Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Projectile of Project


Respected Sir,

First and foremost my warm Diwali greetings to you and your family. Hope you have a great year.

In my introduction I would only like to state that I am a teacher (NET qualified) of Organic Chemistry…trying to help out the students of Class X to MSc. And would like to request you not to delete it before going through it in its entirety…as it normally happens. Being a teacher has it demerits…we try to explain too much!

Now coming straight to the reason behind this mail of mine…it is the confidence you have instilled in us with some real soul-searching as far as revamping the education system in our country. As far as I can remember this is the first time some concrete steps (apparent) are being taken in this direction. I congratulate you for that and thank you as well.

Drawing confidence from your efforts I would like to state the following…in fact glaring lacunae in the format of CBSE curriculum…even at the elementary level. I know with years of neglect preceding (with no disrespect intended to your predecessors), it is not possible to rectify all the faults simultaneously, but still being a teacher and a responsible citizen of the country I feel it my duty to point out the follies…as no system can be absolute and the moment we start to live in a fool’s paradise, not feeling the need for improvement, we are doomed.

You have every right to dismiss my petition but I would be grateful…and I am sure, guardians of innumerable students too would echo the same feeling who are not able to protest directly fearing the backlash.

I as a teacher feel that education should be fun… learning while retaining an element of fun. Only then studies would not be repulsive…a job that that hence needs to be done perforce and not spontaneously. And we as teachers should not confine our responsibilities to the confines of the syllabi. Our job is to shape the overall growth of students…so that when they move out in the competitive arena they are capable of looking after themselves professionally as well as at the personal level. But for that they would have to derive joy from their studies…look forward to their books, which unfortunately is not the case.

I enumerate the peculiarities in the system and would be extremely happy to know the reason why they came into being and are persisted with.

(i)      What is the logic behind goading the students with the elaborate project works?
               It is the guardians who complete them…as the students have to study (which is more important) and their ‘study load’—class work and homework doesn’t spare them the time for such irrelevant projects. I know there is relevance in assigning those projects…but what if the students are not in a position to do them?
            We in our student days used to have class work wherein these projects were carried out…instead of the present format when it is goaded as homework…and we learned from them.
          Mere intentions do not help. The feasibility of the approach needs to be considered.

(ii) Students are given ‘drawing’ tasks in all imaginable and unimaginable subjects…from Sanskrit to English to Hindi…none is spared when the students do not have time to spare.
        Why this ridiculous system? What is the point, barring allowing the teachers to wile time, instead of teaching?

(iii) What is the point in conducting tests almost as a continuum?
                  This spoils the natural momentum for learning and not only that, students thus have become only concerned about studying for their exams and passing, with not even an iota of interest shown towards real learning.

(iv) And after all this they--majority of them, thus allowing generalisation-- draw a blank when they go for their undergraduate studies, barely three months after their qualifying Class 12th exams

Well, this is the effect on the students in general…and exceptions are bound to be there to prove the rule.

Under the circumstances, I have certain queries:

(a) Do we want to churn out morons?
           I know statistical corroboration I cannot provide but don’t you feel that is what we are ‘manufacturing’ as an offspring of this system?

(b) Do we need Jack-of-all-trades or specialists?
                I know you are in favour of the latter, going by your interview in The Times of India, Ascent, dated 3rd November, 2010.

(c) Can’t we make the system pro-students?

(d) Furthermore, in my blog “Intentions vs Repercussions” I have mentioned the possibility of the CCE being misused by the teachers.

The guardians are fed up with the present structure but cannot protest as there three outcomes of it. First is the plea of the school authorities that they are bound by the CBSE format. Second is the harsh reality wherein the guardians are asked to take away their wards from the school if they are so dissatisfied. Last but not the least, the ward of the protesting guardian has to face the wrath as a backlash.

Sir, is this becoming of educational institutions? If this and the present format of curriculum continue without any further changes in this context, we shall continue to have qualified but not educated subsequent generations. Do we want such a progress for our country?

I know I might have over-stepped my limits but being a teacher and given the fact that you have taken the issue of reforming the education system so very seriously I couldn’t control myself…in spite of people telling me “It would be of no use”. At least this gives me some satisfaction of having tried to do something…even if by merely writing to the right person. Still, if the contents of my mail have in anyway offended you, it has been completely unintentional and I am extremely sorry for that.

