Reading and its impact : This four-year old exemplifies

As a facilitator and mentor I invest time with children and youth. I urge and beseech them to be curious and inquisitive. The first step is to read and read, as many variety of issues, subjects as they come across. That is the only way to enrich oneself and in the process gain confidence to face people, interact, engage and enthrall.

I have been sharing with 20+ year olds that I shall chaperon my 7 year old daughter, whose felicity with language and articulation is far beyond mine, to their class to interact and also address them the importance of reading every day. Thankfully both my young daughters are passionate about reading and it has enriched me too.

Here I came across an amazing ambassador of reading. I love to share this short video to inspire each one of you. Thanks to one who recorded it and shared.

Hope this video initiates a few youth to be more keen about reading!

The greatest gift any parent can give a child is to invest an hour every day to read a book from the very early childhood. A pictorial story book with a toddler to amar chitra kathas and so on. Read in as many languages as possible – at least in all those that any adult at home can speak and read. The process will not only stoke language skills, but also imaginative and creative skills when you discuss.

Happy reading.

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Pranab da on “Nation, Nationalism, Patriotism” : ‘Let’s work for Peace, Harmony and Happiness’ ! Jai Hind!

SPEECH OF SHRI PRANAB MUKHERJEE, FORMER PRESIDENT OF INDIA AT THE CONCLUDING FUNCTION OF THE THIRD YEAR ANNUAL TRAINING CAMP OF RASHTRIYA SWAYAMEVAK SANGH AT RESHIMBAGH GROUND TODAY

Nation, Nationalism and Patriotism

Greetings,

Sarsanghchalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat Ji, Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen
1. Today, I’m here to share with you my understanding of the concepts of Nation, Nationalism and Patriotism in the context of India, that is Bharat. These three concepts are so closely intertwined that it is difficult to discuss any one of them in isolation.

2. Let us make a beginning by understanding the dictionary meaning of these three words. Nation is defined as ‘a large group of people sharing the same culture, language or history and inhabiting a particular state or area’. Nationalism is defined as ‘identification with one’s own nation and support for its interests especially to the exclusion of interests of other nations’. Patriotism is defined as ‘devotion to and vigorous support for one’s country’.

3. Let us look at our roots,
India was an open society, globally connected along the Silk and Spice Routes. These busy highways of commerce and conquest witnessed a free exchange of culture, faith and invention as merchants, scholars and sages traversed mountain and desert and sailed the oceans. Buddhism reached Central Asia, China and Southeast Asia together with Hindu influences . Ancient travelers like Megasthenes in the 4th century B.C., Fa Hien in the 5th century A.D. and Hiuen Tsang in the 7th century AD; when they came to India, wrote about the efficient administrative systems with planned settlements and good infrastructure. Takshashila, Nalanda, Vikramashila, Valabhi, Somapura and Odantapuri comprised the ancient university system that dominated the world for 1,800 years beginning the sixth century BCE. They were magnets for the finest minds and scholars in the world. In the liberal environment of these institutions creativity found full form and art, literature, and scholarship flourished. Chanakya’s Arthashastra, an authoritative text on state-craft was also written during this period.

4. India was a state long before the concept of the European Nation State gained ground after the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. This model- of a defined territory, a single language, shared religion and a common enemy- is the model which led to the formation of various nation states in Europe. On the other hand Indian Nationalism emanated from “Universalism” the philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम) and Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah, Sarve Santu Niramayah. We see the whole world as one family and pray for the happiness and good health of all. Our national identity has emerged through a long drawn process of confluence, assimilation, and co-existence. The multiplicity in culture, faith and language is what makes India special. We derive our strength from tolerance. We accept and respect our pluralism. We celebrate our diversity. These have been a part of our collective consciousness for centuries. Any attempt at defining our nationhood in terms of dogmas and identities of religion, region, hatred and intolerance will only lead to dilution of our national identity. Any differences that may appear are only on the surface but we remain a distinct cultural unit with a common history, a common literature and a common civilization . In the words of the eminent historian Vincent Smith, “India beyond all doubt possesses a deep underlying fundamental unity, far more profound than that produced either by geographical isolation or by political superiority. That unity transcends the innumerable diversities of blood, colour, language, dress, manners, and sect” .

