Showing posts with label Rambling-Rant. Show all posts
I read this article in Mint by senior policy managers for J-PAL South Asia, they talk about "concern(s) that while enrolment in elementary education has increased, education outcomes have declined, with abilities in reading, writing and other comprehensive skills deteriorating"; suggest "Pedagogical solutions such as restructuring classes by learning level, rather than by age or grade and improving School governance like incentivizing teacher presence and effort, and putting in place properly designed monitoring and accountability structures".
What is lacking however in the whole discourse is making education more suited to vocation and real-world challenges. It is true that students should be able to read and write in order to perform even the basic functions of a modern life, but the reason that students can't read or write is usually not because teachers aren't present.
To illustrate this, consider as to why all students can speak the language well enough, but only fail to read and write? The reason is obvious - ability to speak the language gets practiced from childhood, it is immensely important in their daily routine. Similarly, if reading and writing the language is made a part of their daily routine, with or without teachers, with or without pedagogical help - they'll learn the word!
The question being, how do you make 'learning the word' a part of their daily life? The answer lies in Nai Talim - "The crux of Nai Talim lay in overcoming distinctions between learning and teaching, and knowledge and work. (Vinoba Bhave)". If the curricula go beyond just teaching 'alphabet and numbers', and include vocational activities such as making and selling simple toys - this would involve tasks like creating 'creative boards or charts' for selling, preparing 'sales material', bookkeeping & accounting etc - students find a purpose and a 'routine' to learn the alphabet, learn counting, numbers etc. This is not too different from the custom of lemonade stand set up by kids in the US.
This indeed is education of the head and of the hand as proposed by Gandhi in his seminal article on National Education more than 90 years ago; and as per him, it "will serve a double purpose in a poor country like ours. It will pay for the education of our children and teach them an occupation on which they can fall back in after-life, if they choose, for earning a living". In today's context, this will also help create a more entrepreneurial minded child as is required for a country like India. We will not then need late stage government incentive programs like Startup India, Skill India or Standup India!
It is appalling that even learned researchers ignore the above philosophy (or remain unaware of it) while proposing solutions to the problem of education in India. Even more appalling that the Ministry of HRD / Education department pays no heed to it!
Image Credit: OLPC @ Flickr
The irony of our times ...
- Those who oppose crimes against themselves, inflict crimes on their own people
- Those who want peace within, advocate bombing the 'criminal' states
- Those who oppose 'repressive' regimes, side with them when the 'rebels' start bombing their countries
- Those who work for off-shoring IT businesses, condemn governments for allowing cheap Chinese imports
- 'Export' cloth manufacturers encourage laws restricting of foreign manufactured vehicles
- Families who built houses with repatriation money castigate illegal immigrants from neighboring countries
- Those who worship most feverishly are also those who preach hatred
- People conduct 'culture' festivals at the Bank of rivers damaging fragile ecosystems on the riverbed
- Those who find affirmation action 'unfair' to the majority cringe when the government taxes their savings
- Minorities always cite the law; majorities make the law!
- My opportunity is fair - if they trouble you, you are incapable of adapting to change
- My troubles are unfair because they result from injustice meted out by chosen few to the majority
A marriage procession (Baraat, बारात ) on its way blocking the whole road while the car (silver grey, Maruti Suzuki WagonR) patiently awaits passage. An impatient lady on the scooter tries to manoeuvre from the gap on the side, when an unchivalrous biker coming from the opposite end blocks her way. While in this logjam, the lady's mobile phone rings and without regard for the cacophony she is in, she decides to take the call.
Moments later the procession will move on, the car will find its way forward and both the woman and the biker shall hurry towards their respective destinations. The ensemble cast in this photo will reach their respective destinations and discuss their travails this morning, increasing traffic, decreasing civility in the society and overall lack of infrastructure in the city; with the same tone and fervour which the English associate to their discussions on the weather.
Chaos, confusion, spontaneity - all hallmarks of Incredible India in one frame!
