Category: Writing



We live in strange times. Someone’s plight on the roads seems to be the least of our concern but when someone talks on TV about child marriage, alcohol abuse we seem to get so moved that we cannot stop ourselves from praising the show and spreading the word.
This is no insult to the show, Satyamev Jayate it is just an article that tries to explore whether the show is truly hollow?
The only thing that comes even close to my liking on Satyamev Jayate is that the show is well researched and tries spreading awareness. Aamir Khan tries to bring social problems plaguing the country to the front through primetime television. In this show the audience is “supposedly” enlightened with news that they “supposedly” did not know about.
I find this show pretty crass and vile, here are a few reasons why:
1. 3.5 Crores, that’s a buttload of money. That is the amount of money being paid to Aamir Khan for doing one episode. Hmmm so much for Social Service eh?
2. When I look at the show, it seems really fake. Now I will be talking of only 2-3 topics that have been brought up on this show. Let us take the first topic “female infanticide”. Now I do not know about all of you but I definitely knew of this problem for a long time, there is nothing new that he ever brought to the table. I could see some benefit if he actually stopped someone from doing that or he even went around preaching to villages because well he is a star and who does not like stars? But all he seemed to do was get people and make them talk. Coming to this other topic that I saw, it was on ethnic marriage. Now what basically had happened was that the girl liked the boy and the boy liked the girl, but the girl’s parents did not approve. When both of them ran away and got married they threatened to kill them and the couple has been on the run since. Now this is a great way to bring such social issues to mainstream audience but I was shocked when he asked the girl, “How did you feel when you ran away from home?” How the hell is someone supposed to feel!, it was like he wanted her to cry. That all is also okay but is this questioning really required? My question is what did he achieve after talking about it on television, he showed that the law was there but it was not really effective. My point being that he actually did not really improve the condition of the lives of that couple because the thinking of the parents is unchanged. What I find is that the show appears to be rehearsed and his dialogues scripted, well it is a TV show but there are human emotions that are being dealt with so I personally feel that the approach taken by the show is cheap.
It is easy to point out the bad qualities of anything and I understand that all the Satyamev Jayate lover’s would not like my criticism, but lets just look at a few TV shows that have actually had a much better concept. Remember Kiran Bedi ka insaaf or Sach ka Tarazu? These shows are pretty old and forgotten but they did something that Satyamev Jayate does not. They interacted with the audience on a whole new level and the audience was educated with a judicial standing. In the show Kiran Bedi ka Insaaf at least the judicial standpoint on the view was made clear and each party was allowed to present their case. They were not very great and popular shows but I am sure they definitely affected the life of quite a few.
Another show which I like is Channel V’s Gumraah. Although the show is pretty cliché and slightly overdone, what it is able to do is connect to the audience on a greater level by re-enacting already occurred events. What the show does is that it shows the audience with clever narration all the sides of the story and this tends to leave a stronger impact on the audience’s mind.
So while Satyamev Jayate looks like another hollow show which makes social problems crass, Channel V’s Gumraah has potential as it is already into its second season.

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When I think about all the things that have taken place over the past few months, I would like to say that I have been lucky enough to survive an ordeal many would prefer to wash themselves out with. A tide that consumed everything in its way; brought down hell none compared to my recent rendezvous with chaos – both emotional and physical. But only so, I wish there was a tide; one such that would have brought rain or water in any form and crops- crops to follow; then tomorrow would not have appeared as bleak and drab as they are to me right now. Yes I am one of them, to a third person we are just as obscure and hidden away as the National page News articles but the fact remains – I Am A Poison Bride!

