Celebrity Chef Izzat Husain’s ingenuity set to leave your senses spellbound with the launch of Spellbound Restaurant at Gardens Galleria – Noida

Not just Noida but whole of NCR has never tasted anything like this! Food connoisseurs and eating buffs take note to make the first possible visit to Gardens Galleria Mall in Sector 38A Noida. Such occasions come seldom in life when the lords of senses come to tickle and ignite each of your sensory bud so as to leave you spellbound by the entire gamut of enticing charm that you are set to encounter at Spellbound – the new eatery joint that has taken the entire NCR by storm in a short while since its launch.

Spellbound at Gardens Galleria is undoubtedly the new address for food connoisseurs in the Capital. With the celebrity chef Izzat Husain there to delight your taste buds, together with the soothing yet happening ambience that reflects the rich taste of promoters Sagar Sharma and former model and Miss Delhi Ramnik Pantal, rest assured that all your senses will feel the excitement of being to Spellbound. Ramnik had since long been a model, TV anchor and host and has been a familiar entity in Delhi’s Page-3 circles for the last two decades.

Celebrity chef Izzat Husain getting ready to entice customers with his food delights

Truly a sensual delight but neither at too much cost to pocket nor a great burden on your bowel system that many a well-known chefs in Delhi make you undergo because of their reckless use of spices and oil, which resultingly give the same taste to whatever different dishes they cook. But Izzat Husain’s food is different… delightfully different.  So much so that you can distinguish the various ingredients that he puts into his food merely by putting the food on your tongue. Each herb and spice that he puts appear to whisper gently in unequivocal tone that it too is there. If Shahi Zafrani Sheermal is served, rest assured that taste of zafran (saffron) will linger on in your mouth distinctly for a while. Even when you are trying his paratha with unique blend of herbs, garlic, olive and ginger or are savouring his trademark ‘Izzat ki Roti’ that Mirza – the F&B manager – wants you to break with your own fingers because only then will you realize how soft the roti is despite the fact that it is not easy to keep the roti soft if multi-grains are used. Izzat Husain has designed variety of breads at Spellbound because he knows the food buffs in the Capital prefer to have bread over rice. This however does not mean the biryani is not far better than all that you get to eat in Delhi restaurants in the name of biryani.

Breathtaking charm of interiors at Spellbound

Mirza, the F&B Manager who has the distinction of being part of the exquisite kitchen of the Palace of His Excellency King Salman of Saudi Arabia, and who boasts of serving distinguished guests ranging from Barack Obama, Narendra Modi and Tayyip Erdogan, gets spellbound by the exquisite taste that Izzat Husain’s ingenuity develops, day after day. It is due to this that he calls the food at Spellbound as royal… in fact everything in Spellbound reminds him of the royalty he was associated with while in the royal kitchen of the King of Saudi Arabia.

Yogesh Meena – the young chef who supports Izzat Husain – has the distinction of working in the Hilton at Istanbul and at the Taj at Udaipur. Here at Spellbound, he is shocked to see how Izzat Husain can make cooking look so simple and easy and yet comes out with spell-binding tastes… that too without use of water or curd. Says Meena: “I have never seen Mr. Husain taste any food. He knows if the salt is less or more merely by looking at the food.” He further says that Izzat Husain’s “process of cooking is quite different…earlier we used to toll hard but couldn’t bring the taste, Mr Husain appears to do simple things but come out with finger-licking dishes.”

(From left to right): Celebrity chef Izzat Husain, Mirza and writer

But why did this trainer of trainers – the celebrity chef who till now had restricted himself to training the chefs of 5-star hotels and big food chains – got associated with a restaurant in Noida. Says Izzat Husain: “Till now my services were restricted to five-star hotels. First time, I have come out of 5-star hotels so that my food reaches out of 5-star environment. We are going to give an altogether new variety and taste to Delhi NCR – a food that is mouth-watering delicious but also digestive…. Food that is not just appealing for the senses but for appetite as well.”

Adds Sagar Sharma: “People who are coming here are loving the food as well as the ambience in which they sit to eat. They are showing it by not just respecting the chef, but even respecting the food. Entire National Capital Region was till now lacking in an ambience where the whole family could go and sit in a relaxing environment, listen to the soothing music playing in the background, in an equally soothing ambience, and eat food that they had perhaps never tasted before.”

Murg Kalapari, Murg Neza and Malai Tikka entice one and all

Sharma further says he wanted to build a place where all five senses get spellbound. He has taken extra care on each and everything within the premises so as to give such a spell-binding ambience. He has ensured that good music plays in the background. And with Izzat Husain as the master chef, he has ensured that all five senses are taken care of.

To begin with, focus is on developing corporate clients and reaching out to those families who already possess refined taste-buds and who wish to feel pampered by the special service that is the hallmark of Spellbound, while savouring Izzat Husain’s delicacies. Sharma informs there are special packages for the corporates, which not only give value-for-money but an experience of a lifetime.

(From left to right): Sagar Sharma, Yogesh Meena and Izzat Husain

Murg Kalapari is so soft that it appears to melt in the mouth. Made without use of curd and with Izzat Husain’s secret marination techniques, it is worth a try. By the name Malai Tikka, it would appear you have eaten it so many times in life before. But if you believe in us you can bet with anyone even without trying it that Izzat Husain’s Malai Tikka would be different, something that you would not get to eat in the whole of NCR. Murg Neza boti kabab too has an unbeatable taste. And if you are fed up of eating almost the same tasting dal makhani in restaurant after restaurant, Dal Shahzadi is Izzat Husain’s new creation; one that appears as royal in taste as it could be.

Another exquisite Izzat Husain creation is Chuqandar Paneer, which is truly out of the world in taste. Ponder for a while: how many restaurants in Delhi would risk offering you something which is a mix of chuqander and paneer. Salute to Izzat Husain’s ingenuity that even a dish made of chuqander comes out so tasty that you would love to add it in your main menu. Likewise, how many chefs would offer Qabuli Gosht – an amalgamation of goat meat with qabuli chana! Truly splendid in taste is Badami Qorma as well.

Biryani too is exquisite creation by Izzat Husain

Not just starters and the main course, a visit for dining purposes at Spellbound should also include savouring the tasteful and healthy variety of mocktails and also the desserts – all with the signature blend and taste provided by the chef of chefs, Izzat Husain. Just as Malai Tikka is far different from the dish by the same name that you get all over North India, the Badam ka Halwa too is different… and innovative… where each spoonful will make you realize the taste and feel of Badams (Almonds) till it goes down your neck and to your stomach.

Captivating taste, aroma and colour of mocktail entice one and all

As the photo-journalist Zaki accompanying this writer perfectly summed it up: “Each dish has a perfect, distinct taste… taste which lingers for a long while even when the food has gone down your throat. Taste of one dish does not mix with the taste of other… all appear distinct, unique … and all delicacies together create the perfect blend, that words would fail to describe but will give the feel that would remain for a long-time after you have had to your heart-full (rather stomach full) and yet with another unique quality of Izzat Husain – that his foods are a complete medicine and are never harsh on your stomach even if you eat to your full.

