Sunday, February 28, 2010

Christists riot against Jesus sketch in textbook

Christists rioting in Punjab, of all places!!! In protest against a tiny pinprick, namely an illustration of the alleged "Son of God" (sic) in a school textbook with the caption "I for Idol".

Punjab, incidentally is the home state of a certain John Dayal.

So much for "freedom of expression". If violent christist intimidation can be so severe in Punjab for a minor incident, imagine how real the threat of Christo-Nazism is in the late (unlamented) Samuel Reddy's Andhra Pradesh and how democracy, freedom of expression, freedom of worship and human rights are throttled in
Kerala - home to the most rabid
Christist missionary crusaders.

No bets that the US Council for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) will bother itself about the plight of oppressed Hindus in Christist dominated Kerala.

The mainstream Indian media erased all accounts of rioting by
"Religion of Love" cultists.

But, here is a chronicle of Christist rioting in Punjab, by a christist news network. Therefore, it must be true - like the accounts of contemporary Muslim historians describing gleefully and in meticulous detail the genocidal Islamic conquest
of India.

of pols, by pols, and for pols: wsj slams indian budget

feb 28th, 2010

but for the fervent plug for Bt-crops (brought to you by the good folks at monsanto), this is a sensible editorial. pranab is doing smoke-and-mirror "voodoo economics".

why mohammedans would want US supreme court building torn down

feb 28th, 2010

because, i am told, it has a pictorial depiction of mohammed. jeez! what were they thinking? this is haram! it must be taken down immediately!

i got this info from a blog, can someone verify that the US supreme court in fact has this "graven image" of mohammed?

nice scimitar, by the way.

anjoli ela menon was very silent about this 'freedom of expression'

feb 28th, 2010

so gautier has no freedom of expression, and he's not to be invited to get indian citizenship. hat tip @zoomindianmedia

this is art. the artists must the invited to get indian citizenship, no? it's freedom of expression

feb 28th, 2010

if mfhussain does 'art', then this is 'art' too. reminds one distinctly of rousseau's paintings on the noble, uncomplicated life in forests (or deserts, i suppose).

now watch a fatwa descend on the entire country of denmark, and also on the entire internet, because of this.

and mfhussain's defenders will be the first ones to support the fatwa with their thunderous silence. the shabanas and teestas will fly into a rage and demand 153A/295A be invoked on the scienceblogs site for this.

vsudhir from kerala, any 'freedom' has to be work on all people -- it cannot be that some people are exempt from lampooning.

anjoli ela menon, also from kerala, has demanded that mfhussain be given dual citizenship of india and qatar. i demand that scienceblogs be given dual citizenship of india and wherever else they are citizens of. all in the name of great art.

hat tip atanudey

@atanudey I demand that govt of India ban scienceblogs and Lego -- including leggo my eggo phrase

this refers to the image at:

NC, PDP face-off over Facebook controversy

feb 28th, 2010

mirror, mirror on the wall,
who's the most militant of them all?

i think mehbooba will win that hands down.

hat tip br haran


NC, PDP face-off over Facebook controversy

Shujaat Bukhari


Ruling party demands apology from Mehbooba for caricature     

Omar Abdullah, father silent on issue. But party leaders are restless

I have not created any SMS; ready to face any defamation suit: Mehbooba


SRINAGAR: Mainstream politics is showing its ugly face in Jammu and Kashmir as the ruling National Conference and the opposition People's Democratic Party are embroiled in a fresh controversy over a caricature of ministers on the social networking website, Facebook.

... deleted


PS: - The above picture has been taken from



intriguing: Beheading the Sikhs: Pak Taliban’s Historic Blunder ?

feb 28th, 2010

i always thought of the

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: A P
Date: Sun, Feb 28, 2010 at 4:05 PM
Subject: Beheading the Sikhs: Pak Taliban's Historic Blunder ?

the highlighted information was news to me:

Beheading the Sikhs:
Pak Taliban's Historic Blunder

by Rajinder Puri

 The Pakistan Taliban operating in the tribal area bordering Afghanistan captured two Sikhs, compelled them to convert to Islam, and on their refusal, beheaded them. After that they added salt to wound by sending the severed heads to the Joga Singh Gurudwara in Peshawar. By doing this the Pakistan Taliban might just have made the costliest error in its bloodstained history. It might just have taken the one step that could pose greater danger to its existence than anything that might have been attempted thus far by the US or NATO.

The Pakistan Taliban consists of Pashtuns settled for generations in the Punjab. They were formerly led by the Mehsuds. There are other Afghan outfits that subscribe to the Al Qaeda ideology, such as the Haqqani outfits, also based in Pakistan 's FATA territory. The long term aims of the Afghanistan Taliban led by Mullah Omar and the Pakistan Taliban do not necessarily coincide. The Pakistan Taliban's atrocity against the Sikhs might just recoil fatally against it. Here is why.

Even a cursory acquaintance with Sikh history and character would reveal that the Sikhs have embedded deep within them a fanatical dogged streak that if aroused becomes almost impossible to extinguish. Sending the severed heads of two martyrs committed to their faith to the Gurudwara is precisely the kind of action that could ignite that streak. The rage that will inevitably spread across the Sikh community in rural Punjab could alter dramatically the power alignments within the terrorist fold. To appreciate that a few facts not commonly recognized need to be recalled.

