Monday, May 19, 2008

Science vs God and the Education system

I passed my 11th with not much exciting marks and study for 12th was just routine to pass the board exam with good marks. Although I secured handsome marks but I never understood what I studied most of the time or so to say, my knowledge about the subjects were superficial. I was contend to study the way that would fetch me good marks and I never really studied.

The ramifications were clear. I didn't qualify in entrance exams and my dreams were shattered. I had a passion to study in IITs or atleast from an NIT.

I dropped one year for preparation and during that one year I came mighty close to science esp physics. I was amazed by it. The reasonings for the various phenomenons were simply beautiful. Soon, physics became my favorite subject and it still is. Its such a fascinating subject, purely science and nothing farce and whimsical. I loved solving mechanics problems using logic. Those were my happy days. I enjoyed it to the core of my heart. Soon, I started to see everything from the perspective of science. Whatever was happening around me, I would always try to put my explanations using my little knowledge of science.

The biggest effect of science on me was that it made me question everything. I wouldn't believe anything if I am not convinced of its existence according to the theories of science. That made me question the existence of God. People would say Sun is a God but I see it as a star. The life, just a complex set of metabolic process undergoing. Everything they said is God, I found it one or the other product of science. And why not, I have valid explanations. They say Sun is God since it has energy, light and I would say it because of fusion reaction going in there. Scientists have used the same techniques to produce the same energy in laboratories. Am I false.

I am not totally against the belief of God but I must be convinced of its existence. Why do people always look at sky for God when the same people say God is everywhere. Isn't that contradictory? Why believe on something that cannot be proved. Isn't it foolishness? Yeah, you have found an easy scapegoat to put your blames onto, attribute your success into. Anything goes wrong and you blame God. You succeed and praise and thank God. You have prepared well for the exam but still you are temerious and pray God. Even some people are there who don't prepare anything and pray God to have mercy on them. Poor chaps. I pity them. Rise above God. For sometime assume there is no God and life will be the same as before.

In the same line, I have grown an attitude to defy everything that seems bogus to me. For instance people won't cross the road because a black cat did it before them. In that case I would be more than happy to cross it and show to others(and me also) that its fine. If someone would say that we shouldn't do this or that, that would tempt me more to do it. For the past 8 yrs, I have been an atheist and I am still going strong. No problem yet ! Life is normal. See!

As I have already stated in my previous postings that if anything is so mysterious to be regarded as Godly, just give science some time.

I have always valued quality education. Although its very abstract concept but we can hope to get it from quality institutions. For me the quality educational institutes were few namely the IITs, NITs and some other few ones like IT-BHU, ISM, etc. I praise highly those people who study there because only the bests get to there. Not only does they possess brilliance but they are passionate, persistent, hard working and above all one among a few and few among a many. I knew I belong to those so I had to get into one of those. I could have easily got into some reputed private colleges (who don't value knowledge but money) in the first place but I refused. I ain't like just another rotten piece of shit on the earth. I am different. I tried and one year later I showed all of 'em what I am.

While on my summer training I met 2 girls, both studying in local private college. After few meetings I could know one of them is quite intelligent. I asked why in a private not so good college. She said she didn't had the patience to prepare one year. Why being so complacent? If you are good, just prove to yourself that you are good atleast. I said to her 'Yeah, then you definitely deserve to be in one of those pvt. colleges'.

The mere mention of my college brings respect to me from the listener and I am proud to announce my college. Because everyone knows about it. It is not some local private college that the outsiders have no idea about. It will pass as just another XYZ college to them. For me, hearing my college name, they look at me with a feeling of appreciation and I gladly accept that. The important thing is I am proud to tell my college name, I am proud of myself.

