Essays at Home
SPACE EXPLORATION IN INDIA
Astronomy and mathematics were remarkably developed in
. ancient India, which boasts of great astronomers and math-
ematicians like Varahambira, Bhaskar, Aryabhatt and many more.
Their calculations were accurate and reliable. They knew that the
earth rotated on its aX15nIibund the sun and they predicted eclipses
with accuracy. Their astronomical knowledge was profound and
had far-reaching consequences. The 17th century observatories at
Jaipur and Delhi stand as a testimony to the fact. Zero infinity and
decimal systems of numerals were discovered by the ancient Indian
scientists and mathematicians. The modem space research and
explorations are based on these very foundations.
Although India's space research and explorations are
somewhat belated, yet they are significant. As on date India ranks
sixth after the U.S., Russia, France, Japan and China in the world
and second among the developing countries in the matter of satellite
launching into the lower earth orbit. India's tryst with space
exploration started in 1963, with the launch of Rohini sounding
rockets. India produced the world's most advanced remote sensing
satellite that was put into the orbit, afloat a Russian rocket on
December 28, 1995. The name of this satellite was IRS-IC which
was equipped with panchromatic camera (PAN) to send pictures
of earth with a resolution of 6 meters, the highest available as on
day in the world. India's third indigenous satellite INSAT-2C was
launched from French Guyana by the Ariane rocket. On
March 21, 1996, the PSLV D3 (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle)
successfully launched IRSP-3 (Indian Remote Sensing Satellite)
from Sriharikota. The second Indian remote sensing satellite
IRS-IA was launched in March 1988. It successfully completed
its designed life of 3 years and continued to provide services even
after that. The second satellite in the IRS-series was launched in
the month of August, in 1991, by the name IRS-IB. On October
15, 1994, 870 kg remote sensing satellite vehicle IRSP-2 was
launched from Sriharikota by PSLV-D2.'IRS-IC was launched by
Russian Molinya Vehicle in 1995.
The Indian National Satellite System (INSAT) is a
multipurpose operational satellite system for communication,
meteorological observations and data relay, direct satellite T'V,
broadcasting and radio programme distribution. The INSAT system
was set up in 1983 with the successful commissioning of
INSAT-IB. INSAT-1D, the last in the series of the first generation
INSAT satellites was sent into space by the U.S. Delta Rocket on
June 12,1990. The indigenously built INSAT-2A was launched in
July 1992, on board the European launch vehicle Ariane and was
commissioned in August 1992. The INSAT-2 series of satellites
are more advanced and have one and a half times the capacity of
The Indian space programme started formally in 1972, aims
at providing space based services in areas of communication,
meteorology, resources survey and management, as integral to it,
develop satellites, launch vehicles and associated ground systems.
Space programme and technology in India have made remarkable
,progress. As a result of these, the communication capabilities have
been enhanced, distance education in remote areas, made available
and there is an efficient advance disaster warning search and rescue
system. Similarly, space remote sensing is providing vital inputs
on agriculture, soil, forestry, land and water resources.
The Indian Space and Research Organisation (ISRO) had the
crowing glory of launching GSLV (Geo Synchronous Launch ve-
hicle) which is capable of putting 2,500 kg communication
satellites into geo synchronous transfer orbit. Though the ISRO's
vision for the decade 2000-2010 lays stress on promotion and
development of space technology for applications in socio-
economic development, one of its important plans is to
commercialise the technological capability and space application
potential in the global market in an attempt to harness the benefits
accruing from the national space efforts.
Telecommunication services were introduced in India, soon
after the invention of telegraphy and telephone. First telegra-
phy line was opened in 1851 between Kolkata and Diamond Har-
bour. By 1884, telegraph messages could be sent from Agra to
Kolkata. By the year 1900. telegraph and telephone had started
serving Indian Railways. As in the case of telegraph, telephone
service was also introduced in Kolkata in 1881-82, just six years
after the invention of telephone. First automatic exchange was com-
missioned at Shimla in 1913-14, with the capacity of 700 lines.
At the time of independence, Government of India had I;lO
basic telecommunication system of international standard. In April,
1948 India had only 321 telephone exchanges with 82,000 working
connections. Growth of telecommunication "services gained
momentum only after independence and steadily pushed forward
in the fifty years of independence. On March 31, 1997 there were
22,212 telephone exchanges with equipped capacity of 177.42 lakh
lines and 145.42 lakh direct telephone connections. The remote
areas of country are linked to the network through 209 satellite
earth stations. All the district headquarters now have STD
(Subscribers Trunk Dialling) facility. Till 1997, there were 586
VSATs (Very Small Aperture Terminals) in operation.
Telecommunication Mission also popularly known as
"Mission: Better Communications" was launched in April 1986.
with the sole objective of enhancing subscribers' satisfaction level
by improving the quality of service and increasing accessibility' of
telecom facilities both in the urban and the rural areas in a time
bound way, to give the nation a continuous improving telecom
services in rural, tribal and hilly areas. Besides these, a major
programme of national digital networks was selected with clear
cut objectives and specific targets were fixed.
The Department of Telecommunication (DoT) decided to
franchise value added services to Indian registered companies on
a non-exclusive basis. The following services have been identified
as the value added services: Radio Paging Services, Cellular Mobile
Telephone Services, Electronic Mail, Mobile Radio Trunking
Services, Video-Conferencing, service and Credit Card Authorisa-
tion. The OpT then decided to permit the entry of private operators
in Basic Telephone Services.
The year 1994 saw the adver.t of the Indian Telecommuni-
cation when a National Telecom Policy was set up to boost the
telecom sector, which till then was in a dormant state. This policy
sought to make the telephone connections widely available by
throwing the industry open to the private operators. The policy
report hinted that 600,000-odd villages would have at least one
telephone line installed, the telephones would be available on
demand and that the country's telephone density would climb from
. less than 1 telephone line for 100 people to 2.5 lines by 1997.
However, not much of this could be achieved except that tele-
density rose to 2.1 lines per 100, which again is far below than the
world average of 10 per 100. Except in the metros, the demand of
telephone is not much.
Telecommunication Engineering Centre is a core technology
group under the Telecom Commission, Government of India. It
functions in close co-ordination with all the wings of Telecom
Commission and field units of DoT. Its role and objectives include
standardisation and development of generic requirements or
technical specifications for telecom equipment services . and
products, evaluation of equipment services and products; new
technology study, trials and induction, testing and certification of
the licensed private telecom service networks.
THE INDIAN CONSTITUTION
India is a Union of States and Union Territories. It is a
sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic, with a
parliamentary form of government. The Republic is governed as
per the terms of the Constitution which was adopted by the
Constituent Assembly on November 26, 1949 and came into force
on January 26, 1950. The Indian Constitution closely follows the
British Parliamentary model but differs from it in one important
respect that is, the Constitution is supreme, not the Parliament. So
the Indian courts are vested with the authority to adjudicate on the
constitutionality of any law passed by the Parliament.
The Constitution which envisages the parliamentary form of
government is federal in structure with unitary features. President
of India is the constitutional head of executive of the union. Article
74(1) of the constitution provides that there. shall be Council of
Ministers with the Prime Minister as its head to aid and advise the
President who will exercise his functions and act in accordance
with such advice. The real executive power thus rests with the
Prime Minister. Council of Ministers is collectively responsible
to the Lok Sabha.Similarly in the States, the governor is the head
of the executive, but the real power again rests with the Chief
Minister as the head. Council of Ministers of a state is collectively
responsible to the State Legislative Assembly or the Vidhan Sabha.
The power to amend the Constitution is also vested with the
Parliament. The Constitution also provides for independent
Judiciary, Public Service Commissions, Comptroller and Auditor
General and Chief Election Commissioner.
Indian Constitution, though federal in character, provides only
single citizenship to the people of India. Citizenship rights, ac-
cording to the Citizenship Act, 1955 are acquired a) by birth, i.e.,
born on or after 26th January 1950 b) by descent, i.e. either of
whose parents are born in India, even if the person is born outside
India on or after 26th January, 1950 c) by registration i.e., those
who have been residing in India can acquire it by registering before
the prescribed authority d) by naturalisation i.e., a foreigner can
apply to the Government of India for naturalisation and e) by
incorporation of territory i.e., when new territories become a part
of the country, Government of India will specify the citizenship
of people living there.
Fundamental Rights are granted to citizens under Articles
12 to 35 of the Constitution. They are
1) Right to Equality before law; on the ground of religion,
race, caste, sex or place of birth; employment; abolition
of untouchability and titles.
2) Right to Freedom of speech and expression; assemble
peacefully and without arms; move freely throughout
the territory of India; to reside and settle in any part of
India; to carryon any occupation, trade or business; of
protection of life and personal liberty; of protection
against arrest and detention in certain cases.
3) Right against Exploitation-prohibition of traffic in
human beings and forced labour; prohibition of
employment of children in factories.
4) Right to Freedom of Religion-conscience of free
profession, practice and propagation of religion; manage
religious affairs; payment of taxes for promotion of any
particular religion; attendance at religious instructions
or religious worship in certain educational institutions.
5) Cultural and Educational Rights-protection of interest
of minorities; to establish and administer educational
6) Right to Constitutional Remedies.
The 42nd Amendment Act (1976) has incorporated into
the Constitution a new chapter on Fundamental Duties under
Part IV-A and Article 51-A. The duties for an Indian citizen
a) to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and
institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem.
b) to cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired
our freedom struggle.
c) to uphold the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India.
d) to render national service when called for.
e) to promote harmony and spirit of common brotherhood
amongst all Indians; and renounce practices derogatory
to the dignity of women.
f) to preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture.
g) to protect and improve the natural environment including
forests, lakes and wildlife and to have compassion for
h) [0 develop scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of
enquiry and reform;
i) to safeguard public property and to abjure violence.
j) to strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual
and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises
to higher levels of endeavour and achievements.
Article 36 to 51 of the constitution (Part-IV) lay down 19
objectives. These are the Directive Principles of State Policy that
enjoin the State to undertake within its means, a number of welfare
measures. These measures are intended to assure citizens an ad-
equate means of livelihood, raise the standard of living, improve
public health, provide free and compulsory education to the
children. These are not enforceable by law like Fundamental rights
but are important for governance.
Tourism has emerged as an instrument for employment gen-
eration, poverty alleviation and sustainable human
development. It is the world's fastest growing industry and in India,
tourism has become the second largest net foreign exchange earner
after gem and jewellery and readymade garments. Tourism in India
has grown substantially in the last three decades. For promoting
domestic tourism there are 21 field offices in the country. Similarly
there are 18 overseas tourist offices covering 135 countries which
undertake developmental as well as promotional activities.
The significant feature of the tourism industry is that it
employs a large number of women=-educated, uneducated, skilled
or unskilled, generate employment opportunities, particularly in
remote and backward areas and its contribution to national
integration. Women, in fact outnumber men in hotels, airline
services, travel agencies, handicraft and cultural activities. The
employment multiplier figure in the tourism sector is 2.36, i.e.,
direct employment of one person in tourism creates jobs for 1.36
persons in other sectors of the economy. The 1997 figure shows,
about 2 crore people employed directly or indirectly in this sector.
However, India's share in the world tourism industry is just 0.7
Domestic tourism is increasing appreciably as about 10 crore
Indians travel the length and the breadth of the country annually
to discover and re-discover India. Travel and tourism has received
a big boost and almost all the people associated with tourism are
really doing well. The spread of television and communication net-
works have further encouraged tourism among the people. Rather,
there is much awareness about the importance of different places
in India and people are quite keen to become holidayers. Moreover,
with the advancement of science and technology, the people have
more leisure and spare time which they utilise for sight-seeing and
visiting places of interest. Tourism helps to strengthen the bonds
of national unity and integrity and brings people more close to
each other culturally.
On the other hand, the flow of foreign tourists has not been
quite encouraging. Lack of proper tourism infrastructure and
tourism friendly culture are the main reasons for this slow foreign
inflow. Many international leisure and travel groups have started
their operations in India, but still the burgeoning industry has a
long way to go. However, some states of India are really selling
themselves well and attract a huge foreign tourist inflow-
Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala are few of them. It is an
interesting matter that most of the chief ministers go abroad for
foreign investment in their states, yet none show any interest in
promoting their states as tourist paradise.
To give a major boost to the travel and tourism industry, the.
National Tourism Policy has been evolved. Under this policy, tour-
. ism is brought under the concurrent list, tax structure is rationalised
and guidelines for eco-tourism framed. Train services have to be
made more luxurious and luxury buses should be increased. Indian
hotel and tourism industry has to have more and more partnerships
with reputed international companies and agencies and the serv-
ices should be of international standard. A comprehensive Tourist
Act needs to be implemented so as to make registration mandatory
for travel agents and agencies catering to foreign tourists. India is
a land of rich heritage and culture and is a matter of great curiosity
to the foreigners, this aspect needs to be well exploited, in order
to become one of the top ten tourist countries .
Child labour means getting a child to work, who is under 14
years of age and paying him a pittance. The government has
passed a one-line notification, under Article 309, which reads, "No
Government servant shall employ to work any child below the age
of 14 years", on 14th October, a month before "Children's Day"
which is observed on 14th November, the birthday of nation's first
Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. According to the
International Labour Organisation (ILO), the child labour for
domestic purpose has been defined as the worst kind of inhuman
practice and the fact that India today employs not less than 50
million children under 13 as child labour and more than 28 per
cent of them work as domestic help.
It is estimated that child labour in India range from 175
million to 200 million. Policy planners agree that a significant
reason for child labour is poverty. Though children are not paid
well, yet they contribute to family income. They are often prompted
to work by the parents. Lack of schooling opportunity is also a
contributing factor. But the reasons are also social and cultural.
Many children work because it is an accepted norm within the
social structure. Acceptance of such traditional factors as expecting
the lower classes or castes to perform manual labour leads children
of these classes and castes into manual work at an early age. Rapid
migration to the urban areas has further aggravated the situation.
However, much of child labour exists in the informal or illegal
sectors. the present Child Labour Act covers only 15 per cent of
the employed children and the rest 85 per cent working in
unorganised sector have been ignored. There is no social
The complete eradication of child labour is a noble goal. The
issue in question is both a matter of public consentisation and the
generation of wi II to garner public capacity. It must be amply clear
that the issue of child labour cannot be wished away by fiats and
diktats. To eradicate child labour, India needs to invest on a massive
'scale in education and adult employment. At the same time the
poverty needs to be brought down. Till appalling poverty persists
and social insecurity prevails, child labour cannot be checked, let
alone its eradication. Promotion of child-rights presupposes eco-
nomic well-being of the people. Removal of children from em-
ployment mean's loss of jobs which ma~ drive vulnerable children
intomore dangerous and degrading jobs, Thus, the problem is not
so simple as it appears to be. There, all its dimensions and
implications should be taken into account and considered and only
then the 'remedial measures should be taken. Children should be
rescued, their rights promoted and their voice heard, but this cannot
be done effectively, unless there is an economic freedom and in-
No society in history has been able-to develop without the
labour of children, At the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, over
95 per cent of the children had to work. In less than two hundred
years, today's developed and industrialised countries broke away
from thousands of years human history and made child labour
mostly non-existent by substantial gains in productivity and
income. Equally, clearly no society can develop or prosper without
investing in their children by imparting quality education and skills,
so that rather than contributing labour, these children go on to
become much more productive adults. The need is to create a
situation whereby children in developing countries will no longer
have to work, where it will be worthwhile for them to attend school,
where the income of the parents will be sufficient to provide
education for children. We need radical reforms to help create the
environment for economic growth in order to eradicate this social
. problem. At the same time social groups, voluntary organisations
and reformed societies should also create public awareness against
child labour and at the same time there should be social boycott
of goods produced with child labour.
Human rights are the rights to which an individual has a just
right as a human being. Men, women and children collectively
and individually have these rights by virtue of their birth as human
beings. For the sake of convenience human rights have been clas-
sified into two categories: natural rights and civil rights. Under
natural rights come such rights as right to live and exist and sustain
life with food, shelter, clothing. Freedom from torture, cruelty and
slavery, freedom of speech, freedom of movement, freedom of
thought, conscience and faith and the right to marry and have
children are 5't>me other fundamental rights. Right to work, right
to a fair trial, freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention, right to
nationality, equality before law, freedom of peaceful association
and assembly, to have adequate standards of living. Freedom from
exploitation and discrimination, right to participate in elections
\ are important civil rights.
Human rights and their implementation, practice and
protection are a benchmark of truly developed, civilised and
democratic society. In a democracy, people enjoy the maximum
number of human rights. Rights and duties go together. They are
two aspects of the same coin. Human rights pre-supposes a rule of
law where all the citizens follow a code of conduct and behaviour
for the good of all, irrespective of caste, creed, religion, sex, social
status, region etc. It is the sense of duty, tolerance, mutual
participation that lends meaning and sense to the rights. Rights
have their existence on the principle of live and let live. A perfect
balance between the rights and duties has to be maintained.
Whenever there is an imbalance between the two, there is a
violation of human rights leading to disturbance and chaos.
Violation and denial of human rights is an international
phenomenon, mostly prevalent in totalitarian and despotic states.
In theocratic states i.e., states based on religion, there is much
persecution in the name of religion and the minorities and women
are the worst sufferers as seen in many fundamentalist Muslim
countries. The women, children and the weaker sections of the
society are victi ms of these transgressions and violence. In China,
a Communist State, the denial and transgression of human rights
are too many and too frequent. It is estimated that in the year 1995-
96, around 3;500 people were executed under the so-called strike-
hard anti-campaign, which was in continuation till a couple of years
ago. Till recently in South Africa "Apartheid" also otherwise known
as colour-discrimination was practised, the native Africans were
denied their just and legitimate hU':llan rights.
Violation of human rights gives rise to various other evils
such as terrorism, extremism, alienation, frustration, separatism
etc. In many cases, the governments controlled by self-seeking,
over-ambitious and narrow-minded people use repressive,
unconstitutional and savage means to spread violence and terror
and to command the obedience from the masses. In India also there
is a gross violation of human rights in the form of bonded labour
and child labour. People and political parties talk of human rights
but in practice they openly flout the norms of human rights. Death
in police custody and fake encounters are example of such
The U.N. Commission of Human Rights is mainly concerned
in protecting and promoting human rights and freedom of the
people of the world. In its various sessions held from time to time
in Geneva, it adopts various measures to encourage worldwide ob-
servation of these basic human rights and freedoms. It calls on its
members from time to time to give information regarding measures
complied with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
whenever there is a complaint of violation of these rights. But it is
more important the people should be made aware of their basic
rights and that, in case their rights are violated, they should raise
their voice and protest against the violations of human rights.
Essays at Horne
Cinema is the cheapest and the best mode of mass entertain-
ment in India. It is also the biggest medium of entertainment
and right from the top-notch industrialist to the common man on
the street, cinema reaches their lives and for three hours, people
forget their worries and tensions and keep glued to the silver screen
as the film unfolds gradually reaching the climax in the end. Even
the satellite channels and our own Doordarshan being aware of
this entertainment medium and its hold on the masses shows films
in order to generate revenue which comes in the form of
advertising. Films take. the viewers from the make-believe world
to the world of fantasy.
Indian film industry,' the world's largest film industry took
its birth on 18th May 1912 with 'Pundalik', which was half British.
The film was made by N.G. Chitra and R.G. Tourney. However
the credit for the first Indian production goes to Dhundiraj Govind
Phalke better known as Dada Saheb Phalke, who was responsible
for making of silent film 'Raja Harisli Chandra' in 1913. In other
words, Dada Saheb Phalke is known as the 'Father of Indian
Cinema'. The film was released on May 3, 1913. Four years later,
Bengal saw the birth of its first feature film 'Satyabadi Raja
Harishchandra' and in 1919 South Indian Cinema took its roots
in Madras with the film 'Keechaka Vadham'. The talkie era of
Indian Cinema started its journey in 1931 when Ardhershir Irani
made 'A lam Ara', released Of} March 14, 1931. Thus began the
era of talkie film and in the same year talkie film was born in
Bengal and South India. In the early Thirties, it was a decade of
social protests in the history of Indian cinema. The Forties saw
the decade of some memorable films like' Pukar' of Sohrab Modi
and 'Kalpana' of Uday Shankar, the dance mastero. Alongwith
these there were mythological like 'Bharat Milap' and·' Ram
The recognition of Indian cinema came in the Fifties with
the First International Film Festival of India in 1952 at Mumbai.
In 1953, India heralded one of the greatest filmmaker of the
nation-Satyajit Roy, with his path breaking film' Patner Panchall'
which won the 'Best human document film' at the Cannes Film
Festival, considered to be the world's most prestigious film festival.
Besides this, the film also won lots of other national and
international awards. Thus Indian cinema came to be recognised
at international forums. In the late Sixties "Parallel Cinema" was
born fathered by Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen and Ritwik Ghatak. This
era also saw some all time greats like Bimal Roy, Guru Dutt,
K. Asif make their distinct identity on Indian Cinema, which
proved to be everlasting. The first colour film 'Aan' was also
released in this decade. Mrinal Sen's 'Bhuvan Some' marked the
beginning of the new wave cinema. It was during this time a new
group of film makers like Basu Chatterjee, Mani Kaul, Kumar
Sahni also emerged in Mumbai. So in other words Sixties can be
considered to be "Revolutionary Decade ofIndian Cinema".
The Seventies saw the era of violence initiated by Amitabh
Bachhan, but at the same time family saga continued to rule. The
Seventies decade was the beginning of the commercial cinema in
Murnbai, but in South film-makers like Adoor Gopalakrishnan and
Girish Karnad were the trend setters in Kannada and Malayalam,
The Eighties again saw the revival of the newstream or parallel
cinema by Shyam Benegal, Apama Sen, Gautam Ghose, Govind
Nihlani and many others. The audience divided the films into 'Art'
and 'Commercial' films. It should be noted here, that making a
film is a commercial venture as money is required, all films need
art as "Film making is an art itself". Films can defmitely be
classified into good films and bad films. This was the decade when
Hollywood came to India, in the form of Richard Attenborough
who came to India and made' Gandhi' . For the first time, an Indian,
Bhanu Athaiya, won the world's most prestigious award-the
Oscar for "Costume Designing". Later on Satyajit Ray was also
honoured with the Oscar for his "Lifetime Achievement". It was
during this decade that film maker Mira Nair won the "Golden
Camera Award" at Cannes for her directorial debut 'Salaam
Bombay.' This decade can be considered to be the "Golden Period
of Indian Ci nema". The Nineties brought a touch of sophistication
to the film making. It also witnessed a new phenomenon of
"Marketing of Movies". This decade witnessed the dubbed version
of Hollywood movies, which went down well with the Indian
audience. The film industry for the first time was accorded the
status of "Industry" by the Government of India. Shekhar Kapur
became the first Indian to direct an English film 'Elizabeth'. The
Indian cinema has undergone a complete metamorphosis with all
the gloss and body, unfortunately the "soul" of Indian cinema is
CASTE PROBLEM IN INDIA
The caste system finds its origin in the Spanish world' casta'
which means breed or race. Thus basically caste means people
belonging to the same breed. In India, according to the Hindu my~
thology, there were four main castes. The Brahmins, who were at
the top of the caste hierarchy and their functions were limited to
the temples i.e., worshipping the gods and invoking them. They
were supposed to be cultured and highly knowledgeable.and were
supposed to offer advice to the administrators. The next in line
were the Kshatriyas whose duties were to rule the people and
protect the country against foreign invasion. The Vaishyas were
the next and their only function was to generate money through
business. The Shudras were the last in the hierarchy and did not
enjoy any good position. They were not allowed to live in the cities,
but far away in congested areas. Their work was to keep the cities
neat and clean and doing other menial jobs.
The caste system is based on the principle of inequality. It
believes that some people are higher than the others on the basis
of their birth. The philosophy of caste system has resulted in the
creation of two basic problems: that of social inequality and that
of social injustice. In so far as social inequality is concerned, the
problems created were: the non-mixing of high and low caste,
denial of equal educational facilities, denial of entry into the
temples to the low caste, denial of drawing water from wells from
which the high caste drew water, taboo on inter-caste marriage.
Equally there was the problem of social injustice which was created
in different ways like denial of social justice to the low caste as
they liyed hand to mouth, their inability to organise themselves
for long in demanding social justice denied to them, their inability
to approach the court of law as they are costly, their inability to
have a share in the bureaucracy and decision-making process, the
inequality in the wide gap of incomes between the high caste and
the low caste also created a gap in the social justice.
These problems of social inequalities and social injustices
have assumed serious proportion these days. For once, the caste
organisations of the depressed have now raised their voices against
the injustices being meted out to them for centuries. However, the
government having realised the problems of the oppressed class,
has taken steps in order to ensure that the injustices perpetuated
on them are brought to an end. Some of the steps taken in this
regard are the abolition of untouchability, ending of exploitations,
opening of the religious and other public institutions, authorisation
of the right to practice any profession, occupation or business,
reservation of seats. in elective bodies, jobs and, educational
Every society is caste-ridden and in one form or the other,
caste system exists among the most-advanced societies of the
world, but unfortunately in India, the caste-system became very
close and degraded itself, as it denied the basic human rights to
the lower castes. In this way, it became a subject of criticism
throughout the world. Caste believes in segmentation of the society
which in reality divides the society and this division can prove to
be highly detrimental to the nation. In society ridden with castes
there are certain fixed habits, and mixing with other classes are
forbidden. The society becomes a water-tight compartment and
interaction between the castes is quite limited and rigid.
Although a lot of people have neglected the caste-system due
to education and the widening of thought and inter-caste marriages
are gaining popularity in urban India, but in the rural area the caste-
system is very much prevalent and leads to caste wars, specially
in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, which takes its toll on the innocent
people. In a democratic and secular country like India, the problem
of caste-system should be uprooted from the society, then only
the country can reach the zenith of progress: One should not forget
that denying the lower caste of the basic rights tantamounts to the
violation of human rights.
Advertisement has become an indispensable aspect of business
and marketing. It is essential to promote sales and achieve
growth. Advertisement makes the consumer aware of a product or
a service that has been launched in the market. And in today's
business scenario where number of products have flooded the mar-
ket, advertisement is the best way to make people not only aware
of the product but to remind them from time to time that the product
is available. As a matter of fact, no company can exist in the mar-
ket without advertisements.
Advertising makes it difficult for the consumers to postpone
buying decisions for long. Ads constantly entice and appeal the
potential buyers to go for the products with their catchy jingles,
attractive visuals and even alluring incentives and prizes.
Consumers often like to be helped to make buying decisions and
advertisements help them a lot in the matter. Advertisements
motivate people to buy goods when in reality they do not need
them. They appeal to the consumer's psychology and convince
them to take a buying decision. Children and women become easy
targets of commercial assaults through alluring advertisements. The
popularity of television has made it all the more easy as the small
screen has its reach in almost ~ll the homes and passive viewers
offer a huge market for products and services. Women, children
and the youth are the main target of the advertisements because
they make the most impressionable segment of viewers. And they
can exert the utmost pressure in making buying decisions on the
elders who control the strings of family purses.
Companies formulate their marketing and advertising
strategies very carefully and patiently keeping in view, what their
campaign should really achieve and who should be their immediate
and direct target. Strategically planned and executed advertisements
make the cash register jingle, while other not planned gets bombed.
The advertisers are quite aware the amount of fan following Indian
filmstars and cricketers command and hence most of the products
have filmstars and cricketers endorsing them. The Indian
consumers do not hesitate to buy a product-endorsed by Sachin
Tendulkar or Amitabh Bachchan. Today advertisements are based
on celebrity endorsement which attract the major segments-
childrenand youth. Prolonged and persistent advertisements turn
the passive television viewers into very active and credulous buyers.
Advertisements offer consumer a wide range of choices and
competitive prices. In such a situation the consumer becomes the
king and he can have a better value for money (VFM), which has
become today's advertisement's buzzword. At the same time, ad-
vertisements are essential for the growth of economy, industry and
business because the growth depends upon sales, which in other
words, is the rotation of the money in market. They also ensure
quality and reasonable prices as there is a tough competition, in
which the fittest arid the best survives and hence the consumer is
However, on the other hand the number of advertisements
which is increasing by leaps and bounds can definitely make choice
for the consumer difficult and confusing. By alluring the consumers
through gift hampers, coupons and similar other things, the com-
panies more often than not offer substandard products. On many
an occasion, the advertised goods turn out to be of poor quality
and the consumer feels cheated and befooled. In such a scenario,
it is important to have a consumer ~rotection body and at the same
time educate the customer. The consumers should be taught how
to distinguish between genuine and fake products and see through
false promises and enticing invasion of advertisements. It also
underlines the need for more and more consumer courts to settle
INDIA'S NUCLEAR EXPLOSION
On May 11, 1998, the day of Buddha Purnima, Buddha
"smiled" once again when the country stormed into the
exclusive elite club of nuclear power states and became one of the
superpowers on its own. Buddha had smiled for the second time
after 1974. On this fateful day three nuclear tests were conducted
with a fission device, a low yield device and a thermo nuclear
device simultaneously at 3.45 p.m. at Pokhran, in Rajasthan. These
underground tests showed up as a single explosion on the Global
Seismic Network and measured 4.7 on the Richter Scale. It released
the energy equivalent to 53 kilotons of TNT, over 5 times that of
1974 test. It was the 2,048th test on the earth, and between 150 to
200 meters below the surface. Two more tests were conducted on
May 13, 1998 which were also sophisticated low-yield sub-kiloton
tests. In the words of an expert these "micro and mini nukes were
the most sophisticated and the latest series of nuclear tests in the
world". This significant Operation, code name "Shakti" was carried
out under the overall supervision of DRDO (Defence Research
Development Organisation) Chief Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and
Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) Chairman Dr. R.
It marked the logical culmination of long research, wait and
planning. The news stunned the world and sent Indian people into
ecstasy. The operation was carried out with such perfect secrecy
that it exposed one of American'sbiggest intelligence failures. The
American authorities felt let down and said this failure was be-
cause of misplaced trust and misjudgment by intelligence agency
combined with the misdirection of the spy satellites.
India conducted its first nuclear underground peaceful ex-
periment on May 18, 1974 at Pokhran, Rajasthan, the same site
where the second test was conducted. It was during the premier-
ship of Mrs Indira Gandhi. Pandit Nehru laid the foundation of
India's Nuclear Programme and AEC was set up in 1948. India
built Asia's first atomic research reactor Apsara, indigenously in
1956 followed by Cirus in 1960. By 1964, India had become the
fifth plutonium producing country in the world.
India is a peace loving country. It has never committed any
aggression. Its commitment to world peace, non-violence, nuclear
disarmament and the Principles ofPanchsheel are well-known. But
unfortunately, they have been taken as weakness. As a nuclear
power India does not intend to use its weapons for aggression or
for mounting threat against any country. India is a sovereign country
and has the right to defend its territorial integrity and sovereignty.
There cannot be any let down in its defence preparedness. It is
only due to the belligerent neighbours that India has not signed
the CTBT (Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty). India is well aware
of the international commitments and obligations. It is also
committed to Chemical Weapons Treaty, Biological Weapons
Convention etc. Moreover, India has already announced voluntary
moratorium on further tests. Weaponisation does notmean that
India has given up its commitment to global disarmament.
The next logical step should be the deployment and
development of nuclear warheads and their delivery system. The
Prithvi and Agni missiles should be transformed into deployed
weapon systems. The operational deployment of nuclear warheads
will ensure peace, stability and balance of power' in the sub-
Effective weaponisation means colossal investment and ex-
penditure. A credible deterrent would mean manufacturing of at
least 50 Agni missiles with a range of 3,500 kms, each with a
capability to carry 1O-ton nuclear payload. It is estimated that each
of such missiles would cost at least 5 crore. No doubt enormous
funds would be needed to take India's nuclear programme. beyond
Pokhran. But then no sacrifice is.toogreat for the safety and security
of the country. Moreover, we can depend upon our scientists, who
can reduce the cost of weaponisation to a great extent.
India still lives in villages, therefore the villages have to be
properly governed if India is to progress. There are over 5,00,000
villages in India with UP leading in the number of villages. Besides
this, there are about 5011 blocks and more than 480 districts in
the country. Panchayati Raj aims at taking democracy to the village
level by delegating substance of power to the people's organisa-
tion. The primary object of the Panchayati Raj is to awaken the
people in each area and to instil an intensive and continuous inter-
est in the development of the entire population. The following are
the main yardsticks by which the success of Panchayati Raj will,
need to be measured from time to time.
a) Development of rural industry.
b) Development of facilities for education and adult literacy.
c) Emphasis on increased agricultural production.
