Decoding Homophobia against LGBTQ

(An Inter Nation Comparison)

Words like ‘’Transgender’ and talking about sexuality is considered a taboo even among the educated segment of the Indian society. Often the parents are hesitant while giving sex education and consider it as something secondary or irrelevant.

As a consequence of it, seldom had the biased and outdated information on what constituted sexual orientation and gender identity as well as stereotypical portrayal of the LGBTQ had contributed to the shaping of negative attitude and aggression towards these communities giving way to hate crimes like mob lynching.

Thus before shedding light on the aspect of why homosexuality is not a ‘mental disorder’ but a way a person perceives his own identity or why anger is rising against the LGBTQ+ or why banning same sex-marriage is a denial of their fundamental right; let us first refresh our basics and understand what does the mean?

LGBTQ is basically an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning where:

  • “Lesbian” means a female who is attracted to other females.
  • “Gay” means people who are attracted to people of the same sex.
  • “Bisexual” are attracted to people of both sexes.
  • “Transgender” or “Trans” encompasses people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. Transgender people may identify themselves as heterosexual, homosexual, people who are not exclusively masculine or feminine or who may decline to label their sexual orientation.
  • “Queer or questioning” is an individual who is unsure of and/or exploring their gender identity and/or sexual orientation.

But there is not only LGBTQ+ there are even more hues to it 😛

  • An “intersex” is a person born with variation in sex characteristic including chromosomes, sex hormones, or genitals.
  • Asexual” or “ace” have little or no sexual attraction to others and/or a lack of interest in sexual relationships/behavior. They may or may not experience emotional, physical, or romantic attraction. Asexuality differs from celibacy in that it is a sexual orientation, not a choice.
  • Pansexual” experiences sexual, romantic, physical, and/or spiritual attraction for members of all gender identities.
  • While people who feel that they belong to neither of the genders (M/F) or to both genders are identifed as “gender neutral,” “gender fluid”or “genderqueer”. 
23% of gay or bisexual people have tried to take their own lives and 56% have resorted to self-harm [WHO, 2014]

Why homophobia is on a rise:

‘GAY’ a word that originally meant happy and carefree became a label to describe homosexuality in the 20th century and has now ended up being a term used to abuse someone. People didn’t realize the impact it could have on a person’s persona and sense of self.

If a teenager growing up gay, constantly hears the word being used to refer to something that is disliked or is embarrassing, they are quite naturally going to feel that there is something wrong with them or would start resenting others or concealing their own sexual orientation from those who have a gender identity or expression different than theirs thus creating a social divide in the society.

An Inter-Nation analysis of Countries who have passed unjust laws against LGBTQ Communities:

Despite being termed as developed there are many countries that are way too backward in their approach towards the Queer community.

 For instance; Brunei, Oman and Kuwait, which are considered as developed nations have as strict punishment as death penalty, lashings or imprisonment for same-sex relationships, thus bracing and allowing bullying. In Saudi Arabia, police routinely arrests people based on their gender and sexual expressions. Malaysia and Nigeria criminalizes transgender and gender non-conforming people. In Nigeria people can be put in prison for up to 14 years just because they are gay, and some states even have death penalty under Sharia. In the United Arab Emirates, laws prohibit men “posing as” women and this law has also been used to prosecute gay and transgender people.

Even in so called world’s developed democracies; the violence and discrimination born of intolerance and marginalization continue to take lives and create barriers to equity and opportunity for LGBTQ people and their families. For instance, in 2017 the Trump administration took steps to undermine protections for LGBTQ people by repealing Obama administration’s guidance clarifying the rights of transgender students in schools. Not only this the Federal government hampered in the process to collect data on sexual orientation and gender identity in federal surveys and promoted a vision of so-called religious liberty that was misused to discriminate against LGBTQ communities. Thus often than not the fear of isolation has led many LGBT people to live in the closet, and had prompted some of them to enter heterosexual marriages. A number of them are even thrown out of their homes or cut off from financial support. Many have experienced homelessness and life at the margins of society, rendering them vulnerable to psychical and mental violence and exploitation.

