Reasons shall find their way to joy!

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Because colors are the soul of India...



Because Every evening has a new morning..
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Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands- The game.

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Okay, let's put it straight. This latest 2010 installment of the Prince of Persia franchise boils down to this one word for the gamers: Nostalgia.

If you have played the first three games of the PoP trilogy, you'll know what I am talking about. With the 2008 PoP game just after the trilogy, we had lost many wonderful characteristics of the prince, who himself was traded off for a thief of the deserts. Gamers all over the world were sick of the flirting jerk and wanted the old prince back.
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Expli-spit

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One heavily trafficked evening, while walking to the bus stop, I encountered a funny but a gross scene. One colleague was busy washing her sleeves at the roadside and few people were trying to help her. When I went near, I came to know that she was badly hit by something called “paan spit”.

First of all, few facts from Wikipedia- Spitting or expectoration, is the act of forcibly ejecting saliva or other substances from the mouth. Spitting upon another person, especially onto the face, is a universal sign of anger, hatred or contempt. It can represent a "symbolical regurgitation" or an act of contamination. Various diseases and infections can be spread by spitting, including tuberculosis, influenza, and the common cold.
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Oh Boy...You are SANE.

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( This post started as a normal video shared over facebook by Pranav on his profile but later turned into a lively group discussion between the three of us over the issue of Media Ethics in India. )
Disclaimer: The video (of a speech given almost one year ago) itself is 13:22 mins long, and the comments (unedited; full of typos) that followed are no shorter.

Watch and read at your own risk. :)
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1411 was less, you thought. What about 411?

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What’s common between Goddess Durga, Emperor Ashoka, Lord Vishnu and the National Emblem of India? We know you know the answer. But what if you were told that in a country of 1.15 billion human beings, there are only 411 such left now?
Asiatic Lion_aS
Yes. We have only 411 Asiatic Lions left in the the whole of our country, that too in small pockets in the Gir forests of Gujarat. (- Data quoted from Gujarat Govt.’s 2010 report).
It’s strange, thinking about the lions and tigers in the middle of all this busy lives of us; somewhere it does not strike a cord.
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HTC Desire: A Beautiful Deal

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Whatta beauty! That pretty much explains the recently announced, (in India), Android flagship device – the HTC Desire. We were never so convinced with most HTC devices; they are good but we have better in the market. But this one is an amazing device at Rs. 28,900.
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Nikon Coolpix P7000: This one is for you.

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Only recently, I got this hang of photography which made me dig deep into digital cameras. There are a wide range of cameras available in the market from normal click-o-cam to DSLR. So? Actually, I am neither interested in any click-o-cam nor any DSLR. This post is intended for those photography enthusiasts who consider themselves on the border line between being consumers and professional users. Oh yes! I am talking about you. I am talking about 'Prosumers'; the cameras or other gears which are targeted for sale to people who love photography but they're not professional photographers. So, Nikon Coolpix P7000 which happens to be the latest model in their coolpix series caught my eye. It is about to hit the market in the last months of this year. Exposed online already!
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Why Peepli [Live] was not just another Bollywood Movie

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No, this is not a review of Peepli [Live]. I would not even try to rate the movie to encourage or discourage movie enthusiasts.
People who were looking forward to watch it have already done so, and people who are not interested in such genres of movies have forgotten its existence all together. What this post aims at is somewhat different.
peepli-live
Peepli Live is not a normal masala movie of Bollywood. It ain’t an art film either. There are some movies which can not be stereotyped into any categorization. It’s one of those.
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Honour Killings: What a Shame!

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‘Chandigarh: A father kills her 17 years old daughter and her 21 years old lover in a fit of rage after seeing them together in a room, talking.’
‘Bhojpur, Bihar: A 16-year-old girl, Imrana, is set on fire inside her house in a case of what the police call ‘moral vigilantism’. The victim screams for help for about 20 minutes before neighbors arrive, only to find her still smoldering. She is admitted to a local hospital, where she later succumbs to her burns.’
‘The Times of India Report: More than 1,000 young people in India have been done to death every year owing to 'Honour Killings' linked to marriages and love affairs that do not get acceptance from the society.’
india-demonstrator-honor-killings
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My tryst with slavery

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Date: August 14 2010

“Every independent country is independent in one way however, every independent country is a slave in more than one way.”

Its 64th Indian Independence Day tomorrow, I am sitting in front of my desktop in the office and sulking. I am trying to concentrate and my inbox is getting filled with patriotic forwards. Neither can I ignore the vibration of my mobile nor can I get my bugging boss out of my mind. It is true that tomorrow is an important day but how many of us really think of independence as a gift? Being born as a free Indian with a plenty of fundamental rights in a platter and the fundamental duties on the backburner, we take our independence for granted. We were born in free India, introduced to Maruti 800 and humara bajaj at the age of 3-4, given a treat in Mc Donalds at an age of 15, encouraged to blog our views and vote our favourite politician at the age of 18- why would not we take our independence for granted just like we take the oxygen we inhale, the water we drink for granted?
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Freedom from Regionalism.

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““Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism -how passionately I hate them!” ~ Albert Einstein
( I wonder what Einstein must have to say about regional patriotism: the worst putrefaction a pure feeling can ever suffer from.) 
Indian flag _arbit Speculations
Hello my Indian friends. Within an hour, our country, India will have completed its 63 year of being Independent. This must have been a long journey (given, I joined only 21 years ago.) We, the children of free India, are often accused of having taken the independence for granted.
We have been accused of having the privilege of being born in a free India.
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Shantaram:A review

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A "Classic" among novels perhaps is a book that everyone talks about,but nobody bothers to read.


41-HimEGOjL


So this one day when I was wandering around in hostel,I found the book with one of my friends.Already fed with too much of hue and cry about this classic called “Shantaram” from the VA faculty at my CAT prep insti,involuntarily I went through the epilogue of the book and this is what I read.



