Posts Tagged ‘India’

Let us start with the basics. I am Aditi Rindani, have always believed in freedom and self reliance. I was born and brought up in a small town called Jamnagar – the town that  I quit before ten years. Hopping between cities, first for my education and then for my career – here I am, doing what I love. I hosted a three-hour mid-morning show on the radio, am the co-founder of a music band and have acted in a couple of short films and plays. I also write for a TV show and have handled the CSR initiative that involved working for the Visually Challenged, for my radio station. I have been a part of a magazine called Care4Nature that took me closer to Mother Nature. During this journey, I have been fortunate enough to work with different groups of people and add various colorful experiences to my life. The most recent one was being selected as one of the only four Indians representing the country in the US.

If asked what are the environmental challenges that my country is facing, I would, without a second thought, state these:

  1. Population: This is harmful not only with an environmental perspective, but by all other means as well. A population of over thousands of millions is growing at 2.11% every year. It puts pressure on its natural resources and reduces the gains of development.
  2. Poverty and Dependence: Majority of the poor people in India are directly dependent on the natural resources of the country for their basic needs of food, fuel shelter and fodder.
  3. Growth: Growth is generally referred to as a positive term but here it seems to be dangerous! Agricultural growth has degraded the soil, industrial growth has polluted the surface water and increasing demand for water has shrunk our forest area and ground water levels. Urbanization and industrialization has given birth to a great number of environmental problems that need urgent attention.

These are the major problem areas according to me. But then, where is the solution? What should be done to stop further damage to our precious environment?

Here are some quick viewpoints:

  • The change has to be brought after keeping in view India’s traditions for resources
  • Change should be brought in education, in attitudes, in administrative procedures and in institutions
  • Acts are in place in India, but their implementation is neither easy nor strict. The reason is their implementation needs great resources, technical expertise, political and social will. Again the people are to be made aware of these rules
  • The mass communication mediums should be used to spread more messages and awareness campaigns (That is where my role as a media person comes in)
  • Reduce (the use), Recycle and Reuse should be the rule
  • Last but not the least, prevention is better than cure!
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GOVERNMENT’S CONSCIENCE, PUBLIC’S CONFIDENCE: LOKAYUKTALokayukta is the anti-corruption hero, an ombudsman constituted at state level. It is responsible to deal with the public grievances against corruption and mal-administration against public servants.

ORIGIN

The Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) headed by Morarji Desai submitted a special interim report on ‘Problems of Redressal of Citizens’ Grievances’ in 1966. In this report, the ARC recommended the setting up of two special authorities designated as ‘Lokpal’ and ‘Lokayukta’ for the redressal of citizens’ complaints.  

A WATCHDOG WITHOUT TEETH!

A Lokayukta can conduct raids amongst the alleged politicians and officers in the Government service. But, it does not have binding powers to punish anyone. The Lokayukta Act takes within its sphere the Ministers including the Chief Minister, Members of the Legislative Assembly, Municipal Councilors and the Chairman, Vice Chairman, Managing Director and Members of Boards which are subject to the control of the Government. 

The mission of the Lokayukta is: To eradicate the vice of corruption, favoritism, abuse of position and power among the public functionaries. To improve efficiency and to present cleaner image of the top public functionaries. To promote fairness and honesty.

THE PERSON

The Lokayukta is independent and impartial in its functions and works for a fixed tenure. The person appointed is usually a former High Court Chief Justice or former Supreme Court Judge. The public can approach him directly, with their complaints.

Legal experts claim that the success or the failure of a Lokayukta depends solely on the “personal qualities such as the image, caliber, drive, persuasive power, dynamism, perception of his role and institution of the individual Lokayukta”.

Fondly called Vishy, the tiger of Madras, Vishwanathan Anand is the man of Chess, the game that originated in India. Anand is the Indian Chess Grandmaster, along with currently being the World Chess Champion and the second highest rated player in the world.

THE BIRTH OF A GENIUS

Anand was born on 11 December 1969, in Mayiladuthurai, a small town in Tamil Nadu. Shortly thereafter, the Tamil family shifted to Chennai, erstwhile Madras. The Chess-fever came from his mother, Susheela who was a Chess enthusiast. Anand learnt Chess at the tender age of six and stunned the experts while at game. His qualities of marvelous intuition and amazing speed at play left them open-mouthed.
Anand holds a degree in commerce from Loyola College, Chennai. He lives in Collado Mediano in Spain with his spouse Aruna.

