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Monday, December 2, 2013

CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK

    COLLECTION OF QUOTES THAT WILL CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK
  1. You cannot change what you refuse to confront.
  2. Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.
  3. Don’t think of cost.  Think of value.
  4. Sometimes you need to distance yourself to see things clearly.
  5. Too many people buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have to impress people they don’t know. 
  6. No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.
  7. If a person wants to be a part of your life, they will make an obvious effort to do so.  Think twice before reserving a space in your heart for people who do not make an effort to stay.
  8. Making one person smile can change the world – maybe not the whole world, but their world.
  9. Saying someone is ugly doesn’t make you any prettier.
  10. The only normal people you know are the ones you don’t know very well.
  11. Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it.
  12. The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too.
  13. It’s better to be alone than to be in bad company.
  14. As we grow up, we realize it becomes less important to have more friends and more important to have real ones.
  15. Making a hundred friends is not a miracle.  The miracle is to make a single friend who will stand by your side even when hundreds are against you.
  16. Giving up doesn’t always mean you’re weak, sometimes it means you are strong enough and smart enough to let go and move on.
  17. Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresea, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, Albert Einstein, etc…
  18. If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.
  19. Don’t choose the one who is beautiful to the world; choose the one who makes your world beautiful.
  20. Falling in love is not a choice.  To stay in love is.
  21. True love isn’t about being inseparable; it’s about two people being true to each other even when they are separated.
  22. While you’re busy looking for the perfect person, you’ll probably miss the imperfect person who could make you perfectly happy.
  23. Never do something permanently foolish just because you are temporarily upset.
  24. You can learn great things from your mistakes when you aren’t busy denying them. 
  25. In life, if you don’t risk anything, you risk everything.
  26. When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.
  27. Every single thing that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come.
  28. There isn’t anything noble about being superior to another person.  True nobility is in being superior to the person you once were.
  29. Trying to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.
  30. You will never become who you want to be if you keep blaming everyone else for who you are now.
  31. People are more what they hide than what they show.
  32. Sometimes people don’t notice the things others do for them until they stop doing them.
  33. Don’t listen to what people say, watch what they do.
  34. Being alone does not mean you are lonely, and being lonely does not mean you are alone.
  35. Love is not about sex, going on fancy dates, or showing off.  It’s about being with a person who makes you happy in a way nobody else can.
  36. Anyone can come into your life and say how much they love you.  It takes someone really special to stay in your life and show how much they love you.
  37. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie.  Don’t save it for a special occasion; today is special.
  38. Love and appreciate your parents.  We are often so busy growing up, we forget they are also growing old.
  39. When you have to start compromising yourself and your morals for the people around you, it’s probably time to change the people around you.
  40. Learn to love yourself first, instead of loving the idea of other people loving you.
  41. When someone tells you, “You’ve changed,” it might simply be because you’ve stopped living your life their way.
  42. Someone else doesn’t have to be wrong for you to be right.
  43. Be happy.  Be yourself.  If others don’t like it, then let them be.  Happiness is a choice.  Life isn’t about pleasing everybody.
  44. When you’re up, your friends know who you are.  When you’re down, you know who your friends are.
  45. Don’t look for someone who will solve all your problems; look for someone who will face them with you.
  46. If you expect the world to be fair with you because you are fair, you’re fooling yourself. That’s like expecting the lion not to eat you because you didn’t eat him.
  47. No matter how good or bad you have it, wake up each day thankful for your life.  Someone somewhere else is desperately fighting for theirs.
  48. The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.
  49. Many people are so poor because the only thing they have is money.
  50. Learn to appreciate the things you have before time forces you appreciate the things you once had.
  51. When you choose to see the good in others, you end up finding the good in yourself.
  52. You don’t drown by falling in the water.  You drown by staying there.
  53. It’s better to know and be disappointed than to never know and always wonder.
  54. There are things that we don’t want to happen but have to accept, things we don’t want to know but have to learn, and people we can’t live without but have to let go.
  55. Happiness is not determined by what’s happening around you, but rather what’s happening inside you.  Most people depend on others to gain happiness, but the truth is, it always comes from within.
  56. If you tell the truth, it becomes a part of your past.  If you lie, it becomes a part of your future.
  57. What you do every day matters more than what you do every once in a while. 
  58. You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading your last one.
  59. Things turn out best for people who make the best out of the way things turn out.
  60. If you don’t like something, change it.  If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.
Read it over and over again and see what a difference it will make in your life....

