Reforming Education Part 2

John F Kenedy once said that “All of us do not have equal talent, but all of us should have an equal opportunity to develop our talents.” But there is no denying that our education system does not provides an equal opportunity to all. The coaching institutes about which i mentioned in my last post are the biggest player in making the opportunity unequal. The one from well off background are able to utilize the coaching institutes to their advantage and the one who cannot afford fails to make a cut on a bigger stage. These coaching institutes in a way also are responsible to attract the best teachers from various colleges by paying them hefty amount as salary. (The meagre compensation which we pay to our teacher is also a reason)

So what is the solution?

Firstly, why can’t we have more institutes like Super 30s being run in Patna? All of us have an urge to contribute to society. It can be great if we according to our capability provide services like this at our level. All of us cannot teach for IITs but we all can contribute at primary level to senior level and may be upto IIT level. What is required on our part is the passion and dedication for making this society a better place. We should have that patriotic feeling within us to ensure that future of our nation is secured and illiteracy is removed completely.

Secondly, why can’t our coaching institutes as part of their social responsibility have a batch of under privileges students? There is no denying that these institutes consider education as business but then every business has some Corporate Social Responsibility. Can’t they play a role in shaping future of many needy students? If Honourable Supreme Court of India can direct private hospitals in Delhi to have few beds reserved for poor then why can’t the same be applied to these coaching institutes? There may be some hurdles in this but if owners of these institutes think of larger picture then this can pay rich dividends to our society.

Thirdly, the problem can be resolved up to certain extent by the schools/colleges them self. As an education provider they should make an endeavour to ensure that all the students brilliant or weak does well. This requires that extra effort be put on the weak students. The best way is that they can have free remedial classes for those students. If an extra effort of few hours can ensure that future of the students then that is the best reward for any teacher or principal.

The education can pave a way for us becoming a developed nation and will ensure prosperity. Education is the movement from darkness to light. Education not only moulds the new generation, but reflects a society’s fundamental assumptions about itself and the individuals which compose it.

Happy Republic Day!! Sorry.

60 years back on this date, our nation adopted the constitution, commemorating the Poorna Swaraj declared 80 years back from now, in 1930. Wishing all our readers & visitors a very Happy Republic Day!!

Last year, on the occasion of Independence Day, we ran a contest. We ran it with a motive. We wanted this platform to be known by more people & to survive. We wanted people who were willing to contribute. The contest picked up well & we got a very good participation response. But unfortunately, the expected growth did not get triggered. We totally take the responsibility for not having delivered what we promised, with regards to the prizes.

Today, being the Republic Day, we have decided to stand up and apologise to all the participants of the competition, to whom we did not deliver the promised prizes.

We apologize to each one of you for not living up to our word:

@s4sukhdeep, @simardeep88, @jishita, @ArchisM, @pluckyprob, @atm_215, @agrimsingh, @amanpreetsarora, @jasdeepjon, @nish7x & @knayam

Unfortunately, we’re stopping the blog officially. The content will remain hosted. But, we won’t be posting anymore.

Wishing everyone a Happy Republic Day again. Goodbye.

Pakistan will have to pay a heavy price: MJ Akbar

M J Akbar is one of India’s best-known journalists and commentators, someone with a deep insight into the Indian people and their mindset. In this first-person, as-told-to piece, Akbar discusses the Mumbai attacks and their relevance for India.

Many people forget that India is a tough nation. Toothless leaders have turned India into a soft nation. People forget that India has fought back Muslim terrorism in Kashmir; Sikh terrorism in Punjab, Christian terrorism in Nagaland and Hindu terrorism in Assam, and amongst the Naxalites [Images].

We have had everything thrown at the Indian nation State. Still, we have stood up. The people of India have shown the courage and ability to believe in their nation and to fight back. But the completely impotent leadership of five years have turned a tough country into a soft State.

I am very sad. I keep feeling that if they protect India as they protect their leaders — whether it is Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] or Congress President Sonia Gandhi [Images] — I think I would be safe. Today, India’s leaders are safe and India is in panic.

