Remember ME - You Me and Dementia

Saturday, November 29, 2008

My heart bleeds as Mumbai is attacked

Friends 26th Nov 2008 has made an unforgetful impact on me.

On this day at around 8.30pm at New Delhi I was excited and celebrating my very first award - The prestigious Karamveer Puraskaar national award for social action AND here in Mumbai ( my Janam and Karma bhoomi ) the unholy battle plan was laid down to attack the ever vibrant city.

At 9pm the award ceremony got over and I was returning to my cousin place in Greater Noida after small meal. As I reached home by 10pm and was planning to celebrate the award with my family, my phone started ringing and I thought it was the congratulation calls ,but I was shocked and surprised that Mumbai was Attacked by Terrorist.

I could not believe it and made the calls back home and tried to put on the television - which some how did not start at that time. So I took help of my reliable laptop net connection - but at that time got to know that there were some firing at few places in Mumbai and it was reported that there might be gang war. But I could not believe this as gang war cant happen simultaneously in so many places.

I felt restless, felt tied down, wanted to reach down Mumbai immediately. It was those unforgetful moments and never ending night. The dark and cold night at Delhi was killing the good thought in me. All kind of terrible dreams came to me.

Early next morning I got up at 6am and tried to put on the television and luckily it started. And then saw my Mumbai burning, so many people killed, so many hostages, so many bullets and so many grenades.

Mumbai was once again in eye of storm, why it is attacked again and again, Mumbai once again was on Evils eye. It seems like we were in Beirut in those time or at Bagdad.

It was difficult to believe what was happening, but now I was not too surprised. Because this was suppose to happen, But did not imagine at this scale. It was WAR ON MUMBAI.

India is burning, for last 5 years there has been series of Terrorist attack all over the country.Ahyodhya,Bangalogre,Ahmedabad,Ajamer,Jaipur,Malegaoan,Assam,Delhi,Mumbai,Kashmir - they are every where. They even dare to attack our Parliament. They come, they stay, they attack, and they vanish or get caught or killed. Terrorist come from no where and make fun of our system, our laws and our self esteem. They challenge our security, they challenge our sovereignty. They have taken route of land and now sea AND in future it will be Air.......

But our government, our politicians sit calm shamelessly, make noice at trouble time and then are back at there political dharma. Politicians play the blame game, they are just to appease particular community or section of society, and they are just bothered about their Vote Bank. They dont have will to fight the terror, the Terrorist.

Politician forget that Terrorist don’t belong to any Nation or Religion, but are supported by some nation or some fundamentalist for their own selfless purpose. They only take advantage of illiteracy, unemployment and religion to attack any one around the globe.

Innocent citizens, our security forces are the one who suffer, they are the one who take the burn.

What has happen to this country ? What has happen to our unity, what has happen to our great tradition and history?

USA has not seen any attack in their country or embassy since 9/11, there has been no attack on Australia, very few in UK. We have to learn lesson form USA ,we need to learn lesson from UK with regards to Irish Terrorism.

Its high time that citizens of this country should wake up or this politician will destroy our motherland on the hands of this Terrorism.

We cant sit down calmly, we cant pat our back and show that we are back on action - we are happy to see our BSE working next day, our local trains are crowded next day, our city back to normal next day. I think this is enough, this is just our EGO. We should stop acting funny, whom are we showing and what. It’s so easy for terrorist to attack any place any time. This so called spirit of Mumbai / city – its just to pacify ourselves.

We need to act, we need to come on street, we need to write to government, we need to pressurize the government to take tough action. We should STOP doing any thing(HARTAL/Gandhigiri) unless government takes us seriously and do something about the innocent lives of its citizens and security forces. Government is answerable to its citizens; they should tell us the action plan to fight Terrorism.

Following are some of the recommendation:
• Immediately have Federal Agency to control Terrorism

• An ex defense or serving defense expert in counter terrorism to head this Federal agency, they should be given Authority and responsibility. This should not be political appointment but only on merits under watchful eyes of Supreme Court

• This federal agency should work in coordination with three wings of Army and Para Military forces

• This federal agency should work in coordination with global anti terrorism agency

• India should take proactive step to establish Global Anti Terrorism Agency and work with them

• The NSA (National Security Advisor) should be of the a defense person only

• Any act of Terrorism should be under federal government and not on the state government

• To make our National, State, District, City, Panchayat level Intelligence powerful – take help of local police, post office , ration office , Cable TV wala , Barber , laundry wala etc

• Make a strict Law to tackle terrorism - even if we have to sacrifice some of our basic freedom

• Max punishment should be Death for any act of terrorism and it cant be appealed

• Immediately Hang all the terrorist who have been convicted

• Make a special court with time bound to tackle terrorism cases - max 6 months time to dispose the case
• To have NSG at all state Capitol

• At time of any terrorist attack NSG should only play the active role supported by local police and para defense forces

• At any terrorist attack ,a Curfew should be implement till the final sanitizing of the place or clearance by NSG

• To have 6 monthly drill in each metro city of the state

• To have one single national ID card programme

• All Bangladeshi should be removed from this country - Supreme Court has already issued this order long ago

• To have Electrical fencing all through out the border

• To have multi tier and well coordinated Air and Sea surveillance system

• To train all people near border and sea coast with basic defense and security system

• To train one squad of Police / Defense in each district with Anti Terrorist warfare

• To immediately have latest weapon/ ammunition for fight with Terrorist – like infra red guns, night vision guns, helicopters, speed boats etc

• To have strict vigil at all time at all the entry points of all the major metropolitan city

• To immediately install CCTV at all major traffic signals, entry points, railway station , hotels, major installations. Also to maintain the same and have routine check ups.

• To have Disaster management at place in each district , which meets every month

• Media should be regulated at such event, what kind of reporting should be done

• Jammer for Satellite phones should be tried

• To take action on all those corrupt government officials, politicians and citizens who collaborate with terrorist – the enemy of country ,the enemy of humanity

• No public or politician should be allowed at this site at time of action

• To take help of specialized forces around the globe

• To give basic training in self defense to all college students

• To emphasis on Education, employment and self employment of weaker section of society

A proactive approach and a will, could help to tackle Terrorism.

Lets not sit down, lets not blame any one, let’s take action, lets make effort towards better and peaceful world

India needs a strong leader, a political will, needs a responsible and nationalist citizens.

Together we all can DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Salute to all those security persons who fought with the terrorist and Lets pray for the peace of those who died in this battle.

So wake up Indians ,Unite - this might be last opportunity to save our Country, to save ourselves.

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

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sailesh Mishra to be felicitated with the prestigious ‘Karmaveer Puraskar’

Mumbai, Nov 2008: The Mumbai base dedicated social activist and Founder President of Silver Inning Foundation Sailesh Mishra is all set to receive an award for his commendable work in the field of social service after having been nominated for the awards which has been accepted and shortlisted.

Sailesh will be felicitated the coveted ‘Karmaveer Puraskar’ award on the 26th of November in New Delhi at the exclusive awards function which is a part of “iCONGO’s RIGHT every WRONG conclave” a national forum for social justice and citizen action where various social justice issues are discussed by very eminent and concerned citizens. This year the theme is electoral reforms and is led by former Statesman Mr. Vasant Sathe, Former Election Commissioners Mr. Krishnamurthy and Mr. James Lyngdoh and other serving bureaucrats and civil society champions.

The ‘Karmaveer Puraskar’ is a national award for Social Justice & Citizen Action. The award is instituted by iCONGO – Indian Confederation of NGOs – the people sector association- in partnership with government, business, media, civil society and other sectors and leading global and national organisations which over the years include institutions like TISS, BCCI, NASSCOM FOUNDATION, PHDCCI, CMS, RAI, UNMC, UNODC, The art of living, UNDP, World Bank, UNFPA, GTZ, WOTR, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, NDTV, Business World, Outlook and various others.

KARMAVEER PURASKAAR was created in 2006 by the people sector through iCONGO to recognize only individual citizens from all sectors (media, corporate, government, civil society, performing arts, professionals who have been pivotal for “being and leading the change” beyond their personal daily lives and business as usual by being committed on individual levels to work for social justice issues with proactive citizen action. The awards are given to individuals from various sectors for their contribution to promote social justice through citizen action. The basic philosophy of the awards is based on Gandhiji’s “Be the change you want to see in the world” and given to citizens who go beyond being apathetic and believe in doing their bit for social justice and know that it is “better to light a candle than to curse the darkness”. Past awardees include living legends and some eminent citizens like Verghese Kurien, Anu Aga, James Michael Lyngdoh, Vikram Akula, M. S. Swaminathan, Alyque Padamsee. More details are on .

Apart from being an Founder President of Silver Inning Foundation – an organisation for Senior Citizens , Sailesh has always been known for his proactive approach and most resourceful person in social sector. Sailesh Mishra has left his 15 years of corporate job and joined social sector four years ago. His passion for Elderly sector made him start an comprehensive website for Elderly and now has founded NGO for Seniors with nine young proactive board members from different segment. He also has to his credit two Blogs: ; and is life member of Gerontology society of India and has been active member of ARDSI (Alzheimer’s Related Disorder society of India). He uses effectively internet as one of the medium to reach out to people and spread his message of Elder Care. His down to earth personality has won many friends and well wishers.

