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

What's new Durable Link to this BLOG
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

Handy Tip If you have signed up to the Friends of Kamat forum at Yahoo!, you can post your content here.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Wednesday, May 01, 2002
Last Modified: 3/13/2004

Disturbing News Links Durable Link to this BLOG
Disturbing News Links

BBC: UN Abandons Refugee Camp Probe.
Reuters: AIDS spread is rampant India. (on Yahoo!)

Picture of the Day

© K. L. Kamat
Woman Embroidering Cloth
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
• Pierced nose
• Jewelry -- see her bangles, dangling ornaments and neckwear
• What she is doing (embroidery)

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Thursday, May 02, 2002
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

Context Explanataion Durable Link to this BLOG
Context for many of my April Blogs

Blogs What's This? 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 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.

April Blogs

 April 2002

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Saturday, May 04, 2002
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

Remembering Shri Kamat Durable Link to this BLOG
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.

Sharad Soukoor
May 05, 2002

See Also:

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Sunday, May 05, 2002
Last Modified: 5/24/2002

Misc Links Durable Link to this BLOG

• TIME: "India will have its civil war".
• BBC: 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.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Monday, May 06, 2002
Last Modified: 1/30/2003

Classifying Blogs Durable Link to this BLOG
Classifying Blogs

Last night I tried to classify my blogs using our CCE (Content Classification Engine), but without much success. The reason is that not all my blogs have keywords associated with them and our CCE depends heavily on the human defined keywords (called CrowWords).

So I'd have to write a new one.

I also want to abandon my favorite idea of using the Library of Congress Subject Classification What's This? system, and will use a new custom hierarchy of subjects.

A Prototype Implementation Linking to BLOGSearch:

Related Links

• Web Travels of Narad
• Content Management System

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Tuesday, May 07, 2002
Last Modified: 1/30/2003

Naughty Veggies Durable Link to this BLOG
Vegetables as Art

I have added some new pictures to this old section depicting common vegetables as objects of art.

See Also:
• What's New
• A Very Old Photograph
• Kamat PictureSearch results for vegetables, fruits
• Street Vendors of India

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Thursday, May 09, 2002
Last Modified: 5/9/2002

What's Recycled Durable Link to this BLOG
Some New, Some Recycled

A lot of new pictures added to Kamat's Potpourri. See What's New

Here are some of the pages that did not get the viewership they deserve, IMO:
• Peace Corps Volunteer and the Indian Cowherd
• The Trouble with Indian Names…
• Amateur Excellence - A Tribute to
• Orgasm Picture and Orgasm Poem (no pornography)
• How I Sent Father to Heaven

Mother's Day E-Cards

Ad-free click and create e-cards:
Mother and Child Village Belle Feeding of Lord Krishna

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Saturday, May 11, 2002
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

What is Non-vegetarian Software Durable Link to this BLOG
Vegetarian and Non-vegetarian Software

Of course, there is no such thing as vegetarian and non-vegetarian software. Atleast not yet. But if you follow 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.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Monday, May 13, 2002
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

War Imminent on the Sub-continent ? Durable Link to this BLOG
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

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Tuesday, May 14, 2002
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

Degrees of Vegetarianism Durable Link to this BLOG
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 non-vegetarians 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.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Wednesday, May 15, 2002
Last Modified: 1/26/2003

Indian Joint-Family System Durable Link to this BLOG
Remembering the Joint-Family System

20th Century Indian Families
The Indian Joint Family system is an extended familiy system where mutiple couples and their children lived together as one family.

I have opened a new section on the Joint-Family system prevalent in India. I will let the pictures do all the talking for now till I add notes and other commentary.

If you have lived in one (or curious to know some of the experiences), please share it on the Friends_of_Kamat mailing list.

Top Ten Pages at Kamat's Potpourri for April

• India Time-travel
• Kamat's Potpourri Cover Page
• A Biography Mahatma Gandhi
• Kamat House of Pictures
• Search Kamat's Potpourri
• Not Found Page -- I've got some work to do!
• Women of India
• Time-line of Mahatma Gandhi's Life
• Beauty of Khajuraho Temples
• Medieval men's fashion in India -- I've no idea why!

It is good to see the number of Indian bloggers increasing. There are many new entries in the List of Indian Blogs. that I maintain.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Thursday, May 16, 2002
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

Picture of the Day Durable Link to this BLOG
Picture of the Day

© K. L. Kamat
Quilted Shirt of a Poor Man
How many torn shirts does it take to make one torn shirt?

See Also: A Picture is a Thousand Words

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, May 17, 2002
Last Modified: 5/17/2002

To Fight is the Rooster's Dharma Durable Link to this BLOG

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.

Enjoy yourselves,
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!

Adapted and translated from Kannada Original by Prakash Nayak, published in Used with permission.
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.

Related Links

• 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

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Saturday, May 18, 2002
Last Modified: 12/7/2003
Tags: cockfight

May 2002 Update at Durable Link to this BLOG
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 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.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Monday, May 20, 2002
Last Modified: 1/26/2003

For everything else, there are weblogs Durable Link to this BLOG
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 What's This?, 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.


(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Tuesday, May 21, 2002
Last Modified: 1/30/2003

Cockfight Durable Link to this BLOG
Of Fight, Conflict, and Dharma

A Cock Fight in Progress

A few days ago I read a philosophical poem (link to Kannada language content) about Cockfights.
I have translated it to English: To Fight is the Rooster's Dharma.

BBC: India Prepares for War: To Fight is the Man's Dharma?

Misc. Related Links

• A Cockfight in Progress
• Kashmir FAQ
• Dane Carlson: Vikas Kamat Wants War!

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Wednesday, May 22, 2002
Last Modified: 1/29/2003
Tags: philosophy

Remembering Bappa Durable Link to this BLOG
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 Contact Kamats.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, May 24, 2002
Last Modified: 2/21/2003

Kamat Content Explorer Durable Link to this BLOG
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.

Keywords: Eg: Tiger
URL: Eg: Erotica
 Online Since: Eg: 01/01/2002
Published Before: Eg: 01/01/1997
Title: Eg: Painting

Eg: Timeline

Show Output in XML

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Sunday, May 26, 2002
Last Modified: 5/26/2002
Tags: explorer, goaround, navigate

Bhagat Singh Durable Link to this BLOG
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).

Sardar Bhagat 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.


(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Tuesday, May 28, 2002
Last Modified: 1/24/2003

Links Durable Link to this BLOG
Links to Ponder

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Thursday, May 30, 2002
Last Modified: 5/30/2002

World Cup 2002 Starts Durable Link to this BLOG
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..

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, May 31, 2002
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

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