Friday, 28 March 2014

What a way to conclude a session!

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When a day out at Surjivan farm was planned by the Senior Programme, it was a moment that I could hardly miss. The Retreat was all about coming together at the end of the academic session, and it was not just about fun but also about the awarding of certificates of appreciation highlighting the strengths of the teachers who had spent the whole year at the school. The last hour of the day was spent in reviewing the year gone by, the highlights of the session, and this included a pat on the shoulders of all those who had worked really hard to make the session a great success. One might in fact refer to the retreat as a moment for introspection, a retrospect about the year gone by, and a preparation for the year to come. The greatest gift to all of us has been the completion of the construction of the new block. The occasion was also filled with a sense of loss as we would not be seeing two of our educators, namely Mr. Jyoti Parruck and Mr. Sai.

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At the venue while it rained
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A refresher in paper folding conducted by Mr. Jyoti Parrukh
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And the line stretched as far as the eyes could see!
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You always did it with a smile, well even if your heart was beating fast!
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Inside the Zorbin Ball, Mr. Bannerjee and Mr. Rahul
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A Message for Kaye Ma’am
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The Kids, ‘well, this is no big deal.’ The Elders (at the back) ‘Check this out-Who’ll go first?’

‘Afraid? Nah!, well then let’s get rolling!’
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And they acquiesced before the giant ball, one and all, the little and the old, the little fairy fleeing from the devastation wreaked by the Zorbin Ball, and yes, without shoes, as you will see in the foreground…(Sorry if the pic is not clear, was shooting against the sun!).

Stopping the Ball before it rolled off…
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The Announcement Desk

Yes, and there were certificates too!
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Received with good Grace and a smile to light up the day!
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A smile of relief for a day gone well, checklist, O.K., Logistics, O.K.
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Whew, what a wonderful day, everyone was in smiles!
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Sunday, 23 March 2014

