Winter

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Foggy winter morning

As the sun shines bright and mighty,
Signalling the winters are over, I see
Tiny flowers blooming,
I feel the green leaves,
thier tenderness, gives me
a thought

The prolonged winter is ending in my heart too!

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Fresh green leaves

Origin of Music

“The music is all around US, all you have to do is listen.”

This quote from August Rush movie, very beautifully describes the existence of music in every aspect of nature. The birds chirping in the morning, the wind, water splashing against the shore, call of the animals, cracking of the dry leaves and so on. This exquisite beauty of nature has the potential to sooth mind and can invoke a certain sense of inner peace.

The basic origin of music is hence regarded to be from nature.

Early man had used stones, seeds, woods, shells, bones, horns, whistles, flutes, trumpets, reeds, rhombuses, bows, animal skin, and leaves etc. in order to create sounds. To be able to grab attention while hunting, alerting for danger, socializing, conveying messages and so on.

Musical instruments are constructed in a broad array of styles and shapes, using many different materials. Early musical instruments were made from “found objects” such as shells and plant parts.As instruments evolved, so did the selection and quality of materials. Virtually every material in nature has been used by at least one culture to make musical instruments.

The Indus Valley Civilization, also known as Harappan culture, is among the world’s earliest civilizations, contemporary to the Bronze Age civilizations of Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt. Excavations at these sites have provided evidence for existence of musical instruments. These were mainly made of bamboo, bone and animal skin and they have striking similarity to today’s Veena and Mridangum.

Dancing lady in Bronze

Many Buddhist sculptures dated back from 5th century to 2nd century AD also depict a wealth of string, wind and percussion instruments.

In a much deeper sense, Hindu mythology gives away references which make understanding the basic origin of music, relatable.

OM- the divine eternal sound is the most basic and primordial mantra in Hinduism, with its origins in Sanskrit. The Mandukya Upanishad suggests that, “Om is the one eternal syllable of which all that exists is but the development. The past, the present, and the future are all included in this one sound, and all that exists beyond the three forms of time is also implied in it”.  Om is not only a word but rather an intonation, which, like music, transcends the barriers of age, race, culture and even species. It is made up of three Sanskrit letters, aa, au and ma which, when combined together, make the sound Aum or Om. It is believed to be the basic sound of the world and to contain all other sounds.

OM

Om is not only concentrated to religion, mantras and meditation but it holds in true sense the existence of any sound in the world.

Another interesting reference is found in the Vedas. There are four Vedas, the Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda. The Vedas are the primary and also the oldest texts of Hinduism, which can be regarded to be formed in the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age. Samaveda, or Veda of Holy Songs, third in the usual order of enumeration of the three Vedas, ranks next in sanctity and liturgical importance to the Rigveda or Veda of Recited praise.

Sama Veda

Its Sanhita, or metrical portion, consists chiefly of hymns to be chanted by the Udgatar priests at the performance of important sacrifices. The Collection is made up of hymns, portions of hymns, and detached verses, taken mainly from the Rigveda, transposed and re-arranged, without reference to their original order, to suit the religious ceremonies in which they were to be employed. In these compiled hymns there are frequent variations, of more or less importance, from the text of the Rigveda as we now possess it which variations, although in some cases they are apparently explanatory, seem in others to be older and more original than the readings of the Rigveda. In singing, the verses are still further altered by prolongation, repetition and insertion of syllables, and various modulations, rests, and other modifications prescribed, for the guidance of the officiating priests, in the Ganas or Song-books.

Since ages people have been referring to the Vedas and in true sense they are like an encyclopedia of knowledge about various topics.

In India, music, dance, painting and drama has always been considered divine. Bhrama-Vishnu-Mahesh, the eternal trinities were the first musicians. The Divine Dancer Shiva is scripturally represented as having worked out the infinite modes of rhythm in His cosmic dance of universal creation, preservation, and dissolution, while Brahma accentuated the time-beat with the clanging cymbals, and Vishnu sounded the holy mridanga or drum.  Indian gods and goddesses are always seen with a musical instrument. Lord Brahma’s companion, Goddesses Saraswati is seen playing Veena, Lord Vishnu holds shankh or conch, Lord Shiva possesses damaru, Lord Krishna (incarnation of Lord Vishnu) has bansuri or flute, Nandi (Lord Shiva’s disciple) plays mathalam, Narad Muni is seen playing mahati (twenty one stringed Veena).

