The sad reality of Uttar Pradesh’s failing healthcare system has been highlighted by the tragedy that showed its ugly face in Gorakhpur, where as many as 60 children died at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College. Call it a coincidence, but it comes as a surprise that the tragedy occurred in Yogi Adityanath’s turf. He has been representing the constituency since 1998. His government has presented statistics to suggest that fatalities aren’t unusual given a large number of patients being treated at the hospital. Continue reading “Healthcare system in Uttar Pradesh not in the best of health”
I remember watching Sachin Tendulkar bat when the Indians toured England way back in 1996. The first test match at Edgbaston saw the Indian batters running for cover against a potent English pace attack led by a man who belonged to this historic county of Lancashire. Dominic Cork, his name was. He charged in at speeds exceeding 90 Mph and made the Indian batsmen hop and jump on a typical English batting strip. Continue reading “India’s over-reliance on Virat Kohli quite similar to that on Tendulkar”
While flipping through the pages of an old textbook, I came across an excerpt from Anis Jung’s ‘Lost Spring: Stories of Stolen Childhood’ The Story revolved around a boy named Sahib who happened to be one of the countless street dwellers living in Seemapuri, a district in North-Western Delhi. The story focuses on the plight of street children in a country as big as India. It further throws adequate light over the fact that these children have been living in a dire state of poverty for ages.
The story also explores the problems he faces, getting exposed to hazardous waste in the garbage dumps, roaming around barefoot without adequate nourishment or clothes on his body. Sahib, like many other children dwelling in slums is a rag-picker. Finally, he finds work at a tea-stall, but is unhappy because he ends up losing his freedom in the process.
Stories like these keep emerging out of thin air every now and then, but we hardly pay heed to them. Perhaps we’re a bit too busy, or perhaps we see it happening and we turn a cold shoulder. Not paying heed to such incidents is perhaps the easiest way for most people to ignore what’s happening around them.
It reminds me of one of the major projects I had undertaken with my batchmates during my days at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC). The project dealt with preparing a campaign for the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR). The campaign drew attention towards the need to inculcate a sense of sensitivity towards juveniles who are being subjected to inhuman treatment in countless juvenile rehabilitation centres spread across the length and breadth of the country.
I remember the groundwork we’d laid down to make this campaign a success. We’d travelled all the way to a prison (I won’t name it) where juveniles had been mercilessly thrown behind bars. We’d also made our way to various government schools across Delhi to urge students to channelize their energies and talents in order to fulfil their dreams, but it was easier said than done.
So, our team decided that instead of telling children not to do something wrong, we’d tell them to do the right thing. And, it is here that we came up with a creative tagline for our campaign. The tagline was: ‘Karo wahi jo hai sahi'(do the right thing). The campaign was named: ‘Thaan lo’:Karo wahi jo hai Aaho. (Take a pledge to do the right thing).
As part of the campaign, we asked school children to channelize their energies towards something that they enjoyed doing. Some of them wanted to play, others wanted to draw and sketch. There were those who wanted to write.
We even prepared promotional material for people to see. The entire idea behind the campaign was to come out with something which would encourage people to do the right thing.
It is often witnessed that poverty makes street children indulge in things such as petty thievery. To help them rise above these problems, we encouraged them to get enrolled in schools. Financial constraints are just one of the many excuses we came across. The truth however, was completely different. Children didn’t want to go to school because they were unaware of the role schools play in a child’s life. Life,to them was all about roaming around doing nothing.
So, this is pretty much what was undertaken by us as part of our attempt to make a difference.
Whether we could win the campaign or not is a separate discussion altogether, but our efforts didn’t go unnoticed as we got rave reviews from the faculty @ IIMC.
Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif’s much-awaited film Jagga Jasoos has finally hit the big screens. Director Anurag Basu’s first outing since Barfi was eagerly awaited by fans, and after a prolonged wait, the film has finally been released. Does it pack a punch? Ah, not quite.
“If you’re mentally unhealthy in the first place, it’ll definitely affect your body. The first thing you need to do is to accept it, and go through the difficult part thinking it’s a part of a much bigger scheme of things.”
Continue reading “Your failures only make you stronger…”
No team plays with the ‘unpredictable’ tag as much as Pakistan does. On some days, they can annihilate perhaps the most formidable team if their bowlers stick to tighter lines. And then there are days when monumental batting collapses see them snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. The Pakistani team symbolises the two extremes. One moment, they’re formidable, the other, they’re helpless. The outcomes keep hovering between these two extremes and the emotions of their fans keep fluctuating like those numbers on a heart-rate monitor. Continue reading “Pakistan: Beautifully unpredictable…”
The moment people hear about an India-Pakistan cricket match, blood starts gushing through their veins. Cricket freaks across the globe have their hearts pounding in their chests. Work gets sidelined, with emails piling on at a rate of knots in mailboxes, and all of us are there, with our eyes glued to the TV screens, desperately waiting for a miracle to occur out of nowhere. Every time Virat hits the ball all the way to the fence, the entire nation erupts in jubilation. The entire nation is there, hopping and jumping in excitement. There’s anticipation wherever you look.
