Delhi No. F. 2 (S-45) Press/ 2016
BLIC DAY SPECIAL
Vol-1 | Issue-6 | January 29, 2017 | Price ` 5/-
EMPOWERING THE NATION
GUARDS OF HONOUR
Indian Army has fought, and won many wars, but also plays other roles that are vital
REPUBLIC DAY TABLEAU
The project might beneﬁt Unique display of India’s cultural humans but the wildlife board pluralism, reafﬁrming our faith has a different opinion in our vibrant democracy
a living republic Indian republic actually thrives in the villages where, in many cases, the people have their own rules, as one can see in the seven villages reported on in this special, Republic Day edition
EPUBLIC: a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated ruler who is not a monarch.”
Six weeks ago, when we decided to do a special edition on the occasion of Republic Day, we hit upon this concept: “a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives”.
“We are the government here,” the villagers say with pride
The Jomsa has been governance centre here since 1642
TABO, Himachal Pradesh
Up in the hills, the people decide what will be done in their village
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has appreciated the efforts of Sulabh Swachh Bharat weekly newspaper
PARTHAL, Jammu & Kashmir
Making laddoos has brought economic power to this village
The villagers have turned a terrible weed into wealth
The North East Network has created a new economic model
Villagers here plant 111 trees on the birth of every girl child
But is that the case in India, one of the 147 of the world’s 206 sovereign states that uses the word “republic” as part of their official names? Levelling charges against politicians was one way of going about it. But we are a positivist newspaper, we thought, well, let’s look for what is happening in the villages, where the ‘supreme power is held by the people’. We were flummoxed: scores of villages came up on our initial web research that showed they are exercising that supreme power in one way or the other. Whether
it be Mendha Lekha in Maharashtra, where the ‘Human’s say that in their village they are the government’; or in Tabo, where the villagers have their own rules and run their own sustainable system; or the twin villages, Lachen and Lachung in Sikkim, where governance brooks no outside interference since 1642. From web-research, we went into actually doing the stories on the ground, so that our readers have a feel of how our REPUBLIC is thriving and bubbling at the grassroots level. Happy Republic Day!
jANUARY 29, 2017 The village community has all the powers
“we are the government” After stopping a dam from destroying their forests, the Koya – humans – here have set up their own, independent system of governance sanJeev
S there a place anywhere on this earth where there are no temples, no churches, or mosques? Where there is no religion, no caste, nor upper or lower class, no rape nor crime, no one murders and none commits suicide? In that village, be it bamboo trees or the common broadleafed ‘plates’ to eat food from, or it is paddy swaying its leafs in the merry wind or any other farm produce, everything belongs to the village community. As the sun penetrates the dense forests of Gadchiroli in Maharashtra, the road through the thickets takes you to MendhaLekha village. Take any road you wish to, but one must visit Mendha-Lekha at least once, they say. You may ask, what is so special about Mendha-Lekha? If you take a right turn from Ghanaura Tehsil and move further ahead by less than a kilometre, Mendha-Lekha comes into view, seemingly just another nondescript village. You could possibly be greeted by a dark-complexioned, short and most ordinary looking man. He is 64-year-old Devaji Topa. On seeing our
team, some equally ordinary looking men and women cackle out of their very modest houses made of earthen half-pots and some dried local grass. They stare at us and us at them. For both, the other is a curiosity. We, along with the villagers enter the ramshackle village community hall. We sit down, but Devaji stands there with his hands folded. “We are blessed that such eminent people like you have graced our village. We heartily welcome you!” “We have heard a lot about you, so we wanted to visit you,” we say. But Topa demurs: “What is there in our village which is not there in yours? The sun that shines here is the same as in your village. The stars that twinkle in our skies is the same that smiles on you. The wind that caresses you and us is not different either.” “All you say is true,” we said softly, in deference to the old man. “And yet, there are some things so different here, and that is what has brought us from afar.” “So Devaji, what is your religion?” The Panchayat House in Menda-Lekha
From the look on Devaji’s face it was apparent that the question escaped him. So one of us repeated: “We are asking whether you are Hindus or Muslims or may be Christians.” “Religion? I am not sure. I am not able to answer that one,” Topa said in the end. “I see… so what are you called?” a friend asked. Just a single word emanated: “Koya.” Now it was our turn to be perplexed. “And what does Koya mean?” “Humans.” “Humans mean Gond tribals?” “People visiting us have their own understanding of what we are,” said the wise man. “Okay, who is the god you worship?” “Our village god,” Topa seemed to falter and then said: Budha Dev, Saat Dev, Panch Dev, Chhah Dev. Ours is an extension of Bastar’s Abujmarh. Our ancestors lived in Rajnandgaon of Chhattisgarh, which is about seven kilometres away. One villager said that some people from here had converted to some new religion but soon came back to their faith. “ We are Koyas, sahib, Koya. Is it not enough for humans to remain just humans?” Topa asked, completely silencing our prejudice to try to understand them from our narrow perspective. He informed us that there are 105 families in Mendha-Lekha and a total of 500 people. A lady said: “There are no big or small persons in our village.” But there is a difference, as another lady said: “Yes there are differences in gotras(clans). Gotras are different during weddings, like
Snapshots The villagers here are ﬁercely independent and allow nothing without their consent They believe in no caste, religion or rich and poor, and say they are just humans They returned an order in English, saying that it must come in their own language
we are Panch Dev and in one marriage the partner was Saat Dev. Talking of weddings, we asked: “Who arranges for the feast during the weddings?” “The groom’s family.” “So in your village does the bride go to the groom’s house or is it the other way round?” Topa said that the bride goes to the groom’s house. And what about the panditji, was our next question. “And what is that?” came a surprised response. “I mean, the priest, the one who conducts the rituals during the wedding,” one of us explained. But they just couldn’t get it, and ripples of whispers and suppressed giggles did the rounds of the meeting hall. But Topa got the question finally and said: “We do not have any priests or anyone of that sort, the sarpanch conducts the wedding.” And what about some dance and celebrations during the wedding? “That depends on the groom’s family. If they want to, they organise that.”
There is no priest, it is the village pradhan who
conducts all the wedding ceremonies in the community
02 Republic Day Special
jANUARY 29, 2017
Republic Day Special
Journey to a Republic For old fogies, reading the Constitution was a part of the school curriculum till say about the 1980s, generically termed social studies. Not any longer. Youngsters today do not know much of the Constitution, let alone the nitty-gritties of the process of its compilation. But here in this column, our team compiles some little-known facts about it. 1. The original Constitution of India was handwritten by Prem Behari Narain Raizada in a flowing italic style with beautiful calligraphy. Each page was beautified and decorated by artists from Shantiniketan. 2. The original copies of the Indian Constitution, written in Hindi and English, are kept in special helium-filled cases in the Library of the Parliament of India. 3. With 25 parts containing 448 articles and 12 schedules, the Indian Constitution is the longest written Constitution of any sovereign country in the world. 4. The Constituent Assembly, which first met on December 9, 1946, took precisely 2 years, 11 months and 18 days to come up with the
Devaji very innocently opened up about all the major incidents from 1927 till now, and then asked: “You people can see the internet in the cities. Did you read all these things on the internet?” As we remained silent, Devaji resumed: “Well I shall tell you everything that is not there on the internet. He explained how bamboo traders and paper mill owners colluded to rob the forests from 1950 till 1980, settling in the area in large numbers. Our eyes ran outside the room and surveyed the hills surrounding us. They were thick with bamboo forests. Devaji said: “The original Koyas were completely forest people. There was a time when we used to hide in the forests if any outsider entered this area. “But now it is so different. In 2003, you visited Durban in South Africa to speak at a conference. And so many scholars from across the world are coming to study your life and culture. You yourself are an icon.” But one of us suddenly said in irritation: “Wrong, absolutely wrong. Devaji, Hiralalji cannot be icons. Our icons are Sachin Tendulkar, Madhuri Dikshit or Amitabh Bachchan. Devaji, have you heard of them?” A simple question from
final draft. 5. When the draft was prepared and put for debate and discussion, over 2,000 amendments were made, before it was finalised. 6. The drafting of the Constitution was finally complete on 26th November, 1949. But, it was legally enforced only after two months on 26th January, 1950. Which came to be known as the Republic Day. 7. The handw r itten Constitution was signed on 24th January, 1950, by 284 members of the Constituent Assembly, which included 15 women. It came into force two days later on 26th January. 8. Our Constitution makers took inspiration from various other Constitutions while drafting the one for
our country, which is why the Indian Constitution is often called a bag of borrowings. 9. The concept of Five Year Plans (FYP) was taken from the USSR, and the Directive Principles (socio-economic rights) were taken from Ireland. 10. The ideals of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity in our Preamble have been taken from the French Revolution, which is also the French motto. 11. The Preamble to our Constitution was inspired by the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America, which also starts with “We the people”. 12. The fundamental rights recognized by our Constitution have also been
adopted from the American Constitution. The Indian Constitution recognizes nine fundamental rights as the basic human rights of all its citizens. 13. Interestingly, in the beginning, the Right to Property was also one of the fundamental rights. The Article 31 of our constitution said that, “No person shall be deprived of his property save by authority of law.” However, the 44th Amendment, in 1978, deleted it. 14. The Indian Constitution has also been hailed as one of the world’s best Constitution because in 62 years of its adoption, it had been amended only 94 times. As of now, our Constitution has undergone a total of 100 amendments.
The author (Centre) with Devaji to his right and other villagers, and (left) the slogan in Koya, Marathi and Hindi, with the villagers
So, what is so different about Mendha-Lekha from other villages? In one word: Everything!
Devaji then stunned us: “Have they laid down their lives for the poor people of the country?” Devaji went back in history: “In 1970, the government declared that they will create a big dam in Madhya Pradesh. We shall get hydro-electricity, they said. But we realised that our forests will be destroyed, so we went on an agitation in Madhya Pradesh. “On our return from Madhya Pradesh, we did some serious thinking. We asked ourselves, instead of our random ways,
why don’t we get organised and usher in independence and self-rule? This discussion went on for four or five years. Then we decided on doing just that. We made a small dam and constructed village roads, and even this community hall. Everything was done by our own hands, completely voluntary service. “We are hunters. The forest is our existence and the bamboo our spine. The movement ‘save forests, save bamboo and save humans’ started from MendhaLekha. Young and old, men and women,
we all were in it. Baba Amte and others gave us the leadership. Our slogan was, ‘Our government will be there in Delhi and Mumbai, and in our village, we are the government. We ourselves shall decide the rates for selling charoli seeds, tendu leaves that are used to make bidis, mahua and bamboo. We erected a bamboo fence over 118 hectare of forest land. Here even leaves cannot rustle without our permission. One commissioner had sent an order, written in English. We sent it back, saying, if you have to talk, talk in our language,” Devaji concluded. The most amazing institution here is the kurma ghar, where women reside in all dignity during their menstruation periods, so that no one asks them to do any work. In the cities, we save nothing, consume everything like gluttons and kill the environment. In the end, Devaji had answered his own question that he had started the conversation with: ‘what is so special about us’? Without boasting, he made us realise this in one word: “Everything!”
04 Republic Day Special
jANUARY 29, 2017 The village of Lachung at an altitude of 8,500 feet, is one of the Jomsa villages
RuLE of ThE JoMSa
North Sikkim’s idyllic villages, Lachen and Lachung, have a highly sophisticated governance system since 1642 suJit chakraborty
from the start, the rule has been going by scriptures. The word Jomsa means ‘meeting at a place’. It is a traditional administrative institution of the North Sikkim villages of Lachen and Lachung who speak Lhokey (Sikkimese language). This system of self- governance became necessary because Lachen and Lachung are very far and tough to access from the once capital of the kingdom. The first Chogyal had been consecrated in 1642 at a place called Yuksum, “Meeting Place of Three Lamas”, in West Sikkim. Later, the third palace of the Chogyal was set up at Rabdentse, also in West Sikkim.
ITTING in his office, a new Director General of Police of the Government of Sikkim, first heard the word “Jomsa” from one of his juniors. The inherently peaceful and practically crimeless state does have some incidents, once in a long while, and one such was the murder of an Islampuria, a Bihari Muslim scrap trader. He had been murdered, but as the official informed his boss, the DGP, nothing could be done about it. “Why?” asked the DG. “Because of the Jomsa, Sir,” the officer said. “No one tinkers with the Jomsa, and they have settled the matter. It was northern governance the Islampuria’s fault that he teased The people of North Sikkim are closer some pretty girl in Lachung, the Jomsa to Tibetans and have some sense of has held. They have levied a fine on the independence that often makes them killer because Buddhists are not difficult to handle. Due to the distance supposed to kill, and he has been from Rabdentse, the Chogyals ordered to undergo penance at the local traditionally granted them this kind of monastery, but that is all. We cannot do autonomy. A Jomsa is headed by anything.” Pi Poen, who would, Sikkim has a long he ballots are apart from running the history of egalitarian Jomsa, act as a bridge governance from the signed by the between the local level of the former Pi Poens on the people and the kings, or Chogyals, of Central the Namgyal dynasty. reverse to avoid fraud Chogyal’s Government in the land In fact, the term in the local earlier known as Bayul Chogyal itself means election process Demajong in Bhutia “Dharma Raja” and
and Muyal Liyang in Lepcha, the two original communities of what later came to be named as Sikkim. Jomsa is the apex unit of governance at their respective areas of jurisdiction. It is the responsibilities of the Jomsas to ensure law and order. It meets regularly and discusses measures to be proposed for the general welfare. “The date for the regular meetings are fixed in advance, and just before the morning the local monastery sounds a drum beat, so people know the meeting is about to start and reach the community hall,” Anil Lachenpa told SSB. In fact, Jomsa is the general council elected or nominated by villagers for a certain period. This council of representatives, or ‘Lena’, is composed of two Pipoens, six Genbos, two Chipos and two Gyapons. The Lena is changed ever year or depending upon the decisions and wishes of the general public.
Snapshots Jomsa had been created by the Chogyals for governance of these very distant villages This people’s rule is conducted through an elaborate administrative structure Even criminals here are punished not by the police but by Jomsa on their own terms
responsible for calling the community members to assemble for Jomsa by announcing the traditional ‘Jom Nya!’ – To Meet. The Lena takes place every year at the start of the Buddhist lunar New Year just after the monastic mask dances
After the ‘Jom Nya’ is announced, all the community members have to assemble at Jomsa within next half – an –hour. They sit in a circular manner. Apart from the Lena, one can sit anywhere without any sense of hierarchy. However, if a lama (priest) attends the Jomsa for certain matters, he sits in the centre, facing the Lena. It is essential that the members record their presence with one of the Genbos. If some miscreant is fined, the amount is distributed equally to all the community members during the Jomsa. Similarly, if the Jomsa receives some largesse from somewhere, the same would also be equally distributed amongst the members. It is in the Jomsa that all the disputes are settled in a democratic manner. It performs all the developmental functions that are assigned to the panchayats in other areas and also have customary judicial power for trial of cases in their respective villages. Today, the Jomsa provides more participation of the community members in its functioning. All the community members are now necessarily required in choosing new Pi Poens. The Chipos, or accountants have to
The two Pi Poens, originally called Chipoens or ‘master of the public’, are the village chiefs and the bridge to the outside world. . Until about 30 years ago, the Pi Poens were not elected as is the case today, but were nominated by the group of people called Theumee who were seen as decent, respected, honest and experienced community members. However, since 1978-79, they are no longer nominated but are elected by the general village council. The Genbos, ‘elders’ who have knowledge and experience guide the Pi Poens. Initially, Genbos who were nominated by the Pipoens are now also elected by the public. The Chipos are accountants of the Jomsa as well as collectors of the various taxes and revenues to be ultimately transferred to the Chogyal, both in cash and kind. “Nowadays, there is no Chogyal after the annexation of Sikkim in 1975, but the Jomsa still has the rights to raise taxes. Around 2003, the Jomsas said that taxies from other districts would not be allowed to bring in tourists, because North Sikkim boys were losing out on employment. We had to plead with them and pay huge taxes in cash as well as ghee, rice and kerosene for the monasteries before they allowed us again,” Palzor Lachungpa, a major tour operator, says. The Gyapoens are designated by Pi Poens as their Jomsa in a deliberation with civil administration assistants and are
jANUARY 29, 2017
Republic Day Special
TaBo hIMachaL PRaDESh
cLaSS 10 MINIMuM foR BEINg PRaDhaN
In the idyllic Tabo village in the Himalaya, the rules are very clear: you cannot drink, cannot gamble and to become a pradhan you must pass at least Class 10 Jomsa meeting in progress
submit their accounts annually. Interestingly, after closing the accounts for the outgoing committee, and all pending cases or affairs if any, the ‘Lena’ is officially dissolved with offering of the ‘Drolten’ the last common meal. This is followed by handing over of the ‘Chyandi’ – keys of the Jomsa to the public.
