Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Z for Zero : Zero Laxity towards bending rules

Two friends were on a bike early in the morning. They were rushing towards the Y K M Hospital on the other part of city- their friend from their native place was battling some head injuries suffered last night in a drink and drive situation. Though the guy in the driver’s seat stopped at a traffic signal, he was itching to jump the signal after carefully noticing no traffic cops on either side of the road, the time being early in the morning. The friend in the pillion objected to it strongly. An argument ensued. The driver guy was trying to justify breaking the rule only once for the sake of their dear friend who is in dire need of blood which can be ensured on them reaching the hospital early. The other person stood his ground and refused to ride along and make other arrangements in case the signal is jumped. While it might not cause any danger to anyone for them to break the rules in that instance, it would set up a wrong notion and example to everyone else stopping in the light. Their value system, their education, their upbringing – all would be questioned in people’s mind and someone else somewhere repeating the act might end up taking someone else’s life. In the middle of the continued argument, the onward signal became green and they moved on.

Is this not a very common sight for all of us?

All of us, committing a wrong thing or felony only once, will collectively add up to a large number of such cases putting the society in danger and push it one more step towards peril. 

Many of us have might have taken help of “someone else”, in exchange of money, having connections internally in different government departments in the case of getting a driving license or khata transfer (document for house mutation). It did not take much of our time to get the things done in the right and just way when we approached the authorities directly helped with the much simplified processes put in place along with electronic systems. There are very many good people inside the system who are ready to help when approached directly. Another very good example is passport application through the online appointment system. Right now, that is the only system and we all patiently wait and budget our time in the absence of previously available so-called helps.

With all these, the point I am trying to make is we, the educated lot of the country, need to be sincere and earnest about zero laxity towards corruption and rules.  Even doing it once does not justify the cause, rather one becomes the part of them who often take law in their own hand to curb it the way they liked it -in their own ways.

Let us give it a push at our individual level towards taking our country out of these menaces. In that way, our hands will be stronger, our voices will be heard with utmost care before we point fingers to others.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Y for Youth : Relevance of Swami Vivekananda to today's Youth

Previously I have written posts on some of the youth related matters of great concern - Youth to be engaged in Governance, vulnerability of Youth and their exploitation. Continuing  the focus on youth from there, today, I would like to discuss relevance of Swami Vivekananda (fondly called Swamiji) and his teachings  to the present generation and how they can get direction from his words in this contemporary, fast paced, changing world.  While few lines will not be sufficient to dwell on this subject and I plan to write a full blog later, today, I  would make an effort to put a concise summary of my thoughts.

 I do not ascribe Swamiji with any religious cult or put him at any higher pedestal for his religious teachings. To me, he is another noble man and a person very much like you and me with an ingrained value system and a burning passion of doing good to others.  Many of us can attain that level if we really want.

First point first. I would like to bring up is his health consciousness towards youth. The same is very much evident when he called out for youth to have muscles of iron and nerves of steel. He always encouraged people to take up football or any other games and to go to gymnasium instead of spending time on Gita. It is not that he undermined study of Gita but, in the context of youth, building physical health was equally, if not more, important than mental and spiritual health.  It does not need a mention that these thoughts exactly echo the concerns of un-healthy lifestyle in our children and youth. Medical experts, today, are always placing prime importance to involve children in more physical activities, drawing them out from their sedentary lifestyle.

Secondly, I consider Swamiji the first Indian to bring-up the concept of globalization in the mind of masses. While he did put India in world map through his famed Chicago address on Sept 11, 1893, he was very much open to imbibe the material benefits of west. He always used to visualize a world having synthesized the technological prowess of west with spiritual harmony of east. Today we witness how true this is and the way this thought is being lapped of by common people in both regions – east and west through Yoga, increased interest of ancient literature of India and to top it all, the Indian and eastern value system  in family and society are getting recognized all across.