"In the early 80’s Gregory David Roberts,an armed robber and heroin addict,escaped from an Australian prison to India,where he lived in a Bombay slum.There he establishes a free health clinic and also joined the mafia,working as a money launderer and street soldier.He found time to learn Hindi and Marathi,fall in love,and spend time being worked over in an Indian jail.Then,in any case he thought he was slacking,he acted in Bollywood and fought with the Mujahedeen in Afganistan…Amazingly Roberts wrote Shantaram three times after prison guards trashed the first two versions.It’s a profound tribute to his willpower..A high kicking,eye gouging adventure,a love saga and a savage yet tenderly lyrical fugitive’s vision."
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Donate Blood this Red-Lettered August Day.

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Our freedom fighters knew the vitality of blood. That’s what made leaders like Bose to demand blood in return of freedom and the Indian youth to reciprocate to the call in thousands.
Time comes to full circle, with an N.G.O. named  GO INDIA FOUNDATION taking the initiative to set nationwide blood donation camps, on the very red letter day of India: 15th August.
Donate blood this 15th August
The target: 63,000 units of safe blood from all over the country, to meet the ever increasing blood needs in case of medical emergencies and other medical cases.
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An ‘Epic’ Indian Browser

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Finally, we have the first Indian internet browser and by Indian, we did not mean the Indian flag that it has on it’s logo. Launched by a Bangalore based company Hidden Reflex, Epic is all set to make Indians proud.
Epic, based on Mozilla platform, comes bundled with a bunch of India centric features and is available for a free download here. After testing it for continuous 4 hours on 8 tabs together and without any crash, We are impressed.
The Looks and Features:
It is light, spacious and neat. By default, comes with a peacock background which may not be too soothing to eyes but you can always choose the background according to your whim from a range of 1500 creative themes related to India at the launch itself.
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The leather Rampage

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As genuine as the reality, as natural as ones own skin, this material called Leather has been human being's companion since time immemorial, even before fire was discovered . Yet sometimes considered an article of luxury, for other times a subject of environmental-social opposition , it has maintained its identity despite all controversies. Trends according to Seasons come in and fade out, but style remains eternal and constant! Similarly, Leather is considered an everlasting thing, having which in one's closet is not only like a classic must have but also a style statement.
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3D Gaming, Without Any Special Hardware!

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So, you like 3D action games. Good. Those red-cyan goggles are readily available in a shop nearby. Great! Nintendo3DS is yet to arrive in India. Very Bad. But, I give you a reason to smile. Well, now you don’t need to wait to have your share of 3D. Just get your pair of anaglyph goggles and a fairly powerful system.
There is a 3D-capable monitor manufacturer called iZ3D and their drivers are available for free download here. The console of the driver has an option to turn on anaglyph, which converts all your games to 3D. The driver renders two separate frames, from two slightly different perspectives just like Nvidia offers with '3D Vision Discover', but those drivers limit you to an Nvidia graphics card, and moreover, the latest drivers are not supported on laptops. iZ3D surprisingly runs on any system, and supports both Nvidia and ATI 3D cards.
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A Trip to Paradise: My Village.

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Its rather strange that I am posting this personal post on arbitSpecs today.
I’ll tell you why. My village, Nandan Bigha can be any other village of rural India. It has no unique personality of its own. Or, if you allow me the liberty to say this, it enjoys the personality of every typical small village of the rural India.
And hence, I wanted to display a rural side of India. Much beautiful than the urban one, to say the least.
This is gonna be a photoblog, thanks to my Sony H Series DSI camera, and I will try to show you my village through my eyes. (Or my camera’s. :D)
 DSC00955


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Prince of Persia: Loved it.

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Sometimes you know you are going to see a bad movie. You know that you have played all the four games on a particular theme and you accept that the movie will never ever be able to even touch the level of the excitement that the games once reached you to.
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Nvidia’s Android Tablet--A better iPad?

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“Does not matter if my girlfriend is dumb, stupid and speaks too much; she still is very beautiful and all those things don’t make her a penny less hot.” This is what the iPad lovers and buyers say. Okay, lets accept it, iPad succeeded in making it’s place in the market just beyond our expectations. And, ever since it was launched, tablet companies across the world have been going through a frantic of technique changes to make their tablets sleeker and smaller with optimized performance. The fresher in this tablet school is Nvidia with their new proprietary Tegra 2 based tablet. This 8.9 inch tablet is characterized by a Dual-Core ARM Cortex 9 chip which is far ahead of Apple’s A4 based iPad in terms of computing performance, hence making the device tremendously fast. It runs the Android OS which has recently taken over the mobile computing device market.
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Clash of the Titans 3D: A Greek Fail?

