My latest photos on flickr

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


When the Hunted becomes the Hunter, Walk
Of village and adventure, Walk
Of unfilled urns, Walk
Of imbalanced accounts, Walk
Of Juniors night and Maxi Bazaar, Walk
Of Gripe and Grax, Walk
Of Dadus and Bishu da, Walk
Of Bodhi and Cactus, Walk
Of Gradedrop and LTop, Walk
Of an open bar and seven course meals, Walk
For Newly Committeds, Walk
For Wet nights and Omaxi, Walk
For Dunks and Bunks, Walk
For CPs - Arbit and Desperate, Walk
For Ghissus and A-Poses, Walk
For Fraxers and Prayers,Walk
For Well calls and signouts, Walk

Life @ XL, Walk

[This project is evolving, feel free to leave your suggestions]

Monday, June 18, 2007


That sums it up pretty much. They didn't tell me it was like this.[Hold it, I am cribbing about a place I have stay two years with] Actually, it IS a nice place. Folks that remind me of my first year in college. Same enthusiasm to impress the members of the opposite sex, make an impression in class, same devoted adherence to rules, I sit with the gang that does not show even tiny spec of enthusiasm., etc. At the same time the engineering colleges in the south and here are worlds apart-especially with respect to THE ratio. And, every Prof is bent on making our meaningless lives miserable.More later. Tata (yeah, tatanagar).

Friday, June 01, 2007

Can you push my train, please!

That was an announcement on a train. "Where?" you ask, In Bihar, my friend.[full story]

Hundreds of rail passengers got more than they had bargained for when the driver of their train asked them to get out and push.

It took more than half an hour to move the stalled electric train 12 feet (4 metres) so that it touched live overhead wires and was able to resume its journey, officials said on Wednesday.

Hindutva - Where is it going?

We witnessed a scary incident recently. The arrest of a student in the M.S. University, Vadodra, Gujrat because he had made 'obscene' paintings of the Gods [link]. This poison tree a.k.a Hindutva movement is being nurtured with great care by the RSS and institutions alike. What is really scary is that it isn't a stray incident we saw it sometime back when 'moral police' beat up unassuming couples in a park in Meerut [link]. It happens every year on Valentine's Day, when power/recognition/money thirsty politicians unemployed youth hired to go on a rampage to destroy gift stores, where probably their sibling is employed, supporting their lazy ass. The fact is the hindutva movement is hardly 20 years old, primarily started to grab political power. I call it the grand circus, unaware that the hatred and intolerance it feeds on will lead to it own destruction. Enough of my opinion, here is a transcript of an interview of Amartya sen, that tracks this hindutva movement. 'India's Two Great Emperors Were Both Non-Hindu' On the Hindutva version of Indian history - and how India was never a Hindu rashtra. [Source]. I believe he has dealt with this issue in detail in his recent book - The Argumentative Indian, which I have picked up and will try to do justice to it during my first few weeks at my new abode.

Though extremely busy with a workshop on 'education, equity and human security' in Calcutta, Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen still took time out to talk to Outlook, and articulate his views on the Hindutva version of Indian history. Sen had condemned the Babri Masjid demolition in 'Threat To Secular India', published in the New York Review shortly after the epoch-changing incident. Here he describes the Hindutva version of Indian history as sectarian and combative, and argues that India was never a Hindu rashtra. Excerpts from an exclusive interview with Subhoranjan Dasgupta:

In your address to the Calcutta History Congress last year, you described the spirit and discipline of history as 'capacious heterodoxy'.

"To study history, we have to have a sense of space. Heterodoxy is important in understanding history."

That's a wonderful expression. Could you please elaborate on it?

Well, I'm glad you like the expression. What I intended to say by that is that in order to study history, we have to have a sense of space-that there could be different ways of looking at past events and in case there are differences, we should be able to argue it out. Heterodoxy is important because understanding history requires different approaches. Furthermore, heterodoxy itself is sometimes among the most interesting things to study in the history of a civilisation or a culture. So, for both these points of view-heterodoxy as a method and as well as a subject matter to be
studied-history has to be deeply concerned, I believe, with it. If you want to know what exciting things are happening at a certain period in a certain country, you look not just at what the ongoing tradition is, but where people are disagreeing and in what way. I am not a historian but that is the way I tend to see history, a subject
on which I occasionally try to write and which I greatly like reading. If the study of Indian history is infused by this spirit, what sort of textbooks should our schoolgoers be reading? Because there is a current effort, for instance, to portray the Muslim period as an age of darkness.

