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EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN IN INDIA


India, our country, is well known for its cultural heritage, civilisation, religion and its geographical features. Moreover,India is also popularly dubbed as a malechauvinistic nation. We proudly portray our nation as “Bharat-Mata” and raise slogans in praise of our unity, integrity and dignity. While doing so, we fail to realise that “Bharat-Mata” means mother to every Indian. Even after six and a half decades of Independence, women in our country continue to be helpless victims of male chauvinism and highhandedness in almost every walk of life. Conventionally, women were compelled to play the second fiddle in every sphere, family or public life. But today, women have distinguished themselves and have made their identity and presence in all spheres of life. Woman, today, are not only confined to domestic chores like upbringing of children but they also form an integral part of the society and make a significant contribution to the development of the nation
This essay attempts to focus on various contentious issues. Are all the women empowered in the county? Whether the progress made by women in India is an all-encompassing factor or is it limited to a few stray cases? Has the benefit of the various welfare measures trickled down to every section and class of the society?
Women empowerment has been a matter of debate for long and a meeting point of contradicting themes. Over theyears, the governments have been emphasising women empowerment in true spirit. Even though, some sections of women have benefited from this empowerment, the vast majority of them in rural segments have remained untouched. Women in rural areas are still considered inferior to men in every sphere of life. In reality, women perform half of the work and men ultimately cash in on their goodwill and take all the credit. Much needs to be done for the majority of the women in rural areas. Paradoxically, the country is being ruled by the UPA Government with Ms. Sonia Gandhi as its Chairperson. Other examples are that of Ms. Mamata Banerjee of Trinamool Congress, Mrs. Sushma Swaraj as a powerful Opposition leader, Ms. Tessy Thomas as a missile scientist of India, Ms. Meira Kumar as the first woman Speaker of the Lok Sabha, etc. Besides politics, women have distinguished themselves in the fields of administration,business, medicines, engineering, music, astronomy, information technology, sports, judiciary, banking, etc.
It is a well-known proverb that the destiny of a child is always the work of the mother. Then, how can we ever neglect the importance of a woman who, as a mother rears and develops a worthy child turning into great persons like Guru Gobind Singh, Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, etc. Likewise, women like the late Indira Gandhi, the late Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, Mother Teresa, Ms. Kiran Bedi, Ms. Lata Mangeshkar, Ms. Chanda Kochhar, the late Kalpana Chawla, Justice Fathima Beevi, Ms. Saina Nehwal and their ilk have scripted stories of success in history. The question that arises here is: Has the overall progress of women been achieved at desired levels in the country? One would desolately admit here: No, it has not.
Women empowerment refers to providing women with equal opportunities in all fields. It is presently the need of the hour. If equality of opportunities can be brought about in India, empowerment could be easily done. Empowerment will enable Indian women to hold the same position in any field and be treated on a par with men. Unfortunately, it is still a dream in India. It is pertinent to note here that only a certain class of women have benefited from the thrust of empowerment. In India, majority of the rural women continue to be living in the shackles of medieval orthodoxy with their male counterparts playing a dominant role in almost everything that matters.
Gender equality plays a pivotal role in the uplift of women. Inequality needs to be scrapped. Article 15 of the Constitution prohibits gender discrimination. Furthermore, Article 15(3) permits the state to positively discriminate in favour of women to make special provision, to deliver them social, economic and political justice and accords them parity. Gender-based discrimination and disparity are witnessed in numerous cases of sexual harassment and dowry deaths that are very common in India even in the age of revolutionary technological advancements. In some cases, women are still restricted from entering temple premises.
Women must be encouraged to prove their mettle in every sphere. The Government must open doors for them to prove that they are equal to men. As per the latest report, the contribution of women in various sectors is as follows: Financial & Insurance (60%), Media and Entertainment (42%), Professional Services (56%). The following sectors show engagement of lowest percentage of women: Agriculture and Mining (18%) and Automotive (21%). In Indian Parliament and Assemblies, women have never represented more than 10%. Most of the women workers in India are outside the organised sector.


The Importance Of Physical Fitness
As far as the dictionary meaning is concerned, physical fitness is a general state of good physical health. Obtaining and maintaining physical fitness is a result of physical activity, proper diet and nutrition and, of course, of proper rest for physical recovery. In its simplest terms, physical fitness is to the human body what fine-tuning is to an engine. It enables people to perform up to their potential. Regardless of age, fitness can be described as a condition that helps individuals look, feel and do their best. Thus, physical fitness trainers describe it as the ability to perform daily tasks vigorously and alertly, with leftover energy to enjoy leisure-time activities and meet emergency demands. Specifically true for senior citizens, physical fitness is the ability to endure, bear up, withstand stress and carry on in circumstances where an unfit person could not continue.
For anybody in order to be considered physically fit, the heart, the lungs, and muscles have to perform at a certain level. In other words, all the parts of the body have to act properly so that the individual continues feeling capable of performing an activity. At the same time, since what humans do with their bodies directly affects the state of mind, fitness influences to some degree qualities such as mental alertness and emotional expression.
Physical fitness is often divided into the following categories in order that people may be able to examine its components or parameters. Particularly, physical fitness is judged by:
1. Cardiovascular endurance : This is the ability of the body to deliver oxygen and nutrients to tissues and to remove wastes over sustained periods of time.
2. Muscular strength and endurance : Strength deals with the ability of the muscle to exert force for a brief time period, while endurance is the ability of a muscle, or group of muscles, to sustain repeated contractions or to continue to apply force against an inert object.
3. Flexibility : This denotes the ability to move joints and use muscles through their full range of motion.
4. Body composition : Considered as one of the components of fitness, composition refers to the body in terms of lean mass (muscle, bone, vital tissue, and organs) and fat mass. Actually, the optimal ratio of fat to lean mass is an indication of fitness. Performing the right set of exercises can help people get rid of body fat and increase or maintain muscle mass.
J.F. Kennedy has rightly said, “Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” This statement clearly shows us the importance of physical fitness. But what is physical fitness? Well, it is a state or condition in which both your body and your mind are healthy and physically sound (by taking in proper nutrition and maintaining a good workout schedule). It is not necessary for a person who is physically fit to have a lean body, that can be achieved by maximum calories burned. Rather, one should have strong body endurance, along with good muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness. It is also important to remember that a physically fit body is generally accompanied by a happy and satisfied state of mind.
Today’s world is very competitive and nobody can escape hectic schedule of life. Earlier, people’s lifespan used to be longer than present lifespan. Because earlier people lived in different lifestyle and different working style. But today’s people are working under stressful condition and as a result, they are suffering from many diseases. Physical fitness is very essential for good health to live and lead a happy life. To achieve physical fitness we need to have minimal diet habits, regular exercise and good sleep. These three basic things are very essential in every individual’s life. Physical inactivity is one of the leading causes of death in both developing and developed countries, responsible for an estimated 22-23% of CHID, 16-17% of colon cancer, 15% of diabetes, 12-13% of strokes and 11% of breast cancer. Physical activity is associated with a decreased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).
A survey has found that urban people are more prone to health problems than rural people. Women are facing many more health problems than men do. As you start ageing, you will lose 20 percent of your body’s water content, 60 percent of your ability to taste, 35 percent of your ability to pump blood from the heart, about 3 inches in height. Therefore, we need to know the importance of physical fitness.

