Tuesday, September 21, 2010

India - CWG Tragedy!!!

Barcelona Olympics were held in Summer of 1992 and as a kid I always wondered when would such a spectacular event be held in my home country. When would India get the honour of hosting some International sports event where we could welcome foreign sports-persons, tourists and delegates. Show them our rich culture and heritage, our hospitality. As the years passed and I grew up the reality of India struck and any such thoughts were negated in the head itself.

Then came along a sweet surprise when I came to know the India is hosting the Common Wealth Games in 2010. Cool! Isn’t it. My country finally gets to host a major event. And then it happened… one by one news of corruption and incompetence started flowing in. A toilet paper roll for INR 4139??? You got to be nuts to sanction that, or you got to be neck deep in the corruption crap. And as all of us know that the later is true. Mr. Kalmadi (the great) had the nerve of saying that he doesn’t have to time to scrutinize such trivial matters and that he has people who do the scrutiny for him. Tell me Mr. Kalmadi, do you keep throwing your signatures around without looking at what you are signing? There was such a big hue and cry about the inappropriate expenditure for the inventory, despite which Mr Kalmadi and team were cleared by the Government. Hmmm. As citizens we couldn’t do much but look at the drama unfold from a distance.

Now we know that these hardcore thieves in bureaucratic positions earned money. By corruption and in appropriation of funds. Although in any other developed country these men would have been taken to the dogs; we left them to further complete the task in hand.

News of incomplete projects started trickling in. I mean, guys u earned your loot, at least complete the work in hand. But no. None of the residential buildings are complete yet. Those which are complete are not in livable condition at all. The stadium bridges, sports facilities are not done completely. The emergency services are not in order. The security is in a pitiful condition as well. Citizens living in the city where the games will be held have not been given cultural sensitivity training or taught civic sense. These activities that fall under various governmental organisations failed to perform as well. 

There are so many problems in the complete organization of the games, the way they have been handled and the way things look today. I wonder if India as a country was ready to take on the responsibility of hosting an event of this stature. I personally believe had the games been outsourced to some corporate group for execution, we would have done much better.

Politicians and bureaucrats never leave an opportunity to earn money in India. I wonder if greed is really so big that it makes you forget your core role and responsibility as a leader. Do Indians take things so very lightly. Can these men who are associated with so much corruption and inadequacy sleep at night.

The whole CWG controversy has left a very bad name for our country on the global platform. Is our country so inept at organizing a sports event? We are aiming at competing with the world powers and becoming an Economic force to reckon with, but are our leaders doing justice to all hard work put in by us on individual levels as citizens. I am not happy the way my tax money is being stolen from right under my nose. The CWG is a classic example of it. I work long hours a day of hard labour to earn this money, and I give the government their piece from my cake. Forget basic amenities like roads, water and emergency services, these politicians screw my country’s name at a global platform as well. As an Indian I don’t know what to do. Should I too flee the country like most of my friends have done and settle abroad for a better quality of life and peace of mind. Or stay put and fight it through… But how?

The only Common Wealth I see in this whole episode is that earned by Mr. Kalmadi, Delhi Government, Worthless politicians, Vendors and their associates...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Indian Education Revolution...

Some colleagues at work were discussing the new marks system in Indian schools. They were discussing how bad it has become and how poorly their kids would react to it. After digging in some more I realized that the new education system states that the kids would be evaluated on a 30-70 percent ratio. Here 30% marks will come from the terminal written examinations/tests and the remaining 70% will be given to comprehension, oral recitation, behavior, reaction, participation, co-curricular activities and sports combined.

I personally felt that the Indian evaluation system in schools has finally come to terms with the changing environment and is engaging students in activities which would teach them about handling real life situations rather than making them book worms.
Having said that, coming back to this discussion that I was a mute participant in colleagues seemed to be very upset with this change in evaluation. Their main concern was. If they are not writing exams what are they learning at school… I was really surprised that these guys would be upset at such a positive change. I mean they were upset because now their children don’t have to mug up books and write them as it is… Oh! C’mon. Don’t you understand that Indian education is breaking the stereotype of letting only the children capable of photocopying books earn marks and giving the more intelligent yet not able to memorize and write students an opportunity to get more marks. Don’t these parents understand that just maybe their kids will be better equipped to face the world and tackle real life situations. They will not throw garbage on the road and will be more empathetic towards others. They may just be more eager to help and would be more law abiding rather than just knowing birth and death anniversaries of great heroes. I am not saying that learning all that is not important; however implication of this text book knowledge in day to day life barely matters.

I think children need to have more developed civic sense, need to have more developed independent thinking, need to develop problem solving ability. Memorizing theorems will not help, using them in life is what is more important. I personally think that it is more important for children to write essays, to solve problems, to read books other than course material, to make projects, to express than just mug up what is written in a text book or giving to them as tuition hand-outs.

I pity parents who think that only written tests are a good measure of the child’s intellectual capability. These colleagues of mine were discussing how ‘faltu’ the new structure is. That sports and co-curricular activities are unnecessarily included in the evaluation. And that these activities will no way help their children’s education.  Wow! What world are these guys living in? For them movies like ‘taarein zameen pe’ and ‘3 Idiots’ are made. Do they just watch them as movies and come home and get back on the old track.

Give your child space. What the Indian education system is now heading for is a revolution. It will only make your child smarter and not some robot who can memorize a few lessons. Children who like course books will still like it none the less. But this new system will give opportunities to those who will be future scientists, researchers, writers, entrepreneurs, artists, painters, singers, dancers, sports-persons and the world. Let them experience a whole new world of opportunities. Let your kids look beyond lessons and chapters… let them experience.