Art Attack: Bhansali Edition

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events and/ or publicly available information. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Saad Khwaja, MBA 2016-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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Alas! Times are not good for any figure of speech or expression – be it humour, satire, or art. People have dumbed themselves down to a point where they only understand polarization and the game of binaries oscillating between two ideological extremes. You are either a patriot or a traitor; “sickular” or a “bhakt”; with us or against us. There is almost no scope of meaningful conversation where ideas can earnestly be exchanged, no patience to hear the other side out.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali, a National Award winning filmmaker who has made a sizeable contribution to modern Indian cinema with movies such as Devdas and Black, was attacked by members of the Karni Sena, a local political outfit that claims to protect the interests of the Rajputs. Alleging that there were objectionable scenes between two of the characters in the movie being shot, the group stormed the set and proceeded to rough up Bhansali and the crew, and vandalise the film equipment. The spokesperson of Karni Sena refused to apologise, justifying the attack stating that they would not tolerate distortion of history.

Such groups of miscreants, self-proclaimed moral enforcers, have had their share of attention – taking the law into their own hands and handing out their definition of justice to the “wrongdoers”. It is understandable that some such groups do not understand the intricacies of art and difference of opinion, but what is disturbing is the reaction of a large proportion of the educated masses to this. Without even having knowledge of the script or the end product, a majority of people on various media platforms have sided with the Karni Sena, claiming that Bhansali deserved it because his movie might offend their cultural and communal sensibilities. The Home Minister of the state condemned the violence, but at the same time mentioned that the Sena’s anger was natural.

Such incidents need to be dealt with more objectively, both by the authorities and the public. It is when people lose empathy, refuse to let go of their myopic vision and lose objectivity in their arguments and actions, that we as a people truly lose out.

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Should we reclaim the Koh-i-noor?

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.Chetna Kohli, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

Chetna Kohli, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur


The Indian government has told the Supreme Court that it should not try to reclaim the priceless Koh-i-noor diamond from Britain. The gemstone came into British hands in the mid-19th Century, and forms a part of the Crown Jewels on display at the Tower of London. The Ownership of the famous gem is an emotional issue for many Indians, who believe that it was stolen by the British during colonial rule. However, the solicitor-general disagrees and believes that it was neither stolen nor forcibly taken. He said the 105-carat diamond had been ‘gifted’ to the East India company by the former rulers of Punjab in 1849.

The case is being heard by the Supreme Court after an Indian NGO filed a petition asking the court to direct the Indian government to bring back the diamond. The court is still considering the issue, and said it did not want to dismiss the petition as it could stand in the way of future attempts to bring back items that once belonged to India. The Foreign Affairs Ministry will be approched for discussion on the matter.

Tushar Gandhi, the great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, said a few years ago that it should be returned as ‘atonement for the colonial past’. However, successive British prime ministers have refused to do so.

The diamond was last worn by the late Queen and was displayed on her crown when her coffin lay in the state after her death in 2002. The Koh-i-Noor, meaning “Mountain of Light” in Persian, is one of the most precious cowining jewels. It has been the subject of conquest and intrigue for centuries, passing through the hands of Mughal princes, Iranian warriors, Afghan rulers and Punjabi Maharajas. The stone was originally found in India’s Golconda mines and measured 186 carats when it was eventually handed to the British in 1849 under a treaty that was signed after the Anglo-Sikh war.However, the diamond’s traditional rose cut could not awe visitors of the Great Exhibition in 1851 and so it was re-cast as an oval, gaining sparkle but losing a lot of weight in the process.

It is said to be unlucky for men to wear the Koh-i-Noor diamond owing to its long and bloody history. Some Indian and Pakistani visitors to the Tower of London hiss as they pass it – they want it returned to the Indian subcontinent, though to which country remains unclear.

The Giant Society on the Online Platform

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Sonal, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur


“If you’re looking for the next big thing, and you’re looking where everyone else is, you’re looking in the wrong place.”

