Jyestha Shukla 7 Vik Samvat 2070. Yugabda 5115: June 16, 2013

1.  FESTIVALS:  Ratha Yatra at Puri in the state of Odisha, Bharat, the oldest, biggest and the most visited religious journey in the world, is held on Ashad Shukla Dwitiya corresponding to July 10 this year. The idols of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Subhadra are usually worshiped in the sanctum of the temple. As part of Rath Yatra, all the three idols are taken out on three beautifully decorated wooden chariots, in a procession to Gundicha Temple and remain there for nine days. Then the idols return to the temple. The return journey is known as Bahuda Yatra.  Ratha Yatra is celebrated in many more cities of Bharat today. The festival has also become a common sight in most major cities of the world including Dublin, Belfast, Birmingham, London, Bath, Budapest, Melbourne, Montreal, Paris, New York, Singapore, since 1968 through the ISKCON Hare Krishna movement with the efforts of ISKON founder A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.  
2.   Trutiya Varsha Sangha ShikshA Varg Concludes: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Sarsanghchalak Dr Mohan Bhagwat on June 6 made a strong case for restoring Dharma that is value system that holds society together to put the fast declining social, political and economic situation back on rails, while addressing the participants in the Samapan of the Trutiya Varsha Sangh Shiksha Varg at Nagpur. Sri Nirmalanandnath Mahaswami, head priest of Chunchungiri Mutt, Bangalore, was the chief guest. Scion of Vadodara Maharaja Samarjitsinh Gaekwad graced the occasion with his special presence. “We had in our country a number of religions. They were not in conformity with each other; even at times were opposed to each other. But they all had the same definition of Dharma because it was related to holding the society together. Today there is a need to introduce this ‘Samajdharma’ in educational curricula so that the eternal values that held the society together could be re-established”, he said. Talking about Naxal problem, he said that these Naxalites talk of protecting the rights of the tribal people. But they believe in the principle ‘power flows through the barrel of the gun’ and indulge in indiscriminate and insensitive killing. They should be paid in the same coin, he added.
On Chinese incursions in Bharatiya territory, he said, “Our leaders look at this ‘aggression’ as ‘localized affair’. They do not know that by saying this they are helping the enemy of the nation.”. Sri Sri Sri Nirmalanand Mahaswami said that immense energy of youth, 70% of the population, should be diverted towards the positive direction so that it could be harnessed properly for development of the society.
3. Raghav Joneja, 15, becomes youngest bharatiya to climb Everest: At the age of 15 years and seven months, Raghav Joneja from Moradabad became the youngest Bharatiya to scale the Mount Everest when he along with his five schoolmates summited highest peak. Raghav broke the record set by Manipur's Nameirakpam Chingkheinganba, at 16 years seven months and 11 days, as recently as last month, surpassing Arjun Vajpai's feat by a week.
A student of Lawrence School, Sanawar, Raghav achieved the remarkable feat on May 21 after embarking on an arduous 56 day-long journey. In the process, the team from one of Asia's extant boarding schools, in Kasuali, became the youngest group and the first school team in the world to reach the top of the 8,848 metres (29,029 ft) mountain range.
"It feels really good to become the youngest Bharatiya to summit such a tough peak. We were trained for around eight months for this expedition. Climbing the peak with my schoolmates made it little easier," Raghav said of the expedition supported by Hero Cycles.
Besides Raghav, Ajay Sohal (17) Prithvi Chahal (17) Shubham Kaushik (16), Fateh Brar (16) Guribadat Singh (17) climbed the peak while one of their teammate Hakikat Grewal had to retreat from 27,600 ft after facing problems with his oxygen mask.
4.    2ND HINDU PRIESTS’ CONFERENCE IN USA was held st Shri Surya Narayan Mandir, Jamaica, New York on May 31 and June 1. The conference was jointly hosted by Shri Surya Narayan Mandir, the Bhavaanee Maa Mandir, the New York Sanatana Mandir and the United Community Mandir. It was attended by more than 130 Hindu devotees, Pandits and Swamis.
