A Christmas cake (for Dussehra)

Why not? This is India where all folks of all faiths meet in celebration (around this time the holy days just keep rolling one after the other…without a break, as far as we can see).

We are very fond of home-made recipes because they taste different from the commercial stuff and they are quite practical (unlike the cook-book stuff).

This is claimed to be an authentic Syrian Christian recipe for sponge cake. A resourceful “aunty” instructed us “live” and the result was not half bad (and very little effort). Let us know if someone likes it, we will pass on the message to aunty.

Recipe of Sponge Cake:


(flour) – 110 gm

– 110 gm

– 110 gm

powder – 1 full tea spoon.

powder – 2 table spoon

(Vanilla or Pineapple) – a little less than half tea spoon.

– 6 nos.

– 7 nos.

– 4

caramel – Put 2 table spoon sugar in a thick pan and heat it until the sugar
content turns dark brown. Then put the heater in the sim mode and pour 2 table
spoon water into it.  Immediately remove
the pan containing caramel from the heater.

nut- – your choice

– your choice

How to prepare?? 
the dry ingredients together.
The dry ingredients
are: flour, baking powder and milk powder. Simply place everything in a sifter
and shake it back and forth over a bowl to eliminate the clumps (do it thrice
at least). 

ingredients in a mixer grinder (bigger jar).
Pour sugar, butter,
egg, essence, elaichi, clove, sugar caramel and flour in a bigger mixer jar.
Stir it well with a spoon and then switch on the grinder and grind it for 5
the mixture into round pan.
Fit a greased paper (like butter
paper) in a round pan smoothing out the wrinkles or bubbles.  The grease paper will keep the mix from
sticking to the pan. After pouring each layer of the viscous fluid in the round
pan, put cashewnut and kismis.

Bake in oven at 350 deg
F for 30 mnts.  
Decide the time of
baking by taking the cake from the oven in the midst and poke it with a skewer.
If the skewer is dry, we can assure that the cake is baked.



255, 261, 264, 350, 381

Five Indians in the Forbes USA Top-400 list. In one way it is nice, the percentage of  the ultimate high earners is in line with the expat Indian community strength in the USA. However the list is empty at the top (no one in Top 200).

As expected, Bharat Desai, John Kapoor, Ramesh Wadhwani, Ram Shriram, and
Vinod Khosla
have either technology backgrounds or play in technology.
Specifically, Desai (IIT Bombay), Wadhwani (IIT Bombay) and Khosla (IIT Kharagpur) are Indian Institute of
Technology graduates and are committed to improve those institutions and create entrepreneurs (not just technology officers).

The Indian Institute of Technology (Bombay) in
Powai (Mumbai) received quite a windfall recently when billionaire alumnus
Bharat Desai, chairman of US-based company Syntel, donated $1 million to
his alma mater. The money will go toward starting a robust
entrepreneurship centre so that many more technicians come out as
rather than just as degree-holders.

Five Indian-Americans have been named among the 400 richest people in
the US by Forbes, a list topped by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates for
the 21st year in a row with a net worth of USD 81 billion.

Founder of outsourcing firm Syntel Bharat Desai, entrepreneur John
Kapoor, Symphony Technology founder Romesh Wadhwani, Silicon Valley
angel investor Kavitark Ram Shriram and venture capitalist Vinod Khosla
are among The Richest People In America 2014 list by Forbes.


Forbes said 2014 was another record year for American wealth, when the
aggregate net worth of the richest 400 Americans was USD 2.29 trillion,
up USD 270 billion from a year ago. 

“Thanks to a buoyant stock market, the richest people in the US just keep getting richer,” Forbes said.


Gates is the richest American for the 21st year in a row, with a net
worth of US 81 billion. The Microsoft chairman’s stake in the software
company he cofounded accounts for just under 20 per cent of his total
net worth. His friend Warren Buffett, chief executive of Berkshire
Hathaway, occupies the number two spot on the 400, a rank he has held
since 2001 with a net worth of USD 67 billion.

Larry Ellison, who just announced that he was giving up the CEO role at
Oracle, the software firm he founded, comes in at number three, with a
net worth of 50 billion dollars.

Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is now the 11th richest
person in the US, and the biggest dollar gainer on the list. His fortune
soared to USD 34 billion, up USD 15 billion since last year, due to a
sharp rise in the price of the social network’s shares.

Desai and his family rank 255 on the list, followed by Kapoor who is ranked 261, Wadhwani (264), Shriram (350) and Khosla (381).


Desai, 61, and wife Neerja Sethi founded outsourcing firm Syntel in 1980
while studying at University of Michigan. The Indian Institute of
Technology alumnus has a networth of USD 2.5 billion.

Kapoor, 71, debuts on The Forbes 400 as a serial entrepreneur who has
founded two pharmaceutical companies that he has guided to exceptional

The bulk of his wealth is concentrated in shares of Akorn
Pharmaceuticals, an Illinois-based generics manufacturer that Kapoor has
been involved with since the early 1990s, and INSYS Therapeutics, a
cancer-treatment maker that went public in May 2013.
Kapoor, whose net worth is USD 2.5 billion, also has a small chain of
fast-casual Indian restaurants in Arizona called Bombay Spice, as well
as Roka Akor Japanese eateries in Chicago, Scottsdale and San Francisco.

Wadhwani, 67, an Indian Institute of Technology Bombay alumnus has a net
worth of USD 2.5 billion. Forbes said over the last decade, his galaxy
of companies has expanded to 20 and is generating three billion dollars
in revenues with 18,000 employees worldwide.

He is the recipient of the 2013 Forbes India ‘Non-Resident
Philanthropist Award’ and sits on the boards of the Kennedy Center and
the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Wadhwani signed Bill
Gates’ and Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge last year.


Shriram, 57, has a net worth of USD 1.87 billion. He was an early Google
backer and has been a Silicon Valley angel investor since 2000. Through
his Sherpalo Ventures, he has backed early-stage tech firms such as
Zazzle and Paperless Post, as well as the frozen yogurt retailer

Shriram made most of his fortune through Google and has been on its
board since the company was founded in 1998.
In June 2014, Shriram and
his wife donated $61 million to engineering initiatives at Stanford
University, which both of his daughters attended and where he is a board

Khosla, 59, has a net worth of USD 1.67 Billion and has run his own
venture capital firm, Khosla Ventures, since 2004,
following nearly two
decades at VC firm Kleiner Perkins. His highest-profile investments have
lately been in clean tech: wood-based biofuel, new types of batteries
and water purification. 

All together, the 400 wealthiest Americans are worth a staggering USD 2.29 trillion, up USD 270 billion from a year ago.
The average net worth of list members is USD 5.7 billion, USD 700
million more than last year and a record high. An impressive 303 of the
400 saw the value of their fortunes rise compared to a year ago. Only 36
people from last year’s list had lower net worths this year. 

The list has 27 newcomers including Elizabeth Holmes the youngest woman
on the list, and the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world.
Just 30 years old, the Stanford University dropout has built blood
testing company Theranos into a firm that venture capitalists have
valued at USD 9 billion.


Link (1): outlookindia.com

Link (2): dnaindia.com/bharat-desai-donates-1-million-to-iit-b



“Kem Cho Mr PM”

Indians are known the world over for their lack of unity (this is only to be expected, a billion people marching in lock-step is possible only in Communist China, and even there we have our doubts). No one except the stoutest patriot believes in that hoary school-yard slogan “unity in diversity.”

That said Indians are united about the need for diversity (and benefit of local control). This is simply a matter of accepting reality. In a country when there are so many languages, religions, cultures there is not much you can do to privilege any one “thing” over another (you can try and fail).   

In general, where there has been sustained complaints of “imposition” (one community over another), we have followed the example set by our (ex) British masters and granted partition. On November 1, 1966, there was a splitting of the pre-existing Punjabi Suba into majority Punjabi speaking (and Sikh by religion) Punjab, and Hindi speaking (Hindu) Haryana, and also Hindi/Pahari speaking (Hindu) Himachal Pradesh (25 January, 1971). The same policy was followed for Kerala (1956), Maharashtra (1960) and Nagaland (1963) and others.

