Monday, September 14, 2009

Gray-black

The gray-black canvas
kept its promise
and hope wet our eyes
as another spell filled our parched hearts
with much needed bliss
The season of rains; when the dusty earth
rekindles its aroma
Does it lave away human trauma?
Dull colors above and the dampness under
A motor honk; an occasional thunder;
Drips; more drips
Fill puddles
And pools that mirrors
Our down-the-memory-lane trips
and help find answers..
As to why people grit teeth
yet try to smile
The weather seems fine as compared
to unperceivable guile
Shriveled thoughts precede corked speeches
of a murkier daily life
Hasty greetings and hurried farewells
lest things turn sore
And may explain why they fear strife
lest it lead them
to be marooned in the miseries of life
Dingy black alleyways and coal-smeared barrels
a half tarred road ;ditches; rails
All washed clean
For the heavens cry at the ordeal below
But we are better-off
We have seen wars and plagues and things in ruins
We’ve become... hollow
After a hard day
for another “gray-black” we pray
-Shibaji Ray
B.A.(Hons) History; I Year

Report: Politics Seminar

Student politics has for long been a matter of contention in India and when it comes to the University of Delhi, the idea of politics evokes all possible derogatory connotations. It was keeping these very negative associations in mind that the Literary Society organised a three day seminar-from 31st August to 2nd September-on Politics in Delhi University. On each day guests were invited to share valuable insights into the machinations of the system; later on, episodes of the satirical British sitcom Yes, Prime Minister! were screened to provide comic relief.

On the first day, Mr. Debraj Mookerjee, former Election Officer, Ramjas College, discussed the concept of isolates and advised the student community to shed their apolitical attitude. Being apolitical, he stressed, is to be indifferent, towards not just the supposedly dirty world of politics in the macrocosm but also towards one’s own problems in the microcosm. He emphasised the importance of participation, leadership and mobilisation-of individuals as well as ideas-for bringing change in the existing political system.


The second day saw Mr. Safwan Amir and Mr. Nayanjyoti, both former Secretaries, Ramjas Students’ Union, address the gathering. Mr. Amir shared amusing anecdotes from his wealth of experience as a student representative and talked about the nexus of power between the Union and the college administration. This, he hinted, was one of the primary reasons behind the widespread corruption and misuse of authority in the Union. However, he also indicted student community at large for being responsible for this sorry state of affairs and passionately advocated active involvement over passive rejection as the solution to the ills ailing our political system. His analogy of the lion and the lion-tamer-the former being unaware of its own superior strength-made an instant connect with the audience.


Thereafter, Mr. Nayanjyoti talked about the shallowness of so-called liberal intellectuals and their insensitivity towards poverty, unemployment and inclusive development. Highlighting the inter-connectivity of such seemingly diverse socio-economic phenomena as globalisation, neo-capitalisation, privatisation, he exposed the ideologies of indifference which liberal humanitarian education and pedagogy engenders. In the end, he appealed for participation in the political process not just for its own sake but with a sense of responsibility and interrogation.



The two presidential candidates for this year’s Ramjas Students’ Union election were invited to opine upon the relevance of politics in the University on the last day. While Mr. Sunil Singh was forced to cancel his engagement due to unforeseen circumstances, Mr. Manu Pande talked about bringing honesty and transparency into the system. He reminisced about his own apolitical attitude of the previous two years and stressed upon the urgent need to effect qualitative changes in the Union in particular and the student community at large in general. He also vouched to work towards creating a harassment and violence free atmosphere in Ramjas. Later on, he answered questions from the audience.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Climate change, people and policy

