‘Untouchables’

‘Untouchables’

Our economy is being ruined between inefficient government and sluggish opposition, if the situation does not improve then we will become the new ‘untouchables’

Untouchability has been a stigma for our country for centuries. Ambedkar, who fought for his whole life, claimed that there is enough evidence to suggest that it has been going on since 400 BC and it has always been the way of Indians to live.
This is the reason why devout Hindus on one hand and committed inclusionist Gandhi, on the other hand, believed that it is good for us to end this deadly practice. And Nehru, who relied on social justice, had said that India will never reach its true height until we end the caste system and ensure equality for all Indians.

This is the motive that our constitution made untouchability illicit and considered it a punishable offence.
But is it over? No.
Untouchability is deeply ingrained in our thinking and is seen openly. Its ugliness has recently increased, which has been promoted by some political parties, who want to keep it alive to achieve ruthless majoritarianism.

Now only the lower castes, Dalits are not suffering from it. In some parts of India, poor people belonging to a particular community have become new untouchables. So in some parts, some tribes are the new untouchables, who have been left marginalized by governments to grab land, forest and mineral wealth from them.

And now, after this pandemic in the country, we see a new class of untouchables is emerging. These are sick, migrant labourers, unemployed and extremely impoverished people. Their connection with the cities is broken and their villages do not want to take them back because they are unemployed and miserable and additionally there is a risk of health issues.

Today the suffering/affected people are being boycotted openly. Their wives and children are not allowed to be home quarantined as per the regulations. People are getting them out of the village, throwing them along with their family members from trains, refusing to burn in the crematorium when one dies. Dead bodies are being collected in hospital corridors. Nobody wants to accept them, not even own family. The corpses are placed next to the patients being treated. It is like a return to the fierce plague.

But, today who is the frustrated-indigent?
No, not the farmers who commit suicide every year due to poverty. Now, these dispirited poor are those who were working in our factories, offices and our homes till back in the days. It also includes small traders, food carts, autorickshaw drivers, small restaurant workers, multiplexes and security guards standing outside malls.

Viruses and lockdowns left them unemployed, homeless and nearly devastated. And now about 14 crores middle-class families have also been associated with them. According to research, their savings will end by the end of July. That is, they will be poverty-stricken.

A recent survey shows that 84 per cent of the households have suffered severe loss of income after lockdown. They are living on their savings right now. By the end of this month, with the increase in rains, many middle-class families will fall into the category of destitute.

They will also be unable to spend on treatment or meet basic family needs. They will have to leave the rented house, sell their goods and borrow money at such a rate, which will become impossible for them to repay later. They are also worried pensioners who relied on interest from the bank, as banks have reduced interest rates.

Those who counted on their children working abroad are also trapped because their children have lost their jobs or lost wages. Meanwhile, the prices of petrol and diesel are continuously increasing, while the prices should have been reduced based on the global trend. This is going to make everything expensive.

Overall, the pace of the wave is not stopping and more and more people will continue to drown. The government is refusing to provide cash in their hands, as some other countries are doing. These are the new untouchables. Nobody has time for these and the government has the least interest in their future or prospect. Instead, govt is making hefty policies of millions for billions, which will never reach out to these people.

An economy that was ready for a better future, is being wrecked.

Free Spine for those who don’t have one!

DOWRY: A CURSE FOR SOCIETY

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On Prima facie, this matrimonial advertisement published in a daily national newspaper bears testimony to the fact that marriage in Indian society has undergone a transformation. But while going deep into the root of the matter, we find out that no matter how marriage proposals have undergone a transformation, from arranged one to advertisement to the online matrimonial application, dowry system which is not seen in any of the forms but is still under the practice of ‘give and take.’ In many societies, the union of souls is not the sole criterion for marriage, rather dowry plays the role of ‘requisite criteria.’

So what is dowry? Dowry is the money, goods or estate that a woman brings to a marriage. In a court judgement “The Dowry Prohibition Act 1961’’ legal definition of dowry is defined as:-
“Dowry” in the sense of the expression contemplated by Dowry Prohibition Act is a demand for property or valuable security having an inextricable nexus with the marriage, i.e., it is a consideration from the side of the bride’s parents or relatives to the groom or his parents and/or guardian for the agreement to wed the bride-to-be.

