[Reader-list] RE: Reader-list digest, Vol 1 #319- Iftar Party (zamrooda)

Manisha Khosla manisha.khosla at bworthsindia.com
Tue Dec 11 15:19:25 IST 2001

the article by zamrooda had some interesting observations and i wish to
add to them. the iftaar parties have become a huge political 'mela',
with the obvious purpose of displaying 'secular sensibilities'in order
to garner Muslim vote. The practice of visiting religious places like
dargahs, temples, mausoleums, churches etc was initiated in a planned
manner by India's erstwhile prime minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi in order
to grab vote banks and maintain a hegemonic control over Indian polity
for nearly 2 decades. This indeed paid, both her and the Congress party,
dividends and the benefits of which have obviously been recognised by
even parties like the BJP which have also begun hosting iftaars.
				Another interesting point to note is
that while iftaars in Muslim homes are never so lavish as a person
breaking the roza(fast) is encouraged to have a light meal and not a
feast as this is not beneficial to the digestive system of an

Manisha Khosla
Legal Editor,
Butterworths India, 
14th Flr, Vijaya Bldg, 
17 Barakhamba Road, 
New Delhi 110 001 
Ph: 373 96 14/15/16 
Fax: 332 64 56 

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Subject: Reader-list digest, Vol 1 #319 - 3 msgs

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Today's Topics:

   1. Iftar Party (zamrooda)
   2. Validity of the UGC-NET Exam for Lecturership to Colleges and
Universities (Sagnik Chakravartty)
   3. Re: Sagnik's complaint about NET


Message: 1
From: zamrooda <zamrooda at sarai.net>
Reply-To: zamrooda at sarai.net
Organization: sarai
To: reader-list at sarai.net
Date: Mon, 10 Dec 2001 16:22:18 +0530
Subject: [Reader-list] Iftar Party

Yesterday at a dinner I was innocently asked by my host- When are the
parties held?

Iftar parties? very frankly I had not heard of anything like this till
time I became aware of the political situation in my country. It was
then that I realised that rozas can and are becoming a way for
politicians to 
attain gains.

The cartoon in Times of India (Delhi) this sunday could not have
the term Iftar party  in a better way for the common man.

Iftar for us was always a time when the family members fasting would
together and break open the days fast. Along with Special food, special 
attention is paid to the fasting members.

Friday is a special day for Muslims and this is one day that my mother
to go to the Darga at Nizzamudin to offer some offerings. I happened to 
accompany her this particular Friday. 

As we approached the circle near the Humayun Tomb, big boards stating
party pointing to wards the Tomb zoomed into vision. One could see big
cars entering the complex accompanied by security's cars. It was beyond
that this was another of the big Iftiar parties being sponsored by a big
of the city.

The Darga was packed with all kinds of food stalls. The aroma of the
food was 
overwhelming. Each person was waiting for the gong which will be the
for people to break their fast.

Inside the Darga people of different classes were gathered together to
the fast. Trays laden with food were being circulated around the Darga.
Khadims who would normally hound the people visiting the Darga were
seen serving .No questions asked. All were welcomed.

The siren went off and the fast was broken. Soon after Azan calling
for Nimaaz was heard. Prayers were offered collectively. As the prayers
being workers of the Darga silently cleaned the place clean of all the
overs. As soon as people got over with their prayers the Quawwalis for
evening took over the buzz of the Darga. Slowly people left for their

As we approached our car to go to our recluse one noticed a chaos at the

entrance.  A mammoth sized car with people in white khaadi was trying to

reverse. No doubt they had come to the wrong venue.   


Message: 2
Date: Mon, 10 Dec 2001 05:46:52 -0800 (PST)
From: Sagnik Chakravartty <sagnik_chakravartty at yahoo.com>
To: reader-list at sarai.net
Subject: [Reader-list] Validity of the UGC-NET Exam for Lecturership to
Colleges and Universities

Only Criteria For Lecturership in Universities and
Colleges: Passing the National Educational Test (NET)
conducted by the University Grants Commission !!!!!


