Friday, June 30, 2006

Indian tech quotas irk alumni

Politicians will not stop before IITs, IIMs, AIIMS, and other top Indian schools are reduced to the level of politicized third-rate colleges, and the achievements of Indian middle class students who built these brands over 50 years of hard work is sent down the drain.

Garbage attracts garbage; idiots attract idiots. India has elected idiots to rule the country, and they will do everything possible to attract idiots and repel smart people out of the country.

From the Toronto Star:
Indian tech quotas irk alumni

Plan seeks to help lower caste groups
It would dilute the `brand,' one says

Jun. 30, 2006. 04:36 AM

India's plan to boost the admissions quota to 50 per cent for lower caste groups into the country's elite Indian Institutes of Technology will "cheapen" their world-recognized brand of excellence, say IIT alumni who met in Mississauga on the weekend.

"It's really a political hot potato right now," said Arjun Malhotra, co-chair of the IIT alumni's global board of directors, and CEO of Headstrong, a consulting company based in Fairfax, Va.

"The alumni are upset because they feel it will dilute the brand if you interfere with the foundation of meritocracy as the way into an ITT. This is not the way a society can go forward."

The quota issue was high on the agenda for 400 delegates at the annual conference of IIT alumni in North America, the first time the meeting has been held in Canada. There are about 130,000 IIT alumni worldwide, including 2,000 in Canada.

Although the caste system was officially banned in India after independence in 1947, it lingers even today. To uplift the lowest castes, including the Dalits or untouchables, India started a policy of reserving 22 per cent of government jobs and spots for them in state colleges and schools, including the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, the Indian Institutes of Management as well as the IITs, which were started in 1951.

The scheme has helped many from lower castes, including Narendra Jadhave, the chief economist of the Reserve Bank of India and India's President A.P.J. Kalam, a scientist who led the country's nuclear program.

Now the government wants to boost the quota by another 28 per cent to include other lower caste groups such as cowherds, leather workers and butchers, whom it sees as economically disadvantaged.

The proposal, which has the support of all political parties and could be implemented by the start of the next academic year, prompted a 19-day strike by medical students and interns last month in India.

Himanshu Singh, a 1996 IIT graduate who now works in sales for Hewlett Packard in Toronto, dismisses the move to boost the quota as a "vote-grabbing exercise."

If India truly wants to create a level playing field for its socially and economically disadvantaged people, the government should invest more heavily in primary and secondary education so that they can compete on par for admission to the country's elite universities, says Singh.

Of 202 million children who enter the country's 1 million public schools every year, only 14 million go on to graduate from high school, says a report from the Pratham foundation.

India's focus on post-secondary education "has led to a paradoxical situation where the country can launch a satellite into space and test a nuclear bomb while half the population is naked and hungry and living on the fringes," says Singh.

With more than 300,000 applications for about 3,000 first-year seats, gaining admission to an IIT — there are seven in the country, including in Mumbai, New Delhi, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Chennai, Roorkee and Guwahati — is akin to winning the lottery, says Rahul Mehrotra, a manager with Transocean in Houston, Texas.

"Absolutely it's elitist, but in a good sense. It's one of the few institutions in India that is incorruptible. It doesn't matter who your dad is or how much money your family has, you all had to come through the same rigorous exam system. Getting in is a badge of honour."

Graduates are heavily recruited by major Indian and international companies and the best in their class typically command starting salaries of more than $100,000 U.S.

In response to demand from employers in India and abroad, the government also plans to add several more IITs in quick succession, a move that will further tarnish the reputation for excellence, alumni say.

... Read more !

Thursday, June 15, 2006

"Anti-Brahmanism should stop!" -- Francois Gautier

Francois Gautier exposes forces that seek to destroy India's Hindu culture and heritage by dividing it on Caste lines, pit so-called "upper" and "lower" castes against each other, and destroy Hinduism from the land of its birth.