Monday, October 14, 2013

MAKING LIFE WORTH LIVING FOR STUDENTS

The one thing that has always got me to think is the question: Is there a purpose for our life on earth? The more I think the less I know the answer, as my thoughts take me deeper and deeper in a world without boundaries. I begin to think the reason why it is so difficult to be a true teacher and to make an honest impact on the life of people around us. To some extent the answer lies in our inability to manage our emotions and to walk the path of truth and righteousness. A path that requires us to think beyond self and the family we consider so dear to us. However, in my search for the right answers I have come across many instances where we are confronted with the duel reality of living a selfless life. You can hear the call of the divine but you are also pulled back by the call of earthly life and the false sense of pleasures it promises you. There is however, a greater cause that pulls me back into the same web of the unanswered questions of living life.

I find that most of us never spend any time thinking and pondering on the question of what is the purpose of life? and thus we are always stuck in the vicious cycle of a well defined materialistic world. I never say that one has to give up the material world. What is more relevant is the fact that how we can structure our material world to share the goodness of the divine bestowed on us for the welfare of those who are not so fortunate in life on earth. That is where my life as a teacher becomes different from the rest of the professions of the material world.

As a teacher the first principle is to try and live the life you would want others to follow. These is where the biggest challenge is faced by most teachers as they are good at giving advice but are very poor in themselves living a life as per their advice.  I believe that living a life based on a set of values is critical in changing the life of our students. Thus, as a teacher we will all need to live a life which can bring about a transformation both in the thinking and the actions of students around us. I am not saying that this is an easy task but in my experiments with students I have found that if you can demonstrate through your actions and thoughts the impact on students is visible. It is also true that all students know the difference between what is right or wrong but they have never thought about it when they actually act. So the most important part of helping students live a life with values is to train them in the art of introspection.

The ability of a student to learn the art of introspection should be the beginning of any training in value systems. The generation next has lost the ability to look inwards as it is conditioned by the world outside to such an extent that they have lost the ability to distinguish between the inner self and the outer self. I believe that as teachers we just need to start creating an island around us with life that should be experiential for our students. We also need to live a true teacher’s life that should be clearly visible to our student. Always remember, that how many values you can put in the heart and mind of the student is directly proportional to our own ability to live with those values.

All the best and happy reading. I welcome your comments and discussions on this blog.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

DON’T FOOL YOURSELF

If you love what you do then you will never have to work again in your life. You must be wondering why I am saying this.  Well I have a lot of interest in people and what makes them what they are in day-to-day life. There are a lot of people who are just damn lazy and will not do anything but want a salary every month so that they can provide for their families. They however, feel they are the smartest people on the planet earth and truly believe that their designs can never be known to anyone. They will pretend to work very hard but are hardly working. They have only one thing on their mind and that is to create wealth without work. They are normally characterized by the following traits. Please look around your workplace and see if you can identify them.

1.       Have a serious look at their Cvs and you will always find that it hides more than it reveals. They will say things that they can prove to you. I have done this and that and I am an expert in this and that. They are good at talking and know what the right things to say are, not that they will do those things. But once they are board the ship you can never find them doing any of the things that they claimed to have done on their Cvs.

 
2.       They will always praise the boss and have so much good to say in front of everyone. Don’t get fooled by this, it is only a way of trying to not get on the bad side of the big boss. They are used to living an artificial life but the truth begins to show up sooner than you can thin

 
3.       They tend to be a very bad influence on other co-workers. You can find them encouraging them not to work hard as it would put pressure on everyone else to match that effort and they would be seen in bad light.

 
4.       They like to grab designations and responsibilities but don’t like to do anything to further those responsibilities. The general tendency is for them to try and shift the work to a junior person and get the credit for themselves. They work like parasites by living on the work of others and will kill them when the need arises.
 

5.       These are normally people who do not have a conscious at all. The only thing that matters to them are is how I can keep my job by making the least efforts. This they will achieve by firing the gun from the shoulder of other people around.

Having understood this I want to focus on ourselves and how we can fool ourselves into believing that hard work does not pay. I believe based on my experience that hard work pays in the long-run. The only thing that is required is that we become true to ourselves as nothing is hidden from us.

A lot of people may give you lessons in living life, but hold and remember that if any person who says to you that don’t work hard as it puts pressure on everyone, can that person be your well wisher in the first place. Always remember that the one thing that they desire most is to always try and shift the focus of the superiors away from themselves and that can be achieved only when they can make sure that the focus is someone else.

My intent of writing this is to only make you aware of such people in the workplace. You should not fool yourself and believe that you can achieve much by not working hard. Life is going to be a drag for you and it will never take you the heights that you deserve to reach. So the only thing that you need to do is to listen to your inner voice. The answers to all you problems rest in that place and it’s for you to get the right answers.

