Tag Archives: thoughts

MOTIVATION – One More New Attempt

                   Rishave Verma

When you do something right and fail, assume that you were wrong!!.

                                                              (Lily Tomlin)

 

January 6, 2014 at 9:31 am

gud morning to all of you…i have some questions in my mind please help me…you all guys are doing suberb job..actually i started my preperation in 2010 but still after 3 attempts i could nt clear prelims….not somewhere in my mind iam in depression…i was guided wrongly by some seniors because of that i wasted my 3 attempts and money too.now ias seems impossible sometimes…iam an average student..please guide me…yes, i learnt that how not to prepare for ias…..what i do now..is it right that it gives a bad impression on interview when you have not cleaed your prelims in 3 attempts…iam obc category….kindly help me…..

What has been written above is not some story but a copy-pasted question asked in the comments section by one of our friends on my article “Inner Strength”. Though I answered it there itself, but I thought it would be nice to share and address it here too.

John was in search of a house as he was new in the town. After several frustrating attempts to get in touch with people who were renting houses, he got the message that he wasn’t searching it the right way. He came back to his hotel room, and relaxed. A new idea struck his mind suddenly and in the evening he hurried towards a nearby beach. He wrote “Need A House For Rent” on a placard and sat on the beach with that placard. After half an hour an old couple approached him and asked “Son, we’ve got a house to rent, and it’s a big one. Will you take it”?

If something we are doing is not working, doing more of it will probably not work any better. If we’re butting our head against a wall again and again, stop. Rest. Breathe. Let go for the moment, and then try a different approach. Whatever we do, we shouldn’t try to swim against the flow of life.

If a door is not opening organically, there’s a good chance we are to go through another door. The moment we perceive struggle, we should halt and reassess our strategy.  If we commit ourselves to success by way of ease, we will open doors we never could have opened by trying to kick them. True power is gentle, not forceful.

Whenever, we are stuck, watch for alternatives. Watch for signs and hints to crosscheck if we are on the right path, or we are looking for our good in the wrong place. Dare God to bless us without pain and our spirit will answer us with firmer ways.

 

Today’s Prayer:

“Help me to take the right path, for I don’t have to keep fighting for my good.”

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Dealing With Failures

Practice makes man perfect. No. Wrong. I believe, failures make a man more perfect – provided he learns from his failures.

Failureis actually a state of mind, a perception, or a thought process. Basically it is an event – and this event can be thought of as a success or failure based on its effect on one’s life. One’s failure can be others’ success and vice versa.

We often hear from achievers that they built their success on failures. But, that success comes only when a person who thinks himself as a failure faces his failure head-on.

Don’t deny the failure. Accept it wholeheartedly. Admitting a mistake doesn’t hurt ego, it hurts future success.

how to overcome failure, dealing with failures, failure, failure in life, how to face failures

Unless one leaves behind the thoughts of his failure, they cannot move forward, because thoughts about failure are a burden on their mind, and with that burden it is difficult to focus on the future.

As I said earlier, failure is basically a perception. If one perceives an event as a failure –  which may be  seducing a girl, cracking an exam, getting a job, making a friend or making a loss in business – these events start appearing bigger than the life. There will always be an alternative to these events, and one must train their mind to see this alternative.

Most of us try to convince ourselves that the failure is the nail in the coffin and we stop staring at the light at the end of the tunnel.

Failing is not the end, but an opening to other alternatives. If one remembers Al Gore, the Vice President of USA during Bill Clinton’s Presidency; he contested in the 2000 Presidential election against George W. Bush and lost the race narrowly.

Everyone  thought he would win the race that year hands down, but he did not.

Later he championed the cause of climate change; he produced  a stunning documentary on the subject, An Inconvenient Truth , and popularized climate change science.

In 2007 he won Nobel peace prize along with IPCC – and that is how we remember his name today. He is just one example.

History is full of men and women who built their empires on the foundation of failures.

failure, failure to success, how to overcome failure, overcoming failure,  dealing with failure, how to deal with failures in life

I made it up!

Al Gore did not slip into depression after losing the Presidential race in 2000. Instead he built his career on his failure.

Most of the times we let an event which we perceive as failure, to depress us, to make us sad. The ultimate goal of an individual is to attain happiness and peace of mind. If anything comes in the way of these pursuits, that thing should be shunned away, rejected outright and banished from the mind itself.

Instead of thinking about failure which snatches happiness away from you, it is better to look at the other windows of opportunity that have opened for you. Looking at the closed window will darken your mind, makes you blind to innumerable opportunities  awaiting you.

