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NEW DELHI — For more than half a century, one aptitude test has determined the self-esteem, future and even the spouses of generations of Indian adolescents, chiefly boys. The Joint Entrance Exam of the Indian Institutes of Technology is a brooding cultural force that is visible across the nation, on signboards and newspaper advertisements, as “I.I.T.-J.E.E.,” the first abbreviation many Indian children learn. It is an ominous inevitability for millions of boys, a fate decided in their cradles, a certainty like death. Last year nearly half a million candidates took the test — one of the toughest exams in the world — to compete for about 5,000 seats in the best of the I.I.T.’s and nearly as many seats in the less sought-after institutes. Coaching for the J.E.E. is an industry valued at billions of rupees. There is so much demand that some coaching classes have their own entrance exams. But the J.E.E. is now on its way out.
It is not the only engineering entrance exam in India. Lower down the rungs, there are other colleges, which require other exams to qualify. Competition is fierce all the way. Disturbed by the number of entrance exams, the Human Resource Development Ministry has decided to devise a common exam that would govern the admission process of several engineering institutes, including the famed I.I.T.’s. The nature of the new aptitude test, which is expected to debut in 2014, would be different from the J.E.E. The selection procedure, too, would be very different from what the I.I.T.’s use today. So, the type of person who enters the I.I.T.’s in the future may be very different. Opinion is divided on whether the new I.I.T. graduate will be better or worse than current alumni.
The I.I.T.’s are nothing without the national perception of the “IITian.” And the perception is that he is primarily a he. And that he must be very smart. As some Indians point out with a hint of pride, in Scott Adams’s “Dilbert” comic strip, the brilliant Asok, who died on a Moon mission and reincarnated as part man and part Snickers bar, is from I.I.T. The fame of the institutes is an enduring relic from the years when socialism impoverished India and securing an elite engineering degree became the most elegant way for smart Indians to escape to America.
The I.I.T.’s were never great centers of learning by world standards.
Rather, they were museums that collected young Indians with excellent quantitative abilities. In the 1980s and ’90s, the migration of Indian scientific talent to the United States, deplored here as a “brain drain,” became a subject of intense debates in schools and colleges. Once, during the convocation ceremony at I.I.T.-Madras, the chief speaker received a standing ovation when he declared, “Brain drain is better than brain in the drain.” His words traveled with the speed of a rumor across Madras, also known as Chennai, through homes and schools, evoking laughter and applause, and delivering a bleak reminder to young boys that their lives depended on passing the J.E.E.
In Madras in the ’80s, many smart girls were not allowed by their families to take the J.E.E. for fear that it would then be hard to get them married. One girl I knew who cleared the exam was not allowed by her parents to attend the institute, probably for the same reason. But the boys who made it to the I.I.T.’s became the heroes of their neighborhoods. Other boys hated them, and pretty girls wanted to marry them. The adulation would follow them until the end of their time.
The glamour of the I.I.T.’s has always inspired parents to force their children to take the J.E.E. Increasingly, those parents are from modest educational and financial backgrounds. A few years ago, in Mumbai, I walked into a J.E.E. coaching class that conducted its own entrance exam to filter out 9 out of 10 applicants. An orientation program for parents was under way. A man who could not read English was sitting with brochures and study materials. He was disturbed that I was carrying a red book while he had not been given any such book. I told him that the book I was holding was a novel called “Love in the Time of Cholera.”
“Is it a guide?” he asked.
For a long time, the IITians were from urban, literate middle-class families, and it was inevitable that their success would inspire small-town Indians to prepare for the mother of all entrance exams.
Coaching colleges essentially dispensed with formal schooling and focused on the J.E.E. alone. As they became increasingly successful, it became evident that the J.E.E. was no longer an aptitude test but a giant goal that could be achieved through years of brute hard work and coaching.
I.I.T. professors and alumni have been mourning the falling quality of the students. Last October, Narayana Murthy, the co-founder of Infosys and an I.I.T. alumnus, told an audience in New York that the new IITians were substandard. “They somehow get through the Joint Entrance Examination. But their performance in I.I.T.’s, at jobs or when they come for higher education in institutes in the U.S. is not as good as it used to be.”
It is improbable that the I.I.T.’s will ever regain their old glory. The circumstances of the nation have changed, and the smartest Indians do not need an engineering degree to find a place in the world or to make a decent living. Also, the government has not invested enough in the I.I.T.’s, and the most talented scientific minds have the option to enroll in genuinely outstanding centers of learning in the West instead of being stuck in a place that has derived its prestige largely from the fact that only one in 50 cracks its entrance exam.
Manu Joseph is editor of the Indian newsweekly Open and author of the novel “Serious Men.”
The sad news of the death of Steve Jobs has brought pancreatic cancer into the headlines.
The Apple co-founder underwent surgery in 2004 for an islet cell neuroendocrine tumour, a rare and less aggressive type of pancreatic cancer. This – and excellent medical care – is probably why he lived so long with the disease.
Each year, more than 7,500 people in the UK are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and around 6,500 die of it. Of the most common cancers, it has the worst survival rate.
Just three per cent of patients live for five years or more after being diagnosed with the disease, a figure which has remained static over the last 40 years.