In November 2000, Jharkhand was split from Bihar (and Chattisgarh from Madhya Pradesh) with an emphasis on (exclusive) tribal identities. We just experienced (2nd June, 2014) a bitter, yet mostly peaceful partition between Telugu speaking people in Telangana and Andhra. And in the future there may be a Gorkhaland for Nepalis who propose to be free of Bengali domination.

Even at the intra-state level, a new, muslim majority Malappuram district was created on 16 June 1969 (by the secular, communist government of EMS Namboodiripad) by segregating taluks of the erstwhile Kozhikode and Palakkad

Thus when President Obama said: (Tame) Kem Cho (?) Mr Prime Minister we were quietly happy. There is no country on which has such diversity to the point that the Constitution notes 22 scheduled languages. Even that list ignores tens of millions of non-Hindi speaking people in the “Hindi” belt – Maithili from North Bihar is the sole exception – and the Tulu speaking community in (Mangalore) the south.
Since the time of independence elites have been fighting between themselves about the language to be imposed on the downtrodden (elites will always send their progeny to English speaking convent schools). But the eight schedule is serious business and if we really claim to love out country we should be able to speak at least one language that is not English and not our mother tongue.

For the Hindu-Hindi imperialists, we recommend learning any one of the four main southern languages; Telugu with a very large Sanskrit content will probably be the best bet. For the people of the south (who want to make a point by rejecting Hindi) we recommend Bengali (or Gujarati). However if you truly want to confound the Hindi speakers try Bhojpuri (or Maithili, the sweetest of them all).

[ref. Wiki] The Eighth Schedule to the Indian Constitution contains a list of 22
scheduled languages. At the time the constitution was enacted, inclusion in
this list meant that the language was entitled to representation on the Official
Languages Commission….
list has since, however, acquired further significance. The Government of India
is now under an obligation to take measures for the development of these
such that “they grow rapidly in richness and become effective
means of communicating modern knowledge.”

Via the 92nd Constitutional amendment 2003, 4 new languages – Bodo, Maithili,
Dogri, and Santali – were added to the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution.

Even though English language is not included in Eighth Schedule (as it is a
foreign language), it is one of the official languages of Union of India.

How are you (?) in all 22 (less one) languages

1) Axomiya – Aapuni
kene aase?

2) Bangla – Aapni
kemon achen? 
(informal: Tumi kemon acho? most informal: Tui kemon achish?)

3) Bodo – Nungni khabora ma?

4) Dogri – Kiyaan oo ji?

5) Gujarati – Tame kem cho?

6) Hindi – Aap kaise hain?

7) Kannada – Neevu hengiddira?

8) Kashmiri – Tohy chivaa vaarai?

9) Konkani – Tum kosso

10) Maithili – Aahan
kehan chi?

11) Malayalam – Thaankalkk
(informal: Engnganuntu ninakku?)

12) Manipuri – Nung
ngai biribra adombo?

13) Marathi – Aapan
kasha aahath?

14) Nepali – Tapaiilai
Kasto Cha?

15) Odia – Aapana kipari

16) Punjabi –
Tuhada ki hal he?

17) Sanskrit –
Kathamasti bhawan?

18) Santali – Not known

19) Sindhi – Tawaan
keeyan aahiyo?

20) Tamizh – Eppadi

21) Telugu – Meeru aelaa

22) Urdu – Aap kaise hain?


Link: www.omniglot.com/language/phrases/bengali.php



An X-Y feminist

….Kale sends
around 2,000 kits each month – containing one mifepristone and four
misoprostol tablets – to women who live in nations where abortion is
either banned or restricted…..These are two of the 1,500 compounds that
Kale sells, generating an annual revenue of $4.5 million – but no profit
with an option for patients to donate 90 euros….And the need
is enormous. Nearly 40 percent of the world’s population lives in
nations where abortion is banned or restricted making it a major health
concern for women….

Can men be feminists? While the long form answer can get complicated the short form is simple enough. The answer is yes, if men are interested in complete equality between men and women. Setting reproduction aside, a woman should have the same rights (and responsibilities) as a man in all other functions and aspirations (yes we know that there are other genders out there, equality for them as well).

Then again if people feel that as per this definition humanism = feminism (and we agree) then it may be preferable to call ourselves (flawed) humanists.

