Sunday, 29 April 2018

At the time of visiting a dangerous place

At the time of visiting a dangerous place
According to Imam Ja’far-e-Sadiq (a.s.)
if a person had to visit a place where he is afraid of something then he should recite the following ayat (verse):
رَبِّ اَدْخِلْنِىْ مُدْخَلَ صِدْقٍ وَّ اَخْرِجْنِىْ مُخْرَجَ صِدْقٍ وَّ اجْعَلْ لِّىْ مِنْ لَّدُنْكَ سُلْطَانًا نَصِيْرًا.
“O My Lord! Cause me to enter a goodly entrance and cause me to go out (of) a goodly exit, and grant me from unto Thee an authority to assist (me)”
and when that thing or person comes in front of him, he should recite the Ayatul Kursi.

Saturday, 28 April 2018

When anyone loses way

According to Hazrat Ali (a.s.)
a person who loses one’s way should give the following call:
يَا صَالِحُ اَغِثْنِيْ
O Saleh! Render help unto me!
for among the Momin jins there are those who are called Saleh who make the Almighty happy by living in the desert and on hearing anyone’s call of distress they will reply and show the way.
Reliable tradition from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) state
when one loses the way one should give the following call:
يَا صَالِحُ يَا اَبَا صَالِحٍ أَرْشِدُوْنَا إِلَى الطَّرِيْقِ رَحِمَكُمُ اللهُ
O Saleh and Abaa Saleh may God show His mercy on you show us the right way.

For a traveller’s family

According to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)
the best care-taker of your family, who will look after them while your are travelling is, that at the time of departure you should offer two rak’at prayers and recite:
اَللّٰهُمَّ إِنِّيْ أَسْتَوْدِعُكَ نَفْسِيْ وَ أَهْلِيْ وَ مَالِيْ وَ دِيْنِيْ وَ دُنْيَايَ وَ آخِرَتِيْ وَ أَمَانَتِيْ وَ خَوَاتِيْمَ عَمَلِيْ‏
O Allah! I leave unto Thy care my life, my wife and children, my merchandise, my generation, my world here and hereafter, deposits under my custody and place my end of life Thy hands.

Friday, 27 April 2018

Aligning Intention with Impact

                "This is my humble gift to women, a day after the world celebrated the International Women's Day," said Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, while piloting the amendments into The Maternity Benefit (Benefit) Act, 2017. The Bill was an amendment to the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, which protects the employment of women and entitles her to full-paid absence from work to take care of her child. The law requires employers to provide women employees with maternity leave of up to 26 weeks in case of first two children, with full wages. However, a woman with two or more children will be entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave. The act also introduced maternity leave up to 12 weeks for a woman who adopts a child below the age of three months, and for commissioning mothers. One of the provisions of the act requires every establishment with 50 or more employees to provide for crèche facilities within a prescribed distance and allows a woman to work from home, if the nature of work assigned permits her to do so. The establishment is required to inform a woman of all benefits that would be available under the Act, at the time of her appointment.

            The passage of this amendment in the parliament has been widely hailed by the citizens, as it placed India in the league of socially progressive, developed and women friendly nations. It placed India on the world ranking of number 3 in terms of highest leaves for the purpose. Although the intentions of the bill cannot be doubted and would definitely count in the list of progressive steps but a deeper analysis reveals, the gender biased mentality underneath. Is it really addressing the problems faced by women in India? Or exacerbating the pre-existing notions? What impact does it create on their employment prospects? And does it not further the groove of gender inequality? There are a few questions that remain to be questioned.

