Enthusiasm is excitement with inspiration, motivation, and a pinch of creativity. The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails. Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.

If you don't create change, change will create you. Change starts when someone sees the next step and the first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance. Many fine things can be done in a day if you don't always make that day tomorrow. You see, in life, lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know. Knowing is not enough! You must take action.

Sometimes it's the smallest decisions with larger aims that can change the lives of many. If our attempts can at least become a spark. We are really grateful and the TEAM can proudly proclaim ‘MISSION ACCOMPLISHED’.

If you can LEND A HELPING HAND for the advancement of our country and its people be part of our ENDEAVOR.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Clash of aspirations: The plight of MODERN GURUKULAS

The changing notions of modern Gurukulas

By: Arjun.R.Shankar

God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools. ~John Muir

It’s quite wonderful and spectacular to see students of different ages and caliber sitting in groups, meeting and greeting each other and having a fair Tete`-a-tete for pretty long hours, chatting, gossiping, debating endlessly and discussing innumerable things under the sun for fun and knowledge sake. The issues keep changing. The trees of the college campus facilitate such long Tete`-a-tete providing them the best ambience, virtually illuminating their self and disposition. Immense positive energy is radiated by these natural green machines. This is how a perfect college campus should be (at least in your dreams). Even many of us hear such nostalgic references and comments from our parents who still cherish their college life.

But with the passage of time irreversible changes have crept into our society and human wants have drastically changed. Now many of the college campuses in the country are losing their green cover that was nurtured by the nature over the years. Many of them are being ruthlessly axed down for renovation, increasing infrastructural avenues thereby creating the so called ‘classic modern outlook’ covering all aesthetic dimensions. All these are quite worthy reasons for the college authorities to move on with their beautification drive. Though, occasionally there are some genuine reasons. But very often the new existing romantic charming notion overshadows the genuineness.

Rather than trivializing or sensationalizing the whole gamut of issues, let’s draw a larger picture. In the present scenario where sustainability is hitting all the high notes and chords, just ask our conscience “is creating four lane road systems with grid patterns, gleaming and busy outlets, incandescent light’s, wide pedestrian bays the priorities? Are these the necessary ingredients for the so called classic modern outlook of the college that they aim for?

Destroying the green cover of the campuses, thereby deliberately obliterating the ecosystem and sanctuary for different species of birds and animals has deep rooted negative impacts and repercussions. Deforestation itself as an activity cannot be justified outside or inside the campus. At present forest are considered among the most endangered thing on the earth.

An educational institution with considerably good amount of green cover often creates a conducive atmosphere for better academic pursuits. The biggest testimony is the ancient Gurukula System where you go to the guru’s place and learn in an environmentally friendly mode in a sustained manner fully under the blanket of nature. You sit around the tree, along the lakes, stream etc. to master things for which the nature and trees are the witness. Students very often could maintain cordial relations with them without deliberate transgressions.

Good amount of green cover really stimulates your greycells. Even the sight of them can please you and transform your whole doldrums and dispositions. The psychological impact is beyond explanations. The presence of such natural green machines can induce thinking and increase the concentration of the pupils.

Much of the felling of the trees within the campus can be attributed to the college authorities. Cutting down of trees are highly reprehensible, illegal, immoral and against all canons of moral ethics. It seems that the saviour’s have turned out to be the destroyers.

Different reputed college across the county has invited legal actions and condemnation for their activities.

In one of the reputed college of the country, As many as 30 big trees of Ashok, peepal and goolar were axed and no action has been taken against the defaulters. The trees have been cut down to earn the profit by selling the wood," said the officials after enquiry. Instead of taking strict action, the district forest officer (DFO) simply issued a show-cause notice against the principal and the management for cutting down more than two dozen trees. "This is a serious matter. Initially, a notice has been sent seeking an explanation from them, but after the investigation, if their fault is proved, a FIR would be lodged under the Act 4/10 and 3/28. Under this Act, the defaulters may be get imprisonment of 2 years and a fine of Rs 5,000. An FIR is not lodged because the departmental FIR is equivalent to the case registering with the police,"

Issue of the same magnitude took place way back in 2002 at FERGUSSON College for illegally felling 18 well-grown trees in its prestigious botanical garden. The college authorities had sought no permission from the Pune Municipal Corporation’s garden department for cutting the trees.

Also, The Madras High Court Bench has restrained the management of the Saraswathi Narayanan College from felling trees where 5000 bats and numerous birds were nesting. Timber worth Rs.10 lakh had been felled without permission of the forest department. These are only some of the colleges that have faced such penal actions. There are many big Colleges that are liable for action but still shielded due to their political clout.

Mar Ivanios College, Thiruvananthapuram( 2-3yrs back was full of tress)

Present Mar Ivanios College, Thiruvananthapuram( much of the green cover has vanished)

Not only Mar Ivanios college but many colleges in the country over the years has lost a large part of its green cover due to many genuine and false reasons which are often mysterious.

The biggest irony here is regarding their green clubs, nature clubs functioning and their popular mandate. Almost all these clubs actively operate in these colleges and the members of the college management pompously chalk out policies, but the true reflection is that these people seldom practice the things they speak of.

Trees are massively axed down very often for hosting events of international and national reputation in the campuses in the name of beautification drive and security reasons. How does the age old trees becoming a threat to the security? The best example is the University of Kaariyavattom. Thiruvananthapuram which felled numerous trees for the ‘National Science congress’ which it proudly hosted with zeal. The funniest part is that, officials cut down the trees in the campus and spoke endlessly about the climate change and deforestation inside the seminar hall virtually leaving the audience spellbound.