Tabo has strict rules for polls and it has set minimum qualiﬁcation for a pradhan Attendance at village panchayat meetings is compulsory Those who attend above the minimum required number of times are given awards
poll for pi poens
Elections are held in the next couple of days by the transitional group designated by the general council of villagers. In order to give more legitimacy to the new Lena and channel the votes, a list is compiled which consists of those considered to be eligible for the status of the Pi Poen. Elections begin once the general council of villagers and the lamas (who have been participating in elections since the early 1990s) agree on who should be included in the list. Everyone receiving two voting ballots (with the seal of the Pi Poen on the reverse in order to avoid fraud) and writes on these the names of the candidates. Once the voting is completed, the ballots are sorted by the name and counted. The candidate with the most votes becomes the first Pi Poen, and the runner-up becomes the second Pi Poen. Those from the third to the eighth place are elected as gembos and those in the ninth and tenth position are elected Chipos. Once the elections are over and the new lheyna is the place, the public shares the meal offered by the departing Lena. In Lachen, the general village council is composed of heads of the Lachenpa households. Women are not entitled to become members; however, a widow can act in her departed husband’s place till such time their male heir is old enough to assume membership or if they had no son, until she adopts one. “This is a solid institution,” Lachenpa says. “It is vibrant and important because law and order cannot be maintained by police sitting in Mangan, the North Sikkim district HQ. And it is free of corruption because everyone knows each other and systems are transparent. (With inputs from Chewang Pintso)
IXTYSEVEN years after the Constitution of India came into force, the keepers of Indian republic have not defined the minimum qualification as eligibility to become a lawmaker, unlike in neigbhouring ‘under-developed’ Bhutan, where no one can contest in elections unless s/he is a graduate. Any illeterate can become a Union or state minister in our country. Even prime minister or a chief minister. Without any honour for basic education, they then demand to be addressed as ‘Honourable’, and without understanding law, they become law unto themselves. But right here in this country, there is a village where none can contest for the post of sarpanch, or village head, without having cleared a minimum educational qualification Not just that. Our legislators get lakhs of rupees per month in salaries and perks, and yet they hardly attend the Parliament or the assembly sessions, as the case may be. But in this Himalayan village, attendance at the village decision-making body is compulsory for everyone.
Some 400 kilometres from Shimla, capital city of the northern state of Himachal Pradesh, the idyllic village Tabo sits pretty on a hilltop in LahaulSpiti at an altitude of 10,760 feet above mean sea level. Permanently under snow round the year, the panchayat warms the hearts of
Tabo monastery: Standing witness to the transformation that is taking place
people desiring to see a bans and fines ue to the rules Tabo has completely functional democracy, banned alcohol and at any level. It is the path set for the gambling, which are two breaking story of a village where the villagers, they are addictions that mark the menfolk in most hilly panchayat has set rules 100 per cent areas and which leads to for itself, including that mirage at the national literate, and live a a whole lot of children losing their fathers at political level: a blissful life very tender ages. Anyone minimum qualification. To be elected as a pradhan, one must found under the influence of alcohol in have at least cleared Class 10 of the this village of 1,200 people, is levied a state education board. stiff fine of Rs 10,000. Likewise for Besides, the moment one is elected gamblers. as a pradhan all his or her relatives are There are also rules regarding debarred from procuring government environment protection as well as contracts. If someone is already a public hygiene and sanitation. Felling contractor, he or she has to give up the trees is strictly banned. lucrative work if his or her relative The villagers are supposed to take an becomes a pradhan. oath to protect the environment and All villagers must mandatorily attend maintain health and hygiene at the local panchayat meetings. If anyone attends monastery. Education is a must for all more meetings than the minimum villagers. There is a government school number mandated, he or she is in the village as well as a private one run rewarded. by the local monastery. Naturally, there is a rush of attendees Says panchayat pradhan Dechen at the meetings, which is just the Angmo: “Due to the rules set for the opposite of what we see in the hallowed villagers, we are 100 per cent literate, Parliament. and we live a life of blissful peace.
06 Republic Day Special
jANUARY 29, 2017
PaRThaL JAMMU & KASHMIR development. Now each of these villages earn anything between Rs 50 lakh to Rs one crore a month.
MaTaDI’S BLESSED MoNEY foR PaRThaL The villagers, once rendered poor because the Vaishno Devi Trust took over, are now making ladoos from local ingredients for the temple and minting money sharad gupta
N economic revolution is taking shape in a village near the Vaishno Devi shrine. All because of determination of women of this village who decided to fight out the odds and did so quietly and successfully. Vaishno Devi shrine is visited by an average of one lakh devotees every day. The figure crosses five lakh during holidays or festivals. Every task, right from ticket booking is done on computers. Except making the laddoo prasad which is made exclusively by women of Parthal village by hand. They have been using only locally grown ingredients which has made this experiment stand out as a unique economic model as well. Parthal is just two kilometers from Vaishno Devi’s base station Katra. People from this village used to earn their living by taking care of the shrine till 1985 when then Governor Jagmohan formed a trust - Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board to look after the arrangements of the shrine and devotees.
This rendered hundreds of villagers of Parthal jobless. The situation became
pitiable because for generations they did not do anything except puja and other such arrangements at the temple. They did not have agricultural land either. Women would cook and sit idle at home. Few villagers started working as daily wage labour, few others learnt driving taxies between Jammu and Katra. But, that was hardly enough to sustain their families. One of the villagers came to know of Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organisation (HESCO), an NGO working for the welfare of the hill people based in Uttarakhand, and contacted its director Dr Anil Joshi. “I noticed that the prasad was prepared and
Snapshots The villagers had lost all jobs when the Vaishno Devi Trust took over during Jagmohan They learned to make laddoos from local ingredients and started selling it as prasad Now not just them but several other villages are minting money from selling laddoos
brought from urban centres in the plains. I thought why can’t this be prepared by our people, especially women, with technology evolved by my organisation to process the local farm produce? ” Dr Joshi says. The latter suggested that villagers make prasad for the temple and gave them a recipe. He even got the recipe approved by the Food Technology Research Institute, Mysore. The shrine board officials were then persuaded to allow sale of indigenously created laddoo prasad. These laddoos don’t contain wheat flour or gram flour or even khoya. The Parthal women use only rice flour and corn flour as basic ingredients, mixing it with cow ghee and dry fruits (ghee from buffalo is not allowed in temples). The entire work is handled by a self help group of women called Vaishnavi Mahila Mandal. “These laddoos can be stored for up to six months”, says Sudesh Kumari, convenor of the Mandal. A box of four laddoos is sold at just Rs 12, out of which villagers get Rs 11.80, the Trust charges 20 paise per box as facilitation fee. The experiment, which had started with a seed money of just Rs 1 lakh, has now grown beyond Parthal. Women of three nearby villages too have replicated the Parthal model of economic
The demand for Parthal laddoos is so high that the supply chain cannot meet it. They have been selling laddoos only from three shops along the 14 kms yatra route. There is no advertisement or display board for these shops. Yet, their product is gaining popularlity. The opportunity for expansion is huge but villagers are ready for mechanisation of the process. Initially, the villagers had dubbed the project as a failure till the homemade products found a market at the shrine. “People in our village said it will not work. The ladoos would break during transportation. But these women didn’t give up,” says Raj Kumar, a local taxi driver. The effort now is at plugging the cost overruns and at expanding the business. There is a huge scope to expand in terms of scale. The overall quality of life has improved in Parthal, with pucca houses and new equipments like TV sets and electronic gadgets. For instance, the family of Sudesh Kumari, Mahila Dal convenor, now boasts of owning two motorcycles. Besides, about a dozen persons found regular employment as carriers of the product to the shrine. Packing is also done in the village. “The idea should be replicated at other religious places in the country to make religion truly purposeful,” Raj Kumar says.
Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board too wants the business to grow. “If we have to manufacture these laddoos on a mass scale, we need to use machines. It’s humanly just not possible to cater to such a huge demand by making ladoos manually,” says additional CEO MK Kumar. Other officials too concede NGOs have their own limits. They can’t work on a commercial basis. “These laddoos are being liked by the devotees. We are getting proposals like including a pack of Parthal laddoos in puja bag being sold by the shrine. We are trying to find ways to make these laddoos on a mass scale and at the same time ensuring that Parthal villagers don’t lose their jobs,” Kumar said. “I am all for boosting hill commerce. Hill people should use local ingredients so that the money coming from the plains through money orders doesn’t go back to the plains,” he said. Now Temple Trust wants these women to make indigenous molisindoor for puja. Efforts are also on to spread the self-reliance movement beyond just Parthal. “Once hill women across the Himalayas get the message, they will not only start earning but will also become empowered in real sense,” says Dr Joshi.
jANUARY 29, 2017
WoMEN oN ToP
North East Network
Women in this Naga village have started shaping their own future and… that of the village too
Naga women at their crafts in the village
UCKED in a remote corner of the Northeast is a village in Nagaland that has witnessed a silent revolution in socioeconomic reforms and environmental protection. And at the forefront of this unique movement are women who decided to tread the unconventional path for bringing farreaching changes in the mountain hamlet. These Naga women, always respected, have now created a hitherto denied space in the governance of the village and its economic uplift. Chizami is located in the Phek district of the border state and is inhabited by Chakhesang Nagas. The village consists of around 600 households with a population of 3,000, largely dependent on Jhum cultivation, a slash-and-burn type of agriculture that is traditionally practiced in the hilly terrains of Northeast India. Although women have traditionally enjoyed a respectable position in Naga society, their roles are marginal and often without a say in the governance of the village. This is more perceptible in the backward eastern districts like Mon, Longleng and Tuensang than in the western zone where literacy rate is higher.
monisha and seno
The winds of change started blowing in Chizami in the mid 1990s when women’s rights activists Monisha Behal and founder of North East Network (NEN) started community development for women in the village with a local activist Seno Tsuhah. Between 1998 and 2004,
Republic Day Special
Seno, along with some other women, began to demand equal pay as men in unskilled farm labour. In January 2014, in a landmark move, the village council passed the resolution for equal wages in agricultural labour and next year, another milestone was achieved when two women were allowed entry as members in the Enhulumi village council. Recalling her experience at Chizami, Behal said “To some of us, empowerment is when a woman is free to follow a life that does not label her as bad when she expresses her viewpoints within her family and her community. The success of North East Network in Chizami is that of the team’s commitment to women’s development and the process in which we value their work. This simply means that women farmers, weavers and homemakers should be regarded as people who should have the freedom to be cooks, actors, boxers, taxi drivers, mechanics or even lawyers and politicians. Women should have space to participate in public discourse, village councils and have the choice to make their own decisions. Finally, women must have access to justice as most societies in hill states of our region are highly patriarchal. Nagaland is no exception.”
the work focused on improving reproductive and community health, weaving a brand sanitation and nutrition. By the end of In 2008, NEN launched the flagship 2002, the village council donated land to scheme Chizami Weaves, which now has NEN to set up a resource centre, which a strong network of more than 300 was completed three years later. A women in the village. The programme vocational training centre also came up promotes textiles manufactured by one of the oldest looms - the after a few months for loin-loom or the backskill development omen took up strap loom – often seen in programmes to the most villages in the residents of the village. issues of food Northeast where textiles The overwhelming security, fragile are produced. Though response encouraged NEN to expand the list mountain ecosystem Naga shawls and the mekhela which came to include and climate change traditional (wraparound) enjoyed bamboo craft, food cult status in the apparel processing, organic farming, rooftop water harvesting and market, traditional weaving in the villages low-cost sanitation. The main challenge had suffered a setback due to lack of for Seno and Behal was to bring about viability and entrepreneurship. From weaving, the scheme expanded to socio-economic changes and empower include products such as stoles, cushion the youth, which was not an easy task. But within a short span, the decisive impact of the programmes was apparent. As in all Naga habitats, governance is vested in the village council comprising male representatives of khels (the Naga word for clans within the same community). The council members assist the “Ang”, or village chief, in decisionmak ing and implementation of NEN has made Chizami products a powerful brand programmes.
Snapshots The village has seen a silent revolution of socio-economic reforms over the years Monisha Behal and Seno Tsuhah of North East Network have changed their lives Their brand, Chizami Weaves, has around 300 women who are involved in the movement
covers, belts, bags and table mats that are now shipped to emporiums in all the major cities of the country. Experts were roped in from New Delhi and Mumbai for new designs and colours into the items, apart from the traditional Naga red, black and white. Buoyed by Chizami’s success story, 10 other villages in the district have decided to follow the same path and spread the silent revolution. The message was spreading fast and it was only a matter of time before the weavers began to usher in new perceptions of gender justice. The weavers now support their families through their work and they are also making their presence felt in the community’s public spaces by raising their voices on issues of health, livelihood, and environment.
Most importantly, they stepped into issues related to food security, which assumes importance, given the fragile mountain ecosystem in Nagaland and the impact of climate change, which has been quite evident in the irregular pattern of rainfall and rising temperatures. Traditional farming practices have also suffered in the hill state with the advent of the more lucrative cash crop (cardamom, for instance). NEN has firmed up plans for cultivation of millet in different villages of Phek since the crop had been an integral part of Naga culture and highly climate-resilient. A prime consequence of all these activities has been the prohibition on hunting and trapping of birds and animals which is quite unusual for Naga villages. The village council imposes strict fines on those violating the norms. The importance of conservation is slowly taking over the village as its rich biodiversity is under threat due to rampant hunting, large-scale commercial logging and unplanned development— making the region highly vulnerable to climate change. Chizami has emerged as a beacon of hope for a state that has witnessed militancy for the past six decades or so. The message about how these women scripted a success story is fast spreading and students and research scholars are often found landing at Chizami for a peek into the unique model of development.
08 Republic Day Special
jANUARY 29, 2017
Lantana is hardy, pest
resistant and one can make anything with it that can be made with bamboo or cane furniture, the pliant are fashioned into trays and baskets. A sofa set made of lantana sells for less than half the price of one made of cane but has the sturdiness, finish and grandeur of cane. The pungent lantana leaves make excellent mosquito repellents and incense sticks. Such innovative use of the weed brings in more than a lakh rupees a year for each of the families there. And it has earned Lachhiwala a new name: Lantana Village. Village ladies of Lachhiwala making lantana furniture
ThE LIvELIhooD WEED IN ThE hILLS Can a weed, by definition a troublemaker, generate money in an industry-deficient state? Apparently, yes, and ‘Lantana Village’ proves this sharad gupta
OU could say that those tiny speckles of flowers all across Dehradun and its neighbourhood are a beauty. In surprisingly vibrant mixes of red and yellow, or girly pink, sitting on top of lush green leaves, they do indeed seem pretty. But only if you knew! Ask the locals and they say it is a scourge, called lantana, a weed that refuses to die and is not killed by animals either, as its leaves are poisonous to animals, but its fruit is a bird’s delight and thus it spreads everywhere with bird droppings. The aggression of the plant is so much that these have spread to almost all parts of the country. Lantana has expanded wildly from lower altitude to higher areas up to 1800 meters above sea level. In many places it has virtually overtaken huge chunks of land and thus known as ‘Green Fire’ or ‘Land Eater’. The plant has become a serious threat to agriculture land and especially to ground flora in the forest.