The Rajasthan government was the first to embark on the
experiment of decentralisation in the villages of Nagaur and to
pass the Zila Parishad Act in 1959. The idea was to help the village
leadership to grow. These selfless people who worked for the
benefit of people, would ultimately become the accredited leaders
of the people ..
The Panchayati Raj is a three-tier system in each state which
are as follows:
i) The Zila Parishad at the district level.
ii) Panchayat Samitis at the block level.
iii) Gram Panchayat Samitis would undertake to look after
schemes like elementary education, village roads and
In addition to the above three, there is Nyay Panchayats or
village courts which provide a speedy and inexpensive system of
justice to the villages. The panchayat, the co-operative and the
school are the basic institutions at the village level for carrying
out the programmes of rural development. The village school which
also doubles up as a Community' Centre, looks after the
recreational, educational and cultural needs of the people.
The 73rd Amendment of the Constitution leaves it for the
concerned State Legislature to choose between direct and indirect
election in the villages, while at the district and block levels, it
will be indirect. Panchayati Raj Institutions have definitely helped
the schedule castes and schedule tribes and removed the socio-
economic disparities and injustices. Many of the Gram Panchayats
have Pradhans from the Schedule castes, tribes and even women-
folk. The Panchayati Raj has also helped in the empowerment of
the women, the weak, the poor and the downtrodden.
The Panchayats also ensure transparency, fairness and ac-
countability. They aim at quick resolution of disputes and fair
distribution of surplus land among the landless villagers. More
and more persons like women, schedule castes and tribes, marginal
farmers and landless labourers are involved in the process. The
panchayats are properly empowered to raise funds to meet their'
development expenses. Both the centre and states should ensure
flow of proper funds to these institutions for their effective working
and success. In order to reduce the control by Centre, more
emphasis should be laid on the grassroot initiative. But ultimately,
there is no denying the fact that Panchayati Raj will go a long way
in developing the villages and is more in keeping with the
democratic process of reforms.
NON ALIGNED MOVEMENT (NAM)
Non-aligned movement was the brain-child of Jawaharlal Nehru
(India), Joseph Broz Tito (Yugoslavia) and Gamel Abdel
Nasser (Egypt) with its first conference in Belgrade in 1961 in
which 25 countries participated. The basic thrust of the movement
is in favour of peace, disarmament. development, independence,
eradication of poverty and illiteracy. The movement was conceived
in the context of the struggle against colonialism and the polarisa-
tion of the international relations, resulting from the military blocs
and alliances and the Cold War between the two superpowers; the
USA and the USSR. It was the inevitable result of the need felt by
the newly independent countries in all parts of the world to protect
and strengthen their national independence and exercise full sov-
ereignty in political and economic matters. India. being one of the
founder members of NAM, assumed a great say in international
matters and the movement grew stronger over the years and became
the strongest when it was headed by Mrs Indira Gandhi in 1983 at
The Non-aligned movement is committed for taking construc-
tive actions towards halting and reversing the dangerous trends in
the international situations. At the same time it aims at creating
conditions conducive to the promotion of relations of co-operation,
good neighbourly feelings and friendship among states. It has
striven over the years for the maintenance of peace based on justice,
the promotion of disarmament, the relaxation of international
tension, the encouragement of just and. peaceful solution to
international issues. The policy and movement of Non-aligned has
exerted a significant influence in the evolution of international
political and economic relations as a whole, thus expressing the
need for contemporary world peace, freedom, equality,
development and prosperity for all.
The movement had earlier in the 60s played a very useful
role in preventing the Cold War from escalating by counselling
moderation to the two Super powers. The 70s witnessed a
comparatively tension-free world overlooking some minor flash-
points that originated including the 1971 Indo-Pak war.
Unfortunately the decade of the 80s opened rather ominously. There
were number of developments like the Soviet Union grabbing
Afghanistan, which could have brought the world on the verge of
crisis. It was during this phase that the Movement showed a great
amount of courage by countering these threats, under the leadership
of India, when Mrs Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister was
In the history of NAM, the Jakarta Summit in 1992 should
be considered as watershed. The views of the NAM leaders who
met in Jakarta were made unambiguously explicit .in two
documents-the Jakarta Declaration and the Jakarta Message. It
stated that the new order should be based on a new and equitable
international order for stable peace and common security as well
as for economic and social justice. It was a moment of redefinition.
Notwithstanding all these significant achievements with having 114
countries as its members from a mere 25 in the First Conference
in 1961, the fact cannot be neglected that with USA, the only su-
perpower, how much effective NAM can be said today; still, the
existence of NAM cannot be totally denied on paper.
PROBLEM OF.INCREASING CRIME
Crimys have become today. the biggest menace in the society.
What was unheard of thirty years ago has now become a
routine. Murders, daylight-robberies, kidnapping, crime against
women including rape, eve-teasing and wife-beating, dowry,
shootouts between gangs are common now-a-days. No one is safe
and fear haunts everybody. Even the police have become tired
combating this menace that people have started losing faith in the
police. As a matter of fact,crimes no longer surprise people and
more or less one has become apathetic to crime.
Crime can be divided into urban crime and rural crime. While
crime related to rural India is mostly based on two aspects, land
and caste, the urban crime is based on many aspects like greed
and lust, poverty, unemployment, avenging attitude and similar
others. But the most ·disturbing element of crime which is
increasing manifold is that of the youths who take to crime to make
quick money. Rural crime is more common in backward states
like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, where people are not much educated
and property is the main reason for committing crime. Caste-based.
crimes are more prevalent in Bihar, a state torn by caste-strife.
Rural crimes more often go unreported and hence one does not
have any other specific reasons other than property and caste as
far as rural crime goes.
It is the urban crime that causes real concern. Most of the
people today lust for material things like house, cars and costly
gadgets. The migration of rural population towards the city has
increased the crime. When labourers from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh,
Assam and Orissa migrate to the-big cities like Delhi and Mumbai,
they are overawed by the city life and the comforts money can
buy, so they indulge in kidnapping, robbery, burglary and loot.
Besides this, the youth of the society gets lots of inspiration from
American movies, novels and also from serials. They attempt to
commit grievous crimes and once successful, they feel that crime
is the easiest way to get rich quickly. It is a matter of shame and
disgrace that our society is producing criminals from ages such as
ten and eleven. For this their parents are to be held responsible as
they are not aware of their children's whereabouts and they do not
take any interest to find about their misdeeds. Also the eulogising
of the negative characters in the Hindi films motivates quite a large
number of youth to take to crime.
Crime against women are also on the rise. Dowry, sexual
harrasment atwork place, eve-teasing and wife-beating have in-
creased in the modern society. This, inspite of the fact that today's
women are far more educated and advanced as compared to the
women twenty-five years back. Women usually bear all these
atrocities for the fear of the stigma attached to these crimes and
they become victims of the whims of men. Many ultimately
commit suicide, unable to suffer further.
Crime is a world-wide phenomenon and it is very difficult to
eradicate crime. But we can definitely bring down the crime rate
with our awareness. The youth today is misguided. He needs to be
explained the better things of life and it is imperative to remove
unemployment and bring down' poverty; both of which are father
and mother of crime. The parents need to have a strict vigil on
their children and refrain them from watching too much of
television and films. They need to be refrained, because at their
age the youngsters feel that they can get away with anything. The
recent gunning down of M.P. Phoolan Devi in broad daylight is a
pointer to the fact that if one lives by the gun, one also dies by the
gun. In fact the greatest book on crime of our time "The Godfather",
also ends with a message "crime never pays". One should always
keep this in mind, that the end of criminal is either in jailor in a
IMPACT OF TELEVISION ON
Television, a wonderful gift of science, is today the biggest and
the best medium of entertainment. Today virtually every house-
hold has a TV set and right from the morning till the evening or
late at night, the medium continues to entertain people. In the USA
it is known as an idiot-box because there are too many talk shows,
most of which are senseless. People are not much interested in
watching television as they feel that it is a mere wastage of time.
However the culture in India is quite different and here, it is con-
sidered to be mote as utilisation of time.
There was a revolution in television with the advent of
satellite channels in 1990, when CNN telecast the Gulf war and
most of the people became aware of the holocaust of a war and
the advantage of satellite channels. Soon satellite channels invaded
India and they found the viewers hungry for good and quality
programmes. Channels like "Discovery" and "National
Geographic" have taken human boundaries to hitherto unknown
corners of the earth. Programmes like "India's Most Wanted"
helped to nab many criminals who had evaded the clutch of law.
Cricket and film-based program!lles gathered momentum and even
knowledged based programmes reachedthe top of the television
rating. Mythological serials are found on virtually every channel
to cater to the middle class family. Television became the best
friend of a human being mostly the housewives.
But at the same time, television started alienating people from
society. People are so engrossed in watching television that they
have become couch potatoes. Socialising is out and watching pro-
grammes is in. This has made the youths "zombie" and today's
youth have lost their quest for knowledge. Moreover, instead of
watching quality programmes which can make them
knowledgeable, they watch Hollywood movies and crime serials.
Extra-marital themes on television is downright detrimental to the
children and the youth. Programmes related to art and culture are
nowhere to be seen and in the name of art and culture, only film-
concerts are shown. The satellite channels have eroded the Indian
culture to a great extent and the mythological serials only aims at
sponsorship, which gives good money. Some advertisements shown .
on (he satellite channels are of very bad taste.
There was a time when there used to be a lot of libraries and
clubs where people used to go in the evenings to socialise and
exchange views and opinions. People and specially the youth used
to be quite ,knowledgeable. Reading was in vogue. No more.
Today's youths are singing songs from MTV, they lack knowledge
and ideas. Know more about Jennifer Lopez than Bimal Roy. Talk
all trash about "attitudes" and "life-styles" and ultimately go on
to join the ever increasing queue of the unemployeds. Television
has more vices than virtues. Watching it for news and interviews
is good, nothing more.
TRAVAILS OF LIVING IN
A METROPOLITAN CITY
Unlike the small cities and towns, life in a metropolitan city is
far from smooth, peaceful and easy. Rather it is full of
problems and difficulties alongwith deficiencies. On the social
plane life is too personal and mechanised. It is controlled by the
clock. Social contacts are less and people seldom know one another
staying in the same locality or even in the high-rise apartments.
People are more individualistic than those residingiin smaller cities.
Whatever little leisure time is left, it is spent in newspaper reading
and television watching. It is no different on Sundays when people
are busy with their domestic chores. Contacts and dealings with
fellow beings are extremely formal and business like. There is
hardly any room for intimacy, exchange of ideas, experiences and
self-expression. Even in family husband and wife or parents and
children hardly share each other's daily experiences, problems,
concern and ideas, being separated for most of the day in their
offices. The requirements of a metropolitan city compel both the
life partners to work in order to maintain the standard of living.
Let us take the example of Delhi; this is the most polluted
city of India. It is a poisoned city with smoke, fumes and such
other emissions. Over 2,000 metric tonne of pollutants are emitted
in the air everyday which include carbon monoxide, hydro carbons
and sulphur dioxide. Every eighth person is either a patient of
asthama or other respiratory diseases. Even children are not spared.
In fact most of the victims are children. According to an estimate
over 7,000 people die a pre-mature death due to air pollution. Water
and noise pollution are no less serious and the Yamuna has become
contaminated. During summer and monsoon many diseases like
malaria and dengue breaks out and sometimes take the shape of
epidemic. The sanitation and cleanliness is of very poor standard
and affects the life of the citizens adversely.
Delhi also tops in crime. The city is the most unsafe in India.
Murders, kidnappings, thefts, pick-pocketing and chain-snatching
are very common. The number of deaths on roads is also a matter
of great concern. The law and order situation does not inspire con-
fidence. Drug trafficking is flourishing and spreading its tentacles
in the society. The youths become an easy victim. Old people,
women and children have become most vulnerable and they do
not feel safe, secured and assured.
The capital city has grown too fast and so have its problems
and travails. Life has become fast, complex, risky and hectic. In-
dividuals have lost the sense of belonging and identity and suffer
from isolation and fragmentation. Life has become money-centered
and everyone is running to make more and more money, Neither
the family nor the neighbour means much. Individuals feel tiny
and insecure in the fast pace of modem life without unity,
compassion and fellow-feeling. Fast and uncontrolled urbanisation
of the city and the unplanned growth have made life difficult for
an average citizen. The family in Delhi as in other metropolitan
cities has lost its identity and value as a social unit and foundation
of the society. The impersonal mass urban society of the city has
given rise to individual isolation, anonymity and loneliness, family
disorganisation and disintegration. There is a complete loss of
identity and the person becomes a face in the crowd. No iridividual
is happy living in a metropolitan city, who values culture, tradition
and family life.
THE JOYS OF READING
Reading makes a man complete. Reading educates an individual
more than education does. Above all reading makes a man
knowledgeable and knowledge is power. With the help of this
power, a person can scale great heights in life. Reading also instils
a sense of discipline. There is no hobby which can give more
pleasure and inculcate knowledge than reading. It is the best
utilisation of time by which one can come to know a lot more
things than he would otherwise.
Reading can be varied and it can be from reading the
newspaper to literature, history, novels, mythology, philosophy and
so many other topics. Even reading comics can do a lot of good.
In the earlier times people enjoyed reading and there were number
of libraries and clubs to facilitate reading. People used to exchange
opinions and thoughts and thereby socialise a lot. Reading develops
patience in an individual. And in today's fast life, reading is used
as a therapy to develop patience in a person. A widely read
individual is a confident individual who can fit into any strata of
the society. The confidence stems from the fact that he is more
knowledgeable than others.
Like every other art of life, reading is also an art. This art
has to be developed gradually. Children are very fond of comics
and short stories. As they develop into adolescents they start reading
the newspapers and novels. By the time they reach the stage of
adulthood, they are into serious readings like religion, philosophy
and literature. Besides these one can read the different magazines
and journals according to one's choice. Reading journals makes
an individual ten steps ahead of others who abstain from reading.
Reading keeps him abreast of whatever is happening in the world.
When we say that a person is learned. we actually mean that the
person is well-read. Reading has no end and it is a continuous
process of learning. A person who develops the habit of reading
will seldom venture into misdeeds or bad activities, because
intelligent person can dare to commit crime but a knowledgeable
person will rarely commit one. Books· are our best friend
particularly in loneliness; hence most people read while travelling
long distances by train. Everything in the world can be destroyed,
but knowledge cannot be and hence it is an omnipotent weapon.
With the boom in the television, people have started to lose
interest in reading and have turned into "robots" by watching the
hackneyed programmes time and again. This again is the reason
that so many youths are turning to crime. Of late, there again is an
increase in the readership among the Indians. Maybe they have
realised the futility of watching television. No doubt reading is a
costly habit as the books have become costly but for a person who
enjoys reading avenues like public library and reading libraries
are still there. Moreover an investment on a book is more
imperative than investment on other materialistic things, because
with the passage of time all materialistic things are destroyed,
exceptbooks, which can be read from generation to generation,
benefiting all those whoread the book. Reading, whether it is a
book or a journal or a comic gives us the satisfaction that no other
hobbies or habits can give. Reading is not only a habit, it is simply
a way of life.
IMPORTANCE OF DISCIPLINE
, 'Discipline makes a nation great" was a slogan which Prime
Minister Indira Gandhi said. No doubt that discipline is
the foundation of a successful life. We talk a lot about discipline,
but little realise the importance of this word. Every individual
should inculcate a sense of discipline. If individuals develop
discipline then automatically the society becomes disciplined and
consequently the nation becomes disciplined. Discipline is a set
of proper code of conducts that an individual develops at a young
age and goes on improving it throughout its life-span. Every school
and college follow a routine related to curriculum. This routine is
nothing, but a part of discipline.
Discipline should be inculcated at a very early age. Anything
that is learnt at a tender age becomes apart of our life-style. For
instance, getting up early in the morning and going for exercise is
a part of discipline. Similarly going to bed early is also a part of
discipline. Both these acts not only keep the body fit but also refresh
the mind. Good and timely food habits are also a part of discipline.
It is often seen that students who maintain a disciplined behaviour,
usually become successful managers, doctors, engineers and busi-
nessmen. Proper etiquette and manners also are discipline. These
manners teach us to behave properly in society. Giving respect to
parents and elders, keeping commitments, maintaining punctuality
all go on to make us a better human being. Politeness, modesty
and soft spokenness are the highlights of a disciplined individual.
No doubt that every person should undergo the army training in
order to inculcate self-discipline. Military training should be made
compulsory at school and college level. A disciplined parent can
also teach discipline to their children. Daily prayers are also a part
of discipline. Prayers give inner strength and remove negative
thoughts like self-doubt.
Most of the Western countries and some Asian countries like
Japan and South Korea attach a lot of importance to discipline.
These countries are developed because they are disciplined. They
respect punctuality, a lot. As a matt,er of fact the advent of the
foreign companies to India, have given credence to the belief that
discipline can definitely fetch better results both in the business
terms as well as in terms of goodwill. It is discipline alone that
has made the foreign companies what they are.
Sadly today. this is the only thing that is visibly absent in the
Indian society. The generation gap subject is nothing else other
than discipline and lack of discipline. The youths of today are an
indisciplined lot. with few exceptions. They neither respect their
parents nor their teachers. Interestingly when these youths them-
selves become parents or elders, they talk about discipline. It is
the indiscipline that is taking the students towards abyss. They want
to achieve success both in terms of finance and fame, but they are
not ready to become disciplined individuals. Discipline is also self-
control and in the absence of self-control life goes haywire. A
disciplined individual can control his life whereas an indisciplined
individual let life take control over him.
There are two ways of inculcating discipline. One by making
the individual understand the finer aspects of discipline and let
him grow in a natural way. The other is the Hitler style or the
dictatorship style of inculcating discipline. But both the styles
definitely make an individual disciplined. As a nation, we do not
believe in the democratic style of functioning, so it is high time
that the dictatorship style is used. The latter style had proved to be
a roaring success during the "Emergency period", where what to
say of people reaching their offices on time, even the ever-late
Indian Railways ran on time. As a nation, we are indisciplined
and we badly need to be disciplined, if this country has to progress.
TRADITION AND MODERNITY
Nothing is permanent in the world, except change. Change is
the law of the nature and another name of modernity. Life
and things are in flux and nothing stands still. Change is always
there, either for the better or for the worse. Change is the watchword
of progression, but sometimes of decay and degradation as well.
There are stages in progression and decay, time and history. It is
very difficult to draw a line between new and old, change and
continuity. They both meet and merge into each other at a certain
point. While the tradition continues in some form or the other,
modernity finds its roots in old and traditional.
What is modern today will turn into traditional tomorrow and
vice versa. The need is to harmonise modernity with tradition,
change with continuity. We should preserve and cherish what is
valuable, rich, good and beneficial in the old and adapt it to the
changing situations in respect of the progress and growth in the
fields of science, technology, economics and philosophy.
Neither old is always gold nor new is always trash. Take for
example the Indian culture, way of life and philosophy which
presenr a mixed arid complex pattern. There are many traditions,
values, customs and practices inherited from the past, which are
good, healthy and valuable, and have formed a part of the new. At
the same time there are many aspects which are harmful and de-
grading and yet continue inspite of modern technologies and ad-
vancements. The conflict between old and new, is nothing new,
but it should be avoided or at least rninirnised to the extent possible.
What is needed is a smooth and healthy synthesis, a transition
which takes care of good elements both of new and old. Modernity
and tradition should go together in harmony taking life to a new
horizon of progress and development.
Values and attitudes have changed radically in Indian soci-
ety since Independence. Sari-system has long vanished, widow
marriages are common and child-marriages are legally banned.
There is no untouchability and discrimination on the basis of caste
and religion. The winds of change have swept away many old,
traditional and useless concepts and values. Employment and
education are on the rise among women and soon there will be a
real empowerment of womenfolk. In Hinduism, liberation was
given the highest value and no man or woman was thought unfit
to achieve it because of a certain caste or a birth. The essential
and fundamental elements of Hinduism have never been averse to
change and modernity. It were the non-essential trappings that have
been a drag and they are being shed. But the indiscriminate and
wholesale imitation of Western manners and the styles of living is
an area of major concern. Consequently simple living and high
thinking have paved way for gross materialism which is spreading
its tentacles viciously. We should not ape the West and run after
their values, manners and tradition which do not suit our culture,
human values and ideals.
Our values, attitudes and thoughts should be adapted accord-
ingly to suit the modern conditions so as to make life more
valuable, meaningful and worth living. Material welfare and
progress are never inconsistent with spiritual growth and evolution.
They help and supplement one another. Modernity consists in
farther and greater progress and tradition in consolidation of what
has already been achieved. Modernity means modern thoughts and
not styles and dresses. It is only the thought of modernity that
matters regarding growth.
MY AIM IN LIFE
Life without an aim is like a boat without rudders. A goal in
life gives an individual a sense of direction in moving towards
the goal. Without an aim, a person can tend to move haywire and
lose his sense of direction. Just like in the game of football and
hockey. there is a goal post and the players move in the direction
of the goal post to put the ball into the goal box, similarly in life
also. there should also be an objective. so that one can manoeuver
the career in that direction. For example, a student who wants to
become a manager, should develop interest in management and
economics rather than in chemistry and biology. In fact aim should
be related to a hobby. If a student is fond of reading, then he should
go for the teaching profession or become a renowned author.
Similarly. if one is very good in badminton, then he should pursue
a career in sports and can even become a top notch badminton
player. If hobbies are related to career then the career takes off
smoothly because of the interest one already has regarding the
My aim in life is to become a professor. I have an aptitude
for reading a lot and I find books to be my best mate. Reading
gives me a lot of knowledge and I would like to impart the
knowledge to others. Teaching is a noble profession, alongwith
medicine. The greatest source of power-knowledge. lies with the
teacher. Just think what would happen if knowledge is confined to
the few, it would become quite dangerous. Moreover the imparting
of knowledge is a divine work. Teachers are respected in the
society, despite the fact that they earn less money. For me respect
and fame are more important than money. Money comes and
money goes but respect and fame are forever. Teaching is also
helping the society, if it is done free of cost. I would like to teach
poor children who cannot go to schools and spreadeducation in
the slums, during my free time. I feel that a «gyntry can only
develop when the people of the country are literate. Illiteracy is a
curse. Till this curse exist in the society, all other manifestations
of the curse like population, crime and other similar things will
go on mcreasmg.
To reach my goal, I devote a lot of time to reading. I am a
member of two major libraries; the American Centre Library and
the British Library. I spend quite a substantial time in these two
libraries, I also get xerox of important writings and articles for
my reference. Simultaneously with the pocket-money that I manage
to save, I buy myself good books and I never lend these books to
anyone because lending books means that chances of getting them
back become a distant possibility. So yes, in this matter I am
definitely selfish. I also observe my teachers when they teach and
try to find out the reason why one teacher teaches so well that
everything is understood while the other teacher who is equally
knowledgeable fails to do so.
I dream of a country where every individual will not only be
literate but also educated and I will be a part of the group which is
going to spread knowledge to the illiterate and upgrade their way
of living. In this way I will be paying a small token of gratitude to
my country which has given me so much.
A TRAIN JOURNEY
H· olidays ~ad .come at last and I was eagerly waitin~ to visit
my cousins In Kolkata. For the last two years we did not go
anywhereas it would disturb the study of my sister and mine also.
So just the thought of a train journey excited me. My excitement
was at its peak: when father, mother, sister and I reached the station.
My father wanted to travel in the A.c. class but it was my insistence
that changed his mind to travelling in the ordinary sleeper class. I
believe that the real India travels in the sleeper class and not in the
As we boarded the train, my sister and I quarrelled for the
window seat and after some time when father informed that we
have two lower berths, one middle and one upper that our
quarrelling ended. There were still couple of minutes for the train
to leave, the time was 7.15 a.m, We decided on Kalka, especially
since most of the journey is covered during the day and we will be
able to see lot of stations on the way alongwith the cities. My sister
bought some comics for herself but I did not buy anything. I simply
wanted to enjoy my journey without any distractions. The train
whistled and my heart started to beat faster. I could not believe
myself. And then the train started, gradually picking up speed. Out
of the window I saw. people waving to each other and then station
The train gained momentum after it crossed the Yamuna river
in Delhi and very soon the city also disappeared' giving way to
vast farmlands and greenery. It started to rain, I could not have
asked for more. The speed of the train matching the rainfall was
simply divine. After one and a half hour we arrived at Aligarh where
a few people boarded the train. The vendors were having a field
day selling from tea to toy~. I observed that while travelling by
train, people tend to eat more. The reason could be either the fun
of the journey or the boredom of the journey. My father's mouth
never stopped and just like other passengers, he was either
munching peanuts or hot samosas or sipping tea. This despite the
fact that we had tiffin with us. At Kanpur where the train halted,
there was a slight commotion between two passengers over seat
which was sorted out by the timely interference of the T.T. It is so
funny that people instead of enjoying the journey create useless
fuss. When the train reached Mughalsarai junction, which is
supposed to be one of the three biggest junctions in India, I had
already experienced and seen Uttar Pradesh. At Mughalsarai, we
took dinner and suddenly the tiffin that we had carried felt less as
we ate to our heart's content. Eating in a train has its own fun. It
was night. My father put down the glass window and everyone
went to sleep. At Allahabad I saw the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna
and Saraswati. I kept awake and watched the darkness outside the
moving train. It was quite interesting and at time quite frighten-
ing. I ultimately went to sleep. It was 1.00 a.m. and the entire
compartment was dozing.
I woke up at 5.00 a.m. in the morning. The train was crossing
the green country-side of Bengal. Bengal is really green with a
number of lakes in the villages and in the small towns which acts
as multipurpose. The train reached Burdwan where we had tea and
a lot of local passengers entered the compartment. These were the
daily passengers who commute between Kolkata and Burdwan
regarding their business or jobs. The train arrived at Howrah at
7.30 a.m., on schedule.
As I deboarded the train I became sad that the journey had
come to an end. People were rushing towards the gate with porters
carrying their baggage. As I started moving, I realised that i'f one
has to see India, in its different splendour, a journey by train is
MY FAVOURITE BOOK
Books are the best friend a man can have for even friends
sometimes deceive us but books not only do not deceive us
but also inspire and provide us strength to overcome hurdles in
life. They also teach us how to live life in a dignified and proper
My favourite book is "Mahabharat", the greatest Indian my-
thology dictated by Ved Vyas and written by Lord Ganesha. I have
read this book a number of times and every time I read this book I
feel I am reading for the first time. The book in its English form
has been written by C. Rajagopalacharya, the renowned literary
personality, who has written this epic in such a simple way that
even an ordinary person with some education will find the book
satisfying. The words are simple and sentences short. Each chapter
has been written in a very compact -forrnat without deleting
Mahabharat as everyone knows is the story between two fami-
lies the Pandavas comprising of five brothers Yudhirsthir, Bhim,
Arjun, Nakul and Sahadev and the Kauravas headed by Duryodhan
and Dusshasan and their ninety-eight other brothers. They also had
one sister by the name of Dushala. The story is about property.
The Kauravas first banished the Pandavas to Banwas or Jungle
Hibernation after defeating them in a game of dice aided by
Shakuni, their maternal uncle. When the Pandavas returned from
their hibernation the Kauravas refused to give them even a 'needle
of land'. This led to the great battle of Kurukshetra which saw the
defeat of the Kauravas. The winning factor for the Pandavas hap-
pened to be Lord Krishna, who served as the 'Charioteer' of Arjun,
his friend and planned the entire war-strategy so skillfully that in
the end none of the Kauravas could survive. In the end Yudhirsthir
was crowned as the king of Indraprasth. The book signifies the
victory of good over evil.
But then all books do signify the victory of good over evil,
what makes Mahabharat so interesting is its practical experience
and relevance even in today'ssociety. Family-feud, property-
disputes, degrading women; all of these present in Mahabharat are
still happening in society. Just as the vast majority of the Kauravas
were evil, similarly a majority of the .people today are cunning,
shrewd, self-centred and materialistic like the Kauravas. Minority
of the people are honest, good and selfless with God on their side
just like the Pandavas. Each and every character whether it is
positive or negative like Kama, has been well-defined. Lord
Krishna is definitely the hero of Mahabharat as his Upadesh or
sermons in Gita is matchless in the world. Gita has become a
philosophy of life. This book teaches the importance of patience .
exhibited by the Pandavas and their unfailing faith in Krishna. It
also gives the lesson that people who have undying faith in the
Almighty will definitely emerge as victorious.
This book has been made into a serial and lot of people, not
only in India, but also abroad have seen this. They are still at awe
that the nuclear missiles we are talking today, existed in India even
then. This book is a guide to living life and characters are in
abundance in the society. For everyone Arjun there are lakhs of
Duryodhans. This book gives a closer look at life and sends the
message that egoism, over-confidence and misdeeds will always
lead us to death and destruction. This book also says that only
speaking truth does not always pay so even the Dharma Raj
.Yudhirsthir had to lie in order to win the war. This and many other
such subtle instances make this book very interesting. Women and
land has always been the cause of quarrel from Mahabharat till
today. Unfortunately, we have failed to learn any lesson from
Mahabharat and even today all these things are taking place. If we
inculcate even twenty-five per cent of what is taught in Mahabharat,
life would become quite comfortable. Ved Vyas dictated our fortune
thousands of years ago. There lies the greatness of this epic.
THE GAME I LIKE MOST
Games play an important role in the development of a person.
Just as books are the food for mind, similarly games are the
food for body. A healthy mind resides in a healthy body. Games
help us remove boredom and keep ourselves fit. Just think if there
were no games, how boring life would be. Games also entertain
us and at the same time instill a sense of discipline and confidence
in us. Games are an integral part of our life.
Games can be classified into two categories: Indoor games
and outdoor game. Chess, table-tennis, carrom, cards, badminton
are indoor games whereas cricket, football, hockey, kabbadi,
atheletics are out-door games. Badminton and table tennis. are in-
door games because they are played in a covered area, in an indoor
stadium. Most of the people prefer outdoor games and cricket tops
the popularity chart. in the preference list. As a matter of fact, the
television has popularised cricket so much so that in every locality
and even in the villages every boy is either throwing a ball or swing-
ing a bat. The film Lagaan became a roaring hit on the popularity
of cricket. Whatever maybe the case, there is no denying the fact
that games have a positive impact on a person .
. My favourite game is football. Also known as soccer, in the
Latin American countries, football is not only my favourite sport
but the most popular game throughout the globe. It is a game of
strength, intelligence skill and aggression, all combined together.
It is also the fastest game, if we do not take badminton, basketball
and table-tennis into account; all being indoor games. The game
of football involves two sides, each having eleven players. Out of
the eleven players, one player is the goal-keeper i.e., he protects
his side in such a way that the opponents cannot put the ball inside
the goal box. The remaining players put their effort in scoring goals
against the opponents. The team which scores more goals emerges
as the winner and, the other team is the loser. Scoring goals in
football is the most difficult thing in any of the games. The style
of playing football has undergone a lot of change. Earlier football
was played with long passes and dribble, now short passes are in
vogue. This aspect of football has also increased the speed of the
game. Each player has to be alert and follow the movement of the
ball alongwith that of the opponent players and their position. He
has to make the best of the least opportunity to score goals. Hence
football is all about agility.
In Europe and Latin American countries like Columbia,
Brazil, Chile, football is a passion. It generates so much of
excitement that sometimes it leads to violence. But inspite of that
football remains the most favoured game throughout the world with
legendary names like Pele, George Best, Lev Yashin, Michael
Platini, Gerd Muller, Lothar Matheus and many other greats. In
India, however the scene is contrast. People are more interested in
cricket and the multi-nationals also promote cricket in a big way.
Very few know that India reached the semi-final in 1960 Olympics
with greats like Pannalal, Chuni Goswami and host of others. It is
. high time that we take interest in football which is a more manly
game than cricket and the multinationals and Indian corporates
should sponsor the game from time to time and make it popular.
In India we have championships like the Durand Cup, Rovers Cup
and the IFA Shield besides the national championship of Santosh
Trophy. Football has been, is and will remain an evergreen game.
Hobby is something that we do in our leisure time which besides
. giving us entertainment also gives us something to learn and
develops our personality and helps us to grow into a better
individual. In other words hobby is leisure-cum-Ieaming. Different
individuals have different hobbies. Some have stamp collection,
some have diary writing, some have painting while others have
reading. Travelling is also loved by many. However cricket, music
and films cannot be called hobbies as watching cricket and films,
. and listening to music does us no good. In other words, we do not
stand to benefit from these "so-called" hobbies. These hobbies
make us only idle and good for nothing.
