Administration & Management

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Monthly Archives: November 2010

ACADEMICS IS LONG DEAD!———————– LONG LIVE ACADEMICS !!!

I am not aware as to why and how, the team of A “Journal published by Research Directorate of a University well known”, had thought and ultimately sent a research paper submitted to it for consideration of publication, for the purpose of getting referees comments on the same.

This happened to be the first time; I got any assignment of this nature from Journal Publishing Division of the particular university.

Initially, I was surprised by this gesture, due to the traditions that prevail in the nation happens to be selection of reviewers based on designation and is not based on knowledge of domain and expertise of Individual in it. As I happen to be reviewer of many International Journals, being at my designation itself, that Assistant Professor [for people not related to the institution I work with, or those who retired prior to Sixth Pay Commission Recommendations; it is being mentioned that this designation is same, which in their time was known as Lecturer] not being named here for reasons of confidentiality; but never expected it from the published by Research Directorate of a University known well to all. University is not being named for Reasons of Confidentiality.

The manner, in which the role of referee is supposed to be performed, was followed and performed with to the level of and with all possible integrity and devotion to the extent possible and expected within my limitations. The comments that were as final recommendation put by me on the space meant for Comment on the Evaluators’ Sheet were as detailed in double quotes:

“The work completed and outcome of the same happen to be very relevant and pertinent for concerned domain of knowledge. The paper too has been drafted, following most of the conventions in vogue, in research. Evaluator feels that, if some extra efforts can be put and same is fine tuned further, the contribution, by this paper, may achieve a distinction of being seminal in Nature. Therefore, recommends that, the scholar may be provided with a chance of value addition.”

Since, due to the limitations of space provided on Page, provided for comments; was forced to attach three additional A4 Sheets. The same got details explaining the comments given as mentioned paragraph just preceding this one.

Perhaps due to paucity of money in the Organizational Funds, it has turned impossible for the organization to provide me a couple of cartridges, for performing few academic endeavors’. I thought better to buy the same from my pocket [Approx. Five plus Three Units, as only a petty sum of Rs. 32,000/- was required].

Any way then too, I preferred to write comments in ink by my own fountain pen. My purpose of joining academics is not alone to earn money, but certainly let me accept that its important but I have given it second priority. My primary objective is still, to learn as far as possible to turn capable of solving at least one unsolved miseries existing in this enigmatic and ever expanding universe, which can turn helpful in overcoming at least one the suffering from total number of miseries being faced by humanity. Thus I take my salary as stipend received by name “Learn while you Earn”. The salary in material terms is also not more than that, which clear by my designation as mentioned above. The comments, thus, in additional sheets were scribbled in my own hand writing and attached along with evaluator’s report.

Now the logic as to why I am sharing this information with my audience:

“When Paper was returned back to Scholar who had authored the same, for the purpose of correction; it got revealed to me that the authors were none other than Learned Dean of one College of the same well known University co- authored by Learned Head Department of the same College, and a scholar who got admitted to the prestigious degree of Doctor of Philosophy the domain dealt by the college, bearing a seal of the prestigious university”.

Now I feel a bit happy for of my decision of not getting enrolled or registered for Ph. D., in the Particular College and the University.

This also clearly introduces me to the reasons, as to why the university despite of best of its efforts has not got the status of Central University. Probably as of now the University should vie to get recognized as National Institution, even which as per me, may not be awarded.

Finally I Hope that there is no need to Sign this Document….As the above content has not been created for legal purposes. It’s just meant to separate and create a visible difference between a Professor and a Tutor performing the role of Professor to earn his Livelihood. ALSO TO EXPLAIN WHAT IT MEANS AND SHOULD BE EXPECTED BY PRESENT GENERATION INDIVIDUALS DECORATED BY DEGREE TITLED DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY.

ACADEMICS IS LONG DEAD! ………………………………………………

……………………..…………………………………………………………….LONG LIVE ACADEMICS !!!

