Sunil's Blog – Mistico Indio

Ruminations of a poet and philosopher

Archive for the ‘People’ Category

Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen speaks on Gender Equality at IIT Powai

Posted by Sunil on February 14, 2013

By Sunil Kumar

Gyanam Paramam Dhyeyam (Knowledge Is the Supreme Goal). This was the driving force for the three days of India‘s largest science and technology college festival at the IIT, Bombay. On a chilly Saturday evening in this old Powai landmark, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen spoke at length on a need to revamp policy and emphasize critically on human development indicators as criteria for effective growth.

He was delivering the GL Mehta Memorial Lecture at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-B) on ‘India: A Defense and a Critique’. His lecture had some revealing insights about macroeconomic indicators in the country. He pointed out flaws in the much-vaunted Gujarat model of growth; repeatedly emphasizing on a holistic correlation between factors such as education; gender equality, infant mortality, public health and economic growth. In nearly every comparison, the state ranked below Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. According to Sen; he was not advocating a “Kerala” model per se; but stressed on imbibing the best from every part of the country.

He reminisced about his long academic life; numerous publications and constant travel across the globe. According to Sen; the country was suffering from abysmal power planning both at the central and the state level. On the much-publicized India-China comparison; Sen believed that investment in infrastructure and public health had paid rich dividends for the Middle Kingdom. Sen also talk about India’s performance vis-a-vis other states in the region, emphasizing that even unlikely candidates like Bangladesh had superseded the country in human development landmarks such as life expectancy and gender equality.

Some people would be eager to know the name of his next publication; a phrase from ‘Two Gentlemen of Verona’, “An Uncertain Glory: India and its Contradictions”, co-authored by him and Jean Dreze. In his long presentation; Sen vociferously advocated the importance of public health in the country and a need for more state intervention in the sector. According to Amartya Sen; a true market economy would be one that consistently improved life for its citizens; keeping in line with Adam Smith’s “Wealth of Nations.”

Other Indian winners of the Nobel Prize include Hargobind Khorana, Rabindranath Tagore and V.S Naipaul. Powai was blessed to have such an interesting personality amongst us.

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Individualism And Perseverance Key Success Indicators

Posted by Sunil on January 6, 2013

By Sunil Kumar

Striving for recognition is intrinsic in any human endeavor. Nobel Prize Winners exemplify achievements in diverse fields such as sciences, humanities and the arts. In an exclusive chat with Aglaia.co.in(Visit link in sidebar); Ei-ichi Negishi; the 2010 Nobel Prize winner in chemistry outlined individualism, perseverance, optimism and dreaming big as some criteria for success.

Born in Hsingking, Manchukuo; now in China; Mr. Ei-ichi Negishi was educated at the University of Tokyo and Pennsylvania. Best known for the Negishi coupling; Ei-ichi Negishi’s lecture was an informative description of his many decades of work on organic synthesis. He summed up his presentation briefly mentioning d-block transition elements as core drivers in continual global economic growth.

“India and its leaders suffer from chronic anxiety,” noted Negishi. According to him; dedication, focus and aiming to be the best in any field could be key takeaways for the nation’s youth. He praised the country’s intellectual prowess; but repeatedly emphasized on mentoring, tenacity, serendipity and a need to discover something new as the hallmarks of an ardent researcher.

The Techfest; India’s largest science fest saw a footfall of around 92,000 this year. With around 50 exhibits from 20 different countries; the event also showcased innovative products such as MIT Media Lab’s Netra, Advertron; India’s newest advertising and marketing robot and the SOINN based HIRO robot from Hasegawa Labs, Tokyo that adapts to situations based on Artifical Intelligence.

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Worshipping False Godmen

Posted by Sunil on August 28, 2011

By Sunil Kumar

Religion is the opium of the masses.
– Karl Marx

There is probably no other country in the world as obsessed with religion as India. From the Buddha to Christ, and the Hindu pantheon, we have the Almighty as a 24×7 support system.

The most interesting aspect, however, is the rather earthly scandals that seem to engulf our Godmen. Although rational education has inculcated a degree of scepticism and derision for organized faith, yet the sheer commercial savvy and global reach of our religious purveyors has to be admired.

All of us are intrinsically self-obsessed. For many, it is a struggle for money, prestige or sheer survival. Feeding on insecurity is a marketing gimmick our gurus learnt early. Faith is a personal ideology, something we discover after internal trials, negotiating with God and internal struggle.

