Saturday, 2 May 2015

Of Jammu and Kashmir Professional Board for Entrance Examination Issuing Admit card to a Cow

Jammu Kashmir State Board for Professional Entrance Examinations has issued an admit card to a cow with the signature of the Chairman on it. This reflects the sorry state of affairs of education, government and Administration in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The following write up attempts to make humor out of it. All are requested to take easy. 

The Gaws (cows) and Dands (ox) have been victim of human exploitation and brutalities since times immemorial. But with the change of government at Delhi (center) and in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, amid Modi wave in the country there have been positive changes and developments in the Insaan (human) Gupan (animal) relations. The government initiated many policies and programmes across the country for the welfare of Gupan community. Of these policies andprogrammes beef ban in the many states of the country was much discussed and praised. With BJP- PDP coalition government in the state headed by Mufti Mohammad Syed there was great pressure on the Syed from its coalition partner, BJP to take bold steps for the welfare and promotion of Gupan community.
It was fallout of beef ban in the country and great pressure on Syed from BJP that state government finally came with the policy for the welfare and development of the  Gupan community. The state government formulated the policy which made Gupans eligible for competitive exams. The policy has been praised for its potential of liberating Gupans from age old chains and bondages of humans. It was outcome of the beef ban in the country and welfare policy the state that Gupans have finally decided to contend humans in all the walks of the life. It is Kachir Gaw (red cow) who has decided to take a lead and set an example by applying for Professional Entrance Examination (elitist exam of the state) in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.  Appreciating and applauding her daughter Gura Dand,( Brown Ox) the father of Kachir Gaw appealed all cows to come forward and show humans beings their way and compete them in all the walks of life. It is 21st century the age of modernization, liberation and democracy in which none can deny freedom, liberty and equality to others, Gur Dand, said. While talking to media persons in the late evening Kachir Gaw, gave full credit to PDP-BJP coalition government of the state for curbing humans and creating conducive environment in the state in which a Gaw (cow) can challenge humans and debunk the traditional myth of human superiority. “Days are gone when humans were milking a cow, now it is their turn”, said Kachir Gaw. 
The Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Board of Professional Examination, while giving full credit to BJP- BDP coalition government of the state said that it is only with the policies and programmes of the government that all the communities of the state are feeling safe and free and have gained self confidence. The recent development is an example and it is first time in the history that a Gaw (cow) has applied for such competitive exam, the chairman added.  He grilled all those who have raised question marks on the eligibility of Kachir Gaw. These are the people who are living in fool’s paradise, who make hue and cry on the eligibility of Kachir Gaw in 21st century in the age of democracy, equality, liberty and freedom. 
The Minister of education while briefing the media persons defended the decision of the government said that a high level committee was set up to examine the eligibility of Kachir Gaw. The committee looked at the issue from various angles and perspectives and finally reached to the conclusion that it would be inhuman, illogical and illegal to bar the Kachar Gaw from appearing in the examination. The committee in their 200 long pages report has thrown weight behind their decision by producing examples of many Dands and Gaws enrolled in various educational institutions of the state and working in the various departments of the state. The report reads that “it is very inhuman, illogical, and illegal to bar the Kachar Gaw from appearing in the examination when a Dand has already ruled the state for many years”. 
The National Commission for Gaws, has appreciated the decision of the government and said it would be written with golden words in the history. Many prominent Gaminists (as feminist related to women Gamists to cows) and Enimists (humanist to humans and Enimist to animals) called the development beginning of breaking natural bias.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

The challenge of our time is challenge of education

The present society in which we live in is experiencing many changes, alterations. The social relations and interaction are swing like a pendulum kabi (sometimes) here and kabi there. With continuous changes and fluctuation in the society and social relation, hapless creatures (human beings) are subjected to many challenges and confrontations. Sociologically, speaking a change in a society or social relations is one of the most important factors, exposing hapless creatures to new challenges and confrontations. Arnold Toynbee, maintained that every society faces challenges posed by environment, internal and external elements. The nature of response to these challenges determines the fate of society. The changes and challenges in a society are not something new or modern. Societies from the antiquity have been experiencing these changes and challenges but the changes in the present society have brought in new challenges and confrontation. Poverty, gender inequality, terrorism, environment pollution, human trafficking, gender discrimination, are the main confrontations the modern society is facing. But the most dangerous of all challenges of present society especially of third world is "education" rather, would I prefer to call it schooling or literacy.

Bowles and Gintis, (1976) acknowledged the contribution of school education in reducing mass illiteracy and providing learning chances to people but argued that school education could not deliver what enlightened reformers hoped from it. The scholars like Ivan Illich, Paul Freire, Apple, Bowels, Reids, Bourdieu and many others highlighted the role and function of schooling in reproducing and reinforcing social inequalities. Although most of these studies were west and Europe centric but represented the scenario of other parts of the globe as well. The challenges and confrontations posed by schooling in west and Europe are not same in the societies having a different social, political and economical setup, but have introduced new challenges and confrontation there. The promotion of mass schools and schooling in these countries by national and International actors is producing a large chunk of mal-educated people. This endangers the future of these countries and poses threat to the whole world. 

