Archive for the ‘Point of View’ Category

What does a teacher make ?

this was sent to me by Kiran karnik and given the campaign everywhere on teaching and teachers, is worth a read.

A Teacher Answers…

The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life.
One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem with ?education. He argued, “What’s a kid going to learn
from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a?teacher?”

To stress his point he said to another guest; “You’re a teacher, Bonnie. ?Be honest. What do you make?”

Bonnie, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness replied,

“You want to know what I make?”
(She paused for a second, then began…)

“Well, I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.

I make a C+ feel like the Congressional Medal of Honor winner.

I make kids sit through 40 minutes of class time when their
parents can’t make them sit for 5 without an I Pod,
Game Cube or movie rental.

You want to know what I make? (She paused again and looked
at each and every person at the table)

I make kids wonder.

I make them question.

I make them apologize and mean it.

I make them have respect and take responsibility for their actions.

I teach them how to write and then I make them write. Keyboarding isn’t everything.

I make them read, read, read.

I make them show all their work in math. They use their God
given brain, not the man-made calculator.

I make my students from other countries learn everything
they need to know about English while preserving their
unique cultural identity.

I make my classroom a place where all my students feel safe.

I make my students stand, placing their hand over their heart to
say the ‘Pledge of Allegiance’ to the Flag,?One Nation Under
God, because we live in the United States of America .

Finally, I make them understand that if they use the gifts they
were given, work hard, and follow their hearts, they can succeed in life.

( Bonnie paused one last time and then continued.)

Then, when people try to judge me by what I make, with me knowing money isn’t everything, I can hold my head up high and pay no attention because they are ignorant. You want to know what I make?

I MAKE A DIFFERENCE. What do you make Mr. CEO?”

His jaw dropped; he went silent.

Even all your personal teachers like mothers, fathers, brothers,
sisters, coaches and your spiritual leaders/teachers.

A profound answer!!!

We are the stories we tell ourselves. My talk at

I am a very shy man.
I went in and came out of my TED talk a little uncomfortable. I am not a speaker, but if I do, I use the platform to hear words from myself that I have not heard before. I like to surprise myself and see if I can get in to a situation where my mind has opened up out of the sheer panic of being in front of an audience that is judging every word that comes out, an audience that has heard the best speakers and the most brilliant minds speak to them.
What, after all is the point of being there if you do not take the opportunity to bare yourself, not to the audience only, but to yourself. How often do you get a chance to do that ? To allow the truth to come out of you rather than manipulate it through the prejudices and manipulations of your own mind.
So what have I to lose, I ask myself ? Only my pride, and that is not much of a loss in the face of the truth is it ?
So I know I left people a little perplexed at the and of the talk. And later people asked me what I meant I could not really remember the words I had spoken. Why would I when the words were really not mine ? But suddenly I am seeing a huge interest all over the world in my talk, and through others interpretation, I find the meaning to my words. What a wonderful and surprising life this is.
You can see my talk at :
Here is a point of view from Caroline who reviews Ted talks @
“Context – Ted India Hollywood/Bollywood director Shekhar Kapur (“Elizabeth” & “Mr,India”) 2009.

Analysis – There is something about this guy that I find not only fascinating but there is a part of me that feels compelled to watch him. Is he the most phenomenal public speaker in the sense that he follows ?all the rules?? Nope, he follows no public speaking rules, but that is just fine with me because this guy, this guy knows himself. He?s honest with his emotions and deep with his message. I found myself having to go back and listen to sections a few times over to really digest its contents which isn?t the most favourable environment to create when doing a presentation but I?m not going to be terribly harsh with Shekhar…I have fondness for him and thus I excuse some of methods in which he presents, I think you will too. It is fascinating to me that the audience will excuse a lot if they like the presenters character.
Finding moments of what Shekhar calls ?organic truths? in film is the goal…”if you can get 5 moments like that in your film then it is all worthwhile”. Shekhar walks us through how organic moments can be harnessed; through panic, visual storytelling, not measuring…but for me the key to his message comes down to how we talk to ourselves. If you?ve been following this blog at all you know the term ?Pep Talk? and what I would consider to be one of the keys to doing a superb talk (and, I might add is the key to: life, the universe and everything…shout out to the Hitchhiker fans out there)


Happy Republic Day for India the Idea.

Sitting at Narita Airport in Tokyo. Thinking about my country and my people. The people of India. It’s Republic Day today in India.
The people of India ?
Is there another country on this planet with people as diverse as ours ? And while we constantly speak and complain about differences and conflicts, today must be a day to celebrate that diversity. The fact that despite the diversity we have clung to one nation even though everything threatens to tear us apart everyday.
Why ? Because India is more than a country. It is an Idea. An Idea that was born as a reaction to being colonized, to being enslaved by colonial power for centuries. As long as the Idea survives, India survives. They day we let go of that idea, we might as well let go of India.