There are those who accept this contest as one of personalities, and even try to justify the ideological bankruptcy of Rahul Gandhi as his style of leadership; however most commentators concede [1, 2, 3] that Modi triumphs Gandhi in most sphere's of personality comparisons. Gandhi on his part has tried hard to break the jinx on him; he tried to instill internal democracy within the party, spoke several times against the party's decisions supporting/abetting/condoning corruption, and tried creating a industry friendly image. However, all his efforts - especially the ones aimed towards setting a stand against corruption - are likely to backfire.
The malaise within the Congress party is neither Rahul Gandhi or his mother, nor are their socialist ideals, and neither is the purported "dynastic politics". In fact, 'dynastic politics' is not a cause but a symptom of all that is wrong within the Congress party. The malaise within the Congress came to the fore during the 1996 crisis, when Sitaram Kesri's interventions brought the Congress party to near demise. This malaise is the triumvirate of corruption, opportunism and muscle politics.
Several layers below the national leadership, but starting, in some cases, at the very second rung of leadership lie the powerful satraps of the Congress party, whose very existence thrives on the muscle power they exude in their regions of influence. When I say muscle, I don't necessarily refer to goons and thugs - it transcends beyond goons to strong influences in local bodies, legal systems and police force. Many Congress (and ex-Congress) leaders own their constituencies so much so that, all systems - from Police Force to courts to the Municipalities run on their whims. Those who dare to go against the local satrap are sidelined from all angles.
The reason the Congress party needs "dynastic" leaders like Sonia or Rahul is so that these satraps can continue to run their clandestine empires under the garb of politics. The reason why a Narsimha Rao or even a Kesri was a threat to these satraps was that these 'homegrown" leaders tried to establish their own supremacy within the party, thus challenging these local satraps, and in turn trying to expose their rotten ways.
The reason why these satraps are happy to anoint Rahul Gandhi as a future PM, the reason why they are happy for Sonia to run her Socialist agenda through the NAC is that (a) it keeps the masses happy (b) it keeps Rahul and Sonia feel in-charge of the party agenda. In return for this support, these satraps get the power to misuse government agencies and bodies to fund their businesses, provide them a legal cover and give them the political power to keep their opposition at bay; all this with anonymity provided by the "leadership" of Sonia and Rahul.
In essence, Rahul is his own nemessis - the fact that he is the chosen one - reflects a deeper malaise within the ranks of his party. And if he lifts his head against corruption, especially the condoning of it by his party, he upsets the unique power sharing agreement of acceptance of his own leadership in return for continuance of status-quo (on issues of Lokpal, Reforms etc.). He thus upsets the equilibrium which, more than corruption itself or Modi's (so called) charisma, is likely to become the biggest reason for Rahul Gandhi's fall.
While I don't admire Rahul, I sure feel empathy for him, because there is loss for him on both sides - if he embraces the current ways of functioning of the Congress and its feudal set up - he will fail to impress the populace and hence lose. If he goes against the flow, challenges the corrupt within his party outright, he risks losing support of some crucial king makers on the party, even risks another potential split in the party; and thus is more likely to lose.
However, if Rahul is indeed sincere about changing the Congress, he needs to accept defeat and in spite of it challenge the corrupt within his party - this will result in more than half of his current second line leadership and several state leaders alienated or even legally implicated. They are likely to break away and form regional parties like the NCP; and further weaken the Congress. But is is only once these satraps are removed, their powers taken, legal charges against them chased, proved and many put behind bars - this might take 10 years - that a new Congress party can emerge. A party which has a more sincere leadership, filled more with the likes of Tharoor, Jairam Ramesh and Ajay Maken.
It may even be a Congress which will not anoint him as a Prime Ministerial candidate (a position he looks disinterested in) or even as a Party President; but it will surely be a party which will allow him and his mother appropriate relevance through implementation of the Socialist schemes which they want to implement on the lines of his father and great grandfather's ideals.
