Sunday, 27 March 2011

Farewell to Dhanpatmal Virmani Senior Secondary School


So, finally the time has come to bid a warm farewell to a school where I have served for no less than seventeen years! The school hosted a farewell function for me on the twenty-third of March 2011 in the school. Among those present on the occasion were, Mr.G.L.Naswa, the principal who had appointed me in February 1994. Mr. R.B. Aggarwal, the Ex-Principal, and Mr.V.K.Palta, Ex-Vice Principal also graced the occasion. Dr.Yadram, another ex-teacher of the school, who is now serving in a Government School as a lecturer in English was also present. Speeches were delivered by Mr. G.Naswa, Mr. R.B.Aggarwal, Dr.Yadram, and Dr.Dharambir Singh, the Principal of the School. Mr.A.K. Mishra was the master of ceremonies, and he spoke very eloquently about the wonderful time we had shared together.My family, my parents, my wife and my two daughters too were present on the occasion.


Little did I foresee that I would be writing a blog about my own farewell from the Dhanpatmal school, but then times change, and we can’t predict what the future has in store for us. It is an honour to have been appointed as the Principal of The St.Thomas School, Jagadhri, Haryana. Now I have a new family, and a new school, and my responsibilities have changed from that of teaching English to Eleventh and Twelfth to providing Leadership to a wonderful school. No doubt my years as a teacher in The Dhanpatmal Virmani Sr.Sec.School were instrumental in grooming me for the post of Principal in a Public School. My thanks go to Mr.Anil Virmani, Chairman of the school, Mr. Amitav Virmani, Manager of the school, and Mrs. Asha Kishore, a senior member of the Management. They have always stood by me in my time of need, and they have been most supporting to me. The teachers of the Dhanpatmal Virmani Sr.Sec.School have been very close, and very dear to me. I will always remember Mr.K.George, Mr.Manoj Kumar Verma, Mr.Arun Kumar, Mr.Ajay Singh Rawat, Mr.Rattan Lal, Mr.S.K. Thakur, Mr.S.R.Sharma, Mr. Ish Kumar, Dr.Dharambir besides many others!


While it was a most emotional moment for all of us, it was also a moment which reminded me of the immense possibilities that life has for us. Life is a process of growth and evolution where everyone should strive to do better.Stagnation, unfortunately, spells mental death. Every one alive should have a vision in life. Mr.Anil Virmani, the Chairman of the Dhanpatmal Virmani Sr.Sec. School always told me to dream big, and to have a vision in life. This advice has been reiterated by The Rt.Revd.Sunil Singh, The Bishop of The Diocese of Delhi, and the Chairman of the St.Thomas School Jagadhri. I am indeed lucky to have had such wonderful people to guide me in life!

I have given below some of the photographs that were taken on the occasion of the warm farewell given to me by the staff of the Dhanpatmal Virmani Sr.Sec.School, Roop Nagar, Delhi.


DSC09415 Lighter moments the snap was taken on a lunch I hosted before the farewell on the seventeenth of March










DSC09422 In the picture are: Dr.Dharambir Singh the Principal of the school on the left, Mr.G. Naswa the Ex-principal in the centre, and Mr.V.K.Palta, Ex-Vice Principal on the far right.




DSC09464 Lighter moments on the day of the Farewell. In the snap we have Mr.R.B.Aggarwal seated on the left and Mr.G.L.Naswa on the right. Standing from the left we have Mr.S.K. Mishra, Dr.Yadram, myself, and Mr.S.K.Thakur on the far right.


My wife and I



DSC09508My parents


My Wife and two children along with me



      DSC09554 We have Mr.Arun Kumar, on the left, and Mr.Manoj Kumar on the right.



DSC09534 A speech being delivered by me

Some of my colleagues:




Mr.G.L. Naswa, a former principal in whose time I joined the school



DSC09437 My colleagues

Mrs. Shradha







Dr.Dharambir Singh gifting me a watch:



DSC09517 Mr R.B.Aggarwal delivering a speech

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

"Top Secret", a myth? How much information is Safe?


With WikiLeaks becoming a thorn in sides of some Governments and countries, and Julian Assange, the torch-bearer of freedom of information, one wonders if, perhaps we have not come too far in being liberal with all types of information! One remembers the words, “Top Secret, For Your Eyes Only” on some of the documents given to James Bond 007 and wonder whether  secrecy isn’t  is an obsolete word after all! After all,  information is now in the public domain thanks to the right to  information act. In the 2G scam in India, there was a debate about the tapping of phones of some prominent personalities and confidential conversations were  published by some newspapers and Media organisations.