In the sacred texts of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata have several mentions of musical instruments.

According to a mythological story, Lord Brahma taught Bharata Muni about music and he wrote a book with that knowledge and hence spread the learnings to the masses.

 “Geet vaadhum taatha nytryum treyum saangeetmuchate

Nytrey vaadhanug proktum vaadh geetanuvartich”

This Dohaa or phrase by Pt. Sharangdev expresses the relationship of music, vocals and dance. This explains that music has three elements; vocals, instrumental and dance. Vocals are considered ahead of the other two, because dance is dependent on vocals and vocals are according to beats.

In earlier days, music was largely considered to be a part of dance/theatre. A 5th century text book about classical, Natya Shashtra, written by Bharata Muni, had a special mention of elements and principles of music in the ending six chapters.

Later on, it was realized that each has its own identity and can be developed independently as well.

India is a religious country and since beginning music has been connected with the worship and the practice of god. Traditionally the Bhajjans, Kirtans, Aartis, Mantras, Shlokas etc have been in practice of praising the lord by the people.

The foundation stone of Hindustani music is the ragas, or fixed melodic scales. Ancient rishis discovered sound alliance between nature and man. They said nature is an objectification of Aum, the vibratory word; man can obtain control over all natural manifestations by the use of certain techniques and combinations. Sanskrit literature describes 120 talas or time measurers. Bharata Muni is said to have isolated 32 kinds of tala in the song of lark. Human voice has always been recognized as the most perfect instrument of sound. The deeper aim of rishi-musicians was to blend the singer with the cosmic song which can be heard through awakening of man’s occult spinal centers. Indian music is a subjective, spiritual, and individualistic art, aiming not at symphonic brilliance but a personal harmony with the soul. The Sanskrit word for musician is- Bhagavathar, which means he who sings the praises of god. The satsangs and kirtans are an effective form of yoga or spiritual discipline, necessitating deep concentration, intense absorption in the seed thought and sound.

Tribals all over are known to have developed sound rituals for rain and wind.

Gradually as the kingdoms became prominent, there was seen a shift of music being devotional to being a way of entertaining the king.

Music was promoted under various rules. Majorly dancers and musicians were appointed in the kingdom to entertain the king and his disciples.

During the Gupta empire from A.D. 320 to about A.D. 500, Music and dance developed the complex forms that formed the basis of classical Indian music and dance. Samudragupta’s personal skill was exceptional especially in music and song. He was also well known for his poetry and had composed many works which had a reputation of a professional author.

Tansen is regarded as the Navratna in the court of Emperor Akbar, of Mughal rule, and the Guru of all Gurus in the Indian classical music that dominates the entire North India. Among the legends about Tansen are stories of his bringing down the rains with Raga Megh Malhar and starting fires with the legendary raga Deepak. Other legends tell of his ability to bring wild animals to listen with attention (or to talk their language). Once, a wild white elephant was captured, but it was fierce and could not be tamed. Finally, Tansen sang to the elephant that calmed down and the emperor was able to ride him. Such was the power of his music that when he used to sing in the court of Akbar, it is said that candles used to light up automatically.

Tansen playing in the court of king Akbar

During Auragzeb, music and all other forms of art were highly discouraged. Following to this British East India Company started spreading its control in the country and music was damaged and suffered a setback. It was folk music that people used to entertain self and forget their misery and sufferings.

Music picked up pace again during the struggle for independence. Music and other forms of art were used to bring people at a common platform. Songs like Vande Matram were instrumental in uniting the masses. Post-independence songs such as Mile Sur Mera Tumhara, Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyo have been responsible for consolidating feelings of national integration and unity in diversity.

International influences are very visible into Indian music.

