16 June 2011

Students of the World UNITE..!! You have nothing to Lose, but Your BRAINS..!!

Yesterday, I was watching ‘3 Idiots’ for the fourth time and yet again, Aamir Khan’s celebrated slogan “Kaamiyaab nahi.. Kaabil bano..” kept reminding me of those people, who had convinced me to take up science, even though I had always been interested in Humanities..!! Thank god, I never listened to these people and came to humanities. I am very happy about the path I have chosen and my journey so far on that. Well, it is not about how I defied people’s wishes and acted over-smart. But, it is certainly about the pressures kids have to face during their student’s life.
If we look around us, we come across a number of people, who are not pursuing something that interests them, instead have gone far in a field where they do not belong. In our society, there are plenty of; engineers who loved literature, doctors who wanted to do business, teachers who wanted to become actors and Chartered Accountants who dreamed of becoming politicians. This is extremely complicated and not so easy to understand.
The reasons for this situation can be classified under two headings; viz. academic pressures and societal pressures. Academic pressures are the most important and can be understood easily. In today’s newspaper, we read about the sky-high cut-offs of the Delhi University colleges. Only the students who get 95% and above, are eligible for admissions to certain courses, otherwise they have to get admitted to whichever course available. This refers to the new-age ‘Varna’ system practiced in the field of education. The ‘hierarchy of courses’ decides who gets what, and not the interests of the students..!!
Societal pressures are also equally significant. Parents, relatives, neighbors, family friends; all have their share of role in the decision-making process in academic life. People have their experiences to share, which generally tend to confuse and misguide poor kids. Moreover, while guiding someone, people think in terms of ‘scope’, future prospects, placements and packages. Seldom is student’s liking taken into consideration. These societal pressures affect the student’s decision-making terribly, so much so that, even the students don’t understand what exactly they wish to pursue.
Both the academic and societal pressures are inter-related and work in a manner of a vicious circle. As people think that some courses have more ‘scope’, those courses are preferred to others and are over-crowded. And then in return, these over-crowded courses are thought to be having great future prospects and are emphasized upon. It also reminds us about the conventional ‘demand- supply curves’ in economics. However, education is not only about economics or business. It is about cultivating interests and then specializing in the subjects you like. People are expected to contribute to the economy, society and polity from their education. But, how do we expect people to contribute if they are not doing something they really like? How come, people do not understand the simple fact that creativity and productivity is the highest when you like and enjoy what you are into??
Both, academic and societal pressures have to be addressed together, as they are inter-linked. Neither is this an overnight task, nor can it be achieved by any one person. The whole society has to rally behind the cause. Major role has to be played by the parents and the teachers who have to guide kids in the proper direction. Students should also realize their interests and goals and be firm on them. Moreover, getting a handsome job and earning good money should not be the only motive behind education. As said earlier, education is much more than that; it is about igniting oneself, listening to our own conscience and contributing to the growth of our nation through the knowledge and wisdom we have acquired from our education.

8 June 2011

भ्रष्टाचारविरोधी आंदोलन: असाध्य ते साध्य करिता..!!!

लहानपणीपासून आपल्याला शाळेत नागरिक शास्त्र शिकवले जाते.. (आपल्या पैकी किती जण ते गांभीर्याने शिकतो कुणास ठाऊक..! पण विषय मात्र असतो..!!) त्यात शिकवली जाणारी 'राज्य' ह्या संकल्पनेची व्याख्या अतिशय बोलकी आहे. Max Weber च्या म्हणण्याप्रमाणे  ‘State is the human community that claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of force within its given territory’म्हणजेचराज्य ही एकमेव मानवी संघटना अशी आहेजिला (आपल्या सीमेअंतर्गत) अधिकृत 'हिंसा' करण्याची मुभा आहे. अर्थात, हा अधिकृत हिंसेचा अधिकार राज्याला त्यातील माणसेच बहाल करतात, जेणेकरून राज्य आपल्या नागरिकांना संरक्षण बहाल करते.. पण परवाच्या दिवशी रामलीला मैदानावर जो भयानक प्रकार घडला.. त्याने 'राज्य' ह्या संकल्पनेविषयीचे सर्व प्रस्थापित निकष साफ उधळून लावले.. "कुंपणानेच शेत खावे!" असाच हा प्रकार.. भ्रष्टाचारविरोधी आंदोलन करणाऱ्या निःशस्त्र जमावावर पोलिसांनी केलेला लाठीमार, अश्रुधुराचा मारा आणि दगडफेक, ह्याची निंदा करावी तेवढी थोडी आहे.. अशा सरकारला, शांतताप्रिय आणि सहिष्णू अशा भारतीय जनतेवर राज्य करण्याचा मुळीच अधिकार नाही..!!

