Computing, Libraries, Tennis, India & other interests of Vikas Kamat
|Google to the Rescue|| |
| Google to the Rescue|
Thank you Google (first heard via a private message), for understanding my email problems.
The announcement seems unbelievable, and initially I thought was a April Fool's prank. It still might be.
Anyway, let's restart the portal wars. I'd pay money to use my.google.com. I'd even pay to reserve the email address vikas_kamat
Many years ago, I implemented a merged blog idea (multiple blog entires by multiple authors merged into one page) at Kamat's Potpourri. Today a new service Kinja is launched that takes the idea into a new height. (via Megnut)very cool.
|(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)||First Written: Thursday, April 1, 2004|
Last Modified: 4/1/2004 3:14:44 PM
|Mangalya and Widowhood|| |
| Status of Widows in India|
Today I started reading S.L.Bhyrappa's classic Kannada novel "Gruhabhanga".
I love Bhyrappas' writing, because of his profound understanding of Indian
philosophies, and his own very harsh experiences of Hindu life. This one begins
with a thirty-one year old widow taking her son to task for not studying. The
fifteen year old son, in response, tells his own mother - "You let me be Munde!
(a derogatory word for a widow), otherwise I am going to ask Rudra the barber to
shave your head!"
The incident was so troubling due to my own experiences of witnessing the injustice meted to the widows, I had to stop reading and reminiscence.
Of course, the novel is set at a time in India where becoming a widow was
considered the worst of a woman's crimes.
You know, I do not believe much has changed since.
Tonsuring of the head might not be as common, although below is a photograph
taken in year 2001 -- widows will not even agree to be photographed, due
to social stigma.
© K. L. Kamat
The Misery of a Widow
In my childhood in village India, the above scene was a common sight. The
kids had been told that the sight of a widow was ominous and many a times, they
would spit and curse at her for what bad luck she might bring. In our
cloth-shop in Honavar, we had a large shelf of sarees meant just for widows.
There were only two choices: plain white, or plain red.
Within my own family, there were widows. My grandma was a widow, and while
she did not shave her head or wear mono-color, she did not attend any family
functions, including the weddings of many her children. Much to the credit of
Kamat family, Kaki was treated with affection and respect, and we did not
tolerate anyone hurling an insult at her.
My mother is a widow now, and I cannot imagine how can it ever be any of her
fault that my father is no more?!
Plight of Widows in India
Bhyrappa and I
Tribute to Grandma
|(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)||First Written: Saturday, April 3, 2004|
Last Modified: 4/4/2004 8:09:27 PM
|India's First IT Guru|| |
| India's First IT Guru S.R. Rangathanan|
I consider N.V. Satyanarayana, Managing Director of
Informatics, as the father of electronic library science in India.
And it was Satyanarayana who first told me about S.R. Ranganathan, the father of library sciences in India.
I then took interest in the life and works of Shiyali Ramamrita Ranganathan, and I find Ranganathan to be a great inspirational personality. Yet, not many within India have heard his name.
But everybody has heard of his principles: "Every man his book" said he, and "Every book its reader".
© Vikas Kamat
S. R. Ranganathan (1892- 1972)
IMO, Ranganathan was way ahead of his time. He was India's first IT
guru. A mathematician by education (B.A. and M.A. in Mathematics), he thought
deeply about information organization and classifications. He proposed what is
today known as the "Colon Classification System", which is fundamentally
different and IMO, fundamentally superior than the more established
classification systems (Library of Congress or Dewey Decimal System). For
programmers of today, colon classification is analogous to the object-oriented
model, where ability to change and adapt is built in.
Ranganathan was subject to many a hardships in the hands of government and
administration, and was repeatedly denied opportunities due to his caste. He
finally had to resign his job at the Madras University. But his ideas were
recognized by many scholars in Europe and in USA who saw the merits of a
future-proof content classification system. Ranganathan died in 1972 in
Ranganathan's multi-faceted classification ideas have found wide-ranging
applications in modern computer science -- from naming of reusable software
components to categorizing web content. That's why I am calling him India's first IT
|Tippu's Sword|| |
| Tippu's Sword|
The caption for Tippu Sultan's sword in our PICTURESearch says that it is a great collector's item among Westerners.