If one studies history carefully, it is shaped by the personalities who faced many failures before they became successful in their chosen areas. A guy who kicks his failure in the butt and moves on, is the one who becomes successful in future.

Most of the times when we fail at something, we tend to get depressed by the thought of losing something so much desired for so long, or by the very thought of not getting it again; sometimes, it is just the perception that it was the best thing that we lost, or failed to attain – which makes us very sad.

There are other ‘best things’ in life, which we lose sight of, after failing at something.

In fact there is no best thing in life. Because desire has no limits, after getting the best thing, we start looking for another best thing – ironically which existed all along while we were busy pursuing the other initial ‘best thing’.

The world is full of opportunities – so called better things – we just need to open our eyes to them.

To summarize, one must stop thinking about ‘failures’ and start looking at the future. Happiness is the victim when we dwell on our failures. By training our mind to look at other opportunities when we fail at something , we can avoid the sadness that comes with it.

Even success does not guarantee happiness. When we learn to minimize our desires, we find our happiness.

Have you failed at something? Well, start dreaming a new dream, and chase it. Let any failure not block your mind, but let that failure open your mind for other beautiful things in life.

Related Post:

15 Best Motivational Books Of All Time

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The Supreme Court – Convicted Legislators Will Be Disqualified

In a landmark verdict, the Supreme Court today ruled that all the convicted MPs and MLAs in a criminal case will be disqualified from holding their offices from the day of the conviction itself, even if the conviction ruling is from a trial court.

In what ‘political pundits’ might call as a ‘Judicial overreach’ , The Supreme Court held that the Parliament lacked legislative competence to provide immunity to legislators convicted with criminal charges by the courts.

The Parliament had enacted Representation of the People Act, 1951 in which under sub-section 4 of section 8, MPs and MLAs were given immunity from disqualification if they were convicted for certain crimes by a trial or any other court.

This act was enacted based on the constitutional provisions under articles 102(e) and 191(e) which gave power to the Parliament to make such laws to specify grounds for disqualification of an MP and MLA respectively.

The bench of Justices A K Patnaik and S J Mukhopadhaya, discarded the government of India’s argument and upheld the writ petitions filed by Lily Thomas and S.N. Shukla, general secretary of Lok Prahari, an NGO from Lucknow.

copy of the judgement by SC -Disqualification of MP and MLA, supreme court verdict copy in disqualification of criminal MPs and MLAs, supreme court veridict, lok prahari NGO petition in Supreme court landmark verdict disqualifying convicted MPs and MLAs

THE COPY OF THE CUPREME COURT VERDICT

However, the Supreme Court had a word of relief for the sitting MPs and MLAs, who if convicted in the past and now had appealed in the courts, would not be disqualified. The ruling will be effective from today. Any MP or MLA, if convicted tomorrow for a minimum of 2 years or more in a criminal case, he will be disqualified immediately.

From now on, no MP or MLA can contest election from jail, or he can take rescue under the guise of appeals in higher courts.

Presently, India has 1,460 sitting MPs and MLAs with criminal cases against them.

This verdict is a small step in cleansing the dirt in Indian politics. The ball is now in the government’s court. It should not, in any way try to brand this remarkable verdict as ‘judicial overreach’ or conspiracy by the highest court to control the executive.

As the conscience keeper of the nation, the Supreme Court has again come to the rescue of our constitutionfrom its misuse. If governments allow the Election Commission to bring radical reforms in the present electoral system and follow those reforms in letter and spirit, this will go a long way in strengthening the roots of democracy and restoring the trust of the People in the system.

Related:

The Hindu Report

The Hindustan Times Report

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In Egypt, It Is Back To Square One

Egypt was ought to be a role model for other Arab countries - post Arab spring revolutions. After throwing out Hoshni Mubarak, a puppet ruler in the hands of USA, Egypt democratically elected its first leader – Mohammed Morsi, albeit belonging to Muslim Brotherhood, which was antithetical to the secular practices of previous governments.

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Source – The Atlantic

In fact, Muslim Brotherhood which got the majority of votes in the elections held after the Arab Spring revolution, had its birth in Egypt. Brotherhood believed that the Quran and Sunnah should guide the functioning of individuals, families, communities and the state.

This organization which did not hide its anti-secular beliefs won many hearts of Arab youths and managed to form first ever democratic government.

Now after a year of governance, the organization and its poster child – Morsi, have both lost their credibility in the eyes of the same youth. Morse, who initially promised a secular government, slowly tried to infiltrate Muslim Brotherhood’s ideas and functionaries into many institutions of governance.

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Source- Sabbah.biz

This did not go well with the educated youth, who saw their revolution being hijacked and used for political and religious opportunistic purposes.

