Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Permanent Fire Cracker Ban

This post was published on Women's Web on 19th October, 2017.

The  Supreme Court has banned sale of fire crackers in Delhi NCR .

The news item then narrates  that  many will lose jobs as they are employed by the fire cracker industry. 85 % of fire crackers are manufactured at  Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu.More than 3 lakhs employees are employed in making fire crackers & nearly 5 lakhs in ancillary industries like packaging, transport etc. 

report by National Commission for Protection of Child Rights ( NCPCR ) in 2013 stated that kids as young as 5 years old are employed for nearly 12 hours for making fire crackers. And for all this labour , the kids are paid measly amounts of Rs 30-50/-per day.The children work in most dangerous conditions in tiny sheds with no safety gear .They are filling flower pots, fuses, paper pipes etc. The clothes of children are covered with chemicals as they make the fire crackers. These chemicals cause asthma, eye infections, tuberculosis, etc in 90 % of the child labour. And as children work unsupervised, with dangerous chemicals like potassium &  sodium nitrates, zinc, magnesium, iron, steel, aluminum, etc.there are many accidents which maim  & or kill children. 

The manufacturers state, that of late , child labour is non existent in manufacture of fire crackers.Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi says that atleast 1 lakh kids are employed in fire cracker industry spread across   Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chattisgarh,  Jaipur, Orissa & Tamil Nadu.So, there is an equality of treatment towards children on nearly a Pan Indian basis. Because, in other industries in the remaining states, child labour is employed as well.To name a few,  silk, glass bangles, carpet weaving etal.

The effect of all this, is that adults don't get employed & even if, they get employed, their wages are less than the minimum prescribed for that industry.Fire Cracker employers say that profits are eroding because of the SC ban.They are right, because how can such stupendous  profits be let off where employees who are children, can be paid peanuts & who will not unionise themselves, no matter, what dangerous working conditions prevail! 

Manufacturers would have us believe, that children who are employed were worse off than when non employed .If that is true, then why employ kids which is illegal.In fact, the laws prohibit employment of children below age 14-18 years in any industry .And in fire cracker industry by default, children below the age of 14-18 years are employed. The simple reason being, by the time, they turn 14-18, the children have become unemployable because of having suffered some accident / s  which has  either crippled them for life and or cost them their lives ! 

 This is how the population growth can be kept under check.And with it, poverty as well. Because, poor children only are employed in such hazardous industry/ s.In effect, employment of child labour serves  so many social causes ! 

Fire crackers cause pollution. Noise as also air pollution.After the crackers have been burst, the debris remains all over the places, This affects  all of us. Those favouring fire crackers are arguing that vehicles cause annual pollution whereas crackers cause a week's pollution at the most, especially during festivals, weddings, etal. Next, vehicle manufacturers & manufacturers of fire crackers will unite and fight any bans put up for improving quality of life of general public. Because, the manufacturers are up against what they see as a downsizing to their upward mobility in life !  

And then there are those. who say that bursting fire crackers is a Hindu tradition.Bursting fire crackers during Deepavali started  after fire crackers were invented in China. Patriots  could do well to go with the ban on fire crackers as this would mean that the ban is in line with anything and everything associated with China.And money spent on fire crackers is money going up in smoke... literally & in fact .

Moreover,culture flourishes  if we embrace better practices & give up those which are dangerous to humanity .When we discard  outmoded traditions & customs, will we all grow & prosper. 

SC should take suo moto cognizance of the facts that air & noise pollutions are hazards all over Bharat, not just in Delhi NCR.An outright Pan Indian ban for ever ,on fire crackers would make the future shine brighter   for our children ensuring safety ( from being employed in fire cracker industry ) & bereft of air & noise pollution. After all ," We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children "

This post was published on Counter Currents.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

"Zero Tolerance To Violence Against Women "

The Family Planning Association of India or FPA India as popularly known is a registered charity .It was established in our county in 1949. It has 40 branches all over India. It is associated with International Planned Parenthood Federation. FPA India encourages choices in reproduction, lawlful & safe abortions, sexual & reproductive health.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation ( AHF is the biggest AIDS organisation worldwide serving healthcare to more than eight lakhs in 39 countries. These include countries in  USA,Latin America,Eastern  Europe, Africa, Asia etal.