“Elderly is most ignored and neglected segment and with proactive approach I can make difference. I also want to inspire many such young and professionals to work for Senior Citizens. There is need to come out of the offices and fight for Elder right on street and in corridors of government. Elderly needs care, love and Dignity. I have dedicated my life for Elderly and would like to be called Elder Right Activist” affirms Sailesh.

We congratulate Sailesh for possessing the conviction and compassion to stand up, speak out and lead the change with his positive attitude! The management of iCONGO, which has selected his nomination after thorough due diligence based on the process created by the international HR audit firm MERCER and Grant Thornton said that they were glad to have found a true champion of social justice issues in Sailesh Mishra and wish that more and more young professionals gave their time, involvement and humane feelings towards addressing social justice issues and being the change and role models for other citizens to follow. They added that Sailesh who has always excelled in whatever he does be it as social worker, a son, husband and father has also proved and excelled as a Citizen Action champion that if one decides to walk the talk and do their bit for social justice, besides living our own personal lives and day to day business, India will truly become the best nation and democracy in the world with humane, just and responsible citizens.

Team Silver Inning Foundation

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

Sunday, November 23, 2008

'If more Indian women worked, $35 bn could be added to country's GDP'

If more Indian women worked, $35 billion dollars could be added to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over the next five years, an economic analyst has claimed.

The presence of more women in the workforce 'could add $35 billion to (India's) GDP over the next five years and make Indians five percent richer than otherwise projected by 2015 and 12 percent richer by 2025,' said Roopa Purushothaman, who was earlier a vice president with Goldman Sachs and is now head of research at Future Capital Holdings, an investment firm.

Seventy percent of women in countries like China and Vietnam worked compared to only 30 percent in India, she said, delivering a lecture Friday night on 'Urbanisation and Gender Shifts', hosted by the Madras School of Economics along with Sage publishers.

Purushothaman, who was one of the lead researchers at Goldman Sachs who had predicted the emergence of BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) countries as economic powerhouses, said that India suffered from 'distorted talent allocation'.

If all Indian states resembled Karnataka in terms of female to male ratios in managerial positions, the country's economy over the period 1961-91 would have been higher by more than a third, she said.

'This would propel India ahead of Russia, Brazil and South Korea to be the 10th largest economy on a US dollar basis, translating into an income per capita of over $1,000 compared to $769 currently.'

Pointing out that the growth in women's employment has been higher than for men in India for the period 2000-2005, she said 34.4 percent of rural women worked compared to only a fifth of urban women.

'The vast difference occurs in the category of the self-employed, where 32 percent of rural women work, compared to just 11 percent of urban women,' she said, claiming 'bridging this gap will dramatically increase India's GDP'.

Based on national surveys, Purushothaman predicted that less than 10 percent of India's people will be absolutely 'poor' and 50 percent of households will belong to the middle income group by 2016.

Terming it a 'myth that rural India is not growing', she said inequality (both economic and social) is worse in urban India than in rural India, based on data from the National Sample Survey Organisation.

Contrary to popular belief that huge migrations to cities was taking place, she said 60 percent of population growth in India's cities 'was natural (due to processes of births, better healthcare)' and demographic surveillance showed 'only 18 percent increase was due to migration'.

Basing her thesis on an eight-month long NCAER (National Council of Applied Economic Research) study of India's top 20 cities, Purushothaman urged policy makers to plan keeping in mind the story that numbers have to tell.

'Urbanisation in India peaked in the 1970s and has tapered off really. India may be developing in a different way, outside the cities, in fringe areas,' she said.

The top 20 cities in India have been classified as megacities like Delhi and Mumbai, tier two 'boom' cities like Surat, Nagpur, Lucknow, Coimbatore and niche cities like Chandigarh, Faridabad, Jalandhar, based on a variety of growth indicators like spending habits and usages.


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

I have a dream of a fully educated and knowledge empowered India

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday said it had become possible for him to realise his personal dreams because of the opportunities the nation had given him and said his 'greatest ambition' was to see a fully-educated and knowledge-empowered India.

'My dreams for myself have been realised in my lifetime because my country made me,' Manmohan Singh said as he launched the two-day he Hindustan Times Leadership Summit at the Taj Palace Hotel here, recalling his journey from a 'village without hope' (Manmohan was born in the village of Gah, now in Punjab in Pakistan) to Oxford and to the office of India's prime minister.

'I stand before you today because the light of knowledge has empowered me. I cannot think of any other reason. Like millions of Indians, I come from a family of modest means. I lived in a dusty village with no doctor, no school, no electricity,' he said.

'It was the burning desire to learn, to be educated, that has brought me here to these glittering halls from that village without hope. It was scholarship and fair selection that educated me. It was a free society and a land of opportunity that employed me,' he said, adding he wanted the same dream getting realised for every Indian.

'My greatest ambition for the coming century is to see a fully educated India,'
he said, while also exuding confidence that 'India will not only be the land of a free people, but of a knowledge-empowered people.

'I have this dream for my people because that was my dream as a young boy in a distant village,' the prime minister said to a packed hall that consisted of govermment and industry leaders, diplomats, public officials, intellectuals and mediapersons and the cream of the city.


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

Saturday, November 22, 2008

NRIs too have the right to information

In 2008 the Supreme Court granted all overseas Indians the right to seek information from any public authority, organisation or institution under the Right to Information (RTI) Act 2005, saying the right is available to all persons of Indian origin (PIOs) who have obtained the status of Pravasi Bharatiya.

The ruling was made by a bench comprising Justices S B Sinha and Cyriac Joseph on an appeal petition by a non-resident Indian (NRI) scientist based in the United States, Dr Kunal Saha, after he was denied information by the West Bengal Medical Council about details of the medical treatment given to his late wife, Dr Anuradha Saha, at a Kolkata hospital.

Dr Anuradha Saha died in 1998, allegedly due to an incorrect dose/treatment administered to her at the hospital. Dr Saha, a noted AIDS vaccine researcher at Ohio State University, has been fighting to prove a case of medical negligence since 1998.

Dr Saha approached the apex court against a Calcutta High Court order rejecting his plea seeking documents under the Right to Information (RTI) Act that the Medical Council was said to have obtained in the course of their investigation into his complaint against senior Kolkata doctors. The high court also held that Dr Saha was an NRI and thereby not entitled to information under the newly enacted law.

The Supreme Court however upheld Dr Saha’s appeal petition that he was entitled to information under the RTI Act. Early last year, the Supreme Court admitted a claim for Rs 1.43 billion compensation by the US-based AIDS researcher against the Kolkata doctors -- the highest in the country till date. The case is under consideration by the country’s top judiciary.

The apex court’s order vis-à-vis the RTI Act has brought cheer to India’s NRI community for a number of reasons.

In June 2007, the Indian embassy in Washington DC brought all its operations under the purview of the RTI Act as a result of the persistent efforts of volunteers from the Association for India’s Development (AID), a non-profit group based in the United States. This meant that the RTI Act extended to all Indian citizens living in the US. The Supreme Court of India has now ensured that the RTI Act covers all persons of Indian origin, anywhere in the world.

“Our repeated attempts since November 2006 to get Indian embassy officials in Washington DC to implement the RTI Act went unheard, and then we were left with no choice but to get in touch with the central information commissioner directly,” explains Arun Gopalan, a Maryland resident and an AID member.

The Central Information Commission in New Delhi issued an order around April 2007 bringing all missions abroad under the purview of the RTI Act. It took one-and-a-half months of further campaigning by AID volunteers to get the Indian embassy in Washington DC to accept its first RTI petition.

Now, any Indian citizen with a valid Indian passport can file an RTI application with the public information officer at the Indian embassy after paying a fee of 24 cents, equivalent to Rs 10. The embassy then transfers the application to the relevant department in India if the information requested does not pertain to the embassy itself. The applicant must receive a response within 35 days or he/she can file an appeal with the appellate authority and later with the chief information commissioner in India.

Close to 50 applications have so far been filed in what has been an encouraging start to the RTI campaign in the US. India’s RTI Act is similar to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in the US that is extensively used by the American public: 3-5 million FOIA applications are filed every year.

“Filing an RTI application is easier than the leave-of-absence applications you wrote in your primary school,” says Somu Kumar, a volunteer with the Anti-Corruption Team (ACT) of AID, living in Virginia. Somu was one of the first NRIs to file an RTI application from the US, requesting information that may help hold Dow Chemicals accountable for the Bhopal tragedy and compel it to come clean on the contamination of groundwater that continues at the plant site even today.

AID’s anti-corruption team focuses on spreading awareness about the RTI Act in the USA, and supports non-governmental organisations working in India to fight corruption. AID has set up an anti-corruption fund and hopes to raise $50,000 to help implementation of the RTI Act and the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA).