The Arab Spring revolution was an outburst of anger and despair against despotic governments which deprived these youth of their rightful employments, quality education and opportunities to live a healthy life.

Muslim Brotherhood, in its zeal to impose Sharia, meted the same treatment to these youth as did the despots of the past.

Expectedly the second wave of anger again out-poured on the streets of Cairo when eight young protesters were killed by the Muslim Brotherhood goons this week.

Military which waited for an opportunity to oust Morsi, gave him an ultimatum of 48 hours to resign from the post of President. When he did not, Military ousted him unceremoniously and instated a senior judge in his place promising Egypt quick elections.

In Syria the same Muslim Brotherhood is supported by Western countries in their endeavors of toppling the Assad’s government. In Turkey, the government which thinks it has Army in its control should realize that it is secularism that ultimately wins hearts of the majority.

For now, Arab Spring doesn’t stop to spring surprises now and then. One may argue that democracy is the victim in Egypt, but democracy at the cost of secularism is the weakest form of government to run in the long term.

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15 Most Popular Motivational Books – To Help You Succeed In Both Personal And Professional Life

We keep facing failures no matter how rich or poor we are, or how much motivated or inspired we are.  Failures are good omens that come across our lives to set the course of life on correct path; only if we are willing to learn from our mistakes. To learn from failures, we need motivation to get up and get going.

Here is a list of 15 most popular motivational books of all time to read, enjoy, learn and help get success in life:

1) The Richest Man In Babylon New Edition – George S Clason

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2) Man’s Search For Meaning – Victor E Frankl

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3) Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Super-athletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen – Christopher McDougall

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4) The Power of Positive Thinking – Norman Vincent Peale

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5) Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us Reprint Edition – Daniel H. Pink

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6) As a Man Thinketh – James Allen

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7) Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff … and it’s all small stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things from Taking Over Your Life – Richard Carlson

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8) The Greatest Salesman in the World – Og Mandino

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9) Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny!- Anthony Robbins

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10) Outliers: The Story of Success – Malcolm Gladwell

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11) THINK AND GROW RICH – Napolean Hill

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12) How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie

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13) The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change – Stephen R. Covey

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14) The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom – Miguel Ruiz

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15) The Success Principles : How to Get from Where You are to Where You Want to be – Jack Canfield, Janet Switzer

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Nobel Peace Prize 2012 Awarded To The European Union(EU)

The Nobel Prize committee announced that the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the European Eunion: “for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe”.

This is akin to pat on its own back, and surely a controversial announcement considering European economy in tatters, and its role in Libyan war recently.

According to its press release:

The EU is currently undergoing grave economic difficulties and considerable social unrest. The Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to focus on what it sees as the EU’s most important result: the successful struggle for peace and reconciliation and for democracy and human rights. The stabilizing part played by the EU has helped to transform most of Europe from a continent of war to a continent of peace.

The work of the EU represents “fraternity between nations”, and amounts to a form of the “peace congresses” to which Alfred Nobel refers as criteria for the Peace Prize in his 1895 will.

 

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Praying For Malala Yousafzai – Modern-day Anne Frank

Pakistani Taliban, in an assassination bid,  have lethally wounded Malala Yousafzai – a 14-year-old rights activist who gained international recognition for her stand against Taliban ban on girls’ education in the Swat Valley, in NW Pakistan.

She campaigned through both Pakistani and Western media for allowing girls in the valley to continue education. When she was 11, she kept a diary in Urdu where  she chronicled brutalities of brief Taliban rule in the valley.

She is known for her mature commentaries and views, wise beyond her age.

Taliban took over Swat valley in 2008-09 and imposed Sharia rule which banned girls’ education and even restricted their movement outside their homes provided they covered their whole body and were accompanied by a male relative.

Last year they were flushed out of the valley by the Pakistani army, but militants have maintained their presence through sporadic bombings and targeted killings.

Malala Yousafzai became a ray of hope for girls in the Valley and beyond in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Her courage, impeccable it is considering her open campaign against brutal Taliban regime,  won many hearts and international fame.

BBC and New York Times produced documentaries on her life.

Luckily, Malala has survived the murder attempt on her. But her condition remains critical. Pakistani Taliban has vowed that they would hunt her down if she survives.

This shows that Taliban is a misogynist and sadist organization rather than a political outfit.

Taliban means ‘students’ – of Islam basically. Even their prophet wouldn’t have agreed to their brutal suppression of women’s and human rights.

Pakistani media have condemned the attack vociferously. This is not enough. Condemning is easy, but during calmer times, they have to give more importance to issues such as this than fanning anti-American sentiments.

