Education, ethics and money! A fatal combination?

neetYes, it seems so. The state of Indian education is very depressing. There is a steady quantitative expansion of education at all levels. This is a positive development.

While there is a steady decline in quality, again, at all levels too!
Quantitative expansion has happened thanks to a very high degree of commercialization.

When education becomes a mass cottage industry, then, what you can expect? Only deterioration too. So, we see very many new big buildings for all money-spinning education enterprises, CBSE schools are a craze among parents.  And so too the capitation fee-colleges, first in engineering now in medical colleges.

Also, many bigwig, even IAS officials and why ministers too are now charged with corruption, as in Pondicherry, a Union Territory, where some laxity of laws is possible it seems and so the easy way to make some money by the way.

There is no denying that medical education is becoming a big growth industry, with the widespread protests over NEET test gave way to falling in line to make the best use of the opportunity.

India’s education budget is also not big. Much worse if the Indian medical education and public health budgets.

So, there are serious problems in education sector.  In this context we like to say that for such a vast education sector, there are no education media outlets.

Practically, there is no education commentary or criticism and what makes for education news or publicity is what appears as full-page ads about the students who get high ranking and these full-page ads make India  a very poor country as far as education aspirations are concerned.

The newly emerging Indian middle class if so narrow-minded that this class wants English, instead of education in mother tongue, fees is no concern, fees are rising faster and also the standards are falling faster too!

The English language skills are so poor that in one of the oldest and well-known Public Schools, teachers are supposed to write to parents about the wards’ progress. These letters written by teachers are again corrected separately by the English class teachers!

So, what is the role of the English language in such a poor education environment?

The ministry of human resources (MHR/HRD) must in fact be renamed as ministry of education (ME), instead of human resources. It is a bit immature, even vulgar to call education as one instrument to turn humans into human resources! One immature leader thought so in no justification.

NO education thinker in India thought worthwhile to say this comment.
We are a nation of obedient servants of the government in whatever capacity we work in the country. Indians by nature either are bureaucratic or academic, not at any time an independent citizen, right?

We have no conception of what education means? Please look into the pages of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. There are 100 pages of write-up on education.

So, we have to dig deep into education history and evolution of education. We should start with Socrates through Plato and Aristotle and come to the modern Europe too.

Education should be all about ethics, ethical questions, the concept of good and evil and it should be about truth and hope, faith and love. The three principles preached by St.Paul in the first century AD in Corinth and elsewhere.

Now, there is no sense of hope, faith and love too. We seem to be becoming a society of insensitive nature, we  are becoming more and more selfish and also very narrow minded, we don’t seem to love our neighbours, but hate and avoid the neighbours, we are driven by jealousy and restlessness, becoming more and more materialistic and hence the fast spreading of corruption.

Delhi, a hothouse!
Delhi is a hothouse. You are in a perpetual state of tension, insecurity and uncertainty! About your own survival, first and foremost! What sort of a society we are creating here right now, under the dynastic holds of families, both political and officials.

No original thinking is possible in such an atmosphere. May be outside the Capital you find some free air to breathe, a liberal air and relaxed environment. In Delhi, the talk, the very behaviour and the artificial aims you see, we only think of artificial people and a
See the way our islands of selfish elites, be it the New Delhi Lutyen’s bungalow zone or similar enclaves, all funded and supported by public funds. In such a hothouse environment we see only much cynicism, a negative mentality, a disbelief in any positive outlook and that is one reason, in my considered view for the growth of dynastic political hold on the utter disregard for truth!

What chance we can create an open society, a merit-based growth of talents.

As one senior Congress leader had observed that we have leaders who behave like sultants! But only there is no sultanate!

So, nobody in India retires gracefully or return to their native places gracefully either.

They hang on and on! No politician retires! We have only politicians, no statesmen!

Even one lives as pensioner! In India there are other bonuses, a free, almost rent-free bungalows! We seem to be creating an elite as a parasitic class!

Educators must emerge from this truth.

A liberal society, a democratic society, an open society must be born, baled to be born.

Our fundamental educational values must originate from the ancient Athens and must imbibe the values of basic ethical questions.

We need not reinvent the wheels. We can  take them forward from ancient Greece and ancient Romes to Renaissance, to European Enlightenment and to the modern world where lots of new technologies make it possible to wipe out vast mass poverty, cure all the ills and diseases and also enable the people to live fulfilling lives.

There have been two brutal murders of two eminent journalists.

gauriOne in the South in Bangalore where Ms.Gowri Lankesh, a radical writer of, of course, extreme views, was brutally gunned down outside her home. The other murder, after a few days of this one, was in the far Northern state of Tripura where a TV journalist was also brutally murdered.

The extreme irony is that in India with such a vast network of well-established media industry, some print media outlets are more than centuries old and also there is a great tradition of high quality journalism, both in English and in the regional languages, there is not much of an outraged shock and dismay.

