Selected Essays/Printable version


Selected Essays

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An Ideal Student

The word 'student' refers to 'a learner'. A person who wishes to acquire a certain kind of knowledge and wisdom or skills in a particular field or enhances their intellectual capabilities in general manner is a learner or a student. Thought, all of us remain students of the Great Master called Life forever, our life is so divided, that we spend around 15-20 years of the early part of our life in acquiring the necessary knowledge in order to lead a successful life later.

This calls for a systematic and organised system of education. Pupils under the ambit of this formal system of education spend a bulk of their childhood, adolescence and a part of their youth in acquiring all the pre-required knowledge needed to build up a successful career and thereby lead a successful life.

Thus, we see that a person for the first quarter of their life is foremost a student. Even in ancient times in our country, the life of a person was systematically divided into four parts called the Ashrams viz the Brahmacharya Ashrama, the Grihastha Ashrama, the Vanprastha Ashrama and the Sanyasa Ashrama.

The Brahmacharya Ashrama was the time when the child practised celibacy and acquired knowledge, wisdom and understanding at the feet of his Guru. Even in these Ashramas, the students were supposed to be disciplined and abide by the rules of their Gurus. These rules were same, for the members of the royal family as well as for others.

A person in order to acquire knowledge and gain wisdom should have certain qualities, capacities and abilities in oneself in order to be a good student. A person who has such capacities makes for a desirable and likeable student in the eyes of his teacher. An ideal student should first of all be punctual. One should know the value of time. Unless one realises how precious time is, one will not be able to master oneself. If one lacks this quality, time, the great power, will finally beat them and they will fail to achieve their goals. next, an ideal student should be obedient and should have an open mind. unless one follows the instructions of one's teacher and allows oneself to be corrected and reformed for betterment, a student will never be able to succeed in life.

A good student should be humble as well. If one is humble, only then one will be able to learn, be obedient and gain the knowledge and skills imparted by the teacher. Students are like raw clay in the hands of a teacher. They are like tender saplings which need to be grafted and groomed. This is possible only, if the clay is willing to be moulded in a desirable shape and the sapling is tender.

A good student should be responsible. Without having the capability to shoulder the responsibility regarding anything, a student will not be able to achieve anything worthwhile in life. Only a responsible person can carry forward the greater responsibility of being a good citizen, a good person or even for that matter shoulder the responsibility of a family. A good student should be persevering and consistent in their studies. A person who moves ahead continuously without being discouraged by failures and obstacles, succeeds in life. Along with having perseverance, a good student should be hard working. Hard work and consistency go hand in hand.

Moreover, a good student will never be selfish. A good student will be very helpful. Knowledge, it is said, increases only by sharing. An ideal student will always help their fellow students. They will be full of humility and will know no pride, conceit, vanity or selfishness. An ideal student will have a keen observation and a curious mind. Without these two, they will fail to acquire knowledge, wisdom and understanding. In fact, they are seeds of knowledge. Only a curious mind will seek new things and like to learn novel ideas as knowledge of new things can be acquired only by a keen observer.

In modern days, an ideal student is sometimes mockingly called a ‘book worm’ or a ‘teacher’s pet’. But instead is a person who aptly utilizes their time. They study while it is time to study and plays appropriately too for his physical development. One is never slave to one's senses. An ideal student could have the curiosity for modern gadgets like others. But they know how to avoid temptation and addiction. A school servers like a community and an ideal student would learn to be a successful member of it; thereby proving an assent to the institution and to the country.

Swami Vivekananda has inspired many generations not only in India but in the world as well. In one's lessons, one has elaborated on certain qualities that a person should have in order to be an ideal student. Some of them are: respect, love, self-discipline, self-control, faith, concentration, truthfulness, conviction, strength firm-determination etc. The teaching of Swami Vivekananda has inspired many legendary figures, thinkers and leaders. These intellectual capacities are not sufficient. A healthy mind resides in a healthy body. Thus, an ideal student has to be physically strong and fit in order to have a good concentration and to work hard. An ideal student therefore, keeps fit by exercising regularly. Exercise increases their capacity to concentrate, makes them disciplined and orderly.

And we all know a disciplined student is always successful. Finally, a good student is also respectful. One who knows no respect, knows no knowledge, is a maxim. One cannot progress without the blessings of his teachers and elders, which is earned only when one is respectful. These are but a few qualities of an ideal student which are beacons on the march towards attaining the eternal wisdom.



My Childhood Memories

Childhood memories are the sweetest things in a human mind. Nobody can forget one’s childhood memories whether pleasant or painful. When I think back about my childhood, many vivid memories spring to my mind. Some are pleasant while some are painful.

Regardless of the quality I attach to these memories, they constitute the early experiences of my life and they help to make me the person that I am today. “Sweet childish days, there were as long as twenty days are now” aptly said William Wordsworth.

The most vivid memory that I have is about the time I fell from a coconut tree. Though I fell from about three feet, I dislocated my elbow. I can still recall the process of falling and the immense pain and discomfort afterwards. I was about five at that time. The accident makes me extra careful whenever I climb a tree now. A repetition of a bad experience is definitely not welcomed.