 

Always Yours ………………………………..As Usual…………………………Saurabh Singh

IN GUJARAT, E-LITERATE PAANWALA GOOGLES NREGS, STUMBLES ON RS 1-CRORE SCAM

IN GUJARAT, E-LITERATE PAANWALA GOOGLES NREGS, STUMBLES ON RS 1-CRORE SCAM

A newly e-literate village paanwala’s obsession with Google has blown the lid off a unique NREGS scam in Porbandar. The motley bunch of beneficiaries include affluent NRIs, doctors, government officials, teachers and well-off farmers — all shown as unemployed village labourers holding NREGS job cards. So far, the money siphoned off comes to nearly Rs 1 crore.

On paper, there are 963 NREGS job cardholders at Kotda village in Kutiyana taluka of Porbandar district. Records show they have been paid over Rs 95 lakh for their ‘labour’ over the past three years. In reality though, none of them have ever dug wells or built roads in their lives or actually received any money for the same under NREGS or otherwise.

The scam came to light after Aslam Khokhar (37), a Class X dropout and a paan shop owner in Kutiyana learnt how to use computers and searched NREGS on Google. “I was thrilled to find every detail of NREGS work in our area on the website. But I then came across the job card of a friend, who is a government employee.

IN GUJARAT, E-LITERATE PAANWALA GOOGLES NREGS, STUMBLES ON RS 1-CRORE SCAM

IN GUJARAT, E-LITERATE PAANWALA GOOGLES NREGS, STUMBLES ON RS 1-CRORE SCAM

I searched and found there are doctors, teachers and NRIs I personally know in the village, listed as ‘labourers’ on the site,” said Khokar.

Veja Modedara, an independent councillor at Kutiyana taluka panchayat, and Congress worker like Bhanukant Odedara soon joined hands with Khokhar. The trio conducted door-to-door meetings with villagers named in the website and found they had neither worked on any NREGS site nor received any wages.

Several like Bharat Ganga (23), who has been to Muscat for the past three years, were shocked to learn that they were named as NREGS employees on record and have been even paid for their work. “How can this be? I moved out of India three years ago,” Ganga told The Indian Express.

Varu Karsan Uka (38), an official with the Pashcim Gujarat Vij Company Limited for 15 years also holds the job card number GJ-21-005-030-001/726. Even his wife has been also named as a card holding labourer. According to the records, the couple had built roads and dug wells for 60 days and received Rs 6,000 for their work. “How can I possibly get an NREGS job card when I am a state government official ?” said Uka.

Dr Dayaram Babhania (58), a well-known physician in Kutiyana too holds a job card (number GJ-21-005-030-001/526), though he admits never to have lifted a pickaxe in his entire life.

Other like him on the list are Range Forest Officer Jesa Odedara, Forest Guard Arshi Bhattu, Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) employees Meru Odedara and Arjan Odedara, teacher Leela Dasa, Ex-serviceman Kunti Rama and NRIs Haja Modha, who have long left the village and settled in Israel. On paper, all are ‘labourers’ and many have been paid too.

Kutiyana Sub-Inspector I Damor said the police probe will take a while since details of all the 963 accounts need to be verified.

Kutiyana Taluka Development Officer J Gamit said, “Preliminary investigation by the department has revealed that at least 73 cardholders are government employees, professionals or NRIs.”

District Development Officer K D Bhatt said: “We will begin a door-to-door survey to find the exact scale of the scam.”

Always Yours ————–  As Usual——————  Saurabh Singh

Source: http://in.news.yahoo.com/48/20101115/804/tnl-in-gujarat-e-literate-paanwala-googl.html?printer=1:::: Hiral DaveMon, Nov 15 06:09 AM

“thalaikoothal” – What it Means! Perhaps Murdering Your Own who brought You on this Planet

MERCY KILLINGS

 

Maariyamma is likely to be killed by her children because they cannot afford her. They will give her a loving oil bath. Several glasses of coconut water. A mouthful of mud. Perhaps a poison injection. She is just one of many old parents in Tamil Nadu dying in this way. But no one blinks at these ritual murders.

