Five years in, tobacco treaty is saving lives, continues to be stymied by industry, U.S. still absent

Representatives from the 168 ratifying countries of the global tobacco treaty gathered to celebrate the landmark treaty's fifth anniversary. As part of the convening, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a comprehensive report on the state of the treaty, assessing its successes to date and the challenges that remain. Read more

Canal work is subject to Expert Committee approval: Supreme Court

Supreme Court conditionally permits Narmada canal construction work on Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar canals subject to scrutiny and approval by Experts Committee and Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). The case of Narmada canals came up for hearing in the Supreme Court recently, wherein the issues related to the displacement, rehabilitation and environmental impacts and mitigative measures, especially command area development were raised by Narmada Bachao Andolan before the High Court of Madhya Pradesh. The High Court had stayed the land acquisition and excavation in the Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar Projects, through its well-considered judgment dated 11-11-2009. Read more

Winds Of Change

‘The old order changes, yielding place to new; and God fulfills Himself in many ways’.
As a national daily has rightly pointed out, the great churning process of our moribund education system has begun, thanks to several new steps being initiated by the HRD Ministry. Every day new ideas seem to be cropping up. But it is imperative to tread carefully if one has to sift the grain from the chaff in this stupendous task. Read more

See Green And Not Red!!!

A female doctor working at a reputed Medical College in Vellore in India, is reportedly berated by the Head of Institute (and slapped by her parent when the complaint reached her home) for indulging in the immoral (?) activity of being active on the ‘Facebook’. She is told that this is not expected of a woman coming from a good family. Read more

When rains ravaged North Karnataka

Incessant downpour in drought prone and poverty stricken northern Karnataka.

Aftermath: 5000 villages in 12 districts inundated. 225 lives lost in a day. Worst in 60 years. Estimated total loss - 18000 crores.

In this article, are some revealing images from "The Deluge and After", a homage to the victims and survivors by Esha and ActionAid. Read more

In Memory of Dr. Radium Bhattacharya

With sorrow, we report that Dr. Radium Bhattacharya, the founder-president of Indian Network of NGOs on HIV/AIDS (INN) passed away on 20 December 2009. Dr. Radium was one of the first to step forward in the 1980s to mount India’s response to HIV/AIDS. She was a scientist, an organizer and a relentless advocate for over two decades and will be sorely missed by her colleagues in India and around the world. Read more

"Three Idiots" give society words of wisdom

It is a great satire on the education system and the attitude of society. It tells us rote learning can be very harmful. That knowledge is to ‘know’ and not just in the name of educating ourselves memorise whatever comes our way. Learning without understanding can prove to be very dangerous. Unfortunately we have been patrons of such system from time immemorial. Read more

In Remembrance Of The Mahatma And Of Mary Ward

30th January happens to be the death anniversary of two great personalities, who were very different from each other and yet had so much in common – Mahatma Gandhi and Mary Ward. One was a devout Hindu who spread the doctrines of truth and ahimsa and helped India to gain freedom from British subjugation. The other was Mary Ward, a Catholic ‘woman beyond compare’ of England, who worked for the rights of women. 300 years of tumultuous history separated them. One rightly earned the title of ‘The Mahatma’ and laid the foundations of a free India; while the other was the foundress of the Loreto Order, who had proclaimed 400 years ago that ‘women in time to come will do much’. Both gave up their lives fighting for integrity, justice, peace and freedom. Read more

Remembering Pundit PK Shankhdhar 'Babooji'

My first impressionable memory of Pundit Pradyumna Kishore Shankhdhar, whom we respectfully called 'Babooji', was of him in his UNICEF office. He used to cycle down to the office everyday - which stood starkly in contrast to the world's finest limousines parked in this office, to which he was possibly entitled to use. The attitude to save every penny possible, sacrifice all material comforts and live frugally, and invest all possible resources in order to give a better tomorrow for his family was a mission for Babooji. "It's easier to fill books on philosophy than it is to bring one principle in practice" had said Lev Tolstoi. Babooji lived up to this principle in his life. Read more

Tobacco control is most cost-effective way to prevent cancer

- Special on World Cancer Day: 4 February 2010
Most public health programmes of the Government of India are directed towards communicable diseases such as malaria, filaria, polio, tuberculosis and leprosy etc. The occurrence of certain diseases due to lifestyle changes like diabetes, respiratory/cardiac diseases, tobacco related disease and cancer, has now been recognized, and public health programmes are also being initiated against them. But these are few and far between. Life style diseases have a peculiar “follow others” ingredient which becomes still more complicated due to ignorance, especially in families where the elders have addictions and wrong eating habits, and the youngsters are exposed to the “role model” phenomenon. In many situations elders tell children that tobacco is bad for children and the latter are confused as to how it is bad for them and good for others. This ambiguity, coupled with peer pressure proves to be disastrous for the youth. Read more

"Foundation of commercial RFID industry is credited to Sanjay Sarma"

 One can't believe my sense of joy and pride when during a Management Information System presentation on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Lucknow, one of the groups told us that the foundation of commercial RFID industry is credited to Sri Sanjay Sarma from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), when in 1999 Auto-ID center at MIT developed it. This is because I am privileged to have been a batch-mate of Sri Sanjay Sarma at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur. Read more

4 February 2010: World Cancer Day

Cancer is a leading cause of death around the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 84 million people will die of cancer between 2005 and 2015 without intervention. The theme of World Cancer Day (4 February 2010) is: "Cancer can be prevented too", which focusses on simple measures to prevent cancer such as:
- no tobacco use
- a healthy diet and regular exercise
- limited alcohol use
- protection against cancer-causing infections Read more