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Life in the time of Corona

Times surely have changed. I never really expected Mumbai to shut down to quickly and completely. Sure, you see reports of traffic jams even today. But there is no denying that things have taken a turn for the worse. This was how Phoenix Market City, Kurla looked like. And this was last week. This is me going to office on March 13. I have got permission for Work from Home. I don't know if that is good enough. So I have my friends here in the apartment and my laptop for company. Food or grocery delivery is difficult now. Big Basket has stopped delivery temporarily. Grofers was still in service. Ordered a few things but I am supposed to get them on 1st April only. Travelling is out of the question. Had it been earlier, I would probably have moved home. Now that is nearly impossible. Domestic airlines are shutting down from Wednesday onward. International flights had stopped since March 22 (my birthday). Trains have also stopped. So, I am stuck here. I don't see t

Destroyed or Occupied Mandirs or Stupas in India

This is not my regular type of post. We know from evidence that Mandirs and Stupas (and other monuments like universities) were demolished/occupied and often even replaced by invaders. Several historical accounts both contemporary and today acknowledge this. The legendary Sita Ram Goel made one of the first comprehensive study of the destroyed temples that dot the landscape of the Indian subcontinent. However, the list of these temples or other buildings are difficult to find (other than his original book). There is another book by Prafulla Goradia, namely ' Hindu Masjids ' that speaks specifically about Hindu temples that are currently under occupation. The main problem is that this information is difficult to find. Unless one is a scholar, or has a special inclination towards reading history - one cannot be expected to stumble upon this on their own. Hence, it is important that a easy to find repository of all monuments with a wound is recorded for posterity. My own hu

Pakistan returns 400 temples to Hindus - A Hindu response

I came across this post by the reknowned author, William Darymple on Pakistan promising to renovate and return 400 temples to the Hindu community . Something of a contrast... Pakistan to restore, hand over 400 Hindu temples via @indiatoday — William Dalrymple (@DalrympleWill) November 12, 2019 That is great. However, there was something problematic about the tweet. Notice the first line - 'Something of a contrast'. The inference is hard to miss. The fact that the Indian Supreme Court had given its verdict recently to return the Ram Janmabhoomi to the Hindus stands (as per William) in direct contrast to Pakistan returning its temples to Hindus. The moral signalling is relevant. Hindu majority India is handing 'Muslim' places of worship to Hindus, while Pakistan being a Muslim majority nation is  transferring Hindu places of worship back to Hindus. Katas Raj Mandir Comples Indian nationalists will take a serious offence at the p

The Hindu Revivalist Movement - The path ahead

The Ram Mandir verdict was pronounced by the Supreme Court of India yesterday. The judgement was decisive as it clearly asked the state to handover the erstwhile disputed site to the Hindus for the building of a Ram Mandir and the Muslims to be given a 5 acre land for the construction of a Masjid if they need one. Both sides seem to have accepted the judgement so far. Of course, neither side could do much in any case. The judgement was unanimous, all five judges pronounced the verdict in favor of the Ram Mandir and hence the chance of a review petition by any party was unlikely to be entertained by the Court. Besides, the Hindus got what they wanted (mostly) as they have restored ownership to the 2.77 acres of land where the previous Mandir was supposed to have been standing. Wat Chaiwatthanaram, Ayutthaya, Thailand I will not go into archaeological evidence again to justify the verdict. The court has done a decent job in noting the reports that were provided to it by the ASI

They shall not grow old

I have always been enamored to war. It is different from being in love with war. I never disliked war, considering it a tool in the instrument of politics or policy making. In that I am more in line with what Clausewitz had in mind . But my fascination for war and especially conventional modern warfare (WW1, WW2) has only increased. I remember picking up Zhukov's Memoirs and Konev's war diaries when I was in Class IX. Then I devoured von Manstein's Lost Victories, Achtung Panzer by Guderian, Keitel's War Memoirs, Stuka Pilot by Hans Ulrich Rudel and so on. In addition, I have extensively studied about war strategy - all that is available in the public domain - from economics of warfare to Manstein's favorite sickle cut, from Beweigungkreig to Deep penetration Warfare and Cold Start doctrines. In all these accounts the individual glories of generals, and officers or political figures reigned supreme. They never claimed otherwise, but the grim realities of war es

The suffocating roadblocks and dead end jobs

Life throws new challenges everytime you decide to do something new. When you plan to try anything new, you area aware of the challenges that you are likely to face. But Life usually will have other plans. When you expect a right turn, Life will show you a left. When you least expect x to turn up at your door, you find y. And then there is a dead end job. This is one job that I at times enjoy. Because I get to work directly in the technologies that I like to work with. At the same time, I feel terrible about the senior management and my future prospects here. What is the worst is that I don't see any way out of this either. It is not that I have not forwarded my resume over to the other firms. I have. But I have not received any meaningful reply yet. Any response that I have so far been able to elicit are of no interest to me whatsoever. I feel I have to chalk out a path for myself again. Problem is, the task becomes more and more difficult with age. I can take less risk

The Kite Runner Wins

Kite flying has always fascinated me. Every year, especially during Makar Sankranthi, kites are flown all over India to celebrate the beginning of Spring, end of Winter, the God Surya etc. The religious significance of the day is varied - and various Hindu narratives converge here. What remains is the beautiful way it is celebrated. When I was a kid, I never got around to flying kites except for some of the occasions like these. But the universal nature of the festival allowed people from even other religions to participate in great numbers. Kite flying and its associated Hindu origin was largely frowned upon in many Muslim countries. The Taliban had banned it in Kabul because it went against the Islamic principles. Even Pakistan had briefly banned flying kites in the Panjab state where it was quite popular because of the use of the Chinese sharp manja. But they turned around the ban last December and this was celebrated widely - especially in the city of Lahore. Considering th