Friday, June 28, 2013

Here's to the crazy ones (in Hindi) ( हिंदी में )

Hindi translation of the Think Different para... I don't want to endorse the brand here because this is bigger and deeper than brands.

Here's to the crazy ones.  The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. यह उनके लिए है जो पागल केहलाते हैं. सिरफिरे. विचित्र. सनकी.
मुसीबत पैदा करने वाले.
The round pegs in the square holes. कोई सांचे मैं ठीक से न बैठनेवाले.
The ones who see things differently. ये दुनिया को अलग ही नज़रिए से देखते है.
They're not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.
इनको नियमो या वर्तमान - स्थिति की कोई परवाह नहीं.
You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. आप इनसे सहमति करें, लडे, झगडे, प्रशंसा या अपमान भी कर ले, लेकिन एक चीज आप नहीं कर सकते. आप इनको नजरअंदाज नहीं कर सकते.
Because they change things.
क्यूंकि ये परिस्थिति को बदलते हैं.
They push the human race forward. ये इंसानियत को आगे बढातें हैं.
While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. जहाँ पे लोगोंको पागलपन दिखता है, वाहीं हमें प्रतिभा दिखती है.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do." क्योंकि अंत में वोही सिरफिरे लोग दुनिया को बदलते हैं, जो अपने आप को दुनिया को बदलने के काबिल समझते हैं.

Swaraj University orientation meet 6-7 July 2013, Udaipur

The admission process for 2013 has started. Kindly check for more details on the process of joining. Attending the orientation meet is necessary for the admissions.

Check our facebook page for regular updates:
Our mailing address is:
Swaraj University
83, Adinath Nagar, old fatehpura
Udaipur 313004

Saturday, June 22, 2013

We need to move the internet on to decentralized peer-to-peer networks

We need to move the internet on to decentralized peer-to-peer networks. There's been revelation after revelation over the past few years on how the main service providers, particularly Google, have made it so much easier for authoritarian governments to spy on people without having to prove any suspicion. And telecommunications too. Not just spying, theres a direct control ability now possessed by repressive entities to manipulate what we have been thinking is free flow of information. It's a total co-opting of what is supposed to be the defence against oppression. Its long overdue now. We have to move on. I foresee major upheavals on the www coming up. I don't know what will emerge, but can surely say that things won't be the same as they are right now.

08 Aug 2013 : Update: I came across PRISM-BREAK : A site listing open-source and reliable alternatives to softwares and systems that can help us break out of the surveillance state. All the solutions can't be utilized by the simple computer user yet, but worth checking out nevertheless.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Learnings from a workshop on self-management

Frederic took a workshop on self-management (actually covered a wide spectrum of things) at Swaraj University with Khojis from 2012 batch in April 2013. You can check out his website:
As a participant, some of my biggest personal takeaways from it were: (Disclaimer: my own interpretations can vary widely from other participants' and Frederic's)

1. With regard to strengths and weaknesses, it emerged that the same sets of values drove our behaviour during both times; and depending on the external circumstances, one time it came out as strength, the other time it manifested as a weakness.

Example: Persistence really brought me success at a particular time in my life; but the same persistence also caused me harm at another time. And the external factors might just as well have turned either way.

An understanding from this was : we actually don't have strengths or weaknesses. They are merely times when our values are being manifested in balance, or out of balance. And this applies not just to ourselves, but everywhere: So it brings into question the whole battle between good and evil : What if there are no evil people, but simply people acting out of balance in specific situations?

What if every "evil" person has the capability to manifest their core values in a more balanced way, and even the other way around?

Looking through history, we see strong, dearly loved public heroes turning into ruthless dictators after some years in power...
we see agents of "evil institutions" suddenly having a change of heart and turning whistleblower or walking a different path...
we see people making decisions at work that negatively impact the world, but being wonderful and caring parents and spouses at home.

What if, by running behind an assumed "evil" and labeling and punishing and trying to destroy it, we've been barking up the wrong tree?

2. There is a mind, an identity that makes us that is beyond the brain. The brain's role is to interpret, calculate, plan etc and give advice on the next course of action. There are many voices inside us also giving us advice : love, desire, fear etc... in any situation, all of these voices may have different perspectives and will demand opposing things. The identity has to listen to all these voices, and take a decision. We go wrong when we listen to only one voice and not the others. There are limits to what our senses can interpret, to how much our brain can plan and predict; so to listen to only the brain all the time may not be a wise option.