But it's unlikely that Rahul Gandhi will wait 10 years, it is also unlikely that he will be allowed to risk the alienation of so many national leaders; and it is equally unlikely that the Congress will win the next Lok Sabha elections.
Increasingly we see more arrogance than humility - whether its the traffic queue or the mall or in a workplace. Many people today thrive on being arrogant (often termed as 'dynamic and demanding' in the workplace).
And the emergence of Narendra Modi is also a part of the same culture we are promoting. While from the same political party - the biggest chasm that separates Atalji from Modi was his humility.
And Sachin, the maestro belonged to Atalji's category. His strength and wisdom, apart from his cricket genius is in his humility. Many of last decades' titans - from ICICI's Kamath to Infosys's Murthy are known for their humility as much as they are for their business acumen.
It is, hence, worth pondering if - as a nation, as colleages, as companies, as a society, and mostly as individuals - we want to promote arrogance as a way of working or as a bevahiour which is encouraged.
|Image by Sean MacEntee|
From: firstname.lastname@example.orgOf course I am not interested in MONARCHY RESOURCES (heck! I don't even know what it is) - but no one can argue the logic that any more warmongering by US (or its protege NATO) will only end up increasing the cost of oil and drive up the prices of everything. In fact, if one argues that had the US not attacked Iraq (and may be even Afghanistan), we probably would never have faced the 2008-present day crisis.
Sent: 01 September 2013 20:55
Subject: More to Come?
Do you want to become rich due to armed conflicts? It`s the verytime to do it. As soon as the military attack Syria, oil prices willrise as well as MONARCHY RESOURCES (M O_N K) share price! Go makeprofits on Sep 2, grab M O_N K shares!!!
Whatever! Mental hypothesizing aside - reading such stuff in spam is a unique experiment.
I am sure there are several commuters who pass this point every day at this hour and get stuck in this jam daily. There is a very simple way indeed to avoid this route, though. If you take the previous right turn before my house, take the next left, you will end up back where this main road otherwise takes you - and this route at 8:15am is quite free. And even then, every morning, here they are, the daily commuters honking their way to glory than take the alternate route.
It may look like I am simply blabbering my frustration out because this affects my morning, but no - that's not the point I am making. Just like this troubled lane beside my home are several arterial roads of Mumbai - the Western and Eastern Express Highways, the JVLR, the Peddar Road, Babulnath lane, NM Joshi Marg, Ambedkar Road aka Tulsi Pipe road etc. - all these roads experience similar mayhem at specific hours of the day. Some of them are ill fated, they are possibly the only ways to get into and outside specific parts of the town (ex. parts of WE Highway) - but many of these roads have alternatives, there are by lanes, alternate roads and of course you always have the option of traveling off-peak hours if your work schedule permits.
And its not just roads, the local trains are also jam packed between 7:30am and 10:30am! Same here - there are alternatives. Some of us can leave homes early and take buses - trust me I see many buses (even AC buses) plying half empty in rush hours. Or you can take trains after 10am or before 7:30am.
But alas, the average Mumbaikar is plagued - s/he is plagued by the fact that everyone else honours the secret Mumbaikar code and if you don't, you'll be singled out as lazy, inefficient, not capable of hard work, sometimes even untrustworthy. Yes - Mumbai loves to struggle; even if there were ways of making our lives simpler and more comfortable, we struggle - wade through waters, carry an extra shirt in our backpacks, cling on the the mere 2 inch vacant space on the train's door, sometimes rush into an incoming train at VT so as to get that coveted prize of a window seat!
To be sure, the city is deficient; its is deficient in urban transport supply - there are times when everything from buses to trains will run packed; it is deficient in roads - however you may try, you'll never find some parts like Kalanagar signal bereft of traffic; it is deficient in amenities - there are no dustbins at train stations or bus stops, the rainwater evacuation is not yet smooth. And the city administration is corrupt - contractors maintain island city better than suburbs, repairs are fake .... the list is endless!