Obviously blacking out the Muslim period-what you are describing as the "Muslim period"-as an age of darkness would be just a gross mistake. Textbooks should contain truths rather than falsehoods. It's not just a matter of understanding our past,

"There is a 'category mistake' in thinking that comparisons with terrorists is a cogent way to assess historians." but also our present. If you look at anything today-Indian painting, music, literature, philosophy, history itself as a discipline-the
great contributions of Muslim scholars, intellectuals and artists are part and parcel of the richness of Indian civilisation. I think it's also important to emphasise that we cannot talk about the history of this period as if it could be split into Muslim activities and Hindu activities. They were interactive. Really, in every branch of art or
intellectual study, you will find Hindu and Muslim activists, artists and scholars working side by side and interacting with each other. So, there's no way we can talk about the period without taking into account the massive contribution made in an interactive way by those who happened to be Muslims by religion as opposed to others who were Hindus or Sikhs or Parsis or Christians.

Your grandfather Kshitimohan Sen wrote the classic text Hinduism (Penguin Books, 1960). In what basic sense does his vision of Indian history and civilisation, or for that matter the vision of Rabindranath Tagore, differ from the saffron family's version?

I shouldn't really comment on this as I am not a great expert on Hindutva of any kind, and my role in my grandfather's book on Hinduism was primarily that of a translator.

I think the remarkable difference between the book and a sectarian view of Hindutva is that my grandfather's as well as Tagore's vision is not combative at all. They were both keen on seeing what different influences operated on Hinduism. Both authors locate themselves in an interactive environment. In The Religion of Man, the lectures that Tagore gave at Oxford, he mentions that his family was situated at the confluence of three sets of influences-Hindu, Muslim and European. The same would apply to my grandfather. As a Sanskritist, he was educated in Benares, in traditional centres of learning, which were, at that time, open and non-sectarian.

"In 'The Religion of Man', Tagore mentions his family was
situated at the confluence of three sets of influences-Hindu, Muslim,

I should also mention that one of my grandfather's books-which I don't think is available in English, only in Bengali, called Hindu Musalmaner Jukta Sadhana (The Joint Work of Hindus and Muslims)-is quite a major work in the cultural history of India, showing that there is no substantial area of artistic or intellectual activity in which Hindus and Muslims have not worked together. You cannot think of Hindus and Muslims as somehow mechanically mixed together, rather than being chemically compounded in an integrated civilisation.

Isn't there an affinity between the saffron version of Hindutva and Samuel Huntington's categorisation of Indian civilisation as Hindu?

I think you are right there that Huntington's description of Indian civilisation as Hindu civilisation almost seems to be taken out of the writings of the Hindutva champions. In Huntington's case, the problem was that he wanted to classify the world according to one principle only and that was what he called 'civilisation', which in his case ended up being primarily religion. So he had to contrast Islamic civilisation with Western, Christian civilisation or Buddhist civilisation, etc. Then, well, how do I accommodate India? Since Islamic was already spoken for, he classified India as just a Hindu civilisation. Well, that's a serious mis-description. India has more Muslims than any country in the world with the exception of Indonesia and marginally Pakistan. Also, the entire cultural and intellectual history of India has been an integrated one, as we just discussed.

Historian Romila Thapar has described Hindutva's history as propaganda where the past is manipulated as political instrument. What is the political goal in question-a Hindu rashtra?

