Merely listening to Ricky Ponting’s dressing room speech gives you goosebumps: Avesh

When Ricky Ponting speaks, all Avesh Khan does is listen to the former Australian captain with rapt attention.

The Delhi Capitals fast bowler, who has taken 18 wickets from 11 games, has been in good form during this season and he feels that his head coach inputs on cricket as well as the mental aspect of the game, helped him evolve as a player.

“It is my fourth year with Ricky sir and I can say that he has been a legendary player and an equally great coach. He talks about the mental aspect of the game. Just listening to him in the dressing room gives me goosebumps. He has an open mind and you can discuss anything you wish with him,” Avesh told PTI Bhasha in an interview.

His toe-crushing yorkers has earned praise from none other than world’s fastest bowler Anrich Nortje, who wants to understand how he is so consistent with that kind of an effort ball.

Well, Avesh revealed that his process of fine-tuning blockhole deliveries is no different from other speed merchants who also either keep a shoe or a handkerchief at the front-crease.

“I always try to practice as much as yorkers at the nets. It is a wicket-taking delivery and one can bring perfection with practice only. I use a bottle or cone or even my shoe for that. When the ball hits the target, it enhances my confidence too ,” said the Indore lad, who is enjoying a breakthrough season in IPL.

“It is very important to land perfect yorkers in pressure situations at it is the only delivery which can save a bowler from getting punished by the batter. I always try to welcome the new batter with a perfectly executed yorker,” he added.

Happy with his performance in the current IPL season Avesh is aiming to maintain this form to help Delhi Capitals winning their maiden title.

“It has been a dream-like journey so far. I started playing Cricket as a hobby and was always very passionate about the game. When I used to play with a tennis ball in Indore , I had never thought of coming so far,’ said the former India U-19 pacer, who was in the reserves during the tour of England before a fracture cut short his tour.

With Kagiso Rabada, Nortje and Avesh in their armoury, Delhi Capitals have one of the strongest fast bowling attacks in IPL 2021 and all three of them are eager to learn and feed from each other’s success.
“I have been learning a lot from them. I keep asking them about the pitch, which bowl will work for a particular batter or what to bowl in a particular situation. Our focus remains on working as a unit , not on individual performances,” he said.

He was first spotted by former cricketer Amay Khurasia , his mentor, at an MPCA trial at the age of 13. The Indore quick had been a regular feature in the India A sides . His Ranji coach Chandrakant Pandit also helped him to improve and till now he speaks to him before or after every match.

He also sought advice from Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who has always been an inspiration for small-town boys who have made it big in cricket.

“Mahi bhai has inspired a lot of youngsters . I also wanted to play under his captaincy. I spoke to him after the match against CSK and he told me many things about the game which I will always follow,” said the pacer who also took Dhoni’s wicket in the previous match and called it ‘ dream wicket’.

Building more inclusive, welcoming schools for LGBTQ+ children

Earlier this month, while speaking at the Shiksha Parv conclave, the prime minister emphasised the need for inclusive and equitable education. In the same week, the Kerala High Court brought attention to medical textbooks that described non-binary gender identities as “offensive perversions” and “mental disorders”. This had continued despite Kerala becoming the first state to adopt a transgender policy six years ago. A similar concern over “queerphobia” in medical education was raised by the Madras HC earlier this year.

As children come back to school, they will need both time and patience

While the pandemic and associated school closure has affected us in many ways, loss of learning among children is emerging among the most explicit and worrying aspects. This learning loss comprises two dimensions — one is the learning that has not happened due to school closures. To this loss of curricular learning is added the “forgetting” of what they already knew. This forgetting is not unusual — it is clearly seen after long holidays, and is generally made up during the first few weeks of schooling. However, when this loss is of foundational abilities like reading, writing and basic arithmetic, it deeply hinders further learning.

