Diwali… The festival of lights..

Diwali is one of the most lively festivals in India and even the whole world. With so many chirags lighting up the whole place as well as our hearts.. The sound of firecrackers which fill the air.. And the best part.. THE SWEETS!!! I just love this festival.. But when we celebrate a festival it is important to know the significance of it as well as the legend associated with it.

So for all those who like to know more about this wondeful festival just read on…

Lets pledge to drive away the darkness!!
Lets pledge to drive away the darkness!!

India is a land of festivals where you will see at least one major festival each month. Deepavali (or Diwali) which literally means “rows of lamps” is one of the four main festivals of India. Throughout the world all Hindus celebrate Deepavali or Diwali with great pomp and enthusiasm.
The celebration of Diwali lasts six days, beginning on the 12th day of the month of Kartik (as per the North Indian lunar calendar). The day before Diwali, in order to evoke the grace of God, women fast. It is not that God wants you to go hungry or takes pleasure in your suffering – the principle is that you gain only by giving up. That evening, devotees worship Gomata (the cow) and her calf and feed them special food. Women pray for the welfare of the entire family. This holy day is called Vasubaras.
The first official day of Diwali falls on the 13th of Kartik. People set about cleaning houses and shops, and decorating doorsteps and courtyards with rangoli or multi-coloured designs. They purchase gold ornaments, new vessels, clothes, and other such items. Devotees arise early in the morning before sunrise and take oil baths. If possible, they wear new clothes. In the evening, people worship coins representing wealth. Families decorate houses and courtyards with lanterns giving a warm glow to the night. This day of celebration is called Dhantrayodashi or Dhanteras.
The second day is called Naraka Chaturdashi. People take an oil bath in the early morning and then in the night they light lamps and burn firecrackers. People visit their relatives and friends, exchanging love and sweets.
On the third day, people worship Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth. People decorate their houses with lit lamps and lanterns to welcome Lakshmi to their home and hearts. On this day businessmen close old accounts and open new accounts. The earth is lit up by lamps and the skies are coloured by the multi-hued lights of fireworks.
In North India, the Govardhana Puja occurs on the fourth day of Diwali. Devotees in the North build large mounds made of cow dung, symbolising Govardhana – the mountain that Krishna lifted up with his finger to save the villagers of Vrindavan from rain – and decorate and worship them. North Indians observe this day as Annakoot, or the mountain of food.
The fifth day of the festival called Bhaiyya Dooj celebrates unique and fun customs. Every man dines in his sister’s house, and, in return, presents her with gifts. North India calls it Yama Dwitiya. Thousands of brothers and sisters join hands and have a sacred bath in the river Yamuna.

The Legends
Dhanteras
The scriptures mention the divinity called Dhanvantari emerging from the churning of the ocean holding a kalash (pot) filled with Amrit (ambrosia). Due to the fact that Dhanvantari, who revealed the science of Ayurveda to the world, first manifested on this day, all over India, doctors following the Ayurvedic system of medicine organise joyful celebrations during the annual Dhanvantari festival.
Naraka Chaturdashi
There is a legend about a king of Prag-Jyotishpur, named Narakasura. He was a powerful king who misused power to harass his subjects. Sri Krishna destroyed this oppressive asura king on this day. Unjustly imprisoned people celebrated their freedom with friends and family. The citizens celebrated their deliverance from Narkasura’s reign by lighting lamps.
Sri Rama
Deepavali falls on a no-moon day – in fact the darkest day of the year. The illuminations and fireworks, joy and festivities, are to signify the victory of divine forces over the powers of darkness. On Deepavali day, triumphant Sri Rama is said to have returned to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana, the asura king of Lanka.
Goddess Lakshmi Devi
The Puranas say that it was on this day that Goddess Lakshmi, who emerged from the churning of the ocean of milk (Ksheera Sagara), married Lord Vishnu, the repository of all divine qualities.

Govardhana Puja
In order to shelter the gopis and gopas and their cows from the torrential rains sent by Indra, Krishna lifted a hill near Mathura called Govardhana with his finger and sheltered all the people for a period of seven days under it. By then Indra saw Krishna’s greatness and asked him for forgiveness.
Bhaiyya Dooj
The river Yamuna and Yama, the God of Death, were brother and sister. As they grew up they went their different ways. On this day Yama supposedly visited his sister Yamuna, who in her joy at seeing her brother after such a long interlude set up a feast for him. Pleased, Yama granted her a boon. He declared that every man that receives a tilak or vermilion mark on the forehead from his sister and presents her with lovely gifts on this day would attain higher worlds.