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ClashOfTheTitans_001
3D movies have become the buzzword now. Of course, after the huge success of Avatar, all over the world.
But can high tech 3D effects hide a lame story treatment? All of us know the answer, I guess.
Yesterday saw me watching the movie ‘The Clash of the Titans 3D’ in PVR Select City mall, Delhi. And I came out disappointed.
Partly because most of the frames in the movie were out of focus (the reason might be faulty 3D specs provided, or more probably, the visual clutter in every single action frame to such a degree that you end up not being able to decide which portion of the screen you should be watching, and which one should be left unattended…)
I understand that this movie is a remake of the 1981 flick with the same name. But I fail to understand why it continues to make the same mistake that the last one did. A misnomer titling of an otherwise good story.
Clash of the titans. Hmmm. As far as I know, Titans were the elder greek Gods. And the battle of the Titans is actually used to refer to the battle between the Titans and the Olympians (The newer Gods, led by Zeus). Zeus won, and overpowered the Titans, hence establishing a paradigm shift in the greek theology.
That’s what the facts say. Now, this movie is all about the fight of Persius (who likes to call himself a man, but actually is a demi-God) and the Olympian God of the Underworld, Hades ( the brother of Zeus). There are no titans in distant sight, leave alone a ‘clash’ of them. Then why the title? :P
Coming to the treatment of the story, well, Sabotage with the scriptures is the first thing that comes to my mind. The characters of ancient greek mythology have been heavily played with.Ancient story intentionally meandered to suit the cinematic twists and turns.
Here are some examples:
            Zeus’s statue at Olympia:                                        Zeus as seen in Clash of the Titans ‘10 
       zeus 2                                           zeus 1
I mean, seriously, what’s with all this metal 12 pack abs?? Zeus’s character looks the funniest in the entire movie. Not only appearances, even facts have been tampered with. The father of one character in the actual story is shown as the husband of the same in the movie. The witches forecast excitingly in the movie about the death of the protagonist, while in the end he being given a girl all reincarnated just to make out with, and no effort whatsoever made to show how or why he was able to change his destiny…
We being Indians, should not complain at all, given the bottomline of the Indian cinema: Anything can happen, dude; Its a movie afterall.
But Hollywood going the Bollywood way? That sucked. Indeed.
The visual effects are good at some places. The fight sequences with the scorpions are captivating. And Io (Gemma Arterton) has a divine beauty. ( On an entirely different note, Gemma is gonna play the role of Princess Tamina, the Love interest of Prince Dastan in the upcoming movie, Prince of Persia… Can’t wait to see that flick :D )
Coming back to TCOTT, the worst part was the end, when Zeus, laughing sheepishly, reincarnates Io and gifts her to Persius, saying, “You are a God, afterall!” And Perseus can do nothing but grin in return.
That made the entire movie look like a spoof to me. Wait, even the spoof of 300 (Meet the spartans) was wayyyyy wayyyyy better than this boring clash of the self proclaimed titans.
I regret my bucks spent in the theatre. 3/10. Disappointingly Ungodly movie. Watch it only if you have nothing better to do this summer.
Or save your money for Kites. The english one. Barbara looks better in that. :)
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Some FOSS To Increase Your Accessibility

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For those who love FOSS(Free and Open Source Software), I am bringing some reasons to rejoice. I have shortlisted a bunch of my favorite freewares which, according to me, will increase your accessibility on a computer. Those already rejoicing can carry on their good work; and those who like the gates and windows in their houses/offices; you have few reasons to rejoice.


Suggestions and demands for software, other than those listed are most welcome. 

  • MULTIMEDIA
    • K-Lite Codec Pack (Plays all kindda media using Media player classic, after you program it.)
    • VLC Player
    • Winamp
    • Media Coder
    • Super/Any/Total (All in one video, audio converter)
  • CD/DVD
    • ImgBurn
    • Daemon Tools Lite
    • Isobuster Free
  • GRAPHICS
    • FastStone Capture v5.3 (last free version)
    • IrfanView
  • INTERNET
    • Google Chrome (Oh yes!)
    • Firefox
    • Free Download Manager
    • Download Accelerator Plus
    • Filezilla
    • uTorrent
  • SYSTEM UTILITIES/TWEAKING
    • CCleaner
    • Defraggler
    • Glary Utilities Lite/XDN Tweaker
    • Revo Uninstaller (Basically unnecessary)
    • Treesize Free(a free disk space manager for Windows)
  • SECURITY
    • Avira Antivir Personal
    • Comodo Firewall Free
    • Spybot Search & Destroy
  • MISC
    • 7Zip
    • WinRar Free
    • Foxit Reader(Pdf viewer)
    • Adobe Reader(always keep around)
    • OpenOffice
    • IOBit Gamebooster(fixes lagging of high end games by closing all unnecessary apps to focus all PC resources on the game)
All the above listed FOSS can be downloaded from: www.sourceforge.net  www.snapfiles.com  www.filehippo.com
And now, the shocker Smiley open all the gates and windows to rejoice!
Five free software from Microsoft :
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The graceful nine yards

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Saree originates from the Prakrit word "Sattika" . While ancient scriptures suggest the tradition of draping Women[considered to be embodiment of power and divinity] in something as exquisite and auspicious, there is another view also.
According to natyashastra, the midriff is left bare while wearing a saree because the naval area is supposed to be source of life, creativity and positive energy. Hence follows the silhouette.
Every Indian has seen women in their family gracefully attiring themselves in Saree. The world of wefts, folds, patterns, texture and wearing styles which is 108 to be precise is a splendid thing to know. The modern ‘urban’ style of draping the garment was first adopted and popularised by Rabindranath Tagore’s sister-in-law. Saree has given a niche' identity to Indian fashion industry from the times immemorial. While traditionally Indian saree is worn on all formal and special occasions,the wearer finds a unique glory in wrapping up in it.
Their are innumerable types of it popularized according to various regions where they are made-
Northern styles
Banarasi silk saree from UP-wherein real gold,silver and bronze threads are used to adorn the most exquisite floral and geometrical patterns. Shalu saree from UP also comes under this category. The brocade work is a thing to preserve from one generation to another.
Western styles
PaithaniMaharashtra , BandhaniGujarat and Rajasthan .The bandhani print is now famous world wide , Kota doria Rajasthan, LugadeMaharashtra ,PatolaGujarat
Central stylesChanderiMadhya Pradesh,MaheshwariMadhya Pradesh, Kosa silkChattisgarh
Eastern Style
Tussar SilkBhagalpur area in Bihar is a hub of fine soft silk higly acclaimed all over ,Tangail cotton – Bangladesh,JamdaniBangladesh,Dhakai BenarasiBangladesh,Rajshahi SilkBangladesh,Mooga silkAssam,Tant famous Bengali cotton – Shantipur. The village Shantipur is also a cradle of learning due to Shantiniketan-vishwabharti university in West Bengal,Dhaniakhali cotton – West Bengal,Murshidabad silkWest Bengal
Baluchari silk – West Bengal,Sambalpuri silk – Orissa ,Kotki (from Cuttack) – Orissa
Ikkat (from Orissa)
Southern styles
Kanchipuram (locally called Kanjivaram) – Tamil Nadu ,Coimbatore – Tamil Nadu,Chinnalapatti – Tamil Nadu,Chettinad – Tamil Nadu,Madurai – Tamil Nadu ,Arani – Tamil Nadu,PochampallyAndhra Pradesh ,VenkatagiriAndhra Pradesh,GadwalAndhra Pradesh,GunturAndhra Pradesh,NarayanpetAndhra Pradesh,MangalagiriAndhra Pradesh,BalarampuramKeralaMysore Silk – Karnataka,Ilkal sareeKarnataka .

