IPL 2021: Knights make Capital gains

Five dot balls brought about a well-set Shubman Gill’s dismissal and a wicket-maiden for Kagiso Rabada. Then, Ravichandran Ashwin made one hang a bit more in the air and spin away to settle the score with Eoin Morgan. The two had got into a heated exchange after Ashwin was dismissed during the Delhi Capitals innings. The latter bellowed a ‘come on’ in the Kolkata Knight Riders captain’s face after getting his man.

KKR’s run rate suddenly slipped below six runs per over, but chasing 128 for victory they basically needed two good overs from thereon. Nitish Rana hit two sixes in a Lalit Yadav over and although the excellent Avesh Khan (3/13) saw off Dinesh Karthik, Sunil Narine laid into Rabada with two sixes and a four to take his team to a three-wicket victory, which consolidated KKR’s position in the top four.

Rishabh Pant’s bowling selections – not using Anrich Nortje’s pace straightaway against Narine and using up his spinners early – was questionable. At the same time, the DC skipper didn’t have enough runs to defend.

The Sharjah sticky dog, or sandy-dog based on one’s preference, was an antidote to DC’s cricketing style. The ball never came on to the bat and the slowness of the pitch took the sting out of their fast bowlers.

The Powerplay was the key for DC to build the platform for a big total. Without Prithvi Shaw, out injured, they missed aggression upfront. Steve Smith’s conventional cricket held up one end, but it didn’t put the KKR bowlers under much pressure. Shreyas Iyer could have raised the tempo, but Narine had reserved a beauty for him.

RCB vs MI: Virat Kohli goes past 10,000 T20 runs

Virat Kohli on Sunday reached a coveted milestone of 10,000-run mark in all forms of T20 cricket (international, domestic and franchise) during Royal Challengers Bangalore’s IPL match against Mumbai Indians at the Dubai International Stadium.

Playing in his 314th T20 contest, Kohli pulled his India team-mate Jasprit Bumrah for a six to get the milestone in the fourth over after RCB were sent in to bat.

Kohli, who is set to step down from RCB captaincy at the end of this season, had come into the match 13 short of 10,000 runs.

The 32-year-old has played 298 innings before Sunday’s match and has scored runs at an average of 41.61 with the help of five hundreds and 73 fifties. His highest individual score was 113. His career strike-rate has been an impressive 134 plus.

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.

How to boost financial inclusion

Parvati sells vegetables in the weekly market of Mhaswad in Satara, Maharashtra. She has a savings account with the Mann Deshi Sahakari Bank. But whenever she needs money, she takes a loan from the local moneylender. One day, while buying vegetables at the weekly market, I struck up a conversation and asked her why. She responded, “Yes, I know I am paying Rs 10 interest per day on every Rs 100 I borrow from the moneylender, which is exorbitant. But I do not want to take a loan from your bank because I require a loan in the morning and want to repay it in the evening or maybe next week. I also would like to take the second loan immediately. And all this flexibility is given to me by the moneylender and not by your bank.”

Parvati’s situation is not unique. Her business is one of the 63.4 million MSMEs in India, 99 per cent of which are micro enterprises with less than Rs 10 lakh in investment. These tiny businesses are run by nano-entrepreneurs, a burgeoning segment that is absolutely critical to the growth of our rural economy.

What is being done to bring these businesses into the formal economy? If we assess our progress against the definition of “financial inclusion”, which refers to the accessibility of banking and availability of credit, we can congratulate ourselves on significant progress. However, if we question the adequacy of the financial products that they find access to, we fall short. Parvati might be financially “included” but she is not financially “integrated”. The journey from inclusion to integration is not only about making products available and accessible, but also about making them relevant, applicable, and acceptable.

Why does coffee sometimes make me tired?

Caffeine, the main active ingredient in coffee, has a well-justified reputation for being an energy booster. But caffeine is also a drug, which means that it can impact each of us differently, depending on our consumption habits and our genes.

“The paradox of caffeine is that in the short term, it helps with attention and alertness. It helps with some cognitive tasks, and it helps with energy levels,” said Mark Stein, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington, who has studied the impact of caffeine on people with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. “But the cumulative effect — or the long-term impact — has the opposite effect.”

Part of the paradoxical effects of caffeine results from its effects on what researchers refer to as “sleep pressure,” which fuels how sleepy we become as the day wears on. From the moment we wake up, our bodies have a biological clock that drives us to go back to sleep later in the day.

