Thursday, August 30, 2007

Widen ambit of workplace harassment Bill: women’s groups

In an attempt to give more teeth to India’s first ever proposed legislation on sexual harassment in the workplace, women’s groups have suggested improvements that will help widen the Bill’s ambit.

Group of around 400 women’s organisations in India has called for significant changes to the draft Bill on sexual harassment at the workplace that is expected to be tabled in the monsoon session of Parliament.

The changes suggested by Women Power Connect (WPC), a conglomerate of women’s groups, aim to make the legislation gender-neutral, bring sex-based discrimination under its ambit and expand the definition of sexual harassment to include, among other things, the long-term impact of a single incident of humiliating sexual commentary.

The Protection of Women Against Sexual Harassment at the Workplace Bill 2007, India’s first ever attempt to institute laws against sexual harassment in the workplace, was put up on the website of the Women and Child Development Ministry for public comment and discussion by March 31, 2007.

WPC has listed a number of changes to the draft. They include:

Expanding the applicability and scope of coverage from a few illustrations to a whole range of incidents of harassment. According to WPC, the Bill in its current form does not clearly state under what circumstances a woman can bring a charge of harassment. It describes a number of scenarios in which sexual harassment must not take place but fails to mention several others. “The Bill should be amended to clarify that the currently described scenarios are illustrations only so that they do not become restrictive on the applicability of the Bill,” WPC said in a statement.

Clarify whether an establishment that has violated a provision of this Bill can be forced to pay monetary damages to the suing party.

Assigning personal liability to someone who victimises a sexual harassment complainant for having brought a complaint.

Including in the Bill sex-based discrimination so that it becomes gender-neutral. The current Bill only protects women against harassment by men... “as women can also sexually harass men, and same-sex harassment is also possible... it would be better to make the legislation gender-neutral,” says WPC President Ranjana Kumari.

The groups also said there is a need to include sex-based discrimination that is not sexual in nature under the ambit of the Bill.


“Since the draft Bill is incomplete and several definitions and objectives in it are likely to be misinterpreted in the future, we have submitted a list of recommendations to the concerned ministries,” says Kumari.

In the absence of a law to tackle sexual harassment of women in the workplace, the Vishaka Guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court to deal with the problem have been implemented.

Source: www.rediff.com



Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

India’s senior citizens finally get a hearing

The Union Cabinet’s recent decision to approve a new law -- the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Bill 2007 aimed at helping the elderly live in dignity and peace -- is a welcome move towards the protection and care of India’s 77 million elderly citizens.

The past five years have been a living nightmare for Raghu Sharma, 78, a retired schoolteacher. The septuagenarian was thrown out of his Delhi flat by his two sons after they forcibly took possession of it by forging Sharma’s signature on his will! Poor Sharma isn’t sure what hurts him most -- the fact that he was cheated out of a house bought from his life savings, the fact that he now lives in a dilapidated barsati, or the fact that his own sons betrayed him most unconscionably.

Widowed Rajshree Bhatia, 69, a Mumbai resident, survives on the frugal pension of her late husband, a government clerk. When she refused to give her valuables and life savings to her three children, they tried to set her on fire by dousing her with kerosene! Fortunately, she was saved by her neighbours who now not only feed and clothe her but also support her decision to sue her children for mistreatment.

Even as yet another World Elder Abuse Awareness Day passed us by last month (June 15) -- with khadi-clad politicians and platitude-spewing social workers clambering onto podiums to lecture us on how we need to take care of our elderly -- the fact remains that a substantive percentage of India’s whopping 77 million elderly continue to live an existence of insecurity, injustice and abuse. This is all the more disconcerting considering that India’s grey population (senior citizens above 60 years) will ratchet up to 177 million in 25 years. Of this, women will constitute 51%, thanks to a spurt in life expectancy.

The International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA, founded in 1997), a body dedicated to global dissemination of information on the prevention of elder abuse, designated June 15, 2006, as the first World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. The day, supported by the United Nations and the World Health Organisation, aims to raise awareness about elder abuse and how it can be prevented. Broadly, INPEA defines elder abuse as “…neglect, violation of human, legal and medical rights, and deprivation of the elderly”.

Many pan-India surveys reveal that almost 30% of India’s elderly are subject to some form of abuse or neglect by their families. Ironically, in spite of this, only one in six of the abused elderly report the injustice. Shockingly, 47.3% of abuse against elders is committed by adult caregivers, partners or family members, while 48.7% of all abuse cases imply neglect of an elderly person, abandonment, physical, financial or emotional abuse. Nine out of 10 calls received by Mumbai’s Dignity Foundation pertain to property-related abuse. HelpAge’s Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai helplines report a similar trend.

Social scientists attribute many reasons to this upward spiral in injustice against senior citizens. “Such cases reflect a rapidly altering social landscape where family bonds are weakening and elders are being marginalised,” says sociologist Dr Aruna Khatri. Another reason for this social menace, Khatri points out, is that a growing number of middle class children are moving out of their parental homes to live independently or go overseas to seek better work opportunities. “Changing family dynamics have left many elderly people feeling lonely and more vulnerable to crime,” says Khatri.

According to Shalini Dewan, Director, United Nations Information Centre, New Delhi, the problem of elder abuse is largely under-recognised although the UN considers it critical. Member countries of the United Nations adopted an International Plan of Action in Madrid in April 2002 to recognise the importance of elder abuse and put it in its framework of universal human rights.

According to a recent all-India INPEA survey, the problems of the elderly can be broadly categorised as economic, health, disability, and social. In Delhi, the survey revealed that the most prevalent health problems among the elderly related to mental handicap, orthopaedic and ophthalmic problems. Loneliness, no source of income, and unemployment were also found to be widespread among Delhi’s elderly. However, in Kolkata, lack of adjustment, no source of income, non-fulfilment of basic needs, alcoholism/drug addiction and chronic illness were the major problems.

To read more click: http://www.infochangeindia.org/analysis216.jsp



Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A short story by Swami Vivekananda

A longing heart that attempts with an unswerving resolve to aspire for the highest is the one that is capable of attaining it. The truth is sugar coated for a better comprehension and easy digestion by a story illustrated by Swami Vivekananda.

Once a disciple requested his master to bless him with religion ( Vision of God). He could only get a smile in return from His master. However the young man was persistent and started visiting his master everyday only to be warded off gently. Practical demonstration always proves to be better than verbal instructions especially in the case of spirituality.

The master hence took His disciple to a river and held him under the water by force and let him go after sometime. He then asked the disciple what was all His struggle for under the water? The surprised young man replied that he was struggling for his breath and all his thoughts were directed towards achieving it. The Master then smiled and said that his struggles should be such if not more in wanting the vision of God as well! A ceaseless craving for the divine is the prime requisite to attain it. Idols, intellectual feeding through books and other means are all frail forms of attempts which would not work for long if not coupled with a tireless search. Until this search is awakened, the aspirant is no better than any atheist. The search for the vision of God should be as desperate as a thief who is aware of a heap of gold in the next room.

Hence the vision of God is only possible with one's vision focused on Him that leads one to be a visualizer and ultimately to blend in the ultimate without visions and the act of visualizing!


Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Friday, August 24, 2007

New Family Life At Your Old Age

Mark and Neena filed a petition about physical violence at the police station. Surprisingly the petition was against none other than their own children. Are you wondering why their children have turned against them? Well, Mark and Neena got married only recently and also at their old age.

They belonged to the same village from their childhood. Even though, they had a liking toward each other during their young ages, different religious beliefs separated them. Neena got married to a drunkard and had to endure thirty years of torture. After her husband's death, she returned to her ancestral home since; her children were too busy with their own lives. Mark was spending his retirement life as his motherless children were not very keen to take the responsibility of an old man.

The old people started to share their dilemmas to each other. They found solace in each other's company. As they were approaching the dusk of their lives a thought came to their mind. "Why can't us get married?" They found that this the last chance to receive pure love in their lives.

Their relationship at the old age was not welcoming to their children. They abandoned their busy schedule and came home to prevent the old couple from bringing 'shame' on their families. Nevertheless, they were late and the only alternative before their children to inflict physical pain upon their parents, so that they will at least repent their decision. Mark and Neena approached the police station in this situation.

Marriage at the old age is still a taboo in Indian society. Many old people who have endured an unhappy married life or left alone at the last moments in their lives, find the company of a like minded soul pleasurable. However, when the other person belonged to the opposite sex and they together want to give a legal guarantee for their relationship, the controversies arise.

There is no Indian law that prohibits the marriage at old age. However it instructs that the old couple couple should be legally single when they get married. The marriage at old age should also be legally registered as it will ensure security to the partner in case of any calamities.

Even when the Indian laws support the marriage at an old age, Indian society rarely encourages the concept. As in the case of Mark and Neena, the family members of the couple fear that the marriage will bring disgrace to their family. Mark's son defended his position during an interrogation:

"My children will remain unmarried, as nobody would like to relate to a family, where their grandfather still enjoys honeymoon."