But as they say, “if you can’t beat ‘em’ join ‘em”. In this case, one village did not exactly join ‘em, but made use of it in a rather inventive way. And the battle is on
not allowing the weed to dominate life, while humbling it and reducing it into making dustbins and footstools, chicken coops and baskets and even elaborate furniture. Considered among the 10 worst weeds in the world, Lantana camara seemed to have overrun Lachhiwala village, 24 km from state capital Dehradun. Introduced as a hedge by the British in India in 1941, lantana today occupies almost one lakh hectares of land. Once it takes root, the weed with the small pink, white and yellow flowers is impossible to eradicate. It resists manual destruction; biological and chemical methods don’t work, and in any case represents an environmental risk considering the spread of the plant. The shrub proliferates so rapidly that in some regions whole villages have had to be shifted after its invasion. The toxic effects of lantana The pink-yellow-red ﬂowers look attractive but are actually quite deadly
Snapshots Lantana is an all-devouring weed ﬁrst introduced by the British in 1941 It resists manual, chemical and even biological methods of destruction... nothing works Now women here are making furniture out of it and even mosquito repellents with it
also prevent the growth of other plants. Lantana-affected areas in India are found in the Deccan, the Nilgiris, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, the Shivalik range the Western Ghats, Bihar, Chhota Nagpur and the North-East. Lantana’s reputation however, did not daunt the villagers of Lachhiwala. Making wide use of the wild lantana, they have given it an economic value previously unimaginable. They use lantana sticks and mud to make the walls of their houses. Stripped of the bark, the insect- and pest-resistant lantana stems are put to varied use - the sturdier ones make good
The mechanical properties of lantana have been utilised for making utility items. In rural areas, in the wake of poor purchasing power, the rural community makes domestic items out of the wood available around. Bamboo has been the major wood used in the past. Since Lantana has woody properties it can also be used to make such domestic articles. Grain storage and water storage baskets can be made from lantana. Since Lachhiwala is close to Jim Corbett National Park, the lantana furniture has also become famous as Corbett Furniture. You can make anything with which can be made with cane or bamboo. Lachhiwala’s success against lantana has spawned many clones all over India. According to a conservative estimate, at least 50 villages spread across eight states in the country have started making furniture and other items with lantana. The states engaged in lantana eradication through usage are Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Chhatisgarh. Villagers also use other weeds like Parthenium hysterophorus, Rumex sp and Euphorbiaroyleana as compost layers in the cultivation of oyster mushroom. Using 100 bags of weeds as the substratum, villagers harvest up to 100 kg of mushroom that brings in around Rs 5,000. The success with lantana has helped open a new front against other troublesome plants. The root of the lantana can be powered and used in dental infections; leaves of another weed, Eupatorium platyphylla, are used as an animal antiseptic; extracts from the roots of Berberis asiatica work as anti-viral eyedrops; and Achyranthes aspera can be used to cure hydrophobia. All these promise economic benefits to the industry deficient state. Experiments like that of Lantana village show innovation can perk up a weak economy. What they also show is that never-say-die pests can actually become a source of livelihood.
jANUARY 29, 2017
PLaNTINg REvoLuTIoN Creating forests, celebrating girl child birth, generating livelihoods - this village has done it all with elan
what to do with it. Then I saw its products in a medicine shop, and we realised that aloevera could be processed and marketed in a variety of ways. We trained our women. Now, products made by them are quiet popular in the market. We produce juice, gel, pickle, etc,” Paliwal said. This small cottage industry has improved the lives of people in this village. This programme has had an impact on every part of the village. Now, even the women are working and earning, so attitude towards them has also changed. One of them, Sarla says, “This rule has changed our lives completely. Now, I am earning well. I have been awarded by our chief minister Vasundhra Raje for my attempt in aloevera plantation and distribution of its products. We are living in a clean and peaceful environment. This greenery has soothed both, our lives and souls.” Prior to this Sarla was a housewife like any other rural women. Her achievements pushed her self-respect and dignity.
Pride of the society: Piplantri women with their girl children
had lost his daughter Kiran suffering from dehydration that triggered physical N a country where often the death of complications. Kiran was just 16 years old a girl comes as a relief, nay, they are when she died. Paliwal says, “I decided even killed in the womb, the death of then and there, that no other father will one girl in Rajasthan has not only led to suffer as I have. Hence I made this rule of the recharging of the ground water of a planting of trees on the birth of a daughter. once parched village, but put in place a Only trees can help regenerate the system of celebrating both the girl child groundwater. ” and the environment. Within 10 years, this has shown its Piplantri is a village in the Rajsamand result. “Till now, we have already planted district in Rajasthan, where it is a rule that 4,00,000 trees in forestry, horticulture, whenever a girl is born, the family needs medicinal and ornamental plants. It to plants 111 trees and take care of them includes strong trees like shisam, sal, too. And, Rs 21,000 is collected from the eucalyptus and acacia trees. Fruit giving village residents and Rs trees like mango, amla, 10,000 from the girl’s and saputo have have seen the acute mulberry father. This sum of Rs also been planted,” water crisis in our Paliwal said. They have 31,000 is put into a fixed deposit for the girl, with a village, but now the also planted medicinal maturity period of 20 trees and plants like water level has years. The parents have to neem, harad, baheda and sign an oath stating that improved significantly aloevera. Apart from their daughter will receive these, many other useful proper education. trees and plants are also The oath also mandates that the girl growing and are being taken care of. This should be married only after she reaches rule has changed the entire landscape of the legal age. Once the fixed deposit the village. Due to this plantation, people matures, the father can take out the money have gained livelihood, the water level has only after an approval signed by the Gram increased and incidentally, even the crime Panchayat. It is also ensured that the rate has gone down in the village. money is not used for any other purpose, excepting for her higher education or aloevera livelihood The residents planted over two and a half wedding ceremony. lakh aloevera plants. Now these trees, lost & then gained especially the aloevera, are a source of This rule was made by ex sarpanch of this livelihood for several families here. “We village Shyam Sunder Paliwal. In 2006 he had tonnes of aloevera, but had no idea
Republic Day Special
This village has another rule too. They celebrate the birth of a girl with equal enthusiasm as they do for a boy. The expense of the celebrations are often borne by the panchayat. This has helped reach a balanced sex ratio. According to the census of 2011 in Rajasthan, It is 928 women for every 1,000 men. “It is our dream to have almost equal sex ratio”, says Paliwal.
Snapshots An unfortunate death led the sarpanch and the villagers to transform the village 111 trees are planted for a girld child birth; more than 4,00,000 have been planted till date Crime has reduced drastically in the village, as people are involved in productive work
separate toilet for girls and boys. Tenth class student Puja Vyas enjoys going to school. “We don’t need to share the toilet with the boys, and this save us much embarrassment. My friends and I love attending classes.” Prosperity ushers in happiness along with it. The same happened here, because as employment increased, leading to economic prosperity, the crime rate fell. Even men who were involved in drinking and had other bad habits are turning their lives in a positive direction. Kher Singh Rajput owns a beautiful orchard. He says, “I was completely drowned in liquor. I saw my relatives and friends working and getting prosperous. I took inspiration from them and started planting fruit trees. Now I have a beautiful orchard and this is my only passion.” Over the past few years no crime has been reported from this village. People are so busy with their
To solve the water problem in the village small check dams were made. The natural water from small streams or rainwater is reserved in these dams for cultivation. These reservoirs and the trees have helped raise the groundwater level. Now, the water can be found in the village at just 4 to 5 feet, which used to be at 30 to 40 feet down, just three years ago. This effort sounds very simple but its Village women treat trees as a part of their family impact is very much visible from the Google satellite map too. Eighty-year-old Khuman Singh work that there is no time for crime. All these qualities have made this says with proud smile on his face: “Eversince we have made girls and plants village an ‘adarsh gaon’. In 2016 this the priority, our lives has changed entirely. village has won Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyay We are more happy and prosperous now. I Nirmal Gram Award. This proves that am 80 years old, and I have seen the acute one simple positive step can lead us to an water crisis in our village, but now the extraordinary path. Now, Shayam Sunder water level has improved significantly, in Paliwal wants to have an Environmental front of my eyes”. Khuman Singh is one of Fair in his village. He wants government to organise it, where, they can have an the panch of the village panchayat. exhibition cum, sale of plants and seeds. change in attitude Environmentalist from all over India changed life could come and discuss about Every house in the village is clean and has environment related problems and its a clean toilet. Even the schools do have solution, Paliwal says.
10 Good News
jANUARY 29, 2017
NEWS IN BRIEf
SDMc To SET uP BIogaS PLaNT
It will handle dung from 2,800 dairy plots in Najafgarh
OUTH Delhi Municipal Corporation SDMC) has decided to set up a biogas plant in the Najafgarh area, with the capacity for management of 150 metric tonne of dung and kitchen waste refuse per day. The project will be implemented under the supervision of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. In SDMC, cattle waste is generated daily from three dairy colonies Nangli, Goyala and Kakrola having more than 2,800 dairy plots. There are more than 18300 cattle in the dairies which generate 368 MT cattle dung. SDMC commissioner PK Goel said that the bio-gas plant will also manage kitchen waste being generated in and around these dairies. He termed the project as a major initiative under Swachh Bharat Mission and added that it will go a long way in overcoming the state of insanitation in the municipal areas.
WEB-SoLuTIoN foR ThE BLIND
Drishti-Connect has launched a technology for the blind
‘oIL JEEvIka’ PRoJEcT IN NE vILLagES Companies tie up to provide support for livelihood development in rural Arunachal
N a joint initiative, Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship (IIE) and Oil India Limited headquartered at Duliajan in Assam have come up with a cluster development programme that is expected to benefit over 400 villages in two districts of Arunachal Pradesh – Changlang and Namsai. Christened as ‘OIL Jeevika’
Quick Glance IIE and Indian Oil have started an entrepreneurship project It is expected to beneﬁt 400 villages in Arunachal Pradesh The project aims to generate sustainable livelihoods
project, the initiative aims at livelihood promotion and cluster development. Officials said the project envisaged two broad areas – honey processing and mustard processing. The villages selected for the project are situated in Diyun Circle of Arunachal Pradesh. It comprises five villages of Changlang and Namsai districts - Innao, Innao Pathar, Piyong, Kumchaika and Innao Chengmai, which are also subdivided into nine villages. These are Innao Singphou, Innao Khamti, Innao Ahom, Innao Pathar, Innao Chengmai, Kumchaikha, Kumchaikha Khamiam, Piyong-1 and Piyong-2. The project will adopt a holistic approach with both forward and backward linkages. A total of 400 households will directly benefit through this project. The project aims at generating sustainable livelihood opportunities through capacity building, marketing and financial linkages and handholding support.
PRoMoTINg BIz WoMEN
The programme’s objective is to unlock value creation from among aspiring women
N a bid to help the blind easily address their day to day needs, a web-based resource hub, “Drishti-Connect” was launched in Agra by the NGO Antardrishti. Akhil Srivastav, managing trustee of the NGO said, “We have used the net-based technology to develop a national platform for the visually disabled. For instance, if a blind person wants to appear for an examination, s/he would need to find a writer. We have a database and the person can easily contact the volunteer who would gladly assist. Similarly there is help for opening bank accounts, including Reserve Bank of India (RBI) circulars.” The idea sparked among the founders in a three-day conference of blind and visually impaired back in 2014. The initiative, supported by the US-based Anita Borg Institute, was developed with the help of six blind persons over a time period of one year.
india abroad news service
OT for profit organisation, TiE Global (TiE Inc) says it has launched AIRSWEEE - All-India Road Show on Women’s Economic Empowerment through Entrepreneurship - to encourage entrepreneurship as a career option for women in smaller cities. “The programme’s objective is to unlock value creation amongst aspiring
Quick Glance AIRSWEEE is to encourage entrepreneurship for women To unlock value creation among aspiring young women Additional six months of mentoring from USA
young women in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities in India by empowering them with greater understanding of entrepreneurship. This is a three-day workshop on entrepreneurship which will help the participants in understanding the finer nuances of sales and marketing, market strategy, and operations,” TiE Global said. Twenty-five participants would be allowed in each AIRSWEEE workshop to be held in Warangal, Coimbatore, Jaipur, Nagpur and Durgapur that features: Inperson mentoring by USA-based experts who will travel to India. “This will be followed by five participants selected from each workshop group receiving an additional six months of mentoring from the USA and India-based mentors through video conferencing,” said Seema Chaturvedi, Chairperson of AIRSWEEE and Managing Group LLC.
NEWS IN BRIEf
ThE YIELD ENhaNcINg aPP 75,000 aqua farmers along coastal zones will benefit
Quick Glance Two aqua farmers from Andhra have developed an app The app will give critical information about market rates It will also give critical information about the weather
COUPLE of aqua farmers, named Ramachandra Raju and Venu Dantuluri, have developed a mobile “Aqua App” that can help farmers engaged in aquaculture to enhance their yield and quality. This app will help farmers locate the manufacturers of feed, provide weather details, new advancements in pisciculture and latest market prices, bringing several cost efficient changes for the fish farmers. “The biggest advantage is that farmers can employ many measures to earn profits, including improvement in standards of feed efficiency, gain direct access to top quality manufacturers, find daily market prices and weather reports. These things matter,” said Raju, president of Delta Fish Farmers Welfare Association. “The features of the app will include weather reports, prevailing market conditions and price alerts of the aqua feed along with locations market as well as improve input cost efficiency that could yield big results,” said Venu Dantuluri. Venu together with his seed investor Prakash Dantuluri has invested Rs 68 lakh in developing the “Aqua App”. Thousands of farmers have already downloaded the free app and are seeing its benefits. It is expected to benefit over 75,000 aqua farmers. Andhra Pradesh ranks first in coastal aquaculture and fresh water aquaculture. It contributes nearly 40% of the total marine exports of the country. India is home to more than 10 percent of the global fish diversity. Presently, the country ranks second in the world in total fish production with an annual fish production of about 9.06 million metric tonnes
jANUARY 29, 2017
NEWS IN BRIEf
uDaN: coMMoN MaN TakES To ThE SkIES! Financial support will make this possible for them
ThE ‘fILMY’ coP of uNNao Instead of arm-twisting and lathi bashing, the lady IPS employed women’s empowerment against the hooch mafia, and is winning
bout 44 airports across the country have “high potential” for operations under the ambitious Regional Connectivity Scheme for civil aviation, UDAN, according to a report from apex industry body FICCI. “Based on the geographical, operational and commercial parameters, 44 out of the 414 underserved and unserved airports have high potential under RCS. We have also identified around 370 potential destinations for the shortlisted airports, including metros, state capitals and important commercial, industrial and tourism centres,” said the FICCI report, brought out in concert with global professional service company KPMG. UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik), was introduced as part of the National Civil Aviation Policy 2016, and was launched in October last year. It provides an opportunity for the masses by way of fiscal incentives, infrastructure support and monetary subsidies.
RaJaSThaN’S RoaD BooM: cM
Road network is expanding beyond the set targets
ajasthan Chief Minister Va s u n d h ra Raje says her government has constructed 2,000 km more roads against the target of 20,000 km in the last five years. “The state government has constructed 22,000 km roads in the last five years and 10,000 km more would be built in next two years,” she said at a gathering in Etwa. Speaking elsewhere on the other end of the overbridge in Bundi district, Raje announced developmental projects worth Rs 262 crore. Water bodies under the first phase of Jal Swavlamban Abhiyan were built in 3,500 villages and this has led to rise of groundwater level, the Chief Minister said. She inaugurated a booklet on Mukhyamantri Jal Swavalamban Abhiyan and distributed scooties to meritorious students of Bundi district. The CM also announced that a vegetable excellence centre would be set up in Chatarganj village of Bundi district at a cost of Rs 10 crore.
HE means business, but her real life is much like a filmy stuff, but she, unlike the ‘ferocious film cops, she does it her way. Come elections and illicit liquor trade booms all over Uttar Pradesh. But there is a district in the state where a young woman IPS officer literally put a ban on the spurious liquor trade and its consumption. Moved by the deaths of 41 people in Unnao in 2015 in a hooch tragedy, Neha Pandey, a 2008 batch IPS officer, had taken up the cudgels against ‘kacchi sharaab’ trade when she was posted as the SP, Unnao. The district is infamous for illegal hooch manufacturing units. When Neha took over in February 2016, she convened a meeting of all the police and district officers to take on these liquor mafias. The task was not so easy, due to political protection. harnessing women’s power On the suggestion of one of her Circle Officers, Dr Hridesh Katheria, she decided to hold chaupals (village meetings) in all 1,044 Gram Panchayats in the district to involve women and family members to kill the liquor menace at home first. These chaupals were named “Samdhaan Aapke Dwar”, or The Solution at Your Doorstep. Involving women, their husbands, children and family members was a big step, but the first chaupal did not meet with much resounding success due to low participation. The reason was not far to seek. For centuries women had lived under the patriarchy and feudal system. It was a Herculean task to make them come out of their homes to raise their voices against their male counterparts. The demography of Unnao district
Snapshots Unnao is infamous for hooch consumption, leading to deaths and disabilities Woemnwere gathered by this IPS oﬃcer and empowered, using the chaupal platform All 1,044 villages have been covered by the programme and the situation has changed
Neha Pandey, IPS, is not feared as a cop, but has been endeared by he people
shows that it has only 55 per cent female literacy rate, against the national average of 65, and the sex-ratio of 901 females for every 1,000 males, compared to national average of 940. undeterred But the young IPS officer and her dedicated team were not deterred. To increase the involvement of women and family members, they applied novel methods. At the next chaupal, they introduced ‘nukkad nataks’, or streetcorner plays, and magic shows specially designed to create awareness about the ill-effects of liquor and how to fight it at home, before taking on its manufacturers. The result was amazing. Women flocked in large numbers in the second chaupal in Safipurand went home with a strong message. “We were astounded by the shows and the message it conveyed to us. We returned home with confidence and felt empowered, since the police and district administration were there to support us,” claims Kamla Devi. The programme soon became talk of the town. It provided a one-window solution to problems being faced by these village ladies. 180 days, 1,044 villages Within six months Neha’s team held these chaupals in all the 1,044 Gram Pachayats . To further empower villagers and keep an eye and ear on every development, she also appointed “Lady Heads” in all these panchayats for a twoway communication and provided immediate solutions to their grievances. “We have seen scores of people dying
in hooch tragedies, becoming permanently blind and families ruined. Now we have taken a resolve not only to disallow villagers to consume hooch, but drive away those selling it in our villages,” says a vigilant Nimbu Kali, a Lady Head, who had lost her son and husband both in a hooch tragedy. Villagers have got a voice in Neha Pandey. They not only help her team with tip-offs on illicit liquor traders, but also seek her help in resolving their grievances. Many of the Lady Heads were those who had lost either their husbands or family members in past hooch tragedies. The impact was so strong that women and their families got together to stop their husbands and family members from consuming country liquor. attacking mafiosi Within no time, her team destroyed hundreds of country-made liquor manufacturing units, hauled up 29 hooch mafia gangs and seized over 30,000 litres of spurious liquor ready for sale. “A small initiative has changed the lifestyle of village folks in less than a year. Now we have made a foolproof plan to check the sale of country liquor in Unnao during the election period,” claims IPS Neha Pandey. “She has done an exemplary work in the direction of women’s empowerment and eradicating the spurious liquor menace. We have motivated other police district chiefs to follow her footsteps,” praises Navniet Sikera, InspectorGeneral of Police in charge of 1090, a women’s power line.
