Sunday, February 28, 2010

A total waste of time

The recent round of talks between India's Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir ended, as expected, with nothing.

Consider this: while Rao was asked to discuss only terrorism, Bashir came with the 'core issues' viz., Kashmir (a perennial 'issue') and water disputes (a fairly new 'issue' that Pakistan has brought up). So, with both secretaries briefed on two different issues, what progress could have been hoped for?

So, what's the problem? The problem is that the priorities are all wrong. For India, terrorism is the top issue because Pakistani jihadists are continuously attacking Indian interests, be it in India or in Afghanistan. Despite International pressure, Pakistan has now clamped down on terrorist groups and they continue to act freely. Moreover, Pakistan will neither extradite nor prosecute some of India's most wanted criminals.

Now, the Kashmir issue is a favourite of Pakistan's. They know that they will not get anything (as J&K was legally handed over to India by the Maharaja), so they talk about Internationalizing the issue and asking for third-party mediation, which India has rightly rejected again and again.

And then there is the issue of water, more specifically the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT). The truth is that the nation of Pakistan is comprised of one province (Punjab) and three second-class provinces. It is the Punjab province that is taking water away from all other provinces, Sindh in particular. To cover these regional imbalances, which Islamabad never hopes to solve given the dominance of Punjab over national politics, Pakistan blames India (as usual). If Pakistan wants to solve its water woes, it should ensure more equitable development and water distribution, instead of asking India to give it more water (which Punjab would take away anyway). And, if there are any actual issues with India, the IWT has an excellent mechanism to redress it without secretary-level intervention or even a composite dialogue.

Given the lack of faith between the two countries, it seems impossible to hold any talks. Any held in the near future will also be wasteful. The Indian External Affairs Minister and the prime Minister must explain clearly as to why talks, stalled after 26/11, were suddenly restarted. Was it American pressure? The people must know.

Lastly, the Government must heed the call of the BJP and allow a parliamentary debate on foreign policy vis-a-vis Pakistan to be held. That's the only way the mood of India can be guaged.

The New Block: The First Collage

Collage of photos taken upto Jan 26, 2010.

Why and How








The last few months have seen the DPT campus virtually turn into a construction site, with the most prominent work being the building behind the Academic Block. InDePTh did some research into the new building and the results are exciting to say the least. Here’s what we have:


General Information

The building is named, as of now, the Technical Building of IIT Roorkee, Saharanpur Campus. Classic Engineers Ltd., Delhi has been assigned the task of building it by NBCC, which was given IITR’s original contract. The eight storied building will be completed in about a year and a half from the day construction began (Nov. 21, 2009). At the end, the building will be a magnificent, fully glazed building costing between Rs. 18-20 crores with a plinth area of 1150 sq m. About 200-250 labourers will work to build it.


Classic Engineers has built several prestigious projects before, such as Rohtak Technical Institute, Haryana and the Maruti Plant in Gurgaon.


Floor by floor

The first floor will mostly be devoted to administrative affairs, with an administration and accounts section, the Office of the Dean, Saharanpur Campus and a room for his PA. In addition, a chemistry lab and the first computer lab will be on this floor. The terminals to three elevators and three staircases will also be visible here. Lastly, there will be a conference hall.


The second floor will be connected to the existing building (much like what we see today with the existing technical block). The second and third computer labs as well as two research labs will be located here.


The third floor will have a new Physics lab, two more research labs, faculty rooms and a hall for research scholars. The fourth floor will house a new Electronics and Instrumentation Lab, a new Electrical Engineering Lab and four faculty rooms.


The fifth floor will have a faculty lab and, for the first time in DPT, an Audio/Visual Lab as well as a virtual classroom for management students. The sixth floor will play a crucial role in expanding the campus, with two new, state-of-the-art Polymer Science and Technology labs, more research labs and faculty rooms.


Lastly, the top floor will house the Central Instrumentation Facility, a chemistry lab, research labs and faculty rooms.


The building is also expected to contain a new library.


Capacity


With the campus slated to take in a lot more students and scholars (the strength is expected to rise to 800), the new building will be ideal to meet the increased requirement. The capacity of each lecture hall, which will be equipped with modern facilities, will be around 150 students, with a few larger halls expected to hold a whopping 300 students. There will also be smaller classrooms with a capacity of sixty students each.


