Friday, November 6, 2009
(if you like this teaser please leave me a message...)
Thursday, November 5, 2009
‘Saab-ji , if the madaris can train monkeys to dance and beg on the streets and steal from multistory buildings, why can they not be trained to plant bombs?’
(if you like this teaser please leave me a message...)
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Killing to Munni-chachi was a method to clear obstacles. Very few knew of her real power, her hidden agenda. To the commoner, she could manage the impossible. People loved and respected her for her generosity, for her helping nature, for her willingness to go the extra mile.
The Mumbai bomb blasts of 26/11, to her, were Godsend. It would camouflage her intentions.
The only surviving terrorist Joseph Akmal Khan was behind bars – it threw up immense possibilities. Munni-chachi could now activate her terror modules.
If there were remnants of burnt Urdu newspapers, Pakistani coins and firearms with foreign markings in the debris of any destruction those would imply the presence of foreign hands and the situation could be exploited to the fullest.
She was spurred for quick action due to an e-mail received by a TV news channel hinting at attacks on defense and strategic installations in and around Mumbai. All hell broke loose.
The Home Minister called for an emergency meeting with RAW (the Research and Analysis Wing), the Anti Terrorist Squad and the Police Commissioner with the Chiefs of the Armed Forces to evolve strategies to counter the threats.
With kidnappings, missing slum children and a doctor-builder nexus in a kidney racket, this novel keeps you on the edge.
This is a story of modern day terrorism, terrorists and terror modules.
(If you like this and want to read more please leave me a message...)
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
CHILD HELPLINESA toll free 24-hour telephone help line 1098 for children in distress can be accessed in 72 cities of the country. This number can be available by any child or concerned adult on his or her behalf.
This helpline, easily remembered in Hindi as “Dus, Nau, Aath”, is presently working in the following 72 cities: Agartala, Aurangabad, Chennai, Guwahati, Kanchipuram, Kozhikode, Nadia, Pune, South 24 Paraganas, Varanasi, Shimla, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Kanyakumari, Kutch, Nagapattinam, Puri, Thiruvananthapuram, Vijayawada, Ludhiana, Ahmednagar, Baroda, Cuddalore, Imphal, Karaikal, Lucknow, Nagpur, Rourkela, Thirunelveli, Vishakhapatnam, Akola, Bhopal, Delhi, Indore, Kochi, Mangalore, Nasik, Ranchi, Thrissur, Waynad, Allahabad, Bhubaneshwar, East Midanapore Jammu, Kolkata, Madurai, New Jalpaiguri, Salem, Tiruchirapalli, West Midnapore, Alwar, Chandigarh, Goa, Jaipur, Kollam, Mumbai, Patna, Shillong, Udaipur, Agra, Amarawati, Cuddalore, Gorakhpur, Kalyan, Kota, Murshidabad Port Blair, Sholapur, Ujjain and Gurgaon.
Makkala Sahaya Vani responds to calls ranging from :- Counselling for emotional problems, On harrassment, exploitation and sexual abuse, shelter for lost / missing children and to reunite them with families, Legal Medical services, Calls from public and parents of children who are mentally and physically handicapped, Children denied of their earnings, Children who just want to speak to MSV. An initiative of the Bangalore City Police to attend to the problems of children was established in the premises of the office of the Commissioner of Police on 30th December 1997. This is a helpline for children with a toll free telephone No.1091.
Child Line is a 24 hour emergency phone service for children in difficult circumstances. Any child in crisis can dial 1098 free of cost and speak to a friendly, experienced counsellor. The service seeks to aid any child below the age of 18 who is injured, sick, exploited, abused, in danger, or lonely. They may be street children living on the pavement or railway station, or normal children with normal families. Parents often call in search of a missing child.
HELPLINES FOR WOMEN
With an increase in the number of crimes committed against women, the police have opened several help lines which can be contacted for immediate assistance. Whether it is eve teasing or harassment at work or in the confines of the home or even in public place, on the roads or in buses or trains, dialing the toll free numbers is the only way to tackle the growing menace.
Women's helpline launched in Mumbai
The women in distress can call the helpline number '1298', which in turn is connected to around 16 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) including the Maharashtra State Women's Council and report their problem.
Mumbai Police introduces women helpline No. 103
From this February 25, if any woman gets any physical and mental harassment, can dial 103 and it will reach directly at the police control room. … The police in Mumbai have also introduced a helpline No. 1090 for senior citizens. This helpline is operated by the Mumbai police.
Stay safe, girl!
It's best to just dial 100 if you are in trouble, especially after 8 pm. The women's helpline, Vanitha Sahaya Vani (1091), at the office of the police commissioner is open from only 8 am to 8 pm.
