Gandhiji was visiting the village and everyone was excited. Tara wondered how she would get a glimpse of the man…
News of Gandhiji’s plans had reached them, and now, excited at the thought of seeing the great man, people had started arriving with daylight, giving the village a mela-like atmosphere.
Tara rushed through her work, terrified her brothers would leave her behind. Despite this, her brothers managed to give her the slip and get out of the house. Tara rushed after them, pouncing on them with cries of fury when she found them. Her brother s fended her off with ease, laughing at her.
“Why did you leave without me?” Tara demanded.
“We are going to sit on the tallest tree in the village, so we can see Gandhiji first and tell the villagers!” Raja said, “You are too small to do that!”
“Go home!” Bhola said, hurrying after Raja. “But I want to see Gandhiji too!” Tara wailed, watching her brothers walk away.
She walked to the end of the village, thinking sadly of how she was always left out of things because she was the youngest. When she finally stopped walking she found herself at the edge of the village. Behind her lay the huddle of huts and ahead stretched the road out of the village. It was as she looked at the dusty road that she had an idea. Filled with excitement she walked along the road till she found a tree that she could climb. In a matter of minutes she had climbed into the branches and settled down to wait.
When the first clouds of dust appeared on the distance, Tara sat up in excitement. Was it Gandhiji? As the clouds moved closer she saw what looked like a white serpent, winding its way towards the village. In great excitement Tara began climbing down. The minute she was on the ground, she would run to the village, carrying the news of Gandhiji’s arrival. Halfway down the tree Tara realised that she was on a branch too frail for her weight. She didn’t dare move and stuck on the branch, thought sadly of her failed plans.
Swallowing her tears, Tara watched the clouds of dust get closer. At the head she could see a thin man with round glasses, a stick grasped in his hand. It was as this man was passing under her tree that Tara said, “Help me Gandhiji!” The man stopped and looked up. He smiled at her and asked, “Stuck?”
“Yes,” Tara nodded, “I got into the tree so that I would be the first to see you,” she explained as Gandhiji gently helped her down the tree, “But then I got stuck and couldn’t run to tell the villagers that you were coming!” she finished sadly.
“Would it help if you walked into the village with me?” Gandhiji asked. “Oh yes!” Tara breathed, all her sorrows forgotten. And that was how, when the procession marched into the village, Tara was at the head of it, running and skipping to keep up with Gandhiji’s stride, a huge smile on her face.
'Festival of Lights' or Diwali is a festival which has the potential of unifying entire India because of the charisma and splendor surrounding this festival. Diwali has been given the traditional name of 'festival of lights' because of the hundreds and thousands of small oil lamps or diyas lighted by many households. The burning of these diyas are considered to be the lighted pathway of a person's expression of happiness and also a manner of paying obeisance to God, the Supreme power for attainment of health, prosperity, knowledge, financial security and peace in one's life.
'The festival of lights' is celebrated with much enthusiasm and zeal in all of north India. In fact the festival of Diwali is regarded to bring the supernatural joy and brightness in a person's life with the hope of discovering light amidst darkness, achieving happiness in place of ignorance and spreading of love amidst hatred and violence. The tradition of lighting the diyas on Diwali holds much importance as in Hindu mythology the light signifies goodness and vitality. In cities candles and classy neon lights often substitute these diyas.
The idea behind the lighting of diyas and candles on the festival of lights comes from a number of stories as mentioned in the Hindu mythology. The most famous of these stories is the story revolving around Lord Ram and his family. Diwali celebrates the homecoming of Lord Ram, who according to a legend came home to Ayodhya after defeating the evil Ravana and spending fourteen years in exile. Diwali is also the day of Lord Ram's coronation. According to a popular legend King Dashratha had three wives by the names of Kaushalaya, Keykayee and Sumitra who had four sons Ram, Bharat, Laxmana and Shatrughan. Lord Ram, the son of Queen Kaushalaya was the eldest of all four brothers while Bharat was the son of Queen Keykayee.
Queen Keykayee wanted her son Bharat to be the future king of Ayodhya while King Dashratha decided to coronate Ram to be the future king. Keykayee on getting to know about the decision of king Dashratha decided to ask the king for two wishes which he had promised her earlier in life. For her two wishes Keykayee asked for sending Ram to exile for the period of fourteen years and to crown Bharat as the king, though Bharat refused to accept the kingship. Well Ram went to exile accompanied with his younger brother Lakshman and wife Sita. During exile King Ravana of Lanka abducted Sita and Lord ram had to fight a fierce battle in the southern part of the Indian sub-continent with ravana.