For decades it was commonly stated that fifty or so families in Punjab ruled Pakistan. What was not stated was that about 40 percent of these ruling families of the rural Punjab province of Pakistan were Jat Sikhs who voluntarily converted to Islam in order to retain their land holdings. These converted Jat Sikhs had no trouble gaining acceptance from their Muslim Jat cousins, farmers all. The converts are Muslims in name. What their commitment to any religion might be only time will reveal. Their commitment to land, wealth and power has been confirmed beyond doubt. They could now constitute a potential fifth column in Pakistan. It would be not a fifth column that could serve the Indian government. It would be the fifth column serving the Sikh Diaspora that contains several terrorist outfits with a presence in Europe, Canada and the US.

Now recall the aborted Khalistan demand. Before Khalistan was formally announced by Jagjit Singh Chauhan he sought my opinion. I told him it was worthless because it made no sense. I further said that the demand for a united Punjab cutting across India and Pakistan made greater sense given the norms of nationhood. I said that would create 'United States of Asia'. A little after my interaction with him I recounted our dialogue and my views in the weekly column that I wrote then for the Sunday Observer published in Bombay. Predictably, the Khalistan demand floundered. But the Sikhs continue to remain dissatisfied, though not disruptive.

Sikh grievances were heightened after the creation of Haryana state carved out of Punjab. The manner in which Indira Gandhi reneged on solemn assurances given to Punjab regarding the sharing of waters and the future status of Chandigarh not surprisingly was viewed by Sikhs as evidence of Hindu communalism. Added to the assurance given by Pandit Nehru at the time of Independence that the Sikhs would be made "to feel the glow of freedom", Sikh frustration inevitably grew.

The partition of the Punjab during Independence left the Sikhs most orphaned among the state's three main communities. The loss of identity among the Muslims in Punjab was compensated partially by the creation of Pakistan, of the Hindus by the creation of Bharat. The Sikhs felt that they got little or nothing.

After the subsequent mishandling by the union government Sikh separatism was bound to erupt. The Khalistan movement further depleted the community. Today Punjab is the sufferer. Witness the very large number of youth in Punjab who seek migration to make a future abroad. Is it not symptomatic?

It is in this context that the unfolding drama across the border may revive the Khalistan demand in a new avatar. Current reports suggest that ISI is reviving the Khalistan insurgency. Good! This might become the agency's biggest ever goof up. Because now all the Sikh militants who are given sanctuary by ISI in Pakistan could eventually switch loyalties. Egged on by Sikhs in India and their NRI financial backers abroad they could turn against ISI and Taliban. Defying New Delhi India's Sikh militants could infiltrate into Pakistan not to seek sanctuary but to create disruption. There could develop for Pakistan a Kashmir syndrome in reverse. Might not Sikhs eventually seek common ground with the Pashtuns who share greater affinity with Afghanistan than with Pakistan ? Might not the Afghan Taliban, which does not share as much the long-term goals of the Al Qaeda as does the Pakistan Taliban, dump the ISI?

If such developments do occur the Khalistan demand might revive for a region encompassing as much of Pakistan ruled Punjab as the Indian Punjab. Along with Pashtunistan and Baluchistan, Khalistan too could become Pakistan's headache. Islamabad and New Delhi, caught in the pincer move of Sikhs and the Pashtuns, could be compelled to fundamentally alter the present sub-continental arrangement.

Does this sound like a wildly improbable scenario? Perhaps. But do wait for at least one year before arriving at a final judgment.

February 27, 2010

veer savarkar: Suicide & Self-Sacrifice

feb 28th, 2010

one of the great sons of india, whom the politician-media nexus has turned into an unknown.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Team
Date: Fri, Feb 26, 2010 at 3:05 AM
Subject: Suicide & Self-Sacrifice

Please choose to display the images

Veer Savarkar left his mortal coil on 26 February 1966 in the highest Yogic tradition by way of prayopaveshan (giving up food and water unto death). He did this with a sense of deep contentment at having fulfilled his worldly duties. In an article published in the Marathi monthly, Sahyadri (July 1964), Savarkar had spelt out the difference between suicide and self-sacrifice.

Go to this link for an English rendering of Savarkar's article.

Today, on the anniversary of the atmarpan of Veer Savarkar , we pay our homage.

You can now follow us on twitter and become a fan on facebook.

The Team

al gore with some plainspeak on climate change

feb 28th, 2010

even though gore does have an axe to grind -- he stands to benefit from cap-and-trade -- the fact is that the climate-change naysayers don't have that much of a leg to stand on, scientifically. a few errors in the IPCC report are no reason to proclaim that all evidence against anthropogenic global warming must be discarded.

how "hurting the sentiments of a community" is manufactured for 153A purposes

feb 28th, 2010

the rage boys are ready to rage, rage against anything.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Girish

Get it before MMS bans it!

Crescent over the world - is a boon or the silent Holocaust, authored by Macha Laxmaiah alias Krantikar, a civil rights activist, caused turmoil in the town on Thursday.

Nagalim for Christ and more than thirty pieces of silver

feb 28th, 2010

can't say no to any demand from any random chrisist. eg. the jailing of pritpal singh for a mild caricature of jesus (cf. indifference to pornographic images of hindu goddesses by the well-named mf hussain)

India's Rise, America's Interest: Fate of the US-Indian Partnership

feb 28th, 2010

this is a relationship nurtured by the purchasing of a few people who have turned quisling. bottom line: the us wants india as a vassal, and we're obliging.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ram Narayanan  


India's Rise, America's Interest: The Fate of the U.S.-Indian Partnership

Evan A. Feigenbaum


The future of the U.S.-Indian relationship will depend on whether India chooses to align with the United States and whether it sustains its own economic and social changes -- and on what policies Washington pursues in those areas that bear heavily on Indian interests.

