” Minimum Support Price for Vegetables and Fruits in Kerala – A Boon to Farmers ” – October 29, 2020.

Kerala State Government has shown – as an example of initiation of a beneficial implementation, a scheme for farmers – a scheme of implementation for the first time in India. It is the scheme providing for ‘minimum support price’ for the farmers’ produce, that is, vegetables and fruits.

Central Government has earlier fixed minimum support price for 7 cereals (including rice, wheat, maize, ‘ragi’ .. ) ; for 5 dal varieties ; for 8 edible oils ; plus for Copra and Sugarcane – making a total of 22 items. However, in Tamil Nadu, – farmers get more for their paddy (rice) produce – as a means to encourage farmers to cultivate more. It also emphasizes farmers to show equal interest in plantation/cultivation of other Agriculture products in rotation cycles.

Onion, usually cultivated in 55 thousand acres earlier by the Horticulture Department has now been increased to 1.5 lakh acres in an attempt to motivate the farmers and reduce price of onions. In a similar move, vegetables and fruits production has been increased from 5 lakh acres to 9 lakh acres now. Tamilnadu sends vegetables to Kerala and Bangalore too. Potatoes constitute the item that it receives from other States. Farmers in Tamilnadu are now eager to cultivate vegetables and the scope for raising the acreages of cultivable land also is high. Factors like rotting and putrefaction ; inability to store vegetables for a long period by the farmers ; and a compelling need to accept prices quoted by the buyers in the market – induce fear in the minds of farmers to increase cultivation of vegetables and fruits.

Kerala State Government has set a novel tradition in this respect. Kerala State Government has fixed a “Minimum Support price ” for vegetables and fruits produced by the farmers, a scheme aimed at benefiting the Farming Community at large. It will come into effect from November 1, 2020, the Kerala Day. Farmers with lands of cultivation less than 15 acres are being granted cultivation expenses plus a 20% increase in the price of procurement of these items. The 16 items are as follows : ” Garlic, Pineapple, Potato, Lady’s Finger (Okra), Cucumber, Beans, Nendran banana, Tomatoes, Carrot, Snakegourd, Bittergourd, Cabbage, Beetroot, Cassava, Green peas, and Pumpkin “.

Farmers can sell their produce if external (outside) market prices are higher according to their will. If they are lower, farmers can sell their produce in 300 Sales Stations under the Agriculture Department OR the 250 Sales Terminals under the Agricultural Associations. Local governments/organizations will also actively associate and participate in procurement and selling. Farmers’ benefits and welfare constitute the chief aim.

Although the Scheme comes in to effect from November 1, 2020, procurement of bananas has already begun. In Wayanad, the procurement price of banana is now set at ₹ 24 per kg. When the market prices as at present have seen a decline to ₹ 17, it spells farmers’ advantage.

Emulation of this landmark Scheme can benefit the farmers of other States in terms of procurement and selling by Agriculture Department ; Horticulture Department ; and Cooperative Organizations. It will benefit the farmers greatly ; also, it will help motivate farmers to initiate cultivation of vegetables and fruits in rotation cycles, and in “tharisu” lands ( non-yielding, uncultivated barren lands ).

Kerala State which set a ‘model’ for COVID-19 containment earlier this year, is on the verge of setting another model in cultivation of vegetables and fruits now.

This sums up the farmers’ opinion, sentiment, and intention now.

” Dieu avec nous “

Thursday, October 29, 2020 – 10.59 a.m (IST)

Tidbit : ” If there is no apple, eat a little carrot “.

Standard

” The Magnificence of Saraswati Puja ” – October 25, 2020.

Performance of special Puja for the Goddess of Knowledge and Wisdom is the day of ‘Saraswati Puja/Ayudha Puja’. On this day we clean the house, equipments, tools, machines and other vehicles used in our daily life and decorate them with flowers and balloons in order to make them look more attractive.

Goddess Saraswati is like a pure diamond. With kind heart and face reflecting peaceful eyes adding beauty to her is an art in itself. She is the Goddess of Knowledge and the art of learning. Brahma’s Shakthi. On the sixth or the seventh day of Navratri when the star “Moolam” reaches its peak (high point), Saraswati is placed as an object of special devotion and worship. It signifies the day of Devi’s incarnation. Saraswati Puja ends when the star “Tiruvonam” raises to its peak. The day is celebrated as “Vijaya Dasami”

Human work is generally classified into two categories : Scholarship and Profession. Accordingly we try to strengthen our talents and wisdom in Scholarship and Profession. Worship of talents and wisdom constitute worship of Saraswati. We celebrate by placing our books and notebooks in front of Saraswati so that she can place her mark on them.

