Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Pres does it again

The President, Mr Kalam, has, at different times, come out with mind-blowing insights that never fail to amaze the general public.

Remember his passionate plea to teachers that they should henceforth start teaching their students? Which was followed by some astounding advice to students that they must, with immediate effect, resolve, to learn from their teachers? Or the time he delivered that sensational sermon to scientists to carry out research in their laboratories?

Do you recall his earnest exhortation to the Army to stay alert, keep to the ground and guard our borders; the stunning suggestion to the Air Force to make sure that the planes stayed up in the air when they were flying and the fantastic funda to the Navy to ensure that the submarines remained underwater, especially when at sea?

Now he has done it again. At Coonoor, at the Wellington Hospital, after calling on the ailing Field Marshal Manekshaw, the President met the doctors attending on the Field Marshal and solemnly suggested that they should take good care of this great son of India, as he was not well.

The doctors and the Field Marshal are still in a shocked state, after this visit.

P.S : There is an email campaign that seeks re-election of Mr Kalam for a second term as President. Those of you supporting the noble cause may respond to that mail.

Saturday, February 24, 2007


In their book, “The Definitive Book of Body Language”, authors Alan Pease and Barbara Pease cite the studies done, in the 1960s, by American anthropologist, Edward Hall, on spatial needs of human beings.

Like most animals, each human has his/her own personal space or ‘air bubble’, which he/she carries around with him/her, as if it were an extension of his/her body. When this ‘personal’ space is invaded, people get nervous or aggressive. How much space each person marks out is dependent on the density of the population of the place in which he/she grew up. Personal space is thus culturally determined.

The radius of the air-bubble can vary from country to country, but, in general, can be broken down into four distinct zone distances.

1.Intimate Zone: This is between 6 and 18 inches (15-45cm), where only those who are emotionally close are permitted to enter. These include lovers, parents, spouse, children, and pets.

2.The Personal Space between 18 inches and 48 inches (46 cm- 1.22m). This is the distance we stand from others at cocktail parties, office parties, social functions and friendly gatherings.

3.The Social Zone between 4 and 12 feet (1.22-3.6m). We stand at this distance from strangers, plumber or carpenter doing repairs around our house, postman, the local shopkeeper and people we don’t know very well.

4.The Public Zone is over 12 feet (3.6m). Whenever we address a large group of people, this is the comfortable distance at which we choose to stand.

All these distances tend to increase between two men and reduce between two women. While we tolerate strangers entering our Personal and Social Zones, the intrusion of strangers into our intimate zone causes physiological changes to take place within our bodies. The heart pumps faster, adrenaline is pumped into our bloodstream and blood into our brain as we get ready for a fight or flight situation.

Crowding at concerts, cinema halls, in trains and packed elevators result in unavoidable intrusion into other people’s intimate zones. That is why people taking the elevator avoid eye contact with others, maintain a poker face and keep watching the floor number indicator in a behaviour that is called ‘masking’

Amazing stuff. No, not the insight into human behaviour, but the fact that the Halls and the Peases had the patience to follow people everywhere and gallivant around with a measuring tape in cinemas, cocktail parties, social functions, elevators and when carpenters, plumbers visited different houses, and whenever lovers met, to physically measure the distance between them and include the dimensions in both inches and metres in their final report.

Get a life, Alan Pease. Same with you, Barbara Pease. Get yourselves de-addicted to the tape. You will have withdrawal symptoms initially, but you can do it, if you have the will power. If Linus Van Pelt could be forced out of his blanket, one full day on Oct 14, 1957, you can live without that tape too

The right side up.

Ever wondered why, on world maps, North should always be up? There is no reason why it should be so.

Why should maps show Europe at the centre? In the Victorian era when the sun never set in the British empire, they could get away by referring to Japan as the Far-east, Arabia as the Middle-East, etc. Why should Britain be the point of reference any more?

There are maps printed in Australia, which are upside down, and which show Australia at the very top. Understandable. The Australians must have hated being shown constantly as some kind of appendage in a distant corner of the globe.

Take a look at this interactive map, with the so-called southern hemisphere on top and where you can choose the ‘frame of reference’.

You get to see the world a little differently, don’t you?.

Coming soon. A map of India, where Tamilnadu will be the topmost state.

Update 02/03/07 : Here's a view and perspective from the North Pole. Can you spot India?