On what India’s response should be:

India’s proper reaction would be possible if we understand the extent of the disease.

If the disease is cancer, you can’t apply band aid. After making a complete mess of security issues for five years by asking Shivraj Patil [Images] to go finally we may have a home minister who doesn’t comb his hair and change his clothes. But we want something more than that. If it is cancer, we need chemotherapy, a much more serious exercise. It needs a legislative and executive framework. It needs political mobilisation. People are numbed.

The Indian people have no leadership. You have a prime minister. Did you see him when he addressed the nation? Nobody knew if he was addressing the nation or having a cup of tea?

He looked serious, but he didn’t talk to us about our anger and about our anguish. I think this administration is tone deaf to the anguish of the people. They just cannot understand what the people are going through. They just don’t understand our pain or our anger. The most important thing is that, perhaps, we have politicised not only the instruments of the State like the police but we have also politicised the understanding of the nature of the problem.

I think the very first thing to do is to ensure security so that it prevents the next attack. If any attack takes place under someones job should go. Don’t come to me with alibis.

On the terrorists getting local support:

I am an Indian Muslim and I am very proud of both, being an Indian and a Muslim. I do not see any contradictions. This is my land and I have nowhere else to go.

But can I say because I am an Indian Muslim that no Indian Muslim is involved? Can you, because you are a Hindu, say that no Hindu is involved? We have to behave like Indians first. Not as a Muslim or as a Hindu first. Because we need Hindu votes and Muslim votes and because this government thinks that it needs Muslim votes so it has been in complete denial.

Do you think that these people came across from Pakistan and had no support in Mumbai?

It is not possible. It was a huge operation. Ten people hit nine places and you killed nine of them. You want to say that they went from place to place? Who knows some of them must have slipped away to create new sleeper cells to hit us six months later.

They are hiding things. I would like to believe that there was an underworld connection. Because, Karachi and Mumbai are also linked by drug smuggling. The culture of criminals is aggression. It comes naturally to them. It is not easy for you and I to become aggressive, however angry we are. It does not come naturally to us. These are people who are trained psychologically in aggression. They have no respect for the State. They have no love for the country. And they have no respect for authority.

Why? Because the only face of authority is the corrupt policeman. The criminal gives money in the morning and money in the evening. Why should he have respect for somebody he gives bribes to? For the guy from the underworld his understanding of the Indian State and authority is corruption. He has no patriotism to stop him. Why would he not join hands with the terrorists? In any case, he belongs to another world. We have not even begun to address and discuss this.

On the Pakistan factor

I am tired of giving Pakistan a long rope on some excuse or the other. Everybody is saying this will happen if we do this, that will happen if we do this. Our relations with Pakistan will go, then, let them go. What has our relations with Pakistan brought us except violence and terror? Why should we be in charge of saving Pakistan? For what? Every time they turn around and they say they want evidence. Now, finally we have evidence.

I have been an editor for 35 years from the age of 23. From that time on, since the days of General Zia-ul Haq, I have been hearing ‘Pakistan is asking for evidence’. We asked for withdrawal of their support to the movement for Khalistan, they said, ‘Oh, we don’t know anything about it.’ On Kashmir, they kept repeating where is the evidence. Benazir Bhutto [Images] came, she asked for evidence. Nawaz Sharif came, he asked for evidence. I think Pervez Musharraf [Images] asked for less evidence. Now again, they are asking for evidence.

There is a terrorist in Mumbai, captured and arrested. How much more evidence do you want? If what he is saying is not evidence, then how can you get more evidence?

This government is in its 11th hour. Now they will bluff the people to protect their votes. There is no time left for them. The agony of departure will be hard from this government.

On the reaction in the West

The US and Britain have a vested interest in telling India to look within. Why? When Americans die then they can send their air force 7,000 miles and bomb every country to smithereens. But when Indians die, they tell us no, no, you must be patient. You must act like a swami and a yogi. Why? Is an American life more precious than an Indian life? Why should we keep listening to them? But we have a government that keeps listening to them all the time. We don’t get tough.

