Avantibai who? Read the NCERT textbook

Rani Avantibai rose in revolt against the British during 1857, much like Rani Laxmi Bai

In yet another example of the role played by political pressure in shaping school curriculum, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has found merit in the demand to include Rani Avantibai Lodhi in school textbooks.

Last year, following an uproar engineered by MPs of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Bahujan Samaj Party in the Rajya Sabha during the monsoon session, the HRD ministry had advised NCERT to consider the inclusion of the 19th century freedom fighter in textbooks. The protest had led to two adjournments in Parliament.

The council, apparently convinced by the ‘sentiment’ of the House, has made Rani Avantibai Lodhi a part of popular recall. The freedom fighter has been mentioned in NCERT’s social science textbook for Class VIII – on pages 58 and 59 under chapter five called ‘When People Rebel’ – from the new academic session that began last month.

Rani Avantibai rose in revolt against the British during the country’s first war of independence in 1857. She ruled over the Ramgarh state, today in Mandla district of Madhya Pradesh. She is known to people in the state through folklore and, that apart, there isn’t much information available. The story of her battle with the English has often been likened to that of Rani Laxmi Bai, a must-read in history curricula followed by schools across the country.

(courtesy: MailOnlineIndia & Ritika Chopra)

Read the full story: Avantibai who? Read the NCERT textbook

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‘Bengaluru’ – formless, even viscous!

Girish Karnad, the winner of the 1998 Bharatiya Jnanpith award,  a playwright, actor, film director, and arts administrator writes in THE DAILY BEAST

It was not so long ago that Bangalore was competing only with Singapore.

It was not so long ago that Bangalore was competing only with Singapore.

…..The current joke is that the only buildings to remain unscathed by the onslaught may be Vidhana Soudha, the building that houses the legislature, and UB City, a complex that is a hideous combination of the Empire State Building and Internet kitsch, built by a liquor baron.

……The emergence in the ’60s of the liquor industry, with its intractable deals and infinitely manipulable accounting, seems an inevitable response to the demands of the new democratic politics. And liquor barons virtually took over the running of the city. They built cinema halls, started newspapers, built schools, opened restaurants, produced films, invested in real estate, and even hosted public parties in honor of politicians. Then in July 1981, tragedy struck. More than 300 died on a single day from drinking illicit liquor, and the aura surrounding alcohol began to pall.

 …..That these firms grew without bowing and scraping to the government has caused no little resentment in the Vidhana Soudha.The new IT prosperity has created a young, energetic, educated, and wealthy working class, transforming Bangalore into a consumer’s paradise of shopping malls and office complexes with glass-fronted exteriors. The insatiable demand for “good English” has renewed the anxiety that Kannada may die out in the city. In 2006 Bangalore was renamed Bengaluru.

……But the main loss has been the sense of a stable, coherent city. The experience of the city has become formless, even viscous. Everyone is trying to get somewhere, and distance has become the only real object of daily concern. Instead of shrinking the city, the flyovers, underpasses, and elevated trains seem continually to expand it, pushing people farther and farther away from each other.

Read the full column: Girish Karnad Reflects on Bangalore, India

Sunil Gavaskar’s dream at Rashtrapati Bhavan

AJITH PILLAI imagines in his column Straight drive to Raisina Hill  in The Daily Mail about Little Master Sunil Gavasker,  dreaming of being the President of India and delivering his Presidential address:

Friends, cricketers and countrymen, lend me your bats; I stand here to bowl a few long hops to Manmohanji not to praise him; I know the shots he missed and the catches he dropped will live after him; The several good innings he played will be interred with the UPA’s bones: So be it with our PM…The noble Sushma Swaraj hath told you Manmohanji was anti-aam admi. And Sushamaji is an honourable man-oops woman…’

….By now dawn had broken. I decided to call APJ Abdul Kalam for his advice. Without any provocation he asked me if I preferred my eggs sunny side up and I answered in the affirmative. 

‘Gavaskarji, you are so predictable,’ he said in his typical drawl. 

And then he launched into classical Tamil which was not Marathi to me. 

Thankfully, he translated poet Thiruvallur into English although he made me repeat the verses after him. 

‘The axle of a cart loaded even with peacocks’ feathers can break. Think and then undertake work; to think later will bring disgrace.’ 

Rattled I rang up Sidhu for some news. He was apologetic. ‘Sunnybhai, things are bad. Soniaji says the Congress can’t back another Maharashtrian after nominating Tendulkar to the Rajya Sabha. And BJP President, Nitin Gadkari, says you’re unsuitable since you once refused to wear khaki shorts… Guru, I’ve finally learnt that a fat man downsized through surgery is more dangerous than a tree that grows in girth through watering.’ 

