Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Indian Leopards-The Killing Field bags best film award at Vatavaran

New Delhi, November 24: Praveen Singh’s Indian Leopards — The Killing Field, a film about the conflict between leopards and humans in India, won the best film award on the concluding day of the Vatavaran film festival today.

The Chief Minister’s Award for the Best Documentary went to Nutan Manmohan for A Second Hand Life. Sanjay Barnela won the Best Award in the Evironment category for the film River Tamin Mantras. The award-winning films will be screened in 15 cities throughout the country in 2006 as part of Vatavaran Travels, a touring film festival.

Other awards also included a Lifetime Dedication award to Naresh Bedi. Six young filmmakers were given fellowship awards of Rs 6 lakh to produce films on climate change.

Filmmaker Praveen Singh said, ‘‘Indian Leopards shows a family which has lost a child, a scientist trying to understand the leopard and conservationists tring to balance between the need to conserve wildlife and the need to protect people.’’

The film was shot in Junnath, Gharwal and Satpura forests where leopards and humans live in proximity and took one-and-a half years to complete it.

Singh said, ‘‘It was more a personal dream. A lot of the work was done with the help of friends. Most of the time I was working alone. Sometimes, there would be a friend who would give a camera, and another would help with the editing.’’

‘‘We can’t say ‘get rid of the leopards, then the people are safe’. And we can’t let people keep dying either. It’s a very complex issue and no solution is clear to me but we need to think about this matter and get some framework in place,’’ he adds.

Singh was a graduate in film-making from Jamia Milia in 1998, and then worked with a small documentary company.

He then worked in a TV series Wild Things, before moving to Montana in America, where he did an MA in Fine Arts in Nature Documentaries. He then returned to India and had been working on this documentary, his directorial debut.

Today’s session at Vatavaran included a special documentary workshop by award-winning British filmmaker Doug Allan, on underwater filmmaking.

Allan has been involved in over 60 films in 20 years of work and has worked with Discovery Channel, National Geographic and the BBC. He was the principal cinematographer of the award-winning Blue Planet and has worked extensively in the Arctic and the Antarctic. He also has the distinction of capturing images that have never been seen on screen.

And the winners are...
Praveen Singh’s Indian Leopards -The Killing Field gets best film award.
Nutan Manmohan’s A Second Hand Life bags The Chief Minister’s Award.
Sanjay Barnela’s River Tamin Mantras gets the Best Award in the Environment category.
Naresh Bedi gets the Lifetime Dedication Award.
Six young filmmakers were given fellowship awards of Rs 6 lakh.


Tuesday, November 29, 2005 2005 : inauguration

The registration started fairly late, and people were waiting and cursing the organizers of 2005. I overheard the comments like "They should have started the registration yesterday lake previous year" or "Why didn't they train the volunteers yesterday". Finally it started at around 9.15 am I guess. And though we reached at the venue at 8:30, we could enter the hall only at 9:50.

The program started at about 10 am . As usual, representatives of FOSS groups from across India lighted the lamps to start it. This time Arjun Asthana from Delhi, Kushal Das from Durgapur, Swati Sani from Nagpur (since Tarique had to disappear to attend something at registration), Arvind Yadav from Goa and Surjo Das from Bangalore were there.

Talk of Alan Cox was good, though I faced problems at times understanding his accent.

Then I had o rush back to office for the meeting. I hope to attend the whole of last day and meet PLUG and NashLUG friends along with many others form Bangalore.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Is Bangalore loosing its charm as IT city ?

Here is a news on Rediff.

Chennai most attractive IT destination

November 23, 2005 17:29 IST

The recent rains that lashed south Indian states may well turn out to be a 'blessing in disguise' - at least for Chennai's IT sector.

A cross-section of IT professionals have favoured Chennai over Bangalore, saying the Tamil Nadu capital's infrastructure had, by and large, withstood the brunt of nature's fury better than the 'Garden City'.