EVAN A. FEIGENBAUM is Senior Fellow for Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations. He served during the George W. Bush administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Central Asia.


Voice of India Features Newsletter - 21 February 2010

feb 28th, 2010

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: VOI Features


21feb 2010.jpg

Editorial: Maoist- Naxal Menace Haunts the Nation
The Editorial Team
Jihadi and Maoist-Naxal terror attacks continue unabated. The Pune blast which has so far claimed 15 lives was followed by Maoist- Naxal attack on Eastern Rifle camp in Silda, West Bengal killing 24 jawans on Feb 15. This savagery was followed by 11 killings in Jamui, Bihar by the Maoist-Naxal groups. A Block Development Officer was kidnapped in Jharkhand and released reportedly only in exchange of captured Naxalites. The terror groups have been striking at will, at the time and place of their own choosing but so far our government has not been able to strategise its response in any visibly effective manner.
Rising Menace of Maoist Terrorism
rptripathy.pngRP Tripathy
National security of India is under great threat mainly on two fronts: cross border terrorism and Naxalism. The country is facing the scourge of terrorism for the last three decades. In fact, no other country in the world has waged such a long, relentless struggle against terrorism as has India. The threat from within is more dangerous while that from cross border terrorism and aggression is no less.  We do not seem to have learnt a lesson in dealing with such menace and continue to make a mess with our confused and inconsistent approach. Scores of people, mostly poor and living in backward regions of the country have fallen prey to this mindless violence. Still India is dithering to take firm action to restore law & order and peace in the country. This is evident from the statement of the former Home Minister of India Shri Shivraj Patil who had the audacity to say that Maoist violence was not the biggest security challenge to India

Two Eyes for An Eye, The Jaw for A Tooth
kanchan.jpgKanchan Gupta
Even before the CPI(M) could stabilise and get its act together after it was formed in 1964 following the historic split in the CPI over what the Marxists call "revisionism and sectarianism in the Communist movement at the international and national level", it was convulsed by a revolt within. Charu Mazumdar and Kanu Sanyal, veteran Communists of north Bengal, insisted that pursuing the path of parliamentary democracy was futile; that conditions were ripe for a rural insurrection to seize state power; and, that till this goal was achieved, the party should play the role of "revolutionary opposition" instead of becoming a part of the bourgeois system. By early-1967 Charu Mazumdar had all but declared his split with the CPI(M). The insurrection, when it came, was more of a monsoon uprising than a spring thunder. On May 25 the police fired at protesting landless peasants in a remote hamlet called Naxalbari in north Bengal. That incident triggered what came to be known as the 'Naxalite movement', based on Mao's dictum that "power flows from the barrel of the gun".

Dhimmitude Emasculates Government
rkohri_ii.jpgRK Ohri
The bomb blast which targeted Pune on February 13, 2010, killed 11 innocents and injured more than 40 citizens at German Bakery demonstrated the resolve of Pak-supported jihadis to target India. It also highlighted the wonky law and order priorities of the government. For three days the entire might of  Maharashtra government  was focussed on ensuring the release of  Shahrukh Khan's  movie, 'My Name is Khan',  which was a business venture of  an individual, though opposed by Shiv Sena for tactical reasons.  The media, both 'paid' and the unpaid, gave enormous coverage to Shahrukh Khan and his movie. Most anchors of telemedia went ga ga over that mediocre script tomtoming victimhood of the Muslim community - sort of an advertisement for Islam and Islamism. Many television channels lionised Shahrukh notwithstanding the fact that the Bollywood hero, as owner of an IPL team, Kolkata Knight Riders, had shunned the Pakistani cricketers during the auction

India Buckling Under US Pressure?
Amba Charan Vashishth
In the heat of the moment when Mumbai was rattled with serial bomb blasts in local trains about three years back, the government announced cancellation of its proposed talks at Secretary's level with Pakistan. But soon it ate its own words. It displayed a U-turn and declared that the peace process would go on.The people of India are fed up with the stale, oft-repeated and hackneyed reactions whenever terrorists, in  complicity with and moral and material support from Pakistan, have struck in any part of the country leaving behind a tale of death, injury, misery and loss of property. The terrorists cannot defeat us, the prime minister has repeatedly said. It will be defeated and the "peace process will go on, he has repeated uninterruptedly. But people have observed that it is the opposite that has actually happened





Saturday, February 27, 2010

attukal ponkala: largest gathering of women in the world

feb 27th, 2010

on feb 28th, 2.5 million+ women will gather in trivandrum to cook rice offerings to the devi of attukal. this women-only event stretches through most of the town, as you find women cooking rice/jaggery/coconut payasam in pots on open fires (fueled with regenerating and environmentally-friendly coconut-tree inflorescences). yes, there will be a lot of smoke in the air, but also a huge amount of bhakti. the women take over the city as men are basically not allowed in the festival. 

may all the women readers of this blog have a great attukal ponkala!

the devi at attukal is believed to be kannaki, of the tamil epic poem silappathikaram. 

this festival has soared in popularity in recent years. see

(it's written 'ponkala' in malayalam, but the word must be etymologically related to the tamil word 'pongal').

The 'akshaya patra' scheme' - Wharton. All non-MBAs also to note.

feb 27th, 2010

this is probably doing more for more children than 60 years of nehruvian dole to children. our education system is pathetic.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: S. Kalyanaraman

Akshaya Patra: Improving Education, One Meal at a Time

Published: February 25, 2010

in India Knowledge@Wharton

Each school day, more than a million children in 6,500 schools across seven Indian states eagerly await the vehicle that brings their midday meal. For many of them, the food provided by the Bangalore-based Akshaya Patra Foundation is their first, and perhaps only, meal of the day. The promise of an ample hot lunch brings them to school regularly. The foundation's hope is that the nutrition helps them think clearly once they are there.