Here’s the bottom line: whether you are an everyday wearer or a special-occasion wearer, or even someone who sees the sari as a work of tactile art, It is special for all!
It is something that India has given as an input to the world in terms of fashion. Where else will you find so much emotions,drama, flow, gracefulness and sophistication all entwined into one piece of garment simultaneously?
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A Contrast that haunts.

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    up1                up2 

No Words.

Pic 1: A child with an empty container in one of the ‘kachhra-khanas’ of Uttar Pradesh.

Pic 2: ‘Behen’ Mayawati being honored with a garland worth 5 crores of 1000 denomination Indian currency notes.

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Distressed aesthetics

| 8 Comments
Notice the distressed tattered denim which is making a comeback dynamically. Once upon a time youngsters wearing such stuffs were considered cynics and rebels. Brands like Levis, Diesel, Guess etc. made a huge profit by in cashing this uber young tendency of 'break free'. To break -then prevalent laws of decent clothing and carving a different identity was what governed youngster's choice in tattered distressed garment/outfits. This FAD continued for so long that it was given a status of a different style trend altogether. Initially what seemed to be an outlandish change, soon caught attention of not only teenagers but also grown ups. I am excluding decent blue denim jeans and white shirt combination from this category because that counts in classic evergreen fashion. It has been for so long within the fashion circles that fashionistas have almost stopped considering it an article of style. it is a basic necessity which every one has in the closet.

Coming back again to the denim outfitters, Jeans that was a casual clothing for daily wear is made to look extra ordinary and exaggerated by tattering it.
So the next time you see a torn pair of jeans don't start looking for sewing needle and thread to stitch it back. Instead, include one in your summer wardrobe . Go shopping! :)
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To My Writer Friends

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Windows Live Writer 2009, yes, this application had everything to seek my attention the last week, when I accidentally ended up to the writer’s zone of Windows Live. Don’t read this if you are on a platform other than windows, it will waste your time. Windows users like me, generally don’t care to use applications provided by Microsoft. Reason-- Money, honey; I am quite a fan of FOSS. We easily get similar identical software over the net for free. I just don’t get Microsoft’s policy of pirated license. Okay, enough bragging. Lets get to the point.

In case you are unfamiliar with Writer of which the chances are quite high, allow me to do a little introduction. As the name suggests, it is a writing tool for windows users and unlike other Microsoft products, it’s free. Writing tool? No, I don’t mean Word! Writer provides you a platform to writer over your blogs/websites, offline--Windows Live, Wordpress, Blogger, Live Journal, TypePad, and many more. The 2008 edition had minimal functionalities but the 2009 release is cool, in every sense of word. You write from your desktop offline and publish to your blog on one push of button; of course after connecting to the internet. Not just that, you can add photos/albums, hyperlink, table, maps, and video(s) on just one push. And it has more. You can set/add categories, time and date, add tags, save draft and what not! Yes, no need to go to your dashboard. All you have to do is, to set up your blog in writer by entering your username, password, blog url and you are done. It downloads the theme of your blog in no time and you start blogging straight from your desktop. So, it simplifies blogging.

Full Feature List

  • New border treatments (including Instant Photo)
  • Crop and tilt photos
  • Insert multiple photos
  • Toolbar alignment commands enabled for images
  • Insert and upload Windows Live photo albums
  • Insert and publish video to YouTube
  • Additional spell checking languages: Arabic, Basque, Bulgarian, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, English (Australia), Estonian, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Indonesian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malay, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Turkish, and Ukrainian
  • Server-side tagging (for supported blogs)
  • Type-down filtering in the Open dialog
  • Twitter, Digg and Flickr Plug-ins
  • Improved blog account setup
  • Lightbox and Windows Live Spaces inline preview support
  • Improved category control: adding categories, type-down filtering
  • Tabbed view switching
  • AutoLink glossary
  • Smart quotes/typographic characters
  • Word count
  • Support for bidirectional languages (like Hebrew and Arabic)
  • Tabs for view switching
  • Beautiful look and feel

The Good.

Let me tell you what I like most about this tool. I have been using Wordpress since long forget that I am writing on blogger now and I always wanted to customize my font style at my blog, but wordpress allows you limited customizations. Again, Money, Honey. But guess what, Writer provides you all the fonts that you have installed on your computer to use on your blog and infinite number of customizations. Unlike the boring dash boards of blogs, where you are bound to write in a visual box, Writer downloads the layout of your blog and you actually write on your blog page, plus you can always see the instant preview of your post which is integrated in an inline tab; again the one push thing comes into action and, and, and, for those who like html editing while writing, there is a ‘source’ tab also integrated inline and shows your html in twinkling of eyes. It also gives you an option to publish your post as a draft to your blog and do online editing.

The killer feature of this tool is that, you can add as many blogs as you want, write on them at the same time by instant switching from one to another.

WLWw

The Interface.

The Windows Live Editor Instant Preview HTML Source

Like every Microsoft product, it’s quite user friendly. In one window, you have every tab to comfort you, and also, it allows you to opt for multiple windows for different blogs. It’s very light. There is a side bar, which is basically useless, because the utilities on the sidebar are also present on the task pane. You can always remove the side bar. The feel is awesome. The light blue menu bar is nice and you can always change it’s color according to your mood. You can add plug-ins from windows gallery to suit your needs but that might ruin the light experience.

The Bad.