The last time we got tough was after the attack on Parliament. We took some tough actions under Operation Parakram and then there was a certain lull. Three years ago, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was able to tell President George W Bush [Images] that there are no terrorists amongst Indian Muslims. That means that lull continued.

Pakistan must be made to realise that it will have to pay a heavy price. Not necessarily through war, but a heavy price will have to be paid in loss in trade, in cancellation of orders and other engagements. They should pay a heavy price in terms of people to people relations. I am not saying you can freeze a relationship to death, but the message must go out that if there is a crime there will be a penalty. You just can’t get away with it.

Let the Pakistan government cooperate with us. But look at how the Pakistan government has buckled down and we are sitting here whimpering.

They want to send some lowly officers to India. For what? Even Pakistan is treating the Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi government with total contempt. They know how weak it is.

Delink Hindu-Muslim relations and Pakistan

Look, you must not confuse the Pakistan issue with the Indian Muslims issue. Their so-called alienation or their economic deprivation is not linked to the issue of Pakistan.

Indian Muslims have nothing to do with Pakistan. They have absolutely no sympathy for Pakistan. They know that Pakistan was the biggest mistake committed in the history of Indian Muslims. They know it. You can ask anyone in Baroda, Bihar or Mumbai. They know how they are suffering the backlash of all the consequences of cross-border terrorism.

Today, they fear retribution from the government, they fear retribution from popular disenchantment and anger. They feel helpless. They feel afraid.

We must understand finally that it is not so much the ‘local people’, it is the local underworld that is involved in anti-India activities. In 1993, who were involved in terrorism? The underworld. Why have you not done anything about it? The State turns a blind eye to the police and corruption. I don’t know how many readers smoke hashish and other stuff, but I am accusing them of cross-border terrorism. Drugs come to India from Afghanistan via Karachi.

What we can do as individuals

If whoever is responsible for protecting the nation fails, then he or she should not be allowed to continue in power. That is the toughest and sharpest message we can give. You can tell that you may be a soft State, but we are a hard people and we are hard voters.

We are not going to forgive you for your lies and deception and for your waffling. How many blasts do we need to understand that? When Jaipur [Images], Ahmedabad [Images], Mumbai and Delhi [Images] happened no one who was genuinely guilty was caught.

We have to understand now that corruption has eaten away vitals of this nation. It is the biggest danger to the security of India. It is not just the case of some spectrum being sold to someone by some minister in. Everyone who is corrupt get out!

It Is a failure all around. We have to be extremely practical and pragmatic. There is great deal to be depressed about as an Indian. Frankly speaking, I feel very angry and upset. I am never upset by the behaviour of our enemies. I am only upset by the betrayal of those I trust.

(via Rediff)

RBI slashes CRR by 0.5 percent

The Reserve Bank of India had decided to slash the Cash reserve ratio ( CRR ) by half a percent or 50 basis points thus bringing it down to 8.5%. The move is to release cash into the system and banks will find it easier to lend to borrowers.
Manic Monday saw the Sensex crashing to 5.78%, its third biggest fall this year. With global markets all trading in the red, it was an expected fall. The Dow Jones has now fallen below 10000 points, its first in more than four years. The European markets are also suffering and talks are on about a similar bailout package like the one in America which will help the major banks and financial corporations survive in these turbulent and uncertain times. The Nikkie, Hang Sheng as well as the other Asian markets also fell on Monday.
Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of India, in probably the first of a lot of measures to be taken in order to bail out investors, slashed the cash reserve ratio by 0.5 percent. This is the first CRR cut by the RBI since June 2003. Though the move is expected to bring down the interest rates being offered by the banks, it may still be unlikely. For the moment the move is a good one as it will release almost 20,000 crores into the system. This amount may not be enough but as the Reserve bank has maintained that this is ad hoc, temporary measure and the reserve bank will watch and monitor as to what happens next. Though there will be liquidity but there is a fear in the market seeing the American and the global crisis and that is why the banks are not lending much. But the move is expected to bring down short term rates in the immediate future.
The Securities and exchange board of India also decided to do its bit by reducing the curbs on foreign investors over overseas derivates instruments(ODI’s) or the Participatory notes(P notes). The move was welcomed by foreign investors but may not translate into much due to the financial crisis else where in the world.
At a time when global crude oil prices are at a low at almost $90 per barrel, inflation should not rise. But the Reserve bank will have to be wary of the impact of the cut in the cash reserve ratio on the inflation numbers which were just below the twelve percent. Most of the banks in India though have welcomed the step taken by the reserve bank, but have said that it may not impact the interest rates but will definitely increase liquidity in the system thus making it easier for banks to lend. A lot will depend on the global financial crisis and the mood of the foreign investors. But as the finance minister has kept pointing out, the Indian market is safe and strong despite the global crisis. We can expect more such measures being taken by the Reserve bank in the coming months for the senses is trading at a two year low and the mood amongst the investors in the market is grim.

