Category Archives: India

Baburnama – Translations from the original book

I got a hint from Alex Rutherford’s first book of “The empire of the Moghuls”. A nice read. However, I wanted to know more about the initial accounts of babur when he entered India. Seems the saving mentality of India was there from right before Babur’s time. And with the Moghul dynasty comes symmetry and water ways to India. Surprisingly for me at least, Babur was the first to use cannons and muskets against Indian soldiers and destroyed the mighty war elephants of that time. Thus the age of war elephants came to an end in India and warfare went to the gunpowder.

Babur on the Flora of Hindustan

“When the mango is good it is really good. . . . In fact, the mango is the best fruit of Hindustan. . . . Some people praise the mango to such an extent that they prefer it to all fruit except the melon, but it is not so good as to warrant such praise.” [343]

Babur on Hindustan Overall

“Hindustan is a place of little charm.  There is no beauty in its people, no graceful social intercourse, no poetic talent or understanding, no etiquette, nobility, or manliness.  The arts and crafts have no harmony or symmetry.  There are no good horses, meat, grapes, melons, or other fruit.  There is no ice, cold water, good food or bread in the markets.  There are no baths and no madrasas [Islamic schools].

Aside from the streams and still waters that flow in ravines and hollows, there is no running water in their gardens or palaces, and in their buildings no pleasing harmony or regularity.

The peasantry and common people parade around stark naked with something like a loin cloth tied around themselves and hanging down two spans below their navels.  Under this rag is another piece of cloth, which they pass between their legs and fasten to the loincloth string.  Women fasten around themselves one long piece of cloth, half of which they tie to their waists and the other half of which they throw over their heads.

The one nice aspect of Hindustan is that it is a large country with lots of gold and money. . . .

Another nice thing is the unlimited numbers of craftsmen and practitioners of every trade. . . . In Agra alone there were 680 Agra stonemasons at work on my building every day.  Aside from that, in Agra, Sikri, Bayana, Dholpur, Gwalior, and Koil, 1,491 stonemasons were laboring on my buildings.  There are similar vast numbers of every type of craftsman and laborers of every description in Hindustan.” [350-352]

Babur Plans a Garden

“I always thought one of the chief faults of Hindustan was that there was no running water.  Everywhere that it was habitable it should be possible to construct waterwheels, create running water, and make planned, geometrical spaces. . . . Although there was really no suitable place near Agra, there was nothing to do but work with the space we had.  The foundation was the large well from which the water for the bathhouse came.  Next, the patch of ground with tamarind trees and octagonal pond became the great pool and courtyard.  Then came the pool in front of the stone building and the hall.  After that came the private garden and its outbuildings, and after that the bathhouse.  Thus, in unpleasant and inharmonious India, marvelously regular and geometric gardens were introduced.  In every corner were beautiful plots, and in every plot were regularly laid out arrangements of roses and narcissus.” [359-360]

Is Progress “Good” ?




Picture
Picture Courtesy : The Idealist

The more society develops, the more backward it becomes in its core values. Mankind moves ahead with technology and systems that make him better and faster, yet losing his identity and sanity in the process . We continue spending the same number of hours daily.  Is progress actually working against us emotionally, mentally and physically too ?

SP Jain Group Interview – “4 liner”

This was a small snippet  that i created for the SP Jain’s (SPJIMR, Mumbai) Group Interview Round.

Seven was the number,
“Impossible” – the task remember.
Intellects and Leaders rise,
for we hold our dice in a thrice.

PS : There were seven people in my Group Interview and hence the number

Ego makes and breaks !!




Ego, in its various forms, is driving the world. People are continuing to secretly bind themselves to their ego and other’s egos. Even the preachers and the naysayers are unknowingly pulled into this intricate web. Thus, Progress, corruption and all other human actions are nothing but a consequence of the ego.


– My views on the intricate force that drives great men insane.



Will you do Community Service ?

Live life for yourself – you will be your brain.
Live life for others – you will be your heart.
Is the brainless heart or the heartless brain
That will define you, oh worthy one ?

Dual Pull of the Mind

Ahoy Sailor !
Do you see the cannon being shot?
To run or to stay, the question in mind,
Answer this way, for you are in grind.

The mind is at war,
The war is ever-ending, yet never-ending.
While it is Yes sometimes,
It is naught other times.

There is no incumbent, there is no permanence.
Life is but temporal, one might say.
The philosopher and the devil fight,
Day in and day out, Victor thy rise.

Philosophers deem their principles right,
Mind rules over matter,
Matter, thou must be present,
To make this sane philosopher right.

What is right and what is wrong ?
The devil or the philosopher,
It all depends on You, my child.
The loving child of humanity.

 

India with Anna Hazare

 

A life to wish, a life to act, a life to succeed or fail,
Man is not based on success but on action,
We have stood by a man who has acted,
A man who has voiced the nation’s thought.
Madhavan R Sriram

 

Location : Freedom Park, Bangalore, KA, IN

Date : 20/08/2011

 

 

 

 

Bagepalli – A gift indeed

The Romantic will always look at the bright side of life. Even in destruction, he will view future construction .

