Sunday, October 18, 2009

Some old stuff

Felix Salmon revisits his excellent review of
Freakonmics. Conclusion:

"If you're interested in Steven Levitt the person, then by all means read Freakonomics: you'll learn a decent amount about him and his interests. If you're interested in his work, however, I'd advise waiting for his next book, or maybe trying to track down his original papers. This short and hurried book is not the book you're looking for."

Following up a question in a Deepavali quiz, I find the completion of a story from Pavan Varma's "Being Indian" and learn that Hindu idols are perpetual minors. Pushkar’s problem :
"Mahant Laharpuri, a portly man in his sixties today and an undisputed guardian of the Brahma temple, filed a case in Pushkar courts against Benugopal Sharma, head priest of the Savitri temple. Laharpuri demanded the right to perform pujas at the Savitri temple for five days every year and more noteworthy is his other demand, to take the offerings coming his way on those days. As guardian of the Brahma temple, he said it was his right on the dwelling of the wife. The five days coincide with the Pushkar fair when pilgrim attendance is at its peak. The exact collections of Savitri temple are not clear but a considerable part of its annual revenue comes from the five days that Laharpuri is interested in. The Brahma temple is more visited and is said to collect rupees fifteen to twenty lakhs yearly...... Last year the court dismissed the dispute. However, a fresh appeal has been now filed in the District and Sessions court at Ajmer and the hearing is slated for September 17.

M e a n wh i l e, Bansal says, as defence counsel he had told the court that since Savitri was Brahma’s deserted wife she should be given alimony instead by the Brahma temple. However, this was rejected by the court on the grounds that it cannot be done in regard to idols. Also according to Hindu law (regarding idols) deities are perpetual minors and they are under guardianship of the head priest, and therefore the question of any sort of maintenance does not arise."

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