Friday, November 25, 2005

So long as ....

The words written in the past often acquire a life of their own in the present. The shadow that befalls our understanding will linger long in our minds creating imageries of the past, unveiling the present, and constructing the hope for the future.

The following is the author's preface from Les Misérables by Victor Hugo, translated by Charles E. Wilbour:

So long as there shall exist, by reason of law and custom, a social condemnation, which, in the face of civilisation, artificially creates hells on earth, and complicates a destiny that is divine, with human fatality; so long as the three problems of the age- the degradation of man by poverty, the ruin of woman by starvation, and the dwarfing of childhood by physical and spiritual night- are not solved; so long as, in certain regions, social asphyxia shall be possible; in other words, and from a yet more extended point of view, so long as ignorance and misery remain on earth, books like this cannot be useless.

Hauteville House, 1862.

Saturday, November 12, 2005


The book Systems Thinking by Jamshid Gharajedaghi begins with the following quote from the unpublished internal report The Raveled Knot: An Examination of the Time-to-Market Issue at Analog's Semi-conductor Division by Charles Hampden-Turner and Linda Arc:

The most stubborn habits which resist change with the greatest tenacity are those which worked well for a space of time and led to the practitioner being rewarded for those behaviors. If you suddenly tell such persons that their recipe for success is no longer viable, their personal experience belies your diagnosis. The road to convincing them is hard. It is the stuff of classic tragedy.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

National Portal of India

The Government of India has launched a website today with the objective of providing a single window access to the information and services for the citizens and other stakeholders.

From the website's About the portal:

This is the Official Portal of the Indian Government, designed, developed and hosted by National Informatics Centre (NIC), the premier ICT Organisation of the Government of India under the aegis of Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Communications & Information Technology.

An attempt has been made through this Portal to provide comprehensive, accurate, reliable and one stop source of information about India and its various facets. Links at various places, too, have been provided to other Indian Government Portals/websites.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Theories on Theories

The Aryan invasion theory has led to many controversies, frictions, and heartburns. No one seems to know better than to put oneself on the desired side. The political dimension of those theories, in India, is too big for ordinary mortals to understand; extraordinary mortals do not care.
One of the most controversial ideas about Hindu history is the Aryan invasion theory. This theory, originally devised by F. Max Muller in 1848, traces the history of Hinduism to the invasion of India's indigenous people by lighter skinned Aryans around 1500 BCE. The theory was reinforced by other research over the next 120 years, and became the accepted history of Hinduism, not only in the West but in India. There is now ample evidence to show that Muller, and those who followed him, were wrong.
Trying to understand through social theories is a risky business, and has many shades of meaning. Ignorance seems to be one of them. Any more theories on these?