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Manual Scavenging-The current challenge to Technology

 

“It is science alone that can solve the problems of hunger and poverty, of insanitation and literacy, of superstition and tradition, of vast resources running to waste, of a rich country inhabited by starving people. … The future belongs to science and to those who make friends with science.”

–  Jawaharlal Nehru

 

Many great people of the world have always envisaged science and technology as an effective tool to bring in some tangible changes and improvements in the lifestyle and culture of the underprivileged, which is the actual ‘Mantra’ behind the constant and rapid technological changes. Our country has since its independence achieved many globally acknowledged technological feats and showcased its scientific prowess by producing great scientists who have provided many breakthroughs in their area of work. Indians have over the years understood the importance of having quality technocrats among them and thus the government has steadily started allocating a significant budget for the development of superior quality higher education institutions, setting up high ended scientific laboratories and research centers, etc. India has now managed to reach the Moon and the Mars and will shortly send its first son/daughter to the space.

Despite all the above laurels there is still somewhere a hollowness felt as these technological advancements still couldn’t eliminate the devil of forcible manual scavenging. According to an official data by the inter-ministerial task force more than 50,000 people are involved in the act of manual scavenging in India which includes cleaning of human fecal matter, cleaning of sewers and septic tanks. Septic tanks have turned into death beds for many young men who make up ‘Young India’. In some states still the so called upper class people use these scavengers to clean their dry latrines and single pit toilets and pay a sum that would not be even enough to feed themselves 3 square meal a day.

The present government came up with this idea of Swachh Bharat, which is arguably touted as their most ambitious mission to do away with the practice of open defecation both at urban and rural level has undoubtedly achieved an appreciable feet. But this idea has in a way left incomplete the cycle of sanitary hygiene by not including the aspect of manual scavenging to it. Simply increasing the number of sanitary toilets can never lead to a complete sanitary hygiene if it is still cleaned by humans in an unscientific way as it will again lead to health and hygiene related issues among the people. Despite the ‘Employment of Manual Scavenging and construction of Dry Latrines (prohibition)  Act of 1993’ law in place many which apart from eradicating the manual scavenging act also ensured rehabilitation of families dependent on this as their profession the plight of this act still continues as its implementation part seems to be severely weak. It is seen that very few people have been registered and booked under this case among despite the actual number being much more.

Technocrats at some places have tried to address this problem by inventing some mechanized way of cleaning the sewers and septic tanks and also the disposal of human excreta but somehow couldn’t succeed in giving an economically viable, efficient and the same time capable of being produced at the least possible time solution. Some of them couldn’t carry forward their research work due to lack of funding as very few organizations seem to take interest in it and the allocated amount too most of times proves insufficient.

Thus, the best way forward in completely abolishing the demon of Manual Scavenging is that the government and various social welfare institutions of both governmental and nongovernmental nature should sit together along with the technocrats to find the most viable and sustained solution by providing the necessary inputs and fund allocation to them. The Government through its law enforcement agencies should make the provisions against manual scavenging stricter and see to it that it is followed in both latter and spirit. Awareness along with Rehabilitation and Rejuvenation programs should be organized for the successful upliftment of those already affected by it thus completing the slogan NEAT AND CLEAN INDIA in complete sense

 

 

 

 

Celib(r)ate God!

“Men, their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less.

-Susan B.Anthony

The age old tradition of Sabarimala of not letting women of age between 10-50 to enter the shrine and offer their prayers has  now once again featured in the public forum for debate and the most unique challenge posed to the apex judicial body of India. The history of this case dates back to 1991 when the Kerala High court upheld the practice but was later again challenged in 2006, which is now been referred to a constitution bench and is yet to see the light of the day.

The sui generic nature of the case arises from the fact that a very delicate balance has to be stuck by the court between the Right to Equality, Right to practice a particular religion and Right against discrimination of women with that of the Right to manage matters of religious practices with the due consideration of the fact that this has been in force since time immemorial and hence might constitute essential practice of a religion.

