Tag Archive: change



And so it has begun. You may ask me what has begun and my answer would be everything. We have reached a point in time where an outsider looking at India would be dumbfounded. The last 2 months have been more than eventful. We are living in times of an awakening, and I believe in this awakening. What I am talking about are the changes that are happening all across the country. Let us go over a few of the events that have occurred in the last 2 months. The highlight was the CoalGate scam. We had a scam amounting to 1.86 lakh crores come out in the open, a scam that was headed by none other than our prime minister Mr Manmohan Singh, a scam which made BJP halt government proceedings for over 1 and a half weeks, a scam which caused every Indian to hate its prime minister, a scam which motivated the youth to come forward and take some action. This scam was over the alleged allocation of coal blocks but I am not going to delve on this. After this, came the Granite mining scam, a scam amounting to Rs 16000 crores, and this was in one state (Tamil Nadu). Allegedly this scam was going on since 1984? Makes your blood boil doesn’t it? Imagine this happening in other states?

So now when I look back at the last 2 months, I see a lot of activity but I know this much for sure that never before have we had so much “Truth” being exposed so fast. This must signal something? While Team Anna broke up and decided to go their separate ways I feel India gained out of this move.  As of now we have the perfect conditions in place for a change. We have Arwind Kejriwal who is perfectly capable of forming a party and Anna Hazare who can be the perfect mentor. Is this enough? Well its certainly nowhere close to enough. We are a country with a population of more than 1 billion, and yet we have only two names leading the front? Although the situation is changing and people are waking up from their deep slumber, we need the whole country to wake up and do what is right.
I write to you on the eve of the arrest of Aseem Trivedi. He is a 25 year old Indian Cartoonist who has been arrested on the charge of sedition. Booked under Section 124A of the Indian Constitution, a non bailable warrant has been issued against him. We have people booked on murder get out of jail on bail, we have Sanjay Dutt and Salman Khan who had cases filed against them at some time, but they were never kept locked up in a jail, and here we have a award winning cartoonist spending the night in jail.Moreover if you look at it isn’t Members of Parliament fighting and watching pornography also contempt of democracy and our great constitution? His cartoon of the government portrayed as blood hungry wolves did not go down too well with the “non-existent” well-wishers of the Government.
I strongly urge you to click on the link below and sign the petition against this arrest.
Sign the Petition
Jai Hind

Shail Vani


Corruption is one of the biggest problems plaguing our country right now. Despite numerous attempts to remove corruption from its roots, we stand here at this point in time having failed miserably to tackle the problem of Corruption. Anna Hazare and his team started the Jan Lokpal movement over a year ago and having lost much steam they plan to restart the agitation, but is this enough?

Corruption is a very old science. I refer to corruption as science because there is more to it than just giving bribes and getting your work done for a cost.
Now if you look at the Indian administrative system, the volume that the department has to handle is huge, the incentive that the government workers get in terms of their salary is not huge when you compare it to the private sector. The free houses and utilities they get, they have become used to it and it no longer qualifies as a perk for them. Let us try peeking into the life of a government agent.

The child of a government worker comes to him and says, “Dad in class everyone has a PS, why can’t I have one too?” the father will explain to him saying, “Son, Your Dad does not earn as much as their fathers and I cannot afford it.” It will kill him to say this and deny that worldly pleasure to his son but he will do it once. The next year when his son asks him for a new “Nike” football because his friends believe that only Nike is the good stuff, he will tear a little piece of his heart but buy his boy the expensive football because after all how many times does his son get a good birthday gift? Soon his wife starts coming to him and says that all the other ladies in the government colony use expensive make up and go out shopping, but why is it that we do not have enough money to do all of this? How can he explain to his wife that while the other officers in the colony accept bribes, he has stayed true to his belief and not accepted a single bribe.

Is his belief more important than his family’s happiness? The man is in a dilemma. He consoles himself by saying that he is doing the right thing and it is the best for everybody, but he himself knows the hollowness of these words. Soon he loses the will to fight the battle alone because he is not getting benefits nor is it bringing him any happiness. He goes to the office the next day and starts accepting bribes and soon see’s the happiness return back in his family’s eyes. That is how he justifies his corrupt nature.

If there are x corrupt officials in a government agency, there are 2x non-corrupt officials. But we always have a tendency to look at the corrupt ones and frown saying the whole agency is corrupted, but how do you think that makes the non-corrupt officials feel? Is it possible that our disdain and hatred towards a government agency since the last 20 years because part of it is corrupt, has actually caused the non-corrupt officials to become corrupt?

Let us have a look at the common man, a typical Mussadilal(We will call him Mussadi) if you remember the show “Office Office”:

Mussadi is missing his office today because his son needs a driving license. His son has “threatened” him by saying that since every one of his friends has a driving license; it does not look “cool” if he doesn’t have one. Regretfully he agrees to use one of his personal days at the office and accompany his son. When he arrives at the RTO, he sees a line as big as the line for rations at his village. After waiting for 2 hours he gets the form, filling it up quickly, he and his son rush to the officer to get it verified. This time he finds an even bigger queue disappearing into the room. At this point, his son says “Dad, I need to meet my friends so I am going to go but please stay here and get my work done. Thanks” and leaves. Having no option he stays there in the queue. Just then a man walks up to him and says that why are you standing in the line and doing all this “magajmaari”, just hire an “agent”. He enquires about how much the agent would charge and on finding that it would cost him a whopping 1000 bucks decides he is better of alone. There are 4 different departments to visit in an RTO and it is absolutely necessary to have an agent, otherwise you are not taken seriously. After getting the forms verified and then getting the payment slip done, getting your driving test done is a nightmare as the officer in charge is permanently surrounded by agents. As Mussadi would later come to realize at the cost of time and money that sometimes you just need to give in because unless the complete system is overhauled nothing can be really done.

