Quality of Being Tangible: A Story of Different Attitudes – Different Perception

What is the meaning of the word “Tangible”?

As per the Oxford English dictionary, it means “Clear and definite; real.”

or  “A thing that is perceptible by touch.”

Source: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/tangible#

Today (12/09/2015) I came across a story on facebook in my newsfeed from the account of Dr Prashant Gautam ( https://www.facebook.com/drprashantgautam?fref=nf).

I liked it, as it was based on the strong scientific foundation and not merely a fable or a part of gossip mongering.

So, I gave myself a thought,“If what is mentioned in the story is true, why can’t I prove this scientifically, it won’t be and shouldn’t be that difficult if indeed it was correct”.

So here I go.

Kindly read it with patience as I have made a few deliberations.

The story is in the language ‘Hindi’ and is as follows (kindly use the site  translate.google.com for a rough translation into any other language):

एक राजा का दरबार लगा हुआ था क्योंकि सर्दी का दिन था, इसलिये राजा का दरवार खुले मे बैठा था पूरी आम सभा सुबह की धूप मे बैठी थी । महाराज ने सिंहासन के सामने एक टेबल जैसी कोई कीमती चीज रखी थी पंडित लोग दीवान आदि सभी दरबार मे बैठे थे,  राजा के परिवार के सदस्य भी बैठे थे । उसी समय एक व्यक्ति आया और प्रवेश मांगा । राजा ने बुलाया और कहा,” क्या बात हैं ?” प्रवेश मिल गया तो उसने कहा, 

  • [English translation- Once a king was holding a darbaar (court). As it was during winters, it was being held in open and every person was sitting under open skies under the morning sun. A precious table was kept in front of the throne of the king, and all his courtiers, his family along with his prime minister, were also sitting in that darbar. Suddenly, came along a traveller, who asked for king’s permission to present himself in front of the king. King asked him, “What is the matter?” When permission was granted, he said,]

“मेरे पास दो वस्तुए है मै हर राज्य के राजा के पास जाता हूँ और अपनी बात रखता हूँ।  कोई परख नही पाता सब हार जाते हैंं और मै विजेता बनकर घूम रहा हूँ। अब आपके नगर मे आया हूँ।”

तब उसने दोनो वस्तुये टेबल पर रख दी बिल्कुल समान आकार, समान रुप रंग, समान प्रकाश सब कुछ नख सिख समान। राजा ने कहा,” ये दोनो वस्तुए एक हैं।”

  • ” I have two items, whenever I go to a new place or a kingdom, I keep these items in front of the king. No one has ever been able to examine these two items and tell their worth, as yet. Now I have come to your kingdom with the same problem and an air of invincibility.”  Then, the traveller kept those two items on a precious table which was kept in front of the king. Both were of the same size, look, shape, colour etc. Superficially, both looked as exact copies of each other. The king also said, “These two items are one and the same.”

तब उस व्यक्ति ने कहा,“हाँ दिखाई तो एक सी देती हैं लेकिन हैं भिन्न। इनमे से एक हैं बहुत कीमती हीरा हैं और एक हैं काँच का टुकडा। लेकिन रूप रंग सब एक हैं। कोइ आज तक परख नही पाया की कौन सा हीरा हैं और कौन सा काँच। कोइ परख कर बताये की ये हीरा हैं या ये काँच। अगर परख खरी निकली तो मे हार जाउँगा और यह कीमती हीरा मैं आपके राज्य की तिजोरी मे जमा करवा दूंगा । यदि कोइ न पहचान पाया तो इस हीरे की जो कीमत हैं उतनी धनराशि आपको मुझे देनी होगी। इसी प्रकार मे कइ राज्यो से जीतता आया हूँ।”

  • Then that traveller too replied, “Yes, superficially they look the same, but they are different. One of these items is a diamond and the other one is made of glass, but their colour, size, shape etc. is same. No one, till date has ever been able to examine them and tell the difference, if someone succeeds, I would accept defeat and deposit the diamond in your treasure. If no one can tell the difference, I would like to have the actual price of diamond be given to me as a prize. This is the same deal I have presented, before the others, and winning all these years in the kingdoms I have travelled to.”

राजा ने कहा,“मैं तो नही परख सकूंगा”, दीवान बोले,“हम भी हिम्मत नही कर सकते क्योंकि दोनो बिल्कुल समान हैं ।” कोइ हिम्मत नही जुटा पाया। हारने पर पैसे देने पड़ेंगे, इसका कोई सवाल नही था क्योकि राजा के पास बहुत धन हैं । राजा की प्रतिष्ठा गिर जायेगी, इसका सबको भय था, अगर कोइ व्यक्ति पहचान नही पाया। आखिरकार पीछे थोड़ी हलचल हुई। एक अंधा आदमी हाथ मे लाठी लेकर उठा। उसने कहा,“मुझे महाराज के पास ले चलो मैने सब बाते सुनी हैं । और यह भी सुना कि कोइ परख नही पा रहा हैं । एक अवसर मुझे भी दो।”

  • The king replied,” I will not be able to do the same”, Minister also said, “I cannot also dare to tell the difference, as both of them look the same.” No one present was able to gather enough courage to come forward to take that challenge. As the king had lots of money, a monetary loss was not amongst his first and foremost priority but if none could tell the difference, losing pride and self-respect of the kingdom were what everyone feared. Then suddenly one could hear some commotion at the back. A blind (having little or no visibility; one who lacks vision) person with a cane in his hand got up from his seat and entered the premises. He said, “Take me to the king, I have heard everything. Give me a chance.” 

