‘Bal Tapasvi’ Aaradhana’s Case Closed By Police

‘Bal Tapasvi’ Aaradhana’s Case Closed By Police
(File Photo)

Lata Jain

I recently read the book ‘Being Mortal’ that talks about how modern medicine extends life, but many times at a huge emotional cost. This book talks about deviant more humane ways to deal with the last stage of life.

And then I got to know more about the practice of ‘Santhara’, a voluntary undertaking of a fast unto death by Jain community. A practice that my friend’s great grandmother undertook at the age of 108. I felt a practice that this friend’s great grandmother undertook at the age of 108 was a wonderful religious practice devised by the ancient seers to a challenge modern science is just starting to realize. 

This once again reaffirmed the knowledge and wisdom of our ancestors and tradition.

But as happens with many such traditions, they morph into a perversion that inflicts great pain on large sections of society, whether it is the caste system or the ban on women in many religious places or child marriages.

The recent tragedy of Aaradhana’s death due to a 68-day fast is another reminder of wisdom misinterpreted and imposed leading to pain. Unfortunately, in this case it is not just a matter of rights that had been transgressed but a young life snuffed out in the cause of false pride and beliefs.

Aradhana Samdariya, a class 8 student, died after 68 days of ritual fasting. The Hyderabad police have closed the case of Ardhana Samdariya, almost 4 months after her 68 days of fasting. The death of this minor has lead to national outrage and debate universally.

We found no evidence to state that the girl was forced to do “tapasya”.  we have gone though the investigation. We have taken the reports from the private hospital where Ardhana was brought dead. We have taken a second opinion from the authorities of Gandhi Hospital, Secunderabad .”, And we could not find any evidence to prove that her parents had forced her to do tapasya,” Hyderabad North Zone Deputy Commissioner of Police B Sumathi told Primepost.

What has further angered public is the celebration of her death with a ‘shobha yatra’, and calls to anoint her ‘bal tapasvi’. The yatra in Secundrabad was attended by hundreds of Jain community members, and her funeral conducted with religious fanfare.

“In cases of hunger strike also, the police shift people to hospitals after a few days to make sure they don’t die. This was just a 13-year-old girl. How can parents get away by saying the fast was voluntary, argues Achyut Rao, activists of Balala Hakkula Sangham, NGO fighting for child rights.

This is atrocious. Injustice. Instead of framing the charges against the parents under Section 302 (murder) of the IPC, the police has conspired with the Jain community and closed the case without proper investigation. We will continue the legal battle,” says child rights activists, Mrs.Anuradha of Balala Hakula Sangham

“Religious customs and beliefs do hold importance in an indivual lives and in our communities however such ancient practices should not take precedence over ones health especially health of a minor “says Dr.Mamtha Raghuveer of Tharuni, an NGO working for the betterment of girl child.

The constitunal right to practice religion as a group or as an individual is subject to public order and health,” says Narayana Of CPI, who has written to the chief Justice of India about Aaradhana’s case.

The Juvenile Justice system, depending on the jurisdiction, is not accomplishing its rehabilitative goals. Children are often being treated just like adults. Many are not receiving the zealous representation they deserve and are not informed on their rights. A child’s human rights should be considered as one of the most important causes for a society. By failing to implement a human rights framework to address children’s rights, we are failing our children as well as their future.

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Trypophobia : Fear of Holes

Lata Jain

Seed head of lotus flower, soap bubbles, holes found in aero bar are natural. But the fear of these holes is unnatural. Fear of cluster of tiny holes makes some people  jump, cry and become hysterical. Trypophobia is the word. The sight of these unsymmetrical. Small tiny holes make people sick, itch and even cry according to a research  by the first academy study.

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Lata Jain

It is quite surprising and we are unable to understand this kind of aversion says Dr.Madhuri a clinical psychologist at NIIMS In India this kind of fear and research is not much into existence. The effect of a triggering image on any individual trypophobe can vary from no response to a severe reaction, but many trypophobes will agree that certain images are triggering. Generally speaking, any kind of cluster of holes or bumps (and in some cases, lesions) may cause discomfort.

Others have said their reactions include things like anger, possibly aggression a desire to destroy the clusters, as well as wanting to cry which is a natural reaction after being scared. One thing that trypophobes all have in common is a very strong revulsion. Most will physically move further away or subconsciously look away from the image. Other common reactions include itching, skin crawling, and being sick to the stomach says a research.

The ‘official’ definition for it is that trypophobia is the fear of asymmetrical holes occurring either naturally or unnaturally.

Lotus seed pods, Crumpets, Pumice, Cavities in teeth, the Ampullae of Lorenzini in Sharks, Holes in concrete, Bug tunnels in wood, Enlarged pores of the skin, Aero Bars, Holes in walls caused by bullets, Bone marrow, Wasps’ nest, Honeycomb, Bubbles in Dough, Ant holes, Veins in meat, Clusters of holes.

Phobias arise due to a combination of genetic disposition and external events. Many phobias develop due to trauma as a child, like being bitten by a dog and then fearing all dogs throughout life.

A lot of therapists use a technique called desensitization to cure a phobia. Desensitization is the process of introducing the trigger of a phobia into a person’s life

Trypophobia is relatively unknown when compared to the big hitters of the phobia world, like claustrophobia and arachnophobia, and some experts claim it is not a phobia at all. Yet online research suggests there are many people suffering extreme reactions to trypophobic images. These can include nausea, disorientation and a tightening of the scalp, none of which is desirable to someone about to overtake a lorry carrying scaffolding poles, the head-on view of which can trigger a reaction in some people.

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Egg donation: Fertility biz to extend a family

Lata Jain

“Infertility, what a harsh sounding word this is….

Suhani (name changed) parents are tribals in Utnoor, Adilabad in Telangana state. They were very poor and she wanted to earn for her parents to give them a decent living. When some actors came there for shooting they offered her a role as a model. She was modeling for small advertising firms but somehow she did not click. Her eyes, her looks gave her another “career” to earn. Name changed, style altered she is busy as an egg “agent” in Mumbai. She quit her career in modeling. This fetches her handsome living.

lata jain

Lata Jain

In the beginning she was hesitant but later but the money proved too much to resist — she made between 1 lakh to 1.5 lakhs for her first donation, in 2010. “I didn’t want to be a stripper. I wanted to figure out my career, so there was really no other choice at the time, for I wanted to give all those comforts to my parents.

After that donation, her name was entered into a database. Now egg agents call constantly. I’m a hot commodity because I receive a good response and am in demand because of the colour of my eyes.

Now 24, she’s in the process of donating her eggs for a third time.

The hottest role these days for a young “unsuccessful” actress and models is Egg donation. Egg “agents” are aggressively recruiting models and actresses, whose looks are coveted by couples turning to in-vitro fertilization.

A 2010 documentary produced by The Center for Bioethics and Culture, explores the depths of this rapidly growing and largely unregulated industry. “Eggsploitation” highlights the ethical concerns of women receiving money for their eggs, which falls into the practice of treating body parts as a commodity.

It has become a disturbing urban trend as girls and young women donate their oocytes or eggs to make quick and easy money. Now the profile of the egg donor is changing. If they were from poor socio-economic backgrounds until recently, now educated and working women have surfaced as egg donors, although they too are driven essentially by a financial need.

It has been found that across cities young females have been cashing in on the demand for human eggs. With more and more childless couples seeking the help of fertility clinics, egg donation for money has been on the rise.

While the process of egg donation is a legal act, there are clauses and conditions that are often not followed as fertility clinics sometimes even fail to inform potential donors about the health risks involved. In most cases girls end up donating their oocytes multiple times, which results in hormonal imbalances says Dr.Rajini gynecologist.

In an industry where attractiveness is a prerequisite and steady income is hard to come by, budding actress and models often are an egg agent’s perfect targets.

The process begins with an agency setting up video interviews with different couples until one picks her. Says Hashini (name changed) who almost got on to prostitution when this idea of donating eggs was suggested by her gynaec.

I CAN donate up to six times, but she says she is reluctant to do so.

“They tell you all the things that can go wrong but not the long-term effects because they don’t know them,” she said.

Those close to her have been reluctant to give support, but Kasturbai says she never hid what she was doing.

“Everyone said don’t tell anyone, and I said, ‘If I’m going to give a gift, I’m not going to be ashamed,’ ” she recalled.

“Knowing you’re giving life is what gets me through it.”

But there was one problem which she was facing though her looks mattered her religion, caste became a problem in many cases. She was from a backward tribal group.

The most baffling question to doctors at these clinics is couples wanting to know the caste of egg donors.