In my recent interaction, I met a few mal-educated chunks in Indian administered Kashmir during an interactive cum lecture arranged by Ignited Minds Circle, a circle claimed 'to provide a way for students to develop a scientific temper'. During the interaction theory and hypothesis of mal-education got again affirmed. It was observed the group consisted many mal-educated children some of them having deficiency of educational nutrients like gender sensitivity, value neutrality, cultural relativity etc. The most affected of mal-educated lot, I found a few children are over nutritional. Over nutritional, in a sense that the quantity and the amount of educational nutrients they have been provided are over nutrition. This has radicalized them and developed self syndrome among them. The only version of truth before them is their version. The best of creatures under the sun are only and alone they. Had they been exposed to the world they would have never developed this disease? They would have got a chance to burn some calories. There software would have not been corrupted and destructed by a virus called radicalization, intolerance and ethnocentrism had there been installation of antivirus. The texts (books, audio, video etc) they are installed are full of viruses and without installation of any antivirus they are highly insecure and prone to mal-function. It is about this "education" system and group about which Bertrand Russell, way back read, "Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education". 
Counter Currents

Misinterpretation of high voter turnout and elections in Jammu and Kashmir

The history of all hitherto underway Assembly elections in the State of Jammu and Kashmir is history of push pooling, fraud, manipulation, rigging, controversy, coercion and misinterpretation. There have been widespread charges against New Delhi (Indian Government) for election rigging, installation of governments from 1951 to present. It was Congress Government at Delhi which is accused of controlling governments in the State from 1951 to 1965.
Prem Nath Bazaz (1978) maintains that “After independence, rulers of Jammu and Kashmir State were not the freely chosen representatives of the people as they should have been but were the nominees and the proteges of the Central Congress Government.” Similar views have been expressed by B. K. Nehru who was Governor of the state from 1981 to 1984. After nasty blow to autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir with 63rd amendment Act of Indian constitution Article 365 was applied to State of Jammu and Kashmir and posts of Sadar-e- Riysat and Prime Minister were abolished, election process in the State has been mere fun and fuss. The First Assembly Elections in Kashmir held in 1965 dumped Sheikh Abdullah and installed Ghulam Mohammad Sadiq as First Chief Minister of the State. The Sixth Assembly elections in 1984 were held to install the government of Ghulam Mohammad Shah commonly known as Gul Shah or Gul Curfew. The Seventh Assembly elections held in 1987 were programmed and planed, and elections rigged. According to Sudha Ramachandran “The 1987 election undermined the Kashmiris’ faith in the ballot box. It convinced the youth that with the ballot having failed them, they would have to turn to the bullet to deliver.”
B. K. Nehru (1997) asserts that Heads of Governments in the State of Jammu and Kashmir from 1953 to 1975 had been nominees of Delhi. “Their appointment to that post was legitimized by the holding of farcical and totally rigged elections in which the congress party led by Delhi’s nominee was elected by huge majorities.” The elections in the State from 1996 to 2008 were held with barrel of gun. It has been reported that “the people were literally dragged out physically from their homes at gunpoint, dumped into army trucks and brought to polling booths.” It was only since 2008 that the people cost their vote on their own but the elections in Kashmir since 1996 have been in vogue. The election boycott call by “separatists” on occasions has been quite effective especially in urban areas and in few rural pockets. There have been many occasions when people especially belonging to rural areas defied boycott call and have come out in large numbers to vote. This time in the first phase of the assembly elections the State witnessed a turnout of more than 71 percent, despite boycott call by “separatist”. This is the highest over the past 18 years. In the first phase of assembly elections (held on 25 of November 2014) the State witnessed more than 71 percent voter turnout. This is the highest voter turnout witnessed by the State over the past Eighteen years (assembly elections in the
state are held every six years).
Like past every party, “separatists”, main stream politicians of the State and New Delhi interpret high voter turnout in their own ways and put forth their own meanings and interpretations of voting in Kashmir. Both ‘separatists’ and mainstream politicians ascribe high voter turn out to collective issues and problems like “Sadak, Pani, aur Bijli!” (electricity, roads and drinking water!”). Indian Government uses high voter turnout (more than 71%) as propaganda to show to the world that the majority of Kashmiris respect and favour Indian Constitution and are with India forgetting the fact that voter turnout in 1987 was 78.65 percent and exploded into full fledged armed struggle against Indian rule in the State.
As noted earlier whether these are “separatist” or main stream politicians of the state both are attempting to conceal their failure and faults by misinterpreting or wrong labeling high voter turnout in Kashmir. The high voter turnout in Kashmir particularly in rural areas and in some urban outstrikes is ascribed to collective issues “Sadak, Pani, aur Bijli!” This is nothing but absurd and silly. The higher voter turnout in Kashmir is not for Sadak, Pani and Bijli which are collective issues but people have diverse meanings, interpretation and reasons for voting and elections. Those who cost their vote or boycott have their subjective, meaning, understanding and interpretation of elections in Kashmir. There are also sociological dimensions attached to higher voter turn outs in rural India. Rural areas in India especially in Kashmir or still dominated by tradition values, norms and belief systems with tradition having a profound impact on the interaction and daily lives of rural people. A contestant belonging to rural area is having wide network of kinship and relations which increases his number of voters and supporters significantly. This proportionately increases polling percentage in Kashmir especially in rural areas.
Observations and interaction reveal voting and boycott are not similar, simple and unique. The more people one interacts with, the more reasons he/she come across. Every one each individual vote or boycott with his/her own meaning and interpretation of elections and having their own interests and responses, emotions and feelings. Some individuals vote to get a Sarkari Naukari, (government job) most of those who are in Sarkari Naukri and vote, vote to stop posting at far flung areas or away from vicinity. A large chunk of populace not only vote but also support to get undue benefits and bucks (mostly contractors) and a good number of people vote to avenge personal feuds. So the notion that people vote for “Sadak, Pani, aur Bijli!” fell apart from syllogism. Moreover data and statistics reveal that the crises of Bijli in the state especially in the valley of Kashmir have worsened. Forty percent of rural populace is still without drinking water facility and despite various centrally sponsored schemes 20-25 percent habitations is yet to be connected with the roads. So where lays the truth?
Marx way back in 1844 said that the “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.” After Marx it was Ivan Illich in 1970 who widened the scope and boundary of Marx thought and philosophy by employing his ideas and doctrine to other social institution to understand the reality. While analyzing realness of educational institutions and education process Ivan Illich maintained schools have become world religion for poor and makes false promises of salvation. This can equally be relevant and applicable to understand the political institutions and political process. The political institutions, elections and boycott in context of Kashmir can be termed as sigh of the oppressed creatures, the heart of heartless people and the soul of soulless acting as opium for the masses.

