Friday, April 28, 2006

11. Lighten the load of students: KALAM....

Lighten the load of students: Kalam …The Hindu…22 April,05..pp15

Full version of the letter that got accepted to LETTERS TO THE EDITOR in THE HINDU,April 23rd, 05

For years people keep talking about shedding the load of syllabi of our kids. Thousands of jokes have been in magazines about the literal load our kids carry everyday to their schools. But nothing has been actually done. What is the necessity for a kid in third grade to learn the names of the counties in England and the respective agricultural and industrial produces? Our text book ‘makers’ are too avaricious and try to cramp a heavy load of knowledge. Young age is the most suitable period to learn languages. Let our kids learn more languages, and more of languages and just a wee bit of math. At least let them wait to learn the heavy things from standard VI. Too much of knowledge oriented syllabi not only kills the creativity as our President has remarked but they are generally very weak in the languages – whether it is English or their own mother tongue. In higher levels of education they lack communication skills to express what they have crammed.

Will the words of our President fall into the ears of our educationists? Our President should also pursue this further

Friday, April 14, 2006


History tells us that all major religions are terribly blood stained.The births of religions and their spreading made havoc with human history. Many a time the might of sword made all the difference in helping the spread of most religions. Always it was a macabre drama. A ‘new found god’ trying to overtake an already existing popular god. Massacre in the name of gods was a very common feature when we look back the human history. Religions have been always vying with each other to ‘prove’ their superiority over the other. Each religion claimed that theirs is the‘only way’ resulting in acrimonious animosity among the followers. Each group wanted to outdo the other. No religion is an exception to this.

No wonder the same sad scenario prevails even today. No doubt it will continue in the decades (millennia?) to come. What would have been the history of mankind without religions is hypothetical question. No answer can be given. But I really wonder whether the world could not have been a much better place to live in? No one knows for sure! Nations have fallen apart; people have fought and are fighting against each other - brother against brother. All in the name of gods.

No light at the end of the tunnel. No hopes to have a peaceful future even in the far distance either. The religions would have been started with noble ideals of bringing out the best in man; to make him follow set ideals; to keep him within boundaries of decency and comradery. But man has not taken the religion in his hands as a guiding light instead it is a torch to burn down his brethren and his belongings; a club to clobber his neighbours. What was meant to be a source of solace is now a source of hatred and enmity. Man is responsible for this. But so also the religions.

Each religion,at least the major religions of the day, teaches man that THAT is the true religion; the only true religion. Preaching are drilled into the minds and dogmas are poured into their growing minds from the very childhood. This and the environment the children have in their early days make them grow very strong in their faith. The greatest horror is that children growing in one religion always gets tutored to hate other religions. Religion possesses them.They in turn become possessive of their religion. The religion becomes a matter of faith. No rationality is needed. It is mere meek acceptance of faith. It is just what somebody taught to somebody. The receiver never questions what was taught. In religion doubting or questioning is an anathema. The Cartesian doubt is right to be remembered in this place:“Doubt everything of which we cannot be absolutely certain. We will then find that most of our beliefs, which we have acquired casually from parents and teachers are not beliefs of which we can be absolutely certain”. But questioning of the religious dogmas is blasphemy to any person of faith.

Mostly we belong to a religion not by faith but by birth. So the conditioning starts from the cradle. The sad thing is that we many a time forget that there are two sides to every coin. We happily stop with knowing and completely accepting just one side of the coin. We are so much entrenched in the teachings of our childhood we do not even accept that there can be another side to the coin. We become more faithful. More the faithful more the fundamentalist. More the fundamentalist less tolerant to other faiths. Even tolerating, leave alone accepting, other religion becomes impossible. Negation of other ideas and religions become the proof of one’s depth of faith in one’s own religion.

Not only that, the feeling of being on the right side makes such a man of religiosity to think that he is a much better man than those belonging to other religions. This feeling of superiority alienates him from others. This alienation leads to intolerance towards the‘unfaithful’. The intolerance naturally leads to hatred. Disharmony is the very final result. What to expect in such a situation other than bombs and bloodshed! It is needless to say that this acrimonious psyche exists more among the three Semitic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

This antagonism grows in the mind of people so much that even people who got converted themselves one or two generations earlier get so much alienated with those who belong to their own earlier religion. So a society with two or three religions becomes virtually a battlefield – each side probably trying to prove that their gods are much superior to other gods! The roles of man and his creator become topsy-turvy – it is now the man who starts protecting his god from others! Our Indian situation is an apt example of this state of affair.