The conference started with the chanting of Ganesha Atharvashirsha by more than 50 priests, followed by Amrutur Srinivasan’s presentation on the challenges facing priests in the community. Pandit Parasram spoke about the work of the USA Pandits’ Parishad in Guyana and in the USA; and Swamini Svatmavidyananda talked about Devotion, Dharma, Prayer and the Priesthood. Arya Spiritual Center’s Dharmacharya Pandit Ramlall spoke about the challenges facing the Hindus in hostile societies.
There were sessions on topics such as Priests’ Role: Issues & Concerns; Community’s Issues & Concerns: Devotees’ & Executives’ Inputs; Sharing resources, the GOTO Group; Education & Training; The role of Priests and their Assimilation in the North American society; Hindu Chaplaincy in the University Setting; and Continuing Education and Skill Development Strategies. In one of the sessions, Aneesh Bairavasundaram presented “My story: Growing up in a Priest’s family”.
Another youth Austin Ayer spoke about the training available at universities in the Maharishi Organization, Devi Mehrotra spoke about the Hindu Students Council at Yale University, and Dr. Anand Ramnarine, called for a “national Hindu Voice, as a means of solidifying our Hindu identity.” The conference adopted two resolutions: One to establish a Pandit Sabha to enhance communication among priests in North America; and Two to develop a Priests Training Workshop Model that includes development of a Guide Book. Hindu Mandir Executives’ Conference is an initiative of Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America founded in 1970 and incorporated in the state of New York in 1974.
5. Isro sets up fellowship at US varsity: For the first time, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has established a fellowship at an American university. The Bharatiya space agency has set up the fellowship at the Graduate Aerospace Laboratories of the prestigious California Institute of Technology (Caltech). This fellowship has been established in honour of Satish Dhawan, the ISRO chairman between 1972 and 1984.
The fellowship will provide an opportunity every year to one meritorious graduating student from the aerospace department of the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram, to pursue masters in aerospace engineering at Caltech, according to ISRO. The programme begins with Caltech's winter session of the academic year 2013-14.
Satish Dhawan was an alumnus of Caltech's Graduate Aerospace Laboratories and obtained his PhD in aerospace in 1951. He was serving as distinguished visiting professor during 1971-72 at Caltech, preceding his ISRO chairmanship starting in 1972. Dhawan was bestowed the Distinguished Alumni Award by Caltech in 1969, the institute's highest alumnus honour.
6.  Hindu Americans Welcome FBI's 'Yes' to Anti-Hindu Hate Crime: The  Hindu American Foundation (HAF) welcomed the FBI Advisory Policy Board's (APB) recommendation that the FBI collect and report data regarding anti-Hindu, anti-Sikh, and anti-Arab hate crimes as part of its annual national data collection program mandated by the Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990 (HCSA).
Over the past several months, Hindu Americans and supporters of the community lit up their Congressional leaders' phone lines in a nationwide campaign to encourage support for this initiative. The final decision to add the categories was taken on June 6 by the Advisory Policy Board, a subsidiary of the Department of Justice.
"We hope Director Robert Mueller approves the APB recommendation quickly so that they may be implemented without further delay," said Samir Kalra, Esq., HAF Director and Senior Human Rights Fellow. "Law-enforcement agencies will now be better able to track and assess trends in hate crimes against these communities and, most importantly, provide better protection."
7.  Guru Vandana 2013 Report: Meera Shakha, PA: Annual Guru Vandana Utsav was celebrated on Sunday, June 2nd, in Meera Shakha, PA. 52 students, ten teachers from 4 different schools with their family members, children and parents participated. New ghosh gana which attended ghosh varga last month set the tone of the Utsav. Yogasana pradarshan by regular shakha swayamsevaks/sevikas, games, bouddhik, sanghik geet, shloka, and video of skit prepared and presented by shakha children were the highlights of the function.
