Wednesday, December 30, 2009
These special people make this organization so unique.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Finding Globalization another interesting theme to dwell upon particularly because of the way it influences economy, politics, environment, cultures and also values. There are phenomenally interesting fall outs of globalization and it will great to delve into them gradually.
One of the reasons why people are becoming more and more tolerant towards diversity I guess is because people are seeking tolerance from others. When a person takes birth in a village or a small town and achieves not much in life other than one's title and the legacy of prestige that comes with it, we tend to hold on to it as our sole axis of identity in society.
This identity which develops on the basis of caste, creed, religion etc allows one to have a position of authority and some significance which doesn't seem to be bestowed naturally to the individuals otherwise.
As we go from that insular state to a more broader platform of work by reaching out to other cities and also countries (by virtue of a globalized economy) we meet new cultures, new languages, new systems of understanding people. And then the problem is turned upside down. At this stage, the person doesn't enjoy the luxury of placing oneself on the high social ground but has to make oneself accepted in the new environment so that he/she could enjoy the same respect that others in that community enjoy. For a person who had a low social grounding earlier finds him/herself in a position of relief since the original definition of social hierarchy is not recognized here.
This struggle for gaining the necessary respect or seeking of acceptance in new societies allows one to become more and more tolerant and reasonable for the simple reason that as a person who is intolerant towards others can't naturally expect others to be tolerant towards his/her own self.
This is happening more in urban areas than probably rural areas but as the country drifts towards further urbanization, we can surely assume that acceptance of diversity would only improve with time.
Social changes are always difficult to be brought about through direct routes. Legal ways also don't run too far. Its only indirect or oblique forces which tend to challenge certain notions and give us perspectives which are much broader and larger than what we hold dearly through significant period of time.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
This image was taken when I was travelling in an auto rickshaw within Mumbai city.
The thing that struck me was the fact that this image of symbols of two different (Hindu and Islam)religions coexisting in the the 'office' of this auto driver indicates the strength that sustains our country and acts as an example of what acceptance (or probably tolerance) in religious beliefs is all about.
I am not sure how many people with limited education in other parts of the country would be able to have that degree of inclusiveness in their minds. You can quickly think about some countries randomly and come up with answers.
This ability to co-exist is the very strength that acts as a bulwark against the divisive tendencies of our politicians atleast to some extent.
The next degree of this evolution would emerge when there would be total negation and revolt against sectarian tendencies of the political leaders and that would lead to impact at the highest portals of power.
We have come a long way and there is still a huge distance to be travelled.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
A thought that came to my mind when I had a discussion with one of the very interesting audience of the debate. He mentioned about how after the debate got over, on an offline note, one of the participants who spoke against the motion of debate stated that she was actually not so much against the motion.
The immediate thought that follows is, what is the purpose of this competition? I understand that the purpose of debate is to progress towards clarity after considering diverse view points. While what the judges are expected to judge is how well is the person able to defend his/her stand. In many issues it is likely that the person may agree to some points in favour and some points against the motion then does that mean that the debater is expected to maintain a stand with stubbornness just so that he/she appears well guarded in his/her defence.
Does that mean that the debate is not actually based on the principles of debating but simply the principle of not budging from one's point, no matter what. Or for that matter for those who adulate competition in all spheres of life, the spirit of competition is the key and debate is another arena just like say a sport.
If we look at the alternate view point, should there be points provided to the participant for revisiting one's thoughts in an objective light and again come back with a more balanced perspective. Will the debater in that case be 'judged' weak or will that be the true victory of debating as a means of clarity and maturity of thinking. What should be the parameters of judging in that case?
Isn't it funny that at times as we try to recognize someone's competence in one realm, do we give an altogether wrong message on the same subject but at a different end.
Probably the 14 year old might go back home thinking that he did a fine job in sticking to his point while actually he might have missed out on the core of what a sound discussion is all about.