"Our program is not just about providing food," says Madhu Pandit Das, chairman of the Akshaya Patra Foundation. "It is about providing opportunities for children from economically challenged backgrounds to get a good education and thereby realize their true potential." Akshaya Patra is the world's largest non-governmental organization (NGO) school meal program, according to the Limca Book of Records.

An estimated 45 million children do not attend school in India because they have to fend for themselves and their families. They typically end up with menial jobs. Without education, they remain in poverty. Many underprivileged children who do attend school remain impoverished because hunger and malnutrition prevent them from learning well. "We want to break this vicious cycle," says the foundation's vice chairman, Chanchalapati Das. "Our vision is that no child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger."

Having crossed the one million milestone last year, Akshaya Patra is working toward its next goal: to reach five million underprivileged children by 2020. But Madhu Pandit also envisions a larger social role. "We want to develop Akshaya Patra as a platform that other NGOs and social entrepreneurs can adopt and replicate." He and Chanchalapati, engineers by education, are also full-time missionaries at the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), a Krishna temple in Bangalore.

In a congratulatory letter in November 2008, U.S. President Barack Obama noted that in just a few years, Akshaya Patra had become the single largest feeding program in the world. "Your example of using advanced technologies in central kitchens ... is an imaginative approach that has the potential to serve as a model for other countries," he wrote.

Compared with other NGOs that struggle to survive, how has Akshaya Patra managed to reach so many? According to S. Nayana Tara, professor of public systems at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, the foundation's "management and operating model, the quality and delivery of services, and the commitment of the team are all key differentiators." To reach its next goal of reaching five million children "and to become a role model, it needs to continue to build on all these fronts. It has to be a very well-orchestrated program." Nayana Tara, who has conducted impact studies on the program, adds that in moving ahead, Akshaya Patra needs to pay special attention to capacity-building at all levels by bringing in professionals with different strengths. And it needs to put robust measures of service quality in place.

Says Devi Shetty, a cardiac surgeon who is founder of the Bangalore-based heart hospital Narayana Hrudayalaya: "[Akshaya Patra's] biggest strength is that they are very conscious of every penny that is spent and they spend it extremely judiciously. They are fulfilling a great social need." Shetty, whose hospital has made quality cardiac care widely affordable, points out that Akshaya Patra is run like a business, even though there is no profit motive. Shetty is a member of Akshaya Patra's board of advisers.

Akshaya Patra -- which in Sanskrit means the "inexhaustible vessel" -- began in 2000 as a small initiative of ISKCON-Bangalore. The temple cooks meals -- called prasadam -- for thousands of devotees on a daily basis. Mohandas Pai, director at software giant Infosys Technologies, suggested to Madhu Pandit, chairman of ISKCON, that the temple take on the responsibility of feeding underprivileged children in nearby schools. Pai, who later became a program trustee, offered to bear part of the cost personally. Madhu Pandit agreed and the temple started cooking and distributing food to 1,500 students across five schools in the city. Word of mouth soon led to requests pouring in from other schools.

A year later, to avoid religious overtones, Akshaya Patra registered as an independent and secular charitable trust. In 2003, the government of Karnataka started its own midday meal in line with a Supreme Court decree that such programs be implemented by all state governments. The Karnataka government invited NGOs to become implementing partners and Akshaya Patra responded. It now partners with seven state governments.

Funding Requirements

While most other NGOs fit their infrastructure and meal costs within the state government funding, Akshaya Patra's state government funding accounts for about half of meal costs. Akshaya Patra raises the rest from institutions such as ISKCON, its trustees, corporations and individual donors.

The cost difference, Madhu Pandit says, is because of the superior quality and unlimited quantity of the Akshaya Patra meal. The meal typically includes rice or chapattis (wheat pancakes), sambar (a vegetable- and lentil-based gravy dish) or dal (a lentil-based dish) and curd, and contains 550 calories. Nayana Tara says that "what the government provides by way of a midday meal is at best a snack of sorts. Akshaya Patra, on the other hand, gives a complete, wholesome and unlimited meal." Third-party studies have documented the positive impact of Akshaya Patra meals by way of increased enrollment, better student health and improved academic performance.

"In the last financial year [2008-2009], the average cost of an Akshaya Patra meal was Rs. 4.68 (US$0.10), of which the government funded around Rs. 2.64. This means that to feed one million children, we needed donations of around Rs 20 lakh (US$43,000) per school day. Since then, the costs have gone up further," Chanchalapati says. Akshaya Patra has also spent more than Rs. 60 crore (US$12.9 million) in setting up its kitchens. The kitchens are core to the program's operations, and to its success. Unlike in most other midday meal programs, where the cooking takes place at the school or in small set-ups, Akshaya Patra's kitchens are highly automated and centralized to allow for scale. This minimizes manual handling and ensures high standards of hygiene.

Akshaya Patra has 14 such kitchens, most of which are designed to prepare 50,000 or 100,000 meals per day. Two of its biggest -- in Hubli and Bellary (both in Karnataka) -- can cook 250,000 meals per day. Each Akshaya Patra kitchen is headed by two full-time ISKCON missionaries and typically has 150 to 300 employees. The kitchens open at 2:30 a.m. and cooking starts at 3:00 a.m. The first vehicle carrying food rolls out at 5:30 a.m. It typically takes about five hours to cook 100,000 Akshaya Patra meals. "Our centralized kitchen model leverages technology and innovations to maximize operational and cost efficiencies," says program director Chitranga Chaitanya Das, who is also a full-time missionary at ISKCON and an engineer.