Unintended implications A recent Ipsos Global Trends Survey 2017 revealed that a vast majority of Indians (64%) are of the view that the role of women in society is to become good mothers and wives and they should focus mainly on home. Child rearing has been historically seen as the responsibility of a mother. A woman has to constantly struggle to choose between her social identity and career choices in a society entrenched in patriarchy. When the societal norms have fixed the role of a woman to the domestic sphere, such Acts tend to exacerbate such notion. In a world which is radically changing each day with the social, economic and political advances, we need to acknowledge the role of both the mother and the father in child’s emotional and social development. "Parenthood isn't just a women's issue, it's an economic issue and one that affects all parents — men and women alike," stated Duckworth, who became the first US senator to give birth while in office. Today, when husband and wife are both contributing to the financial account of their houses, why can’t we expect shared responsibility family affairs too?

In India, a lot of guilt is associated with the working mothers who leave their child back home, even if there’s an extended family to take care or if she can afford a child-care. This act not only deepens the notion of women as the child caretaker but also has deep impacts on labor force participation of women. In a world where the gender differences in workforce tend to decrease with time, India is experiencing a unique decrease in the female workforce participation from 35% in 1990 to 27% in 2017 (World Bank Study). There is a gamut of reasons for the same but one possible reason could be the discriminating policies of the government. Since the onus lies completely on the companies to provide the maternity costs to the woman (while in some countries the government shares it with the companies), the employers tend to under-recruit women to shy away from their responsibility. On April 23, 2015 a headline flashed on BBC where an employer terminated a woman’s employment one month after she informed about her pregnancy, stating that her performance was ‘unsatisfactory’. Such cases show that there exist different biases against hiring of women, far from the intentions that brought this act.

A report by the World Bank suggested that, more than a third of all job advertisements in India explicitly specify the preferred gender of the prospective employee, which more often than not is male. Six in every 10 such jobs prefer male candidates over females. This might not paint the picture of the labor market but it does demonstrate that there exists some bias against hiring women which might impact the labor force participation. Such an act would further damage the job prospects for women and distort their level playing field. Though such benefits seek to extend positive discrimination in favour of women, to allow them balance between their biological, social, financial roles, they deepen the gender bias and binary role fixations. The act refuses to acknowledge the participation of a father who also juggles between emotionally charged process, added responsibilities and his job demands.

No paternity benefits?
Maternity benefits stretch till some weeks after the delivery of the baby, where mother’s body returns to its pre-pregnant state. This is a crucial stage as the mother progresses through many changes, both emotionally and physically. The postpartum period also involves the parents learning how to care for their newborn and learning how to function as a changed family unit, which requires both the mother and the father to equally participate. Currently, paternity benefits allow fathers to take 15 days leave within six months since the birth of the child, which is too low to have an impact. But the bill maintains a loud silence on the paternity benefits or paternity leave. This leaves us with the question of father’s importance as a child’s caregiver. Today, India is home to world’s largest youth population. And this has led to an increase in the share of working parents in the workforce and thus a shift towards more nuclear families. In this set up, it becomes even more important to have a policy which helps the family to take care of the newborn. Either shared holidays for the new parents or separate holidays for the father would help share the responsibility between the two.

As one of the provisions stated that benefits of this Act would be extended to adoptive and surrogate mothers too. But it has completely undermined the existence of single fathers,
or widowers who have a child to take care of. These cases of parenthood, where single fathers have to take care of their babies and manage work simultaneously, have been blatantly missed while framing or amending the law.

Way Forward 
Without having its counterpart of a Paternity Bill, Maternity Benefits Act, 2017 might further catalyze the pre-defined notions about women. A paternity bill will help fathers to share the responsibility of the child by being emotionally and physically available for both, mother and the child. It would not only help fathers develop a emotional connection with the child but also promote health work culture, check employers who do away with their responsibility by recruiting less women and replacing them with men.

As much as the intentions for this bill are appreciated, it’s important to observe the impacts that it creates and check whether they align with the predefined ones. The bill serves, quite rightly, as an example of a step ahead on the existing social norms however, sometimes there is a need to revisit those very pre-established norms. If we fail to do so, it becomes on the contrary, defeating its own purpose, a tool of discrimination. The constructive aim of creating a gender-balance workforce seems to be blurred on ground and the male breadwinner model continues to dominate even today.