The Kaczynski Syndrome


I would broadly define the Kaczynski Syndrome as a syndrome, a feeling of  righteous anger directed at the surfeit of technology that has been steadily leaching away the human capability for creativity. ‘Kaczynski is known for having become so enraged by the impact of modern technology on human society, that he decided to kill to make his point.-http://infontology.typepad.com/infontology/2011/03/a-battle-of-determinisms-kelly-vs-kaczynski.html . The post mentioned above reads, ‘A central and perhaps the most revealing part of Kevin Kelly's recent book What Technology Wants, is his discussion of the argument of Theodore J. Kaczynski, a.k.a. The Unabomber.‘ An article published by Dr. Keith Ablow on the 25th June, 2013 on Fox News. com titled, ‘Was the Unabomber correct?’ reads, ‘Kaczynski’s ideas,… described in a manifesto entitled, "Industrial Society and Its Future," cannot be dismissed, and are increasingly important as our society hurtles toward individual disempowerment at the hands of technology and political forces that erode autonomy. “Industrial Society and its Future” was published on September 19, 1995 by The New York Times and The Washington Post, to comply with Kaczynski’s demand, in exchange for him stopping the bombings.’ Ted Kaczynski, a terrorist by profession cannot be forgiven for the trail of terror that he had unleashed before being apprehended, but then, the so called anger that he had, was aimed at a section of the society that was deliberately exploiting technology so as to make inroads into the privacy of individuals living in one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world.
The Kaczynski Syndrome is the results  from a feeling of disgust for the  overwhelming impact of technology on individual freedom to lead a private life in peace! While popularity and fame are thrilling at times,  privacy and anonymity might prove most welcome at other times! The resulting  rebellion is directed at a world that is becoming more and more claustrophobic and limiting because of the fact that we are becoming more and more wired. Social networking sites, and increasing use of information technology has meant that we are becoming more and more exposed to the  prying eyes of  hackers, mischief mongers, newsmongers, and  inquisitive eyes of ‘Big Brother’. In many cases, our inclinations, likes and dislikes are shared by social networking sites to those willing to pay in the interests of market research, propaganda techniques, and marketers. The twenty-first century might as well be labelled as the century in which individuals have had the least privacy when compared to their predecessors in the previous centuries. The age of cyber-snooping, phone hacking, and cyber tracking has left well meaning individuals most vulnerable and insecure. Some of the most innocuous comments or posts made on social networking sites are known to have resulted in the most acrimonious and public spectacles of divorce, and at times loss of jobs. The sharing of profiles by social networking sites with marketing agencies that sell insurance and other services has meant that you receive pesky calls from telemarketers  who want to sell you an insurance scheme that you are least interested in, or for that effect, a financial planning scheme, or perhaps even a loan that you really don’t require. How do ‘they’ get your contact number? Or for that effect, how do they get your e-mail address? Well, all the information is out there on the net – don’t be surprised if they know how old you are, or your marital status, or perhaps even what your credit rating is. The introduction of the Aadhar Card in India is an attempt to create a database on all the citizens living in the country, a commendable task no doubt, but then wouldn’t the sharing of so much information on the web and such databases make you a target of the most inquisitive of mischief mongers? A technologically advanced life in the twenty-first century has meant that you can’t live without technology, whether it is in the form of your smartphone, or that tablet, or for that effect your laptop which is wired to the internet 24X7!
T.V. viewing has become rather addictive what with the loads of titillating and melodramatic stuff, gore, and violence that is being broadcast. The question is do we need all this stuff all the time? Hasn’t technology reached a point where it has become an overkill of sorts? Imagine my chagrin when my students keep grumbling about the amount of writing that they have to do, which in any case is lesser than the amount of writing that my parents did when they were in school or even when I was in school too! What is the start of a protest in the form of grumbling then changes into requests that I should send the questions on the net and check their answers on line! They just don’t want to write anything on paper! Do I blame my students? No, I can only blame a technology that has made them so helpless and easily fatigued that they cannot write a few sentences in their notebooks without  sighs  of helplessness and flexing of fingers in order to take up the strain! Have the advantages of technology somehow meant that we are ready to sacrifice our individual rights of determinism just because we are lazy and lack initiative. By readily succumbing to the ease and comforts of technology aren’t we all somehow losing our right of determinism, right to choose, and make an individual stance? By using technology excessively, especially information technology, we might, in fact be playing into the hands of unscrupulous organisations that are out to make inroads into our private lives. Recently while reading a book by Clive Cussler and Paul Kemprecos titled, Polar Shift, I came across the following lines, ‘The organization of Elites that he was part of knew that political ends were not achieved by guns alone but by close surveillance and total control of all communication.’ The book itself contains elements of what I would define as the Kaczynski Syndrome in the villains, Gant and Margrave who, ironically want to destroy the hold that corporations have over individual freedom and determinism by inducing a Polar Shift. They call this project ‘The Freedom Project’ although Gant’s motives are suspect. The villains in the book advocate ‘anarchism’ as an antidote to the slavery and lack of freedom in a world of technology and scientific advancement.
This brings us back to the Kaczynski Syndrome-is it an expression of disenchantment with technology that that is too invasive? Can we, therefore equate the syndrome with a ‘Back to Nature movement’ that advocates minimalism and a life of hardships bereft of the comforts of technology? I guess, it is! This sense of rebellion against the benefits of technology is expressed very clearly in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and it finds voice in the Savage and the Savage Reservations in the book. The Kaczynski Syndrome is clearly an expression for freedom and determinism as opposed to the conformism imposed by technology. If the syndrome is an expression of rebellion against the conformism imposed by technology, what then could be the antidote? Well I guess the first thing to do would be to unplug. The second would be to resort to a minimal use of technology, walk that extra mile to your destination. The third would be  probably to meditate/pray. Yet another  thing to do is to take regular periods of break, go to places where you have no internet connectivity, be close to Nature, appreciate the beauty of Nature as opposed to the artificial beauty of technology. Take up a hobby that binds you to nature, photographing the splendour of Nature could be self-fulfilling.
It is ironical however that the very technology the the writer is terming to be invasive is the technology he is using to reach out to his readers. A clarification to this effect is that the writer of this article doesn’t intend to condemn technology outright, rather he means to warn his readers about total dependence on technology which might turn out to be harmful in the long run! While the writer doesn’t advocate minimalism or extreme self-denial, he doesn’t however also advocate being connected to the internet 24X7! What he advocates is a proper balance between the comforts of technology and the hardships of minimalism. While the Kaczynski Syndrome might find its extreme expression in actions of the Una Bomber, it might be however be also evident in the discontent expressed in other less harmful ways. In any case a further study of the syndrome might help understand how technology is impacting human endeavour,  freedom and the essential humanness for dissent, non-conformism and creativity.
Sources/Suggested Reading:
2. Dr. Keith Ablow - ‘Was the Unabomber correct?’25thJune, 2013, Fox News. com
3. Huxley, Aldous- Brave New World-Flamingo Modern Classics 1994 edition
4. Cussler Clive and Kemprecos Paul- Polar Shift-Penguin Fiction 2007 edition
Note-Those who would like to go through the actual manifesto of the 'Una Bomber' might click on the link given below:

5. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/longterm/unabomber/manifesto.text.htm
 

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Thursday, 6 March 2014

Five years of CCE-A Retrospective

It has been five years since the introduction of CCE in 1999 by the then Education Minister, Mr. Kapil Sibal. A lot has changed since then, including the fact that now my own children have already become veterans of the CCE, having come across it from grades eight to ten. What astonishes me as a parent, is the range of tools and activities that can be organized as tools for evaluation of students under the heading of Formative tools! The sheer confidence of students about passing on to higher grades, and the lack of any apparent stress in them stands testimony to the great success that CCE has had in reducing stress in students-but then, perhaps heaping the same on to the shoulders of the teachers who have become more of jugglers, conjuring new tools of assessment like  magicians producing rabbits out of their hats!
A leading article appearing in the Times of India on the sixth of February, 20l4, page 7 (NCR City Edition) is headed, “CCE has improved Scored, not teaching”. The title is self explanatory in itself and it suggests that the  so called scores might have been boosted, although they don’t indicate superior pedagogy or even a superior curriculum! While inflation of marks might be resorted to a rare one or two schools, the fact remains that it is so easy to score in any of the formative tests. In many cases where group work is entailed, the group might be assessed on the basis of a collective group performance, and I have noted to my distress that in many group activities, it is the smartest student who does all the work while the more lazy students just sit and watch! The same might be said of the numerous projects and assignments given to students as part of the Formative Assessment, where Science projects can be bought ready made from the market for a price and  student of languages can download materials from the internet, thanks to the copy-paste syndrome while plagiarism goes for a toss!
When students reach grade twelve and they have to face the written board exams for the first time, it becomes a frenzied rush for them to develop essential exam skills that they had allowed to go to grass, thanks to the numerous activities they did as formatives and thus lost the ability to translate their thoughts and ideas into the written form! Today, in the age of the CCE, it is not surprising for most students to score very high marks by the end of the session when the CBSE processes the result by adding the formative score to the summative score, i.e. 40% + 60% = 100%. Some of the reasons why students might score absurdly high marks in their formatives is that many of the Formative assessments are not assessed with the help of a rubric. In many cases, teachers are themselves confused about the purpose and what the activity purports to assess! Wouldn’t however blame the teachers for this laxity in giving marks for the basic reason that, firstly, they are overworked and puzzled by the number of tools they have to prepare ahead of time, secondly, they have gone through a traditional system of education and it takes time to flush out past habits and experiences, thirdly, there doesn’t seem to be much clarity even today, that is five years since the introduction of CCE about the manner of conducting Formative Assessments, fourthly, CCE works successfully when you have adequate resources and computer savvy teachers, (imagine conducted Formative assessments in a Village school which doesn’t have enough computers or where teachers don’t know how to operate a computer!) and  fifthly, there is a total lack of consensus among teachers about the tools they should use. This lack of clarity, and vagueness of policy by the Board overseeing the CCE structure has made the very process of assessment rather effete and obsolete at the very outset.
It is high time we thought beyond CCE, which has unfortunately not more out of the box learning in students than the previous paper and pen exams. I don’t see very much of creative thinking or experiential learning taking place in my children or even students, aside from the fact that I find them busy making charts, and running to the shop at the corner that makes ready-made models and dioramas! Looking at the amount of rather pointless effort spent in preparing print outs based on plagiarism and regular visits to the market to purchase charts has benefited anyone really much! The article appearing in the Times of India Newspaper states that, “Tasks given to students in 54.6% of the schools are of average quality and the difficulty level is also average or below average in 86% if schools”.  Perhaps better implementation of policies, standardization of processes, constant monitoring of processes by the Board, might prepare us for a better version of CCE termed CCE-2 could be expected in the near future. Statistics apparently suggest that 60 % of the parents and 90 % of teachers are happy with the new scheme of assessments according to the Daily. What remains to be seen is whether the reforms, policies and assessment strategies are being followed with sincerity and honesty and that marks are not being simply given for mediocre work or just because it has become a tedious activity!
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Monday, 3 March 2014