This line brilliantly underlines the conspicuous trait which any entrepreneur, seeking unwavering ascension needs to emulate .In the last UDBHAV issue, we analyzed the biggest entrepreneurial creation – The INTERNET .However small the word is , the Internet is a massive synergy of imagination and practicality. If we are to envisage internet-oriented establishments or businesses, it’s high time; we concerned ourselves with, “what do we actually do with internet?” The very first things that pop into our heads would be Google followed by Facebook, hence testifying the unbeatable dominance of Search-Engines and Social Networking .While the search engines are glass-clear about their purpose and applications, the meaning of social networking runs deeper.

Social networks, which provide platforms for online users to connect, share, and build relationships with others online, have forever altered the lives of individuals, communities and societies all over the world. The growth in popularity of social networking has also created and engendered new online consumer behaviors.The correlation between social networks, the Internet, and ethics may be difficult to initially discern, however, their interdependency becomes obvious when examined in detail. The Internet is an integral part of our society and, as such, there have been many scholarly articles dedicated to determining its effects on our social lives. The ethical implications become obvious when you consider how people interact with one another online. Facebook, online dating websites, MySpace, HubPages and chat rooms are all examples of places where people gather digitally to exchange information, develop relationships, make new friends or keep others updated. The authenticity of the information provided, however, is difficult to verify. People create whatever online persona they desire.

Time spent  –  Even more telling of social networking’s emergence is the amount of time people currently engage with it. As a percentage of all the time people spend online, social networking activity has more than tripled in the last few years. In October 2011, Social Networking ranked as the most popular content category in worldwide engagement, accounting for 19 percent of all time spent online. Nearly 1 in every 5 minutes spent online is now spent on social networking sites – a stark contrast from when the category accounted for only 6 percent of time spent online in March 2007. Time spent on social networking sites gained ground during this time by taking share predominantly from web-based email and instant messengers, reflecting its emergence as another primary communication channel for users. Unmistakably, it has evolved over the years to become an integral part of the global online experience, in many ways both mirroring and augmenting the offline social experience.

Growth of social networking-   The growth of social networking is a global cultural phenomenon. Despite significant differences in government, infrastructure, availability of Internet access and cultural practices around the world, social networking is growing in every single country. A look at individual markets shows the penetration of social networking sites, ranging from 53 percent in China to 98 percent in the United States, with 41 of the 43 markets individually reported by comScore seeing a market penetration of 85 percent or more. Regardless of how open or closed a society may be, it is safe to assume that more than half of local online populations are engaging in online social networking, making the practice comparatively ubiquitous around the world. The high user engagement on social networks across global regions demonstrates its universal appeal.

Facebook –   To fully comprehend the state of social networking today, one must understand how Facebook – the largest player by virtually any metric – drives the behavior of the category as a whole. Consider that Facebook is the third largest web property in the world, trailing only Google Sites and Microsoft Sites. In October, Facebook reached more than half of the world’s global audience (55 percent) and accounted for approximately 3 in every 4 minutes spent on social networking sites and 1 in every 7 minutes spent online around the world. While Facebook is the leading social networking site in the vast majority of countries, it is not the leader everywhere – yet. In the beginning of 2010, Facebook was the category leader in 30 of the 43 markets that comScore reports on at the individual level. Today, there are only 7 markets where Facebook does not have the largest audience in the category – Brazil, China, Japan, Poland, Russia, South Korea and Vietnam.

Microblogging – Microblogging, a style of communicating through short-form content, has taken hold as a wildly popular social networking platform in recent years, due in large part to the emergence of Twitter – which saw its audience begin to erupt in the spring of 2009. To date, Twitter reaches 1 in 10 Internet users worldwide to rank among the top social networks, and posted an impressive growth rate of 59 percent over the past year. Other microblogging services beginning to gain significant traction are Tumblr and Sina Weibo (Sina Microblogging). Sina Weibo, the leading Chinese microblogging site which ranks as the tenth largest social network globally, has posted an increase of 181 percent in the past year. Tumblr, ranking twelfth globally, followed suit with a similarly strong growth rate of 172 percent. With both sites on the rise in addition to Twitter, it is likely we will see microblogging emerge even further in the near future.

Not kid’s thing anymore – Anyone with children might be under the impression that social networking is a “kids’ activity.” Several years ago, there was some truth to that. However, in the last 18 to 24 months, that has changed completely. Social networking reach in older segments has all but caught up, to the point where it’s now quite similar across age groups. In fact, users 55 and older represent the fastest growing segment in social networking usage.

