Monday, 26 January 2015

Display of Diverse Indian Culture – Indian Breads in Indian Cuisine




Indian Breads are those prepared from batter prepared using powdered grains with water in appropriate proportions. They could be steamed, baked, fried or grilled. There are different kinds of Indian bread preparations and each standing evident for the state and culture of the people suiting their agro-climatic zones. They could spicy, sweet or sour preparations made from fermented or unfermented batter.
Briefed below are a gist of various kinds of Indian breads prepared at Indian homes and food services that are broadly classified into flatbreads and crepes:appam
Appam (Kerala): This is a delicacy from South India prepared with rice batter in a special tava over steam using fermented rice batter and coconut milk. The most common side dish for this preparation are sweetened coconut milk and goat leg soup (paya) preparation. This is a typical desi pancake from India for breakfast or dinner. Idiyappam is an extension of the same batter that is prepared with rice flour dough moulded into strings, steamed and served with a range of side dishes from lentils to chicken gravy.
appemNei appam (Tamil Nadu): These are also prepared using rice batter with jaggery that could either be steamed or fried. This is a food of Goddess served in many temples as “Prasadham”. They are usually cooked in ghee when served to Goddess and thus the name nei appam. This is more common food found in TamilNadu.paniyaram
Kuzhi Paniyaram: This a delicacy in Tamil Nadu made during special occasions in the rural parts of the state by steaming a batter made from black lentils and rice. They are served either sweet or spicy with jaggery or sauted green chillies and onions.They are made on special pans and stir fried in gingely oil or ghee. There are many varieites that could be made with this dish like adding fruits and pepper and vegetables.
Idli_SambarIdli: These are traditional breakfast of South India that are prepared for regular and daily consumption for breakfast or dinner from the fermented batter of black lentils and rice. The batter is steam cooked into cakes of two to three inches and served hot with colourful chutneys and lentil soup (sambar). Other vraiotions of this food are sambar idli (soaked and served in sambar), mini idlis (soaked in sambar, rasam or buttermilk), tatte idli (Karnataka), sannas (Goan variation), rava idli and muday idli (Mangalorean variety). They are also served with dry spice powder mixed with gingely oil.baqer khani
Bakarkhani: Baqerkhani or bakar khan roti are thick and flat spicy bread made with a batter of flour, semolina, sugar, molasses soaked in saffron, poppy or nigella seeds, salt and ghee. They have a hard crust that could be eaten like a biscuit. The food is usually cooked in Kashmir and some parts of India near Bangladesh.
bhaturaBhatoora: This is a fluffy, deep-fried leavened bred made in North India and is usually served with channa or chole making the infamous, Chole bhature combination. The bhature is made of knead made from white flour, yoghurt, ghee or oil and baking powder or yeast and allowed to raise. The flattened dough is cooked in hot oil and deep fried to form the fluffy, light browned and chewy bread. kulcha
Kulcha: This is an alternate form of the dough baked on direct heat in earthen clay oven until they are golden brown without oil. This is a typical Punjabi recipe that is eaten by both Punjabis of India and Pakistan. They are served with butter and chole or channa cooked spicy hot. Amristar is famous for these kind of breads and they are served in the Golden Temple.
Chapathi-2Chapati: These are unleavened flatbread prepared in many countries like India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan that are prepared with wheat flour dough knead with slat, oil and milk. They are cooked on both the sides of the pan. In South India people usually apply oil or ghee at the time of cooking while in North India oil or ghee or butter is applied at the time of serving. Chapati is served with a number of side dishes ranging from spicy and hot pickle to lentils or curd or raita to spicy vegetarian and non-vegetarian gravy preparationrotis.
Roti: Roti is a typical resemblance of flatbread made like chapati but the difference lies in the flour, stone-ground whole meal flour and therefore the dough will be much coarser. They are cooked on flat or slightly concave iron tawa using unleavened dough. They are normally eaten with curries and vegetable gravy. These rotis are the ones that are used to make the modern wraps with tasty and healthy stuffing.
tandoori rotiTandoori Roti: Tandoori roti is a popular unleavened bread made from whole wheat flour on clay oven or tandoor and is possible to cook them over pressure pan. They are served with spicy and gravy dishes of meat and vegetables.dosa
Dosa: These are fermented crepe prepared from batter of black lentils and rice. This is a delicacy of South India and is no les popular in other neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka, Nepal, Singapore and Malaysia. Dosa went under transformation with time – softer and thicker (kaldosai) to thinner and crispier dosa (paper dosa) of this new world. Dosa is served with side dishes similar to idly, sambar and chutney. There are nearly 200 variations in dosa and many parts of Tamil Nadu host Dosa Festival as a treat to winter.
uttappamUttapam: These are also crepe preparation made from the same batter prepared for dosa but the thicker pancake is crispier on the outer surface and softer in the inner layers like idli. The crepe is usually coked on one side and is topped with a range of toppings like onions, pepper, green chillies, mixed vegetables and sometimes even meat.