Seth Blackshaw, a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins University who studies sleep, said that researchers are still learning about how sleep pressure builds up in the body, but that over the course of the day, our cells and tissues use and burn energy in the form of a molecule called adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. As that ATP gets expended — as we think, exercise, run errands or sit on conference calls — our cells generate a chemical called adenosine as a byproduct. That adenosine goes on to bind to receptors in the brain, making us more sleepy.

ICC nominates Shaheen Afridi

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has nominated Pakistan’s fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi for ICC Men’s Player of the Month (August) after reviewing his phenomenal performance during the Test series against West Indies in Jamaica.

Earlier in January, the cricket council had started recognising the best international performances across formats for male and female players through the ICC Player of the Months awards.

The nominees for the monthly men’s awards this time are, Pakistan’s Shaheen Shah Afridi, India’s Jasprit Bumrah and Joe Root from England while Thailand’s Nattaya Boochatham, Gaby Lewis and Eimer Richardson from Ireland feature in the women’s shortlist.

Japan PM Suga to back vaccine minister Kono in LDP leadership race

Outgoing Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will back the popular minister in charge of Japan’s vaccination rollout, Taro Kono, for the Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) leadership race this month, broadcaster Nippon News Network reported on Saturday.

The leader of the ruling party will replace Suga as prime minister.Suga announced on Friday that he would not run in a party leadership contest slated for Sept. 29, meaning he will also be replaced as prime minister.

Suga, who is expected to stay on until his successor is chosen in the party election, had a medical checkup on Saturday but there was nothing wrong with his health, the Kyodo news agency said, citing unidentified people around him.

Hours after Suga’s announcement, broadcaster TBS reported, without citing sources, that Kono intended to run in the leadership race.

But Kono stopped short of declaring his candidacy, telling reporters that he wanted to consult party colleagues first.

A former foreign and defence minister, Kono, 58, is popular among young voters after building support through Twitter, where he has 2.3 million followers – a rarity in Japanese politics, which is dominated by older men less adept with social media.

Former foreign minister Fumio Kishida has already thrown his hat in the ring, while several others have voiced interest in running in the race.

Kishida said on Saturday he would leave a national sales tax at its 10% rate if elected as premier, reiterating that he would fund a new economic package worth tens of trillion yen by issuing more government bonds.

“I’m not thinking of touching the sales tax for the time being,” Kishida told a Nippon News Network programme.

“We then must consider Japan’s finances from the standpoint of how to make use of the fruit of economic growth.”

Japan had six prime ministers in as many years before Suga’s predecessor, Shinzo Abe’s record eight-year tenure.

Farm unions want Moga FIR quashed: ‘Akali Dal workers started violence, damaged farmers’ vehicles with help of police’

A day after the Moga police lathicharged protesting farmers outside SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal rally venue in Moga’s new grain market and booked several, including farm union leaders, for alleged stone pelting that injured cops, farmers accused Akali workers of vandalising their vehicles with help of the police.

Farm unions held a protest march in Moga on Friday and said that a pakka morcha will be started from September 8 if the ‘false FIR’ against farmers is not cancelled.

The SKM declared that it will protest along with members of all 32 unions of Punjab outside Moga DS’s office on September 8 if the FIR filed under attempt to murder charges was not cancelled.

BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) also condemned lathicharge and demanded cancellation of the FIR. “This Moga incident has proved that there is no difference between Khattar’s BJP Govt in Haryana and Captain’s Congress government in Punjab,” said Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan from BKU (Ekta Ugrahan).

Apart from quashing of the FIR, farmers said that they should be compensated for their loss and instead an FIR should be registered against those persons who damaged their vehicles.

At the protest march led by BKU (Krantikari) Friday at Moga’s Dana Mandi, gangster-turned-activist Lakha Sidhana, an accused in Delhi’s January 26 Red Fort violence case, also participated and addressed farmers.

The Indian Express had reported that after stone pelting and lathicharge on Thursday, Moga Police had filed an FIR against 17 farm union leaders and other activists such as Chamkaur Singh Rode (Kirti Kisan Union), Baldev Singh Zira (BKU Krantikari), Karamjit Singh (Naujawan Bharat Sabha) and others. At least 60 farmers and 7 cops were injured in the ruckus Thursday. Police claims that protesting farmers had pelted stones on cops. But according to farmers, stone pelting was allegedly started by Akali Dal and SOI (Students Organisation of India) workers. SOI is the students’ wing of Akali Dal.