I always advice to my intelligent younger brothers and sisters to choose the institution wisely. A good reputed institute goes far away in shaping a career. Take it from me, it helps alot esp in case of future job or Higher studies. In IITs, the perofessors there have strong personal ties with professors of US universities. Once you decide to persue your MS from US, you can always count on your favorite faculties to deliver you a splendid recommendation letter and the corresponding US counterpart is well aware of the name. In private colleges the faculties are not at all known to anyone else outside so no one values them.
My experience in NIT were awesome. I lived my best 4 yrs of life in NIT. The hostel life was so much full of excitement, freedom and it was bustling with activities. The teachers were average. The first year teachers were the worst. But I am not complaning because its the same problem everywhere. The department faculties were nice and knowledgable. Their teaching was lacking in motivation and innovation. The assignments given were soporific, not at all helpful for later life. In US on the other hand, the Operating system faculty would give an assignment of making your own OS, your own File System, device own searching sorting algorithms etc. Such assignments later on become Linux, Google. But I am still not complaining because this is not America. I only suggest that the whole Indian Educational System needs a revamp. There are many areas of amelioration. The first step would be the awareness in the teachers so that they know what and how to teach.
In places like Delhi, one has a wide range of choice regarding hie education after 12th. I was surprised to see the courses offered by the DU like graduation course in Music, Drama, Economics, English, and many more. It is even more surprising that there are great demands for the seats. In places far far away from Delhi like the not so developed Bhubaneswar (from where I belong) a student after 12 has mainly 3 choices, Engg, Doctor or business. After 10th there are only 3 choices, Science, Commerce and Arts. If you select science then after 12th you can either be an Engg or a Doctor. If commerce then after 12th you only have a BCom then MBA as a career. You then get employed in some banks etc. If Arts, then the only profession for you is teachership after you have done some MSc, PhD. And that sums it all. In Delhi you can have a career starting from a journalist to a translator, advisor to architect.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

The American life

In India many people abhor the western lifestyle mainly because they are scantily clad, are very frank with sex, have no sympathy for the parents etc. I differ on this.
The most beautiful thing about the American life is that the people are independent. They separate from their families at 18 and start their own life their own way. I have heard from the NRI's that the young life in America is fantastic, lively and full of adventure and challenge. The old age on the other hand is very dull and lonely. Of course there are some negative points of separating from family and one such is the loneliness in the old age. On that aspect, we Indians perform better. In my opinion the perfect lifestyle is a blend of the two. The young life should be like American and the old age like Indian.
The biggest perk you have on living an independent life is that you get to do things that you like. You get to choose the profession you want to be in. The life is adventurous, free from any family tensions and bondings. You are free to do anything, no strings attached. Few days back I read an article about an English guy promoting the 'Freeconomics' culture by undertaking an expedition on foot from London to Porbandar (India), the birth place of Mahatma Gandhi, his idol. The mere thought of the journey would excite you to the limits. Such people make history. Other similar examples include Che Guevara and his motorcycle trip throughout latin America, Robert Pirsig and his famous motorcycle trip set alive in 'Zen and the art of motorcycle maintainence'.There's life has a meaning. Atleast when they die, they can say they did something that was completely extraordinary. The 'Freeconomics' guy did travelled for 3 months after which he faced numerous problems and had to abort it. The freeconomics culture assumes the absence of money from the world, the root cause of all problems. The guy would ask for some gardening or domestic tasks in return for food.
The main idea is that once you are independent you take on bold challenges. You do something thats totally different. In India, if you plan on an adventure like this, your parents (with whom you'd be living) would label you insane. They will discourage you. They will describe the horrible ramifications of the adventure, they will blackmail you emotionally. They'll never leave you alone for fear of you leaving secretely. They will instead lure you with countless other things and will try every bit to deter you. Although this may be an exaggeration but this is more or less the truth.
The same case applies to choosing profession also. In the spiderman movie when Peter is asked what he plans to do, he says he'll try photography. He then struggles to make ends meet but since he liked photography, he remained a photographer. The biggest thing is that he choosed something he liked. In India on the other hand the kid does everything as his/ her parents wants him/her to do. Someone who couldn't become an IAS officer dreams of making his kid one, the less said the better about the ordeal his kid is about to undergo. In other words, Indian children are merely the tools through which parents get their pleasure.The parents seems to fulfil their wishes and dreams through their kids and put little concern on their kid's choice. The children is put into a school or college as his parents choice. The kid is admitted into a course according to what his parents think is right for him. The teenegers are made so dependent by 18, they can't even think of living an independent life, doing something of their own choice. The kids are admitted to singing dancing class, musical class, sports coaching class only because his parents want him to become a singer, dancer, sportsperson in future. I have especially seen talented girls being admitted to BSc, BCom and other not so prosperous educational field just because of their parent's wish. Its killing. The teenagers are so much manipulated , they tend to opt for things that has little to do with their own interest and more concerned about their parent's wish and well being. People tend to take jobs just because it pays you more so that you'll be able to afford the rising doemstic bills, support family members and not because you like the job.
This is just my personal beliefs. I don't want to depress the Indians nor cheer the Americans. I personnaly believe the teenagers must be given ample freedom in choosing their own stream, profession and even life partners. They should come to the parents only when they feel the need and the parents must feel happy to guide them as to what is good and whats bad and completely detest from enforcing anything on them.

