Sunday, July 24, 2011

CAN I BECOME A POLITICIAN?

Dispelling political myths for young Political Aspirants!

I belong to a country that is 65 years young and in a month’s time ‘She’ will celebrate her 66th birthday. But, something saddens me deeply. My country is home to one-sixth of the entire world’s population, but is still struggling to get her young sons and daughters to work for her.

Politics in India is said to be confined to a few influential families; but, what happens when when we do not want to contribute to our country for fear of being branded. Can we then blame those who are willing to take up responsibility for us? Politics is known to have taken people to the zenith of a successful career while others have unwillingly become scapegoats. With this background the quintessential question remains, “Should I consider taking Politics as a profession?”

The aim of this blogpost is only to dispel the myths that most youngsters face and erase the cynicism leading to indecision and finally political apathy. With a hope that I can make a slight Attitudinal difference, I have addressed a few questions on the scope of aspiring young Indians willing to take the lead in re- defining India, a country, richly blessed with a rich history, heritage and culture!

Do I really need to be the daughter/son of a politician to be a successful politician?

This is perhaps the first question that most of the sons and daughters of young India ask. The answer is NO! You do not need to hail from a politically affluent family to be a politico. In fact there are very many politicians from our own Indian Political system who do not belong to influential political families. Prominent names include, Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Mamata Banerjee, Mr. Mani Shankar Aiyyar, Arun Jaitley and many others.

Prominent Political families rule the country. Do I stand a chance?

We do not want a family to rule the country, but what happens when we willingly abdicate our responsibility from contributing to the social welfare of the country. Why do we aspire to stay away from politics and then question the policies that are made by like-minded thinking individuals? So am I an idealist? No, far from it! I’d rather be a pragmatist and review both sides of the coin. My belief takes refuge in Arnold Glasgow’s famous lines, An idea not coupled with action will never get any bigger than the brain cell it occupied.” If the son or daughter of a prominent politician is willing to make a difference to lives and in doing so positively influence young minds, why shouldn’t he/she do so? That does not mean that children of non- political families will never get the support of the masses. The people want a politician they can connect with, one who sympathises and empathises with them, not one with influence, power or money!

I am considering taking up politics, does my Age count?

Age can never be an impediment for anyone genuinely wanting to serve his motherland. Your morals, your goals are probably what will define who you are. Implementation of your promises to the masses is the key to being a good Politician!

But what about getting branded as ‘corrupt’ and a ‘cheat’?

For all those who ask this question, I would like you to re- consider other professions. As examples, I have just added a few prominent ones. You may find these argots attributed to the following professions. At least these are some I have heard of.

Lawyers are liars!

Diplomats, smooth liars!

Doctors are butchers!

And the much hallowed Teaching profession too has borne the brunt of similar jargon. Is there any truth to these statements? NO! So does that stop one from taking up these professions? Again, No! Because the simple fact remains that despite all odds our country has the distinction of producing the finest lawyers, doctors and diplomats that the world looks up to! A few rotten apples in the Political System cannot and should not over- shadow or undermine the virtues of the rest.

Christy Romano once wrote, “And after I make a lot of money, I'll be able to afford running for office Times have changed though and the youth wings of most parties are considering the induction of newbies who are interested in the welfare of the country and are willing to devote their quality time in the service of the nation. Many a time the political parties too help you out to stand for elections.

But, India is a multi- party State. Whom should I represent?

This is a question that every new entrant should give a careful thought before entering the political foray. Floor- crossing never holds good with the masses. With the mushrooming of political parties in every State and city, it tends to become a little confusing for any political aspirant to choose his path. A simple step one, is to read up on the Party policy and see which ideologies bear similarities to your own.

Finally, the most interesting and perhaps the most defining question of them all;

Am I eligible to be a Politician?

Yes, if you have a willingness to work for your country, principles that you ‘Believe’ in and the support of your electorate, you may not become a very rich politician but you will most definitely be a Loved Respected and admired Politician. The Choice is Yours!

This Blogpost is dedicated to the Indian Politician who changed my view towards Politics for the better:

Dr. Shashi Tharoor : An Inspiration to Youngsters across the Globe!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Telephone to Glory!

Faith Re-visited

Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits…

Are you in the depths of despair or having a List of Unanswered Prayers? Then this little piece is for you. The reason you’ve just experienced all these emotions is because you forgot the most important and perhaps the most beautiful gift that God has endowed you, “The Power of Prayer.”

The Bible says, “Ask and ye shall receive.” The life of Jesus was crowded with labor and responsibility; yet how often He was found in prayer. If you compare all the other Scriptures you will find this thought resonant in other religions as well.

Prayer is an affirmation that you have done your best and you need to trust God to help you. How many times do we ‘Thank’ God for keeping us safe through the night? How many times do we thank Him for the people who share our joys and sorrows; our loved ones? Remember, your trial is a gentle reminder that God is waiting to get in touch with you, He’s waiting for you to invoke His guidance. If you need God, you have to call on Him. You cannot expect a miracle if you do not have the faith. I have heard people young and old alike confess that they do not want to pray because they do not feel connected. What they fail to realise is that the discord is the direct result of their unwillingness to share their trouble with God the Father. God never turns down a prayer. He may not always say, ‘Yes!’ But whatever he does for you is always for the ‘Best!’

Prayer is a manifestation of your compassion, your faith. No matter how high an ambition you achieve or how low you may fall, God is with you both at the zenith and at the nadir. Faith is the only thing constant in your life. You may have the power, the money the control today, not always. Prayer is the cheapest mode of communication but unfortunately the least used in today’s fast paced world.