IN TAMIL, it is known as thalaikoothal. A leisurely oil bath. An exercise in love and health when given to newborn children, a ceremonial beginning to festivals, and the universal answer to pitiless summers. In Tamil Nadu’s small industry hub of Virudhunagar, however, it is the beginning of slow murder. The marker of the devastating poverty that makes a son kill his own aging mother.

DEATH DO US APART AFTER HER FRIEND’S SON TURNED MERCY KILLER, MAARIYAMMA LEFT HER VILLAGE

DEATH DO US APART AFTER HER FRIEND’S SON TURNED MERCY KILLER, MAARIYAMMA LEFT HER VILLAGE

Young family members of this district in southern Tamil Nadu have been pushing their infirm, elderly dependents to death because they cannot afford to take care of them. When 65-year-old Maariyamma suspected this might happen to her too, she moved out of her son’s house two years ago. “I’m not well enough to live on my own, but it is better than being killed by them,” she says. Amazingly, there is no bitterness in her voice. Or anger. “They’re struggling hard to take care of their own children,” says Maariyamma, of her sons. She places no blame. Her two sons and two daughters are farm labourers who travel to different villages every sowing and harvesting season. Seeing her children at pains to run their house, and feed and educate her grandchildren, Maariyamma knew she was a burden. She knew how it would end if she didn’t leave.

 

Maariyamma had seen it happen to other men and women of her age. Her neighbour, Parvathy, had been paralysed at the age of 76. “She had only one son,” says Maariyamma. “And he was working in Chennai, surviving on some menial job there. How could he afford to look after his bedridden mother?” One day, Maariyamma says, Parvathy’s son came, “did it” and went back to Chennai. “What else could he do?” she asks. Again, in place of anger or fear, there is helpless resignation. And a strange empathy for the person who might elaborately plan her murder.

 

Thalaikoothal works thus: an extensive oil bath is given to an elderly person before the crack of dawn. The rest of the day, he or she is given several glasses of cold tender coconut water. Ironically, this is everything a mother would’ve told her child not do while taking an oil bath. “Tender coconut water taken in excess causes renal failure,” says Dr Ashok Kumar, a practicing physician in Madurai. By evening, the body temperature falls sharply. In a day or two, the old man or woman dies of high fever. This method is fail-proof “because the elderly often do not have the immunity to survive the sudden fever, says Dr Kumar.

Solitary existence When he suspected his sons saw him as a burden, Kasi moved out

Solitary existence When he suspected his sons saw him as a burden, Kasi moved out

Over THE years, other methods have evolved too. The most painful one is when mud dissolved in water is forced down; it causes indigestion and an undignified death. Velayudham of Help age India says the families often take the mud from their own land, if they have any. “It is believed that this makes their souls happy,” he says.

 

Dorairaj, a farmer in Satur, confesses that Muniammal, a distant relative, had been killed four months earlier. She was 78, and too weak to fend for herself. She was given an oil bath, but somehow survived. After a few days, she was given the ‘milk treatment’. “When the milk is being poured, the nose is held tight,” says Dorairaj. This ‘milk treatment’ is often preceded by starvation. The household stops serving the parent solid food. “When milk is poured uninterruptedly into the mouth, it goes into the respiratory track. A starving person cannot withstand even a moment’s suffocation,” says 60-year-old Paul Raj, coordinator of a district elders’ welfare association.

 

For those who choose poisoning as their modus operandi, Ganeshan is the man to call. This middle-aged man lives in Paramakkudy village, and introduces himself as a ‘medical practitioner’. In reality, he is Doctor Death. Ganeshan sources and administers lethal injections on demand. According to him, it is simply a service. “I am not killing anybody who may have a longer life. It is done only in the last and final stage of one’s life. Why should they suffer in poverty?” he justifies. Ganeshan defends his ‘profession’ but says he’d rather have some other means of livelihood. Azhagappan, a small shop owner, revealed that Ganeshan is not even a trained nurse. “He had worked in a hospital as the lowest grade attendant for a few months. That’s where he learned to give injections.” Azhagappan estimates that Ganeshan charges Rs. 300 to Rs. 3,000. Ganeshan refuses to disclose the chemical combination of his poison.

