Computing, Libraries, Tennis, India & other interests of Vikas Kamat
|Rama's Birthday|| |
| Today is the festival of Ramanavami -- The birthday of Rama.|
It is the day Car festival is observed in the town of Honavar.
From Amma (via phone): It is also the day the car festival is celebrated in the neighboring town of Bhatkal. She adds, ".. despite the recent Hindu-Muslim riots, the festival was observed without untoward incident."
FYI: Bhatkal has a big Muslim population and has been a stronghold of Nawayat and Daldi communities. It is often the site of Hindu-Muslim clashes, mostly originating from silly arguments, and unfounded rumors.
|(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)||First Written: Thursday, April 6, 2006|
Last Modified: 4/7/2006 8:04:00 AM
|Raj Kumar No More|| |
| Kannada movie idol Raj Kumar has passed away. He was 77.|
He lived a life to marvel his illustrious career that covered five decades and more than two hundred movies. He had a great voice and has sung many film and devotional songs. In 1983 he took to streets to save the Kannada language, and in year 2000 he survived a kidnapping incident by the fearsome bandit Veerappan. A soft-spoken man, he made deliberate attempts to stay away from Indian politics.
He was a rare gentleman in the ugly industry of Indian movies.
From our archives:
Ammavru and Annavru
Amma Intervieing Raj Kumar, circa 1985
In the true Indian tradition of making violence in the aftermath of a death, riots have broken out in different parts of Bangalore (via a private instant message).
BBC: Rajkumar No More
|(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)||First Written: Wednesday, April 12, 2006|
Last Modified: 4/12/2006 2:34:18 PM
|Honda Civic Ad.|| |
| I have been opposed to use of Flash (see my 2002 entry: Flash is 100% bad), but today a friend sent a Flash presentation that really made me go wow.|
Honda UK: Advertisement for the new Civic (Flash animation/video) very cool. Now I want a Honda Civic.
|(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)||First Written: Thursday, April 13, 2006|
Last Modified: 4/13/2006 8:24:36 PM
|Understanding the Violence in Bangalore|| |
| Understanding the Violence in Bangalore|
Lot of people are shocked out of their wits about the violence that has marred
Bangalore in the aftermath of the death of a popular movie star, Raj Kumar.
I am sad at the violence and disruption. But I am not surprised or shocked.
That was to be expected. Raj Kumar was God to his fans.
I list below the my notes on such violence in India.
- Raj Kumar was a cult figure (just like MGR, Indira Gandhi, and Mahatma
Gandhi) and people worshipped him. Some people go the extent of immolating
themselves in grief. It is perhaps due to the emotional immaturity of present day Indian civilization, but their loss has to be understood.
- There is violence in India every time a great leader dies, because people
who don't grieve enough are punished by those grieving. They think that
someone not grieving enough is being disrespectful. So going to work or go
shopping as if Raj Kumar has not died is simply unacceptable to some segment
of the society.
- Crowd violence is bound to happen when a million people show up to pay
their last respects and are not given a chance. When people can't go to
Bangalore to attend the funeral, they get upset and burn the buses. When police try to restrict the crowds, the crowds get angry and stone the police. It is fundamentally a crowd management problem, except that in this case the
crowds are very upset.
- We have a saying in India "Gummulu Govinda" -- it is OK
to misbehave in a crowd because you are not going to be singled out for punishment.
Nobody is going to know who is responsible for the riots. We have seen this
everywhere; in Los Angeles, in New Orleans, as Indira Gandhi would say
"It is a global phenomenon"!
- The Raj Kumar's fans have a especially violent history. Once a
movie critic wrote a bad review of one of his movies and the fans kidnapped
the journalist and roughed him up. They regularly burn Tamil homes and
movie-houses. They take to violence to share river-water, to teach Kannada
or to balance the injustice meted out somewhere else. They probably are angry at me because I have not referred to him as Dr. Rajkumar (an honorary doctorate that the fans thought was so cool, they made it his first name)
I am not shocked, but I concur with Anita Bora that Raj Kumar did deserve a dignified funeral.
Talking about Bangalore, there is an important junction in Bangalore called "N.S. Hardikar Circle" named after a great man. But nobody seems to know about him. Today I am very proud to publish a biography of Narayan Subbarao Hardikar, a magnetic leader who served India so well.
Also, the plush Sadashivnagar neighborhood where Raj Kumar lived is named after this humble man.
|(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)||First Written: Friday, April 14, 2006|
Last Modified: 5/4/2006 4:35:49 PM
|Amma in Vijay Karnataka|| |
| I came to know via a tip from a reader (thanks Ganesh) that a conversation between eminent lawyer Hemalata Mahishi and Amma has been covered in today's Easter Sunday Supplement of "Vijay Karnataka" daily.|
The online edition of Vijay Karnataka requires registration, which is free. Look under April 16th Issue on Page 22.
Amma and Hemalata cover a wide range of topics in women's issues, divorce, updates to Kamat.com and changing status of the Indian family. The excellent feature about two mature ladies just being friendly neighbors is produced by V.N. Venkatalakshmi.
