Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Vices in the Appointment of Vice Chancellors.

The vices in the appointment of Vice Chancellors

There was a time, before 1976, where each university in Karnataka has its own Act and usually, the senior most Professor was appointed as its Vice Chancellor. Much before, prior to Independence, for the only University that existed, University of Mysore, the Maharaja used to invite eminent academic personality with the likes of Brajendra Nath  Seal( who was a Poet and Philosopher too ) to be the Vice Chancellor. The appointment of Vice Chancellors was never an issue or problematic. It was in 1976 a Common University Act applicable to all the Universities in Karnataka was enacted, replacing the Act of each Universities, wherein Government took a preeminent role in the appointment of VCs. The Act stipulated a Search Committee consisting of nominees, who are eminent educationist,  from UGC, Chancellor(who is the Governor of the State), Government and Syndicate of the University concerned. The Chairman of the Search Committee is the Chancellor's nominee prior to 2000 and Government's nominee after 2000 when the new Act was promulgated. The Common University Acts paved way for increased Government's interference and erosion of University autonomy and freedom , thereby endangering the quality and excellence in Higher Education in the Universities.

Today, the quality and eminence has gone for a toss both in the nominees for the Search Committee as well as in the Vice Chancellor it appoints. There are exceptions in both, of course, but exceptions would not make a rule and in fact exceptional ones are humiliated, sidetracked or even overlooked as in the case of Davanagere University at present. Here, not only the Chairman. Dr. U R Ananta Murthy, is hounded and humiliated but also was made to be a helpless witness to the blind insistence of members to include their own candidates for the Post. What is even more worse is the fragrant violation of KSU Act by the highest authority and the upholder of Law, Mr. Hansraj Bharadwaj, the Governor of the State who is also the appointing authority as Chancellor of the Universities. The Act stipulates that Chancellor shall appoint one of the three members recommended by the Search Committee as Vice Chancellor in concurrence with the Government. In other words, the Government concurrence to the candidate appointed is mandatory. Yet, the Chancellor appointed a person who was not the one which the Government concurred.  In fact as recently as the last year, High Court of Karnataka in the case of Dr. Hinchigeri vs Chancellor, has made it mandatory that the Chancellor must get the concurrence of the Government on the candidate appointed as per the KSU Act. Mr. H R Bharadwaj was a renowned Lawyer at the Supreme Court of India  and yet, he often indulged in the flagrant violation of law especially in the appointment of VCs including in the case of Mysore, Shimoga and Davangere Universities wherein Government's concurrence was not adhered to. Perhaps, an expert in Law could hoodwink Law effectively. Perhaps, the long standing politician in him, that too ill famed one at that, took better off him than the sense of propriety, prudence and law.

The story of the Search Committee is equally worse. Few candidates even vie with each other with UGC, Government and Chancellor to see that the person nominated to Search Committee would promote his candidature for the post. Often, Search Committee deliberations begin with each member insisting on the candidate name brought in their pocket to be included and the nature of insistence, their gestures and postures, words and shouts, clearly indicate their commitment made already to the candidate! In some cases Government too steps in to push their candidate in the Committee recommendation. In one such Committee where I was the Chairman, the Principal Secretary concerned enters our room in the very beginning of our meeting and says that so and so is the CM candidate and that name must be included. I had to tell him that CM will surely come to the picture in picking one out of the three the Committee recommends and not before. When he was still persistent, I asked for talking with CM straight away, then the Secretary says it is actually CM secretary who told him that so and so is CM's Candidate! Yet, obviously there is some connection with CM in this regard as immediately after the meeting I received a call from the Minister concerned whether the name of the candidate mentioned by the secretary is included or not as CM wanted him. I took pains to explain to him the procedure followed and how the candidate could not be figured into it. This used to be my procedure in all the Search Committee for which I was the Chairman: Even before opening up the list of candidates and their bio data, I carried my team in agreeing to certain simple and objective criteria on which the applicants could be sorted out such as completion of a minimum of ten years as Professor, administrative experience in some capacity, guidance of a minimum of PhD candidates, publication in refereed journals of certain number of papers, unblemished record of service, age (neither too young where one has to go back to serve in the parent Department for long or too old that he/she will not be completing the term of VC) and so on. Usually, nearly sixty percent of the applicants are eliminated with the said criteria employed. Hence, I told the Minister that the said candidate was eliminated in the first round itself against the criteria employed. Incidentally, when the said candidate was not figured in the list, the members of the Committee suggested that we may have to include him as otherwise I as a local man would be in trouble for not considering the  so called "CM Candidate".  I told them that I would explain and reason out to them and  in any case, will handle it on my own and they need not worry on that count. However, sometimes it may not be that simple. In another Search Committee where I was the Chairman, a candidate who was not figured in the first round when our agreed upon criteria was employed and yet had to be included as other two members from outside the State insisted because the person is already holding a position that is equivalent to VC's post. I said that it is no consideration as the post held is non academic wheras the VC's is academic. Yet they went on insisting without adding any additional reason. It was so exasperating, I had to at last come out with what I was told that they were bribed by the candidate in Crores of Rupees which I did not believe but now the way they were behaving it adds some credence to the rumour spread against them! Although they denied it, and yet were sweating profusely, but would not relent in excluding the name. Finally, I had to open a Lokayukta Judgement against the person and blemished record in service, and they agreed to my decision! I was thoroughly prepared with all the records against the person because I knew there has been tremendous pressure in favour of that crooked professional!

My experiences as member of Search Committee is much worse than as Chairman. Hardly any uniform criteria is employed to evaluate the applicants revealing its total arbitrariness and favouritism. What is more, I had to give even a dissent note(but of no avail) against a person included in the Panel as he was facing serious criminal charges in the trial in the High Court of Karnataka.