 

Though everyone seems to be in the know, thalaikoothal officially remained unexposed until the death of 60-year-old Selvaraj, of Ramasamipuram village in Virudhunagar on 18 June this year. Selvaraj, who was bed-ridden due to an accident, died suddenly. Asokan, Selvaraj’s nephew in Virudhunagar, raised the alarm on his uncle’s death. He registered an FIR, and subsequently a woman named Zeenath was arrested for administering a poisonous injection. Prabhakar, the Virudhunagar Commissioner of Police, admits that it is hard to find any evidence. “The body was cremated and there is no scope for a re-examination of the corpse,” he says.

 

Zeenath has been released on bail and refused to talk to TEHELKA when we met her in her village, Ramasamipuram. Some villagers claimed that Zeenath was a ‘professional mercy killer.

 

A few days after Selvaraj’s death came to light, a newspaper published a report exposing more mysterious deaths in the district. When the district administration of Virudhunagar learnt how widespread the mercy killing was, it ordered an investigation. “It was shocking for all of us,” says V K Shanmugham, district collector in Virudhunagar. He soon realised that conventional state responses like arrests, warnings and interrogations would not even scratch the surface.

 

Thalaikoothal lay in the indefinable space between crime and desperate acts of poverty. It was social custom, a collective family decision, a ritual goodbye to a loved one who had lived a full life. Sometimes, it was the victim’s own idea. Shanmugham found that many called it a path to “eternal peace”, an escape from the violence of poverty. “It is difficult to view this simply in a legal or criminal framework,” he adds.

Community Pardon in Many Villages, Thalaikoothal is Not a Crime, But a Social Custom for Them – Yes it’s in India

Community Pardon in Many Villages, Thalaikoothal is Not a Crime, But a Social Custom for Them – Yes it’s in India

If thalaikoothal is seen as a crime, an entire village is accomplice. Community members and relatives not only support the practice, several even arrive a day before the auspicious oil bath to meet the aged parent one last time. Everybody knows the man or woman is going to die.

 

Killing is indeed a brutal solution to financial burdens, but community members claim there is no alternative. “It does not mean that they do not love their parents,” says Chellathorai, the president of Paneerpetty village Panchayat.

 

Paul Raj, of the district elders welfare association, recently requested the district collector for government protection for the elderly. “The aged in these villages are highly vulnerable. We demand government’s immediate action.” Raj, however, realises that while police forces can protect an aged woman from her children, what they really need is protection from penury. “If the seniors had some income, they would not be considered so burdensome,” says Raj. “For example, if they got more pension, or at least got it regularly, it might give some respite.”

Kasi, a daily wager, moved out of his son’s house after his wife died. He’s not sure if he’s 65 or 70, but his shock of white hair, equally white handlebar moustache, and soil-black wrinkled skin are testament to his long and arduous life. Kasi had decided to leave when he watched his children grow tired of tending to their father’s every need. “I’m very fond of them, and can’t imagine they will try to kill me,” he says. “But anyway, I didn’t want to push them to any extreme step.” Whether he too would have been invited for that chilling oil bath some years down, Kasi doesn’t know. And he didn’t stick around to find out.

Thalaikoothal is Not a Crime, But a Social Custom

Thalaikoothal is Not a Crime, But a Social Custom

ACROSS VIRUDHUNAGAR, even as elderly men and women leave their homes, they make excuses for their children. “My son was struggling with his own life,” says Kasi. They put up a brave front. “I’m surviving fine with the ration rice at 2 per kilo,” says a reed-thin Maariyamma. They starve, and sigh, but do not complain. Thalaikoothal is to them not cowardly murder, but a brave farewell. Kasi and Maariyamma do not see how extreme it is, how dramatic. For them, it is a sort of practical love that is simply about survival.

Always Yours —————– As Usual——————-Saurabh Singh

Source: Tehelka Magazine, Vol 7, Issue 46, Dated November 20, 2010


INFORMING & TO INTRODUCE – DEEPAWALI – AN INTRODUCTION TO MY GLOBAL AUDIENCES FANS FRIENDS & COLLEAGUES

DEEPAWALI – AN INTRODUCTION TO MY GLOBAL AUDIENCES FANS FRIENDS & COLLEAGUES

India celebrates Diwali or Deepawali on November 06, 2010. Diwali is popularly known as the festival of lights, is an important five-day festival in Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, and occurring between mid-October and mid-November.