The quantum leap in the dissemination of information has resulted in the common man being bombarded with all types of information. Some of this information might be useful, but most of it is harmful, divisive, dangerous, and usually useless. The old adage, “ignorance is bliss” is mere wishful thinking today. Today, no Government is safe from a WikiLeaks expose! And you can forget Corporate Confidentiality or keeping policies under wraps till  the right time! It is all part of Globalisation, where the entire Earth is one Global Village where no “Secrets are hidden!” It is however true that premature disclosure of Corporate Policies, Government Foreign Policies, Inventions, and future plans might harm the entity.

A question then arises, how much should we reveal, or how much should the common Man know, or for that effect should a particular information be revealed at all? One remembers the famous story about the fisherman marrying a mermaid, and the gifting of a mystery box with the specific instructions to the fisherman not to open it. The fisherman doesn’t heed the mermaid’s instructions and he opens the box, a Pandora’s box of diseases, misery pain and suffering! For that effect, Adam and Eve were specifically instructed not to eat the fruit of a particular tree in the Garden of Eden. They disobeyed God’s instructions and when they ate of the fruit, they learned of pain and suffering. In the two instances, there were instructions which were given to the particular people, they were not allowed to open a box or eat of the “forbidden fruit”! Today however, we don’t have proper guidelines regarding the dissemination of information. Risqué Exposes might end up doing more harm than good.The recent turmoil in Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, and Libya has been attributed to the leaking of secret cables by WikiLeaks! Today we are not better off for what is going on in Libya, or Yemen or Bahrain. Having just entered the process of recovery from recession, we are in the process of being plunged into yet another Global Crisis-all because of the leaking of secret cables!  So then how much information should we allow to enter the Public Domain? The answer to this question will have to be give by Julian Assange himself!

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Schools of Delhi top Nation in Violence!


Apropos the recent reports in the prominent dailies of incidents of violence in students, it is time to acknowledge that we do have a serious problem on our hands! Two prominent incidents that come to mind are, the attack on a teacher perpetrated by a class eighth student, because she wouldn’t allow him to cheat, and the second one in which a class mate was stabbed outside the examination centre because he wouldn’t show his answer sheet to his class mates during an important exam.  In another incident which took place last year, some girl students were molested by male students in an overcrowded trans-Yamuna school. These stories grabbed media attention, but soon fizzled out because these stories didn’t portray the teacher as the scapegoat!

So,then what is the cause of violence in students of schools of Delhi? The reasons are varied and multiple. First and foremost is the overcrowding of class rooms, and lack of proper infrastructure! Imagine three students sitting on a bench meant for two! No wonder, in such a crowded environment, tempers are going to be frayed, not only of the students, but also the teachers who incidentally are an already harried lot! Another very important reason for lack of fear for rules in students is the excess liberty given to them by the radical reform in Education. The removal of Board Exams in the Traditional sense has removed the fear of failure in the students. Also, students are not afraid of being retained in middle classes till class ninth so they spend less time in studies and more in other activities! The hounding of Educationist and teachers as the black sheep of the Educational system has had a negative impact on the psyche of the students. Today they are devoid of any kind of fear or respect for their teachers (that is why a class eighth student had no hesitation in stabbing a teacher recently)! All these factors have reinforced the wrong kind of behaviour in students! It is unfortunate that the radical reforms in education don’t take into consideration discipline in schools, overcrowding in schools, security of girls students, and redressal of grievances by independent authorities. Perhaps today it has become imperative to appoint counsellors in every school.  Unfortunately, I have noticed also that introduction of co-education has teething problems. In schools which have recently introduced co-education there should be a concerted effort to have an almost equal number of boys and girls as students. In schools where there is a skewed ratio between girls and boys, there is bound to be trouble! That is to say, if there are fewer girls than boys, then boys are bound to fight for the attention of the girls, and this creates numerous discipline problems!

