Mahabharata is a wonderful ancient epic of India which is still felt relevant. It has been endlessly being discussed in India after the legendary Lord of the Rings movies trilogy by Peter Jackson, that when would a movie series be made based on Mahabharata. I think it is possible and could instill a sense of perfection in Indian cinema (or colloquially called as Bollywood) for a long time to come. While trying to understand Mahabharata for myself, I realized the richness and complexity of characters and the stories in the epic itself is unfathomable, and thus attempt to imagine cast for the probable movie series.

One important thing is that during Kurukshetra War, Pandavas were old enough to be grandparents by themselves (such as, Arjuna’s son Abhimanyu was about to become father whereas Bheema’s grandson ‘Barbarika’ was a legendary warrior).

Krishna and Balaram were in early 60s, Pandavas and Kauravas in their 50s age during the War, whereas Bhishma in late 90s, Drona, and other seniors in late 80s. From many sources, I learned that Draupadi’s age was either early 50s (same that of Bheem) or early 60s (based on a theory that she was slightly elder to Yudhishthir, and Krishna).

In the following table, I try to identify actors for a given character in the epic. I will also add justification wherever I can.

Please share your comments.

Role Indian Actor Justification
Abhimanyu Sushant Singh Rajput/Ranveer Singh/Ranbir Kapoor Charm, knowledge, valor, and inexperience of Abhimanyu can be portrayed by each of these actors In particular, Sushant and Ranveer have shown a good versatility.
Amba Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan Was the most beautiful and with self-esteem among three sisters. Others were Ambika and Ambalika. She avenges Bhishma as he abducts her for his brother, in her next life as Shikhandi.
Ambalika Kareena Kapoor
Ambika Karishma Kapoor
Arjun Hrithik Roshan Arjuna was gifted, focused, obedient, quick-learner, and hard-working. He used to swing between self-doubting and pride. Although strong as warrior, he was thus, emotionally vulnerable as a person, and needed support from Yudhishthir, Drona, Bhishma, or Krishna. Hrithik fits into this role very well, as he seems talented, determined yet vulnerable.
Ashvini Kumars Akshay Kumar + Suriya Fathers of Nakul-Sahadev.
Ashwatthama Atul Kulkarni Ashwatthama, son of Drona, represents full grey shades of Mahabharata, because his character has both heroic and villainous contours just like Karna. His rational and emotional facets can be very neatly rendered by Atul Kulkarni as the actor has played various roles in different shades and capacities.
Balaram Sunny Deol Balram, elder brother of Krishna was as powerful but a simpleton. According to some unverified sources, he loved wine namely Varuni, and used to be argumentative after drinking it. He could have fought the war, choosing opposition of Pandavas. Knowing that this could have ensured victory for the Kauravas, Krishna tricked him and rather sent him to some pilgrimage. Sunny Deol in his many roles as a powerful angry young man renders rather a simpleton.
Bhagadatta Piyush Mishra Relatively unknown Bhagadatta was a Maharathi and son of Naraka. possessing advanced weaponry, especially Vaishnavastra, the Vishnu’s astra. He valiantly fought against Arjuna in the war. Piyush Mishra seems quite fit, being relatively unknown but a better actor with strong physique and broad spectrum of skills.
Bharat Rajnikant Bharat is the king on whose name India is natively known as ‘Bhaarat’ or ‘Bhaarat Varsh’. He was first emperor who united entire Indian subcontinent, and ruled in a just manner. Larger than life image of Rajnikant fits quite well in this character.
Bheem Mohan Lal/Salman Khan Bheem is known for his strength, short temper, and being simpleton. However, he became wise and devotional after his encounter with Lord Hanuman due to his guidance. He is also known to have composed verses according to Tatvavada school of Dvait Philosophy in India (according to which he falls in the tradition – Vayu, Hanuman, Bheem, and Madhvacharya. Their motto is “Hari Sarvottmam, Vayu Jeevottamam”). Mohan Lal has that spiritual and devotional angle, and he becomes first choice. Salman Khan can also be a good choice, if he is directed well.
Brahma Parikshit Sahni Brahma or Prajapati is the first living being in the Universe, and also father of man-kind. Though he is not worshiped in India, he is respected and revered for his knowledge and being father to all. Parikshit Sahni has necessary depth and versatility needed for this character.
Chekitana Arshad Warsi Chekitana was a prominent warrior.
Chitrasen Mithun Chakravarty
Devaki Tanuja
Devavrat-Bheeshma Abhishek Bachchan-Amitabh Bachchan
Dhristaketu Sushant Singh
Dhrutaraashtra Naseeruddin Shah
Draupadi Madhuri Dixit/Vidya Balan/Ramya Krishnan
Dronacharya Kamal Haasan/Sathyaraj Drona, in spite of his great knowledge in Vedas and weapons, was unable to support his family, and could not even feed Ashwatthama some milk. Kamal Haasan is perhaps the only choice other than Sathyaraj.
Drupad Anupam Kher
Drushtadumna Ajay Devgan
Duhshasan Saif Ali Khan
Durvasa (Late Sadashiv Amrapurkar) Durvas was a great sage, who was known for his knowledge and short temperedness. He gave boon to Kunti. Late Sadashiv Amrapurkar was first choice for not only his acting talent but also throw of his voice and eyes.
Duryodhan Vikram Kennedy
Dushala Tisca Chopra
Eklavya Shreyas Talpade
Gandhari Hema Malini
Ganga Juhi Chawala
Ghatotkach Aftab Shivdasani
Hanuman Salman Khan/Vidyut Jamwal
Hidimb Suniel Shetty
Hidimbi Manisha Koirala
Indra Hrithik Roshan
Janmejay Swapnil Joshi
Jarasandha Prakash Raj
Jayadratha Paresh Rawal
Kansa Boman Irani
Karna Shahrukh Khan
Kichak Arjun Rampal
Krishna Aamir Khan
Kritavarma Upendra Limaye
Krupacharya Mukesh Khanna
Kunti Vidya Balan-Rakhee
Kuntibhoja Ram Kapoor
Madri Katrina Kaif
Matsyagandha Rekha
Nakul Akshay Kumar
Pandu Manoj Bajpai
Parashuram Rajanikant
Parikshit Mamooty
Rukmini Kajol
Sahadev Suriya
Sanjay Om Puri
Satyaki Mukesh Rishi
Shakooni Nana Patekar
Shalya Mukesh Tiwari
Shantanoo Anil Kapoor
Shikhandi Riteish Deshmukh
Shishupal Irrfan Khan
Shiva Danny Denzongpa
Subhadra Rani Mukherjee
Sudakshina Kay Kay Menon
Surya Shahrukh Khan
Takshak Nawajuddin Siddiqui
Uttara Amrutaa Rao
Vasudev Girish Karnad
Vayu Mohan Lal/Salman Khan
Vidur Vikram Gokhale
Virat Sathyaraj
Vishnu Aamir Khan
Vyas Surendra Pal
Yamraj Arvind Swamy/Akshay Kumar/Nagarjuna
Yudhishthir Arvind Swamy/Akshay Kumar/Nagarjuna
Yuyutsu Madhavan