एक आदमी के सहारे वह राजा के पास पहुँचा अौर उसने राजा से प्रार्थना की,“मैं तो जनम से अंधा हूँ फिर भी मुझे एक अवसर दिया जाये। मैं भी एक बार अपनी बुद्धि को परखू और हो सकता हैं  कि सफल भी हो जाऊ, और यदि सफल न भी हुआ तो वैसे भी आप तो हारे ही हैं।” राजा को लगा कि इसे अवसर देने मे क्या हरज़ है। राजा ने कहा,“ठीक हैं ।” तब उस अंधे आदमी को दोनो चीज़े छुआ दी गयी और पूछा गया,“इसमे कौन सा हीरा हैं  और कौन सा काँच, यही परखना हैं ।”

  • With assistance from another person, he reached near the king, where the table with two items was kept and there he requisitioned the king,“I am blind since birth, still I would like to request you to give me an opportunity. I would like to use my intellect to examine these items, it is a possibility that I may eventually tell the difference, even if I am unsuccessful it’s of no consequence to you as you’ve already accepted defeat.” The king said,“You have my permission.” Then that blind man was asked to touch those items and enquired from,“Kindly examine them and inform us which is diamond and which is not.”

कथा कहती हैं कि उस आदमी ने एक मिनट मे कह दिया कि,“यह हीरा हैं और यह काँच”, जो आदमी इतने राज्यों को जीतकर आया था । आदमी नतमस्तक हो गया और बोला,“सही हैं । आपने पहचान लिया, धन्य हो आप अपने वचन के मुताबिक यह हीरा मैं आपके राज्य की तिजोरी मे दे रहा हूँ।” सब बहुत खुश हो गये और जो आदमी आया था वह भी बहुत प्रसन्न हुआ कि कम से कम कोई तो मिला परखने वाला। वह राजा और अन्य सभी लोगो ने उस अंधे व्यक्ति से एक ही जिज्ञासा जताई कि,“तुमने यह कैसे पहचाना कि यह हीरा हैं और वह काँच?” उस अंधे व्यक्ति ने कहा,

  • As the story proceeds, it was believed that within a minute, that blind man was able to tell the difference and identified exactly which one of them was a diamond and which one was a fake or glass, he triumphantly said,“this is a diamond and the other one is made of glass.” The traveller who had visited so many kingdoms and previously won this bet accepted defeat and informed the blind man,“You are right, you could indeed tell the difference, may GOD bless you, and as per my promise, I would like to deposit this diamond in the treasure of king.” Everyone present there was gratified including the traveller, who could take solace in the fact that at least there was someone on this planet who could tell the difference. But the king and the traveller were curious to know how could a blind man achieve what none else could even think of. So they asked the blind man,“How could you tell the difference between a diamond and a glass.” The blind man replied,

“सीधी सी बात हैं। मालिक! धूप मे हम सब बैठे हैं। मैने दोनो को छुआ। जो ठंडा रहा वह हीरा जो गरम हो गया वह काँच ।”

जीवन मे भी देखना जो बात बात मे गरम हो जाये उलझ जाये वह काँच।

जो विपरीत परिस्थिति मे भी ठंडा रहे वह हीरा है।

  • “It’s very simple sire, all of us are sitting under direct sunlight. Hence, when I touched these two items, the one which was the same temperature as the environment, was diamond and the one which warmed up due to the heat of sunlight was glass,”

Diamond Ornaments

Glass Ornaments

Here’s another informative story I would like to share with you.

  • The first day I walked into my 10th-grade chemistry class, the lights were off. The teacher was waiting at the front of the room, holding a small candle in front of him. The candle’s tiny flame was the only source of light in the room.

    The class murmured a bit, confused and excited. Once we’d all quieted down, the teacher said, “Tell me some of the observations you can make about this candle.”

    We paused for a moment. That seemed a little too easy for chemistry class.

    “But keep in mind,” the teacher added, “that observations are the things you observe, empirically. Inferences are the things you conclude… and inferences can be wrong.”

    We stared at him, wary now.

    At last, someone piped up, “Um…The flame is yellow?”

    “The flame gives off heat.”

    “The wick is burning.”

    “The wax is cylindrical!”

    The teacher raised his eyebrows at that one. “Are you sure?”

    We stared harder at the candle, not sure how to respond to that one. It definitely looked cylindrical.

    The teacher shrugged. Then he put the candle into his mouth and started chewing.

    The class stared at him.

    At this point, I was wondering if I ought to call the emergency room or something, but the teacher just kept chewing as though nothing was wrong. Eventually, he swallowed, shrugged again, and said, “Actually tastes okay.”

    As it turns out, the so-called “candle” wasn’t made out of wax at all. It was actually just a slice of banana, with an almond slice for the wick.

    The student’s “wax” statement had actually been an inference.

    After explaining this to us, the teacher turned on the lights and said, “If there’s one thing I want you to learn in this class, it’s the first rule of scientific thinking: Never assume that your mind can’t lie to you.”

    And that’s the story of how my 10th-grade chemistry teacher swallowed a candle to teach us the first principle of scientific thinking. Here’s to you, Mr. Miller. Hannah Yang


Here teacher also draws a wrong inference when she says,“If there’s one thing I want you to learn in this class, it’s the first rule of scientific thinking: Never assume that your mind can’t lie to you.”