The major drawback of Writer is that you can not add pages to your blog using writer, it only gives you an option to create new posts. Repetitive menus in the interface irritate. I mean, the menu options on the menu bar under different menus are the same ones on the task pane and the side bar. As you publish your post, it doesn’t appear publicly until you update it on your blog; this happens with Wordpress. Though works flawless with Live space. On other blogs, I am yet to figure. Another thing that is bothering me is the preview with blogger, it’s showing a comment and Shivi’s name as the author of this post. Though preview works fine with all other blogs.

The Conclusion.

I will give a Seven out of Ten to this product. Try it and tell me what do you think of it. You can download it here for free. For my Linux and Mac friends, I will find something like this for you and review it, not accidently though.

Anyway, talking so much about windows and Microsoft reminds me of Office. Did you guys try MS Office Beta 2010? Found anything new? Okay, I am not a MS fangirlboy. :)

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Patch Up!

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This season is going to witness patch works as a major trend. Not only is this a picturesque trend due to possibility of seeing ample joyous colors , but also because it saves material while construction.

The number of panels/patches you have in your outfit, the scope of utilizing waste area of the fabric also increases[ well that may be from a designer's view because we believe in cost cutting] ,yet present trend supports our effort. :)
Seeing this in another perspective-
Biggest problems in our lives can be solved if we try and break it in small pieces and then solve it. Patching up can heal wounds effectively!

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11 minutes-Paulo Coelho

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Paulo Coelho,on every other book of the author you would see the quote "from the internationally bestselling author of The Alchemist".Before Eleven Minutes,the other two books I had read were The Alchemist(quite obvious!!) and 'The Witch of Portebello'.I admired reading both the books and with this one in my hands,I expected a real good read and luckily for me Coelho delivers.


Eleven Minutes is a work by the author aimed to explore the sacred nature of sex and love.Maria: A young Brazilian villager,who is ambitious enough to chase her dreams ;the protagonist narrates the story and I must say narrates it beautifully.The diary entries of the girl who choses her profession to be a prostitute are realistic enough to connect to the nerves of the reader.

The other half of the story is the character 'Ralf',a man who tasted success early in his life.The character who is expected to be happy but ironically who is not, has been portrayed brilliantly.The novel runs around these two characters searching their happiness,their sexuality ,their soul.
The story progresses with the meeting of these two in a coffee shop,where Ralf the acclaimed painter,acknowledges the 'light',that he saw in Maria and later through the conversation of these two ,Coelho delivers the message of the natural need of LOVE.

The strength of the novel lies in the perfection of the author with which,he has dealt the sensitivity of the theme.From page one to the end,the book connects to the reader and he /she reads it as Maria.The natural poetic flow of Coelho's work is worth appreciation too.

Weaknesses though rare to find, yet after reading it,if you analyse in terms of real world,such thinking prostitutes and painters are not the characters around you.The story is a very well written fiction ,yet plays no role in improving our daily lives.

Reading this piece of work is itself an opportunity, as the preciseness in Coelho's writings in showing the world from a woman's point of view is touching.

Mentioning the threats,the book deals with a mature topic and many would not agree with the point of view of Maria/Coelho. A bit less realistic,some may find the story ,but still a MUST READ.




Some quotes that made it into my diary from 11 minutes..
  • How is it possible for the beauty that was there only minutes before to vanquish so quickly?
  • Sometimes you get no second chance and that it’s best to accept the gifts the world offers you.
  • If I must be faithful, I have first of all, to be faithful to myself.

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The 'in' thing

| 7 Comments
  • Fashion is as integrated and blended into the cup of social circumstances that any trivial fact also, gains a sporadic momentum to influence creators, appreciators, and shoppers at once.
  • Young Fashion today is governed by functionality adding touch to the luxury par excellence value.
  • Present season can witness some noticeable changes. With global economy tumbling down, the clothing styles have also sashayed to bare minimalism and simple straight lines. The preppy youth fashion moves away from the ubiquitous romanticism of last few seasons.
  • Silhouettes are simple , straight cut, hemlines have decreased more, minis have become the next ‘it’ thing. The layering and buoyancy have been replaced with neat-tailored structured clothing. More innovative yet creative direction deepens its interest for round yet tapered shapes for comfort, using high performance fabrics.
  • The color trends have also been averted to evergreen pastels, muted shades and neutrals and deliberate negligence of bold outlandish shades.
  • It’s the reviving time, announcing the ethno- street transversalities, extra sueded softness or black-electric shine. Movement is the key concept, full of nostalgic and visionary √©lans.
  • Classics are given a fresh spin with natural sophistication that flaunts sobriety and simplicity, with the re-vitalizing boost to the basics.
  • The revival of old decades like 80’s, 70’s is clearly evident in power dressing suits, archaic inspiration, diligently combined with chaotic flow.
  • The 3-d effect is all over the paradox with, precision as the key ‘mantra’
  • The melodramatically exaggerated looks have been cut down to a personalized version with a space of one’s own. In a way this paves way for greater scope of creative innovation.
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A chauvinist government for a chauvinist state by chauvinist people

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Bhai saheb, ye ladies seat hai, please chod denge?”, asked a frail exhausted woman to a stout man snoring on a seat reserved for ladies. The man ignored for a while, but could not stand her gaze for long. He said casually, “Ye interstate bus hai, isme ladies seat nahi hoti.” The lady pointed to the sticker with red text written on it and said, “Bhaiya, wahan likha hua hai.” “Likha hone se kya hota hai, aisa nahi hota hai. Utha sakte ho to utha do mujhe seat se, jao conductor ko pooch lo.” To inform all those people who do not know what a DTC bus conductor is like- He is a middle aged man with grey hair and white moustache, with a bunch of tickets and a money bag in hand. No one has ever seen him standing or walking. No matter how crowded a bus is, his favourite line is, “Bus itni khali hai, aaplog aage kyun nahi badhte?”. This is all a DTC conductor does. This is how a journey from Delhi to Gurgaon and Gurgaon to Delhi is most likely to be. I do not know what the Haryana Government has to say about the reservation of seats for ladies but the people really show how chauvinist they are and how chauvinist their state is turning into. Reservation of seats is not an issue (I am not talking of reservation of Lok Sabha seats. It’s a different matter altogether though I wonder people who don’t like to get up from their seats even for senior citizens, pregnant women, handicapped and women with child, how are they going to step down to give way to women politicians to take such important positions); women are not weak and they can travel for hours at a stretch standing in a bus but a woman standing in a crowd is more prone to misbehavior and teasing by fellow male passengers. Every five or ten minutes, a girl screams on a male passenger either for leaning on her or touching her.