By Aziz Haider; Photos by Md. Zaki Haider




Child artiste Shabih of Ahlcon International rocked the stage amidst professional performance by theatre groups in Komal & VK Pahuja Theatre Festival

Shabih of Ahlcon International School on stage in a memorable performance

It was splendid mono-acting performance by a 9-year old student from Ahlcon International School on the theme of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s much-publicized ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ Abhiyan that received standing ovation from the audience at 4th Komal & V. K. Pahuja Theatre Performance held at Delhi’s hub of activity India International Centre yesterday. Shabih performed as a guest artiste in the day-long theatre festival attended by various prominent theatre groups including Anvaratt Theatre Group of Indore, UPTA Group of Meerut, Rahul Thapliyal’s group, Theatron Theatre Group, Soch Theatre Group, Shanjha Sapna Group and Nepathya – the theatre society of PGDAV College, University of Delhi.

Child artist Shabih (in centre) along with (from left) Sangeeta Sahni of Ahlcon International School, Supriya Pahuja of Komal & VK Pahuja Foundation, Monika Sawhney of Ahlcon International School and mother Tanveer Fatima

The event now an annual fixture of the city was organised by Dr. Supriya Pahuja and Meenakshi Pahuja in loving memory of their parents Komal & VK Pahuja. Inaugurated by Dinesh Ahlawat, the Festival saw presence of prominent personalities including Sheila Dikshit (former Chief Minister of Delhi), Prof. Kiran Walia (former Minister in Delhi Govt), Prof. Dinesh Singh (former Vice Chancellor – Delhi University), among others. Rajesh Dua and Sanjay Dhoundiyal were given Life Time Achievement Award. Komal & VK Pahuja Foundation is known for promoting cultural, sports and theatre activities. The event was anchored by Sandeep Mishra in his inimitable style, who introduces himself as the spokesperson of Dera Sacha Sauda in Delhi. He was ably supported by Ms. Lata.

The day-long Komal & VK Pahuja Theatre was judged by an eminent panel of jury which included renowned actor and director Dr Bikram Kesharee Mohanty, Manuv Mehra and Rakhi Chauhan Mehta. On stake were three awards for Best Production and an award each for Best Director and Best Actor. In the end, the Best Director Award was won by Nitesh Upadhyay for play Yeh Ishq Ishq (Anvaratt Theater Group).

Anvaratt Theater Group of Indore performed a play Ye Ishq Ishq, directed by Nitesh Upadhyay. This was followed by Kali Raat Ka Humsafer by UPTA Meerut, directed by Bharat Bhushan. Also a heart-rending performance was Panchlight by Theatron Theater Group. Rahul Thapliyal directed Mera Wajood (A Compulsion) enthralled the audience next.  Directed by Parminder Singh, it showed the plight of sex workers and how the society puts the blame on the female while the males who patronizes the profession and frequent red light areas escape the blame. Parichaya, directed by Rajiv Kohli and assisted by Pranav Shekhar of Soch Theater Group was a beautiful display of acting talent by artists who mesmerized the audience through depicting the pathos of parents who educate their children only to lose them later in their old age, owing to the charm of a better life abroad or developing personal careers in distant lands. Ashish Modi and Rani Sonkar through their  wonderful display of acting talent kept tickling the emotions of the audience amidst good acting display by Manoj Aryan and Arsh Khan. And none could escape from laughing whenever Sahil Arora entered the stage in his splendid comic act as a house servant.

A very excellent display of acting talent was also visible in the enactment of Othello by Nepathya – theatre society of PGDAV College (University of Delhi), which was followed by Chitthee by Shanjha Sapna, directed by Ishwar Shunya.

A scene from Panchlight by Thetron Theater Group

Amidst all this excellent rendering of theatre skills by trained professionals, child artiste Shabih showed that despite being of tender age and an amateur, she has got the talent to perform and win accolades while performing in the company of such talented professionals from various theatre groups. She showed the plight of a young girl, whose wish to go to school remain unfulfilled as circumstances forced her to work as a housemaid. For nearly seven minutes of her on-stage mono-acting performance Shabih managed to stir the emotions of many in the audience through projecting the emotions of the girl child and her resolve to study amidst circumstances that do not allow her to do so. This performance could serve as a great promotion for the already-publicized Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Abhiyan, which is one of the flagship social welfare campaigns by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Shabih Fatima, trained by her teacher Monika Sawhney and promoted for this stage by Sangeeta Sahni, is under the tutelage of Ashok K. Pandey – Principal of Ahlcon International School. Ahlcon International School is one of the foremost schools in East Delhi, which is known for promoting art, culture and sporting talent among the kids beside their overall educational development and grooming the students for their future lives.


Making interactions with our Mother Earth

As the name suggests… it is all about Mother Earth. The apex ministry that deals with all complex interactions across various components of the Earth, comprising the atmosphere, oceans,  cryosphere, geosphere and biosphere is aptly named the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES). The endeavour is to build a desired synergy between earth and the life on it, for improving the quality of services in order to effectively minimize loss of life and includes providing weather, climate, ocean and seismological services to the nation, exploring polar regions, and discovery and exploitation of marine living and non-living resources.

Achievements, no doubt, are many and are increasing gradually as India excels more and more as a technological powerhouse, on its journey to become a global power. This gives enough reason for Dr. M. Rajeevan, the Secretary in the Ministry to feel elated, who sees last two to three years as particularly eventful with major achievements in weather, climate, ocean and seismological services and enhancement of technical capability by the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

Dr.Rajeevan describes the MoES mandate in these words: “The national agenda includes promotion of discovery to provide new perspective on earth systems; better understanding of earth processes and application of this knowledge for sustainability of the Earth and its natural resources along with strengthening all associated services for enhancing the societal benefits. The policies and programmes of the Ministry are largely being pursued through mission mode projects jointly implemented through its institutions like India Meteorological Department; National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting; Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology; National Centre for Antarctica and Ocean Research; National Institute of Ocean Technology; Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services; Centre for Earth Science Studies; National Centre for Seismology; Centre for Marine Living Resources and Ecology and Integrated Coastal and Marine Area Management.”

Dr. Harsh Vardhan, the Hon’ble Minister for Earth Sciences with the Government of India feels MoES is poised to play a leadership role in the Asia-Pacific region as India emerges as knowledge super power. This will be achieved “by way of expanding cross-linkages and extending technical support to our neighbouring countries insofar as the weather and its associated services are concerned. The demands for better and precise weather, climate, ocean state forecasting and earthquake monitoring services are increasing. There are special demands from different sectors of economy for customized support services. Other focus areas could be on generating ocean thermal energy, exploration of ocean resources and exploring polar regions.

Needless to say, the various programs being run by the Ministry of Earth Sciences include a wide variety of applications of immediate relevance to our quality of life. Several major milestones have been accomplished in the recent past under various programs and newer thrust areas have been added to the portfolio of activities in response to India’s felt needs in areas pursued by the Ministry. Moreover, leveraging India’s innate excellence in research and development has resulted in enhanced performance of detection and reporting systems.

Dr. Gopal Iyanger, Joint Secretary in the Ministry informs that our skills pertaining to weather and cyclone prediction over the region have improved remarkably in past years. This was evident in the Ministry’s predictions related to Tropical Cyclones, Phailin, and Hudhud and extreme rainfall events in Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir and also the floods in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat. Dr Iyangar tells it is due to successes in technology made during recent years that while the cyclone of 1999 resulted in deaths of thousands of people, the cyclones in recent years have resulted in deaths of less than 50 people.