BUT, these problems exist in all large cities of the world; even though they probably may be proportionately severe in Mumbai. Nevertheless, what keeps the Mumbaikar struggling is not the deficiencies alone but the deficiencies coupled with her resolve to avoid common sense, to prioritize timeliness over convenience, her resolve to beat the weather or beat the other commuter on the road ... if it was her day, even beat God - to reach office on time!
I think, this needs to stop - Mumbaikar's need to stop celebrating their spirit and get to their senses. There are better ways to live in this city. If you can, change your habits, change your routine, change your driving routes or your commuting methods. Living a life is a choice which is available only to those who choose to accept it over the choice to struggle!
The parting dialogue illustrates one of the most fundamental truths of life - any heroic or courageous action is usually also an act of foolishness when it is actually committed. Often if you too do things at work or personal life which are acts of personal sacrifice or risk - you try to conceal the fact that you did them. Few of us usually find pleasure in publicizing such acts.
Think of any acts that we today honour and think of how these were perceived in their times - Copernicus or the fictional Phileas Fogg or even Bhagat Singh - all were considered courageous fools - if not by the whole world but definitely by the society in their immediate vicinity.
May be this thought would be a solace to those who are daring to do something different, something courageous and are afraid of being labelled fools by the society - the likes of Entrepreneurs, Social Activists and other change mongers!
Image Credit: deen
I took about 2½ hours to reach office today. Apparantly some truck has oveturned near Chembur and hence all traffic from the Sion-Trombay highway has been diverted towards the Suman-nagar flyover (where Eastern Express enters the Island city). This has resulted in a huge traffic jam at Sion.
Image Credit: Marc van der Chijs
- There are no alternate routes to reach the Island city apart from the arterial roads. The JNPT road remains unutilized even at the time of the traffic jams and natural calamities like water logging.
- The Highway Maintenance services such as towing trucks to clear stranded vehicles are not sufficient.
- There is no organized public warning system - apart from the fact that the huge LED hoarding put up by the traffic police are far and few, they anyway are used only to display public-services messages and little traffic updates are available on them.
- There is little automation in Traffic management of the city. For the amount of traffic that Bombay has, all major roads need to have monitoring cameras which along with all major traffic signals should be linked to a common hub-station to coordinate movement of traffic across the city.
- Lack of driving discipline; while I dare say that Bombay has the most disciplined driving in India - a lot still is left to be desired. Especially the taxi drivers (call center cabs included) and even some BEST bus drivers need to be taught some basic of lane discipline.
- We, the people, need to become more and more alert about suspicious elements circulating around us. Yes, it does mean we start suspecting every young kid with a big bag trying to board the train - but its better to be suspicious than loose our lives ... more importantly our freedom and national pride as well along with them.
- Local bodies like municipalities, railways etc- Vigilance, in form of CCTV cameras and other means needs to be beefed up across the country. If it means an expense to the ex-chequer, so be it; but at least in major metros which are centers of our growth - this MUST be done.
- Local Police forces need to be better equipped to handle and resist terror attacks - better arms, better communication & surveillance equipment and better safeguarding props. If terrorists operating this episode had sattelite phones, did our police forces have something even remotely competetive?
- Central and State governments need to put in place better coordination and information dissemination mechanisms. I wonder if we even have a central criminal record systems which can be accessed by all invenstigation agencies, leave alone a central intelligence information network.
|8-Aug||Received Car delivery|
|9-Aug||Went to Pune on first drive itself|
|15-Aug||Getting used to driving to office everyday|
|22-Aug||Work on new version of www.arbitmba.com|
|29-Aug||Went to Lonavala with friends; came back and worked on remaining pieces of ArbitMBA new version|
|Ganesh Chaturthi - went to Madh Island; after the gruelling weekend in Lonavla|
Release of www.arbitmba.com
|12-Sep||Went home for Ganesh Visarjan|
|Mad race at work - with multiple assignment's on head, working Saturday's and Sunday's|
But also stole visits to - (Not Just) Jazz By the Bay, Bandra Reclamation, St. Mary's Church on weekends
|24-Oct||Went home for Diwali|
|31-Oct||@ home post Diwali|
|Rush to complete current project@work - working Saturday's, Visits to Inorbit over weekend|
|21-Nov||Tentative plan to visit Khetan's marriage|
|28-Nov||Might go to Pune if Mom's going to be there|
|3-Dec||Attend Krittika's marriage in Mumbai|
|12-Dec||Abhishek's passing out from IMA|
|19-Dec||Visiting Amritsar, Mathura and Agra|
|25-Dec||Christmas/ New Year weekend|
Meanwhile, the struggle to keep up the pace of work on bloozle continues while Hemant tries to work remotely from Dubai. And as the new ArbitMBA website has received a very favourable response - Arbit comics are also getting published every fortnight as usual.
