Monthly Archives: December 2011

Remembering Dr. Vikram Sarabhai

Today is the day Vikram Sarabhai passed away. He was the man who started the Physical Research Laboratory, the Indian Space Research Organization and Indian Institute of Management. 30 years have passed since the great man left us, and look what we have achieved. India has done well in space research programmes. May it be the numerous satellites we launched. May it be Chandrayan. Sarabhai indeed dreamt a dream come true. Continue reading

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The intention of Ikiru

Beyond the legendary samurai tales, if Kurosawa is remembered for one film, it is Ikiru. The genesis of this film, in Kurosawa’s own words, was in his meditations upon death. While the philosophical intent of the film is elaborately discussed, Kurosawa made this film for another practical reason– to create a vivid and realistic picture of contemporary Japan. This idea was conceived immediately after Rashomon’s critical success. Continue reading

Flying with science

More than GDP, it is the scientific research and innovation that sets apart great nations from the mediocre ones. Why has India not produced outstanding scientists and discoveries that make the world take notice? All debates about poor scientific research in India boil down to the deficiencies of our educational system and lack of funds. But, I believe that the problem is much deeper than this. Continue reading

Benoy Badal Dinesh

There are stories which never become a part of daily folklore. We often hear such stories from grandpas. These stories come back to us only during our darkest hours. These are the stories of heroes who never made it big, who are forgotten with the passage of time. The story of Benoy, Badal and Dinesh is one such story. Benoy Krishna Basu, Badal Gupta and Dinesh Gupta were merely teenagers when they attained martyrdom the in the finest traditions of humankind. Continue reading

The education divide

Government vs private schools is a relatively new debate in India. While the concept of government aided schools were there from a long time, the first private schools of India were established to educate the children of English officers and those of privileged Indian families. Later, prominent Indian institutions came up with ideas of establishing private educational institution. Over the decades, these schools provided free India with its first bureaucrats and administrators. Continue reading

The composition of Ikiru

As with Drunken Angel and High and Low, Kurosawa choose to break Ikiru in half. Like many other Kurosawa films, the discussion here is between real and illusion. In the first half, we see what is real- our hero’s reactions to his approaching death. The second half is illusion- the reactions of others, their excuses and their rejections. Perhaps for this very reason, the camerawork in the first half and that in the second half is different. Continue reading

Citizen media and mass media

Albert Einstein had said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge”. People’s media is as old as civilization. It has always been there, while mass media came up only after renaissance. The dis-empowerment and injustice reinforced and sustained through mass media has always been resisted by civil initiatives for creating alternative modes of communication and information. Continue reading