Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Kerala Citizen Bloggers - Blogging within the system

Do you blog? Are you passionate about Kerala her issues and her development? Do you want to raise your voice against the odds seen in and around our society? Do you believe that you would change these through the power of blogging? If answers to all these questions are “YES” then Kerala Citizen Bloggers (KCB) is for you. You can be part of it provided you are passionate and committed to the root cause.

This is what KCB has to tell about them

Kerala Citizen Bloggers” is not a group or an organization but an effort from a bunch of passionate bloggers, from within and outside Kerala who are attached to it, blogging for a cause, blogging for a reason.

We hear the same voices as any citizen would hear, we see the same events that any citizen would see, and we live the same lives any citizen would live - but we are here, to speak out on our behalf, out to the world to help bring the change into us. We are not us, but you and me, your’s and mine, we are the citizens - citizens with a voice.

Through this website, we try to pen down what we see around. What we love and what we hate. We are not here for swearing or whining. A small, but bold step towards the growth of our society. If you are someone who can see and hear things happening around, feel free to join the efforts.”

KCB has recently released a video to promote this initiative. Watch this and decide for yourself if you want to part of this vibrant group.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Nonsense in the Name of God and Religion

India is the land of so many religions – Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism - you name it and there will be at least some Indians belonging to that religion. All these religions in their pure form preach the well being of the humans. If we take Bhagavat Gita or Quran or Bible and go through that in depth all the writings have lot of meaning for the welfare of the man kind.

If all religions and writings are for the welfare of the humans why do religious conflicts break out so often across the world? I believe that it is because some self made preachers of the various religions interpret religion the way they want. I have come across two videos in youtube where the so called preachers/human God interpret the meaning of the religion/God in the way convenient to them.

In the first video (in Malayalam) the preacher is preaching about the greatness of Jesus Christ. After seeing the video I don’t know if I should cry or laugh. If you can understand Malayalam see it for yourself and make your own conclusions. 

For those who don’t know Malayalam here is a literal translation of what this gentle man is telling. It is almost impossible to translate the whole thing without losing the gist of it. But I will try my best.

“Now about India’s national flag - it has saffron in the top and green in the bottom and white in the middle. What does saffron signify? If signifies bravery and will to sacrifice. Saffron represents those who have the ability to hit, beat and punch. Then what about green? It represents the vegetation and prosperity of India. It also signifies the people who just become rich. Then what about white in the middle? White is us. Those who understood this “Praise the Lord”. I am praising the Lord for making white the centre of our national flag. It is not over. Asokachakra - symbol of power lies in the middle of the flag. God didn’t give Asokachakra to green or saffron. God gave Asokachakra only to us. “Glory” It is Asokachakram. Shokam means sorrow and Asokam means warding off sorrow. This means if one has to ward off sorrow they have to come to white. Even if you are green or saffron you have to come to white to ward off sorrow. For those who understood this “Praise the Lord”. Today you all should come to white that means you should come to Jesus Christ. Without coming to Jesus Christ you won’t be able to see the light. Praise the Lord”.

Absolute crap is what I can say. This kind of interpretation to religion and God is the root cause of all the religious evil. No religion is free from this evil and you can find these kinds of preachers/priests in all the religions, whether it be Hinduism or Christianity or Islam. The day common man understands the hollowness of these misinterpretations the world will be a better place to live in.

Kerala claims to be the first state to have one hundred percent literacy. With better education and literacy, ones thought process should be refined, but I think we are going back to the Stone Age. We have so many human Gods out there and there are lots of people who go out there to seek their blessings. They don’t stop with blessings. If someone fell sick in their family, they take them to these human God to cure them. Here is a video of a human God in Kerala. Her name is Usha and she claims that she is the incarnation of Kodungaloor Bhagavathi and Goddess of Bheemapalli. Her mode of prayer/treatment is swearing and beating and see how many people are coming to see her.

I feel pity seeing these videos. Let the true GOD who sees all this save all these people.

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Other Face of Kerala We Hate to Accept – See These Videos


I accidently came across these videos in YouTube about Kerala. It seems like a documentary and I am not sure if it was made to be telecasted in any channel. The five videos titled “Story Tellers” talks about the hardships/difficulties faced by common man from different walks of lives in Kerala. In the words of the creator of this video, this video is all about “THROUGH FIVE CITIZENS OF KERALA, THE GRIPPING STORY OF OUR STATE IS TOLD”. This video researched and directed by Aravind and photographed by Vipinchandran shows the other side of “Gods Own Country” we hate to accept.
The first part of the video talks about the slum Pallikada in Kollam, 75 kms from Trivandrum. It tells the story of “Thankamma” and “Mary” who have nothing but a one room house in the most unhygienic conditions. We hear of hundreds of programs to eradicate slums and poverty but nothing has changed the life of “Thankamma” and “Mary”.
The second part talks about the fate of farmers in Kerala – a species facing extinction. This video talks about a farmer Kurien, who owns 1 acre of land and his hardships. Here is a representative of a dying art of Kerala sharing his painful experiences. This video brings out with facts one thing we know now – there is no future for agriculture in Kerala unless something dramatic happens.
The movie “Varavelppu” is a classic movie by Satyan Anthikad. Whoever plans to invest in Kerala should be seeing this movie first. Even the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee mentioned about this movie in one of his speeches about Kerala. In this movie the lead character Murali (enacted to perfection by Mohanlal) comes back from “Gulf” (Middle East) with his hard earned money and buys a bus. The hardship he has to face to keep the bus running with approval from different government agencies and unions is the essence of the movie. At the end he loses everything and goes back to “Gulf”. If that was a movie here is a real life version of it in this video – Basheer has similar story to tell. Basheer was in Saudi Arabia for six years, came back and brought a bus like Mohanlal in Varavelppu. Now he doesn’t own that bus anymore nor does he own any land or house, thanks to red tapism in different government departments and cheatings. He had to sell everything and he is back as a bus driver. Reel life and real life meeting each other.
The fourth video is about the sad state of industries in Kerala. The perfect example Director Aravind took to depict the sorry state of affairs is the “Hotel Fort Manor” and how the government polices led to his closure in 1997. The government was proactive in closing this 200 room hotel but never took any initiative to open this back. Result – a hotel worth crores of rupees now has new guests – crows, bats and other birds. Another perfect example of how easy it is to destroy and how tough to construct.
The fifth video talks about tourism industry and how various government departments neglect the tourism industry. Even though the tourism industry brings in a lot of money, this video shows the life of hundreds of people involved in the tourism industry that get a raw deal.
KUDOS TO ARAVIND AND HIS TEAM FOR THEIR BOLDNESS IN BRINGING OUT SUCH AMAZING VIDOES.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Vote for "Indian of the Year 2008"