Read More…

Recently I read a nice post on BBC site ‘Big thinkers still stumped on global economic crisis‘.  One thing I found interesting is the metaphor of ‘cat on tree’ by Prof. George Akerlof and Prof. David Romer. However, the cat was out of bag in 2008 and its 2013 today. The cat has grown really big, given difference in the numbers between 2008 and 2013. Well, I think it was a cub then, now grown, up there. Oh wait, there are many !

The economic theory is based upon assumptions that make it easier for scientists to make models and prove their points. However, if economists were to do weather scientists today, millions would have died and trillions would have been lost.

Wake up !

Posted by: Harshal | July 21, 2012

Perceptions in ‘-ism’…

  • In Communism, you are what you say !
  • In Capitalism, you are what you do !
  • In Consumerism, you are what you wear !
  • In Socialism, you are what you think !
  • In Religion, you are what you believe in !
  • In Democracy, you are what you think you voted for !
Posted by: Harshal | December 4, 2011

Evolution of a civilization


We all know that history repeats itself and this is an effort on ‘how’.

Recently  the book ‘The Fourth Turning‘ impressed me, for introducing to the concept of Generational Dynamics.  The book mentions that a society passes through time in cycles. Each cycle is of roughly 80 (or 90) years and has four ages/phases in time. During these cycles of time, the book further describes that society hosts four kinds of people, living differently in each age.They are us, now and then ! Wonderful !

I was discussing with one of my friend, a similar alternative model – Evolution of civilization. It is clearly inspired by Theory of Evolution, generational dynamics and Tytler Cycle (unverified attribution as per article). Here it goes –

During the known history of humans,it is often observed that different civilizations emerge on the stage, survive, flourish and disappear. Some of them touch the peak of their time before either disappearing or disintegrating or surrendering their positions to others better than them. Each civilization brings new, unique and wonderful things during the journey.

A civilization goes through following phases – Crisis, survival, growth, strength, spread and fragmentation – in that order It is analogous to a newborn, living its life from infancy, childhood to adolescence, adulthood to finally old age before death (Albeit, death is not directly applicable to civilizations and more on this later). This process goes on forever, in cycles.