The mind rarely lies. It’s not the fault of mind but that of intellect, and how one uses it. The inference is always drawn after careful observation, reasoning and analyses of the given problem, wherein one should use all the five senses, and sometimes even our sixth sense. Sometimes the limiting factor (or senses) can act as a facilitator (as in the story Quality of Being Tangible: A Story of Different Attitudes – Different Perception) and sometimes (as in above example wherein vision and touch is a limiting factor) act as an impediment. Kindly read this story wherein absence of vision acts as a facilitator in arriving at a solution. Quality of Being Tangible: A Story of Different Attitudes – Different Perception

Scientific Explanation


Although glass appears to be solid, it isn’t. Technically, glass is considered a liquid. In a liquid, the molecules are connected in no special way. Solids, like sand, have an ordered molecular structure. http://www.acmecompany.com/Pages/glass.html


Unit cell of the diamond cubic crystal structure

The diamond cubic crystal structure is a repeating pattern of 8 atoms that certain materials may adopt as they solidify. While the first known example was diamond, other elements in group 14 also adopt this structure, including α-tin, the semiconductors silicon and germanium, and silicon/germanium alloys in any proportion. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diamond_cubic

The diamond structure, which is made up of a carbon atom joined to 4 other carbon atoms, this is an example of a giant covalent structure. http://lucychemistry.blogspot.in/2013/05/triple-144-draw-diagrams-representing.html

tetincube4aNumerous mineral structures are based on the fact that tetrahedra can be inscribed in a cube. If atoms have a face-centered arrangement, we can join a corner atom to the three nearest face-centered atoms to create a tetrahedron. Four similarly-oriented tetrahedra can be created in the cube. Image source

tetincube4b There are two ways to orient tetrahedra in a face-centered cubic array.Image source


Diamond is one mineral that employs this structure. There are carbon atoms in a face-centered array (dark gray) plus an extra one (light gray) at the center of each tetrahedron. At left, the relationship of the carbon atoms to the tetrahedra is shown. On the right, the carbon-carbon bonds are shown. Image source


Above is the diamond structure in a different orientation showing the tetrahedral structure a bit more clearly. As above, carbon atoms at the corners of the tetrahedra are dark gray, those in the middle are light gray. Image source


Above is the diamond structure showing the carbon-carbon bonding. Bonds closer to the viewer are shown thicker. Image source

Very well said, the above-mentioned fact, has even been proven scientifically,  the tight, evenly-packed crystalline structure of diamonds makes them disperse heat quickly; thus, real diamonds will not heat up easily.

Same principle is used behind “diamond testers”. Commercial pen-size probes, called simply “diamond testers,” can test the thermal conductivity of the gem.

(In physics, thermal conductivity (often denoted k, λ, or κ) is the property of a material to conduct heat. Heat transfer occurs at a lower rate across materials of low thermal conductivity than across materials of high thermal conductivity. Correspondingly, materials of high thermal conductivity are widely used in heat sink applications and materials of low thermal conductivity are used as thermal insulation.)


Of course, these tests don’t tell us anything about the VALUE of the available diamond. According to the Gemological Institute of America, jewellers grade diamonds on the “4Cs” cut, clarity, colour and carat weight.

It also proves another philosophical point.

Having all our senses intact, sometimes can be a handicap in real life, where in, we get so used to using all of them, simultaneously, that we forget their individual importance.

Diamond Tester

Furthermore, heat test can be used to differentiate between a fake and a real diamond, but still, it can not decide the true value of a diamond, or a person, or an individual.

I would also discuss one more fact here, the specific heat (or the heat required for raising the temperature of a given mass of substance). Heat capacity or thermal capacity is a measurable physical quantity equal to the ratio of the heat added to (or removed from) an object to the resulting temperature change. The SI unit of heat capacity is joule per kelvin or J/K and the dimensional form is L2MT−2Θ−1. Specific heat is the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of a certain mass 1 degree Celsius. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_capacity

Diamond (carbon) = 516 J/kg degree C and

for Glass = 670 to 753 J/kg degree C.

[Source: http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/specific-heat-capacity-d_391.html#]

This means that in a controlled environment, and if evenly heated, the energy required for raising the temperature of diamond (1 kg) by 1-degree centigrade is less compared to that of glass (1 kg). Diamond (carbon) has a lower specific heat, and thus requires the least heat in order to have an increase in temperature. It’s (diamond) temperature will thus increase the most for a given the amount of heat. Temperature reflects the average randomised kinetic energy of constituent particles of matter (e.g. atoms or molecules) relative to the centre of mass of the system, while heat is the transfer of energy across a system boundary into the body other than by work or matter transfer. Translation, rotation and vibration of atoms represent the degrees of freedom of motion which classically contribute to the heat capacity of gases, while only vibrations are needed to describe the heat capacities of most solids, as shown by the Dulong–Petit law [Dulong–Petit law, statement that the gram-atomic heat capacity (specific heat times atomic weight) of an element is a constant; that is, it is the same for all solid elements, about six calories per gram atom]. Other, more exotic contributions can come from magnetic and electronic degrees of freedom in solids, but these rarely make substantial contributions. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_capacity]

Source: http://chemwiki.ucdavis.edu/Physical_Chemistry/Thermodynamics/Chemical_Thermochemistry/18.4_Entropy_Changes_and_the_Third_Law_of_Thermodynamics

File:Thermally Agitated Molecule.gif

Shown here is the thermal motion of a segment of protein alpha helix. Molecules have various internal vibrational and rotational degrees of freedom. This is because molecules are complex objects; they are a population of atoms that can move about within a molecule in different ways. This makes molecules distinct from the noble gases such as helium and argon, which are monatomic (consisting of individual atoms). Heat energy is stored in molecules’ internal motions which give them an internal temperature. Even though these motions are called “internal,” the external portions of molecules still move—rather like the jiggling of a water balloon.

Glass absorbs more heat for a given temperature rise, compared to the diamond of the same mass, when the energy/heat is provided evenly.