Here's a screen capture:
Photo by Ravindra Nayak for Vijay Karnataka
Precious Friendships: Neighbors and intellectuals Hemalata Mahishi and Jyotsna Kamat sharing a casual discussion.
|(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)||First Written: Saturday, April 15, 2006|
Last Modified: 4/15/2006 11:33:00 PM
|Outsourcing : Interview with Sid Mookerji|| |
Recently, Atlanta based Software Paradigms (SPI), my alma mater, opened a new office
in Mysore, and on the occasion, I spoke to Sid Mookerji, CEO of SPI about the outsourcing
industry, and promoting IT industry in the secondary cities of India.|
I thought his answers were very insightful. Some excerpts (I paraphrase):
"Taxing the IT industry in India will improve the health of the
"The best thing a Government can do in India to foster industry is
maintain law and order, and nothing else."
"There is a reason why software companies are getting into clerical
business. It's called customer demand".
Read the entire interview in a new section on oursourcing.
|(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)||First Written: Tuesday, April 18, 2006|
Last Modified: 4/18/2006 10:19:35 PM
|Examples from my OutBox|| |
| As the host of Kamat's Potpourri, I serve as an Ombudsman
for India and Indians everyday. |
Some recent questions and answers that I provided.
(In ancient India) if men and women were to remain virgins until arranged marriage,
what's the use of Kamasutra?!
(A student from Australia)
For sex after the marriage, dear.
FYI: They married early in those years.
I've been trying to research Indian dating etiquette as it is practiced in the United States. My daughter
likes a young man of 15 (of Indian origin) who states he is not allowed to date, and not wanting to pressure or offend him, we'd like to learn more about the situation so we can accept, respect and support it. Do you know, or can you guide us to a resource?
(Mrs. J, USA)
Dating rules vary from family to family. There is no general rule or
consensus about dating among the Indian community within USA.
It's not that they do not trust their children, but I think the conservative parents would like to shelter their kids from
distractions of dating, and perhaps might allow them to date at a later age (18 or 20 perhaps) as they mature.
There is also an element of "arranged marriage" (that is the parents will choose whom the boy will date), "purity of character" (I think
you know what I am talking about -- no pre-marital sex, but sex is just a fiber of it, they might think that two people who have never
dated can make excellent spouses -- a theory that many feel has some mustard in it).
Anyway, I cannot generalize. You have to go by case-by-case basis.
Sorry, I am not of much help. But if the family insists on him not dating, it is best not to pursue. I'd encourage you make a telephone call to the boy's parents just to see where they stand. They might feel honored that you asked them and might allow him to date your daughter -- a form of "arranged
I am studying Kavi Art. What proof do you have to say that Portuguese
didn't bring it to India as it is generally believed here in Goa?
(Ph.D. Student, Goa)
I'm sorry, you have to do your own research. But consider this:
- Kavi art is not found in Portugal or other European countries.
- It is found mostly in parts of Karnataka, far away from Portuguese influence.
- It is found in temples dating prior to Portuguese establishment in India.
- The thematic designs are predominantly Hindu, with use of Shankha, Chakra,
- If Kavi art murals are found in Churches of Goa, it just means that local
artists and techniques were used by the Portuguese to build that particular
Introduction to Indian Culture
List of Frequently Asked Questions & Answers
Samples from my InBox
|(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)||First Written: Thursday, April 27, 2006|
Last Modified: 4/27/2006 7:55:59 PM
|Weddings in Kamat Family|| |
Congratulations to Pavitra Kamat of Honavar (presently at
Mysore) and Dinesh Rao of Bangalore (presently in Melbourne, Australia) on their wedding engagement.
Pavitra, my cousin, has been a great photographic model to my
father's hobbies, and you will see her pictures spread throughout this site, most famously as "Half Girl, Half
A grand engagement party was held in the historic Rama Mandir (a great source of beautiful Kavi Art murals, BTW) of Honavar, where 1200 guests attended!
Looks like 2006 is going to be full of weddings in my family (Indian family includes the extended members). This is the second engagement already. Two more are expected.
My joke is that Kama is very favorbale to the Kamats this year
Silly Bug in Crowbot Software
If you see that Half Girl, Half Woman
page, one of the recommended pages is about Guljarilal
Nanda. I have no idea why. My software does silly
stuff like that sometimes...
|(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)||First Written: Friday, April 28, 2006|
Last Modified: 4/28/2006 8:25:55 AM
|Dear bloggers, do not steal from me|| |
| Since copying and plagiarism is in news (Kaavya Viswanathan and Pinging from Bangalore), this is a good time to remind my fellow bloggers of my old policy, because I am finding a lot of our contents being used without credits, especially use of photographs in Wikipedia articles.|
Many thanks to all the friends who are reporting such theft. It is heartening to see that others are keeping a close eye on my behalf. It took my parents a lifetime to compile these contents, and I thank you for respecting the decades of labor and scholarship that went into them.
A Special Note About Stamps
I have written that stamps are in public domain, that doesn't mean you can steal a scan of a stamp from me! Collect your own stamps and scan them. If you use mine without credit, it is still stealing!
Accumulation of Kamat Photo Archive
Rediff: Copy Wrong
Indian Stamps Database
|(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)||First Written: Saturday, April 29, 2006|
Last Modified: 4/30/2006 8:47:22 AM
|Prof. Galbraith No More|| |
| BBC: Obituary: John
Prof. Galbraith, whom my dad used to quote often, passed away. He was 97.
Galbraith was a professor at Harvard University, and served as an Ambassador
to India during Kennedy Administration.
"India is the greatest working anarchy" is my favorite quote of his. He must have said that in the 1960s. It is true even today.
|(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)||First Written: Sunday, April 30, 2006|
Last Modified: 4/30/2006 11:48:17 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.