Non-Technical

Sooner or Later Though You Always Have to Wake Up…..

This write-up will be better understood by those readers who have seen the movie Avatar by James Cameroon.  And I really suggest that those who have not seen the movie please do watch it. Its worth the effort.
I decided to watch the movie Avatar just because it was directed by a famous director and there was a lot of hype about the movie all around. Just like any other normal viewer..:). But half way through the movie I started understanding the message the movie was trying to convey. I started understanding that it was one of the most relevant movies I have seen in recent times. The movie talks about the greed of human beings. About what wonders nature can do.. About the extent to which human beings can deteriorate to be the ruler of all resources. .
The movie is about how humans(refered to as Sky-people) decide to mine rich natural resources from another planet named Pandora and the natives of the planet known as the Na’vis trying hard not just to safeguard the resources but also to preserve the nature of their homeland. They fight till their death to save their planet. From the surface it looks like any other normal alien movie but deep down it sends a message to the whole human race to fight for the planet we live in. Towards the climax of the movie the hero prays to the Na’vi Goddess and thats the dialogue which I felt was most relevant ..See the world we come from. There’s no green there. They killed their Mother and they’re gonna do the same here. Very True. We have killed our Mother Nature who protects and preserves us.
Our greed is never going to end. It will only keep on increasing until we ourselves become the reason for our downfall. Take for instance the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit. No one was ready to take a stand that would save the Earth. All the countries thought just about themselves and thus even a consensus could not be reached, leave alone a solid protocol or agreement. Thus it turned out to be a failure.
Indians and Africans, who are considered to be inferior races by others, have a rich heritage which we can be proud of. These two races have always worked in harmony with nature and done all that could be to safeguard it. But now what has happened to us?? Just like the Na’vis in the movie shouldn’t we too continue doing what our ancestors have done? Should we too end up being held responsible for the brutal murder of our Mother? Or should we stand up against the murderers? Its for us to decide. Lets not forget that the green cover is necessary for the human race to survive. Just like the forest decides to help the Na’vis to save their homeland Nature will appreciate any effort made by her children and help to drive away the intruders.
By the time the destroyers have realized their mistakes it’ll be too late. So lets all consider it our obligation to take up the responsibility and help save our Mother. Fight for our Mother. Without her we have no identity. Its she who preserves us. We are like babies; stupid and ignorant. Lets grow up a bit for the sake of our Mother.
So its time for us to wake up..
Save our Mother!! Save Nature!!!

Samskriti

Diwali… The festival of lights..

Diwali is one of the most lively festivals in India and even the whole world. With so many chirags lighting up the whole place as well as our hearts.. The sound of firecrackers which fill the air.. And the best part.. THE SWEETS!!! I just love this festival.. But when we celebrate a festival it is important to know the significance of it as well as the legend associated with it.

So for all those who like to know more about this wondeful festival just read on…

Lets pledge to drive away the darkness!!
Lets pledge to drive away the darkness!!

India is a land of festivals where you will see at least one major festival each month. Deepavali (or Diwali) which literally means “rows of lamps” is one of the four main festivals of India. Throughout the world all Hindus celebrate Deepavali or Diwali with great pomp and enthusiasm.
The celebration of Diwali lasts six days, beginning on the 12th day of the month of Kartik (as per the North Indian lunar calendar). The day before Diwali, in order to evoke the grace of God, women fast. It is not that God wants you to go hungry or takes pleasure in your suffering – the principle is that you gain only by giving up. That evening, devotees worship Gomata (the cow) and her calf and feed them special food. Women pray for the welfare of the entire family. This holy day is called Vasubaras.
The first official day of Diwali falls on the 13th of Kartik. People set about cleaning houses and shops, and decorating doorsteps and courtyards with rangoli or multi-coloured designs. They purchase gold ornaments, new vessels, clothes, and other such items. Devotees arise early in the morning before sunrise and take oil baths. If possible, they wear new clothes. In the evening, people worship coins representing wealth. Families decorate houses and courtyards with lanterns giving a warm glow to the night. This day of celebration is called Dhantrayodashi or Dhanteras.
The second day is called Naraka Chaturdashi. People take an oil bath in the early morning and then in the night they light lamps and burn firecrackers. People visit their relatives and friends, exchanging love and sweets.
On the third day, people worship Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth. People decorate their houses with lit lamps and lanterns to welcome Lakshmi to their home and hearts. On this day businessmen close old accounts and open new accounts. The earth is lit up by lamps and the skies are coloured by the multi-hued lights of fireworks.
In North India, the Govardhana Puja occurs on the fourth day of Diwali. Devotees in the North build large mounds made of cow dung, symbolising Govardhana – the mountain that Krishna lifted up with his finger to save the villagers of Vrindavan from rain – and decorate and worship them. North Indians observe this day as Annakoot, or the mountain of food.
The fifth day of the festival called Bhaiyya Dooj celebrates unique and fun customs. Every man dines in his sister’s house, and, in return, presents her with gifts. North India calls it Yama Dwitiya. Thousands of brothers and sisters join hands and have a sacred bath in the river Yamuna.

