Thursday, October 15, 2009


OBAMA’S D-DAY: Barack Obama became the first US President to personally usher in Diwali in the White House on Wednesday. His speech harped on unity in multi-ethnicity

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Indian-origin shares Nobel Prize for Chemistry

London: Indian-origin Scientist Venkatraman Ramakrishnan shares the Nobel Prize in Chemistry this year with Thomas A. Steitz and Ada E. Yonath, it was announced in Stockholm Wednesday.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said that the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2009 awards studies of one of life's core processes: the ribosome's translation of DNA information into life. Ribosomes produce proteins, which in turn control the chemistry in all living organisms. As ribosomes are crucial to life, they are also a major target for new antibiotics, it said in a statement.

Born in 1952 in Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, Ramakrishnan did his B.Sc. in Physics (1971) from Baroda University in Gujarat and later migrated to the U.S. to continue his studies where he later got settled and attained U.S. citizenship. He earned his Ph.D in Physics from Ohio University in the U.S. and later worked as a graduate student at the University of California from 1976-78. Ramakrishnan, now a Senior Scientist at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge has authored several important papers in academic journals.

Ramakrishnan and Steitz are U.S. citizens while Yonath is from Israel. Ramakrishnan joins an illustrious list of Indians and people of Indian origin, who have won the Nobel Prize in various disciplines - including Rabindranath Tagore, C.V. Raman, Hargobind Khorana, Mother Teresa, S. Chandrashekhar and Amartya Sen.

Ramakrishnan, Steitz and Yonath have been awarded for showing what the ribosome looks like and how it functions at the atomic level. All three have used a method called X-ray crystallography to map the position for each and every one of the hundreds of thousands of atoms that make up the ribosome.

"Inside every cell in all organisms, there are DNA molecules. They contain the blueprints for how a human being, a plant or a bacterium, looks and functions. But the DNA molecule is passive. If there was nothing else, there would be no life," a statement from the academy of sciences said.

The blueprints become transformed into living matter through the work of ribosomes.

An understanding of the ribosome's innermost workings is important for a scientific understanding of life. This knowledge can be put to a practical and immediate use; many of today's antibiotics cure various diseases by blocking the function of bacterial ribosomes. Without functional ribosomes, bacteria cannot survive. This is why ribosomes are such an important target for new antibiotics, the statement added.

This year's three Laureates have all generated 3D models that show how different antibiotics bind to the ribosome. These models are now used by scientists in order to develop new antibiotics, directly assisting the saving of lives and decreasing humanity's suffering.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Gandhi Jayanti

Gandhi Jayanti

Gandhi Jayanti is celebrated on 2nd October every year as the birth day of Mahatma Gandhi, Father of India. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the apostle of peace was born on 2 October 1869 at Porbandar in Gujarat. He was married to a Kasturba Gandhi at the age of 13 and is known for his invaluable contribution to win back India's freedom from the hands of the British while following the principles of truth, honesty and non-violence. During his stay in South Africa earlier in life, he protested against the colonial and racial discrimination and the Asiatic (Black) Act and the Transvaal Immigration Act with the aid of a brilliant strategic move of starting a non-violent civil disobedience movement. He returned to India in 1915.

He established the Satyagraha Ashram in Ahmedabad and the Sabarmati Ashram, which became a platform for introducing long-needed social reforms such as 'Harijan' welfare, small-scale industries and self-reliance and rehabilitation of lepers. Gandhi protested against the Rowlatt Bills and started a non-violent non-cooperation movement in India against the tyrant British rule. He violated the salt law by marching to Dandi in March 1930 and making salt and started the Civil Disobedience Movement in January 1932. In 1942, he nailed in the final nail in the grave of the British Government with his 'Quit India' movement. He led his life that confirmed to his preaching. His morality and his doctrines on non-violence have become a beacon of light for the world. People pay a visit to Raj Ghat, the cremation site of Gandhi ji and various museums and Ashrams on this day and Gandhi Jayanti is observed as a national holiday in India.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens. - J. R. R. Tolkien, 1892-1973

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. - Mahatma Gandhi, 1869-1948

Make all you can, save all you can, give all you can. - John Wesley, 1703-1791

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Positive Human Relations - A Key to Success