Conclusion


The new technical building signals exciting times ahead for DPT. More students, bigger and better labs and more faculty members will change the face of the campus. The new building will dwarf all others and become the new face of the Saharanpur Campus. Now, it’s up to the students to shape the new spirit of a new campus.


(This is the original article published in In DePTh, co-authored by me, Shubham and Sreedhar)

Meet the IOTY09: Dr. Manmohan Snigh



Dr. Manmohan Singh was born in modern-day Pakistan. He often describes himself as an 'accidental politician' and is regarded as an 'incorruptible' individual with his personal standards.

Dr. Singh became Prime Minister, it seems, by a sheer twist of fate as Sonia Gandhi denounced the position in 2004. Since then, the former Union Finance Minister and former Delhi School of Economics Professor, has been leading the world's largest democracy toward its ultimate goal of becoming a superpower.

Dr. Singh, who has a scholarship at Cambridge named after him, has been the first Prime Minister since Nehru to irreversible change India's destiny. From a small, indebted agrarian nation to a massive, trillion-dollar plus economy that is an engine of world growth, Dr. Singh has overseen the transformation of the Indian economy.

Described as a soft-spoken, gentle individual who is a 'good listener,' Dr. Singh's persona makes him highly popular amongst the masses, so much so that the 'Advani for PM' campaign backfired completely because it made personal comments against him.

His six years and counting as Prime Minister of India have seen him change from a quiet person to a strong, serious politician and an impeccable administrator. And as he changed, so did the nation.

Indian of the Year 2009


Indian of the Year
Dr. Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India
For being the first Prime Minister to be re-elected for a second consecutive term and changing the face of India as we know it.

Commemorative Award
AR Rahman
For making history by becoming the first Indian to win two Oscars and, in the process, giving hope to a new generation of musicians.

POLITICAL AWARDS

Troublemaker of the Year
K Chandrashekhar Rao, President of the TRS
For plunging a stable state into turmoil and encouraging rioting and arson.

Politician of the Year
Jairam Ramesh, Minister for Environment and Forests
For leading the developing world during COP15, Copenhangen and setting a green agenda for India.

Memorable visit of the Year
Prime Minister's visit to the US
For enhancing Indo-US ties with the Obama administration.

COMMUNITY AWARDS

Best State of the Year
Karnataka and Tamil Nadu (shared)
For engaging in 'statue diplomacy' and showing the way in cultural understanding and tolerance amongst Indian states.

City of the Year
New Delhi
For impressive gains made in infrastructure and public awareness over the past few years ahead of the Commonwealth Games Delhi 2010.

MEDIA AWARDS

Best Talk Show
The Big Fight, NDTV 24x7
For the episode on 'Hindi as a National language,' which questioned the sagacity in making Hindi a national language even though a good proportion of India does not speak it.

Best Entertainment Channel
Channel [V]
For coming out with a slew of innovative reality shows.

Best News Channel
CNN-IBN
For excellent, unparalleled election coverage.

Best Movie
Paa
For creating public awareness about a rare genetic disorder while also entertaining the masses.

Best Actor
Ranbir Kapoor
For his emotive, eye-catching acting in Wake Up Sid!


Documentary of the Year
The Story of Maths, BBC World
An engaging, insightful understanding into the world of Maths which, unlike most others in this area, did not ignore the contribution of Eastern mathematicians.

Ad of the Year
Vodafone's ZooZoos
For bringing innovation to the world of advertising and eliminating the need for animals in ads.

SPORTS AWARDS

Sportsperson of the Year
Saina Nehwal (Badminton)
For taking Indian badminton to new heights and in the process, popularising another sport.

Memorable Event
India becoming Cricket Test No. 1.


BUSINESS AWARDS

Businessman of the Year
Subir Raha, Chairman, ONGC Ltd.
For pushing the company forward to becoming a gloabl oil and gas player.

Company of th Year
Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL)
For taking strategic steps in ensuring India's energy security througth atomic power

New Car of the Year
TATA Nano
For bringing the dream of travelling with the family in a car closer to the common man and raising India's status in the global auto heirarchy.

OTFS AWARDS

Label of the Year
OTFS Editorial
For diseminating views about topical events and keeping the beacon of debate and discussion alive.