puri
Luchi: This is a flatbread native to Odisha, Bengal and Assam that are deep-fried flat bread made of white flour. They are very small in size and served usually with dum aloo or aloo matter. These breads though crispy are never brown in colour. When stuffed, luchi are called kochuri. Puri are made with whole wheat flour and turns brown on deep-fry.
phulkhaPhulka: This is a soft flatbread preparation cooked over dry heat with dough made with a mixture of soya flour and wheat flour and served hot with vegetable curries. For the making of phulka on direct flame or heat they have a special griddle made on which the flattened dough could be placed. The bread is turned over using tongs. naan
Naan: This is a oven-baked leavened flat bread that is typically made in South Asia which is prepared from white flour with salt, yeast and yogurt. The preparation is soft though elastic and is cooked in a number of forms using butter or ghee and flavoured. They are served with dal (lentil soup), vegetable curries and non-vegetarian curries.
theplaThepla (Gujarati): These are spicy flattened semi - soft bread with the main proportion of flour being made from whole wheat flour mixed with spices and curd, and cooked over a tawa or griddle using little oil. They are served with chunda or sweet mango pickle. paratha
Paratha: This is a typical Punjabi bread and is the most popular unleavened flat bread eaten in Punjab. The bread is also called parantha and could be prepared in differing shapes. They are prepared using whole wheat flour kneaded with hot oil, raised and cooked over tava or direct heat to puff into layers without oil or ghee. The oil or ghee is usually applied to hot paratha that is served immediately with dal, raita, vegetable curries or non-vegetarian gravies. Parathas could be cooked with fillings or stuffing and cooked to make a number of varieties.
parottaParotta: Better known as Barotta is a flattened multi - layered unleavened bread made of white flour with egg oil or ghee and water. The bread is beaten to a number of times and usually served with vegetable kuruma or chicken or beef or mutton stew. Parotta comes in a number of variations and diced variations are chilli and kothu parotta.puran poli
Puran Poli: Known in different names is popularly known in Tamil as boli and is a sweet flatbread of India that is prepared in the states of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat and Goa. The stuffing for the poli is made of grated coconut mixed with jaggery and roasted condiments like nutmeg or cardamom. This is usually golden yellow in colour and is cooked with ghee on a hot griddle. The range of stuffing could also include lentils and nuts.
PathiriPathiri (Kerala): This is a pancake made mostly by Muslims in Kerala using rice flour dough and baked on oadu pans. They are later served with coconut milk that increases the flavour and retains the softness of the dish. Pathiri varieties will include ghee battered, fried pathiri and fish or meat stuffed pathiri. They are regular delicacy of the month of Ramdan. dondiyala-khakhra
Dondiyala-Khakhra: These are left over rotis that are turned into crispy khakhras by grilling on dying charcoal fire using tongs and served with hot pickles and vegetables. They carry a smoky and sweet flavour of burnt roti. These khakhras are served hot with pickles and vegetables.



Is there any better evidence that anyone can tie up the diverse culture of India with food?


Tuesday, 30 December 2014

HOW GASES MOVE IN PLANTS? – RICE AS MODEL SPECIES




Rice is a semi-aquatic model crop grown widely in regions of seasonal rainfall. Therefore, submergence is one of the most common abiotic stresses that result in reduced oxygen supply for respiration at night. This in turn reduces the rate of respiration at night resulting in decreased survival of rice plants.

So rice plants adapted to use the oxygen released during underwater photosynthesis, which forms a gas film layer around these submerged leaves. This physiological adaptation is supported by the super-hydrophobic leaves that have a thicker cuticle with increased permeability. These two traits enhance oxygen exchange to submerged shoot regions at night.

In this specific study, the influence of gas film layer on the rate of oxygen transport and resistance to oxygen transport was measured against variabilities in stomatal characteristics, cuticle permeability and thickness of diffusive boundary layer (standing water or bulk water). The use of 3D simulation modelling for this study is a very novel experimental approach and highlights a turning point in plant physiological studies.

The scientists concluded from the hypothetical results that there is a 22 fold reduction in the resistance against oxygen transport rate due to the presence of gas film layers in submerged rice leaves with high cuticle permeability and fully open stomata. This model also predicted the direction of oxygen transport through open stomata to be perpendicular and through closed stomata to be oblique.

Hence these adaptations confirm that rice crop have better survival strategy in regions with seasonal inundation problem and thus can serve as the crop of choice for rotation during wet season.


Reference: VERBOVEN, P., PEDERSEN, O., HO, Q. T., NICOLAI, B. M. and COLMER, T. D. (2014), The mechanism of improved aeration due to gas films on leaves of submerged rice. Plant, Cell & Environment, 37: 2433–2452. doi: 10.1111/pce.12300

Sunday, 28 December 2014

PANDA – ENTHRONED SOLITAIRE CULTURAL MASCOT OF CHINA



If I am asked, “What do you know about Panda?”, these are the words that will flash into my surface memory – China, Olympics, Endangered Species, Bamboo, Gentle Animal and Adorable Animal of the Wild. They are known to the world ever since 1869 as described by French Missionary Pere Armand David.

giant-panda-shutterstock_86500690Giant Panda whose primary abode is in the temperate broadleaf and mixed forests of of Southwest of China has been populated to a number of 1600 in the wild as per 2004 census and thus been classified by IUCN in the Red Data Book as ENDANGERED with the main reasons being hunting and forest destruction. Currently, these Pandas are abode only in six mountainous regions of China.

Untitled

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION: 

CLASS Mammalia
ORDER Carnivora
FAMILY Ursidae
GENUS Ailuropoda
SPECIES melanoleuca

Pandas of China are the most beloved and rarest species of the bears of the world ranging from miniature toys to big fluffy dolls. These Pandas are the symbol of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) ever since its inception in 1961. These Pandas are characterised and well-known for their striking contrasting colours of black and white with soft and smooth fur. The block patches on their body is well defined including the well-noted and distinguishing black patch near the eyes all well-adapted for camouflage on the tree tops and on the mountainous regions of China.

giant-panda-shutterstock_86500690This gentle and kind mammalian inhabiting the thicker and deeps forests of western China usually live for nearly 14 to 20 years in the wild standing taller more than four feet. They give birth to 1 or 2 cubs during their breeding period. The Panda weighs around 70 to 125 kilograms.

They are excellent tree climbers and rely on bambPanda_Tour_Image_202969oo leaves and stalks food. As these are low in nutrients and consume around 26 to 84 pounds on a daily basis which is the main task of the day next to sleeping. They also need plenty of water to drink like other bears. Some of the other food that Panda eats will include grasses, bulbs, fruits, some insects and even rodents and carrion. These Pandas stay in old, hollow logs and tee stumps with holes where they can rest in cosy comfort.