HELPLINES FOR THOSE IN DISTRESS
Students in distress can turn to following help lines of Mumbai -
Mindtemple - 022 - 32421111 (10 to 6 pm)
Avishkar - 022 - 24227515 (10 to 6 pm)
Aasra - 022 - 27546669 (3 to 9 pm)
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Any place where there is a multitude of greenery; there is peace, calm and quiet. Large trees like the Banyan give shelter to hundreds of birds, they provide shade to the weary traveler, and they are a thing of beauty – that is why we worship this tree. In the botanical garden in Kolkata, there is a banyan tree that is ageless – it has innumerable roots that go into the ground. People do not know which of these is the original trunk.
Cutting trees is a serious offence but, in cities, the axe falls indiscriminately on these protectors of environment – excuses that are put forth range from the innocent 'widening of road' to the bizarre 'for hoardings of ads to tell us to plant more trees'. The railways introduced tree plantation drives all along the sides of the railway tracks – plenty of funds must have been earmarked for this activity on a continuous basis but the results do not indicate any noteworthy progress. Similarly for the preservation of mangroves – these protect the coastlines and when plans are worked out to convert these into living areas like the salt pans of Mumbai, it foretells a bleak future for the environment.
Then there are the throwaway plastic cups and glasses that one sees in the railways. Water in plastic pouches are served with food in trains. Mention must also be made of bottled water – some of the containers should fall in the banned category. Earthen containers to serve tea could have been a better substitute – these could be more costly but the additional financial burden would be borne by the travelers if it is forced upon them. After all, a cup of tea costs must more outside than that in the train. Similar earthen containers could be used in those dispensers that sell cold drinks – if the containers are painted, the youngsters would not even notice. In order to popularize these, some film celebrity could be roped in to say that he (or she) drinks only from such containers. Taking it a step further , in order to make a point, these containers could have numbers printed on the bottom – users could be given rewards for accumulating so many points and claim their gifts. Such advertisements would certainly wean away the youngsters from plastic cups; they fall for new twists very easily.
Similarly for thermocol sheets used in schools and colleges, these are used for mounting drawings and photographs in exhibitions or in the showcases of shops or for decorating stalls in fairs. But, whatever is the purpose, at the end of the day they create environmental problems. Days of paper and cardboards have gone, so also have gone those corrugated sheets that one would fund in medicine bottles to support the bottle in its package. Thermocol has taken over and if things are not checked, the dumping grounds would get converted into mounds of thermocol, plastics and other such products like reels of music cassettes, damaged floppy discs, damaged compact discs etcetera that will annihilate mankind.
Indiscriminate use of petrol and other gaseous products result in the global warming phenomenon that is being discussed at practically every forum. Everyone is trying to find out solutions to contain the bad effects of gaseous pollutants. Keeping a check on the emission factors of vehicles is not given the seriousness that it deserves. On the one hand we suggest traveling to office in car pools – on the other we invite people to buy the latest model car because it has plenty of new gadgets that will set the owner apart from the commoners. Finance is easily available and, when the car is delivered, who would want to be a part of a car pool and not show off his latest acquisition? There is a new model released practically every month and, there are cases when families proudly declare that they own more than one car. Therefore, expecting car pools to operate to the satisfaction of environmentalists is asking for too much. We human beings want to make our presence felt on society and never bother about the serious repercussions of not heeding the warning signs.
Pure and healthy air is what the body requires and properly maintained parks are one means of inhaling fresh air – here again, open space comes at a premium. Specially constructed jogging tracks in natural surroundings are much sought after by the young and the old but, even now, we seldom walk short distances – instead, we rev up the car to go to the barber's or kick the scooter to go round the corner to pick up a friend. We should cultivate the habit of relying more on alternate means of movement rather depend always on a vehicle powered by petrol or diesel.
Friday, May 8, 2009
The lessons are unambiguous –
Mothers should never send their little girls anywhere all alone and without chaperons
Girls should be very careful of strangers and suspicious of anything that appears to be out of the ordinary
Girls should know that villains hide beneath innocent looking dresses of do-gooders, like a wolf in sheep’s clothing
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
These are unpredictable affairs – no one can forecast where there would be an earthquake or where a fire would engulf a shopping complex at the dead of night or when the flood waters would breach the dam and enter the villages. Neither can one anticipate any major accident or disaster like a running express train ramming into a stationary one or of terrorist attacks.
An alert Citizen Journalist should be prepared to move to the site at the first opportunity to obtain first hand information that he can supply to the real-time mainstream media.