For instance, Akshaya Patra uses customized industrial steam generators and specifically designed vegetable cutting machines that can process hundreds of kilograms of vegetables per hour. It has imported a Blagdon Pump (typically used in chocolate processing for pumping liquid chocolate) from the United Kingdom and is using it to pump out excess water while cooking rice. In locations where, in keeping with local preferences, the meals include chapattis, Akshaya Patra uses customized machines that can prepare up to 40,000 per hour.

One of Akshaya Patra's most striking innovations is its three-tier kitchens based on gravity flow. In these kitchens, the cleaned rice, which is kept in a silo on the ground floor, is first lifted into a smaller silo on the third floor via bucket elevators. The rice is then dropped to the second floor through a computer-controlled flow valve. The washing of the rice and lentils and the cutting of vegetables is done on the second floor. These are then dropped through a number of stainless steel chutes to vessels on the first floor where the cooking is done. The cooked food is similarly dropped to the ground floor, where it is packed into airtight stainless steel containers and loaded into custom-designed grid vehicles. At present, Akshaya Patra has three such gravity kitchens -- one each in Bangalore, Hubli and Bellary. For its innovative use of technology to benefit humanity, it won the Tech Award Laureate 2009 from the San Jose, California-based Tech Museum.

Work in Rural Areas

These large kitchens, however, have a limitation: They are not suitable for feeding schoolchildren in rural and other outlying areas. There aren't large enough numbers of children in smaller villages to make large-scale production feasible, and bad roads make it too difficult for food to be distributed widely.

To remedy that, Akshaya Patra has also adopted decentralized kitchens. Under this model, the program identifies self-help groups of women in villages who cook and distribute Akshaya Patra meals in small quantities. Akshaya Patra provides these groups with the ingredients and the required set-up by way of place, fuel and vessels. It also provides them with training in cooking, nutrition, hygiene and bookkeeping, and monitors them on a regular basis. The decentralized kitchens are located in Rajasthan, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh and extend to tribal-dominated communities in more than 300 villages.

The decentralized model feeds around 50,000 children, less than 5% of Akshaya Patra's total reach. But in order to achieve the program's target of five million, Madhu Pandit seeks a more equitable combination of approaches. "By 2020, we hope to reach one million children through our decentralized kitchens," he says.

Apart from increasing penetration in rural India, Akshaya Patra's low-cost decentralized model has another significant social impact: It generates jobs for women in these remote areas.

To gear up for the next leap, Madhu Pandit is building the organization's leadership, bringing in managers who can deliver corporate best practices and infuse a new level of professionalism. He is putting together teams for fund-raising, business transformation, marketing and image building. "We had been doing all of these [things] earlier, but in an ad hoc manner. We realize that in order to move to the next level, we need to have a more organized and systemic approach," he says.

Take funding, for instance. From now on, Akshaya Patra will start operations in a new state or city only if it has a commitment from local industrialists and other bodies to fund capital costs and recurring costs for three years. During the three-year period, it expects to establish its presence strongly enough to enable it to raise funds on its own. The goal is to make each kitchen self-sustaining in terms of fund-raising. "To meet the larger numbers it is essential that we put a robust and predictable fund-raising process in place," says Pai of Infosys. Ajay Parekh, executive director for strategy, adds that funds will be raised specifically for business improvements.

With the current commitment of feeding more than a million children, the foundation's top management is veering toward having a minimum cash balance of six months' expenses. "This is more a safety mechanism to avoid cash flow mismatch," Pai says.

Another key priority is to ensure greater cross-pollination of ideas and practices within the organization and greater standardization in the kitchens, be it facility layout, operating practices, equipment specifications or sourcing. There are moves toward building strong vendor relationships (including direct relationships with farmers) and maximizing centralized procurement wherever possible for equipment and raw material. "Currently, each kitchen does its own sourcing. Consolidated buying will help us to drive our costs down further and increase our operational efficiencies," Parekh says. "In the case of equipment and systems, it will also give us a greater say in the design aspect."

Certifying Kitchens

Akshaya Patra is also working toward getting all of its kitchens certified by the ISO (International Organization for Standardization). Six already are, and the plan is to get the others certified in 12 to 18 months. Other certifications are in the offing. Akshaya Patra is in talks with SGS, the multinational food certifying agency, to conduct regular hygiene audits and with a top consulting firm for process audits of its kitchens. There is also talk of introducing Lean and Six Sigma methodologies.

Raj Kondur, chairman of Nirvana Business Solutions and a trustee of the Akshaya Patra Foundation, points out: "It is very important that nonprofit organizations are held to the same standards that the best corporates follow, especially if they want to [increase] scale and address large issues. If we can successfully marry the rigor of the corporate world and the commitment of an NGO, it can be a great force multiplier." Indeed, having the support and thought leadership of professionals such as Kondur, Pai and Shetty has played a significant role in Akshaya Patra's success.

Once Akshaya Patra gets its new act together, it plans to share know-how and standards with other NGOs. "We may even have Akshaya Patra audits and certifications," says Parekh. "This can help [other NGOs] to increase their efficiencies and also boost their fund-raising capacity." But before it takes this leap, the foundation needs to work on dealing with the change management that will crop up through its own transformation -- without losing its vision as an NGO.

