Friday, December 25, 2009

Three Stories to make One point

In this post I want to emphasize that values can be rooted in children, not by giving them sermons on morality, but by setting good examples of conduct.

Butch O'Hare was one of the World War II hero . He was a fighter pilot deputized on an aircraft carrier in the South Pacific. One day while returning to the mother ship from flying sortie he saw a squadron of Japanese Zeroes speeding their way toward the American fleet. The American fighters were gone on a mission and the fleet was all defenseless. He had to somehow divert Japanese fighters from reaching the defenseless American ship. Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the formation of Japanese planes and entered into air fight, firing at as many planes as possible until finally all his ammunition was spent. Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the Zeroes, trying to at least clip off a wing or tail, in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible and rendering them unfit to fly. He was desperate to do anything he could to keep them from reaching the American ships. Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron moved off in another direction. Deeply relieved, Butch O'Hare and his tattered fighter limped back to the carrier. The film from the camera mounted on his plane told the tale. It showed the extent of Butch's daring attempt to protect his fleet. He was recognized as a hero and given one of the America’s highest military honors. And today, O'Hare Airport in Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this brave man.

Now, let me share  another story with you.

There was a man in Chicago called Easy Eddie. At that time, Al Capone a mafia virtually owned the city. Capone wasn't famous for anything heroic. Easy Eddie was Capone's lawyer. He was very good in his profession of legal maneuvering and that kept Big Al out of jail for a long time. Capone paid Eddie very well and gave him a huge fenced mansion with all of the conveniences of the day. Eddie lived the high life and gave little consideration to the atrocity that went on around him.
Eddy did have one soft spot, however. He had a son that he loved dearly. Eddy saw to it that his young son had the best of everything; clothes, cars, and a good education. Nothing was withheld, as price was no object. Despite his indirect involvement with organized crime, Eddie tried to teach his son right from wrong and to rise above his own sordid life. He wanted him to be a better man than he was. Yet, with all his wealth and influence, there were two things that Eddie couldn't give his son. Two things that Eddie sacrificed to the Capone mafia mob that he could not pass on to his beloved son , one a good name and second  a good example.
One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. Offering his son a good name was far more important than all the riches he could lavish on him. He decided to rectify all the wrong that he had done by testifying against the mafia. He knew that the cost would be great but he desperately wanted to clean up his tarnished name and offer his son some semblance of integrity. He wanted to be an example to his son to give him a good name. Within the year, Easy Eddie's life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a lonely Chicago street. He had given his son the greatest gift he had to offer at the greatest price he would ever pay.

Now you must be thinking, what do these two stories have to do with one another?

Well, you see, Butch O'Hare was Easy Eddie's son.

I was reading an article written on Sunita Williams and I was deeply impressed by the way her father Dr. Deepak Pandya transferred the true Indian values in his children. Children learn by examples .The deeds and conduct of parents and teachers leave an everlasting impression on a child’s mind.
Our present day culture is one of overabundance. It is a challenging task to teach children to be content and composed when parents themselves are running a race of “instant gratification" and yearning for more, more and more. The root problem is many parents in compensation for their time, believe in giving more materialistic things and many teachers believe that they have done enough if they have put in lot of information. Let us accept that, by suffering comes wisdom, let these young minds be brought to the helm of questions and let them experience and find the answers for themselves. Give them time and informed guidance rather than making everything so simple for them. Another story to express the point .
A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could, and it could go no further.
So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.
Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.
What the man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were God's way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon. Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives. If God allowed us to go through our lives without any obstacles, it would cripple us.We would not be as strong as what we could have been. We could never fly!

I can’t think of more appropriate words than those of Ralph Tyler Flewelling who said “Some values are... like sugar on the doughnut, legitimate, desirable, but insufficient, apart from the doughnut itself. We need substance as well as frosting."

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Educate for sensitivity besides knowledge

Introduction: In this post I have tried to elaborate that knowledge has little value if it does not teach us sensitivity towards fellow human, environment and emotions of other people. Besides, I am advocating that the aim of education should be to initiate thought and encourage curiosity rather than just providing answers .

What is education? In technical sense, Wikipedia defines it as the process by which society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills and values from one generation to another. To me, in a broader sense it means, harmonious development of   physical, mental, moral , and social dimensions associated with life and  educating someone else symbolizes an effort to create  the desire in another human being to be a whole and meaningful person  .

The aim of Education is to develop a love for learning that remains throughout a lifetime . Sadly, the word education is now limited to academic and technical development that is orientated  to train a human to get a job with fat salary. The result and destination  has come to mean so much, that  in journey,  we fail to learn how to process the accumulated knowledge .Education fails to  teach us how to make use of acquired knowledge creatively to become a better human and better citizen. It fails to teach us how to react rationally and how to accept things on the basis of reason . It has led to formations of opinion that are not based on thoughts. How correct was Charlote Bronte who wrote “Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilized by education; they grow there, firm as weeds among rocks. What dominates in contrast today is  theory, which  declares that “everything from the neck down is minimum wage. Therefore, we have to develop everything from the neck up”.

A casual observation, of the manner in which, an average youth of country talks, drives and reacts is enough to let one know that education has failed us in every possible sense. An observant look at the manner in which primary class children and in contrast senior class children, proceed to their classes after school assembly might tell you , what I mean.

But, The aim of this post is not to elaborate about the state we are in .The issue is what do we do to better this situation ? We , specially the educators and parents have to be self critical in analyzing why the things are the way they are ? In words of Carl Jung : "If there is anything we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves." As a teacher and  parent  I have a few ideas that I would like to share.