During this fight the king of the demons was killed and Lord Ram came back to Ayodhya along with His brother and wife. Deepavali marks his victorious return to his kingdom along with Hanuman, the Vanar who helped him in achieving success. The legend states it took 20 days for Rama to return to his kingdom after defeating Ravana. As with other Indian festivals, Diwali signifies many different things to people across the country. Like in Gujarat, the festival is celebrated to honor goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth; and in Bengal, it is related with goddess Kali. Though everywhere, it is celebrated with the same sprit and signifies the renewal of life.
Do rankings help to improve education standards? Experts take a look at the significance of the process.
In a world of struggle, academics certainly form no exception. Since the 1990s, higher education’s disputed territory has been the top spots in rankings. And India is also part of the trend. India Today’s College Ranking, the country’s first and most well-known magazine ranking, has been around since 1997. “And I like to believe we have changed Indian higher education for the better,” Raj Chengappa of India Today says. “Since they are being ranked, institutions have improved the quality of their education. And they do a better job presenting themselves to outsiders now.”
But does the ranking system encourage genuine improvement or is it just more crafty advertising? Because of issues of feasibility and cost, only 30 per cent of total weight is allotted to factual data such as admission procedure details, student enrolment, number of seats available, cut-off percentage in examinations, faculty strength, infrastructure and student placement. The other 70 per cent is peer review. “But peer surveys are often based on impressions, perhaps formed a long time ago. A reviewer might not even have visited the institutions concerned in the recent past. And even if he had, he would not have made a detailed study,” says education expert B.S. Warrier. “Moreover, a professor may have friends working in the institutions that are being assessed. Peer review can be useful, yet its significance should be limited,” he adds.
Perhaps surprisingly, M.S Ananth, the director of IIT-Madras, a consistent high-flyer in all rankings, seems to agree. “Assessing colleges and universities is a full-time job. You cannot do this so easily,” says Prof. Ananth.
Mr. Chengappa begs to differ. “Of course, no ranking system is perfect, but we have asked Nielsen, the best market research bureau in India, to come up with a solid statistical method. And the 800 reviewers are top-level academics who are familiar with colleges other than their own,” he says. “You do not make it to the top of the rankings if you do not excel.” While that probably holds true for the top performers, peer review often becomes less reliable as we move down the table.
Due to public demand, India Today extended the number of ranked institutions to 50 in the arts, science and commerce streams and 25 in the fields of engineering, medicine and law in 2007. Since a lot of the colleges in the sub-top enjoy less public prominence, their quality is harder to scrutinise. As a result, their exact spot might not necessarily be very telling.
To give these colleges their due, the approach of the National Assessment and Accreditation Council might be more fitting. The NAAC asks an institution to provide a self-study report covering curricular aspects, teaching and quality, student evaluation methods, infrastructure, school management, student support and innovative practices. Subsequently a team of peer reviewers familiar with the institution pays a visit to the campus to verify the statements made in the report. On the basis of the peer team’s recommendations, the school is finally awarded a letter grade.
The obvious downside of the process is its laborious nature. So far, the NAAC has accredited only 140 universities and 3,492 colleges out of a respective total of 400 and 18,000. The India Today ranking faces a similar problem. “The India Today rankings are still confined to the big metros,” notes education consultant Jayaprakash Gandhi. “They should branch out to all institutions deemed to have a potential for excellence by the University Grants Commission,” he says. To their credit, the creators of the India Today rankings have been adding to their pool of institutions every year.
However, the rankings do not only suffer from geographical limitations. They also have to grapple with another dimension: time. Reputation takes a while to build up, yet once acquired, it tends to linger. Therefore the up-and-comers, waiting in the wings to claim the coveted top spots, often have to wait longer than they like. At the same time, faded glories can keep living on their reputation for some time, enticing students with their unwarranted crowns. A further tweaking of ranking methodology might alleviate a lot of the flaws.
But ideally, institutions should not be ranked at all, according to Alex Usher from the independent Educational Policy Institute. “There is no need to aggregate all your information. A good assessment tells students how any given college performs on different parameters and lets them decide what they find important in their future school.”
