SEX & GENDER

How times change and with it the things kids learn in school!!

The other day I was walking with my 12 years old son and he asked me the difference between SEX & GENDER? Luckily for me I knew the basic difference and the gaps were filled by him in broader terms. He knew these terms because as a 7th Grade student Sex & Gender studies are part of their curriculum and he learned about these terms that day itself.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CVvR2ndvWYx/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=

The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) released a new training manual for teachers recently. The training material describes concepts such as gender identity, gender incongruence, gender dysphoria, gender affirmation, heterosexuality, asexuality, bisexuality, among various others, in detail.

The training material also lists out a number of practical strategies for making schools sensitive and inclusive for transgender and gender non-conforming children.

I am glad the schools are open and willing to teach and talk about topics like sex, gender and stereotyping.

According to the medical website www.medicalnewstoday.com 

“Sex” refers to the physical differences between people who are male, female, or intersex . A person typically has their sex assigned at birth based on physiological characteristics, including their genitalia and chromosome composition. This assigned sex is called a person’s “natal sex.”

Gender, on the other hand, involves how a person identifies. Unlike natal sex, gender is not made up of binary forms. Instead, gender is a broad spectrum. A person may identify at any point within this spectrum or outside of it entirely.

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/232363

As a child of the nineties we lived in a world which was so different from today’s reality. The issues remained the same for a teen then and now but they were not taught and discussed this openly.

The children live in an era of information overload and as parents it becomes imperative that they are given the right tools to process this information.

Till not too long away I too was ignorant to these terms and found the terms he/him/his in some Instagram bio pretty amusing. Then I met a Gen Z, with whom I shared my amusement. As a vocal and woke Gen Z, I was given an immediate crash course on the new Gender Identifications.

And his recommendation led me to watch this amazing series called – Sex Education on NETFLIX. The characters face these questions with confusion, aplomb and denial. They use the terms that I was given a crash course of !!

Although the series is set in United Kingdom the feelings, angst and the confusion a young adult feel is the same everywhere. We are yet to reach their level of openness but at least the new curriculum is making that beginning and talking about it.

I am glad to see the change happening and hope our children grow up to become empathetic to the new normal.

Proud Congressman

मुझे भारतीय राष्ट्रीय कांग्रेस का सदस्य होने पर गर्व है.

मुझे गर्व है मैं उस दल से जुड़ा हुआ हूँ जिसने पंथनिरपेक्ष भारत की संरचना की.

मुझे गर्व है पार्टी के शीर्ष नेतृत्व पर जिन्होंने हार के बावजूद कभी अपने मूल सिधान्तों को नहीं छोड़ा.

आज के दौर में जहाँ शीर्ष नेतृत्व पर हार का आरोप जड़ना fashionable हो गया है. हम सब कांग्रेस जन को अपने अन्दर झांकर देखने की भी ज़रुरत है.

यह वक़्त है पार्टी को मंथन करने का इन निम्न बिन्दुओं पर:

  • कांग्रेस जन को एक तराजू में ना तोला जाए. समय है सच्चे और भितरघातियों में फरक करने का.
  • पार्टी के वफादार और नेता के वफादारों में फरक करना होगा.
  • ऐसे लोगों को चिन्हित करने का जिनकी पूरी राजनीती एक दुसरे को निपटाने में ही खप जाती है.
  • ऐसे सदस्यों को चिन्हित करने का जो चुनाव के वक़्त अपना कार्य क्षेत्र छोड़ कर ऐसे जगह लग जाते हैं जहाँ उनकी जान है ना पहचान.
  • सत्ता में भागीदारी चाहने वालों को सत्ता में पहुँचाने के लिए किये गए कार्यों का हिसाब देना होगा.
  • नेताओं को टिकेट वितरण से पहले कार्यकर्ताओं की भावना का ध्यान रखना होगा क्यूंकि ऊपर से थोपी गयी उम्मीदवारी कार्यकर्त्ता को हताश और मायूस कर देती है.
  • नेताओं को सुनिश्चित करना होगा की उनके अनुयायी पार्टी के अधिकारिक उम्मीदवार के लिए ही काम करें.
  • पार्टी की वजह से सत्ता सुख भोगते नेताओं को पार्टी का हित सर्वोपरी रखना होगा.

जब यह सब होगा तभी सच्चे कांग्रेसी अपने को ठगा महसूस न करेंगे और जी जान से काम करेंगे हमेशा के तरह.

