Remember ME - You Me and Dementia

Monday, March 30, 2009

Is the groud slipping beneath us?

An article in Times of India dated 29th March ,talks about father-daughter incest. Yes, while father-daughter incest is heard of, mother-son molestation and incest is not unheard of either. Arpan is getting cases of such instances as well.

However, it's scary to even think of that. While it's difficult for most of us to digest the fact that how could a father do such a thing to his daughter I don't know how we will be able to accept that a mother does to her son?

The 'mother' holds such a sacred position in our hearts and minds that to think of her giving consent to her children being raped and molested (Mira road rape case) or herself being one of the offenders makes me shudder with fear.

I feel shattered and betrayed. : ' (

And if I am feeling what I'm feeling, what about those who actually become victims to their parents? the very first people they grow to trust.... people whom they think are their own... are there to provide and protect... but they themselves become the ones to tear down their child's trust, faith, self respect... the very essence of an individual... shattered, broken, torn, ruined for life.....

Yet, I want to believe that there must be something significant in the past of those mothers, fathers and other offenders that is compelling them to do what they are doing. Mostly we find offenders have been victims in the past. While their act cannot be justified there almost seems like some compulsion of their minds that they become vicitms to....

What is it about the human mind? What is it about our psyche? Why would a victim in the past want to abuse a child in the future? Is it revenge? Is it power? Is it just mental sickness?

At Arpan, we find in 94% of the cases the offender was known to the victim.

Is this the kind of society we want to live in? The kind of society we want our children to grow upto... that slowly loses it's reverence for parents, for what fatherhood and motherhood stands for.... it's faith in family members, siblings, relatives, neighbours, friends. watchman, driver..... the list is endless....

Will we soon start becoming afraid of each other? Will we all become victims of fear and paranoia?

Is the groud slipping beneath us? .............................................?

Posted by Pooja Taparia ,Founder - CEOArpan


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

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Personal secretary of Mahatma Gandhi to Contest Parliamentary Elections 2009

Desia Paadhugaappu Kazhagam ( meaning National Protection Party ) a registered political party has decided to contest in the forthcoming parliamentary elections under the leadership of Mr. V. Kalyanam , personal secretary to Mahatma Gandhi.

In recent years, the electoral battle in India have more focus on political bickerings and personal ambitions of politicians and their family members, which have made the common man in the country feel unhappy and helpless.

In a democracy, the elections give great opportunity to the citizens to express their choice and have a quality of government that they would desire. For this to happen, it is necessary that in the elections , the concerned citizens who understand the seriousness and severity of the issues facing Indian democracy should come out openly and contest the elections to set right the conditions.

Clean politics is vitally necessary for healthy democracy, that would protect the interests of the deprived and downtrodden in particular. Politics can not be cleansed without clean people getting into it.

Further, it is sad that the Gandhian philosophy of ahimsa, truth, probity in personal and public life have not been highlighted as the principles by any political party in the country. Looking at the All India scenario, one wonders as to whether any political party swears by Gandhian ideals at all.

It appears that there is fear in the minds of many people that in the absence of money power and muscle power , it would be impossible to win elections in the present scenario. But, we are yet to give a try for honest people to get into the electoral fray and provide an opportunity to the citizens to choose them amongst the various contenders. Perhaps, if concerned and honest people contest elections, people may support them and provide some surprise to the politicians who seem to think that only manoveuring and corrupt practices and alliances even if unprincipled can win elections.

More than winning or losing in the elections, the important fact is that when concerned people swearing by Gandhian ideology in personal and public life would contest in the elections, it would give a sense of hope that the tide of corruption and dishonest dealings would be stemmed. The dishonest practices would be challenged even if they would not be defeated totally and immediately.

Concerned persons like Mahatma Gandhi and Jayprakash Narain were able to do positive things and create an atmosphere that gave confidence to the people about probity in public life. But, today, the intellectuals and concerned people largely remain as armchair critics. This appears to be the real issue.

With the objective of restoring Gandhian ideology as the central theme in the forthcoming parliamentary elections, Mr. V. Kalyanam, Personal Secretary to Mahatma Gandhi has come forward to give a lead to the nation by supporting good and committed citizens, capable of meeting the Gandhian standards in private and public life to contest the elections.

Mr. V. Kalyanam, aged 87 who served Mahatma Gandhi as Personal Secretary during the last five years of Gandhiji’s life and who had the opportunity to observe and work closely with this great soul, feels that enough is enough and struggle to restore Gandhian standards in Indian public life cannot any more be delayed.

About DESIA PAADHUKAAPPU KAZHAGAM under the leadership of Mr. V.Kalyanam will contest the election in south Madras Parliamentary constituency amongst others.

About Mr. N.S. Venkataraman, a Chemical Engineer by profession and Founder Trustee of Nandini Voice For The Deprived, a Chennai based NGO serving the cause of deprived and downtrodden will be contesting from the South Madras constituemcy.

Posted by N.S.Venkataraman
Nandini Voice For The Deprived

We at Silver Inning Foundation Salute V. Kalyanam , personal secretary to Mahatma Gandhi for his courage to bring change,though he is Oldest Old.

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

Friday, March 27, 2009

Vote for Earth Hour : SWITCH OFF LIGHTS on 28th Mar '09 for 1 Hour

On the 28th of March 2009 at 20:30hrs , will kick start the world's biggest movement on climate change.

It is estimated that over a billion people across the world, will come forward to "Vote for Earth" by simply switching off their lights between 20:30 hrs to 21:30 hrs. It will be history in the making, as we now have over 1508 <> cities and towns across the world, who have already pledged their support to this global campaign on climate change.

Towards this endeavour and to provide you with more upto date information on Earth <> Hour 60, we have put together a blog site, exclusively for our affiliates. This blogsite will enable you, to cast your vote by signing up on-line and taking the Earth Hour pledge. You will also now, be able to spread the message of Earth Hour 60!! directly from this blog to others within your own social network, be this on facebook, linkedin, orkut and other popular on-line social networking sites that you may already be registered on, by simply using the tell-a-friend button at the end of each article.