5. If we take a quick look at history the emergence of the Indian State can be traced back to the sixteen Mahajanapadas mostly spread across Northern India in the 6th century BC. In the 4th century BC, Chandragupta Maurya defeated the Greeks to build a powerful empire comprising of North-Western and Northern India. Emperor Ashoka was the most illustrious ruler of this dynasty. After the collapse of the Mauryan Dynasty, the empire broke into small kingdoms around 185 BC. Gupta Dynasty again created a vast empire which collapsed around 550 AD. Many dynasties ruled till 12th century, when Muslim invaders captured Delhi and successive dynasties ruled for the next 300 years. Babur defeated the last Lodhi King in 1526 at the First Battle of Panipat and firmly established Mughal rule which continued for 300 years. The East India Company after winning the Battle of Plassey in 1757, and the Three Battles of Arcot (1746-63) brought a vast territory in East and South of India under its control. A large part of western region was also annexed to the company’s territory and to administer these territories, a modern form of government was established in 1774. To administer these territories, the office of Governor General at fort William, Calcutta and two sub-ordinate governors at Madras and Bombay were created. For nearly 140 years, Calcutta was the centre of British Authority in India. However, the responsibility of administration was taken away from the East India Company in 1858 and the Secretary of State for India was appointed in the British Cabinet to super intend the Indian Administration.

6. Throughout this period of 2500 years of changing political fortunes and conquests, the 5000 year old civilizational continuity remained unbroken. In fact, each conqueror and each foreign element had been absorbed to form a new synthesis and unity . Tagore in his poem ‘Bharat Teertha’ says and I quote “……No one knows at whose beckoning call how many streams, of humanity came in indomitable waves from all over the world, over the millennia and mingled like rivers, into this vast ocean and created an individual soul, that is called Bharat”.

7. The concept of Modern Indian State found frequent articulation by various Indian organizations including the Indian National Congress towards the end of nineteenth century. Starting with Shri Surendranath Banerjee in 1895 at Pune, all Congress Presidents gave a call for an Indian Nation comprising the territorial areas of British India and the territories of 565 princely states. When Bal Gangadhar Tilak gave voice to the phrase coined by Barrister Joseph Baptista “Swaraj is my Birthright and I shall have it”, he referred to Swaraj for the Indian People – encompassing various castes, creeds, and religions, spread across British India, and Princely States. This Nation and Nationalism was not bound by geography, language, religion, or race. As Gandhiji explained Indian nationalism was not exclusive, nor aggressive, nor destructive. It was this Nationalism that Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru so vividly expressed in the ‘Discovery of India’, and I quote, “I am convinced that Nationalism can only come out of the ideological fusion of Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and other groups in India. That does not mean that extinction of any real culture of any group, but it does mean a common national outlook, to which other matters are subordinated”. In the process of our movement against British Rule, the various anti-colonial, anti-British and mostly progressive movements across the length and breadth of the country were unified into a cohesive national struggle for freedom, keeping the feeling of patriotism above their individual, ideological and political leanings.

8. We won independence in 1947. Thanks to the efforts of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the Princely States merged leading to the consolidation of India. The complete integration of Provincial and Princely States took place after the formation of states on the recommendation of States Re-organisation Commission.

9. On 26 January 1950, the Constitution of India came into effect. In a remarkable display of idealism and courage, we the people of India gave to ourselves a sovereign democratic republic to secure for all its citizens justice, liberty, and equality. We undertook to promote among all citizens fraternity, the dignity of the individual and the unity of the nation. These ideals became the lodestar of the modern Indian State. Democracy became our most precious guide towards peace and regeneration from the swamp of poverty created by centuries of colonial rule. For us, Democracy is not a gift, but a sacred trust. The Indian Constitution, consisting of 395 articles and 12 schedules, is not merely a legal document but a Magna Carta of socio-economic transformation of the country. It represents the hopes and aspirations of the billion plus Indians. From our constitution flows our nationalism. The construct of Indian nationalism is ‘Constitutional Patriotism’, which consists of an appreciation of our inherited and shared diversity; a readiness to enact one’s citizenship at different levels; the ability to self correct and learn from others .

Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I want to share with you some truths that I have internalized during my fifty year long public life, as a Parliamentarian and Administrator.
10. The soul of India resides in pluralism and tolerance. This plurality of our society has come through assimilation of ideas over centuries. Secularism and inclusion are a matter of faith for us. It is our composite culture which makes us into one nation. India’s Nationhood is not one language, one religion, one enemy. It is the ‘Perennial Universalism’ of 1.3 billion people who use more than 122 languages and 1600 dialects in their everyday lives, practice 7 major religions, belong to 3 major ethnic groups- Aryans, Mongoloids, and Dravidians live under one system, one flag and one identity of being ‘Bhartiya’ and have ‘No Enemies’. That is what makes Bharat a diverse and united nation.