The Legends
Dhanteras
The scriptures mention the divinity called Dhanvantari emerging from the churning of the ocean holding a kalash (pot) filled with Amrit (ambrosia). Due to the fact that Dhanvantari, who revealed the science of Ayurveda to the world, first manifested on this day, all over India, doctors following the Ayurvedic system of medicine organise joyful celebrations during the annual Dhanvantari festival.
Naraka Chaturdashi
There is a legend about a king of Prag-Jyotishpur, named Narakasura. He was a powerful king who misused power to harass his subjects. Sri Krishna destroyed this oppressive asura king on this day. Unjustly imprisoned people celebrated their freedom with friends and family. The citizens celebrated their deliverance from Narkasura’s reign by lighting lamps.
Sri Rama
Deepavali falls on a no-moon day – in fact the darkest day of the year. The illuminations and fireworks, joy and festivities, are to signify the victory of divine forces over the powers of darkness. On Deepavali day, triumphant Sri Rama is said to have returned to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana, the asura king of Lanka.
Goddess Lakshmi Devi
The Puranas say that it was on this day that Goddess Lakshmi, who emerged from the churning of the ocean of milk (Ksheera Sagara), married Lord Vishnu, the repository of all divine qualities.

Govardhana Puja
In order to shelter the gopis and gopas and their cows from the torrential rains sent by Indra, Krishna lifted a hill near Mathura called Govardhana with his finger and sheltered all the people for a period of seven days under it. By then Indra saw Krishna’s greatness and asked him for forgiveness.
Bhaiyya Dooj
The river Yamuna and Yama, the God of Death, were brother and sister. As they grew up they went their different ways. On this day Yama supposedly visited his sister Yamuna, who in her joy at seeing her brother after such a long interlude set up a feast for him. Pleased, Yama granted her a boon. He declared that every man that receives a tilak or vermilion mark on the forehead from his sister and presents her with lovely gifts on this day would attain higher worlds.

The message of Deepavali
The traditional name of India is Bharata and Indians are Bharatias – or ‘those who revel in light’. During the night of Deepavali the myriad little clay lamps (diyas) seem to silently send forth message of Deepavali: “Come, let us remove darkness from the face of the earth.”
The dharma of fire is the same wherever it is: in a poor man’s house, in a rich man’s house, in America, in Antarctica, or in the Himalayas. It gives light and heat. The flame always points upwards. Even if we keep the lamp upside down, the flame will burn upwards. The message is that our mind should be focused on the Atman, the Self wherever we are. The lamps remind us of our dharma to realise our divine nature.
“The Self is pure consicousness which is self-luminous. The cognition of all objects arises from the light of pure Consciousness.” -says Bhrihadaranyaka Upanishad
One lamp can light several others. You can even light another 1000 lamps, and still the flame and the light of the first lamp will remain as it is. By becoming manifold, the light looses nothing. The lights of Deepavali represent Brahman and creation. It conveys the message of the mantra:
“Purnamada Purnamidam Purnaat Purnamudachyate
Purnasya Purnamadaya Purnamevasishyate”

The rows of lamps teach yet another important lesson of unity. The light that shines forth from the Sun, the moon, the stars, and fire is all the same. To see and recognise that one light, the light of consciousness, which is manifesting and pulsating in and through all of creation is the goal of life. Thus, recognising all of creation to be an expression of your true Self, spread the light of love and compassion.
The lights of Deepavali are displayed at the entrance doors, by the walls of houses, in the streets and lanes. This means that the inner spiritual light of the individual must be reflected outside. It should benefit society. Passers-by may thereby be prevented from stumbling on their way to reach their destination.
Feeding empty stomachs, lighting blown-out diyas and bringing light to those whose lives are in darkness is the true spirit of Deepavali. This is true prayer

References : 

http://archives.amritapuri.org/bharat/festival/deepavali.php

GATE

GATE-2010 – an overview..