12 Rural India
jANUARY 29, 2017
Snapshots Villagers are more aﬀected by corruption and oﬃcial neglect, KM Bhai realised To educate the ruralfolk on RTI, he set up ‘oﬃce’ on an easily noticeable tea stall Encouraged by the success, he is now planning more tea stalls on Kanpur-Jhansi road
An elderly citizen consulting KM Bhai (Centre) outside Moolchand Baba’s RTI Tea Stall
RIghTS uTTaR PRaDESh
ThE RIghT TEa STaLL
A young social activist realised that villagers are deprived of the benefits of RTI Act and so set up ‘office’ at a highway tea stall srawan shukla/Kanpur
HIVERING while holding a glass of hot, syrupy tea with both hands, as a way of fighting the bitter winter cold of a village morn, Asutosh Kumar, a young man with a Class 8 student as his child, wants to know from KM Bhai how he can procure the vital information he needs about school education scholarships. And Bhai gives him – and others free counsel. Asutosh is at what can be called a local institution of taking a movement to benefit people at the grassroots level. He is at what has now become famous as the ‘RTI Tea Stall’, just outside Kanpur city. It is a daily routine. People from Kanpur Dehat and adjoining districts make a beeline to the RTI Tea Stall to discuss how they can fight being harassed or cheated by local authorities. Police inaction, cheating by public distribution shop owners, delay in getting ration cards and contractors pocketing the village development funds without doing any work, all these are issues that have become a daily talking point in KM Bhai’s mission.
Even after 11 years of its existence, the benefits of the Right to Information Act, 2005, are yet to reach the rural populace. While the government has spent several hundred crores to educate people about their rights under the RTI Act, a young social activist has come out
with a unique idea to provide complete information on RTI free of cost through a tea vendor in Kanpur. Situated at Chaubepur block in Tatiaganj Gram Panchayat, about 35 kms from the Kanpur district headquarters, Moolchand Baba’stea stall is now famous as “RTI Tea Stall”. Since morning, RTI information seekers throng the tea stall to find solutions to their grievances over a cuppa for Rs 5. This experiment was started by the 27-year-old social activist KM Bhaifrom Kanpur city with the help of few others in 2010. “When I saw that people in the city were more aware than those living in rural areas, I chose this tea stall,
which is on the main road and catches the attention of rural people,” says Bhai. Moolchand Baba(55) is illiterate. So Bhai has put all pamphlets, forms and his mobile number on a small poster in the shop for those who need RTIrelated help and guidance at Baba’s tea stall. In fact, Moolchand Baba himself had devised he name ‘RTI Tea Stall’.
“I feel elated when people discuss RTIrelated issues with Bhai, who spends hours to help them write RTI applications and guide them to file it at with the appropriate authorities without charging a penny from them,” says Baba.
The young activist started this programme because he found villagers knowing very little on RTI
Bhai educates them in groups,saying that under the RTI Act, they have all the rights to seek information from the concerned authorities on how their own money – paid in taxes was being spent in different development projects in their villages. They also have a right to know the quota of PDS shops and whether or not the rations are being actually distributed to genuine card holders. An application of Ram Prasad of Bithoor to get a duplicate copy of his land papers was gathering dust from more than a year. Bhai helped Bithoor procure these within 30 days through the RTI application. Like him, there are hundreds of other villagers from as far as Jhansi, Auraiyya, Hamirpur, Jalaun, Kannauj and Badayun who have RTI success stories to share. The young social activist points out that the main problem in RTI penetration into rural areas is illiteracy. Even if people are aware about their rights, it is difficult for them to write an application in the prescribed format as per the RTI Act guidelines, and file them with appropriate authorities with the fees.
“We are forming groups in each village, involving educated youth to spend their spare time in educating people as well as helping and guiding them,” says Bhai. He has also written to the state RTI Commissioner, district magistrates and SSPs to come forward and hold ‘RTI Week’ or ‘RTI Fortnight’ in each tehsil and organise RTI camps once in a month in every village to reach the benefits of RTI to the rural masses. They face plethora of problems due to lack of education and awareness and the government should empower them first than concentrating only in towns and cities, he appeals. Encouraged by the success, KM Bhai has identified more such tea stalls at strategic locations between Kanpur to Jhansi to open more RTI Tea Stalls. “The aim is to educate and empower rural masses on RTI benefits, so that they fight for their rights on their own,” says he.
jANUARY 29, 2017
faRM SEcToR TAMILNADU
hYDRoPoNIcS To SavE TaMIL BovINES
Scientists have adapted a technology that can save our cattle from malnutrition, despite a poor monsoon and little fodder ssb science bureau
VEN as Tamilnadu is struggling with draught due to failure of the monsoon last year, the livestock population is also affected as there is lack of quality green fodder, but there is a silver lining somewhere down on the ground, if not rain-clouds up there in the skies. The Tamilnadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University officials have come up an invention that grows fodder in a shorter span, which shall be used by small farmers. Working with the hydroponic technology, fodder like maize are grown in this instrument without sand. From 1.65 kg of maize, one can get 10 kg of fodder. In this instrument, seven plates have been fitted in order. The seeds are soaked in water for 24 hours. Then they are put in wet jute sacks. These seeds are then spread in the plates of this hydrophonic instrument. Water is sprinkled on them every three hours. In eight days, the sprouted seeds will grow into fodder of thirty centimeters length.
hydroculture subset Hydroponics is a subset of hydroculture, which is the growing of plants in a soil less medium, or an aquatic based environment. Hydroponic growing uses mineral nutrient solutions to feed the plants in water, without soil. When one thinks of hydroponics, you instantly imagine plants grown with their roots suspended directly into water with
no growing medium. However this is just one type of hydroponic gardening known as NFT (nutrient film technique). There are several variations of NFT used around the world and it is a very popular method of growing hydroponically. Normally, if this instrument is imported, they will cost Rs 25- 30 lakh. Now this is not affordable for small farmers. The same technology has been adopted here but for the purpose of small farmers who can use it for their cattle in draught times using less water. This will cost 90 thousands to one lakh. This will help in producing 1,000 kg of fodder in 480 square feet of place. Prof Densingh Gnanaraj, head of the university’s farm research department says: “Normally, the quantity of fodder that takes 70 days to grow can be harvested using this technology in just nine days. As this fodder contains seed, root and stem as a wholesome package, animals are delighted to eat it. It is very nutritious. It is also clean, since it is without sand and other debris. Importantly, it is free of pesticides. Fifty litres of water and three units of electricity is all that is required every day. Even the water can be recycled and reused’’.
uBER RoaD SafETY
Around 5 lakh road accidents claimed almost 1.5 lakh lives Uber’s technology will change that
ssb science bureau
ITH an aim to prevent road deaths, online cab-hailing firm Uber rolled out a series of road safety features in its drivers’ app in 29 cities across the country. “We believe that our investments in telematics and analytics can make Indian roads safe again by predicting patterns around driving that lead to crashes and correcting them proactively
before the crash”, said Apurva Dalal, Head of Engineering, Uber India, in a statement. The features were first rolled out for driverpartners in Bengaluru as part of a multi-city global pilot. The drivers will get daily reports about their driving patterns and suggestions on how to provide a smoother and safer ride. It will include suggestions like mounting their phones, speed limits and break times. The company claims that there was 4.03 per cent reduction in harsh braking events in the first 16 weeks of the launch of the multi-city pilot.
Science & Technology
SITTINg oN ThE Sofa!
You don’t need to get up from your bed to charge your devices. Microwave energy will do the job for you india abroad news service
HAT if you can remotely charge your Smartphone with the flat-screen TV in your living room? If we believe a team of US engineers, turning your living room into a wireless charging station is not a far-fetched dream. The flatscreen technology can produce a widerange, wireless power transfer devices, say engineers from Duke University and University of Washington, adding that the technology already exists to build such a system and it is only a matter of time to design it. “Whether its headphones, cell phones, watches or even your mouse and keyboard, a major irritation for consumers is the hassle of being tethered to cords to recharge batteries,” said David Smith, professor at Duke. Some wireless charging systems already exist to help power speakers, cell phones and tablets. The problem to date has been that the antennas in a wireless power transfer
system would need to be able to focus on any device within a room. The solution proposed by Smith and his colleagues relies on metamaterials -a synthetic material composed of many individual, engineered cells that together produce properties not found in nature. According to the results, a flat metamaterial device, no bigger than a typical flat-screen television, could focus beams of microwave energy down to a spot about the size of a cell phone within a distance of up to 10 meters. It should also be capable of powering more than one device at the same time. Smith has used this principle to create the world’s first cloaking device that bends electromagnetic waves around an object held within. To achieve this on a big scale, a powerful, low-cost electromagnetic energy source would need to be developed. “I think building a system like this, which could be embedded in the ceiling and wirelessly charge everything in a room, is a very feasible scheme,” Smith noted.
SPacE COMMERCIAL LAUNCH
money from the skies
ISRO is actively working to boost its commercial wing, bringing high revenues for the country indian abroad news service
ITH the Indian space agency Space Research Indian Organisation (ISRO) gaining prominence in the international market for space affairs the country is planning to maximise its rocket capability in order to launch more satellites to maximise returns on investments, according to the agency chief. “By launching 103 satellites together using one rocket next month, we are trying to maximise its capability and optimally utilise it for maximum return on investment,” said ISRO Chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar. The record number of satellites, including 100 of foreign customers, will be launched on a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C37) in the first week of February from the Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh, about 80km north of Chennai. The combined weight of 100 foreign micro or smaller satellites will be about 590 kg and the rocket’s total payload will be 1,350 kg. The rocket will
deploy Cartosat in a sun-synchronous polar orbit at 630 km altitude.The INS IA and INS-IB will use a computer, motion sensors and rotation sensors to calculate the position, orientation and velocity of a moving object without external references. The state-run ISRO had launched 22 satellites onboard a PSLV in one go, including Cartosat-2C on June 22, 2016 from the spaceport. “We plan to have almost one launch a month with optimal utilisation of the rocket’s capacity to carry maximum number of satellites,” said Kiran Kumar after addressing the Karnataka ICT Summit 2017, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). The space agency is also set to launch heavier rockets like GSLV (Geo-Satellite Launch Vehicles) Mark III and Mark II for placing above four-tonne class communication satellites in the geosynchronous orbits as well as increase the number of these launches to provide various services as well as reduce the shortage of transponders.
14 Health & Sanitation hEaLTh NEWS IN BRIEf
hoSPITaLS gaLoRE Medical facilities in Tamilnadu are set to receive a fillip
jANUARY 29, 2017
PM Modi’s constituency sees a quirky campaign to inculcate the cleanliness habit in citizens
OUR 100-bed hospitals, each estimated to cost Rs 100 crore, will be set up in Tamilnadu under the Employees State Insurance Corporation scheme, said Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya. “The ministry has increased the coverage of the minimum wage limit from Rs 15,000 to Rs 21,000 so that there is an increase in enrolment of new workers. For Tamilnadu, we are going to sanction four 100-bed hospitals,” he said. The hospitals would come up in Tiruppur, Kanyakumari, Sriperumbudur and Tuticorin, Dattatreya said after chairing the State Labour Ministers and Principal Secretaries of Department of Labour Conference. “There are about 1,500 dispensaries in the country. We want at least 400 of them to be upgraded to six-bed hospitals.”It would cost about Rs 15 crore each,” he said, many more are being planned.
New ‘Ummeed’ for children with disabilities
N a bid to ensure there is no medical ignorance about patients of development disabilities, Cipla Foundation in collaboration with Ummeed Child Development Centre launched a new medical therapy centre here. This centre will provide training resources that will function along with clinical services for children with problems of autism, cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Learning Disabilities, among others. “Our centre will be able to train parents and build capacity in professionals and communities. We hope this is the beginning of a movement in India to invest in the development of every child,” said Vibha Krishnamurthy, Founder of Ummeed Child Development Centre. As per the 2011 Census of India, there are 78,62,921 children with disability in the below 19 year age group, among which 5,95,089 have intellectual disability.
ENIZENS of Varanasi, the constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, woke up to a big surprise when they found the entire ancient city flooded with hoardings featuring Bollywood icon and megastar Amitabh Bachchan’s super-hit movies like Sholay, Silsila, Deewar, Don, Sharabi, etc. But when they went close to see them, it turned out to be Big B’s famous dialogues from these movies, rephrased to make part of a massive Swachh Bharat Mission poster campaign launched in PM’s constituency in Uttar Pradesh. “First I thought that it was a relaunch of Amitabh’s classic movies in Varanasi, but when I saw the hoardings then realized that it were carrying his famous dialogues rehashed to promote and create awareness about
Varanasi Nagar Nigam keeps on drafting the mega star for this
a board of seven doctors said there was no chance of the foetus with an undeveloped skull surviving outside the uterus. The board which examined the woman also said that allowing the pregnancy to complete its full course could “gravely endanger” the mother’s life. The court said that medical termination of pregnancy would be
performed by the same team of seven doctors. The order said that hospital would keep full record of the procedure followed while terminating the pregnancy. While permitting the termination of pregnancy, the court also noted that decision to abort had the consent of the husband. Under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, a pregnancy could be terminated in the normal course if it is upto 12 weeks. But pregnancy between 12 to 20 weeks can be terminated if in the opinion of two doctors the continuation of the pregnancy would involve a risk to the life of the pregnant woman or of grave injury physical or mental health.
For the first time advanced pregnancy will be terminated
Posters on his classics with moderated dialogues are used
Earlier, a video against open defecation featuring the megastar was released by the ministry. In the video, the superstar was seen creating awareness about the hazards of open defecation. He was also seen appealing to village folks to give up the practice of open defecation by constructing washrooms in their houses for which the government was offering subsidies.
Sc To ThE aID of PREgNaNT LaDY
SUPREME Court bench of justices SA Bobde L Nageswara Rao has allowed a Mumbai-based woman 24 weeks into preganancy terminate itmedically. At this stage, continuation of pregnancy would have proved fatal for the woman. The termination was allowed after
Swacch Bharat movement is seeing Big B drafted in
PM’s dream project Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. But, anyway, it was a pleasant surprise and people must follow the strong message conveyed to them by the Superstar about clean India,” says Amit Mukherjee, a resident. People in the entire holy city are flocking to stop by and see these hoardings with utmost curiosity, praising the role played by Amitabh Bachchan and others in supporting the campaign which was launched by the PM from his own constituency in Uttar Pradesh. One of the hoardings was carrying his famous dialogue of Deewar “Peter keep the keys in your pocket so that I open the gate after taking it out from your pocket.” To promote PM’s campaign, it was rephrased like – “Peter, I will make your face red if you spit on the wall.” Another dialogue from his superhit movie Don reads – “After chewing Benarsi paan open windows of your mind or it will be impossible for you to chew it again in future.” The novel Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan hoardings with Big B’s famous dialogues are going down well with the people of Kashi. Varanasi Munisipal Commissioner Hari Pratap Sahi says that to keep the city clean and promote PM’s project,
india abroad news service
the administration keeps on launching such awareness campaigns. “It was a novel experiment by the Varanasi Nagar Nigam to create awareness through the rephrased dialogues from Amitabh Bachchan’s classic movies. After being made brand ambassador for Gujarat, the megastar was roped in last year in September by the Union Urban Development M. Venkaiah Naidu. The Bollywood icon was made the face of the Swachh Bharat Mission.
jANUARY 29, 2017
NITISh ‘MoDI’, DIffERENTLY!