Ad publishing – One cannot discuss display advertising on social networks without mentioning Facebook – currently the single largest publisher of all U.S. display ad impressions. While this metric does not account for the size of ads (ads on Facebook are generally small as compared to other premium publishers), based on the sheer number of impressions, Facebook is by far the largest publisher

 

Mobile phones – Analysis of mobile social networking activity in the U.S. and EU5 reveals that most mobile users who reported accessing social networks on their devices at least once in the previous month did so to connect with their personal networks. In the U.S., 70 percent of mobile social networkers reported using their phones to post a status update, while 80 percent read posts from people they know personally. Mobile social networkers in the EU5 showed similar levels of engagement in these activities.

Looking  at the above analysis , we can say that the Social Networking affects the very cortex of our lives and so, it won’t be a foolishness to think if social networking is good for us or not. The variety of applications, instant communication, and conception of new and sturdy friend circles and inception of public opinions strengthens our belief on Social Networking as the new-age revolution. But I would like to voice some of the views which media understandably refrains from propagating. Our interaction with the outside world becomes limited because of the advent of these so called social networking so much so that people are more up-to date with their “online friends ‘daily life” rather than our own family members and friends whose faces we see every day. The other aspect of this addiction to social networking is the breaking down of our health systems due to long hours spent in front of the computer and also the lack of serious physical activity on a daily basis which can give rise to extremely serious health repercussions like high blood pressure, heart problems, etc .. Analyzing the issue on a psychological scale we could say that these sites gives a virtual satisfaction of social-interaction and hence discourage us from actually interacting and facing real problems which matter in our personality-development. The speculations may always be there, but not a soul should doubt the magnificence of this brilliant innovation; for this creation continues to surpass its own records at an accelerated rate .

 

Google Fiber

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Sonal, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur


In India, it is a common knowledge that catalyzed by smartphones, internet penetration is increasing speedily. Some network providers have moved on to 4G while other infrastructures like cell towers are being set to cater the same. These companies have to set new towers every time their allocated spectrum changes. However, the wired internet connection that we have, is still the outdated one. It should be noted that a wired internet connection today has the capability to deliver more speed than its cellular counterpart. What we need to appreciate is the presence of our good old phone networks and the mesh that they create across cities. Combine this with a vision of Google Fiber and we get a wired network that can give us the internet speed of around 1 Gbit/sec or 1000 mb/ second.

Google Fiber is Google’s fiber-to-the-premises service in the United States, providing broadband internet and cable television to a small and slowly increasing number of locations. After the Google’s restructuring last year, we saw google moving less central services and products into a new umbrella corporation, Alphabet Inc. making Google Fiber a part of Alphabet Inc. Google fiber was an experiment that was first run in Kansas City for three years that covered 20 Kansas City area suburbs. On December 2012, the experiment was declared as a viable business model when Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt stated “It’s actually not an experiment, we’re actually running it as a business.” Since, then it has went on expanding its services. Google Fiber offers three options: a free internet option, a 1 Gbit/s internet option, and an option including television service (in addition to the 1 Gbit/s internet). The internet service comes with one TB google drive space while television service comes with two TB Digital video recorder in addition to the google drive space. In order to avoid the complexity involved in laying down the fiber lines in various cities, google fiber relies on aggregators dubbed Google Fiber Huts. From these huts, the utility poles carry fiber into neighborhood homes and end at an Optical Network Terminal in each home. Cities are chosen by a competitive selection process. The good thing that is happening now there , is that the Google Fiber does not need to build everything from scratch. In Provo, Utah, service is being delivered over a network they purchased from the city. In Atlanta, Georgia, they are both constructing their own network, and using existing fiber to provide Google Fiber to some apartment buildings. And now, due to the leadership of the Mayor and Huntsville Utilities CEO Jay Stowe, they are working with a muni-owned network to bring their high speed service to Huntsville.

What we need to learn from here is that , we may not be a developed country but there are plenty of simple innovations that we can incorporate to leverage our benefit of being the late comer.