The message of Deepavali
The traditional name of India is Bharata and Indians are Bharatias – or ‘those who revel in light’. During the night of Deepavali the myriad little clay lamps (diyas) seem to silently send forth message of Deepavali: “Come, let us remove darkness from the face of the earth.”
The dharma of fire is the same wherever it is: in a poor man’s house, in a rich man’s house, in America, in Antarctica, or in the Himalayas. It gives light and heat. The flame always points upwards. Even if we keep the lamp upside down, the flame will burn upwards. The message is that our mind should be focused on the Atman, the Self wherever we are. The lamps remind us of our dharma to realise our divine nature.
“The Self is pure consicousness which is self-luminous. The cognition of all objects arises from the light of pure Consciousness.” -says Bhrihadaranyaka Upanishad
One lamp can light several others. You can even light another 1000 lamps, and still the flame and the light of the first lamp will remain as it is. By becoming manifold, the light looses nothing. The lights of Deepavali represent Brahman and creation. It conveys the message of the mantra:
“Purnamada Purnamidam Purnaat Purnamudachyate
Purnasya Purnamadaya Purnamevasishyate”

The rows of lamps teach yet another important lesson of unity. The light that shines forth from the Sun, the moon, the stars, and fire is all the same. To see and recognise that one light, the light of consciousness, which is manifesting and pulsating in and through all of creation is the goal of life. Thus, recognising all of creation to be an expression of your true Self, spread the light of love and compassion.
The lights of Deepavali are displayed at the entrance doors, by the walls of houses, in the streets and lanes. This means that the inner spiritual light of the individual must be reflected outside. It should benefit society. Passers-by may thereby be prevented from stumbling on their way to reach their destination.
Feeding empty stomachs, lighting blown-out diyas and bringing light to those whose lives are in darkness is the true spirit of Deepavali. This is true prayer

References : 

http://archives.amritapuri.org/bharat/festival/deepavali.php

Save the World!

We live in a world which is threatened of going into extinction. We are well aware of Global Warming, Green House Effect and the like but we don’t even bother to switch off a light or a fan or to do a timely pollution check-up for our vehicles. Does that mean that we are not afraid to die? No. It means we just don’t care. We know that all these gases will have their effect after maybe a thousand year or so. Our attitude is –“We’ll be dead by then. So who’s bothered about what happens to earth after such a long time! “ Now that’s really going to ruin our planet for sure.

Climate change refers to a statistically significant variation in either the mean state of the climate or in its variability, persisting for an extended period (typically decades or longer). Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external forcings, or to persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use.

Global warming and climate change are consequences of man’s yearning for a cozy and comfortable life. We keep emitting Green house gases from our automobile exhausts, refrigerators, factories and so many other man-made sources. To add insult to injury we’ve cut down forests which have the capability to reduce the effect to a large extent. We’ve always learnt in our Science classes -”The earth will live only as long as the green cover remains.”. Today we are seeing the effect of our careless and inconsiderate actions. The monsoons are late, sea levels are rising, glaciers are slowly melting.. The time is not far away when the nature takes its toll.

It is high time we took corrective measures. It is time for the youth to rise in action. As I mentioned in one of my previous posts being truly Indian can help combat climate change. Indian culture if followed in its true form helps one love nature and live in harmony with it. Preserving clusters of trees in the form of sacred grooves has been part of our culture. Trees, sun, moon and all such elements of nature have been worshipped. We were taught not to harm nature in any form. But amongst our 100 million plus Indian population it is tough to find a true Indian!!

There is a government sponsored program, the IYCN Agents of Change, which aims at sending a delegation from India to take part in the UN Climate Negotiations. Such programs help us express our views and work as a team to combat climate change. The country calls for active participation in programs to save the world. There are various such world-wide programs which work to combat climate change like C3(Combat Climate Change), NCC(National Capital Commission), etc.

Each individual can give his own small contributions. Small drops make up an ocean. We can help in our own simple way.