The situation is barely pleasing in India where most often than not LGBTQ students face discrimination as school teachers are often not properly trained to cater to their soft impressionable minds. Also the very constitution of the recent Transgender 2019 bill, which was hastily passed in the parliament without allowing it to go through a select committee, is discriminatory in nature. For instance the bill makes it mandatory for underage Trans to live in rehabilitation centers if their immediate families are not keen to support their living. But we all are well aware about the condition and quantam of rehabilitation centers in India. Instead the bill should have made it a choice rather than making it a mandation for them.

The bill also talks about obtaining a ‘certificate of Identity’ from DM; who would issue it if he gets “Satisfied” and states that in the case of a minor, a parent/guardian has to apply for an identity certificate. This completely overlooks the reality that most parents are not supportive of gender non-conforming behavior and will, in all likelihood, not make such an application. Furthermore Gender identity is something intrinsic to one’s personhood, and can only be determined by that person’s psychological and emotional state, not by any external criteria or authority. Thus the requirement of obtaining an ‘identity certificate’ amounts to insult, indignity and humiliation at the hands of bureaucrats.

Also according to it a person committing ‘sexual abuse’ against a transgender is liable for only 2 years of imprisonment while if the victim is a cis-gender or straight then punishment is of 7 years. Hence this clause not only undermines the dignity of LGBTQ population but also encourages underreporting of cases since any punishment of less than 3 years is bailable at police station.

Economic cost of stigma against LGBTQ communities:[1]

Homophobia against Queer community not only raises humanitarian concerns but also leads to economic harm; such as potential labor time loss, lost productivity and the inefficient allocation of human resources via creating labor market stigmatization for LGBTQ people. This forces them into endless generational cycle of prostitution and begging.

A lot had already been said and argued but why is there a need for LGBTQ Marriage at all?

The ban on same-sex[2] couples marrying is unacceptable and against humanitarian grounds as it can lead to chronic social stress and mental health problems for the LGBTQ community.

Quite a number of psychologists had pointed out that such stigma and prejudice may undermine the healthy development of Queer adolescents and young adults.

Also, marriage not only bestows economic and social support to these couples in committed relationships, but also results in substantial health benefit as married men and women generally experience better physical and mental health than comparable cohabiting couples.

Put simply, equality means making the same choices available to all. If Cisgender (that is, a person whose gender identity matches their sex at birth) is allowed to marry; then why not a transgender or homosexual for that matter.

Way Forward:

In order to break the stigma, LGBTQ-inclusive education in schools could be a great start. Also the parents should teach their children to accept and respect differences. For this there should be updation of school curricula to make it more gender-inclusive so that students receive accurate information from authentic sources and that too under proper guidance.

Apart from this the school authorities can invite experts to give practical information on safe copulation, engage open conversations on identity, relationships and mental health with both parents and children. Apart from this teachers can be provided training sessions on a regular interval so that they are better able to handle the situation in case a child confides with them to seek help. Every school should appoint atleast one counselor or psychologist so that the student can easily seek help if required.

Also reservations in education and employment sector can play a prominent role in ensuring financial independence of the Trans community; thus allowing them to move hand in hand with the mainstream population. For instance the creation of ‘Gender Inclusion Fund’, which seeks to ensure equitable education for all girls and transgender students; under the recent National Educational Policy (NEP) 2020 is a laudable initiative. But still the road is long and a lot is to be done.

Although the equal marriage legislation passed by the Indian government suggests that society had advanced in its thinking, but there still remains a gap in its grasp of gay identity, culture and sexuality. Laws would just remain a document on paper till the time we are not able to transform the core beliefs, sentiments and ideas of the people itself. Hence nations need to adopt a more inclusive – gender holistic approach via recognizing the LGBTQ community. And until the approach towards them changes, young people will continue to grow up feeling that the word “gay” means alien, embarrassing or has something wrong associated with it.

With this thought I Srishti Jain would sigh off!