Chandigarh and Jamshedpur were the other cities to make their mark for good infrastructure.

Chandigarh was praised for reflecting superior planning as compared to other cities, while Jamshedpur's physical infrastructure was described as ''also very good'' though the 'city of steel' in Jharkhand lagged behind in local IT talent pool.

Chennai emerged the overall favourite for the status of the 'Most Attractive IT Destination,' as it was not adversely impacted by incessant rain compared to its neighbour whose hi-tech image came 'under a cloud' after rains disrupted businesses of IT majors.

''Be it people or general support, infrastructure or talent, Chennai offered a wee bit more of a choice,'' California Software Executive Vice President and COO J K Nair told UNI.

Having operations in both Bangalore and Chennai, the Calsoft official said costs were lower in Tamil Nadu's capital compared to the Garden City. ''Even in terms of infrastructure and talent sourcing or even attrition rate, Chennai was better,'' he said.

According to Take Solutions Vision Holder H R Srinivasan, ''Chennai is certainly better geared today than Bangalore but what is going to happen three years hence remains to be seen''.

He voted for Chennai for having better water, road and power facilities over Bangalore. However, a combination of factors was responsible for any organisation to choose its location.

The execution of mass rapid transit system and adequate power and water supply will ensure that Chennai continues to enjoy advantages. Focus on a holistic urban transportation solution could also help the city retain its edge, he added.

Another senior IT professional, speaking on condition of anonymity, gave full credit to Chennai for its resilience during the rains, but said the city was certainly getting congested and travel time was getting longer.

While no official figures were available on the losses suffered by the IT sector due to rains, Frost and Sullivan ICT Practice Director Alok Shende said mid-sized companies were the worst-affected as they were not equipped to face the problem.

A conservative estimate of losses in Bangalore due to rain was placed at between $8 to10 million, he said, adding this did not take potential losses into consideration.


Focusing after the shot, the plenoptic camera

Another example of ptions created by Technology Advancement.

Ren Ng, graduate student at Stanford University has developed a hand-held plenoptic camera which takes a shot first and allows you to make the decision about focus point in software after the event. The prototype camera is actually a Contax 645 with a modified Megavision FB4040 back (sixteen megapixel). The back has had an array of 90,000 microlenses mounted in front of the sensor (with a gap between the array and the sensor). These microlenses create a unique image on the sensor surface which includes not only the amount of light deposited at that location, but how much light arrives along each ray. The image is then reconstructed in software and a focus point can be chosen. Note that the final resolution is the same as the number of microlenses.


Monday, November 21, 2005

The e-waste problem

The hazardous effects of e-waste are a worrisome problem, says Vinutha V.

You may be a software professional working on the latest PC, a call-centre employee on your first job, or a teenager tapping away furiously on an assembled computer at home. Whatever slot you fall into, have you stopped to think what happens when you get parts of your PC, or all of it, replaced? Where do these parts go and where does all the unwanted or unusable stuff land up? e-waste or Waste from Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) is no longer a subject for academic discussions at environmental forums. Instead, there is a growing realisation that the issue may assume dangerous proportions over the next few years if it continues to be left unaddressed.

The situation is alarming. According to a survey by IRG Systems, South Asia, the total waste generated by obsolete or broken-down electronic and electrical equipment in India has been estimated to be 1,46,180 tons per year based on select EEE tracer items. This figure does not include WEEE imports. At the rate at which technological changes are taking place, not only in computers and cell phones but also in domestic appliances such as washing machines, refrigerators, microwave ovens and TV sets, the problem seems to be compounding.

Full Story

IDC expects fresh concern over disposal of PCs

IDC is expecting a new debate over disposal of PCs and expansion of the recycling industry as the installed base of PCs worldwide shot up to 749 million in 2004. The PC industry has been a leading driver of economic growth in the past three decades. The explosion in the use of computers has been driven by the need to modernise work processes and boost productivity, while the Internet, entertainment and other digital applications were among the primary drivers for the booming consumer market.