Friday, February 23, 2007

Land, ahoy!

Extract from the diary of anthropologist Bjorn Ericsson, written on board the Swedish ship, “Gotheborg” that docked here for a brief while.

In the southern peninsula of the vast country called Dinia, is located the kingdom of Matilnad. Our vessel “Gotheborg” anchored off the shores of a large village that the locals refer to as Nenchai.

When I got out of the ship, just before sunrise, I was alarmed to see hundreds of natives menacingly ‘marking their territories’ on the ground, in a manner reminiscent of the behaviour of African lions of the Masai Mara. When I went cautiously closer, I realized to my relief that the behaviour was not borne so much out of an aggressive instinct to protect their turf as a more biological need to empty their bladders. They were not the facile terminators that I had feared they were, but rather docile urinators. I later learnt that this behaviour was the national pastime of Dinia.

I walked on further and confronted giant cut-outs of what must have been the demigods of the natives. The gods were of different sizes, shapes and were shown sporting outlandish pink and green costumes, not to mention purple shoes. The huge cut-outs reminded me of the massive stone sculptures that my fellow anthropologists had reported sighting in the Easter Islands in the South Pacific Ocean, except that the stone creatures had more benevolent expressions on their faces.

The locals are divided into two groups, the Damakians and Aidamakians. When not involved in actual bloody duels, these factions constantly engage in saber-rattling, war-mongering and logger-heading. Much energy is expended on such posturing and blood-curdling, battle-cries.

I caught hold of two of the natives, handed them a silver coin and told them, “Take me to your leader”, and they obeyed.

The leader of the Damakian group and the current Chief of Matilnad is addressed simply as KuMa. He is constantly seen with a yellow shawl and a pair of dark glasses on. While the shawl is a recent addition to his attire, Old Jungle Saying has it that nobody in Matilnad or outside has ever seen KuMa’s naked eyes directly as he has never ventured outside without his tinted glasses that are designed to keep off the ultraviolet rays of the sun and the extra-jealous stares of his son. Much of his time is spent in uttering choice expletives in a guttural tone and in chaste Matil at a wall painting of his arch rival, AyaJ.

His sworn enemy Ayaj, the leader of the Aidamakians, who lives in a house not far away from KuMa’s, is a strong believer in the occult and in the supernatural. Every morning, before sunrise, she invokes the blessings of the tantric, Swami Jagamugananda to help drive her enemy KuMa out of the country. On the advice of her resident-astrologer and numerologist, she changes her name every now and then, to sound less suspicious and more auspicious. At present, she goes by the name of Ayaaj. Unconfirmed reports say that she is learning voodoo magic and spends much of her time with a sharp pin, with which she keeps jabbing a small replica doll of KuMa, hoping to cause the real KuMa excruciating pain in his lower back.

This, then, is how the natives and the leaders spend a typical day in Nenchai. Such are the bizarre rituals, curious customs and strange symbolisms that are displayed in abundant measure in this corner of the world. I heard later that things are no different in other parts of Dinia.

By the time Gotheborg lifted anchor and set sail again from Nenchai, I had come to the conclusion that the natives were in a permanent trance and timidly submitted to the whims, fancies and machinations of their leaders. They show no willingness or inclination to get themselves de-hypnotised from their daze or exorcised of the spell cast by the leaders. We left them in this state of stupor as, clearly, they were hopelessly beyond redemption.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Be messy, be happy

How often have you wished that if only you were more organized with your possessions, time and resources, you could be more successful and efficient? If you experience these pangs quite often, you are not alone. The unpleasant feeling or guilt that each of us should be more organized, better organized, or differently organized seems nearly ubiquitous.

Hundreds of books, a vast array of home- and office-organizing aids, classes and seminars, software, television shows, magazines and organizational consultants- an entire industry has sprung up that purveys some variation on the theme of straightening up, rearranging, acquiring highly effective habits, planning your day/week/life, restructuring organizations and standardizing processes.

A standard ploy used by consultants is a little demonstration, using two decks of cards, one shuffled and one ordered by suit and rank and given to two different volunteers. The consultants then call out the names of four cards and ask the volunteers to find them in the respective pack. Naturally, the person with the ordered deck always clocks the shorter time and wins.

Therefore it pays to be orderly. Right?

