Thursday, 23 June 2016

Lalkeshwar, Usha, Bacha and The Education System of Bihar

There is no rocket science that you need to understand why the education of Bihar is constantly in a decline mode. If I am permitted by the giant economists like Amartya Sen, then allow me the liberty to say that after the 1980s, the graph of education in Bihar did see nothing than a forced regression! For the development of even a small mohalla, the thing that you need is will and this will become political will on a broader level - a district, a state or the country. Unfortunately, in Bihar, as far as I remember, I did never witness the political will to uplift the conditions of education - be it on the school level, college level or the university level. Corruption has always been there from the toe to the lot of hairs on the peak of the head!

 

The recent topper scam in Bihar has exposed the decades-long prevailed corruption in Bihar. Lalkeshwar, now in police custody, has revealed some head-aching facts during the interrogation sessions. Pay Rs 20,00000 and you can be the next Bihar Board topper in secondary or the higher secondary examinations. The syndicate that was revolving around Bachha Ray could only be exposed because of the ongoing expose in media. Otherwise, the system was once again all set to let the matter go.

 

All the promises to bring sushashan in the state have been left far behind. Nitish Kumar, the new definition of a lame duck administrator, has maintained a perennial mumm on this matter. However, others in his dubious cabinet have left no opportunities wasted of taking the credit for the police activity.

 

The education system in Bihar needs a great jolt. The highly condemnable nexus between coaching directors, private college mafias with the senior and important officers and the politicians has kept the students of Bihar in darkness of a commodified education system. You can buy degrees; you can get seats in colleges if you are ready to pay; you can get the examination questions a month before if you have a ‘santh-ganth’ with some babus… People don’t understand anything else when it comes to get their children on the top of the results list. The parents who have accidently faced the cameras of media who were in the college premises of Vishun Dev Ray College, run by Bacha Ray, bluntly confessed that they want to see their children scoring high in the examination and that’s why they get them admitted to the college of Bacha!

Ask any person who has crossed 60 years in Bihar and he will tell you how the deterioration took place here. The question is how to clean up this mess? How to tell the universities in Bihar that they are here to provide quality education and not to sell the degrees? The answer is very simple – we don’t need an uneducated CM! What we need is the contribution of educated people. The intellectuals should come to the fore and mull this serious issue of education system in Bihar. Serious actions are the need of the hour otherwise we are all set to see Bihar lagging behind in the race of quality human resource production.

The onus is equally on the students who willingly slip into the game of shortcuts to achieve name, fame and good colleges outside Bihar. They need to focus on their studies rather than spending their quality time in hunting colleges like this Bacha Ray’s. We can only hope for a better tomorrow if we determine to strengthen our today.

Living Together is Freedom: Lesson of Universal Oneness

LIVING TOGETHER IS FREEDOM


As a resident of India, from our childhood education we were taught unity in diversity (विविधता में एकता) and fraternity (भाईचारा). I was born & brought up in the national capital of India i.e. New Delhi. I used to see people from different states, different countries visiting Delhi & its tourist spots. They were sometimes funny, strange, awkward & lovely. I loved to observe them & wanted to talk but was afraid of talking to them. So what was the problem, why was I afraid? Once I asked my teacher this question, she said “it’s a fear of not knowing” & truly I didn’t understand what she meant. Later during my secondary schooling (10th class), me & my friends were out visiting Humayun’s tomb (an old monument famous for its architecture in Delhi), There we saw some foreigners, one of my friend was learning a foreign language, we forced out that friend to go & talk to them, what I observed was that the foreigners were so polite & happy. There gesture shows positive sign, at that time I understood the importance of language, communication, interaction and understood ‘the fear of not knowing’. That was a life-changing experience, after that incident I started to communicate with different people & learn many things from them.

Fear of not knowing: a child is dependent on its parents; he is treated as recessive being & dominated by parents and teachers. He has to obey his parent and teachers. And when he thinks about unknown, he (the child) treat that unknown as dominant. A psychological phenomenon occurs here; the child is treated as recessive, so he considers himself as recessive, and if he is recessive then the unknown is automatically turned as dominant. Recessive fears from the dominant. This is as a child is fear of not knowing.

