index Cover Story
core team Pawas Jain Faguni Jain Shreya Deora Sankalp Agrawal Designing: Manthan Marvaniya website designer: siddharth jain
All and Sundry
Some believe in strategies. Some believe in mar-
keting. We, at SpringTide, believe in innovation. Capital and experiences come with the flow of time. What matters is an â€˜ideaâ€™. The idea of bringing the youngsters from across the nation together on a common platform to read, write, share, discuss and raise their voice, was the very thrust of SpringTide. Today, with releasing of this issue, we complete a year of our existence. A successful year or not, this cannot be judged. In all these months, we had never thought on the lines of making money or generating revenue or in terms of business. What we thought about was innovation, ideas and path-breaking decisions that could provide our readers and members with the best online reading experience. We aimed at providing complete entertainment along with awareness and knowledge. We have come a long way in a year, but still this is just a beginning. With some more very crucial decisions being taken and some new ideas being incorporated, we are moving step by step towards success and gathering more support from Indian youth with zeal and enthusiasm. We have had our share of lows in this year where I, as a founder and we, as a team, felt very distressed or when the results were not as expected. But when you rise above the storm, you find the sunshine and so did we. There were times when responses and feedbacks were very uplifting and much better than expected. Such times kept us moving.When every now and then, we received an email saying that our venture touched a soul or somebody thought we were doing a great job, it felt as if we had conquered a world.
Of course, no big step is taken alone. I would love to use this opportunity to thank the very enthusiastic and bright team of young and dynamic people working for us with love and sense of ownership. The good part is, everyone has ideas and everyone is superbly talented, because when everyone thinks alike, no one is thinking. Therefore, a varied opinion is needed at every step. It makes me immensely happy to note that SpringTide Team has Hindu, Muslim and Christian members working together towards getting awesome outcomes every day. I would like to give a special mention to Faguni Jain, Shreya Deora, Manthan Marvaniya, Dennis Dey, Siddharth Jain, Samar Ahmed, Ayush Bhuyan, Sneha Goswami and all our writers, contributors, readers and fans who have continuously given us feedback, supported us and appreciated us and kept us alive. We are introducing a whole new interface and a new concept, which we sincerely hope is well received and loved by one and all. We are also going to make some radical changes in our functioning for the better and we look forward to a great response from all our members. I extend a very heartfelt thanks to everyone young at heart, out there! Kudos! Pawas Jain Chief Editor @SpringTide
The Youth has judged the NATIO
December 2012 | 4
December 2012 | 5
SpringTide Magazine carried out a nationwide online survey on the occasion of its anniver-
sary issue. The 12-day survey was amazingly received and the response was much better than we had expected. Youngsters of the country participated enthusiastically in the survey and sent us their feedback and comments in huge numbers. We extend a heartfelt thanks to all our readers, viewers and respondents for this amazing response to our first survey. In fact, Utkarsh Pandey feels that “The survey carried out is very cool as it contains all questions related to today’s affairs!” The success of the survey and honesty in the answers clearly proved that there exists a spark in the youth of our country, to change the way things are happening. Some expected responses and some startling revelations have made this survey very exciting for all of us. With 69.8% of the respondents belonging to the age group of 18-20, college students have actively sent us their responses. 20.9% of the responses are from the people belonging to the age group of 21-25. 58.1% of respondent were males, however it is very overwhelming that females have been more active in sending us their feedback and comments. We present you a Cover Story report on “India: Judged!” compiled and designed by SpringTide Team where “you” have judged your country!
CORRUPTION, THE DISRUPTION! When the youth of India was questioned about the biggest social problem of the country, we had a clear answer. For one option receiving a clear majority, Corruption was a winner in the entire survey. 81.4% of people voting for Corruption as India’s most major social problem clearly indicate the level of frustration and disappointment among the people of the country. With the newspapers covered with new scandals and scams of thousands of crores of rupees every morning, corruption has undoubtedly become the bad patch on the face of our nation. Since multiple answers were invited in this question, 25.6% also feel that crimes against women are India’s most major social problem. For sure, the increasing cases of rape, not even sparing college campuses, and eve teasing becoming a common feature of Indian public places, crime against women has to be a very major problem of our nation. This is a problem where we, as citizens, need to take urgent steps towards solving it. SpringTide feels that government should take immediate steps in the direction of solving the deep rooted and now common problem of corruption. Also, the creation of new party by Arvind Kejriwal, with the name “Aam Aadmi Party”, might prove to be a fresh wave of breeze, reassuring people that they will bring in a strong Lokpal Bill. At the same time, urgent measures need to be taken to ensure women safety in each and every city, village and town of the country.
2012 – THE YEAR OF SCAMS! From the list of 5 major scams that were brought to light in 2012, when people of India were asked which one angered them the most, Coal Scam was on the top of the list with 51.2% of people voting for the same. 1.86 lakh crores worth of scam, popularly known as #CoalGate, Coal scam has pulled some major political leaders and parties of the country in a messy puddle. SpringTide does not opine on allegations and sub judice cases, but a scandal coming to light in something as widespread as coal December 2012 | 6
Reliance industries scam and Robert Vadra’s alleged relations with DLF, both unearthed by the team of Arvind Kejriwal on national media, also amassed 16.3% of votes each. This clearly means that people have been paying heed to the repeated allegations of Arvind Kejriwal and have followed him sincerely. The steps taken by him and his team have definitely put some of the major players of the country into a mess and somewhere we feel that this was much required in a vast country like ours. SpringTide strongly feels that enquiry should be carried out in all such cases and those involved should immediately resign on moral grounds and present themselves for complete checking.
AIYYAA. OUCH. OOPS! Moving on to India’s most loved and uplifting topic, BOLLYWOOD, we asked our readers and visitors about 2012’s most disappointing comeback of a female actor. The results were not surprising, we must say. Although there was a mixed response and many performances were considered as disappointing by the viewers. With 37.2% of votes, Rani Mukherjee took away the award for her much irritating performance in Aiyaa. For an actress as talented and beautiful as Rani Mukherjee, the role that she played in Aiyaa was a total spoiler. We feel sorry for her fans. 23.3% of people felt that Manisha Koirala’s return was more horrifying than Bhoot Returns. This was not surprising at all considering the fact that the movie as well as the collections was a total horror at the box office. 20.9% of people did not welcome Preity Zinta back with Ishq in Paris and felt that “her days were long gone”. It is a notable fact that only 4.7% of people felt Sridevi’s performance in English Vinglish to be disappointing, which means that her acting and role is still something that people love and look forward to. Kudos to India’s biggest female superstar!
