Saturday, March 17, 2012

Blending Education with 'Vidyabhyasam'

I have seen the word 'Vidyabhyasam' used (in Malayalam, and probably in many other Indian languages as well), quite often, to mean the same as 'Education'. Is there a difference at all? I think there is a subtle difference and this has a lot to do with current state of education.

The word 'Vidyabhyasam' refers to the process of acquisition (abhyasam) of knowledge (vidya). This implies an internal desire to acquire knowledge of the respective individual as primary driver, inspired by a realization 'Vidyadhanam Sarvadhanat Pradhanam' (which can be roughly translated as mean 'knowledge is the ultimate wealth')

The word 'Education' refers to the process of educating, which implies existence of an uneducated who needs to be educated. This, in turn, implies an external source who wish to enforce a transformation on the less privileged 'uneducated' person, as primary driver.

.. to be continued/detailed later...

Education system, in its current form and state, is a legacy that we carry from colonial rule. Colonial rule was, in turn, empowered by industrial revolution which required existence of laborers on a large scale. ....

Laborers were required to be skilled through training and managers were required to be educated to manage laborers. This resulted in creation of classes of people, and the role of education was largely limited to ensuring availability people as resources for these objectives....

This resulted in considering education as the sole means of getting a decent living, and the sole purpose of education was understood as means to get a decent living... other dimensions of learning was hardly conveyed/understood ...

This resulted in skewed acquisition of knowledge as well as skewed distribution of knowledge among people, resulting in compromise of even basic values of education and social disharmony....

Education underwent through many transformations, leading to many variations like teaching, training, mentoring, coaching etc. But all of these continues to base itself on external source as primary driver, and education continues on a prescriptive model, rather than adapting to needs of individual learner...

Let me clarify at this point, lest my intent be misunderstood, that I am not advocating scrapping of education in its current form. As can be gleaned from progress so far, we have to accept that it has its merits.

Also, 'Vidyabhasam' as was practiced earlier had its own share of drawbacks as well, which led to its eventual decline. Therefore, what I am recommending here is blending.

That is, 'Vidyabhyasam' going hand in hand with 'Education'... or, 'Education' may help a person to reach a stage where he can commence his 'Vidyabhyasam'

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Challenging the obvious!

Web is abuzz with with diverse perspectives as news of Steve Jobs resigning CEO of apple was announced a couple of days back. This is no wonder given the current state of economy as well as much debated dependence of apple on Steve Jobs as a person.

IT industry has seen emergence of many geeks, entrepreneurs, innovators, etc but Steve Jobs has demonstrated a multi-dimensional personality, rolling apparently diverse roles  of visionary, entrepreneur, innovator, business man, marketer, etc into one.... Thomas Edison of our generation!

He emerged from out of the blue introduced Macintosh  in 1980s. This disruptive vision brought power of computing to desktop, effectively ending an era of computing dominated by mainframes and 'dumb' terminals and forcing giants of the times like deep blue to realign themselves to the new wave; due credit, of course, to deep blue for having survived the onslaught which killed many. Yet again, when everyone thought that world of computing, networking and communication is converging into a kind of equilibrium, new set of gadgets unleashed by the innovator par excellence disrupted the market place once again, setting established players on the run

The big question now is, what shall Apple be, with Steve Jobs exiting as CEO.  Well, He has resigned from role of CEO but it is expected that he would continue inspire and guide Apple. Yet it is time now for Apple to realign to like life ahead, without its charismatic leader.... and latest development ought to be good when looked at from that perspective!

My hypothesis on organization is that every organization is a living being, like every one of us with its of identity, lifecycle, character, values, intellect and ecosystem. Early stages of its life is guided by its founders just as a toddler depends on his/her parents. Over a period of time, child will and must learn to emerge out of shadow of his/her parents to establish itself in the larger world; it is a gradual distancing that helps to establish distinctive existence with formation of clear identity, character etc. These may be influenced, or inspired, by parents and world around but yet distinct. Distancing can be catastrophic at a stage as early as toddler but mandatory at teen

So I would expect that Apple would live through this natural phase in its evolution and continue to enrich our of world of technology

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Hyperactive media, and news nonsense!

