Dr. S. Ganesan

Regional Director, IGNOU

Human learning is not always from structured methods. Many of our learning come from variety of unorganized ways too. The gateways of learning of human being are the five sense organs, namely ears, nose, eyes, tongue and skin touch. Mostly the eyes and ears play a major role in our learning process as compared to other sense organs. Learning from a reading material like book can be considered as one way of structured, formal learning process. Because, the contents of the books is logically, sequentially organised for the benefit of reader. In Open and Distance Learning (ODL) method of education process also, the printed study material (books) are developed to facilitate self-learning process of a distance learner. That is why the printed material of ODL systems are called as ‘Self -Learning Material’ (SLM) instead of normal terminology of ‘study material’ or book.

Four wall class room method of learning normally end at school education level and slowly the self-learning process takes-off at college /university level education. This transition is natural and sometime unnoticed also. Having provided the syllabus /outline/topics of a subject, the college student search the relevant matching books from libraries to learn the subjects. For some subject, the classroom teaching-learning process may complete full portion of the syllabus. Contents of a subject being huge, the normal classroom teaching at college level can able to cover only certain part of syllabus only. Here, the college student claims the ladder of Self-Learning (SL). The degree of self-learning depends on the individual. Some students prefer more of SL and others may expect classroom support. In higher education systems, the degree/quantum/level of self-learning increases at UG, PG, research degrees. In other words, the requirement of SL is high in PG courses as compared to UG courses. Thus, the SL process increases with our age also. The matured adult learner becomes autonomous (independent) learner in a phased manner.  That is, the dependency on teacher becomes to a lower order as SL grows to a higher level. This sea-saw balance effect is quite natural in education system. The skill of SL itself is a art & science. The SLM develops, facilitates skills of SL to become a successful distance learner in ODL system.

Getting admission in a ODL system/distance education university is easy; but, getting-out with qualifying degree/diploma is not that easy. The path of success in ODL system is determined by your SL skill. The basic self-motivation of a learner promotes the SL skills gradually. It updates automatically too. Normally, Distance Education universities provide 10% of credit hours for academic support services (like classroom tutorials); the rest 90% of academic learning is left to adult autonomous distance learner himself/herself. The learner has more Self -Learning skills, higher the level of independence. Thus, we can easily notice the positive relationship between SL and independence. The ODL platform provides the independency through SL process. This truth is being experienced by almost all the Distance Learners of ODL system.

As a self-evaluation process, if one tries to answer the following questions, it will give a measure (level) of SL skill of a person. Testing the level at the entry time in ODL system and also at exit time, will give the improvements in the skill upgradation in a person, if any. These questions are also sensitizing an adult to become successful Self Learner.

•               Do you have sufficient self-motivation to read / study the study material of IGNOU regularly? 

•               Do you appreciate and ready to practice the self-evaluation process in Study Material?

•               As an adult learner with high level of autonomy, will you be self-committed for your own study in IGNOU?

•               Your learning style / methodology will match with distance learning mode?

•               Are you capable of deciding your own study time, its frequency, duration of study etc.?

•               Are you able to take the ‘responsibility of a teacher’ so as to carry out your independent study by your own?

•               Do you have the capacity to plan and organize your studies on daily / regular basis, without the support of a teacher / facilitator?

•               Do you capable to understand the non-verbal items such as maps, graphs, charts etc. in your study material?

•               Do you think, you have enough ‘Reading Skills’ for self-learning process?

•               Do you have any idea of SQ3R (Survey, Question, Read, Recall, Review) technique of reading?

•               Do you have the reading habit of 'Index', Contents, Glossary, introduction, Summary etc of a book?

•               Do you keep a pencil / pen while reading a study material, for note-making purposes and also maintain your active reading process?

•               Do you know the purposes of wide margins given in printed study material of IGNOU? 

•               Do you use audio, video, other media / material support items to compliment / supplement your independent learning in Open and Distance Education system?

•               Are you able to manage your studies using the self-explanatory, self-contained study material of IGNOU?

•               Will you be ready to supplement your readings by writing additional notes / remarks / observations on blank page(s) provided at the end of Unit / Block?

•               Do you have the curiosity to check ‘your responses’, with the ' possible / model answers’ given at the end Unit of IGNOU Study Material?   

•               Do you think, you are more independent and less dependent on a teacher for your study in distance education?

It is a well known fact that the learning process is facilitated by peaceful, calm and comfortable environment. It promotes the concentration on reading the material. Andaman and Nicobar Islands have such good environment for reading and studies. I hope, you all will agree with me. Thousands of Government Officers come to A & N Islands on transfer for few years tenure. It is possible, when they submit their joining letter (while reporting on duty), we can provide admission letter in any academic programme of IGNOU like ODL system. Similarly, latter at the end of their tenure completion of 2 or 3 years at A & N Islands to get reliving letter along with a certificate/diploma/degree from ODL system is possible. This possibility of returning main - land with one academic certificate can be explored by all Govt. units of A & N Islands. It will definitely convert the A & N Islands as a virtual classroom for Govt. servants on transfer.

