Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Telangana timeline


30th July 2013 06:58 PM

Here is the timeline leading to the announcement on the formation of Telangana state.

1948: The Indian Army annexed princely state of Hyderabad, which had different regions including Telangana.

1950: Telangana became Hyderabad State with appointment of a senior administrator M.A. Vellodi as the chief minister.

1952: First elections were held in Hyderabad State. Burgula Ramakrishna Rao became the first elected chief minister.

Nov 1, 1956: Telangana was merged with Andhra State, which was carved out of Madras State, to form Andhra Pradesh, a united state for Telugu-speaking people.

1969: 'Jai Telangana' movement for separate statehood to Telangana began. Over 300 people killed in police firing.

1972: 'Jai Andhra' movement began in coastal Andhra for separate Andhra state.

1975: Presidential order issued to implement Six-Point Formula, providing some safeguards to Telangana.

1997: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supported demand for Telangana state and in 1998 elections promised 'one vote two states'.

2001: K. Chandrasekhara Rao floated Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) to revive the Telangana movement.

2004: TRS fought elections in alliance with the Congress, won 5 Lok Sabha and 26 assembly seats. The UPA included the issue in its common minimum programme and formed a three-member committee headed by Pranab Mukherjee.

2008: TDP announced support for Telangana demand.

2009: TRS contested elections in alliance with TDP but its tally came down to two Lok Sabha and 10 assembly seats.

Sep 2, 2009: Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy died in helicopter crash, triggering political uncertainty.

Oct, 2009: Chandrasekhara Rao began fast-unto-death for separate Telangana state.

Dec 9, 2009: Centre announced its decision to initiate the process for formation of Telangana state.

Dec 23, 2009: Following protests in Rayalaseema and Andhra regions and en mass resignations of MPs and state legislators, the centre put the process on hold, citing need for consensus.

Feb 3, 2010: Centre set up five-member Srikrishna Committee to look into Telangana issue.

Dec, 2010: Srikrishna Committee submitted its report, suggested six options.

Dec 28, 2012: Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde announced after an all-party meeting that a decision will be announced in a month.

July 1, 2013: Congress leader Digvijaya Singh announced that a decision on Telangana is in final stages.

July 12, 2013: Congress core group met on Telangana to discuss reports by the chief minister, deputy chief minister and state Congress chief.

July 26, 2013: Congress core group held another meeting, Digvijaya Singh said Congress Working Committee (CWC) and UPA will take a final decision.

July 30, 2013: UPA coordination panel and CWC met and decided to carve out Telangana state.

Excerpt from: The New Indian Express


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Straight from the heart

19th July 2013 08:07 AM 

At 4 am, on February 9, 2007, Khushi was in a happy mood. She had just completed her last day of work at the IT company that she worked for, in Noida, and was returning home in a cab. On Valentine’s Day, February 14, she would be getting engaged to IT professional Ravinder Singh. They had met through the matrimonial website,, and had been going steady for a few months.

While she was sunk in these pleasant thoughts, a truck came and hit the cab at full speed. The car was damaged beyond repair. A greviously wounded Khushi was rushed to the Intensive Care Unit of Escorts hospital, Faridabad, and later, to Apollo, Delhi, where she remained for a fortnight.

“During that time, I was telling God that this is the time I needed Him badly,” says Ravinder. Unfortunately, God did not hear his pleas and Khushi died of her injuries. Not surprisingly, Ravinder lost his faith and walked away from God.

Three months passed. Ravinder was unable to come to terms with what had happened. “I could feel this pressure growing inside me,” he says. “I wanted to do something. At times, I would cry at night.”
During this period, he was living with a friend, in Bhubaneshwar, who happened to be reading a book. Ravinder flipped a few pages, and decided that he would try some writing himself.

“The idea was to share my grief,” he says.

Ravinder started writing... and never stopped. The end result was a book called I Too Had a Love Story, which took the youngsters in the country by storm, and sold lakhs of copies.