There nowhere, as far as we had watched for many days now, that any known veteran journalists or newspaper organisations had come out and expressed deserved condemnations. The TV news channels which had also well-established networks and yet no channel had come out with any meaningful debate or discussion.

This is really surprising and shocking too.

While there are some instances where senior journalist was issued anon-bailable warrant! How many journalists in their routine jobs can afford to engaged high-profile lawyers and get relief?

Also, even the most respected news channel faced a CBI raid!

So, anyone interested in the field of freedoms of the citizens, freedom of the press and also the rights of individuals engaged in sensitive jobs like journalism and news anchoring must be very concerned about the future of news freedom and news gathering.

There is not even a whisper, as we see, from the most senior professionals in media.

Even the very quality of news as we see is far from any standard.
The most vociferous newspapers who talk much about the news quality don’t have any news worth reporting and thus the readers are deprived of genuine news.

So, what is the sort of democracy India is claiming to represent?

Election Commission is weak! How to make it an anti-corruption machinery?

The image of leaders is critical!

ecThere is a widespread perception that India is becoming prone to corruption increasingly. This issue we have to face boldly and talk about it. It is our view that the public at large is not prone to giving bribes. Nor, we dare say, that government servants are also prone to corruption. There are still, today, many highly upright officials.  At the same time we see the most powerful; the most popularly elected leaders end up in courts and jails too!

India is a traditional country given to much traditional beliefs of right and wrong and people are ethical when it comes to organise their lives and life styles.This ethical attribute of the Indian people we have to recognise and start analysing the corruption issue from then on.

It is the politicians of the new generation and also the businessmen, the two most emerging powerful segments of the population   that are the sources of corruption of all types.

Corruption has to be faced straight its face and people, civil society and NGOs have to be strengthened and the larger social evil has to be fought.

Luckily, there have been many efforts to combat this evil. There are already many NGOs, think tanks and other efforts that have largely contributed to arrest the spread of this evil.

But what we like to highlight here is the reality that also by and large the larger segments of the common man are free from this temptations.

The way elections are run, the way the large and small political parties are organising themselves, more and more as family parties, as family heritages, accumulate large cash hoards and also assets and how these large assets are progressively hidden from the declarations of the EC submissions that lead to further deterioration in the quality of public life.

Even the larger parties are now doing politics not for public service, though the outer face is a pretension, it is a reality that big party leaders are not themselves clean, transparent, and sorry to say, that they are first of all not really qualified to lead the parties.
They get into the leadership slot by accidents.

Either as an inherito, wives or relatives and also some social segments also give opportunities, because of caste and communal tags, as we have been witnessing lately.

One more source of doubtful big money is through spiritual and god men activities/..It is unfortunately, that some of these doubtful god men end up in jails, while others have also been cultivating politicians who identify themselves either innocently or through known connections.
Let us at least take a pledge, all political leader should do this, not to associate themselves with god men for political clean image sake.
If the political leaders, at least one prominent leader, are clean and stick to some values, then, we are sure the entire political and social system can be made clean.

It is time we face the issue of corruption and do the right thing in the interests of the nation.

Building a brand name for agri media!

Political climate critical for media freedoms to thrive.

droughtfarmers1News is not information! Only controversial news is news! In agri sector there is no scope for controversies, except farmer’s suicides! Even that doesn’t make new3s now! So, agri media must get between social and political recognition.

See even the agri universities don’t make news! No one reads what the agri scientists write! How to communicate with the common man? This is what makes Vadamalai Media unique in the otherwise commercial media space.

Vadamalai Media is now publishing four monthly magazines, mostly related to agri sector and the education field. We have evolved by now over half a century. We started off in a village where we established a rural high school and a school newsletter that has grown into a full-strength education journal. It is now an all India education journal.
The agri magazines, now three editions, one in English, Tamil and Kannada languages and they make a sizeable market, given the scope for educated farmers and all those who are committed to the vibrant agricultural sector.

The urban media and the urban elite readers are a different cup of tea.
The readers for even the quality English newspaper, experts say, are thriving in India while in the West here is a decline.
May be Indians are like the British newspapers, they read the English newspapers, though there is very little in the way of writing on agri issues and the readership is also tiny.

But our agri sector is ill-served and there is no media worth its name as far as agriculture issues are concerned. Agri media where it is, as in Tamil for instance, all write about agriculture as if it is an exotic sector. Anything exotic, readers read it.

Cultivation of exotic crops, cultivation techniques etc. is that all about agriculture. What about farmers lives? Their rural life style, changing rural economic and social scenario?

There is much emphasis on pro-government programmes. Not any critical remarks. Even farmers suicides are not fully analysed. There are not enough writers, journalists to write about 6 Indian issues.