The obsession with organized religion stems from our inadequacy to think. Liberal agnosticism can only be inculcated in people whose creative faculties are not impeded by mumbo-jumbo: candles, incense or the muezzin’s call to prayer.

Also, an unshakeable faith in the superiority of one’s own religion is a sure-shot call to conflict. Most ideas are man-made and diligently adopted by the masses. If God truly made us in his own image, then surely he could have given us the ability to constructively sift through ideas.

Money,cellphones, glamour and a need for instant fame drives today’s superficial generation. When inane talk shows, feuding soap operas, and incessant scandals occupy our mindspace, quiet reflection and the ability to connect with a higher power is sorely missing.

Turek vs. Hitchens Debate: Does God Exist? from Andrew Ketchum on Vimeo.

All the religious babas feed into the very material anxieties afflicting our tortured psyches. Philosophers often attribute maya(the feminine principle) as the reason for the soul existing in material reality. Most of the followers of spiritual superstars are naive and gullible women(and men).

If the Parish, the Temple, the Mosque, or the Agiary did not give you the right solution, then all our godmen certainly can’t. Religious rituals, round-the-clock adherence to some established community norms cannot salvage our mental peace, only real-time practical thought can.

Although atheism has become fashionable, and some even consider mocking established religion as good, there has to be a healthy balance between organized thought, faith and our own ideas. In the mad rush to be fashionable and cool, most of us do not seriously think about spirituality and the soul.

An old adage said: man is known by the company he keeps. When an incessant rush to ape sportsmen, filmstars, and the neighbors becomes an intrinsic part of our psyche, our true religious heart takes a backseat.

Most of us hanker for the quiet, sylvan surroundings that help us connect with our inner selves.

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The Foreign Minister’s Visit

Posted by Sunil on August 28, 2011

By Sunil Kumar

Blood is thicker than water. All of us agree that the India-Pakistan relationship is drenched in red, albeit of a different hue. Whenever our distinguished foreign ministers meet, there is a lot of talk and practically no substance. Promises are made, only to be broken at the next moment.

Our opinionated intelligentsia, millions of media personnel and distinguished analysts indulge in systematically undermining the Indian nation-state. As cry-babies, we constantly bicker on our inept bureaucracy, inefficient police and archaic laws. But, practically little actually changes. When Hina Rabbani Khar, Pakistan’s first woman minister of foreign affairs landed on our shores, the media was agog with stories of a feminine touch: Roberto Cavalli shades, Birkin bags and pearls. We also had the vision of a peaceful detente between two old foes: India and Pakistan.

When blood is spilt on the streets of Mumbai, there is absolute apathy from the state and the government. How can a woman’s accessories be more important than the thousands of people who lost their lives, crores of property destroyed, and the sheer negligence of our lawmakers?

Our diplomatic entourage, with our distinguished foreign minister, erudite foreign secretary are busy planning their next plum assignments. When the Indian nation-state is bleeding from a thousand cuts, why don’t they arm our police with more weapons, fence our borders and create a more robust security infrastructure?

As honest tax payers, the least we can expect from the government is concern for a hassled population. In some time, Mumbai is set to be the most populated metropolis in the world. The strain of living in an urban jungle is already evident in the collapse of many civic institutions, pressure on land, resources, lakes etc.

When we talk of building world-class cities, and bringing our country at par with the rest of the world, the least we can expect from the media is attention on serious issues and not frivolity. My empathy is for the millions of traumatized citizen who have been brutalized by the senseless violence emanating from across the border.

Admittedly, an eye for an eye makes the world blind. But when you are already bleeding, somebody has to take guard and sock it back. When a journalist with the courage to take on the oil mafia is gunned down in broad daylight at an avenue that is supposed to be one of Mumbai’s safest, what precedent does it set for everybody else? We have to assume the reign of terror will continue, and those in authority will accept our neighbor’s sweets.(Bombs come with the package)

Moral posturing, and preachy news bytes have not gotten us anywhere. When will India wake up and smell the coffee? Maybe, in our next birth, when our sins are washed away at Haridwar. (Ahem, beg your pardon, even the ghats at Varanasi had to face militant ire).

India earnestly waits for a savior. Not the supermen of Bollywood, or the religion inspired concept that has led to more misery, and blood than anything else. But the next practical realist who can actually save our souls. Till then, waiting for a new beginning.

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New York, I Love You

Posted by Sunil on January 29, 2010

By Sunil Kumar

Waiting for the Summer Rain: Copyright: sunilkumar21.wordpress.com

As I settle into a cushy sofa seat in another nameless multiplex, the human condition is again brought to the fore by a kaleidoscope of spontaneous, surprising and imaginative stories from one of the cultural capitals of the world, ‘New York’.