To commemorate the International  Day of the Girl Child on October, 11, FPA  India & AHF India took out a silent rally in Mumbai. The main idea was "Zero Tolerance To Violence Against Women ".More than a hundred participants participated in the rally to speak against issues like child marriage, forced sex,gender inequality, human trafficking among others. They therefore took a pledge for "Zero Tolerance To Violence Against Women ".

Silent protests were held in 10 places  all over India including  Delhi, Pune, Solapur, Madurai, Dharwad, Bangalore, Gwalior, Yamuna Nagar & Nagaland.

Rape is becoming a common daily occurrence in India.Gang rape survivors are not given Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) for HIV, STI screening or a pregnancy test .But things are changing now. Girls & women are demanding, that, they be protected against all types of violence.

There was panel discussion on “Say No to Abuse, Rape & Violence”. The participating experts  were Dr.V.Sam Prasad, Country Manager, AHF India, Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, Brand
Ambassadors, AHF India,Dr. Kalpana Apte, Secretary General, FPAI, Amita Dhanu, Asst. SecretaryGeneral, FPAI and Zainab Patel,Transgender Activist, Policy Analyst Human Rights at UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub.

Dr.V.Sam Prasad, Country Manager, AHF India opined that gender equity needs to be inculcated right in school curricula from primary level till the child finishes University education. Even the family should show support for daughters as also sons & not discriminate . Dr . Prasad said that rape victims & abuse survivors may be suffering from HIV, STI infections. Hence it is imperative that such victims & survivors are provided with PEP (Post exposure prophylaxis) so that their trauma can become bearable.

Dr. Kalpana Apte, Secretary General, FPA India said that violence of any kind including sexual, physical, emotional, etc weakens women & girls.Society should share the blame for this . Women & girls need to be protected against violence of all kinds.,By encouraging women & girls to talk about violence, can this attitude towards women &  girls change.And this is what is being done by FPA India.  This will help in changing the attitudes in a  positive way in support of women & girls.

Girls have been discriminated against right from the beginning.And that's the reason, they suffer from gross inequalities  This results in high drop rates of girls from school , early marriages of girls resulting in early pregnancies.  And yet, if girls are given opportunities, there can be positive changes.

The millions of girls in crisis as also the 1.1 billion girls in the world are the epitome of  creativity energy & power .That's why, AHF India & FPA India are working towards empowerment of girls.This will help to deal with  gender based violence. Society will change positively by understanding that  issues facing women & girls are significant .

The International Year of the Girl, this year, marks the start of an year long  effort to direct  global attention towards difficulties & circumstances faced by girls before , during & after emergencies .

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Consent, victim disorientation, etal

This blog post was published on Women's Web on 2nd October, 2017.

In a recent case,decided earlier this week,   the Delhi High Court judge said that a feeble no could mean yes. And then the accused, Mr Farooqui was absolved of the crime of raping a US research scholar student.This means that speaking slowly can absolve  many accused of crimes, provided ,complainant speaks in a soft voice. The complainant & accused were known to each other.Hence, the victim should have screamed no .Since it was barely audible to the accused, he thought she had agreed to his advances & so it was consent, And since she consented, there was no sexual assault & therefore, no rape.The National Crimes bureau statistics say that 70%  rapes are committed by people known to the survivors, not strangers & yet ,the judge says, between strangers consent is different from consent between  people known to each other. 