OMG! SWEET TOOTH! This was the most expected response from people, as our SpringTide team feels. It is very exciting to see that on being asked about the best offbeat movie of 2012, an equal percentage of 27.9% people voted for ‘Oh My God!’ and ‘Barfi’. Undoubtedly these two movies have successfully carved out their niche in the era of commercial and masala cinema.The sensitivity of ‘Barfi’ and the thought provoking, relevant arguments of ‘Oh My God!’ were definitely worth a huge applause. Again, an equal percentage of 16.3% of votes were casted for ‘Vicky Donor’ and ‘Gangs of Wasseypur (I and II)’. These two were also amazing offbeat movies that went on to become huge hits despite the lack of big star cast or huge funding. These are a few movies which reinstate our faith in Indian cinema and assure us that for the lovers of meaningful, artful, deep and sensible cinema, Bollywood is working very hard. December 2012 | 7
FILTH, AND WHO DID IT? Personally, SpringTide team considered this to be the most important question on the survey. Since this questions directly talks about the major problem of Indian cities and localities. It is this question that tries to explore the areas which require immediate concern at the grass root level. “I think that the major concerns that need to be taken care of, are women empowerment and providing knowledge to everyone, the reason for all the problems we face in today’s India are because of lack of knowledge amongst the people.” A Respondent Kartikeya Bajpai aptly remarks in his feedback. With all the talks of corruption and scandals surrounding us, SpringTide team was well surprised to see the people’s reaction on being asked about the thing that irks or irritates them the most in their locality/city/town. Instead of the most popular word “Corruption” these days, it is worth noting that people are very troubled and disturbed with Dirty and polluted surroundings and living conditions in all major and minor cities of our country. Around 30.2% of people voted for dirty surroundings as the thing that infuriates them the most. However, SpringTide here wishes to make a point. The point being that a major reason of the filthy environment is the population itself. We, ourselves throw out waste in open, pee on walls, spit on roads, throw packets, polythene and all kinds of thrash in open and then complain about the dirty surroundings. After all we should remember, that we have to be the ‘change’ that we want to see around us. Prashali Gurnani, lays stress on this opinion by saying “I personally feel that India is in a critical state. It’s becoming suffocated every single day.The reason for this is the Increasing laziness among the Indians. We proudly call ourselves as Indians, but have we ever given a thought as to what have we done to improve India from its present state. It’s never too late to mend. A lot can still happen. There’s still time.....Get Up and make INDIA shine...” Moreover, 20.9% people voting for traffic problem also indicates towards a major drawback in our infrastructure as well as our own traffic sense. Lane driving and following of traffic rules sanely have not been stressed enough. Besides, in developing 2 tier cities, it becomes all the more important to manage the traffic at this level itself, to prevent it from becoming a menace in future. 16.3% of people are disturbed and troubled by the rising prices, which has obviously been one of the most stressed and exploited political topic. Inflation has become a throat infection of our economy and due to major flaws in policy frameworks and structural red-tapism, prices have increased by manifolds in recent months. Petrol, gas, most vegetables, dals, basic necessity items like rice, atta, sugar, salt have shown steep increase in cost and have proved to be a major setback to poor part of the population. Also, 11.6% of people are irritated with beggars on the streets, public places, temples, traffic signals etc. It is a very common fact of our country and in fact some major cities as well. In national capital Delhi, it has been observed how eunuchs trouble people at traffic signals and stoop down to the cheapest levels of harassment and embarrassment, forcing the innocent people to pay money. Some state governments like Rajasthan and Gujarat have taken strict measures to eradicate begging in recent months and such steps are looked forward to in the rest of the country. Surprising portion of this question was that only 2.3% of people considered population explosion as a major problem.This is sad as well as a matter of concern. People of India, especially the younger lot, need to understand the grave issue of population explosion immediately. If we do not pay heed to this warning, the pressure on our already diminishing resources is going to increase forever. Urgent steps need to be taken in this direction and if need be, we will have to follow China. After all, China should be followed for the right things only! December 2012 | 8
CHANGE. THE COUNTRY NEEDS IT. Finally our survey took the harsher road, and we invited people to choose the thing that they immediately want to change about this country. This is a question, which most of the political parties should be asking themselves and most of the leaders should be following. However when SpringTide put up this question, the youth of India clearly expressed their concern over the educational situation of our country, in unity. After all, education IS and WILL ALWAYS BE the solution to each and every deep rooted problem. Akanksha Misra points out, “With more than half of population being Youth, India is supposed to be actually a Young Nation contradictory to what ‘tis at present -- an old disappointment. Perhaps, it is the time to break the shackles of caste, economic status and ‘power to the old sharks’. As a youth, I want Change. We need it!” As high as 39.5% people want to remove the caste based reservations from educational institutions. Our survey knows no geographical, religious or caste based bifurcations. Undoubtedly, the united youth of India needs a radical policy change and wants to incorporate an educational framework with no reservations for any particular caste or community. Mantasha Husain expressed her concern by saying,“The reservation system must be eradicated, and help should be given to the financially weaker section of the society for education”. A respondent Arti Sahu underlines the importance of education and tells us, “No human society exists without education, and it has become another poignant metaphor for us!” Definitely, measures and ways for the upbringing of backward classes have to be explored, but reservation in educational institutions is surely not the way out. In fact, caste based reservations have become the political agenda of parties in India, to garner caste votes or “vote bank”. 