Sunday, January 14, 2007

Random thoughts on a lame Sunday

After a rather hectic early-weekend, I decided to cool off, and take it easy on Sunday. I did nothing but sleep and watch the tube. And of course, now I'm putting down my random jottings on (e-)paper.

BSNL has finally increased my bandwidth to 2 Mbps. Free of charge. By God, does the connection rock!? My favourite videos (one of them here) on YouTube download like I'm downloading them on the corpnet! And how does BSNL inform you about it? In true PSU style. No, they don't take out TV commercials. They don't even bother sending you an e-mail. The director mentions it in passing, at a press conference, and your service records show your new bandwidth!

On an aside, this is the kind of mixed economy that Nehru envisaged. A healthy private sector that competes. Free PSUs that drive the private sector to better its services without only competing on price or on monopolies. Remember, it is BSNL's initiatives that have made broadband so cheap and accessible, not to mention reliable.

While on the topic of freedom, there is another debate going on about the incendiary video of an actor depicting Gandhiji in poor light. The nation's leaders are furious. They want to censure two channels for telecasting the video, and may have already asked YouTube to delete the video. All this begs the question - is the nation insulted by a ridiculous video, or is it insulted by these 'leaders' - who in the immortal words of Nissar Ahmed, fatten up on the flesh of the poor? What would Gandhiji have been more ashamed of? The fact that there are still people in this country that go without a square meal everyday, or some idiot depicting him doing a pole dance?

A free nation that can't tolerate humour, however tasteless it may be, is not a free nation. You cannot have freedom of speech and expression without getting people agitated when you exercise your right to it. And by bowing to the agitated, we only destroy the idea of India. We destroy the idea that a 5000 year old nation, however steeped in inequalities it may be, can aspire to a democratic life. We destroy the tolerance, nay, acceptance that is the hallmark of Indian life. We destroy the hope of sustaining a argumentative society of 1 billion. the recent days, there has been a great deal of focus on the education sector in India. On how to improve primary education, how to make university education more research-oriented, and to sum it all up, on how to make India an educated country. Here is my suggestion to improve primary education - particularly in government schools.

Force every bureaucrat and politician to send his/her child to a different government school such that all government schools have a significant number of politician/bureaucrat kids.

Do this, and every government school will rival DPS. And the quality of education will automatically improve.

(Post script: If you ever see this idea get implemented, remember you heard it first here. :) )

1 comment:

Vikram said...

I had a similar ex(as)perience with my high school community on Orkut... Someone started a thread posting the nick names for our teachers. And then all hell broke loose!! People started posting messages like: sex bomb, steel body, chillare rowdy etc...

I was infuriated and scrapped the moderator... I mean how can a moderated group contain such obscene and vulgar postings against our own teachers??? To my shock, I got a lecture from the moderator on 'Freedom of Speech' and a link in Wiki - notwithstanding that the same link also spoke about obscenity and indecency. I could not help admiring the nerve of the moderator to run such a group!

In spite of my vehement protests for 3-4 days, nothing really happened. In the end I decided to 'respect' the freedom of speech of the insensitive ba*%!@#s, who call their teacher a 'sex bomb', and signed out of the community.

I'm sure Bapu will be turning in his grave, not because someone made a lame joke at him - but because people are misusing the 'freedom' he got them for making such lame jokes. :-(