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India's Daughter by BBC - Misconceptions
Contrary to the apprehensions of the Indian government, I felt that the documentary actually tries to show multiple and diverse opinions of different segments of the Indian society. And many of them happened to be progressive and liberal, often coming from the men of India. ...
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India's Daughter by BBC - Misconceptions
Contrary to the apprehensions of the Indian government, I felt that the documentary actually tries to show multiple and diverse opinions of different segments of the Indian society. And many of them happened to be progressive and liberal, often coming from the men of India...
Continue Reading...
India's Daughter by BBC - Misconceptions
Contrary to the apprehensions of the Indian government, I felt that the documentary actually tries to show multiple and diverse opinions of different segments of the Indian society. And many of them happened to be progressive and liberal, often coming from the men of India...
Continue Reading...
India's Daughter by BBC - Misconceptions
Contrary to the apprehensions of the Indian government, I felt that the documentary actually tries to show multiple and diverse opinions of different segments of the Indian society. And many of them happened to be progressive and liberal, often coming from the men of India...
Continue Reading...
Mistakes Many Students Make While Enrolling
Students who take admission in tertiary education in universities frequently make mistakes because of which they suffer in life. In many cases, even their parents are not aware that these mistakes should not be made...
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Friday, March 6, 2015

India's Daughter by the BBC - Some Misconceptions


I was amongst the people who could watch this documentary while it was still available online. Hence, I feel I should write this to clear some of the misconceptions that have crept into the public domain and have led to the unfortunate incident of getting this film banned by the Indian government under the wrong feeling that it tarnishes the image of India in the international circles.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, the reality is just the opposite.

Positive Images of India in the BBC Documentary

Much has been written in the media about how the convict's misogynist statements reflect the mentality of the majority of Indians and hence the film should be shown to clear away such degeneration in society. Since this line has been argued in detail by others, I'm not going into this here. Anyone interested can just search Google and get this discourse.

I would like to highlight some other points that came into my mind while watching the documentary.

Contrary to the apprehensions of the Indian government, I felt that the documentary actually tries to show multiple and diverse opinions of different segments of the Indian society. And many of them happened to be progressive and liberal, often coming from the men of India.

There are people interviewed in the documentary who emphasise that it's not wrong for a woman to go out in the night or to wear any kind of clothes they want.

The victims' parents themselves show a very liberal attitude despite the fact that they live in very strenuous circumstances. They show a high motivation to educate their daughter in the line of profession that she wanted to study, they allow her to go out in the night and even work night shifts. They have no objections to her going out in the night with her man friend.

These are some positive attitudes that exist in the Indian society but never come out in the media because the stereotypes of a degenerate India has become the selling image of this country in the global arena.

This argument is corroborated by the film maker herself, who has said in a recent interview the following - 

Q. Are men like Mukesh Singh an exception?
A: I don’t think men like Mukesh Singh are an exception. I think most men in this country are programmed a certain way.
But I have to say that I think there is a huge band of forward-looking people in this country. That’s the hope. And that’s why you had the uprising. There was an uprising for gender equality in this country. There’s not another country in the world that has done that in my lifetime, and I am very old.
(See complete interview here.)

Please reflect - the film maker who says the above, is it ever possible that she has indulged in an act to malign India?

Absolutely not. She has brought out the positive face of forward-looking India against all odds and that is absolutely commendable.

I absolutely commend the BBC to have brought out some of these positive images of the Indian people, to communicate the message that not all Indians have an orthodox mentality as has been portrayed in the media all along.

The documentary also approaches the issue of the making of a young man into a criminal from the very sensitive standpoint of economic and social compulsions and the undaunted pressures in a Third World country that force the creation of such young criminals.

I find the BBC's line absolutely sensitive and responsible and even giving credit to the Indian people for their liberal attitude and living in forced circumstances where they deserve such credit.

From the above, I feel the BBC has done a service to the Indian society and deserves accolades for it.

A Brief "Rape Profile of the World" and India's Rank in it

The core issue in banning India's Daughter seems to be that it tarnishes the image of India as the country with highest rape incidents. This is a false image that has been created by the populist media and the reality is in fact something else.

Following map of rape cases around the world in 2012 shows that out of 121 countries surveyed, India ranks only 85th, Sweden the so-called highly democratic country ranks 4th and the US ranks 16th.

Further, if we consider the number of rape cases as per the population of each country, India fares much better than several developed countries.

India has much fewer rape cases than has been made out in the populist media -  



Hence, there is a need to see the issue of crime against women in its proper global context rather than demonising any particular country on the basis of false perceptions.

Issues such as this one should be debated around the central theme of crime against women and freedom of expression, rather than turning it into a clash of civilisations in the global field.

And the BBC has struck the right cord by raising the correct issues without demonising India.

The BBC documentary "India's Daughter" certainly clears some of the misconceptions about Indian society and shows that all men and women in India don't think alike and many, even men, have a very positive and liberal view of women.