But surely, he is not to be blamed. He becomes a victim of another system of evaluation
Sunday, November 15, 2009
At the same time, lately I have realized that the concept of terrorism has multifarious levels of demensions which range from local politics, international politics, historical equations, law and order, lack of education, religion, poverty to name some of those aspects leading to actions routed in mindless violence.
The other reason why i feel understanding of terrorism is critical for any individual who is otherwise not connected to the problem directly is to look at how the phenomenon is shaping our thoughts about identities and how the same get translated from one generation to the other.
Just as a singular thought, what would be the impression born by a 16 year old child after reading through or experiencing these elements since the time he/she took birth. How would these thoughts influence the decisions of the child in the years to come? How would the adult in him/her relate to people from specific communities?
Who takes the responsibility?
In my future expressions on the subject, I would like to talk from the point of view of various aspects of terrorism as I get to dive deep into the subjects not through any focussed time bound effort but as a need to understand the problem and its ramifications on the society to a greater degree of detail through general exploration of the subject.
Friday, November 6, 2009
I know i am looking funny in this snap. :) But its not about the snap. The important thing to notice is the person next to me. He is working with a courier company by the name Mirakle Couriers. The moment you open their site it says
'Mirakle Couriers is a courier company with a difference as we employ only deaf adults.'
Isn't it a miracle ?
The founder of this company called on me along with surely a lot of other people last year when he was trying to figure out some space to run his operations. I didn't prove to be of much help as there were few people to give out real estate with no charges. Thankfully his concept of employing only with people of disability turned out to be a success when he presented it in a forum called Echoing Green early this year and it seems now his concept has taken off.
I was so delighted to see a chap from this company come to deliver a courier (Tehelka magazine) that i immediately requested him to for a snap :)
The beauty of the idea lies in the fact that he has carefully understood what it takes to deliver a certain kind of services and created a model of business circumventing that while at the same time neatly targetting an important cause related to physical disability. Its a win win preposition if they deliver well. People who might otherwise find it difficult to get employment find their strength get utilized leading to high sense of self respect and this would in turn lead to higher retention rates. An excellent example of social venture.
Let me tell you that Mumbai is a highly competitive city from the point of view of starting any enterprise and it calls for immense strength to get into something of this nature when you don't know what kind of service issues you might encounter.
I wish Dhruv all the Success in his great venture.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Saturday, October 31, 2009
I felt like chatting with him for a while and got to learn that the owner of the kirana store came to Mumbai in early 80s from Uttar Pradesh. One of two states from where maximum immigrants come to Mumbai on account of low economic growth and also poor quality of life that the largest state offers to its people. I told that person that 'yeh bahut mehenga hai' (this is really expensive). He said there is no way that the price would come down.
On poking a bit further about the basis of his assertive statement, he started explaining his understanding of economics. He mentioned that when he came to do business in the city, the cost of toor dal (a popular variety of pulses) was Rs 3/kg and since then the price has always risen and today its being sold at 90Rs/kg. He said that people are fools to say that its because of Congress that the price is high. Using an interesting swear word he states that irrespective of which government comes, the price just can't be low for the simple reason that the interest in farming as a means of occupation is losing popularityin the villages now. When they go home every year, they get to meet villagers who want to see cities, work there and ensure that their kids get a good education.
When there are no producers, prices are naturally going to shoot up. There is nothing to get surprised about that. That was the crux of that few minute conversation.
The interesting part was that, this person has not completed his formal schooling and in his conversation, you can get a light understanding of a basic principle of economics, trend towards urbanization and the limitation of public policy in certain food prices.
Though there was nothing to bank upon but its really nice to see how each individual despite his limited formal education, tries to develop some understanding of the reason why things happen in a certain way.
I found it really interesting. This also points to the fact that we can never take for granted the opinion of the common man on political matters. No wonder his vote wins at the end of every election.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
When we get to understand the internal struggles of working in specific countries, we realize that the world is really far from flat. The challenges of low economic growth leading to unemployment amongst youth, corruption, political upheavels, hostile neighbours, environmental degradation, violence based on identity, human rights violation, gender based discrimination, AIDs are some of the common pain areas. The role that NGOs can play in the face of such massive issues calls for serious introspection.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
- Moha (delusion)
- Kama (lust)
- Krodha (anger)
- Matsarya (envy) and
- Lobha (greed)
I realize that there are some business models which actually thrive on these fundamental weaknesses.