Music follows a system of guru-shishya in passing on of the skills. There has not been a dearth of teachers in music, but finding detailed books had been a task. People associated with art always used to feel that music is something difficult to be written down on a piece of paper.

The music of India is said to be one of the oldest unbroken musical traditions in the world. It includes multiple varieties of folk, popular, pop, classical music and R&B. Indian music is respected all over.

He Was…

He would come to the class wearing a formal shirt and shorts…

He would sleep in the lectures nonstop…

He would attempt the wrong exam, without even realizing…

He would smile and say, “Chill maar yaar, kuch nhi hota” if he saw anyone sad!

He would joke around just to see a smile on his friend’s face…

He would narrate his humorous stories to everyone with charm…

He would speak Hindi in his Malyalum accent…

He would make beautiful caricatures…

He would make the most uptight people, frank…

He would hug everyone and greet them in his trademark funny way…

He was the happy-go-lucky guy, everyone was fond of…

He was a friend of friend and would make enemies forget their anger…

It’s hard to use past tense for him. This post is for the friend of mine who passed away some time back.

I cannot forget that fateful morning. It came as the news which I never wanted to believe. I prayed again and again that he should be alive; I wish that terrible road accident never happened. But the reality struck its thorns and he was gone with the wind.

He was not such a close friend of mine, but a classmate whom I know, I would have turn to for any sort of help, support, fun…

With tears all his friends, faculty, and all the people who knew him, bid farewell to him. Another trend that was of relevance in all this moment of sadness was, the way people use social media for expressing their sorrow. It again bought tears into my eyes when I saw on my profile, people posting his pictures with them, putting up statuses for him! Thank fully a friend of his, deactivated his social media account, otherwise in the attempt to mark their grief, the tagging culture would have begun!

I did not want to publicize the fact that I miss him, on any such social media. I did not post any picture of him or any emotional status for him… It was just my feelings for life and the void that he has left, compelled me to write about him, on my blog.

Maybe it’s true that god needs good people around him, he took away the happy soul around me! I pray for his soul and wherever he is, he stays happy.

It was his sudden demise that I realized how short life is to be angry, sad, disappointed, depressed! What his always smiling face and attitude taught me is, do not be angry for soo long at people, spread happiness, be cheerful, let people remember you for positive things, forget sorrows, forgive people, help others, say sorry, appreciate people, love your life for what it is;  for life is a small journey!

“Death ends a life, not a relationship.” Says, Mitch Albom, in his book Tuesdays With Morrie. He is probably correct.

Dear, now who will call me “heroine”; get up, roll his hand on his stomach and say, “Bhuuk lagiii”; tell me his drunk stories; ask me about the new hottie in college; curse the stupid projects; ask me to take a chill pill; flirt around just like that; tell me that I need to date; make funny faces; teach me slangs; make fictitious plans…?? I will miss you!

I still wait for you, my tall man, to walk into the class with your persona and spread smiles! I am falling short of words to express what your loss means!

HE WAS…

But HE IS alive in the memories!

Why me?

A very warm greetings to the people living in the 21st century, located in India’s capital city, Delhi!

A city which has the VIPs, VVIPs and god knows how many Vs…???

A city of power, where so much security is provided to the “important” that the commons are forgotten!

A city where maybe thousands are employed to provide protection, but still a girl cannot go out of her house without fear!

Time: 6:00 pm
Location: Road just behind my house

My mom was cooking some delicacy and found some ingredients missing, she asked me to bring it from the nearby grocery store. Following her instructions, of course it’s just the evening time and I do not have to travel far, so it seems really simple.

I went out, just on the way back home, mind it it’s a busy road, just behind my house; I have walked that path zillion times!

Two guys on a motorcycle crossed me and threw something on my back, surprised, and a little shocked I looked up and abused them about driving in a proper way! Then my eyes fell on the thing that they threw on me, this bought me more into a state of embarrassment mixed with anger.

It was a packet of condoms!

That very moment I wanted to hold those rascals’ collar and give them a tight slap each, but the only problem- they were gone!