Although Dowry is illegal in India by the Dowry Prevention Act 1961, it is still prevalent and widely practised in many societies.
Pertaining to the history of the dowry system in India different scholars claim different things based on interpretation of ancient Sanskrit fiction and inconsistent smritis from India. The Shastras, the reservoirs of Indian culture and heritage is replete with references to the practices of dowry. The marriage hymns of Rigveda and Atharveda are its instances. The Smritis have recognized the right forms of marriage. It was only in Brahmin marriage and the gifts to be given in dowry were left entirely at the discretion by the bride’s father.
Al-Biruni further claims that a daughter, in 11th century India had legal right to inherit from her father, but only a fourth part of her brother. The daughter took this inheritance amount with her when she is married, claimed Al-Biruni, and she had no rights to take income from her parents after her marriage or to any additional inheritance after her father’s death. If her father died before her marriage, her guardian would first pay off her father’s debt, then allocate a fourth of the remaining wealth to her upkeep till she is ready to wed, and then give the rest to her to take along with herself after her marriage. (source: Wikipedia)

The idea behind the dowry system was very clear. Brides’ parents used to give money, land, assets, to the bride as a gift or blessing. But when British Rule came into the picture, they restricted women to own any property. Women were not allowed to buy any property, land, or assets. This leaves women dependent upon their husbands and in-laws, who keep the dowry when she marries. In 1956, India gave equal legal status to daughters and sons among Hindu, Sikh and Jain families, under the Hindu Succession Act (India grants its Muslim population the Sharia derived personal status laws). Despite the new inheritance law, dowry has continued as a process whereby parental property is distributed to a daughter at her marriage.

CURRENT SCENARIO
The magnitude of the problem of dowry today is to be assessed not only on the basis of money/goods, land etc given by brides family but also on grounds of reported cases of different forms of violence on a bride. These outbreaks of violence vary from burning of brides, cruelty, domestic violence against women, abetment to suicide, dowry murder, female infanticide and many more.
Although there are laws and acts which makes practising dowry illegal.


THE DOWRY PROTECTION ACT 1961
This legislation came into force from 1 July 1961. This act prohibits the practice, request, payment or acceptance of a dowry by either party to a marriage. This law also punishes demanding and advertising dowry. Any violation of the act leads to imprisonment up to 5 years plus fine of up to Rs 15000 or the value of the dowry given, whichever is true.

There are also sections in IPC that deal with dowry like:-
Section 304B
It is related to dowry deaths
Stipulates that death of a woman within 7 years of her marriage by burns or bodily injury with evidence of cruelty or harassment by her husband or his relatives in connection with dowry demand is ‘dowry death’ and punishable with imprisonment for not less than 7 years.

Section 406
Related to the recovery of streedhan (It is what a woman claim as her own property within a marital household. It may include jewellery, gifts, and dowry articles.)
It is Non-bailable and cognizable offence.

Section 498A
For any act of cruelty, imprisonment of husband or his relative for up to 3 years plus fine.
It is also Non-bailable and Non-compoundable(once a case is lodged there can’t be a compromise)

Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act,2005
It was passed in order to provide a civil law remedy for the protection of women from domestic violence in India.
It encompasses all forms of physical, verbal, emotional, economic and sexual abuse and forms a subset of the anti-dowry laws to the extent it is one of the reasons for domestic violence.

Despite such stringent laws and acts which are in force, Dowry practice is prevailing. In 2019, 913 cases pertaining to dowry deaths have been reported. And this is the number of reported cases. In Bengaluru, only the number of cases filed under the Dowry Prohibition Act witnessed a rise from 690 in 2018 to 739 in 2019.

Consequences of the dowry system
This system of dowry has solidified its root in our society that it is seen as a form of prestige in Indian marriages. The more dowry means more respect to the grooms family. Dowry or the amount of money given as dowry is proportional to the groom’s income. It is very clear that dowry is creating violence. Apart from this, sometimes brides’ parents have to lend money to give a huge amount of money demanded as dowry by the groom’s side. There are other ill consequences also like:-
Low Women Literacy:- In many cases girls are not allowed to pursue higher education after 12th or graduation because of the ill mentality that they have to take care of the family after marriage and from where the capital is going to be arranged for her marriage if all savings will be invested in her education.
Female Foeticide:- In the avarice of dowry, and because our society gives more preference to the boys, female foeticide takes place. Although Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal gender screening or testing are illegal in India by Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, 1994.
Gender Discrimination:- Dowry coupled with female foeticide is the leading reason to gender discrimination and low sex ratio in India.
Violence against women:- Domestic violence, marital rape, physical and verbal abuse, torturing of women etc. There are many forms of violence which took place and still unreported either due to lack of knowledge or suppressed voices because few women try to save the sanctity of marriage which never really existed.

It should also be noted here that there are also false cases of harassments reported and these laws and acts are being misused as it happened in case of Nisha Sharma Dowry case in which IPC 498A was misused. But this does not show that every case or violence pertaining to dowry is false or fabricated.