Mahesh-ji Kalla, HSS NE Sambhag karyawaha, delievered bouddhik focusing on what is "guru" and its importance in today's society and how Hindu culture brings in this important aspect to American society and the world.
8.   BHARAT TO BECOME WORLD'S MOST POPULOUS NATION AROUND 2028: UN: Bharat will surpass China to become world's most populous nation around 2028, with its population crossing the 1.45 billion mark, according to latest report by the United Nations.
The report 'World Population Prospects' says the world's population will hit 7.2 billion next month and is projected to reach 10.9 billion by 2100, with the growth mainly occurring in developing countries, with more than half in Africa.
But, with the number of future global dwellers linked to fertility, the number at the end of the century could be as high 16.6 billion or even fall to 6.8 billion, it adds. After that, Bharat's population will continue to grow and that of China is expected to start decreasing.
9.   Muslim-majority Indonesia gifts goddess Saraswati’s statue to America’s Washington: Indonesia, the country with the largest Muslim population in the world, has gifted an imposing 16 feet statue of Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of education and wisdom, to the American Capital city of Washington DC.
The statue of goddess Saraswati on top of a lotus flower, stands tall a block away from the Bharatiya Embassy in front of a statue of Mahatma Gandhi which was installed several years ago.
Prior to its installing, the structure of the statue was built in Bali and later flown to the US Capital in early April 2013. This steel structure is divided into three parts: upper body, lower body, and base, the later consisting a formation of a lotus flower and a white goose. Furthermore, instead of using bronze or stone, the sculptors opted for a mix of cement to model the body of the statue.
10. HISTORIC FIRSTS AS HINDUS CELEBRATE A DECADE OF ADVOCACY ON CAPITOL HILL: A Hindu monk offered the opening prayer for the House of Representatives and the birth sesquicentennial of Swami Vivekananda, considered Hinduism's first ambassador to the West, was marked in the Congressional record on June 4 morning. These two historical firsts led up to a gala celebration attended by over 300 as the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) marked its tenth year of advocacy on Capitol Hill. A parade of Senate and House leaders took turns at the podium of the ornate Caucus Room of the House Cannon Building and lauded the Foundation's accomplishments over the years.
"The dividends of a decade of investments in education, advocacy, and tireless interactions with every level of our nation's government were on display throughout HAF's full day of events," said Mihir Meghani, M.D., Co-Founder and member of the HAF Board of Directors. "A Hindu prayer given on the floor of the House, and the words of Swami Vivekananda offered by Congressman Ami Bera (D-CA) inspired a remarkable day and will carry us into the next decade of tireless work."
11.  Hundreds in Fiji take crash course in Sanskrit: Hundreds of people in Fiji are coming out to take a seven-day crash course of the Bharatiya classical language Sanskrit. Sanskrit scholar Gajendra Panda is in south Pacific island nation at the invitation of the Fiji Sevashram Sangha (FSS) to impart knowledge of the language.
Even as the classes are being held now at Labasa in Macuata province on the island of Vanua Levu, the earlier classes in Fiji's capital Suva were well attended and the participants' number had to be restricted to 55, according to Swamy Sanyukta Nanda of the FSS.
 “The way this course was run was easy to understand and it captured the participants' interest and enthusiasm on the first day and they were compelled to take time every evening for classes.”
Established in 2000, FSS is an affiliated body of the Bharat Sevashram Sangha and operates two centres from Lautoka, Fiji's second largest city on ths island of Viti Levu, and Suva, and the Hindu Milan Mandir at Labasa.
12.   Dr Mukund Modi is no more: Dr. Mukund Modi of Staten Island, New York, USA breathed his last on June 3. Dr. Mody was one of the pioneers and a Patron Member of VHP of America. He was instrumental in building up VHP of America in the early years. He was a true karamyogi and a prominent member of the Hindu Society in America. He had worked tirelessly to oppose the imposition of Emergency in Bharat in 1975, had organized various seminars in USA and UK for this cause. 