Giant_Panda_Cubs_07.24.2012_HelpPandas are not social animals and usually stay in isolation (solitary habitats) and for them two is a crowd attracting conflicts expect during mating and parenting season. If seen in crowd, Pandas are mating adults or mother Panda with her cubs. The only companion Pandas have is the “bleat” and other ways of communication are honks, huffs, barks, growls, croaks and squeals. CALL OF THE NATURE Other ways of communication by Pandas are through their distinctive scent glands located under the tail that leave a waxy and stinky mark on trees, rocks, bamboos and bushes. These scents are much useful at the time of courting and mating and for marking their territory.

giant-panda-what-wwf-is-doingHI_113976Giant Panda is a keystone species of the Chinese temperate forests as it plays a very important role in the ecological habitat of bamboo forests where it abodes. Besides they are endemic in that region. They play a vital role in dissemination of bamboo seeds and facilitates the spread of bamboo forests in the Yangtze Basin thus paving way to ecological restoration in deforested areas. This region is blessed with species whose survival are interdependent to the survival of Pandas: golden monkey, takin and crested ibis (endangered species); and dwarf blue sheep and multi-coloured pheasants. Thus this turns out to be one of the hotspots for ecotourism.

PANDA AS OLYMPIC ANIMAL: GIANT PANDA FOR EATING!

No wonder Panda became the world’s most adorable bear ever since they became official mascot of Olympic Games at Beijing in the year 2008 standing evident as the cultural icon for China and her natural resources, the wealth of any nation. A point to be brought forward to our notice at this instance that Panda was adopted as the logo of WWF.

WHAT ARE THE THREATS TO PANDA?

Loss of habitat is the major problem as a result of deforestation for timber industry and lowland habitat by farmers for agriculture and civilisation making “search of food” difficult for Panda.

Some of the ways we can help the Pandas and make them stay with us and with our children:

1. Adopt a Panda

2. Take Action – CAMPAIGN!

3. Speak Up for Wildlife

4. Stay Informed – Keep Yourself Abreast!

5. Become Defender of Wildlife








Friday, 12 December 2014

HALLUCINATIONS - SCIENCE BEYOND YOUR IMAGINATIONS!


DEFINITION: Hallucinations are the unusual ability of the brain to sense something which is not present to be present when one is awake, in contrary to the series of incidents that one sense during sleep, which we call as dreams. This is also called illusion.
In extreme cases and in spiritual sense these could sometimes also be referred as “visions” – Christianity and “apparitions” – Hinduism.
TYPES:
There are many types of hallucinations:
1. feelings on the body sensation with no real symptoms – crawling on the skin and movement of internal organs kinesthetic hallucination.
2. Hearing sounds like music, banging windows and doors and footsteps – auditory hallucination or paracusia or paracusis.
3. Hearing voices of people whom you are familiar and them not being around or voices that give instructions to cause harm to others or to themselves, critical and complement oneself.
(you hear them like cosmic noises and sounds)
4. Seeing objects, flashes of lights or living things like a mirage or a flash of light – visual hallucination.
5. Smelling foul or pleasant odour olfactory hallucination.
6. sensing unusual taste – gustatory hallucination
7. hypnagogic hallucination is a dream-like hallucination that occurs at the onset of sleep and hypnopompic hallucination that occurs on awakening.
Hallucination like hearing voices or seeing images of grieving hearts after death of near and dear ones is acceptable and normal.
CAUSES:
The various reasons that could cause hallucinations will include:
1. Having been abused with substances like alcohol, marijuana, LSD, cocaine, PCP heroin, amphetamines and ketamines.
2. Delirium or dementia leading to visual hallucinations
3. epilepsy could lead to odor hallucination
4. Very high fever
5. mental disorders like schizoprenia.
6. Sensory disorders like blindness or deafness or even repeated infection of ears could lead to hallucinations.
7. Failure of organs like liver, kidney and brain cancer or infections could also lead to hallucination. `
8. Lack of sleep, disturbances during sleep cycles especially when entering the deep sleep cycle or waking up often over a continuous period of time besides continued stress are some of the other reasons that could lead to hallucinations.
9. Social isolation could lead to hallucination in elderly people.
In the hospital: Better not get astrayed! When you have a problem this is how the doc will usually undergo a medical examination…the doc will make queries on the number of incidents of occurrence, when this has been happening, when they occur and the kinds of drugs they have been taking at that instance.
Even otherwise healthier habits like good sleep, good and healthy food with healthier lifestyle habits like avoidance of substance abuse and good social and emotional support with happier environment are some of the best ways to treat this condition initially followed by use of medications if required in much more intense conditions.



Thursday, 4 December 2014

SPARROWS: GETTING LOST IN METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY



House sparrows are one of the most commonly seen birds in the city in house roofs, sunshades and buildings and gardens. As per IUCN list they are of Least Concern, yet is on the verge of shifting to the vulnerable category at the rate that modernisation of metropolitan cities are affecting their niche in the cities and increasing shortage of food.  I still remember when I was a kid playing with sparrows and having them building nests at home and nearby garden. I have watched them hatch eggs and feed their chicks.

They belong to the family of Passer and are cosmopolitan entertainers of the city, though predominantly feeding on seeds, grains and small insects. They are unusually cute, small, plumpy little birds that are brown in colour with grey feathers in between their wings and tail with stubby and powerful beaks. Male house sparrows are brighter brown in colour, while the female sparrows are dull and grubby. Stripes of black, brown and buff on sparrows are the striking features of male sparrows.

House sparrows are very noisy and in groups they enjoy your garden and roofs, food and water. You could find their nests holes in your house roofs, bird’s nest, bird box, roof tops, traffic signals, shop sign boards and fences. They are found more common in human acquaintances and found mostly in the city and farmstead.

With the decrease in number of sparrows and spotting them becoming a rare occasion in daily life, March 20th, of every year has been declared as “World Sparrow Day”. This has been reported at various instances that the number of sparrows are slowly disappearing in the cities of United States, in India at major cities like Bangalore, Chennai and other metropolis. What usually happens on this day is a celebration by conservationists and environmentalists to host programmes for breeding and conserving sparrows by active individuals, national and international groups. The decline in number was first noticed in the year 1990s. Citizen Sparrow is a Citizen Science Programme and Education and Public Engagement Programme; Bring Back Sparrow is an environmental campaign initiated by an individual hailing from Bangalore, working as a full-time dentist, Dr. Harish Narayan and the implementation of Project Sparrow by a few students in Chennai. There are many such similar programmes working towards the cause for saving sparrows and in the year 2010 a stamp was released by the Indian Postal Department.