As I grew older, I remember sitting sidesaddle on the horizontal bar of my elder brother’s bicycle while he pedaled us towards a small farm nearby. There we would feed ourselves on the way back. I had to watch out for the police because my brother told me that I if ere to caught riding sidesaddle, the police would arrest me and put me in jail. Now I know that he was just frightening me to be on the alert. He was too lazy to watch out for the police himself. Even this small fear had some kind of enjoyment.

My elder brother taught me many things. I learned to make flyable kites and spinning tops. In addition, we would go around fishing. Catching fish had its ups and downs. Ups when we managed to catch a small amount of fish, and downs when we ourselves became the victims of water leeches. Ugh! Just thinking of them now makes me feel creepy. We learned to respect the living creatures in the countryside.

No single living being rules nature. We are the hunters and the haunted at the same time. The most important thing is to recognise our position. Or to put it better in George Eliot’s words: “We could never have loved the Earth so well if we had no childhood in it.”

The pleasure of outdoor games in all kinds of weather, getting wet in the rain or soaking with sand, can never come back again. The golden days were tension free and care free from all sorts of duties and responsibilities. Even the fights had its own charms.

Each game played, each activity performed taught a unique lesson of life. Ironically as a child, I always wanted to grow up fast, now that I am growing and had grown up I want to be a child again and relive everything. Later on my elder brother went overseas for further studies. I miss him but fortunately I had a group of fiends living in the neighbourhood. We would play all sorts of games and go exploring all sorts of places. We were lucky to live at the fringe of town where the natural surroundings were not destroyed yet.

Now the streams and farm are gone, the victims of polluted drain was one a stream of cool clear water, brimming with life. No longer can we hear the call of the birds and animals. Instead, we hear impatient blast of car horns and the roar of bulldozers churning up the once beautiful land.

I mourn the destruction of the living bountiful land and the subsequent erection of nameless houses all arranged in neat sterile rows. I wonder what sort of childhood memories that children living in these houses will have. Especially in this technological world, the glory and enjoyment of outdoors games seems completely lost for these children.

As years rolled by, my friends and I grew up. Most of them have left the neighbourhood for more lucrative jobs I in the big cities. Some of us remained over here. We have lost our childhood. We are like stranger to one another now, for we have our separate lives to life. The only thing that binds us together is the fact that we share the same childhood memories, memories that we will always treasure.



Role of Media

Media is known as the fourth pillar of democracy due to its important role in shaping public opinion. Today, in this ultra modern world, the role of media has been augmenting day by day. It has been serving as a vigilant watch dog of India. Print Media has created an awareness among the people regarding their rights and duties. We can update ourselves just by going through the morning newspaper, getting each and every kind of news from every nook and corner of the world. Catering to all this, today mass media is well-established, wherein it is remarkable to see the All India radio (AIR) now reaches 90% of the population, TV more than 80% and over 5,600 newspapers, 150 of these publications are published daily in over 100 languages.


There has been a worldwide growth of the Print Media even after the emergence of the electronic media. Moreover, there has been an increase in the circulation of newspapers around the world even after the emergence of electronic media and the internet. The newspapers play a very important role in the working of any democracy. Our Constitution too grants us the Right to Freedom of Expression which is manifested, in free press in our country. In a democracy, newspapers are the best way of educating people politically and socially. They play a decisive role not only in updating the public but also in formulating a well-balanced public opinion. The public read about the current events, interpret them and learn to intelligently participate in the political, social and economic affairs of the country.


Newspapers also reflect public opinion, thus formed through letters to the editor which are usually published in a separate column. Moreover, print Media provides great incentive to business by large number of advertisements on a variety of things such as a house on sale, shops, electronic goods, stationary, cloth stores,glass ware, crockery shops etc. Matrimonial advertisements, job-opportunities, obituaries are all advertised through the Print Media.


Nowadays, another very popular means of social interaction and propagation that has emerged along with the print Media is the rise of Electronic Media. The bit of electronic media took place with the invention of radio, it further got spread through television, then through the laptops, computers via internet and now in very hand in the form of mobile phones. Electronic Media has a very emphatic and motivating effect on the society today. The various news channels keep the vigilant citizens updated. Channels like Discovery and National Geographic keep the inquisitive mind busy and satisfy every intellectual query of a probing mind. Alongwith these, there are endless number of entertainment channels solely to amuse and tickle the audience. Now, quite a number of kids’ channels have come up to carter to this special section of the society. Television can help popularize technology and internationalise and universalize our outlook.

These days the internet too is gaining a huge momentum, in terms of its role in media. This is because traditional ‘silent citizens’ for traditional media like newspaper often ‘speak out’ through the internet platform to let a society hear their voices. This has fin turn increased the society’s level of democratic awareness wherein people of all age groups and sections formulate their opinion on the social networking sites. It is also because internet can be used by anybody, anywhere, at anytime easily to express themselves economically. Infact, these days there are many independent websites established which how to monitor parliament activities and other crucial operations of society. The only major drawback internet is facing is that its spread is limited. Yet, there is other side of media too, wherein it tries to carter to the transient needs of life and to appeal to the emotions of masses instead of maintaining an intellectual level. They even lower the moral tone and publish sub-standard materials to increase their readership.