Don’t forget to add your comment, like and share…


[1] http://documents1.worldbank.org/curated/fr/527261468035379692/pdf/940400WP0Box380usion0of0LGBT0People.pdf

[2] https://www.equality-network.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Why-is-same-sex-marriage-important.pdf

Energy Saved Is Energy Earned!

Often it is seen that people complain about having deficiency of time, where they aren’t able to manage things around and denote quality family time (my advice to such people is to draw out a cheque and buy some time from the market….)

Jokes apart, the problem is not with their schedules, but with their unfocused approach towards life which is due to diverted attention. Hence the solution lies in trying avoiding the road where you have no intend to travel long; why to unnecessarily confuse yourself in the maze of life and waste your precious energy (after all Energy saved is energy earned). Hence the key lies in narrowing down your fields and concentrating your energies on one prominent field that interests YOU the most.

“LIFE” the 4 letter word…jitna chota yeh word h…usse bhe zayada choti humari life h…don’t you agree?

Then why wasting it travelling the paths you feel you do not own. Keep ‘it’ (life) short-simple-sweet-symhonic (ohh so many ‘S’).

“CONFUSION” this 9 letter word that grapples the 4 letter entity (our LIFE); unnecessarily complicates it; making us overburdened and gifting us the bouquet of diseases like insomnia (sleep deprivation), depression, anxiety disorder; hence making way for job positions like that of a “psychiatrist”.

“PSYCHIATRIST” (JISKE SPELLING I LEARNED ONLY A FEW YEARS BACK!) a word associated with taboo and stigma!

We often come across statements like “Is he going to a psychiatrist? Is he Insane?  Is he taking psychological medication! OMG stay away from him” (as if depression is a communicable disease). Often people ignore their mental health (I am sorry I forgot that I am talking about a nation where people ignore guidelines given during a pandemic! what to say about mental health; which are bruises deep inside- away from a passer-by’s eye).

Hence I would plead to embrace that SMILE on your face because happiness is infectious. You laugh and the world would laugh with you; you cry and hardly anybody could be noticed around.

As a matter of fact, concealing your weaknesses in front of society; prevents the public from taking your advantage and the point is that you never know when that fake smile of yours could turn into a real one… (at times just feeling happy-complete actually gives a sense of wholeness even if there’s still deprivation). As individuals we often behave selfishly; we always want more (whether be it money, fame, good fortune, happiness, hairs on our scalp… well the list goes on. As the father of the nation correctly pointed out that there is enough for everybody’s need but it’s never goanna enough for one’s greed).

Trying feeling strong even when you are not OKAY from inside and undertaking that extra effort; when you are exhausted is what matters the most…

With this thought in mind, I Srishti Jain would sign off!


A Reality Check

People! People!

People will always remain people it seems as if they like to remain ordinary. They pry in front of their own perceived Almighty to seek their desires come into actuality but would hardly ever think of being GOD themselves. It seems as if it’s easy to seek help from an outside entity; leaving all results and in turn thinking that the work has now being outsourced onto HIM.

It also seems as if people like being surrounded by confusion and anxiety, and why not it is being in depression only that makes us value those precious ounces of happiness of ours. Worries of life make us realize how beautiful where those days when we did not had anything to worry about (well I doubt if there were many such days).

The world is round; you get whatever you have given. As a mirror shows reflection of your face; in similar manner the society and the people you attract in your environment are a reflection of what is deep down inside you. So try to inculcate good thoughts, words and actions (this is what constitutes our karma). They are what goanna ever come with you in your next existence. No quantum of gold, false prestige or even bookish knowledge is going to accompany you, it is only your deeds (the practical application of knowledge) and the result of those deeds that is going to be your shadow and travel behind you; onto your next existence (provided if there is any; the writer is not very well versed with the concept of afterlife; as she hasn’t got the opportunity to travel that yet).

As body feeds on food; our soul feeds on thoughts. So cultivate good thoughts to get good sleep (otherwise your conscience would jerk you time and again). I am trying to keep my words as simple as possible so that they encompass the power to pierce down into the depths of your soul and serve as a reality check whenever you start traversing the wrong path so that you can get redirected to your mission; before it’s too late for you to restore your position.

