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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


SimplyBlog Software for Blog Networks Durable Link to this BLOG
What is a Blog Network?

A blog network is a collection of blogs sharing member authentications, clip art, revenue models etc.

Some good examples of blog networks are: Gawker, and InstaBlogs.

Some people might consider Blog Hosting firms as a Blog Network as well. By this definition, there are a lot more blog networks.

List of Blog Networks has a long compilation.

Software to Start a Blog Network

I have modified the SimplyBlog engine so that it can used to start a Blog Network.

The authentication credentials can come from a different system (like LDAP or a forum Database such as phpBB), so you don't have to change the world just to be able to offer blogs to your users.

As a demo, I am starting Kamat Blog Network. I sent some invitations, and it already it has 3 many blogs.

  • Amateur Webmaster Blog -- My technical experiences of maintaining Kamat's Potpourri
  • WeTube -- Just like You Tube, but just for desis.
  • Malli's Potpourri -- Birds, Stamps, and Studies of D.G. Mallikarjuna
  • SimplyBlog Blog -- A blog about the SimplyBlog software system
  • Secrets of Raji's Kitchen -- Carefully preserved traditional recipes of Tamilnadu

One of the features of SimplyBlog always has been to merge different blogs into one page -- each blog having its own template. This feature turns out to be an excellent way to start Blog Network.

See Also:
• Anatomy of the Kamat Blogging Engine
• Introducing SimplyBlog Software

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, November 3, 2006
Last Modified: 11/3/2006 11:22:52 AM


India's Sub-cultures Durable Link to this BLOG
I am expanding our coverage of India's sub-cultures. These are subtle topics that require some basic understanding of India.

For instance, people reading Indian news often run into a word often spelled as mutt, mutha, math, mutha -- that has no equivalent in Western culture. While editing Kamat's Potpourri we roughly approximate the term as monastery, but the institution of mutha is quite unique to India, and plays a very important role in social decision making.

I am also starting a new list of Campus Slangs commonly used. While they are cute, if you don't understand them, you might mistake them!

India's Subtle Subcultures -- Discussions on delicate topics deeply embedded in Indian culture, covering topics such as dowry, caste, and mangalya (good luck).

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Monday, November 6, 2006
Last Modified: 11/6/2006 10:46:43 AM


Saints and Satans Living Amongst Us Durable Link to this BLOG
Hindu Boy Turned Islamic Terrorist

via Kamat News): A Hindu who became a Islamic Militant

Amma on Amma

© Vikas Kamat

My Amma (Jyotsna Kamat) in front of a Signboard Featuring Amma Amritandanamayi, Mangalore, 2005

The other day, while talking about women saints of India, Amma and I spoke about Amritanandamayi, popularly known as "Amma" or the "Hugging Saint". I had heard of her, but due to my personal prejudice about godmen (and godwomen) I had not cared to learn more about this amazing person.

Born into a poor fisherman's family what Mata Amritanandamayi has achieved is no less than a miracle. I will just point to the websites:

Although Mata Amritanandamayi doesn't claim any religious affilication, I feel she is a great diplomat for India, for Hinduism, and for India's spiritual tradition.

We have to go to history books to read about great saints such as Meerabai, Akkamahadevi, and Andal. But here is a saint who is living right amongst us.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Tuesday, November 7, 2006
Last Modified: 11/7/2006 12:12:51 PM


Shivaji's Caste Durable Link to this BLOG
In our page about Shivaji, there is a line that says "Shivaji crowned himself" -- apparently this sentence is offensive to many. They often request me to change it to "People crowned Shivaji in a grandeur function" or something like that.

I haven't changed it, because Shivaji was a self-made king (he didn't inherit his kingdom from daddy) and I thought he deserved the reverence given to heroes who establish great empires.

What I didn't realize was the caste angle to the request. I had heard about how the Chitpavan Brahmins didn't want Shivaji crowned because of Shivaji's caste. They had argued that only Kshatriyas could be crowned. Shivaji had to take up penance and manipulation, and had to be initiated into the Kshatriya clan by the highest pundit of the period, a man named Gaga Bhatta.

