Obama’s advice to the American kids

There was parental anxiety in Mr. Obama’s tone when he asked the American kids to gear up to meet the challenges posed by the up and coming Indian and Chinese students “who are in the classrooms longer than the American kids”. Mr. Obama is equally worried about the US education system itself which he feels needs overhauling in order to compete with other international universities and colleges. 

One wonders whether Mr. Obama was making some sweeping remarks to alert the American kids or he really meant it. Anyhow, India cannot take things for granted. It is true that Indian students have proved their mettle at the international level, but the Indian education system as a whole has to go a long way to attain international standards. While taking steps to improve the standard of education it is also necessary that the students should keep their hands off politics which is the main cause for all internal problems. Though Mr. Obama has said that the Indian and Chinese students spend less time on video games, the Indian kids from upper and middle class families do not deserve this encomium.

What ails European Union?

Just now the lilac is in bloom; if winter comes, can spring be far behind? Isles of Greece, Isles of Greece…All except their sun is set. Like flies to wanton boys are we to God….I could not help laughing at myself but it was back to square one. Karl Marx, Victor Hugo, Isaac Newton, Bertrand Russell and a host of other big names flashed across my mind. Europe loomed large in my mind or rather, its contribution to art, literature, philosophy, science, education, sports and games. The Europeans were the trend setters; they were good businessmen too.

 But right now they seem to grope in the dark, restless and restive. Or else, why are they so reluctant to accord wholehearted support to the European Union? The poor voter-turnout in the recent European parliament elections does not augur well not only for the European countries but to the rest of the world as well. It is clear that people are more concerned about their immediate problems resulting from the global economic crisis than about the European Union.

But if they look back and draw inspiration from their forefathers they could safely overcome the present problem.

Obama and the new beginning

When Barack Obama made it to the top, he created history – no doubt, it was a long and tiresome journey but obama, the man, kept the spectators in good humour and won their hearts. Roses have their thorns too. The thorns came in the form of an unprecedented economic slump. Some stop gap arrangements have been made in the hope that the country will bounce back before long.

As the days rolled by, Mr. Obama must have come to the conclusion that prosperity will thrive only in a peaceful atmosphere and the result was his hour – long speech, the other day, directed at an international Muslim audience. His intention was not to chastise anybody but to identify the source of tension in West Asia. He was strongly in favour of a New beginning between US and the Muslims based on mutual interest and mutual respect. The entire Muslim world listened to him and most of them are convinced that new beginning could be made. Even those who were not carried away by his speech merely expressed their reservation without using any harsh words.

Can we hope for a new beginning?

Unity in diversity!

The demand for state autonomy is rising its ugly head once again in India. It is a distant cousin of separatism and if this demand is conceded, it could gradually lead to disintegration of a country whose beauty lies in the concept of unity in diversity. In this connection, it is worth mentioning here that whenever interstate disputes crop up, the states concerned behave as if they are independent countries and often it results in a mini-war-like situation. What the country, (Any country for that matter) needs is not independent autonomous states but interdependent states under the control of a strong centre. Many Indian states are in the grip of regional and linguistic fanatics who mislead the youngsters to such an extent that they shed their Indianness with ease for the sake of their language or state. If the country is to be saved from this dangerous trend, the national parties must sink their difference and launch a compaigns to make the youngsters realise that their strength lies in the unity of the country; and each language and region is a part of this nation and no one is inferior or superior.

Pak to get US aid…

US Aid to Pak!

US Aid to Pak!

Hail Rainbow, Hail Vibgyor

Of all colors which one is the most beautiful?

Asked the teacher

“Red, blue, white, orange…..” students shot back

“one at a time please”, the teacher insisted

“Red” said the boy who wore a red shirt

“I like blue”, said the girl who wore a blue skirt

“No sir, black is the best” said the boy who was himself black

A white skinned boy who sat next to him

Merely laughed and whispered, “I leave it to you”

“Neither black nor white. There is one in between

like my skin”, said yet another boy.

Then there was a wise looking girl who kept mum all along

All eyes turned to her when she stood up

“C’mon out with it”, the teacher said.

“Vibgyor is my choice, I like the rainbow”

“She is absolutely right”, the teacher said

And clapped his hands

All the kids stood up and clapped their hands too

All colors are beautiful, more so

When they are together like the rainbow in the sky.

“So shed your ego, shed the racist in you

Take a vow”, pleaded the teacher.

“Down with racism,

 long live the rainbow spirit”, the students shouted.

Dr. Manmohan's Dilemma

Belying the opinion polls, exit polls and the fear that it was going to be a hung parliament in India and the uncertainties resulting from such a verdict, the congress-led front returned to power with a comfortable majority. The BJP-led NDA did somewhat better but the III front led by the leftist were almost wiped out. About the IV front, the less said, the better. The poll pundits gave several reasons for the debacle of these fronts but in my view one major reason for the set-back was their adament stand against the Indo-US nuclear deal which might have scared away the educated youngsters.

But it was not a cakewalk for the Congress before and after the elections. Normally, it is the prerogative of the Prime minister to choose his ministers but Manmohanji was under tremendous pressure from the partners to accomodate their MPs in the cabinet irrespective of their qualification or experience. And, some of them seem to be over enthusisatic and are in a hurry to prove their mettle. Some have already indicated their partiality to the state they belong to.

The Omni Present Journalist

A leading News channel in India can be proud of one of its reporters whose name I know not but who loomed large. There were serious discussions on News channels by one and all on the chances of victory of this group or that alliances; but when people on the screen are too serious or too noisy, the viewers are tempted to switch over to other less important but more interesting channels.

Election campaigns had been in full swing. The media people were on their toes and she was among them… the one I had referred to at the top. She was different from others, but I won’t say she was more scholarly than the rest, or more charming. She was Omni Present! Today she might be in a South Indian city, chatting with hawkers or taxi drivers and the next day she could be seen in a remote village in North India, listening to the grievances of the farmers.

Besides English and Hindi, she seemed to be quite at home with a couple of other languages; and her mission was not exactly to know the preferences of the voters but to highlight their problems. In short, even as she was enjoying every bit of here encounter with all sorts of people, she was making you happy too.

Business Outsourcing!

Business Outsourcing!

Dignity of Labor

Dignity of labor, though an imported “culture”, is taking roots in India. Gone are the days when certain jobs were looked down upon and the ones who took up such jobs were supposed to be dull heads. Government jobs commanded great respect in those days, especially in the marriage market, mainly because there was security of job and, of course, the possibility of what is euphemistically called “Side income”.
The contempt for hotel workers in the middle class families was such that if a boy was not good at studies, the parents would keep telling him that he was suitable only for some “Hotel jobs”.

Not that there was no craze for professional courses but that was the monopoly of the upper middle class. Now the attitude of the of the people has undergone a sea change. They do prefer government jobs for the same reasons; but there are options which are considered to be far better than government jobs. After the advent of information technology, the government jobs became the choice of the less fortunate!

Now a days, the so-called middle class families who had nothing but contempt for hotel jobs are sending their kids to catering colleges which will ensure them a “decent job” in the Hotel. You may be a supplier or a cook but at the same time, well dressed and the jobs have sophisticated names! And what more, you speak only English!