Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Is India Indeed a Civil Society?

vandalising historical monuments
vandalising historical monuments
As Indians we are known to be very sentimental about our culture and everything that reminds us of our past. Be it visiting religious cities, engaging in massive public baths in river banks or voting fanatically for Taj Mahal to make it one of the wonders of the world, we often go out of our ways to make sure our love for our cultural heritage is known to all.
Having said this, we are also a country which can shamelessly bring down an old monument in Ayodhya and start a politico-religious war which has been on for more than a decade now. It is no surprise then that almost all monuments or places of historic relevance often are at the mercy of people who ill-treat them. People scratching centuries old monuments’ walls and putting down a message for their sweetheart who is going be with someone else the next year is a very common sight.
I happened to visit one of India’s oldest temples in the heart of Tamil Nadu, Brihadeshwar Temple (also known as Big Temple) last week and as much as I awed at the huge embodiment of the faith of people in Lord Shiva, I was irked by the way the visitors have used the walls for their choicest graffiti display. This lame idea of writing on walls of important monuments was perhaps started by the early Bollywood movies but we have come a long way from the old black and white flicks and a neat civil thought needs to be instilled in the minds of these losers.
The same goes with public spitters, urinators, people who ride a polluting vehicle, people who destroy gardens each morning in the name of offering the flowers to their God, etc. There is a need to make people aware that we are a civil society and it’s high time we started behaving like one!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Indian genius promises best green energy fuel cell - BloomBox

It would be too early to call it the next big thing yet but if the top Venture Capitalist, John Doer (the man whose money is behind names like Google, Netscape, Amazon, etc.) is to be believed, the Bloom Box will change the way we light up our houses and industries in the near future.
A bloombox is essentially a fuel cell which can be powered by a variety of fuels ranging from Bio fuel to natural gas. What makes it phenomenal is its efficiency in terms of the power output. A small BloomBox can typically power 4 Indian homes or their equivalent a house hold in the United States.
The man behind it, Mr. Sridhar, is actually a rocket scientist who has worked on a similar project for NASA in the past which was aimed at generating Oxygen in Mars. When that project was scrapped by NASA, Sridhar modified (reversed) the mechanism which now is utilized in these BloomBoxes.
John Doer has invested a whooping 400 million dollars into this secretive startup which already has Google, FedEx and EBay as its clients as of now. Installation cost of the Bloombox is a major concern for most but it levels out for these giant companies once the operating cost (which is amazingly cheap) and the tax benefits for using a green technology are considered.
Watch CBS News Videos Online
When would this technology be installed in our households is still a million dollar question but things are certainly looking bright (and Green) at the moment with the claims that it would be a perfect replacement for the power grids that are used world-wide right now. Bloom boxes would officially be announced on Wednesday but most details are already out. It would be interesting to see the reaction of the governments, the world over, on Bloom box, the invention by this Indian genius, Sridhar.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Political influence behind poor connectivity of IT corridors of India

few trains from bangalore to south india
Ever wondered why the IT corridors of India is so poorly connected by trains, which otherwise is the major transportation medium for the rest of India? But then on second thoughts, did you ever wonder why there are so many private travels in cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad? Even a child can put two and two together to come to a conclusion that something fishy is going on!
Bangalore, the silicon valley of India, has very less native population percentage. The majority of people working in Bangalore come from other southern regions like Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andra Pradesh/Telangana. Now imagine this: there are just a few trains which connect Bangalore to Chennai and just one train which connects Bangalore to Hyderabad! This is the fact that contributes to the flourishing transport businesses (most of them, allegedly, run by people with political influences!) and the plight of the people who have to pay through their noses for the petty services offered by most of these travel companies.
On any weekend, chances of getting a ticket to/from Bangalore-Chennai – Hyderabad are negligible if you are not ready to pay an ‘additional fee’. These tickets are often sold in black right from the travel companies offices itself! Even the BMTC busses charge excess for tickets bought on the same day of travel.
This miserable situation is creating a number of employment opportunities for the local businesses but at the expense of passengers who are being looted and charged illegally high prices for the tickets! This loot from the IT employees is nothing new, similar trends can be observed in any other service in the IT corridors be it food (overpriced), security (police/traffic police charging illegal money in cities like Bangalore) or simple things like an auto-rickshaw ride. Unlike other industries the IT industry lacks a good union which can fight such atrocities and bring fair-play to the whole IT scene in India. The rest of India just knows one thing – IT is the money minting industry and the people there know how to spend money!
The whole private travel scene of the South India seems to be backed by heavy weight political powers as it makes no sense for the Indian Railways to ignore a lucrative leg of operations like the IT corridors of South India!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Rahul Gandhi can do wonders if he wants!