Last Thursday, while i was at office, I received an email from Aashaiyen Foundation asking me whether i wanted to participate in the “Gift your village” activity that Saturday. I quickly checked my schedule and saw that i had absolutely nothing planned for the weekend. Only involved in urban community development till then, this event posed as a refresher as it was located at Bagepalli, a village 88km from Bangalore. I figured out that I will be experiencing Karnataka’s raw culture and meeting a new sect of people who had a different outlook of life. So, thinking on these lines, I enrolled myself for the event and had a quick conversation over the phone with the organizer on the logistics and transportation.
The activity was planned for Saturday and I was told to arrive at Sivaji Nagar at 6AM  for helping out with the loading of the books that were to be distributed to the students in the village schools. However, I was able to make it only at 6:30AM and most of the loading was already done by the other volunteers. We had a quick round of introductions followed by which some of us went and parked our motorcycles at a nearby trustee’s house. We were all set to leave to Bagepalli by 7AM.
Morning time in Bangalore is always a visual treat ;the sky is a mild blue at that time and the dew drops that lay on the road and grass gives the landscape a contrasting hue. We savored the beauty for a short while, after which we embarked on our trip to Bagepalli via NH7. The national highway has its own share of stunning visuals and we were lucky to get some fantastic shots of Nandi hills and Skandagiri peak. We made quick time and reached the local coordinator’s house at Bagepalli by an hour and half. We got acquainted with him and came to know that he was a retired engineer who had worked abroad prior to retirement and had returned to his village after retirement to utilize his expertise and skills to develop the place. We were offered a breakfast of hot idlis and chutney, after which we drove to Penamale Higher School,which was a half-hour drive from there. As we were getting down from the Tempo-Traveler at the school, we heard cheering from a huge student crowd. I and the other volunteers saw around 250 students cheering and clapping at us – surprising as we were not expecting a welcome at all. After quick introductions with the village headman, we were directed to the makeshift dais, where we were made to sit along with the village headman and other important folk of the village. The faculty of Penamale Higher Secondary School honored us by presenting each one of us a fresh red rose picked from the garden. One of the volunteers had a Nikon SLR D3100 and we started clicking pictures of the students, the function and the rural environment. We heard several speeches made by faculties and by the headman on the importance of education and importance of outside involvement to develop the village’s standard of education. After hearing the speeches, we took over and started distributing the books to the students. We totally made a contribution of 1300 books to the Bagepalli village. After completing the distribution of books, we went for a stroll in the village. The village-folk were very hospitable and invited us to their households. After tasting few delicacies of the Karnataka-type village households and roaming through the village for a solid one-hour, we decided that it was time to leave back to Bangalore. So we bid adieu to the village children, who were following us, and returned back to the local coordinator’s house to drop him. We were about to say our goodbyes when the coordinator’s wife called us and requested us to have lunch with her and her husband. They threw us a mini-feast, in which we had a complete Karnataka-style lunch with sweets and kheer.

We bid byes to everyone there and started to Bangalore once again. The ride back was fun as we had gotten to know each other better. We played a few travel games and recounted our experiences of volunteering to each other. The trip was unforgettable to me as i not only enjoyed immersing myself in the Karnataka-style hospitality but also contributed to the rustic society. Hope to be back to the village to do further work with them..

Indian Poltics is becoming a ?

Indian Politics has gone from crazy to dangerous over the past decade. Sentiments of caste have grown rather than fallen across the country, a condition growing with more community based politicians entering the foray. Increase in corruption,thefts and daylight robbery is tarnishing the image of a once-beautiful country. Are these standalone problems that are causing us to worry or is there a bigger picture somewhere lurking in the corner?

I realized that i would not award any of the above problems as the primary source of worry among citizens — Complacency is the primary source of worry. Complacency, not only on the part of politicians, but also on the part of citizens is the most dangerous concern today. Politicians are growing complacent by neglecting the affairs of the people, and with a few achievements to their resume for that term, they start thinking about ways to wrench money. Any mishap or concern is immediately assuaged by the politician by announcing a public service scheme (only announcing!) or a free gift. The affected people are immediately cajoled by providing compensation amounts. Moreover, we can see that politicians will announce most of the schemes during the election year because people remember events that have recently happened. An illustration of this would be the offering of free television for votes, 3K-10K money distribution,saree and land distribution etc to households during election year in exchange for votes. The irony here is that not only politicians, but also citizens are growing complacent by simply paying taxes correctly and not expecting anything in return. If the government builds a small flyover, we immediately think that a great progress has occurred. Well, if this is the attitude, we can expect a great deal of stagnation in development and corruption in the state affairs. I guess most of you would have been told from childhood to expect less always. Its time to revise that. Expect more. You will be denied 100 times but you will definitely be rewarded the 101th time. After all, perseverance exists where hope is there.

I am sharing an interesting article, by Chetan Bhagat that makes one think about the solve the ongoing political problem in our country.