CHESS TITLES

Vishwanathan Anand bagged the title of Youngest National Champion at the age of 16. He also earned the popular, India’s first Grandmaster title at 18 by winning Shakti Finance International chess tournament held at Coimbatore, India. Anand has been described as the most versatile world champion as he is the only player to have won the world chess championships in many formats including Knockout, Tournament, Match, Rapid, and Blitz.

  • Anand won the National Sub-Junior Chess Championship with a score of 9/9 in 1983 at the age of 14
  • In 1987, he became the First Asian to win the World Junior Championship
  • Anand won the strongest tournament at that time, The Reggio Emilia in Italy, in 1991, ahead of Kasparov & Karpov
  • Melody Amber tournament (1994 & 1997)
  • A World Championship challenger in the PCA (New York 1995) & FIDE (1997 Lausanne) cycles
  • Winner of the strongest knock out tournament in chess history in Groningen in December 1997
  • Credit Suisse Masters (1997)
  • Dos Hermanas (1997)
  • Wijk Aan Zee(1998)
  • Linares Super Torneo in 1998
  • He also managed to beat Fritz, the popular chess software application in 1999
  • Anand became the world champion in Chess for the first time in 2000 when he beat Spain’s Alexei Shirov
  • The title went to him again in 2007, which he retained in 2008 and 2010 when he walked away with 1.2 million Euros as prize money

The list of his victories is endless and leaves one stunned. Vishwanathan Anand will face the next challenger, Boris Gelfand, the winner of the Candidates Tournament, for the World Chess Championship 2012.

HONORS

  • 1985: Arjuna Award for Outstanding Indian Sportsman in Chess
  • 1987: Padma Shri, National Citizens Award and Soviet Land Nehru Award (Anand was the youngest recipient of Padma Shri)
  • 1991-92: The first recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, India’s highest sporting honor
  • 1997, 1998, 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2008: Chess Oscar
  • 1998: British Chess Federation ‘Book of the Year’ Award for his book ‘My Best Games of Chess’
  • 1998: Sportstar Millennium Award, given by India’s premier Sports magazine
  • 2000: Padma Bhushan, third highest civilian honor given by the Government of India
  • 2001: Jameo de Oro, highest honor given by the Government of Lanzarote in Spain
  • 2007: The first sportsperson to receive India’s second highest civilian award, Padma Vibhushan
  • 2011: ‘Global Strategist Award’ for mastering many formats of World Chess Championships by NASSCOM

SOLELY FOR THE CHESSBOARD

Anand is a humble and down-to-earth being, despite his fame and stupendous achievements. He has always stayed away from political and psychological strategies and focuses solely on the chessboard. He is a well-liked sportsperson who has inspired many players of next generation.

Anand does a lot of work to promote the game of Chess as well. He joined the Board of Directors of Olympic Gold Quest, a foundation for promoting and supporting India’s elite sportspersons and potential young talent. On 24 December 2010, he was the guest of honor on the grounds of Gujarat University, Ahmedabad, where 20486 players created a new world record of simultaneous chess play at a single venue. Also, Anand was the only sportsperson to have been invited for the very exclusive dinner that Indian PM Dr Manmohan Singh hosted for US President Barack Obama on November 7 2010.
There is none who can ‘Checkmate’ Vishwanathan Anand!

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Anand Nagri Mandu is a perfect holiday destination for nature lovers, history/architecture fans and honeymoon couples alike!

If you plan to head to the hills, with a feel of romance and happiness, Mandu is the place to be. It is a celebration in stone, of life and joy, after all one of its most famous legends is the love story of Baz Bahadur and Rani Roopmati. The locals, even today, sing of the romance of these royal lovers and high up on the peak of a hill, Roopmati’s Pavilion still gazes down at Baz Bahadur’s Palace, a magnificent expression of Afghan architecture.

LOCATION AND HISTORY

Also called Mandavgad, Mandu is a city of ruins, situated at a distance of about 90 km from Indore, a city in Madhya Pradesh. Balanced along the Vindhya ranges at an altitude of 2000 feet, Mandu was originally the fort capital of the Parmar rulers of Malwa. Towards the end of the 13th century, it came under the control of the Sultans of Malwa, the first of whom named it Shadiabad – ‘city of joy’.
The famous fort of Mandu is separated from the surrounding plateau by a deep ravine called Kakra Khoh, which encircles it on the east, west and north. The ruins are spread over an area of 21 sq km and are surrounded by lush undergrowth and crystal clear lakes and ponds.
With its natural defenses, no wonder Mandu is named a city of joy!

