Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bihar's Super 30: 100% success in IIT-JEE again

Professor Anandkumar at his Ramanujam School of Mathematics

Super 30 is unique and an extremely noble concept.

This is an arrangement where in the extreme poor students from the margins of society can make their way into the prestigious institutes of India like the IIT's.

The main architect of the concept is Anandkumar from 'Ramanujam School of Mathematics'. His efforts in bringing out the best from his students and uplifting them from extreme poverty are commendable. He alongwith an IPS officer - Bihar's Additional Director-General of Police Abhyanand, who teaches physics at the institute brought this concept into a reality.

The Super 30 works in this way:
Students after their 11th standard are supposed to appear for an entrance exam, the team of teachers from the 'Ramanujam School of Mathematics' screens and shortlists a group of 30 students. The students who are extremely poor but have a promising virtue to study and clear IIT-JEE are selected.

He then nurtures the students with his coaching and provides them with free food and free lodging. Yes, he takes care of the students for free! The students stay in his house and his mother cooks for them from the start of the course in September until the exams are over in April-May.

While his brother chips in with funds, still the burden is largely shared by Anandkumar who generates income from the school where other students from affluent family attend classes. He had to teach in the past in other teacher's classes too to make money for the Super 30.

The results have been astonishing. Super 30 started its journey in 2003, 18 out of 30 students were successful. The next year, the number of students successful went up to 22. In 2005, it improved further to 26. Continuing the trend, 28 students made it in 2006 and 2007. However, in 2008, the result was an amazing 30 out of 30.Super 30 had hit the bull’s eye. It was ‘a dream come true’ for Anand and his team.

Super 30 has done it again in 2009. It has been 30 out of 30 for the second year in succession.

The team also has got contributions from their past students who completed engineering from IIT's. The set-up has given out hope for the children of the marginalised, like the children of the carpenter, brick-kiln worker, labourer, rickshaw-puller etc who have made it to the prestigious institute of IIT.

Anandkumar had been an enthusiastic student of Mathematics in his days. He was studying in the Patna Science College and had taken huge strides in his field as a student. He got a chance to study in Cambridge, but could not follow up his dream due to lack of funds. Being brought up in penury after the death of his father and having lost his date with destiny, Anandkumar had nurtured the dream of coaching poor students to glory.

The team had its moment of well-deserved adulation when many a documentaries were made about it by foreign crews. Discovery channel had a specific interest in the story and had tracked a team for one full year. The documentary created by the channel had won prestigious awards all over the world.

We come across many a distressing stories about our country, but reading about Super 30 and its founders Anandkumar and Officer Abhayanand makes one feel proud about their contribution. Instead of mingling into mindless politicisation of the upliftment of poor and affirmative actions, if the law makers of this land encourage and endure more Super 30 groups, India will make strides in progress.

The official website for Super 30 can be reached at


Bihar's Super 30 in Time magazine best list

PATNA: Super 30, Bihar's free coaching centre which helps economically backward students crack the Indian Institute of Technology-Joint Entrance Examination (IIT-JEE), has been selected by The Time Magazine in the list of The Best of Asia 2010.

Monday, May 25, 2009

My Shooting Experience in Germany

This is my first shooting experience in April 2007 at a firing range near Meitzendorf, Sachsen - Anhalt, Germany.
In the first shot visible I had hit the target, so the people were applauding it goes upto the second round in the video...I missed the target the second time.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

RACISM IN AUSTRALIA!!! Update7 Attacks now seem like a backlash

Seven youth brutally attacked Indian student Sourabh Sharma, on a late night Werribee train and took "delight" in what they were doing, according to police.

Sourabh Sharma

These are a few images caught on CCTV in a train in Victoria State, Australia. The CCTV footage shows a group of guys beating up Sourabh Sharma. The recording of the bashing makes it clear, that the assault was unprovoked and thoroughly mischievious on the part of the group that thrashed the hapless student.

The complete CCTV footage is available here.