In a memorandum submitted to the SSP Moga and DC, BKU (Krantikari) wrote, “As per the call given by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), farmers from our union had gathered outside Sukhbir Badal’s rally venue to question him regarding three farm laws. Without giving us any warning, police lathicharged us in which many farmers got injured.

Not only this, but the youth workers of Akali Dal, in connivance with police, also vandalided our vehicles. Though detained protesters were released later by the police, an FIR has been registered against farm leaders and other protesters for attempt to murder which is completely unjustified.”

“The violence was started by Akali Dal workers, they started pelting stones and FIR is being registered against protesting farmers under the Congress government. Instead of booking Akali Dal workers, farmers are being booked. Is this how CM Amarinder Singh proves that he is pro-farmers,” said Baldev Singh Zira, state general secretary, BKU (Krantikari), who has been named in the FIR.

Meanwhile, Kirti Kisan Union in a statement said that if Moga Police will not cancel the ‘false FIR’ by September 8, then a massive protest march will be held outside Moga DC office.

“Our union was holding peaceful protest during Sukhbir Badal’s visit and then suddenly Akali Dal workers and hooligans from its SOI wing along with police, started pelting stones on farmers and also vandalised their vehicles.
Police also lathicharged elder farmers who also got severely injured. Police also used water cannons without any provocation in which many farmers got injured,” said Nirbhay Singh Dhudike, state president, Kirti Kisan Union.

“An indefinite protest (pakka morcha) will be started outside Moga DC office by Samyukta Kisan Morcha if this false FIR is not cancelled by September 8,” said Chamkaur Singh Rode, vice president, Kirti Kisan Union, also booked in the FIR.

Moga SSP Dhruman Nimbale said that an inquiry has been marked to SP (investigation) to probe the matter and as per videography evidence. He added that names will be added or deleted from the FIR based on the probe.

“Farm union leaders who have been booked were leading the protest and violence occurred. We will check videos once again and nominate names of violent protesters as per video evidence,” said the SSP.

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.

Leylah Fernandez Stuns Naomi Osaka at the US Open

By Christopher Clarey

Naomi Osaka, the defending women’s singles champion, was upset 5-7, 7-6 (2), 6-4, in the third round of the U.S. Open on Friday night by Leylah Annie Fernandez, an unseeded 18-year-old from Canada.

The 73rd-ranked Fernandez, a quick and dynamic left-hander, had never faced Osaka, but she did not appear intimidated, clenching her fist after winning key points and often dictating play with her topspin forehand.

It was a memorable evening for teenagers in Arthur Ashe Stadium. In the preceding match, Carlos Alcaraz, a dynamic Spanish 18-year-old, eliminated the No. 3 men’s seed, Stefanos Tsitsipas, in a momentum-shifting thriller that came down to a fifth-set tiebreaker. That was the final match of the day session and when the arena was cleared and the night-session crowd took their seats, Fernandez followed Alcaraz’s lead, rallying to defeat the third-seeded Osaka.

The upset came on the same court where Osaka became a global star by surprising Serena Williams to win the 2018 U.S. Open. Osaka has since won three more Grand Slam singles titles, including last year’s Open.

Osaka broke Fernandez’s serve at 5-5 in the second set with a backhand winner and then served for the match. She had not faced even a break point at that stage but was unable to close out the victory. Fernandez went on to win the first five points of the ensuing tiebreaker, prompting Osaka to hurl her racket to the court. Fernandez then evened the match at one-set apiece.

“I guess I wanted to stay on the court a little bit longer, and I wanted to put on a show for everybody here,” Fernandez said in her post-match interview. “One hour was just not enough for me on court.”

Fernandez quickly took the lead in the third set by breaking Osaka’s serve again in the opening game and though Osaka began to find her range in her own service games, she could not solve Fernandez’s slower left-handed serve. Osaka did not hide her frustration. After Fernandez hit a net-cord winner in the second game of the final set to go up 40-15, Osaka took hold of the ball and smacked it high into the stands, receiving a code-violation for ball abuse.

Fernandez would face no break points on her serve in the final set and when it came time to serve for the most significant victory of her career, she held at love. At 30-0, she hit a terrific backhand drop shot winner and on her first match point, Osaka misjudged a forehand and hit it wide.

Arms up and smiling, Fernandez jogged forward to the net for the handshake. “From the very beginning, right before the match, I knew I was able to win,” she said.