3. There are things in our life that are within our circle of control. There are things that are outside our circle of control. And then there are things that fall somewhere in between: in the zone of influence, where our influence is present but not total. Many of our sufferings come from trying to drag those things into our circle and trying to control what is not completely within our control. And many of our missed opportunities happen because we assumed something was totally outside our circle of control when it was actually in the zone of influence. Identifying what lies where can save us a lot of trouble as well as open new avenues.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Swaraj University Orientation meet, @Urban Ashram, Pune, 22 June 4pm-7pm

Dear Friends,
We welcome you to join us for the orientation meet of Swaraj University, a self-designed program with no teachers, no degrees and no curriculum. The meet will be held at Urban Ashram, Pune on Saturday 22nd of June, 2013 from 4 pm - 7 pm.

About Swaraj University:

Swaraj University was birthed in 2010 as a two year learning program for youth. The focus of the 2-year program is on self-designed learning, ecological sustainability, healthy living and social justice.The program comprises of khoji meets, learning journeys, skill-based workshops, individualized self-study program. There is NO degree or certificate required to join Swaraj University, and we do not give any degrees after the course. There are currently 51 Khojis (learners) enrolled in Swaraj University, from all over India. The exploration areas of Khojis range from self-healing techniques,story-telling, organic farming, film-making to writing, wildlife, music and lots more.

About the orientation:
The admissions for new batch for the year 2013 are open. The new batch will start in the month of August. This 3-hour orientation in Pune
would be a glimpse into the life of Swaraj University in the form of activities, games and sessions. Further, there will be time for questioning regarding the university.

Date: 22nd June 2013 Saturday
Time: 4pm sharp - 7pm
Venue: The Urban Ashram, Opp Sujay Gardens,
34 Mukund Nagar,Pune (

Note: Bring a pen and notebook along with you

To know more about Swaraj University, visit us at:
or e-mail us at:
Our facebook page:
or call Rahul at 08764279302

Forward it to your friends

Swaraj University Team

Friday, June 7, 2013

Message for Teach For India 2011 Fellows

Greetings fellow 11ers, and congrats on your fellowship completion!
More than what numbers your kids achieved, I'd be more interested in what you learned from them. These results, numbers.. I've found they're unfair measurements that dehumanize them. My "worst" students were actually the best positioned to deal with the storms of life and make independent decisions. My greatest worries are for the top-scoring ones who've been conditioned into thinking they're better than others, that they must always obey authority, and that some arbitrary numbers prove their worth. They're all wonderful of course, but I regret the trap they're stuck in. I've met and lived with some unschooling families since then. Humungous differences in the kids - you'd think they're from another planet. (A kinder, more intelligent and knowledgeable, independently motivated, nonviolent planet)

I feel that TFI, in their training, did the equivalent of teaching world history without making a single mention of any non-violent freedom struggles, of any Gandhi or Luther or Mandela. The trainees of such a program would emerge from their training resolutely believing that the only way to win independence is through violent means. This assumption would go on to colour any kind of help they gave to oppressed people, and could end up harming those people instead.

There is a huge, global movement of people proving that scores-driven testing and exams-oriented, factory schooling is doing the opposite of educating people. In Pune itself there are unschooling families leading a national movement of homeschoolers / unschoolers. They don't have corporate funding so don't get published so much. We're organizing a self-sponsored event next week that's bringing together people like this from all over the country. Check out : and consider dropping by on the Sunday to meet them.

Monday, June 3, 2013

An example of curing a headache by shooting oneself in the head

A facebook post by Times of India:

"If GoM has its way, CBI may not get full autonomy. Read more: "

My comment:
Yes, go ahead an give an unelected group of violence-trained and unsocially regimented men full autonomy while they keep taking full cash and budget support from the people. Give them money, freedom and then zero accountability. THAT WILL MAKE INDIA BETTER? We're going to end up with an Indian version of ISI / KGB / Stasi / secret military police, if you read some history then you'll find out that they became an even bigger problem than the one they were set up to cure! They have all turned out to screw the very nation they make a big show of defending.
Whatever the issues of corrupt politicians etc are, it is not a justification to DESTROY (all chances of) people's self-rule. This is a case of curing a headache by shooting yourself in the head.
Corruption is an inbuilt symptom of the system of money and centralization. CBI cannot cure it, will not cure it.

