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Some pertinent questions on reservation policy

September 28, 2015

A recent statement by Mohan Bhagwat, chief of RSS, calling for review of reservation policy created strong ripples in political circles. BJP was hurried to clarify its stand on reservations fearing its adverse impact on the outcome of Bihar elections. Opposition parties on the other hand alleged that it is a RSS/BJP conspiracy to scrap the reservation policy altogether and tried to cash on it.

Whatever may be the intent, the central government needs to answer some pertinent questions in this regard:
• Has the policy been successful in realising its defined goals and objectives? If not, what changes should be made to it to make it more effective?
• Is there any mechanism to quantify the benefits of reservation? If not, how do we measure its impact? How do we assess the extent to which the policy has benefitted the targeted sections? Shouldn’t there be a mechanism to identify deserved candidates and exclude undeserved from scope of the policy based on their current social standing?
• Shouldn’t there be a specific timeframe within which the defined goals and objectives of the policy are to be achieved? Shouldn’t there be periodic assessment of the extent of its success?

It’s obvious that the reservation policy has become a tool in the hands of political parties to divide people on the basis of religion and caste and create their own vote banks. To prevent such misuse of the policy, it is imperative that an honest and impartial review of the policy needs to be done at least once, clearly redefining the policy goals and objectives with a stipulated time frame for accomplishing them. Also, a proper mechanism for assessing the current social status of targeted sections needs to be devised; based on this assessment alone, the socially downtrodden sections that really deserve to reap benefits of the reservation, should be identified; simultaneously excluding undeserved from the ambit of reservation.

If implemented sincerely, these measures will certainly help in fostering much needed social harmony and contribute for national growth.


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It was not so long after all!

April 7, 2015

These days I have been reading many interesting articles on long exposure photography. I was curious to try my hand in blue-hour photography. I even bought a tripod recently for the purpose. I have been planning an early morning shoot of tank bund since a couple of weeks but you know how difficult it is to get up early especially on weekend days.  But this week I was determined to get over my laziness and see if I could catch the blue hour pics using kit lens (only lens I have with me right now). So on Friday night, I decided that I would set out for the shoot next day morning. I asked Harshith, my younger son, to accompany me for assistance. We have decided to reach the location around 5 am and have at least 1-2 hours of photo shoot.

Unfortunately we got up a bit late next morning. By the time we woke up it was already 5 am but we managed to reach tank bund at around 5.20 am. It was still dark and we could see a few morning joggers around already. As I took my tripod out and set it up, people around us looked inquisitively. I took a couple of trial shots from the place where I parked my car.IMG_5038 IMG_5039 IMG_5040   

Then we crossed the road, placed the tripod near the tank bund rails and shot a couple of amazing shots. The pics came out nearly as I planned earlier. The vehicular light also enhanced the effect. IMG_5042IMG_5051 

I made elaborate plans earlier for this photo shoot. The primary aim of the shoot was to catch the golden street light falling on the tank bund rails and I had certain fixed ideas on composition as well (converging lines).  Within 10 minutes of our arrival at the location, the sky began to lighten up.


 I cursed myself for being late. Had I started a little earlier, I would have taken more blue-hour shots, I bemoaned. However I managed to take a few golden hour shots of placid waters and misty landscape around the lake. Overall, my first experience in the long-exposure photography has been pleasing, though I thought it would have been much better if I had enough time to take more blue-hour shots.

Yes, I have learnt my lessons!

Diwali lights

October 20, 2009

Why Firefox could not make it to the top

January 3, 2009

FirefoxIt’s distressing for the fans of Firefox to see it still occupy  second position after the Internet Explorer in the lists of top browsers in spite of all its amazing features. I felt all these days that there must be something wrong in Mozilla’s business approach in taking Firefox to the customers. At last, I got the right answer from young engineering students, Uttam and Phani, from India who won Impact Mozilla contest. Their Marketing Plan Final Proposal rightly points out why Firefox could not realize its huge potential to reach the top of browser market.

Add-ons have been key factor that really made FF so popular among the Internet users. But as Uttam and Phani have found in their study, majority of Internet users who use FF are not aware of the amazing world of add-ons it provides. It is very sad that Mozilla has failed to realize this all these days. But it is never too late and Mozilla should make every effort to bring awareness among users. Providing add-on packs suited to ones own needs is also a great idea.

Kudos to Uttam and Phani for their amazing work. On behalf of all the fans of FF, I wish them all the success in their endeavor to place Firefox on the top of every browser in the market.

Hoping to expect more suggestions from you regarding the steps that need to be taken by Firefox to increase its customer base.

Would it be the end of long tail pipe?

October 5, 2008

How would you run an entire country without oil, without taking the help of any innovative technology, without any government assistance, and with a specific time frame to get off the oil completely?

Shai Agassi says he has a plan to achieve this wonderful feat. In fact, he is already half way through it. Two countries, Israel and Denmark, have already agreed to work with him in promoting electric cars. Inspired by his initiatives, Israel has already announced that it would electrify all its vehicles by next decade. In January this year, Israel announced that tax on electric vehicles would be only 10 percent of their price compared to 80 percent on that of gasoline vehicles.