Ravinder is perceptive about the success of his first book. “Most probably it was because of the honesty with which it was written,” he says. “Readers tell me that they felt an emotional connect with the hero. They also felt his pain. My fans told me they don’t read my books because of my literary skills or high standard of English. They like my writing because it is from the heart.”

His next two books - Can Love Happen Twice? and Love Stories that Touched my Heart (an anthology) did equally well.

His readership, which was initially young, has now moved to all age groups. “Lots of kids, who read my books, have made their parents read it,” says Ravinder. “I have received e-mails from grandmothers who told me that in this present world, a guy showing a commitment to somebody who is no longer alive touches them a lot. That pushed them to read the book.”

Amazingly, it has healed marital rifts. A woman, Snehalata Rajeev (name changed), said her husband, Surya, had gifted her, I Too Had A Love Story, but she never read it. She was having tensions with him, and was contemplating divorce. That was when a friend told her to read Ravinder’s book. Snehalata told her friend, “What is the connection between reading this book and saving my marriage?”

But eventually she read the book. “After I finished it, I imagined what if my better half was no more in this world,” says Snehalata. “You can never ever get in touch with him ever. By thinking about divorce, was I taking the right decision?” In the end, Snehalatha remained with Surya. And a gratified Ravinder says, “This is the best compliment that I have received. It is beyond the price of the book.”

Like Snehalatha, the fan base keeps growing. When Ravinder set up an e-mail id,, he received more than one lakh mails. He  also has 6 lakh fans and readers on Facebook.

One woman who read his first book was the Delhi-based Khushboo Chauhan. “She was probably crying after she read it,” says Ravinder. Thereafter, she went to the Bangla Sahib gurudwara and prayed to God. “This guy deserves a nice girl,” she said. “So please, God, find him a nice girl.” And Khushboo probably could not have imagined that it would be she who would be the ‘nice girl’, who got married to Ravinder, on September, 23, 2012.

Ravinder was in Kochi recently to promote his latest book, Like it Happened Yesterday. These are touching stories from his childhood, again written with intense feeling and sincerity. Asked why the move from romance to sentimental memories, Ravinder says, “I wanted to relive those childhood days one more time. Practically I can’t, so theoretically I did.”

Observing the excited reaction, among the audience, comprising many youngsters, there is a strong likelihood that Like it Happened Yesterday is also going to be a mega best-seller.

The son of a Sikh priest, Ravinder was born at Kolkata, brought up in a small town, Burla, in Orissa, did his engineering studies from Bidar, Karnataka and MBA from Hyderabad, and began his career in the IT industry from Pune.

From the IT industry to best-selling writer is a leap that Ravinder would never have dreamt he would be doing one day.

This article is taken from:  The New Indian Express


Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Third most searched Indian language on Google: Telugu

According to the Times of India, a study of Google search trends (from 2004 to the present) reveals that Telugu is the third most searched Indian language globally, behind only to Hindi and Tamil, respectively. The popularity of Telugu among Googlers is due to the popularity of its films.

Telugu films, known for their larger than life portrayals, have now become the driving force for the language's popularity in the virtual space.

A comparison of search volumes of major Indian regional languages on Google Trends from 2004 onwards shows that worldwide search for Telugu comes third, only behind Hindi and Tamil, with a bulk of searches emanating from India. But in the US, home to the largest Indian population outside India, searches for Telugu and Tamil are nearly equal in volume. Over the nine-year period from 2004 the search volumes show an increase for the three languages. 'Trends' shows how often a search term is entered in Google Search.

Search engine optimization (SEO) professionals, who expertise in analyzing search terms and keywords, say the source of Telugu's popularity can be attributed to its films. "The search related terms show that films are driving the volumes and determining the popularity of languages," said S Venkataramana, an SEO expert from the city. Most search related terms for any Indian language pertains to films. For Telugu, related terms include movie, songs, videos and movie downloads.