Among the main arguments put forth in favor of the case is that women of age between 10-50 cannot maintain the 41 day penance to be observed before visiting the temple due to their menstrual cycle and hence cannot be deemed pure enough to grant entry, the celibate nature of the deity and the time frame for which the custom is been in place. Such arguments in my opinion hold no chance of supporting their so called legitimate claim.

Firstly the relation between menstruation and the level of purity itself goes against the very tenets of scientific reasoning and is completely out on out a baseless point to be taken note of. When it comes to the celibate nature of the deity, it again constitutes no firm ground of argument as we have other celibate gods where women are very much allowed to enter into the shrine and offer their prayers. Then comes the time period for which the practice is followed, this is no guarantee that it is an essential practice of the religion as many other similar practices like Sati and devadasi have been rightly identified as a social evil and rooted out of our custom and values. Finally the argument that this practice is not a discrimination against the entire class of women in general and just those falling between a particular age just because they come under the menarche cycle. This point is as baseless as the others because any restriction on this ground is simply a discrimination against women as a whole and a particular class can never be carved out of it.

Thus I would like to conclude by saying that the entry of women in Sabarimala will not only be the victory of the women rights to equality but will actually reflect the thoughts of our forefathers, who at the time of framing our constitution envisaged a totally non discriminatory kind of society where women has equal access to all as men and would jointly lead together for the betterment of our country and serve as a model nation to the entire world.

 

HOW FAR DOES THE CAPITAL PUNISHMENT CAPITALIZE THIS ISSUE…?

Recently the Nation witnessed a landmark event of an ordinance being promulgated to amend the POCSO (Prevention of children form sexual offenses) act, IPC, CrPC and Indian Evidence act to allow the courts to pronounce a maximum sentence as a capital punishment for those found guilty of women child sexual harassment of age below 12.

This captured the attention of the entire nation and got appreciation from a majority of the country. But when we closely follow the critics who were not happy with this decision of the government we actually get to see a bigger and a larger picture and will realize that this act of government was purely a populist centered and fails to address the root cause of the problem.

First and foremost, is the arbitrary age bar provision set under this law. Some may suggest that the provision might be set on various studies conducted and as a result the most vulnerable age limit was given the benefit of such a provision, but such stringent provisions might not yield better and long-term fruits unless the law proves to be an inclusive one, otherwise it none other than provides a loop hole for the perpetrators to escape out of it. Secondly the statistical records from the NCRB (National crime records Bureau) clearly suggests that a greater chunk of the accused in such cases are none other than the relatives and kin of the victim and going in accordance with it this, the provision of capital punishment will actually even more decrease the reporting rate of such crimes as not many will want to see their own people hang to death because of their own complaint. Further the stringent provision under this law will do more of a harm from the victim’s point of view as it will trigger the accused to kill the person after committing the harassment so as to do away with the prima facie evidence available to the investigating bodies. Last but not the least the law fails to take a neutral stand as it does not cover penal provisions for sexually harassed males as a study suggests that this ignored and underestimated clause should be immediately brought to the notice as most males never come forward to register such complaints in view of societal pressure and image.

All the above arguments substantiate my point that the ordinance is nothing but an easy way out to the government for dealing with such issues but the very root cause of the matter is the justice delivery systems in our country. Government actions should ensure that such harassment cases are dealt in a speedy manner because as rightly said justice delayed is justice denied. People from poor financial background should be given the proper access to the judicial system by providing them with a low cost or even free of cost lawyers who could get justice for their daughters/sons. Proper measures should be taken to ensure that the investigating authorities impartially take up such cases as most of the time the oppressed are not given the ear for their complaints to be registered or are dealt with an irresponsible attitude. Finally, an effective awareness campaign must be carried away by the government to ensure that even the last man in the row is aware of such governmental provisions and laws so that he is never misguided and misled ultimately defying the very purpose of the law.

Thus, I would here like to conclude by saying that though the government here seems to have acted in the good faith of people but the approach which they followed is of a very shallow nature thus failing to address the root cause of the menace and put a full stop to it in a longer term.