We invite you to come forward and actively support this global movement on climate change by casting your vote at and spread the word around to others as well. By visiting this blog and signing up with either your google, yahoo or AiM email id, you shall also recieve regular updates on our conservation efforts, plus get to watch interesting, informative and inspiring videos, presentations and other resource material on conservation.

Join us on the 28th of March 2009 by switching off your home and office lights to switch in to this global movement on climate change and be the change you wish to see in this world.

Thank you in advance, for your participation and look forward to your valueable feedback and suggestions, which will enable us to continually improve our services to you.

Best Wishes.

Warm regards,
Moses Pereira
WWF - India

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

Village girls in Rajasthan get a leg-up

In Rajasthan’s Barmer district, girls’ education is a low priority for most local families. Although they are integral to the family economy -- they help manage households, take care of younger siblings, and work in agriculture and animal husbandry -- girls have traditionally never been allowed to study.

In the last decade, however, interventions initiated by the Society to Uplift Rural Economy (SURE) have brought about changes.

“I am studying and will give the Class X exam this year,” says 17-year-old Keku from Bhalgaon village. Keku lives on the SURE rural campus, in Binjrad, for seven months, studying for the exam. She is one of 25 girls attending the residential balika shikshan shivir (girls’ education camp); three will give the Class X exam, the others will sit for the Class VIII exam.
In Bhalgaon village, 60 km away, Keku’s mother Sita Devi, 50, says: “I want her to study as much as she can. Her father will not stop her. Her elder sisters studied only up to Class V. Now they are married.”

Keku, a keen student, studied up to Class VIII in the village school but, since there was no high school in or near Bhalgaon, was forced to drop out. When the family heard about the balika shikshan shivir, they decided to explore the option.

They are happy with Keku’s progress. Sita Devi says: “My daughter studies very hard. If we can find a way, we would like her to study further.”

Keku’s parents are unusually progressive. For many girls it is still a struggle to convince parents to let them study at all.

Few villages in this remote desert district, with its far-flung settlements, have access to schooling beyond the primary, or at the most middle stage.

SURE’s residential camps fulfil a real need. The organisation has been holding balika shikshan shivirs since 2000, mostly to coach girls up to Class V. Field worker Daulat Sharma recalls: “SURE went from home to home talking to parents. Gradually they agreed.” In most cases the girls were extremely keen to study -- that was a major motivating force for their parents!

But, since girls perform essential everyday tasks at home, sparing them for several months entails a palpable sacrifice. Mothers have to work much harder, yet they are the foremost supporters of their children’s education. As Sita Devi says: “My daughter should have a better life than mine!” Moreover, education up to Class VIII/X qualifies girls for employment in the village, as anganwadi workers (frontline workers in the Integrated Child Development Scheme), nurses, or mates in state employment programmes.

Lata Kacchwaha, 54, SURE’s vice-president, says: “When the girls stay with us for a balika shikshan shivir, we set them a rigorous study schedule. They literally work from early morning to late night, with only brief breaks for meals and half a day off in the week for sports. We have no option because they have to learn several years’ course work within a few months!” SURE appoints and trains teachers so that they are able to meet the challenge of teaching at an accelerated pace.

At the schools, the girls study, sing, and enjoy the time away from daily chores. Through these residential camps, over 1,000 girls have been enabled to study up to various levels.

In several villages, SURE has initiated kishori manchs (adolescent girls’ groups). At the kishori manch, girls learn about health and hygiene, and discuss issues close to their hearts. For instance, Shanta, 17, who has studied up to Class VIII, wants to know whether she can join the police. Others want to become nurses or teachers. However, their parents are not keen to send them away for further studies. Instead, many are being prepared for marriage. Says Uma Kunwar, field organiser: “We are helping make a space for these girls where they can learn more about themselves. But a lot more still has to change.”

Society to Uplift Rural Economy (SURE),
PO Box 29 ,Gurudwara Road , Barmer ,

By Deepti Priya Mehrotra ,a Delhi-based writer.


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

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Corporates look for rural gold

All eyes are now shifting to the rural areas. Trucks carrying consumer goods are being directed to the nearest village. Rural India is now up for grabs.

It is no longer only hair oils, toothpastes, shampoos, soft drinks and potato chips that you will find stacked on the dusty shelf in a village shop. Corporate India now believes that the loan waiver, the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (NREGA) and successive bumper harvests have brought enough cash surplus into the hands of the rural community. It is therefore time to cash in on this new-found richness in the rural areas.

Is rural India really becoming prosperous? Or is Corporate India's greed that is driving them to the hinterland? Before we look at the ground realities, let us first see how the markets are shifting gear. The mobile phone has already made an aggressive foray. The sale of computers is being pushed through the government-sponsored e-governance programmes. Cars, two-wheelers, and consumer durables are eyeing the smaller markets. Coca Cola, Pepsi and Dabur India have relaunched specific marketing programmes. The wedding industry is already camping in the smaller towns. And the futures market too is excited.

According to news reports, Samsung, Nokia, Sansui, Philips, Maruti, Mahindra & Mahindra, LG, Tata Motors, Hyundai, Tata Sky, Hero Honda, Air Tel, Vodofone, BSNL, ICICI and Nestle are some of the corporate giants eyeing the rural markets. There are innumerable other smaller companies who have now ramped up their marketing operations in the tier II and tier III towns.

No, there isn't an economic revolution happening in rural India. It is only that the business honchos are descending on the rural markets, expecting to make a killing from whatever is left in the pockets of India's poor. Leading the corporate march into the rural areas is the industry think-tank, the National Council for Applied Economic Research (NCAER). It believes that the rural middle class is steadily growing, and the corporate can expect a sales turnover of 60 per cent from rural India.

Not only the domestic majors, global giants too are looking at India's rural sector as a potential kill. American agribusiness giants - Monsanto, Cargill, Wal-Mart and ADM - among the world's top multinationals have already found a foothold in the rural retail segment through the Indo-US Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture Research, Development and Marketing (KIA) agreement. These multinationals have already made it clear that they are not interesting in collaborating on agricultural research but keen to sell their products.

Meanwhile, not satisfied with the marketing opportunities under the agreement, two American senators have demanded a detailed study of the potential that Indian agriculture markets contain. Their plea is to open up the Indian farm sector to American agricultural products. At present, only 5 per cent of American produce finds its way to Indian farms. Well, the eagles are descending, and from all directions. The village mouse may find it hard to find a suitable cover to escape the attack.