What you can do near your house?

Place a bird box and a feeder outside the garden or near the window or under the sunshade.

Water bowls and bird bath are some other option to invite and attract sparrows and is a conservatory measure.

Always try to have some space for garden at your home or apartment where you will find some niche for sparrows.


SPARROWS! You Will See A Chirpy Fulfilling Happiness Entering Your Home!

Thursday, 13 November 2014

PROJECT WORKS FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS AND OTHER WORKS AT REDUCED COST



Complete your project work before you go to DTP (Xerox) shop with me....What I will do for you???

1. Tables       -  Min. Rs. 3 per Table
2.Graphs      -  Min. Rs. 5 per Graph
3. Pictures and Image Alignment - Min. Rs. 10 per plate of A4 size.

Contact: 9500906549; 
email: ecoagripolicy@gmail.com

HURRY UP ONLY FOR LIMITED PERIOD!!!


Sunday, 9 November 2014

GREEN DIWALI CONCEPTS FOR 5 DAYS YEAR 2014



This year amazingly happened to find time in my records to take initiatives and work on my social media campaign for preventing the over use of crackers:

Eco-anti-cracker Campaign

GREEN DIWALI CONCEPTS!!!

Day 1: 

Use low noise producing crackers than exploding crackers – Join the cause “Low Toxic Dumping into the Environment
Toxic gun powders are used in exploding crackers in which the combustible gas is released under pressure exploding the cardboard shell of these crackers with a loud popping noise.
Low noise producing crackers are those that display colourful fireworks which are as a result of mixing smaller amounts of gun powder with salts that gives colourful flames.
There is much more science to production of fireworks – but “gun powder” has been the killer to the labourers as well, besides toxic to the environment.
Let’s think twice before we decide what crackers to buy this season!!! HAPPY DIWALI FOLKS!!!

Day 2:

Family reunions - new clothes, sharing cherishing moments, following family rituals, sharing sweets and hot, spicy snacks and good menu on the platter from breakfast to dinner.
Diwali is once in a day in a year when you get an opportunity for family gathering and spend time together. These are the days as a nuclear family we hardly get time to spend with each other with ever raising demand of consumerism and economy to maintain our living standards. May be this Diwali you can try PLANNING YOUR DAY to spend time in or out with your family, more time with God and family, enjoy all the three meals of your day in peace (make it as long as possible) and what’s more than sharing your sweets and snacks with your kins, friends and neighbours – also enjoy sharing your cherishing moments in life (maybe as a parent you can introspect on your childhood days of Diwali) with your family…leave the taboo of gluing to Television if not CRACKERS habit on Diwali!!!
HAVE A LIVELY DIWALI Day!!!

Day 3:

Festival of lights and fireworks - Share and Care
Diwali is popularly called the “Festival of Lights” though for Tamil Nadu, “Karthigai Deepam” is the one during which people light clay oil lamps. However, many people I have known used to decorate their house with oil lamps as well on Diwali. So take some more of your time in the evening to arrange and d├ęcor your home or temple with these lamps. Thus, you will find something more fulfilling done on the day other than simply bursting crackers. Bursting crackers – if a status issue and pacifying your ego – don’t worry, share the crackers you have brought with “have not’s” and you will find something done more fulfilling and still you have spent more money on crackers than others. “HAVE A CARING AND SHARING DIWALI SEASON THIS YEAR!”

Day 4:

Lasting or Low in Toxic & Less-Smoke Fireworks?
Well again coming back to the pavilion of your cracker purchase – think twice! You have two options lying in front of you –
Option 1 : Exploding crackers not only produce more noise but most of you burst them in the morning for thrill and fun of who is waking up whom – ultimately you keep bursting those crackers for an hour or two continuously until religious rituals commences;
Option 2 : In contrast, this is a common habit to burst those noiseless cracker that produce smoke which wades away in a few minutes and do not smog by evening; and you have the option of keeping all the pests and mosquitoes off for one single evening and such an enjoyable moment to see bright and vivid colours. “HAVE A VIVID AND VIBRANT COLOURFUL DIWALI!!

Day 5:

What's more Joyful – Exploding or Fun Together?
Well, boys and girls – do your youth and adventure spirit rush into your blood and trigger your desire to burst exploding crackers – well guys and gals think twice??? Do you have pets? Do you have old people and children at home? Is anyone sick at home? Are they there at your neighbourhood? Then why do for just one day thrill and adventure you want to hurt someone? Of course, I am not asking not to burst exploding crackers – your fun is as well important; but check on the decibel limit where you burst and it’s a “BIG NO” to bombs legally at any place.
Try this! Reduce the amount of exploding crackers that you burst and have more fun bursting colourful firework displays which everyone at home and neighbourhood will enjoy – and that’s time spent well for the day. What’s more fun? What’s more fulfilling - your joy or having fun together? HAVE A FUN FILLED DIWALI WITH YOUR FRIENDS, KINS AND FAMILY!

So these concepts are the mark of the year to come!!!!



Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Principal - Stop Corporal Punishment



All you need to do is to click on the link and sign the petition. If you think you can do a little more, kindly pass this onto to others whom you know will have a good heart and mind:


Principal - Stop Corporal Punishment

Saturday, 1 November 2014

ADOPT ME



Save Me! Give Me Home & Food!
I Promise To Be Your Loyal Friend!
Rather I love to cuddle with you

I am at Play
You can find and pick me up to home when my mother is gone outing leaving her some food near 2/647-2, GR Nagar I Street, Kannanenthal, Madurai - 7.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Care While You Burst And Blast

 

How I wish I could WISH YOU ALL A HAPPY DIWALI!!! And, I do here!!!

Diwali, yes – Festival of Lights, but these days we are making it as Festival of Crackers!!! No Worries!!! Opinion Differs.

Coming to the celebration of Diwali, last year has been my worst experience in seeing personally a number of deaths and accidents, especially because, I regretted till the end that I could not give them a detailed instructions on bursting crackers!!! Here I go, I have the best time to make use of my access to net in peace with the limited time to post some precautions that you could take while bursting crackers.