Haryana has a sex ratio of 861 females per 1000 males, the lowest in India (according to 2001 census). While walking down from Udyog Vihar to the border, I often turn around and find I am the only girl walking on the road. I prefer taking a rickshaw even for small distance but often I find them either demanding more money or drunk (thanks to the liquor shops everywhere in Gurgaon just like small hanuman temples built in every nook and corner in small towns). Even in buses, half of the population is drunk and the bus stinks like a rotten gutter.

One unfortunate day, I waited for a DTC bus for more than an hour but in vain. I decided to cross the road and take a bus to the main bus stand. As the bus was moving along the innards of the city, away from the chaotic traffic deadlock at the IFFCO chowk, I could experience a city just like Delhi until I encountered some movie posters on the walls .It was an adult movie (may be an A+ grade movie) and I was taken aback at the insensibility of the people who dared to put up such kind of crap on public walls (in the same country where FTV was banned for 10 days for showing topless models). The posters had vulgar titles and explicit pictures.

A disclaimer- I do not mean to say that no reservations, high density of liquor shops and A grade movie posters are reasons for the low sex ratio of the state. Low sex ratio simply reveals the narrow mentality of people which is cemented by such policies and systems. It is like provoking a wild beast to the extent of madness. The abovementioned incidents are few observations that I made during my internship and project period while traveling from Delhi to Gurgaon.

References:

http://censusindia.gov.in/Census_Data_2001/India_at_glance/fsex.aspx
http://www.consumercomplaints.in/complaints/dtc-buses-c350643.html
http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090928/main7.htm
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Sultry Days

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A bit about the Author
Shobha De,the author of the book holds a personality that is typically 'politically incorrect'.Being critical and bitchy about everything is her genre.A well established journalist known for her magazine works in Stardust,Society and Celebrity and her explorations of the social life of celebs;Her TOI editorials also features her typical 'political incorrect' views over current happenings,events,people,situations or films and have been worth reading.


Review
Sultry days is a fiction written around a character Nisha who portrays sort of a no ambition girl;a character very much lost and confused.Nisha narrates the whole story which starts from her late college days ,when she is infatuated by GOD.The author has very falsely tried to generate some thrill by using 'God' as a character.God here is no one but just a 'I know it all' college dude.De has tried hard to portray Deb(God's real name) as hero of the plot,but has failed miserably ,in doing so.Throughout the book,the lack of flow,the lack of the poetic touch and the lack of anything to which a reader can connect is felt quite much.
The story progresses,with Nisha and Dev coming closer and struggling to find their spots in their respective lives.Nisha's workplace is an advertisement firm ,which the author has used as a plot to give a view of the ad-world.De talks about various people associated with Deb's workplace which is some art related work in a magazine.Both places have been described through a flurry of characters.A very distinct and rather call it dismal feature of the book is that in every ten pages you read,two new characters have been introduced which almost do nothing at all in the progress of the story.
The overall analysis of 'Sultry Days' suggest nothing at all sultry about it.

The cover photograph of an appealing model and the epilogue ,which is very much catchy can be sarcastically taken as positives out of the book.
Quoting from the epilogue "On a sultry rainy day,Nisha an impressionable teenager,meets GOD in college canteen ad falls in Love.......". There is not even one percent of the fiction inside of what the epilogue promises.
Mentioning the threats,if you choose this one for your weekend read,you ll neither be reading a good fiction nor it ll be causing any value addition to yourself.

Avoid reading it,if possible.

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iPad: The Digital Stone

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It has been a month to the launch of Apple's iPad, which was to much fanfare. Like every techie, I was excited about it and after a month I know what it is, actually. I find it a simple enabling platform. Those who have the iPhone or iPod Touch, know what it's like. Of course, the iPad's got a much larger screen, sleek and sexy looks, a faster processor, and even 3G, but in the end it's just a bigger iPod Touch.

The only difference is, iPod's ability to fit right into your pocket. Can you see yourself grabbing an iPad while you dash out your front door? Not me. It's big.

The big critical point about the iPad, is the fact that it can't multi-task. Like the iPod Touch and the iPhone, you can only run one application at any given time. It has a powerful CPU on the inside, but still the iPad is crippled because of its operating system, which happens to be the same operating system behind the iPhone. Fundamentally, if you already have a notebook and an iPhone, the iPad will have a difficult time finding a place in your daily routine. And if not, you will find it too closed to use. How? Will tell you.


But first Let's all say it together now: no multi-tasking? What the bleep?


Talking Candid now.


More than a tablet, the iPad is a console, in every sense of the word. The real money maker for Apple, is the App Store, iBook store, and iTunes store. The iPad will capture the audiences that the iPhone/iPod Touch wasn't, and then some. It'll also capture the core Apple audience too.

Coming to the closed thing. The iPad is a closed system. You can't do anything you want to it. Yes, you heard it right. Apps must be from the App Store. Like an SNES, or a PS3, software must be sanctioned. Plus, you can play only one game at a time, just like a console. It has no usb port, no cam, no slot card and neither can you e-ink. What the heck?

Truth be told, the software used is diappointing. Given that the iPad is a tablet, we can consider that it doesn't have a keyboard. But not to be able to let its owner run more than one app is a major disgust. The OS could have been so much more for the tablet. What the iPad should have shipped with, was OS X, with a tablet designed UI--not a tablet, with the iPhone OS.