It is true that all religions preach love. But the religions very much stick to their own superiority over other religions also. These conflicting standards of religions make man more parochial. If the religions concerned happen to be organized religions like Christianity or Islam the problems become all the more serious since the decisions taken by a few at the top gush down to the grass roots to be accepted even without any whimper or second thought. It is the fiat of such few people always rules the roost. People at the top invariably are more fundamentalists since they have to prove to their following mass that they are more religious!

Man created religions and discovered god – mostly in his own image!Somebody said:” if triangles have gods, their gods would be BIG triangles”. I prefer to say, if buffaloes have gods, they would be BIG buffaloes,probably with more horns or so!

Religions thus created by man, of course with noble aims, grew into great powerful institutions. What was created became the master of the creator himself. The creation of gods and religions would have been purely for noble purpose but the followers of those institutions failed the original cause. Some religions became organized. Such organized religions became more and more powerful. Present day world is reaping the consequences of this draconian growth of religiosity. And it is very hard to hopefully assume that a day will come when the religious differences will vanish into thin air and people will all feel that they are one and the same – irrespective of their faiths. Faith is strong blind belief.So the ‘faithful’ also become ‘blind’ to other ways of life.

Our grand-parents or at the most, our great grand-parents (especially in the Indian context) would not have been the followers of the religion that you and I follow today. They would have got converted for some reason – definitely it could not have been based on their philosophical moorings; it could not have been after a thorough comparison of the religions concerned. There have been so many socio-economical reasons for the conversions, which most of us are aware. But now we hold on to that religion so dearly mostly due to our birth. When conversion from one religion to another is possible – a convenience we don’t have with castes– religions are like wearing a shirt. What should have been like a‘vest’ has become more like a ’skin’ to us which raises the question:

தங்கள் தோல்களையே
சட்டைகளாகஉறித்துப் போடுகின்றன.இவர்கள்
சட்டைகளைக் கூட
தோல்களாகத்தரித்துக் கொள்கிறார்கள் ?

A translated version of the above:

Snakes cast off even their ’skins’ so easily;But why these human beingsWear their ‘vests’ more like their ‘skins’?

* A paper read in an workshop conducted by the Inter-religious Dept, M.K. Univeristy, Madurai

Thursday, April 13, 2006


It all starts on the very day when I become the Prime Minister of India. On that day I start to promulgate list of drastic changes and orders. I send a fiat through all channels of television at 7 a.m. asking all the citizens to submit the details of their property. This info will all be fed into a Super Computer so that each individual gets an ID card within 3 months, with individual Identity Number. Different coloured and coded cards will immediately tell your status and all other particulars about every individual. No more benami - even for politicians!

The second day begins. Reservation policy remains with the following conditions: First generation candidates get the full extent of the advantages of the existing reservation policy. Second generation gets only one third of the benefits. Children from financially sound families - identified from their respective security numbers fall under common pool. On the other hand children form poor families irrespective of their castes get the ‘one third benefits’. The minority ‘rights’ are to be replaced by minority ‘protection’.

The third day. Lots of news about threatened riots come from all corners of the nation. So the third day becomes a busy day - giving orders to the military and paramilitary forces to proceed to all corners of the nation. At 7 p.m. I telecast in all channels sending a very stern warning to the people trying for the ‘uprising’ of the masses. I mainly focus on the communal and religious leaders to keep their mouths shut. And finally a serious toned warning to all politicians of all hues and colours not to wag their tongues. I warn them that it is good for them to keep idle - no speeches; no comments; no notifications; no nothing. The final word from me is that all the wealth of them and their kith and kin will be blindly confiscated even if there is an iota of doubt about any of them. Lesser they talk safer their wealth. That seals the major source of troubles tight.

Fourth day. People have started to anxiously wait for my messages everyday at 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.. This day brings them total ban on hartal, strike, bandh and such things. Religious, communal, political processions and public meetings of all sorts are banned totally - just by a word from me. Bureacrats are warned that either they produce results or go home. The term ‘accountability’ in all walks of life is to be stricly followed and stressed.

Fifth day. A very mild pleasant morning. So also my telecast brings in mild suggestions and orders. No maternity leave for the second delivery. Cut of one increment for every child after the second child. Disqualification of people to hold any public office if they have more than two children. Politicians are filing all their tax returns for the past 10 years with the details of their wealth in these periods within the next 15 days. They can choose to do this or face further repercussions.