  • Use automobiles only when necessary. Walking and cycling can be beneficial for our health as well as for the world.
  • Use refrigerators which are eco-friendly.
  • Reduce the use of air-fresheners.
  • Plant trees at least in your backyards.
  • Talk to the youth around you and convince at least 5 people to work towards the reduction of green-house gases.
  • Use electricity efficiently. Do not waste energy.
  • Switch off the refrigerator for a few hours in the evening. The food won’t be spoilt and its one step towards a safe earth.
  • Use unused pages of used books for rough work or calculations.
  • Convince educational institutions about the advantages of Digital Assignments and lab Records. Each year a large amount of trees are cut down to make the paper used for such activities.

Carbon footprinting:

A carbon footprint is “the total set of GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions caused directly and indirectly by an individual, organization, event or product” (UK Carbon Trust 2008). An individual, nation, or organization’s carbon footprint is measured by undertaking a GHG emissions assessment. Once the size of a carbon footprint is known, a strategy can be devised to reduce it.

Carbon offsets, or the mitigation of carbon emissions through the development of alternative projects such as solar or wind energy or reforestation, represent one way of managing a carbon footprint.

The concept and name of the carbon footprint originates from the ecological footprint discussion. The carbon footprint is a subset of the ecological footprint.

We can calculate the individual contribution towards the ruin of our world.

Carbon Footprint Calculator

References:

http://www.iycn.in

http://www.fao.org

India of My Dreams-True India 2020

Being a great fan of Dr.A.P.J. Abdul Kalam I’ve always been inspired by him. I’m one of those lucky ones who had the golden opportunity to meet him in person when I was in 9th grade. I was ignited by his thoughts and views and I thought Vision 2020 was the best action plan we could have for our beloved country- INDIA. But then today while I was writing this post my Dad happened to have a look at what I was up to. He asked me what my vision for India was. I said all the great things that I had read from Dr. Kalam and the Planning Commission Report –India Vision 2020. My dad casually asked me, “Why does India need so many visions when India is so much self-sufficient? Don’t you think it’s our vision to be a super-power or to be a richer nation which is reducing Her power? “These 2 questions triggered my thoughts. So I decided to voice it out through this post.

India, our motherland, has given us a lot to be proud of and we all take pride in being Indians but how many of us would refuse a chance to go to a country like the USA or UK or Australia? We even consider a job or higher education in China, Japan or Singapore as a great achievement. So are we really proud of India? So all these visions are to make us Indians feel proud about our country. I too agree to it but I doubt whether the vision we are working towards will help in making us proud. We will be proud to see people in US and UK queuing up to grab opportunities to work or study in India. We will be proud to see people migrating to India just as we are doing today to their countries. We will be proud to see people copying India and its culture like we are doing their’s. But for all these visions to become a reality we’ll have to search within India. We’ll have to know our own strengths instead of searching for more weaknesses. India has given its contributions in almost fields.

  • In literature –Vedas, Epics and so many more.
  • In medicine- Ayurveda.
  • In Astronomy – Aryabhatta and his contributions.
  • In Education – We’ve had world class universities like Nalanda and Takshahila.

India’s contribution to Science & Technology is so enormous that this post won’t be enough.

A few thoughts:

  • Vegetation: India is blessed with such wonderful climate, landscape and vegetation that we don’t really need to depend on any other country. But for this we should know how to use our resources. Instead of doing so we bring in alien species because of our greed to get more yield. These alien species kill our indigenous trees and plants. So let’s bring our traditional vegetation back to India .
  • Education: In Malayalam we’ve a famous saying- “Vidya Dhanam Sarva Dhanal Pradhanam “(Education is the supreme wealth). But we use this wealth to earn the wealth which we compare with the US Dollars!! When we’ve the wealth of knowledge we should not be worried about monetary benefits. We should learn more about the knowledge we get from our surroundings. We’re so much absorbed in learning what the Westerners have invented that we don’t have time left to learn about the discoveries made in India by our ancestors. It’s a fact that those inventions are beneficial to the west while it could create more curses than boons in our land. Let us learn about our past inventions and give our contributions to our country. Then even the rest of the world will accept us.
  • Culture: India can be proud of a great culture. Respect to elders, Spirituality in depth, humane and family values are all taught to us by this wonderful culture. But we proud Indians are more bothered about copying the western culture. We feel it’s superior. I don’t believe in debating which culture is supreme but in my opinion their culture is suitable for the west while our culture will help in improving the conditions in our country. To help India become the India of our dreams lets learn, understand and practice our Indian Culture.
  • Rivers: Our land is blessed with great rivers like Ganga, Yamuna etc. The Ganges has the unique capability to preserve materials thrown into it without decaying. This is due to the presence of unique bacteria in the river which forms a coating on the substances present in the river. But we’re just interested in ruining this sacred river. We’ve filled the river with sewage, carcasses, industrial wastes and what not to pollute the river! We’ve tried to tame the river for our own benefits. Eventually our mightiest river is on the verge of death! The condition is not different with most of the other rivers in our country. Let’s resolve and work to save our rivers.