The decisions that world leaders, will make in Copenhagen, in December 2009, will be some of the most important that world will take for years to come. They are not only important for curbing climate change all over the world but are vital for security and sustainable development that South Asia hopes to achieve.
Climate change holds great significance for millions in south Asia. Flooding of the Kosi river has left millions homeless in Bihar and Nepal, cyclones such as the Nargis have displaced millions more in Burma, Bangladesh, and West Bengal, heavy rain storms have caused disastrous landslides all over the Himalayan range. And now a weakening monsoon and the drought like situation has caused thousands of farmers to commit suicide. Although none of these natural disasters can be directly linked to climate change the impact that global warming has on natural weather phenomena is undeniable. [1]
The most vulnerable to natural disasters are the poor who have had almost no hand to play in contributing to this intensifying problem and who have born the brunt, weather it be in death or in facing un-imaginable poverty.
The poor must be kept in the fore front of any policy making or deals that governments might strike internationally. The so far muted voices of the poor must be heard, only a co-operating world can see substantial change in the climate as well as living standers of millions of people.
India is contributing important steps towards reversal of this calamitous situation. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has already set up the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC), eight missions forming its core.
(I) National Solar Plan (II) National Mission on Enhanced Energy Efficiency (III) National Mission on Sustainable Habitat (IV) National Water Mission (V) National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Eco-System (VI) National Mission for a Green India (VII) National Mission for a sustainable Agriculture and (VIII) National Mission on strategic knowledge for climate change.
Of these eight missions, the first two, the National Solar Mission and the National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency are ready for implementation after deliberation by the Prime Ministers council on climate change.
For the remaining six mission comities involving different ministries have been set up, under the co-ordination of the Prime Ministers office. These comities include trained professionals and technical groups that have worked towards and prepared mission documents for each mission. Each mission has initiated research in its own field to be better equipped to handle the specific problems and deliver relevant solutions.
A more concrete example of implementing a sustainable plan is the government’s endeavors in the field of transport, identified as a major guzzler of energy producing pollution and heat.
In this regard the government is trying to promote the use of public transport and limit private vehicle use.
Apart from strengthening its policies within India, which include steps to increase the use of renewable energy and increase forest cover, India has taken various international decisions such as in July this year, world leaders including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh agreed to strive to keep global temperature rise within a two degree threshold.
A combined effort is needed, the world community has to come together to safe guard the futures of nations.
The world community also has to realize a statistical division of responsibility is not going to work, a developed nation with a population of 5.3 million (Finland) can not have similar carbon emissions to a developing country like India which is larger is size and has a much higher population.
Having said that, India must realize that following the western model of development is potentially disastrous. Not only do we have to reverse this catastrophic damage, we have to find new ways of equitable sustainable development. A stand India must take with the international community in Copenhagen later this year.
References:
1. The Hindu – dated August 31st 2009, climate change and development.
Ed Miliband and Douglas Alexander.
2 Economic and political weekly- dated August 8th-14th 2009, exploring
climate regimes by Lavanya Rajmani
K. Ammu Sanyal
B.A. (Hons.) History; III year

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

a critical appreciation- indifference /our salvation ?

nobody likes critics...at some point of time everyone has borne the brunt of harsh critical appraise .It is hard on the psyche(with cause and effect) intimidating ,overly/beastly patronizing,and more than anything seems to give the preacher a sense of sadistic satisfaction which is the worst part .many fine decisions turn awry at the slightest thought of a melancholyboring and painful critical session.also it can be slow and deliberate at times sometimes unseen and at other times very vague but all too obvious.

many are of the opinion that it is a healthy practice and an exercise to modulate and harness our capabilities technically - that may as well be true (when this institution is implicated in its true spirit).but things turn ugly when criticism becomes deliberate and is done for the sake of demoralising someone - which also upto a certain level depends on what the person being criticized considers as 'demoralizing or emotionally threatening/draining'also as it isn't easy for many to accept being ranked below what they think is their rightful position , many go over the edge taking drastic measures such as self-detention or develop suicidal tendencies or end up being segrated social outcasts.

however one should not get the idea that our degradation is the examiner's greatest trimuph .the examiner may just have a different point of view/opinion on a subject or may not have the versatility of ideas of the examinee (or bluntly speaking not have full knowledge of them) an examiner with enough goodwill intent will explain the reasons of being negated without sarcasm and as a gesture of acknowledgement may even offer help to the examinee

comparing itself is a hard task.it cannot be determined whether or not we tend to be true to ourselves, we are humans and obviously either due to preconceived prejudices tend to overlook sound facts often failing to differenciate between a prodigious entitity and a layman. however critical views reflect the mindset of the reviewer upto a certain point it shows whether the person engaged in criticizing is playing with one's insecurities ,whether the person is a hypocrite when it comes to the implication of ideas in practice.at other times it reflects the twisted ideas that goes on in the minds of both the individuals involved

some people compare critical mechanisms as pro neo-bullish ideologies which are fully commited to harassment albeit a psychological one. some have even agreed critics need mental ailment and a lot of love. some have even called it pure negative energy at work. maybe it is process of evolution at work and in a few years we find ourseives in a 'highly organized analytical world/a highly pessimistic collective group' based on the moment to moment choices we make.