The Role Of Media In Our Society
In todays world, media has made a very special place for itself in our lives. It would be no exaggeration to say that it governs a very important aspect of our living. In the words of Malcolm X, the famous American black militant leader who articulated the concepts of race pride and Black nationalism in the 1960s. The medias the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and thats power. Because they control the minds of the masses. The world of media is irrespective of age and  outlook as well as regardless of nationality and creed. Media has always been a very huge part of the society, where it represents the society as a whole and acts as a mirror to the society, reflecting each and everything about it. Its major duty is to educate,inform and entertain people, providing all the news that is required by a layman for his survival. In a democratic country like India, media gives the citizens the power to express themselves boldly against the unjust policies of the Government, and even raise their voices against the corrupt politicians. Media may be of different kinds such as tele-media which includes television and online media, or print media such as newspapers and magazines. Radio FMs and AMs are also popular means of mass communication these days.The print media helps provide vital information to the people. Newspapers have become an integral part of our day-to-day lives, catering to the tastes of readers of all age groups and interests. Besides being an important source of information about the everyday world happenings, newspapers and magazines have become a tool for entertainment as well. There is news from the world of sports, there are job vacancies, advertisements, cartoon strips, astrology, matrimonials and various other columns and pages, which are a real feast to the reading minds. People eagerly await the arrival of the newspapers everyday and spend the early hours of the morning reading the news. Coming to tele-media, television has become an inseparable part of our lives these days. The emergence of the television has become the backbone of the global commercial development. Television contains the ability to produce multimedia content and thus has the immense power to change an individuals perception of reality. It is one of the most powerful of the many types of media that are available. It has got a lot of educative and informative channels, which we can use as a tool to groom the child. Let us now consider the Internet. The Internet or the web media is one of the newest and largest forms of mass communication given that it has no precincts; it is available uniformly throughout the world. As it offers literally everything under the sun from online banking to shopping to chatting and business networking. we have more and more people using the Internet than ever before. Facebook, Orkut and Twitter have occupied such special place in our lives that if we are not a part of it, then there is something really important that we are missing. With the advent of high speed Internet, it is possible to connect to our dear ones, who are miles away in another country altogether, in just a few seconds through media tools such as Skype and chat. Another example of an extremely powerful form of media is the cinema. The movies mirror the society and, besides providing entertainment, sometimes, convey serious and meaningful messages to the people. Films on the lives of great people can change someones life for better, forever. Take, for example, our very own Father of the Nation, Gandhiji. It is said that he was spurred on by a play on Raja Harishchandra which led to him take the stand of righteousness for the rest of his life. This started his journey towards becoming the Mahatma. Thus, if we just look around, we would find that there  is no aspect of our life which is not touched or affected by media. However, we must not forget that there are always two sides of a coin. Media has its own advantages and disadvantages. Today, people accuse media of a number of malpractices and regard it as an agent of misinformation.
Media is charged with laying too much emphasis on sensationalising the public. Today, television channels and  newspapers are making fast money by cashing in on the news in the wrong sense and the wrong way. People complain that the television channels are just airing programmes that give them high TRP ratings, and they accuse every channel of being a mouthpiece of some political party or other.
The present generation and the next generation are highly in use of and are addicted to the Internet.


My Best Friend
 There is a notion that companionship and solitude are the two dichotomous states, concomitantly inextricable constituents of human life. Added to it is the incontrovertible fact that the one who finds positive and earnest friend is among the very few lucky ones. All joys, rewards and wealth are fleeting and transitory when put to test in a competition with the eternal and heavenly mirth. The merriment, bliss and blessedness of the everlasting bond of true friendship, is contemporaneously describable as inexplicable and inextricable. Compared to friendship, gold is dirt. William Roster once put this ethereal emotion into his words. How  rare is that flash of moment when we realise we have discovered a friend. Truly, without an iota of doubt, cultivating true and great friendship in life (that eventually withstands even the toughest and the most hostile test of time) multiplies the good and divides the evils. Devoid of friends, it is like life on a deserted island. As one philosopher wrote many  centuries ago, There is nothing in the world more valuable than friendship. Those who banish it from their lives  remove as it were the sun from the earth, because of all natures gifts, it is the most beautiful and the most pleasing. To find a real friend in a lifetime is good fortune; to keep him is a blessing. To my mind, Robin Sharma puts it more aptly and appropriately, A person with three great friends is a rich person indeed.
Or for that matter, consider the famed aphorism of Samuel Johnson, True happiness consists not in the multitude of friends, but in their worth and choice. It is, however, a matter of sheer coincidence that I have three friends, whom I hold so dear to my heart that words would forever remain inadequate to describe their indispensability in my life. A true friend is like a four-leaf clover: hard to find but lucky to have. Aristotle golden words go like this Friendship is a single soul dwelling- in two bodies. And rightly so, my soul or my life, dwells in these three friends of mine.


