Are Birds close to Reptiles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Few days back I watched a show on discovery channel which tried to establish a link between dinosaurs and birds, it said that possibly birds evolved from dinosaurs. It showcased many reasons for the same. Mainly the similarity between the skeletons of the birds and dinosaurs was too convincing, such similarity to the dinosaurs is not scene in any other living creature on earth.Also dinosaurs are believed to have respiratory systems similar to modern birds.

  

 As the dinosaurs are said to be reptiles ( As they had no fur, laid eggs, their skin had scales, and many of their species were cold blodded )  after watching that show, I started wondering whether birds are close to reptiles, though birds are not technically reptiles as they are warm blooded as opposed to reptiles which are cold blooded. But there are many similarities, which are following

  • Birds and reptiles both lay eggs
  • Birds and reptiles show some skeletal similarities
  • Birds have feathers, which are said to be modified scales
  • Birds feet have scales 

Even whether dinosaurs were reptiles, is too debatable, as it’s still not sure whether they were warm blooded or cold blooded. Till the mid 20th century it was believed that dinosaurs were cold blooded, slow moving creatures, but later research has found that they were very active animals and could have been warm blooded. This issue is still debatable.  Also one dissimilarity between dinosaurs and reptiles is that the legs of dinosaurs were directly below their hips, like in mammals and unlike in lizards.

 

So, the conclusion of the above is that there are similarities between both birds and reptiles and dinosaurs and reptiles, so scientists established a theory that both birds and reptiles had a common ancestor in dinosaurs. But there are many who even believe that birds are not evolved from dinosaurs but birds are dinosaurs.

 

Many may think that why I’m discussing such a topic, or how does it matter if birds are close to reptiles. But it matters to me because I used to like birds and used to not like reptiles. In fact I hate reptiles, I become restless if I spot a lizard on the walls and cant live in such a place. So, now after watching that show on discovery and analyzing similarities between birds and reptiles, I didn’t really enjoy this fact.

 

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Gandhis and Bachchans

                                                               

                                                                 

  

  

 

Recently there was a buzz in the media when reportedly Sonia Gandhi came for the Rescue of Bachchan family when some antisocial elements dragged them into a controversy and tried to ban their films illegally. The buzz was about thawing the ice between the relations of the two families. But what’s so special between the two families that media is so obsessed with?

 

It’s well known that once Bachchans and Gandhis were as close as a family. The two families are among the most respected in India, and both belong to Allahabad city, it was where their relationship started. Harivansh Rai Bachchan is regarded as one of the greatest writers of Hindi Literature and was the professor of English at Allahabad University, also he was the first Indian to pursue doctorate in English literature from Cambridge University.His son Amitabh Bachchan is among the greatest actors of Indian cinema and is regarded as the biggest superstar of all time.Whereas Gandhis are the most influential political family in India and have given three Prime Ministers to the country so far, and have traditionally lead Congress, the biggest political party of India.

 

The relations between the two families started with Dr Harivansh Rai Bahchan working in India’s foreign ministry as a Hindi Officer, where he joined after quitting from the university. Nehru was very impressed with him, and respected him for his literary genius. Also, while living in Allahabad, the families of Nehru and Harivansh came close.Harivansh’s wife Teji became close friend of Nehru’s daughter Indira.  Later when Bahchans moved to Delhi, Teji Bahchan, got fame as a social activist, and her friendship with  Indira Gandhi became deeper, their friendship remained very close till Indira’s assassination in 1984.Their relationship continued in the succeeding generations too, Amitabh and Rajiv Gandhi were childhood friends.When Sonia came to India in 1968 as Rajiv’s fiancée, she was put up  at Bachchan’s residence and Teji acted as Sonia’s god mother and made her accustomed to Indian culture. Also during marriage of Rajiv and sonia, as the bride is not supposed to live with the in laws before marriage, Sonia used to live at Bachchan residence in New Delhi.Teji  was like mother to Sonia Gandhi, and did  “Kanya Dan” of sonia in her marriage with Rajiv. 

 

But what happened that now that when Taji Bachchan passed away few months ago, Sonia didn’t even attend the funeral. The relations between the two families are sour and it all started with Amitabh joining politice in 1984, mainly to support Rajiv Gandhi.That time congress desperately wanted the Allahabad constituency and wanted to defeat H N Bahuguna, which seemed impossible.