 Noise pollution be damned ! Unless one screams, nobody will come to know that somebody screaming is in trouble. And for all you know, the other person , the accused or the perpetrator may be short of hearing. Perhaps,  Mr Farooqui is short of hearing & could not hear the  no .And the judge is definitely suffering from hearing loss. He could not hear no. Perhaps, there was lots of background noise & so Farooqui was unable to hear no. And in the courtroom, there  is generally  lots of noise, so the judge was unable to hear clearly & misjudged the case.

And this is blaming the victim for the rape, by telling her that, since, she knew the accused, she should have known better ...she should have screamed & said no loudly.

This judgement raises many  questions.Will the feeble no be a yes, even in cases, where the victim is a minor? Was it so muted that not only the audibly challenged people but also the normal people were unable to make out that a no was spelt out ?Since who is short of hearing, unless medically proved is very debatable, were audiometers installed in the place where this supposed crime took place ? And how to decide, what decibel of sound is audible enough to mean no & audible enough to signify yes ? And since, we are in the throes of BetibachaoBetipadhao program, it becomes mandatory to install audiometers in addition to cctv cameras at all places specifically public places like streets, hotels, halls, etc. And this will be part of Skill India program so that many people can be trained to install , repair audiometers. The judges deserves all kudos, as he has made it possible for both the Betbachaobetipadhao & Skill India program to be implemented in  such a manner that they compliment each other.Just goes to show, that the the executive, the judiciary  & the legislative arms of the government are completely in agreement with each other !

Last week, a  girl was molested in BHU campus & the authorities took no action. And when the girls protested by sitting in dharna, they were lathi charged. And the BHU Vice Chancellor has said on record, '“Security for boys and girls can never be at par,All these rules are for their safety, all in favour of the girl students.”And BHU is of opinion, that there was no molestation..only eve teasing. If eve teasing goes unchecked, it will turn into molestation & molestation left ,as such, without any complaints will transform into rape next .Eve teasing is a crime under the Indian Penal Code ( Section 509...Insulting the modesty of a woman  ) & punishable  with 3 years of imprisonment & fine.

In other words, BHU says that men can scream loudly to supposedly eve tease and  or molest   while if girls scream in  dharna, that is unacceptable. But to be fair to BHU, the BHU incident happened before the Delhi High Court gave its judgement.

BHU is  shaming the victim by saying that unless girls are in , they cannot be secure. Oops, the BHU security cannot ensure  the safety of girls who are inside the BHU campus, though, outside the hostel.Next, it will be, that, classes will be held in side the hostel . 

It is alleged, that girls in BHU are allowed to be out till 8 pm while boys can be out till 10 pm. Even libraries are open for boys till 11 pm but obviously since girls have to be back in hostel by 8 pm, they cannot use library beyond 8 pm. This makes mockery of BetiBachaobeti padhao program of PM Modi in his constituency, Varanasi. Even internet connection, has been provided to girls hostel just two weeks ago ,while, boys have had internet facilities much before that.

If discrimination is so rampant , equality can never be achieved because mindsets are hard to break.And the VCs remarks are an indication, that, when person at the top is  a male chauvinist , what trickles down will be sexist.

So what can be done to prevent or at least try to curb such incidents of  violence against women ? 

As  actor ,Renuka Shahane, has stated in her status update on facebook, "...... it would be wonderful to put a curfew of 6 pm on men students for a change. This might make it safer for women students. Worth trying out at least once. Worth putting the onus on men students at least once, as an experiment. If the results are good we can replicate it elsewhere as well....."

It has been said, that , when Punjab terrorism was at its peak in the 1980s, violence against women had reduced in Delhi, as even men, were afraid to go out, after sunset, for fear of terrorists.

And what needs to be done to stop blâming & shaming victims of sexual violence ? People need to be trained to be sensitive. G.S.Bajpai & Mehak Bajpai have put it so succinctly , ".....The spirit of the UN Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power, 1985, needs to be implemented. This can bring victim-orientation to our laws.......