So, Dowry is the tool of harassment and inhuman expression out of the coalescence of processes and relationship which are degrading women turning them into commodities. The central message of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and honour” only echoes a hollow concern. Be it in democracy or dictatorship, war or peace, women’s rights have been violated daily, systematically. Their freedom, dignity and parity are persistently compromised by law and customs.

WAY FORWARD
The dowry system developed from India’s inheritance laws in which it is the mentality of people that Dowry is a form of inheritance which the bride brings along with her to the groom family. Law and acts should be made enforceable on the ground, not on paper only.
All groom need to take a step up and say “NO” to dowry as they can be a milestone in abolishing this dowry system. Boys need to convince their parents that they will not take dowry. They should have the confidence to earn for their living.
Parents must educate their daughters so that they can have dignity and become self-dependent or start earning which will make them financially stable and courageous. A well-educated girl will also be able to compete against any turmoil or raise her voice against the mishaps.
All the expenses of marriage must be shared by both families according to their own capability.
People must give encouragement to simple marriages without taking/giving dowry.
Dowry is a social stigma that can be removed with all our contributions and awareness. It will take time to abolish but it can happen if preferred.

There is a very well known quote- “There is no chance for the welfare of the world unless the condition of a woman is improved. It is not possible for a bird to fly on only one wing.
There is no hope for that family or country where there is no estimation of women, where they live in sadness. For this reason, they have to be raised first.”
– Swami Vivekanand.

Vitriolage

Kitna achha hota agar acid bikta hi nai, bikta hi nai to phir fikta bhi nai!!” – Chhapak


This famous dialogue from a Bollywood movie clearly depicts the pain and hopelessness of a victim when she was being attacked for nothing but denial. It clearly shows how insensitive and callous we have become as a society.

Acid attack is one of the most gruesome and brutal crime. Most of the acid attack victims are women. Men have also been the preys, but they’re minimal in numbers compared to the women. Section 326A & 326B in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) lays down the punishment for acid attacks. The minimum punishment is 10 years’ imprisonment which can be extended up to life imprisonment along with a penalty. But this punishment is not enough for such criminal minds who think it is okay to distribute, torture or kill an innocent person if she is refusing his so-called lusty love, or they can’t digest a marriage refusal. Conflicts regarding property or land disputes have also been reported as reasons for acid attacks. Attacks against individuals are also based on their religion and religious beliefs or socio-political activities.

The crime data for 2018 from the National Crime Bureau (NCRB) exhibits, the cases of acid attacks are constantly being transferred and delayed even though there are fast-track courts to handle these cases but unfortunately they do not seem fast enough!

Why do they take months and years to pronounce a decision?
Why can’t they declare the verdict in such cases as soon as possible? So that the attackers at least fear the law before committing such heinous crime.

If nearly 90% of cases in a year are being transferred for trial to the following year, how can a survivor get justice or can even hope for it?
This is shown by the data; in Indian courts, 523 cases were slated for trial in 2018 which are adding to the 407 cases in 2016 and 442 in 2017. Many such cases of acid attacks occur but never get filed because in multiple cases, settlements are done outside the courts or several other factors come into play like class, caste, power, religion, etc.

The percentage of cases that the courts cleared out of the cases that went for the trial, was 6.6% (27 cases out of 407) in 2016; 9.9% (44 cases out of 442) in 2017 and 6.11% (32 cases out of 523) in 2018 respectively.
The total number of cases of acid attacks that police investigated dropped consistently- 196 cases in 2016, 182 in 2017 and 150 in 2018.
While the attempt to commit such sin has increased in the last three years. The growth of the conviction rate is almost negligible. 2.45 per cent cases in 2016, 3.39 per cent in 2017 and 3.36 per cent in 2018 respectively.
Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal have been reporting the most number of acid attack cases in between 2016 and 2018 as per the NCRB data.

India, the country with the most number of acid attacks has the least number of convictions, even less than 5%. At least one case of acid attack takes place daily in India.
Supreme Court has ordered all the state governments to regulate the sale of acid in an attempt to stop or at least reduce these crimes. The court said that acid should not be sold to anyone below the age of 18, and that too only to the person who shows a valid identity card. And if anyone doesn’t follow the rules it will be a non-bailable offence. But all these rules and regulations are found to be just in paper. Anyone can still walk into a store and purchases a bottle of acid. The non-bailable charges also have loopholes through which the attackers get through easily and roam around freely while the victims undergo reconstructive surgeries and are bound to visit hospitals after hospitals.
The pathetic thing is that with a bottle of liquid that would cost a demon just Rs.10, he can degrade anyone’s life within seconds.