“It is important to have quality observations which can monitor how the weather is developing and also provide the input in a timely and efficient manner,” adds Dr.Iyangar. This has been possible due to acquisition of fast computing resources which has improved our weather and cyclone prediction capacity, thereby bringing in a paradigm shift in numerical modelling activity for operational weather forecasting.

“Weather forecasting is also of tremendous importance to those in agri-businesses. Forecasting is no longer the concern of the upper end ‘big’ farmers now. Through the Ministry’s ‘Gramin Krishi Mausam Sewa’ we are now reaching about 128 agro-climatic zones spread all over India. Cuurently, about 21 million farmers are receiving crop specific agro-meteorological advisories through SMS in vernacular languages. Services are provided for specific crops as well. Our forecast goes twice a week and lead time is 5 days. Variables covered are maximum-minimum temperature, rainfall, wind direction and wind speed and soil moisture. Ministry has formulated a plan to have district agro-metallurgical unit in each of the about 660 districts in India. By the end of 2020, we will have these units in each of the district headquarters.”

“We have launched the Rs. 400 crore National Monsoon Mission to provide more accurate monsoon forecast to all concerned up to the block level,” informs Dr.Harshvardhan. He further said: “To make weather forecasting with higher accuracy in the mountainous North-eastern region, most modern Doppler weather radars have been installed in Cherrapunjee in Meghalaya, Mohanbari in Dibrugarh (Assam) and Agartala (Tripura).” The Ministry has now made it possible to generate reliable dynamical model predictions in all time scales, short to medium range (up to 10 days), extended range (up to 20 days) and seasonal (up to one season0. It is also possible to make accurate forecasts for summer temperatures and heat waves, winter fog and monitor the air quality.

The Minister also informed that MoES had launched a Rs. 475 crore project and set up two mega centres at Koyna in Maharashtra and Shillong in Meghalaya for the study of earthquake prediction. Experts consider the North-east the sixth major quake-prone zone in the world.

The country has made remarkable progress in earthquake monitoring through setting up of National Centre for Seismology. Real-time seismic monitoring network consisting of 82 field observations including two telemetric clusters, in NCR Delhi and the North East, have been set up to estimate earthquake parameters within shortest possible time. Significant earthquakes are being auto-located and first information is sent within 15 minutes using both Indian and global seismic stations configured in the network. A 2-station VSAT-based seismic telemetry network has been established for real time monitoring and reporting of seismic activity in the North-eastern region of India. Facilities have also been created for scanning, vector digitization and systematic archival of seismic analog charts of historical importance in electronic form.

The Ministry has also embarked on a multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional effort of microzonation of various earthquake prone cities in India. Microzonation of Guwahati, Sikkim and Bangalore has been completed on 1:25,000 scale and Delhi on 1:50,000 scale. These efforts will have direct application in disaster mitigation and management, urban development, planning, design and construction, and risk assessment to existing life and property, defence installations, heavy industry and public utilities and services, etc.

And to know more about the Mother Earth, Scientific Deep Drilling has been carried out in the Koyna Intra-Place Seismic zone in Karad, Maharashtra with an aim to measure in-situ physical properties of rocks, pore-fluid pressure, hydrological parameters, temperature and other parameters of an intra-plate, active fault zone in the nearfield of earthquakes – before, during and after their occurrence. A set of 6 cores have been drilled so far with logging and heat flow measurements. These observations will help to understand physical processes of reservoir induced earthquakes.

“These and related achievements include a wide variety of applications of immediate relevance to quality of life. India’s innate excellence in research and development has been leveraged to enhance performance of detection and reporting systems. Newer thrust areas have been added to the portfolio of activities in response to India’s felt needs in areas pursued by the MoES,” tells YS Chowdary, the Minister of State in the MoES.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan elaborates on the reasons further: “All this would not have been possible without appropriate investments in augmentation of observational network, enhancing computing resources and intensifying research in modelling. By using our timely and improved services, farmers and fishermen have received substantial economic benefits. We need to further improve the dissemination strategy to increase the outreach and also to ensure the benefits of it accrue to many more farmers and fishermen.”

All this is important because life matters the most. And life matters only because our Mother Earth matters!

Aziz Haider

(Article exclusively done for Outlook Magazine)

Knowledge and technology for the socio-economic benefit of the nation : An interview with Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister

The mandate of the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MOES) is to provide services for weather,  climate, natural hazards, ocean, coastal state, hydrology and seismology and explore the marine  living & non-living resources and the polar-regions for the socio-economic benefits to the nation. The services provided by the ministry are being effectively used by different agencies and state governments for saving human lives and minimizing damages due to natural disasters.

1) Your Ministry has been excelling as knowledge and technology enterprise in the field of Earth Sciences and giving socio-economic benefit to the society. Kindly give your views?

Over the past few years, the quality of weather, climate, ocean and seismological services provided by the ministry has improved due to systematic efforts in augmenting atmospheric, coastal and ocean observations and survey, geophysical observations, polar research, developing adequate modelling strategy, conducting cutting edge research and investing in human resources development.

The Ministry in collaboration with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)provides the crop-specific Agromet Advisory Services (AAS) to about 21 million farmers (as compared to about 7 million farmers in 2014), resulting in annual economic benefits worth Rs. 42,000 crore for farmers cultivating 4 principal crops (wheat, rice, sugarcane and cotton).

IMD is planning to improve these services further and take them to about 60 million farmers by 2019.

Fishermen have made an annual profit of Rs. 3000 crore from PFZ advisories by the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) which reach 2.75 lakh fishermen (as compared to about 1.05 lakh fishermen in 2014).

In addition, cumulative economic benefits exceeding RS. 370,000 have accrued from Ocean State Forecasts (forecasts of waves, currents, sea surface temperature, etc.) to fisher folk, shipping industry, oil and natural gas industry, Navy, Coast Guard and other stakeholders have improved considerably during the last 3 years. The cumulative economic benefits exceeding Rs. 370,000 crores have been accrued from these ocean state forecasts.

INCOIS has also been designated as Regional Tsunami Service Provider (RTSP) by IOC/UNESCO entrusting the responsibility for providing tsunami advisories to Indian Ocean rim countries.

2) What are the new developments in the area of improving forecasting of weather in India?

Under the successful National Monsoon Mission, dynamical and improved prediction systems have been implemented for generating short-range to seasonal monsoon forecasts over the country. This was possible due to systematic research, investments in infrastructure development like observations, high performance computers and training of young scientists. The loss of lives during the last 3 years due to tropical cyclones has reduced to less than hundred as compared to the thousands during the previous decade.

Forecasts for heat waves

To provide adequate warnings about heat waves and associated health hazards, MOES for the first time started issuing forecasts for heat waves over the country, which were very successful.

Observational Campaigns

Many observational campaigns have been taken up as special atmospheric observations help us to understand model deficiencies and to improve prediction models. As part of it, a large-scale joint India-UK observational campaign was carried out during the period June-July 2016.

3) What has been your Ministry’s policy towards exploration and exploitation of ocean resources, both living and non-living?

An area of 75,000 sq.km has been allotted to India by the UN after India conducted an extensive survey of 150,000 sq. km of Central Indian Ocean where exploration and harvesting of minerals such as gas hydrates, polymetallic sulphides and polymetallic nodules rich in Cobalt, Nickel and Copper is being carried out.

