Wednesday, May 28, 2008

First semester in IIT KGP

I’d opted for Kharagpur during counseling and finally managed to get the desired stream in the same place. My parents came with me to Kharagpur to help me settle down in my hostel. To my surprise I found the rooms in the hostel quite unimpressive. I’d a much better impression of the arrangements in IIT. Each room measures eight feet by ten feet, has an iron bed, iron table and iron chair and one wall mounted front-open cupboard with an open loft. Though we all got used to this austerity but the first sight did depress me. My parents left me in the evening to stay with my father’s friend, who was a professor in Mechanical Engineering department. I’d already stayed in hostel for seven years before joining IIT. So staying in hostel was nothing new to me. I found it very silly when I saw many of my friends quite morose after their parents had left them. It was quite amusing to see some of the parents giving last minute advises and tips on varied topics to their sons. I overheard one mother advising her son to change the bed sheet every three days and the bedcover every week, wash underwear everyday with surf and make sure that it’s not mixed up with others’, talk to the mess manager for fresh milk everyday in breakfast, always use immersion heater to heat up the water in a tub, which is kept under the bed behind the trunk, and then mix it with the right amount of cold water to attain a particular temperature, to which he is accustomed to take bath, ...... and so on!! I was wondering how much pampered these guys might have been at home. Very fast I categorized most of the freshers into a few categories based on their first impression. That guy, whose mother I caught giving advises about washing underwear, fell into my first category called “Mom’s Pallu”, identifying them with overgrown kids, who still need to cross the roads holding their mothers’ pallu. The second category was “Tear Jerks” for all those guys who had shed a few drops of tears when their parents’ were leaving them. There were other categories like “Quakers” for too much talkative folks, “Paranoids” for all those who were always paranoid about everything starting from the cleanliness and hygiene in the mess to things getting stolen in the hostel because there were no lockers in the rooms, “Interrogative” for all those who had already asked zillions of questions to everyone passing by about anything and everything in the world ranging from the time of lunch and dinner to the chance of seeing a ghost in the remotest ‘D’ wing of the hostel which adjoins the boundary wall overlooking a big area covered by bamboo trees. Off course I and a lucky few others fell into the “Cool” category.

During the dinner I bumped into a few of my old friends from my school days. I’d been out of touch with some of them. I felt a relief after seeing them because otherwise it was not quite an easy task to start conversation with someone totally new. Gradually more and more people started joining us at the table and we all got introduced to each other only to that extent which allows carrying on useless conversations. After the dinner the President of the Hall, called ‘Hall P’, called all the freshers to assemble in the common room. Needless to say, everyone knew that was the summon for the first session of ragging. Like everyone else I’d also heard a lot about the ragging in engineering colleges. There was indeed some apprehension about it. With so many formalities to complete the day passed so fast that I never got a chance to think about ragging. When all the freshers were called after the dinner my heart kept pounding. The Hall P was a very unimpressive short and lean guy with a baby face, which we couldn’t figure out if it was clean shaven or totally devoid of any hair for ever. He was wearing a pair of very untidy crumbled shorts, a type which even the rag pickers on the road would detest to wear. He was accompanied by a group of people, some of whom resembled bouncers at strip joints and some other looked like WWF wrestlers. None of the seniors looked like students. I seriously started to have confusion whether they really were students or just some wagon breakers from the nearby railway yards. Anyway, I don’t think I’d any option than to accept them as our seniors, on whose whims lay our fate for the next one month. The Hall P started his speech with the choicest of Hindi abuses, some of which I can never utter in my life. That was the first time I came to know that mothers and sisters are so much integral parts of abuses. The summary of the speech was that for the next few weeks we should abide by each and everything that our respected seniors would ask us to do. At the end of the speech we’re asked to take an oath, raising our hands in the “Hail Hitler” pose. There’s no doubt that the oath had all the ingredients of erotic Sanskrit literature sans the gracious part. I hadn’t heard anything more gross and vulgar till then. At the end of the oath we’re reminded of the basic doctrines to be followed during the entire ragging, or orientation period like wearing full sleeve shirts tucked formally into pants, no jeans and snickers and chappals, addressing all seniors as ‘Sir’ and many other. Being the first day we’re allowed to disperse early at around one in the morning. Inside my room I kept on thinking whether I took so much pain to clear the IIT entrance just for this - the orientation.

The next day was a Sunday. The seniors had the entire day at their disposal to manifest all their frustrations and ingenuities on us. I never had any idea that people could be so vicious and sadistic. The worst experience was to just sit in front of one of the final year students in his room and do nothing while he continued to do all his normal work without even considering the existence of some alien people in his room. I never knew that keeping quiet could be so tiring. I was totally drained by lunch time. After a fast meal I took my cycle, called bike, and started riding aimlessly on the roads of IIT amidst the scorching heat of July. After sometime I reached the Hijli Detention Camp and spent enough time strolling in front of the closed Nehru Museum. Never ever in my life did I find the outside of a museum so interesting!! I investigated every nook and corner of the Detention Camp, the gallows, the cells, the administrative office etc. I read the history of the Detention Camp engraved on a wall. When there was almost nothing remaining for further exploration I took my bike and reached the Hijli railway station. The station appeared to have come out directly from the sets of a Sherlock Holmes movie. Time seemed to have ceased to move forward. The old faded bricks and tiles of the lone platform, the high ceilings mounted on rusted iron frames, the broken glass lamp shades, the few iron benches scattered across the platform, the few broken wagons of goods train shunted little away from the station, the hand operated signal at the end of the platform, station master sitting idle in his office and the loneliness of the surroundings had created a perfect ambience of a place lost in time. It was such a refreshing atmosphere for me after the half day long orientation. I sat on one of the iron benches which was not that much unstable. I stretched my head backwards and leaned against the back rest of the bench. I was gazing at the slate colored late afternoon sky hanging over me. Not a single cloud, neither a bird. The sky looked so dull and calm and lifeless. I couldn’t make out if everyday the sky looked the same at that point of the day or it was something special for that day. I’d never gazed at sky in Calcutta at around half past four. In a short while I got bored of sky gazing. I sat upright on the bench and looked around the platform.

Back home, I was treated with special vengeance because of my absence for the greater part of the day. I was asked to do all sort of things in different states of undress which finally culminated into “chaddi football”, which is surely the most lethal game after bull fighting. All freshers, numbering fifty, wearing just the underpants, were assembled in the field between the ‘B’ and ‘C’ wings of the hostel. Divided into two teams the game involved scoring a point each time anyone pulled down the underwear of someone from the opponent team. At the end of the game the field was filled with just torn underwear. Class commenced from the next day. Most part of the day passed in registration, allotment of sections and lots of running around in between.