I earnestly hope that my plea would be read, considered and the necessary actions, as per your discretion would be mulled… and executed subsequently.

In this regard, if you want any more suggestions (which I don’t think you would need, given a wonderful team that must be working with you) I would try my level best.

With warm regards,

Sushmita Mukherjee

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hypocrisy of Democracy

Hypocrisy of Democracy

At times I—as well as people like me—get tired of writing about these things repeatedly. But given the tenacity of the perpetrators—for propagation of undesirable activities—I am pulled up from the labyrinthine tiredness.  I am sure I have used the term ‘hypocrisy of democracy’ in one of my blogs, but don’t quite remember, which one. In any case, it is not only I, but also majority of the population—the qualified class, herein I refrain from using the word ‘educated’…no disrespect intended—who feel the same. And it is this ONENESS, which is now compelling me to put my thoughts to words.

As one tragic incident after the other follows…being flashed in the newspapers while the electronic media airs the heart rending scenes…all because of the shameless acts of the politicians –men and (wo)men in power—I decided to take up one issue…though not relegating others as far as their severity is concerned…which most definitely makes mockery of the term DEMOCRACY and CIVILISATION.

The RSS chief, Mr. Sudarshan, made some comments on Mrs. Sonia Gandhi…whether it was his personal views or his party’s that is redundant here. The status of a remark is marked by the response it generates from the recipient or from the people on her/his behalf…and I don’t claim that the contents of the comments shouldn’t have irked or offended the people it did. But my point is, whether the nature of the protest over it should have been so violent? Did it call for the destruction of public property all over India?

I know by putting forth these questions I am giving people the scope to call me ‘communal’ and what not. But mind it I am yet to congratulate Mr. Sudarshan for his views! And I openly state that my religious views are ‘humane’…for which I don’t have to don a certificate around my neck. Also I believe that politics…for the sake of the nation…should be much above mud slinging…with interests of the citizens being the focal point.

At the same time I would like to ask the very protesters…who vented their anger (however justified that might have been)…were the comments more disgraceful than the disgrace that befalls the women of our country with frightening frequency?

Everyday honour of women is violated and desecrated…by molesters, rapists and also ‘rapist-husbands’. Even a child—a female child is not spared. But do we get to see such protests being staged, let alone nationwide, but even in the area to which the victim belongs. NO. This implies that such comments are more serious than the actually physically committed crimes against the gender of which Madam Gandhi is the most prominent representative in Indian context! I am in no way justifying the comments nor I am stating that there shouldn’t have been protests. On the contrary the comments could have generated protests alone…but the manner and magnitude for it is ridiculous, if one cannot say incredulous.

Wasn’t there a better method and definitely civilized method to protest?
Couldn’t the Congress party workers filed a Defamation Suit against the concerned person?
Or did they evaluate the comment and found it to be not offending enough legally?
And based on that they felt that they had the (il)legal right to do what they did…for what I don’t know…to please Mrs. Sonia Gandhi or to show their ‘respect’ for her?

We all would definitely like to see such unified concern and protest against the innumerable dishonourable acts being committed against women ‘in general’…instead of violent actions over comments against only prominent politicians. The politicians are supposedly, for us and by us…and most unfortunately one of us. I say, ‘unfortunately’, because once they become what they are, they forget this fact. And hence they see themselves as specimens of a different category…from the one they ‘thought they belonged’.

This has led to the abominable germination of double standards, wherein in the name of DEMOCRACY, we have become victims of factually HYPOCRISY OF DEMOCRACY. I don’t know how should I relate to India’s IN-DEPENDENCE –63 year old DEMOCRACY or 63 year old HYPOCRISY OF DEMOCRACY…

Sushmita Mukherjee,
17th November 2010.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Theory Of Relativity - III

The first part contained the relative use of Science, while the second part concentrated on the excessive use of the ‘relative’. But both the parts have one thing common—apart from the main theme of relativity—and that is the medium of expression, the language.

When the language is so adept at explaining behaviours—scientific and human—how can it remain elusive to the effect of relativity?
Hence in the third part—the last one—I would like to discuss certain aspects that are again obviously known to all. Still I take it up as cognizance of the fact that any discussion on relativity would be incomplete without acknowledging—which we fail to do, failing to recognize its importance, as is with all things that are obvious—the medium that allows us to express our relative views on relativity encompassing disparate domains. Yes, you have guessed correctly—the English language. In fact it is an ode to Queen’s language—a medium is needed to express the findings—realisations as well—the lack of which would erroneously manifest the non-existence of any finding(s).