Take a look at the other comments on the post... There is an unexamined assumption doing the rounds that each and every person who will ever work in the CBI is some doodh ka dhula, pure, clean, incorruptible, non-ambitious, non-power-seeking, kind, loving angel sent down from Heaven by God:

"No political party in power will like to give a free hand to CBI because this is one of the strongest tools in their hands to whip opposition and control and overawe those who are not favorable to them.It is only highest judiciary in the country who may do something -but finally enactment of law is the domain of legislature only. Even people of this country cannot do anything because they are under compulsion to vote for A or B and when A and B are mixed up,people can do nothing.And people,as on day,are not able to bring any kind of revolution to force political parties to toe their line..................."
"all have conflicts of interest.. very sad that the so called honest pm supporting all unholy things.. this government is a liability..."
"I think CBI should have autonomy."
Idiots! And yeah, I don't expect TOI to keep that comment there for too long... even the mainstream media is controlled by the same people who want to bring about totalitarian rule without accountability.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Istanbul, Turkey protests and police brutality videos and photos




copied from FB..

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Crowdfunding for Swaraj Khojis going to LSuC 2013

Update: The event was amazing; over Rs. 15,000 raised for our participation from friends as well as strangers... thanks, all!

poster 4

Many of us Khoji’s are attending the 8th Learning Societies unConference (LSuC) this year, from 14th to 19th June 2013. It is a meeting place for people who are looking for how to move from a schooling society to a learning society, where different learning ecosystems can be supported and nurtured. There will be organic farmers, artists, artisans, activists, designers, filmmakers, healers, alternative educators, entrepreneurs, homeschoolers, unschoolers, barefoot innovators, parents, youth, spiritual seekers, and more coming.

We see this as a great learning opportunity and a place for us to put forward our views on the education system. Also, it’s a great networking opportunity for future collaborations, as over 300 people working in fields similar to ours from all over the country are coming together. As we are khoji’s, still learning and not made much money yet, most of us are unable to pay for our costs in attending this unConference.

Please help us raise funds to cover our costs! This will be covering our food and lodging expenses at the UWC Mahindra college, where this conference is to be held.
swaraj payment screenshot
You can chip in as little as Rs.100, using your debit card. It’ll only take about 5 mins of your time.

1. Go to which is a secure online payment gateway provided by the venue (United World College Mahindra) to process the contributions for the UnConference.

2, See the screenshot on the right to know which options to select. >>

3. Please make sure you add a “(Swaraj)” at the end of your name.

4. You can pay using your Debit or Credit card.

5. Once done, please send an email about it to :
outreach[at] , reenaginwala[at] , nikhil.js[at] (replace [at] with @)

Thanks in advance!

The cost per head for the LSuC is coming to Rs.3200 per head, including food, lodging and all facilities. The contributions are made on a gift culture basis, where we pay as we can, and participants and friends are encouraged to gift the contributions for those who can’t afford the full costs. The LSuC is a for-and-by-the-people gathering; it does not take any funding from agencies and is completely funded by its own participants and their friends. So that’s where you come in! If all of us can get our friends and well-wishers to pitch in with as little as Rs.100, we can crowd-fund our participation.

Here are the Khojis who are attending the unConference this year. Do connect with us on Facebook!

BSNL Broadband blocking stylesheets?

CSS stylesheets (what gives most websites and blogs today their menus, arrangements, backgrounds, colors) of sites/blogs are NOT loading from my BSNL Broadband internet connection in Pune, since 3 or 4 days. There seems to be no connection problem with anything else.. just the CSS stylesheets seems to be getting blocked.

Major spanner tossed into some work I was doing. Fortunately, managed to connect through a mobile net stick.

The problem with government-owned services : how to give feedback?? If anyone knows, please spread the word to BSNL... this glitch must be affecting all blogs and websites right now - they're looking like simple webpages from the old days.

Gift Economy

Would you like to show your appreciation for this work through a small contribution?

(PS: there's no ads or revenue sources of any kind on this blog)

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