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Shaurya – Celebrating Our Heroes

Here are few more glimpses of our Pre-Independence Day Celebration with our Parapalagic Soldiers of Indian Army.
Lt. Gen. K.J Singh (Retd), PVSM, AVSM**, Ambassador, Shaurya Campaign, I Am Still Human, also attended the event and spent some time with the PRC Soldiers.
The event was full of amazing poetry by poets like Imtiaz Ali.
The event was also blessed by Mr. J.D Ghai’s presence who is also the founder of santabanta.com.
The event was beautifully captured by Pixel Team.


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When the Gun Went Off

On 12th June 2016, the United States of America faced its largest mass shooting which left 50 people dead and 53 injured. The shooting took place at Pulse which is a gay club. The shooter identified as Omar Mateen was an American born to parents of an Afghan background. Omar was apparently a frequent visitor of this night club and had also joined several gay dating sites. He swore allegiance to ISIS but this shooting may only be ISIS- inspired and not ISIS-driven.
Omar had acquired his guns through a legal process even though he’s been called by the FBI for questioning atleast twice. This just brings to light the need for gun control in America. In the previous few years, the instances of mass shootings have also increased most of which are committed by legally obtained guns.
There seems to be controversy regarding the reason behind this shooting. At first, it appeared to be an act driven from homophobia as Omar’s father had made a statement in which he explicitly said that Omar had shown considerable anger and disgust when he saw two men kissing. But what seems to be the most confusing riddle in all of this controversy is if he was so disgusted by gays, then why was he a frequent visitor of pulse and why had he joined all these gay dating sites? Plus he didn’t act only as an observer but was seen trying to pick up guys at the club too.
Omar was also seen laughing like a maniac while shooting and the police described him as calm and peaceful after the shooting. Both of Omar’s wife and ex wife have accepted that Omar may have had mental issues. He had always been violent, even towards his spouse.
America had basically given a man like Omar the power to take away the lives of so many, reason for which seems to be a mystery.
With the growing incidences of taking lives, what we desperately need now is a call for peace. In a world where humanity is fast disappearing we have to remember that we are still human and act like it.

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Maneka Gandhi Speaks Against Criminalization of Marital Rape

The issue of criminalising marital rape has been tossed about in the Parliament time and again. Recently, DMK MP Kanimozhi, through a question submitted in the Rajya Sabha, asked Minister of State for Home Affairs Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary whether the government would bring in an amending Bill to the Indian Penal Code to remove the exception of marital rape from the definition of rape in the light of the U.N. agencies’ findings and recommendations.
Mr. Chaudhary, in his written reply, said that while the U.N. Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women had recommended that India criminalise marital rape, India’s Law Commission had not recommended this, and the government had no plan to bring in an amendment.
The Woman and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi on Thursday told Rajya Sabha that ‘the concept of marital rape can’t be applied to India’. She added that a country like India is not ready for the change due to factors like poverty, illiteracy and religious beliefs. “It is considered that the concept of marital rape, as understood internationally, cannot be suitably applied in the Indian context due to various factors like level of education/illiteracy, poverty, myriad social customs and values, religious beliefs, mindset of the society to treat the marriage as a sacrament.” – was Maneka Gandhi’s response to various rising questions on charging a criminal offence on marital rapes. Her Thursday’s comments, angered several activists throughout the country. as it contradicted her own statement sometimes back; she was reportedly to have said “My opinion is that violence against women shouldn’t be limited to violence by strangers. Very often a marital rape is not always about a man’s need for sex; it is only about his need for power and subjugation. In such cases, it should be treated with seriousness.” It is surprising to see this drastic change in her stance. However, this means the criminalisation of marital rape has a long way to go still.