1.More than words it is the meaning that matters: Let us not limit the ambit of subject ,what I mean can be better explained with example , while teaching concept of circular motion and deriving the formula for banking of roads one can very easily show that why taking a fast or a sharp turn is dangerous and a small talk on importance on adhering to traffic rules for safety of self and others can always be done without disturbing the rhythm. A lecture on thermodynamics can well be merged with global warming and ecology . let us accept that a student these days is not prepared for sermons we should learn to  combine sense with the rhetoric
2.Be a benign dictator :  I may sound old fashioned but I think the children are too young to decide about what is good or bad for them. As a parent it is a responsibility to teach our children  the acceptable code of conduct in a civilized society . A school of thought advocates becoming friends with your offspring and students but I think one should be friendly without becoming friends. One has to draw the line and firmly come down on whatever is not acceptable.It is appalling to see teachers promoting and accepting mediocrity to be popular with naive minds .It is assertion, not aggression or submission that holds the key, an authoritative teacher cannot connect with students and a submissive teacher, it seems, is always trying to win some  popularity contest.
3.Nurture your children: every baby that comes into this world is like an angel, pure and innocent .It is the responsibility of every parent to preserve that innocence in the child. A responsible parent has to know the difference between pampering and loving.The thing a child deserve most is your quality time.  Home is the first school of every child and  mother the first teacher. Influence of parents and their acts leave ever lasting impressions on minds of children .all of us know about famous scientist Thomas Edison who gave us electric bulb and phonograph was categorized as dumb and was rejected by school . It was the commitment of her mother who refused to accept this judgment and taught him at home.On the other hand a mother to obsessed with drugs and violence gave the world a most pathetic serial killer named Henry Lee Lucas. I think the last statement of serial killer Tedd Bundy before the firing squad says it all “Killers like me are no different from  your children and  your husbands , you continue to spoil their childhood and you will continue preparing killers like me.”
4. Encourage expression : In my classes I generally ask students to tell me their understanding of what is taught to them, from layman’s point of view. How will they explain the taught concept to a person who has no knowledge of physics in five simple lines .This is to make sure they understand the meaning rather than  just going through the rituals of manipulating the symbols to derive the formula. I firmly believe that it is the thought that separates a human from a trained animal and there is a drastic need to to encourage that. It is so disappointing  that there are hardly any contributors whenever a significant topic is taken for discussion  on internet forums and radio .One should learn to show feelings because suppressing them is like suppressing truth. Martin Luther King so rightly said “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”. This leitmotif  “Nothing is going to change” in young minds is so wrong.  The fact is things change and they change drastically when minds and hands revolt.
5. Bring the human angle to education: Education for what ? This world does not need more "successful"  people .What it needs are more 'sensitive" people who also believe in putting their  thoughts into action in their own small ways.   What world desperately needs are more peacemakers,  poets, painters ,teachers and lovers of humanity  . It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane and , these needs have little to do with success as our culture has defined it.

These are just a few things that I could  think of I would appreciate if you, the enlighten reader, can educate me a bit more on this.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Lessons unlearned

Watching “Surviving Mumbai” on Discovery channel  was a moving experience tonight . Expressions of survivors  and their shaking voices describing  horrific moments kept me transfixed  with  realization that how gruesome it is for  people who are face to face with death . Precise observations and honest admissions of these real people , narrating  the times  when they had lost all hope to live, makes one aware of importance of journey called  life . It was soothing to see how people become united and friendly at the time of crisis.

172 died in this inhuman act of cowardice and  for thousands, life will never be same again . Many will have to live through this nightmare with scars of bullets that luckily missed their body but  pierced their  soul.

This attack has taught us many lessons , but sadly we  have  not learnt much. A person in position of  power in this country  still feels outraged and offended when stopped for security check and an average Indian is  still unaware that his security is not the only concern  his chosen home minister has.

It has still not dawned on us that democracy is a collective effort where the authority for smooth functioning of government can be transferred to few parliamentarians  but that does not free the citizen from any responsibility . It is so sad that as a nation we are not united against terror attacks and security is yet to become our concern .I am surprised and anguished,  as to why we do not make abundant use of technology in our day to day life for prevention and detection ? Why our internal security , our traffic system and our vigil mechanism is resting on  few inapt and stooping shoulders ?Why our leaders who claim to be making our nation a better place,don't  try to make it a  safer place?

On this tragic day amidst the candle marches and forwarded messages, let us  remember words of Ernest Gaines , who wrote “Words mean nothing. Action is the only thing. Doing. That's the only thing.” Let us be vigilant ,expressing  ,questioning and acting .   Let our deeds  show our political masters that we love our country and it is high time that they must as well start doing that……

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fallacies of intellectual extremism

 Introduction: In this post I have tried to analyze the difference between, A truth and THE truth .The point I am trying to make is why intellectual arrogance is equally threatening and disturbing as ignorance.

Freedom is natural state for mankind. A human is born free and shall die free. Mind, thought, and the rationality that we are bestowed with, separates us from trained animals. Social birth of a person takes place when one starts communicating with people. Perhaps, embarking first step of school begins this pragmatic quest for truth.
Two excellent and elaborated articles on connotation of this word ‘TRUTH” can be found in Wikipedia and meaning of truth by William James. The aspect that I intend to discuss, is relativity versus absoluteness and the need for objective angle to truth from epistemological view point. The basic question that Epistemology attempts to deal with , relates to the nature and scope of knowledge and prospect of use of such knowledge by mapping associations between belief, logic, justification, rationality and constructive skepticism.
The nucleus of any conversation is the idea which needs to be supported by a presenter with logic and ethics. Pursuit to truth cannot be meaningful when the mind is already prejudiced and biased with answers. Most of the times a truth seeker fails to understand that journey to absolute shall continue as long as there is life. Linda Ellinor was so right when she wrote “What you perceive, your observations, feelings, interpretations, are all your truth. Your truth is important. Yet it is not The Truth.”
Discussions should always be aimed at raising questions to explore different postulates by recognizing contradictions and the righteous aim of a healthy dialogue should always be to explore another point of view based on logic and reason .It should never be forgotten that the fellow member we confront is a partner in search for the truth and not an adversary or an enemy who is wrong and whose very existence constitutes a threat to world. Only a polemicist relies on a legitimacy that his adversary is by definition denied. The pursuit of truth for a seeker is painful and such a venture must not be taken up for cause of triumph.
In experiments of science we can reproduce results with accuracy which are free from spatial and language boundaries that often form tenets of rigidity. The beauty of science lies in its dynamism. To exemplify, let me share with you the theories that were given to understand nature of light.
Newton thought light to be particle having mass, Almost during same period  Huygens suggested that Light  was a mechanical wave , no one believed Huygens for almost two hundred years because of the influence Newton had in scientific community. However, when speed of light was measured in medium, it became evident that Newton was miserably wrong. Years later   Maxwell suggested the light to is electromagnetic wave thus removing the need for hypothetical medium called “Luminous Ether” as suggested by Huygens.  Hertz while working on electromagnetic theory observed the photo electric effect, the experiment of Hertz established electromagnetic wave theory but wave theory failed to explain photo electric effect .Thus, the experiment that established electromagnetic wave theory proved to be suicidal for it . Einstein suggested light to be made of bundles of energy called photons. The cycle was thus complete but the magnificence of science lay in recognizing that certain observations can be explained by wave nature and some by particle nature thus light has dual nature.
In contrast to the above narration, the discussions on philosophies mostly lead to conflict because everyone thinks his version is the absolute truth which makes this world go round. It is interesting to note that the word philosophy is derived from a Greek word which translates as “Love for knowledge and wisdom”. Why do we fail to understand that the Truth of knowledge is not in words but within the meaning these words carry. People read books, ideologies, and opinions but become so obsessed with words forgetting that what they are projecting is just another view point.
To be specific let me give you one example. I like Ayn Rand’s writings and think her theory of objectivism justifies and promotes individuality but at the same time I think her drive for “laissez-faire” and total decontrol lacks practicality. The question that bothers me is ,do we have that kind of society where people will willingly pay taxes and be empathic and sympathetic towards lesser privileged? I think selfishness is virtue provided the individual has a high moral value and self esteem but do not know how we propose to segregate between selfishness of well spirited entrepreneur from selfishness of a robber. One question that I want these so obsessed Rand followers to answer me is “Suppose a person loves his dog more than any of his possessions but then one day in driveway to the house he is forced to a situation that he has to choose between his lovely dog and a strange kid. Who you think he will run down? No one answers me .I optimistically hope  that  they realize that we the humans are not robots programmed to act. Besides mind , most of us also have a heart filled with compassion that has  a bearing on our decision making.
So next time you get into an argument, understand that everyone has to experience and realize their share of truth. Truth can be realized but cannot be shackled in the chains of words. Language has a binding and provides very limited scope for expression .Tell me a way how can I make a person understand the difference between sweetness of sugar and sweetness of an apple? All I can say is apple is sweet but the truth of that sweetness has to be realized by reader.
To sum up, I quote from Swami Vivekananda’s  Rajayoga “Man wants truth, wants to experience truth for himself; when he has grasped it, realized it, felt it within his heart of hearts, then alone, declare the Vedas, would all doubts vanish, all darkness be scattered, and all crookedness be made straight" .
I have pledged never to get too opinionated by an opinion, you decide for yourself, because all truths are learnt at cost of inevitable pain caused by breaking of the shell that encloses our understanding.Lastly,  I quote Gibran
Say not  , "I have found path to the soul"
Say rather "I have met a soul  walking upon my path"
For the soul walks upon all paths.
The soul walks not upon a line
Neither does it grow like a reed.
The soul unfolds itself ,like a lotus of countless petals........