Rajiv Gandhi convinced Amitabh to contest. Amitabh contested and won the election with record margin (he got more than 68% votes) in the history of independent India.But Amitabh quit politics and resigned after three years when a newspaper reported his involvement in Bofors scam, this was the beginning of soaring of relations between the two families, though later Amitabh was declared clean by the supreme court. The relationship between the two families worsened after Rajiv Gandhi’s assessation in 1991, when Gandhis felt, Bachchans left them alone in distress, and when they relied on bachchans for taking every decision after Rajiv’s assassination. Also it’s said that Sonia didn’t take it kindly when Amitabh consistently advised her not to join politics.

 

Whereas Bahchans have point that Gandhis brought them in politics and left midway in trouble and also didn’t help them during the financial crisis after collapse of his company ABCL. And this was the time when Bachchans came close to Amar Singh, of Samajvadi Party. It’s not that Bachchan was not acquainted with Amar Singh before. In fact Amar singh was a very old friend of Bachchan , but when he helped Amitabh during financial crisis, the two became very close and later Jaya Bachchan was nominated to Rajya Sabha as a Samajvadi party member. As congress used to be rival (it has changed very recently) of Samajvadi party in Uttar Pradesh, the relations between the two families were bound to worsen.

 

In 2004 Jaya Bachchan remarked about Gandhi family not helping them during crisis and left them midway after bringing them into politics. She even said that  Gandhis betrayed bachchans. Then Rahul  Gandhi replied to Jaya’s remarks and said his family didn’t deceive any one, and termed Jaya’s remarks as bundle of lies.Finally Amitabh came to control the situation and said the the relations between the two familes stood on strong emotional ground and struck deep roots from the time of Nehru and Harivansh Rai Bachchan, and when  neither Jaya nor Rahul nor Paryanka were around and hence they don’t understand it. Amitabh said he could neither forget those relationships nor tolerate any comment on them.Those relationships were between the two families. He said, he has nothing but respect and goodwill for the Gandhis.

 

Above is the all I could write about the subject. I don’t think there is going to be any change between the relations of the two families now, and of course it doesn’t matter to any of us general public other than writing a post about it 🙂 I wish all of them good luck in their future endeavours.

 

 

Why Audits are Essential

 

Audit is a routine activity in any organization, while last month I was taking the audit on behalf of my department, just casually the head of the audit team asked me that what I think about audits, and are they necessarily required, I replied to him, but at the same time it spurred lots of thoughts in me, and I wrote something about it, and thought I could even publish it here

  

In the dictionary the term “audit” means inspection or examination. It’s a practice of various institutions and organizations to conduct audits within their structure. A culture of conducting audits boosts the efficiency of an organization as it’s human tendency to become attentive in the sight of an inspection or examination, though in professional world, audits doesn’t necessarily mean like said above, but undeniably they inspire the audit receiving team to enhance their standards of performance.  

 

Audits are important in any industry, be it manufacturing, IT, media, banking or construction. But I believe in industries like banking and construction, they serve the most important purpose.Banking is all about finance of hefty and astronomical sums.While giving loans or issuing credit cards banks have to be very careful, and that’s mainly because of quality of their agents. The agents themselves don’t bother to follow the rules fixed by the bank; I receive many phone calls and am assured a new credit card, even without address verification and other formalities. Even the staff of the bank in their eagerness to sanction loans, become very soft towards the guidelines of their bank.  Then in an industry like construction where a large workforce of unskilled and less educated workmen is involved in constructing the product, I feel it must be very hard to maintain quality standards. If audits are not performed timely in these industries, then for sure things will go out of control.

 

Audits may be internal or external, and both are equally important and effective. Frequency of the audits in the form of a calendar should be fixed and followed religiously to maintain the effectiveness of the same. The selection of the auditors is also a key point and only very experienced professionals who understand the gravity or triviality of all micro and macro level activities and processes, should be assigned the job. 

 

There comes a feeling that audit’s are not required as everybody in an organization knows his or her responsibility and people are mature and sincere enough to perform their responsibility flawlessly. But looking at the other side of coin, though people in any organization are capable enough but there are lots of micro level activities, which may not be executed up to the mark. A systematic schedule of audits ensures that all micro level activities like timely updation of all the records, all the documentation, etc are performed in the best possible way and also all the standards followed by the organization are met up.  

 

The audits can be made more successful if the Auditees take it as an opportunity to enhance their quality of work and not as an inspection imposed on them. The most important part of the whole audit process is the corrective action being taken by the audit receiving team. If a team receives an audit in true spirits and is enthusiastic about implementing the corrective actions, then only the very purpose behind conducting audits can be deemed accomplished.

 

Is India a soft state?

