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Mahatma Gandhi

We might have heard about Einstein’s Famous quote on Gandhi. Few years ago, I discovered that the quote is from a book by Albert Einstein with Title “Essays in Humanism”

Mahatma Gandhi

A LEADER OF his people, unsupported by any outward authority: a politician whose success rests not upon craft nor the mastery of technical devices, but simply on the convincing power of his personality; a victorious fighter who has always scorned the use of force; a man of wisdom and humility, armed with resolve and inflexible consistency, who has devoted all his strength to the up lifting of his people and the betterment of their lot; a man who has confronted the brutality of Europe with the dignity of the simple human being, and thus at all times risen superior.

Generations to come, it may be, will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.

Ref: Essays in humanism - Einstein, Albert, 1879-1955

Covid-19 "Six Months In"

Six-months into pandemic there is a lot of settled knowledge about Coronavirus now. This medium article - The Most Likely Way You’ll Get Infected With Covid-19 covered it very well.

What we know

  1. Surfaces don’t seem to matter as much as originally thought.

    1. SARS-CoV-2 does not spread through surfaces.

    2. No need to disinfect food, parcels, etc.

  2. Close range droplets are the new leading theory and Aerosol transmission has gradually gained acceptance

    1. Coronavirus Spreads from infected person exhaling and non-infected inhaling.

    2. A tiny droplets of virus spread in air in trajectory less than 6 feet.

    3. Best way to prevent this - "Wear Mask".

Six months in, "Wearing Masks" is the most effective way to protect ourselves. Both to avoid the spread and also to protect ourselves from getting infected. That's it.

Incidentally, the first strong support for wearing mask as reducing infections came via statistical analysis by Jeremy Howard in the article from May 15 - Masks help stop the spread of coronavirus

Best way for us to fight the virus - "Wearing Mask".

Occamy Minecraft Club

If your child, between age kindergarten to 3rd grade is interested in Learning Minecraft, we have a new club called "Occamy Minecraft Club". The classes are taught by my Son, Siddhartha, and kids learning from other kids usually well. I am there to make sure all children learn well from each other during the class.

Here are the details about our Occamy Minecraft Club -

It is USD 5/- per class, limited to only 5 students per class. Age range kindergarten to 3rd grade.

Book Review: A Concise History of Modern India

A Concise History of Modern IndiaA Concise History of Modern India by Barbara D. Metcalf
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I found this book totally captivating. I have followed Indian history through books, and have been witnessed incidents taking shape, like Babri Masjid Demolition, Killing of Rajiv Gandhi, Curfew, Coalition Government, Gujarat Violence and burning of the train, the rise of Cyberabad, etc.

The details provided in this book still captured my attention. The authors do a wonderful job of providing a "concise history of modern India", and trying to present the facts as they are.

If we come across any review that either accuses the book of having some prejudice by labeling it with terms like "British authors", "leftist" or "does not capture greatness" or "congress" etc, we can safely assume that the review-writer was standing in front of the mirror rather than in front of text and words.

Reading history, I often realize that reality can be stranger than Fiction. This book share ample anecdotes along those fronts.

The first thing I realized was - British East India Company had a much difficult time establishing trade relations in the subcontinent than French or Portuguese who had arrived earlier because India under Mughal had some resistance going on. They established pure trade relations, incurring a loss, buying cows from India, and facing criticism from Britain. The company did not want to give up on the business opportunity with India and incurred losses for decades.

Then we notice how Britain captured the whole of India. Robert Clive and Mir Jafir, a name that has become eponymous with a traitor start the conquer from South to Nawabs of Bengal. The loot and wealth of India were too tempting for the British to give up or lose control to locals.

I came to know through this book that for administering India, British setup "Indian Civil Services", the highest administrative body in India, which trains qualified candidates in both Britain and India through rigorous exams. The motivation was for that administrative body to report directly to the British state. The "Indian Civil Services" served the system very well, continued after Independence, and reporting structure replaced to the democratically elected official instead of the British state.

The book is a whirlwind, each capture captures multiple events in a century or decades.

I came to know that Mohammed Ali Jinnah, had requested Pakistan to be consisting of multiple divergent states in India which had Muslim Majority (like Hyderabad, Kashmir, parts of Punjab, Bengal, etc). He very well knew that having a separate country with interspersed states was never going to be practical, he wanted to use that demand as negotiation tactic. However, Nehru and congress never gave into it. They receded two states of Pakistan on religious identity. Nehru declared during Independence that India was not built on religious identity and is not a religious state, thus keeping the plan for India with all the states in order.

It seems like India had decided that after independence they will have some money for nation-building purposes. Since India got partition, I came to know that, it was Gandhi who, in his just tendencies, requested for 40 million pounds to be given to Pakistan as it's share.

I had known about the factors leading to Independence a little, but I didn't realize that the British were spending roughly 1000 million pounds per year on India after the war (like supporting Indian soldiers, infrastructure), which had proven economically very costly to hold on.

The book also deals with more recent events, and particularly things that struck me was

a. Keezhaldi massacre and how no one was ever brought to justice.
b. No one was brought to justice for the Gujarath train massacre. The chief minister, Modi was let go by the then government in power, BJP under Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

It is often that case that being in political majority determined the outcome of the punishable act, and humanitarian qualities like justice didn't have a say against power.

As an aside, I could relate to the above statement even in the 2020 Delhi Riots. BJP government did not bring anyone to justice. The same argument holds worldwide too wherein, in the USA, cronyism is so prevalent in republican led administration, and bringing someone to justice for the wrongdoing seems also non-applicable if the person has power.

GatesNotes - 7 Billion Doses of Vaccine

Bill Gates has an article on What you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine The entire article is impressive in terms of the approach to solve this problem. The particular highlight for me was Bill Gate's emphasis on making sure everyone in this world, yes 7 billion people in this world get the vaccine as soon as it is available.

This is an impressive thinking for a individual. Considering the solution for the entire humanrace, because no human is different and is equally susceptible to this virus.