I don’t know whether to call my current life as going through a roller coaster or going on like a rolling stone. Because while lot’s been happening, life doesn’t seem to be moving ahead in a meaningful direction – the dots don’t connect [Original Source]– at least not from my standpoint!
I guess so many of us are running like me, in quest of a goal, a promised land or chasing a life which we aspire to live. But I am afraid, one day when twilight sets - we will all look back and find that we have reached a wilderness, far away from the Promised Land and far away from friends, family and the life we would have cherished.
We have heard it all in self help books or interviews of successful people - enjoy the moments, care for today. And we often take it in the wrong way - we go out, we party, we spend time driving around the city late into the night. But how many of us are doing something really meaningful in life? Something which when we look back will leave us satisfied to have done it – irrespective of having achieved anything.
Leave the selflessness and meaningfulness of work also aside. How many of us get a chance to enjoy nature, art - listening to music, reading books, writing books, drawing, painting ...? Were people born to crunch data in excel, make beautiful presentations or maintain IT Systems, or to speculate on the share market and count their crumbs when the market fell?
Don’t misunderstand me - it’s not about work-life balance. It’s about life, its goals, our faculties; about rising above chores and daily routines and moving towards a more meaningful existence. Alas also about living those dreams which you had as a child ....
Needs no explanation - I try to keep innovating even in my job; but starting up my own enterprise could be an ecstatic milestone. Lot's of ideas keep coming to one, but as yet nothing has come to mind which can make me quit my cosy job.
4. Become a columnist
As I have written earlier as well, writing is an old hobby with me. I grew up writing for my diary, then the school magazine, also becoming its editor, then kept writing in private, till I started on this blog. However, my childhood dream is to become a columnist in a newspaper.
Perhaps, I have achieved that dream by becoming a Long Tail columnist (on this blog), but it would indeed be a satisfying achievement to become a 'real' columnist.
3. Drive a Social organization
Well, may be an NGO or may be a for-profit one - but I dream of leading projects which will benefit the society and the underprivileged - this too has been a dream since adolescence. Some of my favourite project areas are - energy security, using ICT for rural upliftment, creating an ideal farm/ ideal village/ ideal colony, helping street children realize their potential .... and so on.
2. Author a book of fiction
This is one wish I share with Shubham. I have written short stories - science fictions and others and even posted one on my blog (more here). I have two long fiction ideas in my mind - one sci-fi and one campus story - but till I get loads of time, there is little chance I can let my imagination run amock to create a real memorable piece.
1. Direct a movie
Unlike most of dreams, this is one which has come to me only recently. After watching experimental films like Hyderabad Blues, Iqbal, Bheja-Fry, Mithya, No smoking, Sarkar (& S. Raj), etc. - suddenly thought one day that making a movie would be an intensely satisfying experience.
Shubham has already tagged Abhishek and Manish, I choose to tag Anna and Alex - its anyway been a some time since we had a post from them (especially Alex).
Got bored of Eating Subway sandwiches, so tried something different; cooked "Aloo Sabji" (the one which you get in a Masala Dosa).
Then ate it along with a Veggie Delite subway wrap - the wrap can be had like Roti.
After my success in making the Aloo Sabji, I became a bit bolder - made that kind of a thing again ...
