Tuesday, May 2, 2017

How can we stop farmer suicides?

India is an agricultural economy, which means, Agriculture is the pre-dominant sector of the Indian economy. True to this, even today, inspite of the Indian economy opening out to the world and globalization, close to 70% of the people still hang on on agriculture for their livelihood. We’ve witnessed the “5 years plans”, “Green Revolution”, and every budget says it focuses on Agriculture development.

Does that mean everything is looking positive for Indian agriculture? A top level view on the above points would tempt anyone to say yes, but the truth is too far away from it. Behind all the growth and development lies the reality that Indian farmers have to face - extreme poverty and financial crisis driving them to suicides.

The year 1997 saw the first few cases of farmers committing suicides, these cases steadily increased over the next decade, peaking in 2001 and reports say that as many as 6000 farmers committed suicide in the last 5 years in the state of Andhra Pradesh alone. The worst cases of farmers committing suicides come from the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra. What are the grave adversities that drive the farmers to commit suicide, at a time when Indian economy is supposed to be gearing up to take on the world?

Why farmers commit suicide?

Repeated crop failures, debt hassles, lack of alternative sources of income, absence of institutional finance have left the farmers with no other solution other than ending their lives. Another disturbing trend has been observed where farmers commit suicide in order to avail relief and benefits announced by the government to support the families of the farmers who have died. This is true in the case of several farmers in Andhra Pradesh who committed suicide so that their families could atleast benefit from the Government's relief programmes.

What then needs to be done to prevent this sad state of affairs?

There cannot be one single solution to end the woes of farmers. The solution to the farmer's plight should be directed towards enabling the farmers to help themselves and sustain on their own. Temporary measures through monetary relief would not be the solution. The efforts should be targeted at improving the entire structure of the small farmers wherein the relief is not given on a drought to drought basis, rather they are taught to overcome their difficulties through their own skills and capabilities. The Government needs to come up with pro-active solutions and the nation has to realize that farmers' suicides are not minor issues happening in remote parts of a few states, it is a reflection of the true state of the basis of our economy.

"Give a man a fish, he will eat for a day but teach him how to fish, he will eat for the rest of his life", so goes the popular saying, the case of our Indian farmers is similar to this, what they need is a means to sustain throughout their lives without having the face the desperation that adversity drives them to. If India has to shine, it is these farmers that need to be empowered.

Courtesy: Some of the statistics and above data are retrieved and reproduced from http://www.civilserviceindia.com

Thursday, April 6, 2017

What’s your favorite dog breed?

What’s your favorite dog breed? Most of the Indian dog lovers would say – Labrador, Dalmatian, German Shepard or Pug; probably some odd ones might even say “Country dog” or as “Indian stray”.

But chances are really slim that anyone would say ‘Chippiparai’, ‘Rajapalayam’, ‘Combai’ , ‘Rampur Greyhound’ or ‘Gaddi Kutta’. That’s because hardly anyone knows about these breeds that are native to India. This exactly is the primary reason for the native breeds to become the stray and getting low-numbered every year.

Yes, this is quite unfortunate that most of the Indians show interest in western dog breeds rather than Indian breeds. Foreign breeds are looked upon as exotic, and owning one is considered to be a status symbol.

Foreign Pet Food companies wanted to sell their products (start from food, medicine, toys and even their dog potty training kits) and naturally, India is the biggest market. But same as Indian bulls, Indian dogs are too very agile, they don’t need any special food, medicine or any accessory, which left the foreign companies out-of-market.

But it took only a short while for them to understood Indian’s weakness of “Western Infatuation” and promote their breeds along with their supplies.

Our dogs are survivors. They mostly survive on whatever food we give and with no extra care.  I personally feel, a “Combai” that stayed with us for years was so loyal, agile, energetic and cuddly than any other foreign breed.

I am happy that nowadays more and more people understand the business behind the foreign breeds; more and more people are opting for Indian dogs. I hope people realize that they're not doing the foreign breeds a favour by bringing them home. India's hot climate is not suitable for most of them, whereas the native ones thrive in this environment. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Why is India unhappy?