My hobby is writing diary. I developed this habit from a very
young age. Writing diary is an art. I write anecdotes and the things
that I have done on that particular day. It includes my good things
as well as the bad things. Good things are fine but I always make
it a point that I do not repeat anything bad. Many a times, un-
knowingly I hurt somebody, then on second thoughts when I flick
the pages of the diary I realise that I should not have done so. My
diary also has the number of times I lied to my parents and to my
friends and gradually I try not to do the same. Having written diary
for the last three years, I make it a point to jot down everything
before going to bed. My diary is also my reflection. It is a mirror
where I see myself everyday and then try to remove my defects.
Writing diary has also encouraged me to write on a subject or a
topic and today I have virtually mastered the art of writing. It has
given me a freedom of expression, which otherwise I may not have
developed. But I also keep my diary in a hidden place as I am
quite a personal individual. In fact I got my inspiration for writing
diary, after reading the book "Diary of Anne Frank". For the first
time I realised the power of written words which express feelings
more clearly than spoken words. I have even encouraged my friends
to take up this hobby and they have also started to develop
themselves by writing diary.
Unfortunately the youths of today are so engrossed with films,
music and cricket that they cannot visualise anything other than
these three. For them such frivolities tantamounts to hobbies. My
maternal aunt and sisters also have developed a hobby of learning
Indian classical dance which keeps them so preoccupied that they
do not have the time for frivolities, other than study. In today's
world the fast paced life and many other tensions have taken away
hobbies from people. and they are cut-off from the subtleties of
life and have become money-centric. It is due to this that concrete
thinking and creativity is disappearing from the society and soon
the very word "hobby" will become extinct from dictionary.
MY FAVOURITE PERSONALITY
Apersonality is a person in totality. Such individuals who make
their mark in the world and . leave footprints on the sands of
time are "Personalities". They change the world with their thoughts
and actions and become memorable. Other individuals follow them
and try to emulate them and develop themselves into such person-
alities. India is a land of eminent personalities who have made
themselves so great that the entire world respects them. Raja Ram
Mohan Roy, Dayanand Saraswati, Mahatma Gandhi, Munshi
Premchand, Rabindranath Tagore and many more such names who
have not only changed the country but also the world. Their con-
tributions in their respective fields are matchless. It is very
important that we learn something from the lives of such great
men and make out life worth living.
The personality I admire most is Swami Vivekanand, who
made India known to the western world through hisspeeches on
Hinduism and Indian culture. It was he who made the westerners
realise the depth and power of Hinduism. His famous speech in
the Conference on Religion at Chicago left people stunned and
shook the entire western community. His opening lines "Brothers
and sisters of America" created such an impact that for full five
minutes the entire auditorium clapped and left people speechless.
Swami Vivekanand was simply a volcano that waited to erupt and
when it did, it took away everyone who came in contact with him.
Such was the power of Swami Vivekanand. He symbolised
spirituality, philosophy and above all humanity.
Swami Vivekanand was born on January 12, 1863 in Kolkata
in a fairly affluent, respectable middle class Bengali family. His
earlier name was Narendranath. His basic interest in religion was
created by his mother who told him the stories of Ramayan and
Mahabharat. As a child, he was deeply interested in gods and god-
desses. Even as a child, he practised meditation before the image
of Shiva. In his younger days, Narendranath used to be very short-
tempered, but whenever he used to become angry, his mother used
to pour water on his head and recite the name of Lord Shiva and
immediately Narendranath became normal. He showed early
promise of exceptional intelligence, boundless energy, love for ex-
tensive reading of all kinds of literature, proficiency in English
language as well as in sports and games. He loved and practised
wrestling, fencing, football, rowing and physical exercises. There
was a restlessness in him, a restlessness to urge to explore new
fields of knowledge.
He joined the famous Presidency College in Kolkata, but later
studied in the General Assembly's Institution. He made an exten-
sive study of western logic, philosophy, science, history, anthro-
pology, geography and allied subjects. At the same time he made
an intensive study of Indian history, culture and civilisation
alongwith those of other eastern countries. His intellect, his
capacity to comprehend and absorb so many branches of
knowledge was truly remarkable. The turning point of
Narendranath's life came when he came in contact with the great
saint Ramkrishna Paramhans and he went on to become Swami
Vivekanand to preach the message of Vedanta to the world.
The two words which Vivekanand emphasised were
"Woman" and "People". His vision of awakened India has these
two major edifices. He sincerely hoped that "Future India" would
be greater and nobler than the India of the past. He was anxious
for the liberation and advancement of women. According to him,
the two greatest sins of India were oppression of the so-called lower
classes, the poor masses and the ill-treatment of the women. He
believed that a nation cannot progress so long as it's women are in
shackles. He wanted the Indian women and men to develop
strength. This could only be achieved through education that would
take care of the knowledge; physical and mental development as
well as the spiritual growth. He believed inthe purity of character
and loyalty to wife equally important for men.
Vivekanand's speeches and wntmgs deeply moved the
patriotic Indians. His focus of attention was the youths of India.
Addressing them he said, "Your country requires heroes; be heroes.
Stand firm like a rock. Truth always triumphs". He reminded them
that their motherland wants "muscles of iron and nerves of steel."
His words were like those of molten lava pouring from a volcano
to destroy all weakness, cowardice, hesitancy and timidity. Swamiji
symbolised the youth power as a result of which his birthday is
celebrated as "Youth Day." But above all he was a "Champion of
Humanity". He said that service to mankind is service to God,
and the Ramkrishna Mission founded by him carries on the spirit
of Swami Vivekanand. Death snatched this young, dynamic
personality at the tender age of thirty three. But by that time he
had achieved everything that people take to achieve in years. Such
is the greatness of this personality.
THE FILM I LIKE MOST
Films are the best and the cheapest medium of entertainment.
They not only entertain but also inspire. Films are the reflec-
tion of society. Films have good messages in them. Victory of good
over evil, triumph of the honest, respect to parents and similar
others. Unfortunately we always imbibe the wrong message and
blame the films for spreading violence and increasing crimes. Film
always show communal harmony while in the society there is com-
munal disturbance, so it is unfair to blame the film. Agreed, that
they show vulgarity, for this is only in very few films and as for
the dress is concerned, films have to show gloss and dress is a part
of that gloss. In real life the filmstars do not wear the dress that
they wear in the movies, so aping the heroes and heroines for their
styles is simply stupid. We go to films for entertainment and that
is it. But there are some films which leave a lasting impression on
viewer, so much so that it becomes an inspiration for him. The
film which influences a person either in the form of entertainment
or in the form of inspiration becomes his favourite film.
Similarly I also have a favourite film which I have seen time
and again and even then long to see the movie. My favourite film
is 'Anand' starring two of the biggest stalwarts of Hindi film in-
dustry. Rajesh Khanna, the king of emotions and Amitabh
Bachchan, whose silence speaks more than his words. The film is
directed by the master of human emotions, the matchless
Hrishikesh Mukherjee. They do not make films like this any more.
It is a story of a cancer-infected individual, who knQWS that death
is near, yet does not get frightened rather he faces death with smile.
The protagonist is shown as a very strong individual who faces
the truth like a soldier in a battlefield. Knowing that he has, but a
short period to live he does his best to justify his name "Anand"
by spreading happiness to everyone around him. People around
him try to assure him that nothing is going to happen and he will
be alright, but he does not take those assurances seriously and
continues with his life-style. The end is really poignant, where
Anand pacifies the people around him not to feel dejected by his
death, without fearing death himself. No wonder the film does
magic with the audience, in the sense that throughout the film the
protagonist does not shed even a single drop of tears, but the
audience leave the hall with moist eyes.
The film teaches that death is ultimate and even in the small
span, an individual can achieve a lot. Courage and happy-go-lucky
are the two main themes of movie. The film touches the inner
strings of the heart and the viewer finds himself involved with the
movie. In the film the protagonist says, "Life should not be big
but great". He drives down the point that why wait for tomorrow
if one can do something today. Tomorrow is a mystery. The film
went on to do roaring business, with a very small budget. Live life
one day at a time. The entire film revolves around the climax where
the protagonist had recorded his dialogues prior to his death.
Sadly enough today's generation is more interested in campus
love-stories and raunchy music. They do not watch a film in order
to gather something of inspiration. Rather for them making girl
friends and dating them assumes more importance. However the
film makers have understood the need to make neat and clean fam-
ily entertainers devoid of obscenity and violence and fortunately
enough people have started lapping up such movies. Once again
the family is back to the theatre for an outing. This itself indicates
that the masses have become bored with violence-oriented and silly
'movies. No doubt the Indian audience has thankfully started
appreciating good movies.
Leisure is essential in life. It rejuvenates life and makes an in
dividual fresh to go for his occupation with complete zeal.
Leisures can be indoor like listening to music, reading books,
watching television or it can be outdoor like travelling, short trip
or a picnic. Outdoor leisures also allow an individual to socialise
as the fast life of city hardly gives any chance of socialising.
Picnic is a great leisure as well as a platform for socialising.
I remember a visit to a picnic which is still fresh in my mind.
Although I have been to many picnics earlier but this was special.
It was August 15 and a week before our institute had decided to
visit Surajkund, a place few kilometers away from Delhi. Surajkund
is in Haryana and is famous for handicraft fair which is an annual
event. Since there were different groups of the institute, hence it
was more enjoyable as we would interact with students of the other
We gathered, a total of 56 students at the institute to board
the bus which was due to depart at 9.00 a.m. As we gathered, we
saw the assimilation of clouds, very dark in the sky. The weather
was perfect. Most of my colleagues had come in their best of attire.
Some of my friends carried cricket kit while the girls carried discs
and badminton rackets. There were four to five music system and
there was a lot of excitement in the air everi before we boarded
the bus. Our faculties were also accompanying us but on that
particular day, they were only friends and not faculties. For the
first time I realised that my teachers are also human being and in
the class we see only a part of their personality. I interacted with
my teachers and tried to probe into their other aspects of
As we boarded the bus, it started raining. The teachers were
in a car. The bus departed forthe destination at 9.15 a.m. Through-
out the journey, rain was with us, which in fact made the journey
very enjoyable. The students started dancing and switched on their
music system which were virtually ear-shattering. I was exchang-
ing notes with my juniors who had joined the institute just three
months back. For a moment I thought that even in Surajkund we
will have to sit in the bus, but by the time we reached there, the
rains had stopped, though clouds were still scattered in the sky. As
we deboarded the bus, the weather looked perfect for an outing.
Many other people had reached that place prior to us. So first of
all, we searched for a space near the lake underneath the blackberry
trees. Once we got the place, it was again the music and dance
and many of the revellers did not even care for the snacks; such
was the intensity of excitement. A few of my friends and I preferred
boating and it was while boating that it started to rain and all of us
got wet, while the other students had boarded the bus to avoid
getting wet. However the five' of us boated for an hour till we were
completely drenched and then parked the boat.
The clouds by now had completely dispersed, which meant
no more rain. Some of the students were playing cricket, some
badminton and some were playing discs. We took the charge of
unpacking the lunch and serving it. Around 2.30 p.m. all of us had
lunch together and thereafter back to having fun. By 4.30 p.m.,
the clouds were once again hovering above our head and it was
time for pack-up. But to great surprise, no one was willing to go.
However since we had hired the bus for a specific time period,
reluctantly everyone boarded the bus. By now the excitement had
come down and the atmosphere had become quiet. Maybe the ex-
haustion or the dejection. For me, it was a great day and the best
outing because I interacted with my teachers for the first time,
which helped me to remove my shyness and develop into a much
better and a matured person. Yes, this one picnic had made a world
of difference for me.
A MARRIAGE IN FAMILY
Indian marriages are great affair. Marriage is not only the bond-
ing between two individuals for a lifetime, but it is also a plat-
form of social gathering. In today's life, one hardly finds any time
to interact with one another and there are many families who are
not aware of their paternal's side relatives or maternal's side
relatives. Many a times we do not meet any of our cousins for
years and then suddenly find that he or she has got married.
Moreover Indian marriages are more of a fun and frolic
incorporated with lots of rituals and rites that are supposed to be
very-scientific. An Indian marriage lasts for more than a week and
preparation starts before two to three months.
I had just returned from school and the summer vacation was
still ten days to go, when my mother told my sister that Rinku is
getting married. Rinku is our maternal sister's daughter, who had
just completed her management with very high grade. She was
very friendly with my sister Ritu when we were in Lucknow. Even
after we came to Delhi, both of them kept in touch. The date for
marriage was fixed on May 30. I was, before that. planning to visit
Shimla with my friends, but at that particular moment, I gave-up
the idea. I really wanted to enjoy the marriage of my cousin. In
the evening my ever alert and intelligent daddy had bought the
train tickets for 26th May. Sensibly he also got the return ticket
for 2nd June. When I asked him that why we could not stay some
more days after the marriage, he in his witty manner replied that
while attending the marriage of a girl, one should return early
because the post-marriage scenario is quite sentimental, whereas
in the marriage of a boy, go to the marriage on the day of marriage
and return late. I realised how observant my father was, after I
returned from the marriage.
When I arrived at my cousin's house, the atmosphere was
surcharged and then to my utter joy I discovered many of my
relatives whom earlier I had never met. Everyone was busy in their
work and gossip. And suddenly I found myself all alone. I wentto
my father, who was gossiping with some relatives and sat there.
After sometime when they left, my father sensing my loneliness,
smiled and told me to observe people and write an essay the
moment you reach Delhi. He humorously remarked that in
marriages every person appears to be busy but in fact no one does
any work and there is more commotion than actual work. How
right he proved to be. By 29th May the palatial house of my aunt
seemed to be full. And the size of relatives from my maternal side
perplexed me completely so much so that I decided to keep to
For the first time in my life I realised the rituals and rites
that sanctify the marriage are so scientific. I for one consider the
Hindu marriage to be the best. The only person in the entire house
whom I found to be dejected was my aunt and I could understand
her feelings. Around 8.30 p.m. the groom came in a car followed
by many of his relatives and friends who did not seem to be tired
of dancing. I told myself let the marriage be over then for two
days, you will be bed-ridden due to body ache. The' baratis' were
well-received and after having a sumptuous dinner in which they
seemed to have fasted for this day, all of them proceeded towards
the mandap. Even today I could never understand that why do
people eat more than they normally do, in marriages. Everyone
was dressed to kill, especially the women-folk. In fact I could not
even recognise my sister in the crowd, as she had dressed up for a
beauty peagant. Anyway these are the liberations of Indian
marriage. Thereafter in the mandap the rituals and the rites
proceeded and continued till 12.30 p.m. By this time I was so
exhausted due to the excitement that I dozed off.
The very next day, the entire scenario had changed. Everyone
had moist eyes including my mother and sister. Is this also a part
of ritual or it is the emotion, I asked my father, who said both and
I wondered whether my mother and sister were performing the
ritual or were really emotional. All said and done I remembered
my father's advice about a boy's and a girl's marriage, and then
watching everyone crying I also became authentically emotional.
After my cousin left, the house had a look of isolation and. there
was a silence which was frightening. I thanked my father as our
train was at 2.00 p.m. After embracing everyone and meeting all
the relatives, we departed for the station. And even my maternal
aunt and uncle came to see us off at the station. And to my utter
surprise, I found my cousin and her husband surrounded by their
relatives at the station. It was only then I realised that the groom
was from Delhi and stayed in the same area where we stayed. After
all the entire marriage negotiation was conducted by my mother
and the groom was a young doctor Ajit, who used to frequent our
house and played cricket for our club. The day definitely belonged
to my sister, Ritu and me of being spared of her non-stop advice.
THE BEST DAY IN MY LIFE
In life of every individual' there are many memorable days which
he cherishes for the rest of his life but there is a very special
day that makes him proud. It is his best day. A day when he achieves
the best or a dream. Special days can be many. To some it is their
first job, to some it is their superb performance in studies, to some
it is their birthday and similarly many others.
Even I have a very special day in my life and I am sure there
will be more special days, but this one will always remain
embedded in my heart, because it was on this day I realised my
worth and potential, my strengths and removed my weaknesses
and enabled myself to develop into a more confident, bold and a
comparatively superior individual.
The day was the finals of state Junior Badminton
Championship. After winning my matches easily and with a narrow
win in the semi-final, defeating the second seeded player of the
state I was now to face the state junior champion for the last two
years, Sunil Singh, who also happened to be my doubles partner
and my best friend. My father was among the chief guests invited
that year. In the morning when I got up, I was quite nervous at the
thought of losing in front of my father. This was the first time in
the last three years that I reached the final, having been eliminated
in the quarter-final and semi-final respectively in. the previous years.
There was no doubt that by reaching the finals I had already earned
myself a berth in the state badminton team, but winning the
championship was my aim. I wanted to tell Sunil that this year he
should sacrifice the title in my favour, but resisted against it. A
victory based on a personal sacrifice would not be worth it.
The match was to be the second one of the evening after the
Junior Girls Finals. I reached the stadium accompanied by my
brother and common friends of Sunil and 1. My father arrived ten
minutes later. In 45 minutes the girl's final was over and the names
of Sunil and mine were announced. I touched my father's feet for
his blessings and he told me to play my natural game without the.
fear of losing. He told me that he was already proud of my achieve-
ment that I have already become a playing member of the junior
Both of us took the court smilingly cheered by our friends. I
told myself that I have to give my best and leave the rest to' destiny.
The match started and Sunil, whose approach was offensive started
in a similar fashion. The set ended in Sunil's favour 15-10. The
second.match was on and I could sense that Sunil was taking the
set in a very easy way. Maybe he wanted me to win the second
set, so that he will win the deciding set but I played my best and
won with a similar margin 15-10. This was also the first time I
had defeated him in my life. This gave me.a motivation that I can
win the championship.
The third set began and I changed my game from drop-shots
to smashes. Sunil was caught off-guard and thereafter it was a series
of unending rally. The set was becoming tiresome and the points
were virtually tied. At 11-11, I could sense the fear and frustration
of Sunil, I took out my reserved energy and increased the rally,
knowing very well that Sunil is bound to lose concentration in a
long rally and it happened. The friends were cheering for both,
but now more for me. The game was tied 13-13. I looked at my
father and could see the smile that said go ahead, even in losing, .
you will be victorious. On my serve' I scored the next point and
the game was now in my favour. My next serve was broken and I
broke Sunil's next serve to have .the advantage on my side. I served
and then started the rally and then Sunil hit a shot quite high. On
the first instinct I wanted to leave it and on the second instinct I
wanted to hit it. I followed my first instinct, the shuttle fell after
the base-line, I was ecstatic, Sunil was stunned, the crowd was
euphoric. I fulfilled my dream to' become a State Junior Champion.
As I received the Cup from the Chief Secretary of the State, I felt
proud and the pride was double due to my father's presence. It
was and will be the most memorable day in my life.
THE FESTIVAL I LIKE MOST
India is a land of festivals and festivals form a basic part of our
rich culture. Hardly a month passes, when there is no festival
big or small. Earlier festivals used to be an event people waited
for and when they came, people celebrated them with excitement
and enthusiasm. Sadly with the changing of life-styles, these
festivals have started losing their importance and people do not
show that much of zeal which was present earlier. Instead
Friendship Day, Fathers' Day, Valentine Day are more in vogue,
which signifies the erosion in culture that has taken place. Festivals
are integral to our culture and remaining passive in a festival is
definitely a disrespect to our culture.
In India there are some major festivals like Dusshera, Diwali
and Holi all of which are celebrated throughout the length and
breadth of India. My favourite festival throughout has been
Dusshera. In Bengal and eastern parts of India, this festival is also
known as 'Durga Puja' as also in some northern India and
Karnataka where it is known as Chamunda Puja. Unlike other
festivals, this festival lasts for ten days and on all the nine-days
the Devi is worshipped with the eight and the ninth day which is
Ashtami and Navami having a lot of importance. On the tenth day,
the idol of the Devi is immersed in the river. In the evening of the
tenth day is Dusshera. On this day three idols of Ravan,
Kumbhakarna and Meghnad are installed in a huge field and then
Lord Ram accompanied by Hanuman comes and shoots the arrows
into the belly of the there idols, after which there are loud bursts
of crackers and gradually.all the three idols burn out. This act
signifies the victory of good over evil.
On this day, people wear new clothes and visit their close
relatives and friends to socialise. There is no noise pollution like
Diwali and neither the spraying of dangerous colours that harms
the skin as in Holi. The festival gives the message of brotherhood
and love and rem,inds people about the importance of culture.
With the advent of the multinationals even the festivals have
started getting sponsored, which robs the festival of its basic ele-
ment and make it seem like some pop show event. One should not
forget that we as a nation are great because of these festivals which
are celebrated by our fellow countrymen staying abroad who go a
long way to popularise them among the local people of that country.
We should celebrate all festivals unitedly, without any malice to-
Iwards anyone and without causing discomfort to others: Festivals
breed friendship and humanity and they should be celebrated in
an amicable manner.
AN UNFORGETTABLE INCIDENT·
It was winter vacation and two of my friends and I decided to
visit Mumbai and Goa for a period of ten days. After lot of
cajoling we managed to obtain permission from our parents. On
December 20, Rajiv, Sunil and I boarded the train and started off
for Mumbai. It was the first time that I was going out with my
friends. We had a suitcase each, so luggage was less and we decided
that we are going to enjoy the holidays thoroughly. At Agra, a well
behaved and good looking gentleman boarded the train. His berth
was the middle one opposite to us. He seemed to be well-read
also and started gossiping with us. In the next two hours, it seemed
that the gentleman, whose name was Muninder and we, were
known to each other for years. He was a businessman and he used
to visit Mumbai quite frequently. So, he offered us to help as we
were visiting Mumbai for the first time. This made us very happy,
because in a new city, every face is a stranger. He used to put up
in a hotel and said that he will put us up in the same hotel and we
would also get concession.
We arrived in Mumbai early in the morning. Muninder took
us in a taxi to a nearby hotel named Hotel Blueboy. We checked
into our room and completed our formalities of bathing, dressing
and having breakfast. We knocked atMuninder's room. He opened
the room. We asked him to accompany us, but he said that he was
too tired and that he wanted to sleep. He also told us not to carry a
lot of money and keep the money in our room, to protect it from
pick-pockets. We did as he advised us. Thereafter we went out to
discover the city and saw some shootings, a few celebrities and
the other interesting places. We returned in the evening and went
to our room. We flung ourselves on the bed out of sheer exertion.
After some time I got up and opened my suitcase where I had kept
the purse to take out some money. To my utter dismay, the purse
was there but Rs. 1,5001- was gone. I immediately told Sunil and
Rajiv to open their suitcase and check their purse. The story was
the same there Rs, 3,0001- missing from Sunil's purse and Rs.
5,0001- from Rajiv's purse. We went to Muninder's room. When
the door opened, a stranger looked at us staringly. We went to the
counter of the hotel where we were told that Muninder had left
the room two hours after we had left and the bill is to be paid by
us. We were shocked out of our wits. We were stranded in a city
where we knew none, with only Rs. 2601- in pocket and a bill of
Rs. 6001- to be paid before vacating the room.
All of us were dejected and totally at a loss what to do. Rajiv
suggested that we sell our wrist-watches and try to get some money
and vacate the hotel without paying the bill. Sunil got irritated
and let out curses on Muninder and said that if he ever meets
Muninder he will definitely kill that man. Even I started to rack
my brains. That night none of us ate anything and due to empty
stomach could "not sleep. We also cursed ourselves for being
cheated, and all the while we thought that we were the smartest
company on this planet.
The next day was December 24, and every person seemed to
be in a festive mood, with the exception of us. It was then that I
decided to take a risk. My father worked in State Hank of India,
Delhi. I decided to trace my father and inform him. I alongwith
my friends went to the head office of State Bank at Nariman Point
and then met a banker to whom we narrated our stor-y. He said he
can do a favour and that I could speak to my father at Delhi. After
a long wait I was able to talk to him and told him about the mishap.
On hearing this, he directed me to one of his friends working in a
different department and said that lean borrow Rs. 2,0001- from
him. It was 2.00 p.m. by now and people were already on the verge
of going to their houses, it being a Saturday. When we reached the
ninth floor where the gentleman was working, he was about to
leave and was waiting for us. He already had got the message from
my father and handed Rs. 2,0001- to me, with a piece of advise
"Never trust a friend on a train journey". When we came out of
the bank, we felt rejuvenated.
We went to the hotel and checked out after clearing the dues.
We shifted to railway dormitory as the ticket was scheduled for
26th December. After spending the Christmas Day in Mumbai,
we boarded the train for Delhi. I bought a copy of "Times of India",
at the station and a news item caught my attention. "Wanted". I
read the news item and continued it an page 4 and to my great
shock, the wanted cheat was none else other than Muninder whose
real name was Ravinder.
This incident still haunts me at night and I can never forget
IMPORTANCE OF FRIENDSHIP
The entire world is based on relationship. Father-son, Mother-
daughter and vice versa, Husband-Wife, Teacher-Student,
Brother-sister. Besides these there are business relations, romantic
relations and many other relations. And in most of such relations,
there are expectations, there are give and take. Some of these
relations are God sent while some others are imposed on us. But
the only relationship which we choose ourselves without having
any expectations and give and take attitude is friendship.
Friendship as a relation is above all relations. One of the
greatest example of such a relation is that of Krishna and Sudama
as depicted in our mythology. The purest form of relation is that
of friendship. It is one relationship that defies caste, creed, religion,
colour and status. It is above all such social issues. Friendship is a
relation which is more like a Banyan tree that takes a long time to
grow but as it grows, it becomes stronger and spreads its branches
and later on gives shade when a person is tired of the heat. There
are many quotes regarding friendship which interpret friendship
in varied ways but the elementary thing is that a friend is always
there when you need him. A friend can be trusted, confided to at
any point of time. Many a times we introduce someone known to
us as a friend, while that person can be simply an acquaintance.
A friend does not necessarily mean someone from outside.
A father, mother, teacher, brother, sister and even wife, daughter
and son can be a friend. In this world, everybody wants
companionship and more often than not searches outside but does
not take into the consideration of the people around him. Rather,
it is much better to be friends with those related to us by blood
than those from outside. But even in friendship it is always better
to be friendly with people who are more knowledgeable than us,
so that we can benefit being in their company. A person who selects
friends on the basis of social standing and wealth, ultimately regrets
in life. Because both these elements can be here today and gone
tomorrow. Friendship is actually a divine blessing and very few
people in this materialistic world can boast of good and authentic
friend. Friends can only be few and the selected. Having too many
friends is as good as having no friends.
In today's concept the friendship has acquired altogether a
different meaning. In today's circumstances friendship is related
to' girl-friends. How boring? Friends are friends; one need not
justify the gender of friend and classify them into boy-friends and
girl-friends. Days such as Friendship Day have in reality degraded
the word friendship. How can there be a day for friends. Every
day is for the friend. Friendship is a relationship that develops with
time with strong roots that cannot be separated, just like a Banyan
tree has to be cut but it cannot be uprooted. Today's friendship is
like a rose flower which blooms today and withers tomorrow. In
fact, the gifting of rose on friendship day amply makes it clear
that it is short lived relationship. Today's generation, influenced
by the Western culture has forgotten the importance of friendship
which our mythologies tell us. Even the friendship between Kama
and Duryodhan, which proved to be destructive for Kama, is also
exemplary. It is much better if we go by the Indian style of
friendship and leave the Western style where one asks "Would you
like to be my friend?" Friendship is not proposed, it simply happens
and when it becomes strong, it is divine.
WHAT AILS INDIAN SPORT?
In a country having a population over 100 crore, we have not
. won a single gold medal in any individual event in Olympics, is
not only shocking but at the same time thought-provoking. After
all what is the problem with our sportsmen? On the other hand
countries which are one-tenth the size ofIndia like Germany, Cuba,
France keep on winning gold medals Olympics after Olympics.
Moreover even in games like football, hockey, table-tennis, bad-
minton, basketball, volleyball, we do not have anything to talk
about, leave alone to feel proud about. Barring tennis in the last
two years and a shooting meteor in badminton, once in twenty
years, the Indian sports scenario is pathetic. We will not discuss
cricket as it is not an international sports and does not matter in
international arena. Moreover, barring Australia and England, the
game is played mostly by the under-developed nations and
developing nation like India. It's international recognition is
limited, hence the scope of taking cricket as international sports is
out of scope.
Once upon a time hockey was a game much in demand with
India having been world champions and winning the gold medals
in Olympics, which has been India's only moment of honour in
the International sporting arena. With the passage of time astra-
turf or artificial playground came int? existence, but India took
notice of this change after a long time and hence the poor
performance. Whereas in the European countries all matches are
played on astro-turf where the movement of the ball is faster than
the normal turf; in India there are few selected astro-turfs.
Moreover, the money is also not very motivating in hockey. The
same applies for football, where India has reached the semi-final
of 1960 Olympics at Mexico. Besides this India has also won the
gold in Asiad. But the lack of facilities have hurled the Indian
football into pathetic abyss. Politicisation of sports is also a very
big evil in India, where people who have no idea of head or tail of
the game become Presidents of different associations and start
nepotism, regionalism and many other "isms" which kill the basic
spirit of the sports.
As far as tennis is concerned, the Indian government has no
hand in the success of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi. In fact,
they managed their expenses and fought their way into the
international tennis arena, making a name for themselves. Same
about Pullela Gopichand, who with little help from the Badminton
Association of India, went on to win the All-England Champion-
ship. But these achievements are nothing to boast of. When Karnam
Malleswari wins a bronze medal, the nation goes into a frenzy,
whereas it should hang its head in shame with sending one of the
largest contingent to Olympics and coming back with a single
Government negligence in promoting the game is the main
reason. The youths of today are taking to cricket simply because
of the money and glamour. The corporate houses should come for-
ward and sponsor the games and not after the individuals make a
name for themselves, running after them for sponsorship. Students
should take to these games from an early age and devote time for
it, other than uselessly watching cricket on television. It is a matter
of pride to represent the country, than being one among the crores
of faces watching and clapping for others. We need to have youths
who can redefine the sports of the country, with their strength and
skill. Or else the world will say "One hundred crore of population
and not a single individual man enough to win a gold?" The answer
lies with the present generation.
INDIA AS A SECULAR STATE
Secularism means Sarvadharma Sambhav, that is equal
respect for all religions. This is a positive interpretation of secu-
larism and should be preached and propagated. India, as a country
and nation, has always been secular. It has never been theocratic,
sectarian and communal state. Inspite of the fact that Indian masses
have always been deeply religious; religious-intolerance, hatred,
fundamentalism etc., have never been a part of their ethos. Re-
spect for another's faith, religion, religious practice and peaceful
preaching have been the hallmark of Indian culture and civilisa-
tion. Unity in cultural and religious diversity is one of the unique
features of Indianness. Live and let live, compassion, tolerance,
non-violence and adjustability have always been the essence of
Indian religious preaching and practice.
India is inhabitated by the followers of many different reli-
gions, faiths, sects, way of living and thinking. There are the Hindus,
the Muslims, the Sikhs, the Jains, the Buddhists, the Christians,
the Parsis, and many others. The Hindus have always been the
majority community but their religious outlook and practice have
never been narrow, sectarian and fundamentalist. They never
believed in conversion, coercion, intolerance or religious persecu-
tion. India is the only country where civilisation and culture has
been like a continuous flow since times immemorial only because
of its deep-rooted faith in religious' tolerance, co-existance and non-
interference in one another's religious affairs.
India has been a melting point of various religions, cultural
currents and cross currents. Besides these major religions, there
are about 183 other religious sects and' persuasion. In Hinduism
itself, there are hundreds of sects following different religious
practices, rites, rituals and ways of worship and prayer.
Communal tensions, conflicts and frictions have been rela-
tively of recent origin and can be traced back to the British rule.
They always followed the policy of "divide and rule". The partition
ofthe subcontinent into India and Pakistan was clearly a legacy of
the British nile. They were quite successful to a large extent in
sowing the seeds of communal disharmony, tension and conflict.
This resulted in the partition and the assassination of Mahatma
Gandhi. Despite all these tragic events of epic dimensions, India's
commitment to secularism has never been in doubt. Even the
founder of Pakistan, Jinnah was originally a secular political leader.
But having felt side-lined on the pre-independence political scene,
he used religion as a trump card to satisfy his ego and ambition.
Ultimately Jinnah had his "moth-eaten" Pakistan, a product of
his vicious communalism.
