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Women Empowerment: a sexual hypocrisy

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I apprehend if I have the expertise to discuss the issues mostly fit for the feminist, yet it is an attempt to summarize my experiences and contribute to the existing views. Women Empowerment as the term per se, has been hammering the Indian minds from the days of our struggle for freedom. Not to rule out that there have been initiatives during all stages of Indian History to establish the deserving position of women in the society, but changes gained velocity during (and after) the war of independence from the British. The movement is mostly remembered for the likes of Sarojini Naidu, Gandhi and Raja Ram Mohan Roy. That is the history...

Besides the History, the Culture makes India one of the few countries where a woman is worshiped in various forms and st-ages. When this part of the world was celebrating Christmas 2010, I was watching a program on DD Punjabi where Dr. Tandon(if I read the script correct), a lady of repute was talking about the current issues related to women such as dowry, female infanticide, foeticide, sex ratio, female illiteracy and so on. I quickly recalled a great movie Matrubhoomi which left fresh memories in my mind. The movie shows the future of several districts of India if the History and the Culture does not improve.
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Ethics in Mass Communication

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Mass communication is a form of communication where the message is delivered to masses. To follow a code of conduct and self-regulation becomes imperative in mass communication because the sender of the message is most likely to be physically separated and detached from a large number of receivers.

Thus, the sender is practically unaware about the identities of the receivers. Despite this, the sender must bear the accountability of the effects of the message being delivered. This accountability has to be pro-active and not reactive. For example, a news channel should not say that if I violate the code of conduct then I am ready to pay fine but not ready to stop the violation. Here, I acknowledge that mass communication has different forms, but I will limit myself to a few news channels on television.

Recently, I have felt infuriated to see the ethics of mass communication being thrown to bonfire by the television news channels. To report a strange incident of a Baba in Haridwar, one news channel used the words that "Baba logon ko bewakoof bana raha hai" which translates to English as "Baba is fooling the public". If it is true, then the statements should come from the people who feel victimized. In the name of representing the voices of the people, the news channel is airing its views. Should not the news reader articulate before speaking that such statements may hurt a section of population?

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My needs and his needs

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There maybe a couple of people each of us know, who sleep with empty stomachs in our society. As a welfare state, it is the duty of the Government to provide them the basic necessities. In the days of Kings, most rulers used to be generous enough to provide anything they wanted to their subjects. Many Kings have made excellent efforts in their days to provide a better life, better irrigation, better roads and better security to the citizens. The world believes that democracy is better than monarchy. This is because, there are various systems of check-and-balance in a democracy. What if all these systems come together in mutual interest to non-perform?

I elect my representative with my vote, but I cannot expect that my representative knows what are the issues or difficulties I am facing in my life. The Prime Minister will ignore my problems by saying that 'it is a problem of an individual'. Even if it is the problem of the whole village or a whole district, he will get away by saying that 'it is an isolated problem' which does not deserve an attention from his level. This means that his level stand only for the problems of 'common interest' or collective needs of the citizens. Now, for a state, the issue in a district becomes an issue of 'common interest' and for a Panchayat, the issue in a village becomes an 'issue of collective interest'. This has also become an example of the various structures' "coming together in mutual interest to non-perform." The ball of responsibilities keeps moving from one court to the other and the work is never completed.
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Administrative delay - Unchecked?

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The veteran Indian singer Kishore Kumar sang in Amar Prem a song titled "Chingari koi bhadke..." wherein, all stanzas end with relevant and thoughtful rhetorical questions. These questions have lively implications in the current Political and Administrative scenario in our country. Unfortunately, the questions discussed in the Indian Parliament have also become 'rhetorical' to a significant extent. It is said that 'justice delayed is justice denied' but what about administrative delays?

