Friday, August 10, 2018

Mother Teresa and her Baby Bazaar

T
here was a fair amount of shock and disbelief in many circles when news, on the 7th of July 2018, broke that a nun at Nirmal Hriday (a hospice established by Mother Teresa) in the town of Ranchi had been arrested and remanded to judicial custody by a court for allegedly selling a baby at the Nirmal Hriday home. According to another story, "Arti Kujar, head of the Jharkhand State Child Protection Society, told Reuters that they suspect the home was charging upwards of $600 for each baby, depending on what the prospective parents could afford to pay."

Soon enough came the suitably shocked protestations from the Mother Teresa founded Missionaries of Charity, along with the expected dislaimer - “We are shocked to know what has happened in our home… it is completely against our moral conviction,” Sunita Kumar, spokesperson for the Missionaries of Charity, stated. “We are carefully looking into this matter. We will take all necessary precautions that it never happens again, if it has happened.”

Shortly thereafter came political cover to the aid of the Missionaries of Charity, when Bengal chief minister, Mamata Bannerjee, on the 12th of July, tweeted her full support to the organization:
Tweet by Bengal CM, Mamata Bannerjee
A few news outlets, including Republic, however, continued to dig into the scandal, continually updating their site as more news trickled out, including confessional statements from the arrested nun.

What caught my attention was was the statement by the Missionaries of Charity spokesperson, expressing shock at the trafficking of children that such a line of business would be "against" their "moral conviction" caught my attention.

This article, however, is not about this particular episode of child trafficking, alleged or otherwise, by the Mother Teresa founded charity.

Sonaton Dhar

Let us take a journey decades old. To do that, let us take the assistance of Aroup Chatterjee's meticulously researched book, "Mother Teresa: The Untold Story (which the Irish Independent, Dublin, called ‘Painstakingly recorded, (exposes) the other side of Teresa’), and go back in time to 1980, when a seven-year old Sonaton Dhar was sold to a Belgian Catholic couple for the princely sum of ₹Rs 125,000 (more then two-million rupees - twenty lakh - today after adjusting for inflation).
How? Missionaries of Charity falsified records to enable the sale.

What exactly were these falsifications? Missionaries of Charity showed Sonaton as an orphan. No, let's correct that - Missionaries of Charity showed all three siblings as orphans. You see, Sonaton Dhar, his two sisters, and mother had been given shelter at Prem Daan - another of Mother Teresa's hospices. Soon enough, the mother died, and all three children were promptly sold off to Belgian Catholics by the nuns at the hospice.

This was a crime as per Indian law, since Sonaton's father and grandfather were still alive at the time, and neither had given their permission to the Mother Teresa charity to give away their children for adoption.

From 1993 onwards, Sonaton Pauwels (as he was now named) made frequent trips to India to locate his sister. Sonaton visited Prem Daan "many times but was told by nuns to forget his past and move on." Sonaton, with the assistance of some journalists, managed to view his papers at the MC orphanage in 2002, where he found data had been falsified by the missionary outfit - that he was an orphan and that his grandmother had given him up for adoption. Both statements were false.

Sonaton continued to investigate similar cases of child trafficking and found 74 such "orphans" only in Belgium.

In 2002, Dr. Kunal De, a member of West Bengal's Juvenile Justice Board, gave an interview for a documentary made by Anilabha Chattopadhyaya. In the interview, he implied that as this was Mother Teresa's order, no charge or action would be forthcoming. The documentary can be viewed on YouTube - The Truth about Mother Teresa- Sanatan Powell's Narrative - YouTube

True enough, nothing came from either Sonaton's investigations or from the documentary. No investigation was ordered, no arrests were made, and no charges were ever filed. It was as if Mother Teresa and her outfit could never be accused of child trafficking, evidence be damned.

It is not as if Mother Teresa was ever circumspect or apologetic about her priority - proselyting and religious activities came first. The hospices and shelters for the dying were at best a facade, a facilitator, for her main business - religious conversions. To take just one example, in "1974, the Missionaries of Charity (UK) received £117,394 in donations. Of that amount, £80,000 (68 per cent) they sent to 'H.Q. Rome'; another £650 was sent to 'Beda College (Religious Training) Rome'. Child welfare in India got £334 and Home for the Dying in Calcutta £45." That is, a total of less than one-third of one per cent of the funds received actually went to help the needy and dying.

