Back from Dead – ONGC Revival

Posted: Thursday, April 28, 2011 by Kratik in

Having lost twelve of the first nineteen games of the season, ONGC looked dead and buried, and the favourites to go down into I-League division II. After several analysts and pundits had branded their relegation battle as ‘Mission Impossible’, heroics from Kailash Patil, newly signed Japanese - Katsumi Yusa – and Badmus Babatunde have seen them steady the ship and move to the 11th spot in the I-League.

ONGC utilized the season’s first transfer market to its full effect, signing eight players including N.D Opara and Kailash Patil from local rivals Air India. Their business seemed good enough for a mid-table finish; some people even called them ‘the underdogs’. The season that promised so much for the Mumbai based club didn’t start as expected – both on and off the field matters. Firstly, their home ground in Mumbai – the Cooperage Stadium - was closed for the purpose of revamping, renovation and construction. Thus, they were forced to shift their playing venue from Mumbai. ONGC, eventually, agreed to play their home matches at the Shri Chattrapati Sahu Stadium in Kolhapur. Secondly, an inspirational coach in Sujit Chakravarty, the man who had got them promoted, opted to leave the club to coach an Indian Footballing giant, Mohun Bagan. He was soon replaced by Subrata Bhattacharya. Thirdly, ONGC were made to taste dust when a series of late goals in several games, denied them crucial points and had them fighting for relegation.

In their first game in the I-League, they produced a solid performance and got stuck in to East Bengal at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata, only to lose by virtue of a late goal by Tolgay. In the next game, another late goal haunted them; this time to the advantage of AIFF XI when Jeje Lalpekhlua put one in the back of the net in the 81st minute after Babatunde had given ONGC the lead. Further late goals against Salgaocar, HAL and Pune FC broke ONGC hearts as they drew in the former and lost the latter two with the goals in 78th, 75th and 89th minutes, respectively.

But it was not only late goals that have led to ONGC struggling, some of their performances have been extremely disappointing and not in par with the other I-League teams. Their displays against Dempo, Chirag United, Mumbai FC and Mohun Bagan in the first half of the season were unacceptable and had them placed at the foot of the I-League table with only a win out of 13.

As the second half of the season got under way, ONGC did a Wolves – who had beaten a Manchester United side which was unbeaten in the English Premiership season, 2-1 at the Mollinuex - against East Bengal, shocking the unbeaten league leaders 1-0 in Kolhapur to notch up their second win of the season. Many had predicted this very game to be the turning point of ONGC’s season but it never proved to be. In spite of signing the Japanese - Katsumi Yusa - in the second transfer window, they were soon thumped by Salgaocar 5-0 in Goa and then, beaten by Dempo, Air India and Pune FC leaving them with 12 losses in 19 games and with a mountain to climb.

It seemed almost impossible for coach Bhattacharya to lift his ONGC outfit but somehow, he managed to do that with excellence.

It looked game over after 50 minutes in Margao, Goa when Churchill brothers, expectedly, took a two goal lead over ONGC. A brilliant run down the flank by Yusa allowed the Japanese to play in Babatunde, who found the net to pull one back. Soon, the former Air India man, ND Opara equalized to give ONGC hope. ONGC FC again had to claw their way back into the game after Odafa had restored Churchill’s lead. The 3-3 result against Churchill Brothers and a fighting spirit – that Bhattacharya had been speaking so much of - was vindicated by ONGC.

Pundits and fans, who had written off ONGC before the game, couldn’t even have thought in their sleep if this could be the turning point of their season. With six games left to play and fellow relegation battling Air India up next, Bhattacharya knew that this was a six pointer. He started with Katsumi Yusa, playing him for the first time behind Kailash Patil, the local Kolhapur boy. His trust on Yusa and Patil proved dividends. Yusa, first curled a 21-yard freekick from outside the box; a freekick that even David Beckham would have enjoyed. With news spreading around Kolhapur, thick and fast, of the former Air India man, Patil starting the game, the crowd soon started rushing in. And, weren’t they treated by Patil? They sure were, the local boy scored a brace to leave the Kolhapurians jubilant and to take ONGC within points of Air India, thereby, kick-starting their safety push. ONGC eventually winning the game 4-0.