Few months had passed by. The orientation period was over and the last day of it saw the juniors giving CG, changing the Center of Gravity of the room by totally disorienting each and every thing in the room, to almost all the seniors. There was a fresher’s nite, where some of the freshers were made to dress like girls. By virtue of already knowing most of the girls in my batch I got the task of procuring the girls’ dresses. The more unlucky ones were given the job of buying condoms, which had to be inflated and used to create the vital statistics of a female body on a man’s figure. The Hall P turned out to be really very decent guy, very much in contrast to the first appearance. The classes had started in full swing. Even the mid-sem, short for mid-term semester exams, was over. I’d already made plenty of new friends. I’d started enjoying the IIT life. Every thing seemed to be so nice - the hectic classes starting from eight in the morning; the rigorous labs, where we’re made to work like people in jail convicted with rigorous imprisonment; the regular assignments, most of which demanded night-outs; the bland food in the mess; the inter hostel sports and cultural events; riding ten kilometers on bike on undulating terrains to go for movies in the night shows; the NCC classes, where we’re made to run in the hot afternoon Sun; the Friday movie shows at the Netaji Auditorium, where a non-existent ‘Tarapada’ was always asked to repeat sensuous scenes of movies and mysteriously the person operating the projector, though having some other name than Tarapada, would always oblige; the occasional going to Calcutta to meet my parents; and each and every other nondescript insignificant event.


Ever since I came across this place called Hijli I used to always wonder about its history, especially how it might have got its name. I always get surprised at the ingenuity of people who give names of places. Across the country there are places whose names would evoke awe, bewilderment, astonishment, frustration and so many other mixed reactions. A name like “Dehri-on-Sone”, in Bihar, is a very amusing one. It declares the exact geographical location of the place. No doubt that the name has been given by the Britishers, who have named many places in England in the same manner. It’s like some South Indian and Marathi names where the home town is appended at the end of the name. Then there’s a place called Narayan-Pakuria-Murail, a station on the Howrah-Kharagpur South Eastern Railway line. The Indian Railways Authority had to somehow squeeze in the entire name in a single line. It’s an example of peaceful coexistence. Looks like the local politician had to please the residents of all the three villages, Narayan, Pakuria and Murail, when the name of the station was chosen. There are the Hallis, Palyas and Pets in Bangalore, Pallis, Paras, Pukurs and Talas in Calcutta, Vihars and Baghs in Delhi and so on. The bigger names in Bangalore have been abbreviated to give some relief to your tongue. Otherwise it would have been a real feat every time you say Bannerghata-Taverekere-Madiwala Layout in place of BTM Layout. People in rural Bengal aren’t that much speech efficient to call NPM instead of Narayan-Pakuia-Murail. Bombay has Bhandup, Borivili, Mulund, Ghatkoper and many other places each of which has been chosen with the choicest permutations of consonants that can make any newcomer stammer the first few times. The Britishers did understand the pains of pronouncing names like Udaghamandalam or Thiruvananthapuram. But new-age Indians believe in no-pain-no-gain policy and hence prefer to take the pains for the sake of pride in having a real big name. This reminds me of Utpal Dutt who had fascination for mouthful names like Dhurandhar Bhatwadekar and Amrutangshu Shekhar Satyavaadi in a movie. He used to believe that the name is indicative of the personality of a person – bigger the name bigger is the personality. The name ‘Hijli’ is neither big, nor a tongue twister, nor has any complicated permutation of sounds. But still it remained in my mind for quite some time since I’d first heard of it. No doubt it was the first name of that sort which I’d heard till then. I heard the name for the first time during the counseling for admission in IIT. I’d come to Kharagpur along with my parents. After the formalities were over we’re taking a stroll around the IIT campus, when we came across the Hijli Detention Camp, the very site around which the first IIT was founded in May 1950. The administrative building of the Detention Camp has been converted into Nehru Museum of Science and Technology. I also learnt that there’s a railway station named Hijli adjoining the IIT campus. Something about the name ‘Hijli’ struck me. Later the Hijli railway station used to be our hiding place during the ragging period. I still remember the suspicious looks with which the station master used to stare at us everytime we spent days, and once a night too, on the platform or the place which was called waiting room!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

How much is Congress responsible for high inflation

The inflation has risen from 4.1 in February to 3 year high of 7.6 in May and it’s expected to touch 10 in coming months. Global trends are cited as the primary reason for the present situation. The IMF has reported that food prices in February were 65% more than in 2005; metal prices were up by 70% since 2005 and petroleum products have shot up by over 175%. A buoyant economy, shortfall in production of several goods, sky-rocketing crude prices, and the diversion of food crops for bio-fuel have all contributed to rising prices. These global trends have impacted not only India, but every country. Even China has reported an 11 year high inflation of 8.7%.

With the Lok Sabha elections due in a few months from now, this is really very unfortunate for the Congress. Very aptly the opposition has been using the price hike and inflation as an ammunition against Congress. The recent state election in Karnataka seems to have yielded results to BJP on this ground. But truly speaking none of the causes of high inflation can be directly attributed to the Congress. The economy is strong and we’ve been harvesting record wheat (67 million metric ton in 2003-04) & rice (89). We’re the second highest producer of both rice and wheat, just behind China. Still, we see high inflation due to the external factors, none of which could have been directly controlled by the UPA government. The measures taken by RBI are also very correct and typical to such situations.

Inflation is caused when the supply is less, demand is high and people have money to buy. Theoretically to tackle inflation the local currency, INR in this case, should be allowed to appreciate, which means the value of dollar should decrease (one way of doing this is to stop dollars purchase, thus reducing the demand for dollars). This results in lesser import cost, and hence reduction in price of all the imported commodities. But this impacts the export adversely, because exporters now earn lesser. This results in some exporters refraining from exporting stuff outside, which results in availability of more commodities in local market, which results in increase of supply and hence reduction in price. The second measure is to increase bank interest rates, thus resulting in people refraining from taking more loans from banks and keeping more money in banks. This results in less money floating in the market/industries. Hence the production is impacted, dividends are lowered, people have lesser money to spend and thus finally the demand (or buying capacity) reduces, which in turn helps to reduce inflation. At the same time the government has more money (in banks) at its disposal, which can be used for many developmental work. RBI has exactly done these two things. It has stopped buying dollars and hence allowed INR to appreciate. It has also increased the bank interest rates.