Moha - expensive art works sold at exorbitant prices;
Kama- Pornography, prostitution, a certain line of cinema for entertainment industry, certain kind of journalism that is gradually gaining vogue; dance bars etc
Matsarya- Luxury goods where an individual rests on the material to define his/her identity; can be jewellery for some, watches for some others;
Lobha- Individuals who enter into any commercial act with an attitude of gambling;
Thus if we look at it intently we realize that several of our businesses actually exist because human beings are imperfect on several lines. Its the human weakness that creates economic value for the society. Which surely implies that one kind of growth (economic terms) is causing damage in human terms which probably no existing system is really too keen to evaluate or is concerned about.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
In the internet age, two of the most important skills whose presence and absence can make a phenomenal difference to our overall knowledge base and hence our overall role in this vast milieu of people are Reading habit and Communication.
If people don't have these two capacities in them, they would just see a huge stream flow in front of them and they won't understand how to make use of it to improve their own lives (initially) as professionals or as healthy social beings.
Amongst the top 10 capacities that I would want children to develop, expression (both verbal and written) and reading interest would surely find their place.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
Thursday, April 30, 2009
The recent case of CBI giving a clean chit to Quattrochhi around the time of elections, raises suspicion on the way Congress has been known to interfere in statutory bodies like CBI who are meant to be away from political interference.
In this editorial by Pratap Bhanu Mehta he points out a very significant quality of any leader and also a political group of setting up institutions which would cater to the needs of the society without falling prey to partisan politics. He points out to a very serious threat the society faces on account of such irresponsible and self centered behaviour at the expense of loss of trust of the society at large on institutions which are meant to uphold truth and justice.
Thus the moot question is, whether there is any value in the public raising its cry over police reform as represented by mandates given to politicians prior to elections during citizen group meetings asking them to work towards it. Aren't we fooling ourselves when we try to ask lone MPs from one or two constituencies to work towards such key national level problems where probably as individuals they are powerless since the overall framework of these parties has clear stakes in allowing those issues to persist.
The only way in which the electorate can arm twist and make the govt act on such lines is by bringing to fore such issues as a collective during General elections. Unfortunately this is not to be seen in India since the electorate rarely votes on national issues. Despite the fact that Congress has shown utter ineptitude in responding to the menace of Naxalism and Terrorism, there is hardly any nation wide concern to be seen. And the reflection of the same can be seen when go through the political manifestos of the national parites wherein we realize that none of the manifestos talks about fundamental reforms in depoliticising institutions meant for social welfare like IIMs, CBI, Govt Hospitals etc. Moreover the birth of Coalition politics will only cause problems in fixing such vital bottlenecks.
Sitaram Yechury CPI(M) leader while answering to one of the questions related to fragmentation of our electorate, marks that 'I think it is a process of maturation. You cannot have a social plurality that is as wide as we have in India and have a political monolith. Your social diversity has to reflect in your politics. '
The point is that if this be the India of tomorrow, with regional parties coming up with their local issues during General elections, how are we going to decide the course of the country at a larger level. These regional groups will give rise to Coalition as an inevitable option but this is only going to relegate the national issues to the margins and whether we get a Maharashtrian PM or a Dalit PM at the top would be the sole subject of debate.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Today we see gloominess on account of limited choice of parties and sense of pessimism and fear about who is going to be at the helm of nation's affairs . The country needs ablest people at the top when we are finding ourselves in the midst of explosive neighbours, deep global economic turmoil, poverty getting manifested through violence in the name of Naxalism, dismal state of farmers in some part of the country, antiquated policies on education, health etc.
Only when the electorate in general matches the pace of changing times and gives up its traditional clinging to its own fears, jingoism, communal mind sets, corrupt and greedy nature, will it be able to set a pace to give the political class a run for its money.
