Shashi Tharoor removes his own posters

May 16, 2009

Shashi Tharoor

shashi-tharoor

“This is a beautiful town, and I don’t want politics to disfigure it.” These words come from Sashi Tharoor, a candidate for the Lok Sabha seat from Thirvuvananthapuram.

He came out to the streets of TVM yesterday to remove his posters from the street walls. A very welcoming deed. Kerala state is usually in a pathetic state after the elections with political posters on each and every walls and street sides. Even the roads will have the party names painted on them. The cleanliness of the towns and cities have never been a concern for any political parties.

Another disgusting fact is that these posters are never removed after elections. They remain there till the next elections, when fresh posters are pasted again.

It’s in such a scenario that Shashi Tharoor has set himself a role model for all other politicians.Here is a deed by a politician, we can be proud of. A very rare thing indeed! I wish him all the very best for the elections.


The Success Story of ‘A Window to Freedom’ organised by FSUGTSR

December 6, 2008

A WINDOW TO

FREEDOM

– FSUGTSR

A window to Freedom‘ – One day seminar on free software took place on 4-12-2008 at Sahitya Academi Hall, Thrissur. The program was organised by Free Software Users’ Group, Thrissur (FSUG). This event also marked the official inauguration of FSUG, Thrissur.

The program started at 9:30 AM with an inaugural session. Prof. Manoj Kumar, Head of Computer Science and Engg Department, GEC Thrissur (HOD, CSE, GECTCR) inaugurated FSUGTSR by lighting the lamp. Mr. Jayan from COSTFORD, one of the sponsers of the event, presided over the meeting. K. Venu spoke on the politics of free software. Krishnanunni, delivered the vote of thanks.

The hall was completely filled by this time. We had a registration counter where the visitors were asked to write their name, institution and email id. Registration was free of cost.

The talk sessions began soon after the inauguration session. The main talk sessions were by :

  1. Hiran on the philosophy behind Free and open Source Software.

  2. Mahesh on Introduction to GNU/Linux

  3. Hussain sir on Introduction to malayalam computing

  4. Aswin on Compiz fusion and desktop environments

  5. Suresh sir on Malayalam Input Methods

  6. Devidas and I had a session on Installation of GNU/Linux (Ubuntu).

  7. Jain on Commonly used GNU/Linux Tools

  8. Unni on Troubleshooting

After the sessions we had a short open discussion/unconference on the future events of FSUGTSR. 3-4 colleges have already asked us to take one day sessions like this in their colleges. If any other institutions want such help, feel free to mail to our mailing list at discuss@lists.fsugtsr.org .

We had a very good audience for the program. They asked many questions and made all sessions very interactive. There were around 280 registered participants. Many public also came to the venue know what was going on. Though they didn’t register, they talked with the volunteers at registration counter about free software. So in around there was around 400 visitors to the program. And most of them looked quite interested in changing to the free software. So most probably, by the time the next event is organised, there shall be as many organizers as there were participants this time. A certificate of participation was provided to all registered participants. Those who have not yet received them please contact us.

We had planned to provide DVD’s with commonly used OS’s to all those who wanted at Rs 30 per DVD. We had made ready the ISO’s of Ubuntu, Fedora and Debian and also blank DVD’s. But the demand was too high that Alwin (our high speed DVD writer) burning DVD’s in 5 laptops simultaneously couldn’t yield even half of the requirements. Many participants also waited patiently after the program to get their DVD’s. For those who didn’t get them on the day, we are burning the DVD’s which will be made available in P G Center, Thrissur by next week.

CDAC sent us 100 DVD’s of Bharatiya Operating Systems Solutions (BOSS) free of cost. Those were distributed after the event.

An install fest was also announced in association with this event. But only 5 turned up with their laptops. Though the low numbers initially disappointed us, this gave us ample time not only to install the OS in their computer but at the same time teach them how to install the OS.