जय हिन्द – जय कांग्रेस

दीपक सुखाड़िया

Save our Children

Just when we all were heaving a sigh of relief from the Covid Pandemic, the world is hit by another new variant of Corona Virus – OMICRON. According to reports this is more infectious and rapidly transmitted but the jury is still out on whether it is more fatal than the previous variant.

Luckily for the adult population of India most of us are vaccinated barring some morons who are still showing vaccine hesitancy through their warped logics. What is really worrying is the unvaccinated under 18 population of India which is approximately 75 million.

The only reason we were able to bring down corona cases, was the rapid vaccinations of 18+ after the second wave. If not been for the deadly and tragic second wave the Central Government would have gladly exported our share of the vaccines leaving us unprotected and dillydallied on the vaccination drive.

Look at the slow and absolute abysmal vaccination timeline in India:

  • 16th January 2021 – Frontline and health workers
  • 1st March 2021 – For all above 60 and for 45+ with co-morbidities.
  • 1st April 2021 –  45 +
  • 1st May 2021 – 18+

It has been 10 months since vaccination started in India but the government is still undecided for our children i.e. population below 18. They have lost out two precious years of their childhood away from schools and friends.  While some have returned to school there is always a danger to fall prey to this virus. As a paranoid over-protected parent of 12 year olds I am done with seeing my kids sitting at home and living a life in a bubble. There is no end in sight with this new variant.

World over countries have started vaccinating their children against Covid. How different are our children physiologically from them so as not to be vaccinated?

Why the over dependence on just two vaccines?

If countries can use other vaccines safely for over a year now, why and what is stopping us?

I urge and plead the government to fast track the approval of vaccines for the children and ताकि वोह अपना बचपन फिर से जी सकें !!

Lost Generation

Just the other day I was inquiring about the well being of the family of our office help. Luckily for him and his family they remained unscathed by this recent Corona Wave. However as a father of 2 young boys aged three and five, he was worried in respect to their education. Online classes were something his kids were too young to attend on their own considering he and his wife were working parents and they lacked resources to buy smart phones for them.

What we are looking at is a Lost Generation!! Generations getting lost at both at the starting point as well at the end of the Indian School System.

This pandemic with it has not only bought death and illness but also unparalleled economic misery. Millions have lost their jobs, earnings and have been pushed to poverty. As per a World Bank study the COVID-19 pandemic is estimated to push an additional 88 million to 115 million people into extreme poverty this year, with the total rising to as many as 150 million by 2021.This has a direct bearing on the education of our children.

We are looking at a delay in admission in primary section by at least a year or two as not many parents can afford smart phones for their children for online classes. Even if they do, how many have the inclination and wherewithal to monitor their child’s progress? At such a weak base we are looking at children with issues in future.

Moreover for students who are aiming for a good college- these online classes and economic hardships for some will putting a spanner in their future plans. Getting admitted in college below a student’s potential for lack of affordability of coaching classes / Fees is going to reflect on their Job opportunities and economic status their entire life.

Then there is an entire section of children who have been stopped going to school for lack of funds, to supplement family income or even become breadwinners. Will it be ever possible to get them back to the education system??

There are no easy solutions and not a comfortable path forward. With an imminent third wave in future, this academic year too will be sacrificed at the altar of the pandemic. I just hope I am proved wrong in the future and the future of our children remained unscarred by COVID-19.

सत्ता के साथी

पूर्व केंद्रीय मंत्री सुश्री गिरिजा जी व्यास अक्सर अपने भाषण में कहती हैं की किसी ज्योतिष या भोपा ने नहीं कहा था कांग्रेस पार्टी से जुड़ने के लिए. हम कांग्रेसी हैं क्यूंकि हम इस की विचारधारा में विश्वास करते हैं.

हम विश्वास करते हैं उसके सिधान्तों और मूल्यों में. सब की अपनी विचारधारा होती है और होनी भी चाहिए क्यूंकि यह हमारे व्यक्तित्व की पहचान होती है. कोई वामपंथी होता है, कोई संघी और कोई कांग्रेसी. पार्टी से आपकी नाराज़गी हो सकती है लेकिन इस का मतलब यह नहीं की कोई अपनी विचारधारा में पूर्ण बदलाव कर दें.