Well, I don't really know what the political goal in question is. Romila Thapar, of course, is one of our leading historians. I haven't seen this particular writing of hers, but I guess what she's pointing out is that a lot of writing on history by people who are champions of Hindutva seems to have an underlying political agenda. Whether this is meant to be a preparation for a Hindu rashtra or whether it is just a misunderstanding of the nature of India, I don't know. You have to ask them. India was never a Hindu rashtra, even before Muslims came to India. In the first millennium BC as well as the millennium that followed, the Gupta period for example, India had a powerful presence of Buddhism along with Hinduism and Jainism. Christians came to India by the 4th century AD latest, and there were Christians here well before there was a single Christian in Britain. Similarly, Jews came to India very early. Parsis came when persecution began in Iran. Also, Muslims came first as traders across the Arabian Sea, well before the Muslim military conquests in the north. India has had a variety of religious influences all this time. Just to mention one thing-if you are thinking of the two greatest emperors of India, you would tend to think of Ashoka and Akbar. One was a Buddhist and the other a Muslim.

Must a 'Hindutva' history necessarily depend on half-truths, lies and legends to sustain itself? For example, that ancient India revered the cow as 'gomata' and did not consume beef; that Akbar was a foreigner, despot and sectarian?

Well, I think if one has a particular way of looking at the past and if there are uncomfortable facts which do not fit into that narrow way of looking, then the proponents of that way of looking would naturally tend to deny the facts.It's fairly easy to point out that these are not half-truths; these are not truths at all. Actually, I can give you many other examples of this kind. "The introduction of European scholars to the Upanishads was mostly based on the Persian translation by Dara Shikoh."

Could you give just one?

The introduction of European scholars to Hindu scriptures, in particular the Upanishads, was to a great extent based on the Persian translation of the Upanishads done by Dara Shikoh, the first-born son of Shah Jahan. Dara Shikoh was not a great Sanskrit scholar but he did work hard with the help of Hindu pundits to learn Sanskrit and he translated parts of the Upanishads into Persian. It is this translation that William Jones (pioneering Indologist) first read which attracted him to India and to the study of the Hindu religion. Quite a lot of the revival of our understanding of our Hindu past was based on Jones' efforts and those of others at the Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal. I have not seen any mention in the Hindutva literature of the contribution of this Mughal prince to the spread of understanding of Hinduism at home and abroad.

The publication of the Towards Freedom volume edited by Sumit Sarkar and K.N. Panikkar has been thwarted by the ICHR, apparently because it exposes the 'loyalist' role of the rss in the 1940s.

Well, I can't comment on why the ICHR has held up the publication of this volume. It could well be that the rss figures in a rather negative light as a pro-British force in some of the documents. It could have been something else, I don't know. I have also not read the introduction Sumit Sarkar and K.N. Panikkar have written. But I can definitely say that the two are not only among the top historians in India, they would be regarded as major historians anywhere in the world. I personally happen to know Sarkar very well and admire his writings as well as the quality of his mind tremendously. I find it impossible to think that the introduction could have been devoid of their serious professionalism. The episode is puzzling and deeply disturbing.

No one would claim that whatever the 'secular' school of historians has done from Sushobhan Sarkar onwards is flawless. In fact, quite a few critiques have been levelled against secularism per se and you have examined them in your essay 'Secularism and its Discontents'. But do these offer a better alternative in the Indian context?

I wouldn't describe these historians as primarily 'secular'. They are primarily probing and conscientious historians. The fact that they also happen to be secular is interesting, but I don't believe that this dominates their writing of history. I can speak certainly about Professor Sushobhan Sarkar. He was a historian of impeccable
scholarship, with great insistence on rigour and scrutiny. So I would describe him first as a terrific historian rather than as primarily a 'secular historian'.

The second point is, as far as secularism itself is concerned, it is of course really a political belief and as such a subject matter of history, rather than a method of dealing with history. I think that if one has to look at India, one has to see the interactive presence of different religions as well as the presence of non-religious
thoughts-sciences and mathematics for example. Aryabhatta, for instance, is quite sceptical of the received doctrines about eclipses and also about the belief that the sun goes round the earth. He didn't think that eclipses were caused by Rahu but by the earth's shadow over the moon and the moon obscuring the sun. He talked of the
diurnal motion of the earth and the appearance of the sun going round us. So, a historian of Indian ideas has to look at non-religious thought as well as anti-religious thoughts like Charvaka and Lokayata. The subject matter of Indian history cannot be just Hinduism. The historian has to take note of different religious and non-(or-anti) religious ideas. Recognising these varieties does not require any special political belief in secularism.

