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A university committed to ‘liberal education at par with the best in the world’ became the butt of criticism recently — in the circle of free thinkers — for letting a senior academician and a reputed intellectual known for his political critiques on the ruling dispensation, part company with the institution. It is normally left to the ‘autonomous functioning’ of a university to determine where the dividing line lay between the intellectual freedom of a faculty member and his writings deprecating the democratic credentials of an elected government — that went far beyond a legitimate analysis of ‘policy flaws’ and shortcomings of administration.
Universities are ‘hubs of teaching and learning which to an extent ‘establish the terms of civilized engagement in democratic citizenship’ and encourage an ’emancipatory, transformative impulse’ — these are the meaningful observations of a thinking academician commenting on the issue but the contention of the same writer that ‘depoliticized classroom is an oxymoron’ for it marred ‘critical thinking’ seemed to abandon the fine distinction between ‘education’ and ‘politics’ — maintaining this separation should be the hallmark of a university.
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Education is a positive phenomenon, different from indoctrination and political tint, and is really is no need for banking on an adjective like ‘liberal’ as a crutch. Someone once said that education is what is left behind when ‘you read a book and forget about it. The subtlety of education in a democratic state lies in spreading the awareness of the secular foundation of ‘one man one vote’ on which it rests and the twin principles of ‘development without discrimination and ‘equal protection of the law for all’ that define its secular performance in terms of what the Constitution had mandated. The students would then be well equipped to make an evaluation of the existing governance.
In fact, the charter of educational institutions has been impacted by the transition of the world at the beginning of the Nineties, from Industrial Age to the Age of Information — thanks to the success of the IT revolution that produced instant connectivity, borderless markets, and a global mindset. In the new age ‘ignorance is bliss’ no more since ‘being well informed’ is the basic requirement of success in any sphere.
There is newfound importance of knowledge — the new age has changed the concept of ‘leadership’, put a new emphasis on the word ’employee’, and altered the organizational approach. A leader has to take knowledge-based decisions — he cannot rely on ‘charisma’ or inheritance — and an employee has to be regarded as a ‘knowledge worker’.
Successful companies are aware of the importance of garnering all the ‘tacit’ knowledge that the members, high and low, carried with them as they realized that ‘nobody knows everything but everybody knows something. Places of learning have so much to give to their wards in a rather compressed time frame that education has of necessity to be anchored on the acquisition of knowledge and the ability to analyze and absorb it. Understanding how the country was being governed is a part of that knowledge and the role of a student as an adult voter would reflect that awareness.
However, the university days were not to be spent on political activism — that could wait till the time for making a choice about the path ahead was reached at the end of the education phase. Universities are, of course, always open to research on the current policies of the government in the higher realm of Political Science, Sociology, or Human Psychology. A classroom is a place for defining principles, concepts, and learnings from history that would govern public life but it is not a forum for discussing party politics.
The autonomy of a university is reflected in the wide spectrum of responsibilities that it has to undertake and the complex issues that it had to tackle in both academic and administrative spheres. There are no doubt questions raised about the quality of leadership at Indian universities as situations developed around campus discipline and fair evaluations and standards of teaching and research took a dip.
If the professor becomes ‘an entrepreneur and not a pursuer of truth’ and the student comes off ‘as a consumer and not a learner’ then the forces of intellectualism available at the universities should get focused on this basic internal threat to the centers of higher education. The critique should also invite attention to any unhealthy links of the university with state power, the practice of putting placements for jobs above the inculcation of critical thinking, and abandonment of the goal of excellence set by a globalized world.
The Vice-Chancellor today does not look like ‘big’ as he or she did some decades ago — the President of a university in a country like the US is, more often than not, a major influencer in regard to the socio-economic facet of the nation but without compromising with one’s complete political neutrality. Centers of learning and politics do not go together and the role of intellectuals based there should be to keep the atmospherics politically ‘clean’ by not becoming a part of government-opposition rhetoric and narratives. Enhancing the capacity for contributing to reasoned dialogue and debate is a dividend of real education but this should happen without the university being drawn by its faculty into the politics of the day.
A university is benefitted by intellectualism that is rooted in academic excellence — it may be disadvantaged by an excessive involvement of an intellectual on its rolls in controversies of public life, particularly those linked to political governance. There are always two sides of an argument in politics and one has to be ideologically neutral enough to support only the side that upheld such unexceptionable principles as ‘largest good to the largest number’, ‘constitutional’ obligation of the state to work for the removal of gross inequalities and ‘equal treatment to all regardless of caste, creed, and region.
