Wednesday, December 7, 2016



Looking back over the road travelled, when you cross the 16th milestone, will certainly have its own sense of satisfaction tinged with the haunting memories of the trials and tribulations faced along the way. Luckily for us, completion of the year 16th and the beginning of the year 17 also marked our 200th edition of, if we are permitted to say, our monumental efforts. So, we were blessed with two joys. No doubt, the apprehensions, misgivings and uncertainties that accompanied us all the while has certainly had its positive impacts in making us stronger to face the coming days with fortitude.
The completion of 16th year has also seen a new development of the possibility of I&C being owned by a co-operative of paid readers. A modest beginning has been already made. 25 subscribers have already sent their permanent membership of Rs. 10,000/- each. By 31st March 2017, we hope to reach 100 such members. As and when co-operative happens, the effort is to refund in due course, this permanent subscription amount, which is truly the capital for the new co-operative entity.
Our 200th edition was formally released by Justice N. Santosh Hegde along with Prof. BM Hegde, Dr. N.K. Thingalaya, Dr. Ravishankar Rao, Dr. Satish Rao and Mr. M.R. Vasudeva. A graphic report is appearing in following pages.
The yearly elocution competition for college students was not held, since partners to the event, a social organization in Bengalooru and a local school in Surathkal, somehow lost the initiative to join hands. We regret, an annual regular event had to be given a go-by. We do hope to have it in the coming year.
Month that has gone by witnessed an unprecedented development. The central government, in a stated objective of clamping down on parallel economy, black money and fake currency has demonetized Rs. 1000/- and Rs. 500/- currency notes. Although it has been taken positively by most Indians, it has created difficulties to those who do not have bank account. Hope in coming weeks situation will ease with more newer currencies are made available in the system.
Month-in-Perspective has covered as usual many issues of relevance, although it is very difficult to cover all development taking place during the month.
Uniform Civil Code, suddenly came on the centre stage, primarily due to the intervention of Supreme Court. A women’s NGO, Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andholan, went to court with issues disturbing the women folks of the community. Admitting their plea, apex court has asked the central government for its considered stand. The major partner in the NDA, BJP, is in a bind. That has created an air of suspicion, especially among Muslim Community leadership. We have tried to debate the validity of UCC as an universal need for the human dignity of Indian women. Hope readers will find it interesting. Do revert with your inputs. Rest are as usual. 

J. Shriyan


NEW DELHI: In some of the houses and establishments and even office of political parties there was a completely unexpected earthquake on 10 Richter scale. Some were devastated. Central government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the unprecedented historic step in demonetizing Rs. 1000 & Rs. 500/- currency notes. It is likely to impact all aspect of black money circulation in the parallel economy prevalent in some of the economic activities of the country. Even political parties barring may be CPM/CPI would have serious problems on hand. Opposition parties, like the earlier Surgical Strike of 29th Sept., is groping for words to react in a coherent language. This is going to hit some sectors of the economy very hard. Modi has once again proved that he is a very decisive prime minister. Surely, this single act alone can propel him and his government to unprecedented popularity, which is making the opposition politicians sleepless.

Nobody should die prematurely. More so, nobody should commit suicide, whatever be the reason. Generally it is believed that, people commit suicide only when they cannot manage their thoughts. They feel they are at the end of the road. It is very unfortunate and therefore should not happen. But this ex-serviceman Subedar Ram Kishan Grewal committing suicide for the non-receipt of pension, or delay in the receipt of pension, is an extreme case of action as reaction. According to the report, he wrote in his suicide note “I am sacrificing my life for other soldiers”.
Prima facie, it looks rather weird that somebody can take his life for some money issue due to him. We have heard of people committing suicide, when one cannot pay an outstanding loan or liability for a long time and does not have means to pay. Or a state of financial helplessness towards family or something similar.
As for this Subedar Grewal, there were organizations who could have taken up the issue. Or was he desperate for this money due to him? Of course, the political parties are fishing in the troubled water trying to fix the central government and the Defense Minister. They are also targeting PM Modi, as if he is personally responsible. Surely it needs to be probed and solution to the OROP is found within the agreed framework without much delay. But what all those, who attack the government, post the Subedar death, should recognize that this is the government which worked on OROP and awarded it. There may be some lacuna here and there, to be addresses and redressed. That can be attended surely, without the dirty politics.

Yapping with unsubstantiated allegations has become a trade mark with our ‘hero’ Arvind Kejriwal. It has become so regular a feature with the Delhi Chief Minister, nobody seem to take him seriously. But as a media member, some reaction may have to be posted in the public space. It is, as if, he is on the lookout always, for newer issues to sensationalise and there are persons in the media, picking it up only for its own sensation quotient.
Besides his latest histrionic display on the demonetization along with Mamata Bannerji, he had the singular honour of irresponsibly accusing the central government, of phone tapping of judges.
Addressing the gathering at the Golden Jubilee function of the Delhi High Court, sharing the stage with Prime Minister Modi, Union Minister Ravishankar Prasad and CJI T.S. Thakur, Kejriwal is reported to have stated “I have heard judges talking among themselves- let us not talk on our phones as phones are being tapped”. When asked to name the judges, he looked the other way as he does typically after making an outlandish statement.
Of course instead of completely ignoring with contempt, Minister Ravishankar Prasad is reported to have rejected the charge stating “I deny with all the authority under my command that there has been any tapping of the phones of judges”. Such denials only give grist to the media         .
If anybody, who should have cut short Arvind Kejriwal, it was CJI T.S. Thakur. His intervention, purely on its merit, could have helped matter so also send an appropriate message to the central government in these troubled times, between the Judiciary and the Executive.

It’s been some weeks since demonetization took place of Rs. 1000 & Rs. 500 currency notes. Some called it bold while some other called it invitation to disaster. There is absolutely no-doubt that it’s a bold surgical strike of another kind.
But the experience on the ground, of thousands of Indians, from different parts of the country, going through a harrowing time, trying to get hold of some currency which could be used for exchange of goods and services, tells another story. Those who do not have enough, those who are on the margins, the daily wage workers, small traders are experiencing untold miseries.
Does this show, some level of overconfidence that, at ground zero, things can be managed without much hassle? Ask somebody who had to wait for hours and then told, cash finished. Ask the bank staffs, who probably come very early to the bank leaves only after tallying the daily cash at past 11P.M, then again return to the bank by 8.00 AM. Stories are revealing.
Somewhere, something has gone haywire. Yes, the government is monitoring it every day and coming up with newer measures, both to help the general public so also trying to fix the loopholes. Among Indians, like all other nationalities, there are crooks everywhere, who are just waiting to strike. Some have reaped the bonanza, exploiting the system and loopholes. May be someday, authorities will fix them.
But the fact remains, thus far, the scene is tricky. There are far too many questions, how to replace the quantity of currency demonetized with the working currency in both smaller and bigger denominations. Situation is almost like emergency. Of course, it is sad, political parties are hell bent upon exploiting the difficulties of aam aadmi only to embarrass the government and more precisely Prime Minister Modi. However, it is to the credit of President Pranab Mukharjee, to have commended the government for the bold move. But strangely Dr. Manmohan Singh seem to have gone underground with people like Arun Shouri having a free run with full of negativity.
It is very clear, the central government has to do more to alleviate the difficulties of general public and small trading community, but the government also needs our support for the war it launched on black money, fake currency and parallel economy. Hope by another week or so, ease is visible.
Commenting on the ongoing debate on ‘intolerance’ involving Amir Khan and his wife Kiran Rao, Taslima Nasrin had commented on Nov 24, 2015 in ‘’, that is one year ago, “Amir Khan you earned 300 crores by mocking Hindu gods in PK if you would have done this in Pakistan, Bangladesh or on Muslim religion you would have been hanged and still you say India is ‘intolerant’.
Taslima Nasrin is a Bangladeshi writer, and she has been persecuted in her own country and she left her country, since she was not sure if she would remain alive. After travelling all over the world, she is settled in India, as a ‘guest’. All governments of India, of all political hues, have helped her stay in India safely, despite vehement opposition from some Muslim groups. Thank God, in India she has remained safe including a house arrest.
Recently, PTI reported from New Delhi, that how grateful she is for India, because, in her own words “I have only India”.
In her memoir ‘EXILE’, published by Penguin Random House, she has covered her “struggle leading to my ouster from West Bengal, Rajasthan and then house arrest in government safe house, harassed by a scheming array of bureaucrats and ministers desperate to see me gone”.
Indeed, Taslima has suffered a great deal for decades. Starting from her own country of birth and the problems she faced in India, she tried to live in different parts of the world, somehow she truly believes she belongs to India, she always kept coming back to India since she is categorical “I have only India”.
Government of India, under the stewardship of Narendra Modi should recognize her spirit and feelings for India and grant her citizenship. Surely she will be grateful and proved to be a proud Indian.