Though the language and its usage is resplendent with innumerable examples to represent the cause, I shall consider only some of them—frankly speaking I do not have the true estimate of number of such representatives, given the infinite ocean of the language in which we are fortunate to sail. Furthermore it is dependent upon the perception of the person concerned, so permutations and combinations totaling to give the exact number too, would be anything, but finite!

Thus Theory of Relativity decides a specific action to manifest resistance, rigidity, conviction or selfishness.
        An act resulting out of sheer conviction of one person might be termed as resistance or selfishness by others—depending upon their perception of the matter. At the same time a person might effectively be resistant to something or might be acting out of sheer selfishness—but is of the perception that by doing so his/her conviction is being followed.

The words are relative in the sense that they are directly dependent upon the situation at hand—as also on the perception of the people involved in it. Thus, different people, under different conditions, might ‘label’ a similar sort of action ‘differently’ for different perceptions. Just like my penchant for writing—which is my passion, backed by my conviction that I need to share my views—might be termed as madness, by others!

Furthermore, accuracy is referred to as ‘frighteningly accurate’ and imperfection as perfect as in ‘perfection in imperfection’. And the best one to me is our Independence—which is actually In dependence as I have mentioned earlier as well…it is an independence from the foreigners but again it is relative ……as now we are in dependence and slave to our vices as well as to that of our politicians’.

Hence the issues that ‘concern’ me might not be worth a thought for others—to them it being too obvious to be important and hence, redundant. I don’t blame them, as it is again a matter of perception and relativity, which it leads to—things important to others might not be so for me. But the things that I have mentioned here are obviously relatively important with their inherent relativity, to merit my time and attention to ultimately gain identity as this piece!

Thus interpretation, based on an individual’s perception is relative. But deliberate misinterpretation is distortion to the extent of manipulation.

Hence it is not always the literal meaning that gets implied. Relative use of words and their interpretation—again a relative action—changes the meaning…some sort of linguistic alchemy in operation…. with human perception being the alchemical agent.

Sushmita Mukherjee,
11th August 2010.

Theory Of Relativity - II

The first part has been dedicated to the ‘relative’ use of Science—as misuse and abuse—as a cause of a neither dormant nor extinct—volcano of a debate, “Science is a boon or a bane”—instead a very much active one.

But as I have mentioned—oops sorry, rather in trying to take a peek into what Einstein had possibly intended with and for, his theory of relativity—relativity has no boundaries. It transcends all and encompasses all—that which comprises our life and the world as a whole.

Science, we all would accept can never be wrong or could never harbour negative intentions for mankind—at least this remains an absolute philosophy. Yet it is again the paradoxical element of life that keeps alive and fans the above-mentioned debate—to keep it on its raging course unabated. Hence the very mankind for whose betterment Science stands for—and whose advancement too is brought forth by mankind—some of the members of that same species is utilizing it for the purpose it never was meant for—harming, again the same, mankind.

Not only in the field of Science, but life in itself, we have ended (yes) up misusing—and that too by an excessive ‘use’ of relativity. If relativity pervades the entire canvas of life, then life too would engulf relativity by getting it ‘used excessively’ by the inhabitants of this earth. And that is what has happened; to lead to the society in which we live today…bad is the excessive use of anything.

In the ‘relative’ society that we live, we do not consider ourselves to be a part of a bigger family—nation as a whole, to subsequently embrace the entire world as our own.

The simplest example is the distortion of the word ‘cooperative society’, due to this relative approach, albeit excessive. Our actions manifest cooperative as, to co-operate, but towards ‘co-ntradictory’ causes—only to satisfy our own desires with no concern whatsoever for that of others’.

This is the reason our country projects a very dirty—literally—picture to the world. The roads are littered with ‘what not’. Even the residential colonies and housing complexes too give them a stiff competition in the race for ‘un-cleanliness’
     People by their behaviour prove that the ‘carpet area’ of their ‘house’ is their own and hence needs to be kept clean. Rest—the common area—is not their responsibility and hence can be littered with…as a consequence the whole area becomes a big waste-bin, but they are not bothered. No sense of belonging for anything or anyone outside their four walls.

