Saturday, February 26, 2011

My niece in San Jose has to get in High School come this fall. Admission in Private High School is suppose to be very difficult and one has to consider and discuss pros and cons of getting education in these very Prestigious and Costly ( fees are in the range of 25-40 K/annually). Last Saturday ,when I visited them, the discussion was in the full swing. My other sister and Bro-I-L, whose two sons have studied here in South San Jose, pitched in. Strong and weak points of each school,the distance from home,possibility of Carpooling,time spent commuting was all discussed. It was more intense that the discussion one has in India for Undergrad education. One good thing about education in India is,that there are not too many options and Choice is limited. Unlike US where for everything there are multiple Choices and after all the discussion when you make a choice,you are not sure that it is correct one. Reminds you of your CET/GRE/GMAT ?

My niece was very tense. She was counting days for this tension to get over. March 18 or thereabout is date when she is expecting the letter informing her whether her application is approved or not. Then there is big question of Fees. At 40K/yr it was more than fees at undergrad/post grad level. Besides you cant do part time job to ease the burden. So I asked her 'what about Public School?' and She answered 'I would rather not study or study at Home.' It seems Public School of their area though good, was not preferred by many parents.

This really surprised me. When we were looking for house to buy last year, we paid so much attention to School District,Performance of the school,it's ranking etc etc. Areas in Santa Clara or in Fremont, houses were costly as they had very good school district. I remember reading edits in TOI, praising Public Schools system of US and compared them to abysmal condition of imparting education in Municipal/Govt. run schools in India. One of the reason cited was that in US even Rich and Elite parents sent their children to Public School and hence they were better staffed and equipped.If rich and Elite parents in India sent their children to Mun/Govt school then they would improve and will provide quality education ( These edits were during Nehru/Indira Gandhi Socialist era). Today parents in US, if they can afford would send their children to Private School. What a change.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Are Hindus " HORRIFIED" by Hindu Terror ?

Vir Sanghvi in his Parallax View asks,'Why are we so Horrified of Hindu terror?
Are We? I don't see any anyone being horrified by the Swami Aseemanand's arrest and confession about plot to take revenge on Muslim by violent means. Yes, there is disbeleif but what feeling Hindus have about this revelation is that of "Surprise" Vir admits that as Guju Jain, violence in any form is anathema to him but for majority of Hindus, a Hindu can plan and carry out terror attacks is Surprising. Last heard it was done almost century ago by Bhagat Singh & Co. against British. After Independence violent terror attacks was forte of Communists-Naxalites,Christians from North East trying to cede from India and recently Islamists, as part of Jihad against Infedals(Hindus).

Hinduism is not Violent religion today, but in those early years some 3-4 thousands of years ago Hindus fought with existing(Pagan-Native)religion to establish itself.More likely Hinduism is one of the first 'Religion' in the world. Hindus dont convert because in abscence of any other Organised Religion there was no one to 'convert' from. Like Indian state it was always inclusive and there is no act for which one can be kicked out of Hindu Religion. If you are born a Hindu you die as Hindu as even abusing Gods will not exclude you from the fold as there is no concept of Blasphemy in Hinduism.

We are surprised because except in Mythology,Hindus have not shown violent streak. That particular Gene is lacking in Hindus-unfortunately. we have organised locally or in particular region or community and fought with Kingdoms and people from neighbouring region ( Similar to Europe where French,Italian,Spanish,etc fought with one another, though they were all Christians). But unlike Christian Europe when Muslim tried to invade and threatened to convert, Europeans united under Christianity and Pope and carried out "Holy War" against Muslims and stopped them at the Gate-Turkey. Muslims couldnt go beyond Balkan region and Spain which was occupied by Muslims from Africa,returned to Christianity by defeating Muslims in war and used Islamic method of using sword to convert all Muslims to Christianity and Mosques to Church(reconquesta and Mezquita-Cathedral of Cordoba). But Hindus never united under Hinduism and that's the reason why India was repetedly invaded,Hindus killed and Converted in large number, temples destroyed and Mosque built on it. Coincidently both the events were taking place at almost the same time-400-600 yrs ago. In west Muslims couldnt make any progress and in East ( India) they became the ruler. If we had united and fought as Hindus,we might have stopped invaders at Afghanistan border-Hindukush mountains. Hindu kings either converted to Islam after defeat or had treaty and used time tested method of marrying of their daughters-sisters to invaders and retaind power.
British rule was more civilised and though they encouraged conversion to christianity, the basis of British rule was to co opt Princely states and allowed them to rule. If King was Hindu or Muslim, British did not encourage conversion openly and it was left to Missionaries to do the Job. Except for Dalits and Very Backward Communities ,conversion did not extend to Higher castes. So unlike South America,which was converted to Christianity under Spanish rule,India remained predominantly Hindu and is today almost a Billion strong.

But here is lesson to remember. 1857 War of Independence or Revolt by Soldiers of the British Army in India was the result of Fear of Conversion to Christianity.All over World Conversion from religion of Birth,and Religion evokes strong and Violent passions as seen for last 4 thousand years.Many wars were fought in the past.Untold atrocities were committed in the name of Religion,Lets not allow the Genie to come out of Bottle. Result will be devastating.