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Sabse Bada Ruppaiya

I was discussing today’s TOI article on waiting time for darshan in Tirupati with one of my colleagues who just happened to visit this holy place last weekend. I asked him how he managed to complete his trip in just two days when it is mentioned that the waiting time for even paid darshan is 60 hours right now. He just laughed & casually told that the waiting time is 60 hours who pay the standard paid darshan charge which is perhaps Rs. 60/- per person. There are some unofficial charges also & you get the entry as per the amount which you pay over there. He very casually told that he paid Rs. 600 per person & he managed to have the darshan in 5 hours. He had gone there with 5 family members & so he spent Rs. 3000 to have a darshan to the God!!! Then few other people also who were sitting with us cited their stories of spending some x, y, z amount of money to have darshan over there.

I think these days the concept of “paid darshan” is existing at almost all famous religious places where our famous Gods give the darshan faster & clearer to those who are willing to offer him bigger money. I haven’t personally visited Tirupati but have experienced something similar at all the famous religious places visited by me, be it Shirdi, Siddhivinayak or ISKON temple. I have visited Shirdi thrice, first two times with my husband & the last time with few of my relatives who had arranged some highly influential VVIP passes. First two times, we had to wait for 5 to 6 hours in a queue to have darshan & by the time we reached the Samadhi, the organizers just didn’t allow us to even stand there for few seconds for having a complete darshan. Everybody was passing in queues & some three to four queues are allowed to enter at a time near the Samadhi area. Those who were in the last queue didn’t get even the chance to touch the holy Samadhi of Sai Baba. First time, even I was in the last queue & hence I didn’t get the chance to bow my head or touch the Samadhi completely. Later on I was being told that “sab Baba ki kripa hai, woh unhi ko Samadhi tak aane dete hain, jinki shraddha sachchi hoti hai”. I was actually upset over the fact that even after waiting for so long I didn’t get the proper darshan. Second time, I went in the middle queue & finally got the chance to bow my head on the holy Samadhi & have a darshan. However, last time I experienced a completely different scenario. Because of this influential VVIP pass of my relatives, we got the chance to enter the place in few minutes only. Also to my surprise, we not only got a faster entry at the morning aarti time rather we were allowed to sit in the space just near the Samadhi & attend the complete aarti very properly. Infact there was a lady standing in the normal queue who was crying a lot to allow her to sit near the God’s Samadhi. She was having a small paralyzed child with her & she was standing there for the whole night to attend the early morning aarti & pray for her child. She wanted her child’s limb to be touched with baba’s Samadhi but she wasn’t allowed to do so as she was in the normal queue. I felt so guilty of sitting there with that pass that I actually offered to exchange my place with that lady but the security officer turned my suggestion down by saying that there was no place for me to move back & send the lady ahead. After coming out, I was just so disturbed by that lady’s wailing & was wondering on the concept of this “PAID DARSHAN” or “SPECIAL DARSHAN”.

I really get astonished on the power of money. Why is this concept of Paid Darshan existing at all famous religious places now? So much of corruption & bribe is happening in the name of these so called special darshan arranged by pundits & organizers of the temples. It has become so easy for those who have got money to have a darshan of these famous Gods whereas the poor & the needy ones are just left behind standing in the queue. Infact I think because of these special darshan facilities, the normal crowd has to wait longer & even after their loooong wait they never get the chance to have as good a view of the God as a special person gets. I think God is supposed to be unbiased & equal for all, then how come God is doing partiality with its devotees? Is money really that powerful that it can influence God & make even him partial???

Indian Institutes hiring European Professors

Read it in yesterday’s TOI that India is looking forward to recruiting professors from foreign countries especially Europe. This step is mainly taken to overcome the scarcity of quality faculty in India. To attract such foreign talents, they have been offered really good pay packages & few of them have accepted the offers also.

Well, to begin with it’s a praiseworthy step and its great to know that now Europeans will come to our country for doing a job. Agreed that the quality of education will also improve if we will have better faculty. But have we ever wondered on the fact that why are we facing a scarcity of quality faculty in India? Is it really because Indian professors / teachers aren’t good and aren’t having the right talent or rather there is some elemental problem because of which there is a shortage of good faculty members in India?

Now, I personally don’t agree to the first scenario i.e., Indian Faculty lacks talent. Had it been true, they would not have been hired by the top most institutes of the world. In fact we all are aware that these days Indians are the deans & professors in some world renowned business schools & technical colleges. When Indians can make it up to such top institutes & colleges, then why are we facing this scarcity in our own country? Its not because Indians aren’t talented enough rather its because they aren’t being paid enough to survive in their own country. I know of many MBA Grads & Tech Grads who despite their interest in academic career don’t decide to enter into teaching profession because of the salary packages being offered in India. They compromise with their interest & take up some corporate job & if at all they decide to have a career in academics, they end up selecting some foreign institute where they are paid far better salaries.

