Many folks asked me for an update on Pune’s Blog Camp, after the previous photo-post. How was the experience? Was it worth it? Who was there?
Not being diplomatic, I can say that the experience was an interesting one for me, with positives and negatives. I had never been to any blog camp, bar camp, or Tweetup before, so I did not have any expectations, and that probably helped.
There was an interesting discussion going on even before the blog camp in the comments to Navin Kabra’s PuneTech Why You Should Attend Pune Blog Camp post. At the other end of the spectrum, post-event, the insights from the camp led to Dhananjay Nene’s Why I was disappointed with Pune Blog Camp 2.
Some others have shared their experiences too. Sandeep has a largely positive thank you note at his blog The Mousetrap. Anant has a detailed write up on his blog, Rahul has an update on the Devil’s Workshop, Aniket has shared his awesome feeling about the camp at Melody in Dissonance, while Deep Ganatra raises an important concern about unintentional session-hijacking. Almost all of them have written about the various sessions that took place, so I will not repeat them. Nor will I remember the names of all the presenters! So I will just share a few of my thoughts. You can also read Pune Mirror and TOI’s coverage.
A word of thanks to the organizers is a must. Tarun Chandel led the tone of the camp beautifully, making people get comfortable with his opening presentation and stepping in to facilitate whenever he could. I think the facilitation needed more support – it seemed he was the only one intent on facilitating.
Meeting In Person
There were a few specific people I wanted to meet and that was one of my motivations for going to the camp. There were a few surprises too. I knew about sites like Wogma and Track.in, and it was good to meet online entrepreneurs Meetu Kabra and Arun Prabhudesai in person. I met fellow Twitter contacts like Amit Paranjape, an entrepreneur who shares myriad interests like me, who was busy with his Smartphone throughout the camp as I’d expected! Dhananjay Nene, a software architect, was another Twitter contact and meeting him personally was a surprise as he wasn’t as old as he looked in his avatar!
Friends in need are friends on Friendfeed. I recognized Sandeep Gautam instantly, even if we had only recently started following each other on Friendfeed. Sandeep writes on psychology and neuroscience while being into software development and poetry, at The Mousetrap. Sneha Gore has done a survey-based research into motivations of young bloggers which I found interesting, and meeting Pune Mirror’s Vishal was also good.
- Despite what the self-analysis kit says, the camp was not centered around a theme or purpose. Blogging is a wide umbrella term for any camp to succeed without having a theme – SEO, journalism, the ubiquitous ‘musings’ – some theme is needed for greater audience-presenter harmony.
- Despite all the marketing-SEO focused presentations, the Golden Rule of SEO was not emphasized at all, or I missed it altogether. Content is king. Period.
- No talk of the future of blogging. Yongfook, author of the popular open-source self-hosted Lifestreaming application SweetCron has proclaimed The Blog is Dead. Wired magazine advised not to start a new blog, and to pull the plug if you already had one. ReadWriteWeb asked if the future of blogging is lifetreaming. I thought these topics will come up in a ‘blog camp’, but either they didn’t or I missed them.
- Sometimes, I felt disenchanted with the perspective of an SEO/Marketing oriented pro-blogger that looks at readers as pure numbers and statistics on a graph. Rather than a birds-eye view of traffic flowing on a freeway, I prefer seeking the company of people actually driving those cars – those who take the time to comment and share their ideas and opinions on my posts. But that’s just me.
- Despite the monetization related talks, there was no talk about writing. I take the blame for this. As a professional writer who is making money out of writing on a blog, and not looking at promotion, marketing, or SEO, I could have talked about how you can earn money as a blog writer without being keen on SEO.
- Meeting lots and lots of bloggers! And especially meeting the few I wrote about above.
- The passion and entrepreneurship of youth that I witnessed was inspiring. Young people in their 20s have .com domains and are discussing SEO. Wow. I actually felt out of place.
- Navin and Vishal’s presentation on what newspapers can learn from blogs and vice versa.
- Sandeep’s presentation on niche science blogging.
- Regional focus – Shantanu Oak talked about Devanagri spell-checking.
- Seeing lots and lots of newbie or wannabe bloggers.
- Bloggers should be on Twitter if they want to expand visibility of their blog.
- Some folks try to make money out of blogging. The clever folks make money from bloggers.
- The ‘blogger elite’ usually doesn’t comment on each other’s blogs. They use Twitter to keep in touch with each other.