The footage shows Sharma, 21, being repeatedly punched and kicked in the head by the gang, who stole his phone and backpack containing $650.

The Federation of Indian Students of Australia say they know of 60 serious assaults in Melbourne in a few years. Many go unreported.

Update -1: There has been another case, where in, four students from Andhra Pradesh have been thrashed in a racist attack in Melbourne.

The students, who were bashed up in the racial attack, were away to the hospital when more horrifying situations unfolded. Unknown intruders broke into their houses and stole everything available. "They have no clothes or anything left in the house and the students are really feeling insecure and unsafe," said Gautam Gupta, President of the Federation of Indian student Association (FISA).

Meanwhile, the condition of the 25-year old Shravan Kumar, who is fighting for life in a hospital, remains critical and doctors are "not very optimistic" about chances of his recovery.


Another Indian student Baljinder Singh, 25 was attacked on Monday night when two men carrying weapons approached.

The attackers demanded money and as Singh was searching through his bag to hand over his wallet he was stabbed in the abdomen. Singh screamed for his life, his attackers laughed and fled the scene.

"I bent down and one guy stabbed me," Singh said adding "I just wanted to save my life and yelled "just don't kill me." "They just laughed when they stabbed me in the stomach. They laughed at me...I was screaming 'don't kill me, don't kill me'."

Now, it seems that the news of the attacks is spreading around and there are oppurtunistic attacks against Indians in particular.


The attacks have now reached increasingly alarming proportion. A fresh attack has been reported upon an Indian student Rajesh Kumar.

Rajeshkumar, age 25, suffered burns after a suspected petrol bomb was hurled at him in his home in Sydney. Rajesh Kumar was quickly covered by a blanket by his flatmate after the attack yesterday, an act which saved him from further injuries.

The ghastly attack took place when Rajesh Kumar was sitting on his bed in the front room of his rented house. An unknown person reportedly threw a small petrol bomb through his window. The explosion and the ensuing fire burned 30 percent of Kumar's body.

Another student Baljinder Singh, stabbed by two attackers early this week, has been released from hospital today.$All/727FC4DC54228872652575C5001A6942?OpenDocument


Five teenagers have been charged for two separate attacks on Indian students in Melbourne.

A 17-year-old male from Glenroy was charged with attempted murder over the attack with a screwdriver - by gatecrashers at a party in Hadfield, in Melbourne's north, on Saturday night -upon 25-year-old Sravan Kumar Theerthala who is battling for his life. An 18-year-old man from Heidelberg West was also questioned in relation to the attack, but has since been released.

The police have also charged four minors from Melbourne's west over the brutal bashing of Sourabh .

The teenagers have been charged with offences including affray, intentionally causing injury, recklessly causing injury and robbery. However, Deputy Commissioner Kieran Walshe said there was no indication that a rise in assaults and robberies against Indian students in Melbourne's west was due to "race hate".

He said there was a perception that Indian people were weak prey for criminals. "We think they are vulnerable, we don't think it's racial, we think they are a weak target," Walshe told The Herald Sun.

Update 5 -:

Shravan kumar seems to be out of danger now and has moved his limbs. But, Doctors are unsure of his complete recovery.

Update - 6:

The spate of attacks on Indian students continued, when Nardeep Singh a student from Ludhiana who arrived to Australia just a month ago was attacked on Tuesday morning by miscreants when he was on his way to college. He is a nursing student at the Chisholm Technical Institute, Melbourne.

The group of 5 people reportedly asked him for cigarettes and when he said that he did not have any, they asked for money and on again being refused, one attacker stabbed him in the chest. He managed to escape and reported to a Police Station.

Nardeep's friend said that he was bleeding excessively and is being treated in Melbourne Hospital.

Update - 7 : Now, this is seeming like an extended backlash from the White-Supremacists or the opportune thugs. Attacks on Indians are just increasing by the day and with all round media coverage, the effect is just being magnified.

A 23-year-old Indian student was beaten up for the second time in a fortnight by a group of youths in Melbourne, the 11th person from the community to be assaulted within a space of a month in Australia. Another students car had been torched by drug-addicts reportedly late Saturday night.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tampered EVM's in LS Elections? a genuine threat?