Sit in a closed room, close your eyes and imagine this: Salman Khan pulling out a pack of cigarettes out of his pocket and smoking a few of them before going all guns blazing against the bad guys. Think of Ranbir Kapoor smoking a cigarette while reliving the memories he spent with his beloved.
“ All of us were born because of menstrual blood, yet it’s considered impure”
I’ve read close to a thousand articles around the very concept of women empowerment. You see women taking giant strides in each and every sphere of life. Be it work, sport or business, women are everywhere. It’s really heartening to see women finally coming out of the clutches of poverty and making their presence felt. But hold on, there’s one thing that keeps bothering me. I really fail to understand why on earth we consider women ‘impure’ during menstrual cycles?
+It certainly won’t be an overstatement to say that the Indian test side is at the very peak of its prowess. The Indians have had an emphatic home season, handing comprehensive defeats to the likes of New Zealand, England and Australia. The test side looks solid and stable with the top-order piling on the runs, the middle order adding significantly to the contributions made by the top-order. Of late, the Indian seamers have also been performing reasonably well. ‘What about the spinners?’, you’d be thinking. Ah, Ashwin’s contributions speak louder than words. Have to call him a contemporary great.
But hold on, most of these players have only delivered the goods while playing on home soil. These players haven’t really performed during overseas tours. In 2014, the Indians had gone down like a pack of cards when they toured England. They suffered a 3-1 thrashing at the hands of England. As the ‘red cherry’ swung in England, the Indians found it hard to tackle the swinging ‘red cherry’ on the seamer-friendly tracks of England.
The South Africans are scheduled to tour England in 2017. Of the proteas team, quite a few players have been a part of English county sides. JP Duminy has had a stint with Surrey, Vernon Philander has played for Middlesex, Faf du Plessis has represented Lancashire, Hashim Amla has had a stint with Essex. The list is never-ending.
On the contrary, only a handful of Indian players in the current test side have had the ‘privilege’ of representing English county sides. Cheteshwar Pujara had a stint with Yorkshire in 2015 after having failed to attract bidders during the IPL auction. His return to form can be credited to his time with Yorkshire.
When the Indians toured England back in 2007 and made the Englishmen bite the dust, almost all their squad member had enjoyed a stint in county cricket. Sachin Tendulkar (Yorkshire) Sourav Ganguly (Glamorgan), Rahul Dravid (Kent), VVS Laxman (Lancashire), Yuvraj Singh (Yorkshire), Zaheer Khan (Worcestershire) had spent a considerable amount of time playing for English Counties. All of them had enhanced their skills while sweating it out in England.
Playing in Ranji Trophy doesn’t allow Indian players to go out of their comfort zones and get access to those spicy and lively English batting strips. Another problem with the current generation of cricketers is that they’re too busy playing for their respective franchises. Earlier, the summer used to be reserved for playing county cricket in England. But with lucrative and cash-rich Twenty20 leagues coming into existence, playing for county sides seems to have taken a backseat. The charm and the glamour of the IPL are too formidable to be disrupted.
A stint in English county cricket would allow the likes of Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja and Murali Vijay to get accustomed to playing the short ball.
Raina, in particular, has struggled against short-pitched deliveries fired at him at steaming pace. It has been one of the foremost reasons behind his absence from international Test Match Cricket. Batting against short-pitch bowling can be a challenging experience at first, but it would allow Raina to learn from the mistakes he has committed is the past. Similar is the case with Rohit Sharma. He’s a formidable force when he bats on the slow Indian and spin-friendly tracks here in India, but turns into an ordinary batsman when it comes to performing overseas. A season or two in English domestic circuit would allow him to eliminate his weakness of getting beaten-up against out-swinging deliveries outside the Off-stump.
Then there is this duo of Jadeja and Ashwin. The moment the ball begins to grip and turn, they’re unplayable, but their prowess with the ball in hand can only be seen on Indian turfs. The variations they produce appear harmless on seaming wicket outside the sub-continent. A county season in England would act as an ideal training ground for them to learn the art of bowling spin in varied conditions.
If Virat Kohli wants a taste of victory outside the sub-continent, a pace bowling unit capable of taking 20 wickets in a match. Ishant has some serious pace but has under-performed for the most part of his career. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar can swing the ball both ways but lacks pace. Umesh Yadav is perhaps the best among them. He bowled with renewed vigour and firepower. India’s pace trio would get to learn quite a few skills if they plan to be a part of English counties.
This is something Zaheer Khan did really well. After hitting a rough patch in 2006, Zaheer Khan flew all the way to England to play white-sweater cricket for Worcestershire on the seaming, bouncing tracks of England. He honed his skills and came back all guns blazing into the Indian side.
Some tough calls are the need of the hour if the Indians want to fare well in seaming conditions. Of late, star Indian batsman Virat Kohli opened up and stated he’s keen to stretch is nerves in county cricket as he aims to prepare for his next outing in England in 2018.
So, to top it all, it won’t be wrong to say that county cricket would act as an ideal training ground for our ‘desi’ batsmen. But again, truth be told, they’re too busy flexing their muscles in cash-rich Twenty20 leagues. We need BCCI’s intervention here. If the overseas records are to be improved, we certainly need our players to swing it around for a season or two in county cricket.