Metaphors of Freedom in the twenty-first century

The Metaphors of freedom in the twenty-first century find voice in novels that describe life under rather straitjacketed norms, rules, and regulations, all of which end up curbing freewill and choice. The Metaphors include, Nature, Religion, Spirituality, and the freedom to procreate.You are a good citizen as long as you conform to popular trends as promoted through Propaganda Techniques. In many cases, this ends up in a tussle between the state and the individual. Some novels have subjected the whole issue with humour, while others have  given a more serious treatment to the whole topic. The three novels in which I find some very strong metaphors of freedom are, George Orwell’s rendition of the Socialist Society in The Animal Farm, Aldous Huxley’s description of the firm that deals in the longevity treatment in The Brave New World, and the third, newer novel The Resistance by Gemma Malley. In many modern societies, there is a rampant abuse of individual privacy in the form of snooping and hacking of internet traffic, and of course eavesdropping of telephone conversations. In recent times, there was this huge hue and cry about the 'Radia Tapes' purportedly containing  incriminating evidence of  the complicity of various individual in the 3-G scam.Various organizations and individuals called the whole  of eavesdropping as going against the right to privacy of the individual. There have been many instances where individual freedoms and rights have been curbed in the interests of a greater entity, probably huge corporations and business houses. The novels mentioned below warn us about the harms of curbing individual free choice and free will. While we talk about free choice or free will, we shouldn't however lose sight of the fact that we also have duties towards the state and other individuals like us. Freedom cannot be construed as license, although it is seen that some people in the twenty-first century society might have greater freedom and thus license than the rest of the citizens living in the same society! It is exactly in the context preventing what may become license and the curbing of other individuals' right to freewill and choice that the concept of freedom in the twenty-first century needs to be analyzed! Ironically the animal farm is simply not a metaphor for freedom-it is rather a metaphor for the oppression of tyranny.
Huxley’s Brave New World, describes the Controller as a man who literally controls the whole process of mixing and matching of genes to create people to populate the whole country. The segregation of the people starts from the very test-tubes where the cells are made to multiply into zygotes. You add such and such chemicals to the biological soup and you get intellectuals who have a high intelligence. You deprive the soup of the chemicals and  get people who are mediocre in intelligence, ideal for menial work! The very process is aimed at creating deliberate divisions in the society, a rather distorted view of a society based on an artificial division of labour based on deliberately determining the  intelligence levels through eugenics.   Ultimately, it is the industry run by the Controller that decides how the world will be run, after all they control the birth of new human beings, and they provide longevity treatments to others, so that no one ever dies! In Brave New World, God and the government have both been replaced by machines, medicines, and happiness which is the result of a regular dose of Soma pills. It is paradox that the industry that deals with Eugenics has become not just the tool of the government but the Government itself! This is an example of the State becoming subservient to the industry that has become essential for the state of slavery to continue. ‘Brave New World’ seems to be  a description of a finished product of what the Nazis were trying to do during the second world war-build up a master race! Unfortunately human beings are not engineered by nature to sit quietly and take orders. The natural curiosity of human beings can often break through the fug of deliberately fed psychotropic substances and drugs fed to individuals by the firm. The very idea of controlling human reproduction goes against the ethos of freedom and liberty, and such a philosophy negates the very freedoms that all human beings expect to enjoy,the freedom to choose a suitable partner, and the freedom to have children, and to procreate within the socially acceptable norms! Nazi abuses of human rights included enforced racial hygiene,  compulsory sterilization, extermination of a particular race, and a general rejection of the doctrine that all human beings are born equal. To quote from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugenics, ‘Both the public and some of the scientific community have associated eugenics with Nazi abuses, such as enforced "racial hygiene", human experimentation, and the extermination of "undesired" population groups.[citation needed] However, developments in genetic, genomic, and reproductive technologies at the end of the 20th century are raising for some people numerous new questions regarding the ethical status of eugenics, effectively creating a resurgence of interest in the subject.’ Huxley's Brave New World describes a society based on  deliberately  engineered species of mankind. The novel expounds the need for free will and choice in choosing a life partner and freedom to procreate in a world of technological advancement. When state run organisations determine the kind of progeny that you should produce, and they take away the freedom to bear children as and when you wish, then you are no freer than slaves, irrespective of the kind of amenities you enjoy. Longevity might after all be a curse that binds you to a vicious cycle of slavery from which there is no escape!
