Open your balance sheet.
Ha ha ha !
What is 2+2?
Judge: It should be 4.
Politician: I will make it 4.
Raju: You tell me what you want it to be.
Child to mother: Mama, there is an error in this dictionary.
Mama: Can't be, it is a 100 year old dictionary which has been revised more than 20 times.
Child: No, mama, I am sure it is a mistake.
Mama: Ok, tell me what is it.
Child: It says here, Satyam means truth.
After Raju lost his job at Satyam, the Chefs association of India offered him a job at a fabulous salary.
They were convinced of his culinary abilities after seeing the way he had cooked the Satyam books!
Santa to Banta indignantly: I didn't know that even our government is into promoting corruption.
Banta (with a yawn): Say something new.
Santa: No, this is the absolute pits.
Banta (resignedly): Ok bum, tell me.
Santa (showing a rupee coin): Do you see what is written on this?
Banata: What is written on it?
Santa: Read it for yourself.
Banta: I am too tired. You tell me.
Santa: It says here, Satyameva jayate.
Banta was all attention now.
Why are Salman Rushdie, Abhimanyu Chatterjee, Shobha De and Arundhati Roy in such an awful mood after Satyam?
Because their books have been overtaken in the best-selling ficition category by Satyam Accounts.
Papa was examining beta's math's homework.
Papa: Beta, you have committed a mistake here.
Papa: Here. You have written, 1+1 = 11. It should be 2.
Beta: No papa, that was old Maths. After Satyam the rules of arithmetic have changed. Now 1+1 makes 11.
More Satyam jokes in my जयहिंदी blog.
30 April 2009
The war in Sri Lanka is reaching its climax. LTTE appears to be in its last throes.
The Sri Lankan offensive is having a fallout in Tamil Nadu too, this being election time.
All the political parties there are trying to make mileage out of the war. Recently Karunanidhi termed Prabhakaran a non-terrorist. Then he went on a fast unto death (which lasted three hours, and from which he emerged quite hale and hearty) to stop the Sri Lankan war.
What should be a sane and rational attitude to this war in an average Indian?
While my full sympathies are with the Tamils being used as human shields by the LTTE, I am all for wiping out the LTTE once and for all.
Only after the LTTE is eliminated can international pressure be brought upon Sri Lanka to bring about an inclusive and democratic society there that respects the rights of the Tamils.
Eliminating LTTE has vital importance for the security of India. Close nexus exists between the LTTE, the Maoists and the ISI and perhaps the AlQuaida too. They all help each other in laundering drug money and in smuggling deadly weapons.
With the LTTE gone a crucial link in this chain will be broken and our security forces will have a better chance to defeat ISI and the Maoists violence.
We need to think beyond the LTTE, its defeat is imminent.
The real issue is what after the LTTE? If the Sinhala population in their moment of victory over their arch enemy, revert to repressing the Tamils again, which was the reason why LTTE and many other militaristic organization came up in Sri Lanka in the first place, it will all be back to square one.
At no cost should this be allowed to happen. Indian as well as international pressure should be brought upon Sri Lanka to make it forge a more inclusive society there, where Tamils have equal rights.
If we short-sightedly support the LTTE now, as the Tamil parties are doing, we will loose our influence over Sri Lanka and make way for other powers like China and the US to fish in the Sri Lankan troubled waters.
So the Tamil parties need to come out of their narrow political interests and start thinking strategically.
It is curious and highly distressing that the non-Tamil parties are silent on this vital strategic issue. I would have liked to know what the prime-ministerial hopeful like Mayawati, Lalit Paswan, Lalu Prasad Yadav, and Mulayam Singh think about the Tamil issue in Sri Lanka, and how they will be tackling it if they come to power.
The Tamil politicians have axes to grind of their own, so their views carry little weight, as they can be seen to biased in this matter.
The non-Tamil politicians have the luxury of taking a non-biased approach to this problem and they can therefore contribute heavily to the resolution of the problem.
Lalu particularly can play a crucial role, because the Sinhala population in Sri Lanka are originally from his own homeland. They migrated to the island at the time of Asoka when the island nation embraced Buddhism.
So the million dollar question is will Lalu magic work in Sri Lanka!
27 April 2009
That is the conclusion that Helium.com, a popular content distribution site, has arrived at.
Earlier, Indians constituted a sizeable portion of Helium publishers and they were contributing a large number of articles to their database. But the quality of English in these articles was atrocious, so much so that Indian articles were found to be bringing down the overall quality of the articles in the Helium database. Finally, Helium had to crack the whip and ban new Indian publishers from its site.
