Saturday, May 30, 2009

Another Example of Text Books Politics

Of course, like most Indians, I love to hate Arjun Singh for what he has done to the higher education in India. But thinking that he is the worst would probably be a huge mistake. Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi had of course had his time with the text books during the NDA regime, but it doesn't end there. I was surprised, and somewhat shocked (still) when I happened to read a Rajya Sabha question and answer session while searching the net for my favorite one act play Reedh Ki Haddi by Jagdish Chandra Mathur. The play actually is one of the finest pieces of Hindi literature I read during my school and explains the condition of women in India in the most practical manner.

Here is the complete answer given by Arjun Singh to the 'Honorable' members who had questioned not only the play but the language of Munshi Premchand himself.


Alleged objectionable materials in certain books approved by NCERT - Contd.

THE MINISTER OF HUMAN RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT (SHRI ARJUN SINGH), replying to points raised by hon'ble Members on 18th August 2006, said: NCERT has taken utmost care in drafting the books. Noted Academicians, Scientists and Educationalists have been included to examine the textbooks from the earlier times . Every book is examined by a National monitoring committee constituted by Human Resources Development . This committee comprises representative from various states and expert from field of education. There is set of guide line for examining the text books

I have tried my best to understand the objections raised by some hon. Members . I found that sentence or part of the books have been read without considering the context . I would like to clear that no change has been made in Hindi textbooks for class 2nd ,4th ,5th ,7th ,8th and 10th. Books which was studied during the NDA regime are still in the syllabus.

There was a objection regarding "Mochiram" a poem by Shri Dhoomil. It was included the syllabus in the year 1977 and it is regarding expressing the concerns of deprived people. Another objection was regarding a part of autobiography of Shri Bechan Sharma Ugra. Ugra jee considered himself among one from the lower section of society despite belonging to the Upper castes of society .

An objection was regarding Shri Om prakash Balmiki , who himself is dalit and is a importing representative of contemporary Hindi. He tried to depicted that caste reference words used in his story called KHANABADOSH was bear by the labours to maintain their existence . It has mentioned in the Footnote that these caste reference words are unconstitutional and these words should not used in day-today life.

Some other member has raised his objection regarding a story, Doodh ka Daam, of Munshi Prem Chand . I would like to say that these type of words were used in the society in that time. Further I would like to say that hon. Member has reached to conclusion on the basis of one line without considering the whole context of the story. And I don't consider myself to be fit to criticise the literature of great Munshi Prem Chand.

Hon. Member has raised some objection on poem of Shri Avtar Singh Pash. His poem reflects the social inequality. And it belongs to naxalite movement of Bihar in 1967. I want to say that Pash want to support ambitions of youth and it belong to model country so it should be seen in this context.

Hon. Member has objection against an one act play, Reedh Ki Haddi. It is about the status of women in the in the Indian society. So , it is clear that this play is all about the inequality among men-women of the society.

Some objection has been raised on some portion of autobiography of Maqbool Fida Hussain, the famous Painter. This text book has no mention of his controversial paintings. Hon. Member has asked about the reasons for not including the autobiographies of Amrita Shergil and Nandlal Bose. And I would like to clear that these people have not written their autobiographies

New text books of history for the classes of 6th, 9th and 11th have already introduced for the academic session of 2007. Hon. Member has mentioned that in the text book of Prof. Vipin Chandra, the leaders like Shri Aurbindo Ghosh & Lokmanya Tilak and Shri Vipin Chandra Pal have been termed as terrorists. Prof. Vipin Chandra has termed these leaders not as terrorists but as extreme nationalists. In the later chapter he had termed the extremism as a means to gain national freedom. With regard to the case filed in High Court related to this portion a committee of three Historians was constituted. The committee has held, "The words extremism and extremist have not been used in derogatory manner.

The committee about the description of Jats has held that the description of the Jat farmers revolt is also not derogatory.