This has been a shocking result for the victorious as well as the losers. Congress had been busy trying to forge alliances even before the results without an inkling of how well they would do, or did they just seem to show off the urgency? Here are a few references I thought were interesting.

Producing doctored EVMs is child’s play: Computer chips that control the EVMs can be easily programmed to do all kinds of improper manipulations. For example, after a certain number of people (perhaps hundreds) have voted, the rest of the votes may be channeled to a chosen candidate. This is just one among many mischievous tricks possible.
Control-units keep track of votes by recognising them only by their serial number on the list of candidates on the poll-units on which people vote. So any tampering of the control-unit chip has to be done only after the serial number of various candidates in the list of candidates appearing on poll-units have been assigned.
Normally returning officers declare the serial number assignments after the last day of withdrawal of nominations, which happens about two weeks before polling. ROM chips with mischievous codes can be readied within hours after the candidates’ serial numbers are known. During the two weeks before polling, the malicious ROM chips, or the motherboard, or possibly the whole control-unit, whatever appears easier, may be caused to replace the original ones. Would it be wise to assume that officials in charge of the EVMs, and/or those guarding the machines, are incorruptible?

The writer Satinath Choudhary is president, Better
Democracy Forum, The Bronx, New York. He is a retired professor of computer

The article can be found at

Retired computer science professor Satinath Choudhary has filed public interest litigation over India's new electronic voting machines (EVMs) in India's Supreme Court. Dr. Choudhary is a 1964 graduate of the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology and has also taught in the United States. The suit is due to come up for hearing immediately. In the petition, a copy of which was
uncharacteristically released publicly over the tech lists in India, Dr. Choudhary cited news reports of problems with the EVMs in some parts of the country, and said: "In my public-interest litigation (PIL) I have asked the Supreme Court for directions. I hope it will give a direction to save democracy in India."

Second and final phase of voting in Orissa is witnessing voters’ wrath against polling officers in most of the booths as till now, i.e.noon, the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) are not working.

The EVMs are high-tech machines created with excellent technical know-how and carry certificate of faultlessness on the basis of meticulous testing. They should not have shown such defects in normal condition; but they may develop defect only if tampered with, suggest techno-academics that we contacted.

There were doubts about how a Electronic Voting Machine can be proceeded for recounting. Basic electronic knowledge professes that if an action is carried out by a computer any number of times with the same inputs then the result should be reproduced identically each time. So how does one explain the recounting process for some candidates close to the 'elite' in the ruling coalition (P.Chidambaram, Maneka Gandhi)?

The answer lies in the clerical error that the polling officers are bound to do when the votes are counted.

The 'rounds' of counting takes place by checking the result for total votes for each candidate with the specific serial number in each EVM. The number is manually entered on a chart in the presence of the polling agents of candidates all the party's contesting. Simultaneously, it is entered in a computer in the counting room after each EVM is read or after each round of counting. The total of all the no. of votes is calculated on the chart as well as the computer and submitted to the presiding officer. The officer tally's both the nos. to confirm that the voting has come clean. In case of the recounting that has happened, the nos. did not seem to match and the manual error was rectified, which led to the respective candidates victory.

So can we say that the elections would have been completely fair? Yes, I can say without being completely convinced, when there is a window of oppurtunity for sabotage. Professor Chaudhary gives and excellent temporary remedy for the matter.

Instead of declaring the serial number of candidates two weeks in advance of polling, the serial numbers may be decided at each polling booth by random draws by the presiding officers in the presence of the polling agents of various parties just an hour or so before the poll opening. Thereafter their names may be affixed on the poll-units in appropriate order in the presence of the poll-agents. All that will need to be done by the POs is, paste them on the poll-units in proper order by the time the poll opens. This entails different serial orders for candidates in different booths.But that only improves fairness towards the candidates, distributing the chance to be at the top or bottom of the list more evenly.