I was born to a well-off family with five siblings and agricultural produce suitable enough to nourish us through every passing day. Tilling, ploughing and weeding were just another part of the day and rural Maharashtra was as scenic as one would picture it to be. Running around the fields, playing hopscotch with my sisters and chasing the cows- my life was a joy ride which I hoped would never end. Education was not something our father thought to be essential because to him someday all of us were to bid a teary farewell and be off to our in-laws’. So while our brothers went to school and burned many a night lamps during their semesters, I just let the cool breeze drift through my hair and feel what not many were lucky enough to be living.
Childhood soon gave way to adolescence and playtime slowly reduced to cooking in the kitchen and sifting through the grain silo.
Friends I played with during my growing up years were getting married and I knew that my time is not far away. For long I dreaded being married to an inhumane, fifty year old man suitable enough to pass off as my grandfather. But call it lucky; better sense prevailed and my parents thought of the contrary. Soon enough they found me a very ‘suitable’ groom. Not the swish city bred kinds but one of our own. A farmer by profession and agriculture for a living. To me it was all just a daze that I was hoping would pass away.
16 years and four months old- that’s how old I was on the day of my wedding. Too young, I know and I would not advise the same to my kids or to anyone for that matter. But nevertheless I tied the knot with a deep sense of fore brooding already whipping up a storm inside me. Marital life was not bliss like how the word of mouth praises had sounded it to be. A rather grueling task of cooking, cleaning and tending to a humongous family’s request lay at my service. And I was expected to comply with the same and adhere to the rules laid down by the family.
Despite my wishes, I was advised against working in a small scale industry and was told to stay at home. Despite the fact that I pointed out that this could come handy as an extra source of income, my offer to work was flatly refused and ignored from the start. So I carried on with my marital ‘bliss’ and stayed aloof from half the world outside my periphery. Even though this was all meant to be the initial adjustments of settling into a household; I did not take in the wrong spirit and no sooner had I managed to fit into the family mould and how bad could it get after all?
Years passed on and I was now a mother to three happy kids who had added more meaning to my life than ever before. Watching them grow before my eyes and spending time trying to make the best of the day for them had gradually made up for any lack or shortcomings that I could complain about. Life to me was just another view of having a peek into the life of my parents’. Get married, earn a living, have kids and work towards a better tomorrow. This is what encompassed an idealistic day for me and that is how it was to be or so I thought.
And then the famine struck!
Initially it started out as the absence of rains far and few. An eager anticipation would eventually build up in everyone’s hearts as the season approached but would die down during the night with rains not gracing the day. But then there came no rains and slowly the water held in reserve started being used up as we were left with no other option. With fast depleting water resources and rains showing no sign of gracing this side of the country, panic began to set in.
After a month or so of no rains, we farmers were on the edge of our nerves knowing not what to do next and with no extension of relief from the government’s side as well. Agriculture was and has been our way of life since as long as I can recall. This sudden occurring threw everything for a toss. Our crops withered away and whatever was left of it, had to be fed to the kids and no one in the market wanted our produce because of its undernourished quality.
Desperate times gave way to desperate decisions and it was then my husband like many other men from the area decided to borrow money from the landlords or the moneylenders. We did not have money to pay back. But in the hope of surviving the today and to live for the tomorrow, we decided to loan out the money. After some investment in seeds, manure, etc. the rest we utilized to keep the family going. The rains were nowhere on the horizon. It was like fate had dealt us with the wrong set of cards and we were playing along like a bunch of dummies.
To a common man a loan of Fifty Thousand may not be a big deal but to us in our present state of affairs it was. Earning 10 rupees was proving to be cumbersome now and surviving through the day – an ordeal.
Then disaster struck!
The government had by now declared the state to be in famine and that help was on its way. But after months of wait and a hill of interests on loans piling
up; people had given up hope. Suicides, as unheard of were now cropping up in conversations around the village and though drastic many thought of it as an
easy way out. The most crushing was when our neighbors with no money to pay off their debts decided to end the family together.
The last we saw of the Sawant’s was their 2 year old kid playing on the front porch. Rat poison they say, but I would not believe it.
How could this be happening? Why us?
Watch out for Part II where the story of the poison bride will be continued
Nimisha Nair


