Jamie… Jamie… Jaime and the magic torch

Jamie and the magic torch was one of the kids programmes shown on the television, when I was a kid. Recently while testing something I put in some value as Jamie and it triggered that memory. In the evenings after school, we used to play at ambala-parambu (temple grounds), and I used to be back from the ground in time to watch Jamie and the magic torch on doordarshan.

Jamie had a magic torch. Jamie’s mom would tell good night to him and his dog, and as soon as she left, they both would get up, and jamie will shine the magic torch on the floor. On the floor will appear a tunnel through which jamie and his dog wordsworth would go to another world altogether. I could virtually see them sliding down a spiral structure, coming out from the hollow base of a tree, bouncing on a square platform with cirlces drawn on it(I now know its a trampoline) and landing. I could remember the character of a policeman, who will eat his baton and take another one from under his hat.

A quick search on google brought the characters right in front with all the pictures of the above events, I got the theme music of that show as well {listen/download}. The theme music is really good. It was really surprising to find that some of my colleagues also remembered this programme, the only difference, that they watched it in UK, when they were kids.

The other programs that I remember, which tied us to the telly set in
childhood were Giant Robot, He-man and the masters of the universe and Spider man. The favourite of them being Giant Robot. Giant Robot was the hero, controlled by a japanese kid by speaking into his wrist watch. Giant Robot could fly, and was really strong and big, and took on all the evil enemies.

I remember a particular episode, where the evil scientist creates a liquid which dissolves everything that comes into its path. The liquid reaches Giant robot, and I sat there hoping that the Giant robot will fly away. To my horror, the giant robot is also dissolved by the liquid. The evil villian is all set to win, giant robot is no more and then suddenly the giant robot appears on the sky! He was flying all the time! The one which dissolved was just a decoy! I was so happy to see giant robot win again.

Rewriting purusasukta.

In her column titled “Rewrite Purusa Sukta” Ms.Ghose, i believe, goes a step too far to present her case convincingly

Every upper caste child grows up with a mind’s eye image of the “achyut”, the “untouchable”, the “scheduled caste”. The imagined Untouchable is perpetually filthy just as the Brahmin is perpetually pure.

To begin with, in hindi the word for untouchable I belive is “achoot” and not “achyut”. Maybe the its just misspelt by the author. Achyut is a sanskrit word. Chyut in sanskrit can be roughly translated as fallible or destructible or perishable, and achyut means exactly the opposite. Word “Achyut” is used as a synonym for Krishna. I was an “upper caste” child, and I dont remember any image I had in mind for the “achoot”, as said by the author.

Today, many dalit writers argue that India will never be a modern society unless the Purusa-sukta of the Rig Veda is re-written.

The argument that by re-writing purushasukta indian society will change, is like arguing that by re-writing Old testament we can solve the Israel-Palestine conflict. This seems like an product of clouded thinking. Purushasukta as far as I know, is a brilliant poetry about the supreme personality. Whenever I have heard it, I have just wondered at the brilliance of the sages who wrote it.

I beleive the author is trying to bring out the dilemma the “contemporary dalit” to choose between shedding the image of “dalit-ness” and join the mainstream society or hold tight to the “dalit-ness” image and fight for more rights with that image. If the later is chosen, the mentioned progress to the “modern society” will undoubtedly be hampered.

ps: I remember couple of the beginning lines of purusha-sukta. It goes as follows

Sahasra-sheerisha purshaha, Sahasraaksha, sahasrapaad
Sa-bhoomim Vishwato vritwah, Athyathishta dasaangulam
Purusha-evedagum sarvam – yat bhootam ya-chcha bhavyam

Literal meaning translates as, Purusha is one with thousand heads, thousand eyes and thousand feet. He pervades Earth and universe and he extends 10 finger lengths beyond that also. He is everywhere, he is in the past (whatever happened in the past) as well as in the future (whatever will happen in the future). The beauty of this verse lies in its sheer poetry – they way the sages have described the indescribable omnipresent being in verses. Its just mind boggling.

Interesting new game

BSP leader Kanshi Ram creates ruckus at Lucknow station. How long India has to be in the hands of such politicians. Isnt it high time these people are booted out and replaced by some sensible ones. Or is it that our public deserve such people only. After all they are supposed to be representatives of people.

In another news, a new game has begun in the famed Uttar Pradesh. Its only open for politicians, so no normal people allowed. Currently its played between Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi party. The rules of the games are simple. I file cases against your party’s people, you file cases against mine and on and on. I conduct a rally for any reason, and you conduct another one and on and on and in between some people die in the rally. Points are scored on the basis of more number of cases, the number of rallies, number of people dying and more stress you cause to administrative system. For politicians, its a free game, played using tax payers money, some innocent peoples lives and added burden to the law enforcement authorities (then again, law enforcement is mainly for protecting these games)

Search for the past

Graham hancock’s Lost civilisations was shown on the discovery channel recently. Graham hancock apparently is the proponent of a thoery that, the civilizations thrived around the world during the last ice age. The end of ice age and the resultant rise in the sea level, saw their desctruction. The end of the last ice age is linked to the occurance of flood in all the leading myths around the world.

In the programme he verifies the possibility of a bygone civilisation, now under sea, in the gulf of cambay(off Gujarat coast). Recent discoveries in that area using marine technologies show possible existance of two large prehistoric sites below sea. Some of the materials recovered from the sea, has been dated to around 6500 BC with carbon dating method. But this need to be confirmed conclusively. [link]

With the current archealogical evidence, human civilisation in the indian subcontinent began with the indus valley civilisation. German scholar max muller proposed the theory of aryan invasion, where the nomads orginally from europe invaded the region of Iran and India, pushing the deemed dravidian civilisation of the Indus valley. They are, as per the Aryan invasion theory the beginners of vedic civilisation.

This theory was widely accepted, and is still taught in most of the academia. This theory started to crumble as there was no clear evidence of any massacre or invasion as such of the Indus valley civilisation. This eventually gave way to the Aryan migration theory, where over a period of time the Aryans moved to Indian subcontinent and forced the dravidians south. These still remain thoeries as the evidence to conclusively support them is still missing.

On the other hand recent geological and archealogical discovery has done more to shake the foundation of the Aryan invasion theory as well as the Aryan migration theory. The evidence of existance of a long dried up river through the present day Rajasthan and Gujarat, has given birth to the theory of Saraswati valley civilisation. As per this theory the vedic civilisation thrived on the banks of river saraswati, and the indus valley civilisation is the last link of that civilisation. An interesting debate is brewing between the Aryan invasion theory and the Saraswati valley civilisation theory.

More archealogical discovery needs to be done before conclusively establishing the history of the subcontinent. But its interesting to note that the leftists and the right-ists have already taken sides in this theories conflict. Unfortunately it seems like that the history will be written based on the idealogies rather than based on the scientific evidence.

The rising fascism?

I was reading through excerpts from interview with Khushwant singh in indian express.

The Hindutva Government is not treating all its nationals as one, on the same footing — I know for a fact that there is discrimination against the Muslims and Christians.

And I was still under the impression that India is currently under NDA government. After reading the article and the comments, I really began to wonder, the meaning of secularism. I might not be wrong in worrying that soon nationalism will be termed fascism in India.

India for moon

As per the news, Indian scientists are planning to send a spacecraft to moon. It this goes as per plan with the government go ahead, it will be a major milestone in our history.

It would have been even better, if they started planning to mars instead of moon. But maybe the distance, timescale and lack of data might have prompted to make the destination Moon. It will be a great day for india and indians when the successfull mission to moon will be accomplished.

Update: Article on outlook about the moon mission.