Who am I?

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I am not religious, but I don't mind calling myself spiritual. Religion, I believe, has, over the millennia, been used as a prop to perpetrate a lot of human suffering. Faith is what matters. I don't believe in the definition of God as a creator. According to me, my God resides within me. Some call it conscience, some call it the sub-conscious, some call it the soul. I don't mind calling it God. So by definition I am not an atheist or an agnostic, but by essence, I may as well be. My God does not reside in a temple, church, mosque or gurudwara. It is right here, within me.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


A discussion about the Indian education system in our Group Discussion today made me think about various things. First of all, what is the government doing to address the glaring loopholes in the Indian education system? Secondly, how much of what the government is doing in the name of development is being implemented in a proper manner? Agreed, our HRD minister Mr Kapil Sibal has been tinkering with the board exams to bring out their true essence, and he has also been touring the world’s best universities and trying to convince them to open a campus in India, but so far it has been a lonely road at the top for him. The government has made a provision for free education for children in the age group of 6 to 14 years, but what about the quality of education? I do not see any bigwig in the government talking about that. According to a study, 71% of schools in India have 3 or less than 3 teachers. The student to faculty ratio in India is 26:1, which is shameful when we compare it to the global average of 15:1. When are we going to address the problem of dearth of quality teachers? Although the sixth pay commission has made a commendable effort of bringing up the salaries of teachers at par with those of people with other professions, but there is no denying the brutal fact that teaching is not something which is looked up to in our society anymore. There used to be a time when a guru was revered and respected like a God. But things have taken a turn for the worse now. A teacher working for the honour that comes with the job is a rarity. A teacher looking forward to educate the masses is rarer still.
Almost every day, each one of us, in his daily dose of quotidian life, realizes that the touted GDP growth rate of India is just a fa├žade to conceal the real face of the country. A country, where 80% of the households earn an income of less than Rs 10,000, calling itself an emerging economy is ludicrous; calling itself the next superpower is, well, laughable. We, as a country, are not going anywhere until we address the morass of backwardness – both economic and mental. And the shortest path across this slough is by working at the roots – primary education. One reason for economic disparity in India is because a person who has studied up to 10th standard from a state board would not be able to rub shoulders with a person from, say, CBSE board. There needs to be a common platform to address the issue of multiple education boards in India. Also, the infrastructure – which includes the teachers, benches, black boards and other equipment which are generally included under the basic definition of a classroom; books and notebooks provided for by the very government which is earning brownie points for “providing” free education – needs to be developed. All students should be uniformly addressed up to 10th standard so that a person from a rural area or from a backward class need not require reservation for himself in secondary and higher education. This would in turn give rise to meritocracy and less of deserving students will be left behind in the race. I know words are easy and acting upon them is where all the effort lies, but it is high time that our politicians walk the talk and give us – the proud citizens of this country who are eagerly looking up to them – something tangible, so that we can tread with our head held high, no matter where in the world we are.