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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

Goruru and I Durable Link to this BLOG
Picture Number 1 (One)

Of the ten thousand or so pictures that we have digitized, the one that see most often is a portrait of Kannada writer Gorur Ramaswamy Iyengar. The reason for this is that when we started cataloging Bappa's pictures, the first color slide I picked happened to be this one and I called it Picture Number 1. Since then every time I browse our collection (by default, it sorts by name), Mr. Iyengar pops up at the top of the list!

Portrait of Goruru Ramaswamy Iyengar

When I Met Gorur Ramaswamy Iyengar

My dad was a great admirer of Goruru, especially his landmark book "Namma Urina Rasikaru", and wanted to photograph him. On a sunny day in 1983 Bappa and I took a bus to the Navarag theater in Bangalore and located his house. It was a very small and humble residence. Some of the greatest men and women I have met are also the most simple. He was full of exaggeration and humor, just like his writing. Mrs. Iyengar offered us warm hospitality and sugar boiled milk. I just remember that we all laughed a lot, and for me it was a memorable day.

© K. L. Kamat
Vikas (in center) with Gorur Couple

When I grew older I read some books by Goruru, but I must say that the man in person was even more inspiring.

Strength of Character

Recently I read the autobiography of S.L. Bhyrappa (Bhitti) that gives a graphic description of the town of Goruru. In one incident, the author (a great writer himself) recalls attending a funeral for Goruru Ramaswamy Iyengar's son.

Excerpted from Bhitti, the autobiography of S.L.Bhyrappa

Even though India was freed on 15th of August, the satyagraha (non-violent struggle) had continued in the Mysore province demanding a responsible government. A number of us performed civil-disobedience and courted arrest. A son of Goruru Ramaswamy Iyengar, who was studying in the town of Tumkur and participating in a satyagraha, got caught in a police shooting and died. Ramaswamy Iyengar, probably already in prison, but temporarily released to perform the last rites of his son, led about five hundred of us in a procession to the river. Iyengar held the ash-remains of his dead son in both his hands, and we walked about two miles to the union of Hemavati and Egachi rivers. He then walked chest-deep into the river, disbursed the remains, and addressed us on the bank of the river - "My son died an honorable death in the liberation of our nation. Such a death must not be mourned".

All the assembled bowed to Ramaswamy Iyengar's strength of character, at a time of such great personal loss.

See Also:

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Tuesday, June 01, 2004
Last Modified: 6/2/2004 9:40:40 AM

Fan Mail Durable Link to this BLOG
Fan Mail

Dr. Shrivatsa Desai, a physician from England has sent a four page letter of admiration of Kamat's Potpourri. Wow!

With his permission, I am providing it online. It is in Kannada langauge and is titled "My Affair with Kamat's Potpourri".

It is so good to be loved!

Content Discovery

I am always looking for ways to provide innovative navigational tools to maneuver through forests of digital content. A search engine like Google is great when you are looking with something in mind, but my research has indicated that on numerous occasions, the surfers are looking just to browse without looking for a particular thing -- like you would read a magazine or newspaper -- you do not know what article or picture you are going to read. You can call it Content Discovery.

The HighWire site at Stanford University has this impressive navigator (Java required) which I thought was very cool and wanted to implement one for Kamat's Potpourri. But a reviewer quickly pointed out the large number of clicks necessary to drill-down to a subject topic.

There used to be a site called Links2Go (no longer existent) which had an amazing ability to navigate to related content.

KartOO is another very interesting interface that uses Flash for complex navigation, but has the same problem -- too many clicks required to locate a page of interest.

Perhaps an optimal solution is using a little bit of both -- some contents you discover by searching, and some contents you discover by accident (browsing).

See my prototype of Kamat Content Explorer that provides navigation by keywords, dates, mediatypes, and titles. I want to add exploration by time-periods (19th century, 20th century etc), by geography, and by authors. I solilicit ideas to navigate through India Index a new product we are building.