Working professionals; , and large Enterpreneurs; small, medium, and large businesses celebrate this as Ayudha Puja with intense faith and devotion. ” Work is God” is the principle here. Ayudha Puja/Saraswati Puja brings to the fore and prominence these fundamental principles.

In Koothanur, Tiruvannamalai District, Tamil Nadu, there is a special temple for Goddess Saraswati – “Arulmigu Saraswati Temple”. Significantly in this temple, on the day of Saraswati Puja, the Goddess is decorated with her divine feet extending upto the exterior of the hall. Devotees worship the Goddess pouring flowers and Kumkum on the holy feet of the goddess. This unique and rare observance of worship exists even today.

Navratri is a festival when we worship the nine special powers embedded within the three great “Shakthi/energies” of the Goddess. Holding one power as the main focus and eight others as supporting it, individuals engage in prayers.

On the day of Saraswati Puja we should read early in the morning, specially, between 4.30 a.m. and 6 a.m. ; later books and notebooks are kept for Puja in front of Goddess Saraswati ; again on the day of. “Vijaya Dasami” after ending the Saraswati Puja take the books and read sincerely. The general belief is that : ” beginning studies or work on the day of Vijaya Dasami will help reap success in life “.

The practice in the ‘Ezhuththari Nathar Shiva Temple’ in Innambur, Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu, of writing “Om” with paddy over children’s tongues is a sacred act for success.

Dasara in Mysore is famous for its Elephant Procession on the Vijaya Dasami day. For this, about 50 elephants from various parts of Karnataka arrive in Mysore, about a month or two earlier. They are trained for two months to take part in the procession. Significant is the selection of the elephant that will be identified to carry the idol of the deity, Chamundeshwari. Veterinary specialist doctors will examine the elephants for their fitness. Temple Administration will take a decision on the elephant that will carry the idol. A Golden Howdah will be made in which will be housed the idol. That will be the lead elephant in the procession. Karnataka State Government allocates about ₹ 5 crore or more for this event. Festival expenses cover ₹ 1 crore or so, with the remaining used for repair and renewal of the city roads.

Just as we immerse the Vinayaka idols in rivers/lakes on the day of Vinayaka Chaturthi, idols of Durga Devi are also immersed in lakes and rivers. Vijaya Dasami is also the pride of West Bengal. At the end of Navratri and on the day of Vijaya Dasami, water will be filled in a large vessel with a mirror placed over it. Durga idol will then be placed in front of the mirror. Visualisation of the image will be enabled by the mirror. The general belief holds that the full power of Durga gets transferred to the mirror during the process. After chanting mantras, slokas, and songs in praise of Durga, the idol will be placed in a quadrangular wheelless vehicle, the palanquin, and proceed to the river or lake for immersion. Tears of joy rolling down the faces of people at that time represent the story of their celebration bearing testimony to their devotion. The practice of looking at the mirror first while getting up every morning in the belief that Durga exists in the mirror is designated, ” Mirror Visarjan”.

Saraswati can be decorated in 8 different forms. The eight sacred names of the Goddess Saraswati are : Kata Saraswati, Kini Saraswati, Anthariksha Saraswati, Chitreswari, Vageswari, Keerthi Saraswati, Kalaivani, and Thulaja.

Legume-lentil preparations spiced and tempered with Coconut is the popular dish during Navrathri. Saint Dakshinamurthy’s favorite item and that which used to get distributed to his students in Gurukul era is the same. He is a champion of Arts. Saraswati is also the Champion of Arts. It is believed that faults, defects, and sins due to unfavorable planetary positions are cured by this. Promoting health is its chief benefit.

In northern and western states of India, “Ram Lila” is synonymous with Durga Puja marking the killing of Ravana in the hands of Lord Rama.

We worship first three days of Navratri celebrating the victory of good over evil. The demon, Mahishasura, with buffalo’s head and human body was killed by Her.

Buffalo denotes lazyness, darkness, ignorance, and fatigueness. Killing of the demon and our worship represents the destroyal of these characteristics from us.

The three Devi’s are supposed to be living in our palms. Goddess Lakshmi adorns the finger tip ; She brings wealth. Goddess Saraswati adorns the central part of our palm; She brings knowledge. And Goddess Parvathi adorns the base of the palm; She brings Valor.

True to the sayings of our forefathers, looking at our palms as we get up early in the morning brings wealth, knowledge, and valor.

In Sivalaperi, near Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, the Durgambika Temple is unique in that it is the only place where Durga will present herself with flowers in hands in peace – without any arsenals. Also, it is the only place featuring Durga and Vishnu as brother and sister. This is a famous temple in this respect for Goddess Durga where she is worshipped as ” Maha Lakshmi” in Santha Swarup pose.

It seems like a fact that we tend to remember Goddess Saraswati only on this day. It is urgent and imperative that familes should celebrate “Saraswati Puja” everyday to enhance learning by prayers and health by consuming the legume-lentil preparations.

