Archive for the ‘Google Videos’ Category

Making all of us smile can make one of us cry

3 February 2008

The “Indian of the Year” shows of the various television channels, that has comfortably stretched into the first month of the new year, has largely been a case of much of the same.

So similar were the “brand” objectives; the award categories; the selection methodology; the “beautiful people”; and the target audiences, not to mention the political correctness, that had the shows mistakenly appeared on a rival station, nobody would have noticed. Not that anybody would have cared.


Except for a flash of inspiration that struck the head honchos of CNN-IBN.

At a time when the political class was falling over each other putting in applications for the Bharat Ratna, the channel conferred a “Lifetime Achievement Award” on a real jewel: Rasipuram Krishnaswamy Laxman, the Mysore-born cartoonist whose common man has held a mirror to the birth, rise and growth of a nation on the front page of The Times of India for well over 50 years now through “You Said It“.

The adjectives flowed freely, and for once unquestionably justly, as Laxman, now bound to a wheelchair after a paralytic stroke three years ago, was ushered in on stage. “For a lifetime of contributions to society, for a lifetime of achievements,” said anchors Vidya Shankar Aiyar and Suhasini Haider. “For having done the nation proud, for having been a part of our lives,” said Rajdeep Sardesai.

But when the citation was read, the 84-year-old Laxman bawled like a baby as former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and vice-president Hamid Ansari joined the audience in standing and saluting a common man who has become uncommon in modern India:

“For being one of the most incisive observers of post-independence India; for making millions of Indians smile every single morning for over 60 years; and for giving the common man of this country, a face, a voice, an identity and a consistent presence and importance in every aspect of our lives.”

Also read: How one family produced two geniuses

The world’s most famous Mysoreans

Cross-posted on sans serif

MUST-WATCH: Dying professor’s last lecture

23 September 2007

Randy Pausch, a 46-year-old top computer-science professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania, has been diagnosed with 10 tumours in his liver and has just a few months of good health left. Last week, he said goodbye to his students and the Pittsburgh college with one last lecture called “How to Live Your Childhood Dreams“.

Those dreams range from the sublime (floating in zero gravity, writing an entry in the World Book Encyclopaedia,) to the ridiculous (playing in the national football league, being Captain Kirk, winning big stuffed animals at amusement parks, and being an imagineer at Disney).

But they were his dreams, and as he puts it, “I was there”. Pausch goes on to talk about them with verve, humour and panache. He staves off pity by demonstrating how fit he is. He reveals that he has had a deathbed conversion. And he talks of how easy it is to get a Press pass.

The Wall Street Journal has called it “the lecture of a lifetime”.


# We can’t change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.

# It’s all about the fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals. Otherwise the fancy stuff won’t work.

# When you are screwing up and nobody’s saying anything to you any more, then it means they have given up.

# Life’s a gift. If you wait long enough, other people will show you their good side.

# In the face of adversity, don’t complain, just work harder. Your patience will eventually be rewarded.

# Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.

# Brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls aren’t there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to show us how badly we want things.

Watch the lecture: Dying professor’s lecture of a lifetime

Send him a question: Dear Professor Randy Pausch

September 11 joins Bose, Armstrong and Presley

11 September 2007

# Did Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose really die in an air crash in 1945?

# Did Neil Armstrong really land on the moon in 1969, or was it all staged on the deserts of Nevada?

# Did Elvis Presley really die in 1976, or is he still around ducking the cameras and living a life of anonymity?

Conspiracy theories of events that took place in the pre-satellite television era have an existence all their own, but nothing come close to the 9/11 conspiracy theories. Pictures of planes flying into the towers of the World Trade Centre may have been telecast around the world, but six years later, the conspiracy theories still abound.

Not over whether Jews were forewarned not to report for work that morning but over other, more troubling questions: how it happened and who did it, who knew how much before it happened and who benefitted from it all.

Was Osama bin Laden behind the attack? Were the planes powerful enough to bring down buildings designed to withstand airplanes? Were bombs used to trigger off the collapse of the World Trade Center towers? Did the Bush administration know of the impending attack? How did the WTC ownership change hands just days before the buildings came down? Who were the mysterious investors who had presciently “put” options on the airline companies before 9/11? Who had moved the gold worth nearly a billion dollars from the vaults underneath the buildings?

Al Jazeera English, the Qatar-based Arabic news channel’s English version, looked at some of the theories recently.

But it is Loose Change (1 hour, 29 minutes) that you must view.