Amma has all the details in today's entry: Shivaji's Caste. Amazingly, the Brahmins were wrong. Shivaji was indeed a Kshatriya by birth, that too of a royal lineage.

There is another surprise. Shivaji's ancestors probably spoke Kannada!

Hopefully this new found knowledge will bridge the Kannada-Marathi contentions...

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Wednesday, November 8, 2006
Last Modified: 11/9/2006 9:54:53 PM


Too Many Darn Kamats II Durable Link to this BLOG
Too Many Darn Kamats II
(and Origin and Meaning of Kamat)

First See: Too Many Darn Kamats

Kamat is also the name of a large chain of restaurants and hotels in India. I get email all the time requesting reservations. Recently on "Friends of Kamat" mailing list, a patron interested in etymology asked me to elaborate the origin and meaning of Kamat, to find the relationship between Kamats, Kamaths (notice the additional h), and Camotims.

It is believed that the word Kamat is derived from Kammatha (from Kannada, meaning agriculture). Goa was ruled by many Kannada kings, and there was a lot of Kannada influence there. Some people argue that Kamat is derived from kaam (= work) and mathi (= soil), having a similar meaning, one who is involved in agriculture. While it is no longer true, we can say that all Kamats were at one time agriculturists or landlords in Goa.

Why Different Spellings?

The way different Kamats spell their last name differently indicates the some parts of their heritage. After the Portuguese started harassing the Hindus in Goa, many Konkanis came to Karnataka. These were accomplished tradesmen and set up businesses in what is today's South Kanara area. They are referred to as "Sashtikars" or Konkanis who came from the "province of sixty-six villages". These Kamaths spell the last name with an additional h at the end. Example: M.V. Kamath, Suryanath Kamath etc.,

The Konkanis of the time (circa 16th century) who could not leave Goa, perhaps because they owned lands and hence could not relocate easily, eventually had to move due to continued oppression in Goa. A number of them came from what is known today as "Bardez" in Goa (or the province of twelve villages), and are commonly referred to as "Bardeskars". It is believed that the Bardezkar Kamats were much more poorer. They were farmers and were looked down upon by the sophisticated Sashtikars, to the extent that the families didn't inter-marry. My grandma has said that the Bardeskars were separately fed (aadpankti) during religious sacraments. These Kamats do not use the additional h at the end. Example: Krishnanand Kamat, Rangappa Kamat etc.,

The Kamats who stayed put in Goa came under the Portuguese influence. They spell the last name as Camotim.

See Also:
• Goa in Pictures

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Sunday, November 12, 2006
Last Modified: 11/13/2006 8:30:52 AM


The Merry Widow and I Durable Link to this BLOG

Recently, Franz Lehar's "The Merry Widow" was performed at the Palace Thatre, Manchester in New Hampshire to great reviews. I felt honored that my painting (titled The Girl at the Opera, but I am going to rename it as The Merry Widow!) was used in the brochures, art work and the poster.

"Your artwork really captured the spirit of The Merry Widow", Alice Sansone, the Executive Director has written.

BTW, I think the poster has come out better than my painting!

• Franz Lehar
• Large, Downloadable Poster at New Hampshire Opera
• Paintings by Vikas Kamat

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Last Modified: 11/15/2006 9:31:00 PM


Spoof Gone Bad Durable Link to this BLOG
(via Private Email): A traditional exit-ragging causes a lot of trouble for the scribes in Hong Kong. No Jokes Please, We're Journalists

An Update on the fiasco

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Sunday, November 19, 2006
Last Modified: 11/20/2006 10:21:00 AM


Goa's Struggle for Freedom Durable Link to this BLOG
When I was in Goa earlier this year, they kept telling me "take right on 18th June". It was only February, and I didn't know that "18th June" was the name of the road, so I thought it was amusing.

On the subsequent day however, I learnt the importance of 18th June to Goa and her people. That was the day in 1946 Ram Manohar Lohia inspired Goans to join India, and dared the Portuguese to take on Gandhi's formula for non-violent change that was so successful in rest of India.