The Bihar CM has launched ‘Lohiya Swachh Bihar Abhiyan’
SocIoLogY of SaNITaTIoN
A major seminar on the Sociology of Sanitation was organised by Utkal University, Odisha, where Dr Bindeshwar Pathak was honoured 1. Dr Pathak being welcomed with a bouquet by Prof P Das, Vice Chancellor of Utkal University 2. Dr Bindeshwar Pathak addressing the seminar
The Bihar CM is also stressing on a cleanliness drive Nitish has named this after socialist leader, late RM Lohia He wants a clear plan to be developed by January 15 4
AKING a cue from “Swachh Bharat” programme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has also directed state government officials to carry out “Lohiya Swachh Bihar Abhiyan” to make the state free from “defecation in open”. Nitish Kumar, during a review meeting of Public Health and Engineering Department (PHED), recently directed the officers concerned to carry out “Lohiya Swachh Bihar Abhiyan” sincerely for achieving the goal to free Bihar from open defecation. The Chief Minister also said that the time had come for fresh orientation of schemes for better utilisation of funds meant for construction of toilets and making availability of safe drinking water for the people. He further directed the officers concerned to prepare a plan by January 15 for better utilisation of funds to be spent on them. Besides, a massive awareness campaign should also be launched to make people aware for better utilisation of drinking water and shun the bad habit of people, the CM stressed. Earlier, the Bihar chief minister who is also the national president of the state’s ruling party Janata Dal (United) had included construction of drainage and arrangement of safe drinking water through taps into his ambitious Seven Resolves (Saat Nischay) programme. Recently, he had kicked off these programmes while touring the state during his Nishchay Yatra and personally visited the villages where tap water scheme was initiated. Bihar is among the states where open defecation is rampant and safe drinking water is still scarce. Reports suggested that most of the rape incidents in the state happen due to open defecation, sources say.
3. Students at the Utkal University garlanding Dr Pathak 4 Prof Das handing over a memento to Dr Pathak 5 Eager students sit for a group photo with Dr Pathak and Prof Das
ANITATION should now be included as a discipline in sociology because the core problem areas related to sanitation such as social deprivation, hygiene, ecology, water, public health, gender equality, etc., require sociological intervention, and such intervention should be grounded in spiritual and philosophical knowledge of our culture and society”, said Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak while addressing the students and teachers of the Department of Socioloigy at the Utkal University, Bhubneshwar. The Department of Sociology, Utkal University, Bhubneshwar organised one day seminar on “The Sociology of Sanitation” in the department on 11th January 2017 . The department offers Master of Arts in Sociology, Master of Philosophy in Sociology and Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology course. “I am a sociologist by training, and in 1985, I gave a new perspective to this discipline when I proposed the concept of Action Sociology, with the idea that sociologists should not only study the structure of society, culture, religion, values, mores, social problems, etc., but they should also actively engage with finding
out solutions to the burning social problems. I am of the view that scholars and students of sociology should engage with the society, work for the people and help them solve their problems, apart from studying the nature and functioning of society.” he added. Dr. Pathak while sharing his ideas and rich experience in the field further said that “Based on this thinking I also propounded in 2013 the theory of Sociology of Sanitation, which is a scientific study to solve the problems of society in relation to sanitation, social deprivation, public health and hygiene, gender equality, empowering people for sustainable development and attainment of philosophical and spiritual knowledge to lead a happy and healthy life. This move was welcomed by hundreds of sociologists in a National Conference on Sociology of Sanitation in New Delhi in the year 2013. The idea of Sociology of Sanitation enriched and enlarged the engaged intellectual dialogue that I had started in 1985 under the broader sociological canopy of Action Sociology. Today, Sociology of Sanitation is increasingly being recognized by sociologists across India, and
it is also being taught in three Departments of Sociology in India, namely Maharaja Krisnakumarsinhji Bhavnagar University, Bhavnagar (Gujarat); Lalit Narayan Mithila University, Darbhanga (Bihar), and Mangalore University, Mangalore (Karnataka)...”Dr. Pathak expressed his gratitude to Professor P. Das, the honourable Vice Chancellor of Utkal University, Professor Navaneeta Rath, Head of the University Department of Sociology, and other Faculty members associated with this seminar for giving him this wonderful opportunity to speak about a subject which is the focal point of his life and the Sulabh movement that he has been leading for almost half-acentury. Dr. Pathak applauded and congratulated Professor Navaneeta Rath, a talented and committed sociologist, for her brilliant and successful initiative in envisioning and organizing the seminar and conveyed his best wishes for the success of the seminar hoping that the seminar will play a sparkling role in drawing more Indian scholars and social scientists to this novel discipline of Sociology of Sanitation.
jANUARY 29, 2017
“Constitutional morality is not a
natural sentiment. It has to be cultivated. We must realise that our people have yet to learn it. Democracy in India is only top dressing on an Indian soil, which is essentially undemocratic.
Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedhkar, Constituent Assembly Speech, 1948
ShaRaD guPTa A journalist with 30 years experience, working as a Senior Editor with ‘Parliamentarian’
MANY MORE CONSTITUTION AMENDMENTS NEEDED With 448 Articles and 12 schedules, the Indian Constitution is the largest in the world and needs periodic revision
EMPLoYINg ThE EDucaTED Inability of the highly educated in landing a suitable job pains the country
EAR after year we come to know of the stories informing us about PhD holders and MBAs applying for a peon’s job in Uttar Pradesh. Similar pictures of engineers and doctorates in waist-deep waters cleaning a filthy drain in UP’s Amroha have once again appalled the common man. The young men were undergoing a practical test for the sweeper’s job they had applied for. There were just 14 vacancies for which over 17000 applications had poured in, many from post graduates, doctorates, engineers and MBAs. The monthly remuneration for the post was a paltry Rs 17,000. This is high time that such socio-economic discrepancy should shake up the collective conscience of the country. These highly educated young men were trying to vie for a job that doesn’t behove even an illiterate person. And it is not an isolated incident. In a similar incident, over a lakh youngsters had applied for peon’s job in Lucknow last year. Earlier this year too, a similar incident was witnessed in Bhatinda district in Punjab. But, Couldn’t these youngsters be employed just as teachers? Or may be as clerks? While we have been employing all kind of persons as part-time teachers or Shiksha Mitr. Couldn’t these Doctors of Philosophy, engineers and Masters of Business Administration be given some respectable job? And lastly, when we are moving on to become a developed country, is it necessary for drains to be cleaned manually and not through machines? The government could have picked up these applicants and put them in any of the skill development institutes being run by it. At a time when skilled labour from India is very much in demand the world over, such incidents lower country’s prestige. We need to re-evaluate the skills being imparted by teach-shops and revise the curriculum.
KUMAR DILIP Edited, Printed and Published by: Monika Jain on behalf of Sulabh Sanitation Mission Foundation, owned by Sulabh Sanitation Mission Foundation Printed at: The Indian Express Limited A - 8, Sector -7, NOIDA (UP) Published at: RZ - 83, Mahavir Enclave, Palam - Dabri Road, New Delhi - 110045 (India) Corporate Oﬃce: 819, Wave Silver Tower, Sector - 18, NOIDA (UP) Phone: +91-120-6500425 Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
N institution or society can function smoothly only through a set of rules. Larger the society, more diversified it will be thus requiring different set of rules for different people. Just imagine what kind of rules govern a nation of 1.3 billion people with hundreds of faiths, languages and even ethnicities. This set of rules called Constitution of India was written by the Constituent Assembly which took almost three years to prepare it. They studied Constitutions of several countries picking up the best practices from each of them and then argued on each and every rule on way to form the Constituion we see today. The Constituent Assembly made over 2000 amendments to the overall draft of the Constitution. With 448 articles and 12 schedules, our constitution is the largest Constitution in the world. But when so much research and debate went through in a cementing a rule book why is it being amended so frequently? The answer is simple. Every society keeps evolving constantly. The rules need to be changed as and when the requirement for the same was felt necessary. Members of Constituent Assembly had prepared a document most of which had withstood test of the times so far, needing only few changes here and there. The basic framework is still intact. In fact, article 368 of the Constitution itself has provided the powers of Parliament to amend the Constitution and its procedures but cannot amend those provisions which form the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution. Since Supreme Court of India is both regulating and implementing agency of the Constition, new
amendments often brought before it and are implemented only if they pass the litmus test of the Supreme Court.a constitutional bench Supreme Court has laid down these points clearly in the Keshashavananda Bharti Case, 1973. The Constitution can be amended in three ways - by simple majority of the Parliament, by special majority of the Parliament or else Amendment by special majority of the Parliament and the ratification of half of the state legislature.In 1st amendment to The constitution of India, special provision for the advancement of socially and educationally backward classes or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes were added. Schedule 9 was introduced to protect laws that are contrary to the Constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights. Through 2nd amendment, upper population limit for a parliamentary constituency was removed. In 42nd amendment fundamental duties were introduced in constitution. Later some of the amendments from this bill were repealed in 43rd amendments. So amendments have to be introduced to run the country in a better way in the fast changing socio-economic milieu. The latest - 100th amendment - was necessary to give constitutional validation to Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) Treaty with Bangladesh. Through this amendment the citizenship rights were conferred upon residents of the enclaves which were exchanged in the treaty.A classic case to understand the working of courts and the Parliament in amending the constitution, is Shah Bano case in which a fivemember Supreme Court bench unanimously decided that Shah Bano Begum, an Indore resident who had been divorced by her husband, was entitled to alimony or monthly maintenance. Muslim organisations cited the judgement as an infringement in their personal law and sharia. Since, the Rajiv Gandhi Government had brutal majority in the Parliament, they introduced a law in 1986 titled The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, nullifying the Supreme Court’s judgment. The act allowed maintenance to a divorced woman only during the period of iddat, or till 90 days
jANUARY 29, 2017 after the divorce, according to the provisions of Islamic law. But, the court restore its initial order when Shah Bano’s lawyer Daniel Lateifi challenged the law in the SC. So, there is always a rug if war between the Parliament and the Supreme Court. One is creator of the Constitution while the other is Protector of the Constitution. So, is there need for more amendments? There is. The Government itself had constituted a commission to review the Constitution and it has recommended repealing a number of acts. The civil society too has been debating and recommending amending a number of outdated laws like reservation, blasphemy, juvenile justice law and LGBT Act etc At present, the reservations depend upon one’s caste, gender and religion. The law has often been misused by people who do not actually need the perks and in turn, the deserving candidates have to suffer. It would have been so much better had the target groups been formed on the basis of their income instead of caste and gender. Introduced in 1860 by the British, the Blasphemy Law allows anybody who outrages any religion with the intention of maligning it to be punished. It has only proved to be regressive over the years since it doesn’t give Indians the freedom to voice their opinion. The infamous December 16, 2012 gang rape case, Nirbhaya, highlighted the need for
There is always a rug in the fight between Parliament and Sc
amending the Juvenile Justice Act. According to the law, if the criminal happens to be a juvenile (under 18 years of age), he can be sentenced to be admitted to a special home for a maximum period of three years. The law treats a heinous gang rape on the same scale as a petty theft. The recent times have seen endless debates on the implementation of Section 377 according to which homosexual intercourse is illegal. The law refers to homosexuality as an act against the order of the nature. Snatching away the very basic right to choose one’s partner irrespective of the gender, the Indian constitution seems to have taken a U-turn on the road leading to evolution and social reform. There are many more laws which are need amendments. But, the amendment can take place only when Government of the day feels necessity for it and moves a bill in the Parliament. Most of the amendments have been introduced in response to the public demand or to improve the socio-economic condition of the country. Some amendments have been struck unconstitutional by the judiciary. In view of fast changing socioeconomic scene, some amendments also require revision over time. On the whole, amendments are a way to shape to constitution according to the present needs and aspirations of the citizens, and seeing the dynamic nature of today’s world, there can be many more amendments in line.
The author is a graduate in Computer Science from BITS, Pilani. He is presently helping to settle a migrant community, focusing on their education needs
Indian media has a callous approach towards issues of rural India. It needs to mend its ways to create a pluralistic space for rural news.
VEN though ‘India lives in its villages’, it hardly loves its villages. Almost 90 crore Indians, residing in rural India, face the apathy and indifference of the urban, middle class, which seems to capture most of the mainstream space. One yardstick of this apathy is the coverage given to rural issues by the media, fourth estate of democracy. A study by Centre for the Studies of Developing Societies found out that top 6 dailies of India devote around 2% of their editorial space to the issues and concerns of rural India. Even in this paltry space, news related to crime, violence, accidents, etc crowd out the real issues of development. In the current milieu, our perceptions are concocted by the information we surround ourselves with. Most of the news items we are fed with hardly cater to the needs and aspirations of rural India. Our
selective bias chips in and hence, their concerns don’t capture our fancy. In 2015, the number of farmer suicide shot by over 40%. This is a humanitarian catastrophe and should have exhorted the democratic conscience of the people to demand more accountability from policymakers on agrarian crisis. But, none of this happened as ‘frequent’ suicides have become a
mundane news item and don’t qualify for breaking news. Media is a key driver of social and individual perceptions. There is a strong need of an overhaul in media where proportional representation is given to the rural India, if not more. More rural news items and journalists need to be co-opted in the mainstream. Sporadic initiatives like community radio, People’s Archive of Rural India (an online platform dedicated to rural news) need more push and support. Indian republic will stand true to its ideals, if it gives fair space to two-third of its populace. And the fourth estate will have a crucial role to play.
