Waking Up

YAY! I am back from Hibernation ( actually, YAY! exam is Over)

I said till 5th Dec, but exam was extended till 8th Dec.

Thank You every one for their wishes. 😀

I want to write so many things. But, I am confused what I should write and what I should not.

I have decided that I will take rest for now and let my mind recuperate, relax a bit.

Till then let me get back to reading all the other blogs I used to read.

Thanks Again Everyone.

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India Since Independence

This book took a long time to finish, totally messed my whole schedule. The only reason I will say is – It got boring.

India Since Independence

By Bipan Chandra

Rating: 3/5

If you have studied in India then you must have read history textbooks in school. Bipan Chandra was one of the main author behind them. Check those books again guys & you will know who to blame for not-so-interesting history textbooks. Actually, I never liked history or social science per se (one of the reason for choosing Science stream).
If by chance you are preparing for UPSC exams – Bipan Chandra’s “India’s Struggle for Independence” & “India Since Independence” are must reads. You can only attempt GS mains questions correctly if you have read them (but NCERT XI & XII books will also do). The first book had much better narrative-type presentation of history than the second part. This one is boring at best, with many parts repeated. Though, I agree they are required in a textbook of history.

This huge book is not divided into any parts instead it has divided the history into different chapters as per the authors perception. Half of the book is in a continuous narrative. Right from the introduction to colonial legacy & nations socio-econo-political conditions since independence. The other half takes the case-studies of particular events & incidents related to regionalism,economic state, communal-ism, women-participation,social-stigmas,land reforms. The three chapters at the end are conclusions or summaries regarding the legacy & future of the Indian State in the 21st century.

First ten chapters takes the reader from the early years of independence to the various consolidation problems faced by the country. Next five chapters are dedicated to Nehru – from his Foreign policy to the political turmoil he faced.After that the remaining five chapters will pace you through the Indira years,JP movement,Janata govt & finally Rajiv Gandhi’s years.There is also short sections dedicated to the consequent NDA & UPA-1 govt. & their respective policies.

After completing the narrative since independence in one segment, the other issues are focused on. There is three chapters presenting case-studies for the regionalism tendency across the nation. Next four chapters focus on the Indian Economy- since Independence to the Millennium. Afterwards there are four chapters dedicated to Land-Reforms , followed by Agrarian movements. Then the rest of the chapters sheds light on the issues of communalism, Caste,Untouchability & Indian Women.

The books ends with overview of post-colonial Indian State & the political economy of development. There is also one chapter on Governance related issues. The final chapters provides the achievements,problems & prospects for India in the new Millennium.

I have already said- it gets boring after you finish the narrative. Because most of the later chapters deal with the already mentioned issues in detail – it gets repeated here again. The major dis-appointment was the writing style – one has to read it with focus or you will miss the points made. It gets too detailed at times. If you ask me a book for Indian history after Independence, I would prefer reading ‘India After Gandhi’ by Ramachandran Guha.

However, if you are preparing for UPSC – skipping this book is not an option. You have to read it, you can skip Guha’s book though.
Pick it up & review your history.

[It’s generally pointed out that Bipan Chandra is biased towards Congress. As per me – he tilts somewhat towards congress & presents the debated issues diplomatically. A person without any keen observation won’t find the tilt, but I am sure most of the right or left mindset people will get it]

Arigato. 🙂

History of the World

Here is another short review of a text-book

History of the World : From late Nineteenth to the Early Twenty-First Century

By Arjun Dev & Indira Arjun Dev

Rating: 4/5

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Arjun Dev is the author of NCERT textbooks on World History. This book is meant for undergraduate students of history & for international relations. Since the changes in UPSC mains syllabus – this one has become an essential on your table. Actually, I should have gone for the XI class school textbook but decided to get this one. They both are exactly same, there may be minor differences only.

About this textbook, its characterized by what any NCERT textbook are like – lucid,succinct and comprehensive. Its a power pack for learning world history. It starts with introduction to Pre-World War I scenario of the World. Then moves on to the events comprising the WWI. Then the next part describes the changes in world before the WWII begins. After that, the WWII description is followed by after WWII situation of the world.

The book first provides the introduction to the main incident & the reasons behind it. Then it goes on to explain the economic,social & political issues which led to the War. Also the condition of people & the economy during that period. Each European nation is given space explaining the condition of govt, people & workers there. Even Latin American countries exploitation along with Asian & African colonial rule has been showed light on.

The History extends till as recently as 2003 Iraq War by America. Though , in case of India it has stopped at the Non-Alignment Stance. I wished the recent changes in foreign policy should have been included in the text.

Well, it’s a must read book for UPSC examine-es.However, It do not covers the pre-WWI major events like French Revolution,American Independence,Inductrial Revolution…e.t.c. For them I would recommend reading Jain & Mathur‘s World History – It is complete as per UPSC new syllabus on World history. And if you want to have a short & succinct view of World History – pick it up. It will hardly take 2-3days. Although, this book is already in Class XI curriculum of CBSE based schools – you can get it from them also. 😉

Arigato 🙂

P.S – Lately,I have been posting only book-reviews. I am not getting much time to mull over my thoughts & put them into writing. I want to refine them before posting it here.  I am busy finishing one book after other, & trying to squeeze novels in-between. I think I am spreading myself thin.