Unless persons of eminence with excellence in academics and personal integrity is placed at the helm of University affairs selected by persons of equal eminence and integrity, our Higher Education has no future

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

GSS - A Tribute

G. S. Shivarudrappa ( 1926 - 2013 ) : A Salutation.

I joined Bangalore University as teacher in the year 1977 and after a stint of residence at SBM Colony, I moved to BSK II Stage and for number of years I used to travel in the University Bus to BU. While waiting for the Bus and inside it a constant companion was the revered GSS. After knowing that I am from Sagar, "Oh, you are a Sagarian, most creative people are they, look at K V Subbanna and what he has built" he said and our relationship truly began since then. His readiness to relate to people and resources he has in bringing cordiality and deep affection into it is indeed very endearing. A renowned poet that he was and yet he put me at ease with his equally deep interest in theories of poetics and aesthetics as any discussion of academic nature was my forte. In fact, he did ask for any book in Psychology on Emotions as Bhava/ಭಾವ  is a central theme in poetry as well. Although I told him that Psychologist have hardly worked on those aspect and the emotions they study has very little to do with the Bhava that poetry refers to, yet I gave him a book on Psychology of Emotions which he promptly went through and returned in just about a week. What is more, as late as just a few years before his death he once asked me over the phone about a 'problem' child of his friend and how to go about it.That showed his genuine interest in life and living.

I was an officer in charge of students affairs of the University for number of years and one of its activity is to conduct student election as Returning Officer for election to Student Association and coordinate their activity within each Department of Studies. The Department used to get half of the money student has paid as Association/Student activities Fee for their cultural activities within each Department and it was my duty to coordinate the disbursement. As the money was given to student leaders to conduct the activity who generally has least knowledge of accounting, neither the Heads of the Department or even the Auditors would take it seriously or make an issue of getting the accounts. But not so is our GSS. Promptly, every year, at the end he was the first and probably the last person to send  me the detailed accounts of the money spent on the student activity with all the due vouchers and statements; obviously he was insisting students to get them, thereby instilling in them the responsibility to be answerable to the Authorities. He was a disciplinarian par excellence.

I, as President of Federation of University and College Teachers of Karnataka, as well as President of Bangalore University Teachers Association, faced with severe anomalies and pressing demands of the welfare and development of teachers, used to conduct several General Body Meetings and Public Demonstration. Professor GSS, being such a senior faculty in the University and a highly reputed/regarded poet did not feel below his dignity to participate in such meetings, agitations and demonstrations. In fact, he used to be one among the front benchers in it. This gesture not only encouraged and motivated  us to move forward but also lend credence and credibility to the cause we were upholding.

He administered his Department, as its Head/Director for number of years with a very high calibre of academic deliberations some of which are truly trend setting as for instance the three day or sometimes even more days of annual national seminars held regularly. I was amazed at one such seminars: it was a three day seminar on Kannada drama; whole day there used to be an advanced discussion and presentation with giants in the field like B V Karanth, Girish Karnad, Chandrashekar Kambar, P. Lankesh and so on and in each evening a staging of play which is even to day a path breaking events in staging drama; the three plays were: Kambar's Jokumaraswamy, Lankesh's Oedipus and Samkranti where we could see the fantastic stagecraft and great acting by Karanth, Karnard and others.

 I found GSS always to be a person who is honest and modest in demeanor, clear and definitive in his remarks, with genuine interest in people and their growth. Truly, we and the Kannada Literature and Culture, miss him most.

Dr. G S Shivarudrappa was conferred the title of National Poet/Rashtra Kavi. He was Professor of Kannada and Director of Institute of Kannada Studies at Bangalore University prior to his retirement from service.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Higher Education: Remedy Worse than the Disease

A Bill is passed in the Karnataka Legislature to increase the number of Government representation in the Management of Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences where hitherto the large number of Members of Syndicate and Academic Council belonged to medical profession. The Bill now envisages  adding to these Bodies the Civil Servants - Secretaries of various Departments -  and Nominees of the Government. Further, it also aims to take away the power of the Chancellor who is the Governor of the State in regard to the constitution of Search Committee to select Vice Chancellor wherein now there is a Government Nominee who will also be the Chairman of the Search Committee ( not the Chancellor Nominee as Chairman as is the practice so far ). It also restricts the term of Vice Chancellor to only one term of 3 years rather than two terms of three years each as it was hitherto. Incidentally, the term of Vice Chancellors in Universities of General Education(where large number of Universities exist) is also one term but of four years duration. Similarly, the considerable representation of Civil Servants and nominations from the Government exist also in the Universities of General Education. Yet, there is no reason why ills of the one system should be repeated in the other!

Take for instance the provision of Government nomination to University Bodies. The University Act  and the  new RGUHS Bill says that they should nominate only the eminent educationist or eminent persons from the profession. Yet, in actual practice, the nomination made to University Syndicate and Academic Council are not only no where near any eminence but also not even educationist or professionals at all. Once it was made an issue, a Vice Chancellor, yours truly, rejected the nomination of members to Syndicate on the ground that it violates Act as none of them are educationist and one of the provision of the Act is that it is the duty of the Vice Chancellor to uphold all the provisions of the Act and he will have all the powers to do so. The matter went even to High Court by a PIL. Court chastised the Government and before the delivery of the Judgment, the Government had to withdraw the nomination made to save the face. But that was only momentary because soon after that Vice Chancellor left, yours truly,  after the completion of his term, Government went about nominating again the people of no eminence, non-educationist and non professionals. What is the guarantee the same fate will not accrue in RGUHS also?

The Governor and Chancellor of Universities in Karnataka has suddenly started making a statement in the last few weeks that he will not allow curtailment of Chancellor's power and he would always uphold the autonomy and independence of Universities. One wonders is it not devil quoting scriptures! The very same Chancellor, not long ago, has appointed a person as Vice Chancellor who was (and is)facing serious criminal charges in the High Court and in spite of the dissent note against appointing him on the same grounds by one of the Search Committee Member. What is more, that was that VC's second term as Vice Chancellor although first term was from a different University in Karnataka. What was the necessity of going all out, throwing away all decency and probity, to make him VC yet again without at least waiting for the Court verdict? Similarly, another Vice Chancellor, who was facing criminal charges was not only not allowed being enquired but even given an extension as VC by this Chancellor. His nomination to University Syndicate too does not speak high on the count of eminence or excellence among Professionals he nominates.Yet, the Chancellor talks about excellence and quality in Higher Education, autonomy and independence of University. In fact, as it was said too, that the Government plan to curtail power of the Chancellor is emanated by such doings of the present Chancellor. It  appears the Governor's concern is not really against erosion of autonomy, independence and self-governance of University but it is his self interest; whenever that is affected by curtailment of his power or authority to make his own choice of VCs, he would speak loud against the Government, be it BJP or Congress. However, not that Government is better off. Again as the sayings goes, the move to amend the RGUHS Act emanates from the situation where the present VC did not respond favourably to the overtures of the Government concerned to appoint their men/relations to the University posts. Yet, the Minister says the RGUHS Act amendment is to stem corruption and red tape in that University. Government and majority bureaucrats are notorious in corrupt practices as many surveys by Transparency International and other Agencies have revealed. How do we expect them to go and eradicate corruption and delay in the University? Is it not the remedy that is worse than the disease? It will further vitiate the academic atmosphere of the University by filling with even more corrupt manoeuvres and nepotisms.