Documentary of the Year
The Cursed Generation
For studying the pehnomenon of junior colleges in Hyderabad and bringing skeletons out of the closet of one of India's most brutal and exploitative systems.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The End of a Long Journey

Friday was a long journey for me as I went from Saharanpur to Delhi to Hyderabad.

It all started when we - Aniket, Dubra, Naveen, Shruti, Ipsita and I - assembled at the DPT gate. Now, we had hoped to do this at 7:30 AM, but we magaed to do it only by 8:00 AM. We got an auto really fast and sped our way towards SRE station. Now, this is a very stupid station, in which Platforms 3 and 4 are just two extremes of the same physical platform! To pass the time, I bought a copy of The Lost Symbol from the station.

Finally, 10 minutes late, Jalandhar Express came in. We seated ourselves and so began a long and very boring journey. I read my book on and off and also listened to a lot of music on my mobile phone. When I was hungry, I had some cutlets from the train. I don't know why the others weren't eating though! On the train, we head that two ladies had come to teach BT-101 instead of the usual professor.

Once we reached NDLS, we once again confused ourselves with the Paharganj Gate and the Ajmeri Gate. Once we cleared the doubt, I got out of the station and took a cab to IGI. According to the local taxi drivers, it's called 'Domestic Airport' and not 'IGI Airport,' because the latter is on the Indo-pak Border and recently 'moved' to New Delhi!

Well anyway, IGI was the easiest place to get through. Security Guard (commented that the pic on my ID card is old!), Jet Airways check-in, security check and a long wait. Now, IGI is actually smaller and not as well-equipped as Hyderabad's RGIA. Nonetheless, it's still pretty good. A comfortable flight (Jet Airways is truly the best: excellent cabin crew, comfortable seats and punctuality to boot!) and a bus ride on the comfortable AeroExpress buses, followed by a car ride home, ended a really long trip back home.

And that was also my first experience travelling alone!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Kudos to Uttarakhand

Congratulations to the Government of Uttarakhand for declaring Sanskrit as its second official language.

Sanskrit symbolises ancient Indian culture. All our ancient texts are in Sanskrit. It was described by poets of yore as the language of the Gods. However, as society progressed, Sanskrit gave birth to other languages - Hindi, Marathi, Bengali etc. - and itself died out.

However, contrary to common opinion, Sanskrit is still used in some places in India and Sanskrit verses have stood the test of time and progress. Uttarakhand, the new Hill state formed in 2001, has a rich Sanskrit culture. Thus, it is most appropriate for the State Government to provide an impetus to revive the great language by giving it official status.

The decision of the Uttarakhand Government is momentous for the state, the country and the world.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Man's Greatest Invention

Over the past week, I have been exploring my scientific calculator (calci for short) to see how it could help me in the exam. And I must say, the results are quite positive.

My first discovery was the equation solver. Linear, quadratic and cubic equations solved in a flash! Then came the matrix manager: inverse matrices and cubes of matrices derived in a jiffy!

The most recent of my discoveries are:
1. The base-n system. Number systems made easy, with instant inter-conversion between binary, octal, HEX and decimal numbers! And, most, I mean MOST importantly, the complex mode, which can convert a number from complex to polar form easily, as well as perform long and tiresome calculations in seconds!

Where would one be without this magic box? How could i possibly solve those stupid AC Fundamentals questions without it? Would it be possible to study electronics without this wonder? Imagine having to calculate inverse matrices by the long way again and again.

Oh, God has blessed humanity indeed!

The Chapo

Campus lingo:
Chai + paani = chapo!
Pronounced: chAApo

After I got my NTSE scholarship cheque, it was impossible to deny it. My friends had been asking for a chapo for a long time, and I used to make up some excuses now and again. However, I finally had to accept and give them the chapo!

It was at Hot Breads: the smart restaurant that knows it should give a 10% discount to attract the spoiled brats at IITR! Oh, and what a feast we had! Spring rolls, Curry World Biryani, paneer, Macho soup and to top it all off: chocolate brownie sundae!

The bill: Rs. 1500 approximately after the discount. The discount feels like heaven: just show your IITR ID card and he will take the bill back, deduct 10% and present you with a new one! The hungry does from my wing ate like mad, but it was OK.

The interesting part was the commute; At 7:30 PM, it's not easy finding an auto in SRE. It's nearly impossible at 9:00 PM. So, while the others fended for themselves, Narayanan and I walked the entire route both ways. IT's about 2.5 km from DPT, so yeah, that's five kilometers in one day! Wow!