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ministers proposes, politician disposes

The suggestion of raising the limit to 80 percent in XII boards, for IIT entrance was perhaps the only rational idea that came from our learned (pun intended) HRD minister in recent time .As usual, this proved to be a politically bad idea which is likely to remain trapped in black annals of officialdom, unlikely to see the daylight of implementation. There is not a slightest doubt in my mind that there lies an obnoxious nexus between the coaching centers and politicians.
The logic presented by the brigade of opportunists who are opposing the move, under the postulation that it would be against the poor and meritorious students, holds no water. Can a poor student of any state of India afford the fees of these coaching centers? A student who decides to reside in Kota for a two year program has to spend nearly three lac rupees for boarding, lodging and fees. Besides, the true percentage of selection from these institutes is not something you can write home about.  
The fact is a student who gets selected in IIT invariably gets more than eighty percent in boards. BITS have the percentage criteria of 80 percent for some years now and are successful in getting best minds in the country. Such a move will mean that every student who opts for science stream will now focus on learning the basics appropriately and that is not likely to benefit the coaching centers who know that one percent of the students are rankers and rest ninety nine percent are their bankers. How can they stand for decline in numbers of these guinea- pigs that they catch claiming to be their succor and messiah for IIT selection.
It is high time that we stop selling education as a commodity and the parents stop transferring their expectations to their wards. The aim of education should be to teach us how to think and not what to think – It should improve our minds to cultivate originality and not to memorize some equations and formulas.
I strongly feel that we have drastically failed in educating the masses, we might have made a number of degree holders but have totally killed the curiosity of a rational mind .Alvin Toffler was very right in observing “the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”. 
For audio file of my reaction click

Monday, October 5, 2009

Facts don’t bother us …fiction does

I don’t want to waste reader’s time by writing anything about the uncanny ability of Raj Thackrey to covert non issues into prestige issues. I hardly understand politics but what amuses me is, no matter how eccentric this person can be, he still gets a sizable percentage of votes from Marathi Manus. Who should I blame?

Just for the benefit of the people who may not know about the latest controversy,  in one latest release of filmmaker Karan Johar some characters on screen call Mumbai by its former name Bombay . Now, that has irked   Politician (Can’t call him a leader) Raj Thakre and his brigade so much that they have instigated to protest in typical MNS-style. We have slums in Mumbai where people vegetate for existence, foreigners show that in films, but it is ok with us .Millions of people squat by the sides of railway track every morning is fact that we continently ignore but on screen if a character calls mumabi as Bombay it is national crisis. Actually some diversionist associate Mumbai as their Victory so making it Bombay will be disadvantages to them in many ways.

Two basic question that have been cobbling my mind are

1.You have a municipal problem in your colony and you telephone the authorities about it, if you are lucky someone will answer the phone only to tell you to submit the complaint in writing. You being a law abiding, morally upgrade, citified person do so, only to discover that nothing really happens for days and weeks. In contrast tell your problems in sena office and a brigade of youth might go and catch the collar of the officer- in- charge and bring him to site in true filmy style. To your surprise, the job will be done in hours. Who should be blamed?
2.Coming on to the obsequious apology of Karan Johar, well it may not make sense to you and me but it makes economical sense. Karan Johar is a young man who in every sense represents the modern youth of India who wants to get things going in his favor by any means, forget values and forget self respect, what matters these days is the economics and survival.  He knows he can’t fight these hooligans so he bows. It is difficult to expect people standing by their values when convenience is the only guiding principle of life. Who should we blame?

Personally speaking, movies like satyakam are so much of solace because at least there you see characters that you can look up to and identify with. Had uploaded this video on You-Tube because I have always found it so inspiring, hopefully Mr. Bachaan and Johar and all those who plan to apologize to Thakre will take a look.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Ten thoughts from Gandhiji’s life

We are born in a free democratic country, fully aware of our rights and equally nonchalant about our duties. It is very difficult for our generation to feel the miseries that the people fighting for freedom must have gone through.

Freedom struggle was a collective movement supported and nurtured by an average Indian. The fact remains that Mahatma Gandhi was one of the most significant leaders who successfully mobilized the masses on the way to freedom struggle. Sadly, it has become fashionable these days to criticize Gandhiji especially by young and naïve who haven’t read a single word of what Gandhji believed in. His thoughts were really worth applause, here I have just compiled ten of them with a hope that our generation understands and apply them…..

1. You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; even if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.

2. Whatever you do may be soon insignificant, but it is very important that you do it

3. There are seven sins in the world: Wealth without work, Pleasure without conscience, Knowledge without character, Commerce without morality, Science without humanity, Worship without sacrifice and politics without principle.

4. It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.

5. Non-violence does not signify that man must not fight against the enemy, and by enemy is meant the evil which men do, not the human beings themselves.

6. I cannot teach you violence, as I do not myself believe in it. I can only teach you not to bow your heads before any one even at the cost of your life.

7. It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.

8. The outward freedom that we shall attain will only be in exact proportion to the inward freedom to which we may have grown at a given moment. And if this is a correct view of freedom, our chief energy must be concentrated on achieving reform from within. 

9. Honest differences are often a healthy sign of progress.

10. I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent because what difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Be SELFISH to Conquer the “RAVANA”

Dussehra is one of the most important Indian festivals. It is said that it symbolizes victory of good over evil and triumph of truth over deceit.

I am neither a religious person nor my concept of God matches with any mythological character. However, few of the childhood stories narrated to me from our epics indeed carry a great moral value. These stories relate to a different era when sons left their palatial comforts and heartily accepted a hard life for years to keep the word of their father, these days hotels have to give discounts so that sons are encouraged to take their parents and grand parents for comfortable outing once in a while.