Look at the best of Institutions/Universities that have achieved quality and excellence such as IISc, IITs and IIMs in our own country or more incontrovertibly, Cambridge and Oxford, Stanford and Harvard Universities abroad and see how they achieved excellence and eminence. Truly eminent people are appointed as Vice Chancellors who is assisted by people of proven competence and commitment to the quality and excellence in education. They are held responsible for all that goes on in the Institution. There is no interference from the government and politicians as well. This way, such institutions create quality professionals who contribute to the welfare of the society.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Siddu Gone Berserk ?

Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah has courted six schemes/controversies in his last six months as CM - Anna Bhagya, Shadi Bhagya, Superstition Prevention Bill, EducationalTour Facilities for only ahinda students,Udupi Srikrishna Temple Controversy and Cheap Liquor - some of the former  have potential of dividing the already divided society into an irreversible cleavage triggering serious animosity among different groups of people. That those schemes were already in his Budget presented recently does nothing to ease the situation. Yet, Sri Siddaramaiah as a person and as politicians holding power has been all along gladdened me with his sincerity, efficiency and sensitive heart towards the downtrodden. Just two incidence from my own experience bears this out for me, however tiny and insignificant they may appear to others.

The two meetings I had with Siddu were during my tenure as Registrar ( 1996-2000 ) of Bangalore University. Tumkur PG centre of the University was recently started,  it was hard pressed for accommodation and its own land, we could not begin equipping Labs and Libraries and hence left with allocated Rupees thirty Lakhs unspent. Our Ambedkar Centre building at Jnanabharati Campus was unfinished for short of funds. The thirty lakh unspent from Tumkur centre was utilised for completing Ambedkar Centre and accordingly wrote to the Government. We were in for shock. Government wrote back saying that it is construed as diversion of funds and is impermissible, the amount ( thirty lakh ) will be cut from the grant to University. We came to know that in the budget going for printing and to be presented in the Assembly next day, the same amount was cut. It was a big sum in 1997-98, the Vice Chancellor N R Shetty wanted me to meet the Finance Minister Siddaramaiah and request to restore the amount. It was a early morning, the Minister in his huge drawing room was sitting with his Banian and Dhoti with some fifty people sitting in semicircle in front of him. I was ushered in, I narrated my plea and requested him not only to restore the amount cut but to act in haste/immediately as it is being printed to be presented tomorrow. He just listened to me silently and I departed. To our very pleasant surprise, the amount was restored in the Budget next day. Perhaps, he was quick in seeing the honesty of our purpose and acted immediately without expecting any further plea or recommendation.

The second time was when the very old hostel building in the Central College Campus(known as Law College Hostel) collapsed at night during heavy rains. Fortunately, there were no students as it was vacation time for them, only a guest who was in the hostel got out with some very minor injuries. Yet, it was a tragedy and a huge loss. Of course, we ordered an enquiry to fix responsibility and take appropriate disciplinary action if need be. We approached the Government to inform and for restoration of building. There were host of questions raised against us as to why it has collapsed, who is responsible, what action we have taken, why it was not maintained properly, Engineer should be hauled up and so on. But, when we went to the Finance Minister Siddaramaiah, he listened our narration of the context and sequence of events and the first thing he asked was not why that happened or who is responsible or what disciplinary action is taken but "aa makkalu iga elliddaare?/where are those children residing now?" which none of the officials we met earlier asked us. We told him that there is nothing to worry on that front as we have housed them in the newly constructed hostel in the Jnanabharati Campus and have arranged buses for them to travel to City Campus for their Classes.

Both the instances show his immense humanitarian approach and his eagerness to help the needy. In the light of this, it is indeed surprising how could such a person could usher in programs that result in social tension and upheavals, especially his scheme of School Excursion, shaadi bhaagya and Superstion Prevention Bill. True, ahindas are socially, culturally, suppressed lot over generations and any civilised society must see that they are brought to main stream with special assistance but it cannot be at the cost of others. We cannot help development of needy people by hurting developed ones; it would create even more social tension and animosity against the people whom we want to help. Moreover, any assistance given to them must contribute to the development of them  rather than making them remain as they are.  Similarly, superstitions/prejudices are more a social malady than belonging to legal administration. Often, such beliefs are the very core, existence, of their being and without instilling alternatives it would be suicidal (and we would be committing homicide too) by uprooting it. Social awareness, the kind of activity initiated by people like Raja Ram Mohan Roy and Dayananda Saraswati of Arya Samaj fame, should be the base to root out social evils including suffering resulting from superstitions. I am sure, Sri. Siddaramaiah, being such a seasoned politicians with his head and heart in right places would see the light soon and bring appropriate corrections to his schemes.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Foreword to the book Symbolism of Rigveda by Jayanti Manohar

My forward to the book:

Symbolism of Rigveda – Social, Spiritual and Psychological import of Veda Mantras. By Dr.Jayanti Manohar. Amrutha Vahini, 2013, Pp.xxiv+220, Price Rs 250.

Vedas are considered by the vast majority people of to day as those chanted by priests in temples and during religious rituals and ceremonies or as means of appeasing umpteen numbers of gods for fulfillment of material desires. Only a very few would take up Vedas to hasten ones reach towards Self Realization and God Realization. Dr. Jayanti Manohar takes up just such a study in this book with authority and scholarship.