दशकों से जिस विचारधारा के खिलाफ खड़े रहे उस से एक झटके में कैसे गले लगा सकते हैं. चुनाव में हार जीत लगी रहती है. राजनीती में सब की मह्त्वाकान्शायें होती है लेकिन सत्ता सुख के लिए इस में बदलाव कहाँ तक सही है??

भारतीय संसदीय प्रणाली ब्रिटेन के वेस्टमिनिस्टर मोडल पर आधारित है. वहां पर भी एक समय पर कंजरवेटिव पार्टी 18 साल (1979 – 1997) तक सत्ता पर काबिज़ रही और हार गयी. फिर संघर्ष किया और अब वापस पिछले 10 साल से ज्यादा से पार्टी सत्ता में है और शायद ही वहां के अग्रिम पंक्ति के नेताओं ने सत्ता सुख के लिए अपना पाला बदला हो.

भारतीय राजनैतिक परिवेश में देखें तो ऐसे उदहारण देखने को मिलेंगे की किसी के पार्टी के शीर्ष नेतृत्व से टकराव रहा हो तो उन्होनें विचारधरा से समझौता नहीं करा , चाहे वह शरद पवार महाराष्ट्र में हों, ममता बैनर्जी बंगाल में या 1996 में कांग्रेस नेतृत्व से अलगाव के कारण पार्टी छोड़ खुद की पार्टी बनाने वाले माधवराव सिंधिया, जी.के.मूपनार और अन्य.

एक प्रमुख कारण जो हाल ही में विपक्षी पाले में जाने वाले नेताओं ने बतलाया है की वह जनता की सेवा करने के लिए ऐसा मजबूर हो गए थे. यह सरासर झूठ है और सत्तानशीं होने के सिवा कुछ नहीं. अगर जनता की सेवा करने ही है तो आपको सत्ता की कोई ज़रुरत नहीं. इस कोरोना काल में ही देख लें तो यूथ कांग्रेस के अध्यक्ष बी.वि.श्रीनिवास, तहसीन पूनावाला को या सोनू सूद को. कोई सत्ता में नहीं था, पुलिसिया कार्यवाही करी गयी उन पर फिर भी इस दूसरी लहर में जनता की सेवा के लिए झुझते रहे. जैसे की किसी ने सही लिखा है –

कुछ कर गुजरने के लिए, मौसम नहीं मन चाहिए

साधन सभी जुट जायेंगे, संकल्प का धन चाहिए

जिन नेताओं ने पाला बदला है उनके पास सेवा के लिए संसाधन की कमी तो बिलकुल नहीं थी. कमी थी तो केवल अपनी विचारधारा पर तटस्थ रहने की और जो चीज़ भरपूर थी वह थी सत्ता की भूख और खुद की  राजनैतिक मंशा पूरी करने की.

2014 से जब से एक विचारधारा की पार्टी सत्ता में आई है उनका एक मात्र रास्ता चुना है सत्ता में बने रहने का और उन का बढ़चढ़ का साथ दिया है कुछ एक नेताओं ने.

तो इसलिए अब वक़्त आ गया है की सब राजनैतिक व्यक्ति आत्म-मंथन कर लें की उनके लिए क्या ज़रूरी है विचारधारा या सत्ता क्यूंकि हम सच्चे कांग्रेस जन तैयार हैं लम्बे संघर्ष और लड़ाई के लिए.

Bollywood

Most of you who know me personally or follow me on social media would know my love for films.

I have thrived on watching films over the 4 decades of my being. This love affair that started with Hindi Films aka Bollywood and has taken me to Hollywood to Regional Cinema and to World Cinema thanks to the advent of sub-titles.

Hindi Films i.e. Bollywood shall forever remain my first love. For they have made me happy and sad, made me question and also made me hate, all with equal measures. Their music is the only one that I can comprehend for they tap into each emotion and occasion.

Besides the movies the people that light up the silver screen and those who enable them have been inspired entire generations. They have been there to serve the nation: the case in point being actors who have gone to the frontiers to boast the morale of our Jawans amongst others.

However my heart pains when some sections of the media goes on to paint the entire industry as the den of all vices. The industry has some issues but isn’t these matters that plague our society irrespective of the industry. The film industry is an easy target and scapegoat, for there is too much money and lives at stake. One bad weekend can be death knell for a film. Targeting films and their actors makes for good politics and that’s what we are seeing these days.

Sensationalising news on Film Industry makes for good TRP’s. Look what has happened to a particular news network that have been garnering substantial eyeballs and thus filling in their coffers. Like in all other matters they are the Prosectutor, Judge and Jury all rolled in to one.