23.3% of people feel that we need a fundamental and far reaching change in our judicial system, especially to quick decision making in respect of terrorist cases and crimes against women. SpringTide truly feels that the rate of crimes against women including eve teasing, rapes, and honour killing etc. in our country is an international shame for us. In a country where at one hand girls are considered to be goddesses, such incidents and crimes should be tackled with, very seriously. Mansi Kapuria, infuriated at the state of things expresses herself, “We need immediate actions against criminals to let go off the mentality that anyone can do anything in India and can get away with it easily due to the poor and unstructured Legislative System. We being the youth should come forward to make the change and make our country a better place to live”. Also, terrorist activities which spread horror, unrest and alarm among innocent population should be severely dealt with. Fast track special courts should be set up and strictest punishments should be given to the wrong doers within shortest possible time frame. A respondent Shruti Singh says, “India is a developing country and a good judiciary and an executive body is urgently needed for further development.” Surprising is the fact that 20.9% of our population demands our leaders and politicians to be graduates at least. For contesting elections of any legislative body, it should be made mandatory for the contestant to be a graduate. This will largely abolish the practice of criminals and goons coming into the administration and also largely reduce the money power in our politics. Finally 11.6% of people feel that a dual party system should be incorporated in India. If not that, we sincerely feel that converting our political system into a presidential format will be much better.Vishal Singh, from Lucknow expressed his opinion on the changes required in the legislature. He says, “Not only would I like to change the political agenda, but also build more portfolios in the Indian legislature.” However, the political framework and structure of a country is developed after years of thinking and decades of practice.The need of the hour is to improve the existing system so much so that we have the best people elected to administer the country. December 2012 | 9
December 2012 | 10
INDIA: JUDGED! Youth’s rating for our country India on a scale of 10 –
5.67 The rating given to their own country by the youngsters is definitely not a good one. The clear reason behind it is that the population is distressed and saddened at the state of affairs and the current happenings across the nation. The confidence in the political setup has already shaken and the economic slowdown is causing further depression. However, there are still some optimistic youngsters, say 9.3% of people who rated India at 8 out of 10, and 2.3% of people who voted for a 9! As Divya Nambiar says,“India is a golden peacock. Some of its gems have gathered dust. It’s time to polish them and make it resplendent!” This shows that in the dark corner of our hearts, some assurance still lives, of seeing this nation changing for good. SpringTide hopes that in coming few years, the rating improves and the confidence of youngsters is reinstated so that we can practically create a reverse brain drain with better opportunities and good living conditions. After all, partying and discoing is not all that the youth of India wants! A respondent from Jaipur, Shreya Dhadda, sums it up perfectly for us by saying, “There’s a lot more confined within. Each day, there’s a new story. Let’s hope that each story meets its end, gradually.”
SPRINGTIDE OPINION SpringTide stands for some very strong and radical changes in structural framework of the country. We stand for complete freedom of expression and stand against the social media censorship. We lay a great stress on fast paced decision taking courts for women crimes, rape cases and terror activities. Also, the root of all problems in our country lies in the lack of education. It is high time that the government is power focuses on providing best education at all levels of the system. Proper education at least till higher secondary is urgently required. Follow up systems need to be installed in all localities and villages where schools exist but just as a heritage building. Only with every student educated in our country, we can hope for some path breaking changes in the system. After all, we have to BE the change; we want to see in the world. We hope for a better future and some positive changes in voting at the time of elections! Let us use the power we have, because just by sitting at our homes we cannot abuse the current state of things. We have to do our bit and show our solidarity at the time of elections by preventing corrupt and scandalous people from being re-elected! Palack Agarwal, a Team member of AIESEC Lucknow says, “A righteous person will talk of judgement and will not refuse to judge! Youth has immense power to bring change if we judge right and act accordingly A good piece of work SpringTide!”
“Darkness” Prashali Gurnani (The Poetess is a Member of GCDP-ICX (ET), AIESEC Lucknow)
Sorrow, sadness, darkness. What’s the difference? You still feel lifeless. So dark, you can’t see Who to trust, who to go to when in trouble, Who are you suppose to be. Am I suppose to be what others want me to be or be free to be me? If I get angry or upset Should I release it or conceal it? Life....so many questions yet So little answers. Should I confront? or continue to run? My life feels over Finish, gone, done. But I will pray ‘til the day I die, When my soul releases from my body, And to this cruel world I wave good-bye.
December 2012 | 11
CAREER AS A PROFESSIONAL
First things first, if you are considering starting a blog with making money as a goal, there are many things to consider, besides where to put your advertising. It is a known fact that creating and maintaining a successful website is incredibly challenging, especially if you are more concerned with profits and page hits than creating interesting content.
Most successful websites and blogs start out as an avenue for a particular interest or as an outlet for creativity or emotion. Think about the area or niche that you’re passionate about – whether it is music, technology, fashion, social justice or exotic insects of South America. It needs to be a topic that excites you and inspires you to start talking. Once you establish your own blog and your area of expertise, invest quality time in growing your online presence. To be considered an expert and knowledgeable in your topic, you need to develop your credibility by networking online. Take the time to view the websites where blogging jobs are posted and apply to the ones in your area of expertise. You need to commit to your blogger job search, because many qualified bloggers apply to every blogging job. You need to apply quickly to be considered. Many bloggers fall into the trap of assuming that all of their income will be generated by selling ads. While advertising can be a great source of income, you should never rely on that alone. You’ll need to have an incredibly popular blog to ever earn a full-time income solely on advertising. Additionally, reliance on one form of income is less stable than if you have multiple sources. In addition to ads and affiliate programs, you may be able to make some money by selling premium content or by selling your own products. December 2012 | 12
If you’re currently only producing income through ads, look for some affiliate programs that you can promote on your blog. If you’re able to find the right affiliate products you can not only increase your income, but you can also help your readers by introducing them to some great products.
What You Will Need to Become a Pro Blogger?? Dedication – Having a career as a blogger is work, and it requires being
dedicated to success. There will always be struggles and temptations to give up along the way, but those who are cut out for pro blogging will push through those obstacles.
Some Time – Developing a money-making blog doesn’t happen overnight. Most bloggers aren’t in a position where they can quit their full-time job and just replace their income with their blog. If you’re willing to take some time and make progress with consistent work, pro blogging is a possibility.