World Happiness Report 2017 ranks India at position #122. What does it mean ?

I don't really believe in these rankings (any kind of comparisons for that matter), but this one tells you a different wisdom: "Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness"

This assesses happiness in terms of healthier life,social supports; freedom to make life choices; experience less corruption, more generosity, and more equality rather than mere economic figures such as GDP.

The message for India is clear: we might've achieved greater GDP (at the cost of sharply rising inequality, entrenched social exclusion, and damage to the nature/environment);but not "happiness" 😟
When countries single-mindedly pursue individual objectives, such as economic development to the neglect of social and environmental objectives, the results can be highly adverse for human wellbeing, even dangerous for survival.

How can countries boost their happiness levels? It's big task, nearly impossible; but i just wanted inform about the countries Bhutan, Ecuador, Scotland, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela. Those five countries have appointed Ministers of Happiness charged with promoting it as a goal of public policy.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Sins of the billion dollar plastic surgery Industry

How many of us know that India is in the top-5 of nations for cosmetic surgical and non-surgical procedures. Face plastic surgery, Liposuction , breast augmentation, hair transplant are some of the huge revenue generating businesses in India.

Is it something to feel proud about? I was shocked to read the news “Nepali women are being 'skinned' to make rich Indians beautiful.”

It’s really scared to know that the billion dollar plastic surgery industry in India and the world is thriving on the trafficking and 'skinning' of young girls from Nepal. This latest story exclusively on YKA reveals the horrifying truth about what goes into making rich Indians beautiful.

The author, YKA's Soma Basu spoke not only with those who deal in this 'skin trafficking', but also with the victims who were trafficked to Mumbai, drugged, their skin surgically removed and sold for a handsome amount. These women are often then forced into sex work as a means to make ends meet. 

This story is an eye-opener, and I strongly request you to read it. Terrifying and intolerable 😡

Friday, February 24, 2017

Should we protest the Methane (CBM) project

Should we stop the ongoing Coal Bed Methane (CBM) projects at the Tanjore Delta of Tamilnadu? Are the allegations such as the “project may the spoil environment and take away the livelihood of farmers around”, is this true? How far it is justifiable ?

I read a bit about the whole process. Let me share what I learnt, then you can answer the above questions yourselves!.


Naturally formed Methane in the underground coal marcels will get released when they are de-pressurized. CBM companies drill deep wells into these coal beds and pumping out all the surrounding water, so that the coal seal gets de-pressurized and lets out the methane to flow as a gas up through the pipes. Methane is then compressed and commercialized into market. It is often also necessary to stimulate the coal seam via fracking (process of fracturing the solid ground layers with high pressure chemicals/liquids) in order to maximum extract of gas.


Ground Water depletion
Continuously removaing water from coal beds depletes ground water and may eventually lower farmer’s boreholes and underground waterlevel. It can also change the flow of good fresh groundwater to into the coal seams.

Waste Water Disposal
Millions of litres of produced water have to be disposed of from each well. Over time this represents a massive volume of water and toxic material released into rivers, estuaries and the sea.

Leaking Wells & Drinking water contamination
The steel and concrete pipes plunged deep into the ground will decay slowly over time. All gas wells will leak eventually. The possibility of the water used in fracking to contaminate water in rivers and other bodies of water is pretty high.

Air & Noise Pollution & Infrastructure damage
Road damage is an inevitable consequence of methane exploration due to intensive transportation of materials and machinery.

Global Warming & Earth Quakes
CBM is not green, it is not the replacement for traditional fossil fuels, it’s just another energy extraction technique, thus we ‘re only keep expanding the hydrocarbon and emissions. We’re already witnessing the bad effects interms of global warming and frequent earth quakes.

I do support technology and development; but this one is not required for our country - where there's already a huge water scarcity; poor infrastructure, corrupted environment/safety regulatory bodies, and greedy business men backed by fraud politicians. Why should we risk the livelihood of our future generations for the profits of certain corporates ?

