Browsing articles in " Education "

Seeking Wisdom in Tribal Storytelling

There was a beautiful girl called Ramenhawii who was famous for her very long hair. All the young men in the village desired her but none could win her favour. One day she was washing her hair in the river, a fish swallowed her hair. A strand of the hair found its way to the plate of the king of the valley as he was being served dinner by the palace cook. Filled with curiosity at the sight of the beautiful hair the king ordered his guards to look for the owner of the hair as he wished to make her his queen. After a long search, the guards at last found the place where the girl lived but they were unable to approach her as she lived protected by barricades around her.

“Oh! Please tell us at least your name” implored the king’s guards.

She replied: ‘No name, no name have I, I live on pure water, I live on pure vegetables.’

Mizo tale of “Ramenhawii.”

“If the end of nineteenth century underlines the distressing effects of industrial revolution and colonialism, the end of twentieth century witnesses the emergence of two paradoxical processes: (i) globalization: a process that cuts across the boundaries of nations, cultures and societies privileging a move towards larger integration of the world and facilitating interdependence moving towards a global culture; and (ii) resistances to globalization: in the form of a vehement articulation of the local  for preservation of indigenous cultures and identities,” writes Kailash C. Baral, Director of Northeast Campus of the Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages (CIEFL) at Shillong in his essay Globalization and Tribes of  Northeast India . There is no escape from the emerging reality that the ‘Global Village’ is a community stripped of all heterogeneity of cultural and traditional flows of life – life here is equated with economic aspirations of market that sell a pipe dream of prosperity while hiding the bleak future. And such realization cannot be disposed off anymore as alarmist.

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Food Security Bill – Yet Another Bluff?

National Food Security Bill 2012 to be tabled in Indian Parliament would be a big global Inspiration according to researchers from Institute of Development Studies, UK.

“India stands at the threshold of potentially the largest step towards food justice the world has ever seen, as the National Food Security Bill works its way through parliament,” Lawrence Haddad, director of the Britain-based IDS, said.  The bill aims to give legal right to cheaper food grain to 63.5 per cent of the population. Around 180 million households — 65 million below poverty line (BPL) and 115 million above poverty line (APL) category families — get subsidized rations under the public distribution system through the fair price shops.

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‘The authorities in New York are discovering what Egypt also learned — that it’s not as easy to regulate or arrest journalists when everyone is a journalist. But while that may make our lives a little more complicated, it is fundamentally a good thing for society,’ writes Mathew Ingram in his post ‘ What happens when journalism is everywhere.

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Simple Elegance to Wonderful Complexity – A journey (Part 1)

Clouds are not spheres, mountains are not cones, coastlines are not circles, and bark is not smooth, nor does lightning travel in a straight line.
—Benoit Mandelbrot, The Fractal Geometry of Nature

When I was a 5 year old kid, there used to be a popular brand of barley sold under the name ‘Purity Indian Barley’. Though barley is a very useful and widely consumed cereal and known for its health benefits, my early memory of it is dreadful because the barley soup that my mother used to feed me tasted like high quality dish washing water.

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Love the Country, Can’t Stand the Scene

I don’t really know why I am writing this.

I drove roughly two hours today seeking a tea stall where I can have a cup of sweet and hot tea, deshi style, to enjoy the drizzle and the much waited rains after a week of stifling heat of Kolkata April.

My city mates might be frowning by now. Driving two hours looking for a tea stall? Well, in Kolkata every block has two of them. Read more >>

Earth Day 2012 on top of the World

I grew up in this town, my poetry was born between the hill and the river, it took its voice from the rain, and like the timber, it steeped itself in the forests

Pablo Neruda

It was almost 9.30 p.m  as Jan Shatabdi Express from Delhi sluggishly rolled in alongside Dehradun. I left the comfort of the air conditioned chair-car, anticipation eating into me and was breathing the familiar Indian Rail station smell. No, I did not grow up in this town and my poetry is novice. But I am in eternal tug and pull between hill and river; I saw life in great river country of Bengal and fell in love with it. Yet Himalaya with its lofty heights and ancient stories beckoned me all my life. Presently, on this railway platform, I was going to meet a friend whom I have not seen with my eyes. It could not get any more exciting!

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Reassuring Guarantee For The People Of India

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005 ( MNREGA 2005) enacted by the Government of India in 34 Indian States and Union Territories aimed at enhancing the livelihood security of people in rural areas by guaranteeing 100 days of wage-employment annually to an adult member of a rural household to do unskilled manual work.

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Climate Literacy

It was a rainy afternoon when my friend Anupama Sen and I were stuck in the small coffee-shop in south Calcutta. Anupama is my childhood friend, now a renowned physician in the city with a neat six figure private practice – I recalled her super sharp mind and fierce debating skills from the high school days. We seemed to meet each other couple of years by jolly coincidence in all unlikely places and the current being in the boring office of Motor Vehicles department where we both turned up for renewal of our driving licenses. As old friends we fell prey to the temptations of catching up with one another in a CCD shop and an unexpected November shower stranded us up.

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A Truth Of Folly

Better indeed is knowledge than mechanical practice. Better than knowledge is meditation. But better still is surrender of attachment to results, because there follows immediate peace.

Bhagavad Gita

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When Friedrich Max Muller (1823-1900), a Sanskritist at Oxford was speaking of Indians as “our elder brethren”, much to the displeasure of the colonial and missionary authorities who ruled India, he hardly knew his idea could spark off a meme that would, in a span of 100 years, challenge the Nehruvian ideal of a Secular Democracy for India. Many British administrators despised the dark-skinned natives, while Christian priests were horrified by their “idolatrous errors, senseless mummeries… and bloody barbarous sacrifices”. The popular belief of the West had been that the Colonial West represented a racial supremacy over the Indian people in the east but this belief drew strength from a much recent Christian world view and 200 year history of Industrial revolution.

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A Calcutta Theater Group, Nandikar , is presently staging a drama named ‘ Mulya Ferat’ . This is a Bengali adaptation of the original play ‘Refund’ (1938) by Hungarian  author, playwright, poet, journalist, and translator Fritz Karinthy (also known for his Six Degrees of Separation concept). The main protagonist of the play, Janardan in the Bengali play (Wasserkopf in the original play) is a disgruntled middle aged man who realizes that his education has not taught him anything worthwhile to make a living and he comes back to his school to demand refund of his tuition fees. His seemingly absurd yet justified demand comes to the fore as a self searching question about our education systems in a hilarious mix of the trepidations on the part of the teachers and the protagonist’s strife ends with a cunning scheme by a mathematics teacher who shows that the protagonist has after all attained a skill since he correctly calculated his refund. Read more >>

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All opinions are solely those of the author. Reader's discretion necessary for using any of the contents of this website. (c) Pabitra Mukhopadhyay 2011
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