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Showing posts from April, 2009

Mein Kampf Wordle

Wordle Word tag based on the usage frequency of words from Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf (in English: My Struggle) Volume I: A Reckoning and Volume II: The National Socialist Movement.

Hitler actually wanted to name it Viereinhalb Jahre (des Kampfes) gegen Lüge, Dummheit und Feigheit, or Four and a Half Years (of Fighting) Against Lies, Stupidity and Cowardice. His publisher suggested the much shorter "Mein Kampf," often translated as "My Struggle," "My Challenge," "My Campaign," or "My Battle."

Mein Kampf remains another widely read book in India. According to a Telegraph report dated 20th April 2009, Indian management students think of Hitler as management Guru. Talk about world domination, a failed joint venture! According to the report, in the management category, readers think Hitler's Mein Kampf is at par with Spencer Johnson's "Who Moved My Cheese". Talk about 'Who Moved my Motherland!

The Fountainhead in One word

Got this 'One' word using Wordle run on the entire text from twenty-fifth anniversary edition of Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead (1949).

Why The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged remain one of the most widely read, or pretended to have read, books in India?

Man hath no Love but Balls and Bollywood Balloons

Man cannot live for ever on walks however charming and however fascinating his companion may be.His soul yearns for a ball of some kind whether it be a polo ball, a cricket ball, a tennis ball, a golf ball, or even a croquet ball. Until he has a ball of some description to play with he is never really happy.
Sir Francis Younghusband came up with this revelation in his book Kashmir (1911). He was describing the beautiful meadows of Gulmarg and explaining how, since his previous visit about nineteen years ago, the Golf courses and the Polo grounds had sprung up in place of woods and swamps. According to Younghusband, all this because the soul of a man forever yearns for the ball.
Is balloon a ball?
According to Bollywood, and countless movie song sequences bear witness, a man's soul also deeply yearns for balloons, particularly helium filled ones. In Bollywood, balloons were not just a prop. Hrikesh Mukherjee directing the song zindagi kaisi haipaheli for his film Anand (1971) too…

60 years of Nav Ketan Films

In year 1949, Dev Anand, along with brother Chetan Anand, started a film production company called Nav Ketan films. Year 2009 marks the 60th anniversary of the film company. The company that introduced artists like Guru Dutt, Jaidev, Johny Walker, Sahir Ludhianvi. Zeenat Aman and Tabu.
Beginning was great with Chetan Anand directing Afsar (1949) based on Nikolai Gogol's play The Government Inspector. Next came Guru Dutt's directorial debut Baazi (1951). Then within next decade some of fine films, mostly thanks to Chetan and Vijay Anand. In 1961, people heard the great music by Jai dev for the film Hum Dono. A film later in 1965, Vijay Anand directed path breaking Guide (1965) adapted from R. K. Narayan's novel The Guide and  then he went on to direct the brilliant thriller Jewel Thief (1967). Dev Anand turned director with Prem Pujari (1970) and on screen played a butterfly chasing peacenik. Then in 1971,  he directed the phenomena called Hare Rama Hare Krishna and Zeena…

Basic message of Koran using Wordle!

Word cloud created using Wordle, run on text from Quran, translated by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, returning 10 most frequently used words in the scripture.
Message, precise!

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Gita saar in 10 common words using Wordle

Dhoop packets for those thick, black and oily incense sticks (usually in a pack of 10 or 20) used to have small orange pamphlets inside. Those pamphlets offered essence, the saar, of Gita, in Hindi and in English,  in 10 simple lines.Those lines, in English, usually went something like this - Do what you have to do, Work is God and it's He who is doing it all.


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Word cloud created using Wordle, run on text from The Bhagavad Gita, translated by Sir Edwin Arnold (1900), returning common English words used most frequently in the scripture.

Indian Election Manifestos Simplified using Wordle

Wordle is a smart little Java based on-line service that creates tag clouds based on usage frequency of words in a text document or a website.

I ran Wordle on 15th Lok Sabha Elections(2009) Manifestos of the three biggest Indian political parties and here's what I got:



Based on 31 page Manifesto of Communist Party of India (Marxist)


Based on BJP's 2009 election manifesto.