The electorate should be like that horse whose aspirations are forward looking, symbolize energy, youthfulness of ideas, strength, inner steely character and Extreme longing for Freedom from both the soft and hard atrocities of the State.
And as this horse runs its course with complete Freedom, the party most suited would be the one which understands the mood of this horse and is able to saddle it to take charge of it for the next five years and lead it to greater heights.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
The great Scottish essayist and historian Thomas Carlyle married his secretary, Jane Welsh. She continued to work for him but when she got ill, Carlyle, who was deeply devoted to his work, didn't seem to notice, so he allowed her to keep working. But she had cancer and eventually she was confined to bed. Although Carlyle truly loved her, he found that he didn't have much time to stay with her or much attention to give to her. Then she died.
After the funeral Carlyle went up to Jane's room, noticed her diary lying on the table, picked it up and began to read. On one entire page she'd written a single line: "Yesterday he spent an hour with me and it was like heaven: I love him so much." A reality he had somehow been too blind to see now revealed itself with crushing clarity. He'd been too busy to notice how much he meant to Jane. He thought of all the times he'd been preoccupied with his work and simply failed to notice her. He hadn't seen her suffering. He hadn't seen her love. Turning to the next page, he read words he'd never forget: "I've listened all day to hear his steps in the hall, but now it's late and I guess he won't come today."
He put her diary back on the table and ran out of the house. Friends found him at the side of her grave, covered with mud. His eyes were red from weeping; tears were rolling down his face. "If only I'd known, if only I'd known," he cried. After Jane's death, Carlyle made little attempt to write again.
Are you neglecting your loved ones?
Thursday, April 2, 2009
This insightful piece by Friedman raises some very pertinent questions.
Friedman makes a compelling case of the need to look at how the model of engine of wealth creation is impacting sustainability and also other values of human co-existence and growth.
The fact that the consumers would in general rarely ever look at the environmental implication of buying more and more goods, puts pressure on the business leaders and our policy makers to come out with 'Market to Mother Nature' accounting system to explain how our actions are systemically connected to larger wheel of existence on this planet.
The progress of mankind in the decades to come would be measured not in terms of the cumulative and widespread wealth that gets generated but also on how responsibly that wealth is generated. If the wealth of today only leaves dry arid lands or over flowing water bodies and creates imbalance all around us, we will be left no option but to perish miserably.
The more people we have on this planet with appetite for more and more consumption of fuel, goods, food etc, the greater would be the challenge to think systemically and go beyond isolationist planning models where we fail to consider the other dimensions of existence.
Its not that reaching out to environment is the be all of everything. The kinds of crimes being conducted in the garb of market today also clearly hint at the importance of diving as much within ourselves as much as we are trying to look outside.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
I admire Aamir Khan for his acting but I wonder at this concept of celebrity endorsements. In fact I really find it asinine to say the least that something like Earth Hour needs his image.
Global warming is a major area of concern with loads of data on it available over the internet. It is a problem which has attracted the brightest brains in the world. I wonder as to why is it that despite all the efforts put in by researchers, activists, NGOs and even governments of the world we still need an image of the above nature with one of the popular actors carrying a candle to signify shutting off power for an hour and that his support to the cause gives it an extra ounce of seriousness.
How does this problem gain in significance on account of this image???
Does that imply that unless such people who are not anywhere related to the cause come and just stand infront of the camera for a shot, our educated mass will not get convinced. Doesn't that somewhere imply that the underlying assumption here is that educated mass has actually lost all its grey cells? The same is the case when we see Amitabh Bachhan offering polio vaccination drops.
Media guys may argue about the importance of perception but again what does it mean in terms of something which is so real and talked about. Why on earth do we still need IMAGES to inspire us? Can't we take the effort and do something about things which are real just because we understand and believe in the cause and feel strongly about it???