India is a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic Repub-
lic. The Indian Constitution guarantees its citizens full freedom in
matter of religion, faith and practice. One of the fundamental rights
and freedoms granted to all citizens individually and collectively
is the "right to freedom of conscience and free profession, practice
and propagation of religion"; Moreover, each and every section
of the citizens have the "right to conserve its culture, language or
script and right to establish and administer educational institutions
of their choice" . There is no discrimination on the basis of religion
and caste, among other things. There is a complete religious
freedom unless it interferes in the freedom of other religions. Here,
in India, religion and its practice has been recognised as a personal
and a private affair. It means that there is no mixing up of religion
Despite all these, there ha~e been conflicts, tensions and
frictions among the people and between different communities.
But most of these were of political nature, instigated by the self-
centered politicians and communal zealots. The communal and
obscurantist forces should not be allowed at all to undermine the
secular spirit, peace, harmony, co-existence and religious tolerance.
No political party or leaders should be allowed to raise the bogey
of religion and community.
CONCEPT OF WELFARE STATE
India is a Welfare State and its constitution guarantees certain
fundamental rights and freedoms to all its citizens. These are
justifiable and cannot be violated by the government. The
sovereignty is vested in the public and they are the real masters.
The Directive Principles of State Policy further strengthen the
concept of a Welfare State as they are to be borne in mind while
carrying on the state administration. These direct the government
to st-rive continuously for the welfare of its citizens. Social welfare
and well-being can be said to be the essence of Indian Constitution.
The state is a political institution and structure in society
created to achieve objectives in regard to serving its citizens with
more and better material, mental and spiritual gains. Its aim is to
make the life of every citizen more secure, comfortable, interesting
and meaningful. An individual is a social unit essential for a society
and government. Society is an everchanging and evolving complex
system and the state is the expression of its desire for better order,
discipline, growth and governance. In democratic societies and
states, public is the ultimate sovereign power, though the state is
run by a particular political party or group of such parties voted to
power. The ultimate sovereignty of the masses is the cornerstone
of democratic states. Thus, a state should reflect the collective will,
aspirations, desires and ambitions of a society and work for the
welfare of its citizens. It should ensure conditions that are
conducive to the proper and rapid development of the individual
and the society as a whole.
A state makes a particular society more organised, united,
purposeful and disciplined, thereby ensuring a better standard of
living and growth. There is a better sense of belonging, likeness
and commonness because of the state. The state imparts a sense
of nationality, patriotism, and togetherness to a society. Therefore,
it is in the fitness of the scheme that a state should always aim at
welfare of the individual and the society as a whole. The concept
of a state as a mere instrument of political power or the Police
State is now outdated. Maintenance of law and order; internal
security, discipline etc., are the essential duties of a government
in a state but within the framework of social welfare. The state
has to ensure that there is no repression, high-handedness,
exploitation and harassment due to police excess. Equality before
law, equality of opportunity etc., form the essence of modern polity.
There should not be any discrimination on the basis of cast, creed,
birth, status, gender etc., in a welfare state. The weak and backward
have to be protected against the strong and the privileged.
The major goals of a welfare state are economic balance, eco-
nomic growth, social and political justice, better standards of living
and safeguarding certain basic rights and freedoms. Thus, the con-
cept of a welfare state is very wide and inclusive and envisages an
order in which all have access to basic needs of life and a decent
and honourable living. It implies social, economical, physical, men-
tal and spiritual welfare of the people to the maximum possible
extent in a given situation and society.
Freedom from want and fear are the two fundamental pillars
which a welfare state is built upon. Freedom from want means
proper employment opportunities, removal of poverty, a decent
living and literacy, and physical and mental health. Freedom from
fear involves social and economic security, guarantee of human
rights and fundamental freedoms. In a welfare state, the
benevolence is quite widespread and also includes such schemes
as unemployment, sickness and disabled insurance, old-age
pension, maternity and accident benefits, child and women welfare
programmes etc. The provision of free, compulsory and universal
elementary education, more opportunities for better and higher
education and health facilities through the use of government funds
are the- other essentials of a welfare state.
Welfare is not a matter of clarity. Article 17 of the Constitu-
tion abolishes untouchability and forbids its practice in any form.
The onus of implementation of various welfare schemes is being
shared between the state and the central government. The centre
is responsible for formulating welfare policies and programmes
besides coordinating, guiding and promoting implementation of
welfare services by the various states. Many schemes are being
implemented to secure the welfare of schedule tribes and castes,
minorities, backward classes and other weaker sections of the
society like women, children and disabled persons.
Recently the centre has taken a decision to make the right to
primary education as a fundamental right. It is a step in the right
direction. Education is the backbone of the nation and helps in
economic freedom. Freedom is of no use, unless there is freedom
from hunger, ignorance, fear and superstitions. It is the fundamental
duty of the welfare state to' alleviate poverty; spread literacy and
remove economic and social disparity. These areas should be given
the top priority in our planned development.
Protection and conservation of wildlife and forests are essential
to maintain the health and environment of the only planet where
human beings inhabitate. Forests are part and parcel of our envi-
ronment. They are the most valuable gifts and resources bestowed
to us by nature. They are the natural home of the birds and animals.
They playa key role in the maintenance of the climate, rain pat-
terns, water and soil conservation. They supply timber, fuel, medi-
cines, wood and raw materials for many industries. The increas-
ing destruction of wildlife is a matter of grave concern. India being
the second most populous country in the world, there is much
pressure on our natural resources including forests.
The conservation of wildlife which includes native plants and
animals, depends on protection of forests. Wildlife is a direct off-
spring of the land resources and habitat conditions. The neglect of
forests means the destruction of wild animals. Destruction of
forests, wetlands, grasslands, ponds, marshes etc., eliminates their
source of food, water and habitat. The National Wildlife Action
Plan launched in 1983, aims to provide the framework of strategy
as well as programme for conservation of wildlife. The protected
area network till 1993 consisted of 75 national parks, 421 sanctu-
aries covering 4.5 per cent of the total geographical area which
was proposed to be increased to 5.1 per cent. The Wildlife
Protection Act, 1972 governs wildlife conservation and protection
of endangered species. The Act prohibits trade in rare and endan-
gered species. India is a signatory to the Convention on
International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Flora and
Fauna. Under this, the export and import of these endangered
species is subject to strict control. Commercial exploitation of such
species is prohibited. Endangered species of plants and animals
FORESTS AND WI~DLIFE
have been brought under the purview of the Act.
India is very rich both in flora and fauna but many plants
and animal species are already extinct and many others are on the
way to extinction. India is a huge country and a sub-continent and
one of the major wildlife producer countries in the world and yet
it does have adequate staff to safeguard the interests of wildlife.
Poachers are on the prowl even in the sanctuaries and protected
forest areas. They have become fertile hunting grounds for illegal
hunting and killing of animals especially for their skins which fetch
very good price in the international market. The rich and influen-
tial people have been indulging in hunting, killing and trading of
wildlife with impunity.
There is a mindless destruction of forests for timber, firewood
and fuel. Every year there is a loss of about 1.3 hectares of forest
area in India because of large and indiscriminate clearing of forests
for cultivation, quarrying and large dams and irrigation projects.
Then there is intensive and indiscriminate logging for commercial
places by contractors. Over-grazing has also taken its toll. The
result is serious ecological imbalance and environmental degra-
dation. There is much pressure on forests and the relation between
men and forests has reached the nadir.
Conservation of forests and wildlife is also important from
aesthetic point of view. They make life beautiful and colourful.
Without them human life will lose its charm and meaning. Their
proper protection and conservation also means a continuous and
adequate supply of food, fodder, timber, medicines etc. Forests
and wildlife are renewable resources which need to be diligently
protected, preserved and increased in a planned way. There is the
need to spread awareness about forest and wildlife conservation.
Social forestry should be taught in the schools as a subject. More
and more trees should be planted, protected and seen growing and
maturing. There should be ban on circus or mobile zoos, and animal
rights activists should come forward to wage a war on behalf of
mute and innocent animals. In fact, corporates have seized this
change to encourage their business by announcing their love for
the nature, but in this respect Godrej has done a lot of concrete
work to protect and conserve the wildlife and environment.
Biodiversity means the total number of variety of species in a
particular region and environment. It consists both of flora
and fauna, that is plant and animal life. Thus biodiversity reflects
the congregation of plant and animal life in a given space and en-
vironment. It is an all inclusive term and includes all kinds of living
beings and things. The earth is the only known living planet and
that makes it unique. As far as the variety and diversity of life is
concerned, it is mind-boggling and endless. There are over 400
thousand known and described species of plants and 1.3 million
that of animals in the world, and many more are being added to
the list. A rough estimate suggests that there might be 3 million to
10 million varieties of animal and plant life on the earth. It only
means that what we know about our biodiversity till today is just
like a tip of the iceberg.
India alone accounts for some 126 thousand varieties of
animal and plant life. India is one of the 12 mega-centres of
biodiversity. So far about 45 thousand species of plants and 81
thousand species of animals have been identified and described.
The great variety of Indian flora includes some 15 thousand
flowering plants which is about 6 per cent of the global total. And
the Indian fauna consists of 372 species of mammals, 1228 species
of birds, 446 reptilians, 206 amphibians, 2,546 fishes, 40,000
insects and 5,000 mollusc species. Many of these species are
endemic and found only in particular floristic and fauna regions.
But unfortunately about 1,500 plants and 300 animal species are
now threatened and endangered and hundreds extinct. The plant
or animal species become endangered 'when their numbers are so
few that they are on the verge of extinction. For instance the rhino,
the tiger, the gharial, the bear, the musk deer are some of the
endangered species in our country. It is roughly estimated that since
the year 1600 till early 1980s as many as 115 mammals and 171
birds besides countless species of reptiles, amphibians and fishes
have become extinct and many more are on the verge of extinction.
As far as plants are concerned over 5 thousand species have become
extinct and over 15,000 have become endangered during this period
all over the world. It is believed that now there is a loss of about
50 species everyday which is likely to increase with the ever
increasing pollution and destruction of green-cover. About 50 to
60 per cent of the species live in tropical forest and these areas
have now become the most endangered ecosystem.
The decrease in biodiversity has serious short and long term
implications because the loss caused by it is irreversible. Moreover,
the species loss has a cumulative effect. The loss of one plant or
animal may result in the loss of 30 or more of other dependent
Pollution is the biggest threat to biodiversity. It has already
decreased biological diversity to a great extent. For instance, the
plastic pollution is a world-wide phenomenon. Plastics cannot be
re-cycled but only 'down cycled'. With every down cycling the
quality of plastic deteriorates. When plastic is burnt, it releases
toxic substances in the atmosphere. Many stray cattle and other
animals die a slow and painful death because they swallow the
plastic and polythene bags while foraging the garbage and dustbin
Water pollution has also increased alarmingly all over the
world. Sewage and industrial wastes have fouled our seas, oceans,
rivers, lakes, ponds and other sources of water. Even the water
underground and above in the atmosphere has become polluted,
causing acid rains. The norms regarding the discharge of the
industrial effluents are flouted openly. The spillage of oil in the
ocean contaminated the water to such an extents that even deep
ocean mammals like whales are affected resulting in death. The
destruction of the purity of our water resources is causing havoc.
Nuclear tests, explosions and accidents are also great threat
to our biosphere and biodiversity. They release very large quanti-
Essays at Horne
ties of radioactive material in the atmosphere and their evil effects
last for centuries. They poison water, soil, and air thus endangering
By protecting biodiversity, we protect and save ourselves be-
cause man is an integral part of biological diversity. Man's ultimate
interests are inextricably inter-linked with the interests of other
animals and plants. Man exposes himself to doom by foolish com-
mercial exploitation of natural resources. Good ecology, rich
biodiversity and clean environment, pure air and water, salubrious
climate, brings healthy and natural living and a sound relationship
between nature and man. Biodiversity plays a significant role in
maintaining the delicate ecological balance and equilibrium. The
different types of insects, birds, reptiles, animals, plants and herbs
help in the process of recycling of waste products into nutrients.
Their variety, health and abundance reflect the health of the envi-
ronment and the quality of human life. A mature, sound and stable
relationship between man and other species of animal and plant is
the need of the hour.
SHIVAJI- THE MARA THA
Born on April 10, 1627 to Shahji and Jijabai, Shivaji belongs
to that rare category of ambitious heroes who will inspire the
generations to come. Shivaji not only carved out for himself a
kingdom in Marathaland and liberated the Maratha nation, but also
secured an everlasting niche for himself in history.
The legend goes that Shahji had a dream in which he was
offered a mango by sharing which with his wife, he would have a
son, who would be Shiva incarnate. In the due course of time when
the son was born, he was eventually named Shivaji. Shivaji's
mother Jijabai, was a pious and a devout Hindu lady, who had
immense faith in God. She was the person responsible for making
Shivaji for what he is remembered. As it was the practice of the
feudalistic society, Shahji got another wife for himself and the self-
respecting Jijabai shifted from Shivner, the birthplace of Shivaji
to Poona. She spared no pains and took matchless care in bringing
up and educating young Shivaji, grooming him into a historical
Right from the young age, Shivaji loved freedom and this
aspect was inculcated by Jijabai who told him stories of great
heroes which instilled in his mind courage and love for adventure.
As a child he was exceptionally bold and fearless and dreamed of
his own kingdom since thirteen years of age: It is said that when
as a child, his father took him to Bijapur court, riot only did he
refuse to bow his head, but also bathed and washed to purify
himself, after returning from the court of the Mughal rule. At the
age of twenty years, he ventured into his first military operation.
Accompanied by three of his childhood friends and some soldiers,
he attacked the famous 'Toran' fort of Bijapur, The fort was
captured without much difficulty. He also got a sizeable booty .
. This act made him popular among the Maratha youths, who flocked
to join his service. It encouraged Shivaji, in the attainment of his
mission and dream.
Shivaji was the pioneer of today's Guerilla Waifare. The
exploits of Shivaji, reached the Bijapur court, where his father
Shahji was employed. The Nawab of Bijapur wrote to Shivaji to
come and meet him. Shivaji made it clear that he could only present
himself after the Nawab gave back the conquered territory to
Shivaji. This angered the Nawab and he imprisoned Shivaji's father
and threatened Shivaji with dire consequences if he failed to meet
the Nawab. Shivaji thought of a plan. He wrote a letter to
Shah Jahan regarding the freedom of his father. Shah Jahan did
not like the Nawab of Bijapur and wanted an excuse to interfere.
He issued the order at once,and the Nawab had to free Shahji.
Such was the intelligence of Shivaji. This was a remarkable
diplomatic feat which won him lot of admirers and soared his
One of the most interesting of his guerilla warfare, is his duel
with Afzal Khan. Shivaji was an eyesore for the Nawab of Bijapur.
In order to eliminate, he sent a giant-sized Afzal Khan with a large
number of selected soldiers to defeat Shivaji. Afzal Khan wanted
to kill Shivaji by deception so he sent a concilliatory message to
him. It was agreed tha~ both would meet along With two security
men each. When both of them met each other, AfzlifKhan tried to
strangulate Shivaji by pressing his neck under his arm·and hitting
him with his dagger. Intelligent as he was Shivaji outwitted him.
He had already protected himself against an attack and had also
concealed a dagger in his sleeve. He had fitted steel point to his
left hand. Unable to free himself from the grip of Afzal Khan, •.
Shivaji drove with his right hand his dagger into Khan's back and
tore open his belly with the steel points in his left hand. Afzal
Khan's army was badly defeated and completely mauled. It yielded
Shivaji a considerable booty in the form of trained animals and
The Mughal ruler Aurangzebsent one of his trusted generals,
Shayista Khan, who was also the maternal uncle of Aurangzeb.
Shayista Khan was outmanoeuvred by Shivaji, who attacked
suddenly and Shayista Khan fled in panic, but not before losing
his thumb. This angered Aurangzeb to the extent and he launched
a massive attack on Shivaji's territory. Shivaji agreed to meet
Aurangzeb, but once he went to meet, Shivaji was imprisoned.
Here again he outwitted the Mughal emperor, by escaping in a
basket on the pretext of distributing sweets.
Shivaji crowned himself at a coronation ceremony arranged
at his capital Rajgarh. Jijabai's dream was fulfilled. She died about
two weeks after the coronation ceremony. Shivaji continued torule
in a democratic style and became popular even outside the
Marathaland. He won many a battle and in one such battle, he
injured his knee joint which developed a swelling. The swelling
did not respond to medical care and proved to be fatal. Shivaji
died on April 3, 1680.
It can be easily said of him that Shivaji in his personal activity
surpasses all generals who have record in the history. He met every
emergency of risk, however sudden or extreme with instant
intelligence and unshakable fortitude. In loyalty of his soldiers,
he had no peers.
RAJA RAM MOHAN ROY-THE
There was a time when India passed through the darkest period
of history. It was the period when dead traditions, fossilised
customs and irrational bigotry had chocked the life stream of the
nation, when knowledge had been lost and it was the time of unre-
lenting darkness. At that moment of darkness and drought appeared
Ram Mohan Roy.
Great men are the focal points of the concentrated creative
energy of time force that invisibly operates in the history of human
civilization. When Ram Mohan Roy appeared on the stage of In-
dian history in the latter part of the 18th century, Muslim rule was
crumbling. The British who had come to India as traders, were
slowly taking over the reins from their counterparts.
On 22nd May 1772, Ram Mohan Roy was born in a village
of Rajhanagar in West Bengal. Ram Mohan Roy's father, Ramakant
Roy, was an orthodox Hindu following the Shastras and his mother
was a woman of intelligence and considerable firmness of
Ram Mohan Roy started his education in Patna, the then seat
of Islamic learning, where he learned Arabic, Persian, the Koran
and Islamic theology. On his return from Patna, Ram Mohan
undertook the writing of treatise on idolatry and superstitions pre-
vailing in the Hindu society. He rejected the principal of the su-
pernatural process and power of miracle. He wrote, "It is customary
with common people, labouring under the whims that when they
see any act or thing done beyond their power of comprehension,
or for which they cannot make out any obvious cause they ascribe
-it to the supernatural power or miracle". Ram Mohan Roy totally
rejected the argument and claims in favour of miracles and even
went so far as to assert that even God has no power to transgress
laws. As he puts it "It is an admitted fact that the creator has no
power to create impossible things". This was the foundation on
which he formed the "Brahmo Samaj", which was based on the
theism of Hindu scriptures. His main idea was to purge the society
of religious evils. Thus he was also a religious reformer.
Raja Ram Mohan Roy realised that without radical transfor-
mation in the educational set-up, prevailing in India at that time,
it would not be possible to awaken the nation from the slumber of
two . centuries. The entire education system needed to be·
overhauled. He was very keen that scientific education be
introduced in India, so that the people through the study of Science,
might throw off superstition and take to the path of enlightenment
as was being done in the countries of Europe. In 1822 Ram Mohan
Roy started a High School under the auspices of the Unitarian
Association and bore all the expenses himself. Rabindranath Tagore
was a student in this school. While in other schools, science was
taught in English, in this school, it was taught in Bengali. Ram
Mohan Roy was an educational reformer also.
Ram Mohan Roy worked fearlessly for the betterment of the
miserable economic plight of the Indian people. In his evidence
before the Parliamentary Committee in 1832, Ram Mohan Roy
stated, "The condition of the cultivators is very miserable, they
are placed at the mercy of the Zamindar's greed and ambition.
The landlords have met with indulgence from the government in
assessment of their revenues, while no part of it is extended towards
the poor cultivators." He pointed out that while the Zamindar has
greatly benefited by the Permanent Settlement of 1793, the poor
cultivators were not better off at all. He agitated against the
exploitation of the peasants who came to sell their crops and veg-
etables in the village market owned by the zamindars.
Ram Mohan Roy was the "Champion of social reforms".
And in the field of social reforms, it is the abolition of Sati
System in particular, with which his name is inextricably woven.
He launched a powerful campaign against this inhuman system.
He roused public opinion ag;ainst it and at last got it declared
"illegal" in 1829 by Lord William Bentinck. He was also against
polygamy, which was prevalent in those days. He pleaded against
the system by quoting Hindu scriptures and again was successful
in creating a strong public opinion against this evil. It was his
relentless fight against such social evils that got him the title of
"Raja" from the British government.
He played a leading role not only in fighting social evils but
also in reviving the pride in our ancient culture and heritage. He
was truly the father of the cultural revival, which was in reaction
against the great challenge thrown by the western culture and
civilisation which was politically dominant and economically
powerful. He was a champion of humanitarianism.
All these activities had an adverse effect on his health and
after a short period of illness Raja Ram Mohan Roy passed into
history on 27th September 1833. His earthly remains lie in a
graceful Mausoleum at Bristol and this country continues to
remember him as the "Father of Indian Renaissance".
A GREAT POET
D abindranath Tagore, the first Indian and Asian recipient of the
ftNoble Prize, is equally famous in India and abroad.
Rabindranath Tagore was born on 8th May, 1861 in Kolkata, West
Bengal. His father Devendranath Tagore was one of the founder
members of Brahmo Samaj, alongwith Raja Ram Mohan Roy. His
mother's name was Sharda Devi. Tagore was the youngest of the
fourteen brothers and sisters. Rabindranath's childhood was not
very happy as he lost his mother at a very tender age. He could
not communicate much with his father as his father, being a
zamindar was pre-occupied with his own pursuits. Rabindranath
never liked schools and had his basic education at home. He was,
as a matter of fact not much interested in studies at all. He was too
independent, too sensitive and too dreamy to fall into the tradi-
tional rut. From a young age, he developed a love for nature and
at the age of eight he wrote his first few lines of a poem, by
observing the rain.
Though Rabindranath Tagore learnt to write English rather
late by the standards of today, yet he was able to achieve a distinct
beautiful style of his own. It is also very surprising that though he
started painting at a very old age yet he achieved an individuality
of style in this art. In fact, whatever art he took, he excelled in it; a
sign of a genius. Tagore was a prolific writer. Out of eighty years
he lived, he did his literary work for seventy years. He started
writing poems as a child of eight and continued it till his death.
His literary production was vast and varied. Poems, drama, short-
stories, novels, letters, essays and sermons flowed from his pen.
He wrote on all subjects-literary, religion, social reform,
language, music, science, politics and education. Such was his
knowledge and mastery of the subjects.
Tagore is many things rolled into one. He is a playwright,
novelist, painter, philosopher, freedom fighter and educationalist.
But above all he is a poet. His position as a world poet is now
universally recognised through the English translation of most of
his major writings. He is basically a religious poet and perlfaps
the greatest religious poet the world has ever produced. But at the
same time he is a poet of nature, poet of love, poet of childhood
and a poet of patriotism. On November 13, 1913, he was awarded
the Noble Prize in Literature for his collection of well-known
poems named 'Geetanjali':
Rabindranath Tagore had great love for humanity. Love for
mankind is the very essence of his religion. He said in one of his
poems "God neither exists in temples nor in the forest, he exists
in your self and in the corner of your room" . Man is the measure
of all things for him. He once remarked, "If there be any truth
absolutely unrelated to humanity, then for us it is absolutely non-
existing". He denounced the aggressive nationalism of the West
and deemed it a crime against humanity. All his writings border
on human relations. He had an acumen for human relationship and
gave it different touches in all his writings. His-lonely childhood
added with his power of observation was responsible for this aspect.
Tagore's love for humanity is the outcome of his spirituality.
His love for mankind is result of his love for God. He is a mystical
poet, he sings of man and nature, life and death, love and beauty
and their relations to the infinite spirit. He composed songs and
even now-a-days his songs have been translated into Hindi and
incorporated in the films.
He was opposed to foreign rule. His fierce patriotic feelings
gave rise to Jana Gana Mana which today is our national anthem.
He had a great love for Gandhi and the title Mahatma was given
by Tagore, who used to call him Mahatma Gandhi and that is how
Gandhi is known universally. However he strongly disliked the
slavish mentality of the politicians of his time and this is perhaps
the reason that he never participated in politics. He was also
awarded with the knighthood of "Sir" by the British Government,
but after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, he returned the knighthood
to the British Government in 1919.
He spent the remaining of his life in building
"Shantiniketan", the first school in India without class. He believed
that one can learn a lot from nature and hence classes are conducted
under trees in the laps of nature. Shantiniketan is an institution of
education, art and culture. Tagore wanted to bring the East and
the West closer to each other. Shantiniketan later on developed
into the Visva Bharati University.
Rabindranath Tagore breathed his last on August 8,1941,
without seeing a free India. He died with this grief buried in his
heart. The world lost a great poet.
SUBHAS CHANDRA BOSE-THE
S ubhas Chandra Bose belongs to that galaxy of heroes of the
national movement whose memory is highly cherished by their
countrymen and whose name evokes a responsive chord in their
heart. Subhas Bose holds a distinguished place in that galaxy. He
was one of the vocal Congress leaders and later on a revolutionary
leader of India.
Sdbhas Bose was born on 23rd January 1897 in Cuttack,
Orissa. His father Jankinath Bose was a flourishing lawyer who
later on became Chairman of Municipal Corporation. He also
promoted the cause of education in the province and also insisted
on higher education for his children. Subhas' mother was Prabha
Bati, who was a learned lady of religious views. She was a devotee
of Swami Ramkrishna Paramhansa. Like Shivaji, Subhas Bose also
had a strong imprint of his mother's views on his life.
He was an exceptional child who showed the sign of revolu-
tionary spirit even from his early days. He passed his Intermedi-
ate examination in the first division in 1915. He was the student
of Presidency College, Kolkata. There is an interesting incident
which exhibits the boldness of Subhas since his college days. There
was a professor by the name of Mr. Oten, who was in the habit of
insulting India and Indian people at every conceivable opportunity.
Other students could put up with this insult, but Subhas Bose was
made of different stuff. Once when he openly abused one of the
students in the class and used abusive words for Indians, Sub has
Bose could not tolerate it. After the class was over Subhas went
upto Prof. Oten and slapped him in the full view of the college.
He was rusticated from the college and returned to Cuttack. At the
intervention of Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee, a well known personal-
ity of Bengal, he was re-admitted and passed his B.A. examina-
tion in ] 9] 9.
Though he had no intention to join the civil service under
the British Government, he did go to England and appeared in the
ICS (now IAS) examination in deference to the wishes of his father.
He got fourth position in the merit list, but he did not join the
British bureaucracy. He had a mission in life: to liberate his
motherland from the shackles of British slavery.
Subhas Bose returned to India in 1921. Those were the days
of Non-Cooperation Movement. He did not join the agitation
because of his differences with Gandhiji in regard to thoughts.
Lokmanya Tilak and Lala Lajpat Rai appealed more to him than
Gandhi. His idol was Shivaji. In his own words, "A day will dawn
when the Indians will have to follow the Maharashtrian way for
the regaining of freedom. They will have to copy the example of
the Great Shivaji".
It was Chittaranjan Das, the great barrister from Bengal who
was instrumental in bringing Subhas Bose to the stage of Indian
politics. In 1928, Subhas Chandra Bose was appointed as the Chief
Executive Officer of the Calcutta Corporation of which
Chittaranjan Das was the Mayor. In this capacity Subhas did very
useful work in the city. He had become an active supporter of the
Swaraj Party. He became an eyesore for the British Government
because of his association with the revolutionaries. He was arrested
under Special Ordinance and sent to Mandalay Jail on 24th
October, 1924. However, his failing health was causing worry to
the Government who set him free in 1927. The moment, he came
out of the Jail, Subhas started resuming his political activities with
renewed vigour. He was again imprisoned in 1927 and 1931 for
his derogatory speeches against the Government.
In 1938, Subhas Bose was elected President of the Congress
Party at the Haripur Session. He suggested that a deadline be fixed
and ultimatum be given to the Government asking them to
surrender power unconditionally. Gandhiji did not agree to his
views and therefore, when he contested for the President post of
the Congress next year Gandhiji put up and supported Sitaramayya
as the rival candidate. Such was the influence of Subhas Bose that
despite contesting indirectly against Gandhi, he won the election.
But he soon resigned thereafter and formed his own party-the
During the World War II, Subhas Bose decided that this was
the right time to strike at the British Government and was preparing
to do so. The British came to know of it and put him under
detention, the moment he came to Kolkata. But just like his ideal
Shivaji, he escaped from the jail after feigning illness. Thereafter
he went to Kabul and from there to Moscow and Berlin, where he
met Hitler. Hitler was so impressed by Subhas Bose that he
promised to help him. He then returned to Indonesia to form his
own Indian National Army to take on the might of the British
Government. He had people with him who could die for their
motherland. Such was the impact of Subhas Bose's personality. In
one of his immortal speeches he said, "Our motherland is in search
of freedom; she is in need of rebels, who will drown enemy in
their pool of blood. Give me your blood and I will give you
independence. This is the demand of the Goddess of
The complete surrender by Japan and the defeat of Germany,
broke Subhas. He flew from Bangkok to Tokyo. His disappear-
ance after the flight remains a mystery till today. His death has
baffled people, yet even today, he is considered to be the Springing
Tiger of Indian Freedom Movement.
Essays at Home' '.
LAL BAHADUR SHASTRI-
Lal Bahadur Shastri, the second Prime Minister of India was a
person, who faced immense difficulties right from childhood.
Lal Bahadur Shastri was born on 2nd October, 1904, in Mughal
Sarai in Uttar Pradesh. His father Sharda Prasad was a man of
limited means. Lal Bahadur was hardly two years old when he
lost his father. After his father's death, his mother left for her
parent's house. After receiving his primary education in Mughal
Sarai, he went to his uncle to Varanasi for higher studies. As a
student, he was very hardworking, honest and brilliant. He was
imbued with patriotic feelings right since childhood. Although he
was of very short stature, yet he had an immense inner strength.
His firm determination was the hallmark of his personality.
Humility and self-confidence were other characteristics of his
During his student days, he jumped into the Non-Coopera-
tion Movement launched by Gandhiji in 1921 and was arrested,
but was let away in view of his tender age a.nd short stature. This
was his first tryst with freedom movement. As a social worker, he
tried to rid society of the evils of untouchability-a practice which
Gandhi considered to be a sin against God and humanity. Soon
Lal Bahadur Shastri became popular for his hard work, honesty
and dedication. At the age of 24, he was married to Lalita Devi. It
was a dowryless marriage. He was bound to come into conflict
with the Government due to his active participation in the free-
dom movement. He offered Satyagrah and was sentenced to im-
prisonment at different times. In all he had to spend almost eight
long years in internment. During this period he faced many
hardships and deprivations. But he was a staunch Satyagrahi,
having unshakable faith in non-violence as propounded by Gandhi.
Lal Bahadur had a flair for reading and spent his time in jail reading
Russel, Marx, Lenin and many others. He was quite impressed
with Madam Curie. During his period in jail he also wrote about
Quit India Movement.
In 1962, Jawaharlal Nehru invited him to join the Union
Cabinet as a Railway Minister. During his ministership, a railway
accident occurred in Hyderabad due to the carelessness of a junior
employee. Shastriji took the entire responsibility on himself and
submitted his resignation, which he did not take back, despite
persuasion by Pt. Nehru. Thus he established the highest
When he assumed the office of Prime Minister, immediately
after the death of Jawaharlal Nehru, India was passing through
the most crucial phase in history. Pakistan adopted a hostile attitude
towards India which resulted in full-fledged Indo-Pak War in 1965.
This ata time, when the country was facing severe drought. It was
a situation that can be best described as "bed of thorns". During
Indo-Pak War, Lal Bahadur Shastri showed rare quality of courage
and determination. He also demonstrated that he possessed remark-
able qualities of leadership. His speeches during the war inspired
the people of India. They were galvanised. He gave a' slogan Iai
Jawan Jai Kisan. The Indian Jawans showed their mettle in the
war and the enemy suffered heavy losses and was forced to come
Russian Government offered good offices and Tashkent-
Agreement was signed by both countries-India and Pakistan. Im-
mediately after the declaration .he succumbed to a massive heart
attack. On 11 th January, 1966, he left for the eternal journey. The
tragic news of his death spread like a wild fire and the country
lost a man of integrity-and honesty personified. Till today the
vacuum has not filled up.
GURU NANAK-FOUNDER OF
Guru Nanak was one of those religious teachers, who wanted
to chase away the darkness of ignorance and usher in spiritual
enlightenment. Guru Nanak was born on April 15, 1569 at
Talwandi, now in Pakistan. Talwandi is now popularly called
'Nankana Sahib'. His father's name was Kalu Ram, who was a
Patwari and Tripta was his mother's name. It is said that an
astrologer predicted that after growing up, the child would gain
prominence in religious field that both Hindus and Muslims would
acknowledge his predominance and that he would be a true devotee
Although he was sent to local Pandit and later to a Maulavi
for learning Hindi and Persian respectively, his mind was more
drawn towards spiritualism. His father, in order to see Guru Nanak
settle down, gave him Rs. 20/- and told him to do some business
in Lahore. One his way, he came across some sadhus who were
meditating. He talked to them and found out they were hungry.
