Here is your current issue of Link. Happy reading
I did work with him, not too close, but close enough for a while. I met him in 1973-74 the pre-emergency days. I was part of the Manas publications, which the Emergency brutally killed. What I admired about was his brilliant oratory. He was brilliant in five languages. He was logical. He moved hearts and minds. He had his facts. He won the emotions of his audience.
2. Respect for his Struggle
Like me, he was a South Indian. Like me, he was a Catholic. Like me. he was an ex.seminarian. But his struggles after he left the seminary were profound. He survived on platforms before he became a nightmare to unjust employers and dictators alike. He was an incredible Indian.
3. Awe for his dreams for the Young
As s fiery leader and champion of youth, he wanted to create a land army of the young so that every young person would have land, employment, income and prosperity. But when he did become an influential minister he opted for Industry and Defence, the lucrative ministries. He abandoned the youth. He forgot the dreams. He became another politician. His house as defence minister figured in the scandals as a place where deals are fixed.
4. The dilemma at the Enormous Popularity of “Jontis Fandis”
George Fernandes was the heartthrob of Bihar. Many of them could not even pronounce his name. They called him Jontis Fandis. He was the Messiah of Social Justice. So far so good.
I once travelled to Muzaffarpur. I had gone to meet Dr. Margaret Owen, then in her 70s heading the Leprosy Mission Hospital there. She was a world authority on the treatment of leprosy. I was then working on “Better Care in Leprosy’, the simplest book ever written on the subject. Margaret Owen also used to teach “Leprosy” in the Muzzafarpur Medical College. Dr Owen drove me to the medical college for one of her lectures.
At the medical college what we saw was all the students were rushing out because George was in town. For them, George was more important than Leprosy. There were only 7 lectures on leprosy in the entire medical course. They had sacrificed one of those for George. ” Do these popular leaders ever teach values and responsibility to their followers?” asked Dr Owen. Bihar in those days had the highest prevalence of leprosy. For many years some doctors in Bihar will not know how to treat leprosy. Thanks to George.
I was at a dilemma to explain to Dr Owen, I myself was then a fan of George, the giant killer.
5. Wow to a Simple But Straight Talking Minister
The first portfolio George handled was Communications (posts and telegraphs). After swearing in he went to the nearest post office and stood in the queue to buy stamps. As usual, the dealing clerk was very rude to him. Another occasion he took his friends to Kake da Hotel and sat on the footpath for dinner. As the minister, he addressed the captains of Industry. He asked them what makes you behave like rats? No diplomacy. Straight talk. No public relations. He was referring to their behavi0ur during the emergency. George was capable of that.
6. Gratitude for a Personal Favour
In 1979, I won a British Council scholarship. I was to leave for higher studies to the London University Institute of Education. I applied for my passport. The passport would never come. The date for my travel was imminent. I went to meet George. His P.S. at that time Ravi Nair was quick to act. A special passport was issued to me at the discretion of the then External Affairs Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee within 48 hours. If Ravi and George had not helped I would have never made it.
7. Amazed at his Capacity for Opportunism
When Morarji Desai as Prime Minister faced his major crisis, George Fernandes was the loyalist who defended him eloquently, logically and with facts. He made an eloquent defence of the Prime Minister on the floor of the House. The next morning he joined the other side.
8. Extreme Sadness at his Untimely Death in 2002
George Fernandes, the leader I admired died in 2002, when he could not stand up to the genocide in Gujarat. He made many farcical visits to Gujarat. He sold his heart and soul to that vast experiment with untruth. India’s boldest and most daring statesman, the hero of the emergency had fallen. But there are many who surrendered their souls to untruth at that time. For me George died then.
This year, International Women’s Day comes on the heels of an unprecedented global movement for women’s rights, equality and justice. Sexual harassment, violence and discrimination against women has captured headlines and public discourse, propelled by a rising determination for change.
International Women’s Day 2019 is an opportunity to transform this momentum into action, to empower women in all settings, rural and urban, and celebrate the activists who are working relentlessly to claim women’s rights and realize their full potential.
International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
International Women’s Day (IWD) has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Prior to this the Socialist Party of America, United Kingdom’s Suffragists and Suffragettes, and further groups campaigned for women’s equality.
Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group or organization specific. Make IWD your day – everyday.
International Women’s Day 2019 campaign theme:
The future is exciting. Let’s build a gender-balanced world.
Everyone has a part to play – all the time, everywhere.
From grassroots activism to worldwide action, we are entering an exciting period of history where the world expects balance. We notice its absence and celebrate its presence.
Balance drives a better working world. Let’s all help create a #BalanceforBetter.
Let’s build a gender-balanced world
Balance is not a women’s issue, it’s a business issue. The race is on for the gender-balanced boardroom, a gender-balanced government, gender-balanced media coverage, a gender-balance of employees, more gender-balance in wealth, gender-balanced sport coverage …
2019 and beyond
The world has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women’s and society’s thoughts about women’s equality and emancipation. Many from a younger generation may feel that ‘all the battles have been won for women’ while many feminists from the 1970’s know only too well the longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy.
With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased critical mass of women’s visibility as impressive role models in every aspect of life, one could think that women have gained true equality.
The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women’s education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men.
However, great improvements have been made. We do have female astronauts and prime ministers, school girls are welcomed into university, women can work and have a family, women have real choices. And so each year the world inspires women and celebrates their achievements.
IWD is an official holiday in many countries including Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia.
The tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother’s Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.
A global web of rich and diverse local activity connects women from all around the world ranging from political rallies, business conferences, government activities and networking events through to local women’s craft markets, theatric performances, fashion parades and more. Many global corporations actively support IWD by running their own events and campaigns. For example, on 8 March search engine and media giant Google often changes its Google Doodle on its global search pages to honor IWD. Year on year IWD is certainly increasing in status.
So make a difference, think globally and act locally!
Make everyday International Women’s Day.
Do your bit to ensure that the future for girls is bright, equal, safe and rewarding.
Collectively we can all play a part
Collective action and shared responsibility for driving a gender-balanced world is key. International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women – while also marking a call to action for accelerating gender balance.
The first International Women’s Day occurred in 1911, supported by over one million people. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group or organization specific.
Gloria Steinem, world-renowned feminist, journalist and activist once explained “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.”
So put your hands out and STRIKE THE #BalanceforBetter POSE and make International Women’s Day YOUR day – and do what you can to truly make a positive difference for women everywhere.
Amplify via social media
Post your #IWD2019 message on social media with your “hands out” pose for a strong call-to-action for others to also help forge a #BalanceforBetter.
For International Women’s Day 2019 and beyond, how will you #BalanceforBetter?
Get ready for International Women’s Day 2019
Right now is a great and important time in history to do everything possible to help forge a more gender-balanced world. Women have come a long way, yet there’s still more to be achieved.
As the world heads toward International Women’s Day 2019, planning is underway to celebrate women’s achievements and tenaciously challenge bias.
The International Women’s Day 2019 campaign theme of #BalanceforBetter is a call-to-action for driving gender balance across the world. How will you help make a difference?
Some key targets of the 2030 Agenda:
- By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and Goal-4 effective learning outcomes.
- By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and preprimary education so that they are ready for primary education.
- End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.
- Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.
- Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.
This blog has been contributed by Sreelaxmi Gururaja and Gautam Banerjee
UNICEF Seniors Check into Ever Ancient Ever Modern Karnataka
XUNICEFers Reunion 2018, November 8-14, 2018
It started in March this 2018.
The organizing team of Padmini, Seenappa and Sree sent out their first invitations. Xunicefers.com received memos and attractive bulletins on the programme.
In response, some 60 XUNICEFers and their families joined the Reunion 2018. They came from 19 countries* and travelled across several time zones.
- explored Karnataka
- reconnected with former colleagues,
- revived friendships from the past,
- made new friends
- tasted new foods and
- created unique memories.
For many it was a dream-come-true to visit and experience India first hand.
We came from Armenia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, Philippines, Senegal, Switzerland, SriLanka , Tanzania, Thailand, UK, USA, India .
The first evening began with the introductions.
Yasmin Haque, took us through the brilliant presentations on the India Country Programme . She also took us through the the priorities set for Karnataka.
Meital Rushdie prepared us for what to expect in our travels. She opened the window to the diversity and paradox that was India.