Even now, Akshaya Patra is not without critics. Some believe its model of centralized kitchens is faulty. "Akshaya Patra is not only very capital-intensive, it also does not fulfill the government's midday meal program's second objective of creating employment," says Manoj Kumar, who heads the Naandi Foundation, a Hyderabad-based NGO that also runs a midday meal program.

Others are critical of Akshaya Patra's urban focus and its spending on marketing and fund-raising. Voices also have been raised against Madhu Pandit and other ISKCON missionaries associated with Akshaya Patra for allegedly diverting funds collected on behalf of Akshaya Patra to buy land for ISKCON.

Madhu Pandit and other independent trustees have strongly denied the allegations. In a written statement responding to allegations by D.K. Shivakumar, a member of the legislative assembly, the independent trustees have said: "APF's [Akshaya Patra Foundation's] objective from the beginning has been to set a benchmark for transparency and governance for such program. To this end, the books of APF have been audited by BSR & Co. [a member firm of KPMG], a well-known accounting firm. Regular internal audits are also conducted in all branches on a monthly basis. All of APF's accounts are shared with supporters, government officials and the general public regularly and are freely available on our website."

Madhu Pandit, meanwhile, is taking the controversies and criticism in stride. "Akshaya Patra is going through a phase where it is embracing a new level of professionalism and working toward reaching greater heights. Anything new is difficult to digest, and we have to learn to deal with the criticism. If India can ensure that its children are well-fed and given a good education, then one generation later we may not even need this program."

comrades demonstrate 'useful idiot' syndrome

feb 27th, 2010

kollam mayor (communist party marxist) was fired because he appeared at giant RSS rally in kollam.

however, party secretary vijayan (communist party marxist) literally embraced accused mohammedan terrorist madani and formed a disastrous electoral alliance with him. there were no consequences to vijayan.

someone should ask vijayan about where all the communists in *east* bengal have gone. that's right, the mohammedans shot them when they were no longer useful. we will see this soon in malabar as the mohammedans begin to ethnically cleanse the communists (who are generally hindu converts to communism).

White "liberals" steal from black people

feb 27th, 2010

sounds a lot like the many millions m teresa swallowed, which ended up in ratzy's cofferes. 

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Arvind

Red Cross collected 255 million dollars for the blacks in Haiti but sent only 80 million dollars. They stole 175 million dollars.

bbc finds brown sepoy to do hatchet job

feb 27th, 2010

i guess it's easy to find some two-bit media sepoy coconut (brown outside, white inside) to snigger at hindu temples.

well, there is plenty to snigger at about churches in india, too.

one houses the well-chewed fossil remnants on one 'saint'. a fan of his, in her uncontrollable ardor, fell upon the fellow's ancient skeleton and gave it a good gnawing.

another houses the most miraculous *second* skeleton of another 'saint'. i guess this was the skeleton of the saint as a young man. the skeleton of the same 'saint' as an old man is certified to be his and kept in a church in ortona, italy. i would have to say this is a true miracle.

Sindhi conversions in Ulhasnagar raise a storm

feb 27th, 2010

soon we'll hear of sindhis starving their children to death because some non-existent arab spoke to them. 

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Third

Sindhi conversions in Ulhasnagar raise a storm

Kiran Tare / DNA

Wednesday, February 24, 2010 1:25 IST

Mumbai: The close-knit Sindhi community in Ulhasnagar, north-east of Mumbai, is undergoing a social upheaval of sorts. Over the last two years, a sizeable number in the township — primarily created for Sindhis who came in as refugees from Pakistan's Sindh province after partition — have drifted away from Hinduism and embraced Christianity.

The "conversions" have sent shockwaves among the community elders, specially since Indian Sindhis, weighed down by the scars of partition, are known to be staunch followers of Hinduism.
Most of those who are shifting their faith allegiance to Christianity are in their 40s and, in fact, had been devout followers of Hinduism.

Out of four lakh Sindhi-speaking Hindus in Ulhasnagar, around 7,000 (1.75%) have changed their faith in the last two years, according to a rough count. The growing number of "conversions" has scared the Sindhi-speaking Hindus to such an extent that they are contemplating a social boycott of the neo-Christians. Those who are taking to Christianity are not branding it as a conversion; instead, they say they have only changed their faith. Most have not even changed their Hindu names, which is turning out to be a major bone of contention with the Hindus.

"We are not against any religion but if they do not believe in Hinduism and are drawn closer to Christianity, they should adopt Christian names. We have called a meeting of the saints in our community in July. In that meeting, we will take a decision to boycott the converted Sindhis socially if they do not change their names," said Sai Balram, general secretary of the All India Sindhi Samaj, one of the prominent organisations of the community.
Global recession is to blame, say Hindu leaders in the community. Ulhasnagar is largely a business township, full of small scale industries and traders.

Balram said, "The Christian missionaries helped the small businessmen rebuild their businesses. Since then, there has been a wave of conversion."

But Ram Budhwani, a resident who follows Christianity, rubbishes the argument. "I started visiting the chapel to get peace of mind. I lost my wife in an accident two years ago. I became an alcoholic. I suffered heavy losses in my business and had to close down my shop. But since I am visiting the prayer house (known as Prarthana Ghar in Ulhasnagar) I am making progress in my business. I set up my shop again and am doing well. I have changed my faith, not the religion," he said.

The Sindhi-speaking Hindus in Ulhasnagar feel people like Budhwani have betrayed the community. "Sindhis are known for their loyalty to Hinduism. We preferred to leave our places (in Pakistan) during the Partition but refused to convert into Islam. Now, we are confused how to face the situation," a senior citizen from the community said.