FUSION OF HINDUS AND AFGHAN ARCHITECTURE 

Mandu has a rich and varied heritage and history. It is known for its marvelous fort, 82 km in perimeter. The fort is considered the biggest in India. As a witness to Mandu’s military past, stands the battlemented wall, which is nearly 37 km and is punctuated by 12 gateways. Mandu has over 40 monuments, which are divided into 3 broad categories: the Central Village Group, the Royal Enclave Group and the Rewa Kund Group.

NOT-TO-MISS PLACES


The Darwazas

Most notable of the gateways of Mandu is Delhi Darwaza, the main entrance to the fortress city. The approach is made through a series of gateways with walled enclosures and strengthened by bastions such as the Alamgir and Bhangi Darwaza, through which the present road passes. Rampol Darwaza, Jehangir Gate and Tarapur Gate are some of the other main gateways.

The Royal Jahaz Mahal

Also called Ship Palace, this two-storied architectural marvel is so named as it appears like a ship floating in water. It is built between the two artificial lakes, Munj Talao and Kapur Talao. With its open pavilions, Jahaz Mahal is an imaginative recreation in stone of a royal pleasure craft. The domes of the building present an unforgettable spectacle, as a silhouette, on a moonlit night, when viewed from the adjoining Taveli Mahal.

Hindola Mahal

Hindola Mahal, meaning Swing palace is so named due to its sloping sidewalls. Superb and innovative techniques are evident from the architecture of this palace. To the West of Hindola Mahal, there are several unidentified buildings which still bear traces of their past grandeur. Amidst these is an elaborately constructed well, named Champa Baoli. Other places of interest in this enclave are Dilawar Khan’s Mosque, the Nahar Jharokha (tiger balcony), Taveli Mahal, the two large wells called the Ujali (bright) and Andheri (dark) Baolis and Gada Shah’s Shop and House, all worth a visit.

Hoshang Shah’s Tomb

India’s first marble structure, it is one of the most refined examples of Afghan architecture. It served as a template for the construction of the beauty, Taj Mahal.
Apart from these, Jami Masjid, the gorgeous palace of Baz BahadurRewa KundRoopmati’s Pavilion and others are some of the fascinating monuments of Mandu. There is also the Echo Point, the ‘Delphic Oracle’ of Mandu. A shout from here reverberates far below and is heard clearly back. The Lohani Caves and Temple Ruins, not far from the royal enclave area also deserve a visit due to their association with Mandu’s history. Sunset Point, in front of the caves affords a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside.

THE STRONGEST CALL

The call of Mandu is strongest when it turns lush green, with the dark monsoon clouds hovering and showering over. The mystical beauty of the monuments, amidst this green landscape and purple sunset sky, paints the live picture of the bygone era. The effect is completed by the rich surroundings of mango, tamarind and banyan trees. Mandu is also famous for the mouth-watering ‘Khusrani Imli’, tamarind trees that bear fruits only in the rainy season and for the juicy custard apples. Apart from these, Mandu is known for the attractive Chanderi and Rewa (Maheshwari) saris as well as medicinal herbs and local handicrafts.
The glory of the architectural gem Mandu lives on, in legends and songs, recorded for the generations to come.

Read original article at: http://epaper.namoleague.com/EpaperArticle.aspx?title=The%20City%20Of%20Joy:%20Mandu_738

A brief note on the legal Latin term ‘Amicus Curiae’, meaning ‘Friend of the Court’

Time and again welcomed by the Indian Courts, Amicus Curaie is a party or an organization, who is not a litigant in a particular case, but volunteers to offer information to assist a court in deciding a matter before it. The decision whether to admit the information, however, lies with the discretion of the court.

THE FORM OF INFORMATION

The friend of the court can file the information regarding a point of law or something else relevant to the case that they feel may help the court in the said ways:

  • A legal opinion in the form of a brief called Amicus Brief
  • A testimony that neither party solicited
  • A learned treatise on a matter that bears on the case

Amici Curiae that do not file briefs often present an academic perspective on the case. For example, if the law gives justice to a history of legislation of a certain topic, a historian may choose to evaluate the claim using their expertise. An economist, statistician, or sociologist may choose to do the same.