While we were in Bihar people use to prefer Bengalis for tenants—I too being a Bengali took pride in this fact—stating Bengalis keep the house clean. But having shifted to Kolkata, my pride turned to shame—as I have unravelled one of the main reasons behind the cleanliness that they maintained—they throw the unwanted items out of their houses on the roads, in the campus…. whichever turns out to be at fault, by being adjacent to their house! They do not even labour to get up and throw the waste in the bin, when a huge expanse of a bin is easily available to them—at a ‘window’s throw’ that is at a ‘stone’s throw’! Naturally the house would remain clean and only clean.

This I do not state to demean the place where I live. In fact the same story is prevalent all over the country, and hence the cumulative image. I have just stated my findings—one of relative cleanliness. If only we could accept the simple fact that each and every part of our nation is our own—though I know with blatant show of extremism in regional feelings, it is difficult to inculcate and maintain; and about this I have talked of in my blog: “Empowered State and Belitted Nation”—roads, forests…everything, then India too with its rich natural resources—though fast depleting—would look clean like other countries. Very often the first impression turns out be the last impression.
Poverty is cited as one of the main reasons for the lack of cleanliness. But this too is a relative approach—adopted only to avoid responsibility and evade accountability—in totality.
     Needy people do not come and litter the surroundings of our abode with half-eaten packets of biscuits, wafers, etc. Rather they act as scavengers—picking up things as useful, which we consider waste. So all blame cannot be levied on them—an already deprived class of our society—for the mess, the rest of the society plays a major part in creating.

It needs to be humbly accepted that it is our self-serving, extreme use of relativity that has primarily led to this negative outcome—instead of blaming the rest and the sundry; we need to reflect on how we are contributing to the menace.
        If we could cleanse ourselves from within, to bond with our surroundings as our very own, only then we can cleanse the image of our nation—which we have converted into a literal, absolute and not relative, waste bin. 

Sushmita Mukherjee,
 August 9, 2010  

Theory Of Relativity - I

Relativity of relativity makes it a diverse field. Manifestation of relativity in all walks of life is quite apparent. Hence a specific domain for relativity becomes difficult to assign. At least this is a fact—absolute—in this relative world that we all cohabit! And with the confidence in this ‘absolute-ness’, I have dared to title the current ‘piece of thought’.

The original theory, of this name, by the genius of Albert Einstein I am not going to delve in and dwell upon—for the simple reason that I am not at all qualified for the job. But yes, his theory has given me the courage to look beyond the realms of Physics and Chemistry and realise the omnipresence of relativity. My realization of the said omnipresence is the product of my experiences in life and their retroanalyses. All theories have physical significance—events from our day-to-day life inspiring their inception. And when I decided to go ahead and translate my thoughts in this regard little did I know I would get validation from Einstein himself, through his analogies! No, no, not my theory but my application of the original by extrapolation to life, as is evident from the following anecdote: Albert Einstein was often asked to explain the general theory of relativity. "Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour," he once declared. "Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That's relativity!"

All theories—generalizations—are based on the execution of the three steps: experiment, observation and inference—in the order of their mention. When an experiment yields an unprecedented—in its unexpectedness—result for the first time, it is termed a fluke; recurrence for the second time elevates it to the status of coincidence, which is maintained over a specific statistical value. But when the frequency of its occurrence becomes too frequent it necessitates a promotion to generalization! This I have realized during the course of my training as student and teacher of Organic Chemistry, which has forced me to generalize that, “Frequent Occurrences of Coincidences Leads to Generalization”.

This holds true in life as well, rendering this thought absolute. And the beauty and efficacy of science—with its wonderful theories—increase manifold if they are assimilated and integrated, and ultimately incorporated, in life. Only then they could be of use, in the absolute sense, to mankind—the primary reason for their coming into being.

But as I have stated, life as a whole is masked in relativity—in fact absolute relativity. Our life is an outcome of the way we react to our surrounding—people, environment, issues, incidents…..And the way we react depends upon how we relate to these parameters. Relating with people around us in a specific manner either enriches or blemishes, our life with relationships—healthy or unhealthy.

And if science could be extrapolated to life then the extrapolation could be in the reverse direction as well.

The way various chemical compounds relate to each other decides how they would specifically ‘inter-act’ with each other, which gets manifested as unique reactions. This has enriched us with an indispensable branch of science—Chemistry.   

