Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What should be our "Circle of Affection" ?

As a daily routine my brother was going through the newspaper and analyzing it. In between he made a call to the representative of a news agency which releases the news for all the newspaper of my city. It was about a news in which a student has tried to commit suicide and the agency has included his true detailed identity.
The conversation which later turned into an argument was about the repercussion of that news. The big question was how sensitive a media person should be while using the identity of the person and what can be its repel effect ?

My brother was supporting the view that a media person should avoid using the identity of the person in such cases. He supported it by different examples like how victimized the person would feel, about his family etc. But the person on the other side was unwilling to understand all this and was supporting the view that we should mention the identity.

After a long discussion my brother asked him tell me if it was someone from your family or me, then what would you have done. The person on other side replied I would have avoided using the identity. He explained him because he is from your family or I am close to you and you don't want to spread something bad about us. And then he asked a very emotional and strong question.

What should be our circle of affection : limited to our family, our friend, our street, our area, our city, our state, our country or the whole world. Because at the end of the day it is a human being who is facing the harsh side effects of journalism.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Gandhi and his Philosophy

Politician: This is a mere allegation. The video has been tampered, this is not at all my voice and picture is not that clear to identify whose face it is.

Reporter: But analysts say that it is you only and they have matched the voice with the speech that you gave on Independence Day.

No one knows the truth and we can't trust either of them because one is a politician and the other is a media person. Such is the condition of society in the country of Buddha, Mahavir, Vivekanand, Gandhi etc. These were the people with principles, with values, with discipline and they lead by example.
Today we talk about Gandhi and always try to make distance from his principles of truthfulness and non-violence. We can see Gandhi on the wall of every government office but it is very difficult to find a office free from corruption and following the Gandhian philosophy. I have personally felt that today it has become a trend for youths to abuse Gandhi, people never try to relate to what he has done and start criticizing him.
I would just say that at least try to know the person before u make any judgment against him, be it your friend, enemy or someone like Gandhi.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What does Bihar's Poll result teach the nation ?

First of all many congratulations to Mr. Nitish Kumar for being victorious once again. For me this is not a victory for JD(U)-BJP alliance but it's a victory for our nation.  This could be the turning point for Indian politics. People of Bihar have shown us the path which is very vital for development of the nation. They came out of their houses to vote for development and for me this is the perfect quintessential of changing Indian mindset. I would like to point out certain lesson that Bihar's poll result has taught us.

1. When Bihar which is considered to be the most backward state of India can go on polls with development as agenda and emerge successful, then why not rest of India. Bihari's have shown the right path to rest of fellow Indians. So, now we can define a beginning of new political system in India: Politics of development.

2. Dynasty politics will not work everywhere. It doesn't matter whether you have ruled us for 15 years or 60 years. You have to be there with the people, work for them to get vote. It's not an election of Lady Shri Ram College where only girls have to vote. Mindset of public is changing and they know who is better for them Yuvraj or a leader from their soil.

3. BJP took the right lesson from Orissa mishap, which happened just before the last  general election. (They broke their 11 year old alliance with BJD because of seat sharing issues, which resulted in a landslide loss for both parties) Here in Bihar they understood the charisma of Nitish and followed whatever he demanded. Firstly it was not an easy decision for BJP leadership to keep Mr. Modi out of Bihar and secondly they agreed to the seat sharing formula set by Nitish.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Happiness .....!!!

Happiness for a child,
When he gets a candy for which he was crying.

Happiness for a student,
When his teacher praises him.

Happiness for a mother,
When his baby takes the first step.

Happiness for a father,
When his son walks with him shoulder to shoulder.

Happiness for a poor man,
When he eats twice a day.

Happiness for a teacher,
When his struggling student stands up and answers.

Happiness for a youth,
When he gets his first salary.

Happiness for a vegetable seller,
When all his vegetables are sold.

Happiness for a rich person,
When his assets are doubled.

Happiness for a lover,
When he meets his partner after a long period.

Happiness can be Success,
Success can be Happiness.

But the real HAPPINESS for me is,
The essence of happiness in my surrounding.

Service before Self
- Love Bhartiya

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Aspire, Achieve, Be the Change....!!!