- I personally feel there should be disclaimers within the presentations on monetization, when a lot of impressionable young people are in the audience. I could sense that many such people got the feeling that one can easily make money out of blogging, if one is geeky enough and knows a few ‘secrets’.
- In a blog camp, the law of two feet is very important. I did it successfully – rather than being felt obliged to listen to sessions that I was not interested in, I preferred spending one-to-one time with people, which is what worked best for me.
- If I go to a blog camp again, I will present. In retrospect, I could have shared:
- My experience with plagiarism
- The intense debates on this blog surrounding female foeticide, right to free speech, whether poverty is the root cause of terrorism, the legal implications of blogging, and paranormal phenomena. How these thoughtful discussions with readers have enriched me is very precious to me as a blogger.
- My experiences of blogging at Mutiny.in especially when defending the Indo-US Nuclear Deal. There are distinct differences between blogging on your personal blog and doing it on a high-visibility group blog.
- As mentioned earlier, writing to earn money, which I think is a dream quite a few people might have.
Thus, all in all, an interesting experience. Will I go to another camp? If it is not centered around a specific theme, definitely not. Else, depends on the theme!
Here are some photographs I managed to click at Blog Camp Pune 2 when I could disengage myself from the talks. Snaps are hosted on Flickr, please click to get higher resolutions. My thanks to all the ‘un’-organizers of the event for making this such a flawlessly smooth event!
“Bachelors & Foreigners As Tenants Not Allowed”
I decided to add this prologue after the first few comments to this post. This post uses an incident in India, but is actually universal in nature and focuses on the moral, philosophical, and ethical decision-making involved in an emergency.
Imagine you’re traveling from Mumbai to Pune by train, which is full to capacity, as usual in India. An additional engine is added to the train to climb the ascent of the Western Ghats from Karjat at sea-level to Lonavala at a height of 2000 ft. above sea level. Your train trudges laboriously upwards and reaches Lonavala after 1.5 – 2 hours. You enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Sahyadri ghats. It stops at Lonavala for a while and everyone gets back on board, ready to proceed.
Suddenly the train starts inching backwards. There are smiles, giggles, and wisecracks about what antics the drivers are up to. Some wonder if they’re simply changing tracks or if some engine replacement or something had to be done. The ‘inching’ turns into ‘crawling’, and soon enough, ominously, the train is now really ‘moving’ backwards. There is puzzlement all around and you are amused as to what’s happening.
There is no let up however, as the train starts getting momentum, accelerates further, and starts gaining speed. Amusement disappears as you and everyone else realize that something is seriously wrong. The train gains further acceleration and you’re already cruising at a reasonable speed. Everyone is peering out the compartment doors and windows only to find people from other compartments doing the same. “Has the driver lost his mind?” you wonder, as people start voicing obscenities at the train staff.
“But, was the staff (driver and guard at opposite ends), on the train when it started off at Lonavala?” someone asks and nobody really knows. The worst possibility comes to your mind – you’re on a runaway train, downhill, with no one at the controls.
By this time, the train is so fast that it would be dangerous to jump off. Panic and confusion all around you. You calm yourself and start thinking rapidly. You visualize the laborious twists and turns of the track as it winds down the mountains. You imagine a full-speed, no holds barred, runaway train hurtling across those tracks and overturning into the picturesque Sahyadri valleys. Is this how you were destined to die?
Point A: Question 1
At this point, if you jumped off, you assess your chances. Let’s say there’s a 70-80% probability that you’ll get seriously hurt, and a 20-30% possibility that you might die in the process. Will you jump off?
Point A: Question 2
Assume you don’t, and cling on to hope, that there will be some miraculous intervention and that you will be saved. After all, when one lives in a civilized and moderately developed society, it is a rational expectation that there will be systems and processes in place to deal with such emergencies.
Some people are seriously doubtful however. They’re contemplating jumping off. Will you discourage and/or prevent people from doing so?
Meanwhile, the train has reached a breakneck speed. The sparks from the wheels are now of alarming proportions and reaching the windows. People from another compartment come rushing into yours as their compartment catches fire. The ghat section, where the real twists and turns begin, is just around the corner. People are screaming, women are crying in hysteria.
Point B: Question 1
At this point, there’s an almost 100% probability of serious injury, including permanent handicap, and a 70% probability of death. Will you jump?
Point B: Question 2
Assume you don’t, and still have hope that you will be saved. However, there are people who are getting ready to jump. Will you discourage/prevent them, just because you have hope even if they haven’t?