A Strong Network – Every successful blogger has surrounded themselves with a strong network of other bloggers. Be involved with others in your niche and make an effort to develop some solid friendships with others.
The Ability to Develop Content and Market a Blog – Pro bloggers aren’t always the best writers out there, but they all have found ways to create content that draws attention and a response from readers. Additionally, being able to market that content is equally important.
The Ability to Run a Business – A money-making blog is very much a real and legitimate business. Several major blogs are really more like a business than a blog (example, TechCrunch, Mashable, ReadWriteWeb). If your business skills are lacking, this is an area that you may want to develop.
December 2012 | 13
INSPIRATIONS by Arushi Misra
There are many invisible lives around us that never stop inspiring us, though; it’s our eyes that fail to see those little things that have meanings bigger than infinity. The innocence of a baby? Let it be the first thing, which should inspire you. First, because it’s the very first stage of your existence... A baby, doesn’t knows his surroundings... he’s totally innocent to the unpredictable vagaries of the world. He’s innocent to words like anger, hate, fight or quarrel. You, might have noticed as well...
When parents quarrel the baby starts crying, though being unaware what it is... He senses the negative vibe around him quiet strongly. He smiles back when you smile at him, just because of the twinkle in your eye he does not thinks or decides who to smile back to and whom to ignore. He’s one unprejudiced soul, an epitome of purity and innocence. He will accept you the way you are and expect nothing in return. Be it your small house or a big palace... He doesn’t care. He’ll cry when he’ll feel hungry and will let the world know about it. He’ll sleep when he’s sleepy... He doesn’t care if he is dressed or not... As this is the way he was born. Of course we’ll never get the innocence back, because maybe this is another law of nature. As we grow up we should learn to survive. Innocence, though, it’s pretty in all forms dies away slowly beneath the layer of emotions, experience, tensions and the rules
December 2012 | 14
that bound us in an invisible cage. What inspiration WE can take... at the most is to be unprejudiced ... To be CLEAR in your decisions,... and, as my friend says, to be YOURSELF... rather than covering yourself up and moulding it for other’s acceptance. :) ... The second thing that may inspire you is a tree. A short, though Meaningful inspiration... A tree... It sheds its leaves in the winter season but stands there straight. During the winters, it is left alone and aloof by the selfish people... It stands frozen all the days and nights... Till the spring season melts the layer of ice on its branch and a tiny bud invigorates into a lovely pink flower... And slowly and slowly, the leaves start showing themselves up. At That time... it adds “scenic” pleasure to our eyes... surrounded with birds and butterflies and getting all the attention and appreciation by people. During summers... When the evening sun is low and the breezes is cool people sit under it... and doze off to sleep with a book in their hands... the carefree days of “green”... during Rains they stand in its shed for the all possible precautions from getting wet. And the autumn season they collect its beautiful dead yellow leaves... and gradually leave it alone in the winter season. But it still stands there, for you. Wherever we go, What-ever we do... It’s right there just for you. Or maybe you’re selfish enough to seek to its usefulness, and leave it when it needed you. The inspiration YOU can take from a tree is its large heartedness. It stands there in all the seasons, Storms or winters or autumn or summers. So be firm and nonchalant. Be the way you are, you’ll be remembered forever. :) And the third thing, I feel, can inspire you is a lake. It also remains there immortal. It is the home of many aquatic animals and amphibians and fishes. It seems like never ending; as far as we look it meets with the sky. We throw our debris in the ocean... and with its magical power it replenishes it all. We throw a stone in it and the only happening we see is a ripple... and then it gets back to itself. It’s Cool throughout, but when it’s the times it brings in severe tides that reminds the people of its anger it’s been carrying for ages. But, at the same it gives you water to drink and survive. What WE might learn from this is... a clear cut saying by Paulo Coehlo, “Don’t let your wounds make into someone you are not”... People may throw stones at you... You MAY ripple a little but get back to yourself and collect the stone as a milestone for tomorrow. Live Openly... Forgive Openly, If you think it cannot be forgiven, don’t forgive with the half-heart. Love endlessly- you may lose people, they hurt you like anything. They hurt so much that you can’t forgive them... Don’t forgive. But that doesn’t mean stop loving... :) Since this life will go on... let it sail through a smooth river.
December 2012 | 15
TECHADDICT by Gaurav Saxena
For years,Android phones have been gradually progressing, growing in relevance and quality and feature set. But, for one reason or another, they failed to truly captivate as Apple’s revolutionary Smartphone did. The Razr Maxx was light as a feather, but relied on a dim-witted user interface. HTC’s offerings featured stunning software but never found a hardware profile that you could really love. But now, there is the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, a gutsy effort by Samsung to deliver something different in a Smartphone.The lure of the Note 2 is a gamble of epic proportions. I’ve seen large phones before, but Samsung takes things to another level, letting its super-AMOLED screen grow to a whopping 5.5 inches.With the Note II, Samsung is continuing to refine its presence in this market that it helped popularize. And while the Note II offers a more evolved and refined user experience from the original Note, the device is also an important one for Samsung as it is the first time that a quad-core Exynos processor is debuting in the U.S. market alongside with 4G LTE network (for AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon models) connectivity where available. But the size is a huge risk, because a phone this large teeters on the line between sexy and inconvenient, daring to test the limits of back pockets and purse and backpack compartments everywhere. Apple’s iPhone 5 grew with a purpose. But did the Galaxy Note 2? The answer is yes. The phone is large, for sure, but it still fit in my back jeans pocket, and while I’m not a skinny jeans guy, my pants aren’t seven sizes too large, either.