There is no law dealing explicitly with the punishments for wrongs done due to administrative delays in India. The latest reported scam unearthed in the allocation of 2G spectrum costs the nation close to Rs. 1.76 lakh crore (US$ 390 billion). This is more than half of the country's current total Revenue Deficit (3.5 lakh crore). This is a gross loss of revenue to the Government. This colossal amount have inflated the kitties of corporate giants and sooner or later it is going to percolate to the people who are reeling under loss of jobs and high inflation in food prices (still above 8% at WPI). So, it should be no surprise to learn about tax-blows in the next quarter when the FM presents Budget 2011. Anyways, people have to bear this loss in the long term which happened primarily due to administrative delay. In other words, this could have been avoided to a great extent had the administration been acting in the 'collective interest of the nation'.
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An Invisible Threat

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Here come global warnings, I mean global warming. It is there in the televisions and in the newspapers. It is there in the discussions over coffee and in those in the Parliament. It is in the academics and especially in researches. It is in our lives. Can we avoid it? - that is the Big question. Should we avoid it? - and that is the bigger question. Efforts are on world over to ‘fight’ it. There are multiple hypotheses of global warming and resulting climate change putting blames from man to God (Lewis, 2007). The scientist fraternity has multiple poles of consensus (U. S. Senate Minority Report, 2009). The uncertainties are further catalyzed by the predictions of unprecedented events (NASA GISS, 2002). A layman has many choices to worry about. They are the effects of global warming which multiply such worries. It is accepted that as the world becomes warmer, the climate of the planet will change very fast. This can lead to mass flooding of the coasts, increased desertification and extreme weather conditions with intensified and frequented catastrophe that too cataclysmically, in general (Ackerman & Stanton, 2008). There is much more that is unknown what global warming can result into. Any such event is sure to have an effect on the lives of the people on the planet. Life on Earth will change forever (NASA GISS, 2006, 2007, 2008). Such invisible threats cast an effect on the process of development, today in advance. This warrants our action.
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Cool Mac Wallpapers

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I had a collection of some 176 cool Mac Wallpapers which I downloaded from multiple sources and I love them. I thought, it will be good to share my collection with other Mac lovers.

In case you are looking for some fancy ways to decorate your desktop, you can view the collection 'here' and download the album from there. Alternatively, you can navigate through the thumbnail link placed at the foot of this paragraph for your convenience.
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Facts about Global Warming

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  1. 2005 was the warmest year on the record. Eleven of the warmest years in the last 125 years have occurred since 1990.
  2. In 1995 the power produced in the world by wind was 4800 megawatts. In 2005 it was 59000 mega watts.
  3. 35000 people died in Europe in 2003 due to heat waves.
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Why are we the way we are? - A critique for Mr Raghunathan

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“I am like that only” – this statement draws strength from the fact that it is difficult to change habits. It has been true for me but until recently. Many years ago, I got a divine knowledge that anything that exercises control over me should be, in fact under my control. I became particularly concerned about being the in control of my habits. It started from a simple consciousness to watch my habits. I started with punctuality. After giving some thought, I could understand that I tend to underestimate things or overestimate myself in the wake of any task. The result – I fail to finish tasks in time. I also gained consciousness about a pinch of rudeness in my voice or perhaps, in my attitude when I talk to the people. I could resolve this by treating everyone with respect. I also acknowledged some of my physiological shortcomings such as carelessness, laziness and sleepiness. I was, nevertheless, with some difficulty, able to overcome these concerns. It had been possible only because I had a strong belief enshrined within my conscience that “I can change the way I am”. In other words, I can learn, I can improve and I can show others “how to do it”!

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Probability of exploitation

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Hey, that’s a snake! No, no, no. That is a fish, out of water and jumping eagerly. It will be an irony to advise the fish to have patience. When I tried to help her, and catch in my hands so that I can put her in the side by pond, she kept slipping out. Why doesn’t she realize that I am the one trying to help her and not kill her? I guess, because the probability of somebody helping a fish out of water is very low and the probability to kill her is very high. Her mother must have taught her these probabilities. 
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Are they man-eaters?