Women empowerment, whenever one tried to analyze some of the causes that have impacted negatively, were the role of women themselves. More often, men helped women in their causes, but there are any number of cases where women became impediments and problem creators in realizing the goals of women’s group.
No wonder comes this news “Muslim women move apex court in support of triple talaq”.
Reportedly some 15 women, probably goaded by AIMPLB has written to the apex court saying the same thing as AIMPLB has stated in their affidavit, that these women have no problem with triple talaq and other issues and that their rights are protected.
In the same report however there are references to two other women Nazneen Sayed from Belgaavi and Shayara Banu from Baramati, Pune, both have urged the Supreme Court to declare, Triple Talaq, Polygamy and Nikah Halala unconstitutional.
Triple Talaq is not a religious issue; it is an issue of gender justice. It is an issue of ending gender discrimination. It is an issue of equality before law, which is granted by the article 14&15 of the constitution.
Here it is very clear, these two ladies are fighting for their human dignity and basic rights as human beings whereas these 15 women from Kurnool are fighting for their Islamic identity. Court must tell these 15 women, not to be carried by what AIMPLB stands for.
They want to perpetuate the dominance of man, as husband, as father, as uncle or as brother or whatever. As women, they should recognize the vulnerability of these helpless women and should instead, join them to support the judicial intervention, so that there is justice, equity and fairness.
 MADHYA PRADESH: Killing of 8 SIMI under trial prisoners, who escaped from the Bhopal Central Jail after killing the police guard, has raised hackles of human rights violation.
As usual, nobody really cared much about the human rights of the police guard killed by the escaping prisoners. But it is also true that the police action in eliminating all 8 escaped prisoners, is disproportionate to the killing of one police guard, if police reacted violently on the killing of one of their very own. It is also true that police guard’s throat was slit by these prisoners before escaping. This was rather very cruel.
But, killing all 8 was not needed under the prevailing circumstances the escaped prisoners were found. They could have been forced to surrender. In the absence of fuller unbiased details, encounter claims are somewhat suspect. No wonder NHRC has suo moto acted by giving notice to the government of Madhya Pradesh.
Of course as usual, political parties have jumped into fish in the troubled waters.
Hope truth comes out and guilty, if any, are punished, to serve the cause of justice.

MAHARASHTRA: There was this Mumbai datelined report “City pub in dock for blasphemous decor”.
Some people the world over; take the freedom of expression to stupid lengths. They do it either to spite somebody or to humiliate their sense of self respect. It is generally an European phenomenon. But, it has come to India as well in recent times, all in the name of freedom of expression. And most forgets that ‘price of freedom is its responsible exercise’. And we have media members, some justifying it and some decrying it, depending on its own standard of political correctness.
A popular pub chain ‘GOREGOAN SOCIAL’ in north Mumbai decorated its interiors with some artifacts which has reportedly hurt the sentiments of Christians. Reportedly, artifacts included Jesus holding a leather bag, Mother Mary a chain, Moses holding a computer tablet, St. Anthony wearing glasses. So also Tabernacle as having some liquor bottles with inscription of Holy Cross etc.
Clearly, the pub owner had absolutely no business to drag revered figures of Christian faith into a liquor den. It would certainly hurt the sentiments of Christian faithfuls. Objective may be promotion of business. But you don’t promote business by hurting people’s sentiments. The decor was designed by Basrai brothers- Ayaz & Zameer for owner Riyaz Amlani. It was strange, how a Muslim could be an owner of an alcohol joint. It is unislamic. Strangely no Mulla came to issue fatwa against the pub. The facebook page had an intriguing introduction of the pub as a “Church of anti-consumerism”. Irked Father Warner D’Souza of the nearby parish said “Let them try something similar with Islam and see the consequences”. It is a valid observation, needs to be taken seriously. Of course, reportedly, after an NGO approached the police on the matter, the owner had it pulled down on his own realizing his mistake. Wisdom had dawned, lest his pub attacked. However, on asking by a reporter, “You belong to a minority community; does this make you feel vulnerable?” Riyaz had replied “I have never felt like a minority in this country”. That was indeed a saving grace.

These people’s representatives and those who are nominated to Parliament, Legislative Councils & Municipal Corporators are there in their exalted positions only to serve the man on the street. But truly speaking, what could be the % of honest workers among such members of parliament, or Legislative assemblies and councils or other in lower levels, who are truly, in every sense, representing the aspirations of common man? We have heard, umpteen times, how once they are elected or nominated to their august positions, these servants of people become their masters. For being there, they get huge salaries, perks and of course pension & other lifelong benefits.
All these representatives, rightly or wrongly, are allotted some funds to be used for works of development nature in their respective areas. Starting from Rs. 5 crores for Members of Parliament, to Rs. 1.6 crores to municipal corporators in big cities like Mumbai. This fund is available for any kind of legitimate work for the betterment of their respective area of representation. But most have failed even to spend this amount.
And comes this report from Mumbai “Most corporators fail to spend allotted funds.” Reportedly some Rs 212 crores of the allotted Rs. 363 crores is set to lapse early December, that is close to 60% left unspent. Among the defaulting corporators are Mayor Snehal Ambekar and Alka Subhash Kerkar, the Deputy Mayor. In a corporation, where there are 227 corporators, an amount of Rs 212 crores unused means, all of them have failed. The failure is all the more glaring, since the amount was increased only this year from Rs. 60 Lakh per corporator to 1.60 crores, due to corporators’ persistent demand.
And look what happened?
Whose fathers what goes? Its public money after all, this is a sad reflection of the lack of sense of responsibility of these people’s representatives, who are apparently there only to enjoy the power and the perks that goes with it.            

KARNATAKA: There was this editorial in the Deccan Herald, “Ban on burqa not justified”. It had its own wonky justification for writing what the editor wrote. Among other things paper highlighted, “It is a matter of individual choice to wear burqa”, in a box.
Indeed it is left to the individual to wear burqa or not or for that matter any dress one likes. This is the crux. The fact of the matter however is, side stepping the college controversies, burqa is forced on to a very significant %, may be even in majority of cases, to vulnerable young girls. It is the father or the brother or other elders who are forcing their young daughters to wear burqa. And there are any number of men who let their daughter go to college in other normal dresses. And there are men among Muslims, who admit the burqa practice as a sign of backwardness.
Unfortunately, keeping the circulation in mind, these news papers, and there are many, too pander to the whims of this male chauvinism. These media houses have their own agendas of how to write and what to highlight and what not to write and what to ignore. Problem in India, is the hide and seek attitude of the press, in being political and apolitical, as it chooses to suite its own programme.
If media takes an unbiased view of things, then most problems in public space may die a natural death. Will that happen!?
Chief Minister of Karnataka, Siddaramaiah has become the chief executive of the state due to a democratic process. But he do not seem to believe in democracy when it comes to giving or yielding ground to others. For him it appears to be a one-way traffic. Respecting opposite views is the foundation of democratic living. It has been very evident, in recent times, that any decision he takes on persons or issues, despite strong opposition, he will not yield or change his decision.
Since last year, that is 2015, Karnataka government had decided to celebrate Tipu Sultan Jayanthi. All those who have read history acknowledge that the record of father and son duo of Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan has been controversial, to say the least. There are sections of Kannadigas who vehemently complains of atrocities by both Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. They constitute over 90% of the Karnataka population. So despite this opposition, the government led by Siddaramaiah went ahead and ‘celebrated’ this Tipu Jayanthi, where the state Education Minister Tanvir Sait was caught enjoying some porno matter in his cell phone.
Prior to this celebration, the issue figured in Karnataka High Court, where the Chief Justice asked “What is the necessity of Tipu Jayanthi?” remarking that Tipu was not a freedom fighter, but just another princely ruler. The governments stand was that Tipu was a freedom fighter and he fought against British. But all know that he fought to save his kingdom only. Also, during the earlier 67 years, nobody in this country thought of celebrating Tipu Jayanthi and Karnataka had over 50 years of one party rule, to which Siddaramaiah belongs.
So, this undemocratic Chief Minister not only had this Jayanthi ‘celebrated’ at state expenses, but now refusing to sack the erring minister caught enjoying porno, while ‘celebration’ was on. Was he trying to please a section of society as a votebank exercise?! Surely his love for Tipu looks of recent origin, certainly not deep rooted, as the first 3 years of his government, Tipu was lost in the political amnesia.
While on the subject, it is pertinent to discuss, his selection of Justice SL Nayak, whom he is trying to make as Lokayuktha, despite opposition by the majority in the committee to select Lokayuktha. This SL Nayak, has already had two stints of public office after retirement. He appears greedy for more. But CM Siddaramaiah is insistent to bring Justice SL Nayak as Lakayuktha,
There are other instances of this leader of a backward community being rigid in his approach to management of men and matters. This is not healthy in a democratic environment.

There were two news reports in the media about two senior functionaries of a leading political party. One is a national party president and the other state party president. Both were favorably disposed off, one by the Supreme Court and the other by the CBI.
A former bureaucrat and presently an activist Harsh Mander had asked the Supreme Court for the reconsideration of its judgement which had upheld the acquittal of Amit Shah in the gangster Sohrabuddin encounter case.
Amit Shah, the National President of BJP was the Home Minister of Gujarat when the above encounter took place. While it is true that Apex Court did go through the details of the case before rejecting the appeal of Harsh Mander, court also stated that he is not in any way connected to the case and hence has no locus standi. But with due respect to the learned judges, what is wrong if Harsh Mander is merely a concerned citizen and he should have been given the opportunity to express his misgivings as to why he thinks ‘the acquittal of Amit Shah should be reviewed’. The stand taken by the bench of Justice S A Bobde and Justice Ashok Bhushan leaves much to be desired.
The acquittal of Karnataka BJP president Yeddyurappa in the iron ore mining kickbacks and land denotification case by the CBI needs to be explained. A former chief minister of Karnataka Yeddyurappa was indicted by Lokayuktha and was sent to judicial custody in 2011. He was out on bail after 3 weeks. There was a contribution by Jindal Group of Rs. 40 crores to the education trust of Yeddyurappa family. Jindal Group was a beneficiary of mining lease. A quid-pro-quo was very much could have been there.
However, on technical grounds, former Karnataka CM appears to have been exonerated. Clearly nobody will pay such a huge sum of money as donation, unless there was reason enough to be so generous to an educational trust of a political family. Something is amiss. It does look little wonky.