The reason is obvious. So far, it is the sale of alcohol - both domestic brands and the locally produced - that has been the biggest destroyer of rural homes. Much of the farm income is known to have found its way to the liquor shops. No wonder, cereal consumption has further declined in rural areas, even though families are spending more on it. According to the latest report of the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), monthly expenditure on cereals has gone up from Rs.101 to Rs.115, and yet per capita cereal consumption has climbed down from 13.4 kg per person per month in 1993-94 to 11.7 kg in 2006-07.

This report also comes at a time when the National Commission on Enterprise in Unorganised Sector very clearly and loudly states that 77 per cent of India's population (and the bulk of it inhabits the rural areas for sure) equivalent to 836 million people spend not more than Rs.20 a day. I am sure with Rs.20 a day expenditure, you cannot expect 836 million people to buy even two square meals daily. To these hungry millions, selling a growth dream in the form of consumer durables is certainly something that cannot be easily digested.

I stall can't fathom what the ICICI chairman H V Kamath had said sometimes back: "There is a lot of money to be made from the rural areas." If this is true, I see no reason why India should rank a dismal 66 out of 88 countries on the 2008 Global Hunger Index. As many as 12 of the 18 states measured, and that includes 'vibrant' Gujarat, technology-savvy Karnataka, suicide prone Maharashtra and the rice bowl of Tamilnadu, are listed in the category of 'alarming'. In fact, India stands much lower than Sub-Saharan Africa in the Hunger Index. Even Punjab, the food granary of India, is worse off than Gabon and Vietnam.

The villages of India have traditionally been victim of what is called reverse terms of trade. All these years, more money has actually been taken out from these villages than what has been invested. Some studies have shown that from a rural landscape of the size of 1000 acres, agricultural-input companies and that includes fertiliser, pesticides, and seeds, on an average pump out anything between Rs.30 and 70 crores every year, depending upon where these areas are located.

If only this money had stayed back in the villages, the face of India's village would have been in any case looked bright and vibrant. You wouldn't require the skills of organised money-lenders, through the micro-finance route, to exploit the poor and gullible. Although 50 million poor households are being given micro-finance, the poor are actually being forced to fork out returns at an exorbitant interest of an average of 20 to 24 per cent. In urban centres, you would be up in arms if you were made to pay such a high interest rate. But than, you need to know that the poor are being 'empowered'.

If the poorest of the poor women in a self-help group wants to buy a goat, which she needs for earning a livelihood, she has to pay an average interest of 24 per cent. I am sure, for a TV, fridge or a two-wheeler she will now get interest-free loans. After all, economists will tell us that the more she buys consumer durables, the more the GDP will grow. Even if they have to go to bed hungry instead, these are small sacrifices that need to be made for the sake of country's growth. Who said, selling dreams is only a Bollywood's prerogative?


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

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Required COO for Indian NGO



Third Sector Partners, a leading CxO and board search firm in the Not for Profit sector has been retained by IRRAD to recruit a COO.

Institute of Rural Research and Development (IRRAD), based in Gurgaon, Haryana, is an initiative of the S.M. Sehgal Foundation, registered as a Trust in India since 1999 to further the well-being of rural communities in India. IRRAD's mission is to implement Integrated Sustainable Village Development (ISVD) in select village clusters, build capacity in rural development, undertake rural research, improve village governance, and serve as a premier knowledge institution for rural development and poverty reduction in India. IRRAD envisions rural people across India motivated and empowered to make their lives more secure and prosperous through education, better health, improved skills and supportive governance.

IRRAD implements programs and conducts research in the following areas: (a) Life Skills Education; (b) Rural Health; (c) Income Enhancement including Agriculture; (d) Water Management; and (e) Alternative Energy.

It addresses its mission through the following objectives:
• Develop need-based strategies and programs for poverty alleviation through a sustainable model for rural development (ISVD).
• Undertake research and create knowledge on sustainable and replicable models of rural development.
• Build capacities for rural development through training programs and a network of partner organizations.
• Analyze the impacts of local, state and national policies on rural development, helping the rural poor make best use of policies intended to benefit them; and advocate for policy reforms when needed.

The S. M. Sehgal Foundation is looking for a dynamic individual in the capacity of COO who shall provide the leadership to IRRAD in its efforts to create positive social impact.

The incumbent would have to work with diverse partner organizations, numerous stakeholders, and ensure effective networking with donor and funding organizations. The incumbent is expected to be a self-starter and display initiative, an entrepreneurial bent of mind, and sturdy components of patience, maturity, flexibility, strong interpersonal skills, the ability to work in a cross-cultural and flexible environment and deliver results through innovative problem solving skills.

The role will be based in Gurgaon and report to the Mr. Jay Sehgal, Executive Director, and Board of Directors of the S.M. Sehgal Foundation.

1. Planning, organizing, directing, controlling and monitoring of the operations and overall success of the organization.
2. Lead, motivate, and manage the Human Resources in order to achieve the objectives of the group, and ensure the effective performance of the units. Be a leader and a team builder with excellent ability to get along with people, motivator of people, persuasive and perceptive.
3. Undertake all fund raising efforts for IRRAD and position it to become financially self sustaining.
4. Provide leadership in developing strategic, organizational and financial plans
5. Maintain fiscal responsibility for the annual budget. Implementation of the budgeted activities and reporting on progress to the Board and Executive Director.
6. Represent IRRAD at various conferences and symposiums and establish effective networking with donor and funding organizations.
7. Identify and develop new partnerships with business and community leaders. Work closely with the various project partners to strategize on the way forward on the programs of the Organization.
8. To promote and communicate about the programs & activities of Institute with internal and external stakeholders.
9. Enhance and manage the brand image of the IRRAD as a leading Institute through increasing credibility, accountability and transparency.
10. Ensure development, monitoring and evaluation of all division/departmental functions and ensure implementation of approved recommendations, in order to contribute to the improvement and effectiveness of project operations.