A week on, another 6-pointer at Kolhapur, another start for Patil and guess what, the same result. This time, Kailash Patil didn’t shine but Jatin Bisht had a wonderful game, the captain lead from the front; man who made the difference - Yusa. On endless occasions, he charged into the box and out-did several JCT players with his quick feet and trickery. Although Babatunde received the man of the match for his two goals but the man who got all the praise was the 22-year old, Katsumi Yusa. The win gave the table footers another victory under their belt as they chased survival in the I-League. Babatunde scored the winner for ONGC in the 93rd minute. For once, even ONGC FC was experiencing scoring goals late on.

After beating East Bengal earlier in the season, Bhattacharya hoped for the same against Mohun Bagan; a task too difficult to carry out at the Salt Lake?

As it’s said, what goes round comes around. How many times have late goals denied ONGC deserved points, this was their turn.

Mohun Bagan scored early and lead until the 78th minute. With ever-influential Yusa going off for Kailash Patil, the Mohun Bagan fans breathed a sigh of relief, only for them to be shocked. Kailash Patil came off the bench to become the super-sub to score two vital goals that gave ONGC three priceless points and took them out of the final three, for the first time this season. The resurgent ONGC spirit was vindicated again.

Ever since the time, most people labelled ONGC’s relegation battle as “Mission Impossible”, it has been anything but; it has been a great escape. ONGC FC have since come out fighting, and fighting they are to play in the biggest football league in India for one more year, at least.

Recently, the pundits have called the ONGC FC form as temporary and have been saying the famous footballing prologue that reads, “When would the bubble burst?”

When would it burst, we will have to wait and see, but somehow, if ONGC FC are able to survive, it will, for sure, be one of the greatest relegation battles put forward by any football club on Indian soil.

No matter, how much people blame Subrata Bhattacharya for ONGC’s earlier results, the long haired Indian, coaching the Mumbai based club has certainly conjured magic, developed team spirit, made the team play out of their skins and shaped the fortunes of ONGC to the surprise of most watching the Indian Football League. Dead and buried, not quite! they are still fighting, the Men in maroon and White, ONGC FC.

Indian Education System and SkyKpaar

Posted: Friday, April 22, 2011 by Kratik in Labels:

Graffiti on a wall next to ILS, Symbiosis, Pune reads, “It kills you without even letting you know. It kills you silently, the (Indian) Education System.”
Hundreds in India suicide after not doing well or in exams; thousands suffer from depression after been put under massive pressure, and millions stamp on their dream and not lead a life that they want to lead, instead leading a life that they have been made to lead due to this education system. But on the other hand, the life that they lead in a clichéd profession – in most cases - lets them taste success at a rate unparalleled in any other country around the world. Also, this has led to the Indian economy experience a rise in recent past and if you see, Indians are doing exceptionally well in India as well as abroad.
So, the education system, is it really a silent assassin, or is it the one that can leave India leaps and bounce above the rest?
The education system in the past:
The education system back then, was spirituality based. It made people have and maintain their piece of mind, also gave them skills and techniques for doing so. It was a pivotal in making India a country that was famously called as the golden bird.
Going back to the ancient Indian readings, "He who is possessed of supreme knowledge by concentration of mind, must have his senses under control, like spirited steeds controlled by a charioteer", is famously said by the Katha Upanishad (iii, 6). In fact, from the Vedic age downwards the central conception of education of the Indians has been that it is a source of illumination giving a correct lead in the various spheres of life.
If you go on to read through some of the books about ancient India, it is said that the percentage of literary people in India was more than that at present. At least up to the 7th century A.D. this system worked most satisfactorily. People showed brilliancy in all departments - Mathematics, Astronomy, Medicine, Chemistry, Poetry, Drama, Grammar and Philosophy. No nation could excel these people at that time. From the 4th century B.C. to the 11th century A.D. all foreigners who came in contact with India and studied her civilization critically were very much impressed by it.
They spoke highly of Indian character specially their truthfulness, honesty, and sense of justice. The influence of the system of education was very great among the people in general. Megasthenes, the Greek ambassador who came to India in the 4th century B.C. remarked " for whereas among other nations it is usual in the contests of war, to ravage the soil, among the Indians it is on the contrary. They never use the conquered as slaves." Idrisi, the Arabian traveler and scholar in his Geography written in the 11th century A.D. says, "The Indians are naturally inclined to justice and never depart from it in action. Their good faith, honesty and fidelity to their engagement were well known and they were so famous for their qualities that people came to their country from every side." Abul Fazl, the author of Aini Akbar, in the 16th century notes, "The Hindus are admirers of truth and showed unbounded fidelity in all dealings."
Dwelling on this wonderful effect of this system of education unparalleled in history Sir Monier Williams says, "And here I may observe circumstances in the history of India are more worthy of investigation than the antiquity and perseverance of her institutions. It has existed almost unaltered since the description of its organization in Manu's code two or three centuries before Christian era. It has survived all religious, political and physical convulsions from which India suffered from time immemorial. Invader after invader has ravaged the country with fire and sword but the simple self-contained township has preserved its constitution intact, its customs, precedents, and peculiar institutions unchanged and unchangeable amid all other changes." (source: Brahmanism and Hinduism p. 455).
British Transformed it for the worse:
As the British invaded India, they looked at the education system and were stunned to find everyone rich, happy and contented.