Technology—Bane or Boon
The overt observation of some knowledgeable persons who passionately feel concerned for the welfare of humanity, in the wake of scientific strides and technological triumphs, laments that “technology creates more problems than it solves”. Their concern echoes the similar sentiments of thinkers like J.G.Ballard for whom, “technology dictates the languages in which we speak and think. Either we use those languages or we remain mute”, and for Omar Bradley “our technology has already outstripped our ability to control it”. Despite these jarring notes, technology has acquired a halo that is almost impossible to shake off.
 Who can deny the robust role and range of technology that we experience in our every day life. If we care to look at the scintillating side of technology, we find space technology and its applications provide useful data for natural disaster monitoring, solving environment problems, improve telecommunications and provide other basic services. Through fax, e-Mail and the Internet, information technology has outstripped all barriers that time and space had placed in man’s search for instant information. Though electronic information is hard to control, yet the individual newsgatherer is visible and vulnerable. The latest in the success story is the likely boom that bio-technology promises to unfold in the years to come. Rightly, biotechnology  is being seen by scientists and entrepreneurs alike as the next big thing with the potential to revolutionise the fields of agriculture, health and medicine. The promises are many: disease-resistant and high-yield crops that could solve the world’s food problems; new medicines and drug delivery systems to cure diseases and prevent genetically inherited disorders; and new enzymes that make industrial production more efficient and cost-effective.
 For ages the axiom, nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so, was the golden rule that moulded human perceptions and concrete actions. With the advent of science and technology, and their subsequent sway over human ideas, intuitions and ideologies, it is now ‘the use or abuse’ of technology that renders it either a blessing or a bane for humanity that lives and survives on the ever- spreading tentacles of technology. In short, it is the technology that rules the roost now and keeps its ambience alive all the time in various manifestations. With the frontiers of technology influencing all aspects of life, both in terms of time and space, it is anybody’s guess as to what the future holds in store for humanity, that has become so enamoured of technology.
 If the past is any guide, one can learn a lot from the happenings of the 20th century, that used and abused scientific and technological achievements for increasing physical comforts and living standards, as also for fighting the two world wars, resorting to nuclear bombing and land mines and other means of mass deaths and destruction, dislocation of millions resulting in untold misery and suffering. In the face of so much good that we expect from science and technology, scientist warn that if we do not change our ways, our civilisation is not likely to survive.
 Man’s greed, aided and abetted by science and technology, has already over-exploited and abused the earth’s material resources and destroyed its ecosystems. Forests are vanishing and there is increased desertification, the seas and oceans are stained with death because of the poisons that we have poured into them. We have even polluted the rain with poisonous smoke from our industrial chimneys. We have not only raped the soil and denigrated the ecosystems, but also lost touch with our inner self.
 There is no denying that our cares and concerns are being controlled by technology, in its various forms and facets. Whether in company or in solitude, technology has come to occupy a pivotal place in our day to day life. If the despots use it to perpetuate their repressive rule, the terrorists have employed it to explode symbols of progress. With no end to man’s rapacious nature in sight, technology has become a hand-maiden of unscrupulous exploiters of natural resources and immoral traders of wild life species.
 Technology as it reigns supreme over our intellect and imagination, is redefining human relations. In a bid to hit the jackpot, or make a quick buck, the individual has lost his identity and, in the bargain, has fallen an easy prey to alienation and estrangement. Smarting under physical fatigue and mental stress, he has become a victim of the phenomenon of being an “outsider” among his own people. Despite a host of benefits that technology has conferred on us in varying degrees, the onslaught of anger and angst is very much conspicuous. If today we are scared of some impending disaster, it is because technology has given such powers to individuals and groups which even the demons or deities of mythology did not enjoy.
 We are standing at the threshold where technology as a source of boon or brazenness is staring in our face. In moments of introspection, we must bear in mind what Aldous Huxley had said: “technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards”.


Ideology or Technology
The choice is not as baffling as Hamlet’s predicament: “to be or not to be.” If ideology means a set of ideas that form the basis of an economic or political theory, or that are held by a particular group or community, technology stands for scientific study and use of mechanical arts and applied sciences. Over a period of time, both ideology and technology have acquired a strong gravitational force that has rendered them more as combatants than as comrades-in-arm. To the unsuspecting or uncritical, progressive ideology may appear seriously dealing with issues like poverty, social inequality, deprivation, exploitation, et al and technology too may seem trying to grapple with human problems that hinder faster economic development, better means of communication and transport, improving quality of life and living conditions, updating the frontiers of knowledge, et al. If their aims are meant for human welfare, why is technology being preferred over ideology in the present world? The question is equally rigorous and relevant and calls for cool consideration and discreet discussion.
 In concept and complexion, ideology tends to become inflexible if new inputs are not allowed to revitalise and rejuvenate its contents and contours. Technology, though flexible and forward-looking, is also subject to becoming a terrible tool of death and destruction in the hands of evil. Since technology has managed to occupy the centre stage of the world, and rightly so, any conflict or competition between ideology and technology is not only untimely but also untenable. There is no denying the fact that technology has acquired the power and potential to turn and twist our senses and sensibilities. It is the practical application of technology that determines its pivotal place in our concerns and calculations. Although humankind desperately needs the three paramount pillars of Gandhian thought and practice—Truth, Ahimsa and Goodness— yet it is the fast tempo of life, coupled with worldly success and a candid control over time and space, that stands out as something tangible and telling as compared to abstractions.
 The question that needs to stir our conscience should be: Can we afford to abandon our concern for socio-political causes and commitments to human values that lend meaning, motive and mission to our perceptions and practices? Has ideology become irrelevant and irrational in the deluge that science and technology has unleashed? No doubt, technology is on the march to attain more and more milestones. But technology devoid of political philosophy, economic egalitarianism and social justice for all is fraught with dangerous dimensions. A world where only technology matters is likely to become as perilous as a single track mind obsessed with fantasies bordering on phantoms.
 There is near unanimity on the view held the world over that technology unites people, irrespective of their colour or creed, whereas ideology divides them and puts them in water-tight compartments. The memories of ‘Concentration Camps’, ‘Gas Chambers’ and other forms of genocide associated with ideologies like Fascism, Nazism, Marxism and the like are too chilling and blood curdling to be easily erased from mental screens. Equally unnerving and unsettling are the events and their consequences that were the direct outcome or fallout of the holocaust let loose by nuclear technology mindlessly employed during the closing years of World War II (1945). The division of the world in two power blocs, and the traumas of Cold War —all in the name of ideology—is too fresh an irritant that none in his/her senses would ever wish their repetition.
 Technology is indispensable in whatever age we may be living. Equally important is the place of socio-economic/political system that assures the benefits of progress reaching  the last person under the sun. Generally, when we talk of ideology, we seem to discuss some philosophy that is retrograde, but when we eulogise technology, we appear to swim with the current. If technology promises the best now, ideology holds the promise of the best to be in future. In fact, technology has been called a great social leveller. What ideology fails to achieve and fulfil, technology does without much pride and prejudice.
 With the spread of liberal education, and cross migration of people from one region to the other, it has become literally impossible for the die-hards to resist the vibrant influences that technology has imprinted on human psyche. For the paradigms of ideology, that purport to promote social services like education, health care, potable water, houses, employment, etc for all, it better join hands with the ever expanding horizons of technology and thus play the role of an interlocutor. Instead of being at loggerheads, both humane ideology and towering technology can work hand in glove with each other.

