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Rashomon Effect (7)

Sen. John McCain on if he voted for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004.

“I voted, campaigned for, worked as hard as I could for President Bush’s election in 2000 and 2004,” he said. “It’s nonsense.”

Bradley Whitford and Richard Schiff who attended a dinner with Sen. John McCain in 2001

McCain replied that as a member of the GOP, Whitford added, he always intended to back the party’s nominee. Then, the actor said, someone asked McCain whether he had cast a vote in favor of Bush.

“He put his finger up to his lips, shook his head and mouthed, ‘No way,'” Whitford said.

Schiff remembered the conversation the same way. “My memory was he said pretty clearly, no, he did not vote for him,” he said. “I discussed it with others afterwards. It was clear to everyone he said no.

See Also: Episode 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

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More, the Merrier

Shriya Reddy (who?) married Vikram Krishna (hoo! hoo!). From the reports:

Well, chief minister M.Karunanidhi wasn’t able to make it to shower his blessings and his family members including his wives Thaayal Ammal and Rajathi Ammal, son M.K. Stalin and grandson Udayanidhi conveyed their wishes.[Blissful moments for Shriya – Vikram]

Is it legal for Karunanidhi to have multiple wives? Well, apparently the rules are different in some parts of the world for some people.

The DMK chief now divides his time in the houses of both wives – spending mornings at the Gopalapuram residence with Dayaluammal while moving to the house of his other wife, Rajathiammal, at CIT Nagar in Chennai in the afternoons. The Chinna veedu concept is fairly common in Krishnagiri and Salem districts of TN, where males believe in more the merrier.

At least one top Union minister from Tamil Nadu is known to have two wives and so does a senior DMK official, who married his daughter’s classmate. An academic said, “The social sanction for two wives can be traced to religion and mythology. Lord Muruga, for instance, had two wives.”[In South India, more the merrier]

Then has the academic heard about Lord Rama who had only one wife? Probably that explains the DMK hatred towards Rama.

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Quantifying Sominism

The past month Public Radio had interviews with various authors regarding the rise of India and China. Kishore Mahbubani, dean and professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore,  rightly mentioned that both India and China were the economic powers till 1820 and are only rightly regaining their space in the world. Tarun Khanna, professor at Harvard Business School and author of Billions of Entrepreneurs: How China and India Are Reshaping Their Futures–and Yours, is optimistic that the economic rise of these two countries is good for Asia. Even in  popular fiction , characters are talking about these countries.

If you are shocked that India is shining, all you need to do is pick up New York Times and get your daily dose of Sominism. In an article on the development happening in Gugaon, she writes:

Almost half of India’s population has no access to the electricity grid, and many more people suffer hours without power. Nearly 700,000 Indians rely on animal waste and firewood as fuel for cooking. [Thirsting for Energy in India’s Boomtowns and Beyond]

Many great bloggers have worked on the expression Sominism, but so far no one has quantified it. Unless we find a way to measure Sominism it will be hard to compare articles by Pankaj Mishra, Arundhathi Roy and Praful Bidwai. While a complex mathematical formula involving string theory would be the ideal, we will settle for something simple due to lack of time and number of people to criticize.

For now we will use a measure which takes the position of the hatchet paragraph relative to the entire article. In the above article, it appears in paragraph five of a 28 paragraph article: the Sominism Coefficient would be: 5/28 = 0.18 S.

A number by itself is meaningless unless you put it in context. To see where Somini stands in the Sominic scale, she has to be compared to her contemporaries and one place to look for some would be in the Ramayana — yes, the timeless classic written by Valmiki. We don’t know whose brilliant idea it was to get Pankaj Mishra to write the introduction to R. K. Narayan’s shortened version of Kamban Ramayanam; maybe Prakash Karat was not available.

By the fourth paragraph, Mishra hits the goal post.

Indeed, the popular appeal of the story among ordinary people distinguishes it from much of Indian literary tradition, which, supervised by upper caste Hindus, has been forbiddingly elitist [Ramayana]

Mishra’s introduction which covers the mandatory “Hindu nationalist movement to build a temple on the alleged birthplace of Rama”, “North Indian Brahmin called Tulsi Das” and a quote from Romila Thapar that the televised Ramayana was an attempt to cater to the right-wing middle class of India, is 31 paragraphs long. The hatchet job appears in the 4th paragraph giving it 0.13 S, thus giving him an upper edge over Somini.

Since this author does not have the stomach to read an Arundhathi Roy or Praful Bidwai article, finding similar values is left as an exercise to the reader. My guess is that Arundhathi Roy will is the one who will achieve the ideal value of 0 S, where the ‘job’ will be done in the title itself.

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Dog bites Man (1)

Shocking headlines from around the world about things we would not have known otherwise.

  1. Pakistan A ‘Hotbed’ For Terror
  2. Pakistan polls will be massively rigged: Report 
  3. Hostility surprises Musharraf
  4. Anti-social elements will be ousted, says Pinarayi
  5. CPM promoting violence:Gowri
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Side Effects of Indian Spirituality

Today’s  WP has the story of how Rep. Dennis Kucinich met his current wife.

That very morning, believe it or not, guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who teaches peace through meditation and rhythmic breathing, had come to town. Dennis and Ravi have known each other for a long time. Ravi asked about Dennis’s love life. Dennis said he was still looking for that special someone.

“And his response was, ‘Stop looking and then she will appear,’ ” Dennis says. “And I said, ‘Okay, I’m going to stop looking.’ I said that.

Her first inkling that Kucinich might be different from the run-of-the-mill congressman was the presence of two Indian nuns from the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University in Kucinich’s reception room. She chatted with the nuns about India and felt herself being “opened” up by the conversation.

Then she and Zarlenga were called into Kucinich’s office.

Dennis watched the young woman’s eyes. First they went to a bust of Gandhi sitting on his bookshelf. Then they went to a picture given to him by the Hindu nuns — a burst of brightness against an orange background meant to depict “conscious light.” Then her eyes went to his.

“That was it,” Dennis says now. “One, two, three.” He knew.

Thanks to Indian spirituality, one more person has found moksha

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