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Fear, Begone!

In Articles on November 9, 2011 at 10:43 am

By: Salini Johnson, India

It is written in white on an olive green background board erected at Nathula Pass, traversing the Old Silk Route, that, “Sleep peacefully at your homes, Indian Army is guarding the frontiers”. The first time I saw this, instead of feeling reassured, I was perplexed. Why should we be scared of our neighbours? Granted that there are physical, cultural and geographical differences between various groups of people living in varied regions of the globe, but these are purely evolutionary variations. In essence, we are all made of flesh and blood and, as far as a rational mind can see, we all are children of Mother Earth meant to coexist peacefully. Then why is Man so intent on securing his ‘borders’ day and night?

The shortest answer to this question would be ‘fear’. Aristotle once wisely said, “Fear is pain arising from the anticipation of evil.” Over centuries, mankind has forgotten to feel true fraternity. Our eyes have turned blind to who our true brothers are. If the colour of the skin of a fellow being is not the same as ours, we demarcate our land from theirs and proudly proclaim the divide as our ’border’. Then under the pretext of granting him the title of our ‘esteemed neighbour’, we single him out as our enemy. We are scared of what our neighbour is about to do. Similarly seeing us conniving against him, this poor fellow too gets scared. In the end, we eye each other as potential foes in private while we exchange handshakes and sugar-coated words in public. As time and technology progress, we build complex defence equipments to ‘defend’, even if the poor of our nations are starving to death by the minute.

We would go to any extent to guard our ‘borders’ against impending attacks – commission great scientific minds to split atoms when they ought to be eradicating the nation’s food crisis; form the armed forces, one each for land, water and air, and so on. We devise more and more such imprudent plans and set aside a chunk of our revenue as ‘defence expenditure’. It is as if we are restraining ourselves from being friendly to one’s own friend. All this hard work accomplish nothing but in aiding to mount up the tension, until one day it reaches its zenith and the most disgusting trait of humankind reveals itself in the form of War. In War, a man finds himself unable to recognize one of his own. He revels in destruction and despair until finally, he is forced to wave the white flag and beg for peace. The same man, who did not think twice about pulling the trigger on his brethren, now laments his lost dear ones in the aftermath of his own brainchild, War.

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URBAN LIFE vs. RURAL LIFE By N. Sivaranjini

In Articles on September 23, 2008 at 11:32 pm

 

The father of our nation, Mahatma Gandhi, once said that the villages were the heart of our country. But with the advent of globalization the pulse of our fast growing economy runs through the cities.

In the early eighties and nineties, if you had asked a wayfarer the names of major Indian cities, his answer would have been: Delhi, Bombay, Madras & Calcutta. However with the turn of the millennium the answer has expanded to include new names.

With the arrival of the IT, cities have turned into a fast multiplying species. As for the heartbeats of our country, the villages, well let’s just say that they are endangered now. The growing gulf between the rich & the poor has now turned into the gulf between the city dwellers & the rural immigrants.

So what are the advantages of the urban life, the so-called ‘high life’?? One of the merits of living in a city is that there are numerous ways to survive. From rag-picking to fashion designing to picking pockets, there is a mind-boggling variety of jobs. Therefore it is easier to find food & clothing. However, other amenities like shelter & sanitation often take a back seat.

For a person living in a city everyday is an assault on the senses.The exhaust is so thick that the air boils like a soup. Life in a seaside-city isn’t an option either for the only time most people get anywhere near the sea is for an hour on Sunday evening on a filthy beach with the rest of the populace. It doesn’t stop when one is asleep for the night brings in mosquitoes out of sewage-clogged water-bodies to your home.

The cost of living in a city is very high. The ‘high ‘income one earns is partly or fully utilized to provide the barest necessities. Though people living in the footpath may have to combat the police and drunk drivers to survive, those living in a fancy apartment in the same street are not spared either. The moment you step into such a place you would have to pay a lump sum as apartment maintenance. If you have a car, what better excuse to charge extra for parking for fuel? Thus, the fast life of the city promotes stress, tension and frustration. For those without yoga classes and aromatherapy the options are limited- complete burnout or suicide.

After all this, rural life seems so relaxed…the clean air….the greenery… what a way to cool the mind! But reality beckons us. 70% of a rural economy is agrarian. Rural workers are seasonally unemployed. Often there are three people working in a job meant for one i.e. disguised unemployment.

The bitter truth is that villages offer very little job opportunities. Poor nonstructural development has marred the development of health and other such sectors.

However, property rates in rural areas are not very high and they are not overcrowded. Once you gain the acceptance of the conservative community you can actually lead a happy life in a brick house with two mango trees and a view of the hills.