Wrong, say Eric Abrahamson and David H. Freedman, authors of the book, “A Perfect Mess”. What about the time someone spent in arranging the cards in the first place. Why is that not accounted for? Besides, arranging cards is a complete waste of time, as we make it a point to shuffle the cards before every game, anyway.

The core of their pro-mess argument is that organizing, storing, and maintaining the order in the various aspects of our lives is often more time-consuming, expensive, and restrictive than living with a moderate degree of mess. Besides it stifles innovation. Anyone who has ever sat down in front of a blank sheet of paper and tried to force creativity knows that inspiration doesn’t happen that way. Rather it tends to spring unexpected from novel connections, which in turn goes hand-in-hand with mess.

Remember, first of all, that when you try to be organized, you are going against the grain of Nature, for Nature likes nothing better than to increase the state of disorderliness or entropy, as experts on thermodynamics would love to tell you. If you need more proof, look at the scattered toys in a kid’s room or the mess created by the monkeys in the zoo. These are creatures not indoctrinated with the dogma of orderliness and it is refreshing to see them being their natural selves, with their brains unwashed. Take a cue from them.

And, do you know that Einstein was as well known for his messy desk as he was for his theory of relativity. But, he countered, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what then is an empty desk?” Answer that, you cleanliness freaks.

There, are you feeling better now that you are a normal, messy person like Einstein ( or that brain-unwashed monkey) and not one of those organized weirdos?

I have done it yet again. I first taught you how to be happy as a person (“lower your expectations .Expect to be fired tomorrow. If you still have a job by evening, you will be very happy”). I then shared with you the secret of a happy marriage (“give a positive spin to whatever your partner does. If she whacks you on the head, it is not to kill you, but to improve the blood circulation to your brain”). I also provided some valuable tips on how to feel lighter. (“if you are 80 kg and feel heavy, keep hogging till you reach 90 kg, then shed 10 kg to come back to 80 kg again. You will feel lighter at the same weight that you were in, to begin with”). Finally, in this episode, I have shown you the path to a blissful, guilt-free life, paved with messiness.

My ambition is to make Plus Ultra the place where people will want to visit whenever they need to be rid of any guilt. At this rate, I am going to acquire the label of “Acharya Rajneesh of the blogosphere”.

Update 05/03/07
: This article reports on an experiment in the town of Drachten in Netherlands, where they scrapped all traffic signals. In the seemingly chaotic system, the accident rate actually went down. ( via)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Conversation with daughter-9

As I outlined, to the family, my travel itinerary for the month, I thought I heard a murmur of protest from my younger daughter, something about me not being there to watch the play that she was acting in.

Would she be happier, I teased her, if I took up a job which would have me rooted to Chennai, seven days a week?

“No, no” she replied, “that would be very odd.”

I thought over that reply. From the time she was born, she has been so used to the routine of her father travelling every week. This ‘travel’ has been an integral part of the image she had of me and which she is quite comfortable with. A father who stayed at home all the time was something alien to what she was used to and something she could never come to terms with.

So, ‘Brand Appa’ involves one who doesn’t dye his hair, however grey and who keeps travelling three days a week. Any deviation to this set pattern, would meet the same fate as that of New Coke when it was launched with a new formula. Old Coke and Old Appa are vintage stuff you don’t tamper with..

The towering symbolism

I had the good fortune, this week, to stay in a hotel right next to the PETRONAS Towers in Kuala Lumpur and that offered a glorious view of the towers from my room. The twin towers dominated my attention right through the trip and I took many photographs, PETRONAS Towers at sunrise, PETRONAS Towers at sunset, PETRONAS towers at midnight. (In case my boss is reading this, I caught up with some work too, in between.)

Not surprisingly, the souvenir shops do brisk business in PETRONAS Towers timepieces, PETRONAS Towers paper weights, PETRONAS Towers key chains, etc.

This left me wondering why many cities in the world keep projecting such tall, man-made structures as their main symbols. Paris with its Eiffel Tower, London with its Big Ben, Pisa/Italy with its Leaning Tower, New York with its Statue of Liberty and, closer home, Tamilnadu with its tall gopurams, are prime examples. Does ‘tall’ represent ‘might’? Are these pseudo-phallic symbols? Why is Brand Paris built around the Eiffel tower which is just about 100 years old, when France has had a longer and richer history and could pick on other symbols?