People do Lakshmi Puja or Lakshmi Pooja and Kali Puja in temples. It is also known as Naraka Chaturdashi, Balipadyami, Dhanatravodashi, and Narakchaturdashi.

 

Diwali is the most important festival of the year for Hindus and is celebrated in families by performing traditional activities together in their homes. According to one theory Diwali may have originated as a harvest festival, marking the last harvest of the year before winter. In an agrarian society this results in businessmen closing accounts, and beginning a new accounting year. The Goddess Lakshmi (the Goddess of wealth in Hinduism) thanked and worshipped on this day and everyone prays for a good and prosperous year ahead. This is the common factor in Diwali celebrations all over the Indian subcontinent.

 

The impact was seen on Indian Stock Market BSE too. The BSE 30-share Sensex was up 174.41 points or 0.83%. BSE Sensex moved past the psychological 21,000 level and the 50-unit S&P CNX Nifty surged past the psychological 6,300 level at the onset of the special 45-minute Muhurat trading session being held today, 5 November 2010, to mark the begging of the Samavat Year 2067.


Deepawali is an official holiday in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore, and Fiji. Diwali on the Square is a free annual celebration of Diwali in London’s Trafalgar Square. It is usually timed to be on a weekend shortly before or after the date of Diwali itself. In 2010 this event is on Sunday 31 October 2010 from 2pm to 7pm.

In United States of America, Barack Obama became the first president to personally attend Diwali at the White House in 2009. Indians in the US celebrate Diwali in different parts of the US, just as in India. The Diwali Mela in Cowboys Stadium boasted an attendance of 100,000 people in 2009. In 2009, San Antonio became the first U.S. city to sponsor an official Diwali celebration including a fireworks display and 5000 people in attendance. Obama will celebrate this year Diwali in India.

FURIOUS FIRE WORKS- DEVASTATING LIVES – ENDING HOPES OF SURVIVAL

AT THIS MOMENT MOTHER NATURE IS PLAYING PERHAPS A FURIOUS FIRE CRACKER – PLANE CRASH GAME OF HIGHER ORDER — AS IF IT WERE A VEDIO GAME – MY SINCERE CONDOLENCES & SYMPATHIES WITH ALL THOSE WHO LOST THEIR LIVE AND ASLSO WITH THOSE WHO LOST LIFE OF THEIR KITHS KINS & RELATIVES– MAY GOD LET THEM REST IN PEACE AT HEAVEN

PAKISTAN KARANCHI

The Crashed Plane
The Crashed Plane

At least 21 people, including some foreign nationals, were feared killed when a small aircraft belonging to a private charter service crashed soon after take-off from the airport in the southern Pakistani port city of Karachi. The Beechcraft 1900C aircraft of JS Air, which had been chartered to ferry employees of a US oil company, had 19 passengers and two crew members on board, Civil Aviation Authority officials were quoted as saying by TV news channels. The officials said some foreigners were on the aircraft.

An AirBlue Plane on Pakistan Airport Runway
An AirBlue Plane on Pakistan Airport Runway

Immediately after the twin-engine turboprop aircraft took off from Karachi aircraft at 7.15 am, the pilot informed the control tower that one of the engines had failed. The pilot was advised to turn back and land. However, the aircraft crashed into a plot of land near the airport that is controlled by the Pakistan Army’s aviation wing and burst into flames. TV news channels reported the aircraft did not hit any structures on the ground. Army personnel cordoned off the area and launched a rescue operation after dousing the flames. Witnesses told the media that it appeared no one had survived the crash. Ambulances of the private Chippa rescue service took at least 10 bodies to the Jinnah Hospital. The aircraft was taking a group of workers to the Bhitshah oilfield. JS Air had been chartered by the US oil company to ferry its workers as part of a weekly change of shift at the oilfield. Due to security concerns, the workers are flown directly to the oilfield.