Well, there went my Presidential hopes… 

Read more: With Sachin joining the RS, the Little Master deserves to be considered for the presidency

Indian Politicians on Twitter:Modi Express #1

As the state of Gujarat commemorated its 52nd Gaurav Diwas (Foundation Day), the Modi Express on Twitter celebrated another milestone when it crossed the make of 600,000 ‘followers’ in record time! This once again reaffirms why he is truly called the ‘King of Social Media’ among the politicians!
This mammoth increase among Narendra Modi’s followers comes at a time when he featured on the cover page of Time Magazine, which lauded the decade of peace and development in Gujarat. Other luminaries who have come on the cover include Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel and Lal Bahadur Shastri. Incidentally, he is the only Indian Chief Minister and the first BJP leader to feature on the list. Roughly at the same time, Brookings Institution, one of Washington DCs oldest and most reputed think tanks carried a comprehensive story by William Antholis, its managing editor. Brookings lauded the atmosphere of development that prevailed in Gujarat.

Mopa (Goa) airport is a scam to eliminate Goa – Late Tourism Minister Mathany Saldanha

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate from Cortalim (Goa) Alina Saldanha, wife of Former Tourism Minister of Goa Late Matanhy Saldanha,  has publicly categorically stated that her late husband
Matanhy was not for or against Mopa Airport.

Former Tourism Minister of Goa Late Matanhy Saldanha wrote in 2008 :

It is now very clear why many politicians and vested interest want the Mopa
airport. Many who are demanding for Mopa airport are ignorant or pretend to
be ignorant, that Goa is going to lose its identity since the builders are
going to build only for migrants from other states. Imagine how much land
is already sold to fly by night vested interest in Pernem alone. Similar is
the case throughout Goa. Read the below report: (Gomantak Times, 30th
August, 2008)

Hill cutting after purchasing land at cheap rates by non Goan builders is
rampant in Pernem taluka. Presently, hill locks in Mandrem, Chopdem and
Korgao are flattened and if this continues there is every possibility of
permanent damage to the forest covering in the taluka.
According to information available, builders brought large tracks of
thickly vegetated land in Pernem during the period from April 2006 and June
2008.
This includes 8.16 lakh sq mts of area by Mangala Realtors Pvt Ltd, Vasco
in Alorna, 4.61 lakh sq mts by J M Township, 4.38 sq mts by M/s Christian
Farm Land (India) Pvt Ltd from Bangalore, 3.05 lakh sq mts by M/s N E
Electronics Ltd, Guwahati- Assam, 2.5 lakh sq mts by Leading Hotels Pvt
Ltd, Delhi, 2.57 lakh sq mts by M/s Wide Properties, Panaji, 2.44 lakh sq
mts by Beside Realty Pvt Lmt, Mumbai and two plots of 2.27 lakh  and 2.13
lakh sq mts by Enterprises Value Investment (India) Pvt Ltd company,
Mumbai.
Similarly Amrapali Realtor, Delhi (25,587 sq mts), Padmashil Fine West Pvt.
Ltd, Parel (15,980 sq. mts), Messers Rajan Hatiskar, Thane, Maharastra
(108, 842 sq. mts), Pushpalata Samant, Dadar Mumbai (1.1 lakh sq. mts) and
M/s Prasanna Developers (1.16 lakh sq. mts) have also brought land during
this period. Residents fear, the forest areas may completely vanish, due to
the proposed Mopa airport, tourism business and other demand for land in
Pernem taluka.
Goa is already saturated. With further profit ridden development, by
builders, real estate agents and some unscrupulous elected representatives,
Goa soon will make all Goans not only a minority, but strangers in their
own land. Do we want this?
Demand for Special Status, to stop sale and transfer of land to
individuals, companies from other states.
Goans and all others who love Goa, irrespective of religion, caste, region
or political affiliations, UNITE to stop Goa from being eliminated.

S/d
Matanhy Saldanha
(Former Tourism Minister)

India’s best library now in Goa

SANDESH PRABHUDESAI

The 180-year old central library of Goa, now named after Konkani literature of 16th century Krishnadas Shama, is just not a new five-storied building but reflects a new philosophical outlook with hi-tech facilities.

The new library complex, which was inaugurated by chief minister Manohar Parrikar on 23 April, is perhaps the best library complex in India at this stage.

Designed by nationally renowned Goan architect Gerard D’Cunha, the building also has a sixth mezzanine floor dedicated to rare Portuguese books while its ground and underground floor houses Directorate of Art & Culture.

The most fascinating among all the features of this central library are the new modern facilities, making the job easy and comfortable.

Its censor-fitted doors simply do not allow anybody to take out any book, DVD or any other material without registering in the fully computerized system. The beep at the door simply embarrasses you.

The books are not delivered at the counter but at the self check-in and check-out kiosks which accept it electronically.

The library even has one such electronic drop box in the open lounge, where any member can drop the book even at odd hours, even when the library is closed.

Carlos Fernandes, the curator, says the book drop facility would also be made available at all its 145 libraries spread in the nook and corner of Goa; no need to come to Panaji to deliver it.

In fact the future plan is to network all the libraries so that book searching would be facilitated at village level rather than making special trip to the capital city just to find out whether it’s available in Panaji or any other library.