Everywhere one turns, from wars, death and killing, to exploitation and greed, to corruption and misuse of power, in all the negatives we can find our folly at work. Good and evil have always existed but what has truly changed is the perception of human towards self. In those stories of our epics people took the responsibilities for their mistakes and punished their own self unlike our times when putting the blame and finding the mistakes in system culminates our war against demons of all evils. We are too consumed by reactions that we forget to respond and act. Most of us  don’t even react because somewhere in our heart they know that they are part and parcel of system that  represents evil..

Was Ram a sacrificer ? No, He was not. He is called “Maryada Pushotam” because “Maryada” (the ambit) refers more to self esteem than it does to sacrifice.  On his principles for life, honoring word of his father meant more than worldly comforts. This is high time that we begin to learn the true meaning of self and selfish. Let us be selfish, let us try our bit to eliminate the miseries of world because they bother us and not because to do so is in accordance with established code of altruism. A person who does service to humanity to gain applause or acceptance can never be called noble. Let us do it because in the night when we close our eyes to ponder over our day we see some acts that justify our reason for existence. Let us to do it for our self esteem and not under the pretext of helping humanity for shoddy altruism.

These things were very well projected by Ayn Rand in many of her books .Though, I am great admirer of her work but I feel characters of her books are too haughty to be humble, understanding and compassionate as these characters in their pursuit of excellence begin to look down on fellow men with scorn..They begin to forget that answer to one profound truth can be another truth .

In my opinion ,objectivity is a great philosophy which is based on reason and not on faith.. It is based on scientific method which accepts facts and rejects opinions. I honestly feel objectivity combined with spiritualism is a beautiful way of life. Objectivity raises our self esteem and teaches us to prepare our self to do everything for our need not under some pseudo tag of service to mankind or altruism but for the satisfaction of our need for self actualization . It teaches us that at center of all acts is conscious , subconscious and transcendentally conscious 'I , the self.', combined to this spiritualism teaches to look within and not to point fingers and denounce.

Let us recognize that everything either good or bad starts with self . so instead of blaming the world , let us do our bit whether or not we get any credit for it , let us do it because within us we feel it should be done .Let us do it with selfish motive  governed by inner motivation that for some flowery pretext of mild of human kindness  .Only better individuals and better citizen can pull us out of despair or we will continue to celebrate symbolic Dussehra midst the sorrowful shape of mankind in an age of great prosperity and knowledge equally along side sorrow and despair.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

But ……..the king is bare

Last week we saw the nation infatuated with stories and discussions of Sonia Gandhi’s travel in economy class and Shashi Tharoor’s remark which provoked a massive controversy from many corners, with Rajasthan Chief Minister firing salvos for the resignation of Tharoor for use of phrase “in kettle class with solidarity to all our holy cows”. News papers had it in editorials and TV and FM channels were debating over this recklessness. In too many words, the initiative for reducing the governmental expenditure was somehow lost. The essence of problem was reduced to frivolous gossip and blame game.

The question that I want to ask here is, why are we more constrained by the story behind the thing rather than the thing itself? Why are we more engrossed about the details of the person than the work of person? Why does the media want to make stories about non- issues? Why people generally are more interested in funny talks and discussions about personal chemistries than serious debate that focuses on issues, art, science, literature and philosophy.

Eleanor Roosevelt once observedGreat minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people". These very wise words obviously have had no impact on our bearing. We continue to be people- centric instead of being issue-centric. We hero worship stars and celebrities but forget their ideology and traits. Sachin’s century matters more to us than India’s win. We truly lack originality of thought and are not willing to find the truth. We eat half baked stories of irresponsible media and then belch our unsubstantiated beliefs at the slightest provocation. People in congress should not overreact just because the remarks have supposedly irked the top leadership of their party and making these noises will improve their rating in eyes of top brass.

The need of the hour is that strong educated youth enter the Indian politics, for that it is mandatory that we give them the space to live the life style they think is appropriate. If they are sensitive about the misery of a poor Indian, they will automatically abandon the shoddy display of opulence .Such a change however should be natural and not a sham. It is no way mandatory to don a khaddar kurta, to appear run of the mill and politically acceptable. I personally see no harm in having couple of well dressed politicians. Some khadi clad swindlers who claim to be messiah of the common man have done more harm by their fiscal scams and caste politics than an Armani clad Shashi tharoor who gave a tongue in cheek politically incorrect reply to the clever Kanchan Gupta , the correspondent of ‘pioneer daily’.

We can’t put the total blame on media alone. Media dangles the enticing food under readers' nostrils because people are too eager to eat that. Sensationalism sells, so they make every effort to make it spicy. We have to accept that they are here to sell their newspapers and air their channels profitably. For them the Gucci shoes of Rajiv Gandhi matter more than the path he had in mind. They can usually get away after putting the word in mouth and after quoting one out of context. It is because they know, that most of us will just read the line for the news and not for the root of the news.

We cannot change them until we become the people who can tell the difference between cheese and chalk and have insatiable quest for ultimate truth. According to Aristotle "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." That is what is truly required, the exploration of reality because true knowledge is gained by real experiments and observations.

The times have changed and we have become a democracy form dynasty and monarchy, or have we? However some of the old tales are equally relevant even today.

As the story goes “A king of a city who was very fond of clothes hired two swindlers who promised him the finest dress made from the most beautiful cloth. This cloth, they tell him, is invisible to anyone who was either stupid or unfit for his position. The king and his ministers cannot see the non-existent cloth, but pretend that they can, for fear of appearing stupid. After extracting lots of gold and silk, swindlers report that the dress is finished. When the king arrives with most distinguished cavaliers they dress him in mime. The king then goes on a procession through the capital showing off his new "clothes". All his counsel members and people in the streets praise the king’s dress though no one can see it. Yet, No one wants to acknowledge, for then it would be said that one was unfit for his position or that one was stupid. However during the course of the procession, a small child cries out, "The king is naked!" The crowd realizes the child is telling the truth. The Emperor, however, holds his head high and continues the procession.

I am desperately looking for that observant and expressing child who would free at least himself from the shackles of this ignorance in action.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Corrupted by prosperity

It is everywhere, it is so promiscuously omnipresent, that it does not surprise anyone, anymore.

A government official, an engineer or a doctor getting caught red handed while accepting a bribe can hardly be considered news these days. Almost every page of newspaper has one such incident reported that we read only to check if the name mentioned is that of our acquaintance or relative. What happens subsequent to that never gets reported because nothing really happens after that .A process of departmental enquiry, temporary suspensions, a court case and reinstatement. Standing on the apex of the human greed , we are building a castle of corruption.

The recognition by the Chief Justice of India, K G Balakrishnan, that the process of investigating agencies to seek permission from higher authorities for prosecuting accused public servants is creating a "climate of impunity" is no news either; however his suggestion to enable confiscation of properties belonging to persons who are convicted of offences is very welcome. It is very appropriate and reasonable that if a public official amasses wealth at the cost of the public, then the state is justified in seizing such assets. Once president of Taiwan and his wife can be punished so severely for financial irregularities why can’t we punish pawns of bureaucracy in this country ? Why is Delhi so reluctant to do what Taipe can so vehemently execute?