With regard to the third objection raised about Guru Gobind Singh, the committee said that the sentence used in the text book requires to be amended.

Now, I would like to reply to the objections raised by Hon. Member Shrimati Sushma Swaraj. This is painful and unfortunate that she has termed the poem under the caption "MochiRam" as stigma whereas for the literary critics, this poem is milestone in the contemporary Hindi poetry. She has raised objections to the language used in the stories written by Munshi Premchand and Omprakash Valmiki. Probably the Hon. Member wants to negate this fact that Munshi Premchand represents higher values i.e. social justice, equality and fraternity enshrined in our Constitution. I wish to inform Shrimati Sushma Swaraj that Shri Valmiki has reflected the nature of emerging Dalit literature and he was himself a Dalit.

The Hon. Member has raised her objection about the one Act play "Reedh ki Haddi" written by late Jagdish Chandra Mathur. As I have mentioned earlier that this one Act is one of the most important objectives of our Constitution and our education policy i.e. this play touches the equality and dignity of women.

Hon. Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi has alleged that we are creating hatred in the minds of our children. I would like to assure that the goal of National curriculum 2005 is to make glorious and positive illustration of all communities and regions of India and thereby to strengthen national unity.

I respect the views expressed by the honourable members. They have expressed their viewpoint very impressively. I talked about the context because the words change their meaning as per the context. When we were studying, at that time also, in our history, it was said that Tilak ji, Arvind ji, Vipin Pal ji, they represent the extremist ideology. Freedom struggle is the definition of nationalism itself. That is why I talked about the context.

I only want to request that still a lot of text books are being prepared. Therefore, all the views expressed by you will definitely be kept in mind. I am thankful to the honourable members for their views.

Original text from:

Friday, May 29, 2009

Tweet Tweet

Tweet Tweet. Tweet Tweet.

Sounds like the Nokia standard message tone, but today this is the speed of twitterers. Or maybe more. In four words, it seems like 'the world is twittering'.

I had joined twitter not so long ago, maybe a month or so ago. But I came to know about the power of Twitter on the day when Election results came out. Once I had got a fair idea of seats led by each party, I was on Twitter, and to my surprise, it was running faster than any news channel.

As the time passed, I kept on finding new twitterers, which included Politicians like Shashi Tharoor and Rahul Gandhi, (and a now dormant SM Krishna too, MEA is really hi-tech) and entertainers like Gul Panag, Purab Kohli and Mallika Sherawat, besides number of journals and journalists.

Just now I have finished with reading an article on How Twitter will change American Business and right now reading another article on Time discussing ten famous twitterers who can be followed.

Among bad things, Twitter has affected my already drowning blog severely as I write all my heartfelts in those 140 characters. That's probably a reason I've written this blog, to make up for the loss.

If you want to see my tweets, here it is:

To see this, you do not need a twitter account. But I guess very soon you'll be there too. That is, if you are not yet there.

Happy Twittering.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

कुछ कुछ ज़िन्दगी..

कुछ पन्ने,
कुछ बिखरे,
कुछ सिमटे,
कुछ संजोये..

कुछ रंग,
कुछ गहरे,
कुछ बेरंग..

कुछ सपने,
कुछ झूठे,
कुछ सच्चे,
कुछ टूटे.

कुछ लोग,
कुछ अपने,
कुछ पराये,
कुछ, सब कुछ..

कुछ यादें,
कुछ मीठी,
कुछ खट्टी,
कुछ, चुभती..

कुछ आँखें,
कुछ मुस्काती,
कुछ भीगी,
कुछ, सूखी..

कुछ लम्हे,
कुछ पल,
और कुछ पलों की ज़िन्दगी...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

On Election Results

Oops! I have started writing but I do not know what I wanted to wrote in the first place. It's just that I was happy, am happy with the way Congress has won. Yup. It's not that Congress has won. It's the WAY Congress has won. Winning almost a majority, and with people like Mulayam and Lalu licking their feet to get into the government. Yes. I think I can write on what I liked and disliked in these results. But before, I'll go on my day. The day that was D-Day for many.