LETTERS To ThE EDIToR a chocolate wrapper on the road. The tiny one objected this and asked the lady to pick the wrapper back. Thanks to the media for creating such awareness regarding cleanliness. Paramjeet Kaur, Rohtak
our ugly truths Dear Sir, I went through story ‘When ‘ugly’ is clean’. I found it very interesting. With changing thoughts things are changing in our society. Nice to see all the beautified wall in the urban landscape. Now, people are getting conscious regarding their city. Earlier, it was limited to their own house. I was going out with my 5 year old niece; a lady passing through us threw
a man for poor men Dear Editor, Your ‘Roti Bank’ story is something really outstanding. A man is doing so much for others. In today’s world, when we don’t care for our parents, our siblings, a single guest in our family becomes burden. This man is doing so much for the people whom even he doesn’t know properly. His efforts have motivated others to follow the suit. Raman Singh, Lucknow stalking scare Dear Editor With reference to the story on stalking, it is not at all a romantic thing to be stalked, rather it is scary. But women in India have accepted it as part of their life hence they are asked to ignore such incidents. This attitude further
increases the amount of audacity of the stalker. It should be stopped and reported at the very first stage as it can be a gateway to bigger crime. I don’t think the picture has changed much post-Nirbhaya incident. Roshni Dwivedi, Ghaziabad quit smoking’s fun now Dear Editor With reference to the story ‘Quit smoking app’tly’ it is quite interesting to know that a gaming app has been developed that helps quit smoking. This habit is heavy on both the purse and health. If the fun factor helps getting rid of this injurious habit, then it’s hitting two birds with one stone. Pranav Sinha, Delhi a positivist newspaper Dear Sir, With reference to the ‘Good News’ section of your newspaper, I would just like to say that it’s a collection of all week’s good news. I can find all the week’s important developments in this section. It creates a sense of positivity. Srawana V, Bengaluru
Please mail your opinion to - email@example.com or Whatsapp at 9868807712
18 Photo Feature
jANUARY 29, 2017
Guards of Honour
The Indian Army has fought, and won, three vital wars against aggressors, but also plays other roles that are vital. Here’s a tribute on Army Day Photo Courtesy: ministry of defence
1. Gen Bipin Rawat, Chief Of Army Staﬀ proceeding to review the majestic Army Day Parade at Cariappa Parade Ground in New Delhi on January 15th, 2017 2. Gen Bipin Rawat, COAS reviewing the Army Day Parade 3. Gen Bipin Rawat, COAS reviewing the Army Day Parade at Cariappa Parade Ground 4/5/6. Gen Bipin Rawat, COAS awarding gallantry awards during Army Day, 2017 7/8. Gen Bipin Rawat, COAS awarding COAS Unit Citations 9/10. Mechanised forces displaying their prowess during Army Day
jANUARY 29, 2017 12
11/12. Infantry marching during Army Day at Cariappa Parade Ground in New Delhi 13. Mounted Cavalry during Army Day at Cariappa Parade Ground in New Delhi 14. Motor cycle display team during Army Day 15/16/17/18. Combat demonstration during Army Day at Cariappa Parade Ground 19. Tableau showcasing the heroes of yesteryears and saluting their valour and courage
jANUARY 29, 2017 The Ken River (Left) near the Panna Tiger Reserve, and the Betwa River of Madhya Pradesh: a marriage of convenience
Snapshots The project is likely to beneﬁt one of the country’s worst drought-aﬀected areas
uP-MP RIvER LINkINg
kEN-BETWa: a uNIQuE PRoJEcT
The project might benefit humans but the wildlife board says it will not get the nod unless tiger populace is protected satyendra singh
IGVEDA has special mention of water sources, rivers in general and popular rivers in specific. They are considered sacred and possess divine powers. Krishna, in Bhagavad Gita, claims that he is the stream of holy Ganges. These are the spiritual beliefs associated with rivers but they also have physical attributes since ages. Rivers have been ensuring the inhabitability on this planet since time
immortal. Therefore, they need to be protected and holistically used by the society as well as the states. The KenBetwa river inter-linking project can be seen as an effort in this direction. The project has the potential to affect over 70 lakh people. It is expected to be launched very soon. The NDA government’s ambitious Ken-Betwa river inter-linking project is likely to develop the worst drought prone regions of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. The project is also
vaJPaYEE’S vISIoN The Ken-Betwa river link is seeing some progress now
HE idea of interlinking Ganga and Kaveri rivers emerged during the British Raj for th best utilisation of water resources But it was shelved due to the expansion of railways. However, it kept resurfacing time and again. Later, the focus shifted to the idea of inter-basin transfers from surplus water to waterdeficit areas. In 1982, the formation of National Water Development Agency was the stepping stone in this direction. It was delegated with the task of carrying out water
balance and feasibility studies of the linking programme of 30 rivers. But the idea got a real push when Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government came to power in the Centre. The plan was to connect 14 north Indian rivers and 16 peninsular rivers by constructing 30 canals and 3,000 artificial lakes. It was to irrigate 87 million hectares of land, and produce 34 gigawatt of hydroelectricity. In 2002, Supreme Court ordered to form a task force to set an action plan on all detailed projects by 2006. However,
The project was ﬁrst initiated under the Vajpayee government and now by Modi’s But the NWB has put in the rider that the Panna Tiger Reserve must be protected
expected to be a benchmark for irrigating 6.36 lakh hectares of land (3.70 lakh hectare in Madhya Pradesh and 2.66 lakh hectare in Uttar Pradesh) annually. The project will also mitigate the drinking water woes in Bundelkhand region. According to the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, 55 million cubic metre drinking water will be made available to over 13.5 lakh people in Bundelkhand. Apart from this, 78 MW
electricity will be generated. Flood control, water transport, fisheries are some other benefits to be mentioned. The project that is likely to foster so many benefits has seen difficult time too. It required a go ahead from Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change(MoEFCC) and Ministry of Tribal Affairs in the first place. According to reports, the Environmental Evaluation Unit has given its assent. Similarly, it has got the thumbs-up from the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. But the project is still waiting for a positive response from Forest Advisory Committee of MoEFCC. The ministry has asked for a few documents of the project. It is most likely to get an affirmative response from the ministry. The most surprising part is that the National Board for Wildlife (NBW) has given it a green signal. It is an important achievement on the part of central government. There was low probability for the project to get a nod from NBW because it was highly opposed by environmentalists and wild life activists. According to the reports, 4,141 hectares of Panna Tiger Reserve will be submerged due to the implementation of the Ken-Betwa project. Panna Tiger Reserve has been developed as an ideal place for the conservation of endangered national animal. Currently, it is home to more than 16 tigers while there was no tiger at all till in 2009. In this scenario, it was difficult for the Board and the government to give green signal to the
The Panna tiger reserve with 16 tigers may be submerged due to the project
the Vajpayee government could not return to power in 2004. But a tripartite Me m o r a n d u m of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Centre, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh governments. A detailed project report was prepared on the Ken-Betwa river inter-link project in 2005. The problem did not end here. Environmentalists had great objections on that report. The matter was brought before the Apex Court. The Court ordered for its immediate implementation in 2012. The project again got a boost during the Modi government. The Union cabinet gave its nod to the project in 2014. Union Minister for Water Resources Uma Bharti is full of zeal for
the project and wants to complete it at the earliest. Centre has allocated Rs 100 crore for the project but it could not turn into action due to the absence of ‘green clearance’. Now gradually the project is getting clearances from the concerned authorities and paving its way to implementation.
jANUARY 29, 2017
golden peacock lifetime Achievement Under the Chairmanship of Justice MN Venkatachaliah, Former Chief Justice of India, Jury of “Golden Peacock Awards” has selected Dr Bindeshwar Pathak’s name
Dr Bindeshwar Pathak received the Golden Peacock Lifetime Achievement Award for Leadership in Social Service – 2016 in an award ceremony held in Hotel Lalit Ashok, Bengaluru. The prestigious award was confered to Dr Pathak by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, in recognition of his outstanding advocacy and action for the so-called ‘untouchable’ caste, so that they may work and live their lives with full dignity.
The National Board for
Wildlife insists that Panna will be integrated with the Rani Durgavati and Ranipur reserves project, for it was a threat to the endangered population of tigers. But it is equally important for human life. Therefore a middle way was suggested. Madhya Pradesh government has agreed to give 8,000 hectare of forest land to compensate it. The board on the other hand made it clear that the Panna Tiger Reserve will be integrated with Rani Durgavati (MP) and Ranipur (UP) Wild Life sanctuaries in order to compensate the loss of natural habitation of tigers. Along with that, the Board has also asked the government to ban fresh mining leases in that region. The Board is relying on National Tiger Conservation Authority to look after the sanctuary. The main feature of the project is a series of barrages and dams connecting the Ken and Betwa rivers. A dam near Dhaudhan village in Madhya Pradesh will be built on Ken basin. Around 660 million cubic meter surplus water from Ken River will be brought to Betwa River through 221 km long cannel. It may cost around nine to ten thousand crores. However, the proportion of fund allocation by the state and Centre is yet not clear. NITI Ayog has recommended that Centre’s share should be 40 percent while the states will bear 60 percent of the share. But the Ministry of Water Resources has opposed it arguing that it should spent 90 or 100 percent of the whole project cost. The tussle on the issue may lead to further delay in the project. The government is also liable to pay for compensation for land acquisition and rehabilitation of displaced families. As soon as the contention on funding pattern is resolved, the project will be implemented unless some other obstacle hinders its way. It will be the maiden project of its kind for interlinking rivers flowing through more than one state.
US Institute honours Dr Pathak as the “Distinguished Engineer” 1
r Bindeshwar Pathak, Action Sociologist, Social Reformer and Founder of Sulabh Sanitation Movement, was honoured on January 17, 2017—as the Distinguished Engineer by the Rocheston Accreditation Institute, New York, in recognition of his phenomenal efforts to uplift the people’s lives across the country that has been an inspiration to social reformers everywhere. According to the Institute, Dr. Pathak, through his work, based on humanitarian principles, has engineered and employed many technical
innovations in social reform. The Rocheston team representatives - Mr. Vasanth Davis, Ms. Zaineb Sariya, Ms. Sridevi, Mr. Ramesh Kambattan and Mr. Haja Mohideen President CEO, Rocheston visited Sulabh Gram today and honoured Dr. Pathak in the Sulabh Auditorium. The citation was presented to Dr. Pathak by representatives from the Institute Mr. Hashim and Mr. Vasanth Davis. The Award comprises of a 24 carat gold medal, a certificate and a Gold Rocheston Accreditation Institute Membership Card. The “Distinguished Engineer”
The Distinguished Engineers Award is given to selected people from across the world
1. Dr Pathak receiving the prestigeous award from one of the Rocheston team members 2. Mr Vasanth Davis sharing a proud moment for Dr Pathak, holding the certificate of mmerit 3. A beaming Dr Bindeshwar Pathak holds his medal at the ceremony
honour is awarded to professionals of repute selected from across the world in recognition of intellectual calibre, technical excellence and accomplishments in the fields of Arts, Science and Technology. Recognition as a ‘Distinguished Engineer’ is the Institute’s highest commendation given to professionals who have excelled in their field through their academic achievement and scientific breakthroughs.
jANUARY 29, 2017
profile Uppma virdi
US Honour to Indian Talent Indian scientists are making their mark in the scientific space with their impactful work
the oz chai champ!
It’s hard to imagine that selling tea can bag someone an award. It has happened in Australia! sfoorti mishra
grandfather who is an ayurvedic doctor. He is the one who taught her how to hai is an integral component of make perfect blend of tea and other herbs Indian lifestyle. Be it a family and spices. “My grandfather is an function or a team outing or a ayurvedic doctor and he used to make social gathering, chai is an inevitable part. this ayurvedic tea at his medical It provides a mental stimulus and creates dispensary. He taught me the art of a conducive environment for bonding. ayurvedic tea,” says Virdi. But for Uppma Virdi, above everything, However, this Chandigarh girl, who chai has brought her laurels. She has loves the moniker ‘Chai wali’, is a lawyer found resounding success through tea by profession. But she also runs her selling. Sounds strange! Meet 26-year-old online tea store where she sells an Uppma Virdi whose love for assortment of tea and tea has won her the title related products such as ‘Businesswoman of the year’ candles, pots, kettles, e it a family in the 2016 Indian Australian and even function or a team strainers, Business and Community chocolates made of tea. “Interest in tea is growing Awards (IABCA) held in outing or a social Sydney, Australia. gathering, chai is in Australia as more and more people are seeking “I tried, but couldn’t find many good tea places in an inevitable part alternatives to coffee. It was coincidentally the right Australia,” she told SBS (Australian media) That’s where the idea time for me,” she was quoted as saying. of tea selling was born, two years ago. Virdi also runs ‘The art of Chai’ workshops There has been no looking back since on how to brew a perfect cuppa. “My real then. The prestigious award is a result of aim is to educate the Australian society good tea products along with lots of about the Indian culture through tea,” she marketing, social media campaigns, says. She recalls how her parents strongly networking and above all, a vision and opposed her for being a chai wali (tea seller). But, as they say, ‘follow your heart, belief in what she did. Her love for tea making roots from her rest will fall in place’.
vatican night shelter
“the poor V shall inherit the earth”
Christ’s saying is put into practice, somewhat, by Pope Francis
India Abroad News Service
atican is allowing the homeless in the area to sleep in one of its churches in central Rome, during the ongoing cold snap that has already claimed several lives. It has also keeping its dormitories open around the clock and on the orders of Pope Francis downand-outs are being allowed to sleep in Vatican vehicles. Around 30 homeless people including Italians and foreigners are being allowed to sleep in St Calisto Church and its adjoining buildings in
India Abroad News Service
ut of the 102 researchers set to receive the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the government has chosen four of the Indian American scientists for the US administration’s highest honour to science and engineering professionals.“I congratulate these outstanding scientists and engineers on their impactful work. These innovators are working to help keep the United States on the cutting edge, showing that Federal investments in science lead to advancements that expand our knowledge of the world around us and contribute to our economy,” said Obama in an official statement. One of them, Pankaj Lal, a Delhi School of Economics alumnus, is an associate professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Studies at Montclair. He has been working for the research that explores interconnections among society and the environment, natural resource conservation and policy and climate change. Kaushik Chowdhury, who received his PhD from the Georgia Institute of Technology, directs the Next Generation Networks and Systems
(GENESYS) Lab. He is the winner of the “NSF CAREER” award in 2015 and the Office of Naval Research Director of Research Early Career Award in 2016. An environmental epidemiologist and exposure biologist, Manish Arora’s research focuses on effects of prenatal and early childhood chemical exposures on life-long health trajectories. He is known for his work on biomarkers that utilise human deciduous and permanent teeth to reconstruct the timing of exposure to various harmful chemicals and essential nutrients. Aradhna Tripati’s lab at UCLA uses the chemistry of natural compounds as well as models as tools to understand how the Earth works to understand climate change, the oceans, and the transfer of carbon between the biosphere, atmosphere and oceans. This award was first established by President Bill Clinton in 1996. These are coordinated by the Office of Science and Technology Policy within the Executive Office of the US president. Awardees are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education or community outreach. Rome’s Trastevere district as long as the cold weather lasts. The areas of the church allocated for sleeping are heated and equipped with beds, blankets, washing facilities and sanitation, the Vatican said. The sleeping areas open at 8 p.m. and a hot meal is served at a nearby soup kitchen from 7 p.m. onwards. A new cold front will hit Italy over the coming days, bringing subzero temperatures, snow, and gale force winds, according to a severe weather alert issued by Italy’s Civil Protection Department.
an INITIATIVE by
DIGITAL PAYMENT The Future of Payments
dr. bindeshwar pathak
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS FOR VARIOUS MODES OF PAYMENT: Cards, USSD, AEPS, UPI, Wallets
Founder, Sulabh Sanitation & Social Reform Movement
Transfer Funds to another Bank Account
types of POs
Dial *99# from your phone
Physical Card Swiping – PTSN with landline/GPRS enabled
Welcome to NUUP Enter 3 Letters of your bank’s short name or ﬁrst 4 letters of your bank’s IFSC
Enter Your Option 1. Balance Enquiry 2. Mini Statement 3. Fund Transfer-MMID 4. Fund Transfer-A/c No. 5. Fund Transfer-Aadhar 6. Know MMID 7. Change M-PIN 8. Generate OTP
Enter Beneﬁciary Mobile No.
types of cards & usage
Phone connected with external POS device through jack/Bluetooth
1. Pre-loaded from your bank account 2. Safe to use, limited amount of transaction 3. Can be recharged like mobile recharge
1. Linked to your bank account 2. Used to pay at shops, ATMs, wallets, micro-ATMs and online shopping
ussd based banking Can be used for payments upto Rs 5,000 per day per customer
Phone connected with external POS device through jack/Bluetooth 1. Visit your branch to link mobile number and bank account
2. No need for separate MMID; You will get your Mobile Money Identifier (MMID) and Mobile PIN (MPIN) upon registration; Can be done at ATM or online also
3. Remember your MMID and MPIN
Seed your account with your Aadhar number at bank or with the help of banking correspondent
Step-1: INSTALL BHIM APP and open Step-2: Select Language: English or Hindi Step-3: It will asks for permission, click Allow Step-4: Click on “let’s get started” Step-5: Verify your bank account registered mobile number Step-6: Enter a 4 digit pass-code you just received on your mobile and confirm Step-7: Select the bank account you want to use with this app BHIM APP Download process completes You are all set to send/receive money
You can do Account balance Aadhar to Aadhar fund transfer Cash withdrawal Cash deposit Purchase at Fair Price Shops with AEPS Now you can do many transactions at any AEPS point without any pin or password (AEPS points – Micro ATMs)
Go Cashless India!
UPI based banking
start using wallet to make payments
sign-up using mobile
load money using credit card or debit card or internet banking
DOWNLOAD ANY BANK’S APP OR 3RD PARTY APP
CHOOSE YOUR UNIQUE ID (BANK AC NO., IFSC CODE, AADHAR, MOBILE NO.) AS VIRTUAL PAYMENT ADDRESS (VPA)
GIVE ACCOUNT DETAILS FOR FIRST TIME
registration COMPLETED SET M-PIN FOR VALIDATING TRANSACTIONS
consumer downloads the app in smartphone
24 Unsung Heroes uNSuNg hERoES
jANUARY 29, 2017
SUBHASH CHANDRA AGRAWAL
Born the same year as our Republic, he is one of those who took the republic’s best way to implement the conceept
T took our nation to implement Right to Information Act 55 years after it became a republic. RTI was not a panacea for all the ills plaguing our nation, but it was a significant effort to provide the common man a tool to expose corruption in public dealings. Most of the people pooh-poohed it as ‘just another Act’. But a few people saw its potential and took it onto themselves to use the law effectively. Subhash Chandra Agrawal is one such crusader. Incidentally, Agrawal was born the same year that we adopted our Constitution. He completed his graduation in Mechanical Engineering from Delhi College of Engineering (now Delhi Technological University) and went on to complete Post Graduate Diploma in Sales & Marketing from Faculty of Management Studies, Delhi. Agrawal dreamed of becoming an IAS
Officer, but due to some personal reasons, he had to restrict himself to his family business. At the age of 55, when most of the people are over the hill and start planning their retirement, he saw a golden opportunity in the passage of RTI Act. On October 12, 2005, as the RTI Act came into force, Agrawal’s pursuit for rooting out corruption began. Since then, he has been relentlessly exposing the corrupt practices of public officials and departments. Millions of subsidy pouring into Parliament’s canteen, unutilised MPLAD (Member of Parliament Local Area Development) funds, running costs of official bungalows provided to ex-MPs, assets of Supreme Court judges and many more, it was Agrawal’s RTI applications which brought these to public’s notice. A running joke is that as soon as an
the information right upto Central Information Commission. “The right to information should become the right to action,” he says, explaining how he forces the government to act. “I first file a complaint on the public grievances website. I then file an RTI [application] to follow up on my grievance.” Agrawal’s persistence is not limited to just filing RTI applications. He even filed a PIL (Public Interest Lititgation) to fill up the vacant posts in Central Information Commission. Acting on the PIL, Delhi High Court directed to fill the posts as soon as possible. childhood dream n october 12, 2005, when the Agrawal’s of serving the nation act came into force, agrawal’s became a reality in his role of RTI activists. He has been crusade began in earnest felicitated with National RTI Award and interestingly, he information officer of a public office also holds the Guinness World Record sees an RTI application undersigned for “for the most published letters by Subhash Agrawal, he/she doesn’t written to newspaper editors over an even try to conceal the information. individual’s lifetime”. Agrawal’s work Agrawal doesn’t hesitate in filing has not only forced the public officials First Appeal or Second Appeal (State to pull up their socks, it has motivated Information Commission) and chases many to use RTI effectively.