Burnout
Daily living is becoming a war of nerves and each one of us is called upon to work out strategies to cope with daily challenges of our existence. Gone are the laid back days when work was a pleasure that set the rhythm of life. We now live in an age of anxiety and competition and willy-nilly are caught in the ongoing rat race. Right from our first days in school to the last days of our career we are constantly reminded of competing or how to get ahead of the next guy or keep abreast of him/her.
 Every one these days is complaining of stress—at home, in office, on the road, anywhere and everywhere. Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown is a proverb that is in need of immediate modification. Now even the common man is seldom at ease and kings either have disappeared or no longer wear crowns. Life is full of stress for every one, young or old, and when constant stress has you suddenly down you feel physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted. Well, you may be suffering from burnout!
 When you are burned out, you find yourself in maize of insurmountable problems. It is blank and bleak and you cannot even think what has happened to you. Utter desolation surrounds you all the time. Energy? Where has it all gone? There is not whiff of it left and you do not know what will support and sustain you! Will you ever come out of this blackness or blankness or both mixed up together to get you sucked up into a darkening world!
 Humans, however, are not without reserves and resilience. You will come back and feel the sanity returning; better prepared for the next time because the war of nerves continues. Next time, hopefully, you will know what is coming in time. You will understand the signs and symptoms of the impending burnout. It might not be all that difficult to prevent it then. Effective burnout-busting is within your grasp.  The strategy involves taking hold of yourself emotionally and physically and seek out others who might be of help when you need it most. Psychiatrists suggest that one must stay connected to others and this, in itself, is a reliable safeguard against burnouts.
 Burnout happens gradually, though once in its middle you feel awful and unwilling to fight it. Therefore, one must be always on guard and must recognise the signs of burnout and meet it head on, and most likely, one would succeed in heading it off. Burnout is usually rooted in stress. And stress has a way of telling you when it is getting on and over you. So recognise the symptoms of stress and overcome them. If you are vigilant, you stand a good chance to avoid burnout even before it sets in.
 We have been stressing the role of STRESS so far but mark that though extreme stress leads to burnout, burnout and stress are not the same thing. An overstressed person is quite capable of imagining that if she/he could just get organised, everything would be under control and okay. But burnout empties out all motivation. A burned-out person sees no positive change happening. Excessive stress is like floating in a sea of tasks and responsibilities; burnout is a total drowning.
 While one is aware of being overstressed, one does not know anything once one is in the grip of burnout. The process of burnout is seldom sudden. Long periods of hopelessness, the cynicism, and the detachment from others bring about symptoms of burnout slowly and one loses one’s capability of recognising the symptoms. It remains for others to notice that you are passing into burnout but will you listen to the other, your friend or colleague or any well-wisher?
 Workplace is a natural setting for burnouts but one or more bad workdays cannot be called a job burnout. An effective way to head off job burnout is to just give up what one is doing and take up something else in its place. Going on a vacation can also do the trick—change of scene, as they say. Change of scene helps one recharge one’s batteries and return to oneself with a new perspective.
 Besides reading books, you can join a support group, know your limits, accept your feelings, confide in others and, most importantly, build or maintain a foundation of good physical health. Be sure to eat right, get enough sleep, and make workout part of your daily routine. Know your own needs and find ways to meet them. And because burnout is related to stress, many of the methods for countering stress can also help prevent burnout. Smile at life’s little ironies and that will keep burnouts off limits!