However, Washington is experiencing some teething problems: the embassy announced on its website recently that NRIs could send their applications to it “only when the subject matter can reasonably be presumed to pertain to the embassy”. This, despite an express provision -- Section 6(3) of the RTI Act -- stating that if the subject matter of an application addressed to one public authority actually related to another, then the former has to transfer it to the latter within five days.

The mission in Washington admitted under the RTI Act about a month ago that in 31 of the 45 queries received till then, NRIs had been “advised to send their applications directly” to the public authorities based in India. The queries sought information on diverse public interest issues such as the Narmada project, Nandigram, Dow Chemicals and the Bhopal gas tragedy.

Disclaiming its statutory obligation to transfer such queries, the embassy said it would not entertain applications where “the information required obviously does not pertain to the embassy”. When asked to disclose the file notings, under the RTI Act, that had led to the statement on the website, the embassy said: “The information contained in the website was created by the public information officer with the approval of the Government of India.”

On an application filed by NRI Vishal Kudchadkar, the embassy also declined to provide a list of cases in which applicants had been told to send their applications directly to the public authorities in India. It said disclosure of the list would violate the applicants’ “privacy”.

NRIs believe the grounds cited by the embassy for withholding information on applicants flies in the face of the transparency maintained by the independent appellate body in New Delhi, the Central Information Commission (CIC), which lists all its decisions on its website along with the names and addresses of applicants.

Still, for many NRIs, the RTI Act has been a godsend. A survey conducted by AID among sections of US-based NRIs in 2007 revealed that 81% of them had paid bribes at various stages in India. The NRIs said they had bribed the authorities for international drivers’ permits and passports whilst leaving India. At the time of re-entering India, they had to pay bribes to Customs; during their stay in India they paid bribes to obtain land records.

A shocking feature of the survey was that 75% of NRIs had not heard of the RTI Act. “They (the NRI respondents) were pleasantly surprised when informed that the RTI Act has been successfully used by the common people in India to get pensions, ration cards, etc, without paying bribes,” AID said.

Tushar Dalvi, an NRI settled in Santa Cruz a few years ago, used the RTI Act to get an income tax refund that had been pending for five years. Dalvi had a non-resident ordinary account from which the bank had been deducting tax at source on the interest accumulated on his deposits. Although he had filed his returns and applied for a refund with the central international taxation department, from 2002 onwards, he had not received a reply from the income tax department.

Dalvi decided to file an RTI query with the income tax department’s central public information officer (CPIO) in December last year asking about the status of his refund. “The officer in charge forwarded my request to the CPIO for international taxation. I got both my refunds within a week. Later, I also got the interest and my assessment orders from them, which they had missed initially with the original refund cheques,” he said.

Meanwhile, AID and other organisations continue to run awareness camps and signature drives in support of the RTI Act in Washington DC, Durham, Boston, Philadelphia, the Bay Area, Columbus, San Diego and Chicago. They are also active in India.

The Indian government’s website,, says: ‘Like Indian nationals, NRIs and PIOs too have every right to know their roles, rights, duties, responsibilities and privileges. Section 4 of the RTI (Right to Information) Act, 2005 enables NRIs and PIOs to have access to information imperative for them. The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs defines RTI rights for NRIs and PIOs. As one of their basic rights, NRIs and PIOs can contact the PGE (Protector General of Emigrants) in case of any grievance or query. The PGE can also be contacted online at


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

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tamil Nadu building village for senior citizens

Senior citizens who are disowned by their children and forced to live in poorly equipped and ill-ventilated old age homes now have a reason to smile with the Tamil Nadu Government planning to set up an ‘eco-friendly’ village for them at the outs kirts of the city.

The proposed village, to come up on 10 acres at Thundalakazhani, is estimated to cost around Rs 4.7 crore, official sources said. About 160 senior citizens will be housed in duplex residential blocks in this village, four to each block.

The village will have all amenities such as banks, ATMs, salons, shops, recreation club, medicare unit and a yoga and meditation centre.

Those who are physically fit would be engaged on a voluntary basis in productive activities like vegetable farming, organic agriculture and cattle rearing. This will not only help keep them engaged, but will also generate income, the sources said.

The plan to set up this village comes after the Government notified the 'Maintenance and welfare of parents and senior citizens Act 2007', seeking to award imprisonment or penalty or both to those who neglect aged parents.

This is the first time that the State Government will set up and manage an old age home. Preference will be given to those who have been abandoned and those belonging to below poverty line. In the initial stage, they would be accommodated in the village free of cost. Later, the Government will consider providing paid accommodation for them, the officials said. – PTI


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

Partnerships in microfinance and poverty alleviation

Microfinance is increasingly viewed in Asia and around the world, as an effective and powerful tool for poverty reduction. A range of speakers were invited at the recent CSR Asia Summit to examine the link between expanded access to microfinance services and poverty alleviation. Panellists from the Foundation for Development Cooperation, an international not-for-profit development organisation that has established a pan-Asia microfinance network, Citi Asia Pacific, a global financial institution with extensive philanthropic and commercial involvement in microfinance and ASKI, one of Asia’s most successful microfinance institutions, reflected on why despite considerable growth and innovations in microfinance in recent years, million on poor people in the Asia region still do not have access to basic financial services.

Below are the key highlights of the discussion on how multi-sector partnerships, strategic alliances and other types of collaborations can help strengthen the microfinance industry and overcome some of the barriers to increased outreach and sustainability.

The World Bank estimates 7000 microfinance institutions serve approximately 16 million people in development countries (2005). Although Asia is the most developed continent in the world in terms of volume of microfinance institution activities and active borrowers, microfinance institutions only reach out to 60 million of the nearly 160 million poorest families in Asia. The Foundation for Development Cooperation (FDC), which conducts policy-oriented research, recently looked at the link between microfinance and poverty alleviation. Although the available research is relatively limited, in terms of quality of the data and defining the concept of poverty, many studies have shown that microfinance is less successful in reaching the very poor, destitute, or vulnerable. Studies have shown that when microfinance does reach the very poor or poorest it is not always beneficial. A common finding is that microfinance benefits the moderate poor more than the poorest of the poor. However, there are more positive findings on the strong link between microfinance helping to reduce vulnerability. Risks that create or increase vulnerability include: illness, injury, old age, violence, harvest failure, unemployment, rising food prices, life cycle needs (births, funerals, and marriages), and emergencies (droughts or floods). Finally, much of the available research recognized partnerships as critical to the success of microfinance.

Read in Detail here:

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

NGO Jobs in India



State Coordinator - DRRS
Location: Assam
Last Date: November 30, 2008

Programme Officer
FPA India
Location: Mumbai
Last Date: December 5, 2008

Training & Advocacy Coordinator
FPA India
Location: Mumbai
Last Date: December 5, 2008

Nutrition Officer
Save the Children, Bal Raksha, Bharat
Location: New Delhi, with frequent travel
Last Date: November 30, 2008

Team Leader / Programme Associate – Sukhi Baliraja Initiative
Sir Ratan Tata Trust
Location: Nagpur or Amravati
Last Date: November 30, 2008

Assistant Area Coordinator
Location: Madubhani, Bihar
Last Date: December 15, 2008

Programme Officer-HIV/AIDS
Aurobindo Chaudhuri Memorial Great Indian Dream Foundation
Location: New Delhi
Last Date: November 30, 2008

Programme Officer
Population Council
Location: New Delhi
Last Date: December 7, 2008

Programmer for CMIS
Family Health International
Location: New Delhi
Last Date: November 28, 2008

Consultant – Logistics
An international agency
Location: Patna
Last Date: November 25, 2008

Medical Officer
LEPRA Society
Location: Mobile Counseling and Testing Center, East Godavari Dist,
Last Date: November 23, 2008

State Project Officer
LEPRA Society
Location: Secundrabad
Last Date: November 23, 2008

District Coordinator
LEPRA Society
Location: Vijayawada and Ongole, A.P.
Last Date: November 23, 2008

National Epidemiologist
National Technical Support Unit for NACO
Location: New Delhi
Last Date: November 24, 2008

National Strategic Information Management Systems Specialist
National Technical Support Unit for NACO
Location: New Delhi
Last Date: November 24, 2008

Multiple Vacancies
Location: Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
Last Date: November 19, 2008

Training Coordinator
Location: Uttar Pradesh
Last Date: November 24, 2008

Laboratory Programme Officer, NACO
Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative
Location: New Delhi
Last Date: December 15, 2008

Technical Assistance for Implementing the Coalition for a Sustainable
Nutrition Secure India
The Vistaar Project
Location: New Delhi
Last Date: November 30, 2008

Sub-Regional Co-ordinators
Location: Eastern Uttar Pradesh
Last Date: November 24, 2008

Associate Coordinator - Communications
Location: New Delhi
Last Date: November 20, 2008

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

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pepsi & MTV Youth Icons 2008: Vote for Devika Mahadevan

Our good friend Devika Mahadevan,CEO of Mumbai Mobile Crèche's has been nominated for MTV Youth Icon 2008.

"They build our city but our city has no space for them," says Devika Mahadevan, the 31 year old CEO of Mumbai Mobile Creches. Mobile Creches is an organisation that cares for and educates the children of construction site workers.