Francois Gautier argues on Rediff:
Anti-Brahmanism should stop!

June 15, 2006

The first article published by rediff on Brahmins as an underprivileged community, brought a flurry of reactions, mostly of surprise: "What, Brahmins as toilet cleaners, coolies, rickshaw pullers, priests earning less than Rs 150 a month... How is it possible, we always thought that Brahmins were a rich, fat, arrogant community?"

Many Brahmins and other upper castes expressed online their relief that someone was speaking about their plight, that for once they were not attacked, made fun of, ridiculed. Of course there were also a few hostile e-mails, accusing the author of upper casteism, of anti-Dalits bias.

One would have thought however, that at a time when reservation was the hottest journalistic topic, the media would have seized this story and made it its own. After all, isn't impartial journalism to show both sides of the story?

Don't you think, for instance, that the discovery that all 50 Sulabh Shauchalayas (public toilets) in Delhi are cleaned and looked after by Brahmins -- traditionally the task of the lowest of the lowest caste -- and that this noble institution was started by a Brahmin, Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, makes a wonderful story, both for the print and electronic media?

That is what I believed, at any rate. So when I discovered that the Art of Living Foundation was conducting workshops for all coolies, irrespective of their religion and caste of the Delhi railway station -- and that quite a few of them were Brahmins -- I thought I could share this story and the Sulabh Shauchalayas scoop, with a few journalistic acquaintances, who would jump on it with glee. Unfortunately I was very wrong.

Initially, some young journalists were enthusiastic and joined us in our investigation. We expected the story to hit the headlines soon and be taken up by the entire press, hungry for something different than the strike of the medicos, or Arjun Singh's adamant attitude. But nothing happened.

We called them day after day, proposed some more data, but still no story came out. Then one of the young journalists, working for one of the largest media outfits in India told us off the record that the sub-editor, backed by the editor, had killed the story in true journalistic freedom.

The second scenario we encountered was stone silence: the star anchors, bureau chiefs, editors of national English newspapers whom I personally contacted, either did not return my calls or were evasive.

Third scenario: Downright hostility: "You're a right winger, a pro-BJP-RSS journalist" etc. What does truth and investigative journalism have to do with the BJP (who by the way did no more than the Congress for the Kashmiri Brahmins, for instance, when it was in power)? I don't know.

Some journalists, initially willing to do a story, backed out after some time under the pretext that the data was not solid enough. Not solid enough? Does flimsy and unchecked data ever stop the Indian media to publish slanderous stories in the recent past?

Then, I came to the conclusion that more than fifty years later, the Nehruvian culture which directly brainwashed two generations of Indians in certain thinking patterns, has survived today. Actually, you have to go farther back than Nehru. For Jawaharlal was a true end product of Macaulay's policy of creating Indians who would be Indians by the colour of their skins, but British in their thinking. Thus, the English outlook on India survives today in India's intellectual class, particularly the journalists, who often cast a Westernised, anti-spiritual, pro-minority, anti-majority, un-Indian, anti-Brahmins and other upper castes -- look on their own country.

It is true that Nehru started from a positive volition: How to solve India's huge class and caste disparity? How to appease a Muslim minority which ruled India ruthlessly for ten centuries and was not ready to be ruled by those who were for a long time Islam's pliant subjects?

But Nehru went overboard. He made the paupers of yesteryear the saints of modern India, allowing some states to literally hound out Brahmins and other upper castes. He twisted history and thanks to docile historians, made of cruel Muslim invaders and rulers, the benefactors of medieval India.

He went to the extent of excusing the razing and sacking of thousands of exquisite temples all over India, by saying that Muslim invaders such as Babar did it because these temples were full of hidden gold and jewels, damning again indirectly the poor hapless Brahmins, who were beheaded by Muslim invaders, crucified in Goa by the Portuguese Inquisition, vilified by British missionaries, and morally crucified today by their own brothers and sisters.