Language is a potent formula – if I speak yours and you speak mine, there may or may not be an interconnect – or so some of the directors of this anthology would like us to believe. [Diamonds, art, bellboys et al].

This is not a movie review – very interesting in parts, the feeling of loss, betrayal and angst set me thinking about how the world has changed or maybe has always been the same.

Elation, despair, betrayal – common human emotions – replayed everywhere – but a very big yes to the visuals here – the rarified confines of one of the richest cities in the world.

If you love life, then transformations happen or they fade away like the destroyed canvas of an unknown vagabond.[The meaning of loneliness – forgotten ideas in huge megapolises].

Maybe (emotions) have nothing to do with it. Speculative minds can write, fight wars, gloat over spilt milk and never say never again driven by automation from above.

Death To Immortality

Asato ma sad gamaya.
Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya.
Mrtyor ma amrtam gamaya.

Lead me from the unreal to the Real.
Lead me from darkness unto Light.
Lead me from death to Immortality
Source – The Upanishads

Can time stand still – or is realisation of higher truth the preserve of a select few? A self-help manual or a site for the introspective types – Use every second well to prioritise and mobilise your life.

“No learning is acquired by anyone unless he wants to learn it, and believes in some way that he needs it”. – A Course In Miracles

If I believe in the soul, the nameless invisible entity that seems to be the saving grace for many religions of the world, a construct that has lent itself to innumerable systems of philosophy, fatalism, grinding and self-inflicted imagined misery – what is the final goal? – OR was it all a non-dualistic illusion?

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Let’s Blog About Sex, Baby

Posted by Sunil on January 17, 2009

Sex is comon knowledge. So Steve Martin is equated with humor and Hindi movies are “banal”. Well, not always, but there’s repressed carnality, now, overt and vulgar, both, Hollywood and Bollywood.

LET ME NOW ATTEMPT TO DEFINE WHAT SEX IS:

Merriam-Webster defines sex as “the sum of the structural, functional and behavioural characteristics of organisms that are involved in reproduction marked by the union of gametes that distinguish males and females.”

Google Zeitgeist (actually, Google Zeitgeist blushes in admitting it) and many articles often refer to “sex” as the most googled term. So why is sex so popular?

The most obvious answer is “the basic instinct”. Since men were cavemen, and women were well, “cavewomen”, sex has (ahem) been the most basic urge.

Apart from say, certain alternative science fiction scenarios, or the Governor of California getting pregnant in a movie, there have been no unfortunate instances wherein men had breasts and women acquired testicles.

So what drives an increasing online population to find sex? Why is the world driven by sex magic? (Case in point: Searching for porn brought you here).

The Masters and Johnson sex studies were dry and clinical, but sold a lot of copies around the world, because of the subject matter. Now click on the Time link, click it, click it please, I know you want to do it!

If most people didn’t know by common sense that sex sells, and advertising did not constantly sell sexual stimuli, Mark Levit, managing partner of Partners & Levit Advertising says, yes, but only when used in “good taste”. According to him, as marketeers we must think not only in getting customer’s attention, but also in building a good reputation that will yield long-term results.

But why then is pornography(largely smut) one of the most googled terms and Internet Pornography Statistics state that the porn industry has revenues larger than the top ten technology companies combined!

Well people may go to church, mosques and temples, but it seems that most of them are closet perverts. Well the answer, if God permits, I don’t know if there is a God(blasphemous statements again), is probably in our genitalia. Salvation Jane or Horny Joshi, all the world seems to revel in the fuzzy undersides.


I’ll end this blog by putting up a list& links of the ten most beautiful women in my opinion, so guys enjoy,
And one of my favourite songs, “Mambo Italiano”. Actually I’ll put three up, including Peter Gabriel’s “Steam”.


Yah, and for my fellow Indians, all the people who were obsessed with “you-know-what”, and the white (Sorry, Black, White, Cuban & Asian) people reading my blog, here’s an American’s view on where to find the sexiest girls in the world outside the U.S.


Warning: This is not an encouragement to pornography[I love grammatically correct sentences)- if you thought so, this is just an exhaustive list.

Here’s an askmen.com survey, No: 46 Britney Spears, follow that link, keep clicking for more.

Finally, to end, and as an ode to rabid feminists, Voila!, I present Gisele Bundchen. Ciao for now!

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