Why is Malaysia obsessed with its PETRONAS Towers which were built a decade ago? Can’t it showcase its palm trees and rubber plantations which it has been known for, a much longer time? What were they selling as souvenirs, ten years back, when the Towers were not built?

I guess the answer lies in the fact that cities seek to promote something that is unique to them. You can’t find Eiffel Tower anywhere else. Or, for that matter, the Leaning Tower. So, there is instant association with the city. Instant brand recall. Also, it is far better to show off man-made structures to symbolize one’s strength. The Malaysians merely inherited the palm trees as part of Nature’s bounty, but the PETRONAS Towers symbolize something more- the resurgence and growing economic power of Malaysia.

If a country is as lucky as Australia is and an animal such as the kangaroo is known to live exclusively there, it can use that symbol as its own. If India claims the ‘elephant’ as its own and packs souvenir shops with ‘elephant mementoes’, so do Sri Lanka, Thailand and Malaysia. So, from an advertising standpoint, India is better off with the Taj Mahal or the Qutub Minar as its brand images.

Darwin and religion

In his latest book, “The God Delusion”, the celebrated science writer and evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins presents a hard-hitting rebuttal of all the usual arguments that dyed-in-the wool creationists put across. One of the questions posed by ‘propagandists for intelligent design’ to Darwinians is, “As you claim that everything in this world evolved through natural selection, isn’t it true that religion too was favoured by and was a logical, desired and inevitable outcome of natural selection?”

Dawkins acknowledges that this is a fair question and one that needs to be answered. The point, he says, assumes significance from standard Darwinian considerations of economy. Darwinian selection habitually targets and eliminates waste. Nature is a miserly accountant, grudging the pennies, watching the clock, punishing the smallest extravagance, rejecting that which is bad, preserving all that is good. If a wild animal habitually performs some useless activity, natural selection will favour rival individuals who devote the time and energy instead to surviving and reproducing.

On the other hand, Religion is so wasteful, so extravagant. It is time-consuming, energy-consuming and can endanger the life of the pious individual as well as the lives of others. Millions of people have been killed and hundreds of wars fought in the name of religion. Religion devours resources on a gigantic scale. A massive cathedral may consume several man-centuries to build, but is never used as a dwelling or for any recognizably useful purpose. Devout people have killed and died for their gods, whipped blood from their backs, sworn themselves to a lifetime of celibacy, all in the name of religion. What is it all for? What is the benefit of religion in the Darwinian sense of ‘enhancement to the survival of the individual’s genes”?

After examining various theories and possible explanations, Dawkins concludes that religion is a by-product, an unintended consequence of another natural process, the indoctrination of children in their formative years.

Natural selection builds child brains with a tendency to believe whatever their parents and tribal elders tell them. Such trusting obedience is valuable for survival. We survive by the accumulated experience of previous generations and that experience needs to be passed on to children for their protection and well-being. Theoretically children may learn by themselves not to go too near a cliff or to swim in crocodile-infested waters. But, there is a Darwinian advantage to child brains that possess the rule of thumb: believe, without question, whatever your grown-ups tell you. This is a generally valuable rule for a child and the species. That is why our brains are hardwired to obey elders unquestioningly.

But the flip side of trusting obedience is slavish gullibility. An automatic consequence is that the truster has no way of distinguishing good advice from bad. The child cannot know that an advice of “Don’t play with fire” is good whereas another advice of “You must sacrifice a goat at the time of full moon, otherwise the rains will fail” is a waste of time, as both admonitions are delivered by the same authorities, in a similar tone and sound equally trustworthy. Both have the same solemn earnestness that commands respect and demands obedience. And, it is very likely that when the child grows up and has children of her own, she will naturally pass on the ‘learning’ to her own children- nonsense as well as sense- using the same infectious gravitas of manner.

On this model, Dawkins argues, we should expect that, in different geographical regions, different arbitrary beliefs, none of which have any factual basis, will be handed down, to be believed with the same conviction as useful pieces of traditional wisdom as in “manure is good for the crops”. Superstitions will ‘logically’ evolve- change over generations- either through random drift or by some sort of analogue of Darwinian selection, given a fair wind by the useful programmability of the child brain.

Evolution of religion, Dawkins concludes, has therefore followed the well-known pattern of the Darwinian process, except that it is not the desired result but an unintended by-product. QED.