So my heart-felt advice to you is to avoid being an educated slave! living the way society feels is ideal, desiring to be in a shape the so-called society feels idyllic, pursuing a career path that people feel is secured-prestigious and rewarding “enough”. Try to live your life the way YOU and ONLY YOU feel is the most rewarding; it’s completely OK if you take time in figuring out your true intent in life; after all it’s worth it; it’s the only one you got!

According to me, a person who is on his death bed and is able to say that I have lived my life fully and there couldn’t be a better utilization of this precious gift by the omnipresent than what I have done down these years; is actually the richest man on the planet Earth.

In the end I would only like to reiterate the importance of ‘Worries’, yes you heard it right!

They are the only ones enabling you to grow, just think for a fraction of a second; how neutral your life would be without them.

With this thought in mind I Srishtu (my mother often calls me fondly) would sign off!

Till then keep undertaking efforts with a happy heart and a big SMILE on our faceJ

The New Education Policy 2020- An Analysis

 In its 2014 manifesto; the government had elaborated in detail its plan for higher educational institutions, skill education, employ-ability and establishing closer links between the private and public educational sector. 

The new National Education Policy approved on July 29, 2020; after a 34-year gap, showcases an ideal framework for India’s education system and seeks to transform it by 2040.  It is the third Education Policy after independence and was preceded by the 1968 policy which was heavily influenced by the progressive Kothari commission of 1964-66 and the 1986 policy. This 65-page document recommends steps for different sectors of education to “overhaul” and “revamp” education in our country. 

For instance its mandate of phasing out ‘para-teachers’ contract that is hiring teachers on a short term basis and the elimination of unnecessary transfers would enable stability by helping in strengthening long term student-teacher relationship.

Also the policy seeks to bring 2 crore out of school children back into the mainstream through an open schooling system but it no where mentions about creating the proper means to do so. The dream seems even fader while considering India’s digital divide and keeping in mind the recent statistics by ‘The Hindu’[1] that only 24% of Indians own a smart phone.

On one hand the policy talks about equitability in the field of education and on the other it transfers the responsibility of ECCE (Early Childhood Care and Education) to Anganwadi workers who are not well equipped or trained. Although the government is offering 1 year or 6 months training course to them, depending upon their previous qualification, but this is in no manner comparable with the educational qualification of a private pre-nursery teacher.

Also one of the major flaws of NEP is its sheer negligence regarding the improvement of government school infrastructure. Thus forcing the deprived to admit his child in poorly resourced government school that would focus solely on regional language; making him less compatible in job market while the rich would get his child enrolled in expensive private school that promote foreign and English language.

Although the government is working on efficient resource management in order to avoid duplication of efforts by collaborating school complexes in the same locality where resources like Labs, playgrounds, etc. could be shared commonly but the feasibility of the plan would depend upon efficient connectivity and transportation between schools.

Though NEP presents a rosy picture but the absence of realizable target, uncertainty regarding allocation of funds and the poor specification of curriculum makes it a document high on “catchwords and verbosity”. For instance, the goal of 50 percent gross enrolment ratio in higher education and 100 per cent in secondary schools while “laudable” could be tough since it was currently 25.8% in higher education.[2]

More so; while promoting vocational education; NEP fails to specify that what would happen if a student with a vocational certificate deems to apply for UG admission or would he/she be eligible to sit for one of the most eminent exam of Civil Services.

Also it seems unclear right now about how the government plans to actualize its promise of spending 6% of the GDP on education; especially at a time when it has fallen to 3.2% and the economy is already in a bad shape due to the pandemic. The goal of spending 6% is not new; it was first articulated in the 1948 Education Policy but the government was never able to achieve it. Hence now in order to ensure its implementation the government should instead make it a compulsion on all the states by articulating it as a law.

