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Then with losers let it sympathise;
For nothing can seem foul to thos who win.
- William Shakespeare, English dramatic poet (1564-1616) in Henry IV.
When results of public examination or competitive public examinations are out , the toppers are idolised in the media and near-missed ones are completely ignored. This is demotivating for those students just below the top-line and their parents. This syndrome is analysed by Vijay Nagamani in his article titled “And winner takes it all” in The Hindu Sunday Magazine (9-6-12) - and excerpted here.
It is that time of the year again. The time that a small number of people look forward to, though a larger number dread. The time when the results of board exams and All India entrance examinations are published. The time when the news media is replete with pictures, stories and advertisements featuring toppers and rank-holders. The time when non-toppers and non-rank-holders are relegated to unsung backgrounds. The time that parents are as keyed up as their teenage children, for, the published results will determine how well their parenting skills compare with those of their contemporaries. And when the results are finally announced and marks tabulated, the winners find themselves in a maelstrom of exultation that appears to go on forever. However, the excitement lasts, at best, for a few weeks, after which the same toppers and rank-holders get back into the hurly-burly of their lives, their moments under bright sunshine abruptly dampened by the onset of the south-west monsoon. And everybody starts breathing freely again, at least for a year.
And wishpering, “I will not consent” – consented. – George Gordon Noel Byron, English writer (1788-1824).
That is the dilemma of youth – reason and heart pulling in different, opposite directions. The subject comes into focus because of the radical provisions of the new Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. Central to it is the age of consent for consexual sex. The issues involved have been well dissected byVijay Nagaswami in The Hindu (27-5-12) and excerpted here.
Awareness and maturity, not so much the age, play a significant role in helping a teenager decide what’s good for him/ her.
Although, we have evolved in many ways as a nation, when it comes to sex and sexuality, we rarely fail to get our knickers in a twist. In the last fortnight or so, much controversy has been generated around the age of consent for sexual activity and whether consensual sexual exploratory activity between teenagers should be considered acceptable or not. At the heart of the debate is the issue of “informed” consent. Put differently, if they say “yes” to sex, do adolescents really understand what this would imply? And even if they did understand the implications, are they consenting because they really want to, or because they feel compelled to, in view of changing social mores and peer-pressure?
Judge not that ye be not judged. – The Bible.
There was this accentric, easy-going school teacher who had a special way of judging exam–answer papers. He would keep the bundle of papers on the table, fill his glass of liquor and soda, light a cigarette and then untie the string binding the papers and throw them at the fast-moving ceiling fan. Then he would gather thos papers which fell on the ground to his right and left seperately. For those papers which fell on the left, he alloted fail marks varying from 20 to 30 and thos on the right were given pass marks, varying from 35 to 85. If you think that he was an irresponsible teacher or exam paper corrector, he has company galore, as reflected in the review of exam marks in Karnataka recently. But, first the facts.
According to a Bangalore date-lined report by Garima Prasher, published in the Times of India ((23-6-12), revaluation of PU answer books has brought cheers to some and tears to others. Call it a double-edged sword, but revaluation and retotalling results declared by the Department of Pre-University Education on June 21, 2012 left some students with a big smile. Some weren’t so fortunate, having to put up with lower marks.
One reason there is so much humour in the world is because there are so many persons who take themselves seriously. – Philadelphia Inquirer.
Shankar’s cartoon in a text book focusing on Dr. B. R. Ambedkar in his role in constitution-drafting has raised a controversy. We present one more facet of this, by excerpting an article on the subject, titled “We won’t spare you Shankar!” by R Prasannan and published in The Week (27-5-12).
Only two days prior to its 60th birthday, Parliament had witnessed pandemonium, in true Miltonian sense, over a cartoon depicting the two founding fathers, Nehru and Ambedkar. It didn’t help that the cartoon had been drawn six decades ago, by the founding father of Indian cartooning with whom Nehru had pleaded, “Don’t spare me, Shankar!”
Shankar didn’t spare anyone—neither Nehru nor Ambedkar; neither Mountbatten nor Mahatma Gandhi. He laughed at them all, and they laughed with him. He made a career out of laughing at Nehru’s impatience and short temper. Even the cartoon that has made our new-gen MPs lose their temper was only laughing at Nehru’s impatience with the slow progress being made by the Constituent Assembly.
“Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” – Samuel Johnson, English author (1709-1784).
Tennis game in India is mired in controversy at two levels – individual egos and mixing sports with patriotism. The first aspect is well focused in an editorial in Deccan Herald (26-6-12) and excerpted below.