Lord Macaulay (Thomas Babington Macaulay), who was born on October 25, 1800, arrived in India (Madras) on 10th June 1834 as a member of the Supreme Council of India. He returned to England early 1838, and resumed his writing career there. Macaulay was in India, thus, only for nearly four years, but he was destined to impact the lives of millions of Indians forever, and so he did. In a letter to British Queen, he said, “"I have travelled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such calibre, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native self-culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation."
Thus, now British had their work cut out. Slowly and gradually, by hook or by crook or by trail and error, somehow, the British transformed the Indian education system.
It is often said that British brought urbanization to India, fair enough. But what they took away was one of India’s priceless assets – the Education system.
A Silent Killer?
The head of Scientific Advisory Council very rightly, and famously, wrote to the Prime Minister, C.N. Rao, drawing his attention towards the faulty education system in the country calling the Indian education system as an exam system.
Well, according to me, he is absolutely correct. Have a look:
Curriculum of schools in India:
First week – chilled atmosphere.
Second week – Class Test 1.
Third week – Class Test 2.
End of the month – Unit Test.
This pattern continues throughout the year; only Unit Tests are replaced by Half Yearly and Final Examinations. Much to the agony of students, education becomes a burden rather than learning.
Every single place that a child goes, people rather than asking him what all he has learnt, all they him is asked is, “How much did you score in your exam?”
It is literally as though getting good marks and a decent enough percentage in exams is the end of the world for the people. But people forget that every child has his own field of interest, which at times is not respected by most and thus, this system pressurizes a child too much in order for him to succeed.
This trend of making a student week with examinations after examinations, carries on in colleges as well and has often lead to student suicides.
Newspapers recently had tragic daily reports of youngsters who have killed themselves or taken what Indians euphemistically call "the extreme step" because they fear the shame of a bad report card. On a single day last month, it was reported that two teenage boys in New Delhi hanged themselves at their homes.

One was falling behind in his studies and the other was afraid of an English exam. A final year Bachelor of Commerce student hanged herself in the commercial capital Mumbai apparently because she was not prepared for her economics paper and did not want her family to feel ashamed.

A grade 12 student from Surat in western India hanged herself and another threw herself before a moving train in Allahabad in northern India, the paper reported, adding there were other suicides that day too. "Teenage suicide (over exams) is a national disaster," said Samir Parikh, psychiatrist at Max Healthcare, a leading New Delhi private hospital chain.

In 2006, the most recent year for which official figures are available, some 5,857 students -- or 16 a day -- killed themselves due to exam stress. Police say thousands more suicides go unreported because parents want to keep the cause of death a secret.