Loss of learning due to school closure during the pandemic has been seen the world over. Quantified in terms of months that children are “behind” their class, it varies from less than a month after 11 weeks of school closure to four years after 57 weeks of school closure. According to the report, “What’s next? Lessons on Education Recovery” by UNICEF, UNESCO, World Bank and OECD, among measures taken to alleviate this loss, 41 per cent of countries reported extending the academic year while 42 per cent reported prioritising certain curriculum areas or skills. Over two-thirds of countries reported implementing remedial measures to address learning gaps for primary and secondary school students when schools reopened.

Our primary schools have been closed for about 500 days, which translates to over 70 weeks of schooling. Given the amount of time schools have been closed, as we reopen now, we cannot start with the regular curriculum as if it is the beginning of a regular academic year. We need to think deeply about what should be done. This question is particularly moot for primary schools, where the foundations of later learning are established. To answer this question, it is necessary to examine how children learn in primary schools. Children learn not only through interaction in the classroom but also through observation, dialogue and exploration through unstructured experiences. Thus, given that we have to make up for over 70 weeks of school closure, we must not hurry children into the learning process. Not only the learning associated with the current class but relearning from the previous classes must be in focus.

The next question is — what is important to learn? The learning outcomes for each class have been clearly indicated by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), which is the nodal academic institution for school education at the national level. These learning outcomes focus on the abilities children have to acquire as opposed to the content of textbooks. Thus, reading a poem is important, memorising the content of the poem is not important. Being able to add is important, not adding all the problems at the end of the chapter in the textbook. And language and mathematics are most important, since they enable the learning of other subjects. Thus, learning outcomes of specific subjects must be prioritised, and the curriculum reset for at least a couple of years.

When schools reopen, differences in the learning levels of children will be starker than before. A solution that is deceptively simple is that of placing children in groups according to their current learning levels. Termed ability grouping, it seems like the perfect solution, with children starting with similar sets of abilities and proceeding thereon. However, the approach of grouping students based on their abilities often results in “labelling”, adversely impacting their self-esteem and worth; research studies have found students in “low” ability groups have significantly lower self-esteem than low achievers in mixed ability classes, and are also likely to have behavioural problems. This approach also neglects to take into account the fact that children learn from each other. It is not unusual to have children at different levels in the same classroom. Some schools use this difference as a resource, using sets of teaching-learning materials that children use in groups under the guidance of teachers. As children attain pre-set learning milestones, they move onto the next level. This approach using peer learning benefits all.

When we examine the available data from various studies on the learning levels that our children are at, it is clear that at the primary level, the focus ought to be on foundational abilities. For instance, Azim Premji Foundation’s field study in January 2021 across 44 districts covering five states indicated that nearly three-fourths of the children in Class II have lost the ability to identify a word in print; in Class IV, for instance, a majority of them have lost the ability to express the gist of a poem while in Class VI more than half the children lost the ability to write their views on various events happening around them. The recently released SCHOOL survey carried out across 15 states shows that overall 42 per cent of children in urban areas and 48 per cent in rural areas are unable to read more than a few words. These studies indicate that most children across the primary grades have lost the basic abilities required to continue their learning journeys.

The curricular priorities will have to be set specific to the stages of schooling. If the priority at primary level is on recovery of foundational abilities in language and mathematics, the focus in middle school should be an integrated approach to achieving learning outcomes across subjects, while at the secondary and senior secondary level, core learning outcomes must be identified and mapped to textbooks; and for this level additional material could be developed, given that students at this stage are capable of some independent study.

As persons closest to learners, teachers must be given the autonomy and support to determine what children learn and when, within the broad contours of the curriculum. Changes in curriculum and the approach to teaching-learning would require orientation of teachers, and materials to support their work with children. This material must be attractive and meaningful, related to children’s context, while encouraging them to speak about visuals, read small pieces of text, respond to interesting questions, and perform simple exercises. This material must cover a range of abilities so the teacher can use similar resources for the entire class.

To track recovery from learning loss, periodic assessment would be necessary — this must be done in a non-threatening way, by the teacher through observation and interaction with her students. The stress of regular testing must not demotivate children from learning.

