Friday, May 30, 2008

Whither Technology

Whither Technology?

Any visit to a doctor, with the most innocuous of ailments, is inevitably followed by a series of tests, the path. Lab., X-ray House, ECG etc. etc. until the results come in, the doc will offer some palliative only, A Placebo?
Why do modern day docs, after all those exhaustive training, 6 years for MBBS, 2 for MD and then another three for the M.CH, still require the crutch of various test results to tell the patient what the problem is?

Where are those who used to tell the patient the problem by looking at their eyes or ears, fingers, nails or feeling the pulse?
Nowadays “qualified” doctors rely on the verdict of a lab. technician to determine the problem of the patient!!
It seems the advent of technology has rendered doctors quite clueless in their own arenas.

In a related one, investigators rely more and more on forensic science’s advanced tools in brain mapping and lie detectors…only to have people still beat their systems.
Are they actually so out of touch with their own native intuitive powers that they need these high tech tools to resolve each and every crime?

And yet, the biggest ones get away, unless cornered by public opinion campaigns.
Tera Kya Hoga Technology?

Friday, May 16, 2008


This is the dry season. Summer’s heat keeps most indoors, glued to the TV screens which have turned dry too. All the soaps are at a virtual standstill. It is painfully obvious that their script writers are stumped and don’t know what to do with their characters.
On the so-called reality shows scene, the less said the better about the imagination of people who turn music which is supposed to usher in peace and quiet and restoration of the soul, into Wars of Music. The language spoken by their propagandists makes one reach for the mute button, rather than listening to the war mongering of Music.
Movies are a let down with all producers latching on to identical themes of 2-3-4 heroes performing ridiculous antics, with the heroines reduced to bit players of no substance. What happened to all those multiplex movies and the song writers and musicians? Has Indian talent dried up, along with the influx of the American league style cricket which monopolizes evening TV?
Who will now contest that men were as great, if not greater fans of the saas-bahu soaps, as women, since the advent of IPL cricket has rung the death knell of the TV soaps?


Almost twenty five years ago, I had once helped a teacher friend to correct exam papers. Those were the days before centralized examining of papers was done and the aim of the exercise was to finish off the work to head for a movie.
At the end of the session, I was astounded to find that out of a class of 48, a handful passed the exam; three scored around 60% and all the rest failed, many scoring less than ten marks.
The question that came to my mind then was: Who's to blame for this result, the students or the teacher?
Today the same question rises with a Pune report that only 10% of some 1.25 lakh teachers of Std. 1 to 7 could answer all the questions in the English and Math books at a workshop conducted by the State Council for Educational Research.
What does this speak of our educational standards and the teachers who impart that education?
This is not to criticize our system per se. There has to be something going for our system of education which allows planeloads of our youngsters to migrate to foreign shores every year and make good there, beating the locals, possibly raising the sort of ire being propagated by the beat drummers of the Marathi Manoos (what would they do if those locals started the sons of soil campaign against the Marathi Manoos in various foreign locales).
But yes, some major tweaking of the system is definitely in order, especially at the primary levels; clearing that is a motivation by itself perhaps; and among the priorities must be improving the standard of the teachers, with perhaps an improvement in their status and emoluments as well as a cleansing of the system of sexual favors for marks, in order to attract a better class of student into the teaching profession.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Afghanistan Again?

This morning, a TV headline read “US eyes Afghanistan again”.
Why is the US again eyeing Afghanistan? Since the politics of the Taliban and al Qaeda has already been exposed fully, there is now a lesson in international economics there.
The US got over its Great Depression, largely thanks to the influx of orders for its industry during the Second World War. The end of the War saw the US Aid Industry give its economy an unbelievable boost which lasted well into the Cold War and made it the richest country in the world, along with conferring its Super Powerdom.
It was only when countries flooded with US aid which brought them American goods and took away their resources and their sovereignty, started rejecting that aid that the US economy started taking a sharp downturn. The largely man-made wastes in Africa, along with war torn Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Afghanistan and Iraq are living witness to American misadventures.
The American economy has now touched its pits possibly. Hence the prospects of renewed adventures into a country already pulverized by US Air Force and its bombs. Once again the cycle of aid to gouge out the aided country’s innards to feed the American economy?

Is India Shining?

Last week, the editor of a TV channel took pains to explain that these channels are driven to focus on single scandal stories per day because of the tyranny of TRPs. Editors, these days are too busy taxing from seminar to seminar while their journalists are PR fed and feted and given handouts. TRPs he says rule the roost and decide the story and the TRPs reveal that people only want gossip about celebrities and little else. Obviously he was unable to explain why TRPs only reflected the tastes of selected households whose opinions were created to give legitimacy to the decisions taken by channel editors et all.
Does this channel preoccupation with celebrity gossip and the issues of the well heeled to the total exclusion of the Other India or Bharat as they tend to call it, not sound very much like India taking a steep downturn?
History is replete with examples of great cultures which are struck down soon as the ruling elites become too preoccupied with their pleasures, pastimes and luxuries to be bothered with the masses.
Look at the Roman orgies which preceded the invasions of the Barbarians. The demise of the French and the British empires. And in our times the total ruin of the USA which is now overrun with leisure industries and preoccupations rather than the needs of the silent majority.
Our finance minister too seemed more concerned about the share broker community and its bottom-line than the living conditions of the middle and lower classes in his budget.
Is this media driven preoccupation with the lives of films and cricket stars, netas and models and their life styles and its requirements, the IPL fantasias etc a sign of India taking the down turn even before it actually reached the top?