What is written here is not yet another imagined creation or ‘modern’ interpretation of Vedas. In fact, the task was begun some four thousand years ago by Maharshi Yaskacharya and expounded further in recent times by erudite scholarship and profound experiences by Maharshi Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Maharshi Sri Aurobindo, Vasishta Ganapati Muni (a disciple of Great Sage Ramana Maharshi too), Sri Kapali Shastri, Prof. R L Kashyap, Dr. David Frawley and others in that line, says Dr. Jayanti Manohar. Her present work is in that lineage too.

The key to understand Vedas is in the symbolic language with which they are coated and attempt is to be made to decode like a poet ( as well as seer )  using both rational and non-rational ( but wholly experiential ) mode. In fact, poet for us is not the one who weaves imaginative tales but a person who reveals the hidden meaning in the mantras to the multitude. Mantresu karmani kavayo yany apasyams tani tretayam bahuda santatani (Mundaka Upanishad 1.2.1). Truth is multifaceted, multidimensional and multimodal and no language in itself can capture it in its entirety. As another Upanishad puts it, words and mind return baffled without attaining it, yato vaco nivartante aprapya manasa saha. Symbols offer an excellent means through which approximation to Reality can be made.

Dr. Jayanti Manohar demonstrates with brilliant illustration from Rig Veda and in a very telling way what we miss by not attending to other meanings by unraveling the symbols of the mantras. We miss the wholesome truth by getting stuck with the only partial. For instance, Gou is not just the cow but the Light and Sun too. Similarly, Agni is Heat; Indra is Mind and Action fighting the negative forces (Vrta and Vala) for the sake seekers of knowledge. Vayu is Life Energy, Mitra is Love and Harmony, Varuna is master of Infinity cutting asunder restrictive thinking that separate us, Saraswati is Inspiration. What is more, Asvamedha is assimilation of Power by conquering senses and even refers to pranayama (downward movement of diaphragm in in-breath as offering vapa into Jatharagni, a fire of stomach). All these interpretation throws up a great inner psychic dynamism that moves us towards self discovery aided and supported by the forces invoked. Similar scintillating exposition of Agnihotra and Yajna is also available in the book.
(Continued in page 2)
                                                           - 2 -
The book, while decoding symbols, opens up a journey (adharva) to the core of inner being and its connection to all that exist in the cosmos that is deeply spiritual with offering  powerful psychological tools to unravel. In the end, the reader is left wondering at the marvel of wisdom in the Vedas whose reach is universal, applicable to all times for our enlivenment and as aid to reach the destination. In the process, the author dispels with authority the prevailing misconception on Vedas as discriminating caste and gender, on multitude of gods, including the myth of Soma as intoxicating drink!

Dr. Jayanti Manohar deserves our congratulations and gratitude for the difficult job undertaken and executing it splendidly while unfolding the hidden treasure in mystic symbols of Rig Veda.

 Dr. Jayanthi Manohar, PhD(Samskrit)
#001, Sterling Court Apts., No.21, Kanakapura Road,
Basavanagudi, Bangalore 560004.


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Save the University, Harm the Students!

Bifurcation of Bangalore University is in the cauldron. University today has 688 affiliated colleges besides nearly 50 Post graduate Departments and with more than 3.75 lakh students in all. The bifurcation of the University was mooted in the late 1990's when it has little over 300 colleges and around 3 lakh (three hundred thousand) students.The reason for bifurcation proposal is straight, simple and quite obvious: the large number delays announcement of results, the hurry often results in too many mistakes, delays rectification of mistakes and becomes a fertile ground for malpractices and corruption of the highest magnitude. For instance, the scripts of English Language alone runs into lakhs in Bangalore University and as the teacher gets hardly few weeks of vacation in between the semester to value those scripts it is a herculean task to finish valuation on time; and add to the owe there is nearly 50% of the sanctioned post of teachers are lying vacant. The time required to value those scripts with limited qualified teachers for valuation is woefully short and no wonder the teachers are hard pressed to complete valuation and announce the result where often such hurry results in mistakes in valuation and writing of marks card. The students has to run from pillar to post to get the mistakes rectified and with a large number,the mistakes won't get corrected even after one or even two semester gone by. Further, the large number would be a field day for the crooks to make huge amount of corrupt money as what is levied for one student (to get their marks inflated in league with corrupt valuators/custodians and other officials)  gets multiplied by lakhs of student in a large University whereas in a smaller University it  multiplies only in hundreds and as such not so attractive to the malpractitioner. It is even surmised that it is these crooks/ corrupt middlemen who are working hard behind the scene to see that the University is not bifurcated lest they loose their lucrative business. Hence, if one makes a claim as Head of State made,  that the Bangalore University is saved and kept intact, it is at the cost of unbearable hardship to the vast majority of its students as well as to the quality of education and the credibility of the Institution.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My Life with Victory Gods: Jayadeva

June 14-17, 2013: an unprecedented devastation in Uttarkand where floods and landslide killed and trapped hundreds and thousands of devotees who thronged to Amarnath and Kedarnath Temples in their annual pilgrimage, shaking perhaps their faith in gods  as solace. Something beyond Faith, Gods and Reality as known and knowable that would govern human and world affairs has occurred. The Faith that bestowed a sense of security and ownership of life is shattered. A much greater reality than our faiths and gods has acted either as punishment for the ills we committed against Nature (greed resulting in reckless deforestation, for example) or as restoration of balance in the cosmic world or in the multitude of cosmos.

June 17-July 5, 2013: was my life in Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and Research. I too had lost the sense of ownership and governance of my body, had shaken in my faith, in my yoga and "healthy lifestyle"; something beyond my faith, my knowledge and the realities that aided my growth so far has occurred. Months of stomach gas resulting eventually in chest pain and giddiness rushed me to cardiac check up at Jayadeva where a coronary CT scan(on 17th June) revealed which no other tests such as ECG, EKG, Tread Mills had discovered: artheroscelerosis,  thickening of the one vessel ( artery ) in my heart, the calcification was so hard and thick that it is not amenable to angioplasty(either for balloon inflation or stent) as the angiogram on 20th June revealed  and it had to be an open heart bypass surgery(CABG-Coronary Artery Bypass Graft of LAD) that was done on 26th June. Perhaps, like the Uttarkand devastation, I too did not heed to the voice of the reality that is beyond my faith, knowledge and practices; I too was punished for it and a corrective measure taken.