Kashmir Times and

Drug Policy 2012: Chemist's joy

Chemists enjoy

New Drug Policy is more dangerous it will worsen the situation


This is in response to news ‘Cabinet approves Drug Policy; Doctors To Prescribe Generic Name Of Medicines’ according to news the state cabinets approval to new drug policy which will pave   way for reorganization the medicine procurement and checking the influx of spurious drugs in the State.. The state of Jammu and Kashmir no doubt needed a clear, strict and honest drug policy that will streamline the medicine procurement and checking the influx of spurious drugs in the State. It is very pleasing that state government at last has keyed out the main roots of growing and spreading nuisance of spurious and unauthentic medicines in the state in general and valley in particular as more than 60%of total sold drugs in the state are sold in the valley. The decision at full volume exposes the nexus between some pharma companies and self interested, moral less doctors. However there is much need and scope for more steps in stopping this menace. Government has to think something different and go much beyond to this policy.
Though the present step of government is praiseworthy but to expect any good from the policy is not wise. The policy cannot improve the condition any more even it may worsen the situation. This may be shocking and disagreeing argument for most of the readers but it is a bitter and heart piercing reality. This policy will worsen the condition in the state and create enough space and vacuum for sale of spurious drugs in the state. The policy will give free hands to chemists and druggists to sell spurious and third rated drugs. Now there will be no bar on them how and where to cut the throats of common masses. Restricting doctors to prescribe medicines of particular companies no doubt means to restrict them from favoring any specific companies but what about chemists? What about doctors who do run private clinics? They may prescribe there by salt name but they will sell what favour them and what they want.
There are medicines in the market which do cost much more to patients than branded drugs. These drugs actually cost very less to chemists and druggists but MRP on these drugs is much high say for example the Nicip (Nimsulide) of Cipla pharmaceuticals a multinational company which has launched generic operation way back in the state costs Rs 27 per strip to patients as per MRP but a strip costs maximum Rs 8 to druggists and chemists. The same salt of the registered and ethically operating companies only cost Rs 11 to 13 per strip to patients (Refer to Nimca of Ipca and Nimsulide of Mankind Pharma). Druggists and chemists earn 20 to 25% in such drug but greed marred every one and no one has overcome it. Here I have just cited a pain killer or antipyretic and anti inflammatory drugs. When we do talk about antibiotics and tonics it is worse. I request government to rethink about its new drug policy and come with a new one which will not create space and vacuum for any one. I also do urge doctors to come forward and create awareness among policy makers and formulators at the end it is there image which is at stake. Chemists may sell Aata it is the patient who will suffer and tarnish the image of a doctor.
Negating current drug policy no way means that doctors should be given free hands but I only mean to say don’t give any one vacuum and space to spread business of spurious and third class drugs. When pesticide companies are required to fulfill certain formalities and procedures before operating in the state. Why state government cannot come with such a policy even stricter than this. After all it is an issue associated to human lives.

Transparency in the Recruitment Process.

We need transparency



This refers to the government decision to bring transparency in the recruitment process. The move is not only a welcome initiative but a praise worthy act. This is a much awaited much required decision which will bring not only transparency in the selection process but also efficiency in the administration in general and education sector in particular. But the issues which are pending since long and are much more urgent await attention. They are the initiatives in the direction of bringing transparency in the selection process of candidates for various services. For instance what is the rationale behind keeping 250 marks for interview in Kashmir Administrative Services (KAS), what is reason behind keeping 50% marks in interview for lectureship? Why any weight age is not given to written “examination” (screening test) for selecting lecturer in the department of school education. Is there not need of reformation? Had there been not 250 marks to interview in KAS one would have seen many more number of students from valley in KAS final selection list. The marks in interview varies from 30 t0 more than 235, the most number of candidates who had one optional subject Urdu and have no ‘reach’ could only secure 60 -70 marks.
Now let us move towards the recruitments made by our Services Selection Recruitment Board. There you can expect no rules and regulations. When they will change rule and with what rules with they will come one hardly knows. They are not able to make distinction between B.Ed. and Graduation while former is a one year course and latter a course for three years. One cannot pursue B.E.d unless one is a graduate. Assess the situation in the context of teacher selection B. E. d and M.E.d programmes which are particularly meant for teaching are given 15 and 10 points on pro rata bases respectively while as 10 +2 is given 25 points. What is funnier that those who have done first M.Phil and then PhD are given 5 points and those who have done direct PhD too are given the same. And in interview we all know that marks vary from 6 to more than 19 out of 20.
Unless structural change is brought in the requirement system as a whole expecting transparency and efficiency would be silly. When there will be structural change there will be ‘Dood Ka Doodh Pani Ka Pani’.
Briefly, coming to the statement of Minister for Higher Education and Employment Abdul Gani Malik on the increasing number of universities and variations found in the academic standards of these varsities, his advocacy for uniform evaluation system for admissions and recruitment to bring transparency is a praise worthy statement. It is the need of the hour to sift the grain from the chaff.