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Women Raped by Angry Protesters on NH1

Reservations have always been touchy matter in our country. A concept started with the aim of uplifting the weaker section, it was supposed to be scratched off after a certain time period, once the purpose had been solved. We gave them a ladder, and they mounted it, but they refused to come down.
The problem with the reservation system is that it keeps getting elongated, and new sections of the society are seeking reservations. Now it’s reached a point where there are more seats to be attained through reservations than there are through merit and capabilities. Protests for such reservations have become as common as bare trees in the Autumn.
The last few weeks have seen one such protests turn disastrous. In tge last nine days since it turned violent, a total of 19 lives have been claimed with the latest turn being inter-caste violence as 4 non-jats have also been targeted. Shops have been burnt, aling with vehicles on the roads. With the military having been called in, the situation has taken a turn for the worse.
Amongst all this mess early today came a news which left us paralyzed with shock and disbelief.
It is fact known to any Indian resident, and now to many outside of India too, thaf the women in out country have never been and still aren’t safe. They are the firat to be targeted and longest to suffer because of their silent submissive nature, a trait that is fed into women from the time of their birth. This incident is one such case where women have once again been violated and forced to suffer for no wrong of their own.
Several eyewitnesses to the incident have told the Tribune of how vehicles were set on fire and then women from these vehicles were dragged into the fields and raped on the NH1 near Murthal on Monday morning. The women lay there crying for hours when finally some of the nearby residents heard them and tried to help them. The police has been shielding the victims and denying it’s occurrence. The district authorities told the families of the victims to not report the crime “for the sake of their own honor”. This was done by a mob of 30 men who after brutally raping the women, abandoned them in the fields.
Amazing, isn’t it? How women are now used not just as an object for sexual pleasure but also for letting out the sick animalistic anger of weaker men. Beautiful, isn’t it? How the one way men show their supremacy i by torturing the innocent and ruining lives.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, life is fantastic in our nation, as we develop. After all, this is what development is development is to desecrate and pillage, vehicles shops and humans when you don’t get reservation. Development is when you destroy a woman and leave her scarred for life because your frustration and anger needs to directed at someone.
Development indeed.
This incident has simply brought out news andknowledge that we have known for years. We have in us the both the energy and potential to be the driving for any and all positive change. All that we as. Youth need to do is to use the respurces available. We have all we need, it is just motivation and action that we lack in.

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Reservation categorically means the action of reserving something.

Due to the innumerable castes and communities in India and the social status that has been separating the so-called ‘upper’ and ‘lower’ castes since time immemorial, the makers of our constitution saw it fit to have reservations or ‘positive discrimination’ for a certain number of communities. This reservation was for 3 categories namely: Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes. Certain boxes had to be ticked for a caste, community or tribe to fit into this reservation quota. Incidentally, the makers of our constitution also decided that this reservation policy would hold ground only for a few years before being quashed. Sadly, that was not to be. Things like vote bank politics and ‘Vote Your Caste’ made sure that the reservation policy would never be completely caput. While this has resulted in the upliftment of the backward and so called ‘lower’ classes of the Indian society, there are certain communities that want the reservation quota to be completely sacked and there are others still who want their community to be included in the quota.

So basically, in a world where people are striving and working donkeys’ hours every single day to be forward and ahead in the mad race that the world is, people in India are protesting and protesting violently at that to be backward.

Presenting to you, ladies and gentlemen of the world, your largest democracy. The Republic of India. The land of a thousand cultures, the Ganges, The Royal Bengal Tiger and so much more. The country where the number of the working population or the youth is the highest in the world, THIS IS HOW WE EMBRACE DEVELOPMENT.

Many congratulations, young India, many congratulations. You’re making so many people turn in their graves and look at you with disgust. Why, you ask? Is this what the makers of our constitution wanted us to do? To fight among ourselves as if we already didn’t have enough problems? Is this the way you thank the countless freedom fighters who, irrespective of caste or creed, religion or race, held each others’ hands and fought for the independence you’re allowed to portray your nonsense today in? Why do you want this reservation? Let me rephrase that. Why do you want your reservation by protesting so violently? Are your actions of burning down schools, houses, malls, shops, public and private transport going to make things any better? Is this what Dr. Kalam’s vision of a developed India consisted of? Freedom of speech, you say? Well, might I take this moment to shed some light on the soldiers and officers of the Indian Army who are giving up their lives in counter-insurgency and terrorism operations to make sure you have the freedom of speech intact tomorrow?

