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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


Computing with Tags Durable Link to this BLOG
I am happy to add a new "Browse by Tags" feature to Kamat's Potpourri.

We have internally supported tags from 1997 (we called them CrowWords, a mock of keywords, after my company CyberCrow), but they were designed for machine-learning rather than for humans.

Anyway, the addition of tags in addition to keywords and crowwords gives us a rich content platform classify and organize the website.

It is indeed fascinating to see the disparate content items come together.

Hope you like 'em. Examples: Hampi, Hindusim

A Note About Tag Generation

It is wonderful if you have the luxury of human-tagged contents (like Flickr, Technorati or Delicious have). But what if your content is not already tagged?

That's when Keyword Extraction comes into play. We had implemented a rudimentary extractor for our -- if a letter was capitalized, it was given a weight and a tag was started. I don't have any research or study on how effective it has been.

Then Yahoo introduced an Extraction API. In my experience, it is a wonderful service (if you can tolerate the 503 s it seems to throw often), and we have supplemented generated tags whenever human-provided tags were not available. I had to make much tuning, because most of the tags Yahoo suggested had "kamat" or "india" in them. But this automation allowed us to gather some 192,000 unique tags!

After gathering the tags, I build a matrix to view the tag density. This exposes both the strength and weakness of our contents, and helps in generation of Tag Clouds.

Generation of Tag Clouds

The coma delimited tags are transposed into rows using SQL and are ranked based on repetitions. The physical proximity is weighted in.

Having all this infrastructure, the generation of a Tag Cloud is then simply querying the database with various SELECT clasues.

A Sample Tag Cloud:

beauty - blog - diwali - games - goddess - huntress - india - lost - photo - photographs - potpourri - wheels - zoo - accidental art - ant - aperture - beholder - child delivery - color yellow - colors - cricket - cultural anthropology - destiny - friends - god - illustrations - jewelry - kamasutra - mirror project - mysore - opaque - photo album - prehistoric - professions - refugee - seductress - spokes - torn - tri

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Wednesday, October 4, 2006
Last Modified: 10/6/2006 2:55:25 AM
Tags: tagclouds


Stuff Durable Link to this BLOG
Misc. Stuff

  • To reduce the number of SPLOG submissions I get at Blog Portal, I have installed a barrier of registration before suggesting new blogs.
  • Lots of Tags are now being incorporated throughout the site. Look under the "Merchandise and Link Suggestions" section at the bottom of every page.
  • Houston Kannada Vrinda is organizing a Seminar on Royal Legacy of Vijayanagar to Mysore Kings.
  • Kamat's Konkani book "Konkanyali Kavikala" is being reprinted by the Goa's Konkani Akademy. The text is being revised so the people of Goa can understand the technicalities of the book. We don't quite realize, but the Konkani spoken in parts of Karnataka has so much Kannada verbs in it that Konkanis elsewhere cannot understand it!

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, October 6, 2006
Last Modified: 10/6/2006 3:07:12 AM


Marathi Koligeet Durable Link to this BLOG
In Appreciation of Marathi Koli Folksongs

In our joint-family, many of the elders studied in the erstwhile Bombay Presidency and knew Marathi very well. The Antakshari games my aunts used to play when I was young were invariably in Marathi, and I know lots of Marathi folksongs, theater songs (Natyasangeet), and devotional songs (Bhaktigeet).

During a recent road trip to Chicago, Milwaukee and back, I happened to carry a CD of Marathi folksongs, known as Koligeet, or the songs of the fisher-folk, and the music took me to my childhood.

© Vikas Kamat
Goan Folk Dancers
Koligeet or Songs of Fisherfolk is a unique genre of Indian music

All the songs in Koligeet are set in the background of river, sea, storms, and other coastal artifacts. The songs feature melodious tunes, playful themes, teasing, and innocence of a lifestyle that is lost since. Each song has a repearting rythm that reminds of the waves in the sea.

If you have never heard it, and know even a tingy bit of Marathi or Konkani, I encourage you to discover the Koligeet music. Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle have sung many Koligeets, and I'm sure you can find them online.