The very root of corruption lies in a clear opportunity with little chance of getting caught. The lack of accountability comes primarily from lack of transparency, what causes corruption are attitudes and circumstances that make average people disregard the law. However, corruption is not just about ethics it is also about how the government is set up and managed. Corruption has its own motivations, and one has to thoroughly study that phenomenon and eliminate the foundations that allow corruption to exist.

We are so vocal about greatness of our cultural heritage and past but our code of conduct puts even the uncivilized barbarians to shame. The process of corruption starts with elections and never really ends. How true are the words of Wynton Marsalis who said “I have absolutely no idea what my generation did to enrich our democracy. We dropped the ball. We entered a period of complacency and closed our eyes to the public corruption of our democracy.”

Hope someone pays heed to chief justice and makes the corruptors suffer the hardest imprisonment and ensure that even their generations don’t get to enjoy their unearned wealth. Hang them, if you should, they have no right to make money through the chair that was assigned to them to ensure smooth functioning of democratic government…..

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Teacher’s day: Time to introspect and prospect

I am a teacher by choice and this in every sense is my Raison d'être. I am not to wax eloquence but I truly see this as reason for my existence.
In education, a teacher is a person, who educates others and as defined by Wikipedia, education in its broadest sense is any act or experience that has a formative effect on the mind, character or physical ability of an individual.
Amidst the greetings and euphoria of praise, let us look within ourselves and ask ourselves some questions .Are we the teachers doing what is in best interest of student or what is most convenient and expedient? Are we giving the child something to take home to think about besides homework? Are we putting any effort to cultivate the wish to learn? Are we doing anything to make a rational mind capable of thought or going through rituals of words on name of education? When asked for an advice do we advice what is in best interest of student or we tell him what is in our interest?
Two principles have pillared my life objectivity and spirituality. I can with full pride say that I have never treated a student like a client. I have been unwise by economical parameters many times, but this lets me assume the right to condemn those who I think are misguiding students and are clots on the name of teaching fraternity and core reasons for degradation of the moral values. I have the courage to say all this openly and publicly as I have no skeletons hidden in cupboards that should deter me from creating awareness and exposing the dirty tricks of some cheaters wearing the sheath of teachers.
Why conscience of a teacher does not bite when they give sell the dreams of IIT to a student who they know will not be capable of passing? In order to keep him in complete dark , you advice them to take admissions in schools where they have to go only to pay their fees and finally to write their exams? Doesn’t it bite your conscious when you publish results and name of students that you have never groomed? Don’t you feel like a pimp when you have to operate a coaching center from school where you have to force and catch the students to please your economic facilitator, the owner of school premises? How are you able to sleep after selling the question papers to select students? I am not saying people should not make money, teacher like any other human being wants to earn the comforts for his family. As Bob Talbert said “Good teachers are costly, but bad teachers cost more”. So, don’t let your hunger be so strong that you are prepared to eat poison?
Last word to parents please don’t transfer your expectation to children they are a human they are not Robots that you can programmed as per your wish. How right was Louis Johannot who wisely said “The only reason I always try to meet and know the parents better is because it helps me to forgive their children”.
How can we have an honest society if the teachers are corrupt? So let us pledge to justify words of AristotleThose who educate children well are more to be honored than parents, for these only gave life, those the art of living well.
Chankaya was one of the best teachers of his time and his saying are relevant even today, To understand what I mean ,please watch this video that I have uploaded on you tube

Friday, September 4, 2009

Only work will show the respect

Late YS Reddy was one of the educated, dynamic and hard working young leaders of our country. Like any other Indian I am equally agonized and sad at his untimely death. YSR, a doctor by profession believed in working for society and human kind. AP and nation has lost a good leader

With all regards and prayers for the peace of departed soul, the question that disturbs me is how appropriate it is declare holidays for mourning. What relevance it has? What is more important body of person or his soul and vision? Is declaring a public holiday in Rajasthan an appropriate way to show respect to this visionary man? May I dare ask the honorable CM if he will close down the public offices on Friday giving the government servant luxury of three consecutive holidays, if the leader was CM of some state not run by congress party? Why the politics should be linked with functioning of Government.

Two small girls were running to railway station to catch a train .As they were behind the scheduled departure, one of them told other let us stop and pray almighty that train is late and we get it. Other said, it is good idea but let us run with all our power and pray while running. Once a young girl can be so rational how can our political masters be so irrational when we they are in position of power. People in power should understand the meaning and the impact of their words and deed on common man. What will happen to the cases scheduled for today in courts and offices? How will a teacher adjust for another period lost?

Work is love made visible, and the true tribute can be paid by following the vision of the leaders rather than enjoying the luxury of unearned public holidays.

The timing may be inappropriate but when we are out to describe the truth elegance does not matter. May lord give strength to aggrieved family to bear the loss…………..Amen….

Consider this friend……

You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life is a constant journey and death a grinding halt, leaving footsteps behind…..

Monday, August 31, 2009

Unexplored wealth of land and mind

The starting of the Mangla oil project which is likely to earn good revenues for Rajasthan is very welcome. Come to think of it, what lies behind the mega success is the appetite for risk, vision and human determination smoldering to succeed. Cairn Energy bought these belts from shell who thought it was not possible to get any yield from this land, so, what one saw as an opportunity the other found insignificant.

Any research, any exploration starts with an idea and vision .If it fails it teaches us lessons and if it succeeds, state puts tax on it. Discussing need, level of tax and how to improve efficacy of hard earned money of tax payer is another matter which will deviate me from main purpose of this post. Here what I am trying to suggest is the Government should play a proactive role and let the entrepreneurs, engineers and scientist do their job. Human mind cannot function to best of its ability when shackled by invisible chains in form of controls and regulations.

There is a drastic need to provide impetus to entrepreneurship and research if we want to be self dependent and self reliant. Times have changed and many of the controls and regulations have become irrelevant. We are not into the days where we need a supervisor with a whip to control the manual laborer from scrounging. These are the times to promote and give wings to young minds with dreams, to provide them with facilities for research and exploration so that they can do for India what they otherwise do for cairns, shells, Intel’s and Bell labs and then, we can be owners rather than being tax extractors. It is the wealth of our land and our minds which is deservedly ours but sadly we are content only with the topping of royalty and taxes.