Who has to be blamed in this situation? It is none other than the attitude of the society that has to be changed. When you smirk at the couple, who got married at their old age, you may never guess the terrible loneliness or dilemmas that they had endured in life. They may not be getting married for the sensual pleasures at their old age. The solace that they derive from each other's company may be beyond your imagination.

If you are the children to those couple, just imagine the happy moments that they had sacrificed for your well being. Even now, a single consent from your side may make their lives blissful at the last period of time. You have the responsibility to ensure at least that much happiness to your parents.


Let our elders have their own say......................


Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Smile on Child's face

Atlas I made it.Wanted to do this earlier but due to some commitment could not do so.I visited the Mayfair Garden,Virar Center for Mumbai Mobile Creches.

I called the center incahrge Kumudini Patil at 9,and reached the centre at around 11.
The complex is big one and seems the construction will be ON for 2 years more.I was impressed by the work done by Kumudini and other two staff.Its just more then any one can do for the less fortunate children's.

The children were divided in three groups / rooms -bigger,smaller and crèche respectively.The place for clean and looking great with posters and painting on the walls.Children were learning,signing and playing skill games.

Kumudini was nice to explain the whole idea,how they work with the children for the children and in the community.She also explained how children's come here from morning to eve and all of their requirement from food to learning is taken care.I was also informed that in day or two Doctor is going to come for Medical Checkups.

Children were also enjoying,and wanted to show me what they know -like song,poetry,puppet show.It was such a nice moment,the SMILE on child's face made be forget all the stress of life.For a moment I thought Iam back to Balwadi,in my home town Palghar.

But one thing I felt is that unawareness and indifferent attitude form the resident of the said complex.Infact I was told that the Builder and his staff are supportive and nice fellows.

There was shortage of Toys,Books,Art and Craft Materials.A Swing or Slide for children to play can also be very great thing.Hope a Noble sloul will donate this to this childrens.


Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Senior citizens full of life

A s youngsters, we are so caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. There's college, then work, goals to be achieved and responsibilities to be fulfilled. But what if one day, suddenly, life moves into a slower lane and you finally have time to smell the roses. Well, that's retirement. Senior citizens finally find time in the autumn of their lives to pursue their passions and contribute to the society. The Senior Citizens Forum (SCF) aims to do just that.

The SCF celebrated its 14th anniversary yesterday at Sweekar Upkaar Rehabilitation Centre, Secunderabad. "The forum's activities include counselling, free medical inspections and organising interactive sessions at a daily day care centre," says retired Colonel N.A. Kumar, president of the SCF. The members also visit old age homes around the city, drop in to cheer up the elderly who're not keeping well and make it a point to remember each member's birthday.

The forum has virtually adopted Centenary High School, providing scholarships and distributing uniforms. "While I was working, I was bound by my duties, but now I have the time to do what little I can for the society," says Dr R.V. Reddy, a retired government officer who is now an advisory consultant to pharmaceutical companies, WHO, UNICEF and Clinton Foundation, USA.

"I feel I am more busy now than when I was working," says treasurer M. Ramanand, retired deputy general manager of Allwyn Hyderabad. "Since I retired in 1986, I have pursued my passion for travelling. I travel the world with my wife and devote my free time to social work," he says. The members of SCF are self-sufficient and do not depend on their children. "During my service, I earmarked 35 per cent of my income for retirement so my finances have been managed successfully," he adds.

Vice-president of SCF, retired divisional security commissioner for railways, V.K. Narasimhan also discovered a passion after retirement. "I trained in pranayam and yoga in Haridwar under Swami Ramdev. Now I rise at 4:00 every morning and teach yoga," he says. A founding member of the Wahabnagar colony, he also enjoys crosswords, sudoku and the Tom and Jerry show.

"All of us are in the later part of life and we have so many experiences and views to share, so we meet everyday at the day care centre" says SCF secretary Varun K., retired manager of Park Davis. "An idle mind is the devil's workshop and loneliness tends to creep up on you, so it's very important for us to be a part of this group and spend time together," he adds.

Source:Deccan Chronicle ePaper


Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Safe Heaven for Construction Worker Childrens

Mumbai is a boomtown teeming with technology and manufacturing companies, a thriving financial sector, busy shipping ports, and a robust movie industry producing over 300 films a day. Everywhere, I saw signs of a modern metropolis—modern skyscrapers, shiny condo high-rises, and construction cranes sharing the streets and skylines with Mumbai’s stately colonial architecture, shantytowns, and slums.

An estimated 35 million men and women in India work in the construction sector. As they shuttle from job to job to earn 60 to 80 rupees a day, some 54 million of their children are uprooted and left unattended. Many of the children suffer from malnutrition, tuberculosis, and accidents that occur on the building sites.

Few laws govern India’s construction industry, and an abundance of cheap labor translates into squalid living conditions, dubious pay, and few rights.But Mumbai Mobile Creches brings health, safety, education, and dignity to these families and their children.

In 1969, Meera Mahadevan started a rudimentary crèche when she saw babies—dirty, unclothed, and crying for milk—lying in the sun at the construction site for the Gandhi Centenary Exhibition in Delhi. Thus began Mobile Creches, a direct-service charity founded to protect children’s basic needs in Delhi. Meera inspired her sister to do the same in Mumbai.

Mumbai Mobile Creches (MMC), led by Devika Mahadevan, creates a healthy community for migrant workers on 23 construction sites, reaching 4,000 children. Believing that care and attention during the early years of a child’s life are crucial for mental, physical, emotional, and social growth, Mobile Creches provides comprehensive early childhood care and development programs in the form of traditional Indian balwadis, nurseries that provide education, daycare, and nutrition for children.

Mumbai Mobile Creches’ balwadis not only protect and promote the care of children but also train mothers to be teachers through an on-site training and certification program. Having a responsible role and job within the community increases these mothers’ self-esteem, and their training allows them to run a crèche once they move to another construction site.

For other women, Mumbai Mobile Creches offers security and safety for their children, allowing them freedom to work off-site, often as a domestic worker. It is not uncommon for some mothers to work three jobs! Unfortunately, many of them end up working for free since unscrupulous employers cheat them or do not pay them. In fact, this is one of the most common reasons people move on in search of the proverbial better job.

You might think construction companies would welcome Mumbai Mobile Creches on their sites, but as part of an industry that belittles the value of human capital, their response is usually resistance and suspicion. For example, India has a law mandating a crèche if a site has more than 20 women workers, but the construction companies ignore this, and the law is not enforced. The value of developing a workforce of qualified and experienced workers has not yet made its mark in the Indian construction industry.

Seeing the children and meeting their teachers and parents, I realized just how special and important Mumbai Mobile Creches is. I saw it in the joy of the children, the pride of their mothers, and the cleanliness and care in their community of makeshift shelters squeezed on the edge of a construction site behind tall gates leading to the city streets.

Thanks to the Mobile Creches, India’s migrant construction workers and their children are able to learn, to live with dignity, and to hope for a better future.

By Ahna Machan


Salute to Devika and Team MMC.


Source: http://www.gfcontheroad.org/?q=node/91#comment-754


Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Charter on the Rights of the Child, brought to you by Child Rights and You

Child Rights and You (CRY) invites you to support us in ensuring basic rights to every Indian Child, by signing this petition:India's children are not doing well. They do not have access to quality health care or education, and as for girls even their right to survival is under threat. CRY is concerned that the national mission of expanding opportunities for children through State action, appears to have been de-prioritised. Promoting and protecting human rights of children is a government obligation, taken on when the Constitution was adopted and reiterated to the international community, when it signed the International Convention on the Rights of the Child.

However, over the past decade and more, there is an increased emphasis on market-oriented responses to dealing with children's issues and a dilution in the role of the Indian State as the principal guardian of the children.Children form 40% of our country's population, and yet they are treated as non entities - their being is rarely acknowledged. This is even more so politically - as they do not have a say in determining who forms government or frames policies on their behalf. And hence their concerns are invisible - rarely understood in their totality. Close to three decades of experience have shown CRY that providing relief is a short-term exercise and that sustainable change can be brought about only by addressing the structural and systemic root causes of poverty and social exclusion. CRY - Child Rights and You seeks your support to raise public awareness on the state of children in India and to demand the following non-negotiables from the government:Child Rights Charter

Ensure a universal definition of "child" to include all persons under the age of 18.

Increase government expenditure on children. Specifically increase expenditure on education to 10% and health to 5% of GDP.

All children age 6-18 years, without discrimination, should be in formal, full-time schools that provide quality education. All children below 6 years should be in anganwadis. The government should ensure that all children complete schooling.

Complete prohibition on all forms of child labour across sectors including agriculture.

Revision of the National Policy for Children (1974) to make it more comprehensive and in line with the Constitution and the United Nations Convention of Child Rights.

Redraft the Free and Compulsory Education Bill to remove sanctions on parents. Concerned governments to face penalty for failure to provide free, compulsory education to all.

Formulate and implement a comprehensive rights-based policy on food security for all with extensive legal safeguards, in order that no child goes to bed hungry and no child is born underweight and stay undernourished.

Coverage of the Public Distribution System is expanded to include all poor and socially excluded families.

Immediate provision of nutritious mid-day meals in all primary schools and extension of this scheme to include out-of-school children. Make available Integrated Child Development Services to all children under the age of six years, as per the Supreme Court order of November 2001.



ABOUT CRY:


CRY is a leading advocate of Child Rights in India. We work to ensure basic rights of underprivileged children in India to survival, development, protection and participation. CRY effects grassroots movements of change that empower deprived communities to take responsibility for their lives and the future of their children. With the ultimate goal -- to build a peoples’ movement for the rights of India’s children

CRY today supports 185 development initiatives in 18 key states across India.

SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR,PLS SIGN THE PETITION FOR CHILD RIGHT,BY CLICKING ON THE LINK

Source :http://cause.oneindia.in/44/9/petitiondetails.html

Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Angel’s of the society

On Monday we had Bank Holiday for Parsi New Year, I visited Shree Manav Seva Sangh, which is situated opposite Gandhi Market, Sion, Mumbai.

I was impressed by the noble work they do. They are selflessly serving the society for last 80 years.

From Crèches for the poor children’s, Adoption center, Foster care for children’s, Medical center, Old Age Home, Vocational Training Center, Day care center for Elderly and center for lonely women’s they are working for the cause of less privilege.

The trustee and the staff are all committed and dedicated for the welfare activities.

Vinita Joshi the Social Worker and Chandrikaben Shah the VP of the institution made me feel comfortable all through the visit.

During this visit I was asked to participate for the prize distribution ceremony for the Indoor sport competition for elderly. It was so nice to see the seniors actively
Participating in the Programme. The smile and happiness on their face is a lifetime
Opportunity. I wish all our seniors keep on smiling all their lives.

It is the great human service done by the Organisation in city of Mumbai; I wish every one should visit this place and help them to serve people in much netter way.

Long Live the Angel’s “ Shree Manav Seva Sang” and all their associates.

Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Understanding Pranayama

Hi,Just happen to read this wonderful information regarding Pranayama,which I would like to share with you'll:

How Pranayama works?
Through the practices of Pranayama, a certain amount of heat is generated which influences the existing quantum of energy or Prana. For example, if you produce heat in a vessel, it will heat the existing air.

We all have a certain amount of Prana which gives us life and maintains our organs. Pranayama serves to heat that quantum of Prana which then ascends along the spinal column into the Ajna Chakra. When sufficient heat is generated within the system, the Ajna Chakra sends a feedback to the base (the mooladhara) of kundalini and the dormant potential energy is awakened to increase the energy flow to the Ajna Chakra. This is the purpose of Pranayama.

While Pranayama serves to awaken the kundalini, certain Pranayamas are done to purify the carrying channels so that this increased energy can be handled appropriately. For example,the Ujjayi pranayama clears the pingala nadi for the ascension of kundalini.

The science of Pranayama is based on the retention of prana called 'kumbhaka'. Inhalation and exhalation are merely incidental. Those who are serious in awakening the hidden recesses of the brain need to perfect the art of retention (kumbhaka). During kumbhaka there is an increased blood flow into the brain and simultaneously heat is generated in the system.

The heat generates an increased energy in an electrical form. This electrical spark alters the chemical structure of the cerebral fluid which surrounds the brain. When this fluid is chemically influenced, it affects the behaviour of the brain. This is why one experiences a dizziness.

All the great experiences take place in this condition of dizziness. However, it is important that when this occurs you are fully aware. Few people are able to handle it and that is why the practice of Pranayama should be combined with the practice of concentration. When awakening takes place, dizziness occurs and a visual aid is necessary such as a candle, a dot or the 'Om' symbol.

Therefore, the practice of Pranayama has to be done very intelligently and patiently.

Source: http://living.oneindia.in/yoga-spirituality/yoga/pranayama-swami-satyananda-saraswati-part-ii.html



Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Five Point Oath for Medical Professionals

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam recently visited MNR Medical college and delivered the great speech.At the end of his address he administer following five point oath to the Students of MNR Medical College:

Five Point Oath for Medical Professionals

1. We the medical professionals realize that we are in God’s mission.

2. We will always give part of our time for treating patients who cannot afford.

3. We will treat at least 20 rural patients in a year at minimum cost by going to rural areas.

4. We will encourage the development of quality indigenous equipments and consumables by making use of them and assisting in enhancing the quality and reliability of the products.

5. We will follow the motto “Let my brain remove the pain of the suffering humanity and bring smiles”.



Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

"Towards a disease free India" - Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam

Dear Friends,

I have found this interesting article,which I would like to share for the benefit of the society.

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam recently visited MNR Medical college and delivered the great speech:


I am delighted to address and interact with the Students and Faculty Members of MNR Medical College. I understand that the Students of the 1st Batch of MBBS Course have performed well in their final exam and seven students have secured distinctions. I congratulate the Students for their academic performance and the faculty members for shaping the young minds. My greetings to the Chairman - MNR Trust, Principal- Medical College, faculty members, Students and distinguished guests.

Mission of Medical community

Dear friends, when I am in the midst of the medical community, I am reminded of the famous statement by Norman Cousins in his book ‘Anatomy of the illness’ Patients are today reaching out to the doctor not just for medical help. They are reaching out for kindness, assurance and hope. I would also like to share with you a quote in the paper which I came across on the topic ‘One World, one people, one surgery’ by Dr.T.E.Udwadia which states: “The poorest of the poor have as much right as anyone to less pain after surgery, reduced medication, less morbidity, shorter hospitalization, and early return to home, family, and work. Minimal access surgery and the expensive technology it requires are advocated, not as homage or tribute to new technology, but in appreciation of the manifold benefits this new technology gives to our patients and our people.” This thought has to be the focus of all the graduates completing their medical studies and entering into a professional career from this Medical College. My topic for discussion is “Towards a disease free India?”

I would like to briefly talk to you on some of the diseases and actions proposed and future need.

To read more click : http://www.abdulkalam.com/kalam/jsp/display_content.jsp?menuid=28&menuname=Speeches%20/%20Lectures&linkid=68&linkname=Recent%20&content=482&columnno=0&starts=0&menu_image=7


Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Mission Education

Education is the most important element for growth and prosperity of a nation. India is in the process of transforming itself into a developed nation by 2020. Yet we have 350 million people who need literacy and many more who have to acquire employable skills to suit the emerging modern India and the globe.

Children who belong to weaker sections of our society are undernourished and only a small percentage of them manage to complete eight years of satisfactory education. We need to think specifically about them. Education is indeed a fundamental right of every Indian child. Can we allow the situation to continue in which millions of these children are forced into life long poverty? The requirement is that the parents should be able to go to any school nearby and admit their children and happily come back home with the confidence that their children will get a good and value based quality education in that school. The conditions of differently-abled children require equally important attention. In view of such critical issues and their importance and also to break out of our historical mindset, an effective and self-renewing education system is therefore fundamental to the survival and growth of civilizations.


Source: www.abdulkalam.com



Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Challenges for India’s Education

India’s education system turns out millions of graduates each year, many skilled in IT and engineering. This manpower advantage underpins India’s recent economic advances, but masks deepseated problems within India’s education system. While India’s demographics are generally perceived to give it an edge over other countries’ economies (India will have a youthful population when other countries have
ageing populations), if this advantage is restricted to a small, highly educated elite, the domestic political ramifications could be severe.

With 35 per cent of the population under the age of 15, India’s education system faces numerous challenges. Successive governments have pledged to increase spending on education to 6 per cent of GDP, but actual spending has hovered around 4 per cent for the last few years. While, at the top end, India’s business schools, Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and universities produce globally competitive graduates, primary and secondary schools, particularly in rural areas, struggle to find staff.

Indian governments have seen education as a crucial development tool. The first part of this paper provides a historical perspective on the development of the education system in India, highlighting the changing emphases within government policy. Since
Independence, the education policies of successive governments have built on the substantial legacies of the Nehruvian period, targeting the core themes of
plurality and secularism, with a focus on excellence in higher education, and inclusiveness at all levels. In reaching these goals, the issue of funding has become
problematic; governments have promised to increase state spending while realizing the economic potential of bringing in private-sector financial support.

The second part of this paper examines how recent governments have responded to these challenges,which have remained largely unchanged since Nehru’s era, despite the efforts of past governments and commissions to reform the Indian education system.Attention will be paid to more recent policy initiatives,both those of the previous BJP-led administration and the proposals of the current Congress-led United Progressive Alliance. It will become clear that the same difficulties that existed nearly sixty years ago remain largely unsolved today – for example, the need to safeguard access to education for the poorest and most disenfranchised communities of India.
By Marie Lall, Chatham House

To Read More : http://www.streetchildren.org.uk/reports/The%20Challenges%20for%20India's%20Education%20System.pdf

Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Information about Street Children - India

Background: Seventh largest country in the world. Religious, cultural, linguistic and geographical diversity. Population: 1.027 million of which 40% are under 18 (1/3 of the total population are under 15). One of the fastest growing developing countries, although it ranks 115th among 162 countries in the Human Development Index. Rate of urbanisation was 28.77% in 2001. Nearly 29% of the population live in urban areas, with dramatic growth of slums and shanty towns. An average of 50% of the urban population live in conditions of extreme deprivation - compounded by lack of access to basic services and legal housing and poor urban governance. UNICEF’s estimate of 11 million street children in India in 1994 is considered to be conservative. Estimated 100,000 – 125,000 street children each in Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi, with 45,000 in Bangalore.

Achievements: Legislative reform in the light of the CRC (e.g. Juvenile Justice Act 2000, Children’s Code Bill 2000 etc.). Advocacy and sensitisation workshops held for members of parliament and the police. Inclusion of modules on children’s issues in the training of police officers. Growing awareness and attention to children’s rights in the media. Establishment of NGO training and advocacy fora. Government claims nearly 25,000 children benefited through 85 projects in 35 cities under revised government scheme for the welfare of street children which provides for grant-in-aid to NGOs in major cities (1998-2000) (N.B. NGOs claim the scheme has many loopholes and problems in implementation). Establishment of joint government / NGO project CHILDLINE, a 24-hour, free, emergency telephone hotline in 29 cities, used by more than one million children in past 5 years. National Initiative for Child Protection campaign launched in 2000 across police, healthcare, judicial, education, labour, transport, media and corporate sectors. Broad range of NGO interventions for street children.

Constraints and challenges: Lack of implementation and monitoring mechanisms for programmes and lack of enforcement of legislation. Lack of birth registration, uniform adoption law, children’s participation and childcentred approaches in government. Impact of forced evictions, demolitions and displacement on children. India has the largest number of child labourers in the world. Widespread poverty, unemployment, increasing rural-urban migration, attraction of city life and lack of political will to address increasing numbers of children on the streets. Street children are subject to malnutrition, hunger, health problems, substance abuse, theft, CSE, harassment by the city police and railway authorities, physical and sexual abuse. Inadequacy of budget allocation impacts on sustainability of projects and, in particular, the ability to employ qualified and experienced social workers.

Lessons learned: Old-fashioned approach of institutionalising street children in custodial care (often through juvenile justice system) is not an appropriate or effective intervention. Community-based models with an emphasis on the contact / outreach programme (trust and relationship building) linked to ‘Contact Centres’ (access to services) in the vicinity of their stay / work, are much more effective. As the children live in groups, working with the group is often more appropriate than working on a one-to-one basis. Promotion and protection of street children’s rights is dependent on: sensitisation of allied systems such as the police, education, health, judicial system, media etc.; attitudinal changes in society which need to be addressed through public awareness campaigns. Government involvement and active support for NGO programmes is essential. Participation of street children themselves in decision-making and formulating intervention strategies is greatly undervalued at present.

Recommendations: Launch Railway Children intervention / prevention projects at major railway stations. Link street children into urban poverty reduction programmes. Increased emphasis on HIV/AIDS awareness programmes as street children are a high-risk group. Replication of: outreach programmes, community-based models, night shelters, drop-in / contact centres in the vicinity of places of work/stay of street children, innovative models of NGOs with Bal Mandals (Children’s Committees), and children’s participation in decisionmaking. Implementation and enforcement of the 2000 Juvenile Justice Act throughout the country. Amendment to Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986 to protect children (particularly street children) in informal labour economy. Simplification of procedures to obtain grant-in-aid from the government to reduce the burden of paperwork. Timely release of government grants, allocation of adequate funds on a long-term basis, continued financial support to ensure sustainability of
NGO interventions and beneficiary rather than donor-led funding policies. Realistic appraisal of the situation of street children to acknowledge the current inadequacy of government and NGO interventions to reach such a vast number of children in major cities in India.

This report is taken from “A Civil Society Forum for South Asia on Promoting and Protecting the Rights of Street Children”, 12- 14 December 2001, Colombo, Sri Lanka. A full version of the Civil Society forum report is also available on the CSC website.

To know more click: http://www.streetchildren.org.uk/resources/details/?country=64&type=country

Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Yoga is therapeutic for body, mind and soul

YOGA IS genuinely an answer to most physical, mental, emotional and spiritual issues. It not only cleanses the body of toxins, it also cleanses the mind of thoughts, of emotions like anger and grief and it regulates the spiritual fibre with mantras, meditation and chants.

When Ram and Lakshmana were taken at Rishi Vashist’s behest into the forests to wage battles as young youths against the terror of Ravana’s cousins, they were made invincible by the teachings of Vashist. Those amazing practices and rules, which are capable of reversing the aging process; of increasing your life span, of granting one health, beauty and a disease –free state constitute the Yoga Sutras.

Ashtangyoga is the crucible through which one must pass in order to experience the beauty and power of Yoga. It is the ancient mix of asanas and pranayama and the practice of truth, happiness and strength. The serenity and tranquility that is obtained from these practices is what leads you to look forever young, be stress free and therefore disease-free.

Basic asanas cause what the western world like to term as ‘stretching’ which in turn causes an increase in the blood supply to the muscle stretched, invigorating, pulsing and awakening it.

Integrated Approach of Yoga

Will provide a conscious process of accelerating growth
Will replace existing outlook with an intellect that is aware of possibilities, is flexibile (as opposed to rigid) and calm.
Enhance Mental, Emotional and Spiritual Health of each participant
Provide tools to beat stress

Excellent asanas to be practiced for certain conditions (under tutelage)

Thyroid Regulation: Hull asan, Sarva-ang asan
Weight loss: both the above and Supta Vajra, Uttanasana, Audhomukh Svanasan
Menstruation: Badhakonasan, Ustra asan Upvistakonasan
Sciatica: Dandaasan, Ardha Chandra asan
Diabetes: Supta Badhakonasan, Prasarita Padottan asan, Viparit Dandasan

Some useful stretches for women would be for their necks, to reduce the wrinkles and to keep the skin on the neck sprightly. Clockwise, anticlockwise, and side pulsing. To get rid of the double chin, throw the head back and open and close the jaw to feel the stretch in the under chin.

Shoulders are always stretched before the neck so that the muscles at the base of the neck are already warmed up before the neck is stretched. Holding a window bar or a pillar with hands outstretched behind, take a step forward, it gives a soothing pull to the shoulder blades, the dorsal and clavicular back.

A lower lumbar backache can be easily rid by sleeping on the stomach and stretching the upper body off the floor with the help of the arms. Then turning to lie on the back, fold knees, and stretch the navel into the sky forcing the lower back to stretch inwards again.

The Carl Lewis stretch for hamstrings and calves is a must for all high-heeled feet and computer gazers. Stand with feet almost together, take one foot over the other, place it on the floor, and bending from the butt stretch those hamstrings, feel the blood rushing into the head and come back up. Repeat with the opposite foot.

The final stretch is when you retire in the night. Lying on the back point your toes, point your finger as you take your arms overhead. Stretch until you feel the bones in your ribcage being pulled gently, your pelvic muscles responding, your calves lengthening, your back stretching and your abdomen flattening. Just turn over and go to sleep. Wake up with the same stretch.

By Bina Bakshi

Source: Meri News

Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Life Begins After Retirement

"I wake up early in the morning to realize that, its not the usual day. I am retired. I don't know how to spend the day. I pass some time with the newspaper and the rest watching TV. Till then my grandkids come back from school. I plan to go out with the family, but everyone is tired and they have their own set of works to do. I have no other go, but dig myself into those philosophical books. The day is over and I am back on my bed to welcome another day of loneliness, loss, frustration, and grief".

This is the life after retirement, as Richard Armour Quotes,"Retired is being twice tired, I've thought
First tired of working,
Then tired of not."

Studies show that high percentage of people die during their first year of retirement. One of the reasons being, psychological trauma. A sense of feeling that you're a worn out individual and should be placed in the corner of the house sitting idle most of the time.

This period of life can be made fun and worth living to explore the unexplored.

There may be times in your life when you wanted to learn to play golf or wanted to write a book on your experience and learning, or wanted to learn salsa. But your desires where never fulfilled, because you were too busy at work or family. This is the right time to explore your hidden talents and fulfill your deepest desires.

Here are few ways to stay active and make money after retirement. Work is the important way of coping with the nagging worries.

Physical activity:
The best way to be healthy, independent and occupied is by doing some minor physical exercise such as walking and yoga. Get started with activities that will make you feel warm and breath deeply. It may not be some heavy stuff, but small things like walking whenever and wherever you can, taking the stairs instead of an elevator etc. You could also enroll in the neighbourhood yoga or laughter club. Being healthy will also help you be independent.

Meet friends:
Meet your old friends outside. There may be times when you missed out the most important events with your friend. Plan a picnic, as even he may be feeling lonely. Go out to play golf or any game you like.

Gardening:
Gardening is the best way to keep you occupied. This is also a great stress buster. Grow some flowers or vegetables in your garden. If you don't have a garden you can grow plants in a pot. You can even get the younger ones involved in this work. Decorate your house with these plants and flowers. Look how proud and contented you will feel.

Help grandkids:
If your grandkids are busy with homework and you have some time on your hands, why not help them with their work? Apart from homework, you can play with them, tell them stories, take them to the park etc. Thus you will gain a good listener and even build a healthy relationship.

Go on a holiday:
Go on a cruise with your partner. Visit a distant land, which you have always wanted to see. And remember there is no age bar for a second honeymoon. This is the age when you are alone most of the time with your partner, so make the best use of it. Discover those facets about each other left untouched and forgotten over the years.

Volunteer:
Be a volunteer to an NGO who deal with projects relating to the empowerment of women, child care or anything that draws your interest and is also of a major help to the society.

Use your skills:
You may be a businessman, a professional, or an accountant. Years of experience in that field will surely be of some help to the youngsters. Use your skills to train them. Start a course. This will fill your pockets and even finds you some work to keep going.

Pen them:

You may not be a celebrity to the world, but life must have taught you something, that you always wanted to pen down. So why don't you try it now? You have the leisure and even the patience too. This is the best opportunity, to tell the world what you feel. You may not win the Booker Prize, but maybe many can learn from your experience..

Join a course:
Wasn't there a time when you badly wanted to learn to paint, sing or dance. Here the time has come. Join a course that interests you. Fulfill all your desires. Use your creativity to put forth your ideas.

Let not age make you surrender to its oddities. Soar and fly. Begin your life anew in its own colours. Retirement is the respect given to your years of service. But if you don't want to sit and rest why not explore and say "here life I am back like a Phoenix. Ready to go." Live the life that you're worth living, afterall, 'Age is a state of the mind.'

By: Sharon Supriya


Source: http://living.oneindia.in/expressions/life-begins.html


Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Old age homes - a journey in search of joy and tranquility

"As I entered one of the biggest old age home in the city, I saw one old man gazing at a single beautiful bright flower amidst many on the ground. He was so engrossed with its beauty that he would smile at it and shake his head. I wanted to pat his back or rather peep in his heart to read the message of the flower, but I just opted silence and stood just beside him. After few minutes I saw a tear rolling down his cheek. I was perplexed was he happy or sad? What was the message from the flower that made him sink so deep in his thought? What did it remind him? Was he gazing at the flower or his own life?

looked at his eye they were burning red with agony and pain. He had just realized that his life is just like this bright flower. Many would come and glorify the new bloomed flower in the dawn, but after a day or two when its colours had withered to darkness and it cannot stand firm with its head held high, the same people would walk unnoticed without even heeding its cry."

Life seems to be meaningless. Isn't it ? An individual slogs all through his life for the family and with a view that a day would come when he can just relax in his armchair and read his favorite book and tell tales of his youthful days to the younger generation. He will term those days as "And they lived happily ever after". Alas! he forgets that the day of his rest is someone else's busy day and the loved one won't even owe a second for him.

Vicissitudes of life have contributed to the misery of elders with none to depend on, no means of income, no emotional security making them destitute with a question, about how to carry on with their lives. The growing intolerance among youth, coupled with their inability to adjust with the elderly, is just one of the prime reasons for the rise in the number of old age homes in India.

The fading joint family system in India and other innumerable factors have given rise to west-inspired phenomena of old age homes. Surprising cost of living and scanty return on savings have almost pushed these senior citizens on roads. Such an act has triggered the security net of the helpless, which has almost vanished in many states in India with Kerala topping the list.

They have started walking out of their own home in search of a journey that promises peace, joy and celebration of life with a group of people who share the same boat of life (the wrecked one). However not may rather none of them receive it. Young people with vigor and strength forget that its not too late for them to be in the same shoes. Its just one life that we all have,why can't we be a support to the needy who is not a stranger? Why cant we build a world of love that shelters all, irrespective of age? Why can't life just begin after retirement, than end?

If you respect the one who has moulded you into a fine being, then just hold their hand and lead them straight into your home. They don't need your money or luxury, they just need a shoulder to lean. Help them lead the last few days of their life that doesn't trigger loneliness.

By: Sharon Supriya


Source: http://living.oneindia.in/expressions/life-expressions/old-age-homes.html




Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

RTI should become a public movement

I WAS AMONGST the fortunate ones who attended the first-of-its-kind RTI activists’ meet at the BCAS Foundation’s Mumbai office on Monday, the 6th August ’07. RTI activists from across Mumbai attended the meet, organised by BCAS Foundation and the Public Concern for Governance Trust (PCGT).


Those present included Mr. Julius Ribeiro, Ex-Director General of Police, Mumbai, Mr.Shailesh Gandhi, Mr.Narayn Varma, Mr Bhaskar Prabhu and representatives of the Times Foundation.


The current RTI scenario and the problems faced by the activists were discussed at the meet. Participants opined that the Act faces a lot of resistance from the government and bureaucracy. Perhaps because the government rushed the legislation through, teething problems persist to this day. The mindset of the politicians and bureaucrats has to change. The legislation is just two years old and unfortunately we need to fight a 58 year-old defunct system.


The RTI movement in fact started as early as 1976 when the Supreme Court declared (while dealing with the case of Raj Narain vs. the State of U.P) the right to information as being part of the fundamental rights under Article 19 of the Constitution. Article 19 (1) says that every citizen has freedom of speech and expression. The Hon’ble Court said that people cannot speak or express themselves unless they know.


After hectic lobbying by the activists and citizens concerned, the efforts of civil society for the right to information were finally rewarded. On 10th May 2005, the RTI Amendment Bill 2005 was tabled in the Lok Sabha. The Bill was rushed through - the Lok Sabha approved it on 11th May 2005 and the Rajya Sabha on 12th May. On 15th June 2005, the President gave his assent to the National Right to Information Act, 2005. After the presidential assent, the Central and State governments had 120 days to implement the Bill in its entirety. The Act formally came into force on 12th October 2005.


RTI Act provides the right to information which the common man can access with the help of public authorities, in order to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority.


RTI Act 2005 empowers every citizen to:

• Ask any questions of the government or seek any information

• Obtain copies of any government document

• Inspect any government document.

• Inspect any government works

• Collect samples of materials of any government works


But according to me, the bigger challenge now is the actual implementation of the Act which alone can help the society in benefiting from it. Filing RTI initially is an easy task but then to file appeals and to benefit from it is a painstaking effort. RTI activists need to have lots of patience and domain knowledge to succeed over the devil of the “corrupt system of 60 years”.


Some of the measures like mass public awareness, publication of PIO (Public Information Officers) directory, training of PIO’s and government staff need to be conducted with the joint participation of government and organisations dedicated to RTI.


The RTI Act provides an avenue to the common man to seek information, ask for action taken and make government and the system more accountable and responsible. It will in fact become a tool for ensuring better governance. Mr. Julius Ribeiro rightly said that this would only happen when RTI becomes a public movement and every citizen exercises it as his / her fundamental right.


So let us come together and support this noble national movement, the Right to Information.

Source:http://www.merinews.com



Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Black Thursday for Freedom of Expression

9th August will be marked as Black Thursday for Freedom of Expression in India.

Celebrating 60th year of Democracy its shame for all of us.Noted Bangladeshi novelist Taslima Nasreen was roughed up by 20 activists of Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) led by MLAs Afsar Khan, Ahmed Pasha and Mozum Khanat a book release function on Thursday 9th August at Press Club in Hyderabad.

The function was organised for Nasreen to release the Telugu translation of her latest novel Shodh .

As the function was about to conclude, the Goonda's of MIM suddenly barged into the hall and attacked the novelist and all other present with chairs,flower bookey,Chappals etc ,they damaged the furniture and glass panes and some of them even reached the dais and roughed up the novelist.

The so called member of Legislative assembly attacked Nasreen, because she had in her banned novel Lajja raised the hackles of Muslim organisations.

Police were mere spectator for all the commotion.Its total Law and order failure.The government should take strong action against the culprits and dismiss the Police commissioner for this shameful event.

We Indian are proud of our Democratic culture and Hospitality to our Guest but this incident had damaged our image in the globe.

In the country which now boast of Women President and Women chief of Congress Party which runs the government its matter of great worry and insult to Women's.

The freedom fighter on this 9th august will be sadden with this kind of treatment to the women and the guest to the country.

Let justice prevail.



Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Shake a leg for better memory

Devoting half an hour to aerobic exercises several times a week may help prevent memory loss in old age, say neurologists at Yale University.

A study conducted on mice suggests that keeping the brain healthy and active reduces the chances of memory decline in old age.

“It is important for people of all ages to do 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise several times a week. Keeping a healthy and active brain may prevent memory decline in old age, but only a longitudinal study that follows mice over time could confirm this possibility,” says Dr. Daryn Frick, author of the study published in the journal Behavioral Neuroscience .

The researchers assigned 160 female mice who were young, middle-aged and old adults (about 3, 15, or 21 months old) to either an experimental (treatment) condition or a control group. Treatment conditions included cages where mice could exercise on running wheels, cages where they could play with toys, or cages with both for complex enrichment. The control mice cages were unadorned.

Among all mice, spatial memory had worsened with age.

Upon testing the animals’ ability to navigate a spatial water maze after the initial four weeks of treatment, the researchers found that exercise alone significantly improved the spatial memory of the young mice.

Both exercise alone and complex enrichment, but not cognitive stimulation alone, significantly improved memory among the middle aged, say researchers. For old mice, all enrichments (alone or combined) significantly improved performance.

The study’s authors note that as people get old and maybe less able to exercise, cognitive stimulation can help to compensate.

“These data may suggest that enrichment initiated at any age can significantly improve memory function. And exercise plus mental challenge in middle age – when many people start to notice subtle memory changes – may offer the strongest, most widespread benefits for memory function,” write the authors.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Shake_a_leg_for_better_memory/articleshow/2259268.cms



Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Global Warming To Hit Poor Hardest

"Global warming will likely hit food production in developing nations the
hardest, increasing the risks of drought and famine in the countries that
already struggle to feed their populations, a senior UN official said
Tuesday.

However, a rise in global temperatures would increase food production in
most industrialized countries, which mostly have colder climates, said
Jacques Diouf the Director General of the UN Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO). ...

He estimated that a country like India could lose 18 percent of its annual
cereal production. Developing genetically modified crops that produce
higher yields could offset the impact of climate change, Diouf said, while
noting that crops designed to be resistant to drought and flourish in
extreme conditions are not yet a reality. .." [Associated Press/Factiva]

Reuters adds that "...Even small global temperature rises would trigger
crop declines and raise the risk of hunger at lower latitudes, especially
in the seasonally dry tropics, said Diouf. ...

Climate change has already hit forest areas and people leaving there as
forest fires and outbreaks of forest pests and diseases have increased,
FAO said. ..." [Reuters/Factiva]

NYT notes that "...'Rain-fed agriculture in marginal areas in semiarid and
sub humid regions is mostly at risk,' Diouf said on a visit to the
southern Indian city of Chennai. ''India could lose 125 million tons of
its rain-fed cereal production, equivalent to 18 percent of its total
production.'

That is a signal of the steep human and economic impact of extreme weather
in India, where a majority of peasants still rely on the rains to irrigate
their fields and where a bad flood can be nearly as devastating as a bad
drought. The latest floods have affected an estimated 20 million people in
India alone, 8 million in neighboring Bangladesh and 300,000 in Nepal,
according to the United Nations children's agency...." [The New York
Times]

Source: World Bank News


Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Freedom from cyber crime: No reply, no buy, no spam

BEWARE. Before clicking on any email just take your time and see to it that you are clicking on a message which comes from a secure source. Not taking this precaution will make you susceptible to the guile of thousands of cyber criminals waiting to misuse your identity or sensitive data. This in turn can set you back from a million to a few hundred rupees.

The cyber criminals are using highly sophisticated techniques to play with an individual’s need thereby motivating them to part with personal and proprietary financial information.

According to a study conducted by Dr James Blascovich, professor of Psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara cyber criminals use common emotions like fear, lust, and greed to methodically steal money, information and data.

Email is the most potent tool being used by the cyber criminals to prey upon millions of unsuspecting internet users, who are bombarded with unsolicited mail, some of which often promises bank loans, free credit cards and company of beautiful females and so on and so forth.

Even the most smart internet user is beguiled and charmed into the email offensive as cyber criminals are knocking at the doors using different psychological approaches to motivate the potential users.

There are emails which have a stamp of authority like ‘must complete and submit’, ‘your unique code’; then there are mails which are friendly and say ‘mail from family or friends’, ‘is it you’; the lure of greed is also thrown in, with emails offering free downloads; emotions, love and loss is another aspect of human personality which is attacked with mailers like ‘another week alone’, ‘want a beautiful friend or lonely woman needs company.’

In addition, there are other aspects like cultural affairs, auction frauds, lottery scams, sexual promises that are used to lure a prospective victim to make the kill.

The smart cyber outlaw knows that these enticements will play with the psychological moderators, which include legitimacy and familiarity and help them in netting the prey. In addition, gullibility, lack of rational decision-making and all around knowledge make the net users more prone to crime.

According to the study, a person may be an expert computer user but he might not be well versed with business practices and this can happen in the reverse direction too. If the scam-spam mail looks familiar and legitimate, then the recipient’s doubts are allayed and he is ready to fish in the troubled waters.

Likewise, if the spam mail is promising goodies, then a promotion oriented person is enticed whereas if the message is one concerning with avoiding loss, then a prevention-oriented person is likely to open and use it. Here it must be mentioned that sometimes even opening the email can beset the user with trouble in the form of a virus or a pernicious software download.

Even replying to an unsolicited email can cause serious problems as software can steal your entire proprietary data and financial information, which can be really dangerous.

When the enemy is so clever, then a user might ask-what is the fix for this problem and how can a cyber criminal be kept at bay. The answer lies simply in accepting the fact that everyone including the smartest people using the net can easily become victims of this fraud.

While you are asked to unsubscribe from a spam, just remember that you have never signed up initially to receive these mails and these have been forced down your throat, albeit digitally.

Don’t publish your email on any discussion forum or website but if still you want to join any forum then get yourself an additional email account for this purpose.

Use a separate email account for signing up for journals, magazines, trade fairs and similar such services.

Don’t unsubscribe from an email message immediately and keep it in a separate folder for some weeks in order to review it.

Please remember never to reply to spam and also do not buy anything from spammer, if you do not want to lose your money, identity and peace of mind at the hands of the cyber criminals.

Source :http://www.merinews.com/catFull.jsp?articleID=125566




Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

More Coffee? It May Keep the Memory Sharp

Enjoy that morning super-sized latte? It may be good for your brain. Researchers report that older women who drank three or more cups of coffee a day, or an equivalent amount of caffeine-rich tea, had sharper memories than women who held off on the java. The findings appeared in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The researchers, studying more than 7,000 older men and women living in three cities in France, found that women age 65 and older who drank more than three cups of coffee scored better on tests that measure thinking and memory skills than women who drank a cup or less of coffee or tea a day.

The results held up even after researchers adjusted for other factors that could affect memory, such as age, education, disability, medications, depression, high blood pressure, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses. The men in the study, however, did not show the same benefits from drinking coffee as the women.

“Caffeine is a psycho-stimulant which appears to reduce cognitive decline in women,” said study author Dr. Karen Ritchie of INSERM, the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research, in Montpellier, France. “While we have some ideas as to how this works biologically, we need to have a better understanding of how caffeine affects the brain before we can start promoting caffeine intake as a way to reduce cognitive decline.”

“But the results are interesting,” Ritchie continues. “Caffeine use is already widespread, it has fewer side effects than other treatments for cognitive decline, and it requires a relatively small amount for a beneficial effect.”

At the start of the study, all the seniors were evaluated for thinking and memory function. None had Alzheimer’s disease or other signs of serious memory loss, such as mild cognitive impairment. They were then evaluated over the following four years.

Compared to women who drank one cup or less of coffee per day, those who drank over three cups were less likely to show as much decline in memory. Moreover, the benefits increased with age. Coffee drinkers were 30 percent less likely to score poorly on memory tests at age 65 than those who drank little or no coffee. That figure increased to 70 percent in those older than 80.

Women who drank two or three cups of coffee a day did not show any notable boosts in memory.

The heavy coffee drinkers scored particularly well in tests that measured verbal recall, such as the ability to remember particulars of a story. They did slightly better in tests that measure visual and spatial memory.

Caffeine drinkers, however, did not seem to have lower rates of Alzheimer’s disease. “We really need a longer study to look at whether caffeine prevents dementia; it might be that caffeine could slow the dementia process rather than preventing it,” said Dr. Ritchie.

The researchers aren’t sure why caffeine didn’t show the same result in men. “Women may be more sensitive to the effects of caffeine,” Dr. Ritchie said. “Their bodies may react differently to the stimulant, or they may metabolize caffeine differently.”

Brain-Booster?

Previous studies have suggested that caffeine may have benefits for the brain. Caffeine is known to boost vigilance, attention, mood, and arousal. It may also stimulate brain activity and protect the nerves, some research suggests. In mice, for example, caffeine has been shown to limit the accumulation of beta-amyloid, a toxic protein that builds up in the brains of Alzheimer’s sufferers.

Other studies suggest that caffeine may provide some protection against Alzheimer’s, though they were small and require much more rigorous follow-up. One found that Alzheimer’s was more likely in people who drank little coffee in the previous 20 years. Another recent 10-year study in Finnish men found that drinking three cups or more of coffee a day may protect against Alzheimer’s. And a third reported that drinking coffee, but not tea, helped protect against Alzheimer’s five years later.

These studies, however, did not adjust for factors like smoking, depression, medications, heart disease, and others that may impair memory. The current study did adjust for these factors, and was much larger.

Still, this study does not prove that coffee drinking prevents cognitive decline or helps to preserve cognition. Another possibility is that those women who drink at least three cups of coffee a day possess a trait that helps them resist cognitive decline. In that case, the tendency to drink a lot of coffee might be a consequence of having a protective trait, but the coffee itself might not provide protection.

This type of uncertainty in inherent in most studies that try to draw conclusions based on peoples’ habits. That’s why when testing new drugs, doctors randomly assign who gets the drug and who gets the placebo (dummy pill).

In addition, it might not be the caffeine in the coffee that is having an effect on cognition. Besides caffeine, a cup of coffee contains over 1,000 other chemical compounds. Many of these could have biological effects on the brain and memory.

More research is needed before doctors can recommend a java jolt to keep memory sharp in seniors. Caffeine can cause jitteriness, keep people up at night, and cause palpitations or stomach upset in some people. Caffeine-rich drinks, including sodas, may also raise blood pressure, some research suggests.