- By  

Pursuing Masters in Economics from Delhi School of Economics. 

A public policy enthusiast.

Aarzoo Kareer - Intern in Today's Kalam


‘ If you don’t make sacrifices for what you want, what you want becomes the sacrifice ‘ is the quote I love and try my best to follow.

      This is Aarzoo Kareer. A girl of 19 from Delhi. I am a first year Commerce student at Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Khalsa College, University of Delhi. Also, I am a German student at St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi.

     I am a tutor at a coaching centre. I work for Womenite, an NGO, as a Workshop Facilitator in Child Sexual Abuse Department. Also, I am a Content Writer at Today’s Kalam, an NGO.

    I love to do social work as it is the perfect way to be selfless and serve others. I love to spend time with my dog, Auro. Apart from all this, I enjoy studying and reading books. I am a big foodie and can eat all day.

Bhavya Bhatia - Intern in Today's Kalam


I am Bhavya Bhatia of the JMC batch of 2015-18. I hail from Meerut, UP. I'm recently pursuing Bsc Mathematics(H) from Jesus and Mary college.My hobbies include reading, writing and I’m also a movie buff. Also, I like to play synthesizer. Apart from that, my role model is Sundar Pichai and it is actually from his inspiration that I draw my strengths of hard-work and self–motivation.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

For talisman to be keep by traveller

Beside other talisman which ought to be kept while going on travel there is a talisman which is stated to be in the scabbard of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)’s sword. This is that talisman.
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ. بِاللَّهِ بِاللَّهِ بِاللَّهِ أَسْأَلُكَ يَا مَلِكَ الْمُلُوكِ الْأَوَّلَ الْقَدِيمَ الْأَبَدِيَّ الَّذِي لَا يَزُولُ وَ لَا يَحُولُ أَنْتَ اللَّهُ الْعَظِيمُ الْكَـافِي كُلَّ شَيْ‏ءٍ الْمُحِيْطُ بِكُـلِّ شَيْ‏ءٍ اَللّٰهُمَّ اكْفِنِيْ بِاسْمِكَ الْأَعْظَمِ الْأَجَلِّ الْوَاحِدِ الْأَحَدِ الصَّمَدِ الَّذِيْ لَمْ يَلِدْ وَ لَمْ يُولَدْ وَ لَمْ يَكُنْ لَهٗ كُفُواً أَحَدٌ احْجُبْ عَنِّي شُرُوْرَهُمْ وَ شُرُوْرَ الْأَعْدَاءِ كُلِّهِمْ وَ سُيُوْفِهِمْ وَ بَأْسَهُمْ وَ اللَّهُ مِنْ وَرَائِهِمْ مُحِيْطٌ اَللّٰهُمَّ احْجُبْ عَنِّي شَرَّ مَنْ أَرَادَنِيْ بِسُوءٍ بِحِجَابِكَ الَّذِي احْتَجَبْتَ بِهٖ فَلَمْ يَنْظُرْ إِلَيْهِ أَحَدٌ مِنْ شَرِّ فَسَقَةِ الْجِنِّ وَ الْإِنْسِ وَ مِنْ شَرِّ سِلَاحِهِمْ وَ مِنَ الْحَدِيْدِ وَ مِنْ شَرِّ كُلِّ مَا نَتَخَوَّفُ وَ نَحْذَرُ وَ مِنْ شَرِّ كُلِّ شِدَّةٍ وَ بَلِيَّةٍ وَ مِنْ شَرِّ مَا أَنْتَ بِهٖ أَعْلَمُ وَ عَلَيْهِ أَقْدَرُ إِنَّكَ عَلٰى‏ كُلِّ شَيْ‏ءٍ قَدِيْرٌ وَ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلٰى مُحَمَّدٍ نَبِيِّهٖ وَ آلِهٖ وَ سَلَّمَ تَسْلِيْماً كَثِيْرًا.
In the name of Allah the Beneficent the Merciful. By Allah! By Allah! By Allah! O the First and Eternal King of Kings! O He whose personality exists from times eternal and for whom there is no change or times eternal and for whom there is no change or deterioration (fall). I beg of Thee Who is the Almighty God, enough for everything and Who holds everything under His sway: O Allah on behalf of Thy Great name, Uniqueness and needlessness from Whom no one is born and Who is born of no one and Who does not have a single partner, look after me and protect me from the mischief of men, my enemies and their swords and put a stop to all types of torture. When God has surrounded them from all sides then where links the danger. O Allah do protect me from the danger who intend harming me, cover me with avail as is Thy sacred veil which does not let the mischief of bad and mad people come near Thee or be hurt by the swords, the iron and all those which ordinarily people are afraid of and keep away from and all the difficulties and mischief of all these things which are well known to Thee or be hurt by the swords, the iron and all those which ordinarily people are afraid and keep away from, and all the difficulties and the mischief of all those things which are well known to thee and on whom thou hast complete authority. No doubt Thy power encompasses everything. Shower Thy blessing on Thy prophet and his dear and near ones and a greeting which they have the right of.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Before starting journey