Delhi High Court blast: HuJI and Beyond

Of all the crimes, the most vicious, nasty, brute and barbaric is the consuming of life of an innocent soul. Consumption of an innocent life is not an act touching a particular individual but it is an offense against the whole of humankind. Murder of an individual does not only take her or his life, but has many social implications. The victim is someone’s father, mother, brother, sister, son or daughter. And the hopes of all them are snuffed out, they suffer for their whole lives.
Fayaz Ahmad Bhat
The Delhi High Court blast is a good example of this brutality, savagery and barbarism against the whole of humankind. Not only those who carried out the mission need to be brought to justice but all those who aided in carrying out the act deserve capital punishment. It is necessary that the investigating agencies necessitate carry out a quick and thorough probe, looking at it from all angles.
After the blast, the initial news and reports hinted at the involvement of Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI) a global “terrorist” organization behind the act. It was they who had claimed responsibility for the blast and had demanded the repeal of Afzal Guru’s hanging, the man who was “convicted” for the attack on the parliament in 2001.
There are possibilities that some militant organizations may bid for repealing Afzal’s hanging, but it is also a fact that Afzal’s hanging can fuel militant organizations, particularly in the Indian administered and the Pakistan administered Kashmir. In case Afzal is hanged “militant organizations” and other non-state agents can exploit the situation and try to win the sympathy of the people. This may also give “separatists” reason to mobilize the masses, and this time perhaps the prime minister’s request to “give peace a chance” may not work. There is a chance that some of the militant organizations, implicitly or explicitly, maybe favoring the hanging of Afzal Guru and thus might have carried out the mission. The hanging of Afzal Guru certainly will bring great catastrophes with it, particularly in Kashmir. This may give militants enough ground to win the sympathy of the masses.
HuJI, which operates globally and is a recognized “terrorist” organization definitely would have a strong intelligentsia and might be sensing an aftermath of operations. How can one believe that HuJI will send an email to give the police a hold of its operatives?
I do not out rightly negate the involvement of HuJI in the blast. But I am trying to go beyond the HuJI angle in the blast and I am trying to analyze all other possible angles by considering other groups.
Every act has its own context and is closely related with it. So before proceeding for any conclusion one must understand the context. Context and text have a close relationship; for convenience of readers let me in brief define the term text. Text is not limited to any biblical or written word. It can be anything like a symbol, action and so on, which can be given meaning or can be interpreted.
Just a few days back Pritibah Patil, the President of India rejected the mercy petition of the three convicted in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. The date of 9 September, 2011 was fixed for execution. Fixation of day of execution activated many people. There was also strong pressure on the government from human rights activists to postpone the hanging and even to abolish capital punishment.
In protest, even a 23-year-old young girl set herself ablaze at the Commissioner of Revenue’s office to have the decision of their execution revoked.
All this created pressure on the Tamil Nadu government. Political market in TN become hot, political parties started to score politically with the issue. It was on 22 August that the TN legislative assembly passed a resolution to reconsider the mercy plea of Rajiv Gandhi’s killers facing the death sentence. The passage of the resolution by the TN assembly perked up the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah, who tweeted to score politically and repair his tarnished image in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, especially in Kashmir.
Omar Abdullah tweeted: “If Jammu and Kashmir assembly had passed a similar resolution for Afzal Guru, would the action have been as muted? I think not.”
This tweet of the Chief Minister was having an aversion in various circles in India particularly to those who advocate immediate hanging of Afzal Guru. It was under these circumstances that Engineer Rashid, an independent legislative member of the Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly sought the Jammu and Kashmir assembly speaker’s permission for tabling a resolution seeking pardon for Afzal Guru.
These events execrated many circles across India. These developments around led the BJP and other pseudo-secular political parties come together to pressurize the government on Afzal Guru’s case. They did not to plead for clemency but for coldness with Afzal.
Groups like RSS, Bajrandal and Shivsena, who have a Hindutva agenda threatened the government of dire consequences if there was any delay in the lynching of Afzal Guru. These are the same groups and organizations who are involved in many terrorist activities like Malegaon blasts, Samjhota Express blasts and so on. Negating the possibility of their hand in the blasts may be misleading and shoddy.
One must bear in mind, after the Malegaon blast in 2006, the Mecca Masjid bombing in Hyderabad, the Samjhota Express bombing and the Ajmer Dargah blast, initially the primary suspect of the bombing were considered to be Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), or other Pakistan based terror groups. However, later it was found that Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), RSS and some other radical Hindu groups were behind these blasts.
I do not rebuff a possible connection of HuJI and other “Islamic” organizations in the Delhi High Court bomb blast. I only mean to say that an early conclusion may mislead the investigation.
It is also imperative for the government of India to imagine how Afzal Guru’s hanging can bring many repercussions. It is also matter of contemplation how the hanging of Afzal Guru will boost and advance the anti-state agents.
Those who carried out the mission are barbaric, savage and the enemies of humankind, and have no berth in Islam. Islam is categorical and clear on these issues:
On that account We ordained for the Children of Isra`il that if any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole humanity: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the whole humanity. Then although there came to them Our messengers with clear (guidance), yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land. — Holy Quran (5:32)

