Tuesday, 30 July 2013

3: Naturography, Tennis, Monsoon & Workshop

Academic Year 2013-14:
Post 3: Florescence, Rain-tennis, Teaching & Workshop
Florescence: July 2013

The week (22-27 July 2013) was the week full of showers and drizzles. The Rain-God seems to be happy this year. The flora surrounding the Department of English has blossomed in this 'season of mist and mellow fruitfulness' (Keats' To Autumn). One can but not escape from the memory of Wordsworth's 'Daffodils' -  "Fluttering and dancing in the breeze . . . Tossing their heads in sprightly dance. . . the bliss of solitude . . . And then my heart with pleasure fills, . . . And dances with the daffodils."

Nature has curious ways to teach lesson to humans.

Wordsworth has truly said in 'Tabled Turned': "Let Nature be your teacher . . .spontaneous wisdom breathed by health, truth breathed by cheerfulness . . .It may teach you more of man, of moral evil and of good, than all the sages can . . . Come forth, and bring with you a hearth that watches and receives." How true! How come the vine of flower crept up to the CCTV camera to give us an oxymoron image? How paradoxical is this image - either you call it security or spy camera, it connotes fear & faithlessness - and the lavender flower among green leaves - stands for innocence, beauty & truth! So much of precautions, so much of fear, so much of doubt, so less of trust, so less of reliance! Lavender or green, rocky or leafy, fair or coarse; Nature do not differentiate! And we, the humans, live with walls made up of caste, creed, colour, religion, gender and nationalities; and do not even care to 'mend' the wall!
  
Well, the tiny little grass with six leaves has great message for those who find that their circumstances and situations are worst among all. Amidst rock solid stones, this soft and fine tissue - nature's beloved little child  - has defiantly sprung out. Perhaps, smilingly says: 'you still have better cards then mine.'

If the monsoon brings heaven on the earth with its beauteous splendour, it also brings in hurdles for out-door games. Many of the tennis-players of clay or grass courts will be having their monsoon vacation, we, the players of tar-cement court, do not take break from playing.
Sports is an addiction, though a healthy one. It is not only the physical fitness which tempts me to procrastinate all important work in the morning hours. Rather, it is psychological relief, a cathartic release from the repressed angst and anxiety. Had I not been playing Tennis, I would have been a spoilsport in relationships. Greeks were true lover of sports-culture. They mothered Olympics. I do not know why, but we do not have sports-culture. 
Thanks to NDTV and Ranbir Kapoor for the campaign - Marks for Sports. Yes, there should be equal marks for those who appear in term-end exams and those who disappear from the class to play games. If you agree, like this Facebook page.

Well, coming to the task of teaching, it was quite wonderful week. Semester 1 students keenly participated in the discussion on Plato's objection to poetry and Aristotle's answer to his Guru. Yes, the week began with Guru-Purnima (22 July). The example of Aristotle's disagreement with his Guru and his giving him fitful answers is one of the best things for students to imbibe. We, rather, believe in too much of obeyance, which does not allow us to disagree with our teachers (Guru). Yes, teachers (Guru) should be honoured and respected, if they deserve; but to obey them in all regards, is not digestible idea. Bowing down breeds slave-culture. Standing head and shoulder with Guru, looking straight into his eyes breeds the culture of leaders. Choice is ours; decent looking slave-culture or defiantly posing leaders. Now, wee cannot afford yet another slavedom.
The chief point of discussion was 'Plato's objection to poetry and Aristotle's defence'. It was observed that Plato confused the study of morals/ethics with that of aesthetics. Aristotle removed the confusion and established study of aesthetic on higher pedestal as compared to philosophy and history. The presentation can be viewed here:


The discussion on Plato's objection to poetry in particular and literature in general, was like dust raising wind. Several of students shared their personal experience on how books helped them fight their personal battles with circumstances. We viewed some thought provoking videos by Chinese Lisa Bu's TED talk on 'How Books can Open Mind' and Jessica Wise's animation on 'How Fiction can change Reality'. The videos are available on YouTube and are embedded here:




Most of the students did not agree with Plato's objection. We do not agree with an Utopian idea of state without poets! Plato confused the study of aesthetics with that of morals & ethics. Aristotle removed that confusion and established literature as the study of aesthetic with specific purpose to please / give aesthetic delight, and not to instruct. Instructions may be given as by product but the ruling principle should be pleasure/delight. Though Aristotle, in his characteristic golden mean approach, seem to give equal importance to delight and moral sense/ moral purpose (instruction). But the question remains to be self-examined: 'Isn't Plato still alive in us?' We love and revere those poets who speak honey to our heart and soothing songs to our souls. But, what if some comes with an axe to break the frozen ice or with hammer to reshape our culturally conditioned minds? Well, the Platonic objection raises like the phoenix from the ashes and cries for the banishment of the breeder of falsehood and the mother of all lies! The writers in exile was reality, is reality and will forever be so. Click these links if you doubt my words:

So, can we say: Plato's truth was truer than Aristotle's? Please post your views in the 'comments' below this post, if you have any say in this matter.

In Semester 3, we concluded discussion on T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land. This class is 'clam and free'. Rarely have questions. When students do not question, it is a kind of uncanny feeling which confuses the teacher. The teacher cannot make out whether s/he is so lucid and clear that an obscure poem like 'The Waste Land' has been chewed and digested, almost effortlessly; or the students have understood nothing that that can raise doubt or question in their minds! And I fear the later. 


The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot from Dilip Barad

I cannot end this post without the mention of the last day of the week - Saturyday 27th July. The C.O. Jani College of Computer Science invited us to organise workshop on language, soft skills, effective presentation skills and basics on CV, Resume & BioData. Nishant Pandya - fromer student and a faculty of Mahuva BBA/BCA College, dealt interestingly with 'English is not a Language but Languages….
The presentation deals with variants of English language. Language refashions her shape according to social and cultural requirements. Individuals differ in the manner in which they speak, although usually not markedly within a small area. The differences among groups of speakers in the same speech community can, however, be considerable. Heenaba Zala, visiting faculty, Dept. of English, MK Bhavnagar University, made beautiful presentation on 'Soft Skills'. Her presentation can be viewed here: 

The ACE of soft skills: Enhancing Employability from Heenaba Zala

Apart from these presentations, there was something to make us proud. Six of our students make wonderful presentations. Yashpalsinh Gohil, Pratipalsinh Chudasama, Devendra Joshi & Kaushal Desai prepared very engrossing presentation with appropriate images and videos on 'How to make effective PowerPoint Presentation?' Their presentation can be viewed here:

Pratiksha Solanki and Drashti Dave made presentation on 'The Definitions and Differences: Resume, C.V., Bio Data & ePortfolio'. Their presentation can be viewed here: 

Resume/ CV/ Bio-data Differences & e-Portfolio.. from solankipratiksha

Teachers & PG students interacting with UG students of Computer Science