Though he always encouraged this synthesis to happen, he also asked people to remain rooted to Indian culture with the self-belief that we are inferior to none –a much needed thought in today’s world.  Without the roots firmly grounded, we see how there are numerous distractions for our children and youth towards going astray in their social lives.

Swamiji said, “I pity them from the bottom of my heart, and point out to them that upon the banner of every religion will soon be written, in spite of resistance: ‘help and not fight’, ‘assimilation and not destruction’; ‘harmony and peace and not dissension.’ “
When we read and re-read the above few lines, the importance of tolerance and respect to another self with the deep belief on “As Many Ways- So Many Paths” does not need any further explanation.

I would like to conclude today’s discussion on his forward looking thoughts of creating a unique school system through Ramakrishna Missions. Without this, probably the whole Ramakrishna Math and Culture would have remained confined to just another religious cult like others. He could very well expand on the strong base of Ramakrishna ideology for doing increased good to the society through the arm -that is called Ramakrishna Mission. These schools are amongst the finest schools that our country is proud of producing many stalwarts in the all fields of life.

I request our young generation to explore more of Swamiji through “Complete Works of Vivekananda”. There are many a thoughts in those pages that we can take it up at our individual level as an inspiration.

Thank You.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Let’s act on all the X s –They are not unknown

Often we use “X” to denote the unknown in our lives. But in the path of making our world a better place, we , mostly, know what needs to be done. While all our X s are known to us, we are, either not willing to give us that extra push burdened with the defeatist mindset making us accept the way things are or the inertia of unwillingness  is pulling us back from taking that extra step.

We are nearing the end of the blog challenge and have gone over quite a few discussions on the issues in different blog posts that are troubling India and world. Below is a short pledge that we all can take at our individual level towards attaining the X s in our own lives before anything. The list of X s can be different for different people and any set of them will be helpful towards progress.

This is high time we give them a hard look and think deeply, lest we get sucked into the never ending spiral of disgrace and growing-by-the-day, complex labyrinth of discomfiture and embarrassment.
  • Ø  Exorcise the fear crippling us.
  • Ø  Exhume the evil within.
  • Ø  Exterminate mental barriers.
  • Ø  Expunge the rogue elements.
  • Ø  Extend help to others.
  • Ø  Extol the good deeds.
  • Ø  Exhibit mercy.
  • Ø  Feel exhilarated on the achievements.
  • Ø  Go the extra mile.

With every little step that we can take not to indulge ourselves in short-cuts and persevere towards the larger goal in life, we will strengthen our society in that many ways. Let us help us by making our beloved earth a better place - the X s are known.

W for Women: How would the world be if Women were in charge?

Today I am writing something in which I deeply believe in. I also want to make it clear that I am just not joining the bandwagon of people talking in the lines of women empowerment in a patriarchal society. I have seen the benefits when women get involved in the things.

Yes, I am aware of the resistances and hurdles women face in every walk of life in this male dominated world but the more women get involved into the thick and thin of the happenings around in the society, more success stories will evolve, creating a healthy ecosystem for further participation. As success breeds success, the wheel of betterment and development will be in motion.

In words of Swami Vivekananda, “Women must be put in a position to solve their own problems in their own way. No one can or ought to do this for them”.

Have we ever thought about what would have happened if women were at the helm of affairs?

I have discussed on this topic few times with my fellow friends and some of the immediate changes that come to mind are as follows.
  • ·         There would be less bloodshed.
  • ·         There would be less of aggression and extremism.
  • ·         There would be softer ways and means to deal with things.
  • ·         World would get more organized.
  • ·         There will be less genocide (female and male) resulting in improved equilibrium in the society.
  • ·         There will be increase of child and female mortality along with overall mortality.

Overall, I would assume, the world will be more beautiful and sane.