In addition, there’s no evidence that coffee wards off Alzheimer’s disease. The study is ongoing, however, and researchers will continue to follow the elderly subjects to see if it reduces the risk of dementia.


By William J. Netzer, Ph.D., Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Research Foundation at The Rockefeller University.


Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Freedom fighter, 83, pulls rickshaw for living

Somar Sundi feels the bullet and baton injuries he suffered in the Quit India movement of 1942 pale in the face of his miseries today. He is 83 years old and pulls a rickshaw on the streets of Jharkhand.

Deprived of a freedom fighter's pension and deserted by the children from his first marriage, Sundi, a resident of Hazaribagh district, took to pulling rickshaws after suffering huge losses in the vegetable business two years ago.

Sundi had sustained two bullet wounds on the shoulder in a police firing during the Quit India movement. 'I fought for freedom along with Jayaprakash Narayan,' he said.

'Those who are in power have forgotten the freedom fighters and the importance of independence.'

The emaciated Sundi does not get any pension, as he has no records to prove that he was a freedom fighter, though his neighbours vouch for it.Sometimes he has to cut down on food to pay the house rent.

Sundi said the children from his second marriage were too young to earn a living. 'There is no one who can help us. At present I have no option but to pull a rickshaw for survival,' he said.

He wishes things could change once again. 'We need to launch a second movement to end corruption and poverty to fulfil the desire of Mahatma Gandhi.'

Jaswa Devi, his second wife, is also bitter: 'The person who gave his youth to the country's independence is struggling to eke out a living. This reflects the plight of the country.'

Source : http://www.indiaenews.com/india/20070807/64289.htm


It is shame on the politicians and the government to hear this, when we all are getting ready for 60th Independence Day Celebration.

Surely the nation is still awaiting its Independence from poverty,hunger,illiteracy,unemployment,riots and dirty politics.



Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Mira-Bhayander 'Disaster' Municipal Corporation

ONCE MORE it has been proved that Mira-Bhayander Municipal Corporation is more of a "Disaster Corporation". Just as in the previous years, this year too on June 30, the whole of Mira-Bhayander was flooded, there were places where water was 5 feet deep. All ground floor flats and shops were flooded with dirty water. Goods worth crores have been damaged. Floodwaters were there from 11 am on June 30 to 3 am on July 1. In addition, there was no electricity for more than 24 hours at many places like Shantinagar. This has been happening every year. But this corporation which was earlier “the most corrupt corporation” and haven for illegal construction, has gained one more epithet of “Disaster Corporation”.

It is also to be noted that this year hardly any drains were cleaned nor roads repaired. The main reason for the floods is the rampant and unplanned development of housing complexes and other illegal constructions. The corporation is unable to control these housing complexes and is not capable of providing basic civic amenities to its ever-increasing population. There is no proper drainage, most of the drains are small and open, though there is some work going on some drains, it is a mere eyewash. There is an increase in the incidence of diseases due to water logging, resulting in the spread of viral fever, skin disease and gastroenteritis, while dengue might also creep in. But the corporation is not geared for these diseases.

But surprisingly during this year’s floods, MTNL telephones were working! It is the responsibility of all the political parties to come together and make the place liveable for the people. Sadly however, they will be seen only during the elections, which is to be held in August ’07. In these elections, all like-minded people should come together and explain to the residents the failure of the Municipal Corporation and pressurize the corporation to provide the basic civic amenities. Besides, awareness of civic responsibilities in each citizen will go a long way in helping the corporation to avoid flooding and its aftermath.

By Sailesh Mishra

Source : http://www.merinews.com


Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Parents and Senior Citizens Bill needs fine-tuning

The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Bill, 2007 of Government of India

I PERSONALLY feel it is the moral responsibility of children to ensure the welfare of their parents. It will be really a Herculean task for the government to ensure this. Some of the definitions that the Bill encompasses are vague. The first question obviously is defining a senior citizen. Presently, definitions vary across States. Therefore the government should define the senior citizen uniformly at the national level. The bill talks about maintenance only in financial terms but is silent on the abuse of elders. It is silent on psycho-social care too.


Amongst the major issues the people of our country face are unemployment and job insecurity. This being the case how can children provide maintenance of up to Rs.10,000/- to the parents? After all what they can set aside for parents is a function of what they earn. It is not clear who will decide the amount payable to parents by way of maintenance and how the said decision will be taken. Nor does the bill say how it will be ensured that the money is promptly disbursed every month to the parents.


As for childless seniors, one does not know which relative will take care of their maintenance. In such cases, strictly speaking, the government should provide maintenance since they will not need to depend upon relatives. An-other possibility is the children predeceasing their parents. In such cases too, it is not clear who will maintain the parents. Then there are parents with disabled children. Here too the Bill cannot afford to remain silent.


The bill envisions establishment of tribunals to ensure the smooth functioning of the scheme. Ground reality reveals that government is always short of judicial hands; this being the case would the government succeed in promptly establishing and managing the tribunals? Further, how many parents will appeal to the tribunal against their children? How long the parents will have to wait for the verdict of the tribunal, given that our country is notorious for delayed justice? Who will ensure that the scheme will not be misused or abused, because only parents have the right to appeal?


State governments have already set up old-age homes and we know only too well how they are maintained and run (or not run). In the circumstances, the following is suggested to smooth out the inconsistencies:

Government should issue guidelines concerning the standards, ser-vices, code of conduct, psycho-social care, geriatric care , monitoring and evaluation of old-age homes and the so-called retirement town-ships.

Private trusts and corporates should be encouraged to establish and run old-age homes under appropriate supervision.

Guidelines should cover grandparents also (wherever applicable); they should clearly state who will maintain the grand parents.

School and college students, workers and the community in general should be sensitized to the needs of the senior citizens in general and aged parents in particular. Towards this end, government should con-duct social campaigns jointly with schools, colleges, organisations and NGOs, nationwide.

Steps should be taken to bridge the generation gap so the younger generation will know what its duties and responsibilities are towards the older generation in the context of the problems that the latter is faced with during the twilight years.


We should also introduce social security a la USA. The beneficiary pays when he / she is young in order to lead a financially-independent life during the twilight years, without burdening the children. Although this can be enforced by law, the motivation should come from within. Government should hold nationwide debates and invite suggestions from senior citizen associations, youth associations, NGO’s and other like-minded people. It should be a social campaign. In fact the government can dedicate a year to the elders and call it the Year of the Senior Citizen.


I hope, before passing the bill, government will look into all these suggestions. As they say:Forget yourself for others and others will never forget you

By Sailesh Mishra
Source :http://www.merinews.com/catFull.jsp?articleID=125871

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Jashn-e-Azadi – A Documentary on Kashmir

It was my privilege to see this full length ( 2 hrs 20 minutes ) documentary on struggle for freedom in the Kashmir valley “Jashn-e-Azadi” - written and directed by Sanjay Kak.I thank my friend Shirin for inviting me for this show.

On 15th August 2007, as India celebrates the 60th anniversary of it's Independence, this provocative and quietly disturbing new film raises questions about freedom in Kashmir, and about the degrees of freedom in India.

It was horrifying and disturbing to see the images of Kashmir - once heaven on earth.

The documentary starts with a father visiting the graveyard to locate his sons grave,but finds difficult to do so because in one year time there are hundreds more grave added due to terrorism in valley.

Somewhere I felt the documentary showed more about the brutality of the Indian Security Forces but did not show much about the cruelty and terror of Militant from across the border.Surprisingly it also did not talk about the kashmiri pandit’s plight.

The valley has lost count of brutal death due to militant and security force.It shows helpless children's and women's,just struggling to live.

The security force have to take the burn as they are in catch five situation,they are fighting an unseen enemy and the anger of the people.The security force have in situation build the tense and terror and at many places they have started the social work and goodwill work as confidence building measure.

According to me the people of Kashmir are caught between the politics of across the borders.The unemployment and illiteracy has added the fuel to the terrorism.The religious leaders have taken advantage of this and misguided the youths of valley.

Kashmiris should be encouraged to participate in the mainstream of social,economical and political India. Let them have interaction with people of other Indian States and with the development pace of the country.

I hope there will be day when the Kashmiris’ will get Freedom from terrorism and once again we all will be proud to say “ Sare Jahan Se Acha Ye Kashmir Hamara”

To know more about the film click: http://kashmirfilm.wordpress.com/synopsis/



Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Intel goes 'deep inside' India to tap rural heartland

The farmer's daughter figured out a way by researching the subject at an Internet-equipped community centre in their village after school hours and helped him design a "rain-harvesting solution," he says.
That's a simple example of how technology can improve the lives of the 700 million mostly-illiterate people who live in India's vast hinterland, said McClure. The executive is at the helm of an Intel effort to take computers to the country's 650,000 villages.

"We are focused on getting as deep inside India as possible," the South Asia marketing director said in an interview in the northern Indian desert city of Jaipur.

"It's a frontier we do want to conquer while not missing anything in between," added the 38-year-old.

