Computing, Libraries, Tennis, India & other interests of Vikas Kamat
|What's new|| |
| What's New For May 2002|
These are the new contents I am working on for this month:
Patrons Suggest Content Ideas
Thanks to everyone who has responded to my call for ideas.
Here's a listing of some of the ones I liked:
Add local legends when narrating history
Add a database of ancient weapons
Make the Kamat Monthly Newsletter a fortnightly
Provide longer captions to pictures
Show the hand-writings of some of the famous people who have corresponded with Kamats
Add more coverage of Indian festivals
Patrons Contribute Content!
In the last month I have recieved a lot of content submitted by our readers. While I have enjoyed viewing/reading them, I simply do not have the editorial and other resources to publish them. I encourage people with ideas to take up self-publication like a website or a blog.
Samples of the content submitted by my readers:
Research of Slaves in India
Pictures of Goa
Pictures of interior Karnataka
Pictures of interior Andhra Pradesh
If you have signed up to the Friends of Kamat forum at Yahoo!, you can post your content here.
|First Written: Wednesday, May 01, 2002|
Last Modified: 3/13/2004
|Disturbing News Links|| |
| Disturbing News Links|
BBC: UN Abandons Refugee Camp Probe.
Reuters: AIDS spread is rampant India. (on Yahoo!)
Picture of the Day
© K. L. Kamat
A Gypsy Woman at Work
Picture of a woman belonging to a nomadic tribe at the Sondur rehabitation center, Karnataka.
What to notice in the picture:
Tattoos on her chin
The quilted blouse
Jewelry -- see her bangles, dangling ornaments and neckwear
What she is doing (embroidery)
|First Written: Thursday, May 02, 2002|
Last Modified: 1/29/2003
|Context Explanataion|| |
| Context for many of my April Blogs|
are usually written for repeat visitors, but I have realized that
much of the readership for this page is transient, and for them many of the
ideas I write here are devoid of the context. I must keep that in mind henceforth.
Here is the context for for some of my April blogs.
- In Lovelaces and Computer Sciences,
I wrote about David Gelernter. For those who do not know, he is considered one of the foremost geniuses
of present day computer science. He was targetted by Theodore Kaczynski, the Unabomber,
on June 24, 1993 and lost his arms when the bomb exploded. Read his Surviving the Unabomber.
- My grandmother Sharadabai Burde passed away in a few months after the
this photograph was taken....
The biography of Bhimsen Joshi by Mohan Nadakarni is dedicated to her.... Although I've never met him,
music critic Mohan Nadakarni is my grand-uncle.
- The reason why I had to play with Plesk is because
some spammer used Kamat.com to send SPAM, and after that I couldn't send email to users on BellSouth.Net and AOL
servers. I hope the issue is resolved now. But if you tried to contact me via email and were denied
access by your ISP, this is the reason.
|First Written: Saturday, May 04, 2002|
Last Modified: 1/29/2003
|Remembering Shri Kamat|| |
by Sharad Soukoor
I had no chance to meet and talk to Shri Krishnanand Kamat but I had been watching him from a distance. Laxman Kamat's house [as Kamat household is known -ed.] was at a stone's throw from my residence in the town of Honnavar.
First time I saw Mr. Kamat was about 35 years ago. He had just returned from higher studies in USA. He was invited to his old school to address the students. While the head master in his introductory speech was heaping praises after praise on him, Kamat was affectionately smiling at we children. I still cannot forget that smile.
That day he spoke about life in USA. He made it interesting by comparing things by Honnavar standards. "Buildings as tall as five coconut trees, trains and planes reaching Kumta within minutes" etc. He had brought with him a tin box containing coins from various European countries. We had gheraoed him after the function and he took pleasure in showing and explaining the coins to us. We liked it all but were too small to comprehend the simplicity and humility of Mr. Kamat.
Those days a poem of his had appeared in a Kannada magazine. It was about a winter abroad. There was a description of young couples playing with snow balls. The poet feels sad and lonely for being away from his country. Then suddenly a snow ball hits the poet. He wonders who is the person throwing the snow ball at him. There is nobody around. He realizes that the accumulated snow on the nearby tree had fallen upon him. The last line of the poem was- " Olidavarillada naadinalli marave nanna nalleyayitu" (In a country without loved ones only a tree became my sweetheart) Somehow this poem was etched into my memory. I used to remember the last line whenever I saw Mr. Kamat's articles in magazines.