ORIGIN: ALL THE WAY BACK TO ROMAN LAW

Around the 9th century, British law incorporated Amicus Curiae which then had many other common law systems following suit. Later, it was introduced to the international law, with many cases concerning human rights calling on the term. With the most recent being the civil law systems, Argentina integrated the same.

AMICUS CURIAE IS NOT AN INTERVENER

An intervener is someone who has a direct interest in the outcome of the lawsuit.  While, the role of an Amicus Curiae as stated by Salmon LJ in Allen V Sir Alfred Mc Alpine & Sons Ltd. (1968) is as stated: “I had always understood that the role of an amicus curiae was to help the court by expounding the law impartially, or if one of the parties were unrepresented, by advancing the legal argument on his behalf.”
This often happens in an appellate court as well. They often argue based on factual data and information from lower courts. Many prominent cases see Amicus Curiae come from nonprofit groups that have a budget big enough to support a legal counsel.

FRIENDS OF THE INDIAN COURTS

India has been welcoming Amicus Curiae, especially in the cases that have involved major public interest. By doing so, the court is guided not only by the academic perspective required for the particular case, but also gets an understanding which would allow them to do justice in its entirety. The person who is usually allowed by the courts, in India, to act as Amicus Curiae is someone who represents the unbiased will and opinion of the society.
A perfect example is of the rather infamous BMW Case which had been in the news due to the fact that both the defense and the prosecution lawyers had been suspended by the Delhi High Court on charge of driving the witnesses to turn hostile. In the said case, Advocate Arvind Nigam who was appointed as the Amicus Curiae by the Delhi High Court played a crucial part in securing justice.
Apart from civil and public importance matters, if the accused is unrepresented, then, an advocate is appointed as Amicus Curiae by the Indian court to defend and argue the case of the accused.

SUBJECTED TO RULES

Unlike other friendships, this one is subjected to a certain set of rules and regulations. In order to be used in a court proceeding, an Amicus Brief needs to be provided in order to prove the facts that neither of the concerned parties have mentioned before the court. On the other hand, if it is felt that an Amicus Curiae Brief doesn’t bring new and helpful information, it’s considered to be a burden to the court and will not be used.

Read original article at: http://epaper.namoleague.com/EpaperArticle.aspx?title=Har%20Ek%20Friend%20Legal%20Hota%20Hai!_728

Hey Ram! You have yet not taken the peace tour on the Gandhi Circuit? Pack your bags and pay a tribute, this 142nd Gandhi Jayanti

The greatest tribute to the Father of the Nation can be given by walking on the path that he followed!! Gujarat is the land of Gandhi. He was born and brought up here, that is why it is full of places associated with Gandhiji. There is his birthplace, the places where he pursued his primary education and places related to the massive freedom struggle.

PORBANDAR

The journey should begin from where Mahatma Gandhi began his own! On a bright day of 2nd October, 1869, Mohandas Gandhi was born in a 3-storey blue haveli, his ancestral home in the city of Porbandar. Karamchand Gandhi: his father, his uncle and grandfather had all been prime ministers to the Jethwa Rajput rulers of this princely state.
The birthplace is now known as Kirti Mandir. Apart from historical importance, the place is an architectural marvel as well. Behind the birthpace, Kasturba Dham is situated. This is a unique place where the monuments of Mahatma Gandhi and his wife Kasturba are adjacent to each other.The height of the temple is of 79 feet which symbolizes the 79 years of lifespan of Gandhiji.

Kirti Mandir houses a small museum about Gandhi, with an exhibit of old photographs, some of his very few possessions and a nice library of books either by him or relating to the Gandhian philosophy and practice.

RAJKOT/BHAVNAGAR

Mahatma Gandhi pursued his primary education from Alfred High School at Rajkot and Samaldas College at Bhavnagar. After his education too, Gandhiji had returned to Rajkot in 1939 to set up Rashtriyashala, the first of many institutions expressly incubating the values of Swaraj and instigating a sense of pride leading to freedom from the colonial rule. Today, the school imparts training and has initiated projects in weaving khadi, cotton and manual oil pressing. One should also pay a visit to Kaba no Delo in Rajkot, where Gandhi spent the early days of his life. Bhavnagar, on the other hand has the Gandhi Smriti, an institution built in memory of Mahatma Gandhi. It contains a library, a museum and  galleries of photograph depicting Gandhiji’s life.