We have all the time to surf the internet, tweet from our cell-phones, chat with friends, study, and work and hang out. Minimal time is spent in talking to God. Prayer is nothing but a form of self- expression. It teaches us, comforts us and grants us the much needed peace of mind.

Prayer is letting go of all the emotions pent up for so long within us. Most of us remember to pray when we are desperate for something to work out in our favour, but the more important point is why do we fail to Thank Him once we received it? Why is He the last person on our mind then? The most fascinating thing about our Maker is that He is willing to welcome you with open arms despite our ungrateful hearts.

Since we shy away from God, isn’t it logical to deduce He should turn away from us too? But, that is exactly one situation none of us will ever face. God never turns away. His eyes are ever- watchful!

Someone is watching over you because someone is praying for you. I hope that you never forget that. Don’t wait for an invitation to pray, talk to Him as a Friend. You will be pleasantly surprised how all the complexities in your life untangle without your aid.

If you have been praying for something too hard and it just isn’t happening, check again. Are your expectations and your prayer likely to cause harm or are your aims not in sync with God’s expectations.

Finally, never be time- bound to pray. Use your time, even if it’s a few minutes you can grab on your way to work, college, school to just share with God your hopes, desires, problems and disparities.

So, Stop Complaining, Start Praying! The answer is right at your door!

You can find Peace in the midst of the Storm!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

For my Mentor on the occasion of Guru Poornima!

Dear Mentor

On the occasion of Guru Poornima here’s a short and simple message to tell you why you are admired,

Your countenance reflects Optimism

Your pleasant demeanour, Hopefulness

Your Attitude teaches us how to fight the good fight,

Your Determination is your gift,

Your efforts, Inspire us to be better than we are

Your Humility defines you……

So,

It is time for us to stand and cheer for the doer, the achiever, the one who recognizes the challenge and does something about it.

All in all, you are a Blessing because you touch lives of others in more ways than one

With a hope that God abounds you with infinite grace that you continue to touch more young lives,

Warm Regards and Best Wishes

Katie

Saturday, July 9, 2011

THE NEED TO RE-STRUCTURE THE INDIAN EDUCATION SYSTEM!

As the daughter of an educationist, I find it hard to believe that the Education system that we follow today is hardly making the impact that it should. In fact when I talk to my dad, I realise that a lot of what is being taught in the colleges, he studied in school.

So, are the students today slower than the earlier generations or is it something more? Why are we, the largest democracy of the world in need of re-vamping the system? Why do we face a brain drain in our country?

Mrs.Ellen.G.White in her book Counsels to Teachers has written, “It is when the intellectual and spiritual power are combined that the highest standard of manhood is attained.

The aim of every educational institution is to re-in force a child’s skills, sharpen his mind and boost the student’s morale. However, education today has lost its meaning. It is now confined to late night projects, tiresome assignments.

History teaches us that in the past students stayed with their teacher in what was called a ‘GURUKUL’. Here a student developed a love for learning, picked up good activity and academic skills and learned the dignity of labour, thus making him an all-rounder.

Today most people are qualified, not educated because knowledge is not measured in terms of marks on the mark sheets at the end of the year, it is the understanding that we earn for a lifetime that matters as it is rightly said Experience is the Mother of wisdom.

Most people blame the poor qualification of the higher ups at the State level for ruining the system. But, that isn't the whole truth because when Ex-British Prime Minister Tony Blair appointed Mr. Alan Johnson a school drop out as the higher education minister he fulfilled his task with a lot of efforts. Why then is it so difficult for us to have a refined education system especially when we have some of the finest Teachers and Educationists? What is the Missing Link?

Lord Byron remarked, “Nothing is so difficult as the beginning!” It is thus necessary to address the root cause of this issue. Any educational system comprises of 3 essential components:

1. Students without whom the need for teaching would not have arisen

2. Teachers who are the our guiding light on the path of knowledge

.3 Parents without whose support and encouragement a child’s growth is stunted.

As students ourselves have we ever stopped to think why today most of us are buried in books while others are indulged in sports and extra-curricular activities? Why are we unable to procure a balance between the two?

One of the reasons for a student’s lack of interest may lie in the overuse of assignments. Assignments aim at cultivating creative writing and thinking because what matters is the process of thinking and not just getting the right answers. Hence care must be taken that assignments must be given to a certain limit. Textbooks also must aim at giving an insight into a particular topic so it becomes easy for child to focus on the subject.

Apart from the flaws in the technicalities of the learning process, we must not forget that ‘The hand that rocks the Cradle rules the world’, so Parental involvement is crucial in the development of a child and teachers must not be expected to fulfill this duty. At the same time it is not to be forgotten that teachers who are blessed with a pleasant well balanced disposition will prove a great benefit to the students. If teachers aim at simplicity and effectiveness the explanations would be far more plain and clear. It is necessary to inculcate in the students a need to learn to search for knowledge, rather than spoon- feed them with ready notes and guides.

If we really wish to see our youth educated and knowledgeable intellects, the need of the hour is to make the students to love their books rather than detest them! For this, rote learning must be actively discouraged.

Last, but definitely not the least we cannot undermine the fact that students too must contribute to the system by active participation not only in the classroom but debating activities, extra-curricular and cultural activities!

If these simple steps are followed by each institute, we can hope to host an institute better than an 'Oxford' in our country in the near future!