TAPESTRY OF EMOTIONS

We have been blessed with emotions. Fear, hate, happiness, love and a whole lot more besides. Different ones flood into our minds day after day, even hour after hour. Some are intense, some go almost unnoticed but they all enrich our lives, hopefully helping us to be better people and helping to steer us through life’s rich tapestry. That is a nice phrase but what does it mean in practice?
The last week hasn’t been very different from any other week but as I look back I find that in the course of just seven days I have gone through a whole gambit of emotions. I am sure that is true most of the time for all of us; rarely is our passage through life ever without incidents for any length of time. In fact I sometimes marvel at how we come out sane! It helps me to understand why, even without physical work, we can feel really exhausted at the end of a day.
To be honest, when I look back to how many emotions I actually portrayed last week, I get tired just thinking about them. Love, hate, fear, sadness, frustration and helplessness. Sometimes I realize that we are not humans without this bag of emotions. We just become machines that are programmed to think logically at every step of our lives. But then God gifted us with something worth living for, a soul. Come to think of it, we are nothing without it anyway, just as lifeless as a vegetable.
Life is a very rich tapestry of emotions but at the end of it all one can wonder why we have such emotions at all. Wouldn’t it be easier if we were completely logical beings who simply felt and did what was logical and without emotion. Yes, but then we would lack God’s greatest gift to us all – a soul.

RECREATING LOST MAGIC

To me, the magic of life is each breath that you take,
so you can smell the beautiful flowers or enjoy a serene lake.
The magic of life is to enjoy all living creatures big and small,
and to feel a sense of awe to the wonder of it all.
Living the magic of life is to laugh, cry and smile,
and to show love and compassion at all times, not just for awhile.
Sure enough that was the magic what life provided us with. Let me ask you people out there something? Do you see much of this nowadays, without the feeling of greed, hate or contempt in someone’s mind? No one in today’s world can be trusted, says my mother. As a kid, I never really believed it as it seemed too surreal to me. I asked myself, ‘How can mother say that? How can someone survive that way?’ And I always sought for the answer…
I am 15 now; much more mature that what I was when I was 10. Believe it or not, but I am beginning to give a second thought to how much of that ‘magic of life’ is left in this world. I am aware that I am not writing to a bunch of infants so you people sitting there on the other side of this discussion are well aware of what the problems faced by a common man alone are- Corruption, poverty, scams and cheats and along with these problems, come the 7 deadly sins. I don’t see any magic in this kind of a life, do you? But I think to myself, ‘Who is it that can actually do something to recreate that lost magic? It cannot be God because I for a fact have always grown up to think of God as not God but karma.’ Ahh.. The lies in front of me and yet I fail to see it. It us of course!
For all I know and so should you, we are the future. So whatever we do now will reflect in the future of our country and ultimately the world. It may sound like a huge responsibility on such small shoulders but it is not as difficult as I make it sound. All that is required is a little patience and loads of will power and hard work. This, my friends is not a time where you think of showing your country as the best in the world. Rather this is the time when we learn from our forefathers about the beauty and purity of even the air they breathed back then and make history repeat. This is it friends, this is the beginning of the future.

HELLO HAPPINESS

Money, once beyond enough to afford life’s necessities and a sense of control over one’s life, is less predictive of happiness than other marks of happy lives. Especially in poor countries, such as India, being relatively well off does make for greater well-being. We do need food, rest, shelter, and some sense of control over our lives. But that is where we go wrong. Is it just the money or the luxuries or is it more than that.. Isn’t happiness all about peace of mind?
If personal happiness does not enduringly rise with our rising personal affluence, does a rising economic tide lift our collective happiness? Were we unhappy more than a half century ago, when we had so many fewer cars, so much less technology, small homes, and no post-it notes? If you ask your grandparents, for them their life was perfect. For us it all about being dependent of technology. Right from making toast to making chips that can be installed in brains; we have been so dependent on technology that we have forgotten to appreciate the much better things in life.
For someone to be happy they need to know that everything that has happened in their past has happened for a reason and that it has happened in order for them to become a better person. Not only does it make them a better person but it also makes them realize how good they have it or can possibly have it. Although things might be hard to deal with at the moment, people need to realize that they will be able to learn from their experiences and that they will learn to take the good from them all. You can’t live your life in fear of what can go wrong. You just need to go out and live your life to the fullest and know that you’ll be happy, even if something doesn’t go the way that you had planned it to. Happiness may come and go like the seasons but in the end, every moment that you have that is filled with happiness will be well worth the sad or unnerving ones that you have had to endure.