Life in India can be bettered only by living it as Indians and not as Americans or Europeans or the Chinese. India is a wonderful land which gives its population everything needed for a good life. But it all depends on how each individual defines a ‘good life’. We are so much interested in acquiring US Dollars that we don’t even bother what is happening to our motherland because of Her children’s greed. The rivers, vegetation, culture, terrain and everything Indian has to be preserved. If we live as Indians we can even contribute to the world by emitting least Greenhouse gases; by contributing to science and technology; by increasing the green cover on earth. The world started looking down upon us when we ceased to be Indian. You’ll all remember that our country was the one which was attacked and conquered by almost all the civilizations of the world. It only shows that India had the capability to attract everyone from around the world so much that the various conquerors were competing to call India its own!! And we fools think our culture and land is inferior! We talk about all sorts of methods to improve our country by 2020. But does improvement mean being like America?? India was never like America when it was so sought after by the whole world. Reaching the moon using American technologies or making missiles or buying foreign fighter planes are not real achievements. Why use a foreign technology when our country has had great Sages who’ve enlightened us with all sorts of discoveries thousands of years before the westerners could even think of such a thing!

Don’t you think we should have a change in the education system? We spend almost all years of our education to study what the westerners have discovered or invented. After all these years of by-hearting we don’t get any time for innovations of our own. We should revive our Indian history. We’ve never learnt the true history of our country in any book we studied. We know only what the westerners told us and we blindly believe that we are inferior! How have we lost the inquisitiveness which our great ancestors had? It was this curiosity which was the driving force which led to so many great discoveries.

India is a great country and our country needs us-Her own children. So my vision 2020 is: MAKE INDIA THE TRUE INDIA. Let’s all work for the achievement of this goal.

JAI HIND!!

Please drop in your comments. J

Kiran Bedi-Unplugged

 

            Dr. Kiran Bedi- one of the most well known women in India.. She has been an inspiration to a large number of Indian women including me. Now the movie about this icon-Yes Madam, Sir- is also being widely recognized throughout the world. She is great personality who had shown signs of her uniqueness from early years of her life.

            She was born on June 9th, 1949 in Amritsar, Punjab and was her father’s favorite among his four daughters. Young Kiran was so unlike other girls. She was bold and strong like a boy. That might be the reason why she was the only girl among 21 participants for a tennis tournament during her college days. She is the only Indian police personal to have won the Magsaysay Award – an achievement in itself. She is the first Indian woman to have joined the Indian Police Service(IPS). She is a wonderful example of an empowered Indian woman. She proved to the world that Indian women are definitely not inferior to the men in any way.

            She showed her determination throughout her life, even in the matter of her marriage. She found a suitable life partner in Brij Bedi who had similar interests, ideals and goals. She was strongly against dowry, an expensive wedding and complicated rituals. She had a very idealistic marriage which did not include any of the above mentioned practices. She leads by example.

            When I was a young girl my mom mentioned Kiran Bedi to me. Then she was famous as an efficient and successful IPS officer. As I grew up I started reading about this magnetic personality more. After Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam she is the one who inspires me a lot. What attracted me the most is her determination and fearless attitude. She made us all proud when she was selected as Police Advisor in UN peacekeeping department. Recently she appeared on television in the programme ‘Aapki Kacheri – Kiran ke Saath’ aired by Star Plus. I was a regular viewer of the show. It was a unique experience to see her discuss domestic conflicts and issues and pronounce her verdict. It is even more inspiring to know about her commitment to the society. Her campaigns against drug abuse and efforts to improve the lives of drug addicts and underprivileged people are few of her contributions to society.