I recollect a group of students from an undergraduate college approaching me for the walk they were trying to do on 1st Dec'08 towards AIDS day. They mentioned about their difficulty in getting a celebrity as otherwise it was difficult to convince the media. How very insane!! Is AIDS such a small issue that it needs to be backed by someone from the film/tv fraternity to come and endorse? Can't the students have faith in their own selves and march because they themselves feel that the cause is worth their sweat and time?
The same public mindset is well taken advantage of when we see actors who have had their popularity time on the screen switch to the political circles. The idiotic junta would flock them from all corners to get a glimpse when Sanjay Dutt stands for Samajwadi Party or when Chiranjeevi launches Praja Rajyam.
I am afraid that unless we ignite the candle of passion and knowledge in our own hearts, we will continue to depend upon the candles held by images which probably may have altogether different 'causes' that they hold dear than what they are trying to represent there.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Vijay Mallya, chairman of the UB group, bought articles belonging to Gandhi which were being auctioned in New York. He paid 1.8M$ to get those items and then gave them to the government. A nice gesture no doubt.
When great leaders pass away, generations to come can pay homage to them in several ways through the years. I feel that the appropriate way to do that would be to 'understand' those principles that these Himalayan individuals stood for and to attempt them to constantly visit the relevance and applicability of values in the fast changing times.
According to me Mr Mallya is a complete irony to the values that Gandhi stood for as he leads a life of excess and indulgence and glorifies it by all possible means, but when it comes to enterprise, Mr Mallya may be a good example as well. Yes, his Kingfisher Airline does breath the words that 'customer is the king' and this was something which Gandhi believed in as well.
Having said that, the hollowness of certain events is at times too difficult to really accept. In NY probably these belongings might have gone to some rich businessman who again would have scant respect for Gandhian way of living but then what difference would it have made to treasure those possessions? What value do these items have if they don't bring along with them to the actual possessor, the principles which defined the life of the person.
If the keepers of these possessions of great people (Mallya or Mr/Ms X whosoever wanted but could not buy) really want to understand Gandhi and treasure his thoughts, a very simple way would be to get hold of his books which till today in an age of high priced books, still would barely cost anyone over 150Rs (approx 3 US$). There are books worth 5Rs (ya 10 cents) which may provide us more value than some non living objects which were those bare essentials which he could not do away with.
Slippers- for walking on rough earth
Specs- so that he could atleast see properly
Bowl- to have his meals and
a Timepiece- to keep track of his schedule which he observed religiously
Don't these items stand as tall symbols of what support system is actually needed for an individual who wants to move the world around him. Its a clear dictum against the relevance of a society which worships acquisitiveness.
What are we all waiting for?
Friday, March 6, 2009
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Sunday, March 1, 2009
- I would accept critique from anyone who finds fault in me
- I will be happy to accept that my relatives, friends, teachers all have their areas of improvement
- A Congressman would accept that heredity doesn't guarantee leadership
- We will constantly evaluate our lifestyles and try to improve
- Organizations would understand that all their processes are worth revisiting and developing upon
- People adhering to certain religion would understand that its only the search for truth that matters. Rest are all details.
- Emerging parties would understand that they also may not have the answer to all the ills of this world
- Youngsters who are heavily influenced by the west would try to understand what ails that society too
- Developed world would see the peril of too much of acquisition both to their own mental state, to the environment and also to the people who are trying to benchmark their ideals to this kind of living
- Children would accept the fact that their parents are not perfect. All instructions from their end has to be weighed on the balance of reasoning and merit not of their own self but the larger society that we are a part of
- People would not blindly emulate stars but would try to learn from certain qualities that they stand for
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Hats Off to You, Rehman!
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
The report can be downloaded from >>
Saturday, February 7, 2009
No. Its not about Aparajito.
I have not seen Slumdog Millionaire yet but reading the reviews have brought more entertainment value to me than I guess what the movie would be able to provide.
Here are some of the opinions I came across. (not using the exact words though)
- Lot of people have praised the movie in terms of the starkness with which they have shown truth and also for the entertainment value that the movie provides through a nice storyline, great music score, direction etc
- India has been shown in poor light while this is not the real India
- We come up with so many films but our good movies always tend to get ignored while here we have a western director who takes a snapshot of slum life in India and aims to get an Oscar. These hollywood guys know how to pat their own backs.