Case in point is the news 'Tendulkar's intervention led to Bell's reinstatement: Report.'

What does this report seek to convey? What this report does this clarify?

Like any other person who enjoy cricket as a game,  I too love to watch when a person like Sachin plays.  But deification is ridiculous, and works against team spirit.

Media reports like this makes me wonder quite often, whether there is more to news reporting than meets the eye. Does this not border on politicking and mind games?

Does quality of a person, as a player or as an individual, need to be discussed in comparison? That too, eclipsing his own team member; team captain at that? Can quality of a person not stand scrutiny by its own merit?

Fairness in game and sportsman spirit must be upheld, and it was upheld. I am glad about that.

How does it matter whether Sachin was the person who argued for it or whether it was some one else? Is media trying to prove Sachin is God and the rest are lesser mortals?

Worse, is there any means of proving authenticity of this report? It sounds like speculation to a discerning reader.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Innocent, invisible waves of corruption!

Are stories in folklore for real? So it seems, going by recent happenings in Indian political scene. Story goes like this:

Once upon a time, there was a corrupt official in King's royal staff. King came to know of this official's dirty track record but then this official was so powerful that even King could not actually throw him out or mete out any severe punishment. The meek King, caught in helpless plight caught between his own conscience to act up on the evil and his own 'very human limitations', transferred the official to an apparently innocuous assignment. That is, he was assigned the task of staying put on a seashore at the country's border and counting every wave. He was neutralized, or the king thought thus. But then, as always, devil's hands were at play and corrupt official came out with innovative ways of converting innocent waves into private wealth. He stopped every boat passing by and threatened with punishment. His argument was every boat passing by was preventing him from complying with royal command, and exhorted money from each passer by in this pretext.

Times have changed but second generation waves is now getting converted into private wealth! Innovative, yes.. but unfortunately in the wrong place.... Is history repeating itself?

An old joke

Recent turn of events in Indian political scene reminded on of an old joke.

The joke falls in genre of Namboothiri jokes. These, a private pride of every malayali, have multiple levels of depth to a discerning listener and are, often, more than a joke.

Well, the joke that I am reminded of is that there was a theft in some Namboothiri's home and he came to report the same to the king. Listening attentively to the story, the king remarked that it was so sad. To this, Namboothiri replied that his wife too said the same. King is reported to have got the message and taken appropriate action to nab the thief and return money to the victim.

I hope our leaders now would also rise up to the occassion

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

A wake up call, any one listening?!

A feeble but powerful wakeup call but are we listening yet?

Monday, May 02, 2011

Conscious compromise of social progress!

I recently came across a letter reported to have been written by American Indian chief in 1853. I do not authenticity of the letter or its contents but what is worth noting is that every words written there must resonate in our minds. 

There is no point lamenting, or getting into knee jerk reactions, when disasters like epidemics, floods and Tsunami strike. The fact I see is that we (mankind), as a race, have plundered earth and its resources for too long.

India was a land where nature was worshipped. Every facet of nature was worshipped attributing divine properties in it. Perhaps, the message was to learn to respect each other, every other being, and live together in harmony.

For instance, we worship snakes. But as we took more and more of their territories, we confined them to temples in human habitats. It was not too late when we started trespassing into these as well in the name of progress.

Where to is this progress? For whom is this progress?

When I read the letter of American Indian chief quoted earlier, I am reminded of story of sage Dadichi who sacrificed his life.

Friday, February 18, 2011

My dad is no more!

As the time moved on, the inevitable happened.