Malala Yousafzai is a a modern-day Anne Frank – the girl who vividly recorded for posterity the life under Nazi rule in the dungeon during the worst days of Holocaust.

Our prayers are with Malala. If she survives, she should be given full protection and her voice should me made heard across the world.

I am sad that Indian media is not covering this sad episode.

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Is Civil Society In India Urban-Centric?

The use of phrase ‘civil society’ became quite popular during Anna Hazare led movement against corruption. Until then this phrase was non existent in public discourse.

Mainstream media then started assessing the nature of civil society institutions that were involved in this popular agitation. Many branded this movement as middle-class phenomena; urban centric; driven by internet and educated urban youth.

The whole movement led by Anna Hazare was branded as civil society movement. As agitations were limited to urban centres, the perception about civil societies was that of urban-centric and middle-class phenomena.

This perception created by mainstream media is a best example how public opinion can be moulded by TV debates.

Civil society is a group of people who organize themselves to protect common interests and demand certain rights from state whenever necessary. They are basically distinct from the state which wields power and controls almost every sphere of life of a common man.

These civil society groups can be any organization that is managed by common citizens and not funded by the state.

In India, at present civil society reminds us of either Anna Hazare and his erstwhile group, or NGOs headed by Aruna Roy or Medha Patkar. It is because they are frequently visible in the mainstream media.

But there are civil society groups in almost every village in India. If one visits rural area, they can see certain ‘sangh’ (organization) – for example, Ambedkar Youth organization (mostly of Dalits), certain caste affiliated groups, youth sports organizations, or cine/political fan associations. Their sphere of influence is limited to their villages or surrounding villages.

Apart from these regular groups, there are many NGOs working in tribal, backward, desert areas.

There is another argument – that civil society groups should be apolitical. Though most of the times, aim of these civil society groups is to achieve goals that fulfill needs of their own groups, the means adopted to achieve such goals vary. In villages members of above mentioned groups contest local elections and enter local bodies.

Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghatan fielded its candidates in local elections held in Rajasthan. This organization is led by Aruna Roy.

Now, we witnessed how Arvind Kejriwal metamorphosed into a politician from an ardent civil society activist. His contention is that state is very powerful and one needs to enter it to make difference in the society by cleaning politics which controls whole state machinery.

Urban regions in India have innumerable civil society groups. They are vocal because they are informed, educated and aware about state’s activities and machinations.

In India, state is all too powerful for any civil society group to stand against it and force it to do something against its wishes. State can use its institutions to intimidate, spy, control, suppress and demoralize civil society groups that go against its wishes.

Here state can be a democratic or an autocratic regime. This happens more in autocratic states where power is concentrated in few people and who are intolerant of any form of dissent. Democracies also try to control civil society groups when there exists no accountability and is too corrupt.

Urban civil society groups know the means to fight such interventions whereas those located in villages hardly have such means.

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CAG Says His Team’s Findings Are Rational And ‘Undisputable’

It is unfortunate that CAG of India himself has to defend his reports even though no one except politicians doubt their credibility.  Can you imagine Supreme Court Chief Justice publicly defending a judgement by his colleagues or by himself outside the court if there was a criticism directed at that judgement?

Now, Vinod Rai has come out again and said unequivocally that all audit reports by CAG are true and can withstand any minute scrutiny. He has cited past precedences when CAG reports were rebuked but later proved right. Those include reports on Bofors deal in 1980s, disinvestment in 1990s, coffin scam of 2002 and 2G spectrum scam of 2008.

There is no doubt that report on coalgate scam which is now being slowly buried by both Congress and BJP to save their arses will be proved correct in coming days.

Congress has successfully diverted nation’s attention from this mother of all scams by announcing so-called key reforms to keep corporate and foreign friends in good humour and people of this nation in utter misery.

Is any one talking about this ‘coalgate’ scam now? India talks about an issue when media talks about it. There is a dreaded silence on part of electronic media on this scam. God knows why.

Whatever, some minions will go to jail in this case. Sharks will always remain scot-free – either to destroy any evidence against them or to get ready for looting any remaining resources. Unfortunately court is aiding some of them in this cause.

As each day loses its existence, these scams fade from our memory too. After all, why should any one care if someone in Jharkhand loots coal there? – they are not looting our jewelry at home anyway!

 

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Women and Child Development Ministry Invites Comments on the Draft National Policy for Children 2012 (download PDF)

The Ministry of Women and Child Development has drafted the National Policy for Children 2012 and is inviting comments from the general public

The first National Policy on Children was formulated in 1974. The policy described children as a supremely important asset and made the State responsible for providing them equal opportunities for growth and development of all children. The policy primarily focused on health and education of the children.