Reference : https://fiber.google.com/about

Nuclear Implosion

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Sonal, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur


 

India ratified an international convention on nuclear energy accident liability, the government said on Thursday, the final piece in its efforts to address the concerns of foreign nuclear suppliers and draw them into a market worth billions of dollars. India wants to ramp up the share of nuclear power from barely 3 percent to 25 percent by 2050 has been trying to assuage the fears of the nuclear suppliers. On the other hand, if we go by 2013 standings, countries such as Australia, Austria, Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Israel, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Norway remain opposed to nuclear power. Germany and Switzerland are phasing-out nuclear power. It takes a no-brainer to comment that these countries are not doing this just for the love of world peace. Even if we choose to attribute the big mishaps like Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster to unfortunate wraths of god, are we ready to surrender our future to an energy source that has the potential of instant world-termination. The nuclear fuel in itself, from its extraction to dumping has not met a solution from any of the 44 nuclear capable countries regarding their complete disposal. We still resort to compressing it under ground or piling it in restricted landfills. The mining of uranium itself creates radioactive waste in high tunes, be it the radon gas or the mining tubings, everything irks a safe responsible resource extraction. As if this were not enough, we are also aware that four fifth of the total world plutonium held for nuclear warheads have come from these civil nuclear exploitations. The sudden unfortunate technical mishaps sometimes complemented by natural calamities just drive my point further because we simply don’t know how to save ourselves from that.

To some people, I may appear logical while to others, I may seem as a maniac bent on pushing a highly capable India back to Neanderthal ages. What I am focusing here is that development is good if it is sustainable. What good is an innovation if it depreciates mankind both physically and morally. The government has its own reasons in pushing nuclear agenda. These nuclear achievements are more like some outdated bureaucratic trophies behind which our politicians have been running around to earn brownie points both in India and in front of their more powerful foreign counterparts. What they don’t see is that several developed and developing economies have been slowly phasing out the idea of nuclear energy. But this is not only government’s fault. A democratic government thrives on people’s whims. Instead of fighting only for land grabbed for these purposes, we should stand and question the whole nuclear idea in itself. Science has given us several powers throughout the ages. Whenever, we have failed to control that power, we have suffered. Powers are becoming more gigantic now. A failure in this will be catastrophic. In short nuclear energy is a suicidal time-bomb at least with the technology we have got today. I don’t know about you, but I would rather let God dig my grave and not do it myself.

 

NETFLIX : Good or Bad ?

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Sonal, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur


We are living in the era of globalization. We may be sitting in the most remote location of the planet and still be a part of a highly publicized event occurring at the other side of the world. I know, when I talk about facilities and services being accessible to everyone and everywhere, a pessimist Indian can’t help but frown and complain about dwindling internet speeds, sub-grade facilities and stunted options. What we need to appreciate here is that the country is hardly sixty-five years young and people are able to aspire for what the citizens of the most developed economies can. Add to that the absolute bureaucracy and stifling corruption clad in varying diversity and you would be thankful, we are still developing. Okay, apart from all the philosophy, lets agree on at least one thing, we all love the English TV shows. The dawn of NETFLIX in INDIA is the best new year gift that we can hope for. For the people not so show-savvy, NETFLIX is the biggest online streaming platform that in addition to the huge general content creates exclusive content of its own. But why INDIA, why now?

Since many years, NETFLIX has been hinting at its mass expansion and India was undoubtedly a potent part of it. There has been a steady rise in Indian viewership, be it Hollywood movies or the TV shows. I will agree that the viewership achieved by Indian soap and drama still dwarfs this number, lets also consider the cost that Netflix will incur in future for failing to capitalize such a loyal user base. Looking at the bundle of positives that Netflix brings with it, we can talk about quality and quantity. Unlike Indian TV show collection which appears like monotonous and colorful copies of each other, majority of shows that Netflix brings to us are qualitative work. They are the result of worldwide opinions, hence are better image of what actually the world desires. The minimum price of five hundred rupees being charged by Netflix are just about the same, which our international peers are being charged with.  I personally feel that Netflix would be good for us simply because they will give the substandard Indian TV shows a run for their money. Right now the Indian viewer is in state of limbo, because he has lost all expectations of quality from the idiot box and has resigned to watching anything that plates a good dressing sense and stimulating shooting-set. This will change with Netflix. This will also be a big boost for independent Indian Cinema.  Lastly, Netflix is still away from the clutches of nosy censor board and viewers have right to decide what is good for them and what is not.