He does not come from the Tata family but will rule tough
IVEN that he had been managing the biggest cash cow of the Tata Group, Tata Consultancy Services, it was perhaps expected that N Chandrashekaran would become Ratan Tata’s ‘Bofors Gun’ in his final war with Cyrus Mistry, and that is precisely what NDIA has never been short of child hasprodigies. happened.At an age when most Ratan would to ofSince the youngsters are soon busy have clicking say ‘tata’ topictures his intermediary role of Instagram and forwarding chairman, Chandrashekaran Whatsapp messages, Rohan has Suribeen has
finally made the chairperson of Tata Sons. He had completed his Master’s degree in computer applications from Tamilnadu’s Tiruchirapalli Regional Engineering College in 1987. He had joined TCS soon after that. In 2009, and had been elevated to the position of CEO and Managing Director of TCS. At 49, he happens to be the youngest mandarin in the Tata Group. He has seen the rise of India as a superpower in the information technology world. As such, he has been himself behind that process, making TCS as the brightest company in the sector. What is critically important and may indicate the road ahead for the Group is that he is the first ever non-shareholding chairperson of the company and has no family ties with the Tata group. Soon after being anointed head of the Rs 6,798 lakh crore empire, Chandrasekaran said: “We are going through times of rapid changes and I am aware of the responsibilities of the position I have been offered. It will be my endeavour to help the company grow along those same principles and values that the Tata Group is known for.” He said that he is proud of being associated with the Group for three decades and the latest position is a great achievement.
LaNDMINE huNTER cRoREPaTI Patenting and selling a technology to trace landmines. Harshvardhan is probably India’s first teen millionaire
RACING landmines used in wars is a massive headache for even top experts. But this 14-year-old has invented a drone especially for that purpose. For Harshvardhan Jwala of Gujarat, this is not a simple plaything. At his age he is perhaps India’s youngest crorepati, for the Gujarat government has signed an MOU with him worth Rs five crore for his consent and technological supervision of manufacturing the drone in bulk. Harshvardhan will be working closely with the state’s Ministry of Science & Technology. Harsh’s drone will not only trace out the landmines, but even deactivate them. The lad had been showcased at the Vibrant Gujarat gala last month and has been roundly applauded. Harsh says he got the idea of making such a drone when he was watching television news which said that many soldiers die trying to defuse landmines physically. He explains that
HARSHVARDHAN JWALA in the drone he has fitted a 21 megapixel camera with mechanical shutter as well as infrared, RGB as well as thermal meter. The camera can take high resolution pictures. The drone will fly over units of eight square metres at a height of two feet from the ground and the waves from it will identify the locations of landmines. These data will be relayed to the base station. The drone is capable of carrying a 50 gram bomb in it to destroy the landmine.
JANUARY 29, 2017
L I F E BRavERY SPEcIaL
S P A R K L I N G IN coNvERSaTIoN
LINDSaY LohaN’S LaShINgS
ThE khILaDI LITTLE LIoN hEaRTED STaRS SPEakS hIS LIMITLESS guTS MIND
REPuBLIc DaY TaBLEauX
JaZZ it up for the republic day
In a unique display of India’s cultural pluralism, Republic Day tableaux on Raj Path reaffirms our faith in the vibrant democracy of our nation
epublic Day is one of the most significant days in the lives of every Indian. It was on 26 January 1950 that the Constitution of India was brought into force as the ‘law of the land’ after herculean efforts by our founding fathers. It took the Constituent Assembly 2 years, 11 months and 18 days to finalise
Snapshot Republic Day parade took its present form in 1955 Tableaux are the eyeball grabbers at the event This year’s parade will see 23 diﬀerent tableaux
the Constitution. We celebrate India’s sovereignty every year with much fanfare on the regal Rajpath. The President of India unfurls the national flag and confers the gallantry awards like Ashok Chakra, Kirti Chakras, Param Vir Chakra and Shaurya Chakras. Children also receive bravery awards for their extraordinary deeds on this occasion. The day also witnesses parade, march-
past along with school children’s cultural performance. This year NSG commandos will also debut on the Rajpath putting up their first ever participation in the Republic Day parade. State tableaux are one of the most awaited events on Republic Day. India’s creativity can be seen at its best when the colourful tableaux skim past through the hordes of cheering people at Rajpath. Republic Day celebration, that marks every year the commemoration of adoption of the Indian constitution in 1950, is incomplete without these beautiful tableaux. Their decoration and designs are based on different themes every year ranging from country’s rich cultural heritage and socio-economic development to nation’s progress in key areas like IT, Women empowerment, Environment protection, etc. A committee from the Union Ministry of Defense selects the tableaux worthy for Republic Day every year. For the 2017 Parade, it has selected 23 tableaux — 17 are from different states and six are from various ministries. In order to foster the competitive spirit, different prizes are also instituted for the best tableaux. The 2017 Republic Day celebration will witness the return of Delhi tableau on Rajpath after being left out for last three consecutive years. The main theme of Delhi tableau will be education and schools as the AAP government in Delhi has done some outstanding work in the field of education. The model schools project, reading mela, teacher training programme and the mega parent-teacher meetings taken up by the AAP government are the major endeavors that will be on display. Odisha has decided to showcase Dola Melana on its tableau. However the show will be bereft of the tableaux from the states of Bihar and Telangana as both the states have failed to impress the selection committee under the Ministry of Defense. The Bihar tableau was based on the ancient university of Vikramshila whereas the latter proposed for tableau based on
26 Republic Day Feature
QUARTZ jANUARY 29, 2017
(Top left) Assam’s tableau showcasing its rich culture through Rongali Bihu festival (Top right) The all famous Hawa Mahal of Jaipur in Rajasthan’s Republic Day tableau (Centre) The tableau by Ministry of Communication and IT showcasing ‘Digital India’ campaign
festival of Bathukamma. Telangana tableau idea cleared six rounds of screening but failed the final seventh round. In 2016 the Rajpath witnessed tableaux from 17 States and six ministries of the Central Government. First position had gone to West Bengal tableau, which depicted the famous Baul folk singers rendering the songs based on Bhakti and Sufi movement. While Tripura’s tableau on beautiful Unakoti sculptures, seen in a Shiva pilgrimage site was adjudged the second best, third position had gone in favour of Assam tableau showcasing the popular Rongali Bihu festival. Special prize was awarded to the tableau of Ministry of Communication and
(Bottom right) West Bengal’s winning entry depicting the famous Baul folk singers rendering the songs based on Bhakti and Sufi movement (Bottom left) Tripura’s tableau on Unakoti sculpture, which is seen at a pilgrimage site near Kailashahar won many hearts and of course the prize too
2017 Republic Day
celebrations will witness the return of Delhi’s own tableau Information Technology on the theme ‘Digital India’. In 2016 the tableaux that wowed the crowd on the majestic Rajpath were based on variety of themes such as Constitution architect Dr B R Ambedkar’s legacy to commemorate his 125th birth anniversary, Mahatma Gandhi’s crusade for freedom in Bihar’s Champaran, an art university in Chhattisgarh and Swachh
Bharat and Digital India campaigns. Rajasthan’s vivid replicas of Hawa Mahal drew loud cheers as spectators were left in awe with the exquisite craftsmanship. While a few tableaux such as Goa, Sikkim and Jammu & Kashmir were based on Jagor Folk Dance, Saga Dawa and Mera Gaon Mera Jahan, Chandigarh showcased the beauty and architectural heritage of Le Corbusier. Between1950 and1954, Republic Day was celebrated at different venues. It was in 1955, that parade in its present form was organized at Rajpath. The state of Maharashtra has won the best tableau award six times since 1980 whereas Goa has won it five times. Kerala is another state to win the title frequently.
Various ministries also add colour to the jubilant display of colours and craft. Ministry of Human Resource Development put the best tableau in the year 2012, and took the second prize in 2008. Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Railways are also regular contenders for the prizes. Like every year, this year too Republic Day celebration will turn the Rajpath into a colourful panorama. Fortunate ones will be watching it right in front of their eyes, while millions will be glued to their TV sets to get a taste of the display. Along with bringing the best of the art in public discourse, these tableaux also appeal to our emotive senses. Get ready to be amazed.
QUARTZ jANUARY 29, 2017
REPUBLIC DAY national bravery award
limitless guts Danger scares everyone. The lionhearted ones overcome their fear to set examples, as these little ones have done pallavi vatsa
ravery doesn’t need an age certificate to prove itself. Every year on the dawn of Republic Day, India honours its little ones who have shown exemplary courage against all odds. The tradition was initiated by our first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1957. It has an interesting story behind it. On the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, a program was taking place at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi. The event was being attended by the Prime Minister himself. During the program, with about 100 people inside, the stalls caught fire. No one knew what to do. Harishchandra Mehra, just 14, rushed in to tear the burning part of the tent material with his knife,thereby preventing the spread of fire. Harishchandra’s bravery impressed Nehru. The first National Bravery Award was given to Harishchandra on 4th February, 1957. Since then, 945 brave children have been awarded the National Bravery Award, 669 boys and 276 girls. Before January 26th, the kids are honored by
current Prime Minister for their indomitable courage. Chairman of the Indian Council for Child Welfare Gita Siddhartha said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has introduced several new schemes for these brave children. Under the scheme, the Government will take charge of their education. Also, medical, engineering and polytechnic colleges would have quota for these children. This time the award was given to 25 children. Four of them will be given the award posthumously. Eight year old Tarh Peju from Arunachal Pradesh sacrificed her life to save her friends. She was crossing the river with her friends. Her two companions lost their balance and fell in the rapidly flowing river. Without batting an eyelid, Peju jumped into the water
He caught the tail of
the leopard and attacked it with a sickle
Chopra Award. Sumit fought a leopard to save his cousin. Fourteen years old Sumit and his elder brother Ritesh were going to their farm to collect fodder for the cattle. Meanwhile, Ritesh was attacked by a leopard hiding in the bushes. Sumit said that at first he was also scared but then he started throwing stones at the leopard. Seeing this, the leopard left Ritesh and pounced towards Sumit. He had read in a book that if any animal attacks, one should grab its tail. Remembering this, he caught the tail of leopard and attacked it with a sickle. The leopard turned and ran away. Sumit’s father Suresh Dutt said that he insisted upon sending his children to school and said that Sumit could save himself and his brother because of what he had learned in school. Now Sumit wants to join the Indian Army when he grows up, so that he can serve the country and defeat the enemies . The nation watched in awe the bravery of Akshit and Akshita from Delhi. The two siblings returned home from school together and saw the door shut from the inside. They knocked on the door but no one opened the door. The siblings looked in from the ventilator and saw the thieves moving inside. Akshit entered first and opened the door, then Akshita also came inside. One thief started running from the balcony but Akshit gripped the other one. Both of them raised an alarm and the neighbors arrived quickly and handed the thief over Winners of National Bravery Award 2016 poses with the to the police. Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat Neelam Dhruv, and saved the lives of her two friends. resident of Chhattisgarh, was taking a She herself got stuck in the sand of the bath in the pond with a 4 years old girl, river and could not be saved. She laid Tikeshwari. It was evening, there were down her life at such a young age setting not many people around. Suddenly an example of immense courage. Tarh Tikeshwari’s foot slipped and she started Peju will be awarded and honored with drowning.Without bothering about her Bharat Award. Peju’s father Mr . Tarh life, seven years old Neelam held on to Cama is grieved after losing his daughter Tikeshwari’s hair and pulled her out, but is extremely proud of her. thus saving her life. Tejaswita Pradhan and Shivani Gond Sonu Mali from Rajasthan was are aged 16 and 17 years, respectively. sitting with almost seventy children on Residents of Darjeeling, West Bengal the floor of his classroom. Out of these girls busted and exposed an nowhere, a cobra snake appeared. international sex racket, via Facebook. Seven years old Sonu lifted up and The girls are members of the Students threw out the snake with his bare Against Trafficking (SAT) Club. When hands. His mother Santoshi Devi is an NGO in Nepal reported a news of a extremely proud of her son. She is very missing girl to the member of this happy that her son is receiving the club,these two girls made friends with bravery award. the missing girl on Facebook and then Each year this award is given to exposed the sex racket under the excuse children aged between six to eighteen. of seeking a job. The main accused was These children have, by their courage, arrested from Delhi. These girls were grit, determination and resolve, saved awarded Geeta Chopra Award . the lives of others. On the day of Sumit Mamgain from Fulit village in Republic Day celebration, these Uttarakhand will be awarded Sanjay children take part in the parade.
28 Feature Story
QUARTZ jANUARY 29, 2017
BoLLYWooD PaTRIoTIc MovIES
singing the patriotic tunes of indian cinema Bollywood songs have been igniting the spark of patriotism among the masses. This Republic Day, we revisit some of these tunes to freshen our memory prem prakash
he contribution of cinema in our society is over a century old in India. While the filmmakers have so far touched almost all aspects of the country and society in their own ways, one thing the people have lapped up the most is patriotism, painted on the celluloid by Bollywood filmmakers for us. The list of filmmakers embedding patriotism among the people is long but dated. More importantly, the Indian cinema did not just sing the tunes of liberty after the country’s freedom, but it has been doing so since the country was oppressed in shackles of slavery. It can be said that our filmmakers also fought the battle for independence through their work on celluloid. They inspired a whole
Snapshot Pre Independence Bollywood saw couple of patriotic movies Songs from patriotic movies have been wildly popular Bollywood has experimented a lot with the patriotic fervour
generation of young men to fight against British oppression. The beginning of patriotic songs and movies is believed to be in the 1940s. Director Gyan Mukherjee’s movie ‘Bandhan’ was perhaps the first movie to ever display the sense of patriotism on screen. When you see it this way, it seems like both independence and cinema stepped
into our country at the same time. Such emotion of nationality among its people is interesting but at the same time unique as well. One of the major torchbearers of this journey was poet Pradeep. chal chal re nauJawan
The description of patriotic songs in Indian cinema will be incomplete without mentioning the name of Kavi Pradeep. His song ‘chal chal re naujawan’ in the film “bandhan” galvanized the fans with the spirit of patriotism. The song is still sung by the school and college students on most national festivals and other important occasions. door hato ai duniyawalon
The film ‘Kismat’ was released back in 1943. The lyrics of his song ‘Aaj Himalaya ki choti se fir humne
lalkara hai, dur hato ai duniyawalon Hindustan humara hai’ inspired the freedom fighters to march on the road to freedom. The song was also widely acclaimed in the ‘Quit India Movement’. It can be said that Bollywood along with Kavi Pradeep contributed to the Indian freedom movement.
aye mere watan ke logon
The film industry has contributed numerous songs as tribute to the freedom fighters, but another song by Ram Chandra Dwivedi alias Kavi Pradeep, sung in the golden voice of Lata mangeshkar ‘Aye mere watan ke logon, zara aankh me bhar lo pani, jo shahid hue hain unki, zara yaad karo kurbani’ is one of the most emotional
‘aaj himalaya ki choti’ was widely acclaimed during the ‘Quit India Movement’
QUARTZ jANUARY 29, 2017
song written and picturised till date. Lata Mangeshkar sang this song at the National Stadium in Delhi for the first time in presence of the then Prime Minister Nehru who broke into tears listening to it. The respect for this song is still intact among the people even after half century of the song being written. anand math and Jagriti
Released in year 1952, another song in Lata Mangeshkar’s voice ‘Vande Mataram’ of movie ‘Anand Math’ still overwhelms the listeners. She sung this song in a diﬀerent tune than the tune popular these days. Similarly, the song in movie Jagriti -, ‘Hum lae hain tufan se kashti nikal ke, is desh ko rakhna mere bacche sambhal ke’ by Mohammed Rafi under Hemant Kumar’s composition still instills the patriotism feeling among the audience.
