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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Education, Crime and Punishment

Saket District Court is going to announce the sentence to the accused in the GangRape case which happened on 16th Dec 2012 in Delhi. It led to numerous agitations at different locations in India which also included candle march at several places showing their solidarity for the cause of a strict and stringent law which could punish the accused with the capital punishment. The agitators demanded fast action from the court.

Later the parliament passed a law which made provisions of punishing the accused with death penalty. That law is in action now. The question as to whether such laws would be able to control such heinous crimes in the times to follow keeps pondering over my head and I have a different take on this.

We have several laws, many of them very strict. We have several institutions, very pious in nature, very committed to the cause of welfare of people of the republic of India. We have all kinds of bureaucrats and politicians who are involved in making laws as well as implementing them. We have sound judiciary system. When we have all these, still crime rate is not going down. If we have great institutions to serve the people, why people don't get served. If law is there why it is not followed and appropriate and timely judgement is not given. For me this is more serious an issue for India than to have one more law, one more act. 

I feel somewhere down the line the systems that are developed and followed have gone bad. I feel somewhere the kind of education we are providing has deteriorated (or rather failed) in its content, context and delivery. The person who is planning for a crime (of any nature), who is conniving with the machinery (system), who is venturing out has lost the fear of death, suffers from one or more of the following syndromes: 

a. S/He does not really fear death. He is fed up with life so thinks that what would happen if he is caught, death, no problem, it is a better thing to happen rather than continuing the life the way it is.
b. S/He is suddenly exposed to certain kind of environment which is quite open and which is quite different from her/his earlier environment. Such sudden exposure drives him/her to get into developing a criminal mindset.
c. S/He is friends with such individuals who have committed crime in the past but were not caught, which has developed a kind of attitude in them that nothing might happen to them.
d. The person in question has grown in an environment where everything can be bought or sold and availability of money as a proxy to favor is available in plenty.

There could still be some more reasons.  In fact what is required is to make sound system, make delivery of justice time bound, and develop a system which makes responsible citizens with high moral values.  This can happen when we have moral leaders.  Hence everything has to be dealt at individual level and that is where education plays most important role.  Teacher, educational institutions (school, college, university or any such institution) and system have to work together in order to convey the values to students as to what is just.

Pronouncing death sentence might be a deterrent for those who fear death but more than that the importance and respect for human life has to be taught to people so that they are not driven to the act of crime of any nature.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Teacher, Teaching and Education - Teachers' Day 2013

Today is teachers' day in India. On this day in 1888, Dr Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan was born, who later became the President of India. He also occupied the office of Vice President of India apart from being the chancellor of University of Delhi before taking over as President of India. He was a great educationist, philosopher and statesman. Since 1962, this day is celebrated as Teachers Day in India.

Teachers play very important role in the lives of people. They make or destroy generations. They shape or spoil the future of children. And this is a reason why their role further becomes more important. Some people become teachers on their own choice and for some teaching finds them. Some teach for livelihood and satisfy their daily needs out of the consideration that they get from their job. Just like any other job. Some make rules for themselves and at times they break rules for the cause of education and improving the well being of people. They are really regarded as great souls.

I keep pondering on the role of teachers and every time that I do this I learn new things, come across new perspective, discover new dimension and it takes me further to the very basic question. What really is the purpose of education? If teacher is able to provide a platform to a student to discover himself/herself, I feel to a very great extent a teacher has performed his/her duties. If a teacher has been able to provoke a student to search further, to think, to explore, I feel to a very great extent a teacher has performed his/her duties. If a teacher has been able to encourage a student to read further, explore further, think further, to a very great extent a teacher has been successful.

With these few stray thoughts on Teaching on this day that is celebrated as Teachers' Day in India I entered to my class of M Com 3rd semester and after that to M Com 1st semester. What I did with them today, I would like to share with you all.

I asked them - 'how many of you want to become teachers'. After a small lull, one, two, three, four....in total in both the classes some 15 odd students said they want to pursue teaching as a career. And then I asked them - 'According to you what qualities a teacher should possess'. The qualities that they thought of were like these:

a. Commitment and Dedication towards teaching
b. Open mindedness, accessible and friendly behavior
c. Urge to Learn
d. Good Reading Habit
e. Strong Communication skill and expression ability (with life examples)
f. Kindness, Patience, Motivating, Lively and Good Personality
g. Disciplined, Punctual, Honest, Unbiased

I also agreed on these qualities. One student also mentioned that a teacher must wear good clothes, should be well dressed. I never ever thought that this could also be one of the quality that students expect in a teacher. Yes I get reminded of one of our teachers who was an excellent teacher, taught us accounting while I was doing B Com, way back in 1985-86. Many times we tried to count the number of woolen suits he had and most of the time we failed. He was one of the best dressed person/teacher that I have ever come across in my life as student as well as, as a teacher.

Anyways, after elaborating little more on these qualities I asked them to look within themselves whether they really possess these qualities. If yes they can pursue and enjoy the career in teaching but if most of these qualities they do not possess, I wonder whether they would really make a good teacher. The world has been led by teachers through different rulers in different times. Knowledge power is the order of the day. It has led and would lead in the times to follow. Hence the role of a teacher is further going to be important. I salute all my teachers and students who have contributed and are contributing for improving me and making me learn new things every time I interact with them. 

Thanx a lot for each one of you who have been my teacher in any way. My students made my day...

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Why the Rupee Fall

The market sentiment is the major player in the fall of the currency of any country.  US Dollar is an international currency unlike Indian Rupee, so all imports are converted into USDs and for all exports India earns USDs.  When there is favourable condition in the market, the sentiments support the home currency and vice versa.

This is primary reason.  However there are other reasons as well.  In order to improve growth parameters, a country is required to spend money on the projects and sustainable endeavors.  For this there are two options available for a nation, one it can print/mint currency and another one to collect the currency from the market.  First option requires similar collateral for security, which is not the case for the second option.  US federal government announced collecting currency (USDs) from other nations, which made USD a valuable currency following Demand-Supply law of economics.  This caused the fall of rupee as well as fall of many other currencies of other nations.

When a government shows its concern more on the welfare side and divert fund for subsidy it amounts to Current Account Deficit.  Higher CAD affects market sentiments negatively which causes foreign investors (individuals as well as institutions) to withdraw their deposits or to put hold on their projects.  It also slows down the process of inflow of USD, which results in shortage of currency and leads to devalue rupee.

In brief there are following reasons:

a. US federal govts initiative to pump in more USDs in US.
b. CAD deficit
c. Shortage of USDs in India
d. Negative Market Sentiment.