But still, isn’t there anything that the UPA government, lead by Congress, can do at this moment? Also is there anything that they have done wrong, which is having an adverse effect now? Yes, they can surely do something that will impact inflation in the long run, but not before the election and hence I’m sure they will never do that. Also it’s not possible for the illiterate electorate to appreciate the point.

Apart from the measures, mentioned earlier, for curbing inflation, there’s another indirect way, that is to increase the supply and match the demand. One of the reasons for the present inflation is scarcity in wheat and rice in the world market. Isn’t there any way to increase the production of both these grains significantly in India? The prices in the international market for these grains is now very high. If we have any surplus, after feeding our unfed and partially fed population, we can make a killing. At present we’re produce little surplus rice to export around 3 million tons of rice and just adequate wheat to feed our own people. But still not everyone in our country is fed adequately. If we can produce more rice and wheat we can surely add value to the nutrition of our own people. If we can produce even more we can surely export the surplus. At present the yield, metric ton of grain produced per hectare, for wheat is only 2.63 (10th in the world), whereas in China it’s 3.93 (7th), USA 2.97 (9th) and UK 7.78 (1st). For rice India’s yield is just 3.12 (17th), even lower than Bangladesh, which is 3.6 (14th), whereas in China it’s 6.06 (8th) and Egypt 9.52 (1st). UK & Egypt, with highest yield for wheat & rice, have much smaller cultivable lands and hence we may choose to argue that emulating them might not be feasible. But we can always emulate China, which has comparable cultivable lands. If we operate at China’s yield we can produce 100 million tons of wheat and 250 million tons of rice, against the current consumption of 69 and 118 million tons respectively. The increase in yield is possible through better technology and infrastructures, which will come at a cost.

This additional cost could have come from the $15 billion that was waived as debt for farmers. It was argued that this will impact 40 million farmers who have taken loans from government banks. But in reality the 110 million farmers, who have taken loans from local money lenders at ridiculous interest rates like 120%, won’t be benefitted. Only in Punjab, farmers have debt of the order of $250 billion, out of which more than 50% is from local money lenders. So this $15 billion waiver is just a political gimmick. The entire amount could have been used for increasing the agricultural yield, which would have impacted the farmers in a much better way and solved the present food crisis to a great extent.

Recommended Reading for futility of the $15 billion waiver of farmers debt:

All statistics from (for 2003-04)

Reservation: Only Discussions but No Solution

Apart from killing the sanctity and secularist getup of many esteemed educational institutions the reservation is intended to create a bigger problem for the people whom the government is actually trying to help. 75% of our population is SC, ST, OBC, MBC, etc. It’s well known that India can’t go ahead keeping this huge 75% of the population lagging behind. The only solution to uplift the socio-economic status of any class is to provide them with good education. Reserving only 2000 or 50% seats every year in the IITs and some more in AIMS and leading Universities for the 75% of the population is no solution at all. Just for statistics, as per 2001 census, even Bihar, which ranks 32nd in rural literacy in India, alone has 1.6 crore SC, ST & OBC students in the age group of 15-19 years who are attending schools. A simple math shows that reserving a few seats is just like emptying an ocean with a dropper. As already talked about in several discussions, the solution lies in improving the basic education level of the SC, ST & OBC students so that they can be at par with the so called better-off class when appearing for entry tests for the esteemed institutions. Even if the IITs fill the 2000 reserved seats with students with not so good basic education either these students won’t be able to complete their graduation and suffer from depression or land up with no job. So not only government money would be wasted but many other meritorious and deserving students would be deprived of their entry to IITs. Also reducing the entry criteria or reserving seats in IITs will logically urge the so called under privileged students to work not so hard.

As responsible citizens we should also bear the burden of educating the SC, ST& OBC students. I’d recommend that the esteemed institutions launch programs, in the lines of NCC or NSS, to coach a selected group of +2 students of these castes for entrance exams. Both the students and the professors should be involved in this program. The alumni should also participate. The cost of the entire program can be borne entirely by the alumni, many of whom are in leading positions in the corporate world. I believe even ½ a day’s salary of all the alumni would be sufficient for such programs, which will not only be beneficial to the concerned students, but also pacify the wrath of the socio-political activists who are fighting for reservations with vested interests. The noblest part of this program is that the participating institute communities would selflessly set precedence to something that can be emulated by other institutions. And if done properly this can work miracle in making the SC, ST & OBC students empowered and confident to sit for any other competitive exam. There’s nothing like all these students getting admitted in general category. It’s tough to say if this will obviate the enforcing of reservation. But under the present conditions this is the only thing that we can do rather than just indulging in discussions or nation wide movements which can turn violent.

The Most Neglected Minority of India

The word ‘minority’ is a major word in Indian politics. It’s used as strong ammunition to topple or establish governments. Not alone the politicians, the media also enjoy a special satisfaction to use this word in different forms to establish their responsibility towards the society. So the question is who or what is a minority. In India the most acceptable and popular explanation of minority is the Muslim population. Everyone forgets that the Persis, Buddhists, Jains, Zorastrians, Bahais and even the Christians are more logical candidates to be represented as minority. Well, they are indeed minority in official sense, but whenever you bump across this term in any news channel or newspaper it’s very likely that they are referring to the Muslims.

The very fact that the politicians and the media refer to the large Muslim population as minority is derogatory to the Muslims. The so-called secularism ceases to exist when a so-called secular party claims to be the brethren of the so-called minorities, the Muslims. I deny accepting that Muslims are minority in India. They are ‘major’ as much as any one else in India is in the socio-cultural ethos of Indianness.

Well, so who’s the minority? What does minority mean? The dictionary gives many meanings. But only the Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir know what’s minority, The Hindus in Bangladesh and Pakistan know what’s minority and the educated middle class in India know what is minority. At least the Kashmiri Pandits have some consolation that the media writes vociferously about their plights and different governments at least claim to work for a solution for their plights.

But who writes about the plights of educated middle class? They constitute the majority of the tax-payers. They are the only class who has to keep aside a part of their income to enrich the nation’s fund, which is supposed to be used for betterment activities, which in turn is supposed to benefit them. Well, nothing is free in this world, so they have agreed to live with the fact that they have to pay for the road they use, the civic amenities they use etc etc. They don’t mind. They have never raised a voice against this. They have never asked whether their taxes are utilized properly. Even they have never objected to the fact that only they have to bear the cost of any development in the country whereas the vast majority is exempted on the ground of being economically weaker. They never take it otherwise. They truly believe in the well being of the countrymen.

