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Doubting the greatness of Kalam

Posted on Saturday, 1 August 2015 No comments
“I write for the same reason that a cow gives milk.”

That’s what George Bernard Shaw had to say about his creative process. I am neither GB Shaw nor do I have any bovine traits in particular- but then every once in a while, an intellectual comes along, with his out of the box revelations, and coerces me into a fit of lactation. The most recent of them was in order when Mr. N Jayaram came out with his article “Kalam was no great man: Don't let news of death confuse you.” (Link here)

Some are arguing how greatness of APJ Abdul Kalam is being overstated ...
It seems to be a fixation with some, that Dr. Kalam was a Muslim who adhered to some traditionally “Hindu practices” – of all for God’s sake, Vegetarianism and Carnatic music!! While this seems to be a rather noble principle of life in a multi cultural, multi ethnic and pluralist country like India; opinions such as the ones Mr Jayaram holds, tend to place such personal convictions so forcibly into a political set up, that it feels utterly synthetic and phony.

Case in point here is Dr. Kalam’s appointment as president in 2002. It might be very well true that the Political parties might have favoured a Muslim president. But then, what is it that was expected out of Kalam about the 2002 riots? He was a scientist, a workaholic handling his scientific chores of the day – not a politician and in particular, not a very shrewd on at that. What would you have had him do? Say NO to a position that he thought he could execute well and show, as opposed to most of his nominal predecessors that the post can actually be an instrument of influence, inspiration and change...?

By the feeble argument that Kalam accepted a post that in the larger context was essentially a tactical political move, Mr. Jayaram would find it difficult to convince just about anyone to get into public service or politics in general at all.

There is also an attempt to term him and his projects “hawkish” using formidable words such as a proponent of nuclear weaponization. Very few would disagree on the matter of Nuclear disarmament. It is perhaps the quintessential requisite to the survival of the human race or even terrestrial life on planet Earth. But such an issue can never be considered in isolation of its geopolitical implications. India sits in very slippery conditions in this regards. With military hostility from its neighbours being a very palpable reality, tending to a completely pacifist ideology is not just impractical but is also something that borders stupidity.

But that is something the so called intellectuals conveniently ignore in their arguments. There is a reason why India is a non-signatory to the NPT and CTBT. The one truly global, trans-national organization of the present day is the UN. But sadly and by conscious design, it represents the world power structure of the post WW-II era. Until that time when the so called big players allow for a more level playing field, the new boys on the block will just chose to play somewhere else. Kalam’s views and his support on military strength is not a result of him being “hawkish”, but a by product of the a larger picture that the prominent nuclear powers in the world would want to make security decisions on behalf of the smaller ones; thereby compromising their own sovereignty on foreign and to a sizable extent, internal policy matters.

The ethical stand on nuclear power plants, river linking and death penalty is also a matter of considerable constipation. It is quite convenient and a little unconstructive to point out nothing but flaws in the current and prospective projects. When people in India die by the thousands, every season specifically due to climatic conditions, river linking would generally appeal to rationality. As it obviously turns out - not to all. The surprising fact is that while environmentalists worry a great deal about the social impact viz. displacement of people from their ancestral lands and the submergence of villages, they would not bat an eye when the same people die of floods or droughts. Even considering the flora and fauna, I believe sometimes environmentalists underestimate nature in its love for its own proliferation- Thekaddy (Periyaar reserve) in Kerala being a fitting example. Also, Kalam being a constant proponent of a Thorium based nuclear energy program is quite conveniently neglected.

As for death penalty - I can agree that there is no place for it the 21st century. But that is a completely subjective view and no one can claim to take the the moral high ground because human rights are universal and apply just as much to victims as they do to the convicted. The example of Dhananjoy Chaterjee is a handy one because Mr. Jayaram has the multipurpose tool of retrospective analysis – not a luxury readily available to people who need to make decisions based on current evidence.