13. Bharatiya-origin Australian appointed envoy to Israel: A 37-year-old Bharatiya-origin Australian diplomat Devanand Sharma, popularly known as Dave Sharma, Australia's new envoy to Israel is only the second Australian-Bharatiya to be appointed ambassador, the other being Peter Varghese who was Australia's Ambassador to Bharat. Varghese was born in Kenya to Malayali parents.
Sharma, who was born in Vancouver and moved to Sydney in 1979, said he wants to change how Australians think of the Middle Eastern country.Sharma's lineage can be traced to Uttar Pradesh and his grandfather migrated to Trinidad in 1908 from Bharat.
14.  Be prepared to protect Hindu society, Dharma: Togadia:  "Though the Hindu society did not lack in valor and courage, it has been suppressed by excessive doses of non-violence and peace in the last 200 years. The growing insults heaped on Hindu society are resulting out of this inaction and indifferent attitude that has crept in the society following these overdoses of non-violence and peace. The time has come to throw off this inertia and stand with fresh strength, vigor and valor to protect the 100 crore Hindu society and Dharma in Bharat, appealed
Dr Pravin Togadia, International Working President of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) speaking at the concluding function of Shaurya Prashikshan Shivir of Bajrang Dal at Nagpur. Baljindersingh Nair presided over the valedictory program while VHP VIdarbha Pressident Vijayjit Valia, Vice-President Prof Hemant Jambhekar, Secretary Ajay Nildawar, Umesh Pradhan were prominently present.
15.   bharatiya-American kids cast a ‘spell': The German curse has turned into a German blessing,” exclaimed 13-year-old Arvind Mahankali from New York as he tackled a German-derived word with ease this time round and walked away with the US's hugely-popular Scripps National Spelling Bee.
In his last two outings, Arvind had finished third, with German-derived words tripping him up on both occasions. But on Thursday night, he had his way as he correctly spelled “knaidel”, a German-derived Yiddish word for a mass of leavened dough.
With that winning word, Arvind had the better off fellow Bharatiya-American finalist, Pranav Sivakumar from Tower Lakes, Illinois, who finished second after his failure to get the word “cyanophycean” right.
As in recent years, Bharatiya-American children continued their domination of this competition, claiming the top three spots. The boy to finish third was Sriram Hathwar from New York. Seven of the 11 finalists happened to be children of Bharatiya origin from across the US. And the youngest contestant of the season was eight-year-old Tara Singh.
16.  British town Warwick’s first Sikh mayor sworn-in: A Sikh man has been elected as the first Bharatiya-origin mayor of the "historic" Warwick town in Britain's West Midlands region. Prabhjit Singh Dhillon, who became the 280th mayor of the town, described his appointment as a "privilege".
After being sworn in as the mayor at a ceremony, Dhillon said: "I am truly honoured and humbled to be elected by my fellow councillors to become mayor for 2013-2014."
17.  BHARATIYA COS CHECKMATE CHINA ON MYANMAR'S GAS BLOCKS BID: The threat from the Chinese dragon seems to have been overwhelmed by the Bharatiya elephant in the oil and gas sector as seven domestic companies including ONGC and Oil India Ltd (OIL) are in the fray as potential bidders for Myanmar's onshore gas blocks which are coming up for auction, while only one company from China features in the list of 59 bidders which have been short listed by the South-east Asian country.
Myanmar which is sandwitched between Bharat and China, opened up its economy after the long ruling military junta's rule came to an end there in 2012 and has been aggressively marketing itself as a potential business destination in the South Asian region. The country has $75 billion worth of gas reserves and earlier this year had invited expressions of interest (EoIs) from several global entities for exploring its onshore and offshore fields. Seven Bharatiya companies comprising mainly of ONGC's overseas arm ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), OIL, Gujarat Natural Resources Ltd and Cairn India Ltd - are among the short listed companies.At the same time only one Chinese company namely SIPC Myanmar Petroleum Company Ltd has been selected among the 59 entities.