	At the time of independence, we inherited the
colonial university system. At that time, there was no
exams held for appointments as lecturers in
universities and colleges which is sadly being done
today. This exam is the NET exam. At that time, only
committed persons with a passion towards teaching used
to come to this profession.
	With the passage of time, however, things began to
change. The number of qualified persons applying in
colleges and universities began to increase with the
growing population. The University Grants Commission
(UGC), in charge of giving grants to colleges and
universities and also the authority for recognizing
degrees, in the early eighties, began to think of
introducing a test to fix the eligibility of
lecturership in colleges. Thus the NET from 1989 was
The UGC thought that by holding such an exam,
standards of lecturership could be restored as it
claimed that persons, although qualified, with no
academic pursuit or inclination to teaching, were
being appointed as lecturers by the selection
committees. So the UGC wanted to make the selection
process stringent by making NET cleared as the
essential requisite for appointment
as college lecturers. Also, what was seen at that
time, was the growing demand for teaching posts.
However, corresponding increase in teaching posts was
not seen. In such a situation, UGC thought it proper
to hold the bi-annual NET exam in June and December. 
	However, we have seen that all persons who have
cleared the NET exam have not yet got a teaching job
in a college. This is so because the number of  posts
of lecturership in colleges are very scarce with
permanent lecturers having being appointed long time
ago. Vacancy arises when a retirement of an incumbent
lecturer arises. Lecturers are often appointed on a
temporary and adhoc basis. At the selection stage, we
see lot of nepotism taking place in a number of
university colleges, Delhi University, being one
example. In such a scenario, we see competition among
NET cleared candidates, with persons holding a Ph.D
degree from Cambridge who has cleared NET, or an
M.Phil. degree holder who has cleared NET, or an
internal candidate who has worked in that college for
a long time as Adhoc being given preference. Such
qualified persons, who have cleared NET are numerous.
But only a handful among them get permanent job as
	In such a scenario, with number of teaching posts
scarce and the UGC declaring a freeze in teaching
posts, we have to examine the validity of the NET exam
. I  think that NET exam should not be the sole
criteria for judging that he/she is a good teacher or
a bad teacher. 
The paper I of NET exam, tests the candidate's
reasoning and mental abilities. This Paper is not easy
to clear in one go. It needs a lot of hard work, with
hours of practice and perseverence.  Besides logic,
maths problems are also posed in this paper. It is an
objective paper with ticking the correct choices.  
         There is a provision that paper I is checked
first . Paper II and Paper III scripts  of only those
candidates are checked whose  Paper I is cleared by
the computer checker. It is a quite a   
daunting task to clear Paper I, although   it is based
on reason and logic. Perhaps, a better alternative to
this NET exam may be introduction of a National
Lecturership Orientation Course (NLOC) conducted by
UGC in all Central and State Universities to churn out
good lecturers. The Delhi University Researcher's
Association (DURA) is calling for the scrapping of NET
exam as it has been observed that many M.Phil and Ph.D
scholars cannot apply for college lecturership as they
have failed to clear the UGC-NET exam . Perhaps only
for giving Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) to young
budding scholars, such a test should be held and not
for lecturership.
Many bright scholars having a passion for teaching
just cannot apply as (a) vacancies are limited, (b)
due to not clearing the NET exam . In fact, learning
is a life long process. Teachers should be those who
not only possess good degrees , but they must be
inclined to learn all throughout their life and give
their knowledge to others. 
         Indeed, there is a great deal of controversy
regarding the scrapping of the UGC-NET exam . I have
just ignited a spark to this debate. In fact, a good
lecturer is one who believes in a  
dialogue with the student , eternally engaged in the
quest for knowledge and has a capacity to debate
issues and  has an open mind. The NET exam has
instilled a sense of competition among the aspirants
for teaching in colleges. Teaching should not be seen
as a competitive vocation where only the fit get a
chance to teach , that is , only those clearing the
NET exam get a chance to teach .  This is similar to
the philosophy of  the Survival of the Fittest of
Charles Darwin . In fact exams instill notions of
superiority and inferiority in the candidate aspiring
to be a lecturer.
          Rather a  creative engagement with learning
and teaching processes should be undertaken by the UGC
through the  NLOC. Only those who have taken this
course could be called for the Interview . Nobody
should be exempted from taking such a course, not even
M.Phil or Ph.D holders who have completed their
research on or before 1993. Fresh appointments should
be of those candidates who have taken this  NLOC . The
NLOC could be a six-month course. The UGC could
appoint an expert committee in reviewing the present
exam-centric NET and examine this innovative course.
The UGC should also not introduce couses like
astrology and priesthood in universities. Rather a
scientific, creative temper could be inculcated in the
minds of the students taking the NLOC which would
further their development as good, complete teachers
always immersed in the world of learning and spreading
their knowledge to the students. This sort of a
relationship between the teacher and the taught could
be congenial to the development of higher education.
            Universities should not be privatised by
UGC. Rather it should be a centre for creative
research in fundamental knowledges, a place where
ideas are exchanged and hot debates take place over
cups of coffee. Private agencies manning Universities,
as suggested by the Ambani-Birla Report , will not
understand this deeper meaning of a University and
would convert the university into a polytechnic and
treat it as a factory where the students would churn
out products for the market. Rather one should review
the present examination system which has put brakes on
a person's creativity. 
	n this sort of a scenario, the validity of the NET
exam has to be scrutinised. The NLOC could act as a
very innovative idea . Privatisation of universities
would remove the autonomy   the Universities enjoy.
Vacancies will also be freezed. Rather, we have to
make serious efforts to save our universities and
create teaching opportunities for the interested youth
who want to become teachers. Teaching has to
considered the noblest of  all professions as it
creates the base on which the future India would grow.
Teachers teach and spread knowledge to the youth who
would become future citizens of India. India is unique
because we see that here only NET exam clearance is
required for budding aspirants to lecturership in
colleges. Nowhere in the world, we see that such a
clearance is required. Rather, the selection process
is made stringent elsewhere , say, Europe, which
ensures merit being given weightage to mediocracy and
NET clearance. It is only in a classroom environment
that the teacher learns from the students and
vice-versa . It is only then , that is, learning
through practice, that one becomes or attempts to
become a good teacher. Constant interaction helps in
the personality of the teacher to grow . The question
foremost in one's mind is : Are we producing good
lecturers by fixing minimum eligibility for 
lecturership to that of clearing the NET exam ? Only
time will tell about the validity of such an exam.