BRICS Summit 2012: Developments and Challenges Ahead

 On 29 March 2012 Wednesday, the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa attended the fourth BRICS in New Delhi, India. The Summit was held with the theme “Partnership for Global Stability, Security and Prosperity”.
Fayaz Ahmad Bhat
The summit is altogether contrary to the perception that BRICS leaders meet once in a year and click some snaps together. They moved from plain rhetoric to definite areas, and have send message to many countries which tend to act unilaterally outside the UN framework. It has send shock waves to many centers of the world particularly in the circle of those countries that justify present unequal economic order of world and act unilaterally outside the UN frame work. The agenda for creation of a new development bank is the move which is the most notable outcome of the summit. The establishment of the bank will supplement the existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development. The benefit of a BRICS bank will go beyond BRICS to other countries also.
“The initiative reflects a goal of BRICS economies to reduce dependence on the dollar and the euro, but significant progress is about 10 years away,” said Onitolo, adding that “it is clear that emerging markets are gradually overtaking developed ones as engines of global growth.”
On the future of the bank, Brazil’s Trade Minister Fernando Pimentel said, “It would be a very powerful financial tool to improve trade opportunities.” The bank is expected to carry all its transactions in local currencies. In recent past, there have been two efforts to get out of the dollar. They both finished in tears. Saddam Husain wanted to carry out the Iraqi oil trade in Euros and was removed from power. And Gaddafi’s Libya forced countries to buy its oil in Libyan Dinars, he was reduced to cowering in a sewer before being killed, and his regime brought down. Obviously US and its allies will play every card in the deck to halt the move and they have already started the move. The question is what kind of challenges Brics members will meet and how successful would be its members to cope diplomatic and other tactics of US and its allies.
The establishment of the South -South Bank on the part of Brics members not only promises structural change in the economic order of member states but at a global level also. It may be hard for US and its allies to end the proposal in tears as they are all together different from Sadam’s Iraq and Gadaffi’s Libiya. However there are many weakest links in the Brics chain which needs to be strengthened.
The move to establish south-south development bank is pleasing for BRICS countries however may be irritating for developed countries particularly for US as the initiative will reduce dependence on the dollar and the euro. Those who in the recent past attempted so were thrown out of power. It is obvious the developed countries particularly US will attempt to halt the process. But the question is will BRICS countries survive the pressure and challenges ahead? Are they weak like Saddam’s Iraq and Gadaffi’s Libiya that their sovereignty will be challenged by US and its allies?
South – South Development Bank and Power of BRICS
Indian Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, in his address to the BRICS summit, said, “We have agreed to examine in greater detail a proposal to set up a BRICS-led South-South Development Bank …” creation of the bank, on the lines of the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank aims include funding development and infrastructure projects      in           developing and    least developed countries; lending, in the long term, during global financial crises, which could be bought by the central banks of all the member countries and hence act as a vessel for risk-sharing…”
It is clear that the Bank wants a new global economic order free from control and influence of Washington. Member countries proposed to trade among themselves in their local currencies, extending credit facility in local currencies. Extending Credit facility and carrying transactions in local currencies will  replace the United States dollar as the main unit of trade between them. The dollar was the lubricant that fuelled US power since Bretton Woods, 1944. With the dollar as the world’s currency, the US is the only country in the world that can expand its buying power simply by printing its currency. This is a source of enormous political power, as much as its economic and military power. At present US is in effect relying on “borrowing” $1billion each day to cover its deficit in trade. Setting up of south- south Bank by Brics is not a healthy sign for US as BRICS countries account 18 per cent of global trade, 25 per cent of global GDP, 53 per cent of global financial capital. Trade among Brics rose from $27 billion in 2002 to $212 billion in 2010. This year it is expected to reach $ 250 billion. This group of five countries will be responsible for 56 per cent of world growth in 2012[1].
This kind of development and move will never be acceptable to the US, those who in recent past attempted to replace dollar with local or any other alternate currency were overthrown from power, Sadam Hussain of Iraq and Gadaffi of Libya are the examples. The US has already started a move however this move is altogether different because who by heart in heart acknowledge the power of the Five. Before summit was kicked off on 29 March 2012 in Delhi an American Diplomat had said “What do they talk at these summits? It’s just talk shop and a photo op.” The same day, an op-ed write up in the New York Times argued that the focus of the south – south bank was misplaced, “It is the fundamental incompatibility of the Brics nations, not their lack of organizations , which prevents this collection of emerging economies from acting as a meaningful force on the world stage,” the op-ed said.
In response to the statement of New York Times op-ed, Jackson Schendier said, “BRICS is not an idea. It’s already a reality.”  He further added “If BRICS has no force, why is the NYT wasting so much ink and time on us?” One should not ignore the developments and events which took place before or after the proposal of the Bank by Brics countries. Robert Zoellick, the World Bank Director, while taking his attention to the proposed Brics bank said, “It’s a complicated venture which will have a hard time getting off the ground and match the expertise of the World Bank.” It was just one day before the Brics summit when he raised the doubts about the new development bank. On Friday, March 30, Zoellick met with ministers and businessmen in Delhi and told them how the World Bank can help India meet the challenges ahead. This statement of Rober Zoellick seems had hidden motive to convince India not to go for a South-South bank. Exactly after four days of  meeting ministers and Indian businessmen in Delhi, on Friday Zoellick, while answering questions at the Boao Forum for Asia in China’s Hainan province on 3 April said, he will support Brics bank. This statement of Zoellick seems totally contradictory to his earlier statements. First he is raising doubts about the new development bank, and then he tries to convince India that World Bank “can help India meet the challenges ahead” and now he says he will support the new Development Bank. The question is when World Bank is able to help BRICS member states to meet the challenges ahead, why shall they go for a new one. Is he trying extra hard to sell an idea whose time may be up?
Robert Zoellick’s argument that World Bank “can help India meet the challenges ahead” may have some buyers, but they should not forget the fact that UN General Assembly at its Sixth Special Session way back in April- May, 1974 called for establishment of New International Economic Order (NIEO) and approved a Programme of Action to achieve it.  Just few days are short of 38 years when the UN General Assembly approved programme of action to achieve NIEO but we have yet to achieve it. It is not hidden to any one that they are not serious to achieve it.