Update 05/03/07 : The New York Times has a different and interesting take on this issue. ( via)

Monday, February 05, 2007

The terrible betrayal

Entering the house after a long tour, I immediately sensed that something was wrong. My wife was behaving rather strangely. The furtive glance, the avoidance of eye contact, the surreptitious movement of the hands.. all added to my suspicion. Something sinister was afoot. I was convinced that she was cheating on me.

Without a word, I dropped my suitcase and laptop on to the sofa and headed for the bathroom. I washed my face and hands with the soap that I had picked up from Hotel Le Meridien last month, all the while trying to figure out what my wife had been up to. The white towel that I had.. er.. borrowed from Hotel Taj Landsend last week was on the hanger and I wiped myself, with that grim foreboding that precedes an awkward moment in one’s marriage.

The small bottle of talcum powder that I had thoughtfully put into my toilet kit when I had stayed at the Hotel Atria two weeks back, was still there next to the mirror and I applied it on my chest and back, cursing myself for relaxing my vigil and trusting my spouse completely.

Slipping on the bathrobe that I had sneaked out of the Grand Hyatt during my stay there two months back, I wondered what had happened to the good, old values that were the bedrock of marriages in the bygone era. When vows were held sacrosanct. When the spouse’s word was law. How did it all change, I muttered to myself, adjusting my feet into the white, furry slippers that I had brought back from the eco-friendly Orchid Hotel not long back.

It was then that my eyes fell on the incriminating evidence. I had spotted the source of our marital trouble the minute I entered the bedroom. The bedsheets!! They were new. They even had the price tag intact. When I had left on my tour, my wife had actually sneaked out of the house, gone into a shop and paid good money for the bed sheets.

I mean, money for the bed sheets! While exchanging marriage vows, hadn’t I explained to her clearly that, as long as I kept travelling and stayed in fancy hotels, we were assured of free supplies of shampoos, soap, towels, talcum powder, coat hangers, bathrobes, bed sheets? I had made her take a solemn pledge that she would never burn good money on these things ever in her life.

And I have been true to my word. I have flooded the house with shampoos of every colour , pink, blue, green, flicked from hotels from every corner of the world.. I have an entire suitcase filled with soaps of assorted size and shape and each carrying a distinct smell of the hotel it hailed from.. I have more talcum powder in the house than is manufactured by Pond’s in an entire year in all their factories. As for towels, there are enough white towels with insignias of the Taj, ITC, Hilton, etc to drape the entire lot of Chennai College girls with. It is true that I have been a little negligent about the bed sheets, but if only, oh if only, she had given me a hint, I would have picked up a few from the Intercontinental this time………

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The tie that kills

In his book “A writerly life”, a collection of essays, R.K.Narayan talked about his passion for good coffee and how he planned to write an entire book on the subject. He would start, he mused, by tracing the origin of the coffee plant, how the Spaniards and Arabs introduced it in India, etc. He would then go on to describe how coffee ought to be prepared, the right temperature, the optimal manner of mixing the different ingredients, the measured way of drinking, etc. But, he cautioned, the book would end on a bitter note and the last chapter would turn grim as he wrote about the high price of coffee, manipulated by the monopolistic Coffee Board.

Similarly, I plan to write a lengthy book on the sartorial styles that have been followed since the start of the human race.

The first chapter will deal with early Man tearing himself off from his primate ancestry, and beginning to wear fig leaves of different shapes and sizes. I will introduce a comical touch by describing the situations when the leaves were swept away by the howling winds, so common in that age.

The second chapter would go on to describe the dressing habits that existed in different civilizations. I will provide fascinating details, along with illustrations, of how the Egyptians wrapped themselves around in rolls of toilet paper to produce the ‘mummy effect’, how the Sumerians invented the cuneiform and the Harappans, the uniform. I will briefly touch on the genetic mutations that were triggered during this period that eventually led to evolution of jeans in the twentieth century.

The third chapter will be on India and I will write knowledgeably and eloquently about the Arrow shirts worn by the archers of the Ramayana period and the 9000-yard sari popularized by Draupadi in the Mahabharatha era. I will add a quotation from the Bhagvat Gita to show that I am an erudite scholar. Something on the lines of “Fire cannot burn me; water cannot wet me; clothes cannot dress me- Thus spoke Krishna to Arjuna”.