When we think of global citizenship, it is very difficult to acquire with egoistic leadership and self-centred world powers. I remember during my childhood whenever I picked a fight with my mates my parents, teacher used to put restriction on me & my mates with whom I fight, but at the same time I got freedom of playing, spending time, sharing my food, sharing books, sharing everything with my other mate with whom I had peace, good bonding i.e. my best friend. With this incident of my childhood I learnt that LIVING TOGETHER IS FREEDOM. The leaders of world, great economy powers, and great military powers need to understand this. After seeing history of great wars, world wars, cold war, they need to understand that there is no other way of sustenance other than living together, living in peace. When we keep fighting with each other someone will put restriction on us and at the end we all will lose, but if we live together in peace we all will win always.

I give an example of this in terms of INDIAN relationships with its neighbours. World knows about India-Pakistan conflicts & wars, a citizen of India traveling to Pakistan has to go through various security check, unwanted questions & many more difficulties and same in the case of a Pakistan national travelling to India. But in the case of Bangladesh or Nepal we don’t observe that hardship in procuring a passport-visa to travel. Countries like Bangladesh, Nepal have friendly relation with India so we can travel freely but not in the case of Pakistan. But at the same time a Pakistan-born singer Adnan Sami got citizenship of India, because he is loved and accepted in India.

Sometimes people think that Multi-National Companies are contributing to global citizenship but that is a fallacy. These MNCs may have base around the world, but they are there for a business, making profits, not to make peace, they may like a culture but may not help in its sustenance. There can be individuals who are good human beings and helpful but ultimately the main aim of a business is to make profits. They can do anything to make more profits. Few people get a chance to migrate around the world with the help of these MNCs & other means, that does not represent their global citizenship and if a person travels to another country & faces discrimination, then how can we think of global citizenship?

Global citizenship is not about migrating, it’s about acceptance & recognition, so from where this acceptance & recognition comes. The very basis of human sustainability is living in groups i.e. community or society. So we need is acceptance & recognition of one society by other society & vice versa. This can be possible with the help of language, communication, culture and education.

In India there are almost 1652 spoken languages, 86 different scripts, over 6 major religions which are divided into 1.22 billion people having different Behaviours, Ethnicity, Beliefs and Tradition. Irrespective of these diversities, we believe in each other, we respect & accept each other. If we can accept each other then why can’t world powers accept each other? Another great example of acceptance & recognition is a great Bengali writer; Rabindranath Tagore (Indian to win the Nobel Prize for literature “Geetanjali” in 1913) is the only writer in the world whose work is used as the national anthem of three countries- INDIA, BANGLADESH and SRI LANKA.

Culture & education plays an important role in the development of any society or nation. It represents a set of shared attitudes, values, goals and practices. Culture and creativity manifest themselves in almost all economic, social and other activities, so does in globalization process. Culture binds societies and helps people overcome divisions. It is a country’s life & blood, no less important than a nation's health or wealth.

A country as diverse as India is symbolized by the plurality of its culture. India has one of the world’s largest collections of songs, music, dance, theatre, folk traditions, performing arts, rites and rituals, paintings and writings that are known, as the ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage’ (ICH) of humanity which are enjoyed & studied worldwide. This represents the acceptance of Indian society by other societies of world. A great example of cultural traffic is THE ART OF LIVING (www.artofliving.org), which organised world culture festival in New Delhi recently. The World Culture Festival, where around 3.5 million people, musicians, singers, dancers, and performers participated from all over the world and show how culture and diversity can serve the needs of mankind.

Education also plays important role in the development of society. Education is not just academic studies; it is the discovery of new things, being conscious, Social & emotional learning. It Increases self-awareness, social awareness, improves self-management, improves relationship skills, and nurtures responsible decision making. Education is the most powerful weapon which can be used to change the world. Education can teach the world that freedom is living together, enable other ideas to emerge, and allow them to learn to live alongside one another and to act wisely is to act with proper understanding & good attitude. Education promotes multilingual ability, cultural reciprocity, and increase in cultural traffic.