Even though allowing foreign universities in India could help in preventing brain drain but it could lead to commercialization of education by creating tough competition vis-à-vis private Indian universities if the government doesn’t come forward to incentivize it. This can be done by encouraging public collaborations and partnerships with eminent foreign universities instead of just the private ones.

Hence although the New Education Policy aims to facilitate an inclusive, participatory and holistic approach, which takes into consideration field experiences, empirical research, stakeholder feedback, as well as lessons learned from best practices; it would become a reality if and only if it is implemented and executed in a structured way.


[1] https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/24-pc-of-indians-have-a-smartphone/article26212864.ece

[2] https://www.pressreader.com/india/the-hindu/20200731/282029034561933

Migrant and Homeless women during Covid-19

The ongoing public health emergency has made it more obvious than ever that housing and health are intrinsically interlinked. Housing is a social determinant of health, but it is rarely considered while formulating the public health policies (PSAs). However in times like today when we are advised to stay at home in a quarantine or self-isolate ourselves due to the paucity in the number of beds in the hospital, it becomes evident that proper housing is an essential determinant in our health setting, and one cannot enjoy their right to health without being assured of safe housing.

Living without a home, rough sleeping or staying in temporary accommodation makes the destitute and homeless prone to contagious disease as they face a number of barriers in accessing appropriate health care and public health information. Due to their compromised immune systems, poor nutrition and hygiene and long-term residence in overcrowded shelters they are at a higher risk of contamination.

For instance, a recent US based study documented that there was deliberate recruitment of homeless people into dangerous pharmaceutical drug trials. Private companies who run drug studies may coerce penniless people with payments of up to thousands of dollars.

The crisis is specially affecting the homeless women as they are often denied personal health care services like pads, proper washrooms, etc. Also they become completely subservient to government officials for food supplies and for ensuring the very basic hygiene facilities.

Amidst all this, it becomes almost impossible for the homeless population of the country to adhere to government guidelines of self-isolation, maintaining more hygiene, staying at home, and strict social distancing, disarranging them from the public policy responses to the pandemic. This serves as a classic example of the fact that formulation of policies for the destitute without their consent can lead to their utter failure and ruckus.

The nationwide lock down, announced by the Prime Minister which resulted in the sudden shutdown of businesses; upended the lives of millions of migrant laborers and homeless in the Indian cities.They were bound by a collective will to somehow get back to where they belong. Since for them home in the village ensures both food and social security of the family.

Among the teeming refugees of the lock down was a 90-year-old woman, whose family sold cheap toys at traffic lights in a suburb outside Delhi. She and her family ate biscuits and smoked beedis, to kill hunger. Upon inquiry she said, “We will die of walking and hunger before corona virus hits us,” surely she was not exaggerating. Last week during the month of march, a 39-year-old man on a 300km (186 miles) trek from Delhi to Madhya Pradesh complained of chest pain and exhaustion and died; and a 62-year-old man, returning from a hospital by foot in Gujarat, collapsed outside his house and died. Four other migrants, turned away at the borders on their way to Rajasthan from Gujarat where they were mowed down by a truck on a dark highway.

The staggering exodus was reminiscent of the flight of refugees during the bloody partition in 1947. Clearly, a lockdown to stave off a pandemic is turning into a humanitarian crisis.

Also amidst the corona virus pandemic, cases pertaining to domestic and sexual abuse are on a rise. A few days back, a horrifying incident took place in Bihar where a migrant woman who was suspected of Covid-19, was sexually abused in Gaya hospital where she was kept in an isolation ward. Three days later, she died due to excessive bleeding. Incidents like these questions the safety norms at these places.

Core priorities right now should include active case-finding through testing; providing access to emergency housing that is fit for isolation purposes; making existing shelters safe places for homeless people to stay; and treatment programmes.

Support for homeless people should not only include those experiencing homelessness but also be concerned with protecting those vulnerably housed who are at a higher risk of homelessness because of the economic impact of COVID-19 outbreak.

India can learn from other’s example; for instance Mortgage holidays have been announced in several countries; measures similar to these can be announced for renters, who are often more vulnerable in the short term. Specific measures targeting the insecurely housed are needed, such as a moratorium on evictions to stop people losing their housing during the pandemic.