DO’S AND DONT’S:

  • Choose your place to burst crackers!!! Avoid crowded, congested places, narrow places and lanes, huts and animal shelters, garbage and trash areas and places where sources of fire, including the whole lot of fire crackers that you have purchased and have placed them out to burst.
  • Supervision of children while bursting crackers is a must. Today morning as I walked past, I saw three children trying to burst crackers on the top of a compound wall – Appreciate their intelligence to avoid wet surface – but by the time they lit the fire and get back to a safe distance the cracker would have exploded! No Parents near by!!!
  • Buy branded and sealed crackers – do not buy loose crackers and those which do not have ISI or ISO or that of an authorising agency’s seal and from licensed shops. Your safety first is very important – why? Authorising agency limits the amount of exploding materials that is to be standardised and placed inside the crackers in terms of both quality and quantity.
  • Avoid long loose and nylon or silk clothes – good that you would love to burst crackers in your Diwali dress – but is that worth your life??? I still remember one of my neighbour, an engineering graduate, lighting lamp for Diwali when her grand, expensive silk saree got burnt – I informed only to get abused, leaving aside for her thankful mother.
  • Wear closed shoes for your good to prevent crackers from hurting your feet and don’t examine burst crackers.
  • Keep in handy a bucket of water and sand, and a blanket to wrap yourself if only you get hurt by fire…Also have a burnt first-aid kit, icepack, etc., in handy.
  • Do not burst crackers like rockets or those that shoot up or flower pots near plants and trees.
  • Always use long Agarbatti (incense stick) or lit stick to burst crackers. Avoid using matchbox and candles. Never ever use oil lamps to light your lit sticks or other small fireworks, incense sticks.
  • There is no thrill in holding crackers and throwing them – you could land hurting someone and if that happens to be someone on whom you have a displeasure they may corner you with a murder complaint.
  • Keep a bucket or dig a pit to dispose all the burnt cracker and in the end throw that bucket of water into the pit.
  • Do not intimidate small kids to burn crackers forcefully. They will learn at their own time and pace.
  • Park all your vehicles at a safer distance and never burst them on main roads where vehicles pass-by.

All done and back into your house – STOP – don’t rush to those sweet and snack shop – wash yourself completely with lots of soap and water to rinse off all the toxins from the crackers that you had been handling….

Rush to the nearest hospital in case of injury – be glad to know that there are docs ready to come and help you!!! Be glad to know that there are people in fire department to come in and subdue the fire for you!!!

Do you want to WISH everyone A HAPPY DIWALI – then please don’t hurt others!!!!

Monday, 8 September 2014

Say No To Drugs! Let Your Mind Control The Drug and Not The Drug Control You!–PART I


AngelJune 26th has been dedicated as International Day Against Drug Abuse an information spread across for awareness campaign by Narcotics Control Bureau, Tamil Nadu with the motto of the campaign being “Get High On Life, Not On Drugs!” NCBR SMS Campaign!

Drugs are abused by individuals either at their own will or by others resulting in victimization. These days modernisation and lifestyle changes creeping into the society in the form of night clubs as an instance has led to free traffic of drugs. When I happened to make my trip abroad I was both warned and happened to read in our orientation books and programmes to avoid going to night clubs for the probability of use of drugs to make people stay awake and energize to dance for longer hours is high. These drugs are either mixed in the drinks or thrown as powder in the air. Besides, girls who used to visit these night clubs used to share their experiences of how men tend to lose control and misbehave in many ways and take advantage while dancing with them and how boys accompanying them come to their rescue… in the end they were happy at the adventure they had! I have also read in papers that drugs are used in Indian night clubs as well and recently I happened to read an article on drugs being abused by college students in Sivagangai District! The next day I happened to find a used needle barrel at the campus of my workplace in a primary student’s hand to my despair, which on enquiry I happened to be picked by that student’s sibling in KG….though I have sense that needle maybe used for practical, I have the common sense and still remember the difficulty that we had when we wanted one from the medical shop because we are school students (and managed to get one for the reputation my school had) and we were thought of how to dispose…!

Light bulbAll this led me to decide on to share my part of knowledge on using these kind of drugs… why not there were and are many tele-serials and cinemas telecasted to contribute to their campaign against the use and abuse of drugs.

Why Drugs?

Why talk about drug abuse? Drugs are used to modify the state of mind and mood to create problems causing displacement at place of work or study and at home as a result of which inter-personal relationships diminishes, depreciated health and violation of law will result. The reasons are simple: loss of ability to think and take decisions and make judgements because of blurred vision and other related effects of drug abuse.

Before getting into the depths of drug abuse and drugs prevalent in the community and in party clubs, some of the terminologies that needs to be understood are as follows:

1. Tolerance: Tolerance is the need for higher dosage of drugs when the lower dosage of drug that previously effective becomes ineffective.

2. Dependence: Dependence is the inability of a person to manage without taking a drug specifically when withdrawal symptoms instigates the affected individual to depend on the drug to manage the withdrawal effects.

3. Abuse: Abusers overuse the drug and are addicted to drugs. They tend to hide their addiction, deny substance-related problems and under-report their problems.

4. Addiction: Addiction is abusing drugs without physical dependence on the drug.

COMMONLY ABUSED DRUGS:

Alcohol, nicotine, marijuana, opiates (heroin and Talwin), psychostimulants (cocaine), sedative-hypnotics (benzodiazepines and barbiturates), hallucinogens (LSD), phencyclidine (PCP), designer drugs (ecstasy and meow) and inhalants.

MEDICAL AND MENTAL ILLNESSES:

The overall effects of abusing drugs leads to medical and mental illnesses like anxiety, depression, insomnia, phobias, emotional and behavioural problems.

CANNABIS      Respiratory disorders, pulmonary cardiac arrest, decreased sperm count and motility and menstrual abnormalities.

STIMULANTS  Sudden death, cardiac arrhythmias, fibrillation, infarction, hypersensitive crisis, physical exhaustion.

OPIATES         Increased risk of TB, generalized malnutrition.