Happy reading.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

MY TEACHING PHILOSOPHY

All of us choose our careers with a set of goals in mind. Some of these goals are material-related, intended to take care of our lifestyle desires or obligations. Other goals are people oriented, with humanistic purpose of primary importance. Teaching to me has always been and hopefully always be a people oriented profession. I believe that one must care a great deal about students to achieve excellence in our profession.
 
Many teachers underestimate the impact they have on students. At our best we can turn students on. Unfortunately, when we are not at our best, we can turn them off. We possess that kind of power.
 
As a teacher I believe that the first major component of good teaching is the quality of information presented to students. Despite the short-term appeal of an entertaining charismatic teacher, the long-term impact of a course depends on its substance. The curriculum is in a continuous state of flux; deleting, integrating, and extending course content is probably the most active dimension within instruction. I do not offer the same course twice; new information is introduced, goals are clarified, the reference list is revised, existing principles are modified by recent findings, links with surrounding disciplines are strengthened, and areas of application are extended. Good teaching calls for consistency among three basic aspects: defining the course objective, managing the classroom hour, and devising methods of testing and evaluation. These three basic aspects are a matter of fair play, and students should know from the beginning what standards are to be met by the end of the course.
 
Good teaching requires considerable preparation, not so much in practicing and rehearsing one’s style of presentation as in making out the substance of the talk, its pacing, the sequence of points, and their integration with the contents that preceded and those that will follow. Even so, I do not pretend to give the impression that I can control the direction of intellectual fixation for each student throughout the teaching period. I think that pacing is important because students are unlikely to understand topic B if they are still trying to understand topic A. I give them the opportunity to catch up with me.
 
Over the years, I have found that motivation is prerequisite to efficient learning, and good teaching transforms resistance to interest and sustains the curiosity that brought students into the course. I strongly feel that the management of motivation requires adjustments to the differences in student interest, aims and ambitions. I have tried to accomplish this by presenting the arguments, the evidence to illustrate the points being made, frequent use of examples, anecdotes, and personal speculations to stimulate students to construct their own bridges to test their ability to apply the principles to a specific event. My prime responsibility as a teacher is to help students advance from dependent memorization to independent thinking and problem solving.

Through the last 27 years of my teaching, I have found that frequent testing of students has certain advantages: it helps to sustain habits of study, it leads to a more reliable final grade, and it provides ample opportunity for me to make quantitative evaluations of student performance.
 
I do not pretend to be a therapist and the classroom is certainly not a clinic, but I recognize that turning to the teacher is an early option when a student wonders what went wrong and what to do about it. I have always provided sufficient time for students to hear and advise them on their anxieties, confusions, conflicts and tensions that are generated in the academic pressure chamber. Students have found me as a person whose judgment they can respect and whose confidence is trusted as counselor, mentor, and a friend. In counseling, I respect the student’s individuality, his special needs, and his right to accept or reject the information, advice, or assistance being offered.

Last, but by no means the least, is my ability to work with my colleagues. No institution can be efficient if there is a lack of common goals among the teachers. We as teachers have to recognize that if students win, we as teachers win.  

Monday, March 4, 2013

WORLD CLASS UNIVERSITY: A MIRAGE


Over the past few months I have met a lot of people from the field of academics & business and have heard a lot about building a world class university. In fact everyone in the private sector in India wants to build a world class university.  Sadly they don’t even understand what it takes to build such a university. They seem to feel as if it is something that is kept in a place and you can just go and get it and become a world class university. I do not feel that India’s private sector is still ready to build even a good university let alone a world class university. So what will it take for the private sector or even the government of India to build one such university? Although the basic foundations of building a world class university remain the same irrespective of whether it is public or private, in this piece I will focus on the private sector.

The private sector in India is in the field of education for the purpose of profit motive but unfortunately education that is driven only by profit motive cannot become world class. The basic foundation on which universities are built by private sector in India are flawed and ridden with too much baggage to start with. The investments made are too small to lead to the creation of a great university. Most private universities start with 20 to 30 acres of land and a few buildings with no endowment funds to meet the start-up cost or the operating cost of the university for the first few years. Since they are self financed universities, they have to rely on the fees collected from the students as their only source of income in absence of any endowment funds. The pressure to get as many students as possible to generate a revenue flow leads to lower quality of student intake and the cycle of decline gets planted on day one of its operation. I think this is the worst thing to start with if the objective is to build a world class university.

We have to remember that world class universities are built by hardcore academicians and not by business men. Great universities have a great vision for high quality education which always translates into high quality students and faculty members. The academic orientation of the university is lost as soon as the above condition is overlooked for the short-term financial gain of a few hundred thousand rupees or the inability to travel the difficult road ahead.