 It is high time that our systems should look to enable the participation of the victim at various stages of the trial. For instance, the victim needs to be heard at stages like the framing of charges, discharge proceeding, bail hearing, probation hearing, sentencing and compensation. The victim would then be in a position to factor his/her experiences into the criminal justice process without adulteration of any kind. A ‘victim impact statement’ is also a mechanism in many countries to hear the victim’s views in a criminal trial. If effected, these measures have a potential to improve the quality of justice for victims of sexual crimes."

Victims should have support group / s who assist them in the case& even afterwards. The police officials, the judiciary need to made more subtle in handling such cases to do justice to the victims as they are the ones who have been violated physically as also mentally.And it is, never the fault ,of the victim/s

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Spotlight : If you never try, you will never know.

Sahil Mehta


Robin, who gets inspired by his mother to become a musician, is forced by his father to pursue the education needed to join their family business. This compels him to leave home at the age of eighteen to follow his dreams. In few months of independent living, his over-ambitious dreams turn into an obsession, which gets even more intense when he falls into a drug addiction, and mysteriously unleashes a new side to his life.

During this journey, he meets Aisha. They talk, play and fall in love. Her exquisite beauty defines the melody of his musical journey as they both fall deep in love with each other. But Robin's obsession with his dream and a struggling career become an obstacle in their relationship. Is their love strong enough to overcome complexities?

During these tumultuous times, Robin's flat mate Jordan begins to motivate him to follow his heart. Jordan becomes his philosopher and guru but not for very long-what makes Robin lose trust in him? Discover how he finds a spiritual path after being disheartened during his struggle to achieve success.

Amidst the ups and downs in his career, love and life, find out what destiny holds for Robin. Will he find success in music industry or will he end up joining his father's business? Experience a thrilling story that will inspire you to believe in your love and dreams.

Grab your copy @

About the author

Sahil Mehta was born and raised in India, and is currently living in the beautiful city of Seattle. Inspired by the power of words, emotions and various life experiences, he naturally gravitated towards writing. If You Never Try, You Will Never Know is his first book, and its story-line is influenced by his childhood dreams. Currently, he is working on a story, based on the characters and places he came across during his stay in the USA. Apart from writing, Sahil enjoys fitness-related activities and listening to music.


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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Book Review : Pishacha

This is the first book of Neil D'Silva that I read. And needless to say, it impresses !

Neetika & Yug are a couple.Neetika is the rich daughter  of    Umesh Bihari Gupta.Neetika is sensible & Yug loves her a lot. Strange things start happening.Window panes break  & Yug is injured. Neetika is aware of something going on. And yet, she cannot say why. Yug shrugs it off.

Neetika goes on a Goa trip with her small group of friends. One of the friends is killed .Neetika is afraid now. She feels that somehow these strange happenings are connected to her.She returns from Goa & meets Yug. Yug refuses to believe Neetika that some shadows seem to be following her.

Nakul is a boy who has arrived from US .Neetika's dad gifts him a flat in Mumbai & says its part of a deal.Is Neetika convinced about this deal ? And is it a deal or something else ?

Nakul meets a very pretty girl . He lusts after her & she gives in too easily. Who is she ? Why is she so enticing ? And who is Nakul...just an NRI or something more ?

Neetika's mom had become very unusual just before Neetika's birth. And it was a mystery to her husband. Neetika intends to find out the mystery. Doe she succeed ? And was her dad right, in concluding that his wife had started behaving strangely ?

Neetika always feels cold & someone following her though she cannot say who is following her as she cannot spot anyone . Is her follower human or something unusual ? And why is it following Neetika ? Maybe, its a figment of her wild imagination.

The story moves across to Rajasthan to a palace which was the scene of love story. Did the love story have a peaceful end ? And what is the connect between this love story & Neetika ?

And does Neetika- Yug's love story have any  future or is it doomed ? What about Nakul & his sleeping partner ?

The story is brimming with details of horror, thrills, gore & much more. It talks of Shiva, the almighty God & his powers. It also talks about bravery of soldiers & the landscape of the snow capped Himalayas.It narrates the description of ghosts, vampires  so well that the vampire comes alive !!!! And the reader gasps in horror !