Coming back to Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’, the alternative to the rather stifling and festering life in a scientifically advanced world is the life of those who live in the ‘reservation’- an out of bounds area for misfits and those who would rather do their own thing than follow the diktats of a rather subversive regime! Life in the reservations is rather difficult, with hygiene taking a toss, and of course, you don’t have the luxuries and amenities of a modern city. In the seventh chapter, Lenina remarks to Bernard, referring to the Indian guide, “he smells.” On the way to the Pueblo, we are told how, “Suddenly it was as though the whole air had come alive and were pulsing, puling with the indefatigable movement of blood.” Is it this sense of being alive , the sheer thrill of being alive that drives the engines of a man called Savage? Why does the Savage then deliberately refuse the so called gifts of a  more advanced world ruled by His Fordship, the Director and, the process of genetic engineering? Has the promise of immortality begun to ring hollow for the Savage? The Savage is clearly a proponent of freedom and life in the reservation (in spite of all its shortcomings) is an important metaphor.
George Orwell’s, ‘Animal Farm’ is a rather vitriolic comment on  how the attempt to control individual freewill and choice through a particular ideology can sometimes backfire. What sounds rather Utopian and sweet to the ears,  degenerates into something rather farcical at the end! The farm is taken over by animals in a revolution which banishes human beings from the farm. The animals become the rulers of the farm. Everyone follows a strict regime, and work is allotted to each animal according to his or her abilities. What happens after a few days is that  the whole structure of the society degenerates into on that promotes inequality, encourages oppression, curbs free will and  brings out artificial divisions in the society based on favoritism and nepotism. Under the tyrannical rule of the Boar, one finds life on the farm to be rather oppressive constricting. What had begun as an attempt to create a society of equals in fact ends up creating a society of the unequal, a society in which tyrants and dictators thrive. What happens in the animal farm is an example of what happens when individuals become totally subservient to the dictates of a state which seeks to impose its will on its people suggesting that in the State of equals, no one has the right express his or her personal opinions, or for that effect, no one has an identity apart from that of the state! The end result is that there is a counter revolution and the inhabitants of the farm return to their previous state with the human beings as their caretakers of the society. ‘Animal Farm’ wrote the novel as an expression of his opposition to the ideology of Stalinism and  the kind of dictatorship that was practiced in the Soviet Union during the early thirties and forties. In this novel, the pigs reign over the others, and the actual dictator is a Boar by the name of Napoleon. He doesn’t tolerate dissent, and is very clear about what he expect from the other animals, which is total subservience to the diktats  of of the state and its so called appointed head, Napoleon. Napoleon is also the villain in the book against whom the others rebel in the end. The horses and the donkeys are the most hardworking on the farm, while the Cows’ milk is stolen by the pigs who then mix it in their mash. Clearly we are talking about racial superiority in the book and Orwell makes it clear that the pigs, under the leadership of Napoleon are in fact more equal than others, that to say superior! The hens are the first to voice their opposition  to the oppressive rule and regulations imposed on them by Napoleon the boar. The book was incidentally  banned in Ethiopia, the place of birth of  the writer of this article during the Socialist regime.
The common theme that links the three novels is that state lead dominance is detrimental to freedom of the individual. The paradox is that a technologically advanced society might not after all promote individual freedom! The Novel, ‘The Resistance’ by Gemma Malley  a relatively more contemporary novel  first published in 2008 in Britain,is a Dystopian Novel like Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ and Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ The review on the back of the novel reads, ‘The year is 2140. The battle against ageing has been won and people can now live for ever. But not everyone thinks that eternal life is a good thing and a resistance movement is fighting the drive for eternal youth. Peter finds himself involved in a struggle not only against the authoritarian government, but also against his family.’ The protagonist, Peter is labelled, ‘a surplus’ for not toeing the line. A born dissenter against the oppressions of a regime lead by his Grandfather, Richard Pincent, the owner of Pincent Pharma. He  joins the underground movement lead by ‘Pip’ a diminutive name of a powerful leader, and decides to infiltrate the firm run by his Grandfather. Peter, a ‘Surplus’ citizen is forced to undergo compulsory counselling  in order to be made to accept the longevity treatment and thus become part of the mainstream society of a modern European country of the year 2140. He fools his counsellor by telling her that he wants to join his grandfather, a statement that brings great satisfaction to the counsellor that her efforts have finally born fruit. The whole story makes him question his loyalty to his wife, another ‘surplus’ and true to his love, he returns to his true love. The novel ends with a picture of, ‘several men attacking a Pincent Pharma truck destroying its contents’, an affirmation of the victory of free will over the oppression led by a large corporation.