sometimes critics do not meet the criteria of being one.... such pseudo-half wit-makebelieve/fake intellectuals have been responsible for the end of many rising and established talents which even sometimes has even consolidated their own reigns.this is true in all walks of life - and more than often is a reason for lack of revolution/change that is necessary for progress.it tends to trap life into a set pattern of grids and strong conservationism

it has often been argued that critics are what they claim us to be i.e people who've practically given up doing what they comment upon and therefore can be called sore losers.it is not necessary critics are always failure because there is no pure defination of failure as there is no pure defination of winning nobody is born a genius or a dunce...........its what when we choose to overide fate and move on .it is our sole decision to let things overwhelm us and remain inure or to look around and endure.whether we allow ourself to break out of a singularity/mould and see - as they say the veiled face of the moon

a question is whether criticism generates indifference directly or indirectly...........what is its potential to harm or benefit us (and if yes then in what way), is it the same for us ?- is it universal for all and what approach do we follow to endear itself to us /us to it ?is it a hit and trial method of trying to improve or degrade ourself in the long run.one thing we'll need to realize sooner or later is that there'll always be a critic whether there is an artist/inventor/philosophist/theorist and we might as well get used to them

we might ask ourselves what critics really mean to us ;individually and collectively as a societyand we may come up with conflicting answersbut maybe we need them.......... to survive we need them and their aura, siphon it into anything we can remotely call love/hate and need to ingest this heavy tonic....and i think is the reason we need maybe we desperately need this..... and maybe it is the need of the hour and maybe it is this difference which counts...which will countand i look forward to it......
- Shibaji Ray
B.A.(Hons.) History; I Year

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Change is in Me

I could hear them from a distance, their endless cry. The rhythmic counting of ek, do, teen, char that created a funny feeling. Then, followed by an entourage came the candidate who did a killing Deepika Padukone hand waving act before shaking my hand and asking for my precious vote. I am not that big a fan of Tata Tea so I didn't move my lips a little to ask her about her Job Profile. Elections, who cares? We made fun of them and continued our friendly banter.

After a while or so, we were again approached by this person who looked very nervous on his face unlike the very confident Miss Padukone. He told us how he planned to stand for the post of college president as an independent. Curious, by nature I quizzed him further to gain a little knowledge on how things worked. He was pretty cooperative and answered all our queries pretty well, that was the first time I got to know the date of voting. He introduced us to his agenda .The whole hierarchy below the president's post is nothing but a bunch of puppets and things can be changed only by the power of this post. He confessed that he knew he would lose. I actually knew that -the moment I heard him say the word 'independent'. He was a bright young fellow who had ideas, ideas that can lead to change.

Curious by the hope he held in his eyes - I googled a bit and found out what it was all about. In this year's general elections, In the South Bombay constituency a higher executive of ABN Amro bank named Meera Sanyal - fought as an independent candidate and created a huge roar in the media. She featured in every possible talk show and asked educated people to jump in. She lost by a record margin of votes in that constituency. But, as a result, of that hype - on an average 3 more independents contested on each of the 540 seats. That is roughly around 1600 more politicians to choose from, out of which even if 30% are honest enough that is around 500. Then we have a parliament with 500 honest politicians only if you vote right. That is the power of an individual in our society.

Another factor that might have never crossed your mind before is that these people who stand for Elections in Delhi University aren't here to gain popularity among their peers or to just see themselves in powerful positions. Most of them do garner the ambition of getting into hardcore real politics and by not putting up any resistance - we become the ultimate losers. It is not of any use to tell you how useless most of these people are because we are no better.

So, as we are about to select our own representatives soon - I push forward this appeal to you to go on the 4th of September to make a change. Otherwise, who knows Miss Padukone might just end up leading our country – one fine day. And remember the change is in me.
These links might help you to make up your mind.
http://www.hindustantimes.com/News/newdelhi/Defaced-walls-herald-DU-student-elections/Article1-445373.aspx

http://www.du.ac.in/du/Code_of_Conduct.pdf

Do try and search information about the candidates before voting, it just takes a minute - have a look at notice boards in the college. Enquire about the independents.

-Arpit Kumar
B.A. (Hons.) English; I Year