Indeed, in a private talk to some Americans, Mother Teresa gleefully boasted - "Not one has died without receiving a special ticket to St. Peter... Twenty-nine thousand have died in that one house... but it's so beautiful to see those people dying...". More sordid details about the squalid conditions at Mother Teresa's homes has been documented in Aroup's book.

What happened if someone did try to investigate or dig deeper into the accounts of Mother Teresa's businesses? When Aroup, in 2001, met Atanu Mukherjee, Registrar of Trusts, Societies, and Non-trading Corporation in Calcutta, he filled an application to view Missionaries of Charity's files of accounts, which were public, and, in theory, open to any member of the public to view. Chatterjee told Aroup of an incident in the 1990s, when a journalist had obtained the accounts of MC and published them. An ocotgenarian Mother Teresa had marched up to the Registrar's office and given him "hell." "The following day, the Registrar got a phone call from some unnamed bigwigs asking him in effect to make the files unavailable to the public."

Aroup persisted in trying to obtain access to the public accounts of Missionaries of Charity. In reply to his letter in 2002, the Registrar sent a reply that contained Sister Nirmala's, then head of MC, response, in effect directing the Registrar to deny Aroup any access to the account of MC - "that Chatterjee who has caused us a lot of trouble."

One would suppose that a putatively charitable organization would want the whole wide world to know more about their work and how frugally they spent their money and how every rupee, dollar, and pound was spent in the welfare of the dying and the destitute. Obviously, Missionaries of Charity thought differently.

As Aroup caustically diagnosed the Indian malaise - "Pusillanimity before the white man is the norm. ... Western vulgarities, such as MTV, have reached remote villages but Western standards of transparency have not touched the biggest institutions."

Perhaps the most poignant and pointed illustration of India's continued mental colonization and 'pusillanimity' was on parade for the entire world in 2016, when the government of India sent an official, 12-member delegation, to represent a billion Indians at Mother Teresa's canonization at the Vatican - to honour a person whose mission in life had been to proselyte, convert through deceit tens of thousands of dying, allegedly sell hundreds of babies, deposit hundreds of millions of dollars received in donations in offshore bank accounts, write letters in support of the corrupt, invest not a single rupee in healthcare from those donations for the sick and dying.

It has been more than a hundred years since Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore expressed a hope, a desire, a prayer to see his country awaken in a heaven "where the mind is without fear and the head is held high". India has not begun to take even small, tentative steps towards true freedom.

News links:


Book links:
This review first appeared in OpIndia on 16th July 2018.





© 2018, Abhinav Agarwal (अभिनव अग्रवाल). All rights reserved.


Friday, July 13, 2018

Krishna Gopeshvara, by Sanjay Dixit - Review

Krishna Gopeshvara: The Truth of Vrishnis (Book 1 of the Lord Krishna Trilogy), by Sanjay Dixit

K
rishna Gopeshvara is a book that takes you back in time and also makes you think about its parallels with medieval and modern history, about divinity and humanity, and individuals versus ideologies. Are there lessons to be learnt?

As evil scales new heights of destruction upon putting on the cloak of ideology, it acquires a degree of pervasiveness and permanence when it adopts the patina of unquestionable dogma. Marxism was an inchoate idea in one man's head. When it became an ideology, it became a Red Holocaust, killing over one hundred million across the world in the twentieth century. When ideology and fanaticism infected religion, they gave birth to absolutism and monotheism, accompanied by violent expansionism across the world. Such is the subterranean message that runs through this book. The evil in one man, if nurtured by the pervert philosophy of the mad genius, can wreak havoc on society.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Urban Naxals - The Making of Buddha in a Traffic Jam - Review

"Because there is no space for alternative narrative"

Urban Naxals - The Making of Buddha In A Traffic Jam, by Vivek Agnohotri

S
ince the beginning of civilization, the favoured method of barbarians out to destroy great civilizations was to destroy their places of learning. Most Mayan writings of the Aztecs were destroyed by Bishop Landa of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Yucatán, while other Catholic priests burned the great Aztec library of Netza Hualcoyotl in Mexico City in the sixteenth century. Pope Gregory the Great ordered the library of Palatine Apollo burned in the late sixth century. The great library of Alexandria, perhaps the greatest library in the western world, was burned at the urging of Christian Bishop Theophilos. The largest library in the world at the time, at Nalanda, which contained an estimated hundreds of thousands of manuscripts, was destroyed by Bakhtiyar Khilji's hordes in 1193 CE. During the twentieth century, thousands of books were burned by the German Student Union in Nazi Germany in 1933.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

The Fourteen Faults of a Leader

The 14 Faults of a Leader - Do They Still Hold in the 21st Century?