As a first step towards harvesting the nodules, a seabed crawler based mining machine was developed and demonstrated at a water depth of 500 m. A mining machine is now being developed for 6000 m water depth. To test the strength of the soil at those depths an in-situ soil tester that goes up to a depth of 5462 m also has been developed.

A deep water work class Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) was developed to aid the exploration of deep ocean minerals up to a maximum depth of 5289 metres. A shallow water remotely operated vehicle (ROV) rated for 500 m with scientific payloads was developed and used for exploration in lakes and to examine the health of coral reefs in Andaman Islands. That was also modified and put to work in the polar regions of Antarctica.

Also, the Ministry through its constituent unit, the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) is developingindigenized technologies for producing clean drinking water from the ocean. Currently there are three desalination plants operational at Kavaratti, Agatti and Minicoy which are individually producing 1 lakh litres of water per day. NIOT is providing technical support to the Lakshwadeep administration in installing six more desalination plants in the islands each with a capacity to produce 1.5 lakh litres of water every day.

Efforts are also on to establish an Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) powered desalination plant of 1.5 lakh litres of water every day capacity at Kavaratti in U.T. Lakshadweep (identified as priority program by NITI Aayog) by 2019. The demonstration could lead to viable OTEC powered large scale desalination systems.

 4) Can you brief on how the Ministry has been translating the knowledge and insight themes gained into services for societal, environmental and economic gain?

Scientific deep drilling in the earthquake prone Koyna-Warna region of Maharashtra is one area where our services are directly benefiting the society. Scientific Deep Drilling in Koyna, Maharashtra was initiated in 2016, aimed at setting up of a borehole observatory at depth of 3 km for direct geophysical measurements leading to a better understanding of the mechanics of faulting, physics of reservoir triggered earthquakes and preparing an earthquake predictive model. The drilling has now reached up to a distance of 3 km.

Air pollution is a serious social problem, affecting our environment. To understand the gravity of air pollution problems, a System of Air Quality forecasting and Research (SAFAR) provides location specific information on air quality in near real time and its forecast 24 hours in advance. The Ministry has also commissioned the fourth SAFAR system at Ahmadabad recently. The advantage of this system is the capability of predicting air quality during next 2-3 days in addition to real-time monitoring of air quality.

As regards to the socio-economic benefits that accrue from Agro-meteorological Advisory Services(AAS), Potential Fishing Zone (PFZ) Advisories and Ocean State Forecasts(OSF), we have already talked about it earlier.

Another area is the establishment of Desalination Plants in the Lakshadweep Islands, which are extremely useful inserving the drinking water requirements of island community.

 5) What are the Ministry’s future plans?

A National Mission on Deep Ocean Research is being implemented as a comprehensive, holistic mechanism, which will bring in more economic benefits through living and non-living resources, attract young students and researchers to challenging and exciting areas of Ocean Science and Technology thus creating many jobs and business opportunities.

A new program has been launched for improving the weather and climate services in the north-eastern region by commissioning of the state of art systems like Doppler Weather Radar, GPS sonde system, Heliport Automated Weather Observing System (HAWOS), etc.

A Decision Support Systems (DSS) has been developed based on predictions of a) Tropical cyclones and associated damages over the Indian Seas and 7 days in advance with the 24/48/72 hour Land-fall errors of 30/60/100 km respectively, b) Severe weather (heavy rainfall, urban floods, fog, air pollution emergencies, heat and cold waves) at district/block level 3-5-days in advance and c) location specific now-casts of thunderstorms, lightning, wind storms and flash floods (3-12 hours in advance). Similar system has been developed for detecting earthquakes of magnitude 2.5 and above and dissemination of information within 3 minutes of occurrence.

Coastal Mission for an integrated coastal multi-hazard warning and dissemination system for addressing Hydro-meteorological (Storm Surge, Sea-level Rise, High Waves), Geological (Tsunami and coastal erosion) and Ecosystem related (Coral Bleaching and Harmful Algal Blooms) hazards and related services too has been developed.

A Marine Observing System has been set up along the Indian Coast (MOSAIC) for providing water quality monitoring and warning services for coastal regions.

Aziz Haider


Iram Saeed

Iram Saeed

Timor-LesteHave you ever heard of Timor-Leste? For those unaware, Timor-Leste is one of the world’s newest countries and also one of the poorest. Situated in South Asia between Indonesia and Australia, the half-island nation is home to a young and culturally diverse population of just over 1 million. The long fight for freedom that people of the region undertook resulted in nearly one-third of the population perishing. Nearly each family of the newly made country has seen near and dear ones killed during the struggle period.

Bella Galhos with colleagues

Bella Galhos with colleagues

Timor Leste has significant petroleum resources, but owing to the fact that most institutions are young and inexperienced, having limited human resource capacity, and poor infrastructure, the country is facing severe health challenges, particularly those affecting women and children. The country’s capital Dili is remotely connected to the Indian capital Delhi (interestingly, Delhi too in Hindi is written as Dilli). Despite the challenges, Timor-Leste has worked with diligence and courage since independence to establish its democratic institutions and a viable economy.

There is also a great need to improve agricultural capacity and performance; encouraging private sector competitiveness; building democratic institutions and good governance mechanisms, including anti-corruption systems; protecting the natural environment; and helping populations adapt to climate change. Due to great need for social work, USAID is working closely with Timor-Leste to cope up with the challenges that this new country is facing.

Bella with students

Bella with students

Most people in Delhi (Dilli) may not be aware about this new capital Dili, but there are unsung heroes from Delhi who continue to work selflessly even in as far and remote a country as Timor-Leste. One such hero is Iram Saeed, a Jamia Millia pass out social worker, and now an international development professional with expertise in empowerment of women and youth as well as community development. Having earlier worked for organisations such as Marie Stopes International, United Nations and other international NGOs, Iram moved to Timor-Leste to initiate and execute a social welfare project Santana Unipessoal.

Iram is a co-founder and Chief Development Officer of the project Santana Unipessoal, along with Bella Galhos, founder and a freedom fighter. Since moving to this new country, Iram is working among young Timorese children (along with youth and women), endeavouring to make leaders who will go on to rebuild Timor-Leste, which has only recently come out of the ashes of a brutal occupation and bloody struggle, and is still struggling with hunger, poverty, poor access to education and inefficient agricultural practices. Timorese, says Iram, are still scared of expressing themselves and a lot need to be done to bring them out from the trauma of brutal suppression that these people have been subjected to in the past.

Ambassador Gurjit Singh calling on H.E. Mr. Kay Rala Xanana of Timor-Leste during his visit to Timor-Leste

Ambassador Gurjit Singh calling on H.E. Mr. Kay Rala Xanana of Timor-Leste during his visit to Timor-Leste

In Bella Galhos, Iram has found an able leader and co-worker, who herself suffered dearly during the occupation period. During the 1975 invasion of her country by Indonesian forces led by regional strongman Suharto, Bella’s two brothers, aged four and six, were beaten to death by rifle butts. Her father was jailed for two years, placed in solitary confinement where he lived in his own filth on a ration of rotten food, occasionally having fingernails and toenails removed with pliers during interrogations. During the years of occupation, there was frequent gunfire in the tiny island country, the constant threat of rape and the mysterious deaths or disappearances of friends and family.