(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Thursday, June 10, 2004
Last Modified: 6/13/2004 11:10:41 PM

On This Day: Turning Point in India Durable Link to this BLOG
Turning Point in Indian History

It was on this day in 1975 that the Allahabad High Court found Indira Gandhi guilty of corruption (link to BBC story).

The judgement was to prove a turning point in modern history of India, as Indira did not accept the judgment kindly. She rejected the justice system, suspended the constitution, assumed dictatorial powers, and imposed press censorship. The subsequent years saw dilution of democratic opposition (they were all jailed), abuse of power by those who had access to Indira Gandhi, violent mixing of caste and religion in India's politics and increased use of military to maintain civilian law or order.

People opposed to Indira were harassed, and those who praised her were rewarded with Government grants and contracts. This is how the sycophant nation of India was born.

See Also:
• What I Really Think of Indira Gandhi
• Speaking of Indira Gandhi

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Sunday, June 13, 2004
Last Modified: 6/13/2004 11:34:28 AM

Yahoo Mail Plus Durable Link to this BLOG
This morning I am pleasantly surprised to see my Yahoo mailbox enlarge to 2GB. This initiative, no doubt was prompted by people's eagerness to signup for GMail.

Gmail suddenly is not attractive to me. Afterall, all my addresses, and reference emails are in Yahoo.

See how the consumer wins when there is competition?!

I wish the Bush administration hadn't settled with Microsoft, because then we all would have competition.

Tip to Yahoo Mail Team

Handy Tip Please change your style-sheet so I can *see* which blue text is a hyperlink and which blue text is not, without having to hover the mouse on the text. See how confusing it is?

You guys are not following the first rules of Web UI. Please correct asap.

And bring back the link to "Unread Messages"!


(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Tuesday, June 15, 2004
Last Modified: 6/22/2004 10:33:31 PM

Outage and Posse Durable Link to this BLOG
Weblogs.com had an outage recently and caused a lot of noise and personality clashes. Lots of name calling, lots of entertainment.

Dave Winer's Posse

Dave Winer (the self-appointed guru of weblogs, who went on to close about three thousand weblogs that he had been hosting for free for years) called for formation of a posse to defend him in case of such future attacks on him.

So I am compiling a list. For name additions, plese drop me a message with the URL.
• Don Park
• Jeremy C. Wright (name unlisted by request 06/24/04)

My Own Outage

The primary hard-disk serving Kamat`s Potpourri had a failure and had to be replaced (thanks Interland!).

Please send me a message if you want to join my posse

BTW, if you sent me e-mail today, I didn't get it, please send again.

See Also:
• Tired Winer, Wired Winer

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Sunday, June 20, 2004
Last Modified: 6/24/2004 10:05:15 PM

Change of Work Durable Link to this BLOG
Change of Work is Recreation

My father used to say "change of work is recreation".

I am going to try some recreation in the forthcoming days. Yardwork instead of programming, rearranging my office instead of consulting, writing letters instead of writing blogs, hosting friends instead of visiting friends, and working on the house instead of working on the website.

I am also looking for a new gig. I think I am tired of content management and fighting Microsoft service-packs. I am looking for a new opportunity. Drop me a line if you know of a cool, risky project.

Conferences You Won't See Me At

These are the some of the conferences I won't be attending this year:

• American Library Association Conference in Orlando FL (temporary disinteret in libraries)
• Konkani Convention (LA is too far from Birmingham)
• Kannada Convention (past disputes with organizers)
• Comdex (cancelled for this year)


(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Wednesday, June 23, 2004
Last Modified: 6/23/2004 9:16:30 PM

G.S. Dikshit No More Durable Link to this BLOG
Prof. G.S. Dikshit No More

Portrait of Prof. G.S. Dikshit

Just heard via instant message that noted historian, Prof. G.S. Dikshit passed away. He was 93.

Dr. Dikshit was the professor under whom my mother did her Ph.D. and she revered him as a guru. He served as the the head of the History Department at the Karnatak University in Dharwad.

I mourn his passing.

See Also:
• India's Historians

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Saturday, June 26, 2004
Last Modified: 6/26/2004 2:18:36 PM
Tags: obituary

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