It has been proposed that religious leaders, like sadhus and imams, should vet history texts so that unpalatable facts-that could injure impressionable minds and specific communities-can be carefully eliminated from textbooks?

I am appalled to hear about this proposal. I hope you don't vet this interview by a sadhu or an imam! HRD minister Dr Murli Manohar Joshi has described those he calls
'Marxist' historians, like Irfan Habib, Sumit Sarkar and liberals like Romila Thapar, as 'worse than terrorists'... If the report is correct, we must react with horror. First, there is what in philosophy is called a 'category mistake' here in thinking that comparison with terrorists can be a cogent way of assessing historians. Second, the historians mentioned are, of course, leading historians, and so acknowledged across the world. It is difficult to think how anyone could have made a remark of that kind, least of all the minister in charge of education. I have to believe that he has been misreported and will no doubt issue a corrective.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Song of the day ( also the best dumping song ever )

Lyrics from sing365
(Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more, no more, no more, no more.)
(Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more.)
What you say?
(Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more, no more, no more, no more.)
(Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more.)

Whoa Woman, oh woman, don't treat me so mean,
You're the meanest old woman that I've ever seen.
I guess if you said so
I'd have to pack my things and go. (That's right)

(Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more, no more, no more, no more.)
(Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more.)
What you say?
(Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more, no more, no more, no more.)
(Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more.)

Now baby, listen baby, don't ya treat me this-a way
Cause I'll be back on my feet some day.
(Don't care if you do 'cause it's understood)
(you ain't got no money and you just ain't no good)
Well, I guess if you say so
I'd have to pack my things and go. (That's right)

(Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more, no more, no more, no more.)
(Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more.)
What you say?
(Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more, no more, no more, no more.)
(Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more.)
The video is on youtube take a look. 1000 points to whoever names the advertisement in which this song was used.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Appreciating Rupee - who gained ?

They did. Check out this article on Financial Express titled - New billion-dollar babies on the bourses.

One year ago, there were just 98 companies in this club, which has expanded by 48 now, taking the combined market value of all listed companies in the country to a little below one trillion dollars.

Among these, the dollar-market values of 25 companies have doubled since the beginning of 2007, while just 16 have seen a two-fold jump in their market capitalisation in rupee terms.

In the past one year, since May 21, the market cap of 27 companies has doubled in dollar terms, while the rupee-market value of only 17 companies has witnessed a similar jump in the same period.

The rupee has gained about 8% in 2007, and over 10% in the past one year.

And me. Got this fabulous deal from Dell. 15.4" might be a little bit bulky. I am not complaining though. :)

Who looses ?

The exporters are having a hard time coping with this. [Article Link]. Exporters are resorting to trading in Euros. Remember Chinese Yuan has remained constant!

Although concerned about maintaining competitiveness, many exporters said that they had no option left other than negotiating an upward revision in the prices for their products – a task, which they were finding extremely difficult. Several exporters also displayed their keenness to hedge against the exchange rate risk using instruments like forward contracts.

Exporters were also on the lookout for clients and markets where euro could be used as a medium of exchange rather than the dollar. Some said they were trying for a shift in the medium of exchange from the dollar to euro in their existing contracts. A few exporters suggested that they would be looking at a short period of validity of quotations for greater safety.

The small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have been affected the most by the escalating rupee, the survey revealed. The SMEs, unlike large enterprises, neither have the option of reducing their cost burden by resorting to external sources of finance like ECBs nor have the knowledge about how to safeguard and hedge their currency exposure using sophisticated techniques like forward contracts.

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Corporation - A documentary you need to watch

I have taken some time to put these videos on this post. These videos make up A documentary titled "The Corporation". An award winning documentary downloaded 5,00,000 times is a must watch. Do take a look.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

We, the monkeys

Something to bring you back down to the earth.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

O Crap

Two nights back hitting one of my usual haunts, Blossoms, my eyes chanced upon a copy of O Jerusalem. "Hmmm, I have never read about the Israel-Arab conflict - isn't this a nice way to start ? at 90 bucks isn't this a bargain ? - Oh, yes , Oh, yes. Just take it ra", I thought.
[Cut to the next morning] I wake up with the book still inside the carry bag I brought it home in - so much for reading about the Israel-Arab conflict. The compulsive maximizer that I am, I wanted to find out the savings made by going for the used book. Digging beyond the price tag I discovered the killing I made - 5 full rupees. Swindled. Will somebody punch the proprietor please!
BTW this is my wish list for this year. :)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Mr. Gohar Ayub's revelation

I think this is quite stupid.