Increasing the sense of responsibility of the presiding and polling officers at polling booths, could also be considered, by officially declaring all of them to have equal powers, with instructions to try to make decisions with unanimous consent, as far as possible.

Another interesting theory, which I could not verify was that Congress has done extremely well after the Phase II, i.e after Navin Chawla - the CEC , whose appointment as CEC was controversial after he was supposedly known to be closer to the Congress - took over from former CEC N. Gopalswami.

With all these doubts about the process, it would be better for our democracy that the process is made as foolproof as possible, for ultimately the victory should be for our democracy, rather than anything else.


UPDATE - 1 : Some more references that have sprung up in recent days. These can be considered as losers moan's, but since we have a loophole in the system every doubt becomes a case for investigation.

MDMK leader Vaiko alleged on Tuesday that the DMK and Congress had won the
just concluded Lok Sabha polls in Tamil Nadu using money and muscle power.

He alleged that his defeat in Virudhunagar constituency was due to
irregularities and manipulation of the EVM. "There was a difference in votes
polled and counted, clearly indicating that EVMs was manipulated," he said.
"Similar was the case in Sivaganga constituency, where AIADMK's Raja
Kannappan lost by just over 3,500 votes to Congress' P Chidambaram," Vaiko

Gujarat High Court will held further hearing on a petition filed by BJP’s Kheda Lok Sabha seat candidate Devusinh Chauhan demanding a recounting for Kheda Lok Sabha seat on 8th June. BJP’s Devusinh had lost an election to outgoing Union minister of state for petroleum Dinsha Patel by 846 votes.

On May 16, the results were kept on hold for a few hours after a technical snag developed in an EVM, which had 686 votes of a minority-dominated booth of Dholka. While Patel was leading with 305 votes by that time, after the machine was rectified Dinsha was declared elected with 2,84,004 votes in his favour against Chauhan’s 2,83,158 votes.

Man in arena and the critic

I came across a few very forceful and deliberate words expressed therein a piece of article.

They are from a speech made by the 26th President of the United states of America, Theodore Roosevelt in 1910 at the Sorbonne in Paris -

‘It is not the critic who counts ;
not the man who points out
how the strong man or where the doer of deeds
could have done them better.

The credit belongs
to the man who is actually in the arena,

whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood ;
who strives valiantly ; who errs,
who comes short again and again,
because there is no effort without error and shortcoming;

but who does actually strive to do the deeds ;
who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions ;
who spends himself in a worthy cause;
who at best knows in the end
the triumph of high achievement,

and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring

so that his place
shall never be with
those cold and timid souls
who neither know victory or defeat.’

Simply marvelous. One does not need to elaborate any further.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Jerly Lyngdoh, The 'Man-Baby'

Jerly Lyngdoh, the worlds oldest baby, has Doctors and Pediatricians scratching their heads.

Jerly Lyngdoh is an adult trapped, perhaps forever, in a baby's body and mind.

Born on March 29, 1983, in Meghalaya, Jerly has not grown beyond 84 cm which is the normal height of a two-year-old baby and weighs about 10 kg. His features and head circumference are that of a small child. He also has the mental capacity of a child that age, making him, quite literally, the worlds oldest baby. His parents still dress him in baby clothing. He cannot communicate and needs his mother's help for any normal activity. In fact, the only sign of adulthood in him is his denture, his milk teeth having been replaced at the right age.

Jerly's mother said she did not notice any abnormality when her son was born but when he was about four months, she noticed some kind of an epileptic disorder. Too poor to afford proper treatment, she had relied on a traditional healer after Jerly became 15 years old, but to no avail.

Lyngdoh has a rare pituitary condition known as pan-hypo pituitarism, which causes limited secretion of growth hormones from the pituitary gland. His condition is the opposite of progeria, or advanced ageing.
Although ,Jerly's six siblings from the same mother are normal, his mother, had to battle family prejudices and endure neighbours' derision to keep her son surviving. Once, she recalled, Jerly's grandfather had labelled him as a curse on the family and even advised her to throw him away.
Now, I know a few people who would have preferred to live like that always and still do behave as if they are perpetual toddlers.
But, if you think you had quite a burden of problems upon your shoulders and feel life has been cruel to you and that things are quite 'abnormal' always with you, just spare a thought upon this poor 'man' and his mother, who does'nt know what normalcy is.

