Off the record

Batting on a different pitch

Former Pakistan cricket captain Imran Khan may have never visited Bihar, but, of late, the cricketer-turned-politician has become an ardent admirer of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. No wonder, the JD (U) strongman, during his week-long visit to the neighbouring country, met Khan in Islamabad and shared with him the mantra of good governance.
Actually, a day before Nitish flew to Pakistan, Imran was in India where he said that he wanted to turn around his country the way Bihar Chief Minister had turned around his State.

“Nitish has shown that if the governance system is right and the leader has integrity and selflessness, you can fix a State as bad as Bihar,” said Imran, the chief of Tehreek-e-Insaaf party, while addressing a World Economic Forum meeting at Gurgaon.
In Islamabad, Nitish reciprocated the gesture and told Imran about restoration of law and order in Bihar, speedy trials and innovative initiatives like publishing the names of convicts on website. 

The Chief Minister narrated how he empowered women by providing them 50 per cent reservations in local bodies elections and providing bicycles and school uniforms to girl students.

“Right from the Chief Minister to a non-gazetted employee in Bihar has to declare his assets on government websites,” Nitish told Imran, dwelling at length about his plans to weed out corruption.

Before returning to India through Wagah border, Nitish got a big surprise when President Asif Ali Zardari hosted a dinner for him on Diwali day when the latter came to know about the festival. As per the original plan, the dinner was to be hosted by the External Affairs Ministry.

A rare gesture by a neighbour to another!

Abhay Kumar, Patna

The more valid question

World renowed educators and academicians had gathered at IISc, Bangalore. A serious setting for discussion on ways to make learning and education more meaningful and interesting was made. Strangely, people did not  realise that a ‘serious setting’ is exactly what makes learning a tedious and boring process in the first place.

During one such sessions, a  quirky educator took to the stage and blew everyone away. “Modern education is the most criminal act in the present world.  Schools are the slaughter houses for learning”. People laughed but took notice. “Its better to only observe children and let them learn the way they want to and not impose our primordial methods. How can someone who knows nothing about teaching, teach”, he said.

His views on cognition and learning were bizarre. People felt inspired to respond. One primary teacher from the audience shared an anecdote that summed up the meaning to the entire session. Apparently, she had asked one of her students in class to tell her the colour of the sky to which he just responded, “At what time, ma’am?”

Ramzauva Chhakchhuak, Bangalore

Sibling love

The chillness among DMK’s next-gen leaders appears to be waning. The party’s  youth wing leader, M K Stalin, who got some ‘International exposure’ with his recent trips to the UN headquarters in New York and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva in Switzerland, implied as much when he was recently given a rousing reception back home in Chennai.

After an arduous trip via London to New York where he and senior DMK MP, T R Baalu, managed to keep their Nov 1 appointment with the UN Deputy General Secretary to hand over the DMK-TESO resolutions on the Sri Lankan Tamils crisis, Stalin said they then flew to Geneva to submit another copy to the UNHCR.

But on landing there on November 6, Stalin “almost gave up hope”, as the appointment with the UNHCR officials was not confirmed. “But suddenly, my affectionate sister and MP, Kanimozhi telephoned me to ask how our trip was going,” recalled Stalin. When the problem was mentioned to her, Kanimozhi assured to help them get an appointment, which she did. “Our joy knew no bounds when we soon got an appointment to meet the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Navanetham Pillai,” said Stalin, lauding Kanimozhi for her gesture that helped them to complete their task.

M R Venkatesh, Chennai

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