I
 will confess straight off the bat - this post is from the Ramayana, but its learnings apply uncannily enough to modern day leadership too.

With that minor matter of a confession out, let's get started. While one may not associate the Ramayana with expositions on statecraft, the fact is that the Ayodhya kanda itself has one such example. In sarga 94 (of the Critical Edition, sarga 100 in other versions) of the Ayodhya Kanda, when Bharata comes to meet Rama and to persuade him to return to Ayodhya as the rightful king, Rama, of course, refuses, but first asks Bharata about the state of the kingdom and whether Bharata, as the presumed king of Ayodhya, is following the duties of a king. This is one of the longest sargas in Ayodhya kanda, and is worth reading repeatedly. More pertinently, Rama exhorts Bharata to abandon the sins associated with kings. How many? Fourteen. Let's look at them all:

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Valmiki Ramayana - 1, translated by Bibek Debroy

The Valmiki Ramayana, Vol. 1, translated by Bibek Debroy


H
aving gone through the marathon of translating the unabridged Mahabharata, the Ramayana would have seemed like a sprint to Bibek Debroy. In any case, this is another stellar effort that succeeds in bringing out the beauty and emotions of the epic, as much as the limitations of a faithful translation permit.

Unlike the Mahabharata translation, that spanned five years, and with one volume coming out every six months or so, the Ramayana translation was released as a single three-volume set in 2017. The first volume covers the first two kandas - Baal and Ayodhya, and ends with Sita accepting the gift of ornaments from Anasuya and the three - Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana entering Dandakaranya.

I doubt much value would be added were I to attempt a summarization of the Ramayana itself, so I will use this review to point out some interesting things about the translation itself.

First, the style of the translation is very similar to the one followed in the Mahabharata. There is a sense of familiarity in that sense. The copious footnotes follow you throughout, like a faithful companion. More on that later.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Secret Empires by Peter Schweizer - Review

Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends, by Peter Schweizer

Hardcover: 336 pages; Harper ISBN: 0062569368, 978-0062569363, Amazon USAmazon IN

C
orruption in and of the political class has evolved over the years. Gone are the days when Louisiana congressman William Jefferson was found to have stashed "$90,000 in bribes in his freezer", or "Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham who created a “bribery menu” that netted him $2.4 million." The reason for this evolution is that "Politicians are like the rest of us in that they avoid overtly criminal or publicly embarrassing behavior." In India, politicians are refreshingly less concerned with embarrassing behaviour, and usually place the fear of public embarrassment secondary to the pursuit of pelf. In the United States, political corruption has evolved to avoid such public embarrassments and taken on two indirect forms - one is what the author calls "corruption by proxy" and the other is "smash and grab."

Peter's book is a fact-laden ride through the morass of political corruption in the United States, and the picture on both sides of the political aisle is not pretty at all.

Like most enterprising people, and politicians are nothing if not entrepreneurial by nature, politicians too have adopted several ways of exponentially increasing their personal wealth by leveraging their political office, while at the same time avoiding disclosure rules put in place that would attract negative public scrutiny. While American media has spent the better part of 2017 and 2018 in a manic exercise to uncover venality in the Donald Trump administration, this book gives us a look at some rather curious coincidences that occurred during the tenure of President Obama.

From among all the examples the author cites, let's look at four.

Friday, April 20, 2018

A Journey Through Oligarch Valley, by Yasha Levine


A Journey Through Oligarch Valley, by Yasha Levine

H
ere is short segue I request you to indulge me in:

In 1998, the Delhi Jal (Water) Board had approached the World Bank for a loan. The World Bank suggested that the DJB hire a consultant to help make recommendations for improvements, and even offered a $2.5 million loan to the DJB to do that same. Over the course of the next seven years, the World Bank agreed to provide a loan to the Delhi Jal Board for $150 million dollars for the privatization of water supply to the capital city. What made the saga intriguing was the insistence of the World Bank and its interference to ensure that Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) got selected as the consultant to the project. Thousands of pages made available as a result of RTI (Right to Information) queries filed by activists, it emerged that despite PwC failing to make the cut in the technical and financial rounds, the World Bank insisted on changes to the evaluation criteria, that the marks given by one particular member of the evaluation committee be excluded from the final evaluation so as to favour PwC, and so on. What most people were unwilling to put on record was that PwC had on its payrolls the son of a powerful person in the government of India and who had long-standing ties to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Thanks to India's legendary bureaucratic inertia and apathy, the privatization of water distribution in the nation's capital never came to fruition. Else the cost of water in the city of Delhi would have increased an estimated five times.

