Feyman Lectures on Physics

Nov 15, 2016

Here is one interview of General Asad Durrani - the former head of Pakistan's spy agency ISI on Al Jazeera. Durrani's frankness and cynicism is astonishing. He openly acknowledges terror as an instrument of statecraft and treats deaths of innocent people including children as collateral damage while using this instrument. : https://youtu.be/Z__lyS-wI7c 
Here is one interesting debate about "what is wrong with Islam today". The debate is between reformist Muslim Irshad Manji and the interlocutor Mehadi Hasan on Al Jazeera: https://youtu.be/f1eI7itIaJU 

Oct 14, 2016

Triple Talaq

An article on Triple Talaq of Muslim Personal Law which argues that Personal Laws be taken off from the ambit of article 25, 26 of the Indian constitution keeping them however, in the scope of Part III of the constitution: Triple-Talaq

This is according to the writer is a correct approach which corrects the earlier errors on this score. Even if we agree that this is a correct secular constitutional approach, it is doubtful that it will be acceptable to Muslim Law Board and other Muslim organization.

SC can also take alternative approach in which it boldly asserts that Indian secular constitution overrides the so called essential religious doctrines or practices if they go against the "general" fundamental rights of Part III guaranteed by the constitution and enshrined in the preamble. As such even if a particular practice is deemed to be an "essential" practice of a particular religion, SC has the right to decide whether it is in line with the spirit of the constitution. That is to say, whether it survives on the basis of "general" principles of Justice, Equality, Liberty, and Fraternity. The constitution has allowed the amendments to Hindu and Christian Laws overriding the basic hierarchical structure of Manusmriti and discriminatory laws against the Shudras and women. The same process should be applicable to Indian Islam.

Again... Will this straight forward approach be acceptable to so called Islamic scholars and Muslim Law bodies. No.. for most of them. So what is the solution?

Some of the Islamic scholars and NGOs are arguing that Islam is egalitarian and it has no quarrel with the preamble principles like (gender) equality, justice, liberty etc. They claim (IMO rightly) that Quran does not sanction Triple Talaq (TT). TT is an extrapolation of Hadith and other traditions with a very recent fixation in British India. So TT is not essential practice of Islam and essential Islam is perfectly in tune with Indian constitution. Abolition or modification of TT do not violate freedom of religion. This too isnot acceptable to AIMPLB. I mean, they agree that Islam is great and TT is bad and yet for them TT is an essential part of Islam and hence comes under the purview of Articles 25 and 26. However, here SC and present GOI see a window of opportunity. With the help of these scholars, NGOs, as also with the support of affected women, and liberal Muslims and Hindus they hope to abolish-amend the one-sitting TT and declare it unconstitutional.

Whatever method GOI and SC adopt to abolish or amend TT, they need support of the all right-minded people to implement gender justice. Abolition-amendment of TT is but one step towards uniform (but not "homogeneous) civil code as asked by the article 44 of the constitution. In the process GOI will have to respect the sensibilities of all groups insofar they do not violate "general" principles of justice, equality, and freedom and impinge on the ambit defined by such principles in respect of groups - particularly smaller groups - other than their own.

Aug 15, 2016

Reminiscence of films by director Lars von Trier:

Lars von Trier (Denmark) loves to shock and tease by his unorthodox style and themes. He makes you uncomfortable, sad, exasperated, and even irritated if you could sync with his themes.

Dogville (2003) - His most underrated, hated, and stylized film is not anti-American. The story in its bare bone form can happen anywhere in the world, particularly in the so called civilized society where hypocrisy and exploitation of the meek and the gentle is the order of the day. It's style reminded me of many Marathi plays staged by experimental theatre movements like Rangayan, PDA, and Theatre Academy during 1965-1985. The end puts a different spin on the entire theme.

Dancer In the Dark (2000) - What a tragedy! Unconventional and disturbing. There is no other way but to agree with Roger Ebert: "Some people will admire Lars von Trier for his "Dancer in the Dark" and others will despise it. An excellent case can be made for both positions."

Melancholia (2011): Lars von Trier exploits the unconventional theme - that of another planet colliding with the Earth. Life is sure to be wiped out. How would a small family behave in the last few months before the doomsday? Every moment is saturated with the common knowledge that Earth is about to collide with an enormous planet named Melancholia. Life loses the meaning even before the end comes. In the dark hours the depressed Justine (Kirsten Dunststands steady compared to her restless but otherwise - in the normal circumstances - more stable sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg).

Then there are his early films Europa which won Prix du Jury at Cannes (1991); and "Breaking the waves" which won Grand Prix at Cannes (1996). 

Lars is known for his idiosyncrasies and controversies and yet few would deny his impact on the world cinema of the 21st century.

Here is one excellent Marathi translation of Brahmasutra Shankara Bhashya by Vishnu Shastri Bapat: Brahmasutra-Shankarbhashya-Marathi-Anuvad