Times Mumbai salutes Forum

CITIZENS FOR THE CITY

Mumbaikars battle to reclaim city

In 2010, Ordinary Citizens Had Authorities Perennially On Their Toes With Fervid Activism

— Linah Baliga

Milk adulteration racket busted

—Sukhada Tatke

Times of India Mumbai edition 27th December 2010 page 5

It started with the residents of Borivli, Kandivli and Dahisar complaining that the milk they got at home was not up to the mark. Soon, the struggle evolved and, in March, a milk adulteration racket in the area was busted.
The crusade against milk adulteration was started by members of the New Link Residents’ Forum, Dahisar. Fearing that the racketeers would get tipped off if they involved the police, they took it upon themselves to solve the problem. For 40 nights, eight members of the group patrolled the streets. “We used to step out of our homes at 2 am and drive around till 6am. We collected a lot of information and zeroed in on six locations where the adulteration was being done,” said forum secretary Harish Pandey.
Once they were certain of the racketeers’ whereabouts, the crusaders informed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). One night, forum members got together with FDA officials and raided the places. As expected, the criminals were caught red-handed and bags filled with adulterated milk seized.

Milk adulteration busted

“Our work was not over. We had to ensure that the gangs don’t come back. That’s when we started keeping in touch with cops, who were by then very supportive and happy with our success. The two kingpins of the racket were finally externed,” Pandya said.
The residents feel the battle will continue until all such gangs are busted. “We can say confidently that the proportion of milk adulteration has come down drastically. But we will be satisfied when it stops completely,” Pandey said.

What the eye sees

A good camera is an essential tool to capture what your eye sees. And your eye can only see what your heart loves. So it all boils down to your heart, soul and spirit. Never thought of that, right? 🙂

I started photography rather late, when I was in my 20’s. I used the Fuji FinePix S 7000 series mainly for its ability to take photos and videos [640X480] in one handy package.  I enjoyed this prosumer camera for many years, till it stopped functioning after getting drenched at the Maid of the Mist.

Then I got a Finepix S2000 HD which had HD video recording too. The problem was its battery intensive zoom which used to drain 4 AA Ni MH cells in 2 days or less!  And also the fact that the picture quality was bad in low light.  That camera was stolen in an Environmental activism  related accident [more abt that later sometime].

After that I got my present camera in May 2010, a Nikon D 3000. I bought a Tamron 18-270 lens for it, and a Manfrotto tripod. I am extremely happy with this combo! It gives me the opportunity to faithfully capture what my eyes see. Ofcourse I cannot carry the tripod everywhere so usually steady my hands and use the Vibration control on the lens. Here is a photo taken at a museum recently.

Hand held low light Museum photography

Photography has given me a greater appreciation of the wonderful way our eyes capture the world around us, which seems so natural to us. Photographers have to really work hard to reproduce such effects especially in low light.

Thanks for reading! Keep shooting and learning.

Vegetarian India

MEATY DEBATE

‘Vegetarians can’t use court to lobby’

Rosy Sequeira TNN 6th Jan 2012

Mumbai: Vegetarians can lobby against meat-eaters anywhere but not before a forum like the court, it was argued on behalf of meat exporters at the Bombay High Court on Thursday.
A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Roshan Dalvi was hearing a PIL filed by Viniyog Pariwar Trust against the slaughter of cattle at Deonar abattoir and the export of meat. The petition said in 1983, the BMC banned the export of meat. “BMC has no authority to use the slaughter house for exporters,” said Viniyog’s advocate Praful Shah, adding, the abattoir had been running into losses of Rs 116 crore for a decade now. He said under the civic laws, it was clear that the Deonar abattoir was established only to cater to the “need of the locals and not foreigners and exports”.
National Treasure?
“Cattle are important wealth of the nation. We should not destroy it,” said Shah, pointing that Article 51 (g) of the Constitution stated that there should be compassion for all living creatures. “Cattle are being slaughtered unnecessarily for export.”
But BMC advocate Geeta Joglekar said considering the poor financial status, on March 20, 1985, it was decided not to implement the 1983 resolution, banning exports. She said slaughter was carried out between 11pm and 6am for local use, while the entire day, the machines lay idle. So, she said, exporters were allowed to use them. “We only provide space and charge double from exporters,” she added.
All India Meat and Livestock Exporters Associations advocate Zubin Kamdin argued that since Deonar abattoir was set up in 1972, export had been allowed till date. “Just because a person has a particular ideology, it cannot be imposed on others. This court is not a forum and a PIL cannot be used to impose ideology on others,” said Kamdin. Justice Dalvi said because a petitioner had a particular opinion, it did not prevent him from filing a PIL and the court would examine the case on merit. Kamdin said the trust’s prayer amounted to interference in the policy decision of the BMC. “According to them, meat-eating is a western culture,” he added. According to him, exports from Deonar alone accounted for Rs 226 crore annually.