A cycle has following transitions –

  • First warriors fight the wars and bring peace to the land. (Crisis to Survival)
  • Then merchantmen and traders bring prosperity. (Survival to Growth)
  • Thereafter scientists and engineers bring advancement for the land. (Growth to Strength)
  • Artists, teachers and spiritual leaders bring prominence. (Strength to Spread)
  • Leadership fights for dominance and leads people to fragmentation (Spread to Fragmentation)
  • And finally fragmentation to conflicts (Fragmentation to Crisis)

As explained by Darwin-Wallace in the Theory of Evolution, a species goes from survival to growth to radiation. A civilization is a social species (See meme. More on this in next post).

Not every civilization may go through all these phases. Only fortunate few make it to the advanced phases of strength and spread. Most civilizations struggle with crisis – one way or other. Few cross the barriers to reach survival and growth. Even fewer show wisdom to invest towards strength. Finally fewest leap into spread. However no one can not spread forever. Very confidence gained through growth, strength and spread pushes them into fragmentation first and finally to crisis, just to repeat the cycle.

In next post, we would see how people react to these phases and transitions. To be concluded…

Posted by: Harshal | May 1, 2010

Singing sustainability song with Jaime Lerner

It was an introspective fun to watch Jaime Lerner singing sustainability song on TED. In merely 15 minutes, the Veteran urban planner from Curitiba, Brazil outlines the problems and creative solutions that he applied and any other city can apply to become truly a city for people. In India, people are accustomed to delayed, ill-planned and unplanned developments. Vested interests often lead to exactly opposite solutions. India with her billion-plus people need to be shown some hope and I see it lies here. In this blog post, I am interpreting the quotes by Jaime.

Any city can be changed in less than three years. It does not the scale of city is and financial resources.” What Jaime said was an enlightening conviction that he  shared using his forty years of experience in urban planning. I think this single quote generates enough hope to eliminate pessimism filled in the India’s urban population. If India wants to become a ‘superpower’ then it is not appropriate to be a superpower with a loose bunch of slummy cities.

“Every problem in the city has got its own equation of co-responsibility”. Traffic in most first and second tier Indian cities is a joke at the best. For all valid reasons, the situation is worsening for years and would continue likewise in a foreseeable future. The equation of co-responsibility is a skewed inequality. Participation from different stakeholders, from government to enforcement agencies to commuters, is not involved to necessary extent to balance this equation. The imbalance results in undesired perceptions about rewards and penalty. It redefines common sense. So balancing this equation is a must !

“We teach children how to separate garbage and after six months children teach their parents.” and it is obvious that children learn faster and better than their parents because they lack bias. I am convinced.

“Multiuse city because you can not have empty places during 18 hours a day.” It is a conventional wisdom to build specialist buildings. Offices are offices during day time and empty places during night-time. Same is the story of schools and our homes. Can this be changed? Answer to this question is answer to the question “Can we be changed?”.

“Creativity starts when you cut a zero from your budget. If you cut two zeros, it is much better !” Lack of money is typically thought as show-stopper in solving problems of a growing city. It’s true for many cases but not always. A good number of problems are actually co-responsibility crises and not money. A host of others are due to lack of creative solutions or vested interests. A very few are because of technology limitations. My take is we need courageous, open, creative and dedicated urban planners that are supported by trust of mayors and peoples.

“Every city has its design !” Copy-n-paste solutions across cities hardly work. A good solution for city X might be a worst solution for city Y. BRTS of Curitiba and Bogota are causing havoc in Delhi and Pune. But it is still not a failure in Ahmadabad.

“In cities, you have to work fast, planning takes time. And I am proposing urban acupuncture” Heard of re-factoring in software? He is trying to be agile in approach and makes sense if done with a good deal of care and creativity.

Cities themselves can not be thought as isolated entities. They are connected to each other with connecting infrastructure, from highways to transmission lines to water supply to internet. Today’s model is verticalization of cities with sky-touching building everywhere. We see a gap of few hundred kilometers between two cities. Good and it has played its role. Going forward a complete new thinking about urban planning is needed. I clearly see need to use systems thinking concepts to solve these issues. Instead of verticalization, it would be a better model of a “Connected World”. Fading the boundaries between cities seems necessary. I am curious about a combination of models of self-sustaining cities and continuous cities.

Mahatma Gandhi had a vision to model Indian cities as self-sustainable cities. Now the World has the same vision.

Posted by: Harshal | February 23, 2009

Mumbai Attacks – The Butterfly Effect


Reaching their old age, parents know that it is but natural to see their children taking over their businesses. This is true for not only individuals but also institutions, societies and countries. This post talks about such a business run by individuals, institutions and countries run across the Globe – Terrorism. From the study of history, I understand that it is very important for both sides to have a cause to believe in, to fight a war. For a few (on both sides), this has given them a purpose, to live for and to die for. However the future of a large part of human civilization rests, now, in the hands of these few men at war. But there always is a hope.