Though deforestation and pollution may accompany the urbanization of the planet, it too has its silver linings. When people move to cities, per capita incomes rise. On a larger scale, this shows that international emigration is one of the best ways to tackle poverty. Migrants ensure that money is spent efficiently by their families. In many places up to 66% of income remittances go to rural areas, a classic example of self-help.

Today we have enough money, food, resource and technology to rid the world of hunger and poverty. It is just that some key people have to make up their minds. The Planning commission of India must therefore work efficiently to meet the needs of both the urban & rural population.

As a parting note, we can say that though urban life is advantageous, rural life does have its merits. With proper development of infrastructure even rural areas can become as good as urban areas.

As for now, let me just turn off the lights, the electricity bill might shoot up…

 

By

N. Sivaranjini

XII B

 

(LibZine Literary Prize 2008 Entry)

 

THE NICE HACKERS By Abhilash Panigrahi

In Articles on September 23, 2008 at 11:30 pm

Most people think of hackers as computer criminals. But, call a real hacker a criminal and believe me, he would do more than lose his temper. Hackers are not computer criminals. Why do people think of hackers as criminals? The media is responsible. The media projects hackers as computer vandals who damage system files and release viruses. And people tend to believe everything the media projects.

Traditionally, hackers were computer geeks who knew almost everything about computers (both hardware and software) and were widely respected for their wide array of knowledge. But over the years, the reputation of the hackers has been steadily going down. Today, they are feared by most people and are looked upon as icons representing the underground community of our population.

Hackers know almost everything about the way software or an application works. They have this unusual habit of finding out the ways of doing the impossible.? They do not accept software applications in the form they are meant to be in. They debug code and use trial and error methods to discover new things. They do try to break into systems but have the decency not to cause damage or steal passwords, credit-card info etc., but instead they report the vulnerability to the system administrator and help him fix the problem. They try to break free from the restrictions and discover new hidden features.

From this we see that hacking is all about knowledge, far from what most people think of them as ?crime activities?. However there is thin line between a ? hacker? (the nice guys) and a ? cracker? (the not-so-nice guys) and not many can resist the temptation of crossing it. The reason why most ? so-called-hackers? cross this thin line is that they want quick popularity. They do so but fail to understand that this popularity is not respect but hatred.

Let me tell you an example which will lead you to the right direction of choosing between ?hacker? and ?cracker?.

There was a 13 year old hacker in the US who with his other hacker friend used to relish programming and hacking. They always enjoyed breaking into each other’s system and proving their superiority. They were both immensely intelligent and had perfect mind needed for business.

These geeks too could have crossed the ?line? and become crackers and do all sorts of stupid things, in effect ruin their lives. But fortunately for them, and also fortunately for us, they did nothing of that sort. Today we know these two kids as Bill Gates and Paul Allen. Both of them as most us know are practically zillionaires.

So guys, it must be clear which direction to choose from here. Either be a ?cracker? become famous among the smaller parts of the society i.e. the underground world, or become ?hacker? and become famous among the much larger part of the society.

So I end it saying:

 

BE A HACKER!!!! NOT A CRACKER!!!!

 

By

Abhilash Panigrahi

Class: IX-A

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PARENTS IN EDUCATIONAL ACHIEVEMENTS By Smt.. J. Santhakumary

In Articles on March 31, 2008 at 1:34 pm

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Home is the first school and parents the first teachers of a child- it is a well- established truth. The role of parents is equally important when a child grows and attends school and thereafter. The most important agency that contributes the most towards the development of human personality is the Home. Home is the most primary and fundamental agency of education because the first steps of education begin here.

Parents have an important role to play in the educational achievements of their wards. All the hurdles, which stand, as hindrances in the way of educational improvements have to be removed and children must be put on the right track through insistence, persuasion, advice, and guidance and by providing an inspiring and conducive atmosphere for studies at home.

What must be done at Home Level?

Text Book Reading must be encouraged and made compulsory. Children must be encouraged to make better use of their textbooks for effective learning.

Now-a-days children do not seem to have the required patience to read their textbooks. Instead they prefer to mug up the prepared notes from guidebooks. This is a great drawback and an undesirable trend.

Textbook reading is very essential for the long term, permanent and all round improvement of the children. Children must be habituated to textbook reading. Textbook reading must become a part of their daily programme of learning.

Children must be encouraged to make better use of their textbooks for learning. Textbook reading helps them in many ways. It helps them to acquire fluency in reading, broadens their outlook and provides first hand information. It develops vocabulary, improves spellings and the ability to comprehend. It helps to improve perception, expression and develops linguistic ability.

Hence, parents must insist their children to read their textbooks every day since that alone can reduce many problems in education.

Discourage the use of guidebooks

Children are found using guidebooks to the complete neglect of their textbooks. This is an undesirable tendency. Use of guidebooks for learning, even from the primary classes, restricts certain necessary improvements in children.