The above situation is not hypothetical. This is what happened to the Indrayani Express in the 1990s, when my cousin brother was on the train. During a normal return journey from Pune to Mumbai (downhill), the train used to descend the height of the ghat section in approximately an hour. That day, it ran the same track downhill in 11 minutes. The train did not overturn. Few people who jumped off were seriously injured. There were no major casualties. My brother urged dozens of people not to jump and ended up saving them in the process.
I continue to be amazed by our precocious children. And I’m sure every generation before us has gone through the same amazement. What’s unique about our children? Nothing unique, in my opinion, just that as the rate of technological advance increases exponentially, the degree of difficulty in parenting increases exponentially as well.
I was chatting with a colleague over lunch about her kids – a 6-year old son, and a 3 year old daughter. Her son had an account on Orkut. She discussed it with him and convinced him that he was not old enough to have an Orkut account. He finally consented and they deleted his account. Her daughter wanted an account too, as her brother had one. Sure, there are Parent’s Guides to Social Networking, but in India, in many cases, the parents are not knowledgeable about how to use the Internet, whereas the kids are!
Her 6-year old son can take you anywhere in Chicago – in Midtown Madness. You name the place, he’ll drive you there. Her 3-year old daughter can drive you to Crooked Street in San Francisco in Midtown Madness 2, and shriek in joy by tumbling the car over Crooked Street.
Her son creates Powerpoint slides with ease, and is now dabbling in Excel by helping his Dad create his “weekly schedule” of play time and homework.
In the traditional heart of Pune’s Laxmi Road, a woman wearing a halter top with her bra straps visible happened to pass by. After she was gone, a 3-year old boy smiled and remarked “Sagla distay ki ticha!” (“She’s showing everything”). I remember being at least 12-13 years old before noticing such things – that’s a 10 year difference!
It is not just that children are smarter and more intelligent. That has been true throughout history. It is the access to technology that makes all the difference – it is the combination of enhanced intelligence and powerful tools like never before that is fueling the extraordinary achievements of the next generation.
It is difficult being a parent today, more difficult than it was before, because of this reason. And it is not just your own child’s security that you need to worry about. Your own child’s behavior can also affect another child’s security. Prerna writes about this delicate balance with sensitivity – where exactly do you draw the line between protectiveness to safeguard your child’s safety and freedom, so as not to stifle the child’s growth?
One of the core difficulties regarding parenting is of course, sex education. With sex education being banned in more and more states in India, this is becoming more of a parenting issue rather than an academic one. Nita points out: “it is a known fact that Indian parents neglect to do their duty when it comes to teaching their children about sex…and the consequence is that kids turn to pornography.” Paul has a thought-provoking post (NSFW) opining that it is better to allow children access to tasteful nudes that can deter them from tasteless porn.
I sought the opinion of a professional psychological counselor on this topic. She said that the right age to educate your child about sex is completely flexible and dependent on the child and the social circumstances. The education itself should, of course, be incremental and in appropriate stages. It begins with education about gender identity. Boys want to know how girls are different and vice versa. That’s where sex education begins.
From her experience as a counselor, she shared the fact that the most common question children ask is “where did I come from”. Looking at the fact that this question has made human beings build telescopes, launch satellites and planetary explorers, and write philosophical treatises, it seems this is the most fundamental, quintessential questions man has ever asked!
Related Reading: A nice, wide angle view of the Age of Consent, by Nita.
Photos: Copyrighted to me, of my daughter.
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Apart from my regular IT job, one of the things I do is run a restaurant. Indian bloggers are typically consumers. That’s how we have restaurant reviews (like this excellent one), describe our experiences with restaurant owners, complain about broadband service providers, and so on. Entrepreneurial bloggers are usually from the high-tech industry. I have yet to see an Indian blogger who runs a restaurant – if you know one, please let me know!
It all started around ten years back, when I moved to Pune. I observed the restaurant scene here and was intrigued. I thought of starting a restaurant of my own. It was a dream. The food business in Pune is phenomenal and I wanted to be a part of it. In Pune, this is one business proposition that never seems to fail.
There were many challenges. Having a full time job didn’t help. I didn’t have any of the necessary resources – finance, contacts, domain knowledge, and so on. So over the last few years, I slowly harnessed these, and chased my dream.