Even though doctors claim of not entertaining such queries and rather concentrating on “quality of egg”, several couples keep nagging hospital staff till they get some clue about the caste. Dr Saurabh Kumar of Frozen Cell, a said several people were curious to know the caste of the egg donors.

“Fertility clinics cannot reveal caste and identity of donors as it involves chances of parentage claims” says Dr.Ajay Kumar Member of ethics committee of World Medical Council.

The demand is not only for “healthy, beautiful, fair and tall but also higher caste.

The shortage of “perfect” donors has prompted fertility specialists to decry the present trend of couples’ obsessing with perfect kids. “Some couples are even particular about the colour of the donor’s eyes or hair,” Dr Firuza at the Fertility clinic. “They forget that assisted reproduction has a success rate of just 20% .Given such a low rate, couples should just hope to have a baby, any baby, instead of seeking a designer kid. Life is no longer a gift of love; it is being created with care to fit specifications furnished by parents in the age of surrogacy and In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), says award-winning writer Kishwar Desai.

Dr.Naina Desai feels this is one of the best donations, infertility is a very harsh sounding word and the society hounds such couples. Extend help to become a family.

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Menstrual Taboos That Still Haunt Indian Women

  • Break the “whisper “and call for a “silence “on the natural “cycle”

Lata Jain

All the girls went on a school excursion. Getting one’s period was frightening and no one was particularly excited about this coming of age rite. To make us feel more comfortable, the teachers asked us to inform them if we got our periods and reassured us that we’d be taken care of.

My friend Anitha started bleeding. It wasn’t her first time, but we both went and informed the teacher. She had carried the necessary paraphernalia.

We were on a south India trip and landed near the famous temple in Chennai. Anitha and I went inside the temple and were amazed seeing the golden temple. One of the teachers pulled Anitha aside and asked if she had periods. She nodded her head in affirmation. Her expression changed instantly and in a terrifying, angry voice, she told her this:

How did you go inside the temple then? Don’t you know you’re not supposed to? Hasn’t your mother told you that you can’t step inside a temple when you have your period? Call your mother tomorrow; I want to meet her!”

Anitha thought she made the largest blunder of her life. She was mortified. She apologized and got onto the bus, she spent the entire ride home nearly in tears.

In my friend’s family, when women have their period, they don’t enter the kitchen. They’re not allowed to cook. I know a family who doesn’t allow their maid to enter their house when it’s her time of the month.

Indian women is still haunted by this problem in their homes, community. Women today feel ‘whispering’ leads to many forms of gender stereotyping. “These silences lead to other kinds of silence where women don’t talk about sexual harassment, sex crimes, etc. We want to talk about it in terms of health care, sanitation and accessibility of cheaper resources for the underprivileged section of population.” In fact the most frequent acknowledgement of women’s sexuality comes forth but as harassment and abuse, on the streets or in the home. With repression also comes the violence.

This blood that has been marked ‘impure’, marked ‘dirty’, marked ‘shameful’, has brought many of us much pain and here we are not talking just about menstrual cramps say Deepti from the Delhi university .They were taking a rally with stain marks on their clothes to express and explain the sensitivity of the issue.

Women must guard the reality of their sexual bodies as they must guard their ‘honor’, which then becomes something to trade in the market of ‘reasonable’ and ‘forced” marriages. Indeed, the whole ‘stable’ structures of society stands heavy on the walls that imprison the woman’s womb and by implication most aspects of her life. So why shy away when the womb/wound bleeds?

Only about 12 percent of women in India use a sanitary pad, while women in rural India make do with cloth pieces, leaves and cow dung. Many students across the country demanded that the government take menstruation under a universal health care system for all women, especially those from the vulnerable section of population. They have also demanded for the installation of vending machines for sanitary pads in the university campus.

The violence and discrimination of being given sanitary napkins at the medical store wrapped in newspaper or black polythene bags; having the photo of a woman with stained pants barred from social media being told to not enter certain spaces like kitchens and places of worship during ‘those days’; of people not being adequately informed about safe-sex practices or methods of contraception; of no institution acknowledging the actual physical pain and discomfort of menstruating.

It is shameful to mention that women athletes are being forced to take pills to delay their periods in order to compete with ‘normal’ bodies; of women and young girls being forcefully married away into a life of ‘legitimate’ sex, which in many cases only really translates into legitimized rape in their experience.

The stigma around menstrual blood reveals the love hate relationship that this society has with women’s bodies and their sexuality. God loves all his children: rich or poor, man or woman, menstruating or not.

Women bleed. Accept it .deal with it. Shun that taboo.

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Meat of the matter: Desert Ship Camel

Lata Jain

The Indian camel is the pride and source of livelihood in north India especially Rajasthan. As children one remembers reading, “camel as the Ship of the desert”. If statistics are to be believed it is now sinking ship of the desert as they are vanishing in huge numbers.

The camel is a vitally integral part of rural economies in several parts of northern India. Since the camel has been used as transport from immemorial times, this solves age-old commuting problems in rural India. In this ‘novel bus’, the driver sits on the camel with the reins. Each camel bus can transport a maximum of 80 children.  Since the Indian camel contributes so generously to the enrichment of the lives and health of Indians, it is a major disaster in the making for the drastic fall in the numbers of Indian camels on account of loss of pastureland and unremitting slaughter of camels for meat and leather. In some remote villages of Rajastan this ship is still used to deliver letters. Camels are used to deliver goods and also to draw water from deep wells. Tourists enjoy the camel ride in deserts and even in the metros.

Some will say that the course of human history and civilization would have been vastly different without that noble, loyal and intelligent animal, the horse.  Much the same thing could be said of another noble, beautiful and intelligent animal, the camel.  In countless caravanserais which traversed difficult terrain between continents, the camel, that ‘Ship of the Desert’, was the very artery of much trade, commerce, exchange of ideas and development of civilizations across the ancient world.

They are slaughtered in their thousands on the occasion of the religious festival of Bakrid, which falls towards the end of a calendar year. This particular festival commemorates the Abrahamic sacrifice of a goat based upon the story of Abraham and Isaac pertaining to the custom of first human, and then animal, sacrifice. It is said that, in seventh century Arabia, the festival had a prominent societal aspect in that quantities of meat were distributed amongst rural populations.

Today, because of ruthless exploitation and mass killing, the camel—especially in India—faces possible extinction.   According to Antony Kuriakose writing in ‘Sunday Herald’ Bangalore dated 7 November 2010, the number of camels brought in at the annual Pushkar Camel Fair used to be around 50,000 in 1999; in 2009, they were less than 20,000.

“Amongst the countries having the highest camel population in the world, India once stood third (1,520 million) after Somalia (6000 million) and Sudan (2,856 million).  But now the Indian camel population is estimated to be only about half a million.”  Indeed, some put it at closer to 40,000.

“The reasons for this alarming dip in camel population are many—shrinking of pastureland,, rising expenses and the animals being slaughtered for their meat.”

Because of the ban the camel is smuggled to the states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu and Kerala. They are also smuggled to Bihar and Bangladesh. This delicacy of camel meat is enjoyed by the rich. Hyderabad city has a flourishing business of camel trade as the GHMC turns a blind eye to this slaughter and trade. The animals are taken in trucks through roads to Haryana. It is a pathetic scene to see the legs of the camel tied mercilessly and transported in trucks. They are slaughtered in Baghpat and then meat sent to Hyderabad which has the biggest market of the meat of these animals.

The camels are brought from Rajasthan and Gujarat a couple of months ago and sold at an auction in Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy districts. Each camel is sold between `40,000 -`50,000 this year, said mangilalji, a camel trader from Rajasthan. A kilo of camel meat can cost up to Rs.150-`200. The meat is sold in Dabeerpura, Shah Ali Banda, Hussaini Alam, Bandlaguda, Charminar, Doodh Bowli, Barkas, Misri Gunj, Riyasatnagar etc. The outlets display the raw meat prominently with a lot of decorations, he added. Mahesh Agarwal, a member of People for Animals, alleged that the illegal trade of camels and sale of camel meat was going on at a large scale at Narsingi near Agricultural Market Committee yard.

There’s no hemming and hawing around the fact that the consumption of animal products is mentioned in the Qur’an

Not a lot of people know this but the Prophet even forbade the use of animal skins. He also denounced the beating of animals and forbade striking, branding or marking them on the face. He was known to scold those who mistreated animals and praise those who showed them kindness. He even instituted radical changes against the barbaric practices of the Arabs of the Jahilliyah (age of ignorance) by condemning cutting tails and humps off living camels for food, notching and slitting their ears and placing painful rings around their necks.

The Prophet (S) forbade all living creatures to be slaughtered while tied up and bound.”