- Some have stated that movies where India is shown in sad light are always preferred for awards. They have remembered Ray and Mrinal Sen's movies in which many a times the director has tried to cover the dire state of people and how those movies got several awards
- Jagjit Singh vents out his frustration on seeing Rehman getting an award for coming out with great music score for the movie. It was really in a very bad taste
- Some people have criticised on why the director has projected that the victim in the movie was at the receiving end of Mumbai riots and why has he shown to be a Muslim particularly.
- Some have stated that they should not have used the word 'dog' as it is derogatory
I will not talk about all perspectives here, but we as Indian viewers should admit that we really are not great promoters of really nice artistic movies. Somehow in the midst of drudgery of daily life, movie is only seen as a medium of entertainment which in turn has been crudely defined by songs, dance, comedy and drama. Anything which remotely tries to touch upon the finer aspects of human emotions, be it tragedy or serious themes, tends to go down in viewers category. And media doesn't feel like talking much about such movies after that.
We still see no brainer movies like Singh is King raking good moolah in the industry.
The great sign is that experiments in lateral themes have started and we are seeing some wonderful work emerging as well but in general as an audience we fail to see the beauty depicted by previous directors who were really able to successfully showcase strong human emotions through richly carved themes. The people who comment on poverty being glamorised are the ones who never go to watch Aparajito by Ray, Meghe Dhaka Tara by Ghatak or Dweepa by Kasravali because these movies have projected poverty. The thing is probably they havn't yet developed the eye or the sensitivity to understand what the director is trying to show. If we observe minutely, poverty is just the context. The lens is always on very subtle and profound human sentiments.
Thats the very reason why a movie like Maine Gandhi ko Nahin Mara which was an amazing depiction of the death of Gandhian values after his physical death by not just one person but by people at large. Or for that matter a movie like Khuda ke Liye from Pakistan which was brillliant on several accounts from the point of view of the pain of the director which drove him to make the movie to which he did phenomenal justice, music, cinematography and performance.
A movie like Tingya where the director had to approach over 23 producers after getting acceptance of one, failed to draw any footfalls to the theatre while the same won international recognition. Yes. The story was again based on a poor child from Vidarbha- an area in Maharashtra which is more in the news for the farmers who have commited suicide on account of harsh economic state. The performance of the child was amazing in the movie.
I don't know what the western panelists have in mind. Maybe they are biased or maybe not. But the point is, the question we should ask ourselves is, as a society have we been able to promote good quality movies based on rich stories, great performance which can appeal to the sensibilities of not just few people in a nation but viewers from across cultures. That is a hallmark of a great movie. Unfortunately one of the biggest entertainment industries in the world- Bollywood, can't boast of many such works since it has always catered to populist tastes.
Will a movie like 'Children of Heaven' by Majid Majidi get support from the audience?
Friday, February 6, 2009
Very thought provoking interview on sustainability by John Sterman where he touches upon aspects of systems thinking, personal values, economic imperatives, global needs etc
He gives an indication of the gravity of the problem in a very cogent and non threatening manner. At one point he states,
Pretty quickly people discover for themselves that as long as everybody in the world wants more—as long as everyone in the world wants to be as rich as we are, and we all want to be richer than we are today, there's no solution.
“As long as everybody in the worldwants more, there’s no solution.”
What makes it particularly hard is that this is a conversation that's not permissible in our society. Even the English language doesn't allow it! There are words for not having enough—shortage—but there's no word for excess demand. There's no such word as a "longage" of demand.
Its one of the most intriguing questions in front of the world today. On one hand we all understand that economic prosperity is the key to growth, while at the same time we know that nature has put a cap on us with regards to how fast and how well can we grow. If we ignore that signal on the signpost, it is only going to be at our peril.
