Saturday, 15 August 2015

With Great Power comes Great Responsibility: India & the UNSC

It’s been 69 years since India became an Independent nation. The leaders that formed the government then thought that the time was right for India to govern itself. The government today believes that India is ready to be part of a committee that aims to keep the world secure, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). To this end, they have been looking for support from every quarter with the constant spate of foreign visits Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already made to several nations since his government came to power in 2014.

They feel the time is right for India to take its rightful place, seeing as it considers itself a leader in Asia. It is looked upon by various South Asian nations as a big brother, an insurance policy of some kind, against the threat that an aggressive China poses in the region.

For & Against India’s seat

But India has apparently failed in impressing contemporary world leaders who have opposed India’s most recent bid to restructure the UNSC like its reluctant friend US President Barrack Obama and its long-time ally Russian President Vladimir Putin. The third nation, China, in spite making tall claims of friendship during President Xi Jinping’s diplomatic visit, is still a regional rival along with another claimant to a permanent seat, Japan. However, the other two permanent members, France, under President Francois Hollande and the United Kingdom, under Prime Minister David Cameron, support India’s bid.

Other Contenders

Along with India, the other G-4 nations, comprising of Germany, Japan, and Brazil have all longed for a permanent seat in the UNSC. Germany, because of its GDP, which is the fourth largest in the world, Japan, because of its regional (albeit muted) power status in Asia, and Brazil, by virtue of being the only regional power in South America.


Although India is slated to be the most populous country in the world by 2022, although its economy is great as an emerging market, although it has a stable democratic structure and although it is a responsible nuclear state, India hasn’t exactly been doing what one would expect members of a ‘security council’ to do.

  • India hasn’t sent help to the coalition fighting terrorist groups outside its borders
  • India is not involved in helping bring back a democratic government in Yemen
  • India didn’t until very recently stand up for or attempt to mediate the conflict brewing in the South China Sea.
  • India hasn’t spoken up on human rights issues in the Israel-Palestine conflict.
  • India stood passively by in the Iran nuclear deal.
  • India hasn’t done anything for the Rohingya refugees from Myanmar.

When you take a look at all these conflicts that India has deliberately avoided, stayed out of, skirted or just verbally condemned, it is hard to imagine that this country is a regional power which will do anything at all, even if it does get a permanent seat at the UNSC.

Favourable Statistic

However, there is one thing that certainly goes in India’s favour and that is the number of personnel it has sent to the United Nations Peacekeeping Force. India has sent 8,112 people and is third in terms of this contribution, Bangladesh and Pakistan holding the first and second positions respectively. The permanent members come nowhere close to matching these numbers.

Unfortunate Reality

However, merely these numbers cannot hide the fact that India has in fact chosen neutrality and made the decision to stay aloof from world conflicts even in this age of co-operation. Although India now contests that it just needs a two-third majority in the UN General Assembly to get a seat, the problem is that India might fall short on its claim to be able to handle that much power without taking on responsibility.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Owning up to the Real Issues at Hand

We see and are a part of a number of things that are wrong in society in daily life. We want to make them better, we want to be better as a civilization and we strive towards that very common goal with the rest of humanity.

But we sometimes lose sight of the bigger picture either by quickly finding someone to blame or getting caught up in unnecessary nuances that hide the real issue, which is then left to stagnate and dealt with at a later date.

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These are the issues that really need to be dealt with, the crux of the matter, the questions we should really be asking. Divided by categories, here are the real issues and their tangents we have been obsessing over.


Radhe Maa in a skirt or Radhe Maa abetting suicide

The self-styled ‘Godwoman’ known as Radha Maacame into the news recently for her apparently racy photos in which she is wearing a short skirt or a dress. Although the real issue of her involvement in the death of a woman in a dowry case came to light, everyone was obsessed more about her short skirt than her abetment of suicide. That says more than one thing about the Indian mindset.


Japan’s new defence bill or Chinese aggression in South Asia

Everyone, from pacifists, to students, to academicians, to the common people are opposing a bill cleared by the lower house of Japanese parliament that will allow their military to help their allies fight threats. This means, Japanese forces will once again be able to deploy beyond their shores. What is not being taken into consideration however, is the Chinese aggression in the South China Sea that is taking a turn for the worse and Japanese self-defence may be reliant on reciprocation of the same to its allies.

Social Issue

Politics or Human Rights in the Israel-Palestine conflict

Political deadlock between Israel and Palestine seems to have become a permanent feature for that part of the world. With uncompromising parties on both sides giving no room for a peaceful reconciliation, the conflict seems in no hurry to end. However, human rights abuses, both by militant groups as well as police forces seem to be sidelined in favour of sovereign territorial disputes, settlements and violence on the streets.