Not to give the conspiracy theories some more oxygen but to see how good journalism can punch holes in the official and media versions of what we saw (or of what we thought we saw) with our own eyes on the morning of 9 September 2001. And demand the answers “We, the People” are entitled to receive.

Written and directed by Dylan Avery, and produced by Korey Rowe, the powerful documentary concludes, among other things, that the Pentagon was not the target of a plane but a missile; that the “heroism” on board Flight 93 was staged; and that the WTC towers were brought down by carefully planned, controlled demolitions.

“It was a psychological attack on the American people and it was pulled off with military precision.

“It’s time for Americans to accept 9/11 for what it was: a lie which killed thousands of people only in turn killing hundreds of thousands more, to make billions upon trillions of dollars.”

Cross-posted on sans serif

M.F. HUSAIN: Do you throw out a naughty child?

18 June 2007

India’s best known painter Maqbool Fida Husain, under attack (and almost in hiding) for portraying Hindu dieties such as Durga and Saraswati in an “uncharitable light”, has spoken out in an interview to CNN-IBN’s Akanksha Banerjee in London.

Cryptically, the 91-year-old, described as the “Picasso of India” by Forbes magazine, draws an analogy with children in his defence.

“If children in the house break things, you don’t throw them out. If you hold on to petty things, you won’t grow,” reads the translation of his Hindi quote.

If you listen to the audio carefully, though, you will hear words like “chote cheez” and “normal” in the same sentence. Is Husain saying that he may have made a “small” mistake, and that it is time to forgive and forget, and allow him to get on with his life after his apology?

Husain, who has had to virtually flee the country and live in London and Dubai, to escape goons threatening his life and limb, also perplexingly claims the controversy has not “affected at all”: “I am working like I normally do.”

And, in the 60th year of independence, he doffs his hat to the nation from afar.

“We’ve built a culture which is called composite culture. This is unique, which you don’t find anywhere in the world. That’s what we are proud of. In the West, they are only now recognising this. Their eyes are open now.”



A fortnight ago, on America’s National Public Radio, Husain said that art is always ahead of its time. Remember, the horrified reaction to the Impressionists when their works first appeared. And, he adds:

“Mostly people are ignorant. What is the language of painting? They’re ignorant. It’s so difficult to make them aware but time will teach them.”

Husain says his intention was never to offend, but he stands firm on his right to paint what he wants.

“I don’t use the word regret. There is no such thing. When you love somebody, you never say sorry. It’s with love which predominates.

There’s not a single line, or even a dot, which is done with hatred. There is no hatred. It is pure love.

S.L. Bhyrappa on Aavarana: the Kannada version

12 June 2007

Best-selling Kannada writer S.L. Bhyrappa addresses his fans and answers his critics on the controversies surrounding his latest novel, Aavarana, in the Kannada version of his interview.

Also read: S.L. Bhyrappa versus U.R. Anantha Murthy


8 June 2007

Like it or lump it, S.L. Bhyrappa‘s latest novel Aavarana is the hands-down literary sensation of the year.

On the one hand, it has gone into several reprints and won the overwhelming approval of readers worldwide “for saying it like it is”. And, on the other hand, its topic, tone and technique have come under question from “secular” intellectuals, who accuse the author of seeking to sow the seeds of enmity between communities and advancing the cause of Hindutva.

In this video-interview, Dr Bhyrappa addresses his readers worldwide and answers his critics at home. As to why he wrote this novel now, the philosophical concept behind it, and the political and ideological inhibitions that have prevented his co-writers from taking up such a controversial subject.

Dr Bhyrappa says there is no agenda, hidden or otherwise, behind the novel. That the purpose of his novel is the search for truth. And that most of those who are opposing his book are politically-correct leftists, and those claiming to champion the interests of Dalits.

Controversially, the best-selling author says India’s social harmony, which his critics accuse him of seeking to destroy through the book, is “superficial, artificial, and therefore not permanent.”

“The kind of harmony you are speaking, since independence, does it exist? It doesn’t exist because you are starting on a false foundation. Most of our Constitution framers were Hindus, most of them were upper class. Alladi Krishnawamy Iyer, K.M. Munshi. Babu Rajendra Prasad, C. Rajagopalachari. All of them unanimously abolished untouchability, saying that those who practice it should be prosecuted and jailed, that Dalits should be given special privileges, and those those who intermarried with Dalits should be given special incentives.