My father ((Kodungallur Sudhakara Raja, son of Ikkavutti Thampuratti and Chettani Mekkattu Vasudevan Namboothiri) completed all his duties and responsibilities in this world and left us all, day before yesterday (February 16, 2011) in Delhi (where he lived his last couple of years with my mother, my sister and her family).

He was suffering from Meningioma, and Alzheimer's disease. He was further aflicted with Pneumonia and septisemia in his last days. He was under intensive medical care for about 10 days but he could not survive despite the best medical care we could extend

Born in the royal family of Kodungallur (Kodungallur Kovilakam), he was an expression of unexpressed love and affection of a simple man living true to the great tradition, culture and values of the family.

 A photo with his brother and sisters, taken a couple of years back

A photo with my mother, taken a few years back
His body was cremated in Delhi in Nigam Bodh Ghat.

Our close relative-friends in Delhi were with us through the hard times. Their advice and help all along made our unbearable pain as bearable as can be

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Redeeming a moment from archives!

My father (extreme left, middle row) along with his siblings and cousins
From Indira Mandiram, Chirakkal Palace, Kodungallur

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A great soul departs!

Fate has made its final assault on physical life of a great soul.

Grim reality of the moment for me is, Maruammavan is no more. My mind is turning numb, recalling concluding lines from Veena Poovu, a classic (which I remember as one of his favorites) from Kumaran Asan:

Kanne Madanguka Karinjumalinjum Aasu
Mannaakumee Malaru Vismruthamaakumippol
Enneedukaarukum Ithu Thaan Gati Saadhaymentu
Kanneerinaal Avanivazhvu Kinaavu, Kashtam

It roughly translate to mean:
Turn way, oh eyes, This flower will decay and desolve into oblivion now
Alas! Know it's everyone's fate, Tears don't help, Worldly life is hard

My memories are taking me years back into a cold winter morning of 19th December 1984! My train was fast approaching Delhi, and I was on way to join for duty for the first time.

Yes, almost as I had completed my studies, I landed on a prestigious job with Government of India. I was filled with the loneliness of going away my home for the first time ever, of the excitement of starting a new independent life and of anxiety of being transplanted into the heart of India from my remote hometown deep south of India.

My parents, in their concern about my safety in the wilderness of a faceless city, made a few arrangements for my pick up, and one of them was Maruvammaavan, a distant paternal relation, whom I had never met till then.

Of all, I could find only Maruvammavan in Delhi railway station, extending a warm welcome in his characteristic style. Thus started a relation that I cherish all along.

Curious as I am, I asked him once as to why did he take the trouble of coming to the railway station in the cold winter night to pick me up, though he does not know me.

He said, "I do not know you, but I know your father, though I have not met him for years now, since school days", exposing the sweetness of affection in his heart which he skillfully hides in his routine nonchallant demeanour. I found these pointing to deeper values of Indian culture (or, should I rather say human values) that are rare to find in the dog-eating-dog modern world

Association with him, though a short one, was so profound for me personally that it transformed thoroughly into a different person. He challenged me to challenge every unchallenged beliefs, dogmas and systems. It helped me break out of my social conditioning and live life the way I like, not the way others in the society expects me to live

Knowing values that he stood for, knowing what he has been going through, I do not want to shed tears as he departs.

My best memories about him are with his family, a family which bustled with vibrant life and radiated high positive energy. I saw him withstand a tough fate, with ammayi's departure in late 1980s. I saw his smile years later. But, I suspect life, deep within, was never the same since then.

As the inevitable fate catches up his great soul, I pray to the almighty that his soul may join Ammayi and rest in peace in the heavens above.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Another year has gone by! As a solid 365 days from blessed moments of my life went past me, have I grown wiser? But I hope the child in me has gone younger, even as I grow older. I do not really care

I think, the fire in me has stayed on; that is, my compassion for the world at large, and my love for people around me. That is me that I know, and that is my way of thanking God for all that He has given me

Personally for me,the year 2010 was a mixed bag! It was somewhat better than previous years. Yet the year had its own tumultous moments that shook me totally and left me drained out emotionally. It was support from my family and countably few friends that helped me tide over the crisis. Storm seems to be over, as I see serene peace all around, though devastation of stormy times has left the landscape untidy.