Its recession time !! And we students who have reached the final year of our BTech degree (especially CSE and IT) are in real trouble..

As in all other colleges the placements in our college are expected to be bleak.. But thats when the CCR(Center for Corporate Relations) of our college decided to encourage us to concentrate on higher studies rather than remain disappointed about placements.

A core group of 4 students( of which I’m one) were assigned the job of collecting all the information about the GATE exam and present it in front of our classmates. We did so in order to motivate the interested students to participate in the GATE training which is done by the students themselves with constant monitoring from the CCR. Right now the classes are progressing. We all hope that we get a good GATE score and continue our studies from one of the pioneer institutions in India.. 🙂

I’m uploading the data which we collected about the GATE exam. It contains the exam details, pattern, syllabus, important dates etc.. Hoping that it will help all u guys who are interested in taking up the exam..

All the Best!

The details are available in pdf format here :  GATE 2010

Samskriti

Save the World!

We live in a world which is threatened of going into extinction. We are well aware of Global Warming, Green House Effect and the like but we don’t even bother to switch off a light or a fan or to do a timely pollution check-up for our vehicles. Does that mean that we are not afraid to die? No. It means we just don’t care. We know that all these gases will have their effect after maybe a thousand year or so. Our attitude is –“We’ll be dead by then. So who’s bothered about what happens to earth after such a long time! “ Now that’s really going to ruin our planet for sure.

Climate change refers to a statistically significant variation in either the mean state of the climate or in its variability, persisting for an extended period (typically decades or longer). Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external forcings, or to persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use.

Global warming and climate change are consequences of man’s yearning for a cozy and comfortable life. We keep emitting Green house gases from our automobile exhausts, refrigerators, factories and so many other man-made sources. To add insult to injury we’ve cut down forests which have the capability to reduce the effect to a large extent. We’ve always learnt in our Science classes -”The earth will live only as long as the green cover remains.”. Today we are seeing the effect of our careless and inconsiderate actions. The monsoons are late, sea levels are rising, glaciers are slowly melting.. The time is not far away when the nature takes its toll.

It is high time we took corrective measures. It is time for the youth to rise in action. As I mentioned in one of my previous posts being truly Indian can help combat climate change. Indian culture if followed in its true form helps one love nature and live in harmony with it. Preserving clusters of trees in the form of sacred grooves has been part of our culture. Trees, sun, moon and all such elements of nature have been worshipped. We were taught not to harm nature in any form. But amongst our 100 million plus Indian population it is tough to find a true Indian!!

There is a government sponsored program, the IYCN Agents of Change, which aims at sending a delegation from India to take part in the UN Climate Negotiations. Such programs help us express our views and work as a team to combat climate change. The country calls for active participation in programs to save the world. There are various such world-wide programs which work to combat climate change like C3(Combat Climate Change), NCC(National Capital Commission), etc.

Each individual can give his own small contributions. Small drops make up an ocean. We can help in our own simple way.

  • Use automobiles only when necessary. Walking and cycling can be beneficial for our health as well as for the world.
  • Use refrigerators which are eco-friendly.
  • Reduce the use of air-fresheners.
  • Plant trees at least in your backyards.
  • Talk to the youth around you and convince at least 5 people to work towards the reduction of green-house gases.
  • Use electricity efficiently. Do not waste energy.
  • Switch off the refrigerator for a few hours in the evening. The food won’t be spoilt and its one step towards a safe earth.
  • Use unused pages of used books for rough work or calculations.
  • Convince educational institutions about the advantages of Digital Assignments and lab Records. Each year a large amount of trees are cut down to make the paper used for such activities.

Carbon footprinting:

A carbon footprint is “the total set of GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions caused directly and indirectly by an individual, organization, event or product” (UK Carbon Trust 2008). An individual, nation, or organization’s carbon footprint is measured by undertaking a GHG emissions assessment. Once the size of a carbon footprint is known, a strategy can be devised to reduce it.