This is from a letter I wrote some time ago, but the topics are ever fresh.
To: HT Mumbai Main <mumbailetters@hindustantimes.com>Sent: Tuesday, April 8, 2008 7:55:28 PM

Subject: Vegetarian Sinner?
Deonar abattoir closed for nine days! Some Jain vegetarians have their way, forcing their beliefs down the throats of millions.

Some vegetarians hate people more than plants

Politicians had successfully lobbied the impotent government to stop the main production center for meat in Mumbai for nine days as a Jain festival was being celebrated. Vote bank appeasement perhaps but this was a danger signal that I could not ignore anymore.The Jain religion and some other philosophies apparently believe that it is a sin to kill animals. I thought it is time to correct this view once and for all.

The whole question of vegetarian vs non-vegetarianism is rooted in emotions and so-called spirituality since time immemorial.There are two main aspects of this issue.

Firstly many people are of the opinion that if you are a vegetarian, you are more spiritual. I recalled meeting an elderly gentleman in Gujurat who proclaimed that the answer to India’s problems lay in everyone adopting a ‘satvik’ vegetarian diet. He, and many other sincere people think that what you eat determines your character. Was he right?

Centuries of vegetarianism in India and look at the condition of our dear country. B12 and Vitamin D deficiency over the generations have played havoc on our health, making Indians the highest risk population for Diabetes and Heart Disease.

So the question is, is non-vegetarian food bad for you spiritually? Does it make you s sinner or bad?

Jesus answered the diet-character question 2000 years ago. His disciples asked Jesus whether it was the food they ate that made a man do evil. Jesus said “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts”. The problem lies in the heart of man.

Secondly many people also think that there is no difference between humans and animals. That also makes them believe that it is a sin to kill animals. To think that we are no different from animals would amount to actually insulting the Living God who made us humans uniquely in His image and who longs to have a relationship with us much like a loving father would love his children.

Has anyone seen a praying monkey or goat? Doesn’t science itself marvel at the difference between man and all other created living beings? Does not even the law of India treat murder of a human being as a crime worse than killing a pig?

We humans are certainly made different from all other living beings! We have a soul and a human spirit which has the potential to connect to the Living God!

We humans have been made stewards by God of the entire earth [Genesis 1]. We are all answerable to God for how we have taken care of earth and its creatures. It is our duty to see that animals if at all consumed for food are killed as painlessly and humanely as possible, and when needed for food alone, not for fun.

As for the answer to who or what can save India, I believe that the answer lies in the person of Jesus Christ alone.The fallen nature of man’s heart is at once the most easily provable fact as also the one most denied philosophically. A casual glance through the events happening all over will tell us that we humans are sinners.

Why deny it? Real change of character in us humans can only come when we accept that we are sinners, repent with our whole heart, and believe that God has forgiven our sins through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus on the cross 2000 years ago, a fact easily proven historically.

The Bible tells us in Ephesians 2:8  For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. No amount of fasting or vegetarianism has or can cure our country of its many ills. Centuries of history tell us the same story.

But sometimes we prefer to re invent the wheel. Hope this article opens your eyes dear readers. Hope you would not judge people by what they eat, rather by what comes out of their hearts. Let us respect the rights of others and allow them to eat what they want, treat them as you would your own brother or sister. Are not all Indians your brothers and sisters?

I love my India. Long live India!

Are you in the 21st Century?

Prannoy Roy, a talk show host from India, asked a question to a leader in one of his interviews “Are you in the 21st Century?”

Times have changed!

The leader must have said something that to Roy seemed so old-fashioned.

Like going on a vacation in a bullock cart. Or sending your precious kids to an institutional school.

Hey, wait a minute! What do you mean, you would ask!

Exactly…..what do I mean?

Prannoy may have a certain concept of what constitutes 21st Century. Maybe fuel propelled vehicles with 4 wheels or more, instant communication with people around the world, medical advances etc.

In the same way most people at present also have a certain idea when they think of the 21st Century.

That doesn’t mean the majority is right, does it?

The majority thought the earth was flat 1000 years ago, so what?

The majority send their kids to school, so what?

What the majority are realising slowly now is that times are changing….and are seeing that more and more parents are taking a conscious decision to provide something better for their childrens future than sending them to instituitional organisationss called schools.

Are you in the 21st Century?

Let us look at the 22nd Century perhaps….when parenting and education would not be outsourced to so called experts.

When parents and children spend time together learning and having fun, developing bonds that will last a lifetime.

Times have indeed changed

When the Government and Commerce would stop trying to fit all individuals into uniform molds called ‘good consumers or useful slaves’ for their own benefit.

Let the movement roll on.

Jai Hind.

Home schooling?