Subhas Chandra Bose (Bengali: সুভাষচন্দ্র বসুShubashchôndro Boshu, Oriya: ସୁଭାଷ ଚନ୍ଦ୍ର ବୋଷ Subhas Chôndrô Bos; born January 23, 1897;presumed to have died August 18, 1945 although this is disputed), popularly known as Netaji (literally "Respected Leader"), was a leader in the Indian independence movement.
Bose was elected president of the Indian National Congress for two consecutive terms but had to resign from the post following ideological conflicts with Mahatma Gandhiand after openly attacking Congress foreign and internal policy. Bose believed that Mahatma Gandhi's tactics of non-violence would never be sufficient to secure India's independence, and advocated violent resistance. He established a separate political party, the All India Forward Bloc and continued to call for the full and immediate independence of India from British rule. He was imprisoned by the British authorities 11 times.
His stance did not change with the outbreak of the Second World War, which he saw as an opportunity to take advantage of British weakness. At the outset of the war, he went away from India and travelled to the Soviet Union, Germany and Japan, seeking an alliance with the aim of attacking the British in India. With Japanese assistance, he re-organised and later led the Indian National Army, formed from Indian prisoners-of-war and plantation workers from British Malaya, Singapore, and other parts ofSoutheast Asia, against British forces. With Japanese monetary, political, diplomatic and military assistance, he formed the Azad Hind Government in exile and regrouped and led the Indian National Army in battle against the allies at Imphal and in Burma.
His political views and the alliances he made with Nazi and other militarist regimes at war with Britain have been the cause of arguments among historians and politicians, with some accusing him of fascist sympathies, while others in India have been more sympathetic towards the inculcation of realpolitik as a manifesto that guided his social and political choices.
Bose advocated complete freedom for India at the earliest, whereas the Congress Committee wanted it in phases, through a Dominion status. Other younger leaders including Jawaharlal Nehru supported Bose and finally at the historic Lahore Congress convention, the Congress had to adopt Purna Swaraj (complete freedom) as its motto. Bhagat Singh's martyrdom and the inability of the Congress leaders to save his life infuriated Bose and he started a movement opposing the Gandhi-Irwin Pact. He was imprisoned and expelled from India. But defying the ban, he came back to India and was imprisoned again.
He is presumed to have died on 18 August 1945 in a plane crash over Taiwan. However, contradictory evidence exists regarding his death in the accident.
Subhash Chandra Bose was born on January 23 1897 in Cuttack (Odiya Bazar), the ninth child among 14, of Janakinath Bose, an advocate, and Prabhavati Devi. Bose studied in an Anglo school, Cuttack until standard 6 which is now known as Stewart School and then shifted to Ravenshaw Collegiate School of Cuttack. A brilliant student, Bose topped the matriculation examination of Calcutta province in 1911 and passed his B.A. in 1918 in Philosophy from the Scottish Church College of the University of Calcutta.
Bose went to study in Fitzwilliam Hall of the University of Cambridge, and his high score on civil service exams meant an almost automatic appointment. He then took his first conscious step as a revolutionary and resigned the appointment on the premise that the "best way to end a government is to withdraw from it." At the time, Indian nationalists were shocked and outraged because of the Amritsar massacre and the repressive Rowlatt legislation of 1919. Returning to India, Bose wrote for the newspaper Swaraj and took charge of publicity for the Bengal Provincial Congress Committee. His mentor was C.R. Das, spokesman for aggressive nationalism in Bengal. Bose worked for Das when the latter was elected mayor of Calcutta in 1924. In a roundup of nationalists in 1925, Bose was arrested and sent to prison in Mandalay, where he contracted tuberculosis.
He was a devout Hindu and spent much time in meditation. Strongly influenced by Swami Vivekananda's teachings, he was known for his patriotic zeal as a student.]
In this famous photograph theNazi official along with Bose is oftenmistakenly identified as General Rommel.
Released from prison two years later, Bose became general secretary of the Congress party and worked with Jawaharlal Nehru for independence. Again Bose was arrested and jailed for civil disobedience; this time he emerged Mayor of Calcutta. During the mid-1930s Bose traveled in Europe, visiting Indian students and European politicians, as well asHitler in 1936. He observed party organization and saw communism and fascism in action.