Many a times, newspapers try to ally themselves to particular ideology or a party instead of maintaining impartiality and indulge in mudslinging or even communal propaganda. These thoughtless means of r easy money provides temporary financial benefits to a handful of people but prove to be extremely disastrous in the end or society at large.

People involved in this profession should realize the massive responsibility they shoulder and sacredness of the duty that they perform. They should avoid personal bias and prejudice to cloud their good sense. Instead, they should try to combat social evils ,communal forces and also keep the government on its toes, committed to its promises. It should try to make people politically conscious and keep patriotism and national pride alive in the people.

In today’s world media has become as necessary as food and clothing. In the earlier times, it united people for freedom struggle, today it is uniting people against social evils. It has always been a crucial part, a ‘mirror’ of society inn every age, however it only differs in its approach, means and spread, form time to time. It has immense power which needs to be carefully harnessed. Moreover, it has also been seen that media is reduced to a commercialized sector, eyeing the news which are hot and good at selling. The goal is merely to gain the television rating points.

I believe, if the media identifies its responsibility and work sincerely and honestly, then it can serve as a great force in building the nation.



The Role of Indian Cinema

Cinema is in today’s world the most popular means of entertainment. Millions of people watch cinema everyday all over the world - not only as a means of entertainment, but also as an escape from the monotony, boredom, anxiety and troubles of life. It is a restful, pleasurable and entertaining way of rewinding and relaxing after a long day’s work. All the senses are captivated while viewing cinema and the next two and a half or three hours are spent in a wink. Moreover, every class and section of society can afford this form of entertainment at their will and convenience.

Indian cinema has a charm, flavour and magic of its own. It appeals not only to the film-crazy Indian public but also enchants a large number of audiences the world over. People who do not speak or understand Hindi still sing songs from Hindi films. An average Indian film is longer than films from other parts of the world, has a ginger-touch of love, hate, revenge, drama, tears, joys and also its own share of songs and dances. A typical Indian film has it all - all the spice and variety of life condensed into it, transporting the audience on a magic carpet to a totally different world where everything and anything is possible. In fact, Salman Rushdie once said:

I have been a film buff all my life and believe that the finest cinema is fully the equal of the best novels.

Down the years, cinema in India has reached its own destination, created its own history, and touched its own milestones. From stereotyped love stories to action, to drama, to realistic, to fictional – the silver screen in its every aspect has mesmerized, captured and tantalized millions of every age, class, sex and community. The journey from silent films to talking pictures, from black and white to coloured has been long. It has catered to the dreams and aspirations of many who have hungered for glamour and reached ‘Mumbai’ and it still does.

There have been tow streams of cinema in India – one is the commercial Cinema which has the sole aim of entertaining and making money in return. The second stream is the Parallel Cinema or the Art Cinema which aims at sensitising people on various social issues and problems of the society. While Commercial Cinema appeals to all sections of the society, parallel cinema appeals mainly to intellectual class and the intelligentsia of the society. But a change has taken place over the last decade and a half. A general awareness among people has increased and Art Cinema is being more and more appreciated by a large number of people. Many a times, an art film does much better at the box-office than a main stream commercial film. This has resulted in the thinning of the differentiating line between Art and Commercial Cinema.

Cinema has an educative value too. Because it exercises a deep influence upon the minds of the people; cinema can be used as a very effective reformative instrument. Statutory warnings are included to spread the awareness about the adversity of smoking has compelled many to quit the habit. Social awareness can be generated on issues like dowry, women education, abortion, girl foeticide, youth unrest, corruption, unemployment, poverty, illiteracy etc. Films like No One Killed Jessica, My Name Is Khan, The Attacks of 26/11 are some movies which have dealt with current sensitive issues. Cinema can expose the evils prevalent in society. It is the most effective means of mass communication. Cinema also is a great unifying force in a diversified country like ours. People belonging to all communities and sections, speaking any language, watch the cinema with the same fascination and excitement. Moreover, people can go to places with cinema. We travel form Ooty to Shimla to Switzerland to Washington to Sydney. It also encourages the art of music, singing, dancing, script-writing, direction etc. It employs a large number of people from technicians to producer to spot boys to dress makers. Thousands of people earn their livelihood through cinema.

The silver screen spreads and sells not just dreams but captivates the hearts of young boys and girls. If this medium is not used judiciously and wisely, it can distract the youth from the right direction. Thus, the film makers should undertake film making as social responsibility and through films should give youth as sense of direction. The trend of making films on famous novels and plays should be encouraged to spread good literature and its appreciation among common man. Sensible and relevant themes should be picked to make films. Films need not be didactic, but they still can pass on constructive messages subtly to the masses. Hence, if used with pure sensibility, cinema can help in bringing positive changes in the society and the attitudes of the people.



Climate Change

Climate Change refers to a statistically significant variation in either the general state of the climate or in its variability, persisting for an extended period, typically decades or longer.

Change in climate may be due to natural internal processes or external factors, due to persistent changes in the composition of the atmosphere, or in land use brought by humans. short-term fluctuations like El-Nino, represent variation in climate for short temporary periods. On a longer time scale, changes in ocean heat circulation pattern may result in a stronger impact on climate. Variations in Earth's orbit lead to differences in the distribution of sunlight reaching the Earth in different seasons and at different places on Earth. The solar intensity is also known to affect global climate.

