Tag Archives: India

Education in India- by choice or by chance ?

12 Apr

It has been a week. Feels like a million years already. While grind through the grind of college education, one is not particularly inclined to think about the after effects. There was no time. It was always projects, travel, chatting and talking for long hours on the phone, having fun. No, not always. If it was so routinely, i would not be feeling so nostalgic.

I had to pinch myself to realize that graduation was over, well at least grad exams were over. But the feeling anticipated was not in place. Why ? It finally dawned on me when my friend DG screamed at the top of her voice over the phone- YIPEEEEEEE ! As they say, those who hear hard, need a boom to awaken.

The Macbride report (UNESCO) stated this in 1980- Education should not be left to chance. The Indian Government has not woken up yet. 31 years on Macbride, people like me feel privileged enough to become graduates. Further education is on the cards, but what about million other kids that i see on streets everyday, in tea shops, clothes stores. Why aren’t they studying, enriching their brains and reaping fruits of education ? The Indian union budget started levying 2 % education cess in the year 2004 when it was presented by noted economist Mr. P. Chidambaram. This was later increased to 3 %. All taxes in India are subject to an education cess, which is 3% of the total tax payable. The dropout rates at primary level alone are very high. More girls cease to attend school at primary level. Also prejudices on ed-ed schooling and girls being taught by males post puberty still exist. The right to education became a fundamental right in India only in 2002. For 55 years after independence, education existed in the form of a directive principle, a mere duty which was not as enforcible as a fundamental rights.

Lack of reinforcement measures and infrastructure result in neo literates, as they do not get further impetus for education. Neo literates have fragile levels of literacy. Majority of neo-literatesare economically poor and live in ruralareas or urban slums. A major bulk of the literate population are actually semi literates who could not continue education for various reasons beyond 5th-8th grade.

As of Census 2011, the overall literacy levels in India is 74.04 % (Males 82.14 %, Females 65.46 %). The definition of literacy by National Literacy Mission (program by Government of India) concerns- acquiring the skills of reading, writing and arithmetic and the ability to apply them to one’s day-to-day life. It negates the presence of awareness education, rational thinking. The prescribed aims are meant to be enforced at a basic level.

A vast expanse of land, India is a logistical challenge when it comes to formulating an overall plan for implementing education programs. The government ads that i see on Television are more agriculture based, promoting agricultural training and consumer awareness. How can government ads promise to have any effect when they themselves show women in a domestic way, domestic attire, wearing ghunghat over the head and bearing children ? What more, Indian parliament was a center of much drama last year when the Lok Sabha (Lower House) erupted with a strng demand for enumerating backward classes as part of census. It called for conducting a cast based census, something which the founding fathers of the constitution weeded out first when they were formulating it. Virtually every political party demanded it, from Akali Dal to Shiv Sena to AIADMK to DMK, not to mention backward outfits of UP-Bihar — RJD, SP and JD(U). The present Government seems to be intent on negating everything that the basic essence of Constitution stood for- anti corruption, equality and progress.

But all is not wrong. There are education programs like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan, National Literacy Mission, Mid day meal scheme which are making great efforts to bring children to schools, tap growing drop out rates and offering benefits for higher education. Community and Non governmental efforts have made great progress in creating awareness at grass root level. the Indian Government ensures free and compulsory education for all children up to the age of 14. However many of the promises made by these programs have not achieved their promised levels.

What is needed in India is a comprehensive education policy that emphasizes on tertiary involvement in education. Also informal education, radio and Tv as a medium should take precedence over formal schooling methods. Infrastructure dedicated exclusively for the purpose of education should be made available all over India. many a times community halls in villages double up as schools and children are driven away from schools if thers is a function/activity in th community halls.

Speaking of holidays, it has become an excessively neurotic, gratifying medium. We have Diwali holidays, summer holidays, Navratra holidays, Eid Holidays, Christmas and easter vacations, bank and national holidays, accidential holidays (on days when there are floods or some random natural disasters), and a million other days. It is possible to exhaust one’s work capability but the excuses for declaring holidays are abundant,.

We are not setting a very great examples by having such low productivity hours. There are celebratory holidays for World cup matches too. India has a long way to go to progress in the field of education. We ned not just policies but the right attitude too. Education should not be left to chance.

As for me, the feeling sunk in 2 days after exams got over, the feeling of nostalgia and old memories still lingers in the air.

destitute children play on the road.

 

Image editing- boon or bane?