KERALA: For a 100% literate state, to have a father who denied his new born baby being breast fed for a whole day is the height of illiteracy.
One Aboobacker Siddque of Amassery had stopped his wife from feeding the new born, despite hospital authorities insisting that child should be breast fed immediately after the birth. Siddique apparently insisted that child must hear 5 prayer calls from mosque before it can be fed. Thus for 21 hours, the infant was without its first feed. Reportedly a local preacher had influenced the infant’s father.
Child Rights panel in Kozhikode, reportedly has asked the police to book the father and those who abetted the superstition under Juvenile Justice Act. Kozhikode Collector was reported to have remarked that both father and the abettor needed treatment. Indeed it is shocking, that a literate state like Kerala can be having such ignorant bigots. Even God may not be able to save them.

WORLD: One of the pre-election writings on the U.S presidency was a cover page on the TIME, and it read ‘THE END IS NEAR’. It appeared rather prophetic for Hillary Rodham Clinton. In the event, on November 8, majority of voters of United States of America, rejected Hillary, signaling the end of her political career for good.
Donald Trump, termed unendorsable, whom Joe Klein of the TIME described “There hasn’t been a major-party candidate less fit for the presidency (than Donald Trump) in American history” had hit the bulls eye.
Donald Trump has been a total outsider. Never held any political office. But decided to throw the hat into the ring, and rest as the cliché goes, is history. None in the public space gave Trump even an outside chance. Entire American media was against him. His own party was hesitant to nominate him. There were critics galore in his own Republican party, forget about those among Democrats and other public figures. Probably, he had a vision for his beloved America, which he wanted to see ‘it happens’. Single handedly he faced all negatives about him, and there were dozens of it. At the end he made it, very resounding at that.
So, Donald Trump, as the most powerful man on the earth, as the U.S President, is a fact of life. He is going to be around at least for another 4 years from Jan. 2017, whether anybody likes him or not. Under the circumstances, the endorsement by the outgoing U.S President Barack Obama is of significance and in pleasant taste. He had been a strident critic of Trump during electioneering.
Speaking to the Asia-Pacific leaders at Peru, President Obama was reported to have remarked “United States is such a big country that after any election people are uncertain. It will be important for everybody around the world, to not make immediate judgements but to give this President elect, a chance”. Adding “How you campaign isn’t always the same as how you govern”.
This is a very pragmatic observation and is good for the U.S and for the world. So we have to wait and see, while it is true that President elect Donald Trump has been making sensible noises, as compared to his earlier jingoistic filibusters. Hope, the pragmatism which President Obama expects, becomes more visible in coming days from the administration of the newly elected president, Donald Trump.
However, despite concerns among Indians in the U.S and the possible Indo-U.S relation turning over a new leaf, the latest news of “Trump meets Indian business partners” has lent a newer dimension to the emerging Indo-U.S relations.
Of course the visible conflict of interest needs to be managed in the larger context. This dimension need not be of concern, as President-elect Donald Trump has his family who can take care of the business without any role for the President-elect. But, it is true that in the larger picture, everything counts, especially when it is of business nature.
Let’s all hope, we as Indians, that President-elect Donald Trump turns out as a good human being, responsible and responsive to his own citizens first and then to the world at large for the good of the entire world of Homo sapiens. There is little room for absolutism in the emerging world scenario; co-operative co-existence is the name of the game. Like Barack Obama, as an author, had observed in his epochal work “Audacity of Hope”, “there are far more things that unite us than things that divide us”. Hope the President- to be, harkens to this sane observation. Amen.

So after all Bob Dylan will visit Stockholm and personally receive the Nobel! In all probability, he may even sing.
In our last issue, we had mentioned about the Nobel to the Singer Musician, a first to any Singer Musician of the past. Of course, Nobel prizes being awarded by the Swedish Academy is a private initiative to recognize excellence in different fields of human endeavors. So they certainly have their own rules and basis on which an award is considered and awarded.
Of course, they too are humans and can have their share of errors, and hence they took over four decades to recognize the excellence of Bob Dylan. It could be that the sense of self respect of Dylan was hurt and hence remained incommunicado ever since the announcement of the award.
But then Dylan too is a human. After initial hesitation he has come on board to confirm “Absolutely. If it’s at all possible”, despite an Academy member accusing Dylan of being “impolite and arrogant”.
For the first time, in over 6 weeks, he has admitted “It’s amazing, incredible. It’s hard to believe” that he has been awarded the Nobel Prize for literature.
Reportedly, Swedish Academy is keen that the American Singer Musician speaks or sings at the Academy prize distribution function on the 10th Dec. at Stockholm. Chances are Bob Dylan, shall oblige, not just speaking on the occasion but shall sing too as a fitting tribute to the occasion. Hope, it happens.  

What They Said

Focus (I&C- Nov. 2016) “KASHMIR: A QUESTION WITHOUT ANSWER” Very interesting read. I couldn't but respond. Never before have I got such factual and complete account of the Kashmir issue in such a crisp and brief write-up. You like it or hate it, but you cannot ignore it. That is the reality of Kashmir for Indians like me. An ignoramus like me who, for the most part has seen Kashmir in the milieu provided by truncated and often motivated news, your “focus” has proved to be educative, enlightening and objective.
Despite the dismal title, your analysis and the eventual prognosis hold out enough hope if only our political class adopts a unified and lasting vision in the interest of our compatriots in Kashmir and as you boldly assert, it is very much in the realm of the possible. May there be peace and happiness in Kashmir.                                                               -Norbert Shenoy, San Francisco, Via Email

We truly admire your single handed commitment to the profession of journalism and at the same time, using the medium to promote service for social causes and serve them oneself. And your plan to handover the baton to the next generation with a cooperative institutional setup is still more admirable. This small amount is our humble contribution in furtherance of the noble cause you have visualized.

Dr. S. L. Shetty, Director, EPW Research Foundation, Mumbai.    

Thank you very much for the time taken to write and words of appreciation on our efforts. Your cheque of Rs 10,000/- as your participation in our possible co-operative effort is gratefully acknowledged. Thank you for being a good human being.                                              Editor 

Focus (I&C- Nov. 2016) “KASHMIR: A QUESTION WITHOUT ANSWER”  As always, a well-written piece. The insight (hindsight) on Sheik Abdullah is commendable. 
-Dr Ravishankar Rao Professor of English and Director, International Students Centre, Mangalore University

I was happy to have received the 200th edition of ISSUES&CONCERNS. At the outset my hearty congratulations for the feat. Yours in a one man army. Salute to your spirit of endurance. We the readers are proud to be associated with I&C, it’s not everybody’s reading material.
The event of the 200th release was very well organized. Everybody spoke meaningfully, be it Prof. Dr. Satish Rao, Prof. Dr. Ravishankar Rao, or Mr.M.R.Vasudeva. Toast of the evening however, was the speeches of Justice N Santosh Hegde and Prof. B.M. Hegde. Prof. Hegde in particular can create wonder through his inspiring straight forward talk. Justice Hegde’s talk about the rot in public life was an eye opener to realise that there is so much catching up to do for the country and our countrymen. You do feel, Oh! Poor Mother India.
All in all the programme was worth attending. Wishing you and your team all the best for the coming years.                                                                            -Chaithra Padukone, Nitte, Via Email

Liked Dr. B.M. Hegde’s article on cancer in I&C Oct. It is what we eat gives us cancer. Sharing and caring (spirituality) is answer for all problems. But the Making-a-Difference, over importance has been given for such a thing to maintain population. We are two and we should bring up at least two for the society, that is our duty towards the society particularly those who can afford. 
Why people are not going for second child is because they do not want to take trouble, want to enjoy physically, forgetting their duty towards society.                 Dr Pandurang Nayak, Via- Email



Universal (Uniform) Civil Code vis-a-vis Human Dignity & Where does the religion come in!?