Why is this relevant to the review of Yasha Levine's (@YashaLevinebook, "Oligarch Valley"? Because both are tales of corruption and collusion between big business, politicians, and, in Oligarch Valley's case - the judiciary. In Levine's account lies a cautionary tale for those in India willing to listen.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Friendless God, by S Anuradha

The Friendless God, by S. Anuradha

This is the tale of three people, a god, and the relationship the three have with Rama, their god. One seeks to find Rama, the other, having forsaken Rama, fights a losing battle with herself and her son to keep Rama out of their lives, while the third stumbles upon Rama as a way to a better life. Their lives intersect, diverge, and converge over the course of the story.

Vaidehi abandons singing and Rama after criticism of her Tamil-laced rendition of Tyagaraja kritis, and brings up her son Kodandarama, truncating his name to Kodanda, and stripping both his name and life of Rama. Kodanda - truncated from Kondanarama, Vaidehi's son, grows up knowing nothing about Rama or god, but ends up finding for an answer to his question - why does Rama have no friends, despite being sought by millions. Then there Ramana, an orphan with the street-sense that takes him far.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Battle in India for e-commerce market leadership is no longer between just Amazon and Flipkart

Amazon Launches Prime Music in India. What It Means for the Indian e-commerce Market



O
n a day when it was reported that the online streaming music app Gaana was raising $115 million (about ₹750 crores) from Chinese Internet investment company Tencent Holdings Ltd and Times Internet Ltd (Gaana to raise $115 million from Tencent, Times Internet – Livemint), came the news that online retailer Amazon had launched its PrimeMusic streaming music service in India.

According to Amazon, “Prime Music provides unlimited, ad-free access to on-demand streaming of curated playlists and stations, plus millions of songs and albums at no additional cost for eligible Amazon Prime members.”

The Amazon Prime service in India costs ₹999 annually and provides “free One-Day, Two-Day and Standard Delivery on eligible items”, PrimeVideo – Amazon’s video streaming service, and now PrimeMusic. According to Midis Research, Amazon had become the third-largest music subscription service globally, behind Spotify (40%) and Apple Music (19%).

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The OM Mala - Meanings Of The Mystic Sound, by Nityanand Misra - Review


The OM Mala - Meanings Of The Mystic Sound, by Nityanand Misra

The meaning of the word Om is not something most of us ponder over. Om is a sacred incantation, a symbol, a mantra, and more to countless believers. But the word is a lot more. Its meaning and significance is beyond the mere word or the sound or the symbol. Nityananda Misra's book, "The Om Mala: Meanings of the Mystic Sound", brings to the lay reader, perhaps for the first time, all the myriad meanings of this wondrous word. In the author's words, "This book presents eighty-four names of OM and their meanings in accordance with multiple Sanskrit texts including not only Hindu scriptures but also secular texts like dictionaries, poems, plays, and treatises on music, grammar, and Ayurveda." These eighty-four names are explained in 109 beads - 108 chanting beads and one sumeru bead, each bead taking up approximately two pages each.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Attention Merchants, by Tim Wu - Review

The Attention Merchants - The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads, by Tim Wu

T
he business of selling requires that the target consumer pay - attention at the very least, for without attention, there is no interest, no sale, and no market. Even, and especially so, with services that are sold and advertised as free, there is still a valuable personal resource that is sold in exchange - your time.

Tim Wu's book is an engrossing, well-researched, and fascinating look into the evolution of the advertising business - the attention merchants, as he calls them. It helps put into perspective many of the advertising practices we see today.

Each one of Brahma's days may well be more than four billion years long, but for humans the time available to each one of us is far limited in comparison. What we do with the time available to us is decided by what we choose to pay attention to. The job of those looking to sell us their wares is to take a bite out of that span of attention and to broker it to the other party in the transaction.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Sacred Sword, by Hindol Sengupta


The Sacred Sword: The Legend of Guru Gobind Singh, by Hindol Sengupta

T
he pressing need to bring history alive and make it interesting finds more than adequate fulfillment in Hindol's short but engaging account of the last of the ten gurus of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh.