Children on Crossroads
According to researchers at Stanford University and the University of California-Santa Barbara, stories about crime and violence make up 40 per cent of the child-related newspaper coverage. Though we do not have similar statistics and research-based analysis on Indian children, situation is alarming in India also.
 University of California also found “a general lack of public policy coverage” related to children in the sources studied. In this behalf, the Indian situation is worse because our  television and newspaper presentations on children’s issues hardly mention, much less focus on policy issues that affect children.
 Nor are the age groups clearly marked in the newsier articles and television discussions. It is the adolescents mostly who get the media attention.
 In news coverage of children the emphasis is on reports of crime, with children portrayed as both victims and perpetrators of violence. Such an emphasis diminishes the public’s perception of the relative importance of other child-related concerns.
 A child who experiences any kind of maltreatment—neglect, physical or sexual abuse—is likely to get involved with the juvenile justice system.
 It’s not clear how many youths under 18 are tried in adult criminal courts in this country. Cases of three-year old charged with rape and murder have been reported in newspapers.
 It is no consolation that brutalisation of children is a world wide phenomenon. In India, situation is as bad as anywhere else but cases of child abuse do not get reported.
 Peculiar  to India is  female foeticide or selective abortion based on the foetus gender or sex selection of child. This is a crime perpetrated against the yet-to-be born girl child. Often, parents themselves are responsible for committing this crime. Besides, domestic  violence too affects children badly. Children get physically abused or hurt at home or get mentally damaged while witnessing violent fights between parents and among relatives. Children some times intervene to protect the adult victim, endangering themselves. Children also copy the violent adult behaviour they witness at home and elsewhere and they, thus, expose themselves to stress-related problems. They lose self-confidence or develop guilt complex blaming themselves for the violence at home, especially between parents.
 Unlike the laws of many other countries, Indian Penal Code makes no distinction between child sexual abuse from rape or molestation or other kind of crime. In fact, the laws against child sexual abuse are only in their developing stage. Some parts of the law applicable to sexual abuse of a child are related to sale, hire, distribution, or circulation of obscene objects of literature to children.
 Several movements have been started to initiate amendments to the penal code, adding specific crimes for sexual abuse. But, in an increasingly violent society, laws are no succour  to the innocent victims of  crime and violence.
 In sum, rape and sexual abuse of children in India is a large problem not easy of solution.  India’s corrupt and weak legal system renders  the problem even larger.
 However, the situation can be improved by appropriately educating children and adults on crime and violence, and educating the police, law officers and judges to be more sensitive toward social issues.

What ails engineering education
Engineering education in Tamil Nadu, which is the best in the nation, produces brilliant students but does not necessarily produce path-breaking research in the country that can cause global difference.
The reasons are deep and fundamental in nature. The crux lies in the structure, the syllabi, and the attitude of the entire system.
Starting from the top, the structure needs a change. Engineering colleges in the State come under one major university. Essentially what happens is that there is hefty lobbying for the pristine post of Vice-Chancellor and, as a result, numerous obligations are present for the man at the top post; as such, objectivity in policy-making is almost non-existent.
The man at the helm is given a mere three years and while a three-year term is a good barometer of one's performance, there does not seem to exist structured processes which check the level of performance, the level of corruption, if any, and the level of personal gains from any of the policies undertaken. If the committee to choose the top post is monitored by the Supreme Court (since such a huge set of colleges are under it), then there would be more transparency within the system. Furthermore, more continuity and independence should be given to the VC's so that he/she can implement policies without hindrance. The engineering syllabus barring the IIT is outdated and needs a revamp. For example, there is a course called professional ethics. This is crucial but if you ask any engineering student, he will laugh at what goes on in this class. The person teaching the subject is clueless and would be reading a bunch of rhetorical monologues from a book throughout the course. On the contrary, the coursework should be more interactive, and not just theoretical in nature, aiming at showing the student how much he/she could relate it to his or her future profession. The emphasis should be not on how much you memorise, but on how much you apply what you memorise. Courses should be based on industry-student interactions and have a broader outlook on life, not the narrow mindset of passing an exam. One of the major changes that can be done is to bring young professors in the university on the review committee for syllabus change. A perfect amalgamation of the young and the old would help revamp the syllabi in such a way that it fits into the youthful dynamics of today and yet retains the wisdom of the stalwarts of yesteryear.
Attitude needs a change everywhere. One of the major drawbacks with government colleges is that they have a sloppy administration. Professionalism and accountability need to be brought in in the form of having a private organisation monitor the administration till it reaches a certain level of efficiency. One of the ways to inculcate professionalism and make the staff accountable is to pay them more.
Fortunately, after the Sixth Pay Commission the professor earns a creditable Rs. 80,000 a month and this would help change the attitude of some faculty who are grudging the lack of a decent salary. Their grudge is justified considering the disparity in pay with graduated students profitably employed in the private sectors. Having said this, if this grudge gets translated into being lethargic at work and grading students with a personal vendetta, this trend can get dangerous. An increase in pay also results in more quality faculty coming into the system within the engineering colleges and thus following the law of cyclic reactions, the knowledge imparted to the students also increases.

Female Infanticide in India
Five million girls were eliminated between 1986 and 2001 because of foetal sex determination done by unethical medical professionals. The rate of extermination continues to increase after census 2001.Sex determination and sex selective abortion was traced to an Amritsar clinic in 1979 and has now grown into an Rs.1000 -crore country wide industry.
 In recent years the misuse of ultrasound has reached remote tribal areas of Rajasthan, Bundelkhand and emerged even in parts of India where women were better treated such as Assam, Kerala and the Kashmir valley. China as of 2000 census was eliminating one million girls annually but present trends suggest that India is likely to overtake China in less than a decade. Son preference has become daughter hatred in India in the recent decades due to the widespread legitimization of this form of violence against women.
In 1994 Parliament responded to the misuse of prenatal diagnostic techniques by enacting PNDT Act. However it was not implemented. The Supreme Court directed the government to implement the PNDT Act in May 2001.Later it was amended to make it more stringent. The health ministry has to be more proactive to stop female foeticide.The ministry surrendered one crore rupees of the meagre funds allocated to the PNDT cell in this budget year. In 2005 the health ministry released full-page advertisements calling female foeticide a sin. 
Converting crimes into sins is dangerous as it will only fuel further decline in sex-ratios. There are attempts by some politicians to limit abortion as a means to stop female foeticide. Such anti-women actions would endanger women's health though it may be acceptable to religious fundamentalists.
 Efforts of the media have certainly contributed to the increased public discourse on this issue over the years. Today reports of female fetuses found in drains or dug from dry wells or floating in lakes or eaten by dogs are headline news. There have been stories on the consequences like trafficking of women for marriage and emergence of polyandry.
 The government of India should set a target date by which the country will have balanced sex-ratios at birth. The coming plan needs to give a fair deal to women by abandoning fertility targets and replacing it with solid commitments to restore sex-ratio at birth. There has to be official recognition that small families are increasingly achieved by eliminating girls.


