Monthly Archives: JULY 2017
Singing Vande Mataram mandatory across offices and educational institutions: Madras HC
The Madras high court on Tuesday made singing Vande Mataram compulsory in all government schools, colleges and universities in Tamil Nadu at least once a week "preferably on Monday or Friday” in the "larger public interest and to instil a sense of patriotism in each and every citizen of the state”.
The court also ruled that the national song must be played and sung in all government offices and institutions, private companies, factories and industries at least once a month.
Observing that the youth of this country are the future of tomorrow, Justice M V Muralidharan expressed hope that the order is taken in the right spirit and implemented in letter and spirit by the citizenry. Noting that if people had difficulties singing the song in Bengali or Sanskrit, the court also directed the Director of Public Information to upload the translated version of Vande Mataram in Tamil and English on government websites and social media handles.
However, the judge made it clear that in the event, any person/organisation has difficulty in singing or playing the song, they shall not be compelled or forced to sing it, provided there are valid reasons for not doing so.
Several Muslim organisations have opposed compulsory singing of the national song on grounds that it goes against the tenets of their religion.
The Supreme Court is also hearing a petition asking the Centre to make the singing of Vande Mataram mandatory in all educational institutions. The top court in April gave the Centre four weeks to reply and the next date of hearing is scheduled for August 25.
The court’s decision came on a plea by one K Veeramani who failed to clear a test conducted by the Teachers Training Board by one mark. The petitioner stated that he scored 89 marks, one mark short of the 90 required to qualify for consideration for the post of BT Assistant. He further contended that he lost out on the opportunity because he answered ‘Bengali’ to a question on the language of Vande Mataram.
However, the petitioner contended in court that he had read in many books that the song was written in Bengali and that the Teachers Recruitment Board had erred by saying in its answer key that the song was in Sanskrit. The government, on the other hand, contended that the song was originally written in Sanskrit and was later translated in Bengali.
To clear the ambiguity, the judge directed the Advocate General to find out the right answer. On July 13, when the plea came up for hearing the AG clarified that the original language of 'Vande Mataram' was Sanskrit but written in Bengali script.
The judge ordered the recruitment board to award one mark to Veeramani so that he could qualify for the post, as per its guidelines. The petitioner should be inducted as a teacher within four weeks, the court ruled.
JNU V-C wants tank on campus to remind students of army’s sacrifices
Vice Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) M Jagadesh Kumar on Sunday asked Union ministers to help the university procure an army tank which can be put up on display in the campus, so that students can be reminded of the sacrifices and valour of soldiers.
Kumar called on the Minister of State for External Affairs General VK Singh to help the University procure a tank.
"Would like to request VK Singh ji to help us procure an Army tank so that we can put it on display in the university. Presence of an Army tank will constantly remind students of great sacrifice and valor of Indian Army and defence forces," said Kumar.
Kumar was speaking at the first ever celebration of Kargil Vijay Diwas on the JNU campus, organised by the university administration and Veterans India. Besides Singh, Minister of state for petroleum and natural gas Dharmendra Pradhan, cricketer Gautam Gambhir, Major General (retd) G D Bakshi and author Rajiv Malhotra were part of the event, which began with a Tiranga March from the main gate to the Convention Centre, carrying a 2,200 foot-long tricolor.
Addressing the gathering, Pradhan said, "The JNU has set an example in the country for its respect for the Indian Army. I congratulate the JNU V-C for organising this kind of historic event. It is a proud day for every citizen of the country."
Major General (retd) GD Bakshi termed JNU as a "new and transformed campus”. Taking a jibe at the Left-leaning students in JNU he said, "See how we turned things around. We want to make them understand how people in the Army lay down their lives. Last year, what happened at JNU was a clear show of shamelessness by separatist forces.”
The demand however came into criticism with Samajwadi Party (SP) and Communist Party of India (CPI) on Monday strongly criticising the demand made by V-C. SP leader Naresh Agarwal said that it was strange to have people of such mentality.
Agarwal told ANI, "It’s strange to have people of such mentality. How would Army’s tank be an inspiration?”
CPI (M) leader D Raja said that the JNU V-C should be instead demanding the instillation of the renowned mathematician Aryabhatta, as it would convey some message. "I don’t know what he thinks of JNU. It is the country’s number one institution. It is not the army’s station. He should demand the installation the renowned mathematician Aryabhatta’s statue. It would at least convey some message,” he said.
Kumar, however, has defended his statement by saying the tank will represent JNU's strong association with India's defence institutions.
The rally, a first of its kind on the JNU campus, comes over a year after the February, 9, 2016 event in which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised and students of the university, including its then students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar, were arrested on charges of sedition.
Once forced to quit education & beg, this cabbie now runs two schools and an orphanage
One day, at the age of seven, Gazi Jallaluddin thought he was having the best day of his life.
Skipping all the way home, with a heart about to explode with joy, he bursts into the door to break the news to his family that he had topped his class in school.
But, the world beyond that door had a starkly different vibe; his family was living in a grim parallel reality. "My father had no money, and told me that I will have to leave school,” recounts Gazi.
Gazi’s father was a farmer in Thakurchak village, located in the Sundarbans, West Bengal. He just had a quarter acre of land, which did not give enough yield to return even the inputs, sometimes leaving the family starving for days. Hoping for better prospects—maybe one meal every day—the family moved to Kolkata. However, Gazi’s father was unwell and no one would hire him. Before long, Gazi ended up begging in the streets of Kolkata.
A few years later Gazi started pulling a rickshaw on the streets of the city, and it is when the dream of educating children of his village kindled inside him. In 1977, then 18-year-old Gazi learnt to drive a taxi.
