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Showing posts from March, 2009

There Is An Alternative!

If you think of the political scene in our country, over and above despair, the query ITNA (Is There No Alternative) invariably brings up the cliché 'TINA'. Perhaps we can now look forward to an immensely possible alternative.
You'll find Hasan Suroor's explanation on exactly such an idea
A Gandhian idea gets a British makeover extremely heartening - a change for the better is after all quite possible. In the UK there is a "high-profile campaign to reduce the dominance of organised political parties and provide a platform for citizens to contest elections as independent candidates".
Captain Gopinath of Air Deccan seems to have precisely these ideals when he decided to enter the election fray.
One would like to think there's still time now for someone to put together the Indian equivalent of The Jury Team - Politics without Parties (started by Sir Paul Judge)

(I realize I may have gone around in circles around this very same idea in these two posts - 'Lead…

And now, Tipu's throne finial under the hammer

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Here's an opportunity for India's diplomatic corps to do something worthwhile for the country. Time to launch a diplomatic offensive and retrieve our treasures from the plunderers. Either that, or ensure that they remain in museums for public display. If one were to give in to emotions, news of auction of (plundered) colonial takeaways gives a rather sick feeling.
Is there no one in the Empire who has a sense of right and wrong? Can't the Queen order the return of all things that were taken away for personal gain from one of her erstwhile colonies? They may have been intended as a victor's mementoes, but they should belong to the state, and remain as historical memorabilia, and not objects of personal greed, vanity or profit.
One of probably eight gem-studded gold finials (a decorative attachment to a larger structure) from Tipu Sultan's throne is scheduled to be auctioned on the 2nd of April. A search leads one to a project called The Tiger and the Thistle that '…

The Mughal Gardens

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The Mughal gardens at India's Presidential residence are open to the public for a few weeks in Feb-March every year. We were able to log a visit on Sunday, just a couple of days before Gate No 35 is closed. And now I attempt to describe the visual delights on offer without the right kind of pictures.

That's right - being a VVIP enclosure, you are not allowed to carry the camera / mobile / handbag / car keys. (Good ideas of course for a proper, unencumbered stroll). Even my son's small notepad had to be deposited at entry.

How to get there - Reach North Avenue in the Presidential Estates, then you'll find ample parking. Sufficient arrangements are available for visitors - lockers, lounge areas, waterholes (only water), first aid, a horticultural info stall.

Herbal Garden - India's rich daily-use herbs basil, mint, fenugreek, ginger, garlic, asparagus and so many more, are well marked out. [If I had blindfolded my life-partner, he would have easily scored full marks in …

On Gandhiji's tangible / intangible legacy

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Is all well that ends well?
Look at the cast - James Otis, a NY auction house, Sant Singh Chatwal, Vijay Mallya, the Indian Govt, and the vulture-like media. The drama played out over two weeks, on several stages - busy Manhattan, consul's chambers, editors' desks, and newsrooms.
Quoting from the article "High drama at NY Gandhi auction" - "Were the items really worth $1.8m"? and "...it might have been easier had there not been so much media interest".
This is where I like to sort the priceless from the valueless. On a certain level - the items may be valueless, on an altogether different plane they are priceless.
So you decide who are the heroes (anti-heroes?) / villians / props.
I agree on the media irresponsibility - of late, more media (un)professionals in more media groups in more countries are trying to catch and hang on to invisible threads and substance-less matter for their own minute-to-hour pleasure. This has sadly become their means to su…

Seeing is believing - hot springs of Manali

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Hot water springs of Manali - - When I first heard about them, I thought - no, I can't believe it till I see it. In several spots in and around Manali in Himachal Pradesh, there are hot water springs notably at and near the temple for Sage Vasisht, and at Manikaran that is located about 70 km from Manali.
These are actually sulphur springs that are the result of Himalayan plate tectonic activity. The sprouts near the temple for Sage Vasisht - nice hot water to wash clothes by hand - nil power consumption of the eco-unfriendly kind, and exellent exercise for the arms!
(There are separated bathing areas within the temple premises, where cameras are forbidden)In Manikaran, the sprouts that supply public baths

Views from inside the Shiva temple in Manikaran, and the public bath near the Manikaran Gurdwara
After seeing them though - I am bemused. In my school history and geography lessons, I have been taught about the 'hot springs of New Zealand' and 'lumbering in Canada' b…