UK pancreatic cancer survival figures also lag behind other European countries, as well as the US, Canada and Australia, according to a recent report by charity Pancreatic Cancer UK.
In countries such as Canada and Australia, reported survival rates are double those of the UK.
Part of the reason is that the disease is notoriously difficult to diagnose in the early stages. Some of the most common early symptoms – stomach pain, nausea, jaundice, weight loss, fever – can be caused by several other conditions.
However, the Study for Survival report, based on the experiences of nearly 1,000 patients, found that more than 50 per cent of pancreatic cancer patients experience symptoms up to a year before being diagnosed, with nearly a third of all patients making five or more visits to the doctor.
By the time they are diagnosed, the disease is often in its advanced stages, which can limit treatment options.
Pancreatic cancer is more common in older people. Eight out of ten people who develop the disease are aged over 60.
Smoking increases your risk of a number of lethal diseases, including pancreatic cancer. Up to one in five pancreatic cancers may be linked to smoking cigarettes, cigars or chewing tobacco.
People with the blood groups A, A/B or B are more likely to develop the disease than people with blood group O.
Diabetes may be linked to an increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Chronic pancreatitis has been shown to raise the risk of developing the disease.
Around one in ten cases of pancreatic cancer are thought to be caused by inherited genes which predispose them to developing the disease.
People who are already at risk of a number of familial cancer syndromes linked to faulty genes are at a greater risk of pancreatic cancer. These include breast cancer associated with the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, familial atypical mole melanoma, hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer, familial adenomatous polyposis, and Peutz-Jeghers syndrome.
A healthy lifestyle can help to reduce your risk of cancer, including pancreatic cancer. Limit saturated fat and sugar, eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day, try to maintain a healthy weight and keep physically active. There is some evidence to suggest that lycopene (found in tomatoes) and vitamin C may help protect against pancreatic cancer.
(source:http://uk.health.lifestyle.yahoo.net/Steve-Jobs-dies-from-pancreatic-cancer.htm)The sad news of the death of Steve Jobs has brought pancreatic cancer into the headlines. The Apple co-founder underwent surgery in 2004 for an islet cell neuroendocrine tumour, a rare and less aggressive type of pancreatic cancer. This – and excellent medical care – is probably why he lived so long with the disease. Each year, ...
The effects of Alcohol are dependent on a person’s star sign. A reference note is provided below for the believers….
BASED ON YOUR SUNSIGNS YOUR EXPECTED BEHAVIOUR AFTER YOU GET DRUNK !!
ARIES : Drinking style Impulsive Aries people like to party and sometimes don’t know when to call it a night. Their competitive streak makes them prone to closing-time shot contests. They’re sloppy, fun drunks, and they get mighty flirty after a couple tipples. Getting Aries people drunk I sa good way to get what you want out of them, should other methods fail. Aries can become bellicose when blotto, but they will assume that whatever happened should be forgiven (if not forgotten) by sunrise. They can be counted on to do the same for you — so long as you haven’t gone and done anything really horrible to them last night, you sneaky Gemini.
TAURUS Drinking style Taurus prefers to drink at a leisurely pace, aiming for a mellow glow rather than a full-on zonk. Since a truly intoxicated Taurus is a one-person stampede, the kind of bull-in-a-china-shop inebriate who spills red wine on white carpets and tells fart jokes to employers, the preference for wining and dining (or Bud and buddies) to body shots and barfing is quite fortunate for the rest of us. This is not to say thatthe Bull is by any means a teetotaler — god, no. A squiffy Taurus will get, er, gregarious (full of loud mouth soup, some would say) and is extremely amusing to drag to a karaoke bar when intoxicated.
GEMINI Drinking style Gemini’s can drink without changing their behavior much– they’re so naturally chatty and short-attention-spanned that it’s just hard to tell sometimes. They can amaze you by conversing with finesse and allusion, then doing something to belie an extremely advanced state of intoxication, like puking in your shoe. Gemini’s possess the magic ability to flirt successfully (and uninfuriatingly, which is very tricky) with several people at once. They like to order different cocktails every round — repetition is boring — and may create a theme (like yellow drinks: beer, sauvignon blanc and limoncello) for their own amusement.
CANCER Drinking style Cancer is a comfort drinker — and an extra wine with dinner or an after-work beer or six can be extra comforting, can’t it, Cancer darling? Like fellow water signs Scorpio and Pisces, Crabs must guard against lushery. Cancers are brilliant at ferreting out secret parties and insinuating themselves on VIP lists — and, in true Hollywood style, Cancers are never really drunk; instead, they get “tired and emotional” (read: weepy when lubricated). But there’s nothing better than swapping stories (and spit) over a few bottles of inky red wine with your favorite Cancer. Even your second-favorite Cancer will do. The sign also rules the flavor vanilla, and you’d be adored if you served up a vanilla vodka and soda.