-Narrated by Shaddad ibn Aws. Muslim; Vol. 2; Chapter 11; Section on ‘Slaying’; 10:739, verse 151.  Hadith No. 643.  Also Hadith No. 4817.

Camels are indeed restrained before and during slaughter. During transport and slaughter, they also suffer unconscionably.  They take a long time to die, much longer than one hour, often drowning in their own blood.  The manner in which they are restrained and killed violates Islamic injunctions against restraining an animal prior to slaughter as well as causing it pain during slaughter.

Several verses within the Holy Qur’an illustrate this:

There is not an animal (that lives) on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, but (forms part of) communities like you. Nothing have we omitted from the Book, and they (all) shall be gathered to their Lord in the end. (Sura 6:38)

The Qur’an is adamant that animals not be looked at as mere resources, and that they form communities and groups just like human beings. Islamic teachings paint animals as our equals, and constantly highlight s their rights to have a peaceful life.

The Prophet Mohammed was notoriously known to perpetuate this message, and is quoted in several Hadith scriptures on the importance of compassion towards animals.

Though the Rajasthan government has passed laws banning the sale, trade of camels, organized smugglers with the help of the police manage to smuggle herds of camels across the country. There is a burgeoning market for this illegal trade as GHMC turns a blind eye to the entire affair.

Will there be any change in slaughter of these animals if the law agencies decide to enforce the law, this Bakrid?

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Packaged Snacks: Definitely Hygienic but are they safe?

Lata Jain

General Mills pledged to remove synthetic ingredients from its cereals, following similar commitments from companies such as Nestle, Hershey, Kraft and Pepsi, appears to be a sign of the times. For the first time since packaged foods took the American homes by storm in the 1950s, large food brands are losing market share to small, specialty and organic companies.

lata jain

Lata Jain

After the recent Maggi uproar, we are all a bit more conscious of convenience foods but the problem is far bigger than that and getting one product off the market won’t fix the situation. Packaged foods have now become a staple in our diet.  We have given up questioning the contents of these fine little packs and are constantly looking for packaged snacks at the lowest possible prices.  This kind of easily enticed and passive consumer behavior can have a detrimental impact on the quality of products that come into the market.

When children have behavioral issues at home or school, parents may want to investigate sensitivities to food dyes. Artificial food dyes are a common ingredient in many foods such as fruit juices, spaghetti sauce or candy that are consumed on a daily basis by children. Parents are frequently unaware that many packaged foods have color additives that cause adverse effects.

There are various symptoms that parents will observe in children with sensitivities to food dyes. In a school environment, a child may have difficulty focusing on tasks or sitting still. While other students in a classroom will concentrate, a child with food sensitivities might constantly fidget or talk. The disruptive behavior frequently leads these students to poor academic performance and disciplinary action.

When we spot a new snack, we try it and if we like it, we share it with our family and friends and before you know it, together we consume our favorite snack in bulk.  Since these snacks are well packaged and seem hygienic we assume they are safe enough to eat.  In essence we have handed over our food safety to an industry whose sole purpose is to ensure profitability and constant growth at the least possible price

A young class 12 student Rekha Vegesna of a leading college in Hyderabad was keen to do something on this issue and decided to research on various products. Rekha does research on azo dyes and runs an awareness campaign called “Flip That Pack” on the health impact of food colorings used in packaged foods.  Flip That Pack is now active in 6 countries, US, Zimbabwe, Japan, Israel, Pakistan and China and is fast growing.

The mouth watering thick reddish-yellow color we associate with chips, paneer tikka, melted cheese or cheese dusting may actually be the color of Tartrazine, a lemon yellow azo dye with carcinogenic effects and a major suspect in the hyperactive behavior of children.  The thirst quenching look of blue sports drinks may be from Blue #1, a dye banned in Norway, Finland and France, but these products are all over our supermarkets.  The list simply goes on and on. Flip a few snack packs and you can spot tartrazine, blue 1 or yellow #6 in the ingredient list.

So then why isn’t anyone doing anything about it?  A blanket ban on all dyes and additives is hard to bring about.  Bans on specific additives are in place in some countries but that does not suffice.  A conclusive study on the impact to human health is very subjective and very time consuming.  Many of the food additives at the permitted levels do not show conclusive evidence with particular symptoms or ailments but predispose the person to other allergies or organ damage that further depend on the consumption of other additives. Therefore regulation, has at best been able to mandate manufacturers to list the additives on the packs and set permissible limits on their use.

Well, it is evident that the risk is high and regulation is low and has a long way to go. And since the packages are listing the contents for the consumer awareness becomes the key, we need to read the labeling and make the right choice.  It is clear that food safety and regulatory authorities have bestowed the power of choice back into the hands of the consumer.  Our choice can make a difference, – both to our health and to the quality of products that hit the markets.

For those health conscious and concerned about their children’s healthy upbringing please do  visit www.flipthatpack.com

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Teach your child to climb trees

Lata Jain

Has your child climbed a tree? Has your child ever made a daisy chain? One in five children has never climbed a tree and half have never played daisy chain.

A generation of children is in danger of growing into dysfunctional adults because they do not play outside, says Dr.Kusma a leading pediatrician.

A shocking study found that 70 per cent of youngsters would rather watch television or play computer games than venture outdoors.

lata jain

Lata Jain

A third of children aged between six and 15 have never climbed a tree, a quarter have never rolled down a hill and almost half have never made a daisy chain, ride a bicycle and a third have no idea how to play hopscotch or build a den.

The decline of traditional outdoor games is in part due to the busy and sedentary lives of parents.

Seven out of ten mothers and fathers said they rarely played with their children because they were too busy with their mechanized life and the local park was at a distance.

One in seven parents said they did not feel fit enough to play with their children outside, while 8 per cent said they were too embarrassed.When children learn to climb a tree they are learning to overcome a physical challenge, they rehearse to climb, they slip to climb again  and it will stand them in good stead for overcoming other challenges in life, such as learning to read.’ says  Mohan, an athlete.

The research done by Rattles found that 72 per cent of today’s parents preferred playing outside when they were children. A total of 59 per cent of children would like to play outside more than they do. Most concern is centered on children, who – say nature lovers and parents – are missing out on opportunities afforded to previous generations, ones as simple as climbing trees or getting their knees bruised.

Studies say a lot of kids have more electronic media exposure time each day than their parents spend at work, but they rarely spend time outside just mucking around in natural wild life. Even a patch of weeds and dirt with a few worms qualifies as natural wild life. There is something fundamental we learn from connecting with other forms of life, which kids are missing out on if they don’t get that kind of free exploration. Time spent outdoors with out a coach or a game plan. Louv calls it “nature-deficit disorder; the human costs of alienation from nature. Among them: diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties and higher rates of physical and emotional illnesses.” Richard Louv is the author of Last child in the woods.

Unlike television, nature does not steal time; it amplifies it. Nature offers healing for a child living in a destructive family or neighborhood. It serves as a blank slate upon which a child draws and reinterprets the culture’s fantasies. Nature inspires creativity in a child by demanding visualization and the full use of the senses.

In the introduction to his book, he said that over the past few decades the way children understood and experienced nature had “changed radically”.”The polarity of the relationship has reversed,” he wrote.

“Today, kids are aware of the global threats to the environment – but their physical contact, their intimacy with nature, is fading. That’s exactly the opposite of how it was when I was a child.”Mr Louv acknowledged that nature-deficit disorder was “by no means a medical diagnosis”.

But, he added: “It does offer a way about the problem and possibilities – for children and for the rest of us as well.”Are doctors starting to prescribe a dose of “vitamin N” for nature?

Across the physical activity sector, we need to build on the diversity of opportunities to be active including… exercising in a natural environment. Dr.Manmoahan children’s specialist makes it a point to talk of nature to the parents of children.

I would not be at all surprised to see greater interest from the clinical world in the benefits of taking kids into green spaces.

“We are not quite there yet, but the evidence is building and I think it is time that the health sector took proper notice. “Teach your child to climb trees!”

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What to do about increasing crime in India?

Lata Jain

It should come as no surprise that violent crime remains disturbingly high in India. Criminal behavior is a part of the general behavior of our society; therefore it is quite possible for criminal behavior to be impacted in one way or another by the current transition.

Of course the background to the increase in violent crime in our society is economic trouble, the dissolution of families, the breakdown of societal norms, and the problems that arise from them. Individualism is also a big problem. Obviously, the police cannot cure the root causes of these kinds of crimes. The crime prevention efforts of the police have limits.

lata jain

Lata Jain

For some crimes, such as rape, domestic violence, and assault – including assaults against children – the cases recorded are a small fraction of the incidents that actually occur. Sex offences” is probably the most damaging crime category of all. The effects are likely to be psychologically devastating for years, sometimes a lifetime. People usually recover quite quickly from a burglary, theft or even a mugging. But rape and sexual abuse offences have a long, grim tail.