Before starting journey
According to a tradition related to Imam Moosa Ibne Ja’far (a.s.) that
a person who wishes to go on a journey should stand in the door of his house facing towards the destination of journey and recite Alhamd and recite the following:
اَللّٰهُمَّ احْفَظْنِي وَ احْفَظْ مَا مَعِيَ وَ سَلِّمْنِي وَ سَلِّمْ مَا مَعِيَ وَ بَلِّغْنِيْ وَ بَلِّغْ مَا مَعِيَ بِبَلَاغِكَ الْحَسَنِ الْجَمِيْلِ‏
O Allah! Keep me and all the things with me safe and sound and let them reach the destination safely.
The person who precedes on a journey in the above manner the Almighty God will be looking after his welfare and of those and things who are with him, and he will reach safely his destination.

What is the importance of English Vocabulary for Indian students? What are some good resources to improve English Vocabulary?

A person's vocabulary is the set of words within a language that are familiar to that person.

“Actions speak louder than words”. Sure, but sometimes words speak louder than anything else. We use spoken and written words every single day to communicate ideas, thoughts, and emotions to those around us. Sometimes we communicate successfully, and sometimes we’re not quite so successful. vocabulary learning is a vital part of education. 

The importance of vocabulary details these three main features:

For a large majority of learners, the ultimate goal of studying is to be able to communicate in a new language. If one does not wish to lean completely on non-verbal skills, mastering vocabulary is not just important, but crucial in a foreign language environment.

  • · Strong vocabulary allows one to develop other skills

Improving vocabulary has a direct, positive impact on your capacity to build up language proficiency as a whole. A rich vocabulary makes the skills of listeningspeaking, reading, and writing easier to perform.

 ·        The more words one know, the more one will learn
Vocabulary is learned through focused, conscious study, but
even more commonly in an indirect manner through listening and reading, using context clues to figure out the meaning.
One get develop a stronger vocabulary by either of the following tools:
  •   Thesaurus - A book that lists synonyms and antonyms. A thesaurus gives choices by which a word is used in a language. However, it’s important to have a good sense of the meanings of each word.

  •  Keep a journal- Incorporating interesting words into journal  entry for the day (or week).   
  • Apps like VoLT- VoLT(Vocabulary learning techniques) is an application which provides various techniques to memorize complex wordsIt is very helpful for students who are preparing for various competitive exams. It helps to build one’s vocabulary in an interesting way.

- Bhavya Bhatia
 Final year student at JMC, Delhi University

What can I do for a clean India?

You must be the change you wish to see in the world. – Mahatma Gandhi

Well rightly said. Every Indian travels abroad to Dubai, Europe or the United States and appreciate how all these countries keep their roads so clean, whilst at the same time, the same Indians complain about how their own country is so bad.

This, at the end of the day is our own fault and only we can fix this.  Keeping the country clean is not the job of a government only but needs public participation as well. It is quite easy to point fingers at government initiatives regarding cleanliness or local bodies sheer negligence in cleaning the surroundings but do we realize how little we are contributing to keep our locality clean?

Well it is quite hard to think. If I want to see my country clean, I need to change. I cannot expect change from others if I don’t change.
The cost that India incurs on cleanliness is as much as Rs2180 /head annually. i.e more or less Rs 2.4 trillion or $ 53.9 billion and guess what,this calculation in from 2006.

In fact the cost of poor hygiene for India would be as much as 6.4% of the GDP. This was just a study, the costs are much higher in real terms; that is if we measure the costs on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis which takes up the annual costs of poor hygiene to the economy to $ 161 billion or $ 46 per person.

There are other costs involved because of the Infant deaths, higher mortality rates among mothers which is caused by improper sanitation, lets not get into those numbers.

So Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan makes absolute economic sense as it can add 6% to the country’s GDP if we can pull it off. But the big question is whether we can maintain the initial momentum is in a big challenge. This is because cleaning up the country would cost a lot of resources and would require the govt to be involved at all levels. While as suggested above if you all take part in it and wouldn't mind to invest some peanuts of your income we can pull it off in a grand fashion.

However Government as well needs to take some more measures than just to rope in celebrities to increase the awareness and participate in campaign. Here are some issues that I think should be addressed as a part of this campaign.

Eliminate the inhumane and age old practice of manual scavenging within a stipulated time frame. Swacch Bharat abhiyan should focus on human dignity rather than merely on sanitation issues.
Technology should be adopted and people concerned people should be trained in the regard.

More importantly not just encourage people to clean the surroundings, make it a pledge to do so.

Teach cleanliness at school itself. Allow kids to clean and decorate their classrooms. Tell them to wash their tiffin boxes instead of taking the soiled boxes to home.

As service tax/CESS is added to each and everything we buy, instead of Swachh Bharath CESS paid by tax payers, authorities should fine people who spit on road or on roadsides. The penalty fee paid by these people will a. Make them understand that govt. is serious about cleanliness b. make them think twice before spitting in public.

CCTVs installed on roadsides for finding out people who violate traffic rules can be reused for point #2 though taking a photo as a proof may sound gross.

We all know that cattle is seen as divine creatures over here but it is annoying to see them standing adamantly on roads even though 20 cars are honking their horns.

Participating in Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan ,a government’s initiative to make India clean and a better place to live in doesn't mean just to take a broom and clean some dry waste and be happy that we cleaned India.
No it's not just that, there is more to it.

Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan should be a pledge we need to take. Here are few little things I will do to make and keep my India clean.


·       Segregate waste at home in 2 separate bins - I will separate the dry and wet garbage at home and put it in designated garbage bins only. I will not throw it on the road or from the window and I will try to pursue my family members to do so. I will also urge society chairman to make it a mandatory rule in our society.

·       Always carry a small poly-bag- We all know what plastic do to our environment. Inspite of its ill effects it hasn’t been completely banned till date or proper laws have not been implemented for its prohibition. Instead we can switch over to jute bags and biodegradable which are less harmful to environment.

·       Re-use old bottles- One can do a lot of creative things with old plastic bottles instead of throwing them away.

·       Compost pit- Its cheap, its useful. We can collect and separate out our food scraps before we head for the garbage bin. We can dig up a compost collection site in our area and take our scraps there weekly or just utilize it for our plants at home.

Some Other Measures include:

·       Developing a decentralized waste management system in society.
·       Biodegradable and kitchen waste to be used for biogas generations.
·       Find innovative ways to keep our surroundings clean and green
like Slogans and quotes to encourage people to be a part of the clean India campaign.
·        Throwing waste in dustbin only and encouraging people to do the same.
·       Discourage practice of spitting in public places, will immediately condemn people if found doing so.
·       Try to avoid usage of Plastic covers, plastic disposables. Teach Children about Cleanliness and Sanitation.
·       Plant trees around my house.
·       Separate Dry waste and wet waste in house, ease the work of municipality workers.
·       I’ll try to join one of the NGOs working in our area towards cleaning of India. If not at least contribute to it in some way.
·       Avoid personal transport whenever possible. Encourage Car Pooling if unavoidable. Instead try to use public transportation.
·       Pool money along with our area mates and install large sized dustbins in the places where littering is done on the road or open place.