Extrapolating the above findings one can also opine that a people/group of individuals who has been likened to have a diamond like quality would withstand more stresses or difficulties in life when stressed or when energy is provided to it on a singular basis rather than uniformly, as they have a property to uniformly distribute that singular energy amongst it’s constituents (high thermal conductivity) more evenly. Though they will be able to tolerate less stress/energy on group basis (as a whole) when compared to glass. (diamond=low specific heat)

On the contrary,  people or a group of individuals who have been likened to have a glass like quality would be able to tolerate more stress/energy on a group basis compared to diamond when done on a uniform basis i.e. every individual is stressed with equal amount of heat/energy/stress. (glass=high specific heat) but less or lower when the same is done on individual basis.(glass=low thermal conductivity)

http://www.livescience.com/29172-how-to-test-a-diamond.html and http://www.wikihow.com/Tell-if-a-Diamond-is-Real


Great Teachers inspire the youth….by Dr A P J Abdul Kalam

May I be a protector for those without one,
A guide for all travellers on the way;
May I be a bridge, a boat and a ship
For all who wish to cross (the water).

….. by Acharya Shantideva,
a Buddhist Master of 8th century
(Nalanda University)

When I see you all teacher friends, I see in front of me a source of creativity.

What is creativity?


“Learning gives creativity

Creativity leads to thinking

Thinking provides knowledge

Knowledge makes you great”

How many great people for the planet earth, the great teachers have created.

Friends, you are the creators of creativity.

My greetings to all of you.

Friends, teachers create beautiful minds. Beautiful minds are creative and many times with indomitable (impossible to subdue) spirit. Our nation was fortunate to have beautiful minds in science, humanities, law, industry and political leadership right from our pre- independent period who were created by great teachers and due to whose efforts, we are experiencing the freedom and growth of our country today. I was also enriched by my teachers at various phases of my life. When I am in this atmosphere of great givers, I would like to talk on the topicGreat teachers inspire the youth.

My perceptions of teachers with myself as a student and teacher

Friends, the relationship between teacher and student is very unique. A teacher lives through the entire life journey of a student. A teacher inspires students by his role model behaviour. A teacher enjoys the success of the student even more than his own. A teacher is inspired by the curiosity and creativity of the student and learns more and more to help the student.

Teacher Muthu Iyer: It was the year 1936, I recall my initiation of education at the age of 5 years in Rameswaram (a city in southern India)  Panchayat elementary school. I had a Teacher Muthu Iyer who took special interest to me mainly because I performed very well in a class exercise which he gave to all the students. He was impressed and next day he came to my house to tell my father that I was a very good student. My parents were happy and got my favourite sweet from my mother.

Another important event while I was in first class which I can not forget. One day I did not turn up to my school. Teacher Muthu Iyer noticed my absence and same evening he came to my father to ask what the problem was and why did I not go to school and whether he can do anything to help me. On that day, I was having a fever. Another important thing, which he noticed was my handwriting was very poor. He gave a three-page writing exercise and told my father that he should ensure that I do the exercise every day regularly. By these actions of my teacher Muthu Iyer, my father told me in later years that teacher Muthu Iyer is not only a good teacher to me in teaching but he influenced and shaped me with good habits.

My another teacher in the primary school, Shri Sivasubramania Iyer not only taught me about bird flight but also put the spark of a mission in life of pursuing a career in flight. My college lecturer Prof. Thothari Iyenger was not only an expert teacher but also introduced me to great people like ancient astronomer Aryabhata, inspired me for life. My teacher Rev Iyyadurai Solomon focused importance purity in life through his life and lifestyle. Rev Fr. Chinnathurai taught me nuclear physics. They way he taught, I loved the subject and later it has become a passion. Now he lives in Dindigal, India. I am meeting quite often and give my respect. A few days back, I was very happy to see my teacher’s best wishes on my birthday on 15 October 2010. These teachers and others come in front of me whenever I have to deal with some practical and sometimes difficult problems in life. When I was teaching Societal Transformation in Anna University, I realised the power of youth to inspire a teacher. Their attention, their questions, their aspirations and above all their affection, motivate a teacher to excel. When I have been with the I.I.M ( Indian Institute of Management) Ahmedabad students or with students of Gatton College of Business and Economics, University of Kentucky, U.S.A or when I field questions of several from the 17 million students I have addressed, I realize how the combined power of students and teachers can make a difference to society.

‘Teachers’ who love teaching, teach children to love ‘Learning’.

Friends, I just see a scene in a school having about 50 teachers and 750 students headed by a Principal. It is simply a place of beauty for creativity and learning.

How is it possible?

It is because the school management and the Principal selected the teachers who love teaching, who treat the students as their sons, grandsons or granddaughters. The children see the teacher, as a role model in teaching and how always they look pious through their daily way of life.

Above all, I see an environment in which there is nothing like a good student, average student or poor student. The whole school and the teacher system is involved in generating students who perform the best. As I said about my primary school teacher Shri Sivasubramania Iyer, who taught me, when I was a ten-year-old boy, how the birds fly, in the classroom, and later by taking us to the seashore to give a practical example. The way he taught, gave me what to dream of life and what should be the pattern of education which I have to follow. And above all what should be the traits, I should possess based on teachers life both inside the classroom and in the village. When my classroom students in primary school and secondary school observed and learn a unique experience. When certain teachers walk, students saw the radiation of knowledge of the teachers and the purity life from the teachers’ lives. This race of teachers should multiply.

Teacher as a facilitator of innovation

Friends, teachers have to emerge as a facilitator of new ideas and lead to lifelong innovative thinking in the young minds.

This reminds me of a poem “The Student’s Prayer” by a Chilean biologist Maturana. I will narrate a few lines from the poem.

The Student’s Prayer

Show me so that I can stand

On your shoulders.

Reveal yourself so that I can be

Something different.

Don’t impose on me what you know,

I want to explore the unknown

And be the source of my own discoveries.

Let the known be my liberation, not my slavery.

I am sure, the teachers assembled here would be a great facilitator of learning and innovation. Now I would like to talk about creative teachers.