Police and prosecutors have put great effort into encouraging victims to come forward – the belief being that a trusted state justice system is an effective tool in reducing the profound harm caused by sexual crime of all kinds.

There were more than 2,700 recorded rapes against girls under 13 – a rise of 25% on the previous 12 months and the highest ever recorded. This is evidence not of a more brutal society, but arguably a more sympathetic one.

But we may still only be touching the edges of a social problem that profoundly damages millions of lives.

Cybercrime is a fast-growing area of crime. More and more criminals are exploiting the speed, convenience and anonymity of the Internet to commit a diverse range of criminal activities that know no borders, either physical or virtual.

In the past, cybercrime was committed mainly by individuals or small groups. Today, we are seeing criminal organizations working with criminally minded technology professionals to commit cybercrime, often to fund other illegal activities. Highly complex, these cybercriminal networks bring together individuals from across the globe in real time to commit crimes on an unprecedented scale.

The crimes themselves are not necessarily new – such as theft, fraud, illegal gambling, and sale of fake medicines – but they are evolving in line with the opportunities presented online and therefore becoming more widespread and damaging.

Criminal organizations turning increasingly to the Internet to facilitate their activities and maximize their profit in the shortest time

There is much uncertainty at this point and this is quite normal in circumstances such as these. Whenever there is a change in government or profound change, this could create uncertainty. In this case, the criminal behavior has increased; it could have gone the other way because of the uncertainty; it could have been reduced. Perhaps while the country is going through this transition stage a more stringent security strategy should be implemented as a result.

However, while the exact reasons for the increase in the crime rate are unknown at this point, there are always specific causes which are associated with a particular type of behavior, whether it be at the individual, institutional or societal level. Nonetheless, the government and the relevant institutions, such as the judiciary, law enforcement and overall, the criminal justice system, Ministry of Public Security, etc, still have a range of considerations available in their quest to solve this problem.

While our laws have substantially changed for the better, and our Constitution protects the rights of all Indians and establishes the principle that all are treated equally before the law, in practice this has been very difficult to achieve. These institutions can apply the concept of uncertainty avoidance in addressing the problem of the rising crime rate, even though all the details on the possible causes for the increased criminal behavior are not available. A key point to note is that, whenever there is extreme ambiguity, anxiety becomes intolerable. Anxiety causes people, even criminals to behave in certain ways. Technology, law and religion are ways society has developed to deal with uncertainty. Technology helps to avoid uncertainties caused by nature; the laws and rules are a way to prevent uncertainties in people’s behavior, and religion on the other hand, helps to put into some perspective the uncertainty of our future as human beings.

The enforcement of the laws and rules are critical to the strategy of reducing the spiraling crime rate since these are the means within the control of the authorities at this stage. There is a saying that change comes either through something dramatic or through something traumatic, this is very relevant when one examines the process of change.

The identity of the police must change. This means that the police, more than looking at crimes already committed, see themselves as playing a role in resolving individual troubles and local problems. This is much more difficult than the passive reacting to crimes and related issues of normal police work, because they must find the hidden crimes committed within their jurisdictions. It requires being near to the emotional lives of the citizens, and demands initiative and an understanding of the social sciences. Every problem must be understood both qualitatively and quantitatively. To solve concrete problems various public and private organizations must work together, but in fact that is very difficult to achieve.

It is difficult to slow this steady erosion of the law when respect for, and confidence in, the institutions of state, including the police, are undermined by the daily experience of citizens in their interactions with the criminal justice system.

Perhaps even more significantly, attempts to change attitudes towards the rule of law are stymied by the disrespect demonstrated for the law and the value of life by the very people responsible for making and enforcing the law.

For as long as those holding political office appear to act with impunity, or cynically use the criminal justice system to dodge very serious allegations of the abuse of power and state resources, we cannot reasonably expect citizens to respect the law.

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Acoustic phobia – fear of loud noises

Lata Jain

Acoustic phobia is the fear of loud noises. Dr.Meenaz a psychiatric counselor explains, this irrational fear of inappropriate response to loud noises. Irrational and inappropriate because it’s a response to something that means no actual danger. Irrational Fear of noise, feeling of panic, feeling of dread, rapid increase of heartbeat, increase of heart beat, shortness of breath, dry mouth or anxiety attack. Acoustic phobia, just like most phobias, comes from a subconscious ‘overprotection’ mechanism. The fear of noise is caused by the mind over-estimating the danger caused by noise, believing that noise presents an actual threat, where in reality it may not.

lata jain

Lata Jain

Acoustic phobia can be caused by an ‘unresolved’ emotional conflict. Those who suffer from Acoustic phobia find street noise, music, and other common noises to be grating – even the sounds of the human voice. People with this phobia will feel irritated and upset when they cannot escape from the source of their displeasure.

Often, those who suffer from this phobia will be forced to change their lifestyle and curtail their activities in order to stay away from noises that bother them. In our busy world, honking cars, screeching brakes, and big machines abound, causing all manner of loud noises which may irritate. While most people learn to filter out the sounds that distract and annoy them, the person with Acoustic phobia finds it impossible to focus on anything else says Dr.Usha Naik, psychiatrist.

Some people with this aversion may avoid babies, children, and pets, because they are often noisy. This phobia can impact relationships, as some noise and confusion is basically a given in families and other primary relationships says Dr.Sainath a family counselor. Many people with this phobia are frightened by the prospect of sudden, very loud noises. They live with this fear every day, worrying about where the next painful onslaught of sound will come from, says Dr.Stevenson a child psychiatrist.

I have a serious problem with the noise of people eating, smacking, crunching, animals licking themselves, dripping or mucous noises, balloons popping or unexpected loud noises. It causes problems for me in social situations especially when I have to leave because the noises are driving me nuts says Neha shah a 23 year MBA student. My fear of noise started when I was very young. A Clock ticking, a leaky faucet, noise of the jet and the furnace making a noise. It has really affected my whole life. I want to get better, says Vittahal Raghav a chartered accountant.

This phobia is a reaction of a specific event or a childhood trauma. Family history and upbringing could also be reasons to such trauma. Accidents or deaths with lot of suffering of someone dear to us are also a reason to get into anxiety. And this anxiety could cause a phobia and if related to noise then it leads to acoustic phobia. A negative experience from the past can also be a reason for this phobia says Dr.Majid, family counselor at Praudhi, an NGO.

Phobias affect people of all ages, from all walks of life, and in every part of the country, they are surprisingly common, being experienced by up to 10% of all adults and are the most common psychiatric disorder among women of all ages and the second most common issue that men over 25 experience.

Treatment begins with anti anxiety medicine. They only help to reduce the anxiety and are not a permanent cure to the problem. Systematic desensitization, where the patient is exposed to low sounds and increased slowly. Behavioural Psychotherapy sessions is one more ways of treating.

 In Hyderabad firecrackers are available in all seasons. With the ongoing weddings firecrackers are common and people with this phobia have a tough time. They prefer staying indoors says Dr.Meera maslekar, ENT. Family members feel it’s a temporary phase and consider it as a momentary phobia and not much importance is given to acoustic phobia in India.

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Age of true and lasting love

Lata Jain

So just how common are large age differences between intimate partners? Most people have heard stories of young, attractive women dating or marrying much older men.  Perhaps the most prominent example, Donald Sterling, the billionaire ex-owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, was forced to sell his team after tapes of his racist remarks were reportedly released by his much younger girlfriend V. Stiviano.  Although perhaps one of the more extreme recent cases of large age differences between romantic partners, Sterling is not the only such case.  Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes were more than 20 years apart, as are Donald Trump and his wife Melanie.  But are these celebrity couples really that different from the rest of the population?

Recently Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh got married to TV anchor Amrita Rai in Chennai late last month according to sources. The former Madhya Pradesh chief minister is currently in the US. The 68-year-old leader confirmed the wedding with Rai, who is 44.

Would YOU have an age gap romance? As one of the senior congress leader’s ties knot with a media anchor and the age difference is around 24 years-Digvijay singh and Amrita Rai.

Why does age difference among couples shock us?

Older men dating women in their twenties have been happening for centuries. So why do some men and women go for someone much older or younger instead or a person their own age?

Sex therapist Prakash Khanna says it’s a cliché, but age is nothing but a number.

He  explained ‘In case you haven’t noticed, we feel the same as we get older as we did when we were young, on the inside at least – it’s only when we look in the mirror we see the signs of ageing.