Devika's parents were both journalists from middle class professional backgrounds. Hence she always had an inclination towards literature. She won a scholarship to go the States and major in Sociology and Economics.

Working with slum children here was an eye opening experience for young Devika. She then did her Masters in Social Development from London School of Economics. Longing for her own country brought her back to Bombay and she joined an organization called SPARC which promotes housing and infrastructure rights for the urban poor. After working for 3 years with them she decided she wanted a more significant role in a relatively lesser developed organization. Co-incidentally both her grandmothers worked for Mobile Crèches that was 36 years old. She realized that it lacked proper growth, vision and structure. Hence she joined as the CEO of Mobile crèches with an aim to create a vision, spearhead growth and re-energies the organization.

Devika represents her organisation and manages the funding as well. Extremely passionate about her work, it is a joy to watch her interaction with little children. She has come up with a new mission for Mobile Creches called 'Dus by Dus'. They aim to reach 10,000 children by 2010. Devika doesn't intend stopping until she has covered every child in the country!

Vote for Devika here:

Or 'SMS Icon DM to 56882 to vote'

Silver Inning Foundation supports her nomination as MTV youth Icon 2008.

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

No home comforts for India's construction site kids

It's not unusual in cities across India to see giggling children chasing each other around piles of sand or playing with shovels as their mothers keep an eye on them from nearby.

But these scenes of childhood glee rarely take place in playgrounds.

Hundreds of thousands of children in India grow up on construction sites, living with parents for whom childcare and workplace safety are all but unknown.

"We just put them down beside us," said a woman in pink working to build a bus corridor in the Indian capital.

"But one feels afraid. There are always cars passing by."

As Delhi installs new public transport systems, and shiny apartment blocks replace old one-storey homes, builders are hard at work -- with their small children playing around them.

The risk of injury is high and school attendance is low as the migrant workers, who often sleep on the building sites, have no idea where local schools are or just do not have the time to take their children there.

"We've heard of children falling and drowning on site," said Mridula Bajaj, who heads the Delhi branch of Mobile Creches, an organisation trying to improve conditions for labourers and their children.

The group estimates that some 400,000 children accompany their parents on work sites in the capital alone, and probably millions nationwide.

With hundreds of thousands of workers flocking to the city each year in search of work, and willing to live in abject conditions, it is a struggle to get employers to provide even basic services.

"We think we've made a beginning but, as soon as we turn our backs, we are back where we started," said Bajaj.

Mobile Creches estimates that it currently has daycare in place for no more than 2,000 children -- largely because of resistance from developers and lax government enforcement.

At the few work sites that do provide care, women workers say they are able to work better without worrying about their children.

At one site in Gurgaon, an affluent southern suburb that is home to multinational corporations and call centres, babies sleep in makeshift cribs as older children sing songs and read while their parents build luxury apartments.

"If the school was not here, I wouldn't be able to work. We would only have one person earning in the family," said brick carrier Vimla Pal, who has two children under the age of three.

"I would have to wait until my child was four or five to work."

The daycare centre teaches children to count and read, and helps prepare them for a proper school -- although many of them will never attend one.

Kranti, one of the children at the centre, used to study at school in her village in central Madhya Pradesh state before her parents migrated to Delhi.

"I have gone to school for three years in all," said Kranti, 10, who also attended school in Delhi until she dropped out because the site where her parents now work is too far away.

"There is no transport," she said.

The lack of services for children is just a small part of the problem, with most construction workers living in slum conditions in spite of a law passed more than a decade ago to remedy the problem.

On larger sites, employers are required by law to organise housing and toilets, while sites with more than 50 women are supposed to provide daycare.

But it doesn't often work out like that.

"It's so easy in India to break the rules," said Bajaj.

Scores of construction sites employ too few people for the rules to apply to them, but even large employers flout the regulations and the government itself is accused of being one of the worst offenders.

Several of the workers toiling on the bus corridor, a Delhi government project, said they had lived for months under a bridge opposite a five-star hotel in huts made of sticks covered by sheets of tarpaulin.

Their toilets were the nearest park.

"It costs 4,000 to 5,000 rupees to rent a room in Delhi," explained one worker on the project, asking not to be named. "So the company put us here."

Know more about Mobile Creches:NGO working for Construction workers children's:


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

ISRO plans ‘Mission Sun’ : India

SUCCESSFUL LAUNCH of Chandrayaan – I, India’s first mission has enhanced the enthusiasm of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientists. Chandrayaan – I is about to land on the moon and close to reveal the mystery of moon. Within a month after the launch of the dream moon mission, ISRO scientists are planning for ‘Mission Sun’. ISRO scientists are reportedly designing a spacecraft, named ‘Aditya’, which is supposed to study the outermost region of the sun called corona.

Talking to press, ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair said that Aditya is a mini satellite and the design is getting completed. “During solar maxim, which is happening, we would like to see the type of emissions which are taking place in the sun and how it interacts with the ionosphere and atmosphere and so on,” said Nair.

Dr Jayati Datta, deputy programme director, space science office, ISRO, said Aditya is the first space based solar coronagraph intended to study corona. Datta said, ’Aditya’ would be the first attempt by the Indian scientific community to unravel the mysteries associated with coronal heating, coronal mass ejections and the associated space weather processes and study of these would provide important information on the solar activity conditions.

Further she added, “A basic understanding of the physical processes and continuous monitoring would help in taking necessary steps towards protecting ISRO’s satellites either by switching them off or putting them on a stand-by mode as warranted by the background conditions.”

The temperature of the solar corona goes beyond million degrees. From the earth, corona can be seen only during total solar eclipses mainly due to the bright solar disc and the scattering of the sunlight by the earth’s atmosphere. One has to go beyond the atmosphere to be able to mask the bright solar disc and study the corona.

According to space scientists the temperature of the solar corona goes beyond a million degrees. Corona can be seen from the earth only during total solar eclipses, due to the bright solar disc and the scattering of the sunlight by the earth’s atmosphere. The sun, which is highly turbulent and dynamic, sends out large chunks of charged particles and emits highly energetic electromagnetic radiation in all directions.

To study the corona one needs to go beyond the atmosphere to be able to mask the bright solar disc.

Work towards ‘Mission Sun’, Aditya, has already started with the involvement of ISRO scientists and premier national research institutes in the country. Aditya would be equipped with space borne coronagraph and it would study the coronal mass ejection and consequently the crucial physical parameters for space weather, such as the coronal magnetic field structures, evolution of the coronal magnetic field etc. Besides, the satellite will provide completely new information on the velocity fields and their variability in the inner corona, having an important bearing on the unsolved problem of heating of the corona.

ISRO is planning to launch Aditya mission during the next high solar activity period. The space organisation, however, has not yet confirmed exact date/time of the launch of the mission.

The new mission of ISRO scientists is really a commendable and brilliant step. Through their ambitious projects, the Indian space scientists are working hard to take the country to a new high.

By Md Mudassir Alam


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

Garbage: Seeking co-operation from citizens

GARBAGE AND air are similar. Air rushes to any space that is a partial vacuum. Garbage gets attracted and thrown into any vacant public road space. People, generally, do not have an inborn civic sense. Residents throw garbage everywhere indiscriminately. Even parks are not spared from littering. They can not be taught cleanliness or the need to keep the environment garbage-free. But how to tackle this menace?

Secunderabad (compared to its twin city, Hyderabad) once used to be clean and green. No more. Sprawling multi-storied buildings, inadequate infrastructure, (be it roads, drains, water supply or parks), corrupt officials who can not extract work from garbage contractors, ever increasing population of men and vehicles, commercialisation of private residences etc have all added to the cantonment area becoming highly polluted with heaps of garbage everywhere, overflowing drains, unlifted carcasses, noise and air pollution. The quality of life has taken a severe beating in more ways than one.

Though one may be tempted to brush aside these problems as a global phenomenon in any growing city, much of it is directly due to inefficient municipal administration and citizens’ non-co-operation.

What can be done to improve citizen participation to mitigate these problems? If we just stick to one issue -- garbage clearance -- a few ideas crop up. Municipal authorities must be constantly nagged to do their bit. A few dedicated members of Resident Welfare Associations in that area must take up the responsibility of follow up via phone, SMS and in person. Awareness of civic sense must be instilled or created. Meetings, notices, face-to-face/one-to-one pep talks might help. As a part of Resident Welfare Association’s activities circulars are issued giving Dos and Don'ts.

During periods of dacoities in an area, residents come together to form groups for night patrol and vigil. Similarly, small teams of two or three dedicated individuals must keep a vigil over public places and catch persons throwing garbage in un-assigned areas. If the municipal or the police authorities empower such volunteers to collect fines and issue receipts, things might be a bit easier. The fine may go to the Resident Welfare Association.

I once inspected the contents of a plastic bag of household garbage thrown at a place where there was a specific sign board ‘NOT TO THROW GARBAGE’. I found a courier bill in the bag. I could locate the culprit's address and took the bag straight to that house and threw it back into the compound of that house. Well, we may not be able to do it everyday. Sometimes we train young boys to ask adults about polluting the open space -- this creates a sense of shame sometimes. We also spread the names of persons who regularly misbehave during gossip sessions.