Filmmaker Dharma Teja attributed the language's increased popularity online to the Telugu diaspora spread far and wide. "Telugu films and songs are being enjoyed in many parts of the globe. Telugu speaking population is everywhere. Tollywood films are also easily available online for download or viewing," he said. He, however, said that Telugu films and songs are still largely restricted to the Telugu speaking population unlike Hindi and Tamil.

"There is a demand for Telugu films among non-Telugu speaking population in places like Karnataka but Tamil films are watched in AP, Karnataka and other states. Tamil songs are very popular outside Tamil Nadu as music directors like Illayraja and A R Rahman are highly acclaimed," he said.

The Trends data further shows that outside India, Middle East countries are the source for Telugu related searches with bulk of it coming from UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain. According to 2001 census, Telugu is the third most spoken language in India with number of speakers pegged at 7.4 crore. Bengali was the second largest spoken language. (source)

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Monday, July 08, 2013

The Hut Where the Internet Began

When Douglas Engelbart read a Vannevar Bush essay on a Philippine island in the aftermath of World War II, he found the conceptual space to imagine what would become our Internet.

Let's start at the end point: what you're doing right now. You are pulling information from a network onto a screen, enhancing your embodied experience with a communication web filled with people and machines. You do this by pointing and clicking, tapping a few commands, organizing your thoughts into symbols that can be read and improved by your various correspondents.

There was a beginning to all this, long before it became technically possible.

Well, actually, there were many beginnings.

But one -- maybe the most important one -- traces back to Douglas Engelbart, who died last week, and his encounter with a 1945 article published here at The Atlantic, "As We May Think," by Vannevar Bush, an icon of mid-century science.

The essay is most famous for its description of a hypothetical information-retrieval system, the Memex, a kind of mechanical Evernote, in which a person's every "book, record, or communication" was microfilmed and cataloged.

"It is an enlarged intimate supplement to his memory," Bush wrote. "It consists of a desk, and while it can presumably be operated from a distance, it is primarily the piece of furniture at which he works. On the top are slanting translucent screens, on which material can be projected for convenient reading. There is a keyboard, and sets of buttons and levers. Otherwise it looks like an ordinary desk."

Bush did not describe the screens, keyboard, buttons, and levers as a "user interface" because the concept did not exist. Neither did semiconductors or almost any other piece of the world's computing and networking infrastructure except a handful of military computers and some automatic telephone switches (the latter were, in fact, one of Bush's favorite examples).

A crucial component of the Memex was that it helped the brain's natural "associative indexing," so "any item may be caused at will to select immediately and automatically another." The Memex storehouse was made usable by the "trails" that the user (another word that did not have this meaning at the time) cut through all the information, paths that could later be refollowed or passed onto a friend.

("There is a new profession of trail blazers, those who find delight in the task of establishing useful trails through the enormous mass of the common record," Bush predicted. Consider for a moment that these processes -- at scale -- are exactly what makes Google a good search engine or Reddit a good social news site.)

Bush's essay was a groundbreaking ceremony for the information age. In Bush's own terms, the complexity of the world and its problems required a better system, lest our memories and minds become overwhelmed by all there was to know. And this was not merely a personal, lifestyle problem. The worst war the world had ever known was finally coming to a close, and to a man like Bush, it had begun because of a lack of human wisdom. This is how his essay ends:
The applications of science have built man a well-supplied house, and are teaching him to live healthily therein. They have enabled him to throw masses of people against one another with cruel weapons. They may yet allow him truly to encompass the great record and to grow in the wisdom of race experience. He may perish in conflict before he learns to wield that record for his true good. Yet, in the application of science to the needs and desires of man, it would seem to be a singularly unfortunate stage at which to terminate the process, or to lose hope as to the outcome.
What Bush knew when he wrote these words in the months leading up to July 1945 was that the most cruel weapon had been invented: American atomic bombs would not fall on Japan for two more months, but Bush had been intimately involved in their creation and certainly knew their use was a possibility. With that knowledge in his pocket, his answer to the prospective (and then real) horrors of science-enabled nuclear war -- odd as it may seem -- was to imagine a contraption to aid human knowledge acquisition.