‘Psychologically, having a trophy wife on your arm gives the same effect as flash cars and watches – admiration and significance; it’s almost as if having this young partner quantifies how successful they are.’

But although he understands the reasons for wanting a younger woman or man on your arm, Khanna warns that there are several cons to an age gap relationship.

He said: ‘This difference in age creates many problems as interests do change with age, as do energy levels  In course of time the younger partner starts looking for better partners to meet their s sexual satisfaction.. This is not something to be overlooked – sex is key to all successful relationships as it clears blocks and maintains connection.

‘However, if the partners can embrace the differences, then maturity can be a good balance for the immaturity and the youthful enthusiasm can keep the older partner young.’

Renowed Psychologist Mithun Shah says” believes that men aged 20-29 now looking for older women over a younger model is largely down to the change in gender roles in modern society, with far more equality between the sexes nowadays.

He said: ‘Young men nowadays probably recognize that older women are experienced and  adept at diligently juggling so many responsibilities like a career, children, housekeeping, fitness, finances and socializing. So most of the family responsibilities are taken care by her. Age of true and lasting love does not relate to numbers and material gains.

Despite all the stories we hear about rich old men marrying younger women, we find that marrying a much younger woman is actually just as characteristic of low income men as it is of affluent men.

The stereotype of the rich old man and the attractive young woman is actually relatively uncommon. It may be that the super rich are likely to marry substantially younger spouses.

The potential success of the marriage really does depend upon the maturity and experience level of those who are in love. The simple truth is that, there is no magic age differential when it comes to love and marriage.

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Mind your manners at office do…

Lata Jain

An individual must know how to behave at the workplace. There is a huge difference between college and professional life. One needs to be disciplined at the workplace. At the very least, excess celebration and etiquette mistakes at the company holiday party can become fodder for next day stories and eventually office legend for future parties.

And, according to industry surveys, about 15% of those companies that have hosted holiday parties say that inappropriate employee behavior at holiday parties in the past has impacted an individual’s career growth in the company. One needs to mind his manners in the parties hosted by the office.

lata jain

Lata Jain

It’s surprising, but true: People really do need reminders about how to behave appropriately when they mix business with pleasure. Whether you can wait to mix and mingle with your co-workers, or whether you’d gladly give your raise and promotion to get a pass, attending the office party is, simply, a part of your job and the right manners are a must as you surely have to meet the same faces next morning.

Corporate parties can be as simple as an office gets together, a client cocktail, family day out, end of year party or a formal corporate dinner. As much as this is a great opportunity to get to know your colleagues and clients much better in a more relaxed setting, be careful as it is also the easiest time to jeopardize your career. Important decision makers concerning your career progress or advancement will likely be in attendance and even if they are not, they will most likely to hear everything that has been going on.

Please be in time:

An Australian Company invited the Indian Directors for a 30 minute meeting. The directors were 25 minutes late. The Australian counterpart had tea for 5 minutes with the Indian Directors and bid a diplomatic goodbye. Here there is no genuine excuse to be late as your character and professionalism is put to the test. Most important announcements are made early on in the day which you must be available to hear.  Some like the idea of being ‘’fashionably late’ ensuring they make a grand entrance knowing that most people would have arrived, this does not work in a corporate function.

Please be conscious of your attire:

On the eve of a Christmas party a newly married young lady went dressed as a bride. She made the heads turn but why is any sane persons guess. Our dress sense should be smart and respectful, especially if you are representing your organization. It is not a time for caps, bulky rings or jewellery. Your dress judges your character and personality. Please avoid low shirts, tight fitting clothes or transparent clothing.

Avoid over eating and drinking:

You are not there to just eat and enjoy the handy work of the chef; your primary objective is to network. Remember that you are constantly being watched and self discipline is highly required where alcohol is being served. Please do not drink and be a source of inconvenience and indiscipline at the office party. One too many drinks will set you off on a rollercoaster as resultant loose lips can land you into trouble. A peg or two is a safer option for that event. At times it is recommended to avoid alcohol entirely if you do not have control after drinking. It is good to be “desi” eating with five figures but then there are guidelines and volumes written to use the spoon and fork so please do it.

Stop gossiping and unwanted flattery:

Some people are into loose gossip and speak of numbers as though 100 crores had five zeroes and avoid rum our mongering. Lot of rivalry and back biting occurs between staff, especially when they hear what was being said about them through a third party. The idea that there is a colleague that has been secretly admiring you over time is not impossible. Events that allow you to unwind are usually targeted for making a first move. Even when you have no intention of making a pass at a colleague, avoid flirting. She could be your bosses girl friend.

Please don’t over react:

The CEO of your company is in India and he has lot of announcements and promotions to make. You may not like a few of those announcements and may be your name is not there in the list for a big job. Please do not over react, you can meet your bosses next morning and seek clarification, you can always mail to your CEO but no public reactions please.

Please do not move with a single individual:

In most offices, security cameras are frequently placed where you may not realize, including hallways, stairwells, etc. Many organizations take different views on personal relationships among employees and managers. And, at the very least, everyone will definitely know about personal encounters at the office and elsewhere — long after the party is over. Please move around, and interact with all the employees and mingle.

Happy partying!!!!!

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Turmeric for health and beauty

Lata Jain

A rich orange-gold spice that has been used for centuries in Asian cooking and Indian medicine, turmeric aka Curcuma longa is a wild-growing plant whose potential health benefits are well worth considering. It has several health benefits and also helps as a beauty product.

Turmeric may be the most effective nutritional supplement in existence. Turmeric is the spice that gives curry its yellow color. It has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb.

lata jain

Lata Jain

Turmeric is extremely effective due to cur cumin, as it holds these powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In the recent times, after researching and experimenting, scientists have found curcumin to be the best aid for treating or preventing many inflammatory diseases. Psoriasis, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and many more can be treated by this.

Turmeric purifies the blood and brings translucence to your energies. Turmeric not only works on the physiology, but also has a big impact on your energy system. It purifies the blood, body, and energy system. For external purification, just take a small pinch of turmeric, put it into a bucket of water and pour it over your body – you will see, the body will be vibrant and glowing.

Turmeric is also currently being investigated for its potential benefits for those with Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, cancer and numerous other clinical disorders. An incredibly powerful antioxidant, turmeric contains other ingredients besides curcumin that offer anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. In both in vitro and animal studies, turmeric has shown to be anti-tumor, anti-oxidant, anti-arthritic and anti-inflammatory; it also treats malaria, prevents cervical cancer and interferes with virus replication in HIV and herpes. Many suggest that turmeric helps to digest fats quickly by stimulating the flow of bile in the gall bladder and use it as a diet aid.

Turmeric Dramatically Increases The Antioxidant Capacity of The Body. Oxidative damage is believed to be one of the mechanisms behind ageing and many diseases

IT is  still largely produced in southern India, growing as an underground stem much like ginger. Boiled for several hours and then dried in hot ovens, the plants are ground into a deep gold powder that is used to flavor food and dye textiles – you’ll recognize it from your favorite yellow curry dish.

The next time you have a headache or body pains, instead of automatically popping acetaminophen or ibuprofen, reach for a couple of bright gold curcumin capsules instead. If turmeric works well with your body system, it may also offer other health benefits down the line.

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Drones – evolving technology for terrorist attack

Lata Jain

The sky also hold new terrors for everyday people who were now within reach of an airborne enemy- these fears included the possibilities of bombing, poison gas, surveillance and social control.

Drones, also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), are aircraft either controlled by ‘pilots’ from the ground or increasingly, autonomously following a pre-programmed mission. There are dozens of different types of drones; however, they can be categorized as either those that are used for reconnaissance and surveillance purposes, or those that are armed with missiles and bombs. Drones can fly for longer periods of time and are much cheaper than traditional military aircraft; additionally they are flown remotely, thus appeasing public demands to keep soldiers safe.

As the use of drones expands, so too does the controversy around their use. Supporters of armed drones argue that they have increased control over when and where to strike, thus enabling greater accuracy and less ‘collateral damage’. Opponents argue that by removing one of the key restraints to warfare—the risk to one’s own forces—unmanned systems make undertaking armed attacks too easy and will make war more likely. The ‘persistent presence’ of drones over a particular area looking for suspicious behavior is leading. Drones have also been responsible for large numbers of civilian casualties. Additionally, legal experts and human rights organizations have condemned the rise in targeted extrajudicial killing enabled by the use of armed drones.

Drones come in many shapes and sizes. Although Predators and Reapers get most of the attention, they are only part of a large, diverse fleet of unmanned vehicles. What they have in common is that they offer a new dimension in intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance—knowing where the enemy is and what he is doing.