It is but obvious that issues such as nuclear programs, energy generation and capital punishment are extremely disputed and naturally no one is going to agree completely on even the larger points, let alone the finer ones. To pass judgements on a man’s greatness based on such gray issues is a little rich. Especially given the fact that for the most part, he would be remembered and rightly so, to be a man who inspired a whole generation to dream big and work hard. He was a man who gave the phrase “Presidential Palace” a meaning more profound than the ones that could be found in a dictionary when he opened the imposing gates of the Rashtrapati Bhavan to school children, college students, farmers and a multitude of other social classes. This, especially because, unlike factional politicians and political pundits, he did not believe in social classes. And this is hardly surprising-  how would social classes matter; especially to a Muslim boy who was son to a boat owner, friend to the son of a Rameshwaram temple high priest, who went on to become a technician at Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station which was housed in a donated St. Mary Magdalene Church.

In his closing remark, Mr. Jayaram opines, “...eulogising of Kalam comes across as a tad obscene.” I would want to humbly state that like each one of us, Dr. Kalam was no God. As every human, he had his share of misjudgements, vices and beliefs. What is actually “a tad obscene” is the pathological obsession with nitpicking every single mistake or opinion that is incoherent with your own and painting with a broad brush a picture far less beautiful than the person Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam actually was.

Written by Allen George

Follow him on twitter @Old_Estonial

Books by Dr APJ Abdul Kalam

The Sham of Indian Liberalism

Posted on Tuesday, 28 July 2015 No comments
Imagine- an individual in the United States is convicted of aiding and facilitating a terror attack in which more than 250 innocent civilians are killed and nearly 1000 injured. Further, the individual is known to have acted at the behest of the US’s greatest enemies and was sheltered by them post the attacks. The individual is sentenced to death. It is hard to contemplate that anyone in the Unites States would oppose the verdict and shamelessly try to foment sympathy for the convict with a slew of articles and op-eds in reputed news outlets.


Unfortunately, that is precisely what has been happening in India over the past couple of days. The individual concerned in this case is one Yakub Abdul Razak Memon, brother of one of India’s most wanted criminals, Tiger Memon. Yakub is accused of having facilitated the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, one of the most horrific terror attacks India has seen on her soil. The evidence against him was overwhelming enough for the highest court of the country to hand him the death sentence and reject his mercy petition. And out came the “liberal” outpouring of sympathy for Memon.

Over the last week, we have been subjected to numerous articles by a section of the self-appointed liberal intelligentsia of the country, arguing against the death sentence. The arguments range from highlighting how “great” an individual Yakub is and his educational qualifications and his grasp of the English language, to bizarre ones like the fact that his apprehension was a result of his own volition. One version is that after fallout with his Pakistani masters, he wanted to surrender and returned to India and that was when he was arrested at the New Delhi railway station. However, the question is- does the fact that he might have wanted to surrender absolve him of his crimes? Does the fact that he is a well-educated, English speaking character exempt him from the punishment for his crimes? This is where the so-called liberals of India are failing India. While I do not subscribe to the idea of India being compared to the West, I feel the opening analogy is apt given our obsession with emulating the west, particularly the United States in our daily lives.

We celebrate India being a liberal, secular democracy, on similar lines as the United States and other western nations. However, we have developed our own definitions of liberal and secular. I don’t think i need to substantiate the argument that Indian secularism is limited to calling the other communal. Anybody looking at the record of the so-called seculars will know what I mean by that. Unfortunately, Indian liberalism has also metamorphosed into, what many would call, “minority appeasement”.

The argument came from one Mr. Asaduddin Owaisi, an MP from Hyderabad, whose personal record of secularism is not exactly immaculate. Mr. Owaisi’s favorite one-liner on any television show is – “terrorism has no religion”. But suddenly, Yakub, a convicted terrorist, becomes a Muslim? Mr. Owaisi isn’t exactly the epitome of liberalism either, however, similar arguments have been made by others who have pointed out that the assasins of former PM Rajiv Gandhi and former CM of Punjab, Beant Singh have not been hung yet. So why the hurry to hang Yakub? Now we have a group of “eminent” citizens, including former justices of the Supreme Court, usual suspects like Mani Shanker Aiyer and the Leftist leaders and others arguing that the death sentence is “grossly unfair, arbitrary and excessive”.

And what is most unfortunate is that all this is being done in the name of liberalism. When did liberalism become akin to bending over backwards and ensuring that people have sympathy for an individual who showed none to his 250 innocent Indian victims? When did liberalism come to mean holding a brief for a terrorist?