11. In a democracy, informed and reasoned public engagement on all issues of national importance is essential. A dialogue is necessary not only to balance the competing interests but also to reconcile them. Divergent strands in public discourse have to be recognized. We may argue, we may agree, or we may not agree. But we cannot deny the essential prevalence of multiplicity of opinion. Only through a dialogue can we develop the understanding to solve complex problems without an unhealthy strife within our polity.

12. Peaceful co-existence, compassion, respect for life, and harmony with nature form the foundation of our civilization. Every time a child or woman is brutalized, the soul of India is wounded. Manifestations of rage are tearing our social fabric. Every day, we see increased violence around us. At the heart of this violence is darkness, fear, and mistrust. We must free our public discourse from all forms of violence, physical as well as verbal. Only a non-violent society can ensure the participation of all sections of people in the democratic process, especially the marginalized and the dispossessed. We must move from anger, violence, and conflict to peace, harmony, and happiness.

12 A. We have lived with pain and strife for long enough. You are young, disciplined, well trained and highly educated. Please wish for peace, harmony and happiness. Our Motherland is asking for that. Our Motherland deserves that.

13. Happiness is fundamental to the human experience of life. To lead healthy, happy, and productive lives is the basic right of our citizens. While we have done well on our economic growth indicators, we have fared poorly on the World Happiness Index. We rank 133 out of the 156 countries mapped in the World Happiness Report 2018. Kautilya’s Shloka from Arthashastra, inscribed near lift No. 6 in the Parliament House says:
प्रजासुखे सुखं राज्ञः प्रजानां च हिते हितम् ।
नात्मप्रियं हितं राज्ञः प्रजानां तु प्रियं हितम् ।।
In the happiness of the people lies the happiness of the king, their welfare is his welfare. He shall not consider as good only that which pleases him but treat as beneficial to him whatever causes happiness to all people. Kautilya points out in this shloka very succinctly that the State is for the people. People are at the centre of all activities of the state and nothing should be done to divide the people and create animosity amongst them. The aim of the state should be to galvanise them to fight a concerted war against poverty, disease and deprivation and to convert economic growth into real development. Let the objective of spreading Peace, Harmony and Happiness inform the formulation of our public policy and guide all the actions of our state and citizens in their everyday life. This and only this will be able to create a happy nation, where Nationalism flows automatically.
Thank You
*Jai Hind*

Need to revisit the curriculum at design schools, including NIFT/NID : Be Entrepreneurial

It was a pleasure and privilege to be part of the Jury of the finals of the first All India #NIFT HG #business plan competition at @n.i.f.t national HQ in Delhi. It is indeed an honour and joy to start a new journey of contributing to the #design #education and fostering #entrepreneurship in design schools of the country.

Today, we have 16 NIFT campuses across the country. Five finalists emerged from the six month long competition that started from each of the 16 campuses. This initiative by #HarishGupta, an #NIFT alum of 1991 batch is praiseworthy and has the potential of #transforming the #design #education in #India.
In the pic include the visionaries who have given shape and are still giving to not only NIFT but also design as a edu-vertical and industry in the country. first DG Mrs Rathi (IAS) and current DG Mrs Sharda (IAS). Also seen are pioneer in #womenentrepreneurship @cwei Mrs Shashi, the founding CEO of Lacoste in India, Jayant, Harish Gupta of fashion learning, Praveen of Pincap fintech and other eminent roleholders in the NIFT fraternity Prof Sibichan, Prof Prabir, Prof Sudha, Prof Sohail…

The Jury was chaired by Mr Ganesh Natarajan, now an entrepreneurial mentor and investor, who has been known for spearheading Aptech at one point of time.

My few take aways from being part of the Jury..

A. The students taken in by the NIFT/NIDs may be creative, but the institutions need to invest in their personality transformation. You can present yourselves, create opportunities and clinch deals only if you are articulate and are convincing.

B. There is a dire need for instittutions to create a larger vision for themselves that can impact society in various ways, not limited to churning graduates. The four years of education needs to integrate with the external world. Break the insulated existence.

C. Then comes the need facilitate students to create their vision for life. Greater the integration with the external world through excercises of bringing outside world into classrooms and taking classrooms to the outsideworld, higher will be facilitation of students to have a better vision.

D. Need to foster entrepreneurial mindset as part of evolution of a student during the four years. This happens only when the institution is entrepreneurial, faculty is entrepreneurial, the processes are entrepreneurial. The institution should think of a few challenges/problems in its city as projects that could add immense value to the society, and solve them through their expertise; bring in relevant corporates to sponsor (csr), integrate these projects with the curriculum, at least in the 3rd and 4th year. Initiate the students into a structured entrepreneurial curriculum in the second year.