If the sordid news of a student being beaten to death by fellow college mates in itself wasn’t enough. When one hears that it was regionally charged, it makes one wonder about our country as a whole. It’s nothing new that people from the rainbow states of India have felt alienated and this is an understatement. The recent protests on social media as well as on the streets of Delhi , Bangalore, etc. Should at least make us Indians question why does my fellow countryman feel alien in his own country?

Coming back to what may now be seen as the tipping point for our people in the seven-sister states. 19-year-old Loitam Richard, a second-semester student of the Acharya NRV School of Architecture in Bangalore North, was found dead in his hostel bed on the afternoon of April 18. The initial report that Loitam Richard was beaten to death by some senior hostel mates when he changed the television channel while they were watching an IPL match has been refuted by the family members now and this opens up a whole set of new questions, for which there are no answers as yet. However this is besides the point. The fact, the heart breaking cold fact is, the life of a young man, pursuing a degree in Architecture has been snuffed out and that it was not a natural death is clear. He was killed, prima facie. Brutality is written all over the death of the young man and this is what is galling.

Now since this is still a story in progress, we cannot draw too many conclusions. But what is certain is that if this indeed was a “HATE-CRIME” as most people back in one part of our country are taking it as, it is a dark time for our nation. Some people back in the undisputedly most beautiful part of India ,and I am not talking of the land but its beautiful people, argue that they saw this coming.

In 2007 Delhi Police booklet suggesting a code of conduct for students and visitors from the northeast had sparked outrage among people from the region. While a section of the people from the northeast termed the booklet titled “Security Tips for northeast students/ visitors in Delhi”, issued by the west district police, as “helpful”, many had taken strong exception to what they described as its “insensitive” advise. The booklet advised girls from the region to avoid wearing any “revealing dress” and had suggestions about cooking “smelly” food without creating a “ruckus” in the neighborhood. I leave the interpretation of the issue to you but to me even then it had seemed disgusting hailing from Assam myself.

It is time when we should all reflect on ourselves as a society. Before we call the boy/girl next to us with oriental looks as a “chinki”, we should weigh that against the probability that this girl/boy may also be an amazing musician, athlete, orator, dancer and so many other characteristics that should, define him. Are we as a society so shallow? What ever happened to unity in diversity we learned in school?

Growing up I always believed that the chicken neck was only on the map and that it didn’t really matter, but such incidents are indeed making me doubt myself. And I am not the only one.

By Manas Dadheech

(A Minerva M Writer)
Read more articles at: www.minerva-m.com


Dear Reader,

I recently came to know about the incredible work Chhavi Rajawat is doing and wanted to share it with all of you. Chhavi, an MBA, is the sarpanch of the village Soda in rural Rajasthan. This youngest sarpanch of India is an alumni of the Rishi Valley School in Andhra Pradesh, Mayo college girl’s school in Rajasthan and Lady Shri Ram college in Delhi. She was even called to speak at the 11th Info-Poverty World Conference held at the United Nations.

How often do we see highly educated individuals giving up their successful careers in corporate sector for social service? Today when brain drain has become so common that the united nations development programme (UNPD) estimates that India loses $2 billion every year because of the emigration of computer experts to the U.S. Indian students going abroad for their higher education cost India a foreign exchange outflow of $10 billion annually. Imagine the kind of development and progress possible if such vast resources were used effectively in the country; especially the rural areas!

The truth is we need more people like Chhavi Rajawat. Educated, non-corrupt and dedicated. So that kids in all the villages can get quality education and have a chance to shape their future. So that basic facilities like water and sanitation don’t just remain a dream for millions of Indians. So that problems like poverty, unemployment and hunger can be reduced. As Chhavi says in her message to the young Indians, ” Don’t run away from your roots because that is your foundation and the nation’s foundation too. If you want to make a difference, you have got to start at the bottom. There is so much one can do.”

I am inspired. Are you ? 🙂

– Nishiggandha Kerure.
(A Minerva M writer)
Read more articles at www.minerva-m.com 

Are We Alone


Are We Alone?

Are we truly Alone?