The world's largest microchipmaker, whose products power eight out of 10 computers sold globally, has tied up with state governments and Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS) in a programme to spread computer literacy in the countryside.

Intel, which also unveiled a portable personal computer designed for school children Saturday, will provide technology support, educational content and wireless connectivity to 100,000 rural community centres over the next year. It will also help lay a broadband network across rural India and develop local-language Internet content.

But the rural push is not driven by a sense of charity. Intel is betting that children in the villages who experience first-hand the benefits of technology will buy a computer when they grow up and take up a job or go into business.



To Read More : http://news.sawf.org/Lifestyle/40333.aspx



Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Chinese-style business enclaves rattle Indian democracy

"Do not sell your precious land. Even if you are offered millions of dollars, do not sell. It is your only source of livelihood," Mahavir Gulia, the leader of the group, tells a villager in Mundha Khera, 100 kilometres (60 miles) from New Delhi.
"Sell your land and you will lose your identity," he warns another as the group winds its way through the cluster of austere mud, brick and cement homes.

Gulia is trying to spell out the dangers to locals whose land has been earmarked for a Chinese-style business enclave -- a joint venture between the Haryana state government and Reliance Industries, India's largest private conglomerate.

"We want to be sure our fertile land that gives us three crops a year does not end up as part of the Reliance empire," he said. "We don't want Reliance to colonise us. Land is what sustains us farmers with food, respect and dignity."

To read more : http://news.sawf.org/Lifestyle/40423.aspx




Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Will Renuka's bill help abused kids?

I T IS time to take off our halo and face the grim reality of the cruelty that we as a society are piling on our children. The social girth of child abuse is ever expanding with violence engulfing children at home, in school and on the streets.
We must hasten in the direction illustrated by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (UK). Its purpose: Cruelty to children must stop. Political leaders must make children a priority in their first 100 days in office - a challenge that has been directed towards Gordon Brown, the new British Prime Minister.

The NGO movements to halt the exploitation of children are invariably hijacked by political agendas.

But for the first time, we have a special ministry for Women and Child Development headed by a bold and outspoken minister, Renuka Chowdhury, who seems to be moving in a positive direction despite encountering vicious roadblocks.

But what about the collective responsibility of society?

At all levels it is perpetuating cruelty to children in various forms. Abandoned and runaway children are filling India's 600 orphanages and remand homes. We are guilty of all four basic kinds of cruelty: physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect and sexual abuse.

Hand-in-hand with our enviable economic growth, we are also leading in the number of child labourers - 50 million in India - according to UNICEF. Children are shamelessly employed in hazardous industries.

As per the National Labour Institute, India has 203 million children between five and 14 years. Of this, 116 million are in school, 12.6 million in fulltime employment and the status of 74 million is unknown.

The government has failed to impose compulsory birth registration procedures in remote and rural areas. As a result underage children are recruited in the defence forces and paramilitary services. Recruitment of child soldiers, particularly in Manipur, Nagaland and Assam, is rampant.

Preferred domestic servants are in their early teens - between 12 years and 15 years. They are included among the 15 million bonded child labourers, with this bondage being passed on from one generation to the next.

It is ironic that India is a signatory to the UN Convention on Rights of the Child, and the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention 1999.

About five lakh children older than seven years are prostitutes. Their life expectancy is about 30 years, most being lost to disease, death and malnutrition. Child trafficking is a lucrative business and largely controlled by crime lords.

Indian children as young as two are trafficked to the UAE as camel jockeys, most of whom die. Coupled with regular demand, the dark world of sex tourism preys on children.

Child abuse is prevalent in all strata of society, even when the parents may be exceptionally wealthy and educated. Up to 64 per cent of sexual abuse cases are committed in affluent households and about 29 per cent in middle-class homes. Foetal infanticide and battered baby syndrome are common.

To some extent, the decline of the joint-family system, which provided the child with alternative security havens, is guilty for the increase in child abuse. The UN and international NGOs denote that adequate education and alleviation of poverty are the panacea for cruelty. This is true to a great extent but then one wonders why cruelty is rampant in affluent homes.

Violence perpetrated in schools by teachers or fellow students subject the child to dishonour and humiliation and are often serious enough to lead to permanent damage.

The training of teachers has many lacunae. These need to be corrected. Teachers must realise mentoring is an insepera ble part of academic instruction.

"A child is more than a test score," said American Senator Hilary Clinton. School curriculums must be reworked so that tests don't become the syllabus.

WHO reports that four million children die because of eco-hazards that are further compounded by anemia and malnutrition. These deaths are entirely preventable.

We proudly proclaim that children are our citizens of tomorrow. Where is our national pride when we so casually and nonchalantly abuse and mistreat them?

There needs to be exhaustive lobbying for children's rights. Secure and humane conditions must be created for the child in every environment that she is exposed to. One must deal with a child's problem instead of attacking the child, bearing in mind that a child cannot reason like an adult.

The importance of timely intervention cannot be over-emphasised. This could be the gossamer string between life and death for a child. Regular visits by social workers and psychologists to suspect homes and all schools is necessary .

The Social Welfare Board makes it mandatory to employ full-time social workers in orphanages who counsel and maintain a record of each inmate. This system must be extended to include every school in the country .

The government must step in and realise that it is of optimum importance to provide a safe and secure haven where children can go and complain about any incidence of abuse.

Counselling centres must be set up in cities and villages not just for children but also for parents and teachers. These centres must be professionally managed. Special attention must be given to issues pertaining to physically and mentally challenged children and specific laws enacted for their protection and care.

The media has highlighted the plight of migrant children in Jammu but the government is sweeping this crime under the carpet. We must shake the government out of its lethargy by agitating through forums against this injustice.

Laws for appropriate punish ment to child abusers are sorely lacking, with the result that the criminal is let off with or without even a light sentence and roams freely .

The draft of a new Protection of Child Rights Bill has just been approved by the Women and Child Development Ministry and is being presented during the ensuing Monsoon Session of Parliament for cabinet approval. The exact contents of this draft bill are not known.

When such bills are formulated it is essential to include representatives from the ministries of Women and Child development, Health, Law, Home Affairs, Education, pediatricians, psychiatrists, forensic pathologists, sociologists and social workers. The bill must be comprehensive.

In high-rise apartments in cities, residents lead a fairly private lifestyle where even immediate neighbours keep to themselves. This non-intrusive lifestyle is also noticeable in other housing areas.

When you notice that child abuse is prevalent in your neighbourhood, change your attitude, take charge and dial 10-9-8 for CHILDLINE, which is a 24-hour free emergency phone. Also try www.childlineindia.org.in; their phone numbers are 022-23881098, 23871098, 23841098. You can save a life.

A brainstorming debate needs to be initiated on the subject of child abuse. It is not enough to hold opinion sessions in drawingroom settings. Provoke it at all levels - government, educational institutions, homes, on permitted street corners, beaches, wherever. The cause of children is the cause of human survival.

Megha Patil works with underprivileged children





Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Donating motherhood for money

Twenty-six-year-old Sushma is a mother of two but she has donated motherhood to six others - as an egg donor. And it has become a means of livelihood for her.

'My husband is a driver and it's very difficult for us to live comfortably with his income. To tackle this financial problem, I decided to become a surrogate mother,' said Sushma, who has been doing this since 2005.

'A couple from Kuwait was my first client but due to complications I could not conceive a baby for them. Since then, I have donated eggs to six people and it has helped them become parents,' she told IANS.

Sushma, who has studied till Class 12, said she charges Rs.20,000 for donating eggs, which helps infertile women have a baby.

When asked why she was doing so, she replied: 'Financial difficulties are definitely the major cause. Besides, if a couple can benefit by it, why should I hesitate?'

'No one in my family except my husband knows about it. Neither my in-laws, nor my kids have any idea. I don't have the courage to reveal it to them as it may create problems for my husband and me,' she said, standing beside her spouse.

'People in our country are yet to accept the concept of egg donation and it's better to conceal it as long as possible to avoid stigma.'

She said after donating her eggs, she feels psychologically hollow. 'It feels as if I am giving away a part of my body to someone else. I do feel frustrated, but my husband has been helping me overcome it.'

Sushma's husband Devender said they never try to know who is taking their egg. 'We contacted the IVF Fertility Research Centre and all our work passes through Anoop Gupta, an infertility specialist.'

The centre has two other women donors.

Alok Banerjee, an endocrinologist, said that a large number of people were going in for artificial insemination to have a baby, as infertility was a growing problem.

'Stress, environment, the age of women and even inefficient sperms are responsible for the growing incidence of infertility in our population,' said Banerjee, who is working at the IVF Fertility Research Centre.

He explained that infertile couples could have a baby through fertilisation of both of their sperm and egg in a test tube in a laboratory.

'A fertile female can donate eggs and it can be fertilised by bringing it in contact with the male sperm of the infertile couple. After the foetus is formed in laboratory condition, it is placed inside the infertile woman's womb.

'Surrogacy is another way of having a baby. In surrogacy, another woman holds the baby in her womb,' he explained.

(Prashant Nanda can be contacted at prashant.n@ians.in)

Source : http://www.indiaenews.com/health/20070802/63657.htm


Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.