            For her outstanding work, Kiran Bedi has received a number of accolades like:

  • President’s Gallantry Award (1979)
  • Women of the Year Award (1980)
  • Asia Region Award for Drug Prevention and Control (1991)
  • Magsaysay Award for Government Service (1994)
  • Mahila Shiromani Award (1995)
  • Father Machismo Humanitarian Award (1995)
  • Lion of the Year (1995)
  • Joseph Beuys Award (1997)
  • Pride of India (1999)
  • Mother Teresa Memorial National Award for Social Justice (2005)

 

References:

 http://www.kiranbedi.com/kiranbedi1.htm

 http://www.iloveindia.com/indian-heroes/kiran-bedi.html

 http://living.oneindia.in/celebrity/other-celebrities/kiran-bedi.html

Bachna Ae Haseeno!!!!!!

It’s always the same story.. As soon as a lady steps out of her house onto the road to start her hectic day until she steps back into her house in evening she is constantly the victim of the social menace… EVE TEASING!! The Wikipedia defines eve teasing as “a euphemism used in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan for public sexual harassment, street harassment or molestation of women by men, with Eve being a reference to the biblical Eve.

All of us have experienced this so many times in our life. A girl/lady walk from her house to the bus stop and in that short distance she encounter so many groups of guys entertaining her with so many wonderful songs like “Aati kya khandala” or “Kilipenne” or some such popular Hindi, English, Tamil or Malayalam number.. Enduring all this, the lady moves to the bus stop where another gang is waiting with their songs and comments. Someone may even ask her whether she needs company till wherever she is going. Finally after what seems like ages the bus arrives. She struggles hard to get into the bus without having to rub against the bus-cleaner who is intentionally standing in her way. Inside the bus the condition is even worse. She has to tolerate a drunken man who is so happily trying to lean on her. And then when she gets a seat some elderly man might sit next to her and she shrinks herself to the end of the seat in order to avoid his attempts to sit so close to her. Maybe to make things all the more worse she might have to catch an auto to reach her destination after this grueling bus ride. She gets into the auto and the auto driver adjusts the rear view mirror to focus on her. All throughout the journey she tries hard to ignore his suggestive smiles and gestures through the mirror. She reaches her destination, pays the horrible driver taking immense care that he doesn’t get a chance to touch her hand while she does so,, This is how a woman’s day starts!!. So much of torture in public places, streets, buses and so many other places!! Thanks to the Lord who has given woman immense tolerance and patience. Or else I can’t think about what would have happened! This is such a common occurrence that we women consider it as a curse to be born as a girl. The man who eve teases the woman for the pleasure of just a few seconds doesn’t realize (or maybe doesn’t even care) about the amount of torture and pain he and his fellow beings are subjecting the fairer sex to.

Eve teasing has become the deceptively inoffensive name for the offensive sexual harassment that most Indian women have to brave daily. Sometimes I feel that it’s the feeling of helplessness by ladies which encourage men to continue harassing us. But then who has the daring to stand up for her rights? I’ll tell you the mentality of a woman. We try our best to avoid unnecessary problems in our already troublesome life.. We won’t think of confronting a man who is misbehaving with us. Instead we move away from the place or try to save ourselves silently. We feel that if we react to the situation and maybe shout at the man he might follow us with maybe a few more friends and then the situation goes out of our control. It’s the physical superiority of the man which gives him the guts to misbehave with ladies.

This is an incident which I read : This is about eve-teasing death of a girl, due to torture meted out to her in a far off town , away from her home, where she had gone for studying.

That teenage girl by name Muthuselvi, was studying in the XIIth standard. Some youths had photographed her in their cell camera and were black mailing her. It is said that they were threatening to mix some obscene photographs of women, with Muthuselvi’s face and put it in the net. The girl did not realize that the threat was only a hollow one and that it was made only to embarrass and blackmail her and nothing more.

Muthuselvi is just one example. Eve-teasing deaths of innocent girls are happening in every part of our country. It is discomforting that even after the enactment of strict laws, by the governments, the menace is continuing.

What sin had that innocent girl done to lose her life? Before her suicide, the fatherless girl had conveyed to her mother, while at home, in a village, in Tirunelveli District, earlier, about the torture by some youths. Her mother who is an agricultural worker perhaps failed to grab the magnitude of the problem faced by her daughter. She sent back Muthuselvi to the hostel, where she was staying, after consoling her. For the last time of course!

After some days, a dull Muthuselvi, who returned home, hanged herself up!