Guru Gobind Singh's childhood was thrust into suddenn adulthood by the death of his father, Guru Tegh Bahadur. The ninth guru of the Sikhs was beheaded on the orders of the Mughal king, Aurangzeb. Guru Tegh Bahadur had taken up the cause of Kashmiri Pandits, who were being persecuted mercilessly by Aurangzeb's governor, and given two choices - to convert or die. The Guru dared Aurangzeb to convert him instead. If the Guru converted, so would every Kashmiri Pandit. Aurangzeb failed, and Guru Tegh Bahadur was beheaded, but not before Bhai Mati Das was sawed in half by Aurangzeb's soldiers and Bhai Dayala boiled alive in oil.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Of Rahul Gandhi and Aurangzeb – A striking similarity of Dynasties

Rahul Gandhi, the 47-year old scion of the Nehru dynasty, is all set to ascend the throne of the Congress Party. If things go as planned, he will succeed his mother, Smt Sonia Gandhi, and become the sixth member from the Nehru family to be coronated Congress party president.

The grand old party of Indian politics has seen five presidents since 1978. For all but seven of those thirty-nine years, a member of the Nehru dynasty has been its president. Mrs. Indira Gandhi, daughter of Pandit Nehru and grand-daughter of Motilal Nehru, both past presidents themselves, was party president from 1978 to 1984, till her assassination. She was succeeded by her son, Rajiv Gandhi, who was its president from 1985 to 1991, till his assassination. From 1998 to the present day, the Congress party’s president has been Italian-born Smt Sonia Gandhi, wife of Rajiv Gandhi, and mother of Rahul Gandhi.

Friday, November 17, 2017

The No Asshole Rule, by Robert Sutton

The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't, by Robert Sutton

I
n preparation for a review of Robert Sutton's latest book, "The Asshole Survival Guide", I went back to his bestseller, "The No Asshole Rule."

Prof. Robert Sutton is Professor of Management Science and Engineering and Professor of Organizational Behavior at Stanford University. In 2007 he wrote "The No Asshole Rule", which turned out to be a blockbuster bestseller, selling close to a million copies. The book itself was the result of an article he wrote in 2004, "More Trouble Than They’re Worth", and which became a Harvard Business Review's "Business Breakthrough Ideas for 2004".

Dealing with, interacting with, being at the receiving end of, and sometimes even acting like one are an inescapable fact of the workplace. What is? Who are? Being what? An "asshole", is what the author writes.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Mahabharata and Wealth

W
hat does wealth mean to you? Let me start with myself. It has meant different things at different points in time and life. I suppose this is true for many of you as well. As a child, wealth meant being able to buy a new Amar Chitra Katha comic, or a shiny new toy. A little older, after I got a job, it meant audio cassette collections of my favourite artistes, books, then more books. A car, a house, and so on… What wealth is not, is a measure of my, or anyone else’s, worth. Is it?

The pursuit of wealth, often, means having to choose between doing what is right versus doing what is expected. The two are often not the same. While situations are rarely black or white, doing what is right may lead to self-satisfaction, while doing what is expected to wealth. Should I do one and not the other? Would you? Should I try to do both by finding an acceptable via media? Or, do one and defer the other, to a later, unspecified point in time? Do they have to be mutually exclusive? Is it really a zero-sum game? The answer, as in so many things in life, lies in determining what your dharma is. Dharma is, if nothing else, subtle.

With that prelude, let me turn to the Mahabharata to bring out the subtleties when discussing wealth.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande

T
here is a famous story in the Mahabharata concerning Yayati, one of the ancestors of the Pandavas and Kauravas. Because of a curse, he lost his youth, yet yearned for it. He asked his sons to exchange his old age for their youth. All but Puru - the youngest - refused. Yayati and Puru swapped their youths. Yayati had his fill of desires, and at the end of long period of time, realized there was no end to desires. He returned Puru his youth, and renounced the kingdom to spend his last days as an ascetic.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Black Money and Tax Havens Paperback, by R Vaidyanathan - Review


Black Money and Tax Havens Paperback, by R Vaidyanathan

T
he subject of black money and tax havens that facilitate and act as conduits for such black money has been the subject of intense fascination and speculation by the lay public for decades. It has been the subject of countless novels and movies, and some action by governments the world over. In India, the war against black money is one of the few areas where there seems to unanimous political consensus on the need for inaction. Prof. Vaidyanathan's book is a short and accessible reckoner for people wanting to gain more than just a superficial understanding of this subject.