Sixth day - A think tank for the country is nominated. I select just 4 dependable people and make them charge of 4 different think-tanks - one for economics, one for social, one for administration and one for justice. These people have to select a set of intellectuals suitabale who should be above board in all respects. They are commanded to conduct affairs of their repective fields. They are to bring results at the shortest span possible. They are all supreme and take orders only from me.

The seventh day dawns. I have a feeling that I have achieved what I wanted to. I really feel tired. I cancel the daily routine. No telecast today. I relax. Go to bed. I’m almost slipping into a very deep slumber. But suddenly there is a slight drizzling. I woke up and find that my daughter is waking me up from my Sunday afternoon nap sprinkling water on my face.


It is always considered that youngsters bubbling with youthful energy
are great dreamers. They, of course, don’t stop with dreaming;
instead with all the future ahead of them, they begin to plan to reach the
heights they dreamed. At least whether they do it this or not, that is
how they are expected to be. On the other hand, the oldies after having
gone through the trials and tribulations of their past, have little
hope left in them. This drives them towards some soul-soothing and
self-deceiving things and they normally start running behind those
self-professed in neo-sciences like numerology, nameology, gemology. Well,what one
observes nowadays is that, leave alone the oldies; -let them have their
fancies- the youngsters who have to repose their faith on their own
skills have started running behind these people who merchandise their
products so successfully using the glamor of media. Some channels
specialize on these types of programs. They would sprinkle religious-selling
also along these advertisement-programs....

People would have already gone through the experiences of pinning their
faith in horoscopes and such other traditional but fake-sciences. Even
when things don’t work out as per their horoscopes, they always have
the excuse that horoscopes are true; it is only the interpretation given
to them was wrong. The recent ‘disease’ that has been raging is vasthu.
Here again no two vasthu experts would concur on a point. Still
sheepishly people go behind such experts. As if this is not enough, a new crop
of physicians appear every day. They ‘cure’ all diseases. They always
have a human-anatomy chart at their back in every such show, none
knows for what purpose! And another peculiar aspect of these ‘doctors’ is
that their clinics as seen in the TV programs look so humble and still
how could they spend so much on advertising their ‘miracle cure’. It
only shows that more advertisement you make about yourself more crowd
follows you. It is becoming the land of pied pipers. This advertising mania
has captured not only these physical doctors; it has been suitably
followed by ’spiritual-doctors’. Anyway it is not sure who was the
forerunner in this ‘business’ – the spiritual ones or the physical ones!
However both claim ‘miracle healing’.

When older people go behind such people and their quirky wares it can
be said that they have gone through a lot of pains of life and are
trying to get some solace through such hope-giving balms. But the sad aspect
of this is youngsters are equally attracted to this hoodwink. Rather,
of late, youngsters show more inclination in changing their names
according to numerology, and in going for other such idiosyncrasies.

Does it not mean that our youngsters have lost the faith in themselves?
In that case, is there any other worse sign than this to our Nation’s

Saturday, April 08, 2006


Collected from actual matrimonial ads of men taken from in their COMPLETE ORIGINAL FORM, of course with some comments within brackets.
Your comments too are welcome.

DISCLAIMER: I am not responsible if you forget your basic grammar
after reading these snippets.


* pranav my family histoy my two brother two sister and fater&mother
sister complity marred

** (Somebody please explain in comments section how to get married

* Hello To Viewvers My Name is Shiva , I am single i dont have female,
If any one whant to marrie to me u can visite to my home. I am not a good
education but i working all field in bangalroe.. if u like me u welcome to my
heart...when ever u whant to meet pls viset my resident or send u letter..
yours Regards Shiva ~*~

* i want very simple girl. from brahmin educated family from orissa state
he is also know about RAMAYAN, GEETA BHAGABATA, and other homework


* Wants a woman who knows me better and can adjust with me forever. She
may never create any difficulties in my life or her life by which the entire life
can run smoothly. thank you

** (The principle of running life smoothly was never so easy!)

* She should be good looking and should have a service. She Shoulsd have
one brother and one sister. She should be educated.

** (is it not unique !! 1 brother 1 sister criterion !)

* I am a happy-go-lucky kind of person. Enjoys every moments of life. I
love to make friendship. Becauese friendship is a first step of love. I am
looking for my dreamgirl who will love me more than i. Because i love
myself a lot. If u think that is u then why to late come on .......
hold my hand forever !!!

** (effect of being a regular film buff?)

* i am simple boy.I have lot of problemin mylife because ofmylucknow i
amlooking onegirl she caremeandloveme lot lot lot

** (straight from the heart. Isn’t it?)

* My wife should be as 'Parvati' as in Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki and as Tulsi
as in KSBKBT......