In the end, I just can’t imagine the beautiful green surrounding of Cauvery delta region turning into a dark coal dump; pure breeze of air to go polluted with chemicals and dangerous gases; chirping sounds of sparrows to change into blasting bore well bombs and restless truck noises; and finally the poor people of these region will loose all they have got and become the refugee of their own land😢 #SaveNeduvasal #banhydrocarbonproject #savefarmer #saveagriculture

Monday, February 20, 2017

Stop Child Trafficking & Child Abuse

I feel so powerless, hopeless and shameful when I hear terrible news like #Hasini, a 7-year-old Chennai girl who was molested and murdered by her neighbor. What kind of society we are living in? How can an educated youth commit such a brutal act?

Hasini is not the only victim, we keep hearing child trafficking and abuse cases almost everyday. The child crime rates and statistics are rocketing now more than ever, almost one in every two kid India is going thru' some sort of abuse.
WHY? Why do these horrible abuse and hurt continue? There’s not a single reason to cut-it down right away, there are many factors: the abuser's bad childhood, lack of (sex) education, loneliness, poverty, family issues, ...in some cases poor parenting and parent themselves.

Children in India are often very dependent on their parents and elders; they continue to have submissive and obedient roles towards all the elders, which makes them an easy prey. In most of the cases, the abuser is always a trusted neighbour, relative or even the parent., and that’s the reason for most these crimes go unreported too.

The message I’m trying to convey here is: Let’s do something about these non-senses. Let’s create awareness and try to educate at-least one parent by telling them the importance of their role and about the frightening issues our kids facing everyday (not to scare, but to inform them!)
Children are innocent, hence they become the most vulnerable part of our society. Their innocence needs to be protected. We, as a Society, have a bigger duty of protecting our future generation, make and lead them to a better society to live-in.

Our Children are the future. If their lives are at risk, then such a society will not be able to suffice longer. #Childabuse  , #notochildabuse #childkidnapping#childtrafficking#childsafety #india

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Indian Budget and Increasing Inequality

I am not qualified to review or even to fully-understand one of the biggest budgets of the world. However, as a common man with a common sense, I do have a concern and asking fellow Indians to think about it.

A recent report published by Credit Suisse says, India's rich people are getting richer every year, as the top 1% of them now own 58.4% of entire India’s wealth. For instance in the year 2000 , the share of the richest 1% was comparatively low, 36.8% of the country’s wealth. The trend of “rich getting richer” has been growing multifold for the last 16 years and the rest 99% of the people doesn’t make any significant progress. What do you think is the reason ?

This only shows that rich class do so well for themselves whichever government is in power, doesn't matter #UPA or #NDA, the rich industrialists control most of the assets of whole country and government policies are only to favour them. 

In many ways this year’s Budget may have a number of new features., but it is no different in neglecting the serious issue of economic “inequality”.

The informal sector of our economy contributes nearly half of our GDP and employs nearly 70% of our working people. This sector was worst hit by demonetization and continues to remain crippled; but there’s no mention about revival of demonetization effects in the budget. 

There is not a single word on recovering the massive NPAs (non-performing assets of banks), though the budget says, the government would act*(mean?) against those have fled abroad.

On the other hand, all the industrialists celebrate the budget; SENSEX & NIFTY surges into green. These only give an impression that this year budget is also only to woo the rich and doesn’t have any interest to address the issues of poor.

Everyone of us want #GDP growth, But remember, the overt focus on GDP at the cost of compromising other social factors is dangerous. Policy making, such as budget should not get biased for the large corporates, while leaving out the primary concerns of the larger public.

When policy making gets biased for the rich, roads will be designed only for cars, not for the pedestrians. Taxation scheme will aid only the industrialists, not the salaried middle/under class of India. When primary sectors such as Health, Education, and Infrastructure are owned by private rich industrialist, these basic amenities will become accessible only for the people who can pay for it

India of our dreams cannot be built on weak foundation of huge economic disparity. Let’s think beyond our “individual tax slab”announcements in the budget and urge the government for sincere reforms that redistribute the wealth and level the opportunities.

Let’s spread the awareness within us and impel our policy makers towards the “real” growth of country, in terms of proper health, good education, and impartial access to opportunities to everyone, this can only be the long-term solution.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Meet "Balaknama" - The World's First Newspaper run by Street Children

I just came to know about “Balaknama” - A Newspaper run by the Delhi Street Children, which focuses on the lives and struggles of street kids.

