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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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Best of AnthoBLOGy

Unripe Revolution
Rooster's Dharma
Don't Know Jack
No Love for Condi
Blogger's Block
Father of  the Bride
TinTin's Diary - I
TinTin's Diary II
Hate Bollywood
Child Labor
M.F.Husain Guilty
Marathi & Konkani
Artist's Daughter
India's First IT Guru

 

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

Home Libraries Durable Link to this BLOG
Home Libraries

Some excellent books on India are listed on eBay. If you have been considering building a nice home library of books on India, I encourage you to start today.

Both our residences have excellent collection of books on India, that we use often for reference, fact checking, and for ideas. I recently started cataloging them and am publishing a partial list this week -- it is called Holdings of Kamat Library, because most of them have now been donated to the library that is being built in Honavar.

See Also:
• Book Recommendations -- List of my all time favorite books on India.

India's Dowry System

Current discussion at Friends of Kamat mailing list is on the system of dowry in India. Meanwhile, read my notes on dowry system.

Note: If you are a member, and do not want to recieve the discussions, just choose "Special Notices Only" which is sent once a month.


(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Thursday, December 02, 2004
Last Modified: 12/2/2004 9:22:36 AM

Tragedies of Bhopal Durable Link to this BLOG

Question Do you know who killed more Indians than John Wayne?

Answer Union Carbide did.

Today  is the 20th anniversary of the Bhopal gas tragedy when a gas leak at the Union Carbide fertilizer plant caused the biggest industrial accident, and you can see all kinds of media coverage about it. Unfortunately, most have missed an angle of the tragedy, caused by the Government of India, and the bribe regime that the tragedy established subsequently. While Bhopal gas tragedy was horrible beyond words, bigger tragedies occurred in the aftermath, and I list them below:

Tragedies of Bhopal
  • Anybody who is familiar with India, knows about the poor environmental and safety standards. So, IMHO this accident could have happened anywhere else in India, even in a Government facility. No improvement in the standards has taken place in India since, although companies elsewhere learnt a big lesson.
  • Once word got around that the facility belonged to a US company, all the officials jumped with joy with the potential for bribes they could milk. The management of Union Carbide was harassed to no avail, and Union Carbide was denied the opportunity to take corrective action, or provide compensation, because if allowed, the officials would get no bribe. I recall that Union Carbide executives who came to India to offer sympathies were arrested and harassed. Eventually Union Carbide agreed to pay a mere $530 million in compensation -- I am sure they spent another $500 million in bribing the various parties to agree to that deal. This shameful behavior on part of Indian Government is a great tragedy and caused untold hardships to victims and damaged the dignity of India.
  • India is a large agricultural economy and Union Carbide at that time was a large manufacturer of fertilizers. In a knee jerk move, the Government closed down all of Union Carbide factories, and their assets were seized. This caused a tremendous shortage of fertilizer in India during 1985, and farmers had to buy them in black market. There was even a black market for Eveready batteries.
  • Finally the compensation, supposedly paid by Union Carbide, and accepted by the Government as the final deed, never reached the victims. This is the ultimate tragedy.

See ghastly pictures of Bhopal Gas Tragedy at Greenpeace. Such a great great tragedy it was, in so many ways.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, December 03, 2004
Last Modified: 12/3/2004 11:16:43 AM

Misc. Notes Durable Link to this BLOG
Kamat Travel Calendar

Amma is currently traveling in Rajasthan, and says she is overcome by memories of me and my father (I was born there).

I will be in Boston for the Mid-winter conference of ALA (Jan 14-17).

I will be in Gokarn in India for Bappa's death anniversary in Feb 16th, and am thinking of a "Walk in the Footsteps of Kamat" walk that weekend (Feb 22) in Malleswaram in Bangalore, where we would meet in Bashyam Park and walk till the Janata Hotel on 8th Cross, identifying many of our models and land-marks, including Bappa's Scientific Photo Lab.

If you are in any of above areas, drop me a line and we can hook up Contact Kamats

Surving Telemarketers

I have heard that in a few weeks, cell phone numbers are being released to telemarketing companies and you will start to receive sales calls on cell phones. So call this number from your cell phone 888-382-1222. It is the national Do Not Call list. It blocks your number for five years.

You can also do it online: Do not Call List


(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Sunday, December 05, 2004
Last Modified: 12/6/2004 10:34:45 PM

I Can't Believe that was Kamat! Durable Link to this BLOG
I Can't Believe That was Kamat!

M. J. Rajeev Gowda is a talented photographer from Kolar. His photographs have been exhibited at several places. He has been an enthusiastic admirer of Bappa's books for a long time, and then he saw this picture (shown below).

Kamat in Front of his Scientific Photo Lab.

He writes: (translated from Kannada; paraphrased)

Quote Begin

One of the complex experiences in life happens when a person you were familiar with, but one you least expected, goes on to achieve great things in life, and you exclaim "I can't believe he did that!" Quite another type of excitement happens when suddenly you realize the person you accidentally met (like in front of you in a line) is a great man you admire. The thrill is even more when you don't recognize the person immediately, but have a good time with him anyway, and only later come to know of his identity, and exclaim "I can't believe it was he!"

When I saw the picture of the smiling man in front of the closed, dusty doors of Scientific Photo Lab, I felt this second type of trembling joy. I just couldn't believe it was the same man I had met accidentally in 1992, and even had learnt a few photography tricks from! I just did not know this Kamat was the same Kamat who captured our imagination via his travelogues, research, and website for so long!

My buddy Mallikarjuna, also a great admirer of Kamat, deeply regrets even today that he never got a chance to meet Kamat in person. Coincidentally, I had not only met Kamat, but had been his customer/student. Through my interactions with him, I had recognized Kamat's extreme simplicity, his refusal to get rich from his talents, and his helpful nature of sharing his own light. What I didn't know was it was that gentleman in that tiny shop of Malleswaram was Dr. Krishnanand Kamat!