“Every man is his own ancestor, and every man is his own heir. He devises his own future, and he inherits his own past.”  Frederick Henry Hedge (American historical theologian 1805-1890)

Frederick quoted this rightly for not only individuals but also the societies and the nations. Of course it is the collective ancestry and heritage. A society chooses its path from the choices made by individuals making that society. May that be a decision to choose a leader or a philosophy or a friend or a foe or a brand of ice-cream. India and Pakistan have been making their choices and would continue to do so, on diverging paths. Since several weeks, I have been hearing and reading about the truce between Taliban and Pakistan. Finally it got officially concluded.

It is an irony that Mujhahiddins that were supported by USA and Pakistan to fight against Soviet Union’s invasion on Afghanistan are now fighting against the alliance of USA, Russia (largest country split out of Soviet Union), Afghanistan and possibly Pakistan. According to Wikipedia article on Taliban, during cold war period, Pakistan’s ISI and USA’s CIA could have been involved in initial training up the Mujhahiddins fighting against Soviet invasion. Hence in some sense, they are parents of Mujhahiddins. Taliban rose out of Mujhahiddins’ movement which later gave rise to Al Qaeda. On the side linkages, Pakistan army is the parental body of ISI and Pakistan government is parent of Pakistan army.

When the parents grow old, the children take over the activities of their parents. Over last few years, Al Qaeda has already taken over Taliban. Taliban is now trying hard to take over Pakistan. Similarly Pakistan army has taken over the Goverment time-to-time, in history of Pakistan. Has army now taken over the Government in Pakistan? Is it the case now that ISI (for the first time) has taken over Pakistan army? So in near future, Pakistan might be in the hands of Al Qaeda, through Taliban, ISI, Army lineage. USA has learned it now.

Is this going unnoticed? Of course not. American media is keeping track of changes that are happening in Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA). Moreover when Taliban shows more desperation, the World understands the danger if pursuit is to be N-ready. In days to come, it will be difficult for the leaders in the World to tackle the problem in the Subcontinent region, as it has full potential to be an international migraine. It is no more Kashmir or Afghanistan or Iraq but the greed of power. Peaceful Taliban in Swat region might want to take care of rest of the Pakistan. It would be no surprise if the Pakistan government would be toppled by these peacemakers, as it is their children taking over their businesses. In politics, after all, only interests are permanent.

Posted by: Harshal | December 1, 2008

Mumbai Attacks – Responsible Response

The response to terrorism must be right, not fright – Nandan Nilekani (in Indian Express, Nov 30, 2008)

Today it was quite natural to see the rage, anger and hatred in the words, in the eyes and on the faces of fellow Indians. But such natural feelings be dealt not naturally but rationally. So what is a rational response? There can be many ‘rational definitions’ of a rational response in this time of crisis. A useful one as I see is – Wait !

Wait for right time to strike. But be determined to strike, the right target.

India would need to go ‘resolutely offensive’ than ‘resiliently defensive’.

Crumbling crown

Crumbling crown

While those dreadful events are discussed and analyzed, photographs are shared and forwarded – the anger in individuals would be intensified. This anger might overcome logic and reasoning. Financial crisis is mounting on global economies and hence India also can not afford a full-fledged war kind of situation. Even Pakistan can not afford it.

The resignations, as politically correct steps, are being asked/given/accepted/denied. Symbolic campaigns and marches of common people that would take place in days to come, would bring even more pressure on the governments.

In case of earlier attacks, India could not succeed enough to prove Pakistan’s role in those events. International community in principle was agreed with India’s concerns, but on ground less was done. This time also though India has received condolence messages and support from international community including US President Bush and President-elect Obama, it would be not so good idea to respond in a panic mode. Rather we should reserve their support and cooperation for future actions.

We need to do three most important things –

  1. Fix our problems at home
  2. Prove Pakistan’s role in attack by diplomatic means
  3. Prepare for a strike against terrorist camps (as US, Israel and even Turkey had done earlier)

One of the reasons behind this terrorist attack, as discussed on one of the news channels and reported by a Pakistani author, might be to divert the attention of Pakistani forces from destruction of terrorist camps at the Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, so that Taliban and Al-Quida squads can rush deep into Pakistan, taking control of the country much quicker than anticipated. Till the time Government of India arrives at a solution, Indian army can join ‘hands’ with American army at the Afghan border.


continuing from part one.

Note – This post contains snippets written in Devanagari script. Please ensure Unicode font is enabled for your browser.