 

The nuclear deal between India and the US has been finalized, finally. The other day I saw news that, Pakistan is also willing to have a similar deal with the US, but the US denied it (So far at least 🙂). US secretary of state Ms Condoleeza Rice said that India’s case was unique, and that’s because of  India’s history.

 

So, what’s about India’s history that Ms Rice is talking about, I guess it’s about India’s record as a non aggressive state, rather a soft state. No one can imagine India attacking another country for any purpose. Even during the Kargil war of 1999, when Pakistani troops invaded India; in the process of fighting with them, Indian armed forces had a clear-cut instruction not to cross the LOC. So India avoided crossing borderline even for self-defense.

   

Second thing is that India is a successful democracy; the democratic values have been firmly embedded in the culture of our country. There has never been any fuss in the power exchange after the elections. The armed forces and intelligence are under very much control of the union government, and them taking any step without Government orders is beyond imagination.  

 

Only time when I felt exception was in 1998 when India conducted nuclear tests despite international pressure. And before that in 1975 when Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India announced emergency in the country following a judgment by Allahabad High court banning her from contesting any election for next 6 years. But, she called off the emergency in 1977, and announced fresh elections and that election of 1977 was the biggest defeat of her party (Congress) in the history of independent India. Democracy was in India to stay, and all that was the result of  the democratic traditions and values, which were entrenched in the political culture of India and which is the legacy of Indira Gandhi’s father and india’s first Prime minister Pt Jawhar Lal Nehru. Nehru in his tenure of 17 years as first prime minister of India made it sure that India is always going to follow the path of a responsible democracy.   

 

Everything about India being non-aggressive, and democratic country is fine, but many feel that India is a very soft state, which means just too non aggressive, which sometimes is not good for the country.

We have faced terrorism sponsored by nearby countries for a long time and still it continues. Kashmir, once known as heaven on earth is today among the most insecure places in the world, India’s Punjab state has faced terrorism for over a decade, and today terrorism is spreading in many major metros of India but still there is lack of any aggression on part of India to do something about terror camps flourishing in our neighbor country. Then there has been incidence of Kandhar plane hijack where we very calmly released the terrorist as per the demand of the hijackers. Also there was an incidence of our soldiers being humiliated by Bangladesh and there was no strong reaction from India.These are just some of the examples which come to my mind, and i’m sure there are many other such incidences.

 

It seems, on international level, India has developed an image of a very soft state, a state that can never become aggressive. It has it’s benefits and losses both, but I wonder whether benefits more or losses??

 

Shark vs Crocodile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The western media wants everyone to believe that sharks are the most dangerous species of the water or even otherwise. We have scene lots of Hollywood movies based on shark scare like the “Jaws” series (third movie of Jaw series was one of the worst movies I ever saw) or the later “Deep blue Sea” (which was made very scary indeed) or “red water” (which I haven’t scene yet) etc. Even the discovery channel shows lots of shows about sharks. Perhaps the western culture believes or wants to believe that sharks are most dangerous animal on the planet. 

 

But the study and statistics say that sharks are not that dangerous, sharks tend to avoid humans and very rarely attack, that too when she is convinced that the target is another fish or water creature. Wikipedia says that during 2001 to 2006, average fatality per year due to shark attack is just 4.3 as compared to hundreds of fatalities every year by crocodiles. All the species of sharks including great white, have been filmed in water without cage protection, can one dare to do so with a salt-water crocodile? 🙂

 

On the other hand crocodiles, particularly salt water crocodiles are the most dangerous water species for humans because they target humans intentionally, and humans are always on their menu 🙂 . Crocodiles kill annually hundreds of humans with intentional attacks without any provocation. Also the strength of a crocodile is unbelievable, it can drag a full-grown buffalo into water very easily. A salt water crocodile can grow up to 7 meters and there have been reports of crocodiles 10 m long too. And any species of shark doesn’t stand anywhere if compared with a crocodile.

 

Wikipedia says

 

“Despite their slow appearance, crocodiles are top predators in their environment, and various species have been observed attacking and killing sharks

 

Wiki further says

 

“The larger species of crocodiles are very dangerous to humans. The main danger that crocodiles pose is not their ability to run after a person but their ability to strike before the person can react. The Saltwater and Nile Crocodiles are the most dangerous, killing hundreds of people each year in parts of south-east Asia and Africa. Mugger crocodiles and possibly the endangered Black Caiman, are also very dangerous to humans.

  

Then why western culture is so obsessed with sharks? Probably because of their appearance, with round bulging eyes and big jaws, sharks look really scary, whereas crocodiles don’t look so scary if compared to sharks.

