William Shakespeare.

Shakespeare was born in April 1564. Some people say he was born on 22nd April others opine 23rd April 1564. He died at the age of 52 years on 23rd April 1660 that means almost 400 years ago.
images
How is it that his popularity as a dramatist has not faded out? The reason is his philosophy, the wisdom that we find in his plays and the energizing wit and humor of his comedy.   In fact, these transcend the limits of time and space. He has dealt with human emotions – anger, ambition, jealousy, credulity, indecision etc: these habits are found in the people even today.
In this post I propose to discuss his wisdom as is evident from the 3 pieces I have picked from 3 different plays.

HAMLET

Hamlet 2

Hamlet was a victim of indecision. Indecision was the bane of his life. Unfortunately today also we find many of us suffer from indecision. In the process we undergoavoidable mental agony. I give below the oft quoted words of Hamlet.
To be, or not to be: that is the question: whether’ it’s nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them?
In sharp contrast are the following words taken from his play As You Like It.

As You Like It.

Scene from Shakespeare's As You Like It

And this our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.
These words, I find, are even more relevant today than were in his own time. ‘Exempt from Public Haunt’- we are in dire need of getting a break and going to the nature from our daily hectic life. And the best place is back to the nature. We have lots of resorts by the sea side, on the scenic mountains, and similar places where we are away from ‘Public Haunt’. As Shakespeare says we can speak to the trees enjoy running brooks/trees and find all the goodness of the world in nature.
Finally I have picked up a very significant point from the tragedy- Macbeth. :

Macbeth

macbeth 2

When our actions do not, our fears do make us traitors.
The philosophy of this word is as true today as at any time. Often we do not want to act as Williams yet due to our fears we are motivated to indulge. In many other plays to I find Shakespeare’s massage to imbibe courage in ones personality, speaks louder than words.
Thank you for reading.

The Science of Living

Life has many facets: habits, aspirations, goals, significance etc. It is rare that there has been an artist who was also a good householder and a progressive human being. When I say a good householder, I mean one who facilitates the family in all respects. He not only provides for them materially but also emotionally. This is so, typically for a family man. But when we talk of an individual who doesn’t have a family they too will have to find out their goals, what they want to do in life by controlling or changing their habits. In these circumstances it is difficult to imagine an artist who is totally devoted to his/her passion for art putting similar stress on all the other aspects of life, as said above.
Therefore I think we must understand and practice the ‘Science of living’.
The first facet of this science, according to me, would be ‘Self Awareness’. An individual needs to be conscious of his own body, state of mind including thoughts, actions, ideas, feeling and interaction with others. Besides, self awareness has to be a continuous process. It’s only then that you can mould your thoughts, actions and relationship with others. Without doubt, this requires a constant review – a study that is scientific in nature. It teaches you how to go about finding solutions to the problems.
self-awareness2
Once you are self aware, you must set your priorities. It is not only fixing the priorities but also scheduling them according to their relative importance. We must remember that when we schedule a task and provide a time slot, it is not necessary that time allocated will always be found to be sufficient. Time management is another important aspect to be reviewed from time to time. The discipline that you require for constant follow up requires a scientific approach. It should have nothing to do with the moods of the person. When a particular task is not finished as per schedule you need to provide the next slot and abide by it. This protocol alone can bring about the desired results.
Priority
Once we are self aware, and we know what to do and we have also fixed our priorities, it is necessary to develop a keen sense of focus. To my mind doing only one thing at a time is the best approach. As far as possible there should be no interruption. Equally important is your total mind and soul into what you are doing. One has to start living in the present, moment to moment. Deliberate effort may be required for some time but then it becomes your habit and you start navigating you life as if you are flying an airplane.
focus3
Lastly, I would say that your speech is very important. Because we have to interact with colleagues, family members and the society at large, we must choose our words and use them effectively. Any wrong choice or casual approach towards this very important aspect of human personality can be disastrous. Speech must always be clear; words should be chosen with discretion and spoken effectively. Speech helps to maintain and improve our relations in any environment.
Obama Accepts Nomination On Final Day Of Democratic National Convention
To conclude I would like to say that a successful life in modern times requires us to know and practice the ‘Science of living’.
Thanks for reading.