‘Marathi’, ‘Engrathi’, ‘Marlish’ and ‘English’ are the four phases, in which the pupil would be present at any given context. ‘Marathi’ and ‘English’ are two clearly distinct languages, but not ‘Engrathi’ and ‘Marlish’. Let’s try to define these two pseudo-languages. Then let’s see how some examples would fall into one of the language buckets.

To bring generality, one can call ‘Marathi’ as ‘Source Language‘ , ‘Engrathi’ as ‘Language Step One‘ and ‘Marlish’ as ‘Langauge Step 2‘ and finally ‘English’ as ‘Target Language‘.


Like any other language, Marathi has its own grammar and vocabulary. The meaningful words come from vocabulary whereas meaningful composition of words is guided by grammar. Out of these two primary constructs, grammar is more pervasive and versatile than vocabulary. This is especially true when we visit places across the World, such that vocabulary changes more for any given language than the grammar.


Language is driven by grammar of Marathi and vocabulary of English. At times, words from Marathi come to rescue in a situation. Vocabulary does not only mean isolated words, but phrases also which start bringing essence of expression from English into Marathi. For example in English phrase ‘cats-n-dogs’ is often used to describe heavy raining.

However to keep process really very simple, one may need two of the sub-steps of Engrathi – Submissive Engrathi and Aggressive Engrathi. In case of submissive Engrathi, nouns are used from English, at times adjectives and adverbs are used. In aggressive Engrathi, even pronouns and other constructs are introduced at much earlier stage. The grammar or the skeletal form is retained from Marathi. The resultant language might appear quite uncomfortable, in some cases positioning it almost illogical.


Marlish is the next step. Following expression should make it simple.

English grammar + English vocabulary + Marathi vocabulary + Marathi grammar = Marlish

The terms are in descending order of their usage. It means, one should avoid as much Marathi grammar as one can, where as English grammar is required for conversation. At time, Marathi vocabulary is allowed sparingly to rescue the conversations.


Grammar and vocabulary both come from routine English. Essentially, the approach converges into the local dialect of English (e.g. Indian English) or intended dialect of English (e.g. American English). (Personally, I don’t like phrases ‘Indian English’ or ‘American English’ because they miscommunicate.)

My overall experience from conversations around me, tells me that everybody speaks either ‘Engrathi’ or ‘Marlish’. Very few people would be able to converse in ‘English, or even in ‘Marathi’ without using words from the other language. Apparently ridiculous, but fact of life. This is how Oxford has been forced time-to-time to include words from Indian languages into official English language reference. Similarly many of Marathi people don’t know Marathi-equivalents for several English words (for example, postal department, shirt, TV, etc). This means even teachers might not find themselves comfortable in dealing with such words, but they too are forced.


  • मी ठीक आहे (Mee theek aahe) [ Marathi ]
  • मी फाईन आहे! (Mee fine aahe!) [ Engrathi ]
  • मला तुझा मिस्स्ड् कॉल कालच मिळाला. (Malaa tujhaa missed call kalach milaalaa) (Yesterday only I received your missed call) [ Engrathi ].
  • फास्टर फेणे [ Engrathi ]
  • I am thoda (थोडा = little) fine now [ Marlish ]
  • He is asalee ( असली = real ) hero in life. [ Marlish ]
  • Lavakarch ( लवकरच = soon ) he would be in the air ! [ Marlish ]
  • I am fine now [ English ]

In routine conversations, there are in fact more examples from Engrathi and Marlish than Marathi itself. But where is ‘guided morphing’ here? Before one would question me here, let’s take an example – How a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. I would again, like to thank Mrs. Freya for suggesting this example. The translated (morphed) words are in bold face. The green and orange colored words have special significance. In order to facilitate transition from Engrathi to Marlish, we need to accomodate some changes so that the transition is easier. All of these changes preserve the meaning as well as Engrathi grammar (which is essentially Marathi grammar). Typically the verbs are moved from end of the sentence to an intermediate position. Green colored verb shows original position whereas the oranage color shows the new position. NoteAfter these changes, the kind of language that emerges out, is not very much uncommon. In fact, in daily conversion, one would observe mixing of such styles. The percentage varies because of several factors, discussion of those is beyond this post.


(In Devanagari script) फुलपाखराच्या जीवनात चार अवस्था असतात – अंडी, अळी, कोष आणि फुलपाखरू. फुलपाखरांची अंडी झाडांच्या पानांवर घातली जातात. लवकरच त्या अंड्यांमधून अळ्या बाहेर पडतात. त्यांचे मुख्य अन्न या झाडांची पानेच असतात. तिसऱ्या अवस्थेत अळीभोवती एक आवरण तयार होते, त्या अवस्थेला कोष म्हणतात. चवथ्या अवस्थेत पूर्ण वाढ झालेले फुलपाखरू कोषामधून बाहेर पडते.