Monday, May 11, 2009


Now, that is what is called a splendid gimmicking of the electorate...
DE-MOCK-CRAZY you see !!!

First time in world history, fasting only for 4 hours and that too with an AC …….
This is the comic situation of the year 2009….
Fasting starts after breakfast and ends before lunch. Interesting one! ! ! ! ! !

Doesnt that say everything??

Friday, May 8, 2009

A temple in Cuddapah where Sir Thomas Munroe is worshipped.

Sir Thomas Munroe — yes, the Governor remembered in the statue in the middle of Madras’s Island is worshipped in a temple in Cuddapah, Andhra Pradesh. There was a time in what were called the Ceded Districts when Munrolappa was not an uncommon local name.
This is an interesting article I read in 'The Hindu'
It was dark. Cuddapah was still quite far away. The gently sloping road ahead seemed to go on and on. “There is a temple on the way,” said one of our companions. “We must stop there. It is a small temple but a temple with an interesting story.”

The legend was that as Ram and Sita made their way back from Lanka to Ayodhya, Hanuman went ahead. He would search for a good place for the royal couple to stop and rest on their journey home. Not far from where we were was one such place. Hanuman had chosen a cave by the side of a river. To mark the spot, Hanuman hung a golden rope across two hill tops. So that from a distance the rope could be seen. The story continues. Ram and Sita did indeed stop at the cave. Grateful for Hanuman’s efforts, Ram etched a picture of Hanuman on the stone walls of the cave.

Centuries later :
Hundreds of years later, in British times, Sir Thomas Munroe was the Collector of Cuddapah. Travelling through the hills, late one night, he saw a gleaming rope of gold stretched from one hill top to another. “What is that” he asked his companions. “Why is there a golden rope hanging from one hill top to another?” There was a long silence. No one among Munro’s companions spoke. No one could see the rope that Munroe was referring to. No one had the courage to speak.

Finally, an elderly man spoke up. “He who can see the golden rope is blessed. But he will die in a few months.” Thomas Munroe looked at his companions in disbelief and put the story aside as superstition. But it must have stayed with him. It is said that he even wrote about this incident in his diary. In a few months time, Munroe was dead.

We stayed silent. We could not see any golden rope over the river. The dark hills passed us by. Our thoughts going back and forth: the mythical story of Hanuman and the unlikely fate of Munroe. In some time we came to the temple. A small glow of light in the darkening night. There were hardly any people in the temple. A few priests were conducting the evening aarti.

It was easy to walk right into the inner sanctum of the temple. There was a carving of Hanuman on the stone walls as described. Parts of the carving had been covered in silver. Till today, Hanuman’s service to Ram was being acknowledged, celebrated and worshipped.

Out in the main hall, a few people sat on the floor listening to the aarti. High above on the walls were framed pictures. Most were of gods and goddesses. In the centre,
prominently displayed was one of Ram and Sita. The glass framing the picture had
been smeared with holy ash, haldi and kumkum. There was a garland of fresh
flowers encircling the frame.

Right next to Ram and Sita was a framed picture of Sir Thomas Munroe. Like the gods and goddesses around him, he too was covered in haldi-kumkum and crowned with flowers.

Another article about Sir Thomas Munroe is even more interesting and this had happened before the above incident occured. This might give a believer's insight into why Sir Thomas would be the chosen one for such a divine experience.

When Sir Thomas Munroe was the Collector of Bellary in 1800, the Madras Government ordered him to procure the entire income from the Math and Manthralaya village. When the Revenue officials were unable to comply with this order, Sir Thomas Munroe visited the Math for investigation.