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formerly hindu woman starved 1-yr old son to death under christist cult leader's orders

feb 27th, 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010

indo pak 'talks' end on sour note

feb 26th, 2010

RajeevSrinivasa maybe we need more women in the foreign service. remember arundhati ghose fending off CTBT ayatollahs? and now this with nirupama rao.
19m ago via Seesmic

RajeevSrinivasa first time in prisoner's dilemma game that indians didn't co-operate, but betrayed. if so, may that be the new trend!
22m ago via Seesmic

RajeevSrinivasa you can't get more in-your-face than to accuse your serving officers of terrorism. no wonder pak guy screamed.
24m ago via Seesmic

RajeevSrinivasa usually it's paks doing the ambushing, eg. mushy post-agra, and sharm-al-sheikh. if UPA developed backbone, that's extraordinary.
25m ago via Seesmic

RajeevSrinivasa am i imagining this, or did nirupama rao ambush paks with dossiers on serving pak officers? nice curve-ball! got the pak guy all steamed.

Capturing the promise of mobile banking in emerging markets

feb 26th, 2010

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: McKinsey Quarterly <>
Date: Fri, Feb 26, 2010 at 11:47 PM
Subject: Capturing the promise of mobile banking in emerging markets

McKinsey Quarterly

Capturing the promise of mobile banking in emerging markets

Very poor people in emerging economies not only have a surprising degree of interest in financial services but also, when possible, use them enthusiastically.

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where the communist terrorists roam

feb 26th, 2010 26th, 2010

with nice useful maps to show where the cancer is.

mfhusain is now a qatari. can we get somebody to take shabana, teesta, genocide suzie, burqa, sagarika?

feb 26th, 2010

and mallika, rajdeep, prannoy james, ramachandra guha, james astill, william dalrymple et al? there are plenty of shrill harpies of several genders in india. 

we can actually pay pakistan to take them. of course in a week or so, pak will offer to surrender to india and stop all terrorism if only we will take these worthies back. 

ps. isn't it poetic justice that husain's initials are "mf"? so... appropriate! 

john c dvorak: an ipad-killer from, uh, india?

feb 26th, 2010

the key for adam is going to be the ecosystem, especially its ability to get the media guys on board. otherwise apple will walk off with the prize. 

after all, creative labs had a better mp3 player (the hardware part) before the ipod came out and wiped the floor with it on the strength of itunes. 

but it's definitely good to see hardware designs coming out from india. it's important to build products rather than do the services thing forever.

it would be best for notion ink to tie up with some big marketing company, possibly google itself, in fact try and get to be acquired by them.

Eighth International WAVES Conference, August 4-7, 2010, Trinidad and Tobago - Third Announcement

feb 26th, 2010

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: S. Kalyanaraman
Date: Wed, Feb 24, 2010 at 4:42 AM
Subject: Eighth International WAVES Conference, August 4-7, 2010, Trinidad and Tobago - Third Announcement

Eighth International WAVES Conference, August 4-7, 2010, Trinidad and Tobago - Third Announcement

Dear Colleagues,

The Organizing Committee is very pleased with the response to WAVES 2010. Prominent speakers, dignitaries, and a special tour plans of Trinidad are being put in place.

Please note that we have opened a window for submitting abstracts for late breaking ideas to be presented at the WAVES 2010.

The revised deadlines are as follows:

1.   Abstracts for late proposals: March 15, 2010;

(Acceptance will be notified through e-mail by March 31, 2010)

2.   For all full length papers:  May 15, 2010

Information on registration, housing, food, transportation, etc., please visit -

For the Program details, please visit -


Please send the abstract (about 200 words) of your paper and the full paper to be presented to

Dr. Bal Ram Singh at <> on or before the deadline.

If you have any questions, you may contact any member of the Organizing committee near your area. You are requested to contact them through e-mail only and call only in an emergency.

We look forward to your contributions and participation.


Bal Ram 


Bal Ram Singh, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Indic Studies
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
285 Old Westport Road
Dartmouth, MA 02747

Phone: 508-999-8588
Fax: 508-999-8451

Internet address:

Important article on communism, maoism

feb 26th, 2010

the story of the west's 'useful idiots'. 

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: sri 
Date: Fri, Feb 26, 2010 at 9:21 AM
Subject: Important article on communism, maoism

Communism: Cauldron of Suffering
History: Why did some of the West's best, brightest support mass murder and maiming?

January 25, 2000|LEE EDWARDS , Lee Edwards teaches politics at the Catholic University of America and is a contributor to and editor of "The Collapse of Communism" (Hoover Press, 1999)

By any measure, communism was a seismic presence in human affairs in the 20th century, turning the world on its head, shaking it violently and creating an unparalleled amount of suffering. By exterminating as many as 100 million people, it raised immensely troubling questions about human nature and especially our capacity to murder and maim in the pursuit of utopia.

As the editor of a recent volume containing essays by several great historians of communism, including Robert Conquest, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Richard Pipes and Paul Hollander, I continue to be overwhelmed by the enormity of the horror communism visited on those it sought to liberate. There is, first and foremost, the body count. Robert Conquest, the great chronicler of Stalin's terror, reminds us that the Ukrainian famine alone claimed 6 million-7 million people. One shudders to contemplate what will be discovered if the files are opened on communist China, Cuba and North Korea. Communism is unmatched as a source of purposeful suffering and death.

The indictment does not end there. As a totalitarian system, communism laid claim to body, mind and spirit. Religious philosopher Michael Novak reminds us that communist theory considered humans as strictly material beings. Once reduced to mere matter, the oppression and slaughter that followed was both logical and, in a perverse sense, laudatory. To the communist, writes Novak: "The individual should expect to be expended, sacrificed, used up, like a thing. Like the steel girders he could see rusting, unwanted and unused, outside the mills of Nowa Huta."