• A visionary with minimum 12-15 years of experience with a successful track record of general management experience and leadership in a professional environment.
• Strong operations management skills, which will involve large scale human resources management, financial & budgetary management, fundraising, organizational development, planning and goal setting activities.
• Strong leadership skills and ability to manage and motivate high performing teams.
• Excellent skills in building & sustaining relationships with multiple stakeholders – government, international partners, national NGO’s, funding agencies and target communities.
• Strong communication & representational skills.

• Good understanding of the work environment in the not-for-profit sector.
• International exposure.

The compensation is commensurate with qualification and experience.

Interested individuals may please submit their CV, a cover note and 3 references by email to with the subject line indicating COO - IRRAD. Please note that only short listed candidates will be contacted. The last date of receiving applications is 10th April 2009.

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

Government Sponsor One month Certificate Course in Age Care

Alzheimer's and Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSI) is organizing a one month Certificate Course for functionaries of NGOs and other age care projects, in association with National Institute of Social Defence, Old Age Care Division at Cochin from 30th March to 29th April 2009 at Ashirbhavan Ernakulam, Kerala.

We invite Social Workers, Counselors, Care takers and other functionaries who are within the age of 25 to 50, and having at least one year work experience in Old age care institutions or in other related programmes or projects working for the well being of the elderly.

Interested persons should contact the address below to confirm the participation as early as possible. The participants will be reimbursed the railway travel, to and fro by three tier AC on producing photocopy of the tickets. The Course materials, lodging and boarding will be provided free of cost during the course as per the guidelines of NISD. On the successful completion of this one month course, the participants will be provided with the Certificate of National Institute of Social Defence, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India.

Contact Urgently:
PHONE 0484 2808088
HELP LINES: 09846198786/09846198471
web site:

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

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Handbook of Practice and Research in Study Abroad

Announcing an extraordinary new resource, The Handbook of Practice and Research in Study Abroad: Higher Education and the Quest for Global Citizenship, edited by Ross Lewin.

If we are all becoming global citizens, what then are our civic responsibilities? Colleges and universities across the United States have responded to this question by making the development of global citizens part of their core mission. A key strategy for realizing this goal is study abroad. After all, there may be no better way for students to acquire the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required to become effective change-agents in international contexts.

The Handbook of Practice and Research in Study Abroad is a comprehensive survey of the field. Each chapter eloquently conveys an enthusiasm for study abroad alongside a critical assessment of the most up-to-date research, theory and practice. This contributed volume brings together expert academics, senior administrators, practitioners of study abroad, and policy makers from across the United States, Canada and other part of the world, who meticulously address the following questions:

*What do we mean by global citizenship and global competence?

*What are the philosophical, pedagogical and practical challenges facinginstitutions as they endeavor to create global citizens?

*How is study abroad and global citizenship compatible with the role of the

*What are the institutional challenges to study abroad, including those related to ethics, infrastructure, finances, accessibility, and quality control?

*Which study abroad programs can be called successful?

The Handbook of Practice and Research in Study Abroad is an indispensable reference volume for scholars, higher education faculty, study abroad professionals, policy makers, and the academic libraries that serve these audiences. It is also appropriate for a wide range of courses in Higher Education Master’s and Ph.D. Programs.

Read More:

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

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Children of Conflict

Kashmir has been simmering in a conflict for two decades now. The issue which is not only protracted but blinding also has taken a massive toll on human lives. The main recipients of this turmoil are the children. In conflict zones their vulnerability is often greatly increased because violence claims their first line of defense - their parents. Over the past two decades, conflict has impacted children more brutally than ever. They are victims of violence, abuse, exploitation, malnutrition, disease, displacement and poverty and witness to the aftermath as well. Their increased isolation from normal functioning of the society has an effect which massively impairs their sense of security and adds to the confusion between judging right and wrong. Where children should be busy with pen and a pencil using their young blossoming minds towards writing their future we often see them hurdling stones, fighting pitch battles on the streets and heading towards other unsocial acts. With the destruction of school buildings, learning centers and frequent strikes, the children are badly affected. Today they have to struggle against an insurgency that is turning deadlier. There are growing reports of an increase in the number of children with psychosomatic disorders and disturbed behavior.
A survey conducted among children in Jammu and Kashmir reveals that children continue to witness, experience and hear of killings and atrocities, and are exposed to physical and emotional violence; they suffer from various psychosomatic and psychiatric ailments. In the Kashmir region, 57.38 per cent of the children have become fearful, 55.36 per cent suffer from depression, and 54.25 per cent cannot sleep. In the mixed parts of the Jammu region, for children living in the migrant camps the corresponding figures are 51.17 per cent, 53.98 per cent and 41.17 per cent.

The data reveals the shattering impact of violence on the children. Children in armed conflict also routinely experience emotionally and psychologically painful events such as the violent death of a parent or close relative; separation from family; witnessing loved ones being killed or tortured; displacement from home and community; exposure to combat and other life-threatening situations; acts of abuse such as being abducted, arrested, held in detention, raped, tortured; disruption of school routines and community life; destitution and an uncertain future. Children of all ages are also strongly affected by the stress levels and situation of their adult caretakers. The psychological and social impact of such conditions brings a disillusioned view about life as a whole. Family relations are altered, emotional ties broken, sense of responsibility hampered leaving children exposed to all kind of hard realities which they are unable to comprehend and deal with. This all in itself is a rapid step towards self destruction and the people responsible for such apathy are none other than us ourselves. Fear and anger generated among youth and children gives rise to unprecedented violence.

In today's world violence is often associated with glamour. When ever stories of conflict, terrorism and possibilities of war are shown in a glamorized way on T.V it easily catches the attention of children. Problems arising by witnessing glamorized part of violence in the media are that it rarely shows the consequences of violent behavior. What is seen is only the shocking act, but not the suffering of the victim, how the victim will cope, punishment or guilt of the perpetrator, or legal or social ramifications? It appears that one can behave violently and walk away from the incident without remorse or punishment. A full story is rarely seen or perceived from what is presented in the media.

Therefore, children believe that they are not responsible for violent behavior, as they hardly see anyone being held responsible for the violent acts they commit.

Research has shown that violent television programs lead children to engage in less imaginative play and instead they simply imitate the violent behavior the saw. They may play "war," pretend to blow things up or recreate violent attacks. When children do engage in this behavior, repercussions are devastating. 