While reporting he has to bear in mind the following general guidelines –
Whether help was delayed
Whether the rescue teams had come with proper equipment
Whether the medical treatments were prompt
Whether NGOs responded and how the locals extended assistance
The CJ should discuss with the persons who are affected as well as the administration on how the relief amounts would be calculated and distributed
The CJ should support all statements with photographs (videos preferable) as well as facts and figures.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Yes, this best sums up the work of a CJ. He always keeps his eyes open to happenings around him. Like – when on the road he sees people who flout the basic norms of safety while foot or on vehicles. The regular machinery of the law keeps watch on those who over speed or break traffic rules but to create awareness on safe walking and driving you have to be alert and observe whatever appears to be wrong –
See if the drivers of two wheeler wear helmets, if there is a pillion rider, he or she also should wear the head gear to protect the head in case of accidents – there should not be a third person. The driver must possess a valid driving license as well have all documents related to the vehicle with him.
Check out those driving four wheelers – they must fasten their seat belts; they should have all documents of the vehicle as well the papers and be in possession of valid driving license. They should also have a first aid kit with them.
Watch out for pedestrians – they must use the footpaths or sidewalks, they must cross roads at the designated location identified by the zebra crossings, and they must queue up in an orderly manner at the bus stops. Where there is an encroachment of the footpaths or sidewalks, bring that to the notice of civic authorities. Support your facts with photographs and statements of locals for ore authenticity and better effects.
In case you happen to see any accident taking place, you should not hesitate to offer help. If it pertains to a hit and run case or rash driving, note down the registration number of the vehicle and inform the police.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Children and playgrounds are interrelated. The open spaces are vanishing and, the modern concept is to reserve tiny plots where the local kids can come to play and enjoy the bounties of nature to the extent available. Similar places are also a part of apartment blocks. These are usually reserved for the kids of the occupants.
When a Citizen Journalist wants to carry out an assignment on playgrounds of kids, he has to approach it with confidence. It is a difficult proposition and the journalist must have a pleasing personality to influence those associated with the management of the facility.
Most important aspect are the safety and security - those who are responsible for the maintenance of these playgrounds have to observe plenty of dos and don’ts so that the kids can play in safe surroundings.
The swings, ladders, seesaws should be rigid
In case of water bodies, these should be suitably protected
If the water bodies are large enough for swimming, there has to be trained persons who should oversee
The greenery should be devoid of weeds and poisonous plants
There has to be restrictions on throwing litter and dirtying the surroundings, litter bins should be placed at regular intervals
The gates must be guarded so that unwanted people do not enter
There should be swift communication network between the guards and managers as well as link up with the local law machinery
The parents or guardians of rowdy kids should be kept updated on the mischief they play.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Kids mean schools, playgrounds, and illness apart from unbridled freedom. They can be grouped into categories depending from where they come and how they live. Those at the high end would normally be out of reach of ordinary CJs – so it s advisable not to pursue that line. The bulk of kids who attract attention are those who are in the middle income groups – these parents have high expectations from their offspring and the market is large enough to attract the innumerable products that are meant exclusively for kids. So are their problems …
Select the areas surrounding the school – the free availability of fast foods and eatables that are sold in the open are veritable sources of illness – there are usually restrictions on what can be sold openly and how such products should be sold. Check the actual situation and note down those who do not adhere to the instructions. Take photographs, meet and talk with the parents and the children, – get their opinions …. meet the vendors who flout the norms, also identify those who do follow – highlight the latter – it makes them feel better and simultaneously encourages the erring ones to improve … …
These would do for starters …
Monday, April 20, 2009
Let the journalists of the mainstream concentrate of political leaders and the movie folks – that opens up the field for the Citizen journalists because there are so many other relevant topics that are crying out for attention. The Citizen Journalist is free to report on any subject that pleases him – it could be any irritant of his neighborhood or on everyday happenings that have a bearing on how we live and how we have to continuously fend off troubles and fears. Some examples will help to understand the philosophy behind what defines a citizen journalist of a high order.
Corruption is thee in all walks of life – practical applications of how the corrupt operate is an aspect that can be highlighted – for example catching a corrupt person red handed when he is accepting illegal gratification –
Or – show to others how the local corporator neglects his territory – the unhealthy surroundings, heaps of uncleared garbage, stray dogs, beggars, the bad condition of roads, the taps that run dry, lack of bus shelters … the list could be a very long one.
Then there are special drives to capture the sad plight of children in juvenile homes and senior citizens in homes for elders. There is a gulf of difference between what they advertise and what they actually give. The CJs could zero in on such subjects that people want to know about.