Drone technology is accessible to everyone, including terrorists and their organizations. While there has been a concerted effort by nations to control certain sensitive military technology and weapons, it will be far more difficult to control drone technology due to its commercial availability.

Terrorists will continue to seek out and exploit vulnerabilities. The technology represented by drones, like the Octocopter of suitable proportion, provides a spectrum of opportunities that can be exploited by technologically savvy terrorists who wish to undertake violent actions with the objective of spreading  destruction against what they deem as worthy targets. The combination of payload, range, accuracy as well as ability to control and target, from a safe distance, enabling the operator an opportunity to flee and “fight another day” would gladden the heart of any terrorist planner.

In 2006, Ali Asad Chandia, a Maryland teacher working on behalf of the Pakistani terror group Lashkar e Tayiba, was convicted of attempting to acquire an electronic automatic pilot system for an RCMA for terrorism purposes. This system incorporates a stability and control computer that allows it to be programmed and fitted with a 10 to 12 foot wingspan. The GPS coordinates can then be programmed to turn on a video camera when the plane reaches those specific locations .

It doesn’t take too much imagination to understand that a drone is very hard to stop. It flies low and isn’t stopped by the entire infrastructure we have in place to make sure people don’t go to the places they’re not supposed to go. Fences and walls and gates and barriers, it simply goes over these things…. As these drones get cheaper, more prevalent, easier to get, attract less attention, it raises the risk that they will fall into the wrong hands and be used inappropriately

Intelligence and security authorities recognize that terrorist planners and operators are persistent and appreciate that technology is constantly advancing and can be readily exploited. Moreover, terrorists appear determined to utilize RCMAs, and will likely seek out sympathizers, potential jihadists and opportunists who have the engineering and technical skills to refine the drone technology at hand in order to weaponries for future operations.

There is an inevitability of a successful terrorist attack with this highly attractive and evolving technology.

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Talent or reservations to build the country?

Lata Jain

The word ‘Reservation’ is mostly misused, misunderstood, vague, and even mythical. There is a general belief that those who oppose reservations are free from casteism ….while those who support reservations are casteist, or politicians thriving for the vote bank. The truth is that there are many sincere people on both sides. (But are helpless) So the question is Do We Need Talent or Reservations to Build Our Country?

lata jain

Lata Jain

India is a democratic country. We live in a free country and this freedom is a gift of democracy to us. The Indian constitution formulated by Dr.Ambedkar gives us right to freedom and most importantly to exercise this freedom in an equitable manner. At the same time it is incumbent on the part of the state to ensure that equality prevails in all sections of the society. Reservations are hindering the country’s growth, development and competency in all aspects.

Post independence political equality had been enshrined in the Constitution, untouchability had been delegitimized, political representation was widely shared, zamindari had been abolished, a new development paradigm was instituted, and the state defined its goals in terms of common welfare. And yet by another measure—of how much more India would have to achieve to become a minimally equal society—even this progress was small comfort. Formal political equality did not translate into substantive empowerment; abolishing untouchability barely cracked open the hierarchies of caste; political representation coexisted with deep prejudice; zamindari abolition did little to alleviate the vulnerabilities of small farmers and landless labor; development was shockingly slow at expanding opportunities; and the state’s promise of welfare seemed like a cruel mirage to hundreds of millions of Indians condemned to poverty, corruption at every level ,malnutrition, illiteracy and disease.

A very genuine argument against reservations is that it will divide India, by asking for the caste of people. Are 60 years insufficient for the so-called uplift of backward classes, then does the governments intends to continue the reservation system for an indefinite period? This is a serious issue to be pondered over. Isn’t it fair to say that instead of abolishing the caste system, this policy reinforces it?

The subject of reservations is a vast one, in terms of a historical account. A great deal has been written against reservations policies since the acceptance of the Mandal Commission Report in 1991 in favor of reservations in higher education and government services for the other backward classes of India. In the Indian context, reservations were introduced during the last decades of the 19th century at a time when the subcontinent could be broadly divided according to two main forms of governance British India and the 600 princely states. Some of these princely states were progressive and eager to modernize through the promotion of education and industry; and by maintaining unity among their own people, like Mysore in south India and Baroda and Kolhapur in western India. Thus, the very first records of implementing reservations policies are from these princely states.

The idea that growth and economic development represent our best chance of unsettling fixed hierarchies of power has some truth to it. But we cannot get away from the fact that growth is bringing in new challenges of inequality, which we ignore at our peril. It is also true that much of the political discourse of equality has been hypocritical. But here we must acknowledge that debates over growth and equality rarely manage to dent the psychological resistance we have erected to avoid confronting uncomfortable facts about inequality.

Reservations on the basis of caste and not on the basis of condition are bad and unacceptable. Fair and just reservations to uplift the poor. Women in some cases can be considered for reservations .women are more disadvantaged than men since primitive times, domicile, family education, family employment, family property, family income and if any disabilities and traumas.

My opinion: I am all in the favor of having laws and rules to make sure that the underprivileged get more opportunities and it’s the duty of the government to analyze the reality without bias. When proper education is not provided to children belonging to such categories during the primary stage itself then on what basis are the reservations provided at a subsequent stage. Reservations should be based on economic status. But then, that should be done at the primary and elementary school level and not at the professional level or if the government wants it can make separate schools and colleges for reserved category people. Reservation in higher education and jobs is violation of Article 26, read Para 1 of Universal Declaration of human rights. We don’t need reservations based on castes or religion.

This way we would achieve equality eradicating caste politics and uniting the economically well off with the poor devoid of caste politics.

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Poor monsoon impact stock markets

Lata Jain

India s stocks went low on Monday too. India’s stock markets ended nearly 0.5 percent lower today as concerns about a deficient monsoon and weak rupee curtailed optimism around likely strong GDP data due later in the day.

Historically it is proved that markets fare better even during bad conditions. For instance, stock markets have fared amazingly in the years 2004, 2009 and 2014 in spite of bad monsoon and low agriculture productivity in 2004, there is no correction till June. Once the news that India would receive deficient rainfall came out, then only market discounted and followed with a bull-run which continued for four years.

Again in 2009, the market received some correction only in the month of July, but later it moved upward to register years’ high. Even in 2014, when the Indian agriculture economy suffered due to below normal rains and unseasonal rains, the markets registered higher with Sensex crossing 28,000-mark. This amply proves that the weather conditions normally get discounted and market searches for new triggers for growth. However, the weather scientists assume bad monsoon for two continuous years will cripple agriculture and so will surely affect the stock markets.

India suffered a delayed and deficient monsoon last year. A second year of poor monsoon is bad news for the Modi government. Narendra Modi was elected prime minister last year on the promise of “achhe din” but his efforts will be severely tested by consecutive bad-rain years. Ache din (good days) have connect to monsoon.

Over half of India’s population is dependent on farm income, and farmers are engaged in rain-fed farming, primarily. The four-month monsoon season starting in early June is India’s main rainfall season. Farming accounts for about 16% of the economy but its significance is far greater than its share of the GDP.

Starting with farm income, poor rains snowball disastrously along the entire economy. A rise in food prices sparks inflation even as poor rains hit consumption because of falling rural incomes. Rising interest rates impact industrial growth and, ultimately, affect overall GDP numbers.

The Modi government, which witnessed slowing inflation until now due to the commodity price crash, will face its first major challenge on inflation now. “Remember a sizeable portion of India’s population resides in the villages and companies across sectors have headed to rural areas in the last few years. Obviously, if monsoons are weak, farm incomes will come down, impacting purchasing power of consumers in rural areas,” Videocon Group Chairman Venugopal Dhoot.

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Does stress cause breast cancer?

Lata Jain

Women rising up the success ladder full speed may be more likely to develop breast cancer – and stress at work, including prejudice, discrimination, and resistance, could be to blame.

Women in professional jobs had a near 70 per cent higher risk of breast cancer than other women, according to new research.

A diagnosis of breast cancer threatens more than your health – it can impact your ability to work. You may feel vulnerable to employment discrimination, and fear losing your job because of cancer. Worries pile up – will you lose your income as well as your health insurance? Do you have any legal recourse against discrimination in your workplace?

lata jain

Lata Jain

Women who suffer stress are twice as likely to develop breast cancer, a study suggests. Worries about work and family, which lead to tension, fear, anxiety and sleep disturbance, appear to raise the risk of suffering the disease later in life. The damaging effect of stress is on a par with recently documented dangers of taking HRT – which also doubles the risk of breast cancer. The findings are a blow for a generation of women who face growing levels of stress due to trying to balance work and home lives.