The youths had done the blackmailing for fun but see the consequence… This is a common happening in our country though only a few cases are reported. There are incidents across the country where the girls how have stood up against eve teasing have been cruelly dealt with. We have read about so many cases where acid has been poured on the girl’s face for reporting incidents to the police etc. There is legislation for the protection of women but if it’s efficient enough the cases of eve teasing would have decreased within so many years. Each time I become the victim of eve teasing in one form or the other I think what could be the best remedy but till date I’ve not been able to find any efficient solution other than ignore the situation. It’s easy for me to say so because I’ve not been victimized to serious eve teasing like the incidents we read in newspapers where even the girl’s life is at risk.

Possible remedies are:

  • Try to avoid situations where you’ve to travel alone during late hours. And if it’s unavoidable try to travel in a reliable auto or through roads which you know well.
  • Wear decent and unrevealing dresses. Actually I heard this being suggested by a man in a public discussion. But shouldn’t men be ashamed to say that they have so less decency that they can’t help commenting or touching a lady who is dressed in a bit revealing manner? But that line was for the men. J. It’s my personal experience that men tend to involve in eve teasing women who are dressed awkwardly than girls in a normal salwar kameez. Not that the decently dressed girls are safe!!
  • If the disturbance of men cross the limit in buses or public places try telling your problem to the women standing near you. If we women are united we can put a stop to such social menaces to a very large extent. But I’ve also had personal experiences where other women have blamed the poor girl instead of supporting her. I’ve also been part of incidents where the young men in the bus have come to the rescue of the girl even when women blamed the girl. Kudos to those good men!
  • Be prepared to call the Police Help line once the situation goes out of control. Have the help line numbers of the police wing which deals with eve teasing stored in your mobile phones and don’t hesitate to use it when needed. (Yes.. It’s true. The police have an eve teasing wing).
  • Sometimes a stare or a loud exclamation also works. Many of the regular eve teasers are cowards. They don’t like to get noticed. It’s the silent endurance of girls which encourages them and the moment we tell them to STOP they move away due to fear of being noticed by others.
  • Be confident and be conscious of your surroundings. Don’t be a day dreamer on streets or other public places. Be conscious but there is no need to have that worried look on your face. You can afford to be confident. Don’t look lost even when you actually are.

These are remedies which I found out from my own personal experiences. We should be aware that there are women groups like ‘Alternative Law Forum’, ‘Blank Noise’, ‘Maraa’, ‘Samvada’ and ‘Vimochana to help women. If the matter is really serious approach them for advice and help. The protection through legislation can only be done by our government. The government should also take interest to keep public places and public transport well lit to avoid giving men the shield of darkness to sexually harass women.

Women are also part of the society and we have the right to lead a life just like men. Even if a woman follows all the suggestions stated above it’s the men who have to be socially enlightened enough to treat women as their fellow beings and not as materials for their enjoyment. So dear men… Be decent!! Just like you would not want your own sister, mother, wife or daughter to be harassed treat all other women decently too… It’s you who can easily put a stop to this menace.

Chicken a La Carte

This article is inspired by a heart rendering short film about the much forgotten part of the society. The video was a short film created by Ferdinand Dimadura. It shows the people who live on the food we waste. This film shows how meaningless is the growth that we boast about, where people have to survive because of the food we carelessly waste .

A few familiar terms..

Hunger:

  • the uneasy or painful sensation caused by want of food; craving appetite. Also the exhausted condition caused by want of food.
  • the want or scarcity of food in a country
  • a strong desire or craving

World hunger refers to the second definition, aggregated to the world level. The related technical term (in this case operationalized in medicine) is malnutrition.

Malnutrition is a general term that indicates a lack of some or all nutritional elements necessary for human health

Countries spend billions of dollars on defence and technology development but all forget about these people. In India still a substantial fraction of population is below the poverty line but the government is not paying attention to this fact and goes on spending money on the secondary things. The main strength of a nation is its citizens and we are the ones who should decide what should be done in our country. The government ruling us was chosen by us. So we have the right to say what we need.

About 25,000 people die every day of hunger or hunger-related causes, according to the United Nations. This is one person every three and a half seconds, as you can see on this display. Unfortunately, it is children who die most often.

Yet there is plenty of food in the world for everyone. The problem is that hungry people are trapped in severe poverty. They lack the money to buy enough food to nourish themselves. Being constantly malnourished, they become weaker and often sick. This makes them increasingly less able to work, which then makes them even poorer and hungrier. This downward spiral often continues until death for them and their families.