© Vikas Kamat
Portuguese Wound Satyagrahis
Portuguese Wound Satyagrahis

But the resistance of the Portuguese rule was not new, and quite didn't end with India's liberation. The Portuguese didn't leave India till they were unceremoniously driven away in 1961.

I am surprised that such a eventful freedom struggle is not well documented on the Web, so I have created a new section Goa's Freedom Struggle that chronicles the various movements and leaders.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Last Modified: 11/23/2006 2:24:07 AM


Link Suggestions Durable Link to this BLOG
I am delighted to present two offerings from young, talented friends I inherited from my father (Both Srikanta Dani and Mallikarjuna D.G. were fans of my father, but they never met him; each has written a personal essay about how Bappa inspired them, which were published in Kammatiga memorial volume).

Kannada Music Potpourri

SomePoorna Art Factory --"Poorna Dhani", in full resonance Kannada music blended in genres ranging from soft rock to carnatic classical An album of five original compositions, portraying youth, freshness and love Releasing in December 2006... I listened to some snippets, and they are very good.

Malli's Own Potpourri

Mallikarjuna D.G., is a very talented engineer from Sidlaghatta and has started a visually stunning photo blog.

Mallikarjuna D.G.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, November 24, 2006
Last Modified: 11/25/2006 8:10:03 AM


Thanksgiving Weekend Notes Durable Link to this BLOG

The only thing I wanted to buy on the Thanksgiving sale was sold out 8-(

And it reminded me of an 2002 blog entry I had made on Out of Stock Sales we have in our Family's Cloth Shop.

And while digging my blog archive, I also found this email discussion among my friends.

AnthoBLOGy Archive from Year 2001 (has it been that long?!), it is indeed funny to read some old entries...

Here's another of my favorite entries: Difference between Relinquishment, Renunciation, and Sacrifice

Hallmark Channel is running this amazing movie "March of the Penguins", a must see for lovers of animal life and nature's wonderful ways...

Here's another link on Emperor Penguins.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Saturday, November 25, 2006
Last Modified: 11/28/2006 5:23:54 PM


Art Inspired by Durable Link to this BLOG
Here's an oil painting inspired by a picture on Kamat's Potpourri.

The Painting:

Runaway Deer
Runaway Deer
Oil on Canvas, 16" X 20", Year 2006

The Original Photograph:

© K.L.Kamat
Deer in Bandipur Forest
Deer in Bandipur Forest
Bandipur, Karnataka

See Another Entry: Art Inspires Art.

If you have a collage, sketch, poem, or a painting inspired by Kamat's Potpourri, please send it to me. I will publish them.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Monday, November 27, 2006
Last Modified: 11/27/2006 6:23:06 PM

' Goes Back to India Durable Link to this BLOG
Kamat Goes to Srirangapatna

I am pleased to announce expansion of team Kamat by a strategic partnership/investment in Sriranga Digital Technologies.

For more than ten years now, Kamat's Potpourri has been laboriously produced by my dad, mom, and my wife, and now we have reached a stage where the three of us are not able to handle the fan mail, requests for help, feature requests, copyright clearing, and expectations of four million readers a month.

So we are seeking the help of a small and talented team of engineers in India, located in the historical town of Srirangapatna.

This means that all the technologies that we have developed over the years are now available in Indian entrepreneurs against Rupee payment. It also means that now we can accommodate Indian advertisers.

This initiative suddenly makes our services and rates extremely competitive!

What to Expect on Kamat's Potpourri in Future

  • More Indian Language Content -- The Sriranga folks have technology to use LaTeX to produce Indian language contents for the web.
  • More interactivity: comments, games, puzzles
  • More content: News, Bollywood, tools for Genealogical Research, lots of cool stuff...
  • More Advertisements (sorry about that, but I'm no longer able to pay for this hobby from my pocket)

It's kind of a sad/joyous occasion for me (like your daughter getting married) because will no longer be the innocent, non-commercial venture.

It is rather amusing that a website focused on India is actually going back to India, although it is natural and bound to happen...

Please contact me if you think you can benefit from this development.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Last Modified: 11/30/2006 8:06:57 AM

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