The myth of surgical strike

Now the UGC is actively promoting the BJP government. Of course, everyone knows that the BJP government is after the 2019 elections. Neither the higher education monitor not the right wing BJP government love they country and it’s soldiers soldiers add they love power. So, all of a sudden the UGC dictates is to celebrate SURGICAL STRIKE DAY at the end of this month. The current government has been abusing every institution in the country for its electoral propose and destroying them.

Now, you read further:

https://thewire.in/politics/ugc-surgical-strikes-day-election-political-fodder/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

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For Sanatan Sanstha, all’s fair in the war for a Hindu Rashtra

Supporters take part in a rally in Thane on August 28, 2018 to protest the move to ban the Sanatan Sanstha.Supporters take part in a rally in Thane on August 28, 2018 to protest the move to ban the Sanatan Sanstha.   | Photo Credit: Vibhav Birwatkar

The Sanstha, which advocates the setting up of a theocratic state, has called for the use of violence against those its considers obstacles.

“A third world war will take place between 2016 and 2018, marking the beginning of an end of anti-socials…Training to set up a “God’s kingdom” will continue from 2019 to 2022 and a Hindu Rashtra will be set up by 2023.”

These are not predictions from Nostradamus or a neighbourhood astrologer. This is the time table for the nation drawn up by Sanatan Sanstha, an extreme right-wing Hindu organisation, headed by Dr. Jayant Athawale. (read further)

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/for-sanatan-sanstha-alls-fair-in-the-war-for-a-hindu-rashtra/article24843643.ece?homepage=true

Kerala floods and triumph of humanity

Kerala floods in August 2018 were the worst in a century. The floods claimed about 300 lives (though official figures estimated them slightly below and unofficial estimates put them much higher). The floods also rendered over a million homeless, destroying property worth over Rs. 20,000 crore (Rs. 200 billion).

Along with Kerala, Karnataka’s Coorg (Kodagu) district also suffered massive loss of life and property, though as much as Kerala.

The Central Government run by BJP was asked for help, but the government did not heed the cry, because the government in Kerala is run by its political opponent – Communist Party of India.

But Kerala was able to overcome all the temporary misery in a very short time, in spite of the Centre’s refusal to help.

All the credit goes Kerala’s civilians and southern states. Fisherfolk were quick to come to the aid of the victims of floods with their tiny boats. People irrespective of caste, creed, and culture were quick to respond. Churches, mosques, and temples were turned into rehabiiltation camps for the suffering people. You could see pictures of churces, in which Muslims were encouraged to offer namaz.

Irrespective of the negativity by the Central Government (to whom all of us pay taxes), irrespective of differences, in spite of the hatred and hate-generating fake messages/ news circulated by a few right-wing majority organisations and people, spirit of humanity triumphed. Some right wing elements (including the top executive of the country’s federal bank Reserve Bank of India) said that the floods were a curse from God for eating beef and polluting Aiyyappa temple (referring to the Supreme Court judgement permitting entry to women to the temple, which has been banned for a few centuries in the name of women’s “impuruity”)! Some people just can’t rise from the muck they roll in no matter the gravity of the tragedy!

Rains have abated; people have been provided enough and more things for their immediate living than necessary for the time-being, by their fellow citizens. People from across the globe have come forward to lend a helping hand.

A bigger, longer challenge awaits us all: rehabilitation and reconstruction of homes and lives!

It’s fake all over; our PM happy following such fakies

Fake: Photo of Rahul Gandhi checking out images of scantily clad women on his phone

फोटो कभी झूट नहीं बोलती… देख लो राहुल गाँधी क्या कर रहा है (Photographs never lie…look at what Rahul Gandhi is doing- translated). With these words, a photograph of Congress President Rahul Gandhi checking out an images of a bikini clad woman on his mobile phone has been circulating on social media. A Facebook page, Yogi Sarkar which has more than 400,000 followers posted this photograph on July 30, 2018. It has been shared more than 7000 times since then. It has also been shared in the Facebook group Modi Mission 2019 which has over 130,000 members.