It’s the middle class who, more than the politicians sympathize with the plights of the millions of financially challenged people and try, whatever possible within their limited capabilities, to do something for them. It’s the middle class who create organizations like CRY, donate handsomely for the victims of earthquakes or drought, help the family of the lady who works in their home and do many other small things voluntarily. They try their best to do something for the society.

The middle class also does one more thing, which perhaps not all in India do. They dream for a better India. Also they want to grow in life. But no one ever thought of their aspirations. No political party ever represented them. Nobody ever asked them about their likes and dislikes. The ‘upper’ class doesn’t have to bother about anything, and the ‘lower’ class has the whole political people to supposedly bother for them. But, stuck in the middle, who do the educated middle class have to bother for them apart from themselves alone? They are the greatest taboo in Indian politics. Anyone trying to do something for them is termed as pro-rich and non-populist. Everyone speaks of uplifting the lower class and stagnating them in the middle-class. Can’t the middle class also have an aspiration to move up?

Of late they were very happy reaping the benefits of the recent economic reforms. They have indeed moved up in the economic ladder. At the same time they have also resulted in enhancing the economy of the people around them. Starting from the people who drive auto-rickshaws to the old lady who sells flowers from door to door in Gurgaon, Bangalore, Noida, Pune, Hyderabad, Bombay and many other places have been benefited by the sudden increase in spending capacity of the middle class. They felt good that they and also the people around them were really moving towards a better life.

But then they find that the majority of the political world is envying them. All the so-called non-populist reforms, which had actually created hopes for them after a very long time, are vindicated. They are indeed feeling helpless. But they can’t say anything or affect any change because they are a minority. Their number of votes will merely do any change to the total electoral poll count. They have to be just mute spectators to what’s happening around him and accept whatever the ‘majority’ (of the political class) thrust upon them.

The only capital of the middle class is their education. This education refrain them from staying in darkness. They know what is good and what is bad. They like good people around them. They want to be governed by good educated, cultured and decent people. They feel satisfied if they see that their hard earned money is spent properly in creating good world-class infrastructure across the country. It’s only they who really understand the importance of good foreign policies. It’s they who appreciate India’s slow and steady race towards becoming a global player. But what if they don’t see all these? Nothing. Yes, they are indeed a minority, a very unconventional and lone minority in the middle of an alienated, ignorant and adversely manipulated crowd.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Why I prefer BJP than Congress

The Karnataka Assembly election results are out and BJP has won 110 of 224 seats (with Congress 80, JDS 28 & others 6). Though it’s short of the magic number 113, still it’s the single largest party in the state and has fair chance to form government without any coalition. I’m happy. I’ve been supporting BJP ever since I started voting. I’ve had enough debates with so many people about my choice. I think it’s worth putting down all my points on the basis of which I support BJP both at the centre and state.

Let me put in this way. I consider BJP a lesser devil than Congress (let me not bring in any other name because there’s no doubt that BJP & Congress are the only two national level parties) and that’s why I prefer them.

Let me first tackle the communal vs. secular angle. Congress is perceived (and that’s what everyone in Congress claims) as a secular party whereas BJP a communal party. So let’s get some basic facts. As per dictionary I don’t think communal (which means pertaining to any particular commune or community) is the right antonym for secular (which means not pertaining to any religion). I’d rather prefer to use the word non-communal in place of secular, because that’s what it means in the context of BJP and Congress. Even though everyone in Congress claims to be a non communal party, long back Md. Ali Jinnah and so many other people associated with Muslim League never accepted that. The very fact that Jinnah and Muslim League supporters didn’t get enough space within Congress, finally created Pakistan. That’s a blatant fact that nobody can deny. All those people, who didn’t get space in Congress, did think that Congress was a communal party. I strongly believe the last non communal personality in India was Mahatma Gandhi and every other politician fitted into the communal or non communal bill as per the prospect and space he/she got in any party. Had Jinnah got the space within Congress, that Nehru got, there won’t have been a Pakistan. Let’s fast forward to post independence scenario. The Jan Singh leaders (Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, Jayaprakash Narayan etc) didn’t get space within Congress, the same way as Annadurai, MGR, NTR, et al, didn’t get space and floated separate parties specifically for Dravidian and Telegu communities. At present there are so many regional or community based parties in India. So it’s a fact that Congress didn’t have space to accommodate the aspirations of the leaders of these communities. So I don’t think Congress can take the credit of being a non-communal party. I believe by ‘communal’ and ‘non-communal’ (or secular and non-secular) people generally perceive the idea of how much hostile or friendly a party is towards any religious minority community. So let’s now turn to some statistics with regards to the hostilities of BJP and Congress against minority communities.

In the 1984 anti Sikh riots, after the murder of Indira Gandhi, 2,733 people were killed only in Delhi. It’s wide known that the riots had implicit support of many Congress leaders and the police force didn’t come to the rescue to the Sikh victims. Congress leaders like Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar, convicted of mob instigation during those riots were in power for quite some time after the riots. Tytler was even given a birth in the UPA government. A very similar thing repeated in Gujrat in 2002 where 254 Hindus and 790 Muslims were killed in Hindu-Muslim clashes in retaliation to at least 15, out of 59 karsevaks, being charred to death when a coach of the Sabarmati Express was set ablaze near Godhra railway station on February 27 by Muslim fanatics. The state apathy and police inaction, that resulted in the carnage was exactly same as what had happened in Delhi in 1984. Both the 1984 anti Sikh riots and 2002 post Godhra riots are equally ghastly episodes and both Congress and BJP governments are responsible for the carnage. But still number of Sikhs killed in 1984 in Delhi alone is more than three times the number of Muslims killed in 2002 in Gujrat. So at least in this case, statistically I see BJP as a lesser devil.

During the 21 months of the Emergency period, between June 25, 1975 and March 21, 1977, more than 100,000 persons were jailed without trial. This was in fact twice the number of arrests made during the 1942 Quit India movement throughout the Sub-continent. During this time twenty custodial deaths were reported. This was again the handwork of the mother of Indian National Congress, Mrs. Indira Gandhi. This is a sort of atrocity towards the minority community, who belonged not to a different religion, but to a different ideology.