The fourth and fifth chapters will dwell on the elaborate costumes worn during the Maurya and Gupta periods and later when the Mughals ruled over India. Pictures of Babur, the Conanian in flowing robes, Akbar the owner of Akbarallys in his graceful nightie, and the sulking Shah Rukh Jahan, the promoter of the Taj group of hotels, will adorn the pages. Another famous king to be prominently featured in this section will be the inventor of the zip, Aurangezip.

In the sixth chapter, I will turn my attention to the influence of the British on the dressing habits of Indians, when the natives learnt to get into their trousers, how they were fascinated by the pockets, why they discarded their kurtas for the western shirt, etc.

Till this point, the book will contain generous doses of humour and numerous anecdotes and will be ‘light reading’. But, here I will warm to my theme, turn grim and get on to the final chapter.

This chapter will run to 584 pages and will be exclusively on the neck tie that westerners introduced to us. I will begin the chapter by hurling choice abuses at the lunatic who invented this contraption, then provide compelling evidence from medical journals on how the continued use of the tie actually constricted the jugular vein and choked the blood flow to the brain, resulting in overall mental retardation of all the inhabitants of the corporate world. I will summon expert opinion to elucidate the point that the neck tie is the root cause of all the problems in the world, including global warming, terrorism, mad cow disease and social upheavals in different parts of the globe. I will juxtapose the photograph of the final moments of Saddam Hussein with the noose around his neck, along with a photo of me in a neck tie, to drive home the message that the effect is same in both the cases. I will end the chapter with a clarion call to the world to abandon this piece of attire or appendage. “Gentlemen of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your insanity”.

So, coming soon to a bookstore near your house, my Magnum Opus“The tie that kills”.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Some regrets have I

Among the devotional songs that I have listened to, Rajaji’s composition “Kurai Onrum Illai”( “No Regrets Have I”), so beautifully rendered by M.S,Subbulakshmi, stands out for its positive tone. When every composer uses the medium of the song to cry out for help or to seek divine intervention and favour, here is Rajaji writing that he is totally contented and has absolutely no regrets in life.

My appreciation of this song went up even higher when I read this moving piece, four years back, in The Hindu, in which Gopal Gandhi, a grandson of Rajaji's, wonders what exactly was on the latter’s mind when he penned the masterpiece. Rajaji had had his share of misfortune and misery in his days and would he still have no regrets? Gopal Gandhi strongly believes that the song was written in memory of a nameless devotee, a so-called untouchable, who had been arrested for daring to enter the temple of Tirupathi, and whose case Rajaji had argued in Court and secured his release. The song, feels Gopal Gandhi, was in a manner of speaking, co-authored by Rajaji and the devotee, both of whom had ‘no regrets’ at what each had done; the devotee breaking the rule and Rajaji defying social mores of that era and fighting for the cause of securing his release from jail.

I was reminded of this when I read in the Deccan Chronicle recently that Brahmins had been kept out of the management of temples in Tamilnadu because, to quote the DMK secretary, Mr Elangovan, “We are only acting in favour of the people who had been so far kept out of temple administration. We have given such sections a chance now to be in charge of temple administration”.

The logic forwarded each time is the same. For centuries Brahmins suppressed the masses; it is only fair that they are placed under some handicap for a few decades, so that parity is restored”

Brahmins are certainly guilty of such discriminatory practices in the past, but as the story of Rajaji above and examples such as that of Madurai Vaidyantha Iyer prove, several Brahmins also led the fight against the injustice meted out. Second, it would simply not have been possible for Brahmins who constituted 3% of the population to suppress the masses all by themselves without the active support and collusion of the rulers, warriors and traders who were all from other communities. If Brahmins are guilty, so are a host of others. All of them deserve to be placed under some handicap.

This entire logic of correcting the sins of the past by placing handicaps today should be applied uniformly. So, how about stripping the rich Chettiars of the wealth that they have accumulated over the centuries and distributing it to all sections of society? Why should the Pillais be allowed to keep their stranglehold over Bharatnatya traditions? Shouldn’t they be denied the privilege of serving as dance gurus for a century or so? Haven’t the owners of SUN TV enjoyed a monopolistic run for several years now? Don’t they deserve to be placed under a handicap for a couple of decades and the cable rights passed on to others to enjoy?

This is insane. No civilized society should be wasting its collective energy in constantly harping on the past and in correcting selectively the ‘wrongs’ of history. Shouldn’t we be moving on?