What a day it was. I got up at seven, and went straight to the TV, while all others were sleeping at my home. (I had gone to my sister from my rented flat so that I can watch PROPER TV there, and not my TV tuner card on the Dell laptop.) After waiting till 8.15, finally the first leads started dropping in. The leads had hardly crossed total seats when the power went off.


Okay. I was cool. Reading The Bridge Across Forever, and hoping that the power will be back soon and I won't miss much fun. It was. After fifteen minutes or maybe some more time, the tally had crossed around hundred and in a way that was enough to change the colors of those around me. Apparently, most of my family is slightly to not-so-slightly pro-Hindu - the English speaking, or English understanding middle class Yogendra Yadav yesterday talked about. Though, I guess the class is getting converted at its own speed, which may increase with Rahul Baba coming in. I'm probably the first member in my family.

Back to the results. Congress had started gaining a difference in the number of seats which almost never reduced. I was expecting it to be something around 30-35 but the difference went on and on and reached almost Hundred. Anyways, what happened after that is known to everybody. Finally Congress had a small margin to cover to get the majority and Manmohan Singh was given a mandate to retain the Prime Minister's post.

So let me come back to what I liked, or disliked in the poll results.

There were a lot of things to be liked. First of them, of course was that Left was left out. After all those years of wondering why public keeps on voting to the left, I was witness to a big fall in left's votes and seats. I believe that people always knew that left did not work, but probably they voted the Left for its ideology. And this ideology suffered a major setback when Somnath Chatterjee was thrown out by his party. Probably people took that very seriously, besides other reasons.

Equally important was the fact that in Bihar, probably for the first time, it became difficult for Lalu to get a seat (though he managed to defeat Rudy by 5k votes) and Paswan couldn't save his seat either. At the same time Mayawati and Jayalalitha, whom I call two big fat stubborn ladies (both have a competition when it comes to being either), were not given much bhaav by the public. I think public has very clearly said that either the politicians have to work, or they can sit at home. The same can be confirmed by the votes Nitish got for himself in Bihar or Sheila Dikshit got in Delhi.

But the most unexpected thing for me was the rise of Congress in Uttar Pradesh. I was not expecting a number of more than 12-13 for the party in the largest state. But Rahul Gandhi magic really worked and helped Congress reach places nobody expected.

And yes, one good thing was Shashi Tharoor coming to the parliament. Such people are needed there. In fact such people should be given a place in the cabinet and Shashi Tharoor can be a brilliant person for a start.

For dislikes, there are a few things that I didn't understand. First was the number of seats Mulayam Singh Yadav got. Probably that is the result of his voters coming back to him after trying Mayawati who seems to have failed in giving the great administration she had promised.

Another thing that I could not understand was the BJP's sweep in Karnataka after the widely criticized incidents of Mangalore when the CM completely supported Ram Sene. I am unable to understand whether its public's support or their short term memory.

But worse of all is the results of Maharashtra. Raj Thackeray's MNS getting more than one lakh votes in all constituencies in Mumbai and affecting the votes of BJP Shiv Sena is not a very good news. Unfortunately, this is not at all surprising as we know it HAD to happen.

Overall, the public has done a lot of good, and BIG things this time. But I think there is still scope for them to learn some things, which includes getting above people like Raj Thackeray and Varun Gandhi. I hope we'll see even better results in the next elections. In 2014.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Pol-Fi: Maya's Maya

As everyone has seen, the power of Mayawati in UP has continuously risen for the past few years. And now that she is trying hard to make herself visible throughout India, there is a possibility that she actually gets a significant number in the coming elections.

So, the question here is, if Mayawati gets a significant number of seats, and there is a hung parliament again, which is highly likely, what will happen?