Based on election manifesto of the Indian National Congress

For Indians: China's Tibet was freed. No propaganda this is.

China's Tibet: the Past and the Present
Emancipated serfs Become masters of their Homeland
The peaceful liberation of Tibet, and the democratic reform and the establishment of the Tibet Autonomous Region had completely emancipated Tibetan people from the yoke of imperialism and centuries-old serfdom. the serfs accounted for 95% of the total. Tibetan population were liberated and became the masters of the country, of their land and their own self. - the opening lines from a four page special dated April 9, 2009, published by Hindustan Times Media Marketing Initiative for Business Partners and supplied right at the door step with the morning edition of Hindustan Times - the Newspaper. The rest of the four pages - with many happy pictures, impressive statics, colorful history and strange language - were just as sad and pathetic. No idea who got it published, what Business partners and why this special history lesson?

Seems to be part of an media blitzkrieg at international level by Ch…

Where's your Thermos

The Vacuum Flask



Images:
1.  Amitabh Bachchan with Pran and Thermos for the music album cover of the film Nastik (1983)
2.  Calender Art for Chetak bath soap and Shakti laundry soap (probably from the 70s ). Found the captivating image in a wonderful essay 'Monuments, Landscapes and Romance in Indian Popular Imagery' by Kajri Jain for Tasveer Ghar. Love this site on South Asian Popular Visual culture!

Marvel of Push Button Telephones

A class apart
In style and technology
Punwire DVX 100
Push Button Telephones


In technical collaboration with
Ericsson of Sweden
Punwire spans the entire range of modern radio communications. In critical Defence, Police, Paramilitary, Business, Agriculture and Scientific sectors.
Punwire now brings you a range of state of the art Push Button Telephones, approved by the Department of Telecommunications and currently being supplied to MTNL. Sleek and nagged with advanced features like Electronic Speech Circuit, Linear Microphone, Last Number Redial, Adjustable Volume control. And in a choice of attractive colours.
Giving you the world at a touch. Conveniently.
And in style
Punwire
Spearheading communications

- An ad from 1980s for Push Button Telephone by Punjab Wireless Systems. It was a time when state owned MTNL only offered rotary dial phones.

Punjab Wireless Systems Limited was incorporated in 1975 and delisted from the Bombay Stock Exchange in 2002.

EC Calculator - 1980s

"After we've tested the calculator we either market it...or pick up the pieces"
says Mr. G.C Saxena, Quality Control.
That's because EC calculators are put through a series of humidity, dry heat, low temperature, vibration and bump tests that no other calculator manufacturer in India does.

-  An ad from 1980s for Calculators manufactured by state owned Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL).


I wonder if even computers undergo that kind of testing these days.

Olive Ridley Turtles take on Tata. Touché Turtle!

According to wiki page on Olive Ridley Turtle:
In the Indian Ocean, a major nesting ground for the Olive Ridley turtles is in the Indian state of Orissa. Beaches in Devi, Gahirmatha and Rushikulya are known nesting sites for this turtle's Indian Ocean population. The long term plan is to build 14 ports along the Orissa's 480 km coastline. This comes around  to about one every 35 km.

Gahiramatha is believed to be the largest nesting ground of the species in the world. Gahiramatha Sanctuary is close to Bhitarakanika, believed to be India’s second largest mangrove forest 

Dhamra gets its name from Dhamra estuary, the confluence of Brahmani river and Baitarani river.

A port is being built at Dhamra, less than 5 Kilometers from the Bhitarkanika Sanctuary and 15 Kilometers ("as the crow flies") from Gahirmatha Sanctuary.

A catchy campaign video by Greenpeace protesting construction of the port by TATA at Dhamra in Orissa.



video link Here's the Digg page for the Greenpe…

Rakhee - The First Indian Computer

The first Indian computer was Rakhee (code named Shanti) and started operations in the year 1978. It was meant for people in construction business. Rakhee could precisely calculate the amount of steel, cement, number of bricks etc. required for any building. It could also store and file those numbers safely, and reproduce the figures on request.