On the other hand parents and the society are equally to be blamed for their condition. We have associated acts of violence as our daily routine. Stone pelting has become a time pass for youth who mettle out their frustration in violent ways. As they face issues like unemployment, corruption, lack of basic enmities and a dark future their empty minds become devils workshop bringing destruction and violence at the doorstep of every home. The last two decades has bought our once thriving economy stumbling down. Each and every business house has suffered huge losses. Families were forced to look for options outside state as almost all the basic infrastructure crumbled down. Those who were fortunate enough to get settled outside slowly rebuilt their lives to some extent but people belonging to the lower economic strata were the biggest sufferers. Result- frustration and anger brewed in them and passed on to the younger generation. The main point to note here is that knowing all the facts about the effect of violence in broader perspective we still never make a sincere effort to either stop it or make people understand the destruction we are heaving on our own selves. Rather than stopping children participating in violent acts we encourage them in one way or another to indulge in these inhuman acts. Isn't it time that we really put our heads together and make an effort where we can live in an atmosphere of peace and prosperity.

A recent visit to a migrant camp in Jammu shows the same sorry state of children. "The condition of children in the migrant camps is pathetic.

They have lost their identity and are struggling to even get two square meals per day. Violence and its aftermath have scarred them for life. In the initial phase, children were scared to see dead bodies and wounded people. After passing through a long course of violence, they have developed resistance and even do not seem to notice them. This tendency has destroyed the creativeness of children and made them violent. The emerging behavior will bring a new culture of violence in society, family and schools. The violent activities are transforming the behavior of the children all over the country. Most of the children are willing to do anything for money and can become easy tools for antisocial elements.

Many children have problems of depression and suppression. If we are unable to rescue the children from violence, the new generation will be more violent.
They need help on all the fronts on urgent basis otherwise we will not only loose the young generation but it will also make the coming generation totally handicapped and directionless" says Sanjay Dhar a social activist who works for the rehabilitation of children in the migrant camps. Sanjay is among very few activists who preach a lesson of secularism, peace and universal brotherhood among children of conflict. 

On this side of the tunnel Dr. Rouf Malik another social activist working with orphans, widows and children describe their lives as nothing more than endless sufferings. "Most of our generation is confused. They even don't realize what they are doing with themselves and the atmosphere of uncertainty around them plays a role of catalyst. Past two decades have seen a mushrooming rise in the number of orphans and young widows. There is no serious thought given by our society and the government towards the dooming future. Everybody lacks compassion and a realistic thought. That is why even small incidents become so violent. It's about time that we give serious thought to this problem or otherwise it will become an epidemic and will consume us as a whole." Dr Rouf Malik has recently won an award by CNN IBN and Reliance Industries Ltd. for a Real Hero. He says that everyone who has compassion for humans and works for humanity is a hero. Humans can only survive when there is peace and development. Violence brings destruction and end to human race. This is to be realized by all of us. Dr Amit Wanchoo a Kashmiri Pandit who grew up in the turmoil and preferred to stay in Kashmir when mostly others migrated says "What kind of society are we are producing when children are being socialized in a hostile and violent situation? Serious thought needs to be given to this issue. The young generation is still in a confused state of turmoil from past 20 years and will remain to be in next 20 years as well, unless immediate steps are taken to address this grave situation.

Kashmiri culture always played a role model in universal brotherhood. Both Muslims as well as Pandits lived together as brothers and sisters. The turmoil has created deep gaps between the two communities and both communities have suffered. It's about time that children from both communities should be bought together and groomed with modern ways of education, so our rich heritage culture is preserved and our society can progress as a whole, as children are the future faces of the state." 

Parents, teachers and the elder members of the society can play a very vital role in shaping a positive and healthy environment around children. Elders, who are the main authority figures in a child's life, need to be calm and reassuring when dealing with real or viewed violence. It is important that adults take care of their needs and deal with their emotion so they can serve children with a god perspective that will help them cope. The difference between possibility and probability of violence happening to children needs to be very clear to them. Children should be encouraged to ask questions and talk about their feelings. It is important that they feel safe to express themselves in order to help children work through their feelings. Adults should empathize with children and reassure them that others are sharing their feelings and that it is normal for them to go through this coping process. It is advisable for children to keep a normal routine to have stability in their lives.

This can include regular school timings, mealtimes, bedtimes, exercise, and family times. Time with the family is crucial and reaffirms parental love for children. Another way to help children cope is to make them distinguish between right and wrong and remind them of their own coping skills. Surely each child can overcome a struggle and emerge strong after the challenge. It is important that adults keep a positive perspective and give reassurance of a positive future to children. Government should also come forward and help in setting regular camps for counseling and psychiatric help should be given to all those who suffer from problems. The psychiatric hospitals should be run on modern lines and serious effort should be made in providing jobs and developing private sectors so our youth works for not only their own betterment but also for the progress of our state.


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

Thursday, March 19, 2009

BEYOND SIGHT - Exhibition of Photographs by the Visually Impaired

You are cordially invited to the opening of BEYOND SIGHT an exhibition of photographs by the visually impaired on Saturday March 21, 2009, 3 pm - 8 pm at West Gallery, Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata.

Beyond Sight is an exhibition of photographs taken by photographers with varying degrees of visual impairment, ranging from partial to total blindness. They use the camera as an extension of “self” to explore the visual world, gain deeper insight while recording their imagination and their point-of-view. Various touch, audio clues, memories of sight, warmth of light, cognitive skills and intuitive abilities are used by the visually impaired to create mental image before they take judgment to take a picture.

The exhibition illuminates a new line of thought distinct from the way we approach photography, celebrates the human spirit of self-expression, helps to sensitize public, facilitates social inclusion and raises funds for the cause of visually impaired.

Along with the normal photographs the exhibition provides touchable “raised” images, Braille footnotes, large prints, visual aids and audio description for the visually impaired visitors.

Beyond Sight exhibition is the culmination of the Blind With Camera project started by Partho Bhowmick in association with the Victoria Memorial School for the Blind in Mumbai. The project is the first of its kind in India and member of a global consortium on art by the blind promoted by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA. Beyond Sight has been exhibited at Mumbai, Bangalore and New Delhi, and presented at several conferences.