For Bush, humans were racing against themselves: understand the complex world or face extinction through war. Those were the stakes at the outset of the information age.

Bush's article went far and wide, and if I can brag for our magazine a little, is considered one of the most influential magazine articles ever published about technology, and perhaps in any field. It even landed inside LIFE Magazine in a condensed format in September of 1945.


The Memex as imagined by a LIFE illustrator.

Millions of copies of the September 10 issue were printed and distributed around the world. LIFE had established itself as the preeminent photo chronicler of World War II and the Red Cross habitually kept reading materials like it around for soldiers. And so it was that a copy of that issue, containing most of Bush's article -- including the whole Memex section and conclusion quoted here -- made its way to a Red Cross library on the (even now, still remote) island of Leyte in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, young Doug Engelbart, a radar technician in the Navy who never saw combat (the war ended as his boat pulled out of the San Francisco Bay), was on his way to the Philippines, too. He was transferred to Leyte, the island, and though the record is not precisely clear on this point, perhaps to the little village called Leyte, too, at the end of a long inlet. It was here that, in the words of John Markoff, Engelbart "stumbled across a Red Cross reading library in a native hut set on stilts, complete with thatched roof and plentiful bamboo." Five years ago, a visitor to Leyte snapped this photograph of the the town of Leyte.


In a hut like this -- and maybe even one of these huts specifically -- Engelbart opened up that issue of LIFE and read Bush's Atlantic article. The ideas in the story plowed new intellectual terrain for Engelbart, and the seeds that he planted and nurtured there over the next twenty years grew, with the help of millions of others, into the Internet you see today.

The Los Angeles Times obituary succinctly summed up his impact on the world: "Douglas Engelbart, whose work inspired generations of scientists, demonstrated in the 1960s what could happen when computers talk to one another." Steve Wozniak went further, crediting Engelbart's 1960s research "for everything we have in the way computers work today." Yes, he invented the mouse, but he also laid out the concepts we'd need to understand the networked world.

So, in one tangible and real sense, the Internet we know now began in that hut across the world. As Bush made new thoughts possible for Engelbart, Engelbart made it possible for us to imagine the rest of it.

Engelbart wrote Bush a letter describing how profoundly he'd been affected by the latter's work. "I might add that this article of yours has probably influenced me quite basically. I remember finding it and avidly reading it in a Red Cross library on the edge of the jungle on Leyte, one of the Philippine Islands, in the fall of 1945," he wrote. "I rediscovered your article about three years ago, and was rather startled to realized how much I had aligned my sights along the vector you had described. I wouldn't be surprised at all if the reading of this article sixteen and a half years ago hadn't had a real influence on my thoughts and actions."

What's fascinating is that Engelbart adopted Bush's frame for the key problems and solutions of modern life. Bush worried that the world had gotten too big to understand, and so did Engelbart. "The complexity/urgency factor had transcended what humans can cope with," he recalled in a 1996 oral history interview. "I suddenly flashed that if you could do something to improve human capability with that, then you'd really contribute something basic."