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Message: 3
Date: Mon, 10 Dec 2001 18:24:18 +0000 (GMT)
From: =?iso-8859-1?q?pratap=20pandey?= <pnanpin at yahoo.co.in>
To: reader-list at sarai.net
Subject: [Reader-list] Re: Sagnik's complaint about NET

Hey Sagnik,

It is such an easy exam. All you got to do is get your
literature basics clear. Read your history of
literature. Read your history. Read your theory.

Your complaint is such a common one nowadays that your
write-up made me feel sick, and not a little
depressed. You are an intelligent person. So, don't
use shit like "survival of the fittest" rhetoric to
justofy your anxiety about the exam, which I hink
hides a deeper trauma: your unbelief that you didn't
do your lit. courses well.

I'll tell you what I like about the NET Exam. It
requires you to know your subject. You know, you
should sit outside the IIT-JEE exam centres and
protest. Your slogan should be: knowledge is not a
niche. You should definitely sit on a fast unto death
outside the subject-GRE test centre. Here, your slogan
should be: hey, you didn't let me in!

Relax, man. Go work. I passed the NET the first time.
It was a piece of cake. I slogged for it. Have you?

As it is, there are a lot of asshole lecturers who get
university and college jobs because they have
connections. This exam is a deterrant to university
and college mafiosos ruling the roost. You want to put
an end to one (very weak, in my opinion) objective
criterion that tests the students aptitude towards the
subject? You want mistaken-modern India to rule the
roost in Indian universities? You want a rash of phone
calls from cabinet ministers to university VCs? You
want knowledge to die in the name of a mistaken
radicalism like yours?

Tell you what. You are not only a Sagnik but also a
chakravarty, and therefore at least a third-generation
literate. Why don't you pay me Rs 300 per session? In
4 months of 3 sessions per week, I will make you
NET-compatible. Alternatively, you could get to grips
abour your subject. I know you are an intellectual.
But the world over, intellectuals crack exams like the
Net. Why don't you study, instead of complaining?

pratap pandey.

bokachoda bangaali aantale, talk to me at
pnanpin at yahoo.co.in  


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