The unsavoury spectacle of a stand-off between tennis stars Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi, Rohan Bopanna and the All India Tennis Association has come to a temporary halt with the governing body chalking out a compromise formula—sending two doubles teams to the London Olympics and making Sania Mirza partner Paes in the mixed doubles. Sania’s participation is subject to getting a wildcard entry later in the week. It was the culmination of a forgettable fortnight when two of the biggest names in Indian tennis fought like school children wrangling over candy, also threatening to jeopardise India’s chances of winning a medal in tennis at the London Games. The chain of unpalatable incidents started with Bhupathi and subsequently Bopanna refusing to partner Paes in the quadrennial sporting spectacle. Bhupathi termed Paes a ‘back-stabber’, while Bopanna was firm in his commitment to Bhupathi, leaving Paes to choose either Vishnu Vardhan or Yuki Bhambri, junior players ranked 207 and 306.
In that scenario, the AITA had little room to manoeuvre and bowed to the demands of Bhupathi-Bopanna duo, deciding to send two teams—Bhupathi - Bopanna and Paes -Vishnu. But the whole episode has left a bitter taste in the mouth of Indian tennis fans, and all parties involved should take the blame for dragging the issue to such low levels. This could be the first instance in the history of Indian tennis where two players vetoed the selection panel’s decision and openly put forward their demands. Those who put their egos and personal interests above the national interest should have been barred from the Olympics, rather than being rewarded.
So let him stand, through ages yet unborn,
Fix’d statue on the pedestal of scorn.
- George Gordon Noel Byron, English poet (1788-1824).
They, specially the Dalits (the lower castes), have put Dr. B. R. Ambedkar on the pedestal – specially in UP under its erstwhile chief minister Mayavati. In the last posting on this site, it was argued that Ambedkar cannot be considered as the father of the Indian Constitution. But, for Dalits he is a prophet and deity on the pedestal and untouchable in a different sense – he is beyond criticism. The why of this is explained by Kancha Ilaiah, a former head of political science at Osmania University and author of Why I am not a Hindu, in an article titled The Ethereal Realist in Outlook (28-5-12) - and excerpted here.
Extreme medicines are very appropriate for extreme diseases. – Hippocrates, physician and writer (circa 460 – 375 BC) in whose name modern doctors take their oath.
One of the extreme diseases of today is cancer, generally considered a terminal disease. In treating it, who should decide what is an extreme disease and what extreme medicines are to be given. The obvious answer is the treating or consulting doctor. On further consideration, what about the role of the patient or his/her family? An interesting case has been presented by Dr Jame Abraham, MD, FACP, Bonnie Wells Wilson Distinguished Professor, Chief Oncologist and Medical Director of Mary Babb Randolf Cancer Centre, West Virginia University, USA. Writing in The Week Health (10-6-12) he gives a case study that analyses the dilemma involved in deciding on treatment for terminal patients. But, first the background.
This is a 36-year-old woman with a recent history of 30-pound weight loss and new onset of blood in the urine....” Dr Peter Simon, one of the junior doctors in the oncology department, was presenting a case before a group of doctors.
Physicians, of all men, are most happy; whatever good success they have, the world proclaimeth and what faults they commit, the earth covereth. – Francis Quarles, English poet (1592-1644).
The success rate in cancer patients is so low that cancer has been described as terminal disease. Oncologists, specializing in diagnosing and treating cancer, have the additional obligation of communicating with the patients and their relatives about their prognosis. Is there hope for the patient. This dilemma is highlighted in an article titled “All hype and no hope” by Dr. Ranjana Srivastava, an oncologist, commentator and author of Tell Me the Truth-Conversations with my patients about Life and Death, who lives and works in Melbourne, in The Week Health(27-5-12) and excerpted here.
The constitution provides for every accidental contigency in the Executive, except for a vacancy in the mind of the President. - Senator Sherman.
We in India have a far longer written constitution than the Americans. And the vacancy that Senator Sharman talks about goes beyond the President, who is a figurehead, and covers the Prime Minister and his cabinet colleagues. Looking at the present situation of our government, the Senator’s fears seem to have come true. But, the focus now also extends to the constitution-makers and the long held view that B R Ambedkar was the father of the Indian constitution is being questened as, for instant, by Harish Trivedi, a former professor of English at Delhi University, in an article titled “The new untouchability” in The Times of India (26-5-12) - and excerpted here.