It ups the horror & gore content ! Makes for a thrilling read !

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Death by Omission

The phone rang. He picked it quickly. He screamed into it & then burst out sobbing. He murmured as he ended his phone talk.” She is no more .”  His wife nodded. They both walked slowly to the conveyor belt to collect their luggage. They picked up their luggage & walked to the cab outlet .They booked a cab & it drove them home.

At home, she quickly bathed & started unpacking her bag. He sat motionless till his wife told him to freshen up by bathing. He obeyed. After that , he just sat staring into space. He called up his brother & told him that it was impossible to travel home to attend the funeral. The funeral of his sister.  What he did not tell, was that, he found it hard to believe, that she was no more.

His mother or rather their mother was in her mid eighties & sister who was young & sixty was no more ! Saurabh found it nearly impossible to imagine, the plight of his ( & her )  mother. What would her hubby do ? He was so   dependent on her. And they had no kids So, they were fully immersed into each other. What would happen to him next ?

Saurabh thought of all this & more. His head started to ache He asked his wife to get him some tea They sipped tea while talking about the events of the days gone by.
His sister had been diagnosed with leukemia. And there was a story of neglect .Therein lay the  story of omission…..The husband omitted to take any action as wife fell thrice in their home e. She brushed aside & he agreed, that it was of no consequence. She had started disliking food. And they left it at that. She had been suffering from bone pain & she took injections as pain relievers. No root causes were sought to be determined.

Both were too busy doing rituals , fasting, & worshiping the almighty. They never realised that their bodies  needing looking after too.

She developed fever. Doctor was summoned. He gave paracetamol. Fever refused to subside. That’s when, experts were called in.And the culprit was identified as blood cancer.
The report was verified by a relative who was abroad. He was a doctor. He had to admit, that the patient was indeed suffering from leukemia.

She was then admitted to the biggest hospital in town where they specialised in cancer care. The chemotherapy started. And her body seemed to collapse. The doctors were alarmed. They were of the opinion that her body was unable to sustain the strong drug therapy . They were unsure, if the second dose of chemnotherapy could be given to her.

Her condition started deteriorating. She became breathless. She was put on oxygen cylinder She was unable to speak and eat. She was put on a liquid diet. For a person who was used to her own saatvik cooking, gulping hospital food was   such an irony.  Saurabh’s jeejaji continued to eat at his co brother s home. In such trying times, he was the one, who stuck to his rituals, though somewhat diffused , as his wife could not, owing to her illness.

Within a fortnight of her being hospitalised, the doctors declared that her condition was going from bad to worse. Saurabh was summoned. He visited his sister with his wife. He started sobbing. He was careful enough not to cry in front of his sister who lay in the ICCU with tubes all over her face.His sister asked his wife about their teenager .They just nodded to inform her that the teen was doing good. Saurabh realised that his sister was fully conscious even in ICCU & recalled that he had a teenager  .He hoped that his sister would get alright as she was mentally alert even though she was in extreme  physical pain.

The next day, the news was good. The doctors said that she was better. The family thought that things could only get positive from there.The next day Saurabh left for home with his wife. As soon as they landed in their city , they got a call that she had passed away just a few minutes before. Saurabh was crestfallen. He just couldn’t come to terms that his dear sister was no more.  The view of the doctors ,that she was better just a day before was the calm before the storm.

The tragic part was that ,the couple never confided to their extended family that she had been having faint spells & that she had developed aversion to food. The couple just ignored the warning signs & went about their routine work. They perhaps felt, that it was better not to disturb anybody, no matter, even if they are family. Maybe, the family was unable to convey that the family would help them in anyway. Saurabh even wondered how God allowed his sister to wither away as she & hubby had been serving him in the right manner. Maybe as time passes, he will heal. And yet, will the members of the family understand that health is as important as rituals, worship et al ? Because, if health is lost, how can any rituals for worship or anything else ever get  done  ? 