When things actually started materializing, it was a nightmarish scene that would do justice to a blog of its own. Getting legal, operational, bureaucratic, governmental, stuff done is not easy for an educated middle-class person in India – it requires non-academic skills that I wasn’t prepared for at all. But this was one of the whole point of the exercise – no one from my family had ever entered into business. I was the sole foolish one.
Finally, in June this year, I was able to rent a place and start my own restaurant. Here are some photographs of the restaurant, including some from the kitchen. Click on any of the photographs to see the larger version. The temporary shade you see in the first photograph is put up for the monsoon season. Once it is removed, the outside area is open to the sky and is quite pleasant.
Since I was a child, I was curious about one thing. It took my mom or any other Indian housewife at least an hour to prepare a single planned meal – how could the restaurant chefs prepare your chosen item from among a hundred in only 15-20 minutes? I got all such answers to my curiosity as part of my domain research.
The image at the right shows Indian condiments (spices) that are used for North Indian dishes.
I’ve outsourced the actual day-to-day management of the restaurant and only play a supervisory role. Staff management is one of the most critical aspects of running a restaurant, and handling attrition is very similar to the Indian IT industry.
There have been many interesting experiences when dealing with customers. One of the most problematic challenges during current times has been change. There is simply no change available from any source.
The equipment to the right is a “curry-making machine”. There are three different types of “curries” or “gravies” for all North Indian dishes. Green, white, and red. This machine is used to make the red gravy that is the base for making about 75% of North Indian dishes. This gravy is made 3-4 times a week. This also means that every North Indian dish you eat in a restaurant is not guaranteed to always be fully fresh – or made that day. You may be eating curry that was prepared yesterday, or worse, day-before-yesterday.
The photo above shows fresh vegetables from the market, ready to be cleaned and used. Basic stuff like food grains and rice is bought twice a month, while fresh vegetables are bought 3-4 times a week, depending upon the consumption. Some perishable items, like coriander, need to be bought every day.
Finally, these two photographs show the Indian tandoor. The tandoor chef is preparing the tandoor roti and naan that are ubiquitous North Indian breads. The photo to the left actually shows the charcoal at the bottom, and the rotis stuck to the inside of the tandoor oven.
A tandoor oven is “initialized” by coating the insides with a special mixture consisting of many ingredients including egg. So all vegetarians who eat vegetarian tandoor dishes or roti/naan, are actually unaware that they are eating something that was stuck closely onto a mixture that contained egg.
So, these are some glimpses into the insides of a typical restaurant. Do let me know if you liked the post!
If you’d like to know location details and directions to get there, continue reading… Read more…
Dear Ingmar Bergman,
I have not watched many of your movies. In fact, I have only watched Fanny and Alexander. But I was so young then, that I couldn’t get it at all. And later, when I started getting a glimpse of what film-making as an art is all about, I was afraid to watch your films.
You see, one doesn’t look directly at the sun. If one wants to observe it, study the sun spot features on it, one filters it through a film and projects it on a piece of white paper, and then studies it. Similarly, I have been studying your energy by its influence on other film-makers like Woody Allen. Some might say Woody’s films are like high-school lessons, while yours are a doctoral thesis, and they wouldn’t be wrong. And like many of us common folk, I simply study others’ research, and thus learn about you.
You were the first to bring metaphysics to the screen. Your study of relationships is profound. They say that in your films, the mind is constantly seeking, constantly enquiring, constantly puzzled. For many years, your work was never criticized. Then the first critic lambasted you. It was discovered later that the critic was none other than you yourself. Why did you need to play such pranks?
Much has been written on the Bergmanesque bleakness and depressive overtones in your films. But I think these critics forget your traumatized childhood. They were never locked up in cupboards as children. They were either never around or forget the aftermath of WWII and the discovery of concentration camps. It is all too easy to turn your glare and attention away from evil. There are few courageous men like you, who stare at evil in the eye, and spend a lifetime studying and trying to understand it.
Those who try, understand what is involved. Hence you’ve been called a “Director’s Director”. At the 50th Cannes International Film Festival, all the surviving Palme d’Or-winning directors picked you for the Palme de Palmes award.
Even without having watched your films, I had strong emotions reading about your real meeting with death. Because I do not think great directors like you, who excelled in the art of film-making, can ever succeed in today’s world of blockbusters, feel-good cinema, pop culture, special effects, gangster actors, and sleaze.
That you never won an Oscar says a lot about the Oscar than about you. The Cannes festival director says that you are the last of the greats, as you proved that cinema can be as profound as literature. You once said, “Film as dream, film as music. No form of art goes beyond ordinary consciousness as film does, straight to our emotions, deep into the twilight room of the soul.” A well-known Indian film director calls your cinema a symphony of the human soul.