Creative teachers

During my visit to Singapore and Finland, I have seen that there are exclusive schools for teaching primary school teachers. The curriculum is rigorous (painstakingly careful and accurate) and the students have to qualify with distinction before being appointed as primary school teachers. This type of capacity building may be taking place in our country in certain places. It has to spread all over the country; so that, all our rural schools also have high-quality teachers, who are equipped to build creative capacity among the children. These aspects may be taken into account while teachers go for training.

The traits of Nobel minds

When I am in the midst of great teachers, I thought of sharing with you an incident about Sir CV Raman, a Nobel Laureate in Physics for discovering Raman Effect. Raman scattering or the Raman effect is the inelastic scattering of a photon. It was discovered by C. V. Raman and K. S. Krishnan in liquids, and by G. Landsberg and L. I. Mandelstam in crystals. The effect had been predicted theoretically by Adolf Smekal in 1923.

  • When photons are scattered from an atom or molecule, most photons are elastically scattered (Rayleigh scattering), such that the scattered photons have the same energy (frequency and wavelength) as the incident photons. A small fraction of the scattered photons (approximately 1 in 10 million) are scattered by an excitation, with the scattered photons having a frequency different from, and usually lower than, that of the incident photons. In a gas, Raman scattering can occur with a change in energy of a molecule due to a transition to another (usually higher) energy level. Raman Scattering

Sir C.V. Raman was in the first batch of Bharat Ratna Award winners. Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian honour, conferred for exceptional service towards advancement of Art, Literature and Science, and in recognition of public service of the highest order by the Government of India. The award ceremony was to take place in the last week of January, soon after the Republic Day celebrations of 1954. The then President Dr. Rajendra Prasad wrote to  Sir C. V. Raman inviting him to be the personal guest in the Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi, India, when Raman comes to Delhi for the award ceremony.

Sir CV Raman wrote a polite letter, regretting his inability to go. Raman had a noble reason for his inability to attend the investiture ceremony. He explained to the President that he was guiding a Ph.D. student and that thesis was positively due by the last day of January. The student was valiantly trying to wrap it all up and Raman felt, he had to be by the side of the research student, see that the thesis was finished, sign the thesis as the guide and then have it submitted. Here was a scientist who gave up the pomp of a glittering ceremony associated with the highest honour, because he felt that his duty required him to be by the side of the student. It is this unique trait of giving value to science that builds science.

An ideal Teacher

An ideal teacher is the one, who visualises every student to be having unlimited potential, without any kind of bias, for or against anyone.

Some time back, I met a teacher who has become a role model to all his students. I asked him what was the secret of his success. He told me the following:

  1. He has been able to adapt himself to the age of the student.
  2. He practices everything he expects his students to do.
  3. He ensures transparency in all his transactions and treats all students alike, irrespective of their religion, caste, language and economic status.
  4. He has a foresight and visualises the student’s growth in long-term perspective.
  5. During the 11 years of his tenure, he has ensured that at least 2000 students who were average performers have been groomed to excel in their studies.

I am sure many educationists and teachers assembled here would reflect these characteristics and also add few more important traits.

Dynamics of Smile

When we see a child, we see the innocent smile of the child. When we come across, the child in the Primary School, the smile is reduced, since the child has to carry a heavy school bag. When we see the child in their teens, their smile slowly fades away and the sign of concern appears. This is because of the anxiety about the future. When they complete their education, the question uppermost in their mind is,

What will I do with my education?

Will I get an employment?

Will I get a proper employment?

Can the Principals and teachers see this dynamics of smiles of the child and preserve the smile in their faces when they complete their school education. The Student should be confident that “he can do it”, he should have the self-esteem and the capability to become an employment generator rather being an employment seeker. The management of education and a leader in education have to facilitate such type of creative teacher in large numbers in primary school and then the secondary school. This transformation can only be brought about by a teacher who has a vision to transform, who has the ability to take risk against all challenges, who is a good listener, who is a good innovator, who maintains a cordial interpersonal or intrapersonal relationship, and who has the ability to carry the parents, community, media and the teachers for accomplishing the vision of generating an enlightened citizen of the nation.

Generosity in making his students Nobel laureate

Chandrasekhar Subramanyan’s most famous discovery was the astrophysical Chandrasekhar limit. The limit describes the maximum mass (~1.44 solar masses) of a white dwarf star, or equivalently, the minimum mass for which a star will ultimately collapse into a neutron star or black hole following a supernova. The limit was first calculated by Chandrasekhar while on a ship from India to Cambridge, England. The Chandrasekhar Limit led to the determination of how long a star of particular mass will shine. In 1983, Chandrasekhar Subramanyan got the Nobel Prize for this discovery. Two of Chandrasekhar’s students in 1947 were the doctoral candidates Tsung-Dao Lee and Chen Ning Yang in Particle Physics research. Even though Chandrasekhar Subramanyan maintained his office at the Yerkes Observatory in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, he would regularly drive the one hundred miles to Chicago to guide and teach Lee and Yang and others many a time in difficult weather conditions. In 1957, these two of his students won the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work in particle physics research. This also brings out Chandrasekhar Subramanyan’s commitment to science and thereby to his students. Science indeed is a lifetime mission for Chandrasekhar. It is this characteristic which makes youth to become passionate towards science.

Mission of Teaching

When I look at you dear friends, I see one integrated system of education, the system of learning and system of knowledge.

The seeds of peace in the world have their origin in the righteousness in the heart of every individual. Such righteous citizens lead to the evolution of enlightened society. Education with value system has to be so designed that the righteousness in the heart is developed in young minds. That should be the mission of education. The prime learning environment is five to seventeen years of age for over 25,000 hours. This reminds me of an ancient Greek teacher’s saying,

Give me a child for seven years; afterwards, let God or devil take the child. They cannot change the child“.