Next, let’s discuss the Babri Masjid Demolition issue. Over one thousand people were killed in incidents of violence throughout India after Babri Masjid was demolished in 6th December, 1992. There has been a tendency to label these incidents as "Hindu-Muslim riots," but as is typical in most instances of communal violence, there is mounting evidence that many people killed have actually been the victims of police gunfire. Why has such violence been used against innocent people? One wonders what stopped the government and the security forces from maintaining the peace and preventing the demolition of the mosque as the terrible events of 6th December, 1992, were unfolding. Why has such tolerance been shown toward the attackers in Ayodhya, who were permitted, for over a day and a half, to demolish the mosque, build the "temple foundation," and leave the city in special buses and trains without being appre­hended, even after the state had been under direct president's rule for more than twenty-four hours? The Babri Masjid demolition was the culmination of Mr L K Ldvani’s Rath Yatra (procession) in 1990, which was directly linked to the communal car­nage that took place at various cities along his route. If the Congress government has today chosen to charge Advani (and others involved in the Rath Yatra) with crimes of instigating mobs, then why was he not arrested during the course of 2 years, especially since Advani and his supporters had long advertised their intention of tearing down the mosque? If Advani is responsible for the communal violence the Congress run government at the centre, lead by Mr. P V Narasimha Rao, can’t also be relieved of the charges of inaction. Advani’s Rath Yatra and Babri Masjid demolition were just very intelligently conceived devices that helped BJP to come to power very soon, the same way Congress came to power after the 1984 riots (and also BJP came to power after the post Godhra riots). Somehow it’s a very disturbing trend that people of India bring to power the very party that had indulged in some sort of ghastly carnage and communal violence immediately after the violence and I see both Congress and BJP exploiting this to their benefit. So here also I don’t see any reason why I should brand BJP as more communal than Congress. Recently the Congress’ apathy to condemn the Left Front government in West Bengal, which is also a partner in UPA, for their state sponsored terrorism and extreme human rights violations at Singur & Nandigram, for which the sitting Left Front has lost miserably in the recent Panchayat Polls, has also shown that Congress doesn’t care to take up minority causes unless it helps them electorally, something what can be said for BJP also.

Now let’s turn towards economy and growth. Based on the findings of this paper, between 1987 and 1999 earnings differences between Muslims and non-Muslims have increased, to the detriment of the former. During the entire period Congress was in power and had they really been keen on improving the conditions of Muslims then they would have done something about it. But the fact remains that Congress has been just using the Muslim-factor to their benefit for electoral success. The conditions of Muslims didn’t change significantly during BJP tenure also but then neither did it change during Congress regime.

Lot has been told about Gujrat and Narendra Modi’s atrocities towards Muslims. But the basic fact is that, despite all the riots, Gujrat is still one of the most prosperous states in India. It’s GDP is $54billion (5% of India’s GDP), growing at the rate of 12.17% (against India’s 9.4% during 2005-06), with per capita GDP of $1068 (against $790 for 2006-2007), which is 6th highest among all states. A more striking fact (more details) is that Gujrat’s 9% Muslim population has a literacy rate of 73%, higher by 5% than that of Hindus (against India’s literacy rate 65% among Hindus and 59% among Mulsims).

The BJP lead NDA regime had its share of goodies and baddies, very much same as the present UPA regime. I don’t want to blame UPA for the recent rise in inflation or terrorism. I do accept that they are just helpless and NDA would have been also in similar position now. What frustrates me is the way Congress gives in to its allies. They removed the competent Dayanidhi Maran from Telecom ministry just to please Karunanidhi. Their budging before the Left for the Nuclear Deal is ridiculous. The waiver of farm loans is just a populist measure without actually solving the ailment of the farmers. With economic stalwarts like Montek Singh & Manmohan Singh & a fairly decent Chidambaram the potential of Congress to really elevate India’s economic condition is enormous. But they don’t have the guts to take bold steps and rise above electoral outcome. BJP would have also cared more for the electoral outcome, but then I feel they have more guts to do things. Also they are less hypocrites. If Congress claim that they are pro-Muslim I don’t see any statistics showing their contribution to improve conditions of Muslims or for that matter any minority community. Also I don’t see anything that says that BJP has hindered the growth of Muslims. So I conclude that BJP is a lesser devil than Congress!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

BMTC Volvo Buses to New Bangalore International Airport

The New Bangalore International Airport is starting its operation from 00:01 hrs on 23rd May, 2008. Lots have been written and discussed and debated about this airport over the past many months. People have protested against the closure of the old airport, which is very well within the city limits, without proper transportation to the new airport, which is 40KM away from the city center. But finally the reality is that the old airport is getting closed and we all have to travel to the new airport using whatever resources are available.

Frankly speaking, after seeing the Vayu Vajra (Volvo Buses from BMTC) plying on the Outer Ring Road almost everytime I've been passing by in the past few days, I don't think the transportation to the new airport is that much a problem that everyone is thinking. You get Volvo buses every 10-15 mins round the clock on 7 routes across the city. People who have already used the existing Volvo buses on Bangalore roads would know how convenient and comfortable they are.

Below are some useful information about the Vayu Vajra Volvo services.
These are the 7 routes along which the Volvo buses are operating for the new airport. (Click on the pictures for larger views)

The exact map of the 7 routes

The bus fare for each route

The route to the new airport

The Parking Lot of the New Airport

Monday, May 19, 2008


Most people don’t have any say in their official names, unless they rechristen themselves at a later stage of life through affidavits. Names are given by parents. Let me not go into the parent-psychology behind choosing the best possible names for their kids. Many people may have objection to the names given by their parents, but seldom do they change the names because they may take the name as the density, something on which they don’t have any control. But it’s the nickname that anyone actually earns!! Nicknames are always most aptly chosen by friends or colleagues (or even relatives at times). I’m sure you take anyone, and you’ll get a list of interesting nicknames and more interesting background behind those names. Let me share my repository, categorized according to the origin.

