Showing posts from November 17, 2007

Left front and Bengal

The success of the left front government in West Bengal is a much discussed and debated issue all across the world. Amidst a worldwide decay of communism as a distinctive political way of governing a state, how a communist party has been able to carry on with its triumphs in a province of a country like India, is a matter of surprise and inquisition to any outsider. Critics have often designated the reign as more of a quantitative success (30 years) than a qualitative one. But to understand the vibes and repercussions of a highly sensitive and politically conscious people like the Bengalis truly, one has to take a much closer and all the more analytic look at the state, the party and its background.

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6 oldest universities of modern India

The seeds of modern western education were laid in the country along with the development of business and power of the British East India Company during the early 19th century. The company needed educated locals to carry out its business properly in India, and the local masses started feeling the need for proper certification of qualification for the purpose of serving the administration and other government departments. The result was the foundation of the first three universities of the country by Earl Viscount Canning, the British Governor General, in 1857. In a time of nationwide political disturbances and turmoil in the form of the Indigo Revolutions, the Santhal Revolutions and the Sepoy Mutiny, the country slowly progresses towards what we now know as proper institutionalized and global education.

Intended to be a chronicle history of the foundation and development of this format of education in the country, our series would contain 6 episodes on the 6 oldest universities of mod…

The Docks of Death :Alang: Asia’s biggest ship-breaking yard

When prosperity comes at the cost of nature, the prices to be paid sometimes are too high. That is what one could derive from the situation at Alang. The ship-breaking yard near Bhavnagar in Gujarat is supposed to be the largest of its kind in Asia. What was once the peacefully picturesque coasts of western Gujarat, turned almost at the wink of an eye into a busy bustling giant junkyard in 1983, when Alang was commissioned for dismantling “decommissioned” ships, as they are called after being declared unusable. It was a story of dream-come-true for the ship-breakers, their employees and all other associated industries for the next 2 decades. The yard reached its peak in 1997-98 with all of its 180 plots, as the individual yards are referred to as, fully functional and ready to cater to nearly 350 ships. At that time the yards employed more than 40,000 workers, ho hardly fell short of work.

But then things started changing, almost as if at the wave of some black magic wand. A mere stati…