Now, it's Sreedhar and Shashank's turn to give a chapo. Oh, and not to forget the maha-chapo from the branch changers coming soon!

Good start, bad ending

The recently-concluded mid-term exam was a mixed bag, although most of the exam did go quite well. It started off with MA-102: Mathematics-II. A pretty unique exam, given the fact that the number of people writing it for the first time was nearly the same as the number repeating the subject! Of course, a lot of seniors were copying, but then again, given the complexity of the paper, it wasn't as though the freshers did very well either!

The EC-101A (C++) paper was quite interesting. Think of this:

bool isEven(int n)
{
return n%2==0;}

and

bool isEven(int n)
{
if(n%2!=0)
return 0;
else
return 1;
}

I admit, the first one is far more efficient than the second, but I should get some marks for the second one! After all, most people didn't even think of using bool!

MI-102 was exactly like social studies: long, well-written bull shit. BT-101 was a regular biology exam In engineering?). But the really bad exam was EE-101: Electrical Science.

It was so bad that I could get a zero unless they mark for steps! Oh God, this feels just like Electronics! Noooo!!!

Kahani Slides Ki


In IIT, a lot of teaching is done through slides. While the experience is quite nice, a lot of interesting observations can be made. The graphic is a summary of some of these.

Same old Story


MY NAME IS KHAN (2009)

Produced by: Dharma Productions and Red Chillies Entertainment
Director: Karan Johar
Starring: Kajol, Sharrukh Khan, Christopher B Duncan, Tanay Chheda, and others
Rating: *** (3 of 5)

Happy Muslim in America. 9/11. Islamophobia. That just about summarises the plot of My Name is Khan. It would have been nice if not for the fact that we have had a series of movies recently on the very same topic. But, true to any of KJ’s movies, this one is seasoned the romantic love story as well.

Rizwan Khan is a talented boy born in India to a poor, lower-middle class family with a rare genetic disease that made it difficult for him to express his emotions. After his mother dies, he moves to America in the footsteps of his younger brother. There, he discovers Mandira and her son. Then comes the same old story of courtship, marriage and winning over the kid. But after 9/11, everything changes for the worse and things can only improve with (hold your breath) a meeting with the President of America!

Highly unbelievable, I know. In fact, it would be very hard for anybody to watch this movie if they were looking for a hint of realism in it. Although, one has to admit that the Obama-on-film was quite realistic!

I have to admit, I disliked the movie greatly. While the acting was excellent, as expected from the tried-and-tested pair of Kajol and SRK, the music wasn’t memorable and the storyline was extremely weak. Johar tries to touch upon far too many issues: genetic disorders, black emancipation, Hurricane Katrina, Islamophobia and plenty more. Only two facets of the movie caught my attention. First, the way the director used true incidents (Hurricane Katrina, Obama’s election etc.) and wound a story around it. It makes one wonder about the many little stories hidden in a crowd. Second, the symbolism in a Muslim man finding love from another community that faces discrimination: Blacks. Comrades in crisis, truly.

The costumes were quite good and the child actors put up a splendid performance. However, none of this could support the weak and often over-simplistic storyline. My Name is Khan is worth watching only if you have about two hours to waste. Otherwise, skip it (and don’t worry much about the Shiv Sena!). (OTFS)

The Road to Unification


Akshit Kumar


It all started with a bearded man gazing up at the night sky through a self-invented telescope. He went on to propose the heliocentric centric model of the Universe (which, sadly, got him a death penalty from the Church). But this is the generally accepted ‘starting point’ of Physics. The new-born child then reached its adolescence during the Newtonian period. During this ‘Age of Enlightenment,’ Newton, Maxwell, Bernoulli, Leibnitz, Ampere and many others made great contributions to Physics. But the greatest ideas were yet to come...

‘God does not play dice’ Einstein once said. How wrong he was! Quantum Physics is a subject that has not only used up all the signs/letters/alphabets/symbols ever invented but also the time and mind of top-notch Physicists. The Special Theory of Relativity brought about new discoveries as well as new questions: How did the universe start? Can we create universes? Physicists today believe that there is a Grand Unified Theory that can explain everything. From Stephen Hawking to the late RP Feynman and others, everybody was looking for that ‘one master equation.’