December 2012 | 16
You can still hold it easily with one hand, although the size is just big enough that you’ll find yourself using two hands to type and browse the Web. Still, the screen overall is a success.Meanwhile, the camera is snappy and responsive, one of the finest I’ve dealt with on a smartphone. Samsung bundles plenty of extra tech in here, too, so you get the excellent burst mode feature from the Galaxy S3, allowing you to shoot action quite clearly.Video at 1080p comes out crisp and clear as well, and uploading to YouTube or Facebook is snappy and simple
•Large form factor but UI tweaks make it easy to use one-handed •Fast mobile broadband connectivity thanks to 4G HSPA+ or 4G LTE networks •Fast, responsive UI with quad-core Samsungmade Exynos processor and 2 GB RAM •Software enhancements such as pop-out browsers and pop-out video player for multitasking •New S Pen features, such as Air View (hover) •Re-introduction of dual-pane views for Email, Contacts, and Messaging apps, giving a more tablet-like UI. •Easy sharing features and camera enhancements introduced on Galaxy S III have been adopted on the Note II •Day-long battery life with heavy use
•Large form factor may turn off some users who want a more compact phone •S Pen is more comfortable to hold than 1st gen Note, but new S Pen for Note II doesn’t have optional S Pen Holder accessory for better ergonomics •Awkward, but not impossible, to hold to face for phone calls–Bluetooth headset may be required for phone calls •~$300 contract price for most carriers is more expensive than standard smartphone.
December 2012 | 17
by Amit Paranjape
December 2012 | 18
We recently made a short 3 day trip to Sri Lanka and thoroughly enjoyed the visit. Great Nature, Nice
People, Good Food and Cost-Effective! Yes…with the current exchange rates - the prevailing prices for hotels, food, transportation, etc. seemed to be a lot cheaper than in India. Also, in the increasingly painful international visa regulations, Sri Lanka is amongst the few countries where an Indian Passport holder can get a Visa on arrival, if travelling for tourism purposes (with a stay of less than 30 days). So you can literally board a plane and get there. And note, the Chennai – Colombo flight roughly takes the same time as Mumbai – Goa. In this blog post, I am highlighting 10 interesting memories from this trip. Frankly, we ran short on time. My recommendation is you plan for at least a 5-6 day trip. We are also looking forward to another trip there soon!
Old Cars/Vans & Repair Shops: Upon landing, as you head on the road from Colombo Airport to the city, you cannot help but notice a series of old-car repair shops. Various car brands (mainly Japanese) replacement chassis are laid out in the front. You also notice that the cars and mini-vans are a lot older than what you would see in India. I guess given the depressed tourist economy during the past 2 decades of civil war, not many new vehicles were imported. Hence these repair shops seem to thrive.
Traffic Discipline Most roads are quite tiny, even by Indian standards. Even the major roads, like the Colombo Airport to City Highway, are 2 laned undivided roads. However, the traffic discipline is definitely a notch higher than in India. And the Helmet Rule is extremely well followed! In our 3 days there, we didn’t see a single motor-cycle rider or even the pillion rider, without a helmet. Honking is also quite uncommon (though not as uncommon as in EU/US).
Security The long civil war, the Presidential Elections (we were there a week before the elections) are probably the reasons why we witnessed a lot of security presence in Colombo. Add to that, our hotel was near the Central Business Area that houses a lot of Government Offices. The sight of security personnel with automatic weapons, can be a little disconcerting for a first time tourist! December 2012 | 19
Nuwara Eliya – Quaint Old Hotels Nuwara Eliya is a fabulous hill station and an important tea plantation region in Sri Lanka, perched up at an altitude of over 6,000 feet. A 5 hour drive from Colombo through continuously winding roads gets you there. The landscape changes quite drastically as you ascend from the sea-level, into the mountain slopes lined up with tea plantations. The British clearly loved this place and setup quite a few retreats here in the 19th century. These include the summer residence of the British governor-general. This royal residence has now been converted to a beautiful hotel, quite aptly named ‘The Grand’. Upon entering it, you literally experience the grandeur of the British Era. In this remote place, they have built an amazing place with huge halls, lobbies and regal rooms. The Hotel has done a great job in maintaining the historic residence – with the artifacts, wooden floors, fire places and decorative glass windows. The grand ball room is quite impressive. This royal residence literally transferred me to that era, and I couldn’t help but draw parallels between a similar residence in Pune – the British Governer’s mansion that is now the main building of the Pune University. Unfortunately, the Pune University Building is not anywhere in the same state as the Grand Hotel – given that both were probably identical in 1947. We stayed at the St. Andrews Hotel – a much smaller hotel but equally beautiful. This was built initially as a residence by a Scotsman who was clearly a Golf Fan. No prizes for guessing the origin of the hotel’s name!This hotel’s main lobby also dates back to 1875 and is very well-maintained. The multi-course European Dinner served at this seemingly remote Hotel/Town was simply exquisite! This hotel also has its own garden where they grow their own herbs and vegetables.
Nuwara Eliya – Tea Estates Nuwara Eliya has many tea estates, and we visited one of the more prominent ones – Mackwoods Tea.They provide a nice tour of the tea-making process. They also have an excellent tea tasting room, as well as a great gift shop.
Shopping/Prices While I am not much of a shopping enthusiast myself, couldn’t help noticing the attractive prices of various items: especially apparel. Two large stores/malls that we visited (recommended) in Colombo were: House of Fashion and Odel.
Food I am not any expert in Sri Lankan cuisine, but from what I sampled there, got an impression that there are distinct influences from South India and East Asia. I liked the Hoppers (a rice ‘Dosa’ like preparation, sometimes also made with rice and eggs) as well as String Hoppers (somewhat like thin rice noodles). The Curries were quite tasty and reminded me of the Thai/Malaysian Curries. No surprises that most major hotels have excellent selections of continental and Indian cuisines available. December 2012 | 20
Promenade by the sea in Colombo The central business area in Colombo has a beautiful promenade by the sea – somewhat like Mumbai’s Marine Drive. The major hotels (Taj, Intercontinental,Hilton, etc.) and Government Offices are in close proximity. There are street food vendors that sell seafood and other local snacks (no BhelPuri/Chaat here ). This place is quite popular with tourists as well as locals.
Friendly People Based on our experiences (many tourists I spoke with concur!) – Sri Lankans are nice and friendly people. Our first experience started at the airport. The immigration officer was very friendly – not a common experience . Maybe we were there during the peak wedding season…wedding celebrations were everywhere. Our hotel had 3-4 wedding related events everyday. Got a chance to understand a bit about their unique wedding customs that differ by religion/ethnicity/etc. Though irrespective of these differences, the weddings were grand parties in general! I asked our car’s driver about the cricket – clearly Sri Lankans are very passionate about cricket and their team. Was a bit surprised to hear that the most popular player in Sri Lanka right now is not Sangakara, Jayawardhane, Jayasuriya or Murali… Its Dilshan! Also, the most popular Indian cricketer in Sri Lanka right now is Sehwag.