Essay on Gender Bias
Gender bias is commonly considered to be discrimination and/or hatred towards people based on their gender rather than their individual merits, but can also refer to any and all systemic differentiations based on the gender of the individuals.
Gender bias can refer to subtly different beliefs or attitudes:
1. The belief that one gender or sex is inferior to or more valuable than the other which is Female or male chauvinism.
2. The attitude of misogyny (hatred of females) or misandry (hatred of males); as well as the attitude of imposing a limited and/or false notion of masculinity on males and a limited and/or false notion of femininity on females, or vice versa.
3. A feeling of distrust towards the opposite or same sex as a whole.
Gender bassist's beliefs, as a part of essentialism, holds that individuals can be understood or judged based solely on the characteristics of the group to which they belong-in this case, their gender group, as males or females. Certain forms of gender discrimination are illegal in many countries, but nearly all countries have laws that give special rights, privileges, or responsibilities to one sex or two sexes.
The view that men are superior to women is one form of gender bias. This form is often called male chauvinism, chauvinism in a broader sense referring to any extreme and unreasonable partisanship that is accompanied by malice and hatred towards a rival group. A similar term is gynophobia, which refers to fears of females or feminity. Historically, in many patriarchal societies, females have been and are viewed as the "weaker sex". Women's lower status can be seen in cases in which females were not even recognized as persons under the law of the land.
The feminist movement promotes women's rights to end sexism against females by addressing issues such as equality under the law, political representation of females, access to education and employment, female victims of domestic violence. The view that women are superior to men is also a form of gender bias. Sexism against males has been referred to as "reverse sexism".
But as such worldwide, especially in 3rd world countries gender bias is used to describe discrimination against women. However countries like India are making huge efforts in combating this evil by passing and implementing new laws, and giving certain privileges to women. But if this evil has to be eliminated from society, men will have to make efforts from their side also, so that women can live in an equally paced world.


GENDER EQUALITY AND SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS IN India
Since Independence, the government of India has promulgated many laws to protect women’s rights. In general, application of these laws is weak. An international study by Rhoodie goes so far as to state that India “is a good example of a country with an abyssal gap between policy and practice.” India’s legal framework has less influence on women’s rights than do the nation’s religions. Some 80 per cent of the population lives according to Hinduism and its customs and laws; the Muslim population follows the Islamic Sharia law. It is important to bear in mind the number of women subjected to the following discriminations: India is home to some 500 million women.
Family Code:
Indian women hold a moderate level of authority and status in relation to family matters. The Indian authorities have fought against early marriage since the 19th century and have continually raised the legal age of marriage – from 12 in 1891, to 14 in 1929, 15 in 1955 and finally to 18 in 1976. But the high percentage of women married before the age of 20 shows a lack of respect for the marriage law. A 2004 United Nations estimated that 30 per cent of girls between 15 and 19 years of age are married, divorced or widowed. A study by Morrisson suggest that in rural areas of northern India, more than 50 per cent of women are believed to be married before the age of 15.
 Polygamy is legal for Muslims, who are allowed to take up to four wives. It also exists to a lesser extent amongst Hindus, particularly in cases where the first wife has not given birth to any sons. Divorce by mutual consent is the legal practice but women who initiate divorce are usually condemned by public opinion. As a result, divorce remains very rare. Repudiation, the simple act of pronouncing a marriage to be over without pursuing legal divorce, is allowed for Muslim men.
 Fathers alone have parental authority in both Hindu and Muslim families. If divorce does occur, the law assures some equality with regard to child custody, but any advantages granted to the mother are often disregarded.
 Hindu traditions privilege men in matters of inheritance, as only sons are able to inherit from their parents. In theory, these traditions were abolished by law after Independence but many women, especially in northern India, are still deprived of inheritance. Contrary to national laws passed by the Indian Union, several local states allow the exclusion of widows and daughters in land inheritance. The situation is more favourable for women in the south, where the national laws carry more weight. The Muslim population follows strict inheritance guidelines set out in Sharia, which are also discriminatory: daughters, for example, inherit half as much as sons. This is commonly justified by the argument that women have no financial responsibility towards their husbands and children.
Physical Integrity:
Indian legislation protecting women’s physical integrity is strong but its application is lacking. Violence against women is frequent: in half of the Indian states, the statistics for battered women range between 10 per cent and 20 per cent. The practice of dowry has been maintained, and thousands of women are murdered each year by their husbands because the dowry is too low. Official figures state that some 6 000 women are killed over dowry disputes each year, but even this number is believed to underestimate reality, since the majority of the murders remain unregistered.
 Female genital mutilation is not practised in India. However, there is strong evidence to suggest that India is a country of high concern in relation to missing women. Census data from a study by Hudson show that almost 40 million Indian women were missing in 2001. In reality, this is not new, but is linked to a centuries-old tradition of killing young girls. In 1870, the authorities forbade this practice and imposed the registration of all births but girl killings continued in many small villages. Today, technological advances make it much easier to perform sex-selective abortions in villages and in cities. In addition, when children are ill, Indian fathers are more likely to pay for treatment for sons than for daughters.
Ownership Rights:
Indian legislation supports the financial independence for women to a moderate degree. Several laws guarantee women’s access to land and access to property other than land, but these laws are often ignored in the north, as are those pertaining to women’s access to bank loans. The case is different in the south: recent surveys report that 70 per cent to 80 per cent of women in the south have equal access to land, property, and loans and credit.
Civil Liberties:
Women’s civil liberty in India is relatively low, but largely because of traditions and customs. Women’s freedom of movement is limited, particularly in village communities. The Muslim tradition of “purdah”, which demands segregation of the sexes and forces women to remain in the home, prevails amongst both Muslim and Hindu communities in the north, where 80 per cent to 85 per cent of women have virtually no freedom of movement. The practice was adopted by Hindus during a time of Muslim rule, largely out of fear. In the south, where Muslim rule was briefer, purdah conditions are imposed on less than half the female population. In both regions, the practice is more evident in villages than in larger cities.
 Women’s freedom of dress is similarly influenced by religion. Villages in northern India impose the veil in accordance with purdah; southern villages are less strict about this custom. In general, women in larger towns and cities have much greater freedom of dress.