Bella was merely 13-year-old in 1985, when Indonesian soldiers caught her from a small East Timorese schoolhouse and forcefully injected Depo Provera, a contraceptive drug the Indonesian government used in its forced contraception and sterilization program, an injection that was again given to her during the two succeeding years. These atrocities suffered during the early years made Bella Galhos a strong woman with a strong drive to work for the liberation of her country and to experience for the first time life without military occupation. As a teenager, she got involved with the underground resistance, risking imprisonment, torture or death.

In fact, after each wave of violence, Galhos stepped up efforts to free East Timor from Indonesia’s grip. When a young political organizer was killed in 1991, Galhos helped organize a massive funeral procession and demonstration in Dili. When that event erupted into a mass killing, Galhos enlisted in the Indonesian military while secretly supporting the resistance. And when she endured the constant sexual assault at the hands of soldiers in Jakarta, she resolved to win the trust of the Indonesian government to represent East Timor in the Canada World Youth exchange program as an example of a compliant, pro-integration East Timorese youth.

Years later, Galhos along with her equally resolute co-worker Iram, are working to rebuild Timor-Leste through their untiring efforts. Iram is closely involved with Leublora Green School, the signature project of Santana, and the only educational institution in the country dedicated to teaching about and promoting economically and environmentally sustainable growth and development for the people of Timor-Leste.  It offers courses free of charge to school children, as well as other Timorese people (with a focus on youth and women), to build leadership, encourage environmental stewardship, promote sustainable and efficient agricultural practices and inculcate the value of respect for oneself, other people and the world.  Leublora Green School aims to become a source of inspiration for the country to protect and promote its unique natural heritage.

Leublora Green School is a unique concept in itself not providing classroom education alone but practical education as well into farming, rearing and other essential needs that the growing up Timorese children will face in future. And Iram does not only have to carry chalk and duster to teach but even sickle and spade, seeds and dung. Courses provide beneficiaries with: practical skills to engage with those around them and their natural environment in a productive and sustainable way; knowledge to lead their country towards sustainable development in an ethically and environmentally responsible manner; and, wisdom to understand the importance of respectful human resource and environmental management to the future of Timor-Leste and the world.

Interestingly, India’s ambassador to ASEAN and Timor-Leste, Gurjit Singh, visited Timor-Leste sometime back, to meet the then Prime Minister H.E. Mr. Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao, to discuss ways and means of increasing bilateral cooperation between the two countries. Ambassador conveyed the offer of Government of India to establish Centre of Excellence in Information Technology (CEIT) at Timor-Leste. In this regard a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been handed over by Ambassador to the Prime Minister. Welcoming the offer, Prime Minister H.E. Mr. Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao appreciated the initiative of Government of India in the field of Human Resource Development. To enhance economic cooperation, Ambassador offered to bring delegation of business people from India Business Forum (IBF), Jakarta which warmly accepted by the Prime Minister. Prime Minister also conveyed that Timor-Leste values its friendship with India greatly. India has also announced scholarship to teach 10 Timorese students in India each year.

India will surely do its bit to improve the lot of Timorese population but it is always heartening to note that there is an Indian, belonging to our own Delhi (Dilli), who is working a little distance away from Timorese capital Dili, with a resolve to change Timor-Leste, one life at a time.

Taking cue from Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat Mission, Indialogue Foundation organizes discussion on ‘Cleanliness in religions’

DSC08131 (1024x768)Indialogue Foundation organizes an annual iftar-dinner cum Interfaith Dialogue to enable followers of different faiths to talk, collaborate and live amicably, understand the views of different groups on various subjects, and share the common values and teachings, carried out in an atomospher of peace and openness, with love, respect and good intentions without any force or duress. Bilal Acikgoz, the suave dynamic president of Indialogue Foundation has, through his efforts, made this annual fixture an event to look out for. Foundation’s theme this year was ‘Cleanliness in Religions’, under inspiration form recently the most heavily highlighted campaign of ‘Swachh Bharat’. Needless to say, the luminaries and thinkers of religion and interfaith were present to express their views. Read on…

 By Aziz Haider

Distinguished gathering

Distinguished gathering

Cleanliness has become a buzz word today, courtesy Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Government through its various ministries is spending crores of rupees to achieve this task. Majority of people are hopeful we will be able to achieve our objective by the stipulated date of October 2nd, 2019. But the question that still lurks behind some of our minds is whether this task will indeed be achieved, considering the various impediments that rig the path.

Distinguished gathering

Distinguished gathering

Question is why we, a country with five centuries plus a great civilization and boasting of having followers of all the major religions of the world, have not moved ahead in this direction till now. Do our religions really focus on the subject of the cleanliness? If yes, where lies the focus? Discussion on this important subject was initiated at the behest of Indialogue Foundation in its Annual Interfaith Dialogue followed by Iftar Dinner, where scholars and experts of various religions spoke on the subject of ‘Cleanliness in Religions’, under inspiration from recently the most heavily highlighted campaign of ‘Swachh Bharat’. Indialogue Foundation seeks inspiration from US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is now having estranged relationships with present Turkish Government, which is seeking his extradition. The Foundation which works to facilitate interfaith understanding and communication has been organizing similar events since its inception in 2009.

Bilal Acikgoz

Bilal Acikgoz

Bilal Acikgoz, the President of Indialogue Foundation is of view that cleanliness is the major focus of most world religions and traditions. Quran highlights on purity of soul, heart and body. Islam has uniquely stressed on the subject of cleanliness when Prophet Mohammad said that purity and cleanliness is half of the faith. Islam gives great stress on both physical and spiritual cleanliness. From washing face, hands and feet five times a day as preparation for mandatory prayers, in the name of wudu, to various prescribed baths on various occasions, and keeping the surroundings clean, Islam also stresses on inner purification through seeking roohani or spiritual elevation and attaining purity through eradicating all evil thoughts and nature from mind in the name of Allah. It is the constant remembrance of the God in various acts that lead to spiritual elevation and thus spiritual purity. Roza or fasting is an example where the believer attempts to rid himself of all evils of body, mind and senses. Thus cleanliness has to take place in totality and not merely physically.

Cleanliness is very important facet that is highlighted in all religions. Being unclean is seen with contempt. Hinduism too has several prescribed ritual baths for various occasions. Hindus wash their feet before entering the temples. There are other rituals too that highlight cleanliness. Swachh Bharat campaign will really reach out to the masses when the campaign focusses through temples, mosques, madrasas, churches, synagogues and draws religious inspiration.

Swami Shantatmanand

Swami Shantatmanand

Swami Shantatmanand too is of view that the idea of cleanliness is centric to all religions. Swachhata or Cleanliness is one of the prerequisites of abhyasa yoga and a lot of stress has been put on it. Similarly the practice of taking bath before going to temple of before any important occasion or puja seeks to clean the physical body. Most religions talk of this journey from gross to subtle, so by way of observances, washing oneself, putting on clean clothes, similar rituals are followed by more and more inward journey towards attaining purity. Only the pure can really search God. Great emphasis is laid on internal purity. Similar to the practice of Karsewa, there is a similar practice among Hindus as well where devotees render service in temples. Physical purity like baths, putting on clean clothes, keeping the temples clean, etc. lead the adherent to inward journey towards purity.