However, in the year 1919, a virtually unknown German mathematician named Theodore Kaluza, felt that since Einstein has used gravitational force to explain time as a dimension (introducing the new concept of space-time), the only other known force at that time (the electromagnetic force) might reveal something new. From his works arose the idea of a multidimensional universe and the complex Super String Theory. This suggests that the known universe is made of 10 spatial dimension and one time dimension – eleven in all. Bizarre, isn’t it? But it’s true beyond a doubt because the twenty known universal constants are verified to a high degree of precision by the theory.

The exciting new field of quantum physics has seem some of the most awesome engineering wonders ever made. The LHC on the Franco-Swiss border is by far the most famous of them all, but lesser-known ones like the Super Kamiokande Solar Neutrino Detector and the Tokamak are equally important. To witness a few proton-proton collisions a day, the SKSND was built with 32,000 tonnes of filtered water and 11,200 photomultiplier tubes!

Although I am no Nobel Laureate (although that’s my prized dream), I hope you too shared the enthusiasm with which I wrote this.


(Edited by OTFS)

Akshit Kumar, 1st Yr Pulp & Paper student at IITR, is an avid lover of modern Physics and wants to join CERN in the future.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Illushun: The New Addiction

IIT Roorkee presents Illushun Reloaded, an online treasure hunt that has take IITR by storm, both in Roorkee and Saharanpur. An amazingly addictive online treasure-hunt developed by the Department of Civil Engineering, it begins with some mind-boggling questions that can be solved with the help of a Google group. You can use google but that won't help you to solve the questions!

Try it on this link.

Burned, Blinded, Blistered and not done yet!


It happened at last. After seeing my friends do it over the last month, I finally got Smithy-1 in the MI workshop. The job: turn a regular, cylindrical bar into a hook. Easier said than done!
Firstly, the furnace is HOT. Obviously, but the problem is that we have to stand near it. The coal sends put mountains of smoke (despite the chimney) which blinds you unless you've got glasses. The tongs hurt, but you have to clutch it tight to avoid the red-hot iron from falling. And that's the easy part!
The really hard part is beating the hammer on the rod to give it a final shape. It's alright for the first half hour, but then your hand starts aching. And I made the mistake of using the right technique, so while the other group members (who weren't doing it right) were having theirs done by the lab guy, I was beating the stupid thing for an HOUR! Finally, I had to tell him that I couldn't do it anymore, after which he did it for me! By then, the other two's jobs were nearly done (by him, of course).
He did the curve of the hook for me, but the handle was left to me. Luckily, that was easy. The worst thing about this is when you accidentally hit the anvil with the hammer. Using the principle of collisions, we find that it rebounds...fast!. And that hurts a lot! Overall, Smithy-1 was quite horrible and has left me with several blisters on my hand. The heat made me sweat more than I did in months, while the hammer cut my hand in a few places. The coal-ash made my eyes burn... but I managed to submit a good job.
I do wonder... do engineers (I mean classic engineers, like the MECH people) die a painful death? After all, this is not some funny game kids play with tools, it's serious and risky work!

A Crucial Holiday

Friday is an official holiday in IITR on account of Mahashivratri. This holiday is of particular importance given the first Mid-Term exam, which begins on Thursday. So, what are my chances?

I feel really confident in EC-101A and HS-102. These subjects (C++ and Behavioural Science respectively) are really interesting, particularly EC-101A, whose logic has a charm of its own (unlike its illogical Sem-1 counterpart!). HS-102 is very easy and mostly common-sense. BT-101 lacks common sense but is easy all the same. MA-102 is a very challenging subject but not impossible to do. EE-101 is a subject that I can do but get paranoid of. Luckily, Theraja has loads of examples to get me some confidence. Then, we have MI-102, the most hellish subject of all, with over 100 slides to by-heart. Will we get some "external help?" Lastly, we have PH-101, another monstrously complicated subject, but there are plenty of examples in Sadiku to help. All-in-all, I feel better about this MTE than about the one is the last sem.

Next post will probably be after the MTE. We have a quiz that we want to conduct then, and Ren will release after the mid-sem break. Oh, and do watch out for The Opinions 24x7 Indian of the Year 2009 later this month!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Money can't Solve Everything


In typical style, the US and Britain, along with its NATO allies, have decided to buy their way out of the Afghan mess.

