, light persists
--Mahatma Gandhi

In the midst of Mid-East violence, peace persists?

Despite all the violence committed by either sides, I am upbeat about a fast settlement in the Middle-East. My reasoning:

  • Arafat is not going to live forever. When he is dead and gone, Israel would not have anybody to deal with. Time is running out.
  • I quote Gandhi again -"A nation or an army, no matter how powerful, cannot rule upon millions of citizens who are not cooperative." Although late, the people of Israel are beginning to understand this.
  • President Bush is not Clinton. Israel will screw up at its own peril
  • As an outside observer, the new peace plan put forth by Saudi Arabia seems like a fair/logical start to me.

Today is Holi Holiday

Holi -- The Festival of Colors

First Written: Thursday, March 28, 2002
Last Modified: 1/26/2003

Spring in Alabama! Durable Link to this BLOG
'Tis Spring in Alabama

The spring is in full-bloom here in beautiful Alabama. The Dogwood trees, Cherry-blossoms and Azalea in my yard have all bloomed simultaneouly

Kamat Home on a Spring Day

Things to do this Weekend

  • Concede the defeat of my risk-minimization strategy in NCAA gambling; it ain't working 8-(
  • Fix defects in Remocon What's This?
  • Assist with Gilbane Fund Lectures at Brown University (This year's focus is on Women and World Poverty)
  • Do the taxes
  • Yard work perhaps?
  • Easter Party on Saturday
  • Easter Party on Sunday
  • Complain that weekends are coming so rarely ;-- )

First Written: Friday, March 29, 2002
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

Women and World Poverty Durable Link to this BLOG
Lectures on Women and World Poverty

Details of Gilbane Fund Lectures on Women and World Poverty at Brown University:

  • Monday April 15: "Colonialism and Culture", lecture by Susan Moller Okin of Harvard University and a response by Uma Narayan of Vassar.
  • Tuesday April 16: "Development Economics and Gender" lecture by Susan Moller Okin and a response by Ann Ferguson of UMASS, Amherst.
  • Wednesday, April 17, "Women's Human Rights: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back" lecture by Susan Moller Okin and a response by Michael Watts of Berkeley.

Lectures will be held at 4:30 p.m. at Tanner Auditorium, 184 Hope Street at Brown University, and are open to public.

See Also:

• Interviews with Poverty -- Introduction and Index
• Expressions of Women in Indian Art

Clock that follows the Mouse -- HTML Wizardy or stupid HTML trick?
(Original author unknown)

At the Nasdaq Open Today: Jennifer vs Serena and Agassi vs Federer.


First Written: Saturday, March 30, 2002
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

Then and Now Durable Link to this BLOG
Then and Now

One year ago this month - my father was photographing the cable people.
Now - my father is dead, but the holes dug by the workers have not yet been filled.

See Also: Now and Then -- Compare and Contrast Life in India


First Written: Sunday, March 31, 2002
Last Modified: 3/31/2002

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