Visit the exhibition to experience a world different from the one in which most of us live.

Partho Bhowmick +91- 9821474731,,

This project is supported by Kodak and Unltd India.

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

Children Of A Lesser God? Abandoned And Stricken Too!

In the first ever incident of its kind the state of Uttar Pradesh is struggling with its growing disabled population. As grim as that sounds the fact remains that a single seven year old blind and deaf destitute child has become a huge challenge for not only the government of UP but its citizen's at large as well.

Consider the case of a blind and deaf destitute child Rinku who was abandoned on the railway station at Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh in 2007. The child was picked up a local NGO and brought to the Chattrapatti Sahuji Maharaj Medical University (CSMMU) in Lucknow for treatment for chest congestion. The welfare of the child was not followed up by the NGO thereon.

Following completion of the treatment the child was discharged but there was no one to take his responsibility. After which he was left to fend for himself as no NGO in the city including the one that rescued him came forward to take the child under their care.

For eight months the child continued to live on the footpath of the Paediatric Department at CSMMU while the hospital administration and a social activist working with terminally ill children kept writing and requesting private and state agencies involved in care and protection of the child to take his responsibility and provide him proper shelter and training at the blind school.

But no one came forward and the child continued to be on the footpath. The social welfare commissioner in Lucknow was approached and requested for admitting the child to Sparsh Blind School In Mohan Road in Lucknow. A letter was issued by the Commissioner to the Principal of Blind School Omkar Nath Shukla and the child was given admission in Class One.

On the condition that a guardian be provided to take the child home during holidays. Conditions were fulfilled and guardianship for the child arranged for to help facilitate the admission of the child by Saaksham Foundation, an organization working for protection of child rights.

But when the Blind School was approached after fulfilling the conditions they refused to admit the child asking that the NGO go to court and legally adopt the child first if they wanted to admit the child.

The case was then brought before the Child Welfare Committee in Lucknow on 3 February 2009. The five member committee ruled in favor of the child and instructed the Blind School to give the child admission as all the procedures were fulfilled. The order was then produced to the Blind School.

In complete defiance of the order the principal flatly refused to accept the child stating he did not recognise the authority of the CWC. He again placed the condition before the Saaksham Foundation that they have to go to court and legally adopt the child.

The matter was brought to the notice of the CWC members on 4th Feb 2009. The five member committee in a well meaning move then instructed handing over the child Rinku to Child Line Lucknow from where he was to be sent to an orphanage for normal children at Mohan Road.

This again meant that the child was denied his right to get admission to a school that would benefit him and give him proper care and protection, especially in view of the fact that the state lacks a special home for children with multi disability.

But Rinku is not the only child who raises a question mark when it comes to rehabilitation, care and protection of children suffering from multi-disabilities and abandoned by their families due to it.

As per data available between 2007-2008 with Child Line Lucknow, out of the 27 new born abandoned children, 21 were females and handicapped either mentally or physically. While out of 19 boys abandoned, 10 were handicapped and out the total 50 found abandoned in one year 31 were handicapped and females. The numbers though are on the rise even now.

Informs Dharamendra Singh Chauhan, a para professional at ChildLine Lucknow who has conducted many such rescues, "The problem of rehabilitation and care and protection of handicapped and destitute children is a huge one. Specially when in the absence of a home dedicated just for such children with special needs. No NGO or government home is ready to take the children we rescue if they have a disability and if they suffer from multi-disability the rejection from these homes is a surety. Most institutions plead lack of expertise and specially trained staff to care for these children and turn them away. The worst resistance is faced from NGOs and government run Bal Grihas and orphanages when we have to place mentally challenged children with them."

Quoting a recent example, Chauhan says, "Recently a 11 years old mentally challenged child was brought to child line. He had been abandoned at a residential colony in Lucknow. We produced him before the five member bench of the Child Welfare Committee UP who ordered for the child to be sent to government run home at Rajikiya Bal Griha for boys at Mohan Road. Orders were complied with and we took the child there but the Director refused to admit the child and turned us away. We had no option but to bring the child back to child line and he is still staying at the call helpline centre which doesn’t have adequate facilities to care for him and his condition is indeed pathetic."

As is the state of another two year blind old girl also abandoned on the streets of a market place. She too has no takers either at the state run orphanages or shelters run by NGOs. And this despite the state government sanctioning a monetary help of Rs 850 for ever child that is housed at its state run orphanages.

With the numbers of children with multi-disability being abandoned on the rise in UP the lack of any home or orphanage to house them the situation is indeed worrisome.

Says Sapna Upadhyaya, a social activist with sick and abandoned children at CSMMU, "The options to place girls with multi-disabilities is also non-existent in UP. Though some are sent to the government run Rajkiya Bal Griha for girls at Motinagar, the condition is horrifying as no special care is available for them and neither are they segregated from the normal children. The effect it has on underage girls is emotionally very troubling, thus a separate facility with specialized care is of utmost importance for such children."

This is something that the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) has been asking the government for years now.

Avers Dr Brigeetha VV, Chairman, CWC, "It is very unfortunate that there is no option for such children. Despite 10% of the population of the city having such special children no effort has been made up to now to provide an option for destitute children who are also suffering from multi disabilities like deafness, blindness, mental retardation etc. Every time such a child is brought before the committee it is a huge challenge for us to find a place to send them to. But Following Rinku's case which is the worst ever brought before us we have decided enough is enough. The committee will be meeting with some government officials soon and seeking to set up a home for such children. For years now we have been asking the government to provide us a building to run as a home for such children and even suggested to give the staff trained to care for them a pay scale grade higher than the staff at orphanages for normal children but government has not responded."

Sadhna Mehrotra, also a member of the CWC committee and Secretary Laxmi, Women and Child Welfare Organisation, feels,"NGOs have no right to refuse a destitute child shelter. They have set up organisations to work for such children, yet we have seen in Rinku's case that making the disabilities he is suffering from an excuse every NGO that CSMMU administration contacted refused to accept the child forcing him to live on the footpath in CSMMU for eight months which is inhuman. There are many children like him who are suffering like this so CWC has decided to take concrete steps to urge the state government to set up a home for such children and staff it with teachers and care givers with trained to take of such children with special needs."

But will it work?