Well, what goes wrong why we are content to follow? Why do we still look to west for discovery? Why don’t we promote research in real sense? Why is our education only symbolic? Why is 95% of our researchers’ content to cut and paste work of other people? Why are our guides not very particular and stringent about originality? Where are we headed by making a brigade of degree holders who will only agitate and block ways for reservations and jobs because they don’t know their subject and are not expert in their chosen area. Education system has not developed their mind because degree is handed to them on platter on name of reducing stress. Questions too many answers bleak………

Best minds capable of originality and thought, still leave us. With opening of economy they can be located in India but still they are not ours. Why? Money is important but more essential is freedom of human mind .You can’t put shackles of so many norms and procedures and expect a fertile mind to produce. The problem with the government today is it wants to put its nose in everything it sees profitable till it becomes liability. I am not advocating a total ‘laissez-faire’, because I feel our society is not ready for it and there is a promiscuous absence of national character in an average Indian.

Thought is a complex process of recognition and incorporation, which unfortunately lacks in present system of training people. This is the reason why people are prepared to imitate and follow and are content with the salary they get at the end of month for switching on and off their machines.

Please develop thought and rationality rather than being eluded by whims and unfounded beliefs. If we remove the thought then the link between a human and trained animal will also be lost .Stagnant mind then, like stagnant water will only breed reptiles prepared and content to crawl and sting.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Jodhpur 'Bandh' by LAWYERS

I admit that I am not so knowledgeable about law, IPC and the way our courts operate. Still as a citizen of a democratic country I am enraged about the ‘Bandh’ called by the lawyers which has led to loss of working hours for students, government and general public.

The basic questions that I have in my mind are following

1. Is person living in Mewar or Haroti region of Rajasthan, a lesser Indian so that he should be deprived of the justice?

2. A normal administrative case might take five to six years to sort out; doesn’t it mean that person residing in Udaipur has to come to Jodhpur to attend court, most of the time to get another date?

3. We know justice delayed is justice denied may I dare ask, what the association of lawyers that calls strike for their benefits, has done to improve the situation for the common man. This strike has meant loss a working day and so many cases scheduled for today have been delayed by months. Are they prepared to work this Sunday to compensate for the loss that has been done to every aggrieved whose plea was to be heard today.

Correct me if I am wrong, but If the core reason is that if there is bench at Udaipur, then the lawyers operating from here will get lesser cases and that will impact their business. If that is the reason then the doctors at AIIMS should object to opening of AIIMS at Jodhpur because that will mean lesser patients being referred to them Delhi? The laws are for people or people are for the laws?

As the population increases the facilities have to increase and come within the approach of common citizens. Can institute meant to provide service to public can be monopolized by city boundaries? We the Indians are good people but attitude like this strengthens my apprehension that if there is a last drop of water left on earth we are going to kill each other for it.

The ill impact of the Strikes and Bandh is too common to write about and I have already expressed my anguish on air on this matter.

I truly fail to understand how the profession of people can be linked to reputation of Jodhpur.I can understand the agony of lawyers as it is effecting their business but if someone in media links this to repuattion of city and compares this with olympic gold , then it is sad . The role of court is to provide speedy justice .Don't you think denial of that to a common man besmirches the reputation of the whole judicial system. For me what is important is that timely justice is given to a common man and it is immaterial from where they do it.

I love Jodhpur for its peace, harmony and culture, but I fail to understand how having a bench at Udaipur is going to harm Jodhpur .The purpose of this post is not to offend anyone but is educate myself about the core problem , If someone has the answer.

Monday, August 17, 2009

You ,I and THEY……....

I think detaining Shah Rukh Khan, who was not even traveling on diplomatic passport to US, at Newark airport, is being blown out of proportion, by media. Even when facts are not completely known, this is being linked to, sniffing of former president Mr. APJ Kalam, reflects on lack of understanding of protocols and superficiality of our media.

For me, what is more important than his being detained is he now trying to pull a racial card on this. What evidence or logic he has to come out with a statement that he was subjected to this because he is a Muslim. Why these celebrities, first Azzaharudin, then Imran Hashmi and now SRK link Religion and race with what happens to them at the personal level.

‘After the event even a fool is wise’. Sadly, we have not learned much from the incident of attack on parliament. Security is not about fixing responsibility, asking resignations, and having a blame game after the event .Security is about being cautious and vigilant. It is about having a protocol and not deviating from that under any circumstances. . It is the preparedness and vigil in US (call them paranoid if you want to) that there has been no major terrorist incident in US after 9/11 where as here we have a bomb blast almost every week. The reason is before implementation of the law we see the person and his stature.

Every time Salman Khan comes to Jodhpur to attend the court, media creates such hype. Officers treat him like a star, local papers shows him smoking and sitting as if he is kind of celebrity where as he is an accused criminal booked for killing poor animals, for his fun. I am surprised why these police officers who show power of their badge to a common man, do not take him to a corner and give him couple of slaps to teach him the way he should sit in the court during trials. The problem is people treat these film stars as if they are from mars and worship them. As a consequence these icons start behaving like lesser mortals above the laws of this land.

Once we allow search dogs on Gandhiji's samadhi, just before President Bush visit, why then such hue and cry about Shahrukh Khan being held for an hour at Newark airport. We can have reactions if he was not treated in a courteous manner .If he was assaulted or abused. Shahrukh khan is an icon at least in India, but should that be reason enough for somebody is exempt from questioning in US? Nobody knows if his “Don’t you know who I am?”, got him into this.

My question to all those angry fans out there is, would they all be just as angry if this had happened to common man from the same religion as SRK. It is sad that previously it was just petty politicians here who exploited religion as a means to gain more popularity, and now these film stars call themselves victim when the reality is they have a fragile ego that has utter disrespect for law of the land. In US they started trial against Clinton when he was in office, don’t forget the Watergate scandal and Nixon, they simply don’t care who you are SRK? Nothing comes before safety and security of nation.

Only thing I can say SRK, There are already communal riots on the name of religion in this country so be sensible. Watch “The Wednesday” and learn to be a common man. Stardom will come and go, what will remain is civilisation so, learn to be a good citizen.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Strong people, key to strong nation

It is Independence Day again.

For many of us it is the time to remember the sacrifices of our freedom fighters and martyrs while for some it is the time to take potshots at our petty politicians and leaders.

The word freedom and independence has different meaning for different people. For some freedom may mean, setting off barefoot on a 500 km pilgrimage, leaving their womenfolk and children in their village at the mercy of God .Some find that they are free to drink infected and soiled water from some particular pond considering it cure to all their problems. The question is, when such a person becomes infected and spreads this infection to fellow members of society then his freedom becomes a social problem and he himself becomes the responsibility and liability of state.

I have been always the biggest supporter of personal freedom of an individual but, at the same time to deserve freedom, an individual should have individuality, principles, values and a deep understanding that others living in this world also enjoy similar freedom. To quote Stephen R. Covey “Every human has four endowments- self awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom, the power to choose, to respond, and to change.

Freedom is supposed to be natural state of humankind but when human inhibit a common world they are governed by certain rules of society that are supposed to ensures a harmonic co-existence. A good country is collection of good citizens and every act of greatness truly begins with self. So, the need is to free our minds from cobwebs of irrationality that defy the logic and reason. The need for an individual is able to look at his own-self, objectively and measure him on the standards that he uses to judge the world around him. How I wish the effort of every individual is directed at improving himself and in becoming a rational, reasoning and compassionate individual and citizen. Collection of such citizens will surely make the country we can all be proud of.