Dear Friends,

It was a hard decision to leave the classroom which was all set and on track but keeping the larger picture in mind I think it was a good decision. A decision to shift to Mumbai and be a part of MCGM (Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai) transformation project. Again starting from scrap but with a year of experience in bag. This year apart from class there were some additional responsibilities of school management. Being a part of transformation project I have to be proactive and reach out to the HM and other teachers to know them better and lend them a helping hand. But all this would be effective only when my classroom is a model classroom.

Learning levels were extremely low; kids were at least 2 to 3 grade level below their current level. There were so many groups within class, few were able to read but a few don’t know ABC… . We started together with a name “Superstars” which later became “Team Superstars”. My basic focus was phonics and numbers. It was challenging but interesting to notice rapid improvement in few of them. Few of the kids such as Adarsh, Jayant, Khansa, Sahil etc have shown tremendous improvement in last three months, their reading fluency has doubled, they can write a short passage and have started talking in broken English. I feel phonics has helped them a lot, apart from this I have tried to cultivate that desire or hunger to study or for knowledge which helps me in pushing many kids. To motivate them I call my friends in classroom so that kids can meet in person and further establish their belief on what they want to become. In our class we have inspiring quotes all around.
When you enter the class these are the words written in front: ASPIRE, ACHIEVE, BE THE CHANGE and kids have to follow the following procedure every day. They have to look at one word and think the following:

1. Aspire: Enter the class, look at it and rethink want you want to become.

2. Achieve: Now look at it and think, are you working hard, to get what you have aspired.

3. Be The Change: Now think what change you can bring in your family and surrounding by achieving what you have aspired..!!!

If I look at my class now, I feel that there are at least 8 - 10 kids who want to study now and work very hard to compete with the top ones and it is really satisfying to push a kid from middle level to upper level. But there is always a flip side of the coin. I still struggle with nearly 10 kids because of one of the following reason: attendance issue, three have learning disability and lack of 1 -1 attention from my side. But I am very hopeful that at least I have authority over attendance and 1-1 attention which I will be solving in coming month. Home visit and investing parent is the best way to address attendance issue.
Visiting community is always a great experience it shows me the background from where my kid is coming, the atmosphere he lives in and thus gives me enough knowledge to plan how I should deal with that particular kid in class and his mindset. They mostly live in hard conditions; a 10 * 10 feet house with 5 siblings is the general trend in my kid’s communities. There is a lot to learn from kids and their community, how they search for their happiness from their daily miseries, how they come school laughing and dancing when they know that they will be beaten back home, when they know that today again their parents would quarrel, when they know that today it is his turn to be awake till late night because few of them have to sleep in shifts due to lack of space….. . Now how can I scold a sleeping kid in my class because I don’t know the reason why is he sleeping. They are with me for six hours a day and I have just one target in my mind to make these six hours special for them, six hours filled with fun, love, energy, excitement and learning. So, that they come next day with same excitement and forget the pain (if any).

This year working in Municipal School’s transformation project gave me an opportunity to work closely with other teachers and HM and through that I have learned a lot about the system and teacher’s mindset. The biggest learning is that there is no one in the system that supports the teachers or acknowledges their problems. It is always top down, instructions come from top and teachers have to follow them. And the result is that they just follow the instructions, nothing else. The teachers have great talent and they are very receptive to feedback, ideas or change but this happens only if you can build trust and a strong relationship with them. I feel that I have a great rapport with nearly all the teachers and HM of my school. Love, humility and empathy were the simple tools that helped me in building this relationship. Now, we have a staffroom, mini canteen and a resource centre working effectively at school. One of the best compliments ever said to me was said by my HM, “Sir, we have started laughing and happiness is around since you have come to the school. Thanks for being with us.”These words were like handing over the baton to me and I personally feel a lot more responsible since then.

I am enjoying my days at TFI, as the time is passing by; my hunger to give more to kids is increasing. At times I feel just six months are left in fellowship but sometimes I also feel six months and then I will be out to do a lot more to bring a systemic change. At TFI and being in classroom my self belief has strengthened that yes “I CAN”, I can see my timeline to complete my plans is shortening. I feel myself to be more motivated, planned and structured. At times I feel overwhelmed and get confused what next but I know in coming months I will chose the best thing for me and my classroom. I always feel privileged to have such great friends in and out of TFI and an active staff who is always ready to help.