This indicates the power of great teachers. True education is the acquisition of enlightened feelings and enlightened powers to understand daily events and to understand the permanent truth by linking citizen, to his environment, human and planet we live. I would like to quote from the great philosopher Dr. S. Radhakrishnan particularly for the benefit of students and teachers –

“The sense of human need is there and the teacher can satisfy it by giving to the youth an idea of the fundamental power and worth of a man, his spiritual dignity as a man, a supra-national culture and an all-embracing humanity.”

My best wishes to all the teachers assembled here for success in your mission of developing enlightened citizens through good educational practices and purity in life.

May God Bless you.

Eleven Point Oath for Teachers

I have designed an eleven-point oath for the teachers which I would like to administer to this important gathering of teachers.

  1.  First and foremost, I will love teaching. Teaching will be my soul.
  2. I realise that I am responsible for shaping not just students but ignited youths who are the most powerful resource under the earth, on the earth and above the earth. I will be fully committed to the great mission of teaching.
  3. I will consider myself to be a great teacher for I can lift the average to the best performance by way of my special teaching.
  4. All my actions with my students will be with kindness and affection like a mother, sister, father or brother.
  5. I will organise and conduct my life, in such a way that my life itself is a message for my students.
  6. I will encourage my students to ask questions and develop the spirit of enquiry so that they blossom into creative enlightened citizens.
  7. I will treat all the students equally and will not support any differentiation on account of religion, community or language.
  8. I will continuously build the capacities in teaching so that I can impart quality education to my students.
  9. I will celebrate the success of my students, with great happiness.
  10. I realise by being a teacher, I am making an important contribution to all the national development initiatives.
  11. I will constantly endeavour to fill my mind with great thoughts and spread the nobility in thinking and action.

Dr. A.P.J Abdulkalam

Stay Away From Negative Influences…Peer Pressure and Peer Power

but don't fear changebeautiful

The Woman in Leadership Success Podcast 5 Ways Positive Influences

“Impressionable minds get influenced by adult behaviour and media. Peer pressure affects not only children and teenagers, it is also prevalent in adults. it shows a lack of self esteem when people do not have the courage to say ‘no, thank you’ and stay away from negative influences?”

Negative People

An eagle’s egg was placed in the nest of a prairie chicken. The eagle did what the prairie chickens did. It scratched in the dirt for seeds. It clucked and cackled. It never flew more than a few feet because that is what the prairie chickens did. One day he/she saw an eagle flying gracefully and majestically in the open sky. He/She asked the prairie chickens: “What is the beautiful bird?” The chickens replied, “That is an eagle. He/She is an outstanding bird, but you cannot fly like him because you are just a prairie chicken.” So the eagle never gave it a second thought, believing that to be the truth. He/She lived the life of and died a prairie chicken, depriving himself/Herself of his/her heritage because of his/her lack of vision. What a waste! He/She was born to win, but conditioned to loose.

Source: Media: A Negative Influence on Teens Perceptions of Beauty

The same thing is true for most of the people. The unfortunate part of life is as Oliver Wendall Holmes said,

“Most people go to their graves, with music still in them.”

We don’t achieve excellence because of our own lack of vision.

Michelle Fegatofi

If you want to soar like an eagle, you have to learn the ways  of an eagle. If you associate with achievers, you will become one. If you associate with thinkers, you will become one. If you associate with givers you will become one. If you will associate with negative people, you will become one.

Whenever people succeed in life, people will take cracks at them and try to pull them down. When you refuse to fight petty people, you win. In martial arts, they teach that when someone takes a crack at you, instead of blocking you should step away. Why? Blocking requires energy. Why not use it more productively? Similarly, in order to fight petty people, you have to come down to their level. That is what they want, because now you are one of them.

Don’t let negative people drag you down.

Remember that a person’s character is not only judged by the company they keep but also the company they avoid.

At some institutions/establishments, such are the tactics that are employed by the administration, so that they can easily create a stranglehold over their students and employees. Residents are used to target fellow residents.

“Are we here for becoming good doctors”.

But shouldn’t a good doctor be also  a good human being.

This is the reason why there is an increased spate of suicides at some premier medical institutions in India: but the blame is put on increased work pressure all in the name of maintaining QUALITY.

They call it as a philosophy of Naturalism [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naturalism_(philosophy)](http://www.thefreedictionary.com/naturalism) ,


‘Empiricism’ [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empiricism]

but the real reason is

Hazing [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hazing]


Workplace Harassment [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workplace_harassment]

Source: http://vishveshhayabusa.blogspot.in/2013/09/stay-away-from-negative-influences.html

I quote “The whole educational and professional training system is a very elaborate filter, which just weeds out people who are too independent, and who think for themselves, and who don’t know how to be submissive, and so on — because they’re dysfunctional to the institutions.”
― Noam Chomsky

The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum….”
― Noam ChomskyThe Common Good

“All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume.” 
― Noam Chomsky

[within the context of above mentioned institutions and establishments.]

I was shocked to recognise that for these acts they even employ doctors from Indian armed forces that get admitted in these institutions, purely on sponsored seats. Aren’t we a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic, or military dictatorship is deliberately allowed to linger in nooks and corners of these institutions of national importance to achieve some desired but blatantly illegal objectives.

Even intelligence agencies are employed to closely monitor every aspect of residents’ lives, they are entrusted with security of the consultants/faculty of these institutions. They want to control every aspect of the lives of their residents and future consultants.

I thought we were freed from colonial rule way back in 1947! or is it ?

Do read,  Suicide Diary of an A.I.I.M.S student

https://jeevanshu.quora.com/Suicide-Diary-of-an-A-I-I-M-S-New-Delhi-Student and

Indian Army : Do all of them deserve the same kind of respect ? What is their role in A.I.I.M.S, other Indian Institutions and Establishments?