Some months ago there was this brain wave, that was creating eddies inside me and suddenly chanced on a sentence and it crystallized. Spoke to lot of common friends to promote a CENTRE FOR CONVERSATION WITHOUT CONFRONTATION (CCC) with limited participants to have debate on issues concerning just about anybody and everybody. The whole concept was positively welcomed with “it’s a very unique idea”, said a professor of NITK. The qualification for participation was “ONLY AN OPEN MIND”. Obviously it meant no mental baggage to be carried to the debate. Spoke to many and even uploaded on FaceBook. Except some pleasant responses and some skepticism from negative minds, nothing happened. Back to square one. All dressed up, but nowhere to go. Thus, the UCC among many other issues, remained outside the CCC, the proposed forum, to be debated.
Human beings all over the world are born free, but as we grow, we tie ourselves into knots of myriad kinds, and submit ourselves into dogmatic practices within the group to which we belong. Living within the boundaries gives us a certain sense of protection and security and many compromise their position to accept the practices which could be otherwise unacceptable in an open and free society. There are people all over the world, who despise freedom. In every society, there is an element of male chauvinism. Of course in European societies, the scourge of male dominance is less, but in third world countries having mostly Islamic faithfuls and Hindus there is certainly a strong presence of male dominance. Because of this male dominance, the woman has remained subjugated in such societies. It is a global phenomenon. But western society has certainly improved its record of human rights in respect of women. The same cannot be said of other societies. Of course, in the Indian context, religion plays an important role, so is the case in many other countries of Africa, Middle East and Far East. These religions or more importantly those who are at the helm of religious authority, especially clergy have encouraged certain dogmatic practices since donkey years and it has continued. These practices, somehow, has encouraged and established male dominance, and it has stayed put. Of course, these practices managed some theological sanctions, due to which, women remained, kind of chained. It is also true that a vast section of women did not protest and have accepted the male dominance and their prescriptions. This ensured some kind of a security, which was however, not guaranteed. So despite total acceptance of male dominance, there was no guarantee that these women will remain protected. Yes, despite accepting the male dominance, especially among Muslims, women remain exposed to, triple talaq, polygamy and nikah halala. All three situations have reduced women, like it or not, to mere pawns. They could do just nothing about it. Until one day, a women’s group decided- enough is enough.
Long ago, Martin Luther King, a U.S. citizen, had given a clarion call to Americans of African origin to fight for their honour like everybody else in the United States of America, “Our life begins to end the day, we become silent about the things that matter”. Indeed that is the truth, like that Arab proverb “If you cannot fight for your rights, you only deserve to be a slave”. This too was the ringing truth.
For far too long, women in India had accepted the dominance and the resultant atrocity of man, as husband, as father, as brother, as uncle or whatever. In an evolving world, this had to change. And the change came calling. Noorjehan Fiaz and Zakir Soman, under the banner of Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andholan (BMMA) went to the court challenging triple talaq, nikah halala and polygamy among Muslims. Seized of the matter, Supreme Court asked the central government for its clear stand on these issues raised by BMMA.
However it should be noted that, it was in 1985, Apex Court first directed the parliament to bring in UCC, after the infamous Shah Bano case. Again 2015, Apex Court asserted the need for UCC. “This cannot be accepted; otherwise every religion will say it has a right to decide issues as a matter of its personal law. We disagree. It has to be done through a decree of court.” 
In the light of the principle of gender justice and overriding principles of non-discrimination, dignity and equality, the centre urged the apex court to knock out these abhorrent practices of triple talaq, nikah halala and polygamy among Muslims. The government contended that these practices had nothing to do, rather, they were not integral to the practice of Islam or essential religious practices, while citing the extensive reforms that have taken place in countries where Islam is the state religion, like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Morocco, Iran, Egypt, Indonesia, Turkey, Tunisia, besides our neighbour, Sri Lanka a Buddhist Country.
The centre’s affidavit strongly urged that ‘Even theocratic states have undergone reform in this area of the law and therefore in a secular republic like India, there is no reason to deny women their rights available under the constitution”. In a development post apex court intervention, the central government has asked the Law Commission to invite public opinion on the adoptability of UCC in India in accordance with the constitution and the Directive Principles of State Policy.
Olav Albuquerque, a practicing lawyer from Mumbai, writes “Despite the preamble of the constitution proclaiming ‘India is a secular state and justice is guaranteed to all,’ Muslim women have never been equal to their men -on the spacious ground that this law was ordained by Allah and is the most perfect of laws for all time to come”.
But what does the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), the self appointed custodian of Muslim interest, thinks about this latest development?
Not only AIMPLB, but all those outfits who think they are the protectors of Muslim interest, are deeply unhappy about the Supreme Court as well as Central government intervention. 
“Muslim red flag Uniform Civil Code” was a report from New Delhi, attributing to AIMPLB, accusing the government of waging an internal ‘war’ against the community. It filed an affidavit vehemently opposing the scrutiny of the practices of triple talaq, nikah halala and polygamy by the Supreme Court saying personal laws cannot be challenged on the ground that they violate fundamental rights like gender equity. Affidavit states “If the husband does not at all want to live with wife, legal compulsions of time consuming separation proceedings and expenses may deter him from taking the legal course. In such instances, he may resort to illegal, criminal ways of murdering or burning her alive”. This clearly shows that, if husband cannot get rid of his wife instantly, he can murder her. This is an exhibition of jungle criminal mindset like Taliban, with no respect for the right and life of his wife. The affidavit is a clear reflection of their contempt for social reform. They are clearly caught in a time warp.
Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, was another outfit that came out strongly against the government stand and stated that ‘it will not accept any interference in their personal laws since it will be an infringement of their fundamental rights.’
Ever since, the Supreme Court took up cudgels on behalf of BMMA and the affidavit by the central government and the circulation of questionnaire by the Law Commission, there has been plethora of outfits from different parts of India issuing statements opposing any judicial or executive intervention in their personal laws. ‘Muslim personal laws cannot be re-written in the name of social reform’, was the gist of all these statements.
The entire opposition is based on the faulty premise that these judicial or executive proposals are an attack on Islam. This is a huge hogwash. The issue is fundamentally related to the rights of women and denial of equity and equality enshrined in the constitution. The constitution is applicable to all pari passu. The apex court is seized of the issue to have a clear stand on women’s rights across the religious divide. India is a secular democracy and all are equal before law. This is so, across the multi religious spectrum of India. Women in all religious groups are denied of some rights or the other. In some it is more regimented and in some it is less regimented.
Since India is a male dominated society, the man, as father, brother, husband, uncle or whatever, has always suppressed woman and denied her rights in property, in pursuing education, career advancement or alimony in cases of divorce and there could be so many forms of denials. The idea of Universal Civil Code, has to be seen in this prism. Women should be equal to man in all respects-both in treatment and entitlement. Nothing whatever should influence the equity in precept or in practice.
Will any religion, in its right sense, deny its female practitioners their rights and aspirations only because of their gender?
Of course, there are many Muslim intellectuals who, of late, ever since the Apex Court entertained the writ of BMMA, have been issuing statements justifying reforms in the practices of Muslims in India. Surprisingly, joining them is Mr. Veerappa Moily, a former Union Law Minister and a senior Congress leader. Print media carried his observation, sometime this October “Instead of waiting for a public debate and waiting for a law to tell us what should be done, it is high time our Muslim brothers and sisters thought of reforming themselves, so that the axe of law will not fall on them”. He was generally commenting on triple talaq. Equally surprisingly, none among the many Muslim outfits have reacted to Mr. Moily’s observation which was nationally published.
Political divide is another serious issue that needs to be tackled if Universal Civil Code is to be adopted. Most political parties are opposed to it, merely to appease the influential section of Muslim leadership. As such the leader of the present ruling dispensation in the centre, BJP, is the only party which is pursuing the issue of UCC. It may be, as other political parties allege, BJP too is having its own agenda. But it was the same NDA led by BJP which amended the divorce laws governing Christians which the church has accepted and supported. Left parties always supported UCC, but they don’t want to give credit to BJP and therefore are opposed to UCC this time round. But purely on the crucible of equity, equality and justice, UCC is the need of the hour. All women’s groups should unite to force the issue in the name of women’s right and their human dignity.
Going back in time, it was the Congress party, which was the ruling party in the constituent assembly, which had originally envisaged a common civil code for all Indians. Romila Thapar, the noted historian has confirmed that ‘Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, supported the UCC for all Indians irrespective of religion’. She was speaking at a Symposium in New Delhi “Nehru & To-day’s India” organized by the University of Cambridge, sometime in Feb 2015. But it was the same Congress party led by Nehru’s grandson and the then Prime Minister Rajeev Gandhi in May 1986, which enacted Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, annulling the Supreme Court’s April 23, 1985 judgement in the infamous Shah Bano case involving her husband Mohd. Ahmed Khan. Supreme Court had ruled that section 125 of Criminal Procedure Code which allowed the divorced wife to get a maintenance amount from her husband- applied to Muslims as well, as there was no conflict between the provisions of section 125 and those of the Muslim Personal Law. According to Bhavdeep Kang, a columnist from Mumbai, ‘Muslim clerics bullied the Congress regime into nullifying the Supreme Court judgement upholding a divorced Muslim woman’s right to maintenance’. 
The action of Rajeev Gandhi was widely condemned as retrograde. It was pure and simple, an act of appeasement by the then Congress government. Since he had the brute majority in the LokSabha with an unprecedented over 400 seats, he could do anything. He could have given a new face to India’s developmental paradigm, but failed even to keep his PM seat in the election that followed. However, it is also true that Dr. Manmohan Singh government had brought about changes in Hindu Succession Act to bring woman at par with man in inheritance.      
Then there are those, who feel, that there are still problems among Hindus as well. They too should be addressed and redressed, if there are any. Similarly among Christians and other religious groups should be open for debate and correction where needed. According to Olav Albuquerque, under Hindu Personal Law, divorce is granted on the ground that couple have been living separately for one year or more, while canon (general or Christian) law does not grant divorce at all except on the grounds of insanity and impotence. Even these should be suitably amended to come under UCC, he opines.
However, what is indeed a matter of disappointment and concern is the silence of liberals. They are not taking a position since it is the BJP, which is spear-heading the demand for U.C.C actively nudged by the Supreme Court.
Indeed personal law cannot practice & propagate discrimination; cannot allow a compromise with human dignity. Personal laws and practices can certainly deal with religions and its rituals, but cannot infringe rights of individuals. Rights and dignity of individuals is sacrosanct. Men across the socio-political spectrum of the country must be united to tell their women folk, don’t worry we are with you. It can surely lead to a new dawn of peace, stability and prosperity. Secular India would have truly arrived. 