In a clear insinuation against Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, former Pakistan foreign minister Mr Gohar Ayub said tonight that an army officer "who rose to the highest position" had sold India's battle plans to Pakistan in 1950s, an allegation that was dismissed as "malicious and scurrilous" by two former
And, Mr. Gohar Ayub let us assume you are speaking the truth, are you implying that Paksitan's General/President or whoever runs the army, could not defeat the enemy even though they had detailed plans about their moves. Tch. Tch.

O Crap

Monday, May 07, 2007

It has crossed my mind multiple times and has been the topic of several debates - Religion/Culture should change with time. I found a very good page that justifies this.

Why Can't I Own a Canadian?
October 2002

Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a radio personality who dispenses advice to people who call in to her radio show. Recently, she said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22 and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following is an open letter to Dr. Laura penned by a east coast resident, which was posted on the Internet. It's funny, as well as informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them:

When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15:19- 24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?

Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? - Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your devoted fan,

Friday, May 04, 2007

Can economic policy ruin your life, your country?

In Yugoslavia between October 1, 1993 and January 24, 1995 prices increased by 5 quadrillion percent. That’s a 5 with 15 zeroes after it.
Stumbled upon this article on StumbleUpon.
Under Tito, Yugoslavia ran a budget deficit that was financed by printing money. This led to a rate of inflation of 15 to 25 percent per year. After Tito, the Communist Party pursued progressively more irrational economic policies. These policies and the breakup of Yugoslavia (Yugoslavia now consists of only Serbia and Montenegro) led to heavier reliance upon printing or otherwise creating money to finance the operation of the government and the socialist economy. This created the hyperinflation.

By the early 1990s the government used up all of its own hard currency reserves and proceded to loot the hard currency savings of private citizens. It did this by imposing more and more difficult restrictions on private citizens' access to their hard currency savings in government banks.

The government operated a network of stores at which goods were supposed to be available at artificially low prices. In practice these store seldom had anything to sell and goods were only available at free markets where the prices were far above the official prices that goods were supposed to sell at in government stores. All of the government gasoline stations eventually were closed and gasoline was available only from roadside dealers whose operation consisted of a car parked with a plastic can of gasoline sitting on the hood. The market price was the equivalent of $8 per gallon. Most car owners gave up driving and relied upon public transportation. But the Belgrade transit authority (GSP) did not have the funds necessary for keeping its fleet of 1200 buses operating. Instead it ran fewer than 500 buses. These buses were overcrowded and the ticket collectors could not get aboard to collect fares. Thus GSP could not collect fares even though it was desperately short of funds.

Delivery trucks, ambulances, fire trucks and garbage trucks were also short of fuel. The government announced that gasoline would not be sold to farmers for fall harvests and planting.

Despite the government desperate printing of money it still did not have the funds to keep the infrastructure in operation. Pot holes developed in the streets, elevators stopped functioning, and construction projects were closed down. The unemployment rate exceeded 30 percent.

The government tried to counter the inflation by imposing price controls. But when inflation continued, the government price controls made the price producers were getting so ridiculous low that they simply stopped producing. In October of 1993 the bakers stopped making bread and Belgrade was without bread for a week. The slaughter houses refused to sell meat to the state stores and this meant meat became unvailable for many sectors of the population. Other stores closed down for inventory rather than sell their goods at the government mandated prices. When farmers refused to sell to the government at the artificially low prices the government dictated, government irrationally used hard currency to buy food from foreign sources rather than remove the price controls. The Ministry of Agriculture also risked creating a famine by selling farmers only 30 percent of the fuel they needed for planting and harvesting.

Later the government tried to curb inflation by requiring stores to file paperwork every time they raised a price. This meant that many store employees had to devote their time to filling out these government forms. Instead of curbing inflation this policy actually increased inflation because the stores tended to increase prices by larger increments so they would not have file forms for another price increase so soon.