Until recently very few people knew Shai Agassi. But he is now hailed as “part scientist, part visionary, with a lot of salesman thrown in.” He is listed in Times’ “Heroes of Environment 2008“. He is an Israeli scientist and entrepreneur who founded a small software company which was later acquired by the SAP, worlds’ third largest software company and largest vendor of enterprise software, for whopping US$ 400 millions. He joined SAP as per the sale agreement and soon rose to senior ranks mainly because of his out-of-box thinking. He was head of products and was in line to become the CEO of the company.

As a member of “Young Golden Leaders,” he participated in a seminar held at a Swiss resort Zermatt to “make the world better place” by 2020. This proved to be a turning point of his life. He then began focusing on environmental problems facing the world. After deliberations with experts and a lot of research on carbon economy and energy  policies, he came to conclusion that only by ending the addiction to depleting fossil fuels could the world be saved. To achieve his goal, he targeted transportation sector as it is the major consumer of fossil fuels. With the limited time frame and less scope for new innovations, he tried to find a solution which could liberate the world from the oil addiction. The only solution seemed to replace oil-consuming and co2 spewing cars with electric cars. The problem of battery need to be sorted out before doing that. Shai came with a clever plan: a complete electric car system that will much work like a mobile phone system. Encouraged by the Israeli leader Shimon Peres, he quit his job and raised US$ 200 million for his project “Better Place”, which is considered to be world’s second largest start-up venture.

He separated the ownership of car and battery. He sorted out the battery problem by simply providing the option of swapping it away. The customers will not be charged for cars but for the electricity they spend. He proposed the concept called Electronic Recharge Grid Operator. A network of powerspots would be built all over the nation–homes, workplaces, downtown and parking lots–to top up the batteries. There is another option for those who want to go on long drive. The batteries can be swapped at battery swapping stations similar to gasoline stations. Shai claims that customers can own a  cool car which can go 0-60 km in seven and half seconds and with zero emissions if they can afford to spend US$ 500 per month which is almost equal to thier average current monthly gasoline bills.

Think of benefits accrued from saving huge sums of money spent on importing oil and saving the environment, the plan looks awesome. Shai claims that nearly 30 countries have already come forward to implement his plan to get off the oil. The auto industry is set for a complete change in the existing paradigm. However, the markets which are deeply entrenched in the oil may resist the change initially. The developing countries like China and India should come forward to welcome these oil-deaddiction plans and try to adopt in their countries. China has responded very quickly. Read this. I feel that this idea may not be suitable to large countries like India where power failures are a frequent phenomenon but they should devise necessary plans to  save their countries from excessive oil import bills.

I wish it is implemented in India. Maybe in near future, we could come across electric cars zooming every road of India, powerspots in every home and small-scale power generation centres spread across every village of India, providing clean energy and generating employment to millions of people.

Read more at: Wired Magazine.

Also, know more about Agassi’s ideas from his blog.

Also read this blog.

Emerging browser war: Google Chrome vs. Mozilla Firefox

September 20, 2008

Google Chrome will support add-ons and user scripts à la Firefox Add-ons and Greasemonkey, Google engineer Ojan Vafai said during a panel discussion on the future of Web browsers at Web 2.0 Expo in New York on Friday.

The news that Google Chrome is going to support extensions and user scripts has raised the curtains to a new browser war between Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. The launch of Google’s browser Chrome has changed the landscape of the browser war. Prior to the launching of Chrome, Firefox was gaining popularity rapidly and everyone including me firmly believed that it will soon be numero uno browser. The record-breaking downloads of Firefox 3 had substantiated that opinion. The success of the Firefox is mainly attributed to its ever increasing, innovative extensions and plug-ins and the great support it has from the large community of open-source developers.

When Chrome was launched, most of the users seem to like its stability, minimalistic lay-out and the speed. However, most of them were not ready to make it their default browser because it was still a beta version and it had no extensions like in Firefox.

I feel that the competition between Chrome and Firefox is getting hotter with the fresh news leaked from Google camp. Mozilla may come up with more advanced features in its upcoming version of Firefox. Already, it is said that  Javascript VM to be used in Firefox 3.1, TraceMonkey, is much faster than V8, that used by Chrome. Moreover, Mozilla CTO Brendan Eich has already indicated that they would look at better process-isolation techniques than that of Chrome to improve security and integrity of Firefox.

Let us wait and see what this browser war has in store for us in the coming months.

Good news: It is the end-user who will be the ultimate winner in this war for supremacy.

The Green-eyed Monster

September 15, 2008

“O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock
The meat it feeds on”

The green-eyed monster can strike anyone any time. The attack would be swift and the damage collateral.  The savage monster can burn hearts and blind the minds of even the brightest souls on the earth. The most affected would be those who madly desire to be ahead of all their contemporaries  in every aspect of their life. Hypnotized by it, they lose all the civility and courteousness towards fellow beings. The fire of anger engulfs their minds and expresses itself through fiery epithets that blaze their way towards the cause of the disillusionment vitiating the surroundings with the poisonous fumes of hostility.

Beware of the green-eyed monster my dear friends!

Don’t let it suck all humanity from your souls.

Don’t let it suck all the warmth and leave you cold-blooded.

Beware of the green-eyed monster my dear friends!