To add to this, comes to my mind a Hindi song which in some sense epitomizes the sprit of freedom

Hum ko man ki shakti dena, man vijay kare
Dusaron ki jay se pahale, khud ko jay kare

Bhedabhav apane dil se saaf kar sake
Doston se bhool ho to maaf kar sake

Zooth se bache rahe, sach ka dam bhare
Khud pe hausala rahe, bade se naa dare
Dusaron ki jay se pahale, khud ko jay kare

Friday, July 31, 2009

Desperation desperates

The news of giving reservation to Gurjars was not half as shocking and distressing, as the fact that every political party is now trying to take the credit for it. There was not a single voice which condemned these jokers who blocked the highways and damaged public property to pressurize government to accept their demands. We have this tendency to reward the beastly, noisy and lawless hooligans. I can’t forget the scenes that Mayawati supporters created at Bhopal station twelve years ago, now this Bainsla and party finally got what they wanted, by virtually paralyzing the civic life.

Why and how do they get away with anything? The reason is, we are surrounded by people who are willing to compromise. All around us are boneless wonders for whom expediency is the only virtue. An average Indian does not live his life by any principles; convenience is the key to his code of conduct. We leave them, because we know, we can not fall to their level , but when decency is mistaken for weakness it is wise to throw away the glove and use the iron fist. It might be time to leave the ‘shastra (books)’ and pick up the ‘shastras( weapons)’.

Politicians have flourished and survived on lies but what is disappointing is the gross nonchalance of media. It is always “papi pet ka sawal” for most. You throw these papers and channels a piece of bone called advertisement and they will not only lick your feet but also protect you like faithful dogs.

Intellectual integrity is the scarcest commodity that we have today. Why then do we talk about virtues ? If you talk about values than stand up like a rock, come what may.How I wish there were couple of Howard Roark in editors and broadcasters who will be willing to write, talk, publish and air the views of many people like me, who feel a deep anguish against these people who actually take,we the white collared educated Indian and his inaction for granted. To such custodians of media I can only quote lines of Faiz Ahmad Faiz who said
"जिस दम से कोई मकतल में गया वो शान सलामत रहती है
ये जान तो आनी जानी है इस जान की कोई बात नहीं "

Which in English means the pride and majesty with which you walk towards gallows will always be remembered, what is about the life, it had to end one day.

Lastly, my cynicism is my own and if someone doesn’t like it then, they don’t have to.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Music , language of mankind

The indisputable fact about music is its power to evoke emotions buried up within us. Music can keep us awake, put us to sleep, fill us with energy and sometimes makes us sad. Music can make memories flood back and overwhelm us. Music can take us back years to a place,to a period of our life; it can bring the memory of a persons we might not have thought about in years .

Music entertains, soothes and relaxes but good music does not stop there. . True music goes far deeper and touches our very soul and leaves its imprint on us. It may not be possible to explain or describe this reaction in ordinary language. It can only be felt. It is one of those rare experience, which baffle analytical explanation. particular music has an inherent emotion that the artist feels while rendering and the listener while listening to that music in a given emotional state, feels that special emotion again.

Rhythm combined with meaningful lyrics lead to a mystic experience. Old film songs besides Ghazals have been companions of my joys and sorrows for as long as I can rememeber. There has been no enjoyment more impersonal and sublimating than what good music offers. It prepares the very soul for something higher. This world would have been so incomplete if there was no Rafi, Lata ,Roshan , Madan-mohan, SD Burman , sahir and Jagjit . So marvelous was that period of music.
Pure vintage gold……..

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Idea of doing away with X boards

Union human resource development minister Kapil Sibal's advocacy for doing away with Class X Board examination and replacing it with internal assessment is the most bizarre idea of recent times.

‘Throwing the baby out with the bath water’ is the phrase that immediately comes to my mind at this dense idea of doing away with board at X level. Such policies have ruined the higher education in past. All these post graduates and doctorates that we produce every year are possible only in this country, where lecturers give twenty important questions and ask fifteen out of them in exam. This frees them from responsibly of teaching and students from pain of studying so, no one minds .We have absolutely no norms for ensuring the quality. People write their thesis from net; Examiners appointed as externals brazenly accept gifts and favors from the host school / college.

I for once will favor that every exam after class fifth be conducted by a neutral body at least at district level to remove the bias of school and teacher. The same paper will ensure that all the schools have complied with syllabus. Mr. Kapil Sibbal should take a look at the mark sheet of any X and XII class students. We do have twenty marks for internal assessment in X and almost everyone gets 16 plus .In class XII every student gets more than 25 out of thirty in practical , while in theory they are barely able to reach even to thirties out of remaining seventy.

They talk about reducing stress, but the performance related stress is always a good thing .A serious student is concerned and under stress even for the class test. How can one take education lightly? People should have the requisite knowledge if they are to be given a pass at the school level. One of the major reason for success of our students world wide is the grill that our students goes through in these four years from IX to XII.

Such ominous policies will make merry for corrupt teachers who brazenly hold whip of practical / internal assessment marks over the head of students and force them to join their privately run institutes which in present times are run in school premises with the help of school management. Who minds the extra buck? We talk of education and our sixteen year old X students does not even know how to talk to an elder.

Regarding the remaining points on the policies they are same wispy- washy statements that sadly await implementation. Who would mind a madrasa teaching the children that kids are not God’s choice but choice or mistake of a man and woman? Who would not want that every child of this country be educated? Only an unbiased exam can test if a person has understood the words taught to him in its true essence and they want to dilute that . Education is not a degree Mr. Sibbal it is development of human mind.

We are amidst the saddest times that a country can face as our educators, our teachers our revered GURUS have become corrupt. Money is the only measure of success and people are willing to fall to any level for that. Populism ruins us as we continue to form a brigade of uneducated degree holders

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Altruism is pseudo word

Ayn Rand’s writings are more misunderstood than understood most of the times. Extremity suits the human nature because it is more comprehensible than the kaleidoscopic intermediary. This is the reason why most of the people think in terms of black and white and ignore subtle shades of grey.

By the established norms of morality, altruist is the person who does great work for the benefit of other people and society in general even if it causes him discomfort and misery. The question that Ms .Rand raises is why does he do so?
Doesn’t he do it for his own moral, religious or mental satisfaction?
Is there not always a personal need attached to it?
If so then the basis of every activity is Individual’s own social, financial, mental, physical emancipation. Nothing is ever done for the sake of charity. Society always benefits from the contribution but the doer always does every act because he feels good about it. When you do well to others don’t you feel good about it?

Most of the time we want to portray this as an act of kindness but deep down it is our own fulfillment. Will you call this selfishness or an acknowledgement that deep beneath it all boils down to 'I'.

We have only to imbibe what we identify with and try to practice that at least in our way of life without trying to change the whole world according to our view point. I think that is where Ms. Rand being a very impressive and revolutionary writer, goes wrong.

