Thursday, November 13, 2008

Innovation contd.....

I mean how else do you explain this program: http://www.ugc.ac.in/policy/refresher_course.html

Here's what the program is meant for:
"...is intended to inculcate in the young lecturers the quality of self- reliance through awareness of the social, intellectual and moral environment as well as to discover self-potential and confidence."

and add to that,

".....The participation in Orientation Course and Refresher Course is mandatory requirement for career advancement from lecturer to lecturer (Senior Scale) and......"

Therefore, we are teaching our 'Teachers'; they can't learn anything themselves!

And its not like they are eager to learn anything in the classrooms either; they need to be in there to get their "well-deserved" promotions. Infact, they will make cat-calls in the class room disrupting whatever discussion the "lecturer" is trying to initiate and then they will demand that they are allowed to cheat during the exam.

How about a list of people who have not received their promotions because they failed to learn and convert to practice anything from these courses?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Innovation

I need some statistical data on how many in a population typically can think when provided a subject and how many can choose their own subjects and 'run with the ball'. My guess is that there will be significant variation as a function of the economic and social structure of the Nation. For example, the Pew research center had published earlier this year a survey on the religious inclinations of Americans and it showed a decrease in the number of people who are compulsive followers of a religious faith. I should probably use the exact phrase used in the questionnaire but qualitatively what I took it to indicate was that in the US, we may see for the first time a decline in one of the most fundamental inhibitions of humans.

I'm now convinced that here people are rewarded for not trying to be 'original'. Do we have a Nation of Followers? The process of erasing our natural curiosity is very systematic, starting very early in our lives, both at home and in school. A Professor recently mentioned that if you are imaginative and creative, you should study Arts; Scientific research is boring, repetitive work, or something to that effect. Outrageous as it is, I soon realized that this is what is being taught to the future generations.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Is one Government viable for 1Billion people? Contd…..

There are various modes of Governance around the world with some people actually happy with the state-of-affairs in their respective lives. Democracy or whatever people think it is, seems to have a prevalent preference. However, when 83% of the population agree to do something and can’t find a way to implement their collective will, it violates the fundamental norms of our liberty.

The fact of the matter is that the people have been very effectively isolated from the system. Take for example the recent two-day banking strike protesting against something. Let’s assume whatever it is that just got protested against, was worth protesting. However, how does, shutting down all ATM machines and all employees of the banking sector staying back and trying to figure out a way to spend a weekday at home, getting absolutely crazy in the process constitute a protest? A symbolic protest would have been when all employees were present at work and would interrupt their work for lets say 10min to stand up from their desks and maybe assemble outside; even then, some people who wouldn’t want to protest could continue with their work. That would have been a demonstration of collective will. I had to use the ATM on both days. In the last four months, there have been about seven all day strikes out here. The argument is that such a feeble protest does not affect any changes; you have to inconvenience the masses to get noticed. Thus, the system refuses your basic liberty and ceases to be a democracy. This when practiced over time, isolates the people from the system. Then, individuals start adopting this model. The most common practice for administrators to avoid a situation that they are not willing to get involved at the moment seems to be to become unavailable.

A friend of mine once said Indians do not work for themselves; they still seem to think that they work for the British; why else would they habitually come late to work? Therefore, interrupting one’s work for ten minutes sounds ridiculous; like ‘when did we start working that we are going to interrupt it’. And speaking of democratic rights, people seem to know that they have to be vigilant against bad labor practices. Therefore they are verbose about why they will not execute a particular assignment while the working hours are spent between the canteen and card games; but the fact that when you are hired to work, working is one of your responsibilities somehow never gets into the equation.

This conflict between the people and the government they choose is partly related to the fact that in a democracy, the constituents of the ‘majority’ probably changes with time. Another part is probably a deficient consciousness regarding the lack of any physical existence of the government and the political parties.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Is one government for 1billion people viable?

According to Wikipedia, Liberty refers to the condition in which an individual has the ability to act according to his or her own will.

I had stopped by the local BSNL office. The problem I was seeking to rectify was that two months had passed by since a modem was installed, five months’ charges were paid in advance and I had no internet connectivity. The only meaningful way of making the authorities aware of the problem is to stop by their office between 3pm and 4pm. Inside the office, three persons started asking me which lights are blinking on the modem and what are the error messages. Incidentally, incase someone is unfamiliar about the LEDs on a modem, there’s one for power (!) and choosing that would have been a sure-shot to get some service. Instead, I tried to reason with them that these questions should actually be asked over phone, when the user is by their machine. I returned without being able to affect any change to the situation.

Effectively what happened was, the human beings responsible as hired representatives of the people to provide collective services to the people, refused to do so. This in turn pushed me to a private service provider.

Thus, the people choose to elect a government (being extremely cautious about their democratic rights and everything) and then choose to work towards making it redundant and get paid by the government for doing it.

Finally...

I had forgotten what my blog space was called; found it kind of funny now; its been about two months since I created this thing and couldn't decide what to start talking about.
What drove me back here was this site: http://www.vidyaashram.org
I read the note on knowledge & thought in a globalized world. Philosophically a definition of knowledge requires a differentiation between propositions, truths and beliefs and at the end the whole thing is left kind of fuzzy. But what if knowledge was processed information? Atleast everything is consistent on the time axis. The concept of lokavidya proposed in the article I'm referring to, ignores the fact that we have exceeded the carrying capacity of the planet.

I sat through a talk by Professor Pranabesh Sanyal of the School of Oceanographic Studies, JU today and it seems that back water contamination in our surface water sources is alarming; mangrove trees, 7-8 yr olds, can now be seen in Calcutta!

That basically sums up the fundamental characteristics of a developing economy.