LEO Drinking style Leo likes to drink and dance — they’re often fabulous dancers, and usually pretty good drinkers as well, losing their commanding dignity and turning kittenish. Of course, they’re quite aware they’re darling -Leos will be Leos, after all. They generally know their limit, probably because they loathe losing self-control. When they get over-refreshed, expect flirting to ensue — and perhaps not with the one what rung them. But Leo’s not the type to break rules even when drunk, so just try to ignore it (try harder, Cancer) and expects a sheepish (and hung over) Lion to make it up to you the next day.
VIRGO Drinking style Cerebral Virgos are compelled to impose order onto their bender. Their famously fussy quest for purity could lead to drinking less than other signs, sure –but it could also lead to drinking booze neat, to sucking down organic wine or just to brand loyalty. They rarely get fully shellacked — but, oh, when they do! Virgo’s controlled by the intellect, but there’s an unbridled beast lurking within, and they let it loose when walloped. It’s dead sexy (and surprisingly unsloppy). As one Virgo friend used to declare, “I’m going to drink myself into a low-level of intelligence tonight.” A toast to the sub genius IQ!
LIBRA Drinking style “I’m jusht a social drinker,” slurs Libra, “it’s jusht that I’m so damn social?” Libra loves nothing more than to party, mingle and relate to everyone. Whether dipped in favor of Good Libra (with Insta-Frienddevice set to “on”) or heavier on the Evil Libra side (they are little instigators when bored), the Scales can really work a room. Charming as they are, Libras are notoriously lacking in self-control, however, which can get them into all sorts of trouble –including wearing their wobbly boots waaaay too early in the evening, flirting with every man/woman in the roomor even blacking out the night’s events entirely. Oops!
SCORPIO Drinking style Don’t ever tell Scorpios they’ve had enough, for they’ll smirk at you and quietly but intentionally keep tippling till they’re hog-whimpering drunk, out of 100-proof spite. Scorpios like to drink, and screw you if you have a problem with that. Most of them seethe sauce as something to savor in itself, and not asa personality-altering tool — though if depressed, self-loathing Scorps seek total obliteration. But generally, they’re fascinating drinking pals, brilliant conversationalists and dizzying flirts. They also remember everything — especially what you did when you were blitzed. Only drink with a Scorpio who likes you.
SAGITTARIUS Drinking style In vino veritas — and, for Sagittarius, in booze blurtiness: When buttered, they’ll spill all your secrets and many of their own. Tactlessness aside, Sagittarius is just plain fun to drink with. This is a sign of serious partying (what else would you expect from the sign of Sinatra, Keith Richards, the Bush twins and Anna Nicole Smith?). They’re the people who chat up everyone in the room, then persuade the entire crowd to travel somewhere else — like a nightclub, or a playground, or Cancun. Good-natured hijinks are sure to ensue (including a high possibility of loopy groping; spontaneous Sag is a brilliant booty call).
CAPRICORN Drinking style Capricorn is usually described as practical, steadfast, money-hungry and status-thirsty — no wonder they get left off the astrological cocktail-party list. But this is the sign of David Bowie and Annie Lennox, not to mention Elvis. Capricorn is the true rock star: independent, powerful and seriously charismatic, not too eager to please. And if they make money being themselves, who’re you to quibble? But just like most rock stars, they’re either totally on or totally off, and they generally need a little social lubricant to loosen up and enjoy the after party, especially if they can hookup with a cute groupie.
AQUARIUS Drinking style Aquarius and drinking don’t go together that well(except for water, that is). They have an innate tendency toward know-it-allism, and if they get an idea while sizzled, they’re more stubborn than a stain or a stone. If they’re throwing a party or organizing an outing, however, they’re too preoccupied with their duties to get combative — and they make perfectly charming drunks in that case. Fortunately, they’re usually capital drink-nursers. They also make the best designated drivers (if you can get them before they start raising their wrist):Aquarius is fascinated by drunk people and capable of holding interesting conversations with soused strangers while sober.
PISCES Drinking style If you’re a Pisces, you’ve probably already heard that you share a sign and an addictive personality –with Liz Taylor, Lisa Minnelli and Kurt Cobain. Not only do Pisces like to lose themselves in the dreamy, out-there feeling that only hooch can give, but they build up a mighty tolerance fast. Who needs an expensive date like that? On the other hand, they’re fabulously enchanting partners, whether in conversation or in crime. With the right Pisces, you can start out sharing a pitcher of margaritas and windup in bed together for days. The phrase “addictive personality” can be read two ways, you know. …
(contributed by:Mohan Rao on 18.11.2011)The effects of Alcohol are dependent on a person’s star sign. A reference note is provided below for the believers…. BASED ON YOUR SUNSIGNS YOUR EXPECTED BEHAVIOUR AFTER YOU GET DRUNK !! ARIES : Drinking style Impulsive Aries people like to party and sometimes don’t know when to call it a night. Their competitive streak makes them prone to closing-time ...
Radha ki bhakti,
Murli ki mithas,
Makhan ka swaad
Gopiya ka raas
inhi sabse milke banta hai Janamasthami ka ye din khas.
(contributed by user : pooja on 22.08.2011)Radha ki bhakti, Murli ki mithas, Makhan ka swaad aur Gopiya ka raas inhi sabse milke banta hai Janamasthami ka ye din khas. (contributed by user : pooja on 22.08.2011)