Getting along with people is important in all walks of life – but developing and maintaining good personal human relations in politics and in business is a must – for a successful career. Andrew Sherwood wrote a book titled Breakpoints where he offers the following keys to good human relations. Of course, we all know these, through experience, but it always helps to have a memory jogger in a proper structured manner. Speak to people. There is nothing as well received as a cheerful word of greeting. It is not just the words – Good morning or Good evening. It is also the tone, the look in the eyes, the expression on the face. Smile at people. Be generous with your smile. After all, it takes 72 muscles to frown only 14 to smile. Why do more exercise when you can get by with less? But again, the smile must come through your eyes – not just your lips. It has to be a ‘genuine’ smile. Call people by name. The sweetest music to anyone’s ears is the sound of his or her own name. And the less the person is a public figure and the less frequently you have met and yet you remember the name, the sweeter it sounds. Be friendly and helpful. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It can be even simple things like promising to give a telephone number next day, of an old friend that someone wants to contact. One does not have to do big favours. In fact, these are not generally expected. Be cordial. Speak and act as if everything you do is a genuine pleasure, not an intrusion and certainly not a burden. Be sincerely interested in people. You can like everybody, if you try. The trouble is we make up our minds about people in advance, based on their looks, their dress, or what someone might have whispered into our ears. Be generous with praisecautious with criticism. And what you say, always goes round and back to the person. You can make friends or enemies this way. Be thoughtful of the opinion of others. There are three sides to a controversy – yours, the other persons and the right one. It is always best to state your position and back off – rather than persisting in holding the fort. Be considerate for the feelings of others. It will be appreciated. If you cannot find anything to say – they say nothing. Winston Churchill’s advice holds true – You must know when to stand up and speak out – and also know, when to sit down and shut up! It’s nothing new – but bears constant reminding, if we are going to add a large dose of human skills to our technical skills.


HR managers are now encouraging their older employees to delay their retirements. Why? Because they feel that instead of investing time and energy in recruiting and training fresh talent, at all times, they are seeking to use the wealth of experience and knowledge of their older employees to benefit their companies. We find out more about this trend....
Yasmin Taj
Changing times and the need to have a good life has led to intense competition and stress. People do not lay back and relax, as everyone is a part of the rat race. Some want to make more money, some want job security and some simply strive for a better future. We work harder than generations gone by and we have greater expectations from life than our parents did. Therefore, to keep up with the challenging and ever changing times, many working professionals are opting to delay their retirements. So, how has India Inc. reacted to this? Is it a boon or a bane? According to Sunil Singh, AGM HR, Tulip Telecom Ltd, professionals delaying their retirement has certainly proved a boon for organisations. “We think valuable technical knowledge cannot be replenished simply by hiring new talent. It is therefore safe to say that an employee delaying his/her retirement can be a good thing for an organisation,” Singh says. Sudeshna Datta, EVP & Co-Founder, AbsolutData Research & Analytics agrees, “Delayed retirements are a huge plus for organisations that value the knowledge, specialised skills and guidance that the vastly experienced older employees can bring to the table. This helps retain talent for a longer time period. It also gives organisations more time to plan in advance for the changes that come along with the retirement of employees, especially in strategic positions. However, the flip side of this is that it could lead to stagnation or a dearth of new ideas.” For Mamta Wasan, VP HR training, Fidelity National Information Services, an employee delaying his/her retirement, can be both, a boon or a bane. “This works both ways. It is an advantage in the sense that the knowledge and experience of the employee remains with the company. They also bring a level of maturity to the table. On the other hand, an older employee may not have the energy of a young one, may not be in touch with the latest trends, management practices and technology. They also add to the health care costs of the company. Finally, until they retire, there is no scope for recruiting new talent as there are no vacancies.” Although this practice is slowly gaining popularity in the workplace, there are a number of advantages and disadvantages that must be considered. “Today's workforce tends to be more geographically mobile. Therefore retaining such young workforce is far more difficult than retaining old employees. Older employees are easier to manage as a workforce. If an employee is healthy, a delayed retirement can help secure his or her financial independence,” Singh states. On the other hand, he says, “As they get older, employees tend to lose the energy, speed and agility that is required to be competitive and efficient in today's market. Retirement at the age of 58-60 is an ideal option. It also opens doors for fresh blood and promotion opportunities for middle management cadre. Delayed retirement is the biggest obstacle in in training. Both are a huge asset creating career tracks for indi- to the organisation and their deviduals.” layed retirements have proved Though a lot of organisations valuable.” believe that delayed retirements An employee from Fidelity can be a boon to them, many are puts in his two cents, “It is imyet to put it into practice. “We at portant to stay fit and to keep Tulip have not faced the problem one’s self in sync with the of brain drain, therefore, we do younger generation. One must not encourage delayed retire- embrace technology and stay up ments. Tulip has quite a young to date. We can use our hard workforce, the average age of earned wisdom and contacts and our staff as a whole is under can pass on what we know to the thirty. In teams like project man- next generation. We must ask agement and infrastructure de- ourselves what value we add to velopment, the average employee the organisation. If we have is only 27 years old. In sales, the clear targets in mind, and can average age is 29 and is slightly achieve them, then we are an ashigher. In strategic initiatives set rather than a burden.” and the leadership team, the av- As far as delayed retirements erage age is about 45 years,” ex- are concerned, the jury is still plains Singh. out for India Inc has not accept-But a few other organisations ed this new reality and is still have started accepting delayed waking up to this new day. retirements, although this is Those who follow the trends and more an exception than a rule. read the tea leaves though pre-“Yes, we sometimes encourage dict that in the future, delayed delayed retirements in our or- retirements are going to be all ganisation, specifically in areas the rage. Until that new dawn that require extensive and specif- comes, we must simply wait and ic knowledge.” Wasan adds “I watch. can recall two such cases – one in the area of banking and another