Further Details  CAN BE FOUND HERE-CLICK

CARACAS VENEZUELA

At least 14 people were killed and four others remained missing after an aircraft carrying 47 passengers and four crashed Monday in southern Venezuela, authorities said. Thirty-three people were rescued from the wreckage alive.

Venezuella Plane Crash Photo

Bolivar Governor Francisco Rangel said emergency teams acted quickly to rescue the injured, who were taken to two hospitals. All had been travelling in the plane and no one was injured on the ground as a result of the accident, he said. Some of the dead were yet to be identified, while four people were believed to be caught in the wreckage, amid “smoking debris”. Rangel said one eyewitness who tried to access the aircraft needed treatment for smoke inhalation.


The aircraft, operated by the state airline Conviasa, had taken off from tourist favorite Margarita Island and was headed to the city of Puerto Ordaz, in the state of Bolivar. Earlier, Venezuelan Infrastructure Minister Francisco Garces had mistakenly said the aircraft had been travelling from Puerto Ordaz to Margarita.

“If you see the state the plane ended up in, it is surprising that 33 compatriots survived,” Garces said later. Rangel said the pilot reported trouble minutes before the crash, and noted that his skill saved lives by taking the plane to a deserted area. The pilot is among the dead, according to media reports which were not immediately confirmed by the authorities. The ATR-42 model aircraft crashed shortly before landing into the scrap yard of a nearby plant operated by the steel company Sidor.

“It helped that it crashed in the Sidor plant, because there are several ambulances there,” Rangel said. Civil defence, police and fire department personnel were working at the site of the accident, around 10 kilometers away from Puerto Ordaz airport.

Further Details  CAN BE FOUND HERE-CLICK

HAVANA  CUBA

HAVANA: A Cuban airliner flying from the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba to the capital has crashed with 68 people aboard, including 28 foreigners, state media reported.

There was no immediate word on whether any survived. The AeroCaribbean plane went down near the village of Guasimal in Santi Spiritus province, carrying 61 passengers and a crew of seven, state television said. It said 28 passengers were foreigners, but did not give a breakdown of nationalities.


At Havana’s national terminal, relatives of those on board the plane were kept sequestered away from other passengers and journalists.

The newscast gave no details on what happened, saying only that the cause of the crash was being investigated.

The flight would have been one of the last leaving Santiago de Cuba for Havana ahead of Tropical Storm Tomas, which was on a track to pass between Cuba’s eastern end and the western coast of Haiti.

Cuban media said earlier that flights and train service to Santiago were being suspended until the storm passed. AeroCaribbean is owned by Cuban state airline Cubana de Aviacion.

Further Details   CAN BE FOUND HERE-CLICK

Always Yours—-  As Usual————– Saurabh Singh

Get Introduced with Barak M Obama — before he Lands in Mumbai-INDIA

Obama at bottom of his popularity and further confidence broken by  Poll Results

India, stand by to welcome a wounded American President. A crushing defeat in the mid-term Congressional elections stares President Obama’s Democratic Party on the eve of his four-nation trip that begins with a three-day Mumbai-Delhi swing later this week. The expected rout is likely to impact his agenda for the visit, which has already been heavily weighted towards economic issues at the expense of a strategic outreach with an eye on Tuesday’s polls.

But it has not made much difference, and things don’t look good for Obama. A 12-foot-high stack of pumpkins on the White House lawns on Sunday generated jokes about why Democrats are running scared on Halloween, which Obama celebrated with his kids after taking a break from the pell-mell of last-minute campaigning.

Democrats are in danger of losing both the House of Representatives (where all 435 seats are at stake) and nearly a third of the 100-member Senate, besides a host of governorships and state legislatures in play.

Almost every opinion poll has projected a heavy defeat for the Democrats, with the certain loss of the House of Representatives and possibly even the Senate. Republicans are poised to erase the 39-seat difference in the 435-member House to take control of the chamber.

In the words of Harvard Historian Professor James T. Kloppenberg

Professor James T. Kloppenberg ‘s authored book has been published on just the past Sunday by Princeton University Press.