(In Devanagari script) बटरफ्लायच्या लाइफमध्ये फोर फेजेस् असतात – एग्, लार्व्हा, प्युपा ऍंड बटरफ्लाय. बटरफ्लायचे एग्ज ट्रीजच्या लीव्हजवर घातली जातात. व्हेरी सून त्या एग्जमधून लार्व्ही बाहेर पडतात. त्यांचे प्रायमरी फूड या ट्रीजचे लिव्हज् असतात. थर्ड फेजमध्ये, लार्व्हाभोवती वन कव्हर तयार होते, त्या फेजला प्युपा म्हणतात. फोर्थ फेजच्या एंडला ग्रोथ कंप्लीट झालेले बटरफ्लाय प्युपामधून बाहेर पडते.

(In English script) Butterfly च्या life मध्ये four phases असतातEgg, Larva, Pupa and butterfly. Butterfly चे eggs trees च्या leaves वर घातली जातात. Very soon, त्या eggs मधून larvae बाहेर पडतात. त्यांचे primary food या Trees चे leaves असतात. Third phase मध्ये, larva भोवती one cover तयार होते. त्या phase ला pupa म्हणतात. Forth phase च्या end ला growth complete झालेले butterfly pupa मधून बाहेर पडते.

(Engrath to suit Marlish) Butterfly च्या life मध्ये असतात four phases Egg, Larva, Pupa and butterfly. Butterfly चे eggs घातली जातात trees च्या leaves वर. Very soon, त्या eggsमधून larvae बाहेर पडतात. त्यांचे primary food असतात Trees चे leaves. Third phase मध्ये, larva भोवती तयार होते one cover. त्या phase ला म्हणतात pupa. Forth phase च्या end ला growth complete झालेले butterfly बाहेर पडते pupa मधून.


Butterfly‘s life has four phases – Egg, Larva, Pupa and butterfly. Butterfly‘s eggs are laid on trees‘s leaves. Very soon, from these eggs, larvae come out. thier primary food is trees‘s leaves. Third phase मध्ये, larva around is created one cover. That phase is called pupa. Forth phase‘s end ला, growth complete झालेले butterfly comes out from pupa.


(With some more restructuring) Butterfly’s life has four phases – Egg, Larva, Pupa and butterfly. Butterfly’s eggs are laid on trees leaves. Very soon, from these eggs, larvae come out. Thier primary food is trees leaves. In third phase, around larva a cover is created. That phase is called pupa. At forth phase’s end, growth completed butterfly comes out from pupa.


I am grateful to Major General Shively for giving me an opportunity to participate in this CSR. I am thankful to Mrs. Freya who named this process, mentored as well as suggested nice example. I am thankful to Mr. A. D. Bhore who was my English tutor. And I am thankful to Mr. P. L. Deshpande (PuLa) as Engrathi and Marlish words I read in one of his books.


As can be seen, the language transitions can be guided through their respective grammars. The most interesting transition is from Engrathi to Marlish. More examples would follow in separate posts, so that various situations can be discussed in terms of these four transitions. I am interested in applying this method for various source and target langauges. For example, I would like to experiment with Marathi/English as source language and German/French as target language. Even to go a step further, I would like try with Japanese language, as it is very much different than Indo-European family of languages.

I believe that the method would be useful in building oral as well as written communication skills. Readers are requested to submit their feedback as comments.



India is the second largest English-speaking country by population. In spite of that, a large population in India is struggling to learn, understand and use this language to earn their livelihood. Failures convert students to dropouts and English is one of major causes of this effect. Ability can be polished using processes. Guided morphing is such a process to learn English as an additional language. This method was initially designed for individuals with Marathi as native language, but could easily be adapted for other native languages as well. It has four stages – Marathi (source language), Engrathi, Marlish and English (target language). People who already know English, may find this process useful to learn other languages like Spanish, French, German, Russian, Portuguese, etc. As one can see, the list has only European languages and not Orientals. There is a reason. Well, all these interesting things and the process itself is discussed at length in this post. Actually there two posts – Current post ‘Part One’ describes the rationale behind the technique and subsequent one ‘Part Two‘ concludes with actual technique and an example. Hope that helps !

In the month of June in year 2005, I received an email from HR, to volunteer in a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative. The goal was to facilitate learning of English language to students of schools and colleges in rural areas of Maharashtra, with special focus on spoken English. It was further appealed that Marathi-speaking individuals should come forward as volunteers, since they would be able to converse and to mix with students much better (Maharashtra state of India has Marathi as its official language). I replied by suggesting my interest and my availability for the initiative.