ESP- Extra Sensory Perception


Telepathy- communication without communicating! Is it possible?


This is often regarded as unrealistic, and it may sound absurd as if someone is making these perceptions in its own head. But, recent researches suggest that it is possible and it’s effective in many ways. Many studies assert that one can read minds as we have neurons functioning as mechanical mirrors. It has also been said that telepathic connection is not only restricted to humans, animals and birds can also communicate via this. Considering the wheeling flock of birds as a representation, it is said that the thought of all the birds is parallel and it could possibly be because of their telepathic connection that we witness them darting and wheeling together through the sky.

Telepathy has been derived from two Greek words: Tele meaning distant and pathos meaning feeling, perception, experience, etc.
There is no adequate evidence to prove its existence but one cannot overlook it completely and that’s why telepathy falls under the category of pseudoscience. There are statements, shreds of evidence and hypotheses that claim telepathy to be both, scientific and factual but it’s inefficacious to pass the scientific protocol.

There is an infamous example of a magician and mentalist Washington Irving Bishop, who used to perform ‘thought reading’ which we now call telepathy. He was examined by a group of scientists including the psychologist Francis Galton. Bishop performed several feats diligently like identifying a spot on a table or locating a hidden object. For this he required physical contact with a subject who knew the correct answer, he would hold the hands of the helper and give his answers. Still, the scientists concluded that the Bishop was trained in skill to detect ideomotor movements (a psychological phenomenon in which a subject makes motions unconsciously) and was not a telepath.

There are certain examples as well where people tried to bluff others for having the psychic ability.
E.g: In the late 19th century the Creery Sisters (Mary, Alice, Maud, Kathleen and Emily) were tested by the Society of Psychical Research and believed to have some genuine psychic ability. But later during an experiment, they were found to be fraudulent and they confessed that they were using signal codes.

There have been hundreds of incidents and experiments throughout the ages which at first seemed to prove the existence of telepathy. But when reviewed or explored further they came out to be flawed or observational. Some showmen tricked their audience with the information received about them before their show began.

Some experiments were not approved because the subjects were husband and wife, so it was claimed that an intuitive wife would know how her husband thinks or reacts to a situation. This experiment was performed by an American writer Upton Beall Sinclair on his second wife Mary Craig Sinclair. She tried to replicate 290 pictures drawn by her husband. Mr Sinclair claimed that she successfully copied 65 of them, 155 were partially successful and 70 were failures.

Just like the existence of God which is controversial for Science, it believes in the presence of supernatural power, energy or entity but can’t depict its physical appearance hence doubts it; telepathy has always been a mystery and has become even more mysterious and exciting for the modern generation. As we have heard or read in many books written by philosophers like Vivekananda and many more that how ancient Gurus could communicate by clairvoyance, just by their thoughts and senses. Just like our modern communicating devices like computer and its medium, the internet. Today scientists are trying their best to understand and acquire this skill like we have understood hypnotism which is very resourceful in medical science now. But just like everything else telepathy has its vices and virtues too. By reading one’s mind and further controlling it we can use this skill to help a person to deal with difficult situations such as depression, mental illness, negative thoughts, etc. But if it becomes easy to access, people with criminal mentality can use it for the worst of things.

As per me, if it becomes attainable by mankind, people are either going to control their own sensitivities or to control everyone else as per their own discretion. And for the worst, we can end up being robots!

The same ‘piece’ of every puzzle!

How fair is it to say that cricket has strangled other sports?

Despite the numerous irregularities in cricket, the level of the game prevailed while the other sports which remained under the government, their irregularities rose up to such serious deck that the game itself went into the abyss.

Cricket’s popularity in India has long been cited as a threat to other sports. There is also a section which believes that the popularity of cricket is a product of corporate houses. Cricket is a game of corporate and power, and it is played to benefit them. Therefore, this game should be resisted and its popularity should not be allowed to become intoxicating, otherwise, the ‘silverware‘ of corporate and controlling people will be lost.

But if you consider, every game has turned into a corporate one. From football to hockey, badminton, wrestling, tennis, kabaddi, corporate houses interfere in all these sports.
Are the Premier Badminton League, Pro Kabaddi League, Pro Wrestling League being held without corporate intervention?
Then why to oppose corporate interference in cricket?

Various sports associations of the country which are under the government, all have the intervention of corporate bodies and leaders. In every union, they hold large positions. Allegations of economic rigging are going on in the courts within the sports association. Corruption in the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) is not hidden from anyone. It is said that the BCCI has got the disease of corruption, disease; that for several years till now, the Sports Ministry has not been able to implement the Sports Code in the sports associations which falls under it. Because the sports associations do not want to do, the vested interests of their officials are coming in the way. More than half of the sports associations of the country have been disbanded because of the same.