Rahul the new scion of the gandhi family has always got publicity with what he did. And why would he not when he is the only son of the most powerful political dynasty of India and the heir to one of the most admired Prime Ministers that we have ever had.
The qualities of leadership come naturally to this charming young gentleman of Indian politics which make him a favorite even for the upitty media. And he makes sure that he is never taken as a politician who's reach ends on the dinner table of the upper middle class of the Indian society. Like the old mahatma, this gandhi too likes to travel the vastness of the country including homes and dwellings of the poorest of the poor (remember Madam Kalavati of the nuclear deal fame?) and when Rahul Gandhi takes the Mumbai Local the critics go dead in their tracks, the common Mumbaikar stops and smiles at his co-passenger and the media goes in a frenzy!
The 'Plan-B' was perfectly executed and brought out a message which sent shivers down the shiv-sena, thakere's spine. The message was quite clear - Mumbai should be safe for all Indians, everywhere! The Congress (the ever so mushy-soft appeasing political party) is starting to take a stern stance against this division politics in Mumbai and the biggest youth leader, the Gandhi himself, coming to Mumbai takes the battle almost away from the Thakres.
This also establishes Rahul as the most important youth leader of India and a probable Prime Ministerial candidate in the near future. Would this be good for India can be said in certainty only when the time comes but given the current political scenario and the quality and intent of the leaders we have in our country, someone like Rahul Gandhi can really be hoped to lead India to a much brighter future!

Bangalore's police are worse than the goons!

Imagine this: you step out of your home late at night for some work expecting that you live in a secure area with cops patrolling all through the night and end up getting robbed by the cops itself! If this is tough to imagine, just come down to Bangalore and find it out for yourself.
This is nothing new, even in CnC we've reported similar issues sometime back but everytime such an incident happens it brings a new shame for the face of Bangalore police.
How can the citizens feel safe when the people responsible for providing safety turn robbers themselves? My friends were sitting inside an auto close to our home in old airport road waiting for another friend to arrive when two cops stopped by and started insulting and abusing them. My friends were not drunk, were decently dressed and behaving appropriately in their own neighbourhood when they became victims of this uniformed hooliganism. A few localites who know them quite well since almost an year now refused to help, this could be due to the general fear that almost all of India has when it comes to police or could be a contempt against anyone who doesn't speak their language! It was all settled as usual by a 'donation' of Rs. 200 only!
This is the same exact location where one of my friend was robbed of his mobile phone and wallet just a few months back by some goons. It is but a shame if incidents like these keep happening in prime Indian cities.
The question is simple - who would you call when the people who come on dialing 100 are themselves turning into monsters?

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Take the bus today!

bangalore bus day
Today is Bus Day in Bangalore city. A smart move by, arguably, the smartest bus services providers in India, BMTC. The slogan is simple - Take The Bus! The roads are expected to be free of the clutter due to the lakhs of privately owned vehicles (private cars and bikes) that trod the over 5000 Kilometres of Bangalore's tarred surface everyday! Starting off on the 4th of February, 2010, the BMTC plans to organize such 'Bus Days' on the 4th of every month from now on if the initiative gets a good response from the people of Bangalore and the roads remain relatively trouble free. Additional busses are operating across the city with a high frequency in key areas like Electronic City, etc.
The Bus Day has been hailed by many and everyone is trying to contribute to this initiative by spreading the news. There are thousands of Bangalore's bloggers, Tweeps, Journos who are making people aware of this initiative in their networks. Radio Stations are doing special shows and local news channels are keeping a track of things as well.
BMTC is India's only public road transport service to actually run in profit (The fine collection alone runs in more than Rs. 20 Crore! a year) The revenues collected from the busses plying in Bangalore city alone are higher than that of the busses run in the rest of Karnataka! Some smart thinking and good execution takes the credit and with initiatives like the 'Bus Days' it is sure to attract some attention from other city transport services which can learn a thing a two to give better service for both the people and the environment of the city!
For more information log on to the BMTC website - unlike other Government websites this one is updated regularily and is functional and useful!