He removed his hat and shoes and entered the sacred precincts. Sri Raghavendraswamy emerged from the Brindavan and conversed with him for
sometime, about the resumption of endowment. The Saint was visible and audible only to Munroe who received Manthraksha.

The Collector went back and wrote an order in favour of the Math and the village. This notification was published in the Madras Government Gazette in Chapter XI and page 213, with the caption "Manchali Adoni Taluka''. This order is still preserved in Fort St. George and Manthralayam.

All the priests in the Math were much annoyed about the incident, because in spite of their long and sincere service, Sri Raghavendra Swamy had not given them darshan. That night, Swamyji appeared in the dream of the chief priest and told him that as Prahaladha, he and Munroe were class-mates in Kritha Yuga and he was destined to perform this noble deed of solving the Math's problem. Hence the unique privilege.

UPDATE - 1 : This is an excerpt from another article on the web.

Sir Thomas Munroe, Governor of Madras Presidency, who believed he was cured of acute stomach pain by the grace of Lord Venkateshwara, created an endowment by gifting the village of Kotavayulu in Chittoor District, for a daily offering of a gangalam (still known as the Monroe gangalam) of pongal.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bangalored to Buffaloed...

"Look towards Buffalo, not Bangalore" seems to be the new mantra of the Obama Administration. The new administration of President Obama has been holistically and surprisingly following what had been promised by the Candidate Obama in his elections manifesto. He has not only gone about seriously trying to de-nuke the Earth, by sincerely extending the idea of destroying all nuclear weapons to Russia - and surprisingly, has been responded by them positively - but also, he is going ahead with the seemingly impossible task of disallowing tax breaks to US companies that outsource jobs to cheaper locations.

'Bangalored' was a term recently made famous in US by Unions and activists trying to highlight the plight of workers who lost their jobs to people from locations where in the salary is cheaper than in US. Bangalore, being the epicentre of IT revolution in India and leading from the front as a destination for outsourcing has been associated closely with job losses in the western countries. Although the term 'Bangalored' has been in use since before the World War I - having got a torpedo blast named as Bangalored which was invented in the city and also the term being recently used in the film Saving Private Ryan - currently it is an epitome of someone losing his job to a fellow worker across the globe, deep into the regions where the dollar is being traded as a high value commodity.

The recession has had its effects already on the economy of Bangalore, with lesser sales and order bookings for companies and mass layoffs. Now, Obama seems to have hit the last nail in the coffin by going ahead with his plan for taxation. He proposes to end the Tax Breaks that American companies have enjoyed for a while now, if they outsource jobs out of the US. He seems to suggest that getting jobs done in Buffalo would be a better idea for the 'by now foundering' US economy. So will we see a flight of jobs in the reverse direction now? Shall we start coining the new term 'Being Buffaloed'?

To start with, having jobs done by Americans and paying for their salaries makes a US company less competitive. Say if an IBM and an Infosys are bidding for a client, then IBM to pay their employees and to recover the overhead costs will be bidding much higher than Infosys. So, as a matter of fact US people will gain employment but not orders. They will have jobs, but not work. May be working in an Indian IT company and retaining your jobs will not be all that difficult in this scenario.

Looking at the other side and the more worrisome situation of an employee from a US based company. If a company decides to shift the jobs back to the US only due to the new taxation policy, then how much does the company gain?

Let me take an example of a software developer who is drawing $20000 per year. With the new taxation policy, he is costing his company 35% more that is his new cost would be $27000. A rise of $7000 overnight, without he getting a penny of it. The average salary of a software developer in the US is said to be around $60000 per annum. So even with a conservative estimate and taking into consideration the reasons for which an American employee would be preferred over an Indian employee sitting far off from the office, still the Indian employee is far more cheaper than the American one. This sentiment should not be forgotten, when you are worrying for your job. There is less likely a chance that US company's will shift jobs back enmasse.

The times do seem quite tough for everyone, but we just need to tighten up our seat belts more for the rough ride ahead of us. And yes, also pray that the rupee doesnt climb up substantially against the dollar.