” Dieu avec nous “

Sunday, October 25, 2020 – 12.53 p.m. (IST)

Tidbit : ” May you rise each texting day with fully charged smartphone in your hand, inspiring message in your mind, and a clear signal call day long “.

Standard

” Navrathri Golu (Festival of Dolls) With Management Perspective ” – October 17, 2020.

Twelve months of our Calendar are all regarded as famous when families and communities get along famously. Still, the month of ‘Purattasi/Aippasi’ assumes more than the usual significance for the famous “Golu” celebration.

The word “Golu” has its origins in Telugu. Sitting proudly in conversations is also its meaning : ” Striving oneself hard to raise one’s goal to attain God’s blessings ” is the philosophy and conceptualization of Golu.

Selecting a suitable room/place in the house ; making it spotlessly clean ; erecting 5, 7, or 9 steps with wooden or metal frames ; covering the steps with clean and elegant clothes matching one’s sense of style ; placing the dolls, toys, and puppets on the steps – all constitute the preparations. Usually the preparations begin a few days early with enthusiasm and exchange of views in families as to how one can proceed.

Keep the ‘kalasam’ – an inverted pot with pointed head facing the sky in the center. Filled with raw rice ; five mango leaves spread in a circle ; a coconut coated with turmeric and saffron – the ‘kalasam’ represents the reincarnation of Devi. This also marks the beginning of “Navrathri” or ” Golu”. In one corner of the room or beside the steps, the floor in a square or round format is made to hold the sand mixed with clay for growing the “Navadhanya” (nine grains also representing the nine planets to which staple food is offered). If they sprout well during the following days it would signify the prosperity and growth of the family – is the belief here.

Now, to my management perspective of how to keep the dolls in the steps in a traditional Nine Step Golu setting :

First Step : Place dolls in the category of herbs, shrubs, plants and creepers. At least one in the centre. Significance : They represent our concern for protection of nature and our desire to live with nature.

Second Step : Place dolls made of Conch-shells. Keep at least one of ‘snail’ in the centre. Significance : Like the snail, guide your life in a slow and steady manner and rise to the top.

Third Step : Place dolls of ants or termite pits without a miss. At least one at the centre. Significance : Ability of termite pits to be rebuilt again and again even when broken ; and ability of ants to unite themselves again and again after being dispersed – reminding us to be agile and diligent acting with a focused mind.

Fourth Step : Place at least one crab or beetle doll at the centre. Significance : Crabs and beetles bear the capacity to view things deeply, just as we need to think with deep understanding of issues and behave with deep sense of respect for others.

Fifth Step : Place at least one doll of an animal and a bird at the cntre. Significance : Shun animal thoughts and learn to live with unity like the birds as the goal.

Sixth Step : Place at least one human doll at the centre. Significance : Avoid the characters of deadly animals and embrace those of the good ones and insects ( dolls featuring the steps below ) and live with a display of caring and humane treatment to everyone.

Seventh Step : Place at least one doll of a great Scholar/great Saint at the centre. Significance : Every human being should focus his/her aim at accomplishing an identity, spiritual or scholarly, as the one represented by the doll in the centre.

Eigth Step : Place dolls of Gods, Teachers of Shiva (Nayanmars), and Alwars (devoted to Vishnu) here. Significance : Striving to grow from spiritual status to swerga status at ripened age.

Ninth Step : Place dolls of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva along with their Devis. Significance : From the status of ‘deva’ to immerse oneself with the Deity. At the centre of this step keep the doll of “Adi Parashakthi” signifying eventual surrender to the God permanently.

On the day of Vijayadasami, the tradition of Deepa Aradhana (lighting of lamp) ; pujas, and chanting of slokas/mantras are observed marking the completion of the festival. Also observed is the practice of placing some dolls in a resting position.

Keeping the dolls for enjoyment is not the only purpose of this Navratri Celebrations. Children, students, and youth should be able to learn, understand, and put to practice the philosophy and open secret of this 9 days long festival.

The dolls are any family’s treasure. It is only during the period of Navratri that one can take part in special worships in temples. This is also the most propitious time when one can earn academic , spiritual, generous, and humane qualities from the Lord Almighty.

Happy Bombe Habba, Bommala Koluvu, and Bommai Golu.

” Dieu avec nous “

Satuday, October 17, 2020 – 11.23 a.m. (IST)

Tidbit : ” God has a plan for your life ; Enemy has also a plan for your life ; Be ready for both ; and know which one to battle and which one to embrace “.

Standard

” World Food Day , 2020 – Need For A Hunger Free World ” – October 16, 2020.

Today, October 16, is World Food Day. The theme for this year, 2020, is ” Grow, Nourish, sustain. Together. Our actions are our future “.