Lindsay Lohan’s poverty tourism – a therapy ?

This has been sparked by a statement I read by m/s Lohan’s mother, that her trip to India where she saw the plight of the poor Indian children changed her and she is a different person now. Like it was the best therapy ?
Ok, enough of this. Enough of press and media attention gotten from celebrities visiting poverty stricken children in the world. Enough of media attention for celebrities adopting kids from materially deprived places all over the world. I think the attention should be on why, despite being the greatest consumers in the world, despite having every material choice they can imagine….
why does seeing someone else living in poverty make you feel better about yourself ?

Delhi descends into savagery : another personal experience

It may be wrong of me to keep posting these stories, but it is important to know that the carnage against Sikhs in Delhi is not something that can be consigned to History. It is something that happened recently and the both victims and criminals are still alive. It also shows (as in Gujarat and in Mumbai after that) how easily we descend into savagery worse than animals, where a human being ceases to be one. Why ? what happens ? Why would a neighbor kill another ? Is it within us to do this ? Within you or me ? This one is from Aimee :
my uncle was the first sikh who was killed in the riots… he owned a huge business of taxi’s and this is the story i heard from his own family that survived… i must have not been 9… my uncle was dragged out from his house to his taxi stand beaten all the way there… while his young daughter ran after him trying to save him… they hanged him in front of her but did not kill him fully and then burned him alive… imagine seeing your own father die in front of you…. she was left to die at the stand… broken arm leg and god knows what else… I heard of her after 1 yr – she lived and joined the radical Sikh movement… then they ask why and how do we save our children from something like that. ? .. she is dead now.. well that is what i know… no one talks about this in our family… but 1984 case are still going on… so many died in name of caste system… we should not repeat the past and learn to heal those who have been hurt…

Do we have to slow poison our kids ?

No, for once I am not talking about the effects of global warming and the retreating glaciers. I am talking about something that is far far easier to control if we had the will to it.
With diabetes becoming an epidemic in urban India ( India is the diabetic capital of the world) and more and more kids being prone to the disease, surely it time to check the rampant advertising that comes on TV that tries to drive kids to stop eating fresh foods, but those foods that use chemicals to provoke the taste buds in children – fooling the body into believing those foods are good for them. The overheated and chemically created snacks, chocolate bars, breakfast foods, noodles and chips, ice creams that are made of the same chemicals and fats that detergents are made of, etc are slow poison not only because of the chemicals and fats they contain, but also because of they are replacing natural foods.
Commercials on TV are designed by experts that are very good at driving child psychology. Especially as the child’s mind is the most vulnerable of them all. If smoking and alcohol ads are banned, then surely we should look at ads that encourage eating habits that lead to diseases in children ?
I wonder how many parents would allow their kids to eat a packet of chemically laden snacks, if the the packet said in clear bold letters ” This food could lead to chemical imbalances in your child that could lead to diabetes”

Is India the ultimte under achiever ?

With the newspapers full of people celebrating or mourning the election results in Maharashtra, and ridiculous pictures of politicians wives dancing and senior politicians lighting fire crackers, have we forgotten that after the terrorist attacks the people of Mumbai came out to condemn the politics and politicians of the nation ? Have forgotten that there is a huge upheaval in India where the farmers are unable to even provide one square meal to their families after 6 decades of independence ? And they have a choice between suicide and joining the Naxal movement ? And that India is heading towards an ecological disaster ?
Have we become such slaves to the concept of Power, even if it is the most corruptible and self centered form of democracy we know, that we are willing to revel in highs and lows of election results ? We are like people who’s house is on fire, and are sitting at home indulging in the politics of the Fire Brigade.
It would not be so frustrating i the people of India did not have potential. When I travel through India, when I meet the youth of India, when I look at their aspirations, their potential talent, their sheer ability to work hard and commit themselves, when I look at what faith people have, And finally their sheer resilience and fortitude, I am left completely breathless and angry at the same time. For it is this resilience and fortitude that our politicians are getting fat on.
What Potential !! What people !! What capacity !! But for the sheer crass selfishness of the politics of India. Sometimes I wish there was a different system. Sometimes I wish that all this could be overthrown in favor of a better system of governance. Sometimes I feel such sympathy for a revolution in India !

