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Launched as the rebellious voice of mac users in India in 1995, the Iconoclast column by niyam bhushan soon evolved into tackling bigger IT issues. With the same irreverence.

Iconoclasts on apple macintosh.

Iconoclasts on mainstream IT.

Click for all iconoclasts.

Iconoclasts on mainstream IT.

  1. Ghost in the Machine

  2. ClearType or ClearHype

  3. Frank Einstein

  4. The PC is dead

  5. Quills on Arrows

  6. Another Brick in the Wallpaper

  7. Even Bigger than the Internet

  8. Shoot at sight

  9. Digital Wombs

  10. The Millennium of Contentment

  11. Know Where?

  12. Get your money back from Microsoft. Conditions apply.

  13. Wanna break free?

  14. Opening the Gates to Freedom.

  15. The price of learning

  16. Mortals with Portals

  17. Burn all GIFs

  18. Kaun Banega Bill Gates

  19. Gunning for Adobe?

  20. Paper Tigers?

  21. Cobwebs

  22. Another byte at Apple, Anyone?

Note: Some of these articles are also available in PDF format, and require you to download and install Acrobat Reader 5 or above.


Another Brick

in the Wallpaper

We don’t need no education?
Circa July 1999

Everybody has been extolling the internet as an incredible education tool. A few schools, colleges and professional and vocational institutes even within India are presenting strategies and showcases of how they intend tapping into the vast potential of the internet for education.
But how good is the internet for education? Or rather, the more pertinent question to ask is, how good is the education system for internet? The question may astound you, but think carefully. Deep rooted in our whole Indian social and education system is a clever system of dependency. Parents are dependent on schools and colleges to impart quality education to their children. Students are dependent on their teachers, private tutors and professors for their education. Even vocational and professional skills can only seem to be imparted through the NIITs, Aptechs, and fashion design & interiors polytechnics that hound us the moment we unfold the newspaper in the morning. Proclaims NIIT rather boldly, “If you are not studying at NIIT, you are missing something.”
Spare the Zen-stick
Even though schools, colleges, and other institutes have libraries and course books, students are taught to be dependent on their teachers private tutors. In fact, the Indian education system is a long legacy from kindergarden to even Post-graduation and beyond, where the teachers and professors play wet nurse to their students. What is missing at the core is a simple basic tenet of zen philosophy: Nothing can be taught, it can only be caught. The responsibility has to shift from the teacher to the student first, before any significant learning can take place. The second tenet is even more profound: They day you stop learning, you stop living. This is a total contrast to our system of acquiring certificates, diplomas and degrees to proclaim our education and knowledge, and then with the end of formal education, all learning seems to stop.
I often ask educationists and trainers in India what would happen if all schools, colleges, institutes were somehow shut down for 100 years. Would ‘intelligence’ take a nose-dive? Many educationists believe that the yearning for learning will not end in such a scenario. People would still end up discovering things for themselves, somehow educating themselves and acquiring skills for commerce and trade. No wonder it is often seen that a roadside mechanic has equal or more skills and expertise then a freshly qualified engineer in repairing cars, for example. Or that an unqualified master weaver is much more experienced and talented in both the design and production of his textile than fashion institute graduates. Several great thinkers like Edison, Einstien, and even Jawaharlal Nehru studied on their own or through private tutors, acquiring extraordinary knowledge and skills in the process.
This is where the internet steps in, or multimedia ‘edutainment’ titles, for that matter. These encourage a more personal, self-paced, and self-learning process of education. The key here is self-motivation. In a new, radical approach for the next millenium, educationists and education institutions within the system would have only one simple task: firing the imagination and thirst for knowledge within students. Teachers and trainers would only have to work at unblocking mental and emotional blocks within students to learning, and further sharpening their natural faculties of curiosity, inquiry, thinking, and even awe and wonder about life. That ignited alone is enough. Then the internet won’t just be looked at as a potential education tool, but as a blessing. Check out the hits from around the world on the NASA, Discovery, and related websites for instance, to see what I mean.

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12 August 2004 © niyam bhushan