In a meeting on following Saturday, we were told that the initiative would approximately take four week-ends. Additionally, I got to know that attendees were a group of teachers, not the students themselves. Since it is different to be in front of teachers than the students, the responsibility and the challenge were at different level. In some sense, we were supposed to come up with a mechanism, whose inculcation in teachers would harvest the benefits at the level of students. Readers interested to explore actual methodology can read the next post

Myself as a student, I was a poor and slow learner of English language. When I was unable to cope up with complexities of the language at that time, one of my tuitors (with whom I had personal tuition for English language) Mr. A. D. Bhore, encouraged me, by taking a different path. Both of us share Marathi as mother-tongue. This commonality he used to show similarities in various forms of language (such as derived nouns. For example, ‘happy’ and ‘happiness’ along with their equivalents in Marathi language). Later it shew me how the languages are developed and evolved (even later, some of these things helped me to understand this in context of computer programming languages).

English as a Foreign Language (EFL) and English as Second Language (ESL) are two of the well-known approaches in English language learning for individuals whose first language (or even second language) is different than English. When individuals from such non-English-speaking countries need to migrate to an English-speaking country, EFL is the popular approach for acquiring the language skills. In case of individuals interested in language study itself (e.g. English literature, philosophy, etc), ESL is more suited approach.

For example, in rural India, typically the first language is language of the state such as Marathi for Maharashtra. Second language is national language – Hindi, for example. English becomes priority language under special circumstances, such as education, professional career, which has already spawned many institutes offering courses on English language communication, in written and verbal both forms. Now the interesting thing to note here is – People typically tend to mix words from different languages, in case they know many languages. People living at borders of Indian states are used to this phenomenon. For example people from Maharashtra, Andhra and Karnataka state borders would bring words from Marathi, Telugu (language of Andhra Pradesh), Kannada (language of Karnataka) and Hindi (India’s national language). Such as linguistic cocktail definitely confuses others. Dialects are in fact such cocktails. In linguistics, the technical term for this cocktail is – ‘Language Transfer‘. So it might appear that it is worth nothing. But it is not true !

In language learning, a concept called as ‘Monolingual Education’ in which the student is allowed to use only the target language (English in our case) to converse with others. Use of any other language during conversation is strictly discouraged. This means that ‘mistakes’ are discouraged, resulting into discouragement of students. This is especially true in case of parts of the rural India (and the World for that matter) where students are afraid of English language. In many cases, dropouts emerge from failures in learning English language (Mathematics being another strong contender), despite being good in other skills/subjects. Further nobody looks into matter of such ‘lost’ talent. Many of those dropouts hesitate to learn even operational knowledge for computer because of this barrier.

Bilingual Education‘ is opposite of ‘Monolingual Education’ such that the students study in two languages. For example, a substantial number of schools in Maharashtra offer some subjects in Marathi and some in English (typically maths and sciences in English and rest in Marathi). This approach is commonly called as ‘Semi-English Syllabus’. There are pros and cons of both methods discussed in this article.

So as part of the CSR, inadvertently I took benefit of the facts – Linguistic Cocktail, Bilingual Education and Indo-European Language family. I tried to setup a (formal) platform for learning the language(s) such that it sets up the native language as a boiler-plate, using which students are more comfortable to converse in English. Today’s school-syllabi probably does not have such foundation/provision, making it difficult to learn English language. The reason is co-existence of two monolingual educational settings -one for Marathi and another for English. This is true even for semi-English medium. So people try to learn not only English language in monolingual educational setting but the entire education itself in English language. If not feasible for certain reasons, then at least semi-English is preferred.

‘Guided Morphing’ platform tries to address some of these problems. It is not a silver bullet for language learning. The platform has ‘Marathi’ as source language and ‘English’ as target language (which is not very strict requirement). Assuming it is a long journey from source language to target language, two intermediate languages ‘Engrathi’ and ‘Marlish’ are introduced. The students would split the journey – from Marathi to Engrathi, from Engrathi to Marlish, and from Marlish to English. Each intermediate language has its own pros and cons and most importantly its purpose.

To be concluded

Posted by: Harshal | December 25, 2007

Outsourcing 2.0 – The Next Big Thing – Part II

…continuing from Part I.

Unlike 2000, Indian IT companies have grown larger and stronger. But growth and scale have their own problems such as management, culture, communication and most importantly optimization. Mentioned three problems get compounded because of the sheer scale.

How would such situations be dealt with?

When squeezed enough, either for margins or for quality or for something else, I see Indian IT companies following the similar path what their customers once followed – Outsourcing. I see that the biggies in the outsourcing world to become enterprise integrators than doing one-off tasks for Do-Everything-kind-of-Projects when there are zillions of technologies’ combinations. As we saw in the survey report which indicates majority of results are not matching expectations, there is little hope in continuing the way currently these companies operate. To improve the results, Japanese belief “Process is more important than Product” must be adapted, absorbed and practised religiously.

