India Of My Dreams: A Presentation

A presentation I made along with Kushagra Agarwal in 2011 for the IPSC IT Fest. Its relevance remains the same.

Background Music: ‘Tabla and Bansuri Duo’ by Zakir Hussain and Hariprasad Chaurasia and ‘Aashayein’ by Salim Merchant from the movie Iqbal

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Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Only Filmed Interview

Here’s a video that is believed to be Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s only filmed interview. He talks about Sherlock Holmes. It is interesting to see him say ‘The rather stupid Dr. Watson’. In this video he appears to be a kind, calm and composed man. He also talks about spirituality (Doyle was a strong advocate of the existence of spirits and their effects on humans). 

This video was shot about three years before he died. It is definitely a treat for all Sherlock Holmes fans!

Paperman: Classy Love Story From Disney

Paperman is an amusing and ingenious short animated love story from Disney. It recently received a nomination for Best Animated Short Film at the 85th Academy Awards (Update Feb 24, 2013: Paperman has bagged the Oscar Award!) It’s simple, black-and-white, 2D animation that is captivating from start to finish. Don’t miss this video.

Independent Thinking v/s Conformism

Should we learn ourselves or learn from others? What is the value of creative thinking?

Socrates lived during a time when he was awarded death for being an independent thinker. We have definitely moved on since then.

Independent thinkers are those people who don’t really pay much heed to the generally believed thoughts and actions of the society. They strive to learn things themselves and establish their own rules and customs through experience. Why should we learn from ourselves? Because an independent thinker is one who applies rationale and prudence before thinking or believing something. This creative thought and rationale may not always sound positive to the members of a society, it often ends up being criticized, at least initially, by conformists and conservatives, but yes, it does lead to a change to the way things are looked at by the masses.

Who could think that colonial rule can be fought and done away with, without the use of physical might? Gandhi did and eventually changed people’s perceptions towards fighting the wrong. Peaceful rallies, signature campaigns, candle light vigils, fasts unto death and many other forms of protests used by the citizens of today’s world are based on this revolution of ‘fighting peacefully’ that Gandhi brought to his nation.

Every human is a unique piece of thought, wisdom, belief and understanding. When people start learning from others, their unique thoughts are interfered with, and eventually forgotten. Such people don’t contribute to the society, they only add to it. Worse, they don’t let others contribute to their society because of strict conformism. A society where people don’t realize that they have the ability to ‘think different’ is a sad place because strong conformism hampers evolution and growth, or simply change, but change happens to be the only constant.

During a time when Earth was believed to be a flat disc, there came Pythagoras with his own theory in the 6th century BC that the Earth was spherical. While he had no logical base to what he propounded, it was this independent, out of the way, creative thought that eventually led to Aristotle proving (around 330 BC) that this was true.

To conclude, it is independent thought that preserves logic and sanity in this world. Had there been no independent thinkers, this world would still be flat, the moon would be made of green cheese and many of us would probably have been sacrificed to please the Almighty while Satan laughed out loud upon us.

Corruption in Public Life has Ruined the Country Beyond Limit

I wrote this essay for the Pratiyogita Darpan Essay Competition, November 2012.

Every democracy of the world stands on the pillars of the concept of democracy. India is no different. The pillars of the Indian Democracy are its judiciary, legislature, executive and the media. Democratic environment cannot be expected or displayed by the citizens of India until they wholly trust these pillars. It is hence increasingly important for these pillars to be transparent, just and most importantly, trustworthy.

A sudden spate of newspaper reports, CAG audits and RTI replies have revealed massive corruption amongst the public servants of India. Apart from blemishing India’s reputation internationally, this revelation has led to superlative anger internally, especially in the mind of the common man of India. He is hurt and appalled because the pride he carried along his shoulders of living in a democratic India has been severely injured. Such is his anger that he finds himself leaving his job and work to go to the streets and participate in nationwide protests and rallies against the Government. How terrible is this situation! When citizens of a democracy try to take on the Government of a nation, it results in nothing else except chaos, because in such cases, all the pillars of democracy are severely affected: The judiciary finds itself scrutinizing its own judges and advocates or solving corruption cases; the legislature cannot sit in the houses of democracy and debate on new issues as it finds itself embroiled in image-tainting charges; the executive is unable to focus on the nation as it is immersed in protecting the image of its party for the next elections; the media sources forget issues of larger importance like murders, robberies and female assaults and report only about the newly found (though not proved) charges against any minister. No common sense or logic of the world can hence stop the common man from getting frustrated and coming out to the streets. Public harassment may endanger his morals, but corruption invariably endangers the morals of the nation he dwells in.

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