In many ways it set the trend for the Reunion. We observed the people all around us, the unrelenting traffic, the food, the shopping. .
We visited the new and old monuments. They bear testimony to the past glory and new developments in Karnataka.
Karnataka moves through modernity as a leader in Information technology and Biotechnology. It is replacing old images of adulation and worship with new structures. Yet it respects and preserves the symbols of its past.
The second evening belonged dance, music and culture. It was our exposure to mythology, the legends about the deities and demons and philosophy. Karnataka has a rich and diverse culture.
It alerted us on what to look out for in our visits to the temple monuments and palaces.
Each of the places we visited reflected this rich heritage. Her checkered history comes through. Here is a kingdom conquered and ruled by several dynasties since the sixth century. . It is fascinating.
- The Bull Temple of Bangalore,
- the Mysore Palace,
- Chamundi Hill in Mysore,
- the temple complexes in Belur,
- Halebid ,
- Hampi ,
- the Badami caves and Pattadkal,
- the Tipu Sultan Summer Palace
were all living affirmations of this past.
We visit the tribal areas. We observed the work of the NGO, Sri Vivekananda Youth Movement(SVYM). We saw the present realities. The dedication and extent of the voluntary efforts was inspiring.
During our travel to Mysore and beyond, we crossed the venerated Cauvery. We crossed its tributary the Kabini. We passed by the legendary Tungabhadra and Malaprabha rivers. These are the lifelines to green fields of rice, sugarcane, millet and maize that we drove past.
At the famous Krishnaraja Sagar dam, we waited at dusk. The illumination of the fountains in the picturesque Brindavan Gardens came on.
We took boat rides on the Cauvery and explored the Ranganthithu bird sanctuary. Some of us ventured further to the wild life sanctuary at the Jungle Lodges in Kabini. They stayed overnight at the edge of the thick forests and the lake.
Another group travelled north to UNESCO Heritage Site of Hampi, the cave temples of Badami and Pattadkal. to visit the rock-hewn sculptures and temples.
Many of us departed on the seventh day of travel, with much to remember and cherish.
We shared many ‘wow’moments as
- when 100,000 bulbs of the Mysore Palace came alive at exactly seven o’clock. This transformed the place to fairyland ;
- when a group of elephants chased our jeep in Kabini ;
- when we were awestruck with the detailed stone sculptures in Belur and Hampi ;
- when we shopped frantically in the emporium. Their shelves overflowed with shelves of colourful silk fabric and sarees ;
- when overwhelmed in the Fabindia stores with 100% cotton readymade garments that we wildly boughtt for all seasons to come ;
- when fascinated by the overpowering fragrance from sandalwood handicrafts and
- when drinking fresh tender coconut water on Chamundi Hill avoiding the curious monkeys.
On the whole, it was an amazing experience. The‘India trio’ made it happen with help of an excellent tour operator. We now look forward to the next XUNICEFers Reunion. There are many positive experiences to carry through from Bangalore. Once again, thank you all in India for this memorable adventure with a difference.
Gautam and Sree
Before you go please lread to one of the many appreciation emails.
From Mary Racelis
Dear Sree, Padmini, and Seenapa,
“What well-deserved accolades you three together have been receiving.
Although slightly belated, let me join the waves of Bangalore retirees thanking and praising you for having organized the marvellous 2018 reunion.
Daughter/granddaughter Susi and Ramona were similarly thrilled with the sights and sounds of Karnataka and deeply impressed by the participants’ accounts of life in and after UNICEF.
They marvelled, as did I, as to how each one had a different set of stories, yet underlying all of them was the caring and determination to act for children and women that is UNICEF. “
Are you ready for Armenia, the next destination?
Passion One: Elections
A Senior Manifesto
- Protection from abandonment.
- in conversations,
- through social media and
- start a conversation around you,
- join the ongoing conversation and
- work on a senior manifesto.
Passion Two: Reunions
Tatvam Asi, the Land of Advaita
Armenia: Gautam Sharnam Gachami
Passion Three: CRC 30
Children of India Still Need You as their Spokesperson
Passion Four: Gandhis 150
Mahatma Gandhi’s five pillars of nonviolence:
- appreciation and
Mahatma Gandhi’s five pillars of nonviolence:
- appreciation and
Nonviolence First Article of Faith
26th Annual General Body Meeting of the UNICEF Pensioners’ Group of India (UPGI) was a significant one. We did 26 things on that day.
