Monday, May 25, 2015

More on the Sanskrit Script

Ever since I wrote that old post on the structure of the Sanskrit script, one question has been nagging me.

If you were creating the structure of the script, why would you make it phonetic? A script is for writing. I would group it by the shape of letters, or any other way that learning the writing is easier. Why make it phonetic? Phonetic is the opposite of Written - it focuses on listening.

And then it hit me: The Vedas are called "Shruti" because they were passed down orally - they were heard before they were written. They had to be committed to memory. To ensure that the meaning is also passed down accurately, the pronunciation and enunciation had to be near perfect.

THAT'S WHY ITS PHONETIC - because it was NOT the structure of an alphabet at all - it was the structure of a language - the writing came later - much, much later.

The language was scientifically structured long before people thought of even writing it. The script, when it appeared, was simply adapted to the spoken alphabet.

Why is that revolutionary? Because the alphabet of any language is the core of the script. Popular thinking says that we need the alphabet for writing. Dialects like Tulu, Magadhi etc have no alphabet. They are simply learnt by speaking.
Creating a structured set of sounds that are relevant, then breaking it down into vowels and consonants, separating the consonants further by their phonetic relevance, is the work of an extremely scientific community. One that required intelligence and ingenuity. They were people to whom, for some reason, it was important to ensure that all relevant sounds are codified and memorised exactly.
So why would such an intelligent civilisation not consider writing?

I can think of 2 possible reasons -

1., That in their circumstances, they were unable to procure writing material - papyrus or other paper material, quills, ink etc.

2. They were a nomadic civilisation. They needed to be on the move and could not have carried their vast and bulky knowledge resources with them. Therefore, knowledge was committed to memory and passed from generation to generation.

I have, in connection with the Indus Valley civilisation, come across a very interesting hypothesis that states that perhaps the Indian peninsula was the birth place of the Aryans, and they went everywhere from here. This would lend credence to that idea - but a nomadic civilisation that is running away from India is not likely to completely forget its alphabet.
This indicates that the structuring of language, the research and scientific work was done by the Aryans of India, presumably after the migration of the other Aryans.

Your thoughts?

Friday, May 15, 2015

Dr. Rajesh Uppal Feedback/Review

Sharing from a group. Shame on all those parents who did not expect a 20 month old to sit still. I mean.. how can a 20 month old child not know how to behave?! The wise doctor has it all figured out - spank the child.

Today an incident has left me numb..We took Amyra to Dr Uppals Diagnostic center in NDSE since they r the best in their field however I only returned with disgust..A 20 month old spanked right in front of parents all cuz she was crying to stay still while the ...doc Dr Rajesh Uppal took his own tym to do the ultrasound..The baby lay in shock and now obviously scared of even a thought of visiting a doc..also parents are told "Tell her ill spank her again if she doesnt stay still"," Dont comfort her with nonsense(cuz i was telling her baby ur best frnd is cmng to meet u ) he said tell her she must lay still""You must be strict with ur child else she ll become more adamant"Aise toh pal gaye apke bache..im angry,miffed and numb cuz i couldnt say a word cuz we are to believe docs are supreme but my silence till now had been killing me..i need to report this cuz how can a doc spank a lil one so hard thinking he ll get away with this and throw unsolicited parenting advise.. Pl help by sharing!!

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Restrictive Trade Practice at Hospitals in India

Soo.. I have been thinking of this for a while, and now want to ask - What makes hospitals retain patient records? When you are admitted, you are not allowed to see your own file. Why is that?

The way I see it, the only person who owns their health papers, is the patient. They are adults with sound mental capacity. They are perfectly capable of taking decisions. The only obligation of the hospital is to provide sound medical advice.

Hospitals retaining any papers at the time of discharge is not just a violation of the patient's privacy, it is also a Restrictive Trade Practice under the MRTP Act, 1970.

So, why would hospitals do such a thing?

Monday, April 27, 2015

शब्दों के खेल

शब्दों के खेल 
से हेर फेर 
मुमकिन है 
कुछ ही देर 

सत्य की विवशता है 
प्रकट होना
 

Monday, April 06, 2015

The Good Rich People and the Not so Good Poor


We grew up on the idea that rich people are "bad" and poor people are "nice". That the rich get that way through sucking other people's blood, and the poor remain poor because of the circumstances created by the rich.

I have been thinking of that idea a lot lately, and have arrived at a (purely personal) conclusion.. that the said idea is..BS. The only other widely accepted piece of BS that I know of is the Bell curve used for "Performance Management"  in companies around the world every year.

But, coming back to the idea of rich is bad and poor is good. Look around you.. at the "bad" rich people. What are they doing? They are donating to charity. They are living good, comfortable lives. They are also spending time with their families (as against the filmi stereotype of the rich mother who abandons her children with the nanny to go party), and they are doing things that "normal" people are supposed to do. When you hear the truly rich, you realise they are not just intelligent, they have worked hard, and they have been disciplined.

