Sunday, November 15, 2009

Google please answer: To which country do Arunachal Pradesh and J&K belong?

In October 2009, what caught my eye was the news of Google Maps showing Arunachal Pradesh as a part of China. This 'anomaly' appears if you access Google's localised version for China. Of course, news says that Beijing considers various swathes of Arunachal Pradesh, Ladakh, etc. to be its own (as a part of Greater Tibet). But then, so does India claim those very parts and the entire Jammu and Kashmir state to be its own.

Google "clarified" that it is the company's standard practice to depict any country’s official position on Google’s localised domains for that country. A lame excuse, I would say. And in the global versions, it classifies those territories as "disputed territories". In many "international" products of Google, such as Google Analytics, the state of Jammu and Kashmir is depicted wrongly. The part of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir is not shown as a part of India. Neither is it shown as disputed territory. But, it is blatantly shown as a part of Pakistan. See the adjoining image and it will be clear to you. The border of PoK and Pakistan is not separated, but PoK is engulfed into Pakistan. Quite contrary to Google's "standard practice". And of course, Google has shown the China-occupied Kashmir too, as a part of China, again, deviating from "standard practice". The entire world knows that Kashmir is still a "disputed territory". And Google being search engine giants, should not be ignorant of this stand.

These double standard shows how various companies and nations have being towing in line with Chinese stances, fearing Chinese wrath if they do not follow. But, they do not seem to care if they incur the wrath of the Indians. Somehow, India doesn't seem to matter to them. At the most, after doing such activities, they will make a statement, "India is an important stake holder for us," and we will feel happy about this. Nothing else after that.

But, what next? Google is blatantly and unabashedly committing these blunders. What can be done about it, is the question. For one, I've abandoned the Google search engine (Google's bread and butter) and switched to Yahoo! Now, many would say, that I should switch to some other blog service, well, I might just do that. But it is search engine that earns Google most of its revenues. If Indians slowly stop using Google's search engine, then there should be some cause of concern for Google.
Google please answer: To which country do Arunachal Pradesh and J&K belong?SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Sunday, November 01, 2009

For the love of Khadi

While Khadi existed even before Mahatma Gandhi made it the symbol of India's freedom struggle, Gandhiji brought it to the masses. It was viewed as a tool that would empower rural India by creating jobs in villages and towns and thus lead to the economic improvement of the hinterlands. But with Khadi being associated with politicians and being a hand-made fabric, it didn't catch my attention for a long time. I had an impression that Khadi industries churn out only politician type clothes and the national flag from their factories. And hence, I never ever peeked at Khadi wear. Although, over time, I realised that only cotton wear suits me, because of the Mumbai climate and my body's cooling mechanism dynamics. But, I always bought cotton shirts and trousers from outlets other than Khadi. Until, one day, a friend of mine showed me his Khadi wear.

I was impressed by the make and the look of it. It was a kurta-payjama set and it appeared very nice and elegant. It was then, that I decided to try out Khadi wear. My friend informed me that Khadi outlets offer 20% discount on their products in the week following Gandhi Jayanti. I rushed to their outlet to take advantage of the sale. The Khadi Gramudyog Bhavan in Fort, Mumbai is a huge outlet. They have the advantage of being in a prime location. And they stock everything that is Khadi or from cottage industries. And there I realised, that Khadi is not only from the politicians, but for GenNext too! They are in touch with the times. Apart from the conventional kurtas, I also saw kurtas that were vibrant in colour. These had a contemporary look to them. And the cloth too was light weight. They did have the older heavier kurtas, for people who still like to wear those. They stocked shirts, ties, sarees, all type of silk wear and cotton wear. Apart from that, they also stocked various other cottage industry products like honey, incense sticks, soaps, herbal preparations, etc. I also realised that the sale is not only for a week but for one whole month!

It was a rare occasion when I shopped liked a shopaholic and bought kurtas for myself, my brother and my father. I've bought something for my mother, but have kept it a secret from her. I will be surprising her with that gift. Kurtas ranging from the traditional styles to modern contemporary styles, they were all there. Ties made from Khadi silk, cotton and silk sarees, shirts and a lot more. If you do not like the ready mades, you have an option of buying the cloth and then getting it stitched as per your style. And they don't cost too much. I got a cotton kurta for around Rs. 220/- after discount! And short kurta for daily wear at around Rs. 120/-. That, I would say, is damn cheap. And the comfort level in these clothes is awesome. You have to trust me on this, because I have been very choosy about what I wear. Some of my shirts are just lying around because I don't feel comfortable wearing them.

This trip to the Khadi Gramudyog Bhavan has converted me into a Khadi fan! I have just begun to love Khadi. And, the best part is that it is completely indigenous wear. We are encouraging small and medium entrepreneurs and also sustaining and creating jobs at village and town levels. That is what is more encouraging, apart from having good quality clothes to wear. Yes, Khadi Gramudyog does have good quality control checks. Now, I've planned a revamp of my wardrobe and have decided to slowly stock it up with Khadi! My swadesi movement has begun here.
For the love of KhadiSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend