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Someone to Guide You: For Better or For Worse?

We were trying this out on an Arduino, but we found its computational capacity less, so we switched to an ARM, said a friend of mine who is studying in BITS Goa. In our college, only the most daring would use an ARM. The ones who do are accused of overkill. Most people use AVR, and would not look beyond AVR. What could be the reason?

I believe that a major reason is that we have seniors who have used AVR. Because they knew AVR, they held coding sessions for AVR, which is why we have not bothered to look beyond AVR. Now, this is not so much of an issue as when there is a shortage of AVRs, as there is now. When an AtMega8 costs Rs. 300, i.e. $6 in the retail market, then we have an issue. Not only that, but we also have to be content with the lesser capabilities of the AVR.

This is just to illustrate an important point: is it better or worse to have someone to guide you?

I guess that the example that I stated just goes to show that it really isn't all that good to have someone to guide you. But then, what about the guides who help you academically and with your research projects?

I am ambivalent on having a guide. As long as I do not blindly follow the guide, I am sure to be safe. If I rely too much on my guide, then I am in trouble. I guess that this is very important in research institutes. The goal should be to approach the guide as less as possible.

Is this the reason for the poor research in India? That most students through laziness or sycophancy rely too much on their guides? I think that it may be a major factor if the guide does not evolve as fast as technology does.

Colleges aside, there is an example of where blind faith in a guide can have the most devastating consequences. I am referring to my country's economic policy before 1991. Since independence, my country has largely been ruled by just one party. Nehru was schooled in Fabian socialism. He believed in a socialist state, and heavily regulated industry to keep it under government control. As a result, the industry was crippled. However, even when it was clear that socialism was not the way forward, the party in power, their eyes on the guiding light of socialism could not see the abyss that the light was leading them into. They responded with all the wrong measures like a 100% tax and a monopolies restriction act that killed all incentive to expand.

Of course the mistake was corrected by the same party when they were in power in 1991. But I am surprised that they quickly withdrew from their agenda when the crisis seemed under control. I am indeed shocked that with such a huge trump up their sleeve, there is hardly a mention of development or the change that should be the key point on the manifesto of any government hopeful. People like change for the better, they like development. While banning computers may seem a good election point, people will resent it when computers disappear, not only from office desks, but also from our cars, trains, elevators, phones, airplanes and our lives.

When I first thought of this post, I wanted to name it Are we allergic to change? But then I thought that we really are not allergic to change. We do see that people want to better their lives and betterment is change. We are not really allergic to change. However, there is a small myopic group within us that resents change, and looks at short time gain. But if the recent election results are any indicator, I hope that people will eventually vote the myopics out of power and instead vote for those with key development agendas in their manifestos.

India has greatly missed out on the industrial revolution. Let us not miss the information revolution. Let us grow with the right attitude.

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