On professional front, I am continuing my journey that I commenced a couple of years back. It is a long journey, and I am compelled to keep details under veil of professional code of confidentiality. It is, nevertheless, challenging and, hence, interesting. I shall report on that probably 8-10 years later.

As we bid farewell to 2010, and move into a bright new dream world of hope, I wish you and your family a very happy and prosperous new year!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Love and trust, the very raison d'être!

An interesting video (in Hindi) about how a father (who is a farmer) gave up everything he had to bring up his son. The boy eventually cleared the prestigious Indian Civil Service examination, as a topper, to become an IAS officer.

Boy's achievements are inspirational, indeed. Also, it is good to see that him making a clear distinction between challenge (sangharsh) and problem (dukh).

Equally impressive is the love and trust extended by the farmer to his son.

Unconditional love and trust everything is given up for a cause (in this case, son's education and career) is, I believe, the essence of a human life.

Love completely when you love. Trust completely when you trust.

Conditional love is not love; I consider it to be more dangerous than hate or absence of love.

Conditional trust is not trust; I consider it to be more demeaning than distrust

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

An ocean, in a soliloquy!

I woke up as a new ray of hope caressed me all over. I saw a new star rising up in my sky, bright and smiling. Winds of change blew across, waves of passion rose up seeking to touch the heaven above, eventually crashing painfully into myself.

My joy knew no bounds, blushing in my innocence, as star of dream came closer. Alas! My dream left my world, as I streched my hands to charm my dream in a warm embrance, and a gloom of darkness filled my world.

My heart sank to depths unknown. I found a new serene world, free from the undercurrent of deceit and waves of tempest crashing into tears. As I slept in my new world of tranquil, a new dream was rising up in heavens above

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Don't break my heart!

Break my thoughts, if you must
It makes me wiser
Break my way, if you must
It makes me stronger
But don't ever break my heart
'coz you are my heart

Learning to live wiser!

I learned about force of gravity!

I also learned that knowledge in itself does not make you wiser; to be wiser, knowledge must be enriched by experience!

I longed for experience, and I had a free fall!

Then, I truly experienced force of gravity, and I became wiser.

I learned to live being less wiser!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Being the son of dharma!

Did you say, world hails me as a son of dharma? Did you say, world looks forward to me as righteousness personified?

Title is bestowed on me by the destiny, and not my claim!

Title weighs heavy on me as I struggle hard to live by wisdom of practical living, yet living a life of values, in a unique ashwamedha of my own.

It is not a title that I sought, nor I am seeking it now. I have no claims of being son of righteousness.

I am no god, I have no power of god. I am a simple man, acutely aware of my limitations

It is just that I try to be on the side of dharma. I do so because my conscience directs me to.

I seek the truth relentlessly, desperately. I seek the truth as my restless mind seeks.

I know, I am not good at playing dice but I played as the time played dice with me. I lost the gamble, and I lost all that I held dear to me.

Perhaps, that is destined. May be, long years of adversity and oblivion was destined. How else shall I describe the turn of events?

All that I was left with was my heart, my bleeding heart. I gambled as the game was played on. I saw my heart, all alone wailing as it was being stripped off its pride and dignity.

Advocates of social and human values stood as a mute witness to the disaster being unfolded.

Tell me, please, my mother. Tell me, please, my father. Tell me, please, my Gurus. Where did you vanish, leaving me alone? Why did I lose you on the other side of wall? You told me that dharma wins! You told me that truth alone wins!

Did you teach me wrong, or did I learn it wrong? or is it just a game of great illusion?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hope of a bright, new day!