Volcanic eruptions are also considered to be significant in affecting Earth's climate, especially those which emit large quantities of So2 into the stratosphere. This is due to the optical properties of So2 and sulphate aerosols. They absorb or scatter solar radiation, creating a haze of sulphuric acid. Other than volcanoes, the movement of tectonic plates affects the global and local pattern of climate. Anthropogenic factors relate to human activities which include burning of fossil fuels, ozone depleting causes, and deforestation. Due to industrialization and urbanisation, presently, the global atmospheric concentration of carbon-dioxide has increased to 393,69 parts per million (ppm). These could lead to impact on freshwater availability, oceanic acidification, food production, flooding of coastal areas and increased number of water borne diseases associated with extreme weather events.

Glaciers are one of the most sensitive indicators of climate change. Their size is determined by the input of snow and their melting output. Due to rising global temperatures, their size shrinks, leading to escalation of sea levels. The ice on Arctic Ocean is also melting rapidly, which is another proof of climate change. Due to climate change, the distribution and density of vegetation may also be affected. The increase in temperature will lead to early onset of flowering and fruiting, which will affect the life cycles of animals dependent on them. One example is the destruction of rainforests of Europe and America, 300 million years ago. These forests fragmented into isolated ‘islands’ leading to the extinction of many plant and animal species.

India is facing the challenge of sustaining its rapid economic growth while dealing with the global threat of climate change. This threat emanates from accumulated greenhouse gas emissions, generated through long-term industrial growth and high consumption lifestyles. Presently, India is among the top 10 emitters of Greenhouse Gases in the world. However, it is in India’s interest to ensure that the world moves towards a low carbon future. With changes in key climate variables, namely temperature, precipitation and humidity, crucial sectors like agriculture and rural development are likely to be affected in a major way. As a developing country, India is closely tied to natural resources and agriculture, and water and forestry are climate-sensitive.

To combat climate change, India’s National Action Plan for Climate Change (NAPCC) aims to achieve national growth objectives, along with enhancing ecological sustainability that leads to further mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. NAPCC endeavours to deploy appropriate technologies, for both adaptation and mitigation of greenhouse gases and to promote sustainable development.

NAPCC also plans to extend international cooperation for research, development, sharing and transfer of technologies enabled by additional funding. India is a member of the United Nations Framework convention and intends to cooperate with the same on Climate Change. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an international environmental treaty produced at the United Nations conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), and is greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.

The 2011 Annual Conference of the Parties was hosted by Durban, South Africa, from 28 November to 9 December, 2011. In 2012, Earth Summit took place in Rio de Janeiro to secure renewed political commitment to sustainable development; to assess progress towards internationally agreed goals on sustainable development and to address new and emerging challenges. The Summit focused on two specific themes – a green economy in the context of poverty eradication and an institutional framework for sustainable development.

We, as individuals also can contribute towards lessening our impact on the climate by modifying our transportation modes, energy consumption, eating habits and waste utilization. Short distances can be covered by walking or cycling or even car-pooling. In place of the conventional light bulbs, LEDs can be used. Electrical appliances should be switched off when not in use.

Our tiny carbon footprint also affects the big picture of climate change. Even though, we might feel that our lifestyle is a small factor, but the choices that we make in our day-to-day life can play a major role in slowing down climate change. Let us all strive for a ‘Cleaner and Greener’ Earth.



Forest of India

The word ‘forest’ is derived from the Latin word ‘fores’ which means ‘outside’. Thus, it must have always referred to a village outskirt, fence or boundary which might have included all cultivated as well as uncultivated land. Today, of course, forests refer to vast areas of land covered with thick vegetation, trees and animals dwelling within.

Climatic factors such as rainfall and temperature along with soil, determine the kind of natural vegetation that will be found in a particular place. Places that receive more than 200cm of annual rainfall have evergreen rain forests.

Areas receiving rainfall between 200 and 100cm have monsoon deciduous trees while drier deciduous or tropical savannah forests are found in areas receiving 50 to 100cm of rains per annum. Places which receive less than 50cm annually have only dry thorny found in different parts of the country. Ranging from tropical wet evergreen, tropical moist deciduous, tropical dry evergreen, sub-tropical dry evergreen, broad-leaved or pine, Himalayan dry temperate to sub- alpine and dry Alpine and other 126 kinds and sub-types of forests are found here. At the present the total forest and tree cover of the country is 78.92 million hectare which is 24% of the geographical area of the county.

Indian forests are also classified on the basis of statutes, ownership, composition and exploitability. The legal or administrative classification is done to protect forests against indiscriminate cutting of trees. The forests in India have been divided into (i) Reserved, (ii) Protected and (iii) Unclassified. The first two categories are permanent forests which are maintained for regular supply of timber and other forest products. They are also maintained to restore the ecological balance. The reserved forests in India cover about 54% of the total forest area of the country while 29% of the total forest area is protected.