The conclusion from the London Conference was to create a fund to literally bribe Taliban moderates to join the Afghan mainstream. It is typical Anglo-American behavior to assume that you can solve any problem by throwing money at it.

However, it will not work. The Taliban are not a class of people, the Taliban is a movement. The very word Taliban means 'student.' How can they simply assume that warlords who run the Taliban will simply take some money and leave?

The correct way to solve the problem would be to do the reverse of what the Taliban was meant to do. The Americans, in connivance with Pakistan's ISI, created the Taliban to weaken the USSR-run administration in Afghanistan to such an extent that the Soviets would be forced out. On those lines, the solution lies in rebuilding the Afghan state, training police and military personnel, improving democracy and human rights etc.

In this context, India's stance that nation-building must be part of the solution is perfectly correct. But the Pakistanis disagree and look at Afghanistan as a means to further their strategic interests. And, like always, the Americans have made the mistake of following the latter's line. Unless the West stops fooling itself and shuns its unending Al Qaeda-focus, the Taliban will never disappear.

A Commendable Judgement


The Andhra Pradesh High Court's recent judgment, quashing Act 26 of 2007 of the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly, is highly commendable and well-thought.

The Act gave 4% reservation to backward communities amongst Muslims, the communities having been decided by a silly commission that made so many errors that its conclusions lacked any semblance of credibility.

The Act faced several hurdles: it was quashed twice before, both times on the grounds that the academic research for identifying the communities lacked scientific backing. For example, the Commission that decided which Muslim communities would be included in the BC 'E' category only surveyed houses which were 'nearby' and could not even give the number of people in the communities! Furthermore, the Government had to walk a tightrope by lowering the reservation from 5% to 4% so as to just touch the Supreme Court's 50% ceiling on reservations.

The Court rightly noted that the Act favours a particular religion and even promotes religious conversions. IT also goes against the Executive order that reservations be given to classes that have been historically deprived of social equality (which is true in the case of the Hindu caste system; but Islam has no such thing!). Thus, the Act was simply meant to fulfill an unsustainable election promise and cheat the people.

As Janata Party President Subramaniam Swamy once pointed out, the increasing reservations is simply taking away more and more seats and opportunities from the so-called 'General category' while doing nothing realistic for those who need help. We need a serious debate about how long this system is going to stay. In sixty years, not a single caste has been removed from the so-called Backward List but castes have been added regularly, particularly around elections. Is anybody paying attention?

Food's Expensive? Stop Eating!


The NCP's in-house newspaper told people to have less sugar in the face of rising prices, because sugar and salt 'are like poisons'! That was the inspiration for this strip.

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Passing Thought

Most of us make the mistake of doing things that seem to be beneficial in the short-run but end up compromising on our Independence in the long-run.

Never make this mistake. You are free as long as you can choose. Never make decision that strips you of this right.

The Tarang '10 Blog

TARANG IITR

My experience with running Opinions 24x7 for the last three years has begun to pay off. With the seniors extremely busy with organising Tarang '10 (most of them at least... ok, some of them), they've decided to give the overall responsibility of the Tarang '10 blog (www.tarangiitr.blogspot.com) to me.

The blog is at a very nascent stage right now but, with contributions from all, it will grow over the next two months to become a powerful PR instrument .

This is my first assignment as a blogger. Although, according to the senior who held the post before me, it's not a very serious blog, I would rather take it very seriously indeed.

So, my work is cut out for now. You? Well, you just have to keep reading the blog...

Cornered

If there was ever any moment that the Shiv Sena faced an existential threat so severe that it would find itself absolutely helpless, it is now.

Ever since Raj Thackerey's MNS began to siphon votes away votes from it, the Shiv Sena has been forced to reverse the 'enlightenment' it received over the years after its anti-South India rhetoric shot it to notoriety.

This time, the MNS has done the same, only to North Indians. So, now that the focus has shifted to the MNS, the Shiv Sena has lost its base. Thus, it too began to take up the 'Marathi Manoos' line.

But the timing ruined it all. With Assembly elections in Bihar this year, the party's strongest, and only, ally, the BJP, has refused to toe its line. After all, how can the BJP follow the Senas' anti-Hindi line and simultaneously be a part of the Government in Bihar?