The event was also covered well by the press and media. All leading news papers reported the event as soon as it was announced in November. Articles on the event have appeared the day after the event. I am adding the link to The Hindu’s news on the event. I will scan the news in other newspapers and upload them soon.

http://www.hindu.com/2008/12/05/stories/2008120550580200.htm

There were also sponsers who played a great part in the success of the program. COSTFORD, CenSE, P G Center and I C Software were the sponsers of the event.

After the event, all the members of the organising committee signed on the flex. It shall be an “INSIGNIA” of FSUGTSR from now on. Then we all went to Modern Hotel, near the venue and had special masala dosa and coffee to celebrate the success of the event. I hope that all programs conducted by FSUGTSR will be a success like this one.

All those who have not yet joined us please join FSUGTSR. Also join in our mailing list and be active there.


Paddy Farming

September 11, 2008

PADDY

FARMING


Onam is celebrated in the “Chingam” month of the Malayalam calendar. This month is one of happiness because it’s in the month of harvesting. After a lot of hard work, this month brings with it all the happiness. Chingam 1 is the New Year day in Malayalam calendar. That day is also the “karshaka dinam – Farmer’s Day”. It has been so for around 6-8 years. That day, in all offices related to agriculture, special programs will be conducted. This year I got a chance to attend one such a meeting near my house. Some prominent farmers in the neighborhood were honoured. Then there was a discussion about the problems faced by kerala paddy farmers. Let me mention some of them here.

1. The price the farmers get for the products they grow is very low. Farmer doesn’t get a direct market. Their products go through many hands before reaching the consumer. These middle men get most of the profit. The fluctuating price is also a cause of a great concern. There was a time when Vanilla had very high demand and price. Many farmers seeing this opportunity invested heavily in it. By the time they were ready for selling, the prices came back to normal. Such incidents are common in our market. A step the govt. can take in this regard would be to fix a support price for all agricultural products.
2. The labour cost has gone very high. In many other states like Tamil Nadu, this cost is very less. So the cost of cultivation increases drastically here. The main reason for this has to be the high literacy level. Educated people always want white-collar jobs. Even if they don’t get any, they are very reluctant to go for physical labour. And the few that does come demand too much money.
3. Usage of machines can solve the above problem. But suitable machines are not available. And those available are not used properly. Political reasons are a main cause for this. Few months back, in Alapuzha, due to lack of labour the farmers decided to use machines for harvesting. But a political party started a strike there telling introduction of machines are going to increase unemployment. From a party who fought against computerization, we shouldn’t even hope for anything better. And the net results were that the entire crop was wasted in the rain because they were not harvested at time.
4. Most farmers own small area of land which makes mechanization difficult. It is not economically viable to introduce machines for a small area. Group farming can help. If many farmers in the locality unite, then mechanization is possible.
5. Weather is also a big problem. It is getting unpredictable. Earlier there was a pattern for weather. Now it is not so. Unexpected rain and drought cause lots of damage to the crops. There are no solutions for this as weather is uncontrollable. Only step that can be taken is to provide proper insurance for all crops.
6. There is a common notion, that agriculture is profitless. But its not so. Agriculture is profitable. But the magnitude may no be large. There is no chance for huge profits here. A continuous moderate profit can be made by this. So it should be done as a secondary profession by all who can do it. Only this can bring again the green revolution.

You all might be thinking what the use of this article is. For this my answer would be that each and every one of you can be a farmer. There is vast possibility here. Even if you don’t have cultivable area or if you live in a flat, still there are things you can do. Even if it may not be profitable, it can still be a good hobby. Moreover you get good quality products without any pesticides, fertilizers etc. Kitchen garden and farming in the terrace area are growing in popularity. From my experiences I can tell that they have been very useful. Let’s all come together and help our state overcome the overdependence on other states for our food.

Let’s never be in a situation to sent/receive any SMS like the one I got yesterday, which was like this.

“Onam again… Maveli from pathalam.. Rice, vegetables, flowers, liquor all from Tamil Nadu.. And the celebrations in Kerala. Happy Onam….”