Lets have a look at few stunning facts and figures:

  • In the Asian, African and Latin American countries, well over 500 million people are living in what the World Bank has called “absolute poverty”
  • Every year 15 million children die of hunger
  • For the price of one missile, a school full of hungry children could eat lunch every day for 5 years
  • The World Health Organization estimates that one-third of the world is well-fed, one-third is under-fed one-third is starving- Since you’ve entered this site at least 200 people have died of starvation. Over 4 million will die this year.
  • The Indian subcontinent has nearly half the world’s hungry people. Africa and the rest of Asia together have approximately 40%, and the remaining hungry people are found in Latin America and other parts of the world.
  • It is estimated that some 800 million people in the world suffer from hunger and malnutrition, about 100 times as many as those who actually die from it each year.

I guess these facts are enough to make each one of us feel the want to rise in action to eliminate hunger ..

The problem of world hunger, particularly chronic persistent hunger, can be solved – even within our lifetimes. A few ways to solve the sufferings due to hunger are:Distribution of world’s food, World Debt Cancellation, Peace Negotiations(each war renders millions of people poor), Education, Use of Technological Advancements etc…

The amount of grain produced in the world today could provide each person on the planet with the equivalent of two loaves of bread per day. Our current food production could feed 7 billion people – compare that to the 6 billion people who live on the Earth and it seems there shouldn’t be a problem. However, it is evident from the number of deaths and suffering that is evident in the world, that hunger still persists.

The problem lies in the distribution of the world’s food. The majority of food is produced in economically more developed countries such as USA, but those countries that are really in need of their share of the food to solve their hunger problems, cannot afford the high prices that these farmers charge and can get from other richer countries.

The way to solve the problem of distribution is to encourage national governments and state departments to subsidize the purchase of food by less economically developed countries. In this way, the less economically developed countries are able to increase their food supplies, while the farmers are still able to gain competitive prices for their produce.

So next time you waste food please think of the millions of people who are starving. When I was a small kid each time I complained about food my mom used to tell me to think about the people starving in Somalia. I used to feel it very funny then. I thought, ‘ How is Somalia and my food related?’. But today I understand what she was trying to make me realise. I know we all feel annoyed when the amma(distributor) in our college mess hall gives us a huge lecture each time we waste even a small amount of food. But think how merciful God has been to us. We never have to beg or even wait for a meal. Not all are so fortunate.

The video says it all, needless to write anything more. Lets do something to help the world. Lets Live and Let Live..


Lead India Campaign

On the 60th anniversary of free India, The Times Group  launched its new campaign titled “Lead India”. This campaign was in continuation of its previous campaign titled “India Poised” featuring Amitabh Bachchan that was launched in January 2007. However, this time, the nationwide campaign revolved around a talent hunt for a young and dynamic politician.

This was a platform given to all the citizens of India to become an active participant in nation building rather than being just passive recipients of what the politicians gave them. This was the time that one of the largest media group of the world declared that we lack good leaders. The campaign aimed at empowering normal citizens to stop talking about the issue and start doing something about them instead.

Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan along with many famous personalities like industrialists Sunil Mittal, Nandan Nilekani; leading politicians like Sachin Pilot; actors Abhishek Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra all promoted  this first-of-its-kind campaign for the youngsters of this country to make a difference.

My father and I discuss about the happenings in our country very frequently and we often end up blaming the political system and the bureaucracy. I  think its time to shift the gear up and make some changes instead of just thinking about it and dreaming that someone, somewhere will do something about this. The least we can do is to be well informed of our constituency and vote for able leaders. People hesitate to vote b’coz they think everyone is equally corrupt. Some people think that their votes will not count. Let me tell all of them that we aren’t simply called the world largest democracy (4 times the size of USA) and all of ours vote count, make an attempt and see. Regarding this I also think that Jaagore.com is also a very nice initiative taken by our youngsters to tell us how important we are to the nation.

The Lead India ’09 campaign aims at telling us the importance of our vote . We think nothing in India can change but do we even attempt to change it ourselves? According to statistics only a very small portion of our entire huge population cast their vote in elections. A large portion out of this are the poor people whose votes are purchased by political parties. The urban population are least interested in voting. Its high time this changed. The educated poeple should find time to vote. Consider it a small service for our country.. for our society…

As the saying goes “Tum Chalo Toh Hindustan Chale”, lets all help building OUR nation so that we can hold OUR heads up and be proud of it.

JAI HIND!!

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