Finally, it is important to acknowledge that school closure has resulted in more than learning loss. It has led to a disconnect from the processes of schooling. Children have experienced loss; some have entered the workforce while others have been given responsibilities within the household. The most important thing that must be done when schools reopen is to welcome them back — to listen to their stories, to give them time to settle back into routines, to involve them in activities that allow them to express themselves. Time and patience may help us find ways to compensate not only the learning loss but also to change our schools for the better.

Jaspal Rana to travel as national coach for junior Worlds despite unresolved issues

Shooting coach Jaspal Rana, who was labelled as a ‘negative influence’ on the Indian team in the lead-up to the Tokyo Olympics by the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) president Raninder Singh, will be accompanying the junior national pistol team as the chief coach during the Junior World Championship later this month.

Headlined by Olympian Manu Bhaker, a team of 36 pistol shooters – 18 boys and 18 girls – will compete in eight events at the junior worlds that will be held in Lima, Peru, starting September 27. Raninder had also mentioned a rift between Bhaker and Rana, which he said could have impacted the teenage shooter’s performance in her maiden Olympics.

Ronak Pandit and Samresh Jung had travelled as pistol coaches to Tokyo after a string of events had increased the rancour and broken down communication between Bhaker and Rana. While announcing the team on August 27, the NRAI did not release the names of coaches who would travel with the team. On Monday, the NRAI told The Indian Express that Rana will continue in his role as the junior pistol team’s chief coach despite the allegations made against him until the review of the Tokyo Games performance is complete. The preparatory camp for the championship will begin in New Delhi on Wednesday.

A Novelty story: action, climax & the end

In 1958, the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, the precursor to the BJP, lost the Delhi civic polls it contested. The evening of the results, its top leaders, L K Advani and Atal Bihari Vajpayee, friends and confidants, watched Raj Kapoor’s Phir Subah Hogi at Paharganj’s Imperial cinema.

Advani had narrated this at an event in 2011. “We lost. To drown our sorrows, we went to a movie together at Paharganj’s Imperial cinema. Incidentally, the Raj Kapoor movie was titled Phir Subah Hogi… and we finally came to power at the Centre.”

Such was the enduring charm of cinema. But that was another era, when cinema held centre stage, before plush seats and popcorn in tubs changed the movie-watching experience. Those were the days of wooden seats and 35mm projectors, of groundnuts in paper cones and hooting crowds.

The demolition last year of another single-screen hall, Old Delhi’s Novelty cinema, a few kilometres from Imperial and one of the oldest and earliest cinemas of the Capital, further brought the curtains down on that era. Recently, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation, which owns the property, leased out the 1,157-square-metre plot to a private player for Rs 35 crore for 99 years.

The Corporation, which owns the property, is said to have been struggling to redevelop it since 2000, when it took over the premises from Vijay Narain Seth.

Seth, now 75, says his father, Jagat Narain Seth, bought Novelty (then called Elphinstone Picture Palace) from the East India Trading Company in 1933. The first movie to be shown here was Night of Love in 1935. “Initially, only English movies used to be screened. Later, my father started screening Hindi films, including Ratan (which ran for 50 weeks in the 1940s), and Kadambari,” he says. There were to be many more — Dilip Kumar’s Andaz, Jugnu and Mughal-e-Azam. Ramesh Sippy’s Sholay ran for three years.

Seth also recalls how Novelty screened Gemini Studios’ Chandralekha, “the first ever south Indian film to be screened in the north”.

“We would show only three-four films a year, while other theatres would change the shows more frequently,” he adds. The last film that had a jubilee run, Seth says, was Sridevi’s Nigahen, in the late 1980s. In 2000, the family had to down the shutters on their six-decade enterprise.

The family-owned two more movie halls in Old Delhi — Jagat near Jama Masjid and Ritz at Kashmere Gate. “All the cinemas at that time were located inside the Walled City, but a little away from the residential areas,” he says.

Initially, when the civic body took over, it wanted to revamp it as a cinema-cum-commercial complex. In 2012, there was even a proposal to convert the Novelty cinema building into a spice market.

However, both the plans failed to take off.