Bringing in political slogans like ‘pluralism’, ‘majoritarianism’ and ‘intolerance’ in the classroom debates can create avoidable confusion and ambiguities unless they figured in a natural structured discussion on democratic governance as a subject. The point is that the free-for-all that the intellectuals in public space enjoy cannot be the norm in a place of higher learning for those whose responsibility was to impart education — howsoever prominent their standing might be as a speaker or writer on the real-time political matrix.
The challenge for India is to keep the universities out of politics. Some serious thinking needs to go into this. Socratic spirit of putting the known ‘truths’ to constant scrutiny on the strength of new knowledge is one thing but calls for agitation against ‘uniformity’ and ‘totalitarianism’ smack of politics and could not be at the core of university education.
The role of public intellectuals in a society served by a democratic rule cannot be overemphasized — they should be devoted fully to curing political life of the pitfalls of ‘identity’ divisions, ‘doctrinaire’ outlook, and ‘corruption in all its forms. Let them not, however, stir up the campus of a university that had a full-time job of providing wholesome education to youth within a limited timeframe and preparing them to take on the world with all its complications for carving out a pathway of their choice, later. In the context of a university, intellectualism should not become a pursuit of politics by proxy. (IANS/SP)
By Prerana Agarwal Saxena
In all the wedding excitement, it's easy to overlook the impact a wedding has on the environment. While everyone is making their big fat Indian wedding dreams come true, they are also adding their carbon footprint and undue energy consumption. Modern couples are now looking for ways to have a wedding with a sustainably conscious mindset. It's become about incorporating less waste, locally sourced and seasonal food, natural materials over the use of plastic. Mindful wedding planning and decor includes the use of recycled paper and goods along with eco-friendly venue needs. Check out this quick guide to achieve a sustainably conscious wedding without compromising on luxury:
Choose locally sourced material to uplift artisans
Sustainable can be luxurious too, incorporate some native flavour into the decor and theme. With the use of locally sourced materials and local artisans coming into play, the wedding instantly becomes sustainable. Include the work of local vendors ensure minimal packaging requirements, thus saving on unnecessary plastic and lamination. It also decreases the need for transporting elements from other cities and hence lowers the carbon footprint. For instance, at one of our weddings, we made use of sand art for a setup in Jodhpur. This helped promote local work while also being environmentally friendly with zero wastage of other materials. In another instance from Rajasthan, the traditional glass-blown technique was used to build decor items while giving a cultural touch to the destination wedding.
Sustainable can be luxurious too, incorporate some native flavour into the decor and theme. | Photo by Jason Coudriet on Unsplash
Say yes to recycling
One should be mindful and avoid the use of plastic and other non-recyclable materials in decor wherever possible. It can be a small step such as making a conscious switch from plastic water bottles to copper jugs or glass bottles. Also use artificial floral decor thus minimising the wastage produced from real flowers. This recyclable decor is then donated to various NGOs, further ensuring sustainable use of resources. Such steps, however small they might be, keep the environment free from the release of any additional carbon footprint.
One should be mindful and avoid the use of plastic and other non-recyclable materials in decor wherever possible. | Photo by Ravin Rau on Unsplash
Go for zero-waste wedding decor
Make use of fabric as it enhances the elegance of the wedding while being sustainable. Include vibrant colours apt to the theme of the wedding and bring in bright sprightliness with breathable fabrics. Ensure to include LED lights for lighting. They can be incorporated as string lights or be used on passageways with innovative decor items. They also help conserve energy and bring in soulful energy for nighttime decor. Choose virtual invitations, keeping up with the digital times. Make a conscious choice of plated dinner menus rather than a buffet as they allow less wastage of food and ensure enough food for guests in attendance.
LEDs can be incorporated as string lights or be used on passageways with innovative decor items. | Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Include Sustainable Gifting
Gift sustainable wedding favours -- gifts that grow. Offering a plant or a succulent, is a great idea. One can also gift recycled organic fabrics and cutlery or zero-waste kitchen and bathroom essentials to use in their homes as some distinct gifting options.
Gift sustainable wedding favours -- gifts that grow. | Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash
Acting in the best interest of the environment and the society, Theme Weavers Designs has started a social cause, Weaving Hope, where a part of their earnings along with food and decor are donated to social communities. Royal Rendezvous, is an event started by us to put India on the Global Map, inviting international wedding planners to India to experience the rich culture and heritage, also employing and displaying the work of local artisans to this international audience.
By applying the values of sustainability, you can reduce the energy consumed and the resources used as much as possible. Go ahead and have a luxurious zero-waste wedding and navigate into the world of green living! (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Luxurious , Gift, sustainable, wedding favours, gifts that grow. Gifting, recycling, locally sourced, material. zero-waste
The Tamil Nadu health department has administered 16,43,879 lakh doses of vaccine in the second mega vaccination camp organised by it. The state public health department in a statement on Sunday said that this has taken the total vaccination to one crore since the beginning of September till date. The vaccination was administered from 7 a.m. till 7 p.m. and the compiled data was made available late at night.