Equally fascinating is the ‘book lift’, through which any book could travel from any floor to the member after surfing through the intranet facility made available on computers on all the five floors.

Over 1.68 lakh books, including 236 brail books as well as 2746 e-journals and 1590 DVDs, are available for lending or references. But not a single cupboard is above the human height, making it fully airy and comfortable to move around.

In fact each floor has tables with chairs and even sofas on both sides at the glass walls to read and even discuss while viewing the Rua de Ourem creek as well as the mangroves.

The children’s section on the second floor in fact is the most thrilling experience, which even Parrikar felt like spending time at. The cupboards are colourful and the books are cuddled by teddy bears of different sizes.

There are 12 computers available for browsing and five television sets for viewing movies including 3D movies.

Adjoining this section is a 96-sitter AV room-cum-story telling room, even with a green room for dressing up and make up.

World’s biggest 105-inch television set is installed in this ‘dream room’ to watch even 3D films for 100 kids at a time.

Internet browsing however is just not the privilege of children. It has 51 PCs on the same floor exclusively for browsing while each floor also has PCs for other references.

Research is one area the central library has sincerely focused upon, with a treasure of 29,044 reference books, old newspapers and magazines, 461 microfilms as well as the whole world made available through internet surfing, besides laptop-connecting facility.

“We have made nine special cubicles available, including four closed-door rooms with internet and storing facility available, for research scholars on hire-out basis”, proudly says Prasad Lolayekar, the director of art & culture.

In addition, hi-tech machines are being hired for data imaging of any reference book as well as to print any rare book.

The special state of the art printing machine would compile the whole book, print it and provide a bound copy within no time, provided you pay for it.

Also it has a lecture hall with a hi-tech white board as well as a projector, with a sitting capacity of 100, for research activities like seminars, symposiums, lectures, screening and debates.

But the central library is just not for the ‘haves’, but also for the ‘have nots’.

There is a special study room with 13 cubicles, for those who can’t afford to study at home in a peaceful manner.

It includes those living in a congested house as well as those struggling youngsters who work during day time and study at night.

“This section would be open throughout the night for all the needy students”, states Lolayekar, who has meticulously designed the library even for the underprivileged; just not the privileged.

His next target is to make it the best library in the whole of Asia… (courtesy: Frederick Noronha

Old wine in new bottle: Mining is an addiction, Goans will die if stopped says BJP CM Parrikar

Earth Day: CHRONICLE OF A DEATH FORETOLD

Hartman de Souza  Cavorem, Quepem (South Goa) writes in  HARDNEWS ( hardnewsmedia.com)

Look at Goa, where barely thirty to forty kilometres east of the sea, that sacred day was celebrated by virtue of being a Sunday, and for that reason alone, providing respite from all the illegal mining operations, now being given the go-ahead by a BJP government brought to power to ensure that the mining in Goa will continue.

His terse email to the group bears repeating in full:

“Met with Manohar Parrikar and the Attorney General, Sushant Nadkarni yesterday on the Regional Plan. Though they sat through most of it silently, there were a couple of comments from both of them on mining that were disturbing. The SLC had recommended termination of mines in the buffer zone and phasing out of mines in 3 years and providing alternate employment in a proposed industrial belt close to the mining areas.

“Parrikar said mining is like a drug and even though it may be bad, you have to continue it as the people will die otherwise. But he is trying to reduce the amount of ore extracted and in the meantime while a policy is being set he has allowed mine owners to export all the dumps as in any case the damage has been done by extraction. 

There was another, from a Goan woman in the UK, a doting grandmother who was once a regional director with Panos and designed the first State of the Environment report brought out by the Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi in the early 80s.

She wrote:

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“My heart sank…I am really disappointed with Parrikar’s level of understanding of mining in Goa and as I keep saying (beginning to sound like a broken record!) he needs to be educated about mining issues. Parrikar needs to hear our voices and opinions on the mining issue.

“To say the mining is like a drug and must continue , shows his limitations and lack of relevant information – who are the “drug addicts” here and what about the victims of that addiction?  Allowing them to sell all the dumps is totally idiotic and shocking; has he forgotten that the dumps need to go back into the pits when they rehabilitate the land? I am really furious and angry about what is going on. Mining is the Bloodline of Goa? Who is he kidding?

“Once again I plead with you guys to have a meeting with Parrikar and tell him what he needs to know.  As things stand he has an excuse of being misinformed, as the only information he gets is from the mining lobby. The least we can do is demand a meeting with him and tell him a couple of truths about mining.

“I feel like taking the next flight to Goa and confronting Parrikar myself!”

From an organization that is swimming in cases filed against the mining companies, came this:

“It appears we will continue to fight because the change in government will only mitigate but not provide a permanent solution. The Attorney General we all know was representing Sesa Goa in the High Court for a couple of years. He has openly defended mining in interviews.

Read full article : http://www.hardnewsmedia.com/2012/04/5032

courtesy: Hartman de Souza  & HARDNEWS