As businesses and consumers continue to shift to portable PCs and flat-panel displays, a new debate on disposal is likely to intensify, prompting the involvement of lawmakers and government. “Millions of systems will be moving out of homes and offices and will have to be disposed. Some will have their life prolonged through a data-cleansing and refurbishing process. In the case of others, various parts will be reused, and the remaining will be completely destroyed,” said David Daoud, Research Manager for IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker and Personal Computing programmes.

Many companies are yet to include asset disposition in their PC ownership cost analysis. For most of them, a good strategy would be the one that would protect them from possible legal problems and generate residual income for their organisation. The preliminary results of a survey currently being conducted by IDC suggest that less than 37 percent of commercial entities of all sizes have a formal PC recycling and end-of-life policy. The recycling and refurbishing industry is likely to expand and create a new market. IDC expects it will happen under the pressure of an expanding body of government regulations concerning disposal.


Kalam’s vision for Bangalore

After reminiscing on his fruitful personal association with Bangalore, President A P J Abdul Kalam on Sunday dissected the potential which the City held for the future. He, however, also stressed on the need for uniform distribution of employment potential in the State.

After reminiscing on his fruitful personal association with Bangalore, President A P J Abdul Kalam on Sunday dissected the potential which the City held for the future. He, however, also stressed on the need for uniform distribution of employment potential in the State. “Presently, Karnataka is exporting around Rs 27,600 crore worth of IT, IT Enabled Services and BPO. It provides an employment for around 3,00,000 persons. About 56 per cent of the total BPO investment in the country is in Bangalore. With the improved infrastructure in Bangalore and in the Tier-II cities in Karnataka, it is possible to attract 40 per cent of the BPO and call centres to the Tier-II cities which will reduce density of the population, transportation and also increase the distributed employment potential across the State uniformly,” he said.


New Delhi may bag 2014 Asian Games

The national capital was "almost certain" to get the 2014 Asian Games as all other contenders except one have withdrawn their bids in its favour, the Indian Olympic Association said today.


Thursday, November 17, 2005

Technology for a Free World – 2005

FOSS.IN/2005 is the fifth in the series of these immensely successful conferences, and will be held from 29-Nov-2005 to 02-Dec-2005, at the Bangalore Palace, in Bangalore, India.

Since the year 2001, the Linux Bangalore conference, held every year in Bangalore, India, has been the most anticipated Free & Open Source Software (FOSS) event of the year.

This year the conference has been renamed to FOSS.IN/2005 (in the tradition of Linux-Bangalore/2001, /2002, etc.) to signify the inclusive scope of the conference and areas of focus

Several concurrent sessions will be held on all the four days featuring speakers from around the world and experts in their own fields.

I have already registered for the event. If you have not done so, I will highly recommend to do it soon. Only 11 days remaining for the event.

See you there

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Google Reader - Do not miss that blog entry

Yes, Google has come up with Yet another service. Google Reader

Many people read Write and Read blogs now a days. And this service gives you a facility to Subscribe to feeds and by login in into Google Reader, you can read all the feeds in one place. You can label them for searching and sorting.

Do check out Google Reader

Friday, November 11, 2005

"The Monk who Sold his Ferrari" translated to Marathi

Hello Nashikkars,

The international bestseller "The Monk who Sold his Ferrari…" has been translated in Hindi as well as Marathi. Its named "Sanyasi jyane aapli sampatti vikli" in Marathi. The Book was published at Cross words Mumbai, Mr. Robin Sharma was present at the occasion. The book will be hitting stands in this week.

The translator of the Book is from our very own city, Nashik. Her name is Ms. Malti Joshi. She works in Glaxo and pursues her hobby of writing in past time. She has been writing articles for newspapers & magazines for quite some time. This translation is her first effort of its kind, we wish her luck in all future endeavours.