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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

people are filled with anger

Ever experienced a road side uproar just because you touched another's car with your bike or bycycle? Ever surprised what did you do to raise a storm in a tea cup? Why the other guy got so angry and for what reason?
I have been a witness to a lot of such incidents and have been involved in a lot. I have also given rough treatments to many drivers or pedestrians myself. I never sat down and analysed why was I angry.
In the movie MunnaBhai MBBS I got my answers. There was a scene where a pick-pocket is caught red-handed by Sunil Dutt and when the people near by knew about it they started bitting the pick-pocket mercilessly. Sunil then rescues the culprit and gives him a choice to either earn money by hardwork or get beaten by the mob. The people here are very angry for one reason or the other. Someone is very upset for his wife, someone is angry over his kids for not listening to him, someone is angry over his boss for overwork and tirades, someone is frustrated for his money problems, someone is angry on his parents, someone is not getting a job. All the people are angry and they are looking for reasons to burst out. They find a thief and beat to soothe themselves for a moment. They get pleasure out of it. They are not beating the thief for his act but for their own failures in life.
The explanation is so rational, isn't it? Everyone is having problems and so everyone is angry all the time. This morning when I was on my way to the office, my auto driver got a scolding from two bycyclists one after another. The second cyclist was burning with ire. His eyes were breathing fire and less said the better about his language. In either of the case I didn't find the auto driver deserving this. He had merely touched the cycle and in the first cycle case, even he was surprised as to what went wrong that the guy is scolding him. The driver also retaliated with even more harsh language only to prove me that he is in deeper trouble than the cyclists.
I was also witness to two other accidents and the aftereffects. In one case my auto tried to take the wrong lane to avoid a jam and consequently got hit by a biker (in full speed) who was taken aback by the intrusion. The bike rammed into the auto. The biker came out clean miraculously only to beat the auto driver with his helmet like a cattle. His actions were obviously provoked by the auto driver's fault but was increased manifold because of his personal problems. Isn't it?
In another case, my auto driver was taking the right side of the road when already there was a bike and the bike budged the auto by a whisker. The biker then stopped the auto mid-way and the moment he came near to the auto driver, he started slapping him hard and bitting him with his helmet and helping him in the fight was his company in the bike. He was constantly asking for his papers and slapping him in between when he would see the cheek defenseless.
Next time you fall in trouble, take my advice and just be calm. Your actions would only aggravate the opponents'. Its not the issue of whos' domestic problem is more serious or who is more angry and frustrated with his life but to resolve the trouble in hand.
cheers to life!
kundan das

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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

some more passing thoughts...

Continuing on the passing thoughts series.....
This time I would like to discuss what should a human life be. I know this is a very complex matter to comment upon but I would take my chance. This would just reflect my ideas and it may be too much away from some other people's beliefs.
We humans are born special. We are special and unique in our own ways. We are superior to many regardless of our size. We have survived thorugh many mireful periods. We have conquered everything beyond our imagination and range. We are unmatched in the whole universe. Here I am happy to neglect the fact that life may be present in outer space and apt is the Calvin Hobbes's comment "The sure proof of existence of intelligent life in outer space is that they have never tried to contact us". Wow!
But apart from the victories and uniqueness, the question is why are we humans??????
We have the unmatched power of understanding and analysing, making decisions. We can sense the importance of life. How valuable it is? We can regard life as something. An insect has no regard of its life. For it, its simply feeding and living its days. Nothing special in it. But we are not insects. We know whats a success and whats a failure. For us, life is not just feeding and waiting for death.
For me life is a chance given to you. The only chance. You have been bestowed with a brain to understand the importance of the time of your life. You have been given the power to analyse what did u achieve and what u lack, what you should be doing in your life. A life is very very precious. You fabricate ambitions and plan to achieve then within your lifetime. I absolutely don't believe on life after death, theory of 7 lives, heaven and hell bla bla bla. For me, after death you just dicompose and thats it. End of your emotions, ambitions, mobility. Its foolish to make plans for your second life, do good deeds now just to land on heaven after death. What absurdity!