“The large-scale homogeneity of the universe makes it very difficult to believe that the structure of the universe is determined by anything as peripheral as some complicated molecular structure on a minor planet orbiting a very average star in the outer suburbs of a fairly typical galaxy.”
– Stephen Hawking

The universe is a pretty big place with about 80 billion galaxies and 10^24 stars. Humans have lived on this earth for millennia’s. We have always thought that are we the supreme beings in this cosmic junction are we the only sentinel beings in such a vast place. If it were only us wouldn’t it be an awful waste of space? I have always, as a child been interested at the enormity of our universe I have always wondered “are we alone?” We are just mere dust fleck in this vast cosmological sea. We are just a pale blue dot, the third rock from the sun lucky enough to sustain life.

We have heard of UFO sightings and of alien abductions all our life and we discard them as hokum or fun. We have all heard of little green men coming in ships to observe or annihilate us.

There have been numerous stories about contacts with extra-terrestrial life forms ranging from aliens abducting cattles to humans themselves. The most famous UFO incident ever dates back to July 8 1947 in place called Roswell, New Mexico. On that uneventful night a huge crash was sounded in the middle of the desert on the next day a huge army encampment was found and the headlines given by Walter Haut an army official read “RAAF captures Flying Saucer”, this led to huge hysteria among people.

At that place where the crash happened a farmer, W.W. “Mack” Brazel lived who saw what had crashed and he diatribe’s them as silvery-purple objects with certain humanoid forms inside. In the next week the army took back its statement saying that there weren’t any flying saucers but it was just a weather balloon.

Well there is another connection to Roswell incident and alien conspiracy theories and it is said that and secret US military base in the middle of the Mohave desert in Las Vegas Nevada called Area 51. It is said that the three alien life forms encountered at Roswell and the debris from the spaceship was taken to this site where it is till date being studied and deciphered. The movie independence day and the TV series 7 days even are based on such dogmas itself. Outside of area 51 a warning states that violent force will be used if anyone tries to enter within the radius of the facility and photography is strictly prohibited. The US Govt. denies that area 51 is even a base of operations.

Stephen Hawking believes that if ever we encounter alien life it won’t be better for humanity. If they travel so far from outer space they won’t go without making contact. Probably a civilization which is so developed to travel hundreds of light years, it could probably have expired its resources and plans to attack earth. It might be possible such an developed civilization can even annihilate us if it found us. For them we must be like vermins infesting a planet full of resources and nature’s bounty.

Some scientist believes that we don’t have to go looking for alien life in the far reaches of the universe; we might find it in our very own solar system. Our own neighbor Mars has shown the prospect of life; it still has frozen water, scientists believe that any number of bacteria or virus can live at the depths of mars craters. Although this life might be primitive but would surely qualify as extraterrestrial contact. Films like Mars Attacks and Andromeda strain to the classic book by HG Well War of the World have depicted as mars having life and its inhabitant’s invading us. Europa one of Jupiter’s moon has a 6 foot of frozen ice layer on its’ surface but inside has flowing water and scientists believe that maybe marine life might exist there and aphotic bioluminescent bacteria might exist there.

SETI search for extra-terrestrial intelligence was started by one scientist Frank Drake in around 1960 where he pointed all his auditory satellites up to look for outer audible signals and thus began an intensive search of space for electromagnetic radiation which are the best source if aliens contact us. Project Orion started by US deals solely with SETI and listening to outer space is heard.

The Wow! signal was a strong narrowband radio signal detected by Dr. Jerry R. Ehman on August 15, 1977, while working on a SETI project at the Big Ear radio telescope of The Ohio State University. Delaware, Ohio.[1]The signal bore expected hallmarks of potential non-terrestrial and non-solar system origin. It lasted for the full 72-second duration that Big Ear observed it, but has not been detected again. The signal has been the subject of significant media attention. Scientists believe that WOW signal was of alien origin probably sent by an intelligent life form. . Only about 15% of the know space is known to us.

There is a famous quote from X – Files which I love that is “The truth is out there” these lines have a profound meaning just as CIA agent Fox Mulder passionately keeps on trying to find clues to extraterrestrial life forms in the same way humanity must itself keep on striving to find our cousins light years far away from here. And maybe then we could answer one of the question that haunts humanity from time immemorial and that “why are we here? And what is our purpose?”