This year we need to hail our Food Heroes – who help plant, harvest, fish, or transport our Food – more than ever before. Because COVID-19 is intricately interwoven with Food and Agriculture.

World Food Day (programs) has three partners with important roles to play as depicted in the Figure below :

They are : (a) Consumers, (b) Government, and (c) Private businesses.

Consumers and community responses can be influenced by change in diet patterns, and eating habits due to urbanisation, globalisation, and increase in disposable income. A strategy here : Form a farmers’ meet in the community to boost local farmers and local economy.

Government slowdown this year raises its responsibility to protect vulnerable societies, social protection policies and programs , and adoption of measures to prevent disruption of the economy. A strategy here : Take measures to reduce food waste and help store uneaten to be preserved well.

Private businesses are also seriously affected by COVID-19. A strategy here : They can contribute by sharing information, expertise, and resources to tackle the challenges to the government and people.

Quite fittingly this year, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to World Food Program (WFP), ” for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict “.

Setting its sight on needy nations, the program, since 1962 has covered 83 nations and 91 million individuals/annum.

Marching ahead proudly, the WFD claims at getting rid of Global Hunger by 2030. That people dying of hunger is more than those dying of Cancer, AIDS, and Malaria combined is a shocking revelation.

Food is the most essential requirement not just for every human being but for all living beings including animals. What is astounding is the fact that other animals and organisms do not seem to struggle much to consume some food to make their living. But there are many humans who struggle to get food for just once a day even. There are also innumerable reports that this condition drives the humans to the brink of even committing suicides.

History records that many Indians who fought valiantly for their freedom (Indian Freedom Struggle) lived in hunger after delivering their entire produce from the lands owned to the British who ruled us at that time. It is this group of direct descendents of those very same people that takes pleasure in wasting food – a fact that makes everyone feel painful today.

People living in big cities in general constitute the bulk of this group. May be, they really do not know the value of the basic food of our Culture. People in towns and villages are known for their efforts to save food. Farmers, specially, will not waste even a single grain of rice or wheat. Whatever food remains after dinner at night will be preserved in vessels with water poured over to be used the next day. It may even be used to feed their livestock. Whatever be the use, that food is not wasted is a matter of pride.

Conditions today are different totally. Fertile land has contracted largely ; production of rice/wheat has reduced significantly ; even farmers’ siblings do not want to engage in farming activities; the lure of greener pastures and better living occupies their minds and their desire to break from traditional work grows strong with new information and observation. Shortage of food availability is the RESULT.

Nutritional value of food grown/cultivated is also on the decline. Reasons are obvious. In general the food we consume should have 30 to 35 % protein. Cereals, milk, vegetables, eggs, sprouted lentils are some sources in this respect. Fat content provides energy to the body. It is also needed for hormone production and vitamin preservation. About 29% of our Food are from fat sources. Ghee, butter, olive oil, soyabean, mustard oil, and groundnut oil are some sources of fat in our Food.

Food should not be wasted (Wasting food is a Crime). Statistics reveal that one third of food cultivated are wasted every year. Statistics also reveal that during the lockdown – when specially the migrants were suffering from serious food shortage and grave hunger – about 1550 tons of food grains were wasted . About 26 tons in May ; about 1453 tons in June ; about 41 tons in July ; and about 51 tons in August. We boast of Agriculture as the backbone of our economy and about 1550 tons in food warehouses were consumed by insects and worms. Another report notes that by 2020 end people affected by food hunger will increase by 8.3 crores. America loses 150000 tons of food ; China and Europe are making sincere and concerted efforts to curtail the food wastage by 2030. The problems are twofold : Decline in production and distribution hurdles. Remedial measures are known and are being adopted. According to UN the wealth of the richest in America has increased by 19% in this abnormal period of COVID-19 stressing the greater need for the rich to contribute to save global hunger.

Out of about 20 million infants born each year with low birth weight, 96.5 % are in developing nations. About 30 lakh infants below the age of 5 die in India every year. About 4 crore are undernourished and about 1.7 crore are unhealthy. Even though world records progress in efforts to lower the undernourished, India still has not lowered its position from the top. Out of the 821 million undernourished people in the world, about 168 crore suffer from overweight and about 75 crore are obese.

Last year our people used about 31.7 crore liters of water/day. The death rate due to waterborne diseases during the same period was about 61000. About 80.69 crore people suffered from lack of potable water.

Need for production of ‘ragi’ will be on the increase in future due to production deficits in rice and wheat. Calcium deficient individuals can supplement their requirements with porridge made from millet. It is also good for people suffering from diabetes. Significant, however, is to note the fact that protein deficiency is a uniform condition in most parts of our country. Iron, protein, vitamin, and Zinc deficiencies are notably high in general now. Bone growth requires calcium.