The concept of neighbourhood schools is a very good concept! Students who travel long distances to schools are bound to get distracted, moreover they are already exhausted by the time they reach schools.  They have to attend coaching for entrance exams, or the twelfth boards. The result is again, frayed tempers, tempers on short fuses, irritation, and a susceptibility to pick up fights on the slightest excuse. The media, too should adopt a more rational and mature approach towards reporting of issues associated with education. Journalists should not sensationalise news related to schools, jump the bandwagon and report a juicy tid-bit which might have long term implications! Remember an incident where a female school teacher was hounded by the media for being allegedly a master-mind of a sex racket, which later on turned out to be a false campaign aimed at maligning her(that teacher was suspended by the Department of Education, beaten up by parents, only to be proclaimed innocent). Such irresponsible reporting causes more damage than good, and students are affected by irresponsible reporting by the media which is bent on portraying the teacher as the black-sheep of today’s Educational System!

As far as the System of Education in Delhi is concerned, it is clear that excess liberalisation and a surfeit of reforms without proper homework has already caused serious damage. The introduction of C.C.E. or C.C.A. has left parents and students of Government and Government Aided schools confused and bewildered! Without a proper guideline or framework students do not know how to prepare for their Formative Assessments, four in all! Ironically,  the new reforms claim to attempt to reduce stress in students, but, the opposite happens to be the truth. Continuous means that there will be continuous assessment, which mean greater stress, and greater stress ultimately leads to irritation,  frayed tempers, and ultimately indiscipline in schools. We don’t want a Columbine High School incident in Delhi, so, it is high time that the powers that be do a serious study on how to improve discipline in schools of Delhi!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Battling Natural Disasters-A Nation at War


The land of the rising sun has become a Nation struggling for existence! It is a Nation trying  to come to terms with a disaster of exceptional magnitude.One wonders, however, about the resilience of this Nation. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the Second World War, haunts our minds. One wonders how much more this Nation can take! Tsunami, Earthquake, Nuclear Radiation, you’ve got it all! It is all served on a platter, a package of natural and man made disasters ( that is, if you call radio-active contamination man made).

What is appreciable about this Nation is the extreme resilience of its people, their ability to take immense punishment and yet remain standing and smiling! The spirit of patriotism is very strong in the people of Japan. This was perhaps best displayed by the Japanese soldiers who fought till the last against the advancing allied armies at the end of the Second World War. This was a Nation which was totally devastated by the war, and yet it rose from its ashes, a stronger, vibrant, and powerful Nation. One remembers how Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi, and many other car companies from Japan became widely known,and also the camera companies like Yashica, Cannon, Pentax became well known brands.

Looking at the extent of damage caused by the earthquake followed by the Tsunami, we can barely estimate the financial impact- it could be to the extent of Billions of Dollars! The loss to human life is tragic! We keep learning about how more and more bodies are being discovered. The explosion at one of the reactors at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant and system failures in others has raised fears of radiation leakage. This radio-active contamination can spread over a wide area not limited to Japan only (radio-active contamination from the Chernobyl power plant tragedy had spread over a wide area, reaching even some Scandinavian countries). One wonders how Japan will tackle the radio-active contamination from the reactors at Fukushima. But then it is  certain that they will have found an efficient method of containing further contamination, trust their experience as in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or their ingenuity!

The set back to a world economy already reeling from the turmoil in North Africa, Egypt, Libya, the Middle East, and South East Asia by the events in Japan can only be imagined! We have just recovered from recession, and now we have another crisis on our hands.We can’t sit back in our sitting rooms drinking tea, watching T.V. and sermonize that such and such a disaster cannot strike us. It has already struck us. Today we are living in a Global Village and what happens in a far away country does affect us. It is like a tsunami wave which is travelling towards us which will hit us eventually!  We have all experienced the impact of the Tiger Economies crashing before the recession. The events that took place in Japan on the eleventh of March 2011 are bound to have wide ranging repercussions globally. The fear of radio-active contamination is quite strong and it raises questions about the safety of Nuclear-Reactors world wide. Today, our financial institutions go into a tizzy when something happens in a far away nation. So we can expect some impact on the economy. Various projects in Delhi might get affected, like, for example some  of the Delhi Metro’s expansion projects. With some of the Suzuki plants shut down in Japan, Maruti Motors might face shortage of some spare parts for their cars. Similarly various other brands like Sony might face problems with supply of their products. We have some Indian companies whose executives are based in Japan, they too will have to be recalled!

Whatever may be the outcome of the Tsunami, I am sure that Japan will come up stronger and more vibrant and be an example for all the other nations in the world. Surely, dedication, patriotism, honesty, humbleness, and hard work will raise this Nation like a Phoenix from its ashes!