Also with advancement in science the problems that earlier either used to go undetected or suffered from lack of solution are joining the list of ‘erstwhile-s’—both in their non-detection as well as solution. This is evidenced in the aftermath of the ensuing technological as well as medical wonders—the latter being an extrapolation of the former at times. No longer a breakthrough in one specific field remains confined to the limited domains of that field. They are being used by various disparate ‘disciplines’ to anoint themselves with the tag, ‘universal’.

But relativity is absolute!
Despite all these we still cannot deny the fact that ‘instead of human-beings being at the mercy of science for betterment of life, it is science that is at the mercy of its human handlers’. The nature of the dividend—positive or negative—it yields would depend upon how the scientific information is used. This fact, we are being blatantly forced to accept by the ‘terror inciting & inflicting groups’, who by their misuse of science actually abuse science and mankind. And it is not dividend that is yielded, but deficit that is incurred—dividend and deficit being the two sides of the ‘coin of relativity’. And this misuse is not restricted to only the terrorists—rather has become all pervasive with respect to its users.

This menace is a ‘by-product’ of the progressive world. But the way it is gaining identity it’s getting elevated to the post of ‘the product’ and not remain a mere ‘by-product’ seems frighteningly imminent. As the world progresses so does the menace—but at a brisker pace—gaining alarming proportions; after all downhill reactions are always faster.

Nothing can be absolute in this world—an absolutely relative place. Not even science. This is a fact. Yet the fact of the matter is the fact that life is a paradox and in this paradoxical life we cannot deny the equally paradoxical absolute—ness of relativity.

Thus my theory—if of any consequence—of relativity is that, “Relativity is absolute and if not absolute, at least relatively absolute”.

Sushmita Mukherjee,
31st July, 2010.  

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Googly of GOOGLE

The indispensability of Google in our life manifests itself with an ever-increasing magnitude. And why not, given the fact that Google has become our information manual for whatnots. Whatever we don’t know or don’t want to exert our brains for, we very spontaneously ask Google for the answer…and more often than not it comes up with the right answer.

For that all of us are thankful to Google—rather to the people (wo)manning the Google. Because it is they who feed the data…which necessitates updating the database continuously.  This has led to our high demands from them…that they quite capably meet. But this demand has thrust on them huge responsibility…well, nothing comes for free. It is a two-way traffic.

They are supposed to be 100 % accurate with the information they provide. Anything less than 100%, however inadvertent, doesn’t go down well with people…rendering Google responsible of irresponsible ‘behaviour’.

Given what they stand for, I too thus find their act of showing PoK in Pakistan—not once but twice—a highly irresponsible act. And at the same time immeasurably offending too, given the fact that it is ‘Google’—synonymous with authenticity—who is providing the ‘mis-information’.

I don’t know whether the Indian Government asked for a clarification—leave aside an apology—'for this act. And if this were any indication, then very soon we would come to know of various COAP and COITChinese Occupied Arunachal Pradesh and Chinese Occupied Indian Territories—from Google. China—as reported—did force a leading mobile phone company to indeed show parts of Arunachal as Chinese territories; though China later on refuted this report.

Paradoxically enough, showing PoK in Pakistan and potentiality of ‘exposing’ COAPs and COITs would have juxtaposed impacts.While the former going ‘un-protested’—at least as far as the information available to me—once again reinstates India’s character as being a spineless nation—the latter would be real eye-openers for the citizens of the country. There is a reason behind this claim of mine. When there were definite reports of Chinese incursion(s) in Arunachal, the then concerned minister—and who is now the troubleshooter of this current government—negated the claims, claiming that sanctity of India’s sovereignty has not been compromised.

Reports of Chinese incursion(s) though continues to trickling in, which are invalidated as many times by the ministers…whom one would now prefer to call Swayam Sevaks (Self serving) and not Jan Sevaks (Public servants), which they proclaim themselves to be. Due to the majority of such members of our parliament…our Parliament resembles a PIT—Politicians Interrupting Truth—with a TIP—Traitor(s) Infested Parliament

In spite of knowing all this we can’t do anything but accept the ‘official information’ that is offered to the nation.

But yes, Google with its Googly (of placing PoK in Pakistan)—and a very serious one at that—has trespassed into the domain of our Politicians. And have the politicians protested? No. And if my instinct and analyses is anything to go by, they haven’t protested because they themselves are Manipulators Par Excellence…charting their own MAP… for which they don’t need the help of Google …which stands for Manipulators @ Perfection—!!! 

Sushmita Mukherjee,
November 4, 2010.