Consider the boxing federation, players enter the Olympics but not with the Indian flag, because our federation does not have the recognition of the International Boxing Association. It is just because there is corruption, there is government intervention, there is opacity.

Instead of making cricket evitable on account of the corporate interference in it, the need is to understand why this shift happened!
After all these, why the corporate houses were successful in getting entry into the games and the games rely on them? It went on because the government failed to encourage sports.

Football was supported by the government. The Indian football team played the Olympics, but where does India stand today? It has come a long way over five decades. After participating in the Olympics, we had to get up from the ground and reach the sky, but we reached Hades. Football has been gulped by the government machinery.

Basketball has become the wrestling arena of Congress-BJP in the country today. Players are searching for a future outside the country. The role of the Sports Ministry itself is questionable in the whole matter.

Weightlifting is under detention and the association itself is involved in it, according to a coach associated with weightlifting association himself. But what policy did the government make to prevent doping in weightlifting? If a coach made such serious allegations, then was it investigated?

A similar system ate hockey. The Sports Authority of India (SAI) also reveals irregularities. Who can even forget the Commonwealth scam!

We can say that when the government could not handle the games, the corporate bodies interfered. The Games needed them to raise their standards.  Today, almost every well-known athlete is playing under the mercy of some corporates. They are sponsoring them and earning through their popularity. That’s why not only cricket is the game of hegemony and corporate, all sports have become the same.

The only good thing with cricket is that despite the irregularities, the level of the game is retained.

Help!!

Is the central government again going to demand funds from RBI?
Corona crisis has a profound impact on revenue collection.


Amidst the ongoing Corona crisis in the country, the news is coming that the Central Government can once again demand funds (money) from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for its urgent expenses. In fact, the government can also do so because the Corona epidemic has had a profound impact on revenue collection and is facing difficulties in meeting its regular expenses. In such a situation, it can ask the RBI directly to buy government bonds or ask for financial help in the form of a dividend.

According to the news published in the Economic Times, the coronavirus epidemic has had a major impact on the revenue of the government. The government’s budget has increased to 7 per cent of GDP. According to one estimate, this is the highest in two decades. Quoting Sabyasachi Kar, a New Delhi-based professor of public finance and policy (RBI chair), the newspaper has written that taking measures to reduce losses would be the right step. If the government spends, only then demand will arise in the economy.
Sabyasachi Kar said that central banks from America to Japan are helping their governments in combating the corona epidemic. This is also seen in emerging markets. This week, the central bank in Indonesia has agreed to buy billions of dollars of bonds directly from the government. However, countries with emerging economies have their own risks. This can affect inflation, currency and central bank autonomy.

In India, RBI cannot buy bonds directly from the government in primary markets. There is a provision in the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, but this law is allowed to do so under special conditions. This can be done in an atmosphere of national emergency or too much economic lethargy. Although the RBI has made some purchases of bonds in the secondary market so far, it has not said yet how it will implement the plan to raise Rs 12 lakh crore of borrowings for the government in this financial year.

RBI works for the central government to raise debt from the market. Right now banks are investing in government bonds with the hope that the central bank will buy these bonds later. Right now, banks have a lot of cash and on the other hand, loan demand is limited. Because of this situation, they have invested their money in government bonds.  Investors of banks in government bonds reached Rs 41.4 lakh crore on June 19. This is 13 per cent additional, compared to the end of March.

It is worth noting that due to the autonomy of the Reserve Bank and the demand of Rs 3.6 lakh crore from RBI’s Reserve Fund by the Government, there was a fierce battle in the month of October-November of 2018. As a result, on 10 December 2018, the then RBI Governor Urjit Patel had to resign his post. After his resignation, the government appointed Shaktikanta Das as the Governor of the Reserve Bank.

Actually, the pull of 2018 was not just between the government and the RBI. It was the same at the level of fiscal policy and monetary policy in the economy. Fiscal policy and monetary policy have different effects on the economy. The Reserve Bank was established under the Reserve Bank of India Act. The central bank runs its monetary system through this act. Under Section 7 of the same Act, the government issues an order to the RBI if it considers it necessary to discuss any important issue.

Inaccessible or Untouchables?

There is more to this existence than meets the eye!

Our economy is being ruined between inefficient government and sluggish opposition, if the situation does not improve then we will become the new ‘Untouchables.’