While many may argue that there will be downward trend observed on the many parameters related to men, I beg to differ. With the concept of family and nurturing of lives are centered around women,  my conviction tells me that with  women in control in wider sphere of life, there will be more focus on development. On the other hand, matters like religious dogmatism -a petty one for me and a killer from the old days of civilization, aggression, crime and other similar aspects would be much less.  

Through the post, I would like to invite comments and opinion regarding what others think on this matter. With the increased effort from women to get them involved in corporate, politics and other areas of society, I am really hopeful that one day we will have a cleaner polity, more of development and less of corruption and bloodshed with women in charge in equal measure if not more…

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Vibrant India: Mumbai and Bangalore does not vote enough - the feeblest voices

While we all want India to be a vibrant and prosperous country, what is our contribution towards achieving it?
I am sure many of us are involved in social activities to bring a change but how seriously do we consider exercising a franchise right to be a “sacred” citizen responsibility? Yes, to me, it is more sacred than lighting the lamp in the temple in the evening. In Ms Zinta’s words, this is more important than lighting candles in different protest marches. Mrs. Balan went one step further to mention that we need to have the mark on our fingers before raising it towards anyone else.

With so much activism on the part of election commission and celebrities to motivate people to go out to vote, Bangalore South and Mumbai turned out to be the two duds while almost all other states, union territories have shown huge improvements in voter turnout.  Why?

In the context, it is worthwhile to mention that Bangalore South – the IT capital of India and Mumbai – the financial capital of India are the home of most educated and elitist people of India.

I am appalled to fathom the reasons for so much apathy from this subset of population towards participating in the democratic process.  For the case of Bangalore South, few flimsy reasons – voter list not updated and worse, that the date coincided with long weekend, look too inconsequential to me for justifying low voter turnout. This, despite the repeated requests from the media, that ‘V’ stands for vote and not for Vacation.

In this context, I would like to share few statistical data in relation to this 16th Parliament election.
  • ·         Electorate of 81.5 core (0.8 Billion) is 4 times the next largest-US with 21.9 crore as of 2012 presidential poll.
  • ·         It is bigger than the next 5 added together- US, Indonesia, Brazil, Russia and Bangladesh @74.9 crore  
  • ·         Highest number of first time voters – estimated @15 crore (0.15 billion).
  • ·         Highest spend – pegged at Rs 30,000 crore or USD 5 Billion – all time high against all democracies in the world.
  • ·         The transgender community will vote for Lok Sabha for the first time-registered with 28,341 numbers.
  • ·         Electorate has male- female ratio @52.3%:47.6%

At the cost of being repetitive and after the 6 phases of altogether 9 phases got over today, I am using this platform to make another fervent plea to go out to vote for you and motivate others to do the same in the remaining 3 phases in case your constituencies are still not covered yet.

The dismissive thought of “one vote not being exercised won’t matter” at the individual level is creating a big crack for the country cumulatively as a whole. We, the educated lot, for sure, need to be giving a good healthy competition to our friends from other parts of the country for India to shine and be vibrant. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Success Story: The ugly Indians – stop talking, start working

Today, what could have been a better topic than The Ugly Indians with “U” ?

I feel proud to write about a bunch of anonymous volunteers on a mission- “No Lectures, No activism, Just hard work”.  The group originating in Bangalore and named - The Ugly Indians (TUI,) takes up spot fix activities every week in Bangalore and now the concept is being adopted in other cities of India in last few months.

Drawing inspiration from “Work is Worship” and “Talk less, work more” , the group applies simple and smart solutions to implement the makeover for  eyesore spots like filth on footpath, stains on walls, open dumps, cigarette litter  or open public urinal spots . Sometimes they involve civic agencies when they need to go deep into the problems as they believe in working with the existing systems rather doing sit outs on what is not working.  Volunteers are all citizens like you and me without the cynicism that things won’t work - employed in big, small companies in the near about places with a mentality to change the face of the place by doing work silently. The folks in T-shirts, brooms, shovels are not into any kind of propaganda to join hands, rather expect people with the serving mentality to be drawn towards the activities.

Their website page bears testimony to the success stories of the makeovers done and FB page is witnessing a rapidly increasing likes. Groups from outside India are showing interest into knowing these spot fix activities having similar mindset of service beyond self. Additionally, their work is recognized by every citizen in Bangalore whereby, the Ugly Indian has been voted as a Bangalore Hero as part of the last Bangalore Mirror campaign.

Their motto is to show people how the change looks like and believe that people will surely change along with the change happening around and get  attracted in doing more – time might be longer, path might be steeper. 

It is high time that we stop thinking that problems are someone else’s and someone else or government will take care of things. While there are talks of many public private partnership projects around – some materializing and some not, this is a fine bit example a “Muh Bandh, Kaam Chalu (stop talking, start working) movement in action and in reality to change of hygiene condition of our beloved country.

I urge my readers to visit their pages and get involved.

Volunteers @ work

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

T for Togadia s to be expunged out

I was toying with different words and thoughts for the letter -T, and had come very close to deciding on “threat and tolerance”. However, Mr. Togadia presented himself along with another BJP leader, Mr. Giriraj from Bhagalpur, Bihar, both caught literally with their feet in their mouths. Yes, I am talking about the two gentlemen and their irresponsible statements vying to create furor and storm on the soil of our motherland and I could not just keep silent.

On second thought, I think the best treatment to such guys is ignoring them but in our country, with the over-hyped and hyper-active digital journalism in play, that is not going to happen. When “ignoring them” can’t be exercised as a weapon to battle these elements, we need to raise voices of condemnation against such atrocities.

What do these people think of themselves? Mr. Togadia commented that the killers of Rajiv Gandhi are yet to be hanged and hence everyone can get away with perpetrating anything whereas the other (gentle) man can’t tolerate people who oppose Mr. Modi. Other than instigating communal violence and hatred, what else can these guys do, if not able to join hands on the development programs of good governance or poverty alleviation?

I take this opportunity to ask both these gentlemen what are their views and charter on the development activities. Or do they really bother to delve into anything else other than dividing people? While everyone else is actively trying to give peace and tolerance a chance, these tainted elements of society need to be ignored and punished. What will be their accountability if today violence erupts in Bhavnagar – however small it is and there is a death or people get injured?

How will Mr. Togadia ensure that nothing of that sort going to happen after making those statements?

 From my viewpoint, human life does not have any value to these sorts of people and they care a fig if one or two lives are ended here and there.  They neither bat an eyelid nor think twice before uttering such inflammable statements to instigate violence in such situation.

Before concluding, I would also like to draw attention to the ridiculous actions that had happened on the soil of Maharashtra by one so called political outfit in the name of saving the state. They were in a mad rush of throwing migrants out of the state by dictating their own terms on the sovereign right of every Indian. Is this really the way to democracy?

Monday, April 21, 2014

S for Self Discipline

The other day I noticed there was no traffic police at the junction and one educated young guy from a reputed IT company, did not hesitate to take a wrong turn in the middle of red light.  The chocolate wrappers or plastic bags are all over the place, either on road side or in the park, indifferently scattered by us and our children for “decorative” purposes.

Let’s put all these guys in a developed country.

My friend will always follow lanes, stop for 5 seconds at a stop sign, and travel more than a mile for a turn or exit. Children and adults will always be on the lookout for a dust bin and won’t consider littering the place.
Why the same person is behaving differently in two different conditions?  Is it because of the fact that enforcement is stricter in developed countries whereas it is almost non-existent in developing countries? Surprisingly I have observed that some of my expat colleagues, riding two –wheelers, also match themselves almost equally, if not more, taking chances with discipline while in India and other developing countries J.

So am I to conclude that discipline is effective only in the presence of an external influencing agent like enforcement? Or is it that the spic and span environment of the place compels us to follow rules?

Why is it so, that the reference points have to be these external factors and not one’s internal understanding of what is right? While I took example of traffic rules and littering, these are equally applicable in almost all walks of life. Earlier I discussed about cost of corruption and brought up the point of us succumbing to pressure.

The issues of discipline in developed countries are of different type and nature - sometimes at an incomprehensible large scale leading to losses of life. The spate of gun related issues in US schools in last few years really worry me and I am sure people in authority are sincerely trying to find out the reasons for it. 

Without us being self-disciplined at the first place, we should not think about inculcating discipline amongst our children or can’t expect people to behave in a disciplined way while police are not around. A country’s progress is very much dependent on its citizen being self-disciplined to the core.

And to me, this is an internal attitude and we, educated class, should be the first to adopt and abide by this all the time for an example to be set for other sections of the society.

Are we self-disciplined? 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

R for Reservation : Where do we need this ?

“It is against the fundamental principles of humanity, it is against the dictates of reason that a man should, by reason of birth, be denied or given extra privileges" -Mahatma Gandhi

Does India still need a caste based reservation system in education, profession and any other areas concerning livelihood?

In my first post of these series, “26 posts for a better society”, I took up the topic of Bigotry Be Bygone.  Bigotry and untouchability, still prevalent in some form or other in Indian and world societies, have come down significantly in the present day. While the beginning was made in the 19th century during British rule , there has been significant strides towards the removal these stigmas from the face of our country, including providing constitutional provision to prohibit untouchability, post independence.

Without delving much into different statistical parameters on the subject, it can be concluded that there are considerable amount of opportunities provided for the “Scheduled Castes” and “Scheduled Tribes” – the supposedly weaker sections of the society for their overall economic development. It is worthwhile to note that our constitution also provided provision of caste based reservation only for 10 years after independence by which time it was assumed that country would be able to overcome the challenges it was grappling with earlier. Later however, there has been no traction on this issue with any political party taking interest to repeal or amend those provisions, keeping an eye on the vote bank politics as around 33% of the electorate are from these sections.

In my opinion, in the current context of India moving ahead and with the background provided earlier, we should be restricting to provide with reservation only on the grounds of economic condition and/or gender in some cases. We, as a society, cannot afford to take chances with meritocracy stagnating on account of financial constraints and undeserved reservations.  Another significant consideration is inclusiveness in all walks of life. Increase of gender diversity along with differently abled people are significant approaches in the directions of education, corporate and political systems becoming to be much stronger and resilient.

I would also want to highlight that there should be a system so that the same families are not extended these benefits across generations.  It is expected that with the necessary support provided in one generation, there won’t be any need or very little need for any further support requirement to be provisioned for the same family. The same sustenance assistance can be made available to other sections of the public who have a more immediate need.

These are some serious issues that we need to focus onto going forward. Otherwise I have seen situations where people are becoming doctors without the base of necessary merit and credentials to support their career.  Medical profession - a significant enough profession to take care of lives should be also kept outside the purview of any kind of reservation other than merit.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

It Happened - Quietly

Daughter, on top of her voice, shouted, “Ma, you know, the other day, I caught Baba red handed 
with ....with ” a wink on the eye, making faces.

“What are you talking about? Focus on your studies “, I snubbed back.

Wife, from kitchen joined, “Is it?”

Volley - back and forth, continued.

“Next time you notice, please make sure, I am called” commanded my wife.

Morning after, facing the mirror, while shaving, I noticed the inevitable.

With a sigh, I accepted.

I have started aging – should I assume gracefully?

The white streak of hair  presented itself quite quietly. 

100 Words on Saturday - Write Tribe

Friday, April 18, 2014

Q for Questioning - Within and Outside

Analysis and questioning – these are two aspects for an open mind and it has to start from one’s within. While second-guessing your own self on a continuous basis may not be good for the confidence, it is indeed needed to put a mirror in front of you and face a tough question or two to stay on course.

Outside - in quite a few situations, we just accept things lying down with a mindset that there won’t or can’t be any change by raising any voice or question.  Someone somewhere might gather courage to stand up against the atrocities and things might get changed. We, then, would end up thinking that we also thought about it but did not do anything to effect the change. A feeling of guilt encompasses but, it is too late, by then.
The point I am raising here is twofold. 

First, regarding the parenting and education system, do we really encourage our children to analyze and ask questions? It has been often seen that a question is not appreciated at home or by the teachers and an environment gets created where children just listen, and learn by rote.  There is hardly any effort to spark the light in their mind to analyze and ask – in the process, making them ready for future where they are required to address the unknowns faced in life. As we cannot make them prepared beforehand to face each and every situation in life, inculcating this ability is very important for them to confront the world on their own. I am not generalizing all parents, teachers and institutions here but hope you would agree that this is not very uncommon.

Secondly, it is related to standing up against the issues in our professional or social circles and even in the four corners of our home. While it is true we are forced to ignore a lot of misdeeds done to us or to the system, with a fear for life or name of ours and our near and dear ones, there are cases where we should have taken steps but just gave it a pass. There are ample cases where we just close our eyes without raising a single question and accept the things as it is. Can we not come out of shell and take small steps to change the course in such cases?

I do agree that people who have tread these steps, have paid the price with their lives. None of us have forgotten the whistle-blowing cases in relation to construction work for golden quadrilateral project in Uttar Pradesh. The brave man who could muster courage to raise his voice against malpractices was ruthlessly killed. While the Indian Government has decided to act on this by passing an act to protect such whistle-blowers, we do not feel safe and shy away from such scenarios. Knowing fully well the repercussions, yes, we need to have the line drawn in a pragmatic way and ask questions before leaving everything only to fate. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

P for Power of Mind and Perseverance

Over the last few weeks, I have discussed issues currently plaguing our society and world at large  and they are bigotry, corruption, Inclusive Development, Good Governance, Engaging  Youth, Innovation and others. While we need to be earnest and keen on our approach to find a solution, in today’s discussion I would like to highlight of power of mind and perseverance – the two aspects at the individual level, if practiced and acquired, can do wonders in our own lives.

If we look at the below two thoughts from Swami Vivekananda, amongst his many, where he has harped over and over on cultivating the mind as a potent weapon,  the ideas have nothing to do with spirituality but are more applicable at the mundane level and directed for people like you and me. In his theory of Karma yoga where Work is Worship – the power of mind is an essential ingredient for any success to be achieved to uplift the downtrodden.

"Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life - think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success. …If we really want to be blessed, and make others blessed, we must go deeper."

"To succeed, you must have tremendous perseverance, tremendous will. “I will drink the ocean”, says the persevering soul; “at my will mountains will crumble up”. Have that sort of energy , that sort of will; work hard and you will reach the goal."

 ~ Swami Vivekananda.

While similar thoughts have been promulgated by other Indian leaders in recent times as well, incidentally I would like to point out that power of mind is not something discussed only in Indian literature by Indians.  Similar thoughts are echoed through the below sayings from other world leaders as well from time to time.

The Bible says, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." (Proverbs 23:7)
Quoting Voitaire, No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking.

Albert Einstein says, The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking”.

Personally all of us have experienced the benefits of power of mind and perseverance at some point or other. It is only fitting that we extend this practice in all spheres that encompass our lives, in order to reap rich benefits

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

O - Message with all the Os :-)

Opinion matters.

Opinion ought not to be obstructed. 

Obstructed opinion is opportunity lost.

Opportunity lost obliterates options.

Obliterated options obfuscate life.

Obfuscated life gets obligated.

Obligations put onus on one.

Onus ought not to obscure oneself.

One needs to deliberate to deliver.

Or begin orating opinion to optimize the choices.

So opinion matters.

Please Vote. # Vote4India

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Nature - Save the Nature

Few days back, I was discussing about my #AtoZ challenge theme with my junior-school-going daughter and asked her what would come to her mind first to make the society a better place. Prompt came the reply - “saving nature”.  I decided to write my N post on Nature as a guest post from her.

Before going to the post, I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude on the initiatives taken by almost all the urban and village schools, private and government schools, for the awareness creation for conservation of resources and specifically on nature, water, pollution.  I was pleasantly surprised by the determined resolve  they took not to burst crackers last Diwali and to celebrate Holi, last month, in the most organic way  with as less as possible water consumption .  They did not budge from their stand in the face of temptations and indulgences from parents.

If we are not careful about these natural resources now (we should have been much earlier but it is always better late than never!), we are surely pushing our future generation and the generations to come to face some kind of natural catastrophe. 

The gist of the rather long post goes as below:
Hi everybody,

Today I am not going to tell you anything about what all we should be doing and what not to save nature. You know much more than me on that matter. Rather it is a story that unfolded before me of a river and the old tree on the bank of it.

There was a factory on the other side of the river bank and all the polluting chemicals and waste were being dumped into the river- quite insensitively. The river was getting sick and tired of it.

The branches of the tree were also being chopped off for the requirement of the factory.

With all the pain and agony the river and tree were going through from these inhuman and rampant activities, they jointly decided to take action. In order to punish the factory people, the river would dry off and the tree would shrink into the hole near it.
The factory people refused to take any notice of the fact and continued with their irresponsible act while managing the water requirement from other sources. The villagers in the nearby area were solely dependent on the water from the river and the fruits from the tree for their livelihood.  A little girl from the village came to plead with the river and the tree and to find out what the matter was. Along with her came all the other villagers.

The river and the tree, after being persuaded by the villagers that they would stop the factory people from polluting any further, were moved and their hearts melted on seeing the pitiable plight of the villagers.

The little girl led a rally of the villagers to protest at the factory main gate with the below slogan on a placard.
                                          Save Nature, Save Future
                                                             Don’t make a fuss,
                                            If we don’t save water
                                                                 Nature won’t help us
                                             Avoid deforestation
Don’t cut trees,
Or else life on earth
            Will tend to cease.

The factory people understood their mistake and came out of their ignorance. They took several conscious decisions and various steps to protect nature, water, tree, air from pollution. Everyone lived happily ever after.
P.S : Another post on her Love of Nature can be found here.

Monday, April 14, 2014

M for Mind

Today I would like to highlight the issue of how some people with vested interest are taking advantage of youth by channelizing their mind and body in a particular direction. At that young age, in many countries, the mind and thoughts of young generation - vulnerable as they are, are not under their own control. Not having the ability to clearly differentiate the right from wrong and with thoughts of idealism and ideals filling every corner of their brain, they are the easiest lot to be brainwashed. They are not allowed to think freely and history is painted in a gory way to them.

Below few lines is an effort against this practice towards reducing rage and violence from our beautiful earth.

On a road less traveled,
                Treacherous, steep, winding up high      

(They) Have trudged hand in hand
                Destination was never nigh.

Those hearts that beat to the same rhythm,
            Red blood coursing through veins,
The feelings are so alike,
          In elation or in pain.

Syria, Palestine and Kashmir
         Boiling in rage and ire,
Only loving embrace of brotherhood
      Can  save our dear earth from pyre.

Mistakes committed in history,
     Should not pronounce the future,
Sensible mind  and healing touch                                         
   Can only aspire a bright pasture.

No poisoning the mind of our children,
       In the name of religion and the Lord,
There must be a way to persuade
     And exchange a hug for the sword. 

* Images courtesy Google. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

L for Literacy - TEACH Program of Rotary

Continuing on my theme for a better world, today, I would like to discuss about basic literacy for them who need it most and the T-E-A-C-H program undertaken by Rotary for the south-east Asia.