He immediately bought eatables worth Rs. 20/- and fed the sadhus
who were hungry. This is called Sacha Sauda=-e true bargain. In
order to mend his spendthrift ways, he was married at the age of
18 to Sulakshni Devi. Two sons were born to him-Sri Chand and
Lakshmi Dass, Sri Chand later became a sadhu.
Later on like Bhai Bala, a professional singer, Mardana came
to him and was so impressed with him that he decided to stay with
him. Once he stayed with a blacksmith by the name of Lalu and
declined to dine with a rich man. On being- asked to clarify his
preference, he squeezed two breads, one each from the poor and
the rich. From the poorman's bread oozed drops of milk while the
rich man's bread gave out drops of blood. What he wanted to
emphasize was that one should make an honest living.
Once, he went to Mecca and Madina. At night he was sleeping
with his feet in the direction of 'Kaba' - the sacred place of the
Muslims. A maulavi was very angry to see his feet in that.direction.
On being asked, Guru Nanak politely told him to move his feet in
whichever direction he deemed fit. The maulavi moved his feet in
one direction and then in another but he found that the abode of
God had shifted to the same direction. Guru Nanak's point went
home and the maulavi bowed his head in reverence to Guru Nanak.
He told the people gathered there that God is omnipresent and
pervaded the entire universe.
Once Guru Nanak went to Haridwar. There he saw people
offering water in the direction of the sun. He started throwing water
with both hands in the opposite direction. When somebody asked
him what he was doing he counter questioned, "What are you do-
ing?" On being told that they were offering water to their forefa-
thers, he said that he was offering water to his fields. He was again
questioned, "How will it reach your fields?" At this Guru Nanak
replied "If your water can reach your forefathers why my water
cannot reach my fields?" Hearing this all the persons present there
bowed their head in reverence to Guru Nanak. He always taught
people through practical examples.
He became the founder of Sikh religion. He condemned su-
perstitions and ritualism. He believed in the concept of one God.
He believed in the concept of Karma and rebirth. In his view. the
purity of our Karmas and the chanting of His name could end the
eternal cycle of rebirths. Those who follow his teachings are known
as Sikhs meaning disciples.
The first chapter of Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh Scripture
has fajpi-the morning prayer-is a composition of Guru Nanak.
The verses are in the nature of meditations dealing with the fun-
damentals of Sikh faith, namely the conception of God, the place
of the religious perceptor, the importance of prayer, the belief in
the triumph of right over wrong.
Guru Nanak passed away at the age of 70 in 1639. He
appointed Angad as his successor, in preference of his own sons.
OF THE NATION
If the world knows two Indians, they are - Tagore and Gandhi.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on 2nd October, 1869
at Porbander in Gujarat. Though he was a mediocre student, yet
he was truthful and upright. After completing his basic studies in
India, he went to England for higher studies at the age of 19. He
was married to Kasturba Gandhi at the age of 12. His mother was
apprehensive about the young man's going astray in western
society. But her fears were allayed when the young Gandhi
promised not to touch wine, women and meat. He faced a lot of
difficulty due to his vegetarianism, but did not go back on his
He qualified for the bar from England and came back to India
in 1891, but his professional duty took him to South Africa in 1893.
He went there initially for a short period, but he stayed back for
12 years. It was his involvement in agitation in South Africa
regarding the racial discrimination practised by the South African
Government. It was in South Africa that he practised with success
the technique of non-violent agitation. It was here that his future
course of life was charted. One incident of his getting thrown out
of the train changed his aim, and the seeds of freedom movement
were probably sown here. He determined his task.
After returning to India in 1914, he met many political leaders
and to acquaint himself with India, he toured the entire countryside
for full one year learning more about the problems of Indians. In
the beginning, he was neutral and sometimes quite loyal to the
British Government, but with the passage of time and with the
change in circumstances and attitude, his attitude also underwent
a change. When he entered the political arena, there was a vacuum
with Gokhle and Tilak gradually disappearing from the scene. He
started to take the might of the British empire through non- violent
means. He launched three major movements against the Empire
and each succeeding the other with more strength.
The first such movement was the Non-Cooperation Move-
ment. He toured the country to explain to the people the impor-
tance of the movement. Its objective was declared as "the
attainment of Swara} by peaceful and legitimate means". The
programme of the movement was to boycott foreign goods and
the use of Swadeshi, to surrender titles and honours, to refuse to
attend official Durbars and to boycott British courts, government
and state-aided schools and so on. Though the movement could
not yield any immediate gain, yet it was the pioneer of the other
movements and was of great historical importance. It marked a
change of great magnitude in the object and programme of
Congress. This movement had to be suspended because of the riots
that took place at Mumbai, Chennai and Chauri Chaura, for which
Gandhiji took the blame himself.
The second important movement was the Civil Disobedience
Movement. It was launched by Gandhiji on 6th April, 1930 with
his disciplined followers. It was about picking up salt lying on the
sea-shore after the historic Dandi March. Its objectives included
the violation of Salt Law, absenting from the educational
institutions by the students and from the offices by the public
servants, picketing of liquor shops, opium and foreign goods,
making bonfire of foreign clothes and non-payment of taxes. The
Government issued various ordinances and assumed very wide
powers to deal with the agitation. It let loose a reign of terror and
repression to suppress the movement. It was ultimately called of
by Gandhiji on 7th April, 1934.
The third important movement launched by Gandhiji was the
Quit India Movement of 1942. The 'Quit India' resolution was
passed on August 8, 1942 which said, "The immediate ending of
British rule in India is an urgent necessity both for the sake of
India and for the success of the United Nations. The continuation
of the rule is degrading and enfeebling India". This movement
was the most successful movement and a mass movement for
Mahatma Gandhi was an apostle of peace and non-violence.
He inspired the lives of many and he was against untouchability.
He termed the name Harijan for them, which literally means the
loved ones ofthe God. He tried his best to bridge the gap between
the Hindus and the Muslims and in doing so, he was also misun-
derstood. On January 30, 1948, in the early hours of morning; a
Hindu fanatic, Nathuram Godse shot Gandhiji dead. Jawaharlal
Nehru echoed the feeling of his countrymen in a broadcast, "The
light has gone out of our lives and there is darkness everywhere".
Gandhiji was a source of inspiration, not only for the nation, but
for the entire world. He was universally loved and respected as
the "Father of the Nation".
THE PROBLEM OF POWER
Power is the basic infrastructure essential for industries,
agriculture and domestic sectors. There are frequent power
failures, load-sheddings, blackouts and trippings in national power
grids. And it creates a situation of chaos and the whole of industry
comes to a grinding halt. It is a very depressing scenario after more
than 50 years of independence. There is something fundamentally
wrong with our power policy, power generation and distribution.
There are over 20 per cent losses in transmission and distribution
of power which is very high compared to 8 per cent in the
developed countries. The Power Grid Corporation of India and the
other agencies connected with the transmission and distribution
of electricity are not well geared and there is mismanagement and
faulty planning. It is nothing short of national crisis ..
There are huge power-shortages. Demand always outweighs
the supply. Moreover, the quality and reliability of power supply
is in a poor state. There are frequent power-cuts, interruptions and
low voltages which adversely affect the economy, industrial
production, agricultural activities, domestic life and movement of
trains. The regional grid systems often operate at frequencies which
are exceptionally low that reflects that there is no power reserve
and the whole system is under great stress.
To improve the power situation, there should be a massive
addition in power generation and also better grid management to
prevent losses in transmission and distribution of electricity. There
needs to be proper voltage management and immediate steps be
taken to bring our grid operation to internationally accepted
standards. Besides adding to the capacity of power generation by
setting up new mega plants, capacity utilisation of the existing units
should also be undertaken. There should be genuine and fast
liberalisation of the power sector and all OUr efforts should be made
to remove the obstructions in the path of privatisation.
The development of power infrastructure is of vital impor-
tance to the nation's rapid and sustained growth. Therefore, projects
in this sector should be on a turnkey basis to avoid cost and time
over-runs and also to take care of many problems including those
of pre-erection and post erection phases. Mini and micro hydel
power projects need to be given top-priority because there is a vast
scope for such projects in North-East and North-West regions of
the country. Such hydel power projects do not cause uprooting of
population and inundation of forest, habitat and agricultural land
etc. It is estimated that India has a potential of ] 00,000 MW of
hydro power but so far only about 15 per cent of it has been used
and another 5 per cent is under various stages of completion.
Of the conventional sources of power generation, coal is the
most popular but the coal production in the country has failed to
keep pace with demand. However, the non-conventional sources
of power generation should be tapped on bigger and wider scale.
Renewable and non-conventional power sources include solar and
wind power and biomass based power. More stress should be laid
on renewable power sources, particularly in the rural and hilly
areas. India being an agricultural country, the biomass energy has
a vast potential which can be utili sed to a great advantage. Such
biomass waste as municipal solid waste, cane, wheat and paddy
residues and animal wastes can be used to generate more power.
The sugar mills and factories are scattered all over the country.
The biogases produced in huge amount in these factories can be
utili sed for power production without much additional investment
and cost. Nuclear energy is another area which holds great promise
on power production segment. There are many atomic power plants
from which a huge power can be generated. The proposal of the
Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) to set up a prototype fast
breeder, 500 MW reactor at an estimated cost of Rs. 2,500 crore
in the Ninth Five-Year Plan is a step in the right direction.
THE EVILS AND FUTILITIES OF WAR
War leads to war, without solving any problem. It is an irony
that human beings want peace, prosperity and cooperation,
but prepare for war, discord and enmity. There have been breathing
spaces in between one war and the other, which have been used
invariably in preparation for the next holocaust. Alexander the
Great, conquered a greater part of the world including the South-
West Asia, Egypt and penetrated India, but then his kingdom was
overtaken by the ruthless Roman conquerers which in turn was
itself overtaken by barbarian forces in later centuries. During the
dark Middle Ages, war became an industry and way of living and
unprecedented destruction, massacre and chaos were let loose. Thus
time and again the world has been ravaged by wars and armed
Unfortunately, man has not learnt anything from history and
his past experiences. And history keeps on repeating itself with
vengeance. Ashoka attacked and conquered Kalinga in 261 B.C.
The war resulted in 1,50,000 persons being taken captive, 100,000
persons being slain and many times the number being dead. The
war and annexation of Kalinga proved to be the turning point of
Ashoka's life. He was filled with remorse and this led him to take
refuge in Buddha and his dharma. He realised that real conquest
of men's heart is by love, compassion, piety and service. Ultimately
this war became one of the decisive points in the history of the
world. The miseries of aggression, the suffering of the captives,
and the wailings for the dead, moved Ashoka and he renounced
war and violence forever.
War never heals wounds, rather it causes more wounds. leaves
indelible scars of hatred. destruction, humiliation and a deep sense
of injustice and revenge. War can never be a sign of actual strength
and superiority. When we are mentally convinced of the inevita-
bility of war, we accustom ourselves to the idea and then
consciously or unconsciously preach and work for it. Nobody wants
war but somehow we think it is unavoidable and work for it. A
military victory may yield some material dividends initially, but
in the final analysis of war, everybody is a loser in terms of human
casuality, material destruction and losses in the field of spirit and
The lessons of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are before us. The
writing is on the wall. But ignoring it is a matter of great disad-
vantage and destruction. The atom bomb dropped on the twin cities
of Hiroshima and Nagasaki not only killed many people, but
rendered lakhs of people disabled. The doom, destruction and
devastation caused due to this is enough to awaken a man to the
reality of horror and undesirability of a war. But he refuses to learn
from the experience and history. But even then, the world's nuclear
powers have conducted more than twenty thousand nuclear tests
to increase and strengthen their destructive powers. One nuclear
war is enough to destroy the planet earth.
History is full of ironies. We want peace, we preach harmony
and co-operation but we adopt aggressive and war like manners.
Peace can be obtained only through peaceful methods. Means
should match the ends. Arms race and military mentality are
dangerous. They give rise to belligerence, hostility, distrust and
conflicts and peace is jeopardised. The question of means and ends
reminds us of Mahatma Gandhi, the apostle of peace, non-violence
and compassion. He always emphasised the need to match the
thoughts and actions to the aims, objectives and ideals we hold
dear. The process is not easy but desirable and worth the trouble
in the world of conflicts, egos, passions and extreme nationalism.
It is in the peaceful atmosphere that cooperation, harmony and
goodwill among nations can be created. Wisdom demands that we
follow the voice of sanity and human values and eschew
aggressiveness in all its forms. The logical conclusion is that war
achieves nothing and solves nothing.
Superstitions can be defined as the irrational "Fear of Gods" .
In ancient times, people looked upon the various natural
phenomena like thunder as the warning sign of the displeasure of
Lord Indra and the floods were the displeasure of Lord Varuna
and similar such other signs. People used to worship the Rain god
in order to have rain in times of drought. Famine was considered
to be the curse of god and in order to remove the curse people
used to and still sacrifice animals to appease the various gods and
goddesses. Even today the same happens.
Today bathing in the Ganges is said to remove sins and
especially during the "Kumbk Meta", people throng in the fair to
have a dip in the river in order to purify themselves. The crowd is
more than crore so we have a country of sinners. Similarly during
the 'Shradh', it becomes essential to feed the Brahmins, whose
blessings are to give solace to the departed soul.
When one goes for an examination, consuming of curd brings
good result. How is the consumption of curd related to good marks?
A young qualified, talented person returns home half the way if a
cat crosses his path. It is considered to be a bad omen. What is the
link between the interview with the cat? Ignorance alone explains
the existence of superstitions. Rather superstitions are the result
of ignorance. While one fails in the interview after the cat crosses
the path, another person gets promoted despite a similar experience.
Superstitions in India is one of the biggest curse on the soci-
ety. Indians are basically superstitious. We basically try to ration-
alise our failures and superstition becomes a very strong
rationalisation. Orthodoxy, traditionalism and ignorance are the
contributing factors that lead to superstition. Superstitions vary
from country to country. The Greeks consider sneezing to be a
good sign, while the Indians consider it to be an evil, especially, if
something new is to happen or while going out. While Indian
women wear white saree after becoming widow, among the
Christians the brides are all dressed up in white. Indian unmarried
girls observe fast on Monday and appease Lord Shiva for getting
a good life-partner. After getting married, they observe the festival
of 'Karva Chauth' by observing fast for the longivity of their
husbands. If these were indeed true, then the country would not
have any widow as the womenfolk would have died before the
Number 13 is considered to be unlucky, though it has nothing
to do with Indian customs and traditions. Incidentally the number
13 is considered to be an evil omen by the Christians and if it is
the 13th of Friday, then for the Christians, it is supposed to spell
doom. In Chandigarh there are 47 sectors but not sector 13.
Similarly most of the hotels do not have Room Nos. like 113,213,
In India, marriages are based on astrological horoscopes, un-
fortunately ,most of the marriages end in a failure. We forget that
marriages are "made in heaven". Similarly there are superstitions
regarding dreams also.
Superstitions inculcate false beliefs which become a tradi-
tion or a habit and barriers to both social and intellectual progress.
Knowledge is power and ignorance is brutish. It is the science
which is the saviour and liberator of mankind. There are definitely
certain beliefs which have scientific connotations. For instance,
the plucking of flowers at night is forbidden, the reason is that
plants give out carbon dioxide at night which is injurious to our
body. Hence cutting of plants should be avoided at night.
Superstition is a hydra-headed monster and should be crushed
with a heavy blow of education and a positive outlook and frame
of mind. In this fast changing world. we need to comprehend the
essence of our heritage. learn to analyse and modify, only then
can our country excel.
The name "United Nations" was devised by the President of
United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt and was first used in the
Declaration by the United Nations on ] January, ] 942, during the
Second World War, when the representatives of 26 nations pledged
their Governments to continue fighting together against the Axis
Powers, comprising of Germany, Italy and Japan. The Charter of
United Nations Organisation (UNO) was signed on 26th June,
1945, but came into force on 24th October, 1945. With 51 nations
as its founder members and the UK, USSR, USA, China and France
as the permanent members of the Security Council, after some
The principles on which the UN is based and according to
which its members act are:
1) Sovereign equality of all its members.
2) Settlement of disputes by peaceful means so as not to
endanger security, peace and justice.
3) Refrain from the threat or use of force against the terri-
torial integrity or political independence of states.
4) Every member state shall carry out its obligations un-
der the charter.
5) The UN shall not intervene in matters which are within
the domestic jurisdiction of any state.
The purposes of the UN are Security, Justice, Welfare and
Human Rights. The Duties which the member states owe to the
1) To settle disputes peacefully.
2) To assist in carrying out the provisions of the charter.
3) Not to assist an aggressor.
4) Non-interference in the internal disputes.
The headquarter of UN is in New York.
The, recognised languages of UN are English, French,
Chinese, Russian, Arabic and Spanish.
Membership of the UN is open to all peace-loving sovereign
states which accept the obligations contained in the Charter and
are willing to carry out these obligations. The admission of any
states as member will be affected by a decision of the General
Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council. The
present membership of the UN is 189. India became its member
on 30th October, 1945.
PRINCIPAL ORGANS OF THE UN
The principal organs of the UN are 1) General Assembly 2)
Security Council 3) Economic and Social Council 4) Trusteeship
Council 5) International Court of Justice and 6) Secretariat.
1) General Assembly consists of all member states of the UN.
Each state has a right to send five delegates in the Assembly. The
Assembly elects its own President annually. It approves the Budget
of the UN, elects ten non-permanent members of the Security
Council, participates in the Court of Justice and in the appointment
of the Security General. It also participates in the amendment of
the UN Charter. When Security Council fails to take a decision on
any matter or situation threatening international peace and security.
it can make recommendations under the Uniting for Peace
2) Security Council is the executive body of the UN being
small in size. It was especially created to maintain peace and
security in the world. It consists of fifteen members, five of whom
are permanent (USA, China, France, Russia and UK) and ten non-
permanent members elected from the rest of the members of the
UN. The non-permanent members hold the office for a period of
two years. The Council elects its own President every month.
Decisions in the Security Council on substantial matters can
be taken only when it is supported by at least nine member states
which must include the vote of the five member states i.e., if a
permanent member votes against a resolution or a decision, it can-
not be passed. This is regarded as a veto. Thus the five permanent
members have the right to veto any resolution on substantiative
matters. The Security Council is the main body entrusted with the
responsibility of maintaining international peace and security.
3) Economic and Social Council consists of 54 members
elected by the General Assembly for a period of 3 years. The
Council is designed to carry out affairs or functions of the UN to
the extent they are connected with international and health
problems. It also promotes respect for human rights and funda-
mental freedom for all. It also coordinates the work of the
specialised agencies like ILO, WHO, FAa, UNESCO etc.
4) Trusteeship Council consists of three categories of
i) States which are administering Trust territories are
known as administering states.
ii) Permanent members of the Security Council that are not
administering Trust territories and
iii) Non-administering states elected for three years by the
The Trusteeship Council is meant to safeguard the interests
of the inhabitants of the territories which are not yet fully self-
governing and which may be placed under the Council by
individual trusteeship agreements. These are called Trust
5) International Court of Justice is the principal judicial organ
of the UN. The court consists of 15 judges, two of whom should
not be the nationals of the same state. They are elected by the
Security Council and the General Assembly of the UN sitting
independently. The judges are elected for a nine year term and are
eligible for re-election. The headquarter is at Hague in Netherland.
The Court elects its own President for a period of three years.
Disputes regarding the jurisdiction of the Court are settled by the
Court itself. It gives advisory opinion on legal matters to the various
organs and the specialised agencies of the UN.
6) Secretariat is composed of the Secretary General who is
the chief administrative officer of the organisation. Other members
of the staff of the Secretariat are appointed by him under regulations
established by the General Assembly. The Secretary General acts
as the chief administrative officer in all the meetings of the General
Assembly, the Security Council on any matter that threatens the
maintenance of international peace and security.
The <::ommonwealth Nations are a group of nations which were
once ruled by the British Empire. Canada was the first
Dominion formed in 1867, followed by New Zealand, Australia
and South Africa before the First World War. The British monarch
was the head of all these countries and he or she appointed the
Governor Generals who were the nominal heads of these states.
However with the entry of India and Pakistan in the Commonwealth
Nations, the Charter of Commonwealth began to change in 1947.
This was soon followed by Asian countries like Sri Lanka, Malaysia
and Singapore. In 1957, Ghana joined the Commonwealth as the
first independent African member. By 1977, one third of the
members of the Commonwealth were African Nations. Today
Commonwealth Nations comprises of 53 nations. The present
change in the Charter is attributed to lawaharlal Nehru. He insisted
on two points namely:
1) The name 'British' should be dropped and replaced with
2) Any member, if so desires can become a republic and
instead ofGovernor General appointed by the crown, a
President can be its formal head.
After some resistance, all the members of the Common-
wealth, including United Kingdom accepted the change. This was
not only a change of name, but also the success of India, symbolic
in the sense that Asian-African states could gradually assert their
independent positions in many fields. The most important of these
being, the exclusion of South Africa from the Commonwealth on
the basis of 'Racial Discrimination'. It was later on admitted in
the Commonwealth as the 53rd nation.
The Commonwealth is not a federation as it is devoid of
central government with control over defence, judiciary or foreign
policy and there are no rigid commitments between them. There
is also an unwritten constitution, but its members have broad ideals
and abide by them for the common interest of maintaining freedom,
peace and security. It is a contractual association like the UN. It
covers about one fourth of the world population. All member
countries are generally parliamentary democracies, and they have
respect for aspirations of freedom and self-government. Each
Commonwealth country is responsible for the organisation and.
training of its own defence forces. It also controls its own affairs,
shapes its own external and internal policies, makes its own laws,
treaties with nations and decides for itself the issues of war and
peace. The most important objective of the Commonwealth is the
respect for freedom.
The Commonwealth is one of the largest international
voluntary association after the United Nations and the Non-Aligned
Movement, which has gradually grown on the basis of international
cooperation and consultation. The most important aspect of Com-
monwealth is that as a matter of principle, it never discusses
bilateral disputes among its member nations. However the
exception to this case has been Pakistan, which continually raised
the Kashmir issue from the premiership of Liaqat Ali Khan to Ms.
Benazir Bhutto, but every time it met with a fiasco, as the matter
was not considered under the jurisdiction of Commonwealth
The meetings of the Commonwealth can be held in any of
the capitals of the Commonwealth Nations and there is no fixed
agenda. Controversial matters are not discussed and no formal
resolution is passed. At the Commonwealth meetings, there is a
free and forthright exchange of views and there is a broad measure
of agreement on international problems. Having a diversity of
population which consists of 700 million Hindus, 600 million
Muslims and 400 million Christians, no doubt that the
Commonwealth Nations can be considered to be an important
international platform at par with the U.N. and NAM.
NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY
. ORGANISATION (NATO)
NATO was the outcome of the Cold War which existed between
the West Bloc comprising of the Europe and the United States
and the East Bloc comprising of the then USSR; now Russia, im-
mediately after the end of the World War II when the world became
bipolar i.e., two superpowers-the USA and the USSR (Union of
Soviet Socialist Republics).
At the initiative of Lester Pearson, who was then the Foreign
Minister of Canada, NATO came into existence in 1949. The
founder members of NATO were Great Britain, Canada, France,
Holland, Belgium, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Italy, Portugal,
Turkey, Luxemburg and the USA which made its presence felt for
the first time in Europe to thwart any military aggression. Greece
joined in 1952 and Germany made its presence felt in 1955 under
the Warsaw Pact which was formed as Soviet Union's response to
East Germany's entry. According to the Warsaw Pact the 4.8 million
men out of which 3.7 million were Soviet troops; the commitment
was not to fight their adversaries of the Cold 'War, but to crush the
popular anti-communist movements inside their member countries.
Spain joined in 1983.
The main clause of NATO is that an armed aggression against
any of its member, would be considered to be an attack on all.
There are two major commands of NATO:
a) Supreme Headquarters of Allied Powers in Europe
b) Atlantic Ocean Area (AOA). The armed forces of NATO
comprises of more than 4 million men.
The formation of NATO was followed by the emergence of
many new attempts aimed at bringing the Western European
countries under one military roof. The major features of NATO
are as follows:
1) To unite the whole of Western Europe behind a single
defence line as individually none of the Western European
countries could have challenged the might of SovIet Union.
2) To make the United States of America (USA), committed
to the defence of the continent for which it was drawn out
of its isolation.
3) To achieve the facade of unity among the Western Euro-
pean countries with a common purpose to defend the safety
of the nation against a sudden attack,
The NATO summit held in Brussels in 1994, was attended
by President Bill Clinton, of USA. The main focus on this summit
was on East European countries and some of them especially
Poland, Hungary and Czech Republic were keen to join the NATO.
A few of the former republics of USSR which disintegrated in
1989, also showed their keen interest to join and become partners
of NATO. Those possessing nuclear weapons had special
importance. The United States entered into a separate treaty with
Ukraine, earlier a part of the USSR. In this treaty Ukraine was
asked to get itself rid of the nuclear armaments within a specified
time of seven years and in lieu, USA would give technical and
economic help. Moreover, it was given the assurance that it will
not be attacked and its territorial integrity would be respected. This
summit produced a series of agreements like extending military
co-operation to Eastern Europe, to reorganise the NATO forces
and the need to counter the threat from the possible proliferation
of nuclear weapons.
However, in today's fast changing global scenario, the NATO
has been reduced to a skeletal organisation, more so, after the dis-
integration of the erstwhile USSR in thirteen states and the unifi-
cation of Germany. It should be mentioned that today, the world
being unipolar i.e., USA being the only superpower, the NATO
has become a puppet in the bands of the USA as demonstrated by
their attack on Czech Republic. Today, the NATO has become more
of a peace keeping organisation than that of countering an attack
for which it was originally formed.
SOUTH ASIAN ASSOCIATION FOR
The concept of SAARC was the brain-child of the President of
. Bangladesh Zia-Ur-Rahman, but at that time the concept could
not take a concrete shape due to the over-cautious approach of
India and the reluctance of Pakistan. However on Dee 8, 1985,
SAARC officially came into existence at Dhaka where a Two-day
Summit of the Heads of the States and the Government of the
region was held; The world's most populous regional grouping had
been established in the hope that it will improve the security envi-
ronment of the region, and that the cooperation among them in
the economic and cultural fields will lead to a better life of their
The leaders of the seven countries namely Bangladesh,
Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and India adopted a
charter giving birth to SAARC. They also adopted a declaration
called the "Dhaka Declaration", committing their countries to the
concept of regional co-operation. The Declaration expressed
concern at deteriorating international political situation and alarm
at the escalation of the arms race; particularlythe nuclear weapons.
They hoped that the Geneva Summit would have positive effect
on international peace and security. It also re-affirmed the
commitment of the Seven Nations to the charter of the UNO.
There were many factors which led to the formation of
SAARC. During the 1980s, the thrust of Bangladesh's argument
was that the South Asia, comprising of about one-fifth of the world
population was the only region without any forum. Bangladesh
wanted an institutional agreement which would imply neither
interference in bilateral relations nor linkages with political bloc's
or powers outside the region.
In South Asia approximately 22 per cent of the world
population live, but its contribution to the world GNP (Gross
National Product) is a little less than 2 per cent. Its share in the
world foreign trade is negligible. In 1997, the share in the world
exports of South Asia was a mere 0.6 per cent while its share in
the world imports was just 1.2 per cent. This problem of South
Asia had become complicated because it was so hopelessly divided
against itself that its defence expenditure both in the individual
countries and in the region collectively, had been rising. The di-
version of large funds to non-productive channels of defence ex-
penditure subdued the living standards of the people of this region
and created a hopeless sense of insecurity throughout the region
whose growth impulse continued to remain moribund. .
South Asia was also the symbol of ravages that the Western
imperialism brought about in the Third World. While in some coun-
tries like India, democracy had struck roots, but if one looked at
the poverty of the people, notwithstanding a few creditable achieve-
ments of planned growth, the fact remained that South Asia was a
symbol of economic plutocracy. The regionwas so utterly divided
that its economic exploitation continued, though in new forms,
even after the advent of political freedom. It was also a region
where two super powers had dependable allies. It was not in the
capitals of South Asian countries, but Washington and Moscow
that used to take major decisions affecting the future of this region.
Against all these backdrops, birth of SAARC took place.
The following are the objectives of SAARC:
1) To promote the welfare of the peoples of South Asia and
improve their quality of life.
2) To accelerate economic growth, social progress and
cultural developments in the region and to provide all
the individuals the right to live with dignity.
3) To promote and strengthen the collective self-reliance
among the countries of South Asia.
4) To contribute for the building of mutual trust,
understanding and appreciation of one another's
5) To promote the active collaboration and mutual assist-
ance in the economic, social and cultural, technical, and
6) To strengthen cooperation with other developing nations.
7) To strengthen cooperation among themselves in inter-
national fora on matters of common interest.
8) To cooperate with international and regional organ is a-
tions with similar aims and purposes.
Mr. LK. Gujral, the Indian Foreign Minister in 1998-1998,
made sincere efforts to promote better relation with the SAARC
countries by announcing unilateral tariff concessions to imports
from them. This theory also known as "Gujral Doctrine" aimed
at tremendous confidence boosting measures among the SAARC
countries, including the granting of visas to Pakistanis which was
a landmark in SAARC relations. Thus one can find that SAARC
has come a long way to improve the regional cooperation and help
each other to grow since 1985.
The Indian Constitution is an amalgamation of the borrowings
from the Western ethos. The skeleton was the Government of
India Act, 1935 which was a British-design to administer its colony
better. Incidentally, it was not a law to govern an independent coun-
try wishing to develop its law and economy. Around this skeleton
was coated fat and muscle imported from the US, the USSR, Swit-
zerland and England. To this we have added 87 amendments in
the course of only 51 years. The US Constitution has needed to be
amended only 26 times over a period of 210 years. The frequency
of change is an indication of dissatisfaction with the scheme.
Speaking of plentiful government, our Constitution has 395
Articles, whereas US document has only 7. The Swiss statute is
reported to be very long and detailed one. It is double the size of
its US counterpart. It deals with all and sundry subjects like fishing,
hunting, gambling, sickness, burials, cattle disease etal. Inspite of
this, it has 123 Articles in contrast to our 395. The Shora Consti-
tution of Japan Diet (Parliament) came into force in 1947 with
103 Articles, yet it has not needed a single amendment till today.
In contrast, China was given a new Constitution by Mao in 1954,
but it had to be re-drafted fresh by 1978.
The present Constitution of India was framed by the Con-
stituent Assembly of India, set up under the Cabinet Mission Plan
of May 16, 1946. In its progress through the Constituent Assembly,
the Constitution grew in bulk and took its final shape with 395
Articles and 8 Schedules. The time taken for accomplishing this
task took exactly two years eleven months and seventeen days from
the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly on 9th Dee, 1946
till 25th November 1949. The Indian Constitution is a blend of
rigidity and flexibility. It possesses neither the rigidity of American
Constitution nor the flexibility of the British Constitution. Three
different methods of amendment have been provided under the
Indian Constitution which are as follows:
1) Certain provisions of the Constitution can be amended
by the Parliament under ordinary legislation in which
the voting of the two-thirds majority of the members
present is essential. Like the creation of a new state or
amalgamation of one state with another, or alter the name
of the state.
2) Certain specified provisions can be amended by a spe-
cial procedure. These include the election of the
President, representation of the new states in the
Parliament, the relation between the Union and the
States, the Supreme Court and the High Court and the
process of Constitutional Amendments (Act 368).
3) The rest of the Constitution can be amended by a spe-
cial majority-that is the amending bill will have to be
passed by the two Houses of the Parliament by a majority
of total membership and a two-third of the members
present and voting in each House. The bill will then have
to be presented to the President for his assent.
The first Amendment came in 1951 and till today we have
86 Amendments, which itself is the growing voice of dissatisfac-
tion. To cite an example Article 356 has been used more than 100
times to dismiss State Governments. True, many a times the Centre
did so for ulterior reasons, but at other times it was arbitrary and
controversial. Nevertheless the frequent use of this Article, does
reflect that the policy is not functioning smoothly. There is also a
great deal of confusion between where the responsibility of the
Centre ends and that of the State begins. The concurrent list with
its 47 Articles is a long one, but even there where a subject is
exclusively in the state list, there can be confusion, which is needed
to be removed.