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Lord Rama and Lakshman
“…aha..ha..la la laa..” – humming as usual and riding my bike I noticed from a distance four young, almost naked men walking like cops. It was 6 am. I could not decide whether I should slow down or speed-up. “They must be the Maoists” – I said to myself as I prayed to God to protect me. After a while, when I got closer to them, my big eyes could see bow and arrows in their hands. “Oh, my God! They are man-eaters...” – I murmured. I was nervous (say afraid) to see that sight. I was sure that they are man-eaters and I am going to die today. Ironically though, had it been Treta Yuga, I may have believed to have seen Ram and Lakshman, but it is Kalyuga to my misfortune!
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Lens yesi vetuku dorakadu ra ye defect

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This song titled "Mr Perfect" is from a Telugu movie Arya-2 put here to sooth your senses. However, the actor Allu Arjun has made a good attempt to make a point 'how a Mr Perfect should be', but the reality remains distant.

Perfection is a myth. In other words, there is no human being who is perfect in the eyes of the world. There cannot be any. Now, I am little confused as 'myth' may not be as right a word as 'mirage' would be for perfection. Moreover, a saying by a China born American writer Edith Schaeffer seems pretty relevant that People throw away what they could have by insisting on perfection, which they cannot have, and looking for it where they will never find it”.

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Tell me, what is the Best?

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I could not forget the pleasant sight of about two hundred women seated in ordered manner. This was the first ever public meeting I attended in Kalama Panchayat, Mayurbhanj, Odhisa. They even arranged their slippers in a beautiful way. I could see the excitement in the women who stood up to respect our presence, however, I do not feel to be revered so much.

Some people are so poor that they cannot think for themselves. What kind of poverty should be this? May be thoughts poverty or vision poverty or hope poverty... I mean, ask them what do they want to do for their development, and they have no idea! They cannot think for themselves that what should be good for their families and what should be done. But some are smart enough to ask for ‘double-loan policy’. She cannot be as poor as the other women, I bet.
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Orissan Safari

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Balasore Railway Station
I am very excited to be in a small town of Balasore. In Oriya and Hindi they call it as Baleshwar and in English as Balasore. I am still excited to recall the sight of a flock of birds flying over my head. This happened as I landed on the platform of Balasore railway station! That was the best welcome I could have, I guess.

I never had the slightest idea that I will feel so helpless in Orissa. I cannot read even a single alphabet. This script is quite different from Bengali. At least, so different that it does not amuse me at all. I know I am in trouble. My half Bengali is not going to help me anymore…Help!
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Tree rights versus Human rights

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Casuarina tree
I saw a tree cut down in my village. I looked at the stump, and saw over 200 concentric rings. This got me thinking . . . . and reminded me of a poem "Our Casuarina Tree" by an Anglo-Indian writer Toru Dutt. Like this poem, the image of the unseen Casuarina Tree also lingers in my memory. Dutt made a successful attempt to personify the tree in such a manner that I felt it to be human. Alas! Not all people in this world believe that trees are alive.

I see a personification in this incident too. So what is a BIG deal about a tree being cut? Many trees are falling every minute, but an old tree personifies many other old things which have been among us for generations. An old tree is like an old custom which we have followed for ages, becoming obsolete today. An old tree signifies an old saying which we abide by always, but until yesterday. An old tree represents an old social value which the society has cherished from time immemorial, however, not any longer.
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Cognitive distortions

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What do you see?


Your mutual eyes is the world for me,
How I be content with them, after all?

The world is only vast in itself,
Worlds, even more vast, can I explore?

We both are diluted into each other,
Do you still keep hidden something small?

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Making choices in public

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Passengers should refuse to ride in any vehicle driven by someone who has been drinking. Besides, given the perils of passive smoking they should also not let anybody smoke in public transport and any other public places. And there are many such things which people should do but they don’t. Reasons can be aplenty. “What I have to do?”, “I cannot do it alone” and “Look my contribution will hardly make a difference in the situation.” These are some of the common justifications.

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Experiences from a tribal village

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I was walking hurriedly towards Ambavi when suddenly a man whose face was familiar, stopped me and made a request. This request was bitter than any of the requests I have ever had. He became so cruel in my eyes that I felt strongly to thrash him, at least with words. I was in a hurry and I kept walking. The man actually said to me to look for if there is somebody sick or in great need of money and willing to sell any livestock. I felt as if, the human has lost its very essence and this is inhumane. Some people say that this is a market economy. Then what actually it is? The question kept ringing my mind for few more days and I arrived at a conclusion that it is shrewd exploitation. Shrewd in a manner because even the victim is not sure if he was exploited?
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Should water be free?