World Food Day is followed every October 16 to raise our awakening against hunger and to increase the importance of food.

Following the founding of Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in 1945 October 16 ( to tackle global hunger and strive to eradicate hunger across the globe ) by the UN and to commemorate the observance of the same strongly, the general meeting of FAO in 1979 announced the beginning of World Food Day. The Hungarian delegation, headed by the Minister of Agriculture and Food, Paul Romany, played an active role in that session suggesting the idea of a worldwide celebration of WFD.

Government efforts to hold its responsibility to protect the list of fundamental essential food grains/products to meet and tackle hunger is on and needs acceleration. In June, onion and potatoes were, however, removed from the list. It should be remembered here that this action promotes price increases considerably affecting all consumers.

Bridging the gap between production of food grains , distribution , and consumption of food grains will only enable the world to mark its steps towards a hunger free world.

It should be our dutiful responsibility not just to celebrate this day today, but also to observe a pledge ” Not to Waste Food”.

” Dieu avec nous “

Friday, October 16, 2020 – 1.09 p.m. (IST)

Tidbit : ” Healthy Citizens are the greatest asset any country can have ” – Winston Churchill.

Standard

” Positive Actions in Negative Environment – Key to Success Amidst COVID-19 ” – October 13, 2020.

COVID-19 is a non-stop medical threat globally compelling every individual to make some adjustments in life for survival, existence, and functioning normally. Combating this challenge is not the task of any one single leader but the collective and concerted efforts of all Citizens.

Our nation at this juncture requires three key characteristics embodying the hopes of every citizen today. Figure below represents these ‘three characteristics’ clearly :

They are : (a) Sympathetic Heart ; (b) Thoughtful Brain ; and (c) Excellent Physical Capacity.

For our Society to be built with these characteristics, we again need three key Qualities embodying our children/students/youth ( age group 3 to 25 specially ).

Figure below represents these ‘three key qualities’ clearly :

They are : (a) Self Discipline ; (b) Dignity through Honesty ; and (c) Ability to meet Challenges in Life.

Imparting the above three qualities with cultivation of best practices among the constituents mentioned above rest with three elements. Figure below represents the ‘three pillars of education’ engaged in fulfilling this need.

The ‘three elements of education’ are : (a) schools/institutions ; (b) parents ; and (c) administrators.

Of the three, the role of “PARENTS” today has never been more critical and vital than anytime earlier. It is against this background that I present the following Observations for consideration.

COVID-19 is challenging the lives of every human being – from children, students, youth, middle aged, and the old – in the world. But the challenges to students/youth, both in schools and colleges, are different in many respects. It is not uncommon to see children engaging in playful actions when schools declare holidays due to incessant rains. They will enjoy these holidays unmindful of getting drenched. The same, however, cannot be said of the seven months holidays they experience amidst this COVID pandemic.

Initially, when the schools were closed during the first lockdown in March 2020, they all felt happy. But when that continued indefinitely, many were only eagerly awaiting the reopening of schools – this is the fact.

The concept of holidays for students is again different. Going out and enjoying like frequenting shops ; entertainment centres ; restaurants ; games events ; or playing with friends mark their special interests. Lockdown seriously restricted all the above and to contain their excitement and joy remaining indoors robbed them of their main interests. Their likeness for schools reopening is more on account of the ennui -always watching TV or conversing on smartphones – rather than real interest in studies.

The task of an ideal FATHER is to make his sibling(s) educated well. But the real urge and drive to get their sibling(s) educated well comes from MOTHERS only in general. Males do not much give attention to this. But, ladies in general, with their inherent love to garner praise for the sarees worn, or jewels adorned, cannot take the education of their children just ordinarily/easily. Their intent to garner praise for educating their children is also high.

Mothers watch the lessons their children learn on-line ; get some key topics and lessons downloaded ; read them thoroughly ; and try to teach their children sincerely. It doesn’t just stop with teaching learning lessons. Music, use of musical instruments, and games like chess are also taught to train their children. In effect, children may not get the free time in today’s COVID environment unlike what they were used to when the schools were open before. ” Big thanks to all mothers “. My mother did that to us, children. My sisters did that to their children.

There, however, is a distinction between children in KG, 1st, 2nd, or 3rd standards and those in higher or final years of schools. It is easy to get children in high schools to be educated and trained than those in their early years of education. Mothers usually read the high school subjects, prepare the key important points separately, and make their boys and girls understand better. But teaching a kid to write the syllables with all its intricacies of flow is an art by itself known better only to those who have experience in teaching kids in schools. It needs to be well remembered here that kids need to be taught first to hold the pencil properly, a difficult task. Only teachers can do that because they are trained to do that. Their experiences will come handy too. Others, like mothers, may neither be familiar with the nuances nor may have the patience. Some of them in their eagerness to overcome the shortcomings may even start pushing through the process with force and vigor only to invite repulsive reactions from their kids. It is important for them to realise this aspect and contain any emerging anger or unpleasantness to avoid serious misgivings.