The health department officials also said that as the state has almost exhausted its quota of vaccines, there would not be any vaccines on Monday. Regular vaccination will resume after the vaccine supplies arrive from New Delhi, officials said. The state health department had expected to vaccinate 15 lakh people on Sunday in 18,824 centres spread across primary health centres, anganwadis, noon meal centres, government hospitals, schools and some auditoriums.
The health department officials also said that as the state has almost exhausted its quota of vaccines, there would not be any vaccines on Monday. | Photo by Mat Napo on Unsplash
Of the 16,43,879 people who were inoculated, a total of 10,85,097 received their first dose and 5,58,782 their second dose of vaccine, the statement said, A total of 9,66,568 people in the age group of 18-44 were vaccinated on Sunday and vaccines were administered on 5,02,578 people aged between 45- 59 in the mega vaccine camps.
State health minister Ma Subramanian, who inaugurated the vaccination at Pollachi, also visited the centres in six districts -- Coimbatore, Erode, Namakkal, Tiruppur, Dharmapuri and Salem. The state government, according to the health minister, is to receive the next allotment of vaccines on September 21. Minister while speaking to IANS said, "We will be receiving the next allotment of vaccines on September 21 itself and we will resume vaccinations immediately. The state has already touched one crore vaccine-mark in the month of September till date." (IANS/MBI)
Keywords: COVID, vaccine, vaccination camp, Tamil Nadu, India, vaccinated, mega camp
Festivals are just around the corner and while you brainstorm about OOTDs (outfit of the day), don't forget the right makeup. Hanisha Kapoor, COO, ArchiesBeauty.com shares makeup trends experimented by these Bollywood divas throughout 2021 for inspiration. While some stuck to the classics, others mixed it up... take a look:
The Classic Red Lip
We don't see a future where classic red lips go out of fashion. The right way to achieve this celebrity look is to focus on accentuating your lips and keeping the rest of the face minimal. Give your lips a good scrub to plump them, moisturize and follow it up with a red lip liner to define the shape of your lips. Now go on with the perfect shade of red and finish your look with a slick of eyeliner, minimal concealer, and foundation.
We don't see a future where classic red lips go out of fashion. | Photo by Ina Garbé on Unsplash
No Makeup Look
Deepika Padukon is the perfect example of a no-makeup look. This natural beauty does a wonderful job of achieving the minimal soft look by softly cover any dark spots or blemishes and highlighting features she's most proud of. To achieve this start with concealer and use small dots to brighten your darker areas like under eye, corner of the nose or upper lip, and any visible spots, and set it up with loose powder. Apply a soft pink lipstick, light blush, and mascara.
Deepika Padukon is the perfect example of a no-makeup look | Wikimedia Commons
This look shouts pink. When it comes to rosy looks, Janhavi Kapoor does a phenomenal job. Everyone should try a rosy look once in a while. As we are focusing on only one shade, this look is pretty easy to achieve. Bring out your favourite pink lipstick, favourite pink blush, and a matching shade of eye shadow. Start with the base - concealer, and foundation and set it up with loose powder. Follow it up with eyeshadow, lipstick, and blush. Remember to draw a line by not using any pink mascara, eyeliner, or a bold shade of lipstick, as this is meant to be soft on the eyes.
When it comes to rosy looks, Janhavi Kapoor does a phenomenal job. | Wikimedia Commons
Glass Skin Makeup
The glass skin makeup is inspired by Korean skincare. This look is slightly complex with an equal focus on skin before makeup, so slather on those moisturizing serums and creams to prep your skin first. Start with a highlighting primer, keep your foundation and concealer minimal to avoid looking cakey. Follow it up with soft blush & nude lips and lots and lots of highlighter. Use the highlighter on the main points of your face, like upper cheekbones, the centre of the forehead, the tip of the nose, cupid bone, and chin. If you are feeling a bit extra, don't hesitate to put some on your shoulders and collar bones. This celebrity makeup look makes your skin glow without the need for a spotlight.
The glass skin makeup is inspired by Korean skincare. | Photo by 邱 严 on Unsplash
Pop It Up
Put a zing to your party look with the pop of funky colour. This look is meant to get you in the mood of partying all night. This works with your eye makeup while keeping the rest of the face minimal. Start with the base - concealer, apply a bit extra on your eyelids to make the colour pop. Don't mind going the extra mile and colour blocking your eyes with complementary colours on eyelids and under the eye. Apply nude lipstick and a soft blush to balance your look.
This look is meant to get you in the mood of partying all night. | Pixabay
(Article originally published by N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Celebrity, makeup, Deepika, Jhanavi, Korean, Red Lipstick, Glass Makeup, Pop makeup