Monday, July 30, 2012
Since Indians are one of the most religious people on the planet, and since they belong to the ‘greatest civilization’, and since this ‘greatest civilization’ requires constant protection from nefarious influences of the West, it becomes easy to molest and sexually harass a woman in India and then walk away scot-free, provided one does it the right way. And here are some prescribed methods:
Sunday, July 22, 2012
The report card is out. Mamata Banerjee, the new love of Bengalis worldwide, is far more Left than the Left. Mamata Banerjee is not only more Left, she is far less democratic than the communists of India. She is autocratic, averse to criticism, and does not tolerate dissent. It is unfortunate that Bengalis are now thrown from frying pan into fire. But it is not just Bengalis who should be worried. In fact, whole of India should be concerned.
What happens in Bengal could happen to India. Bengal is the place where Great Britain installed their first capital city to create the Indian Empire. Bengalis then led India into our own version of enlightenment, if there is one. When most of us in the hinterland lands of India were still dwelling in forests, Bengalis were discussing Aristotle and Socrates. The sun first shone in Bengal and then over the rest of India, literally and figuratively. Bengalis were one of the forerunners of Indian National Movement contributing many great men and women to the cause. During the 19th century, Bengal’s stars shone the brightest in the sky. It produced many authors, artists, and scientists. Rabindranath Tagore won Asia’s first Nobel Prize.
India constantly refers to many Muslim Presidents they have had to showcase its tolerance and equal treatment of Muslims. Nowadays many Indian Hindus repeatedly take the example of our erstwhile President, Abdul Kalam. They say, ‘Look! We have had a Muslim as our President. And he was selected by a Hindu Party!’ By saying this, they want to showcase India as a tolerant and magnanimous country that allows anyone to become the President of India, even a Muslim. These Hindus also refer to the three Khans who dominate Indian Hindi Cinema – Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Amir Khan. And they point out the cricketers like Yusuf Pathan and musician like AR Rahman. They use these examples to say that Muslims are not discriminated in India, that they are not marginalized, that they get the same access to education and opportunity, that they are not unequal, that they are not second-class citizens.
According to these Hindus, the Muslims are in fact ‘appeased’, they are given certain sops unnecessarily, like subsidies on Haj, and they are given special treatment unnecessarily, like special personal laws. These people think that these ‘appeasing’ measures have a definite purpose - only to win votes. They believe that Muslims are so naïve, so innocent that they could be beguiled by such silly sops, like Haj subsidy, to form a single vote bank.
The recent jokes surrounding introduction of the film actress Rekha to Rajya Sabha thereby creating Silsila, an old Indian movie about a triangle love story, right inside the Indian Parliament (because Jaya Bhacchan was already there), and then other debates on whether Sachin Tendulkar, the prominent cricket sportsman, should spend his time in Rajya Sabha instead of a cricket field, throw open some hard questions on the relevance of Rajya Sabha.
The debate is no longer about who should be allowed or what qualifications one needs to have to enter into Rajya Sabha. The debate is far more fundamental. Do we even need Rajya Sabha?
The recent debate on whether there should be a common entrance test for all engineering colleges in India or whether IITs should continue to maintain their own entrance test throws open various questions. While IITs refuse to dilute their admission process maintaining that this process is the key to producing top class graduates, the government contends that too many entrance tests burden the students and therefore would like to include the class 12 scores in the admission process.
I, on the other hand, think that this debate calls for a completely new look at the admission process to all premier institutes in India, whether they are IITs, NITs, IIMs, or others.
In our attempt to create islands of excellence we have created an admission system called entrance tests. Traditionally, in a country where people swore by their caste affiliations, where nepotism is a virtue, where entire social system was based on deep rooted discrimination, an entrance test which judged a person solely on the marks in an entrance test was greeted as a great achievement. Because of its apparent benefits, it created a new class of society which now swears by the ‘merit’ system, a new system which measures people solely by one single attribute – marks obtained in one exam. Now, each Indian is judged and measured by a number – called marks.