The Auspicious Akshay Tritiya

 158083

Akshaya Tritiya, also known as Akha Teej, is a holy day for Hindus and Jains. It falls on the third Tithi (lunar day) of Bright Half (Shukla Paksha) of the pan-Indian month of Vaishakha and one of the four most important days for Hindus.[2] It is an auspicious day of the birthday of Lord Parasurama who is the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. On this day Veda Vyas and Lord Ganesha began to write Mahabharata.
parshuram-wallpaper-02
In Jain and Hindu calendars, some days of the month are absent in counting and some days (tithi in lunar calendars) come extra, but Akshay tritiya is one day which is never “absent” from the lunar calendar.
The word “Akshaya” means the never diminishing in Sanskrit and the day is believed to bring good luck and success. It is believed that if you do charity on this day you will be blessed. On Akshay Tritiya, Mrutika worshiped.
vedvyas
The day is considered auspicious for starting new ventures. The legend is that any venture initiated on the auspicious day of Akshaya Tritiya continues to grow and bring prosperity. Hence, new ventures, like starting a business, construction, etc. is performed on Akshaya Tritiya.
Thanks for reading.

Life's lessons from Shakespeare

Shakespeare was born in April 1564. Some people say he was born on 22nd April others opine 23rd April 1564. He died at the age of 52 years on 23rd April 1660 that means almost 400 years ago.
images
How is it that his popularity as a dramatist has not faded out? The reason is his philosophy, the wisdom that we find in his plays and the energizing wit and humor of his comedy.   In fact, these transcend the limits of time and space. He has dealt with human emotions – anger, ambition, jealousy, credulity, indecision etc: these habits are found in the people even today.
In this post I propose to discuss his wisdom as is evident from the 3 pieces I have picked from 3 different plays.

HAMLET

Hamlet 2

Hamlet was a victim of indecision. Indecision was the bane of his life. Unfortunately today also we find many of us suffer from indecision. In the process we undergoavoidable mental agony. I give below the oft quoted words of Hamlet.
To be, or not to be: that is the question: whether’ it’s nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them?
In sharp contrast are the following words taken from his play As You Like It.

As You Like It.

Scene from Shakespeare's As You Like It

And this our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.
These words, I find, are even more relevant today than were in his own time. ‘Exempt from Public Haunt’- we are in dire need of getting a break and going to the nature from our daily hectic life. And the best place is back to the nature. We have lots of resorts by the sea side, on the scenic mountains, and similar places where we are away from ‘Public Haunt’. As Shakespeare says we can speak to the trees enjoy running brooks/trees and find all the goodness of the world in nature.
Finally I have picked up a very significant point from the tragedy- Macbeth. :

Macbeth

macbeth 2

When our actions do not, our fears do make us traitors.
The philosophy of this word is as true today as at any time. Often we do not want to act as Williams yet due to our fears we are motivated to indulge. In many other plays to I find Shakespeare’s massage to imbibe courage in ones personality, speaks louder than words.
Thank you for reading.

Rise of Social Media

Befooling people in the age of social media is losing one’s own credibility. Social media is a platform where an ordinary man can express himself/herself without spending any money or without using any influence. One doesn’t have to depend on anyone in power to use the media. Because, no power is controlling it. Should the owners of any popular site decide to exercise any control or should they try to create some kind of influence on any issue, this is bound to be construed as personal agenda. Personal Agenda is against the spirit of Social Media.
images  2
Social media is fast growing only because it is free and fair. Regarding freedom, I reiterate that if there were no freedom of expression, Social Media would never have achieved the popularity it has gained in such a short time. Another very important factor in its favour is that it is participative. Anyone can start a discussion, contribute to the existing one; start a group or join one already there. Besides, it is not just confined to exchange of views or ideas. We can share pictures, movies, audio/video files etc. Undoubtedly, Social Media encourages to be social, to be creative and effective. It is a boon in this Brave New World.
 
Earlier, Television gained its popularity because of the ease of entertainment without the arduous task of going out to the theatre one can watch a programme news or even a movie: all sitting in the comfort of your home. But it took quite some time. Where television swayed the mind of people, lots of program producer emerged. Training institutes for training programme producers also came into being. The channel owners provided the infrastructure and producers created such programmes as would engage the audience. Producers who applied their mind and understood the audience likes and dislikes could make such serials which continued for years. But there is a rub. Some people did find that these serials offer no value and were a ploy to engage them. The TV was termed an idiot for which I consider it is. More on this some other time.
 
But so far as Social Media is concerned, it is also engagement, but it is of a different kind. Here each person becomes a participant if he/she desires to be one. There are always group of people who share their views. There are people who have comments to offer. And as said above, it is not limited to discussions. Sharing of pictures, videos, knowledge on different subjects are both engaging and entertaining. It is for each one of us to make full use of this unique Free Gift.
Thanks for reading.