The remaining 175 is the unclassified forest area which is mainly unproductive and unprofitable. Another classification is based on the ownership of forests. Most of the forests are owned by the Government through the means of its departments such as forests department etc. Some are owned by corporate bodies. A negligible 1% area is owned privately by states like Meghalaya, Odisha, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh.

An important type of forest in India is the village forests or Panchayat forests. These are the forests which are managed by local communities, keeping in mind the idea of sustainable development. Community forest management involves collaboration between villagers and NGOs.

The Rajaji National Park has been built on this model. Indigenous forest management refers to initiatives taken by villagers and the communities which share the responsibility of protection in turns. The ‘sacred groves’ are small communal forests, which are protected for their rare flora and religious importance.

There are other forests like production forests, which are maintained for commercial production. The other is social forestry, which supports the rural poor, who depend on forests for their livelihood. Agroforestry is a scheme where farmers carry out plantations of Eucalyptus, Casuarina, teak etc, on their agricultural land using irrigation and fertilisers to find a market for their produce. Forests make up for one of the major natural resources of a country. Their use in fuel, timber, and industrial raw material cannot be undermined. Bamboos, canes, herbs, medicines, lac, grasses, leaves, oil etc are all received from the forests. India has about 5000 kinds of variety of woods out of which more than 400 are commercially used. Hard woods such as teak, mahogany, logwood, ironwood, ebony, sal, greenheart, kikar, semal etc are used in making of furniture, tools and wagons. Soft woods such as deodar, poplar, pine, fir, cedar, balsam are light, durable and easy to work. Therefore, they are used in constructions and as raw material for making paper pulp. But unfortunately, 70% of the hard wood is burnt as fuel and only 30% is used commercially. On the other hand, 70% of soft wood is used in industries while 30% is used for fuel purposes. Thus, forests meet about 40% of the energy requirement of the country which includes 80% of the rural requirements.

Indian forests are one of the 12 mega-biodiversity regions around the world. The Western Ghats and Eastern Himalayas are among the biodiversity ‘hotspots’ of the world. India is home to 12% of world’s plants and 7% of Earth’s animals species. India also has one of the riches varieties of bird species. Indian forests and wetlands are the temporary abodes of many migratory birds. Many birds and animals are endemic to India. Moreover, forests help in the control of soil erosion and control floods to a considerable extent. Forests also check the spreading of desert through strong winds. They add humidity to the atmosphere which checks the spread of desert. The humus added to the soil increases the soil fertility and soothes the extremes of climate by reducing the heat in summers and the cold in winters.

Thus, keeping in mind their great use, forests should be conserved and protected in India. The Government has made many efforts to increase the forest cover in the country. The Ministry of Environment and forests is implementing a National Afforestation Programme (NAP) scheme with people’s participation, including involvement of non-government persons, rural and local people living in and around the forest areas to increase Forest and Tree Cover (FTC) in the country.

The scheme is being implemented through a decentralized mechanism of State Forest Development Agency (SFDA) at state level, Forest Development Agency (FDA) at forest division level and Joint Forest Management Committees (JFMCs) at the village level. In 1988, a New Forest Policy was introduced to maintain ecological balance, preservation of forests as natural heritage, prevention of soil erosion, check on the expansion of deserts, increase in the forest are to increase forest productivity and to propel a mass movement to achieve these objectives. Van Mahotsav was initiated in 1950 and the famous Chipko Movement stands as an example of the effect of people’s movement. In 1987, the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education which was created was converted into an autonomous body called Forest Research Institute.

More recently, Arunanchal Pradesh set an example to the entire nation by achieving 70% afforestation.



A Visit to a Historical place

India is a country of rich culture and has centuries of history and tradition of its own. Thus, the country is full of places which are rich in traditions, are important historically, economically, politically or sociologically. Moreover, the diversity that it presents baffles many because the diversity is not only geographical but social and cultural as well. Thus, India attracts thousands of tourists from all around the globe.

Last year, I had a chance to visit Agra with my uncle’s family. As soon as I got the invitation, I accepted it because Agra has been a great centre for art and architecture from the Mughal period. It goes to Akbar’s credit to transform Agra into a great city of cultural and historical importance. Interestingly, these monuments have the depiction of both Hindu and Islamic cultures and architecture.

History stands testimony that the old brick fort of Sikandar Lodhi was dismantled by Akbar and a magnificent fortress of rust coloured sandstone was built. For the same reason, the ‘Fort of Agra’ is also known as ‘Lal Quila’. This fort was built by Akbar, in AD 1565. It took 8 years to be completed.

The fort is said to have 500 buildings in the style of Bengali and Gujarati architecture. This is what Akbar’s historian Abul Fazal had recorded. But unfortunately only a few survive today and the successors of Akbar too subsequently made a few changes and additions. The fort stands on the banks of the river Yamuna with double walls to protect it. These walls are very high.

The fort has four gates. Presently, the entry to the fort is allowed through the gate in the South of the fort called the Amar Singh Rathore Gate. Just outside the gate is a stone statue of a horse’s head built by Amar Singh Rathore of Jodhpur in remembrance of his faithful horse that had jumped the walls of the fort and lost its legs in order to save its master.

The gate on the West side of the fort is called the Delhi Gate at whose entrance are the famous statues of Jamal and Patta who had laid down their lives fighting for Akbar. The space between the fort and the river was used for holding elephant fights.