 

MEDIA-THE TOOL OF THE MODERN WORLD

The future belongs to social media. It is egalitarian and inclusive. Social media is not about any country, any language, any colour, any community but it is about human values and that is the underlying link binding humanity

Narendra Modi

We have all for once heard tales like a Tea shop worker becoming an overnight model and a lakh worth just because some person uploaded his picture on a popular media platform and from there on it went viral like epidemic and the other unforgettable jallikattu issue in Tamil Nadu in which the awareness and messages shared through mass media modes managed to mobilize a great chunk of people from all over the state for fighting out for their age old tradition to be continued so as to preserve their regional identity and to expose the true reason behind some NGOs backing the ban on the sport.Many more of such instances across the globe  are a testimony of how powerful the media is in transforming the lives starting from that of an individual to a society and on a larger note even a country.

The role of media be it in any form has a very great influence on the common public. People generally go by what they see in News or read in Newspapers as they genuinely believe that information so broadcasted is true in every sense, which therefore puts a greater responsibility on the shoulders of the media, which if needed can act as an exposure window of the various ill practices in the society and the corrupt system which denies it’s citizens their due rights and opportunities. Media is undoubtedly the only source by which the government can ensure that it’s welfare schemes reach every nook and corner of the country, create awareness on various issues of public interest and in general act as a most effective interface between the government and public.

Though media as such has no negative side but at many instances prove to be a lethal weapon in the hands of the demons. The most relevant current scenario pertaining to this is the blue whale challenge that has cost many young lives due to its rapid spread through the social media as a game of challenge. The ever-growing threat of consumerism is also exponentially increasing with growing media as people generally prefer and buy products broadcasted on various media platforms endorsed by their favorite stars or role models and thus creating a greater difference between their wants and needs thus subsequently generating more wastes and the burden ultimately piling up on the country’s head.

Therefore, the conclusion being most obvious that Media in all its form is surely a boon and should be increasingly used in the correct direction for drawing the maximum benefits out of it and equally recognizing its downside if given to the improper hands and thus cautiously drawing a line to the purpose and extent to which we use the media

 

 

 

 

An INDUSTRIAL VISIT in the true sense-My visit to the God’s own country with the demons.

The Evergreen looking back memories of most people are the tours and trips with their collage mates which leave an indelible mark in one’s mind and soul.
My personal experience of such a trip was in the form a so called ‘INDUSTRIAL VISIT’ to the God’s own country. The foundation stage of the trip preparation seeded the expectation within us which kept growing day by day rapidly. The Days were now nearing and it seemed that the stage was all set and all that required was our performance to make it a successful event.
It was finally the most awaited dawn and each one of us was ready to make the most celebrated memories of our lifetime and record it in our memory cassettes. It all started with one of my best ever Train journey so far, the different dares that we managed to give each one of them was the highlight of the journey.
The next dawn welcomed us to the God’s own country with a rain shower. There awaited a bus for us which was kind and humble enough to be with us for the entire trip the reasons for which is a history.
The entire trip covered various famous waterfalls, caves, dam, national parks etc all of them which witnessed an equal amount of joy, thrill and of course not to forget the SELFIES. If the entire trip never fell short of something then that was surely the amount of climbing exercise that it gave. A special mention to the Alapuzha boat house obviously for the first of a kind experience for most of us and also for the MAFIA game which we played together with all those framings and cheatings will surely be an everlasting memory within us and not to forget the Eravikulam National park in Rajamalai which can whole heartedly be termed as the nature’s gift to the mankind and carved a niche of a perfect holiday destination in all our minds. We also got a chance to taste the famous Kerala cuisine Puttu and kadala curry which was indeed mouth watering.
The other fascinating part of the trip was the long hours night time talks, which apparently lasted for what it takes for a peace talk between two nations, with our roomies on crazy random topics intended to pull their legs and disturb their sleep for at least the next few days.
The best was saved for the last day of the trip. The Wonderla amusement park would probably have witnessed its most tragic moments on that day just because of the 53 demons it let in. It was one heck of a day and surely the most tiring too.
Finally came the time when all the 57 of us with a bag full of memories and beautiful moments which would surely be a tale to be shared with our kids and a heavy heart because we never wanted this to end reached the railway station for our way back to the world of reality from the world of dreams, self realizing of which was a real difficult task.
The next dawn witnessed a plethora of emotions among us and we parted away with all those happy and cherishing memories in our heart and soul to be remembered for life and ahead, In short we all were on an IV HANGOVER!!!!! The recovery of which will never take place in our entire lifetime probably.