Sad, isn’t it?
It sure is.
Movies like ‘Taare Zamin Par’ and ‘3 Idiots’ have been tried to covey similar things. It’s only for us to realize.
Another aspect of the education system is that it makes students think in an extremely clichéd form. For example, most of the people who take up engineering after their high school, don’t even know what does the engineering course offer. Board exam, then, a number of entrance exams, if you make it good, otherwise, students pay and get in; in another words, dig their own grave.
Look, there must be thousands who would have wanted to do engineering all their life and become successful engineers, but then, there are millions, who never thought of engineering as their profession and have got in (either on merit or donation) for the sole reason that, engineering is “the thing” these days to do. This was one of the reasons that a newspaper recently reported that only 7% of people, who pass out as engineers are worth working as engineers.
Need for a change?
Well, for all that has been mentioned above, yes but I guess I have left it too late when it comes to bringing out the positive aspect. Yes, the Indian education needs some tinkering but you can’t deny the fact that the degrees that it offers are respected all over the world. Famously, Chennai-born Sara Mathew in an interview to Times of India gave ample credit to the Indian education system for her success. "The good education system in India is what has helped me in excelling in my career in the US," she said and added that Indian degrees are highly respected and are very helpful in getting good jobs in the US.
Similar is the story with most Indians who have success stories in India and abroad. With Indian economy on the rise and Indians doing well in most areas of the world, is the change necessary.
Well, it is a difficult question but the change is needed, even if it is a minor tinkering but we do need a change. I know people are doing well and will continue to do well in the future but what about the ones, who find themselves down and suffering from this education system, do we not think about them?
I change is need, even if not a major one, but a change is needed.
Now, if the Indian Education System is that good or that bad, is it bad enough to be changed massively?
Ok, it does lead to students weep under but if it does bring success, do we really need to change it?
Well, now that is where SkyKpaar steps in, and steps in it does, perfectly!
In one of its modules: Sunshine:
Most children are really interested in a particular field but at times, there is something that stops them from taking a professional course in that field. Some succumb to parental pressure, some overly influenced individuals take up the same fields as their friends and most take up clichéd fields purely due to the thinking patterns in the society. This project called ‘Sunshine’ is aimed at school students majorly from VIII-XI std. in order to make them realize and live their fields of their interest.
A joke often goes around in India. The joke reads – if you ever throw a stone from the moon on India, it will – in most cases than not – go on and hit an engineer. Now, this joke is decent enough if we want to have an occasional laugh but what it also underlines is that the pattern the Indian education system is following. When it comes to choosing a field, most toppers chose science without giving a prior of what the field demands, then, Commerce and then, Arts. Now, some of those who have taken science might want to make a career in another field (theatre, music, dance, accountancy, economics, etc.), a field that suits their interest. Thus, we aim to bring a change in the pattern of thinking in the society.
In the other module of this workshop: Inside Campus: because you deserve to know the truth This is a website centric module which aims to provide all the inside and true information of all campuses (Colleges, Companies, organizations). This website will have the information of all the college in India from each and every university. Thus, if a person wants to move in from a different state, he can go to our website and then, have a look at the list of various colleges from the university and decide for herself which college she wants to take admission in.
This website would offer the grading of colleges, fee structure, courses offered, detailed map and a special review by us from the college which will include comments of the currents and the pass-outs.
The last module of the workshop: Jump Start: coz all it takes is a nice Jump.
This is a series of workshops specially designed for undergrads. Soft skills are exceedingly important and needed to be a successful personnel. These workshops will including development in students’ soft skills. The workshops will be aided by the students practicing the NLP and meditation techniques in order to focus better. These workshops will make the students aware of all the non-academic activities they can get themselves involved in.Day by day, the world is becoming smaller. We have universities who come all the way from UK or USA to Pune, especially to conduct seminars. Students are usually unaware of such events happening in the city. Thus, we will also make the students of such events happening.
Yes, SkyKpaar is definitely taking up measures to change what needs to be changed but we need your help, your support.
Is it a silent killer? Yes, it is.
Can it be bettered? Yes, it can.
Need for slight tinkering? Yes, surely needed.
Support us and we’ll change the thinking, we’ll change the education, we’ll change India.
Jai Hind.