18.   MUSLIM COMMUNITY IN MATHURA HOLD ANTI-COW SLAUGHTER CONVENTION: In a rare gesture, Muslim community in Mathura has taken a pledge that they would not allow cow slaughter in the district.
"The Muslims of Mathura are not in favour of cow slaughter. It is the handiwork of outsiders who kidnap cows from here at night and then slaughter them," said Abdul Zabbar, convener of the anti-cow slaughter convention held at Islamia Inter College on June 9.
"Cow slaughtering was started by Britishers in order divide both the communities. The country got independence owing to Hindu-Muslim unity," Sant Ramesh Baba, who was the first to start crusade against mining in hillocks of Barsana about two decades ago, said.
In order to protect the culture of Brij, unity in both the communities is a must, Sant Jai Kishan Das, National President of Yamuna Rakshak Dal said during the convention, which also addressed issues relating to pollution of river Yamuna.
19.    Kalyan Ashram boys' hostel in Kathmandu: Akhil Bharatiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram President, Jagdev Ram Oraon inaugurated newly built administrative office cum boys hostel named "Aamaako Maya Chhatrabas" run by Janjati Kalyan Ashram Nepal in Kathmandu on 2nd June 2013.
At present Kalyan Ashram is running 5 such hostels for the Janjatis 35 Sraddha Jagaran Kendras / Bal Sanskar Kendras and 50 Ekal Vidhyalayas throughout Nepal.  
Addressing the ceremony, Madhav Acharya, Rastriya Karyavah of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh Nepal praised the works done by Kalyan Ashram to bring the Janjatis in social mainstream and preserve their indigenous culture.
Dr. Sundarmani Dikshit, the special guest, said, "The indigenous people of this land have fallen prey to the conspiracies of Christians. They need a strong support to retain their own customs, traditions and culture. It is praiseworthy to see activists of Kalyan Ashram working among the Janjatis of Nepal."  Chief guest, Jagdev Ram Oraon on his part ensured that Akhil Bharatiya Kalyan Ashram would always be happy to extend cooperation required by Juniata Kalian Ashram in Nepal. The office cum hostel has 10 rooms which can accommodate as many as 50 students.
20.  MISSILE MAN AVINASH CHANDER APPOINTED NEW DRDO CHIEF: Eminent scientist Avinash Chander, an IIT-Delhi graduate, who is considered to be the key architect of the AGNI series of nuclear capable missiles, has been named as the new chief of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and will take over with immediate effect.
The scientist will serve as the next DRDO Chief for three years. A Padma Shri awardee, Chander has led the design and development of the AGNI 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 series of missiles that culminated with the latest of the series undertaking a successful test that demonstrated a range of over 5000 km.
21.  PAK'S PROVINCE ASSEMBLY GETS ITS FIRST SIKH MEMBER:  In a historic milestone for the Sikh community in Pakistan, Sardar Ramesh Singh Arora has become the first person from the minority community to enter the Punjab province assembly, since the country's independence in 1947. Arora belongs to Narowal district, 80 km from Lahore, and is associated with the Pakistan Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee.       
22.   BHARAT, THAILAND HOPEFUL OF TRILATERAL HIGHWAY BY 2016: An ambitious project to develop a 3,200-km highway linking Bharat, Myanmar and Thailand was an important item on the agenda of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his visit here.
On Thursday, Dr. Singh and his Thai counterpart Yingluck Shinawatra expressed the hope that the highway would be ready by 2016. Bharat has already given Myanmar $500 million in loan, a part of which will be used to fund the project.
