Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Bahu of Bengal: Bengali and Devanagari scripts

And here are more graphics of Bengali and Devanagari scripts compared, complete with transliteration or romanization using the International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST). See The Bahu of Bengal: Bengali and Devanagari scripts ('via Blog this'):




I am taking the online course Introduction to Sanskrit offered by the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies.  Here are a couple of tools that I use to augment my study:

Google Input Tools. (n.d.). Retrieved May 24, 2018, from
Google Input Tools makes it easy to type in the language you choose. I installed language packs for Sanskrit and Bengali , which I used to create the graphics above.
Transliteration Tool. (n.d.). Retrieved May 24, 2018, from
The Transliteration Tool enables you to enter text in Devanagari and transliterate it into IAST. I use it to cross-check my homework.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Sacrilege in Gaza

From NPR Morning Edition:
INSKEEP: And we've also encountered Ahmed al-Bordani (ph), who is 19 years old, and when we saw him, was holding a homemade white kite.
AHMED AL-BORDANI: (Through interpreter) This is a kite that's going to go to the Jews.
INSKEEP: He said it's designed to float over the Israelis and catch fire. It was decorated with writing claiming Jerusalem for Palestinians and also with swastikas.
What does this thing mean to you? Why do you put that on there?
AL-BORDANI: (Through interpreter) The Jews go crazy for Hitler when they see it.
INSKEEP: "This is actually what we want them to know," he says, "that we want to burn them.” That is one of many views we've heard in the last few days in Gaza, where at least 60 people were killed yesterday in protests.
Wow. Just wow. Steve Inskeep didn't push back on al-Bordani's Jew-hatred.

And look at this sacrilege:

The "Palestinians" desecrate a Hindu/Jain swastika:


Conricus, J. (2018, April 20). Moments ago, terrorist #Hamas sent a Molotov cocktail over the Gaza border into Israel. They flew it with their true colors. Retrieved May 18, 2018, from
File:Swastik4.GIF [Jain Swastika traditional symbol]. (n.d.). Retrieved May 18, 2018, from
Inskeep, S., & Estrin, D. (2018, May 15). It's A Day Of Grieving And More Protests In Gaza. Retrieved May 18, 2018, from

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Kaveri River dispute

The recent MLA election in Karnataka obscured pressing issues such as water. I stepped in to create maps of rivers.

Rivers of India
I champion open principles: open data, open software, and open standards.

Natural Earth is a public domain map dataset that provided data layers for shaded relief, internal administrative boundaries (states),water bodies, waterways, and populated places. The datasets are available at 1:10m, 1:50m, and 1:110 million scales. I chose datasets at 1:10 million, the most detailed that Natural Earth provides.

I processed the layers in QGIS, which is built on top of and is Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). QGIS uses the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL).The Free Software Foundation sponsors the GNU Operating System. FOSS software licenses grant the users rights to modify and re-use software product.
At the India extent, I applied labels for the states. Going on the premise that named waterways are more significant than unnamed waterways, I created separate layers for named and unnamed waterways. The named waterways were portrayed with a thicker line, while the unnamed waterways were portrayed in a lighter blue color and a thinner line.
Kaveri River

I then selected administrative boundaries for Goa,Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu; saved them to a new layer; and zoomed in on the layer.In addition to labeling the states, I labeled populated places. Natural Earth favors regional significance over population census in selecting populated places. I also selected segments for the Kaveri River (waterways named Kaveri), saved them to a new layer, and styled the layer with a thick blue line.

Front Page - Free Software Foundation - working together for free software. (n.d.). Retrieved May 16, 2018, from
GNU Operating System. (n.d.). Retrieved May 16, 2018, from
Natural Earth. (n.d.). Retrieved May 16, 2018, from
QGIS. (n.d.). Retrieved May 16, 2018, from

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Mesha Sankranti

Sankranti (Sanskrit: संक्रान्ति saṁkrānti) refers to the transmigration of the Sun from one Rāshi (zodiac constellation) to the next. There are 12 Sankranti in Hindu solar calendars.

Zodiac wheel

Mesha Sankranti (मेष संक्रान्ति) marks the beginning of the New Year in Hindu solar calendars. According to Vedic astrology, the sun enters Aries, or Mesha rashi on this day. Unlike Ugadi, which is based on the lunisolar calendar and varies from year to year, Mesha Sankranti usually falls on April 13th or 14th. Different solar calendars mark the first day of the year according to the exact time of the Sankranti.

Aries zodiac sign in Jaipur, India [© Yann Forget / Wikimedia Commons, from Wikimedia Commons]. (2014, August). Retrieved April 11, 2018, from,_Jantar_Mantar,_Jaipur,_India.jpg
Regional celebrations of Mesha Sankranti:
  • Odisha: Pana Sankranti
  • Tamil Nadu: Puthandu
  • Kerala: Vishu
  • Bengal: Boishakh
  • Assam: Bihu
  • Punjab: Vaisakhi, which also marks the formation of the Sikh Khalsa.
Songkran refers to New Year festivals of April in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, parts of Northeast India, parts of Vietnam and Xishuangbanna, China (borders Laos and Thailand), according to Mesha Sankranti observations.

2018 Mesha Sankranti, Sankramanam Date and Time. (n.d.). Retrieved April 12, 2018, from  
Mesha Sankranti. (2018, March 07). Retrieved April 12, 2018, from
Sankranti. (2018, April 10). Retrieved April 12, 2018, from  

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Wise words from Tayumanavar

Tayumanavar By Arunankapilan (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
It is easy to tame the rogue elephant. It is easy to tie the mouth of a bear. It is easy to mount the back of a lion. It is easy to charm poisonous snakes. It is easy to conquer the celestial and the noncelestial realms. It is easy to trek the worlds invisible. It is easy to command the angelic heavens. It is easy to retain youth eternally. It is easy to enter the body of others. It is easy to walk on water and sit in burning fire. It is easy to attain all of the siddhis (yogic powers). But to remain still is very, very difficult indeed
- Tayumanavar (1706-1744), Tamil saint, mystic and poet

HT Hinduism Today Magazine. (n.d.). Retrieved March 21, 2018, from