What I have understood from the awareness sessions given to us on drugs and from personal readings in pamphlets at various counselling centers is that the effect of drug abuse is more severe and opposing on health when you try to control drug abuse symptoms from affecting you with your mind or by nature if the drug abused is not being acceptable by your body. In other words, trying to control neuro alterations in the brain and the implications thereof on physical and pscyhological effects either by the course of nature or with your mind.

In the next section to follow we will see more of the symptoms associated with different types of drug abuse……




Thursday, 4 September 2014

Story of Two Horses




Author: Rachel Predeepa J

There were two horses and the keeper of the horse took both the horses to the riverside for drinking water and grazing. Both the horses grazed happily. However when he took the horses to the river to drink water, one of the horses drank the water and the other refused to drink. The horse that drank the water was feeling good and energetic because it had its thirst pacified. While the other horse did not drink water and grumbled. In the end when they went ahead of their journey, the horse which drank the water was able to walk steadily while the horse which refused to drink the water found the journey hard and weary.
stock-footage-two-horses-drinking-water-from-a-dam-on-an-australian-farm

MORAL OF THE STORY: Making the best use of resources available is dependent on how you make the best use of the opportunity and guidance.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Borstol Schools In India – Is This A Need Of The Hour?




Borstol Schools was an initiative taken under the British Governance in India for the welfare of youth as part of reformation and uplifting the moral and social status of adolescent girls in specific. As part of this various Acts of Reformation were framed which includes U. P. Naik Girls Protection Act, 1929, Bombay Devadasi Protection Act, 1934 and Madras Devadasi Act, 1947. At this instance for the welfare of adolescent offenders the Borstal Schools Act was also instituted in various states, which resulted in the establishment of the first Madras Borstal Schools Act, 1926.

Objective: The main goal of establishing Borstal Schools is to provide care, welfare and rehabilitation to young offenders failing not to provide education, training and enhancing a conducive environment for offending adolescents and kids. This is the place where they are confined away from the regular prison treatment and acts as a reformation center and as an early identification and correction center for prevention of budding criminals. Besides these young offenders are given industrial training to teach them to earn a living through honest ways.

Borstal Schools, in this context, though governed by the Inspector General of Prisons is under the observation of Probationary Officers: Probation Officers are persons appointed under the Tamil Nadu Probation of Offenders Act, 1936 or 1958. Besides, every school has a Visiting Committee with members appointed by the State Government. Not withstanding the Government of India has recently extended the Borstal School Act to Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2000 and established Observation Homes for observing suspected and unconvicted prisoners who are young; however, the Ministry of Women and Child Development is yet to detail on the purpose and activities of these Observation Homes for public awareness. Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 was in fact implemented to extend detention of adults offending and abusing innocent children using various means like physical and mental/ emotional harassment, which is one part of the Act, while the other part of the Act “defines those children involved in conflict with law”. Probationary Officers are assigned various duties of which one of the major responsibilities is Rehabilitation of the prisoners which is the backbone of the System of Probation and the objective of Borstal Schools. They aid in securing education, survival aids, securing shelter and homes for destitute children, settling family problems, arranging medical aid and upliftment of wards and family members of the young offenders, if any on case-by-case basis.

Statistics:

As per 2011 NCRB statistics, there are 21 Borstal Schools in India with a total capacity of 2, 218 students. The schools are located in the following states – Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu with the highest capacity of 667 inmates while the states of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh are the only places where they have facility to lodge female inmates in 3 of their Borstal Schools.

Juveniles Justice Act, 2000: The problem with this Act is how far is this law is being implemented. Any Act or law be the end as is seen there is always room for improvement; however, when an Act of this kind is being implemented, this is done after years of research and experience. The need of the hour is to distinguish, understand, identify and differentiate the two groups of juveniles and group them for lodging in these centers accordingly.

While the Juvenile Justice Act (2000) and the Borstal Act has been instituted, how far are they being implemented in reality is a question of concern for many. In this day of technology children are exposed to two threats: falling prey to cyber bullying, physical (corporal) and mental (emotional) harassment and sexual abuse - rather is better to word as children being "used" and "abused"; and on the other hand, the number of increasing crimes in which children knowingly or unknowingly are becoming a part of getting involved in the conflict of law which are going unnoticed are: bullying and bossing, cyber crimes involving misuse of technology in forms of sms, videos, photos and websites, besides the regular crimes that are usually noticed like petty theft, stealing, robbery and sometimes physical assault.

On the other hand while implementing these laws, what people actively involved in these issues notice are the lack of awareness to distinguish, discern and discriminate children involved in conflict of law and those who are in need of care and home.

Borstol Schools and Observation Homes are the step towards culminating young and budding criminal offenders to make a better society for tomorrow !

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Join My Venture In Eco-Anti-Cracker Campaign – Less Noise!




When do we burst fire crackers? There are many occasions when we burst crackers with the main festival being the “Festival of Lights” called “Diwali” or “Deepavali”, other ceremonies like weddings, new year, political processions and processions for social cause besides other sad occasions to wade of evil spirits and for the soul to rest in peace. Most of the crackers that are burst in India is at the time of festival of Diwali. Diwali is also celebrated by lighting lamps and decorating houses with lights, besides other customs like sharing sweets and buying new dresses. Diwali is the festival celebrating the triumph of good over evil. Lighting of lamps also signifies the welcoming of Goddess Lakshmi.

However, with the changing trend in lifestyle this has become a monotonous custom that Diwali has becomes an indiscriminating celebration of bursting crackers from dawn to dusk. Hardly do people understand that they being involved in encouraging child labour in those companies located in areas of Sivakasi and Virudhunagar of TamilNadu, India where majority of the crackers are being manufactured.

But the locus of discussion over here is resting on the argument of overuse of crackers being bursted resulting in increased noise pollution to the environment.

The first part of the discussion will circle around the ill-effects of bursting crackers in perspective of noise pollution:
1. When you burst too much crackers continuously and that too those causing lot of noise this is going to disturb your neighbours who are babies, toddlers, small children, elderly, sick specifically heart patients, those who have psychological disturbances and sensitive ears.
2. The next affected are those lovely little ones at your home – pet animals: birds, dogs and cats are the most affected ones as they sense bursting cracker as a signal of danger and something abnormal to their regular life – leave alone those at your home – they will know that no harm is going to come and you can always let them know with your love and care – but think of those stray animals who do not have a home to hide and someone to show them there is nothing to be terrified of.
3. Besides if your house is located near hospitals, asylums and homes for the elderly, mentally challenged and animals; then you need to care.
4. The greatest challenge of noise pollution is not only disturbance and annoyance, but could also lead to “hearing loss”.