Several studies have implicated stressful life events as a risk factor for breast cancer. Acute stress has been reported to be beneficial for tumor inhibition in humans, primarily through enhancement of the immune response, whereas chronic stress has been associated with a depressed immune response that may promote cancer.

In United States, a group of healthy women aged 38 to 60 were examined by doctors 35 years ago, during 1968 and 1969. They were also questioned about their stress levels over the previous five years.

Women had follow-up examinations during 1974, 1980 and 1992. After the final check-ups, doctors compared which women had suffered more breast cancer. Those who had reported stress for a month or more during the five years preceding the start of the study had double the risk.

Other factors which would almost certainly increase the risk of disease – including smoking, weight, alcohol intake, and age of first pregnancy and age at the menopause – were all taken into account.

Lead author Dr Osten Helgesson said: “This study showed a statistically significant, positive relationship between stress and breast cancer.”Out of 1,350 women for whom there was complete data, 456 reported stress and 24 of them – or 5.26 per cent – developed breast cancer. A total of 894 said they had no stress and 23 – or 2.5 per cent of them – developed the disease.

Therefore, researchers concluded, the risk of breast cancer was doubled among the stressed women.

Delyth Morgan, chief executive of the charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer said: “Further research is needed before any direct association between stress and increased breast cancer risk is confirmed.”

Nearly one-third of breast cancer survivors who were working when they began treatment were unemployed four years later. Women who received chemotherapy were most affected, according to a new study from the University Of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Many doctors believe that even though patients may miss work during treatment, they will ‘bounce back’ in the longer term. The results of this study suggest otherwise. Loss of employment is a possible long-term negative consequence of chemotherapy that may not have been fully appreciated to date,” says lead study author Reshma Jagsi, M.D., D.Phil., associate professor of radiation oncology at the University Of Michigan Medical School

Many patients take time off of work during chemotherapy treatment to deal with the immediate side effects of the therapy. The researchers say it’s possible this may lead to long-term employment problems. In addition, chemotherapy treatments can cause long-term side effects such as neuropathy or cognitive issues, which might also affect job prospects.

The findings point to the need to reduce the burden of breast cancer treatment, and reinforce current efforts to develop better strategies for identifying patients less likely to benefit from chemotherapy.

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Beti Bachao Beti Padhao

  • This Raksha Bandhan, let brother’s join the campaign

Lata Jain

As a social worker, I have been receiving several letters and this letter left me in shock for days. Does this happen in truth or is it the writer’s imagination?

lata jain

Lata Jain

We are six sisters and my father always wanted to have sons. I am 54 years old now and mother of three children-two daughters and one son. But will remember that fateful day for the rest of my life. That was the most unforgettable day of my life. I must have been around 9 years old when my mother told me we were going to my grandma’s house to spend the day with her. I was happy as there were lot of guava trees and big garden space. When we reached my grandma’s house, my auntie who was a year younger than me, was also there. I was very happy to meet all my cousins.

After exchange of greetings I and my cousin Mushy, were both led to the bed room, and asked to lie down. Confused we questioned. Just then a 60 year old lady came into the room. By now, my cousin and I were terrified, not aware of what was to follow.

After a brief silence, our dresses were pulled up, and we were asked to keep our legs apart.  There were our mothers and our aunts holding our legs apart and then I felt something cold being applied to my clitoris, and then to my horror, the old lady chewing “Zarda”  held a scissor-like instrument and cut me there – I screamed and screamed but no one seemed to care. The same act was repeated with my cousin.

After which they left us in the room for an entire day and we kept groaning in pain. This is a practice that had been carried out for centuries and was considered essential for a woman’s good reputation and virginity. I felt betrayed and cheated by my mother but she had to respect and carry on the orders of her elders.

My husband and I never allowed any of our relatives to cast their shadow on my daughter. We know of friends from my generation, who did not want their girls to go through FGC, but often it was the oldies in the family who hovered to get it done.

I cannot disclose my name but even today this practice is common in many communities.

Women need to break the silence and support one another in this effort so that our daughters will have a brighter future in the years to come.

But why is all this done? Why is the girl a burden? Why so much fear of Upbringing of a girl child? Why female feticide?

Poverty? To an extent, Yes! Poverty is one of the main factors that lead to this inhuman behavior. But there are other religious and cultural factors too. Traditions and cultural beliefs in India are resulting in the slaughter of girls, often before they’re even born. Even if they bring her out of mother’s protection, they are deprived of all the basic necessities like education which on the other hand is compelled for the boy. It’s just because they think girls are of no use in future.

The entire country is talking about saving the girl child and the declining Child Sex Ratio. The government even launched the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ scheme in 100 gender critical districts of the country. This central governments scheme was initiated with an initial corpus of Rs 100 crore.

The Child Sex Ratio is at its worst since 1961. Hence, the Government has launched the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme in 100 gender critical districts. But the Scheduled Tribes (STs) are far ahead of the rest of the country when it comes to the Sex Ratio & Child Sex Ratio. Most of us who think that people living in tribal areas need development could learn a thing or two from them.

According to the 2011 census, for every 1000 boys, there are only 918 girls. The child sex ratio in India has been on the decline since 1991 and the worst since independence. According to the 1991 census, there were 945 girls for every 1000 boys and in 2001,927 girls for every 1000 boys. The sex ratio is defined as the ratio of the number of males to number of females in a population set.

It is internationally expressed per 100 females but in India, it is expressed as per 1000 males. According to the World Health Organization, biologically normal child sex ratio ranges from 102 to 106 male per 100 females. Converting it to Indian terms would be 943-980 females per every 1000 males.

Several government laws and schemes have focused on curbing female infanticide and incentives  investing in girls but little seems to have changed. Traditionally, girls and women have been looked upon as a burden in a patriarchal society. Even if they managed to be born, providing nutritious food, sending them to good schools and investing in them on par with the male child is still not a reality in many of villages, towns and cities around the country.

Girls are rather looked at as somebody you need to start saving money for, buying gold and able to give a dowry to get her married. And after all this, she does not even carry your lineage or your family name.

But if one is to analyze the statistics with the tribal’s there sex ratio seems to improve. The Prime Ministers “Beti bachao scheme” has been advertised in every corner of the country. It will definitely is a herculean task considering the many faces of this problem. And this is possible if the campaign and the stakeholders address this at its root. The problem of attitudes, outdated beliefs and perception of the girl child needs to be addressed.

This Raksha bandhan pray all brothers join the campaign so that a brother does not have a wrist longing for a sisters “thread of bond-Rakhi”.

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Death Sentence for Kidnapping for Ransom Cases, Not Barbaric : SC

Lata Jain

Upholding death sentence under section 364A of IPC, the Supreme Court has said “it is true that there is a rise in incidents of kidnapping and abduction for ransom not only by ordinary criminals but even by terrorists, necessitate a stringent punishment for those indulging in such activities”

The apex court’s verdict came on a petition filed by a convict, who was awarded death sentence in a kidnapping-cum -murder case, challenging the constitutional validity of section 364A of IPC.

The court made it clear that “situations where the act which the accused is charged with is proved to be an act of terrorism threatening the very essence of our federal, secular and democratic structure may possibly be the only other situation where courts may consider awarding extreme penalty.

“But, short of death in such extreme and rarest of rare cases, imprisonment for life for a proved case of kidnapping or abduction will not qualify for being described as barbaric or inhuman so as to infringe the right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.” The apex court concurred with the recommendations of the Law Commission that a separate provision was required keeping in mind the menacing dimensions which terrorist organizations had acquired.

A three-judge bench of Justices T S Thakur, R K Agrawal and Adarsh Kumar Goel said the provision was incorporated as it was not only criminals but terrorist organizations which commit such crimes.

The court said the legislature is presumed to be supremely wise and aware of the needs of the people and the court shows deference to the legislative will and wisdom. It said the court should be slow in upsetting the law passed by Parliament.

“Just because the sentence of death is a possible punishment that may be awarded in appropriate cases cannot make it per se inhuman or barbaric. In the ordinary course and in cases which qualify to be called rarest of the rare, death may be awarded only where kidnapping or abduction has resulted in the death either of the victim or anyone else in the course of the commission of the offence,” it said.

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Dump wrong friends

Lata Jain

Friends come in many categories –best friends, casual friends and ex-friends. Good friends make life rosy and give a boost to your success.

lata jain

Lata Jain

The idea of “friendship forever“ has replaced that of “marriage forever”. Author Jan yager of when Friendship hurts and friend shifts says sometimes the feeling or a hope of a friendship forever turns out to be a myth.

Just like couples, friends can break up too. But how can you dump a friend? In cases of major rifts says author Ayn Rand advises being direct but end the friendship.

