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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


Rama's Birthday Durable Link to this BLOG
Today is the festival of Ramanavami -- The birthday of Rama.

Chariot of Honavar Town

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 Durable Link to this BLOG
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:
Jyotsna Interviewing Actor Rajkumar
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).

• Wikipedia Entry
• 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. Durable Link to this BLOG
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 Durable Link to this BLOG
Understanding the Violence in Bangalore

Water Color  Painting by Vikas Kamat

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.

Important Bangaloreans Kannadigas

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.

N. S. Hardikar (1889-1975) Karnad Sadashiv Rao (1881- 1936)

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 Durable Link to this BLOG
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 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 Durable Link to this BLOG
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 industry"

"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 Durable Link to this BLOG
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.

Question (In ancient India) if men and women were to remain virgins until arranged marriage, what's the use of Kamasutra?!
(A student from Australia)
Answer For sex after the marriage, dear.

FYI: They married early in those years.

Question 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)

Answer 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 dating"

Question 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)

Answer 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, Simhamukha etc.
  • 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 church.

See Also:
• 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 Durable Link to this BLOG
Indian girl Konkani Girl With Fresh Catch Half girl, half woman

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 Woman".

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 Durable Link to this BLOG
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!

See Also:
• 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 Durable Link to this BLOG
BBC: Obituary: John Kenneth Galbraith

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

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