July 1, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

We are hoping for a good monsoon this year; let us pray! Here is another round for your perusal:

  1. Throughout 2016, many different parts of the world have been suffering from water—either too little or too much. Droughts in India saw trains carrying drinking water; floods in America wiped out whole neighbourhoods just last week. Humanity needs water—clean, enough, for all, and for ever. Yet, we do not respect water, and water carrying bodies. Canada seems to be one exception; its lakes and streams carry crystal clear, safe, potable water, in hues of green, blue and emerald. Why not others?
  2. Many activities are happening in Europe these days, soccer matches of Euro 2016 being one of them. A fascinating aspect of these competitions has been ‘rise, and further rise’ of teams like Wales, Ireland and Iceland. Human nature is complex; we all generally like to acquire power and authority (who doesn’t?). Yet, we support the ‘under-dogs’ in most competitions. So, when Iceland was playing mighty England, we all were rooting for Iceland, and rejoicing in their victory over England. How universal?
  3. While hosting a major Canadian Congress in Calgary, the host university suddenly found its web-site and IT system had been ‘eaten’ by a virus. With nearly 8000 academics attending the Congress, mayhem followed. How can intellectuals work without internet? In order to fix the virus, and get the system back in operation, the university authorities ‘hired’ a ‘hackers’ collective’; the payment must have felt like ‘ransom’? So, beware! Large conference organisers may have to ‘hire hackers as cyber bouncers’ to ensure ‘cyber security’!!
  4. It is that time of the year again when admissions to colleges and universities happen in India. Students and their parents face perpetual harassment. It appears that cut-off percentage for admission in commerce undergraduate courses in Delhi University has risen to 99%! No wonder parents ‘buy’ high percentage marks for their children in Bihar, and elsewhere. While this drama and chaos unfolds this time every year, the government seems to be ‘poring over’ the draft report on New Education Policy by a committee it appointed last year. When, when ..if ever.. this will change?
  5. There is something about the Irish spirit, much more than its famous Guinness, which is infectious and everlasting. Dublin is a happening place, with Irish people partying together. The soccer match between Ireland and Italy in Euro 2016 brought the entire population out to cheer. Pubs and streets were full of singing and dancing when the Irish team hit the winning goal. And all this ‘wild’ and noisy merry-making was carried out decently and without hurting anyone. Cheers!!

Sincerely

Rajesh Tandon