I come from India, far away from Sweden. But you know about it, through Ray, whom you admired. A Bergman Film Festival in my city of Pune in 2003 caused a massive traffic jam. 500 people packed themselves, standing in aisles and on footsteps, in an auditorium with a capacity of 300. Such is the magic you create, that transcends language, culture, and geopolitical boundaries. India’s National Film Archive, located in Pune has 21 of your films. 5 or so of them are going to be screened this weekend in your memory.
It is a different matter altogether whether I’ll be able to watch any. I’ve not yet decided whether I’m going to try. An American screen-writer and playwright once attended a full-day Bergman festival. “I went at ten o’clock in the morning, and stayed all day. When I left the theater it was still light, but my soul was dark, and I did not sleep for years afterwards”, he said.
And I don’t want to stare at the sun.
An Unquiet Mind Like Yours
I was fortunate to be living in downtown Detroit when it hosted the Superbowl. For the uninitiated, Superbowl is the championship game of the National Football League (NFL) in the US. Superbowl Sunday is a de-facto national holiday. It is the most-watched television broadcast of the year, and the second highest food-consumption day in the US, after Thanksgiving.
Detroit, the motor capital of the world, is the poorest city in the US. More than one-third of its population lives below the poverty line. The 2005 unemployment rate was 14.1 percent, more than two and a half times the national level. Still, after having lived there for a while, I began to identify with the city. I was working at General Motors World Headquarters, and living opposite it. From my 16th floor apartment, we could see Canada opposite the Detroit River. (The view at the right is from my apartment.) I started caring for and feeling proud of Detroit (alluding to my comments in an earlier post), and was excited that it was chosen for hosting the largest sporting event in the US.
How did it turn out? Well, they spent $17 billion on a makeover. And hosting the Superbowl got them $274 million. I guess it’s still a long way to go. And it was disappointing to see that they had to fake the skyline, when bidding for hosting the event. That’s not surprising in a way: Ever since the selection committee announced in 2000 that Detroit would be the ’06 host, critics have carped: The city is too downtrodden, too crime-ridden, and too darned cold, they said. (Perhaps that’s because the last time the game was played in the area, in 1982, temperatures dipped to minus 27 with wind chill.)
But consider this: Detroit metro area has about 31,000 hotel rooms. Compare that with 92,000 – the total number of hotel rooms in India, and 2,500 – the total number of hotel rooms in Pune, which is hosting the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games.
I do not understand American football. But I did try to read and understand the game. And I did enjoy watching it on TV. This is the time when companies spend millions of dollars on lavish new advertising campaigns. The city was bubbling with all sorts of events designed to entertain the hundreds of thousands of visitors.
The 2005 Major League Baseball Game was played in Detroit in July 2005. To celebrate that event and show the whole nation that it was ready for the Superbowl, GM decked up the Renaissance Center with an image of a baseball smashing through its glass exterior. It was a magnificent sight. The 4612ft refers to the actual distance a ball would need to travel from the ‘home plate’ of Comerica Park in downtown Detroit (home of the Detroit Tigers) to the point where the ball is smashing the tower. Can you guess how it was made?
Then there were ice sculptures of automobiles, the logos of the various football teams, and other stuff. There were music shows on stage. There was a food court with cuisines from every imaginable place on earth. There were an innumerable number of booths sponsored by various companies, each featuring something unique. Motorola had created Hawaii in one booth – complete with sand, surf, and garlands! It featured an artificial wave generator machine and folks were actually surfing on it.
I have never rode in a Mercedes or a Rolls Royce. And frankly, I don’t care. Because the highest point of my automobile experience was when I was fortunate to ride in a Model T. One of the earliest automobiles in history, and the first one to be produced on an assembly line.
Here we were, an Asian couple in a foreign country, standing in a long queue in inclement weather, waiting for our turn for the free ride in the Model T. It was snowing and raining. It was bitter cold. The queue was very long. There were about a dozen Model T cars for the free ride. I was just too stunned to believe where I was and what was happening. I just couldn’t believe that these cars, manufactured almost a century ago, were functioning in this kind of weather. That I was going to ride in them was a distant science fiction fantasy in some galaxy far, far away. Yet we moved in the queue, watching how people were being accommodated in groups inside each car.