What is left of Novelty is an open ground with rubble and strewn with plastic bags and water bottles and beer cans.

Old-timers from the Fatehpuri area, where Novelty once stood, recall its two waiting halls, where the crowds waited for the next show, “gorging on cream rolls, pastries and cold drinks” in the meantime.

This is the third cinema in the area to be razed. In the 1990s, Jubliee near Chandni Chowk was demolished, and a few years later, New Amar was razed to make space for the Chawri Bazaar Metro Station. In the heydays of single screens, Old Delhi alone had 12. Of those, only four remain operational — Delite, Abhishek, Moti and Ritz.

The emergence of Muslim ‘politicophobia’ after 9/11

The term Islamophobia is rather inappropriate to map out the nature of post-9/11 Indian public debates on Muslim identity. Islamophobia, which simply means an intense dislike or fear of Islam or prejudice towards Muslims, is a western notion. It captures the anxieties of the middle-class white population in the US and Europe in the aftermath of the war against terror.

The Muslim identity, on the other hand, is an established problem category in India. The political class, including the so-called secularists, has never been fully comfortable with Muslim presence. The involvement and participation of Muslim communities in political processes is often reduced to an imagined Muslim vote-bank politics, while their social life is always seen as a symbol of backwardness. The events of 9/11 intensified such apprehensions. Popular global phrases like jihadi Islam, Islamic terrorism, sharia rule and so on, offered new meanings to already established debates on Muslim separatism and Muslim isolation.

This interesting merger between global anti-Islamism and anti-Muslim communalism led to a new political consensus, which may be called the “Muslim politicophobia”. Political parties adopted this refined mode to address Indian Muslims in the post-9/11 scenario not merely as a problematic religious minority but also as a part of a global Islamic umma.

Three defining features of Muslim politicophobia are relevant to understand the changing political attitudes towards Indian Muslims in the last two decades.

One, the slow and gradual transformation of the Indian Muslim identity into a reference point for global Islamic terrorism. The Islamic connection between India’s Muslims and the Islamists/jihadi organisations is evoked as the most legitimate template for making sense of violent events associated with Islam and Muslims.

Two completely different statements made by Indian prime ministers in the aftermath of 9/11 are relevant to elaborate this point.

In 2002, Atal Bihari Vajpayee argued stridently that Muslims “want to spread their faith by resorting to terror and threats. The world has become alert to this danger”. Three years later, Manmohan Singh made a very different argument. He took pride “in the fact that, although we have 150 million Muslims in our country as citizens, not one has been found to have joined the ranks of al Qaeda or participated in the activities of Taliban.”

Although these statements offer us two completely opposite conclusions, the manner in which Muslim identity is linked to the global terrorism clearly underlines the fact that Muslim presence in India is seen as an imprint of global Islam.

The recent Afghanistan crisis is a good example of how Muslim politicophobia functions in public discussions. A section of the media has been trying to interpret this crisis by evoking a strange speculative fear. They work hard to find evidence that Indian Muslims subscribe to the ideology of Taliban. There is a popular conception that India (read Hindus) must not rule out the possibility of an internal version of Taliban or an “Indian Taliban” precisely because there is a sizeable Muslim population.

The fear of active Muslim political engagement (or even the lack of it) is the second feature of Muslim politicophobia. The renewed debate on a Muslim vote bank in the last three decades is a good example. Muslims are alleged to vote as a collective in favour of a particular party at the national level. In the post-Babri Masjid scenario, the scope of this argument has been expanded. It is now claimed that Muslims primarily take part in electoral politics to teach a lesson to BJP.

Last year’s Bihar assembly election is an appropriate illustration of this feature of Muslim politicophobia. The Hyderabad-based party, All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM), won five Muslim dominated constituencies in the state’s Seemanchal region. The success of AIMIM under the leadership of Asaduddin Owaisi was seen as an Islamic response to BJP’s Hindutva. Even serious secular commentators and non-BJP parties accused Muslim voters of a communal Islamised voting response. No one bothered to look at the political context of Seemanchal region, where caste among Muslims played a significant role in AIMIM’s victory on those five seats. The almost insignificant vote share of the party at the state level (1.24 per cent) was also neglected simply to substantiate the imagined fear of Islamic expansionism in India politics.