J. Shriyan


Do we really want cancer to be defeated?

(Does it make sense in this medical business?)

Prof. B. M. Hegde,

“Cancer affects all of us, whether you’re a daughter, mother, sister, friend, co-worker, doctor, or patient.”
Jennifer Aniston

What is cancer? I really do not know! Is it a disease? I don’t know! Albert Szent Gyorgii, a Nobel Laureate biologist, says that he does not know what cancer is as he knows that a cancer cell works like a normal cell. He also feels that no one can kill cancer cells without killing normal cells at the same time. Cancer might be an effort by the body cells to survive a hostile environment by mutating. How can you then kill those normal body cells? Linus Pauling, a double Nobel Laureate, feels with strong reasons, that cancer research and cancer charities are both fraud! Nobel Laureate President of the American Cancer Association, Harold Varmus, comes almost to the same conclusion but stops calling it fraud. He has set up a special committee to go into the reasons why well over 85% of cancer research published cannot be replicated? Almost 50% of the diagnosed cancers are not true cancers! They are only incidentalomas, thanks to the scanning industry which tries hard to medicalize normal human life!
Preventable risk factors like smoking and alcohol are closely associated with 11 of the 15 cancers in the US, finds a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Disability adjusted life years (DALYs) lost to canceris a new measure. This measure combines mortality, incidence, survival, and quality of life into a single summary indicator. DALYs lost to cancer were mostly related to premature death due to the disease (91 per cent), and only 9 per cent related to impaired quality of life because of cancer or its treatment, or other disease-related issues. Have we made an effort to really ban tobacco and alcohol in society? Certainly not as it would make 11 out of 15 cancers to vanish from the planet, a big blow to the cancer drug industry which runs into trillions of dollars. Banning them might adversely affect the world economy. Your daily bread loaf might cost double the present price if cancer disappears from this world! In short, the cancer industry has an interest to keep cancer going as it is, if not in bigger numbers to keep the world economy thriving.
I have an appeal to all aspiring medical students and the aspirants for cancereology postgraduate studies to read the following books that might appeal to their conscience if they have one. The present aspirants for cancerology are those that are dying to make big money fast as doctors! The first book is Nature of cancer by Manu Kothari and his associate Lopa Mehta. Second one is Introduction to sub-molecular biology by Albert Szent Gyorgii. What takes the cake of all books is the latest one by a cancer victim, Paul Kalanidhi, an ethnic Indian, a brilliant writer with MA in English literature from Yale, MD from Stanford and training in some of the top US hospitals and became a brilliant neurosurgeon at Stanford to be struck down by a horrible brain cancer. Kalanidhi’s all- time classic When breath becomes air is a master piece of literary genius, in addition. My good friend, almost as close to me as my own son, Dr. Narasimha Bhat, a PhD from Berkeley himself and a personification of all that is humanly good, recommended this book to me and has ordered a copy for me. I couldn’t wait for a few days for the book to arrive. So I could fast read it in Google eBook section but the review section took my breath away.
New York Times writes: "A great, indelible book ... as intimate and illuminating as Atul Gawande’s “Being Mortal,” to cite only one recent example of a doctor’s book that has had exceptionally wide appeal ... I guarantee that finishing this book and then forgetting about it is simply not an option ... gripping from the start ... None of it is maudlin. Nothing is exaggerated. As he wrote to a friend: “It’s just tragic enough and just imaginable enough.” And just important enough to be unmissable." Kalanidhi’s sordid drama of his individual struggle through this hostile cancer treatment and the inhuman cancer specialists’ attitude towards a fellow human being in misery in the western pseudo-science should be an eye opener for the most money minded corporate hospital honchos
! It is a must read for any aspiring doctor and a cancer specialist. The subtle sarcasm and indictment of the inhuman medical world of today, brought out in such lucid mastery of the English language is for the Gods to enjoy. “A vital book about dying. Awe-inspiring and exquisite. Obligatory reading for the living," wrote Nigella Lawson. "Rattling. Heartbreaking. Beautiful." (Atul Gawande, author of BEING MORTAL).
We keep reading occasionally some bites on cancer vaccines. None of the recent hi-tech vaccines have eradicated any disease; rather they have added more iatrogenic diseases like autism. Vaccines are another industry. No vaccine industry can kill the biggest industry in medicine, which is cancer. If cancer vanishes from this world, the world economy will collapse. So far only small pox was eradicated by low-tech ancient Ayurvedic vaccination method taken to the west after 20 years of prospective controlled studies here in The Bengall, in 1767 by an English physician- scientist, T. Z. Holwell MD, FRCP, FRS. That was authenticated by the King to be made universal vaccination method. Holwell’s original paper could be read even to this day at the library of the Royal College of Physicians of London of which he was a Fellow. The west projecting Edward Jenner as the father of vaccination has been a myth like many others in western medicine. Jenner used cow pox virus which we know to be distinctly different from the small pox virus. I can only sum this up in a beautiful Kannada couplet by the famous writer D. V. Gundappa:

“Athivaidyadim hosarujina edeyaadeetu’
Mithiyim Naveekarana, Mankuthimma.”
(Too much medicine gives rise to new disease; limited medicines might do well.)
Was he not talking of iatrogenesis and adverse drug reactions-the two leading killers in the world today, way back in 1943?

“Cancer can take away all of my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart, and it cannot touch my soul.” -- Jim Valvano

In support of poor girl child

Kalyan Singh Kothari

Even as the success of P.V. Sindhu and Sakshi Mallik in the recently concluded Rio Olympics has underlined the fact that girls are fully capable of bringing laurels home to India. Rajasthan is one of the states grappling with the twin issues of a skewed gender ratio in school enrolment and a high school dropout rate for girls. In an effort to find a solution, the state government has announced a scheme to provide cash benefits to girls who enrol in schools and continue their education.
While the Conditional Cash Transfer Scheme (CCT) is expected to boost the education of girls and bridge the gender gap in the state, the challenge for the government will be to provide meaningful and gainful education to all and ensure that the scheme is not discontinued.
Under the scheme, a girl who enrols in Class I at a government school in 2016-17 will receive Rs 51000 by the time she clears Class XII. While every girl joining Class I will receive Rs 4000, those enrolling in Class VI will get Rs 5000. Girl students who clear Classes X and XII will receive Rs 11000 and Rs 25000, respectively. The scheme, which is being rolled out by the Education Department, will transfer money directly into the accounts of beneficiaries, categorised at four levels.
The financial reward is expected to encourage girls, especially those hailing from poor rural families, to continue their studies till Class XII. It has been decided that to increase enrolment, other ongoing schemes such as distribution of bicycles and scholarships would continue along with the new scheme. It is estimated that about 60000 girls have been enrolled in Class I this year.
The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) has pointed out the decline in the enrolment of girl students in government schools, and that Rajasthan leads the country in the dropout of girls. There is also a distressing gender divide, which has been a challenge for consecutive governments in the state. According to data, out of 10.33 million enrolments reported in 2015-16, girls accounted for only 61 lakh, compared with 72 lakh for boys. This means that for every 100 boys, 84 girls enrolled. This is much below the national average of 94 girls for 100 boys. The state is trying to narrow the gap to at least 90 girls per 100 boys in a few years.
With persisting gender inequalities, the girl child is at a disadvantage and faces discrimination at every stage of her life – sex selection, infanticide, little or no access to education, lack of healthcare and nutrition, and child marriage. The conditions-linked cash transfer scheme attempts to correct such discriminations.
Various states have their own schemes to promote education of the girl child, such as the Ladli Scheme of Delhi, the Bhagyalakshmi Scheme of Karnataka, Balri Rakshak Yojana in Punjab, Girl Child Protection Scheme in Andhra Pradesh, Kunwarbainu Mameru Scheme in Gujarat, Beti Hai Anmol Scheme in Himachal Pradesh and Mukhya Mantri Kanya Suraksha Yojana of Bihar. Though most of the schemes are steps in the right direction, very little is known about their implementation and effectiveness. Introduction of the CCT mechanism is a marked departure from the traditional approaches in social programming. Through provision of financial incentives to poor families, CCTs seek to provide short-term income support and at the same time promote longterm behavioural change. CCTs therefore have the potential to become an effective means of channelising resources to the poor and socially disadvantaged sections, specifically, girls and women.
This is not Rajasthan’s first attempt at CCT. Indeed, it may have been the first state in India to conceptualise and implement a CCT scheme. Launched in 1992, the earlier plan was known as the Rajalakshmi Scheme for Enhancing the Status of the Girl Child. Any couple who had only one or two children and was ready to undergo sterilisation was eligible for the benefits of the scheme. Under it, a sum of Rs 1500 was deposited by the state government in the name of the daughters of such couples. After a 21-year-lock-in period, the amount would grow to Rs 21000. However, the scheme was discontinued in 2000. The failure of the scheme has been attributed to the fact that the government and collaborating financial agencies failed to work out realistic financial commitments. The premature closure caused people to lose faith in the system.
Similarly, state schemes like Haryana’s Apni Beti Apna Dhan (our daughters, our wealth) and Karnataka’s Namma Magalu, Namma Shakti (our daughters, our strength), which generated a lot of interest within and outside their respective boundaries, were terminated due to lack of financial resources. Thousands of parents who pinned their hopes on such schemes were badly let down.
Since the new government took office in Rajasthan, it has been engaged in several educational reforms, including merger of schools, overhauling the staffing pattern, a teachers’ evaluation scheme and comprehensive and continuous evaluation and transfers of teachers. Many programmes sponsored by the Centre in partnership with the state government are being implemented in the education sector.
These include Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) from 2001 for universalisation of primary education, Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGVB), residential primary schools for girls from Schedule Castes/ Schedule Tribes and Muslim communities, the National Programme for Education of Girls at Elementary Level implemented in educationally backward blocks and the Mid-Day Meal Scheme to enhance enrolment, retention and attendance of children in schools apart from improving their nutrition levels.

