Annihilation of Caste – A Distant Dream for the Dalits

“His mouth became the Priests;   his arms were made into the Warrior,   his thighs the People,   and from his feet the Servants were born.”                                          – Rig Veda 10.90

The Vedic tradition classifies Hindus into four Varnas or social groups each ascribed a different responsibility in the society. The Purusha Sukta of the Rig Veda illustrates the different body functions of the Purusha, or the cosmic man, which translates into the functioning of a society.
Philosophy professor Rajshree Vasudevan, Sastra University, Thanjavur says,

“It is common knowledge that the Varna system was initiated with the purpose of creating an order in the society. It was down the years that this scientific system got regressive and discriminatory.”

The Varna, which literally means colour, identifies four social groups – the Brahmins (priests and teachers), the Kshatriyas (warriors, rulers and administrators), the Vaishyas (traders and merchants) and the Shudras (serving the needs of the other three Varnas).
“The word caste strictly refers to the sub-divisions of the Varna and not the Varnas themselves,” says Vasudevan. The Dalits, who constitute 16.2% of the entire population, is the group which falls outside the Varna system. They are also referred to as Panchamas (the fifth Varna) and the Aspruhyas (the untouchables).
Assistant Professor Ruchi Jaggi, Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, Pune, points out: “Though the diversification of the Varnas was physical in nature, the concept of the “other” made it organic and overwhelming for those of the upper castes. This superiority leads to an upper caste looking down upon the work of those of the lower castes.”
It is to ‘annihilate’ this concept of the ‘other’ that Bhimrao Ambedkar, a Dalit, dedicated his life. He rose to emerge as one of the brightest political thinkers of India and was instrumental in framing the Indian constitution.Babasaheb Ambedkar

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Oscars 2013: Argo best picture, Life of Pi gets 4 awards

Argo director Ben Affleck accepts the Oscar for Best Movie onstage at the 85th Annual Academy Awards on February 24, 2013 in Hollywood, California. — AFP Photo

Amidst the glamour and fashion and honours in the Kodak theatre, Argo the only picture  not to be nominated for best director but nominated for best picture, emerged Oscar favorite.  Actor, director and producer Ben Affleck and fellow producers George Clooney and Grant Heslov accepted the award Sunday night. Argo claimed the award beating  Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” ,“Life of Pi,” ”Silver Linings Playbook,” ”Zero Dark Thirty,” ”Les Miserables,” ”Amour,” ”Beasts of the Southern Wild” and “Django Unchained.”

‘Life of Pi’, India’s entry for Oscar gets the best director, best cinematography, best original score and best visual effects awards.

Oscar 2013 winners are:

1. Best Picture: “Argo.” –  Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck, and George Clooney.

2. Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis –  “Lincoln.”

3. Best Actress: Jennifer Lawrence –  “Silver Linings Playbook.”

4. Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz –  “Django Unchained.”

5. Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway –  “Les Miserables.”

6. Best Director: Ang Lee –  “Life of Pi”.

7. Best Foreign Language Film: “Amour” (Austria) in French – Michael Haneke.

8. Best Writing – Adapted Screenplay: “Argo” – Chris Terrio from The Master of Disguise by Antonio J Mendez and The Great Escape by Joshuah Bearman.

9. Best Writing – Original Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino –  “Django Unchained.”

10. Best Animated Feature Film: “Brave” – Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman.

11. Best Production Design: “Lincoln” – Rick Carter and Jim Erickson.

12. Best Cinematography: “Life of Pi” – Claudio Miranda.

13. Best Sound Mixing: “Les Miserables” – Andy Nelson, Mark Patterson and Simon Hayes.

14. Best Sound Editing (tie): “Skyfall” – Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers ; ”Zero Dark Thirty” – Paul N. J. Ottoson.

15. Best Original Score: “Life of Pi” – Mychael Danna.

16. Best Original Song: “Skyfall” from “Skyfall” – Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth.

17. Best Costume Design: “Anna Karenina” – Jacqueline Durran.

18. Best Documentary – Feature: “Searching for Sugar Man” –  Malik Bendjelloul and Simon Chinn

19. Best Documentary – Short Subject: “Inocente” – Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine

20. Best Film Editing: “Argo” – William Goldenberg

21. Best Makeup and Hairstyling: “Les Miserables” – Lisa Westcott and Julie Darnell

22. Best Animated Short Film: “Paperman” – John Kahrs

23. Best Live Action Short Film: “Curfew” – Shawn Christensen

24. Best Visual Effects: “Life of Pi” – Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan de Boer, and Donald R. Elliott

Ashwin spins his web, India on cusp of victory

Ravichandra Ashwin celebrates a wicket. He finished the day with 5 for 93.
Ravichandra Ashwin celebrates a wicket. He finished the day with 5 for 93.

