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Hah! this month has been amazing. Not only am I not working as I generally do, but I’m also spending a lot of time with Rimcollians (that’s a term used to refer to alumni from my school, RIMC). Why, just yesterday seven of us met up at INS Hamla and I must say that lots of old memories were brought back. Below are some of the topics of discussions;

1) Apparently Raja Wangdi Sherpa, one of the best cadets I’ve known, had a boxing bout with Vibhore Singh when the former was the cadet captain. Vibhore was recounting his experience and his passionate ‘second’ joshing him up against one of the best boxers. At this time, I also remembered the bout between Major Vikramjeet Singh (now Col.) and Bikramjeet Singh alias ‘bhakka’ that took place in my first sem.

2) When something inside me gave me a ‘go ahead’ to enter the 48-51 kg category to fight against Manjeet Kataria (this guy was the nationals variety) and Romen Singh. I was declared RSC after the first round.

3) Cheating in NDA writtens; UPSC exams. One of the best experiences of my life I must say. There’s no better charm than helping your classmates clear the exam. All of us from different classes were recounting as to how we had done it.

4) Not to forget, Col Houghton and the headless horseman incident. We were trying to recall as to who all were involved in it. I now know that Maj. Vivek Singh was on the ropes, Toshi on the beams and PK Pandey. But we still haven’t figured as to who was riding the horse. 🙂

5) About how Gaurav Madan, Rajan Chikkara, Vishal Singh and Subeg Singh Dhindsa were the coolest people in college during our time. The Best batch went undoubtedly to Raja’s batch.This also included Bhaskar Shukla, Mithun and Srinivas.

6) Of rounds at five thirty and how I dreaded rolling with bajri (pebbles) put on my back on the cemented floor.

7) Of reducing runs; tapkeshwar, robbers cave and lalgate. Coming back after the run and having blankets put on you while you are ‘legs up and hands down’ and people beating you up with hockey sticks so that you sweat and lose weight.

8) Of how chandragupt section always ended up being the underdogs and beat up Pratap once in a memorable football match.

9) Not to forget the Obstacle course which all of us agreed was the most interesting event in RIMC. As to how everyone used to do the course and all the drama that takes place when the last man is on the burma bridge and monkey crawl and everyone is cheering up.

10) Lastly, of the championship; Mr. Vishwakarma’s introduction of the “jhadoo pocha” (cleaniness) cup and sections winning the overall championship and lifting the Arjun tank model. Out of my five years at school, my Section Ranjit won it 3 times. We joined as champions and passed out as one.

A lot more was discussed till five in the morning on the beach and rooms at the station. The Rimcollians present were;

Rahul Choudhary, Vibhore Singh, PInku Singh, Ashish Kumar, M Arun, Cdr. RK Singh and self.

I got my semester results yesterday and I must say i ‘expected’ some of those grades. In fact, I understood what it means to go against the system. Actually it was this Teacher in Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) that ‘literally screwed’ my grades. It was a 6 credit course and the highest there is. Well, like I said earlier; for alleging her to the biased and unfair in her marking and complaining to the authorities about it, I got what I expected.

Well, that is one of the downsides for going againt the system. Universities must be seen as institutions that encourage liberal thinking and not enforce the moral ideals and notion of a particular individual. Perhaps, I was fed up with being treated as a primary school student and didnt want to be bound by rules anymore. Rules, where asking a legitimate question would mean doubting the authority of the teacher and something as silly as an attendance is being cut for not answering a question.

The root of the problem is not the infamy of certain teachers but the very way university education works in India. A former principal of my school RIMC, Mr. Hugh Catchpole characterised it as a ‘Guru- Chela’ relationship; where in the student is to do strictly as the teacher says. Students must do their homework, get all their books to class and know everything that is going on. I remember my days in Kendriya Vidyalaya where I had to take heavy bags with all the books possible . That may work in primary and secondary schools but surely not in Universities where every one is above the age of 18 and is to be considered mature enough to make the right decisions. In Universities, students must not be forced to learn but interested to learn; its informed choice that works in this case.

I would like to put forth another instance of the ‘guru -chela’ notion. Two students Canada came over to my jurisprudence class and started addressing the prof. by her first name, while at the same time we address her as “ma’am”. I could notice a distinct openess between her and those Canadians as she was aware of the system out there and appreciated it from them; and she was not open to us following suit, the true reason for which Im not aware of but Im certain our education system has a part to play in it.

Perhaps, this is one of the reasons that I felt a ‘burn out’ in this place. And it is in these times that I feel my going for the exchange programme to Canada comes as a blessing. I’m done with nepotism and sycophancy and have had enough of it. 😛

Liberty v. Security

A Review of the Posner- Balkin debate

 

I had the good fortune of listening to the Posner – Balkin debate on the above topic online and must say certain very interesting questions have arisen from it. The debate may be heard/ seen online here and before I proceed on certain important aspects about the debate, I’d like to give a brief about the speakers.

Jack Balkin is a Professor of Constitutional Law at the Yale Law School.

Eric Posner is the Kirkland and Ellis Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School.

 

While the dialogue extended to various aspects of liberty and national security, below si my own review of what the two luminaries talked about civil liberties.

Eric Posner comes up with this ‘strangely interesting’ argument at the start of his debate the Executive is in the best position to judge an emergency and thus take further actions to tackle the situation at hand. He puts a lot of faith in the Government process and argues that the creation of rights is a political process and may be curbed when required. His faith extends to the fact that he denies any intentional misuse of such power by the Government. An analogy that he draws is We give the police guns as an example of power granted and not that is abused. Even if we agree with this argument in theory, it surely is flawed in light of incidents like Guantanamo and Abu Gharib and I don’t think Posner would mean that such abuses were still required and right by the Executive. 

Another definitive counter was given by a commentator Praedor stating

“Rights are NOT a service the government provides. They are not something that the government allows. They are inviolate and are what the government serves. The Constitution and Bill of Rights isn’t about giving government power, it is all about limiting the government’s power in the Founding Documents. These documents are not limits of what the people can do, but rather documents that strictly limit what government can do…and you cannot simply legislate rights away. ALL attempts to do so are, by definition, unconstitutional.”

While Eric takes this belligerent approach in his argument Balkin looks at rights from a wholly different perspective. He argues that civil liberties is always considered to be a moving target and with time the protection of individuals will only increase. It is not possible to comprehend a situation where in human existence and the protection of rights would be the same as were 3 centuries ago. Civil liberties also play an important role in producing the structure of governance that we have unlike Posner who called its existence a ‘political process’.

The debate deals with vivid aspects of the National Security State, surveillance and the protection of rights, more importantly the right to privacy. Towards the end, the debate turns a bit political in the sense that they look at the Bush administration’s competence as a stable executive and draw comparisons to the era of Nixon and Kennedy in the cold war.

I found this dialogue very informative and recommend it to all my readers. I would also recommend Posner’s article ‘The credible executive’ to further understand the views presented in the dialogue.

I Don’t think I’ll be able to study anymore tonight. First a few II years find a marriage profile of one of our Professors and second the first years come up with this hilarious post on Facebook.

PS: the spellings are the way the teacher’s pronounce them.And NALSAR is the National Academy for Legal Studies and Research. Where I study. (Suppose to be one of the best in the Country)

YOU KNOW YOU’RE A NALSARRITE WHEN-

1.They told you that the laa/low/law was an elephant on your first day of classes

2.Random insects that you wouldve found strange earlier form an integral part of your daily environ

3.You know that romaance is supposed to be strictly forbidden….

4.Dhaba food comes dangerously close to being a treat
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