The second part of the discussion on the various laws amended and regulated to :

With the regulations in India is concerned the laws implementing the restriction on the use of crackers and blasting crackers will under two categories – those limiting the noise pollution and the other limiting the air pollution.

A classical example of taking stance on the enforcement of the amended law by Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) and district administration led to the implementation of the audible limits restricting the use of crackers accordingly. Crackers causing loud noises have already been abandoned numbering to 93 different items. As per the order from Collector’s office the decibel limit for bursting crackers were implemented as outlined: http://www.tnpcb.gov.in/tnbcbambient.html . Furthermore, people violating the rules were warned of immediate custody and spot fine of Rs. 1, 000/. Time limit for bursting crackers has been confined between 6 : 00 AM to 10 : 00 PM. As an additional measure from the local administration side, people have also been informed to avoid bursting or take appropriate measures while bursting crackers in congested streets, near slums or animal sheds. I still remember the days of childhood when I got a rocket right at the bottom of my leg in the living room of our house in Chennai.

One of the other major problem that has to removed from the minds of those mischievous little kids who are not taught to learn to live with the environment is to avoid bursting crackers by tying them to the tails of dogs, cats, birds, insects like dragonfly and sometime calves.

However, drafting laws, words of enforcement and spreading information via campaign like media advertisements, sms and posters/ pamphlets will not do enough good in combating the changing trend of bursting crackers as the only way to celebrate Diwali. What is needed more is the follow up on the law enforced, in other words, real implementation and reporting of incidences in the media officially as a holistic data.

In the end, I am affirming on my point of view that there is nothing wrong in bursting crackers but the motto of joining this campaign is on “wise use on bursting crackers”. There is no cost involved in joining the Campaign!

“Bursting Crackers = Money Spent” maybe a status symbol today – but if you join here after having a thoughtful contemplation – this will become a “taboo” tomorrow; and you will have many ways to spend the amount saved and enjoy the Festival of Lights or any other occasion.

Let’s learn to keep the Earth Safe for our future generation and Save their Ears! 


Saturday, 21 June 2014

ABUSING CORPORAL PUNISHMENT–TO FOLLOW

 

 

Find here below are more information to read on corporal punishment Awareness Campaign jointly established by Save the Children, UNICEF, CEAPA and CONCAPA  and two videos one on corporal punishment and other on sexual abuse of students. Furthermore I worked in a CBSE school and have given the URLs to CBSE’s stature on the use of corporal punishment in hope that the state government body if they happened to read my blog will take this as an opportunity to incorporate this into their system of education as well if not done earlier.

UNICEF AWARENESS VIDEO ON CORPORAL PUNISHMENT

 

CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE AWARENESS VIDEO BY CHILDLINE

UNICEF CAMPAIGN ON BANNING CORPORAL PUNISHMENT

BANNING CORPORAL PUNISHMENT IN CBSE

AFFIRMATION OF BANNING OF CORPORAL PUNISHMENT

Thursday, 19 June 2014

ABUSING CORPORAL PUNISHMENT AS A TOOL TO POWER

      
              