However, Netflix will be an infallible competitor to the similar Indian platforms (Hooq and BoxTV) that do exist or those that would try to come. Just compare the situation with ecommerce where Amazon seems infallible and in retail industry, Walmart if unchained from red tapes, can monopolize Indian retail. These world champions have big coffers and huge international business to fall back to, giving them an unfair advantage. I understand that there is globalization around us but it would be unfair to our entrepreneurs if their attempts to stand or learn are stunted by such titans. Everything in excess is bad, and so this area needs moderation too.

All in all, this is the dawn of quality viewership. Let’s stream!


Sources:

http://indianexpress.com/article/technology/tech-news-technology/netflix-in-india-here-is-how-it-will-                      work/

http://indianexpress.com/article/technology/tech-news-technology/netflix-launches-in-india-plans-start-                  at-500-rupees-a-month/

 

“India’s Biggest Cover Up” – 70th Anniversary

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Kousik Das, E-MBA 2015-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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We are still in dark even after seventy years of that mysterious plane crash of Taipei on 18th August, 1945 though there is no document of plane crash available with Taiwan government in that location and date. There is no documentary evidence to confirm our iconic leader’s death in that crash; but starting from Nehru government till Modi’s  are directly or indirectly compelling us to believe this suspicious theory without releasing the Netaji related secret files.

There were three commissions till date to suppress the countrymen’s agony. But in many cases government itself denied to go further to reveal the truth. For example: when Mukherjee commission wanted government interference to do a DNA test of the Renkoji Temple ashes by world famous experts, it remained silent.

However, Justice Manoj Kumar Mukherjee (of Mukherjee Commission) has ruled out the crash theory and collected many evidences to disapprove the cooked up incident. As published in the Outlook on 4th Feb, 2005 online edition, Justice M K Mukherjee said that the Taiwan Government has confirmed to the Commission during its visit to that country that no plane crashed at Taihoku between August 14 and September 20, 1945.

Journalist turned historian and founder of the NGO ‘Mission Netaji’ Anuj Dhar has collected many evidences after a research for more than a decade. He has also accompanied Justice Mukherjee many places during his investigation on Netaji death mystery. Along with Mukherjee they went to visit a hermit’s place in Faizabad who was more known by his religious name, “Bhagwanji” or Gumnami Baba. There are a lot of evidences which created a conception that he was none other than Netaji. “Mission Netaji” also interviewed many renowned persons who actually met the hermit. Their experiences also helped to consider the spiritual man as our very own Netaji. Among the possessions the monk had some personal letters and photographs of Netaji’s family along with Netaji’s parents which also strengthened the belief. Justice M. K. Mukherjee once said (“off the record”) that he is absolutely sure about that  hermit was none other than Bose.

There are must be many strong logical reasons behind the comment of Justice Mukherjee.  Among them there were some handwriting sample of the hermit which could be examined with the Netaji’s acceptable handwriting. B.Lal, former examiner of questioned documents of the Government of India, and one of the foremost experts in this field demonstrated in his report that the handwritings matched, the Office of the Government Examiner of Questioned Documents and Forensic Science Laboratory, Government of West Bengal, Kolkata, gave the contrary opinion, but without providing any reasoned analysis.

Apart from this belief, there are also some other theories regarding the disappearance of Netaji.

However, at last West Bengal government has decided to declassify 64 such files; Speaking to media persons on 11th September, 2015, the chief minister said, “People must know about Netaji”.

But, India government is not yet ready to declassify the related secret files as it “would jeopardize our country’s relations with many countries”.

We really don’t know when we will get the true picture until and unless our political leaders stop doing politics at least with this national issue.

 

Reference:

Book: “India’s Biggest Cover Up” By Anuj Dhar

http://www.ifreepress.com/netaji-subhas-chandra-boses-64-secret-files-will-be/

http://netajibosemysteryrevealed.org/dissection-of-justice-mukherjee-commission-of-inquiry-jmci/

http://www.outlookindia.com/news/article/no-crash-at-taipei-that-killed-netaji-taiwan-govt/277465

http://www.firstpost.com/india/why-subhas-chandra-boses-death-is-indias-biggest-cover-up-375766.html