Several Bollywood songs have been inspired by Koligeets, but I haven't heard even one that lives up to the beauty of the originals.

Some of my favorite Koligeet songs:
• me dolkara dolkara dariyata raja sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Hemant Kumar
• disalaga bayi disala sung by Asha Bhonsle
• badala waro sutalago

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Saturday, October 7, 2006
Last Modified: 10/7/2006 7:51:19 AM
Tags: folksongs


The Saga of Tibet Durable Link to this BLOG
American journalist Lowell Thomas Jr. visited Tibet (then a mysterious, but free nation), in 1949 with his father and met Dalai Lama (then a teenage boy). They were the 7th and 8th Americans in the history to be granted this privilege. Thomas's 1950 book "Out Of This World - across the Himalayas to forbidden Tibet" contains rare and important photographs of period Tibet, before its collapse in 1959.

Kamat Research Database: Rare Pictures of Tibet, 1949

People of India: Tibetans in India

Corel Professional Photo
Orchestra of the Monastery with Alpenhorns

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Thursday, October 12, 2006
Last Modified: 10/12/2006 11:43:47 AM
Tags: tibetans


Without Comments Durable Link to this BLOG
I got an angry email from a patron today. I have no idea why I was chosen to register this protest. I am reproducing it below.

Quote Begin

From: Papinda Singh

I have read on the BBC website that Kannada's writers are opposed to the teaching of English in schools for children younger than 11.

I have to say that is the most ridiculous, idiotic and cruel campaign I have every heard of. How dare you stop children from opportunities they richley deserve. I hope the same lack of consideration you are displaying to the children of your state is displayed to you.

How dare you hold India back.

• BBC: Indian row over English teaching
• Unrelated at Pictures of Kannada Writers

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, October 13, 2006
Last Modified: 10/13/2006 10:50:01 AM


Happy Diwali Durable Link to this BLOG
My greetings to all readers of this blog on the occasion of the Diwali (spelled differently as Diwali, Divali, Deewali etc, as I have pointed out in Trouble with Indian Names)

My family rarely bought greeting cards. My dad and I would make them by hand. No two cards we made were alike, so I don't remember what card we sent to whom. I was never as good as Bappa, but I am surprised that many people kept the cards I sent decades ago, as tresured items.

The below is a reject art I found in my daftar.

© K. L. Kamat
A Handmade Greeting Card by Kamat
A greeting card made by my dad. No two cards he made were the same.

Epilogue 1

I found no equivalent word for the Konkani word poasth in English. Poasth is something you collect over years that you pay no attention to; it's part valuable, part junk. I am using the word daftar in the same way, although I am not sure it means the same thing. Definition in Hobson Jobson Dictionary.

Epilogue 2

One man's junk and another man's treasure. Sometimes I wonder what my daftar is worth; because I myself keep finding treasures in it all the time! Letters of famous people, autographs, unidentified group photographs, and collectibles.

Like today I found a letter written by Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya to C.N. Mangala on the occasion of starting the Women's Museum.

Another letter shows Shivaram Karanth returning India's prestigious award in protest of Emergency. Cool Stuff

See: Crude (Unprocessed) Contents

Epilogue 3

You might not know this, especially if you come Hindi heartland.

Here are the reasons why some people don't celebrate Diwali, especially in South India. Diwali in South India

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Monday, October 16, 2006
Last Modified: 10/23/2006 8:08:51 PM
Tags: festival, greetings


Spoilt Rotten Dog Durable Link to this BLOG
Oh, the silly things we do for our pets...

My rotten spoilt dog has her own homepage now, complete with her vacation pictures and resume.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Last Modified: 10/17/2006 2:29:37 PM
Tags: tintin


Link Suggestions for Kannada Lovers Durable Link to this BLOG
Kannada Vedike: Deepavali Issue of Spandana PDF, Kannada Language Content

In a courageous and dramatic move in 1975, Shivaram Karanth returned to the Government of India, one of the nations' top most civilian honors bestowed upon him.