The current pandemic clearly highlights the division among-st India’s population; on one hand there is a segment that has the window to strike plates and light divas from the vicinity of their safe homes; and on the other hand there is a segment that is determined to reach home even if it had to walk 1000s of miles barefoot. On one hand flights had been launched to bring back nationals and on the other the destitute was forced to stay in overcrowded temporary accommodation without the provision of even the bare facilities. In these trying times there is also an urgent need for the states to adhere to strict measures in order to curb the transmission from this high-risk migrant population to their hometown.

Homelessness must be considered a public health priority. A public health emergency requires emergency solutions and crisis management, and there are such initiatives including making vacant housing and hotels available for homeless people to self-isolate with adequate number of experienced doctors. The current crisis clearly show that shelters cannot replace the safe homes that are indispensable for a healthy life for all.

With this thought I Srishti Jain would be signing off 🙂

Repercussion of Delisting Of Chinese Companies by the Senate

The world economies trembled with the news coming from the US senate regarding the imposition of greater disclosure rules on New York listed companies (NASDAQ and NYSE). Some experts recognise this move by Trump as especially projected towards Chinese companies.

Donald Trump, aggressively moving towards its ‘America First’ policy, is keen on forcing the Chinese companies to comply with American accounting rules stating it essential pertaining to the national security of the investors and investment. The law would delist any company which does not comply with PCOAB audit for 3 consecutive years or is administered by the foreign government.

The rise in the cases of accounting dispute within Chinese companies; for instance, fabrication of transactions by Luckin coffee, the Chinese rival to Starbucks, lead to the evaporation of $5billion, some of the other reasons include presidential elections and covid-19 which served as a catalyst in taking this step.
The bill advanced with speed and unanimity by both the republicans and democrats, which is not normally seen in Washington, stressing the depth of conviction in both parties about confronting China.
India is not interested in making a choice between the two superpowers of the world; rather it proposes that countries should focus on their own economies and promote local manufacturing instead of boycotts and blame games.

Some Suggestions which I would like to propose for US includes:

a) It should stop compelling its allies and instead should work towards providing better alternatives to what China is already providing them by strengthening its own capabilities.

b) It should encourage participation of institutional investors instead of retail investors which can help in making prudent decisions regarding allocation of funds. As the Chances of increase in fraud increase only when the investors make hasty decisions hence the investors should do speculation only after researching the track record of the company.
Some Suggestions for china include:
a) China should remove unfair subsidies from Chinese parent companies so as to ensure fair competition.
b) Relax its policy regarding imports and undergo a reform process in its stock exchange markets giving them greater role in financial corporate investment.
c) The Chinese government should amend its policy that require foreign companies in China to share their technologies with the state which leads to tech-transfers and IP theft.

Political calculations, public health fears, economic recession, broken trust, and rising nationalistic hatreds are a combustible mix that rarely produce enlightened policy decisions. But this is the very situation we find ourselves today in. we can’t expect constructive dialogue and substantive progress until the two leaders rise above their narrow political agendas and act for the greater welfare of the masses.

Cross-border listings are equally valuable for the companies, investors, and exchanges. Hence congress should continue to pressure for transparency but should not threaten to delist: as it can turn counterproductive since many U.S. investors – both individual and institutional — own stakes in them. Also most U.S. pension firms and money managers are the biggest holders of these stocks hence it could hurt returns on U.S. household savings, financial-sector profits, and the global competitiveness of U.S stock exchanges.
The timings could hardly be worse than this, with both natural and biological disasters taking a toll altogether, forcing the already trembling economy to tatter. Earlier trade war, then Covid allegations, now capital war and the upcoming ideological war because of Hong Kong issue between US and China; would put a lot of pressure on all the economies. What the current situation requires is coordination-cooperation and collaborative management of the crisis by all the economies.