“That means, they (the Hindus) realised the mistakes in our society which was historically practised and tried to rectify it. Have Muslims tried to do overcome their mistakes? The Hindus have clearly realised that untouchability and social inequalities were practised from certain points in our history. We are open about it and we are ashamed of it. Have the Muslims realised what they have done is wrong and what is the source of what they have done?

“The source of what they have done is in their sacred religious texts. Now, are they prepared to go back to it and say these are the portions which we want to disown? Till they are prepared to do that, this social harmony is based on false foundation. Therefore to say that just because a certain truth is spoken, to say that it disturbs social harmony… for how long can you live with the delusion of building social harmony under false foundation.

“You must have the freedom to criticise every religion in the world: Judaism, Christianity, Shintosim, Hinduism, etc etc. Now to say you have every freedom to criticise different streams of Hinduism or Christianity, but you should not speak anything Islam, shut up… when you come to that point, is that fair? Progress is possible only when there is free criticism, which the western people have reached.”

Also read: S.L. Bhyrappa versus U.R. Anantha Murthy

‘URA should stop preaching, start writing’

‘URA should stop preaching, start writing’

2 June 2007

The spat between S.L. Bhyrappa and U.R. Anantha Murthy has thrown up a whole host of important questions. Unfortunately, many of them lie buried under the rather simplistic secular-fundamentalist, good-bad, ‘tu-tu-main-main‘ stands both sides have taken.

In this video, Prof Rajendra Chenni of the Kuvempu University’s English department and sahitya akademi award-winning Kannada writer Abdul Rashid of All India Radio, Mysore, broach some of the critical issues raised by the debate.

The debate is 20 minutes long, and was held at the Kukkarahalli Lake in Mysore. The audio is infrequently interrupted by the divine evening breeze.

Nandan Nilekani: The five steps for success

1 June 2007

Infosys CEO and managing director Nandan M. Nilekani spoke on “India’s chances in the era of globalisation” at a lecture series organised by the JSS Mahavidyapeetha in Mysore on Thursday.

India, he said, was well placed to reap the fruits of globalisation because it is not often that a bunch of concomitant factors—technological prowess, a young population, high savings rate, and global factors—stare at a nation all at the same time.

Nilekani spoke of how information technology had positively impacted the common man and woman of the country through railway reservation, tax information, the stock markets, voting systems, and banking systems.

But he said we need to take care not to repeat the mistakes of the west. He said we need to pay particular care about how we meet our energy needs, how we protect our environment, and how we take care of our health.


Nilekani later took questions from the audience. One question from a student was about the five steps he would prescribe for business success. Nilekani said:

1) Have a clear goal and focus: “When we set up Infosys under Narayana Murthy‘s leadership, we were very clear which industry we would focus on, what our value system would be, what our business model was, etcetera.”

2) If possible, assemble a team of people: “We were seven when we launched; six of us are still together. When there is more than one person, it enables different people to bring different skills to the table.”

3) Persevere, persevere, persevere: “Stay at it. We launched in 1981, but we went public only in 1993. It’s not a one-day thing. It’s a lifetime thing.”

4) Learn to deal with setbacks: “It is not always going to be a smooth path. You have to accept that there will be obstacles and hurdles. You need to learn to deal with them and overcome them.”

5) Don’t let success go to your head: “Success is temporary, tomorrow is another day.”

VINOD MEHTA on what to read, how to write

29 May 2007

Vinod Mehta is India’s Last Great Editor.

As puppy publishers, egged on by tobacco peddlers, softdrinks salesmen, and milkpowder accountants with calculators, strip Indian journalism of its relevance and conscience with a vengeance, the editor-in-chief of Outlook holds a mirror to what could have been.

And as puppet editors sway with the wind and sidle up to the powers-that-be for Rajya Sabha seats, ambassadorships, advisory posts, and the other loaves of office that politicians dangle before salivating journalists, Mehta’s fierce independence is an object lesson of what should be.

Former editor of the men’s magazine Debonair; founder-editor of India’s original weekly newspaper, The Sunday Observer; and editor of The Independent and The Pioneer dailies, Mehta is a master brewer who, over 30 years, has perfected the art of making the important interesting, and shown that good journalism needn’t be bad business.

Alive and articulate, quirky and contrarian, and never boring, Mehta can also write. In this 12-minute churumuri video, the 63-year-old editor talks on the critical reading journalists and journalism students should do; and on how they should approach the craft of writing.

Cross-posted on sans serif

‘What does Narendra Modi’s win say about us?’