May 05, 2002
|First Written: Sunday, May 05, 2002|
Last Modified: 5/24/2002
|Misc Links|| |
"India will have its civil war".
India's Child Labor Problem
Sports Fever in Birmingham
Sports fever is running high in the city of Birmingham.
The Greystone Country Club is hosting Bruno's
Memorial Classic, and there are beer signs everywhere.
The Brook-Highland Racquet Club is hosting the Eddleman USTA Challenger Tennis Tournament.
Both events are very close to our house and it is hard not to miss the excitement. Last evening
I walked to the Tennis Club and watched
Michael Chang practice.
|First Written: Monday, May 06, 2002|
Last Modified: 1/30/2003
|What is Non-vegetarian Software|| |
| Vegetarian and Non-vegetarian Software|
Of course, there is no such thing as vegetarian and
non-vegetarian software. Atleast not yet. But if
recent trends in India, it is coming.
Vegetarian software would be the one that did not result
in any animal being slaughtered during its creation. This would mean that the
programmers were on strict vegetarian diet while writing code.
And everything that is not vegetarian software would be
branded as Non-vegetarian software.
Oh I forgot. We'd have to add a new category called Egg-Vegetarian Software.
This would be software that caused consumption of unfertilized eggs, like cake etc.,
Coming in a future blog: Degrees of Indian Vegetarianism
The concept of Vegetarian Software reminds me of:
Vegetarian Petrol -- when a mass hysteria took over India about an alternate fuel made with herbs.
Herbal Computers -- a joke rediculing the the mass hysteria.
|First Written: Monday, May 13, 2002|
Last Modified: 1/29/2003
|War Imminent on the Sub-continent ?|| |
| War Imminent on the Sub-continent|
This morning the Islamic terrorists (with apology to my father,
who taught me to never use the word. "Terrorism has no religion" - he'd say)
caused fresh trouble in Kashmir.
In January, I'd written: Waiting for Robin Moor, and how a small trigger is all that is needed for a war.
Just look at the conditions on the sub-continent:
- A Military dictator in power in Pakistan.
- A weak Government in India under heavy fundamentalist pressure.
- Israel has demonstrated that "It's OK" to perform excesses in the name of anti-terrorism.
- The winter has thawed on the Indo-Pak border.
- The large number of mercenaries recruited by Taliban/Al-Queda, but
let go by the USA during
Enduring Freedom, need employment.
I am not saying I want war. I am saying that there will be war.
See Also: Kashmir FAQ
|First Written: Tuesday, May 14, 2002|
Last Modified: 1/29/2003
|Degrees of Vegetarianism|| |
| Degrees of Vegetarianism in India|
This blog has the potential to go on and on, so let me be brief:
- Generally it is accepted that life is precious and should not be
tortured or abused. However, sacrificing the animals has a very long tradition in India
- Some people define life as "Something that Moves" -- these people
do not consider plants as life and will eat plants. People who
follow this definition will eat eggs, and surprisingly, even mollusks like oysters,
because they do not move!
- Some people in India eat only food that does not result in
killing of any life. These are the most rigid of the vegetarians.
So these people cannot eat roots, leaves (unless they
have fallen naturally from a tree), or meats. They consume milk (because milking
the cow does not kill it), fruits (because the trees shed them), and nuts.
- Beast's Day Out -- a large number of people practice selective
vegetarianism in India, opting not to eat meats on certain days of the week.
Examples - No fish on Mondays, no chicken on very other Friday etc.,
- Contrary to popular belief, most people in India do consume meats - even beef.
The so called lower-strata of the society, namely the Scheduled Castes, the
Scheduled Tribes, and the Backward Castes, who form over 75% of India's population
fall in this category. Many of them practice the Beast's Day Out mentioned above.
- Cultural Vegetarians and Cultural Non-vegetarians -- there are a lot of
people who follow them as part of culture, and do not attach much importance. It may be
recalled that spiritual teachers such as Buddha, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Vivekananda were
by any definition.
- A new generation of Indians has emerged that eats animals, except animals that in turn eat
other animals. These people can eat fish and beef, but not dogs or sharks.
|First Written: Wednesday, May 15, 2002|
Last Modified: 1/26/2003
|Picture of the Day|| |
| Picture of the Day
© K. L. Kamat|
How many torn shirts does it take to make one torn shirt?
