Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Five Commandments to be Popular on Social Media in India

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Here are five unwritten rules to be popular in Indian social media world 
  • Bash all politicians except Narendra Modi. If you whack Congress President Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi or Home Minister P Chidambaram or HRD Minister Kapil Sibal you get bonus points and become instant darling of the online media.
  • Announce to the whole world that Narendra Modi is the “savior” of India and should shout that earlier he becomes the Prime Minister of India, better for India.
  • Make every one believe daily that Dr Subramania Swamy is man of principle.
  • Team Anna can do no wrong. If some wrongdoing of Team Anna is revealed in media use the social media and proclaim that it is the smear campaign of politicians and UPA government as Team Anna can do no wrong.
  • Forward/Retweet/Share all trash messages without checking the authority that criticizes any one who is opposed to JanLokpal Bill.
Now on a side note – I always wonder – how many of those who are so active in the social sites hitting out at politicians have actually gone out and voted? How many of those who signed up for Anna’s “Jail Bharo Andolan” will be exercising their franchise in the coming elections? I know of my friend in US who has signed up for this “Jail Bharo Andolan”. Sitting in the luxury of your house and office and tweeting is very easy but unless all these “online activist” actually participate in the democratic process, concrete change is not going to happen. 

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Why this Entrance Exam Kolaveri Di?

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“Every house you see here has students living as paying guest or is a Tiffin center. Majority of the multi-storey buildings are coaching centers” – this was what the cab driver who drove me around Kota, Rajasthan last week, told me while driving around Kota. Thousands of students from all over India come to Kota “the entrance exam capital of India” with the hope that they will be able to crack the highly competitive entrance exams like IIT JEE and medical exams. A day after my visit to Kota I had the get together of our high school batch (the batch that graduated from 10th grade in 1991). Seeing “Who is Who” in that list of 220 odd class mates of mine made me think – Do we really have to be so crazy making these students go crazy behind some entrance exam? 
Talk to these kids in Kota and in each kid you can see a Gopal (character in Chetan Bhagat’s book Revolution 2020, who went to study in Kota with the hope of getting admission in IIT) in each kid. They drink, eat and breathe Physics, Chemistry, Math and Biology. They don’t have any life outside studies. The coaching classes will dictate what they should be doing every day. These kids are deprived of normal life of a 12th grader in pursuit of a seat in engineering or medicine. Majority of them think that if they cannot crack these entrance exams they are good for nothing and that is the end of their studies. They fail to understand that only one in every fifty writing IIT entrance will get through and there are ample opportunities outside of these entrance exam to be successful professionally. 
Christ Nagar 91 Batch
Our batch mates have lot of non-engineers and non-doctors and they are all doing extremely good. If my memory is correct, there were four state ranks from our school for the 10th grade. Only five students joined IIT and at least half of them chose non engineering courses after their Plus Two. We all started studying for entrance exams somewhere during the 11th grade and never went crazy like the present generation students. There were only eight engineering colleges at that time compared to 120 odd engineering colleges now. So competition was tough but we always believed that not getting an engineering seat is not the end of the world. 
When I look through the list of 220 odd class mates of mine and how they are doing professionally I am convinced – the craziness for entrance exams that is happening in India now has no meaning. The very thought that you need to be an engineer or doctor to have a successful professional life is a myth that needs to be corrected. 
It is time to free our teenagers from the clutches of these stupid entrance exam mafias that makes millions out of these poor souls with the support of ignorant parents.
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