22 May 2007

The Karnataka Komu Souharda Vedike conducted a two-day workshop on “Communalism and the Media” in Mangalore over the weekend, and the star speaker on the concluding day was the Booker Prize winning author and activist, Arundhati Roy. Among other things, she said:

# “It’s all very well for us to talk about the crucible of Hindutva communalism called Gujarat. We talk of bad politicians, of good people, and of the media that is trying to be neutral. But Narendra Modi still won the election. Which means whatever he did was acceptable to a majority of the people of Gujarat. What are we becoming? What kind of monsters are we becoming?

# “As a society if we can tolerate what has happened in Kashmir, if we can tolerate the lies that have been told to us by the Indian press about Kashmir, then our tolerance levels of brutality and the absolute level of human rights violations, has already gone up to to a space where we are a brutal society. We are a people who don’t mind being lied to, as long as it makes us feel comfortable, as long as it satisfies in our own head what the nation should be,what its shape should be, what its ideology should be.

# “What is our role? I have seen 100,000 people march in New York against American troops in Iraq. I have never seen an Indian march against what our troops are doing in Kashmir. There are 125,000 American troops in Iraq; there are 700,000 Indian troops in Kashmir.

# “You have democracy, you have elections, you have an idea of majoritarianism that can easily become fascism… all these have a key to open each of these cupboards. It’s called nationalism. We are living at the moment through an era of unbearably vulgar nationalism… The national flag has become the biggest commercial commodity going, like wrapping paper.”

Also read: ‘India is not a democracy

‘Gujarat is a Nazi type of society

‘Election isn’t democracy

U.R. Anantha Murthy on N.R. Narayana Murthy

12 April 2007

In the aftermath of the N.R. Narayana Murthy row over the National Anthem, and the storm over Sachin Tendulkar cutting a cake in the colours of the National Flag, CNN-IBN’s daily 10 pm programme “Face the Nation” had a discussion last night on whether we are oversensitive to issues like these, and batting from Bangalore was the Jnanpith Award winning Kannada writer U.R. Anantha Murthy.


Sagarika Ghose: Narayana Murthy about the national anthem. Murthy has always been perceived as a capitalist with a difference, he is a homegrown international icon, a boy next door who made good. Are you disappointed at these comments? Does it take away from his attractive Indian rootedness?

U.R. Anantha Murthy: I don’t think we should overdo this. He chose a wrong word…

You know, he is such a votary of the English language, and I am surprised that he used a word like “embarrassment”. He should have said that it is difficult for them to sing it, then there would have been no controversy.

Sagarika Ghose: Is this in some senses the face of globalisation? Infosys is our flagship-globalised company and in order to globalise, you have to compromise a little bit on your national identity, you have to play your nationalism down.

U.R. Anantha Murthy: You know, speaking for myself I am also unhappy with Narayana Murthy because he speaks only for the English medium. He is a cosmopolite. He is a great achiever and we admire him, but we differ from him.

Murthy should be grateful to the Karnataka government and to India because it made it possible for him. And he has no sympathy with the Nehruvian kind of socialism which created, really, the infrastructure necessary for people like Narayana Murthy to flourish. So, there is something wrong with the corporate culture.

Sagarika Ghose: So has this damaged his reputation?

Anantha Murthy: Yeah, he used a wrong word. That’ what I think. Embarrassment is a wrong word.

I don’t think he really meant it but because he belongs to the corporate culture, the globalising world, he does not have enough respect for mass movements, the people of Karnataka and the languages of India. That really worries us.

It’s not only Narayana Murthy. He is a very decent man, but man people like him are like that.

Sagarika Ghose: So in fact, the viewers and audience and members of the public—on our channel 90 per cent wanted NRN as President on this channel a couple of nights back—do you think they also signify this kind of dissconnect with India? They are the same kind of brand of people as NRN who are very successful, very humane, very compassionate but disconnected at some fundamental level with India.

Anantha Murthy: I still want a Dalit woman to be as President… Not only he but people like him are disconnected with India. They represent a cosmopolite culture…

Sagarika Ghose: Who is a greater patriot? Is it someone like Narayana Murthy or Sachin Tendulkar who prove their sentiments through actions or is it someone who displays the flags and tricolour of Indian nationhood?

Anantha Murthy: Neither of them. It is the people of India. The farmers of India…

The common masses…. People like Narayana Murthy do not have enough respect for them. Indian democracy is alive because they are alive…