MERCY KILLING
Euthanasia: where angels fear to tread…
            How does an individual come to the conclusion that an unconscious patient would prefer death to “suffering”? How could one kill him/her mercifully (mercilessly)? Until these vexing questions are answered, man should not be authorised to kill another of his species — the “so-called” mercy killing.
“There is no right way to do wrong” — Anon.
Mankind seems to be at the crossroads on euthanasia, mercy killings. As in any other area where man wants to usurp the power to put an end to another life legally, logically there will be, and should be, other equally powerful opinions against such heinous crime. While we legalise abortions for population control, we condemn foeticide as a crime. For those who do not want female kids, foeticide could look innocuous. The debate is influenced by our narrow selfish motives. Man, whether in the palace or pad, castle or cottage, is governed by the same passions and emotions, basically selfishness and greed. Just because one is a doctor, jurist or lawmaker one does not become a saint. Even a man on the top of the mountain still sits on his haunches.
Society looks up to the medical profession for its considered opinion as society considers doctors knowledgeable, well-intentioned, and scientific in their opinions. Leaving the first two qualities to the imagination of the reader, let us critically look at the science of modern medicine. Is there a science of man? The answer clearly is an unequivocal “NO” says Dr. Alexis Carrel, a Nobel Laureate scientist. Medicine only follows a statistical science, says another great scientist, the late Professor Rustum Roy. Statistics is defined as a science without sense by a noted American statistician-epidemiologist, Steven Milloy. That the science of medicine has serious limitations is the considered opinion of another Nobel Laureate biologist, Peter Medawar. David Eddy, a professor of cardiac surgery at Stanford, almost stopped practising his art as he was convinced that there is no scientific basis for medicine. He went on to explore a new non-linear model for medical science — archimedesmodel.com. I couldn't agree more.
Man is not a machine run by electro-biochemistry like any other machine which could be set right by repairing or replacing damaged organs. We have been using the linear laws of the inanimate sciences of physics and chemistry on an animate but conscious human being, a square peg in a round hole. Even physics now has come to realise that energy is the other name for matter; rightly called a-duality (advaita). Man, thus, becomes a bundle of energy with her/his own consciousness. No two human beings are alike as we do not have even identical fingerprints. Our idea of one-size-fits-all does not work in man. Even a comatose patient has his/her own consciousness. A child could remember the lullabies of the mother she said when it was in the womb. Perinatal consciousness imprints itself on the child for the rest of its life. Head injury patients have their own awareness. Patients under anaesthesia on the operating table could recount the conversation of the nurses and doctors.
Intercessory prayers could alter patient outcome even in intensive care units! Bio-photon pictures of Fritz-Albert Popp, a physicist, could show us how body cells could communicate with one another and with other cells in the vicinity. Nature works in its own mysterious ways. How then does science give us an indication that an unconscious patient is in pain and needs to be sent forthwith to meet her/his maker in heaven? Maybe, some of our rationalists and NGOs have a better insight into human nature! In fact, Pearl Buck wrote long ago that euthanasia is a long, smooth-sounding word, and it conceals its danger as long and smooth words do, but the danger is there, nevertheless. A couple of real life examples will emphasise my points about the unconscious consciousness. Jill Bolte Taylor is a celebrated neuroscientist at Harvard. At the age of 48, one fine morning, she is struck down in her bathtub with a massive haemorrhage damaging her left brain completely. After a complicated surgery and 10 years of rehabilitation she is back at her job. Talking about her experience at the time the haemorrhage began to destroy her left brain, she graphically describes how her right brain took charge with its altruistic nature. She felt one with the whole world and had such happiness, the like of which she had never ever experienced before or after that. With hindsight, she calls it as “NIRVANA” and now encourages people to practise praanaayaama to stimulate their right brains to enjoy happiness and reduce their misery of the left brain dominance causing hatred, greed, jealousy, anger and frustrations.
Similar was the experience of Dr. Johnston, a noted zoologist and specialist in lions. While he was photographing a lioness during her parturition, a slight noise from his camera shutters made the animal jump on him and crush him. Of course, forest guard eventually killed the lioness and took a badly mauled Johnston, in a deep coma, to hospital intensive care. After many years and a multitude of operations, he is alive and kicking. His autobiography describes that wonderful state of happiness when he was being crushed by the lioness and his subsequent misery during the many surgical operations that he had to undergo under deep anaesthesia.
Where is the human mind? What is the human mind? How does an individual come to the conclusion that an unconscious patient would prefer death to “suffering”? How could one kill him/her mercifully (mercilessly)? Until these vexing questions are answered, man should not be authorised to kill another of his species — the “so-called” mercy killing. I have not even touched upon the possibility of this being misused by the profession, noble once but greedy now. Elizabeth Butler and Ruth Richardson, journalist historians, feel that the modern medical profession has become “a corporate monstrosity.” One would do well to read that wonderful satire The Doctors Dilemma — a play by George Bernard Shaw, before coming to any conclusions about a doctor's capacities. I have no such opinion, though. Money and power could sway things in any direction.
“Man is an intellectual giant but a moral dwarf.” — Idjave Edewor


Science : A Blessing Or A Curse
Technology... is a queer thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other.”
The way a new invention is used makes it good or bad. The same is the case with Science. Science plays a very important and useful role in our life and can be a friend or a foe according to the way it is used.
Much of the progress that mankind has made in different fields right from the Stone Age to the Modern Age is due to the progress made in the field of Science. Not only material progress but also the mental outlook of man has been influenced by it. It has made man’s life happier and more comfortable.
Science is at the root of all progress. It tries to explain the principles behind natural phenomena, and scientists for long have been harnessing this knowledge for the benefit of the society as a whole. The application of scientific researches has proved to be a blessing in more ways than one, because we have reaped rewards in almost all fields of life. Great inventions of scientists have made the over-all living easier and more comfortable.
Agriculture, business, transport, communication and medicine, to name but a few, are all highly indebted to the wonders Science has produced. Today, the world has undergone a tremendous change because of the rapid strides made by Science and Technology. Medical Science has made great strides and today, we can hope for a longer and healthier life. New inventions and discoveries have not only helped in eradicating dreaded diseases like smallpox, T.B., yellow fever, etc., from the face of the earth, but also increased life expectancy of humans.
Science has been used very effectively in improving agricultural production. The food production levels and quality have improved by multiple factors such as soil analysis, hybrid varieties of crops giving higher yield, fertilisers, pesticides, advanced tools and machinery, etc. Today, we have scores of meteorological satellites in outer space sending data, pictures to earth stations helping agriculture scientists find and analyse soil patterns and thus increase crop yield.
Electricity is one of the greatest wonders of modern Science. It has brought revolutionary changes in the way people used to live. Moreover, the discovery and development of a large number of energy sources—coal, petroleum, natural gas, electricity, etc., have enabled humanity to conquer the barriers of nature. All this has facilitated the growth of fast modes of transport and communication, which in turn has changed the world into a global village.