Without worrying too much about schools not being opened, utilising the available time to get the maximum benefit is prudent. In this modern age kids, children, students are far removed from observing closeness between home and classrooms. They tend to treat home as a fast-food joint. They never do any work at home. Parents also do not subject them to any household tasks in the pride that it will be socially below status for the children. COVID-19 environment offers an excellent opportunity and time to train children in some basic home activities inculcating the thought/behaviour that home belongs to them too. The responsibility to keep the home clean, beautiful, and fairly equipped for human activities lie in children also. Cleanliness and Hygiene basics can be learned.

Finding a child unable to locate the local neighborhood market in the city, but being able to mark New York, Sydney, or London in a world map easily is the kind of anomaly that we notice in children of this day. Every individual spends the most time in school in his/her life, but the learning in schools may not necessarily of great use in practical life directly. Lessons also stay far away in their lives. Hence, the responsibility of parents to teach their children their needs in life raise several fold and the most appropriate time for that is NOW.

No school days now ; no burden of exams or testing exercises now. Parents can help children gain knowledge in Leadership ; Legacy of well renowned stalwarts ; Great nations and their governance patterns ; Travel, road regulations ; Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene standards and practices ; Economic environment and growth considerations ; etc. etc. according to their ages and interests.

Children can be taught lessons everyday ; but to think in terms of cramming a full year’s syllabus during this time is also a misleading thought. It will make children feel that school is better than home. It should not become the case of what this proverb says : ” as the cat branded itself in imitation of the stripes of a tiger “.

Engaging in comparison of students, a practice usually adopted in many families by parents, should be avoided. Remember this : ” Can you mature a fruit by beating it with a stick when it doesn’t ripen of itself ?” As children grow they should be let free to learn according to their interests. No one can be an expert in all fields. It is impossible and not needed also.

Mothers ! A rare opportunity beckons and smiles at you all, that should be seized. it is time to sow the seeds of growth in terms of a liberal display of love and affection to spend profitable time with children/students and show the responsibility appropriately.

This will only help harvest love and success in life in future.

” Dieu avec nous “

Tuesday, October 13, 2020 – 11.01 a.m. (IST)

Tidbit : ” Better to plough deep than wide “

Standard

” Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for the Discovery of Hepatitis C virus ” – October 6, 2020.

The Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine – 2020 was awarded jointly to Harvey J Alter (U.S.A.); Michael A Houghton (U.K.); and Charles M Rice (U.S.A.) ” for the Discovery of Hepatitis C Virus”.

Hepatitis has been recognised as a Global Health problem that can cause Cirrhosis of Liver and Cancer in people all over the world.

Viral infections, alcohol abuse, environmental toxins, and auto immune disease are recognised as the major causes.

It was first known in the 1940’s that there are two infectious diseases Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B. Hepatitis A is transmitted by polluted water and food but with little long-term effects on patients. Hepatitis B is transmitted through blood and body fluids and threatened with Cirrhosis and Liver Cancer. Infection may be early, even for many years, before complications in this case. More than a million die every year worldwide due to them. It is a global health concern as is the case of HIV infection or Tuberculosis.

Baruch Bloomberg in the 1960’s discovered the HIV Virus followed by diagnostic tests and an effective vaccine. He was awarded the Nobel A prize in 1976.

Figures 1, 2, and 3 below show briefly the events in a summary format – ” Hepatitis C Virus discovery by the three men for the Nobel Prize – 2020 ” :

Figure 1 below :

Figure 2 below :

Figure 3 below :

This discovery has raised the hopes and confidence of curing Hepatitis completely for the first time in our history. What is needed are genuine attempts in making blood tests easier and enhancing the availability/distribution of antiviral drugs/vaccines.

For details refer to the article : ” The Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine 2020 ” – (nobelprize.org/prizes).

” Dieu avec nous “

Wednesday, October 7, 2020 – 6.15 p.m. (IST)

Tidbit : ” If I could explain to the average person, I wouldn’t have been worth the Nobel Prize ” – Richard Feynman.

Standard

” Priceless Memory and Worthless Forgetfulness – World Teachers’ Day ” – October 5, 2020.

Albert Einstein once left his home without locking the door. Noticing this a passer-by asked him : ” Why are you leaving without locking the door ?” Einstein replied : ” The most valuable thing in this house is me. When I myself am leaving this house, why should I lock the door ?” He may well have been trying to avoid and managing the situation involving his memory failure.

Forgetfulness is common to any human being. At the same time, excellent memory is a powerful physiological attribute. The brain is the seat of our memory. It constitutes just 2% of our body, i.e. it is only about 1.5 kg in weight. It is the ‘Captainof all commands sent to the various parts of our body for all necessary actions.