Carbon offsets, or the mitigation of carbon emissions through the development of alternative projects such as solar or wind energy or reforestation, represent one way of managing a carbon footprint.

The concept and name of the carbon footprint originates from the ecological footprint discussion. The carbon footprint is a subset of the ecological footprint.

We can calculate the individual contribution towards the ruin of our world.

Carbon Footprint Calculator

References:

http://www.iycn.in

http://www.fao.org

Samskriti

India of My Dreams-True India 2020

Being a great fan of Dr.A.P.J. Abdul Kalam I’ve always been inspired by him. I’m one of those lucky ones who had the golden opportunity to meet him in person when I was in 9th grade. I was ignited by his thoughts and views and I thought Vision 2020 was the best action plan we could have for our beloved country- INDIA. But then today while I was writing this post my Dad happened to have a look at what I was up to. He asked me what my vision for India was. I said all the great things that I had read from Dr. Kalam and the Planning Commission Report –India Vision 2020. My dad casually asked me, “Why does India need so many visions when India is so much self-sufficient? Don’t you think it’s our vision to be a super-power or to be a richer nation which is reducing Her power? “These 2 questions triggered my thoughts. So I decided to voice it out through this post.

India, our motherland, has given us a lot to be proud of and we all take pride in being Indians but how many of us would refuse a chance to go to a country like the USA or UK or Australia? We even consider a job or higher education in China, Japan or Singapore as a great achievement. So are we really proud of India? So all these visions are to make us Indians feel proud about our country. I too agree to it but I doubt whether the vision we are working towards will help in making us proud. We will be proud to see people in US and UK queuing up to grab opportunities to work or study in India. We will be proud to see people migrating to India just as we are doing today to their countries. We will be proud to see people copying India and its culture like we are doing their’s. But for all these visions to become a reality we’ll have to search within India. We’ll have to know our own strengths instead of searching for more weaknesses. India has given its contributions in almost fields.

  • In literature –Vedas, Epics and so many more.
  • In medicine- Ayurveda.
  • In Astronomy – Aryabhatta and his contributions.
  • In Education – We’ve had world class universities like Nalanda and Takshahila.

India’s contribution to Science & Technology is so enormous that this post won’t be enough.

A few thoughts:

  • Vegetation: India is blessed with such wonderful climate, landscape and vegetation that we don’t really need to depend on any other country. But for this we should know how to use our resources. Instead of doing so we bring in alien species because of our greed to get more yield. These alien species kill our indigenous trees and plants. So let’s bring our traditional vegetation back to India .
  • Education: In Malayalam we’ve a famous saying- “Vidya Dhanam Sarva Dhanal Pradhanam “(Education is the supreme wealth). But we use this wealth to earn the wealth which we compare with the US Dollars!! When we’ve the wealth of knowledge we should not be worried about monetary benefits. We should learn more about the knowledge we get from our surroundings. We’re so much absorbed in learning what the Westerners have invented that we don’t have time left to learn about the discoveries made in India by our ancestors. It’s a fact that those inventions are beneficial to the west while it could create more curses than boons in our land. Let us learn about our past inventions and give our contributions to our country. Then even the rest of the world will accept us.
  • Culture: India can be proud of a great culture. Respect to elders, Spirituality in depth, humane and family values are all taught to us by this wonderful culture. But we proud Indians are more bothered about copying the western culture. We feel it’s superior. I don’t believe in debating which culture is supreme but in my opinion their culture is suitable for the west while our culture will help in improving the conditions in our country. To help India become the India of our dreams lets learn, understand and practice our Indian Culture.
  • Rivers: Our land is blessed with great rivers like Ganga, Yamuna etc. The Ganges has the unique capability to preserve materials thrown into it without decaying. This is due to the presence of unique bacteria in the river which forms a coating on the substances present in the river. But we’re just interested in ruining this sacred river. We’ve filled the river with sewage, carcasses, industrial wastes and what not to pollute the river! We’ve tried to tame the river for our own benefits. Eventually our mightiest river is on the verge of death! The condition is not different with most of the other rivers in our country. Let’s resolve and work to save our rivers.