Communism was also a colossal economic blunder. One statistic makes the point: In 1987, Singapore--a nation-state of only 2 million residents--exported 20% more machinery to the West than did all of Eastern Europe. No wonder 1.5 million East Germans applied for exit visas in 1989, and as many as 5 million of the nation's 16.5 million citizens indicated that they would abandon their country if possible.

Yet for all its horrors, communism provided the world with several indelible lessons. As Ronald Reagan reminded the British Parliament in 1982, private farms--which occupied only 3% of the Soviet Union's arable land--produced nearly one-quarter of farm output and a third of meat products and vegetables. One could not find a more profound contrast between free markets and a command economy. Nor could one find a system more dedicated to the suppression of free speech or whose demise was more quickened by the information revolution. The exasperation by party bosses over the unstoppable information revolution was perfectly summed up by the East European official who denounced television antennas as the "enemy of the people."

Astoundingly, however, communism enjoyed support among many cultural figures otherwise fully dedicated to freedom of speech and conscience. Upton Sinclair dismissed death by collectivization by coldly noting that it might "cost a million lives--may be it [will] cost 5 million. There has never been in human history a great social change without killing."

Prominent journalists of the era, most notably the New York Times' Walter Duranty, were unable to bring themselves to write about the horrors unfolding before them. Novelist Graham Greene went so far as to say that if he "had to choose between life in the Soviet Union and life in the United States, I would certainly choose the Soviet Union."

If such utterances, collected through the years by Hollander, merely represented lapses in personal judgment, we would be wasting our time recounting them. But the lesson is as clear as it is painful: Many of the West's best and brightest, who personally enjoyed immense levels of political, intellectual and material freedom, supported or at least condoned history's most brutal instrument of oppression. We must be wiser in this century.

"If we cannot get straight the rights and wrongs of the struggle between communism and anti-communism," wrote Joshua Muravchik, "itself perhaps the greatest moral struggle of [the 20th] century, then it is hard to see what other issues we will ever be able to address intelligently."


The Gujarat Model

feb 26th, 2010

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Gujarat India <>
Date: Fri, Feb 26, 2010 at 11:29 AM
Subject: The Gujarat Model

  The Gujarat Model  

Uday Mahurkar
January 28, 2010
On the surface it looks like a paradox. When agricultural production in most other states is plummeting, Gujarat, with large semi-arid tracts that were alien to good crops, offers a turnaround story. Last year, it posted an agricultural growth of 9.6 per cent against a national average of 2.9 per cent. The state's annual agro output (including production from animal husbandry) now revolves around Rs 49,000 crore, from just Rs 18,000 crore in 2000-01.

Gujarat has its second green revolution.
The figures are impressive even after factoring in a reasonably steady monsoon ever since Chief Minister Narendra Modi took over in 2001-end. As leading agriculture scientist M.S. Swaminathan puts it, "Gujarat owes it to a scientific and integrated approach to agriculture during Narendra Modi's tenure which is backed by a sharp vision."

What impressed Swaminathan most was the Modi Government's decision to give soil health cards to farmers so that they could assess the quality of land. Steps were also taken to improve the quality of seeds, raise the groundwater table by building almost a lakh check
dams within a decade in Kutch, Saurashtra and north Gujarat besides extensive use of technology by bringing scientists and farmers on one platform.

Judicious use of water for farming got a major fillip in 2003 when the state Government floated the Gujarat Green Revolution Company to encourage drip irrigation. From 105 lakh hectares in 2000-2001, the state's cultivable area now stands at 120 lakh hectares. Plus, agro financing was done with a purpose. Gujarat Agricultural University was also split into four universities, each dedicated to a particular crop.

As Modi says, "We worked with a strategy and vision, and are reaping the fruits now." Japan recently placed a huge import order of organic til grown in Gujarat. Kutch, that never knew what Kesar mango was, now produces and exports it. Similarly, the region is now cultivating Arabian dates. The state increased its cotton yield sixfold in nine years from 175 kg per hectare to 798 kg, more than the world average of 787 kg. Gujarat's farmland is a field of glory now, giving reason for other states to take a leaf out of its success story.

Share stories that make us proud!

the sad statistics about neglected agriculture

feb 26th, 2010

productivity has stagnated or declined; recent output increases only from bringing more land under the plough. 

plastiki retraces the kon-tiki trans-pacific trip, this time to spread awareness of plastic garbage

feb 27th, 2010

Thursday, February 25, 2010

the missionary position: abduction for jesus

feb 25th, 2010

i presume they intended to sell these children.

this is pretty similar in principle to what m. teresa was doing. only she was abducting the dying.

more on hate speech by brits

feb 25th, 2010

with collapsing economy, all they have to sell is plummy accents and media whoring. we will see ass-kissing of indians soon
RajeevSrinivasa @ramkumaran
remember jallianwallah bagh. that is when indians realized the pure evil of empire. aussies realized it at gallipoli
RajeevSrinivasa @nishkak
british society was far poorer than india's till 1757, battle of plassey. industrial revln funded by loot from bengal
RajeevSrinivasa @NishkaK
true british culture: uncivilized thugs named 'yobs'. malcolm mcdowell in 'a clockwork orange' good picture of british society
little-known fact: british empire covertly and overtly pushed christianization. read fabulous book "the raj syndrome"
RajeevSrinivasa @theeconomist
should be embarrassed that it allows a correspondent to be so biased against a particular religion. hate speech is so passe