It is true that Brahmins may be paying today for the excesses of yesterday. In ancient times, as Sri Aurobindo wrote: 'A Brahmin was a Brahmin only if he cultivated the spiritual temperament and acquired the spiritual training which alone would qualify him for the task.'

But once Brahmanism became hereditary, arrogance, complacency and casteism became rampant, ultimately bringing the downfall of Brahmins, a downfall which the Dalai Lama defines (for his own people) as Black Karma.

Thus, thanks to the lingering influence of Nehruvianism, 'Brahmins' remain today a dirty word, even in the face of reality: that Dalits have considerably come up since 1947 in Indian society, that no nation in the world has done so much for its underprivileged (India had a Dalit President -- did the US ever have a Black President?). But the intellectual elite of India, which never mentions these facts, continues to hide its face in the sand like an ostrich, refusing to see the reality.

And rampant anti-Brahmanism and upper castes, first used by the Muslim invaders, then by the British colonialists and missionaries, is still in vogue at the hands of Nehruvians, Marxists, Indian Christians and politicians in search of the votes of Dalits and Muslims, which combined together make and unmake prime ministers.

Yet, Brahmins and other upper castes have played an invaluable role in Indian history, as Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, the founder of the Sulabh Shauchalaya Movement remarks: 'Society sustained the Brahmins and other upper castes earlier, who upheld the Hindu scriptures and Hindu culture. Today Hinduism is on the decline day-by-day. There is a lack of ancient knowledge. No political party has objected to reservation thanks to vote-bank politics. People have a very short memory. They have forgotten the contribution made by Brahmins to our society.'

And who says that Brahmins and other upper castes are anti-Dalits. Some of India's top avatars, saints and gurus were of low caste and are still worshipped today by all upper castes. Valmiki, the composer of the Ramayana, was a fisherman; Ved Vyasa, the epic poet of the Mahabharata, which also contains the Bhagavad Gita, the Bible of Future Humanity, was the son of a fisherwoman; Krishna was from the shepherd's caste. And are not today's Amritanandamayi or Satya Sai Baba of low caste birth? Don't they have millions of Indians, many of them from upper castes, bowing down to them?

Anti-Brahmanism has to be stopped!

This inter-caste war, triggered by the politicians' greed for votes, has to be defused.

FACT, my Foundation, which conducts exhibitions on persecuted minorities, whether the Kashmiri Pandits, the Christians, Buddhist Chakmas and Hindus suffering in Bangladesh at the hands of fundamentalists in Bangladesh, or the Tibetans facing a cultural and spiritual genocide in Tibet, decided to take things in hand.

We started, with the help of a few dedicated friends, a film on Brahmins and other upper castes as an underprivileged community. This film will lead to a photoexhibition and hopefully to a book. All testimonies and documents are welcome.

The future of this country lies in a unified India, where all castes will find their just place, where all will feel Indians first and belonging to this caste or that one, after.

... Read more !

Thursday, June 08, 2006

When Arjun Singh made him feel 'backward'

Caste-based reservations are an insult to people of so-called "lower castes". But politicians will not listen, as the majority of Indians in OBC vote-banks don't seem to understand this.

From the Indian Express:
New Delhi, June 8: I am an OBC. I come from a place where discrimination on the basis of caste is common. I grew up hearing I was inferior because I was from a backward class. All through my childhood I regretted the fact that I belonged to a backward class.

When friends would tease me over my caste, my mother would tell me the only way to shut them up was to study well and top in class. I took her advice seriously and channelised my frustration into my studies. This brought about a big change in me: I started working very hard. From performing poorly in class I, I now excelled in studies, coming second in the district (supaul) in the class X exams in 1996.

Even after that achievement, some of my casteist friends disparaged my success, insinuating that I must have had some connection with the state government—I shared my caste with the then chief minister of Bihar. I was very disappointed. It wasn’t just the barbs of friends. My disappointment was more over belonging to my particular caste. But then once again I began preparing very hard to prove that my performance in the board exams had been the result of my own effort.