This is setting a bad precedent. This is telling all our enemies, who harbor nefarious designs against our country that they may go ahead and commit atrocities against Indians. And Indians will ensure that they are not punished for it. It is not about one Yakub Memon, but the larger question of how a nations addresses violent extremism. The fact that the assassins of Rajiv Gandhi and Beant Singh have not met their destiny is regrettable in a country like ours. But that cannot be an excuse to extend sympathy to Memon. This is pernicious to the great Indian Republic and the secure future that we wish to build. The garb of liberalism cannot and should not be used to stir up compassion for a mass murderer and anyone doing so should be condemned. Yakub Memon is a traitor who was instrumental in carrying out Pakistan’s heinous plans against India and no mercy should be shown to him.

Written by Arpan Mukherjee Das

I am a PhD candidate in Economics in the United States. I interest myself in international economic and political relations, with focus on India and the larger South Asia region. 

The New Education Policy and High Cut Offs... Where are we headed?

Posted on Monday, 13 July 2015 No comments

The University of Delhi needs no introduction. It is India’s premier university, the brain and intellect house of the nation. Not only does it cater to the country’s most meritorious students, it also attracts India’s greatest brains and eminent scholars to its faculty. In the India of 21st Century, there isn’t a single field or Industry where the ‘DU’ students have not excelled and proved their worth. Hence, be it Political top-guns like PM Narendra Modi, Arun Jaitley and Rahul Gandhi, Bollywood’s face and pride- artists like Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Anurag Kashyap, well known journalists like Barkha Dutt and Arnab Goswami, or Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, they all have one thing in common- all of them are ex-Delhi University students.

The University of Delhi, which now boasts of two sprawling campuses, 14 faculties, 86 academic departments and 79 colleges spread all over Delhi, with 132,435 regular students and 261,169 students in non-formal education programmes, had modest beginnings. At a time when there were only three colleges in Delhi, namely, St. Stephen’s College, Hindu College and Ramjas College, the University of Delhi was founded in 1922. Hence, the University of Delhi started with three colleges, two faculties (Arts and Science) and about 750 students.

The story of the University of Delhi is a fascinating one. From 3 to 77 colleges, from 2 to 14 faculties from 750 to almost 5 lakh students, the University of Delhi has surely come a very long way. It has redefined and uplifted the standards of ‘Quality Education for All’, time and again. It has not only fulfilled the dreams of millions of students, but has also given a million others a hope that their dreams can be fulfilled. It has provided this country with many a heroes, all of whom have made India proud. It would not be wrong to say that the University of Delhi is currently the biggest and the best university of India. Not that I am over-praising the University, it has truly earned it.

Every year, thousands of Delhi University aspirants come to the national capital, in a hope to get admission in the prestigious university. Only a few succeed, though.  The Outstation Students  data say that there are maximum takers from Bihar , Haryana , Rajasthan , Kerala and UP and the least takers from the North Eastern states. University of Delhi undoubtedly has the best faculty and resources to enhance its intellectual property but it lacks in infrastructure. Something as essential as hostels for students are insufficient in number to house the outstation students. The safety of N.E students is another big challenge.

Each year, soon after the various national and state boards start declaring the results for 12th class students, thousands of outstation students, alongwith their guardians, start pouring in the national capital. Aspirants from every nook and corner of India come to Delhi with a hope to get into DU. Despite the recent sky - high admission cutoffs and a perennial shortage of accommodation facilities for the outstation students, it's a surprising fact that the number of admission applications received from the students not belonging to Delhi, rises by 7 to 9% every year. Not just that, the figures of those outstation students who get an admission in the university have also shown a consistent increase in the recent years.

According to the data available with DU’s Foreign Student Registration Office (FSRO), 1,007 foreign students had enrolled in various courses in the 2012-13 session, the number went up to 1,184 in 2014-15. In 2011-12, 952 foreign students had enrolled in DU. The number of women students increased to 546 in the last academic session from 492. The number of women students in 2011-12 was 434.These figures are a clear indicator that the University of Delhi is the most desired university amongst students. Also, it indicates that despite perceptions about Delhi being unsafe for women, many consider it a safe destination for pursuing higher education.