Kamat Downloads: Fascimille of Shivaram Karanth Returning "Padma Bhushan" Award" (FREE Registration Required)

Two rare pictures of members of original "Geleyara Gumpu" that played a key role in Kannada rennaisance: Prahlad Naregal and Govind Chulaki.

Prahlad Naregal Govindrao V. Chulaki

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Thursday, October 19, 2006
Last Modified: 10/21/2006 10:37:27 PM
Tags: Kannada Links


Visit to Dayanand Ashraya Dhama Durable Link to this BLOG
In 2005, I had an opportunity to visit Sri Swami Dayanand Ashraya Dhama, a shelter for young children run by seer Chidrupanand Saraswatiji. It was a touching experience, just due to the way the shelter is operated in the most minimum of resources, and the enthusiasm and spritely health radiated by the young residents.

Some pictures:

© Vikas Kamat
Students at an Orphanage
Students at an Orphanage
Village of Bachodi, Town of Sagar, Year 2005

© Vikas Kamat
Pupils and Teachers at an Orphanage
Pupils and Teachers at an Orphanage
Sri Swami Dayanand Ashraya Dhama, Bachchodi, 2005

© Vikas Kamat
News being Read to Kids at an Orphanage
News being Read to Kids at an Orphanage
In a residential school without TV, the students are kept informed the old-fashioned way.

The ashram is a good place to visit, set in remote area, surrounded by forest and river.

Sri Swami Dayananand Ashraya Dhama
Bachodi, P.O. Nagolli, Town of Sagar
Shimoga, Karnataka, India
Phone: (09242)401937

See Also
• Shoes Outside a Classroom
• Beauty is Skin Deep
• Lust for Learning
• Vikas in India 2005

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Last Modified: 10/25/2006 3:52:36 PM


Traditional Wedding Songs Durable Link to this BLOG
It is amazing what cultural transformation awareness and networking can bring about. Remember Amma's Konkani book that I complained so much about? That book went out of print in no time, and second edition is also not available due to limited number of copies commissioned.

The popularity of the book (and a show based on the book by Anuradha Dhareshwar) led to conducting of a workshop to teach housewives some of the songs, so they could sing them at weddings they attend. That was very successful, because the ladies who attended the workshop were in great demand to bring some of the old-glory value to weddings.

Eventually, some of the ladies got featured in a TV show.

Recently, someone who attended a Konkani wedding told me that several women came to the wedding with Amma's book in hand, so they could sing!

I told Amma that all her efforts are worth it!

And by popular request, I am making some of these songs available for purchase in the USA.

Buy the Ovyo-Gavuya CD for $9.99 at (for a limited time)

Old Konkani Jewelry from Folk-songs

One of the songs on the CD describes the glory of the jewels worn by the guests at a wedding. Most of this jewelry art is now lost, but the songs introduce us to the lost art form. When I see some of these jewelry in museums or with collectors, that I realize that the jewels described in the song is a real one, and I begin to admire the beauty of oral traditions of India.

© K.L.Kamat
Golden Bud Ornament
Golden Bud Ornament
"Kalya Hali" -- a traditional Konkani jewelry

© Vikas Kamat
Antique  Silver Jewelry
Antique Silver Jewelry
In India it was common to melt silver and gold coins to make jewels. Sometimes the coins were left intact (as shown).

Oral Traditions of India

For those who don't know, India had a strong oral tradition of imparting knowledge on history, arts, grammar, and mathematics. A lot of people don't get it, and just because someone is illiterate (one who can't read or write), they are condemned as ignorant. They aren't the same thing.

Konkani language may not have a script, but that doesn't mean it has no literature.

See Related Entry: Understanding Illiterates

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, October 27, 2006
Last Modified: 11/2/2006 6:47:48 AM


Happy B'day Karnataka (Rajyotsava) Durable Link to this BLOG
Karnataka Celebrates Golden Jubilee Includes many never-seen-before portraits of people known to our generation only via textbooks.

Links to Celebration Pictures
• Official Celebrations at Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru
• Celebration by Farmers and Commonfolk, Sidlaghatta.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Monday, October 30, 2006
Last Modified: 11/3/2006 8:44:36 AM

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