If you have any worthwhile ideas to make people sensible and co-operative please share with us.

By Vyasamoorthy


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

Imphal on Solar city project map

The State capital Imphal has been included among 60 select cities of the country where the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is to take up 'Solar City Project' with the main objective of reducing wastage of power through theft, transmission and use of outmoded bulbs and other electrical appliances.

Disclosing this to The Sangai Express, an official source informed that Imphal and Kohima are the only two cities that have been selected for the project from among the North Eastern States.

In Manipur, the project would be implemented by the Imphal Municipal Council as the nodal agency along with technical support from Manipur Renewable Energy Development Agency and policy formulation would be worked out by MAHUD Dept, the source disclosed, adding that an external expert consultant would be hired for the purpose of preparing a master plan of the project.

The expert consultant to be hired would be finalised after a joint meeting of the officials of the State Government and the Ministry at New Delhi on November 24, the source said, adding that implementation of the project is to begin from next year.

The source further disclosed that to ensure successful implementation of the project and to monitor its progress, a Solar City Cell would be opened in Imphal Municipal Council and the Municipal Building Bye-laws would be amended.

Along with that steps would be taken up for promotion of energy efficient bulbs like CFL (Compact Florescence Lamp), LED (Light Emitting Diode), etc in every household of Imphal city to reduce consumption of power and Government and private buildings would be designed as energy efficient buildings.

Furthermore, to cut down consumption of energy level in Government and private buildings, energy audit would be conducted and use of solar street lamps and solar water heaters would be promoted/ encouraged, the source said.

Public awareness would also be launched to ensure the successful implementation of the project, the source added.

Meanwhile, another source informed that though many working in the field of renewable energy, domestic as well foreign firms including in Singapore and Israel, have expressed interest on investing in the power sector, nothing has materialised as there is no definite investment policy of the State.

So there is an urgent need to formulate an investment policy to allow the companies to invest in the power sector of the State.


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

Monday, November 17, 2008

Spirituality Bytes :Book Review

Spirituality Bytes – A guide to understanding and managing the journey called life. Dr. PV Vaidyanathan.

Spirituality is a device that helps you understand and accept life as it exists. This easy to read book comprises of ten chapters of varying lengths (Just one page to forty five pages), the longest one on "Life" and the shortest one on "Spirituality in a nutshell".

While dealing with Life the author touches upon a series of apparently unconnected issues such as: Search for Identity, choosing the middle path, Letting go, quitting the comfort zone, Essence of NOW, Awareness, Freewill, Desire or Deserve, Money and its role etc.

The book is purposely designed to be a collection of different topics such as GOD, fear, greed, anger, present moment awareness, the art of listening, how not to take anything or anybody for granted, mind, meditation etc. The very structure of loosely connected topics makes it easy for anyone to start at any chapter and read the sub sections that are only a few pages. The author spells out his views clearly and asks readers to accept or reject them freely. The selection of topics mostly justifies the subtitle.

However, one teaching that stares in your face all thorough the book is "to take the middle path". Don't be a control freak and don't let yourself be totally laid back – follow the middle path, he says. While taking decisions, 'balance is the key' – again the middle path approach. While talking about Stress handling ( a subject on which he has written another book) he opines: Don't take much more than you can chew; avoid multi tasking and have a balanced view of life. Allocate your time suitably among family and work

Love is all about freedom – allowing the person you love to be free. It is more of giving than of taking. One of the observations of the author which made me gasp aloud: "How true!" was on 'boredom': "children say they are bored when all that they need is parents' attention". Who, other than a pediatrician, can know better?!

He advises you to celebrate Death everyday. Live today as if there is no tomorrow. Life gives you a second chance but death gives you none. These seemingly simple utterances have a profound meaning for senior citizens in their twilight years. He even says you should cry. Tears cleanse your system of accumulated toxins. Only if you can experience extreme sorrow, you can experience extreme happiness, he says. I too agree that extremes of happiness and sorrow are at the end of a circular spectrum and if you look at it in another way they are close to each other!

I will recommend this book to anyone who would like to take his life easy rather than to the one who would like to make it easy going. If you accept life as it is, there is nothing else you need to do specially. Read the book and be your own judge.

Spirituality Bytes – A guide to understanding and managing the journey called life. Dr. PV Vaidyanathan. Readworthy, New Delhi 2009 pp170. Price: Rs 195.00 Available from the publisher at: 4662/21 Ansari Road, Daryagunj, New Delhi 110002 Phone: 011-43549197

Book Review by Dr P Vyasamoorthy

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

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Violence Against Women : The Ture Fact

It would be extremely naïve to say that violence against women does not exist. Despite the ostensible acceptance of women being equal to men, and a plethora of laws and human rights guarantees, violence against women (VAW), which is also referred to as gender-based violence (GBV), is a reality that has assumed huge proportions. Not only does violence against women exist, in our vocabulary of progress it has taken on insidious forms that are justified in the name of faith, community, even development.

A quick look through the daily newspapers will give us an idea of the epic proportions the phenomenon has taken. Sample some of these facts from around the world:

* At least one out of three women has been beaten, forced into sex, or abused during her lifetime, according to a study based on 50 surveys from around the world. On most occasions, the abuser was a member of the woman’s family or someone known to her.
* One woman in four has been abused during pregnancy.
* More than 60 million women worldwide are considered ‘missing’ as a result of sex-selective abortions and female infanticide, according to an estimate by Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen.
* The World Health Organisation has reported that up to 70% of female murder victims are killed by their male partners.
* Interpersonal violence was the 10th leading cause of death among women between the ages of 15 and 44, in 1998.
* Population-based studies report that between 12 and 25% of women have experienced attempted or completed forced sex by an intimate partner or ex-partner at some point in their lives.

And, in India, according to the National Crime Records Bureau’s (NCRB) 2005 Crime Clock, there is:

* 1 crime committed against women every three minutes
* 1 molestation case every 15 minutes
* 1 sexual harassment case every 53 minutes
* 1 kidnapping and abduction case every 23 minutes
* 1 rape case every 29 minutes

And those are only the reported and recorded statistics. What’s more:

* Four out of 10 women in India have experienced violence in the home.
* 45% of women have suffered at least one incident of physical or psychological violence in their life.
* 26% have experienced at least one moderate form of physical violence.
* More than 50% of pregnant women have experienced severe violent physical injuries.
* According to the NCRB, approximately 6,000 women are killed in India every year because of dowry. Unofficial estimates are as high as 15,000 deaths a year. In other words, between 16 and 40 women die every day because of dowry.

Shocking as these figures are, they are actually a gross underestimation of the actual situation, because crimes against women are highly under-reported. In India, there are 496,514,346 (2001 Census of India) girls and women. If all of them experience sexual harassment just once a year, and report it, the figure would be staggering.

Among the crimes listed by the NCRB, rape, molestation, sexual harassment, murder and dowry deaths are reported more frequently than dacoity, arson or counterfeiting. The frequency and intensity with which VAW is perpetuated is no less than the ‘terrorist’ attacks India is experiencing. What makes VAW more dangerous is the fact that the State, on several occasions, chooses to ignore VAW as something that happens within the ‘private’ sphere of the family, something not of ‘public’ significance, and thus non-deserving of State intervention.

So what do these figures really tell us? Why is it that so many women and girls are at the receiving end of violence? Is it because women ask for it, when they dress ‘provocatively’, or if they are out alone at night? In our outrage against VAW do we end up looking for reasons to blame the victim, or do we look for lapses on the part of the State, the police or other authorities that are ‘responsible’ for the violence? Even worse, do we say that the scandalous statistics quoted above are things that don’t happen to ‘our’ women -- it only happens to women ‘out there’? If VAW is ‘out there’, how do we explain what happened to the women who were publicly groped and molested on new year’s eve at a 5-star hotel in Mumbai in 2007?

That brings us to another pressing question: How do we recognise what constitutes VAW in the first place? Boys tease girls and girls tease boys; men flirt with women and women flirt with men -- isn’t it natural? If a man slaps a woman, that’s violence for sure. But does it qualify as GBV? Can there be VAW when there are no visible signs of beating/molesting/groping on the woman’s body? What is it about VAW that is different from violence in general?

What is VAW?

An act of violence amounts to GBV/VAW when:

* A woman is violated because of being a woman, which means her gender is the reason why she is being violated. For example, if a woman faces domestic violence because she does not follow the ‘traditional’ role of a wife.
* A woman is being violated as a woman; it is the form of violation that is sex/gender-specific. For example, being raped is very gender-specific. Although men also get raped, it is primarily women who are at the receiving end of sexually-penetrative violence.
* When gender can be considered to be a risk factor that makes a woman’s fear of being violated more acute than that of a man in similar circumstances. For example, being a Muslim woman in Gujarat during the 2002 riots made one more vulnerable to certain kinds of violence. Thus, being both Muslim and a woman heightens the incidence of violence.