But the real problem that the university faces every year is that of accommodation. Because of the acute shortage of hostels in the university, many students are forced to rent a flat or a PG near their colleges. The high rent-rates of these PGs and flats burns a hole in the pockets of the students' guardians, to say the least. Because of the costly accommodation options, many students are not able to afford studying in the Delhi University. Ofcourse, there are many student related issues that the University needs to deal with.

As the Narendra Modi government finishes one year in office education has remained its pièce de résistance as well as foible. The one year of Modi government has considerably reshaped India’s  existing system of education and learning. Narendra Modi’s  pet project “Make In India” has pioneered a new chapter in learning as “Make IN India” is set to boost higher learning in near future. On other hand it has landed itself in trouble over alleged saffronisation of the education system.

The government is ardent about education but the question remains Is Our Education System Creating Well Trained Photocopying Robots? The Modi Sarkar has wiped off UPA's plan to allow foreign universities to set up campuses in India. But the government is now keen to resuscitate this bill which allows foreign universities to set up institutions in India and boost the pet project “Make & Innovate” in India. Overseas universities beside with superior quality indigenous institutions will hypnotize students and stimulate India as a fulcrum for standard quality education and consequently intensify India's export of educational services adding to the triumph of contemporary education policy of the industrious Modi government.

The governments focus on HRD budget is reasonable and perceptible and one must welcome the initiative. What incapacitate Is the politicization of the education system at rulers fancy and whims. President Pranab Mukherjee's address to a joint session of parliament  signalled that HRD  will be a primacy over the next five years tenure.

Mahatma Gandhi wanted an education system which upheld the age old cultural values of the country. If western teaching is imputed for headway, peace and prosperity, Gandhian bequest and thought were not celebrated properly by those in power they simply politicised it for the own vested interest. The people who enjoyed power were so fascinated by the western education that even after they acquired sovereignty they did not feel the need to change the colonial ornamentation for education.

They believed that western education was the only available option to transform a ‘backward and illiterate’ India into a modern and progressive nation which is not less than imagery and motivated. “Indianisation of teaching  is often neutralised with insinuation of ‘saffronisation’, even without understanding the complacent and conformation of such edification.

Government proposes to formulate a new Education Policy aimed at meeting the challenges posed by lack of quality, research and innovation in educational institution. It seeks to address some key aspects like, making education affordable for all, making education free for girls, flexible education which serves a student’s need, need of holistic education which ensures literacy, life skills and employability, strengthen higher education, develop world class skilled-workforce, abundance of fund for educational schemes and policies.

The foreword of all NCERT book carries the objectives of the much hyped National Curriculum Framework, 2005. “(the NCF) recommends that children’s life at school must be linked to their life outside school. The principle marks a departure from the legacy of bookish learning which continues to shape our system and causes a gap between the school, home and community. The syllabi and textbook.. attempt to discourage rote learning and the maintenance of sharp boundaries between subject areas”.

Regardless of whatever the NCF states, our education system forces us to rote learn right from primary classes – learn the tables by heart, learn the poems by heart – and the amount of rote learning required keeps on increasing as we move up. From short poems to descriptive answers, from dates to confusing formulas. Our education system talks of moving away from rote and bookish learning on paper but what has it really achieved? A student enters class 11th-12th and is burdened with the expectations of getting marks. Had our education system achieved what it preaches on paper, we would have changed this ‘marks-centric’ mindset.

We are in the 67th year of independence and we must ask ourselves- Are our schools making robots or citizens who’ll shape the future of our nation? Why is that a student’s ‘secured future’is associated with the marks they score in boards? Isn’t it only a reflection of how much they were able to ‘retain’ on only those 5 examination days? We also must acknowledge the fact that both the system and the society’s mindset needs to be blamed for the ‘robots’ we are making out of our students. Parents must realize that it’s not all about marks and getting degrees.

Our relatives need to realize that the ‘result day’ isn’t the only day you should be remembering us. We need to move beyond the result-centric system and focus on real human resource development. It’s high time we overhaul our fractured education system to achieve this goal. It is time we give more importance to application of knowledge than retention of knowledge and encourage students’ participation in co-curricular activities which opens their mind. Gone are the days of “kheloge koodoge to banoge kharab, padhoge likhoge to banoge nawab”.