Right behind is Akbar’s majestic Palace, the roof and floor of which are made of red stone. The Diwan-e-Aam of the Palace was the place where he held his Darbar and dispensed justice. We also saw the Diwan-e-Khas and the Machhli Bhavan; Close to the Diwan-e-Aaam is the Meena Bazaar. To the West is the building which is a very curious kund of a Hide and Seek building.

It is said that Akbar was indebted to the blessings of Sufi of Sikri, Sheikh Salim Chishti for the birth of his son. Therefore, in order to show his gratitude, Akbar built and developed Sikri and decided to shift his capital there. The place is 40 km to the South-West of Agra. He named its as Fatehpur Sikri. The buildings at Fatehpur Sikri are outstanding in their carvings.

There is and Ibadat-Khana built for holding discussion an matters of religion. But the crowning glory of the city is the Jama Mosque which can accommodate 10,000 worshippers and is believed to be the replica of the Mosque at Mecca.

It is a monumental example of the mixture of Persian and Indian style. Inside the Mosque is the tomb of Sheikh Salim Chisti. Right at the entrance of the Mosque is the famous Buland Darwaza which is 41 meters high from the ground level. Other structures to see at Fatehpur Sikri are the Panch Mahal, Jodha Bai’s Palace, the Sunhera Makan and many other buildings.

We also went to see the great Taj Mahal on the banks of the river Yamuna. It surely is a ‘wonder of the world;’ as it is beyond any description. Words would fall short to describe this “Symbol of Eternal Love”. It is beautifully decorated with precious and carved stones. It is built in the memory of Shah Jahan’s beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal.

The real tomb of the queen lies in a small room downstairs made of white and black marbles. Scriptures and verses form the Quran are engraved on the walls along with lovely floral designs and different coloured carved precious stones.

Its overall architectural brilliance is still a question for modern builders and architects. They get really surprised to see the full proof plan of the Taj Mahal built at the time when technology was not that much advanced. It’s extra-ordinary beauty made us utter ‘Waah Taaj!’ However, just one thing that pinched me was how recklessly people have ruined this historic beauty. But our government has taken the right steps at right time by relocating the factories far off from the Taj Mahal. It was thus an overall enriching and enlightening experience to visit these places.

It is really a ‘dream in marble’ as thousands of posted have attempted to describe it in many ways. One gets speechless on seeing this great spectacle of marble. It was an extremely mesmerizing trip.

Since then Agra and Fatehpur Sikri have become my favourite destination to spend my vacations. I am now eagerly waiting for another chance to visit Agra.



Agriculture in India

Agriculture has existed in India, since the Vedic times, Rigvedic treatise describes various agricultural activities, such as, ploughing, irrigation and cultivation of fruits and vegetables. Even rice and cotton were cultivated in the Valley.

Agriculture is the means of livelihood of almost two-thirds of the workforce in the country. It has always been India’s most important economic sector. Before 1947, Indian history was replete with famine, drought and food shortages. Between 1770 and 1880, as many as 27 food scarcities and famines were recorded. At least 20 million lives were lost in India in about 20 famines that had struck since 1850. Much of this loss was because of the wrong colonial policies, which aimed to derive maximum economic gain at the cost of human suffering and misery.

After the British had created a transport infrastructure in the first half of the 19th century, they began encourage in farmers to grow crops that could be exported. The boom in export and trade accompanied by rising prices forced farmers to shift to cash crops like cotton, indigo, poppy and sugarcane. The area under food grains subsequently shrank. In other words, efforts to improve agriculture in colonial India were directly linked to the needs of the British industries.

After Independence, India made rapid strides in the agricultural sector. Dependence of India on agricultural imports in the early 1960s, convinced planners that India’s growing population, as well as concern about national independence, security and political stability, required self-sufficiency in food production. This perception led to a programme of agricultural improvement called the Green Revolution, to a public distribution system and price support system for farmers.

The growth in food grain production is a result of concentrated efforts to increase all the Green Revolution inputs needed for higher yields: better seeds, more fertilisers, improved irrigation and education of farmers. Although increased irrigation has helped to lessen year-to-year fluctuations in farm production result in from the vagaries of the monsoon, it has not eliminated them.

Non- traditional crops of India, such as summer mung (a variety of lentil, part of the pulse family), soybeans, peanuts and sunflowers are gradually gaining importance. Steps have been taken to ensure an increase in the supply of non-chemical fertilisers at reasonable prices.

There are 53 fertiliser quality control laboratories in the country. Though the Green Revolution increased yields greatly, it aimed at the better-endowed regions. For millions of farmers languishing in the dry lands, constituting more than 70% of the cultivable lands, it continues to be a futile struggle. Despite emphasis on dry land farming during the past several decades, the scenario still remains grim.

The undulating topography and the irregular rainfall patterns have combined to aggravate the situation. Out of 141 million hectare of cultivated area, dry land area constitutes 85 million hectare i.e.60% of the total cultivated area.