It is necessary to note that not all victims of GBV are female. Men are victims of GBV as well, for example gay men who are harassed, beaten and killed because they do not conform to socially acceptable norms of being a man.

VAW includes, but is not limited to:

* Psychological violence: Encompasses various tactics to undermine a woman’s self-confidence such as yelling, insults, mockery, threats, abusive language, humiliation, harassment, contempt and deliberate deprivation of emotional care or isolation.
* Physical violence: The most obvious ranges from pushing and shoving to hitting, beating, physical abuse with a weapon, torture, mutilation and murder.
* Sexual violence: Any form of non-consensual sexual activity (ie, forced on a person) ranging from harassment, unwanted sexual touching, to rape. This form of violence also includes incest.
* Financial violence: Encompasses various tactics for total or partial control of a couple’s finances, inheritance or employment income. May also include preventing a partner from taking employment outside the home or engaging in other activities that would lead to financial independence.
* Spiritual abuse: Works to destroy an individual’s cultural or religious beliefs through ridicule or punishment, forbidding practise of a personal religion or forcing women or children to adhere to religious practices that are not their own, etc.

All violence does not have to be blood and gore. It can also be very subtle. A person can make a contemptuous gesture, swear or pass a lewd remark, make an obscene gesture with the hands, whistle or leer at another. Even if such exchanges are fleeting, they leave their mark. VAW can take physical, psychological as well as sexual forms -- thus the above categories overlap and are not mutually exclusive. It needn’t always take the form of overt acts of bodily violence but can also be manifested through deprivation, neglect or discrimination. For example, physical violence by an intimate partner is often accompanied by sexual violence, deprivation, isolation, neglect as well as psychological abuse.

Defining VAW

The United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (DEVAW) defines VAW as:

“Any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.” (DEVAW, Article 1)

Reasons that sustain and escalate GBV are:

Cultural Gender-specific socialisation
Culturally demarcated roles for men and women
Expectations of performing fixed roles in familial relationships

Economic Women’s economic dependence on men
Limited rights over land and property
Limited employment opportunities and adverse employment conditions

Legal Discriminatory laws on marriage, divorce, property and violence
Low levels of legal literacy
Insensitive treatment of women and girls by the police and judiciary

Political Under-representation of women in positions of power in politics
VAW not considered as a serious political issue
Notions of the family being private, beyond State intervention

The UN has identified six underlying causes of VAW:

* Historically unequal power relations: The political, economic and social processes that have evolved over many centuries have kept men in a position of power over women.
* Control of women’s sexuality: Many societies use violence as a way to control a woman’s sexuality, and likewise in many societies violence is used to punish women who exhibit sexual behaviour, preferences and attitudes that violate cultural norms.
* Cultural ideology: Culture defines gender roles and some customs, traditions and religions are used to justify VAW when women transgress these culturally assigned roles.
* Doctrines of privacy: The persistent belief in many societies that VAW is a private issue seriously impedes attempts to eradicate this violence.
* Patterns of conflict resolution: Links have been identified between VAW in the home and community in areas that are in conflict or that are militarised. Often, heightened insecurity means that tensions within the home are more pronounced and can contribute to the perpetuation of VAW in the family. Equally, because eyes tend to be on the conflict, women’s suffering is often overshadowed. VAW is also frequently used as a formal military tactic.
* Government inaction: Government negligence in preventing and ending VAW establishes a tolerance of VAW throughout the community.

Globalisation, the State and VAW

Capitalist globalisation with its tools of development and progress, including some aspects of modern science and technology, free market, rational knowledge system and the militarised State seems to be intensifying existing violence and creating grotesque new forms against the already vulnerable -- particularly women. The growing number of dowry murders, that are a direct outcome of increasing consumerism and devaluation of women; female foeticide that is fostered by new forms of reproductive technology; the total destruction of women’s livelihoods in the process of industrialising agriculture; the absolute exploitation of women’s skills and labour in sweatshops of the corporate free market, are just some cases of the growing myriad forms of violence against women. Violence in its various forms is getting accentuated under the New Economic Policy being pursued by the State. Thus, the State far from being the protector and custodian of the rights of its people, has become its greatest violator -– both through commission of violence and through omission to stop or end violence. While on the one hand it is granting more rights to women, on the other it is also creating conditions where women are being rendered more vulnerable and increasingly violated. For example, while on the one hand globalisation has allowed a larger number of women to join the workforce, at the same time the State has not made enough effort to create enabling and safe working conditions for women at work.

What the law says

The Constitution of India guarantees equality and non-discrimination on the basis of gender, and there are several laws that address the issue of VAW. Knowledge of these laws, and their drawbacks, is extremely important for women facing violence, as well as for those who wish to use the law effectively to stop VAW.

Read this interesting article here:

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

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Alzm Soc.India (ARDSI) HYDERABAD-DECCAN CHAPTER Inaugural Meeting : Invitation


Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Society of India is a registered non profit, secular, voluntary organization, dedicated to the care, support, training and research of dementia since 1992. It is the first Afro- Asian National Alzheimer organization to receive full member ship in Alzheimer’ Disease international[ADI],UK. It has been in forefront to disseminate knowledge about dementia to the public through various forums. ARDSI is also actively involved in developing services, like Respite Care, Day Care, Home Care, setting up Memory clinics, conduct training programmes for the family members, doctors, nurses and social workers. It is also actively involved in a number of research programmes to study the prevalence, incidence, and impact of Psycho social intervention.

In an endeavor to achieve similar objectives in Hyderabad, ARDSI Hyderabad Deccan has been established as a local chapter.

On behalf of ARDSI Hyderabad Deccan, Dr. Suvarna Alladi (President) and Dr. Chandrasekhar (Vice-President) cordially invite you to its inaugural meeting.

Date: Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Venue: Mini Conference Hall, Near Learning Center, Nizam's Institute Of Medical Sciences (NIMS)
Time: 2.30pm to 5.30 pm

Chief Guest:
Mr. S. Dass (Joint Director, HelpAge India)

Invited Guest: Ms. Nilanjana Maulik (Secretary, ARDSI Kolkatta chapter)

Email: /

Website: ;

Program Schedule

2:30 - 2:45 Inauguration

2:45 - 3:00 Welcome Address
Dr. K Chandrasekhar, Psychiatrist, Asha Hospitals
Vice-President, ARDSI Hyderabad Deccan chapter

3:00 -3:15 ARDSI Hyderabad Deccan Introduction
Ms. Rukhsana Ansari , Secretary, ARDSI Hyderabad Deccan chapter

3:15 -3:30 ARDSI National Perspective
Ms. Nilanjana Maulick, Secretary, ARDSI Kolkatta chapter

3:30 -3:45 Dementia and ARDSI: Neurologist Perspective
Dr. S Mohandas, Neurologist, KIMS, Hyderabad

3:45 - 4:15 Keynote Address by Chief Guest
Mr. S. Dass, Joint Director, HelpAge India

4:15 - 4:30 Summary and Vote of Thanks
Dr. Suvarna Alladi , Neurologist, NIMS
President, ARDSI Hyderabad Deccan chapter

4:30 – 5:00 Tea and Snacks

So at last Hyderabad gets its dedicated NGO for Dementia/ Alzheimer's.

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

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

We have made a difference

Dear Friends,
It’s our pleasure to inform you that our Initiative to create recourse , spread awareness and services for cause of Elderly and other Social cause has been huge success.We have used ICT for advantage of our Elderly and reached out to thousands all over the Globe.

Our First Initiative : People for Social Cause Blog has 36,000 + hits since July 2007

Our Second Initiative : Silver Innings , a comprehensive and dedicated website for Elderly and their family has 10,000 + hits since April 2008

Our Third Initiative : Silver Innings Blog dedicated for Elderly : has 3000 + hits since April 2008

Our Fourth Initiative : Silver Inning Foundation, A Not for Profit Organisation for Elderly in India is creating a positive and successful aging environment with its unique services and proactive approach in Mumbai and nearby area ,slowly going to spread Pan India in phase manner.

We Thank all our Trustees, Friends, Well wishers ,Members, Stake holders ,Net working partner's , Funders for all their support and looking forward for their long lasting commitment for never ending innings...............

We also request all those who are still not members of this Movement called Silver Innings, to Join us at (its free primary membership for website) and help the cause of Elderly - the most neglected and ignored segment. So let’s make difference, let’s start a New Beginning.....Silver Innings.

Still its long way to go...................................

Lets Love,Care and Respect our Elderly and contribute for social cause and nation building.

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

India has reneged on all its promises to adivasis

At 84 million, India has the largest number of indigenous people. Why are the adivasis still so marginalised, asks Mari Marcel Thekaekara. Why are they displaced from their lands and forests, and reduced to migrant labour?

Did you know that India boasts the largest indigenous population in the world? This is not a common quiz question so it’s a fact hardly anyone knows. But our 8% adivasi population works out to 84.15 million people, according to the 2001 census.

Another fact that we don’t go around broadcasting is that our adivasi areas are at the bottom of every poverty index in the country. Adivasis remain amongst our poorest, most deprived people because the billions that are sanctioned for their welfare continue to be siphoned off by corrupt politicians or bureaucrats.