In October of 1993 they created a new currency unit. One new dinar was worth one million of the "old" dinars. In effect, the government simply removed six zeroes from the paper money. This, of course, did not stop the inflation.

In November of 1993 the government postponed turning on the heat in the state apartment buildings in which most of the population lived. The residents reacted to this by using electrical space heaters which were inefficient and overloaded the electrical system. The government power company then had to order blackouts to conserve electricity.

In a large psychiatric hospital 87 patients died in November of 1994. The hospital had no heat, there was no food or medicine and the patients were wandering around naked.

Between October 1, 1993 and January 24, 1995 prices increased by 5 quadrillion percent. This number is a 5 with 15 zeroes after it. The social structure began to collapse. Thieves robbed hospitals and clinics of scarce pharmaceuticals and then sold them in front of the same places they robbed. The railway workers went on strike and closed down Yugoslavia's rail system.

The government set the level of pensions. The pensions were to be paid at the post office but the government did not give the post offices enough funds to pay these pensions. The pensioners lined up in long lines outside the post office. When the post office ran out of state funds to pay the pensions the employees would pay the next pensioner in line whatever money they received when someone came in to mail a letter or package. With inflation being what it was, the value of the pension would decrease drastically if the pensioners went home and came back the next day. So they waited in line knowing that the value of their pension payment was decreasing with each minute they had to wait.

Many Yugoslavian businesses refused to take the Yugoslavian currency, and the German Deutsche Mark effectively became the currency of Yugoslavia. But government organizations, government employees and pensioners still got paid in Yugoslavian dinars so there was still an active exchange in dinars. On November 12, 1993 the exchange rate was 1 DM = 1 million new dinars. Thirteen days later the exchange rate was 1 DM = 6.5 million new dinars and by the end of November it was 1 DM = 37 million new dinars.

At the beginning of December the bus workers went on strike because their pay for two weeks was equivalent to only 4 DM when it cost a family of four 230 DM per month to live. By December 11th the exchange rate was 1 DM = 800 million and on December 15th it was 1 DM = 3.7 billion new dinars. The average daily rate of inflation was nearly 100 percent. When farmers selling in the free markets refused to sell food for Yugoslavian dinars the government closed down the free markets. On December 29 the exchange rate was 1 DM = 950 billion new dinars.

About this time there occurred a tragic incident. As usual, pensioners were waiting in line. Someone passed by the line carrying bags of groceries from the free market. Two pensioners got so upset at their situation and the sight of someone else with groceries that they had heart attacks and died right there.

At the end of December the exchange rate was 1 DM = 3 trillion dinars and on January 4, 1994 it was 1 DM = 6 trillion dinars. On January 6th the government declared that the German Deutsche was an official currency of Yugoslavia. About this time the government announced a NEW "new" Dinar which was equal to 1 billion of the old "new" dinars. This meant that the exchange rate was 1 DM = 6,000 new new Dinars. By January 11 the exchange rate had reached a level of 1 DM = 80,000 new new Dinars. On January 13th the rate was 1 DM = 700,000 new new Dinars and six days later it was 1 DM = 10 million new new Dinars.

The telephone bills for the government operated phone system were collected by the postmen. People postponed paying these bills as much as possible and inflation reduced their real value to next to nothing. One postman found that after trying to collect on 780 phone bills he got nothing so the next day he stayed home and paid all of the phone bills himself for the equivalent of a few American pennies.

Here is another illustration of the irrationality of the government's policies: James Lyon, a journalist, made twenty hours of international telephone calls from Belgrade in December of 1993. The bill for these calls was 1000 new new dinars and it arrived on January 11th. At the exchange rate for January 11th of 1 DM = 150,000 dinars it would have cost less than one German pfennig to pay the bill. But the bill was not due until January 17th and by that time the exchange rate reached 1 DM = 30 million dinars. Yet the free market value of those twenty hours of international telephone calls was about $5,000. So despite being strapped for hard currency, the government gave James Lyon $5,000 worth of phone calls essentially for nothing.

It was against the law to refuse to accept personal checks. Some people wrote personal checks knowing that in the few days it took for the checks to clear, inflation would wipe out as much as 90 percent of the cost of covering those checks.