The Historic City Of Kandy We spent the least amount of time in Kandy, something we definitely need to rectify when we visit next. This historic city was the capital of Sri Lanka before the British Era began in 1815. There are many historical monuments, the star attraction being the old Palace. We heard that the botanical garden there is also extremely impressive – unfortunately, didn’t have time to visit.
Useful links about Sri Lanka: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sri_Lanka http://www.srilankatourism.org/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colombo http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuwara_Eliya
December 2012 | 21
A PENNY – FOR MY THOUGHTS? by Mallika Singhee (The Writer is a 2nd year Student of English Honors in LSR, New Delhi)
Life is so unfair. I have thought so, so many times. I am sure you have too. I feel a more appropriate
version of the statement would be-life is always unfair. May not be to you, may not be to me. But always to someone in every situation which does not tilt in his/her favor. -There are those who accept the unfairness of it all, -those who don’t and try to modify things, -those who don’t yet they refuse to budge even an inch in order to improve the situation and then there are -those who, however hard they try, cannot do anything about it.The latter are the ones I pity the most since they are so helpless. There is one question that I have pondered on for quite some time now. It is something that always wriggles its way into my mind when my thoughts are, in my opinion, diverted to dwelling upon topics of gravitas. Is the pain of one who is born blind greater than that of one whose blindness is a result of an accident or a certain event? I wouldn’t deny that one who is born blind has felt at some point everyday a sense of fecklessness. But I contemplate more over the misery of those who lose their eyesight at some stage in their life. I question myself on how it would feel to not be able to see those fragrant flowers in the park that you could admire till yesterday? How it would feel to not be able to see the faces of your loved ones, those very faces that reassured you with a smile in hard times? How it would feel to look around you and see a very unaccustomed darkness? How it would…………..? I never can answer them. I keep going deeper and deeper into a labyrinth of despair and come out of it as clueless about it as I was when I entered it.Yet again I say to myself -”life is so unfair to them”. Why? No one knows that. The essence of Hinduism lies in its belief in karma and reincarnation. What one sows in this life is what one reaps in the next. One way that my grandmother always tries to justify my statement, about the unfairness of life towards them, is by following that very belief. She tries to tell me that one must have committed sins in their previous life and the inadequacy in their life, physically or mentally is therefore attributed to their bad karma. This explanation used to satisfy me till a few years back. So, is there no explanation to those people’s situation?
December 2012 | 22
But, now when these thoughts come to me I wonder how we such assumptions can be based merely on the beliefs of one particular religion? Is it not true that people of other religions, which might not believe in karma, also suffer in the same way? Do you see how life is unfair yet again?? I never can find the answers to the questions that keep growing and cluttering my mind beyond normal capacity. There was a point when I thought that I would die. It wasn’t just a random thought that crossed my mind without reason. When, sitting in the passenger seat of the car that lost control when its wheel came off, my sister’s face fraught and every muscle tensed up as she gripped the steering wheel her knuckles becoming pale white. I just knew what was coming next.You might be wondering why I think it was unfair as I was sitting beside the driver and not driving the car myself. Well, just the fact that I could only sit there helplessly knowing and unintentionally waiting for the car to crash, the fact that I knew that I wouldn’t be able to save myself or my sister even if I wanted to from the accident, the fact that for the first time I felt fear like I have never felt before not just because I thought that I might die, but because I feared for my family too, all if this was unfair. That I am alive to talk about this is something that I will always be grateful about. But, the new bouts of paranoia that seize me every now and then are something that I don’t want to live with always. I have to though as of now till I miraculously recover one day and that is so not fair. I sound very passive and someone excessively indulgent in self-pity, don’t I? I wasn’t always like this. Things and events and incidents have changed me. I cannot point out exactly what or when it happened but it did and now I have become a neurotic, paranoid, lazy, indulgent, aimless and a person on the brink of anti-socialism. I want to change but I don’t know how. I want to stop but I don’t know where. I don’t want to be afraid but I can’t stop myself, I don’t know why. I know I have to move forward, towards new beginnings, and start afresh, but I don’t know when. Question. No answer. More questions. Still no answer. Too many questions. Not a single answer.
December 2012 | 23
VOICE by Pawas Jain (Founder and Chief Editor of SpringTide Magazine)
When I had created SpringTide, an online platform for youngsters to come together, I had an
aim in mind. The single minded aim being to raise a voice against baseless orthodox philosophies, regressive conventions and stale social so called “culture”. When youth came together on this platform to discuss important things which needed attention and when they raised their voice and let out their curbed anger on social ills, I felt satisfied and happy. However, a few weeks back, I received a personal message on my Facebook account, which shook me to the core and compelled me to write this article. The message was from a girl (I would not like to name, on her request) from New Delhi. The exact message read –
“areI amagainst a Hindu girl, and in love with a Hindu boy, but our castes are different, and my parents it. They are Orthodox, and believe that people who are from lower caste do not have good qualities, and therefore I cannot marry him. They warned me to forget about this relation several times. We have been in the relation for about 6 years, and his parents are ok with this, and ready to get us married. I’m totally helpless. I cannot marry anyone else, and we are best for each other, and honestly in love with each other. He is very honest and caring toward me. How should I convince my people? They are very stubborn, and afraid of society and relations. I know this does not concern you guys directly, but I really feel you should write about this or say something regarding this. I hate to have taken birth in this country…”
December 2012 | 24
I really do not have a way in which I can help this girl or hundreds of others like her, who are being churned under the astern and rigid ideologies of their parents, societies or people around them. What is a society, I often wonder? It is nothing but a group of people who never come forward at time of help or distress and immediately raise a finger when you are doing something good or doing something against their will. These are the same people who will not even be attending the wedding, the same people whose names we don’t even know! How do they matter? But ours is a country, which has always witnessed riots, mob fury, killings and hideous malevolence when it comes to two people from different background falling in love and wanting to live together. There are self proclaimed institutions such as khap panchayats and moral police which try to curb the freedom of youngsters and their desire to express their emotions and opinions. If two people love each other and decide to live together as per their own will and understanding, I see no reason for anyone to intervene or interfere in their decision. It is the diverse cultures and traditions that make our country what it is today and killing that very essence of the nation will lead us nowhere. People with thinking as narrow as a drainage system, should either keep their mouth shut or change their attitude to accept progressive ideologies and not “Western” culture as they usually term. Supreme Court of India had once said that it is only inter caste marriages that can solve many deep rooted problems of India. To make our nation a better place for youngsters of our country, i.e. the future generation, the rest of the population needs to undergo a change in their attitude and old school thinking radically. Only when we are more open and welcome to debates and dialogue, we can be a better place, otherwise we might just be moving towards a ‘democratic’ Taliban. Let us give it a thought!