A past is laid to rest in archives
Leaving me all alone, all on my own
Searched for Me in my solitude
Searched for Me that I lost a long ago

Dark clouds thundered in my dreams
Wild storms gushed through my heart
Heaven broke down into tears
As waves of pain hit my shores

Far away, I saw your smile
A new ray of hope, lighting up my dreams
A hope of a new dawn, a new beginning
A bright, new day is born

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Colors of my small world!

My mind was quiet
Time stood still
I was alone in my small world
I longed for a change

I saw you, I saw me
I saw the world in me
I saw the world in prism of my mind
I longed for a rainbow

Winds of change blew
Clouds filled my sky
Thunder and lighting made my day
World shook in pain

My heart broke
Tears dropped down my eyes
I made a kaleidoscope with my broken heart
I saw a rainbow

Saturday, November 20, 2010

That is me!

You tell me a man does not cry
You tell me a man does not cheat
You tell me a man does not fall

Why give me tears if I should not cry
Why break my heart if I should not weep
Why agony, Why pain, Why bruises

Don't chain me with your rules
I break free of your endless rules
'coz I care for you but not your rules

I cry when it hurts hard
I cry when I see you cry
My heart breaks when I see your pain

I laugh when I am happy
I laugh when you laugh at me
I laugh at me, at my joke

I laugh at me for being a joke
A joke, not yet learned the art of living
A joke, not yet learned the art of deceiving

I laugh at my joke
A joke, that I made of the world
A joke, that I made myself to be

I cry because I am a man
I smile because I am a man
'coz I am what I am

I care not for name
I care not for fame
'coz it's all but a game

Hope of a new dawn!

Even as world is caught in drastic changes, it makes sense to reflect and wonder whether we are in the process of killing ourselves.

Even as we are caught in the rat race, it helps to pause, at times, and ponder whether we are missing the beauty of flowers at our feet in the haste to reach out to the moon.

Even as we strive for our goals in life, it pays to share our success and grow, because success sweeter when shared, because growth is easier when shared, because life is fun and life is also responsibility

Even as India is hailed as a world power, it would be a shame to bask in its glory while more than half of our brethren are left in the lurch, while Indian women are still dumped into wilderness of shame, apathy and misery

I am glad to note that fire of compassion and empathy in the hearts of Indian youth is not yet put out by the winds of change. I am happy to note that humanness has not yet been lost despite growing ambitions and aspirations of new India

It fills me with the hope of a new dawn of a whole new world.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lamenting nostalgia of future!

Recently, I was teaching my kids about reflection and refraction of light. I was more than amused when they told me that they have not yet seen a rainbow except in silver screen or TV. Innocent question suddenly lured me years back into enchanting memories; to a past when life was so simple

I was brought up in Tripunithura, a suburb of Kochi (formerly Cochin). In the times of yore, I could eternally watch majestic approach of rain as benevolent rain gods showered his incessant love on us, gifting a loads of ripe, sweet mangos in a gentle breeze. Mythological stars of folklore of my land used to share space with Sherlock Homes and James Bond to live in my dreams, without grudges and squabbles of ethnic, racial, linguistic, religious divides.

Stop, my mind, please! World has moved far ahead than you have! Don't waste precious time, looking back and lamenting! Myths emerging out of painting to give caressing care of love to an innocent youth is long lost, in the blinding wisdom of modernity. Cuddling care and fond touch of nature is replaced by lullabies mechanically aired by wonders of electronics.

Yet, here I am, drifting across continents, fervently searching for the soul of Shakespere and Shelly; the soul that my teachers, who devoted their time and passion into archives of knowledge, showed me. Did I hear you say 'Much ado about nothing'?

I realize, rather late though, that separated by time and distance they may be but separated at heart, they were not.

Is my heart bleeding at the sharp cutting edge of technology? In the hope of reaching to the moon far away, have we missed the beauty of flower at our feet? As the lure of past is laid to rest in grim solitude of my mind, I heard a mysteriously distinct voice asking me quo vadis?'