It’s certitude that University of Delhi is India’s number one university and has been consistently stationed at the number one rank for many consecutive years. It is nightmare for more than lakhs of students to get a seat in the illustrious University of Delhi but what impede them is the sky high cut-offs. The contemporary challenge to overcome is the sky high cut cut-off’s and clamour for radical changes.

In 2011, when the University of Delhi sky high cut-off percentage reached 100%, the then tensed Jammu & Kashmir(J&K) chief minister Jenab Omar Abdullah tweeted that he is tensed over the sky high cut offs required . "Worry? I'm terrified for my sons because in five years, when Zamir  moves to college, the cut-offs will be even more insane," he tweeted.

"With these kinds of cut-off marks, I'd have been doing a correspondence course because I wouldn't have even gotten a 'pass course' admission," he said. Jenab Omar Abdullah is no longer the chief minister of J&K and his son will be going to a college next year. It’s quite odious that India’s number one University doesn’t even have a uniform system of admission (USA) hence leading to a scads of scepticism and fallacy with account to reckoning of cut-off marks, especially via-a-vis students from other local and state boards. Again in 2015 ,sky high cut-offs kept students away from the illustrious University of Delhi. The sky high cut offs left numerous fresher’s dispirited at not being able to make the college of their choice in the first list of the colleges cut offs. As a result, not many turned up on the first day of admission at illustrious Delhi University.

Surprisingly, The High Court of Delhi recently asked Delhi University (DU) whether the circular regarding calculation of cut-offs was “mandatorily” followed by all colleges. The observations were made by Justice R S Endlaw during hearing on a bunch of petitions filed by students who studied from  Haryana, Punjab, Kerala and Rajasthan and other local / state boards and, as a result, faced a deduction of 10 % in their best-of-four marks at the time of calculating cut-offs. The students some of whom could not get admission in the colleges of their choice and others whose admissions were cancelled  have sought a uniform system of admission which the University of Delhi must come up with from the next academic session.

As the admission  season each year approaches, most of the institution experience a paramount rush. Earlier, there was a whisk only for the science courses, but nowadays all the streams experience equal and prodigious whisk. The rising tally of requisition and applications are the main reason for the sky high cut offs .It assists to control the admissions on other hand mounting high cut off marks can unnerve the median students. The Institute should understand that not every pupil is equally brilliant. It is not reasonable on part of the institution jurisdiction to keep a 100% like sky high cut off marks. Rather than just focusing on the academics, the University should also deport interviews wherein the student can prove his mental and extra-curricular ability level too. The response remains silent to the vital question: Is our System Creating Well Trained Photocopying Robots?

 I leave you with this lovely quote of Newton- “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

What They Said Exclusively to Us….

“Such insanely high cut offs are eminently avoidable, and are a cruel insult to the aspirations of the youth of this country, who deserve better treatment.” Says , Revd. Dr. Valson Thampu , Principal , St. Stephens College, University of Delhi

"Sky high cut offs at DU are symptoms of the disease of the modern education system and it demolishes the level playing field" says Akhilesh Sharma , Senior Journalist

“My take is more or less same..if this is the case then there shall be a separate  college for students who score above 90 why the topper and mediocre be in the same League one is good in one thing may be there are other things the less scorer is good in vocational courses still lag behind” says Aditi Yadav , Senior Journalist and Producer.

"With around 2 lakh students passing out their class XII examinations from Delhi every year and another lakh plus students applying for admission in various undergraduate courses in Delhi colleges , the opportunities for affordable higher education for students in the Capital are getting far less and fewer " says Amitabh Chiranjeev ,Senior Journalist

 “In my opinion it doesn’t do justice to the students .As percentage shoudn’t be the only criteria for admissions in country's best colleges” says Jigyasha Prasad

"The Centre should Intervene in this matter and respect the sentiments of lakhs of aspirants by at-least doubling the seats twice in the colleges they should set up a committee to view the  demand for Increase in UG Seats in DU & Revamp Policy and the recommendations of the committee should be implemented in a time bound manner " says Krishna , DU aspirant.

Written by Himadrish Suwan and Harsh Pratap

Himadrish Suwan is a student at University of Delhi, Columnist, Blogger, Poet, Philanthropist, Activist and the  recipient of the International Association of Educators for World Peace Global Award for Media and Information Activism 2014.