Globalization is not just about trade around the world, having diplomatic relationship, migrating, or learning foreign languages, it is more than that , let us consider earth as a big home, where a big joint family happily live together having individual with different etiquettes, different professional background, different vocabulary skills, different height & weight, different hairstyles & many more physiological difference, then irrespective of differences between individual, every individual is entitled to that home because they share each other responsibilities, they respect each other, they love each other and there is acceptance of each other. When we all human live together with our differences then only we can say we are globalised.

We, the new generation always talk about being globalised in respect of procuring a citizenship of any other country; this may provide a citizenship of 2-3 countries but not global citizenship. Our aim should be to procure a global citizenship which is respect & acceptance of each other irrespective of discrimination in age, race, gender, military power or economic power. A potent culture/society always sees itself as superior to all the others, and forces other cultures to accept it as an example. Prejudices and biases exist everywhere, this can be checked, when we enjoy different language, culture including ours, when we understand the importance of rituals of different society and apply them to reform our society.

Only a globalised world can have global citizenship, for globalised world we need to make a universal image, universal understanding to stand as one world irrespective of different languages, ethnicity, beliefs tradition, religion and society. Let us take an example of a fruit- Mango







































MANGOENGLISH
आमHINDI
ManguierFRENCH
MangobaumGERMAN
ManjaARABIC
杧果CHINESE
AmpelamINDONESIA
AmraSANSKRIT
Mangifera indicaSCIENTIFIC NAME

 

MANGO, Mangifera indica, आम, Manguier, Mangobaum, Manja, 杧果, Ampelam, Amra, one fruit which is known by different names in different languages, it does not matter what we call it, in which language we call it, what matters is the image of that particular fruit which we make in our mind. An image of universal fruit which is the king of all fruits, which is juicy, sweet & full of pulp enjoyed, liked and eaten all over the world. Similarly, there should be an image of universal acceptance of each other.

So, global citizenship is not about migration, it is about acceptance of each other, multilingual ability can play a major role in cultural understanding. For a globalised world we need free society that can be possible only when we understand that living together is freedom.

 

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Salman Khan: Coming Out Like a Raped Woman

Here is the latest analogy from the ‘sultaan’ of Bollywood! He felt like a ‘raped woman’ when he finished the shooting schedule; that’s amazing, isn’t it? Salman Khan is almost an agnostic who has command over all the feelings and emotions, be it womanly or manly or childish. Salman’s rape remark has brought out in public three things – first that Bollywood is absolutely insensitive; second is that the actress’ fraternity in Bollywood is not as independent as they inspire the Indian women to be in advertisements (for most of which, yes, they are paid), and finally, Saleem Khan will always come to the rescue of his son. However, this time, he did the wise thing by extending an apology on behalf of Salman.

It’s not the first time that Salman has been the centre of a controversy. You must remember the remark by his former closed lady – Katrina. She has bluntly told that there is nothing surprising if he is amid a controversy (the IOA ambassador case). This time, however, the controversy is very sensitive. Salman Khan has (may be unintentionally?) just trivialized the suffering of a rape victim and his analogy is nothing but a further attack on the womanhood. And what came to me as the most shocking scenario (after listening to the audio) was that the journalists surrounding him laughed shamelessly on his remark. I take it equally offensive when someone laughs on a derogatory statement as someone making such statements.

The Bollywood which is known to ramshackle almost everything on social issues (udtaa Punjab) is seen hiding behind the walls of ‘ignorance is bliss’. All the sensitive directors and producers are either happy with their closed ears (or may be listening to the songs of Sultaan with their Bluetooth headphones) or they are defending Salman saying that usual ‘misquoted’ line. Where is the difference then, Bollywood elite class? How do you claim to be the mouthpiece of the society? Is this what you feel about a rape victim?

I know the script that will be followed at night – classic 9 PM Arnab Goswami debate; maybe Barkha Dutt also takes it and Rajdeep passing his hinu-pinu comments… twitter rage and defence and the issue is dusted! The perpetual story of climaxes turning towards anti-climaxes is not new in today’s India. We seldom need anything more than a furore and let the issue go away. These Bollywood stars have often been motor mouths but we could do nothing. Today, we have social media – facebook and twitter to communicate our ire and often insult those who have committed the ‘error’. But what we need is moving ahead all these and make them accountable for what they have brought (in this case, an insult to women of the nation). Salman Khan must apologise for what he has said. His father’s apology won’t always work. I would also love to see the interventions from Bollywood ladies other than Nagma who have been defending her baselessly since the morning.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Indian NGO Worker Abducted In Afghanistan

Judith Desouza, an NGO worker working for the upliftment and welfare of women and children in Afghanistan was abducted along with her driver and security guard while returning back after having dinner around 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 9, 2016.