Guidebooks discourage textbook reading. They provide children with brief prepared notes and make them lazy to read the textbooks.

When a child reads his textbook for learning, various intellectual activities take place in the process; for example he reads, understands, thinks, comprehends, critically examines, identifies questions and answers, prepares notes by himself. These intellectual activities bring phenomenal development in the child, which he can never gain by the mere exercise of mugging up the prepared notes.

Parents must discourage the use of guidebooks by students, at all levels.

Home environment must be conducive for effective self learning

Teaching is not mere spoon- feeding. It is the student who is to learn and that he has to do by himself. Whatever the child learns during a day from the teacher, he must read at home for effective learning.

Parents must ensure that their wards are getting peaceful, quiet, undisturbed atmosphere devoid of other distractions to enable them to make a comprehensive self-study at home.

General Readings must be given sufficient attention and importance.

Parents should see that their wards are reading enough general informative and other useful books and magazines of educative value to improve their general knowledge and general awareness.

This is very essential to widen the horizon of their knowledge and also to make them fit enough to compete in the various entrance and competitive examinations.

Encourage them to listen to the daily newscasts from the Radio and Television.

Regular listening to the newscasts helps language improvement. It helps to improve vocabulary and expression besides keeping the listener abreast of time.

Encourage them to read Newspapers daily.

Newspaper reading must be encouraged and made a part of their schedule of work. This practice helps the children to gain fluency in reading, develops vocabulary, improves expression, inculcates reading habits, and develops linguistic ability besides providing up-to-date information.

Hence, parents must make children read newspapers daily.

Parental attention and follow-up action from the lower classes onwards.

By the time the children reach higher classes, say class X, they ought to have attained certain level proficiencies and competencies. At least they must have gained fluency in reading, comprehensive ability, and verbal expression.

Parents must pay proper attention to the child’s learning from the grass root level or from the lower classes onwards. Giving attention to their studies only in the higher classes or at the time when they have to face the Board examination will not have the desired effect. It is like attending to the crop at the time of harvest or like pouring water over an inverted vessel.

Parent- teacher contact at regular intervals.

Parents must frequently meet teachers to know about the level of learning and performance of their children. This will help the parents to know the area of academic weakness and other problems of their wards and can take follow-up action accordingly. The child also may then become more responsible towards studies.

• Help them develop positive attitude to all the subjects.

Students, now -a –days, develop a negative attitude to certain subjects, thinking that these subjects are not required for higher classes or for further studies. This attitude is dangerous as it makes them neglect the study of these vast and important subjects.

Hence, parents must advise the children to give equal importance to all the subjects. They must see that all the subjects are included in the daily schedule of learning.

• Encourage judicious use of Television and other facilities connected to it.


Television is useful only if we use it with discretion. The uses and abuses of Television depend on how one uses it. Most of the modern children spend their precious time before television watching only sports and other entertainment programmes. Even if we force them to go to the next room to study, they are not mentally prepared for a comprehensive study.

They may physically be found learning, but no real learning takes place in that sound polluted distracting environment. Days, months, years go like this, what else can we expect other than deterioration in the field of educational achievements? Modern man cannot discard these facilities. But let us learn how to live with these facilities, without affecting the educational accomplishments of our children.

• Help them properly manage the limited time among studies , games and entertainments.

These are days of distractions; one can utilize his time in any manner he likes. There are enough activities to engage him. Children may not have that much practical wisdom to properly divide the limited time among studies, games and entertainments. Too much time for entertainments and games means too less time for studies and general readings which will surely, affect their educational achievements.

Hence parents must make the children aware of the value of time and help them make a judicious distribution of it.
• Private Tuition classes in addition to the regular normal classes at school too have adverse effect on the children.\This keeps the children bound up in tuition classes as well as at school from early morning to late evening without any respite for rest or quiet self- study at home. Overburdening and overtaxing the children make them overtired and unfit to pursue any meaningful self- study at home. This may also lead to some kind of mental stress, confusion and negative attitudes. \u003cbr\u003e\n\u003cbr\u003e\n• Encourage louder reading in children.\u003cbr\u003e\n Louder reading enables the children to quickly grasp the contents. Environmental distractions will not distract their attention and it helps to converge their entire attention on what they read. Even other members, who listen to their reading, can correct the errors which they make while reading.• Impress upon them the importance of Prayer. Prayer is very important in one’s life. All virtues start from prayer and it makes one disciplined. It keeps one away from evil thoughts and evil actions. Since this is the character formation period of one’s life, this is also the best time to induct such good habits.• Help them to develop better attitudes. Now a days most of the children are found more passive, lazy, indifferent, irresponsible, easy-going, etc. in their attitudes. Most of them are not prepared for serious studies or to exert hard work to improve their performance. Parents must diagnose this change and do the needful to mould their personality and to make them better and responsible citizens. Help them to inculcate such values as love, kindness, sympathy, compassion, courtesy, truthfulness, tolerance, humility, politeness, obedience, respect, etc. The individual student has to be alert, active, perseverant and vigilant to the goals that have been set for him to achieve in education. He cannot afford to be slack, aimless or indifferent and indecisive. He has got to be all vigilant, conscious and hard working. He has to strive, sweat, toil work hard, keep awake and above all undergo the requisite penance for making steady, sustained and worthwhile progress in the achievement of his ever expanding educational accomplishments to the maximum degree possible.”,


