Archive for April, 2008

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IPL

April 30, 2008

IPL

 

1958:

 

Just because a person is born into a particular caste….”

 

2058:

 

“Just because a person is born into a particular nation….”

 

2008:

 

“The Indian Premier League is an interesting concept where people from different nations unite and play together under their respective city banner, truly symbolizing the confluence of various cultures and creating an electric atmosphere where their skills are tested at a different level of competition. The game of cricket is the ultimate winner especially as it is fast paced, unpredictable and more importantly you get to see the great players of various nations play as a single team, which in itself is a treat to watch. The shorter version of the game is an instant hit with the audience and deservedly so….”

 

1958:

 

“Just because a person is born into a particular caste, we cannot discriminate him based on that. We need to emancipate the lower caste people and reservations need to be applied in the higher education as well as government jobs. This would at least bring back more and more people from the backward castes into the mainstream. Just because a person is born in a certain caste, he should not be restricted to a particular profession and that is the aim of this Indian Post-independence Liberation commission.

 

2058:

 

“Just because a person is born into a particular nation, we cannot discriminate him based on that. We need to emancipate the people especially in the under developed nation states and investments needs to be pumped in these  nation states in the form of loans and grants. This would atleast ensure free money flow and give a fair chance for these nation states to build their infrastructure and start doing business with us in more equal terms. Just because a person is born into a particular nation, his business should not be restricted to a particular region, with almost all nation states warmly accepting the open market policies. This is the aim of this International Parliamentary League”

 

 

Destination Infinity.

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The Longest Jump

April 14, 2008

The Longest Jump

 

Long Jump Event, Bejing Olympics, China

 

Among the various athletes participating, the Chinese athlete Wong Chung and the Tibetian athlete Malang were the favorites to win the gold medal.

 

The qualification rounds were underway and the players needed to jump atleast 7.15 m to qualify. Wong Chung had already made it in the first jump. For some reason, the Tibetian athlete Malang was not able to concentrate. He took the first jump, and over stepped the jumping board. It was a Foul. The second jump also resulted in over stepping and he fouled again. There are only three chances within which the athlete has to cross 7.15 meters atleast once to qualify for the next round. If the last jump was not made properly, he could well be out of the event.

 

At this point, seeing his nervousness, he was approached by the Chinese athlete, Wong Chung, who spoke to him for a little while, to calm him down. Though he was his rival, Wong Chung suggested that Malang could draw a line and jump from one feet before the jumping board. This way he could be sure of not making a foul and also be able to qualify as he was jumping well over 8 meters every time.

 

The Tibetian athlete Malang took his advice and not only qualified for the next round but also went on to win the gold medal by jumping a distance of 26 feet and half inches.

 

All this happened right in front of the Chinese premier, who was glaring at them. But it was a proud moment for Tibet, with the crowd cheering for the Tibetian with a lot of enthusiasm. 

 

The above narrated incident is indeed fiction. It would be great if something like that happens in this Olympics so that the spirit of sportsmanship wins over everything else.

 

Too good to become True? This piece of Fiction can indeed become a fact, if we make the following replacements.

 

Beijing Olympics, China replaced by Munich Olympics, Germany, 1936

Chinese athlete Wong Chung replaced by German athlete Luz Long.

Tibetian athlete Malang replaced by United States athlete Jessie Owens, who was black.

Last but not least, Chinese premier replaced by Adolf Hitler, who was an ardent racist and considered Blacks to be inferior. 

 

Longest jump indeed, right into the hearts.

 

Destination Infinity.

 

PS: There are three more points which I would like to share:

  1. “I wasn’t invited to shake hands with Hitler, but I wasn’t invited to White House to shake hands with the President either” – Jessie Owens
  2. “It took a lot of courage for him to befriend me in front of Hitler. You can melt down all the medals and cups I have and they wouldn’t be a plating on the 24-Karat friendship I felt for Luz Long at that moment. Hitler must have gone crazy watching us embrace” – Jessie Owens
  3. India, participated in the Munich Olympics and won Gold against Germany in the finals of (What else?) Hockey. Hitler left the match during the half time. Double embarrassment?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SLS – Same Language Subtitling

April 7, 2008

SLS – Same Language Subtitling:

 

“Self respect is a question of recognizing that anything worth having has a price”

 

Even Literacy. I am not talking about education, which comes at a huge price tag these days. But plain literacy – the ability to read and write, at least in one language.

 

If at all technologies like internet have to reach the masses, literacy for the masses is extremely critical.

 

Books have their advantages. One interesting argument I have read about books is that it encourages creativity by letting your imagination run and explore freely while the TV dumps the producers imagination onto you. “Books are the masters who instruct us without rods or ferrules, without words or anger, without bread or money. If you approach them, they are not asleep. If you seek them, they do not hide. If you blunder, they do not scold. If you are ignorant, they do not laugh at you” – Richard De Bury. But therein lies the flaw – You have to approach them, you have to seek them.

 

News papers and magazines are informative medium for people who are already literate. There are so many people who have discontinued their school at a very early stage of their lives. And more still, who haven’t gone to school at all. Local language news papers do help, but the fact is, it is still out of the reach of masses as they simply cannot read.

 

The only other popular mass medium is TV. Though there are quite a few education based channels like Gyan Darshan etc, I really wonder who sees them. Most popular programs in the TV are entertainment based. The songs, movies, serials, etc. get good viewership. Can this medium help increase literacy levels? Specifically, can the entertainment based programs on TV help people read better?

 

TV may not be the best medium for promoting literacy and entertainment based programs may not be the best choice for increasing literacy levels, but they have one advantage over all other media – Reach. They reach almost every nook and corner of the country. They reach the masses, who watch them out of their own interest.

 

SLS – Same Language Subtitling is an interesting concept wherein subtitles appear in the same language for popular entertainment based programs – Like songs, movies etc. If a person is watching a Hindi song, the subtitles appear in Hindi along with the pace of the lines being sung.  So, as they listen and read the script (in subtitles) at the same time, they can be sure (some times even if only by guessing) that a certain word correlates with a certain script. This is especially useful with people who know only the basic words, but have lost touch since a long time and hence their ability to read has also decreased. After exposure to the subtitles in TV, which they automatically start reading, the script sub-consciously gets registered in their minds as they always flash along with the voice. After a period of time, the reading ability increases and they can even start reading the headlines in the newspaper.

 

How’s that for a change? Literacy to the masses while having fun. And that too, by the same box which was considered to be idiotic. No force, no lectures. So simple.

 

Maybe we could utilize this concept in the cinemas too. In the towns, the English channels could have English subtitles for people to improve their English vocabulary. Especially in cartoon and kids channels, which is watched endlessly by the kids. The possibilities are unlimited, if the private channels start adapting SLS.

 

At the beginning, I had said that there is a price for everything. Even literacy. The price for SLS is approximately one paisa per person per year – according to Dr.Brij Kothari, president, Planet Read. The whole concept, and the credit for implementing it in certain DD channels, goes to him. Please do visit the link given below to know more about the initiative.

 

Destination Infinity.

 

 

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Literacy for a billion with Bollywood songs 

PlanetRead uses the power and reach of entertainment to fill the need for education. In India, Bollywood songs appear on national television – Doordarshan with PlanetRead’s Same Language Subtitling (SLS). This provides automatic reading practice to 300 million early literates. With SLS the viewers subconsciously associate the songs with the text, so the familiar lyrics on screen reinforce their literacy skills.

 

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