Many patriotic movies have also earned decent moolah at the box office
rafi’s patriotic songs
The king ofv melodies, Mohammed Rafi has sung patriotic songs in several Bollywood movies. These songs include ‘Ye desh hai veer jawaano ka’, ‘Watan pe fida hoga amar vo naujawan hoga’, ‘Apni aazadi ko hum hargiz mita sakte nahi’, ‘Us mulk ki sarhadon ko koi chhoo nahi sakta jis mulk ki sarhad ki nigah baan hain aankhein’, ‘Aaj gaa lo muskura lo mehfile saja lo’, ‘Hindustan ki kasam na jhukenge sar vatan ke naujavanon ki kasam’, ‘Mere deshpremiyon, aapas mein prem karo deshpremiyon’. His songs enveloped the youth of the country with the spirit of patriotism. The popularity of these songs is still in place. dhawan will remembered
Prem Dhawan is the name in Bollywood industry that is remembered as a songwriter whose wonderful lyrics in the industry’s greatest patriotic songs instantly fill the listener’s hearth with the spirit of Indian patriotism. Prem Dhawan’s songs like ‘Aye mere pyare vatan’, ‘Mera rang de basanti chola’ and ‘Aye vatan tujhko meri kasam’ still awakens the spirit of nationalism in the minds of our people. Prem Dhavan’s song by background singer Manna De ‘Aae Mere Pyare Vatan, Aae Mere Bichde Vatan’ in the movie ‘Kabuliwala’ still fills the listener’s eyes with tears. The song ‘Chhoro kal ki baatein, kal ki baat purani’ in ‘Hum Hindustani’ was a super hit. On the request of producerdirector Manoj Kumar, Prem Dhavan composed the song in movie ‘Shaheed’. Some of the mellifluous songs in this movie like ‘Aye vatan aye vatan’ and ‘Mera rang de basanti chola’ are still in vogue.
‘aye vatan aye vatan’ and ‘Mera rang de basanti chola’ are still in vogue patriotic haqeeqat
Chetan Anand made a film ‘Haqeeqat’ based on the Indo-China war of 1965. Kaifi Azmi wrote a song ‘Kar chale hum fida jaane-tan saathiyon, ab tumhaare havaale vatan saathiyon’ still makes people paints the people in the colors of patriotism. The song fills the heart every time it comes up on radio. bharat kumar’s heorism
Manoj Kumar’s name is particularly known for making patriotic movies. His film ‘Upkaar’ gained such
popularity that people started calling him Bharat Kumar afterwards. This film was bestowed six Filmfare Awards. The stories of the film’s making were also quite interesting. Manoj Kumar actually made the film on request of the then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri. Manoj himself revealed that he invited Shashtri Ji on the premier of ‘Shaheed’, the first movie on Bhagat Singh’s life in the sixties. He came for a short while. He liked the movie and later called Manoj Kumar to his place and said, here is my new slogan- Jai Jawan Jai Kisan, can there be a movie on this. After meeting Shastri, Manoj Kumar had to return from Delhi to Mumbai by train. He asked some of the passengers in the train to give him a paper and pen. By the time when the train reached Mumbai next morning, he had already completed the script for next movie ‘Upkaar’. His name in the film was Bharat. The listeners still tear up listening to the patriotic
songs in the movies like ‘Shaheed’, ’Upkaar’, ‘Purab and Paschim’, ‘Kranti’, ‘Jai Hind, the Pride’. dil diya hai, Jaan bhi denge
The form of patriotism has changed in the new generation patriotic movies. It can be especially seen in the films following the 1986 movie ‘Karma’. The song in the movie Karma, ‘Dil diya hai, jaan bhi denge’, is quite popular. Vidhu Vinod Chopra made a good film on patriotism back in 1994. The movie starring Anil Kapoor and Manisha Koirala, ‘1942 A love Story’, showed the pre-Independence love story in a refreshing way. The later coming movies like ‘Krantiveer’, ‘Tiranga’, ‘Border’, ‘Sarfarosh’, ‘Gadar’, and ‘Rang De Basanti’ also gained special success on the box oﬃce. Many movies were also made on ‘Shaheed’ Bhagat Singh. These movies were appreciated by the audience but the songs in the movie could not gain similar prominence.
30 Book Review
QUARTZ jANUARY 29, 2017
guha describes fascinating exchange between Nehru and Jayaprakash Narayan on India’s parliamentary system
Book REvIEW DEMocRaTS aND DISSENTERS
india, a 50:50 democracy?
Founding fathers of the country should have done slightly better though they could have done a lot worse, says noted historian Ramachandra Guha in his latest book “Democrats and Dissenters”
DEMocRaTS aND DISSENTER by RaMachaNDRa guha Price: Rs 329/- (hardcover)
T a time when the country is facing issues like rising intolerance, Kashmir crisis and unrest among the youth, the book Democrats and Dissenters authored by Ramachandra Guha narrates the different facets of Indian politics and tries to find out the origin of these contentious issues. Indeed we had an opportunity to develop a vision for the nation under the leadership of great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel after Independence. These leaders particularly Nehru, were convinced of their mission, seeking freedom and identity for Indians. Certainly, they succeeded in their task, Guha notes in his obituary to the Congress. He feels the party should have performed “slightly better” after 1947, though there was an apprehension of the party doing “a lot worse”. A weak Centre indifferent to democracy could have destroyed India before it was born. However, Nehru and the first generation of home grown rulers also had to evolve after 1947 from being grand visionaries into pragmatic administrators of a country that presents contradictions in staggering diversity. Perhaps it was here that they compromised on democratic principles to fall back on colonial instruments to maintain “order”. Guha lucidly writes, it was B.R. Ambedkar and Nehru themselves who brought in the first constitutional amendment to Article 19, beginning a cascade of official devices that are today arbitrarily deployed to silence critics of the powerful. The founding fathers had vision, but in their own time India had
started becoming what Guha calls a “5050 democracy”. In one of the essays the author traces the origins of Tamil Activism in Sri Lanka and build a parallel with ongoing Kashmir crisis to point out how particular communities or regions in both the nations have not been treated as full citizens of their purportedly democratic governments. Batting for greater autonomy for Kashmiris here and Tamils in Sri Lanka, Guha says, “It remains the most reasonable, the most viable and the most humane solution to the terrible and tragic conflicts.” Guha’s take on Adivasis reflects on how state can diminish the voice of those who are guaranteed a voice but infelicitously nobody has said anything
about being heard. Unlike Muslims and Dalits, who have constructed panIndian alliances to assert themselves, fragmented Adivasis face a British-style “civilizing” mission from fellow Indians. Guha acquits neither Maoist nor Hindu and Christian groups, for whom Adivasis are mere “cannon fodder”. “Unlike the Dalits and Muslims, the Adivasis continue to be seen only in discreet, broken-up fragments. The Dalits are a minority in every state but unlike Adivasis, they live in mixed villages. “This means, when election time comes, the Dalits can have decisive impact even in the constituencies are not reserved for them. On the other hand, Adivasis can influence elections only in a few isolated areas where they
aBouT ThE auThoR
A writer and an Indian historian
AMACHANDRA GUHA is an Indian historian and writer whose research interests include environmental, social, political and cricket history. He is also a columns for newspapers, journals and periodicals. Till couple of years ago, he was a visiting faculty at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), the Philippe Roman Chair in History and International Affairs. His large body of work, covering a wide range of ﬁelds and yielding a number of
rational insights has made him a significant ﬁgure in Indian historical studies. He has authored a number of well-researched books including monumental toms like India After Ganhi – The History of World’s Largest Democracy, Gandhi Before India (Mahatma Gandhi’s biography), The Enemies of the idea of India, Makers of Modern India, Patriots and Partisans; and A Corner of a Foreign Field: The Indian History of a British Sport besides several others.
are concentrated,” he explains. Instead of ensuring these citizens the rights and freedoms which has been guaranteed to them by law, the elected representatives who officially represent Adivasis have lack of understanding or knowledge of those they claim to protect. Consequently, in this process they are sidelined from the mainstream and somehow they are coerced to accept the political invisibility. Talking about how retention of archaic colonial laws like section 124A, the section on sedition, pose a threat to the right to freedom of expression, he argues that even though the Indian left and right both claim to dislike Thomas Macaulay (who drafted sections of Indian Penal Code), both have used it with impunity. Ideologies and Intellectuals Part 2 of the book switches from reading about riots to suddenly meditating on “The Brilliance and Dogmatism of Eric Hobsbawm” (a vastly superior chapter name to “Which Was Our Worst Year Ever?”) can feel abrupt. After intense reading on India moving to the arena of ideas regenerate things from an altogether novel perspective. Remarkably, the laudable insights into ignited minds like Benedict Anderson (featuring a friend who ate lice-filled bananas) to, Dharmanand Kosambi, a detached scholar of Buddhism. U.R. Ananthamurthy and Andre Beteille appear, but the most sparkling character is the sole woman, Dharma Kumar, who had wit, intensity, authority, and an intellectual backbone. Guha describes fascinating exchange between Nehru and Jayaprakash Narayan on India’s parliamentary system. He feels that today’s leaders not only fall short to express real ideas but sadly they have stymied intellects. The part two of the book stresses on the fact that how indispensable it is to study various scholars of different era. He beautifully amalgamates the tales with lucid analysis and brilliant quotes that is surely hard to find such combination from contemporary pens. The book is full of details that deserve exploration, and also functions as a travel diary, part memoir (he dedicates the book to Koshy’s restaurant in Bengaluru), and part social commentary (Delhi is all about saying “important things in obscure language”). The apparent contextual accuracy and the collection of essays might not be compared to his magnificent volumes of history but Democrats and Dissidents is the voice of liberal with balance and reason in tone and argument.
QUARTZ january 29, 2017
interview Akshay kumar I have lot many plans and projects at hand, if I become successful in attaining at least 50% success, I will be more than happy
Yes , but let me be very clear that films like ‘Mohra’ and ‘Mein Khiladi Tu Anari’ were also good films. You will agree and appreciate that with time and age the perspectives, priorities, ideologies ,mind set and career planning – they all change. Apart from this the taste of the public is also changing and as I have said earlier, if I don’t experiment now then it will be too late thereafter. Let me tell you that ‘Mohra’ is my favourite movie as well as that of my wife Twinkle. But the actors of your calibre and status are going on doing the same type of films that they are used to do? I don’t think that I have to append my comments on this as this is purely their personal matter and I have no right to intervene . Have you ever felt the taste of your fans, as to what do they expect from their star Akshay Kumar? It solely depends on my mood as I too consider myself as a spectator and would like to watch all kinds of films. But I am against those films in which there is criticism about our country. This may annoy some people, but since some people are bad and corrupt you cannot blame the whole country, which you might have noticed in my films ‘Airlift’
“LOT MORE TO COME KEEP ON SEEING & ENJOYING” ashim chakraborty What is the film ‘Toilet- Ek Prem Katha’ all about? Please don’t get carried away by the title of the film. Actually this is a totally comedy film wherein the heroine who resides in a slum falls in love with the hero who is the owner of a toilet. They both fall in love and get married. They have one motto in life as that is to ‘construct a toilet’ and they get down to the grass root level for doing the same. This film portrays the difficulties which this couple faced in building the toilet which is also covered by good comedy. Do you feel and consider it a promotional film? I only consider this film a fully entertaining family melodrama. Since we are going through the cleanliness drive ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan’ because of which one feels to think that it is a promotional film. Like all my earlier films this film is also full of ‘masala’ and the events that has occurred in the film
are put before the public in a very light, fluffy and acceptable way. On the one hand you acted in films like ‘Entertainment’, ‘Gabbar is Back’, Singh is Bling’, and on the other hands there are films of your like ‘Baby’, ‘Airlift’, ‘Rustom’ , ‘Toilet-Ek Prem Katha’- seems that you are doing mix n match films? Yes, now I am trying to maintain this trend. I don’t want to do stereo typed roles. For example my next film after ‘Rustom’ is ‘Jolly LLB-2’. Then ‘ Toilet –Ek Prem Katha’ is entirely a different film with a different perspective and full of comedy ,a little bit away from the main stream. I feel that after sustaining in the industry for so many years if I do not mix and match my roles and films then I doubt my fans will not accept me. Not only are you doing mix & match films but you are also taking risk that is you are following the trend?
and ‘Baby’ wherein few corrupt people are targeted but not the whole nation. My latest film ‘ Toilet-Ek Prem Katha’ is also free from attacks and counterattacks. I also love to watch cartoon films as well. Before taking a job abroad you also worked for 2 years in Kolkata, any remembrances of
the same? Surely this city taught me many things. I have some good friends in this city whom I meet whenever I get time. Kolkata has a charm of its own which is very unique as well as the people here are very friendly and loving. What is it which pinches you when you think about Kolkata, if there is any? It was during that time when I was quite young and was working in a small office ,where I used to stay as well. I liked to walk along the chowrangee lane. My dress code was track pants and T shirts with loads of oil pelted on my head. I used to have my breakfast at the first shop situated at the crossroad. During that time lot of foreigners also used to eat there. I used to eat to my fill and can you imagine how much I used to pay just Rs 1.50/- . I still feel to go to there and eat well. What is the secret of your fitness? My fitness depends on major three factors, i.e. yoga, jogging and marshal arts. For maintaining this I keep on taking fitness and health tips from experts post which I chalk out my workouts. I use my body in a natural way and not in a lethargic way for example during my stay at hotels, I don’t use lifts while making way to my room. I am a hard core jogger and a fitness freak and that is my health secret. I easily walk around for 6 to 7 kms without looking at my watch. Sometimes I walk in the day as well. I do yoga for about 30 minutes to 1 hour for at least five days in a week. Since the beginning I take out time for my exercises and work outs. One more thing , I don’t depend on drugs to maintain fitness. Has obesity ever overpowered you at any point of time? Those people who are cautious and conscious about their fitness, obesity cannot over power them. It is easier for them to maintain their fitness. I never think about six packs or eight packs nor do I try to reveal my abs and muscles by removing my shirt. I never allow obesity to hinder my self confidence and over power me. Whenever I adore myself, my body looks slender and fit to me as that is what is expected by Bollywood. One last question…. what all are you planning to do this year? Please keep on seeing and admiring what I am doing, I won’t say any further. Once I become successful at the end of the year, I will explain everything. I have lot many plans and projects at hand, if I become successful in attaining at least 50% success, I will be more than happy.
jANUARY 29, 2017
J U N C T I O N
kaabil Yami! Diljit Wins Dils
Popular singer superstar DILJIT DOSANJH has given exclusive rights to Gaana for online streaming of his new song ‘Laembadgini’. Dosanjh has a very strong fan following across Punjab and NRI audiences spanning the US, UK and Canada markets. Within 48 hours of the launch, Laembadigini has already hit a million play outs on Gaana. This single is a clear hit and is already trending in the various social media platforms, with more than 3.5 million views on Youtube.
Lohan’s Lashings! Controversy and LINDSAY LOHAN are now synonymous. The 2004 Mean Girls actress is facing a backlash from conservatives and anti-Muslim extremists for her new Instagram bio. There are rumours going on that Lohan may have converted to Islam. She wiped her Instagram account clean and wrote “Alaikum salaam” in her bio. Alaikum Salaam is Arabic for “and peace unto you,” which is used in response to the Islamic greeting “Salaam Alaikum,” which means “may peace be upon you.” She made headlines in the past for her fondness of the Middle East, humanitarian work with refugees in Turkey and Syria and for carrying the Quran in New York. This curious move by La Lohan is enough to cause rampant speculation that she is well on her way to converting to Islam.
These days YAMI GAUTAM is all praises for Hrithik Roshan’s talents. Yami, who is Hrithik’s co-star in the forthcoming ﬁlm Kaabil, said “He is such a selﬂess actor. Actors always work hard for their own performance, but he is concerned about the whole scene, including the performance of his co-actors.” Although Yami made her debut with Shoojit Sircar’s “Vicky Donor” but her journey in Bollywood is still going through the labour pains. On this account she points out, “We all should face some failures in life and learn from them.”
After his failed stint in politics, actor SHEKHAR SUMAN is set to come back to the entertainment industry. He planned a musical tribute to legendary singers Kishore Kumar, Mukesh, Mohammed Raﬁ and Manna Dey by putting together a handpicked collection of romantic numbers. For the knowledge of sur taal, he said, “I have been rigorously doing riyaaz for three hours every day. I am being trained by DebpriyaAdhikary, a singing maestro from Kolkata, over Skype.”
Luxury Sonam SONAM KAPOOR is known for her trendsetting styles. Luxurious brands find her the most suitable diva. Sonam has been roped in as the brand ambassador of leading Swiss luxury watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen. To begin the partnership, Sonam will be present at the 27th Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in Geneva in 2017, alongside other prestigious guests and IWC brand ambassadors from across the world. “It is an honour and a privilege to become an IWC brand ambassador and represent the brand in India and around the world. I admire IWC for its uniqueness and creative storytelling, which have characterized the brand throughout its history,” Sonam said. Joint Commissioner of Police (Licensing) Delhi No. F. 2 (S-45) Press/ 2016 VOLUME - 1, ISSUE - 6 Printed by Monika Jain, Published by Monika Jain on behalf of SULABH SANITATION MISSION FOUNDATION and Printed at The Indian Express Ltd., A-8, Sector-7, NOIDA (U.P.) and Published from RZ 83, Mahavir Enclave, Palam-Dabri Road, New Delhi – 110 045. Editor Monika Jain
Vol-1 / Issue-6 / January 29, 2017