11 Apr

One can choose to abstain or embrace change. Technology has great relevance in this regard. I have come across many amateur photographers like me who are averse to using image editing softwares. many are of the opinion that image editing is  manipulating the photograph, to make it more sale able or interfering with the original. Over the years I have figured out that this is more due to ill understanding and visually complex nature of the softwares and lack of training. Training in such softwares is best done by persons by themselves- trial and error is arguably the best form of learning. Mental blocks – i-can’t-do-it attitude never helps.

Following is my attempt at image editing:

Picture 1: Original baby photograph. The photograph is shaky. There are other anomalies like exposure and brightness are not up to the mark. The innocence of the baby is not emphasized enough and hence needs development.

Trial and error: I recently came across Google Apps – BeFunky photo effects. This effect called under painting was by far most suitable but still did not give me the effect desires. The lined are far too dark and instead takes away the softness associated with the original image.

The final Cut: This diffused glow effect called Orton style #1 added the desired glow, gave it a fairytale look that I wanted.

The only problem with Goggle Apps is that the final image’s resolution is not the same as the original uploaded one. So if one desired to make larger prints, will be disappointed.

Experimentation is the key with image editing. It does not matter what software is used. It is important to have the blue print of the desired effect in mind.

A traveller’s diary: My city and my gaon

4 Feb

Am i too late for introduction? Better late than never, although i am quite a stickler for punctuality in normal life. Buts such is the case with most Indians, most Mumbaikars, we find an ear to listen to our feelings and we go on without realizing that we have not even introduced ourselves to the person sitting next to us. When travelling in long distance trains, we Indians share, we fight, we show kindness that is not always reciprocated back, we come to know each other without knowing each other really. We make friends though we know we may not meet each other ever again. Our world is big, with place for all. I am a mass media student in a reputed college in Mumbai and love to write and do photography of course. I don’t know why people say photography is inherited. In the film ‘wake up sid’, the protagonist sid/ siddharth had got his photography bug from his father. Mine is quite a familiar filmy story, the same my dad also had photography as his hobby. I started mine 2 years ago, and i had to coax, do tantrums, reason and what not to get my DSC H50. I had no idea that canon or nikon were better options but at that time all that fascinated me was a camera and i loved to click. The DSC caught my eye and i fell blindly in love with it. All my classmates oohed and aahed (and i am not exaggerating one bit here) when i went around clicking photographs all the time. I must say my juniors in college are way better than me and passionate for photography just like me. We share a passion, an emotion to freeze the moment in time that is not waiting to be captured but if you are there at that precise moment when its playing out and are able to freeze that, you are a hero. nobody wants to be a part of the crowd here. Ask anyone, just anyone in Bombay if they want to be part of the crowd. No one. Neither do I. But i want to be with them. I want to see them and be able to photograph them. We talk about real India, but the urban city is hardly real. Beyond a thin membrane of tolerance there is a vacuum a barrier that one cannot penetrate. The real India is the land of devotion that stands in serpentine queues outside temples. The real India lies in the spice of the food that is traditionally made even today. The real India is rural- where even today most of the population sweats it out to make a living. People say that India is rising globally, yes, most of it is true too. But i find the true calling here, in the soil of the most remotest villages and small towns. You don’t need a trade hub, flashy town around you to exist. I had gone to kashmir once. In Sri nagar, i went to ride in the shikara with my family at Dal Lake and truly felt at peace with the world like never before. A short while later a boy of mere five or six year old in his small shikara came near the shikara i was in and asked me if i would but his lotuses. The lotuses were the most beautiful flowers i had ever seen. Unfortunately the boy had a very painful look on his face. I felt a deep stirring of emotion. I asked him, ‘How much?’.
‘Give him whatever you see fit, madam. He’s a local boy, sells lotus, very beautiful they are.’ the man who was sailing my shikara said.
I took a small bunch and paid him five rupees.
As it had to happen, the boy’s face was filled with even more sorrow but thankfully there were no tears. He had lived in a place ravaged by extremists most of his life, i could understand his pain but do no more about it. He looked like he wanted more money for the lotuses. But before i could think more on it, he had drifted away and the darkness of the twilight swallowed him completely till i could no longer see him. I felt sorry for him. The man riding my shikara told me not to look too much into it. You see the problem with city people like me? We come across people but all of them are nameless creatures in our memory. there are people that i come across who help me if i am in trouble or distress, but thats it. My mother tells me, ‘that is how good people work, they do a deed and go back into their lives’. Sometimes those who help us do not even have a face. I wish i knew that boy’s name. I don’t know what good it would have done him or me. But i wish i knew.

Dal Lake, Srinagar