|About Shunya||Visitor Comments||
SHUNYA, a labor of love and lunacy, dates from Feb 2000. It hosts photos by Namit Arora, and writing by him and Usha Alexander.
NAMIT ARORA grew up in the Indian cow-belt city of Gwalior, famous for its fort and the first epigraphic evidence of zero. After IIT Kharagpur he obtained a Masters in Computer Engineering from Louisiana, followed by a great escape in 1991 to Silicon Valley, where he played a cog in the wheel of Internet technology at three failed startups and at Nokia, Cisco, and McAfee. This didn’t make him wise but it enabled him to attend lectures of dubious practical value at Stanford and to live, work, or travel in scores of countries, including yearlong stints in London and Amsterdam. He quit this profession in 2013 and moved from California to Delhi NCR. He volunteers his time for the Dialogue and Development Commission, a think tank of the Delhi government tasked to find innovative solutions to civic problems, where he led the drafting of Delhi's solar energy policy and is now working on the problem of air pollution.
Namit’s essays have appeared in venues like the Humanist, Philosophy Now, the Times Literary Supplement, the Caravan, the Kyoto Journal, the Philosopher, Himal Southasian and four college anthologies in the U.S. He wrote a column on 3 Quarks Daily for seven years and has finished a novel that he hasn’t published yet. His review of Joothan won the 3 Quarks Daily 2011 Arts & Literature Prize. During a two-year break (2004-06), Namit traveled across India and created a photojournal. Over 15 museums, 30 academies, and 50 publishers have licensed his photos. His videography includes River of Faith, a documentary film about the Kumbh Mela. He spoke at TEDx Gurugram 2016 on Civic Sense for Change (video forthcoming), and at Nirmukta's Thinkfest 2015 on What do we deserve? A book of his essays on inherited inequalities in India, Marked in the Womb, is due out in Dec 2016 from Three Essays Collective.
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"Shunya" means "zero" as well as a metaphysical "void". Zero and our decimal system arose in India some 1500 years ago, reaching the West via the Arabs and so came to be called Arabic Numerals. The city of Gwalior, in its Bhojadeva inscriptions, has the earliest known epigraphic evidence of zero in India. So for all practical purposes, Gwalior may be regarded as the birthplace of zero. It also happens to be the city where Namit was raised and he surely stands to gain a measure of pride from this association. :-)
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