The dry lands produce about 42% of the country’s food which shows that the future of farming lies in these areas. A large quantity of many nutritious crops like wheat, ragi, pulses, fruits, oilseeds, grown in the country come from these areas. The poor yields and the fluctuation in production are indications of the scant attention dry lands have received from policymakers and the planners.

The problem of increasing productivity on dry lands has serious socio-economic implication. With every passing year, the gap between the farmer’s yields in irrigated areas and in the dry farming regions is widening. One year of drought is enough to push a farmer into a deep well of poverty for another two to three years. Drought is a recurring phenomenon in arid and semi-arid areas. Fifty years after Independence, life for millions of people somehow surviving in the dry lands continues to be worse than ever before.

India’s topography, soils, rainfall and the availability of water for irrigation have been major determinants of the crop and livestock patterns characteristic of Indian agriculture. The monsoons, moreover, play a critical role in determining whether the harvest will be bountiful, average or poor in any given year. In the absence of sufficient irrigation measures, the areas receiving scanty rainfall suffer.

India is among the top global producer of staple food crops. But even then, the productivity of is fields is far below that of Brazil, US and France. This is due to small size of their landholdings, their fragmentation, high cost of technology and lack of awareness. Many agricultural lands are also being diverted for commercial exploitation.



Globalisation

Globalisation is the process by which the businesses or other organisations develop international influence or start operating on an international scale.

Contrary to the general view, globalization dates back to many thousands of years for thousands of years, people-and, later corporation- have been buying from and selling to each other in lands at great distances, such as through the famed silk Road across Central Asia that connected China and Europe during the Middle Ages.

However, policy and technological developments of the past few decades have spurred increases in cross-border trade, investment, migration so large that many observers believe the world has stepped into a qualitatively new phase in its economic development. Since 1950, for example, the volume of world trade has increased by 20 times, and from just 1997 to 1999 flows of foreign investment nearly doubled, from $827 billion.

The current rage of globalization is attributable to policies that have opened economies domestically and internationally. Many international commerce- friendly policies have caused an astounding surge in world trade.

Post the Second World War, and especially during the past two decades, many governments have adopted free-market economic systems, vastly increasing their own productive potential and creating myriad new opportunities for international trade and investment. Governments also have negotiated dramatic reductions in barriers to commerce and have established international agreements to promote trade in goods, services, and investments. These conducive measures gave birth to opportunities for global trade. Taking advantage of these new opportunities in and marketing arrangements with foreign partners. A defining feature of globalization, therefore, is an international industrial and financial business structure.

Globalisation is deeply controversial. However, proponents of globalisation argue that it allows poor countries and their citizens to develop economically and raise their standards of living, while opponents of globalization claim that the creation of an unfettered international free market has benefitted multinational corporations in the western world at the expanse of local enterprises, local cultures, and common people. Resistance to globalization has therefore taken shape both at a popular and at a governmental level as people and government try to manage the flow of capital, labour, goods, and ideas that constitute the current wave of globalisation;

Globalisation is a fascinating spectacle that fan be understood as global systems of competition and connectivity. However, and increase in integration has not brought increased equality. Globalisation creates winners and losers among countries and global corporations, making competition the beating heart of the globalization process.

A closed economy by choice, India formally adopted gobalisation when the new economic policy of 1991 came into force. Mounting debts and pressure form IMF has been an integral part of the recent economic progress made by India. Globalisation has played a major role in export-led growth leading to the enlargement of the job market in India.

One of the major forces of globalization in India has been in the growth of outsourced IT and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) services. The last few years have seen an increase in the number of skilled professionals in India employed by both local and foreign companies to service customers in the US and Europe in particular. Taking advantage of India’s lower cost but educated and English-speaking work force, and utilizing global communications technologies such as voice-over IP (VOIP), email and the internet, international enterprises have been able to lower their cost base by establishing outsourced knowledge-worker operations in India.

There is no denying the fact that globalisation India and its citizens have realized many gains form globalization. Access to umpteen number of brands, billons of jobs that have emanated from the establishment of multinational companies and the increase in forex reserves of the country are all effects of globalization. Indian citizens have also experienced an increase in the standard of living by opening up of the country’s trade routes to the world. However, there exists a contrary argument to that.

The domestic producers fear marginalisation and pulverisation due to the entry of foreign and often better quality products. It was to safeguard the domestic producer from foreign competition that India had initially adopted a closed economy stand with very limited access to foreign producers into Indian markets. However, despite the fact that we are a nation that had embraced globalization long ago, there is still a debate in the country over permitting FDI in some sectors. Just about a year back, FDI in retail was rolled back because of huge resistance against the move from many political parties who sought to protect the interests of domestic retailers. Globalisation has had both desirable and undesirable consequences for India and the world. Where it has accelerated progress in some countries, it has also widened the gap between the rich and the poor in others. Thus, globalization has the fair and rough share of its impacts and thus we can surely hope for more advancement in the global economy due to this process.



Communal Harmony

“A house divided against itself cannot stand together” is an old saying and it holds true in the present context of increasing communal disharmony in the society. These dividing forces weaken and mutilate the society. The culture, civilization and tradition of India is approximately 12,000 years old. The spirit of tolerance and assimilation as made it possible for our civilisation to survive the test of time. But with the passage of time, the growing attachment with the passage of time, the growing attachment to one’s own ethnic, religious, racial or cultural group rather than being a part of wider circle of group rather than being a part of a wider circle of the entire social milieu, has posed one of the gravest problems of modern times. Somehow with the increase in science and technology, the man who should have opened up to assimilation and integration has instead receded into his own cells and has become more conservative and protective towards his culture and community.