Gemma Malley's Resistance is an important novel that highlights how individual freedom is curbed through The Declaration that binds all those who conform and take the Longevity treatment into not bringing into the world any children, 'Surpluses' as they are called. The very idea of curbing or taking away the right to bring one's progeny into the world is the ultimate affront on the freedom of human beings by a powerful corporation that has become part of the state machinery. To allow the reader of this article a view into the world ruled by the powerful corporation in Gemma's rendition of the world, I would like to quote from the letter that Peter receives from his grandfather,  ' Dear Peter, ...As you know, signing the declaration entitles you to take Longevity, prolonging your life indefinitely....Longevity has changed the world for humans, allowing us the freedom of limitless time and limitless health.'  The catch is that you have to give away your right to procreate and bring your children into this world. What happens to those who bring 'Surpluses' into the world is that the parents are punished and the children are taken away and placed in a foster home.The Declaration in this novel is a metaphor for an instrument of slavery in the modern world!  The surmise and assumptions in the Declaration are distorted and warped in order to benefit the corporation which promotes the Longevity treatment. To quote a few lines from the Declaration, ' Man has for many thousands of years relied on Nature to increase their numbers and has, at the same time, been in thrall to Nature and Her whims, including disease, pestilence, famine and other plagues that have culled great numbers of humans...Freedom, however, brings with it responsibilities to the planet, to our fellow man, and to Nature Herself. Therefore, as a responsible citizen of the United Kingdom, under the governance of the Authorities of the United Kingdom, I, the undersigned, do solemnly Declare, that I will take every measure and precaution to ensure that I will never be responsible for the creations of new human life (forthwith to be referred to as Surplus), accepting any method deemed appropriate by the Authorities and their appointed doctors to insert implants or other methods as appropriate...'.( page123;124-125) The ultimate insult to the freedom of the individual is to subject him or her to forcible sterilization so that he or she cannot give birth to their children. You will also notice the paradox and the contradiction with reference to Nature.
The emergence of the Corporation or the industrial organisation and its sway over the society is a warning about how powerful corporations might in fact intrude into the workings of the state, and thus undermine individual freewill and rights. In today’s highly commercialized societies, it is a known fact that propaganda techniques determine what an individual chooses and rejects. Individuals are made to jump the bandwagon and follow popular trends that are dictated according to commercial trends. In an age where individual choice is determined by corporate entities which decide what is in and what is effete, it is clear that individual choice, and free will are detrimental to the progress and prosperity of some of the powerful corporate entities vying with each other for supremacy. It is thus a paradox that modernism has resulted in an individual who doesn’t have a free choice, an entity whose own wishes are determined by a corporate organisation that dictates what is right and what is wrong for him. If  today an individual is not able to make his own free choices and decisions, how then can we say that modern man is more emancipated and empowered entity that can celebrate greater freedom of choice than his ancestors who lived during, say the dark ages?
Are all the fruits of so called technological advancement after all just facade for taking away the freedoms of an individual so as to serve the purpose of the corporate entity, or for that effect serve the nefarious desires of the tyrant who has ascended the gilt edged throne of scientific advancement? Is scientific advancement an anathema for individual rights? Recent incidents of big brother spying on individuals through the internet, the access of private information by powerful business houses, and the tapping of private phone calls all point out towards the serious threat to  individual rights in an age of empowerment and education, and technology.Ultimately, the reader might wonder what might be the Metaphors of Freedom in the English Novels discussed above. Well it is obvious that, Nature, Religion and Spirituality are very strong Metaphors of Freedom in the contemporary English Novel!
Sources:
1.The Brave New World by Aldous Huxley- Flamingo Modern Classics-1994 Edition-  ISBN-0-00-654579-3
2.The Resistance by Gemma Malley-Bloomsbury Publishers-2009 Edition-ISBN 978-0-7475-8772-9
3.The writer’s recollections of the, ‘Animal Farm’ by George Orwell