Did the CBI mess up in the Arushi Murder case?

The case of a brutal murder of young Arushi Talwar and her servant Hemraj in Delhi had made the entire nation sit up and take notice. Three months have passed since, but the CBI was unable to gather enough evidence against the prime suspects.
The Indian premier investigative agency the Central Bureau of investigation has not been able to find evidence after three moths of investigation, narco tests as well as strict interrogation. The mandatory period to submit evidence in court against the suspects is ninety days and since the CBI was unable to submit any evidence, the main three accused have been granted by a Ghaziabad sessions Court.
The biggest drawback for the investigation of the CBI was the missing murder weapon. Till date the murder weapon has not been located and continues to elude the investigating authorities. But the entire matter seems to have gone out of hand for the CBI for just a couple of months back they had announced that they were very close to solving the double murder case and had taken the accused into custody.
The Talwars’ compounder, Krishna was the prime suspect. He was abetted by the domestic help of the Talwars’ friends the Durannis, Rajkumar and the domestic help of their neighbour, Vijay Mandal. The three were taken into custody but because of the inability of the CBI to charge sheet them, all the three have been now granted bail by the sessions court. Another point of discussion is that though much had been made of the narco analysis texts as well as the Lie detector. But the result of the Narco analysis as well as the Lie detector cannot be produced in court as a form of evidences.
Now that the CBI was unable to find evidence against the prime suspects, it is looking at other forms of help. A letter has been sent to Nepal in order to assist in the investigation by helping find the mobile phone. Also the CBI has gone on to announce an award of Rs. 1 lakh to anyone who can throw some light on this case by giving them information regarding the murder weapons.
Both Krishna and Rajkumar were granted bail by the session court but after paying 2 sureties of Rs. 25,000 each. Both were arrested in the months of june and were closely associated with the Talwar family.
Since the CBI was unable to find evidence, the three accused have been let off on bail. The Arushi murder case though continues to be in the limelight as the real perpetrators of this crime have gone scot free. The CBI will have to re begin the investigation in order to shoot some of the scenes and find out who the real killer is. Questions are being raised about how efficiently the CBI has handled this case. It is yet not known for sure who the real murderer is but yet the prime suspects as by the CBI have been granted bail due to lack of evidence. The Arushi Hemraj plot continues to thicken.

A Toast to our success!!

It is said, to accomplish great things we must dream as well as act. Our dream to launch a platform for the youth to come forward and express their views and opinions regarding their motherland has been realized. It is a matter of great pride for all of us that this will be our 100th post at the blog “Jai Hind: Proud to be an Indian”. Whoever said that the Indian youth is not patriotic or has no interest in national affairs, our blog has proved all our detractors wrong.

Since Mitesh is busy in Silicon Valley, let me take this opportunity to thank all fellow writers, contributors as well as thousand of our readers. This could not have been possible without their invaluable contributions. Special thanks to Mitesh Ashar who is the creator of the blog and the man working incessantly behind the scenes and to Rishabh Srivastava who has dedicated his whole and soul to this blog.

But, this is just the beginning and by no means are we done yet. As a wise man had once said, “Great Dreamers dreams are not just fulfilled, but transcended” Cheers guys, do keep up the great work.