Cynicism, the line behind which the elite escape their guilt

Being a judge in India’s Got Talent was a real emotional experience for me not only because I discovered my roots that I had left behind, but the sheer odds that many of the participants overcame with just passion was incredibly moving.
What caught me by surprise often though was the often derogatory reportage and comments by some of the elitist mainstream press, that saw such display of emotion or passion as a source of amusement or cynicism. Many assumed that it must have been scripted. It was not.
I realize that cynicism is the wall that the elite often protect themselves with against the onslaught of guilt they might feel at the completely dis balanced socio economic conditions that exist in India.
How often, for example, does one hear cynical and dismissive remarks about the ability of the working classes, or their own domestic servant class to rise above their own conditions and take responsible and honest charge of their own lives. Remeber how cynical the English language press was of Mayawati before she took UP by storm. Uh oh !
Proffessor Mohammad Yunus of Grameen Bank proved the opposite – lending only to the poorest of poor, he showed that Grameen Bank has the lowest ‘Bad Debt’ ratio in the history in banking. Corporate and rich borrowers were 50 times more likely to default or cheat on Bank repayments than the poorest section of the population.
The Cynicism must go. For it ignores the reality of groundswell movements that are taking place in rural and poorer parts in India. The Cynical elite has often been caught off guard in revolutions across the world. I am not advocating or predicting a revolution in India. But we are ignoring the existence of movements that are fundamentally changing the nature of the ground beneath our feet.
Time to drop Cynicism and look hard at the desires and aspirations of our people. And celebrate them.

Independence day for whom ?

Happy Independence day everyone ! And while we celebrate, lets give a thought to the idea of ‘equality of Independence’. Independence was the both the end and the beginning. The end of the rule of the foreign Colonial Masters, and the dawn of the responsibilities brought with Freedom. Each Independence day should we not evaluate how responsibly we, the people of India, have treated the idea of Freedom ? How many of the citizens of India and the institutions of India have upheld the fundamental rights and duties to the Nation, to fellow citizens, to our environment,
65 % of our population was born in Free and Independent India. To them that day is only marked by an event in History, lots of rhetoric, lots of celebrations, and of course a holiday. Very very few truly understand the nature of living under an oppressive foreign rule. I know because both my parents and the rest of my family were part of the freedom movement and I grew up on the stories of incidents like JalianWala Bagh where my uncles and Grandfather were present.
But to the people of today surely freedom must mean, the Freedom from Hunger, The Freedom from Ignorance. The Freedom from illiteracy, The Freedom from oppression from one of the most oppressive police regimes in the world, Freedom from Injustice in one of the most extended and chaotic justice systems in the world. For justice delayed is justice denied. Freedom from disease, in a country that has one of the highest rates of infant mortality, HIV cases, Diabetic people and Heart ailments in the world. Freedom from the Caste System – which is probably the most oppressive social systems in the world, consigning huge swathes of our population to a life of fear and economic and social servitude. And Freedom from one of the most corrupt places in the world to live.
Yes, India is shining. Yes India is the only growing economy in the world in the current downturn. Yes, India has a mass technological base, with some of the best scientists, entrepreneurs, doctors, technologists in the world. But these skills serve and live amongst no more than 5% to 10% of India’s population.
For 80% of the population of our country 65 years of freedom and democracy has done nothing other than the chance to vote in a completely imperfect and corruptible voting system. How would we ask them to celebrate the Independence day ?
What are we going to ask the poor farmer in Maharashtra, in Madhya Pradesh, In UP, in Orrisa, in West Bengal or Bihar to celebrate ? What about ? Ridden by debt, unsure of his survival, unable to feed his family leave aside educating them, this is the only life the farmer has seen in the last 65 years. Nothing changed for his Grandfather or his father, nor does he see any change or hope for his son since the British left. Other than that those that have used freedom to their own ends have gradually eroded his environment and sucked out water from his land and made it even tougher for him to survive.
I am sorry. But ‘we the 10 % ‘ that have walked away with all the advantages of Freedom usurping power for our own benefit and often at the cost of the rest of the people of India, need to pause on this day and ask :
” Are we following the true spirit of our Constitution and the idea of Freedom that Nehru spoke so fervently about in his midnight speech, that Mahatma Gandhi along with hundreds of thousands of people that gave everything including their lives and those of their loved ones for a great idea, a great dream ?
Or have we corrupted those ideals for our own benefit and good, thereby making mockery of their sacrifices ?”
Today, the 15 of August 2009, we should all pause for thought, and then take the next step foward in our lives.

Money cannot be eaten

“Only after the last tree has been cut down.
Only after the last river has been poisoned.
Only after the last fish has been caught.
Only then will you find that
money cannot be eaten”.
Prophecy of the Cree Native American Tribe
Thank you, ratna