Sunday, 2 March 2014

HUDA Flower Show Gurgaon 2014, a few Snaps

Today when I visited the HUDA Flower show at Leisure Valley, I came back with a veritable treasure-trove of photographs that I would like to share with you. For the snaps I preferred to use my Canon 1100-D camera with an 18-55 mm lens. Invariably, I had to mix manual focus with auto focus depending on the situation. No, I didn’t use a polarizing filter, and yes I did use a UV. filter instead.
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These objects were called Hanging Baskets. They were plants that were somehow suspended from a frame and were shaped around a round frame!
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There were different varieties of Dahlias, this one caught my eyes!
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The sea of flowers stretched across the horizon…
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The Bees too feasted on the Nectar!
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And of course there was a Wasp! Wonder whether wasps enjoy nectar!
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Yes, the exotic cacti were amazing to look at!
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Depth of field and blurring of the background is intended to draw the attention of the viewer to the area in focus, which is incidentally the unopened flowers surrounded by fully bloomed flowers
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The burst of colours, yellows contrasting with purples and blues somehow creating a cloying effect, a surfeit of hues that would intoxicate the viewer, a veritable feast served by the Spring Season!
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A dusting of pollen grains on the bodies of the bees speaks of the process termed pollination.
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Another highlight of the flower show was the cut flowers section.
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There was something rather appealing about this entry!
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The Bonsai Tree, whose roots are shown is seventy years old and costs Rs. 2.80/- Lakhs!