December 2012 | 25
INDIA “THE LAND OF by Shruti Agarwal (The Writer is a Chartered Accountancy student from Jaipur, Rajasthan)
is known as the country of festivals because here we celebrate festivals of every religion with same respect and enthusiasm. If you pick up the Indian calendar, every month you come across at least 5-6 dates of festivals of different religion… If number of festivals is the criteria to tag India as the “Country of Festivals”, then India can undoubtedly be crowned as the country of scams also. Every month there is a new scam we get to read about... “Scam of several crores” is the most common headlines in the newspaper these days. The common man would have been saved the burden of the huge debt and the financial mess had the government managed to save the money gone waste in scams. Instead, the government chose to increase taxes to shore up revenue. A few politicians and big business houses join hands and rob the hard earned money of these citizens to generate enormous amount of wealth. This can happen only in India. The two-trillion-dollar-plus economy of the multi-party federal democracy of 1.2 billion people, living in 28 states and seven union territories, has been held hostage by a bunch of corrupt power-hungry political party satraps, highly belligerent to each other, bureaucrats-turned corporate advisors and unscrupulous businessmen and sensational story-hunters in the media. There is no single instrument to fathom the bottomless pits of corruption. No one knows for sure where and when it will end with what consequences to economy and the people of the country.
COALGATE SCAM: - Rs 1.86 lakh crore •57 coal fields, in the period 2005 to 2009, were allocated to 100 private companies instead of being auctioned or brought under competitive bidding. •The CAG report on coal puts the prime minister in the dock who allegedly allotted 44 billion tons of coal at throwaway prices when he was the coal minister. •After being allotted the coal fields at throwaway prices, many of these private firms sold their companies at huge profits while some others actually sold coal in the open market in utter violation of their terms of contract. •The CAG has alleged that private firms like Tata Power and Reliance power were favored. CAG says that the bidding process was vitiated by allowing Reliance Power to use excess coal from three blocks allocated to the Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project.
December 2012 | 26
December 2012 | 27
WAKF LAND SCAM IN KARNATAKA- 2 lakh crore •The State Minorities Commission has reportedly found that over 22 thousand properties owned by the Wakf Board was illegally encroached and sold over the last decade. •Commission’s report has named 38 Congress leaders. •The report states that the Wakf Board functionaries helped transfer the land to private individuals and institutions over the last 11 years. •It also states that 85 per cent of Wakf board properties that were misused are in Bangalore alone.
UTTAR PRADESH NRHM SCAM: 10,000 crore scam •UP’s top politicians and bureaucrats are alleged to have siphoned off a massive sum estimated at
10,000 crore from the National Rural Health Mission, a central government program meant to improve health care delivery in rural areas. •At least five people are said to have been murdered in an attempt to coverup large-scale irregularities •In Feb 2012, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself accused the Mayawati government of misusing NRHM Funds.
Other scams of 2012 are : SCAM Delhi Airport Land Scam
AMOUNT (rs) 1.63 lakh crore
Happenings • Irregularities in a report titled Implementation of Public – Private Partnership at Indira Gandhi International Airport. • 1.63 Lakh Crore was lost by the people of India due to a deal entered between the Airports Authority of India and DIAL for the lease of land.
• Illegal quarrying in Madurai district • Major players- Dayanidhi Azhagiri, son of Union Minister M. K. Alagiri
Kinetic Finance Limited Scam
• PR Palanisami, owner of PRP Exports and a billionaire with political connections, has been arrested and his company sealed. • It borrowed Rs 145 crores from a number of banks led by the State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda and UTI mutual fund. • Diverted funds to other business entities of its group.
Ultra Mega Power Projects Scam
Andhra Pradesh land scam
• Major players-. Mr. Arun H. Firodia, the company’s chairman and his daughter Ms. Sullaja Firodia Motwani • . Reliance Power of Anil Ambani is the major beneficiary. • Audit has estimated the financial benefit that will accrue to the Project Developer on the basis of comparison of tariff of Sasan Project (` 1.196 per unit) with that of Chitrangi Project (` 2.450 for Madhya Pradesh and ` 3.702 for Uttar Pradesh). The overall financial benefit to Reliance Power Limited due to impact of the difference in tariff works out to `29,033 crores with a net present value of ` 11,852 crore • Irregularities and discretionary allotment of landby govt to private persons and entities at very low rates. • During the tenure of the late Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy. • Undue benefit of Rs 1784 crore was given to various entities and persons, due to the difference in the rates at which land was allotted and the market value
SCAM Forex derivates scam
AMOUNT (rs) 32,000 crore
Happenings • In 2008, 19 banks violated RBI and Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) guidelines and sold ‘engineered’ forex derivatives to Indian corporate • After almost three years, the RBI imposed a meagre total penalty of Rs 1.9 crore on the banks.