First, some numbers. Calculating accurately the amount of black money generated in an economy is neither possible, nor estimable with any degree of accuracy. This is well-borne out by the varying estimates that have come over the decades.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Aadhaar, by Shankkar Aiyar - Review

Aadhaar A Biometric History of India's 12-Digit Revolution

by Shankkar Aiyar

T
his book is perhaps the most detailed and comprehensive biography of Aadhaar and the people who played a role in its birth and evolution. The author, Shankkar Aiyar, is a veteran journalist, and has marshaled his skills and experience in bringing out this short but crisp account of what is the world's largest biometric authentication system. The book is enriched by the access Shankkar had to the people who were central to the schema, at one point or other, including Nandan Nilekani, Rahul Gandhi, Pranab Mukherjee, and even Narendra Modi. The book traces the birth, growing pangs, the creeping at first and then uncontrolled spread of Aadhaar. A long epilogue is dedicated to the issue of privacy, which acquired urgency in the light of a case in the Supreme Court asking the government to clarify whether privacy was a fundamental right. In a most fortuitous turn of events for the book and its author, the Supreme Court, just as the book was released, ruled that privacy was indeed a Fundamental Right, but subject to reasonable restrictions. The book is, on balance, a good place to understand the roots of Aadhaar, the timeline of its evolution, and the contribution of the people involved. It, however, overlooks some of the deficiencies of Aadhaar, but perhaps that is a subject for another book.

The concept of Aadhaar, or a national identity register based on some form of foolproof authentication, is not new. As far back as 2003, a pilot project was launched by the BJP-led NDA government in thirteen states to issue National Identity Cards. In March 2006, the communist-propped Congress-led UPA government "announced a grand plan" to implement a project to provide Unique IDs for BPL (Below Poverty Level) Families within 12 months. Yes, within twelve months. Seventeen months later, "the process committee, which included officials of seven departments, had held seven meetings and put up a proposal for the creation of the UID Authority." Not a single card had been issued, but bureaucrats had kept themselves busy in making themselves look busy.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Text and Interpretation - Types of commentaries


Text and Interpretation - The Indian Tradition, by Kapil Kapoor


T
his is an excerpt from Prof. Kapil Kapoor's book, "Text and Interpretation - The Indian Tradition".

The author divides the history of linguistic thought in India into four phases. The first phase is seen as from the beginning to Panini, roughly up to seventh century, BC.

"The other major contribution in the first phase is in phonetics and phonology. In fact, speech sounds are studied and analyzed in this phase... which not only fix the sound-patterns of each school of the four Vedas, but also propound finished theories about the articulation and properties of speech sounds in isolation and in the dynamic  context of actual usage. To this perfection of phonetic and phonological studies, we owe the fact of the oral texts having come down intact." [bold-emphasis mind]

"
Rajasekhara in Kavya-Mimamsa gives a complete list of different kinds of commentaries. He distinguishes eight:

  1. Commentary that explains the ideational content of a sutra is called vrtti.
  2. Analysis of a vrtti is paddhati. (पद्धति )
  3. Bhasya is a detailed analysis that takes into account the possible objections and counter-arguments. (भाष्य)
  4. Samiksa gives an explanation of the intended and deeper meanings and issues implicit in a bhasya-analysis. (समीक्षा)
  5. A mere indication of meaning in the simplest and briefest language is tika. (टीका
  6. Explanation of only the difficult words is panjika.(पंजिका)
  7. A brief statement of the meaning of a sutra is karika.
  8. In the same manner, an analysis of the unexpressed or suggested meanings and implications of a sutra is called varttika
"

Book info: Amazon IN, Amazon US
Publisher: DK Print World Pvt.Ltd,India
First edition: September 15, 2005
ISBN-10: 8124603375
ISBN-13: 978-8124603376




© 2017, Abhinav Agarwal (अभिनव अग्रवाल). All rights reserved.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Rise of the Robots, by Martin Ford - Review

Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future, by Martin Ford

"I'm smart; you're dumb. I'm big; you're small. I'm right; you're wrong. And there's nothing you can do about it."

Thus spake Harry Wormwood in the movie "Matilda". This well could be the message that robots will have for us in the not too distant future. The dramatic improvements in the speed, the accuracy, and the areas in which computers have begun to comprehensively outperform humans leads one to believe that while a so-called singularity may well be some ways off, the more immediate effects of this automation are already being felt in permanent job losses. In a country like India, which has used digital technologies quite effectively in the last decade and a half to grow a $150 billion IT-BPM industry, the impact could be devastating - especially where an estimated 10 million people are employed.