While it sounds cruel to abandon long time friends without offering any proper response, it is easy to let some friendships frizzle. Don’t return calls as quickly, avoid plans or make the plans for a later date that there’s time if you wish to cancel it. Most friends get a hint with this attitude says Yeager.

Phasing out friends who have hurt you, let you down –pay other dividends. One benefit of pruning destructive friendships is you will have more time and energy to positive relationships and to cultivate new friendships.

Remember, the term toxic friendships refer to relationships that are consistently negative and draining. It is the pattern, not the one-time or occasional lapses in the balance of needing that occurs between good friends. If your truly needy friend has been that way for some time, the real possibilities of changing the relationship verge on hopeless.

These are people whose needs can never be satiated. No matter what you give, what you do, how much, or how often, it will never be enough. Since character tends to endure, this person probably treats other people the same way she treats you. It’s likely that many of her friends have probably already dropped out of the picture and that’s why she is so dependent on you.

One of the first things we have to understand about bad friends is that they suck the life out of you, slowly and surely. Instead of trying to fix someone up all the time, learn to understand when to end a friendship, especially if it’s a bad one. Even since we were little boys and girls, we’ve been made to believe that friendships last forever, that our friends are always going to be there for us. We were our happiest when we were with friends. Besides being our friends, they act as our support group, escort agents and shopping guides. But friendship also comes with a “conditions apply” clause.

The give-and-take policy works here too, as with everything else in the world. The last time you and your friend went shopping and saw that exclusive Gucci bag, did she just step aside and let you have it or do you still have those tell-tale injury marks to prove your survival?

Now who exactly is a bad friend, you may ask. For starters, they are the ones who expect to be included in every single outing, the ones who take over the story you have been telling somebody else, and the ones that try to dominate you every second of your life. Initially, every bad friend presents themselves as a kind and caring person. But it’s all just an act, even if your friend doesn’t know it themselves. Bad friends are unintentional masters in the art of deception.

There’s a fine line between being there for a friend and never being away from friends. In the workplace, there is the bad friend who calls themselves your friend but stabs you in the back if the boss happens to appreciate your work over theirs says Psychiatrists Majid Khan.

At a party, a bad friend always tries to steal the thunder and if you happen to get more of the spotlight, you’re going to pay for it. Calculative and deceiving, your bad excuse of a friend will pretend to be your best friend forever until you deprive her of something that she believes is hers explains trainer Vineeta Gera.

Sitcoms too have their own share of bad friends, whose sole ambition is to see their friend crash and burn. So why are we still friends with a bad friend? The answer is totally up to you. As we all know, the very nature of friendship can be tricky. If you don’t have to pop an aspirin after every visit from your annoying friend, then you’re probably fine for now.

But if you feel like you’ve been hammered on the head every time you spend time with this bad friend of yours, then you really need to look deep into your friendship and give this bad relationship a thorough inspection.

If you feel better about your friends you are more likely to feel better about yourself. Dump a wrong friends before it is too late to make corrections in life.

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Can schools think beyond textbooks?

Lata Jain

My knees seemed to wobble and my heart beating fast, my palms was sweating. I was the newly elected Head girl of the school and I was to recite a poem. This was stage fright at its worst.

lata jain

Lata Jain

To start the school assembly I had to recite a poem of Jaishankar Prasad or Sarojini Naidu. I started but my mouth went dry and my mind blank racked my brain for the elusive verse which I had learnt several times last night but all I sensed was a snigger echoing through the crowd. I ran to the classroom and sobbed; I cried silently and bent my head in embarrassment.

Just then my class teacher entered the room. A very loving and pleasing personality but she was a no nonsense kind of teacher when it came to academics and extracurricular activities. She was stern and she was respected by students and her colleagues. She put her hand on my head and said calmly, now trying reciting the poem. Fear nothing.

“Himadri tung shring se prabhuddha shuddha bharathi………….”the verse flew without a hiccup. Now why don’t you go back to the audience and recite?

I tried again and my mind went blank. I struggled, my lips went dry and tears rolled my cheek and I stood in front of the audience silently. I don’t know what’s in store for me. I left for home with heavy heart and cried in consolably sleeping in my grandmas laps.

On Sunday I did not go out to play. No skipping, no Kho-kho. I stayed in my room though the weather was very pleasant. I had decided that public speaking in not my forte. But after prayers on Monday the class teacher invited me to try reciting the poem again in front of the whole school. Strangely the words flew spontaneously without a hiccup. The entire assembly broke into thunder applause. I had redeemed myself.

There was no praise from my class teacher. I expected but instead she made me speak the entire weak and I had to come prepared with various topics. I had to prepare myself daily.

Run to that small mogul library near the house, sometimes to state central library. I prepared well in advance making lot of references and reading books. After a few days the topics were of my choice. I started borrowing books from the library. Reading became a habit in me.

What started as a battle within myself, with my emotions, the jostle ended up with an achievement. My writing and reading skills improved. I knew and I believed in my strength of conviction and this would be evident by my delivery of my speeches. I started going for inter school and interstate elocution competitions and started bringing trophies for the school.

Years later I became a teacher, to my children. My class teachers teaching became invaluable. I sympathized with my child when he was weak in a subject. I learnt to appreciate their courage to ask weird questions and doubts. I accepted their mistakes as a part of learning yet be firm and never accept shoddy work or shortcuts to their academics.

My class teacher taught me to look beyond my initial failure. Can I forget that smiling but stern face which helped me see my mirror image?

There is something beyond books and homework which schools and teachers need to realize.

In the past few years in particular following the opening up of the Indian economy and technological sea-change, there’s been growing awareness among school and college managements that examination success does not necessarily translate into workplace success. There is a different approach at work place which books in the schools do not teach.

It requires something more than mugging up textbooks to be a successful. And that vital missing link in the education process is the acquisition of life skills – capabilities which prepare children to cope with life’s diverse challenges.

The  skills which need to be nurtured help children tackle failure, relationships, sexuality, exam fears, rejection, peer pressure, and stress – problems which can severely affect their lives, says  United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Paris-based trans-national organization committed to children’s rights, survival, development and protection, has decreed life skills an integral component of quality education.

Somewhat belatedly educationists, especially in urban schools across the subcontinent, have become acutely aware that teaching life/ soft skills to students is as important as developing academic capability for professional and personal success.

The Corporate world today prefers candidates who are not good at academics alone but also with soft skills, decision making, good manners, communication and interpersonal skills because it saves the industry time and huge money as these qualities are required for a company to increase its productivity and if these characteristics are missing the corporate end up spending time and money training the candidate.

Is it not time that our schools think beyond textbooks?

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Dark Chocolate: Good for Romance and Your Heart

Lata Jain

My earliest memory of chocolate is of my granny sneaking it to me. She loves chocolate more than anyone else. The best part of going to the store with my granny was walking out with a Hersey bar.

lata jain

Lata Jain

Chocolate is a seductive ingredient, appealing to everyone, especially in the romantic moment. Chocolate makes you feel loved. It is generally observed that novels equate chocolate with romance. It also has health benefits.

One of your favorite and most decadent snacks has been strongly associated with a reduced risk of stroke. You are right, it is dark chocolate. Eating and sharing moderate amounts of chocolate just might be the most pleasant way to protect yourself and your loved ones from having a stroke.

A recent research study from the UK and the Netherlands titled the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer, the EPIC- Norfolk analysis, examined 20,951 men and women. Careful analysis of a food diary distributed to men and women who participated in the study determined that those who reported the highest levels of consistent chocolate consumption experienced lower rates of stroke, while enrolled participants who reported no chocolate consumption or very low chocolate consumption had the highest rates of stroke throughout an almost 20 year follow up period.

So why is dark chocolate so healthy? Dark chocolate contains flavanoids, a type of polyphenol antioxidant, that come from extracts of the cocoa bean. Choosing chocolate with a higher percentage of cocoa gives you more of these antioxidants. Some studies indicate that small portions can maintain the health of blood vessels.

How Much Dark Chocolate Should I Eat, to Live Longer?

Suggestions for a concrete number of grams or ounces are hard to come by. A 2010 German study of nearly 20,000 people, followed over a period of eight years, did conclude that those who ate an average of 6 grams (0.2 oz) of chocolate per day had a 39% lower risk of heart attack or stroke. That’s a very small amount of chocolate, perhaps only half a single square of a typical 100g dark chocolate bar. Interestingly, this study included dark, and milk, chocolate.

Despite the beneficial effect of different sources of chocolate in their study, the Cambridge researchers warn against consuming too much of this energy-dense food. Even if it’s “healthy” chocolate, if you eat more calories than your body can burn off, you will gain weight. Obesity puts you at greater risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, all of which can shorten your life.

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