On January 24, 1994 the government introduced the "super" Dinar equal to 10 million of the new new Dinars. The Yugoslav government's official position was that the hyperinflation occurred "because of the unjustly implemented sanctions against the Serbian people and state."

Source: James Lyon, "Yugoslavia's Hyperinflation, 1993-1994: A Social History," East European Politics and Societies vol. 10, no. 2 (Spring 1996), pp. 293-327. Link.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Nerd! me ?

I am nerdier than 64% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

If you were among the tiny trickle of people who visit my blog and of them if you were among the tiny trickle who read one of my previous posts , you will be relieved to know that I am back with two bangs. Two! Yes, two in the span of eight days I have been in two biggest accidents of my life.
                 Myself, C and a few close friends had been to Mekedatu, a small gorge on the Kaveri river, located 96 Kms from Bangalore. We returned at about 5:00 PM and started on our way back home. We reached the Jakkasandra junction, just after Koramangala on the Sarjapur Road, and proceeded after a slight delay due to an altercation between an auto-rickshaw driver and the motorist who got bumped by the rickshaw. If you have ever taken a ride on the Bangalore roads, it would come as no surprise to you that the roads are filled with umpteen number of useless but large speed-breakers. As we gently rode over one of them on the Sarjarpur road, a 12 year old kid, on a cycle as tall as himself, riding along my right side suddenly decided to see what the under side of my bike looked like and took a sharp turn to the left. Unfortunately for him my front brakes seemed to slam on their own and crashed on to my right with the weight of the bike on my right leg, and C just launched a few feet away from the bike. Folks came by and lifted me and the 150Kg bike off my leg. The boy got up and came over to contest his innocence, claiming I hit him from behind without any reason. Before I said a word the by-standers were blessed with enough common sense to understand who was in the wrong and sent the boy home with a knock on his hollow head. C and myself received good medicle care from our beloved doctor, Dr. Roopashree, my sis, she didn't even spare the needle - an intra-muscular tetanus injection in a disposable Dispovan syringe.
           Another incident happen last Sunday when P, a friend of mine, sought bike lessons from me. I was elated and decided to help him, after all it would be easy since he knew how to ride a scooter. So, we started I thought him how to shift gears, when what gear was warranted etc, etc., He found it hard to press the breaks and bring the bike to a complete halt, everything else he did fine ( of course, I could hear the quite sobs of my gear box, due to the thud, boom, bang caused initially by P). Anyways, I decided to take him on the other side of the main road and show what flat smooth roads felt like. As we approached the main road, I advised him to slow down the bike and take a look before crossing the road. As P struggled press the breaks, I heard a series of beeps, too familiar I thought a Yamaha RX 100, thats it ! It was the RX 100, the bad news: we were on collision course. The Yam speeding on the main road, expecting no one on the main road, warned other vehicles of his approach through the beeps. Finally, P did manage to put the brakes, in a flash the Yam had changed course and moved to the right side of the road trying to pass us from behind, unfortunately the brakes negated that maneuver. And, we were nothing but a sitting duck on the road with the Yam headed straight for us, in that flash, I waited for the collision told God I was sorry for all the bad I had done. I really don't remember where he hit, but I remember crashing to my right, P already standing and apologizing profusely. Pedestrians/Good Samaritans lifted both bikes and took us aside. Surprisingly all of us could stand, and no one was seriously hurt. We dropped off  the bike at the service station, and were successful in hiding the bruises from our respective dear one. P's dear one cooked a fabulous Mangalore style chicken curry, C cooked the Ghee rice-the best Ghee rice I have ever eaten, and my mother made a great chicken roast in less than 30 minutes. I wondered if that super super  tasty lunch was more tastier because of the crash we escaped.
             Oh! I will be on my way to XL this june, wish me luck. Thank you in advanced for the wishes. And, if you know anybody who coming to India from the US and willing to get a laptop for me. Please contact me, I would be bery bery very grateful. Thanks.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Xmms on Solaris 10/11