Untouchability has been a stigma for our country for centuries. Ambedkar, who fought for his whole life, claimed that there is enough evidence to suggest that it has been going on since 400 BC and it has always been the way of Indians to live.
This is the reason why devout Hindus on one hand and committed inclusionist Gandhi, on the other hand, believed that it is good for us to end this deadly practice. And Nehru, who relied on social justice, had said that India will never reach its true height until we end the caste system and ensure equality for all Indians.

This is the motive that our constitution made untouchability illicit and considered it a punishable offence.
But is it over? No.
Untouchability is deeply ingrained in our thinking and is seen openly. Its ugliness has recently increased, which has been promoted by some political parties, who want to keep it alive to achieve ruthless majoritarianism.

Now only the lower castes, Dalits, are not suffering. In some parts of India, indigent people belonging to a particular community have become new untouchables. So in some parts, some tribes are the new untouchables, who have been left marginalized by governments to grab their land, forest and mineral wealth.

And now, after this pandemic in the country, we see a new class of untouchables is emerging. These are sick, migrant labourers, unemployed and extremely impoverished people. Their connection with the cities is broken and their villages do not want to take them back because they are unemployed and miserable and additionally there is a risk of health issues.

Today the suffering/affected people are being boycotted openly. Their wives and children are not allowed to be home quarantined as per the regulations. People are getting them out of the village, throwing them along with their family members from trains, refusing to burn in the crematorium when one dies. Dead bodies are being collected in hospital corridors. Nobody wants to accept them, not even own family. The corpses are placed next to the patients being treated. It is like a return to the fierce plague.

But, today who is the frustrated-indigent?
No, not the farmers who commit suicide every year due to poverty. Now, these dispirited poor are those who were working in our factories, offices and our homes till back in the days. It also includes small traders, food carts, autorickshaw drivers, small restaurant workers, multiplexes and security guards standing outside malls.

Viruses and lockdowns left them unemployed, homeless and nearly devastated. And now about 14 crores middle-class families have also been associated with them. According to research, their savings will end by the end of July. That is, they will be poverty-stricken.

A recent survey shows that 84 per cent of the households have suffered severe loss of income after lockdown. They are living on their savings right now. By the end of this month, with the increase in rains, many middle-class families will fall into the category of destitute.

They will also be unable to spend on treatment or meet basic family needs. They will have to leave the rented house, sell their goods and borrow money at such a rate, which will become impossible for them to repay later. They are also worried pensioners who relied on interest from the bank, as banks have reduced interest rates.

Those who counted on their children working abroad are also trapped because their children have lost their jobs or lost wages. Meanwhile, the prices of petrol and diesel are continuously increasing, while the prices should have been reduced based on the global trend. This is going to make everything expensive.

Overall, the pace of the wave is not stopping and more and more people will continue to drown.  The government is refusing to provide cash in their hands, as some other countries are doing. These are the new untouchables. Nobody has time for these and the government has the least interest in their future or prospect. Instead, govt is making hefty policies of millions for billions, which will never reach out to these people.

An economy that was ready for a better future, is being wrecked.

The Perusal of Animus!

Racism is the belief that a specific race is superior or inferior to another, that an individual’s social and moral traits are predetermined by his or her inborn biological characteristics. It means prejudice and discrimination directed against other people because they are of a different race or ethnicity.

The idea of race was invented to magnify the differences between people of European origin and those of African descent whose ancestors had been involuntarily enslaved and transported to the Americans. By characterising Africans and their African American descendants as lesser human beings, the proponents of slavery tried to justify the system of exploitation while portraying the United States as the flag- of human freedom, with human rights, democratic institutions, unlimited opportunities and equality. Along with all these, they seemed to demand the dehumanisation of those enslaved. Source:(Britannica)

According to a “United Nation convention on racial discrimination” superiority based on racial differentiation is scientifically false, morally condemnable and socially unjust. The Convention also declared that there’s no justification for racialism, anywhere, in theory, or in practice.
Yet racism has existed throughout human history. It is defined as the hatred of one person by another- or the belief that another person is less than human because of his/her skin colour, language, customs, place of birth or any factor that supposedly reveals the fundamental nature of that person. It has influenced wars and slavery, the formation of nations and legal codes. **Racism has long existed in the society, but the current sociopolitical scenario demands an analysis of one’s own position in being an apologist of this utterly discriminatory system. Examining the complexities of White racial belief proves essential in understanding how race is framed and disseminated within the dominant culture. Racism is so ingrained in the system and people’s lives that the subtle indicators of racist behavioural patterns are often ignored as humorous remarks.