Excited for the coming days.

Service before self
Love Bhartiya

Monday, October 4, 2010

Design For Change @ Ganesh Baug Municipal School, Mumbai.

Once again DFC is here...!!! Great minds of Ganesh Baug brainstormed for hours, thought what would they like to change and finally came up to change the cleanliness and hygiene level of school and its surrounding, the medical facilities provided by the one and only government hospital in Kurla "Bhabha Hospital, Kurla" and eliminate the violence from school and their community.

So, to start with kids planned to make hundreds of cards and give them to parents, teachers, patients, shopkeepers, doctors and make their humble request through the card....!!! And feel the Joy of Giving....!!!
So, here we go...!!!


or Click on "Design For Change" in Links

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bair karate mandir masjid, mel karati madhushala .....!!! (Ayodhya Verdict)

Finally a long awaited verdict is out.

Verdict: The land is divided into three parts:
1. One third of land where the idol of Ram is currently placed will be given to Hindus and is accepted as birth place of Lord RAM.
2. One third to Muslims.
3. One third to Nirmohi Akhada.

Finally India wins and I am proud to be a part of a secular nation...!!!
I would urge to each and every Indian to accept the ruling and if they are not satisfied move to SC. Non- violence is the not the way out.

Thanks and Love.
- Bhartiya

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Inspired at InspirED.....!!!

"At Teach For India, we believe that we need a
movement of leaders to eliminate inequity in education. And InspirED -
by bringing together a wide network of educational innovators and
leaders from across sectors onto a common platform - is a ...unique and
crucial step towards building this movement. We are so much more likely
...to transform education in this nation if we work together.”
-- Shaheen Mistry, CEO, Teach For India

These were the words of Shaheen on InspirED conference the first ever Educational Conference in India and I was lucky to be a part of it. It was an amazing experience, experience full of learning's, inspiration and empowerment. One of the speaker Mr. Craig (of American School of Mumbai) explained the concept of how inspiration without empowerment can be dangerous. So, it is important to inspire but more important is to empower with tools to achieve that aspiration.
There were innovative educators from all across the country, even some from abroad. We had discussions on innovative ways of educating kids, how can we make learning more fun for kids and also keep ourselves inspired. It was first time that over 300 educators from different NGOs, Govt, Principals, Teachers, movements came together to fight the inequity of education.

What happened a day after InspirED Conference:
When I went to school today I saw a great change in one of my teacher(Mr. Jitendra) classroom who has attended the workshop. The teacher grabbed my hand and took me to his class to show me the new "avatar" of his class. There were many posters on walls, class divided in teams, a poster saying "What pencil can do ? " , a chart with signature of all the kids.

I felt so InspirED by his enthusiastic voice. We sat down and had a chat on how should we empower our other teachers. Now he will prepare a document of all the workshops he has attended and share his experience with all the teachers.

This was the result of InspirEd. Thank You "InspirEd"

"Service before Self"

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Big Tree....!!!

There was a big tree,

Green tree,

Thick tree,

Under which lie,

So many small trees.

Have you ever felt,

What toll it takes to be a big tree ????

- Bhartiya

Sunday, August 15, 2010


As the patriotism is on high today, lets build on it and pledge to connect each one of us to a cause and "be a change". Lets pledge to act and stop criticizing. Lets pledge to be proactive. Lets make this day special not by saying Happy Independence Day and remembering the freedom fighters but also by acting proactively. We are free from foreign regime but we are still plagued and enslaved by various other things such as poverty, hunger, health issues, corruption and infinite other issues. Today we all should pledge to choose any one cause and try to minimize it to our potential. Lets act together....!!!

If u will truly connect to a cause and work for it for next 365 days, then u will really celebrate the next Independence day and be a proud Indian..... HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY...!!!!

Service Before Self
- Bhartiya

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Letters To My Friends 9 "Towards the End of Year: 1"

Dear Friends,

I wrote this letter on 13 April 2010 in Pune, when I was about to complete one year as a teacher. It was a sad period of time as I have to leave my current class "Superstars" and shift to Mumbai for another project within TFI.