The financial world’s rotten culture is still a threat- to all of us

Rana Foroohar

Sometimes it takes a group of economists to confirm reality. Last year, a team of German academics released a study on the effects of major financial crises on politics, examining 800 elections over 140 years in 20 advanced economies. They found that after such crises, right-wing populist parties and politicians typically increase their vote share by about 30%. (The same isn’t true in the wake of more mild recessions.) If that sounds familiar, it’s because we are living through a season of the very same: persistent economic malaise since the 2008 crisis–punctuated by scandal after scandal–has laid bare the ways in which elites collude to create a system that mostly benefit elites.
Since 2010, there have been major scandals at banks on nearly every continent for every reason: malfeasance, incompetence, complacency. Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf resigned on Oct. 12 after revelations that his bank faked 2 million accounts in order to charge customers more in fees. Meanwhile, the Panama Papers leak earlier this year confirmed what many already assumed: that world leaders, celebrities and billionaires are adept at shielding their wealth from fair taxation. In the U.S., Republican president elect Donald Trump has even tried to make a virtue of his tax avoidance. No wonder surveys show that the trust gap between the 1% and the 99% has never been greater.
In all of these cases, elites enabled by a fundamentally flawed global finance culture fly over the nation-state system. That voters in countries around the world want to punish leaders at the polls for all of this isn’t surprising. But the effects on civil society are more corrosive than one election return. If nothing changes, the building blocks of developed countries are at risk.
Take the trouble at Deutsche Bank, which recently saw its share price plunge after the threat of a $14 billion fine for dicey derivatives trades. The case is a reminder of how Europe managed its debt crisis in the interest of banks, rather than citizens. German banks were encouraged by the government, which is entangled with the financial system in a way that makes the Wall Street–Washington conniving look puritanical by comparison, to lend to weak governments and companies all over Europe before 2008. As in the U.S. when things went bad, banks got bailed out and taxpayers took the hit. “Sick banks, some still owned by governments, are all over Europe,” says Stanford professor Anat Admati, co-author of The Bankers’ New Clothes: What’s Wrong With Banking and What to Do About It. “They refuse to let them die but rather do backdoor bailouts [claiming they are in the interest of preserving E.U. unity, rather than bank solvency] that perpetuate the situation.”
Cases like this foster the message that institutions and rich individuals can float above the system–and that has serious ramifications. Italy, for example, has the largest “unofficial economy” (read: level of tax evasion) in Europe. Studies show that the black market in Italy makes up around 27% of the nation’s total economy. Greece, Spain and Portugal aren’t far behind. Citizens of countries like these tend to lose faith in the system and stop doing their civic duty, like paying taxes, filing for business permits, obeying the rule of law in general. This only widens the gap between haves and have-nots.
In this sense, Trump may be a canary in the coal mine for the U.S. This election cycle has brought the public-approval rating of government to new lows. The Republican nominee has gone from obscuring how little he pays in tax to arguing that it qualifies him to fix the system. (When you look at the way in which Trump avoided paying taxes, you see a business model similar to Deutsche’s: loads of tax-code-incentivized debt, which can be written off in ways that favor the investor while leaving others on the hook.) If his argument works, it is likely to make things worse, not better.
People will never love paying taxes. But when they stop trusting the system altogether, the foundations of a country begin to crumble.
Source: TIME


Panchakarma helps in heart disease

One week of Panchakarma programme - an Ayurvedicbased well being programme that features a vegetarian diet, meditation, yoga and massages -- can lead to measurable decreases in a set of blood-based metabolites associated with inflammation, cholesterol regulation and cardiovascular disease risk, the results of a clinical trial have shown.
"It appears that a one-week Panchakarma programme can significantly alter the metabolic profile of the person undergoing it," said senior author Deepak Chopra, Professor at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and a noted proponent of integrative medicine.
The findings, published in the journal Scientific Reports, represent an attempt to use metabolic biomarkers to assess the reported health benefits of integrative medicine and holistic practices.
"As part of our strategy to create a framework for whole systems biology research, our next step will be to correlate these changes with both gene expression and psychological health," Chopra said.
The research team from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine noted that alternative and integrative medicine practices, such as meditation and Ayurveda, are extremely popular, but their effects on the human microbiome, genome and physiology are not fully understood.
"Our programme of research is dedicated to addressing these gaps in the literature," first author Christine Tara Peterson said.
"Panchakarma refers to a detoxification and rejuvenation protocol involving massage, herbal therapy and other procedures to help strengthen and rejuvenate the body," Peterson pointed out.
The study involved 119 healthy male and female participants between 30 and 80 years of age who stayed at the Chopra Center for Wellbeing in Carlsbad, California.
Slightly more than half were assigned to the Panchakarma intervention and the remainder to a control group.
Blood plasma analyses, using liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry, were taken before and after the six-day testing period.
The researchers found that in the Panchakarma group there was a measurable decrease in 12 specific cell membrane chemicals (phosphatidylcholines) correlating with serum cholesterol and inversely related to Type-2 diabetes risk.
"These phospholipids exert broad effects on pathways related to inflammation and cholesterol metabolism," Peterson explained.
"Plasma and serum levels of the metabolites of phosphatidylcholine are highly predictive of cardiovascular disease risk," Peterson noted.

Lack of awareness in Managing Heart Attack

New Delhi: Around 98 per cent Indians are not trained in basic life-saving technique of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) during sudden cardiac arrest, shows a survey conducted by an online doctor consultation platform.
In India, sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a major cause of death due to cardiovascular diseases (CVD), and shockingly 60 per cent of the people who suffer an SCA succumb to it even before they reach hospital.
The survey conducted in 20 Indian cities among the age group of 25-50 showed that less than two per cent of the 100,000 surveyed agreed to knowing the technique, while only 0.1 per cent said they have performed it at least once on someone in case of an emergency.
Even though people in metropolitan and Tier 1 cities are more proactive about their health, the knowledge of CPR is dismal even among them, with 95 per cent of the people claiming to have no knowledge about administration of the procedure.
“Indians are predisposed to heart conditions and even though cardiac-related conditions are taking a huge toll on human lives in the country, it is very sad that people are not aware about CPR or are trained to perform it,” said Saurabh Arora, founder and CEO of  Lybrate, in a statement.




Anand Teltumbde

Parallel to movements branching off from Hinduism were the arrivals of the foreign traders and invasions that India’s natural abundance attracted throughout its history. The earliest known invaders were the Aryans from Central Asia, who settled and intermixed with the local population of present-day Punjab and influenced the social organization of the entire subcontinent. It is they who are said to have conceived the varnashrama dharma, the doctrine of varna-dictated righteous living, paving the way, in course of time, for the caste system. Later foreign aggressors, the Greek, the Parthians and tribes such as the Sakas and the Kushans, also merged into the local population. Most of them embraced Buddhism, which became an ascendant ideology after the reign of Ashoka, the third-century BCE emperor and Buddhist convert. By the medieval period, however, Buddhism had begun losing ground- with its increasingly abstract philosophical preoccupations, both state patronage and its mass waned, making place for a brahminic counterrevolution. The appearance on the scene of the philosopher, Adi Shankara (788-820 CE), with his regenerative (though seen by some as crypto-Buddhist) reinterpretations of Hindu scripture, nearly completed this trend. The final blow to Buddhism was dealt by the Islamic invaders who considered Buddhist establishments opposed to Islam and completed the destruction resurgent Hinduism had already wreaked upon them. 
The Islamic conquests in the subcontinent took place mainly between the eleventh and seventeenth centuries. Though they had begun in the seventh century, they did not at first make many inroads. Islam, as such, had entered India much earlier, almost during the Prophet’s lifetime, through the Arab traders. With them, and with the later conquerors, came the Sufis, Islam’s mystics, who in India were highly instrumental in the spread of the new faith. With their liberal spirituality and their preference for the company of the poor, they attracted a multitude of shudras and avarnas to Islam. In concrete terms, Islam stood for an escape from caste tyranny, for it opened to the oppressed the realms of learning and metaphysics, from which brahminism excluded them, and offered an alternative framework with which to confront caste. A virtual exodus to Islam resulted with Hinduism losing almost a fifth of its followers. While Islam in India had no reformist intent vis-à-vis Hinduism, its spread in the subcontinent was reflective of a surge of caste resistance, evidenced by the success of its epoch-altering civilizational model. Later, however, as India came under Muslim rule, the privileged-caste elite, enticed perhaps by the prospect of power and pelf, began converting to Islam; they brought with them their notions of hierarchy and, inextricable, caste as well.
Caste structures in medieval India became inflexible and even more oppressive than before, and they entirely governed everyday life. They created extremes of inequality, privilege and disprivilege, but little could be done or said against them as the system was supported by the all-pervasive Hindu religious ideology. It is in this background that the Bhakthi (literally, devotion to god) movement arose in South India between the seventh and twelfth centuries. Essentially a protest against caste oppression and the excessive ritualism of the brahmin priesthood, the Bhakti movement preached universal equality in the eyes of god. If a person expressed genuine love for god, it would manifest in love for his or her fellowmen/women. Bhakti reflected traces of the earlier Buddhist way of life but also held much in common with Sufism, whose teachings were on similar themes. These two streams together created a medieval mysticism that was independent of sectarian or orthodox practice and particularly disavowed caste customs and their tyranny.
Like the earlier shraman tradition, Sufism and the Bhakti movement also remained inwardly oriented and could not much influence caste Hindu society. Even conversion to Islam meant an escape only for the converts, but for those who stayed behind, there was no change. They perhaps faced even more hardship because of Hindu rigidification in response to the challenge from Islam. Although Sufism and the Bhakti movement clearly preached equality on a spiritual plane, and gave rise to a number of both untouchable and brahmin poet-mystics who condemned caste, no specific movement for an egalitarian society arose from their message.