• Private Tuition classes in addition to the regular normal classes at school too have adverse effect on the children.

This keeps the children bound up in tuition classes as well as at school from early morning to late evening without any respite for rest or quiet self- study at home. Overburdening and overtaxing the children make them overtired and unfit to pursue any meaningful self-study at home. This may also lead to some kind of mental stress, confusion and negative attitudes.

• Encourage louder reading in children.

Louder reading enables children to quickly grasp the contents. Environmental distractions will not distract their attention and it helps to converge their entire attention on what they read. Even other members, who listen to their reading, can correct the errors, which they make while reading.

• Impress upon them the importance of Prayer.

Prayer is very important in one’s life. All virtues start from prayer and it makes one disciplined. It keeps one away from evil thoughts and evil actions. Since this is the character formation period of one’s life, this is also the best time to induct such good habits.

• Help them develop better attitudes.

Now a days most of the children are found more passive, lazy, indifferent, irresponsible, easy-going, etc. in their attitudes. Most of them are not prepared for serious studies or to exert hard work to improve their performance.

Parents must diagnose this change and do the needful to mould their personality and to make them better and responsible citizens.


Help them inculcate such values as love, kindness, sympathy, compassion, courtesy, truthfulness, tolerance, humility, politeness, obedience, respect, etc.

The individual student has to be alert, active, perseverant and vigilant to the goals that have been set for him to achieve in education. He cannot afford to be slack, aimless or indifferent and indecisive. He has got to be all vigilant, conscious and hard working. He has to strive, sweat, toil work hard, keep awake and above all undergo the requisite penance for making steady, sustained and worthwhile progress in the achievement of his ever-expanding educational accomplishments to the maximum degree possible.

It is the triangular effort of Students, Teachers and Parents that help in the educational achievements of students. Each and every parent can contribute immensely to the development of his progeny through his own exemplary life.

Smt. J. Santhakumary

P.G.T.(Economics),Shift I

MY BEAUTY by Mrs. Lily Luke

In Articles on January 28, 2008 at 1:59 pm

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My Beauty?

 A few petals on a drooping stalk –that is what remains of a rose in my garden. Days ago, this rose was resplendent with its soft petals, its fresh hue and profusion of fragrance. Still I feel the moisture of the silver drops and the rich aroma it exuded .Why I dote upon this withered rose who after the demonstration of its grandeur is dying -I do not know .For sometime I am in a haven of serenity, away from the feverish and frantic pursuits .I pause to ponder….                    

 A sudden revelation strikes me and I start sensing the pulse of the universal beauty in this rose. A’nt I also a part of this Infinite beauty? Yes, certainly I am. What is my beauty? My beauty is when I am an instrument of the Almighty .It is the inflow of the eternal essence in my mortal shell.         

     I check this inflow of the Infinite beauty in me many times and I cease to be an instrument .For I am a rich man ;I wear rich clothes, I eat richer food and I have the richest company .A scorn twists my handsome face when I see a toiler sweating by his backbreaking toil. Then I slacken more in my posh cozy bed, thinking myself to be made for aristocratic leisure  .The inflow of the Infinite, I check with my ‘ HAVES’ and I fail to see the gleam of the almighty that shines in the toiler.              My gardener nurtures the plants and flowers in my courtyard with love and tenderness .He is really an artist who sees a world in a grain of sand and a heaven in a flower .I am deliberately forgetful about his happiness of creations and that he has more affinity with the Super Being. I am aware I am still wistful in my palatial bungalow and I consciously ignore that he enjoys contentment in his ramshackle hut.               My driver struggles hard to make both ends meet. But he helps a blind beggar across the road. He indulges in charity within his means while I grudge a small coin to a beggar. Many a time do I call him a zero, without knowing he is near to the same but by another name, a circle having the absoluteness of the Absolute while I am only an arc. 

                        The frail withered rose opens my eyes. My opulence is now null and void. When I ransack for my beauty I fall into the abyss of my nothingness .The beauty of the freckle faced toiler, the lean and lank gardener and the downtrodden driver aggravates my emptiness………..

By

Mrs. Lily Luke, TGT(English)