13 April 2010, Pune.

In the last few months I have learned few basic things which I think a teacher should know and especially those who are teaching kids with challenged back ground. These kids suffer with few basic problems or the word “problem” is not correct it should they don’t know what they are capable of. They are fond of love and attention. They need a helping and caring hand and a shoulder on which they can rest their head when in problem. As they come from diverse and challenged background their exposure to the modern world or facilities of the world is nil. So, in this case extrinsic rewards work like anything. What I have observed and noticed in my class and by talking to other fellows around, small rewards to kids increase their confidence level to a new high every time. (But one should be very specific while choosing the kids for the reward; it should never hurt other kid’s DIGNITY)

I would like to share a few examples from my class. Preeti was a very shy girl at the starting of the year but was capable of doing much better. I had few conversation with her, went out for field trips etc. and her interest in academics kept increasing. She became a role model for others in class, she improved so much that in the last exams she ranked 1st in class. Pratap, Mustafussdin were two boys who tried hard but were unable to deliver what they were capable of. Regular mentoring, 1 – 1 conversation gave them the required confidence and they started delivering in the class. Nikita a very quite girl and was very weak in academics, gained her confidence in class when she secured good marks in a class test and I personally greeted her and boosted her in class. Then I took her to a field trip to a Bookshop (Landmark), discussed few things over there with her. And her investment in class rose to a record high, now she is doing very well in class. I called her mother and told her about the improvement in her.

This is one of the biggest successes for me related to any individual kid. Abhay was a very naughty boy, always engaged in mischievous acts with other boys of class. But I always believed in him that he is capable of doing wonders in class. I changed his seat and allotted his seat with Preeti(as a part of buddy system in my class), then took him out for lunch. We had a long chat and I felt that this boy can do wonders in class if he focuses properly in class. He secured good marks in one of the test, which boosted his confidence. During my differentiation strategy in class he was the one who completed the work first. One day I was telling them about series, so, as a challenge problem I gave them to find the next two nos. in the series of square of natural nos. (this happened just before lunch). All kids were playing around but a few were busy in class solving the challenge problem. Abhay came up to me with a solution, it was correct. I was very happy but the most amazing thing was that he did it in a way I have also not thought and it was correct. Now, in the last exam he was among top 5 and he also works as a role model for others.

But there is always a flip side of the coin, I have few kids in my class for whom I feel that I have not done enough justice to them. It can be due to a large class size of 50 kids or due to a fact they were far back then their grade level. Moin, Imtiyaaz, Umar, Sohail are a few who were unable to show great change in their academic level during the past year. Yet I would say that they have changed a lot in their behavior. Moin and Umar being mentally challenged are still few grade levels below class 3. I think I should have made a separate investment plan for these kids during the starting of year but as it was my first year in teaching I was also not so expert. But now I plan to make a separate investment plan for such kids in my next academic year.

I am of the thought that it is better to improve the system rather than criticizing it. For me school should be a place where the focus should be on kids and they should be the centre point. It is place that if the system over here is changed and it runs with sole motto of proving learning to kids then it can change lives of hundreds of thousands of kids passing through it. I started interacting with teacher and Principal of my school once I was well set. I started going to different classes, interacted with them. Slowly I came to know that it’s not only the fault of teachers here, they are over burdened with clerical work, that has been given to them by the government. For a newly appointed teacher the salary is 3,000/ Rs. for next 3 years. How can someone work with great efficiency and commitment when his daily needs can’t be fulfilled by his salary. He will take tuitions, avoid teaching in school and I personally don’t think that it is wrong in such case. These are the things that provide him extrinsic motivation and so they go for it. I had 1 – 1 conversations with different teachers and they came up with different issues or the loop holes of the system. A teacher has to pay 2 – 3 lakhs as bribe for getting the job after he/she is selected in the merit list of exam and after that they get a salary of 3,000/ Rs. for 3 years. Nearly all the teachers at my school have paid that, just for the sake of government job.

I would like to share an incident with a teacher at my school. The teachers are with so rigid mindset that corporal punishment is very important. So, once I was having a chat and the other teacher was not ready to accept that kids can be taught without corporal punishment. I gave him the example of my class, Aniket’s(other fellow from TFI) class told him that we are new to this field but still manage our class with it. I stressed on set consequences rather than beating them. Talked to him about the background from where these kids come, the love they want and deserve from us. And finally he promised me not to beat kids and I hope he follows in class.