23.   Vijnana Bharati to hold ‘Tech for Seva’ in September: Vijnana Bharati, in collaboration with Seva Sahayog, Global Indian Scientists & Technocrats Foundation (GIST) and Maharshi Karve Stree Shikshan Samstha (MKSSS) will be organizing “Tech for Seva” a socio-technical conference on inclusive and sustainable social development on September 28-29, 2013 at Cummins Engineering College, MKSSS, Pune.
This conference Tech for Seva provides an opportunity to scientific and technological fraternity to come forward and use their creative ability for social good and thus pay tributes to Swami Vivekananda who had inspired the late Jamshetji Tata to start first ever modern scientific institute – Indian Institute of Science (IIS) Bangalore for social welfare of masses.
The conference will be deliberating on topics related to Education, Health, Livelihood and Environment. Scholarly research papers will be presented in the conference. Besides posters on success stories and problems to be addressed; Expo showcasing relevant and appropriate technologies along with solutions manifested into reality and student competition in ideas which highlight the use of technology to solve problems will be added attraction of the conference. Registration and other details are available on www.techforseva.org.
24.    For 18 yrs, his school for blind has been scoring 100% in Std X: While conventional schools strive hard to produce 100% pass in state board examination, a special school for visually impaired children in Sundararajanpatti near Madurai has produced centum results quite convincingly. This is not the first time it has achieved this feat. It has been doing so for the last 18 years.
In the SSLC examination results announced on May 31, all the 23 visually challenged students who appeared for the examination passed it by securing more than 70% marks.In fact,13 students secured more than 80% and three got more than 90% marks.
Talking about the success A Jinnah, founder and secretary of the school, said All the required facilities for the visually impaired students are available in the school.The students also show keen interest in their study which results in success, he said.
25 just 8 and she kicks butt: Eight-year-old Disha is on a mission to create a smoke-free world. In the last two years, the class 3 student has reportedly succeeded in persuading 200 persons to kick the butt. It was the death of her grandfather, who was a chain smoker, a few years back that drove her to start this campaign. Her strategy is quite novel. Disha says, "I ask people a simple question, 'How will you feel if you are put in a closed room.' When they say that they will die of suffocation, then I tell them 'same is the case with your lungs when you smoke'."
Dinesh Parihar, who is making a film on Disha called 'Ekaur Anna', says, "I was impressed by the way she expresses things." Sharad Pandit agrees: "The appeal made by such a small child will have a good impact."  Indeed, Vikram Singh, director of an Indore-based firm, admits that he quit smoking on Disha's persuasion. "I was sitting in a restaurant and smoking along with my business partner. Suddenly, a little girl appeared and started telling us about the harmful effect of smoking. It's now more than a year since we kicked the butt."
26. TIBETAN YOUTH MOVEMENT FOR COMPLETE INDEPENDENCE GOAL: The 15th General Body Meeting of the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC), the largest exile Tibetan non-governmental organization, ended at Dharamsala June 1 with the election of Mr Tenzing Jigme from Minnesota, USA, as its new president. Tamding Sichoe from Pokhara, Nepal and Tashi Lamsang from Dharamshala are the new vice-president and general secretary respectively. During its six-day meeting, more than 130 delegates representing over 40 RTYC chapters reaffirmed the movement’s founding objective of struggling for Tibet’s complete independence from Chinese rule.
27.  Bharat now biggest source of migrants to Australia: Report: Bharat has become the leading source of permanent migrants to Australia for the first time, ahead of China, a government report showed on June 3. The number of permanent migrants from Bharat was 29,018 in 2011/12, up 12.7% on the previous year. China was number two as visa places fell from 29,546 to 25,509.
During the same time British arrivals rose to 25,273 from 23,931 with the Philippines and South Africa four and five respectively. The report showed that during the past 15 years the number of Bharatiya-born Australian residents increased four-fold while Chinese-born tripled. However, Britain remained the main birthplace of migrants, with 1.18 million calling Down Under home.
28. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Pravas: Shri Ravikumar, sah samyojak Vishwa Vibhag will return from his weeklong tour to Israel. Shri Shyam Parande secretary Sewa International returned from USA after a tour of 6 weeks.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: My ideas are going to work in the West better than in India…. I believe in truth, the Lord sends me workers by the scores wherever I go … they are ready to give up their lives for their Guru. Truth is my God, the universe my country. I do not belive in duty. Duty is the curse of the Samsari [householder], not for the Sannyasin. Duty is humbug, I am free, my bonds are cut; what care I where this body goes or does not go? … I have a truth to speak, I, the child of God. And He that gave me the truth will send me fellow workers from the earths’ bravest and best. – Swami Vivekananda. New York, August 1985.


Look to Aurobindo,
Tagore and the restJS 
Policy makers should revamp their thoughts on what constitutes sound education in the Indian context. Our greats have provided the hints
The world of education, under the glamorous influence of the Information and Communications Technology, has no time to recall the educational ideas of Indian thinkers who really understood India, its history and heritage, and above all, its culture of acceptance. It is tough to recall any serious national-level discussion organised by the Governments at the Centre or in the States on the educational ideas of Swami Dayanand Saraswati, Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi, Zakir Husain, Rabindranath Tagore, Sri Aurobindo, Mahatma Phule, BR Ambedkar and several other luminaries. During the last couple of years, the West-ward orientation of the Government of India has been total: Wisdom resides only in the West and must be borrowed without any hesitation. Experts in education working in national institutions are being regularly sent to the US for training.
In 1906, Tagore in the context of the National Education Council, set up to ‘keep an eye on the entire education system of the country’, posed the question “as to the idea according to which education will be conducted”. He added that the rules to be followed or the textbooks to be prescribed are external issues”. His elaboration in that context remains totally relevant even in current times and could guide policy-makers and programme implementers provided they were willing to internalise the essence. Comparing the school to a kind of machine that delivers education, he finds the teacher as one of its part. Machines deliver uniform products as ordered, but ‘men differ from one another.' In these days, when practically every human activity including education is greatly influenced by the advances in ICT, Tagore's one simple-looking sentence could pave the path for educational regeneration: “And man can never get from a machine what he can get from another human being.”
The CBSE has decided to ask questions on values in its examinations. One wishes they had studied Tagore's perceptions on moral instructions in schools: “It is futile to expect that a few bookish words delivered between ten to four in the school can rectify the corruption of taste that is being perpetrated every moment by thousand of lies and perversion of our artificial life-style”. It is the societal norms and practices and the role models and icons that inculcate and nurture values. Teachers nurture and develop these. How prophetic were his observations that urban schools would not allow the learner to see the soul of universe pervading “fire, water, sea, land and the entire world”.
In these days of ever-increasing curriculum load that deprives the child of his childhood in prestigious public schools, Tagore's vision is very revealing: “Is it the child's fault that he appeared at birth, without practising algebra or memorising history texts? Is that why the poor wretch must be deprived of his air and light, his happiness and leisure and his education made punitive in every way? Could it not be that children come in this world without any knowledge so that they could savour the excitement of knowing from a state of not-knowing?”
To move ahead in the process of knowing, the family and the teacher contribute in a big way. These days, schools have rigid and fixed regimes; these are augmented by concerned parents through imposition of tuitions, extra coaching in areas like tennis, dance classes, swimming lessons and much more. In the extreme that India is blessed with, there are millions of children who have no school to go; and then there those children who are left with no free time at all! The sufferings of both of these groups are to be ameliorated. It is not a new phenomenon but one that has persisted and has become more intense and demanding with time. Deeply concerned to the core on the suffering of children Tagore said: “Our incompetence and brutality may prevent us from making the acquisition of knowledge a pleasant thing, but must we go out of our way to deliberately and cruelly give the school room of these innocent children, the shape of a prison house?”
Is it not the time that the nation sits up and sets its education system in order?

The Pioneer, 05 June 2013.