These are exaggerated events no doubt, but what they are trying to is both sides of the story. Sometimes for a government official he might start the job with the best thoughts but somewhere along on the road, the pressure gets to you. Even for the common man it is a struggle to maintain a living and do the right thing. Sometimes it is just not feasible to stand up and be different because you cannot afford to. In the fight against corruption, we need to understand that it is a way of life for people. It might be easy for you and me to forgo 5 days of work and sit on the government officials head and refuse to pay a bribe, but for someone who needs to work just to maintain his family asking for those 5 days is too much.

I am not trying to justify corruption or in any ways defend it, just trying to say there is something more to the story.

-Shail Vani


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 

Minerva M


Finally something that aptly describes us

We Are Minerva-M

This picture completely describes what Minerva M is trying to do.


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


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


Dear Reader,

I write to you with so many emotions and feelings. I write to you to share my honest thoughts and opinions. I write to declare the values and ideas I firmly believe in. I write to tell you all about my hopes, dreams, aspirations and ambitions. I write to you about our country. I hope my writing makes you think at least, if you do not agree with me. I hope these letters make you reminisce the glorious past that we had. I hope they make you consider the current scenario around us. I hope they make you long for a change. I hope they make you believe that a bright future is possible for us, the nation of a billion. I hope my letters find you well and happy.

There are about 315 million young people aged 10 to 24 years in our India, representing 30 percent of the country’s population and I am proud to be one of them. But I see so many young adults around me, angry with the ineffective system, frustrated because of the helpless feeling, upset because they are discouraged and hence, negative about the possibility of any revolution happening. The news of several scams and scandals, like Commonwealth and Adarsh, are only disheartening and disappointing. The majority of the people do not have a faith in the government or any belief in the power given to them by the constitution of India. What can motivate the youngsters, who are the future of the nation, to take an initiative? The youth of our country is actually bubbling with great enthusiasm, innovative ideas and the burning desire to become an essential part of the change. They want to become top businessmen and entrepreneurs and rule the corporate world . They want to excel and become the champions in all sports. They dream of becoming stars in the world cinema. They wish to write the pieces which will not only spread joy but also help them speak up about the causes they are passionate about. They hope to become global leaders and inspire everyone around the globe to contribute the best to their capacity.

Take an example of Shaybat. This 11 year old learning in the school of an NGO wants to become a doctor, because “They save lives”. And the adorable Ashwini dreams of becoming the next Kalpana Chawla, because “She saw the stars” I am sure there are many Shaybats and Ashwinis around you, determined to do what they love and love what they do. I hope you recognize the potential in them and the importance they hold as the leaders of tomorrow.

Writing these letters has given me an incredible opportunity to connect with you and I am definitely using this platform to speak up about the things which matter. They were right when they told you that the country will change only when we change ourselves. If you are not okay with something, go ahead and make it better. We always have a choice and hence, choose to be the best. By working together, achieving greatness is not impossible. The time to act is now, so tomorrow we can proudly tell our future generations:

´We didn’t start the fire

No we didn’t light it,

But we tried to fight it.´-Billy Joel

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

The Change We Can Make


Whenever man was given a choice, any choice he always put himself above everyone and everything else. Because of this we are in the current state of perpetual mess and chaos. About 250 years ago, we took our first step in this path through the Industrial Revolution. Who know the revolution that started in the UK in the 1750’s would change everyone’s lives in this manner. The growth and progression of industries that was brought about was greatly beneficial to us then but is one of the primary concerns for the environment now. The uninhibited and exponential growth that started then has not slowed down yet.
A lot of us feel that this growth is good, it is important to have these industries. Well growth is good and the industries are helpful too but everything has a cost and the price we are paying to have these polluting factories run is not worth it. Let me first tell you about some statistics, since the 1900’s the 3 P’s: Population, Pollution and production have followed an exponential increase curve, not willing to lose their pace. What has ended up happening is that we are riding on an overinflated balloon which can burst anytime. The production rate of our industries directly depends on the availability of natural resources. Some of the facts that we must know:

1. Some Scientists believe that we have already crossed the point of no return. This means that unless we take extreme actions our environment will be degraded beyond help. Unless in the next couple of years we are able to drastically reduce our polluting habits and our carbon footprint, we are just going to end up creating a toxic earth to live on ( Yeah we are doomed!).
2. All the estimates that say coal reserves are going to last quite some time are wrong! Let me give you an example: It is said that the Indian Coal reserves will last for another 200 years or so, but this estimation was done taking into account a linear growth of population which we haven’t had for the past 150 years. With our current growth rate we will be lucky if it lasts us for another 50 years.
3. Nuclear power is NOT our immediate future. For a nuclear power plant to be set up first land rights, construction rights and clearances need to be obtained. This takes around 3-5 years. The average gestation period for a nuclear power plant is somewhere between 10-12 years. China recently commissioned 4 nuclear power plants and they hope to complete them in 7 years. Imagine how long it would take the rest of the world.
We have made a lifetime worth of mistakes when it comes to the environment. But now is the time to clean up our act. Now is the time to realize what the environment means to us. Now is the time to repay the debt that we owe to Mother Earth and Humanity.

Shail