- Bhavya Bhatia
Final year student at JMC, Delhi University

Luxury in India

The term ‘Luxury’ defines creativity and research while maintaining aura and interdependence. It is about making an identity worldwide with that swift label  and make every consumer in the world envy the resource .
The current market scenario suggests that Indian Luxury retail sector has been steadily yet significantly growing. India has overtaken most countries and is now second to the States when it comes to Luxury Retail segment. The luxury market in India is at a boom and is growing at a fast pace.

The spending capacity of people in India has grown at a tremendous rate. Luxury can be demonstrated as not just buying labels for status, but buying beliefs which are high quality, ethical and offer innovative crafts. Over the decade, the luxury retail segment has come a long way and has evolved and gained importance and success. Some of the major reasons for the prosperity and growth in retail industry pertain to higher level of disposable income and the growth of middle class consumers. Today, due to increase in literacy rate has resulted in growth of income among the population.  This increase in income has resulted in demand for better quality luxurious consumer goods which has led to evolution and expansion of retail structure. Rise of consumerism has resulted in more knowledgeable and demanding customers. As the business exist to satisfy consumer needs, the growing consumer expectation has resulted in the demand for more organized retailing in India. This is one of the major reasons for the prosperity and ever increasing opportunities in luxury sector. 
The future of luxury in India seems bright enough to make a mark amidst the Indian population and culture.

- Bhavya Bhatia
Final year student at JMC, Delhi University

Subtle Uniqueness of Deccanwood Movies

               Deccanwood has been producing movies in the Deccani or Dakhini language since 2005. It regales to the need of people who wish to see movies in a more appealing local dialect. When it started, the viewers were very few but with time, the number of viewers has increased within a few years. The response from the viewers has been positive as well as encouraging the producers to make more movies. The budget in the initial years was also not very big. The industry has firmly managed to increase the budget because of the demand of such movies.

THE ANGREZ – First Hyderabadi Movie

          The Angrez is the first Hyderabadi movie which was screened in the year 2005. It is a comedy movie which revolves around three different classes of people – (i) The Angrez , (ii) Ismail Bhai and Gang, and (iii) Mama (Anna and Gang). The film shows how people are fascinated by American materialism, the hype around the IT sector and the lifestyle and culture it has generated.

             Initially, the movie was screened only in four theatres but after the reviews, it was released in many theatres in Hyderabad. Moreover, CDs and DVDs were released when it completed 25 weeks. The producer of the movie wanted the Department of Tourism to promote the movie to make the people aware about the city of Hyderabad. The Hyderabadi culture has been covered in this movie as per the directors and producers of the movie. Another interesting fact about this movie is that a five-minute long rap song on Hyderabadi Biryani has been shot at 77 different locations. Surprisingly, the movie made a record of selling 5 million copies at the launch of DVD and VCD by Hyderabad-based home video company ‘ Shalimar Video’.

           The Angrez not only gained popularity in Andhra Pradesh but also in the areas of Middle East and the US. This was because of widespread availability of torrent sharing sites. This movie became an immediate hit among International residents of Hyderabad.

          The sole reason of writing about the movie ‘The Angrez’ was to let people know that because of the success of the very first movie of the Hyderabadi Film Industry, people have laid their  interest in other Hyderabadi movies. Some of the other movies produced in this industry include Hyderabad Nawabs, Fun Aur Masti, Aadab Hyderabad, Berozgaar, Ek Tha Sardaar and so on. It is believed that this industry will soon give a very tough competition to other industries.  

- By Aarzoo Kareer