Download (pdf)

National CHILD policy 2012

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Acceptance Speech by Shri Pranab Mukherjee on his Assumption of office as President of India – Complete Text

Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil,

Shri Hamid Ansari,

Smt. Meira Kumar,

Shri Justice S.H. Kapadia,

Members of Parliament,

Your Excellencies, Friends and fellow citizens,

I am deeply moved by the high honour you have accorded to me. Such honour exalts the occupant of this office, even as it demands that he rises above personal or partisan interests in the service of the national good.

The principal responsibility of this office is to function as the guardian of our Constitution. I will strive, as I said on oath, to preserve, protect and defend our Constitution not just in word but also in spirit. We are all, across the divide of party and region, partners at the altar of our motherland. Our federal Constitution embodies the idea of modern India: it defines not only India but also modernity. A modern nation is built on some basic fundamentals: democracy, or equal rights for every citizen; secularism, or equal freedom to every faith; equality of every region and language; gender equality and, perhaps most important of all, economic equity. For our development to be real the poorest of our land must feel that they are part of the narrative of rising India.

I have seen vast, perhaps unbelievable, changes during the journey that has brought me from the flicker of a lamp in a small Bengal village to the chandeliers of Delhi. I was a boy when Bengal was savaged by a famine that killed millions; the misery and sorrow is still not lost on me. We have achieved much in the field of agriculture, industry and social infrastructure; but that is nothing compared to what India, led by the coming generations, will create in the decades ahead.

Our national mission must continue to be what it was when the generation of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel, Rajendra Prasad, Ambedkar andMaulana Azad offered us a tryst with destiny: to eliminate the curse of poverty, and create such opportunities for the young that they can take our India forward by quantum leaps. There is no humiliation more abusive than hunger. Trickle-down theories do not address the legitimate aspirations of the poor. We must lift those at the bottom so that poverty is erased from the dictionary of modern India.

What has brought us thus far, will take us further ahead. India`s true story is the partnership of the people. Our wealth has been created by farmers and workers, industrialists and service-providers, soldiers and civilians. Our social harmony is the sublime co-existence of temple, mosque, church, gurudwara and synagogue; they are symbols of our unity in diversity.

Peace is the first ingredient of prosperity. History has often been written in the red of blood; but development and progress are the luminous rewards of a peace dividend, not a war trophy. The two halves of the 20th Century tell their own story. Europe, and indeed the world, reinvented itself after the end of the Second World War and the collapse of colonization, leading to the rise of great institutions like the United Nations. Leaders who ordered great armies into the field, and then understood that war was more barbarism than glory, transformed the world by changing its mindset. Gandhiji taught by example, and gave us the supreme strength of non-violence. India`s philosophy is not an abstract in textbooks. It flourishes in the day-to-day life of our people, who value the humane above all else. Violence is external to our nature; when, as human beings, we do err, we exorcise our sins with penitence and accountability.

But the visible rewards of peace have also obscured the fact that the age of war is not over. We are in the midst of a fourth world war; the third was the Cold War, but it was very warm in Asia, Africa and Latin America till it ended in the early 1990s. The war against terrorism is the fourth; and it is a world war because it can raise its evil head anywhere in the world. India has been on the frontlines of this war long before many other recognized its vicious depth or poisonous consequences. I am proud of the valour and conviction and steely determination of our Armed Forces as they have fought this menace on our borders; of our brave police forces as they have met the enemy within; and of our people, who have defeated the terrorist trap by remaining calm in the face of extraordinary provocation. The people of India have been a beacon of maturity through the trauma of whiplash wounds. Those who instigate violence and perpetuate hatred need to understand one truth. Few minutes of peace will achieve far more than many years of war. India is content with itself, and driven by the will to sit on the high table of prosperity. It will not be deflected in its mission by noxious practitioners of terror.

As Indians, we must of course learn from the past; but we must remain focused on the future. In my view, education is the alchemy that can bring India its next golden age. Our oldest scriptures laid the framework of society around the pillars of knowledge; our challenge is to convert knowledge into a democratic force by taking it into every corner of our country. Our motto is unambiguous: All for knowledge, and knowledge for all.

The weight of office sometimes becomes a burden on dreams. The news is not always cheerful. Corruption is an evil that can depress the nation`s mood and sap its progress. We cannot allow our progress to be hijacked by the greed of a few.

I envisage an India where unity of purpose propels the common good; where Centre and State are driven by the single vision of good governance; where every revolution is green; where democracy is not merely the right to vote once in five years but to speak always in the citizen`s interest; where knowledge becomes wisdom; where the young pour their phenomenal energy and talent into the collective cause. As tyranny dwindles across the world; as democracy gets fresh life in regions once considered inhospitable; India becomes the model of modernity.