Well sorry for using the “roll” word, for Rhea has been put in jail for rolling things she shouldn’t have and for that matter no middle-class person should have, after all these are things only the rich and famous do and not us.

For the Film Industry I hope this crisis gives you time to put your house in order or what the hell, Wait !!

People have very–very short memories they are going to come back to watch movies of the very people who are now being shamed and disliked. Till that short time work on good scripts and take us back to the magic of a dark Cinema Halls and lit-up Silver Screens !!

रुक जाना नहीं तू कहीं हार के, काँटों पे चलके मिलेंगे साये बहार के…..

MIGRATION

migrant-workers-agencies

On 24th March 2020 at 8PM our Prime Minister Respected Narendra Modi ji announced a nationwide lockdown for 21 days that was to take effect in the next 4 hours i.e. 12PM. This was done in order to combat the deadly Corona Virus.

Since the disease was first detected in India we all were anticipating it, however in absence of any clear guidelines most of us went about our daily routines and subsequent to the above announcement entire country came to a standstill with a notice period of 4 hours.

The mayhem that followed was unprecedented, with workplaces shut and with that the sources of livelihood for the marginalised. They had no one to fall back to and this started a mass migration to their home states. This migration was something that continues to surpass to the migration that happened in 1947 i.e. The Partition.

FACT :

  • According to one World Bank estimate approximately 40 million people will be migrating from their workplaces to home states. While during Partition 12 million estimated people crossed borders in both directions.
  • As of 16th May 2020 Indian Railways has operated 1,074 Shramik Special trains ferrying more than 14 lakh workers. While during partition between August and November 1947 around 673 refugee trains transported 28 lakh people.
  • As per a recent survey of 18,000 households across 10 states in India since the lockdown, they have found that most of the above have lost 60% of their Income in April 2020, 20% have already run out of money and supplies and a further 60% will run out in next 2 weeks.
  • The lockdown most definitely has not flattened the curve and nor has it reduced the growth but we have been able to buy some time to fight the disease.
  • Lockdown 4 has resumed most of the economic activity with questionable availability of manpower. However there is simply no other way but to resume economic activity and learn to live with the virus because we got to be ‘AATMANIRBHAR’

HINDSIGHT:

Cambridge Dictionary defines Hindsight as: The ability to understand an event or situation only after it has happened.

In view of the above facts we can now in hindsight state the following:

  • Due to this virus other countries has started imposing lockdown much before ours. Government had some idea what had happened in other countries and what needed to be done to make lockdown less painful. It should have done a better anticipatory analysis.
  • The Government could have allowed the trains/buses to run to ferry labour/people to their home states after announcing the lockdown. Lakhs could have been saved of the hardships of the ardours journey home.
  • Now when Lakhs are returning home thru the Shramik Special Trains, there are more virus carriers than what would have been if they were bought back home in March itself and yes this should in no way disqualify them from going back home.

How many generations will it take to wipe out the suffering of millions of our migratory fellow citizens? To the lives lost, to the dreams erased and to find answers to questions that could never find a voice.

Economic Lockdown

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It has been more than 45 days of Lockdown and we are nowhere near reaching a plateau, on the contrary we are now witnessing an upward trend. To put it in perspective ; the day the Janta Curfew was announced there were 403 COVID+ cases in India and now that number stands at 53000 and counting.

The economy has crumbled. The last modified lockdown has started opening up the economy but we still have a long way to go. The livelihoods are lost; the lives are being lost because the doctors are too scared to treat patients; millions are on the roads trying to reach their birthplaces.

After the man-made tragedy like that of Demonetisation and GST, the Central Government is still walking in dark alleys of lockdown and Corona to find a foothold.

To see how this government has tried to navigate the first two catastrophes, we need to see how they behaved in them. Below is the no of notifications/ clarifications that the government issued during their implementation:

This government has had many meetings with the Finance Ministry but yet to announce a stimulus package. Between the clapping, the Lighting of the Lamp and the showering of petals; we are still awaiting an economic relief. In absence of which some of the SME’s, MSME’s and others will shut shop forever. If the government cant work one out, take the help of experts for in difficult times its OK to ask for help.

For some who will question the intent of this article I would like to say:

Yes I am a Congressman and the role of opposition is to ask questions.

Yes my hardships are nowhere near what most of my other countrymen are facing.

