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Some of my better-written blogposts on various topics:

  • How writing helps us heal: Writing as a therapyIn the age of social-media fueled narcissistic fetishism, the very suggestion of writing about one’s problems invariably invites scorn if not disinterest. However, research indicates that there’s more to this than meets the eye. Writing about personal trauma has a miraculous healing power.
  • 7 years of Blogging : Seven years ago I wrote my first blogpost this day more to seize the joy of seeing my writing in digital print than any literary ambition. The irony of launching it on Valentine’s Day won't be lost on my friends – couldn’t a boring philosopher-aspirant find a better day? Nonetheless, the occasion offers an opportune time to survey my work.
  • The quest for the perfect Hyderabad Irani Tea : Before affluenza took over the Y2K generation, Irani Cafes were the most popular meeting venue for the cash-strapped teens. I dive into nostalgia about the popular Irani cafes and chai.
  • Why your vote doesn't matter ! : I argue that without internal democracy in political parties, the people are only under the delusion of having the power to change governance through their vote.
  • Chetan Bhagat : His Literary Style and Criticism : Many critics question Chetan Bhagat's literary merit (or lack of it). Many journalists ridicule CB’s style of writing and his oversimplistic portrayals of characters sans nuance or sophistication. I argue that criticizing the style is a vain effort with examples. 
  • Rediscovering K Vishwanath's Legacy : K. Vishwanath, a pan-Indian filmmaker whose (major) works incidentally happen to be in Telugu, is among the handful of Indian directors whose works (less than 25 films) created memorable characters that would stand the test of time. 
  • Understanding Muslim opposition to Vande Mataram : I try to understand the Muslim arguments against Vande Mataram and answer the apprehensions. I also argue State's intervention in religious affairs, which has been the breeding ground for religious conflicts in India.
  • Is Facebook making you bitter ? : Sometimes, I’m inclined to think that Social Media [Facebook prominently] – its peerless contribution to our lifestyle notwithstanding – isn’t making us more social. Instead I’ve observed a downward trend – of otherwise capable & happy people being consumed by jealousy & envy upon seeing their friends happier and more successful. I argue what's at fault here and how this trend could be mitigated.
  • The Art of Deduction from Sherlock Holmes : In one of those lazy hostel nights in 2004, as my repeated attempts to sleep were futile, I finally gave up and looked for diversion. By sheer good luck, my roommate just procured a copy of Complete Collection of Adventures of Sherlock Holmes which was lying on the table while he was away at a friend’s room. My fond memories and takeaways from Sherlock Holmes.
  • Reason Behind IT Success Story of India : I often used to wonder how Indians with little prior access to computers became a global player in IT industry within a short span. There were multiple forces – the combined effect of which led to the explosion of IT market in India. Here I approach this from a different perspective based on my understanding of Indian culture.

Richard Crasta:

  • The Obama legacy on race : “How can you talk about racism any longer, when a black man is the president, the most powerful human being on earth?” At least this is how legitimate concerns about the enduring racial discrimination are papered down, feels author Richard Crasta in his latest offering "The Many Faces of Barack Obama and Race in America: An Immigrant's View"
  • "The Killing of an Author" by Richard Crasta : Review : Outside the fictional landscape of The Fountainhead, how would a real-life Howard Roark fare? What might be the fate of an individualistic professional who stubbornly chooses to struggle for what he believes to be true and right instead of compromising his vision and values? The non-fictional counterpart of The Fountainhead may as well be “The Killing of an Author”. 
  • “Eaten by the Japanese” by John Baptist Crasta : Book Review : A published author with critical acclaim chances upon his father’s handwritten manuscript in a rusting steel trunk and discovers a “tale of unmitigated horror”. Besides stray references, the father would never reveal the true depths of despair he underwent. For this was a job his son was destined to undertake. 


All-time Hits

The Controversial Caste System of Hinduism

Imagine concepts like feudal system, slavery, capitalistic exploitation and anti-Semitism being used to define the core of Christianity! Christians will be outraged at this inappropriate mixing of the core universal values of Christians and societal & historical aspects which merely existed in a Christian world.
Now this raises the question – why is caste system defined as the core of Hinduism? Especially as “caste” itself is a western construct. Sounds irrelevant?
Okay. Now imagine concepts like slave-trade, war on infidels, brutal subjugation of masses, temple destruction, and forceful conversions marking the core of Islam.
It is considered sensible to first understand what the core scriptures speak about the religion and its universal values. The ills of the community & its societal aspects are differentiated from its core philosophy.
Now, this brings us to the most interesting question – why is Caste System (caste based on birth) propagated to be the defining feature of Hindu…

Chetan Bhagat : His Literary Style and Criticism

Chetan Bhagat’s (CB) recent column created a furore, chiefly because of his audacity to speak for Muslim community and what many people conflate with his support for Narendra Modi’s Prime Ministerial ambitions.  
But what interested me most - and what this post would focus on - is questioning of his literary merit (or lack of it). Many journalists ridicule CB’s style of writing and his oversimplistic portrayals of characters sans nuance or sophistication. But I suspect this has more to do with the fact that his readers alone far outnumber the combined readers of many journalists - a point that many don’t appear capable of digesting.
No takers for layman’s language!
When Tulsidas rewrote Ramayana in Avadhi (a local contemporary dialect then), many conservative sections of society came down heavily upon him for defiling the sanctity of a much revered epic (originally written in Sanskrit). When Quran was first translated in Urdu (by Shah Abdul Qadir in 1798), it faced intense opposition by …

The concept of Dharma in Ramayana

The concept of Dharma is not adequately understood by Hindus themselves, not to mention others. Dharma is not a set of do’s and don’t’s or a simplistic evaluation of good and bad. It requires considerable intellectual exertion to even begin understanding Dharma, let alone mastering its use.

Is Dharma Translatable?
Few words of a language cannot be faithfully translated into another without injuring its meaning, context & spirit. English translations of Dharma are blurred and yield words like religion, sense of righteousness, discrimination between good and bad, morals and ethics or that which is lawful. All these fall short of fully grasping the essence of Dharma.
Every language has an ecosystem of words, categories and grammar which allow a user to stitch words together to maximum effect such that meaning permeates the text without necessarily being explicitly explained at each point. Sanskrit words such dharma, karma, sloka, mantra, guru etc., now incorporated in English, lose thei…

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