As Swami Vivekananda in his soaring metaphor said, India will be raised, not with the power of flesh but with the power of the spirit, not with the flag of destruction, but with the flag of peace and love. Bring all the forces of good together. Do not care what be your colour-green, blue or red, but mix all the colours up and produce that intense glow of white, the colour of love. Ours is to work, the results will take care of themselves.

There is no greater reward for a public servant than to be elected the first citizen of our Republic. Jai Hind.”

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Union Cabinet Approves Introduction of the Criminal Law (Amendment ) Bill, 2012 in the Parliament With Provision Of Stringent Punishment For Rape

The Law Commission of India in its 172nd Report on `Review of Rape Laws` as well the National Commission for Women have recommended for stringent punishment for the offence of rape.

Taking this into consideration, government had constituted a high powered committee headed by Union Home Secretary, which  examined the recommendations of Law Commission, NCW and suggestions various quarters on the subject submitted its Report along with the draft Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2011 and recommended to the Government for its enactment.

Today (July 20, 2012), union cabinet approved the bill for introducing it in the Parliament, which if passed would become a law.

This new bill makes rape gender neutral. Instead of the word ‘rape’, a more encompassing phrase ‘sexual assault’ is substituted which includes sexual offence on both men and women.

This ‘gender neutral’ clause has been facing opposition from feminists,  according to whom in India it is women who are predominantly the victims of rape and making it gender neutral will not make this law a deterrent for would be offenders.

It is true that more and more crimes are committed against women with each passing year.

According to to the Union ministry of home affairs’ compendium on crime statistics, compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the incidence of crime against women in India has shot up both numerically and as a proportion of total number of Indian Penal Code (IPC) crimes.

While the number of such crimes shot up to 2,28,650 in 2011 from 2,13,585 in 2010, marking a seven per cent spurt, West Bengal reported the highest number of such cases. (CNN-IBN)

Making it gender neutral enables the act to empower law enforcing agencies to register cases of sexual assault on men too, may be by women (!?), or by men – especially on boys. (boys and girls who are below 16 years of age are one of the worst victims of sexual assault in India – according to many studies it has come to light that people within family, or a known person is the common offender)

Highlights of the Bill

The highlights of the Bill include substituting sections 375, 376, 376A and 376B by replacing the existing sections 375, 376, 376A, 376B, 376C and 376D of the Indian Penal Code,1860, replacing the word `rape’ wherever it occurs by the words `sexual assault`, to make the offence of sexual assault gender neutral, and also widening the scope of the offence sexual assault.

The punishment for sexual assault will be for a minimum of seven years which may extend to imprisonment for life and also fine for aggravated sexual assault, i.e., by a police officer within his jurisdiction or a public servant / manager or person talking advantage of his position of authority etc. The punishment will be rigorous imprisonment which shall not be less than ten years which may extend to life imprisonment and also fine.

The age of consent has been raised from 16 years to 18 years in sexual assault. However, it is proposed that the sexual intercourse by a man with own wife being under sixteen years of age is not sexual assault.

Provision for enhancement of punishment under sections 354 and 509 of IPC and insertion of sections 326A and 326B in the IPC for making acid attack a specific offence have been made.

More than laws, it is action which is needed. Some police stations refuse to even register FIR, some show lack of interest, some buckle under pressure from influential people derailing the case, some cops even indulge themselves in ‘sexual assaults’, there are officers who blame girls for ‘inviting’ rape, and if not highlighted by media, many rape cases go even unnoticed and unregistered.

Police should be taught during their training to be sensitive and imbibe empathy. It is not tough laws which reduce crimes, but cultivation of civilized attitude by everybody.

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Novartis Case – Its Battle Against Poor Patients

Novartis is a behemoth in pharma industry – its net profit was about $9 billion in 2011. This Swiss multinational pharmaceutical company ranks second in sales in the world. In spite of making hell lot of profit, since 2006 it is fighting a legal battle in Indian courts to stop Indian companies from producing affordable version of one of its drugs.

A final hearing is due on August 22, 2012 by the Supreme Court of India, which would decide the fate of millions of cancer patients worldwide.

BACKGROUND

In 2003, Cipla, Indian pharma company produced generic version of Glivec, (a brand name for imitinib mesylate) which is an anti- cancer drug used for treating chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) which is popularly known as blood cancer. This drug is the invention of Novartis and it costs Rs 1,20,000 per month which has to be taken life long. Whereas, Indian generics of the same product cost Rs 8000 per month – which is affordable for millions of patients.