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Spotlight : The Royal Roommate


My purpose in life is to protect you… 

Sid is Army strong and sinfully sexy. He is tasked to investigate a woman suspected of having connections with a rebel group. The style of investigation was not his choice, and he is asked to move in as the roommate of the person of interest, Amy. 
Amy was thrilled to start her internship in San Francisco and wasn’t expecting a man with rock-solid abs as her roommate. The moment she laid eyes on him, she knew he was bad news. 

The attraction was undeniable and they both wondered how long they could hold on to their resolve. Sid didn’t want to sleep with a suspect even if she was wildly beautiful and sexy. Amy wasn’t interested in a fling. 

Just when Sid is about close his investigation and declare Amy’s innocence, he finds out something about her that changes everything. She becomes the most important person in his life.

Grab your copy @

About the author

P.G. Van

P.G. Van lives in San Francisco and she published her first novel, Destiny Decides… in October 2015 and cannot stop writing. She loves to spend time with family and is a strong believer of retail therapy (mostly shops for boots and purses!!). She enjoys giving her readers an escape to the world of love and romance.

You can stalk her @


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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Book Blitz : The Untold Story

Print Length: 109 pages
Publication Date: June 26, 2017
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
Genre: Romance 

Love comes in different forms. But in all its forms, it comes with various challenges. Only those who can combat those challenges are true lovers.

The Untold Story is the tale of Vihaan and Riaa. Vihaan falls for Riaa’s charms at first sight and brings to her life crazy adventures and madness. They soon emerge as two hearts with one soul and their intimate fantasies begin to unravel in exotic places.

Their bond experience more downs than ups. These unexpected twists and turns bring Vihaan and Riaa closer and their romantic tale turn into one of lifetime bonding.

The story takes a drastic turn after the lovely couple is blessed with a baby boy. It should be a joyous moment, but instead, haunting memories of Vihaan’s own childhood break out as a fresh wound in his mind.

Read the novel to know what could make a father unhappy in the happiest moment of his life and how he combats his fear. 

It would be great if you can add this book to your TBR

In the author's own words:

"The passion of writing is deep rooted in my blood. 

After completing my Global Business Management certification from Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, I joined hands with a few of my friends to start my first venture. 

Post my stint with the venture, I engaged myself in my lovely family life and now I present to you the author in me."

Stalk her @


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Friday, September 1, 2017

Book Blitz : Last Man She'd Love

Print Length: 128 pages
Publication Date: September 24, 2017
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
Genre: Romantic Comedy 

When best laid plans fall apart...

Lyna is all set to marry a movie mogul, when she finds his pregnant ex at her office, begging her to break the engagement and keep her name out of it. Forced to take her flirtatious boss Guy's help, she sets about to break the engagement. But now she's pulled into deeper involvement with Guy.
One trouble leads to another!

She agrees to visit his palatial country house, posing as his fiancée and is drawn into the family and their antics. Sorting out who's who takes time. A stringent grandfather, an ambitious mother, a frustrated half brother are only the beginning!

Attraction makes things complicated

Propinquity with someone as charming and attractive as Guy doesn't help. But Guy himself is as much of a puzzle as ever. Is he the playboy she thinks him or is there someone else beneath the sardonic pose? Will she ever find out?

Will she break her heart in the process?

It would be great if you can add this book to your TBR

Summerita Rhayne writes contemporary and historical romance with lots of emotional conflict. She first got published in 2013 and has won contests with prestigious publishers such as Harlequin and Harper Collins India. Her pet belief is, if the inspiration is strong enough, the story characters will find a way to make the writer pen them down, even when writing time is in short supply. When cerebrally confronted with the sizzling interaction of two Alpha characters, the only way to get peace is write their book!

At heart, she's a family person and even though she loves her medical teaching profession, she happily becomes a homemaker when not at work. She loves winding down with music, romcoms and cricket (strictly watching only).

You can stalk her @

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