Anarcho-environmentalism allegorised

The name Anaarkali in the present context has many meanings - Anaar symbolises the anarchism of the Bhils and kali which means flower bud in Hindi stands for their traditional environmentalism. Anaar in Hindi can also mean the fruit pomegranate which is said to be a panacea for many ills as in the Hindi idiom - "Ek anar sou bimar - One pomegranate for a hundred ill people"! - which describes a situation in which there is only one remedy available for giving to a hundred ill people and so the problem is who to give it to. Thus this name indicates that anarcho-environmentalism is the only cure for the many diseases of modern development! Similarly kali can also imply a budding anarcho-environmentalist movement. Finally according to a legend that is considered to be apocryphal by historians Anarkali was the lover of Prince Salim who was later to become the Mughal emperor Jehangir. Emperor Akbar did not approve of this romance of his son and ordered Anarkali to be bricked in alive into a wall in Lahore in Pakistan but she escaped. Allegorically this means that anarcho-environmentalists can succeed in bringing about the escape of humankind from the self-destructive love of modern development that it is enamoured of at the moment and they will do this by simultaneously supporting women's struggles for their rights.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Exorcising the Maths Demon!!

Yesterday I found lying on our dining table the Mathematics Books for Class Twelve produced by the National Centre for Educational Research and Training which are prescribed for students who have opted to take mathematics as one of their subjects under the Central Board of Secondary Education. Our son has just entered class twelve and so he had got the books.
I picked them up and began reading them. They are of a very high standard no doubt but they made me wonder about their relevance for the future lives of the vast majority of students who would be reading them!! For instance, I myself read these at one time when I was in school, and a little more of this kind of arcane mathematics, in engineering college, but later on in life I have used very little of this. Even, engineers who are in the business of using their engineering education, use very little of this as most are in managerial roles that do not require this kind of arcane mathematics.
However, millions of students every year study this tough mathematics, even though they have no aptitude for it, just because they have to do it if they want to study engineering. Consequently, most of them do not do well in the subject and this continues into their college education with them later becoming bad engineers or not pursuing engineering as a career. In fact only those who would like to pursue research in science and engineering need a good foundation in this kind of mathematics. Since only a miniscule proportion of students at the school level eventually pursue a career in research, it is a huge waste of time and resources, both of the nation and the students, in teaching a much larger number this kind of mathematics. Moreover, the need to select a few students from the millions aspiring to get into elite engineering and science colleges leads to the teaching of the solution of even more arcane mathematical problems that are served up in competitive examinations making life more of a hell for the students. Unless one loves to do mathematics, this kind of study is bound to be a useless burden as it is for most students. Those who have prepared these books are all obviously in love with their mathematics but if such narcissistic love for the subject results in the foisting of tough mathematics on students who not only do not have any such love for the subject but end up hating it by the time they are done with it, then something is deeply wrong. Especially since this obsession with maths of a few has led to a situation wherein physical human labour is increasingly becoming redundant.

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