How can one ignore the diplomatic tactics of US to please some of BRIC members? US congress accused Pakistan for carrying attacks in India following this they announced $ 10 million bounty on Hafiz Seed accused in 26/11 attacks. The announcement of bounty of Hafiz Saeed were overwhelmingly welcomed in India and caught front pages of the most national dailies in India, despite knowing the fact that hafiz Saeed is not hiding in any caves but he often conduct anti NATO rallies in Pakistan. US will play its all the tools to abstain member states in establishing the south-south bank, but the question is how far US will be successful. One thing is crystal clear that US will abstain from using or threatening of military powers to Brics members because unlike Saddam and Gaddafi BRICS countries are much stronger. The only thing which US can do is to create rift among member states.
BRICS as a ray of hope
There seems no end to unjust international economic order. NIEO has remained limited to papers and conferences, the only thing which seems to give some resistance present unjust world economic order is BRICS. BRICS is not only important because three out of five members of it are nuclear powers and two are permanent members of United Nations Security Council. Virtue of being nuclear powers and permanent members of UN Security council no way decimals the importance of Brazil and South Africa both are very important members of the BRICS and it is only their membership that makes BRICS, BRICS. Brazil is a political and economic leader in Latin America. ‘Brazil is the largest national economy in Latin America, the world’s seventh largest economy at market exchange rates and the eighth largest in purchasing power parity (PPP), according to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Brazil has a mixed economy with abundant natural resources. The Brazilian economy has been predicted to become one of the five largest in the world in the decades to come, the GDP per capita following and growing.  Its current GDP (PPP) per capita is $10,200, putting Brazil in the 64th position according to World Bank data. It has large and developed agricultural, mining, manufacturing and service sectors, as well as a large labor pool’[2].
SA is a “gateway to Africa” for investors. Its role is, therefore, as a means to ends pursued by other agents – notably China and India. SA is the biggest “foreign investor” on the rest of the continent. South African Transnational Corporations (TNCs) and parastatals dominate investment in SADC countries by 80 per cent and at 40 per cent for the continent, as a whole, it simply dwarfs the US and the EU, not to mention China, India and Brazil.[3] After South Africa joined the group in April 2011, the economic size of BRICS grew to $11.7 trillion.
It is not all Brics accounts 43 per cent of world’s population and fifth of its GDP. Brics account 53 per cent of global finance and trade among them rose from just $27 billion in year 2002 to more than $210 billion in year 2010 and they are targeting $500 billion by 2015. They are expected to be responsible for 56 per cent of world growth in 2012.
Loop holes and challenges ahead  
There are number of differences on certain issue between Brics countries. Kanti Bjpal highlighted three important weakest links. First, China is evidently ahead of the pack in terms of its comprehensive national power and economic power, but both India and Russia are eager not to surrender leadership too evidently to China.    India and Russia are wary of China in light of a number of bilateral problems.
Third and the most important each of the five members of Brics has more going on with the US than with each other.
There are doubts about the coherence of the Brics grouping. South Africa, for example, does not meet the essential criteria – rapidly growing, large economy with a large population – laid out by Jim O’Neill. South Africa’s GDP of less than a quarter the size of Russia’s and the country is struggling to keep annual growth above 3 percent. The Brics members also have significant political, economic and cultural differences, and do not always adopt a unanimous line in international issues. On the selection of a successor to Robert Zoellick as president of the World Bank for example, they were unable to reach a consensus about who should challenge the US’s candidate, Jim Yong Kim.
Despite speaking to the BRICS consensus of trading in ‘non-third party’ currencies or even setting up a BRICS bank, SA has responded in opposite ways to its allies.
With the flow of cheap dollars, which saw investors speculate in Brazil and SA, driving up currencies like the Real, the Rand and the Rouble in 2011, Brazil re-imposed capital controls to tax these flows, whereas SA cut controls even more. Whereas Brazil, Russia and China hate a strong Real, Rouble or Renminbi, SA simply loves a strong Rand.
It is even notable that SA differs on concrete instances of foreign policy. Whereas China, Russia, India and Brazil abstained from Resolution 1973 on Libya – used as a justification for NATO’s overthrow of Gaddafi SA supported the resolution. And whereas SA supported calls for sanctions against Assad’s Syria, Russia and China have vetoed this, seeing it as a prelude to another Western military adventure. And as the US bullies countries into cutting Iranian oil imports, SA has backed down whilst both Russia and China have simply told the US where to get off.
Setting up of south- south bank is the notable outcome of the Delhi summit of BRICS, however it was generally accepted that setting up of such an institution would not be easy. Appopkin was cautious of the move, saying that such a bank would be effective only if “they are given independence in project financing decisions from the governments, or at least room to operate in long-term development framework.”
The fourth BRICS summit, which concluded in New Delhi, sent positive signals to the outside world that international stability, security and prosperity can be achieved if everyone pulls together.
In the joint declaration issued by leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, the five countries vowed to enhance cooperation among themselves and contribute to world development and prosperity.
Notwithstanding their differences, Brics share a number of concerns. They were all worried about US leadership and western policies on geopolitical issues, in particular in the Arab world and in Iran. They are all opposed to interventionism even though none of them has much of an alternative to offer except such anodyne suggestions as “diplomacy is the answer”. The West’s stand on climate change and, particularly for Russia, India and China, the future of Af-Pak, are very troubling. Most importantly, they are all concerned that the West’s economic troubles are chronic and will be consequential for them. They look increasingly, therefore, to sustain their growth prospects on the backs of each other’s economies.
They also voiced their united support for a Syrian peace process promoted by international envoy Kofi Annan and warned of the “disastrous consequences” of allowing the Iran nuclear issue to escalate into conflict.
However the most notable thing of the summit was   that the leaders have considered the possibility of setting up a new development bank.
The bank will supplement the existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development, the declaration said.
“The benefit of a BRICS bank will go beyond BRICS to other developing countries,” Chi said.
“The initiative reflects a goal of BRICS economies to reduce dependence on the dollar and the euro, but significant progress is about 10 years away,” said Onitolo, adding that “it is clear that emerging markets are gradually overtaking developed ones as engines of global growth”.
Given that the BRICS countries have become an increasingly important force on the world stage and the drivers of the global economy, their pledge to make due contributions to the world development and prosperity should be interpreted as good news for all.
It is good to see the group showing solidarity on issues of global significance. By speaking with one voice, they can better defend their own interests and those of the developing world at large and promote fairer global governance.
There are many hopes and expectations from Delhi Summit. However challenges ahead in the achievement of goals are really going to weigh the potential and credibility of Brics countries.