The inability to pump in sufficient funds leads to cost cutting to the extent that quality of education gets compromised. There is a tendency to hire faculty who are willing to work for low salaries and that brings in the second wave of problems for the university. It is true that there is a shortage of good faculty in India but this is also true to the rest of the world as well. But the private sector many times is not looking for high quality faculty, they are looking at faculty who can teach and reduce the cost of delivery of the degree programs. A new cycle of incompetency breeds incompetency sets into the administrative system of the university and an overall decline begins to take place.

Then all of a sudden the corporate office of the promoting business begins to feel that they can do a better job than the people from the field of academics and they descend on to the university like a swarm of bees. They question everything as they have no idea of how and what academics is all about. Businesses have a tendency to bring all that is bad in the field of business to the university. They start with the assumption that everyone is dishonest. This is a big mistake, people in the field of academics are largely still the most honest people. They slowly begin to make all the decisions but will always find someone who they can shift all the blame when things go wrong. Such a practice leads to a culture of mistrust between the management and the academic community. Loss of faith leads to departure of the good academicians from the university as they would not waste their time and energy in a cause that is not their cup of tea.

Added to this is what I call the “I KNOW IT ALL SYNDROME”. This is a bad situation for university administration where the academic community begins to get treated as clerks and every morning and evening they have to report as to what they have accomplished today and the task for the next day is assigned. This is happening in many universities even today. Teachers are given the feeling that they are not working as they are always seen reading books. What a tragedy that enhancement of knowledge is not considered as work. There is a complete loss of autonomy of the university and quality takes a back seat.

So what should be done to create a world class university in India?

1.       The amounts of resources that are required to create world class universities are too high and there is no quick return on it. In India if a world class university is to come up it will require a land area of about 400 acres with construction cost of about Rs. 500 crore and an endowment of Rs. 500 crore.

 
2.       The management of the university has to rest in the hands of a very active board where members of the board are concerned about the future of the university and not being in the good books of the promoters. This is very unlikely as most board members are just show pieces used for decoration.
 

3.       There has to be a very strong base of national and international faculty who has interest in teaching, research and academic administration. Unfortunately this type of faculty is becoming a rare breed in India and more so in the private sector.
 

4.       There has to be complete autonomy to the university and it should not be controlled by the corporate office of the promoting business house. This is a very expensive gamble that almost all private universities get involved with. Great Universities run on clearly defined systems and processes but they cannot be geared to the whims and fancies of the promoting company.

 
5.       The culture of Great Universities is that of intellectual freedom. They all have a secular character and are open to debates and differences in the though process. Every idea has a place in the university system. Thus world class universities cannot be built on a set ideology as that restricts the ability to create new knowledge.
 

6.       Teaching institutions can never become world class universities. Research and creation of new knowledge is an important aspect in the life of a world class university.
 

Happy Reading: Would love to have your comments and views…

Friday, February 8, 2013

TIME TO SAY GOODBYE….


College life is something that we all think of as we grow and learn the lessons of life the hard way. But it is also true that many a times we begin to think of those times when that one teacher in college who has had such an impact on you as a person. This blog is dedicated on such teacher during my college days that had an influence on my thinking and did contribute in some may to who I am today.

Recently I had an opportunity to visit my home town Allahabad. Much before my plans were being made I had started feeling like meeting one of my teachers of college days. He was young those days and was a brilliant scholar who was able to connect with the students. His great quality was that he could touch the students at their heart and make a difference.

I reached Allahabad and met some of my old friends of college days. I asked them about the teacher and no one had a clue about him nor had any one visited him for a long time. But I continued to enquire and search for him and finally I decided to take two of my friends and go on a search for him in the most possible areas around the University residences. I was finally able to locate his house and asked a person standing out that I wanted to meet him. I was taken to a house and told that he lives here. A person came out of the house and told me that he does not meet anyone anymore. I told that please tell him that an old students of his has come to see him. The person returned after may be talking to him and told that he will see you. I was taken to a room where he was lying on a bed with all hospital equipment attached to his body. The room looked like a hospital room and the feel of the hospital was there. Many packets of medicines were lying on his bed and the table on which a dialysis machine was placed.