Changing Habits

good habit 2
On Sunday 30/3/2014 we had a very useful discussion regarding managing CHANGE in life. The subject was how to inculcate good habits and how to ward off, the bad ones. Each participant was advised to identify 10 good habits of their friends, colleagues or of family members which each wanted to imbibe in their own personality.
At the same time they were also asked to identify 5 bad habits of their own which each wanted to give up. Besides, what efforts have been made so far to give up the bad habits were also to be explained? Since it was a Speech Training Session, the participants were supposed to detail clearly each point with examples.  These examples could be chosen from their own lives or those of others known to them. A heartwarming open and interesting discussion led to a number of conclusions.
First of all it’s necessary to understand how habits work. A habit is a kind of repetitive behavior for which you don’t think. You don’t have to apply your mind to check up anything before you take action. Let’s examine with some examples. If you wake up at a particular time, you don’t need any alarm to remind you. Taking bath and getting ready is also done as a matter of habit. If you were to check the time you take for getting ready everyday it will be more or less the same.  Taking your breakfast fast is also a habit which need consistent efforts to bring about the desired change.
good habit
Does it mean that we cannot change our habit/habits which we want to change? No, it doesn’t. We certainly can with required will and efforts. However some habits can be changed by once own efforts, where as some others require professional help. But in both the situations one needs to adopt a systematic approach. First of all we must state clearly what new habit we want to adopt. It’s always better to write in your journal in clear terms. For example, if you have wanted to go for a morning walk but habitually you get up late, you can change this habit. After writing in your journal about your decision to start doing for a morning walk regularly you must fix up the date for starting. The first few days you may have to use the alarm which will wake you up at a particular time. It’s necessary not to laze around after the alarm. Just get ready and go for a walk. It is said that it is normally take 21 days to form a habit.
Now I give another example. If you suffer from stage fright and you cannot speak to a group by standing up, you need a professional help. You also require a firm determination that you will overcome the stage fright because it is impeding your progress. Further, you must carefully select the professional. It is like going to the right doctor for getting the ailment eliminated. With appropriate efforts and continuous practice one can definitely overcome the bane of stage fright. In today’s environment, it is necessary. In colleges you have to give presentations, and wherever you work, once you are in a senior position, you need to give presentations to your bosses.
stage fright 1
Even if you are an entrepreneur and doing your own business, you need to motivate your staff and for this also you need great confidence. Besides, you must not have any fear of facing the people from the stage.
In my next posting we will take up how to form some other good habits.
Thank you for reading.

Celebrity Cult? – Let us remember the Martyrs!

Celebrity Endorsement
First of all lets understand what is Celebrity Cult? A public figure when repetitively exposed in media is recognized by the people of the concerned area. They occupy the space in the media in regard to some contribution in the society. Thus a political leader when talked about again and again and their photographer are also projected is likely to become a Celebrity. Likewise, Actors or Sports Persons with laurels also become Celebrities. Since a Celebrity attracts many followers he/she becomes on influencing agent. Thus, if a celebrity endorse a product, people would like to buy because it is endorsed by the person they love.
What does this endorsement mean? And, what is the significance of the endorsement? Further so what extent is such endorsement is ethical? How does it impact the personality of the Celebrity? These are hidden, less talked about aspects that we must be aware about in order to assess the true impact of the Celebrity Cult on Society. I call it an undesirable occurrence. Celebrities may be upset. Their followers may get angry. But I have my reasons which I will explain in a short while.
Until late seventies, the advertising industry would use models whenever necessary for the products they wanted to promote. Often a particular model would constantly promote a given product. Because they were comparatively unknown faces, their endorsement would not matter. So models, either male or female were used when the product demanded either a male or a female. For example, an advertisement for suits required a stylish male model, while exercise equipment needed a muscular figure. Likewise a girl with beautiful unblemished skin was chosen for a fair use cream. At that time Advertising Agencies would do their best to write a convincing copy. Also the lead time of the advertisement was extremely important. Words were chosen with discretion. These were aimed to be understood by the targeted audience in their real sense. Such was the advertising of those days. In short there was total creativity, complete application of mind, knowledge and elegance.
But with the advent of celebrity cult all has become unknown history. What is happening now? A popular actor says that he could successfully carry out his arduous working of facing daggling lights and long shooting schedules because he has been using a particular brand of hair oil for massage. On another actor endorses a shampoo saying that the particular shampoo is the secret of her long and silky hair. Or a Cricketer would say that a particular brand of car is this is used by him at all times. White lies! People are being fooled. They are made to feel small. And the celebrities celebrate with more money, and even more exposure. Product qualities are thrown in the backburner. Product education is nil.
These are some of the reasons that I denounce Celebrities and the Cult created around them. Least I forget to mention, the photograph that you see on the Page 3 Supplements of leading papers are mostly paid spaces, another highly unethical practice in the print media today.
Today, 23rd March, is Martyrs Day. This is the day that our three of India’s greatest sons – Shahid Bhagat Singh, Shahid Sukhdev Thapar and Shahid Shivram Rajguru were hanged by the cruel British colonialists who looted and destroyed our nation for two centuries.
On this day let us all make the pledge that we cherish the memory of our freedom fighters, our stalwart leaders who have fashioned our nation to what it is today. The freedom that we celebrate and enjoy today are because of their tireless, and brave sacrifices. We also pledge never to get misled or distracted by empty words of the vain, self-glorifying and shameless celebrities – crickets, actors, T V commenters, etc.
I leave you with images of Shahid Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru. Please share this blog if you agree with my views.
BhagatSingh_RajGuru_SukhDev
Thanks for reading!