Victory Gods: At my age of 70 years, I thought I have seen it all and I would rather welcome death rather than taking pains. I was expecting yamadutas, messenger of death, to take me away. Instead, gods, the doctors at Jayadeva, were sent to restore me for a longer life, "we do not let you go so easily" had quipped my Surgeon! It was indeed a pleasant surprise to see so many competent and committed healers at Jayadeva. Dr. C N Manjunath, Director of the Institute and Head of the Cardiology, an Angioplastic Surgeon, who did a angiogram on me, is humanity personified, always showered love and respect on patients, took care to see that best care is given with least damage in treatment. Dr. P. S. Seetharama Bhat, Head of Surgery Unit, who did the open heart bypass surgery(CABG) on me, is competence and confidence personified, oozes the same to his wards, is pragmatic, witty and awakens patients to a sense of reality and realistic ways of life with tremendous authority. Dr. A M Jagadish, Registrar, an Anesthetist, an administrator with a human face especially to the downtrodden, took precise and effective care of me. Dr. Jaipraksh, the Rhythm Specialist, perhaps a pioneer in the field in the Country, who takes such pride in his work, a thorough practitioner, who watched and assured about my cardiac Rhythm, was indeed an inspiration to patients. Every doctor who assisted in the team, be it cardiology - Dr. Prahavati, Dr. L. Sridhar and others or Surgery - Drs. Raghavendra, Girish Gowda, Surabhi, Dvya  were on their toes and visited and examined patients with such frequency and regularity that I always felt that I am in the best care possible. Dr. Jayalakshmi of the Department of Clinical Nutrition has a multitrack wholistic approach to food and nutrition, combines Eastern and western wisdom, quick and volatile in educationg patients, always displaying a motherly concern.  Nursing care displayed quiet efficiency and affection. The PROs - Gowri and Prema Rao - too were vastly helpful and supportive in Reception as well as in navigating through Hospital Services. Last, but not the least are the Physiotherapist who were thorough, clear and insistent, and although their regimen to the patient was painful but on hindsight I discovered it hasten the recovery.

I wondered how it is possible that such extraordinary specialist were assembled in a Government Hospital in our country. Perhaps, leadership and people at the helm matters most. First, it got out of the bureaucratic(power without competence) clutches by obtaining an autonomous status for the Institute which enabled giving incentives in addition to the poor government salary to attract and retain the best professional talent for the Hospital. It has made best use of Public-Private-Participation and brought vast and highly updated technical tools and equipment to the Institute that is comparable to the best of its kind in the world but with a highly affordable cost ( for BPLs at no cost ) to the vast majority of our people. It has all that is related to cardiology in one roof including a Dental Unit and Dr. Manjunath explains how closely it is related to heart and patients need not go out to get dental check up done. Kudos, and my hats off, to Dr. C N Manjunath, Director, and his team who made all these possible. People of this Country, especially the poor even more so, remember you all in Jayadeva in pride for making it possible the way it is done in our own Country.

Personal Care givers: Having last my only child, a daughter in her 30s, an Engineer, twelve years ago and my wife four years ago, I was living alone and as a principle cooking my own food and taking care of the house. In my worst crisis it was my students -Dr. Mrs. Gayathri Shabaraya, PhD and Dr. Romate John, PhD in particular- who chipped in and took charge . Gayathri not only took care but even took all the trouble to see that I shift my residence to a place where her brothers and mother live nearby before she left for US to join her husband, Praveen H M. She flew down all the way from California to take care when bypass operation was announced. In fact, her husband said she won't be happy here when you are undergoing treatment and it is he who insisted her to join us here. It is she, her brothers, her mother and Romate who made things easier  and enjoyable for me. My gratitude to them is unbound.

I started this note with a reality beyond our faith and knowledge that is much larger and that which governs us in a cosmic perspective. Yet, it is not out of reach/access to us. If only we listened to the the inner voice/signals that is connected to everything that exist-organic and inorganic- in the cosmos we could sense and regulate ourselves in tune with that larger reality that supports and nurture us. I read that calcification in the artery could begin even when we are twenty although blockage would occur as we grow old depending on other factors such as food(prefer less of salt, sugar and fat and more of fruits, vegetables and whole grain),life style (avoid hurry and worry), habits (smoking is most dangerous and its damage is irreversible) and stress (have an attitude to life and relationship that is positive and tension free) . If we could turn our eyes/ears/smell/taste/kinesthetic and vestibular senses to our within either always as we function or at least a time during the day, perhaps we connect to that larger reality and sense those that are not in tune with the Reality and correct ourselves accordingly for a healthy and robust life as well.

My views on medical system practiced to day, which was presented as a Convocation Address at M S Ramaiah Medical College some years ago, which was also put in my blog whose link is given below:

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Bhardwaj: A stink from Trivandrum to Rome

Bhardwaj: A stink from Trivandrum to Rome.

 Honorable chancellor showed yet again a disgraceful behavior. A fellow who was almost got a judicial pronouncement of his criminality (lying his class marks, lying about his research competence, lying about positions held) has been given one-year extension.

Often Universities are run with the support of crooked and criminal minded nominated syndicate members, imagine what would such vice chancellor do if 12 more months of extension is given. Chancellor if he is honest could have reconstituted the Committee and appointed a new vice chancellor with in three weeks on a war footing. The madam down to her team in the Central, thinks that the stink is actually an aroma contributed by the riches in the offices he held, it is pathological; and the treatment is available.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Interview by Aumji, Saadhnaa, on Spiritual Practice

My experience at Yahoo Answers was mixed. On one side I was cloned and insulted/abused by trolls and on the other hands I got some wonderful contacts, who came as a boon in my life....and worked as a catalyst in my sadhna.

Dr. M.S.Thimmappa was such a noble soul, whom I discovered on YA and became his fan for the life. In one of my questions I asked "Given a chance would you like to be a Radha or Rukmini ?". I got many answers by Thimmappaji's answer just stunned me. He said -I would like to be Radha, in spite of the pain as the pain is for the beloved Lord and such pain washes clean our impurity so that Lord is reflected for ever in me and not taken for granted as in the case of Rukmini.".