The Impact of British Colonialism
The Indian societal milieu, shaped primarily by family and kinship institutions that conditioned the mind to a religious and caste identity, was greatly impacted by the establishment of British colonialism in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and by its colonial culture and Western liberal ideology. The drastic and rapid changes in polity and administration that came with the integration of India into a single politico-administrative entity, and the consequent consolidation of government through a unified civil service, army, judiciary and so forth, affected the country’s entire pre-colonial social and economic structure. The various judicial and administrative practices the British introduced, being premised on equality before the law, directly undermined the importance of caste. The introduction of a uniform criminal code removed from the purview of the panchayats- village-level caste bodies that functioned as local governments- many matters that used to be adjudicated by them. Similarly, the enactment of laws such as the Widow Remarriage Act of 1856 and the Castes Disabilities Removal Act of 1850 also contributed in varying degrees to the erosion of caste authority.
Colonialism facilitated India’s contact with the Western world, itself in a period of momentous flux in the wake of the French Revolution and the opening of the Industrial Age. Indian intellectuals’ exposure to the radical and liberal ideals of democracy, popular sovereignty and rationalism set in process among a section of them a time of intense critical appraisal of India’s socio-religious practices. This inspired them to launch reform movements against Indian culture’s repressive elements; caste being predominant in the culture, it invariably became their target. Social reform movements like the Brahmo Samaj in Bengal and the Prarthana Samaj in western India advocated the removal of caste distinctions altogether. Religious reform movements like the Arya Samaj and the Ramakrishna Mission also sought to undermine caste in various ways.
While these movements were certainly apologetic about caste, they did not take any stand on its annihilation. With no space for participation from the victims of the system they decried, they could not transcend their elitist agenda in confronting it. The Bengal social reformers challenged the basis of caste oppression but did so primarily to promote national unity. The Arya Samaj and the Ramakrishna Mission sought to modify the caste system but limited this to the national removal of untouchability. It is only when a section from among caste’s victims rose up to challenge their subjection that the real movements against caste were born.

The Beginning of Anti-caste Activism
In addition to creating an enabling environment through its institutional regime, British colonialism made two direct contributions to the emerging anti-caste ethos. It opened opportunities for economic betterment, particularly to the untouchables and it allowed both untouchables and shudras access to modern education. At the beginning of colonial rule, the untouchables, who had the weakest bond with village life, entered the British army in large numbers and took domestic posts in British households. Later, when port cities and other urban centres were established, many of them migrated to these to avail of the employment opportunities there available. The building of colonial infrastructure- railways, ports, roads, warehouses, irrigation canals and factories- created further work prospects, which they additionally leveraged by setting up petty businesses. Thus a section among them could lift itself out of economic hardship and aspire for further upward mobility. Most significantly, modern education, imparted mainly through military and mission schools, resulted in a primarily urban layer of untouchables and shudras that came to realize and resent their continuing exploitation under the caste order and its embargo on their advancement.
The most uncompromising stand against caste is first seen in the later 1800s among the shudras, who had traditionally faced dwija oppression. Their resistance came to be known as the nonbrahmin movement, launched by Jotirao Phule (1827-1890) in the former Bombay province and, in the next century, by Periyar E.V.Ramasamy (1879-1973) in Madras.
Both Phule and Periyar belonged to shudra caste and organized their communities to launch an assault against caste domination in all spheres of social life. While in the beginning their campaigns effectively assimilated the shudras and the untouchables, they could not sustain this unity for long in the face of the caste contradiction between these groups. Unable to accommodate the untouchables’ yearning for emancipation, these organizations ultimately splintered into various factions. Phule’s Satyashodhak Samaj, a religious movement emphasizing humanist ideals, disintegrated after his death in1890 with one coterie merging with the Indian National Congress (INC) and the other ultimately with the communists. Ramasamy’s Dravidar Kazhagam similarly disintegrated by 1949, having been transformed into a ruling-class lobby that ignored the caste question altogether.


Indiscipline among Indian pilots

New Delhi: Pilots coming late for duty as well as falsely reporting sick are likely to face strict enforcement action, with the government proposing stringent regulations in this regard.
The proposal comes against the backdrop of instances where pilots did not adhere to their assigned flight duties.
To deal with such incidents, the civil aviation ministry has proposed new norms under the Aircraft Rules, 1937.
As per the proposal, likely to be finalised by the second week of December, pilots who are found to falsely report illness to escape flight duty and those unwilling to follow the dynamic roster, among others, will be considered as acts against public interests liable for enforcement action.
In a release, the ministry said cases often have come to the notice of DGCA where pilots employed with air transport undertakings do not adhere to their assigned flight duties, at times reporting sick.
“This has a bearing on flight safety and public interest, leading to last-minute flight delays or cancellation, thereby causing inconvenience and harassment to the passengers,” it noted.
Any act on the part of pilots wherein they are found to falsely report illness to escape flight duty, coming late to the aircraft, not undertaking the flight even after reporting for flight duty or unwilling to follow the dynamic roster well within the FDTL would face strict action.
FDTL refers to Flight and Duty Time Limitations.
Such activities “which result in last-minute flight disruptions and may imperil safety of aircraft operations would be treated as an act against public interest and the pilots would be liable for enforcement action against them”, the ministry said.

Files pending hence teachers denied pension

Mumbai: Harshavardhan Singh (60), who retired nearly two years ago, is yet to receive pension since the education department of Municipal corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) is yet to extend the recognition of Gyanodaya Vidya Mandir School, Malad, where he worked for 28 years. “I have been living on the money given by my relatives and friends,” said Singh. Singh has not got his pension after his retirement in April last year.
There are 50 such files for extension of recognition of private-aided schools that have been kept pending with the civic body’s education department office in Bhantewadi, Dadar, since over a year. Retired teachers and non-teaching staff are being denied their pensions because files have been kept pending.
Aided schools need their recognition to be extended every five years so that they can get salary grants and approvals for appointment of new staff from MCGM.
Sources say at least 200 retired persons are affected. Strangely, while the department blames the non-clearance of these files as the reason for not being able to pay their pension, salary is being paid regularly to staff in these schools. The department is being selective in its approach and has denied payment only to retired staff of these schools.
Singh has written to various authorities in the department, but to no avail. “The DMC (Deputy Municipal Commissioner) had forwarded my letter with a remark on it that the matter should be inquired into, but nothing happened,” he said.
Deputy Education Officer Prakash Charhate said there are only about 30 files pending. “Some of them have not satisfied norms as per RTE (Right to Education) Act and had to be held back. They will be cleared soon.”

Killing owls in the name of faith

Agra: Owls are in high demand during tantrik and black magic rituals done on Diwali night. Experts say this is affecting the bird population. An expert associated with the Wildlife SOS in Agra told that countless owls face a cruel fate at the hands of poachers who cater to ignorance and misguided beliefs. Revered in Indian mythology and culture, the owls are reportedly used as sacrificial offerings by some people indulging in tantra and black magic.
The wealthy are said to sacrifice owls to appease Goddess Lakshmi. Though it is difficult to estimate the number of owls that fall victim to superstitions ahead of Diwali, the general feeling among experts is that the number is high. Geeta Seshamani, co-founder of Wildlife SOS, said: “Such blind faith has led to exploitation of this unique wildlife species, threatening their very existence in the wild.”  Hunting and trading of all Indian owl species are banned under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972.  But this does happen, says Kartick Satyanarayan, another co-founder of Wildlife SOS and head of its Anti-Poaching Unit, Forest Watch. Weeks before Diwali, poachers hunt for owls and trap them for sale, earning handsome profits in the gray market. The body parts of owls such as talons, skulls, bones, feathers, meat and even blood are reportedly used for talismans and as ingredients in traditional medicines. A tantrik in Agra, Ram Mohan, said: “Once the owl is sacrificed, people feel that Lakshmi will remain in their homes as the bird is the carrier of the goddess.”