But, troubled by the thoughts of children succumbing to abject poverty and unable to wait any longer to start turning their lives around, he immediately formed a committee back in the Sundarbans. He named it "Sunderban driving committee,” and identified about 10 underprivileged young boys as members. "I told them I will teach them how to drive and get them jobs, and in turn, they must pledge five rupees from their salaries every month, and furthermore teach and educate two more kids, who will also become members and educate two more. The donations collected will be given to any child who does not have the means to join school,” he explains.
There are now around 400 such young men from Joynagar driving taxis in Kolkata.
In addition to this initiative, Gazi also started asking his passengers if they wanted to donate books, medicines or old clothes for destitute villagers. Many people did do so and Gazi made sure they reached needy people in the village. Many kids who, like Gazi, had to leave studies due to lack of money to buy books were able to study again with his help.
He wanted to do more and expand his project further. He did everything he could think of. "I asked lot of people in my village if they can donate some land to build a school, but no one agreed, few even laughed at me."
Refusing to give up hope, Gazi had to make do with whatever he had. He setup classes in his own house and spread the word. He personally urged his fellow villagers to send their kids to the school. Initially no one was interested because they didn’t see how it could make a difference in the long term.
"They were not ready to send their kids, especially girls to school. I explained to them how they have to run back to the doctor or a literate person to read even simplest things, like how to take medicines. Even urgent letters went unread until someone could be found to decipher them,” he says.
But in 1998, Gazi’s efforts started paying off. He started ‘Ismail Israfil Free Primary School’ (named after his two sons). The school started with 22 students and 2 teachers. By 2012, he managed to build 12 classrooms, 2 washrooms and a mid-day meal with donations offered by his passengers and his savings.
He got helped from 2 of his passengers in buying a land, some took responsibility to pay to the teachers, while some helped with the mid day meal. In 2009, with all helping hands, he built his 2nd school ‘Sundarban Sikshayatan Mission’, in Purv Thakurchak, Sundarban.
It was during this time he realised that many of the students were orphans and despite wanting to help them, he couldn’t do anything because of the dearth of resources.
Gazi’s efforts slowly started getting recognised all over the state, and it eventually helped him to give wings to another ambition of building an orphanage which finally came into being in 2016 as the Sundarban Orphanage Mission. He arranges all the residential requirements of these orphans by saving money from his earning and help received by those who donated. Despite several humble pleas to the government nobody has come up to offer him any help.
Gazi is proud of what he does. "Now my two sons are also driving taxis, and they help me to support the cause of the deprived children in Sunderbans. I personally ask donors to become lifetime members of the Sunderban Orphanage and Social Welfare Trust and participate with me in my journey,” says Gazi.
Book fairies are dropping books on the Delhi Metro. You can find one if you look close enough
If you travel in the Delhi metro, you know how every commuters' eyes are glued to their smartphones and tablets. A couple from Delhi is working to encourage metro-travelers to put down the tabs and pick up a book, and quite literally at that.
A Delhi couple is trying to share their love of reading with their fellow metro riders by leaving books in metro trains and metro stations. Called 'Books on the Delhi Metro,' the non-profit project was started a month ago by Shruti Sharma, a writer, and Tarun Chauhan, a civil engineer.
Last year, actress Emma Watson left copies of her favourite book on the New York City subway to encourage reading among people and that's what inspired Shruti to kickstart a similar initiative here in Delhi.
Books on the Delhi Metro is the Delhi branch of the umbrella movement, Books on the Move started by Hollie Fraser and Rosy Kehdi in London.
Shruti shares, "It all started when I watched an Instagram video of Emma Watson dropping books on New York’s Subway. Because I am a huge Potterhead, I immediately followed her cause and found that she was dropping books for Books on the Subway. I jumped in at the thought of doing it in my own city and contacted their founder and the lady agreed".
After the couple drop off a book marked with a 'Books on the Delhi Metro' sticker on the Delhi Metro, they immediately post clues about its location on their Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts. Anyone who picks up the book is encouraged to post about their discovery using the hashtag #booksonthedelhimetro, read the book and eventually return it to the Delhi Metro for someone else to read.
Sometimes, the books can even be found inside the trains. The passenger picks up the book and tags Shruti to know that they have taken it.
Even though BODM started with just two people - and with Sharma giving books away from her personal collection - it has grown into a community of over 15 'book fairies' or volunteers who drop books on every line of the metro.
SC gives go-ahead to admissions in IIT, NIT
The Supreme Court on Monday lifted the stay on admissions to Indian Institute of Technology (IITs), NITs and other colleges, bringing relief to thousands of students who wrote the joint entrance examination.
The apex court has asked the high courts not to interfere in the petition regarding the same to avoid any confusion. In its order, SC has also asked the IITs to give an undertaking that such mistakes will not recur and no situation to award bonus marks will arise.
On July 7, the apex court had stayed the ongoing admission in the Indian Institutes of Technology and National Institutes of Technology across the country following a dispute over grace marks awarded to candidates.
Bonus marks were given to compensate for wrong questions in two of the papers. They were granted irrespective of whether a candidate had answered these questions or not. The exam was conducted this year by the IIT Madras and the decision to give bonus marks were taken by it.
Three students filed a petition challenging IIT’s decision on granting the grace marks to all candidates who took the exam this year.They said due to this marking system, their ranking has gone down. The petitioners demand that grace marks must be awarded to only those who had attempted the question.
However, IIT opposed the contention and said that seats have already been allotted to 29,425 candidates. "It is submitted that in case the ongoing counselling and admission process is disturbed, the admission procedure of more than 36,000 students in 97 institutes under the joint seat allocation programme for IITs, NITs, IIITs (Indian Institutes of Information Technology and GFTIs (Government Funded Technical Institutions) would be hampered.”