Studies applying the colourblind racism approach examine the ways in which Whites use rhetoric to deny the impact of race on the everyday lives of individuals (Bonilla-Silva, 2006; Bonilla-Silva et al., 2004). This denial of privilege is one of the most problematic aspects because of which racism exists, even in the 21st century.
For dismantling this system white folks first need to acknowledge it’s existence. They need to understand that black people have their own culture, their own faith and their own being. Giving space to black people’s voices through literature, popular culture and various other platforms are the requirements. It’s been so long that white folks have been speculating about the lives of the black people, now is the time to listen and understand their experiences from their perspective.

Africa is not the dark continent which would quench the imperialist thirst of the Europeans. Its indigenous culture, customs, literature, language etc. is of as much importance as that of any other European country. Its homogenization needs to be stopped and it’s history to be recognized which was never taught and talked about in the larger social setup. The white folks need to educate themselves about the existence of Africa and it’s people in their totality and not in their distorted representation which has been there for centuries.

Does EIA need revaluation?

This year, in March, a new draft of the EIA has been proposed by the Union Government. It constitutes some complicated and argumentative changes in the rules.


What was the need to bring out this notification in the midst of the pandemic?
How are people going to take part in public consultation during this lockdown?
How will they protest if they want changes in it?
Is the government trying to lay the blame on this pandemic for their decisions?


What is EIA?
On 27th January 1994, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MEF), Government of India, under the Environmental Protection Act 1986, proclaimed an EIA notification making Environmental Clearance (EC) mandatory for expansion or modernization of any activity or for setting up new projects listed in Schedule 1 of the notification.
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has proposed a draft Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) notification to replace the current one, which dates back to 2006. The EIA process is extremely important because it is the only process which is supposed to prioritize Environment safety over Economic benefits. A prior, free and informed consent of people is welcomed in it; people can ask questions about the need of the process. In this process, the project can be rejected on precautionary grounds. The values that are fundamental to the EIA process are sustainability, equity, environmental justice, accountability, transparency; it is these values that make the EIA meaningful.

But the new draft of 2020 is considered to change some of these basic values of EIA and some of the provisions are:
 Projects can receive clearance post-facto; a project operating in violation of the EPA can now apply for clearance.
 The draft says that no information on such projects shall be placed in the public domain. This list also includes all inland waterways projects.
 Violations on any project can only be reported by any government representative or the project proponent, not citizens.
Now, the EIC members typically are bureaucrats, project proponents from previous projects who do not have any environmental credential.
 Priorly the EIA report does not go directly to the decision-maker, that report is to be shared with the public. A person who may be directly affected by the report or anyone interested in knowing about its impact can participate in the public hearing. But now the Public Consultation may be cancelled owing to the local situation, i.e; if the people are protesting against a project that itself can be used to cancel Public hearing. Isn’t it a violation of our rights?
 Once the EC is granted it will be included for the lifetime in the project without any review. EC cannot be revoked even in case it violates EIA.
 The time allotted for public hearings has been reduced to speed up clearance process, this makes it difficult for people living in rural and tribal areas who are most often directly influenced by these projects. Today we have 30days notice period which is itself insufficient, now it’s been said to be reduced to 20days. The only motive behind this is that people will not be able to participate.
 Earlier buildings of 20,000sq.m or above required an environment clearance after detailed scrutiny by the state-level expert committee. Now, in this draft, it has been proposed to make it 150,000 sq.m, more than 7times if you count.

The 2020 EIA draft seems to be leaning in favour of the industries and does not take care of the environment. This is important amidst the climate crisis and the pandemic. In the last 6 years, MoEFCC has given environment clearance to 2,256 of the 2,592 received proposals. At least 49 industrial projects have been approved since the lockdown began. Some of the projects which are in question are:
• Dibang Valley Hydropower Project, Arunachal Pradesh
A 3,097 MW project is being developed by Etalin Hydro Electric Power Company Limited which comprehends the felling of 2.7 lakhs trees in the subtropical rain forests.
• Coal Mining Project in Dehing Patkai Elephant Reserve, Assam
The government is discussing a proposal to divert 98.59 hectares of the reserve forest in Assam for a coal-mining project. This Reserve is home to a vibrant habitat including Asian elephants, Royal Bengal tigers, Leopard, and crab-eating mongoose.
• Oil Drilling in Baghjan, Assam
In 2016, Oil India Limited decided to extend its drilling and bypassed the public hearings clause. On May 27, 2020, an oil well in eastern Assam’s Tinsukia district experienced a blowout which led to a fire.
• Talabira coal mines, Odisha
The forest area has been cleared in Odisha for an opencast coal mining project. Parts of the forest have been protected over decades by the local community are now gone forever.
• Gas leakage in LG Polymers, Vishakhapatnam
In May, there was a gas leak in this company and this project didn’t have all the clearances as the company admitted this subsequently.
• A dyke at a Reliance power plant in Madhya Pradesh broke, spilling ashes over hundreds of acres of cropland, polluting the river and killing many people.