Hence, it is obvious to conclude the existence of correlation between Self -Learning and independence in education. Let us all provide the Self -Learning skills to our younger generations, to develop more and more independence, for the growth and self -sustenance of our country.

(The author is Regional Director of IGNOU, Regional Centre, Port Blair and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (M-8900936718)

Everybody’s complaining about potholes during the monsoons, but I really can’t figure out why. Potholes are good and we need to congratulate our government for allowing us to keep them for such long periods of time.

Follow me to a dinner party; what do you think everybody’s talking about? Why potholes of course. There was a time when people didn’t know what to say to each other once they were introduced, now it’s so different. Instead of staring at their glasses and getting drunk, they’ve actually got a common topic: “I just encountered two pot holes on the way here.” Says a pretty young thing to a millionaire.

“Two? I’ve left my car behind in one of them!”

“What car was it?”

“A Mercedes!”

“Are the front seats comfortable?”

“We’ll have to ask my driver, he’s still in the pothole!”

“Shall we go and pull him out? I‘ve never sat in a Merc!” says the pretty young thing and an instant friendship is formed!  

Now just imagine, what these two people would have had to say if potholes did not start them going?

Then there’s so much adventure in potholes. A friend of mine who spends most monsoons climbing the Himalayas was grinning the other day: “Bob, there’s adventure right here,” he said. “You get into a pothole and just like mountain climbing, your whole life is at stake! You’re not sure you’ll come out with broken limbs or malaria or cholera. No mountain could ever give me such an element of risk. From now on its the potholes for me!”

An American who got off the International Airport grinned at me, “You guys are into water sports in a big way huh?” he asked. “I need to warn our Olympic team about this!”

“About what?” I asked looking round slightly puzzled.

“This,” he said, “these mini swimming pools all over. With so much swimming you chaps should walk away, sorry swim away with the gold. Poor Phelps!”

“Potholes,” said a government medical college psychiatrist lecturing to his students, “helps make us a tough people. We should be grateful to a government who year after year have helped produce strong countrymen! After a ‘falling in a pothole’ episode, our people are able to handle overcrowded buses and trains, no pavements, unhygienic slums, overflowing garbage, flooded roads, riots, strikes and bomb blasts!”

“Sir, should we like a letter to the government thanking them for potholes?” asked a bright medical student, who was tipped off to win the gold medal in mental trauma.

“Go ahead,” beamed the psychiatrist lecturer, “but be sure to mention my name. I’m doing a paper for the international community to learn from our pothole therapy!”

Like I said, just can’t figure why everyone’s complaining about potholes. They’re good for us and we need to appreciate the government for allowing us to keep them even after the rains have gone..!

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By Yogi Ashwini

People who do over-exercising and excessive gymming do tend to look slim but symptoms of ageing set in very fast in them – wrinkles, grey hair, loss of glow…as every action has an equal and opposite reaction. The faster you breathe and the more you exert yourself, more is the energy produced and equal and opposite reaction is premature ageing symptoms. You would have heard of people dying of sudden heart attacks or cancer in early years. This is an equal and opposite reaction of over straining the body.

Sanatan Kriya brings the various layers of body in a state of balance, optimising the metabolic rate and enhancing longevity. Regular practice elevates consciousness and it is through heightened state of consciousness that changes are affected in the body and environment. There are live examples of practitioners at Dhyan Ashram, who have used this power of consciousness to get the body they desired, to improve relationships and finances at an elementary level and combined with certain mantra sadhnas to manifest thoughts and even devs and devis...

In this series, I will take you through a set of Body Sculpting asanas, which are a part of Self-Healing with Sanatan Kriya. Its important to maintain ujjai breathing and synchronising each movement with your breath.

Namaskar in Vajrasan: Sit in Vajrasan. That is, with your knees placed together and legs folded such that your buttocks rest on your heels. The big toes overlap, right over the left. Place your palms together in a namaskar and raise the arms above your head, keeping elbows straight. Hold this posture for as long as you can (can start with one minute, and gradually increase the duration), maintaining ujjai and internal awareness.

Sarp asan: Lie on your stomach, heels together, forehead on the ground. Interlock your fingers and place the hands on the hips. Take a deep breath, stretch your arms backwards and raise your upper body, keeping the head parallel to the ground. Exhaling, gently release and come down. Repeat this seven times dynamically. People with heart conditions and high blood pressure must not strain while performing this asana.

