Happy Diwali

It is Diwali in India – the festival of lights. Wish you all a Happy Diwali and Prosperous New Year. [In case you are looking for some delicious Diwali recipes, check this in Saroj’s Cokkbook on Bawarchi.]

The impact of Diwali on my life manifests itself in the form of the holidays which make me contemplate the past year and what I plan to do going ahead. Spent yesterday thinking about Netcore and what we want to do on the SME and Rural fronts. Today, I am going to think about blogging, RSS, social software and how the Internet can play a greater role to help us move towards our goals. Tomorrow, will write out my Tech Talks for next week.

Search My Books!

I wrote about Amazon’s new Search feature yesterday. Reading this by Jon Udell – “I own a copy of Tesla: Man Out of Time. The other day, I was mentioning to someone that, according to that book, some of Nikola Tesla’s writings are still classified. This query finds the passage I was remembering. Awesome! Now the physical book I bought from Amazon is more valuable to me. Its printed index has been augmented by a vastly more capable online index.” – made me wonder: supposing I can upload the list of my books to Amazon, and ask it to search that restricted set. What I own is valuable. This way, it becomes even more so because I can search the hard copy books like I search the Web. My books are already a filter, being able to search them would be a great add-on, and increase Amazon’s importance in my life even more.

Education for a Nation

Atanu Dey writes a perspective on the importance of education and its state in India: “Everything else, all institutions required for development — from markets to democratic goverment to legal systems to law enforcement — require an educated populace for their functioning. In the absense of widespread literacy, a nation has little hope of achieving anything at all. Education is not just an instrumental good (for achieving development) but it is also a final good, an end in itself for it allows humans to be more fully human…It is India’s misfortune that its leaders have neglected that fundamental truth. So we have the largest number of illiterate people of any nation in the world. Literacy, though distinct from education, is closely related to it. Without a literate citizenry, the so-called freedom of the press is an absurd notion. Without an educated population, our so-called democracy is a mockery of the ideal…I would like to present the bare outline of my argument about the Indian education system, why it is elitist, and what that implies for the development of the economy.”

As Atanu says often, before we start to do the right things, we have to stop doing thr wrong and stupid things. And in education, we seem to be doing many things wrong – still.