Here is a thread in another similar site that discusses this contentious issue:
Helium.com has banned India
The banning of Indian writers from Helium raises many interesting questions.
So far India has been vociferously touted as a vast English-speaking country rivaling even the US and the UK. The main exponents of this theory have been our software barons, be they Nandan Nilakani of Infosys or Ramadurai of TCS, and also our English newspapers, who are battling falling circulation as they face stiff competition from Hindi newspapers which are witnessing a surge in their readership, thanks to rising literacy rates in the Hindi belt. The hollowness of the claims of these champions of English has been exposed by this Helium episode.
The truth is, only 2% Indians know a smattering of English. Of these an even smaller percent knows how to write English properly. But since India is a populous country even this fractional percentage adds up to lakhs of people, if not millions. But given the size of our population, even these millions are like drops in the ocean.
I think we must now get over our fetish about English and recongnize that English is not one of our languages and we cannot excel in it without super human efforts. The question is should we be making this superhuman effort, or should we spend our energies more productively in other areas? Learning English entails forcing our tiny tots from an early age to learn a foreign language from teachers who themselves have imperfect knowledge of English, with the result that the English that these children pick up is imperfect, too.
More seriously, this forced education in English deprives children of a happy childhood and even a proper education. All education experts have said in one voice that early education should be in the mother-tongue, because it not only facilitates understanding of difficult subjects but also makes education a pleasurable and comfortable activity for children. When they find their teachers speaking the same language that their mothers speak at home, they feel at home in school. Today, because of many schools use English as the medium of instruction, many children hate school and even bright students fare poorly in many subjects. Many English-medium elite schools reportedly fine their children for speaking Hindi or their mother tongue.
By switching to education in the mother tongue, children's innate creativity can be unleashed and they can save a lot of the time spent in learning a foreign language. They can even straight away jump into learning other subjects using a language which they have already picked up perfectly before they are five years old. This can save them several years of time spent in learning English, and if this saved time is gainfully applied to the study of other subjects, the children can learn much more than they currently do from school.
That does not mean we should neglect English. English has its advantage because of its international status. We should teach English in our schools as a second language using professional ESL (English as Second Language) teaching methods. This way, much fewer teachers would be needed to teach English than are needed when English is used as a medium of education in schools. These ESL teachers can be trained to teach English as a second language properly. This will increase the quality of teaching of English and our students will pick up much better English than they do currently at school, and in a much lesser time.
Many non-English speaking countries, such as China, are following this sensible strategy. They will soon overtake us in command over English, if we do not wake up from our complacency.
There are many English-teaching techniques such as the Callan Method which can prepare students in English up to the level of Cambridge Exam in one fourth the time taken by other traditional ESL teaching methods. The Callan Method surprisingly does not even need an English-knowing teacher. The students themselves can teach each other English using their study material which is available even in Hindi.
Such techniques obviate the need to have English as the medium of education in primary and higher-level education. Having English as a medium of education is wasteful of student as well as teacher time and also of considerable teaching resources, in addition to being a very bad educational strategy. Education is best given in the child's mother tongue.
Using techniques like the Callan method, students studying in their mother-tongue can pick up enough command over English to be able to meet the English needs of global businesses, whether they be Indian corporates or multi-national companies. At the same time they can have a pleasant childhood and school life by studying in their own mother tongues.
25 April 2009
Folks, do you know that the first book on Indian blogging has been published? The book is named "A to Z Blogging" and is written by Ershad Ali. Published by Ravi Pocket Books, Meerut, it is priced at Rs. 150.
Here are some paper clippings of newspaper reviews of the book and some photographs of the book release function.
Here is a review of this book by veteran blogger Ravishankar Shrivastava. As you can see, the book leaves much to be desired.
When are we going to get a properly written, comprehensive, authoritative book on Indian blogging?
Anyone ready to pick up the gauntlet?
03 April 2009
Today is Ram Navami, the day Lord Ram was born.
How much do you know about Ram's biography, Ramayana?
Find out from this Ramayana Quiz.
01 April 2009
Shyamsunder paced the crowded airport lounge worriedly as he waited for the Delhi flight. This flight was getting delayed and the passengers were all harried and ill-tempered. The flight should have left the airport at three in the afternoon, but it was already nearing six-thirty. The flight was actually coming from Bangalore, and its departure from there had already been announced. It should have arrived in about an hour. Several hours had passed since that announcement, though, yet there was no sign of the aircraft. Rumours were rife about its fate.
Shyamsunder finally walked up to the counter and enquired once again of the lady who was there, "Madam, when is the Delhi-bound flight expected?"
