A Bangladesh story

A very small child at the time in a faraway little town in India, I have had only a faint awareness of the Bangladesh war of independance of 1971 & its incredible human cost. Recently trawling through Youtube, I stumbled upon this compelling documentary of that event. In particular go to 10:51 of the video to watch the poignant story of one man, who as a young boy lived through the massacre of his family. Now I understand the burning desire in Bangladesh to bring war criminals of that time to justice.

Singapore Airlines in India

The Singapore Airlines group now has 5 brands in play in India, 4 of them for international travel & 1 (Vistara) for domestic travel. Here is a table that summarises my sense of their brand / offerings strategy for international flights:

Traveller From Metro city From Smaller city
Well heeled traveller Singapore Airlines Silk Air
Budget Traveller Scoot Tiger Air


HolidayIQ Awards

Sharing photos of an event I have wanted to do for a long time. Last month, HolidayIQ gave away the first truly Indian tourism awards. The best of Indian tourism chosen by millions of Indian travellers on the basis of their Ratings & Reviews on HolidayIQ. Union Minister, Dr Jitendra Singh was the Guest of Honour of the event held at the Taj Mahal Hotel in New Delhi & the awards were given away by some of India’s top travellers – people who have contributed the most number of reviews on HolidayIQ.


Benaras Hindu University

Spent a day with students at the wonderful campus of Benaras Hindu University yesterday – including eating the ultimate masala patty at one of the canteens & walking around a small part of the enormous 14km, green, wooded campus. Would certainly have loved to be a student here sometime in my life, what with so many extraordinary departments (the dept of fine arts being particularly interesting). In fact, BHU should be as much a tourism location as any other in Varanasi. I am convinced that the dream of people like Madan Mohan Malviya to create major centres of higher education excellence can indeed be achieved in India if we set our mind to clear priorities. Maybe this is a step in that direction.

Beyond the ‘scientific method’

Very interesting TED talk by a modern physicist, with the speculation that Physics might have reached its end and that we will not be able to understand Nature any more than we do now. To a non-science person, there is an obvious omission in that ┬ástatement which should actually read ‘we will not be able to understand Nature any more than we do now, through the scientifc method’. And in that small, semantic difference lies the reason to explore Hinduism’s extraordinary canvas of knowledge; it is most likely to be the best pointer of future alternatives to the ‘scientific method’
Have we reached the end of physics?

‘Foreign junkets’ by Indian politicians

Very little gets India’s media – and indeed our middle class – as vexed as the notion of ‘junkets’ abroad by our politicos. Television anchors froth at the mouth & op-ed pages take on moralistic tones every time this kind of thing is discovered in any part of India.

I think this is all totally misplaced. I do agree that many of these trips are simply ‘opportunities’ to go abroad and are, in many instances, not at all for the purposes they claim to be for. But the lesson to be learnt from this reality, should be the exact opposite of what we seem to be learning.

The point to ask ourselves is why does everybody want to run abroad at the drop of a hat. Obviously because of our deeply ingrained view that most places outside are better than our own country. If, for a moment we accept that assumption to be true, the case to ensure our politicians go abroad, see the reality for themselves, and come back with a even a vague desire to improve conditions in India, is very strong. Nothing can so fire up ambition to bring change as the exposure of travel. And so I say let them go; in fact I would say, actively encourage them (especially the younger ones at the grassroots levels) to go, without necessarily having to get devious about it. Even if most of the money is ‘a waste’, and just a handful come back with the desire to create change, India would have gained immensely.