E. Of course embrace and institutionalize the competitions like NIFT HG business plan competition to help students participate, validate their ideas, create incubation possibilities. The funds will pour in. I am sure there are many investors like me who want to bet on the horses with potential.

F. The institutions need to tell themselves that they will incubate half a dozen endeavours/companies every year.

A stitch in time saves nine, as they say. It is time for NIFTs and NIDs to restitch in time to infuse energies.

Time to take off.

#careerlauncher

Barahvi ke baad kya : What after class XII – On Zee Business, 26.5.2018

Class 12 board results were announced this afternoon, so Zee business carried this post result show with call ins from students and parents on the road ahead. Sreenivasan R, Co-Founder, Career Launcher (CL Educate) was the panelist addressing all the queries.
This episode had questions from students across the country on various issues ..
a. What are the prospects for a commerce with maths student after class XII?
b. I have been selected for IHM (hotel management), is it worth pursuing? How do I convince parents who do not want me to work in hotel industry?
c. What does the future like for those who chose humanities?
d. Since the number of seats in DU is less, does it help if one chooses to go for distance-education?
f. What are the other choices for science students apart from Engineering and Medicine?
g. What is the relevance of maths, important in pursuing higher studies?
h. what kind of careers are in offing in the near future?
Keep coming to this site for more such articles that can help you excel in career and life.

Education Reforms: Curricula, Teachers, Parents, Children – Itihaas Annual Summit

Yesterday was a very insightful, introspective and compelling morning, being at the ITIHAAS’ 9th Annual Summit of Teachers and Educationists. Over 250 of them congregated in this annual immersion from across the country. Prof Poonam Batra, an eminent professor who has contributed immensely to the education space in the country, and Ms Prachi Agarval, noted developmental psychologist were the first ones to address the esteemed audience on the issue of, “Teachers and Curricula in the times of Educational Reforms”

It was a pleasure listening to Prof Poonam Batra of Delhi University on the shifts in the outlook towards education as the nation went on a roller-coaster ride that the ruling dispensations took the nation through, with their concept of nation and nationalism, paradigms of developmental economics, notions of secularism and tolerance! Here are a few of the salient points I managed to capture and tweeted live too.

Prof. #PoonamBatra #Teachers&CurriculaInEducationalReforms @ITIHAASKiBaat

  • Teachers have become one of the most marginalized, in a society that is hierarchical! #EducationalReforms are driven by #EconomicReforms. what are the #HumanIndicators? #Health #Education sliding further
  • #Teachers are catalysts in societal transformation. But #liberalization made the schools a market place #lessonplans, #studentprojects are being bought! #Teachers become #laborers #corporates who don’t understand #children and #education are packaging
  • #EducationPolicy is being pushed by #VentureCapitalists. #Teachers are no where in deciding what, why, when, where and how of #curriculum. #market has taken over #love, #affection too. Where is #Education? Where is development of #people?
  • We are focusing on #learningOutcome than #LearningExperiences #joy #child #Centricity has vanished! #Education has to be contextual, you cannot have global uniformity. Marginalization of #knowledge #context of course #Teachers.
  • #Child-centred vs #Discipline, #traditional vs #modern, why do we see only #polarity? Best way to learn is to have a non-threatening environment? Freedom means free to make mistakes, air opinions! Children observes your walk, do not talk!

Here are few points that I captured from Prachi’s sharings – @PrachiAgarval

  • Why do we go to #school? How many of us as #Teachers promote #questioning? Do we help the child to #realize his #potential? #developmental #relationship
  • Are we listening, understanding children? Are we co-creating? are we making children comfortable in committing mistakes? Helping them be compassionate? how many of us use our potential? How will we help children unearth theirs? #ExpressCare belonging, #ChallengeGrowth

Singers from TONK who have been championing the cause of education in country side, championed by dear friend Amir Abidi and his movement. The audience had the privilege of listening them.

I had short engaging interaction with the audience on  “#Perspectives, in the rapidly changing #world”.

Thanks to my dear friend Manohar Khushalani, an eminent theater personality and a Professor at IIIT Delhi, who went live on FACEBOOK while I was engaging the keenly learning facilitators and mentors in the auditorium.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fmanohar.khushalani%2Fvideos%2F10155891765792943%2F&show_text=0&width=267

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fmanohar.khushalani%2Fvideos%2F10155891777857943%2F&show_text=0&width=267

#Education is so much more! It is not about syllabus and marks for sure!

I am summing up the three things that any #educationist or #institution should strive to facilitate in a #child………………………..