I am a Rotarian and grateful for the opportunities this world’s largest non-profit platform provides to get involved in some projects for the society at large. After relentless fight to eradicate  Polio from world starting in 1985 and recently reaching the significant milestone of success in India along with Government of India in 2013-14,Rotary has taken up the TEACH program the similar manner in collaboration with Government.

Before we go to the details of the program, below are some statistics about where we stand today as a country.   

With definition of literacy considered here is more than being able to read and write names, national average of India around 74% is much lower when compared to other countries. This shows a very contrasting picture India being now the de-facto powerhouse of knowledge industry of the world.

Inside India, while Kerala, Mizoram are far ahead of the average, there are much to be done in the hinterland of central and northern India and here Rotary has decided to join hands with Government of India as per Kathmandu resolution during December, 2013.The TEACH program will complement government initiatives starting from Blackboard program in the year 1987 and continued with other missions like National literacy mission, Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, Mid Day Meals and Right to Education.
TEACH program will focus on the following areas at the Rotary district and club levels. All clubs are to raise funds for adopting few government schools for underprivileged children to drive down following programs. There are modules of E-Pathsale being rolled out with TCS and other corporates at a nominal price with basic infrastructure being arranged.

For teacher support, Rotary is in discussion with Azim Premji Foundation who focus on teacher support programs across many states in India. I already spoke about E-learning focus above. While Adult Literacy will focus on vocational training along with basic mathematics and business fundamentals, child development program will aim for inclusive education from migrant labourer, differently abled children, children of sex workers and prisoners and other risk categories. Happy schools are making the school look beautiful with the basic hygiene things taken care of.
We, at Rotary, have given ourselves three years’ time at this stage for this uphill task across all states of India through the individual clubs at the grass root levels. We will need your best wishes and support.

More details can be found here. Anyone wanting to get involved at individual capacity can feel free to contact me. It will be a privilege for me to work with you.

Thank You.

Friday, April 11, 2014

K- Keenness Wins it for You

According to reports on voter turnout of 3rd phase of election, everywhere it was a record turnout -more in many ways in comparison to turn out numbers in 2009 and other recent elections. This phase was conducted in partial manner in Delhi, Kerala, Haryana, Odisha (along with state), UP, MP, Jharkhand, Bihar, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Lakshadweep, Chandigarh, Andaman and Nicobar as union territories.  Going by the trend in these representatives seats of overall India situation including the disturbed Bihar, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh- one thing is very evident that people are keen on change , change for the better (hopefully !) and they want to get involved.

The intensity of thought and the eagerness of action are those characteristics that make the disposition of an individual, of a society and a nation. We often find lots of arm chair strategists, giving suggestions, but not on keen on getting the hands dirty or getting onto the feet to execute.  While there won’t be any dearth of complaints coming from the same set, it is very important to be earnest and passionate with what we want to achieve.  The same applies to us, including me as an individual and that only writing blogs or news article won’t change the state of affairs. Getting onto ground in accordance to individual’s limit and perspective is the only way to get things changed for us at individual level and society as a whole.  Being genuine and being sincere go till the end , rather than making hollow demands without the required conviction.

People in power, in many countries, believe that memory of common man does no last for long and hence easy to divert by making some flimsy promises again and again. But I see an overall change in the collective conscience of the societies across different countries and the mass is not forgetting the misdeeds committed against them in the past. Only better sense will prevail going forward and real development- inclusive growth will be able to wipe out the past. We observed massive upheavals, few decades back, in eastern European countries when the people were keen to get the malevolent dictators ousted for the change for betterment. Arab Spring was another similar keenness exhibited.

 In one of my previous post before election, engaging in Governance – Youth and All, I highlighted the point of being serious and sincere to get involved with a hope that commoners have taken a note of the back-in-the-wall situation and would come out to vote. The recent results have vindicated my expectation and it is a good sign.

We Shall Overcome