…. …. …

https://www.altnews.in/fake-photo-of-rahul-gandhi-checking-out-images-of-scantily-clad-women-on-his-phone/

The dreaded calf-muscle injury!

It has been two months since I returned from Shimla, and with a bad back, thanks to the hilly region and the structure of the Institute: our guest house was somewhere slightly down – about 60-70 giant-size steps below the top of the hill. On top are situated all the essential services like the library, mess, canteens, shops, all the offices, and anything you can think of. And to climb up and down these 60-70 giant steps everyday, at least 4-5 times!

Will power can work miracles; and that is what  it did to me till I was there – it didn’t permit me collapse, though I  could feel the strain. But the moment I landed in Bengaluru, I collapsed! My back gave up. I was confined to be for at least three days; and then visited a doctor, who saw that there was some strain, and advised some physiotherapy. The therapy did some good; but it was just about four or five days, and it could not wipe out all the pain/ strain.

But in spite of all this, I engaged classes, lest at the end of the semester, I should fall short of the number of prescribed holy hours! (I don’t need to worry about content, by God’s grace, I have deep faith in my students: with slightest hints, they are capable of learning from wherever you suggest). And then, again, met another neurologist and an MRI, which suggested some growth in the spinal cord, which pressed a major nerve going down to legs, and generated pain. Since I didn’t want a surgery, decided to manage with some exercises for my back (thanks to YouTube!)

As I was recovering, slowly I tried to get into the mood of games – shuttle badminton – a change from my regular walks. On the first day, it was a controlled game; it was ok. The second day brought some body pain, hence only a walk. On the third day, I went for another game of badminton. There were two lay teachers and two Jesuits playing (the second lay person joined after I exited). And then there was that injury: my calf muscle game me such a pain, that it sent shivers down my spine, remembering the accident I suffered six years ago and how I tore my ankle ligament, whose niggle I still carry! Just could not move.

I came out of the court, asking the second lay person to join. The game went on. I came out and lay down trying to wonder what was happening. When the game got over, struggled to come out. Fortunately, one of the laymen sensed my agony, felt  pity for me, and helped me climb down the stairs. The other layman offered to drop me by his vehicle; since he had to bring his vehicle from another campus to fetch me, I politely declined, and started crawling home (which is about 100 meters away), with a fond hope of finding someone who would offer me a shoulder home. None!

Finally, I reached my room all by myself, literally crawling. Since then, it has been bed and only bed! They say, when troubles come, they come in companies! I tried calling at least five Jesuits, and the kitchen staff, and not even could be accessed   Fortunately, after I reached the Rector and spoke, he and the Jesuit community tried meeting me. Thanks to Br. Thomas Rama, he has a tender heart; besides attending himself, he has also instructed our kitchen staff to take care. And not forget some other Jesuit companions – Leoraj and Mukti.

Rest has done me tremendous good; there is so much of improvement, now I am sure the injury is not a dreaded sprain! Just a muscle catch. That also gives me the much desired rest and avenue to read!

In praise of humility and simplicity

The more humble you become the greater you seem to your audience. This has been my experience in the last few years. One of the striking examples His Holiness Pope Francis, the supreme leader of the Catholic world. Who can refute his greatness, and humility and simplicity simultaneously?

We have a new Archbishop in Bangalore Catholic Archdiocese. His Grace Rev. Dr Peter Machado. He has been transferred from Belgaum (in North Karnataka) to Bengaluru. He took charge of the Archdiocese in May. And he has, already, won hearts of many!

He requests people to address him ‘Father’ and not other highfalutin titles like ‘His Grace’, ‘Lordship’, and the like. Second, he lives, moves, and speaks so simple, that no one feels daunted in his presence. Just like one of us! I love that simplicity! It’s fascinating. Third, he doesn’t like any formality: be it making fuss over him or changing programmes for his sake! A down-to-earth man! That is what I call a ‘man untouched by power!’