The beginning should be made with the states. The MLAs
(Members of Legislative Assembly) should be made to concen-
trate on the making of laws whereas the executive's responsibility
might be handed over to the Trinity of Governors elected by an
universal adult franchise. The candidate to win the most could be
the Governor and the next two be Vice and Deputy Governors
respectively. The voting weight of the three should be proportionate
to the popular vote they respectively poll. The three would be a
check on one another. Moreover three, instead of one Governor
should represent a wide spectrum of a state's people. Their term
of office could be five years, but none should be eligible for seeking
re-election for any office within the State, so that they govern good
for the state and not for securing their own re-election. In the event
of any misdemeanour by a Governor, he should be subjected to
IN FAVOUR OF SMALLER STATES
Right from the 1950s, the issue which has been national
debate, is the formation of smaller states. Are they better for
the good governance of the country or will they prove to be a
hurdle? With regional aspirations soaring, it is becoming increas-
ingly evident that big states need to be broken to make them more
manageable units. While the typical response to this question is
that India may ultimately break up, the reality is otherwise.
Economic and social imperative tells us that smaller states may
not only be manageable, but also desirable.
For the critics of Uttaranchal, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh,
small is ugly. Smaller states, they say, will not be economically
viable because of administrative costs. However these arguments
are only a myth. Most of the bigger states are running with huge
budgetary deficit. If economic viability is the criterion for smaller
states, then the Government of India itself, has no reason to exist
as it runs on a budgetary deficit. The same argument holds good
for Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Bengal, Maharashtra and so many other
When Haryana was created in 1966, critics said that the state
will not be viable as its people had no entrepreneurial skills. But
the state has progressed rapidly. Within two decades of its creation,
it has become one of the most developed state of the country. Today
it is not only witnessing a Green Revolution, but it has also turned
out to be an industrialised state with Faridabad, Ballabhgarh and
Gurgaon being the most sought after. Gurgaon as a city is more
preferred to Delhi. Similarly Himachal Pradesh which became a
full fledged state in 1971 has done extremely well in the
infrastructural and hydro development. Today the hilly state is one
of the three major power surplus state in the country; the other
two being West Bengal and Meghalaya. Gujarat and Maharashtra
created in 1960. after Bombay's division, top the table in indus-
trial growth and infrastructure development. Because of their in-
frastructure, the two states attracted nearly half the total invest-
ment in the country.
On the whole the smaller states have done much better than
bigger states on the development scale. Statistics bear this out.
Bihar's per capita income is Rs. 4,0001-, which is almost, a third
of Punjab. On the human resources development index too Bihar's
literacy rate of 38.4 fares very poorly against much smaller Kerala's
99 per cent. So also is the infant mortality rate which is quite high
both in Bihar and Rajasthan, compared to negligible in Kerala and
unheard of in Bengal. According to the UN study, Bihar has one
of the most fertile soils in the world. much better than Punjab's
soil. If this potential is exploited. Bihar alone can feed the whole
of India and export also. But then, there is no planning neither at
the state level nor at the local level. Similarly JAarkhand's mineral
wealth has benefited only North Bihar. Uttaranchal gets back just
only one-third of its revenue it generated for U.P' Chattisgarh is
the most backward regions ofM.P. despite its vast natural resources,
rich forests and huge scope of tourism.
Political commentators say that India will be much better
off economically, if it has at least 45 states. In fact, smaller states
is the need of the hour as most of the states are unviable. In the
end, regional councils should be set tip to take care of the less
developed areas of bigger states. He favoured the division of Bihar
into two states, Uttar Pradesh into three and Madhya Pradesh into
From all these, it is evident that smaller states will always
prove to be more beneficial, both from the administrative and busi-
ness point of view. There is no doubt that creation of new states
will cause some initial hiccups, but it will be temporary and in the
long run the country will stand to gain.
India has a budget because it is a democracy, and the Govern-
ment is answerable to the people how much it taxed, borrowed
and spent-and on what--every year. It also has to get permission
from the Parliament to tax or spend. So Article 112 of the
Constitution tells the Government to present a financial statement
every year that runs from April 1 to March 31. The balance sheet
called the "Annual Financial Statement" is the heart of the budget.
The Government has three accounts. The Consolidated Fund
of India (CFI) is the largest of all expenditure, financed out of
revenues from this. Parliament has to authorise every transaction
from the CFI, whether it is money coming in as revenue or going
out as spending. A second one called the Contingency Fund (CF)
has reserves for unforeseen happenings like crises or disaster man-
agement. The sanction limit in this account is only 50 crore. Finally
there is a Public Account, which takes care of all transactions,
where the Government is acting as the borrower or banker. For
example all money from Provident Fund and Small Savings goes
into this account.
The Constitution says that the Government should distinguish
between how much it spends on itself, and how much it spends to
create assets for the economy. The former is called the Revenue
Spending and it includes everything from salaries of Government
servants and military personnel, perks for ministers and office fur-
niture, grants to State Governments, even if they are used for asset
creation, are clubbed as spending revenue. However three things-
interests for past borrowings, sops, and defence pension and sala-
ries make up the bulk of revenue spending.
The latter is known as the Capital Spending which is all about
Government creating assets-building and construction of dams and
roads and purchasing arms for the defence personnel and the police.
Loans from the Central Govt. to the State Govt. are also termed as
Capital Spending. These can be funded from the banks, raised in
the market from the Reserve Bank of India and from Foreign
Governments, or lending agencies like the World Bank or the
International Monetary Fund. When the Centre earns interest, those
.are included as Capital Receipts.
The Budget comes in a bulky package which contains eight
separate documents of different colours and sizes. A slim 16-page
booklet with a grey cover is the key to Budget Documents and
tells where to find what. The Finance Minister's speech comes in
two volumes with white covers which contains part A and B of the
speech. Part A contains poetry, promises and good intentions; Part,
B spells out tax changes. The Finance Bill is what the Parliament
votes for, typically has no cover pea, but contains all the crucial
tax breaks, hikes and loopholes that people are interested in.
A maroon document called the Explanatory Memorandum,
helps in cutting through the mass of Parliamentary legalities and
contains tables of existing and new tax tariffs and duty rates. A
yellow volume titled Receipt Budget gives the detailed break-up
of what was collected under which head. The Expenditure Budget
comes in two volumes; the first is bright blue and is a summary of
revenue and capital expenditures made by each ministry and
department. For the inquisitive ones, a bulky storage document
Volume II of the Expenditure Budget, gives the nitty-gritties of
each item of expenditure. This is done by collecting all demands
for Grants-jargon for each department and ministry's wish-list and
listing the actuai grant given against each demand. This is similar
to the Appropriation Budgets of some foreign governments.
The accountants however wait for the Gazette of India which
notifies every thing. It is an interesting matter that Budget is the
most eagerly awaited thing for the masses because this is the only
thing that affects right from a millionaire to a bonded labour.
Gone are the days of single party rule when the Congress stood
like colossus and enjoyed absolute majority in the Parliament
and State legislatures. It has created a vacuum as no other party so
far has been able to replace Congress as the single majority party
in the Parliament. The 1996 General Elections, resulted in a hung
Parliament, Electorate did not give any single party a clear mandate.
They have begun to differentiate between regional and national
parties and their issues differently. This fragmented verdict made
the role of regional parties all the more important. BJP emerged
as the single largest party with 160 seats. Congress could muster
only 136 seats. National Front and Left Front combination won
112 seats while 101 seats went to the Regional parties including
19 to the independents and others. Since BJP and its allies had
emerged as the single largest group, the President invited Atal
Bihari Vajpayee to form government which lasted just 13 days as
BJP failed to prove the majority and another coalition government
under H.D. Deve Gowda followed, the leader of the United Front,
with Congress support, which also collapsed in just 10 months.
followed by LK. Gujral where again the Congress supported from
Obviously two-party system has not succeeded in India and
there has been ever-increasing proliferation and fragmentation in
the parties. There are defections, desertions, alignments and
alliances galore not because of any ideological similarities or
differences, but only because of personal gains and petty parochial
interests. There is no charismatic, towerihg central leader who can
keep the flock together, unlike Indira Gandhi when Congress ruled
the roost. The chief ministers of the states and the leaders of the
regional parties have become the king-makers. And they want their
pound of flesh. Now the route to 'gaddi'ei Delhi lies via Mumbai,
Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Lucknow as was clear from the
two week political drama enacted in Delhi, after the defeat of Deve
Gowda in 1997. .
At the Centre the first coalition experiment was done in 1977,
under the leadenzhip of Morarji Desai. Then again, it was tried in
1989 when VP Singh was sworn in as the seventh Prime Minister.
In 1990 Devilai. the then deputy Prime Minister was dismissed
and there was a split in Janata Dal. Dissidents made Chandra
Shekhar as their leader who was subsequently sworn in as the Prime
Minister. Finally Chandra Shekhar had to resign and General .
Elections were declared. .
Regionalism is on the rise and coalition is the order of the day
in present political scenario in India. There are number of powerful
regional parties like Akali Dal, AIADMK, TDP, Samata Party, Shiv
Sena, Samajwadi Party whose chiefs are really calling the shots
and national parties find themselves on the margin. The chief min-
isters of regional parties have now become more powerful than
ever before and are in a coveted position to dictate terms to the
Prime Minister at the Centre. Their say in decision-making in na-
tional affairs has become decisive. If one coalition fails, there would
be another and still another. The trend has become well established
and central leadership has become hostage to regional lords.
However, it does not follow that coalition governments are
bad or they cannot succeed. In Kerala and West Bengal coalition
governments have been great success. Coalition collapses when
there is no ideological unity and conceptual harmony in the
coalescing parties. Only to coalesce and ally with one another just
to keep a particular party out of power or to satisfy the lust for
positions of power are sheer opportunistic and would not hold long.
No doubt today's politics is the art of possibility and options but it
never follows that political parties can take the voters fora ride.
The Indian electorate is now mature enough to understand the
complexities of power-politics and party intrigues. But all said and
done, one cannot rule out the fact that coalition government is here
Roads in India are apopular means of both passenger and goods
. movement. Travel by road provides a lot of flexibility, speed,
reliability and convenience, particularly at short distances in cities
and towns. Therefore it is the most preferred medium of transport.
But Indian roads in cities and towns and those connecting them,
. have. been in a very poor condition. Their development and
maintenance have not kept pace with the growth in vehicular
population. The neglect and poor maintenance of Indian roads have
made the road travel very hazardous. About 60,000 lives are lost
every year in road accidents. This fatality rate is 25 times that of
the USA. The pressure ph roads is increasing abnormally and
nothing effective and urgent is being done. by the concerned
The lack of road sense by the drivers and other users of the
road has further complicated the matters. It is an open secret that
people get driving licences without knowing proper driving or the
knowledge of traffic rules. Red-lights are jumped particularly in
the early and late hours of the day. Over speeding and violating
the prescribed limit are also present in abundance. The motorists
often do not acknowledge that the vehicles on the right should be
allowed to move first. The tendency to overtake is also responsible
for many road accidents. Moreover there are about 40 vehicles of
different styles, both slow and fast moving which hamper the
smooth flow of traffic.
Overloading of passengers and goods are very common which
is one of the main factors of accidents and death on the roads.
City buses are the worst offenders in this respect. They are always
overcrowded and overloaded. In towns and villages also people
can be seen sitting on the roof tops of the buses. A complete family
of husband and wife with 2 to 3 children on a scooter is quite a
common scene in towns and cities with utter disregard to the rules
of road safety. Consequently there are heavy casualties, while the
authorities are sleeping over the problems regardless of the urgency
of the matter.
Addiction and ~rug abuse is another area of concern. Many
a time an accident occurs because the driver is a drug addict. The
, drivers of most of the different types of vehicles are in a state of
intoxication while driving. Most of the drivers belong t<? poor
middle class or lower section of the society. They are engaged in
driving trucks, buses, three wheelers and are often overworked.
To overcome their fatigue they take liquor which causes accidents.
Sometimes due to errors in judgement due to intoxication, leads
to overtaking, reckless driving, jumping red lights and ultimately
The increased use of mobile phones is also a factor which
poses a challenge to road safety. The elite and rich drivers often
use their mobile phones while being on the move in their cars.
This results in accidents and crashes. These phones have added
'further to the worsening situation of road accidents. Driving and
using mobile phone simultaneously may cause a loss of control of
the vehicle or the concentration needed in safe and sane driving.
In order to prevent these accidents, it is imperative that long
and short term measures are immediately taken. Roads should be
properly maintained and' looked after. There should be separate
tracks for slow moving vehicles and fast moving vehicles. There
should be an effective control on speed of vehicles. Radar guns
should be used to monitor the speed. Violation of traffic rules
should be strictly dealt with. Granting of driving licences and
permits to vehicles should be properly streamlined. Those driving
under intoxication should be given exemplary punishment and their
licences impounded. There should be heavy fines alongwith
imprisonment. Above all there should be proper awareness among
the masses regarding road safety, observation of traffic rules and
the proper use of roads and national highways.
THE KARGIL WAR
Since 1947, Pakistan has fought and lost as many as three wars,
besides the undeclared war of Kargil. There has actually been
a careless war between the two.hostile neighbours. Its continuity
can be seen in the undeclared battles, proxy war, sponsored
terrorism, communal violence, cross border killings, sabotage
insurgency etc., on the part of Islamabad. In 1947, Pakistan
committed aggression against India by sending well armed
tribesmen, mercenaries. irregular and regular troops inspite of
Kashmir's legal and clear accession to the Indian Union. It was an
open attack on India and the state of Jammu and Kashmir. But
then a timely action by India saw the defeat ofthe Pakistani forces.
Then again it attacked India in 1965 to annex Kashmir and yet
once again it was handed over an ignonimous defeat. Once again
like an incorrigible country, it attacked India in 1971 and tasted
not only a humiliating defeat, but also lost its eastern wing, to the
creation of a new State of Bangladesh.
The Kargil intrusion, infiltration and undeclared war has been
another phase in the decades old proxy wars, and a series of conflict
since 1.947. It showed the enemy at its treacherous best. As the
snow began to melt in May on Himalayan heights in Drass- Kargil
sector and just after three months of conclusion of the historic
Lahore declaration. the horrifying and deceitful drama and
aggression and infiltration began to unfold very fast. The Pakistani
army and the ISI; the Pakistani secret service made a long and
considerable preparation to the minutest details to take it to the
climax and unseen and unexpected denouement. The experts are
of the opinion that this entire planning should have taken six months
of time, training and acclimatization of the intruders, mercenaries
and regular troops. But according to the July 1998 issue of "Time"
magazine of America, the army regulars from Northern Light In-
fantry Brigade and the Khyber Rifles of Pakistan had begun to
arrive up the Indian mountain peaks in November itself and started
digging bunkers. The purpose was to internationalise the Kashmir
issue and isolate Siachin-Laddakh by cutting off the supply line.
On May 9, the Pakistani artillery destroyed a huge army am-
munition depot at Kargil and attacked with heavy gun-shelling the
strategic Srinagar-Leh Highway. By mid-May, it had become very
clear as to how far and how much the Pakistan Army was involved
in the clandestine operations on our side of LaC (Line of Control).
Thus began the undeclared War of Kargil or the "Operation Vijaya"
which lasted for two months and took a toll of more than 1000
lives. On May 26, MiGs and MI-17 helicopters began to strike
and pound enemy posts and base camps supported by ground and
military attack in Kargil, Drass and Batalik sectors. But it was not
an easy task to flush out the infiltrators from their pickets and points
of advantage over-looking Srinagar-Leh Highway. The battle con-
tinued unabated and India had to pay heavily on both men and
material due to our massive intelligence and system failure.
However Indianjawans continued inching up to the layers of these
infiltrators and bloody wolves. Slowly and steadily they continued
to close-on, the well positioned and protected infiltrators.
The events took a dramatic turn on May 27, when the Indian
Air Force (IAF) fighter planes attacked the enemy positions atop
the peaks with rockets, bombs and guns and destroyed their semi-
permanent bunkers which till then seemed safe and out of reach
of the Indian Army. In this air-operation, two of the lAP fighters
were shot down with shoulder-fired American made stringer
missiles. Consequently one of our two pilots was killed. Squadron
Leader A. Ahuja was killed, while Flight Lieutenant K. Nachiketa
was captured. This shocked our Air Force for a while, but soon
they rose to the occasion and retaliated with lethal fury raining
. bombs and shelling bunkers on the Tiger Hill and Point 4590. At
the same time there was a fierce attack on these positions by the
Indian Artillery and for the first time some infiltrators were taken
After the re-capture of the key Tolol ing Peak, the most crucial
peak to be regained was the Tiger Hill. The victory of Tololing
marked the beginning of a chain of victories and the opening of
the Srinagar-Leh Highway to the civilian traffic. The Indian troops
were determined and committed to bring the war to a victory at
the earliest possible time. The heroic operation to recapture Tiger
Hill began on July 3, 1999. By morning of July 4, Tiger Hill was
recaptured after a fierce battle in which Bofors gun, multiple rocket
launchers. and Mirages were deployed very effectively, while
Grenadiers made the final attack. It signified the final victory and
the beginning of the end of the Kargil war. Recapture of Tiger Hill
was followed by the capture of Musko Valley and some other key
points. By July 8, the Indian troops had cleared almost all the
Batalik sectors of the intruders. They fled in panic leaving their
dead and huge cache of arms and ammunitions.
The war was won and the intruders thrown out and the
sanctity of Indian soil restored. There were exultations and
celebrations. But it was also an occasion of introspection and
retrospection. There arose questions that needed to be answered.
It also meant greater responsibilities and expenses to protect
effectively a long stretch of 150 km along the LoC in very tough
terrain and treacherous hills where temperatures drop to minus 40°
Celsius in winter. To keep a vigil throughout the year and maintain
thousands of troops, flighting fit is a formidable task. It needs a
wide range of sophisticated, modern and latest weapons, radar
system communication equipment, a strong deterrent fire power
and well acclimatise military personnel. At the same time and most
importantly the intelligence system has to be upgraded and updated
to the best in the world.
The supreme command of the Armed Forces is vested with the
President of India. The administrative and operational control
of the Armed Forces is exercised by the Ministry of Defence and
the three services headquarters of the Army, Navy andAir Force.
Of all the three, the Army plays the major role. The army is
organised into five commands-Southern, Northern, Eastern, West-
ern and Central, each under a General Officer Commanding-in-
Chief of the rank of the Lieutenant-General. Each of the Com-
mands is further divided into Areas/Corps under a General Officer
Commanding, also the rank of a Lt. General. The Areas are in turn
subdivided into Sub-Areas/Divisions, each under a Major General.
A large number of posts in the defence services were upgraded in
1984. The major difference between Army and the other two wings
is that the Army can play a substantial role in the civil in
"Emergency" cases where the other two cannot.
In addition to their normal function and duty of defending
the country, the armed forces render assistance to civil authorities
in the following cases:
1) In case of natural calamities like floods, earthquake and
2) Carrying out of photographic surveys which are useful
in planning and development of hydro-electric schemes.
3) Reclamation of land.
4) Destruction of pests by spraying and
5) Fulfil international obligations for the promotion of
A number of times, in the past, the Indian Army proceeded
overseas on missions of peace to carry out the U.N. mandate. In
times of disturbance, the army often helps the civilian authorities
in the maintenance of peace. In August, 1982, the army was called
to quell the riotous policemen in UP. In time of natural calamities
also, the army plays a key role in rescuing the marooned and sup-
plying food to thedistressed. The army was also deployed in Pun-
jab in June 1984, when the Golden Temple was stormed. The army
was deployed in April 1993 to disarm the rebellious police force
in Sri nagar and to flush out the militants from the Hazratbal Shrine
in Sri nagar 1993. The army has succeeded in curbing- militancy in
J&K. The peaceful conduct of elections to the Lok Sabha seats
from J &K and state assembly is an ample testimony of the same.
The army operation in Goa, Daman and Diu backed up by
the Air Force on 17th December 1961 was a historic achievement
of our armed forces, when the foreign pockets were liquidated from
the Indiansoil. The most glorious hour of our armed forces wasin
1971, when it faced the Pakistani aggression with determination
and created a military history by liberating a new country in a
14-day war. The Indian Army played an important role though
politically controversial, 1987-89 in restoring peace in Sri Lanka
(Indian Peace Keeping Force was deployed from July 1987 to
March 1990). Constant vigil is being kept by Indian Army in the
inhospitable Siachen Glacier. where the Pakistanis are making
constant effort to dislodge our troops. Serious clashes have
occurred between India and Pakistan in this sector, including the
latest Kargil War, where the Indian Armed Forces handed over an-
ignonimous defeat to Pakistan.
The people in the Defence services are the true patriots, who
without caring for their lives and families keep a constant vigil on
our borders. The discipline inculcated in the defence services is
unparalleled. They are upright and fearless. More and more youths
should join the Indian armed forces, which is the fourth largest in
the world. Career in armed forces are most satisfying because one
can do something for the country that most cannot do.
Education today has undergone a complete metamorphosis.
Gone are the days when education was simple and if not simple
then the teachers tried to simplify the education. Today educational
system has become complicated and the students have fallen vic-
tim of this complication. Today is also the age of competition. And
the competition is cut-throat. School children today are under tre-
mendous pressure to excel in every field, specially studies. This,
coupled with parental expectations and their willingness to pay
extra, so that their children outshine the rest, has spurred the
business of private tuitions and there is a mushroom growth of
private tutors everywhere.
Most working parents tend to carry the guilt burden because
they are not able to give adequate time to their children and try to
compensate by hiring profesSionals to fill the gap. The reduced
individual attention in the schools and the need for specialised
teaching is also a great cause for the growing business of private
tuitions. Ideally, the education imparted in the school should be
sufficient due to the long hours that the student has to devote there.
Students need to be trained to inculcate within themselves the
impelling urge for self-development. But the school curriculum
does not cater to this.
Overcrowding in the classrooms, inadequate facilities and un-
accountability on the part of the teachers are the basic reasons for
this growing craze for private tuitions. Moreover, so far as the gov-
ernment run schools are concerned, they, very often suffer from
shortage of staff and this in the long run makes teaching to suffer.
Once teacher is made to teach three different subjects, he/she can
hardly do justice to any of the subjects. The privately run
institutions are becoming money-earning machines and not much
attention is paid to the real need and the real urge of the students.
There are many such cases where the teachers force the students
to take tuitions, particularly from the same school. This is quite
prevalent among the science students who have to appear in the
practical exams and falling to comply for tuition, gets them less
marks in practical. Moreover, most of the teachers do not devote
much time in the class, assuming that the students will come to
them for tuition.
Tuition makes a student parasite. It chokes the thinking
process of the student who, so long he is concerned with studies,
go on taking tuitions. Many students become so dependent on
tuitions that they do not study at any other time, other than the
tuition. Such students throughout their life remain mediocre, even
after scoring good marks in the school. As a matter of fact, they
hardly get through the competitive exams. Moreover, the people
who give tuitions are more often than not, not much qualified and
their sole aim is to earn some quick money. If they were so
qualified, they would have been good teachers in good and
recognised schools. Private tuition is commercialisation of
To examine and analyse this problem one needs to go deep
into the malaise. The real diagnosis brings a number of factors to
our notice. Overcrowding of schools, students coming from
families where education has been the last priority and guardians
hardly capable of giving any guidance. Mass of indifferent and
insincere teachers. Unaccountability of the teachers for the poor
performance of the students. And last, but not least the anxiety of
the parents to see their children outperform others in this cut-throat
competition, which has become the trend of the present generation.
Tuition should be uprooted from the education-system. And
for this schools should function as an institution of knowledge
giving, rather than a business organisation which is profit-oriented.
A social awakening has to be aroused in this direction, then only
education will become really educative. And above all parents
should devote more time with the children in educational pursuits
rather than entertainment.
NEED FOR DISASTER
The Gujarat Earthquake has exposed the country's administra-
tion to the urgency of planning, a permanent 'Disaster Man-
agement Structure' , on the national level. The Orissa and Andhra
Pradesh cyclones and then the colossal disaster in Gujarat should
wake up the authorities to sit up and plan something of a permanent
nature-some structure, some manpower-duly trained in managing
such disasters at the nick of time. Relief operations are undertaken,
relief workers-some voluntary, some requisitioned gather up with
all their best efforts and intentions. The nation has shown an ex-
emplary oneness in rising to such occasions to muster up all the
resources and materials, but how and where to reach and how early
could be the action, remains the stumbling block. The victims of
such large scale disaster cannot wait for days and days to be rescued
or resurrected. They need the succour here and now till at least
they are breathing, not after they have breathed their last.
The easiest way to understand the scale of a disaster is to
visualise the dimensions involved. The earthquake in Gujarat struck
across in degrees varying from the extremely severe in the Kutch
district to a less severe in Surat. From North to South, the whole
state of almost 2,00,000 square kilometers was affected. An esti-
mated 70,000 perished in Kutch and 30,000 in Bhuj city alone.
Even in Ahmedabad five days after the quake, residents of high
rise apartments were still sleeping in cars and tents. The worst
affected area Bhuj was cut off in every way-transport, communi-
cation, resources-all of which took months to be mended.
Many native observers are quite critical about the relief op-
. erations, but it has not been so with many non-Indian volunteers
and officials. In no uncertain terms they have been full of praise
for the relief efforts. And, most of the praise has been reserved for
those individuals in the army who rose to the occasion with their
efforts. The corporate sector also rose to the occasion in the quake-
ravaged Gujarat faster than the government machinery. Even before
the benumbed government woke up to the enormity of the disaster,
the corporate sector was at work. People from companies had
already arrived in the devastated areas.and started rescue opera-
tions. Companies like Reliance and Cadilla were in the field within
eight hours. In just a phone call from the top brass, people of pri-
vate sector got into action, in contrast to the government action
where sanctions had to be obtained. The Indian Medical Associa-
tion, a private association of doctors was on the scene from day
one. Care India, another non-government organisation coordinated
with Modern Food Industries for ready-to-eat for the victims.
When it is understood that future relief operations will revolve
around the mobilisation of the armed forces, logic determines that
any new structure for disaster coordination should be focused
around the army. The elected governments whether at the Centre
or at the states have their own limitations to act timely. They need
to.plan strategies keeping in view their political compulsions and
even in such colossal tragedy they would fish in troubled waters.
These compulsions do not matter with the army. They are of the
nation and for the nation and do not have constituencies to nurture.
The army today has a standard operating procedure for all
natural disasters, and the one for earthquakes was updated from
the lessons learnt from 1993 Latur quake. That can provide a
starting point for any future calamities of that nature. The armed
forces have to be the nodal agency of our country for disaster man-
agement and this is an organisation. which is most disciplined, de-
termined and devoted to their duty, irrespective of any ulterior
motive. This is enough evidence for creating a disaster management
. structure that keeps the armed forces in the middle of all planning
and should be put in place from national to the district level across
WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION
World Health Organisation came into being on April 7, 1948
with its headquarters at Geneva in Switzerland. The
functions of the WHO are to direct and coordinate international
health work, to provide technical assistance in emergency, to
promote work and to eradicate epidemic and other diseases, to
prevent accidental injuries, to encourage research in the field of
health, to promote better material and child health and welfare, to
promote improved standards of teaching and training, to promote
reforms in nutrition, housing sanitation etc.
WHO has completed more than fifty years of service to man-
kind, its achievements have been greater but the challenges facing
it are greater. One of the WHO's greatest success stories in this
century is the total eradication of small pox, saving many lives
around the world and many people from its crippling effects. The
other great success include the eradication of gunieaworm disease.
Since August 1996 India has reported zero incidence. Yemen is
the last country outside Africa which still reported rare cases in
1997. By 2000, the disease was traceless.
Polyamyelitis or polio that has been crippling our children
is on the verge of eradication. Leprosy that makes man virtually
untouchable has been eliminated. The World Health Assembly
targeted leprosy for global elimination in 1991 by the year 2000.
Since then significant progress has been achieved throughout the
world, including a 98 per cent reduction in the number of registered
cases. Similarly the number of endemic countries has shrunk to
55 from 122 in 1997. .
Another step towards achieving success is that the 32~strong
executive board of the WHO which began its 101st session in
January, 1998 will consider progress towards elimination of two
major tropical diseases leprosy and Chagas. The economic loss
suffered by this disease due to early mortality and disability
amounts to $ 8,200 million a year. The year 2010 has been marked
to eliminate this disease. Globally life expectancy has increased
to 68 in 1998 from 46 in the 1950s. The letanus deaths in new
borns have dropped. Oral rehydration therapy has reduced deaths
due to cholera and other diarrhoeal diseases. Infant mortality has
halved in 30 years to 50 deaths per 1000 live births. In 1990 women
were having 3.2 babies on an average per family. And 8 out of 10
children are now immunised against killer diseases like measles.
The tale of infectious diseases does not end here. A WHO
press release of January 1998 highlighted the stark reality that 3
billion people worldwide lacked sanitation facilities. WHO warns
'the poorest 1000 million people are seven times more likely to
die from infectious diseases and maternal and prenatal conditions
most of which are related to bad sanitation for those that are the
poorest.' Most of the excreta are recycled for use in agriculture or
deposited on land withoutl prior destruction of pathogens, most of
which eventually enter thJ surface and ground waters, sometimes
surviving for considerablb length of time. Not surprisingly dis-
eases such as diarrhoeal diseases, and hepatitis are endemic in those
areas. Disposal of most of ~his biodegradable organic material with-
out treatment, pollutes env~ronment with organisms that are highly
dangerous to human health.
But the main focus bf WHO is on the increasing polluting
environment, which leads to poverty, which in turn leads to envi-
ronmental pollution. It contributes to the spread of the disease,
undermines the effectiveness of the health services and slows
population control. After taking into account the dramatic global
changes of the past 20 years and arriving at conclusions that in-
sanitary conditions contribute to the spread of the diseases, WHO
has sent out a call for action to help those most in need of improved
LIFE IN INDIAN SLUMS
A· slum can be defined as an overcrowded area of dilapidated
and usually old housing occupied by people who can afford
only the cheap dwellings available in the urban area, generally in
or close to the inner city. The term implies both a poverty ridden
population and unhealthy environment and a district ripe with crime
and violence. An estimated 45 million people continue to live in
sub-human conditions in thousands of slums around the country.
They do not have access to many necessities of life. This despite
the fact that they live amid an ocean of plenty and prosperity.
The problems of slum dwellers are manifold. First they live
in subhuman conditions. The degraded environme!lt in which they
live, take their toll on the physical, mental and moral health. The
slum dwellers mostly live in cramped, overcrowded and
unventilated dwellings. In Mumbai, for example, the slum dwellers
and the homeless account for about 50 per cent of the population,
but they occupy only the 6 per cent of the city's land area.
Incidentally the largest slum of Asia, Dharavi is also here. Similarly
Delhi which has the third largest slum population in the country,
accommodates an estimated 32 lakh people in about 1000 slums.
According to the 1991 census, some of the slums have population
density more than 60,000 people per square kilometer.
Given such· a mode of living, slum dwellers are exposed to
variety of diseases. Lack of adequate medical facilities further ag-
gravates their plight. They are unable to pay the hefty fees charged
by the private practitioners and nursing homes and neither are there
enough paramedical forces to look after the slum patients. In a
study it was found that majority of slum dwellers are exposed to
water borne and, other infectious diseases. Added to this is the
problem of scarcity and poverty. Women and children are. more
susceptible to such diseases. Even the basic necessities of the slum
dwellers are not met. Contaminated drinking water, lack of sew-
age, inadequate schooling facilities for children, no privacy for
women, and poor supply of electricity are some of the perpetual
problems faced by them. All this takes a heavy toll of the health
and lives of slum dwellers. A large number of slum dwellers in
Delhi depend on shallow hand pump which is mostly contami-
nated. The slum dwellers who have to struggle hard for survival,
do not even have drinking water to their satisfaction. A survey by
the Delhi-based National Institute of Communicable diseases found
that 50 per cent of water supplied to the slums and the clusters is
not fit for drinking. Such is the pathetic condition of the slum
Another serious problem facing the slums is increasing crime.
Cases of violence for self preservation, fighting, rape and stealing
are very common. It is a pity that even after over fifty years of
independence, the country has not been able to give freedom to a
large chunk of population who continue to live in a bondage of
drudgery and deprivation. As a matter of fact, the slum dwellers
are victims of rapid urbanisation, which has led a mass exodus of
the rural population to the city.
Unfortunately, the slum dwellers are looked upon by the rest
of the society as an appendix causing ills to the urban body. This
is a misconception. Slum inhabitants are rather like that artery
which if blocked would cease the smooth function of the whole
city. After all, they are also human beings and we should have a
more humanitarian approach towards them.