Like every music lover I really missed my Maiden, Metallica, and Pantera tracks while I was on Solaris. One simple way to get xmms is to download it from I wasnt too happy with cause they install many libraries that are already present on my box. So the only option left was to use java media player or totem that come by default on Solaris 11, or compile my fav player XMMS. I chose the latter. It turned out to be a very simple affair.
* Download sources from [or direct link]
* Put gcc, make in the path (Can be found in these locations /usr/sfw/bin/gcc and /usr/ccs/bin/make)
* Unzip and untar. Change directory to xmms-.
* Run configure with no options.
* Add this ( -I/usr/X11/include )include path to the line starting with 'INCLUDES = -I/usr/sfw/include/gtk-1.2 ...' in the file xmms/Makefile. It should look like 'INCLUDES = -I/usr/X11/include -I/usr/sfw/include/gtk-1.2 ...'
* The default installation location is /usr/local/,change it if you want by editing the Makefile and changing the variable called prefix.
* gmake;gmake install
* done

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

As some of you might know we created a local community for Java users
called Bojug. This was a couple of months back, now we are community
of 150+ and growing. We created this platform with the intent of
sharing knowledge and to precipitate collaborative innovation. We hope
you will take active part in this community and contribute to its growth.

We are having our first meeting this weekend. We have two sessions
scheduled for the weekend.

    * *Talk on Apache Derby - The pure Java database*, by Anurag Shekar

    * *Netbeans Platform Development* , by Rohan Ranade

*Date :* March 10, 2007

*Time :* 10:30 AM to 12:30


    Sun Microsystems India Office

    Divyashree Chambers,

    Off Langford Road,


    Bangalore - 560025

google maps link

Please confirm your attendance by mailing




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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Futures Trading - a reason for rising prices?

Although futures trading has been banned in pulses the prices continue to remain high. Thus the recent announcement of government banning the futures trading in wheat and rice is expected to have little effect, it might have been politically motivated to silence the left which has been demanding the ban on futures trading with the reasoning that only speculation is leading to the price increase. This however is faulty reasoning the real causes need a deeper perspective. Only four years back the there were surplus stocks of both rice and wheat, with wheat hitting a high of 60 million tonnes ( the government did relax the exports on these goods then), but now rice and wheat stocks have fallen below the minimum level. This has taken four years in the making and the only quick (knee-jerk) measures the government has taken is the relaxing the import norms for these goods. However, only an increase in agricultural productivity is right measure not only to maintain price stability, but also increase farmer well being.

The Finance minister ( during the budget) announced measures to increase farm credit for farmers by allowing rural banks to generate extra capital required for farm lending through allowing them to engage in foreign exchange business and allowing them to accept FCNR deposits among other measures. How effective these measures will be are still to be seen.

All in all one is forced to believe the Finance Minister's view that futures trading is not the reason for inflation , as the left has claimed, but a price discovery mechanism. Of course, one cannot deny that there is speculation in futures trading.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Microsoft has bought the Java keyword

Just chanced upon this while surfing, Microsoft seems to have bought the Java keyword on Google search. Hmmm... good or bad you decide. Let me know what you think. :). Seems very shady to me.

Bangalore behold, Maiden cometh!

I wish Ozzy comes too!

Update: D bought the tickets for me! Planet M is doing the sales, strangely enough it is a cash only transaction.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Have been very busy lately. Life has taken a wrong path, hitting pot-holes, bumps, whatnot. Hopefully things are back on track. Wish me luck.

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Thursday, January 25, 2007


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India's SRE 1 spacecraft successfully completes a twelve-day orbital test flight, making India one of the few nations to return a craft from orbit.
And the imbecile Indian news channels were getting high on SRK with KBC, SRK is a poor replacement for the Big B [period], Shilpa on Big Brother, wake up you nuts-India has been running the caste system since about 5000 years - it is pretty rampant even now, it is shameful to talk about racism against Indians, Sanjat Dutt getting away with possesing an AK-47, tch tch this is the pits. Everyone missed this landmark. Makes me very proud.

The Space Capsule Recovery Experiment (SRE) is an Indian experimental spacecraft which was launched at 03:53 GMT on January 10, 2007 from Sriharikota by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). The launch was conducted using the PSLV C7
rocket, along with three other satellites. It remained in orbit for 12
days before re-entering the Earth's atmosphere and splashing down into
the Bay of Bengal at 04:16 GMT on January 22.[1]

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