Growth in economy will result in damage to environment and that growth will then fuel further damage in terms of more vehicles on the road, more power consumption, more water consumption and a lifestyle centered on excess of everything.
The question in front of the society today is in the continuum of time, which road should we take? Should we continue to consume more and destroy more or do we attempt to figure out that mysterious proportion at which each nation can meet its need as well as manage its greed without causing grave consequences for the next generation?
The countries which have progressed at the expense of environment and also other nation's peace and harmony need to take a strong stand and exhibit their leadership at this juncture to set a worldwide movement for a cleaner lifestyle.
And this movement has a role for each an every individual as even switching off an extra bulb is a contribution in that direction.
Wish we all ya 6.7 billion people on this earth could stand in solidarity and express our commitment towards a cleaner future for the generations to come.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
He makes a great point when he says that instead of merely providing more money to people, it should also be used for coming up with better labs and good quality teachers on board for our children as thats when we will be able to get the Steve Jobs and Bill Gates of the world who would be able to generate employment for lakhs of people.
The fact that market forces have not been successful in improving the quality of teachers, throws open a very important challenge which is not getting its due in India.
Quality of education, which is the fundamental lever to decide the way the society is going to meet the challenges of future remains a majorly undecided question not just in the most powerful nation of the world but also in a developing country such as ours-India.
Its time we start giving it the thought which it deserves
Saturday, January 31, 2009
A very thought provoking essay on significance of politics and how it is part and parcel of our daily lives. It brings forth very elegantly the distance that we have to run for not only accepting politics as a necessary function in society but also constructively engage so that we make it the right process for the progress of our country.
The author at the beginning makes case for the fact that anyone who detests politics is actually a hypocrite and the remaining article then substantiates that point by thoughts from different political philosophers taking very relevant examples from our times.
Friday, January 30, 2009
A very insightful piece on how over regulation in the name of protection of Freedom of people in America is actually curbing the same thing which it is required to protect. Its a case of the fence eating the crops.
This quote from Tocqueville in that article makes so much sense
"freedom less necessary in great things than in little ones. . . . Subjection in minor affairs does not drive men to resistance, but it crosses them at every turn, till they are led to sacrifice their own will. Thus their spirit is gradually broken and their character enervated."
This also explains clearly, how in our society, by curbing the freedoms of our children by burdening them with too many books, exams, parental expectations, tuitions etc, we tend to nip their creativity in the budding stage itself.
Once that job is done by parents and school alike, in the later stage of their lives, people don't mind even when their freedoms are curbed by government in rampant ways.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Nature has an impeccable quality to just lay all thoughts to nought. Mountains, lakes, birds, clear sky, infite number of trees just lie there. As if they all wait for us to 'learn' from them on what is not going right in our lives. Nature it seems is a silent physician. It heals the mind by just being there. It seems to have the answer to all our questions yet maintains the humility of a lamb.
I remember the calm surface of lake with gurgling sound elegantly surrounded by majestic mountains. The gradually changing tint of the sky around sunset to a stage where it is
completely dark and the sky gets all studded by beautiful stars. It whispers- 'Let each person absorb all this the way it appeals to him/her'. No one can escape its grace, its 'naturalness', its depth, its power, its mystery...
The serenity of the place invited us to visit it another day during morning hours when it had new gifts to offer in the form of cows coming in from nowhere with lovely chime of bells dangling around their necks grazing the pasture with an absence of urgency which is at complete contrast to the commotion of city life.
We visited a vast plateau, an old temple perched on a dilapitated fortress on top of a hill, met a farmer who showed us his farms of sugarcane, tomatoes, strawberry etc.
I know lives can't be lead by staying by the side of a lake, sharing stories with friends on a hill top, climbing trees and watching meditatively at the setting sun, but still these moments remind us about the mundaneness which we so easily accept as part of our city lives.
Amongst several lessons which I learn from such trips and interactions with friends, the one which I hold dearest is to regularly sever oneself from the outer life and dive in search of something which is more constant.
To me, Nature with its qualities seems to be the external manifestation of that Inner Oasis.