Essays at Borne
ELECTION EXPENSES IN INDIA
Election is a democratic process of electing a suitable govern-
ment through the process of voting by the electorates. In the
last ten years, the elections have become quite frequent with hung
Parliament. The era of coalition government has also contributed
to the factor of frequent elections. With every election the members
of the Lok Sabha are a worried lot. Not only do they have to garner
resources to contest yet another election, which is becoming in-
creasingly expensive, but they stand to lose several perks and privi-
leges enjoyed by the law-maker. These include subsidised houses
in the capital, free telephone calls and railway and air passes.
Hence winning an election is of utmost importance. According
to reports, a number of the contestants had sold their property and
jewellery to finance their election campaigns. Most of them were
not aware that the 12th and 13th Lok Sabha elections will take
place in such a short period. About 75 per cent of the law-makers
face serious financial crisis. For most of them, it is a life-time gam-
ble of make or break.
Although the Election Commission, the constitutional body
responsible for holding elections, does not allow a candidate to
spend more than Rs. 1.5 million, on his or her campaign, some of
the contestants spend much more than the stipulated amount. None
of the law-makers, in particular the first time elected are happy
with frequent elections. Election is a costly affair due to the large
size of Parliamentary Constituencies. Constituencies . like outer
Delhi in the capital and Thane in Maharashtra have three million
strong electorates, while constituencies like Barmer in Rajasthan
are spread over 28,000 square kilometer, more than four timesthe
size of Bahrain.
According to unofficial estimates, more than: Rs. 50 billion
was spent in India's 13th General Election. The Election
commission spent about Rs. 10 billion which was borne by the
Union Government. Usually the provision for election expenditure
is made in the annual budget, but this time a special grant was
made for election expenses, according to the Election Commisioner.
Politicians and political parties mostly turn to industry when
the time comes to contest another election. And industry usually
obliges them with funds. However the frequency of election, puts
the industrialists in a tight spot. They cry foul. According to Rahul
Bajaj, the funding is not possible, if elections occur every year.
Arun Bharat Ram of the DCM group complains that no estimate is
available about the extent of funding the political parties and it has
, an adverse effect on the profitability of the industry, as the figure
runs into millions. He attributed the lack of enthusiasm on the part
of the industry, to fund political parties not only to the frequency
of elections, but also to the liberalisation of the economy. When
the economy was controlled, the businessmen had to rely on the
politicians and funded them for money to obtain licences and
permits. But now with the economy liberalised, the industry is no
longer dependent on the politicians. Except for a very few industrial
houses, such as the Tatas, which have set up a trust to fund elections,
none of the major corporates have a transparent policy on political
The frequency of elections not only hits the lawmakers but
also the common men. With every elections, the price of commodity
soars up as the money funded for elections has to be compensated
somewhere. And who better than the common citizens. They are
the scapegoats of-frequent elections. The common man has to pay
from his pocket to generate the revenue to the government. Moreo-
ver, the holidays in different constituencies which goes to poll
causes a huge loss to the nation and most of people' divert their
attention towards the election results. This leads towards ignoring
of work and again that causes loss. Elections are for the benefit of
the people, that is, if the elected government lasts its full-term i.e.,
5 years, else too many elections will ultimately ruin tlie country
and take it to-a point where dictatorship has to be imposed.
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (IT)
The new millennium saw a complete revolution in the history
of mankind-the information technology revolution. Although
the information technology has already entered the homes, offices
and hearts of our global citizens, yet some new feats are to be
performed by our IT experts within a period of years to come. IT
is the fastest growing field in the world. India has a major stake in
this field and our software and hardware experts, firms and IT spe-
cialists have been contributing a great deal towards this ever
growing field. For example, the annual revenue of Indian software
industry has touched the US $ 6 billion mark in the year 2000.
During 1995-96, when there was major recession in the most
economies of the world, the Indian software exports were 16.2
per cent in the global customised software market, which was -a
The first major area of IT at the moment and in the next few
years to come in great demand is the Electronic Mail (e-rnail).
This is a high speed communication mode through Internet. An
e-mail costs less than 1 Re per page and can be sent to or received
from any corner of the world. This unique facility is' already present
in India and is fast catching up as awareness about this is developed.
All one needs; is a computer, an e-mail connection, a telephone
with STD facilities and a modem card. e-rnail is the mediumof
communication for the future. It would later on eliminate the need
of postage, courier and telephonicconversation, Data; text, picture,
tables and all types of special information can be transferred via
Second most vital area of development isthe 'Electronic
Commerce (e-com). The concept is simple and Ollie can-send an
e-mail to the nearest grocery shop for daily grocery needs and
grocery would be delivered at the door step. The corporate firms
would float their tenders and projects through Internet. The
vendors, management consultants, engineering consultants and
other business associates can discuss project on-line through
Internet. The costing, calculations, engineering details and prices
would be shared on-line. The orders would be placed on-line and
the executions should be through Internet. The concept of e-com
is picking up rapidly in the Indian industry.
Another significant development envisaged in the field of IT,
is the advent of Internet shops in all parts of urban India. Internet
surfers take interest in sending and receiving e-mail, surf through
various sites of Internet and collect information required by them.
All the magazines, newspapers. city guides, fashion news, movies
and other entertainment shows are available on-line on the Internet.
Earlier people were crazy about video games. In years to come
people would surf through Internet for education, information,
business and leisure.
IT has made its presence felt in consumer electronics also.
Examples of mobile phones, trunking systems. computer monitors,
high memory Magneto Optic Drives, Digital Video Disks (DVDs)
for video applications. STD calls at the rate of Rs 3 per minute,
high definition stereo systems and a host of facilities for telephone
Satellite phones has been another feather in the cap of IT
professionals in the new millennium. We already have satellite
phones for talking to any person across the globe or for sending
Fax or e-rnail to him. Right now, cost is the basic inhibiting factor;
and once the costs come down, satellite phones will sell like hot
It would usher the modem man in the era of paperless office.
All the offices and homes would be connected through LANIWAN /
networks and Intemets. Information would be collected, analysed,
tabulated, presented and transferred electronically and through
cordless modes. The real emphasis would then be on the
performance and not on paperwork.
IN SUPPORT OF GREEN
With Rajendra Singh winning the Ramon Magsaysay award
for rain water harvesting, the Green Revolution in India has
come to be recognised throughout the globe. India is today
experiencing the new age in cultivation. A growing section of
Indian farmers are taking advantages of new technologies and are
adopting various methods not just to maximise the yield per
hectare, but also improving the caloric and the nutritional content
of the crop. With the introduction of new 'dwarfing genes' in wheat
cultivation, the yield has multiplied on an average three-fold. The
pests and insects are no longer a problem with Indian farmers who
are learning the benefit of biotechnology. Agro-scientists in
numerous agro-based institutions in the country are developing
new seed varieties which not just improve farm production but
also add to the nutritional values of the product.
Agricultural production and marketing in India comprises
cash crops and immediate enrichment of the farmer. New
techniques like in-vitro fertilization, plant-quarantine and
cyrobanks are being adopted by the farmers so as to reap the best
, of results from their land. The increase in population in India is at
present more than offset by the increase in agricultural production
in every field. Thanks to the modern techniques developed by the
research institutions, farming in India is acquiring an altogether
new status. Horticulture and orchid development have become
important branches of agriculture as the financial recovery from
fruits like apples, oranges. mangoes, grapes, banana, anar,
pineapple, peaches and other varieties have become easier and
quicker. Till some decades ago, the production of many a fruit was
minimal, but with the help of new techniques of orchid develop-
rrient the fruits are grown in bulk quantities. Most of the dry fruits
which were earlier imported on a substantial scale are now sown
and reaped in the country. Thanks to the new seed varieties,
conditions have been created for their widespread yield. Today they
are being cultivated so widely that they not only meet their demand
in the country, but are also exported on a good scale.
The concept of Cyrobank is generally gaining popularity
among Indian farmers. A Cyrobank preserves seeds in liquid
nitrogen under 35 to 40 relative humidity and at 4° Centigrade.
Traditionally farmers had been using crude techniques to preserve
seeds. But there are inherent problems with such techniques. One,
due to the moisture content in the atmosphere, the yield potential
of seed drops significantly year after year and ultimately reaches
zero. Secondly seeds are susceptible to insect attacks as plants and
se;ds are difficult to preserve. But now farmers can set up their
own Cyrobanks and preserve seeds in nitrogen solution, which not
only maximises harvest. but also increases the nutritional value of
the yield. This technique is widely used in cereal crops like rice,
bajra, wheat, gram and pulses.
Another breakthrough which is poised to revolutionise agri-
culture is the in-vitro conservation and fertilization technique, de-
veloped indegenously after several years of painstaking research.
This technique helps change the colour, shape, taste, size and
caloric value of a particular crop, fruit or vegetable. In fact some
of the priority crops in which in-vitro conservation and fertilization
has been undertaken are: banana, turmeric, ginger, garlic and a
number of medicinal, aromatic and endangered plants. It is thus
possible to grow a banana plant which could suffice as a meal in
terms of caloric value.
However despite the advances in techniques and enthusiasm
among agro-scientists, about these new developments the results
are yet to show at the speed at which they were envisaged. That is
because a number of farmers are still resistant to change. Even.
though the students and experts from various agricultural univer-
sities often camp in villages, to educate farmers on the economic
benefits of introducing these new techniques, it will take some
time before the message is driven home to the farmers.
Conservation strategies, seed genebanks and botanical herbal
gardens are being set up at the village level, which makes the
process of conservation fast and simple: These efforts will go a
long way in advancing agro production in India. Agricultural
scientists now feel that the actual benefits of the green revolution
are just starting to pour in and farmers, instead of depending only
on nature, can now depend on science for better yields. India has
really become much greener than green.
PUBLIC SECTOR IN INDIA
S inceindependence, the public sector in India has been guided
by the Industrial Policy Resolution of 1956, which had as its
objective, the acceleration of economic growth and the speeding I
up of the industrialisation as means of achieving the socialist
pattern of society. The size of the public sector in India is indeed
very large. It includes government departments and its companies
whether in the Union or in the state sector, irrigation and power
projects, railways, posts and telegraphs, defence, ordinance
factories and other undertakings like insurance. banking, financial
and other services. The focus was on the Central public enterprises
established as government companies or statutory corporations sans
The logic behind the public sector undertakings was that
private entrepreneurs were profit-oriented and this motive urged
them to move in fields where the returns were high and certain. In
a developing or an undeveloped country, this tendency has many
drawbacks. Firstly as more and more capital was injected in the
same type of business, competition increased and with it the costs
went up with increasing costs, prices also increased and markets
were hit. Before the introduction of planning in India, most
businessmen invested their money in traditional industries like iron,
steel, cotton etc.
One of the argument in favour of public sector was that the
government was better capable of controlling the best of the brains
by virtue of the stability and status that went with the government
jobs. The government also had at its disposal the resources of the
country's men and material, besides money. It was the government
that could stand losses in one direction and cover them from gains
in the other. Also the government could float an undertaking on
the principle of minimum profits or on a no-profit and no-loss basis.
Such a policy fell beyond the purview of the private sector and
hence government undertakings in industry were desirable or rather
necessary in an underdeveloped economy at the time of independ-
ence. In other words, the economy of such a country needs to be
duly controlled and unless and until capital acquires free movement
and diverse channels to cater for higher tastes and better standards
of living, a free economy could not work without dissent.
If a manager is selected from amongst professionals, and can
ensure efficient functioning in accordance with the priorities fixed
by the higher professionals in authority, a public sector firm has a
very good chance of achieving success. Without the support of
public enterprise system, the development of basic industries in
an underdeveloped country is not possible. It is only the
government which has the power to raise funds, the like of which
can never be achieved even by talented private entrepreneur without
causing undue concentration of wealth. The development of a
public sector firm is usually carried out in a phased plan of action
based on priorities in accordance with the requirements of the
economy. The whole economic sphere is brought under control
without causing disincentives to the labour force. Economic
democracy should accompany political democracy and all
development activities in the state coordinated with political
ideologies and in accordance with the will of the people.
There are certain sectors where the government invariably
has to playa role due to its large size and infrastructure like defence.
production, heavy industries and basic mineral extractions besides
the public utilities, roads, railways and communications. In modem
times the free private enterprise system can be thought of as a
mixed economy, a blend of public and private activity.
After the initial exuberance of public sector entering into new
areas of industrial production, trading, financial and service sectors;
the public enterprises started facing various problems related to
poor project management, overstaffing, outdated technology etc.
All these put together, the public sector started showing poor results
in comparison to investment made.
VALUE BASED EDUCATION
India needs a value education system which will inculcate among
the students, universal values and enrich his or her personality.
One very often hears that the children of today are going astray
because their schools fail to help them build their character. There
is a thought in the country which decries the invasion of the visual
media while many battle with the questions like should sex
education be imparted at the school level. There are some who
worry about the quality of teachers themselves. And a regrettable
aspect of life in India is that government run schools are generally
looked upon as poor education factories. However, there can be
no doubt that the country needs a value education system which
will inculcate among the students universal values and enrich his
or her personality-emotionally, intellectually, psychologically,
physically and spiritually.
The student today may be better informed and smarter than
his parents but this has come in an ambience when the stress is on
acquiring techniques and not values. It is said that the skills ac-
quired on computers tend to become obsolete after a period of
time, but values learnt in early days remain forever. Many are of
the view that present-day education is but an information trans-
mission process. Swami Vivekananda once said, "If education is
identical with information, libraries are the greatest sages of the
world and encyclopaedias are rishis" . The seeds of value education
can be implanted first by the mother. But increasingly school for
the children starts from a very early age nowadays: at three or
four. Therefore schools can play important role in implanting value
education. These are values which affect both the person and the
society--concern for the aged, the handicapped, the deprived
sections of the society, dignity of labour, self dependence and
manual labour and so on.
Similarly, for the concept 'unity in diversity' to be
meaningful, a feeling of love for all languages of the country has
to be developed at an early age. In fact, the authorities could do
well to implement the three-language formula more seriously and
across a wide section of the country. Language controversies should
be out-of-question in a value-based education system.
The success of any education system, however, depends to a
great extent on the teachers. For children of tender age, teacher is
a role model. The question that needs to be decided as to how and
where should value education be introduced. Should it be a sepa-
rate component of the school syllabus? Earlier, it was a component
of the school syllabus as a subject "Moral Science". Experts are
of the opinion that value education need not be imparted through
a separate class or text books. It can be integrated through teaching
methods, instructional materials and co-curricular activities. Indeed
teacher of every subject is supposed to be a teacher of fundamen-
tal values like democracy, tolerance, co-existence, respect for oth-
er's views. Equally important is the role of school environment in
spreading the message of value education. It has to be congenial.
Complete use should be made of the school assembly, and prayers
sung there should strengthen beliefs like secularism and patriotism.
Meditation and yoga can also play an important role in building
The burden of studies seem to virtually hamper extra-
curricular activities like NCC, NSS, boy scouts and guides. Their
revival will promote discipline, co-operation and healthy attitude
towards life. An academic activity like increasing reading habits
also needs to be encouraged, perhaps in the compulsory period.
Experts opine that value-based education should be introduced at
the school level and continued through college and university
levels. But at the advanced stage of education like college and
university, values like human rights, co-existence, ethics and
comparative study of religion should be taught. One should not
forget that a good citizen makes a good nation and value-based
e1ucati~n is the first step towards nation building.
WHAT AILS INDIAN SCHOOLS
Of all things that make India a dirty place for majority of its
citizens, is that the educational system of India is bifurcated
into two streams, solely on the basis of the income of parents-one
for the rich and other for the poor. First is the government school
which is one of the many established wholesale without any quality
of standards prescribed by the Central Advisory Board of
Education. While the syllabi of these schools are good, their
practical implementation is poor. The teachers in government
schools, although well paid, always seek private extra income from
groups of students. These schools have very few extra-curricular
activities and their students obtain average marks in board exami-
nations. On the other hand, there are so-called public schools which
are run by private reputed intellectuals, or reputed education
societies. These schools charge high tuition and other fees from
the students, but do justice to the provision of teaching and sports
facilities. They have intelligent and highly paid teachers who know
their jobs and can give inspiring lectures to students. Since they
charge high fees, they prefer to admit children belonging to the
upper or upper middle class, if the student is intelligent and is able
to pay their high donations.
Government schools on the other hand are not well equipped,
their buildings are inferior, facilities for libraries are poor, and there
is an awful atmosphere of all round low standards of education
and sports. Teachers are also careless and do not devote their time
properly in teaching. The paucity of funds is written large on the
face of every student. In the public schools, the promoters spend
or invest good amount of money on equipping their schools with
all teaching aids and best quality equipment for their science labo-
ratories. They also make good provision for sports and send their
students for sports championships. They mould the students in such
a way that they grow on to become successful persons in their
life. Public schools have a very sound infrastructure, which is com-
pletely missing in the government schools.
In 1966, the Kothari Commission Report came out with the
concept of so called neighbourhood schools. In these schools, it
was thought that all children of the locality will be admitted and
proper standards would be maintained. The reason why such a
common educational system did not develop in India was that the
successive governments never provided the necessary resources
to develop it, and the concept was nipped in the bud.
Unless the state spends money to improve the infrastructure
and quality of schools, these would never turn into authentic neigh-
bourhood schools where all children could study equally. While
decentralisation and community participation would be essential
for the proper working of such a system, funding should not be
based on income of a community or a locality.
Co-education is a system of education where boys and girls
. study together. Indian society is a conservative society as well
as orthodox:. Co-education to an extent breaks the conservative at-
titude. In a country which still boasts of a purdah system, which
is prevalent in the rural India, co-education helps the boys and the
girls to break certain misconceptions which exist between both
the genders. In today's age co-education is of great importance as
it helps in removing social myths and barriers between the two
genders which have existed since times immemorial.
Co-education breeds familiarity between boys and girls and
they start breaking the normal misconceptions about each other.
Their outlook towards each other change and they begin to develop
a healthy, normal relationship which results in more matured per-
sonalities of both the sexes. There is no discrimination based on
sex. It has been often seen that students who come from co-
education background are much better communicators than
students who study in the same gender institution. This also assists
the students when they become professionals and interact with the
opposite sex. As the boys and girls who have studied in co-
education remove their shyness, they develop a broader outlook
and are devoid of narrow mentality. It is indeed essential to have
more and more co-education institutes in order to make good,
normal and healthy citizens, who in turn can remove many social
evils like dowry with joint efforts. Moreover co-education gives
an individual a feeling that he or she is more confident while
talking to the opposite gender and removes doubts, which can
otherwise prove to be quite detrimental. The various extra-
curricular activities that take. place in co-education institutes
provide a common platform for mutual admiration, which is again
a healthy social norm.
With co-education institutions the government also stands
to benefit. In one premise both boys and girls can receive education,
instead of two different premises. This escalates the expenditure
not only on the construction of schools and colleges, but also in
employing more number of teachers to teach in two different
premises. Co-education also instills a sense of competition as both
the genders want to outperform each other in studies, games and
extra-curricular activities. With more understanding, a mutual
. respect is developed and the mind is free from dirty thoughts.
Maturity comes at an early age which goes a long way in
developing successful personalities out of both the genders.
The question arises whether we are successful in having a
co-education system? And the answer more often than not is a
NO. It is quite unfortunate that instead of developing matured
persons out of the co-education system, it is just the opposite way
round. Most of the boys and girls join co-education institutions
for all the wrong reasons. Ninety five per cent of the genders want
to have 'friendship', the meaning of which is quite vague. For the
first timers to a co-education college, it comes as a cultural shock
and they get carried away. Studies take a back seat while going to
films and restaurants become a priority. Both the genders waste
time and money on frivolous activities, which later on affect their
academics. Today in most of the urban cities, joining a computer
or a management course is more a platform to have friends rather
than studies. Sometimes, this leads to serious complications like
elopement and pre-marital sex, which is alarmingly increasing in
the society. What started out to be a system of normal interaction
has taken an ugly and huge proportion that is affecting the society
What needs to be done immediately is to introduce co-
education right from the schools. It should begin from the primary
classes and teachers should take utmost precaution in maintaining
a proper balance by inculcating moral values from a tender age.
They should also see to it that the students develop a healthy
relation and grow up as normal individuals. Interaction should be
Essays at Home'
more, so that whatever misconceptions are there between the
genders gradually disappear and when they enter the college, they
are perfect examples of matured people. Co-education can really
benefit the 'society, if it is implemented in a proper manner with
responsibility. The responsibility in this case definitely lies with
the teachers, rather than the students. It is ultimately the teacher
who can guide, influence, motivate the students towards the right
track and save them from going overboard. Co-education can
remove eve-teasing, ragging, rape and other crimes against women.
Dowry system is a part of Hindu marriage ritual, which is
existing since- times immemorial. Dowry is actually a gift
which a father gives to his daughter, during marriage out of his
own free will. It is given with an idea that she can lead a happy
married life and in case of adverse circumstances, the gift which
is usually jewellery or land can be utilised. A father has full right
to give to his daughter whatever he feels like and no one can take
away this right from him. It is a practice which is followed even
today and will be followed in future and there is nothing wrong in
this. Dowry when demanded becomes evil.
The question arises that why dowry has today become a social
evil which has assumed gigantic proportion? So much so that the
government had to pass Anti-dowry Act, which could lead toim-
prisonment also and the offence is non-bailable. Today greed and
lust for wealth has taken precedence over human relations. And
this is the root of all social evils of which dowry stands out to be
on the top. Dowry is a bane of the society and the worst part of it
is that both the rich and the poor indulge in this activity, with same
greed. Dowry related crimes are topping the crime chart today,
with life-taking consequences. We have degraded ourselves as
human beings to an extent where we burn or murder or commit
mental torture on the weaker gender i.e., the woman.
After all who is to be responsible for this evil? Definitely,
the society. But then the society is based on two sexes, the man
and the woman and out of these two sexes, who is more
responsible? Again the answer is both, but then, in this case women
have proved to be their greatest enemy. Even the girls coming from
the most educated families take a back-seat when it comes to their
marriage. As far as the selection of a life partner is concerned,
they can let the parents decide the right one, but the moment the
discussion on dowry starts, they remain a mute spectator or an
audience instead of revolting. Indian women are an epitome of
patience, but at certain times patience becomes harmful. It is high
time that the educated women start refusing marriage offers which
come with a tag of dowry. Even after getting married the Indian
woman silently bears the insults and mental torture heaped upon
her for bringing in insufficient dowry and this bearing of torture
ultimately leads them to the funeral pyre. In fact Uttar Pradesh,
Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and surprisingly the
cosmopolitan Delhi tops in dowry related crimes. Such has been
its evil influence that in Rajasthan women practice female foeticide
in order to avoid dowry. However in a more literate and intellectual
society like Kerala and Bengal, cases of dowry are quite few. In
Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, the Parents start thinking of dowry, the
moment a son is born in the family. Most of the parents want their
children to become civil servants, doctors, engineers or even
government clerks in order to extract maximum money in the form
of dowry. It does not reflect a civil society, where educated people
act in such unci vili sed manner. It makes our head hang in shame.
It is important to fight this menace of dowry unitedly. The
boys should strictly turn down any marriage proposal where he
feels that he is being sold for a good price. This needs strength of
character and manliness. The girls should prefer to remain
unmarried than getting into a marital relationship which later on
can turn fatal. With so much of women empowerment, they should
come out openly against this system and abolish it from the society .
. The parents should also try to show responsibility and especially
the girl's parents. They should report matters related to demanding
of dowry to the police. It should be remembered that giving of
dowry is a bigger sin than taking of dowry and hence legal pun-
ishment should be for both the parties. In case of harassment for
dowry after marriage, the woman should report the matter on the
very first instance. Shying away from social responsibility in order
to avoid social stigma will ultimately lead to death. Dowry is an
evil and it has to be removed unitedly.
A VISIT TO AN EXHIBITION
In today's busy and fast paced life, fairs, functions, marriages
and exhibition provide a social platform, where relatives. friends
and acquaintances can socialise. As a result today we have more
exhibitions and fairs than what it used to be earlier. These things
are also refreshing and they make us more energetic and better
performers. It is like a breath of fresh air which motivates us.
Last year a grand exhibition was held in our city and some
selected and like-minded friends of mine and I went to visit the
fair in the evening. Our first impression on entering the ground
was that the whole thing looked like a fairyland. It was simply
maryellous. The vast space was decorated with magnificent, bright
and gay colours and lit up with countless lights. Men and women
were in their best holiday clothes and were moving from one comer
to another corner. They were admiring the beauty and sophistication
of all kinds of stalls set up there. These stalls were like small shops,
dealing with various items such as cloth; both ordinary and fancy,
household furniture, various types of machinery, musical instru-
ments and numerous articles for daily use. The prices were also
While the stalls made an interesting sight, What attracted the
crowd most was the children's corner in the exhibition which was
crowded with boys and girls. All types of amusements could be
seen here, such as the giant wheel, the merry-go-rounds, the
tumbling boxes, the wooden horses, dodge cars, a railway train
and many other similar things. In each of these children, as well
as the grown-ups were seated and having a most thrilling and
exciting time. .
We visited the entire ground of the exhibition, leaving
nothing. After that all of us felt that we were hungry so we went
to the "Food Stall" section of the exhibition and ate a number of
different dishes to our heart's content. While eating, we heard a
number of announcements regarding the lost one, but fortunately
all of them were re-united with their families and relatives. There
was a magic show of forty-five minutes duration and we decided
to see the magic show. It was quite interesting. There were also a
number of games and we tried our luck in some of them. Two of
my friends won prizes also. There was a cultural programme in a
small theatre. It showed the changing aspects of Indian culture
and we also watched the programme. By now all of us were quite
tired, but despite that we had the enthusiasm to stroll for some
more time. Some of my friends decided to buy some articles and I
also decided to buy a couple of good books. Since the stalls were
scattered, we decided to meet at the "Lost and Found Booth" in
half-an-hour. Then we went our ways. I bought three books each
on religion, sports and music. When I reached the destined place,
I saw no one. I waited for sometime and watched people who had
come to. announce the "Lost Ones". After fifteen minutes, my other
friends returned with different articles. It was quite late by now,
so we left the exhibition, as more and more people were coming
in. It being a Saturday, the crowd was more.
As I came out of the ground, I felt happy, that this visit
provided me a relief from the boredom of daily routine. I was
energised and felt good that I had a social outing after a long time.
Any function or fair that occurs after a long time definitely creates
a sense of excitement.
Anation is known by its people and the character of the people
in general becomes the national character. National character
is what it takes for a nation to reach great heights. A nation devoid
of national character cannot have economic and social
development, because character is the basic foundation on which
the nation builds its growth and a weak foundation cannot sustain
the growth and sooner or later the growth is going to crumble.
Character is an abstract term and is related to morals and
ethics that are required to live in a civilised society. Honesty,
truthfulness, trustworthiness, patriotism and similar other terms
are encompassed by the word character. Although with changing
times, the term itself has undergone change, but the basic concept
remains the same. So, earlier while speaking the truth meant only
speaking the truth, so that no one is in inconvenience. Today
"convenient lies" has taken the place of truth. For instance a person
whose job is to meet other persons to collect order; does not meet
the person personally, but instead gets the order on telephone, then
reporting the matter to the senior by saying that the order was col-
lected in person, implies "not lying", as the work has been done.
The question we should seriously ask ourselves is: Do we have a
national character? The answer is more no and less yes. Today, we
distinctly lack a national character. The number of scams and
scandals that have gone up alongwith other economic-related
offences, has stopped surprising us. The same politicians who
deceive us by delivering false promises, we elect them time and
again. It is not surprising to find that as a nation we have become
immune to corruption, rather corruption has become a part of our
lifestyle and we have more or less accepted to live with it. This
speaks lot about our national character. Whereas in a country like
Japan, the head of the state immediately resigns, the moment his
scandal is exposed, our shameless ministers continue to counter
such exposures by terming them as "allegation" by the opposition.
As a nation, we know the truth and yet turn our head the other
way, so as to avoid the matter.
Today there are lies, deceits, betrayals, emotional black-mails,
backstabbing in the society. We tend to tell lies at the drop of the
hat or without winking our eyes. Everybody says he hates lies, but
the hate here implies to "being lied". No one wants to listen lies,
but do not hesitate to lie, even for a moment. The top companies
are deceiving the banks and laundering the money, later to find
themselves in a police net. The incidences are on the rise. Betrayals
are common and in fact, this element, we have inherited from our
politicians, who are expert in matters of betrayal. To get our work
done, we tend to blackmail people who are emotionally involved
with us. The father blackmails the son and the son blackmails the
father. Politicians blackmail the entire nation on emotional ground.
Greed has taken priority in our life and materialistic possessions
matter more than ethics or morals. We are a nation stripped of
morality. Self-centredness has become the motto and in order to
achieve success, we step on the shoulders of others and move
ahead. So many people are killed in Jammu and Kashmir, yet we
are not moved, because they do not happen to be related to us. But
they are related to us through humanity. But then, humanity as a
word has disappeared from the society and has brought us to the
level of criminals. Patriotism to us means 15th August and 26th
January, other days we do not even care two hoots for our jawans.
The only time our patriotism awakens is when we are attacked by
our neighbouring country. Corruption has become synonymous
with our lifestyle. In fact, a person who is yet to be infected by
corruption is looked down as a fool. We feel that if others are
involved in corruption, then why not I? This type of mentality is
gradually taking us to our doom, but we are aware of it. Acceptance
of western style of dressing and fashion, rather than their outlook
is taking its effect on the society gradually. The increase in crime
can also be attributed to the lack of a national character.
There is no denying the fact that if all these things continue,
the day is not far when the nation shall face a bankruptcy of national.
character. To build up a national character, we need to be influ-
enced by great personalities like Kabir, Swami Vivekanand, Ram
Mohan Roy, Mahatma Gandhi and many others. We should be
having some ideals on whose footprints, we can base our life style.
We should develop a sense of honesty, devotion, dedication, de-
termination and punctuality. All these things should be incorporated
in such a way that we need not to lie profusely ~r deceive others.
Greed and lust for wealth are fatal. If we develop a sense of ,
contentment, then corruption can be toned down. If we can manage
with one car, what is the need for two? The money can be used for
social causes like upliftment of the underprivileged and the desti-
tute. We should develop fellow-feeling for others, then only can
the term humanity come in the society. It is high time that we grow
ourselves and at the same time let others grow also. Politicians
who play with our emotions should be thrown out of their
constituencies. After all we elect the government, so indirectly we
are responsible for the corrupt government.
India has been a land of rich culture and traditions. Even the
westerners come to India to find peace and happiness. It is high
time that we start reforming ourselves to an extent that every
individual is reformed and the society becomes a place where we
can enjoy living. To reform, we need to develop a strong character
and our country will develop a strong national character.
IF I WERE THE PRIME MINISTER
Life is full of realities, so every individual has an ambition or a .
dream, which some achieve and many do not. Inspite of the
fact, that most of us cannot achieve our dream, there is no harm if
we take the liberty of dreaming something which seems impossible
at one moment and possible the next. The possibility is due to
certain drastic change in circumstances. Similarly I also have a
dream and that dream is to become the Prime Minister of the
world's largest democracy, that is India.
If I were Prime Minister then I would do my best to change
everything that needs to be changed so that India becomes an ex-
emplary country for other countries. There are certain things I
would like to remove and there are certain things I would like to
implement. Definitely I would like to remove the problems
engulfing the nation and becoming hinderances on its path of
progress and I would like to implement certain aspects which will
speed up the growth and sustain it at the same time.
First of all I would like to tackle the population problem; the
mother of all problems. To tackle this problem I would like to
launch a country-wide programme on war footing to educate the
people about the menace that population explosion can do. I would
like to take a democratic approach and if it succeeds then good,
otherwise I will opt for the dictatorship approach and punish people
who have more than three children. After this I will tackle the
problem of poverty and unemployment. both of which are inter-
linked. Instead of offering jobs to the unemployed youths of the
country, I will render them all financial help from the banks to
become self-employed. If one self-employed can provide job op- .
portunities to five others, through trading or business. then the
problem of unemployment can be controlled to a great extent. At
the same time I will increase the daily wage of the bonded labour
and make it compulsory that every individual earns Rs. 3000/- per
month or Rs. 100/- per day in order to sustain his basic necessities.
If this is done then automatically crime will also come under
control. Crime is the manifestation of poverty and unemployment
and when both these aspects are controlled, crime will be curbed.
The first timers of crime will be let off with slight warning
depending upon the magnitude of the crime, or else they will be
dealt with the harshest of punishment, so that it deters other crimi-
nals from committing further crimes. Similarly vulgarity in dress
and any such acts which hurts our tradition should be dealt with
iron hands. Corruption is an inevitable aspect of developing society,
so to uproot corruption will be a herculean task, but at the same
time, depending upon the intensity of corruption and how much it
affects the national health and wealth, corruption will be handled.