The name says it all - Balaknama translates to “Voice of Children”; it’s an effort from a bunch of street children sharing great passion to write and reach the crowd. It’s my shame that I didn’t know about this newspaper so far, which has been in circulation since 2003. Happy that I came to know at least by now and I thought I should share it with you all.

Delhi's slum kids are one of the most abandoned people of India. Child marriage, Forced Child labor, begging, drug, sexual abuse, police violence are some of the bad tribulations these street children battle everyday L. Thanks to the efforts of CHETNA ( NGO), now these kids have turned into amateur journalists and reporters who write articles about the struggles of being slum kids and feature them in their newspaper.

Balaknama has a team of 60 reporters, most of them are based in the slums of Delhi and near-by states of Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. These young writers gets some basic training on story telling and composing articles from Chetna. Most of these children are working on odd jobs during the day to earn for their food, and later in the evening they spend their time to write for the newspaper.

This is a truly inspiring, these children are striving hard to bring their pressing issues into limelight, while empowering themselves through this newspaper. Good efforts like these should definitely be appreciated and supported.  #balaknama #delhi #streetkids #chetna

Please see the video to know more:

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Turmeric, Neem, Tulsi, Yoga & More - "Biopiracy of India's way of Life"

Bit shocked when I saw an article saying Everybody Needs To Stop With This Turmeric Molecule. That’s not the only one, there are numerous articles making round-ups in the last few months. The irony is: these were the same journals/blogs which were advocating all goodness and medicinal use of turmeric for years. Now, suddenly what happened to them? What made them to conduct “A new study saying turmeric has 'no specific therapeutic benefits'”?

This made me to do go-through the curious case of India-US Patent War for Turmeric.

Here's the story: The turmeric war actually began in 1995, when the US Patent Office granted to the University of Mississippi Medical Center (#UMMC) a patent [#5,401,504] for "Use of Turmeric in Wound Healing.". Soon the US pharma companies started creating medicines using Turmeric (Curcuma), especially for Arthritis and cancer; and their media started trumpeting the goodness of turmeric all over the world.

Fortunately The Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (#CSIR) of India submitted prior art evidences in the form of references in books from 18th century to the 20th century citing evidences that turmeric has been part of Indian life, in our food, cosmetics, medicines and tradition.

The US Patent Office had no choice than acknowledging Indian’s prior knowledge of Turmeric in Wound healing and cancelled the patent awarded to the Mississippi Medical Centre in 1997.

This Patent win completely disappointed the business plans of the US pharma sector; but they did not have any better exchange for the turmeric. Now after nearly 15 years of continuous research, they have reduced or almost stopped using Curcuma (turmeric) component ; and their media started to campaign against the turmeric.

You may find it strange to link the story of 20 years old patent win, but that’s the only logical reasons for these new studies and articles looming against the use of turmeric.


This is not the story of just turmeric. The war against bio-piracy endures for #Neem , #Basmati Rice, #Darjeeling Tea, Indian #wheat, and even for our own #Yoga postures😦; Can you believe that we're fighting claims to about 40 products all over the world.

Enough said, the whole story gives me only resolution. If we don’t appreciate and safe-guard our tradition and traditional products, foreigners will find ways to put their name and monetize it. Then we’ll end-up paying hefty royalty to a foreign company - for the knowledge that our ancestors practiced and full-grown for years!!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Why Indian Media is so "biased"

India is country of 70,000+ newspapers and over 500+ satellite channels, but still hard to find one genuine, unbiased, progressive Newspaper & TV channel 😞. Howmany of us get frustrated by the way, a same news is presented differently on different channels?

The words ‘bias’ and “paid news” are inseparable from the Indian media. Even a child can understand who is batting for whom.

It’s mainly because most of our media is dominated by corporates and political parties–for their advantage. I am not going to write about it, please do your research to find who owns your news company; you’ll find the motives of their story!