These people who are climbing the economic ladder, took the laborious route of education and industry. They produced fewer children and gave them better education.

And what are the "good" poor people doing? They are multiplying their numbers, guided by some very strong religious fervour, doing their duty to the religion before they have done their duty to their own offspring. They are also participating in riots, engaging in road rage, petty crime, and in general.. remaining poor so that they can demand a greater part of govt benefits. They look to the govt to solve all their problems - the children were borne by them but must be educated by the govt. They went to work overseas and sent the money to their families, but the rescue operation must be run by the govt, which, by the way, must persuade them that it is indeed, too dangerous to stay on. You see, we Indians can't see a civil war coming.

Of course these are sweeping stereotypes. Of course there are good poor people who are truly there either because of their luck or because of circumstances (read: Agriculture).

But the ones who are there, and remain there, because of their insistence on producing more children than they can feed, they cannot be counted among the "good" poor people. The ones who do not go for rehab, because if they are alcoholics, it gives them licence to keep beating the wife and children, they are not among the "good" poor people. The ones who insist that religion must guide their mistakes, but the State must pay for them, they are not the "good" poor people.

And therefore, that story that you read in your childhood - make that multiple stories, about the "good" poor people who earn their bread through honest means and the "bad" rich people who must necessarily have exploited others to become rich.. it was wrong.

NOT ALL POOR PEOPLE ARE GOOD. NOT ALL RICH PEOPLE ARE MEAN. End of thought.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Foundational Skills that Children Need

I was talking to my friend about Foundational Skills that children need, but our schools don't teach. This is what we came up with. Add to the list, or share thoughts about items on this list:

A. Speed Reading: Because, well, that skill is the reason I passed a lot of courses at IIM Cal. And the reason one could watch a movie every single night, not study during the day, and still manage board exams - classes 10 to 12.

B. Mental Maths/ Vedic Maths: Not so much for the ski...ll itself, but I found that this one thing trained the mind in a different way. I was able to process information very differently.

C. Logic Puzzles

D. Poetry Appreciation: Because, well, I can do a whole lecture on the importance of understanding metaphors if we have to do strategy.

E. Financial Literacy.

F. Citizenship.

G. Civic Sense: Yep. You read that here first.

H. Reading the Law: I WISH more young people knew HOW to read the law. You don't have to know the law itself, but most laws, at least in India, are available online. We just have to learn to not be scared of them.

I. Meditation

J. Communication : In particular, how to structure your communication. Think Before you Speak, and something like that.

K. Deportment: Body Language. Not in an artificial, formulaic way, but the simple things like posture, table manners, not fidgeting etc.

L. Theater: For self expression, for empathy, and for public presentation. If there is a panacea in education, theatre comes pretty close to it.

M. Agriculture: Cmon.. how can the education system ignore the GREATEST employer of the country? 60% of this country survives on agriculture.. and our kids don't have this at school?

Go On, do share your list, or comment on the items here.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

We really, really dont give a damn!

I did  a poll on facebook for my male friends.. the poll was:
So, this question is being asked in all seriousness.. and the poll is only for my male friends. When you get dressed in the morning for work(or in the evening for a social event), how many times do you wonder what the women on the street are going to think when they see you?
A. WTF! I don't think of what anyone will think. I dress for the occasion.
B. Once maybe.
C. About 3-4 times. I then adjust my dress n go out looking appropriately dressed.
D. All the time! I even wonder whether I am showing too much skin.

Most of them answered with A. Someone said the answer choices should read: A. Whatever is on top. B. Whatever the hell my wife/daughter wants me to wear.. and so on.

The next day, I wrote this:
 
***************
Dear Friends: Thank you for validating the idea that when we dress up for the day, or the evening, we do NOT think about what women on the street will think of us. The only approvals we seek are from our family or those who are important to us. But before that, the only approval we seek is our own.
It might come as a surprise to you that women do the EXACT same thing.
So, when we wear short clothes, it might come as a surprise of some sort that we do it for ourselves. If you... find that offensive, or "asking for it" - Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.
Some of you might want to think that women are this male obsessed sub species that thinks all the time about how some random on road character is interpreting her dress, so it will come as a huge shock to you - the people we spend the most time thinking of, is our families. And friends. We don't think about other people. AT ALL. Just like you.
If you are on my friends list, chances are, that you already believe this. It is now time to go out there and have conversations that indicate to other men that women really, really, don't give a damn about what strangers think.

Bhanvar, Moh Maya, and Leela

भंवर
Once, there was a boy who entered a labyrinth. The deeper he entered, the more complex it became. The more he tried to understand it, the more confusing it got. Finally, he cried out to his teacher for help.

मोह माया
The teacher smiled, and told him that there are 2 ways to get out of the labyrinth. The first option, is to persevere, understand and find ways to exit.

लीला
The second, is to retrace your steps, understand the labyrinth for what it is, and walk around it. When you start, you know it is a game , but when you go in, it becomes your reality.


They are both noble choices. They both teach.