Anurag Sir can we have some info posted about the book in Marathi and the writter on or


Ek sudnya Nashikkar, Madhuri

On Nasik Yahoogroup

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Birth of a generation of workaholics

Kanika Datta | November 09, 2005

I recently read, with growing consternation, an article on mobile devices. The author of the article, impressively geeky to the gills, talked excitedly of the new range of mobile solutions that are now available to executives to ensure them constant connectivity with the office.

These marvellous devices and software solutions, the writer said, not only allow executives greater flexibility in organising their work-life balance, they also afford corporations 24 x 7 access to their employees.

What with company-sponsored laptops, PDAs, Blackberrys and mobile phones, executives are pretty much there already. In this week of near-continuous holidays, though, I wonder about the impact of all of this.

The great point about such constant connectivity is that executives -- women executives in particular -- certainly do get to organise their work-life balance better.

Got one of those dratted PTA meetings to attend? Well, it's now possible to make up for lost time by working either early in the morning or late at night, thanks to advanced mobile technology solutions. You child ill with the 'flu? Today, technology makes it entirely possible to perform the miracle of both nursing her and putting in a full day's work as well.

It must be admitted that technology has been a great enabler, helping corporations derive creative solutions to extract greater productivity from their employees, both blue and white collar.

The productivity gains from the blue-collar category of workers are now well documented and visible in the radically improved margins across the manufacturing spectrum in India (though the country still has some way to go on this front).

But rarely is the growing productivity of the white-collar worker highlighted; executive productivity is acknowledged more tacitly than explicitly and is taken as a given.

Today, there is no doubt that he (and increasingly she) probably packs in three times as much in a day as his or her counterpart did 20 years ago. Think of just one activity that has now become the currency of daily corporate life: the presentation.

In the old days, putting together a presentation used to be a laborious process that involved writing on plastic "slides" that had to be fitted on to a projector. Today, thanks to PowerPoint, it takes less than half that time to put together a presentation. Thanks also to the Internet, it's now possible to shoot off multiple proposals to multiple customers in the course of the day - and get replies as well.

Technology has truly played a central role in enabling the global corporation. Executives in Asia can now work in real-time with execs in Europe or the US to discuss proposals, solve crises, even make client pitches.

All of this has become so ingrained in daily corporate life that executives probably wonder why it is worth recalling at all. It is, simply because it is increasingly raising the suspicion that the carrot of tech-enabled flexi-time has a serious, if intangible, downside.

Even as it enables executives to fit their family lives into a busy schedule, it is breeding a culture in which you are never quite free from the pressures of your office. There is no real "off" time anymore - especially so since companies pay for the mobile devices that keep you connected.

Is all of this breeding a generation of workaholics? Is the trade-off really squaring off in favour of the "life" aspect of the work-life equation? Does it make, for example, for Dad to be at home this evening if he's answering emails and talking on the mobile all the time? Like Wall Street brokers, is life becoming one long, permanent neurotic chase to meet deadlines and targets?

That may be a premature prediction, but one thing is certain: working round the clock -- or claiming to, at least -- is becoming something of a badge of honour. Increasingly -- and it was well in evidence this holiday week -- a good part of social conversation revolves around just how much everybody works weekends and 9 to 9 as a matter of course. Working a regular eight-hour day is passé, even seriously retro.

Occasionally you get guys like Julian Mantle, the protagonist of Robin S Sharma's didactic book The Monk Who Sold his Ferrari, who finally opt out of the whirligig. Not everyone has the luxury of Mantle's somewhat hackneyed search for his soul, though many work off their burn-outs in truly useful social work.

Either way, it's an unhealthy trend to which HR experts could usefully address themselves. After all, isn't work all about enjoying your leisure?


Sunday, November 06, 2005

Champion of the woods

Sunderlal Bahuguna is 79 but he has the same fire and zing in him to protect the forests, its people and the environment as he had when he joined the Freedom movement at the age of 13....

