The Magician’s Land

December 17, 2014

A good read; I agree with this reviewer — this probably is the best of the three books — even though, I found some of the later chapters a tad too lengthy.

Chembai and the Music Academy

December 12, 2014

Sriram’s article on Chembai and the Music Academy is a must-read.  It is very difficult to argue forcefully or fight with Institutions while maintaining no ill-will. Chembai seems to have managed it. When we are on the topic, let me also strongly recommend Lakshmi Subramanian’s From the Tanjore court to the Madras Music Academy: A social history of music in South India. I am yet to complete the book. But I liked whatever I have read so far.

Biography of Bhagvad Gita

December 11, 2014

I read Richard R Davis’ The Bhagvad Gita: A biography. Doniger’s review of the book is here. A good read.

Vijaya Ramaswamy’s Walking Naked: Women, Society, Spirituality in South India

December 10, 2014

Though this books seems was published in 1997 (and, I have 2007 second revised edition with me), I was unaware of its existence till I saw a reference in one of Ram Guha’s articles. It is a must-read, especially if you are interested in the poetry of Mira, Andal and Akka Mahadevi. I especially liked the sections of the book on Sangam literature, Budhdhist and Jain literature and Veerashaiva movement — obviously because of my own interests. Strongly recommended. If I have any quibble, it is that some of the pieces are a bit dis-jointed and there are a few minor mis-prints and mistakes.

Meanness and success

November 30, 2014

Paul Graham has an essay on how very few of the most successful people he knows are mean:

Part of what’s going on, of course, is selection bias. I only know people who work in certain fields: startup founders, programmers, professors. I’m willing to believe that successful people in other fields are mean. Maybe successful hedge fund managers are mean; I don’t know enough to say. It seems quite likely that most successful drug lords are mean. But there are at least big chunks of the world that mean people don’t rule, and that territory seems to be growing.

A nice one!

PD James: RIP

November 27, 2014

Here is the Guardian report; via CT.

Two novels

November 15, 2014

Read Ian McEwan’s Atonement and Lily King’s Euphoria. Liked Euphoria a lot. Strongly recommended. Atonement is good too. (There is no comparison between the two novels. Just that I happened to read them one after another and liked one better than the other).

Grothendieck: RIP

November 15, 2014

I learnt the news through a mail from one of the colleagues in the mathematics department. Here is the obituary from The Telegraph.

On evaluation systems

October 13, 2014

My view is that an evaluation system need not be perfect – it just needs to be ‘good enough’ to provide a basis for disbursement of funds that can be seen to be both transparent and fair, and which does not lend itself readily to gaming.

From BishopBlog; the piece is on the use of metrics for research assessment at the universities and is a good one! Do read.

On teaching

October 1, 2014

A nice post with some good pointers!


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