Anthropologists and activists have often been accused of romanticising tribals -- their way of life, their “symbiotic relationship” with nature, their sense of community, their world vision.

Like indigenous people all over the world, adivasis share a unique worldview. They are largely an egalitarian people who for thousands of years have kept intact their culture of sharing, community living, generosity of spirit, veneration for the earth and all it provides. This attitude to life rendered them particularly vulnerable to marauding invaders who exploited their collective trusting, generous spirit.

It’s difficult to define an adivasi. Or to highlight the injustices meted out to them as a people. Unlike dalits, injustices against adivasis are less easy to pinpoint as they constitute a diverse group with hundreds of different clans, tribes, languages and customs scattered all over the country.

Bureaucrats and officials often maintain that no amount of aid can ever lift adivasis out of their abject poverty. “It is their own fault that they are so indebted and poor,” government officials complain. Meanwhile, the local non-tribal population views them as lazy and good-for-nothing. At a meeting in Germany, my husband Stan had just delivered a talk on adivasi values and way of life, and how much we all have to learn from them. A German member of the audience stood up and said: “You are speaking nonsense. I have been a missionary in adivasi areas and they know nothing other than to eat, hunt, and procreate.” A tea planter in the Nilgiris once asked us: “Is it true that these adivasis have sub-normal intelligence?” And a former chief secretary was convinced that a group of adivasis who met her to present a memorandum were not adivasis because “they wore blue jeans and sneakers,” and when she visited their village she found they were eating rice and sambar “just like us”, not tubers and dried meat. The media mostly portrays adivasis as exotic creatures dancing with feathers in their hair, or wearing colourful, ethnic clothes. Indira Gandhi danced with them in adivasi villages. The cameras loved the footage. But no one ever took them seriously.

India’s adivasis are on the verge of being wiped out. Not physically, but their way of life and their culture which is thousands of years old and has fascinated anthropologists for over a hundred years.

But anthropologists tend to focus more on their socio-cultural norms and practices which appear so exotic, different and alien from the dominant culture and therefore so interesting. Very little has been written about the adivasi economy, the general attitude being that they are so poor what can they possibly contribute to economic thinking?

In this period of economic meltdown on the one hand, and the reality of climate change on the other, we must look to lesser-known economies like those of the adivasis for sustainable solutions. Now more than ever before in history we need to study this way of life, as it is the nomads and hunter-gatherers who held the key to a sustainable lifestyle.

At the risk of oversimplifying, and cutting through all the hype about their symbiotic relationship with nature, I would say there are two guiding principles to the adivasi way of life. They were the only people who did not hoard and accumulate. And they venerated the earth, considered it sacred and not a mere resource to be exploited.

History teaches children that the greatest civilisations on earth were those of the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. Pyramids and temples are extolled as marvels of architecture. In India, we are proud of Mohenjodaro and Harappa. We can boast about Susrutha performing surgery while most people still ran around in skins! But what we don’t spell out is the fact that all these wealthy, progressive civilisations were based on slavery and exploitation of human labour. The greater glory of civilisation somehow exonerates the darker underbelly of these societies.

Indigenous people were the only ones in history who believed in complete equality. Their societies did not hoard. Wealth was distributed equitably. The spoils of the hunt were shared with those who stayed at home. People worked together rather than in competition. It was a society without greed.

People who understood adivasis recognised their values and culture as infinitely superior to the non-adivasis who proposed to “civilise” the savages. Verrier Elwin wrote about them and became an advisor to the government on tribal affairs. Pandit Nehru, as the first prime minister, was lyrical about governance for adivasis in his Tribal Panchsheel. His solemn promise to adivasi communities was that:

* People should develop along the lines of their own genius, and the State should avoid imposition but encourage their own local traditions and culture.
* Tribal rights in land and forests should be respected.
* The State should work through and not in rivalry with their own social and cultural institutions.
* The government should judge results by the quality of human character that is evolved.

Yet, if we look at history, we have reneged on all our promises. Everywhere, the government and unscrupulous, exploitative non-tribal neighbours have tricked, cheated and ousted adivasis off their homesteads; marginalised them on land that was once theirs.

To expect the average bureaucrat to understand the Nehruvian Tribal Panchsheel is being unrealistically optimistic. For the government to be capable of “judging results by the quality of human character that is evolved” presupposes that the officials designated to tribal regions have the “soul” to appreciate tribal values. The non-acquisitive, inherently trusting, community-based approach to life of the tribal is dismissed as being unambitious, stupid, jungli or downright lazy by the average non-tribal. Yet it is universally acknowledged, even by people who denigrate them, that adivasis are truthful, honest and sincere, not shrewd.

Exploiters reign supreme in most tribal areas. For centuries, traders and moneylenders have sucked the blood of the adivasi people unfettered by law enforcers of any kind. Twenty-five years ago, Stan talked of traders exchanging linseed worth Rs 200 per kg for a year’s supply of salt worth Rs 5. The tribals reasoned that they’d got the linseed free from the forest; they never ever considered the cost of collecting it. They thought of the trader who exchanged it for a year’s supply of salt as being generous and kind, even as the trader laughed all the way to the bank. A number of books, notably Paraja, and films have been made on the extortion and exploitation rampant in India’s tribal belts.

Sixty years after Nehru exhorted our policymakers to treat adivasis with special care, state governments are perpetrating a new kind of injustice, depriving adivasis of the little they have managed to hold onto. In Orissa, in the Narmada region, in West Bengal, in Chhattisgarh, in unnamed pockets all over the country, adivasis are being pushed off their lands in the name of development and progress, ostensibly for the general good. Chhattisgarh abounds in horror stories. The devastating effect of the Salwa Judum has been written about extensively. Yet, they continues to wreak havoc on the local adivasis, cutting at the very core of their culture and turning a peaceable, gentle people into armed, marauding murderers who spill the blood of their own clanspeople.

A brief understanding of history is necessary here. Adivasis were culturally distinct from dominant, mainstream populations. They protected their identity fiercely, with taboos on marriage with outsiders. In pre-colonial history, adivasis enjoyed self-rule and fought anyone who threatened their freedom. Local rulers respected this, and the adivasis were seen as an independent, distinct people. They were part of the unknown frontier even after the British subjugated the smaller states, one by one. The areas they dominated were perceived as unknown territory, dangerous even. The adivasis fought the British tenaciously, though their role in India’s independence remains largely unrecognised.

Life changed drastically for adivasi communities with the British Permanent Land Settlement in 1793 and the establishment of the ‘zamindari’ system that conferred control over vast territories, including adivasi homelands, on designated feudal lords for the purpose of collecting revenue. Relationships with the surrounding dominant communities and the rulers changed forever.

But even the British Crown’s dominions in India were forced to accede independence to adivasis politically. The agency (tribal) areas, where the agent governed in the name of the Crown, left the local self-governing institutions untouched. It also recognised tribal supremacy in the excluded areas (northeast) where representatives of the Crown were figureheads and tribal chieftains ruled their people.

The Land Acquisition Act of 1894 proclaimed the supremacy of the sovereign. It introduced the concept of total colonisation of any territory in the name of ‘public interest’, a precedent followed even today, forcing on local populations an outside definition of the notion of ‘common good’. This is particularly evident in adivasi regions. The colonial concept of rex nullius (that which has not been conferred by the sovereign belongs to the sovereign) and terra nullius (land that belongs to no one) bulldozed traditional political and social entities, spelling the death knell for traditional forms of self-governance.

In the name of development

Over 10 million adivasis have been displaced to make way for development projects such as dams, mining, industries, roads, protected areas, etc. Though most of the dams (over 3,000) are located in adivasi areas, only 19.9% (1980-81) of adivasi landholdings are irrigated, compared to 45.9% of holdings of the general population. India produces as many as 52 principal minerals. Of these, 45 major minerals (coal, iron ore, magnetite, manganese, bauxite, graphite, limestone, dolomite, uranium, etc) are found in adivasi areas, contributing around 56% of the national total mineral earnings in terms of value. Of the 4,175 working mines reported by the Indian Bureau of Mines in 1991-92, approximately 3,500 can be assumed to be in adivasi areas. Income to the government from forests rose from Rs 5.6 million in 1869-70 to more than Rs 13 billion in the 1970s. The bulk of the nation’s productive wealth lies in the adivasi territories. This was the reason adivasis were not allowed to form their own states. Instead, their land was parcelled out to the states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh.

Promises made to adivasis before Independence were broken by dominant community politicians. Most Indian states were formed primarily on the basis of language groups. But for the adivasis all principles were ignored. Adivasi territories were divided and distributed, ignoring the validity of applying the same principle of language in the formation of states. Jharkhand was divided between Bihar, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa. After several decades of struggle, the Bihar part of Jharkhand is now a separate state. The Gond region has been divided amongst Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. Similarly, the Bhil region has been divided between Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan.

In the northeast, the Nagas are divided into Nagaland, Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. Further administrative sub-divisions within states, into districts, talukas and panchayats have been organised in such a way that tribal concentrations are broken up, marginalising them further both physically and politically.