The third feature of Muslim politicophobia is related to the popular representation of Muslims as a politically conscious community or what I call siyasi Muslims. It is assumed that Muslims are fully conscious and informed of their collective right and hence always take politically motivated decisions. This perception has found a different overtone in recent years.

The recent Afghanistan crisis is a good example of how Muslim politicophobia functions in public discussions. A section of the media has been trying to interpret this crisis by evoking a strange speculative fear. They work hard to find evidence that Indian Muslims subscribe to the ideology of Taliban. There is a popular conception that India (read Hindus) must not rule out the possibility of an internal version of Taliban or an “Indian Taliban” precisely because there is a sizeable Muslim population.

The fear of active Muslim political engagement (or even the lack of it) is the second feature of Muslim politicophobia. The renewed debate on a Muslim vote bank in the last three decades is a good example. Muslims are alleged to vote as a collective in favour of a particular party at the national level. In the post-Babri Masjid scenario, the scope of this argument has been expanded. It is now claimed that Muslims primarily take part in electoral politics to teach a lesson to BJP.

Last year’s Bihar assembly election is an appropriate illustration of this feature of Muslim politicophobia. The Hyderabad-based party, All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM), won five Muslim dominated constituencies in the state’s Seemanchal region. The success of AIMIM under the leadership of Asaduddin Owaisi was seen as an Islamic response to BJP’s Hindutva. Even serious secular commentators and non-BJP parties accused Muslim voters of a communal Islamised voting response. No one bothered to look at the political context of Seemanchal region, where caste among Muslims played a significant role in AIMIM’s victory on those five seats. The almost insignificant vote share of the party at the state level (1.24 per cent) was also neglected simply to substantiate the imagined fear of Islamic expansionism in India politics.

The third feature of Muslim politicophobia is related to the popular representation of Muslims as a politically conscious community or what I call siyasi Muslims. It is assumed that Muslims are fully conscious and informed of their collective right and hence always take politically motivated decisions. This perception has found a different overtone in recent years.

Every aspect of Muslim social life is seen through the prism of global jihadi politics. Muslim population growth is interpreted as “population jihad”, as if Muslim couples plan their families primarily to outnumber Hindus. Muslim personal law is seen as a blueprint for a sharia-based Islamic rule in India. An impression is created that sharia is the only hurdle between egalitarian Hinduism and the modernist ideal of the uniform civil code (UCC). The anti-conversion laws (which are strangely named freedom of religion laws) are also based on this fear that poor and illiterate Hindus are being converted to expand the influence of Islam in India.

It would be completely wrong to reduce Muslim politicophobia to Hindutva politics. Although the BJP has always been a clear beneficiary of this political discourse, the role of non-BJP parties cannot be ignored. These erstwhile secular parties as well as the Muslim political elite were instrumental in creating a conducive environment for Hindutva to appropriate Muslim politicophobia.

How India and Germany can work together to tackle climate change

For over a year now, India, Germany and the entire world have been in crisis mode. The Covid-19 pandemic has left no country untouched. It is safe to say, we will either beat Covid-19 worldwide or not at all.

The virus briefly drew attention away from another crisis — climate change and its impact. In South Asia and Europe, we have become used to extremely hot weather, flooding, dramatic depletion of groundwater tables and drought. Climate change could even stop the world from achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

We have agreed that global warming must be kept to well under 2 degrees Celsius and, if possible, to 1.5 degrees. Back in December 2015, 195 countries joined in Paris to sign an ambitious climate agreement. Each of those countries must deliver on their responsibilities. Climate change, too, is a crisis that can only be beaten worldwide or not at all.

India is one of few countries that looks set to deliver on the national goals it set itself as part of the Paris agreement. Compared to other G20 countries, its per capita emissions are very low.