Our Education System

Recently, we held a symposium at our learning centre. The subject was our Education System and the changes that are urgently required. A number of participants gave their views and the subject was discussed at length.
I have chosen one of the essays submitted on the occasion by Mr. Niraj Kushawa – one of the participants. I find it very interesting and thought provoking; so I thought of sharing the essay with you.

Education System in India

Education system in India – by Niraj Kushawa

Indian education system is one of the oldest education system in the world. In ancient times, India had the Gurukula system of education. In Gurukula system anyone who wished to study went to a teacher’s (Guru) house and requested to be taught. If accepted as a student by the guru, he would then stay at the guru’s place and help in all activities at home. This not only created a strong tie between the teacher and the student, but also taught the student everything about running a house. The guru taught everything the child wanted to learn, from Sanskrit to Mathematics. The student stayed as long as he/she wished or until the guru felt that he had taught everything he could teach. All learning was closely linked to nature and to life, and not confined to memorizing some information.
The modern school system was brought to India, including the English language, originally by Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay in the 1830s. The curriculum was confined to “modern” subjects such as science and mathematics, and subjects like metaphysics and philosophy were considered unnecessary. Teaching was confined to classrooms and the link with nature was broken, as also the close relationship between the teacher and the student.
Indian Education System
The Uttar Pradesh (a state in India) Board of High School and Intermediate Education was the first Board set up in India in the year 1921 with jurisdiction over Rajputana, Central India and Gwalior. In 1929, the Board of High School and Intermediate Education, Rajputana, was established. Later, boards were established in some of the states. But eventually, in 1952, the constitution of the board was amended and it was renamed Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).
Indian Higher Education
Reason Behind Sharp Decline in Quality in Education System:
(1)     Privatisation of Education: The government cannot afford to provide higher education to all the people in the country. It is too costly for the government to do so. The central government spends about 4% of budget expenditure on education, compared to 40% on defence. There are crooks, money launderers and politicians opening “private” educational institutions which extract money from the educational institution through creative structuring. The focus is on marketing rather than innovation or providing great educational service.
(2)     Education System Needs Reform:  Our education system is still a colonial education system generating babus and pen-pushers. We may have the most number of engineering graduates in the world, but that certainly has not translated into much technological innovation here. Rather, we are busy running the call centres of the rest of the world – that is where our engineering skills end. The goal of our new education system should be to create entrepreneurs, innovators, artists, scientists, thinkers and writers who can establish the foundation of a knowledge based economy rather than the low-quality service provider nation that we are turning into.
(3)     Reservation in Education System : We have reservation in education today because education is not available universally. Education has to be rationed. Reservation has badly ruined the moral of the bright students those who do not fall in reservation criteria. Even though, if a bright student got good marks in entrance examination, he did not get admission due to reservation system. Further it is pertinent to mentioned that its affects the quality of teaching and subsequently education system as a whole.
(4)     No Common Syllabus and Markings: India is comprises of 29 states and 7 union tarritoties. Practically we have more number of board than number of states. Various board have their own syllabus and their own grading system. When a student come out from a state and start participating in national level competition then he realise the disadvantages of such type of system. Not even at the state level but also the central government has different syllabus for different exams based on same educational qualification. For example: GATE and Indian Engineering Services has different syllabus.
(5)     Imbalance of Infrastructure and Resources: There is an imbalance in education system region-wise namely rural and urban region. On the other hand sector-wise namely government and private colleges. In cities situation is satisfactory  and all the facility is available but when you look towards actual India that is rural part of it, situation is even worst Entrepreneur construct building and got approval by offering bribes. In such institution no lab facility is available. Such institutes lacks of basic teaching aids, even qualified teachers.
Thanks for reading.