सध्या भारतीय राष्ट्र सामाजिक-राजकीय प्रगतीच्या एका विशिष्ट  टप्प्यातून जात आहे.. त्यामध्ये नागरी संघटनांचे सक्रीय प्रयत्न, त्यांना मिळणारी प्रसारमाध्यमांची साथ आणि तथाकथित "इंटरनेट क्रांती" ह्या सर्वांचा महत्त्वपूर्ण वाटा आहे.. तसेच भारतीय जनतेच्या मनातील सामाजिक परिवर्तनासाठी  वाढत चाललेली "राजकीय इच्छा" देखील तेवढीच जबाबदार आहे. यातूनच भारताची 'राजकीय संस्कृती' विकसित होत आहे..

ह्या सर्व घटकांचा सार्वत्रिक प्रभाव सध्या चाललेल्या "भ्रष्टाचार-विरोधी" आंदोलनात दिसत आहे. सुरुवातीला; लहान-मोठ्या सामाजिक संस्था, मानवाधिकार चळवळी व त्यांचे नेते, धर्मगुरू आणि सामान्य जनता; अशा रीतीने वेगवेगळ्या पातळ्यांवर ही चळवळ उदयाला आली.. त्यानंतर एप्रिल महिन्यात श्री. अण्णा हजारे यांनी केलेल्या आमरण उपोषणामुळे ती भारतभर पसरली. संपूर्ण राष्ट्र ढवळून निघाले.. जनता जागी झाली.. आणि जनतेच्या प्रचंड आंदोलनापुढे सरकारला माथे टेकवावे लागले. सरकारच्या पुढाकाराने "लोकपाल विधेयक" बनवण्यासाठी नागरी संघटना आणि सरकारच्या प्रतिनिधींचे शिष्टमंडळ नेमले गेले.. परंतु, सरकारचा आडमुठेपणा ह्या समितीच्या कार्यवाहीविषयीचे रिपोर्ट वाचून सहज लक्षात येतो. शिवाय योगी श्री. रामदेव बाबा व त्यांच्या सहकार्यांवर सरकारने केलेला बेछूट लाठीमार सरकारी हेकेखोरपणाची पुन्हा साक्ष देतो.. अर्थात, आजमितीला, संपूर्ण राष्ट्र ह्या चळवळीच्या मागे उभे राहिले आहे.. आणि ही जनशक्ती "लोकपाल विधेयक" पारित करून घेतल्याशिवाय राहणार नाही.. ह्यात शंका नाही..

परंतु, ह्या आंदोलनाचा सुरुवातीचा उत्साह मावळून चालणार नाही.. लोकपाल संस्थेची निर्मिती करणे, हेच एकमेव ध्येय ठेवणे पुरेसे नाही.. भ्रष्टाचार निर्मूलनाच्या मार्गावरील ती केवळ एक सुरुवात असेल.. लोकपाल ही संस्था नीटपणे कार्य करते की नाही, हे पाहणेही आपलेच कर्तव्य आहे.. शिवाय, भ्रष्टाचाराविरोधातील लढाई प्रत्येकाला आपापल्या घरापासून लढावी लागेल.. नाहीतर, "लोका सांगे ब्रह्मज्ञान.. आणि आपण  मात्र कोरडे पाषाण!!" अशी गत होऊन जाईल.. ह्या भ्रष्ट संरचनेचा आपणही एक भाग आहोत.. समाज आपल्यापासूनच  बनतो.. आणि तो सुधारण्याची सुरुवातही प्रत्येकाने आपल्यापासूनच करायला हवी..!!!