At the same time, India must bear in mind the development interests of its large population. We firmly believe that sustainable growth and climate action go hand in hand. India now has the opportunity to make its massive investments in infrastructure over the next 15 years climate-smart and climate-resilient. This will also protect the interests of the most vulnerable sections of the population. Without India, the world will not be able to fight climate change. Without India, we cannot achieve the SDGs. That means that India has a leading international role to play in the global race to sustainability.

The EU has adopted an ambitious Green Deal to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and to decouple economic growth from consumption of natural resources. Germany recently adopted laws on reducing greenhouse gases more quickly, achieving climate neutrality by 2045 and stopping the use of coal for electricity production by 2038.

As Deputy Ministers in Germany’s Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, we come to India with the greatest confidence in the country’s political process and to learn from India. We see our responsibility as an industrialised country to both forge ahead with greening our own economy and also support other countries.

In 2015, India’s Prime Minister and Germany’s Federal Chancellor agreed to further strengthen the two countries’ strategic partnership. On this basis, Germany and India have succeeded in building up a cooperation portfolio worth almost 12 billion euros. Already, nine out of 10 measures support climate goals and SDGs together.

Indo-German development cooperation focuses on three areas: The transition to renewable energies, sustainable urban development and sustainable management of natural resources. As a pioneer of energy transition, Germany is offering knowledge, technology transfer and financial solutions. Over half the Indian population will live in cities by 2050. Our cooperation efforts support Indian policies to find sustainable solutions for this growth challenge in the face of limited urban resources and climate change.

The pandemic has shown global supply chains are vulnerable. Yet, when it comes to agriculture and natural resources, there are smart solutions that are being tested in India and Germany for more self-reliance, including agro-ecological approaches and sustainable management of forests, soils and water. Experience in India has shown that these methods also boost incomes for the local population and make them less dependent on expensive fertilisers, pesticides and seed. We look forward to deepening the work in this area. This is related to international health policies. Through a One Health approach, which looks at the close connections between human and animal health within their shared environment, we want to help tackle the challenges posed by population growth, increased mobility, shrinking habitats, industrialised farming and intensive animal husbandry.

Ultimately, we believe that global climate goals and the SDGs can only be achieved through cooperation between governments, the private sector, science, and civil society. India and Germany have innovative economies and many highly-trained people. We should harness that potential even more.

Teachers should be seen as as carriers of ‘emancipatory education’

Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. — Kahlil Gibran

Is it possible for a society obsessed with brute power, stimulant nationalism and market-driven instrumental rationality to appreciate and nurture the vocation of teaching — its deep vision and creative surplus? Or, for that matter, is it possible for a society that tends to equate education primarily with the acquisition of some sort of knowledge capsules for material success to acknowledge the fact that teachers are not supposed to sell education as a “product”? When coaching centre “gurus” occupy the mental landscape of our youngsters and their anxiety-ridden parents, and the cancerous growth of fancy education shops promotes the crude discourse of utilitarian education, is it possible to see teachers as healers, communicators and wanderers? Even though on special occasions like Teacher’s Day we say all sorts of noble words about the vocation of teaching, and some teachers are awarded by the State, the fact is that as a society we are not very serious about the role of teachers as the messengers of emancipatory education.

To begin with, let us dare to be “impractical” and imagine what the vocation of teaching ought to be. Well, we might find amid ourselves a spectrum of “knowledgeable” people — experts and specialists. But then, a teacher is not just a subject expert. She teaches not merely quantum physics or medieval history; she does something more. She walks with her students as a co-traveller; she touches their souls; and as a catalyst, she helps the young learner to understand his/her uniqueness and innate possibilities. She is not a machine that merely repeats the dictates of the official curriculum; nor is she an agent of surveillance — disciplining, punishing, hierarchising and normalising her students through the ritualisation of examinations and grading. Instead, she is creative and reflexive; and it is through the nuanced art of relatedness that she activates the learner’s faith that he is unique, he need not be like someone else, he must look at the process of his inner flowering, and the artificially constructed binary of “success” and “failure” must be abandoned.