No doubt, there are some instances where the iPad can deliver some unique uses. For many mainstream users who either just chat, email, or browse, the iPad may be OK. But for power users who love their software and want to get things done, there are alternatives at 23K.

So, iPad is a 3/10 product for me. For you, think, consider and decide yourself.

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The 5th Dimension is a Tech Void

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Hey Everybody.

I have been reading this blog from quite a time and now writing on this word space is a pleasant surprise. Who am I? You already know, thanks to Alok Kumar. So, I shall tell you about what the fifth dimension would be speculating around between all the learned speculators. Well, I am interested in posting some No-non-sense, on new and old technology that interests me. Hope to have a good time here.

Thanks for the welcome.
Mohi.
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And now, adding the Fifth Dimension to Arbit Speculations...

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Ladies, and Dudes. 


Presenting before you, the fifth contributor to our blog. Mohi Narayan.

This girl of words is a very active twitterati and facebooker. Is literally expressive on her wordpress blog http://charmcaester.wordpress.com/ and has a sharp eye to notice and document the finer details of life. The arbit speculations team hopes that she will be able to add some new colors of enthusiasm to our lazy old blog. :D

So, Mohi... Welcome to the clan of the arbit speculators. Rules, you know. People, you will get to know. All you have to do is to add the fifth dimension. And that takes nothing more than your words and thoughts arranged arbitrarily.

Over to you.

Alok K.
Feb 27, 2010





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Karthik calling Karthik: An unofficial review.

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Ummm. Well, I didn't watch movies on their release dates. But now I do, thanks to this girl.

So, Karthik calling Karthik was the movie that we went to see today in cannaught place of Delhi. I normally don't have much expectation from Deepika Padukone's acting skills, ( Who notices that anyways :P), but I admire Farhan a lot. He belongs o that genre of movie watchers who get irritated everytime some Sunny Deol uproots a handpump or some Shahrukh Khan commits suicide for a less interested Paro.

And yeah. KCK did not disappoint me. Its one of those movie which will be liked more by the boys than the girls. There were times when I was on the edge of my seat, amused by the perfect thrill of the plot, while she was literally yawning away the frames whispering into my ears that it had started to get boring.
Read the reviews in the newspapers, and you'll find that she holds the majority when she found it boring.

Any person who has been a loner in his life would be definitely connecting with Farhan's character in the movie. I, for one, can. I know how it feels like when you are all alone and the world is out to fuck with you.
Developing schizophrenia in that lonely condition is perfectly plausible and so is having multiple personality disorder. As a matter of fact, I had noticed it many times that when I was in the lonely phase of my life, I had got so much time at my hands that I used to look at every issue from different perspectives, many times arguing with myself about the nuances of the problems and their solutions. Now, MPD is just an exaggerated version of this multi-perspective analysing ability of a loner.

Technically, the movie is 100% correct, which is very rare in Bollywood, and hence, should be cherished. Deepika is dumb on the acting front as always, but man, she has looked so gorgeous in the movie that I literally could not keep my eyes off her throughout the show, though I had an equally cute girl, sitting right beside me. :)The music was awesome and so was the picturization and script.
Though repetitiveness might be the groan-word for many disappointed viewers, I actually feel that it actually added to the psychic character of the movie. It felt that I was watching a regularly occuring dream.

8/10 to movie all in all. The climax, definitely could have been better.

On an entirely different note, I appreciated the fact that we take it for granted that our own brain will never betray us. But I wonder what it would do if gets a little awry, towards myself.

What would I do if I got hellbent to destroy myself?
Sending abuses and insulting mails to my dear ones in the online world would be the first thing to be done by my comp savvy chunk of brain gone bad. Then I will delete my gmail and facebook accounts, post some pornography (with friends tagged in them) on my blog, change the PIN of my atm card to an arbit number, burn away all my academic certificates, delete all the pics and design projects from my laptop...

Or better, I can try corporal mortification. :P
Boy. I can bring havoc in Alok's life! Sounds cheesy but I wonder why we take it for granted that we will always be on our own side.
But we better be. Wassay?

Alok K.
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Talking bout the Idiots...

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Last week I got to watch the movie '3 Idiots' in Satyam. Had skyhigh hopes. After all, 5 point someone is very dear to me. I had read FPS just after clearing iit, and it indeed amused me a lot.
Now the question was whether a movie which was openly declared as being "loosely based on FPS", was gonna strike the same chords or not.

Well, for me, It did.

Aamir, a ghost director he is, took FPS to a new level, from being a fun tale of some talented youth with deranged priorities to the story of chasing one's dreams and living life on one's own terms.
He actually taught us what engineering is all about after using the vaccuum cleaner and car batteries for delivering a baby.
All these frames when rest of the audience was busy cheering Aamir for doing that out of the box stuff, I couldn't resist thinking tht okay, this is what engineering is actually. You gotta solve real life problems with machines as tools.

We at IITs, I mean most of us, are busy either watching movies, sitcoms or 'peacing around', or craming up notes right before the exam to get good grades so that we end up with a job with a better package.
But I doubt how many of us have actually thought of making a new machine. A machine that does something new. Anything new. I think hard to locate the time when we architecture guys looked up to a building seriously, examined its functionality and tried to think about some ideas that can enhance the same.

In the movie, Madhavan says.. "aur main agar engineer ban bhi gaya na abba, to main bahut kharaab engineer banoonga".

Some people would say that the morale is impractical.
"Kisi cheez mein interest hona achhchi baat hai, par jab ghar k baahar aate daal ka bhaav maloom chalega to saari interest dhari ki dhari reh jaaaegi."

Well, they are wrong in identifying the holistic span of the message. We have a range of interests. Somethings we like, and somethings we don't. How about choosing something as a career that can strike a balance between our career needs, our parents' expectations ans well as our personal interests.
" Paise thode kam honge, Gaadi thodi chhoti hogi... aur kya"

But the satisfaction would supercede everything. And thats what matters. Right Idiots?
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And then, Straight from the office...