Since people can point out about me being dressed inappropriately, so to clear the doubt, I was wearing a plain kurta and salwar, covering me properly!

This is a very common culture in the life of a girl, incidents of eve teasing happen just every day, in places expected like buses, metro, road and even in the places unexpected!

Some report these and as a result they have to face a bigger amount of trouble in going in and out of the police stations at odd times!

A friend once reported a drunken guy passing lewd comments to her, to the police, our so-called “Women helpline”, to our surprise the attitude of the officers was somewhat like this while registering the complaint- “Madam ko cheed diya hai, gussa ho gai!” (Madam has been teased and she is angry).

Standing there in the police station with my friend, I sensed that an eve-teasing matter holds no relevance to them!
Since we had enough proof, so the police traced the vehicle, for which I appreciate their efforts. But then another issue in hand was the identity disclosure, when a guy can tease a girl in broad day light, he can also create troubles for her if he comes to know her whereabouts. Of course, the big chunks of male ego, “How could a girl complain about me?”

The only way to avoid the identity disclosure was to ask the accused for an apology, in written and we had to except it otherwise the case will go to court and which clearly means inviting trouble!

The only question in my mind while writing this is, why can’t I roam around freely wherever I want, at any time of the day?

What is my crime, that I have to go through such kind of harassment? A man can never understand that feeling of being touched forcefully without your consent, of hearing a lewd comment about yourself, that helplessness when someone is stalking you, that anger when you want to protest but you do not to avoid a bad scene!

Is it my fault being a girl?

Most girls do not even mention these incidents to their family because that will create a stress in the members. (Girls are already a burden in India!)

Why can’t our society grow up and in each case not put the blame of protection of the girl on the girl itself? We can teach our sons to respect women, to behave properly with girls.

Maybe then a girl in can go out of her house with this comfort that she will be safe till the time she is back in her house. Maybe then our society will be just, and safe for all!

Need for communication for communicable diseases

Present situation about various communicable diseases

India needs to work a lot on its health sector. For example in case of HIV/ AIDS, as per HIV estimates 2008-09, there are an estimated 23.9 lakh people living with HIV/AIDS in India with an adult prevalence of 0.31 percent in 2009.

Acc to International Health Regulation, the past few decades have seen the re-emergence of cholera and plague in India.

In 2009 there were reported 0.10 malaria deaths, per 1, 00,000 populations.

This shows the condition of health of Indian people. There are other diseases also which are to be dealt with also. India is going through a period of transition, both epidemiological and demographic transition. Infectious diseases are still persisting as major health problems in spite of having national programmes for the control of most of these diseases for almost half a century now. There are re-emerging infectious diseases which are adding to the burden of diseases. In addition, there is an increasing prevalence of non- communicable diseases as a result of lifestyle changes and urbanization.

Sir Douglas Black said, “Main determinants of health and disease lie outside the realm of direct medical competency”.

Scenario at the time of independence

Before independence, medical and health services in the country were basically managed by the British officers. After independence, in 1947, the entire responsibility fell on the shoulder of Indian medical and health personnel. During British rule, curative and preventive services ran separately. Due to resource and personnel constraints, preventive services were at disadvantage. With the growing influence of specializations in clinical subjects, manpower development for preventive medicine was hampered.

Communication policies in 21st century

Even after 65 years of independence and various acts, laws, policies and regulations, other country still faces the problem of improper health care facilities. Though considerable achievements have been made, the goal of “Health for All by the Year 2000” has yet to be met even though we have crossed the year 2003. Lack of basic health services for the majority of the population, environmental degradation, a total collapse of the health care machinery during any epidemic crisis, and a population, which has already crossed the one billion mark, are all challenges the country is facing after 64 years of planned development. The last two decades have witnessed a gradual but sure decay in the health services of the country. Diseases claimed to be under control like malaria, poliomyelitis, dengue fever and kala azar are resurfacing with renewed vengeance. Gross disparity in health status and availability of health care services exist all over the country.