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Distinguished gathering

In religious utterances, for example puja, stress is on cleaning external and internal parts. There are elaborate practices in various pujas, where different limbs of body are associated with different gods and goddesses and appropriate mantras are chanted thereby the worshipper becomes completely pure. Just as in Islamic concept of fasting, various fasts have been prescribed among the Hindus too. Fasting is not only to abstain from but it is to restrain the sense organs from their outward journey by making them inward-seeking. On Shivratri, the entire night of fasting is prescribed. Fasting is accompanied by lot many practices like meditating, prayers, japa, etc. Idea is that our body, which is the greatest impediment in self-realization, need to be conditioned through voluntary abstaining from food and we try to gain greater control over senses. Islam too prescribes lot of prayers, reading of Holy Quran and other such practices during fasting. All these practices are actually meant to help us evolve spiritually and move ahead in our inward journey.

Cleanliness of body is essential for cleanliness of mind, thus making us evolve as a spiritual person. It gives us insight to understand other religions which are actually trying to reach the same goal through various different paths. Ultimate goal is to reach supreme peace, supreme tranquility and supreme contentment.

Dr. M.D. Thomas

Dr. M.D. Thomas

Dr. MD Thomas, Chairman and Director of Institute of Harmony and Peace Studies, is of view that fasting makes us evolve as a better human being. It is an occasion to clean ourselves in mind, body, heart and spirit and also in our thoughts, words, sentiments and attitudes.

When we talk of cleanliness, normally our mind goes to ritual cleanliness. Though ritual cleanliness is important, Jesus has stressed more on internal cleanliness. He said, blessed are those who are pure in heart for they shall see God. Thus, to see God, purity of heart is essential. Cleanliness of body and mind is surely needed but also the cleanliness of concepts and understanding; that is why Jesus said what you do to other human beings, you actually do that to God.

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Distinguished gathering

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is not just for government to achieve. Every human being has to contribute. Cleanliness will have to come out of the churches or places of worship like temples, gurudwarss, etc. and come to streets, parks, roads and our neighbourhood. Roughly half of our country is garbage. I wonder why religions, with their focus on cleanliness, have not inspired us to keep our surroundings clean. Religion will have to inspire and motivate us and come down to our ordinary lives otherwise it will only continue to talk of ritual purity whereas we will continue to live in filth and garbage.

Dr. MM Verma

Dr. MM Verma

Dr. MM Verma of Interfaith Foundation too opines cleanliness can be cleaning the physical body as well as the internal body. Roza or fasting is one means to achieve that. Clean mind and clean heart is absolute condition to achieve the desired goals. Kingdom of God is within us but God resides only in pure and clean hearts. So if we wish to see God, we will have to clean our heart.

Swami Nikhilanand

Swami Nikhilanand

Swami Nikhilanand of Chinmaya Mission is of view that one who has clean mind attain God. Cleanliness is next to godliness. It just does not mean outer environment but also cleanliness of our mind. If our mind is clean, it is easier for us to clean the outer world also. Cleanliness when it happens in the mind will lead to outer cleaning as well. We might talk of external dirt but real dirt is within our mind. If there is too much craving in the mind, it disturbs the outer environment also, resulting in pollution, and exploitation of nature. We want more and more, which is leading to severe societal problems. These impurities need to be cleaned. Fasting, not only prescribed among Muslims but in all other religions, is a beautiful means to clean body and mind. It helps us detach from various worldly lingering, and if truly practiced, may lead to cleanliness of heart as well as the surroundings.

Distinguished gathering

Distinguished gathering

Patanjali Yogshastra has talked of five niyams, one of which is ahimsa. Ahimsa could be being non-violent towards our environment and surroundings as well. The principle is that if we give something, it will return to us. Similarly, if we give uncleanliness, it will also return to us. Another basic principle is the thought that everything belongs to God. The air and water we take are not our creation. We should be grateful to God for these and one of the signs of being grateful is that we return it in the manner in which it was delivered to us. Hinduism talks of worshiping nature in the same sense. Worshiping means caring and being understanding. We remove the dirt from our homes and through it out because we feel it does not belong to us. But if we are grateful, we won’t do that. Another concept is aparigraha, not to won more than what is required. The fact that we are doing this is leading to imbalance of nature. One should try to possess as less as possible. If we develop this attitude, it will help environment as well. Worst thing that the humans have discovered is garbage. There is no garbage in nature. This creation of garbage too is consequence of our consumerist nature. Concept of Brahmcharya too means we must carry minimum in us, not only in outer possession but in the heart as well. If we do this, we will be able to see God and there will be happiness in our lives.

Mary Pat Fisher

Mary Pat Fisher

Mary Pat Fisher of Gobind Sadan, where people from different religions work, live and worship together, is of opinion that the aim of all activities prescribed by various religions is to clean our mind. The real temple of God is within us. The Noor or Light of God will shine and reflect in us only when we clean ourselves from within. As per the Sikh traditions, if the body is unclean it can be cleaned with soap but if the mind is dirty, it can only be cleaned with the colour of God i.e. the name of God. Cleaning with the colour of God is to be saturated with the love of God so much so that all external influences do not matter and the person’s starts showing the traits of godliness.

Prof. Akhtarul Wasey

Prof. Akhtarul Wasey

Prof. Akhtarul Wasey is of view that all religions in the world have come with only one express purpose, i.e. to clean. Cleanliness not only from outside, of roads and houses, but to clean the man of inferiority complex, satanic thoughts and bad behaviour. All religions are united on this. Islam stresses a lot on cleanliness. Prophet Mohammad even described it as half of the faith. Ramazan is an attempt to cleanse ourselves, to train ourselves not under the duress of Governmental pressure but to cleanse ourselves internally and externally for the sake of remembrance of God. Fasting in the month of the Ramazan is a training for acquiring righteous traits and good habits that help a man cleanse oneself of all things that create problems in the society.

Rabbi Malekar

Rabbi Malekar

Rabbi Malekar, the rabbi of Delhi synagogue talk of cleanliness by saying that when we get up early in the morning, before doing the prayers, we are commanded to wash our hands. Only then we seek blessings of God who has enjoined us with cleaning of heart. When Moss went on Mount Sina and God asked Moses to remove his sandals, it meant he had to go with clear heart removing all preconceived notions of mind and go to the heart with clean heart.

There is great stress on purity in Judaism. The bath during menstrual period and other ritual baths like when we visit the cremation or burial ground are examples. Judaism stresses on cleaning all food, even vegetarian food. Fasting too has been prescribed as a means to attain purity.

Government is talking of cleaning the Ganges. It is unfortunate that despite such a great stress on cleanliness, all the discharge from toilets and bathrooms of thousands of ashrams in Rishikesh and Haridwar end up going into the Ganges. As Gandhi ji said, if you want to see change in the world, you must bring the change.

Prof. J.S. Rajput

Prof. J.S. Rajput

Prof. J.S. Rajput avers of the need for attitudinal transformation, if success is to be attained in Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. It is not possible to attain attitudinal transformation by putting up hoardings or advertisements or giving speeches. Long term attitudinal generational transformation can be achieved only through education. And religion is one of the tools to bring about attitudinal transformation. That is why I am of opinion that basics of all religions must be taught to a child in school. He will not only know about need to achieve internal and external purity and will result in his transformation into a wholesome individual.

To sum up, RNI talked to renowned scholar Maulana Wahiduddin Khan to know his views on the subject. Says the Maulana: Cleanliness is a law of nature. Every part of nature is perfectly clean, for example the flowing water, flowers and trees. Islam is din al-fitrah, that is, a religion of nature. Therefore, Islam attaches great importance to cleanliness. Islam requires every man and woman to become Mr Clean and Ms Clean. They should strive to maintain cleanliness in their homes and society.

