Give me democracy, give me education and give me the Indian family

Leaders of tomorrow – Watch out, IIMs!

Shweta, Nishita, Aarushi, Aishwarya, Pulina. My confidence in our future as a country come from these youngsters. A Bharatanatyam dancer and 99.82 percentiler, another from the Pataudi rural belt joint family of 21 members where no one went to a college (she has 96 percentile), another – a poet, yet another girl from a modest background from Rajasthan….. All in search of progress, excellence, dreamy eyed! Nothing stops them! Nothing can! 12644666_10153455430903736_9024484342016857159_n

I always find family as the single most important strength and nation builder – of India or our society – the family, the unlettered mother, the less-spoken-about father, the uneducated brother who is supporting his younger sister strongly against the negative social forces. All are singularly focused on enabling the next generation. The repetitiveness with which I see this up-close is a testimony to the power of education in India. How, culturally, valued it is!

These girls (well, many of them) are traversing a vast distance from the lower middle or the bottom of the pyramid to the top of it through their own efforts and by leveraging education. The powerhouse that this society is going to emerge in the next decade or two will be entirely due to the efforts of the mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters.

Give me democracy, give me education and give me the Indian family – we can build the VishwaGuru status for India! And remember, I am deeply conscious of the imperfections in each of these! But these are still the best! you take away any one and we will travel backwards.

Needless to say, I am counting on leadership, policy making, reducing corruption etc., as outcomes of the core causal factors (in my view)! Well! For now, applaud these girls who are on their way to the top schools. Save this post and look up after 20 years. You will have heard and see about them already. I am saying it for having seen the last 20’years from this privileged seat !

All the best, Shweta, Nishita, Aarushi, Aishwarya and Pulina. IIMs would be previleged to have you on campus. If they don’t pick you – go by what Sehwag said when asked about how did he feel when he was not chosen for the Indian Cricket team – “Whose loss was it ?”, he asked in how raw Haryanvi Ishtyle! smile emoticon

Satya

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Celebrating the girl child, Celebrating the mother earth – Piplantri in Rajasthan is the torch bearer!

In a country that still favours the birth of a son, Piplantri village in Rajasthan not only embraces daughters but has created a tradition that benefits both the local people and the planet. This endearing village makes a conscious effort to save girl children and the green cover at the same time, by planting 111 trees every time a girl is born. A brilliant exercise in eco-feminism, this should inspire India and the rest of the world.

This wonderful eco-conscious tradition ensures that an increase in human population will never come at a cost to the environment. It is literally helping to ensure a greener future with each new generation.

The village gathers as a community and plants 111 fruit trees in honour of every newborn female child. Village residents collect Rs. 21,000 between themselves and Rs.10,000 from the girl’s parents. This sum of Rs. 31,000 is made into a 20-year fixed deposit for the girl.

Parents are legally bound by a signed affidavit stating that their daughter will receive proper education. The affadavit also mandates that the girl should be married only after she reaches legal age and the trees planted after her birth have been correctly looked after.

The community ensures that the trees survive, attaining fruition as the girl grows up. The villagers don’t just plant trees, they look after them as well. To protect the trees from termites, the residents plant aloevera plants around them. These trees, and especially the aloevera plants, are now a source of livelihood for several residents.

This unique tradition was first suggested by the village’s former leader, Shyam Sundar Paliwal, in honour of his daughter who passed away at a young age. In the last 6 years, over a quarter of a million trees have been planted.

Villagers claim there has not been any police case here for the last 7 to 8 years.

This is a heartwarming and inspiring story that MUST be shared and replicated as much as possible across India and the world.

[thanks for the various media and sharing by people. I am inspired to put it together here and share]

My Salutations to every woman…especially all those in my life!

Indira with Mallika and Svwara

My salutations to my mother, my sisters, my better half and my mother-in-law, my sisters-in-law, my two daughters who have always been around me, and to every woman in my life – in all phases of education, professional and passionate pursuits of performing arts and fine arts – each one contributing immensely in one way or other in my being what I am. I also salute the woman in every male, who contributed to what I am!

I pay my respects and tribute through this beautiful and touching poetry of Ms. Ashanti Holliday, that I found on the vast web! Thanks Ashanti!

A Womans Worth

© Ashanti Holliday

She gave life. She is a wife.
She is a mother and she is a friend.
She is a sister a survivor to the end.