The ministers who are found involved in scams and scandals should
be sentenced to life-time imprisonment. This should set an exam-
ple to the masses, who may think twice, before entering into
corruption. However complete removal of this process which has
become deadlier than the AIDS disease is unthinkable.
After this I will turn towards certain steps that could help to
sustain the good work done by the removal of the above mentioned
problem. In this regard I will put the maximum stress on strength-
ening the womenfolk of the nation. No nation can be great unless
its women are educated and literate. Education will take the prec-
edence and free and compulsory education to girls till school will
be implemented. It should be made known to everyone that knowl-
edge is power and to become a powerful country, we need to be
armed with knowledge. Punctuality will be the next in order and
any person whether student or professional will be penalised if he
or she lacks punctuality. The youths of the country will be
motivated to join the defence forces, so that from fourth largest
army, we become the world's largest army. This will also inculcate
a sense of patriotism. Sports will also be given importance and no
pains will be spared to bag Olympic gold medals, elusive to India,
even today. Agriculture will get priority over industry, so that the
country becomes self-sufficient in food production. Prices of
essential commodities will be brought down, so that everyone can
have an access to the commodity. No stone will be left unturned
in inculcating traditional values, culture, ethics and morals. Art
and culture will be boosted and it will be made compulsory at
schoollevei that every student has to be involved in some healthy
. activity which assists him in his personal growth. People will be
asked to assist the police in controlling crime. The legalsystem
which moves at a snail's pace will be speeded up so that people
are not denied justice. Delayed justice is justice denied. This will
motivate people to have faith in the justice and then people will
think twice before taking to crime.
If in my term of five years, I am able to bring about these
changes, rest assured that the amount of faith people will have on
my leadership capabilities that I will continue as the Prime Minister
for the rest of my life, so long as I am alive.
HOW I SPENT MY SUMMER
Vacations are a part of our life-style and the vacation creates a
new energy and enthusiasm to take interest in a work which
forms a part of our daily routine. India being a tropical country, is
quite hot as compared to other countries and during summer people
tend to become sloth and feel like relaxing at home, especially the
students. So our schools and universities have summer and winter
This year, as the summer vacation was approaching, my
brother had already planned to visit Kulu-Manali and Himachal
as a whole. My parents were interested into going to Vaishno Devi
and then to some other places. My father had already applied for a
30-day leave and it was after a gap of three years, that we were to
go outside Delhi. I had already made up my mind that this vacation
I am going to utilise my time. So I told my friends that I could not
accompany them as I had some other plans. My friends were visibly
angry, but I could not help it. So when my father was about to get
the tickets, I told him that I would like to stay back and do
something. After a lot of cajoling both my parents agreed that I
could stay back, but I did not tell them of the reason for my staying
back. After my parents departed, I went to my bank. and then the
I wanted to learn German language and computers as well.
So I took admission in both the courses conducted by different
institutes not far from each other. My German language was from
8.30 a.m. and computer classes from to.30 a.m. My German
classes were three days a week and computer classes four days a
week. Both the classes were of one and a half hour of duration. I
started getting up early and after completing my morning formali-
ties reached my German classes. Thereafter within fifteen minutes,
after the class was over, I reached my computer institute where I
was enrolled in the course of multimedia and internet. When I
reached home, I used to be very tired, So I used to take rest for an
hour or so. After that I cooked some new recipe and then took rest
for a while. In the evening, I studied the German language and did
my computer work. I was enjoying myself. After a week, I received
a call from my mother. She wanted to know how I was, whether I
was taking food on time or not. I replied all in positive. She made
it clear and she alongwith father and brother, would be returning
sooner than decided.
My routine continued. It was the same while going to school,
but the difference here was that I was alone, and hence developed
a sense of responsibility. Learning two new things, kept me pre-
occupied and at the same time developed a self confidence within
me. Knowledge is power and I possessed the power. I could speak
German language well. I bought some more books on the language
to improve myself further. Computer was so much fun, unlike
school where it was more theoretical. And above all Ire-discovered
my potential to cook well. For me, the vacation was one of the
best times and quite constructive also.
The day my parents returned, I went to the station to receive
them. After we reached home, mother said that she will cook the
dinner and told others to have bath. When she entered the kitchen,
she found everything cooked. She just could not believe it. After
dinner, it was confirmed by my parents that I will never have prob-
lem with any job, at least I can manage as a chef. That was a great
compliment. Then I spoke German with my brother, who was look-
ing at me awe-struck. I told my father about how, after his depar-
ture, I had started taking classes for German language and com-
puter. My father was very happy and I was proud to make my par-
ents happy. It was my best summer vacation, when I realised that
one can do much more when alone, rather than with friends, fami-
lies and relatives. We all need time for ourselves and we should
properly utilise the time, so that it comes handy at a later time.
MANNERS AND ETIQUETTE
GOod manners can open the doors that the best of education
cannot. Simply to obtain a degree or a diploma is not enough.
What matters most today is a proper etiquette and a decorum. There
is a misconception that the more educated one is, the more well
mannered one will be. In fact education has nothing whatsoever
to do with manners and etiquette, because they can be taught once
but needs to be followed time and again. Manners include a proper
decorum in behaviour, in which the other person does not feel
Family is the first school where we learn manners and
etiquettes. The first thing in manners is the respect for elders and·
youngers. We should learn to give proper regards to our elders
and behave properly in front of them. The same applies for the
younger members of the family. It is said that to obtain or get
respect, one has to give respect. It does not necessarily mean that
we have to touch the feet of our elders all the time, but, it is also
being obedient, that is whatever is being said to us, we should abide
by them. We should not contradict what our elders tell us, because
despite the fact that today knowledge has become all-prevailing,
the elders have experience on their side and experience teaches
more than books, because experience is a practical knowledge. With
our younger ones, we should talk politely and even if they are
obstinate, we should make them understand to differentiate between
the good and the bad. This attitude of speaking lovingly with the
younger ones will develop in them a sense of respect for us.
Schools are the next school oflearning manners and etiquette.
Here we acquire manner's that are deemed fit for public. In school,
we, meet children from different background. Some rich, some mid-
dle class, some serious, some not serious, some well behaved] some
ill behaved. It should be remembered here that whatever we do
publicly, reflects on our upbringing. So when we abuse others or
get involved in a fight, it reflects on our family and it is the family
which is degraded, so our behaviour should be so proper that other
people do not throw any aspertions on our parents. Saying "Sorry"
or "Thank you", does not cost us anything, but many a times, it
can soothe ruffledfeathers.
The prayer in the schools during the morning hours teaches
us the importance of "praying". Praying is more of a mind control
by diverting it towards the Almighty or God. Not only should we
pray in the morning hours but also at night before going to bed.
When the mind is at peace then one can sleep well also. Prayers
should be an integral part of our growing life-style.
Talking too much or too loudly should be avoided. Both
talking too much and talking too loudly is a sign of. rusticity. One
should be soft spoken and should try to listen, rather than talk.
Listening gives us a lot of information, whereas talking is a sign
of ignorance. Remember the proverb, "Empty vessel sounds
much". Talking takes away energy, whereas listening creates
energy. Similarly laughing too loudly at public places is an
improper etiquette. Eating and talking together is also a bad
etiquette. One should not talk while eating, and moreover this style
is also unscientific, as it delays the digestion process.
Soft spoken, respecting, caring for the sentiments of others,
working with a smile, having patience with people whom we dislike
and helping people are all a part of good manners and etiquettes,
which we learn from our parents, elders, teachers and other people
around us. Once we develop good manners and proper etiquettes,
we are already on the verge of being successful. Success breeds
modesty and modesty is the supreme quality of a human being. A
tree full of fruit always bends down, while a date palm tree or a
coconut tree stands tall. Meaning to say that when one achieves
the real success, one becomes more modest and let the success
rest on the shoulder rather than going to head. Good manners and
etiquettes reflect the upbringing and the parental influence on us ..
DEVELOPING A GOOD
Aperson becomes a personality when he creates a niche for
himself in the society, in such a way that other persons tend
to follow him. A complete person is a personality and a personality
develops an identity for himself in a society. It is not difficult to
carve an identity for oneself in society. There are certain qualities
which a person has to inculcate in himself. In this regard, it is
very important to know that qualities are of two broad types or
categories. One is the inherited qualities that an individual inherits
from his parents and the other is the developed qualities which an
individual can go on developing throughout his life and thereby
sharpening his personality.
Inherited qualities are intelligence, voice, physique, nature
and looks. On these qualities we do not have any control. If the
parents have high I.Q. (Intelligence Quotient), then it is definite
that we will inherit that intelligence and do not have to make any
special effort. Some people are handsome, well built and tall. Well,
all these they inherit from their parents. Some have very good voice,
again a parental gift and we cannot develop a good voice or become
more handsome as we are already blessed with these qualities.
Similarly, nature also cannot be changed, definitely for a period
of time, nature can be controlled. For instance, a person who has a
quarrelsome nature will get into the habit of quarrelling, but if he
is not able to quarrel at his work place, due to the fear of losing
the job, then he will quarrel at his house or in his neighbourhood
or at public places. At the same time if a person is of a helping
nature and due to this nature, gets deceived, then for a particular
period of time he may not help another person, but again, after
some time, he will start helping others. So just like a leopard which
cannot change its spots, we also cannot change our nature, but
control it for a certain period of time due to certain restrictions.
Developed qualities are knowledge, confidence, manners,
dress-sense and patience. Throughout our life we can go on
developing these qualities which ultimately help us to develop a
strong personality by which we can motivate others. Knowledge
is the greatest power and the strongest weapon to fight ignorance.
We 'should develop the habit of increasing our knowledge.
Knowledge has different sources like books, television, journals
and even people. Experience with different persons enhances our
knowledge and we learn many such things, that otherwise would
become difficult to learn. In fact experience gives us that knowledge
which make us more matured. Life is a continuous process of
learning and with each learning, we increase our knowledge.
Knowledge inculcates confidence in a person. As the knowledge
increases, confidence also grows. In other words confidence is
directly proportional to the knowledge. Once an individual develops
confidence, he should further develop manners that should adorn
his personality. For instance a confident person is more well
mannered, dignified, modest and well behaved. People who have
confidence show it through his manner. Alongwith manner one
should develop a proper dress sense. Remember, the first
impression comes through your dressing. A properly dressed
person, creates an amicable impression on the other, whereby the
conversation begins. Thereafter the person can impress the other
with his knowledge, confidence and good manners.
Patience is the most important aspect of the developed
qualities. Inspite of all other qualities, many a time, an individual
is not able to reach his goal. It is at this point of time that he needs
to have patience. Patience is the watchword of success. Every
individual on this earth has to pass through the bad times, and
herein lies the true test of strength. If a person can withstand bad
times with lots of patience, then all said and done, nothing can
stop him from reaching his goal. But more often than not, people
tend to go haywire in adverse circumstances and create such silly
blunders that all his other developed qualities are completely over-
shadowed and he goes back to his original position. Patience can
be developed through meditation and yoga, which controls the
All individuals have only one life to lead and one should lead
the life in the best proper way, in order to create a space for himself
in the crowd. An identity needs to be created at this critical juncture,
when people suffer from identity crisis. This identity can be de-
veloped right from the family to school and then to college or uni-
versity and ultimately in the society. As the lines of poem say:
"Life of all great men, reminds us
That we should make our life sublime
And departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time."
IMPORTANCE OF TRAVELLING
In the words of Francis Bacon, one of the most renowned
essayist this world has ever produced, "travelling in the young
is a part of education, in elder, a part of experience". In fact,
education remains incomplete and experience, deficient without
travelling. Travel is like a banquet to the mind and much activity
to the body. He who travels more, knows more. Travel makes a
wise man wiser and an active man more agile. True education does
not lie in book learning, but in watching and experiencing places
Travel is an important means of knowledge and education. It
is a source of education to all in general irrelevant of age. It is a
part of practical education about geography, history, culture, styles
of living, customs, language, food habits-all rolled into one.
Daring travel a person visits various historical places, meets
different people with different religions, faiths, customs and
languages. Travel widens one's mental horizons, enriches
experience and gives new meaning to existence. Travel also .
provides pleasure and joy and gives relief to the boredom of the
routine life. It provides us an opportunity to escape from our too
familiar and stale environment and takes an individual to new,
interesting and exciting places and thereby increases the
individual's knowledge about people and things. There cannot be
a better way of national integration and unity than travel. It inspires
people with a sense of belonging to the nation. Visit to historical
monuments, centres of pilgrimage instills a sense of satisfaction,
pleasure and admiration about the country.
Many educational and training institutions take students and
trainees on educational trips and .tours. Sometimes they visit hill
stations and come in close contact with nature. Sometimes they
visit historical places and discover the rich history and heritage of
India. A trip to famous dams, river projects, power houses etc.,
enhances the knowledge about the infrastructure and the resources
and financial strength of the country. Similarly meeting people with
varied background increases the knowledge about our culture. By
travelling to different parts of the country one can see with one's
own eyes how the country is vast, great, varied and yet united. It
is rightly said that seeing is believing. Unless one sees the Qutub
Minar, one cannot comment on its architectural excellence. For
the youth, travel offers unlimited opportunities of adventure and
exploration in the country and beyond its boundaries. It generates
confidence, management skills and sharpens the abilities.
Travel as a means of education, enrichment, enlightenment
and knowledge has no parallel. Today the means of travelling are
so many that travelling has become easy. We can travel by car,
bus, plane or train and even in motorbikes, but travelling on foot
has its own charm. Trekking in the mountains and through the
forests has its own thrill and adventure. It helps usto hone our
observational power, analysis, facing dangers successfully along
with proper -rnanagement and planning. Travelling in groups
strengthens fellow feeling, cooperation, team spirit and mutuality.
It is a valuable training and experience in human interactions,
cooperation and teamwork. People of a travelling group can share
different responsibilities according to their individual likeness and
aptitude. Thus the division of labour makes travel light, enjoyable
and memorable. A person who has not travelled always remain a
"Frog in the well" and never wisens or matures.
SOCIAL REFORMS IN INDIA
Social reforms in India go back to as early as Gautam Buddha.
He was one of the greatest social and religious reformers that
the world has ever produced. He opposed the superiority of an
individual based on birth or caste. He took, the 'Brahm,ins and the
upper caste Hindus, to task for animal sacrifices in the name of
religion. He could not tolerate casteism and untouchability. He
disbelieved and broke the theory and practice of castes and classes.
According to him, even a low-born Shudra was entitled to attain
"moksha" or the process of breaking the cycle of re-birth, through
his righteousness. He threw open the doors of Buddhism for all
men and women irrespective of their caste, social status or nation-
Next comes Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, who led
powerful religio-social movement against casteism and religious
discord. He said God is one whether you call him Ram or Allah.
He condemned greed, dishonesty, ritualism and exploitation of the
weak, all in the name of God. Thus in Sikh religion, the concept
of 'God' is replaced by the concept of 'Guru'; the person who
takes an individual from darkness (Gu) to light (Ru). Similarly
Sant Kabir also preached Hindu-Muslim Unity and condemned
casteism, vain rituals and dead traditions. He believed in and
practised equality of men before the Almighty and criticised the
artificial barriers and divisions on the basis of castes, sects and
Raja Ram Mohan Roy also known as the "Father of Indian
Renaissance" and founder of Brahmo Sama) started a. crusade
against the social evils such as Sati, child marriage, Purdah system
and casteism. He was the first Indian to shun idol worship. He
was a great scholar, social reformer and religious leader. His aim
was to bring about a dynamic change in the society based on
knowledge and reasoning. He wanted not only to bring about a
religious and social reawakening but also equality among the
Hindus. His Brahmo Samaj contributed a lot to liberalise the Hindu
outlook. It was because of him and his tireless efforts that Lord
William Bentinck passed an Act against the Sati System and it
was abolised from the society.
Swami Vivekanand, also pioneered rationalist movement in
India in regard to religious reforms. He was the first Indian who
conveyed the importance of Hinduism to the Westerners. He spread
Hinduism beyond the borders of India. He clubbed the religious
reforms with social upliftment. He rationalised every aspect of re-
ligion and believed that religion cannot prosper on empty stomach.
His concept of religion was human-oriented. He said that service
to mankind is service to God. For him every human being was a
part of God and if human being is exploited in the name of castes
and class, then God definitely did not exist. He pioneered the need
for literacy among the masses and empowerment of women. To
know religions, one needs to go deeply into the Vedas and then
only one will understand the importance of religion. He was very
much against the rituals being practised by the Hindus and loathed
superstition. According to him superstition is only for the cowards.
Swami Vivekanand believed in the power of knowledge and
propagated the spreading of knowledge for people to become aware
between the good and the evil.
Swami Dayanand Saraswati, the founder of Arya Samaj was
a great champion of equality between men and women. He
condemned child marriage and supported widow marriage and
education of women. He was also against casteism, idol worship,
exploitation of the weak. He created a mighty movement in the
whole of north India and rejuvenated the Indian society to a great
extent. In fact, the Arya Samaj movement has very strong roots in
In modem times Mahatma Gandhi has been a great social
reformer. His whole life has been dedicated to social reforms, and
the upliftment of the weak and the downtrodden. According to him,
untouchability was the worst sin. He attacked and worked hard to
remove the curse of untouchability from the Hindu society and
gave the name of "Harijan" to the low caste people. which in other
words mean the people of God. He lived among the Harijans
whenever it was possible and devoted much of his life for their
cause. He lived and died for the amity and communal harmony.
These movements of change for the better have played a very
positive role for the eradication of social evils. Had there been no
such movements, Indian society would have degenerated long time
back. The teachings. practices and examples of these great people
have done a lot of good to our society, culture and national inte-
gration. But unfortunately, inspite of their best efforts there are
still many social evils prevalent in our society like dowry, child
marriage, untouchability and the exploitation of the weak and the
women. Poverty and illiteracy are the two major reasons for this.
We will have to work unitedly to liberate the society from the social
evils and continue the good work started by these great men.
PROBLEM OF DRUG ABUSE
Adrug is a substance which affects the structure and function
ing of living beings. If drugs are used intelligently, they
prevent and cure diseases, but if they are used wrongly then, it is
known as drug abuse. There is nothing new about drug abuse and
in the USA, people, including pop singers have been taking it
regularly before performing public shows but today it has taken
the form of an octopus whose tentacles are spreading to all the
classes of society. India, today is one of the top countries of drug
abuse. According to the World Drug Report 1997 over 4 crore
people throughout the world are drug addicts, i.e., people who take
drugs regularly. It has become a roaring business and the drug lords
have become millionaires overnight and drug cartel wields enough
power in international politics.
Frustration, unemployment, poverty, disintegration of family,
lack of love; sympathy and understanding arid moral education in
life are some of the main reasons of drug addiction and abuse
among people. People take to these habits as they are not aware of
the longer and more painful consequences that awaits them. Neglect
of youngsters, increasing consumerism and materialism juxtaposed
by selfishness among parents and their apathetic attitude towards
the children are the other reasons of drug addiction. Deprived of
emotional comfort and bonding, the youngsters, both men and
women take to drug as the last resort and become easy victims of
drug-addiction. They fall in bad company, are misled and
misguided by others and the drug pedlers exploit the situation to
the hilt and make the youngsters a soft target.
Drug problem in India is increasing very fast but even then
the problem is within the manageable radius. Drug abuse is mostly
found in the youngsters. The students in the school, college and
university and institute suffer most from it. Addicts use ganja,
smack, charas, heroin, LSD (Life Saving Drug) as drugs and
especially LDS which is the most harmful among all. The user of
LSD feels that everything is fine and nothing is wrong anywhere.
He feels that the world is a heaven and there are no pains, only
pleasures. Gradually the user of LSD wants iostay in the utopian
world and does not want to come out of it. It takes a frightening
proportion and cause such illusions that damage the brain and other
vital organs of the body, making the individual a vegetable and
Drug-addiction leads to many other evils such as telling lies,
committing theft, cheating, pick-pocketing and even committing
dacoities, murders and violence of the worst kind. A drug addict
becomes so helpless that he cannot live without drug even for a
day. He must have it at any cost and hence resorts to the beg,
borrow, steal theory and can go to any extent to have his regular
dose. His life becomes very miserable and he dies a slow and
painful death losing his health, wealth and character. Drug abusers
mostly commit suicides. They become a slur on the society and
are treated as outcasts. Throughout their lives they become and
remain a: parasite on others. The problem of drug abuse should be
fought on war footing on all fronts. The drug pedlers should be
meted out exemplary punishment and strict vigil should be kept
on the borders from where the drugs are smuggled into the country.
A great public awareness needs to be created among the people
through mass media like cinema, newspaper, radio and television.
Public meetings should be frequently held to warn people against
the drug abuse and addiction. The youth of the country should be
particularly taken into confidence and made aware of the fatal
dangers of drug abuse. It is like a contagious disease and an
epidemic and needs strong curative and preventive measure. After
all, prevention is better than cure.
Man is known by his manners. They proclaim him as no other
thing would. Courtesy costs nothing and generates a lot of
goodwill, friendliness, fellow-feeling, politeness and a congenial
ambience. Politeness drives away anger, while rude behaviour
invites wrath and causes a lot of harm by generating a lot of hatred
and bitterness. Good manners and behaviour generate good and
amicable response while bad manners and behaviour create a
vicious circle. As we sow, so we reap goes the universal saying
and things boomerang on us.
A good mannered person is immediately recognised. He is
liked, admired and welcomed by all. He is polite, soft-spoken,
courteous, helpful, affable and accomodating. His ever-helping
habits and pleasing behaviour wins him popularity and makes him _
a favourite, wherever he is. His gratitude to others in lieu of help
received and his eagerness to return it manifold gives him an edge
over others. For him saying "thank you" comes as a habit for any
help rendered, however small it is. But these small expressions
like 'sorry', 'excuse me', 'thank you' come to him naturally and
not mechanicaly. This gets him the respect, which others crave for
but do not deserve. He is always courteous and considerate towards
other fellow beings and gives due respect to their sentiments, ideas
and concepts. He is not only considerate towards human beings,
but also towards animals. He is a gentleman to the core, both in
thought and practice.
The basic principles of good manners and etiquettes should
always be adhered to and followed because they make life pleasant,
smooth and easy. Man makes manners and manners make man.
They reflect each other and go together. Good manners are both
technique and an art. They can be learnt, imitated and cultivated
provided one has a will. Much can be forgiven, forgotten and
avoided by saying a simple 'sorry', when something is done wrong
unconsciously. The sense of regret and sorrow mitigates the
suffering and insult to a large extent.
Good manners are the external expressions of inner goodness
and education. Among many other things, good manners form the
very foundation of our culture and civilisation. Without good man-
ners, polite behaviour, social etiquettes and courtesies, life would
lose much of its charm. More often than not good manners are
inherited. In good, educated, cultured and well mannered families,
children imbibe good behaviour, politeness and courtesy uncon-
sciously. When a young one sees an elderly member of the family
behaving in a dignified, refined and polished way, he learns them
automatically without much effort. Refinement, courtesy, polite-
ness etc., are the essence of a civilized society. They reflect the
advancement of culture, education and social blend. Good manners
and civilisation are inter-linkedand inseparable. Good manners
are painstakingly taught and laboriously cultivated in the schools
and families. In olden days the princes and princesses were sent
even to courtesans to learn good manners and courtesies as they
were the role model of etiquettes and polite behaviour. Good things
can be learnt from anybody.
AIMS OF UNIVERSITY EDUCATION
The university education should aim at the all-round develop-
ment of the students. It should impart knowledge and infor-
mation and also develop character and personality. Thus university
education should be comprehensive. It should broaden the outlook,
develop skills and abilities and prepare students for life and world.
It has to keep in view, both the spiritual and utilitarian aspects of
life of students. It means that a student should be able to stand
well on his feet and face the challenges of life bravely and
successfully. Economic independence and self reliance is one of
the basic conditions of success, fulfilment and satisfaction in life.
No university educated person can be properly called educated if
he or she fails to make a meaningful contribution to the income
and economy of a given society. An educated individual is supposed
to earn well for his dependents and himself. Unless university-
education is career-oriented and related to the needs of the industry
and economy, it would fail miserably in its aim.
University education should be both liberal and professional.
It should aim at producing individuals who help the society to
become taller, richer and better. University education should be
flexible, vocational, result-oriented and adaptable to the changing
needs and the requirements of the society. It cannot be rigid, static
and conservative. Only a dynamic, innovative and resilient
education can affect desired transformation in attitudes, ideas, skills
and abilities of the people so as to shape a society according to
the changing times and necessities. It should help the student to
develop scientific temper, reject the burden of unnecessary, dead
and unhealthy customs and rituals and yet honour the cultural
heritage and historical past.
University education should help in specialisation which is
very important, in a modern, complex and highly technically-
oriented society. It should provide expertise in the specific field
of the studies, but at the same time, it should aim at the full and
integrated development of the student. He or she should be a
specialist in the subject but the knowledge about other subjects
related to specialisation should also be adequate. Specialisation
cannot be an isolation or out of the context to make it more
meaningful and relevant. Knowledge with purpose and relevance
should be the aim of higher studies. Knowledge for its own sake
cannot be desirable. Knowledge is not just a means of better
standards of life but a more meaningful social and individual life.
It should enable the students to become more manly, humane,
social, patriotic and liberal in outlook. A proper balance need to
be struck between the heart and the mind. Development of character
and personality is one of the major aims of the university-and higher
education, because money is not the only thing that can sustain a
man. The students should be trained to take interest in life in all
its forms and the environment that surrounds it. They should be
willing and able to contribute richly to this life in its varied forms
and expression. There should be harmony in social and personal
interests. It only means an integrated development in which no
aspect is neglected. Each student should contribute to the construc-
tive development of nation. The students passing out of the colleges
should have a creative mind and working hands to create
employment avenues and career opportunities.
In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, "The aim of university
education should be to turn out true servants of the people who
will live and die for the freedom of the country". It is this sense of
service and patriotism that has always stood us in good stead in
times of crisis and catastrophe as a nation. It is on the strength of
character and intellect of educated youth that the country hopes to
emerge as a major world power.
THE KASHMIR PROBLEM
Kashmir has been an integral part of India, but Pakistan insists
that the population in the valley, which is predominantly
Muslim, be given the right to choose their own fate on the basis of
plebiscite. Kashmir has been the apple of discord, since
independence between the two neighbours. It is a problem created
by the British and has been passed on, as a legacy to India. Soon
after independence Pakistan invaded Kashmir by sending armed
tribals supported by their regular troops. The then Maharaja of
Kashmir, Hari Singh acceded to India like many other princely
states. Indian army was sent to the valley and the invaders pushed
out, with the enforcement of a ceasefire. Consequently, a status
quo was maintained and Pakistan continued to occupy the northern
and western portions of Kashmir illegally. The Pakistan occupied
area is about 84,160 square kilometer with a population of about
3 million. India wants that Pakistan vacates this land of aggression
and Pakistan wants Kashmir, Herein lies the problem.
Pakistan again attacked India and Kashmir in particular, in
1965 but was handed over an ignonimous defeat by the Indian
forces. As a consequence of this the Tashkent Pact was signed by
the two countries and both agreed to solve the problem by bilateral
talks and peaceful means. Pakistan again invaded India and an-
other war was fought between the two countries in 1971 and again
it resulted in the humiliating defeat of Pakistan with the formation
of a sovereign state of Bangladesh. In 1972, Pakistan and India
signed an agreement in Shimla, known as the Shimla Agreement,
which suggested the settlement of long standing dispute through
peaceful negotiations and bilateral talks. It ruled out a third. party
intervention but Pakistan continued to internationalise the issue,
raising the matter at various international fora. Besides this it also
continues to send armed infiltrators to terrorise the people in the
valley and to break down the administrative machinery in the state.
This has further worsened the relation between India and Pakistan.
The accession of Kashmir to India is final and irrevocable. It
has been ratified on many occasions by the popular governments
and elected representatives of the people in Kashmir. But Pakistan
is adamant and insists that it is an unfinished agenda of partition
contrary to the historical facts and established norms of
international behaviour. Pakistan thus continues to instigate the'
secessionist elements in the valley openly and in applying terrorist
tactics, the result is an open confrontation between the army of
both the countries along the line of control (LoC). Pakistan
continues to demand Kashmir on the false ground that the majority
population in the Valley is that of the Muslims. Inspite of the major
defeats on the past three occasions, Pakistan refuses to see logic
and is engaged in increasing tension and hostility on the question.
Pakistan has been misguiding the people of Kashmir on the pretext
of independence and Muslim brotherhood.
Moreover the Pakistani army's interference in the country's
political affairs is no hidden fact. The hawks of the top military
positions have their own vested interests and do not want a peaceful
settlement of the dispute. Moreover, the internal problems of
Pakistan are too many and the political leaders there find Kashmir,
a convenient tool to divert the attention of the public from these
pressing problems and utter failures.
In these circumstances, the problem has become more
complex and defies any solution. India has definitely tried its best
to mend the fences but of no use. The Lahore bus diplomacy was
failed by the intrusion in Kargil and the recent Agra Summit also
collapsed more due to the adamant style of functioning of the
Pakistani President. Pakistan has been playing in the hands of some
foreign powers and receiving unlimited military aid because they
do not want that India should become a strong and powerful nation.
But even then the fact cannot be denied that Pakistan has already
lost Kashmir because the UN has removed it from its agenda and
the matter is no more international.
ROLE OF NEWSPAPER IN INDIA
In today's world, newspapers are a great power in themselves.
They are so powerful that even the strong and influential people
in politics, industry and social life do not have the audacity to face
their hostility. Their freedom and power is of vital importance in
democratic countries like the UK, USA and India. They act as the
watchdog of democracy, individual freedom and human rights.
They fill the gap between the public and the government and ad-
ministration by working as a bridge and meaningful means of dia-
logue. They are much more than merely a mass media. They keep
the public informed about the programmes, policies and planning
of the government and record the people's reactions, views,
opinions etc. They help in making the public opinion. Personal
freedom is the essence of democracy and it is reflected in the
freedom of the press and the newspaper along with their influence.
Freedom of press is essential for smooth functioning of any
government, but more importantly in democracy.
Newspaper should enjoy complete freedom to criticise, warn,
condemn, encourage and appreciate the working of the govern-
ments based on their merit. It is the vigilant and investigative jour-
nalism and brave and fearless newspapers which have not only
exposed the scams, scandals, misdeeds and corruption of the gov-
ernment but has also brought its downfall and' cleaned the govern-
ment stable for a period of time. As such newspapers carry great
responsibility and accountability. They have to be impartial, ob-
jective, fearless, investigative and responsive to public obligation.
They should avoid sensational, distorted and motivated news, views
arid opinions as these are all the part of yellow journalism. They
should never misuse the rights, privileges and powers. The press
should always keep the universal truth in mind that "power
corrupts" and never indulge in character assassination, half-truths
and exaggerated reporting. Moreover, with the readers becoming
more intelligent day by day, the press should not try to misguide
Newspapers can be instrumental in promoting communal har-
mony, national unity, brotherhood, removal of social evils like
dowry, casteism, untouchability, gender-bias and many more. On
the contrary if the powers of newspapers are abused they can be
instrumental in fanning communal disharmony and causing a social
unrest that will lead to schisms and confrontation. In India,
journalism has come of age and the newspapers are discharging
their duties and responsibilities keeping in mind that they are most
important medium of communication. There is no doubt that even
in this era of different media like electronic; the television, the
internet and so on; the print media, particularly the newspaper has
maintained an identity of its own.
Newspapers are a part of our daily life. It has become so
important, that a day without newspaper causes restlessness and
it seems that we are cut off from the world. Such is the impact of
newspapers. They are the most reasonable and the richest source
of latest news, information, views, comments, policies,
programmes and much more. They deliver the entire world at the
doorstep of the reader and keep them updated and upgraded. They
are virtually an encyclopaedia of day-to-day knowledge. They have
leading articles, editorials, interviews which are a good source of
public enlightenment. Newspapers bring people closerand nearer
to one another and serve a great social, cultural and national cause.
India has the largest number of dailies in the different
languages like Hindi, Bengali, Urdu, English, Tamil and many
more. The number of Hindi newspaper is the highest followed by
Urdu and English. Besides the dailies, there are weeklies,
fortnightlies and monthlies. Inspite of the electronic media, the
print media continues to grow at a rapid speed and with the coming
years, circulation is likely to grow. Newspapers are the ultimate
weapon of the masses and the hold of newspapers on the public
will remain firm and strong ..