Bhujang asan: Place your elbows close to the waist, the palms facing downwards next to the chest. Inhale. Gently raise your forehead, followed by the neck, the shoulders, and the upper and middle back such that the navel rests on the ground. Gently tilt the head backward such that the chin is pointing forward. The elbows are raised slightly off the ground and held close to the waist. Exhaling, return in the reverse order, head coming down the last. Repeat this seven times dynamically. People suffering from peptic ulcer, hernia, intestinal tuberculosis or hyperthyroidism must not practice this without expert guidance

The breath rate or heart rate should not should not go up while doing any yogic kriya. For learning how to practice the below asans properly with chakra awareness and to reap its benefits it is advised to visit a Dhyan Foundation center in your city.

Yogi Ashwini is the Guiding Light of Dhyan Foundation and can be reached at www.dhyanfoundation.com.

Yogi Ashwini

Last time we discussed three asanas for getting a beautiful, healthy and shapely figure. These asanas are a part Sanatan Kriya and focus primarily on sculpting the body in the desired shape or form. It is important to understand here that asanas are just one of the 8 limbs of Ashtang Yog. To reap benefits of Yoga, it must be practiced in totality under the guidance of a Guru. 

Asanas must not be confused with exercise. For while exercise increases metabolic rate, asanas make it optimum. Sage Patanjali described an asana as “SthirSukhamAsanam,” it means that posture that you can hold for any long period of time, peacefully, with it giving you pleasure, is an asana. Only when an asana is perfected do you feel bliss and stillness in that posture which is indicative of you having thoroughly gone over the yoni, which that asana is indicative of.

Note:  While performing asanas ensure that you are wearing comfortable clothes made from natural materials; avoid deodorants, perfumes, aftershave...basically anything artificial. Keep your eyes closed and maintain internal awareness of the body part that is being worked upon. Maintain ujjai breathing and synchronise the movement with your breath. 

Taadasana: Stand straight with spine erect, look up, inhale and stretch your arms above the head while balancing on your toes and then exhale bringing the heels and arms down. Repeat this asana 7 times dynamically.

Teeryak Taadasana: Stand straight with spine erect. Inhaling, raise your arms keep them close to the ears. Bend to your right from the waist and in the same breath bend to your left and then come back to the first position. Exhale and bring your hands down. Repeat this asana 7 times dynamically.

Hast Utthan and Pad Hasta asana: Stand straight, raise both your hands above the head, inhale and bend forward and touch your toes. Exhale, come up and bend backward as much as you can without causing any stress to the back. Bring your hands down to your side. This is one round. Repeat this seven times dynamically.

The breath rate or heart rate should not should not go up while doing any yogic kriya. For learning how to practice the above asanas properly with chakra awareness and to reap its benefits it is advised to visit a Dhyan Foundation center in your city.

Yogi Ashwini is the Guiding Light of Dhyan Foundation and can be reached at www.dhyanfoundation.com.

Beef has been banned more or less throughout the country, and armed gangs roam, searching vans and trucks, thrashing those they think are carrying the flesh of cows and bulls.

Unfortunately, apart from taking the law into their hands, most of those vehicles are not transporting beef but buffalo’s meat.“This is getting embarrassing!” said a senior government official, “Our prime minister himself has said that this kind of attacking should be stopped!”

“What do you plan to do?” I asked, “Increase the police force along highways and other roads?”

“No, we plan to train the country to recognize the difference between buffaloes and cows! We have already started classes. You may peep in and see!”I looked into a class filled with cow vigilants, ruffians and mobsters, still carrying bloodied sticks, glued to the blackboard, some even taking notes.

“This,” said the teacher, “Is a buffalo!”

There was a murmur throughout the room, with certain of the mobsters looking at each other in amazement, “Many of them never knew the difference!” said the official and then stopped short as a vigilant got onto his feet and challenged the teacher, “How do you know?” he asked and all the other mobsters agreed.

“Well there are definite differences!” said the teacher.

“Are you a meat eater?” asked another cow vigilant.

“That has nothing to do with what I am teaching you today!” snapped the teacher a little afraid.

“That is not a buffalo, that is a cow!” shouted the class, and rose together walking threateningly towards the teacher.

“This here is a cow!” shouted the teacher, showing immense presence of mind and putting up a picture of a cow, “See the difference!”

The mob stood still for a moment, then shook their heads and went back to their places.

“The buffalo!” continued the teacher, his voice a little scared after having escaped a sure lynching, “Is black in colour and it’s horns are very different from a cow!” 

I watched as the vigilants hastily scribbled notes, some drawing both the cow and buffalo in their notebooks.“They will carry those notebooks now, when they go beef hunting!” said the government official with a smile.

I looked at the official a little puzzled, “Tell me,” I said, “Are these cows and buffalos carried as meat in the trucks or as live stock?”

“Live stock of course!” said the official.

“Then how will they differentiate what’s beef and what isn’t?” I asked curiously.

The government official looked scornfully at me, “You can’t expect us to do everything at one go do you?” he asked, “With the limited funds sanctioned by the government, “We can only teach them what is a live cow and live buffalo!

And so the lynchings, murders and thrashing continue throughout the country as a democratic government with a Constitution which promises freedom for its people, interferes in the eating habits of herpeople..!

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