Fear, suspicion and a sense of insecurity towards the other communities have given rise to hatred, which acts as fuel, feeding the flame of communities have given harmony can be achieved by making people realize the significance of oneness. People should be awakened to the fact that the differences of ethnic and religious origins have no foundations at all and these feelings should be discouraged if a nation has to survive, and on a larger scale if humanity has to survive. Roses alone cannot make a garden. It is the variety of different coloured and perfumed flowers that lends beauty to a garden.

Fostering the spirit of brotherhood and mutual trust is the most challenging task that our country needs to accomplish. We have to make every possible efforts to eradicate vestiges of communal hatred and prejudice. One way of accomplishing this huge task in India is by promoting scientific temperament and removing the cobwebs of caste and religious prejudices.

India has had a long and proud history of mutual cooperation and trust. People belonging to various ethnic groups, races, religions, creeds, cultures have come and settled on this land and since centuries have made it their home. But the divide and rule policy that took its roots deeper than what the colonial masters could have imagined, shows its predatory signs time and again. These seeds of communal divide, sown to meet short-germ selfish political ends, are now deep-rooted and threatening to uproot the century-old harmony and unity of the country.

This hatred was at its worst during the ill-fated partition of the country. The articulation of two-nation theory and creation of the state of Pakistan implied that the enmity between the two communities was so great that it was virtually impossible for them to live together in peace as one nation.

Even today India’s fragile peace is shattered by communal riots every now and then. During the British rule, riots were triggered to either distract the attention form the growing freedom movement or else to dilute and weaken the unity of Hindus and Muslim Unity has always been one of the essential pillars of any progressive national movement.

India’s valiant attempt to build a secular polity in a desperately impoverished nation was a step of profound importance and key to the rehabilitation of the Indian people. But the task of reconstruction has not been easy at all and from time to time the unity of the Indian people has been challenged by the anti-social and anti-secular elements of the society. They their purpose is defeated in the face of growing unity and understanding among people of different communities and cultures; hence they try to instigate the hatred of a common man to serve their own selfish and ulterior motives.

The recent communal violence of Gujarat, the anti- Sikh campaigns during the mid-80s, the Mumbai riots, the Ayodhya episode, the evacuation of Kashmiri Pandits, the attacks on the pilgrims on their way to pilgrimage are all blots on the secular fabric of the country. Now-a-days, any controversy even if it happens in a remote village reaches all over the world due to the advanced communication technology and vibrant media. Social networking sites, mass messages etc. proves both a boon and a bane to the society in the times of riots, But the nation should take lessons from its past and pledge not to let the demon of communal violence ever rise again.

We, as responsible citizens, should continuously and ferociously guard our great secular heritage. Communal d should be nipped in the bud itself and not be allowed to rise and flourish. The children should be taught to appreciate the diversity of the country. They should be taught to learn divergent cultures and ways of living. Also, youths are the country’s power, whose participation is very important. They are the strong forces in the movements, who recognize problems and solve them. Religious snobbery, fanaticism and conservatism should be discouraged and scorned at.

One cannot and should not make a sweeping judgement about India’s secular nature just by browsing through a few shameful incidents of hatred, which are registered on the pages of history. One cannot ignore that in difficult times the secular minded citizens of the country have joined hands together to fight against the forces of dissension. Media, which is known as the fourth pillar of society, has always played a significant role for the betterment of society. Role of media in the coverage of Communal Riots in the past, riots of late 60’s, the violence of 1980-81, the separatist movement of mid 80’s and early 90’s, the incidents at Ayodhaya, Mumbai, Gujarat can’t be ignored by any means.

Media always moulds the public opinion on correct lines in regard to the need of friendly and harmonious relations between various communities and religious groups and thus has promoted national solidarity. Although, a handful of anti-social elements try to create an atmosphere of turmoil, turbulence and fear, yet time and again and entire nation has risen against those handful to guard and protect the peace and harmony of the country. Moreover, a few power hungry political parties, sects and communities, for their vested interests try to use diversity as a weapon to maintain their status-quo. The greed makes them so short-sighted that they fail to see that they are fin turn digging their own graves.

The road to peace and harmony can never be smooth. Every nation has had its share of violence in order to create a society where all can have equal rights and can live with respect and dignity. Who can forget the bloody Civil War of America, the division of Germany and Korea, the Bolshevik Revolution, the violence after the French Revolution, the prevailing disturbances in the Middle East, Israel- Palestine problem etc, the list is endless and the instances bloodier and more violent than the other.

India has emerged as a strong nation, every time these communal forces have tried to test their secular foundation. One cannot sit back and relax at such times rather one has to work persistently against such forces that pose danger to the idea of a United Nation. This cannot happen by waving a magical wand.

It is we, the people of the nation, who have to rise above these forces of dissent and division, so that India becomes a nation where religion of humanity is superior to every other religion.