AHMEDABAD

Once you enter the Sabarmati Ashram at Ahmedabad, you are bound to feel the energy of the non-violent struggle for independence. The Ashram was established by Gandhiji on the banks of river Sabarmati in 1917, after the previous Kochrab Ashram had to be abandoned because of a breakout of plague. On the grounds of the place, there lies the Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya, a small museum that includes excellent pictorial and written documentation, a library of Gandhian literature and paintings, and an immense archive of letters written by Gandhiji, every single one on the back of used paper. The place includes the Hridaykunj, Gandhiji’s sparse living quarters, Vinoba-Mira Kutir, where Vinoba and Mira each stayed on separate visits, a prarthana bhumi, a guest house and a building used as a training center for cottage industries, all preserved as part of the museum. The Ashram buzzes with Gandhians who either work in the non-profit organizations on the grounds or volunteer in some or the other way to preserve the memorial.

DANDI

Dandi is almost a synonym of Gandhi, they rhyme well too! The historic landmark is in Surat, where the Namak Satyagraha, also known as the Dandi March ended and India’s independence began when Mahatma Gandhi picked up a pinch of salt in protest of the British rule. Bardoli is another town in Surat that is associated to Gandhian Heritage. It was a precursor to the Salt March.

HERITAGE TRAIL

Plan a mini break and get back to the history. These places will introduce you to the making of the legend Mahatma and also that of a free India. Let us know our Gandhi better on this Gandhi Jayanti!

Read the original article at: http://epaper.namoleague.com/EpaperArticle.aspx?title=Going%20The%20Gandhi%20Way_725

The Cabinet of India: the ultimate, collective decision-making authority comprised of the Prime Minister and 35 Cabinet Ministers

Officially termed as the Union Council of Ministers of India, the Cabinet of India is a body of high-ranking, senior-most Government ministers, typically belonging to the executive branch. The Cabinet includes the Prime Minister, followed by the Cabinet Ministers, Ministers of State and the Deputy Ministers. The Cabinet may be contracted or expanded. However, the number of members is stated by the Constitution of India. The council is supposed to report to the Indian Parliament.

Originally, Cabinets were born as small groups named as ‘Cabinet Counsel’ that referred to the advice given to the monarch in private.

THE MEMBERS

Cabinet Secretary: India’s most powerful bureaucrat and the right hand of the PM

  • Heads the Cabinet after the President of India
  • Comes under the direct charge of the Prime Minister
  • Administrative head
  • Also the ex-officio Chairman of the Civil Services Board, and thus the head of the Indian Administrative Service
  • Generally, he is the senior most civil servant
  • Provides assistance to the Ministers, PM and Cabinet Committees
  • Lends an element of stability and continuity in the administration
  • No fixed tenure, though the average is less than 3 years, can be extended
  • Heads all the civil services under the constitution like IAS, IPS, IRS, IFS, PCS, PPS et al
  • Ranks eleventh in the Table of Precedence of India

The Cabinet Secretariat has 3 wings: Civil, Military and Intelligence.

Civil: Provides help and advice to the Union Cabinet
Military: Provides secretarial assistance to the Defense Committee of the Cabinet, the Military Affairs Committee, the National Defense Council and other committees dealing with defense matters
Intelligence: Deals with matters pertaining to the Joint Intelligence Committee of the Union Cabinet

Council of Ministers:

In a Cabinet, apart from collective responsibilities, the members are also individually responsible for the functioning of their respective departments. They are given the title of ‘Minister’ and each holds a different portfolio of Government duties (E.g. ‘Minister for the Environment’). Also, the Constitution has made it mandatory for the Council Ministers to be the members of either House of the Parliament.
Apart from this, the Council

  • Prepares and introduces bills in the Parliament
  • Assists the President to execute his functions
  • Determines policies and administers the same
  • Implements all the decisions adopted by the Parliament of India

There are three categories of Ministers:

  • Union Cabinet Minister: Senior Minister in-charge of any ministry
  • Minister of State (Independent Charge): Handles a portfolio that no other Union Minister oversees
  • Minister of State (MoS): Junior Ministerusually looks after a specific responsibility in any ministry

Together, the Cabinet forms the big wheel of the Government that runs the Republic of India.

Read original article at: http://epaper.namoleague.com/EpaperArticle.aspx?title=The%20Big%20Wheel%20Of%20The%20Government_677