Says A Singh, Director, Saaksham Foundation, a local NGO that is campaigning for protection of child rights in Lucknow, "When it comes to fighting for legal rights of such children as per the Juvenile Justice Act 2006 (Care and Protection) the scenario is shameful in UP. Most NGOs, police and related agencies don't even know the proper procedure of getting these acts implemented. The apathetic attitude of the government makes it even more difficult to get these children their right to care and protection despite all the laws being in place."

Augustine Veliath, Communication Specialist, UNICEF, Lucknow, commenting on their stand on the attitude towards special children in the state said, "How long are we supposed to be duty bearers because of the excuse of not having specialized care. If the skills are non-existent to care for special children with multi-disabilities then the state government should now launch a programme to provide to find out where such training is available and how to get it. It is the right of a child to get inclusive protection without any discrimination. Special children have a right to go to normal schools and live as part of the normal community and whenever we come face to face with such children in the society it gives us an opportunity to make them a part of the community. For which specialised skills to do that needs to be acquired."

But who will help do that is the question to be reckoned.

By Anjali Singh


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

Jago Senior Citizens: Wake up its General Election 2009

An Appeal by Senior Citizens NGO to All Political Parties

Election for Indian Parliament the 15th Loksabha are going to be held in April & May 2009.Its a gigantic exercise for one of the world best known democracy.

But still after more then 62 yrs. of Independence and democracy experiment there are segments of people who are not treated at par with others, there is injustice and discrimination towards them.

One of the most neglected and ignored segment is of Senior Citizens. Elders are not considered as part of mainstream, there is unjust treatment to those who gain 60 years of age, they are suddenly considered ‘Retired’, good for nothing. Government and Civil Society are not bothered of this experienced and skill group of people.

Population of people above 60 years of age is estimated to be 86 million in 2008.The Life span has increased by 60% in 60 yrs. India has today second largest population of Senior Citizens.

The Indian subcontinent boasts of our ‘Great Joint Family’ ‘The Traditional Family’ System where we used to respect, care and love our elders, our parents. Due to Globalization and New lifestyle there is increasing number of Abuse, Neglect and Abandon case with regards to Senior Citizens.

India is gradually undergoing a demographic change. With decline in fertility and mortality rates accompanied by an improvement in child survival, better health care and increased life expectancy, a significant feature of demographic change is the progressive increase in the number of elderly persons. The gradual Urbanization of Rural India is also a new trend to worry.

Over and above a Step Motherly treatment by Federal and State Government is making situation worse for our Elderly. There is ministry for Women, Children, Youth, Environment; there is National Commission for Minority, Women and Population but the 7.5% of Elderly are represented by the congested and overloaded Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MSJE) .Senior Citizens is only part of NICE in NISD of MSJE.

The Indian government after many years of debate finally declared the National Policy of the Older Persons (NPOP) in January 1999, the International Year of the Older Persons. The policy highlights the rising elderly population and an urgent need to understand and deal with the medical, psychological and socio-economic problems faced by the elderly.However the Federal Government emphasis on Intra Ministry roles. It delegates roles to State government and NGO. The Central government has washed off its hand smartly giving responsibility to State government. Till date the NPOP is not implemented.

In a reply to one of the RTI application it was shocking to note that most of the ministry like Finance, Transport, Health, Education were not aware of NPOP, nor there was any concert plan. It is sad to note that still today there is NO uniformity of age for classification of senior citizens between different ministry and state government.

It has been more then 10 years now for NPOP but it has not been implement by Central government nor adopted by many states government.

With regards to protection from Law and Social Security there has been no tough initiative. In December 2008 Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act was passed by central government but still it has been not implement by many states and also those state who have implement the act, the local government has not made serious effort to make Tribunals and address the problems. There is need for pan-india political and social will.

Though there are handful of NGO and Association working for the cause of Senior Citizens, There is an urgent need for United Forum to fight for injustice and issues of seniors, there is need to address the problems and work United on solution for the benefits of Elderly.

A Private and Public partnership can be one way to provide innovation services and products. Psycho and social problems of the elderly needs to be attended urgently.

World over the Concept of Community base services and Ageing in Place is now promoted. The Welfare State concept is loosing its grip as government around the World can’t afford the expense. UN has now accepted the fact the Traditional Family are the best place to Age and best place to provide Care for Aged.

We Indians also should not expect much from Government except Laws, Protection and Innovative schemes for Social Security. Civil Society – People, NGO’s, Corporate should come forward and work for the welfare of Elders.

But all this will happen until Senior Citizens come together, Until Senior Citizens raise their voice. There is urgent need to be united and make a joint Call to all the Political Parties and Government for Separate Ministry for Senior Citizens. There is need for Proactive and Vibrant Ministry. We at ‘Silver Inning Foundation’ have been making this demand for last one year in various forums and conferences.

The growing population and voice of senior Citizens can’t be ignored. At present India has around 7.5% of Elderly out of total population, but Senior Citizens constitute to around 13% of Voters.

This 13% huge and powerful and unrecognized segment of voters can’t be left alone, they can’t be ignored. Political Parties has to include projects and programmes for the benefits of Elderly in their respective Manifesto. Government has to address the issues and problem of ever growing population of Elderly. This is warning call to all political parties if you ignore elderly then this strong 13% will rise and will make days difficult for you.

Senior Citizens don’t be scared to ask your political party / leader what they have done for your and what are their plan for your welfare. Vote for those who will support your cause. Support those who will work for less privilege and who are non corrupt. You have to help yourself. Remember last Parliament had around 300 Member of Parliament (MP) above age of 60yrs and they have not spoken for you.

