I recently finished a great book on the Mughal empire - Emperors Of The Peacock Throne: The Saga of the Great Moghuls by Abraham Eraly. The author takes us through the lives of all the significant Mughal emperors from Babur to Aurangzeb. A highly recommended read for history buffs.
Now coming to the reason for this write-up, sometime back I’d penned a post on how there is a huge gulf of information about the state of science in India during the middle ages. According to Eraly, it is not a dearth of information, but instead actually reflects the state of affairs in India at the time. Eraly says this in the appendix of his book (which is just as interesting as the main body):
“…in several areas crucial to the growth and transformation of society, Mughal India lagged way behind Europe, behind even China, Japan and Persia. There was hardly any vigour in the economy, scant spirit of enterprise among the people. In agriculture, industry and trade, Indian practices were archaic. There was no ferment of ideas, and curiosity about the new science and technology of Europe did not go beyond the dilettantism of a few amirs. Except in a few minor gadgets, India showed little interest in European inventions. Even in military technology, so close to the Mughal heart, adoption of improvements was slow and haphazard. While numerous Europeans from every stratum of society were arriving in India in Mughal times, only one Indian of note is known to have travelled to Europe – “Haji Habibullah, who had visited Europe, … had brought with him fine goods and fabrics for His Majesty’s inspection,” says Nizamuddin Ahmad, chronicler of Akbar. There were no Indian books on Europe or European learning. Such indifference was not mere insensitivity to new knowledge, but a denial of the very possibility of change and progress.”
“Meanwhile Europe had broken free, to go adventuring across far horizons, to the ends of the earth and confines of the mind. Columbus had discovered America when Babur was still a lad in what he considered to be “the very farthest limits of teh civilized world”, and by the time Babur arrived in Agra, Magellan’s expedition had circumnavigated the world, and the Portugese had already been in India for over a quarter century. Copernicus, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Machiavelli were Babur’s contemporaries; Shakespeare, Kepler and Galileo were the contemporaries of Akbar and Jahangir; Newton of Aurangzeb. Europe was on the up spiral, India on the down spiral.”
Makes for a sad reading.
This year there was a marked dip in bursting of firecrackers and hence the noise levels in the city. Usually, you can hear bombs and rockets exploding till late into the night, but it wasn’t so this time. Clearly, campaigns like this and this have helped. Still one can starkly see that the volume of smoke that was spewed out is no small matter.
Even in my locality, which isn’t too heavily occupied, I could see how bad it gets. This first pic was taken at around 8PM, before the firecracker bursting hit its peak:
An hour and several firecrackers later, from roughly the same spot:
See the difference? In just one hour!
Hope its less next year – lets keep Diwali a festival of lights, not a festival of fire.
One of the first pics from my new baby, the Fujifilm X100S
Unfortunately, Lightroom doesn’t handle X100S RAW images very well – after conversion and some basic curve adjustments, it throws out a jpeg which looks like its been water-coloured on, theres a definite loss of quality in the details. So I’ll just have to stick to on-camera jpegs for the time being on this, which doesn’t seem too bad - the pic above is a jpeg straight from the camera with cropping and a bit of contrast added in Lightroom. It came out quite well.
Another thunderstorm hit the city today and after patiently scanning the skies with long exposure takes, I managed to snap a pretty decent pic of a stroke of lightning. My only regret? – I didn’t have a wider lens on. Ah well, maybe next time..
Why does everyone think that the iPhone 5C will sell more? Several tech writers out there are enthusiastically predicting the iPhone 5C to be a huge success, without really giving a good reason for it:
iPhone 5C will sell more 5S models than the iPhone 5 ever would have
Thoughts and Observations on Today’s iPhone 5C and 5S Introduction
I don’t see the 5C working miracles in sales, in fact I expect that the total number of iPhones(5S and 5C) sold to be in the same ballpark as iPhone 5 sales(of course factoring in the higher sales during holiday season) purely because of the Apple/iPhone brand momentum.
Among several reasons for the iPhones phenomenal success, one is that it bucked the trend among office goers who forced the iPhone on the enterprise instead of having the enterprise push Blackberrys on them. Up until now, the iPhone has always been an elegant device – no brash colours, beautiful curves – a wonderfully personal device which never looked out of place in a corporate setting. The iPhone 5C comes in at the same price point as the iPhone 5 but is, in my opinion, completely unsuited looks-wise for work (iOS 7s pastel colors don’t help here either). It will definitely lose a bunch of such potential customers; whether it will offset them by a new customer base is the question – I don’t think so because of its high cost.
Wanna take this to work?
Another reason I expect the 5C to stumble is that in several developing markets, where phones are almost always sold off contract, the cost is just way too high. A buyer who could’ve bought the iPhone 5 a few months ago now gets the ‘unapologetically plastic’ 5C or has to shell out substantially more to get an iPhone 5S.