Rape-Age(d) India

Posted: Sunday, April 10, 2011 by Kratik in

Hello Bhosale Aunty, how are you? (Reading the name from the door)

We are carrying out a survey and doing an analysis in your society, would the shoes do? (Asking as if to come in)

Don’t worry, I’m not here to ask you for any money. I’m here just to speak to you.

As you know, some middle-aged people in the Indian society, infamously, do not take care of their parents, considering as a burden to them and often send them to old-age homes; some even leave their parents on the road to suffer.

Do you know what do these parents do?

These parents pick up bricks at the construction sites, work as labourers or some even work as garbage collectors. So, what we bunch of kids thought, what if we do something for these old people who have been left homeless?

Aunty, you and me, we are lucky enough to get a meal twice a day, wouldn’t you want to help these old people?

(Rest of the time, these people – who lie and call themselves volunteers - cajole these old people, in this case Bhosale aunty and uncle, in order to get money from their pocket)

Read this, they said:

Uncle, you are 75? Well, you look as if you’re 60.

Aunty, uncle has such a jolly nature.

(After they think it’s too much of cajoling done, they start getting to the point)

Aunty, you said right, that you would like to do something for these old people, so how much would you like to donate by cheque?

If you can, I would say please donate 60,000 to support six grannies. For one granny, you can write a cheque of Rs. 6,000. Which bank account do you have?

Don’t worry we accept cheques from SBI also. (Now, when he says this, Bhosale aunty now realizes that these people, who had said are not coming in for any money are actually there to accept money by cheque!)

Then, this guy, who is speaking shows his Helpage India (HAI) card and says that he is working for Helpage India, which he is…so, true. He then, takes the amount, laughs and walks out with his team.

Helpage India…Ghanta! I say, Rape-aged India. These bunch of youngsters cajole, convince and emotionally blackmail old lower-middle-class people, who are in need of money themselves, into giving out decent amount of money for charity. Yes, most of the money goes to HAI but not all. A percentage of that money goes to the companies that these youngsters work for. And, they are not volunteers; they are on a pay roll.

Well, the reason why I know this is because I was there with these guys - claiming themselves to be volunteers – incidentally, having absolutely no idea what it really was.

I went for this job interview in Mumbai, for a company that offered a job as a management trainee and claimed itself to be UK-Based MNC and the world’s leading marketing company. The advertisement on the internet said that the company wanted cricket minded people – how crap!

(This was the advertisement)

Well, when I finally reached their office in Andheri (East), I was told that to test my “valour” and skill, I would have to go through a personalized round which would also show me 5% of the company business.

So, I said to myself, wow! This really should be like eating a piece of a cake for me, as I have done DSN and a couple upgrades at YES!+.

I along, with another person (Karanjeet), who was also applying for the job, were sent with a trainer and a girl to Goregaon (West) for carry out a “task”.

Task - bull shit, it was loot!

On the way to the residential complex, he made us clear with the fact that the only thing that they were interested in was profit, and it didn’t matter what a person did to make those desired profit. The way the company earned profit was by doing door to door marketing for HAI and receiving a percentage of the donations that they have helped HAI acquire.

Thus, the only way the company - the trainer and the girl were working for – could earn profits were if people donated money to HAI.

Listening to this, I said, what shit! Because, the people would donate for charity and nothing should go to the companies; it should go directly into helping people. But thinking of it from a business point of view, I thought, “Fair enough”.

We were taken to a residential complex. Well, it was basically a building wherein, lower-middle-class people lived - most of who were retired personnel from banks, railways and other government services. Thus, the houses that these people lived in were provided to them by the government.

For me personally, it was like “not happening” because I quickly realized that the people who these “so-called volunteers” were to target, were not the richest and had financial problems themselves.

The first house that we went to was of a lady called Mrs. Singh. She was alone at home and gleefully invited us in. She was a lady from Uttar Pradesh, who had migrated to Mumbai along with her husband. The management trainer asked her if her husband was present at their home then. She instantaneously said `no’ and guess what, he refused to talk to her; later telling me that, as they only care about profit, they don’t even talk to people who are unemployed, uneducated or not having a chequebook. I had mixed feelings. On one hand, I thought, “Decent business frame of mind” and on the other, I thought, “Why do people not do YES!+?”.

