Let us Start
A letter from Gen. Surjit about his recent visit to Gangtok.
The first command is like the first love : you can never forget it. In my case, it was an EME Battalion located in Sikkim. The current CO, Col Puneet Kapoor was kind enough to invite us and spent a few days there last month. Whilst nearly everything about Gangtok is exhilarating, what I struck me the most was the efficiency of their police. There was not a single pot bellied cop, and I was told that it is well nigh impossible to bribe them. As a consequence, their public places are pristine clean. The main market is named after the Father of the Nation, and it is as good as anything which I have seen in any country in the world. Here are some of its features:
- No vehicle is allowed inside the market during the business hours.
- Smoking and spitting is strictly prohibited.
- If you throw litter, you do so at enormous risk.
- If anyone commits an offence, cops appear at once, and a fine is imposed on the spot. If you try to bribe him, he takes you to the police station and a case is registered.
- The approach road to the market has footpaths which are protected by railings. The pedestrians are completely safe.
- Foot bridges are provided for the pedestrians to cross over to the other side.
- Benches are placed for those who need a little rest.
Sub Dogra, who accompanied us to the market told me, “Yahan horn nahin bajaa sakte. Turant police aa jaayegi, aur jurmaana ho jayega” He also told me that they have “bandhs” very frequently, to register protest for various things. And he said,
“Sa’ab, poora market band ho jaata hai. Kewal chemists aur liquor shops khuli rahti hain”
When I tried to find the reason for that, I was told that the Sikkimese believe that “dawaa” and “daroo” are essential commodities, which should not be denied to the citizens, even when the market is closed. Or as my friend Inoo (Air Mshl Satish Inamdar) says,
“Drinking is not an offence. Getting drunk is!”
Now, here are a few pictures of the MG Market.
You see a foot bridge to cross over. In the distance you see railings to protect pedestrians
Can you spot a cigarette butt or the sign of ‘paan’ spit? Any plastic bag or litter?
We also have boards like this here. But in Sikkim, they mean what they say!
The laws in Sikkim are the same. As far as I know, the ‘lokpal’ bill has not been enacted there in any form. Why can’t we achieve it in the rest of the country?
(contributed by: Mohan Rao on 16.09.2011)
(contributed by: Mohan Rao on 15.09.2011)(contributed by: Mohan Rao on 15.09.2011)
1951 – Ghar Aya Mera Perdesi, Awara 1951 – Ek Bewafa Sey Pyar Kiya, Awara
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 India Gate is the national monument of India. Situated in the heart of New Delhi, India Gate was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens. It was built in 1931. Originally known as All India War Memorial, it is a prominent landmark in Delhi and commemorates the 90,000 soldiers of the British Indian Army who lost their lives while fighting for the British Indian Empire, or more correctly the British Raj in World War I and the Third Anglo-Afghan War. It is composed of red sand stone and granite.
Originally, a Statue of King George V had stood under the now-vacant canopy in front of the India Gate, and was removed to Coronation Park with other statues. Following India’s independence, India Gate became the site of the Indian Army’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, known as Amar Jawan Jyoti (The flame of the immortal soldier).
Amar Jawan Jyoti
Cars passing through India Gate 1930’s
The Shrine of the Amar Jawan Jyoti.
Burning in a shrine under the arch of India Gate since 1971 is the Amar Jawan Jyoti (the flame of the immortal soldier) which marks the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The shrine itself is a black marble cenotaph with a rifle placed on its barrel, crested by a soldier’s helmet. Each face of the cenotaph has inscribed in gold the words “Amar Jawan” (Immortal Warrior).
This cenotaph is itself placed on an edifice which has on its four corners four torches that are perpetually kept alive. It was unveiled in 1971. After the Indo-Pak war of 1971, The then Prime Minister of India Mrs. Indira Gandhi paid homage on behalf of the whole nation on the eve of 23rd republic day (26 January 1972).
Today, it is customary for the President and the Prime Minister, as well as visiting Guests of State, to pay homage at the site on occasions of State ceremonies.
And specially on each Republic Day, 26 January, the Prime Minister pays homage to the soldiers along with Heads of Armed Forces, before joining the annual parade at the Rajpath. It is noteworthy here that the President of India with the chief guest do not get involved in this ceremony on this day.
The flags represent the 3 Indian military forces (Army, Navy, and Air Force), and a soldier from each force guards the gate and tomb for 24 hours, alternating forces every day.
India Gate after sunset with all lights on
India Gate as a popular nighttime scene
Engravings on India Gate
From another angle
(source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/India_Gate)The India Gate is the national monument of India. Situated in the heart of New Delhi, India Gate was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens. It was built in 1931. Originally known as All India War Memorial, it is a prominent landmark in Delhi and commemorates the 90,000 soldiers of the British Indian Army who lost ...