FDI (Foreign Direct Investment)
What is FDI?
Foreign Direct Investment is the investment which is done in productive assets and participation in the management of the company as the stake holders by a company which is based in one country, into a company based in another country. Recently the cabinet said OK for 51% FDI in multi-brand retail sector & 100% FDI in single brand. Foreign Investment in India is governed by the FDI policy announced by the Government of India and the provision of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) 1999. RBI also issues notifications which contains the Foreign Exchange Management (Transfer or issue of security by a person resident outside India) Regulations, 2000 and had been amended many times. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India is the nodal agency for motoring and reviewing the FDI policy on continued basis.
Ways of investment?
The investing company may make its overseas investment in a number of ways - Joint Ventures, merger, Franchising, Sourcing of Supplies from small-scale sector, Cash and Carry whole sale trading, Non-Store Formats, Strategic Licensing Agreements, either by setting up a subsidiary or associate company in the foreign country, by acquiring shares of an overseas company.
 The foreign retail chains will need to make very expensive real estate investments which may or may not be feasible in the long run.
Who are the target group for FDI?
 The people who prefer going to shopping malls instead of kirana shops constitute not a sizable percentage and who belong to affluent, upper middle and middle class. As such there is no immediate threat to the kirana shops or small venders, as they have their own share of customers with whom they share a special relationship.
Why only India?
India has a population of nearly 1.2 billion, and many countries feel it as most alluring and thriving retail destination. Liberalization of trade policy and loosening of barriers and restrictions to the foreign investment in the retail sector of India, have made the FDI in retail sector quite easy and smooth. India being a signatory to World Trade Organisation’s General Agreement on Trade in Services, which include wholesale and retailing services, had to open up the retail trade sector to foreign investment. In 1997, FDI in cash and carry (wholesale) with 100 percent ownership was allowed under the Government approval route. It was brought under the automatic route in 2006. 51 percent investment in a single brand retail outlet was also permitted in 2006. India being an open economy with skilled workforces and good growth prospects tend to attract larger amounts of foreign direct investment among other growing and emerging markets.
Advantages of FDI:
There would be increase in revenue to the state exchequer in the form of taxes
Counties which have shortage of funds for developmental activities would find it beneficial if they go for FDI thereby improving the country's "shunned sectors" -- infrastructure and logistics. So in order to grow faster and compete with the other countries foreign investment would turn out to be very fruitful.
There would be increase in employment opportunities
All multi brand products are available under one roof and there would be greater range and variety of products for sale and increased consumer choice
Competitive spirit and good managerial skills would be introduced in the country
Festival discounts would be available to the people
Many under developed and developing countries will be benefited with the introduction of FDI.
Best corporate and management practices would be introduced in the country
Better usage and utilization of natural resources
Helps in bridging infrastructural gaps (especially rural infrastructure) and technological hiccups.
Services at large would be benefited to people belonging to urban and semi urban areas
There would be improvement in the quality standards
Acceptance of credit, debit and Sodexo cards also encourage the purchases in big shopping malls
Permitting foreign investment in food-based retailing is likely to increase the capital flow into the country.
Usage of latest technologies in the farming sector can improve farmer’s income (by reducing wastage of agricultural produce, enabling them to get better prices) & agricultural growth thereby lowering consumer prices inflation.
By selling their goods directly to the foreign players would help the farmers in getting remunerative prices by their produce therefore reducing the long chain of intermediaries or middlemen.
Disadvantages to FDI:
Multi national companies require high investment, infrastructure facilities, packaging costs, advanced security system, high maintenance costs and very high variable cost of operation. And may be in the long run incurring huge losses.
Many fear that a time would come when these MNC’s making direct investments start dictating terms over the company into which the investment is made may influence the political system in the country. And many politicians felt allowing FDI in retail will push the country towards economic slavery
Small vendors and hawkers feel that these big giants would badly affect the domestic industry, thereby affecting their livelihood.
The items which these Multinational companies introduce in the market are beyond the competitive capacity of the small venders.
Multi National Companies (MNC)s could generate meager employment opportunities that is to for selected professional people. Farmers would be affected due to monopolization of the MNCs, competition, loss of entrepreneurial opportunities and self employed indigenous retailers who provide employment to many will be forced to close down their shops as they unable to face the highly unhealthy competition from the MNCs
Due to increase in multi brand products and increased purchasing power people are introduced to a new kind of lifestyle which they are not used to may force to change their lifestyle which may affect their future economically.
Unlike in America where the shopping malls are in the outskirts of the city and the family shops for a month and it is considered as a family activity. Whereas in India food items are purchased in small quantities as many do not have adequate money to buy for a month nor do they have massive storage facilities at home. Unlike Americans, Indians do not drive miles and do bulk purchasing.
In what way FDI is beneficial to farmers?
The Indian Farmer and Industrial Alliance (IFIA), a joint venture of the Consortium of Indian Farmers Associations (CIFA), recognized the potential benefits of eliminating middlemen and has expressed its support for opening the retail sector to foreign investment.
Views against the FDI :
Small traders feel they will not be able to withstand the competition. self employed indigenous retailers who provide employment to many will be forced to close down their shops, unable to face the highly unhealthy competition from the MNCs
Some felt that the government should impose a blanket ban on foreign retailers from entering into retail trade

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