Here is a report with great pictures by LT Rajan. Link August 2018
Kerala is devastated. People of Kerala are now rebuilding the new God’s own Country. We are Chipping in with the New Kerala Garden of Innovations.
We are inviting the eco-innovators of the world to Kerala. Come with an innovation that is affordable, resilient and value for money for the women of Kerala, for the farmers of Kerala.
The New Kerala Garden of Innovation is in the heart of devastated Kerala, where landslides and cloudbursts played havoc with the people and their land.
What is the project, and why are we doing it?
Kerala is scripting one of the greatest comebacks in history. Fishermen lead the rescue operations. Now the women of the 400,000 self-help groups will lead this comeback. The new bread of agricultural entrepreneurs will back these women. What they need are tools, resources, technologies.
We are creating this innovation garden, because Kerala, God’s own country deserves the best. We need affordable and most sustainable technologies. we need green technologies, organic technologies. We are creating a garden of innovation right here in the hills of Kerala.
- a garden of innovation and sustainability,
- a garden about people, planet, peace, prosperity, and partnership.
What is its purpose? What are the goals?
The purpose is to assemble all optimal innovations together. We help farmers to walk into these technologies and around them, touch them and feel them. We will help them to take home whichever technology they want. We will give it to them at the least possible price.
The expected outcomes are the following
- A confluence of innovators, in a garden full of workable technologies.
- A constant pursuit of acquiring new, green and sustainable technologies. A place to learn, experiment, watch, touch and feel and carry home.
- A community of practitioners around these technologies. They will come under the banner of the New Kerala Chamber of Commerce.
What’s unique about the project? Why does it matter?
It is doable, transferable, profitable. It is fair to the next generation. This initiative borrows nothing from future generations and it destroys nothing. It is natural and nurturing.
It is important to the community because it backcasts and not forecasts. It asks the people involved, what is the future that you want to build. From the vision, we build back. This is the Kerala we want to live in. Every technology exhibited it tried and tested.
Why is completing this project important to the community?
It is important to the community because it backcasts and not forecasts. It asks the people involved, what is the future that you want to build. From the vision, we build back. This is the Kerala we want to live in. Every technology exhibited is tried and tested. We have no time to lose.
Why is the project’s successful outcome worth it to contributors?
The contributors are becoming pioneer members of a new Kerala Chamber of Commerce. They will have a stake in recreating a new Kerala. They are the coauthors of God’s own country’s new development model. They are making the women of Kerala full-fledged entrepreneurs. The Kutumbshree women now will be sustainable investors. It all starts with this garden, a garden of innovation.
Who am I, and why is the project important to me?
I am a son of the soil. The floods devastated my land. The rains damaged my property that. My family members and relations who jumped first into rescue, then into rehabilitation. Now they are into rebuilding. My own house became the village hub for relief.
But I am also a global citizen and firm believer in sustainable development goals. I worked with the United Nations as a communication specialist for 23 years. I know many innovators who can be great resources in rebuilding Kerala. I would like to make the Innovations Garden and the New Kerala Chamber of Commerce new global norms.
What is your role in producing the project and governing its outcome?
I am the initiator. It is my brainchild. I gave birth to this idea. I will nurture it. “It takes a village to bring up a child, ” says an African proverb. It will take all of us to build new Kerala. It will take the whole world to rebuild Kerala.
This Garden and Chamber approach needs you. It is my privilege to invite you. I will make it possible for you to put your best foot forward. Kerala needs your ideas, your connections, and your resources.
Who else is directly involved in managing or undertaking the project?
Those who will support me in setting up the garden are
- Green technologists,
- evangelists of organic future,
- agricultural universities,
- colleges, departments,
- and departments of agriculture
Once the garden is set up the ball moves into the court of women and small-scale farm entrepreneurs in the state. They will come together under the banner of the New Kerala Chamber of Commerce. It will there show from then. Every one of the 365 days of the year will be learning days. The Chamber will put together
The Chamber will put together
- collaborative planning sessions
- boot camps
- training of trainers
- Jaitosavs ( Organic festivals )
What part of your experience (or that of your team) will help complete the project successfully?