With life comes death also. And thats another interesting part of life, infact the last of life. The mere presence of death itself signifies your clock is ticking. You have limited time to enjoy your life and do everything you can lay your hands on. I mean everything, everything that you want to do, everything that you want to enjoy and remember it throughout your lifetime and also afterwards if you do believe in it. I view my life as one such thing. I have no idea of my lifetime as death is uncertain (thats another inetersting thing I would talk later) but I know I am alive now and now is what I have got. I should make the best use of it. I should make my life full of substance and not merely job, then eat and sleep, next morning to job again and this cycle repeats till you are 60. What the Hell ! After 60, your enthusiasm dies with your hairs.
I believe every second of your life should be meaningful, purposeful. I am very much inspired by travel autobiographies like "The motorcycle diaries", "Zen and the art of motorcycle". Their (the authors) life is atleast something special. They did something extraordinary atleast not boring like me, morning 9 to evening 9 in the office doing something I don't like, go home, eat then sleep, come to office the next morning. What a monotonous life, the worst one I guess. I admit I am frustrated to the extreme, but this realisation is like a spark inside me waiting to cause an explosion. This realisation of life itself fuels me more and more to do something of my choice, to do everything of my choice like travelling, writting, painting, paragliding, skydiving, trekking and the list is endless. The world is a very beautiful place to live in. There are so many pulchritudinous places to explore. You'll be amazed at their beauty. You'll feel the blessing that you are not born blind. I always long for such feelings. I must feel my existence. I must feel the boon that every organ of mine is in perfect condition. Everything that makes me realise I am blessed with eyes, ears, nose, limbs.........everything. I know I am being too much ambitious but may be its just a matter of time.
I want to do everything thats in the world in this short time that I have. Else my life is a waste. Doing everything is a challenge. Your life is worth it atleast if you are doing what you wanted to do like fulfiling your dreams even if you can't afford to taste countless other exciting things. For me that would be being a good teacher, doing good for the country or countrymen, conserving energy, eradicationg poverty and many more things.
Have to sign out.........but will continue on the same
kundan das

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about passing thoughts..........

The human brain is a very complex thing. There are myriad cells working in a very intricate way. They create illusions, dreams, memory, decisions, understandings. I read it somewhere that the most genius human on earth uses less than 1% (somewhere around 0.6)of the mind to its capacity. I wonder how much more is in store. So many unexplored areas. It also makes me question the authencity of the statement (about the mind's use). The guy who made the comment must have a fair idea about the 100% of human mind and thats strange. Anyways , we are digressing from the main subject.
The point to notice is the fascinating side of human brain. The humans are so special on earth and the universe esp for their brain. Its size is way beyond the comparision with an elephant which only buttresses the fact that size doesn't always matter. Without a intelligent brain, we are no good than an insect whose life has no purpose than to be born, to feed and then to die, thats it! What an injustice to life!
Although the insect understands what a life is and how important it is. Thats why it never approaches the fire, knows his enemy, and avoids anything that may cause pain to him/her. That brings us again to comment on the authencity of the statement I just made. I stated that an insect avoids the hostile places because he fears for his life like we do but what if I say its just to avoid pain. A sense of pain is inherent in every organism and everyone tries to avoid things that may cause pain. In this case I think it better to attribe the cause to the insect's fear for life than pain, because it looks more sober (atleast for the insect) and rest the concerns.
The brain differentiates us from the insect. I am fortunate that I am born as a human and not like a cow or a dog or a crawling insect. Thats the biggest reason I celebrate my birthday. But then it again raises a bold question in my mind, Whats the reason? Why I am born as a human? Whats my purpose? and so on
The answers to some of our questions cannot be answered because the science has not reached its peak. Yeah I said science and not God because I have partial beliefs in the existence of God. Blame it on my education but my study of science has always compelled me to accept only if I have reasons good enough and that too it must be valid, like I can prove it similar to a theorem (in maths or physics) or formula (physics) etc. Many people around me have serious faiths in God and I don't question their faith. In-fact I am always open to accept God but before that I must be convinced of its existence. Merely saying that there exists a supernatural force in the skies (and why not in the underground or in the trees?) and he is the supreme and bla bla bla as if God is always there for your blames. You fail in anything, blame it on something non-existent. Easy! Just like you fail in an exam and then blame it on fate (again a big question mark like God) or God and never look back and see if you never studied.
Many many years ago, when science was absent on earth, or atleast not developed to the extent it is now, people used to revere moon, sun, stars. Now we know whats the moon, what drives sun and what makes the starts twinkle, thanks to science. The same humans have now put their foot on moon which sometime back was a God. So, you see?
Anything thats God is merely an object sometime in the future. You just have to wait and let science do the talking. I have strong faith in science because the explanations to events are meaningful and rational, at least believable and not something bogus like God on which many more questions can be raised. People may argument that God breathes life in a cell, something on which science is silent but to those people I can only say to wait a few more years till science comes out with artificial life (a robot is life in the making).
Ok! leave it . this blog is mainly created to give my brain some rest from these passing thoughts. These are very valuable to me. I will further the thoughts in subsequent entries.
signing out'
kundan das

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