Friday, May 29, 2009

They call it business ?

Educational institutes seem to be competing with each other in lying and misleading parents in their race to woo more students through their deceiving advertisements that brazenly display rosy tailored results.

Basically in our country public inaction is taken for granted. Everybody knows that nobody will act so the offenders have the temerity of doing these gross malpractices.

Let me tell you their tricks.

Catch students from coaching institutes of Kota when they come home after finishing their IIT preparation course. Offer them free coaching for CBSE , no one will object, as these students are very average on CBSE topics. Now, take their photo in the institute form and use their IIT results….

Take photo of any tom dick harry and write some name underneath, who has got time to check.

Contact people who are selected and offer them I- pod, mobile phone and if required a laptop people generally don't mind.

If a candidate has got 1000 rank in SC or OBC conveniently forget category and make it general rank. Such errors can happen, you know.

If a candidate is in EML he or she is NOT selected, but claim it a selection. After all how will an ordinary citizen know the difference? Even if he does EML list is given with JEE result so it suits the convenience.
Conduct a free open test and keep some goodies as prize for top ten students , good students won't mind writing the test to check their level of preparation .Now use their photograph and take the credit of two year of hard work of somebody in one day.Who is going to check who has spent long hours preparing these students. All that counts is financial muscle.
In the end buy results of selected students and call it scholarship. Someone ought to tell these people scholarship is given to support studies and not to enjoy results.
Media talks so much about corruption but they are indeed party to this corruption. These people can never look beyond their advertisement revenues. The most common one liner you get from them is “what can we do it is an advertisement and it is not our responsibility to check the truth”. Fellows, if it was future of your child will you not explore the truth?

These so called cheaters (teachers) are raping the education and media is providing them the place for the act.

I won’t keep quite if media won’t help, hopefully, law will….

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Preside over us, don’t please us

Congress was never the party I favoured, but the election results have pleased me.
The electorate's verdict has proved that people cannot be fooled by words, what is really heartening is that the returned candidates are relatively honest and those who had suffered and sacrificed at least for the good of their state and city. The best part is people have risen above the petty politics of cast, creed, mandir and mosque. The vote has been for the vision and not for baseless promises which if implemented will only increase the division.

Today we the people are looking forward, starry-eyed, to a new direction, and to a new way of true governance and not just populism. In these times of recession Dr. Singh and his brigade of minister will have to take more governmental decisions than political decisions.

It is high time that we the people of this country realize that the government spends our money. If Government takes a decision to revise some price or puts a restriction over something, we should be willing to cooperate. At the same time Government has to ensure that the tax payer’s money is spent on nation building and not on development of vote bank. William Thackeray once observed: "Men serve women on their knees. When they rise, they go away." It is the same with our electorate. They love and worship their leaders. But when the spell is broken, they unfailingly transfer their commitment elsewhere. The country can never prosper or be saved through the efforts of only ministers and civil servants. The people must be associated at all stages with the formulation and implementation of policies.

The agenda of the government should be to exercise fiscal discipline, to remove corruption from the governmental machinery and to do all that they can to achieve apt conversion of population into human resource. This is easily said then done because this will require tough decision making, but if it is not done now it will be too late. Please govern us and not just please us ,build a nation that we can be proud of.

The path ahead is not rosy and as small humble nothing I can only say:

"Much to cast down, much to build, much to restore;
Let the work not delay, time and the arm not waste;
Let the clay be dug from the pit, let the saw cut the stone;
Let the fire not be quenched in the forge. "

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Emotive slogans and promises have robbed elections of enthusiasm

No, I did not vote………….

Call me a skeptic preacher or a hypocrite who writes and talks about the public participation in affairs of national interest but does not cast his vote when time comes.

What stopped me was not the heat or crowd, what made me change my mind was the fact that I read in papers a series of lofty, unrealistic and utopian promises made in flowery and cosmetic language which can hardly be kept. Populist slogans and promises are made just to gain votes unmindful of its ramifications on the country its people and economy. They want to make everything free without giving a slightest idea as to how they plan to raise the revenues. Sensitive, emotive and divisive issues and non-issues are raised to gain electoral dividends. Unrealistic, unattainable and illusory promises are made which could hardly be put into practice. I fail to comprehend which common man they are talking about.

Will somebody explain to me why the salary of defense personnel should be exempt from income tax? What crime has a teacher, doctor, industrialist or a clerk done? Defense of the nation is just another profession and I don’t consider them heroes in anyway. I was part of the defense for a major portion of my youth and I don’t think that defense personnel in any way is more patriotic than a farmer who ploughs his field early mornings to produce crop that you and I eat.

Lincoln defined ‘‘Democracy as the Government of the people by the people and for the people’’ but our politicians have degenerated it into ‘‘Government off the people buy the people and far the people’’.

In a true electoral democracy elections are the means to form the governments but not the ends therein. The end being developmental issues, welfare, health and education, infrastructure and quality of life of an average citizen. Though elections are integral part of democracy yet we definitely cannot say that democracy is elections and electioneering only.

If we want to make electoral democracy successful and meaningful, then the government must make election manifestos enforceable.It is only then we can make voting compulsary for every citizen and not voting a punishable offence. Let these people do what they say and run the country. As long as election manifestos continue to be just a bundle of lies, electorate like me will continue to loose interest in elections.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Do we deserve Democracy

Election time again.

You look anywhere it is either elections or IPL.

A series of musty allegation and fusty counter allegation, clichéd promises and stale dream selling is viciously present in the air all around. Lincoln wisely commented “you can’t fool all the people all the time but you can fool enough of them to rule a country”.

Where this democratic sham of choosing between thief and robber takes us? How good is this cheap form of socialism that feeds on slogans and promises?

Will Durant, after a lifelong study of various civilizations, summed up that: "Democracy is the most difficult of all forms of government, since it requires the widest spread of intelligence".
Our Constitution was aimed at making India the land of opportunity; our politicians have converted it into a land of opportunism.

Who is responsible? This is democracy, right ? This incredible army of pudding-headed mercenaries or present day kings that we have are our selection. So the enemy in is no one else but we. We the voters who have elected them to rule us. But then what choice did we have? We had to choose between devil and Satan.

Can a jewish king improve the situation? Do we need a dictator or army rule? There cannot be many substitutes to democracy but the people of character will have to come and assume the reigns. People who are successful in other walks of life and do not enter politics for profession will have to remove the stink with fragrance of their character.

The mortals like you and me should not be indifferent to the world around us. We need to react and keep the rein of these politicians in our hand. We the youth of this country shall pledge to ask questions that from where they will provide the rice and wheat at 2 Rs per kg.What plans they have to reduce the govrnmental expenditure?We the litrate need to question their vision. We as tax payers should be aware about what these insensate kings do to exchequers money in their fetid exercise of cheap and opportunistic politics.

Please, please do react, even the most contradictory word will prove we are alive……………..

victory of our silence will mean demise of democracy.


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