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

According to a verse in the Quran, “God loves those who keep themselves clean.” (2:222) Similarly, the Prophet of Islam has said: At-tuhur shatr al-iman (Sahih Muslim) That is, ‘Cleanliness is a part of faith.’ Another saying of the Prophet in this regard is: ‘Indeed God is pure and loves the pure. He is clean and loves cleanliness.’ (Tirmidhi)

In Islam cleanliness is a comprehensive concept—it involves purity of the heart, mind and speech and purity in dealing, in individual and social conduct. In other words, cleanliness includes everything from the body to the soul.

The culture of cleanliness first leads to a clean individual, then a clean family and society and finally, a clean nation. Thus, the entire human life becomes clean.

Cleanliness gives rise to clean ethics. Where there is cleanliness higher ethics automatically come into play—thus values such as good behaviour, honesty, and dutifulness find encouragement. The truth is that cleanliness is a comprehensive idea, one which covers all the activities of human life.

RNI (Real News Intl.) News Agency

E-cigarettes far more carcinogenic than tobacco

Electronic_Cigarette_SmokingE-cigarettes were introduced as a substitute to tobacco-based cigarettes for people who are unable to leave the habit of smoking nicotine.  The new cigarettes have been marketed extensively by manufacturing companies citing health hazards to tobacco, particularly its cancer causing capacity.

A latest study by Japanese scientists has found that electronic cigarettes contain up to 10 times more cancer-causing substances than regular tobacco.

The researchers comprised a team of experts from Japanese Health Ministry. They examined the vapour, finding carcinogens like formaldehyde and acetaldehyde. The former was found in quantities exceeding traditional cigarettes by 10 times. The content of formaldehyde increases manifold particularly when the wire (which vaporizes the liquid) gets overheated, leading to production of higher amounts of harmful carcinogenic substances.

The findings of the study are particularly serious because some manufacturers are selling such products for dual use (with tobacco) or as a gateway for young people looking forward to start smoking. E-cigarettes are largely represented as a safe way of smoking, not harmful to one’s health.

The report has been submitted at the National Institute of Public Health. Japan’s Health Ministry is reported to be examining the results to develop ways to regulate e-cigarettes.

E-cigarettes work by heating flavored liquid, which often contains nicotine, and creating a vapor. As part of their study, the researchers analyzed several kinds of e-cigarette fluid, using a special ‘puffing’ machine that inhaled 10 of 15 puffs of vapour.

Sexual Assaults: Let the System stop being Provocative

 sexualThe first anniversary of that tragedy must bring them to demand curbs on commercialization of vices including nudity, pornography and prostitution.

 It was a year ago when the rape of a hapless woman, like a bad dream, agitated the nation out of deep sleep. For once it appeared that the whole country has been shaken and this would ensure that something concrete would emerge out of this, which will effectively tackle the problem of the sexual assaults against women. But as I kept warning from the very beginning, the vested interests in the country would not let the right solution emerge. I had argued that unless the system became protective, mere punishments to the offenders will not suffice. The system has to ensure that people are not exposed to material that tests their senses. The law must ensure that those who have acted criminally must receive punishment equal to the crime itself. But we believe in only half solutions. The result is that despite a new law to deal with cases of sexual assaults, the statistics stand where they stood one year back. The assaults in fact seem to have increased. The provocation has not shown any decline, and the problem too is far way from being over.
In Islam, individuals as well as the system are responsible for maintaining order. In the current international systems — the so-called New World Order, Westernism or modernism, the system has no responsibility at all. In fact the system, instead of being peace and health protective, is exactly the opposite. The forces of economics thrive not only on the commercialization of human strengths and needs but also on the industrialization of human susceptibilities. The system therefore not only fails to become health and peace protective, it also becomes an ally in the misdeeds of individuals. The system, in the name of freedom of choice, supplies every bad thing, but the onus of using them in an “acceptable” manner is purely on individuals. The market will supply all forms of addictions, but the individuals will have to face the brunt if they become addict. The people will be flooded with all sorts of sexually provocative images but the individuals will be expected not be provoked beyond acceptable limits. This is another matter that even these acceptable limits are inherently dangerous for society. If I am allowed to be a little shameless in my writing, the merchants of sex and nudity do everything to provoke human organs but would only want them to act the way they want them to act. This is the height of madness.
Everyday the media is in full swing discussing the “sexual assaults” on women. But instead of discussing all the possible factors leading to the sexual assaults, often culminating in deaths, they would always limit the discussion to a tussle between the supremacy of men and women.
When will women understand that “feminism” is a movement created and sponsored by male dominated market to help its business? The day the women understand this in big numbers, the society will change. The assaults on women will gradually decrease, and the females will know that the violation of natural laws gives much less than that it snatches. We need women in various departments but not where they are employed only because their charms attract the consumers. And they have to know that every woman is a working woman. The housewives are in fact house managers, doing much more important work than many managers in corporate houses. But the current markets accept work as work only when it involves exchange of currency.
Media must be made to behave
The media has to learn to behave. But it will not behave till it is forced to behave. The death of Damini had brought the people to the streets to demand death to the rapists. The first anniversary of that tragedy must bring them to demand curbs on commercialization of vices including nudity, pornography and prostitution. The debate on sex and sexuality has to be focused on the healthy morality that religions promote and not on commercial morality that the corporates insist. I will like to end this piece with the closing remarks from my book, “The Killer Sex”:
“What is being intentionally or unintentionally ignored is that the huge transformation in sex and sexuality has not been the product of natural human evolution. Evolution is and must always be for the better. In contrast, the so-called Sexual Revolution has been a well planned, artificially monitored and promoted, dextrously and meticulously executed and aggressively pushed transformation by the forces of merchandise that had only their vested interests in mind. People are not changing themselves; they are being made to change. It is not the nectar of their strengths but the hillock of their weaknesses and their tendencies to succumb that is being used as the catalyst for this change. They are being driven to a weird world of phantasm that has nothing to do with reality. It is not sciences or medical sciences that are instrumental in bringing about these pernicious transformations on the basis of their good impact on society; but it is the corporate interests that are creating new values and burying the old ones. The tree of Sexual Revolution is not being watered for the production and distribution of sweet grapes of love among the people but for the ultimate aim of the fermentation of grapes to manufacture the muscatel of “sex” that brings more money. And yet, instead of claiming responsibility itself, the corporate world tends to blame the people and their weaknesses for the growth of the evils as businesses. They ignore the fact that people are largely naive and unsuspecting. They read only what they are made to read; they read the lines, not between the lines. First their weaknesses are purposely exploited and then they are held responsible for succumbing to their weaknesses. People will have to observe the net that is laid to entrap them. They have to learn not to be governed and goaded by the merchants. Otherwise they and their posterity will continue to suffer.
Sex is not something that needs to be suppressed. Sex is the well that gives life. But the need of the hour is to cleanse the well not pollute it. If it gives pure water, it would ensure health; if it is adulterated with pollutants it can kill everybody. The goblet from the well of sex is to be taken to satiate one’s desire; it can be sweetened with a sweetener, or made a bit salty by adding a pinch of salt or may be warmed or cooled depending upon the requirement. It is all right to make sex lively and not let it become livid. But don’t mix in it anything that poisons it! Sex is the gift of God that must be fully enjoyed. But don’t let the Devil wrap this gift in a colourful paper soaked with the cyanide of wild sex. If we have to save the world, we will have to guillotine the Devil of corporate sex at the earliest. If we do not get it doomed, we all will be consumed. Let the business help sex but don’t let the sex itself become a business. That is the only mantra for the salvation. I have doubts if the people would be ready to chant this mantra because, as addicts they can understand and even desire to get away with their addiction; but the addiction has shackles that are too difficult for them to break. Sexual Revolution is the monster that requires the sword of Counterrevolution to be beheaded. Insurrections here and there will not suffice. Let its elegy be sung by its progeny as soon as possible!
By Dr Javed Jamil

Dr Javed Jamil is India based thinker and writer with over a dozen books including “Muslim Vision of Secular India: Destination & Road-map”. Other works include “The Devil of Economic Fundamentalism”, “The Essence of the Divine Verses”, “The Killer Sex”, “Islam means Peace” and “Rediscovering the Universe”.