By Ali Akbar
(A Minerva-M Writer)
Read more articles at www.minerva-m.com


Mumbai

Breaking News: New sect of people “Educated yet Uneducated!”

This is a sect of people who went to schools yet are uneducated! These are the people who read the importance of a clean environment still refuse to help clean the city. Not only the people who throw garbage everywhere except the bins, but also the people who don’t help in clean the garbage thrown formed the “Educated yet Uneducated” sect.

Mumbai city is a clear example! My college is 5 minutes from Marine Drive, the most beautiful place in Mumbai (supposedly). Today morning I went there, and guess what I found? GARBAGE! Yes poly bags, wrappers, cigarette packs, liquor bottles, and loads more! I walked around the area to find a patch of clean water but I couldn’t find so!

I see so many I-am-so-well-educated people throwing garbage on the road. The funny part is that it makes the dustbins the cleanest thing on the road! Why do they blame the government officials for the unclean roads? They are the ones you made the city dirty! We blame the government for everything, but do we realise that the number of people that form the ‘Government of Maharashtra’ is far less than the number of people living in Maharashtra! Let us assume we have the laziest of government, but that doesn’t become we should become lazy. We can, at least, throw our own wrappers, poly bags, etc. in the bins if not others.

Now the most common reason for not doing so is because the bin was on the other side of the road or it was a bit away from my destination. Well, then look at it this way, not only you are keeping your ‘Aamchi Mumbai’ clean but also exercising! Yes walking 20 steps extra will help reduce some grams! Also, you might just encourage people around you to do the same. See one habit and so many benefits! You won’t get such an awesome deal ever!

Apart from this the government should enforce the laws properly. People defacing Mumbai or any city for that matter should be penalised in a manner that makes him/her remember the first incident. Give them a harsh memory, either through a huge fine or serious punishment! Also, the existing laws should be enforced in full pace. Here a person throws a chocolate wrapper that very moment he gets penalised!

That is what the government can do. But now a better solution, what we as individuals can do to get the city clean! Make sure you walk the extra 20 steps to throw the garbage in the bins! In Mumbai, we call live in colonies and societies, follow social boycott! You the irritating uncle/aunty, who throws the garbage outside the window, socially boycott him/her. Let them know that what they do is wrong. One thing I love about Mumbai, is the ‘you-did-wrong-stare’ given when someone does anything wrong! Use it when you see someone throwing garbage on the road. Pick it up, throw it in the bin and give the stare! Next time hopefully the person won’t do it again.

Another thing that can be done is to make small kids learn to throw things in the bins. This could be done in two ways, first, every single class room should have a dustbin and regular ‘class/school clean up drives’ should take place. Even in colleges such drives should take place! If you see your employees in the corporate office aren’t cleaning their tables and areas around, you it is time for a clean-up drive! Secondly, the parents should make sure their little ones or grown-ups throw the garbage in the bin

There is a limit till when we can rely on the government and honestly they can’t make the whole city clean, we as individual citizens should take the step to clean our city and eventually our country. Nothing is started at large, it grows slowly and steadily! Take the first few small steps and see it growing big! Let us all get together and give a beauty treatment to our ‘Aamchi Mumbai!’

By Riya Singla
(A Minerva M Writer)
Read more articles at www.minerva-m.com/minerva/article-riya1.html


Politics of India is an unusually complex subject to analyse. What is not very difficult to analyse is what has gone wrong with it. Today, even the average Indian would say that Indian politics is flawed. He would blame it on corruption, criminalization, etc that now characterize politics. In a way, this is a very accurate assessment of the problem. However, I think that this is the result of the problem and not the problem itself. In my opinion the problem begins at the level of political parties.

Modern Indian history of the post-Independence era accounts the formation of most of the present-day regional and national parties. The Indian National Congress was formed in 1885, with the objective of seeking representation for Indians in the British Indian legislative bodies. Of course, the Congress ended up securing freedom for the country later. The Congress party of today, though, is not the same party that won us Independence. Regardless of what most Congress members like to tom-tom about, the current Congress party is not the party of Gandhi, Nehru, Patel and Kripalani. The party used to be a democratic party until 1967, when Indira Gandhi took over. She scrapped all the intra-party elections and placed her own loyalists in key posts. This is not all – she also formed a new party, the Congress (I), in which the ‘I’ stood for ‘Indira.’ Till date, there is no thriving internal democracy in the party.

