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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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Best of AnthoBLOGy

Unripe Revolution
Rooster's Dharma
Don't Know Jack
No Love for Condi
Blogger's Block
Father of  the Bride
TinTin's Diary - I
TinTin's Diary II
Hate Bollywood
Child Labor
M.F.Husain Guilty
Marathi & Konkani
Artist's Daughter
India's First IT Guru

 

Computing, Libraries, Tennis, India & other interests of Vikas Kamat

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Google to the Rescue Durable Link to this BLOG
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

Merged Blogs

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

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Mangalya and Widowhood Durable Link to this BLOG
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
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?!

See Also:
• 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

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India's First IT Guru Durable Link to this BLOG
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
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 Bangalore.

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 guru.

See Also:

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Tippu's Sword Durable Link to this BLOG
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.

The Sword of Tippu Sultan and Engravings on it

See Also:

Tippu SultanSword 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

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Roundup of Indian Weblogs Durable Link to this BLOG
A Roundup of Indian Weblogs
(This is neither the mela, nor the kela)

  • 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

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Tanenbaum Goes to India Durable Link to this BLOG
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

Many wonderful photographs of India by Prof. Andrew Tanenbaum. (link first seen on a comment)

Quote Begin

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.

Quote End

See Also:
• 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

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Google GMail Durable Link to this BLOG
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

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Misc Stuff Durable Link to this BLOG
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.

Stale Blogs

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.

Some Ideas:
• 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

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