Then Thimmappaji became a regular answerer of my questions. His simple answers, not by repeating scriptures and lacking the repetitions of some guru's words, were mind-blowing and eye openers.

Thimmappaji has a doctorate in psychology and retired as Vice-Chancellor from Bangalore University. Despite some terrible set backs and tragedies in life, his outlook towards spirituality has not changed. Troubles gave him strength and problem elated his soul...and he still continues showing divine light to many.

We are very lucky that our Sadhna Group has such members, and luckier to have his views on Sadhna, despite his busy schedule. Following are the excerpts of our interview with Dr.Thimmappa (on 18th Oct,13):-

Sadhana : How would you like to be addressed ? as your real name or pseudo name you use ?

MST : My real name - Thimmappa M S, or its initials - MST.

Sadhna- How long have you been associated with Sadhna group ?

MST- More than six years

Sadhna- How did you find this Group as a new comer ?

MST - Openness to all spiritual practices irrespective of any religion, creed, interpretations, systems and methods

Sadhna- What is Sadhna (meditation) as per you ?

MST- Quietening the Mind ( body-mind-intellect complex ) so that the vast, vibrant and nurturing reality beyond the mind is 'seen'/awakened.

Sadhna- what should be kept in mind while doing Sadhna?

MST - Regularity in practice rather than looking for 'experience' or 'effects'. (Regularity ensures progress, noticing/experiencing is immaterial and may even be hindrance)

Sadhna - What according to you is " Enlightenment" ??

MST - A 'sense' of living in unity/connectedness with all that exist, living and non living,irrespective of any man made divisions; and love flowing through that connectedness always. (sarvamidam prOtam sUtrE maNigaNA iva- Gita7.7/everything is connected like beads in a thread)

Sadhna- What role do pains and suffering play in our Sadhna ?

MST - They may hasten our 'evolution' when we accept them without resistance and 'fight'.

Sadhna- Anything you would like to share with us about yourself ?

MST - As a scientist and a practicing clinical psychologist, I had believed that only science and rationality can contribute to human welfare till I came across in professional/technical journals I valued reports on the beneficial effects of 'meditation' on anxiety and other related neurosis.

It was an ethical crisis for me as a professional: either I have to ignore those findings as I do not believe in anything other than the known/'proven' notions of rationality or give in to spiritual practice for the sake of my clients. For, if meditation can cure with little cost of money and time than drugs and I yet I won't introduce it to my clients , I am not worth an honest professional and I would be committing crime against my clients. That was my crisis. So, reluctantly I went to a Meditation initiator and told him that I would send my clients to him to get them into the practice and I want to study the validity of the claim myself by conducting a study of pre and post- meditation state. The Teacher laughed - guffaw - and said "if you want to know the veracity of the claims on meditation, better you do it yourself, you cannot know through others".

The time, context and the way he said it, it shook me. I said "why not, I am game, go ahead" That began my journey into spirituality, in 1973. Since then, I may have left taking food on time owing to work pressure, deprived of my sleep, missed the company of loved ones for a while, but never, never, even a single time I missed my daily Meditation! What an addiction!

Sadhna – What should be treated as "Progress" in Sadhna ?

MST - Experience of peace within in spite of vagaries and problems in and around, and a quiet efficiency in whatever we do out in the world. In other words, a fine ability to love and work(both, not just any one of it!), with ease, effortlessly.

Sadhna – Your message to other group members ?

MST - Spiritual practices take us to a world within us that is beyond the Mind. The words and thoughts cannot apprehend that world, if we do so, we are either pulling down the vastness of the being(spiritual) to a mundane unreality or misapprehend/misinterpret that vastness. Yet, it could be felt if only we realize with confidence of knowing 'things' without words and thoughts, spirituality is an inexplicable state of being, just be it, without any itch to word it, reason it! ( nayamAtmA pravachanEna na labhyo, na meedhayA na bahunA shrutEna...Katha Upanishad 1.2.23/Soul can not be accessed either by preaching, or intellect or by many listening)

Sadhna - Thank you Dr.Thimmappa for taking time out of your busy schedule and sharing your thoughts. I thank you on behalf of all members here and hope we will continue getting spiritual guidance from you.

MST - Thanks and Good Wishes to all spiritual aspirants.

Friday, March 8, 2013


Karnataka Education Rot: Keeping Mum is Safe for Chancellor and Pro Chancellor.

U B Ashok Kumar, Professor and Head of the Department of Sociology in an Evening College at Mysore committed suicide and the suicide note he left says that he was fed up with the system that is full of corruption and caste biased and in particular referred to the corrupt practice in the appointment of Vice Chancellor to Universities. Uday Singh, the Chancellor nominee in the Syndicate in the University at Davangere, resigns from his membership being disgusted with the corruption prevailing in the appointment of Vice Chancellors. Chancellor, who is invariably the Governor of the State, appoints Vice Chancellors with the concurrence of the State Government, out of the panel of three names submitted by a Search Committee.   Yet, although both the incidences stated above concerns directly the Chancellor, there is no response from Chancellor or the Pro chancellor(Minister of Higher Education) - no regrets, no commission of enquiry, no remedial measure coming from them.

 The Chancellor has appointed a Vice Chancellor without even a valid panel of three names from the Search Committee as per the KSU Act. What is worse, he appoints a person as Vice Chancellor from out of that invalid panel against whom there was a dissent note by one of the Search committee Member on the grounds that a case is pending against that nominee in the High Court alleging serious malpractices/crimes committed by him. What is more, the Chancellor has no minimum courtesy and decorum of his office to offer reason for rejecting the dissent note given by a Search Committee Member. It is beholden on the Chancellor to reject the Search Committee's list of names when it is not in accordance with the Act and ask for a second panel from the Committee which would be in accordance with the Act. Instead, Chancellor arrogates himself the power that is not vested with him by the Law, picks up a name from the Search Committee List against whom a dissent note was there, and appoints the same person as Vice Chancellor without offering any reason for rejecting the dissent note in his noting. In fact, his noting written from his own handwriting as well as the proceedings of that Search Committee including the dissent note was widely published by the Media. There was absolutely no response either by the Chancellor or the Pro Chancellor even on this case.