[1]  Dilma Rousseff , We’re All In It Together: BRICS members Brazil and India are strategic partners for a new world vision.  Times of India, March,29,2012.

RTE, Act 2009 and Sociological Apprehensions

RTE, Act 2009 and Sociological Apprehensions
On 12 April 2012, in its historical decision the Supreme Court (SC) of India threw its weight behind the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009. The court upheld the constitutional validity of RTE Act that guarantees children free and compulsory education from the age of 6 to 14 years of age.
Fayaz Ahmad
The judgment makes it mandatory for the government, local authorities and private schools to reserve 25 percent of their seats for ‘weaker and disadvantaged sections’ of society. The decision has wiped away many apprehensions regarding the future of the Act. It has been welcomed by academicians, politicians, journalists and others. The Union minister for human resources development Mr. Kapil Sibal, articulated, “RTE can be a model for the world”. While there has been enthusiastic praise of the judgment, concerns related to quality, finance, ensuring of 25 percent reservation in private schools and change in classroom structure cannot be thrown into the winds.
The amount put aside by Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is only Rs. 25,555 crores for 2012-13, which falls short of the recommended financial requirement of Rs 1.82 lakh crore. From where will the rest of amount come?
According to Kapil Sibal (2012) more than 90 percent of households will have to enroll their wards in government schools. Thus 90 percent of households’ wards will have poor access to education; if at all they are enrolled in schools, as the quality of education in government schools is a matter of serious concern.
There is no clarity on how 25 percent reservation in private schools will be filled. There may be more than one private school in a neighborhood, so how will they decide who will go where?  How will reservation in private schools be monitored?
The 25 percent reservation in private schools will dramatically change the structure of classrooms in schools. Whether diversity of classroom will create democratic learning environment and enhance teaching learning process or will it put children from ‘weaker and disadvantaged sections’ in discomfited position?
Concern of Quality Education
One of the primary objectives of Right of Children Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 is improving quality education. The quality of elementary education, particularly in government schools, is a matter of serious concern. The quality of school education depends on various variables which includes physical infrastructure, method of teaching, learning environment, type of books, qualification of teachers, number of teachers, attendance of teachers and students and so on.
There has been substantial progress in increasing enrollment with national average now at 98.3 percent (2009-2010) according to official statistics. However, the attendance of pupils in class rooms has declined. In 2007, 73.4 percent students enrolled for Standards I-IV/V were present in class, which has fallen to 70.9 percent by 2011 (EPW, 2012). Fayaz Ahmad (2009) came with the findings that despite lack of staff in government schools, teachers remain absent on rotational bases. He adds that due to vacancies for teacher, absenteeism of teachers and poor infrastructure in government schools classrooms are multi-grade, i.e. one teacher attending to children from different grades in a single classroom. The attendance of teachers and students in schools is directly related with the quality of education.
Furthermore, mere enrollment of children in school does not fulfill the aims of RTE. Amman Madan (2003) argues ‘the question of reform in Indian education has usually been conceived of in narrow ways – putting children in school and getting schools to function efficiently’.
Despite high enrollments in schools 50 percent of children studying in the fifth grade lack the reading skills expected of children in the second grade (Annual Status of Education Report, ASER 2010).
Ensuring 25 percent Reservation
The RTE, Act, 2009 clause, 12 (1) (c) mandates for private schools to admit quarter of their class strength from weaker section and disadvantaged groups 1. The constitutional validity of this clause was challenged in the apex court of country. However on 12, April 2012, a bench of Chief Justice S .H. Kapadia, Justice K. S Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar upheld the constitutional validity of the Act.
 In response to the Supreme Court order, HRD minister Kapil Sibal said, “I am very happy that the court has set all controversies at rest. One of the biggest controversies was on whether the 25 percent reservation applies to private schools or not… that controversy has been set to rest.” 2
Reacting to the 25 percent reservation Krishna Kumar (2012) penned down “most ambitious among its objectives is the social engineering it proposes by guaranteeing at least 25 percent share of enrolment in unaided fee-charging schools to children whose parents cannot afford the fee.”  Both Krishna Kumar and Kapil Sibal did not give indepth critical insight to the provision. The questions like, what will be the mechanism of selection process of 25 percent children from ‘weaker and disadvantaged sections’.  Some private schools are very reputed and provide very high quality of education and some are either at par with government schools or little ahead. There is a hierarchy of private schools which are stratified in quality education. Who will go where what will be the criteria for that? Furthermore Indian society is patriarchal in nature, boys are even served good food in comparison to girls how one can expect parents or guardians will send a girl child to these private schools, if at all they agree to send a girl child to school.  The reservation benefits will go to a particular gender of society. This will further reinforce and reproduce gender bias and social inequality in society. Thus RTE itself creates a vacuum for “reproduction of culture”. Fayaz Ahmad (2009) underlines, parents prefer schooling for their girl child but prefer government schools for them in comparison to a male child.