  1. Simple nicknames derived from original names: These nicknames are the most common ones, not always interesting and very easy to track the origin. They originate mainly to simplify bigger names to bi-syllables. Padmanabham becomes Paddy, Krishna Kant Verma becomes KK, Swaminathan becomes Swamy, Bhaskar becomes Bhaski, Devparna becomes Parna, Arunangshu becomes Nashu, Ranjita Bhagwan becomes Bhags, Arijit Chatterjee becomes Chatty and many more including some nasty ones like Panty from Pant and Cunt from Kant. A little complicated is Gooch, by which my high school (Ramakrishna Mission Residential College, Narendrapur) classmate Indrajit Ghose is commonly known. Most of my classmates would have forgotten the story behind the name. Apparently our music teacher used to call his name as Indrajit Gooze, and he being a good cricketer got the name Gooch inspired by Graham Gooch!! A further complicated one is Biri, which comes from Hiri, a short for Hiranyabha Bhadra. Likewise we had Gubre, derived from Shubra, a short for Shubhra Samujjwal. Now the toughest one - Saumendra became Mausendra after spoonerism and finally became Mau!! Another weird one was Khan Saheb, by which we used to refer to our MD at Synopsys, Sanjay Nayak. We badly needed a name that would camouflage the identity of our MD. Then some one came up with Khan, the last name of the Bollywood actor Sanjay Khan, and then we added the Saheb to add some reverence. I believe this is the weirdest origin of any nickname I’ve ever come across.
  2. Nicknames based on physical appearances: These are also very common. I’m sure you would have come across many a Mota (Fat), Lambu (tall), Taklu/Ganju (bald) etc. But a very interesting one is Bling, the nickname of Shamibrata Chatterjee, one of the most intelligent and brilliant guys in our batch. There’s a controversy even among our friends about the origin of ‘Bling’. Some says that it comes from Ting, a short form of ‘tingtinge’ which in Bengali means very lean and thin. Then there is Hojo, which is much more popular than the original Arup Bhattacharya. He has been always a sweet and cuddly hefty guy, who never shied away from making his culinary preferences public. During our ragging period in IIT KGP, he got quite popular with the seniors with his sweet behavior and sense of humor. Finally he got the name Hojo, because some senior thought that he resembles Hojo, the chef of Mandrake the Magician, in the comic strip created in US in 1934. Mandrake is widely believed to be the first bona fide superhero and Hojo is also the secret Chief of the international crime-fighting organization Inter-Intel, in addition to being a superb martial arts expert. Very few know even this much about Hojo or Mandrake and even fewer would have read these comics. But the name stayed with him for ever. A similar one is Molu, inspired by a very sweet and cute indigenous cartoon of the same name that used to appear in Indian television (Doordarshan) in the eighties. The cartoon, and specially the title song (Molu Molu Molu, Ek Dil Hai Matwala, Man ka Ujala Tan ka kaala, Kabhi yaha, to kabhi wahan, Har mushkil ko kare aasaan) used to be quite popular among the kids. Kanishka Lahiri was given the name Molu, for his sweetness and cuteness, by his senior, again during the ragging period in IIT. We all have grown up, and though I believe his wife (Ranjita Bhagwan or more commonly Bhags) doesn’t prefer any newer people calling him by that name, but we, the old timers from KGP, are still not deprived of calling the ever sweet Kanishka as Molu!! Then there is Rafael, the name given to Priyatosh because some of his friends in mid-school had thought that he has a big head like the Rafael fish. It’s really commendable that students of junior school knew so much about a fish called Rafael, which I never had heard of till I met Priyatosh in high school. The most complicated in this category is Jaydeep Burman’s nickname Puta, which came from Putu Rani, the name by which he used to be fondly called by someone in the school because of his feminine looks.
  3. Nicknames based on behavior: Ashwin Kamat was named Bachcha because he looked kiddish. Nabarun Banerjee was christened Gyana (a sarcastic variation of Gyani, meaning knowledgeable) because of his famous fakes in mid-school. One of his fakes was that whenever Concorde flight goes over any place the window panes crack, the houses vibrate and many other spooky things happen!! Very recently we christened Sachin Dhanorkar as Salim Feku Harvardwale because of his constant fakes during our train journey to Bhopal for our colleague’s marriage. After waking up from a nap I asked Sachin whether we’d entered Madhya Pradesh. Sachin saw something outside through the window of the train and told, ‘yes’, on which I was very surprised and asked what did he see outside. He told very smartly that he saw the hills outside where it’s written Madhya Pradesh, the same way it’s written Hollywood in LA. Many more came henceforth from Sachin and finally the nickname came very spontaneously. We unanimously concluded that he can make it to Harvard for an MBA in marketing because of his high quality of fakes. To keep up with the tradition of appending the name of the place in the name, we came up with Salim Feku Harvardwale (meaning Salim Feku from Harvard). Anandaroop sings very well. He used to be relieved from ragging on the condition that he would sing throughout the night and he indeed did that. The seniors used to be mesmerized with his singing and kept quiet as long he sang. That reminded of Satyajit Ray’s children movie Goopi Gyne Bagha Byne, where everyone became still whenever Goopi sang and Bagha played the dhol (drum). Accordingly Anandaroop got the name Goopi!! Sudipto Roy, a senior of mine and also the Hall President of RK Hall, was first known was Stupido, a little juxtaposition of the letters in his name, which might have gone well with some stupidity he might have exhibited, and then Dodo, the extinct bird.

Now it’s turn to tell my nick-name. Well I got my second nickname from my Taiwanese colleagues. It looks like they can’t pronounce Sudipto. Even if they read my visiting card they pronounce it as Stupido Das. People around me thought that as more interesting than Sudipto.

BTW, my other and more popular nickname, which I’d got in IIT, not during my ragging period as generally people get one from seniors, but at the end of the ragging period of our junior batch, is ALU. It was given by my junior Anandaroop (Goopi). To maintain the decency of netizens, I prefer to not disclose the story behind the nickname!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

IPL more effective than Samjhauta Express

Yesterday Shoaib Akhtar was allowed to play for the first time in the IPL matches. Playing for Shahrukh Khan’s Calcutta Knight Riders, he put up a wonderful show, winning the Man of the Match. Much to its reputation the Eden Gardens was full to the brim with some 120 thousand people. It’s very natural that the local crowd will cheer for ‘Dada’ Ganguly, but I was enthralled to notice something which is indeed a rare spectacle. Each of the four wickets taken by Shoaib Akhtar was applauded by the crowd hysterically. Have you ever seen any Pakistani player, forget about the fiery Shoaib, being cheered up like this by the Indian crowd? NO!! I think this is something really worth remembering. What Samjhauta Express couldn’t achieve, perhaps, IPL has achieved that – imbibing a feeling of equality and brotherhood for the peoples across the border. Few people have been talking about the awkward situation of National players being pitched against each other in the IPL matches. But at the same time it has brought enemies together. It was such a great sight to see Ganguly hugging Shoaib!!