Check for yourself:

Scene from the Hindi film Trishul (1978) directed by Yash Chopra.



video link
This was probably the first ever reference to "Computer" in a Hindi film. However, Computer had already arrived in India by that time. State owned Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) first started manufacturing computing system in the late 1960s. And between 1973 and 1977, ECIL became the leading manufacturer of computers in India, well ahead of IBM (which eventually was forced out of Indian market).

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Image: Rakhee on album cover of Vijay Anand's 'Black Mail' (1973)

This Life is Yo Yo : Yeh Zindagi Hai Yo Yo

Ancient Greeks (a game), Egyptians (they drew it on their temples), Native Americans (why a weapon!), Chinese(they might have invented the crazy thing. It's a possibility. Or, they might have first cheaply mass produced it. That's also a possibility), Filipino (they are supposed to have come up with the name); these all people were yo-yoers. 

Where was the Indian yo-yoer? Was there ever a creature like an Indian yo-yoer - a short, dark man in turban strolling down a narrow dusty road, doing little tricks, having fun, swinging his yo-yo high and low. Well, according to some sources, he, or rather she, did exist. In 1765, a miniature hand-painted box was made having an image of a girl in red dress playing with her yo-yo.

And then came the modern times. The western ingenuity at creating wealth out of nothing, anything and everything, lead to the
Birth of the modern yo-yo

James L. Haven and Charles Hettrich (or Hettrick) received the first United States patent on "...an impr…

Holy Sugar. Ad German Nitrogen.

Once a holy offering - today a vital food
In India sugar cane was at one time a holy offering.
Later sugar was considered to have a magic healing
power. Today, of course, it is a indispensable food in all parts of the world.

At present world production of cane sugar is 23 million tons a year. More than 60% comes from Central and South America. Over-all production has increased 25 times in the last 100 years. Consumption per head has expanded at about the same pace.
Nitrogen is the growth-promoting food for sugar cane as for all other plants. Experiments carried out in many of the world's sugar growing areas have shown that intensified nitrogen fertilization brings substantial increase in sugar cane yields. Java, the West Indies, Hawaii, South Africa, the United States and India are among the areas in which this has been demonstrated. In short, the intensified use of nitrogen fertilizers will ensure improved sugar cane yields wherever sugar cane is grown.
Nitogen from Germany to a great …

Typewriter Tip Tip Tip

"Hum bhi apni dil ki baatein rooz hi type kartay hai..."

Image: Famous 'Typewriter Sequence' from Merchant Ivory's film Bombay Talkie (1970) featuring 'Queen of the Nautch Girls' Helen and great Shashi Kapoor. The film is not the best from Merchant Ivory duo, but the sequence is definitely iconic.


Wes Anderson's The Darjeeling Limited (2007) made the song somewhat of an international hit.
Here is the song clip:


video link Music: Shankar Jaikishan, Voice: Kisore Kumar
[You may also like to checkout the wonderful opening credit track of Bombay Talkie here
update:  According to Wes Anderson (original link in spanish), it's the best credit sequece ever.]

Vintage Cold Drink Ads from India

Plaintiff 
A simple fight over a Limca
Strategist
A Chairman who serves Limca to members of a bored meeting
Thirst - Aid - Limca.  It's so veri lemoni-lime

A Limca Ad from the 80s
The drink was often used as grandma's cure for acidity. Blame the emphasis on lime (and some thing called isotonic salts).
(check out old video ad for Limca featuring Salman Khan)







When you are Thirstee or Even Hungree
Drink ice - cold
It's Tastee
Energee ad from 80s

It's a Bombay (now Mumbai) based flavored milk drink produced by the Maharasthra State Diary Products company and apparently still very popular.This ad was part of the campaign that created the brand.

Double Seven
Lime-Lemon
The taste that Tingles!

Double Seven Ad from 80s. The brand, a government owned brand, was probably a substitute for Seven-Up. It eventually lost out to private brands like Thums Up and Campa Cola.
I found the copy for this ad really funny. Sample this:
Let me tell you about a fantastic new
way of enjoying yourself
It…