Score Summary at the end of day 5: India – 572 all-out. (Lead of 192 runs). Australia – 232 for 9 (2nd innings lead of 57 runs)

Chennai, 25 February: A brave unbeaten last wicket stand of 57 runs between all-rounder Moises Henriques and offie Nathan Lyon delayed India’s chances of ending the 1st Test match at the Chepauk on the fourth day itself. Debutant Henriques, the second Portuguese-born cricketer ever, hit his 2nd 50 in the match to prolong the match into its 5th day.

Earlier, India Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni catapulted his team’s score past 550 with a magnificent 224, his highest test score. With a 192-run deficit, Australia lost both openers, Watson and Cowan within the first hour as play resumed. From there on Ravichandra Aswin continued to torment the batsmen, plucking 5 wickets on his way to a first 10-wickets haul in Test cricket. He was ably supported by Ravindra Jadega and Harbhajan Singh who took two wickets each.

Australia toiled hard on a pitch that looked like the surface of Mars, but Henriques showed that a little patience and ardent shot selection yielded positive results. Ed Cowan, David Warner and Aussie Captain Micheal Clarke failed to capitalize on their starts as India continued to chip away after tea.

It looked for a while as though an innings victory was just a moment of time for the Indians. However, from 175 for 9 wickets, the last Aussie pair ensured that India would bowl on day 5, finishing at 232 for 9.

Meanwhile, Ashwin’s 12 for 193 runs is the best figures by an India bowler in his home ground.

Click here to read more about the match.

Pope delivers last address, bends rules one last time

The Vicar of Christ delivered his last address to thousands of believers who had gathered in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican City on Sunday. He assured his followers that his service to God will never end.

Pope Benedict XVI also changed the rules of the Conclave that will elect his successor, allowing cardinals to move up the start date if all of them arrived in Rome before the usual 15-day transition between pontificates.

The Pope signed a legal document, issued on Monday, with some line-by-line changes to the 1996 Vatican law governing the election of a new Pope. It is one of his last acts as Pope before resigning on Thursday.

The Pope addressed nearly 25,000 religious followers in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday.

The date of the conclave’s start is important because the Holy Week begins on March 24, with Easter Sunday on March 31. In order to have a new Pope in place for the church’s most solemn liturgical period, he would need to be installed by Sunday, March 17, a tight time-frame if a conclave were to start March 15.

Pope Benedict XVI is the first pope to resign from his post since the middle ages.

Follow the Vatican story here.

Magnificient Mahi at Chepauk, India pile on lead

Dhoni hit his highest test score during his innings
Dhoni hit his highest test score during his innings

Chennai, 24 February – Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s (MSD) captaincy might have been under scrutiny, but over the past year his batting always remained nothing short of magnificient. Carrying an average of over 85 in One Day Internationals in the last calender year, Dhoni needed to silence his critics over his composure as an able Test batsman. At one time, the selectors had considered dropping him for Bengal stumper Wriddhiman Saha who had scored heavily in the Ranji season.

Captain Dhoni and Vice Captain Kohli during their partnership
Captain Dhoni and Vice Captain Kohli during their partnership

MSD put an end to that debate here on Sunday, and how. He walked in with batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar just departed after scoring an elegant 81, with an out-of-form Virat Kohli at the crease. The Chepauk pitch had few demons, although James Pattinson got the ball to reverse and Nathan Lyon had just begun to turn some sharp ones. Dhoni took a few balls to settle and within half an hour, he was off. The 45 minutes post lunch, the duo of captain and vice-captain plundered the Aussie bowling making it look more of a limited over games. Their partnership yielded 128 runs in quick time as India comfortably crossed the 300-run mark.

Virat Kohil fell for 107 runs but Dhoni continued his attack and reached a double century towards the end of the day’s play,  Bhuvneshkwar Kumar proving an able partner to Dhoni. The duo added an unbeaten stand 109 runs. India closed the third day at 515 for 8, 135 runs ahead of the opposition.

With the 200, MSD joins a list of elite batsman who have managed to go past 200 runs in a day’s play of a test match.

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Countdown begins for 85th Academy Awards



With hours to go away for the 85th Academy awards, considered as one of the biggest award ceremonies of Hollywood, the preparatio for the night is in full swing. Everything from the food and beverages to the golden and silver coloured statues to be put up on the dias to  red carpet press, to the after-dinner, to the secret rehearsals for host Seth MacFarlane  are meticulously planned.  All the small details are being looked and polished up.

The show’s producer promises that it will be a night to remember, with performances from Adele and Barbra Streisand, who hasn’t sung for the Oscars in 36 years.

Everything is ready. Red carpet is rolled out. Now the question is who will become part of the history?

To watch the Oscars live, visit

Oscar Pistorius set free, gets bail on $113,000

Oscar Pistorius adheres to court’s decision granting him bail

‘Blade Runner’, Oscar Pistorius accused of shooting his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp on Valentines Day was granted bail on 22nd Feburary, 2013. The ruling that came on Friday was announced by Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair after four days of rigorous arguments. The bail has been set at 1 million rand ($113,00) in cash and has been asked to turn in any other guns that he owns. Nail also announced that Pistorius cannot leave the district of Pretoria , South Africa as he is on probation.


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