Elections in Maharashtra, recently concluded, secured another term for the Congress-NCP, so the BJP has nothing to gain there. However, it has everything to lose in Bihar, since a party that supports anti-Bihari activities doesn't stand a great chance to be elected back. Thus, the BJP chose Bihar over Maharashtra. What's even more surprising, in a way, is that the RSS also decided to go against the Sena. So, the organization that acts as a parent to all these right-wing parties and provides its cadre to them viz., the RSS, has openly challenged the Sena.

The net effect is that the Shiv Sena is cornered and has no place to hide. On the one hand, the Congress is running its Mumbai-for-all campaign at full steam (although Chief Minister Ashok Chavan seems to be half-hearted in the cause) and on the other, the BJP and the RSS have taken a resolute stand against it. To top it all off, the MNS is still taking votes away from the Sena!

While there seems to be no immediate solution to the problem, the Sena must evaluate as to how its politics of hate has backfired on it. Only then will it survive this thunderstorm.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Mirror on College Life


3 IDIOTS (2009)
Producer: Vidhu Vinod Chopra
Director: Rajkumar Hirani
Starring: Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Madhavan, Sharman Joshi, Boman Irani and others
Rating: **** (4 of 5)

A perfect mix of comedy and seriousness, a social message and an engaging storyline: that and much more made Rajkumar Hirani's 3 Idiots the biggest hit of 2009. Hirani, best-known until now for his Munnabhai series of movies, has proved his calibre yet again.

Rancho and his friends get into the coveted Imperial College of Engineering (ICE), only to discover that the secret to success here is mindless roting. The college is run by a crazy principal named Viru S., fondly called 'virus'! The professor believes that rote learning is the only way to succeed in life and aims his guns at anybody who dares to disagree. Rancho and his friends Farhan and Hari take on the education system while having fun and, in Rancho's case, meeting the love of his life.
Now, this might seem another run of the mill commentary on Indian education but it's nit: the sheer style of the movie keeps the audience engaged every second of the way. There are many memorable scenes in it, my personal favourite being the Hindi speech made by 'Silencer' in the auditorium! The movie incorporates a lot of old jokes - such as 'How does an induction motor start' to women in burqas posing for the camera - and yet retains a fresh feeling to it. It talks about the critical issue of falling standards in Indian engineering education as well as the kind of pressure society puts on students.

The ragging scene, I feel, was in distaste. A practice that has been banned by the Supreme Court of India should not be glorified like that. Similarly, the childbirth scene was wholly unnecessary. Nonetheless, barring these aberrations, the movie makes for perfect family viewing. The music is already a big hit in India (and beyond), with some songs like 'Aal Izz Well' and 'Give me some Sunshine' ringing across college campuses. The actors, as always, were excellent, although Boman Irani was given a character not befitting of his stature as a veteran actor.
The movie is supposed to be an adaption of Chetan Bhagat's Five Point Someone but quite honestly, it only takes a few ideas from there. Aamir Khan is a very good actor but it's time he took up some more mature roles and stopped trying to be the college-boy-forever, even if he can act the part well.

I strongly recommend you to watch the movie, if you haven't forgotten already. Movies like these come rarely and are not to be missed. (OTFS)

The Curse of Thursday

The new time-table for the semester is a real killer. Not that it fills up all our day but rather, it's unevenly distributed.



Consider this: I have just four classes on Monday, while I have a full set of eight hours' of classes (including three of my four practical labs; EC-101A is on Tuesday) on Thursday. Now, you'd think that I should get two free hours, since EE-101 practical is A/W (alternate week). However, our professor is a genius (*sarcasm*) so he wants us to come every week.



In a way, the double EE practical is a good thing, because once we finish the experiments (we're already halfway through) is a good thing because we can finish off with them quickly. There's no exam, just a PRS quiz at the end, so it's better done away woth. The Physics lab is a different story: the lab is from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM, which means that the lab people (even the gossipy PhD Scholar) want us to finish quick so that they can leave too. However, each practical takes quite some time (except Frank-Hertz Experiement and some others), so rushing us ensures that we get erroneous values. Not that it matters, since our values will be erroneous anyway as none of the instruments works properly. I suppose this is where the refrain comes from: 'For an engineer, getting the answer is important, not how you do it!' Plus, the 'dark room' is hellish since we need to greatly strain our eyes to take the readings. I get a headache everytime.