SHOULD IT BE FREEBIE OR FREE-BYE CULTURE?

SOMETIMES ONE PAYS MOST FOR THE THINGS THAT ONE GETS FOR NOTHING
-Albert Einstein

Freebies now for quite some time have become the most effective marketing tool used by the consumer product companies to try figure out a way for the drastic increase of their product sales and some have eventually even succeeded in their targets by introducing such so called attractive schemes for a stipulated time period by a great margin. Over a decade or so this luring freebie culture has also set an entry in the political strata of our country.
This culture though on a shallow note seems to be attractive but not many realise the long term threat that it poses. Freebies if studied on a deeper note derail the government in spending on extremely essential issues like public Sanitary and health, Education, economic growth, etc and instead lets them invest on secondary services that too compromising on its quality and eventually increasing the government’s liability.

In recent past some political parties of our country have chosen freebies as their main election promise to cover the population of the poor which almost constitutes the major part of the poll by announcing free TV’s, Grinders, laptops, Cycles, etc as a result of which the section of the beneficiaries would step in higher living standards. Little do the people realise that such freebies will lead them Nowhere and the true way to upgrade their living standards is proper and quality education, Good public health and sanitation, possible reach of electricity and water to them on a regular basis, and many such social and economic issues that the government needs to address. The situation becomes worse when we realise the fact that these freebies on a large note do not reach the intended section of population and are downright misused by various Anti social elements.

The long run threats that such freebies pose are not at all considered by such political groups whose sole aim is to win election by trapping the most vulnerable section of the society and result of which the government faces crores of dept piling up on its name.

Thus adequate measures needs to be taken on limiting such Freebies being exhaustively given and even if provided on some essential goods proper arrangement and accountability should be maintained to ensure that such schemes reach only the deserving and needy. Freebies should never be the way of life and should if necessary only serve as a supporting shoulder.

THE AGE OF MEDIOCRITY

WHEN SMALL MEN ATTEMPT GREAT ENTERPRISES, THEY ALWAYS END BY REDUCING THEM TO THE LEVEL OF THEIR MEDIOCRITY….
-Napoleon Bonaparte
This Era has by and far adapted itself to see Pleasure settling with the Mediocre way of Living a Life. Mediocrity is actually seen as the easier way to go about Every single strata in one’s Life. Ever the Society comes across some who tries breaking this cling, then they face the utmost discouragement that a person could and finally push them too follow the sheep herd.
Ok, So why are some people so obsessed with this mediocrity?.. Maybe just because they are so afraid of failures that they just can’t take it to themselves or you seemingly live the So called Content Life without much troubles, and the reasons go on and on and on. All of these Reasons might support the cause of one to live a Mediocre life in some or the other way But it should first be understood that not all are Born to live a life like this, because them we wouldn’t have the Greatest of the Scientists, Artists, actually any Eminent person from any distinguished field for that matter. Giving Examples of the greatest and asking everyone to follow the Mediocre herd doesn’t really make much Sense. These People are to be Remembered to only for their feats but also the courage that they managed to muster to go out of the normal be there where they are now.
Not Every Being is put on Earth to search for happiness in just earning a four square meal. Some are always born to make it Big and take things to a whole new Level.
Thus, I would here conclude on the Discussion by saying that ‘ MEDIOCRITY CAN BE A WAY OF LIVING A LIFE BUT CERTAINLY NOT THE ONLY WAY, PEOPLE WHO ASPIRE BIG SHOULD BE GIVEN ALL THEIR LIBERTY TO TRY IT OUT AND EVEN IF THEY FAIL MULTIPLE TIMES MUST BE ENCOURAGED TO TRY EVEN HARDER AND SEE TO IT THAT THEY REACH THE GREATEST OF THE HEIGHTS’.