Scientists speak in terms of two aspects of memory : Short term and Long term. Short term memory helps in retaining but not manipulating a small amount of information in mind in an active, readily available state for a short period of time. Remembering a phone number, house number, credit/debit card number etc are registered in our brain in terms of short term memory. Long term memory deals with the act of holding information indefinitely (for a long period).

Just as our body requires exercise to keep the muscles and systems active, brain also requires some exercise to remember and manipulate the information it receives. It is commonly observed that children and even adults remember the film songs (vernacular specially) quite easily. Reason : The words, phrases, and sentences of songs induce a special likeness for them. The task of human brain in simple terms is to preserve the information required in the brain for effective recollection when required. The brain makes circuits everytime a content is received.

Preparing for an examination and preserving the contents/answers for the examination entails a task that is more challenging. A student undergoing a three hour examination in a subject/discipline should be able to retain with ability to recollect until at least the end of the examination. To achieve this, students adopt several strategies and practices. They will be able to remember and recollect the contents of subjects they like most easily in general. This opens up two possibilities in our capacity to remember : (a) Simple practices for the things we like most ; and (b) special and elaborate practices for those that do not raise our interest but form part of what is needed for exam accomplishments.

It is more easy to get oneself trained in childhood or adolescent periods in life. School education is vital to this aspect of learning. It affords the best training in terms of ‘understanding’ thoughts/contents and reconstruction of thoughts which are needed. It is the best method of training g for a large section of our society leaving the naturally blessed and socially higher strata who can supplement in many ways their access, actions, and assimilation of contents.

But the fact remains that ‘success’ largely depends on enhancing the memory through training and practice. A caution needs to be observed however : “Not to allow any distractions to override the effects in training/practice”. It is important to remain focused if one needs to avoid forgetfulness. The stress and pressure of distractions hold a tremendous capacity to make one absent-minded easily. It was perhaps some temporary distractions that made Einstein forget to lock the door ( as noted in the beginning para of this essay).

It is also important to create an environment that hastens the process of memory. When we read an event or a story our brain tends to engage in the process of making images (mental imagery) helping us remember better. We can try to revivalise or reconstruct after we finish reading the event/story.

The trees, popular streets, prominent shops or other complexes can serve as images in remembering a route to a destination. If we forget we may try to activate our brain acuity/sharply the images in remembering the contents. Students can get key answers written on small notepads for a final glance before the examination. The practice of making images in our act of remembrances should never be stopped. This should be a continuous process in enhancing our memory.

How does this fare as a remembrance tool ? ” I owe nothing for I ate nothing ” – it translates in terms of numbers to 1004180. One can practice many such ideas.

Technical fields are different, though. They are mostly helped by practical experiments/classes that promote retention of the theoretical background firmly. This emphasises learning by ‘understanding’ and acts as a strong substitute to ‘learning by rote’. Chats, group discussions, question/answer sessions, creativity training, workshop training, seminar presentations are some tools employed in colleges to enhance mental capacity.

Eureka moments are special and associated with only some of the greatest like :

Archimedes (demonstrating the principle of buoyant force – getting in a bathtub, finding the wt of water displaced being equal to the weight of the body) ;

. Sir Isaac Newton (Apple falling from the tree and the physical laws of Newton forming the foundation for mechanics) ; and

. Thomas Edison (after failing thousands of times to find a filament that can withstand the stress of electricity, finally getting a carbonised cotton thread to succeed). Some serendipitous but breakthrough innovations indeed. They are special and cannot be easily discounted. The part of ‘Working Brain’ is the master here.

Finally to the ‘easy missin everyday life at home : An elderly man in a house was searching for his spectacles. Everyone in the house was anxious and started searching for the spectacles – an act of trying to help the elderly individual. Nobody could find the spectacles. Just as they all got tired of their efforts came the grand daughter of the elderly man and enquired what they were up to. When she was told of their search for spectacles, she immediately said laughingly : ” Grandpa, you are too smart to search for your spectacles in every place except your forehead !” There it was on his forehead.

Savings in wasted time like this can go a long way in improving the lives of people even while increasing the opportunities to enhance the prospects of learning and memory.

” Dieu avec nous”

Monday, October 5, 2020 – 6.49 p.m. (IST)

Tidbit : ” A picture is worth a thousand words ; but a good memory is priceless “.

Standard

” Satellites Improve Lives of People ” – October 4, 2020.

Sputnik 57, world’s first satellite was sent in to Space on October 4. On October 10, 1967, a multinational agreement between America, Soviet Russia, and Britain took shape to use the outer space (moon and Mars specially ) for peaceful purposes.