What? Homeschooling?

Many people ask me….You mean you dont send your kids to school?

Yes, I say. They all want to know why….

I say, let me ask you a few questions….

Why do you send your kids to school?

Learning at School

To learn, ofcourse, they say!

I ask them: How do you expect your kids to learn at school?

Why, from the text books ofcourse, and the teachers etc…

I ask them, what world are you living in? Don’t you know that if you want your kids to learn something from school text books, you are way behind the times? Knowledge is advancing so fast that by the time the textbooks your child gets are out they are already atleast a decade old?

If you want to find out or learn about anything, where do you go to now?

Smart way to learn

Did anyone say ‘google’!

Oh, it is as if a light bulb popped open in their brain…they wonder…..what on earth!

Then they say, aha, we send our kids to school so that they can ‘Socialise’ and learn to mix with other people.

I look at them and ask again, politely…where in the real world would you expect your child, assuming he or she grows up, to ‘socialise’ only with people his same age??

Are you preparing for the Real World

What kind of artificial ‘socialisation’ are you talking about? Would it not be better if your child mixes with their neighboring kids and with their brothers and sisters at home and around? Learning to share and play together?

By this time, the parent who asked me the question is left wondering why he or she did not think of all this before.

I reassure them, that there is still time. If you believe your kids are the most precious gifts you have, you would do your best for them. Since you thought that sending them to school was the best you could do for them, you did that. Now that you know there are better ways, think about it. Plan it as a family, pray about it. See if you have the necessary time and resources to homeschool.

Hey, homeschooling works!

Then be ready to change!

Hope you have a wonderful day ahead. Life is full of challenges and changes.

Some teachable tools

Some notes on my experiences with teaching kids:

Education

Mathematics

In Mathematics there has been a surprising loss of certainty amongst experts. Many of them are not sure if 2 plus 2 is 4 anymore!

How did this come about?

Set theory is the absence of the singular, which is the hallmark of humanism. Contrast it with the God of the Old Testament who said He is One God.

Set theory can be manipulated the way anyone wants. It demands Pluralism, humanism and relativism. It denies absolute truth. It puts off average students from Mathematics.  It stresses on non essentials, belaboring concepts that are trivial, giving insufficient emphasis to concepts that are fundamental, it doesn’t devote adequate time for students to master the real basics of Mathematics. Average students have been turned off Mathematics, just as Morris Kline predicted.

Growing up and bringing up Teenagers

I am surprised at the number of people growing old who are totally disconnected from the world of their children and grand children.

I am reminded of a vast sewer flowing out from under a city. In this sewer come floating down all sorts of garbage. The broken tins, rotten fruit, and damaged furniture all remind me of the adolescents growing up in today’s world. These adolescents have already destroyed the purity of their lives by giving away their emotional and physical purity, which God has given them in the first place, to the first person or idol they encounter in their teens.

Would you buy a half eaten chocolate or a rat eaten apple with your hard earned money? Would you not rather look at it with disgust and throw it in the garbage?

Parents who were supposed to ‘parent’ their kids through childhood and adolescence have been seduced with the idea that it is more important to ‘secure a future’ for their kids by working hard and long hours away from their very kids!

Parents have been fooled into thinking that the ‘world’ knows better than them how to bring up their kids, and how to let their kids find ‘happiness’.

I am reminded of a custom practised in villages of India, when youth of both sexes are allowed to mingle at certain festivals. They do that under the eyes of the whole village, so that the intentions behind seeking the opposite sex are honourable. But, you may ask, what do you mean by honourable?

A man and a woman have different and at the same time similar needs. Sex, companionship and support could be common needs. He needs respect, she needs unconditional love and acceptance. For meeting all these needs, God has ordained only one way in which man and woman can come together, and that is the institution of marriage.

Honorable intentions means one person is not trying to defraud another. Now in 2010, where do young people go to meet each other? In darkened pubs and secret parties. Are their parents present there? Ofcourse not, parents have far more important things to do, right? Right! Like amassing more wealth, spoiling their health, working like slaves for someone else, visiting Doctors, the list goes on.

And what happens when the parents become too old to work, too old to care for themselves?

Do they then realise, too late, how they have been deceived? Yes, sadly, but it is too late by then.

My patients

Being a Doctor and especially a Physician in Private Practice provides me with unparalleled glimpses into the lives of a vast spectrum of people. Rich or poor, sad or happy, the variety is amazing.

I am privileged to be a part of and help so many lives. I thank God for that.

God has given me two ears and two eyes but only one mouth. I believe He has a purpose for that.

As a Doctor I believe my main part in their therapy is in listening to my patients, and their relatives. More than half the treatment comes with empathic listening.

I will be putting up some of my experiences with patients here, with the aim of improving the present Doctor Patient relationships and also providing some entertainment in a depressing world.