Friday, April 17, 2009
an update – the last date for eligibility has been extended to 1st may 2009 – I should get my $100 after all very soon …
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
The Citizen Journalist has to report a happening and, obviously, the packaging counts a lot. If the packaging does not strike the viewer or the reader as attractive, the report would not serve any purpose except to add to a whole lot of unwanted experiments. It would earn poor marks, people would ignore it. But that is not what the CJ wants – he wants his report to generate a feeling in the minds of those who matter and might be instrumental in bringing about changes in attitude of how things are tackled. The following points could be considered to be the qualities of a good Citizen Journalist:
Be honest, accept mistakes
Protect your sources
Think up juicy headers
Tackle issues that will help you influence the thinking of people and gain readership
Accepts brickbats with equal grace as you would the bouquets
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Fox News, CBS, Jump On Citizen Journalism Content Harvesting Bandwagon
20/3/2007 - Red Herring reports that both CBS and Fox News have decided to start the push to harvest more "citizen journalism" for their channels. So, what does this mean to you, the citizen, who might want to send your vidphone shots of your dog jumping through a flaming hula hoop??
26/6/2007 - Citizen journalism is making the news again. We have been all but overwhelmed with photos and videos from our audiences of the widespread flooding. As well as the dramatic rescue helicopter footage (for which many thanks, as ever, to the RAF) by lunchtime on Tuesday, the BBC had received well over 3,000 still images and 200 mobile phone videos - most from stranded motorists and people whose homes and businesses had been ruined by the rising waters.
27/2/2008 - To put it bluntly, India is mobile mad. Indian citizen journalism may thrive across a range blog networks, photo and video sites but what singles it out and makes it unique is the proliferation of micro and mobile blogging sites.
Online Journalism India: Moblogging is citizen journalism in India
BBC launches Indian citizen journalism project
The BBC has launched an online citizen journalism initiative to target an audience of Urdu speakers in India…… Mohammed Hanif, head of BBC Urdu, said the scheme would raise awareness of the BBC's Urdu site amongst Urdu-speakers in India, where internet usage is growing. …. "Lucknow, Hyderabad, Bhopal and Aligarh are centres of knowledge and talent, and we are looking forward to meeting our existing and future audiences there," said Hanif.
Citizen Journalist – be the change
Citizen Journalists Provided Glimpses of Mumbai Attacks
From his terrace on Colaba Causeway in south Mumbai, Arun Shanbhag saw the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower Hotel burn. He saw ambulances leave the Nariman House. And he recorded every move on the Internet……
"…. The real contribution of citizen journalists in a story like this, where whole areas of land are closed off and the fields of greatest danger keep shifting, is in having more eyes on the ground," Thomas Hollihan, a professor of media at the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Southern California, told the Baltimore Sun. "Citizen journalists are swapping information back and forth - reporting where the flames are now headed or showing images on their cell phones of the fire. And with so much happening so quickly, that kind of information can be really powerful - if it is accurate…..."
Social media used to keep flood victims informed
31/3/2009 - For more than a century, journalism operated the same way: a news event occurred, an “official” reporter wrote about it, an editor reshaped it, a headline writer contributed to it, a designer/producer fit the story into a prefabricated and limiting format, and it was all distributed to consumers at a predetermined time for consumption the way the “professionals” proscribed. Today, in only 10 years, that model has been ripped apart: anyone can now manufacture and globally distribute news and we can select what news we want to read however and whenever we want to read it. This is good if you believe in freedom of speech. But it’s not so good if you demand consistently high editorial standards and desire quality reporting. Since the editorial filter is non-existent in citizen journalism, every reader must exercise discernment to know what to accept as fact and what to jettison as fiction.
(AEJMC – Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication)
Extracts from ‘The Official Blog of AEJMC’
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Citizen Journalist of Merinews, New Delhi
My presence on another Citizen Journalism website -
My blog REDISCOVERING INDIA (2376 posts; 930,000 plus cumulative views as on 9/4/2009) is available on
Citizen journalists are people who do not usually possess any professional journalism training but can use the tools of modern technology and the global distribution of the Internet to create, augment or fact-check media on their own or in collaboration with others.
Puneities hail the Citizens' Manifesto : India 2067 campaign
‘…..Thereafter, some citizens came forward and voiced their opinions on the issues that plague our society and suggested as what can be done to help curb these problems. Among them was a prominent Merinews CJ from Nasik Prabir Ghose, who suggested that ’no-vote’ option should be introduced in Electronic Voting Machines. …’
‘ … More recently, Allvoices launched in July 2008. Its CEO, Amra Tareen, is a Muslim American and former venture capitalist who created the site after having done charity work in her native Pakistan. While there she noted there was no central hub on the Internet where anyone, anywhere could witness and then instantly report from their perspective news as it happened. Allvoices uses a combination of technology and community to vet stories for authenticity and popularity. The site takes contributions from around the world via any Internet-connected device and its contributors frequently break stories before the mainstream media. Allvoices was also the first citizen journalism site to measure the credibility of contributed reports and their authors, providing readers with a gauge launched in March 2009 for assessing the accuracy of news accounts…..’