Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Rajiv Gandhi and Prabhakaran

May 21,1991 was the day Rajiv Gandhi was blown up in Sriperumpudur by a suicide bomber. May 19, 2009 was the day Sri Lankan forces killed V. Prabhakaran, leader of  the LTTE.

I have been observing street posters in Chennai since 1997. I can see some patterns in the way emotions have changed this way and that way.

Till 2008, Rajiv posters were about revenge and demanding bringing the killers of Rajiv Gandhi to justice.

2009 was a difficult year. Before Rajiv memorial day, the whole state was under extreme tension as news of LTTE's defeat and Prabhakaran's killing hit the people strong. Congressmen were careful with their posters. No triumphalism.

The next 2-3 years, that is till 2012, pro-Eelam supporters out-shouted and out-matched Rajiv supporters in the poster space. It was about justice for the Sri Lankan Tamils killed in Mullivaikkal. Rajiv posters were there, but somewhat subdued.

This year, I see a shift. I see strong, bolder messages by the Congressmen, projecting Rajiv Gandhi forcefully. Pro-Eelam rallies are down, posters are fewer and the meetings cracked down by the police.

It seems to me that over the next 10 years, Rajiv Gandhi will slowly eat into the poster space, and come out as a victor.

I am not reading much into this yet. Merely voicing a very subjective, very limited viewpoint, based on extremely limited data.

Friday, May 10, 2013

TN Plus Two results, JEE etc.

Few random observations.

(1) Karnataka 2nd PUC (same as Plus Two in TN) results were declared on May 6th. Out of 6.11 lakh students who wrote the exam, 59.36% had passed. Oneindia site had the pass percentage in the last few years, some of which look quite shocking: (From http://education.oneindia.in/news/2013/05/07/district-wise-result-analysis-karnataka-2nd-puc-2013-004883.html)

In 2008, the pass percentage was as low as 41.31%. Remained sub 50% right until 2011. In 2012, jumped to 57.03% and now 59.36%. Not knowing the history over the last 25+ years, it does appear that this year record is the best. Still 4 out of every 10 who wrote have failed the exam.

(2) In comparison, in TN, 7.99 lakh students wrote the plus two exam, and the pass ratio is 88.1%

(3) TN's worst performing district Thiruvannamalai has a pass percentage a shade under 70%. Whereas, in Karnataka, Yadgir district pass ratio is around 46%.

Are the exams in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu comparable?Is the evaluation in TN more liberal?

As pointed out by Alex Pandian @AxPn, while we are seeing a spate of suicides in TN, the general feeling seems to be that Karnataka has done well by increasing the pass percentage. No one seems to have committed suicide.


As pointed out by RealityCheckInd on Twitter, a total of 30,000 people have qualified from the south zone in the JEE (Main) test. Of this, though, 20,000 are from Andhra Pradesh and a mere 2,000 from Tamil Nadu.

So in that case, how do we compare the education in these two states?