So far, the agitation in Haryana has claimed 12 lives, buildings and vehicles have been burnt down to ash, families have been brought to the road and the Army has been called in. The latest news is that the Central and State Governments have given in to the demands of the community and are expected to meet them soon. Jat community leaders have been assured that reservation will be granted to them along the lines of being an Other Backward Class. A high level committee has been formed under Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu to see how to include the Jats as a part of the OBCs. Earlier the Supreme Court had rejected the inclusion of Jats into the Central Other Backward Classes list on ground that the National Commission of Backward Classes does not consider them socially and economically backward in Haryana, given the political majority they have and the socially powerful people that they are. Those attending the meeting with Home Minister Rajnath Singh included Haryana Minister Mr. Dhankar and BJP General Secretary Anil Jain, who is in-charge of the state. During the day, the protests had spread wider, with Jats blocking the Shimla highway near Panchkula and the Bahadurgarh road to Haryana from Delhi. Curfew was in place at several towns and districts including Rohtak, Bhiwani, Sonepat, Jhajjar, Hisar and Hansi. Later in the evening, blockades from Panipat, Jind, Kaithal, Bhiwani districts were partially lifted. The blockade of the National Highway 1, too, was lifted. Road and rail have been severely affected. Airfare, which is normally between 3 and 4K from Chandigarh and Delhi, shot up to between 16,000 and 27,000. More than 700 trains have been cancelled.

I can’t speak for the rest of the people out there, just that I despise where this is headed and this isn’t how I want India to be represented the world over. First rape, now this. We can’t even remotely hope to be one of the most developed nations in the world if we continue to fight amongst ourselves like this.

You want recognition? You want people to give you admission in various institutions? Work for it. Things like reservation are shortcuts. There is no substitute for hard work. With that, I rest my case.


Image Courtesy: www.civilsdaily.com

Image Courtesy: www.civilsdaily.com

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Zika Virus Causing Malformed Infants in Brazil

Image Source: The Hindu

Image Source: The Hindu

Brazil finds itself struck by a major health crisis as a little known virus, the Zika virus is doing the rounds causing brain damage resulting in babies born with small than usual heads. The virus is believed to be spread by mosquitoes. While the government faces criticism for its late responses, pregnant women across Brazil can be found panicking. These women have been advised to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. In some regions, where mosquitoes are too widely prevalent, the women have been asked to delay having children “if they can wait”.

The number of registered cases of this incurable condition has risen from 167 in 2013 and 147 in 2014 to 2,782 in 2015. The technical term for the disease is microcephaly. Another country hit by this virus from the various Latin American countries is Mexico. Cases have also been registered in USA in travelers that have visited countries where the virus has shown its effect. Resultantly the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued an warning over the possibility of the disease spreading across.

The place of origin of the virus is Africa and some researchers say that the virus probably arrived in Brazil at the time of the 2014 World Cup. Another theory is that it arrived with the canoe race through French Polynesian paddlers, which has been another region to have seen a surge in the number of cases recently.

Brazil had already been struggling with dengue before the arrival of Zika, having reported 1.6 million cases as opposed to 569,000 cases of dengue in 2014. With an 80% increase from last year, 839 people have died from dengue in 2015. Health officials believe that weather and rainfall could be another factor, since climate change and its resultant increased temperature makes it easier for them to multiply. Also the increased rainfall has given them increased areas to breed in.