How about reproduction and the specific question related to the medical termination of pregnancy (MTP aka abortion)? Again the long form answer is complicated (see below) but the short answer is that the final call is wholly the woman’s (to pull the trigger or not).
Yes, abortion undoubtedly involves killing, but as a society we do sanction killing, all the time, unless we are Jains who keep mouths covered and feet uncovered (while eating organic Jain food). Yes, we should aim to kill less and minimize the pain while killing. This implies that abortion should be performed as early in the cycle as possible (we like the two doctor rule). Since we are not religious we are not concerned with the quality of life in the after-life, however we understand that other people may have principled objections on this matter.

Yes, any form of state control is odious. We consider the Chicom practice of kidnapping women and forcing abortions to be one of the purest forms of evil. Societal pressure causing women to abort girl child (and on rare occasions boys) is immoral. Men forcing women to have abortions because they enjoy sex (but not safe sex) is criminal (and this is why we advocate notification of authorities, usually parents but also teachers and care-givers, if the woman is under-age).

Yes on state subsidies for MTP – it is a simple enough procedure and poor people need it the most. If you feel that your tax dollars are being misused you can try to (non-violently) change society so that abortion becomes rare (while remaining safe and legal). Yes, there is a difference between killing unborn babies and killing people. But this also implies that birth control should be made available (subsidized) to all women.

This is the bottom-line, we do not like killing. We are also extremely fond of babies (of all types), hence killing of babies (even unborn ones) is problematic for us. But we live in an imperfect society and killing is part and parcel of it. If there exists an Almighty who has privileged women (and not men) to bring life to earth, it must be equally the privilege of women to terminate such a life.  

A Nagpur-based businessman is helping women seeking abortions across
the world–and he’s doing it through mail. Now under the Maharashtra
Food and Drug Administration scanner, Mohan Kale has been running a
mail-ordered abortion service, where in, he mails medicines with
terminate pregnancies to women across the world who are unable to avail


According to a report in The Times of India,
44-year old Kale was influenced by Physician and abortion rights
activist Rebecca Gomperts, who made headlines with her decision to set
sail and provide abortions to women in countries where it is illegal. 

“As a man, I can’t give birth to a baby but I do have autonomy over my
body. Why shouldn’t women?” the report quotes Kale as saying.


According to the New York Times
report, Kale and Gomperts met two years ago. At the time, Gomperts was
looking for a new supplier in India. As a supplier, Kale’s job is
simple: He is sent a prescription after a doctor approves an abortion
request, and he sends the ‘kit’ to the women in need. ….

Since the
medicines are legal in India, they can be purchased with a prescription.

Kale forms part of a much bigger telemedicine service that Gomperts
started in 2006. Five years before starting the telemedicine service,
Gomperts “did some legal and medical research and concluded that in a
Dutch-registered ship governed by Dutch law, she could sail into the
harbor of a country where abortion is illegal, take women on board,
bring them into international waters, give them the pills at sea and
send them home to miscarry. 

Calling the effort Women on Waves, she chose
Dublin as her first destination,” says the New York Times report.

In places like Ireland, women made a beeline to seek appointments with
Gomperts. Women on Waves has since transformed into an international
tele-medicine service, of which Kale forms a part.

Kale sends
around 2,000 kits each month – containing one mifepristone and four
misoprostol tablets – to women who live in nations where abortion is
either banned or restricted. These are two of the 1,500 compounds that
Kale sells, generating an annual revenue of $4.5 million – but no profit
with an option for patients to donate 90 euros.

And the need
is enormous. Nearly 40 percent of the world’s population lives in
nations where abortion is banned or restricted making it a major health
concern for women. 

The report in New York Times explains: “The
World Health Organization estimated in 2008 that 21.6 million unsafe
abortions took place that year worldwide, leading to about 47,000
To reduce that number, WHO put mifepristone and misoprostol on
its Essential Medicines list.”

But even as both Kale and
Gompert walk a legal tight-rope, the service has enabled thousands of
women across the globe to assert their reproductive rights and attain
greater control of their bodies. New York Times cites a thank you note
from one of the women, which sums it up: “I used your service a few
months ago. Today I finally found out I was back to normal, whatever
that really means,
seems strange to say really, but I wanted to say a
HUGE thank you.”


Link: firstpost.com



Brown Pundits