On the other hand, Mondays are a breeze and most of my blogposts would be uploaded on either Monday or Tuesday, which is also very free.

The new timetable is probably so haphazard because they lost the 8:00 AM slot to the cold. I's a pretty big price to pay, but I suppose we couldn't have possibly attended a class that early in the morning in this cold. Sometimes, you just have to endure hardship...

The Making of a Monument

The Saharanpur Campus of IITR will, in a year's time, have a brand new technical block, with state-of-the-art facilities that will change forever the face of what was once IPT.

OTFS presents a documentary series that will, over the next year, take you through the process of building an 8-storey behemoth that will become the new monolith on Saharanpur's skyline.

THE MAKING OF A MONUMENT
A Documentary Series
All through this year on OTFS

This March on Documentary

Chernobyl is a classic case of how nuclear energy can pose an existential threat to mankind. The effects of the disaster of that day haunts the victims even today. And yet, the world has forgotten...

This March, Opinions 24x7 presents Chernobyl: Nuclear Death, the sotry of the world's greatest nuclear disaster re-told.

IOTY09: A Nation that has Shaken the World







Laptop+Creativity+Lack of work=








I was free and had a burning desire to lose the 'Paper Technology' tag. So, while I was jobless, I created a new logo for a separate department fr my course. Hence, the first logo. The art is quite simple: people represent unity when they hold hands. Also, many people holding hands looks like a polymer!
But then, I thought that the PEM guys would also want something like that. So, during my C++ practical, I made the second logo. The last logo was inspired by some rumours of a new department which is supposed to come up here.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Setting the Agenda Right

BJP President Nitin Gadkari's condemnation of its ally, the Shiv Sean's politics of regionalism, religion and hate, is a landmark moment when India's only true Nationalist, right-wing party has come out against an old ally's anti-Indian statements.

Nitin Gadkari, who recently took over the post, has done quite a lot to bring the BJP back to its roots, the ethos and the ideology that made it middle class India's most preferred party a few years ago.

It is absolutely necessary that the BJP becomes a party that stands for nationalism. Any divisive agenda that seeks to endanger India's diversity and unity must be condemned by major parties. While the Congress is itself deeply involved in regional politics and has used religion as a tool of appeasement before, the BJP is the only party that can unite India.

While it is a must to respect regional aspirations, regionalism as a political tool must be stopped immediately. Regionalism in the wrong hands is divisive and dangerous. I do hope that the BJP does something to bring back Nationalism in India.

Incidentally, the BJP's low-key Separate Andhra movement in Andhra Pradesh is condemnable and Nitin Gadkari must end it.

Serious 'Paper Technology'


































In the run upto to IIT Roorkee's Tech Fest Cognizance '10 and IITR Saharanpur Campus' Cultural Fest Taran '10, both to be held in March this year, DPT saw a few smal promotional events being held. The main idea behind these was to tell DPT students that something BIG is going to happen soon.

Two events were held last week:

Fast Flying Event
This was basically paper technology: literally! We had to maker paper planes with an innovative design. The paper plane which went the farthest would win.

Now, this might seem dumb at first but the kinds of designs that came out of the event would impress you. The winner's plane flew more than half-way across the basketball court and landed smoothly! Some people added wing-tails and folded the wings to increase lift. One even managed to make a boomeranging plane that would make a circle and come back to his hand!

Cacophony
When Vipul Bawa conducts an event, something strange has to happen. Cacophony was an event in which two teams would be formed and placed on either side of the basketball court, blindfolded. Each would have a word whispered into his ear and the word would have a complementary word amongst somebody in the other team (such as Rome-Juliet or Tom-Jerry).

When the whistle is sounded, you'd have to rush towards the other end and scream your word out. The two players with complementary words would have to find each other and run to a predetermined spot. The first two to do so would win!

A very simple game that was indeed a lot of fun!

Pitstop
A tyre-changing event, participants had to change the wheels of a car as many times as possible in a predetermined period of time.

Automobile 'Workshop'
OK, not exactly a workshop but better than nothing. A mechanic came and showed us how a car's engine works. The car - Maruti 800 - was donated by a professor! We learned quite a lot that day, from how spark plugs work to getting a view of the fuel injection system.

And there's plenty more coming up...