World Space Week celebrations every year takes place from October 4 to October 10 usually. This year the United Nations has marked its emblematic impression through its theme : ” Satellite Improves Lives “.

United Nations has also designated the first Monday of October of every year as ‘World Habitat Day’ to reflect on the state of our towns and cities and on the basic rights of all to adequate shelter.

First, Nairobi, Kenya, in 1986, celebrated the World Habitat Day with the theme : ” Shelter is my Right “. It reflected the rights of people in big cities and mid economy towns to live in a safe manner.

It is common in India and perhaps many other nations too, to witness people from villages and small towns migrating to big cities with hopes of leading a heavenly life. It, however, didn’t take much time for many of those to realise its futility. ” No life in City, if you don’t have money ” – dawned on them.

A similar situation exists in today’s COVID-19 encroached environment. Teachers, students, construction workers, and even computer operators have either stayed back or returned from cities to their native places. Education, medical consultations, businesses and other tasks have submitted themselves to on-line authorities willingly and completely. It is in fact a progressive trend to keep the tasks and the economy going forward.

The downside of this is that the ruling authorities in some States contemplating to engage in a fundamentally flawed exercise to shift the capital city itself to other places.

The hope that it can solve the State’s problems are again fatally flawed. Huge infrastructure costs ; huge accommodation spending ; and huge essential services distribution will rather exacerbate than reduce the problems. Such exercises are as antediluvian as Mohammed bin Thuglak’s attempt in 1327 to shift from Delhi to Daulatabad (Maharashtra) and back to Delhi in a period of 8 years. His policy became the laughing stock of the Administration Community of the day in general.

The theme of World Habitat Day and “Shelter is my Right” essentially stand for the upliftment of the downtrodden villages and areas inhabited by the needy social class. Renowned Space Scientist, Dr Vikram Sarabhai, envisioned agricultural prosperity and basic education services through satellites.

First, the Satellite Centre, Ahmedabad, with the help of NASA Applications Tech Satellite 6 ( ATS 6 ) experimented the SITE (Satellite Instructional Television Experiment). The project made available informational TV programs to rural India. The chief objective was to educate the financially backward and academically illiterate people. About 2000 villages in AP, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, and Rajasthan benefitted initially.

In April 1982 India launched “INSAT” satellites under the Indian National Satellite System to satisfy the telecommunications, broadcasting, meteorology, and Search and rescue operations.

Some uses of Indian Space Research cover distance education, distance medical services, disaster management, telephone services, security of the lives of people in accidents, GPS, GAGAN etc. UN based Basis Pacific Centre for Space and Science held senior education classes in Tele- Communications in India.

Recently introduced Swarna Jayanthi Vidhya Vikas Antharaksha Upagriha Yojana program is aimed at implementation in villages.

On-line education of students, as far removed as several thousands of kilometers, is common now. Late President, Dr Abdul Kalam implemented the “PURA” program (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas) aiming at rural prosperity through drinking water, street lights, education, healthcare, and telecom services putting 626000 villages in development process by launching specific projects.

Under the National Remote Sensing Centre, Hyderabad, Dept of Space, – Bangalore in southern region, Dehradun in North, Nagpur in the Central region, Kharaghpur in East, and Jodhpur in West have regional remote sensing service centers. Supervision and development of agricultural lands, environmental pollution prevention are some of the activities they are engaged in mostly.

Space Satellites have also a role to play in searching for water resources. At the policy level, planning for seasonal agriculture and the plan for resources collection have been included. Information regarding compatibility of crops, hybrid crops, fertilizers, seeds, financial requirements, procurement and sales marketing, crop competition can be obtained through this service.

About 84000 sq km area of forests constituting 40% of total forest land in India from the North East region, Western Ghats mountain range, and Western Himalayan region have been recorded already. It is reported that forest loss has been declining since 1991. According to the research report of 2010, India occupies the first place in terms of the nations with rich forest heritage. Russia, Brazil, Canada, America, China, Congo, Australia, Indonesia, and Sudan hold places next only to India. About 0.6% of forests are destroyed every year in India, nevertheless. (Satellite information).

Dhule in North West Maharashtra witnessed illegitimate occupation of forest areas by people. They also filed a suit in the Maharashtra High Court against the forest Administration since they were asked to evacuate the place. Satellite photos and information became the chief sources of evidence in this case. Recorded photos from 1972 to 1986 in Shirpur and Sangavi forests provided strong evidence in support of the Forest Administration.

The above account is a clear demonstration of the beneficial effects of the Satellite in gathering and communicating information.

Satellites are enablers in our lives.

” Dieu avec nous “

Sunday, October 4, 2020 – 9.59 p.m. (IST)

Tidbit : ” No matter how secret a particular satellite was, it had to obey the same laws of physics as the rest of the solar system ” – Trevor Paglen.

Standard