** (Ok I haven't seen these soaps but I am sure he must be demanding too
much, ain't he?)

* i want a girl with no drinks if she wants she can wear jeans in house
but while steping out of house she should give recpect to our cast

** (some M.C.P.?)


** (all of us are “loughing”!!)

* whatever she may be but she should feel that she is going to be someone
wife and she must think of the future life if she is toolike this she would
be called the woman of the lamp

** (I am clueless, I feel so lost. Can anyone tell me what this guy wants)

* i love my patner i marriage the patner ok i search my patner and i love
the patner ok thik hai the patner has a graduate ok

** (I am again clueless but I liked the use of "ok". The person is
suffering from "Ok-syndrome")


(the "ok syndrome" again)

*iam very simpel and hanest. i have three sister one brother and parent.
I am doing postal sarvice and tailor master my original resdence at
kalahandi diste naw iam staing at rayagada dist.

** (actually what is this guy doing? Postal service or tailor.??)

* my name is farhan and i am unmarried. pleaes you marrige me pleaes
pleaes pleaes pleaes pleaes pleaes pleaes

** (height of desperation! )

* Iwant one girl who love me or my mother. She love me heartly or she
havea frank she's skin colour 'normal'not a black or not a whitey. IThink the main
think is heart if your heart is beautiful then you are beautiful.
but iam not a handsome boy or not a good looking. but my Mom say that Iam a
good boy. My father already expired . iam ''AEKLAUTA''. THE CHOICE IS
bye bye.

(great guy.!!??)

* iam kanan. i do owo sistar.She was marred.

(No comments)


(may be the poor guy meant no BAD habits)

* hello i am a good charactarised man. i want to run my life happily.i
divorced my first wife.her charactor is not good'. i expect the good
minded and clean habits girl who may be in the same caste or other
caste accepted ...

(but credit cards not accepted..???)

* my colour is black,but my heart is white.i like social service

** (Zebra..???)

* i'm looking out for who lives in bombay, girl simple who trust me lot
should be roman catholic, LOVE ME ONLY.

(Now that criterion is a must, isn't it?)

* to be married on jan-2005. working man perferable

** (this guy has fixed the marriage date too! Poor desperate guy!)

* i would like a beautyfull girl. and i do not want her any treasure.
because girl is the maharani.

** (Now she is going to be a lucky girl! Any takers?)

* ssc failed three times and worked with privated ltd company which not
paying salary at present.

(Poor guy. Any takers again?)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006



There was an appeal from one blogger, Ms. Premalatha of London - of course, originally from Kombai, Tamil Nadu, India to spread the word on the plight of the poor inmates in a Girls' Hostel run by Government in Madurai, my home town. To understand the spark she got from the news coverage of NDTV and to appreciate - if possible to join in the venture - one has to know what the NDTV says about these poor girls.

Over to...NDTV


Defending the outrageous measure, the hostel warden says it is the best way to keep the girls under check and prevent possible premarital sex.The register has columns for the exact dates of their cycle. Even slightly irregular dates invite snide remarks and harsh reprimands by the hostel warden.But while their records may be strictly monitored, their sanitation is not. The girls claim their hostel has just one bathroom but that is exclusively for the warden. The girls can enter it but only to clean it and not use it. Ironically the moral brigade is unconcerned about the fact that the girls have to bathe out in the open after dusk.From hounding an actress for airing her views on pre marital sex to banning jeans and t-shirts on college campuses to monitoring the menstrual cycle of teenage hostel girls, primitive mindsets, it seems, are there to stay in Tamil Nadu.

More than this helpless condition of the girls, the logic given by Premalatha to start thinking to help the inmates made me sit up and think. Don't you too want to know her 'logic'? Here it is; I Quote:

Hi all,
I know many of you might be thinking that it is not a very serious issue, and there are many more serious issues you see everyday.

I agree. But, Please go through the following.

Less serious issue means less complications for us.
2) not politicised
3) we can have a small but focussed objective. for example: improving the facilities, i.e. building few more toilets for the girls.
4) as it is a "small" objective, there is a possibility of us seeing it happening in real sense. "small" means less "money" needed. So, there is a possibility of "making this happen" in real sense.

Premalatha continues:
We are also planning to collect some fund ourselves. It might be a fund raising event. Nothing is finalised yet. Your suggestions are welcome.

WHY NOT WE DO WHAT LITTLE WE CAN - TOGETHER, from our blogosphere?

As a first step, please contact: spread the word, please.

