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Lets just stop insulting Biharis

Introduction It is the land of enlightenment, the land of higher education, of spirituality. It is the land of immense wealth, great architecture, the birthplace of several faiths, the land where research on astronomy, literature, math, general sciences and philosophy flourished. The land is not Greece. It is not ancient Rome, Egypt, Sumer, Mesopotamia, or even the Central Americas. The land rests today between two states in the Indian Union - between Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal; the Indian state of Bihar.
This is a referenced article. For list of references, please check this link. Bihar has since earned a terrible reputation. No amount of whitewashing will remove that stain. It is now known as the dacoits’ paradise, the land of hooligans, bad roads, caste and religious strife, rampant crimes against women and almost all the social evils that one can probably think of. However, Bihar was nothing like this. Or at least it was not supposed to be like this. I will give a very brief introd…
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মিষ্টি দই আর ভাত

পরশু রাজুর ফাঁসি। এতদিন মনমরা হয়ে বসেছিল। এখন কিছুই মনে হচ্ছে না।  না ভালো, না খারাপ, কেমন একটা অদ্ভুত শুন্যতায় ঢেকে গেছে মনটা। এই বেশ. গতকাল বোন এসেছিলো। মা আসার কথা করেও আসেনি। আস্তে পারেনি। একমাত্র ছেলেকে এ অবস্থায় দেখা পঞ্চাশঊর্ধ মার্ পক্ষে সম্ভব ছিল না।  শুনানির আগে প্রতিদিন আস্ত। তবে পরে আর নয়। বোন বোরো ভাইয়ের দিকে আধ ঘন্টা তাকিয়ে ছিল কেবল। বলেনি সেরম কিছু। ফাঁসি ঘোষণার পরে হটাৎ বাড়ির লোকজন, পাড়া প্রতিবেশী সব কেমন চুপ হয়ে গেলো।
গ্রামে অবশ্য ইতিমধ্যে প্রশাসনের বিরুদ্ধে মিছিল আন্দোলন শুরু হয়ে গেছে। সে খবর সেলিম সাহেব তাকে কিছু দিন আগেই দিয়েছিলো।  লোকটি বেশ ভালো।  ফাঁসুড়ের কাজ করেন। বছর কুড়ি আগে কোন ধর্ষণকারীকে 'ঝুলিয়ে' ছিলেন তিনি। কাউকে ঘৃণা করেন না।  কিছু মানেন না।  কালী ভক্ত।  রাতে নেশার ঘরে বাউল গীতি ধরেন।  রাজুর উনি একমাত্র বন্ধু। আগে খুব ভয় পেতো রাজু সেলিম ভাই কে।  পরে উনি বোঝালেন যে ঠিক সময় মালের বা আফিমের ব্যবস্থা হয়ে যাবে। ইনজেকশন এর থেকেও নাকি কম লাগে। উনি ছাই জানেন, মরেছেন নাকি কখনো? তবে অন্য উপায় ও নেই রাজুর। কয়েক সপ্তাহ বাদে ভয় তা শোয়ে যায়।  সিগারেট ও এমনকি দা…

Eat only what you can cook

People are alarmed at the supposed bans on meat in India. Actually, this is a trend all over the world. From China to Europe to the United States, countries are looking to cut meat consumption rather than promote it. Also, contrary to popular opinion, India has been one of the largest meat exporters in the world. India is also the largest exporter of beef in the world. That is something we need not be very proud of.

I am not for a policy against meat consumption in general. I do discourage it, for  a variety of reasons. Religion is probably only a small part of it. In fact, except for beef, religion does not play a part here in any case.

There are numerous pros and cons to both sides of the argument here. But there is something that should strike you. I am not sure if you have thought about it, but here’s a hypothetical thought experiment for you to ponder about.

I give you (by you I mean a general test population of at least 50+ people) a variety of food items – that are available r…

The postman, Megha and I

This is a story that goes way back to 2001 or 2002. I was in the sixth standard. Yes, I do remember it quite vividly. It was funny, painful and a bit out of the ordinary – basically it had all the ingredients that allows a memory to stick a great while longer than others. In the process of my recollection, I may miss out a few pieces here and there, but it will be pretty accurate. Of course, the intention of this exercise is in no way to humiliate anyone else or point out the flaws about others’ actions. I now find it hilarious and I think so would you.
I studied in the Vivekananda Mission School, a private English medium school in Joka, on the outskirts of Kolkata. If you know the location of the Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata, you know the location of my school. I studied there till the twelfth standard. We had many students in our class (sixth). We were divided into several sections, ranging from A to F (not sure if it was F or G). But anyway, I was in section B, the sect…

Reforming the Indian Primary and Secondary Education System

The Indian formal education system has barely seen any fundamental reforms. Ever since Independence, the only changes that we have seen are the mid-day meal schemes and the Right to Education Act. The method of imparting education has remained pretty much the same (in many if not most countries) for decades. There are classrooms, with teachers for subjects. Students attend classes, take notes, study at home or in school itself, appear for exams, pass and graduate to the next class. This process continues to the twelfth standard till the end of school.

This is basically the same thing that our fathers did as students. As did their fathers and probably our future generation will also do the same thing. But the flaws of this system are apparent.

The students are given a one size fits all system in the length and breadth of the country (and perhaps even the world). This defies common logic. Localized customization is not only a luxury but should be considered a necessity.Students are tota…

Indian Partition - The Forgotten Question

The Partition of India was a terrible catastrophe. There is no doubt about that. Millions were killed, displaced, thousands were raped, orphaned etc. All this was done in a space of a few months. Mobs frantically killed each other for life, religion, property, identity, revenge and any other reason they could then think of. Even since the call for Direct Action, there was no doubt about a serious religious conflict. What followed was an eventual ethnic cleansing of parts of India of non Muslims and Muslims. How it happened, what happened, how trains full of dead bodies piled up on each side of new borders is well known. Hundreds of books have been written, research over decades have been published. We know all that.

The basic idea of it all was simple - Jinnah believed Hindus and Muslims are two separate nations and the latter should have a distinct political entity for themselves, based on Islam, their faith. To identify this they had to prove one thing. That the All India Muslim Le…

Getting back to writing and getting used to changes in life

There are things that keep happening to us. It does not matter if we end up liking or disliking them in any way. In any case, now my life has gotten kind of slower. In fact this is the story for the whole nation as well. The de-monetization thing is over and there are no major hartals and bandhs disrupting lives (as usual).

In my academic life as well, nothing much is going on, except that my MTP is proceeding at a slow pace. I am trying to write a paper on Big Data including census data and some statistics. I ain't all that good in the latter but there are people here who I think will be able to help me out.

Over the past couple of months I have been able to gain a really terrible habit of sleeping really late, almost into the morning. That is very Hitlerish, and that is one reason I hate it much. I must get back to a more sensible timetable. And this post is more of a pledge to myself than anything else. Putting myself, on my own effort, to a constructive lifestyle is easier sa…