We were wary. I wondered how they would treat us, a brown Asian couple. After going through the discrimination at airport security checks, you get used to these things. Would they refuse the ride? I hoped not. I prayed that we would be seated in a crowd, crouching in between strangers, or worst, separated with one in the front seat and the other at the back. As we approached the ‘finish’ line, the attendant asked “how many?”. “Just the two of us”, I replied.
Seeing a romantic (we were hugging because of the cold) couple, they gave us a Model T all to ourselves! We just couldn’t believe it. And we had the ride of our life. It lasted about 7-8 minutes, but for me, it was more thrilling than any roller coaster ride – in a deep, profound way.
The driver informed us that that particular model was manufactured in 1917, and there was no major engineering overhaul. Just plain, basic, simple maintenance. He was also impressed with my knowledge of the Model T (I’d done my research before going for the ride), and was glad to have someone from faraway India who appreciated the Model T so much!
I wonder how Pune and Delhi are going to prepare themselves for the upcoming Youth Commonwealth Games in 2008, and Commonwealth Games in 2010 respectively. How do we fare as a tourist destination? I witnessed first-hand the complete makeover of downtown Detroit in preparation for the Superbowl. I read about the CGF praising Pune’s capability and infrastructure facilities. Living in Pune, I don’t know what the hell that means.
The demand-supply gap for budget-hotel rooms in India is already over 50,000. I read about thousands of crores of rupees being earmarked for revamping Pune and Delhi’s infrastructure. Will these funds really gain fruit? The Commonwealth Games in 2010 is expected to increase India’s share of global tourist arrivals from 0.52 percent to 1.5 percent. This means an increase of hundreds of thousands of tourists. In this context, our politicians are reducing the budget for Delhi.
How will it all turn out? We have to wait, watch, and see.
(All photos taken by me in Detroit)
While everyone is writing about India’s first female president, let me take this opportunity to note another first for India’s president: that Mrs. Pratibha Patil is a Maharashtrian.
Rajdeep Sardesai writes about the euphoria among the Maharashtrian community on his IBN Live Blog.
While I would disagree with him about this, he goes on to further explore Maharashtra’s role in Indian politics, and more specifically, how and why they’ve never really achieved a ‘national leader’ status. On a psychological level:
Mr. Sharad Pawar, in a sense, exemplifies the failings of the contemporary Maharashtra political elite. If the Bengali left has been burdened with an innate superiority complex (many of them still genuinely believe in the Gokhale dictum of a century ago that what Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow), the inward-looking attitude of the Maratha leadership has bred a certain inferiority complex, and made it difficult for them to adjust to a wider, more complex world (which is why Mr. Pawar needs a Praful Patel as his political brand manager).
Which brings me to Kumar Ketkar’s op-ed in the Indian Express. He opines that Mrs. Patil’s victory is a non-event in Maharashtra, and says:
The fact is that the average Marathi person is far less ethnically chauvinistic than he is made out to be by the Shiv Sena and the English media. With malice towards none, one can say that Maharashtra does not have the ethnic-cultural-linguistic pride which is so dominant in Bengali, Tamil, Telugu or Punjabi societies.
He describes the different Maharashtra regions having separate identities, and there being no comprehensive Marathi ethos.
As an experiment, I tried thinking of famous Indian personalities and what my immediate thoughts about them were. If I had no specific thought for even a second, I moved to the next. It went something like this (in no particular order):
- Manmohan Singh. Intellectual. Sikh.
- Sachin Tendulkar. Great batsman.
- Saurav Ganguly. Great captain. Bengali.
- Amitabh Bacchan. Superstar.
- Satyajit Ray. Great Bengali filmmaker.
- Amartya Sen. Great economist.
- Rajnikanth. Tamil Superstar.
- Lata Mangeshkar. Great singer. Marathi.
Obviously, the results were mixed. Now, given that artists (singers, filmmakers, actors) are intimately involved with their language, it is not surprising that their ethnicity is closely associated with them. But sportsmen, politicians, etc. are good candidates for this test. I found that for me, the Marathi-ness of various Maharashtrian celebrities is not a fundamental characteristic. Does this resonate with Ketkar’s view and Rajdeep’s inferiority complex theory? What do other Maharashtrians think? Are Maharashtrians less proud of their language/culture/ethos than they should be or other Indians are?
How do other Indians relate to Maharashtrian celebrities? Does their being Maharashtrian strike you in a definite in-your-face kind of fact?
All Photos Credit: BBC