He was dying inside and the doctors said take him home, he's normal

Posted on Wednesday, 8 July 2015 No comments

We say that doctors are angels sent by god to save human life. But for me the same doctors has come as demon in my life to ruin it in pieces.

Due to a few doctors' negligence I lost my husband’s life just like a water bubble. Few days back we were a happy family with ambition and future plans for our upcoming life.

But who knew life threatening danger was waiting on our way to shatter my family.

My Husband Girish had a heart blockage which we never knew until the last day of his life just because the doctor could not find it.

On 13th June after lunch he was playing with our 6 month old baby and suddenly he started vomiting then complained of stretching of throat and jaw muscle, breathing problem little pain in heart. As we stay in BTM, Bengaluru, nearest hospital was Gangothri hospital so I took him there. Attendant doctor checked him and asked us to do an ECG and blood test.

Both were done immediately. Then they admitted him and gave saline and few medicines. The main doctor of hospital Dr K.N.N Pai came for rounds and checked him and said this is nothing but dehydration and throat infection he will be alright soon.

I have no idea that whether he had checked the ECG report or not. That night we stayed in the hospital. Till then Girish was telling he was not filling comfortable as his arms are paining and he is not able to breathe properly. I went asked the attendant doctor about the ECG and blood report.

He said everything seems "Normal". He gave him pain killer and sleeping tablets and said you will be alright just try to sleep.

The next day morning 10 Am Dr K.N. N Pai again visited and checked Girish and tasked how he is feeling. Girish told he is little better as he took the pain killer medicines.

Doctor said today they will discharge him and to take rest at home for 2 to 3 days he will feel batter. They gave some antibiotics and pain killer tablets and discharged him.

14th June 2 pm we came home. After we came home daily Girish was getting fever and complaining of breathing problem. Again 17th June evening I took him to same hospital to check why his fever is not coming down. For our surprise Dr K.N.N Pai refused to check him as we didn’t have appointment.

I requested them that its urgent as my husband was admitted here only. They said we can check with other doctors if we want. So we checked with general physician there and showed the previous reports. Still they could not find what the problem with Girish is and asked us to do a blood test. Test done in 1 hour and showed some infection.

Till that time the doctor (Dr.Rakhi) was gone and other general doctor came (attendant doctor on 13th June night) saw the blood report and told its nothing but throat infection and wrote high power antibiotics and sleeping tablets. I gave him those medicines after dinner but that night Girish could not sleep for a second also.

Next day morning i.e 18th June i took him to a private clinic in indira nagar with the help of my brother. There the doctor was shocked to see the ECG report taken on 13th June and asked us why nobody has not seen this ECG report before. It was clearly mentioned there that Girish got his first attack that day.

We were dumb stuck with his words. Dr immediately referred us to go to Chinmaya missin hospital and get admitted. In CMH, the doctors told it’s too much delayed but still we will try our best and did angioplasty same day.

After 2 hours of operation Girish was fine but suddenly his condition got worst. Doctor called us and told chances of his survival is 1% only god can help him. At 11 pm night Girish left this world leaving us alone. The heart blockage was 100% so blood flow to few area was totally blocked and the cells were died off in that area.

As a result after clearance of the blockage also the cells could not accept the blood and his heart ruptured. If the doctors would have noticed the ECG report the same day of attack Girish would have survived.

Sorry for such a long post but i don’t want anyone else suffer like me so wanted all of you to know about it. Whenever any of your near and dear ones complain of breathing problem, jaw and throat muscle stretch, arms getting pain then immediately check with cardiology specialist without any delay. Because it’s a sign of heart attack.

I am going to put a case on Gangothri hospital for a such a negligence act. But mean time I want everybody to spread this massage as much as possible so that no one else should suffer like me in future.

Many people already asked if he had any BAD HABITS.. want to clarify right away.. NO he didn't have ANY bad habits

Written by Pallavi Panda Mishra

(As she described her story on her facebook wall)

Twitter app's new feature infringes on copyrights of content owners & news agencies worldwide

Posted on Monday, 6 July 2015 No comments

If you use twitter on mobile using their official app, you may have come across a new feature which enables you to open a stripped-down text-only version of link within the twitter app.