Image Source: V News 24

Image Source: V News 24

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Syria’s Ray of Peace

Courtesy: www.worldbulletin.net

Courtesy: www.worldbulletin.net

In today’s world, for a country to be having a civil strife is common-place news and generally such a conflict is not ephemeral, usually lasting for months and years on end. Watching such news on our respective televisions everyday may not make us raise our brows in despair and shock but being present in such conditions and situations is a different story altogether. Even though countries having a powerful standing in the international arena and other peace-keeping international organizations like the UN have tried to douse down the massive eruptions of violence and vehement protests in such volatile situations, yet they are mostly in vain and to no immediate relief. However, there have been efforts at an individual level and by small and big NGOs and organizations to take the distress into their hands and find solutions to the problems causing the warfare, no matter how short-lived these solutions maybe. One such person who has added to this cause is Majd Izzat al-Chourbaji, a Syrian national, who was born in 1981 in the town of Darayya. Even though the Syrian issue started as a part of the Arab Spring which was a series of revolts and protests against the autocratic governments in the Gulf States, however, this violent tussle won other world players who have only helped in worsening the situation and causing a “war within a war”.

To all those who aren’t specifically abreast with the Syrian conflict, it was a civil war between the President, Mr Assad’s forces, and the “rebels” who demanded democratic reforms after the Syrian government took violent measures to curb the public’s chagrin and dissatisfaction against it’s rule. However, soon both the parties were backed by different countries like Assad’s forces started getting ammunition and oil transfers from Russia and Tehran whereas the rebels were being backed by the Gulf countries and the US, UK and France. Soon enough, the Islamic State and other terrorist groups started taking over parts and pieces of the Syrian land, leading to a chaotic and bloody mess in the state of Syria. This state of affairs has affected the civilians the most and continues to do so, leading to their immigration and rise in their death toll rate day by day.

A Syrian living in Serbia displays a placard on March 16, 2013 during a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the center of Belgrade. Courtesy: www.transconflict.com

A Syrian living in Serbia displays a placard on March 16, 2013 during a protest against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in the center of Belgrade.
Courtesy: www.transconflict.com

To get the political prisoners released, Chourbaji organised sit-ins due to which she was arrested by the police and was brutally treated, causing her several profound injuries. Despite her injuries and the violent treatment meted out against her, she organized peace-building and citizenship workshops among the prisoners and insisted on peaceful and non-violent methods of protest against the regime. She also persuaded 150 women detainees to go on a hunger-strike so as to pressurize the regime to present their cases in a court of law and was released among many others due to her peaceful methods of action. However, she fled to Lebanon along with her three children due to continued surveillance by the security forces. She has not failed to work to help the Syrian people even after she left her country since she established “Women Now” in Lebanon on 2nd January, 2014 as a center to provide assistance and aid to the women refugees of Syria by providing them vocational training and also psychological help to the women and children to help them get over the trauma they suffered in the civil war. These noble and brave-heart efforts of hers won her the International Women of Courage Award in 2015.

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Child Sex Ratio Rises by 5% in Haryana

2015 seemed to be a good year for human rights and women empowerment because according to a report made by Haryana Chief Minister Lal Khattar on Thursday, child sex ratio in the state has increased by 5%. This is another 5% marked increase from the ratio of 2014—846 girls per 1,000 boys. The CM further claimed that efforts would be made to increase child sex ratio above 900.

We appreciate the aims and efforts of the present Haryana government and hope 2016 would bring even more fruit than 2015. Women empowerment is the need of the hour and all must respond, participation of the state authorities being of the utmost importance.

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Report: Women Head 6.67% of Educational Institutes

A report carried out by the Edushine Advisory Group showed that women head 6.67% of the higher educational institutes of India. It reviewed 810 higher education institutions of the country and found that 54 Vice-Chancellors or Directors were female. The report also claimed that women headed 9.8% Central Institutes and 8.61% state universities.

This is definitely good news. It indicates that the powers of progress and development at our work, even thought at the surface, they appear to be working sluggishly. Women all across the country must take inspiration from this and dedicate themselves to achieving fulfilling careers.

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Saudi Arabian Women Vote for The First Time

After centuries of suppression and discrimination, the women of Saudi Arabia have finally got to vote. They took part in the municipal elections held in December, 2015—contesting as both voters and candidates. 978 participated as candidates and approximately 1,30,000 women will got to vote.

This event is another landmark in the careers of those fighting for equality and women rights and we celebrate with them in this moment of history. Female suppression has long been synonymous with middle eastern countries. This occasion is a step in the direction, the destination equality

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