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A Turning Point Again

This is the post excerpt.

Prof.Yash Pal
Yash Pal RIP, Nov.26,1932-Jul.24,2017

TO LEARN OF THE DEATH OF PROF. YASH PAL TODAY (July 29), five days late, is a tragedy of Indian journalism, for which an  actress’ flirting or affairs is a greater news.

Thank you Dr.Lekshmi D. Ramesh for your LinkedIn post on “The Turning Point”

Yes, Turning Point‘, Prof. Yash Pal’s TV programme on  Door Darshan   when it was a monopoly, must have created interest in science among many children  who saw it. Media now think programmes which do not titillate are useless in getting TRPs, which alone matter to them today.

Some decades ago, I had interviewed the great scientist Dr. C.N.R. Rao at the Indian Institute of Science of which he was then Director. He told me the story of how, when he was a schoolboy, he went one early morning to the IISc campus to collect  botanical specimens for a  school project of his.(Many may not know IISc campus is a treasure house of biodiversity and a haven for bird-watchers).

There he was stopped by an elderly, dark, turbaned man who asked him what he was doing there, volunteered to take him around and help collect the specimens and talked of science as they went around the scenic campus.

That was the turning point in the life of Chintamani Naga Raja Rao.

“The conversation changed my life. It made me a scientist and opt for pure sciences instead of applied sciences that could have helped me earn much more money,” Dr. Rao told me.

The man in turban was Sir C.V.Raman, then Director of IISc. Dr. Rao was occupying the Nobel laureate’s chair.

Back to Prof. Yash Pal, resisting the temptation to talk (or brag) about my own meetings with Dr.Raman, accompanying a classmate, his relation, to the railway station as he was on way from Bangalore to Delhi (many may not know he hated flying when it could be avoided) to take to him some filter coffee  and drinking water (no bottled mineral water in 1960s).

Prof. Yash Pal’s name .brings back many memories. He is too well-known for me to write about his life and work.

Taking a batch of Mass Communication students in 1990s on a study tour of Delhi, I came to know of a meeting where a friend was being presented an award as a lady journalist.

It was a meeting addressed by the founder-director  of National Informatics Centre, Dr Seshagiri. He spoke of the Information Highway and how IT would change tomorrow’s world. Among the audience was Prof. Yash Pal.

After the brilliant speech many asked questions. Prof.Yash Pal asked, “When books came, much of India’s knowledge which came down by word-of-mouth due to India’s oral tradition, was lost. When all knowledge goes online, will be not lose what is in books but not in a database?”

Dr. Seshagiri admitted there was such a danger. Prof.  Yash Pal brought science to the common man.

Will Prof. Yash Pal, though both in books and databases, remain in the memories  of the old, like me, and be lost when they die?

                                                               —-

A version of this was posted  on July 30, along with a picture of Prof. Yash Pal. Readers received  only the picture with birth and death dates and RIP under it. The long text vanished. It had disappeared three times when it was being written on the blog post. Then it was written on Word file, cut and pasted on the blog.  And it vanished again, with only the picture remaining. So I wrote this again, a fifth time, hoping it will remain. Six people clicked on ‘like’ thinking I posted only the picture as a tribute to him.

It left me wondering whether it was hint that I should write three-liners or single para posts as many do. Or that with me becoming 78 in two months, it is ‘stoppable’.      Who has time to read?

The  UnstoppableAfterSeventy.Wordpress.com blog itself got deleted or became inaccessible to me.    So Good Bye

Infy: Ethics Or Pot Of Gold

 THE FIRST NEWS I READ AFTER A 10-DAY HOLIDAY  (NO WiFi, NO LAPTOP, NO BLOGS)

Murthy
N.R.Narayana Murthy. (Image:Google)

was about the crisis in Infosys which led to the CEO and MD of the company, Vishal Sikka, resigning, blaming the founder, N.R. Narayan Murthy for ‘personal attacks’.

 

Infosys is the most famous IT company of India. Infy and the first among  its founders, N. R. Narayana Murthy can be credited with pioneering India’s entry into outsourcing  and IT industry and determining its corporate culture. Murhty himself is known to be  a highly ethical visionary.

When I posted on the death of Om Puri, Prof. Yash Pal  and Dr. U.R. Rao, I took care not to write what is available in published obits and on Google, confining myself to personal contacts and what is known to me first-hand.  I hope this is NOT the obit of Infy, but still I will abide by that norm.

Vishal Sikka
Vishal Sikka (Image: Google)

It was almost two decades ago, when NRN was still the chairman of Infosys. A new batch of engineering recruits had joined and some of them were chatting at a coffee machine in the corridors of one of the many buildings in the beautiful campus. They looked  (and felt) like college (some even like senior school) students.

They saw NRN himself  walking  down the corridor  with some foreign guests. By now 

Continue reading “Infy: Ethics Or Pot Of Gold”

Great Talents Forgotten

 

Vinod Dua
Vinod  Dua

SUDDENLY AND FOR NO REASON AT ALL  I  recently remembered Vinod  Dua one of the earliest – perhaps the first- anchors of Indian television. equally articulate in Hindi and English.

 

Wondering what happened to him I surfed all top  TV channels at different times and did not find him there. I faintly recalled seeing him on a food programme a few years ago and thought “what a fall for one of the best political analysts and election anchors. Continue reading “Great Talents Forgotten”

Congress Ready To Break India?

state flag
Tomorrow’s Karnataka flag?

INDIA’S CONGRESS-RULED KARNATAKA STATE is readying to have a flag of its own. And it is not because of any newborn love for the state or its language.