गांधीजींनी सांगितल्याप्रमाणे "नैतिक अराजकता" हीच खऱ्या अर्थाने "सुव्यवस्था" स्थापित करू शकते.. म्हणूनच प्रत्येकाने "जबाबदारीने" वागायला हवे; आपल्या राष्ट्राप्रति, आपल्या समाजाप्रति, आपल्या राजकीय व्यवस्थेप्रति.. आणि सर्वात महत्त्वाचे म्हणजे.. स्वतःप्रति..!!!

7 June 2011

Crusade against Corruption: Together We Can..!!!

According to the celebrated definition of the State by Max Weber, ‘State is the human community that claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of force within its given territory’. This monopoly over the legitimate use of force is granted to state by its own people for ensuring them security. However, whatever we experienced two days back at Ramleela Maidaan, was in fact, contradictory to this understanding about the state. The state, which is created to provide security to its people, indulged in unprecedented violence; lathi- charge, bursting of tear-gas and stone-throwing; against its own people, who were agitating against widespread corruption and black money. Such state has no right to rule the people of world’s one of the most peace-loving civilizations!!!
Our nation is going through a very important phase in the process of socio-political development. Vibrant Civil- Society Activism supported by all kinds of mass-media is the crucial feature of this phase. This phase is also accompanied by the trans-national phenomenon of Internet Revolution. Nor can we sideline the strengthening of India’s Political Culture that has led to the emergence of political will for the betterment of the society.
The combined impact of these factors became evident through the massive ‘Anti- Corruption Movement’ that has stirred the country. The movement was started at various levels by different groups of people; including civil society organizations, human rights activists, religious and spiritual leaders and institutions, pressure groups and not to mention, the ordinary citizens. All these organizations, leaders and the ordinary people were united in the unparallel hunger strike led by Anna Hazare, at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi in the month of April.
Government attended to the nation’s call and in the utmost fear of regime-change agreed to set-up the committee along with the leaders of civil society to form ‘Lokpal Bill’. The proceedings of the committee are not made public. However, according to the media briefings, they do not seem to be going in the smooth way. The government side of the committee does not want; the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice and behavior of the Members of the Parliament within Parliament premises; to come under the purview of the Lokpal, which seems to be very arbitrary. Generally, looking at government responses to the situation; be it the arbitrary conditioning, and not to mention, its crackdown on the agitators led by Yoga-guru Baba Ramdev; it looks like that the government is unwilling to materialize the Lokpal Bill in the form that people desire. But, the movement is so widespread that it is simply impossible for any regime to silence people’s voice. The regime which is doing that, is certainly putting nails in its own coffin! Thus, one cannot doubt the adoption of the ‘Lokpal Bill’ in the near future.
Nevertheless, the story does not end here; in fact, it very much starts here! The initial activism and enthusiasm among the people about curbing corruption ought to be channelized in the proper manner. The implementation of the Lokpal Bill should also be properly checked by the same people.
Moreover, charity begins at home, so also fight against corruption! Ingenuity, illegality, greed and decline of moral values are prevalent in the society, affecting all socio- economic and political aspects of life. None of the agitators have the moral right to say that it’s only the politicians who are corrupt, as corruption is very much widespread from top-most person to the bottom-most person in the system. We are all part of this corrupt system and nobody should dare to exclude him (or her) from it.
According to Gandhiji, ‘Moral Anarchy’ was the most efficient way to establish ‘Order’. Thus, we all have to be ‘Accountable’; to the nation, to the society, to the system, and most importantly, to our own conscience!!!