What politics can’t do, literature, movies, music and now cricket have achieved that with so much finesse. We often forget that Ghulam Ali is not an Indian national. On the other hand Pakistan has bestowed their highest civilian award to Dilip Kumar. There are much more Md. Rafi groups in orkut created by Pakistanis than Indians. And now we have one more such thing – Calcuttans cheering Shoaib as one of their own players!! Thanks IPL for achieving this feat!!

For records, here is the latest tally of points in IPL matches.






Net Run Rate

Rajasthan Royals






Punjab Kings






Chennai Superkings






Kolkata Knight Riders






Delhi Daredevils






Mumbai Indians






Deccan Chargers






Bangalore Royal Challengers






Saturday, May 10, 2008

10th May - 2008 Assembly Elections in Karnataka

Election time is back. Karnataka has been in President’s rule since October 2007. Prior to that we’d witnessed a series of comic scenes. I can vouch that if similar sequences were included in any movie, it will flop miserably because even for comic movies there’s certain logic that people expect. I’ve been always a great fan of David Dhawan and Govinda and I always debate that their movies are just for fun and you shouldn’t look for logic and story line. But now I feel their movies make better sense than what happened in Karnataka. Look at this. Dharam Singh of Congress becomes the Chief Minister of Karnataka, after the fractured verdict in the 2004 Assembly elections, with support from Devegowda (the humble farmer whose grandson rides one of the few HUMMER cars in India). After sometime Devegowda withdrew support and Dharam’s ministry crunbles. Now Devegowda’s son, Kumaraswamy, goes against his illustrious dad, garners support from BJP (the single largest party in 2004 election) and forms a coalition government with the condition that he and Yediyurappa will share the chair of Chief Ministership, with him taking the chair first. And hence starts the second innings of coalition government. There are lots of hand crafted drama of father-son clashes between HD Devegowda and HD Kumaraswamy. Now comes the climax. When it’s turn for Yediyurappa to take CM’s chair, Kumaraswamy, now reunited with his dad, wants to call off the game. This reminds me of our cricket matches in childhood when we used to call off the match, citing many silly excuses, immediately after our batting used to be over so that we won’t have to field!! Anyway, after lot of commotion finally President’s rule was declared and we’ve been under Rameshwar Thakur’s governorship for the past six months.

I believe anyone would recall that since T N Session’s tenure the role of Chief Election Commissioner of India has been very crucial. The CEOs have been acting like head masters and even the strongest of politicians never want to take pangs with them. Things have really improved. I feel good that there’s at least something that the politicians fear.

Now we’re able to see the complete voter list for any constituency in any part of India online. I consider that really a great achievement for India. This is a database of all eligible voters in India and everything is online and accessible to anyone.

The CEO’s home page for Karnataka is I was not aware of my constituency. I searched for my name and got all details about my constituency, candidates etc. The link for the search engine is

The affidavits filed by each contestant have been meticulously scanned and uploaded. I checked out the affidavit filed by Kumaraswamy. The last page shows his wife’s assets as Rs. 21crores!! Wow, that’s the daughter in law of a humble farmer!!

Ever since we managed to get our Voter’s ID card we never missed to exercise our rights. I never tried to hide that I consider BJP as the better devil compared to all others and hence I’ve been voting for them forever. I still remember that first time I voted in my life in 1995 for some municipal election in Calcutta I was looking for the BJP candidate’s name. The people in the polling booth were shocked at my open question. The officer asked me to check the second page as the names spilled across multiple pages. Later I knew from my dad that the BJP candidate’s deposit was confiscated as he didn’t even get the minimum votes. Such is my loyalty towards BJP. This time I found the BJP candidate’s name against the very first press-button. I believe the names were arranged alphabetically as per the names of the parties. Not to mention that I pressed the 1st button. My wife also did the same. My 5 year old kid Hrishav was with my wife when she pressed the 1st button. He, being very inquisitive, asked loudly why she pressed the 1st button and not the other ones!! Again the people in the polling booth looked up at us!!

Well, I hope I can look up to the person I voted for!!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Rabindra Jayanti - Tagore's Birthday

Tagore holds a very special position for all Bengalis. The reverence, with which Tagore is associated with almost everything that’s ‘Bengali’, has reached such a state that it has become a matter of joke to the non-Bengalis. Bengalis are often made fun of their excessive obsession with Tagore. The general impression outside Bengal is that every Bengali knows to sing Rabindrasangeet and every girl has sometime or other taken part in some form of choreography with Rabindrasangeet. Well, that might not be too much of an exaggeration. I’ve found myself that Bengalis are in general more interested in any form of classical or semi classical song or dance or music than most other people in India. Hearing blaring sounds of evening or early morning ‘rewaz’ or practice by kids (and at times, much to everyone’s horror, grown ups also) is still now a very common thing in the traditional ‘paras’, or localities in Bengal. I myself was a part to this when I used to practice violin in my childhood days in the mornings. I’ve left Bengal quite some time back and come across people with diverse backgrounds and cultures in the past decade. I’ve now converted my hypothesis to a law now that Bengalis do take more interest in music or art. Nevertheless, I do accept that this extra bit of interest in music is not the center of all the jokes about obsession in Tagore. I do believe that Bengalis have overdone or rather overused Tagore, perhaps to create a superior identity in the post independence era when Bengal was losing its edge fast over other parts of India. For almost a century Calcutta has been the center of India’s political, financial and intellectual activities. With the shift of capital to Delhi, Calcutta started losing its importance and that continued more after independence. Hence the Bengalis might have resorted to retain the superiority in cultural and intellectual areas and hence overdid Tagore.

Nevertheless, I do feel that most people have overdone only a small aspect of Tagore. A vast part of Tagore has not been exposed or understood well. Apart from the writings, the personality of Tagore also surprises me a lot. His life was full of tensions, temptations, frustrations etc that we all have started feeling more and more in our lives. It’s worth understanding how he was able to tackle all those and still had so much time to write enormous volumes of stories, novels, poems, songs and what not. The pragmatism that he’d showed throughout his life is really a benchmark. I’m fascinated by all those things more than anything.