His eyes brighten up and and his smile hides the wrinkles that time has set in. And as if he pressed Ctrl Z on the keyboard of his memory, time reverts back to six decades and more, when he was 13 years old, a village lad in the hilly region of Garhwal, now in Uttaranchal. “It all started when Sridev Suman visited our village. He was different and we went around teasing him about a tiny box he carried,” reminisces Sunderlal Bahuguna.

"Sumanji was a freedom fighter. He was going from place to place to spread Gandhiji’s message of self reliance and ahimsa. One day he opened a box and showed us the tiny charkha in it. He told us that we could weave our own kurtas on it. We teased him and told him that even if he spun the charkha for the rest of his life, he would not be able to weave enough yarn for even one kurta. He replied that he may not be able to weave one kurta but if everyone took on to the charkha, India will one day become independent. It was such a simple yet strong message of self reliance.

“He carried with him some books by Gandhiji. We were very fascinated by this maverick. My mother used to give me a monthly allowance of six annas then. That month I used the money to buy the books. Later, I took the help of a friend whose father was a police official in Tehri to buy a charkha for Rs 6. Since spinning the charkha was not allowed publicly, I used the burial ground to spin the yarn. Many of my friends joined me. People thought that we were engaged in group studies. Some of my friends who were found out, were beaten up at home because their parents were hounded by the police. But like any other adolescent, there was a zest to do the undo-able,” his narration is simply engaging.

And then Sridev Suman was arrested. “He was tried in the prison. I somehow managed to get his statement and gave it to a national Hindi daily. Next day there was chaos and I was arrested. I was put in Narendranagar jail, away from Sumanji. I appeared for the Intermediate examination under arrest. Later, I heard that Sumanji went on fast, which lasted 84 days. At the end of it, he died. In his death, he taught me a great lesson. He told me that to be a satyagrahi, one must be fearless and have no enemies. Meanwhile, while in jail, I fell sick and had to be operated for a cyst. I fled the hospital to Lahore and went underground. I donned a new identity – of Sardar Mann Singh. I had to learn Gurmukhi. After one year of remaining underground I resurfaced and joined the Sanatan Dharma College in Lahore for graduation. While studying, I joined the Freedom Movement and became the State’s publicity manager of Praja Mandal. After the Independence, I was elevated to the rank of general secretary,” Bahuguna looks up at the cloud laden skies. Within him are a thousand such stories waiting to be heard and carried forward as legacy, I think.

Dressed in a white khadi kurta and pajama and hair tied with a white bandana, the environmentalist exudes extreme simplicity and conviction of strength not easy to emulate in times of high consumerism and compulsive market forces. Bahuguna’s life is one inspired by icons that were self made and will remain treasured in the history of time.

Inspired by Mahatma

One of them was Mahatma Gandhi. “I met him a day before he was assasinated, on January 29, 1948. He blessed me and said he was happy that I had spread the message of ahimsa to the people. He used to chant eleven vows of life, during his prayers, which have become the guiding principles of my life. These are: ahimsa (non-violence); satya (truth); asteya (not to take another’s things; not to steal); brahmacharya (celibacy); ashangra (not to collect too many things); shram (bodily labour); asvada (not to hanker after taste); abhaya (fearlessness); samanalok (the belief that all religions are equal), swadeshi (self-reliance), and sparshabhavana (not to practice untouchability).”

After India gained Independence, Sunderlal Bahuguna moved to his village in Tehri and launched a movement against untouchability. He also opened a residential school for boys of all castes and a temple for the Harijan.

In 1956, his life took a turn when he got married to Vimala – a small built lady with tremendous drive and grit. She also hailed from the same background. Her parents were Freedom fighters. “She asked me to choose between politics and marriage. I opted for marriage. We moved to a small village – Sihar and started living in a hut there,” says the septuagenarian. The couple got involved in social activities. While Bahuguna formed a labour co-operative society, Vimala launched a night school for boys and day school for girls because there were no schools for girls.