To throw some light on the real scenario, I am quoting here some excerpt from Economic Times dated 21st Feb.’2006 :
A typical B-school in the US, the UK, France or Singapore offer salaries in the range of $80,000-1,20,000 a year depending on industry experience. In contrast, an IIM professor gets anywhere between $11,000-14,000 a year. “Even if we select a few candidates, there is no guarantee that they will ultimately join IIM-A. Our selection criteria matches the best institutes of the world. However, our salaries don’t,” says Professor Bakul Dholakia, director of IIM-A. His dilemma is not misplaced.

With this kind of package being offered in India, who would like to enter into teaching profession? In fact this scenario is not only for professional or premier colleges, rather in general colleges too, the professors are so underpaid & sometimes they don’t get salaries for months. Resultantly, they take private tuitions & take course to unfair means to earn their living which results in corruption & poorer quality of education in the classes.

If we can offer better packages to European or any other foreign faculty then why can’t we offer a better package to our Indian faculty? If the Indian talented faculty members are given enough financial motivation, then I am sure we will have many Indians who would not opt to settle abroad & then we need not look outside for good quality professors.

Which are the four most important communities for any country??? I think its Teachers, Police, Doctors & Defence Personnels. But the mockery is that unlike any other country, in India these are the lowest paid communities. No wonder, we are facing shortage of good & talented people in all these four communities in India.

Update: Would like to add one more excerpt here-
Economic Times dated 8th May'2006
Rs 34 lakh. Rs 4 lakh. Two figures, vastly diverse, yet closely connected. The first is the maximum salary that an IIM Ahmedabad graduate bagged this year. The second is the maximum salary drawn by an IIM-A professor under the government pay scale.

Of course I agree that these profs must be making money through consulting etc. But the point is that their salaries as profs are nowhere comparable to any corporate salary or decent salary level existing in India today

Do Ghosts Exist?

I know, I know that I am asking a very weird question. I also know that my this post is very different from all my earlier posts. Was debating with myself, whether to put up this post on my blog or not & finally decided to go ahead with it as I always wonder on this question.

Frankly speaking whenever I watch some horror movies or any such stuff, I watch it with full enthusiasm & then later on get scared by having some bizarre thoughts or remembrance from the movie. My family members make a good fun of my this habit of getting scared esp. in darkness & I always try to defend myself by saying that no I am not scared of ghosts etc., its just that I remembered some scene from that particular movie & so got scared. A few days back I was reading in some newspaper that Mr. Bachchan (BIG B) used to get scared on the sets of his new horror movie & he used to imagine that some ghost will appear from here or there at night. It just brought a smile on my face & I silently thought, “Et Tu, Big B”!!!

I remember during my hostel life, once a hostel mate told us that she can call spirits through some planchet method & we all got just so thrilled by listening this. After that with full planning & excitement, we all gathered in one of the rooms at 2 a.m. & this girl did some this-that & told one of the girls to hold a coin. She told that if the coin will start moving then that means the spirit has come & all of us can ask one question from the spirit & whatever the spirit will answer will come true. I also don’t know how that coin start moving, maybe the girl who was holding the coin was so mesmerized & influenced by the spirit caller that she would have started moving it on her own. After that everyone was asking all sorts of questions about their result in exam, about their boyfriends, about their career, marriage & what not and the revolving spirit was answering questions in yes or no. It was really exciting at that moment of time but I can’t tell you my feelings later on. I was so dead scared in my room….ha ha ha…I used to imagine spirits in everything right from my wardrobe to the box below my bed… I can’t even describe my hallucinations of those days…hee hee hee….Finally one day I called up my mom & told her about our adventure & she scolded me a lot on believing & participating in such games. She told me that there is nothing known as ghost & no such spirits exist which can answer such stupid questions. She always prays a lot for our well being & nothing would happen to me. After getting this assurance from mom I felt better.

Well, my conscious & rational mind says that there is nothing known as ghost or spirit & such things don’t exist at all. On the other hand my same rational mind debates that if we can believe in God then why can’t in Ghost??? Maybe we want to believe in God & not in Ghost because natural human mind generally accepts & believes in such facts which are favorable & good for us.

Do really Ghosts exist or is it just one’s psychological perception??? Me still trying to figure out the same...

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