I worked very hard and got through IIT-JEE 2000, ultimately obtaining admission to the B-Tech programme in Chemical Engineering at IIT Kharagpur. Initially, I was apprehensive about facing the same discrimination here as well. But I was surprised when no one asked me my caste. Nobody really cared which caste, creed or religion one belonged to. For the first time in my life, I felt a sense of equality.

It is my deep conviction that no place on earth can ever be as secular and free of casteism as IIT. Slowly, the feeling of inferiority engendered by my caste began fading away. I started believing in the equality of humankind. I started loving people—not based on their caste, but based on their values and ideas. I forgot all the discrimination I had faced earlier in life.

Looking back, I feel proud of having lived in such an environment. This place not only educated me technically, but socially as well. After my stint in Kharagpur, I believe I am truly secular. I’m not merely saying it; I feel it.

Perhaps it’s the way of the world that the moment you begin feeling good about something, it’s taken away from you. Before this 27 per cent education for OBCs was introduced, I had begun believing that India was growing not only economically, but also socially. I was beginning to feel free from the restrictions of of caste and creed.

But then our leaders reminded me of my caste. They made me feel "backward" all over again. They made me remember my childhood days. It has suddenly become difficult for me to feel the same as I did before this latest announcement.

I am truly worried about my alma mater. I feel our leaders are going to spoil our haven on earth for their own narrow, selfish motives. I would like to propose a solution: send all our leaders to the IITs. Only then would they come to realise the real meaning of secularism, the value they keep trumpeting. I would not take umbrage if IIT seats were given to our leaders to make them understand the true meaning of secularism.

But now I am sure that once they make reservations mandatory for admissions in institutes, equality shall be replaced with hatred and discrimination. I urge our leaders: please don’t do this to us. Our generation has changed. Please don’t separate us on the basis of our birth, something over which one has no control. We have the power to mould our destinies and fortunes; allow us to do that. We have started believing in equality, hard work and dedication as the recipe for success. Please don’t break our faith. It will endanger the unity of our nation. Please let the new generation of India live in a world where ideas matter, not the caste or religion into which one is born.

The writer was in the Class of 2004, B-Tech Chemical Engineering, IIT Kharagpur.

... Read more !

Thursday, June 01, 2006

3 LeT terrorists killed near RSS headquarters

Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayiba terror group has attacked the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh offices in Nagpur.

Rediff reports:
3 ultras killed near RSS headquarters

June 01, 2006 09:13 IST
Last Updated: June 01, 2006 13:13 IST

Police shot dead three heavily armed terrorists when they tried to enter the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh headquarters in Nagpur in the wee hours on Thursday.

Three Ak-56 rifles, a huge quantity of RDX and 12 hand grenades were recovered from the slain terrorists, who were dressed in uniforms of police sub-inspectors and had used a white Ambassador car with a red beacon to carry out the attack.

Giving details of the encounter, City Police Commissioner S P S Yadav said the police chased them after they broke through the first barrier, about 200 metres from the headquarters.

Yadav said that when the police challenged them, the terrorists opened fire from their AK-56 rifles and were subsequently killed in retaliatory fire.

Yadav said two policemen were also injured in the encounter that lasted about five minutes.

The identities of the three terrorists, who were in the age group of 20-22 and believed to be members of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, are yet to be established, the police said.

Former RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav said, "We are happy that the police took firm action," he said.

Last month, the Anti-Terrorist Squad had recovered 30 kg of RDX, 17 AK-47 rifles and 50 hand grenades from a Jeep in Aurangabad and arrested 11 suspected LeT militants.

The arms and ammunitions were being transported in computer boxes. This was the biggest seizure of RDX after the 1993 serial bomb blast in Mumbai.

... Read more !

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