In 2006, Novartis challenged this in Indian patent’s office. The case was rejected on the basis that generic companies were within their rights as guaranteed by Indian patents act 2005 to manufacture such generic versions.

Subsequently the case was rejected in Chennai High Court and then in Intellectual Property Appellate Board. Novartis moved Supreme Court and the case is scheduled to be heard in late August 2012.

Patent office rejected Novartis’ claim on the basis of section 3(d) of the Indian patents act 2005 – which prohibits ‘evergreening‘ of the drug by original manufacturers.

EVERGREENING AND SECTION 3(d)

Pharma companies resort to a the trick of reintroducing same drugs in new ‘forms’ to keep renewing their patents as there will be a time limit on a patented drug beyond which it can be manufactured by anyone. This method is called as ‘evergreening‘. It is like old wine in new bottle without much change in taste.

To avoid misuse of ‘evergreening’ by the companies, Indian Patents act introduced safeguards in the act in the interest of public health.

According to section 3(d) of Indian Petents Act, 2005:

“the mere discovery of a new form of a substance which does not result in the enhancement of the known efficacy of that substance or the mere discovery of any new property or new use for a known substance or of the mere use of a known process, machine or apparatus unless such known process results in a new product or employs at least one new reactant.

Explanation: For the purposes of this clause, salts, esters, ethers, polymorphs, metabolites, pure form, particle size, isomers, mixtures of isomers, complexes, combinations and other derivatives of known substance shall be considered to be the same substance, unless they differ significantly in properties with regard to efficacy

Section 3(d) requires stringent evidence of proof of significantly enhanced therapeutic efficacy if a company wants to continue holding patent rights for a product. So far Indian courts have not been convinced with the argument of Novartis and are aware of catastrophic consequences of their negative ruling for the patients worldwide.

India is the leader in the manufacturing of life saving generic drugs. Africa and South America import 90% of low cost drugs used for treating AIDS from India.

INDIAN PATENTS ACT,2005

This act is an amended version of original Indian Patents Act 1970, which was hailed as most progressive patents act anywhere in the world.

Until 1995 – when India became member of WTO and agreed to abide its rules – India gave patents to only processes of production, unlike for products which is being practiced by West and elsewhere.

This enabled Indian companies to manufacture popular medicines cheaply using new processes.

But after 1995, WTO rules bound India to change its patents act to allow product patent regime.

In accordance with TRIPS (trade related intellectual property rights) agreement of WTO, India amended patents act thrice in 1993, 2002 and 2005.

The 2005 act has safeguards in the form of section 3(d) and compulsory licensing clauses to protect interests of patients.

This amended act has enabled Indian companies to continue to be world leaders in producing affordable generic drugs which have saved millions of lives all around the world.

NOVARTIS MUST NOT WIN THE CASE

If Novartis wins the case, it will be a death knell for millions of patients, especially poor patients in developing and under developed countries which are relying on Indian generics for survival.

pharmaceutical companies like Bayer, GSK, Novartis and many other giant MNCs sell their drugs at exorbitant costs which poor can not afford.

The lives of so many cancer patients rests on the Supreme Court judgement, which we hope upholds the rights of ordinary people for good health.

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‘Soft Power’ China Divides and Tries To Rule Asia pacific

Last week 10 member ASEAN countries’ meet ended in debacle. China orchestrated  it, Cambodia the host and indebted to China, ensured it.

China has become assertive in its claim to superiority in the Asia Pacific region, scaring neighbouring countries and pushing them, quite stupidly towards US pivot.

Resource rich South China Sea has become bone of contention between China and host of countries that use its waters. Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan all have claims in South China Sea; but China claims almost all of the sea, including territory of Taiwan.

Territorial claims in South China Sea – Economist

ASEAN members are known for their unity and have a treaty to help each other and resolve any matters concerning them collectively. But, last week, they failed, first time in 45 years to issue a communique’ at the end of their meeting. It is said that Cambodia which chaired it, and which receives huge amount of aid from China jeopardized it.

Philippines and Vietnam wanted to include in the communique’ their recent skirmishes with China in the South China Sea. But, Cambodia did not agree for this citing that the matter was bilateral and could not be a part of multilateral outcome document.

That is what China is doing – dividing the unity in Asia pacific. It is chosing one at a time to resolve its disputes. It knows well that collective strength of ASEAN is huge.

Unwittingly, this has led to rejigging in geopolitical alignments – Philippines and Vietnam are elevating their relationship with USA to strategic level. Both are fast growing countries, and to meet future energy needs, they are claiming parts of South China Sea that has vaguely defined territorial limits between each nations.

China claims Paracel and Spratly islands which are also claimed by Vietnam. China claims Scarborough islands which Philippines says belongs to its jurisdiction.