Delhi in the midst of worst dengue this year, says doctors


Are there deliberate attempts to hide the number of dengue cases in this election year?

RNI News, New Delhi:

When Benazir (a teacher by profession) caught fever, she didn’t know initially that she was suffering from dengue. With both media and the Government silent on the issue, she couldn’t have realized how rampant dengue was and how many cases were still coming in the hospitals. Four days later, when her condition worsened and she tested positive that treatment for dengue commenced.

Even though mosquitoes of BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh got much of publicity owing to Rahul Gandhi’s recount of how he was “bitten by mosquitoes and had a stomach bug from drinking water in villages”, if doctors handling cases of dengue in the Capital are to be believed, Delhi is currently in the midst of the worst dengue this year. These doctors are of opinion that Delhi has never seen so many cases in past years and if there is a dumb silence on the issue, it is because certain people do not want this to become the issue a little prior to the oncoming Delhi state elections. They are also cynical about the fact why Rahul Gandhi couldn’t spot mosquitoes and innumerable cases of positive symptoms of mosquito-bite related diseases in his own courtyard, where it is the Congress which rules, both in the State and in the Centre.

Talking to RNI on conditions of anonymity, a physician who see patients in OPDs of two small nursing homes in the Capital, says: “I have personally handled more patients who showed positive symptoms of mosquito-bite related diseases than the number of cases that Delhi’s MCD department and Delhi Government are talking about. Even the number of deaths due to dengue that I know of are more than the total number of deaths that the Delhi government are claiming.”

The physician even puts blame on the media who, he says, is silent because of the full page advertisements that it is getting, for as small events as mere ribbon-cutting ceremony of a complex. This may be his personal view because it was the media which first revealed the cases of deaths due to dengue and other mosquito-bite related diseases but which were shown from other causes.

Our correspondent also talked to certain other doctors who too confirmed the view that Delhi and adjoining areas of UP are seeing the worst year so far as far as dengue is concerned. But these doctors too refrained to say anything on records in fear of any backlash from the concerned authorities.

The question was also put to a receptionist in an East Delhi nursing home. He too only confirmed the views of others and said that this small nursing home has never seen so many patients who showed positive symptoms of dengue and other related diseases. Owing to continuous inflow of patients, the nursing home has even acquired a platelet testing machine, which is busy the entire day.

This receptionist also informed that there is a great scarcity of platelets and patients have to run from one place to another in search of platelets. He told us that the Government hospitals provide platelets at Rs. 800 per unit on condition that one unit of blood is donated in lieu. The platelets in the two private hospitals in East Delhi were available for as much as Rs. 10,500 per unit, he said. The MAX hospital in East Delhi had to even deny patients due to non-availability of beds.

It is not just the medicines, platelets and beds which are in shortage. Goat’s milk, widely believed to be helpful in maintaining the platelet count, is hugely in demand so much so that the milk is available at Rs. 200 per litre. There have even been a case where a desperate father was sold goat’s milk at Rs. 1500 per litre, said a source.

Real News International News Bureau

Blind politician looks towards Mulayam for succour

_SC04110 (576x1024)RNI, Lucknow:

She is a young Muslim woman from Lucknow’s lower middle class community, whose reason to fame is that she has been a Municipal Corporator from Kashmiri Mohalla in Lucknow on Samajwadi Party’s ticket. But this is not all! Subi Kazmi is perpetually blind since birth, now married to an able-eyed religious preacher who married her in hope that Allah will reward him for this sacrificial act, in the next life. The former Corporator, now mother of a 5-year old child as well, has resigned herself to cooking, cleaning, washing and similar household chores, which she does with considerable fineness, despite her challenges that have always been with her since birth.

Subi Kazmi has seen no light, no colour, not even the face of her caring husband or the naughty son. But she still cherishes all the hopes and aspirations that an able-bodied young woman is supposed to have. One of these aspirations is to make a comeback in politics, the field that she left upon taking the marital vows. For this reason, Subi has approached Mulayam Singh Yadav, Samajwadi Party president, with a request to become active in regional politics yet again.

“Mulayam ji has been my mentor even during the old days,” says Subi. “He always encouraged me, even to the extent that several established leaders in SP considered that Mulayam ji listened to me more than anybody else. Senior politicians of today like Ahmad Hasan used to come to my house because he knew of my proximity to Mulayam ji. I had always been an errant child, he an accomplished politicians. Even then he used to push me forward, always! He used to tell me what to do, what not to do. But time and experience has matured me, so much so that I now realize the faults of yesteryears.”

Now that she has made up her mind, she knows that she is going to return, even after about a decade of hibernation. Says Subi: “I had never thought of marriage while I was in politics. I knew and understood fully my physical incapability. During my 5 years as Municipal Corporator, others benefited far more than I myself. I only concentrated on work in the constituency while those around me sought advantages wherever they could. I couldn’t have asked for more when Syed Shadab Husain came forward with an offer to marry. My life was destined to change completely as I could think of nothing during those days but marriage and family. Politics gradually receded in the background till there was a time when I was least bothered about what was happening in the world around. During the next few years, particularly after the birth of my son, I became increasingly involved with my family.”

Adds Subi further: “But times have changed now. My son is grown up now and going to school. I have decided that I will return to politics once again. This is the field that gave me recognition and it is through this that I can give back something to the society which has been so kind to me, despite all my handicaps. I look forward to a full-fledged return to politics now.”

As regards to Mulayam, he has always banked on the minority vote to form governments in Uttar Pradesh. But these are hard times for the SP supremo. Senior Muslim leaders like Mohammad Azam Khan and Kamal Faruqi are no longer satisfied with SP’s working. SP Government is already under fire from all quarters for failing to do anything for the minority community. More recently, the Muslims who are major constituents of the constituency that Mulayam has nurtured during last 25 years of his political career are forsaking him in the wake of rumours alleging UP government’s tacit support to rioters or, if not, mishandling of the West UP riots by the State Government. In such times, people like Subi could prove to be a succour for SP, and help reinstate the much needed prestige that the party has lost among the Muslims.

Subi Kazmi represents all that Mulayam stands for or rather aspires to stand for. She is partially veiled. She is a young Muslim woman from a predominantly Muslim area. The fact that she is blind brings the sympathy factor as well in her favour. It remains to be seen what Mulayam does to fulfill her wish of making a comeback in party politics.

Real News International News Network