Now how would this second-level outsourcing happen? One can not tell how exactly this would happen, but approximately. According to above mentioned paper, smaller and mid-sized companies would also opt for outsourcing, similar to their mammoth peers. The paper has also mentioned that core competencies are at the heart of outsourcing 2.0. It has two immediate implications: Larger market and thinner margins. Who can handle such a situation? Let’s ask for help from the nature. Probably the answer is Symbiosis, studied as part of Industrial Ecology. Group of specialists in different skills coupled to single integrator, would make sure integrator can focus on execution rather than nuts and bolts. I found a blog post that has presented similar thoughts in one of its parts, not exactly for the running context. Its analogy of Coral Reef is more appealing, whereas I was thinking about Honey-bee Comb.

So who are these specialists if the existing outsourcing giants are integrators? The start-ups and small-sized companies are natural examples. There is one more option. Though surprising for others, I see that there would be a significant number of spin-offs, from larger IT companies. Their “Centres of Excellence” and “Research and Development Divisions” can become specialist firms whose services the parent company would avail. Pharmaceutical industry spends a lot more on research and development than what Indian IT industry does. We can safely assume that Indian pharma industry has better and more mature processes for R&D. Now there is a clear trend in those companies whereby they are hiving off their R&D departments. Sun Pharmaceutical had spun off Sun Pharmaceutical Advanced Research. People have discussed advantages and shortcomings of such ventures. Other pharma companies have started taking similar route.

It is interesting to note that the reason and the context for these spin-offs in case of pharma companies is different: Balance Sheet Clearance. They spend quite more than what IT companies spend now. Pharma companies have to spend that much of money so that they can create their own intellectual properties in terms of processes and molecules. However it takes years of hard-work for highly talented (and highly paid) team of researchers to come up with a solution. So till the time companies starts actual realization of solution, the balance sheet expenses are tilted towards these spendings on research. This creates problem for pharma companies when they declare their periodic results, in which their profits are shown thinner than expectations. This gap between expectations and facts can be reduced if you set right expectations on right entities. Since parent company demerges its research arm, hence their individual expectations get segregated. Investors would not expect sparkling results from research arm spun off from pharma company on quarter-on-quarter basis. In fact, the right pool of investors will get attracted towards the entity, who can be patient and mature enough to understand the business and operational model of a research arm, to rip the benefits.

Fierce competition and software patents might force IT companies for aligned expenditure. Software-as-a-service, utility computing, solution accelerators are re-defining the rules of the game for IT services companies. Even though this is an emerging sector, there too are existing players that are serving the global customers for years. The services such as mail, search, blogs, news, etc and now CRM are offered by the giants like Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Salesforce etc (and if some other giants who are not already in, might venture any time, just to boost their products on periphery. To my understanding, for example Ford bought Hertz). To create space for themselves, India IT services companies might need to compete with these players, by having innovative ideas in their arsenal. Now this has a danger hid in itself. Needless to say, the ideas in the arsenal must be bright and compelling enough to attract consumers. But it is another problem, with some speculations.

As far as IT research spin off being the topic of discussion, in the context of Indian IT companies, some of the advantages might be –

  1. Improved Service Level Agreements.
  2. Innovations within outsourcing and outsourced companies locally be optimized.
  3. Parent company and spin-off company can both evolve into services-based and product-based businesses.
  4. Attrition can be controlled effectively.
  5. Training can be channeled, in case of both.
  6. Expenses can be channeled, in case of both.
  7. There can be mergers and acquisitions across similar spin-offs.
  8. If managed properly, it can be a perfect win-win situation.
  9. It would reduce the burden from parent company of managing those tasks, people and quality of deliverables.
  10. One of the most important aspect is – In significantly large number of projects, integrator would focus on business of customer and end-customer whereas specialists would take care of technology.
  11. Most importantly, it would bring synergies across industry.

There are a few disadvantages/cautions as well. For example, there has to be a clear understanding between spin-off and parent about relationship, responsibilities and domains. Another, the spin-offs should be done in fare and in disciplined way. Probably the most important is – If there are too many spin-offs, all of a sudden, it might be explosion leaving behind nothing but a legacy.

Well, we have not yet discussed how would the spin-offs take on challenges faced by Indian IT industry. Let’s discuss in next post.

When we study evolution (in biological point-of-view), we know that dinosaurs could not rise until Permian extinction and mammals until Cretaceous extinction. But there was one Cambrian Explosion which defined all what we see today including what we don’t see today. Nature is marvelous!!


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