As the days in class are passing by I am finding myself to be a much more matured and responsible person. I feel as if the targets that I have set for myself are changing and are becoming much harder, as I push my kids in class, something pushes me also to achieve more than what I had desired previously and that to in less time. I feel as if I have developed a teacher in myself which teaches my soul of what is right or wrong. Now I try to practice what I preach. I am more open towards feedback and readily accept and try to change myself if required. Now I reach out to someone not only to take something from him but also give him or help him in the way I can. My friends find a matured person in me and ask for my views on different issues.

Finally once again I would say that it’s an incredible journey. I enjoyed my first year and as I move forward in the second year of teaching I have set new benchmark for myself and my kids. Together we will reach the places never travelled before. Looking forward to the next year….!!!!

Thanks a lot for support.
With love "Service before Self"


Monday, August 9, 2010

Welcome Common Wealth Games....!!!

Nearly two months to go for the world’s second largest sporting event and where we are, what we are doing. Today we as a nation need to be together, welcoming the event rather than criticizing it. After all it is our Nation and an issue of National pride. If it is a successful or a flop event, the world will not remember the scandals that took place, it would just remember that 2010 CWG were hosted by India. So, it is time to work together and build on from where we are currently.

There are people who have started criticizing the CWG , they doubt on our capabilities to host such a massive event. I have read somewhere that, Australian coach has said to his athletes to be prepared of the low standard facilities in the coming CWG. He has even said that there can be scarcity of drinking water, electricity cuts, mosquito etc. We have to prove these people wrong and show them that we are not only the superpower of IT industry but we can even host such events and provide world class facilities. India is no more a country of beggars and snake charmers but it is developing nation which has the capability to do anything. We should keep our internal feuds, internal only. These things happen everywhere but our priority over here should be the games nothing else. We should work on how to provide the best facilities to our guest, who would be coming from different nation. I would urge each and every Indian to remember the philosophy of “ Atithi Devo Bhavah”, which means guest is equivalent to God.

Come on Delhi prove your potential, I believe that our nation can make the coming CWG the most successful CWG ever. The world is watching and we have to prove our credential like South Africa has done in FIFA.

Monday, July 26, 2010

What people need...???

There are election in few states within an year or so and political parties have started their melodrama of wooing the voters. I don't know when will they start campaigning on the basis of developmental issues. One party fights the election on the issues related to the drawbacks of the other.

Few days back I saw the news that Mulayam Singh Yadav was apologizing to the Muslims on the issue that he has taken the services of Kalyan Singh in the last election. Mulayam's trick to take Kalyan in his party just before the election was in order to get the support of O.B.C.'s in U.P. but he failed because Kalyan Singh was the C.M. during the Babri demolition in 1992 and so the Muslim who supported S.P. , left S.P. and went with Congress. So, now he is preparing ground for Assembly election in 2012 and hence apologizing to Muslims.

 Similarly there was as such no big issue in Bihar for opposition (LJP & RJD). So, they took the issue from the CAG report that showed financial irregularities. But they ignored the fact that the time period in which these financial fraud took place has the major portion of time when Rabri was C.M. The MLA's of LJP & RJD disrupted the proceedings of the house and  vandalized it, which resulted in great drama.

Where is Raj Thackerey nowadays ? People like R.T. come into picture only during the elections. They pick up a radical issue, which is well thought and have sentiments of public attached to that issue. They remain in news for 3 - 4 months of election and then hide themselves in woods. He fought his election on the Marathi Manoos issue, got support of emotional public. It doesn't matter to people like him whether the sentiments of crores of other will get hurt or not because they are not the part of the voter list which is important to him. And if in future he wants to fight the election from North India, he will apologize to the people of North India and play his card there because voter's forget everything very soon.

There are numerous such incidents in Indian politics where political parties want to gain from short comings of the other parties rather than thinking of what people need. In Indian politics it is a very rare occasion when one political party praises the other. Be it Congress or BJP or NCP or any other regional party all are waiting for a issue.

My question for the politicians is that when will they start the politics of development and behave like an effective opposition ?