See Also: A Picture is a Thousand Words
|First Written: Friday, May 17, 2002|
Last Modified: 5/17/2002
|To Fight is the Rooster's Dharma|| |
Adapted and translated from Kannada Original by Prakash Nayak, published in ThatsKannada.com. Used with permission.
Call of the Cockfight Wager
(or "To Fight is the Rooster's Dharma")
Gather, come hither
for the cockfight!
No tax, no cover charge, no taxman
Like life itself, 'tis only a game
Red Rooster, Green Rooster
Both are mine
Both are yours (to bet)
Both are brave soldiers
Trained in martial arts
Of attack and of defense
Is that the policeman in the khakis?
Someone buy him a coffee
Or pour him a glass of brandy
We need his blessings for our sport
He needs us to feed his family
Torture of living beings is a sin
I know that, and so do you.
But the bird doesn't know that!
Let this one be.
The policeman, the brandy man,
the punter are all householders.
Let them be.
You are a sacred man,
But I am a condemned one.
So you can donate me
Your sins of betting.
then perform your rituals
and cleanse yourself, and leave
the fruits of the bad karma to me.
Trust me and enjoy the show
It doesn't matter the winner is green or the red
The caste of chickens has no death
To fight is a cock's dharma
Let the cock die for dharma.
Gather, Come Hither
for the Cockfight.
Admire the bravery of the rooster
The courage to carry on
Even when the neck is gone!
Hold your breath
Hold your feelings
Raise your drink
Raise your stake
And just enjoy the show!
Translation by Vikas Kamat.
Photographs by K. L. Kamat.
Cock fighting used to be a common street sport in India and although disappearing, is still practiced underground. It is a bloody sport that is pursued till one bird kills another. The excitement is increased by ganging of the teams, consumption of liquor, and betting.
The poem illustrates typical logic applied by the Indian society for diluting of its morals. It shows the interwoven fabics of rampant corruption, natural amusements, philosophy and thinking of common citizens in India.
India's great street culture
Kamat Goes to a Cockfight
The Birds of India
Definition of terms: dharma, karma, punter
A medieval sculpture showing a cock-fight
|First Written: Saturday, May 18, 2002|
Last Modified: 12/7/2003
|May 2002 Update at Kamat.com|| |
| Updates to Kamat's Potpourri
- The number of pictures in Kamat PictureSEARCH exceeds 7000!
- I have talked my mother into starting a column/blog. She is a brilliant woman with much knowledge, and I am as eager to help her get started as I am to read her blog.
- I regret to inform that due to lack of customer interest, the contents of Kamat.com including this blog will no longer
be available on the WorldSpace satellite network.
- After reading the A Biography of Subhas Chandra Bose, a reader has contacted us with details of Subhas Chandra Bose's escape from India, and at this time we are verifying the pictures and dates to see everything fits. This patron's mother apparently befriended Bose on a ship bound to Australia in ????. This could be a remarkable discovery, because how Bose, under a house arrest by British escaped, has remained a mystery.
|First Written: Monday, May 20, 2002|
Last Modified: 1/26/2003
|For everything else, there are weblogs|| |
| For everything else, there are weblogs|
Remember the time (1995-96) when people started creating
home pages to defame companies when they could not resolve
disputes of a business transaction? They were mostly consumers,
and the world-wide audience for their complaints was a potent
weapon against the big companies.
Then there was a company called RealNames that tried to monopolize
popular names and keywords and influence what people will find
when they searched the World-wide-web. It had a lucrative contract from Microsoft, and together they milked the MSN and IE users.
Case in focus is Keith "Crybaby" Teare. This dude
used to run the company RealNames, which has recently been shutdown because Microsoft did not renew their contract. As far as I am concerned, his company added no
value to the web, and only diluted my web experience while profiting from it.
In the dot-com bust we've lost so many gems that I have no tears left for RealNames
and I am happy to see them go.
What is interesting is that Teare resorted
to a blog , to
avenge his anger at Microsoft, and the facts of his case have
gotten unprecedented publicity. This morning he even got a cease and desist notice from Microsoft lawyers.
I find the ugly fight of two monopolistic, former business partners, very amusing.
|First Written: Tuesday, May 21, 2002|
Last Modified: 1/30/2003
|Remembering Bappa|| |
| Three months without the Webmaster-in-Chief|
It is three months since my father (Bappa) passed away.