The important finding which has been revealed by Fayaz Ahmad (2009) is the enrollment shown in schools was higher than what actually it was. This was done to get mid-day meals for more and more children so that teachers can save some money to bear other hidden expenditures and avoid wrath of authorities for poor enrollment. Despite employment of Resource Persons and Zonal Resource Persons by Jammu and Kashmir government in the department of school education ,who are obliged to ensure smooth and normal functioning of schools, such kind of loopholes are observed, how can the government ensure that private schools will follow the provision of 25 percent reservation.
Change in the Structure of Classroom and Beyond. 
The RTE Act directed all schools, including privately -run schools, to reserve 25 percent of their seats for students from socially and economically backward families. That means, quarter of students in classes will be from marginalized section of the society. This will change the structure of classes.
Krishna Kumar (2012) maintains “a classroom reflecting life’s diversity will benefit children of all strata while enriching teaching experience.” He further adds “classroom life will now be experientially and linguistically richer. It will be easier to illustrate complex issues with examples drawn from children’s own lives.” He rightly articulates that class room will reflect diversity and will be experientially and linguistically richer. But his argument that classroom diversity will benefit children from weaker section of society is hypothetical and ambiguous.
School education can’t be separated from its social context, those who teach and learn carry with them attitudes, beliefs, habits, customs, orientations which differ from class to class.  The elite schools have their own culture which suits to children of upper class. The teaching-learning environment at these schools suits children of upper class while children from weaker section may find themselves alienated from the schools. Bernstein (1971) while examining the mode of communication of working and middle class argues that both have different mode of communication and most of the teachers in schools belong to middle class which gives edge to middle class children in learning. Bourdieu(1977) empirical research in France explores that performance of a child in school on his access to cultural capital. He maintains that children of upper classes are able to understand contents of knowledge better than their counterparts belonging to marginalized sections of society.
The present experience of India with mixed or diversified classroom is not encouraging. The children from marginalized sections of society are discriminated in the classroom on the bases of gender, caste, and ethnicity. Despite Indian constitution strictly prohibits discrimination on the bases of caste and other social backgrounds and makes it a punishable act yet children from marginalized sections are discriminated in schools. How can discrimination of ‘weaker and disadvantaged sections be prevented?
There are various theoretical and empirical studies which have come up with that children from lower classes are at a backfoot in schools in the learning process. They are more vulnerable when enrolled in elite schools.
Indian children now have a precious right to receive free and compulsory education from the ages of 6 to 14 years of age. The government will bear all the expenditures of schooling. The act has mandated for private schools to reserve quarter of classroom strength for deprived sections of society, which will change the structure of classrooms in elite schools to school who are not yet enrolled.  However, there are many apprehensions with regard to achieving desired goals through RTE. By pressing for 25 percent reservation for the ‘weaker and disadvantaged sections’ of society, government has acknowledged poor quality in government schools where more than 90 percent of households in the country will have to enroll their children even if 25 percent reservation is implemented in true sense. This means that there will be further diversification of society in India. There are also concerns whether those enrolled in private schools will cope and adjust with education system and culture of elite schools.  There are many other loop holes which are pressing and challenging in the way of RTE: quality education, funding, teacher skills and enhance of reservation policy are some major concerns.
Despite the flaws in the way of RTE Act, it is important to simultaneously ensure proper implementation of the Act.
  1. The Gazette of India,
  2. Dhananjay Mahapatra & Himanshi Dhawan(2012) Times of India,  RTE:Govt Subsidy to be based on KV expenditure, New Delhi, 13 April.
Ahmad, Fayaz (2009) “ A Sociological Study of Primary Education Among Girls: With Special Reference to Block Hajin of District Bandipora” Dissertation, Barkatullah University.
Annual Status of Educational Report (2010): “Annual Status of Educational Report ( Rural) , assessed 21April 2012:
Bernstein, B (1973): “Class Codes and Control: Applied Studies towards a Sociology of Language”, London, Routledge Kegan Paul.
Boourdieu,P (1977): “ Cultural Reproduction and Social Reproduction”, In Karabel, J and A. H, Halsey, (ed), Power and Ideology in Education.OUP
Economic and Political Weekly (2012): “The Right to learn: Two Years after the Right to Education Act, the government needs to focus on quality”,16 April, Vol XLVII No 16.
Kumar, Krishna (2012): “Let a hundred children blossom: A classroom reflecting life’s diversity will benefit children of all strata while enriching teaching experience.”, The Hindu, Delhi,20 April 2012.
Madan, Amman (2003): Education as Vision for Social Change, Economic and Political Weekly May 31, 2003 pp.2135-2136
Sibal, Kapil (2012): “Admitting kids from weaker sections while not lowering quality of teaching will be difficult for pvt schools, but it can be done: RTE Can Be A Model For The World” The Times of India, New Delhi, 20 April.
Jamia Journal