 

In Indian culture, crocodiles have always been considered most dangerous water species, bollywood films have also reflected it at times, and also there is a saying in Hindi “Jal mein reh kar magar se bair”.

  

Following is an interesting slide show of a fight between shark and crocodile, and of course crocodile was the winner.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OfOvs79wDc

   

 

 Note– Image is from Youtube

   

Decline of “Khari Boli”

 

 Those who belong to or have lived in Haryana, Delhi or Northwestern UP, understand what “Khari boli” (Haryanavi) dialect of Hindi is all about. Some people say it lacks sophistication and even that it’s rude.

 

The perception of lack of sophistication or being “rude”, is probably because that the words which show respect in Hindi are not part of khari boli, for example , to address someone, “Aap” is non existant, mainly “Tu” is used, and if one wants to give lot of respect “Tum” is used 🙂 .Also, “iye” of sophisticated Hindi is not spoken in “Khari Boli” for example,  to ask some one to sit “ Bathiye” wont be used , only “baith ja” or “Baitho” shall be used. Also, the sentence closing “Hai” of mainstream Hindi is not used in “Khari boli” .The terms most distinct about khari boi are use of “Maka” and “ Nuko”  for “Maine kaha” (I said) and “usne kaha” (he/she said).. Hindi words are spoken differently to give a unique flow to the language, like the word “Anghuthi” (Ring) will be pronounced as “Gunthi”.“Khari Boli” when spoken in it’s original form, is an unbelievably fast accent ..and difference between normal sophisticated Hindi and Khari Boli is just like the difference of spoken English between Indians and westerners.

 

But, of late “Khari Boli” accent is on decline. First of all Delhi lost it, being a major metropolis and capital of the country, and nowadays urban regions of Haryana and northwestern UP are loosing it and is limited to older generations only, and young generation have developed more sophisticated form of Hindi. The reason behind is the general perception even in the native speakers, that “Khari boi” is “rude” way of speaking and is not sophisticated. Nowadays it has become unfashionable to speak it.

 

There have been efforts to sanskritize Khari Boli, but this dilect of Hindi will die if sanskritised, as Sanskrit words doesn’t fit naturally here. Of Course the standard or pure Hindi derives it’s vocabulary from Sanskrit, but Khari Boli is different, and uses basically “Tadhbhav” form of Sanskrit words.

 

But I believe Khari boli is very much alive in the rural area of this region, and some of my relatives (Younger generation too) who live in the villages/small towns of this region, speak it. I personally am very fond of Khari Boli… since my childhood I’ve scene my relatives speaking it, though myself and our parents don’t speak it having lived in urban areas, but my parents can switch gear anytime and start speaking it when with our relatives 🙂 , but myself and my brother (Like other younger generation of urban population of this region ) are not able to speak it, but still we love it.

 

P.S.- In Bollywood, Khari boli is very rare…A recent example i’ve scene in Bollywood is the character of Komal Chautala in the film “Chak de India”, who spoke in Khari boli dilect

 

Tribute to Inspector MC Sharma

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are certain things, which make us to be proud of our nation and the heroes of our nation. Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma, one of the most worthy officers of Delhi police breathed his last yesterday, he was 42. He was badly injured during an encounter with the terrorists in the Jamia nagar area of south Delhi yesterday.

 

Inspector Sharma, Winner of seven gallantry awards, including the President’s gallantry medal and 150 police rewards, was credited with the killing of 35 terrorists and the arrest of 80 others. Sharma always pioneered Delhi police’s fight against terror. Hardly there was any big operation, that Delhi police performed without Inspector Sharma, and he never failed.

 

 Even yesterday’s event was a major breakthrough in India’s fight against terror, as they were apparently the same terrorists who were involved in Ahmedabad and Delhi blasts. While two were killed, and two managed to flee, one was nabbed by Delhi police and is under interrogation.

 

 I salute Inspector Sharma for his bravery and dedication; it’s because of officers like him only that many terror attacks are busted before making any loss to the nation and we manage to live a peaceful life.

 

 But one question I would like to raise, why he and other policemen were not wearing bulletproof jackets when they were supposed to take on the dangerous terrorists, I’m not sure what’s the reason. Inspector Sharma had bullet wounds on his abdomen, he could definitely be saved if was wearing a bulletproof jacket. While our politicians (Many of them are harming the nation) have so tight security…why our brave officers who take on direct encounter with the terrorists are not taken care of?

 

 Inspector Sharma, India is proud of you

 

PS: Later JCP Mr Karnal Singh clarified in his press conference that not wearing bulletproof jacket was a strategy by inspector Sharma himself.