Professor chose to focus on the influences that shaped President Barack Obama’s view of the world, he interviewed the president’s former professors and classmates, combed through his books, essays and speeches, and even read every article published during the three years Obama was involved with the Harvard Law Review (“a superb cure for insomnia,” Kloppenberg said). What he did not do was speak to Obama. “He would have had to deny every word,” Kloppenberg said with a smile. The reason, he explained, is his conclusion that Obama is a true  intellectual — a word that is frequently considered an epithet among populists with a robust suspicion of Ivy League elites. In New York City last week to give a standing-room-only lecture about his forthcoming intellectual biography, Reading Obama: Dreams, Hopes, and the American Political Tradition, Kloppenberg explained that he sees Obama as a kind of philosopher president, a rare breed that can be found only a handful of times in US history.

“There’s John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and John Quincy Adams, then Abraham Lincoln and in the 20th century just Woodrow Wilson,” he said. To Kloppenberg the philosophy that has guided Obama most consistently is pragmatism, a uniquely American system of thought developed at the end of the 19th century by William James, John Dewey and Charles Sanders Peirce. It is a philosophy that grew up after Darwin published his theory of evolution and the Civil War reached its bloody end.

Pragmatism maintains that people are constantly devising and updating ideas to navigate the world in which they live; it embraces open-minded experimentation and continuing debate. “It is a philosophy for skeptics, not true believers,” Kloppenberg said. Those who heard Kloppenberg present his argument at a conference on intellectual history at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center responded with prolonged applause. “The way he traced Obama’s intellectual influences was fascinating for us, given that Obama’s academic background seems so similar to ours,” said Andrew Hartman, a historian at Illinois State University who helped organize the conference.

Kloppenberg  chose to focus on one slice of the president’s makeup: his ideas. In the professor’s analysis the president’s worldview is the product of the country’s long history of extending democracy to disenfranchised groups, as well as the specific ideological upheavals that struck campuses in the 1980s and 1990s. He mentions, for example, that Obama was at Harvard during “the greatest intellectual ferment in law schools in the 20th century,” when competing theories about race, feminism, realism and constitutional original intent were all battling for ground.

Obama was ultimately drawn to a cluster of ideas known as civic republicanism or deliberative democracy, Kloppenberg argues in the book . Taking his cue from Madison, Obama writes in his 2006 book The Audacity of Hope that the constitutional framework is “designed to force us into a conversation,” that it offers “a way by which we argue about our future.” This notion of a living document is directly at odds with the conception of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who has spoken of “the good, old dead Constitution.”

Kloppenberg compiled a long list of people who he said helped shape Obama’s thinking and writing, including Weber and Nietzsche, Thoreau and Emerson, Langston Hughes and Ralph Ellison. Contemporary scholars like historian Gordon Wood, philosophers John Rawls and Hilary Putnam, anthropologist Clifford Geertz and legal theorists Martha Minow and Cass Sunstein (who is now working at the White House) also have a place.

Despite the detailed examination, Kloppenberg concedes that Obama remains something of a mystery. “To critics on the left he seems a tragic failure, a man with so much potential who has not fulfilled the promise of change that partisans predicted for his presidency,” he said. “To the right he is a frightening success, a man who has transformed the federal government and ruined the economy.”He finds both assessments flawed. Conservatives who argue that Obama is a socialist or an anti-colonialist (as Dinesh D’Souza does in his book “The Roots of Obama’s Rage”) are far off the mark, he said.

“Adams and Jefferson were the only anti-colonialists whom Obama has been affected by,” he told the audience in New York. “He has a profound love of America.” And his opposition to inequality stems from Puritan preachers and the social gospel rather than socialism. As for liberal critics, Kloppenberg took pains to differentiate the president’s philosophical pragmatism, which assumes that change emerges over decades, from the kind of “vulgar pragmatism” practiced by politicians looking only for expedient compromise. (He gave former President Bill Clinton’s strategy of “triangulation” as an example.)

 

Always Yours——— As Usual——–  Saurabh Singh

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