Environment Does Not Need Our Protection

Today is the World Water Day. On this day I wanted to write something about water and environment. And then I realized that I could not write better than what my wife – Jyoti – had written on environmental protection sometime back on her NGO’s website – she works in the area of water conservation and runs a NGO called FORCE – Forum For Organised Resource Conservation & Enhancement. So I have flicked this article from her blog and published here. I don’t know about the Google wrath, but I know that this is what I feel and would like to talk about today. So here it is with just a little bit of my own modifications here and there: ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————- ‘Environmental Issues’ and ‘Environmental Protection’ are the new buzz words – in policy, text books, corporate manuals, CSR agendas, political manifestos, NGO Objectives……. Anywhere and everywhere….the slogan is – ‘PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT’. And yet…the ‘Environment’ continues to get a raw deal everywhere –  villages spring up in forests, animals disappear; mining holes appear in ancient mountain ranges, mountains become bare; streams dry up, rivers turn into nullahs; wells give water of all colours & smog envelops us all…. Why this dichotomy on environment issues?? Sometime back, as I was interacting with a bright young set of media & communication management students, I found the answer to this apparent contradiction. It’s all a matter of semantics – our choice of words. The words ‘Protect the Environment’ – cue off in our brain, the thought “The Environment is under threat of destruction. We must do all we can to protect it...

Passive Euthanasia Is Worse

The Supreme Court of India has ruled that it would be legal to withdraw life-support system to those in a permanently vegetative state. This ruling came in the judgement delivered by the court which turned down the petition seeking mercy killing of Aruna Shaunbagh, who has spent 37 years in a Mumbai hospital bed in a vegetative state. While permitting the process, known as passive euthanasia, the court however held that active euthanasia, or actively ending a terminally ill person’s life by administering lethal injections or other means, would be illegal. I find that a large majority of people have welcomed the judgement of the Supreme Court. I however disagree with the judgement – this is my season of disagreements with the court! In my opinion, the court has not only side-stepped the issue but has also dealt a body blow to the already suffering patients. Passive Euthanasia Vs. Active Euthanasia There are two types of euthanasia – active euthanasia and passive euthanasia. In my opinion Passive Euthanasia is far worse than Active Euthanasia. If active euthanasia is murder, then passive euthanasia is the worst form of torture before murder. Removing of life support systems is termed as passive euthanasia. Now what are life support systems? As per my understanding a life support system may supply air, water and / or food. A life support system may also help the patient deal with the body waste. So if a patient is not able to breathe on his own, he is put on a ventilator. Or if the patient can’t take in food or water on his own, then he is fed through tubes...

Worst Judgement By The Supreme Court

Today when the International Women’s Day has just passed, I want to talk about the most retrograde judgement given by the Supreme Court of India in a case involving a woman. The shocker of judgment came in the case of a woman from Punjab where the Supreme Court let off three gang rapists after they claimed a “compromise formula” with the victim and agreed to pay her a fine of Rs. 50,000 (or just about USD 1100) each for their offence! A bench of justices Markandeya Katju and Gyan Sudha Mishra reduced to three and half years the 10-year sentence awarded to three gang rapists who took the plea that both the convicts and the victim were now happily married to different people and “wanted to live peacefully.” Under Section 376(G) of the IPC, the minimum sentence to the gang rapists is 10 years, which may extend even to life imprisonment. Another plea given was that it was more than 15 years when the incident had occurred, the bench relented and said it was upholding their conviction but reducing their sentence to the three-and-half years already undergone. Seriously, “Rape Money”? Such compromise formulas existed in the dark ages. They even exist in countries such as Afghanistan, Saudi Arab etc where you have the concept of blood money, but in India which is the world’s largest democracy? How can in this day and age we accept and allow the practice of “rape money” to let off men who preyed on a helpless woman. The fact that one of the judges is herself a woman makes this even more appalling. The fact that 15 years...

How Does Keeping A Good Company Benefit A Person?

They say “keeping a good company” is extremely important for a person. All my life, I have heard the advice – “you are known by the company you keep.” It is a standard advice given by parents to their children that they should always keep good company and make “good” friends. Good being defined as intelligent, studious, courteous, polite, knowledgeable etc. And I had always wondered why it is important to have good friends. As if in answer to this question, about 35 year ago I came across a story in Chandamama –a children’s magazine, which went something like this… Sage Narad Too Wanted To Know The Benefits Of Good Company Once upon a time, long ago, Sage Narad went to meet Lord Vishnu to understand the importance of good company. “O Lord, everyone says that you should always make good friends and be in the company of good people. Please tell me what are the benefits of a good company? Lord Vishnu smiled and said, “O learned one, if you would like to know the answer to this excellent question of yours, please go down to the earth. Go to the dandak forest. There you will find a banyan tree in the centre of this forest. Under that banyan tree, you’ll find a newborn cockroach. Go and ask the baby cockroach this question. I am sure you will be able to get an answer.” Sage Narad though a little surprised, did what he was advised. He went to the dandak forest, and found the baby cockroach under the banyan tree. On finding the new-born cockroach, he asked the...

Corruption Wrecks National Economy

A few days back I said that the corruption of the every day kind is more dangerous because it destroys the character of a nation, its people and sows the seeds of a powerless, frustrated, impotent people who can only get angry but do nothing. The effort that it takes to remove the cancer of such corruption is huge and the entire population has to stand up against it. It persists because we humans are very competitive and do not want to be left behind our next door neighbour. We believe that money can buy everything and hence are ready to pay our way out of tight situations such as breaking a law or getting a service out of turn. On the other hand, the man in the chair feels that since without his approval things will not move in the bureaucracy, he wants his palms to be greased for doing his job. There is another kind of corruption – the once in a while type. More often than not, when we discuss about corruption, we make two statements: Corruption is omnipresent. Even USA has corruption. However the corruption in those countries (like the US) is not all-pervading – it is only at the highest levels of society. In the US you will not find ordinary citizens breaking simple laws such as jumping traffic signals and an officer demanding bribe to let you off the offence. The corruption there is at very high levels and constitutes millions of dollars and sometimes even billion of dollars worth of kickbacks.  In India too we have this kind of corruption in government....