Life in India can be bettered only by living it as Indians and not as Americans or Europeans or the Chinese. India is a wonderful land which gives its population everything needed for a good life. But it all depends on how each individual defines a ‘good life’. We are so much interested in acquiring US Dollars that we don’t even bother what is happening to our motherland because of Her children’s greed. The rivers, vegetation, culture, terrain and everything Indian has to be preserved. If we live as Indians we can even contribute to the world by emitting least Greenhouse gases; by contributing to science and technology; by increasing the green cover on earth. The world started looking down upon us when we ceased to be Indian. You’ll all remember that our country was the one which was attacked and conquered by almost all the civilizations of the world. It only shows that India had the capability to attract everyone from around the world so much that the various conquerors were competing to call India its own!! And we fools think our culture and land is inferior! We talk about all sorts of methods to improve our country by 2020. But does improvement mean being like America?? India was never like America when it was so sought after by the whole world. Reaching the moon using American technologies or making missiles or buying foreign fighter planes are not real achievements. Why use a foreign technology when our country has had great Sages who’ve enlightened us with all sorts of discoveries thousands of years before the westerners could even think of such a thing!

Don’t you think we should have a change in the education system? We spend almost all years of our education to study what the westerners have discovered or invented. After all these years of by-hearting we don’t get any time for innovations of our own. We should revive our Indian history. We’ve never learnt the true history of our country in any book we studied. We know only what the westerners told us and we blindly believe that we are inferior! How have we lost the inquisitiveness which our great ancestors had? It was this curiosity which was the driving force which led to so many great discoveries.

India is a great country and our country needs us-Her own children. So my vision 2020 is: MAKE INDIA THE TRUE INDIA. Let’s all work for the achievement of this goal.

JAI HIND!!

Please drop in your comments. J

Samskriti

Kiran Bedi-Unplugged

 

            Dr. Kiran Bedi- one of the most well known women in India.. She has been an inspiration to a large number of Indian women including me. Now the movie about this icon-Yes Madam, Sir- is also being widely recognized throughout the world. She is great personality who had shown signs of her uniqueness from early years of her life.

            She was born on June 9th, 1949 in Amritsar, Punjab and was her father’s favorite among his four daughters. Young Kiran was so unlike other girls. She was bold and strong like a boy. That might be the reason why she was the only girl among 21 participants for a tennis tournament during her college days. She is the only Indian police personal to have won the Magsaysay Award – an achievement in itself. She is the first Indian woman to have joined the Indian Police Service(IPS). She is a wonderful example of an empowered Indian woman. She proved to the world that Indian women are definitely not inferior to the men in any way.

            She showed her determination throughout her life, even in the matter of her marriage. She found a suitable life partner in Brij Bedi who had similar interests, ideals and goals. She was strongly against dowry, an expensive wedding and complicated rituals. She had a very idealistic marriage which did not include any of the above mentioned practices. She leads by example.

            When I was a young girl my mom mentioned Kiran Bedi to me. Then she was famous as an efficient and successful IPS officer. As I grew up I started reading about this magnetic personality more. After Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam she is the one who inspires me a lot. What attracted me the most is her determination and fearless attitude. She made us all proud when she was selected as Police Advisor in UN peacekeeping department. Recently she appeared on television in the programme ‘Aapki Kacheri – Kiran ke Saath’ aired by Star Plus. I was a regular viewer of the show. It was a unique experience to see her discuss domestic conflicts and issues and pronounce her verdict. It is even more inspiring to know about her commitment to the society. Her campaigns against drug abuse and efforts to improve the lives of drug addicts and underprivileged people are few of her contributions to society.

            For her outstanding work, Kiran Bedi has received a number of accolades like:

  • President’s Gallantry Award (1979)
  • Women of the Year Award (1980)
  • Asia Region Award for Drug Prevention and Control (1991)
  • Magsaysay Award for Government Service (1994)
  • Mahila Shiromani Award (1995)
  • Father Machismo Humanitarian Award (1995)
  • Lion of the Year (1995)
  • Joseph Beuys Award (1997)
  • Pride of India (1999)
  • Mother Teresa Memorial National Award for Social Justice (2005)

 

References:

 http://www.kiranbedi.com/kiranbedi1.htm

 http://www.iloveindia.com/indian-heroes/kiran-bedi.html

 http://living.oneindia.in/celebrity/other-celebrities/kiran-bedi.html