By 1938 Bose had become a leader of national stature and agreed to accept nomination as Congress president. He stood for unqualified Swaraj (independence), including the use of force against the British. This meant a confrontation with Mohandas Gandhi, who in fact opposed Bose's presidency, splitting the Congress party. Bose attempted to maintain unity, but Gandhi advised Bose to form his own cabinet. The rift also divided Bose and Nehru. Bose appeared at the 1939 Congress meeting on a stretcher. Though he was elected president again, over Gandhi's preferred candidate Pattabhi Sitaramayya, this time differences with Gandhi led to Bose's resignation. "I am an extremist, " Bose once said, and his uncompromising stand finally cut him off from the mainstream of Indian nationalism. Bose then organized the Forward Bloc aimed at consolidating the political left, but its main strength was in his home state, Bengal.
When war erupted in Europe, Bose was again imprisoned for civil disobedience and put under house arrest to await trial. He escaped and made his way to Berlin by way ofPeshawar and Afghanistan. In Europe, Bose sought help from Germany for the liberation of India. He got Nazi permission to organize the Indian Legion of prisoners of war from Africa, but the legion remained basically German in training. Bose felt the need for stronger steps, and he turned to the Japanese embassy in Berlin, which finally made arrangements for Bose to go to Asia. In an unusual joint operation, he was transferred from a German to a Japanese submarine off the coast of Madagascar.
Indian National Army and Provisional Government
Subhas Chandra Bose with the Asian leaders at Greater East Asia Conference in 1943
Main articles: Indian National Army and Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind
Arriving in Tokyo in May 1943, Bose attracted the attention of the Japanese high command, including Hideki Tojo, Japan's premier. The Japanese agreed to cooperate in founding an Axis-supported Indian National Army (INA) in Southeast Asia. Bose was flown to Singapore and became commander of the INA and head of the Free India provisional government (Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind).
The INA included both Indian prisoners of war from Singapore and Indian civilians in Southeast Asia. The strength of INA grew to 43,000 and fought Allied forces in 1944 inside the borders of India at Imphal and in Burma. In November 1943, Bose participated Greater East Asia Conference as a head of state of Provisional Government of Free India alike other Independent Asian countries. For Bose any means and any ally were acceptable in the struggle to liberate India. By the end of World War II none of Bose's Axis allies had helped, and Bose then turned to the Soviet Union.  Three officers of the INA were tried after the war in Delhi; the trial attracted much popular sympathy, including statements by Nehru and Gandhi that the men were great patriots.
Disappearance and alleged death
Main article: Death of Subhash Chandra Bose
Renkoji temple (Japan)
Officially, Bose died in a plane crash over Taiwan, while flying to Tokyo on 18 August 1945. It is believed that he was on route to the Soviet Union in a Japanese plane when it crashed in Taiwan, burning him fatally. However, his body was never recovered, and many theories have been put forward concerning his possible survival. One such claim is that Bose actually died in Siberia, while in Soviet captivity. Several committees have been set up by the Government of India to probe into this matter.
In May 1956, a four-man Indian team (known as the Shah Nawaz Committee) visited Japan to probe the circumstances of Bose's alleged death. The Indian government did not then request assistance from the government of Taiwan in the matter, citing their lack of diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
However, the Inquiry Commission under Justice Mukherjee, which investigated the Bose disappearance mystery in the period 1999-2005, did approach the Taiwanese government, and obtained information from the Taiwan Government that no plane carrying Bose had ever crashed in Taipei. The Mukherjee Commission also received a report originating from the U.S. Department of State supporting the claim of the Taiwan Government that no such air crash took place during that time frame.. The revelation makes it clear that disappearance of Bose is a mystery which cannot be simplified by the story of his death.
The Justice Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry submitted its report to the Indian Government on November 8, 2005. The report was tabled in Parliament on May 17, 2006. The probe said in its report that as Bose did not die in the plane crash, and that the ashes at the Renkoji Temple (said to be of Bose's) are not his. However, the Indian Government rejected the findings of the Commission, though no reasons were cited.
Bose was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award in 1992, but it was later withdrawn in response to a Supreme Court directive following a Public Interest Litigation filed in the Court against the "posthumous" nature of the award. The Award Committee could not give conclusive evidence on Bose's death and thus the "posthumous" award was invalidated. No headway was made on this issue however.
Bose's portrait hangs in the Indian Parliament, and a statue of him has been erected in front of the West Bengal Legislative Assembly.