It's not an excerpt of the article but the entire text minus images and html. There's no branding, author's name, website's name, sponsor's name etc. Though there's an option to 'OPEN IN BROWSER' on top-left.

There has been no official announcement of this feature on twitter's official blog and has been launched silently.

Though the user reaction to it could be mixed. Some love it since they don't have to visit the website on the browser, but some find it irritating, since they want to view images, comments etc too, and find the added click annoying.

Blatant Stealing

From content owner's perspective, this new approach of twitter to bypass websites is illegal and blatant violation of copyright, and will eat into their business and brand.

Most content based websites are ad supported and leaking the entire text of an article amounts to stealing in the name of user experience. Facebook app too has a feature to open a link with the app, but it's the complete website which loads and not a stripped down version.

An example of the stripped down version as it appears on Twitter App. 
Not to mention, violates the rights of the authors, erodes brand and is unfair to sponsors - just directly serves the content to the reader.

Twitter does not own this content and it can not be emphasized enough. There's no authorization mechanism to allow this feature to those publishers who want and exclude the rest.

This feature is unlike 'preview' which is used by social media websites to help user decide whether they want to click the link. Instead it works as a function to not let the twitter user leave their app, so technically aims at maximising twitter's commercial benefit at the cost of content owner.

This feature should be rolled back and if have to be introduced, exclusive authorization should be seeked from individual websites.

Update:

Some techies have highlighted how Twitter is simply opening the link in an in-built mini-browser which strips down the article to bare text. 

This explaination may be an interpretation, however, this is how it works in the background; what a user sees is a link opening with the complete content of an article minus the author, website's name, branding and sponsors. So tehcnically, Twitter serves the content for free, improving it's interface, at the expense of content owner's revenue.

If not copyright violation, this definitely an unfair business practice which breaches on the rights of a content owner. Imagine if all mobile based apps start employing this approach of internal mini stripped down browser, it'll completely destroy the economy of ad-supported content on the web. Here's another 'Net Neutralilty-esque' issue in the making.

Written by Ishaan Mohan Bagga

Why removing corruption can't be India's entire focus

Posted on Sunday, 5 July 2015 No comments
Corruption has been a major talking point in the past half decade of Indian politics. Though it's good that awareness about demanding more honest governance has increased - however, what has disappeared is pragmatism from political narrative.


Was this a reaction to the irresponsive and blatant arrogance of Congress regime? Yes. Did some players create a political niche for themselves while promising the moon? Also yes.

"STOP CORRUPTION"

It's a beautiful expression for a democracy. Short and concise. A good directive to function on, for the modern government. However, it is the democracy which makes the execution of "STOPPING CORRUPTION" haltingly tedious.

One must understand the nature of corruption endemic to India before setting expectations and timelines to achieve the results.

It is true that corruption slows down growth. Like friction on a road slows down a vehicle. The more the friction the slower you go. Though friction is a reality of the world, much like corruption. What you do not do is that stop you car, climb down and start shining the road until it's mirror.
You can never expect zero corruption in a democracy and that too of India's size, which also puts a lot of pressure on per capita resources, of all kind.
- There's lower level corruption, then babu-level. Then higher level. Sometimes it's interconnected, sometimes not.

- There's cultural inclination towards bribery and cutting corners. You can cause that to low resources and hence, socially learnt behavior of getting you a piece by hook or crook.

- Then there're crooks - the larger the population, the more the crooks. Generally, crooks know how to acquire power at their levels, better than the relatively honest ones.

- There's also capitalism, which has its own pros and cons. Free market also brings incentive, and the urge to maximize it more and more. However crooked this system, it still works better than socialism and other more left-aligned ideologies.

- There's something called justice. You can't execute thieves like North Korea. This ain't China either. Law takes it own slow course.

- Lastly, there's a set system, which is dependent on people who have been running it for a long time. You just can't replace all these people, who have their vested interests with an entirely new set of people. Those who promise the moon, they don't tell you that their human resource also comes from the same condition.

Which is why, it'll be foolish to collect all your attention at reducing corruption. 