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And this one comes from my office comp. Well, It's not that I am used to while away my time in the office on internet, but as soon as the boss said tht he would be out for some time, and I finished every work I had in my hand, I thought of blogging some shit out here.
Ummm... Delhi... mast jagah hai, if you have got some friend with you. Alone, it might get boring just ogling nice models (Cars, I meant :P) No, seriously, I actually saw more BMW's than mercedes models in my stretch of the city.
And it feels great.

Even otherwise, life is fun. Delhi food tastes good. The chill is a killer; but I ain't complaining coz' I love winters. Office's good. People are nice. (I seem to have sported some kind of positive specs these days; everything looks just fine.)

Have embarked upon a long journey. Let's see how far can I get.

Alok K.
19th Jan 2010.
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A blogpost straight from my cell...

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Well, i have always been a tech enthusiast and I do understand tht very few ppl wud undrstnd and appreciate my excitement as I type these letters frm my outdated nokia cellphone nd post it directly on this blog witdout any help of bill gates. :) well, i guess its the first non windows post on the blog,n gues wht, it is one of the very rare blogs originatin out of the already dead symbian mobile OSv2.0 okay, my thumb is aching now. It might seem 2 b a very modest blogpost, bt it definitely is a legendary milestone for my techsoul n my dear old nokia 3230. Indeed xe cell bloggin k liye nahi design kiya gaxa tha. Khair, done wid the experiment. And am satisfied. Another tech endeavour completed.
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Towards nothing!

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Naxalite problems in North India--unemployed youth--easy way to earn--expensive route to live--yet hundreds join in everyday--parallel government formed--to change the system--we need to change ourselves--Generation of small scale entrepreneurship--needs little more courage directed towards right path--no interest among urban youth to ponder upon--educated people running the coy race--conclusion?--nothing!


Guess... Can anybody fill up the gaps?

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About Growth n all :straight lift from TOI

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India achieved record annual GDP growth, averaging 8.45%, in the five years, 2004-05 to 2008-09. But was this inclusive, and did it benefit the poor masses?
We have no data on poverty beyond 2004-05. But the CSO has current data on the economic growth of the states. Historically, the chronically poor states were Orissa plus the BIMARU quartet (Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh), of which three have been sub-divided. Have these eight poor states participated in India’s boom?
Yes, absolutely. Indeed, five of India’s eight ultra-poor states have become miracle economies, defined internationally as those with over 7% growth. The best news comes from Bihar, historically the biggest failure. From 2004-05 to2008-09, Bihar averaged 11.03% growth annually. It was virtually India’s fastest growing state, on par with Gujarat (11.05%). That represents a sensational turnaround. Nitish Kumar deserves an award for the most inclusive revolution of the decade.
Other poor states have done very well too. Uttrakhand (9.31%), Orissa (8.74%), Jharkhand (8.45%) and Chhattisgarh (7.35%), have all grown faster than the standard miracle benchmark of 7%.
Orissa’s performance is remarkable, since 10 years ago it had the worst fiscal indicators among all states. Naveen Patnaik has been a major force in accelerating growth and stabilizing state finances. His image as a clean politician has been tarnished recently by reports of widespread corruption. Land acquisition problems and Maoist violence have highlighted continuing tribal travails, and the murder of Christians is a blot on his secular record. Yet, he deserves kudos for making Orissa stage a huge turnaround.
The elephant in the room has always been Uttar Pradesh, a huge, poor state of almost 200 million people. The excellent news is that UP’s growth rate has risen impressively to 6.29% annually. This falls short of the miracle benchmark of 7%, but not by much. UP has benefitted from overall buoyancy in the Indian economy. In NOIDA, it has created a major services production and export hub, and an auto hub, too. Sugar factories have expanded fast. Growth seems to have accelerated a bit after Mayawati came to power, but it is too early to credit her with a paradigm shift. Something similar can be said of Raman Singh in Chhattisgarh. Rajasthan, which grew fast earlier, has slipped down a bit, to 6.25%. The most disappointing performance comes from Madhya Pradesh (4.89 %). So, not all poor states have joined India’s growth bonanza.
But the overall picture is very heartening. Of the eight historically poor states, four -Bihar, Uttrakhand, Orissa and Jharkhand - have grown as fast as or faster than the all-India average of 8.49%.
We must qualify this story. Fast growth in poor states does not automatically mean that growth has reached all poor people. Major beneficiaries include a creamy layer of politically well-connected people, exemplified by the Koda scandal in Jharkhand. The spread of Maoism suggests widespread tribal distress.
However, agricultural growth in 2004-09 averaged 4.4% per year, the highest in any five-year period, benefiting the rural masses. The minimum wage was raised in most states, and doubled by Mayawati to Rs 100/day in UP. Rural employment and infrastructure schemes, plus the telecom revolution, added to rural dynamism.
After two decades when incumbent governments were regularly voted out at elections, several incumbents have recently been re-elected. This suggests mass-based satisfaction in place of the earlier dissatisfaction.
Rainfed states experience enormous swings in growth depending on the monsoon, and can swing to negative rates in a bad year. So, averaging growth rates over five years is sometimes not enough to establish a trend. In Bihar, GDP actually declined by 5.15% in 2003-04. So, if we average its data over the last six years rather than five years, its growth rate drops to 8.33%. This is still a stellar performance, but no longer on par with Gujarat’s.
At the other end of the spectrum, Rajasthan had a spectacular 28.67% growth in 2003-04. So, if we average data over six years instead of five, Rajasthan’s growth rate gets revised massively to 9.99%, an excellent performance.
The poor states remain far behind the rest of India. Maoism, terrorism and corruption are growing. Yet, the economic gap between some poor and rich states is shrinking dramatically. Let us celebrate the emergence of Bihar and other poor states as miracle economies. This is surely one of the biggest achievements of the decade.
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