Wet some bread...and made a cutlet like package of bread and Alloo sabji, but instead of frying (which I could not), I toasted it on the frying pan.
Finally ate it along with Baked Beans ..
And this is what I had yesterday - a McDonald's burger with Mayonnaise in it and some Khichdi with Mayonnaise on it!
... someone says on the other line "Hello" as to mean "Hello there" and you ask them - "Can you hear me?"You are in the 21st century when:
- you work on a project for an associate of your employer
- the people who your first contacts at the client themselves are employees of a third party on a contract with your client
- your project associate is currently in transition to another city
- s/he works with a manager who is based out of a third city
- your primary liaison a the client is serving his/her notice period
- however people whom you interact with at the client happen to be from your own country, your own city and speak the same language as you ...
I first looked up the recipe here, and then cooked plain rice and set the milk for heating ...
The next stage was to mix them up, add sugar and starts stirring ...
And here's how the final preparation looks like ...
And when it comes to freedom, lets hear from the perspective of freedom's champion - Mahatma Gandhi. I quote Louis Ficher:
Gandhi believed in revealing himself. He regarded secrecy as the enemy of freedom-not only the freedom of India but the freedom of man. He exposed even the innermost personal thoughts which individuals usually regard as private.Guess Gandhi would have loved to have a blog :-) [I have quoted Gandhi on individualism earlier as well]. How correct Gandhi was becomes clear when you read today's authors talking about the importance of individuals in the present society. For example, Thomas Friedman writes in "The World is Flat" -
Globalization 3.0 differs from the previous eras [in] how it is empowering individuals [....] the force that gives it its unique character is the newfound power for individuals to collaborate and compete globally.Now the second para quoted above sets me thinking - and I find it increasingly true. All of you must have observed that the churn among us has increased off late - everyone just seems to be in a state of transit nowadays. People are changing jobs, cities they live in, countries, areas of work ... heck even their mobile phones more frequently.
In Globalization 3.0, individuals have to think globally to thrive or at least surive. [..] the responsibility of for one's own advancement runs deeper than ever today. In many Global industries now you have to justify your job every day with the value you create and uniques skills you can contribute.
This churn is what one sees on the surface - deep down inside, this is happening because, we are no more a part of a system - but we have become systems ourselves. For example within KPMG, I am like a freelancer - I have to make sure I have enough projects for me to do in 'my' pipeline and I maintain my performance.
From what I've heard from my friends - it is similar even if you are in a 'traditional' line job - you have to maintain your performance as if your area of work as a separate company within your bigger company. That's why, MBA's across the board nowadays are doing more "projects" - which are more of individual pursuits than routine or team activities.
Another aspect is the tools we now have to do our work. Increasingly the role a 'large corporation' played by providing you access to information and people - is getting diminished. On one hand the web is allowing individuals to access the needed information outside their companies; Social networking is freeing individuals from the need to align themselves with organizations, coteries, social groups and communities.
This is also leading to formation of new communities - ones which are not based on "forced traits" like geographical proximity or company loyalties but individual's own calling - their hobbies, talents, thought processes and values.
All this musing on the Individual Inc. makes me recollect a famous Amitabh Bacchan dialogue from the movie Shakti:
Narang saab, yeh kaam koi bhi insaan akele kar sakta tha, basharte ki use bhi meri hi tarah yeh pata hona chahiye ke woh is duniya mein akela aaya hai aur akela hi jaayega, isliye agar usey kuch karna hai toh woh bhi akele hi karna hoga.Have a nice weekend ... chao!
Got up lazily at 9 - and made tea - while having tea - cut some onion and tomatoes. Had put potatoes in the microwave. Once they were cooked I cut them too.
Then, I mixed and mashed the whole thing, added salt and some biryani masala (since I did not have garam masala) and smeared some butter on it.
This I microwaved for a minute and then mixed it to get the butter mix up. Reheated it for few more minutes. Toasted a few slices of bread - put the mixture above between them - and done!
Anyone having any tips to further spice this up?