When I entered the room he looked at me but I am sure he did not recognize me as it was about 30 years since I had last seen him. I walked to his bed side and sat on the chair near the head side of the bed along with my friends who sat next to me. Slowly he moved his hand and took my hands in his as I told him who I was. Holding my hand he just closed his eyes and tears started to roll. He did not say anything for about 15 min and there was complete silence in the room. He just held on to my hand through out as if to say..just stay here and don’t leave me like this. I felt that he was scared that if he leaves my hand I will leave the room. Then his eyes opened and he looked at me and said I heard that you have become a Vice Chancellor of a University. I said yes that is true and he said this the day for which we as teachers live. To see our students reach new heights that we were never able to achieve. Then we talked of the old days and how life was in those days. As the conversation moved he started becoming very emotional and at one point looked at me still holding my hand and said “I Don’t Want to Live anymore”. He said that I am so happy to see you and to know that you have made so much progress in life. I did not know how to respond to such a situation and I told him that you will be fine and things will return to normal soon. He said “whatever I had to give to this world I have given to you all and now it is your work that will continue to make me live a new life”. Always treat your students the way I treated you all and that is all I want to leave for you all who have been my students.

Time was running out and we had already spent over 90 min and it was time to leave. He looked at us and said I know you have to go now and do other things.  He said I don’t know if I will see you again so it is a good time to say goodbye and he slowly pulling his hand away from my hand as if he was slipping in his sleep with his eyes closed and the tears started to roll again. I had tears in my eyes as I walked passed his bed and out of the room giving a last look at him from the door to say may you have the best in the next life for having given me so much of yourself.

When I reflect back on that day I still feel the vibrations in that room, the joy of seeing me and the sorry of departing, it makes me think this is life in its true sense. So were ever we are no matter how difficult the situations has been, it is good to help one and all.

MAHA KUMBH: THE TWO FACES OF INDIA


I recently had an opportunity to be at the Maha Kumbh Mela at Prayag (Allahabad). It is the world largest human gathering in one place with millions of people assembled at the SANGAM, the confluence of the three rivers of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. It was a sight to see and digest the enormity of the spiritual and religious significance of the place itself. One is spell bound by the extent to which the eyes can see the spread of the place and people having the holy dip in the river. One is able to see a massive makeshift city with all possible arrangements for the devotees and visitors from ordinary people to the VVIPs, from small Sadhus to high profile saints, from self proclaimed God men to religious leaders, all for the purpose of salvation and a better life.

Although, I had a better understanding of what triggers people in India and the masses who are looking for something to hold on to and be able to create an identity for them self, there is something more interesting that I noticed and that is the two real faces of India. The divide is so apparent that you cannot miss it. At one end of the river there is so much glory and at the other end there is so much misery and poverty that is visible.

The disparity in India is not just restricted to economic and social disparity, we also find that even at the place of God there are the haves and the have not’s and they all are served by the middlemen who are the path to reach God.

At one end of the river which is the new area in the Mela are located, the shivirs of the great saints who serve the interests of the rich and the powerful. They are the intermediaries between the rich and God. These include the likes of Swami of Parmarth Niketan, Shri Shri Ravi Shankar, Asharam Bapu, Murari Bapu and a lot more of the same stature. Their following consist of the people from the upper strata of Indian society with most of them having followers from the international community as well. The photograph above is one such camp where the high and the mighty visit throughout the day and night. They have very good accommodation for their VIP guests, and they are treated like kings. I can’t say that their camps are not open to those from the lower strata of society but none are visible around the place. The camps are guarded by state police personnel with guns, may be they are there to protect the VVIPs who are coming in their fancy cars with red lights flashing all along throughout the day. Special arrangements are made for the VIPs to visit the Sangam and all doors are open for them.

What a way to reach God, the easy way for some. These camps are a true reflection of the divisions in our society. The other interesting part of this side of the river is that they are all so concerned about the poor and want to do so much for them. I guess that is how they get donations to expand their religious empires. It is like many of our National socialites, who have NGOs through which they help the poor. In the name of the poor they have misused the funds to their advantage. Having said this, I want my readers to understand that I am not putting anyone down or hurting the sentiments of anyone; this is just my own reflection of what I have seen and felt. It is my way to saying what I see in the Kumbh Mela is a true reflection of our society and that even in the house of God we have a divide that is visible. I hope God is witness to this type of event. Is this the kind of religion and spirituality that we want to embrace?

The other side of the River is another story, this is where Bharat lives. These are the millions who are shivering in the cold around fire burning with food being cooked in small makeshift tents. There are no red light flashing cars, in fact everyone seems to be on foot. There is water all over and people walking through them, there are no red or green carpets all over. These are just ordinary people of Bharat who also want a place in the house of God. Their middlemen are the small time Sadhus and babas who are a reflection of the community they serve.

What a contrast and how ever religion has not been left from the reality of the haves and the have not’s. This is my India, a country of so much diversity in field of social, economic and religion. But a Nations that is held together through a tight tope called spirituality and trust me there is still true happiness on this side of the river Ganges.