1. Desire to #learn, through life: Life-long #learner
2. Have #courage to push boundaries: #Discover more of self. Dare to make #mistakes.
3. Be #humble whatever you achieve: #humility

These will not only help one in the changing times, but also #facilitate one ride the #change. Be the #master of your journey and destiny. Be the #change-maker. #Impact the #world.

#Shivani  of @ITIHAASKiBaat nicely summed up. If you do not know #where you are #coming from; if you do not take pride in who you are,  #why and #How will you know where you want to go? Do we facilitate #integrity #compassion #courage #humility?

Smita Vats, the founder of ITIHAAS concluded in her inimitable style, exhorting the teachers to create their own stories that they and also the society will be proud of, and also facilitate children in a manner that their stories too become legends.

Technology is an innovation amplifier – Industry and Institutions together can bring transformation : Prof Sadagopan, Chairman, MeltingPot2020 2017 Edition

It was an honour to have Prof S Sadagopan, Director IIIT Bangalore, as the chairperson of the Meltingpot2020, a landmark movement, an initiative by CL Educate, that is working towards bringing youthful, research-oriented entrepreneurial education institutions and innovation fostering industry players.

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(Prof Sadagopan interacting with Dr. Mashelkar, former chairperson of CSIR, the keynote speaker at MeltingPot2020)

Prof Sadagopan, in his opening remarks spoke about how the time has come for both, educational institutions and industry, to work together with technology playing the role of innovation amplifier to solve problems that will change the nation.

  • IT as innovation Amplifier
    • Core competence of most of us who started in 1960s –
    • We digitized everything over the forty years
    • Changed industry after industry
    • 2Ts were the largest exports
      • Tea, to drink
      • T for textile
    • IT is the largest now
      • 8bn dollar revenues today
      • MMT changed how travel industry works
      • Today innovation has changed how governments functioning
      • IT has been enabler and amplier of innovation
      • Kapital needs is much smaller in tech space compared to other spaces

NEXT PRACTICE, from CK Prahalad, one of the foremost thinkers India has produced in the modern times spoke about how next practice is what we need to focus upon

For the youngsters, your time has come, with all humility we can change the world

  • Our generation went to the US, worked for the best, for the US and Europe
  • We contributed a lot, that shows up… GOOGLE and Microsoft
  • SATYAM, SIVAM, SUNDARAM….soon we will have a SIVAM joining Satya of Microsoft and Sundar of Google

Solving problems in India

  • From 2010 things have changed
  • Indians solving India’s problems, in India
  • They have global reach
  • Tweak the innovations with price-performance parameters
  • Examples
    • Railway reservation
      • A 60 kg human being had  to go 16kms for reserving his seat, one day gone
      • Now we can have it in a jiffy, from anywhere. With millions doing reservations every day; imagine the man days saved, at one-tenth cost
    • Travel-khana
      • Food delivered at Train stations – priced at 29,49,69 rs
      • Delivered to your seats – breakfast, lunch and dinner
      • 33 million people travel every day on trains
      • Investment is a pittance
    • Redbus
      • Organizes small bus operators
      • Handling 2 buses to 6000 buses today
    • A Stanford undergrad student of sociology
      • Heard about India’s innovation explosion
      • Landed in Blore at my office
      • She was fascinated how they were using Egipura
      • They were using missed call
        • Husband comes up picks her on cycle when he receives a miss call
        • Missed call service offered by banks
          • 1 for balance in account… 2 for ….blah blah
      • She starts a business in Thailand and Malyasia – Valerie is her name

Can we make a difference to our neighborhood, that is happening

It can make a big difference

We need to make a delta difference, not just an epsilon

“Empowering to Excel,” Season 2, creates more magic at Dibrugrah University, Sept 17

Endeavaours at the Dibrugarh university are adding more magic to the students and the university, empowering them to excel in life. Post my last visit in August, I had shared a short write up, here is the next post. The Videos here share what a human being can gain, how one can transform in life, in just a matter of four days. It is all about the awakening that one goes through, discovering the purposefulness in life and with determination moves in the direction that he or she ought to move.

Enjoy listening to their reflections and sharing of their delightful transformations…

Here is a video that strings together short captures of many participants making their presentations, and engaging in public speaking, for the very first time in life. Look at their confidence.

Every presenter has worked in a group of complete strangers, from other departments of the university, to study an alien topic (the topics they never ever read or studied about – due to poor reading habits), discuss, engage, share and then create a presentation to engage larger public of aliens (other groups).

I gain a lot more inspiration from the whole exercise, as it reinforces my belief that it is possible to bring the transformation in a very short span of time. I believe, I can.

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