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Every other day some prophet or some political leader come calling that the next world war will be over water. True, truths are always bitter. In the recent years, there has been a lot of discussion over sustainable development and to check the over exploitation of natural resources. Climate activists have suddenly sprung up all over the world. Among all the natural resources water stands as the most important. It not only keeps the humans, animals and plants alive but also lubricates our industries. The developing nations have been several times accused of the indiscriminate usage of the natural capital. In such a scenario, should the governments revert to the idea to put greater charges over water use, with an objective to curtail its use or say make the citizens use it judiciously?
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Are all the mothers same?

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It has been quite some time that I left my home for studies and work and so did many of my friends. In many of the conversations with friends I realized that I'm not alone who is nostalgic (admitting hereby). We persistently used to miss the home cooked food and everything else. One of the strategies which I followed while in college was to befriend girls who were living with their families and then become a parasite to their lunch boxes! It worked most of the times and I was happy.

Gradually, I started to map the perceptions of the people about families, parents and especially mothers. I was able to identify a pattern, however, not very consistent. It seemed to me that those who have been away from their families and parents for some time after their adolescence have more fonder memories, respect and worries for them. In general, such people miss their home more often and with grace. They are the people who are more attached to their families, in other words (exceptions not denied). On the other hand, those who have never been away from home do not value the family values and a small thing like home cooked food, as much as their "migrated" counterparts. In a family, for the needs of the children, the most important role is played by a mother. I never doubted that mothers anywhere in the world can have differential feelings for their children. In fact, I strongly believe (personal bias not ruled out) that mothers all over the world have more or less the same feelings and concerns for their children - irrespective of social status and other criteria of divisions.
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Traditions and modernity: Culture and development

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Globalization is often accused of invading not only the economies but also the culture. At times, we tend to forget that ‘the only constant in this world is – Change’ (Bhagwad Gita). Changes are not always palatable to many. That is why, these are so strongly resisted; especially if there is a perceived risk to the culture. Often there is a face-to-face situation between the traditions and modernity. Now, it is not easy for either to outweigh the other. Traditions carry the glimpses of our past lessons and modernity serves as a constant meliorating force in the existing knowledge. Culture encompasses many things apart from traditions, mainly, the value system, ethics, common virtues and rituals. Here, the values and virtues are very strong element of a culture as they differentiate the one from another. Any development at the cost of the cultural values, virtues and practices can be dodgy.

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Higher education and success: A face-off

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Many students, who go to college, are not clear with their thoughts about what they have to do in life. Many end up taking a different course to study, quite different from their actual interest. Many find themselves once again in dilemma about their career and life after they pass-out from college. Above all, it is not hard to find a boy with a Master’s in Literature working as a Pizza-Boy or even an illiterate girl making great designer dresses. This blog describes what relation does, success share with higher education.
Is it necessary to have a fat folder of degrees to succeed in life? This is an obvious question, which many students are faced with during the critical stages of their career. The answer to this question depends on how we define success. If success is the possession of all desired goods (and services), then it’s required to have huge money. If success is the realization of one’s dreams, then it’s required to work hard. If success is this, it’s needed to do that. But, to succeed in general what cannot be forgone is ‘some work’. We must do something to succeed – and we need to do it well. When we are bad at doing our work, it’s less likely to yield results as expected. All that we need to be efficient and effective at our work is sincerity, necessary skills, and the willingness to learn things which we don’t know. I haven’t heard of any certification of these qualities, for example, certifying that somebody is sincere and willing to learn! Definitely these qualities don’t come with a degree. A degree can certify that somebody has been trained for some work, however, it cannot guarantee that the holder possess the necessary skills. Ultimately, it comes down to the individual to learn and develop these skills, since these cannot be taught and learnt in any colleges. Let me give an example from mythology. Ananda, who was one of the disciples of Buddha, asked him at the time of his Nirvana, that who will guide the disciples after him? Buddha smiled and said “Aapt deepo bhavah” which translates in English as “Be your own lamp”. Buddha said this because he knew that values can be instilled in a student but cannot be installed.

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