India, the new nation-state that proudly proclaimed its hard-won freedom from the colonial raj, promptly embarked on a process of colonising its own adivasi population. Adivasis have been driven out, marginalised and deprived of dignity in the process of ‘national development’.

The supposed development of adivasi areas brought in waves of aggressive, exploitative non-tribal immigrants in search of opportunities and employment. They usurped jobs ostensibly meant for adivasis. They impoverished the local tribal population, introduced hard liquor, sexually exploited adivasi women, and cheated the naïve, non-materialistic adivasis. In the rich mineral belt of Jharkhand, the adivasi population has dropped from around 60% in 1911 to 27.67% in 1991. Large numbers of adivasis have been forced to eke out a living in cities and urban centres. According to a rough estimate, there are over 40,000 tribal domestic working women in Delhi alone! In some places, development-induced migration of adivasis to other adivasi areas has led to fierce conflicts, as between the Santhali and the Bodo in Assam.

India’s total forest cover is reportedly 765.21 thousand sq km. Of this, 71% is in adivasi areas. The logical conclusion would be that only adivasis have succeeded in preserving forests. Of this, 416.52 and 223.30 thousand sq km are categorised as ‘reserved’ and ‘protected’ forests respectively. About 23% of these have been declared wildlife sanctuaries and national parks, a move that alone has displaced around half-a-million adivasis. By the process of colonisation of forests, that began formally with the Forest Act of 1864 and finally the Indian Forest Act of 1927, the rights of adivasis were reduced to mere privileges conferred by the State.

Adivasis won certain concessions because of their persistent battles against the British. The Forest Policy of 1952, the Wild Life Protection Act of 1972 and the Forest Conservation Act of 1980 cut back more and more privileges in the post-colonial period. Traditional forest rights were slowly forbidden or usurped.

From the Forest Bill of 1980 to 2005, we have come a long way.

The 2005 Forest Bill, together with the Common Minimum Programme of the Congress Party, promises new hope for adivasis, though this is still only on paper. At the very least it forms the basis for adivasis to fight for their rights, with declared policy on their side. But in order for adivasi communities to come into their own, in order for the spirit of the law to succeed, we need a taskforce comprising experts on adivasi culture and traditions. People who believe in adivasis, work in adivasi areas and can ensure that adivasis are involved in their own governance and can take control of their own destinies. They should be people who respect and truly appreciate the depth, wisdom and superior values of adivasi culture.

This may be dismissed as romantic nonsense by a lot of people. But for those who know the real adivasi world -- more so as we watch India’s descent into crass commercialism where progress is defined by vulgar materialism and values, and culture is sacrificed on the high altar of economic growth regardless of the consequences to the earth or its people -- hope lies in a return to community, to a reverence for the earth and to old sustainable ways.

By Mari Marcel Thekaekara


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

Garbage as a metaphor

Sixteen-year-old Ramachandra Dikshitar finishes his morning rituals early. Bathing is a waste, considering he will be neck-deep in garbage within the hour. But as a practising brahmin, sandhya vandanam -- the thrice daily prayer to the gods at dawn, noon and dusk -- is a part of his life. Ram, his mother and brother all work as ragpickers in the city’s garbage dump. They live in a traditional agraharam -- a cluster of brahmin households -- built around a Shiva temple. All of this is now surrounded by the garbage dump. This is one of many garbage dumps that have come up near the agraharams of indigent brahmins across the country. As recently as a decade ago, the local Shiva temple used to attract numerous pilgrims. The livelihood of the brahmin families in the agraharam was, in one way or another, associated with the temple. Now, with the expanding garbage dump, visits to the temple by pilgrims have dwindled, pushing the agraharam families into near destitution. Like many of the country’s less fortunate, Ram’s family and many other brahmins too saw the silver lining in the project imposed on his community and sought to earn a livelihood in ragpicking.

If the above story were true, or even conceivable, we could agree with the many who claim that modern-day discrimination is based solely on economic terms, not on caste or communal lines. But Dikshitar is fiction, as is his garbage-dump agraharam and the band of brahmin scavengers.

The real story goes like this.

A solid door with auspicious tantric motifs guards a ramshackle hut that is falling apart at the roof and on all sides. There is nothing firsthand about this house. A piece of corrugated asbestos gone soft with age covers a portion of the roof. Wooden boards, some tarpaulin, mismatched pieces of bamboo, and plastic wires as lashings complete the picture. Every last item that went into the making of Kamatchi Devi’s house was locally mined, hand-picked by her from the garbage dump within which the house is located. Barely five metres in front of her house runs a stream carrying a foul-smelling reddish-orange liquid -- juice from the rotting mountains of garbage stretched out on all sides of her house. Across the juice river is a ramshackle temple to the God of Wars, Murugan.

No matter which way the wind blows, Kamatchi’s house is assailed by toxic smoke from north Chennai’s perennially smouldering dump. The Kodungaiyur garbage dump, which receives more than 2,000 tonnes of Chennai’s daily garbage generation of 5,000 tonnes, is the largest in the city.

Kamatchi’s house is one of 15 dalit households in the cynically named Panakkara Nagar (Rich Man’s Nagar). Local reports say about 7,000 people make a full or partial living by extracting, sorting, processing and trading in resources relegated to the dump by the city’s consumers. At least half of them are engaged in sifting through and sorting the garbage in the dump -- glass, plastic, coconut shells, metals of different kinds, gunny sacks. A smelly sewer -- the Captain Cotton canal -- choked with plastic trash defines the western edge of the dump yard. All along this canal and a few streets on either side are flimsy hutments of thatch, tin, tarpaulin and any salvageable building material… MGR Nagar, Ezhil Nagar, RR Nagar. Around 6,000 households live with insecure tenure along the margins of the stinking canal. Another 1,500 households live in similarly squalid conditions in Raja Rathinam Nagar across the main road from the dump.

RR Nagar was constructed by the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board to house the Chennai Corporation’s conservancy workers in the early-1990s, nearly a decade after the dump was inaugurated. There were no takers among the workers for the ‘dump-view’ apartments. Eventually, the brand new houses in the tenements were filled with families evicted from various parts of the city. Residents from the beggars’ colony in Chetpet, families ousted to make way for the Royapuram bridge, a few hundred Tamil refugee families from Sri Lanka were sent to the same place where Chennai sent its trash.

A major proportion of all these people -- the workers in the dump, the residents of Panakkara Nagar, MGR Nagar, Ezhil Nagar, RR Nagar, the conservancy workers for whom the government chose to build the ‘dump-view’ tenements, the oustees who eventually took up residence in the tenements -- belong to scheduled caste/scheduled tribe (SC/ST) communities.

The people here are too poor to have generated all the trash that surrounds them. Per capita garbage generation is a good measure of prosperity. Indeed, while the rest of the city’s trash is cleaned and brought here, the potholed mud lanes that pass for roads in this locality have never seen a municipality broom.

Is this a coincidence? Or is there an invisible quota for SC/STs and other backward communities in occupations that nobody wants for themselves -- say, as garbage and sewage workers, as contract labourers engaged in the most hazardous of industries, in chemical units as cleaners of effluent treatment plants and reactors, in construction and road-building, in granite quarries and sand mining, in leather tanneries and dyeing units.

It is a fact that, as a matter of practice, garbage dumps don’t come up near agraharams. It is also a fact that agraharams don’t come up near garbage dumps.

In 2003, within Howrah municipal limits, a shameful incident occurred that highlights the face of modern-day untouchability. On February 3, more than 500 armed police and bulldozers descended on a massive dalit settlement in Bellilious Park. Armed with a court order in a case for city beautification filed by a professedly ‘civil’ society organisation, the Howrah municipal body cleaned the park of nearly 7,000 residents -– all allegedly from the scheduled castes.

How did the dalits get to Bellilious Park? And where did they go when evicted?

According to a petition (1) circulated by the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission, the park was the place where night-soil headloaders, manual scavengers and conservancy workers were allowed to pitch camp more than 100 years ago because they were denied rented accommodation in the city on account of their low caste. Over the decades, many others similarly rejected by the growing metropolis of Kolkata found refuge in the park. Some even had title deeds to their holdings.

Many of those evicted that February morning from Bellilious Park ended up in makeshift tent camps in the Belgachia garbage dumping yard.

The Howrah incident is by no means an isolated one. In virtually every state of the country it is the poor, the dalits and the adivasis that have to move to make way for dumps, industries, roads, flyovers, bridges, dams, mines, parks…

Social exclusion is a theme that connects Kamatchi’s life and choices with those of the Howrah oustees who moved into the secure, though Hades-like, confines of the Belgachia dump. As American scholar Buvinic points out, social exclusion involves “the denial of equal access to opportunities imposed by certain groups in society upon others (2)”.

The lack of access often translates into acceptance by marginalised communities of undesirable land use. In Gangaikondan -- a scheduled caste-dominated village in southern Tamil Nadu, where Coca-Cola set up a controversial bottling plant in 2006 -- the predominantly dalit (Pallar community) hosts did not oppose the plant too vociferously although all of them shared concerns about the impact the plant would have on groundwater.

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