Note : These are my views alone and bear no ill-will to anyone. It is an earnest citizen’s appeal to the people to think in retrospect about the path crossed. There have been too many ups and downs.

Mysore Road Trip

Six IT Guys, geared up at six in the morning is a rare sight to see. Well, for us we got to experience Bangalore City at 6am for the first time. We kick-started our weekend trip with a dutiful chaaya at the local tea shop and assembled at Mathikere Petrol Bunk. After filling our tanks, we started through Outer Ring Road and cut into Mysore Road. These roads, in the early morning, are completely different from what one sees later on. No Pollution, no traffic and dew-laden landscapes mesmerize you and your eyes lay transfixed in the amazing scenery that the city has to offer. We set up our first checkpoint at Bidadi where we had a breakfast of Bidadi Special Idli-Vada. (The only choice of Food in Bidadi is Idli-Vada)

We made a move soon and we were revving our bikes through the towns of Ramnagara, Channapatna and Maddur. We didn’t stop for long in the towns as we had been to some of the places already. The Ramnagara area offered trekking and mountain climbing opportunities to amateurs. Channapatna, also known as the Land of Toys, is famous for the bamboo and wooden toys that are sold there. We can see foreigners from all over the world in this town. Maddur is famous for the Maddur Vada which is a flatter and crisper version of the original Vada (A south Indian delicacy). There is a Buddhist Monastery (Bylakuppe) en-route where we can experience the way of life of the Buddhist monks inhabiting the monastery. We stopped for short breaks every 40-50 km; the road was wide and sceneric making the journey pleasurable.

After an hour or so, we reached Srirangapatna. Srirangapatna is very well-known for its historical monuments. Two must-visit places here are the Daria Daulat (summer palace of Tipu) and Sangam. The Daria Daulat is nice for experiencing the essence of the historical town while Sangam is breath-taking just to watch River Cauvery conjoin with its tributaries. The Sangam offers boat rides in Round Bamboo Shoot boats where on-request the boatman will rotate the boat very fast as to make us dizzy. It’s a good place to visit but for the huge crowd that flocks in this holy spot. The Nishamba temple is located on the Sangam and would be good to visit if you are travelling with your family. We took an off-road from Sangam which led us to a Lord Vishnu Temple atop a hill. The locals called this place Karikatta. This place was amazing as it had a comprehensive view of the surrounding areas and there were huge rocks and boulders on the hillside which we started climbing immediately revitalizing the adventure spirit within us. The surrounding area is very lush and this is a great place to take out your camera and start clicking photos of yourself and your buddies with the hill in the backdrop. After spending an hour here, we started off to Rangantittu Wildlife Park.

Rangantittu Wildlife Park welcomes us with an Arc giving us a Jurassic Park kind-of Feeling. We have to travel further for one and a half kilometers to reach the parking. There is a decent vegetarian restaurant where we had our lunch and proceeded to the wildlife park. It is one of the few bird sanctuaries in the country where man has not spoilt the natural environment. The birds can be viewed in their natural habitat; there is a ferry which takes you to the small islands where we can see different kinds of birds and animals. There are crocodiles in the water, thus requires restraint in our part from dipping our hands into the water. The large crocodiles can be seen lazing on the rocks and swimming innocently past you in the water. After a couple of photo sessions, we got ready to set forth to our next destination – Brindavan Gardens and KRS Dam.

The Krishna Raja Sagar (KRS) Dam is one of the largest dams in Karnataka. On one side of the KRS Dam, we can see the mighty Cauvery River with its serenity and expanse. On the other side, we can see the world-famous Brindavan Gardens. The Gardens are Mughal-Styled and allow the visitors of the park to inhale the essence of the life of the Mughal Lords. The highlight of this park is the Musical Fountain – The Fountain has water rhythmically moving in tandem with the music that is being played. The park is best at night (Before 8pm).

We reached Mysore at around 8:30pm and we checked into the hotel we had booked. After resting for awhile, we strolled a bit, had dinner and returned in time for the Soccer World Cup Match.

The next day, we started from our hotel at 7am and went to Chamundi Hills. Chamundi hills, apart from being one of the most sacred spots in the country, are also one of the most beautiful spots. The countryside and the scenery from atop the hills are unmatched in beauty and splendor. We did face problems in Mobile connectivity in these areas but that was a price everybody was ready to sacrifice. We started back to Mysore a while later and went to the Mysore Zoo and spent a few hours with the animals. We skipped the Mysore Palace as we had plans to enjoy the day in Balmudi Falls – A small dam where people come to play and swim in the water for relaxation. We started from Mysore and reached Balmudi Falls in an hour and swam in the neck-deep waters for three hours. After that, we were exhausted and arrowed to the Kamut hotel in the Mysore-Bangalore Highway. We started back to Bangalore from there. We made short breaks in Maddur and Kingeri while returning for Maddur Vada and Coffee respectively.

There will be a good deal of traffic once you near Bangalore. Try to take care while driving in this highway as driving can be rash. Also, don’t forget to get your biking gear as the weather is inconsistent. Enjoy your biking trip and waiting to hear your experiences too…