But we should only abide by the ‘The Constitution of India’ which is the supreme law of India the basic tenets of which includes

JUSTICE, social, economic and political; LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;

EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;

and to promote among them all

FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation

“It is the responsibility of intellectuals to speak the truth and expose lies.”
― Noam Chomsky

“I was never aware of any other option but to question everything.”
― Noam Chomsky

Recently, I came across the news of opening up of 17 new A.I.I.M.S or ‘All India Institute of Medical Sciences’ by Health minister of India. Do we really need that many super speciality centres in a developing country like India, with almost 1/3rd of the population living at the bare minimum of <$1.25 per day; the answer is ‘YES’. With a population already having crossed one billion mark at the turn of the century; it is a necessity that one has to learn to live with.

Source: http://www.ppdvp.org.nz/2014/03/26/ppdvp-gender-approach-pga/

But with current system of affairs where honesty, sincerity, credibility and integrity has no value (here we tend to put a price tag on everything) where unscrupulous and crooked individuals rule the roost;

Can India truly become a global powerhouse in the field of medical education?

A question which the concerned authorities be made to answer.

[Certain sections, adapted from ‘You can Win’ by Shiv Khera https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shiv_Khera].

India is a Republic because it ruled by a bunch of representatives, backed by a body of law. This is in contrast to a monarchy, where one person can dictate terms without heeding to the existing laws. When the Constitution of India was officially brought to force on Jan 26, 1950, India formally became a republic and the day is celebrated as the Republic Day. Because then the representatives had a rule of law to guide them.

Since India is a democratic republic, even if the majority of the population, through the Parliament, want a certain law, it can still be struck down by the Supreme Court of India. Because, it is the constitution that is supreme, which acts as a guide to formulate various policies and laws, sometimes, even accommodating whims of the public at large.

That said, in the modern parlance, most democracies are republics too. However, a few centuries ago these terms means were quite opposite of each other. In a traditional democracy, it is all about people and their vote. People gathered in a town hall and then voted which direction something should move. It doesn’t really matter if that decision is consistent with past decision, or problems that might be faced by a country in future, as they do not have the required expertise.

As you can see, this can be quite chaotic and deadly. The people who vote are the same people who “like” and dislike various stuff on Facebook [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facebook].

What if you decide national policies on how many “likes” it receives?


Image Credit: http://lifehacker.com/5831343/everyone-is-a-genius


Albert Einstein recognized individual and unique God given glory inside each creation. Each gifting flourishes in a given predetermined environment if you allow it to be. The absence of a particular gift limiting performance in a particular environment does not connote stupidity. He uses the analogy of a ‘fish climbing a tree’ to underscore the fact that fish do not have the physical and genetic make up for climbing but excellent in water as we all know. You may not be an excellent accountant but an excellent historian. You may not be a good chef or a good cook but an excellent eater. You enjoy everything edible thrown at you. In other words everyone is a genius. You need to identify your area of exceptional performance to let your glory shine. If you cannot be a fish, be a panda. If you can’t be an elephant, be an insect or if you can’t be a rock star, be a ferocious boxer. William Odoch

It is not about smartness or stupidity, every citizen has a different level and area of expertise, I believe everyone is different, has a different talent, interests, weaknesses and strengths. In order for one to thrive and excel, one needs to be put into the right environment where they get to exercise their strengths and passion, not their weaknesses. For example, a creative, visual person would struggle in a data-driven environment. A superb accountant would probably do a poor job at coming up with a logo design. A designer would also do poorly at crunching numbers. [Mo Seetubtim]

I am a doctor but I am extremely stupid at singing because that is not my area of talent or expertise.

Hence, not every citizen has the ability to understand, tricks and nuisances of politics, nor the ability or talent to judge, formulate and interpret various policies, and laws, that can decide the future of an entire nation, or for that matter the whole planet. 

This fear was known for centuries and had disturbed the U.S.A founding fathers quite a bit.

The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,


U.S.A- the United States of America (USA), commonly referred to as the United States (U.S.) or America, is a federal republic composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major territories and various possessions.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States

Thus, the ‘Democracy’ was tempered with the ‘Republic’ where the people don’t directly decide policies but elect representatives for a few years, who will vote on the policies and run the nation in accordance with the body of law. India and other democracies got inspired from the U.S.A model and these days the term ‘democracy’ has become the term to mean the U.S.A style of ‘democratic republic’. However, there are still various types of democratic ideas without the republic idea [say referendums] and such things must always be tempered/controlled [one reason why Indian constitution doesn’t allow referendums to decide sovereignty]

Reference: http://blawgniti.quora.com/India-is-a-Republic-because-it-ruled-by-a-bunch-of-representatives-backed-by-a-body-of-law-This-is-in-contrast-to-a?__snids__=1293489459&__nsrc__=2

On a personal note, I would like to add.

Peer pressure is when the social media platform is being used for detrimental purposes like — bullying someone; when someone pretends to like EDM (Electronic dance music) music just because it is popular with others in their social circle.

Peer influence on Facebook has also been found a contributing factor for teenage alcohol and drug consumption; adoption of fashion and undertaking unnatural cosmetic treatments to get a particular ‘look’; mass bunking in colleges.

Even, joining Facebook or any other social media site is often an action taken under peer pressure. This behaviour is born out of the fear of missing out and the fear that one will be left out of their peer group which eventually leads to stress and depression.

On the other hand, Facebook/social media enables peer power. It empowers today’s youth with collective strength, it helps them contribute to change with far reaching consequences and the technology has been a catalyst in today’s youth being conscious and confident; it would include the recent selfie culture.

Peer power is highlighted when the country’s youth participated in larger number to contribute to matters of national importance like the Anna Hazare movement, the AAP movement, large voting turnouts; the revolution at Tahrir Square where social media helped people mobilise themselves and topple a dictator.