I am a former advisor to the Government of India. I have also been a UN Specialist for a long 23 years. I was part of some of the largest mission India has run. Among them are
- the National Mission on Immunisation,
- the Polio Eradication Campaign,
- the Red Ribbon Express,
- the Bihar Education Project and
- the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan ( National Education Mission).
In all these missions I was one of the strategists and people mobilization was my forte.
I have much to contribute to this approach, so do my countless former colleagues, counterparts and friends.
What incentive/motivation do you have to get it done? What moves you to make it happen?
This is my legacy and culmination of a personally and professionally fulfilling life.
This what I want to give my home state and to the world at large. There are so many innovations out there. My role is that of a gardener. I am pitching for immortality.
If the Garden and Chamber take off, it will also be financially rewarding
How do we (contributors) know that you will follow through, work diligently, and use the funds effectively?
Everything we do under this will be in the public domain. The Garden will be there for everyone to visit. The Chamber of Commerce will belong to everyone. All its programs will be public. All its costs and expenditures will be available for public scrutiny.
All contributors and stakeholders will give daily updates on what is happening what is not happening.
Questions about mechanics:
What is your funding goal, how will funds be used?
I have targetted a Rs 10 lakhs ($ 14200) for the pilot stage. This will help us start the innovation garden
- conduct the first set of training
- form the chamber of commerce
How do we know your funding goal is sufficient to fully accomplish the project/mission?
I don’t know if the money is sufficient. This is the pilot stage.
Have you raised any funds already? Are you partially funding the project yourself? No
What happens if you raise more money than your stated goal? How will additional funds be used?
Which means the pilot is successful. We will revise our programs based on the pilot’s performance.
What is the project timeline? Is the completion date estimated or fixed?
The project will go on till the New Kerala happens. We will be around as long as the visitors keep coming. We will continue to support the chamber until the members want us to do it.
What factors affect the completion date? what contingencies or unknowns are involved?
The people of Kerala will decide the Completion date. But I presume the Garden and Chamber approach to development will continue as a global model.
Among the unknowns are two. (1) the mercurial nature of local leaders and (2) Kerala’s reputation for disruption
How will you measure project results and progress?
- By the number of innovations adopted by the people of Kerala and people of other states.
- By the amount of profit, they make as agro-entrepreneurs
- By the sustainability development quotient the progress in Kerala.
- By the number of members the New Kerala Chamber of Commerce
- By the number of learning and action events, they will organize and
- By evaluation of the effectiveness of each program.
- By the GDP of Kerala and
- By the individual income of people who have adopted the Garden and Chamber approach.
How will you keep the public and your contributors informed about your ongoing project development and progress?
Daily personalized online alert to all members and stakeholders. A plethora of social media including.
What communication or reporting will continue after the project is complete? and the goal attained?
As long as there is New Kerala and as long as there is online social media you will continue to hear from us. You will get your daily news on our progress.
Questions about rewards and incentives:
What rewards or incentives are you offering to contributors? How do the Rewards Work?
The reward is the life-long free membership as a founder member of the new Kerala Chamber of Commerce.
The membership entitles you to
- lifelong discounts in all Chamber events, for all Chamber products and
- entry into special and exclusive events meant for members.
- Special mentions of honor for all your contributions and
- support to hold your own events at the Garden and and in programs held elsewhere.
What are the conditions for receiving a reward?
You have to make an initial contribution and remain interested.
Additional sites for information:
Want to read about how Kerala weathered the strom and withstood the waters?
Want to read more about sustainability
Youth leadership in Bihar is taking some mighty steps against violence.
- 25 youth leaders will be trained as peace trainers by the Nonviolence Project Foundation, Geneva.
- These trainers will in turn 100 young people each in conflict resolution, self esteem, self confidence and prevention of violence in homes, schools and the community.
- NYKS in Bihar is appealing to local MLAs and MPs and district collectors to train 2500 people in each of their constituencies to mark the 150th anniversary of
- Each training will conclude with a Shanti mahotsav where each child will release a peace plan and also upload the same on social media.