Quote End

I Can't Believe That was Adiga

Q: How does the teacher know the students cheated?
A: They all have made the same mistake!

Prof. Gopalakrishna Adiga Kannada Poet V.G. Bhat
Mistaken Identities

Poet Gopalakrishna Adiga was frequent visitor to Bappa's lab, so was poet V.G. Bhat. That was twenty years ago, and my visual memory failed me and once I made the mistake of identifying Bhat as Adiga. After a relative of Adiga contacted me, I promptly apologized and corrected it (see Vikas's Goof Log).

Anyway, the funny part is, all those people who had stolen our pictures over the years didn't know that I made the mistake, and it was a tell tale evidence of their content theft!

What is surprising is, Yahoo Search's top match is making the same mistake. Perhaps their crawl-cache is old, but now you know who the culprit is. ;-- )


(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Monday, December 06, 2004
Last Modified: 12/6/2004 10:25:04 PM

New Pictures of TinTin Durable Link to this BLOG
Here are some pictures of TinTin showing off her new outfit.

TinTin in Dog Sweater

TinTin in Dog Sweater

See Also:
• My Pet TinTin
• Kamat Family Stories

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Wednesday, December 08, 2004
Last Modified: 12/8/2004 7:06:15 AM

Winners and Losers in Google Deal Durable Link to this BLOG
Apropos, Google making deal with top libraries, I have compiled the list of winners and losers.

Winners
  • General Public
  • Google stock holders (I am one)
  • Third World Countries
  • Researchers
  • Copyright and Intellectual Property Lawyers
Losers


(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Last Modified: 12/15/2004 11:53:48 AM

Sex and Justice Scandal in India Durable Link to this BLOG

My buddy Mahesh B.G. says that all net-frat brothers of India must come together and support Avnish Bajaj, the CEO of ebay India (if you missed the story, here it is). I agree that we must educate the population and advance the Indian justice system.

But I am not at all surprised by the arrest. Don't you know, that is the modus operandi of bribe regime ? The richer the accused (in this case a successful American company with an American CEO), the better. And most people in India pay the bribe to get out of the police harassment -- even if they are innocent. Of course that has meant that even the guilty can pay a price and go home. When is the last time we heard of a fair trial India or the justice being served?

India is a country where the thugs make laws, and the innocent are harassed to no avail. Lot of people are shocked, but I am not.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Monday, December 20, 2004
Last Modified: 12/20/2004 11:03:42 AM

Delightful Grandma Movie Durable Link to this BLOG
Way Home Playing on Kamat Home Theater
I saw a delightful Korean movie "Way Home" (with English subtitles) of a boy bonding to his grandmother in rural Korea.

It made me think a lot of my own grandmother Kaki, who unlike the character in the movie, was blessed with some thirty-five grandchildren! I felt bad that I hadn't mourned Kaki's passing sufficiently -- my maternal grandpa and paternal grandma both died within months of my dad's passing-- because we were still in recovery mode.

Anyway, the movie shows a city boy, an only child, living on a diet of pizzas, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and electronic games having to live with his deaf and mute, poor grandmother in a village that doesn't sell batteries for his Gameboy.

But grandma has all the goodies the money cannot buy -- patience, care, affection, and endless love.

Grandmas are indeed God's gift to mankind.

Link to "Way Home" DVD on Amazon

BlogStreet: Amma's Column is chosen as Blog of the Day


(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, December 24, 2004
Last Modified: 12/25/2004 1:09:11 PM

Note to Bloggers and Wikipedia Authors Durable Link to this BLOG
Dear Blogger and/or Wikipedia Author,

While I encourage use of our contents and pictures in your own work and content development, please provide credits to the original creator as a courtesy, and as a practice of law.

There is no need to pay, as the link you provide to www.kamat.com acts as a sufficient reward for me, thanks to the PageRank technology.

Thank you,
-Vikas Kamat

Notes

  • I support Wikipedia. I even donate financially.
  • I support fair-use. I have even setup a Self-service form for your convinience
  • Our contents are free. It doesn't mean you can abuse them, modify them, or steal them and claim as your own.
  • Please read my Blogger's Block on how to create contents of your own.
  • I will report violations under DMCA, which would cause you hassle and you could be accused of stealing. Why steal when you can get it for free?

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Sunday, December 26, 2004
Last Modified: 12/26/2004 1:20:37 PM

Tsunami Relief Fund Durable Link to this BLOG
We are making an appeal to all our friends, customers, and well-wishers to contribute generously in relief work in the aftermath of recent natural disaster.

Please make checks payable to: "Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund" and send to:

In USA:
SPI, 5 Concourse Parkway, Suite 600, Atlanta GA 30328

In India:
SPI, 407 Contour Road, Gokulam 3rd stage, Mysore 570 002

Your contributions will be matched (up to a maximum) and will be forwarded to Prime Minister's Relief Fund.

I am starting the collection by donating $1000. Please contribute as much as you can, because it will be matched by the sponsors.

Other Ways to Help

• Donate via Amazon Honor System
• Donate via Paypal setup by Ganesh.
• Donate via Other sources (compiled by IndiaInfo.com)
• Kiruba Shankar, who is based in Chennai, has many other ideas on how you can help.
• Be a leader and start a fundraiser; lobby your employer to match the donations and then contribute to Red Cross or a volunteer organization.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Last Modified: 1/7/2005 5:11:27 PM

Happy New Year Durable Link to this BLOG
My best wishes to all the readers of this blog.

-Vikas

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, December 31, 2004
Last Modified: 12/31/2004 8:08:32 PM

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