An acceptable level of health for all people of the world by the year 2000 can be attained through a fuller and better use of the world’s resources, a considerable part of which is now spent on armaments and military conflicts. A genuine policy of independence, peace, détente and disarmament could and should release additional resources that could be devoted to peaceful aims and in particular to the acceleration of social and economic development of which primary health care, as an essential part, should be allotted its proper share.

Important policy about health

The National Health Policy 2002 was formulated with the following objectives to be achieved by the year 2015:

NHP-1983, in a spirit of optimistic empathy for the health needs of the people, particularly the poor and under-privileged, had hoped to provide ‘Health for All by the year 2000 AD’, through the universal provision of comprehensive primary health care services. In retrospect, it is observed that the financial resources and public health administrative capacity which it was possible to marshal, was far short of that necessary to achieve such an ambitious and holistic goal. Against this backdrop, it is felt that it would be appropriate to pitch NHP-2002 at a level consistent with our realistic expectations about financial resources, and about the likely increase in Public Health administrative capacity. The recommendations of NHP-2002 will, therefore, attempt to maximize the broad-based availability of health services to the citizenry of the country on the basis of realistic considerations of capacity. The changed circumstances relating to the health sector of the country since 1983 have generated a situation in which it is now necessary to review the field, and to formulate a new policy framework as the National Health Policy-2002. NHP- 2002 will attempt to set out a new policy framework for the accelerated achievement of Public health goals in the socio-economic circumstances currently prevailing in the country.

It is evident that in spite of the declining mortality and changing morbidity pattern, India still has the “unfinished agenda” of combating the traditional infectious diseases that continue to contribute to a heavy disease burden and take a sizeable toll. Along with these, the country has to deal with the “emerging agenda” which includes chronic and newer diseases induced by the changing age structure, changing lifestyles and environmental pollution. We need to prepare ourselves to face the challenges of widening disparities between sections of the population in terms of access to good health.

The ironical part

The most tragic development is that, such a huge public service broadcasting infrastructure right now is almost redundant and non- functional. “The ministries of the central and state governments engaged in nation building and development tasks seem to create neither any communication apparatus within their own ministries nor do they make demands on the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) for information and communication support adequate to the needs of policy formulation or implementation. The MIB is far from playing the role of a true communicating link within the government and between the government and the people in nation-building activities”.

Why should we communicate?

The oxford dictionary defines communication as, the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium. Communication is a very important aspect of the human life, since it is the communication that helps human beings to connect with each other as individuals and as independent groups. Communication is the very basis, which drives the process of development in all the fields. It is owing to the process of communication that we are able to send and receive information. Various mass media are an important communication tool for information dissemination.

Effective communication is a prerequisite for implementing organizational strategies as well as for managing day to day activities through people. “Identification is one of the key ingredients of effective communication. In fact, unless your listeners can identify with what you are saying and with the way you are saying it, they are not likely to receive and understand your message.” The quote above is the underlying factor that explains the importance of communication skills.

Communication is easily overlooked, but the ability to communicate effectively is necessary to carry out the thoughts and visions of an organization to the people. The importance of speech and words whether through a paper or a voice is a communication medium to convey directions and provide synchronization. Without communication, there is no way to express thoughts, ideas and feelings.

Importance of communication

The importance of the role of communication for national development was underscored in India even prior to her independence. The Indian National Congress while formulating policies for National Development for Independent India set up a Sub-committee on Communication under the National Planning Committee to offer recommendations for development of communication for independent India. After independence of the country in 1947, the new Indian government announced a development-oriented agenda of governance dedicated to the amelioration of the economic, educational, and health conditions of the people. With the target of Development Communication, the new government adopted the recommendations of the erstwhile National Planning Committee as the mainstay of its communication policies. “The issue of using modern communication acquired high priority as a developmental resource during the Nehru era when the planners explored the prospects of using radio as a development agent, that is, for information and enlightening the people in the countryside and towns on developmental issue”

On a speech delivered on “freedom of information” on March 5, 1962 Pt J L Nehru said “The mass media which are very useful have an element of danger in them in that they may be distorted for private aim. The rich group (inside) or the rich nation (outside) can flood the country and the world through the mass media with its own view of things which may or may not be correct view.” These words had turned out to be ominously true in the present world.

