The miles to go before I sleep...
- DocArchive@BBC: The Opus Dei Enigma
- Interview@BBC: Avraham Burg prominant Israeli politician asks Israelis to move on!
- R'Guha@Politics: He hates congress cos he loves what it stood for!
- Learning@PsychologyToday: Minimally invasive education
- JobMarket@BS: Recesion should redefine conventional notions on career
- Political awareness@LiveMint: Common man is politically irrelevant
- Education@IndiaToday: Back to school programme bears fruit
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
CPI's absence should allow the UPA to be more decisive without getting into a big and often useless argument with an ally. But that may also make a big citizen activism only possible force to stop them from doing something that the society considers detrimental, and I believe the current UPA governemt has as lot of potential for that considering that there are a handful of incompetant and not-so-society-minded individuals and leadership qualities, like Azhagiri and A.Raja looking at cabinet ministries, that too ministries like IT - a sector that is almost unique selling point for India.
While I am glad that the openly non-secular BJP especially led by Advani is decisively routed out, I am simultaneously cautious about over-estimating the competence of current government. As almost in anything that has to do with India. We have to wait know what really is going to happen
Friday, April 24, 2009
I have come across enthusiastic appeals to contribute towards saving the environment by modifying the way I go about my everyday life. For example, I am piling up dozens of used batteries simply because I am yet to find an environmentally safe way of disposing them, even after actively searching for a recycling plant or safe-disposal facility close to Hyderabad. The same predicament applies to anything that can be connected to electricity from cellphone chargers to television sets. More importantly,
I find it very difficult to avoid using plastics. I buy juice in a tetrapack as against a plastic bottle, only to find that even they use plastic linings to make it waterproof. After little research I come to understand that there is no environmentally safe, affordable water-proofing alternative to plastics available to common man. If such a solution is not available, how is one going to avoid plastics?
Often those who make the transition to the green lifestyle would be forced to spend more on a regular basis!(either as cash or as time trying to figure out a green work-around). As a result, such a community will always be small. Worse, there will always be someone who says, "You know. Its too tough to be green" and will get back to the bad-old ways! (Consider the poor. They generate a lot of waste, but don't participate in waste management in proportion. But is it their fault?)
On the other hand even when solutions are available for an environmental problem, common man is not effectively sensitized. Consider the case of disposing kitchen wastes. Composting them to manure and using them as manure for plants is a tried and tested solution. However, the process of composting or the fact that such small compost bins are available in the market are known only the to environmentally conscious. Good intentions of appeals to be environmental consciousness not withstanding, a tangible impact can be achieved only if proven green alternatives are available and affordable so that common man doesn't really have to subscribe to the green movement to be green
Thursday, January 08, 2009
I have a school near my work that is looking for teachers.
I have my idea of doing the teaching with as much demonstration as possible.
I have the rickety infrastructure that the team at my office prepared once and gathering up dust.
I have a new set of 25 DVDs dedicated to physics demonstrations (thanks to the sincere belief in social and educational change of a few executive level managers of Synopsys!) that I have not yet started watching.
May be it is time to set aside an hour of my mornings to start teaching science. This is in a way going back to where it all started. The first of my thoughts on social change was to teach and teach at schools.
For now though, this thought has to remain as just another thought and the extent to which it fructifies over the next year hinges upon how much hit my conviction can take over the next couple of months! All the best to me!
Monday, December 15, 2008
"A social initiative will produce a better impact when it is targeted towards the economically poorer sections of the society. The richer the beneficiaries are, the lesser social impact it has.."
While in general this point has a validity, it has to be revisited for every specific case. Here is an example. A team of my friends and I conducted a science demo in a private school nearby. When I talked about this, "Don't you think your initiative would be more useful to students of government schools?" was one question that popped up universally. My answer is "In my case doing it in *this* private school is likely to have a higher social impact" . Why?
1. This private school doesn't have a lab infrastructure in spite of the students paying a nominal school fee (Rs. 200/- per month).
2. The students here do have a capability to read, listen to and understand English, Telugu and Hindi which provides us flexibility in our implementation. So, it gets easier for us to get more students to start "thinking and reasoning science" - a better success rate at our initiative. On the other hand, a government school on which we are working on the ability to grasp English is lesser providing us with challenges (lesser number of teachers from our office)
Much more importantly, access to better education sure is relatively much more difficult for the poor. However, schools that fall in the economic category of the one that we are working on also face problems faced by government schools (non-availability of teachers, labs etc.). In addition to that they also suffer the ignorance of NGOs that rush to help poor quality government schools. It is almost as if these students are paying Rs. 200/- per month to be ignored!
Thankfully, in our case, we need to ignite as many minds to think and reason (in science and others..). In our eyes, whether the students have the ability to pay Rs.200/- or not, if their inclination to reason is lacking, they are equally poor! Only the former is equipped with a skill (English language) that offers flexibility for us to make a better impact.
A society, apart from being categorized into economically richer and poorer, can also be categorized into rich and poor based on other criteria. And the economically richer need not be richer (or have better opportunity) in all the other categories. Social upliftment, one must remember, is not only the upliftment of the economically poorest, but the upliftment of the society as a whole.