Recently the state government of Goa was caught for being engaged in fraudulence. It submitted a false report to obtain clearance for an airport near the ecologically sensitive Mopa plateau which will not only affect the vegetations or animals but also plunder the livelihood of hundreds of farmers. Even after this, no one was blamed for it. On the other hand, the EAC of MoEFCC revisited the project and issued a clearance.

Question- what is the importance of birds?

The data of the recently released State of India Birds 2020 report is extremely shocking.

Wherever you live in the country, from dense forest to desert or any other city to streets. Possibilities are you wake up in the morning and the very first thing you hear is birds’ chirping. There are a number of countries around the world where there is a vast population of birds like ours. Bird watchers have recorded 867 species of sightings so far, which includes locals as well as expatriates.

The truth is that for decades our subcontinent has welcomed migratory birds from places that are miles away like Siberia. In the Lakkundi village near Hampi, relief carvings of migratory birds can be found on the walls of the Chalukya temple which is thousands of years old. It includes goose, cranes and flamingos.

If seen, birds are remarkably acknowledged in our culture. Coming to mythology, we do not even need to be reminded which birds are the vehicle mount of the Gods or Goddesses, or which birds had impressions in the emblems of our royalty. Whether it is music or art, we can find its presence symbolically.
Every child remembers stories of birds, must remember the story of a clever crow, birds are in every story of Indians. Even India, itself was known as ‘The Golden Bird.’

However, the data of the recently released State of India Birds 2020 report is extremely shocking.  This is the detailed (first of its kind) assessment of the conservation status of birds in abundance in the country. Tens of organizations like NCF, NCBS and A Tree have come together to collect bird data in India. They have reposed great faith in the 1 crore observations of 15,500 common people who have recorded their data on the easy-to-use ‘e Bird’ platform.

According to the data, out of 867 species, 101 are highly in need of preservation, 319 in general and 442 the least. Long-term trends were considered for 261 species, of which 52 per cent, more than half, have declined since 2000 while 22 per cent of these numbers have fallen significantly. Annual trends were read for 146 species and 80 per cent of them are declining and 50 per cent are at alarming levels. This situation requires immediate attention.

We did not know the objective of our birds’ lives until the arrival of this report. We knew about selected species, such as peacock. Its situation is quite better and the number is increasing well and about Gauraiya (Sparrow), which environmentalists thought was coming to an end.

Simply because their presence in urban areas was decreasing, while in reality, their numbers are stable. This report has now revealed that migratory birds such as the Golden Plover, prey birds such as vultures and Habitat specialists such as Forest Wagtail are in great danger.
But why should we worry about them? What is the importance of these birds?

Birds play an important role in our ecosystem.  They are pollinators for other species, seed dispersers, scavengers and also sustenance for other organisms. Birds can become part of the local economy, as several people like to watch them. A growing number of bird watchers in the country have promoted ecotourism.

The truth is that human health is closely related to the well being of birds and their number is threatening. There is an English metaphor, ‘Canary in the Coal Mine’ i.e. a canary bird in a coal mine. In the old days, while going to the mine, labourers used to carry the canary bird in the mines. If the levels of methane or carbon dioxide in the mine were high and the gas reached a dangerous level, the bird would die and workers used to come out of the mine safely.

The State of India Birds Report 2020 can alert us just like this canary bird. What can we do to save our birds? We need to observe, understand and protect them. Many of you would be a bird lover or chances are that birds give you immense pleasure.  In a way, to pay their debts, you should allow a part of your garden to remain untouched so that birds can reach there and make their nest. Many species of Munia (Lonchura), Bulbul and Sunbird are flourishing around us. Try to keep water for birds in different corners at different altitudes of the garden.

Many communities in India are doing a lot for the conservation of birds, sometimes even at the cost of their livelihood. There is a special connection between the villagers in Kokrebellur, Karnataka, and the two types of bird species, the spot build pelican and the painted stork. Villagers in Pangati, Nagaland, have vowed not to kill Amur Phalkan in the past. These birds pass through that area in large numbers.

Recently, the Supreme Court has taken the initiative to direct the Government of Rajasthan to save the endangered Sarang (Herons). It’s lesser-known fact that Sarang was in the race to become our national bird while picking peacocks. Such examples can be found everywhere. Birds fill our sights with grandeur, lends peace to our souls. As a nation, we should think about what we can do to preserve India’s incredible diversity of birds. For them as well as for us.