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Showing posts from March, 2008

Aser Report

Pratham has put out a report on the state of early education in India.

Here is a link to the report.

• The percentage of out-of-school children has further reduced to 4.1%. 98 % of
the rural population now has access to a primary school within a mile.
• Reading fluency has improved across grade levels although it remains low (See
graph). Math ability shows no improvement.
• English reading and comprehension were tested for the first time. 60.9% of
children in Grade 1 cannot read letters in English. 72.1 % of children in Grade 5
cannot read easy sentences
• Pre-school attendance has increased substantially among 3-4 year olds
Visited schools show clear improvements in pupil-teacher ratios. The availability
of functioning toilets, drinking water facilities, and midday meals has improved.

Here is a review of the report by Yamini Aiyar.

The good news from ASER 2007 is that enrolment is up ( 98.5 per cent across the country) and learning levels have improved (the proportion of children in classes 1 an…

Making Globalization Work

New York review of books analyzes Stiglitz's new book, Making Globalization Work. I agree with Robert Skidelsky who argues that it is strange to write a book that deals with the concerns of people in rich countries, when globalization impacts poor people in poor countries much more. There are a lot of other issues that the author argues cogently and clearly.

Making Globalization Work is the third of Joseph Stiglitz's popular, and populist, books.[1] Like Jeffrey Sachs, Stiglitz is an economist turned preacher, one of a new breed of secular evangelists produced by the fall of communism. Stiglitz wants to stop rich countries from exploiting poor countries without damaging the springs of wealth-creation. In that sense he is a classic social democrat. His missionary fervor, though, is very American. "Saving the Planet," one of this new book's chapter headings, could have been its title.

Stiglitz is in favor of globalization—which he defines as "the closer economic…

"Punjabi's are never afraid"

Wonderful story of three Sikh women taxi drivers rushing to the aid of another Sikh woman taxi driver who was being choked by a passenger.

Three women taxi drivers raced to aid another female cabbie who was being attacked - and helped capture the would-be mugger Tuesday.
The lady cabbies were talking to one another in a group cell-phone chat when they heard rookie driver Neeru Singh in a violent struggle, gasping as she was being choked by a passenger in Chelsea

Pondicherry in the Times

Here is an article on Pondicherry, as a shopping haven.

Firestone, Julian and Gluckel

I found the writings of Rabbi Tirza Firestone inspiring and aesthetically appealing. I liked her idea of the wholeness which is created both by the masculine and the feminine, as well as being connected to one’s fire and sensual wisdom. Her idea of bringing women’s life into balance by uniting opposites the practical/spiritual; and purpose/action) to achieve wholeness is definitely a blend of her psychotherapy and religious backgrounds. More about her here.

The image I had read about in Kabalistic texts of a tree with roots in heaven now made sense to me.
Each of us is such a tree. If we could but remember our divine origins we could live both sensually and fruitful on earth while manifesting our holy essence.
I liked this idea as well; it reminded me of the concept of the tree of life, which is important in religions of the East as well. Here is more on the tree of life from all mystical traditions.
here and here.

The earliest Indian scriptures, the Vedas and Upanishads refer to it. …

Brother I'm dying

This book is the best, I have read this year. It was well written, and unusual that a woman wrote about her father and uncle. She portrayed them sensitively and shaped their characters well. It dealt with harsh realities, like living in between Haiti and Brooklyn while struggling with immigration, poverty, disease, pain, suffering, death and birth with a light touch. It was quite different from Junot Diaz's book, even though both were about life between the Caribbean and America. Junot's book was raw and brutal, her book was sophisticated and filled with wisdom, while dealing with similar horrors.

See the review
Edwidge Danticat, in each of her books of fiction about Haiti, writes of stark realities—torture, civil unrest, dictatorship's burdens—from an ethereal distance. Her latest is a memoir, Brother, I'm Dying, in which her graceful writing is grounded in the most intimate of places: family. Raised by both her father and uncle, it is as much their story as it i…

Weekend in New Delhi

Somini Sengupta writes about a weekend in Delhi. The slide show is pretty good. She does miss important places like the Shop ( and the attic (!

A SEAT of power for more than a thousand years, the city-state of Delhi is a survivor of conquest and change. The Lodi and Mughal dynasties ruled this area, as did the British, until it was again transformed by the refugees of partition. Today, new money has conquered the region, which includes New Delhi, the capital of a rapidly changing India. Spiraling rents have put a Swarovski shop where a small independent bookshop once stood, and in the same market, a shop called It’s All About Bling sells spangly earrings. Thankfully, much of the remarkable history has survived, allowing the visitor to travel easily through the accordion pleats of time.

4 p.m.

This is a city of ruins and none is more elegantly preserved than Humayun’s Tomb, a precursor to the Taj Mahal and an early example of Mughal archite…

Happy Easter

Easter Poem from 3QD.
Please Call Me by My True Names
Thich Nhat Hanh

Don't say that I will depart tomorrow --
even today I am still arriving.
Look deeply: every second I am arriving
to be a bud on a Spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
to fear and to hope.

The rhythm of my heart is the birth and death
of all that is alive.

I am the mayfly metamorphosing
on the surface of the river.
And I am the bird
that swoops down to swallow the mayfly.

I am the frog swimming happily
in the clear water of a pond.
And I am the grass-snake
that silently feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks.
And I am the arms merchant,
selling deadly weapons to Uganda.

I am the twelve-year-old girl,
refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean
after being raped by a sea pirat…


pic of a pic

Asleep among inserts and boxes!


goat to goat

Nana at the petting zoo

Which one is MS


Guess What


Capricorn Goat


Giving Birth

Ba Ba sheep

Billy Goat

Petting zoo

Brown Bear Brown Bear

Show business

Winnie the Pooh

2nd closeup


Hey whats up