The urgent need is to initiate enquiry on the above charges of corruption, irregularities and illegalities and take appropriate action on the result of enquiry before the persons concerned relinquish their office, and stem the rot setting in Higher Education allegedly by the highest authority. As the highest authorities are unlikely to institute inquiry against themselves, the President of India must intervene to do so with a Supreme Court Judge as the Head of Inquiry. Besides, a permanent Ombudsman (as Lokayukta is too burdened by its load) to enquire  and punish cases of corruption in the Universities in Karnataka including in the appointment of Vice Chancellors.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Feeding Others Feeds and Liberates Us


The Lord invited angels and demons for a dinner and said, "There will be divine food on the menu. Anyone who eats it would become immortal."

So both groups turned up at the Lord's residence, for the dinner. The Lord thanked them for coming and said, "You can have the food but to attain immortality you should ensure that you do not bend your arms at the elbows while you eat."

The demons tried their best to eat without bending their elbow and utterly failed. Cursing the Lord they went back. Angels did not have any problems. Each took a morsel of food and fed the other. Thus, mutually feeding each other, they attained immortality.

A quality of a good leader is in learning the art of managing people. Andrew Carnegie said, "Take away my people, but leave my factories, and soon grass will grow on the factory floors. Take away my factories, but leave my people, and soon we will have a new and better factory."

In managing people one has to keep their hopes alive. One has to teach them to manage their disappointments. A good leader does not worry too much about his career but works on the careers of others. When a successful man was asked what was his greatest asset he answered, "I consider the ability to awaken the enthusiasm in my people as the greatest asset that I possess."

To awaken people's enthusiasm is the greatest skill that a leader can possess. When Andrew Carnegie was asked about the secrets of his success he answered, "One should have a patience of a gold miner when working with people. To get a little gold you have to patiently remove a lot of dust." Someone has stated beautifully, "There is difference between a boss and a leader."

The boss pushes the subordinates; the leader inspires them.

The boss depends on authority; the leader on good will.

The boss says 'I'; the leader says 'We'.

The boss says "You go'; the leader says 'Let us go'.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


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by Thimmappa M S 

Higher Education Indian scenario

There are several excellent institutions of higher education in the country some of them compares well with the best in the world such as Indian Institute of Science, Indian Institutes of Technology, Indian Institutes of Management, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, National Institute of Mental Health and other institutions of higher learning under private sector. Yet, considering the enormous size and talent in the Country it is not enough and far below the national requirement.Infact, the enrolment for higher education of the age group concerned is too low as compared to several other countries and much below the global average of 15%.


 _Enrolment Ratio

USA                 80.90%

Canada           87.30%

Australia        79.80%

Finland           74.10%

UK                    52.30%

France             51.00%

Norway           62.00%

Belgium          56.30%

New Zealand 62.60%

China               23.00%

India                13.00%

Source:UNESCO,The World Education Report,2000

There is a dire need to increase the enrolment to at least to 20% in another ten years to achieve envisaged national development. We have too few Universities in the Country to accomplish the task.     

    Universities per population

Countries      Population     Universities

                       (in crores)    

USA               27.60          2466

Japan            12.70             726

Germany        8.20             350

UK                    5.98             125

Indonesia     21.70          1770

Philippines      7.90         1495

China           130.60          2000
India          110.00         342

We need about 1500 Universities to meet the requirement. However the mindset of the bureaucracy (power without expertise)which largely controls higher education in the country considers it as non-merit good and would at the earliest opportunity wash off  its hand from higher education by handing over to private initiative and foreign universities! Higher education need to be considered as investment in human resource development. The role of human resource in national development is up to 65%, the natural resources up to 25% and the remaining 10% depends on infrastructure.

Issues in Higher Education


Major issues in Indian Higher Education are quality and relevance, access and equity, infrastructure and the large number. The quality educational institutions available are either very few considering the demand for it or not affordable to the majority of the people who can benefit from it. They are also found wanting in ensuring social justice by enabling socially disadvantaged students such as dalits, women and differently able to have access. The majority of other institutions are poor in quality in imparting instructions and providing required infrastructure. Providing quality education at an affordable cost for the vast majority of the seekers is the urgent need of the hour.Otherwise,only the rich will continue to have quality higher education, get posh jobs and the poor will remain with no jobs or only 'mean'/menial jobs. A country where majority cannot afford the best of civilization cannot be called a developed country. Indian government is spending under 1% of the national income on higher education and it is unlikely that it is in a position to spend more. The government needs to enable the Private and Foreign initiative to enter the field in a big way. The well founded apprehension that it would harm the interest of social justice should be addressed by a well mandated strategy to take care of our sociocultural and historical necessities before joining with the Private sector. There is also an urgent need to cast off the bureaucratic structure governing the Universities. Our education has not had any major change even after nearly 60 years of Independence. We hardly respect professional competence while managing our affairs. In fact, we are in the down 50th position out of 53 Countries studied on the use of professional managers(Global Competitiveness Report,2004).We must move towards giving full autonomy,independence,responsibility and freedom to the competent experts for managing our institutions of higher learning.

 Further, the time has come to question the very purpose of education. Education must help in developing all the resources available in the individual to the benefit of self and the society and usher in peace and prosperity. Failure on these fronts is quite glaring.Although, studies on these lines is hard to come by, the findings of the two committees in this regard in the United States is noteworthy. Reports of James Coleman(1966)and Daniel Moynihan(1965)on the role of education in contributing to social equality and success(achievement)in later life is quite revealing:Genes,IQ,education and school quality have little effect on economic success or in bringing  equality. Social status (socioeconomic level) has some bearing. Only political and economic changes can bring greater equality and not through education. In fact, the success depends on "varieties of luck “and "on the job competence" and even there it is more of personality than technical skills and only moderately related to family background, schooling or scores on tests.Therefore,we must realize that the development of a total person should become the main purpose of education.