Culture & Heritage

Protecting Monuments or Stopping Conflict

Cultural heritage all over the world is in constant danger of being enveloped into the conflicts that result in their unnecessary destruction or the threat thereof. The destruction f the Bamiyan Buddhas (Afghanistan), the looting of Iraqi national museum (Iraq), the allegations of the Taj Mahal being a temple (India) and the threat to Palmyra’s ruins (Syria) is very real and disheartening. Religious intolerance and conflict will continue to exist till there is a shift in mindset or in vested interests, but heritage will not come back once it is destroyed.


The Porn Ban or the need for Sex Education

Amidst the uproar on whether the Indian government has any right to tell its citizens what to watch on the internet due to them banning over 800 porn sites, the real point of sex education and its despondent state in Indian education has been lost. The government has cited immorality as its feeble excuse to try to get away with its regressive policy but all everyone can be bothered with is the right to watch porn. What about the real bad effects it has on children? The answer is lost in the echoes of morality, decency and the freedom of the internet.


Fanaticism or Blame Game

Religious fanaticism exists in almost every religion and even examples seem unnecessary in this case. How much ever one tries to deny it, everyone knows that fringe elements exist in every religion, the people who are either too naïve to figure out that they are pawns in a bigger game and those who do so for their own vested interests. But popular concentration seems to be on placing the blame not on these elements alone but on a broader spectrum of people, most of whom abhor these elements and wish to see them wiped out as much as any sensible human being.

Time for a reality Check, maybe?

Hence, to say then that we aren’t actually facing up to the real threat wouldn’t be much of an overstatement. Time to see things in a broader perspective, don’t you think?

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Porn Ban: An Alternate Solution

The recent impromptu porn ban initiated by the Union government of India who has advised ISPs to block more than 180 websites displaying explicit content has resulted in a subtle yet massive backlash by the Indian populace, the majority of which comprises of people under the age of 35.

Facebook, Twitter and the Blogosphere is awash with sarcasm, incredulity and outrage against the feeble excuse of those in power attempting to steer the nation away from things ‘immoral in nature’ and not befitting their standards of culture. Others in this list include homosexuality, beef and even language used in cinema. But there is also support from those who believe pornography to be the reason why rapes, sexual harassment and molestation plague this nation.

What is the truth?

Damned if anyone knows!

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The Case FOR Porn

While some call it a good measure, others believe that this ban will eventually lead to more frustration among people and will result in even more incidences that the government apparently wants to see a reduction in. Just like those who believe that legalizing prostitution will help bring down illegal trade, human trafficking and recognition for those who actually want to be in that profession, they also believe that porn at least lessens the chance of sexual frustration than what it could be in its absence.

The Case AGAINST Porn

There are adverse effects of porn too like heightened expectations from the real act of sex, the desire to try unrealistic things, act out dangerous scenes that border on line between the legal and illegal, and children getting sexual education from there in lieu of schools and colleges.

Is there Another Way?

Are these reasons enough to ban porn entirely or can other measures be taken to counter their side effects without trampling all over the freedom of the internet as is done in regressive nations like China and North Korea?

The Possible Solution

One possible remedy that comes to mind is to introduce actual sex education in Indian schools to tutor teenagers and adults alike in the ways of sex ,safe and unsafe, legal and illegal, realistic and unrealistic, what to expect and what not to, and how to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.

Sex Education can go a long way in preventing the misuse of porn and instead can better the knowledge of what sex is, what it does and how to safely engage in it. Do you have a better way?

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Don’t Spit in your Boss’ Coffee Maybe?

Internships are prerequisites for jobs in India today. Whether you attribute this trend to increase in competitiveness or blame it on overpopulation, internships have entrenched themselves as precursors to jobs in every field today.

Medicine, law, journalism, IT and in fact every private sector job opening requires the completion of one or more internships before the offer of a job comes your way.

I know this because I interned at two national newspapers, two magazines, a regional television news channel, a web news channel and a Public Relations agency before landing my first job. That’s seven internships in five years of my under-graduate and post-graduate studies.

Of the seven internships listed above, I had a disappointing experience at only one. And this too was only because my potential wasn’t fully realized due to mismanagement and faulty delegation of authority. This account may sound one sided but it is diluted by the fact that I received recommendations by every other place I went to. You see, that’s why I actually have a job as a journalist today.

Bad experiences are part of internships but one has to learn not to overreact to them in the spectacular way that this person has, whose note to his/her boss speaks of unmitigated hatred and revenge for unrealized potential.

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Read about why you shouldn’t overreact to your Boss and just suck it up or quit the internship instead of making a mistake that jeopardizes your career in the field. The entire opinion piece is here on the Youth Connect magazine: [He reacted to his bad internship in the worst way possible. Here is why it is better to suck it up]