Lepakshi: The intersection of history and faith

Proximity sometimes causes a blind spot. In spite of staying in Bengaluru for several years now, I had somehow missed on visiting this beautiful place – Lepakshi. Technically in Andhra Pradesh, the neighboring state, Lepakshi is about 100 km from Bengaluru, making it a pleasant 3-hour drive.

If you have loved Hampi and its historical remains, you will love Lepakshi too. If you haven’t been to Hampi yet, this will inspire you! Lepakshi is one of those places where history and faith live together. By belief, there are forms of God that have either evolved on their own and that have been carved in a single stone. By history, the temples were built during the great Krishnadeva Raya era about 500 years ago.

Incredible stone carvings, enchanting murals, eloquent ceiling art, the place has it all. The ruins of some parts of the temple, only sing glories of the rich heritage and reflect the grandeur of the past. The big bull – Nandi – regally sits at the entrance of the temple town getting clicked by every visitor.

The hanging stone pillar – an engineering marvel – is definitely unmissable! The local guides tell you a lot of anecdotes surrounding this place making your visit, an interesting and an informative one. However, the story goes that this was the place where, in Ramayana, Jatayu, the brave bird fought Ravana, while the latter was kidnapping Sita and fell to its defeat. In the epic, this is an important episode, since Rama gets information of his kidnapped wife through the injured bird, that dies soon after. Hence the name, Laya (destruction or death in Sanskrit) Pakshi (bird). Possibly, the name then got colloquial and became Lepakshi.

Whichever way you want to look at it, or believe, this is a place that is a must-go. While the beliefs are timeless, the history of the temples dates back to times when many countries of the world were yet to be born!

Take a drive!

PS: Be careful with any food or small purse you may carry in your hand; the monkeys there might just be interested in them!

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Time to rise to the east – Japan and Indian IT

Recently, my comments on Japan’s interest in India’s IT talent were published in a story by Business Standard. My conversation with their journalist happened at an interesting time. Since the article could cover only a slice of what we spoke, I thought I should put down my thoughts here.

india-and-japan-flagJapan’s interest could not have come at a better moment. A lot of things are happening in the global IT environment these days and India is a key nation to bear the impact – positive and adverse. Let’s put some dots and then see if we can join them.

We are living in some anxious moments these days. We have in Donald Trump, a President who can make or break deals on Twitter. His rhetoric on retaining US jobs, no doubt casts an impending shadow on India, who’s talent export to the US is a major factor in the prosperity of the Indian IT companies.

An interesting and alarming statistic for all our Indian readers – over 60% of engineering graduates every year remain unemployed, says AICTE. India produces more than 1.5 million engineers every year. Which means, more than 900,000 remain unemployed.

Let’s go a step further. In a recent interview, Dr. Srinivas Kandula, CEO, Capgemini India, said that 60-65% of the IT workforce is not trainable due to the poor quality of basics of technical education as well as negative wage rise over the past ten years. This state of the workforce may lead to an unprecedented percentage of unemployment in the mid to senior level salaried employees due to lack of re-skilling, he says.

Another recent study revealed that more than 80% of engineering graduates are unemployable due to poor academic training, prompting several students to seek education abroad.

Three things we see here – unemployed, unemployable, and employed, but untrainable.

Next up, we have an age-old problem in the home-grown IT talent in India. Let’s face it. A lot of the engineers are poor in English. They may be great coders, testers, programmers; but don’t stand up to English as much as the West. Knowing fluent English is neither a virtue nor not knowing it, a sin. It has just become a sticky business necessity.

Now, if all of the above are dots, let us see if we can join them in some way.

Japan, as a country has done exceedingly well when it comes to product/hardware-related technology. However, it has been a laggard of sorts when it comes to IT services and consulting. Over the past few years, you will see the aggression shown by Japanese companies to acquire IT services companies globally increasing their presence in the IT services too.

The country takes a long time to trust, and once earned and built, it would seal a long-term bonding between the two parties.

I see a different and differentiated future for Indian IT:

  • If corporate India can make few quick changes and re-skill their existing staff – exposing them to Japan, as a nation, Japanese a language and
  • If the academic India can introduce digital and newer technologies as part of their course curriculum and also add Japanese as a language to learn along with engineering

Japanese, as a language is closer to many Indian languages regarding subject-verb-object placement in sentence construction. In fact, it is English that is different!

I think it is worth a serious shot to de-risk Indian IT from the west. After all, Japan is the land of the rising sun, and just 3.5 hours ahead!