Following are the Recommendation and Demand for political parties and the Government for the befit of Senior Citizens:

  1. A separate and dedicated Ministry for Elderly
  2. Review of NPOP and make it ‘National Senior Citizens Act’
  3. Immediate implementation of Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act
  4. National Commission for Senior Citizens
  5. Uniform Age to be declared for classification of Senior Citizens, which should be 60
  6. Years
  7. Four Digit National Helpline
  8. To have different plan/policy for Oldest Old, people who are 80yreas plus
  9. Comprehensive Medical Insurance plan
  10. Comprehensive Social Security/Protection Plan, like tax when young
  11. Promotion of Multi-service community Gero-Care Centre
  12. Promotion of Intergeneration Solidarity / project and course in High Schools and Colleges
  13. Specialization of Geriatrics in Medical and Gerontology in MSW
  14. Geriatric Wards in Municipal and Private Hospitals
  15. Professional Training
  16. Comprehensive Law to protect interest of Senior Citizens
  17. Promotion of CSR and NGO for Elderly
  18. Promotion of R & D for various aspects of Geriatrics and Gerontology
  19. Promotion of R & D for products and services
  20. Promotion of Private sector in Product manufacturing and Services
  21. To have National Nodal agency for Elder Abuse
  22. To promote Community services
  23. To promote Ageing at place
  24. To appoint Welfare officer or special cell in each Police Station for Elder Abuse, similar to Child welfare officer / Women cell
  25. Special Training and Awareness campaign for Empowerment of Elderly
  26. Promotion for Micro Credit facility
  27. Promotion of Life Long Learning and Recreation centers
  28. Promotion of organisation for Second career opportunity
  29. Promotion of programmes for Social Inclusion and Mainstreaming
  30. Promotion of Equal Opportunity and Non Discrimination
  31. To mark World Elders Day as National Event in all government department, private sectors and Educational institutions
  32. Promotion of Universal Design: Elder Friendly Infrastructure / City / Designs
  33. Monitoring and Guidelines for Old Age Homes, Care centers and service providers, to protect rights of Elderly
  34. National Dementia Policy
  35. Promotion of Old Age homes only for needy, its should be criminal offense if Elders are pushed into Old Age Homes
  36. To adopt Rights of Elderly like Child Rights
  37. To have guidelines of Ethics for media when they report and show Senior Citizens
  38. Guidelines for Police Station with regards to Senior Citizens
  39. Subsidy for Health care , Long Term Care and Medicine for those who cant afford
  40. Promotion of ICT and Technology
  41. Promotion of Health and Fitness from young age
  42. Promotion of Alternative and Indian Medicine for benefits of aged and all
  43. Promotion of Private sector in medical Service, Insurance and Care with protection of interest for Elders

Please remember that “Ageing is not 'lost youth ‘but a new stage of opportunity and strength”.

Let’s come together and Work for Society for All Age. Let’s support the cause and let Elderly live in peace with security and dignity.

About Silver Inning Foundation:

Silver Inning Foundation is registered ‘Not for Profit’ organisation dedicated for Senior Citizens and Its family. It is part of Silver Innings.Com a comprehensive and dedicated Website for Elderly. It is one of the youngest and growing organisations launched on 10th April 2008.

About Sailesh Mishra:

Sailesh is Founder President of Silver Inning Foundation and has experience of around four years in the Elderly segment. He found that this segment is most neglected and ignored. He has left his well paid corporate job to work in the field of social work. He has won Karamveer Puraskaar 2008 and is Won UnLtd India Investee 2008 award. He has also undergone ‘International Training programme in Social Gerontology’ at INIA,UN at Malta. He is also actively involved with SSS global and Alzheimer’s Society of India (ARDSI). He has launched a dedicated Website for Elderly He also has to his credit two Blogs: and .

Vital Statistics:

  • Aged as per 2001 Census 76 Million: 7.5% of Total population (76 million) ,in 2008 it was estimated 86 million.
  • Aged Male : 37 million: 7.1% of total population
  • Aged Female 38 million: 7.8% of total population

  • According to UN by 2050, nearly 20% of India’s population will comprise of people over the age of 60 years
  • According to UN urban population in India will increase from 30 % in 2010 to more than 50 % by 2045.

  • According to UNICEF Life expectancy in India :

Ø In 1951 42 yrs

Ø In 1970 49 yrs

Ø In 1990 58 yrs

Ø In 2005 64 yrs

Ø In 2008 68.6 yrs

  • 63 % old population in 1991 (36 million) is in the age group 60-69years. Often referred to as young old or not so old, while 11 % (6 million) is in the age group 80 years and over i.e in the older old or very old category.
  • Poverty among the Elderly: estimated that about 6 % of the poor persons, i.e. about 16.3 million persons above the age of 60 years and poor.
  • Illiteracy: In 1981, among the elderly males, only 34.79 % were literate as against 46.89 % in the overall male population. Among the female elderly, only 7.89 per cent were literate as against 24.82 % in the overall female population.
  • Employment: the employment of rural and urban elderly during the period from 1961 to 1981, there seems to be a marked downward trend -due to adoption of new technology or methods of production difficult for the elderly or work conditions have become harder and unsuitable for them.
  • Dependency: Majority of the elderly in both rural (50.78 %) and urban (57.35%) areas are totally dependent on others for economic support. About 15.20 % of the elderly in rural areas and 13.71 % of the elderly in the urban areas are partially dependent on others.
  • Living Arrangements: About 7.31 % of the elderly in rural areas as against 5.54 % of the elderly in the urban areas are living alone. This is quite contradictory to the popular notion that the rural families tend to keep their elderly relatives with them more than their urban counterparts.
  • Health Problems and Physical Disabilities: 45 % of the rural elderly are chronically ill - 45.01 % men and 45.85 % women. In the urban areas, 44.82 % of the elderly (45.49 % women and 44.34 % men) are chronically ill. Cough and problem of joints are the most common health problems. As far as physical disabilities are concerned, in the rural areas, 5.4 % of all the elderly (6.8 % females and 4.4 % males) are physically disabled while in the urban areas, 5.5 % of all the elderly (6.7 % females and 4.7 % males) are physically disabled.
  • Elder Abuse: According to a rough estimate, nearly 40 % of older people living with their families are reportedly facing abuse of one kind or another, but only 1 in 6 cases actually comes to light.Most elders are ill-treated by their own children, who have emerged as the largest group of perpetrators at 47.3 %. Neglect is the most common form of abuse at 48.7 % followed by emotional/psychological, financial exploitation, physical abuse and abandonment respectively. There is growing number of insecurity, injustice and abuse in Elderly in India
  • Dementia and Alzheimer's: In India according to study by Dr.Saji approx 2.6% people over 60 yrs of age suffer from some form of Dementia and out of this 50% suffer from Alzheimer's.

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