Service Tax and Cen- 19,159 crore tral Excise Duty fraud -
Gujarat PSU financial 17,000 crore irregularities
• There was a delay by the government in launching a probe into this scam • Over 10,300 cases of fraud involving over Rs 19,159 crore in service tax and central excise duty during 2008-11. • In central excise, a total 3,690 cases of fraud or presumptive fraud were found during 2008-11 by the department involving duty of Rs 8,497.06 crore. • In service tax, 6,655 cases involving tax of Rs 10,662.24 crore were detected during the same period. • The state owned public sector undertaking, Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC), showed irregularities leading to losses of upto Rs 12,400 crore. •
Maharashtra stamp duty scam
• There was large-scale misappropriation in the contracts awarded for franking of stamps for payment of stamp duty,
• The tender was awarded to three companies in 2007 without inviting bids or following a competitive bidding process. • scam concerning repairing tenders of cessed buildings • Contractors try to grab the tenders by quoting prices as less as 80% to 90% below the estimated cost of repair. However, once they get the contract, they recover the deficit — difference between the estimated repair cost and the price they have quoted — by submitting an ‘extras’ bill.
Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) repair scam,
Flying Club fraud
CAG also slammed the government for its failure to keep its water bodies, rivers, lakes and ponds, free of pollution. Saying the Sabarmati Riverfront project’s planning and scope was “inadequate” • Involvement of two Ex CM son’s
• . If there is shortage of funds, money is diverted from the MLA and MP fund. • A majority of flying schools/clubs in India posed as registered societies, operating on no-profit no-loss basis, to avoid paying the government full fee for operations • Airports Authority of India (AAI) officials allowed 28 flying schools to wrongly claim that they were either registered educational societies or were run on no-profit no-loss basis. This qualified them to pay only a nominal fee to the government which is just 10% of the original fees
Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association scam
Jammu and Kashmir recruitment scam
• Major player- President Farooq Abdullah • It was revealed bogus accounts were opened to siphon off funds from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). • Recruitment norms like calling for applications and holding interviews for various posts were not adhered to. • Major players- Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand, Legislative Assembly Speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone and Opposition PDP MLA from Bandipora Nizamuddin Bhat.
December 2012 | 28
SCAM Jammu and Kashmir exam gate
Punjab paddy scam
Happenings • State Education Minister Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed helped his son passing the Board examination in 2009 using unfair means. Officials of both the Board and Education departments were involved in the scandal.
The minister’s son, Imam Sauban’s Urdu and Maths papers were written by a senior education department official • Nearly 338 wagonloads worth of FCI paddy priced over Rs 17 crore which had been stored by Markfed in Moga has gone missing •
An FIR was registered against Mandeep Singh Brar, owner of Avtar Rice Mill, Baghapurana, former Markfed DM Amarjit Singh Sandhu, branch manager Kamal Kumar and custodian Sham Lal. • Smelling a big scam in cement supply to Parbati hydroelectric state-III near Sainj river in Kullu district, a joint team of CBI officials from Shimla and Chandigarh raided 3 godowns of the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) and a construction company in Kullu and Chandigarh.
NHPC cement scam
Uttar Pradesh stamp duty scam -
• The raids were conducted, following a tip-off about the tampering of record of cement bags loaded trucks • - Financial irregularities in the auction of 21 government sugar mills during Mayawati rule. • (CAG) report has revealed that besides undervaluation of mills and rigging of the bidding process, stamp duty evasion also took place in collusion with officers from top to bottom in the state administration.
Patiala land scam
• The CAG findings show that right from the “core group of secretaries for disinvestment” comprising senior IAS officers formed by the state government to a tehsildar, in every step benefits were given to the private bidders. • The Punjab government on Tuesday suspended IAS officer Vikas Garg and five officials of the revenue department for alleged irregularities in sale of government land in Patiala. • Garg allegedly allowed sale of 6,000 sq yards of government land by declaring it private.
Bengaluru Mayor’s fund scam
Tax refund scam
• While the query had sought details on the utilization of the Rs 150-crore fund, the response referred to only about Rs 15.22 crore worth of works. The fraud-involved two I-T offices in Thane and Kalyan. the I-T officials disbursed tax refund cheques drawn from the SBI and credited into the account of fictitious assessees in a credit society in Dombivli.
**The above quoted scams are just the part of total number of happenings in our country in 2012.
Total scam money in India = 73000000000000 This might look awkward but it is true that, the total Scam money of our country is 27% more than the GDP of our country. Today, who cares about hundred crores rupees scam anymore!! The amount itself explains the situation of corruption in India. Most of this scam money comes from politics and politicians of the country. The money which was actually meant to be utilized in public interest is now an integral part of bank accounts of politicians. If this whopping amount would have been executed in proper way, the scenario of our country would have been completely different.
December 2012 | 29
What could have been done with this money?? Health Care
2.4 crore primary healthcare centres. That’s at least 3 for every village,
at a cost of Rs 30 lakh each. 24.1 lakh Kendriya Vidyalayas at a cost of Rs 3.02 crore each, with two
sections from Class VI to XII. 14.6 crore low-cost houses assuming a cost of Rs 5 lakh a unit. 2,703 coal-based power plants of 600 MW each. Each costs Rs 2,700
Supply Clean Up
crore. 12 lakh CFL bulbs. That’s enough light for each of India’s 6 lakh villages 50 major rivers for the next 121 years, at Rs 1,200 crore a river every
year. 14.6 lakh km of two-lane���������������������������������������������� highways������������������������������������� . That’s a road around India’s perim-
Public Welfare Schemes Hand Out
eter 97 times over. 90 NREGA-style schemes, each worth roughly Rs 81,111 crore. 121 more loan waiver schemes. All of them worth Rs 60,000 crore. 60.8 crore Tata Nanos to 60.8 crore people. Or four times as
many laptops. Rs 56,000 to every Indian. Even better, give Rs 1.82 lakh to 40
crore Indians living BPL. Can provide all our soldiers technologies like night vision, bullet proof jacket and other safety equipments.
India’s fiscal deficit for the financial year 2012-13 could touch 6.1% of the gross domestic product (GDP) if corrective measures are not taken immediately. Are you kidding?? Just ask few of your market players to contribute the amount of their one scam… and India will be out of the debt vicious cycle… There is nothing much we, as youngsters of this country, can do about this. However, we CAN do one major thing and that is, to vote rightly the next time we get the chance to!
December 2012 | 30