SC Pulls up states: Quota for disabled

New Delhi: The Supreme Court pulled up some states and Union territories (UTs) for not filing the status report with regard to implementation of its verdict and the legal scheme to grant of reservation to differently abled people and asked them to furnish the same within two weeks. "Let the response be filed with two weeks failing which this court will be compelled to direct presence of secretaries of the departments concerned," a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy said and posted the matter for December 1.
The apex court was hearing a plea filed by Justice Sunanda Bhandare Foundation which has sought direction to the Centre and the states to file reports on the status of the implementation of provisions of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.
The court had on August 31 noted that states like Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Odisha, Karnataka, Kerala and Uttarakhand and some others have not filed their status report and had asked them to do the same in two weeks.
At the outset of the hearing, the counsel appearing for the foundation told the bench that states like Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Kerala, Goa, Karnataka, Odisha and UTs like Dadar and Nagar Haveli, Lakshadweep, Daman and Diu are yet to file their response.
Irked over the non-compliance, the bench then said, "Let the secretaries come and explain. We have directed you to file a response to the chart (given by the foundation) and you have not filed it."
While advocates representing many of these states and UTs told the court that they filed it, some of the lawyers said that they would furnish it soon.
The foundation had filed a detailed chart with respect to the steps taken by the states and UTs and what more was required to be done by them in implementation of the verdict and the provisions of the Act to grant three per cent quota in jobs to differently abled persons.
The Persons With Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act provides for separate one per cent reservation for each of the three categories of persons with disabilities -- persons suffering from blindness and low vision, those suffering from hearing disability and those suffering from locomotor disability or cerebral palsy.


1,736 NGOs: No foreign funds

New Delhi: As many as 1,736 NGOs, including Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama, Mata Amritnandmayi Math and Church of South India Diocese of Madras, will no longer be able to receive foreign funds as they have failed to renew their FCRA registration.
The registration of the 1,736 NGOs under Foreign Contribution Regulation Act expired after these organisations failed to submit required documents for renewal of their license by November 8. The NGOs will no longer be able to receive any foreign funds henceforth, a Home Ministry official said.
However, if anyone of them approaches the government with the necessary documents, such application will be considered case-to-case basis, the official said. 
Earlier, the Home Ministry had closed the application for FCRA license renewal in 1,736 cases due to “non-submission of documents or deficient documents or other statutory shortcoming within the stipulated time” of June 30. The NGOs were given time till November 8 for submission of non-complete applications.
In addition, the Centre also denied renewal of FCRA registration to 25 NGOs after they were allegedly found to be involved in anti-national activities. The 25 NGOs’ operations in the country are “contrary” to the provisions of the Foreign Contribution Regulations Act (FCRA) and allegedly anti-national, an official said.
A total of 16,491 applications were received by the Home Ministry for renewal of FCRA registration and out of which 14,730 were granted renewal.

Postal dept sees opportunity in cash rush

Mumbai: The Postal Department seized the opportunity of people thronging to exchange the demonetised currency notes. They began to promote its savings and investment schemes on November 11.
Officials of Maharashtra and Goa circle of the Department of Post have made necessary arrangements to make announcements about the savings and investment schemes to the people, who are coming to exchange the notes.
“The people coming to exchange the currency notes are our potential customers. We want them to invest their money in our different lucrative schemes that we have launched over a period of time,” said Harish Chandra Agrawal, the Chief Post Master General of Maharashtra and Goa circle.
Highlighting the schemes, he said, “People can invest in monthly income scheme (MIS), Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana, time deposit schemes, Public Provident Fund (PPF) and other saving schemes which are giving best returns as compared to other forms of investments.”
“In addition to these, people can also invest their money in recurring deposit (RD) Scheme, Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP), Senior Citizen Saving Scheme, Post Office Savings Bank (POSB),which give good returns,” Agrawal added.
Maharashtra and Goa circle has a network of 61 head post offices, 2,154 sub-post offices and 10,644 Gramin Dak Sewa.
Talking about the people rushing to exchange the notes, another senior officer from the circle said there was no need to panic as they still have at least 50 days left to get the notes changed.
“We are doing every bit to serve the people who want to exchange the notes. It may take some time for the newly-printed notes to reach our various post offices, but we are hopeful that the process would get streamlined very soon,” the official said.

Demonetization impact : Maoist caught 

Ranchi: A man was arrested for trying to deposit Rs 25 lakh cash belonging to a Maoist guerilla in a bank, police said .
Nand Kishore, a petrol pump owner from Bero situated on the outskirts of Ranchi, was arrested. He was carrying the money to deposit it in a bank.
Police intercepted Kishore while he was on his way to the bank. During interrogation, he admitted that the money belonged to banned Maoist organisation People’s Liberation Front of India’s (PLFI) supremo Dinesh Gope. Kishore was to deposit the money in his account in the name of petrol and diesel sale.
After Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes were demonetised on November 8, Maoist guerrillas have been using their contacts to deposit the money.
“We are keeping watch on such transactions. Our networks have been activated to keep close watch on such transactions,” Jharkhand police spokesperson M.S. Bhatia told.

Dentist’s deadly slip

London- In a freak accident, a 29-year-old woman in the UK had to undergo an emergency surgery after a dentist accidentally dropped a 3-cm long pin file into her mouth during root canal treatment following which she started to choke.
Vanessa Snary, a former help desk manager in Bristol, England was under anaesthetic to numb her gums so she did not feel it into her mouth while in the dentist’s chair. She quickly started to choke as the sharp tool slipped down her throat.
Snary said dentist Ester Torrejimeno did not dial 999 and insisted on driving her to hospital.

No junk food in campuses

New Delhi: University Grants Commission (UGC) has asked all central varsities to take steps to ban the availability of junk food on their campuses.
In a letter to all Vice Chancellors, UGC secretary Jaspal S Sandhu said that the HRD ministry has desired to issue instructions against availability and sale of junk food in Higher Educational Institutions. “Banning junk food in colleges would set new standards for healthy food and make the students live better, and learn better and also reduce the obesity levels in young learners, thus preventing life style diseases which have a direct link with excessive weight,” the senior UGC official said in his communiqué.
He said that all central varsities should implement measures to sensitise the students on ill effects of junk food. The UGC letter added that universities can serve as important data sources on student’s health. Information on markers like body mass index (BMI)/percentage of body weight, waist hip ratio, etc can help in creating awareness among students towards their health, the UGC letter said.
It added that orientation programmes for faculty and staff be conducted on health issues. Wellness clusters should be created under the Students Welfare Department where counseling should be done regarding proper nutrition, proper exercise and healthy habits.
These wellness clusters can also provide psychological support to the students to prevent and reduce the incidence of obesity in young students, the letter said. “You are, therefore, requested that you may take necessary actions on the above points in your esteemed university and also circulate the instructions to all the colleges affiliated to your university,” the UGC letter said. There are around 40 central varsities which have hundreds of colleges affiliated to them.

Commissioner tries to clean up- NMMC

Mumbai: A day after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lost 17 seats in Panvel APMC elections, commissioner of Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) Tukaram Mundhe, who has the backing of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnvis, struck yet again. Mundhe suspended two Shiv Sena corporators --Shivram Patil, member of the NMMC standing committee, and his wife Anita, a sitting corporator.
Mundhe had received complaints about their involvement in illegal constructions, after which he had ordered an inquiry. “After getting evidence of their involvement, Mundhe suspended the couple,” said Ankush Chavan, additional civic chief, NMMC. 
Recently, after Mundhe had undertaken a drive to weed out corruption from NMMC, the Sena corporators led a morcha against him. They called for his removal and also passed a No-Confidence motion against Mundhe. Sena had received immense support from the Nationalist Congress Party, which also has won a seat in APMC polls.
The Sena and BJP councilors had welcomed Mundhe’s appointment as NMMC commissioner, because at that time the rumour was he was brought in to clean up the corruption and illegal construction of NCP legislator Ganesh Naik.
Mundhe had received several complaints from general public of the various illegal constructions undertaken by politicians of all parties. Mundhe thereafter went on a clean-up drive, which received support from the citizens, but upset all the councilors and politicians of Navi Mumbai area. 
Shivram Patil in his defense has accused Mudhe of being biased.

Cash Seized but Minister admits

Mumbai: In report that could embarrass the BJP, a senior BJP cabinet minister in Maharashtra admitted to hoarding Rs 91,50,000 in demonetised currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000.
“I had kept thinking it would come in handy during my regular business transactions. But suddenly on November 8, these notes were demonetised. I am ready to face any consequences in this regard,” Minister for Cooperatives Subhash Deshmukh told a private news channel.
The stashed cash in the old currency was seized from a private vehicle owned by Deshmukh-controlled NGO, Lok Mangal Group of Solapur, shocking people at large.
Confirming the seizure, Osmanabad Collector Prashant Narnaware told the media that the money was detected during a routine check of vehicles by a district election flying squad near Umarga town.
The vehicle was impounded and the seized cash promptly deposited in the local district treasury pending investigation.

Om Creations gives life to less fortunate creations of God

Mumbai: Bulti Das is 24. Her Mother works as a domestic help, her father is a cook, and her younger brother takes up jobs that emerge around festivals, like making clay lamps and Ganpati idols.
Ms. Das has recently got a job. She starts her work around 9.00 a.m., when she takes a bus to King George Memorial Infirmary in Mahalaxmi where many non-government organizations have offices and workshops. There, she spends her day making table lamps, wind-chimes paintings, colourful cups bowls, ceramic candle-holders, gift bags and many other things. But Ms. Das lives with Down Syndrome (DS), and is also hearing-and-speech-impaired. The syndrome is a result of a genetic anomaly which can result in mild to moderate intellectual disability. People with the distinct dysmorphic facial features, and may have other birth defects including heart-defects and digestive abnormalities. There is no cure, but there are treatments which can temper the severity of its effects.
No wonder, then, that Ms. Das’ mother is proud and happy. Ms. Das’ job is with Om creations Trust (OCT). She is one of the 57 women who work there. All of them live with DS.
OCT is a social enterprise that aims to “provide employment and a life of dignity to mentally challenged and differently-abled women.” It aims to help them integrate into society’s mainstream, earn an income to sustain themselves.