The void is indescribable.
I no longer call Bangalore to hear the affectionate "Suprabhatam"
(that's how father answered my phone calls), or to discuss
the new stories to be added to Kamat's Potpourri. The weekly yellow
manila envelopes have stopped arriving, and the hundreds of thousands
of photographs are exposed to heat, humidity, and insects in our locked
flat -- unpublished, unappreciated, and abandoned.
Bappa's Scientific Photo Lab, where he served the scientific community
of Bangalore since 1970 is also closed. The chemicals are expiring, and
the cameras are rusting. It is unbearable for me to sit in Bappa's
shop where I spent so many evenings enjoying ice-cream or admiring
the customers (Bappa's customers were highly qualified scientists
and intellectuals), or in Bappa's dark-room where I would
develop film or flip the photo prints.
I have said in public before, that the greatness of my father is not
in his books, photographs, or in the gigantic website, but in his
austere and almost holy living. While I miss Kamat the artist, Kamat the writer, Kamat the cook, Kamat the philosopher, and Kamat the Guru, it is Bappa the father that I miss most.
Late Condolence is a Great Condolence
I must say that a late condolence message is a great condolence message.
This is because one receives so many of them within the days of the loss
that they don't quite sink in. But a couple of messages we've received in the last week have touched my heart. One is from Sharad Soukoor who
was in the audience in a school meeting thirty five years ago where Bappa spoke!
He mentions a poem --
I didn't know Bappa ever wrote poems! (This was before I was born...). The other is from
Dr. Seshasastry, a close friend (or disciple as he has called himself) of Bappa.
"..The life of Kamat is like Bhagawad-Gita to me." -- Prof. R. Seshasastry
"..We were too small to comprehend the simplicity and humility of Mr. Kamat" -- Sharad Soukoor
Another message from family friend Suresh Kulkarni said it so well -"Kamat is one
of the great souls who found peace in this life itself; so asking for peace in his afterlife seems absurd!"
How We Are Coping up
My mother is fighting the survivor's guilt.
A day doesn't go by without her lamenting Bappa's sudden death.
She also has to fight the age-old stigmas attached to widowhood in India.
I have asked her to visit America for change and healing, and have
talked her into starting a blog.
Some friends and admirers of Bappa have gotten together to bring out
a memorial volume in his honor. Very limited copies will be published.
If you are able to contribute, please write to me at .
|First Written: Friday, May 24, 2002|
Last Modified: 2/21/2003
|Kamat Content Explorer|| |
| Use the following experimental tool to locate content at Kamat's Potpourri. If you do not select any criteria, most recent contents will be listed. Once you find an interesting topic or picture, use the [More Like This] link to find related content.|
|Bhagat Singh|| |
| On Bhagat Singh|
We've been getting a lot of web traffic looking
for a three year old article on Bhagat Singh -- it's a top
match on the Google search result.
Apparently the Bollywood is making a movie on him.
"Finally the Bollywood can make a movie without a rape scene, and vulgar dancing" my friend exclaimed.
"Are you kidding me?
To depict that Bhagat Singh did not engage in them, the Bollywood
people would have to show them!" was my answer. Of course, I
could be wrong, given my prejudice against Indian movies.
We'll see shortly, won't we?
Anyway, Bhagat Singh (along with Chandrashekhar Azad) has been
my childhood hero. I was born on March 23rd, the death
anniversary of Bhagat Singh, and was named after him (Vikas Singh).
I sometimes get angry messages saying that by not showing
Bhagat Singh as a Sikh (with turban and beard),
I am being anti-Sikh. I try to explain to them
matters of copyright and content acquisition, and how we
can only publish content (stories or pictures) that we developed.
|First Written: Tuesday, May 28, 2002|
Last Modified: 1/24/2003
|World Cup 2002 Starts|| |
| World Cup 2002 begins with a Shocker|
Qualifiers Senegal beats defending champions France in the opener!
Official World Cup Website
I found this very amusing: My friends and family are very excited about the World cup.
Not because of India (didn't qualify) or because they are soccer fans (they're Cricket fans),
but beacuse my wife is from Korea, the co-hosts of the World Cup! They said, ever since
our marriage they have been pulling for Korea in Olympics, in politics, and in business deals.
Wow. The beauty of international marriages..
|First Written: Friday, May 31, 2002|
Last Modified: 1/29/2003
|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.