It is because the Central (federal) government is ruled by a National Democratic Alliance (NDA)  coalition led by the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). Such a state flag was never sought when Congress was in power in Delhi. Continue reading “Congress Ready To Break India?”

What? Only Rs 300 million?

Laloo
Rags to riches story: Laloo Yadav in a peon’s quarters, 32 years ago

A FORMER PEON IN THE VETERINARY DEPARTMENT IN BIHAR BECOMES THE  CHIEF  Minister and makes his semi-literate wife a poxy CM to rule  the state from j:ail  when caught for fodder scandal.

DKShivkumar
DKS:Congress’ money & muscle

A minister becomes the defacto chief minister of the state through amassed wealth and muscle power to amass more wealth. An Income Tax probe initiated  against him  when his own party was in power gets mysteriously dropped , obviously with his own party’s top bosses  backing him. Equally strangely it is revived when the rivals come to power.

Rags to riches stories come from  all over the world and are always  interesting.  Stories of those who, with their innovative ideas,  inventive brains or hard work rise from humble beginnings to great heights can be inspiriting, and trend-setting. A peon, Laloo in 32 years as and a school teacher, Mayawati in an even shorter time becoming multi-millionaires is as commendable as an Ambani, once going around on a cycle to sell things, growing into a billionaire.

In India, however, almost all rags-to-riches stories are of politicians who used power to become rich overnight or businessmen backed by politicians who rose to the top through manipulation of stock markets, marketing  of fake goods or ‘ponzi schemes’ of finance rackets. Or in both cases,  through simple, plain corruption.

As wealth alone seems to matter more than the means used to earn it, there is no social stigma against taking  wrong path or shortcuts to  become rich. Still Narayana Murthys and Aziz Premjis are respected far more than politicos who turned rich overnight .

The effort by a politician to portray Murthy as a land-grabber simply  because of his caste or Premji being opposed by some other just because of his religion have cut no ince with aythe people, who still have higher regard for both than for politicians.  

And yet they elect these verty leaders because of their caste, cash or coercion the three pillar of Indian politics.

Congress leaders who cried themselves hoarse condemning BJP, were deafeningly silent on both CBI raids on Bihar Deputy CM Tejaswi Yadav or the Rs. 300 crores unearthed in Income Tax raid on D.K.Shivakumar  . Rahul Gandhi did not say a word on Tejashvi or DKS, the de facto chief minister when S.M. Krishna was heading the state  (perhaps with the tacit approval of the party bosses, which later made Krishna leave the party itself).

And joining hands with Congress wiped out all the sins of Tejaswi’s father, Bihar ex-CM Laloo Yadav whose daughter could buy property worth millions and son could have land deals of  90 million rupees “even before a moustache” sprouted on his face.

The BJP has its own share of such black sheep, though the top leaders have so fat kept off blatant corruption.  It talks of values while backing Nitish Kumar or admitting defectors who had no ideological affinity, like N.D.Tiwari or S.M.Krishna. Or  when raiding  people selectively. Tomorrow DKS having engaged a private tutor to teach him Sanskrit some years ago may endear him to BJP and facilitate his admission to that party. When  it is in power, all his sins would be forgiven. That’s  politics. – Indian style.

The normal reaction of those who commented online or spoke about raids on more than 30 premises all over the country connected with Shivkumar was  “What? Only  300 million rupees?”. And no one is surprised that he was raided just when he ‘hosted’ 44 Gujarat Congress MLA  at a luxury resort of Bangalore for a week

We, as a nation, are corrupt. We admire honest people but support the corrupt.

 

IAS ‘Cycle’ of Good And Bad

Sabarwals
Smita Sabharwal, IAS  and Akun Sabharwal, IPS  of Telagana – People’s Officers

INTERVIEWING THE EX-DIRECTOR OF LAL BAHADUR SHASTRI  ACADEMY OF  ADMINI- stration at Mussoorie, P.S. Appu,  just after he resingned  over differences  with the then Home Minister Gyani Zail Singh, I asked him about some IAS officers being inefficient or corrupt while some were committed and idealistic.

Appu

He told me there appeared to be a cycle – some batches at the Academy turned out excellent officers while others failed. It was, I felt, a subject that needed to be researched further, like the phenomenon of IAS officers’ sons or daughters joining IAS.

 

A brilliant ex-Chief Secretary of Bihar and one of the best directors the Academy ever had, the late Pappu felt there was nothing wrong, unless short-cuts and wrong means to do so. “Don’t doctors’ children become doctors and lawyers’ children follow their parents?”,  he asked

Continue reading “IAS ‘Cycle’ of Good And Bad”

Gandhi, Nehru And All That

Nehru

THE  MAIN GROUSE OF THE REGIME that came to power in India over three years ago –ending (temporarily?) the dynasty rule to which democracy was reduced– was that  the new  rulers did exactly what the British rulers did — distort history.

And now in power, they have allegedly set out to do the same.

“Did you see the UP Quiz Book on history? Jawaharlal Nehru (India’s first Prime Minister) is not even mentioned and Gandhji is grudgingly referred to in passing but Hindutva heroes get to hit the roof. What a tragedy that religion, a great divider of people and even nations, is getting the blessing of the Government. The secular fabric we have built over decades is being torn asunder”, a friend who hates the ‘rightist’ regime now in power, mailed to me.

Continue reading “Gandhi, Nehru And All That”

Think Before You Foward

IN A POST  ‘FORWARDED AS RECEIVED‘ (Feb.24, 2017) I wrote about many who keep forwarding WhatsApp posts “as received”, sometimes even without fully reading them, often  without verification.

So a young mother may get a forward about herself ‘missing’ as a schoolgirl, urging all to report is they saw her, posted years ago, but Continue reading “Think Before You Foward”