Power is when students can connect with and befriend professors leading to more meaningful knowledge sharing.

It has lead to the success of independent music and films, which have benefitted from crowd sourcing and crowd funding; it has lead to the creation of flash mobs; the success of fundraising for cancer research under the Terry Fox runs; it has lead to important projects like Wikipedia; it enables customers to benefit from peer reviews and opinions and has made companies more sensitive towards customers.

With all these boons, we have only started with harnessing the power of peer influence on the social media. In the years to come, we will see more revolutions in this space. Also, the generation currently contributing to this phenomenon is young and it is when they reach the age when they can meaningfully contribute to a society that its real effects will be seen. In the good and bad of peer influence through social media, I would like to side with the good, as I believe that the power surpasses the pressure.

I feel that youth sharing their feelings, fights, breakups, and troubles on the social media should be encouraged, as there will be someone who will pick this up and initiate a conversation. There have been numerous instances when such an act has lead to an aversion of suicidal tendencies.

Yes there are grave issues with this trend, but that is true for all things from a pen to a gun; they have the power to save and to kill. It is when we focus on the positives and deal with the negatives that we harness the real power of trends and technologies.

Source: Peer pressure vs peer power: Be positive, don’t leg negativity pull you down 



“Alcohol has taught me one truth”,

the drunkard said aloud.

A young man, standing on the edge of a cliff, about to end his life, and thus far absorbed in his own world, suddenly wanted to hear the drunkard complete the statement. But nothing happened for a minute. With impatience boiling inside him he shot the question directly to him instead,

“What truth?”

“Happiness is opaque.” The drunkard replied promptly.

“Really?” The young man mocked.

“It never allows the light of our congenital talents to express themselves.”

“Then what does?”

Half a minute went by in silence.

“The prism of adversity allows us to express our true colours. Only after going through it does our V-I-B-G-Y-O-R, the one reflecting our core, is visible to the whole world.”

The young man – as the drunkard’s words made a nest in his conscience – found himself standing with his back at the cliff…already.

Rayleigh Scattering

This is an excellent piece of a short story by a very well renowned Indian English novelist Mr. Novoneel Chakraborty that I came across during my post-graduation days. Thought, I had to share it with my students.
Though on a lighter note;

‘Rayleigh scattering of sunlight in the atmosphere causes diffuse sky radiation, which is the reason for the blue colour of the sky and the yellow tone of the sun itself’. When photons are scattered from an atom or molecule, most photons are elastically scattered (Rayleigh scattering), such that the scattered photons have the same energy (frequency and wavelength) as the incident photons. A small fraction of the scattered photons (approximately 1 in 10 million) are scattered by an excitation, with the scattered photons having a frequency different from, and usually lower than, that of the incident photons. In a gas, Raman scattering can occur with a change in energy of a molecule due to a transition to another (usually higher) energy level.

Rayleigh scattering, named after the British physicist Lord Rayleigh (John William Strutt), is the (dominantly) elastic scattering of light or other electromagnetic radiation by particles much smaller than the wavelength of the radiation. Rayleigh scattering does not change the state of material, hence it is a parametric process. The particles may be individual atoms or molecules. It can occur when light travels through transparent solids and liquids but is most prominently seen in gases. Rayleigh scattering results from the electric polarizability of the particles. The oscillating electric field of a light wave acts on the charges within a particle, causing them to move at the same frequency. The particle, therefore, becomes a small radiating dipole whose radiation we see as scattered light.

Rayleigh scattering of sunlight in the atmosphere causes diffuse sky radiation, which is the reason for the blue colour of the sky and the yellow tone of the sun itself.

Rayleigh scattering of molecular nitrogen and oxygen in the atmosphere includes elastic scattering as well as the inelastic contribution from rotational Raman scattering in air; since the changes in wavenumber of the scattered photon are typically smaller than 50 cm−1. This can lead to changes in the rotational state of the molecules. Furthermore, the inelastic contribution has the same wavelengths dependency as the elastic part.

File:Why is the sky blue.jpg

a piece of blue glass, through which the light shines orange, seeming to behave like the sky at sunset. There is a long commentary on why the sky is blue. Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Why_is_the_sky_blue.jpg

In addition, the oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere absorbs wavelengths at the edge of the ultra-violet region of the spectrum. The resulting colour, which appears like a pale blue, actually is a mixture of all the scattered colours, mainly blue and green. Conversely, glancing toward the sun, the colours that were not scattered away — the longer wavelengths such as red and yellow light — are directly visible, giving the sun itself a slightly yellowish hue. Viewed from space, however, the sky is black and the sun is white. The reddening of sunlight is intensified when the sun is near the horizon because the volume of air through which sunlight must pass is significantly greater than when the sun is high in the sky. The Rayleigh scattering effect is thus increased, removing virtually all blue light from the direct path to the observer. The remaining unscattered light is mostly of a longer wavelength, and therefore, appears to be orange.

Diagram of Raman scattering:  Incident light (yellow) that loses or gains no energy is scattered back at the same wavelength is called Rayleigh scattering.  If some of the energy is transferred to the ground state, the scattered light is scattered at a longer wavelength (red).  Fluorescence is another effect that causes light to be re-emitted at longer wavelengths.  It often masks Raman scattering. http://www.symphotic.com/What_is_Raman.htm

Diagram of Raman instrumentation: Incident laser light (yellow) is scattered at the light surface. Most of the light is scattered at the same wavelength as the incident light.The lightt that is Raman shifted also is scattered in random directions. A lens is used to collect the light, and a filter is used to block the wavelength of the incident light. Longer wavelengths (Raman scattering) is transmitted to the monochromator and detection system. The frequency shift of the scattered light will determine the chemical structure of the sample material. http://www.symphotic.com/What_is_Raman.htm