Yes I am willing to stand united as one but that doesn’t stop me from questioning an elected government.

As a Citizen of this country questioning an elected Government doesn’t equate with questioning my Country.

In the end request you to Stay Safe, maintain Social/Physical distancing, boost your immunity and Pray to God to give us strength to Passover these troubled times.

Lockdown Diary

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For starters we all deserve a pat on our back for staying indoors and surviving the first stretch of the lock-down. If not for the foolhardiness of some, things would have been better. However we are still in much- much better position as compared to most of the so called developed countries of the world.

There a few things that I have realized over this period:

  • How important it is to have a hobby – the ones that you can enjoy doing from the comfort of your home, without anyone’s company.
  • The people you call, message and try getting in touch with are the people that matter. Henceforth whenever you have to choose, you know who to hold on to.
  • The neighbors are and will remain our first source of contact in case of an emergency. If we can’t be pals with them at least be cordial.
  • I have survived till date in 2 pair of shorts & T-Shirt and a pair of nightwear. I can also do away with processed food.
  • Those of us who are gloating over the fact that our needs have become less and we can live with these curtailed wants are absolutely wrong. There is a term in Mewari “मशानों का वैराग्य”, all the above feeling is just that. All this back to basics bullshit is till the time lockdown remains. We are once again going to jump head on into this materialistic world with much more fervor.
  • The political leadership will always have the best interest in their mind in times of crisis irrespective of cast, creed and region. We also need to get above these narrow boundaries.
  • There is a saying, “Hands that serve are holier than the ones that pray”. To all the religious leaders – we have enough places of worship what we need more are the Temples of Healing i.e. the hospitals.
  • There are some genuine people who are doing their job and helping the needy. If they want then they must do their publicity, for the others please spare the theatrics.
  • Our elected representatives, who have not stayed in their constituency to monitor the aid-work, have a lot to answer for in the next elections.
  • For other political workers – not everyone needs to be on the field, you can contribute by staying indoors and stop the spread.

This virus that has shaken the world has its origin in China and they have lot to answer for and pay for.

Corona & Financial Aid

 

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The mighty Corona Virus is on a war path devastating everything that it touches moving from city to city, country to country leaving behind mayhem both in terms of human loss and economic meltdown. However I am sure that it is matter of time that we will surmount this devil with our resilience, scientific progress and more importantly by community outreach or rather lack of it, thru social distancing.

Places of worship closed, travel restrictions, closed airports, countries on lockdown etc. governments across the globe are taking whatever it takes to curtail its spread. On an individual level we also need to keep the social distancing, to flatten the curve of its spread and while all of us do this it will have a massive hit on the economy.

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For starters the tourism, airline and hospitality have taken a massive blow and there is no immediate relief in sight. It is only matter of time that the effect will be seen across industries. There will be some who will be able to take this hit while for some it will cripple them. Some will grow back but for some it will be a death knell financially.

While the government is able to pay its employees in spite of shutdowns same cannot be said about private enterprises. Thus I request the government whether of the Local Bodies, State or the Central level to ease out the financial burden of its citizens to help them cope up with this crisis.

Here are few of my suggestions to tide over this Economic Tsunami:

  • The Local Administrative Bodies i.e the Municipal Bodies and Zila Parishads defer the collection of taxes for at least a quarter.
  • There should be no late fees charges for the deposit or filing of returns for GST or Income Tax. However the government should pass on these benefits to small business owners like shopkeepers, SME etc.
  • Hospitality Industry should be given Tax Rebate and concessions for 2 Financial Years.
  • To ensure that no hoarding takes place of essential food items, medicines and items of daily necessities.
  • The citizens should be given the option to pay their bills of essential utilities in installments.
  • New academic sessions will be starting soon and this entails a major outflow for a middle class family and keeping this in mind the education department should take some steps to ease this burden.
  • Worst hit are going to be daily wage earners; government should ensure opening affordable, subsidized kitchens to ensure proper nutrition to them.
  • Loan servicing and Interest for SME’s, Home Loans should be kept in abeyance with no penal action.
  • CSR funds should be mandatorily be used to fight COVID-19 and ease out financial discomfort.

These are some recommendations, I am sure there are better suggestions and views to fight and shield us against CORONA!!

PS: Last but not the least: – No sitting government should be destabilized and no No Confidence Motion moved against them. Let them handle the CORONA and not waste time in safeguarding their law makers.