Correction, it is a great collector's item among wealthy Indians (Link to Indian Express).
IMO, there is not one Tippu Sultan's sword, but several that are in circulation. The pictures in our collection were taken during a CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation, a federal agency) raid. Here is a picture showing the details on it. Apparently, this is a different one.
Sword of Tippu Sultan
Biography of Tippu Sultan on the occasion of the bi-centenary of his brave death
|(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)||First Written: Thursday, April 8, 2004|
Last Modified: 4/8/2004 10:02:21 AM
|Roundup of Indian Weblogs|| |
| A Roundup of Indian Weblogs|
(This is neither the mela, nor the
- Nilesh's Shutterbug is a great visual
treat, this may not be new, it was to me.
- Essay Condoleezza Condescends by Niranjan Ramakrishnan
- A Tutorial on creating an
Indian Language Blog (specifically Bengali) by Debashish and Sukanya. I know
it is a royal pain, that's why you do not see many entries in my Kannada blog
- Kingsley is moving his blog, Madman
has become a restaurateur (wow), and Mahesh
is too busy to load a new filter. Babu recently relocated
to Bangalore (and has notes on pollution and all).
- A lot more new entries in Indian Blog Portal, look under Complete
List for only the new ones
|(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)||First Written: Saturday, April 10, 2004|
Last Modified: 4/10/2004 10:37:03 PM
|Tanenbaum Goes to India|| |
| The Great Indian Election Spectable|
This is election week in India and the whole nation is in high gear for the elections (link to BBC).
Tanenbaum Goes to India
photographs of India by Prof. Andrew Tanenbaum. (link first seen on a comment)
Contradictions abound: great beauty and horrible ugliness, tremendous wealth and abject poverty, super modern and extremely traditional. The only constant was the friendliness of the people everywhere I went.
Extreme Nation -- The Contradictions of India
|(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)||First Written: Sunday, April 18, 2004|
Last Modified: 4/19/2004 1:06:34 PM
|Google GMail|| |
| Google's GMail|
People who criticize Google's Gmail, don't get it.
The excitement is two folded. First it solves a fundamental problem for me, which is "..it takes longer for me to search my InBox than to search the whole Web".
Second, for those of us who feel choked by Microsoft computing, Google offers a ray of hope that it is indeed possible to compete against Microsoft.
I don't care for the privacy debate, yet I do understand what they are saying.
Perhaps Google could charge for the service without delivering ads. I'd pay $100/year for it. (I am a paying customer, and a heavy user of Yahoo Mail)
|(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)||First Written: Wednesday, April 21, 2004|
Last Modified: 4/21/2004 11:00:38 AM
|Misc Stuff|| |
| My regrets for the lack of updates here. I have been busy losing tennis matches (link to 0-5 USTA record), and earning a living.|
Amma on Manu
Amma takes a very sympathetic look at ancient Indian works of Manu. He is the Hindu sage who laid the code of conduct that determined the status of women in Indian society for centuries.
At one place he has said that "the woman is not worthy of freedom", in another place, he says "Gods live only where women are revered". The feminists have long made a career of condemning Manu, but Amma provides some fresh perspectives.
I do not want to subscribe to the opinion that blog posts should live forever. My database is getting full so I am thinking of what to do with older, insignificant entries.
Remove the news value of the post and make it relevant in any time period -- this involves removing of osbscelete links, removal of timestamps, and changing anchors from date/times to integers.
Remove insignificant posts
Some posts (especially by Amma) are very good; archive them as articles by placing them on appropriate content folders on Kamat.com
Provide a new way to Browse older posts, so even very old posts that persist can be linked meaningfully.
I have already started the process.. Browse Blogs now has deep links to every entry. It can be browsed by AnthoBLOGy or Amma's Column.
Old entries sometimes do make interesting reading. For instance see the first month of AnthoBLOGy.
|(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)||First Written: Friday, April 30, 2004|
Last Modified: 5/3/2004 10:43:26 AM
|This is how I surf the web. Turns out
creating your own start page beats all portals, back-flipping,
personalized corporate pages, and book-marking tools.