According to Law of the Sea treaty of UN, an inhabited territory can claim 200 km of Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) into the sea, and if they are  uninhabited, they can claim only 20 km of ‘territorial waters’.

China says it owns all the islands fully or partially in the South China Sea. That allows it to claim part of this sea until the doorsteps of Malaysia, some 2500kms away from Hong kong.

China has grown greedy over the years. Its increasing economic prowess has enabled it to bribe some nations into its submission, and make it more assertive beyond its conventional territories.

For those who advocate ‘string of pearls’ theory, here is a counter argument. It is actually China which is being surrounded by hostile nations  - from Japan to Vietnam – covering Pacific to Indian Oceans.

If it do not learn to keep its neighbors in good humor, China’s rise as ‘superpower’ will only prove perilous in the long term.

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Drought, Monsoon, and El Nino – Their Mutual Relationship In The Indian Context

Monsoon brings showers and cheers to India. If it fails, it is a disaster both for people and economy. This year all forecasts of good monsoon have been belied and government is preparing to combat drought.

Thankfully we have enough food reserves to meet emergency requirements. Last year India produced record 252 million tonnes of foodgrains. Lot of it will be eaten by rats and left to decay in open spaces of FCI but that is another issue.

Monsoon faithfully arrives at the shores of Kerala every year in the month of June. Its arrival is sometimes disrupted by a phenomena called El Nino which occurs in Eastern Pacific, near the shores of Peru.

Already it is predicted that El Nino will occur this year, and this is a bad news for India and neighbouring countries. El Nino makes Monsoon weak, and kills it.

If Monsoon fails, farmers and policy makers in India will have tough time. But it is farmer who suffers more. Government declares drought, and announces financial packages and relief measures – which we know hardly reaches people.

DROUGHT

Drought is a serious natural hazard that has severe implications for the affected region.

It can be defined as:

a protracted period of deficient precipitation resulting in extensive damage to crops, resulting in loss of yield

In more technical terms it is defined as:

a period of abnormally dry weather sufficiently prolonged for the lack of water to cause serious hydrologic imbalance in the affected area”

Indian Commission on Agriculture(1976) classified droughts into three categories:

1) Meteorological: when there is significant decrease in precipitation from normal over an area (i.e. more than 10%)

2)Agricultural: situation where amount of moisture in the soil no longer meets the needs of a particular crop.

3)Hydrological: it manifests from prolonged meteorological drought results in depletion of surface and ground water supplies.

Indian Meteorological Department declares a year as drought hit when rainfall received is deficient by 20%  or more  of normal rainfall.

Drought affects crop yield, carrying capacity of livestock, water scarcity – especially drinking water. It also results in decreased water table diminishing groundwater and also surface water essential for agriculture and water supply to cities.

Drought has resulted in mass migrations of people and cattle in many parts of the world. Some have resulted in social unrest – fight for food and water.

Effect of deficient rainfall is already evident in India in the power sector. There is decreased power production thanks to empty dams and rivers; also some thermal power stations need water to produce steam, and they are also affected.

The effect of drought is catastrophic to wildlife – as it results in wildfires, and also straying of wild animals into human habitats which end up being killed.

Very recently India suffered from droughts in 2002 and 2009. In 2002, there was 19% rainfall deficiency and 29% of India was hit. In 2009, there was 27% rainfall deficiency and it was one of the worst droughts in three decades.

El Nino

To understand effect of El Nino on Indian Monsoon, we can imagine a situation first: we have Dubai in the west and Mumbai in the east. Both are financial and economic hubs. That is in normal years and in normal times.

Now assume, for our example sake, that Mumbai suddenly warms up – in the financial sector. There is a boom in realty, equity markets, and bollywood.

Meanwhile, Dubai sheikhs are content in investing in their own city. But, Mumbai has become too attractive to neglect. So they divert their investments to Mumbai, bleeding Dubai economy.

Monsoon requires rain bearing clouds and a wind system called trade winds to drive them towards Indian sub continent. In the Eastern Pacific, like Mumbai of our example, a situation arises once in 3-7 years when its temperature increases above normal. This disrupts trade winds and pressure systems of the western Pacific and Indian ocean.

These western winds move toward Eastern pacific carrying with them moisture. And Monsoon bleeds. (thing is high temperature in Eastern Pacific creates low pressure, and winds always move from high to low pressure regions – here, Monsoon winds represent high pressure winds)

This unusual phenomena results in drought in India and copious rainfall off the coast of Peru which is actually a desert.

Scientists are still understanding the complete mechanism of both Monsoon and El Nino. What we know better is their consequences on our economy and people.

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