Appreciate her, we don’t dare.
Ask her worries, we don’t care.
Wipe away her tears, they are invisible as air.

She works cooks and clean.
She laughs, helps comfort, and hides her pain.
When you struggle she pulls you through

All this is she and what do we do?
Complain and create a mess.
Provide stress and leave her feeling depressed..
Push her away and ignore her advice.
Tell her she is nothing without thinking twice.

She was raped tortured and abused.
Told she was nothing and would always be used just for pleasure forget her pain.

She swallows her pride, put her feelings aside.
Does as you need in order for you to be free.
Ignores your ignorance and tolerates your flaws.
You call her Bitch, Slut, Hoe and Tramp
She answers with pride dignity and a complete loss of self.
You call her nothing.
I call her Strong, Smart, Sensual, Caring, Giving, Surviving, Tolerant and powerful
I call her WOMAN!

‘Take this Rs 2,000/- and be quiet; thank god your girl is alive’

What excuse shall we give for a 5-year-old being raped? Was she dented and painted! Was she not wearing the right clothes? Was she roaming with the wrong guys at the wrong hour? Was she giving the wrong signals to the guy?

Not a single day passes without a rape or two in the news, and I am sure thousands go unreported! There are prying eyes every where! Half of humanity is always under constant fear?! What a loss of potential! What a loss!

All Eyes are on me! what do I do to save myself?

An infiltrator violating the borders of Mother India is shot at and incapacitated. We take great pride in doing so and the nation unites eulogizing the spirit of defending our Mother Nation. But we see every mother, sister and daughter being violated around us and are hardly bothered. Our police will find ways to intimidate the family. Our societal elders will banish them out of the community or even from this world. There are enough lawyers to prove the culprit to be juvenile. And our acclaimed lawyers and judges find ways and means to delay the hearings. It will be a decade or two, by which time the victim would have been through a million deaths all the while the culprit gets patronage under one influential group or the other!

What have we become? When did we stop being humans? Where does this stop?
Is this the India which we want to live in? Is this the India we want to leave for our children and grand children? Does mere amending the laws going to find solutions?

Where does it start?

At every home, for sure. We do not want to have a girl child. Even before the young one comes into this world, the mother is subjected to all sorts. There is a great disparity in the way a girl child is treated compared to a boy child – Food to amenities to school to opportunities, she is always against the wall and he is the lord. What sort of messages do we pass on to the boys and the girls as they grow? What attitudes do these boys carry of the fellow girl children as they grow?

The boys end up being drivers and cleaners, policemen and lawyers, doctors and engineers ….while most girls find their progression curtailed by their family; and if not, the boys around, feel their progression has to be curtailed! What a sad state of affairs that we sow and nurture…

We need to start at home. Respect and celebrate every girl child and woman at home… Unless every home does it, we will have perpetrators at every nook and corner. The road is pretty long…

While it will take a few generations for the change to happen, bottom up, we need to do a lot in every space. The common theme though will be of infusing sense of responsibility and belonging.

The indifferent one! If only they can be saviours, our plight will be very different!

First and foremost has to be political and electoral reforms. The election commission should make sure that criminalization of politics is eliminated at any cost. The constitution provides all authority for the election commission to do so.

Every political party should realize that their future lies in decriminalization. They would be better off selecting responsible candidates and also not interfere in any administration appointments and implementation once the directional decisions are taken.

The Administrative reforms are the next most important facet. There have been a few administrative officers in small pockets of the country who have changed the face of these places. We need every officer to make impact.

That cannot happen unless the government is as efficient. So political parties forming the government has to set their houses right. Each one of us as a citizen has the responsibility to cast the vote and select the right person.

The police has to be more conscious of its social responsibilities. Hence their training and orientation will have to change. They need to be deployed more for aam admi’s cause than that of the VIP duties!

We need to come out of “Chalta hai”, “Aisa hi hoga”, “Mera kya jara hai” attitude. Only then the aforesaid shifts can be implemented in right spirit. Each one of us has to be vigilant and feel responsible for everything happening around. Youth needs to play a pivotal role in making this happen. Unless we leave our personal, self-centric approach, we will not be able to bring the change. We need to evolve ourselves beyond the mundane.

It is a tough ask. Let us make it happen.

Love.

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