Let us all select the Indian of the Year 2008. The poll closes on 30th of January 2009. Please send this link to your friends so that they can also vote.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Nostalgic Advertisements from Doordarshan Era

A couple of weeks ago I had written about the great memories the old serials/programs in Doordarshan bring to those of us that used to watch them. Along with those serials and programs none of us can forget the advertisements that where aired with them. There were not many advertisements and they lacked the technical qualities compared to the present ones but seeing them again now brings back so many happy memories. Those were the times much before any multinational companies had any presence in India – washing powder was just Surf and Nirma, Biscuit was Parle G and Britannia, toothpaste was Binaca and Promise and soft drink was Limca, Gold Spot and Thumbs Up. We used to see the advertisements with the same enthusiasm as we saw the serials and other programs. I was so happy to see them again in Youtube. I am sharing some of those so that everyone who cherish those days can enjoy. 

There are numerous old advertisements in Youtube. I am introducing eight of those. For those who used to watch Doordarshan how can you forget “Lalithaji” and Surf? This was one of the most popular advertisements during the time. She was one of the most popular faces in almost all the households, thanks to this advertisement. 

Those were the days when Bajaj scooter was the most popular two wheelers of India and its advertisements were the best. There are several versions of it but I like this one best.

There was serious competition between energy drinks “Boost”, “Complan”, “Maltova” and “Bournvita” and each advertisement was better than the other. Here is an advertisement of Complan enacted by Shahid Kapoor and Ayesha Takia.

During the late eighties and early nineties, Cadburys and 5-star chocolate were the most expensive chocolates we could dream of and we use to get rarely them. We used to quench our craving by seeing those advertisements. Here is one of the advertisements of Cadburys.


Limca, Goldspot and Thumps-up were the most popular soft drinks available and again we used to fulfill our craving for it by watching those advertisements. Here is the advertisement of Goldspot.


Parle-G was the most popular brand of biscuit available and so was its advertisement. Here is the advertisement of Parle G.

During those days if you had a headache or a cold or any kind of pain the name that came to our mind was “Vicks” thanks to the advertisement we used to see in the television. Here’s one of the many advertisements of Vicks.

Here is another one – collection of more than ten advertisements from Doordarshan. Enjoy.

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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Aftermath of Mumbai Blast – Hatred towards Indian Politicians At its Peak – See These Photos

I got this as a email forward. These photos sum up the general feeling all around India towards the Indian politicians after Mumbai terrorist attacks. It seems like global recession has hit Indian political market also.




















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Get-Together - Poll

           
         

         

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

V S Achuthanandan’s Press Conference - Lost in Translation?

A major controversy is going on in India after the Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan visited Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s house and his subsequent press conference in Bangalore. The entire North Indian press has projected it as “a proof of a politician insulting a great son of India who laid down his life for our country”. After the Mumbai blast the selling point for the media has been blasting the politicians and the Kerala Chief Minister has been caught in it. 

I have seen the entire news conference again and again. I don’t see anything so insulting that V S Achuthanandan made in that press conference. The translation that comes in the right hand side of the screen is the problem. It is completely wrong and looks like Google translation. They translated word by word literally and if you go by that what Kerala Chief Minister said was very bad and there lies the problem. 


Here is what he told – first in Malayalam “സന്ദീപിന്റെ വീടല്ലെങ്കില്ഒരു പട്ടി തിരിഞ്ഞു നോക്കുമോ അവിടെ?”. 

For those who cannot read Malayalam but can understand Malayalam here is what he told in Manglish “sandeepinte veedallaenkil oru PATTI THIRINJU NOKKUMOO AVIDE?” 

“PATTI THIRINJU NOKKUMOO AVIDE” is slang in Malayalam that means “NO ONE WOULD HAVE TURNED UP”. So what was the translation given by TV channel?  “IF IT HAD NOT BEEN FOR SANDEEP’S HOUSE, NOT EVEN A DOG WOULD HAVE GLANCED THAT WAY” 

I remember a story. Once a person who didn’t know English well was writing a letter in English. He wanted to write “I am well and hope you are also well”. But he was doing a word by word translation and he ended up like this “I am well and hope you are also in the well”. Just see how the addition of two words and the rearrangement of words changed the meaning of the sentence. This is exactly what has happened here. 

So what is this controversy all about? Those who have seen and heard the speeches/press conferences of Kerala Chief Minister know that whenever he talks, usages like this are so common. Media and opposition parties were quick to make a big noise out of it that I believe was a translational error. If you have read my blogs you may be aware that I have blasted V S Achuthanandan several times in my blog. But this time I feel he is being bombarded for something he may have not even meant in his dreams. 

It is high time we stop making non issues a major issue and instead concentrate on the serious issues we face as a nation.

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