Ideal/True Education: Self Development

Self Development refers to the development of the total person, what all a person is and can be. The total person consists of mind, body and soul; the head, heart, hand and higher reaches of being. Education should address to the development of all those four ‘h’, not just the Head alone as most of the modern education is concerned with. According to Indian ancient wisdom education consists of intellectual, emotional and spiritual dimensions of the individual. Even the idol of goddess of learning Saraswati/Sharada depicts these dimensions: on the one hand she holds the book, on the other two hands Veena,a string musical instrument, is held across her chest and the remaining hand holds the garland of beads(japamala).Mundaka Upanishad talks of two types of knowledge/education:para(spiritual) and apara(material):

  • Dve vidye veditavye iti ha sma yad brahmavido vadanti, paracaivapara ca.(1.1.4)
  • Two kinds of knowledge are to be known, as indeed, the knower of Brahman declare-The Higher(spiritual) as well as The Lower(material) sciences.

The material knowledge consisted of physical, chemical, biological, mathematical, language, humanities,social and cosmological sciences. The spiritual is concerned with the imperishable part of the reality:

  • Tatra apara rg-vedo yajurvedah sama-vedo tharva-vedah siksha kalpo vyakaranam niruktam cando jyotisam-iti.Para yaya tad aksaram adhigamyate.(1.1.5)
  • Of these,the lower is the Rg veda,the Yajurveda,the Samaveda,theAthurveda,Phonetics,Ritual,Grammer,Etymology,Metrics and Astrology.The higher is that by which undecaying is apprehended.

Isha Upanishad calls para vidya as just vidya and apara vidya is abbreviated as avidya and declares that knower of only any one of the two is a fool:

· Andam tamah pravishanti yo’vdyam upasate tato bhuya iva tamo ya u vidyayam ratah(-9-)

· Into blinding darkness enter those who worship science only and those who delight in spirituality only enter into greater darkness.

In the two knowledge, each have different purpose:

· Anyad eva ahuh vidyaya,anyad ahuh avidyaya iti susruma dhiranam ya nas tad vicacaksire(-10-).

· Spirituality has its own distinct purpose.Science also has its own,a different purpose.Thus we have heard from the brave explorers(of both realms)who explained all this to us.

It further states that both should be studied as one help conquer death and the other to attain immortality:

· Vidyam ca avidyam ca yah tad veda ubhayam saha,avidyaya mrtyum tirtva vidyaya amritam asnute(-11-)

· One who masters both science and spirituality together,conquers death through science and tastes immortality through spirituality.

The two types of knowledge,infact,corresponds two aspects of reality itself. In the Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna states that there is two aspects to Nature-para(spiritual) and apara(material).The material part consists of five elements as well as mind,intelligence and ego:

· Bhumir apo nalo vayu kham mano buddir eva ca,ahankara itiyam me bhinna prakritir astadha(7.4)

· Earth,water,fire,air,ether,mind,intelligence and ego-all together these eight constitute my separate material nature.

The spiritual part is other than the above material and which in fact holds everything that exist:

· Apareyam itas tu anyam prakritim viddhi me param,jiva bhutam mahabaho yayedam dharyate jagat(7.5)

· Besides these,O’mighty armed, there is another higher(spiritual) nature of mine which holds the whole universe.

He further states that all that exists are interconnected as the beads in a garland:

· Mayi sarvam idam protram sutre mani gana iva(7.7).

· Everything rests on me as pearls are strung on a thread.

Educational Implications.

True education should develop both the material and spiritual nature of people.Apara is the visible (material) part and the para is the invisible(spiritual) part.Invisible is subtler,stronger,all pervasive, rich and nurturing.We need to access both before embarking on any activity. We have attained some competence in mastering the material but too naïve in contacting the spiritual.Spirituality is too serious and too urgently to be brought to the mundane that it can not be left in the hands of religion alone.It is ordained that it should become part of the routine.Yogastha kuru karmani-perform action in the state of Yoga(B.G.2.48).Yogah karmasu kaushalam-yoga is skill in action(B.G.2.50) states the Bhagavad Gita.Educationist must come forward to incorporate these in the curriculum for the benefit of all students.There are well knit treatises on how to kindle spirituality among people.It essentially involve quietening of our material components so that the spiritual part awakens and takes control.Yoga is silencing mental activities-yoga cittavritti nirodah(Y.S.1.2).Then the seer is established in his nature-tada drashtuh svarupe avasthanam(Y.S.1.3) Both are from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra that are indicative of the spiritual attainment.The classical methodologies and practices are advocated for accessing the invisible part of reality.Two such practices are given below.

Patanjali Yoga:

· Yama,niyama,asana,pranayama,pratyahara,dharana,dhyana,samadhiyah ashtavangani.

· Discipline-internal and external,posture,breathing,withdrawing senses from its objects,focusing,meditation,tuning in with Reality are the eight limbs of yoga.


· Kayanu paschana-observe the body

· Vedananu paschana-observe the sensation

· Chittanu paschana-observe the mind

· Dammanu paschana-observe the Order

Behavioral Implications

For a Westerner self development is concerned with satisfaction of ones needs such as need for hunger, thirst, sex,belongings,love,status and actualization of potentialities.The Eastern view is that aiming at satisfaction of needs is like pouring oil to the fire, it will never quench the thirst in real sense but instead it burns us up.Bhoga(consumption) can never satisfy, only tyaga(renunciation) can. Prosperity with peace is the real development. Many increasing stress related disorders of today is an indicator of suffering amidst plenty! Discovering and developing ones unique talents and capabilities and dedicating it to the welfare of others who need them is the true development where peace prevails along with prosperity, gratification of ones need is taken care as seeking ones development through development of others will ensure ones development along with social,national,and global development. It is for nothing that great sage Vyasa said:paropakarah punyaya papaya parapidanam,helping others is the virtue,inflicting pain on others is sin.Vedas say:yo vy bhooma tatsukham nalpe sukhamasti,who hones into the big and the large is happy not the petty. World is the family-vasudaiva kutumbakam. Get connected to the Whole and remain always there.


Coleman(1966):Equality of Educational Oppurtunity,US Govt.Printing press, Washington.

Jenks,C.(1972):Inequality: A reassessment of the effects of family and schooling in America, Basic Books, New York.

Kulandai Swamy,V.C.(2006):Reconstruction of Higher Education in India,ICFAI Univ.Press,Hyderabad.

Moynihan,D.et.al.(1965):Moynihan Report,US Govt.Washington