Remember, the media was not always wrong, their role in independence struggles was commendable. But post-independence, we diversified our media tools; there was hardly one newspaper per town earlier, but now we have thousands. Everyone of us wants to see the news in the way we like it. We abandoned genuine journals; made loyal journalist become poor and jobless. So they became loyal to the corporates and politicians who pay them.

After all, the public is interested only in the “sensational / breaking news,” right? There’s no wonder these news media making it as a business for their profit.

No…, I say "No..not-at all", It's virtually impossible to curb the “bias” in the media because there's no such thing as "non-bias." When you believe a media source as “unbiased,” it is only because it mirrors your views; all the other sources will look “biased” from your perspective. It’s human nature; hardly you can do anything about it.

But, what we can do is: Urge the media to behave more socially responsible. Let’s raise our concern when they write/telecast some crap - just to make it “sensational.” Instead of just believing their words and getting emotional, please do a minute of your research to find the truth. Never hesitate to let them down when they telecast something only for their #TRP.

In the end, as rational citizens, we are responsible for searching out the truth and thinking for ourselves, just as we are responsible for voting. It’s our job, not the media’s, to grasp and react to the content of the news. #biasedmedia #fakenews #Corruptmedia #press

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Why people support Jallikattu Protests

It’s disappointing to see some fellow Indians ask “Why are so many Tamilians shamelessly supporting Jallikattu?”. Let me say it again: It’s not just the issue of Tamilnadu, what they fight is for the whole India.

People still don’t get the fact that India is not a homogeneous nation, but a mosaic of cultures and nation of immense diversity. With a sheer diversity of languages, ethnic groups, religions and demography, India is an One Country with many nations in it. It’s everyone’s responsibility to respect each other’s tradition and culture.

After all: Not just trees, even human needs strong "roots":like culture, Tradition and Language; they are your identity, you can’t afford to loose them.  

Ok, coming out of the emotional ground, let me explain the logical reasons for protecting our bulls.

By this time, everyone aware of what is A1 and A2 milk and their effects; I am not going to write about it again. But, still many of us are not aware of the politics behind the A2 Milk yet. Let me say it again.

There’s an A2 Milk Companywith its presence in the US, Australia, and in New Zealand. They own the patents on genetic tests to determine what form of beta-casein cows produce in milk, and hugely investing on research of artificial insemination of A2 gene bull’s semen.

Not just this one company, there are numerous other western companies spending billions of euros/dollars on the research of suppressing dominant A1 gene and makes even a western cow to produce A2 milk.

If all native breeds in India are destroyed, then we may have to survive only with A1 milk or we may have to pay a hefty royalty to A2 Milk company for using its patented technique to produce cows rich in A2 gene.

This is what is bothering the youth and all educated, socially-aware people. When our breeds are perfectly capable of producing A2 milk, why must we force ourselves to be a slave to some other MNC company holding a patent for this.

This is why everyone supports Jallikattu, they are not shameless nor illiterate. They are responsible citizens. These protests are not just about the tradition, this is a show of everyone's fears about globalization/corporate mafias, about loss of identity, living, and culture - and against the authorities who don't care.

If you're not able to understand the depth of issue, you don't need to support. But, don't talk abuse at least. #savejallikattu #saveimdiaslivestock #AmendPCA

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Save the River - Thamirabarani

What I am writing here is not JUST about the river Thamirabarani, it’s the concern for most of the rivers/lakes/water sources all over India - which are being vandalized and moving towards the edge of extinction. So please don’t overlook because you haven't even heard of this name “Thamirabarani”, a perennial river flowing in the corner of Tamilnadu.

The Thamirabarani river originates from the #pothigai hills and flows through #tirunelveli and #tuticorin districts of the Tamil Nadu. It serves as the primary source for drinking water and irrigation, for ~120 square kms of agricultural lands. But, eversince the government (SIPCOT) allowed the Coco-Cola company to tape-out water from the riverbed (1 Million litres everyday), the people of these districts started facing water scarcity, and agriculture started moving in downside.

In this situation, the other giant Pepsi Co was also given a license to suck another 1.5 Million litres from the river for 99 years! That’s were only a small set of sensitive people& farmers woke-up and started protesting for their water.

