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Posts Tagged ‘Materialism’

grandfather

Oh, what a change I have witnessed in these seventy-one years,

Wars, acts of terror and news of genocides has reached my ears.

 

Sure enough, I miss fountain pens, LP records and telegrams,

Not to forget a cell-and-internet-free peaceful life, noisy cars and trams.

 

I have witnessed a man landing on the moon, a space mission to Mars,

Our country gaining independence, gaining control of the land we call ours.

 

I have contributed to building the nation in my own little way,

Drawing power channels which feed water to the fields with grains and hay.

 

I have seen shrinking TV sets and shorter global hauls,

Several generations passing by, sprouting glitzy malls and highway tolls.

 

Time sits lightly on my mind, has certainly made me smart and wise,

You can still lean on my strong shoulders, despite challenges that arise.

 

I continue to be young at heart, in me some inspiration you can find,

As always, my advice is practical, objective, frank and kind.

 

All of you are born in our humble and common family,

So you need not take this as an old man’s homily.

 

As you grow, the world will try and define boundaries on you,

Soar above these you must, sticking to your own convictions and view.

 

Boys, treat all the women you come across with the respect they deserve,

Once home, let go of your trousers and wear skirts once in a while and serve.

 

Girls, don’t live in the shadows of people’s judgement, make your own track,

Use your own wisdom, balance your duties, break the glass ceilings that hold you back.

 

You are the only one who will face the consequences of your actions,

Be bold, be wise, follow the path of righteousness, never become part of sinister factions.

 

The family has evolved from religion to spirituality, given you rich values to live by,

Carry forward this legacy, let your material and spiritual growth touch the sky.

 

A day may come when you may get to live on a comet or on the Mars or the Moon,

Values and Dharma shall always support you, come a dark night or a blistering noon.

(Image courtesy http://www.freeimages.com)

 

 

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Respected Madam,

As a pro-active Education Minister, you surely wish to leave a distinguished mark on the history of educational reforms in India. Permit me to share with you some broad areas which you may find relevant.

1. Re-engineering our education system 

India no longer needs to produce only administrators, followers and executors. She also needs innovators. She needsMay 2014 033 people who can think big. Those who can think out-of-the-box and can come up with novel solutions to her unique set of problems. She deserves a system which places less emphasis on rote and more on development of creative faculties.

2. Doing away with the ‘centum’ craze

We need to offer an eco-system which does away with the mind-numbing race to score higher and higher marks. These days, if a student manages to secure 99% either in languages or in any stream of humanities, we are led to wonder if the testing system itself is credible.

3. Excelling in research, avoiding re-search

Let the institutions of higher learning focus on teaching and research. An over-emphasis on organizing seminars and other extra-curricular activities is leading to a situation where the core job of faculty – teaching and research – is getting diluted. The fact that not a single Indian institution of higher learning figures in the list of top 200 universities prepared by The Times Higher Education Supplement makes one pause and think.

4. Credits are good, monochromatic mediocrity is not

The proposed Choice Based Credit System is commendable, but makes better sense at the post-graduate level. What we do not need is a monochromatic and mediocre spectrum of higher education which spoils the beauty that India innately is – diverse and federal. Let the autonomy remain and even be encouraged. Institutions of higher learning need to excel in their respective domains; to do so, they need autonomy. Standardization across the country is an idea which could be allowed to rest in peace.

Thiruvalluvar

Thiruvalluvar

5. Values, ethics and morals

We need citizens who not only demand rights but also respect and discharge their own obligations. One of the goals we need to have is to blend the material and the spiritual. Courses which propagate higher values, ethics and morals need to be designed and offered. Scriptures from various religions are a repository of great wisdom. Great seers and thinkers like Swami Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo have left behind a rich legacy of concepts and thoughts. We need to encourage institutions which can translate and communicate these in a relevant and effective manner to the youth of today.

6. Educated in India

In an increasingly globalized world, the need is to attract Ivy League institutions and true blue academicians to India. Policies need to be announced to attract some of our best minds into teaching and research. Schemes need to be devised to ensure that our teachers are motivated better. An open-minded policy on foreign languages would help the youth connect better with the world. Much like our mission to ‘Make in India’, let us strive to create a brand ‘Educated in India’. Let India become the hub of higher learning in the Asian region yet again and regain its past glory.

7. Goals are found, means need to follow

As a percentage to GDP, India spends less than 3.5% on education. This will not do. Revamping the conceptual infrastructure of the education system is as critical to the long-term growth of India as the creation of physical infrastructure is. What we sow now, our coming generations shall reap. Objectives of our educational infrastructure cannot be fulfilled only by an increasing participation of the private sector. Funding for education deserves to be accorded a higher priority.

I submit the above with all humility at my command. I do hope these would get considered and a due diligence carried out by subject experts on your panel. Discussions with major stakeholders would ensure that a radically new education policy is announced soon. The future of India is in your capable hands.

Thank you so much for giving me an opportunity to participate in a discussion of this nature.

An ordinary citizen of India

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2013/04/26/enriching-our-management-education-further

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2013/05/15/degrees-of-separation)

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We came and courted you for a brief time,

Keen to explore your many charms we were told you possess;

Your physical assets we could see we found irresistible,

Qualities of your kindly soul your helpful denizens made us assess.IMG_1194

The Eiffel Tower proved to be as magnificent as its pictures had made us believe,

We learned of its role in advancement of science and visited the underground bunkers vast;

We marvelled at its elaborate elevator mechanisms and the general attention to detail,

Enjoyed the view from the top, shivering in the strong chilled breeze blowing past. Paris Obélisque_de_la_Concorde

The hunchback at the Notre Dame de Paris we could not locate,

The inner precincts were sombre, the performers outside nimble and smart;

The Luxor Obelisk took us back in time by a couple of millennia,

La Madeline and other structures held us spellbound, their architectural grandeur playing an important part.

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The Louvre had us in enthrall as we waltzed through its corridors rich in cultural heritage,

Mona Lisa, Venus and a multitude of others conspired to keep us riveted, not to part;

The Egyptian Gallery left us simply awe-struck, the beauty of sculptures cast a spell,

Grateful to those who have had the vision to preserve such magnificent works of art.

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The Arc de Triomphe reminded us of your brush with history,

Reminding us of India Gate in New Delhi and the modest Aayi Mandapam at Pondicherry;

The Champs-Elysees showcased the best that you have on offer,

International brands, famous buildings, wide-eyed tourists not in a hurry.

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The tree-lined avenues were charming, so was a cruise down the Seine,

Public conveniences we found in good shape, the multi-modal transport system we enjoyed too;

Our hearts went out to the much hassled drivers crawling through your congested roads,

Those in Pondicherry who practice the art of aggressive driving could perhaps teach them a trick or two.

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Visiting you only whetted our appetite to explore so many of your other attractions,

We wish you and your denizens a balanced and peaceful life, we do not grudge your modernity;

Even though you continue to revel in a materialistic life full of chutzpah and glamour,

You gifted Mother to us, spreading the message of universal brotherhood and spirituality.

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