The last one is a very rare quality among leaders – be they political or religious or any institutional. Power is such a luring and blinding thing, that people thrust into chairs, become completely become blind. I am reminded of Lord Acton: power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I have found many a leader to be thinking no ends of him/herself. Before they are elevated, they are charming and “pleasing”. But once they take over the charge, they expose their tyrant selves. They manipulate every rule to suit their selfish designs, use the very people who made them leaders, and pay for having them. These leaders refuse to work (their own mandate, or their very duties which define them), and lord it over them. And to keep their chairs, they are quick to find a victim, condemn the helpless without trial, using rules and gods. Poor citizens are left high and dry.

This is where the likes of Pope Francis and Archbishop Peter Machado are beacons of light, and are a welcome change in the world of the corrupt and greedy leaders. While I can easily cite the examples of religious/ spiritual leaders, I apologise that I am at a loss to cite an example from our politics!

To take a break or not to…

Getting tied down to a work or an institution can be self-fettering. Sometimes, I get so involved in the works I do that I forget myself – my rest, my social/ academic/ intellectual replenishments.  And being far from a family, you have none to bother about these essentials.

Institutions are happy to milch whatever they can from you; institutions and people sitting in chairs benefit. But at the end of the day, there is no one to bother about what you have gone through. What more, not even to value what you stand for. You have to preach the ideal, but not live that ideal. That is the contradiction; not even speak of this heresy. Well, can you at least replenish yourself in the very field you have contributed to the institution! Who will understand that need, as long as ‘things keep going’, never mind how!

That’s when you take a break; may not be a long one. At least one or two days. May not be to sleep it out, but at least to read a few lines; write a few lines. At the end of it, you may not benefit much; but someone else must, something else must!

The FIFA Worldcup final woes

It’s rare that I watch a football match. I enjoy football; but don’t spend much time on watching. I have hardly spent time on FIFA  Worldcups.

This time, in the context of FIFA Worldcup 2018, I kept myself more or less updated on the progress of the Cup, but without spending much time; sometimes, I watch about 10-15 minutes on a match. But with underdogs Belgium and Croatia in semi-finals, I watched a good deal of loser’s semi-finals. That match between Belgium and England was a cracker! The forceful England floored by the artistic Belgians. I could not but grow in admiration for this Belgian team! Loved their every pass and every save! That was football at its best.

So, obvioulsy then, I decided to watch the entire final between France and Croatia. But except for the initial few minutes, the Croatians seemed to be completely out of depth. The final scoreline looked like a shoot-out scoreine: 4-2. Not at all an exciting match as was anticipated. Sad! Nevertheless, there were quite a few comical moments in the match; my one favourite is the Croatian scoring a goal from the goalkie’s hands!

HECI – the New education regulator to replace University Grants Commission

The Central Govt headed by Narendra Modi is now off to destroy higher education. After interfering primary and secondary education, it has set it eyes firm on higher education, where ideas are generated. Amazing how he and his minister who heads the Human Resources Development ministry, under which the University Grants Commission or UGC comes, are determined to interfere and politicise the UGC and the entire landscape of higher education. It is to be noted the most of the ministers in the present government are neither qualified to hold such high profile portfolios nor have the calibre to; but they have been tinkering with higher education ever since they assumed office in 2014.

After announcing that the ruling BJP would do away with all the higher educational bodies like UGC, AICTE, MCI and others, and getting bombarded by the public, finally the Union Government gave up their plans to interfere with all the streams; instead they have now focused only on fomal higher  education.

Can you believe, of the 12 members in the Higher Education Councion of India’s governance structure, a maximum of two academicians are to be had? A majority of them are bureacrats, and a few whom the government wants. It means, most of them could be from the Right Wing, who think cloning and grafting and satellites and internet started thousands of years ago in India.

When the draft of the Act was announced Deccan Chronicle contacted me for my comments. Here is the feature on it:

https://deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/280618/new-education-regulator-to-replace-university-grants-commission.html

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