Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Semantics of War

Inline Image
War is unpleasant. Even on the probable victorious side, people do not seem to like hearing about explosions and gunfire and wholesale death. Throughout history, then, it has been part of the human tradition to devise linguistic methods to ease the discomfort of war. Read article...Link

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The Indian National Anthem

Hi all!

First a little bit of background. Although at the moment I am in Romania, I was born in Zambia; that's in south-central Africa. And as you can see I dont look very African and thats because my parents came from India, more specifically, Thiruvanandapuram
in Kerala state. I still am an Indian citizen by choice. I had to chose between a Zambian citizenship and an Indian one at the age of 16. I have no regrets about my decision.

Now, I do not know much about India. I have been there only 5 times for short holidays most of which was spent visiting relatives, and the last time was more than 13 years ago. But India is still special to me even though when I speak of home I do speak of Zambia, as my older brother and parents are there... and home is where the heart is, right? However, I am proud to be Indian just like any other Indian... I hope.

For all this pride, though, I do not know the Indian National Anthem. I do know the tune but the words are totally alien to me apart for the first few and the grande finale. One of my friends, who is also from Kerala, was appalled when I told her that I didn't know the National Anthem. And I think she is right. I should know the Indian National Anthem. Afterall, I do know the Zambian National Anthem and I did know the Zimbabwean National Anthem while I was there in school. So I looked for the words and also found an English translation and I'm going to make an effort to learn it... So here goes...



(Thou Art the Ruler of All Minds)

The Indian National anthem, composed originally in Bengali by Rabindranath Tagore, was adopted in its Hindi version by the Constituent Assembly as the National Anthem of India on 24 January 1950. It was first sung 27 December 1911 at the Calcutta session of the Indian National Congress. The complete song consists of five stanzas. The lyrics were rendered into English by Tagore himself.


" Jana Gana Mana Adhinayaka Jaya He
Bharat Bhagya Vidhata
Punjab Sindh Gujarat Maratha
Dravida Utkala Banga
Vindhya Himachal Yamuna Ganga

Ucchala Jaladhi Taranga
Tubh Shubha Name Jage
Tubh Shubha Ashisha Mange
Gahe Tubh Jaya Gata

Jan Gan Mangaldayak Jay He
Bharat Bhagya Vidhata
Jaye He ! Jaye He ! Jaye He !
Jaye,Jaye,Jaye,Jaye He "

Translation of The national anthem- Jana Gana Mana In English

Thou are the ruler of the minds of all people, dispenser of India's destiny.

The name rouses the hearts of Punjab, Sind, Gujurat and Maratha. Of the Dravid and Orissa and Bengal.

It Echoes in the hills of Vindhyas and Himalayas, mingles in the music of Yamuna and Ganga and is chanted by the waves of the Indian Sea.

They pray for your blessing and sing thy praise. The salvation of all peaople is thy hand, thou dispenser of India's destiny. Victory, Victory, Victory to thee.

The Jana Gana Mana was composed by Shri Rabindranath Tagore and first sung at the Calcutta session of the Indian National Congress on December 27th, 1911. It was adopted as the National Anthem of India on 24th January, 1950 by the Constituent Assembly. The first stanza( out of five stanzas) of the song forms the National Anthem.

Here's an mp3 if you want to listen to it.

Now I just got to learn it and stick it in my head...


ps. Malayalees (from Kerala) are Dravidian... hey, I'm in there!!!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Bin Laden is alive!

First of all, I would like to say that this is my personal opinion and not of any kind of political, religious or any other group as I do not have any affiliation to any such entity.

Bin Laden has released his latest message commenting on current world events. This proves that he IS alive despite many rumors saying otherwise. What troubles me is if the US government claims he and Al Qaeda are responsible for all those terrible terrorist attacks we have heard all too much about then he should be a top priority. However, the best they can come up with regarding his location is the mountains near the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. This has remained unchanged since 2001. Not a single word of progress has been heard of since!

This raises a question; How hard is the US government actually trying to find this man they blame for so many acts of terrorism? How hard can it be? It is a well known fact that Bin Laden is a sick and ailing man. He is dependent on dialysis machines. Without dialysis he would survive a couple of weeks at the very most. A dialysis machine is not something that is portable and it needs a constant supply of a specially made solution. Really how hard can it be to track a man tied to machine the size of a filing cabinet that needs a constant water supply in the middle of the desert?

What this makes me believe is that the US government did not want to find him in the first place. Bin Laden was just a scapegoat to achieving their goals. And what is that you ask? Well, for sure it is not liberation of the people of Afghanistan from Al Qaeda, since their leader has basically been roaming free for 5 years. It is not Saddam Husein's WDMs, because they never existed in the first place, and everybody knew that (except those brainwashed by war-mongering media). Also, how they made the connection from Al Qaeda to Hussein baffles me as these two were at loggerheads. Liberation of the people in Iraq you say?

The Iraqi people are going through more turmoil now than before the 'liberation'. And I don't think it is ending anytime soon. Moreover, thousands of US and other international troops continue to be put in danger even after many have died. I do agree, however, that a total pull out would leave Iraq in a worse state than it is now. So there is no clear solution to this open can of worms. But, one thing no one can deny is the take over of Iraqi oil production by the same corporate leeches that have been sucking the life out of the US for ages. It is mainly the oil industry but they are encroaching in other aspects of daily Iraqi life as well. This is only the beginning of the takeover of the now 'free' Iraqi people. So what the US has done is exactly what Iraq did to Kuwait all but 15 years ago. And back then the US was at the forefront of criticizing them and waging war on Iraq.

Where am I heading with this? I am really not sure. This is just the state of world affairs in my eyes. Now I read articles about Iran and their nuclear program. The Iranian government claims it is solely for power generation whereas some hypocrites claim they have a weapons program. In my opinion, under the basic law that all peoples are equal, the Iranians have the right to build nuclear weapons if other nations continue to maintain their own arsenal. If one is not allowed to keep nuclear weapons then no one should be excluded. And I don't care what country it is or how strong it is or even how morally upright they claim to be (we know from the past and present that none of the accusers are saints). Yes, in my opinion no one should have any kind of nuclear weapon and we all should take out the log in our own eye before trying to remove the spec in our brother's.

But what can I do to make a change in such a dysfunctional world? In the words of Bob Marley in the song Real Situation, “its seems like total destruction is the only solution”. Strangely, the events we read about in the news today have all been described in ancient literature over and over. It seems like the gears had been set in motion hundreds and possibly thousands of years ago. But that's another story... In the mean time what can I do? Again, I fall back on the words of wise men; "You must be the change you wish to see in the world" – Mahatma Gandhi.