What needs to be done?

The need of the hour is to provide quality health care at all levels by using methods which are feasible, affordable, acceptable and accessible to all. All national programmes need full-hearted support of the community so as to ensure sustainability and success. There is a need for qualified persons with good governing skills at every level, and all activities should be based according to the needs of the community at large.

Most the issues mentioned above can be resolved to a great extend with proper communication system by the main operating body, i.e., government. Advertisements and various other ways used by the government to improve the conditions. But it is also the case that the communication is done with proper care.

This work like other work of the government is not upto the standards where some changes can be expected. The communication done by the government is not so effective. There have been approx 580 reported cases of influenza from May 2011 to August 2011. This shows what the aim that is to be achieved is far ahead. Here arises the need of a proper communication system with the help of which the common people can be made aware of. This communication has to be such effective that it is easily understandable by all. But the reality paints the actual picture. Various practices like corruption, carelessness, red-tapeisum etc among the highest body does not lead to an effective communication practices in the country.

Government communication is nothing but waste of people’s money and mere forced communications. This research will focus on the effectiveness of the communication done by the government.

Away from home…

My home has always been the place for me where I find myself again and again. It defines me, it determines how I am! A house becomes a home when you have your loved ones in it, they contribute towards a place called home.
There have been people around me who have been living away from their respective homes. I have been observing them for a while now.
I can get their emotions, their love, their longing, their subtle ways of staying connected. They have their reasons of not staying close to home, majorly study and job.
This is a small attempt to express how they might be feeling.

इस शेहर की हर गली, हर कोने में ढूँढती है निगाहे,
कही घर सा मंजर दिख जाए किसी बहाने|

आकर यहाँ थम गए है
काम में भी रम गए है
पाव भी कुछ जम गए है,
कामयाबी का नशा भी चढ़ रहा है
दूरियों का दर्द भी बढ़ रहा है,
नींद में भी याद आजाते है अक्सर,
माँ की गोद के सिरहाने

वो गालीया, वो चोबारे,
माँ की गोद के सिरहाने|

India v/s Bharat

“India is a great country. I am proud to be an Indian.”

These lines may convey strong patriotic feelings but ever thought why “Bharat” is not a great country and why we are not proud to be a “Bhartiya”?

Maybe the quest to do it in ‘western style’ had taken a big leap when our constitution was framed. The first sentence of our constitution says- “India that is Bharat”’ which clearly gives importance to the word India (given by the Britishers) rather that the word Bharat (this one is purely original).

Many people also have this misconception that our country did not have any particular name before the invaders arrived here. It is believed that the origin of the word Bharat dates back from the Vedic period, it is derived from the King Bharata from the Puru clan (the same from which originated the Pandavas). A proof of this can be seen in the sacred texts of the Vishnu Puran, Verse (2.3.1)-

“Uttaram yatsamudrasya himadresdrav dakshinam
Varsam tad bharatm nam bharti ytra santith”

This means- The country that lies north of the ocean and south of snowy mountains is called BHARATAM, there dwell the descendants of Bharata.

“Parathe swetha varaha kalpe vaivastha manvanthare
Ashta vimshathi tame kaliyuge
Prathane pathe jumbudwip Bhartha varshe
Bharatha khande meroho…”

This chant expands the meaning of Bharat as a subcontinent which comprises of today’s India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and some parts of Afghanistan, the name suggests the diversity in cultures, languages, styles but yet one entity.

The justification of not using the word Bharat is given on the basis of its current geographical location, stressing upon the fact that Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal and Bangladesh are no more a part of India.

The origins of the word India is from Greek via Latin, literally meaning- region beyond the river Indus. Which is the last time I checked is currently Pakistan!

When the geographical correctness of the word India can be neglected, then why same can’t be done for the word Bharat? Even after knowing that the meaning of Bharat still describes our country’s diversity in culture. Or are we sticking to India just because it was given by Britishers?

I think it’s time we realize our individuality and dismiss the concept- “west is best”!