The current Indian government should take the above into account and allow the screening of the film. This will help to clear the misconceptions of Indian society that has been created so far.

Banning the film will cause damage to the reputation of India as a democracy because it will further complicate matters by bringing into focus the issue of restriction on the freedom of expression.

Please show the film. It will be good for India's global image.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Mistakes Many Students Make While Enrolling in College...


Students who take admission in tertiary education in universities frequently make mistakes because of which they suffer in life. In many cases, even their parents are not aware that these mistakes should not be made. Worse still, many parents pressurise their children against their will to take these decisions, for which they pay a high price in later life.

If you are a student going for tertiary education or a parent of such a student, please do not make such mistakes - 
  • Many students and their parents choose programmes merely on the basis of "high marketability" of such courses in the job sector, regardless of whether the student has the inclination or the ability to study in these disciplines. Thus, students who could have been excellent designers or shrewd economists are forced to study subjects such as Computer Science, Engineering and Medical Science, because of the perception that these subjects are the quickest route to a high-paying job. While it may be true that these disciplines have a high probability of success in the job market, but if the students don't have the ability or the desire to do well in these fields, they end up with terrible grades, a low self-esteem, depression and worse, an abusive environment at College because of bad grades and very low probability of getting a job because of stiff competition from their more successful colleagues. More often than not, this is a waste of time, money and energy of the students and their parents. Hence, it's better to see what kind of abilities the students have and link their abilities to a programme that can get them a job. A student with good economic skills can study Economics or Commerce and then get a qualification in Business Studies. Similarly, a student with good designing skills can go into industrial design or computer-aided design and find a job in the market. Studying a subject merely because it's popular and perceived to get a job in the market doesn't make sense.
  • Worse than choosing a wrong programme is choosing a wrong institution. It seems incredible, but I have seen parents choosing an institution merely because the institution has marketed itself well and appears to be attractive on paper. In many cases, such institutions are not even accredited and if at all they are accredited, then their reliability in the job market is very low. There are many institutions in the world which have been established more for extracting money out of students and their parents than for training students in skills. Hence, please go to the accreditation agency's website and find out if the institution is accredited, if it's a new institution or if it's not a well-known institution. Moreover, find out the success rate of their graduates in the job market. Ask them to show track-records. Don't go by mere promises and assurances. There should be a clear-cut evidence of what they are promising in terms of training, placements, fees etc. Everything should be in writing, not by word of mouth. Moreover, talk to them if they plan to change their rules after students will get admission. Get a written statement from them that current rules will not change for a certain period and if these rules change, then the students can withdraw without paying any further money. It is a practice of many institutions that they attract students by making promises of attractive scholarships, placement etc. After the first semester, they cut scholarships, increase the fees and on closer scrutiny it emerges that there is no clear plan to offer placements to the students once they graduate. Such institutions are mushrooming and making thousands of millions in profit by making false promises. Please DO NOT take admission in an institution which doesn't give you all prospects in writing and which doesn't have a sound record of placement. Do find out if the institution is accredited before you take admission.
  • Many institutions have a weird grading policy. This is because low grades are the best criteria for cutting scholarships after students enrol. Hence, their grading policies are strange, which give grades such as C or D at 85% and 80%. But, this is not revealed to the students while enrolling. It becomes apparent only during the course of the semester and by that time the students are trapped. Hence, before enrolling, find out what the grading policy is and who decides the grades. Moreover, find out if the grading policy is likely to change. Again, everything should be in writing. In case of any change of policy from the time of enrolment, the students should be able to withdraw with no financial liability and his/her results should not be withheld. All of this should be in writing. Find out from the current students what the grading policies are.
  • Many institutions have an unusually high fee structure as compared to others in their own field and in their own ranking. Do an extensive research on Google to see what kind of fees other institutions are charging before you give an exorbitant amount of money to someone. Even if you happen to be rich, it doesn't make sense to waste money on an institution of low quality that has packaged itself well to extract money out of you.
  • Many institutions ask for original certificates of students. If you happen to belong to a country like India, where only one copy of certificates and degrees are issued, make it clear to the institution that you can't submit your original degrees. Be informed that the USIEF in New Delhi issues certified letters to Indian students applying to the US saying Indian students can't get another copy of their degrees, hence they should not be asked to submit the original degrees. Within India, it is illegal for institutions and organisations to ask the candidates to submit their original degrees. Hence, if you are taking admission in India and if you are asked to submit your original degrees, DO NOT enrol in such an institution. This is because it's an illegal practice in India. Such institutions deliberately take possession of original degrees so that the students can't leave later and they can go on demanding more and more fees and lowering their grades. If you are enrolling in the US, do visit the USIEF in New Delhi and get the certified letter from them. Send this letter along with your photocopies of degrees, NOT your original degrees to the US. Indian institutions asking for original degrees are most likely indulging in fraudulent practices. Please do not enrol in such places in India.
Taking care while enrolling in a professional tertiary educational education will save a lot of trouble in your life and will not waste invaluable years of your life.

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