In 1960, Vinobha Bhave called Bahuguna to Wardha during his padyatra and exhorted him to take the message of Gandhi ji’s gram swarajya (village republic) to the remote villages on the Himalayan border. From 1965 to 1971, he mobilised the hill women of Uttar Pradesh in an anti-liquor campaign. Following the agitation, Vimala was arrested along with their infant son and her mother.

Bahuguna’s memory is as fresh as the woods, which he and Vimala hugged, along with thousands of people to save them from being destroyed. That in 1973 became the Chipko Movement, which he took forward with Chandi Prasad Bhatt. For eight years the struggle was on, which eventually helped in banning of felling of trees in the Himalayas. “It was initially started by a lady. Chipko in our language means to hug. We hugged the trees so that they may not be axed. Our slogan was ‘What do the forests bear? Soil, water and pure air’. We pitted this against the government refrain – ‘What do the forests bear? Raisin, timber and foreign exchange,’ and it worked. The women protested along with men and children and their voice echoed in the forests Laathi goley khaenge; apne paid bachaenge. Bhaley kulhade chamkenge; hum paidon par chipkenge (We are not afraid of getting beaten by the stick and stone, we will save our trees. Let the axe shine, we will stick to the trees).

The protests continued for eight long years till in 1981, Indira Gandhi, then Prime Minister of India banned the felling of trees, now in Uttaranchal. And such was the charisma of the people’s movement that Pandurang Hegde, a student of social work from Karnataka studying in Delhi approached Bahuguna and later launched the Apiko movement against the felling of trees in South India. The Chipko movement succeeded in halting felling in the Western Ghats and the Vindhyas, as well as generating pressure for a natural resources policy more sensitive to people’s needs and environmental factors.

Tehri woes

In the late 1980s, Bahuguna joined the campaign opposing the construction of Tehri dam. He mobilised people from village to village and was accompanied by Vimala. In 1989 he began the first of a series of hunger strikes to draw political attention to the dangers posed by the dam and in due course the Chipko Movement gave birth to the Save Himalaya Movement. Bahuguna ended a 45-day fast in 1995 when the government promised a review of the Tehri dam project. But the promise was not kept and the following year he committed himself to another fast, only broken after 74 days when the Prime Minister gave a personal undertaking to conduct a thorough review, largely on Bahuguna’s terms.

It was then that Bahuguna voiced his fear against the receding Himalayan glaciers and warned that if this was not checked, the glacier feeding the Ganga would disappear within the next 100 years. “I told the Prime Minister that the people in Himalaya are facing a crisis of survival due to the suicidal activities being carried out in the name of development. The monstrous Tehri dam was a symbol of this. I told him that there was a need for a new and long-term policy to protect the dying Himalaya. I do not want to see Ganga dying for short-term economic gains,” his voice for once vents out the anger of a people made to watch the killing of their main life source, the river they venerate with a certain spirituality.

The present situation at Tehri dam is grim. “Today they have closed the three gates of the dam, if they close the fourth one also, it will stop the flow of the river. Thousands of people have lost their land. They are still to be rehabilitated. We have cases pending before the Supreme Court and the High Court filed by the people. The fight will go on. I have always opposed dams because I see them as temporary solutions to permanent problems,” he sounds committed.

And it’s not that Bahuguna is just concerned about the Himalayas and the Ganga. He strongly opposes the interlinking of rivers. “The politicians in Delhi are allured by the waters coming from the Himalayan region. They are driven by short term goals. Interlinking rivers means building big dams everywhere. This would lead to killing of the rivers. It would be extremely unfortunate,” says Bahuguna.

In his tour to south India, he visited the Kodagu forests and gave lectures at places, including Mysore. Does not the body give way, one is compelled to ask. “With age, I may have become weak in body but the spirit is undying. There are thousands of people involved in these movements. It is not a one-man show,” he admits. His spirituality is contagious.

As he gets ready for his lecture, he signs off, with a simple line. “If you must, then give voice to the silent majority.”