 - Bhartiya

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Letter to My Friends- 8 " Lead by Example"

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year...!!! May the year and life ahead bring about positive changes in your life and you achieve all what you deserve. Today I would share my thoughts about inspiration, what changed me as a human being and will hope that you read through till last and give back your responses.

            “INSPIRATION” which means a lot and has a great impact on anyone’s life. It is like a flash of lightening and can come from anywhere even a small child can inspire you or a very small incident that occur in our day to day life and sometimes you might see a lot happening around but nothing effects you. For me it is a process which continues inside us and keeps reforming through various things happening in our life. It happens through internal reflection and that can be done only if you give time to yourself.  Sometimes we see a movie and are highly inspired by it or we read a story about someone and get influenced, we get inspired in numerous ways.  BUT the big question is, “FOR HOW LONG DO WE KEEP OURSELF INSPIRED OR MOVING FORWARD?”

            I think to keep ourselves inspired we have to undergo the process of reflection regularly or have a co-investigation with our inner self. We have to find out meaning in our actions, not just to satisfy us but to give us the pleasure or energy or an internal boost to face the challenges that occur in our day to day life and to keep ourselves motivated to work for our BIG GOAL.  During the past couple of years I have learned to thank each and every person or  thing around me, that I am related to or sometimes not. In October I met Geet  Sethi (Billiard Champion), he is an incredible man. He shared something, that I would like to share today. He told me that after every match he plays he thanks to each and every person related to him from the man who has made the billiard table to the man who has designed the stick for him and that too no matter what is the result of the game.(Thanks giving doesn't actually mean searching for that person and then saying Thankyou, it is often internal). His wife Kiran Sethi (runs a school RIVERSIDE) told us that after the construction of their school building they hosted a party for the workers and each and every person involved in building that school. Think how many of us would do so. So, these little things inspire us and show us the right way of approaching the life.

            I would like to share my greatest inspiration after which I thought to give back to the society in whatever way I could. It was an incident that has changed me a lot. During my first year of college I was a very arrogant, over confident guy. People called me “NETA” and my friends gave me a title “SARKAR”.  I had some quality of inspiring people around me but never actually realized this before this incident.  One day I was sitting with my friends and then a guy came he was a bit irritating and showy and I was an arrogant guy, so,  suggested my friends to do something against him and came up with a horrible idea of stealing his mobile, just like that without thinking anything I suggested this to my friends. I was mature enough to think that this is not right but I don’t know what happened I suggested this. But I was not pretty serious about it that we will do it because we were talking in a funny atmosphere. After sometime I went to a friend’s room on another floor and slept there. After a couple of hours news broke in the hostel that a mobile has been stolen. As it came to my ears I was shocked and went to my friends and found that it was true, they did this. For a moment I felt as if what to do. But again I ignored it and without taking the responsibility of the act just passed it away.

            But that incident had left an impression in my mind that I was responsible for it because I was the one who suggested them, it doesn’t matter whether I was serious at that time or not but the truth was that I have suggested them to steal. I was not having the courage to take the responsibility of the act. But my mind was unstable for many days after that and I went under constant  internal reflection and finally realized that if I have good leadership skills and can motivate anyone around me then why not do something good for society or my college. And here began the change in me. In the coming years I tried to develop myself as a humble person and learnt humility, which I think is the most important value for a good leader. I tried to become a very good listener, observer and respect others feelings. By the end of college life I think I was a totally different person, there were people around who were with me and lastly I was pleased with whatever I did in the last couple of years of college. I had a way to convince even the toughest person and had patience to tolerate the most difficult situation.

Today on the occasion of my 25th birthday, I am relieved sharing it openly with all because it has caused a lot of pain in my heart. I learnt a lesson from this act which has changed not only me but has affected many persons connected to me and I promise you all that it will change many more lives in coming years. So, this is a small story of “How Change Begins” or “How One Can Be Inspired” by small incidents. I don’t know what you all must be thinking after reading this. But in a way I am thankful to that guy and all my friends who did that and without them I would have not changed a bit. Thanks a lot, I owe you all. Thanks for supporting me for whatever I did and suggested.
                        “Be the Change you want to see in the world” --  Bapu

With Love 
Prakhar Bhartiya

"Service Before Self"