The problem framed in this way helped Engelbart stay away from the artificial intelligence researchers like JCR Licklider. Instead, he developed a framework for helping human minds to come together to improve themselves. He did not think the machines could or should do the thinking for us. Markoff, a long-time chronicler of computing, sees Engelbart as one pole in a decades-long competition "between artificial intelligence and intelligence augmentation -- A.I. versus I.A." That's because Engelbart's view of computing development retained a privileged place for humans. His academic biographer Thierry Bardini summed up his importance like this:
Many still credit him only with technological innovations like the mouse, the outline processor, the electronic-mail system, or sometimes, the windowed user interface. These indeed are major innovations, and today they have become pervasive in the environments in which people work and play. But Douglas Engelbart never really gets credit for the larger contribution that he worked to create: an integrative and comprehensive framework that ties together the technological and social aspects of personal computing technology. Engelbart articulated a vision of the world in which these pervasive innovations are supposed to find their proper place. He and other innovators of this new technology defined its future on the basis of their own aspirations and ideologies. Those aspirations included nothing less than the development via the interface between computers and their users, of a new kind of person, one better equipped to deal with the increasing complexities of the modern world.
A new kind of person. The words appear unseemly in a reactionary age that reifies the "real world," but consider the root of the desire for a new humanity: Tracing Engelbart back through Bush, we find the horror of World War II and the nuclear weapons that put nearly instant human extinction on the table for the first time in human history. Mere tinkering around the edges of humanity would not have seemed up to the task.

What emerged for Engelbart as a real answer to Bush's statement of the problem was the co-evolution of humans and technology. Knowing that machines could do some thing well, and humans others, Engelbart imagined creating interfaces that would allow both to continue improving. It is an optimistic and hopeful outlook, one that is less brittle than hoping Watson will cure disease or that humans are deracinated by our contact with the digital realm.

It seems to me that we may be sitting at a similar moment in history to the one that Bush considered. Through the first half of the 20th century, physics was generally lauded and assumed to produce societal goods. Then came the bomb, and the field had a lot of questions to answer about what its purpose was, and what its relationship should be to the military-industrial complex.

And, perhaps I'm reaching here, but networked computing technology has had a similar privileged spot in American life for at least 30 years. Networked computers democratized! Anyone could have a voice! They delivered information, increased the variety of human experience, allowed new capabilities, and helped the world become more open and connected. Computers and the Internet were forces for good in the world, which is why technology was so readily attached to complex, revolutionary processes like the Arab Spring, for example.

But a broad skepticism about technology has crept into (at least) American life. We find ourselves a part of a "war on terror" that is being perpetually, secretly fought across the very network that Engelbart sought to build. Every interaction we have with an Internet service generates a "business record" that can be seized by the NSA through a secretive process that does not require a warrant or an adversarial legal proceeding.

The disclosure of the NSA's surveillance program is not Hiroshima, but it does reveal the latent dark power of the Internet to record communication data at an unprecedented scale, data that can be used by a single nation to detriment of the rest. The narrative of the networked age will never be as simple as it once was.

If you're inclined to see the trails of information Bush imagined future scholars blazing as (meta)data to be hoovered up, if you're inclined to see PRISM as a societal Memex concentrated in the hands of the surveillance state, then perhaps, we're seeing the end of the era Bush's article heralded.

At the very least, those with the lofty goal of improving humanity are going to have to explain  why they've chosen networked computing as their augmentation platform of choice, given the costs that we now know explicitly exist. The con side of the ledger can no longer be ignored.

Yet, it seems possible that we have not yet fulfilled the Engelbart's vision. Bush and Engelbart did have distinct visions. For Bush, scientific knowledge itself provided salvation, as if units of wisdom could be manufactured for the preservation of the human race. Engelbart's view was, befitting its time, more cybernetic: people and technology fed one into the other in a spiral of improvement. The Internet is still young, the web younger still. We do not know what form they will take. The current externalities -- now that they are known -- are a new feedback piping into the system, which means they can be accounted for in law or code or both. The co-evolution continues.

And I hope that someone, somewhere heard Engelbart died and found his extensive archive and found her mind aflame with new ideas for how humans, working together, can improve themselves. It's been a rough couple of years for technology, but to quote Bush, "It would seem to be a singularly unfortunate stage at which to terminate the process, or to lose hope as to the outcome."

This article is from: The Atlantic