Happy Birthday, Mr Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was the third President of the United States (1801–1809), the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and one of the most influential Founding Fathers for his promotion of the ideals of republicanism in the United States. [Wikipedia]

Happy birthday, Mr Jefferson.

Here’s something that Jefferson insisted upon that the Indian government would do well to adopt. In the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom, Jefferson wrote:
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Reservations in the Indian educational system — Part 2

Previous post: Part 1.

I find it hard to comprehend very large numbers. For instance, when I consider that India has 1.12 million schools (primary and secondary), I am dumbstruck. I have to translate it down to relative numbers because the absolute numbers are beyond me. So, I would roughly estimate that out of population of approximately one billion people, about 200 million are in the school-going age. If you have one school per 200 kids, that means India must have approximately a million schools. Now the number of schools makes sense to me.
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Web of Rhyme

Neil Diamond sings his Longfellow Serenade:

I’ll weave his web of rhyme
Upon the summer night
We’ll leave this worldly time
On his winged flight

Then come, and as we lay
Beside this sleepy glade
There I will sing to you
My Longfellow serenade

Weave your web of rhyme
Upon the summer night
We’ll leave this worldly time
On your winged flight

I quote those lovely lines just for the heck of it. Beautiful, isn’t it? Here’s a random link from this blog — on A Path with a Heart.

Reservations in the Indian educational system — Part 1

Yesterday morning I got to the Pune railway station early because I had yet to buy a ticket for Mumbai. A notice at the ticket counter informed me that the train – Deccan Queen – was full. Disappointed, I walked to the nearby intercity bus stop.

As one can expect, the place is a sort of transportation hub where you get trains, buses (both private and public), taxis, and rental cars. Walking along that stretch of the road is like running a gauntlet. A dozen people descend on you, each offering to immediately transport you to Mumbai in great comfort, quickly and cheaply. They compete for your attention and tell you why you should take their bus or their car. One over here says the new Innova (a comfortable Toyota minivan) is about to depart and will be in Mumbai before 10 AM; the other over there insists that the Neeta Volvo will charge much less and they will not even stop midway, and so on. The competition is loud and enthusiastic.
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Dr Adam Smith, I presume

The other day I sat down to have a conversation with the spirit of Dr Adam Smith (1723-1790), professor of moral philosophy at the University of Glasgow and Fellow of the Royal Society of London and Edinburgh. A stellar observer of the human condition, his book, “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations,” was published in the same year, 1776, as the Declaration of Independence of the United States. Opinion is divided on which of the two events is of greater importance for the subsequent evolution of the world we live in.

What follows is a rough transcript of our talk.
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