Don't get me wrong, we must still be intolerant towards corruption. Public awakening is a good development. However, getting stuck at "removing corruption or we won't go forward" will always take us back to the socialist era. Where everybody is watching somebody else. This is no way to grow.

The only way to beat the friction is to step on gas. Nitro power your effort for performance, while also keeping an eye on keeping the road clean and smooth.

***

Now climbing out of the analogy tub into the dry world of current politics ...

What is happening right now?

Narendra Modi realigned BJP's focus from Hindutva towards development. It was a paradigm shift. And this is exactly why his vision resonated across Indian voter. Briefly, Kejriwal powered movement had tried to gear 'corruption' as the main agenda - but majority voter found it naive and negative. And incomplete, like I explained earlier.


Delhi, where all the media is constantly focused (god knows why), bought the moon. Now the Kejriwal government is trying their hands at governance, with the promise of ending corruption. And a sidebar of populist (and classically socialist) promises.

Now some say, Delhi is slowly waking up to a nightmare and it is going to last for 4 more years. But I hope AAP does well, although I don't see it happening. Not because I hate AAP or it's rather autocratic leader, but largely because, lack of vision on development and a very strong urge to play to the galleries. There's also a bad mixture of power division between AAP and BJP, it will always be dysfunctional.

Rest of the country is going to be facing a completely new challenge. A nexus of media, opposition and the BJP's disgruntled old guard trying to derail the present government from executing development promises.
Let's state it, the much touted "Acchhe Din" is not an easy task and though Mr. Modi may appear to be with the perfect resume, he doesn't lead a perfectly functional group.
Gujarat performed and hence Modi was rewarded. However, BJP wasn't entirely a clean party. Why? Anti-corruption has never been a prime agenda for the BJP. Under Vajpayee, it was development and nationalism, while under Advani, it was Hindutva, Hindutva, Hindutva. The BJP was not even a proper opposition under Advani.

Advani never kept a leash on his chief ministers to reduce corruption. If there was less corruption in the BJP states compared to the Congress and others, it's probably because of RSS lineage and nationalism. But it was there. The BJP being a conservative party was always business oriented so it produced better numbers.

It is after Modi took command, who brought with him the pressure of Achhe Din, so he had to exclusively recognize the new 'anti-corruption' as an added agenda. Kejriwal's wind in Delhi too played a role in this. However, he never made it his primary agenda. Why? Because he had the pragmatism to keep his focus on the positive. Build more, it's a classic capitalist approach.

Modi is blamed for keeping a tight leash on his ministers. This is the first thing he did when he landed in Delhi. Everybody working under him knows that he'll breathe down their neck to see the performance. Modi wanted to change the culture of lethargy. This controlled corruption at the top too. Unlike queen Sonia, who was always the invisible end of the dirty money trail, during the UPA - all power and no responsibility.

The Congress taunts Modi for being a hard taskmaster. It's ironic and hilarious at the same time. They should know better how a paralytic culture needs a jolt to correct itself.

This influence however doesn't reach the BJP controlled states. They've been running thing how they've been running things. The BJP had a bad experience with Yeddyrappa in Karnataka when they tried to do the right thing. They, it seems, have become a little wary of disturbing the delicate balance. This is probably why Modi is forced to tolerate Vasundhara Raje, Raman Singh and Shivraj Singh Chouhan. The world knows they never liked each other. Something as low as Delhi and Mumbai municipality seem to run defiant. Modi however is fully supportive of Devendra Phadnavis, who is thriving under his leadership.

Hypocrisy is a part of politics. 

Retaining power is also very important. And right now on the top priority of Modi and Shah is Bihar, UP and West Bengal. Much of the development game won't begin until some level of control is established on these widely ruined states (thanks to socialism).

The Congress has found a new ally in media. Or, media has always been an ally of the Congress. Or, should we say that right leaning politics never found any traction with Indian media so it never matured fully in that way. Or, is it the old games of paid media influence?

Media seems to have become the new Kejriwal. I don't think it's a compliment. Why? Media is entirely focused on finding faults, with a microscope and a time machine. There's barely any focus on policy. Or, even an attempt to understand the right-leaning politics. The entire political narrative is neck-deep leftist, and this despite witnessing 60 years getting wasted in chasing butterflies.

Written by Ishaan Mohan Bagga

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