 

I Didnt

I didnt wrote anything(not even on paper) for around 2weeks.I decided that i would blog on weekends.Alas!! I didn’t, instead i became sort of once a month blogger. :-(.
I look at my blogpost streak in few of the last months of 2012, they went fantastic.Today, I thought what should i write. Thought process is not clear; unable to structure them into any meaningfull para;fizzling out motivation;losing the personal incentive to write.Well, I can’t or won’t rant about anything which comes to my mind.That’s the problem inherent in such situations where you want to say/write so much that you lose, doing nothing.
Hmmm…should i write what i would do the next few weeks or what i am sure i will do. Later looks better.
World book fair at Pragati Maidan,NewDelhi – book fairs are like shopping mall to me because i would buy books & gadgets only, leaving other things to be decided by family & freinds.Books are dope for me.
Read Read Read- not the books from the fair but the ones which are stacked on my table for coming year UPSC exam.
Watch few movies- well, when you are living alone in a room,without tv or such, you have to have some sort of entertainment.(or you’ll go psychotic)
…..
I think that’s all i am sure about.For them i can say I DiD.Others are only wishful plans (which I may do or do not).

Aarigato.

P.S- the text alignment may be screwed or there will be spelling mistakes as i am writing from mobile app. :pAlso no pics for same reasons.

Single Exam Brouhaha

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Note: Long post, read at your own leisure.

There has already been so much comments & opinions on the proposed merger of admission test for all engineering colleges including IITs, NITs & other institutes. There is discussion of dilution of standards or IITs; degrading the brand of IIT; incomparable marking schemes of different board exams and many other assumed & sought for problems. I don’t want to comment on the standards or IIT per se, but on the recent trends of merging of examination systems for engineering, medical,  mba & other exams.

Last year only I was having discussion with my friends & my father that this govt. just wants to standardize the college admission process on the line of global trends i.e. like SAT score. I think the finally in India also we will be using SAT, might be with some other name. The most appalling motive I feel is that govt. wants foreign university opening branches in India or their funds for education sector. On first thought it looks great, Oxford India, MIT India e.t.c. We cannot provide even primary education for all, but want everyone to have an option of global university. Is there an assumption that all those who go to college are rich & have the luxury to spend huge amounts for a mere graduation or post-graduation. There are so many sub-standard colleges in our country which are running below their quotas & being run like corporate houses. Too much mud-slinging on the influx of foreign education institutions in India, let me get to the point of single base exam system.

Kudos to the institutes & authorities on easing the pressure on students by unifying the various entrance exams. Now, they just need to give full into one single exam. Uncertainty factor will lessen down as one will know which college he is eligible for. No college will exploit the students by declaring the date of admission just before some other exam results are out. Students will focus more on school activities as major part will be dependent on the board papers & ones personality will be judged by the extracurricular or exceptional work done by the student. Although It is sought that students will not take coaching but on the contrary they are going to enrol more into them. This effect can be bought if the exam level is very low or like school level, then also for the increased competition level they will surely join them. I mainly wanted to highlight the negative side of the reformed system. So here it goes.

This  step just infuriates me, possibly because this opportunity was not with me. However, howsoever pressure multi exam puts on a student, everyone will agree that it gave multiple opportunities to score & get a good college. One might mess up one exam but he will have other exams to try again in next exam. This might become better with new system but still I would prefer a multiple chance then a single-shot game. Anything can happen in an exam.

Second, it just goes away from the core competency of Indian students to perform in pressure situations & handle many fronts at a time & also much tougher and varying exam patterns than global exams.

Thirdly, it present the problem of measuring everyone with a single scale. Judging by the ability of a cat to fly, a fish to run & a bird to swim is ridiculous. All the nerds are at loss. Now school performance & extra-curricular activities will matter. You can’t say I am a fish, I can’t walk on the land – you have to become an amphibian now.

Hope you get the metaphors of the top & bottom fruit basket pictures.

Fourth, It doesn’t stops the propagation of sub-standard colleges, nor does it promises a quality education for all. Fifth, this type of steps in India should have taken when there would be similar standard institutes. Even between IITs & NITs there is considerable difference in facilities, quality of education & research work. The pvt. Institutes are in there own world it seems. With all this systems in place & one would get seats in pvt. Institutes by taking loans. Yeah! congratz to all the students who would get into the debt cycle before starting their job. I think if students suicide lowers down then we’ll see increase in working class suicides.

All this came out because of strong feelings for the education sector in India. More things are on negative fronts, but let’s see we might get better & shining education system Just wait & watch.

P.S – I totally support the unified JEE. After all for what should they have a Brand? Are they education institutes or products? What do they actually do for the grass roots of the country?

One more thing, I expect there will be huge black money inflow or scams in education sector with more reforms in the future.

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