Reduction Of Air Pollution Is The Responsibility Of Not Only The Elected Government But Also Of The Citizens Of The Nation:

Smoke rises from those tall, cylindrical beasts, filling the air with swirls of mercury, lead, sulphur and what not. These metals taint the air as they corrupt the pureness that breathes life into the world. Large, chunky monsters glide down the road, loudly roaring or softly purring as they present exhaust from the pipe to the earth.

Pollution, no matter in the air, water, or on land poses a huge problem for the world. It accounts for around eight million premature deaths annually across the globe. According to a joint study by ICMR in 2017, in India, air pollution is linked to a child’s death every three minutes, and every eighth death in the country is linked to exposure to poor quality of air.

Oft the question of its origin bothers my being, on a closer analysis I could gather the industrial and manufacturing emissions, burning of fossil fuels, home and farming chemicals (stubble burning), etc. as some of its causes. Breathing poor quality of air acts as a silent killer; which unlike Carona that claims its existence to China; takes some time to manifest it’s effects. While India’s capital, Delhi continues to debate the ‘tough’ anti-pollution measures announced by the city government, China’s capital, Beijing issued its first “red alert” on air pollution since 2013, taking tougher and immediate measures to deal with a problem which appears to be comparable to what Delhiites face at the moment. This is what is highly condemnable. Enough of discussions and deliberations; India ought to have a strong footing and take actions in real time. The list of to-dos not only includes engagements from the side of the government but also of the people at large. The ongoing pandemic has taught us that there could be a different way to live. We ought to cut down on our consumption level sooner and adopt a sustainable approach instead of the materialistic one, or else mankind would be forced to sacrifice a huge cost in order to realise that we might not need as much as we earlier thought we would.

The main issue with air pollution is that it is nobody’s baby. Yes, the environment ministry and pollution control boards do make a difference. But to curb air pollution, one has to transform the sources at the grass root level which are associated with poverty and underdevelopment such as solid fuel use in households and waste management practices. Solid fuel, including biomass combustion for residential cooking, is the largest contributor in the major states of the Indo-Gangetic Plain. This can be attributed to lack of awareness and resources. Although I do appreciate the current government’s ‘Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana’ but its implementation on the ground level is quite questionable. what India needs is an umbrella policy for air pollution that is at the core of our industrial, transport, energy, urban and rural planning. This needs to be complemented by an inter-state and inter-ministerial body that can keep a track of compliance as well as a nudge in people’s behavioural patterns is essential. This nudge can be brought about by stringent and novel government policies; for instance a taxation policy based on personal carbon footprint can do wonders.

Story

We Can Save Lives

Our little acts of kindness that elates us provides bliss beyond measure and serves as a thing of beauty that acts as a joy forever. Recently amidst lockdown in the nation; I also experienced this joy by helping a creation of the almighty. One of these days I was glancing though my balcony window and chanced upon a little bird perching on my window sill. It looked thirsty and hungry. No wonder temperatures above 40 degree celsius in Delhi NCR made it look almost on the verge of death. I immediately hurried towards my mother and returned with my first aid box, water and some food supplies. Mumma helped me in feeding her. On a closer glance; we noticed a stab probably caused because of kite string (Manjha which is quoted with glass powder to make it sharp). Flying kites has probably turned into the most sort after sport specially during these days but it is highly fatal for the flying angles. The little baggage of life had to stay for some days in our home as it was unable to fly. I felt sorry for her state. This incident served as a turning point in my life for self-reflection and introspection. ‘Mitthu’; as we fondly started to call her; gave me numerous life lessons. I was now able to sense life’s preciousness, worth and dearness even for a small creature like Mitthu and could now realise my duty as a human entity. There onwards, I stated putting food and water on my roof top and also advised my father as well as all my friends to use cotton kite thread instead of the glass quoted one. Although it was a tough deal explaining them to sacrifice their competitiveness; but finally they had to kneel down in front of my zeal to save thousands like Mitthu and others. I am glad that I was able to make a difference and save the life of one of the omnipresence’s creation. Truly; giving expands our state of being or in Jesus Christ’s words storing treasures in the heaven is far more enriching than storing gems on Earth.