First I'd like to see the chances of happening this what if. In the last general elections, that is 2004, BSP got 19 seats, most of them from the eastern region of Uttar Pradesh. But now that the power of BSP has increased in the largest state, something that is visible from the majority she holds in the state assembly, BSP can get seats in other regions of the state as well, especially western regions like the district of Bijnor where Mayawati started her political career and BSP won all the seats in the last assembly elections.

At the same time, BSP can also surprise with a seat or two in Madhya Pradesh as the party won 7 seats in the 2008 assembly elections whereas it had only 2 people in the last assembly.

All this makes clear that there exists a not very remote possibility that BSP gets some 30-35 seats in the parliament this time, which, if happened, will put Mayawati in a position better than Lalu Prasad Yadav, who currently has 24 seats in the parliament, but will be contesting lesser number of seats this time as a UPA ally.

So, the question is, WHAT IF BSP wins a significant number of seats and is in position to negotiate for positions in government? Let's see the options and possibilities.

1. Mayawati wants to be the Prime Minister. Says that if Deve Gowda with 46 seats could be the PM, why can't a 'Dalit ki Beti' be the PM? But nobody is willing to give her the seat. Plan fails.

2. Mayawati wants the Foreign Ministry, but argument comes that even with her LLM degree, she won't understand the language of Foreigners. Moreover, they probably won't understand a word spoken by her. At least until the day she becomes the PM.

3. Mayawati wants the Finance Ministry for herself. But with two successful Finance Ministers already there in the UPA, a novice Mayawati fails again. This is in case UPA is the alliance making government.

4. Home Ministry, this could probably be her best bet. With Shivraj Patil almost out of question and Chidambaram probably willing to join Finance once again after the shoe-ing, Most probably Mayawati will have all new candidates as contenders. Though Lalu and some more may want this seat, if Mayawati comes strong, she MAY get it.

5. Railways. If Mayawati doesn't get all those big things, she may have to remain satisfied with Mamta's old department. It'll probably not be very difficult for the UPA to arrange this one, but Maya may not want to leave the Chief Ministry of UP for a Railways in the center.

6. Opposition. Last but not the least. Because in her words, as many times there are elections, her position gets stronger. And till now it has happened.

Well, that all happens IF BSP wins a significant number of seats and the alliance going to make the government needs them. Now let's see what happens.

Waiting for the Big Day

It's been a long exercise. The polls. Started almost a month ago, finally the drama is about to end, within a week. The 13th of this month will present us with the end of the polls and 16th will bring us the results of the polls and end of the drama. Only to start a new one.

Today was an interesting day. Somehow, after a long time, NDA looked like it was really some alliance. For the first time, felt like other than UPA, there were more options. Probably a bit too late, but at least before the end of elections, people got to see that there was something called NDA which was more than just Advani who showed up on every ad the party has released.

But more interestingly, the drama, which was named NDA's shakti-pradarshan by the TV channels, seemed more Modi centric than Advani centric today. Not for once did I feel that the Prime Ministerial candidate of the NDA was L K Advani. Nor did I feel the power that is NDA supposedly going to have according to its campaign. In short, the NDA's slogan of Mazboot Neta, Nirnayak Sarkar (Powerful leader, Decisive government) looked fake. It seemed that if the NDA comes in power, Advani will be as powerless as Vajpayee was with his 13 parties (that's the number I remember, no guarantee on that)

And while Narendra Modi shook hands with Nitish Kumar, without technically breaking the latter's promise of not calling him in Bihar, Modi also indirectly expressed his wish to join everyone and hence come on to the national stage in future. Something that is feared by many.

For now, the only thing is the results that will come out on 16th May. I remember how eagerly I used to wait for my annual results when I was in school as they were also announced on 16th May. But this is something that is making me even more curious. And I don't think this curiosity will end soon, because the question is not just whether Manmohan or Advani will be the PM, but the question is who will control the future of India. Will it be people like Modi? Or Rahul Gandhi?? Or Varun Gandhi???