Since we operate on small scale, we often concentrate neither on crops, cultivating techniques nor even about the current buzz on organic farming or biotechnology.

Big news organisations must do that but they don’t. We don’t want to name the big print media houses. Two of them, long and well-established, started publishing agriculture magazines, annual issues but they now stopped them. We, on the other hand arte going strong? This is our 25th year! So, something we have achieved?

There is no one to notice us, right?

No government advertisement support nor support from private corporate houses either! We, Indians have a peculiar character, we in Vadamalai believe! We Indians don’t love our country genuinely, we feel.

We imitate the West; we seem interested to read more about the British royalty. We like cricket, in a country where such a sports was an exoticism, once. Now, we wonder whether we really appreciate and enjoy cricket or for the sake of fashion?

We also have an inferiority complex, a subservient mentality and also a craze for changing jobs, a change in life style, from dress to food to imitating the Yankee life style products.

We don’t yet seem to have cultivated a sense of pride in our country, its history etc. A pride, a justified pride in India’s inherent strength in its culture and belief system are not there.

Our agri media is all about these issues not just about cultivating loss-making crops! We have built up a brand for forthright, no non-sense bold exposition of fundamental issues of great national and intentional importance. We invite our readers to respond to some of our thoughts.

Political stability is critical for good governance!
That is what is the common ground between the Governor’s strategy and the Edapppadi government.

05THCMPHOTOThe factions within the ruling AIADMK government in TN and also the other stakeholders, including the people are showing unusual patience in testing the majority of the ruling combine.

As it is, the perceived instability of the current numbers of MLAs, with the Speaker’s disqualification of the 18 AIADMK MLAs under the anti-defection law. The action has been routinely criticised by the political parties and even constitutional and legal experts. But then the current political situation is rather very unusual.

Constitutional principles are very important. But then the ground level realities are often unprecedented. Here is a political party founded or inherited by J.Jayalalitha   and shaped in her own image of supreme leader and also with utter disregard for any norms and restraints of a political party in a democracy without any norms like party discipline, party democracy, elected executive or run on democratic lines.

It was a party that didn’t follow any norms of internal party democracy. Where also the party was run like a total autocracy with party members, why even the ministers and seniors prostrating before the supreme leader.

And god forbid the party and the government machinery was run like one unit and also the governance norms were thrown overboard and that led to unprecedented corruption too.

It is an open secret that unaccounted funds for the party flowed like water. When the supreme leader passed away suddenly the party had no one left to take over in any semblance of an orderly succession.
So, the confusion started. O.Pannnerselvam was taking over with the obvious outward approval of the late leader.

But once the leader is no more the party was taken over by the friend of the leader who was utter novice and what she did was there for everyone to see.

She inherited the party machinery by the simple norm of an existing political practice of simple sign by hand! She called back the nominal CM and asked him to hand over the resignation. In the circumstances he had no choice and thus EPS was handed over the regins. So, EPS became the CM.

Very soon, as bad launch would have it, Sasikala the then defacto leader was convicted and she had to go to jail.

So, new complications got in. EPS had one more hitch. That was TTV Dinakaran who was nephew of the jailed leader and who had his own ambitions. Some MLAs, now spotted as 18 MLAs sided with him. So the ruling regime fell short of a majority.

So also the date of proving the majority was also proved a ticklish issue. The Governor also played a role. It is widely suspected and perceived the Centre too was having role in determining the date of a vote confidence.

The Chennai High Court too played a role. There was no decisive role for the Opposition, the DMK, which didn’t show much activism in such a situation. May be the DMK was not sure of playing a role to topple the ruling party.

As we write the Assembly seems unlikely to meet and take the vote of confidence. So, the vast majority of the people are really confused.
There is political instability in the state. The governance norms are utterly neglected. There is strictly no stable administration.

It is an open secret there is vast corruption at all levels. Even some of the incumbent ministers are facing IT raids and even FIRs have been filed. Who would take action in such a fluid situation? None. Even the Centre seems to be not clear about what to do in Tamil Nadu, a state once known for the best administration tradition. All gone now!

It is not going to be simple affairs, to run the state government and deliver a clean government. It would be a totals irony to say that a clean government can be delivered in such a situation.

But then democratic government or governments face similar situations. Why TN alone? What about other states? Corrupt governments, bending laws, favouring the most corrupt and also the most powerful, dynasts and others with connections, from Bihar to UP and many other states need  some back approach like introducing Lokpal and L0k Ayukta  can only be the starting point.

But the Centre seems to have other ideas. There is not even a full-time Governor for the state. Also, with the absence of a BJP party unit with any strength, the Centre seems to be watching the state political scenario while the deterioration in administration is running non-stop with all the consequences left to everyone’s imagination. Woe befalls the state of Tamil Nadu!

The Dravidian dreams turning a nightmare!