I started my school days in a small factory school where teaching staff are appointed in a similar manner like many of the other management schools in Madurai. The only difference is that this school has a bigger space comparatively to other schools from the surrounding villages. Canning, undressing students and kneeling are some of the common forms of punishments that I have observed during my childhood days. My mother has been more of an activist in those days despite being a home maker who knows less of the world and people outside. I say this because she cared more for her children and her friends. I still remember three to four incidents during my childhood when my mother came forward and spoke rather questioned my teachers including the Principal. 
mother
Incident 1: When some of my neighbouring class boys shirts were removed as punishment and made to go to other classes, she objected.
Incident 2: My speed of delivery of words is much faster comparatively right from my childhood, however the case is much different now. One day this so happened that I finished my prayer after lunch before others and the teacher on rounds canned me and I had a mark on the back of my arms. The next day my mother came and fought with the teacher and after that told her that if she hits me for questioning her she will take things seriously. From that incident onwards I still remember the teacher always used point out, “If I hit your mother will take me to my higher authorities”. I think she was my Maths or Tamil Teacher.
Incident 3: Once my sister got canned very badly and all I remember is my mother talking to the teacher angrily for not understanding her problem and discussing with her of how to solve. After this incident my parents sent my sister to Kodaikanal where she stayed with my grandparents and continued her studies. This period of her life, to my knowledge was blissful, of course who will not love the beautiful landscape and a lovely pet dog and cat.
Incident 4: Once one of my very good playmate and classmate called Gayathri had high fever and her father I believe is a labourer or a technician. Her mother left her under our care, our group and asked us to take care of her. This so happened the Principal came for substitution and was checking our notebooks for handwriting to the best of my knowledge. Gayathri was not doing well and she had bad handwriting or incomplete work but the Principal got so wild and she started canning her. Immediately we all together told her that she had fever and she canned us as well which made her more aggressive and blindly canned her which caused lot of markings on her legs. After that she did not come to school the next day and we all told our parents of the incident. My mother questioned the Principal the next day for canning me for only conveying the information that she was not doing well. The day after that when Gayathri came back to school, my mother saw her condition and on seeing a few of my other classmates also started complaining to my mother. So she asked her parents to complain on the Principal to the management, but they were scared because of other higher authorities whose children were also studying there. The situation was entirely different in this case. So my mother took this as a personal concern and I along with her told my father. I do not remember following which my mother persuaded my father to chat with Gayathri’s father and he took a written statement from him and personally met the management and the Principal got suspended. She did come back to the school but we all forgot about her by then as is was a year later, but at that time she was reformed.
Incident 5: I was in Dindigul and had no idea of computers and never had seen one. Unfortunately, I happened to join my middle school a little later than others I was behind syllabus and missed out a few classes on binary calculations. So I failed in the test and my computer master canned me. This in fact developed an aversion towards the subject until I started enjoying using the technology for research and got admired by my research supervisors for learning to use softwares swiftly and ethically. My mother not only complained to the Principal and later got to know that the computer master was staying in a house which was under the supervision of my father and so my father also had a word with him.
What brought me all these memories back? The decision of mine to agree to work as an Academic Co-ordinator though attending the interview for a Principal since I believed that besides other reasons is also an opportunity to understand and gain more knowledge on Indian educational system at school level – primary, secondary and higher secondary. This so happened that the school where I agreed to work in Madurai had compartmentalization system of education. I wonder whether is this the real pathetic case of all the schools and the students in Madurai or not, I am not sure – for my nephew gave me a different opinion of the school where he studied earlier. I have very little idea of his current school as is not even a month since the year started.
Objection to implementation of corporal punishment, leave aside schools in Madurai, I got inspired through my mother from childhood because she always used to tell that women who hit other’s children are not good women and do not make a good mother (why my sister’s-in-laws used to bother my mother for sparing the rod for they do not know to discern between pampering, disciplining and use of corporal punishment). This is how I had been growing up and this so happened that I spent the last four years of my education is one of the best schools in South India at Chennai. I owe a lot to the nuns and other teacher who had put in lot of effort on me and made me a confident person and brought the innate personality to life. I still admire the leadership of the Principal of my school at that instance and only when I last visited my school before leaving to Australia, I got to know that might be the last visit to my school as on old student for most of the teachers were already retired and others were in the verge of retirement.
The person who got appointed along with me here in Madurai as Principal also bothered about canning when I was feeling they are better for I know that is much worse in some of the other schools, or maybe I did not get a chance to observe . But I only got to know that the teachers are encouraged by the attitude of some or rather I should mention it as most of the parents who come to teachers asking to can their children while I even had the experience of a parent telling me that they are using medication on their son for being naughty. Of course without a change in the attitude of the public this is not possible to ban and prevent the use of corporal punishment entirely while parents themselves question teachers for not using corporal punishment. This was at this juncture that I got appointed to Thiruppuvanam, Sivagangai as Academic Co-ordinator to a CBSE school that is to be established. Need not say accepting the mode of education by itself was a problem which I found on arrival for many parents used to keep complaining and have displeasure on the amount of time and effort that parents need to spend on their children unlike Matriculation/ State Board. It was at this juncture I found that many parents also used to complain and question the Principal of that school as well for implementing corporal punishment. Initially I observed that she used to implement only when teachers bring students stating that they were doing mischief. I do not know what happened or maybe because right from security to few attenders started comparing indirectly on how students get scared for making mistakes and immediately regret with no need to hit or scold them, if I happened to find out. In fact even after scolding they used to smile happily. This could also be one the reasons besides other personal contempt and displeasure or jealousy and me not agreeing to nod “yes” to say that a mobile phone that I got for myself for my birthday as gifted by someone else or might be because not being bothered about the story of an “alliance” that she made up and asking to fall in love and marry that “man” and much more than that. What ever be the reason the ploy was laid before – but the point here is that corporal punishment was used rather abused on small students below 10 years – to teach me to use corporal punishment; to hurt me since I cannot see others being hurt for innocence thinking that I will not ask and an idea for what reason I do not know that either to make me go meet men in uniform and/or human rights commission people. banningcorporalpunishment-page1
The point here that I want to convey on this blog is, despite as seen in the map of India, Tamil Nadu falling under the circle of banning of corporal punishment and the act against the physical and mental (and  I believe should be better framed as emotional) abuse leading to deterioration in mental health and physical well-being of the child has been incorporated into the Act to Right to Education Bill and UNICEF, India, one should be practical that corporal punishment cannot be banned completely without a change in attitude of the public (as parents), despite schools, management, principals/heads, in-charges and teachers get together and prove their ability in moulding students without implementing corporal punishment. Here I have incorporated what the media has published further on the decision issued by Ministry for Women and Child Development and this news not only from one single representation of media, but is a well cited article in detail that corporal punishment is punishable to imprisonment and penalisation with money. However what is pathetic in the country is that when corporal punishment has been abused to harass students and to pent out their emotional imbalance, I believe that a little more than penalisation and imprisonment is required.
Corporal Punishment Laws in India
People who are heading such institutions leaving aside their duties and responsibilities, showing negligence towards the responsibility of safety which is under the direct supervision of the head of the school and monitored by him/her and work towards their own selfish gratification, I believe they need a little more bitter treatment and lesson learnt for life. The case that I faced here is much more of irresponsibility and abusing students for selfish purpose and the acknowledgement of parents towards the misuse of children in helping to gain more power and maybe money as well, besides the personal harassment that I faced which I need not discuss here. However, I should not fail to accept that there were many who questioned and complained. Appreciate their braveness in striding forward!!! Maybe people like them should be together when they are receiving an opportunity to ask at a common platform rather than finding excuses for not coming!!!
The consequence of abusing corporal punishment and mental, which I will call as emotional harassment in this context on students, could have more implications and stress on students for this instilled fear of sharing problems with someone whom they can rely on and doing things which they believe is wrong for no one will like to hurt someone whom they like. Besides when the government and activists are banning corporal punishment with common cause that this instills the spirit of learning to use violence, what will be the end result of abusing corporal punishment for no valid reason for cases similar to Gayathri?
I believe this needs no great psychology to understand that all students are not equal in learning to speak a foreign language and some depending on the environment and society they grow, may not be able to spell out clearly certain words, why my nephew at the age of 11 still cannot spell out certain big words clearly; not because he is a dull-head because he knows the usage of vocabulary but is not able to pronounce the word clearly like a grown up individual and is still a kid.
However taking things positively forward on my personal side since I had no trustworthy contact details or appointments to raise my concern, I believe in the interim I maybe spending time at home and not earning my daily bread, but in the process I gained knowledge which I would have gained even otherwise if required as a matter of job responsibility and also learnt more about the Indian system of education at the level of school.

Read the blog to follow for further readings.....