Sunday, 13 March 2011

The Birth of Tsunami - A poem


The  Earth  heaves  with  the  pangs  of labour, the  mantle,
Rises with a groan, a  shudder, and a tremor, for  it is time!
A wave of displaced  water rushes towards the  land of the
Rising Sun. For it’s the new born child of the Mother Earth!
The wave, two meters taller than her sisters, rushes towards
The land, the people unaware, move about doing their jobs.
She hits the coast, sweeps away fishing trawlers, cruise ships.
A brief silence and then breaks out the scream of banshees.
The huge  wave, growing in height gathers momentum as she
Slams   against the coast, metal on metal, flesh on   stone, the
Whimper of a frightened child, the  brief prayer of a  mother,all
Swept away by an angry flood of mad water all screaming glee!
The  morning  light  reveals a  once   thriving  town  in  tatters!
People   walk   around  trying  to  pick  up rags  and  their lives.
A ghost town remains of wandering souls and ghostly screams
Of  those  caught before their time by  an  angry  tide of water!

The  little boy asks the  sea, “why,  oh why,  did  you shatter my life?”
Answers the sea, “for  you’ve taken  more from me  than your share,
So have   you  to  pay  in full for what  your fathers  plundered! ”But,
This   is  a   cycle  which  returns  every  hundred  years  to  bear   a
Big   Tsunami . For  you  have   destruction   before   great   revival!
Like the Phoenix, will I make you greater and stronger and invincible!

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Just Parrots!

I came across these parrots and pigeons feeding on the grains in a feeding bowl on one of the boundary walls of the Epiphany Church, Gurgaon. I noticed that the two species of birds were highly tolerant of each other. I wish all humans too could live in harmony with each other just like these birds! Perhaps the birds had a common goal, or purpose before them which was to feed on the grains in the feeding bowl. If we human beings too could have a common goal in life, then, perhaps, we would fight less, and there would be universal brotherhood all over the world! Take a look at some of the photographs below and see how happy these birds are:

DSCN3195   Tete a tete?



                                                 Serious Talk?

DSCN3200 Interspecies co operation?



                                            Let’s talk about our common goals!

DSCN3199 Well, we tolerate each other’s presence because we are wise and mature!


So folks, I feel that in some cases, we might not after all be very social. There is a lot that we can learn from these birds, especially about tolerating others.Social aptitude and Social intelligence are two important areas in which we need to do better!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

You have been Hacked! How secure is your e-mail account?

Today, when I tried logging in to my email account, I was surprised to note that I was denied access! Instead I was told to enter my mobile number so that the internet service provider could send me a verification code. Perplexed, I entered my registered mobile number, and a verification code was sent to me on my mobile, which I then supplied to the internet service provider. When I had done this but before I was taken to my mail account, there was a note stating that the Internet service Provider had noted some unusual activity in my account, so they had blocked it for my safety. I was then requested to change my password, which I did promptly.

It is surprising, how dependent we are on our internet e-mail accounts and we have to be dependent on our so called, creative, difficult to hack pass words. Unfortunately, the fact remains that our accounts will continue to be hacked no matter how creative and difficult our passwords might be! Some precautions that we need to take are that we should change our passwords regularly, provide the service provider with alternate email accounts and provide the service provider with a mobile number so that they might send you the verification codes. The use of nicknames, and date of birth figures are a strict no-no!

The feeling of being violated results from the realization that your account has been hacked! But then you should accept the fact gracefully that there are people out there who enjoy hacking into your accounts.Some do it for joy, while others have the vicarious pleasure of peeping into others personal lives.They are the peeping toms of the twenty-first  century. The more sinister hackers are after your bank account numbers, and the A.T.M. or internet Pin passwords. They are the more dangerous species of hackers from whom you have a lot to fear!

Unless of course you are a secret service agent, or a top secret scientist, or the in charge of procurement of Fighter Aircraft, or the designer of Limpet Mines or Missiles, you might smile off such an attack on your email account. But then it pays to be alert and careful about the precautions you take while setting up your email account! It is always a good idea to use nonsense words combined with a nonsensical series of numbers!

Today, so many years after I wrote this article, I keep getting warnings from  my E-Mail service provider informing me about an attempt to log in into my account and I get to receive the information about the incident such as the location of the log in attempt and even the I.P. address. In most cases the only protection lies in constantly changing your password, and linking your E-Mail account to another E-Mail account and a Mobile Phone number.