What a ‘scientific Paradox’? For the Delhi Commonwealth Games, Metro project alone accounted for 4,340 trees either being felled or transplanted while over 8,000 trees had to be felled for about 30 flyover projects. Rs 38 crores potted plants removed due to security hazard, part of the beautification drive.

Is this what we call ‘sustainable development’ or ‘Drive to classic modernity’?

Many colleges do this for better scores, rankings and accreditations. In spite of the built-in regulatory mechanisms that ensure satisfactory levels of quality in the functioning of higher education institutions, there have been criticisms that the country has permitted the mushrooming of institutions of higher education with fancy programme and substandard facilities and consequent dilution of standards.

NAAC----NATIONAL ASSESSMENT AND ACCREDITATION COUNCIL has 7 parameters for assessment like Curricular Aspects, Teaching-Learning and Evaluation, Research, Consultancy and Extension, Infrastructure and Learning Resources etc.

The NAAC should also include the aspect of forest cover/ green cover depending upon the age of the college etc. with various other pre-requisites and suitable criteria’s.

“Today's students are more outspoken, they are better aware of their rights and responsibilities'' so the green clubs by the students should be strengthened to condemn and stop such illegal activities.

Some of the reputed colleges of India successfully initiated missions like ‘chakli nu ghar’ (house for sparrow) programme to conserve the house sparrow and its habitats.

Another initiative was to save and nurture ‘vad’ (banyan) trees under its initiative vadi-e-vad (A banyan tree in every farm orchard (vadi). The initiative aims to revive the indigenous trees in which create a natural habitat for birds that generally nest at a height. These trees are also worshipped by people and so they already have an attachment with them. We will only be connecting the environment aspect and its importance in changing climate with the religious aspect,’ the colleges should definitely take cue from them and initiate such innovative missions in their colleges.

The clubs working should be effectively monitored and it should create awareness about conserving trees and ill effects of deforestation through various methods.

Over the past 100 years, the temperature of the earth had gone up by 0.63 degrees Celsius. If environment destruction continued at the current rate, the temperature would soon rise by 6.34 degrees Celsius. But many species on earth, including man, would not be able to survive if the temperature rose by even 3 degrees Celsius.

Development is definitely inevitable and indispensable, but that doesn’t mean that we should compromise with the nature and degrade it. The expected sustainability level and stipulated environmental balance should be always kept in mind. And create a mental frame to think what the priorities are and in what amount should be the sacrifices made to keep up the balance.

“For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver.” ~Martin Luther

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

CeLeBrAtE uR uNiQuEnEsS !!!

God has given you one face, and you make yourself another.

~William Shakespeare

by : Jithin Raghavan

A plum once said, just because a banana lover came by, I converted myself into a banana. Unfortunately, his taste changed after a few months and so I became an orange. When he said I was bitter I became an apple, but he went in search of grapes. Yielding to the opinions of so many people, I have changed so many times that I no more know who I am. How I wish I had remained a plum and waited for a plum lover.

Just because a group of people do not accept you as you are, there is no necessity for you to strip yourself of your originality. You need to think good of yourself, for the world takes you at your own estimate. Never stoop down in order to gain recognition.

Never let go of your true self to win a relationship. In the long run, you will regret that you traded your greatest glory – your uniqueness, for momentary validation. Even Gandhi was not accepted by many people. The group that does not accept you the way you are, is not your world.

A classic example .. One day all the employees reached the office and they saw a big advice on the door on which it was written: "Yesterday the person who has been hindering your growth in this company passed away. We invite you to join the funeral in the room that has been prepared in the gym".

In the beginning, they all got sad for the death of one of their colleagues, but after a while they started getting curious to know who was that man who hindered the growth of his colleagues and the company itself. The excitement in the gym was such that security agents were ordered to control the crowd within the room. The more people reached the coffin, the more the excitement heated up. Everyone thought: "Who is this guy who was hindering my progress? Well, at least he died!".

One by one the thrilled employees got closer to the coffin, and when they looked inside it they suddenly became speechless. They stood nearby the coffin, shocked and in silence, as if someone had touched the deepest part of their soul. There was a mirror inside the coffin: everyone who looked inside it could see himself. There was also a sign next to the mirror that said: "There is only one person who is capable to set limits to your growth: it is YOU.

You are the only person who can revolutionize your life. You are the only person who can influence your happiness, your realization and your success. You are the only person who can help yourself. Your life does not change when your boss changes, when your friends change, when your parents change, when your partner changes, when your company changes.

Your life changes when YOU change, when you go beyond your limiting beliefs, when you realize that you are the only one responsible for your life. "The most important relationship you can have, is the one you have with yourself" Examine yourself, watch yourself. Don't be afraid of difficulties, impossibilities and losses: be a winner, build yourself and your reality. The world is like a mirror: it gives back to anyone the reflection of the thoughts in which one has strongly believed.

The world and your reality are like mirrors laying in a coffin, which show to any individual the death of his divine capability to imagine and create his happiness and his success. "It's the way you face Life that makes the difference"

There is a world for each one of you, where you shall reign as king / queen by just being yourself. Find that world… in fact, that world will find you. What water can do, gasoline cannot and what copper can, gold cannot. The fragility of the ant enables it to move and the rigidity of the tree enables it to stay rooted.

Everything and everybody has been designed with a proportion of uniqueness to serve a purpose that we can fulfill only by being our unique self. You as you alone can serve your purpose and I as I alone can serve my purpose. You are here to be you… just you.

In the history of the universe, there has been nobody like you and to the infinite of time to come, there will be no one like you. You are original. You are rare. You are unique. You are a wonder. You are a masterpiece…