Judith completed her graduation with English from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata, followed by a Master’s in Social Work from Mumbai University. She then worked for many years in many pockets of India doing improvement and wellness work for the poor and the underprivileged. She was chiefly influenced by her mentor, Padmasree Sister Ceril to work for the development of underprivileged people. She took up the project of working in Afghanistan, despite being warned of its dangers and backdrops. Ironically, she was to return home in Kolkata just the next week. Her family members, including her old parents, her sister Agnes and brother Jerome, who works in Bangalore are now careworn and have received numerous calls from the MEA (Ministry of External Affairs), India assuring their support and assistance in the matter.

The abduction is presumed to be the handiwork of Taliban militants. However, until now, no group has owned responsibility for the action. The Indian ambassador for Afghanistan, Manpreet Vohra said they were constantly in talks with Afghanistan over the matter and ministry of Afghanistan has vouched for all possible assistance in this regard. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj personally prioritised bringing Judith back as the central issue for India, as she is “India’s daughter” and has been reassuring her family ever since, who have been hoping and praying for the well-being for their daughter.

A candlelight vigil along with prayers in several churches were held in the city for the return and well-being of Judith.

The Taliban has been notorious for ravaging indiscriminate wars, terrorism, crime and brutality against humans. It has been in the news for the past 15 years for its crimes against humanity. It has also been a topic for several movie flicks, like Escape From Taliban (based on the true story of Sushmita Banerjee who was executed by militants only a few years back) and Kabul Express.

The Taliban also recently skinned alive a 21-year old man named Fazl Ahmad. Officials confirmed his fault as being distantly related to a family member, suspected of killing a Taliban commander. He was dragged out of his house last December, and was blinded by the militants. While he was alive and still screaming, these ripped out his skin off his chest, leaving his heart exposed. They then, threw him off a 10-storey cliff.

 

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Bihar Board Toppers Don't Know Names of the Subjects

So, in no time, a new subject has emerged on the scene. I am very happy to know that the young students from Bihar who have topped the list of scorers in the intermediate examination have started to discover new subjects already. This is how the education system MUST work. Prodical Science is a subject that deals with 'cooking & food'. Mark my words.

I wonder how the body will function if you break the spine. One of my college professors, Dr. R. K. Paramhansa, often told us his perspectives on the politicians' motive behind keeping the education at low. He used to quote lines of Bacon:

"Crafty men condemn studies, simple men admire them, and wise men use them; for they teach not their own use;"

And today I remember my teacher and Bacon. The corruption prevails from the bottom to the top in Bihar education system. The students who don't ever know what are the names of the subjects they have studied easily make it to the list of the toppers. Yes, you can only bite your nails in surprise and disgust but this is the bitter reality.

I remember one of the speeches made by the current Bihar deputy CM Mr. Tejasvi Yadav during the assembly elections campaign where he said that he will open more schools, colleges, and universities in Bihar. Then also I condemned his scanty view (quantity vs quality) and now also I question him. What is the use of many schools which cannot tell the topper of Science that which is the most reactive element in the periodic table? What's the use of many universities if the administration cannot ensure that examinations take place on time?

Just look at the result of class 10, BSEB, for the year 2016. You will see that only 10% students were able to secure first class. The most surprising factor that attracts my concerns is that the students I knew and were SURELY meritorious could not make it! Is there any politics involved even in education? One should surely extend this question to the consecutively elected CM of Bihar Nitish Kumar.

This is the time that Bihar School Examination Board and the sleeping administration in Bihar should wake up and take some serious actions. If such are the situations also in the coming years, no surprises that Bihar will be heading back to the age when people will need to rediscover fire!

By the way, I am eagerly waiting for the first book to be written on Prodical Science!