Month: April 2006

Perils and profits of plagiarism

Kaavya Viswanathan plagiariased from a novel and got caught. She did not apologise or express regrets. She said it was accidental and unintentional. Her book is taken off the shelves in USA and India. But she made headlines for four days on TV and newspapers. At 19 very few achieve that.

Many Indians plagiarise from novels, films and songs. Few get caught. They copy from English to Indian languages. Very few from the West know Indian languages. They do not read books in Indian languages, watch Indian films or listen to Indian songs. Kaavya copied from English to English and got caught. If she had copied from English to Tamil she would have got away.

Most of the Hindi films copy from English films. I give below names of some English films and Hindi films which have copied from them.

1) French Kiss – Pyar tho hona hi thaa

2) Indecent Proposal – Sauda

3) It can happen to you – Bade Dilwala

4) The Wedding Singer – Kahin pyar na ho jaye

5) The silence of the lambs – Sangharsh

6) Unfaithful – Murder

7) Unlawful entry – Fareb

Many in the USA plagiarise. They are caught soon because language is the same.

Many novels in Indian languages that have copied from English novels are brought to the notice of publishers. They do not make headlines for four days.

Plagiarists may think bad publicity is good publicity. They may be happy that they made news. If they are not caught they make money. If they are caught they have publicity. They win both ways.

Letter to Pope Benedict XVI

English: Pope Benedict XVI during general audition

Pope Benedict XVI (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI

Your Holiness,

This is my first communication to you. I hope you are in good health. I have a few suggestions to make.

1) The number of banns to be read before marriage is reduced to two. I wish it to be restored to three. The banns should be read during all masses on Sundays and not just one mass.

2) Sunday obligation should be for attending masses on Sunday only. Concession given for attending masses on Saturday evenings should be discontinued.

3) There shall be no marriage by proxy. Marriage shall not be kept secret once it takes place.

4) One territory, one rite, one jurisdiction shall be followed. At present where there are territories with two or more rites new rites shall not be allowed.

5) Night masses for Christmas, New Year and Easter shall not begin before midnight. Easter vigil shall not begin before 11.00 p.m. on Holy Saturday or later if the number of readings is less than nine.

6) In Breviary one day shall have one evening prayer. Presently Sundays and some Feast days have two evening prayers and Saturdays and some days do not have evening prayers. This is illogical.

7) There have been too many scandals involving priests. In USA priests had sex with boys. Time has come to have married clergy. If you do not desire do allow priests to marry, permanent deacons can be ordained priests.

8) Dress code for cardinals and bishops that existed before 1969 should be restored.

9) Your Holiness should have coronation with tiara.

10) No appointment of cardinals till the number comes down to 120 and then allowing all cardinals to vote. At present out of 120 cardinals eligible to vote 60 are from Europe. Latin America, especially Brazil, should have more cardinals.

11) Assuming again the title of “Patriarch of the West”. Giving up the title held for 15 centuries makes many of us sad and it does not serve any purpose. On the contrary it offends Orthodox Patriarchs.

That is all for now.

Yours respectfully,
Vincent Augustine D’Souza

Abolish reservations

The Government of India wants to introduce reservations for OBCs (Other Backward Classes) in Central Universities, IIMs (Indian Institutes of Management), IITs Indian Institutes of Technology) and such other institutions. Together with 15% reservations for SCs (Scheduled Castes) and 7.5% reservations for STs (Scheduled Tribes) these 27% reservations will cover 49.5% of total seats.

Reservations for SCs, STs and OBCs in legislatures, government jobs and government educational institutions are wrong. They should not have been there in the first place. What began for 10 years and should have been over on 26/1/2006 has continued to the present millennium.

No political party has shown the courage to oppose reservations. Nobody wants to lose votes. They are mistaken. Not opposing wrong will not gain or retain votes.

Those who justify reservations give examples of people who have succeeded because of reservations and could not have done well without them. For every person who succeeded because of reservations there is another person who was unjustly deprived of this success because of reservations.

Supreme Court has held that seats of SC/ST/OBC candidates who quality on merit cannot be adjusted against reserved seats. If SC/ST/OBC candidates get 50.5% seats on merit they will get 49.5% seats on reservations and candidates of general category will have no seat.

Suppression in the past is no reason for reservations. The law gives equal rights to all.

When justice is diluted by calling it social justice it becomes injustice.

If SCs/STs/OBCs feel they are unable to secure enough seats on merit in government institutions they can have institutions for their communities which will have 100% reservations. Leaders like Vishwanath Pratap Singh and Arjun Singh can build institutions for OBCs, Ram Vilas Paswan for SCs and tribal leaders for STs.

Even the Supreme Court order that reservations should not exceed 50% has been violated by Tamil Nadu which has got 69% reservations. The Tamil Nadu Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutions and of appointments or posts in the Services under the State) Act, 1993 (Tamil Nadu Act 45 of 1994) was put in Ninth Schedule of the Constitution which was meant for laws regarding property and bars judicial review.

In some institutions seats are few and candidates are many. A general category candidate with 100% marks may not get a seat while an SC/ST/OBC candidate with 45% marks will get.

Over 3,00,000 students appeared for IIT-JEE for 4,935 seats on 9/4/2006. Reservations will drastically reduce the chances of general category candidates.

It is good that 400 OBC students from Poona who had to gain by reservations have opposed them and have started a signature campaign. Such spirit is rare and gives hope that fairness will prevail.

Comments from camelpost

The Choice is Clear: The terminology to refer handicapped persons have been changed to Physically challenged persons. Why cannot the SC ST BC OBC XYZ be called economically challenged persons. That will atleast give an apparent feeling of casteless society. The other suggestion is categorize society into BPL and APL meaning Below Poverty Line and Above Poverty Line and tax the APL to pay for BPL. There are thousand intelligent ways of addressing the problem and one idiotic way i.e. reservation based on caste lines.

IITs and IIMs will remain Institutions of the government by the government and for the government. One day MHRD may passa resolution stating that each MP is entitled for an IIT or IIM seat as the MPs are serving the nation. On the contrary take the case of BITS Pilani. In the year 2000, BITS Pilani put up a campus at DUBAI. In the year 2004, BITS Pilani commissioned a campus at Goa. In the year 2007 BITS Pilani is spearheading a campus at Hyderabad. Name one IITor IIM which broke the governmental shell and did something like BITS Pilani could do. Everyone knows the famous IIM and IIT wanting to set up a Singapore Campus. Well the song was over long back. We are left only with the National Anthem.