The protests weren’t widespread; were in really low-lights (thanks to our paid media who doesn't have time to think about farmers), but the issue in-itself is intense, and it is a fortunate that the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court understood the danger of river extinction and ordered a stay - restraining Pepsi and Coca-Coca to use the water of the Thamirabharani river.

But what is now shocking is: A recent RTI filed by a local resident & activist Ramiah Ariya is revealing that it’s not just the Coco-Cola and Pepsi, there 27 more industries are sucking millions of litres water everyday even now!.

Some companies are drawing out far more water than Pepsi or Coca Cola, and many of them more than their allotted limitsPlease look at the amount of water slurped every day by these industries below. 


While I am not clear on the nature of contracts between these companies and SIPCOT, and have no solution for the loss of these companies when they are banned, still drawing more water than the allotted limits is necessarily a violation of the contracts. 

Why no one ask about this violation?, why all the activism and legal action focused only on Coca Cola and Pepsi? Why not other companies are included in the trail? Why there’s no media coverage on this issue? 

The stay order against Pepsi, albeit a temporary, we all know the money power of giant companies, it is just a matter of dragging the case to different levels for them, but for the people, it’s the lifeline.

Sucking the scarce water for business and profit, while diminishing the residents and farmers, particularly in this time of drought - is irrational and dangerous for the future of our country. Can we drink Pepsi everyday instead of water?? We can’t and we should not. 

#GoBackPepsi #Thamirabarani #TamilNadu #savetheriver

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Value your Meal - Child Malnutrition

“Lose Weight” has been one of the top New Year's resolutions all over the world every year. Isn’t it?. How many of us have been struggling to cut-down our food intake and lose a few extra kilograms ? For people like us, It’s difficult to even understand the issues of malnutrition and to realize on what a blessing it is to have a full healthy meal every day.
It was shocking to know the tragedies and impacts of “malnourished children”; and to know that one third of them are in the world lives in India. Everyone wants India to become a “Super Power”, but the hunger and undernourishment data on Indian citizens especially among children comes as big shock. The Rapid Survey on Children (RSoC) was conducted by the ministry of women and child development with  technical support from UNICEF. It found:- 
  • Underweight (low in weight for their age)  = 29.4 % (aged < 3 yr.)
  • Wasted (low weight for their height)           = 15 %
  • Stunted (low in height for age)                    = 38.7%
The latest NFHS (National Family Health Survey -2015) shows the malnutrition numbers are reducing; but in par with our population and GDP, the numbers are still scary and worrisome😢 .

Reason behind such poor malnourishment  figures are numerous factors, however primary among them are  – poor pre & post-natal care of women leading to anemic women giving birth to under weight babies, lack of public healthcare infrastructure to give proper healthcare services to our citizens. Still most of the people in rural villages are less aware of the importance and implications of proper nutrition.

Because so much development occurs in the first few years of life, nutrient deficiencies can have major short-term implications in young children. Malnourishment can greatly compromise a child’s immune system, making them more susceptible to infectious diseases. Additionally, a deficiency in one nutrient may lead to a deficiency in another nutrient and as a result the overall growth gets distorted.

As these kids grow, they face a multifold of growth and cognitive issues : such as Attention deficit disorder, Impaired school performance, Decreased IQ, Memory deficiency, Learning disabilities, Reduced social skills..etc. Don’t we still see many unaware parents still yelling at their kids for their poor performance in schools, without checking their health & nutrition 👀.

I am not qualified to give a suggestion; but I strongly believe that any comprehensive strategy for resolving the problem of child malnutrition must include actions to address both its underlying and basic causes. Creating a lot of awareness  and focus more on the Women health will have a greater improvement.

Ignoring hunger and malnutrition will have significant costs to any country’s development. Government must step-forward to allocate more funds in efficient channels to curb this dangerous issue.  Every rupee invested on curbing malnutrition will definitely give a greater return to the growth of the country in future.

Let’s take a resolution to contribute for curbing hunger & child malnutrition – be it through your money (donation), time (volunteering), or mere thinking and spreading the word,… every effort will help the country.