The other major party, the Bharatiya Janata Party too was formed in the 1980s, as a new avatar of the Jana Sangh that was the major Right wing organization with a pro-Hindu ideology. The Jana Sangh was opposed to giving special treatment to minorities. Many other regional and national parties were born in the last century of which the table below gives a brief idea about why they were formed or what they believed in.

Party Founded in Objective/Belief
Shiv Sena 1966 To represent the aspirations of the Marathi-speaking population of Mumbai
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) 1949 To stand for Tamil pride and fuel secessionist demands for a South Indian Nation
Shiromani Akali Dal 1920 To unite the Sikhs of the Punjab region and to preserve Sikh ideology
Socialist Party 1948 To stand for the Socialist ideology
Communist Party of India 1921 To bring Communist rule in India and to bring reform to the old Indian agrarian system, etc along Communist lines

My point is that all these parties that were formed with an ideology – an objective in mind, are no more about that. No distinction can be made between parties on the basis of the principles, culture or belief of the organization. The truth is that parties have simply become outfits for people who want to be in power.

The BJP used to be a respected party during the Vajpayee-Advani era when the party had a set of beliefs. Unfortunately, they tilted towards a conservative or slightly orthodox approach. At least it was their own belief and they stood for it, come what may! The three Karnataka ministers who were caught watching porn in the Assembly were from the BJP. Had the party still been run on the principles of yore, these Ministers might have been suspended within a day. The same goes for Congress. The dignity of Congress party members during Prime Minister Nehru’s tenure is unmatched so far. Today, if the party leadership had any dignity it would not have allowed someone like P Chidambaram, who has so many allegations of compromising the country’s security (2G scam – spectrum re-sale to Dubai company, Etisalat) against him, to continue as Home Minister.

This is one reason that we see so many defections when an election is around. The belief of a political party is not set to much store as long as it’s giving the defector a ticket to contest. The Congress (or NCP) and the BJP (or Shiv Sena) have such diametrically different beliefs that it is funny to see someone from a saffron party to suddenly join the Congress or vice versa!

Why then are there so many parties? If there is no backbone of principle left for various outfits, wouldn’t it be convenient for them all to merge? Yes, it would. But that’s where the hunger for power in Indian politics continues to result in more and more organizations. The maximum number of divisions in political parties has been over who would become chief minister or who would get to lead the party. Hardly have parties been fractured over a disagreement over policy issues. To conclude, I would say that gone are the days for voters to pick parties. Party loyalties count for nothing as parties stand for nothing today! A wise voter must choose the best candidate, whichever party he may belong to. It doesn’t matter.
Akshay Marathe

(A Minerva M Writer)

You can read more articles at www.minerva-m.com


Dear Reader,

I am really looking forward to it because new year means new resolutions, new dreams, new goals and a new beginning. The upcoming year has a lot to offer. We will have elections for the legislative assemblies of seven states. The 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games will be held in Innsbruck in January 2012. The 2012 Summer Olympic Games are scheduled to take place in London from 27 July to 12 August 2012. The city will also host the 2012 Summer Paralympics Games between 29 August and 9 September 2012. Both French and American presidential elections will happen in 2012; the results of which have an impact on billions of people.

It will be 100th anniversary of the RMS Titanic disaster as well. The ship that took down about 1300 people with her, was indeed the pride of the modern world and the tragedy once again proved that man cannot defeat the force of the nature. They say that the world is going to end in December 2012. As Chuck Palahniuk  said, when did the future switch from being a promise to being a threat? It is time to think about our habits and actions and their consequences; before it is too late.

As a young Indian, I expect few things from 2012 too! I hope that the much-talked about Jan Lokpal bill is passed as soon as possible, thereby helping us fight corruption. I whole-heartedly support Mr. Anna Hazare and have no doubt that the old man’s efforts will pay off. Also, it is high time that Kasab is hanged. The government is only wasting its time and money by protecting him. Punishing him will surely send out the message that we Indians will not tolerate any attack against us.