"I am sorry sir, we have no information yet. The flight has been diverted to another airport due to technical reasons," said the lady politely, and then added, "I can understand your worries, sir, but we are helpless, the situation is beyond our control."
Shyamsunder was impressed by her good nature. He spoke confidingly to her, "In normal circumstances I wouldn't have minded this delay. But today I have my sick father with me. He suffered a heart attack a couple of days ago and doctors have advised him to undergo a bypass surgery. We are taking him to a hospital in Delhi where the date of his operation has been fixed. If we are delayed too much, his life could be at risk."
The counter clerk expressed her sympathies, and said, "We know it causes a lot of inconvenience to passengers when flights are delayed. But what can we do? VIP movements upset all our schedules."
"Oh, so that is it!" said Shyamsunder in consternation and anger, "some rouge of a minister is alighting is he?"
The counter clerk nodded in assent.
"The rascal! If I could get hold of him, I will kick him all the way to hell," Shyamsunder muttered to himself in impotent rage.
He drifted back to where his family was anxiously waiting for the flight. His father lay in a semi-conscious state in a wheel chair with his mother standing beside him in attendance. His sister Vandita stood near-by.
When Shyamsunder came near them, his mother asked, "Beta, when is this flight going to come? I am getting worried, it has been hours since we left home. All this climbing into taxis, walking and sitting cooped up in this wheel chair, is not doing any good to him. You know, the doctor had advised him not to even get up from bed."
Shyamsunder gently assured his mother that the flight was expected anytime now, but his voice carried no conviction. Vandita noticed this and taking her brother aside, asked, "Shyam, you are looking worried. Is anything the matter?"
Shyamsunder shook his head in despair and said, "I am beginning to wonder whether we did the right thing in bringing father here."
"For god's sake, Shyamu, don't say that," cried Vandita, taking her brother's hands in hers and almost in tears.
"No Vandu, I was just speaking to an airport official. Even she had no clue as to when this wretched flight is going to come."
"What is the problem though? Has there been an accident?" Vandita expressed her worst fears.
"Nothing of that sort," said Shyamsunder bitterly, "some foul minister is expected to arrive. Only after that scoundrel has departed is there any chance of our flight coming."
A pall of gloom descended over Vandita as she heard this, but thinking of her already tense and dejected mother she quickly disguised it.
Shyamsunder began to pace the lounge again.
An hour passed thus and then suddenly the sounds of an aircraft landing began to drown all other noises. The faces of the passengers assembled in the lounge lit up with hope. Almost simultaneously two army trunks screeched to a halt at the airport porch and several dozen fully armed commandos in their battle fatigues alighted from these vehicles. They immediately cordoned off the airport and began to roughly push passengers towards the walls. In this free for all Shyamsunder's father's wheel chair almost fell over and when Shyamsunder protested, the soldier who was herding the people towards the wall advanced upon him belligerently, mouthing filthy abuses, and began to rain blows on him with the butt of his stengun.
Aghast, Vandita ran towards Shyamsunder, and taking several of the blows on herself, dragged her humiliated and outraged brother away.
When the soldiers had taken their positions, a dozen or so white Ambassador cars drew up and from each a khadi clad neta and his safari suit clad secretary alighted. They all assembled in the lounge which the soldiers had cleared of all passengers. The secretaries carried large garlands in their hands.
Soon a robust-looking personality toting black sunglasses and attired in spotless khadi kurta-pyjama and gandhi cap emerged out of the airport exit, surrounded by a posse of security personnel.
Immediately the netas assembled in the lounge began to rent the air with shouts of "Hamare poojya raksha mantri Brajmohan Sahai ki jai (Victory to our revered defence minister Brajmohan Sahai)" and "Janata ke dulare, Brajmohanji jindabad (Victory to Brajmohan, the idol of the people)", and they all came one by one, taking the garland from their secretaries, and placed it on the neck of Brajmohan in great servility. Some even spread themselves on the ground in front of the minister.
The idol of the people, the revered defence minister Brajmohanji, who had returned from one of his frequent foreign jaunts, smugly watched all these proceedings and held up his palm in the manner of a Buddha showering blessings on his devotees.
Then they all got into their various cars and led by two soldiers on their motorbikes and flanked by the commandos, the flotilla of cars wend its away out of the airport with sirens blaring and neon lights flashing.
Even as the sirens of the minister's cavalcade faded away, a piteous wail arose from a corner of the airport from Shyamsunder's mother who was stretched over the dead body of her husband. Vandita added her bitter cries to this wail, while Shyamsunder stood nearby, sobbing silently.