Tagore’s family had huge properties and he had to spend quite some time in maintaining or managing his own part. He started the Vishwa Bharati University in early 1900’s. He had to raise funds and ensure a smooth running of the facilities. The entire curriculum and vision of the University, which was quite unique and truly indigenous compared to the British mode of education, was his brain child. He was closely associated with most of the political leaders of his time and had to spend quite some time in attending political meetings and discussions. He never shied away from his responsibilities as an enlightened citizen of India. He had a huge family with many children. After his wife had a premature death he had to take care of his children too. And on top of all these he had to also take out time to write and it’s only these writings for which he has been mostly remembered now. Very strikingly his poems, which became very popular in the earlier decades of 20th century among the English litterateurs, had so much spirituality in them that he was misconceived as a surreal and mystic person. Even W B Yeats, his greatest advocate in earlier days, started criticizing his later works because they lacked the deep spirituality of Gitanjali. Amartya Sen has also acknowledged in his “Argumentative Indian” that most Western thinkers mistook Tagore. He was for sure not a typical Indian mystic ‘Sadhu’ or saint which the West has, in multiple times, associated with ethnic. For various reasons people in the West might have sough to get some sort of mystic healing from Tagore, which Gitanjali might have provided for a time being, but when they started reading more of more of Tagore they discovered very easily that Tagore was not what they had hoped to be.

To me Tagore is an almost ideal combination of spirituality and practicality. He was one of the strongest advocates of nonviolence and supported of Gandhi. Even the name ‘Mahatma’ was also coined by Tagore, whom Gandhi used to address as Gurudev. But still Tagore didn’t approve of Gandhi calling a draught ‘God’s Rage’ against untouchability. He was a staunch patriot. He is the only Indian who renounced his Knighthood protesting against the massacre in Jalianwallabag in 1919. He was one of the foremost thinkers who stressed on mass education as the only way to lead to true freedom. On top of all these is also the only person I can get back to when I’m desolate, depressed and need someone to give me strength. He is the only person to oar by boat in a turbulent sea. He is the only person to make me happy, make me cry, make me smile with the least of efforts – with his songs. I feel his songs are the strongest ammunition that he might have given to his people and as a Bengali I feel honored that only we can understand the strength of his songs, which are much more than just “Ekla Chalo”, and “Jana Gana Mana”. He himself has classified his songs based on the theme. The devotional songs are classified under “Puja” or worship, love songs under “Prem”, nature-related songs under “Prakriti”, patriotic songs under “Swadesh”, and then there are many other ballads and other smaller sub categories. Most of the poems in Gitanjali are in the “Puja” section. Very interestingly most of Tagore’s devotional songs can be treated as intense love songs and vice versa. After all it’s always ‘LOVE’, be it for God or human. The simplicity of the words and the perfect music he has composed for the songs amaze me like nothing. It’s the perfect synchronization between the music and each word that makes them unique. Over the years I’ve generated this habit of reading the lyrics of his songs at leisure. The simple lyrics offer the magnificence and vastness that I seldom get from anything else. Even the music, without the words, can bring out the meaning of the song. Tagore might have been the first person to start a tradition of composing songs with a plethora of elements like folk, traditional, classical ranging from the puritan ‘dhrupad’ to lighter styles, western music etc. The modern day Indian movie songs also follow the same pattern and tradition. I don’t think anyone else in India has experimented with so many styles of music. His songs provide a synopsis of almost all popular forms of Indian music. I do accept that there have been many other music composers in India who have might have composed better music than Tagore. But I don’t think anyone else offered this much diversity. The over obsession of the Bengalis with Tagore might be due to the fact they never got anything more diverse.

I’d like to end with a reference to our national anthem. Do you think there can be any better poem that covers the diversity of India?

Jana Gana Mana Adhinaayaka Jaya He
Bhaarat Bhaagya Vidhaataa
Punjab Sindh Gujaraat Marathaa
Dravida Utkala Banga
Vindhya Himachal Yamunaa Gangaa
Ucchala Jaladhi Taranga
Tava Shubha Naame Jage
Tava Shubha Aashisha Maage
Gaahe Tava Jaya Gaathaa
Jan Gan Mangaldayak Jay He
Bharat Bhaagya Vidhaataa                                                          
Jaye He ! Jaye He ! Jaye He !Jaye,Jaye,Jaye,Jaye He

A good site for the works and life of Tagore is:

Tagore's letter to Viceroy of India renouncing Knighthood in protest of Jalianwallahbag mass killing

May 8th is Tagore's birthday.

On this occassion I'd like to present his Letter to Lord Chelmsford, the Viceroy , repudiating his Knighthood in protest for Jalianwallahbag mass killing.

The letter was published in The Statesman, June 3, 1919

Your Excellency,
The enormity of the measures taken by the Government in the Punjab for quelling some local disturbances has, with a rude shock, revealed to our minds the helplessness of our position as British subjects in India. The disproportionate severity of the punishments inflicted upon the unfortunate people and the methods of carrying them out, we are convinced, are without parallel in the history of civilised governments, barring some conspicuous exceptions, recent and remote. Considering that such treatment has been meted out to a population, disarmed and resourceless, by a power which has the most terribly efficient organisation for destruction of human lives, we must strongly assert that it can claim no political expediency, far less moral justification. The accounts of the insults and sufferings by our brothers in Punjab have trickled through the gagged silence, reaching every corner of India, and the universal agony of indignation roused in the hearts of our people has been ignored by our rulers- possibly congratulating themselves for imparting what they imagine as salutary lessons. This callousness has been praised by most of the Anglo-Indian papers, which have in some cases gone to the brutal length of making fun of our sufferings, without receiving the least check from the same authority, relentlessly careful in something every cry of pain of judgment from the organs representing the sufferers. Knowing that our appeals have been in vain and that the passion of vengeance is building the noble vision of statesmanship in out Government, which could so easily afford to be magnanimous, as befitting its physical strength and normal tradition, the very least that I can do for my country is to take all consequences upon myself in giving voice to the protest of the millions of my countrymen, surprised into a dumb anguish of terror. The time has come when badges of honour make our shame glaring in the incongruous context of humiliation, and I for my part, wish to stand, shorn, of all special distinctions, by the side of those of my countrymen who, for their so called insignificance , are liable to suffer degradation not fit for human beings. And these are the reasons which have compelled me to ask Your Excellency, with due reference and regret, to relieve me of my title of knighthood, which I had the honour to accept from His Majesty the King at the hands of your predecessor, for whose nobleness of heart I still entertain great admiration.

Yours faithfully,
6, Dwarakanath Tagore Lane,
May 30, 1919