There is also a need to clear the impeding court cases in India. There were 57225 pending matters as on November 2011 in supreme court only;  no one should have to wait for justice. If things start to change, hopefully it will also help us with the issue of brain drain.

To conclude, I would like to share with you all what Alexandre Dumas had wisely said : ” Live, then, and be happy, beloved children of my heart, and never forget, that until the day God will deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is contained in these two words, ‘Wait and Hope.”  So let the story of your life continue with minds without fear.

By Nishiggandha Kerure.

(A Minerva M Writer)

Read more articles at www.minerva-m.com


To All Indians,

“In India every entity is the Indian Parliament”. These words, spoken by my computer class professor made me think. In India it is not uncommon for people to have an opinion on everything. It does not matter whether you are hearing about a topic for the first time or you are doing your research on it, people act like they are the experts of everything. Well this is not true but you cannot stop people from talking can you? The hottest topic for debates and heated discussions in India is “Politics”. Everyone is interested in what our politicians are doing and everyone is busy cursing the politicians for their corrupt practices. What we fail to see is that this is not the first time a politician was corrupt or this is not the first time when the government has overlooked the general good of the public. Then why is it that everyone is talking about them only now?

The Battle against corruption has been going on since a long time, since the time of License Raj to be more specific. Then why is it that we Indians have never been able to form a dent in this ever-rising steel building of corruption in our country? The answer lays within us my friends; it is the Indian approach to every problem and situation. We have this mentality of “Comfort Zone” since a long time. If a problem does not concern us personally why bother? We can see this everywhere, how many times have we taken an initiative and helped a complete stranger? How many times do we go out of our way to do something for the greater good? I am not asking anyone to be heroes, all I am saying is that it is in our hands to do small stuff that may seem insignificant but plays a huge role when everything adds up. I would like to give you a simple example: Whenever we go out and buy a packet of chips, 2 times out of 10 that packet ends up in the dustbin. Now if everyone were to do this wouldn’t the packets add up? Even if we see that there is a dustbin 100 meters down the road, only a few would go out of their way and throw the packet into the bin.

Throwing trash into the bin is something that has been campaigned for a long time, yet I find myself finding at trash in all the wrong places (gutters, sewers, open land, water). Why is it that the message has not sunk in yet? Let us look at a bigger example, the most talked about person in India today Mr. Anna Hazare. This person achieved fame and recognition almost overnight. Some people call him the ‘Savior of India’ while some call him an ‘Attention Seeker’. To me he is none of those two; he is one of the few Indians who are ready to stand up for what he believes. Something that only a few of us know about Anna Hazare is that this is not the first time he is doing something for the county. Back in the 70’s his village Ralegaon Siddhi was facing severe drought. This one man was responsible for completely turning around the situation of the village. He introduced use of non-conventional energy resources like solar and wind power, installed proper sanitation means and turned a drought stricken Ralegaon Siddhi into India’s model village. Now we had our first modern village 25 years ago and yet it is so difficult to find the use of non-conventional energy sources in the current ‘Big Cities’ of India. The reason for all of this is the “Indian Comfort Zone”.

Just a couple of hours ago I saw this video on YouTube. The Finn Air flight to Delhi on 26th January our republic day was not like ordinary flights. Aboard the plane the Finn Airlines cabin crew stewards, air hostesses were dancing on ‘Om Shanti Om’ doing Bollywood steps wearing Salwar Kameez and extremely enjoying themselves. I could also see some people singing along with the song in Hindi. It made me think that if foreigners can show such interest and pride in our country why can’t we? Our Republic Day Parade is where our glorious army marches and our weapons are shown off to the world, but how many of us actually saw the parade. I did not see it but next year I will because it is time that we Indians become proud of what we have and decide that we need to change for the better. The line from Rang De Basanti is a classic” No Nation is perfect, it is the people who need to make it perfect”. It is high time we stand up and take a stand to correct our countries path. It is high time we stand up and take a stand and prevent selfish politicians to rule our country. It is high time we stand up and get out of our Comfort Zone and make a difference for our country.

Shail Vani

(A Minerva M Writer)

Read more articles at www.minerva-m.com