And also contact Ms. Premalatha with your ideas.
Her blog:
Her mail id:

Thank you, folks.

Monday, April 03, 2006


The problem is that it is she who is going to be both the investigator and the judge. I am terribly worried over the impending conviction. Before I proceed further, I should give the lowdown of the scenario till this minute. If I tell you that I am in my forties my married brethren will immediately recognize who the ‘she’ could be to me. However for the sake of my lucky bachelor readers let me tell who the ‘she’ is. Who could it be other than the lady to whom I made a promise – not realizing the consequences that lay ahead in the years to come - at the altar not to be separated ‘till death do us apart’.

I managed all these years and I was comfy with my inseparable partner till she saw a program in the telly on the hazards of smoking. It had a great visual impact on her. That program spelt the death knell to my carefree smoking days. She had started showing her true colors after all these years. She came down on me heavily as a ‘benevolent dictator’ with all her 90 kg weight. Many things were banned. The days of coffee-at-will and a puff-after-every-cup were all over. The great blow was the cut in the pocket money and the fatal blow was strictures even for the outings during my evening hours. Instead I was made in charge of my kids’ home works. Things were becoming far worse than you could imagine. Fellow who was smoking carelessly 3 packs a day, if suddenly pushed into smokeless void – well, you could understand only if you happen to be a free smoker as I was. Even then I managed a few drags everyday. What else the office canteens were meant for? But that again got a big jolt. One of my colleagues was living in the next street whom we used to call, of course behind his back, as ‘gnani’ or ‘rishi’ since he never joined us in our canteen-gossip-groups and always minded his business. My ‘she’ befriended his wife and made our ‘gnani’ as her personal detective. She got even the exact times that I visited canteen during office hours. So I had to either sneak out shedding my shadow now or cut altogether my visits to canteen. Thus the ‘forbidden fruits’ were becoming more and more tastier but less and less available, thanks to the dictatorship of my ‘she’.

Somehow things were moving smokeless thus for a month. Recently things became so hard for me I made up my mind to quit smoking – not of course completely. I chose specific timings for my rendezvous with the white-robed beauties. Evening serial times were quite handy for my escapade from home. On Sundays also the movie-times came handy. Things were going without any hitch for some time. But yester evening I inadvertently and foolishly dared to bring a pack of the remaining cigarettes to home. To escape from the smelling and searching investigator I planned to get the help of my daughter. I pleaded my daughter to keep the pack in her shelf along with her school books. She mercilessly turned down and declined to do even this daughterly duty to a suffering father. Then I made some ‘arrangement’ with her and made a double-cross promise that it would be only for a night and next morning I would smuggle it out without her mother’s knowledge. Events followed dramatically on that fateful evening.

Accidentally the cigarette pack was unearthed. And to make things worse a fresh 10 rupee note was also found in the same location along with the pack. Then came the commission of enquiry. My daughter first stoutly denied any knowledge of the pack of cigarettes. But she confessed under duress and turned approver. I could not but accept that it was I who brought the cigarette pack and hid them there with the help of my daughter. But we, I and my accomplice, stoutly denied any knowledge of the currency. But my daughter could not give any satisfactory explanation for the source of that unaccounted and unaccountable money. Then I had to confess. But I insisted that I gave it only as a sort of ‘winding up charges’ for the ‘service’ rendered. But my ‘she’ accuses that it is an outright ‘commission’ and said that she would go deep into this and pass her judgment tomorrow evening.
I am waiting...

p.s. Rajiv Gandhi flatly denied in Parliament that no commission was paid to anybody in the Bofors deal. But when the cat came out, at least partially, he accepted that there was some money being exchanged sides. And his famous statement then was: (The crores of rupees that was received by some) “….was not commission for the deal but only winding up charges!”. Anyway the above write up does not have any connection with that!

Saturday, April 01, 2006


If the disputes are on a piece of land – as it is between India and Pakistan or as it was between China and India – there could be some compromise and peace between countries at some point or other. If it is just a matter of pride – as it is between England and France – then it may not always lead to a Waterloo. When it is on economical resources – as it was between Iran and Kuwait – it could be over in a jiffy. But when it is on dogmas, especially religious dogmas the problem becomes endless. The present terrorism by the Islamic fundamentalists is based on
their religious faith. It is their religious duty , they believe, to avenge the infidels for their ‘crusade’ against Islam. As long as a fundamentalist group believes something is their religious obligation, then the first casualty is rationality and reasoning. It appears that we have to live and learn to live with this religious menace since the greatest superstition of all is to expect fundamentalists to heed to good sense.