The trainer would tell people that we all “volunteer” for HAI, whereas, he – the trainer - was not volunteering but doing his job and was on a pay roll.

Soon, we went to a house of an old retired 70+ personnel, called Richard. He lived with his wife and with a smile, he delightfully welcomed us in. As he opened the door, I saw that he was dressed in a banyan and trousers. Looking at the walls of his house, it seemed as though the walls hadn’t been painted since an age. Thus, it was easy enough to believe that the man wasn’t the strongest economically. Richard, as he spoke to us, it was clear that he was a man of high virtues. He also claimed that he had done a lot of charity in the past. He shared with us his story of him needing financial help, listening to which, I felt sad for him, in fact, really sad. Even though the management trainer tried his best to get the money off Richard’s pocket, Richard’s financial condition didn’t permit him to take part in charity. I strongly felt that these guys representing HAI should have taken a measure to aid his cause.

Walking up the stairs, we went to a man’s house, a man who had recently been operated for a kidney disease and was almost bed ridden. Firstly, lower-middle-class family, then, someone who has had a major surgery, as a result – almost bed ridden; even joker from Batman would have enough decency to walk out and not ask for donation. But the trainer didn’t. As his convincing power and ability to cajole was immense, he did enough to convince the man and his wife to donate money. Asking for a minimum of Rs. 6,000, he came down to Rs. 1,000 seeing how adamant the was on giving donation. To me, now it was clear that to them, self-respect, decency and moral values held no fort. Sad.

Later, I told the trainer, “Uncle, nice guy.” He said, “What nice, he took so much of our time.” I was stunned. It was clear that these people had no feelings, emotions or respect for old people.

We walked down and went to this lady’s house. She was a very old lady, probably 70 odd years of age. The trainer knew that he had to get money this time and so, he did. He put in everything that he ever had in retrieving the donation. More than anything, his way of talking, convincing and cajoling, irritated me minute by minute but I kept quiet. Soon, the lady started to share her side of story, which eventually lead to her crying in front of us. I felt sad, I mean how you cannot feel sad when people are crying and telling you about something bad that has happened to them in the past. It was disturbing to hear the lady’s story of how she worked for 40 years and was made a fool, time and time again, thereby, losing an awful amount of money.

The trainer started to emotionally blackmail the lady literally forced her to shell out Rs. 6,000 as donation.

But that was still fine, now is the most shocking part. Guess what, when she went in her room to get her cheque book, the trainer started to make jokes and laugh saying “Time-pass Time-pass”. Can you believe it, I couldn’t.

I mean, the lady has recently cried in front of you about something that was personal to her; if you are a human, firstly, you are bound to have enough decency at least not make jokes about it, especially, in her own house. Secondly, have feelings and emotions to feel pain. I absolutely hated that. I still don’t know if these guys are human or not, or whether they have a heart or not. Whatever it is…I had absolutely had enough.

They moment we left the lady’s house. I looked straight into the eyes of the trainer and said, “You know (name), I can’t do this.” The lady needed our help and help of HAI and all these people did was to loot her by convincing her.

Rejecting the company, I was really proud of myself and I respect my decision because cajoling people is not my cup of tea. When a person donates, let her do it because she wants to, not because you want to earn profit from their donation. Sad, really the case.

And look, I know it is great to do charity and be involved in charity in any sort but three things must be kept in mind:

1) Do not cajole people.

2) Do not lie that you are volunteering when you are under salary from a company.

3) Even if you want to target and cajole people, never fool and convince those, who are financially not the strongest.

I respect Helpage India and I, myself have donated long back for HAI but seeing the situation, HAI needs to look at the companies and the people who are marketing for them.

When I am blogging about this, it’s not to share my experience but to spread awareness that there are people, who don’t care who you are or what you do; for them, it’s just about selling their product.

Also, as mentioned above, the way these companies earn money is wrong and must be stopped. We donate to help people, not because a part of the money that we give in on the name of donation goes to these companies. I hope HAI people also read this post and take measure.

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