There is another important thing a teacher ought to take care of. She must realise that there are limits to teaching and sermonising; and she is not supposed to fill the mind of the learner with a heavy baggage of bookish knowledge. Instead, her primary task is to help the learner to sharpen the power of observation, the ability to think and reflect, the aesthetic sensibility, and above all, the spiritual urge to experience the glimpses of the Infinite. In other words, once these faculties are developed, one becomes a life-long learner — beyond degrees and diplomas. In fact, teaching as an act of communion, and studentship as a project of the integral development of the physical, vital, intellectual and psychic states of being, can create the ground for emancipatory education. And emancipatory education is not a mere act of “skill learning”; nor is it pure intellectualism with academic specialisation.

As a matter of fact, emancipatory education is the willingness to live meaningfully, creatively and gracefully. It is the ability to identify and debunk diverse ideologies and practices of domination and seduction — say, the cult of narcissistic personalities that reduces democracy to a ritualistic act of “electing” one’s masters, the doctrine of militaristic nationalism that manufactures the mass psychology of fear and hatred, or the neoliberal idea that to be “smart” is to be a hyper-competitive consumer driven by the promises of instant gratification through the ceaseless consumption of all sorts of material and symbolic goods. And a teacher ought to be seen as the carrier of this sort of emancipatory education that inspires the young learner to question sexism, racism, casteism, ecologically destructive developmentalism, hollow consumerism, and the life-killing practice of “productivity” that transforms potentially creative beings into mere “resources”, or spiritually impoverished and alienated robotic performers.

Yet, the irony is that we do not desire to create an environment that promotes emancipatory education, and nurtures the true spirit of the vocation of teaching. Look at the state of an average school in the country. With rote learning, poor teacher-taught ratio, pathetic infrastructure, chaotic classrooms and demotivated teachers, it is not possible to expect even the slightest trace of intellectually stimulating and ethically churning education. It is sad that ours is a society that refuses to acknowledge the worth of good schoolteachers.

Moreover, because of nepotism, corruption and trivialisation of BEd degrees, there is massive devaluation of the vocation. Likewise, while the triumphant political class has caused severe damage to some of our leading public universities, and fancy institutes of technology and management see education primarily as a training for supplying the workforce for the techno-corporate empire, teachers are becoming mere “service providers” or docile conformists. Here is a society hypnotised by the power of bureaucracy, the assertion of techno-managers and the glitz of celebrities. Not surprisingly then, it fails to realise that a society that has lost its teachers is dead.

However, those who love the vocation of teaching and continue to see its immense possibilities should not give up. After all, ours is also a society that saw the likes of Gijubhai Badheka, Rabindranath Tagore and Jiddu Krishnamurti who inspired us, and made us believe that a teacher, far from being a cog in the bureaucratic machine, carries the lamp of truth, and walks with her students as wanderers and seekers to make sense of the world they live in, and free it from what belittles man. We must celebrate this pedagogy of hope.

Airtel demonstrates 5G-powered cloud gaming on smartphones in new test

As 5G testing moves forward in India, Airtel demonstrated the country’s first cloud gaming session on a 5G network. The trial was conducted in Manesar, Haryana on the 3500 MHz high capacity spectrum band. The telco has partnered with Ericsson and Nokia for the 5G trials.

Popular game streamers Naman Mathur, better known as ‘Mortal’ and Salman Ahmad, better known as ‘Mamba’ were invited for the test via gaming platform Blacknut. The test was conducted on popular racing game Asphalt 9 Legends, which the gamers played on a OnePlus 9R, one of the many 5G-capable devices available in India today.

Check out the demo in action below.

For the uninitiated, Cloud Gaming is a new technology that allows players to indulge in a game without downloading it to their device first. Since the processing behind the games is done on the cloud, and not locally on the player’s device, cloud gaming also eliminates the need for users to possess the latest powerful hardware to play newer gaming titles.

Airtel claims that the test delivered speeds in excess of 1Gbps and latency in the range of 10 milliseconds. Airtel aims to make cloud gaming a more widespread possibility on smartphones powered by 5G speeds.